Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Last Call For A Minimum Of Logic

New Hampshire Republican Congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia dismissed raising the minimum wage as a "wedge issue" by President Barack Obama's administration that actually wouldn't help people and instead is just a "petty, short-sighted type of little issue."

Garcia, considered a rising star among conservative Republicans, made the comments Monday evening during an interview with Chris Ryan on his Pints and Politics show on WKXL in Concord, New Hampshire. The comments were flagged by the opposition-research shop American Bridge. 
"I voted against increasing the state minimum wage when I was in the legislature," Garcia said. "It seems to be sort of a petty — not punitive is the wrong word — but kind of just a petty, short-sighted type of little issue that the President's administration decided to champion for a time to then use as a wedge issue." 
Garcia goes on to say that a minimum wage increase would be slight for the recipients but would be "catastrophic" for the job market. She also calls a hike "trite." 
"Every employer I've talked to says —about deals with the minimum wage says 'look I will literally be laying people off.' Now I ask you, is giving someone a dollar, $1.15 increase helpful or better for them than actually not losing that job to begin with?" Garcia continued. "So what you're doing is you're forcing people to choose between laying people off completely and losing their job or having a somewhat trite and meaningless wage —excuse me raise, and your wage that doesn't do in fact do anything to make your life more affordable, allow for the cost of living, help you heat your home, fill your car, and all these other —afford your healthcare— and all these things we're dealing with. So yeah, I'm opposed to raising it."

There's three problems with Garcia's argument: First, in a country where corporations continue to earn record profits, they have the money to invest back into labor costs. Her assumption that a raise in the minimum wage would have to immediately be compensated by firing people doesn't make fiscal sense.

Second, when multiple businesses increase wages for their lowest-paid employees, these employees have more money to spend into the local economy and all indications are that this is exactly what happens when there's a minimum wage hike.  More money in the economy means growth, and growth means there's more business coming in to pay for these wage increases.   Garcia doesn't make basic economic sense either.  Imagine that.

Finally, her argument doesn't hold water from an empirical standpoint either.  Washington State had up until recently the highest minimum wage in the country at $9.32 an hour.  If Garcia's correct, then Washington State's unemployment rate should be well above the national average.

It's not.  August 2014 it was 5.8%, below the country's 6.1% national average.  Meanwhile, states that had the federal minimum wage at $7.25 an hour like Kentucky and North Carolina have higher than average unemployment, NC at 6.5% and KY at 7.4%.  If raising the minimum wage is bad for the economy, then Washington State should have the worst unemployment in America.

It doesn't.  The argument is silly.

But so is the Republican Party.

These Victims Are Professionals

GQ's interview with George Zimmerman and his family simply isn't as awful as you probably think it would be.  Instead it's much, much worse, as if the Bluths from Arrested Development met the Duck Dynasty clan on the set of The Sporanos. Writer Amanda Robb visited the "most hated family in America":

It was Grace, the little sister, who first grasped how all their lives were about to change. "We need to get guns!" she screamed when she saw the first news report pop up on her phone. The brief story didn't even have George's name—the shooter was still publicly unidentified—but that was no comfort. It was only a matter of time. 
The Zimmermans already owned a lot of guns—at least ten altogether, between Grace and her fiancĂ©, her two brothers, and her parents. Still, Grace bought herself a new Taurus pistol. 
They had good reason to believe they might be in danger. Soon after Reuters published George's name on March 7, 2012, the New Black Panthers put out a $10,000 bounty for his "citizen's arrest." #Justice4Trayvon became a popular hashtag, and violent threats came in a flood. "All I can and will say I pray to God that your son geroge [sic]and Robert both choke on a sick dick and the mother and father both choke off a dick," someone posted on Bob and Gladys's website. "[I]t's not over we will have the last lol."
The family decided they could no longer stay put. George and Shellie holed up with a friend who was a federal air marshal, so they were reasonably safe. But for years, George's name had been on the deed to the house where his parents lived. Someone would find them. Bob worried about the large window that faced the street at the front of the house. "That's my mother-in-law's room," he said. Gladys's mother: 87 years old, Alzheimer's-afflicted. "I could just see somebody shooting into the bedroom or throwing a Molotov cocktail or something." 
Robert, who bears a strong resemblance to George, was seen as particularly vulnerable. At the time of the shooting, he was living in suburban Washington, D.C., and in March, shortly after his thirty-first birthday, he got a call from a special agent at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, who told him, Robert recalls, that "credible yet nonspecific" intelligence had identified him as a "target": "Anyone who wants to harm him will make no distinction between you because of the physical similarity. You need to go, and you need to go now." He left, joining the family on the run in Florida.

The Zimmermans believe to this day that they will never be free, that they are hunted by millions of angry liberals, and they are all completely paranoid and armed to the teeth and ready to shoot to kill in order to defend themselves.

Before I leave, we Skype with the rest of the family, minus George, who are all at home in Florida. The connection is choppy. Bob, Gladys, and Grace are in the kitchen, and all three of them look tired. Both of the family's lawsuits—their best hope at financial salvation—are going nowhere fast. A federal magistrate bounced the case against Roseanne Barr back to a state court. And a circuit-court judge just tossed out George's case against NBC. 
But that's not what they want to talk about today. They want me to understand that the world is aligned against them and that what sustains them is their closeness as a family. George texts all the time. He even called recently. He wanted to know the name of a recent pop song, one with a chorus that goes la la la. 
Bob tells me that George's big fear right now is that he'll be charged with federal civil rights violations for the Martin shooting. 
"He's worried," Bob says, "that if FBI agents come and kick in his door, he's probably gonna shoot a few of them."

The interview is comically awful, because the Zimmermans are awful people. The Zimmermans have family codes for situations.  They fear pretty much 90% of America is trying to kill George and that they'll have to spend decades living like a bored family full of former mobsters in exile.  Most of all they want you to know they have guns.  Lots and lots of guns.

Oh, and George is still being a "concerned citizen" out there in Florida.  But the family of course fears he's a little jumpy on the trigger.

Trayvon Martin could not be reached for comment.

Cash Rules Everything Around Them

The annual list of Forbes's 400 richest Americans is out, and you'll be glad to know that President Obama's evil communist socialist anti-colonialist views and his massively overregulated uncertain business climate ended up making these Masters of the Universe about $270 billion last year.

Thanks to a buoyant stock market, the richest people in the U.S. just keep getting richer. That has made it harder than ever to join the ranks of the 400 wealthiest Americans. The price of entry to The Forbes 400 this year is $1.55 billion, the highest it’s been since Forbes started tracking American wealth in 1982. Last year it took $1.3 billion to score a spot. Because the bar is so high, 113 U.S. billionaires didn’t make the cut

Bill gates, still #1 at $81 billion.  Rich enough to every single person in America 200 bucks and still have $16 billion or so left over.

