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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Daily Drift

Hey, repugicans here's you voter fraud ...!
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Today in History

325 The Ecumenical council is inaugurated by Emperor Constantine in Nicea.
1303 A peace treaty is signed between England and France.
1347 Cola di Rienzo takes the title of tribune in Rome.
1520 Hernando Cortes defeats Spanish troops sent against him in Mexico.
1690 England passes the Act of Grace, forgiving followers of James II.
1674 John Sobieski becomes Poland's first king.
1774 Parliament passes the Coercive Acts to punish the colonists for their increasingly anti-British behavior. The acts close the port of Boston.
1775 North Carolina becomes the first colony to declare its independence.
1784 The Peace of Versailles ends a war between France, England, and Holland.
1799 Napoleon Bonaparte orders a withdrawal from his siege of St. Jean d'Acre in Egypt.
1859 A force of Austrians collide with Piedmontese cavalry at the village of Montebello, in northern Italy.
1861 North Carolina becomes the last state to secede from the Union.
1862 President Lincoln signs the Homestead Act, providing 250 million acres of free land to settlers in the West.
1874 Levi Strauss begins marketing blue jeans with copper rivets.
1902 The U.S. military occupation of Cuba ends.
1927 Charles Lindbergh takes off from New York for Paris.
1930 The first airplane is catapulted from a dirigible.
1932 Amelia Earhart lands near Londonderry, Ireland, to become the first woman fly solo across the Atlantic.
1939 Pan American Airways starts the first regular passenger service across the Atlantic.
1941 Germany invades Crete by air.
1942 Japan completes the conquest of Burma.
1951 During the Korean War, U.S. Air Force Captain James Jabara becomes the first jet air ace in history.
1961 A white mob attacks civil rights activists in Montgomery, Alabama.
1969 In South Vietnam, troops of the 101st Airborne Division reach the top of Hill 937 after nine days of fighting entrenched North Vietnamese forces.
1970 100,000 people march in New York, supporting U.S. policies in Vietnam.

Non Sequitur


Know what Monsanto means ...

Charter schools, corporations cheat kids, spend millions on trips, strip clubs

Charter schools are cheating our children. Brace yourselves: Over 100 million dollars meant for our kids have been misused, lost or stolen by charter operators and corporations. Why? Because there is no regulation. We all know how the repugican cabal and corporate America hate regulations, and this is why.
Privatization gives greedy, corporate types all kinds of opportunities. For instance, the opportunity to use taxpayer funds meant for students; they're using that money, our money, to pay for house renovations, outings to strip clubs, and vacations to Atlantic City.
How in the world can we keep giving money to people (because we all know that corporations are people, my friend) who do this? How in the world can Americans keep supporting-- and voting for-- these pigs?
By the way, the report covers what "might just be the tip of the" proverbial iceberg, focusing on a mere fifteen of the forty-two states that have charter school laws.
Paul Rosenberg at Salon has the story:
    While there are plenty of other troubling issues surrounding charter schools-from high rates of racial segregation, to their lackluster overall performance records, to questionable admission and expulsion practices-this report sets all those admittedly important issues aside to focus squarely on activity that appears it could be criminal, and arguably totally out of control. It does not even mention questions raised by sky-high salaries paid to some charter CEOs, such as 16 New York City charter school CEOs who earned more than the head of the city's public school system in 2011-12. Crime, not greed, is the focus here. [...]
    [The report] organized the abuse into six basic categories, each of which is treated in its own section:
    • Charter operators using public funds illegally for personal gain;
    • School revenue used to illegally support other charter operator businesses;
    • Mismanagement that puts children in actual or potential danger;
    • Charters illegally requesting public dollars for services not provided;
    • Charter operators illegally inflating enrollment to boost revenues; and,
    • Charter operators mismanaging public funds and schools.
    Perhaps most disturbingly, under the first category, crooked charter school officials displayed a wide range of lavish, compulsive or tawdry tastes. Examples include:
    • Joel Pourier, former CEO of Oh Day Aki Heart Charter School in Minnesota, who embezzled $1.38 million from 2003 to 2008. He used the money on houses, cars, and trips to strip clubs. Meanwhile, according to an article in the Star Tribune, the school "lacked funds for field trips, supplies, computers and textbooks."
    Others spent their stolen money on everything from a pair of jet skis for $18,000 to combined receipts of $228 for cigarettes and beer, to over $30,000 on personal items from Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger. But the real damage came from the theft of resources for children's future.
No wonder repugicans are trying to do away with public schools. They're no fun!

Coming Tomorrow

Coming Tomorrow
  • The science behind Yellowstone's Rainbow Hot Spring
  • The painted hills of Oregon
  • Mystery seagrass circles in Croatia puzzle experts
  • Hidden Greenland valleys up glacier melting rise
And more ...
This cub is our Animal Picture, for today.

Did you know ...

What you'll need if you want to reboot civilization
About the wam! jill abramson reader
Here's answering climate change deniers
That US public pensions outperform peers in the 1st quarter
About America's worst charities
About Rick Perry's baptism publicity stunt
All you need to know about christian purity balls in 10 creepy pictures
About this driver in the UK dies when crashed into truck while taking selfie
The four reasons the private prison industry is so powerful
Here's inside the NRA plot to terrorize America
That the typical member of the 1% is an old, white man
Here take the quiz: contemporary christian music or 50 shades of grey
That the American government has become a protection racket for the 1%
To never ask the internet to name your baby
That advertising revenue, not knowledge, is the goal of Sunday morning chat shows
That most young voters plan to sit out the 2014 election
About the post-anti-biotic era
Is there a left in the us?
That the men who poisoned Charleston's drinking water now have a new business
10 lessons every govt official should learn before considering privatization
That women CEO's more likely than men to get fired
That it's very expensive to be poor
About the fossil of a new flying dinosaur discovered in china
About the next great plague: Alzheimer's 

Obama Is on Pace For The Best Job Creation Year Since Bill Clinton Was President

Under President Obama, the United States is on pace to have its best job creation year since Bill Clinton was president in 1999.…
But, but, OBAMA!
Under President Obama, the United States is on pace to have its best job creation year since Bill Clinton was president in 1999.
Check out the job gains by year graph:
Here is a chart with the full numbers via the Calculated Risk Blog:
On the rare occasions that repugicans will talk about jobs, they love to portray the president as a job creation failure. In their next breath, they will  explain how prosperity could fall from the heavens onto us all if the president would sign their stack of bills that are a series of permanent tax cuts for the wealthy disguised as job creation legislation.
The data reveals that job creation didn’t go into overdrive after the shrub massively cut taxes for the wealthy. The previous three years before this year were some of the best job creation years since Clinton was in office. The repugican motto of cut taxes and the jobs will come, has been proven wrong again, and the great right wing myth that President Obama has destroyed the economy is completely divorced from reality.
After enduring the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, no one is going to argue that the economy is booming. Despite the best efforts of repugicans, the economy is starting to pick up some serious steam. The mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about the good things that are happening, so Democrats need to speak up, because these number show once again that Democrats create where repugicans break.

