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

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

1492 Christopher Columbus and his crew land in the Bahamas.
1576 Rudolf II, the king of Hungary and Bohemia, succeeds his father, Maximillian II, as Holy Roman Emperor.
1609 The song "Three Blind Mice" is published in London, believed to be the earliest printed secular song.
1702 Admiral Sir George Rooke defeats the French fleet off Vigo.
1722 Shah Sultan Husayn surrenders the Persian capital of Isfahan to Afgan rebels after a seven month siege.
1809 Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, dies under mysterious circumstances in Tennessee.
1899 The Anglo-Boer War begins.
1872 Apache leader Cochise signs a peace treaty with General Howard in Arizona Territory.
1933 Alcatraz Island is made a federal maximum security prison.
1943 The U.S. Fifth Army begins an assault crossing of the Volturno River in Italy.
1949 Eugenie Anderson becomes the first woman U.S. ambassador.
1960 Inejiro Asanuma, leaders of the Japan Socialist Party, is assassinated during a live TV broadcast.
1964 1964 USSR launches Voskhod I, first spacecraft with multi-person crew; it is also the first mission in which the crew did not wear space suits.
1970 President Richard Nixon announces the pullout of 40,000 more American troops in Vietnam by Christmas.
1971 The House of Representatives passes the Equal Rights Amendment 354-23.
1984 The Provisional Irish Republican Army detonates at bomb at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, England, in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; 5 others are killed and 31 wounded.
1994 NASA loses contact with the Magellan probe spacecraft in the thick atmosphere of Venus.
1999 Chief of Army Staff Perez Musharraf seizes power in Pakistan through a bloodless military coup.
2000 Suicide bombers at Aden, Yemen, damage USS Cole; 17 crew members killed and over 35 wounded.
2002 Terrorist bombers kill over 200 and wound over 300 more at the Sari Club in Kuta, Bali.

Non Sequitur


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Untitled by Alise_Kulikova

The congresscritters are frozen in D.C. ...

... and thousands in South Dakota are truly frozen ... and you probably haven't heard about it.
As many as 75,000 cattle have perished since the storm slammed the western part of the state Thursday through Saturday with snowfall that set records for the entire month of October in just three days, state and industry officials said.
... ranchers have no one to ask for help or reimbursement. that's because congress has yet to pass a new farm bill, which subsidizes agricultural producers.- nbcnews.com
Of course, one of South Dakota's senators is John Thune (r), who apparently is more concerned about stopping Americans from getting healthcare than he is for the welfare of his own constituents.

It Takes Just 10 Sentences For Obama to Obliterate repugicans on the Debt Ceiling

The repugican argument for not raising the debt ceiling is so weak that President Obama destroyed it in 10 sentences during his press conference.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I mean, think about it. The only reason that the repugicans have held out on negotiations up until the last week or so is because they thought it was a big enough deal that they would force unilateral concessions out of Democrats and out of me. They said so. They basically said, you know what? The president’s so responsible that if we just hold our breath and say we’re going to threaten default, then he’ll give us what we want, and we won’t have to give anything in return. That’s not — again, that’s not my account of the situation. You can read statements from repugicans over the last several months who said this explicitly.
And — and so for them now to say, well, it wouldn’t be a big deal if it — if it happens — that’s now how they’ve been acting over the last couple of months. And if it’s not a big deal, then why would I give them concessions now to avoid it? It is a big deal. And nobody should be getting concessions for making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is retained.
The president summed up the contradiction that is at the heart of the repugican position. How can repugicans expect Obama to give them unilateral concessions when they are also arguing that the debt ceiling is no big deal? If the debt ceiling really wasn’t a big deal, why would repugicans expect the president to give them anything? Much like everything else surrounding the repugican argument, this makes no sense.
The repugicans know that the debt ceiling is a big deal. That’s why Boehner and company are sweating the fact that Obama keeps saying no. Obama was right. The repugicans completely misread the situation. They thought they could huff and puff, and the president would rush in to give them what they wanted.
The reason why repugicans are taking a drubbing in the polls is that the American people don’t agree with what they are doing. The repugican cabal has not been able to make the case that the ACA is worth shutting down the government over. The repugicans continue to lose support in each poll, and their only answer is to continue to blame Obama and Reid.
President Obama turned up the heat on the repugicans with this press conference, but even more importantly, he made a common sense argument that repugicans have no answer for. The repugicans are losing so badly that it only took 10 sentences (11 in the total transcript) for the president to lay waste to their argument.