All together the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a staggering $2.29 trillion, up $270 billion from a year ago. That’s about the same as the gross domestic product of Brazil, a country of 200 million people. The average net worth of list members is $5.7 billion, $700 million more than last year and a record high. An impressive 303 of the 400 saw the value of their fortunes rise compared to a year ago. Only 36 people from last year’s list had lower net worths this year. Twenty-six people fell off the list; another six people died, including businessman and Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer.

And of course, Obama's making it so very hard to join this list.  Obamacare is destroying the medical industry, you know.

There are 27 newcomers to the Forbes 400, including Elizabeth Holmes the youngest woman on the list, and the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. Just 30 years old, the Stanford University dropout has built blood testing company Theranos into a firm that venture capitalists have valued at $9 billion. She owns 50% of it.

So hard out here for a pimp.  We should probably cut Social Security just in case.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Last Call For The Brothers Very Grim

Since Koch Industries aggressively expanded into high finance, the net worth of each brother has also exploded – from roughly $4 billion in 2002 to more than $40 billion today. In that period, the company embarked on a corporate buying spree that has taken it well beyond petroleum. In 2005, Koch purchased Georgia Pacific for $21 billion, giving the company a familiar, expansive grip on the industrial web that transforms Southern pine into consumer goods – from plywood sold at Home Depot to brand-name products like Dixie Cups and Angel Soft toilet paper. In 2013, Koch leapt into high technology with the $7 billion acquisition of Molex, a manufacturer of more than 100,000 electronics components and a top supplier to smartphone makers, including Apple. 
Koch Supply & Trading makes money both from physical trades that move oil and commodities across oceans as well as in "paper" trades involving nothing more than high-stakes bets and cash. In paper trading, Koch's products extend far beyond simple oil futures. Koch pioneered, for sale to hedge funds, "volatility swaps," in which the actual price of crude is irrelevant and what matters is only the "magnitude of daily fluctuations in prices." Steve Mawer, until recently the president of KS&T, described parts of his trading operation as "black-box stuff." 
Like a casino that bets at its own craps table, Koch engages in "proprietary trading" – speculating for the company's own bottom line. "We're like a hedge fund and a dealer at the same time," bragged Ilia Bouchouev, head of Koch's derivatives trading in 2004. "We can both make markets and speculate." The company's many tentacles in the physical oil business give Koch rich insight into market conditions and disruptions that can inform its speculative bets. When oil prices spiked to record heights in 2008, Koch was a major player in the speculative markets, according to documents leaked by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, with trading volumes rivaling Wall Street giants like Citibank. Koch rode a trader-driven frenzy – detached from actual supply and demand – that drove prices above $147 a barrel in July 2008, battering a global economy about to enter a free fall.
Only Koch knows how much money Koch reaped during this price spike. But, as a proxy, consider the $20 million Koch and its subsidiaries spent lobbying Congress in 2008 – before then, its biggest annual lobbying expense had been $5 million – seeking to derail a raft of consumer-protection bills, including the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act, the Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008, the Prevent Unfair Manipulation of Prices Act of 2008 and the Close the Enron Loophole Act.

And these two charming gentlemen have spent hundreds of millions on Republicans for the Senate in 2014, and millions more lobbying Congress to help them make even more money.  These are the guys who really run the country.  They're also one of the largest polluters in America, dumping 2 million metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every single month.

But hey, America.

House Of Pain, Con't

A grim reminder that most likely the GOP will gain a few seats in the House in November, and the incoming people in January will be even more batshit insane than the current crop of Gohmerts, Bachmanns and other assorted lunatics already infesting the House GOP.

One nominee proposed reclassifying single parenthood as child abuse. Another suggested that four “blood moons” would herald “world-changing, shaking-type events” and said Islam was not a religion but a “complete geopolitical structure” unworthy of tax exemption. Still another labeled Hillary Rodham Clinton “the Antichrist.” 
Congressional Republicans successfully ended their primary season with minimal damage, but in at least a dozen safe or largely safe Republican House districts where more mild-mannered Republicans are exiting, their likely replacements will pull the party to the right, a move likely to increase division in an already polarized Congress. 
“Congressman Hall is a very genial and well-liked guy, and I hope that eventually I’m perceived that way too,” said John Ratcliffe, who in the Texas Republican primary defeated Ralph M. Hall, a 91-year-old with nearly 34 years in the House. But, he added: “The district that I will represent is far more conservative than most districts. Leadership will or should understand what the people in my district want — more conservative approaches and more conservative stands.”

More fights with President Obama.  More blanket opposition to anything Democrats try to do.  More shutdown threats over the debt ceiling, the budget, and everything else.  The GOP will only get worse because the voters voting in GOP primaries are all, well, your typical GOP primary voters.  They want Democrats eliminated from the country, period.

Where are the moderates?  Too busy being purged out of the party I guess.

For the House speaker, John A. Boehner, the newest crop of conservatives will present at best a headache, at worst a leadership challenge. Many, including Mr. Ratcliffe, have refused to commit to voting for him to serve again as speaker, lending potential votes to rebellious conservatives who nearly defeated him in 2013. 
And if Republicans take control of the Senate, the group will probably compound the difficulties House and Senate Republican leaders will have finding legislative unity. 
“Obviously I’m interested in the House going forward with the Senate, and I think there are going to be a lot of challenges,” said Representative Spencer Bachus, Republican of Alabama, who will retire in January and likely be replaced by Gary Palmer, who has helped lead the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank. “A lot of the people who have sat down to solve problems are leaving, those like me that are concerned about the dysfunctionality.” 
As for their replacements, Mr. Bachus said: “I think they love their country every bit as much as we do. I think maybe they’re not as pragmatic.” Mr. Bachus is one of 26 House veterans who are retiring or running for the Senate or were defeated in the primaries.

They love "their" country alright, and the people like them in it.  Everybody else?  Well, you know the drill.  Block them, punish them, hurt them, and there's always Second Amendment Remedies(tm).

2014 will bring a new batch of crazies.  And that will only get worse as the GOP gets worse.

A Black And White World

Normally Hot Air's Jazz Shaw is a pretty reasonable guy for a conservative and regularly resists the kind of overt wingnut impulses of the rest of his compatriots. I say normally, because he greatly disappoints me with this Sunday article where he finds enough "evidence" to indict the media on mentioning black people by race in criminal cases only if they are the victims, and never the suspects.

In all these instances we see a pattern which deserves an explanation from the nation’s media gatekeepers. If America’s reporters are so concerned about race relations in the country that such descriptions are included immediately when discussing a case where a white person is charged with injury to an African American, how is such discussion less valid when the roles are reversed? Violence takes place all the time, and the fact is that both attackers and victims cover the full spectrum of skin tones. If it’s an important question for us to ponder as a nation, are not all examples pertinent to the discussion? As much as some of these news outlets may hate to admit it, black people do, on occasion, commit acts of violence. And sometimes the victims of that violence are white.

But somehow that’s not a story. When reporting those types of crimes, there is an embargo on The B Word. You never read a headline where “a black man” or ” a black cop” stands accused of this or that crime against “an unarmed white man” or “a young white woman.” I was reminded of this yet again watching all the coverage of the arrest in the disappearance of Heather Graham. Read this thirty paragraph story at HuffPo about the arrest of Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., a suspect in the case. If you open that page and place your hand over the picture of Heather you would have no clue as to the races – or even general descriptions – of the persons involved.