Liberal States Outperform wingnut Ones as repugicans Push More Trickle Down

It is beyond question that after over thirty years, the repugican "trickle down" economic experiment continues to fail ...
GOP fail
It is not like repugicans have an affinity for science, but they appear to be applying a bastardized form of the scientific method to their perpetually failed economic policy in order to prove it works as advertised despite it is indeed a raging fail. The Oxford Dictionary defines the scientific method as “a method or procedure that consists of systematic observation, measurement and experiment, and the formulating, testing, and modification of hypotheses” to reach a fact-based conclusion. It is beyond question that after over thirty years, the repugican “trickle down” economic experiment continues providing the same empirical data and living results of starving government of revenue, depressing economic growth, increasing debt and deficit, and retarding job creation.
The trickle down “theory” was more than adequately tested for eight long and painful years during the shrub junta, and all it proved to repugicans was the theory needed more experimentation and trials even after it piled up debt and deficit, killed jobs, and sent the economy into a severe recession. At the federal level, repugicans led by Paul Ryan have passed House legislation reverting to failed shrub-era economic policies of massive unfunded tax cuts for the rich, increased defense spending, and job-killing domestic program cuts as if there will be any different outcome than during shrub-repugican years. Similar “experiments” have been enacted in repugican states such as Kansas, and it is no surprise the economic devastation resulting from huge unfunded tax cuts for the rich and corporations coupled with domestic spending cuts killed and prevented job creation, halted economic growth, and left the state with revenue shortfalls due to reach over a billion dollars within a year.
Kansas is a particularly interesting “experiment” because the state’s “extremely wingnut” Governor Sam Brownback had the temerity to blame the state’s budgetary woes and financial meltdown on “the failed economic policies of the Obama Administration” he asserted “are affecting states throughout the nation.” However, not only are Brownback and Kansas repugicans shifting blame for their economic ineptitude on President Obama, they are lying through their teeth and ignoring empirical data revealing that the President’s economic policies are great success stories because they are the polar opposite of Brownback and repugicans’ economic disasters. In fact, Democratic states like California that enacted economic policies Brownback claims are failures are thriving in every category and, like on the national level, were necessary to reverse the damage of eight years of a repugican junta following the shrub and now Brownback’s failed economic policies.
On the national level, instead of a crushing budget shortfall, job losses, and a Moody’s credit downgrade Brownback’s trickle down tax cuts produced, the Congressional Budget Office reports that the Treasury Department posted a $114 billion surplus in April alone that is the largest for that month since 2008. The Congressional Budget Office also projected the 2014 shortfall declined to 2.8% of GDP, or $492 billion that is $23 billion below its own forecast a few months ago. The surplus is partly due to a minute tax increase on the richest one percent as well as more Americans leaving the ranks of the unemployed that eviscerates the thirty-plus year contention that greater tax cuts for the rich equals more jobs and increased revenue; an assertion that Kansas’ economic meltdown, job losses, and budget shortfall disproves. Brownback asserted that “economic policies of the Obama Administration are affecting states throughout the nation,” but like his claim Kansas’ economic disaster if proof tax cuts for the rich are working as planned, it is more lies to cover repugican economic policy failures.
California suffered an eight year Brownback-shrub-Kansas economic agenda under a repugican governor and legislature that killed jobs, blew up the deficit, and devastated the state’s economy, but the state rebounded magnificently with a Democratic governor and legislature. According to a recent comprehensive study, states that embrace wingnut economic policies far underperform states enacting liberal economic policies, and California is a prime example of what liberal success looks like. California barely raised taxes on the rich similarly to federal policies and the result is within a year it is posting record budget surpluses, paying down its repugican deficit, increased spending for education, infrastructure, and domestic programs, and adding jobs at a rate outpacing the federal numbers and most states in the nation. In fact, the more liberal California economic agenda is producing more jobs, economic growth, and deficit reduction than any repugican “pro-business” agenda that is wreaking havoc on the Kansas economy.
Despite overwhelming empirical data proving that the Kansas and shrub economic agenda is  the quickest path to decimate an economy and kill jobs, House repugicans passed Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity (for the wealthy elite) budget that makes Brownback’s budget disaster look tame in comparison. In fact, Ryan’s budget is far worse for the economy, jobs, and debt and deficit than anything shrub or Brownback could possible impose and yet repugicans claim it is a job-creation, economy-growing, poverty halting, and deficit reducing bonanza despite projections it will increase the deficit and bring economic growth to a screeching halt. Still, repugicans could not help themselves from recently passing two permanent and unfunded tax cuts for the rich and corporations that add to the deficit and create no jobs. The repugicans are not experimenting any longer because they know precisely what their “pro-business” tax cutting agenda will produce; more wealth for the one percent, higher debt and deficit, and annual budget shortfalls for the nation’s economy.
It is a travesty that racial animus prevents wingnut, teabagger, libertarian, religio-wingnut, and repugican voters from spending even one minute perusing empirical data from the shrub-repugican era and states such as Kansas to comprehend their economic policies are disasters. However it is likely they know conservative economic policies are a path to poverty, job losses, and budget shortfalls regardless they are at the state or federal level, but their racial hatred of President Obama drives them to support the conservative economic agenda simply because it is the opposite of Obama’s.
Sam Brownback’s claim that Kansas’ revenue shortfall, economic underperformance, credit downgrade, and job losses are due to Obama’s economic policies is a bald-faced lie. The President’s economic policies have far outperformed Kansas or shrub-repugicans’ pro-business economic failures, and like California’s liberal economic policies are producing revenue surpluses, jobs, debt and deficit reduction in spite of minute tax hikes conservatives claim is the death knell for economic growth or job creation.
Still, repugicans are determined to repeat the same failed economic policies that have proven time and time again to retard economic growth, increase debt and deficit, kill jobs, and starve government  of revenue, but they can never claim their “experiment” needs more time to produce the desired results. Their scientific experiment in trickledown theory has been peer-reviewed, replicated ad nauseum, and studied to death with the same conclusions; repugican, libertarian, and Koch brother economic policies just fail.
If any American needs a real world, data-rich example of what America’s economy would look like with repugicans in charge, they can either harken back to eight years of shrub-repugicans’ economic disaster, or look at Kansas’ current economic catastrophe. If, however, they want to see the success of  liberal economic policies and cannot put aside their racial hatred of President Obama to see the nation’s declining debt and deficit, job creation successes, revenue surpluses, and economic growth they can look to California’s successes. Only a fool, or anti-Obama racist, would opt for repugican’s failed economic policies and unfortunately states like Kansas and Missouri, and every state overflowing with racists and fools who will vote for repugicans because they oppose the President and economic growth, job creation, and budget surpluses the rest of the nation are weary of sharing with self-loathing cretins supporting their own economic demise.

