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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Infrastructure, Infrastructure, Infrastructure ... Do we need to repeat that?

The Wind Energy Victory In The Senate’s New Tax Bill

CNN Tells us that Obama is No Reagan, Like it’s a Bad Thing

CNN showed its Fox News side in unfavorably comparing Obama to a Reagan who never existed, claiming Reagan is a transformational pretender…
obama reagan
It is amazing the hold Ronald Reagan has over some Americans. John Blake, writing at CNN, claims that “This may be President Obama’s time, but it’s still Ronald Reagan’s era.”
Yes, Ronald Reagan, the idiot Republicans most like to lie about, when they’re not lying about Obama. Who could ever forget, as Scott Walker has reminded us, how Reagan ended the Cold War by busting not the Bolsheviks, but unions? Or Sarah Palin sodomizing his legacy on his 100th birthday?
Blake ignores uncongenial facts and instead argues that,
Obama has helped negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran, normalized relations with Cuba, and watched his approval ratings recently hit a two-year high after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Obamacare. But has he become a “transformational” pretender like Ronald Reagan?
Then, to illustrate his complete lack of bias, Blake cites Tom Nichols, a political blogger and author of a column “Fantasyland: Obama Is No Ronald Reagan“: “He’s simply plowing the ground Reagan cleared 30 years ago.”
In a sense, you have to admit Nichols has a point: We are still trying to dig ourselves out of the mess Reagan made of the country. As far as being no Ronald Reagan, we can be thankful for that. This is a man about whom actor James Garner said,
"I was a vice president of the Screen Actors Guild when he was its president. My duties consisted of attending meetings and voting. The only thing I remember is that Ronnie never had an original thought and that we had to tell him what to say. That’s no way to run a union, let along a state or a country."
As for Barack Obama, Garner said, Adlai Stevenson was “the most intelligent presidential candidate we’ve ever had. I think Obama runs a close second.”
So perhaps the question should be less one of “Can Obama hold Reagan’s jock-strap” to one of “Can a political meatpuppet be a transformational pretender”?
That depends on how you define “transformational.” Blake is using it as a positive, but isn’t destruction also transformational? In that sense, the shrub, another political meatpuppet, is transformational. He destroyed Iraq, and very nearly his own country at the same time, bringing the world’s economy crashing down for good measure.
Blake claims that four things define transformational presidents (technically, riding a velociraptor while slaughtering America’s enemies is not one of them):
They change the conversation: “The country is a different place after they leave the office.” To make his point, Blake invents a few “facts” about St. Ronnie:
“Reagan helped tilt the nation away from FDR’s New Deal in a way that no pretender had done before, historians say. When Reagan declared in his inaugural speech that government wasn’t the solution but the problem — and backed it up with small-government, anti-tax policies — he took on FDR.”
How is this possible when Reagan raised taxes 11 times from 1981 to 1989 and actually grew the size of government? Fact: Obama in 2011 had 273,000 fewer federal employees than Reagan. Far from cutting the size of government, he added a new department – Veterans’ Affairs – and increased defense spending. Reagan, compared to Obama, was a “tax and spend liberal” out of Republican nightmares.
Yet Blake cites Charles Gallagher, a sociologist at La Salle University in Pennsylvania: “He single-handedly defined government as something that was bad.” Yes, it was so bad that we needed more of it.