Why? Of course, even posing the question immediately brands me as a hopeless, hateful racist in the minds of half the nation and the conversation immediately shuts down. But a responsible media, if they truly wanted to have a frank conversation about racial conflict in America, would be honest enough to tackle this issue.

Note what Shaw has done here: accused the media of being too political correct for his taste, protests that he "can't find any examples" of the media naming the race of the victim and suspect in a crime when the suspect is black and the victim is white, and then preemptively deflects all criticism of his extraordinary claim as accusations of racism, pretty much the Wingnut 101 on race relations.  It boils down to "I'm right, liberals are wrong, and anything they say otherwise is them accusing me of racism."

Frankly, I expect better from Shaw, but I guess I no longer should.

The funny part is Shaw is making the same argument that groups who are very much proud of their racism make, the argument of a somehow unreported epidemic of "black on white crime" in America and that there's a massive conspiracy to keep it that way.  Of course, these white supremacist groups are very eager to push such a narrative:

On Stormfront, a popular white supremacist Internet forum, one poster recently asked people to join in a planned rally against black crime in Knoxville, Tennessee, scheduled for June 2012. The purpose of the rally would be to protest against new trials for black assailants who allegedly tortured and murdered a young white couple in that city in 2007. At that time, the incident mobilized the white supremacist community, which held rallies and distributed flyers that accused the media of ignoring what they considered to be a heinous hate crime. Police in Knoxville who investigated the crime said that the victims had not been targeted because of their race.

In May 2012, the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) announced that it would investigate a number of alleged incidents around the country in which whites were reportedly the victims of crimes committed by black youths or other minorities. In particular, the NSM mentioned an alleged attack against two white reporters by black youths in Norfolk, Virginia, and assaults against white men in Mobile, Alabama, and Baltimore, Maryland. The NSM has called for hate crime charges to be filed in these cases and wrote on its Web site that "if the roles had been reversed and it was a White mob that had attacked a Black citizen, it would have been labeled a 'lynching' by the major media…We have discovered a disturbing pattern of the systematic cover up and refusal of prosecutors to prosecute offenders under these [hate crime] statutes when the perpetrators are Black and the victims are White."

That same month, the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan posted "a warning for white Americans" on their message board that claimed that there has been a significant rise recently in violent black-on-white crime across the country and that "this new racially motivated pandemic is mostly ignored by the liberal news media." The group asserted that it will organize a national distribution of fliers across the county "warning White Americans of the dangers to them and their families when approached by large groups of blacks." They added: "The Liberal Government jew [sic] media refuse to report fairly on these hate crimes so it our duty war our fellow Kinsmen of the violence being perpetrated against our Great Race."

On May 11, 2012, the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) posted an article on its Web site that claimed that a New Jersey newspaper had "censored" the race of the alleged assailants in what it called "savage mob attacks" on five white concertgoers in New Jersey. The CofCC dismissed both the newspaper and police accounts portraying the incident as an "isolated event." According to the CofCC, "almost as alarming as the epidemic violent crime being perpetrated against white people is the blatant media censorship and black-out of the racial element of the incidents."

I'm not racist.  I just make the same argument popular with racists.  Oh sure, maybe I am dismissing his argument because of the very big implied racism message.

Maybe there's a valid reason for that if you sound like Stormfront, WorldNetDaily, the NSM and CofCC?

You're better than this, Jazz.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Last Call For Obama's Mea Culpa

In an interview tonight with 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft, President Obama admits that he badly underestimated ISIS and overestimated the Iraqi Army we spent billions of dollars and several years training.

President Obama acknowledged that the U.S. underestimated the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also called ISIL) and overestimated the ability of the Iraqi military to fend off the militant group in an interview that will air Sunday on 60 Minutes
The president was asked by 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft about comments from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has said the U.S. not only underestimated ISIS, it also overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi military to fight the extremist group. 
"That's true," Mr. Obama said. "That's absolutely true.
"Jim Clappper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria," he said, blaming the instability of the Syrian civil war for giving extremists space to thrive. 
The comments were among the president's most candid to date about the rapid rise of the terrorist group that has ransacked much of Syria and Iraq in recent months.

Pretty large admission there from the President, but the plan to deal with ISIS has been revised as well.

"Essentially what happened with ISIL was that you had al Qaeda in Iraq, which was a vicious group, but our Marines were able to quash with the help of Sunni tribes," he explained. "They went back underground, but over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you had huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos." 
The group was able to "attract foreign fighters who believed in their jihadist nonsense and traveled everywhere from Europe to the United States to Australia to other parts of the Muslim world, converging on Syria," the president said. "And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world." 
He said their recruitment has been aided by a "very savvy" social media campaign. He also blamed remnants of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's military, which were expunged from the Iraqi military after Hussein's fall, for lending some "traditional military capacity" to the terrorist group. 
"That's why it's so important for us to recognize part of the solution here is gonna be military," he said. "We just have to push them back, and shrink their space, and go after their command and control, and their capacity, and their weapons, and their fueling, and cut off their financing, and work to eliminate the flow of foreign fighters."

We'll see how good this plan works, but I'm not holding my breath for a miracle.  Should it not work, what then?

Sunday Morning Read: The Service's Dirty Secret

Somebody in official Washington has decided that the man who jumped the fence and made it into the White House with a knife was the last straw for the US Secret Service, because the Washington Post has a big ol' story on how an attack on the White House three years ago was completely botched by the people tasked with protecting the President.

The gunman parked his black Honda directly south of the White House, in the dark of a November night, in a closed lane of Constitution Avenue. He pointed his long, semiautomatic rifle out of the passenger window, aimed directly at the home of the president of the United States, and pulled the trigger.

A bullet smashed a window on the second floor, just steps from the first family’s formal living room. Another lodged in a window frame, and more pinged off the roof, sending bits of wood and concrete to the ground. At least seven bullets struck the upstairs residence of the White House, flying some 700 yards across the South Lawn.

President Obama and his wife were out of town on that evening of Nov. 11, 2011, but their younger daughter, Sasha, and Michelle Obama’s mother,Marian Robinson, were inside, while older daughter Malia was expected back any moment from an outing with friends.

Secret Service officers initially rushed to respond. One, stationed directly under the second-floor terrace where the bullets struck, drew her .357 handgun and prepared to crack open an emergency gun box. Snipers on the roof, standing just 20 feet from where one bullet struck, scanned the South Lawn through their rifle scopes for signs of an attack. With little camera surveillance on the White House perimeter, it was up to the Secret Service officers on duty to figure out what was going on.

Then came an order that surprised some of the officers. “No shots have been fired. . . . Stand down,” a supervisor called over his radio. He said the noise was the backfire from a nearby construction vehicle.

You've got to be kidding me.  Given the sheer number of threats made against this president, for obvious reasons, an attack on the White House was dismissed as construction equipment backfiring?