'Pro-business' policies hurt state economic growth

From the "Color me surprised, not" Department
"Pro-business" states did worst in private nonfarm jobs growth, compared to those with "anti-business" policies (Menzie Chinn, University of Wisconsin)
Wingnut economic hacks just love to justify "business-friendly" policies to state governments as keys to job growth, which after all is the whole ballgame in economic policy-making.
As Menzie Chinn of the University of Wisconsin has now shown, the problem is that pro-business policies don't really contribute to economic growth. They just make the rich richer, which is not the same thing at all.
The big cheese in the "business-friendly" policy field is the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit think tank funded by big business and the Koch brothers (among others), which periodically publishes its ALEC-Laffer State Economic Index. The Laffer is Art Laffer, that mainstay of conservative economics. The latest edition of the index is out this year.
The index measures 15 state policy "variables," such as top marginal income tax rates, property taxes, public employees per capita, state minimum wage, right-to-work law, and whether there's an estate tax. You can guess what a state has to do to rank high in all these factors and therefore shine in the index--low taxes, small government, anti-union policies, no estate tax are virtual requirements.

Wisconsin's failure
Private job growth in "pro-business" Wisconsin has fallen far short of Gov. Scott Walker's projection. (Menzie Chinn, University of Wisconsin)
But does a high ALEC ranking translate into high growth? That's the question Chinn asked. He started by measuring private nonfarm job growth in four states--California, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Minnesota--dating to January 2011, when all four got new governors. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Sam Brownback of Kansas were extremely ALEC-friendly, Jerry Brown of California and Mark Dayton of Minnesota were not. 
In December 2012, a much more extensive analysis was done by University of Iowa economist Peter Fisher for the Iowa Policy Project and Good Jobs First. It showed that ALEC policies do not improve economic performance, but they are obviously going to increase inequality.
Here's what he found, in a nutshell: "Kansas and Wisconsin, ranked 15th and 17th in terms of the ALEC-Laffer Economic Outlook Rankings, are doing equally badly relative to US employment growth. In contrast, Minnesota (ranked 46th) is outperforming the United States and those two states...What about California? It is ranked 47th by ALEC-Laffer, and yet is doing the best in terms of employment amongst the four states."  Chinn's graph of the four states' job growth accompanies this post.
As he observes, the most radical pro-ALEC governor is Walker, whose tax-cutting and anti-union zeal has propelled him into the race for the repugican cabal Presidential nomination for 2016. His state's economic performance has been dismal, as ALEC's own figures show. Walker predicted that his policies would result in job growth of 250,000; so far he's fallen short by more than 94,000.
What's worst about these ALEC policies, Chinn reports, is that the relentless budget-cutting they require leave crucial state services, particularly education, gasping for breath. That's a formula for long-term decline, not growth.
Indeed, when Chinn mapped the ALEC rankings for all 50 states against their economic growth, he found that, if anything, a higher index score correlates with a worse economic performance. That won't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the ALEC follies over time: The Iowa Policy Project found the same negative correlation in 2012.
Say this for the ALEC-Laffer Index: It's a consistently accurate predictor of economic growth, but in a bad way. Any state's voters whose governors and legislators follow the ALEC path need to ask the eternal question: Whose interests are they serving?

A year after being discredited, austerity economics still reigns

It has been a bit more than a year since the Excel spreadsheet error that shook the world. For those who may have missed it, in April of 2013, Thomas Herndon, a University of Massachusetts graduate student in economics, found an error in the calculations of Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff on the relationship between government debt and economic growth.
Reinhart and Rogoff had done an enormously influential analysis showing that countries experienced sharply slower growth once their debt-to-GDP ratio exceeded 90 percent. With the United States and many European countries reaching debt-to-GDP ratios in this 90 percent range in the wake of the Great Recession, Reinhart and Rogoff's work was seen as a warning. It was taken as evidence that governments would have to reduce spending, raise taxes or both to get or stay below the 90 percent threshold.
Political leaders and central bankers around the world were happy to trumpet the Reinhart-Rogoff findings. The story was that cutting deficits may slow growth in the short term and seriously hurt those directly affected by the cuts, such as laid-off government workers, but it was essential medicine for sustaining a healthy economy.
The spreadsheet error uncovered by Herndon and analyzed in a paper co-authored with two University of Massachusetts professors, Michael Ash and Robert Pollin, showed that the Reinhart and Rogoff story not only was based on an embarrassing gaffe but also was not true. Working off the spreadsheet that Reinhart and Rogoff created, Ash and Pollin showed there was no 90 percent cliff. Reinhart and Rogoff's red line depended on the spreadsheet error and a peculiar way of aggregating growth rates across countries.
If the numbers were entered correctly and added up across countries with more typical methods, growth did not fall off steeply for debt levels above 90 percent. The data still associated higher debt levels and lower growth rates, but the sharpest reduction in growth rates occurred with debt levels below 30 percent. That was a very different story from what Reinhart and Rogoff were saying publicly and presumably also in private meetings with central bankers, finance ministers and members of Congress.  
Perhaps even more important, a number of new studies looked at the direction of causation between growth and debt. While Reinhart and Rogoff never directly tested for causation, they certainly implied that high debt causes slow growth.
When two prominent economists can make a major error on work that had a huge impact on economic policy and face no real consequences, it says a great deal about the incentives in the economics profession.

A Florida Town Has a Choice to Make ...

...Allow Satanic Prayer or Violate Supreme Court Ruling

hell-1Unintended consequences.  That’s generally the moral of the story when it comes to the phrase “be careful what you wish for.”  While wingnuts spend a lot of time trying to interject religion into places it doesn’t belong (most notably government legislation) they fail to understand that our Constitution gives Americans the freedom of religion.  Which can also be freedom from religion.
Recently the Supreme Court made a ruling that would allow prayers before town meetings as they claim these do not violate the Constitution by endorsing a religion.  You see, because these prayers have to be open to all religions, not limited to just one.
Okay, let’s say for the sake of argument that’s legal simply because our Supreme Court says so.  That means that any religions prayer can be said before these meetings – not just christian prayers.  Though I think we all really know what wingnuts mean when they say they want “prayer before meetings.”  They mean christian prayers.  It’s the same thing we see when they want religion in our public schools.  They don’t want all religions, just the christian religion.
Well, a Florida man has decided to exercise this right the Supreme Court has given towns across the United States by asking the town of Deerfield Beach, Florida to open their meetings with a Satanic prayer.
Wait, that’s not what wingnuts meant when they said “religious freedom”?
Chaz Stevens, who is known for forcing Florida to erect an 8-foot-tall Festivus pole made of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans next to the town’s nativity scene, has essentially put the town in the precarious position of either allowing a satanic prayer to be said before one of the town’s meetings or violating the Supreme Court’s ruling pertaining to this issue.
Stevens said, “I just want equal billing. We allow various religious nutjobs to give a prayer. They pray to jesus who is make-believe, god who is make-believe, why not satan who is make-believe?”
I have to admit, even though I’m a christian, I find this absolutely hilarious.  The town is essentially in a no-win situation.  If it denies this request it’s essentially violating a ruling that’s been handed down by the Supreme Court.  But it’s clear that those pushing to have prayer during government functions didn’t mean to give religious freedom to all religions, just theirs – which is almost always christianity.
It seems that these wingnut justices on the Supreme Court, in their continued efforts to trample our First Amendment rights, didn’t really think this one through, did they?

