Friday, May 31, 2013

Hope For Peace

Leading neuroscientist: Religious fundamentalism may be a ‘mental illness’ that can be ‘cured’ | The Raw Story:
A leading neurologist at the University of Oxford said this week that recent developments meant that science may one day be able to identify religious fundamentalism as a “mental illness” and a cure it...

Grass Roots Are Real Roots

How liberals saved California -
... Contrary to the Great Man theory of politics from Brown’s hagiographers, liberal organizations led California’s comeback, by taking away the tools empowering minority Republicans. The initiative allowing Democrats to approve a budget by majority vote passed in 2010, before Brown’s term began. Online voter registration rules and a massive campaign to engage low-frequency voters led to a sweep of the 2012 elections. Democrats passed a sorely needed tax measure to balance the budget, and attained an overwhelming majority in the Legislature. Success has unsurprisingly flowed from the removal of ideological gridlock...

Right Wing Terror Anniversary

Eric Rudolph Arrest Anniversay - WLOS News13 - Top Stories:
Today marks the ten year anniversary of the capture of a serial bomber, who hid out in the mountains of Western North Carolina....

He'd Do It Again

Why I secretly recorded Mitch McConnell -
Earlier this year, I secretly made an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican on the planet, at his campaign headquarters in Kentucky. The released portion of the recording clocks in at less than 12 minutes, but those few minutes changed my life...

What Will Be The Econ Spin?

Rising economy shifts 2014 election landscape - Ben White -
...The 2014 midterm election is shaping up as something the United States has not seen in nearly a decade: a campaign run in a strengthening economy with deficits on the decline.

No one is popping champagne corks yet, and risks remain. But the altered terrain, if it holds, could benefit Democrats and challenge Republicans whose rise to power in the House in 2010 came via a tea party movement that blasted President Barack Obama and his party for ignoring a stagnant economy and piling up an endless run of trillion dollar deficits...

The Next GOPer Meme

More Stupid On IRS Scandal - Tomorrow's Stupid, Today - Esquire:
...The idea that the IRS will have the power to withhold medical care from conservatives -- in other words, it is going to have the power to kill through neglect a president's political opponents -- is going to be a serious part of our national dialogue going forward, and it is going to be based in some bureaucratic dumbassery through which some paperwork was delayed and some groups were inconvenienced in their attempts to get in on a really cool campaign-finance scam. People are going to nod sagely and debate the fact that, perhaps, the "concerns" are overstated but that they are "out there" and worthy of our consideration. And the country's IQ will drop proportionally...

Mitt Whines

Romney Doesn’t Understand ‘First 100 Days’ -- Daily Intelligencer:
Mitt Romney has taken one of his intermittent breaks from private family life to criticize President Obama to The Wall Street Journal. His main critique is that President Obama's second first 100 days — that is, the first 100 days of Obama's second term — were waaay less special than Romney's first 100 days would have been...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Teabaggers Call For Murder Of Senator

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Susan Collins? 'Shoot Her' | Crooks and Liars:
...Those harmless, high-spirited scamps! Who would have a problem with a Patriot calling for the assassination of a U.S. Senator? After all, it's not as if anyone ever gunned down an elected official after being egged on by extremists! Hah hah, my sides are splitting!...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

No Gun Privileges For Pols

Tea Party, Democrats team up to block lawmakers looking for gun perks | Fox News:
It’s not a political alliance people are used to seeing. But in states like Texas and North Carolina, Tea Party supporters have been teaming up with Democrats to defeat measures that would expand gun rights for lawmakers but not the general public...

Crazier Quits

The rise and fall (for now) of Michele Bachmann - CBS News:
"...After a great deal of thought and deliberation, I have decided next year I will not seek a fifth congressional term to represent the wonderful people of the sixth district of Minnesota," Bachmann said in her announcement. "After serious consideration I am confident that this is the right decision... The law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years. And in my opinion, well eight years is also long enough for an individual to serve as a representative for a specific congressional district..."

Bachman created Political Rule #87: Never eat corndogs when cameras are around.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

McConnell Tied With Who?

Mitch McConnell tied in new poll. Does he miss Ashley Judd yet? -
Does Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell miss Ashley Judd yet?

We ask this because there’s a new poll out showing the GOP Kentucky lawmaker, who is up for reelection in 2014, tied with a potential Democratic opponent who is not a movie star: Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dad And The B-25

Teacher's Head On Block For Teaching Constitution

High School Teacher Faces Discipline for Informing Students About Their Rights - Hit & Run :
... The Batavia Daily Herald reports that "Dryden faces having a 'letter of remedy' placed in his employment file," which "could have consequences up to dismissal." Dryden's supporters are collecting signatures on a petition asking the board to refrain from disciplining him.

Defector GOP Needed

No More Mister Nice Blog:
...If Dole really does have qualms about an approach to governance he once championed, and he thinks his party has gone too far, he should just quit the party. He should quit and Jon Huntsman should quit and Christie Whitman and Colin Powell and Arnold Schwarzenegger and every other Republican who's put off by the party's excesses should quit all at once, and run a full-page ad in The New York Times explaining why. If these gray eminences, respected as they are by the mainstream press, said the party had finally gone too far for them, maybe mainstream journalists would wake the hell up and recognize that both sides aren't equally responsible for the mismanagement of our government...

Clarity On The IRS Non-Scandal

Daily PUMA lays out a straight-forward explanation of the IRS Non-Scandal about as clearly as it can be done. Read the whole post, please.

Daily PUMA: The comedy behind the Conservative Outrage over Non Profit 501 (c) (3) status application delays.:
...In other words, Non profit 501 (c)(3) status IS NOT to be used by a political group for a political agenda. Conservative groups are up in arms, many doing their impersonation of Jesus on the Cross over how they were denied or delayed non-profit status, when they were CLEARLY politically driven non-profits and not entitled to the non-profit status they were seeking...

