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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Daily Drift

Yep, it says it all ...!
 
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Today in History

1777 At Germantown, Pa., British General Sir William Howe repels George Washington's last attempt to retake Philadelphia, compelling Washington to spend the winter at Valley Forge.
1795 General Napoleon Bonaparte leads the rout of counterrevolutionaries in the streets of Paris, beginning his rise to power.
1861 The Union ship USS South Carolina captures two Confederate blockade runners outside of New Orleans, La.
1874 Kiowa leader Satanta, known as "the Orator of the Plains," surrenders in Darlington, Texas. He is later sent to the state penitentiary, where he commits suicide October 11, 1878.
1905 Orville Wright pilots the first flight longer than 30 minutes. The flight lasted 33 minutes, 17 seconds and covered 21 miles.
1914 The first German Zeppelin raids London.
1917 Battle of Broodseinde near Ypres, Flanders, a part of the larger Battle of Passchendaele, between British 2nd and 5th armies and the defenders of German 4th Army; most successful Allied attack of the Passchendaele offensive.
1927 Gutzon Borglum begins sculpting the heads of 4 US presidents on Mount Rushmore.
1940 Germany's Adolf Hitler and Italy's Benito Mussolini meet at the Brenner Pass.
1941 Willie Gillis Jr., a fictional everyman created by illustrator Norman Rockwell, makes his first appearance, on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post; a series of illustrations on several magazines' covers would depict young Gillis throughout World War II.
1943 US captures the Solomon Islands in the Pacific.
1957 Sputnik 1, the first man-made satellite, is launched, beginning the "space race." The satellite, built by Valentin Glushko, weighed 184 pounds and was launched by a converted Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Sputnik orbited the earth every 96 minutes at a maximum height of 584 miles. In 1958, it reentered the earth's atmosphere and burned up.
1963 Hurricane Flora storms through the Caribbean, killing 6,000 in Cuba and Haiti.
1965 Pope Paul VI arrives in New York, the first Pope ever to visit the US and the Western hemisphere.
1968 Cambodia admits that the Viet Cong use their country for sanctuary.
1972 Judge John Sirca imposes a gag order on the Watergate break-in case.
1976 In Gregg v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court lifts the ban on the death sentence in murder cases. This restores the legality of capital punishment, which had not been practiced since 1967. The first execution following this ruling was Gary Gilmore in 1977.
1985 Free Software Foundation founded to promote universal freedom to create, distribute and modify computer software.
1992 Mozambique's 16-year civil war ends with the Rome General Peace Accords.
1993 Russia's constitutional crisis over President Boris Yeltsin's attempts to dissolve the legislature: the army violently arrests civilian protesters occupying government buildings.
2004 SpaceShipOne, which had achieved the first privately funded human space flight on June 21, wins the Ansari X Prize for the first non-government organization to successfully launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space.

Fourth Circuit Restores Early Voting and Out of Precinct Voting in North Carolina

vote suppression in NC
In a 2-1 decision,  the Federal Appeals Court for the Fourth Circuit granted a temporary injunction to restore same day registration and out of precinct voting in North Carolina. It did not strike down the restrictions on early voting because under North Carolina’s earlier rules early voting would have to start in 2 weeks. The court recognized that reduced early voting is part of the total effort to suppress votes in North Carolina. However, they couldn’t reverse that portion of the law because there is not enough time for state officials to get ready.
The court considered local factors, history and undisputed evidence that changes to same day registration and provisional ballots disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters and concluded these measures likely violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The court said the lower court got the law wrong and abused its discretion when it failed to reach that conclusion. Writing for the majority,
“In refusing to consider the elimination of voting mechanisms successful in fostering minority participation, the district court misapprehended and misapplied Section 2 (of the Voting Rights Act), “By inspecting the different parts of House Bill 589 as if they existed in a vacuum, the district court failed to consider the sum of those parts and their cumulative effect on minority access to the ballot box.”
The majority also noted the role of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby v. Holder, which gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in the passage of this law. Those words bear repeating.
Immediately after Shelby County, i.e., literally the next day, when “history” without the Voting Rights Act’s preclearance requirements picked up where it left off in 1965, North Carolina rushed to pass House Bill 589, the “full bill” legislative leadership likely knew it could not have gotten past federal preclearance in the pre-Shelby County era. McCrony, 997 F. Supp. 2d at 336. Thus, to whatever extent the Supreme Court could rightly celebrate voting rights progress in Shelby County, the post-Shelby County facts on the ground in North Carolina should have cautioned the district court against doing so here.
It is heartening to see there are judges who understand the purpose of this law, given the combination of restrictive provisions within it, along with the fact that it was passed so quickly after the Supreme Court gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, offered two reasons for her dissent. First she said, the trial court’s decision that the law’s cumulative effect would not hurt minorities was not “clearly erroneous.” However, she did acknowledge that George W. Bush appointee, Judge Thomas Schroeder should have looked at the laws cumulatively instead of piece by piece.
The judge said she might have reached a different decision in reviewing the record, and that the judge should have looked at the totality of North Carolina’s election laws and their cumulative effect on voting rights instead of interpreting the law in a vacuum.
Her second reason is more important from a legal perspective. She said the 4th circuit should not be changing the rules this close to an election because state officials will be ill equipped to implement changes in the status quo this close to the election.
While this is very good news, if NC goes to the Supreme Court, it is likely to reverse this decision by the same 5-4 breakdown we saw earlier this week in the Ohio case.
As noted by Rick Hasen earlier on Wednesday,
I would not be surprised to see the Supreme Court reverse this 4th Circuit panel decision on the same 5-4 conservative/liberal lines that we saw earlier this week in the Ohio voting case. That would not necessarily mean that the Court would reject the broad reading of section 2 of the Voting Rights Act offered today by the 4th Circuit. The split could be over the issue, also present in the 7th Circuit Wisconsin voter id case (which could head to the Supreme Court today) about the dangers of courts changing election rules just before the election.

Court Strikes Down repugican cabal-Backed Voting Restrictions In North Carolina

NORTH CAROLINA GOVERNORA federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered a lower court to block two new voting restrictions in North Carolina, saying there was "no doubt" the measures would disenfranchise minorities.
North Carolina will now be required to reinstate same-day voter registration, as well as allow voters to cast ballots even if they show up to vote in the wrong precinct.
In a two-to-one ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that "whether the number is thirty or thirty-thousand, surely some North Carolina minority voters will be disproportionately adversely affected in the upcoming election" and that it was important to act now, since "there could be no do-over and no redress" once the election was over.
The appeals court ruled that the lower court "failed to adequately consider North Carolina’s history of voting discrimination" and said the new law eliminated "voting mechanisms successful in fostering minority participation."
"The injury to these voters is real and completely irreparable if nothing is done to enjoin this law," the ruling said.
North Carolina began considering new voting restrictions last June, the day after the Supreme Court gutted a provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that protected minority voters in certain states with a history of discrimination. Pat McCrony (r) ultimately signed House Bill 589 into law in August 2013. The law eliminated a number of measures intended to protect would-be voters from being disenfranchised and required them to show photo identification at the polls.
The Justice Department joined civil rights groups in suing over the law a month later.
"The election laws in North Carolina prior to House Bill 589’s enactment encouraged participation by qualified voters," the appeals court ruled Wednesday. "But the challenged House Bill 589 provisions stripped them away. The public interest thus weighs heavily in Plaintiffs’ favor."
The court did, however, affirm the lower court's decision to allow North Carolina to reduce the number of early-voting days, expand the basis for voter challenges and enact several other new restrictions.
"With respect to these provisions, we conclude that, although Plaintiffs may ultimately succeed at trial, they have not met their burden of satisfying all elements necessary for a preliminary injunction," the court ruled.