Things they won't tell you ...

Pathetic repugicans Try to Label Obama the Real tea party Terrorist

In an embarrassingly pathetic argument, repugicans are claiming that President Obama is just like the tea party terrorists because he voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006.…
Wingnuts claim that Democrats voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006 just like the tea party is doing now. This is a desperate attempt at a false equivalency and therefor an obvious attempt to make what repugicans are doing seem as if it’s business as usual. It’s also an embarrassingly pathetic argument.
Here’s an example of the claim being linked to by tea drunk repugicans:
That tea party extremist is… is… wait, wait, that’s then-Senator Barack Obama, back in 2006.
Back then, raising the debt ceiling passed 52 to 48, with ALL Democrats voting against.
Oh, busted Democrats! Er, wait. No. No, sorry. Just no.
But nice try.
Here are the facts. In 2006, both chambers were repugican majority, along with a repugican White House (the shrub). Thus the Democrats were the minority. That vote increased the debt limit by $781 billion to nearly $9 trillion and was the fourth since the shrub stole the office.
Debt limit votes fall on the party in power. They are politically toxic votes, and so politicians avoid a yes vote when possible. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center shows the vote usually splits along partisan lines, with the party in power voting in support:
When repugicans held both the Senate and the White House (2003, 2004, 2006), they provided virtually all the yea votes, while almost all Democrats voted no. When the Democrats were in power (2009, 2010), the roles reversed: the Democrats provided all but one of the yea votes, while repugicans voted no. Only when government was divided – with a Democratic Senate and a repugican president (2002, 2007) – has the vote to lift the debt limit been bipartisan.
Furthermore, in 2007 and 2002, a Democratic Senate voted to raise the debt ceiling under a repugican president, and there goes this sad, pathetic excuse du jour for repugicans refusing to do their duty for their country.
Wingnut’s false equivalency compares then Democratic Senator Obama’s vote with the current tea party threat on the debt ceiling. They are not even in the same league. Democrats and Obama did not demand any concessions in order to raise the debt ceiling. This was a procedural for show objection.
You see, Democrats did not filibuster raising the debt ceiling as they could have in 2006. UNLIKE REPUGICANS OF NOW, who have made history with their abuse of the filibuster. That is, Democrats knew it would pass, so their no vote was purely for show.
They decided to let repugicans, who claim to stand for fiscal conservatism, be the party voting to raise the debt ceiling under the shrub. Democrats had tried to fund things with taxes but repugicans said no, and so Democrats blamed the rising deficit on the fact that repugicans were refusing to pay for things by raising revenue. Thus, the no vote for political show (done with the calculation of politicians who know when they can be tools and when they cannot be tools, I might add).
Flashback via the New York Times: “But the vote, essential or not, put repugicans in the embarrassing position of calling officially for more debt, and it let Democrats speak out for fiscal restraint.”
Notice that the wingnuts who tout that vote never bother to explain the blatant hypocrisy of repugicans happily going along with trillions of debt and not even demanding to pay for the things they threw on the next budget – but now, under a Democratic President, oh my. Now they are all tight fisted – not even like Scrooge, more like the crazy uncle who thinks killing his kids will save money on food. Remember, the current crop of tea pugicans believe that it’s no biggie if they don’t raise the debt ceiling limit.
For good measure, since they want to go back to the time when repugicans had control but couldn’t manage their own spending:
The Democrats say deficits created under the shrub are a direct result of a series of tax cuts that Democrats warned would result in a flood of red ink or a push to cut costly benefits. They scoff at recent repugican concern about getting a grip on spending.
The repugican leaders say they recognize the need to put the government on a more stable fiscal foundation before the retirement demands of the baby boom generation bring what some critics consider an economic house of cards tumbling down.
Apparently even though repugicans had all of the power back in 2006, they couldn’t manage to live up to the insane “values” they now lay claim to and impose via hostage taking upon this President. The repugicans are the blindfolded backseat drivers who killed all of the passengers.
While we’re back in 2006, Speaker Boehner was all against sudden cuts back then- he called them “political suicide”. He didn’t think significant changes should be undertaken in routine spending and budget bills. Yes, try not to choke on the hypocrisy.
“To go in and start making cuts without first helping people understand the problem, the extent of the problem, and the fact that these programs are not sustainable for the long term is, I think, political suicide,” Boehner explained.
That would be a no to a “sequester” that slashed funding blindly, then, eh Mr. Speaker? And a no to defunding the government for sure. And a big, fat no to not raising the debt ceiling at all.
For bonus hypocrisy points, “Congress increased the debt limit three other times during the past decade as part of larger bills: the 2008 housing act, the 2008 TARP act, and the 2009 stimulus.”
The repugicans should avoid drawing the public’s attention to their fiscal policies when they were in charge in 2006. It only serves to highlight the radical insanity of their current behavior.

