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Monday, September 21, 2015

The Daily Drift

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President Obama Invites Ahmed (And His Homemade Clock) To White House

President Obama Invites Ahmed (And His Homemade Clock) To White House
This is how you stand up for curious kids facing intolerance!
Read more 

Cutting Planned Parenthood isn’t just ‘morally wrong’ — it’s bad for the economy

Robert Reich explains the economics of family planning in a video released on Sept. 15, 2015. [YouTube]
Reproductive rights, family planning, and women’s health are all interrelated. All girls and women need full information and access to family planning services, including abortion -- regardless of their income level -- so they can determine if or when they have children.

Democrats sick of the ‘status quo’ flock to Bernie Sanders

US Senator Bernie Sanders waves to the crowd before delivering remarks during a campaign rally in Manassas, Virginia on September 14, 2014 (AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards)
“Hillary Clinton is very status quo. She is paid for by a lot of the big banks.”

Bernie Sanders Barnstorms the South, Speaking to Swelling Crowds

That $18 Trillion The WSJ Says Bernie Will Cost America?

Yeah, They Made That Up
That $18 Trillion The WSJ Says Bernie Will Cost America? Yeah, They Made That UpWhat do you get when you have a terrified field of Republicans, a fear-mongering right-wing press and a progressive senator from Vermont? About 18 Trillion imaginary dollars.

Elizabeth Warren Calls For Ending The Use Of Credit Checks To Deny People Jobs

The practice of using credit histories as a factor in hiring further rigs the system against people at the bottom.…
Bad credit can happen to anyone for a variety of reason that are beyond their control, Certainly pre-Obamacare, a family member’s illness also meant economic collapse for people who weren’t born with multi-million dollar trust funds. The same holds true, when a family’s primary bread winner dies, or a marriage fails.
During the last Republican manufactured recession, millions of Americans went from middle class earners who saw their jobs and the economic stability that went with them disappear. Even if one makes all the “right” choices and works hard, expenses can exceed available financial resources.
When there is a major loss of income or reduction in income, too often, it means people fall behind in paying their bills and that can have a negative effect on their credit scores.
As Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Steve Cohen point out in an op-ed for Time, credit reporting companies pushed the narrative that there is a nexus between credit history and a person’s character.
Credit reporting companies that sell Americans’ personal data to potential employers have pushed the narrative that a credit history somehow provides insight into someone’s character. But, as even a representative from the TransUnion credit bureau admitted, they “don’t have any research to show any statistical correlation between what’s in somebody’s credit report and their job performance.” In fact, research has shown that an individual’s credit has little to no correlation with his or her ability to succeed in the workplace. Credit reports are not a way to screen out bad potential employees; they are just a way to discriminate against people who have fallen on hard times.”
Despite facts, pushing this narrative isn’t hard to do when corporate America is already predisposed to believing that financial status and character go hand in hand.
This belief goes hand in hand with wide support for a reality show star turned Republican Pretender Candidate. While bluster and breaking the “rules” of politics play a role, wingnuts also believe wealthy people are morally superior to people who are not. Therefore when Trump says he’s rich and therefore the best pretender candidate, people buy it.
According to a 2012 survey, by the Society of Human Resources Management, 53% of employers said they don’t do background checks on job candidates, while a whopping 87% said they do check the credit histories of job candidates.
The survey tells us that the companies that sell credit history information successfully pushed the myth that one’s credit history provides more insight into their character than a background check does.
As if that wasn’t enough, credit score information can be inaccurate and the companies who create that information then sell it to employers are notoriously slow to correct inaccuracies.
In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission reported that as many as 1 in 5 consumers identified at least one error in their credit reports.
The result is discrimination based on a myth and inaccurate information, that effectively shuts people out of the job market. As Senator Warren and Rep. Cohen pointed out in their op-ed, this practice which affects millions of Americans is fundamentally unfair.
For hardworking people struggling to make ends meet, the only way to get back on their feet is to find a good job and earn a paycheck. But even when they are able to sell their homes—often at a loss—or after they are forced to close their business’ doors or find temporary work, that bad credit history continues to haunt them.
And despite the often-desperate effort to find a job, many employers are unfairly shutting the door on applicants with less-than-stellar credit. We should call this what it is: discrimination.
Taken in a broader context, the practice of using credit histories as a factor in hiring further rigs the system against people at the bottom.
It’s a cruel and vicious cycle that Senator Warren and Rep. Cohen want to stop with a law called the Equal Employment for All Act. Make no mistake, this practice further rigs an already unfair system against hardworking and honest Americans who need a job, more than they need an Ayn Rand-style lecture on the culture of work.

