Wednesday, March 25, 2015

GOP Temple of Doom Passes Budget to Erase the Deficit and the Poor

Speaker Boehner Before the Vote With Instruction Sheet

Speaker Boehner Announcing the Vote
(Passed 228-199 with 17 GOPers Voting with the DEMS)

Voices Seldom Heard in the Name of GOP Unity


The action today in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives proves to me one more time that the Grand Old Party does not truly represent the same Americans that DEMS do. How pathetic is that vote. Pick and choose whom to help and support and claim victory - ha...

WASHINGTON — Normally quarrelsome House Republicans came together Wednesday night and passed a boldly conservative budget that relies on nearly $5 trillion in cuts to eliminate deficits over the next decade, calls for repealing the health care law and envisions transformations of the tax code and Medicare.

Final passage, 228-199, came shortly after Republicans also bumped up recommended defense spending to levels proposed by the President.

Surprise, surprise, surprise: Much of the budget’s savings would come from Medicaid, food stamps and welfare, programs that aid the low-income and poor, although details were sketchy.

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), chairman of the House Budget Committee, called the plan a “balanced budget for a stronger America — and one that would get this economy rolling again.” (rolling over whom I must ask)?

Democrats meanwhile rebutted that the GOP numbers didn’t add up and called their policies wrong-headed.

Check your Rep’s vote here at the House.gov roll call sheet.

Our newly-elected Rep. Elise Stefanik (the youngest women ever elected) (R-NY-21) voted "Yea."  I say, shame on her.

Now the shift goes to the Senate – what will they do? Cut more, lessen the impact, shit or go blind, or close one eye and fart? Sounds gross, I know, but are the cuts to the most-needy in the country. One word best describes this GOP: Pathetic.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

By Far, Hands Down, Ässhølë of the Century - Maybe Forever

Whew  boy - what a jerk - par excellence


The only person who could possibly top top this story would be either Sad Sack Sarah Palin who can see Russia from her home, or Dark Dick Cheney explaining how we would only be in the Iraq war a few weeks, certainly not longer, or how to enjoy quail hunting with your friends after a few beers .... snicker, snicker, snort, snort, guffaw.

How can anyone ever ever trust Cruz after this headlines - it surely takes your breath away and no, not a story from Onion, either (and I love Onion):

Ted Cruz to sign up for government health care

Oh, my gawd - the story: Cruz previously had a health plan through his wife Heidi and her job at Goldman Sachs. But the family will lose that coverage when she takes a leave of absence to campaign full-time. That will put the Cruz family into a situation familiar to millions of other American families: How to figure out what to do when you can no longer get coverage through work.

A Rick Perry “oops” would fit here nicely. His solution: SIGN UP FOR OBAMA-CARE A GOLDEN WTF MOMENT FOR SURE..!!!

So, like some 11.7 million other Americans before him, he appears to have settled on the Obama-care exchanges as his answer.

Now watch the tap dancing really begin …. I predict one of two scenarios will likely follow: (1) the Limbaugh crowd types will either praise him for his logic and honestly, or they (3) will turn on  him and eat him for supper for being a turn coat.  

Either way, it should be a hoot.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

One or Two State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Question

How do we achieve this by a solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict??? 

I saw on Meet the Press (March 22, 2015), on the topic of either a one-state or two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question, a view from Palestine's Permanent Observer to the UN, Dr. Riyad Mansour. He made good sense saying, in part:

That a one-state solution (that Israeli PM Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu now seems to advocate with his back and forth reelection statements recently) would most likely result in a Palestinian-Arab state NOT a Jewish one and that would be based in part on shear population.

That result would not be pretty for a ton of reasons. Dr. Mansour sent on to say a one-state solution “would smack of South Africa and Apartheid, and no one wants that - Jew or Arab (sic).” 

I tend to agree with that assessment because the status quo and not a solution would prevail and continue the turmoil and I am sure no one wants to sustain that, except maybe bad guys.

Here is a short background on this issue with this question: "What to the people want?" Not the politicians; not countries far removed from that area; and certainly pundits who pick and choose with a finger in the wind. More background on the question is here and here

  1. Many Palestinians and Israelis, as well as the Arab League, have stated that they would accept a two-state solution based on 1949 Armistice Agreements, more commonly referred to as the “1967 borders.”
  2. In 2002, a poll conducted by PIPA revealed that some 72% of both Palestinians and Israelis supported at that time a peace settlement based on the 1967 borders so long as each group could be reassured that the other side would be cooperative in making the necessary concessions for such a settlement. Thus, support for a two state solution varies according the way the question is phrased. 
  3. Some Israeli journalists suggest that the Palestinians are unprepared to accept a Jewish State on any terms. According to one previous poll, “fewer than 2 in 10 Arabs, both Palestinian and all others, believe in Israel's right to exist as a nation with a Jewish majority.” Another poll, however, invoked by the U.S. State Department suggested that “78 percent of Palestinians and 74 percent of Israelis believe a peace agreement that leads to both states living side by side as good neighbors” is “essential or desirable.”
  4. In a 2007 poll, almost three quarters of the Palestinian respondents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip approved either a bi-national or two-state solution with 46% preferring the two-state solution and some 26% preferring the bi-national solution. Support is lower among younger Palestinians.
  5. A 2013 Gallup poll found that 70% of Palestinians in the West Bank and 48% of Palestinians in Gaza Strip, together with 52% of Israelis support “an independent Palestinian state together with the state of Israel.”
Now here we are today, rehashing the same argument with flip-flops all over the board. All nations, I think should pitch in and help resolve the question and as simple as it sounds: Two states living side by side. I know that sounds naive and maybe too simple, but sometimes the simplest of things work best.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Some Weasels in Austin, Texas and Low-down Elsewhere, Too

