Archive for the ‘Senators’ Category

Some quickies for you:

  • Dinesh D’Souza, asshat extraordinaire, is a big whiny child.  Those evil prosecutors are doing their job and trying to put him in prison.  How dare they?!  He’ll get probation and we’ll probably still have to see his idiocy on Bill Maher.
  • Conservatives are freaking out because the President saluted with a coffee cup in his hand.  I would rather have a latte in the middle of my salute than a Scottish Terrier.  And never mind about the real problems this country has because the paranoid, desperate, white, male base eats up this shit up.
  • Can I just say how much I admire Gabby Giffords?  She is absolutely amazing to have come back from that horrible tragedy in Tucson AND launch a PAC to fight against NRA extremism.  What’s even better?  It’s working.
  • If I hear one more liberal complain that the President isn’t liberal enough, is ineffectual and that Congress sucks, I’m going to go nuclear and remind them that it’s probably because they didn’t vote in the f*%!ing 2010 mid-terms.  Here’s just one very good example of how that has hurt and will continue to hurt us for years to come.
  • How effed up is that Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame, gave a speech to the U.N. on feminism and as a result was threatened with sexual violence and having nude photos of her posted online. This kind of terrorizing online is getting worse, not better.  I don’t know the solution but I really feel for any woman who is harrassed and terrorized because she speaks her mind on the Intertoobs.
  • Love the fact that big tech companies are divesting themselves of ALEC.  If you don’t know who they are, they’re what’s wrong with America.  A group of corporate representatives and conservatives who draft “model” legislation that they then push using vast resources in multiple states.  Their laws which include gems like SB1070, Stand your Ground,  Voter ID, and many more are nightmares and they’re making headway in many state legislatures because people aren’t paying attention to what’s happening on the state level. They’re too busy hating the President (see “Coffeegate” above and Congress (lowest approval ratings ever) on the national level and worrying about things that aren’t immediate threats (Ebola, Isis, etc).
  • And speaking of ISIS, don’t you just love that we’ve gone to war and there was absolutely no debate in Congress?!  They’d rather have yet another vote on appealing Obamacare.  Never mind that the rising cost of healthcare has actually slowed down as a direct result of the law, which was one of the main points of it in the first damn place.  Who needs facts….right?

I’d better stop while I’m ahead.  Methinks I’m getting my mojo for political blogging back and it’s about damn time!

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The following news stories actually make me not only wonder if our species will survive for much longer but also if we deserve to survive our own stupidity and neglect.

  • The City of Detroit found 11,000 rape kits that were abandoned and never tested.  After testing less than 7% of them they identified 100 serial rapists and 10 convicted rapists.  So if that pattern holds and they test the rest of them, they can expect to discover several hundred more of these scumbag.  ht mistermix at Balloon Juice
  • The AZ legislature is pushing a bill that would allow people to carry guns into building even if it’s forbidden (if they don’t have lockers available you can ignore the ban).  They’ve also advanced the idea that some gun owners can carry even if there are lockers and ban.  And to make it truly impossible for local governments to forbid guns in their government buildings, they’ve approved and forwarded a bill that says any local government who enforces local ordinance over state law can be fined.  This is like the trifecta of stupid.  They’re begging for someone to go into government buildings and commit mass murder.  I certainly will be avoiding those buildings like the plague if this crap passes.  ht JM Ashby at Bob Cesca
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, back when he was a prosecutor, let a child slaver off easy so that he could take down a political rival.
  • Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, told a woman that having cancer was her own fault for not forgiving her abusive father.  Okaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy
  • A new law went into effect in Michigan that says businesses and individuals who purchase private insurance must take out a separate rider to cover abortion care.  Essentially, if a woman needs an abortion for ANY reason and if she doesn’t have  a separate rider for it, she will have to pay out of pocket for the cost of that care.  So if I lived there, had a miscarriage and needed a D&C to shorten the process  and suffering so I could get back on my feet sooner, I would have to pay completely out of pocket for it.  Likewise for women who have become pregnant as a result of incest and rape.  That’s insane.  The real kicker is that there is not a single private insurance provider in the marketplace that provides this insurance.  This could not only bankrupt women and their families, it in effect nullifies Roe v. Wade, and will force women to seek out cheaper and more dangerous care for such things.  I hope the women in Michigan enjoy being second class citizens because it looks like the state is on target to vote the same politicians who’ve created these laws back into office.
  • Billionaires in the 1% are getting their panties in a twist and crying lots of salty tears because the rest of us are tired of having the economy manipulated while they gamble with our money and take what little wealth Americans have managed to accumulate over the last few decades.  The 99% have had the temerity to exercise their Freedom of Speech and the Right to Vote in more progressive candidates.  However, so far as I know there have been no lynch mobs or guillotine lines nor any proposed by anyone of significance in any “likely to happen” fashion.  The 99% are simply using the peaceful system of governance and the wonderful mechanisms given to us by the Founding Fathers.  However, reading some of the recent comments by the 1% (here’s a few examples here and here) might make one think that we are in the midst of a communist peasant uprising (or fascist style takeover depending on which historical example they erroneously choose).  Truth is, if we were in such a state, their heads would already be on pikes.  In reality nothing is happening to them and that’s the stupid thing.  We should be curtailing their almost godlike power over our economy and our elected officials. Their message gets broadcast loud and clear.  We hear about their perspective 24/7 on Fox News, read their whining on major websites and news sources (in addition to reading about their phenomenally ignorant take on history), and suffer under the vagaries of the worldwide economy which they essentially control.  As Jon Stewart said the other day, they make money regardless of how the economy fares.  So why should they give a crap about us? They don’t and the majority of Americans haven’t yet grasped this fact and what it will mean for this country, and indeed the world, in the long run.  Until Americans decide to stand up and pull up our pants, they’ll be back there having their way with us and complaining that its hard, nay dangerous, to be a billionaire.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother;
–William Shakespeare, from Henry V