The Destruction Of Sequestration

Athena Image

Democrat Introduces Bill Aimed At Stripping Congress Of Their Paycheck If The Government Shuts Down

Image via Wikimedia Commons
If Republicans insist on shutting down the government, they should automatically lose their paycheck.

In Desperate Last-Ditch Ploy, McConnell Tries To Tie Iran Deal To Recognition Of Israel

Athena Image

Dear Trump—I Know First Hand How Creepy It Is When Fathers Sexualize Their Daughters

by Tiffanie Drayton
It was during my second visit with my father as an adult that he made his first derogatory statements about my appearance.

‘America’s Great Right Now’

Obama Just Put Trump In His Place
‘America’s Great Right Now’: Obama Just Put Trump In His Place
President Obama has had enough of Trump running down America, and he’s speaking out.

Trump compares bible to an ‘incredible movie’ and cites bogus verse as his favorite

More proof (if any were necessary) that the idiot has no clue about anything
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on September 14, 2015 (AFP Photo/Laura Backman)Trump compares bible to an ‘incredible movie’ and cites bogus verse as his favorite

Walker’s Attacks On Unions Backfire As Wisconsin's Idiot Falls To 1% In New Poll

Days after Walker announced his new plan to wage war against unions, a new WBUR poll of New Hampshire shows Walker sinking to 1% support.
According to new WBUR poll of New Hampshire, Trump and Carson are virtually tied for first with Trump leading Carson 22%-18%, but this margin is narrowly outside the poll’s margin of error of 4.4%. Fiorina is in third place at 11%. Jeb continues to fail and flop, as he is tied for fourth place with Kasich at 9%.
None of the four Republican Senators running for pretender can break 5% in support. Cruz is in fifth place (5%). He is followed by Paul in sixth (4%). Christie is tied for seventh with Rubio (2%), and Graham is registering at 0.9% support.
Walker is nowhere to be found in the upper tier. Walker is tied with Huckabee for eighth place at (1%).
WBUR Poll:
WBUR New Hampshire Poll
It isn’t a coincidence that days after Walker tried to jumpstart his campaign by promising to wage war on unions, his support has dropped to an all-time low. Walker’s campaign is in a complete state of collapse. The Wisconsin idiot has been so non-competitive that he has been by bypassed by Kasich as a potential running mate for the Republican nominee.
Walker went back to being a one-trick pony candidate, and the result has been one-way ticket on the fast track out of the Republican pretender race.
There are several Republican candidates whose campaigns are on life support. Huckabee, Jindal, and Santorum will probably all be out before or right after the Iowa caucuses. Christie, Paul, and Walker all need good showings in New Hampshire, or it will be over for them. Paul has to hang around through the Kentucky caucus that he is paying for, but minus a good showing somewhere, he is a dead candidate walking. Jeb and Cruz have the money to stay in the race no matter what, and Rubio will try to stick around through Florida.
If Walker finishes near the bottom in Iowa and New Hampshire, his campaign will be effectively dead.
It turns out that Republican voters don’t care about union busting as much as the Koch brothers do. Charles and David Koch are heading for another election defeat, as the Scott Walker horse that they backed has pulled up lame.

Fiorina Fires Back At Trump’s Misogyny With This Campaign Video…For Democrats

Carly Fiorina Fires Back At Trump’s Misogyny With This Campaign Video…For Democrats (VIDEO)Unfortunately For Fiorina, there is no room in the Republican cabal for strong women. This new campaign ad turns out to be all the reasons women should vote blue.