McCain Aids Syrian Rebels

McCain sneaks across Turkey-Syria border, meets with rebels - CBS News:
...The trip was in the works "for weeks, if not months," Mouaz Mustafa, the executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force who was with McCain all day, told CBS News' Clarissa Ward. "It's something the senator has wanted to do for quite some time because he's pro-active on the subject of the U.S. being more directly involved in Syria and helping to create the necessary changes on the ground to end the conflict..."
I wonder how the Bush White House would have reacted if a Democrat had done something similar.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

CA Budget Surplus

Butt of Republican Jokes, Liberal State Has Huge Budget Surplus:
...California now has a budget surplus. Depending on whose numbers one uses, it is anywhere from $1.2 billion according to the Governor or $4.4 billion according to the Legislature’s independent financial analyst. How did California do it and what should they do about the surplus?

Democrats President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, and Governor Jerry Brown did not attempt an ideological game with blinders to the actual results. They tried basic arithmetic. They raised taxes. Interesting enough, the results were the same...

Dole Lost To GOP

Dole Doesn't Think He'd 'Make It' in Today's GOP -- Daily Intelligencer:
...Could Bob Dole make it in Congress today? "I doubt it," he said, adding, "Reagan couldn't have made it. Certainly, Nixon couldn't have made it, 'cause he had ideas. We might've made it, but I doubt it..."

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Crazy In NC: YouTube Edition

Disaster Prep Should Get More Attention

How the Government Saved Lives in Moore, Oklahoma : The New Yorker:
...Just as coastal towns and delta cities are beginning to adapt to the “new norm” of recurrent extreme weather, states and towns in the vast Tornado Alley (which stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians) need to improve their preparedness for dangerous winds and thunderstorms. The tragic deaths of the seven children who drowned in the basement at the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore suggests that, at a minimum, all schools and public office buildings should have secure shelters. Today, about a hundred schools in Oklahoma have safe rooms that were built with federal funds, but the Wall Street Journal reports that the program’s budget zeroed out long before the vast majority of the state’s schools, including Plaza Towers Elementary, could install one.

The United States invests far more in disaster recovery than in preparing for disasters by designing and creating more resilient buildings and infrastructure...

Friday, May 24, 2013

FL Reverses On Voter Suppression

Florida Governor Signs Election Reform Bill Reversing His Own Voter Suppression Laws | ThinkProgress:
Last November, Florida voters endured massive lines and chaotic polling places largely thanks to a barrage of election law changes pushed by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) and other GOP lawmakers. Republicans slashed the number of early voting days in half, changed ballot length restrictions to add lengthy and frivolous constitutional amendments to 12-page ballots, restricted voter registration, and tried to purge mostly minority voters from the voting rolls.

On Wednesday, Scott signed a bill to reverse his own election laws by restoring early voting days and ballot limits, among other measures...

Clinton Wins Iowa

Hillary Clinton Wins in Iowa | The Guardian Express:
In a poll released today, Hillary Clinton would defeat all opponents in the significant state of Iowa.

Is it too early to begin discussions about the 2016 Presidential election? Maybe, but at least three Republicans have already begun their run for the White House, and one of them is not pretending otherwise...

Diapers Dumps

David Vitter’s hypocritical, punitive, horrible new amendment -
In a sleepy moment on the Senate floor Wednesday, Senate Democrats accepted an amendment to the long-delayed farm bill that, if passed in its current form, would represent another step in turning previously incarcerated Americans into a permanent underclass. Certain classes of ex-convicts would be denied food stamp benefits for life, under the amendment offered by Sen. David Vitter (cannily, the crime of soliciting prostitutes is exempted from this ban). While the amendment may sound like common sense, it’s actually a harshly punitive, counter-productive policy that will only increase crime and trap people in the criminal justice system...

Is Terror War Over?

Bush's war on terror is over -
...For the first time on Thursday, President Obama laid out the full scope of his proposed counterterrorism strategy, and it boiled down to this: George W. Bush's endless war on terror is over.

And that's appropriate, since the enemy Bush went to war with after September 11 has largely been defeated...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Voter Fraud Not Found (much)

This Is Important. Give It a Read | TPM Editors Blog:
... Second, there are clearly people who will vote in two states or try to vote absentee and then vote on election day. No sane person has ever denied this. But there are very, very, very few of them. The issue with election policy is always balancing the costs with the benefits. There’s no free lunch...
I wouldn't say "very few" since I've heard four people bragging about it over the past two election cycles, and I live in a low-density area. Of course, these four gentlemen were Republicans, Christians, with one hard core gun-nut Teabagger. All these gentlemen owned homes here in WNC and in Florida and made a point of voting in all elections. No, I could not pick them out of a line-up --unless everyone was nekkid then I might could.

Go Canada!

Canadian drug policy experts recommend decriminalizing all drugs | The Raw Story:
In a report issued Thursday (PDF), a group of Canadian drug policy experts at the Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction recommend that the Harper administration immediately take up decriminalization of all drugs as the first step toward fundamentally reforming the nation’s drug war to fight addiction instead of the Canadian people...

The Real IRS Scandal

Heilemann Calls Out Priebus for Trying to Involve Obama in IRS 'Scandal' | Video Cafe:
...Never mind as they noted that the IG's report found nothing of the kind, and as Lawrence O'Donnell has been pointing out over and over again, the real scandal here is that any of these organizations doing political activities have been given tax exempt status as "social welfare" groups.

We Have The Scientists

...but not at minimum wage.