The Koch Brothers Are Going to Try To Buy Congress By Spending $125 Million

The Koch brothers are going to try to buy Congress this year by outspending both the repugican cabal and the Democratic Party combined.
Via Politico:
The Koch brothers’ main political arm intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives, according to a memo distributed to major donors and sources familiar with the group.
The projected budget for Americans for Prosperity would be unprecedented for a private political group in a midterm, and would likely rival even the spending of the repugican cabal and Democratic Party's congressional campaign arms.
The group has already spent more than $35 million on ads attacking vulnerable Democrats in key Senate and House races, according to sources, including Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. The $125 million projection comes from a memo obtained by POLITICO labeled as a “Confidential Investor Update” provided to major donors in March, but a source familiar with AFP called the figure a “very conservative estimate. We’re on track for more than that.”
This is the problem that Supreme Court’s dismantling of campaign contribution has unleashed. The Koch brothers are now free to spend an unlimited amount of funds to try to buy the government. It is easy to see whom repugican candidates are going to be loyal to, when the Kochs are outspending the republican cabal.
The reason why the repugican controlled House is so dysfunctional is because there is no party loyalty. When talking heads talk about the “tea party” dividing the House, what they really mean is Koch owned candidates who no have no loyalty to anyone, but the Koch brothers are pursuing their own agenda.
The good news is that the Kochs have been spending money like mad since Citizens United, and their success has been limited to local/state level races and House seats. The Kochs can buy ads, but they can’t buy votes.
The power is still with the voters, and Democrats now have 125 million reasons to come out and vote this November.

Paranoid Memo Reveals That America Just Isn’t That Into The Kochs

Americans are just not that into the Kochs or their "give us all of your money because freedom!" message. It turns out that Americans are not as stupid as the Kochs delusions tell them they are…
In their push to buy Congress in 2014, the Koch brothers had a little explaining to do to their donors. After all, Mitt Romney isn’t in the White House. Cue the Karl Rove Faux News Ohio Goes for Obama face.
Lamenting in a memo obtained by Politico how the left has “outperformed our efforts in the field,” the Koch operation of Americans For Prosperity reminded donors that they are run “like a business” (in other words, they failed? This has implications worth investigating) and the left simply outdid them. The left had better messaging and lots of real people on the ground and they listened to what voters wanted.
HUH. It’s all so tricky.
Also shocking to the older, white folks at AFP, Americans actually want to help other Americans. (Apparently they hang out with only a certain kind of person – also worth investigating.) No one told them this, otherwise they would have totally changed their messaging to explain how giving the Kochs another tax break at the expense of feeding starving children is totally good for everyone.
No worries, rich people! The Koch brothers have a fix for all of these problems. They can fool people by using “regular folks” to pass on the message of the rich. And they’re going to hire people to act like Obama’s volunteers (apparently being a “community organizer” is something the Koch Brothers can only dream of).
Those hired people will “educate” “Hispanic communities about economic freedom principles and values such as free enterprise, limited government and personal responsibility.” They’re also going to educate young voters. Oh, boy. Maybe these same paid puppets of the old, white, rich Koch brothers will also “educate” African Americans about the repugican belief that slavery was great for black people.
Sure, the Kochs had a humiliating $400 million fail in 2012, but looky here, they’ve solved their messaging problem with a “sophisticated” strategy that targets specific demographics exactly like … Obama’s campaign — and remember, repugicans and the press were all telling us that Obama was going to lose, but Obama’s campaign explained to anyone willing to listen what they were doing and how it worked.
To remedy the messaging disadvantage, AFP developed “a sophisticated new media message-testing strategy to target specific demographics in specific locations we need to move on our issues,” according to the memo.
The resulting advertisements increasingly have used personal stories, often told by regular folks looking directly into the camera, to critique Democratic policies like Obamacare, and the politicians who support them. They’re part of a broader effort to project a kinder, gentler tone in espousing libertarian-infused government-slashing policies that sometimes risk coming across as coldhearted.
“If the presidential election told us anything, it’s that Americans place a great importance on taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak,” reads the AFP memo.
Yeah. Americans care about the weak and vulnerable, those scumbags. Well, the Kochs can fix that. They will “correct” the voters’ “misconception” that the “free market” principles the Kochs are spending so much money trying to get enacted really will be super for the voters. But sadly for the Koch brothers, even lazy idiots (Romney made it clear how they see the people, but newsflash: Their contempt was evident prior to Romney being caught on tape articulating it for the world to judge) can figure out that if the Koch brothers are spending hundreds of millions to fool them into voting for something, it might not be super for them.
While the $125 million the Kochs are going to spend to buy Congress seems threatening, this memo also serves as a reminder of their biggest weakness.
They have no idea what the people whose votes they need want or care about. They don’t even know how to listen to anyone other than their own kind (see 2012 during which Obama’s campaign repeatedly explained about specific demographics in specific areas), so the chances of them sorting this in time for the 2014 election are slim. Yes, they are fooling a lot of people, and yes, campaign finance reform is necessary and Citizens United is a disgrace to democracy. Yes, they are doing a lot of damage. But also…
Americans are just not that into the Kochs or their “give us all of your money because freedom!” message.



Interstate Health Care Compact Laws and ALEC Are Inseparable!