Spotted at Several Places in Austin, which also happens to be the Capital of Texas - ouch 


First this story about a middle school vice principal in California was put on paid administrative leave after a video surfaced of him saying, “I just don’t like the black kids.”


Then sprinkle in the so-called “wars: on the poor, the homeless, low-income workers, women, and yes, even a lot of public service employees and their Unions, and the massive movement to  privatize just about everything in sight – why?

But, in all honesty, government is not a business and certainly not in for a profit. I’d want to make that clear right up front. Some things can be privatized, sure, I agree, but it’s like situational ethics or situational leadership: Everything cannot be private hands – who decides the best route. My first hunch is “we the people” as corny as that sounds. Our fate is in our hands.

Now there we go again with the GOP in control of Congress we see them ramp up the “war on the poor” part as part of their search for a decent budget – Paul Ryan philosophy: blame the poor for being poor, but leave the top crust alone. Sadly that message puts them in the winner’s seat depending on how the word “win” is defined.

My view on that are straight forward and based on my own life experiences:  

  • Hunger for a child is not an option;
  • Being homeless normally not a choice;
  • Holding two or three low-income and part time jobs (no benefits or health care) is not the American dream;
  • Living at or below the poverty line while on food stamps and other public assistance is  demeaning and degrading;
  • Being long-term unemployed is no way to live and raise a family. 
For anyone anywhere to think that a person chooses to be poor, hungry, cold, and homeless, then may I recommend they try living that way for awhile and then report back to us – say after 6 months or so, or longer – then the impact will roost with them just those proverbial chickens coming home.

Now to the heart of this photo:


It shows Tealla Dilka, along with her husband Will, and 18-month-old son David. They “lived” on that asphalt underneath the 16th Street bridge in Boise, Idaho (photo was from June 25, 2014). That city has been taking steps since to limit people from “camping” (actually homeless people don’t “camp” per se – they try to survive) in public areas. (Photo taken by Kyle Green from "The Idaho Statesman").  And, on top all that, out comes this story from MSNBC here in part - the sticker above:

Stickers reading “Exclusively for White People” were hung in several businesses this week throughout the eastern part of Austin, Texas. City officials are calling it an act of vandalism, and searching for the culprits. The decals also read: A “maximum of 5 colored customers/colored BOH [back of house] staff accepted,” and noted a sponsorship from the City of Austin Contemporary Partition and Restoration Program. They also include the logo for the City of Austin.

Race relations in the U.S. I’d have to say since Mr. Obama took office – pretty crappy, and that is sad. A lot of us thought we were way past that era… perhaps not.

I don't know if you agree or not, but the evidence is compelling, isn't it?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

GOP Budget Time: Two Plans, Two Routes, Two-Faced, and Too Harsh

The Past: Rep. Paul Ryan Plan: Yeah, sure, it might work...
(now back from the grave)

GOP Holmes Still Looking for Solutions 

The Ultimate Adviser

What the GOP Wants Us All to Feel
(except for their buddies - just a little off the top)


Yep, it's that time again and this GOP has control in both Houses of Congress to play their sill-ass games with the budget, so hang on tight. Here we go:

WASHINGTON (March 17, 2015) – Happy St. Pats Day — House Republicans today are unveiling a 10-year budget blueprint they say will cut $5.5 trillion in spending and help create a budget surplus by 2026 promising that the cuts and reductions are not draconian. This blueprint does however, pick up on the budget where Rep. Paul Ryan left off with his budget before that he called: “The Path to American Prosperity” which a lot of us renamed to: “Blame the Poor for Being Poor.” 

Some the same old points they are pushing again include:

1.  It again (for the umpteenth time) calls for repeal of the ACA (Obama-care). (NOTE: that would leave over 14 million now enrolled out in the cold with no coverage, or and if they had a plan, with sky-rocket premiums, and even the insurance industry says now keep the law).

2.  Completes a total tax overhaul that raises no new taxes. (NOTE: but keeps Bush tax cuts for the upper crust).

3.  Has a fundamental transformation of Medicare to a premium support (voucher) system that would allow future retirees to purchase insurance from private companies.

The top challenge this year will be reconciling the impending across-the-board spending cuts,  sequestration, with overwhelming support for greater defense spending not cuts the country is facing since no budget deals have been made since the failures in 2011. 

