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Monday, June 1, 2015

The Daily Drift

Editor's Note: We will be lecturing at a seminar on Tuesday June 2nd, so we will be taking what other's have termed a 'Blogcation' for that day with no posts for the day but will return to our regular posting on Wednesday June 3rd.
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Obama Takes Bold Executive Action To Protect America’s Drinking Water From Corporate Polluters

President Obama and his administration have announced bold new executive actions that have left Republicans fuming by protecting 33% of the nation’s clean drinking water supply.
In a statement, President Obama said:
For more than 40 years, American families and businesses across the country have counted on the Clean Water Act to protect the streams and wetlands we rely on for our way of life – from recreation to public health to a growing economy. In recent years, however, court decisions have led to uncertainty and a need for clarification. One in three Americans now gets drinking water from streams lacking clear protection, and businesses and industries that depend on clean water face uncertainty and delay, which costs our economy every day. Too many of our waters have been left vulnerable to pollution. That’s why I called on the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clear up the confusion and uphold our basic duty to protect these vital resources.

Today, after extensive input from the American public, they’re doing just that – finalizing the Clean Water Rule to restore protection for the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of our nation’s water resources, without getting in the way of farming, ranching, or forestry. This rule will provide the clarity and certainty businesses and industry need about which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act, and it will ensure polluters who knowingly threaten our waters can be held accountable. My Administration has made historic commitments to clean water, from restoring iconic watersheds like the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes to preserving more than a thousand miles of rivers and other waters for future generations. With today’s rule, we take another step towards protecting the waters that belong to all of us.
Republicans are already losing their minds and calling the new administration rule a land grab. Speaker of the House John Boehner said, “The administration’s decree to unilaterally expand federal authority is a raw and tyrannical power grab that will crush jobs. House Members of both parties have joined more than 30 governors and government leaders to reject EPA’s disastrous WOTUS rule. These leaders know firsthand that the rule is being shoved down the throats of hardworking people with no input, and places landowners, small businesses, farmers, and manufacturers on the road to a regulatory and economic hell.”
Boehner’s statement is just one example of the outcry from Congressional Republicans. Republicans are trying to hide the issue. The new rule does not give the federal government possession of any land or waterways. What the new rule does do is give these waterways federal protections from corporate polluters.
EPA head Gina McCarthy debunked the Republican claims of a land grab, “It does not interfere with private property rights or address land use. It does not regulate any ditches unless they function as tributaries. It does not apply to groundwater or shallow subsurface water, copper tile drains or change policy on irrigation or water transfer.”
When Republicans claim that this rule is harming the economy, what they really mean is that these changes aren’t going to allow agribusiness and corporations to destroy the clean water supply for 33% of the country. Republicans are literally advocating for one-third of the country to potentially lose access to clean drinking water.
The action by President Obama and his administration was a bold, forward-thinking step that was designed to protect a key portion of the nation’s clean water supply.
Sorry Republicans, Obama isn’t coming for your land, but he is trying to make sure that you and your children have access to safe and clean drinking water.

Obama Justice Department Being Pushed To Investigate Jeb Bush For Illegal Fundraising

jeb-bush-frownCalls are growing from watchdog groups for President Obama’s Justice Department to launch a federal investigation into what appears to be illegal fundraising by Jeb Bush.
In a letter to the Justice Department, the group Democracy21 argues that Jeb Bush is a presidential candidate, and that his fundraising scheme is a clear violation of the law, “The fact of his candidacy is so apparent, and so overt, that Bush himself has found it hard to maintain what is really the ongoing charade of his purported non-candidacy….Bush’s proclamations that he is not a candidate are contradicted by the facts and by the applicable law. In all pertinent respects, Bush has been engaging in activities as an active candidate at least since January 2015. He has been traveling extensively to early primary states since January 2015, and has been speaking and organizing in those states.”
The letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch continues, “Bush has also been heavily involved in fundraising for the Right to Rise Super PAC, which is raising funds solely for the purpose of making expenditures to further Bush’s presidential campaign. An individual becomes a “candidate” if the individual raises “funds in excess of what could reasonably be expected to be used for exploratory activities or undertakes activities designed to amass campaign funds that would be spent after he or she becomes a candidate….” 11 C.F.R. § 100.72(b). By these standards, Bush is a “candidate.” The fact that he has refrained from formally announcing his candidacy is not determinative. If Bush is raising and spending money as a candidate, he is a candidate under the law, whether or not he declares himself to be one.”
Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer said, “There are powerful grounds to conclude that the political charade being perpetrated on the American people by former Governor Jeb Bush and his associated individual-candidate Super PAC is illegal. The same is true for other presidential campaigns and their associated Super PACs and we also plan to ask the Justice Department to investigate those as well. The Bush scheme, however, appears to be the most blatant and brazen effort to date to circumvent and evade the candidate contribution limits enacted to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption….The Justice Department has the authority and the responsibility to prevent the 2016 presidential candidates from engaging in the most massive violations of the campaign finance laws in the nation’s history. The Justice Department needs to act to protect the integrity of the presidency and our democracy.”
The Bush scheme, which Scott Walker and other Republican presidential candidates are using variations of, was illegal from the beginning, but the illegality became obvious when Bush slipped up and admitted that he was running for president.
Bush is trying to use Citizens United to illegally fundraise his way to the White House. Democrats are familiar with the Bush family history of cheating in elections, but Jeb Bush is flaunting his abuse of the law. It is important that people speak out on this issue before Election Day, and not let Bush get away with illegal activities.
If you would like to make your voice heard, please sign our petition calling on Attorney General Lynch to launch a federal investigation into Jeb Bush.

Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Case That Could Undermine One Person One Vote

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could fundamentally alter the way districts are drawn in the United States. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, it could also undermine the bedrock American principle of “one person, one vote”.
The case brought forward by Texas plaintiffs Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger, argues that Texas Senate Districts dilute the plaintiffs’ voting power, because a higher proportion of residents is eligible to vote in their districts than in other districts in the state. The two plaintiffs are represented by the right-wing group Project on Fair Representation, which also brought the suit against the Voting Rights Act to the Supreme Court.
Under current law, federal and state districts are drawn based on the principle that each district should have equal or nearly equal populations. The challenge brought before the Supreme Court would alter that formula, instead redrawing district’s based on eligible voter population, rather than total population. If the court accepts the plaintiff’s arguments, it will clear the way for redrawing districts, to further dilute the political power of already disenfranchised groups like children, prisoners, and undocumented immigrants.
If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, it will undermine “representational equality” which ensures that each elected representative in a body governs roughly the same number of people. It would also throw redistricting into chaos, as Census population data would be replaced by a hodgepodge of competing formulas used to estimate the voter eligible population in each district.
The court agreed to hear the case even though it has not been tested in the lower courts, which would typically rule on a case before it reaches the Supreme Court. The intended effect of the change would be to dilute the political power of Latinos, children, and voters in urban areas while disproportionately empowering older, rural and whiter voters.
While it remains uncertain how the Supreme Court will rule on the case, their decision to hear the case already confirms a  familiar pattern with the Roberts’ Court. When it comes to election law, the only guiding principle that governs the decisions of the conservative justices on the Robert’s Court, is will the change benefit Republicans? If the answer is yes, then that is how the court will likely rule.

Republicans Freak Out Over The Return Of Hillary Clinton’s Southern Drawl

Hillary Clinton speaks in South Carolina
First the media snarked on 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s twang in South Carolina, and within minutes the Drudge had its whine published.
They write, “Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was born in Illinois and represented New York in the U.S. Senate, has brought back her Southern accent for her speech today in South Carolina.”
Watch Hillary Clinton’s South Carolina speech here:
Republicans don’t want to share the south, their only region, with a Democrat, so naturally if they hear a twang coming from anyone but their party, they get upset. This is, after all, all they have thanks to their success with the race-based Southern Strategy.
But they know that the former Secretary of State lived in the southern state of Arkansas with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for a long time. They owned a house there before they moved into the governor’s mansion, where she was First Lady of the southern state. She worked with a southern law firm for many years.
Maybe the media has never lived in the south. Because you know what happens to many people when they live in the south? They pick up the accent. It happened to me. It doesn’t grip all of your speech, but you slow down and you drawl a bit and sometimes you have a ‘Y’all”. It’s called assimilation. It happens no matter where you are – it can even happen on a short overseas vacation.
Sure, it’s politically expedient to talk like the people around you, and no doubt any politician who has spent time in the South would play on that when they are there. Just like a politician in the Midwest will talk about work ethic and family with the flatter accent of the region. But unlike when failed 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney tried this repeatedly, Hillary Clinton actually has a reason to have a drawl.
Hillary Clinton is married to a native Southerner and she lived in the south for years as his partner and wife. She comes by her ‘Y’alls” the hard way. Sorry, Republicans — you might not get to own the South this time around. Good luck picking up the rest of the country on a tax the poor, pro-molestation, anti-equal rights for all platform.

