Tagged: Republican Party

Koch Brothers get to use Fox News employees as campaign pimps

At least 15 Fox News hosts and contributors have recently campaigned with two political organizations created and heavily funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. Many of those same Fox News personalities have also defended the Kochs from attacks and praised their political efforts on-air…

Politico’s Ken Vogel reported that Americans For Prosperity “intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives, according to a memo distributed to major donors and sources familiar with the group.” The Washington Post wrote that with a paid staff of 240, split between 32 states, AFP “may be America’s third-biggest political party.” In 2012, “More than $44 million of the $140 million the organization raised in that election cycle came from Koch-linked feeder funds.”

AFP and AFPFoundation are part of a massive $400 million network of political groups spearheaded by the Kochs. The Huffington Post’s Paul Blumenthal noted, “It is the electoral focus of the Koch nonprofits and their sophisticated efforts to shield donors’ identities — plus the vast sums of money they move — that has brought them the unwanted attention of both Democratic Senate leadership and reporters. There exists no outside network or organization supporting Democratic Party candidates in elections, while not disclosing its donors, that spends money in comparable amounts…”

Fox News personalities are the public face of many AFP/AFPF events. Promotional materials heavily tout the speakers’ affiliation with Fox News to increase attendance. According to a Media Matters review, the following Fox News personalities have participated in AFP and AFPF events since 2012: Guy Benson, Tucker Carlson, Monica Crowley, Jonah Goldberg, Greg Gutfeld, Mary Katharine Ham, Mike Huckabee, Laura Ingraham, Andrew Napolitano, Sarah Palin, Charles Payne, Dana Perino, John Stossel, Cal Thomas, and Juan Williams.

“Fair and balanced” means as little as “liberty and justice for all” in a nation where conservative judges rule that corporations are people, religion and the NSA trump the Constitution.

No one expects Fox News to do anything more than imitate constitutional standards for a Free Press. The saddest part is the fools who believe that papier-mâché imitation.

Thanks, Mike

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Florida ruling for same-sex marriage adds to list of victories for civil rights

A state judge struck down Florida’s gay marriage ban on Friday in the latest in a string of legal gay-rights victories that have nonetheless been put on hold for resolution by higher courts.

Circuit court judge Sarah Zabel in Miami-Dade county said Florida’s ban violated the constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, and offended “basic human decency“.

Florida’s attorney general quickly appealed against the ruling. But Zabel said the slew of recent verdicts showed it was “increasingly obvious” it was impermissible to deny couples the right to marry solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, and that doing so served no governmental purpose.

“It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society,” she wrote.

Now, you can see ever more clearly why the Republican Party and their nutball acolytes are blocking affirmation of federal judgeships throughout Obama’s terms in the White House. No one expects him to appoint anyone other than moderate to traditionally-conservative judges; but, even that is too scary for right-wingers and theocrats.

Anyone with an understanding of law beyond 19th Century blood-and-thunder oratory is going to rule favorably upon all the issues Congress is too cowardly to advance.

43 Republican Senators vote against access to birth control

Welcome to 1965. That was when the Supreme Court ruling in Griswold vs Connecticut legalized the sale and public access to contraceptive devices. The pharmacist at the Orange pharmacy just 5 blocks from my apartment in New Haven was arrested for publicly displaying and selling condoms.

Today’s conservative-dominated Supreme Court probably would have upheld the law and his arrest. Today’s Republicans demonstrate once again their War on Women is more important than separation of Church and State, more important than women having the individual liberty to make choices about reproduction. Welcome to 1865.


Estelle Griswold

Today, Senate Republicans filibustered a bill that would have walked back the recent Supreme Court hearing in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and made sure that contraception was treated no differently from other medications in company insurance policies. The bill, promoted by Washington senator Patty Murray and Colorado senator Mark Udall and called the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act, would have ensured that for-profit companies that provide health insurance to employees could not deny coverage of specific medications, including birth control. It exempted houses of worship and religiously affiliated nonprofits.

Nonetheless, the bill failed. Only three Republicans crossed party lines to vote for it: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Mark Kirk of Illinois.