Another front has opened up in the corporate war against ACA. It's called a Health Care Compact Alliance. …
It’s no secret that the red state cabal will do anything it can to destroy the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare. Not that the states’ elected officials care one wit about the game-changing act of mandating coverage for preexisting conditions and putting a screeching halt to the practice of mammoth insurance companies pulling yearly and lifelong coverage from the chronically ill at a fiscal whim. Believe this, if you believe nothing else. Insurance companies not only devalue human life in favor of their bottom line, a human life (possibly other than their own loved ones and pals) appears to hold NO value whatsoever.
Why these greedy corporate monoliths are even in the coverage game under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a story for another day. Medicare for all should be the rallying cry for every citizen of America.
But for now, let’s consider something that commands almost no media attention. Another front has opening up in the corporate war against ACA. It’s called a Health Care Compact. There’s one that Georgia just signed onto three years ago which includes not only that red state, but a deep multi-state red roster of South Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri, Texas and Utah. So instead of one state flailing against ACA, you have a solid front of 8 states dedicating every waking legislative hour to its demise. Several wingnut Congressmen are currently pushing a bill giving the compacts their blessing.
Let me tell you something folks. There’s got to be some serious coin changing hands here. And I’m not talking about just campaign contributions. I’m talking about brown envelope, under the desk payoffs. Take a DVD peek at the film “American Hustle” (R for language) for further edification. A combined Harvard and City University of New York study puts the number of deaths in South Carolina at over a thousand as a result of not expanding Medicaid. The national estimate doesn’t belong in a civilized country. From the highly researched Health Affairs Blog comes areas of the rejected Medicaid coverage that will be compromised: Depression treatment, diabetes medications, mammograms, pap smears and catastrophic medical expenses among others. At latest count, 25 states don’t care about any of that.
In a November, 2011 press release, an outfit calling themselves the Health Care Compact Alliance revealed the following:
“The Health Care Compact Alliance today announced the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the nation’s largest nonpartisan (ROTFLMAOF) individual membership association of state legislators, has adopted the Health Care Compact as model legislation. This move will make the Health Care Compact vision and language widely available to nearly 2,000 state legislators across the country, and marks ALEC’s support of the initiative to bring the power over health care to the state level.”
ALEC-saturated General Assemblies ate it up. What followed was a knee-jerk rubber stamping of the compact in the aforementioned states. Of course, grateful ALEC legislative members had to do something for their generous mentor from DC that repeatedly wines and dines (and who knows what else) them at some of the resortiest destinations in the country, not to mention more wining and dining (and who knows what else) in their home state capitols. It’s not for nothing that some of these hyper-ambitious repugican (with a handful of Democrats thrown in) state senators and representatives cast their lot with the corporate-owned enabler of some of the most dangerous and counter-productive model-legislation known to man.
“Here is the Health Care Compact’s self-description: The Health Care Compact is a project of Competitive Governance Action, a 501(C)(4) organization committed to educating and advocating for the concept that problems should be solved by the smallest, least centralized, most local authority that may effectively address the matter. Central to the concept is the devolution of political power from the federal government to state and local governments, to individuals and to non-government community and religious institutions. The Health Care Compact was developed to offer Americans more influence over decisions that govern health care.”
The Compact’s Executive Director is published in National Review and the Washington Times. End of discussion.
So, in practical terms, what exactly is a Health Care Compact? The eight-state compact of which South Carolina is a member tracked the ALEC model-legislation bill (The Interstate Healthcare Compact) that was first mounted October 13, 2011. The South Carolina bill, was named The Interstate Healthcare Compact, so they didn’t even bother to change the name.
States do slightly alter the language and make a few logistics changes from time to time. Here’s an example from the South Carolina version signed into law, June 7, 2012:
Section 44-10-20. South Carolina wording: The Interstate Healthcare Compact is hereby enacted into law and entered into by this State with any other states legally joining the compact in a form substantially similar to the form contained in this chapter.
ALEC wording: {Insert state} enacts the Interstate Health Care Compact and enters into the compact with all other states legally joining in the compact in substantially the following form:
Often, there are no changes whatsoever. ALEC version: (A) “Commission” means the Interstate Advisory Health Care Commission. South Carolina version: (1) ‘Commission’ means the Interstate Advisory Health Care Commission. Laughably, even when the wording remains unchanged, there always seems to be the tiniest difference. In this case (A) and (1) and “and” around the word commission.
Here’s one more example of identical wording: From the South Carolina bill: ‘Effective date’ means the date upon which this compact shall become effective for purposes of the operation of state and federal law in a member state, which shall be the later of: From the ALEC model-legislation: “Effective date” means the date upon which this compact shall become effective for purposes of the operation of state and federal law in a member state, which shall be the later of:
It’s not only a corporate controlled General Assembly that’s an embarrassment here; it’s the fact that your legislators are on the political take. They’ll swoon for whomever offers the most trinkets.
Here’s a section I really despise. From SC law: Section 44-10-60. Each member state, within its jurisdiction, may enact legislation to suspend the operation of all federal laws, rules, regulations, and orders regarding health care that are inconsistent with the laws, rules, regulations, and orders adopted by the member state pursuant to this compact. Federal and state laws, rules, regulations, and orders regarding health care will remain in effect unless a member state expressly suspends them pursuant to its authority under this compact. For any federal law, rule, regulation, or order that remains in effect in a member state after the effective date, that member state shall be responsible for the associated funding obligations in its State.
The great irony and hypocrisy is that each member state can still scam the feds for a ton of money for health care under which Washington has no control. Kansas just joined the ‘compact’ crowd; eight more states are considering it while four have rejected it. Here comes total chaos. Court actions, individual states; compacts, all with their own set of rules.
Just the outcome the ALEC crowd was aiming for.