The repugican Candidate for Attorney-General of Arkansas Kicked Off Voter Rolls For Registering in Multiple States

Leslie Rutledge
As of Tuesday, the repugican candidate for Attorney-General in Arkansas is no longer a registered Arkansas voter. It turns out that Leslie Rutledge registered to vote in Arkansas, DC and possibly Virginia. Of course, Rutledge claims the Democrats did it’. They’re targetting her! The repugicans are being persecuted!
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette  Pulaski County Clerk, Larry Crane learned of Rutledge’s multiple registrations last week.  He decided to remove Huckabee’s former legal aid, from Arkansas voting rolls when he confirmed she registered in multiple places after she registered in Pulaski County in 2008.
Predictably, Rutledge claimed the decision was”politically motivated” and it’s all about trying to help her Democratic opponent.
In a statement, she released on Wednesday morning, Rutledge tried to place blame for her violation of election law everywhere, except where it belongs which is par for the course whenever a repugican gets caught violating the law.
She went on to say,
Taking a person’s right to vote away from them, as Democrat Larry Crane has done, is reprehensible and a desperate attempt to help the campaign of a Democratic candidate who lacks the experience and good judgment to protect the citizens of our great state. Who will Mr. Crane target next? Will Mr. Crane and his Democratic cronies now manipulate the voter file to remove more qualified repugican voters from the role?
To suggest that it is reprehensible to take a person’s vote away in the name of rigging an election is rich coming from a repugican.
Few would dispute that efforts to take a person’s vote away from them is reprehensible.  The fact is repugicans in Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and other states have done just that to hundreds of thousands of American voters in a systematic effort to disenfranchise minorities, women, the poor, seniors and students.  Yes, that is reprehensible!
Unlike Rutledge, these are people who registered to vote in one location. They didn’t break any laws, but they have been targeted by repugican lawmakers for years in the name of helping repugicans steal elections. But hey, when a repugican registers to vote in multiple places, they are being persecuted by Democrats who have the audacity to enforce election laws.
The fact that Rutledge is the second State repugican candidate found to be registered to vote in multiple locations is reprehensible.  Kathy Myalls was registered to vote in Illinois and in Wisconsin, simultaneously. She admitted it.  Yet, Myalls remains a repugican candidate for Illinois’ General Assembly with blessings from the state repugican cabal.
Rutledge is someone with a legal background, aspiring to be the Attorney-General of Arkansas.  Surely, she understands that when she registered to vote in multiple places she was breaking the law. The fact is her actions were deliberate.  Whether she registered on line or in person, she took multiple steps to register in places that were not her home state. More to the point, since Rutledge is no longer an eligible voter in Arkansas, it’s very possible that she is ineligible to run for the public office.
Attorney and Liberal Blogger, Matt Campbell, refers to Article 19, section 3, of the Arkansas Constitution. “No persons shall be elected to, or appointed to fill a vacancy in, any office who does not possess the qualifications of an elector.” He goes on to say “the qualifications of an elector” are defined in Article 3, section 1, and they include that the person must be “Lawfully registered to vote in the election. Which means, of course, that, if you aren’t lawfully registered to vote in the election, you cannot run for office in that election.
Rutledge could try to re-register. However, Rutledge has other problems that won’t be resolved if she re-registers.
First, candidates must file an affidavit of eligibility at or before noon on the filing deadline. When Rutledge signed her eligibility affidavit she said she is eligible to hold the office of Attorney-General, when she was not.  That opens her up to the misdemeanor criminal charge of false swearing. It’s also a Class D felony for someone to “vote in any election in the state unless the person is a qualified elector in this state and has registered to vote in the manner provided by law.”  Moreover, anyone convicted of a voting related felony “shall be barred from holding public office or employment in any of the department of the state from the date of his or her conviction.”
This is one of those rare moments in which justice is both poetic and ironic.

The repugicans Are On The Verge Of 2 Major Defeats In One Of The Reddest Of Red States

Greg Orman KansasGreg Orman has good reason to smile right now. The repugicans are trailing in two races with national implications in Kansas, according to a new USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Wednesday.
Both US Pat Roberts, a repugican senator who has been in office since 1997, and Sam Brownback, a first-term governor running for re-election, are trailing their respective challengers in the poll. Roberts is 5 points behind Independent candidate and businessman Greg Orman, while Brownback sits 4 points behind Democrat Paul Davis.
Kansas, a state that traditionally skews repugican, has become one of the most interesting electoral battlegrounds in the country, with Orman's sudden rise and Brownback's stunning fall.
"Orman has dabbled in both repugican and Democratic politics over the years and says he will be a moderate in the tradition of Kansan Bob Dole, so it will be interesting to see whether this fresh face will prevail in the state that was the subject of a book examining 'How wingnuts stole the Heart of America,'"  said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.
The poll was released on the same day Orman got more good news in his quest to unseat Roberts. A Kansas court ruled Democrats would not have to replace Chad Taylor on the ballot. Taylor dropped out of the race last month, something that helped boost Orman's chances at victory
Orman has not said which party he will caucus with if he's elected, and many speculate his decision will hinge on which party ultimately controls the body.
Roberts' trouble comes from voters viewing him in an unfavorable light. Overall, 39% of voters view both Orman and Roberts favorably. But Roberts is viewed unfavorably by 47% of Kansans, compared with just 25% who say the same about Orman. 
The Suffolk poll of 500 likely voters was conducted from Saturday through Tuesday, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4%.

The repugican cabal Takes One On The Chin As Kansas Court Rules Democrats Don’t Need To Name Senate Candidate

