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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Congressman Trolls Bill To Point Out Republican Hypocrisy

“Officials have an obligation to uphold rights for all Americans enshrined in the Constitution."
Headshot of Marina Fang by Marina Fang

A Democratic congressman is using a Republican-sponsored bill that would withhold federal law enforcement funding to so-called sanctuary cities to draw attention to Republican cabal hypocrisy.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) on Wednesday added an amendment that calls for applying the same funding restrictions to states and municipalities refusing to abide by the Supreme Court ruling that legalizes gay marriage.
“Some state and local officials are showing an unwillingness to comply with a clear directive from the Supreme Court of the United States,” Pocan said in a statement. “Officials have an obligation to uphold rights for all Americans enshrined in the Constitution and we need to everything we can to make sure they adhere to the law of the land.”
Both Senate and House Republicans have called for eliminating Department of Justice funding to sanctuary cities, which have said they will not comply with federal immigration officials in tracking and reporting undocumented immigrants. The bills were introduced after a fatal shooting earlier this month in San Francisco, a sanctuary city. Charged in the killing is an undocumented man who had previously been deported five times.
Pocan said he believes that if Congress can restrict funding to state and local authorities based on immigration policies, it can do the same for localities that fail to respect gay marriage, which the Supreme Court has deemed a constitutionally protected right.
Earlier this month, Pocan wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking federal officials to pursue all possible steps to punish states and municipalities holding out against gay marriage.
Though Pocan’s amendment is unlikely to get a vote when the House bill is considered later this week, he plans to introduce the measure in other bills as well, according to his office.
Editor's Note: The wingnuts in the Huse pushed through the bill to 'punish' Sanctuary Cities but the Veto Pen is waiting to be used to put this trash bill in the garbage can where it belongs. 

I gave up Ayn Rand for Bernie Sanders: How I grew up and traded libertarianism for a progressive “socialist”