Transformational presidents deliver great lines: Because President Obama hasn’t said something as catchy as “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Never mind that somebody as intellectually vapid as the Reagan Garner depicts could never have come up with that himself. Reagan, Blake says, was dubbed “‘The Great Communicator.’ But what about Obama? Any memorable words?” Blake can’t think of any. But then, Obama has original “big syllable” thoughts of his own and isn’t an actor playing a part (take that, Jeb).
Transformational presidents poach followers from the enemy camp: “Reagan was a master at persuading people who didn’t normally vote Republican to vote for him in such great numbers that a new term was invented: Reagan Democrats.”
Blake cites Jennifer Walsh, a political science professor at Azusa Pacific University in California as saying “There is no such thing as an Obama Republican.” Well, a very good reason for this is that Obama is black, and the Republican Party is driven by high levels of racism and guided by Fox News, factors that would preclude Republicans becoming supporters of the “anti-colonialist Kenyan Muslims terrorist sympathizer” that is Obama. This is not a fair comparison at all.
Remember, when Obama outperformed Reagan on the economy? Fox News immediately cried, “Benghazi!” They didn’t mention the economy.
Transformational presidents become beloved figures: Reagan, Blake says, “became one of the nation’s most beloved presidents because people simply liked him. Even his enemies responded to Reagan’s geniality.” Well, meatpuppet. Yet even Reagan blogger Nichols admits that Obama could cure cancer and people wouldn’t like him.
Blake argues that “Reagan made wingnuttery cool. He strengthened the Republican cabal.” I don’t know about that. Bill Maher compared JFK to James Bond, while Reagan is Matlock. We might be defining “cool” differently, or perhaps Republicans just don’t know what “cool” is.
Obama “however, doesn’t fire up the Democratic base like Reagan did his party, some historians say.” Right. He didn’t fire it up enough to win two elections. Blake says Sanders and Warren are better at firing up the Democratic base. Only problem here is that neither of them have become president yet, so they’re not really part of the conversation, however much you may like them. And, after all, Trump fires up the Republican base. So let’s leave non-presidents out of it.
What is interesting is that as Blake makes this claim about how well loved Reagan was compared to Obama, Obama has become more popular than the shrub and equal to Reagan, and he has a far-better sense of humor. Sorta takes the wind out of your sails, doesn’t it, Mr. Blake? And let’s not forget that Reagan’s memory is so blessed in California that they set his statue on fire. It’s all the rage today in expressing love.
Blake lists his four transformational qualities, but I wonder if giving America a persecution complex and victim mentality is also a transformational quality? Or how about Reagan welcoming religio-wingnuts into government by telling them he was one of them, pushing creationism not only as governor of California but as president? That’s pretty transformational too.
I wrote of the Republican war on science. It was Reagan who made this “cool” too: “They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. I say there are simple answers to our problems and they are found within the covers of the bible.”
Simple answers for a simple man.
That is the Reagan legacy. If Reagan is going to be called transformational, we are going to have to take the bad with the good, and there is a lot of bad, even by Republican standards, if they would only admit to the historical Reagan, and forget the Reagan of their dreams.