NOTE: Over in the GOP-run Senate report from the Hill: They will not include detailed plans to overhaul entitlement programs when they unveil their first budget in nearly a decade this week.

The House GOP budget maintains the $523 billion defense spending cap for fiscal year 2016, but gradually increases defense spending over the next decade by $387 billion. That is likely to be met by stiff opposition from defense hawks who profess the cuts and spending caps put national security at unacceptable risks.

House Armed Services is also calling for more defense spending than allowed under current law, including every senior military officer – most who recently testified before Congress saying in essence that the across-the-board automatic cuts are harmful to U.S. military interests worldwide, e.g., those the military faces in balancing state threats, such as Russia, and non-state threats from ISIS. Reconciling fiscal and national security concerns will be a tough job for Republicans. They face political pressure to approve the first joint Republican budget resolution in a decade, and with Democratic lawmakers uniformly opposed, they will have to do so with solely GOP votes.

My experience in government budgeting always included some of these rock-solid principles:

Spending must be prudent, smart, wise, not wasteful, and always needed and necessary and not in the good or nice to have category. Those are rock-solid imperative that are needed, affordable (the best deal), and meets national security and general good of the public. The pain, if any must be shared by all with no special projects or pet projects or giveaways as some kind of favors. Then the critical question is always: How to pay for it.

It’s not the spending, per se, instead it’s how much and where the spending will be made. Pet projects should go first, then nonsense spending ($100 hammers, $500 toilet seats), but never unwise and ill-conceived national defense cuts.

It is a bit ironic that the GOP always says in time of war like now: “Listen to our military commanders.”  Ha – what a phony crock. In reality, the GOP does not practice what they preach, as they dish out more and tax goodies to the top crust hoping for jobs. 

So, go ahead, tell me I’m wrong. Prove I am wrong. I’ll listen. Hint: You can’t. The facts can’t be disputed and they don’t favor the Grand Old Party.

Some previous posts that are related to this overall subject:

  1. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2015/02/does-public-want-history-slouch-issue.html
  2. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2015/01/aca-obama-care-still-under-gop-fire-and.html
  3. http://www.danzview.blogspot.com/2015/01/economy-gop-fear-mongering-obama-and.html
  4. http://www.politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2015/01/who-fights-for-middle-class-low-income.html
  5. http://www.politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2015/01/not-by-choice-hungry-homeless-living.html
  6. http://www.politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2015/01/gop-we-will-aid-poor-help-low-income.html
 Thanks for stopping by. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Affordable Care Act (Obama-care) Update: Continued Good News Story

Detailed Stats in the Story (see link below)

We all like good  news and success stories - health care today is one (but, natch: the GOP can't stand good news). Despite GOP efforts to repeal, defund, or ignore health care, this reform is working and people are satisfied with their plans and coverage.

This Affordable Care Act (Obama-care) update is highlighted in Vox and comes from HHS numbers (linked below):

1.  14.1 million Americans have gained health plans since the ACA (Obama-care) coverage expansion began in 2014.

2.  2.3 million young adults additionally gained coverage between 2010 and 2013 — after Obama-care began requiring employer plans to cover them through age 26.

3.  This is largest drop in the uninsured rate since 1965 – when both Medicare and Medicaid began.

There is more in this report from HHS:

It finds that the uninsured rate has fallen from 20.3 percent prior to the ACA (Obama-care) being passed and implemented to now in 2015, 13.2 percent. That is a 7.1 percentage-point decrease in the uninsured rate — or, put another way, a 35-percent decline in the number of Americans who lack insurance coverage.

The decline in uninsured coverage coincides with two parts of the program:

First, as mentioned above: The employer mandate that plans cover kids until age 26. The uninsured rate among young adults in that age range (19 to 26) dropped from 34.1 percent to 26.7 percent.

Second, and much larger, was the start of the health law's Medicaid expansion in 2014, with some 14.1 million Americans now with coverage they otherwise would not have (from the Medicaid expansion and the marketplaces for private insurance). Some states still resist, but more are seeing the proverbial light and are reversing course (see the detailed map). That can only be viewed as good news – helping people in need with health care coverage.

Isn’t that what America has always been about?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Iran Hardliners "Cotton to Cotton" and GOP Gang of 46 Senate Nitwits

No One Can Dispute This, at Least No Rational Person Who Deals in Logic

GOP Senators Send Warning Letter to Iran: Deal with Us, Not Obama
(in essence that is the GOP message - see more below)

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) Letter Drafter
(now he and the 47 GOPers are on serious public notice - see below)


4th MAJOR UPDATE (original post follows this update): This fine article (click here) compares the 47 GOP hardline senators and Iran's hardliners, vis-à-vis the nuclear letter that the GOP hardliners sent them. In this case, or as Rick Perry might say, “oops.”