A Terrified John Boehner Warns House repugicans, ‘Democrats Want to Annihilate Us’

In a private meeting with House repugicans a terrified Speaker John Boehner warned his House repugicans that the Democrats, ‘want to annihilate us.’

According the National Review,
Speaker John Boehner rallied his troops this morning at a closed-door conference meeting at the Capitol. Democrats are trying to “annihilate us,” he told his members. “We can get through this if we stick together.” The Ohio repugican added that a “grand bargain” is off the table. What he wants is something that “builds on the gains we’ve made over the past three years, puts points on the board, and doesn’t raise taxes.”

John Boehner finally gets it. Democrats aren’t playing some damn game. They are taking a stand against the House repugican tactics of obstruction and hostage taking. It reveals the depths of their delusion that House repugicans consider forcing them to govern to be the equivalent of annihilation. Democrats aren’t trying to destroy the House repugicans. They are trying to get them to do their jobs.
Boehner’s language is telling. He was not speaking as a firm confident leader who was planning on victory. The use of the phrase, “we can get through this” demonstrated fear and terror. The repugicans aren’t winning. They know they aren’t winning, and now they are just looking to survive.
Boehner also undercut his own claim that this isn’t a game by using the sports analogy of putting points on the board. If this isn’t a game to repugicans, why is Speaker Boehner so interested in scoring political points?
House repugicans were so certain that Democrats would cave on the government shutdown that they never considered what might happen if Democrats simply said no. The more Democrats say no, the more John Boehner tries to lower expectations. The House repugicans have gone from getting rid of the ACA, to delaying the ACA, to looking for something, anything that they can use as a symbolic victory.
Democrats aren’t going to give Boehner and his House repugicans anything. That’s why he is trying to just ride it out. Speaker Boehner now realizes what the real stakes are, and he has been reduced to hoping that the repugican House majority can survive.

Are Moderate repugicans Ready to Revolt Against repugican cabal Leadership?

For every safe and cozy gerrymandered Representative, there is a swing state House member that has to worry about his or her position in 2014.…

Reality is ...

Tell the Justice Department to Investigate the Koch Brothers’ Seditious Govt Shutdown Plot