Americans Are Watching and They No Longer Trust The wingnut Supreme Court

The wingnuts have been so blatant in their service to special interests that Americans have taken notice, and a new poll reveals the people have lost faith in the court
Trust is deep-seated belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, and effective, and can be counted on to remain faithful to the reason they expect to be trusted in the first place. For most Americans, the idea of having trust in the justice system is closely related to their experience with the system and because the great majority of Americans have no reason the distrust the judiciary at any level they assume that justice is, indeed, blind and fair. Since the highest court in the land has the Constitution and legal precedent as its guide, there was a time when few Americans had misgivings about 9 jurists wielding immense power over the government and the people because they were expected to render decisions fairly according to established precedent and the law of the land, the U.S. Constitution.
The current wingnut Supreme Court has shown an increasing predilection to brush aside precedent and the Constitution as its guide and rely solely on their affiliation with the repugican cabal, the Koch brothers, corporations, and religious fundamentalists for how to decide cases that affect every American.  The wingnuts have been so blatant in their service to special interests that Americans have taken notice, and a new poll reveals the people have lost faith in, and are weary of, this wingnut Court’s rulings exclusively serving the interests of the repugican cabal, Koch brothers and corporations, and christian dominionists by a very wide margin. One thing is abundantly clear; Americans no longer trust the wingnut Court to follow the Constitution, adhere to precedent, or protect the very democracy they are manifestly dismantling at an alarming rate.
The people’s trust in the Supreme Court began eroding with the appointment of the shrub as the pretend president despite losing the 2000 general election to Democrat Al Gore, and subsequent rulings have the people demanding sweeping reforms to clear out corrupt wingnuts on the Supreme Court. According to results of the survey, the poll discovered that the breaking points were the Court’s 5-4 party-line rulings that ended a century of campaign finance law and skewed the rules in favor of the extremely wealthy and major corporations. Wide majorities were appalled by the landmark Citizens United ruling by an overwhelming margin of 80-18, as well as the more recent McCutcheon decision lifting limits on campaign contributions respondents said would lead to more corruption and much less democracy which was the conservative’s intent in ruling for the Kochs and repugicans.
Amazingly, just when one believed most Americans were comatose and unconcerned that wingnuts on the Court were anything but impartial jurists, by a 60-36 spread the people surveyed said Supreme Court justices carried out personal or wingnut political agendas rather than working to render a fair and impartial judgment founded on precedent and the Constitution; an opinion, by the way, that cut across party lines. What respondents noted was that despite Chief Justice John Roberts oath before Congress during his confirmation that he had great respect for precedent, once confirmed he immediately embarked on a run of wingnut judicial activism favoring the wealthy and undermining affirmative action, castrating voting rights protections, and most recently demolishing the Separation and Establishment clauses of the First Amendment to hand dominionists what they needed to impose a christian theocracy. Huge majorities in the poll said that it is long past the time to end Supreme Court justices’ lifetime appointments, proceedings should be video-taped and televised, justices should disclose financial conflicts of interest, and be bound by the same U.S. Judicial Code of Conduct ethics rules as every other judge in America of which they have exempted themselves; with good reason.
The problem for Americans concerned their democracy is being dismantled by wingnuts on the High Court is there is absolutely nothing can be done to rein in corruption and put an end to ruling according to the Koch brothers and religio-wingnuts. Of particular note are Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas who frequent secret policy meetings put on by the Koch brothers who detailed the purpose of the meetings is “to recruit captains of industry to fund the wingnut infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, and media outlets” such as Faux News. In fact, the Koch brothers used the presence of alleged ‘impartial jurists’ Scalia and Thomas as fundraising solicitations with memos claimingPast meetings have featured such notable leaders as Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.” According to the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, it is a clear “ethics violation for a judge to lend their name to a political fundraising event,” but since Supreme Court are above following ethical rules governing every other federal judge, Scalia and Thomas pander to the Koch brothers with impunity. Under the Code of Conduct, “a judge should not personally participate in fund-raising activities, solicit funds for any organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose.” Both Scalia and Thomas attended the Koch’s secret meeting with Citizens United appellants in 2010 and promptly returned to Washington and ruled in their favor as they were directed.
Neither justice thought to recuse themselves from hearing Citizens United and it is a habit Scalia is renowned for. During the shrub junta, Scalia blatantly refused to recuse himself from a suit against then-vice president Dick Cheney even after it was revealed that he and Cheney went on a duck hunting trip together during the pendancy of Cheney’s case.  Scalia also came under ethical fire when he skipped Chief Justice Roberts’ swearing in ceremony to attend a junket to a Ritz-Carlton resort funded by the wingnut libertarian Federalist Society; and Thomas accepted more than $42,000 in free gifts in just six years on the Supreme Court. Add to those abominations Thomas’s wife was a paid activist earning $680,000 working for a wingnut think-tank, Heritage Foundation, which is funded by foundations of the Koch brothers. Despite his wife’s highly-paid tenure at Heritage between 2003-2007, Thomas conveniently “forgot” to list her earnings on financial disclosures and no-one as much as blinked.
Even though overwhelming majorities of Americans from both ends of the political spectrum have lost all faith in the nation’s highest court, there is precious little anyone can do to reverse the wingnut’s assault on democracy. The only recourse is passing new constitutional amendments specifically reversing decisions like Citizens United, McCutcheon, Voting Rights abolition, or establishing America as a christian nation, or wait for the malcontents to die. Oh, people can sign petition after petition, write to the Court’s justices, or vent their disgust and anger to their congressional representatives, but they may as well spit directly into gale force winds because they will get the same result; a face full of spit.
However, it is somewhat reassuring that at least the overwhelming majority of Americans comprehend that wingnuts on the court are ensconced securely in the Koch brothers and repugican policy machine and it is why corporations are people, elections are for sale, voting rights vanish, and christian prayer is mandated at government meetings by Supreme Court fiat. Within a month, wingnuts on the High Court will hand evangelical extremists the ruling that effectively eviscerates the 14th Amendment and establishes free exercise of religion as a final step toward a christian theocracy and the bible as the Constitution the wingnut court is in the process of ruling unconstitutional.

FBI Investigating Welfare Rancher Cliven Bundy For Threatening Law Officers

From the "It's About Time!" Department:Range Showdown

Want to Talk About Strengthening Terrorists?

Look No Further Than The shrub junta
by Allen Clifton
bush The repugicans often like to say that President Obama has somehow made the United States “less safe.”  Though they can’t really pinpoint how he’s done that, it just makes for a good soundbite to a bunch of wingnut voters who rarely like to think for themselves.
But if these people want to talk about feeding terrorism, or making us “less safe,” they don’t need to look any further than their good pal the shrub and his junta.  No grouping of people has done more damage to the United States internationally (and domestically for that matter) than they did.
I have a friend who lived abroad from 1998-2006.  He told me about how in 1998, when he first moved, many people abroad were happy to meet Americans.  He had no trouble making friends and his nationality didn’t really carry any kind of negative connotation.
But he also told me how that quickly deteriorated during the shrub years.  He noticed how being American he was more despised and judged.  How he felt less safe.
And it makes sense.  During shrub’s years in office he made other countries absolutely hate us.  And why wouldn’t they?  We invaded Iraq while essentially telling many of our key allies who opposed our actions that we didn’t care what they thought.  Then when all was said and done, everything we promised we had gone to war for turned out to be a complete lie.
Then to top it all off, members of the shrub junta boastfully admitted to committing war crimes.
But then there was the general arrogance and stupidity that almost always seemed to surround the shrub junta.  If a president can’t do anything else, he at least needs to be able to stand behind a podium and give a decent speech.  The shrub couldn’t even do that.  He made every American seem like a bunch of bumbling idiots in cowboy hats, struggling to complete even the simplest of sentences.
And as shrub’s actions further alienated us from our allies, and the horrors from Iraq continued to mount, that is when the United States was weakened.  That’s when terrorists were given more power.
Because nothing recruits for terrorism and weakens a nation quite like invading another country based on a lie, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians within that country, then admitting that you ordered your military to commit war crimes.
And that’s exactly what the shrub junta did.
So the next time one of these repugicans says Obama has weakened the United States, remind them that no, that was actually the moron they voted for - twice.  