In my mind, the part that says “sheds his blood with me” should be “sheds his blood for me”. See in modern warfare everyone doesn’t fight in wars–at least not in the U.S. We have the luxury of having standing armies. But that doesn’t relieve us as fellow citizens of our obligations to those who do fight. Apparently U.S. Senate Republicans have forgotten that.

Senate Republicans voted down a VA spending bill.  Only Democratic Senators and two Republicans voted for the bill. The opposed Republicans argued that 1) it’s borrowed money and that’s bad policy, 2) the VA is wasteful so why extend its mission if it’s already failing, and 3) they wanted new sanctions against Iran tagged onto the bill because they couldn’t get it to the floor for debate any other way.

There’s so much there to lambaste….where to start. I’ll try to keep it simple.

1) Borrowed Money BS: The GOP has the nerve to bitch about borrowed money when they supported TWO wars and borrowed money to fund them. Hell they didn’t even budget for them until Pres. Obama came into office and insisted that we put the expense on the books and start paying for them. You, know, to do the grown up thing. Both wars cost us $4 trillion with tens of billions wasted and ended up lining the pockets of big corporations like Halliburton and Xe. You know Halliburton the company that Dick Cheney used to run and Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, who provided soldiers for hire when we ran out of troops.

So now these same guys are now refusing to pass a bill that would take care of the very veterans that fought in those wars because it would cost us $21 billion over 10 years. Now realize this new bill restores pension money that was previously promised to veterans and upon which many military familes were planning on having upon retirement. Congress only recently took a part of their pension away–so they could give it back–they never should have taken it in the first place. The bill also sought to expand benefits like caretaker stipends. You know for all those soldiers so wounded from IED’s that they need constant care while their beleaguered spouses have to now work just to survive. Did you know that the military spent $103 million on food stamps in 2013, which was a 5% increase from the year before, and that the usage of food stamps by military families has quadrupled since 2006? That’s because base pay for a soldier with a wife and one kid is $20,000. That’s nothing in today’s economy.

2) VA failing in its mission: Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) actually said “If the VA is already failing to meet its obligations to veterans, is it wise to extend its mission even further?” Oh, do you mean like we were losing in Iraq and extended what we were told would be a “get in, get out” kind of thing? Like when Pres. Bush declared mission accomplished but the war actually lasted 10 frigging years and the country is still experiencing chaos? The hypocrisy is so thick, you could cut it with a knife.

3) Iran sanctions: Do you hear that loud drum beat? That’s the war hawks in the Republican party pounding the drum for war in Syria and/or Iran. They think if they appear to be “strong” then it will make the President look “weak” in comparison. It’s why we’re seeing so many conservative articles online comparing Pres. Obama and Vladimir Putin and praising Putin for his “direct” approach. It’s a two pronged strategy: make him look weak and deny him any peaceful foreign policy solutions. And voila, we’ll have a very profitable war–profitable for them and their ilk but not so much for our military, our national budget, or well for anyone other than the warmongers and the companies that grease their palms. They are so desperate to deny Pres. Obama any political successes that they want to sabotage the already working negotiations with Iran. So they want to sabotage the peaceful solution we are currently engaged in and willing to risk a boots on the ground war with Iran for the sake of getting over politically on the President. Weren’t these the same assholes who demanded that liberals put country first any time we criticized the previous administration? Yes, yes they are.