It's time for the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into the wingnut plot to harm the US government and its financial solvency and they must start ... Koch Sedition
For some married couples it is a tradition to renew their marriage vows on an anniversary as a display of their continued commitment to each other, so it was not unusual that at regular intervals The repugicans renewed their vows to eliminate the Affordable Care Act with over 40 votes in the House to repeal the law. Apparently, the 40-plus votes was not a deep enough commitment for wingnuts controlling the repugican cabal, so they chose the four-year anniversary of President Obama’s first inauguration to renew their vows to obstruct any more attempts at economic recovery by taking extreme economy-damaging measures to kill the Affordable Care Act.
In January 2009, Republicans met in secret and vowed, as a party, to obstruct and block economic initiatives to repair the damage of the shrub-repugican economic malfeasance that nearly crashed the entire world’s economy and financial system. After losing the race for the White House to President Obama a second time, conservatives gathered in secret nearly four years to the day of their first attempt to obstruct the President’s recovery agenda and renewed their vow to destroy the economy again. However, when repugicans renewed their vows in early 2013, instead of using obstruction to thwart economic recovery,  they vowed to shut down the government and jeopardize the full faith and credit of the United States to teach Americans that when repugicans reject the results of a presidential election and a Supreme Court ruling, they will destroy the economy and close down the government.
Shortly after President Obama was inaugurated for the second time a wingnut cabal led by former attorney general Edwin Meese met in secret and plotted strategy to eliminate Affordable Care Act by convincing wingnut lawmakers to pressure fellow repugicans to cut off financing for the entire federal government. Like Meese, the man leading the political arm of the Heritage Foundation, Michael A. Needham, believed House repugicans “needed to use the power of the purse” to withhold funding for the government to stop the ACA’s implementation. The well-financed groups involved in the shutdown effort, tea party patriots, unAmericans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, Club for Growth, Heritage Foundation, Citizens United, Generation Opportunity, and Young unAmericans for Liberty all have deep connections to, and likely take orders from, the Koch brothers who have spent well in excess of $200 million to stop the ACA including funding the shutdown effort.
The teabaggers have lusted to shut down the federal government since 2011 unless taxes and domestic spending were abolished, but they lacked repugican support until the Koch brothers and their band of seditionists decided the government was fair game to eliminate the healthcare law.  The fascist Koch brothers and their unAmericans for Prosperity belief tank funding the effort to abolish the ACA recently spent $5.5 million to denigrate the idea of affordable healthcare through a propaganda and misinformation campaign that would make Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels proud.
The president of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity said “We view this as a long-term effort, and will spend tens of millions of dollars on a multi-front effort” that includes preventing states from expanding Medicaid under the law and keeping a scorecard to threaten any Republican considering breaking ranks from the band of seditionists. The plot hatched in January was not to defund the health law; they want it gone in the same way they have wanted Social Security gone for nearly 80 years. When they say long-term effort, they mean decades if that is what it takes to eliminate the law including shutting down the government and pushing the nation to default on its debts.
It goes without saying that repugicans, teabaggers, and the Koch criminal gang hate the idea of most Americans having healthcare insurance and they will undoubtedly spend millions of dollars more to see it destroyed, but to plot to shut down the government and cause a credit default is a blatant act of sedition. Sedition is any overt conduct, such as speech and organization, which is deemed to tend toward insurrection against the established order and includes subversion of a Constitution and incitement of discontent to lawful authority. The Affordable Care Act was enacted according to the Constitution under established order, and the Koch brothers, Heritage Foundation, unAmericans for Prosperity, and teabagger groups are definitively inciting discontent against the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court’s lawful authority to pass and rule a law Constitutional.
Wingnuts involved in the seditious plot to shut down the government intended for repugicans to tie killing the health law to “a series of C.R.s and debt limits” according to fascist president of the Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint. He said that through all the continuing resolutions on spending over the past three years, “there was discussion of ‘O.K., we’re not going to fight the Obamacare fight, we’ll do it next time.’ The conservatives who ran in 2010 promising to repeal it kept hearing, ‘This is not the right time to fight this battle.’ ” After losing the 2012 election, the Kochs and their wingnut cabal had enough stalling and made the conscious decision that the right time to “fight this battle” was when they could shut down the government and not raise the debt limit to destroy the healthcare law. According to DeMint, he said he had the idea of holding funding the government and debt limit hostage since the ACA was signed into law in 2010, but he claims repugican leadership was not aggressive enough to do the right thing.
There is no conceivable way the “secret” meeting of wingnuts is not an act of sedition; especially when they planned in advance to shut down the government and destroy the full faith and credit of the United States unless their demands were met. The Koch brothers, tea party, Heritage Foundation, and the rest of the plotters are guilty of sedition and there are paper trails and financial records to back up the charge. There can be no doubt the government shutdown alone is wreaking havoc on the economy, and the simple fact that over 70% of intelligence workers are off the job jeopardizes the security of this nation. The real damage, though, is the threat that fascists in Congress will not vote to raise the nation’s debt limit unless the health law is defunded and that is an existential threat to the nation that began with the seditious plot eight months ago.
It is time for the Department of Justice to launch an in-depth investigation into the wingnut plot to harm the United States government and its financial solvency and they must start with the Koch brothers. It is one thing for repugicans to bicker on how to fund the government, but Senate Democrats gave House repugicans the spending levels they demanded but did not acquiesce to kill a Constitutional law that drove them to join the wingnut plot to take down the government through a well-planned and funded plot of sedition. America cannot let the traitors go unpunished, because like they did with the debt ceiling crisis of 2011, it will be a regular occurrence until they achieve their goal and as they have shown with their attempts to destroy Social Security, there are no time constraints holding them back.
The Koch brothers, their sycophant belief tanks, and anti-American teabaggers have openly advocated for a “fundamental transformation of America” and they are deploying tactics that are not  unlike the Nazis in 1930s Germany. They spent hundreds-of-millions of dollars on propaganda, fear mongering, and misinformation campaigns and when that failed to topple the established order that enacted the health law they plotted to shutter the government and destroy the full faith and credit of the United States. If Americans were timid to label wingnut extremists and repugicans treasonous, they should have no doubt that a plot to shut down America’s government and create a financial catastrophe that is reaching fruition is nothing less than outright sedition against the United States government.