That command was the first of a string of security lapses, never previously reported, as the Secret Service failed to identify and properly investigate a serious attack on the White House. While the shooting and eventual arrest of the gunman, Oscar R. Ortega-Hernandez, received attention at the time, neither the bungled internal response nor the potential danger to the Obama daughters has been publicly known. This is the first full account of the Secret Service’s confusion and the missed clues in the incident — and the anger the president and first lady expressed as a result.

By the end of that Friday night, the agency had confirmed a shooting had occurred but wrongly insisted the gunfire was never aimed at the White House. Instead, Secret Service supervisors theorized, gang members in separate cars got in a gunfight near the White House’s front lawn — an unlikely scenario in a relatively quiet, touristy part of the nation’s capital.

It took the Secret Service five days to realize that shots had hit the White House residence, a discovery that came about only because a housekeeper noticed broken glass and a chunk of cement on the floor.

And the worst part is that the gunman would have gotten away completely if he had not have wreck his car seven blocks away from the White House.


How the President has remained safe so far I'll never know.  But zero credit goes to the USSS.  They are buffoons.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Name Dropping 101

The talk of Eric Holder's replacement is already stoking the fires of the Village,and at least one Obama adviser is saying the President will choose a woman for the spot.

A longtime friend to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Saturday afternoon that the next person to step into the cabinet role would be a woman.

Charles Ogletree, a Harvard Law School professor who taught and is said to have mentored President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, made the comments on MSNBC during a segment about Holder, who announced on Thursday that he planned to step down from the Justice Department after six years at its helm.

“I’m not gonna put her name out,” Ogletree said. “We’ll just see what happens, because I don’t want her to not be able to be confirmed by the Senate.”

The obvious hint there is California's Attorney General, Kamala Harris, but she has said that she's not interested in the position.  Also mentioned, Seattle-based US Attorney Jenny Durkan, who would be the first openly gay person ever named to a cabinet position.

This week, Harris tried to stamp out the speculation. In a statement on Thursday, she said, “I am honored to even be mentioned, but intend to continue my work for the people of California as Attorney General.” A spokesperson for Durkan, whose selection the LGBT advocacy community has encouraged, told BuzzFeed News on Thursday that it “would not be appropriate” to comment on the issue.

Either would be a solid choice.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Last Call For General Insurrection

Over at Crooks And Liars, Karoli catches the GOP in the act of fomenting military rebellion against the President in his role as our nation's top military commander.

Whether we like or not, we are in a war. Granted, it's a war in the air and not on the ground, but it's a war nevertheless.
In times of war it's perfectly fine to protest it, refuse to support it, vote against it, and speak out against it. But it is not perfectly fine to be an elected representative encouraging active-duty generals to resign to undermine the President's foreign policy. That's what Steve Lamborn claims he and others are doing:

"A lot of us are talking to the generals behind the scenes, saying, 'Hey, if you disagree with the policy that the White House has given you, let's have a resignation,'" Lamborn said Tuesday, adding that if generals resigned en masse in protest of President Barack Obama's Middle East policy, they would "go out in a blaze of glory."

There's a difference between "I disagree with the President's actions against ISIS" (which is perfectly reasonable dissent and an absolutely vital and necessary component in a representative democracy) and being an elected member of Congress, freely admitting to going over the chain of command to directly influence foreign policy (by advocating for military personnel to resign and/or disobey the orders of the Commander-in-Chief). This is pretty much the textbook definition of treason as Karoli points out.

Indeed, because that would be full-scale treason, which those same insurrectionists like Lamborn and whatever crew he's hanging out with hope would result in a coup or utter failure of our foreign policy in the Middle East. Which would, in turn, lead to more deaths of Americans here and abroad.

So again I ask you what other President has had to put up with House or Senate members from the opposite party bragging about how they've met in secret with generals, during wartime, and that they tried to talk them into rebelling?

Lincoln, maybe?

Makes a person think, yes?

The Fabulous Fed Fail Follies

ProPublica and This American Life have teamed up for a pretty depressing story of former Federal Reserve examiner Carmen Segarra.  Her job in 2011 and 2012 was to take a look at infamous banking giant Goldman Sachs and figure out why the Fed missed their involvement in the subprime mortgage meltdown.

She was fired for doing her job, and the recordings she made were devastating.  Her boss, Columbia University finance professor David Beim was brought in to figure out what went wrong.  New York Fed President William Dudley, who brought both Beim and Segarra in, wanted answers.  He just didn't want to do anything with those answers.

As ProPublica reported last year, Segarra sued the New York Fed and her bosses, claiming she was retaliated against for refusing to back down from a negative finding about Goldman Sachs. A judge threw out the case this year without ruling on the merits, saying the facts didn't fit the statute under which she sued. 
At the bottom of a document filed in the case, however, her lawyer disclosed a stunning fact: Segarra had made a series of audio recordings while at the New York Fed. Worried about what she was witnessing, Segarra wanted a record in case events were disputed. So she had purchased a tiny recorder at the Spy Store and began capturing what took place at Goldman and with her bosses. 
Segarra ultimately recorded about 46 hours of meetings and conversations with her colleagues. Many of these events document key moments leading to her firing. But against the backdrop of the Beim report, they also offer an intimate study of the New York Fed's culture at a pivotal moment in its effort to become a more forceful financial supervisor. Fed deliberations, confidential by regulation, rarely become public. 
The recordings make clear that some of the cultural obstacles Beim outlined in his report persisted almost three years after he handed his report to Dudley. They portray a New York Fed that is at times reluctant to push hard against Goldman and struggling to define its authority while integrating Segarra and a new corps of expert examiners into a reorganized supervisory scheme. 
Segarra became a polarizing personality inside the New York Fed — and a problem for her bosses — in part because she was too outspoken and direct about the issues she saw at both Goldman and the Fed. Some colleagues found her abrasive and complained. Her unwillingness to conform set her on a collision course with higher-ups at the New York Fed and, ultimately, led to her undoing.

Segarra was fired for not being nice enough to the Masters of the Universe.  Oh, but it gets worse, as the recordings show Segarra was at a meeting where fellow investigator Michael Silva recounted the infamous day the financial system "broke the buck" during Lehman Brothers' last death throes.

Silva had been in the room with Geithner in September 2008 during a seminal moment of the financial crisis. Shares in a large money market fund – the Reserve Primary Fund – had fallen below the standard price of $1, "breaking the buck" and threatening to touch off a run by investors. The investment firm Lehman Brothers had entered bankruptcy, and the financial system appeared in danger of collapse
In Segarra's recordings, Silva tells his team how, at least initially, no one in the war room at the New York Fed knew how to respond. He went into the bathroom, sick to his stomach, and vomited. 
"I never want to get close to that moment again, but maybe I'm too close to that moment," Silva told his New York Fed team at Goldman Sachs in a meeting one day.
Despite his years at the New York Fed, Silva was new to the institution's supervisory side. He had never been an examiner or participated as part of a team inside a regulated bank until being appointed to lead the team at Goldman Sachs. Silva prefaced his financial crisis anecdote by saying the team needed to understand his motivations, "so you can perhaps push back on these things."