FINANCE COMMITTEEA Kansas district court ruled on Wednesday that the Democratic Party does not need to name a Senate candidate to take on repugican Pat Roberts. This decision opens the door for independent candidate Greg Orman to face Roberts in a head-to-head battle. Recent polls have Orman up in a two-man race against Roberts. The repugican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had hoped that the court would force the Democrats to name a replacement candidate to Chad Taylor, who dropped out of the race last month in order to give Orman a better shot at defeating Roberts in November.
After Taylor dropped out, Kobach tried to force Taylor’s name to remain on the ballot. The state’s Supreme Court informed Kobach that Taylor’s name must be removed from the ballots. At that point, Kobach orchestrated a lawsuit by having a ‘registered Democrat’ (who just so happened to be the father of a campaign field director for repugican Sam Brownback) demand that the Democratic Party place a candidate on the ballot. Dan Orel, the so-called aggrieved Democrat, did not appear at a evidentiary hearing to provide any statements or evidence. This definitely didn’t help Kobach’s case.
In its ruling Wednesday, the Shawnee County District Court wrote the following:
In a letter attached to his Memorandum in Support of his Petition for Writ of Mandamus, Mr. Orel’s counsel asserts that Mr. Orel “intends to vote for the Democratic Party’s candidate for U.S. Senate in the general election.” At oral arguments, Mr.Orel’s counsel stressed that this claim formed a specific and particular injury which was not shared with the general public.
The Court disagrees. Undoubtedly there are many. citizens who share such an interest, and they may well not be limited to Democrats only, but that does not demonstrate an injury or interest specific and peculiar to Mr. Orel. Put simply, if Mr. Orel has been “harmed,” it is the exact same “harm” affecting all other citizens of Kansas who have registered to vote and intend to vote: he cannot vote for a Democrat nominee at the general election. Frustrating, perhaps, but not of the substance for a mandamus claim without more, which “more” we will discuss later.
Further, the organizational leaders of recognized political parties in Kansas that hold primaries are democratically elected by a party’s registered, yet voluntary, constituents to represent what they believe to be the best interest of their respective political parties in obtaining their vision of proper government. K.S.A. 25-202; K.S.A. 25-3801, et seq. As in all matters of human activity, success in any goal rests in the character, stalwartness, and energy of those that are selected to perform the duty or duties assigned or the office sought. By the statute at issue, whether a vacancy in a candidacy is to be filled in the first instance would rest with the elected leadership, in this instance, of the Democrat party, which vacancy was brought about by the withdrawal of its nominee for United States Senate as selected at the earlier primary election.
To advance another candidate for a statewide race that under today’s political realities, which in order to be successful, requires enormous financial commitment and implicitly an assist by the nominating party, would be a judgment worthy of great pause before its making. For any potential candidate, there is also a personal commitment, which is fraught with personal, familial, and practical consequences much deeper than those engendered to mere financial contributors, moral supporters, actual voters, or a sponsoring party. Moreover, a candidate so selected now would be faced with a very time restricted window to successfully advance his or her views.
In other words — too bad, so sad. At this point, Kobach can’t do anything else to help Roberts win his election. With Taylor, and any other Democratic nominee, out of the way, Orman is going to be able to pick up all of the anti-Roberts and anti-repugican votes out there. The fact is, while Kansas remains a very wingnut state, the policies championed by Brownback, Roberts and the rest of the lunatic fringe wingnut limb of the repugican cabal have greatly damaged Kansas economically. Voters, many of them staunch repugicans, are looking to send a message this November that they are fine with a wingnut government, but there are limits.
As it stands, Orman has been mum regarding who he will caucus with if he wins in November. When pressed on the subject, he has stated that he will caucus with whoever holds the majority come November. There is at least some confidence among Democrats that he’ll join with them, considering Taylor graciously pulled out of the race to provide Orman clear sailing against Roberts. Also, the two current independents (Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine) both currently caucus with Democrats. Joe Lieberman stuck with Democrats even after he became an independent. History does suggest that Orman will side with the Democrats when they are victorious.

Joni Ernst Says She’s Independent Then Recites teabagger Shrieking Points on Every Issue

Joni Ernst in DSCC AdDuring a debate with her Democratic opponent, Bruce Braley, Joni Ernst told the audience she is an independent leader, then recited teabagger shriekking points on everything from “personhood” amendments to privatizing Social Security.
Ernst got a free ride from the mainstream media who were all enamored with her ad that basically said she is qualified to be a Senator because she knows how to castrate a pig.  This was intended to be a play on the ability to “cut pork” in D.C.  It was also intended to tell Iowa’s farmers that someone just like them is running for the Senate. Never mind the irony that’s lost on the fact that her puppet masters, the Koch Brothers, love the pork subsidies that have gone their way for years.  Never mind that the Koch Brothers envisage limiting participation in the political process to rich white men who practice revisionist “christianity” and maybe their stepford wives.
In the name of creating their ideal plutocracy, the Koch brothers’ useful idiots in the repugican cabal dutifully gerrymander the House of Representatives to assure absolute control – even when they are rejected by the majority of voters.  Now they are focused on grabbing control of the Senate.
The repugicans can’t win on their ideas and since gerrymandering won’t help them in Senate races, they rely heavily on propaganda to sway the gullible and and vote suppression to disenfranchise people who see through the christo-fascism espoused by the teabaggers and lip synced by “moderate” repugicans.
Most Americans recognize that incremental efforts to disenfranchise voters who are not rich, white, “christian” and male means every freedom we have in the U.S. constitution is in danger.
No one would voluntarily sign up to be mere pawns in a society where a select few men have freedom while everyone else is merely a means to the ends of those select few men.
That’s why candidates like Joni Ernst focus people’s attention on entertaining commercials and limit their communications, be it in speeches, town halls or political debates to demonizing their opponents.
However, Ernst also has a special role to play as the token woman in the Koch brothers’ stable of fascist marionettes.  To paraphrase Renee Elmers, Ernst can talk at woman “on their level” about the “merits” of designating our bodies as property owned by the corporate elite, regulated by their marionette government.
During an hour-long debate with Democratic Candidate Bruce Braley Sunday night, Ernst tried to divert from the fact that she was bought, paid for and indoctrinated by the Koch Brother controlled teabaggers with her suggestion that donations from Tom Breyers is exactly the same thing. The similarity only lies in the fact that Breyers is also a rich political donor. Tom Breyers’ is using his money to influence environmental policy in a manner that preserves the planet, oh and breathing. The Koch brothers want to dictate all areas of policy, exclude most of America from participation in electing lawmakers and buy judges who will bend the constitution to conform to the Koch Brother’s desired interpretation of it.
“When Ernst said she will fight for the renewable fuel standard, Braley interjected: “I’m not sure that’s what Sen. Ernst told the Koch brothers when she went to their secret meetings.” \
“You’re not running against these other people; you’re running against me,” Ernst shot back. “I am an independent leader”
Yes, Ernst is an independent leader if you believe that entails reciting talking points and policies as dictated a puppet masters.
During the debate on climate change,  Ernst made a point of telling people she knows all about environmental policy because she drives a hybrid and she recycles.  She also wants to get rid of the EPA because it passed really bad regulations, even if she can’t name one. Ernst sounds like a Palin clone when it comes to questions that involve expressing her own views on areas she should have some opinions about if she’s going to be a lawmaker.
During the debate, Ernst was pressed to defend “several positions she staked out on her way to winning the repugican primary in June, such as supporting a Personhood amendment, being open to privatizing Social Security, opposing a federal minimum wage, hoping to eventually phase out ethanol subsidies, and wanting to eliminate the Department of Education.”
In reality, this forced Ernst to show that she is not an “independent leader.” She recites her lines and does as she’s told just like every teabagger. Nothing exemplifies that more than Ernst’s position on “personhood.” A video by the DSCC provides a condensed explanation of Ernst’s very extreme views on “personhood.”
As a state senator, Ernst fought for the inclusion of one of the most extreme versions of a personhood amendment to the state’s constitution.  Ernst tried to revise history during the debate on Sunday night, as noted by Politico.
The amendment that is being referenced by the congressman would not do any of the things that you stated it would do. That amendment is simply a statement that I support life.” She added that she supports “a woman’s right to contraception.
Crooks and Liars explains the plain meaning of the personhood Amendment (which has exactly the same language the version in North Dakota) that Ernst sponsored very clearly.
The language of the amendment states that life begins at conception, and if allowed to stand, would effectively ban forms of birth control that stop implantation, not to mention abortion. There are no exceptions to this. No rape exception and certainly no incest exception.
The very nature of personhood amendments means that common forms of birth control are banned.  One need only read the Hobby Lobby ruling to see how the belief that life begins at conception results in a ban on certain kinds of birth control  It will ban abortion under all circumstances – including rape, incest and even when the mother’s life is in danger.
When Ernst spoken on the amendment as a state Senator, she said that doctors who perform abortions should be punished. You can see it for yourself in this video by Bruce Braley’s campaign.
In other words, Ernst showed us she can lie just as well as any other candidate who was bought and paid for by the Koch brothers.