As the Shutdown Continues, a Traitors’ Bromance is in the Air

Tony Perkins said, 'I think they are acting heroic, I think they are heroes. They are along the lines of the patriots who founded this nation'…
Tony Perkins is always wrong

More Hell Coming to DC as Misinformed Wingnut Truckers Prepare to Invade

From October 11-13, a convoy of roughly 3,000 protesting truckers plan to blame Obama for issues that are purely the fault of repugicans. …



SCOTUS Considers Putting Citizens United on Steroids

citizens united
The first case the Supreme Court heard this term brought what’s left of campaign finance laws back for scrutiny by the same court that gave us corporations have civil rights and money is speech in Citizens United.  Citizens United, the Sequel, is brought to you by Sean McCutcheon, a businessman and repugican agitator from Alabama.  Naturally, the chief benefactor of Citizens United joined him:  the rnc.
This is a bfd because, if McCutcheon prevails, it means the Koch brothers and other rich totalitarian types  will have unlimited use of their corporate wealth and their personal wealth to pool resources to buy Federal, state and local governments.  President Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders voiced the grave consequences to our political system that came with Citizens United and why they will be greater in this case.
In effect, this case seeks to reduce elections to auctions in which billionaires are the loudest bidders.  It means no matter who we vote for, our political representatives will be a billionaire’s pet.
McCutcheon v. the FEC  argues since corporate money is speech under Citizens United, that logic should apply to living breathing individuals. If one thinks Citizens United is a good ruling, this logic is impeccable.  If one recognizes that corruption is inevitable when a handful of people can buy a government, the very reasons the logic was flawed in Citizens United also apply in this case.
The only legal problem is Citizens United was legislating from the bench to overturn decades of settled law.  If only the disastrous results of Citizens United were limited to that.
Since the Roberts court ruled on Citizens’ United, the Koch Brothers established the teatalitarian party, to push the sort of crazy extremism advocated by people like Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann.  Corporate money went dark at unprecedented levels pushing the repugican cabal to ideological extremes that made the repugican cabal an ideological equivalent of fascism.  Moderates, at least when compared to the tea party, who wanted to survive the wave of tea party madness quivered in fear of being tea party challenged by corporate money.
The representation that Citizens United bought in 2010 was disastrous to the point that even the corporations that bought clowns like Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann realize the monsters they created.
Citizens United brought us the tea party with its mix of religious extremism and corporatist economic policy.  Citizens United brought us personhood amendments, bans on same sex marriage, attacks on the voting rights of everyone with the exception of the very people who benefited from CU and stand to benefit from CU on steroids.
We only need to look at North Carolina to see firsthand what CU on steroids would do to the political process at all levels of government.  Art Pope bought the government, and now he controls its purse strings.  The Pope regime passed the most extreme vote suppression law in the country. It wiped out any semblance of progress in the state, with corruption reaching levels comparable to what you see in banana Republics.
In various teatalitarian party controlled states, we saw the advent of personhood amendments and tax reform meant tax cuts for the rich with crippling tax increases for people at the lowest rungs of the income ladder.  They gutted resources for public education in favor ALEC inspired Charter Schools. They gutted labor protections reducing people who work for a living to slaves who are increasingly unable to make ends meet.  Programs designed to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and least politically powerful people have seen barbaric cuts and barbaric requirements such as the unconstitutional requirement of drug testing in exchange for public assistance.
Citizens United has, without question, changed a lot of things about politics in America in ways that have been detrimental to the electoral and political processes.  With the exception of the 1%, Americans are getting poorer with children hungrier and less educated. If McCutcheon prevails, the problems that came with Citizens United will amplify in ways that are not evident today.
Under current law, an individual can contribute up to $48,600 to candidates for Federal elections during a two-year election cycle and $74,600 to PACs.  Most Americans can only imagine having enough money to feed their families and still have $123,200 over two years to donate to their political party of choice.  However, for people like Art Pope and the Koch brothers, this isn’t even coffee money.  They will spend millions to adopt congressional representatives at the federal and state levels, and they will buy all the local representatives as well.
Limiting the damage of McCutcheon v. the FEC to partisan divides overlooks the greater concern, namely, the corruption that comes with individuals having the capacity to single handedly buy governments and the implications for other laws that regulate campaign finance.  In fact, Mitch McConnell is hoping that a favorable ruling in this case can be leveraged to eliminate all campaign finance law.
McConnell, however, is aiming straight for the base limits restricting the amount a donor can give a single candidate ($2,600 per election) or a political party committee ($32,400).  His argument hinges on overturning the Supreme Court’s 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, which found campaign contribution limits to be constitutional but campaign expenditure limits to be an unconstitutional burden on free speech.
According to observers, the court was more interested in pondering the dynamics of money and buying influence than on the constitutional question of whether limits on aggregate spending violate the first amendment.
Scalia doesn’t think facts matter and thinks that limits on aggregate spending “sap the vitality of political parties” and encourages “drive-by PACs” so it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that Scalia intends to rule in McCutcheon’s favor.  Given that Thomas is ethically challenged, he is unlikely to be moved by the inevitable corruption that comes with moneyed interests adopting political representatives or whole governments.  Kennedy wrote Citizens United, so he is probably in McCutcheon’s camp.
The Chief Justice wondered aloud if removing aggregate limits would inhibit wider participation in the financial aspects of elections, suggesting that Roberts might join with the liberal wing in this case.
The fact that the court focused on the dynamics of campaign money doesn’t suggest to me that it was disinterested in the first amendment aspect of the case.  This court already accepted that money is speech in Citizens United and in other cases.
The question comes down to whether or not the court concludes all voices have a right to be heard.  Based on the Justices’ reactions, the majority is leaning toward giving the rich a bigger megaphone, while acknowledging that the many who are shouting from the forest should still have a voice, albeit one with much less volume and reach.