The Fed tried to convince big trading houses like Goldman Sachs to step up and backstop the system back then. They laughed.

In the recordings, Silva then offered a second anecdote. This one involved the moments before the Lehman bankruptcy.
Silva related how the top bankers in the nation were asked to contribute money to save Lehman. He described his disappointment when Goldman executives initially balked. Silva acknowledged that it might have been a hard sell to shareholders, but added that "if Goldman had stepped up with a big number, that would have encouraged the others." 
"It was extraordinarily disappointing to me that they weren't thinking as Americans," Silva says in the recording. "Those two things are very powerful experiences that, I will admit, influence my thinking."

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had to drag the big banks like Goldman Sachs kicking and screaming before they would help, and they made huge profits when they did.  The story goes on to detail several more recordings Segarra made, and the intense pressure Segarra was under to drop anything that might embarrass Goldman Sachs.

Pointing the finger at Eric Holder for failing to prosecute is one thing, but Tim Geithner, William Dudley, and the Fed completely dropped the ball on this mess.  It never should have happened.

Welcome To Tyson's Corner

I'm surprised it took this long, but astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil DeGrasse Tyson is under attack from the right, and as usual conservatives don't miss an opportunity to be racists jerkwads. Jameson Parker at Addicting Info:

This past week, Sean Davis, writing for The Federalist, ran a series of increasingly nitpicky articles accusing Tyson of misquoting or misstating some of the quotes or anecdotes he uses in his popular lectures. Some of the criticisms were valid, like one in which Tyson wrongfully attributed a quote to George W. Bush, but most were simply of the “Well, technically…” variety. For a man who conducts hundreds of interviews and lectures a year, expecting him to not make one or two mistakes when speaking — oftentimes extemporaneously — is pretty harsh. 
Despite the inanity of the accusations, conservative pundits and readers flocked to the allegations, basking in the chance to take Tyson down a few pegs. They didn’t mind blowing it out of proportion, either.

And let's keep in mind the bozos at The Federalist are about one step above NewsMax or World Net Daily when it comes to credibility.

According to the article, Tyson has a slide that has two quotes that he uses to make a point about the general lack of scientific literacy in American society. 
Tyson attributes one to a “newspaper headline”:

Half the schools in the district are below average
In another, he says a politician once said:

I have changed my views 360 degrees on that issue
Then the audience typically laughs, because as the late, great George Carlin once said, “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” Then further realize the dumbest are on, say, the House Committee for Science, Space and Technology. The point is, American society needs help. We are clueless and let’s get science back into the mainstream. 
But Sean Davis wasn’t laughing. He spent time running down those quotes and after a few days a-googlin’, he couldn’t find where the exact quotes came from. He found similar quotes or stories, but not the exact quotes, and so he wrote a massive article accusing Tyson of being a fraud and questioning his reputation as a scientist. Then he wrote several more that essentially rehashed the same complaints.

And poof, overnight, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is now a "serial plagiarist" and "discredited former scientist", because Sean Davis says so.  This of course unleashed a torrent of comments from the right about how Tyson is in fact an "affirmative action hire" and is apparently not worthy of everything that he's had bestowed upon him.

The issue is not "Hey, Tyson didn't quote this person verbatim!" any more than it is "Hey, President Obama saluted these Marines incorrectly!"

It's only a controversy if a famous black person does it.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Last Call For No Holders Barred

While I agree with everything Steve M. wrote today about the GOP complaining that appointing Eric Holder's successor during the lame duck session after the elections would somehow be "unconstitutional" I think the bigger picture here is that the massive, massive disrespect shown by Sen. Chuck Grassley and others is truly awful.

“Rather than rush a nominee through the Senate in a lame-duck session, I hope the president will now take his time to nominate a qualified individual who can start fresh relationships with Congress so that we can solve the problems facing our country,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Grassley, who voted to confirm Holder in 2009, lamented that his tenure “was strained by his lack of respect for Congress, the American taxpayer and the laws on the books. “

He noted, however, that Holder has committed to remaining on he job until a successor is named, allowing for the confirmation process to run its course.

Oh well.  Guess you lose on this one, Chuck.

“There’s no doubt the president will try to ram through a lame-duck Senate another partisan hack for attorney general,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots. “We cannot allow that to happen."

We cannot allow.  Exactly who are you to tell the President what he can and cannot do?  Sit the hell down and shut the hell up.  I am so bloody tired of this nonsense.  You get zero say, madam.  Zip.  Stuff it where the sun don't shine.

Republicans have repeatedly urged Democrats to refrain from pushing through any non-emergency legislation in a lame-duck session, arguing that lawmakers who have lost their seats would have no accountability.

That holds true for selecting Holder’s replacement, said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will consider the eventual nomination.

“Allowing Democratic senators, many of whom will likely have just been defeated at the polls, to confirm Holder’s successor would be an abuse of power that should not be countenanced,” Cruz said.

Nope.  100% Constitutional.  Nothing you can do about it.  You lose, sir.  Good day.  Enjoy your replacement.

Of course, the point is to raise so much outrage that our "liberal media" starts actively questioning whether or not President Obama should just resign because, well, you know that anyone that one appoints won't have credibility.

Optics, you know.

Pay To Play The GOP Way

Looks like some GOP intern screwed up, and CREW and the NY Times got their hands on the donor's list for the PAC for the Republican Governors Association, the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee.  The results are depressing:

Among the R.G.A. documents is a 21-page schedule of the policy committee’s Carlsbad meeting last year that lists which companies attended, who represented them and what they contributed. The most elite group, known as the Statesmen, whose members donated $250,000, included Aetna; Coca-Cola; Exxon Mobil; Koch Companies Public Sector, the lobbying arm of the highly political Koch Industries; Microsoft; Pfizer; UnitedHealth Group; and Walmart. The $100,000 Cabinet level included Aflac, BlueCross BlueShield, Comcast, Hewlett-Packard, Novartis, Shell Oil, Verizon Communications and Walgreen. 
Other documents detail, in part, what they got in return. 
One 2009 document states the benefits of a Governors Board membership, for a $50,000 annual contribution or a one-time donation of $100,000, saying it “offers the ability to bring their particular expertise to the political process while helping to support the Republican agenda.” 
Board members received two tickets to “an exclusive breakfast with the Republican Governors and members of their staff”; three tickets to the Governors Forums Series, where “a group of 5-8 governors discuss the best policy practices from around the country on a particular topic”; and a D.C. Discussion Breakfast Series, among other events. 
If they bump up to Cabinet Membership — $100,000 annually or a single payment of $200,000 — contributors also receive two invitations to “an exclusive Gubernatorial Dinner,” an “intimate gathering with the Republican Governors and special Republican V.I.P. guests” at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington. 
Political finance experts say the practice apparently laid out in the documents is not illegal, and probably not unusual. In hundreds of pages posted on the web, the Republican governors group put it down in black and white. 
“It’s not that you don’t suspect this, but here you see these companies paying the governors for access,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW. “Americans all think it’s pay-to-play politics. This is what confirms it.”