Let’s Take Them Up On Their Challenge To Choose Between Liberal And Wingnut Women

by Charles Topher 
It’s no secret that wingnuts are shallow, misogynist creatures who put very little value in women. The Republican cabal is allowed to continue its war on women’s healthcare rights while ignoring calls for wage equality because their base won’t penalize them for considering women “less than.”
Nowhere is this fact more true than on social media, where memes like the one below show exactly what wingnuts value about women:
conservative vs liberal women
To compare a group of women, most of whom wingnuts couldn’t identify if they wanted to, by their looks alone is quite possibly the dumbest thing ever conceived. We moved out of caves tens of thousands of years ago. We stopped judging women exclusively by how they look shortly thereafter.
Or, those of us with any kind of real-world sensibilities did anyway.
For the sake of argument, let’s do a three-way tag match and have a little fun with the insane logic that a book can be judged by its cover. To keep things fair, we’ll use one TV personality and two politicians from each side and have ourselves a little side-by-side comparison.
Round 1 – Janet Napolitano Vs. Sarah Palin, both former governors.
Janet Napolitano is a graduate of Santa Clara University with a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia. She served as US Attorney for the district of Arizona and Arizona’s Attorney General before being elected governor of Arizona, serving from 2003 to 2009. She was then appointed Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013 and has since served as the President of the University of California. Napolitano is considered a front-runner should a seat on the US Supreme Court become vacant while a Democrat is in office.
In 2000, Napolitano spoke at the Democratic National Convention shortly after having a mastectomy. She refused to allow cancer to define her, and as a survivor has gone on to continue a brilliant career as a politician and educator.
Sarah Palin got a degree in journalism after hopscotching to four different schools in six years. She did a short stint as a sportscaster and after marrying well, helped her husband with his fishing business. After falling backwards into a career in politics as mayor of Wasilla, Palin somehow managed to get elected Governor of Alaska, but quit halfway through her term because John McCain needed a woman the base would find attractive as a running mate.
Sarah Palin has never accomplished anything of consequence, was recently let go as a commentator for Fox News, gave up on a subscription-based failure of a TV channel and got dropped from reality TV for being too boring.
In 2008 Palin winked at the crowd at the republican national coven and coined the phrase “youbetcha,” which had already been coined before.
Winner: Napolitano
Round 2 – Nancy Pelosi vs. Michele Bachmann, US House Of Representatives.
Nancy Pelosi, a Notre Dame graduate, began serving in the House in 1987. Her notable career of nearly thirty years includes a year as House minority whip and four years as Speaker Of The House from 2007-2011. She currently serves as House Minority Leader. Pelosi has stood firm on her beliefs that women should control their own healthcare choices, that religion has no place in public schools and has been vehemently opposed to any kind of military action against Iran since the Bush administration first suggested it in 2007 as the next phase of their plan to take over the oil-rich world.
Pelosi is credited with spearheading the Affordable Care Act, which has now provided healthcare to more than 30 million previously uninsured Americans, as well as the federal minimum wage increase of 2007.
Michele Bachmann, a graduate of Oral Roberts University, is a nutcase. Not even her master’s degree in tax law from William and Mary can compensate for her batshit crazy religious views, which have skewered any chance she ever had of being considered a rational human being. A founding member of the now dying teabagger caucus, Bachmann has stood firm on her beliefs that women need to be regulated at every level of government to save zygotes and that schools should dump the “junk science” of evolution in favor of creationism and prayer.
Bachmann, who has never been taken seriously by anyone, also stood up for whatever financial reform the Koch brothers stood for, as long as they continued to feed her the insanity that they were doing it all for Jesus. She isn’t credited with spearheading anything of consequence other than witch hunts and wild accusations that the President was spending billions of dollars to have the entire Navy escort him to India.
Winner: Pelosi
Round 3 – Rachel Maddow vs. Dana Loesch, television personalities.
Rachel Maddow is the first openly gay recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship, which helped her earn a doctorate in political philosophy from Oxford University, considered by many to be the best school in the world. A brilliant commentator, Maddow’s talents moved her through the ranks of radio, ultimately landing her with a television show that has blossomed into a bastion of liberal politics on MSNBC. Maddow’s insights have been sought after for years, and her contributions to television and radio have certainly no gone unnoticed, earning her the following awards:
  • Emmy Award in the Outstanding News Discussion and Analysis category for “The Rachel Maddow Show” episode “Good Morning Landlocked Central Asia!”
  • Maddow won a Gracie Award in 2009, presented by the American Women in Radio and Television.
  • On March 28, 2009, Maddow received a Proclamation of Honor from the California State Senate, presented in San Francisco by California State Senator Mark Leno..
  • In July 2010, Maddow was presented with a Maggie Award for her ongoing reporting of healthcare reform, the murder of Dr. George Tiller, and the anti-abortion movement.
  • In August 2010, Maddow won the Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award, which was presented by the Interfaith Alliance. Past honorees included Larry King, Tom Brokaw, and the late Peter Jennings.
  • In February 2012, Maddow was presented the John Steinbeck Award by the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State University.
Maddow also earned numerous distinctions and awards for her role in the LGBT community and too many nominations for awards to list.
Dana Loesch is a college dropout who built a successful radio show on a voice wingnut men just love. A liberal that campaigned for Bill Clinton, Loesh says she became a wingnut when she became a mother because she no longer agreed with the political ideologies of liberals. That happened to coincide with her marriage to a moron Republican. After 9/11, Loesch went all the way to the “I hate muslim” lunatic fringe. After a brief stint as a commentator on CNN during a time when the network tried a move further toward the lunatic fringe, her fear mongering and hate landed her a show on The Blaze, the propaganda sellout machine of fake crier Glenn Beck. She’s received some honorable mentions from right-wing media but never won an award of consequence from anyone with any credibility.
Winner: Maddow
It seems the wingnut theory that women who present better (to some) physically makes them somehow superior is yet another side-effect of the stupidity virus that runs rampant in their circles. Memes like this degrade women for no reason and provide nothing other than a sexist point of view.