Iowa Senate Candidate Joni Ernst Can’t Escape The repugican Anti-Woman Crusade

For a senatorial candidate from Iowa, the way to show support for a religious principle is voting for a constitutional amendment that effectively eliminates a woman's constitutional rights,…
Ernst Personhood
There are myriad ways to make a statement supporting a principle, particularly when the principle is founded on a deeply-held religious belief. One might think of people praying openly in public, wearing a graven image of a crucifix, or appealing to strangers to come to church as a statement of support for a religious principle. However, for a senatorial candidate from Iowa, the way to show support for a religious principle is voting for a constitutional amendment that effectively eliminates a woman’s constitutional rights, and then claim the amendment really would not do anything at all. Obviously, only a Koch-funded teabagger/repugican from Iowa would have the gall to claim they voted for an amendment with such severe consequences as a religious statement and lie that it “wouldn’t really do anything.” If she is anything at all, Joni Ernst is a lying Koch-funded teabagger, and an anti-woman’s rights evangelical.
During a debate Sunday evening with Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA), Ernst defended her vote for the Catholic Bishops’ proposal granting full constitutional rights to a zygote. The so-called “personhood” amendment favored by the Vatican’s Humanae Vitae Ernst voted for would have changed Iowa’s Constitution to guarantee that the instant a sperm cell punctured an ovum, the resulting single-celled zygote would enjoy the same constitutional rights the personhood amendment effectively took away from the mother. Braley noted that the personhood amendment Ernst introduced was an attack on women’s reproductive rights and told her “I respect your faith, I have my own faith that is very deep and personal to me. But let’s be clear: The Cedar Rapids Gazette did a fact-check on the amendment that you introduced that said it would do all the things that I said it would. That it would ban contraception, it would prevent people from getting in vitro fertilization, and you personally said that doctors who performed those procedures under your bill should be prosecuted.”
Braley was not exaggerating because he referenced a statement from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warning about the dire consequences to women’s health inherent in Ernst’s Catholic amendment. The OBGYNs said, “Like Mississippi’s failed ‘Personhood Amendment’ Proposition 26, these misleading and ambiguously worded ‘personhood’ measures substitute (religious) ideology for science and represent a grave threat to women’s health and reproductive rights that, if passed, would have long-term negative outcomes for our patients, their families, and society. This would have wide-reaching harmful implications for the practice of medicine and on women’s access to contraception, fertility treatments, pregnancy termination, and other essential medical procedures.”
Ernst was left with little option but to resort to the typical religio-wingnut repugican tactic of claiming Braley was lying and that he was anti-women and trying to mislead women voters. She said, “When it does come to a woman’s access to contraception, I will always stand with our women on affordable access to contraception. That’s something that Congressman Braley has been trying to mislead our women voters on. The amendment that is being referenced by the congressman would not do any of the things that you stated it would do. That amendment is simply a statement that I support life.” Ernst is a liar; a statement that one support’s life is holding up a fetus sign at an abortion clinic or screaming at women going for cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood; not banning all forms of birth control and criminalizing medical procedures that contradict the vatican Humanae Vitae. Personhood elevates a fetus over the woman carrying the organism and follows the pope’s dispensation that any unnatural form of birth control is a mortal sin against god. A mortal sin, by the way, that Ernst said would be punished by the government “only if the legislation would have passed,” and that is the real and present danger for women if Ernst is a member of a repugican-controlled Senate.
For the each of the past three years repugicans in the House and Senate have introduced “personhood legislation” that mirrors the catholic personhood movement’s demands included in the amendment Ernst introduced in Iowa and adamantly supported until she realized subverting women’s rights is not necessarily a winning campaign issue. One might think that in religious Iowa personhood would be a winner, but in seriously religious Mississippi, voters summarily rejected a similar personhood measure after real medical professionals like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warned about the “grave threat to women’s health” as well as “long-term negative outcomes for our patients, their families, and society.”
Ernst is not the only repugican senate candidate trying to distance herself from their passionate personhood support to win more women voters, but there are many who continue embracing the idea with cabal support. The New Hampshire repugican cabal added personhood language into its official platform earlier this month, and the rnc made calling for a personhood amendment to the U.S. Constitution a major plank of the party’s platform for the 2012 general election. It is still a primary theocratic goal of repugicans to ban contraception, abortion, and punish women, married or otherwise, for having, as Hobby Lobby advocates complained, “consequence free sex.” It is noteworthy that the religio-wingnts and Hobby Lobby supporters’ opposition to women making their own reproductive health choices is part and parcel of the United States coven of catholic bishops and pope’s Humanae Vitae prohibiting any form of “unnatural” birth control. Something the religious right only began embracing with biblical passion in the 1980s after their tax exempt status was threatened for pushing school segregation in the former Confederacy.
It was encouraging to see Ernst’s opponent, Bruce Braley, remind Iowa’s women voters about the contempt Ernst has for women and their rights. What he failed to do, though, is note that elevating the rights of the zygote over those of the mother subjects the woman to second-class status and loss of her 14th Amendment protections from religious repugicans intent on depriving women of their life and liberty as well as deny them equal protection of the laws.” One would hope that other Democratic congressional candidates will remind prospective voters that Ernst is not an outlier in the in the religious repugican movement and reference the annual personhood legislation introduced in the House and Senate.  If repugicans control both chambers on Congress, women’s reproductive health choices will be limited to staying barefoot and pregnant or celibate. Because personhood legislation follows catholic dogmata to the letter and forbids any unnatural birth control or fertilization or pregnancy cessation which is precisely what the U.S. coven of catholic bishops has demanded for over thirty years. Unfortunately for American women, along with the catholic Supreme Court, religious repugicans are just one election away from giving the bishops precisely what the vatican ordered.