Now, two things here.  One, don't kid yourself, Democratic governors are doing this too.  The donors are different and the price tags are probably similar, but the honest fact is Democrats do pay for play like Republicans do.

Two, all politicians are for sale and will be until we get the billions in cash  out of the system. These corporations are the only constituents that your governor, your representative, your senator, your mayor, and your city council or county commissioners care about.

BREAKING: AG Eric Holder Resigning, Sort Of

Eric Holder apparently stepping down, but will wait to resign until a successor is named.

Which, thanks to SCOTUS, cannot be done until after the elections when the Senate is back in session.  Expect the GOP to stall until January, when they'll have more seats in the Senate.  If they have 51 and control of the Senate, I can't see anyone Obama would appoint as getting confirmed.

Effectively, Holder may remain until the end of President Obama's term if that happens  I  mean, do you expect anyone Obama would pick would get through a confirmation hearing if the GOP's in charge?

Senate control always was important, but is even more so now.

Dennis The Menace Returns

If there's one person in the Democratic party more ridiculously obnoxious than Ralph Nader, it's Dennis F'cking Kucinich, who I am now convinced is running for the Dems' 2016 nomination on the platform of "Let's indict Obama the War Criminal".

Last week Congress acted prematurely in funding a war without following the proscriptions of Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. (The day of the vote, I urged Congress to resist this dangerous and misguided legislation.) But even while the funding was given, the explicit authorization to go to war was not. To authorize a war, Congress must vote for war. It has not done that yet. 
To sell its case, the administration is borrowing from the fear mongering tactics of the Bush administration. ISIS poses no direct, immediate threat to the United States --The White House even said so yesterday, just hours before bombing commenced - yet we are being sold make-believe about ISIS sleeper cells. 
This attack on Syria, under the guise of striking ISIS, is by definition, a war of aggression. It is a violation of international law. It could lead to crimes against humanity and the deaths of untold numbers of innocent civilians. No amount of public relations or smooth talking can change that. 
And yes, members of this Democratic administration, including the president who executed this policy, must be held accountable by the International Criminal Court and by the American people, who he serves

And while Congress really should debate Syria and hold a vote, they're too busy campaigning to care. Also, we have tried diplomacy with Iran and it's making progress, but Congress tried to kill that too. Look, I'm less than happy about us bombing ISIS targets in Syria. The best we can hope for is that it forces ISIS to the negotiating table, and even I think that's not going to happen.

Here's the real problem:  John Boehner refuses to hold a vote on authorization for Syria until the next Congress is in session.

“I have made it clear that I think the House and the Congress itself should speak,” the speaker said in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with First Draft. 
But Mr. Boehner believes a post-election, lame-duck session is the wrong time for such a weighty decision. “Doing this with a whole group of members who are on their way out the door, I don’t think that is the right way to handle this,” he said. 
Mr. Boehner, who is open to a more expansive military campaign to destroy the Islamic State, thinks lawmakers should take up the issue after the new Congress convenes in January… 
I would suggest to you that early next year, assuming that we continue in this effort, there may be that discussion and there may be that request from the president,” he said.

So complain all you want to about Obama not having permission from Congress, when Republicans in Congress refuse to even debate it.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Last Call For Orange Not So Crushed

We're a bit overdue, but as usual there's another article in The Hill about yet another attempt to dislodge GOP House Speaker John Boehner from his gavel, as certain Tea Party Republicans all think they can do a better job of making sure Congress is doing nothing for America.

A number of conservative lawmakers, both in interviews on the record and on background, described enormous frustration with Boehner and his top lieutenants for taking too safe a political route ahead of the 2014 elections. 
“In tough times, it doesn’t mean you play timid, it means to play bold, and I don’t see that. And you know what? Time’s up,” Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who vowed to vote against Boehner, told The Hill in an interview. “I’m tired of the status quo of what’s going on in Washington, D.C. America’s tired, America’s angry and they’re scared, because they don’t have leaders in Washington, D.C.” 
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) was more succinct: “I’ll give him every bit as much support as I did last time.” 
Gohmert in 2013 was one of a dozen Republicans who didn’t support Boehner for Speaker. Ten of them will return to the next Congress and have a vote on Boehner’s future. 
Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), also said he’ll again vote against Boehner, even though he admitted it could be a suicide mission.

A handful of other conservative rabble-rousers, including Reps. Steve King of Iowa and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, declined to say whether they would vote to give Boehner a third two-year term. 
“When he makes an announcement on what his career is, I’ll start to contemplate that, but I haven’t really given it any thought in any kind of broader discussion,” said King.

After the repeated failures of these clowns to get rid of Boehner last year, I don't see them being successful this time around either unless something completely new happens., like the GOP losing several House seats.

It could happen, but then again it's not like the Tea Party has shown any leadership beyond leading the nation in stupid quotes.

Boehner, sadly, isn't going anywhere.

The Modern GOP Poll Tax

Next time you have FOX screaming about the "thugs" in the New Black Panther Party scaring people at polling places, remind them of this Wisconsin militia group's plan to seek out and go after Democrats at the voting booth.

An armed militia group in Wisconsin plans to confront people who signed the petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) at the polls on Nov. 4.

The "Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia" will check the names of those on the petition and will then seek out the Democrats on that list, according to Facebook exchanges viewed by Politicus USA.

Why, that's not old fashioned lynch mob voter intimidation.  That's "GOP minority outreach"!

According to Politicus USA, the Facebook page for the group featured pictures of African-Americans, but the group denied that they are targeting blacks.

"We can assure you that we will be targeting all democrats, not just black ones," a Facebook message read, according to the Capital Times. "If you think we meant blacks only it is because you are a racist who thinks the only people with warrants are black. We know better because we have a nice list of people who are wanted democrat activist types. Most are actually white. We will target everyone."

Their plan is to of course keep Democrats from voting by any means necessary.  The guns?  Well, that tree of liberty may need to be watered, you know.   I wonder what Gov. Scott Walker thinks of his new friends.

Had enough Second Amendment remedies yet, America?

We're Number One!

America in fact leads the developed world in something, and it's jobs!

Percentage of low-paying jobs, that is.

In a new research note on inequality, Morgan Stanley economist Ellen Zentner included this fascinating chart showing that, among OECD countries, the United States has the highest proportion of low-paying jobs
The 2014 version of the OECD Employment Outlook report cited by Morgan Stanley defines low-paying jobs as those for which earnings are below 2/3 of a country's median income. According to the OECD analysis and the Morgan Stanley report, just over a quarter of jobs in the US fell in this low-paying category
In 2013, the median annual income in the US was $35,080, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics program. Under the OECD's definition, then, a low-paying job would earn less than about $23,390.