Obama Slams Citizens United and the Koch Brothers for Skewing Our Politics

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 2.29.26 PM 
During his press conference, President Obama took aim at Citizens United and the Koch brothers for causing many of the problems in Washington, and skewing American politics.

When asked about the latest Supreme Court campaign finance case that would go beyond Citizens United, the president said,
Well the latest case would go even further than Citizens United. It would essentially say anything goes. There are no rules in terms of how to finance campaigns. There aren’t a lot of functioning democracies around the world that work this way where you can basically have millionaires and billionaires bankrolling whoever they want, however they want, in some cases undisclosed. What it means is ordinary Americans are shutout of the process. And Democrats aren’t entirely innocent of this in the past, and you know I had to raise a lot of money for my campaign. There’s nobody that operates in politics that has perfectly clean hands on this issue, but what is also true is that all of us should bind ourselves to some rules that say the people who vote for us should more important than somebody who’s spending a million dollars, ten million dollars or a hundred million dollars to helps us get elected. Because we don’t know what their agendas are. We don’t know what their interests are.
And I continue to believe that Citizens United Contributed to some of the problems we’re having in Washington today. You know, you have some ideological extremist who has big bankroll and they can entirely skew our politics, and there are a whole bunch of members of Congress right now who privately will tell you, I know our positions are unreasonable, but we’re scared that if we don’t go along with the tea party agenda or some particularly extremist agenda that we’ll be challenged from the right, and the threats are very explicit, so they toe the line. That’s part of why we’ve seen a breakdown of just normal routine business done here in Washington on behalf of the American people.
The president explained that the repugicans who are in gerrymandered districts are much more worried about a tea party challenger, and that makes it harder for them to compromise.
Obama was obviously talking about the Koch brothers when he mentioned extremist billionaires who are skewing our politics. While the other wingnut billionaires were active in the 2012 election, the Koch brothers are still spending hundreds of millions of dollars on repealing Obamacare efforts alone.
The reason why John Boehner has no power over the House repugicans is that they answer to the Koch brothers and other big donors first. This is why if the American people want their government to function properly and work for them again, Citizens United must be gotten rid of. Until this nation has elected leaders that answer to the people, the United States will continue to limp from one repugican created crisis to another. Because we have one political party being opposed by wingnut billionaires who are trying to take over the government.

Bernie Sanders Storms The Supreme Court to Stop the Koch Brothers Theft of Democracy

At a rally outside the Supreme Court, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took on the Koch brothers and said, “Freedom of speech does not equal freedom to buy the United States government.”