The problem here is that Americans aren’t paying attention. They aren’t hearing this hypocrisy, at least for the most part. I certainly hope that military families are seeing and hearing the BS coming from the GOP, because if they don’t, these idiots will be voted back into office at the next midterm elections. Wake up America.

Sources:

http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/gop-dissent-attacks.html

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/370782/value-putin-victor-davis-hanson/page/0/1

http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/02/04/3244781/rohrabacher-mccain-graham/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-soldiers-are-increasingly-relying-on-food-stamps/

http://item.liveleak.com/2/view?i=e4e_1393543001&comments=1

http://www.kcet.org/living/food/food-rant/a-reminder-military-families-use-food-stamps.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/senate-rejects-far-reaching-veterans-affairs-bill/2014/02/27/1d10801c-a001-11e3-b8d8-94577ff66b28_story.html

Three AZ state senators who voted for the hideous “Jim Crow Bill” permitting civil rights discrimination against LGBTQIA people are now asking the Governor to veto it.  Sen. Bob Worsley (R-Mesa), Sen. Steve Pierce (R-Prescott) and Sen. Adam Driggs (R-Phoenix) said they have received feedback from fellow Republicans from across the nation that the bill was unacceptable.  They also say that they didn’t get enough time to really consider the bill.  And finally, they’re saying that opponents of the bill are mis-characterizing it as “religious intolerance” and that this accusation is “causing our state immeasurable harm.”

First, I don’t EVER, EVER want to hear from the people who make laws on behalf of this state or country that they were rushed.  Bullshit.  I don’t care how much pressure they feel. When it comes to ANY bill related to Civil Rights, it’s their job to slow down, present it to their constituents, think about the ramifications (good and bad), run it by some Constitutional Lawyers, and take their DAMN time before making up their mind. Saying they were rushed is a child’s excuse.

Second, why did they have to hear this from their fellow Republicans from other states?  There are plenty of people, you know their actual constituents, complaining right under their noses.  On Feb. 21st about 300 people gathered at the Capital to protest and encouraged Gov. Brewer to veto the bill.  As of last night, the crowd has grown to around thousand–on a weekday.  NYC or LA probably gets flash mobs with more people, but for AZ that’s not a bad turn out.  And it wasn’t just in the state capital either.  Tucson had protesters as well.  And I know the activity online is hot and furious–I wonder how many emails and calls the Legislature and Governor are getting now….  The very angry and active LGBTQIA community and others who support them, like myself, need to be heard.  That’s who our Reps and Senators should be listening to…not other members of their political party from out of state.  Those other Pols are much more concerned about optics than real justice or good governance.

Third, this change of heart is really about money.  They spoke to leaders of the business community (Apple, Inc, American Airlines, etc) who said if you do this, not only will tourists stop coming to the state (and we rely heavily on tourism for our economy) but businesses would also stop moving to Arizona.

Fourth and final, I get the impression that they’re saying [paraphrasing] that ‘people’s misconception of the bill is making us look bad.’  No, no that’s not it. What’s making us look bad is literally the bill itself.  It’s because the bill is an unconstitutional abomination that makes Arizona look like the home of the American Taliban.  Who needs to worry about Sharia Law?  It’s not the scary Muslim Usurper in the White House you need to worry about.  It’s the American (supposed) Christians that are trying to install their very own theocracy that keeps me up at night.  They need to stay out of people’s bed rooms and treat everyone with respect, compassion and kindness….I seem to recall a famous guy who purportedly lived in The Holy Land about 2,000 years ago  saying something like this…..hmmmm….if only I could recall his name…….if only THEY could recall his teachings.

Well, here we go again….the Republican dominated Arizona legislature is flirting with yet another unconstitutional law.  The Senate passed along party lines a law that would permit private businesses the right to refuse services based on their religious beliefs (of hate and intolerance) about LGBT people.