Business ruined science in this country | The Confluence:
...Anyone who thinks that all you need to make good science is cheap, well educated labor should really give it a whirl sometime. Let me know how you’re doing after a decade of lab work and half a dozen restructurings.

The idea that we need to import more foreign engineers when American engineers can’t get work here and have to go work in Canada and Japan is just beyond cruel and stupid.

As Colin McIlwain says, the idea that there is a shortage of well educated, technically proficient and experienced American scientists is something the business community conjured up in order to push wages down. Congress is either willfully ignorant or completely bamboozled if it seriously thinks that we need more foreign STEM graduates...

All You Need To Know About Taxes

Bible Says Cut Food Stamps

...and the Devil can quote Scripture for his own purposes.

Food Stamp Cuts Backed By Farm Subsidy Beneficiaries:
House Agriculture Committee Republicans who vocally supported billions in cuts to federal food assistance are big-time recipients of government help in the form of farm subsidies.

Reps. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) both cited the Bible last week to argue that while individual Christians have a responsibility to feed the poor, the federal government does not...

Four Dead In Drone Strikes

White House: Drones have killed 4 Americans:
The Obama administration acknowledged for the first time yesterday that four American citizens have been killed in drone strikes since 2009 in Pakistan and Yemen. The disclosure to Congress comes on the eve of a major national-security speech by President Obama...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Issa In On IRS Scandal

Republicans Knew About IRSgate Too, Will Now Have To Investigate Themselves:
...Oh MAN. When Rep. Darrell Issa finds out that some of his own knew about this IRS thing since last summer, he is going to be so steaming mad, he’ll just start investigating everyone and then — wait, what? What’s this?

In a letter dated July 11, 2012, the man who conducted the investigation – IRS inspector general J. Russell George – wrote to Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, telling him that he was investigating the issue and offering to keep him updated as the investigation progressed.

“The Oversight Committee knew about the audit because it requested it,” an Issa aide told ABC News. Issa released the letter, along with his own letter dated June 28, 2012 requesting the investigation, last week..

No Talking From IRS Official

IRS' Lerner says did nothing wrong, refuses to answer questions | Reuters:
The Internal Revenue Service official at the center of a tax scandal about extra scrutiny of conservative groups told a congressional hearing on Wednesday she had done nothing wrong but asserted her constitutional right not to answer questions...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Immigration Reform Creeping Forward

Senate panel approves sweeping immigration bill | Reuters:
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would bring about the biggest changes in U.S. immigration policy in a generation, setting up a spirited debate in the full Senate next month...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Evil Apple: Tax Dodging Edition

Apple’s Web of Tax Shelters Saved It Billions, Panel Finds -
Even as Apple became the nation’s most profitable technology company, it avoided billions in taxes in the United States and around the world through a web of subsidiaries so complex it spanned continents and went beyond anything most experts had ever seen, Congressional investigators disclosed on Monday...

Will Men Report Prostate Problems?

GOP attorney general candidate tried to force women to report miscarriages to police -

Virginia Republicans selected state Sen. Mark Obenshain as their candidate to succeed fellow right-winger Ken Cuccinelli as the state’s top prosecutor over the weekend, a move that has invited additional scrutiny of Obenshain’s track record by state Democrats and other progressive activists.

One of the first bits of legislative flotsam to resurface was a measure, introduced by Obenshain in 2009, to force women to report miscarriages to the police within 24 hours or face up to a year in jail...

Union Losses Part Of Econ Inequality

The 1 Percent Are Only Half the Problem -
...The decline of labor unions is what connects the skills-based gap to the 1 percent-based gap. Although conservatives often insist that the 1 percent’s richesse doesn’t come out of the pockets of the 99 percent, that assertion ignores the fact that labor’s share of gross domestic product is shrinking while capital’s share is growing. Since 1979, except for a brief period during the tech boom of the late 1990s, labor’s share of corporate income has fallen. Pension funds have blurred somewhat the venerable distinction between capital and labor. But that’s easy to exaggerate, since only about one-sixth of all households own stocks whose value exceeds $7,000. According to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, the G.D.P. shift from labor to capital explains fully one-third of the 1 percent’s run-up in its share of national income. It couldn’t have happened if private-sector unionism had remained strong...

Hemp Coming?

Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul Push For Hemp Legalization In Senate Fight:
Kentucky's two senators, Republicans Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, have been working to include a provision that would legalize industrial hemp into the farm bill, according to Senate and Kentucky sources, an effort that is likely to result in a floor vote on the issue this week...

Mole At ABC

Expect no less from the Kingdom of Mouse.

A Right-Wing Mole at ABC News — FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting:
...Conservatives don’t just complain loudly, endlessly and inaccurately about liberal media bias. They also train right-leaning journalists to make their way into the supposedly hostile terrain of Beltway media. And one of the most famous alums of a conservative media training program is now a major star at a network news outlet: ABC’s senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl.

Backfiring Scandals

Scandals Backfire on Republicans as Obama's Approval Ratings Go Up:
Despite the many attempts by Republicans to generate a scandal, a new CNN/ORC poll found that the president’s approval ratings have increased by two points...

Teh Stoopid Is Strong In This One

This Is No Ordinary Scandal -
We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate. The reputation of the Obama White House has, among conservatives, gone from sketchy to sinister, and, among liberals, from unsatisfying to dangerous. No one likes what they're seeing. The Justice Department assault on the Associated Press and the ugly politicization of the Internal Revenue Service have left the administration's credibility deeply, probably irretrievably damaged. They don't look jerky now, they look dirty. The patina of high-mindedness the president enjoyed is gone...

Mouse Empire Investigates Line Cheating

Disney World Scheme: Entitled Families Hire Disabled Guide to Bypass Lines, Says Report | Parenting - Yahoo! Shine:
 ...Instead, according to the New York Post, the moms pay $130 an hour to hire a disabled, “black-market” guide, who uses her position—sitting in a motorized scooter—to help entitled families gain special access to rides.