Sen. Sanders said,
In the long history of our country people have fought and died for democracy. Democracy means one person, one vote. The fact that all of us have the opportunity to be involved in the political process to stand up for what we believe in. Three years ago, or so the Supreme Court decided that corporations are people. They decided that through independent expenditures billionaires could spend unlimited sums of money to impact elections.
Let me say one word to you right now about how relevant that is. As all of you know, the government of the United States shut down. Hundreds of thousands of workers are suffering, millions of people are not getting the services they need. Right now, as we speak, in the House of Representatives there are people who are being threatened that if they vote for a clean CR to open the government without destroying the Affordable Care Act then huge sums of money will be spent against them in the next election.
We are living in a society where a handful of people with incredible sums of money, folks like the Koch brothers and others, are undermining what this democracy is supposed to be about. The bottom line here is that if we do not want to move this nation to an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires can determine the outcome of these elections, then it is imperative not only that we overturn Citizens United, but that we put a lid on how much people can contribute in elections.
Freedom of speech, in my view, does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government
Sen. Sanders was present at the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in the case of McCutcheon vs. FEC. The Supreme Court will deciding the fate of the caps that limit how much donors can give to candidates and political organizations during a two year election cycle later in this term.
If the Supreme Court rules the caps unconstitutional, it will allow conservative billionaires to spend even more money in their attempt to execute a hostile takeover of the United States government.
The case is so dangerous to our democracy that President Obama weighed in on it. The president called for spending limits in our elections, and spoke about the role that the conservative billionaires have played in shutting down the government.
Sen. Sanders is fighting the good fight, and if Americans want to know why the government is shutdown, all they have to is follow the money. Government shutdowns are bad, defaults are worse, but these tactics are nothing compared to the damage that the current Supreme Court is doing to our democracy.

A Brat


Bomb scare after discovery of stick wrapped in paper with dynamite written on it

A stick wrapped in paper which had the word 'dynamite' written on it caused a bomb scare at a petrol station. An Army disposal team was called while police cordoned off the garage after a member of staff found the item.
But when explosives experts examined the stick, it was found not to be explosive. A police spokesman said officers were called to the Esso garage, in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, at 1pm on Sunday.

He said: "A worker at the garage dialed 999 after discovering what he thought was a stick of dynamite lying on the floor by a vacuum machine. As a precaution, officers created a 100-metre cordon around the garage and called the bomb disposal team.
"They arrived and, when they examined the item, it turned out to be a stick, wrapped in brown paper which had the word 'dynamite' written on it. By the time this had happened and the team had left the scene, the cordon was then lifted. That was at 2.45pm."

Police condemn public for not reporting 'blatant bike thefts'

Police have condemned the public for not reporting "blatant" cycle thefts in Cambridge, a city where one in three journeys is by bike. The thefts were captured on CCTV in busy locations in the city centre. Plain-clothed officers ripped chains from the bikes and sliced through locks close to "large numbers" of witnesses, but no one reported the "crimes".
The thefts were set up as part of the city’s Operation Huntsman which is using crime prevention advice alongside increased patrols to crackdown on robbery, burglary and theft. In the space of a few hours, the ‘crooks’ ripped chains from bicycles and even grappled with bolt croppers to cut through bike locks.

But despite being in full view of a host of potential witnesses, no-one reported the crimes. Officers are urging people to help police tackle cycle crime by reporting thefts when they happen. Sergeant Andrea Gilbert said: “The CCTV is shocking because the thefts are blatant yet, despite a large number of people witnessing the crime, we didn’t receive a single call.

“Sadly people are too reliant on others to report crime, but we need everyone to play their part. If you don’t call police it means those thieves are potentially free to strike again – and next time you could be the victim. We are committed to tackling bicycle crime, which is an ongoing issue in the city, but we need the public’s help.”

Man broke into police station wanting to be locked up after fight with girlfriend

While some people try to escape police, a man in the Gordonvale suburb of Cairns, Australia, took a different tack and broke into his local station last month to try to get arrested. A taser was drawn on New Zealand citizen Karl Claude Johns, 24, after he kicked a Gordonvale police station door down and threw property around, claiming "I want to get locked up" after a boozy night and an argument with his girlfriend.

He was fined $600 in Cairns Magistrates' Court on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to commit public nuisance, willful damage and break and enter in relation to the September 21 incident. The court heard Mr Johns showed up at the police station at about 8 o'clock on the Saturday morning, yelling obscenities and threats such as "come and try to get me". He kicked the front door of the station and then went around to a side door, which he kicked down completely.
"Bolts broke off as a result of the force," police prosecutor Tara Williams said. Once inside the foyer area, Mr Johns damaged a Queensland Transport camera and threw police property around including flowers, soft drinks and other supplies. He told an off-duty police officer at the station "I want to get locked up". Ms Williams said it was estimated the damage bill amounted to about $15,000 but Magistrate Anthony Gett said he could not order restitution because he had not seen any evidence of that sum.