A quarter of US jobs pay less than $12 an hour, but why would we want to raise the minimum wage, Republicans say.  Why, we'll just drive out those low-paying jobs.  Who needs to support a family on $12 an hour anyway?  That's what second and third jobs are for, after all.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Last Call For Dinesh D'Felon

GOP operative, anti-Obama propaganda filmmaker, and convicted campaign finance violator Dinesh D'Souza faced sentencing today for his crimes and got a slap on the wrist.

Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza avoided prison on Tuesday when a U.S. judge sentenced him to serve eight months in a community confinement center after he pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law.

D'Souza, 53, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan to live in a center, which would allow him to leave during non-residential hours for employment, for the first eight months of a five-year probationary period.

Berman also ordered D'Souza to perform one day of community service a week during probation, undergo weekly therapy and pay a $30,000 fine.

D'Souza, a frequent critic of U.S. President Barack Obama, admitted in May to illegally reimbursing two "straw donors" who donated $10,000 each to the unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate campaign in New York of Wendy Long, a Republican he had known since attending Dartmouth College in the early 1980s.

"It was a crazy idea, it was a bad idea," D'Souza told Berman before being sentenced. "I regret breaking the law."

Sure you do.  It was especially funny when the judge played clips of D'Souza whining on the Sunday talk shows and on FOX how he was the real victim here.  Contrite my ass.

And yet the guy won't spend a day in prison.

Justice, huh?

Burning It Down In Kansas

Republicans are running scared in the Sunflower State, as both Gov. Sam Brownback and Sen. Pat Roberts are in serious danger of losing in November.  The vaunted "GOP wave" has not materialized, and instead it's what should be blood-red safe seats for Republicans that are no longer anywhere near safe.  The GOP is turning to all out war against Roberts's opponent, Independent Greg Orman.

With a two-man race now looking all but certain, national Republicans are planning a scorched-earth offensive to frame Sen. Pat Roberts’s (R-Kan.) independent opponent, Greg Orman, as a shady businessman.

Their first volley this weekend: reports that Orman represented Rajat Gupta — the former Goldman Sachs board member who incurred criminal and civil fines of more than $18 million and was jailed earlier this year for securities fraud — on a two-person board of a Cayman Islands private equity partnership. 
Kansas Republicans say to expect more information on his business dealings to come out in the coming weeks — likely as a systematic drip-drip of information, to keep the issue alive throughout the race. An Orman aide dismissed any potential damage, saying “the fundamentals of the race are still there, and that is, people are tired of the Washington dysfunction, and they’re tired of Pat Roberts.” 
The GOP will also begin propping up the vulnerable incumbent senator with support from revered national Republican figures to help him keep the seat. 
Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) are both stumping for Roberts in the state this week, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is heading there for campaign event next week. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are both scheduled for appearances in October. 
The need to boost Roberts’s image is imperative with six weeks to go until Election Day. Democrats pushed to get their struggling nominee, Chad Taylor, out of the race in the expectation that Orman would caucus with them. With Taylor appearing now to be off the ballot for good, recent polling has shown Orman leading Roberts in a head-to-head fight by 6 to 10 points.

McCain! Jebby! Rand!  Boy, Republicans aren't just running scared, they're flat-out terrified.  They know losing Roberts's seat will almost certainly cost them the Senate, and Roberts is in real trouble of losing it.

If Democrats can hold on in North Carolina, Iowa, and Colorado, and Roberts goes down in Kansas, it's going to be a long, long night for the GOP on November 4.

When The Rats Are Away...

Greg Sargent argues that President Obama has made a pretty massive violation of the law by not getting congressional authorization for attacking ISIS targets in Syria, but that Congress has thrown away its duties by skipping town without debating or voting on that authorization.

The Obama administration has not made an even remotely credible case for undertaking this escalation without Congressional authorization, and Congress’ refusal to hold a vote on it remains an outrageous abdication of responsibility. One also hopes the administration’s claims about terror threats are subjected to intense scrutiny. But we aren’t going to get any serious Congressional debate about any of this until after the election. 
However, one place all of this will be debated is in the context of the Senate races. Republicans have cheerfully suggested to the press that the politics of national security will again shower them with political riches, and they are running multiple ads replete with the grainy terror footage they used to such great effect back in 2002 and 2004, which is to say, at least a decade ago.

So, will our attacks on ISIS help the Democrats as President Obama displays leadership, help the GOP as they reclaim their national security credentials, help both as we rally around both the President and congressional incumbents, or help neither as a war weary nation say "to hell with all of you"?

If Scott Brown is any indication, the GOP is not going to gain much, if at all, with WARREN TERRAH ONLY GOP CAN KEEP YOU SAFE ads.

In the ad, Brown, who is trailing, accuses Shaheen and Obama of being “confused about the nature of the threat” posed by “radical Islamic terrorists” who are “threatening to cause the collapse of our country.” He then says we must “secure the border.” 
It’s true that the President’s approval on terrorism has plummeted and the GOP now holds a huge advantage on foreign policy. Republican strategists have been pretty explicit in explaining that they see this as a way to exploit a general public sense that things have gone off the rails, and polls do show high wrong-track numbers and rising worry about terrorism. If things go wrong, which is certainly possible, this could well redound to the benefit of Republican candidates. 
But for now, it’s hard to imagine that arguments such as Brown’s above are going to cut it. After all, if GOP candidates are really going to paint the U.S. response to ISIS as insufficiently realistic about the nature of the threat, then that should theoretically open them up to the question of whether they support sending in ground troops. You’d think that if the criticism continues now that operations are underway, it would be harder for them to duck that basic follow-up.

We'll see, but I'm guessing that this is going to be a wash at best for the GOP, and they know it.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Serious Obama Derangement Syndrome

So the fellow caught by US Secret Service agents who jumped the White House fence on Friday?  Turns out that he had a pretty substantial pile of ammo and weapons in his car, and that he's had a couple of recent arrests.

On Friday, Omar Gonzalez hopped the north fence and sprinted just past the north portico White House doors when he was stopped, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said.

Gonzalez carried a Spyderco VG-10 folding knife with a 3½-inch serrated blade in his pants pocket, according to an affidavit.

He allowed authorities to search his car, where police say they found more than 800 rounds of ammunition in boxes and magazines. They also found two hatchets and a machete in his car.

A Secret Service officer said he yelled at the intruder to stop. Gonzalez told a Secret Service agent "that he was concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing and needed to get the information to the President of the United States so that he could get the word out to the people," according to the affidavit.

President Barack Obama and his family were not at home at the time.

Friday was not Gonzalez's first run in with police. In July, he was arrested in Wythe County, Virginia, and charged with possession of a shotgun and a sniper rifle. He was also charged with eluding and evading arrest. In addition, police say they found a map with the White House circled.

In late August, Gonzalez was stopped while walking along the White House fence. He carried a hatchet and allowed police to search his car, where they found camping gear and two dogs. He was not arrested then.

OK, so this guy?  He needs some help, clearly.  He's a three-tour Iraq veteran, and he's obviously having some serious problems adjusting to being home.  His marriage broke up two years ago, and his family has said his mental state wasn't the best.