Political Corruption, Like Cream, Rises to the Top in North Carolina

Republican political corruption in North Carolina is even worse than you thought, as the Paul Foley episode reveals…
by Kevin Welos
paul-foley-north-carolinaCream isn’t the only thing that apparently rises to the top; in North Carolina political corruption does as well.
On July 13th, the North Carolina Republican Legislature’s effort to codify voter suppression went on trial in federal court in Winston-Salem, Carolina. Before the trial began, Reverend William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP, led between 3,5000-6,000 people in a peaceful protest, part of an ongoing series of protests known as “Moral Monday”. Rev. Barber called the case “our Selma” because the voter ID law and its related provisions, passed by the North Carolina General Assembly, have severely limited the right to vote for most minority voters and, in some instances, disenfranchised them.
In what can only be described as a moment of true serendipity the Associated Press also broke a story about the efforts of Paul Foley a private attorney for the North Carolina Republican Party and member of the North Carolina Board of Elections, efforts to disenfranchise Democratic voters in North Carolina.
Relationship not disclosed for seventeen months
The story of Paul Foley’s duplicitous nature actually began almost immediately after his appointment to the State Board of Elections. According to various media outlets, including the Charlotte News & Observer, Winston-Salem Journal and the Greensboro News & Record, shortly after Foley was appointed, he helped oversee an investigation into campaign donations made by Internet sweepstakes businessmen Chase Burns and wife. Mr. Burns and his wife made contributions of approximately $235,000 to various N.C. elected officials, including the Governor, House and Senate leaders. These contributions were all made to aid in the lobbying effort to legalize online sweepstakes gaming. Unfortunately, throughout the 17 months Mr. Foley helped oversee the investigation in to Mr. and Mrs. Burns’ contributions, he failed to mention to the Board of Elections that his law firm was paid $1.27 million by Mr. Burns and his company for legal services. Though in an extremely interesting twist, it was recently revealed by the Winston-Salem Journal that Governor Pat McCrory’s chief legal counsel, Bob Stephens, was aware of Mr. Foley’s conflict for over a year and also said nothing.
The Charlotte Observer reports that Foley “expressed strong interest in the Burns case,” and asked questions, “making it clear he thought it should be finished as quickly as possible.” Seventeen months later after the investigation began, board of elections staff members discovered that Foley’s law firm represented Mr. Burns. It was only after Mr. Foley’s conflict came to light, that he said he would recuse himself from the case. However, despite his alleged recusal, Mr. Foley continued to press the staff of the Board of Elections for information regarding the investigation into Mr. Burns’ political contributions. In fact, according to an article in The Charlotte Observer, Mr. Foley went so far as to suggest he be permitted to see the staff’s report before it became public so he could alert his law firm.
Mr. Foley made a statement on at the beginning of a state Board of Elections meeting that “At the time the law firm received the significant legal fees from IIT [Mr. Burns’ software company], I was an employee, not a partner, at the law firm. I never attempted to, and had no reason to, attempt to influence the direction or outcome of the investigation.” Mr. Foley’s dubious statement becomes even more suspicious given that Mr. Foley worked closely with at least two of the attorneys from his law firm who worked on the team for Mr. Burns. In fact, one such attorney, Richard Dietz, was described by Mr. Foley as his “best friend.” Mr. Dietz left the law firm in 2014 following an appointment by Governor McCrory to the Court of Appeals.
It should also be noted that in addition to Mr. Foley’s firm doing work for Mr. Burns’ company, Paul Foley’s wife’s firm also received payments totaling $28,000 for legal fees. While there is no indication that Mr. Foley’s wife worked with Mr. Burns, it certainly raises some questions.