Duty solicitor Jefferson Mobbs said Johns had been drinking excessively the night before and wanted to get arrested after having a argument with his girlfriend. "He went to the station in an attempt to be arrested ... it was a futile attempt at being locked up," he said. Magistrate Gett said Johns' intoxication was an explanation but not an excuse and a conviction was recorded. "You've gone to Gordonvale police station, you knocked down the police door, got into the station ... and essentially made a mess," he said.

Daily Comic Relief


A Series Of Tubes

Pneumatic Tube Networks Then And Now

Long before the Internet was a glimmer in Al Gore's eye, a different series of tubes helped shuttle messages from one place to another, seemingly by magic. These pneumatic tube systems, many of which are still operating, are a marvel of not-so-modern technology and although they blow, they most definitely do not blow.

The Leaning Kiipsaare Lighthouse

The Kiipsaare Lighthouse on the Harilaid peninsula of Saaremaa island, Estonia, watches silently over the Baltic. The lighthouse was built at the tip of the peninsula in 1933. At that time the lighthouse was almost 100 metres (330 ft) inland, but it is now a few metres offshore. It is now unused, and has a pronounced lean as a result of erosion.

Upping the Cute Factor

Man bitten by rattlesnake after helping turtle cross road

For doing a good deed, a man almost lost his life on Tuesday after being bitten by a highly venomous eastern diamondback rattlesnake. The 24-year-old man, whose name was not released, and a friend were driving on Interstate 75 in Broward County, Florida, when they saw a turtle crossing the highway.
After pulling over, the man got out, grabbed the turtle and carried it to a grassy area on the side of the highway. "When he reached down to put the turtle in the grass, that's when the snake bit him," said Capt. Jeff Fobb, of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Venom Response Team.

Realizing he had been bitten, the man and his friend drove to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, where he described the snake to authorities. They identified it as an eastern diamondback and called the Venom Response Team, which responds to poisonous bites throughout South Florida.

His left hand swollen, the bite victim was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit, where he will need to take several more antivenin doses, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman Michelle Fayed said. Fobb said the young man appeared to be in good condition and spirits. "He's tolerating the bite and treatment very well," he said. "He didn't think much of it until it started hurting and swelling."

There's a news video here.

Hunters spark outrage by killing white ‘spirit moose’

Rare albino animal was considered sacred by the indigenous Mi'kmaq people; hunters have apologized and hide will be used during a ceremony to 'honor the Spirit of the Spirit Moose'

Three hunters were within their rights when they killed a rare albino moose last week in the Nova Scotia wilderness.
But since then they’ve been widely criticized on social media sites, and their action has outraged the indigenous Mi’kmaq people, who regard white creatures as “spirit animals” and believe that killing them brings bad luck.
Danny Paul, a Mi’kmaq hunter, told CBC that aboriginal people have known about the spirit moose for years.
“We know the significance and we’ve been teaching that to the non-native population for almost 500 years—about the importance that this and other white animals played in our lives,” he said. “We are not to harm them in any way, shape, or form because they could be one of our ancestors coming to remind us of something significant that’s going to happen within our communities.
“It was so disrespectful having seen it put on the social media, and it’s been an outcry and our people are outraged.”
A Department of Natural Resources biologist said that based on the photographs, the moose probably was a partial albino.
The hunters, whose names have not been publicized, have apologized, saying they did not know the animal was sacred. They have agreed to deliver the hide for a traditional Mi’kmaq ceremony.
The hunters brought the hide to Hnatiuk’s Hunting & Fishing Ltd., a hunting and taxidermy business in the Nova Scotia town of Lantz.
Hnatiuk’s has served as a sort of middleman and has used its Facebook page to speak on behalf of the hunters and the Mi’kmaq.
In a post that included the accompanying illustration of a spirit moose, Jim Hnatiuk stated:
“The hunters have shared that they regret, that unknowingly they caused this to happen. Some may not accept that, but it doesn’t change what is true.
“These are good men and they broke no law, and they have expressed that it would have been nice to have known more about the significance of these white moose. Hopefully through this, many are much more informed and, this provides the catalyst for more to be done.”
In a separate post, Mi’kmaq Chief Bob Cloade wrote: “First of all I would like to thank all those who have come forth to bringing closure to the hunt of the Sacred animal. The Hyde is being prepared to begin a four-day ceremony once it is ready…
“I have full cooperation from the Hunters, Hnatiuk’s Hunting & Fishing, DNR etc. The next step is to bring a peaceful closure and honor the Spirit of the Sacred Moose.”
The white moose was killed near Belle Cote, Nova Scotia.

Animal Pictures