Why is it that many conservatives simply do not understand the nature of Religious Freedom in this country?  You have the right to believe whatever you want, to talk about those beliefs and to practice your religion without interference by the government.  Notice I said “government”, not everyone else, just the government.   Private individuals violating others rights is a mixed bag and one would have to look at the 200+ years of legal jurisprudence to tell what has been considered acceptable and what has not.

The argument being made in support of this bill is the same as the argument made in favor of discriminating against African Americans.  Here’s what they used to say.

Black people cannot eat in my restaurant because the Bible says so.

Now they’re saying…

LGBT people cannot eat in my restaurant because the Bible says so.

What if my religion said that men are stupid, lowly and sinful creatures who deserve death as punishment for their wickedness.   Do I get to refuse to worship with them?  Yes.  Can the government force me to worship with them?  No.  Can I say and write all kinds of horrible things about them?  Yes.   Do I get to refuse to serve them at my restaurant?  No.  Do I get to refuse to rent a place to live to them?  No.  Do I get to charge them more than other customers?  No.  Do I get to give them worse service or less value for their money?  No.  Legal precedence and this country’s values say that this is simply not acceptable.

It was an ugly sentiment back then and it’s just as ugly now.  We don’t get to discriminate against people just because our religion tells us to.  So if this bill passes the Arizona House, then the ACLU or NAACP or someone will file a lawsuit (and rightfully so) and our hard earned taxpayer money will be poured down the drain, once again, in defense of another patently stupid and unconstitutional law.

Why can’t our legislature focus on governing instead of making hateful laws?  Although we have plenty of problems that need to be tackled they’d rather pander to their foaming at the mouth base and waste what little financial resources we have.  Congratulations Arizona!   You voted them in and they’re screwing you over again.

The lawyers waiting to swoop in and make bank off the crappy decisions made by Republican Lawmakers.

The lawyers waiting to swoop in and make bank off the crappy decisions made by Republican Lawmakers.

PS: This pic is of three buzzards that I discovered sitting on a light post outside of my office the other day. An animal had probably died or was in the process of dying in the empty field across the street and they were biding their time. I’ve seen buzzards in AZ before but usually circling high up in the sky in rural areas. This is the first time I’ve seen them hanging out in a relatively urban area.

The Guantanamo Bay detention facility will remain open because Congress says so in the latest Defense spending bill (ht JM Ashby at BobCesca.com).   Our The stupid twats and despicable lawmakers  are saying that the Administration is not allowed to transfer the detainees to American soil for criminal prosecution.  The far left will be blaming the President for not closing it in spite of the fact that he legally can’t do so–actually, they’ve been doing this for years so it will only continue, just in greater volume.  And the right will be crowing about how he has broken yet another campaign promise.

First of all, Congress is afraid that these “baddest of the bad, and worst of the worst” will break out of Federal Max security prisons.  This so dumb it beggars belief.  I’m very familiar with those facilities and their security procedures.  This is not and never will be a concern.  We’ve kept MUCH more dangerous people in those facilities with nary a problem.

Second, the idea that this country accepts the denial of habeas corpus rights to detainees (technically we don’t call them prisoners, which is exactly what they are, war prisoners) so long as they aren’t on our soil is a distinction without a  difference.   Out of sight means out of mind I guess.  In WWII the prisoners were kept in camps right in our cities.  As a child my father used to go talk to Italian war prisoners through a prison camp fence in Charleston, SC.  It makes it much harder to deny these people justice when we don’t have to see their suffering.

Third, the fact that these people are even considered detainees or even war prisoners was and is a colossal mistake.  We should have treated them as criminals, arrested them as such and prosecuted them as such.

Unfortunately, since so many of the detainees rights have been violated and FSM knows how much of the evidence against them has been obtained (i.e., via coercion plus unreliable or secret sources who are unavailable or unable to be present at trial for testimony) the odds of actually getting a conviction in an honest criminal court might be impossible. So all that poisonous fruit will come back to haunt the prosecutors. I blame effing Bush and Co. If they’d handled this properly in the criminal courts to begin with, we wouldn’t be worried about all this kind of crap. I consider myself an expert on our Criminal Justice system (I’m also Queen of the world in my own tiny mind but I digress) and the choice to use military force against Al Qaeda, essentially a criminal enterprise, will go down as one of the worst mistakes in U.S. history. And how often do you see anyone on the teevees or press making this larger and crucial point. We used to be a gold standard in liberty and due process (at least compared with the majority of nations) but not anymore and it’s all because of the idiotic, never ending “war on terror” and the bullshite of renditions and Guantanamo. We STILL haven’t learned the big lesson here and we never will at this rate.