This wingnut Blames President Obama For His Own Potential Assassination

Obama-Confused-copy
While writing about the problems at the Secret Service, the absurd conclusion was drawn that if President Obama gets assassinated it will be his own fault.
Discredited wingnut Ronald Kessler discussed the problems at the Secret Service in a column for Politico magazine, and somehow came to the conclusion that Obama would be to blame for his own assassination,
Despite the obvious danger to himself and his own family, President Obama refuses to replace Pierson. The truth is that no internal reviews or congressional hearings will change the Secret Service’s broken management culture. It needs better leadership. As in any organization, only a CEO who comes from the outside can make the necessary changes. That’s a major reason why Robert S. Mueller III, a veteran prosecutor and former Justice Department official who became director of the FBI, was able to change the direction and culture of the bureau after 9/11, orienting it toward preventing future attacks.
Agents tell me it’s a miracle an assassination has not already occurred. Sadly, given Obama’s colossal lack of management judgment, that calamity may be the only catalyst that will reform the Secret Service.
Kessler’s column is proof that wingnuts will blame Obama for anything, including his own death. This was a horrible and shallow attempt to turn a serious problem into a partisan issue. The protection of the president, no matter what party he/she is from, should be beyond partisan politics.
The wingnut theory is that Obama is such a terrible leader and manager that he is going to get himself killed, but a management culture like the Secret Service’s does not happen overnight. It doesn’t happen over the course of a single presidency. It takes years and in some cases decades to surface. Congress is responsible for both funding and oversight of the Secret Service. While House repugicans have been chasing bogus Benghazi and IRS investigations, no one was doing the real job of oversight.
It is a joke that Kessler believes that Obama could just “fix” the Secret Service. The president does not have unlimited power, but ignoring reality and their responsibility for the outcomes of their bad decisions is the repugican way.

Grand Jury Looking Into Michael Brown Shooting Now Being Investigated For Misconduct

mike brown fergusonThe St. Louis County Prosecutor’s office is now investigating potential misconduct surrounding the grand jury that is currently investigating the shooting of Michael Brown. On August 9th, the unarmed 18-year-old was shot six times by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Since the shooting, Wilson has been on paid administrative leave and has not been charged with a crime. St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, instead of looking at the evidence himself and issuing any subsequent charges, decided to use a grand jury to decide Wilson’s fate. McCulloch has also not directed the grand jury towards any specific charges that should be levied. Instead, he’s allowing them to decide for themselves what charges (if any) Wilson should be indicted on.
On Wednesday morning, activist and Daily Kos writer Shaun King highlighted some tweets from a St. Louis resident who claimed that she knew one of the grand jury members and that her friend said that it looked like there wasn’t enough evidence to indict Wilson. Ed Magee, McCulloch’s spokesman, confirmed to the Washington Post that King’s twitter feed was the reason why the county was investigating the grand jury for misconduct.
While it is quite possible the person who posted that info on Twitter was exaggerating or just plain lying, it absolutely needs to be investigated. The fact that she deleted her entire Twitter account makes one think that there might be some truth behind what she sent out. I agree with what King said — McCulloch opened the door for this to happen by not only sending this to the grand jury but by extending out the time for them to hear evidence and investigate this matter. It has been argued all along by people in Ferguson and beyond that McCulloch’s objectivity is an issue when it comes to law enforcement and that he is going to do anything possible to give him cover while also allowing Wilson to walk.
This investigation is only going to infuriate the people who are looking for justice more. There is already a huge amount of distrust when it comes to the local police departments and the prosecutor’s office. More and more, people feel that local government is doing its best to screw them over and ensure that justice will not be served. This is why the protests in Ferguson that have continued since Brown’s death are a true watershed moment in recent American history. The people there are letting the powers that be know that they aren’t going to take it anymore. Change needs to come. And it needs to come now.

For repugicans ISIL is Only an Excuse to Attack Our President

The suspicion that repugicans are far more horrified by a black president than Islamic terrorists is borne out by the rhetoric…
Obama speech ISIL strategyThere is a great deal of talk about the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL but how much of a threat is ISIL, really?
According to repugicans, ISIL’s Abu is about to land like Cortez on the shores of the New World and start burning our cities to the ground. But there is only so much room to hide under Lindsey Graham’s bed.
Consequently, there has been much pressure put on President Barack Obama to do something about ISIL. Lindsey Graham (r-SC), when he is not hiding under his bed, says the president is AWOL and calls his foreign policy “delusional.”
Nothing short of full-scale war will satisfy the chickenhawks of course, who do not plan to do any fighting themselves when the little guy is so much more expendable. And they have no intention of spending money on bodies broken by bullets when they can just spend it on more bullets, the profit-margin on bullets being so much better for their stock portfolios.
President Obama, the White House tells us, met  “with his National Security Council to discuss our comprehensive strategy to counter the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria. ” This group included Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel:
September 30, 2014
Readout of the President’s Meeting with the National Security Council on Countering ISIL
This afternoon, the President met with his National Security Council to discuss our comprehensive strategy to counter the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria. He received an update on the airstrikes in Iraq and Syria undertaken by the U.S. military and our international partners, and the impact of these operations on ISIL. The President discussed with his national security team the importance of making progress on implementing the non-military aspects of the strategy, including organizing partner nation contributions along the multiple lines of effort that underpin our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL. The President was also briefed on the effects of U.S. airstrikes in Syria on the Khorasan Group.
Participants in today’s meeting included:
The Vice President
Secretary of State John Kerry
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Attorney General Eric Holder
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (via secure video)
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough
National Security Advisor Susan Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power (via secure video)
Counselor to the President John Podesta
White House Counsel Neil Eggleston
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey
U.S. Central Command Commander Lloyd Austin (via secure video)
Director of the FBI James Comey (via secure video)
Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan
Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco
Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes
Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Rand Beers
White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and Gulf Region Philip Gordon
Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, General John Allen (retired)
Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL Brett McGurk
This is precisely what any reasonable person would want to hear, isn’t it? That the president is keeping abreast of the situation, and based on the most recent facts on the ground, is formulating reasoned responses to events. This seems a far more productive course, at any rate than dressing up as a fighter pilot, landing on an aircraft carrier, and proclaiming a premature victory.
The repugicans like to make fun of Obama for talking and thinking about things when he could be invading someone instead, but if the shrub had actually thought and talked about things rather than acting on his “gut” before he invaded Iraq, we wouldn’t be dealing with ISIL now, because there would be no ISIL to deal with. ISIL is, after all, the ugly step-child of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AIQ), which itself a product of Bush’s ill-thought out invasion.
To listen to wingnuts, Obama has done nothing at all so far, which is not true. He has worked to build a coalition of partners to oppose ISIL – a difficult task made easier by ISIL’s seeming determination to horrify everyone – and at this very moment, is busily directing a bombing campaign against them in support of Kurdish, Syrian, and Iraqi boots on the ground.
And far from accomplishing nothing, it is reported that “The leader of the self-styled Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has fled the intense US-led aerial bombardment in Syria after sustaining serious injuries”
This is a measured, reasoned response, the response of a statesman, not a cowboy. It is a response that may or may not work (only time will tell), but it is better than going off half-cocked, and it is better than destroying the American economy – AGAIN – by invading a country we already invaded and just got out of.
You have to wonder what parts of this equation the mainstream media doesn’t understand. The calculus, after all, is very simple.
Yet we continue to hear criticisms from the mainstream and wingnut media, leading one to wonder if all this ISIL Hysteria is less about ISIL and more about Obama, and the suspicion that repugicans are far more horrified by a black president than Islamic terrorists is borne out by the rhetoric.
After all, repugicans have shown scant inclination to lead the country, let alone doing something for the sake of the common weal, like funding the federal government, or sticking around to take a vote on what to do about ISIL. Like Greg Abbott, they’re far too interested in their pocketbooks to care about the likes of you and me.
This all serves to make it very difficult for the rest of us to take repugicans seriously on the threat posed by ISIL. The facts also call for sober reflection.
The wingnut 'news' outlet Human Events wails that,
The two most critical rules of warfare are to never tell your enemy what you will not do, and never be seen as a reluctant, vacillating warrior.
Barack Obama has broken both of these rules over the course of his presidency in the war on terror. He told them at the outset when we’d be leaving, and now says under no circumstances will he put more “boots on the ground.” I guess they’re happy to hear that.
There is such a catastrophic lack of thought processes here that it is almost a paean of praise to the shrub
Actually, of course, the shrub’s SOFA agreement with Iraq told them when we’d be leaving. Obama was obliged to act in accord with that agreement unless he wanted to re-invade Iraq and topple its legitimate government – a government which, by the way, Americans had died, under the shrub’s direction, to establish.
This blame Obama for the shrub meme has gotten far too much traction thanks to skillful wingnut deceit – like the Benghazi hoax – directed by Faux News. The simple fact is that thanks to the shrub, there is only so much Obama can do in response to ISIL.
Territorial_Control_ISISEven so, an ISIL invasion isn’t going to happen. ISIL is not a nation. It calls itself a “caliphate,” but that is more a grandiose term for a bandit gang with delusions of grandeur than a statement of fact. Unlike the original caliphate, which spanned many nations, ISIL barely spans two, and not the entirety of either. It does not have an economy outside of plunder and ransom.
Like the Assyrians of old, ISIL uses terror as a force multiplier, and that magnifies the threat in the minds of potential victims, but the Assyrians relied also on ethnic cohesion, and ISIL is more a multinational mercenary force, its sole common denominator being religious extremism deployed as an excuse for thuggish behavior.
In the end, ISIL and the repugicans have more in common than in opposition. The only difference is that repugicans are limited for the most part to threats of violence. And both seem more opposed to President Obama than to each other.
You wonder if more time should not be spent talking about domestic terrorism than a bunch of thugs limited so far to Syria and Iraq. After all, our own terrorists are also motivated by religious extremism, and much closer to home.