Most self-identifying "libertarians" actually subscribe to a bankrupt ideology. What if they all opened their eyes?
by Edwin Lyngar
I gave up Ayn Rand for Bernie Sanders: How I grew up and traded libertarianism for a progressive "socialist" The rise of Bernie Sanders feels familiar to me. When I was a libertarian-leaning Republican, I was a delegate for Ron Paul in the 2008 Nevada State Convention. Paul’s supporters were passionate if a bit nutty, but change seemed, if only for a moment, possible. The problem was that the ideology behind the candidate was bankrupt. The experience was the beginning of the end of my affiliation with simplistic libertarian blather and Republican cabal politics altogether, but Paul’s rise was driven by the same frustration and anger that is now propelling Sanders.
For too long, the anger and passion has been driven by teabagger troglodytes and libertarians. Their solution seems to be throwing more gasoline on a trailer-park fire. Inequality? Cut taxes for the wealthy and implement a “flat tax.” Poverty? Eliminate the social safety net and cut food stamps. Those not actively making problems worse are obsessed with non-stories and fictitious “scandals,” featuring Benghazi, Jade Helm, e-mail servers or any of the other innumerable, invented outrages.
Even issues I care deeply about, like prison reform, can distract. Our country grows more lopsided by the day, and despite big wins on gay marriage and health care, too many trends are moving in the wrong direction. Are we a society that works for people or are we in something like feudalism, where corporations and private organization all but own their employees?
The current problem with politics, the economy and culture comes from treating human beings like just another business asset to be exploited or replaced. We say a person’s value is what the “market will bear,” and if the market has no use for a particular human, he or she has no inherent worth. That’s pretty sick. Should we just let them starve to death? For the radical right, the answer is an enthusiastic “absolutely.” If all else fails, deport them.
I listen to Donald Trump talk. He says what I just wrote without sarcasm or a trace of humanity. He and other politicians agree with Sanders’ assessment of reality, but their solutions could not be more different. Trump’s only idea is to blame Mexicans. He embraces the idea of “individual success,” as if it all takes place in a complete vacuum, without outside help or public investment. It’s an argument that sways only the most ignorant and upwardly mobile of young men. It’s also an absurd statement coming from a guy who inherited millions of dollars. But even conservatives who recognize these ideas as folly still have a work around. Rather than tackle the problems, they buy their own kids a ticket an Ivy League school, so at least their progeny have a chance of joining the exploiter class. This isn’t so much a society as a pyramid scheme.
Corporations benefit from weak labor and a beaten down population. Many are almost too powerful to tame. Walmart generates more money in sales in a year than the GDP of Norway. (Don’t worry I’m sure it doesn’t do anything evil with all that money.) Walmart and like-sized corporations are no longer businesses. They are instead autonomous, totalitarian states existing right in our own nation. They care only for their own interests, unconcerned with national borders or anything like the public good.
Yet, wingnuts still vilify the government. It’s baffling, but I totally get it. I was there and I said those words. I was parroting “conventional wisdom,” the political equivalent of talking about the weather. It’s so trite and predicable that it’s become a national punch line. Flat tire? Thanks Obama! Getting fat? Blame Obamacare! Wife left? Damn government! Our national, running gag is not only tiresome, it lacks anything resembling truth. It’s understandable to hate the government, because it’s easy and satisfying, but the government didn’t foreclose on your house, cut your paycheck or send your job to China. Ranting and raving about the government never helped anyone do anything.
Which brings us back to Bernie Sanders.
Sanders calls himself a socialist, which is just about as big an American insult as you get. Conventional politicians and business people decry the evils of socialism, except when they are wallowing in it. America has the most generous socialist government that has ever existed in human history, but it only applies to millionaires. If you’re on the board of a bank or massive corporation, the government has unlimited socialism for you. No cost loans, favorable bankruptcy laws, bailouts and tax breaks without limit. At the same time, unemployed students cannot discharge student loans no matter how bleak their financial circumstances. Socialism has been inverted. Rather than deployed for the poor and struggling, it’s doled out endlessly to people who don’t need it.
Sanders not only points out how much we coddle the super wealthy, but he also has some actual solutions. Higher taxes for some, enlarge the social safety net and reduce the cost of higher education, just for example. Sanders’ messages don’t conform to the partisan binary we have the gall to call “democracy.”  It sounds different, because politicians still dust off the same talking points. Hard work, play by the rules, love Jesus, yada, yada, yada. It’s the same crap they’ve been peddling since Reagan and just as effective. If I have to listen to one more Republican worshiping at the alter of Ronald Reagan, I think I might lose it.
You can’t blame conniving, selfish politicians for doing what works. They only play to the willing cameras, repeating meaningless lines that someone has wrote or some consultant has poll tested. Our entire political debate has been reduced to a bad reality show, deductions for gaffes, stumbles and extramarital affairs, and extra credit for soundbites and signing pledges.
The majority has ceased to rule here. Most people don’t even bother to vote, and that’s by design. Liberal ideas would always win if everyone voted, which is why there is such a nonstop, furious attack on voting by the right. America is under siege by a small, insular aristocracy, and they won’t go down without a fight. It’s telling that we could easily see candidates from only two “noble” families, the Bushes and the Clintons, in our next election. We need no more perfect example of American feudalism than power being passed back and forth between ruling houses.
Despite my conviction that Sanders could win, I find myself fighting hopelessness over what has become the “narrative.”  It’s not only insipid talking heads or professional pundits spouting conventional wisdom. On a home-grown podcast, I chatted up two fellow liberals who both expressed great support for Sanders, but at the same time they both insisted that “he can’t possibly win,” tapping into my own deep cynicism. I worry that change cannot happen so long as the angry, mostly white and gullible, keep protecting their shrinking piece of the pie.
I offer only one ray of hope in the form of Shakespearean-level irony. The fuming, hate-filled and false rhetoric that has labeled Obama a “socialist” might have actually removed the sting from the insult to the point that is now meaningless. The insults have grown so far from reality that there is nothing credible for the professional furious to spew.
Even though the idea of socialism is anathema to libertarians, the two groups have a lot in common, on drug-law reform and the privacy of private sexual conduct for instance. I also know a lot of purist libertarians who are horrified by the xenophobia of Trump. We have our differences, and I’ve put in a lot of effort criticizing the ideology, but libertarians have much more in common with Sanders than with Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and other values-pimping theocrats.
Despite my appreciation for his ideas and policies, Sanders, nor any public figure, is the messiah. I don’t believe in an all powerful savior, political or otherwise, but I do believe that ideas and people matter, and Sanders offers something that we haven’t tried before—unabashedly progressive ideas.