Okay, rant over.

Some quick thoughts on news items I heard today yesterday….(so sue me, I’m slow to post lately)

  1. You know how waiters approach you and say, “Hi, My name is Kelly and I’m going to be your server today. How is your day going?” Well, I hate it. Call me a curmudgeon (really, it’s okay, I can accept that label) but I don’t give a damn what their name is because I’ll never remember it anyway. And I don’t want to make chitchat with them. I don’t do small talk very well so I don’t bother with it. I only want a waiter to be quick, attentive, efficient and quiet. Well there’s a new application of current technology out there that let’s you order via your phone and text your waiter when you want him/her to come over to your table. A waiter was quoted as saying something like, they “might as well replace us with robots”. Okay!  Sounds good to me.  I’m all for it if it means I don’t have to know your name or talk about the weather with you.
  2. The city of Detroit has been officially allowed to go bankrupt, including the ability to cut pensions in spite of a state constitutional provision that forbids it. Unfortunately, no word as to what creditors will be given precedence–the banks or the thousands of city workers whose pensions have not been funded. Correct me if I am wrong but I thought a bankruptcy judge could specify ‘who gets paid first’? It’s shameful to think that banks making millions, if not billions, in profit would get money before city workers who spent years if not decades toiling away thinking that they would some day be able to retire and now cannot. If the judge does not put them first, those people will have to rely on others and/or work until the day they die. That just sucks.
  3. As I’ve written about many times before, Arizonans hate to pay taxes but they still have the nerve to be upset when public services go unprovided. Sometimes it bites us in the ass like it did when Sheriff Joe failed to investigate over 400 felony cases for the City of El Mirage some involving murder, rape and molestation of children. Now we have another scandal. Six thousand CPS (Child Protective Services) cases have been neglected–as in not touched at all. The Governor having been informed of this created a task force to review all of those cases to see “if the kids are safe”.   Ironically the acronym for the task force is CARE–hah!  Maybe she should have cared BEFORE?!?!  CPS is not at fault. They are extremely underpaid, understaffed and under-appreciated. If some of those kids have been harmed, and the odds are good that they have, I want to know. And I want it rubbed in the face of every Arizonan who refuse to pay their taxes.  Liberty in a Capitalist society is only for those that “Have”.  The “Have Nots” are just SOL.  Their liberty is the freedom to suffer without assistance and without hope.  I wonder if those abused and neglected kids can smell the liberty right now–that is, if they’re still among the living.
  4. The price of milk in the U.S. may double and worse yet, become extremely scarce. And milk won’t be the only commodity that this will happen to…ANY product made with milk and many other basic staples that come from farming. Why? Because the U.S. Congress, held hostage by crazy, foaming at the mouth Republicans who want to take yet more money away from the food stamp program, sucks balls. They’ve failed to pass a Farm Bill–a very basic thing BTW. We need to get some rational adults into office who actually want to make government work for the American people.
  5. And speaking of crazy people, there’s this guy. He is openly advocating treason on Fox Television. Maybe he’s just crazy like a fox because you know he’s making bank off this stunt.  I like to call it Entrepreneurial Hatemongering TM As Bob Cesca says:

    Indeed, this sort of harrowing armed revolt and assassination fetishization generates a not insignificant revenue stream. It’s become its own subsidiary of the conservative entertainment complex, as David Frum called it. Located just adjacent to the anti-Obama conspiracy theory section of the store, the violent-overthrow cosplay shelves are loaded with highly potent crazyswag. For a price. Read the crazy, but subscribe first. And don’t forget to bulk-purchase the hastily-assembled ghost-written book.

  6. Finally, FL is in the news yet again. They continue to set the standard for how to rig elections by limiting who gets to vote. Once again, changing the rules at the last moment, Governor “Gollum” Scott is ordering the county election officials to close down hundreds of drop-off sites used for absentee ballots. According to a Pinellas County official 42% of the county’s absentee ballots were left at drop-off sites in 2012. That’s significant. Absentee ballots help primarily those who cannot, for a number of reasons, physically make it to the polls in the increasingly tiny window of time being allowed–which means the poor, elderly, women, minorities and you know who they tend to vote for. There is some hope though…some county election officials are openly defying the governor (as they did when he tried to illegally trim thousands of Floridians off of the voting rolls in the last election).

I think that’s more than enough misanthropy for today. Cheers!