“On one hand, you can say she’s a great entrepreneur,” disability activist Kleo King, of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, told Yahoo! Shine. “On the other hand, she’s kind of pimping herself out. And it’s outrageous she would help people commit fraud...”

Sunday, May 19, 2013

IRS To Kill Cons?

Grasping For New Scandals, Fox Fearmongers That Obamacare Will Allow IRS To Deny Medical Treatment | Research | Media Matters for America:
Fox News' Steve Doocy Suggests The IRS Could Use Health Records To Interfere With Conservatives' Healthcare. Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy suggested that the IRS would be able to access Americans' private health information and meddle in specific health procedures:...

Karl Won't Admit Error

Jon Karl makes things worse -
...CNN’s Howard Kurtz, who knows a little bit about being in the line of media fire for his own work, offered ABC News’s embattled Jon Karl the chance to defend himself on Reliable Sources Sunday. Karl, of course, is in hot water because his “scoop” revealing that the White House tampered with Benghazi talking points relied on doctored email leaked by House Republican sources...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Heritage Foundation Shoots Other Foot

Heritage Foundation To GOP: Attack Obama, Don't Govern | Crooks and Liars:
...“To that end, we urge you to avoid bringing any legislation to the House Floor that could expose or highlight major schisms within the conference. Legislation such as the Internet sales tax or the FARRM Act which contains nearly $800 billion in food stamp spending, would give the press a reason to shift their attention away from the failures of the Obama administration to write another ‘circular firing squad’ article...”

IRS Outs Self

Lawyer confirms she asked planted question that broke open IRS scandal | Fox News:
...The first revelation that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups came in a planted question during a lawyers’ conference earlier this month, the attorney who asked the question confirmed Saturday with Fox News...

Koch Pile Grows

Mountain of Petroleum Coke From Oil Sands Rises in Detroit -
...Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom...

Scandal In VA

Virginia Governor and Attorney General Linked in Scandal -
... Virginia is in the grip of an old-fashioned, finger-licking political scandal linking all these figures. There are overlapping plot lines, a cameo by the governor’s wife and, in an offstage role portending a possible dark denouement, F.B.I. agents...

Whining About Winning

Conservative Groups Granted Exemption Vastly Outspent Liberal Ones - OpenSecrets Blog:
...Conservative nonprofits that received tax-exempt status since the beginning of 2010 and also filed election spending reports with the Federal Election Commission overwhelmed liberal groups in terms of money spent on politics, an analysis of Internal Revenue Service and FEC records shows.

Of the 21 organizations that received rulings from the IRS after January 1, 2010, and filed FEC reports in 2010 or 2012, 13 were conservative. They outspent the liberal groups in that category by a factor of nearly 34-to-1, the Center for Responsive Politics analysis shows...

Scandals 101

The scandals are falling apart:
 ...On Tuesday, it looked like we had three possible political scandals brewing. Two days later, with much more evidence available, it doesn’t look like any of them will pan out. There’ll be more hearings, and more bad press for the Obama administration, and more demands for documents. But — and this is a key qualification — absent more revelations, the scandals that could reach high don’t seem to include any real wrongdoing, whereas the ones that include real wrongdoing don’t reach high enough. Let’s go through them...

Friday, May 17, 2013

How To Screw Your Opponents

Bob Cesca: 10 Examples of Bush and the Republicans Using Government Power to Target Critics:
They say two wrongs don't make a right, but ignoring one of those wrongs while vilifying the other is intellectually dishonest and violently hypocritical, among other things. And certainly that's the case surrounding news that the IRS targeted tea-party groups as a means of determining and verifying their tax-exempt status has resurrected a familiar debate about government overreach and abuse of power...

ABC Carrying GOP Water Again

ABC’s Benghazi problem festers -
What did they know and when they did they know it? That question has been posed to the White House a lot this week — but it should also be put to ABC News, which has been caught reporting as fact emails about the Benghazi controversy that, it turns out, were doctored by Republican aides. There’s no indication that ABC and its reporter, Jonathan Karl, knew the emails were manipulated before reporting them, of course. But the network may run into trouble for overplaying its hand in claiming it had “obtained” emails that, we learn today from CBS News, were actually notes taken by GOP aides being briefed on the emails.

That might be less of a problem if the characterization of the emails was accurate. It was not...

Crazy In NC: Saving Guns Edition

NC House passes 'Save the Gun' bill :: "State House lawmakers voted Wednesday to forbid law enforcement officers from destroying fully-operating firearms, even if they were used in a crime..."

Lest We Forget: The Boot Licking Press

Things In Politico That Make Me Want To Guzzle Antifreeze, Part The Infinity - Esquire:
...Selling missiles to the people who sponsored the slaughter of U.S. Marines is nothing that can't be smoothed over between the soup and fish. That's the way the country should operate. These people should live in a terrarium.
In case you've forgotten, this terrorist incident killed fifty (50) times more Americans than died at Benghazi but I don't remember a single Congressional inquiry, let alone an investigation and a special $70 million prosecutor. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

GOPers Do A Ben Bad

Republicans Altered Benghazi Emails, CBS News Report Claims:
One day after The White House released 100 pages of Benghazi emails, a report has surfaced alleging that Republicans released a set with altered text...

He Ain't Tricky O

Obama may be facing scandals, but he’s no Richard Nixon - The Washington Post:
STANDING BEFORE reporters Thursday, President Obama declined an invitation to compare the recent scandals weighing down his administration with those that forced President Nixon to resign in 1973. So allow us to do the work for him: There is no comparison.