3rd MAJOR UPDATE (from two sources):

FIRST SOURCE: Are the 47 GOP senators who signed the letter to Iran legally wrong or in trouble? Possibly. Cite the “Logan Act” explained a bit in part here:

When the law is laid side by side with the GOP’s “open letter to Iran” (March 9, 2015) it would seem that the Logan Act fits. That letter warned the “leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” that a deal on the future of nuclear arms development might not be a lasting one unless Congress signed off on it

A short break down what the law says and why it might fit the senators’ letter and why the Justice Department might choose, even if the law fits, not to prosecute it and them, and what defense the 47 GOP Senators might try to use, if and indeed, they were charged with violating the Logan Act.

1.  The letter is clearly from U.S. citizens. One has to be a citizen to get elected to the Senate. It was clearly, in form, a piece of correspondence, called an “open letter.”
2.  It hardly had the approval of “the United States,” if that is taken to mean the entire national government, or at least the Executive Branch, including the President and the nation’s chief diplomat, the Secretary of State.   The President and his aides in the White House and at the State Department repudiated the lawmakers’ overture.
3.  The letter clearly was aimed at a foreign government audience, although it is not clear that it was actually delivered by diplomatic pouch or by the Post Office to Tehran.
4.  No one can have any doubt, realizing how much opposition there is among Republican members of both the Senate and the House to a nuclear arms deal with Iran, that this letter was intended to influence the ongoing talks about such a deal.

Now it gets sticky:

1.  The DOJ prosecutors have to take into account whether or not there is a real chance that, if a grand jury does issue an indictment, prosecutors could get a jury to convict. That might be a challenge here, because a criminal charge might well look like escalating a political conflict into a serious constitutional dispute over prosecutorial discretion.
2.  Many in GOP ranks already believe President Obama and his administration over-use the powers of the Executive Branch.
3.  An indictment might also rally support to the GOP senators.
4.  Imagine going ahead with a grand jury probe, leading to an indictment accusing the senators of violating the Logan Act. What would happen then?
5.  The senators would obviously get good lawyers, who would put on one of more of the following forms of legal defense – either before a case went to trial, or during a trial:

a.  First, argue that the Logan Act was meant to apply only to private citizens, not to senators carrying on public duties.
b.  Second, argue that the senators were engaging in legislative activity – oversight of State Department diplomatic dealings – and that Congress never intended the law to reach that kind of situation.
c.  Third, argue that, since this was legislative activity, the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause prevents members of Congress from being “questioned in any other place” for what they have done as lawmakers.
d.  Then the government, perhaps, could counter that the plain language of the law applies to “any citizen,” and to “any correspondence” with a foreign government or its leaders, and to any attempt at influencing dealings with the United States.

Etc. etc. and so forth – see the point? And, in the middle the GOP who always says they support law and order, tap dance better than Fred Astaire.

Folks this getting to be more ugly, nasty, and potentially very dangerous to the country as a whole.

On top of this a petition to hold the 47 GOP senators accountable is ready for the White House to act - see here: Now over 300,000 have signed.

Stay tuned:

SECOND SOURCE  Response from Iran's leader: Calls U.S. letter "backstabbing."

And, from here, in part: (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, hit the letter by 47 Republican senators threatening to undo any nuclear deal between Washington and Tehran. He said he was worried because the United States was known for “backstabbing.”


Khamenei, who is the ultimate authority on all Iranian matters of state, also said to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and senior clerics, that whenever negotiators made progress, the Americans became “harsher, tougher, and coarser.”

Lest we forget that the letter signed by 47 Republican senators warned Iran that any nuclear deal made with U.S. President Obama could last only as long as he remained in office – an unusual intervention into U.S. foreign policy-making by any member of congress let alone 47 from the same party – unprecedented move by any congress.
.
The White House has described the letter as “reckless and irresponsible,” saying it interfered with efforts by six major powers to negotiate with Iran on a deal to prevent it from building a nuclear bomb, and Secretary of State John Kerry, also the chief nuclear negotiator, voiced his “utter disbelief at the senators' action, saying the notion that they could alter any executive accord between government leaders was flat wrong.”

“Every time we reach a stage where the end of the negotiations is in sight, the tone of the other side, specifically the Americans, becomes harsher, coarser and tougher. This is the nature of their tricks and deceptions,” the Iranian leader continued, adding, “The letter is a sign of the decay of political ethics in the American system.”

Khamenei, a harsh tough conservative hardliner has always been wary of any detente with the West but has backed the diplomacy pursued by Rouhani, who was elected by a landslide in 2013 promising steps to end Iran's economically crippling international isolation.

Now that clashes with at least 47 GOP senators just as harsh tough and conservative …. Something has to give and it may not be pretty.

Iran says they do not wants nukes or war and this GOP says they do at the same time the GOP seems to want one (war) without the other (nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran) – or at least that is the status projected right now … in short: it ain’t pretty.

A key question: How would our Supreme Court rule on this GOP over reach, um … ooops.

