Apr 182014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and feel somewhat tired, as it’s late in the afternoon on a busy day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:04 (average 6:05).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: This video sure has a good point about humanity’s baser instincts. Why can’t we overcome them?

 

The reason for this search phenomena is the proliferation of websites in the Republican echo chamber. They mindlessly parrot the memes in the Republican War on Women.

From Daily Kos: Brian Beutler catches the latest Obamacare fauxrage from Fox News: millions of people won’t be able to sign up for health insurance until November. So all those young people who Republicans, and Fox News, told that they shouldn’t be signing up because [of?] freedom are now deprived of freedom by having to wait until the next open enrollment period. Here’s Fox News [Faux Noise delinked]:

There is yet another ObamaCare surprise waiting for consumers: from now until the next open enrollment at the end of this year, most people will simply not be able to buy any health insurance at all, even outside the exchanges.

That’s not really news. The practice of enrollment periods, embraced by the law, was designed specifically to address those "free-riders" Fox News would in any other circumstance hate—the people who would wait until they needed health insurance to get it. The difference now, though, is that if those people get sick while they’re uninsured, they don’t have to worry about that preventing them from getting insurance once open enrollment kicks in again.

What hypocrites! If sheeple need insurance and have to wait for it now, only because they did not buy it, because they obeyed Faux Noise, the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, they only have one complaint to make: BA-A-A-A-A-A!!

From Huffington Post: As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process. The results of that decision are clear. In the coming months and years the Koch brothers and other extraordinarily wealthy families will spend billions of dollars to elect right-wing candidates to the Senate, the House, governors’ mansions and the presidency of the United States. These billionaires already own much of our economy. That, apparently, is not enough. Now, they want to own the United States government as well.

Four years ago, the Supreme Court handed down the 5-4 ruling in Citizens United vs the Federal Election Commission. A few weeks ago, they announced another horrendous campaign finance decision in McCutcheon vs. FEC giving even more political power to the rich. Now, many Republicans want to push this Supreme Court to go even further. In the name of "free speech," they want the Court to eliminate all restrictions on campaign spending – a position that Justice Thomas supported in McCutcheon – and a view supported by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Importantly, as a means of being able to exercise unprecedented power over the political process, this has been the position of the Koch brothers for at least the last 34 years.

The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America, making most of their money in the fossil fuel industry. According to Forbes Magazine, they saw their wealth increase last year from $68 billion to $80 billion. In other words, under the "anti-business", "socialist" and "oppressive" Obama administration, their wealth went up by $12 billion in one year.

Click through for the rest of this excellent Bernie Sanders piece on the Kochs that Republicans so love to suck.

Cartoon:

0418Cartoon

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Apr 102014
 

RepublicansOnParade

Here is the forty-fifth article in our Republicans on Parade series, featuring individuals who personify what the Republican Party has become. Today’s honoree is Congressman Vance McCallister (R-LA). He is honored for his demonstration of Republican family values.

0410McAllisterThis only happened because gays can get married now, I’m sure.

[Louisiana's] Fifth District Congressman Vance McAllister, who campaigned for office last fall as a devout Christian and devoted husband and father, was caught in video surveillance two days before Christmas passionately embracing and kissing one of his congressional aides.

The aide, identified as Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, is married to one Heath Peacock, long-time friend of McAllister as well as a big ol’ campaign donor, to the tune of $5,200. Ouch.

McAllister, thus far, has been only known as the guy who brought the Duck Dynasty guy to the State of the Union Address in January. He won his seat in a special election last fall to replace Rep. Rodney Alexander, who left the House to take a post in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration. McAllister clearly wanted to be known for his family values

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

Watch McAllister talk about his values.

Watch McAllister demonstrate Republican family values.

He say’s he has repented, and made a tearful apology, the way Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians do, whenever they get caught.  But he made no apology to the aide’s husband, whose marriage is on the rocks, or to the aide herself, who has lost her job and whom he may actually have fired.  How very Republican he is!

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Apr 032014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and this is last article until after I return from my volunteer training.  I will be off the grid, as there will be no time to even set up a computer, while I’m away.  I spent the day running errands, preparing my material and packing,  Although I had little time for research, I think I have some interesting material for you.  I will post missed puzzles with my next Open Thread or Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:31 (average 5:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Accusing them of involvement in “a widespread conspiracy to save President Obama’s failed health-care program,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) today subpoenaed the approximately seven million Americans who have signed up for Obamacare so far.

Arguing that the impressive enrollment numbers “don’t pass the smell test,” the House Oversight Committee chairman told reporters, “Any rational person would come to the same conclusion that I have: namely, that this is a well-orchestrated conspiracy of seven million people trying to make Obamacare look good.”

The California Republican said that the seven million co-conspirators targeted by his subpoenas would be required to travel to Washington to testify before his committee or risk being found in contempt of Congress.

Andy’s great satire aside, I wouldn’t put it past him. Darrell Issa jerk!!

From Daily Kos: Wow! According to an analysis of financials for Hobby Lobby. Reporters for Mother Jones discovered $73 million in mutual funds with investments in the companies that manufacturer contraceptives including emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs used to perform abortions.

Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).

Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan have holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby’s health care policies: the emergency contraceptive pills Plan B and Ella, and copper and hormonal intrauterine devices.

They deny women, but take the money. How do you spell Republican? H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E!!

From NY Times: The Republican budget for 2015, released Tuesday by Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, will never come close to being law, so it doesn’t have to pretend to be serious. This is a document designed solely to be reduced to a few bullet points so House Republicans can have something to show their most antigovernment voters.