Mitch McConnell’s Worst Nightmare

Women and Vets Come Together In New Grimes Ad 
Alison Lundergan Grimes strong campaign continues to win over voters as Mitch McConnell's last worst nightmare is eclipsed by the next one.…
Alison Landergan Grimes
Alison Lundergan Grimes strong campaign continues to win over voters as Mitch McConnell’s last worst nightmare is eclipsed by the next one.
Under conventional wisdom, McConnell should have the advantage because he is the Senate Minority leader. The latest poll continues  the trend during the past five polls. All these polls show Alison Lundergan Grimes in a dead heat with McConnell or in the lead.  Trends like this are never good for an incumbent.  It’s a disaster when the incumbent also happens to be the Party leader because generally that brings with it a political advantage.  The fact that none of this holds true for McConnell shows the extent to which his campaign has been a disaster of incompetency.
“Despite Mitch McConnell and his Washington special interest backers wasting millions, today’s news makes clear that the McConnell campaign is spinning its wheels with Kentucky voters,” Grimes senior adviser Jonathan Hurst said Wednesday. “After Mitch McConnell has spent 30 years turning Washington into a gridlocked embarrassment – putting himself and his party first – Kentuckians are ready to put him last in November.”
Now, McConnell’s worst nightmare is coming true as women and Vets come together in support of Lundergan Grimes in her first television ad which brings women and vets together in support of Alison Lundergan Grimes.
As Johnathan Hurst, Grimes senior adviser said: “The campaign is honored to highlight Alison’s accomplishment on this issue that is very close to her heart; helping our men and women in uniform. With Washington paralyzed by partisan gridlock, Alison will be an independent, commonsense problem solver who fights for Kentucky values in the U.S. Senate.”
Allison Lundergan Grimes proves to be a candidate with bold ideas for the issues and concerns that Kentuckians care about.
While she offers bold ideas to help our vets, McConnell is going to the repugican plan b: if you can’t win them over with big money, suppress their votes – including vets who fought for other people to have the very rights that McConnell is trying to take away.
Mitch McConnell was hoping that his 30 year career, his title as Senate Minority Leader and big money from special interests would be enough to bamboozle the voters of Kentucky into giving him another term.
The combination of Allison Lundergan Grimes proven record of bold ideas and her understanding of the issues that Kentuckians care about leave McConnell with the dubious distinction of being the most vulnerable incumbent this election year. That’s a distinction McConnell earned because his priorities have been about partisan politics and assuring gridlock, instead of doing the work that people in Kentucky and across the United States need their elected representatives to do.
People want someone with bold ideas that improve their lives and protect their freedoms first and foremost. This is especially true for vets who have fought wars to protect or win freedoms for people in other lands.  Ironically, McConnell is showing his “gratitude” by trying to take away the very freedoms that vets have fought wars for other people to have.
McConnell is only making it easier for Kentuckians to see that Allison Lundergan Grimes represents their interests and their future.
This race shows Alison Lundergan Grimes as a candidate willing and able to represent the people of Kentucky with fresh ideas and an understanding of today’s reality while Mitch McConnell is a candidate of old ideas and old ideas who is totally out of touch with most people.  The fact that McConnell is alienating vets shows that his campaign is on life support even before Lundergan Grimes launched her first TV or radio ad.  It only gets better for Lundergan Grimes from here and frankly, McConnell’s weaknesses not only as a candidate but as Minority Leader become more pronounced.

The repugicans Fundraise on the Benghazi Dead While Disrespecting the Family’s Wishes

Glen D
Fresh off the 2012 death of her son, Massachusetts native Glen Doherty’s mother shamed the repugican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the repugican cabal for trying to use her son’s death for their political agenda. She told them in no uncertain terms to knock it off. So now they’re literally fundraising off of his death.
In October of 2012, the Boston Globe ran Glen Doherty’s mother’s statement:
Mitt Romney will stop telling a story on the campaign trail of meeting Glen Doherty, the Winchester native and retired Navy SEAL who was killed last month in Libya, after Doherty’s mother accused the repugican presidential nominee of attempting to use her son’s death for political gain.
Earlier, Doherty’s mother, Barbara Doherty of Woburn, questioned the former Massachusetts governor’s motives for talking about her son.
“I don’t trust Romney,” she told WHDH-TV. “He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”
This wasn’t just for Mitt Romney. This was aimed at the cabal using her son as a political prop. How tragic that she felt so strongly compelled against Romney’s insincere claims that she had to come forward with such a statement in the middle of her fresh grief.
Years later, repugicans are now using the death of Glen and the three other Americans killed in the Benghazi attacks on the 9/11 anniversary to raise money for their party. Even Joe Scarborough finds their craven abuse of tragedy “disgusting”. The fact that the cabal machine is behind this speaks to the recklessness and thoughtlessness of the repugican cabal’s current decision to once again use these four tragically murdered men for political gain and fundraising.
The repugicans will pick at still fresh wounds and campaign on the dead, while simultaneously disrespecting the family’s wishes again. They excuse this by pretending that they just want the truth, but they have betrayed that claim by cherry picking testimony, ignoring the facts determined by their own repugican-led House Armed Services Committee, planting lies in the press in order to further their own fictionalized version of Benghazi, and grandstanding while hunting for bullets to destroy Hillary Clinton instead of focusing on recommendations based on their previous investigations. How is that helping the families? It’s not. It’s only dragging them through even more pain.
Leah Burton, who was a colleague of Mr. Doherty at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, confirmed for me that not only would Mr. Doherty not have supported Mitt Romney but he was a dedicated supporter of President Obama, and indeed many things that Democrats stand for, including gay rights and religious freedom.
Mitt Romney wasn’t running around claiming ownership of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens like he was of Doherty, but repugicans are still raising money off of the tragic deaths of the four slain in the Benghazi attacks. That’s shameful on its own, yet it’s unclear that the four human beings they are using as fundraising fodder would even support what repugicans stand for.
Stevens worked hard to combat the very anti-muslim sentiment the repugican cabal caters to to get out the vote. He graduated from UC Berkley. Stevens was described in GQ as an “idealist”.
No one’s death should be used as fundraising fodder, but especially not when they were opposed to much that the cabal using them stands for. They aren’t here to speak for themselves and ask to not be the face of fundraising for the repugican cabal. I can’t imagine the horror and pain this is bringing to Doherty’s family, again. It’s beyond shameful.
The repugicans can keep abusing the institution of the U.S. House and abusing the taxpayers as they deliberately manufacture sound bites for their 2014 campaign ads with their Benghazi “investigations” aimed at pre-emptively destroying undeclared front runner Hillary Clinton. Sure, they’re wasting money and resources and going McCarthy again, but that’s what they do in order to avoid discussing ideas and policies.
But when repugicans use and abuse a warrior who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and who stood for freedom for all and not just the few, repugicans have gone too far.
The implication in repugicans claiming to be Benghazi watchdogs is that only repugicans care about the tragic deaths of these brave Americans. And that is despicable and cheap on its own. But they cross a line when they violate the express wishes of the family once again, and instead deepen the wound by using death as a cash grab.
The repugicans don’t get to appropriate the dead and use them as political props. They don’t own our troops, our wounded warriors, or those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, just like they don’t own family, god, patriotism, security, or christianity.
Shame on you, repugicans. Shame on you.