2nd MAJOR UPDATE (March 10, 2015):  Several media sources are picking up on the Iran statement and reaction to GOP Senators' letter:
  1. Iran: Leader says GOP senators' letter implies U.S. 'not ...
  2. Iran: GOP letter shows U.S. "not trustworthy" - CBS News
  3. Iran: On Nuclear Talks: U.S. 'Not Trustworthy,' Says Top Tehran ...
  4. Iran: GOP letter suggests US is 'not trustworthy' - World ...
  5. Iran:  GOP letter suggests US is 'not trustworthy' - Salon ... 
This moment may be right for a Rick Perry “oops” faux pas. Stay tuned … the worst may yet be on the way.  

1st MAJOR UPDATE (March 9, 2015): Original post follows this update.

I note: The GOP always screeches about “Obama is a lawless president..., etc. etc.” So, how about a huge Rick Perry "oops" at this point. This from Cornell law - vis-a-vis the Senate letter today to the leaders of Iran about ignoring any agreement with Mr. Obama without Congressional approval on re: Iran’s nuclear program.

Cite: 8 U.S. Code § 953 - Private Correspondence With Foreign Governments

The Current Law is Pub. L. 113-296, except 113-287113-291113-295.

"Any Citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

"This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects."

Also cite: The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 30 January 1799, currently codified at 18 U.S.C. §953) is a United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. It was passed in 1799 and last amended in 1994. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable under federal law with imprisonment of up to three years.

The Act was intended to prohibit United States citizens without authority from interfering in relations between the United States and foreign governments.

Original Post Starts From Here: Wow - what a story (developing) reported on from many sources, including here from Bloomberg and below from the AP:

A group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter (click to read the letter) to Iran's leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Obama's administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.

Great debate here on this topic as this graph depicts (about 15 minutes) - worth your time:

GOP Sen. Cotton (AR) and Sen. Graham (SC): War Hawks Above All Else
(Inciting for more ME blood, as long as it's not theirs)

… [the letter] Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber's entire party leadership as well as potential 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process. (Note, if it were a treaty then the Senate must be involved, if not, they should nose out and bug off). 

Cite: The constitution:

"The President... shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur ... (REF: ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 2)
More at the above Bloomberg link. This from the AP, via my AOL email:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Forty-seven GOP Senators warned today (Monday, March 9, 2015) that any agreement the Obama administration strikes with Iran to limit Tehran's nuclear program may be short-lived unless Congress approves the deal.

In an open letter to Iranian leaders, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) got 46 other Republicans to say that without congressional approval, any deal between Iran and the U.S. would be merely an agreement between President Barack Obama and Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and “… the next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen, and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

Though the letter is addressed to leaders in Tehran, it seems as much aimed at delivering a message to President Obama.

Nearly all Republicans and some Democrats want Congress to vote on any agreement.

The pact the U.S. bargainers are currently working on does not require congressional approval because it is not a treaty (which would require a two-thirds majority Senate vote to ratify).

The U.S. and other nations are seeking a pact that would let Western powers verify that Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon, with the next negotiations scheduled for March 15, with wide gaps still between the two sides. The deadline for an outline of a U.S.-Iranian deal is at the end of March.

Iran has said its nuclear program is peaceful and is aimed at producing energy. There was no immediate Iranian government reaction to the letter or any discussion of it in Iranian media.

My Views: In all honesty, the GOP strikes fear and stokes the flames of hatred and discontent with this type behavior even before anything is resolved … that stinks to high heaven, but they don’t care about that or consequences at the end of the day. 

All the GOP wants is to keep their base in tow and win the whole damn seat of government in 2016 and rule with a iron fist, all the while claiming that Mr. Obama and DEMS have done the same – which is a blatant lie and they damn well know it.  

The public should take a strong exception to this GOP stunt, for it is a stunt, and a very nasty one at that. We should take them to task and cool their heels by telling them to butt out …

Finally, if this were to turn out shitty, guess who would duck and blame everyone in sight, except themselves? Yep ... the Goofy Old Poops.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

United States of Nitpickers: Blame Him, Her, Them, Everyone, Not Me

Everything Under Close Scrutiny


Not exactly sure what generated me to make this post, I guess just all the things I see and hear all around us these days and let's face it, there is plenty.

Seems to me that today it matters not what the topic, issue, person, party, place, or thing is – one thing is obvious, we have a new united thread: Instant news.”

If anything stands as a stark reminder about our national insanity it would have to be that we are fast becoming a nation of nitpickers, I'm sad to report. Disagree or not. It’s hard to dispute reality on the ground as they say.

Our new American motto might very well be: “We are doomed not to survive the next 100 years unless we keep up with the 24-7, instant 30-second sound byte media cycles that we are spoon fed and so used to. They are the ones we hold dear and cherish regardless of the facts presented later on. Why? We already moved on to the next “hot topic.”

Thank goodness for cable “news” like FOX, MSNBC, CNN, et al, and of course Talk Radio, and the “best of” shows on the weekends and holidays when they are off and we are not. Each broadcast is carefully designed to tell us how to think, what to think, when to think it, and with few if exceptions (except those crafted for us as their exceptions). So, stay close, or fall behind.

Seems we are too busy with our daily lives and mundane routines to figure things out for ourselves, and besides that would be futile. That cycle we just watched will be out of dated in two more minutes, or will come back with a new twist and vengeance but in the same format.