Needless to say, the judge at the arraignment Monday agreed that he was both a flight risk and a threat to President Obama.  Here's hoping that he can get the mental help he so clearly needs.

Our wars in the Middle East had, and still have, a cost.

The More Things Don't Change...

The corporate types on the right are convinced more than ever that this weekend's 300,000+ NYC climate change march represents the death throes of environmentalism.

The United Nations Climate Summit will begin in New York this Tuesday, but environmental activists didn’t wait. All day Sunday, they filled the streets of Manhattan for a march that featured Al Gore, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, and various Hollywood actors. 
But they certainly didn’t act like a movement that was winning. There was a tone of fatalism in the comments of many with whom I spoke; they despair that the kind of radical change they advocate probably won’t result from the normal democratic process. It’s no surprise then that the rhetoric of climate-change activists has become increasingly hysterical. Naomi Klein, author of a new book on the “crisis,” This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, said, “I have seen the future, and it looks like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.” In her new book she demands that North America and Europe pay reparations to poorer countries to compensate for the climate change they cause. She calls her plan a “Marshall Plan for the Earth” and acknowledges that it would cost “hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars.” But she has an easy solution on how to pay for it: “Need more money? Print some!” What’s a little hyperinflation compared to “saving the planet”?

Again, why do anything when you can always find a scientist who disagrees with the 97% of climate scientists who do believe we're in real trouble?

One reason the rhetoric has become so overheated is that the climate-change activists increasingly lack a scientific basis for their most exaggerated claims. As physicist Gordon Fulks of the Cascade Policy Institute puts it: “CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea-ice melt that is not occurring . . . and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.” He points out that there has been no net new global-warming increase since 1997 even though the human contribution to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 25 percent since then. This throws into doubt all the climate models that have been predicting massive climate dislocation.

The Cascade Policy Institute, oh man. Oregon's own state-sized version of CATO, one of those "free-market" glibertarian outfits that will never run out of corporate money to shill nonsense like this. Didn't you hear?  Global warming ended in 1997, stupid libtards!

Only it didn't, but that's okay, they found a guy who said it did.

So there's no problem.

To recap, conservatives believe the science can never be settled.

Bogged Down For Good

The NY Times is reporting that President Obama's "controversial" (to say the least) nomination of Michael Boggs to a federal judge position in Georgia is deader than dirt.

The quest by President Obama to put Michael P. Boggs – who supported the Confederate flag and opposed abortion – on the federal bench in Georgia is over. 
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, who leads the Judiciary Committee, told us it had become clear after talking to his colleagues that Mr. Boggs, under fire from Democrats for his conservative positions, could not win committee support. 
Mr. Leahy signaled that Mr. Boggs should withdraw: “He doesn’t have the votes.” 
Mr. Boggs earns the unusual distinction as the first Obama judicial nominee this term to fail because of Democratic opposition. 

The deal to put Boggs on the bench was actually a Republican requirement in order to win support to break the near-permanent hold Republicans were putting on judicial nominees.  That deal has broken down, so now Boggs is getting blocked by Democrats, and it's a good thing because Boggs was basically a conservative.

Considering Congress is now out of session until after the election, there doesn't seem to be any way to rescue Boggs at this point.  Roll Call has more on the Boggs saga here, but it's all but a moot point now.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Last Call For Climate Of Change

Sunday's Climate Change march in NYC was massive, with 300,000 plus people participating.  It was part of a global effort with marches in cities across the globe.  Maybe the people running our country will finally get the message as a result.

I wouldn't count on it though. 

Under leaden skies, throngs of demonstrators stretching as far as the eye could see moved through Midtown Manhattan late Sunday morning, chanting their demands for action on climate change.

With drums and tubas, banners and floats, the People’s Climate March represented a broad coalition of ages, races, geographic locales and interests, with union members, religious leaders, scientists, politicians and students joining the procession.

"I’m here because I really feel that every major social movement in this country has come when people get together,” said Carol Sutton of Norwalk, Conn., the president of a teachers’ union. “It begins in the streets.”

Climates marches were held across the globe on Sunday, from Paris to Papua New Guinea, and with world leaders gathering at the United Nations on Tuesday for a climate summit meeting, marchers said the timing was right for the populist message in support of limits on carbon emissions. The signs that marchers held were as varied as the movement: “There is No Planet B,” “Forests Not for Sale” and “Jobs, Justice, Clean Energy.”

“The climate is changing,” said Otis Daniels, 58, of the Bronx. “Everyone knows it; everyone feels it. But no one is doing anything about it.”

 And no, nothing will be done about it, as long as our leaders are giving us idiocy like this to feast on.

Truth be told, if things are as dire as the marchers believe, it’s already too late. That’s the problem with the hysterical wing of climate change advocacy. Cutting emissions of greenhouse gases won’t do the trick if we are on the edge of the climate precipice. We would have to halt all human activity that contributes to global warming and then hope nature can reverse the process.

And idiocy like this.

But public opinion surveys consistently place “climate change” at the bottom of Americans’ political priorities, presumably because most people have enough common sense to realize that giving the government more money and power won’t change the weather.

Please notice the argument is no longer "climate change is a hoax" but "there's nothing we can do to stop it if you're right, so there's no reason to do anything!"

So why bother?

PS, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year ever on record globally.

But why bother?

Barack Obama Was Never Your Boyfriend

But conservative money groups sure seem to think he is.  Or was.  Now they think women (particularly white women) are so over him and his "friends".  That's the subject of this creepy ad now playing in North Carolina.

"In 2008, I fell in love. His online profile made him seem so perfect. Smart, handsome, charming, articulate," the actress begins. Then things take a turn for the creepy: "He's on my emails and text messages, spying on me." The actress adds, "He thinks the only thing I care about is free birth control, but he won't even let me keep my own doctor."

So naturally she's going to vote for the folks that won't even let her control her own uterus.  Makes perfect sense.

At the conclusion of the ad, the actress says, "I know I'm stuck with Barack for two more years. I get that. But I'm not stuck with his friends." So far, the ad is reportedly airing in North Carolina, where Democratic Senator Kay Hagan is facing a tough reelection fight. 
The ad was made by political consultant Rick Wilson and paid for by a group called Americans for Shared Prosperity, which is headed by wealthy California businessman John Jordan. Politico's Maggie Haberman interviewed Jordan recently, and he said that his goal was "to communicate with women voters in a way that outside groups and campaigns haven't." He added, "The purpose of this is to treat women voters more like adults."

Because adults need to construct teen fantasies that the President is their boyfriend, and that they have to "break up" with him over Obamacare.  Oh, and the part where the adult conversation is that he's "spying on me and ignoring real threats" like he's an obsessive stalker with a foreign policy fetish.

Yes, that's certainly treating women voters like adults.  Besides, the not-so-subtle subtext screams, white women never really liked Barack Obama anyway, because he's dangerous (like all us black men are.)  Time to come back home to where you belong, where you'll be safe from black people, with the GOP, because FEAR FEAR SCARY FEAR FEAR BLACK FEAR.

But hey, the white woman/black man fear card works and has for centuries.
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