The bill’s defeat isn’t a surprise, but it is indicative of how extreme positions from the long-standing wars over abortion have crept into territory the American public more or less agrees on. Overwhelming majorities of Americans think birth control is morally acceptable, and two-thirds support mandated contraception coverage in health insurance plans. A majority thinks for-profit companies should have to cover contraception even if the company owners have religious objections.

But a bill solidifying those values while maintaining rights for religious groups was just shot down…

Numerous studies show that affordable, accessible contraception significantly lowers abortion rates. When women around the world are able to plan their families, they live longer, their children are healthier, they have fewer abortions, their families make more money and even their local and national economies improve. And family planning doesn’t just reduce abortion rates — it reduces infant mortality rates too.

So why do Republicans want to make it harder and more expensive to get? Because this isn’t about abortion at all. It’s about female sexuality and a conservative hostility toward it. Contraception doesn’t just have social, medical, and economic benefits; it allows women to have sex for pleasure. There are a lot of folks who find that threatening and unpleasant…

…The point of insurance is to help offset health care costs. If employers didn’t have to cover vaccinations or the setting of broken bones or brain surgery, people would still have the legal ability to get to those things, but many people wouldn’t be able to, because the cost would make them inaccessible. The same is true for birth control.

Americans understand that. It’s too bad conservatives in the Senate don’t.

‘Nuff said. Conservative creeps want to turn this country back into the sort of theocratic, bigoted, old-white-male-dominated nation exemplified by today’s Republican Party.

The War on Women is central to that ideology.

Billionaires display their contempt for Congressional conservatives

Three of the world’s richest men — Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson — criticized the U.S. Congress, and particularly the Republican-led House, over its failure to revamp immigration laws.

“Whatever the precise provisions of a law, it’s time for the House to draft and pass a bill that reflects both our country’s humanity and its self interest,” Microsoft co-founder Gates, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Buffett and Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Adelson wrote in a New York Times op-ed posted online yesterday.

“It’s time for 535 of America’s citizens to remember what they owe to the 318 million who employ them,” they wrote, referring to the total membership of the House and Senate.

The three men are worth a combined $184.3 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

Congress – especially the Republican-controlled House – isn’t worth crap!

While business representatives have long favored rewriting immigration laws, the push for that effort by corporate titans who have varying political beliefs and interests is unusual…

Adelson, 80, and his wife, Miriam, have been major donors to Republican candidates for years. They pumped $15 million into a super-political action committee backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign in 2012…They later gave $20 million to the super-PAC supporting the eventual Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.

Buffett, 83, has given money largely to Democrats over the years, including more than $200,000 to Obama and the Democratic National Committee since Obama first ran for president…He has also cultivated relationships with Republicans as he encouraged compromise on political issues.

Gates, 58, has donated money to members of both parties and a variety of causes, including efforts to support gay marriage…

“The three of us vary in our politics and would differ also in our preferences about the details of an immigration reform bill,” Gates, Adelson and Buffett wrote. “But we could without a doubt come to together to draft a bill acceptable to each of us,” and “it’s time this brand of thinking finds its way to Washington.”

Accusing Congressional conservatives of “thinking” is akin to calling the 1971 Ford Pinto “safe and efficient automobile design”.

Though it’s a positive sign of the times that three disparate corporate barons can come together in the spirit of moderate progress, aiding our lame economy – the likelihood of anything useful leaking from the barnacle-encrusted barge that is Congress is nil.

Until and unless American voters throw useless pimps for fossil fuel and war profiteering out of office – and that includes rejecting the populist crap so beloved of nutballs – we as a nation don’t stand a chance of realizing a modicum of economic growth. Everything that stands for progress in building a modern, educated, employable society is rejected by the least competent gaggle of political hacks ever assembled in Washington DC.

Gun nut rampage – couple murders two coppers and a WalMart shopper in Las Vegas

saluting dead comrades
Click to enlarge

The man and woman suspected in Sunday’s Las Vegas shopping center attack that left two police officers and a shopper dead often talked about killing officers and didn’t believe in the government, a neighbor says.

“They always talked about murdering cops,” neighbor Krista Koch told ABC affiliate KTNV-TV…”They were going to kill as many officers as they can, and then they were going to do away with themselves.”