So, thank goodness for those instant and circular media presentations. They surely save us time and energy since they only present facts, right, and heck, critical thinking is a lost art anyway. We are in short like zombies, brain dead and focused on only one direction, straight ahead no off-ramps to reality allowed. So don't touch that dial. That flashback reminds me of this “now ancient” TV show. Seems apropos now:

Imagine this voice each time you click in the TV for the evening news roundup:

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits.”

Whew!! That was a load, wasn't it? So, am I right or wrong? Tic toc. Hurry, you only have 10 more seconds before the next cycle kicks in to a new and hotter subject. But, fear not, now we have streaming. See can't win.

Monday, March 9, 2015

GOP Wants Foreign Policy w/o The President: Action May Be Unlawful

GOP Senators Send Warning Letter to Iran: Deal with Us, Not Obama
(in essence that is the GOP message - see more below)


This moment may be right for a Rick Perry “oops” faux pas. Stay tuned … the worst may yet be on the way.
1st MAJOR UPDATE: Original post follows this update.

I note: The GOP always screeches about “Obama is a lawless president..., etc. etc.” So, how about a huge Rick Perry "oops" at this point. This from Cornell law - vis-a-vis the Senate letter today to the leaders of Iran about ignoring any agreement with Mr. Obama without Congressional approval on re: Iran’s nuclear program.

Cite: 8 U.S. Code § 953 - Private Correspondence With Foreign Governments

The Current Law is Pub. L. 113-296, except 113-287113-291113-295.

"Any Citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

"This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects."

Also cite: The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 30 January 1799, currently codified at 18 U.S.C. §953) is a United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. It was passed in 1799 and last amended in 1994. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable under federal law with imprisonment of up to three years.

The Act was intended to prohibit United States citizens without authority from interfering in relations between the United States and foreign governments.

Original Post Starts From Here: Wow - what a story (developing) reported on from many sources, including here from Bloomberg and below from the AP:

A group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter (click to read the letter) to Iran's leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Obama's administration won’t last after Obama leaves office.

Great debate here on this topic as this graph depicts (about 15 minutes) - worth your time:

GOP Sen. Cotton (AR) and Sen. Graham (SC): War Hawks Above All Else
(Inciting for more ME blood, as long as it's not theirs)

… [the letter] Organized by freshman Senator Tom Cotton and signed by the chamber's entire party leadership as well as potential 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the letter is meant not just to discourage the Iranian regime from signing a deal but also to pressure the White House into giving Congress some authority over the process. (Note, if it were a treaty then the Senate must be involved, if not, they should nose out and bug off). 

Cite: The constitution:

"The President... shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur ... (REF: ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 2)
More at the above Bloomberg link. This from the AP, via my AOL email:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Forty-seven GOP Senators warned today (Monday, March 9, 2015) that any agreement the Obama administration strikes with Iran to limit Tehran's nuclear program may be short-lived unless Congress approves the deal.

In an open letter to Iranian leaders, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) got 46 other Republicans to say that without congressional approval, any deal between Iran and the U.S. would be merely an agreement between President Barack Obama and Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and “… the next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen, and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

Though the letter is addressed to leaders in Tehran, it seems as much aimed at delivering a message to President Obama.

Nearly all Republicans and some Democrats want Congress to vote on any agreement.

The pact the U.S. bargainers are currently working on does not require congressional approval because it is not a treaty (which would require a two-thirds majority Senate vote to ratify).

The U.S. and other nations are seeking a pact that would let Western powers verify that Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon, with the next negotiations scheduled for March 15, with wide gaps still between the two sides. The deadline for an outline of a U.S.-Iranian deal is at the end of March.

Iran has said its nuclear program is peaceful and is aimed at producing energy. There was no immediate Iranian government reaction to the letter or any discussion of it in Iranian media.

My Views: In all honesty, the GOP strikes fear and stokes the flames of hatred and discontent with this type behavior even before anything is resolved … that stinks to high heaven, but they don’t care about that or consequences at the end of the day. 

All the GOP wants is to keep their base in tow and win the whole damn seat of government in 2016 and rule with a iron fist, all the while claiming that Mr. Obama and DEMS have done the same – which is a blatant lie and they damn well know it.  

The public should take a strong exception to this GOP stunt, for it is a stunt, and a very nasty one at that. We should take them to task and cool their heels by telling them to butt out …

Finally, if this were to turn out shitty, guess who would duck and blame everyone in sight, except themselves? Yep ... the Goofy Old Poops.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Waste Time, Money, Ignore Facts, Pander for Votes: /s/ the GOP

Sustaining Tragedy for Political Gain
(Hell, why not, eh)

The Hillary Clinton "email" flap (I refuse to call it "email-gate") as it were is not about good open and transparent government. That ship already sailed. Nay, this is about GOP gain for 2016 by any method or tactic known to man kind. Feed the base, keep frenzy alive and hammer till it hurts.

So, I I begin this with a simple direct question: Why does the GOP persist that there is something sinister “there, there” about Clinton and Benghazi?