The Truth Be Told


Poll Of Three Crucial Swing States Shows Sanders May Be More Electable Than Clinton

A Qunnipiac University Swing State Poll released on June 22, 2015, turns conventional wisdom on its head, by showing that Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton, might be the Democrat’s best hope for holding the White House in 2016. The survey, which polled over 1,200 voters in each of three swing states — Colorado, Iowa and Virginia — finds that voters have a much less favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton than they do of Bernie Sanders. The poll also found that Sanders was as competitive as Clinton in head to head match-ups against the top Republican candidates in both Colorado and Iowa. Clinton still had an edge over Sanders in Virginia.
For Democrats, the latest Quinnipiac Poll is one of the most frightening polls released in this election cycle. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders each trail Jeb, Rubio and Walker in all three of the swing states tested. Clinton is competitive in Virginia, trailing Jeb 42-39, Rubio 43-41, and Walker 43-40. Sanders trails the same three candidates in Virginia by wider margins, ranging from 7 to 10 percentage points.
However, in both Colorado and Iowa, Bernie Sanders performs as well against the Republican cabal candidates as Hillary Clinton does. In a few match-ups, Sanders is stronger than Clinton. For example, in Iowa, Clinton trails Jeb 42-36, while Sanders runs closer, trailing Jeb just 42-38 percent. In Colorado, both candidates fare poorly in a contest against Walker, but Sanders’ 44-36 deficit is marginally better than Hillary Clinton’s 47-38 disadvantage, when pitted against Walker.
Although Sanders’ and Clinton’s numbers are nearly identical in head to head contests versus the top Republicans in Colorado and Iowa, Sanders may be the stronger candidate, because he has more room to grow. Clinton’s favorable to unfavorable ratings in Iowa (33 percent favorable to 56 percent unfavorable) and Colorado (35-56) are troublesome, especially since most voters have already formed an opinion of Clinton, and it isn’t a positive one.
By contrast Sanders is still not well known by 40 percent of voters in both Iowa and Colorado. Voters who have formed an opinion of the Vermont Senator are about evenly divided. With a 32-28 favorable rating in Iowa, and a 29-31 rating in Colorado, Sanders is better liked by voters familiar with him than either Hillary Clinton or Jeb are by voters familiar with them.
The Quinnipiac Poll is more pessimistic about the Democrats’ chances than other polls in the field right now, but it does suggest that the popular media narrative depicting Hillary Clinton as the most electable Democrat in the race needs to be reconsidered. The latest swing state poll provides evidence that Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton, may represent the Democrats’ best hope for retaining the White House in 2016.