Investigators searched an apartment overnight believed to be related to the shooting, trying to uncover clues about the midday attack. Police are looking into the couple’s links to the white supremacy movement after finding swastika symbols during their initial investigation…

Investigators say the man and woman, armed with guns and ammunition, walked into a CiCi’s Pizza Restaurant, where they opened fire on officers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31.

Police say one officer fired back, but both died from their injuries.

Sheree Burns, who witnessed the shooting, says the officers didn’t stand a chance

The pair then fled across the street to a Walmart, where the male suspect reportedly yelled, “Everyone get out.” Shots rang out inside the store at 11:27 a.m. By then police were already on the scene. A third victim was found dead inside the store’s front door.

Police say the man and woman then went to the back of the store, where they killed themselves in an apparent suicide pact. The female suspect reportedly shot the male suspect, then took her own life…

“It’s a tragic day, it’s a very, very difficult day,” Sheriff Doug Gillespie said at a news conference. “But we still have a community to police, and we still have a community to protect. We will be out there doing it with our heads held high, but with emptiness in our hearts.”

It’s always useful to see the Board of Directors of the NRA/Tea Party get out in public.

Yeah, that’s a smartass remark. What else? You know about the nutball gun culture in the United States. This is just one more time I’m embarrassed by creeps who turn their reliance on firearms as a substitute for real achievements – into death. Embarrassed because I’ve been a gun owner, an occasional hunter, for decades.

My family has worked in the firearms industry more often than any other. Growing up in Connecticut – the arsenal of America – that’s where employment was most often available. But, even the most conservative members of my extended family never turned out to be the kind of crazies that dominate the NRA, the Tea Party, the most paranoid cowards in the history of American libertarianism.

Las Vegas coppers suggest this couple had ties to racist politics – and that fits as well. The new Confederacy still prides itself on bigotry even with their adoption of the diplomatic use of code words instead of traditional hatespeak. I imagine if you spend Friday night in a country-western bar in Mississippi, Texas or Arizona – you’ll hear the good ol’ boys at their traditional best.

Oh, and you can expect the public dregs of our rightwing to busy themselves immediately making excuses, trying to turn these thugs into heroes. I expect we’ll all hear the predictable line from Fox News to The Blaze by midday.

Fire fighting air tanker fleet short of what is needed for growing wildfire risk

With a vast swath of the West primed for wildfires, federal foresters are preparing for the worst with a budget that might run dry and a fleet of air tankers that in some cases aren’t ready for takeoff.

A combination of extended drought, warming weather and an abundance of withered trees and grasses have created ideal conditions for fire — more than 22 million acres were blackened by wildfires from 2011-2013, primarily across the West…

In no place is the situation more worrisome than in California, where several years of stingy rainfall have turned forests and scrub into matchsticks and tens of thousands of homes are perched along fire-prone areas.

Firefighters battled a blaze in the mountains east of Los Angeles this week, where temperatures neared triple digits. And states from New Mexico through southern Oregon have been left sere by a lack of rain and snow.

But even as fire risk has increased in recent years, the number of large air tankers dropped.

About a decade ago the Forest Service had more than 40 of the big tankers at its disposal — the draft horses of firefighting aircraft that can dump thousands of gallons of flame-snuffing retardant in a single swoop, far more than a helicopter.

According to federal analysts, the fleet hit a low of eight aircraft at one point last year, depleted by age and concerns over the ability of the planes, in some cases flying since the dawn of the Cold War, to stay in the sky.

Be of good cheer. Contemplate the most reactionary members of Congress in your neck of the prairie – someone as backwards, say, as Steve Pearce in downstate New Mexico. You can guarantee he will shout and rail against Forest Service, state and federal fire-fighters as being Federal agents in practice and policy.

Almost as loud as he and his peers hollered when confronted with legislation in Congress which would authorize spending a few more tax dollars on those air tankers, better salaries and benefits for those first responders. They voted against it of course.

Our states may go up in flames before folks finally toss useless cruds like Pearce off his gravy train based on service to oil companies, mining companies.