Ten Lonely House Republicans Acknowledge Climate Change Is Real

The ten signed a resolution "affirming that human activity contributes to climate change" and they endorsed action to respond to the threat.…
climate change
A week ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to Capitol Hill, and a little over a year ahead of the 2016 election, ten Republicans from swing House Districts bucked party orthodoxy and acknowledged the reality of human-caused climate change. The ten Republicans signed a resolution “affirming that human activity contributes to climate change and endorsing action to respond to the threat of Earth’s changing climate.”
Chris Gibson (NY-19) drew up the resolution. While the legislation is vague on what specific policies should be implemented, the mere fact that any House Republicans are willing to go on record saying climate change is real, is by itself significant.
Their are 247 House Republicans, so the ten Representatives who acknowledge human involvement in climate change doesn’t even amount to 1/20th of the Republicans in the U.S. House. Nevertheless, ten is still a larger number than zero, and it suggests that some swing district Republicans are more interested in getting re-elected than in maintaining loyalty to the dogmatic anti-science ideology that dominates the House Republican cabal caucus.
In addition to Gibson, the other House Republicans supporting the measure are: Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Robert Dold (IL-10), Dave Reichert (WA-8), Ryan Costello (PA-6) Pat Meehan (PA-7), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), Elise Stefanik (NY-21) and Richard Hanna (NY-22).
The ten lawmakers will probably receive little attention since few of them are well known outside their districts. Furthermore, the sheer volume of the Republican pretender race, dominated by climate change deniers, is likely to drown out the feeble opposition of less than a dozen House Republican cabal 'moderates'.
However, if the nation intends to get serious about addressing the possible impact of climate change, it would be beneficial if members of both major parties made a commitment to do something. That ten Republicans have challenged cabal orthodoxy on the critical issue of climate change is a small step forward, but one that must be taken before bigger, more meaningful steps can follow.

Boehner Wants to Keep Our Forests From Burning Up By Cutting Them Down

The so-called Resilient Federal Forests Act helps the logging industry and hurts the public. 
It does nothing at all for our national forests…
Climate change is wrecking havoc in our Western states. Our National Forests are burning. The Forest Service and the Department of the Interior are scrambling to find funds with which to fight these fires in the face of inadequate funding from Congress. And while our forests burn, Boehner is busy pushing a bill he says will solve all our problems. Which means, of course, if you have been paying attention, it will do no such thing.
What Boehner wants is for President Obama to reconsider his threat to veto H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act, which was passed on July 9, 2015, with what Boehner says was “bipartisan support.” But it’s not really in keeping with the spirit of the idea of “bipartisan” support when nearly all Democrats voted against the legislation.
In a letter yesterday from Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack, and Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Cantwell was informed that,
“The President’s approach includes the bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (WDFA), H.R. 167 (which was introduced by Representatives Mike Simpson and Kurt Schrader), and S. 235 (which was introduced by Senators Ron Wyden and Mike Crapo) has broad and diverse stakeholder support. This legislation provides for an adjustment to discretionary spending caps and addresses the long-term shift of resources to firefighting from other critical programs that support forest and rangeland management.”
On the other hand, we could always rob Peter to pay Paul:
The House-passed Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, H.R. 2647, would create resource uncertainty for disaster response efforts by reallocating funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund to Federal firefighting activities. In doing so, the bill would undermine the Federal Government’s ability to adequately budget for, and fund responses to, other natural or man-made disasters such as the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Additionally, H.R. 2647 would undermine financing for State and Tribal public infrastructure disaster recovery projects.
According to Boehner in a press release, reality doesn’t enter into the picture, and the President’s alternative, preferred by both the Forest Service and DOI, are not “viable” because, you know, the House won’t pass anything Obama wants:
America’s forests are national treasures, which is why the House passed a bipartisan bill to help fight wildfires now and better manage our forests in the future. Our plan will put an end to the government’s practice of borrowing from long-term forestry priorities, providing stability that will prevent crises just like this one. Our plan solves the problem and it has bipartisan support, but President Obama has threatened to veto it without offering any kind of viable alternative that can pass. So it is good that administration officials are paying attention to this issue, but they ought to direct their complaints elsewhere. The best path forward is for President Obama to reconsider his veto threat and work with us to protect our forests.
You can read what Boehner says the bill is going to accomplish here, if you want the spin. Boehner says “protect our forests” as though he means he wants to actually protect our forests. But you knew that was too good to be true, right?
Here’s a helpful translation of Boehner-speak from the Wilderness Society: “This bill would put our national forests at risk for reckless logging practices and short-cut vital environmental reviews and public involvement.”
There you go. The Republican cabal’s answer to wildfires: Cut ’em down!
As Outdoor Alliance tells us,
The bill, H.R. 2647, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015,” establishes a number of new exclusions from environmental review requirements for logging projects. By enabling logging projects to skirt these review requirements, the bill would cut out important opportunities for the community to engage in forest management decisions. Ultimately, it elevates a single interest—timber—over the diverse activities that take place on National Forests, including recreation.
So the solution to the fires caused by climate change is not protecting the environment, or even making more money available with which to fight the fires, but to hand our national forests over to the logging industry. Take, for example, the effects on Oregon alone:
This bill would allow much higher levels of logging and other damaging “forest management activities” on our National Forest System and BLM public lands, including BLM forest lands in western Oregon, by severely undermining the National Environmental Policy Act, reducing citizen opportunities to seek judicial relief, and reallocating Title II funds under the Secure Rural Schools Act away from road maintenance and restoration activities to timber projects.
Outdoor Alliance detailed their objections in a letter to both Boehner and Nancy Pelosi in July,
In particular, we strongly object to:

  • The creation of new, unnecessary categorical exclusions from review under the National Environmental Policy Act;
  • Provisions to severely curtail opportunities for judicial review by creating attorneys’ fee recovery provisions and bonding requirements that would effectively preclude access to the courts;
  • And changes to the composition of resource advisory committees that would undercut the effectiveness of this tool for generating community consensus.

In a statement issued July 8, the White House stated its opposition to the legislation:
The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 2647. The most important step Congress can take to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration and management of the national forests and Department of the Interior (DOI) lands is to fix fire suppression funding and provide additional capacity for the Forest Service and DOI to manage the Nation’s forests and other public lands. H.R. 2647 falls short of fixing the fire budget problem and contains other provisions that will undermine collaborative forest restoration, environmental safeguards, and public participation across the National Forest System and public lands.
In other words, the so-called “Resilient Federal Forests Act” doesn’t make our forests resilient at all, but presents opportunities to limit the public’s participation in what is, after all, the public’s own property, weaken environmental safeguards, because who needs the environment? And worst of all, will not only “undermine forest restoration” but will enable cutting those trees down, which is surely antithetical to the bill’s alleged purpose.
Boehner is always going to be Boehner. Which means he is always going to take an issue, and come up with a supposed solution that is merely an opportunity for grifters to profit from the public trough. Rather than protect our National Forests, he wants to cut them down.
I think we can agree that the crisis affecting our forest lands should not be made an opportunity for profit, which is what Boehner’s “bipartisan” legislation promotes. Cutting down our nation’s forests is not to be confused in any sense with saving them.
It is the absence of trees in our national forests, after all, that we are trying to prevent.