Be Afraid Republicans As Bernie Sanders Is Set To Strike In Red State Louisiana

After drawing tens of thousands of supporters in red states Texas and Arizona, the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders has announced that they will be rallying in Louisiana this weekend.
The Sanders campaign announced, “U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will travel to Louisiana this weekend. The Democratic Party presidential candidate will hold a rally in Kenner.”
The Louisiana campaign rally comes on the heels of Bernie Sanders setting a new 2016 record by drawing 11,000 to a rally in Phoenix last Saturday, and 13,200 to rallies in Dallas and Houston, TX on Sunday.
Sanders is drawing massive crowds in states that are thought of as Republican territory. The number of people turning out to support Sanders suggests that his economic message, which is similar to that of the Democratic Party, resonates very well in states that have tons of first-hand experience with disastrous Republican trickle-down economics.
Bobby Jindal has destroyed the economy of the state by using his position as a platform for his 2016 Republican pretender bid.
When Jindal took office in 2008, the state had a $900 million budget surplus that the governor managed to turn into a $1.6 billion deficit through trickle-down tax cuts. He has doubled the state’s unemployment rate while refusing to raise taxes. Jindal has become reviled in his state by slashing funding for education and healthcare. Gov. Jindal tried to replace the state tax with a much higher sales tax, but he had to pull the plan after both Democrats and Republican rebelled.
Bobby Jindal is so disliked in deep red Louisiana that President Obama has a higher approval rating than the Republican moron.
After experiencing the damage caused by Jindalnomics, Bernie Sanders should find a very warm and welcoming audience for his populist economic message in Louisiana.
Senator Sanders is storming the South, and destroying the myth that there are no liberals in red states at each stop along the way.
Republicans should be very afraid. Bernie Sanders is bringing liberal policies to their red state territory, and the people are liking what he is saying. Sanders is building a nationwide political movement that is on a mission to take back America from the Koch brothers and corporations.

Senate bill could kick 200,000 seniors off Social Security if they have an arrest warrant

Closeup portrait of unhappy upset senior mature woman (Credit: Shutterstock.com)
Most people affected missed fines or don’t know warrant exists.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Stands Up For Science In A Speech Sure To Outrage Fellow Republicans

Arnold Schwarzenegger Stands Up For Science In A Speech Sure To Outrage Fellow Republicans (VIDEO)Arnold Schwarzenegger is fed up with the climate denying clowns running his cabal and it shows.

4,000-Year-Old Tablets Found In Turkey Include Women's Rights

The Kültepe-Kaniş-Karum trade colony in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri continues to amaze archeologists, with an expert at the dig revealing that tablets citing women's rights were discovered at the Bronze Age settlement.
From women's rights to the adoption of children and marriages arranged at birth, the tablets include all kinds of civilizational and social data from Anatolia 4,000 years ago.

North Carolina’s Voter Registration Errors Hit Veterans And The Poor

"I’m pissed, very angry. My vote could have been the one that made the difference,” said an army veteran and North Carolina resident who was disenfranchised by the state's errors.

Scott Walker Wants To Dismantle Government Accountability Board

Struggling To Stay Relevant, Rand Paul Takes Chainsaw To US Tax Code

rand paul chainsawPretender hopeful Kentucky Senator Rand Paul released a video showing how much he hates the U.S. Tax code. In the bizarre 51 second video, the Republican unleashes his latest gimmick to stay relevant in the Republican cabal pretender race. He wants to be the candidate who can devise the most creative way to kill the tax code.
In the video, Rand Paul finds three different ways to demolish the pages of the U.S. tax code. He uses a wood chipper to shred the pages, starts a fire to burn the pages, and he saws the tax code into paper “sawdust” with a chainsaw. He does so while sporting an oxymoronic “Detroit Republican” T-shirt, because nothing says Detroit, like a white Libertarian-leaning idiot from Kentucky who was raised in East Texas.
Presumably, Rand Paul thinks America needs a leader strong enough to defeat reams of paper with a chainsaw. It may seem like overkill, but maybe he just isn’t familiar with a conventional pair of scissors.
In the circus-like atmosphere of the republican cabal primary where Donald Trump is lapping the field with his loud, unhinged brand of crazy, Rand Paul is struggling to return to his past glory as the pied piper for the Republican fringe.
The tax code may seem an easy and inviting target. However,  fellow anti-tax zealot whisperer Ted Cruz hasn’t gained much traction with his calls to make the tax code so simple you can fill out your income taxes on a postcard. Rand Paul wants to reduce the tax code to one page, but if it still fits on an 8 by 11 sheet of paper then Ted Cruz has outflanked him on the anti-tax issue.
The problem for Paul, Cruz, and Trump is that they are more interested in style than substance. Now in fairness, Rand Paul at least has explained what his tax plan is. He proposes a 14.5 percent “flat tax” that includes exemptions at the lowest levels of the income pyramid. While this may sound superficially appealing to many voters, the catch is by eliminating income taxes, capital gains taxes, payroll taxes, estate taxes, and tariffs, Rand Paul’s plan is simply unsustainable unless it also includes massive cuts or the elimination of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the defense budget and social programs.
His tax plan simply doesn’t bring in enough revenue to cover necessary budget items, and it would likely morph into a value added tax that would place the highest tax burden on low and middle income Americans, while the wealthy reap the main benefits of his plan. Behind the symbolic gimmick of ripping apart the tax code, Rand Paul’s plan is impractical at best, and an economic disaster waiting to happen, at worst.
The Republican primary has taken on a carnival like atmosphere from the beginning. The emergence of Donald Trump as a viable candidate has only intensified the cartoonish nature of the republican cabal race. However, Rand Paul seems to have adopted the “if you can’t beat him, join him” strategy. His latest video represents Rand Paul’s desperate attempt to stay relevant in a race to attract republican cabal voters, where the goalposts keep moving, making it harder and harder for candidates to maintain their appeal to the ever expanding teabagger Republican cabal lunatic fringe.