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Bill Nye Drives Wingnuts Into A Rage By Linking Texas Floods To Climate Change

'F*cking A**hole':Bill Nye Drives Conservatives Into A Rage By Linking Texas Floods To Climate Change
A seemingly innocuous Twitter post from scientist Bill Nye linking historic flooding in Texas to climate change sent wingnuts into a frenzy.

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The 5 Most Ridiculous Things Wingnut Whack Jobs Buy Out of ‘NRA Magazine’

The 5 Most Ridiculous Things Right-Wing Nut Jobs Buy Out of ‘NRA Magazine’ (IMAGES)Depending on what kind of magazines you read, you probably see lots of things advertised. From prescription drugs to age-defying face creams, vitamins...

Wingnuts Troll The Spelling Bee

Online trolls gripe that immigrant kids aren't 'American' enough for National Spelling Bee
OK, come on you insipid mealy-mouthed troglodytes it's a freaking spelling bee.
Give it a rest.

Rand Paul Blames Republican Chickenhawks For The Rise Of ISIL

Rand Paul Blames GOP Hawks For The Rise Of ISISRand Paul bashes Republican chickenhawks like John McCain and Lindsey for being wrong for the last twenty years on foreign policy issues.

Rand Paul Tries To Fool Students Into Thinking He's A Democrat

Rand Paul Tries To Fool Students Into Thinking He's A Democrat
Labeling yourself a treehugger isn't going to fool them, Rand.
Rand Paul Isn't Fooling Anybody

Ted Cruz Demands Federal Money For Texas Floods After Blocking Hurricane Sandy Relief

cruz-floods-2Ted Cruz (R-TX), who called federal disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy victims wasteful is now hypocritically demanding that the federal government fulfill its obligation and provide disaster relief to Texas.
During a press conference on the deadly flooding in Texas, Cruz said, “The federal government’s role, once the Governor declares a disaster area and makes a request, I am confident that the Texas congressional delegation, Cornyn and I, and the members of Congress both Republicans and Democrats will stand united as Texans in support of the federal government fulfilling its statutory obligations, and stepping in to respond to this natural disaster.
Sen. Cruz sang a completely different tune in 2013 when he called federal aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy wasteful:
Two-thirds of this spending is not remotely “emergency”; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 30% of the authorized funds would be spent in the next 20 months, and over a billion dollars will be spent as late as 2021.
This bill is symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington – an addiction to spending money we do not have. The United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt.
Cruz’s claim that the Sandy relief bill was wasteful was debunked by PolitiFact, “A big portion of the $17 billion in “immediate” assistance, more than $5 billion, went to replenish FEMA’s disaster relief fund, which may fund relief from future disasters.” PolitiFact also disagrees with some of the math Cruz repeated, “On Jan. 28, it passed H.R. 152, a separate $50.5 billion package. Of that $50.5 billion, $17 billion went toward immediate Sandy aid, while $33.5 billion was for “near- and long-term assistance and mitigation,” according to a Congressional Quarterly analysis.”
The great irony of the whole Sandy bill fiasco was that the pork came from Republicans like Cruz, who demanded to be paid off to support disaster relief. According to Forbes, “However, as it turns out, the pork portions of the Senate bill were not earmarked to benefit Democratic members of the upper chamber of Congress… The answer can be found in a quick review of the states that are set to benefit from the Senate’s extra-special benevolence—states including Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana.”
That would be the same group of Texas Republicans who are now demanding federal disaster relief be immediately sent to their state. Hypocrisy and Ted Cruz are longtime companions, but the larger hypocrisy is bound to come from Republicans who will likely speed a disaster relief bill for Texas and Oklahoma through Congress.
Ted Cruz’s position is clear. Disaster relief is only vital when it is for his state. Red state need is the only real need that counts. Sen. Cruz is demanding disaster relief for Texas. If there were any justice, he would be forced to wait just like he made the people impacted by Hurricane Sandy suffer, but since Democrats have compassion for all Americans in need, Texas will be given a luxury that wasn’t offered to the victims of Sandy.