Wingnuts Feel No Shame Over Starving America’s Kids To Give Tax Cuts To The Rich

Republicans refuse to address child hunger outside of telling Americans to work longer hours for less pay and be happy they get paid at all…
America is a wealthy, if not the wealthiest, nation when compared to every other industrialized nation on the planet, but the preponderance of wealth is held by the notorious one percent and the military industrial complex. Still, with all the wealth available the nation’s infrastructure ranks 25th in the world, tens-of-millions Americans live in extreme poverty, and only one nation on Earth has more children going to bed hungry every night of their lives than in the richest nation in the world.
It seems that a couple of times each year since Republicans destroyed the economy, another world agency condemns America for human rights violations against its own people and yet Republicans cannot or will not be bothered to reverse the trend of creating an entire nation of peasants barely surviving. Instead of being respected as one of the world’s leading humanitarian nations, the United States has become the object of pity, scorn and even ridicule among other industrialized nations for abusing its own citizens while Republicans call their handiwork exceptional and pledge to bring more shame to a once proud nation.
Since no amount of pleading from President Obama and Democrats to help Americans by addressing hunger and income inequality Republicans seem intent on increasing, a group of activists thinks they can shame Republicans into changing their evil ways. It is admirable that some private citizens have taken matters into their own hands to “shame” Republicans into action. But they are not going to do anything whatsoever to reverse the dire situation their trickle down austerity has produced and put an end to hunger in America; the groups’ efforts are futile and their mission is doomed.
One of the groups, Great Nations Eat, is a non-profit organization that started a “hard-hitting media campaign using an unusual and highly provocative ad campaign” to move Americans to force Republicans to act. Great Nations Eat and Share Our Strength hoped to “raise awareness that every day in America, one-fifth of the population has no idea where their or their family’s next meal might come from.” The founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, Billy Shore, stated the obvious: “That doesn’t happen in any other developed nation. It shouldn’t happen here.” So, since Republicans willfully refuse to do anything whatsoever to reduce hunger and poverty because they are busy increasing both, it is left to altruists to engage in a monumental exercise in futility producing documentaries about the plight of hungry Americans.
One of the filmmakers involved in making the documentary, “A Place At the Table,” Lori Silverbush, justified the groups’ efforts thus:
In 1968, the CBS documentary ‘Hunger in America’ transformed the national conversation about hunger, and we all but eradicated it by the late 1970s. But we’ve moved backwards. Now, it is our turn. Great nations are capable of great acts. We have millions of dollars in donated media, now we need the powerful voices of Americans crying out for change.”
The documentary is made up of citizens of other, very poor countries, offering to help hungry Americans and wondering why this happens in the richest nation on Earth.
Of course America has moved backwards. It is exactly what Republicans have been screaming they and their hateful supporters want for over six years; to “take their country back.” Although they ramped up their efforts after Americans elected an African American President, their evil crusade to create a nation in poverty began when their man-turned-god and B-movie actor Ronald Reagan was pretender.
According to the executive producer on the film, Tom Colicchio,
If you look at the public health issues the government has solved before like yellow fever and cholera…these are issues that we thought were just crises of the poor, issues of the inner city. As a great nation we resolved to end them, and we did.”
The silly ignorant altruist assumes that America is still a great nation, and although that might have been true 40 years ago, Republicans have worked tirelessly to erase any greatness America once had. A nation of racists, religious extremists, and warmongers is not great; just exceptionally and structurally violent toward its own citizens. In fact, this group’s belief that the only solution is shaming Republicans to reduce hunger and care for America’s starving citizens is proof that where greatness is concerned, America rivals Somalia and Yemen.
Since the end of June of last year, Great Nations Eat created a “media blitz across virtually every type of print, broadcast and digital platform” that resulted in about one billion views over a six-month period. The groups’ effort included enlisting “campaign partners” such as the high-profile international advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and numerous film industry, creative and marketing partners. The results of their efforts have not swayed Republicans who instead made plans to eliminate what remains of America’s paltry anti-poverty programs, have kept wages low and corporate profits raging, and refused to consider making any increase in the minimum wage.
As the group notes, this gross income inequality and hunger problem could be solved easily, but Republicans have zero political will to even address the issue outside of telling Americans to work longer hours for less pay and be happy they get paid at all. The real goal of Great Nations Eat and Share Our Strength was, at the very least, to use a massive media campaign to raise awareness and send a wake-up call to the people to “humiliate and shame Republicans who have ignored the problem of hunger for too long.”
It is sad that these groups, although well-intentioned, actually believe that Republicans can be humiliated and shamed for ignoring the “problem of hunger” when the Republican cabal is well aware that a third of the population is hungry and a quarter of the nation’s children go to bed hungry and live in dire poverty; they just do not care. More telling, actually, is that their base of support does not care even though more often than not the base is suffering from Republicans’ refusal to address hunger or poverty.
Republicans know tens-of-millions of Americans are hungry, just like they know the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission has condemned America for criminalizing homelessness, withholding food and shelter from the poor, and in many states making it a crime for private citizens to feed the homeless; a move that is wildly popular among the base. It is true that Republicans are “gutless puppets to the billionaire investor class and corporations,” but they would not be in power without ardent support from their hateful, compassionless base.
It is refreshing that private groups have spent a fair amount of money to reach a billion human beings in hopes of shaming Republicans into addressing hunger and poverty in America, but their money would be better spent providing materials for food banks and homeless shelters. Because no matter their good will and intent in trying to humiliate Republicans for deliberately creating the conditions that have sent so many Americans into poverty and hunger, all they likely did was encourage Republicans to build on their trickle down success and bring more “pity, scorn and even ridicule” on Americans who will never wise up and help themselves at the ballot box.

Wingnuts push to change NC law so 'christians' can teach public school kids abstinence-only sex ed

North Carolina religio-wingnuts want to change state law to allow lunatic religio-wingnut fanatics to dictate public high school sex education.

Wingnuts See 2016 As Key To A More Lunatic Fringe Wingnut SCOTUS

Four of the nine Supreme Court Justices will be in their 80s during the first term of whoever is elected president next year, meaning he or she could usher in an enormous shift in the Court’s makeup.  The Court issues enormously consequential rulings on numerous issues affecting everyone... MORE

Republican Cabal Fascism Is Very Real