One big reason we are losing ground in virtually every field to other nations

Murderer Who Planned To Assassinate President Obama Sentenced To Death

obama frown
A man who murdered a senior citizen as part of a plot to assassinate the President Of The United States has been sentenced to death.
According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:
(James) McVay walked away from a minimum security unit at the state penitentiary on July 1, 2011. He shoplifted then drank alcohol and cough syrup, then spent the night under a bridge in Sertoma Park. He awoke, asked Satan for guidance, then saw and slid under Schein’s partially-opened garage door.
He stabbed her eight times then stole her car. When he was apprehended in Madison, Wis., hours later, he told the arresting officer that he had planned to kill and steal his way to Washington, D.C., to kill President Barack Obama.
There is no shortage of  wingnut plots to remove President Obama from office, but what McVay was planning was something much more sinister. According to the Secret Service, the president, no matter which party they are from, is the most threatened person in the country.
Many of the people who make threats against the president are mentally ill. Many Americans are more sensitive to threats to President Obama because of the race based attacks that Republicans have used against him as both a candidate and an officeholder. President Obama has faced an environment of personal hatred from his political opponents. This extremism can easily embolden a mentally ill person who can find an entire media complex that will reaffirm and feed their delusions.
Individuals are responsible for their own actions, but a 24 hour cable network that has dedicated itself to attacking this president has not helped things. There are many conservatives who make a good living by demonizing Obama. Their tactics have helped to polarize our politics, and create an ugly situation that President Obama has had to govern through.
Obama’s historic time in office is almost over, but the McVay case is a reminder that threats remain.

Led by Darrell Issa, House repugicans Are Taking America Back to McCarthyism

Issa McCarthy For the past five years wingnuts have openly expressed their greatest desire is to take the nation back to the 1950s they claim was a special period in American history because Black people knew their place, women were submissive, and Ozzie and Harriet most accurately represented the population. Most of what wingnuts think was awesome about the 50s are precisely what they oppose today whether it was robust union representation for labor, adequate funding for education, and government investment in infrastructure. Even though it is impossible to go back in time, House repugicans are taking the nation back to a dark period in the nation’s history when a demagogic, reckless, and mean-spirited repugican inspired fear in politicians and entertainers alike with unsubstantiated accusations and very public attacks on the character and patriotism of political opponents under color of authority of the United States Congress.
A few years ago, Texas repugicans controlling school textbook contents portrayed disgraced dead Senator Joseph McCarthy as a heroic American figure to be revered and respected that House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa took to heart and emulated the second repugicans took control of the House in 2011. Issa took a page straight out of McCarthy’s tactics and for the first time since the McCarthy era called for a vote to hold a witness in contempt for exercising her Constitutional 5th Amendment right.  The repugicans have shown a growing disdain for the United States Constitution, and a predilection for either blatantly flaunting it outright or pushing its limits, knowing the wingnut Supreme Court will eliminate any part of it the repugiccan cabal disagrees with.
At Issa’s urging, the repugican House followed Joseph McCarthy’s un-American example and voted to hold former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for exercising her 5th Amendment right. Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) clearly understands Issa’s witch hunt into the phony scandal Issa conspired to create with shrub holdover Inspector General J. Russell George to create and the contempt charge is exactly a tactic employed by Joseph McCarthy. McGovern said, “We’ve been down this road before. We’ve seen this kind of witch hunt steamroll through this very Capitol. But not even Joseph McCarthy was able to strip away an American citizen’s constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment, as Chairman Issa is trying to do. This exercise that we are engaged in today is nearly identical to the actions of Senator McCarthy. It was wrong then, it is wrong now. This is sad, because it demeans this House of Representatives.” Darrell Issa, and in fact all repugicans, have demeaned the House of Representatives for the past three years, but this McCarthyism repeat is a new low; even for the criminal sleaze Issa.
Issa claims, errantly, that because Lerner gave an opening statement when she was summoned before his witch hunt committee she forfeited her Constitutional right to exercise her 5th Amendment protections, but Issa is a liar and making up the law like he makes up phony scandals. This author served on a Grand Jury for a year and it was not unusual for witnesses to answer questions for three hours and plead the 5th to just one inquiry from prosecutors without being held in contempt for not answering. The 5th Amendment could not be clearer when it says that no witness shall be compelled to be a witness against himself (or in the 21st Century herself) under any circumstances.
The problem for Issa and repugicans conducting the witch hunt into the phony Issa-created scandal is that no American has been successfully prosecuted for invoking their Fifth Amendment rights before Congress according to the Congressional Research Service. The repugicans led by Issa cannot punish Lerner for exercising her Constitutional right no matter how they much they attempt to mangle the Bill of Rights. In one of McCarthy’s communist witch hunts in the 1950s, a woman who was fired from her job after McCarthy accused her of being a communist pleaded the Fifth after answer many more questions than Lerner’s opening statement.  When Issa’s hero McCarthy attempted to “compel” the woman to testify using the courts like Issa is doing, a judge slapped McCarthy down and said, “I reach the conclusion that the defendant did not waive her privilege under the Fifth Amendment and therefore did not violate the statute in question in refusing to answer the questions propounded to her. Therefore, I find that she is entitled to a judgment of acquittal on all counts.”
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee cited several cases as evidence that Issa’s McCarthy efforts are a waste of time including a letter from 25 independent lawyers saying Issa was in error. Issa disagrees and found a House lawyer to defend repugicans attempts to play Joseph McCarthy who presented a memo arguing Issa still has a chance to punish Lerner for exercising her constitutional rights. Issa must be as bad a student of history as he was a criminal because he is putting himself in McCarthy’s shoes that earned the witch hunter a congressional censure for using the courts in an attempt to punish the woman for exercising her 5th Amendment right. Make no mistake, Issa and his repugican cohort are attempting to punish an American citizen for exercising her constitutional right and it is a sign of the fascist intent of repugicans following McCarthy’s lead of using intimidation and lies to attack their political opponent President Obama because he is Black.
The parallels between Issa and McCarthy cannot be overstated, including fabricating scandals to portray the man Americans elected twice to be the President as unfit. It is noteworthy that the day after repugicans won control of the House, and two months before Issa was sworn in as chairman of the Oversight Committee, he pledged to conduct “seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks,” and planned to “organize aggressive oversight beyond his committee” to the cause of investigating the executive branch; including enlisting an inspector general to create a phony IRS scandal Lerner is being targeted for. He also lied and said “oversight should be done with a balance for the American people,” but he has focused entirely on the Obama Administration including creating the phony IRS scandal he profited handsomely from.
If the McCarthy era is a blemish on America’s political history, then Darrell Issa and House repugicans are a cancer borne of racial animus against the people’s choice for President. It has not mattered one iota how many times Issa’s investigations into phony scandals are debunked as witch hunts, he continues unabated lying to the American people from the halls of Congress and around the country raising campaign donations off of egregious phony scandal lies. It is unquestionable that history will not look kindly on repugicans in Congress with an African American man as President, but Darrell Issa will hold a special place that before now was the purview of disgraced repugican Joseph McCarthy who like Issa attempted to punish an American citizen for exercising their Constitutional rights.