Nixon, in a series of crimes that collectively came to be known as Watergate, directed from the White House and Justice Department a concerted campaign against those he perceived as political enemies, in the process subverting the FBI, the IRS, other government agencies and the electoral process to his nefarious purposes. Mr. Obama has done nothing of the kind. Nor is there much to support a lesser “unifying theory” of this week’s scandals, which is that together they prove Mr. Obama guilty of a grand overreach of federal power...

Who Gets Audited?

The Truth Behind our IRS Audit | Greenpeace:
Last September, Greenpeace welcomed a new addition to our national headquarters in Washington, D.C. - an IRS auditor. After a three month-long investigation, we passed the audit and maintained our tax-exempt status. As the Wall Street Journal reported on March 21, the real story is what prompted the audit - a recommendation from Public Interest Watch (PIW) - a self-proclaimed "watchdog of non-profit groups" funded by non-other than ExxonMobil...
Update: The Salon link has a very good summary of the alleged scandal, noting that no actual scandal has been uncovered.

Salon--Where's the IRS "misconduct"?
...The IG’s report offers evidence of much confusion, poor training, unclear directives and what seems to be pretty lousy, or, at least, extremely ineffective management at the department of the IRS tasked with approving or rejecting tax-exempt status for 501(c)(3) “charitable groups” and 501(c)(4) “social welfare organizations”. Members of Congress, as well as government watchdog groups have long argued that many of those tax-payer subsidized organizations have abused the privilege and violated the legal restrictions on political activity by such groups. The abuse has been particularly widespread, they argue, in the wake of the Citizens United decision and the flood of largely unrestricted, often completely anonymous money funneled to those types of groups for often purely-political purposes...

New Union Blood

White-collar workers are turning to labor unions -
The next wave of union protesters isn't blue collar.

It's lawyers, paralegals, secretaries, helicopter pilots, judges, insurance agents and podiatrists.

These white-collar workers are not exactly the picture of the labor movement, but they are becoming a more essential part of it as they turn to unions for help in a tough economy as bosses try to squeeze out more profits...

Funding Security

Obama calls on Congress to ‘fully fund’ his budget request for embassy security - The Washington Post:
 President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to “fully fund” his administration’s budget request for embassy security. The request comes as Obama seeks to get ahead of the controversy over his administration’s response to the attack last September in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.

Obama said he has been working with Democrats and Republicans. He says he needs congressional help to ensure that foreign outposts are safer...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More Than Four Died For Watergate

Before trotting out that already cliched Benghazi phrase, you might want to read and heed this article. Watergate was not just a breaking and entering mission; it was something much more nefarious. And btw, I'm one of three living Americans who voted for Nixon.

The Death Toll of Watergate | Consortiumnews:
Exclusive: Major gaps in the history of Watergate and Iran-Contra have let Republicans minimize those scandals by comparing them to the fabricated “scandal” over the Benghazi attacks. A fuller understanding of Watergate would reveal its links to Richard Nixon’s prolonging the Vietnam War, writes Robert Parry....

Too Many Tax Exempt Groups

The real scandal: IRS gives tax exemptions to political partisans -
The revelation that conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status were singled out for special attention by Internal Revenue Service bureaucrats has given Republicans their best cudgel yet to beat on the Obama administration. But as the outrage revs into high gear, let me offer a contrarian perspective: As inept as the IRS may have been in the way they processed applications for 501(c)(4) status, the bigger scandal is that the IRS grants the tax-exempt designation to so many overtly political organizations, treating them as if they are no more engaged in partisan politics than the Girl Scouts...

Comment Of The Day: IRS Scandal Edition

Inspector General Report On IRS - Another One Down The Memory Hole - Esquire

Kathy Seivers · Top Commenter · University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Meanwhile, it appears that this same group in Cincinnati refused a Liberal group, "Emerge America," 501(c)4 status and taxed it accordingly and forced it to name its donors. Will we hear about this on CNN or Fox? I think not.

Are The Princes Beginning To Fall?

Laurence Leamer on Coal Baron Donald Blankenship’s Downfall - The Daily Beast:
Donald Blankenship was the most powerful coal mogul in America, but he could soon be indicted, thanks to 14 years of work by two Pittsburgh lawyers...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hillbillies Not Included

In the link below, I couldn't find any references to searches for "hillbilly, hick, redneck, racist, goober, peckerwood " or any of the other terms commonly applied to Southerners, so this map is not a real reflection of all hate speech. But I will guarantee that I will have this beaten on my head because I am from the South. Institutionalized hate like the comic strip "Snuffy Smith" and various "redneck" reality shows constantly demean us rural types but are deemed "okay" and "harmless fun" because they are aimed at whites, yet even that distinction fails when looking at some of the other white, ethnic subsets.

For instance, it seems perfectly fine to recite redneck jokes but woe be unto the government official who tells a joke involving Americans of Polish descent. Even our own government thinks redneck bashing is just fine. One government study, approved and passed on to Congress, advocating the great Appalachian land grab (called by flatlanders the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the TVA), said there would be few problems with the locals because they were all "marginal people." (Yes, that is a direct quote.) So it's all just fine because we're just barely human.

Hate in 140 Characters, Mapped | Crooks and Liars

Lest We Forget: Skippy IRS Edition

Stop holding Democrats to a different standard -
...Considering the gravity of the allegations against the Obama IRS from the Treasury Department’s inspector general, congressional scrutiny is certainly warranted. However, there’s just one problem: most of the lawmakers and pundits today decrying the use of public resources against a White House’s political opponents had little – if anything – to say about equally troubling revelations about the Bush administration’s deployment of public resources against its opponents. In fact, conservatives said so little back then that Fox News apparently doesn’t even know (or is pretending not to know) the Bush administration used the IRS in the same way the Obama adminstration allegedly did.

