The Real Downside to Re-Electing Bush (Alito, Roberts)

The most remarkable thing about the Supreme Court’s opinions announced Monday was not what the justices wrote or said. It was what Samuel Alito did.

The associate justice, a George W. Bush appointee, read two opinions, both 5-4 decisions that split the court along its usual right-left divide. But Alito didn’t stop there. When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, Alito visibly mocked his colleague.

via Dana Milbank: Justice Samuel Alito’s middle-school antics – The Washington Post.

Around the 2004 election there were a number of arguments about re-electing someone the SCOTUS selected in 2000 to be President.  One of the big issues was going to be a couple of Supreme Court appointments the newly elected (in 2004) President was going to be able to make.

If you’ll recall, Bush first tried to get his personal lawyer  (Harriet Myers) appointed.   When that got laughed out of Congress, Bush wen to Alito…who it turns out was worse.

Bush also appointed Roberts as Chief Justice, and given Roberts young age, Bush’s decisions are going to be with us for a long time.

So when it appears the SCOTUS is more and more out of touch with what is happening in reality, it is perfectly correct to the person who made it that way accountable.

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A Couple Republicans Remember Jesus Liked the Poor (and they claim to love the Jesus)

“When you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor. You’d better have a good answer,” Kasich, a Christian conservative, says he told one Ohio lawmaker last week.

“I can’t go any harder than that. I’ve got nothing left.”

Most Republicans oppose Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a costly, ineffective and unnecessary expansion of government. But some Republican governors, like Arizona’s Jan Brewer and Michigan’s Rick Snyder, have broken ranks to embrace the law’s Medicaid expansion as a practical way to help the poor while infusing their state budgets with billions of dollars in federal funding to pay for it.

via Republican Battles Over Medicaid Turn To God, Morality.

The rampant hypocrisy (approaching schizophrenia) on the right on these issues (“we love unborn babies, but hate anchor babies”, and “lazy good-for-nothings popping out kids for more welfare”) is becoming so odious there’s really not an argument against it…it’s just flat out wrong.

Maybe they think people’s hypocrisy meters will simply asplode or something, and not notice there is not moral consistency to the GOP*.

* This was also clear in the recent SCOTUS ruling striking down part of the Voting Rights Act and 2nd Amendment rulings.  For the VRA, the change in voter landscape from 40 years ago is so much the rules don’t matter anymore…but for the 2nd Amendment, 200+ years of technological advancements in the lethality of handheld weapons means nothing and shouldn’t be taken into consideration.

 

IRS Scandel Dead (Except for Derposphere)

That “be on the lookout list” used to flag Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny of their tax-exemption applications?It turns out it wasnt the only one the Internal Revenue Service had been using.There were also other lists, covering a “broad spectrum” of categories and cases, according to a preliminary IRS report released Monday.

“Once we came to that conclusion, we took immediate action to suspend the use of these lists in the Exempt Organizations unit within IRS,” said Danny Werfel, the new acting chief of the IRS, in a conference call with reporters.

via IRS Chief: No Evidence Of Intentional Wrongdoing So Far | WUTC.

So this thing is pretty much dead and buried…outside the idiot brigade,which will ride it hard until 2014, endlessly saying acronyms as if they are a mantra that means anything to anyone outside not active in the brigade. (NSA, IRS, Benghaszi, NSA, IRSA, Behnghazi, NSA, IRS, Benghazi).

 

 

The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage – Bloomberg

The fundamental law of capitalism is that if workers have no money, businesses have no customers. That’s why the extreme, and widening, wealth gap in our economy presents not just a moral challenge, but an economic one, too. In a capitalist system, rising inequality creates a death spiral of falling demand that ultimately takes everyone down.

Low-wage jobs are fast replacing middle-class ones in the U.S. economy. Sixty percent of the jobs lost in the last recession were middle-income, while 59 percent of the new positions during the past two years of recovery were in low-wage industries that continue to expand such as retail, food services, cleaning and health-care support. By 2020, 48 percent of jobs will be in those service sectors.

Policy makers debate incremental changes for arresting this vicious cycle. But perhaps the most powerful and elegant antidote is sitting right before us: a spike in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

via The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage – Bloomberg.

This is what we are gong to have to do one way or another as more and more labor is replaced by “working capital” (i.e. automation).   The question, as per, is how long we are going to fight against the obvious before it hits.