Faux News Attacked A Female Fighter Pilot, Here’s How US Military Veterans Responded

by Stephen D Foster Jr 
Military veterans are furious at Faux News over sexist remarks made by a male host toward a female fighter pilot.
Last week, Major Mariam Al Mansouri led a squadron of F-16 fighter jets into Syria to attack ISIS. In the process, she became the first female fighter pilot in the United Arab Emirates and the first to lead a combat mission. The joint operation included the United States and other Arab nations coming together in the fight against a brutal terrorist organization.
Image of an F-16  via Wikimedia 
It was an impressive feat and a noteworthy historical event, but the male hosts over at Faux News couldn’t contain their sexism upon hearing about the story.
At the end of last Wednesday’s edition of Faux’s “The Five,” host Kimberly Guilfoyle commemorated the event and hailed Mansouri for breaking through a glass ceiling in a region where women have traditionally been oppressed. However, when she handed the show back to co-hosts Greg Gutfield and Eric Bolling, both men treated the occasion like a joke.
GUTFIELD: Problem is, after she bombed it, she couldn’t park it.
BOLLING: Would that be considered boobs on the ground, or no?
A visibly upset Guilfoyle could only hang her head and express disappointment that her colleagues ruined the moment.
Here’s the video of the remarks:
The letter p
The very next day. Bolling offered a half-apology for his comments after explaining that his own wife didn’t find his “joke” very funny, but he failed to apologize directly to Mansouri.
I want to go back to last night, about this time I made a joke. When I got home, I got the look and I realized some people didn’t think it was funny at all. I said sorry to my wife and I apologize to all of you as well, I just want to make that very clear.
Here’s the video of his “apology.”
You know who else didn’t find Bolling’s comment funny? United States military veterans.
A group of veterans, including Marine, Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard vets with the Truman National Security Project published an open letter addressed to Faux News expressing outrage over the sexist remarks.
Among the highlights, the letter accused the male hosts of acting like immature boys instead of grown men and blasted Faux for “offending an ally” and “hurting the mission” against ISIS. The veterans pointed out that women have been flying combat aircraft since World War II and then issued an apology to Mansouri on Faux’s behalf since “anything your producers force you to say will be contrived and insincere.”
Here is the full letter via Talking Points Memo.
Dear Mr. Bolling and Mr. Gutfeld,
We are veterans of the United States armed forces, and we are writing to inform you that your remarks about United Arab Emirates Air Force Major Mariam Al Mansouri were unwarranted, offensive, and fundamentally opposed to what the military taught us to stand for.
First, foremost, and most obvious to everyone other than yourselves, your remarks were immensely inappropriate. Your co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle was so right to call attention to an inspiring story of a woman shattering glass ceilings in a society where doing so is immeasurably difficult. We never heard an answer to her question: why did you feel so compelled to “ruin her thing?”
As it turns out, women have been flying combat aircraft since before either of you were born. Over 1,000 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) flew during World War II. Seeing as U.S. Army Air Forces Commander “Hap” Arnold said “Now in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men,” we can probably guess he thought their parking was adequate. The WASP legacy reaches into the present day; on 9/11, then Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney scrambled her F-16. Completely unarmed, she was ready to lay down her own life to prevent further devastating attacks on American soil.
Thus the skill of women as fighter pilots is well established. And before you jump to the standby excuse that you were “just making a joke” or “having a laugh,” let the men amongst our number preemptively respond: You are not funny. You are not clever. And you are not excused. Perhaps the phrase “boys will be boys”—inevitably uttered wherever misogyny is present—is relevant. Men would never insult and demean a fellow service-member; boys think saying the word ‘boobs’ is funny.
The less obvious implication of your remarks, however, is that by offending an ally and cheapening her contribution, you are actively hurting the mission. We need to send a clear message that anyone, male or female, who will stand up to ISIS and get the job done is worthy of our respect and gratitude.
We issue an apology on your behalf to Major Al Mansouri knowing that anything your producers force you to say will be contrived and insincere. Major, we’re sincerely sorry for the rudeness; clearly, these boys don’t take your service seriously, but we and the rest of the American public do.
Very Respectfully,
Michael Breen, U.S. Army
Shawn VanDiver, U.S. Navy
Kristen Rouse, U.S. National Guard
Andrea Marr, U.S. Navy
Kristen Kavanaugh, U.S. Navy
Richard Wheeler, U.S. Army
Leo Cruz, U.S. Navy
Aryanna Hunter, U.S. Army
Geoff Orazem U.S. Marine Corps
Scott Cheney-Peters, U.S. Navy
Jonathan Murray, U.S. Marine Corps
Timothy Kudo, U.S. Marine Corps
Welton Chang, U.S. Army
Michael Smith, U.S. Army
Gordon Griffin, U.S. Marine Corps
Kelsey Campbell, U.S. Air Force
Matt Runyon, U.S. Army
Richard Weir, U.S. Marine Corps
Scott Holcomb, U.S. Army
Jon Gensler, U.S. Army
Erik Brine, U.S. Air Froce
Rob Miller, U.S. Marine Corps
Josh Weinberg, U.S. Army
John Wagner, U.S. Air Force
Terron Sims II, U.S. Army
Sonia Fernandez, U.S. Marine Corps
Dan Hartnett, U.S. Army
Dan Futrell, U.S. Army
John Margolick, U.S. Marine Corps
Daniel Savage, U.S. Army
Matt Pelak, U.S. Army,
LaRue Robinson, U.S. Army
Anthony Woods, U.S Army
Margot Beausey, U.S. Navy
Dustin Cathcart, U.S. Army
Kayla Williams, U.S. Army
Dan Espinal, U.S. Army
Jonathan Hopkins, U.S. Army
Tony Johnson, U.S. Navy
Andy Moore, U.S. Army
Kevin Johnson, U.S. Army
Brett Hunt, U.S. Army
Russell Galeti, U.S. Army
Gail Harris, U.S. Navy
Katelyn Geary van Dam, U.S. Marine Corps
Mick Crnkovich, U.S. Army
Jonathan Freeman, U.S. Army
Chris Finan, U.S. Air Force
Robert Mishev, U.S. Air Force
Matt Zeller, U.S. Army
William Allen, U.S. Marine Corps
Sharmistha Mohpatra, U.S. Army
Adam Tiffen, U.S. Army
Alex Cornell du Houx, U.S. Navy
Jason Cain, U.S. Army
Rob Bracknell, U.S. Marine Corps
Karen Courington, U.S. Air Force
Justin Graf, U.S. Army
Lach Litwer, U.S. Army
Andrew Borene, U.S. Marine Corps
This is a strong condemnation of Faux News and the sexism it espouses on a day to day basis. At a time when women’s rights are being viciously attacked by the wingnuts and their propaganda machine, this incident of sexism was enough to draw a sharp rebuke from military veterans, a group that wingnuts constantly claim to have undying love and support for. If sexism were to be condemned on this level all the time, perhaps it would cease coming from the mouths of all Faux hacks and may even cause repugican lawmakers to think carefully before commenting on women’s issues.
Mariam Al Mansouri, like American women who serve in every branch of the US military, risked her life for her country. She’s a hero, and she should be treated like one. Faux not only insulted her, they insulted every woman in history who has ever put on a uniform in defense of this country and others around the globe. Faux should be ashamed of their juvenile behavior and we should all be proud of the men and women who serve our nation and of those veterans who stood up to Faux on behalf of women everywhere.