Scott Walker Self-Destructs By Suggesting That Ultrasounds Are Like Selfies

Scott Walker evolution
Rob Thomas says he had no trouble coming up with the Quote of the Day for the Wisconsin Cap Times today in a piece titled, “In Case You Missed It: Scott Walker thinks ultrasounds are like a selfie for the womb”.
Trying to justify his 2013 law that forces women to undergo a medically unnecessary and costly ultrasound before they can exercise their constitutionally-protected freedom, Walker said:
“I think about, my sons are 19 and 20, you know, we still have their first ultrasound picture. It’s just a cool thing out there.”
Thomas explained that Walker became an “immediate subject of derision for telling conservative talk show host Dana Loesch that mandatory ultrasounds are a ‘cool thing’ — you know, a hot trend, like selfie sticks or dadbods.”
Who is going to tell the Republican governor and 2016 presidential candidate that the two ultrasound methods are very different? The one they used to get pictures of his sons is not the same as a transvaginal ultrasound. Maybe if he doesn’t know any better, he might want to hush up about it, because he is once again making a fool of himself. Also a note, doctors like to tell you that these are “painless”. And some women say that’s true. Others experience them as invasive and painful. (I wouldn’t recommend it for fun, for example, unlike… say…. a selfie.)
Not impressed, Thomas noted, “Quite the trendspotter, our governor.”
It’s not all about ultrasounds as the new selfie either. In their lead editorial, they determine the Governor is both “incompetent and irresponsible”. Quite a performance for someone running for president.
Our lead editorial Wednesday didn’t mention Walker’s coolhunter skills in ripping him for being both “incompetent and irresponsible” — incompetent for his performance and irresponsible for skating away from the consequences and not trying to fix his mistakes.
In that editorial, which is a must-read, they divulge the worst news. Forget the scandals swirling around Walker since his time in college, the man is “exceptionally incompetent and he is exceptionally irresponsible.”
That was confirmed in brutal detail last week by two separate stories that explain the mess Walker has made of Wisconsin’s economy.
To be fair to the Republican governor, the reason he’s so busy talking up transvaginal ultrasounds and likening them to selfies is because he can’t afford to talk about anything else. Walker made a mess of Wisconsin’s economy — the thing he ran on — and he’s been fudging the numbers and making up new math ever since. He embarrassed himself repeatedly on the national stage when trying to opine about things like foreign policy.
The man is not fit for prime time, but like his twin in Alaska, doesn’t know it.
So what is a person too arrogant to know that they are being used by the Republican Party and the Koch brothers and it won’t turn out well to do, but discuss shoving an ultrasound wand up women for no reason as if it’s like taking a selfie. Scott Walker has always been Sarah Palin but with more staying power. That is, he hasn’t quit his job midway through. He is, however, just as incompetent and just as foolish and most damaging of all, just as willing to buy his own press.
If Scott Walker were smart, he’d take a look at the woman who just a year or so after running for Vice President was rejected by even Fox News. The Republican Party loves to pick a new, charismatic person who is willing to sell their soul (or doesn’t have one) for the Koch brothers et al. Once this person gets busted as the charlatan they are, the GOP leaves them in the dust to wither away on reality TV.
Compare Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to Governor Scott Walker. You will never see Ted Cruz get taken by anyone. The man knows how to run the long con to benefit only himself. But Scott Walker is a willing servant to the Kochs, just like Palin was. Today’s star is tomorrow’s trash. And that is why he is talking about ultrasounds and comparing his theft of women’s constitutionally-protected rights to taking a selfie.
Scott Walker justifies his anti-women’s rights stance as being “pro-life”, but defunded Planned Parenthood, which provides the one sure thing to reduce abortions (birth control). Walker has yet to denounce the Duggar family after proudly standing with Josh Duggar in photos. That’s not exactly pro-life, that’s anti-women and children. He might have fooled Wisconsin voters into thinking he was a moderate, but the policies speak for themselves and he won’t get away with it on the national stage.
I’d like to formally invite the Governor to take a “selfie” of the transvaginal kind. You know, just ‘cuz it’s so cool.

Scott Walker Believes Women Should Be Forced To Have 'Cool' Ultrasounds

Scott Walker Believes Women Should Be Forced To Have 'Cool' Ultrasounds
So they can show that little fuzzy photo of the kid they don't want to everyone?
Women Should Be Forced To Have Ultrasounds

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The Duggar Name Becomes New Word For Hypocrisy And Child Molestation

Image via ETOnlineIt was bound to happen sooner or later, but the Duggar name has become a verb that the First Family of lunatic fringe wingnut “christian” hypocrisy will never live down.

Pedophile State Trooper: Jim Bob Duggar Lied, Said Josh Only Molested One Kid

Pedophile Ex-State Trooper: Jim Bob Duggar Lied, Said Josh Only Molested One Kid Remember the tales of  Jim Bob Duggar reporting his son’s crimes to a friend who was a state trooper (and is currently serving 56 years in prison...

Josh Duggar sued Arkansas in 2007 because they investigated his sexual assaults

Josh Duggar (screenshot/Facebook)
Though Springdale police declined to prosecute Josh Duggar for molesting several girls — including some of his sisters — in 2006, the department referred Duggar’s file to the state’s Families in Need of Services agency, a body that monitors criminal cases against juveniles.