China Flips Tables on Hacking, War Powers Questions Abound

(Reuters) – China made its first substantive comments on Monday to reports of U.S. surveillance of the Internet, demanding that Washington explain its monitoring programs to the international community.

Several nations, including U.S. allies, have reacted angrily to revelations by an ex-CIA employee over a week ago that U.S. authorities had tapped the servers of internet companies for personal data.

“We believe the United States should pay attention to the international community’s concerns and demands and give the international community the necessary explanation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily briefing.

via China asks U.S. to explain Internet surveillance | Reuters.

China has been all over this things.  Snowden completely changed the conversation.  Where we had recently started to get data about China’s effort[1] in this regard…now the entire playing board has been upended.

Snowden has also crossed a line (for many) as he is now trying to curry favor with the Chinese government by revealing this information.

To try and get a sense of how big a deal this is…imagine if we had someone defect from China and reveal just exactly how the unit I mentioned previously functioned.  And if you think Snowden isn’t trying to defect…you aren’t paying attention.  

HONG KONG — Political pressure is growing here for the Hong Kong government to protect Edward Snowden, who has said he will remain in the city and allow the people here to “decide his fate.”

Yet Snowden is depending on a place that isn’t in control of even its own destiny.

Hong Kong has a separate legal system from mainland China and an avowed devotion to free speech, but the city ultimately answers to Chinese leaders in Beijing, who may be wary of a confrontation with the U.S. government.

 

“Even we cannot decide our own fate,” said Jerry Chan, 26, at a rally Saturday near the U.S. Consulate to support Snowden.

Unfortunately I don’t see a rational national conversation going on domestically about these programs.  Already we’ve seen the “IRS Scandal” debunked in hearings…and then the Chairman of those hearings refused to release the testimony.  There is *very little desire* to get to the bottom of these things, if there even is a bottom, and a *great deal of desire* to try and make political hay out of the situation.

Obama has already tried to begin the conversation on scaling back the war-time footing we’ve been on for over a decade.

Rather than have that conversation, Republicans would rather fault him for using the powers granted Obama, that Obama himself is trying to set aside.

President Obama drew sharp criticism from Republican senators Thursday for urging the repeal of the 2001 law that effectively authorized the war on terror.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., claimed the president was assuming Al Qaeda is “on the run,” calling that mindset “really incredible.”

The president addressed the law, known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), toward the end of an hour-long speech largely devoted to explaining and defending his administration’s lethal drone program. He even referenced the fact that America is at war in defending the legality of the drone strikes.

 

But Obama made clear that his ultimate goal is to update, and then repeal, the use of force law, saying he wants to fight terrorism without keeping the country on a “perpetual war-time footing.”

 

[1]

The building off Datong Road, surrounded by restaurants, massage parlors and a wine importer, is the headquarters of P.L.A. Unit 61398. A growing body of digital forensic evidence — confirmed by American intelligence officials who say they have tapped into the activity of the army unit for years — leaves little doubt that an overwhelming percentage of the attacks on American corporations, organizations and government agencies originate in and around the white tower.

The Best Part: He Gave This Speech to a Crowd that Was 95% Retirees on Medicare and Social Security

“For the last 30 years, I’ve been for abolishing the IRS and establishing a fair tax,” King said. “A national sales tax on sales and service to give us back our freedom. And every time that little Johnny or Sally puts a — buys their baseball cards or their Barbie doll clothes, they put a couple dimes on the counter for Uncle Sam.”

“And every time they do that with a national sales tax, they are reminded how expensive our federal government is. And we will turn this society and culture over and we will raise generations of conservatives that love this country, that understand free enterprise, demand less from government, not more from government.”

via Steve King: Secret income is ‘part of freedom’ | The Raw Story.

BTW…this is how far the derp goes…recall…this is a rally about ignoring that the reason Tea Party groups were “targeted” by the IRS has already been revealed (i.e. it has to do with tax laws and “social welfare” organizations).    And here’s the derp position…

“I don’t need them poking through my books, I don’t need them telling my pastor or my priest what he’s going to be able to preach from the pulpit,” he continued. “In fact, it’s not even the government’s business how much money you make. That’s a part of freedom.”

 

Ted Cruz’s Father Bribed Official To Come To U.S.

In a report Thursday on NPR about how Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) father shaped his vision on immigration, his father, Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, an immigrant from Cuba, said that while he “came to this country legally,” he basically bribed an official to get to the United States.