Monty Python’s John Cleese Nails Just How Stupid Faux News Really Is

If you’ve ever happened upon a particularly mind-numbingly stupid edition of a Faux News show — be it the time Eric Bolling mocked a female fighter pilot by asking if she could be considered “boobs on the ground” or when Sean Handjob claimed Halloween was a liberal holiday because it teaches children to “ask for handouts” — and asked yourself “How is this level of stupidity possible?” Actor and Monty Python alum John Cleese has a simple, yet startlingly accurate assessment: Faux News hosts are so dumb, that they aren’t even smart enough to recognize how dumb they are.In a video circulating the web, Cleese is asked about stupidity in the world. Here’s the video:
He says the problem with stupidity is that it breeds further stupidity.
“If you’re very, very stupid,” he explains, “How can you possibly realize that you’re very very stupid? You’d have to be relatively intelligent to realize how stupid you are.”
He then backed up this claim with some actual scientific data by a researcher named David Dunning at Cornell (if Sean Handjob is reading this, “scientific data” are those number-y things that make you angry). According to Dunning, knowing how good you are at something “requires exactly the same skills” as it would to actually be good at that thing. To put it another way, you could call it the “it takes one to know one” effect.
Interestingly, the philosopher Socrates made this very same point in ancient Greece, when he discovered to his dismay that he was the smartest person in Athens merely because he, and he alone, recognized how ignorant he was.
For Cleese, this finding is extremely powerful. It poses a serious problem for those who want to enlighten others about their ignorance, because that same ignorance is preventing them from realizing that they don’t know anything.
“And this explains not just Hollywood,” Cleese concludes, “But almost the entirety of Faux News.”
So the next time — probably today — you see that Faux News has someone spouting utter idiocy into the cameras, pity them. They know not what they do — they’re simply too stupid.

Greg Abbott’s Cover Up of Texas Enterprise Fund Fraud Cost Taxpayers $222 Million

Perry and Abbott bobbles
Greg Abbott’s shady relationship with the Texas Enterprise fund is catching up with him. Since an audit revealed the Texas Enterprise Fund improperly distributed $222 million to companies, reports surfaced that at least some of the recipients contributed a total of $1.4 million to Greg Abbott’s campaign. Even pay to play is bigger in Texas!
In 2003, Rick Perry created the Texas Enterprise Fund and stacked it with repugican cronies. The fund’s purpose was to subsidize job creation.
In 2004, The Dallas Morning News requested access to the application of a company called Vought Aircraft. This company wanted $35 million to expand its operations into the Dallas area.  Greg Abbott refused the request saying, that applications by companies seeking funds from the TEF “might” contain confidential information.  Therefore, the applications must be kept secret.
In 2013, the Texas legislature passed legislature requiring the TEF to submit to an audit.
Last week, the results of the audit were released.  They revealed many serious problems, including the fact that the TEF improperly distributed $222 million to business that didn’t file formal applications. It turns out, that Vought Aircraft (the company with secrets that Abbott wanted to protect in 2004), didn’t submit an application at all.
The audit also found that the fund failed to keep proper records.
During a Sunday news conference, Wendy Davis accused Abbot of a cover up originating with his 2004 ruling to withhold applications of countries that got millions of dollars from the fund.  She wants Abbott to return the $1.4 million in contributions Abbott received from beneficiaries of the fund and she wants an independent investigation into Abbott’s role in keeping secret records of the troubled agency.
“Greg Abbott used the power of his office to orchestrate a cover up of the transfer of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds to companies who never even completed an application for the funds – blocking the release of applications he knew didn’t exist,” Davis said.
“Mr. Abbott did not recover one dime of taxpayer dollars for the Enterprise Fund. Instead, he accepted more than $1.4 million in campaign contributions from the very taxpayer funded grant recipients he was supposed to be watching – and helped hide the fact hundreds of millions of our tax dollars were handed out without any oversight or accountability.”
In short, Davis is saying the Texas Enterprise Fund wrongfully distributed money to corporations under Abbott’s watch.  Abbott used the power of his office to help cover it up.  To show their gratitude, the businesses donated to Abbott’s campaign.
When someone engages in wrongful and criminal deception for personal financial gain as occurred here, he or she is committing a crime called fraud.
Today the Lone Star Project filed a Texas Public Information Act (TPIA) request for documents related to latest fraud scandal involving the state’s Attorney-General.
Part of Abbott’s job as Attorney-General is to decide if the documents requested in a TPIA request should be disclosed.  Since this TPIA request seeks documents that may prove Abbott’s involvement in the Texas Enterprise Fund fraud scandal, he has an obvious conflict of interest.  It’s also likely that he will deny the request.
Welcome to oversight and transparency, Abbott style!
If this sounds familiar, it should.  Back in March, we reported on Abbott’s shady past with the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. (CPRIT). While on CPRIT’s oversight board, Abbott looked the other way while CPRIT gave millions of tax payer dollars to businesses that got low scores on their grant applications, or the application wasn’t reviewed at all.  At least some of those beneficiaries also donated to Abbott’s campaign.
Rick Perry created the Texas Enterprise Fund and CPRIT.  Then he hired Republican cronies to distribute money to businesses of repugican supporters. In both cases, Greg Abbott looked the other way while the cronies gave away millions of taxpayer dollars to repugican cabal supporters in the business community.  The recipients contributed to Abbott’s campaign.  Whether those funds were a reward for a job well done, or an incentive for Abbott to create similar opportunities in the future, remains to be seen.
Either way, trusting Greg Abbott to protect tax dollars is like trusting a mouse to protect cheese.