While the attorney general’s office conducted an investigation and decided that Mr. Foley did not improperly influence the investigation into Mr. Burns, the office left it to other agencies to determine whether Mr. Foley was truthful in his other statements.
Voter suppression efforts proven
On Tuesday, July 14, 2015, the Associated Press, after reviewing hundreds of e-mails, reported that, in 2014, Paul Foley worked closely with the two Republican members of the Watauga County elections board to eliminate a voting site of the campus Appalachian State University. This voting site was the only site in Watagua count to vote Democratic in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and the 2012 governor’s rate.
In August, 2014 the state board unanimously voted to eliminate the voting site. Mr. Foley, again, failed to disclose to the state board his involvement with the plan to eliminate the site.
A lawsuit contesting the elimination of the voting site was brought in Wake County Superior Court by a group of Democratic voters in Watagua County. The Wake County Superior Court judge ordered that the Appalachian State University site be restored, and the board approved the reinstatement on October 24, 2014. However, in another interesting twist, the NORTH Carolina Supreme Court allowed the lawsuit to be reviewed by the North Carolina Court of Appeals; the same North Carolina Court of Appeals where “best friend” to Paul Foley, Richard Dietz was appointed by the Governor just three months earlier. The case is currently before the N.C. Court of Appeals.
Foley refuses governor’s request that he resign but later resigns
Following what can only be described as an Alexander level terrible, horrible, no good, very bad few days for Paul Foley Governor McCrory made two separate request for Foley to from the North Carolina Board of Elections. Foley, apparently not interested in falling on his sword for McCrory rebuffed both of the Governor’s calls for his resignation. Mr. Foley released a statement that he did “not believe it is appropriate for the governor to ask a member of an independent board with on-going oversight authority over him to resign.”
Later McCrory told media outlets he would take steps to have Foley removed, citing a North Carolina General Statute which allows the governor to remove “any member of a board, council or committee from office for misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance.” McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis told the Associated Press Foley’s potential conflict of interest with the Burns investigation wasn’t disclosed to the governor. A damning accusation considering the Governor’s own chief counsel was aware of said conflict for over a year. However, the clock struck midnight on Wednesday, , however, Foley sent in his resignation.
A Culture of Corruption in North Carolina
Whether the further investigation into Paul Foley’s apparent conflict of interests in both the Chase Burns investigation and the elimination of the Appalachian State voting site will show that his actions were guided by Governor McCrory, or an attempt by Mr. Foley to curry further favor with the Governor, remains to be seen. What is clear is that for Governor McCrory, it certainly pays to keep your friends close.
The one saving grace for Governor McCrory, at least for the next 17 months, is that the North Carolina Constitution contains no known provisions allowing for a recall. Until then, McCrory will need to depend on his friends in the North Carolina Legislature and Judicial systems to disenfranchise enough voters to ensure a victory in 2016.

Stewart Mocks Republicans For Being Surprised By Trump's 'Projectile Vomit Of Dickishness'

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Immigration, Where The Republican Cabal Gets The Constitution Wrong

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 Republicans do not understand the Constitution and they never have or will

This Congressional Food Fight Shows Why Republicans Vote Against Their Own Interests

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Tehran Tom is a Douchebag

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Chicago Investigator Fired For Finding Cops At Fault In Deadly Police Brutality Cases

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White Supremacists Define ‘5 Types Of Liberal White Men,’ A Must Read Cluster Of Stupid

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