And here’s the even more incredible thing: the Bush cabal didn’t just use the IRS for its political hackery – it mounted a full-scale government-wide assault on its enemies, marshaling disparate agencies in its smear efforts...

It Was Already Over

Calm Down, People: Obama's Second Term Was Already in Tatters - Garance Franke-Ruta - The Atlantic:
Are the AP snooping, Benghazi, and IRS scandals about to destroy Obama's second term? Not really—because hyperpartisanship in Washington had already stalled the president's agenda and put the 113th Congress on track to become another one of the young 21st century's already-legendary do-nothing bodies...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Awesome Space Video

A tip of the hat to Riverdaughter and The Confluence.

The Other IRS Shoe

Cannonfire: "Double Standard"---
...Back in the Reagan/Bush I era, not a single conservative complained when the Christic Institute had its 501(c)3 status revoked after the group filed a lawsuit against various CIA operatives. The IRS claimed that the suit was politically motivated, and that the Institute was a partisan group. Yet the Institute's representatives had never endorsed a political party, and always spoke with what I considered genuine disdain for both Democratic and Republican leaders....

The Five Minute Rule

Rand Paul Trip To Iowa - Rand Paul's Big Weekend - Esquire:
...Unfortunately, the blog's strict Five Minute Rule as regards the politicians in the Paul family, acting this time disguised as Ezra Klein, wreaked its terrible vengeance once again.

Ultimately, UN bureaucrats will stop at nothing to register, ban and CONFISCATE firearms owned by private citizens like YOU. So far, the gun-grabbers have successfully kept many of their schemes under wraps.

(The Five Minute Rule states that you can listen to any politician from the Paul family for precisely five minutes and agree with pretty much everything that person says. But that at exactly the 5:00:01 mark, the conversation will be Raptured up into the Izonkosphere and the CAPITAL LETTERS will starT to Come OUT.)...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Benghazi's Greates Hits

...presented in Myth vs. Fact format. The Truth About The Right's Latest Benghazi Attacks | Research | Media Matters for America

Clinton Not A Target

On Benghazi probe, GOP's Issa says 'Hillary Clinton's not a target' - First Read:
A top GOP critic pushed back Sunday on charges that Republican efforts to investigate last year's Benghazi attack are designed to inflict political damage on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Hillary Clinton's not a target," said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on NBC's Meet the Press. "President Obama is not a target..."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dictator Funded By Xians

Cannonfire: "The "Christian" mass-murderer"
...Back in the 1980s, Rios Montt received tons of favorable coverage (and money) from American televangelists Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart and Jerry Falwell, because the Guatemalan dictator was a Pentacostal Protestant who loved to caterwaul about how much he loved Jesus, even as his soldiers raped and slaughtered indiscriminately. I suspect, but cannot prove, that American intelligence used these fundamentalist churches as "cover" for sending funds to the Guatemalan regime...

Immigration Bill Amended To Death

The Gang of Eight's Immigration Fight : The New Yorker:
The long-awaited immigration-reform bill written by the haplessly named Gang of Eight in the United States Senate got buried this week, not unexpectedly, by a great mudslide of amendments—more than three hundred, at last count. The bill was eight hundred and forty-four pages to begin with. Some of the amendments were sensible and humane—Senator Patrick Leahy’s suggestion that the legislation include same-sex marriage in its definition of family, for instance. Many were malicious. Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, proposed that anyone who had ever lived illegally in the U.S. be barred for life from U.S. citizenship. The primary purpose of this overhaul, of course, is to offer the eleven million people believed to be living here illegally the chance to become legal—to give those who qualify a “pathway to citizenship...”

Friday, May 10, 2013

Rove Already Attacking Clinton

Karl Rove-Linked American Crossroads Attacks Hillary Clinton Over Benghazi: American Crossroads, a super PAC conceived by Karl Rove, attacked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a web video released Friday...

Diapers Has New Obstruction Tactic

Vitter hits EPA pick with 653 questions - David Vitter seems to have set a new record.

...Sen. Vitter, a Louisiana Republican with close ties to the gas and oil industries, has already sent a whopping 653 questions to President Obama's nominee to take over the Environmental Protection Agency on a wide range of regulatory topics (and her use of government email accounts) ahead of her Thursday confirmation hearings, according to a Democratic staffer directly involved in the confirmation process...

Thursday, May 09, 2013

No Democracy In Detriot

Does Michigan's Emergency-Manager Law Disenfranchise Black Citizens? - Chris Lewis - The Atlantic:
...State-appointed emergency managers currently run Detroit along with five other Michigan cities and three school districts. While the cities under emergency management together contain just nine percent of Michigan's population, they contain, notably, about half of the state's African-American residents.

Michigan's Public Act 436 allows the governor to appoint emergency managers with near-absolute power in cash-strapped cities, towns, and school districts. Emergency managers can supersede local ordinances, sell city assets, and break union contracts -- leaving local elected officials without real authority.

"It totally decimates democracy," Detroit resident Catherine Phillips says of state takeover. "We have the right by federal law to allow us to go and choose by way of voting who we want to represent us in municipalities and school districts. By implementation of this dictator law, they have taken that right away..."

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Comment Of The Day: Benghazi Edition,2

Fox News host on Benghazi: ‘We’re getting a little lopsided’ by favoring Republicans | The Raw Story
theoracle 2 hours ago
Benghazi attack hearings by hyper-partisan anti-American Republicans: A toxic tempest in a Tea Party teapot.
And remember, when Darrel Issa's witch-hunt committee received State Department documents regarding the Benghazi attack, documents that had the names of Libyans who were working with us against al Qaeda, these documents were posted on-line by Republicans on this committee, leaving the names of these Libyan CIA contacts unredacted, getting some of these Libyans working with us killed. And some of these Libyan sources that were killed after their names were exposed by Republicans probably were developed as CIA assets by the two CIA agents who were killed in the Benghazi consulate attack, sabotaging all the effort they put into developing these sources inside Libya, even giving their lives, with Republicans literally spitting on their graves.