Trumpalooza Madness and Do the Kochs Stand Inside or Outside the Trump Bubble?

Trump ran right over objections to his treatment of John McCain, including a call for him to drop out, and saw his support grow, not diminish…
trump-phoenixIn the wake of the John McCain fiasco, Donald Trump’s lead has risen to double digits. His bubble, like the so-called Bernie Bubble, refuses to burst, though MSNBC’s Steve Benen notes that there are suggestions that the ripple of outrage has just not yet been reflected in the polls.
So far, Trump has just bombastically insulted and lied his way past all opposition, in true Republican presidential candidate fashion. It’s fun to watch from the outside. As I argued before, they built that.
And if Barack Obama is not Reagan, and thankfully never aspired to be, Donald Trump is more than willing to take that soiled mantle upon himself:
The Des Moines Register, however, seemingly either doesn’t recognize Trump’s inner Reagan, or doesn’t think a Reagan redux is a great idea: they told Trump to not only apologize to John McCain but to drop out of the race for president.
Trump’s response, posted to Facebook, was typical: the editors of the Des Moines Register are “sophomoric” and mean to the guy who calls everybody names (poor Donald!):
I am not at all surprised by the Des Moines Register’s sophomoric editorial. It was issued immediately after the release of the ABC News/Washington Post poll showing me with 24% and an eleven-point lead over my nearest rival. As one of the most liberal newspapers in the United States, the poll results were just too much for them to bear. The Des Moines Register has lost much circulation, advertising, and power over the last number of years. They will do anything for a headline, and this poorly written “non-endorsement” got them some desperately needed ink.
On the campaign trail in Iowa, a state whose people I have truly gotten to know and love, I have been treated very badly by the Des Moines Register. They were uneven and inconsistent, but far more importantly, very dishonest. They would rarely write the facts or report what really took place. They never captured the energy of each event and it is a constant battle with them by my representatives to get an accurate count of the large crowds I draw. They know the very impressive numbers and either reduce them or don’t report them at all. It is always wonderful to have the support of a newspaper, even a failing one, but this has only given me more motivation to fight harder in Iowa and Make America Great Again!
The results are anything but what the Republican establishment desires; for now, Donald Trump is riding a wave of gross ignorance to the top of the Republican polls:
There are many factors at play here: Democrats watch this new Reagan and smile and rub their hands in glee. The Republican cabal has gotten exactly what it deserves, and just what it has been building for since President Obama was elected: a genuine demagogue with populist appeal.
And perhaps worse, from a Republican standpoint, and because nobody seems to be talking about it, somebody the Koch brothers cannot buy.
It is significant that David Koch was not all that hot on Donald back in 2011, noting then that “Donald’s political positions over the last 10 years have been highly variable and unusual.” In as back-handed a compliment as The Donald himself could have delivered, Koch said, “He’s a wonderful guy, but I don’t think he should run for office.” He went on to opine that “at some point I think he’s going to drop out of the race when he realizes that he’s really not qualified to be President.”
Of course, Trump’s message is similar, if aimed at others: “A number of my competitors for the Republican nomination have no business running for president. I do not need to be lectured by any of them.”
No word yet from the Kochs on Trump this year – they seem to be holding their cards (and their dollars) close to their chest (and who can blame them as the number of Republican cabal candidates rises to 16), all of which means this race is likely to become more and more interesting.
You’ve got to wonder how the Koch boys feel about this: here they are, set to buy the country for a cool billion, and out of nowhere comes Trump, showing that not just money talks, but obnoxiousness. And what about the religio-wingnuts? Are they about to have their dreams of theocracy snatched out of their greedy, lying little hands just as it seems within reach through the likes of Ted “I’m the Messiah” Cruz?
Right now, it is Cruz and the others who are sideshows, and what really matters is that at some point, the interests of the Kochs and that of Donald Trump must come into conflict. Already, Trump has poached the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity for his New Hampshire campaign.
Who will come out on top? The New Ronald Reagan, fresh to the game, or the guys who have already staked their claim by buying Congress?