Wage theft rife in oil and gas industry cheats workers out of millions

As Laura Clawson has repeatedly reported, wage theft is one of the nation's major rip-offs. Employers steal from fast-food employees and software engineers and Amazon warehouse workers. They don't call it stealing, of course.A ProPublica review of U.S. Department of Labor investigations has found that the oil and gas industry is also rife with this kind of of corporate banditry. Naveena Sadasivam reports:
The DOL investigations have centered on what is known as worker "misclassification," an accounting gambit whereby companies treat full-time employees as independent contractors paid hourly wages, and then fail to make good on their obligations. The technique, investigators and experts say, has become ever more common as small companies seek to gain contracts in an intensely competitive market by holding labor costs down. [...]
In 2012, the DOL began a special enforcement initiative in its Northeast and Southwest regional offices targeting the fracking industry and its supporting industries. As of August this year, the agency has conducted 435 investigations resulting in over $13 million in back wages found due for more than 9,100 workers. ProPublica obtained data for 350 of those cases from the agency. In over a fifth of the investigations, companies in violation paid more than $10,000 in back wages.

US could topple my government, kill me: Argentina's Kirchner

US could topple my government, harm me: Argentina's KirchnerArgentina's President Cristina Kirchner charged in an emotional address that domestic and US interests were pushing to topple her government, and could even kill her. Domestic business interests "are trying to bring down the government, with international (US) help," she said.
Kirchner said that on her recent visit to Pope Francis -- a fellow Argentine whose help she has sought in Argentina's ongoing debt default row -- police warned her about supposed plots against her by Islamic State activists.
"So, if something happens to me, don't look to the Mideast, look north" to the United States, Kirchner said at Government House.
- Don't believe US: Kirchner -
Just hours after the US embassy here warned its citizens to take extra safety precautions in Argentina, an aggravated Kirchner said "when you see what has been coming out of diplomatic offices, they had better not come in here and try to sell some tall tale about ISIS trying to track me down so they can kill me."
The president said local soybean producers unhappy with prices, other exporters and car company executives, all were involved since they would benefit from a devaluation of the peso, which is being pushed lower by her government's selective default.
"Exporters who have lost money have Argentina in a vise .. so do the car company executives who tell consumers they have no inventory when they do .... What they are all waiting for is a devaluation."
Argentina exited recession with 0.9-percent economic growth in the second quarter, national statistics institute INDEC said Wednesday, a rare bit of good news amid the country's new debt default.
But with inflation estimated at more than 30 percent and the value of the peso tumbling, Latin America's third-largest economy is still mired in a slowdown after averaging 7.8-percent annual growth from 2003 to 2011.
Argentina is still struggling with the aftermath of a default on nearly $100 billion in debt in 2001, with the two hedge funds it labels vultures battling the country in US courts.
But it has been blocked by US federal judge Thomas Griesa, who has ordered the country to first repay two hedge funds demanding the full $1.3 billion face value of their bonds.
Griesa ruled Monday that Argentina was in contempt of court after it passed a law allowing the government to repay creditors in Buenos Aires or Paris -- skirting the New York judge's freeze on the bank accounts it previously used to service its debt.
Argentina has been locked out of international financial markets since its 2001 default.
More than 92 percent of its creditors agreed to take losses of up to 70 percent on the face value of their bonds in 2005 and 2010 to get the struggling country's debt repayments back on track.
But the two hedge funds, US billionaire Paul Singer's NML Capital and US-based Aurelius Capital Management, which had bought up defaulted Argentine bonds for pennies on the dollar, refused to accept the write-down and took the country to court.
The strategy, which stands to make them profits of up to 1,600 percent, has earned them the label "vulture funds" from Buenos Aires.
Blocked from paying its restructured debt, Argentina missed a $539 million interest payment and entered default again on July 30.
It is now trying to buy time until the end of the year, the expiration date for a clause in the restructuring deals that entitles all bondholders to equal treatment.
Argentina is meanwhile lobbying to create a UN convention to prevent a minority of bondholders from scuppering struggling countries' debt restructuring plans.
A resolution to negotiate such a framework passed the United Nations General Assembly earlier this month.
- Tough outlook -
Economic analysts are forecasting the economy will shrink two percent this year, though the government is forecasting a return to economic growth of 2.8 percent in 2015.
The end of the boom has revived the ghost of Argentina's 2001 economic crisis, when it defaulted on $100 billion in debt and deadly riots erupted.
That violence, in which at least 26 people were killed, led to the resignation of president Fernando de la Rua, who was replaced by Adolfo Rodriguez Saa. He resigned a week after taking office amid more unrest.

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Headmistress arrested after five-year-old boy put in dog kennel by teacher for talking in class

Police in Trivandrum, Kerala, south India, on Monday arrested the headmistress of a private English school following a complaint that a five-year-old boy had been locked up in a dog kennel for talking to friends. The dog was taken out of the pen, while the youngster was kept inside. The alleged incident occurred at Jawahar English Medium School on the outskirts of the city last Thursday. However, a complaint was filed on Monday.
Police arrested school headmistress Sashikala of the school, which has been functioning in a shed within a premises of a house. The student’s class teacher Deepika, who locked up him in the kennel, has absconded. However, school manager Raveendran Pillai said the case was fabricated and no such incident occurred. Certain vested groups were behind the complaint. The boy was tutored to raise charges against the school, said Pillai.
Police said the headmistress was charged under IPC sections 317 (exposure and abandoning of a child by a person having care of it), 342 (wrongful confinement) and Juvenile Justice (care and protection of child) Act. The victim’s parent Jomon said his son was locked up in the dog kennel from morning to evening. His elder daughter, studying in an upper primary class at the same school, saw the boy languishing in the dog house when she went to use the lavatory.
When the girl took up the matter with the headmistress, she, according to the complainant, was threatened that a stick would be screwed down in her mouth if she informed the family about the incident. The family said the child was not given noon meal. The siblings, however, attended the school on Friday. The incident came to light after the girl student took up the matter with her relative, who, in turn, advised the parents to file a police complaint. The education and the social welfare departments have launched separate probes.