Sensible Student Loan Bill

Warren’s proposal: Offer college students the same interest rates as banks | The Raw Story:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would give college students the same interest rates on their federal student loans as banks do when borrowing from the Federal Reserve...

Killing Through Breakfast

It's amazing. Unbelievable. No long quotes. I don't want my computer to explode. No More Free Breakfasts | National Review Online: "...These are the ways in which the Left has damaged children and families through free school breakfasts..."

Comment Of The Day: Benghazi Edition,1

Whitewater Benghazi Hearings - The Whitewater Of The New Century - Esquire
Chris O'Brien · Top Commenter
September 17, 2008, terrorists attacked the U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen - 7 killed.
July 9, 2008, terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey - 3 killed.
September 12, 2006, terrorists attacked the U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria - 1 killed.
March 2, 2006, a suicide car bomber killed 4, at the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan.
December 6, 2004, terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - 5 killed.
July 30, 2004, a suicide bomber killed 2 at the U.S. embassy in Taskkent, Uzbekistan.
February 28, 2003, terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan killing 2.
February 20, 2003, a suicide truck bomber killed 17 at the International Diplomatic Compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Note the years... all Bush Junta.
David Grover · Top Commenter
GOP scandals: Watergate (subborning perjury, corrupting the election process, treating agencies of the government as arms of your campaign), Iran-Contra (breaking a law explicitly, negotiating with terrorists, pre-emptively pardoning anyone who might have done something wrong), Abu Ghraib (torture), launching the Iraq war (too many to count, including lying about everything).

Democratic scandals: Whitewater (university professors get suckered into buying bad property), Lewinsky (professor gets blowjob from a student, lies about it to his wife), Benghazi (spokesperson isn't clear about what happened the day after it happened).

Why, that almost looks intentional.

Hospital Charges

It's Official: Hospital Bills Make No Sense - $5K for a procedure in one hospital costs $223K in another:
The charges on US hospital bills often seem entirely random and inconsistent, and now we know why: they probably are. The government has released data today on what 3,300 different hospitals charge for the 100 most common procedures. The results show massive variation, reports the Washington Post. One DC hospital charges $115,000 to put a patient on a ventilator, while another in the same city charges $53,000. Nationwide it's even crazier: $5,304 for a joint replacement at one hospital in Oklahoma compared with $223,373 for one in California...

Cold War Fallout

Air Force strips 17 officers of power to launch intercontinental nuclear missiles | Fox News:
...Bruce Blair, who served as an Air Force ICBM launch control officer in the 1970s and is now a research scholar at Princeton University, said the Folds email points to a broader problem within the nuclear weapons force.

"The nuclear air force is suffering from a deep malaise caused by the declining relevance of their mission since the Cold War's end over 20 years ago," Blair said in an interview. "Minuteman launch crews have long been marginalized and demoralized by the fact that the Air Force's culture and fast-track careers revolve around flying planes, not sitting in underground bunkers baby-sitting nuclear-armed missiles."

Blair is co-founder of Global Zero, an international group that advocates the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

O'Donnel Flogs NRA

O Talks Tuff On Sexual Assaults

Obama: ‘No tolerance’ for military sexual assault - Jennifer Epstein -
President Barack Obama accused members of the military who perpetrate sexual assaults of “betraying the uniform” they wear after the Pentagon reported Tuesday that there are more than 70 sexual assaults involving members of the armed forces each day.

“They may consider themselves patriots, but when you engage in that kind of behavior, it’s not patriotic, it’s a crime,” Obama said at a joint press conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye that also touched on conflicts in Syria and North Korea...

Monday, May 06, 2013

Fox vs. Obama, Benghazi Chapter

Fox News chief ordered Geraldo Rivera’s mic cut for defending Obama on Benghazi: report | The Raw Story:
A new report says that Fox News President Roger Ailes ordered the Fox News control room to cut host Geraldo Rivera’s mic just two days before November’s election because he was defending President Barack Obama against the network’s “misinformation” about terrorist attacks in Benghazi.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Bloomberg View columnist Jonathan Alter’s new book, “The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies,” is expected to tell a story about how Fox News tried to use the Benghazi attacks to prevent Obama’s re-election...

Pootin' 'Publicans' Problems

Republican Strategist: “Out Of The House They Can’t Pass Gas” (VIDEO):
Today Chuck Todd of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown was doing some political analysis on the President’s press conference with Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibb and Republican Strategist John Feehery. They discussed the seemingly powerless president mostly because of Republicans’ inability to work with him. The following dialogue was amusing but rather sad because the current political stalemate affects millions of poor and middle class Americans...

PETA Zings Christie

Chris Christie in trouble with PETA for squishing spider | MNN - Mother Nature Network:
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who escort spiders outside to freedom, and those who squish them. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie proved to be a squisher while talking to a group of fourth-graders last week...

Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Daily Flashback: Contra Edition

McCain: Benghazi Is Just Like Iran-Contra | Crooks and Liars:
...When is Iran-Contra like Benghazi? Never, unless you're John McCain and are relying on the average IQ of the average Fox viewer to connect the non-existent dots into something that neither event is.

Let's see if we can refresh memories just a bit. Iran-Contra would be when Ronald Reagan agreed to sell weapons to the guy holding US diplomats hostage and then tried to cover up the arms sales by funneling the proceeds to the Nicaraguan Sandinistas Contras...
Trantorian an hour ago
Karoli, the funds from the sale of weapons to Iran went to fund the Nicaraguan Contras, not the Sandinista government. 
Also, the Anti communist organization you cite as McCain being a member actually was supporting Salvadoran death squads, as the Sandinistas were in power in Nicaragua in the 80's and did not have death squads.