“A friend of the family — a lawyer friend of my father basically bribed a Batista official to stamp my passport with an exit permit,” the elder Cruz said.

Son Ted Cruz, who is critical of the ‘Gang of 8′ immigration bill, often attributes his views to his father’s emigration from Cuba: “In my opinion, if we allow those who are here illegally to be put on a path to citizenship, that is incredibly unfair to those who follow the rules.”

via Ted Cruz’s Father Bribed Official To Come To U.S. | TPM LiveWire.

I don’t think there’s a single thing to be learned about Ted Cruz that is not hypocritical and indicative of rampant douchbaggery.

Looks like they finally Prayed the Hate Away

Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.

via Leading ‘Ex-Gay’ Organization Closes, Apologizes To LGBT Community | ThinkProgress.

This is about the only good way these groups can “end”.    Good on this one for finally realizing what they were doing (hint: it wasn’t love).

I wonder how he’d feel if this “mob” had the power to deport him

“I was just appalled,” Kobach told Fox News. “They have a right to protest at my office or at public places – that’s fine. But they don’t have a right to enter someone’s private property and engage in this kind of intimidation.”

“I have four little girls and they would have been terrified to see 200 protesters shouting at their daddy on megaphones on the front lawn,” he said.

via Mob of Immigration Activists Storm Kansas Secretary of State’s Home – Todd Starnes – Page full.

The Core Problem with U.S. Politics (the Elected Don’t Mirror the Electorate)

Of the 435 districts that constitute the chamber, 242 tilt toward Republicans while 185 favor Democrats (another eight are evenly divided). In November, Mitt Romney – despite getting shellacked nationally – won 21 more congressional districts than President Barack Obama.

It’s for that reason that Democrats, who are 17 seats shy of the majority, start out the midterm season at risk of losing ground. While there are 15 Democrats residing in GOP-tilting districts, only four Republicans are in Democratic-friendly ones. And the Cook Political Report lists 37 Democratic-held seats as being competitive, compared to just 28 Republican ones.

Redistricting is the single biggest factor driving the GOP’s congressional power. When the process came to an end last year, 109 Republican seats were made safer as opposed to 67 Democratic seats. And 109 Democrat seats became more competitive, compared to just 96 Republicans.

via The Democrats’ lost decade? – Alex Isenstadt – POLITICO.com.

We saw this same thing just now in Texas.   Despite crying on the national stage about not getting a federal bailout for a private company that killed over a dozen people thanks to lax regulation and oversight, the Texas Legislature didn’t take a special session to focus on solutions to that problem…oh no*…they’re spending the special session trying to get biased re-districting maps passed (and restrict women’s rights, since that’s a big GOP priority).

* “Gov. Rick Perry has told The Associated Press he is comfortable with the current oversight, and doesn’t believe spending more money on inspections could prevent an explosion such as the one that occurred in West.”

The Flake Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree

Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) high school aged son, Tanner, repeatedly published racial, homophobic and anti-Semitic slurs on his personal Twitter account, Buzzfeed reported on Wednesday.

On his Twitter account earlier this year, which has since been locked, Tanner threatened the “faggot” who stole his bike, writing I “will find you, and…will beat the crap out of you.” He also called someone a “Jew” for stealing people’s ideas and went by the name “n1ggerkiller” in an online game, which he posted screenshots of on his Twitter account.

via Sen. Flake Apologizes For Son’s Offensive Slurs On Twitter | TPM LiveWire.

I wouldn’t have brought this up…but this is the kid in question…

Pretty much an IRL Joffrey, with a Senator Dad.

 

 

Issa Bullshit (jar jar voice)

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3424166?ref=topbar

“Although the Committee interviewed a self-identified ‘conservative Republican’ who denied any White House involvement or any political motivation for screening Tea Party cases, Chairman Issa now appears to be going back on his promise to release the full interview transcripts of IRS employees,” said Cummings, in a statement. “Chairman Issa changes his mind so fast that even when I agree with him, we’re not on the same page. I fully support responsible oversight, but cherry picking transcript excerpts to fuel partisan and unsubstantiated claims is not a credible or effective way to investigate.”

Issa promised to release full transcripts, finds out it wasn’t a conspiracy planned by Obama, releases partial transcripts trying to say it was….lies about everything.

Its almost like this guy is slimy as all hell.

Well, not “almost”.