This is especially true in light of the record, cost to date, and fact that now the GOP has agreed to spend $3 million to set up and run the “Benghazi Select Committee” (Rep. Harold W. "Trey" Gowdy (R-SC), chairman). I ask that because there is a long public record of the many previous GOP-run Congressional investigations that already cost the government millions in dollars and in lost productivity this way:

1.  Eight congressional committees (see list below) participated in the investigations into the Benghazi tragedy.
2.  There have been more than 50 senior level staff briefings.
3.  Some 13 public hearings.
4.  At least three independent-bipartisan reports.
5.  Dozens of interviews.
6.  Disclosure of more than 25,000 pages of documents.
[reported on by Reuters5/5/2014 and Politico5/4/14]

DOD also reported that those efforts have cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours and got what? Nothing to show any cover up by anyone in the Obama administration or under Clinton at State. [reported on by the AP3/25/14]

Those 8 committees:

1.  The Independent State Department Accountability Review Board,
2.  The Senate Intelligence Committee,
3.  The Senate Armed Services Committee,
4.  The House Intelligence Committee,
5.  The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee,
6.  The House Armed Services Committee,
7.  The House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform,
8.  The House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Based on the results I raise this Question: How many of those committees uncovered any evidence, even an ounce of proof that blames Mr. Obama or the White House, or Mrs. Clinton in the State Department, or any DEM cover-up and wrong doing of any kind?

Short Answer: None, Nada, Nil, Nothing, Naught, Zero, Zilch, Zip-a-Rooney, Goose Egg, Total Blank …  

Last Question: How come the current GOP does not trust the previous GOP and all their probes and actions that looked into the Benghazi tragedy that compels them to keep digging? 

Oh, hell, that. Politics as usual to win in 2016? Check, got it. Never mind. Carry on.

Friday, March 6, 2015

RED States Resist ACA Medicaid Expansion, But Not For Long

Good Look Map Status as of: March 3, 2015

The "We Love ACA vs. We Hate Obama-care" at the USSC
(Not even close, is it)

From Think Progress here, in part … a very good read:

Subject: RED States Really Feeling the Heat on Medicaid Expansion

That subject line states the obvious, and that is: People (many with health care for the first times i their lives) like their plan and coverage and now that some 10 plus million are at risk (the King v. Burwell subsidy ruling) may raise prices, cause plans to weaken or disappear, cause insurance companies to go out of business, and impact low-income working people who are the most-needy folks by putting them back out in the cold without decent affordable health care, which is what one main goal of the ACA has been all along, and hence the name "The Affordable Act." 

Specifically from the article: Despite all the justified attention for King v. Burwell, it is not the only way that conservatives stand in the way of ensuring more people receive quality, affordable health care. A number of states where conservatives have so far refused to close the health care coverage gap are taking a second look. 

Like many states that have yet to accept federal funding to provide coverage for low-income working Americans recalcitrant Florida officials are starting to realize that refusing expansion comes with serious costs. If Florida does not significantly change its Medicaid program by the end of June, the state will lose $1 billion in federal funds used to help pay for uninsured hospital patients. The cold, hard math behind expansion is forcing the State Senate to reconsidering its opposition to expanding Medicaid, despite continued stonewalling from the State House and Governor Rick Scott (R).

A mix of hope and worry is present in a number of other states considering expansion (more examples):

Alaska: Last month, Governor Bill Walker (I) released a report showing that closing the coverage gap would save Alaska millions. Republicans in the legislature used procedural maneuvers to temporarily bottle up the funds to pay for it and Americans for Prosperity’s Alaska branch, the Koch-funded right-wing group, has campaigned against expansion.

Kansas: Despite continued conservative opposition, the State House has scheduled two hearings on Medicaid expansion. Governor Sam Brownback (R), who campaigned hard against expansion in his re-election campaign, has recently signaled that he could be open to expansion, provided that it is paid for.

Utah: While Governor Gary Herbert (R) and the Republican-controlled State Senate both support a real Medicaid expansion plan, a vote on Medicaid expansion on a State House panel failed, while an alternative plan that would not make a real dent at cutting the number of uninsured Utah citizens passed through a House panel. 


This is truly a defining moment and critical issue of our time. And it still leaves one wondering: Why all this GOP-Rightwing-TEA-RED state resistance to help people with health care? It defies logic.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hatred of Government = Apathy, Cynicism Risk to Our Foundation

                                           Image result for hatred of government
Too Familiar These Days - Why???
(Feel fed up, hopeless, and powerless)

Across American Airwaves - One Culprit

The Problem and the Solution Elude Us - Why???
(The System Protects Itself)

A lot of us since we were young heard and subscribed to the notion that “money is the root of all evil.”  Is it really; not in all cases. A lot of people with a lot of money do great things for mankind, but in politics, not so much so. Except to rake in a ton to run and win a seat in some elected office and then with another ton, stay in office.  Almost all the corruption stories in our history have been directly connected to money and greed of those in office. The list is long, and the Watergate cliché, follow the money still applies whether dating back to the Teapot Dome scandal (1922 bribes involve for land leases) or Iran-Contra (selling arms for hostages) right to the biggie that brought down a President of the United States: Watergate. Money was at the center of most of them along with power and greed.