Agreeing With A GOPer

Calhoun Times - Graves opposes efforts to exempt Congress from Obamacare:
U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) issued the following statement after Politico reported that members of Congress are seeking to exempt themselves and congressional staff from Obamacare:

“I will oppose any effort to give Congress a special exemption from Obamacare. Congress put this train wreck in motion, and we should be hit by the train along with the rest of America. The fact that Democrats are among those trying to escape Obamacare makes it all the more important that they remain trapped. Once Democrats suffer the consequences of the law, perhaps they’ll join me in working to repeal it...

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Rand News

My bold in the following snippet. Iowa GOP intrigued, wary about Rand Paul, the next generation | The Des Moines Register |
Republican celebrity Rand Paul arrives in Iowa this week, offering the tantalizing potential of a possible presidential aspirant who could bridge Iowa’s warring GOP factions — or please none of them...

From The None Of Your Damn Business Department

Fox News’ Tantaros: Is Obama’s 15-year-old daughter going on birth control? | The Raw Story:
Fox News host Andrea Tantaros expressed concern on Friday over President Barack Obama’s support for over-the-counter access to birth control for girls aged 15 and up.

“I’m just wondering, at 15 years old, is the Obama daughter, Malia, going to go on birth control?” she asked on her radio show. “Are they gonna put her on birth control? Because he’s very concerned with the contraceptives and pharmaceuticals that are going in the mouths of everybody else’s 15-year old daughter...”

The GOP House

House of Cards: Plots Against Obama Have Morphed Into Total Republican Self-Destruction:
...The voters are paying House Republicans to shuffle cards and point fingers, while they obstruct and delay major legislation whose time has come. And of course, Republicans are already planning their next debt ceiling hostage taking, so they are also being paid to willy nilly defund the government as they run around like chickens with their heads cut off screaming about things like the deficit that could be fixed if only they would sit down for budget resolution talks...


US company makes gun created entirely from 3D printer: Defense Distributed, a non-profit, open source organization in the US that specializes in creating gun parts using 3D printers is claiming to have made the first ever firearm created entirely from a 3D printer named the Liberator, according to Forbes...

Friday, May 03, 2013

Comment Of The Day: Sister Killing Edition

Mr. Webb pretty sums up my position on guns.

Kentucky Rifles For Children - The Worst Quote Of The Day - Esquire
Roy Webb · Top Commenter
More guns make us safer! Just ask this little kid... Oh wait, he just shot his sister to death. You know, I own guns, I've shot guns all my life, I've reloaded my own ammo, I can still field-strip an M-16 in the dark, I read about guns (the book AK-47: the weapon that changed the face of war by Larry Kahner is excellent, by the by, about how putting that kind of power in anyone's hands has created a whole new subculture of violence), but I always get asked by the gun freaks on the Salt Lake Tribune comment boards "why do you hate guns!" I don't hate guns, I hate stupid. I don't hate guns, I hate gun freaks who use them as a substitute for their own micro-phallus shortcomings and then wave them around in everyone else's face. I hate those potbellied yokels from Panguitch who strut around with a big iron on their hip or carry their precious AR-15 into the Penneys (as happened last winter in Ogden, Utah) and then get all whiney when everyone points out what a douchebag they are being. I don't hate guns at all, I hate the gun culture. The same one that led to this little girl's tragic death.

But Are They Good Jobs?

US employers added 165K jobs in April, lowering unemployment rate to 4-year low of 7.5 pct. - The Washington Post:
The U.S. economy showed last month why it remains the envy of industrialized nations: In the face of tax increases and federal spending cuts, employers added a solid 165,000 jobs in April — and far more in February and March than anyone thought...

Thursday, May 02, 2013

O Hate Killed Gun Bill

Sen. Toomey Admits GOP Senate Filibustered Background Checks Because They Hate Obama (Video) - Americans Against the Tea Party:
Earlier today, in an inadvertent moment of candidness, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) confirmed America’s worst suspicions about last week’s NRA sponsored Republican senate filibuster of the universal background checks legislation he cosponsored.

“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey admitted on Tuesday in an interview with Digital First Media editors in the offices of the Times Herald newspaper in Norristown, Pa...

Killing The Bank Subsidy

The Growing Sentiment on the Hill For Ending 'Too Big To Fail' | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone:
...Fast forward a few weeks. The Senate is in full budget-debate fury, with members pulling all-nighters and people on the Hill generally losing their minds. In the middle of all of this, Republican Senator David Vitter and Democrat Sherrod Brown – the same Senators who have been planning legislation to cap the size of banks, a revived version of the failed Brown-Kaufman amendment from the Dodd-Frank bill – offered a non-binding amendment to the budget that would direct the government to end the subsidies and advantages banks derive from the perception that they are Too Big to Fail.

The key word in this story is "non-binding," but here's the cool thing: the amendment passed unanimously. By a vote of 99-0, the entire Senate agreed, at least in principle, that the banks should not be getting that extra $83 billion a year...

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The Failures Of Capitalism

Capitalism is killing our morals, our future - MarketWatch:
Yes, capitalism is working ... for the Forbes 1,000 Global Billionaires whose ranks swelled from 322 in 2000 to 1,426 recently. Billionaires control the vast majority of the world’s wealth, while the income of American workers stagnated.

For the rest of the world, capitalism is not working: A billion live on less than two dollars a day. With global population exploding to 10 billion by 2050, that inequality gap will grow, fueling revolutions, wars, adding more billionaires and more folks surviving on two bucks a day...