The Truth Hurts


How Ferguson's New Black Police Chief Is Set Up To Fail

What The Supreme Court Has To Say About Sandra Bland’s Arrest

After watching the video, Texas state Sen. Royce West (D) commented that "once you see what occurred, you will probably agree with me she did not deserve to be placed in custody." It is likely that the United States Supreme Court would also agree.

Dallas ‘Christian’ Fire-Rescue Racist Threatens To ‘Delay Treatment’ To Black People

Dallas ‘Christian’ Fire-Rescue Racist Threatens To ‘Delay Treatment’ To Black People
His Facebook page is full of “christian values.” Surprise, surprise, those values apparently don’t apply unless you’re white.

Cops Beat Young Black Man Bloody Over $3 Slice Of Pizza

Cops Beat Young Black Man Bloody Over $3 Slice Of Pizza (VIDEO)This is a truly disgusting attack on a man with his hands up in surrender.

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Overturning North Dakota’s Strict Anti-Abortion Law

A federal appeals court in Bismarck, North Dakota upheld U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland’s 2014 ruling blocking North Dakota’s fetal heartbeat anti-abortion law from going into effect. The federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday that the law, known as House Bill 1456, was unconstitutional.
Because there is no genuine dispute that H.B. 1456 generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm [the lower court ruling].
H. B. 1456 which was passed in 2013 by a Republican dominated legislature and signed into law by GOP Governor Jack Dalrymple, would have made it a Class C felony for a doctor to perform an abortion if the fetus had a detectable heartbeat. Had the law been implemented it would have effectively banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
The Supreme Court has defined fetal viability as occurring around the 24th week of pregnancy. The 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling essentially prohibits states from banning abortions prior to the point of fetal viability. The appeals court argued that the North Dakota law was clearly unconstitutional because it violated the constitutional precedent set forth by the Supreme Court.
North Dakota has only one clinic in the entire state the provides abortion services. Had H.B. 1456 gone into law, some North Dakota women would have been in a situation where they were more than 7 hours driving time away from the nearest clinic that would perform abortions after the 6th week of pregnancy.
The court’s ruling affirms that women have a right to choose whether or not to terminate their pregnancy during the first trimester. North Dakota’s overzealous legislature was attempting to push through a law that clearly violated a woman’s right to choose, even in the earliest stages of her pregnancy. Thankfully, the appeals court on Wednesday put an end to that law, and upheld a woman’s right to choose in the state of North Dakota.

Rapist, Clinic Bomber Close Out Anti-Choice Demonstrations In Alabama