Thanks, Mike

The likely future of Voter ID laws


 
“Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal”

It’s way too early to forecast the fate of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, the federal legislation introduced Thursday in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision last June in Shelby County v. Holder which struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act. This sensible new measure has bipartisan support. But already there are grumblings on the right that the bill either isn’t necessary or that it too boldly protects the rights of minority citizens to be free from…discriminatory voting practices…

But it’s not too early to know that state voter identification laws will have an exalted place of protection in the Congressional response to Shelby County no matter what the final legislation looks like. In an effort to garner bipartisan support, that is to say in an effort to appease Republican lawmakers, the bill’s sponsors specifically exempted state voter ID laws from the litany of discriminatory voting policies and practices that would count under the new “coverage formula” contemplated by Section 4 of the proposed law. It’s like proposing a law to ban football and then exempting the Super Bowl.

The VRAA tells us that it will be left to state and federal judges around the nation to render their own judgment about the constitutionality of voter ID laws. And right on cue, the day after the federal measure was introduced on Capitol Hill, a judge in Pennsylvania did just that. Following a lengthy trial last summer, and six months of agonizing delay, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley on Friday struck down Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law as violative of the constitutional rights of state voters…

The ruling is significant on its own terms, of course; it’s a major victory for voting rights advocates and a setback for vote suppressors in the state and everywhere else. As a matter of politics the import is clear. Pennsylvania is an eternal swing state—although it has swung blue most recently in national contests—and it is still considered a must-win for Democratic candidates for president. By blocking a law that would have erected practical impediments to mostly poor, young, old, and minority voters, Friday’s ruling makes it more likely that those likely Democratic voters will have their votes counted in 2014, at least…

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Republican Party wants to repeal law against offshore tax dodgers

The Republican Party is expected to approve a resolution this week, calling for repeal of an Obama administration law that is designed to crack down on offshore tax dodging…In what would be the party’s first appeal to scrap the law…

True to their dedication to time-wasting, we can expect 47 more attempts to follow another failure to make 19th Century capitalism the state religion.

Approved in 2010 after a tax-avoidance scandal involving a Swiss bank, FATCA requires most foreign banks and investment funds to report to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service information about U.S. customers’ accounts worth $50,000 or more…

Repeal seems unlikely, but more political heat from Republicans could further complicate and delay implementation, said financial industry lobbyists…

Defending the law, Treasury Department spokeswoman Erin Donar said in a statement: “FATCA continues to gain momentum and international support as we work with partners around the world to fight offshore tax evasion.”

In the tradition of rightwing politicians in American history, today’s Republicans want armies stationed around the world, highway and rail systems to move industrial products to market, a certain level of education [albeit minimal] and obedient Bob Cratchit-level bureaucrats to run the infrastructure – paid for exclusively by taxes on workingclass families, our ever-diminishing middle class. No taxes on wealthy individuals or corporations.

Perish the thought Republican family values include honesty, responsibility, paying your own way.

GOP candidate says spousal rape shouldn’t be a crime

MakingDinner

After taking a drubbing in last year’s state elections, Virginia Republicans are debating whether their party has come to be defined by its extremists. But in a congressional district in Northern Virginia, one of the state’s main instigators of culture warfare, state Sen. Richard H. “Dick” Black, is running in the Republican primary to replace longtime GOP moderate Rep. Frank Wolf, who is retiring. And he’s guaranteed to ignite wedge-issue passion. Exhibit A: As a state legislator, Black opposed making spousal rape a crime, citing the impossibility of convicting a husband accused of raping his wife “when they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth.”

Black has referred to emergency contraception, which does not cause abortions, as “baby pesticide.” Black also fought to block a statue of Abraham Lincoln at a former Confederate site in Richmond. He wasn’t sure, he explained at the time, that statues of Lincoln belonged in Virginia. He has argued that abortion is a worse evil than slavery…

Black entered politics in the late 1990s after retiring as a military prosecutor. He spoke frequently to media outlets about sexual assault in the military, and called military rape “as predictable as human nature.” “Think of yourself at 25,” Black told a newspaper in 1996. “Wouldn’t you love to have a group of 19-year-old girls under your control, day in, day out?”

One more illustration of what the term “conservative” has come to mean in today’s Republican Party. Brutality and bigotry in the War on Women accepted as an ideological standard.