And, it’s not just politics, e.g., the Madoff ponzi scandal; Enron; Worldcom; Tyco; Freddie Mac; or, AIG just to name a few of the really big ones. And, at the center: big amounts of money.

This article triggered me to post this today from CNBC and the charts there are neat to operate and see the outcome. I once again concluded as I have for years that the common denominator is money. It's not necessarily the idea of people giving money for political campaigns or to candidates. That is expected. But when it leads to crime, corruption, greed and other nasty stuff, well, that’s my focus. Not just the money per se, but the sources and lately the massive amounts as each cycle get worse and sets new records. Sadly most of it comes from only a handful of millionaires and billionaires who are trying to buy the country. No one has or can convince me otherwise of their goal: power and money.

The court rulings like Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC have spoiled the pool - it's not worth diving in and enjoying the day in the sun. Not when big money owns the pool, water, and Sun.

The question and search I believe is how to change the system and actually make it work as the type of true representative democracy we all say we want? That is the $64,000 dollar question (and no pun intended).

Common sense control on campaign money is the key. And no, I do not believe that money is speech except to a certain degree. However, taken to the extremes that we have seen since 2010 (i.e., with someone like Sheldon Adelson giving $100 million). I guess his next move along side the Koch brothers with their recent pledge of nearly $1 billion for 2016 will shatter previous records while proving it all entitles them to buy and own every dictionary on Earth, and thus guaranteeing that they truly have more speech than anyone else. Power and money.

At least that is the logical conclusion I see when I hear the high court say that “money is speech and there are no limits.”  No limits on actual speech, I totally agree; but a truckload of hundred dollar bills for a House or Senate run? Um …that kind of stinks. No one will ever convince me that at the end of the day that a quid pro quo isn’t waiting in the wings for a “return on their investment." It’s not human nature to give someone a million dollars for an election and not expect something in return at the end of the day. And, please no sound bytes like “it’s only good access.” That is weak. For example, say that Mr. X gives a million dollars, and you can only give a thousand. Then you both call your Senator or Representative. Guess who gets the access? Case closed. 

That's my 2 cents for today. I hope I've make my point.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Velkom to Broken Amerika — Show Us Your Papers or Git Out

We run the country like it was 1773 all over gain
(You don't like it, then git out)

Image result for show me your papers
No funding - so face the wall and spread 'em 
(We work w/o pay, so don't f**k with us... grrrrr....)

The TEA “party” wing of the GOP (i.e., the ultra-harsh conservative hardliners who are angry about anything that is Obama, DEM, or programs they enjoy but claim they're awful for others).

This post is based on this: SUMMARY AS OF H.J. Res 35 (bill to extend DHS funding until March 15). The GOP voted it down ... (vote tally is here): 

CRS summary: This joint resolution amends the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015 to extend the continuing FY 2015 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the current annual rate until March 19, 2015, or enactment of DHS appropriations legislation for FY 2015. The joint resolution prevents a shutdown of DHS when funding under current law expires on February 27, 2015.

Their motto is as clear as their protester signs say: “Shut ‘er down.”

Shut down the HSD and thus threaten or weaken safety and security of the country … hey, ISIS and others, you got that? Loose lips – what the hell is that?

These TEA baggers claim to love America more than anyone else. They profess to be loyalists of highest order – just good old boy patriots. Yeah, sure.  Next question.

Two things are pathetic here: (1) they clamor for stronger borders, yet want border security personnel to work and not get paid, and (2) they claim to stand for less government, well, shutting down a huge chunk seems to fit that bill, and they end up looking and sounding like full-fledged lunatics and this is where the GOP “TEA party” types belong - agree or not?



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Will the USSC Protect the ACA's Insured and Poor or Political Stunts

Especially on the Wrong Side of Healthcare 

obamacare
The Right Side Message for the USSC


This story is worth following since it has a different slant seen here, in part:

Insurance Companies to USSC: Please help protect us from going broke and out of business!!

In an early warning of what will happen if the Supreme Court backs a legal attack on the Affordable Care Act, the American Academy of Actuaries sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Burwell on Tuesday asking Burwell’s department to permit insurers to raise premiums if the justices vote to defund much of the law. According to the letter, a decision against Obama-care threatens many insurance companies from  becoming “insolvent,” unless they are able to raise premiums in the wake of such a decision. Needless to say, if an insurer becomes insolvent, that endangers its customers’ ability to pay for their health care.

King v. Burwell is the lawsuit seeking to cut off tax credits that enable many people to pay for health insurance in close to three dozen states. Should this lawsuit succeed, millions of Americans will become uninsured and an estimated 9,800 will die every year.

Actually, Burwell may not even get a day in court since some legal experts say they "have no standing" as discussed here (NY TIMES)... um ... well, alrighty then, stay tuned.

Image result for alrighty then