That might work in their most carefully gerrymandered districts, but does the Republican Party really want to coalesce around a budget this destructive to the country’s future: harming the middle class and the poor; undercutting popular safety-net programs, including Medicare and Pell grants; and heaping tax benefits on the rich? Apparently it does, and the full House will probably support it in a few days. Voters should look closely at the details to see if they would choose the same course.

Lyin’ Ryan’s plan to fight poverty is still to take from the poor and give to the rich. Click through to see how his new budget is the same as his old budget, only worse.

Cartoon:

0403Cartoon

TC signing off with a sore butt, because SCROTUS didn’t use Vaseline.

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Mar 262014
 

RepublicansOnParade3

Here is the forty-fourth article in our Republicans on Parade series, featuring individuals who personify what the Republican Party has become. Today’s honoree is former Defense Secretary, and extreme Neocon, Donald Rumsfeld. He is so honored for appearing on the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, and having the audacity to accuse Barack Obama of incompetence, using the insulting Republican meme of comparing him to an ape.

rumsfeld_saddamFormer defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday attacked the Obama administration for failing to secure a status of forces agreement with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

Rumsfeld, speaking on Fox News, said even a "trained ape" could do better.

"A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement," Rumsfeld said. "It does not take a genius. And we have so mismanaged that relationship."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Washington Post>

The included video was not embeddable, but I found it elsewhere. Barf Bag Alert!!

The reason the Obama Administration has trouble with Karzai, and the Bush Reich didn’t is that Bush appointed Karzai to be a puppet dictator over Afghans, facilitate US corporate energy imperialism, and grow obscenely rich through corruption. Obama put the kibosh on that, so of course Karzai, a former UnoCal (now a subsidiary of Chevron) employee, rebelled against the Obama’s insistence that US funds benefit the ware effort and the Afghan people, not Karzai’s offshore bank accounts.

Rumsfeld, the Republican who set up the deal for Saddam Hussein to have Chemical WMD, and who helped lie our nation  into the failed Bush War for Oil and Conquest in Iraq, is a Republican hypocrite to insult Obama’s handling of Karzai, especially in such a vile manner.

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Mar 252014
 

SCROTUS (Constitutional VD) is my term for the Fascist Five Supreme Court Injustices, who almost always favor their extreme Republican ideology over our Constitution.  Worst among them (along with Clarence “TEAbag” Thomas) is Antonin “SS” Scalia.  In two cases coming before the Court today, I expect Scalia to renege on an earlier opinion in a most hypocritical manner.  Ironically, even with opposite opinions, he will be as wrong now as he was then.

0325ScaliaWhen the Supreme Court hears two landmark cases about birth control on Tuesday, few observers doubt that Justice Antonin Scalia's sympathies will be the Catholic business owners who charge that the mandate violates their religious liberties.

The Reagan-appointed jurist is a devout Catholic who has extolled "traditional Christian virtues." He insists the devil is "a real person" and has a son who's a Catholic priest. He voted in 2012 to wipe out Obamacare in its entirety and has been President Barack Obama's most outspoken foe on the Supreme Court.

And yet, Scalia's past jurisprudence stands contradictory to the argument for striking down the Obamacare rule in question, which requires for-profit employers' insurance plans to cover contraceptives (like Plan B, Ella and intrauterine devices) for female employees without co-pays.

In 1990, Scalia wrote the majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith, concluding that the First Amendment "does not require" the government to grant "religious exemptions" from generally applicable laws or civic obligations. The case was brought by two men in Oregon who sued the state for denying them unemployment benefits after they were fired from their jobs for ingesting peyote, which they said they did because of their Native American religious beliefs.

"[T]he right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability," Scalia wrote in the 6-3 majority decision, going on to aggressively argue that such exemptions could be a slippery slope to lawlessness.

"The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind," he wrote, "ranging from compulsory military service, to the payment of taxes, to health and safety regulation such as manslaughter and child neglect laws, compulsory vaccination laws, drug laws, and traffic laws; to social welfare legislation such as minimum wage laws, child labor laws, animal cruelty laws, environmental protection laws, and laws providing for equality of opportunity for the races."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <TPM>

Scalia was wrong in opining not to give a religious exemption to followers of Native American beliefs, because he was denying their right to freely practice their religion. I expect him to opine that business should get a religious exemption to refuse to cover birth control under ObamaCare.  He will be wrong, because such an exemption allows businesses to force their religions practices on others.

Scalia and his Republican Party would ignore the First Amendment by establishing a pseudo-Christian state religion and denying the free exercise of other religions.

Late Update:

On tonight’s show, Chris Hayes covered the same issue.  Because this just aired, I cannot get it in an internationally viewable format, but his and his guest’s analysis echoed mine so closely, I had to include it.

It was always intended as a shield, and not a sword,  Well said.

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Mar 152014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, having fully enjoyed my day off yesterday,  My paid helper-friend, after having missed several appointments came unexpectedly and did the heavier work that, otherwise, I would have had to do today.  After just one day away, I feel out of touch with the political world, and I feel I have some catching up to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:19 (average 6:23).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Here’s a visual that I hope gets more people to think about these three words: Redistribute. The. Wealth.

The Distribution of Wealth in the U.S

This picture really is worth a thousand words.  Here are my three words: Amen!  Amen!!  Amen!!!

From Think Progress: On Thursday, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced plans to invest more of the nation’s $840 billion sovereign wealth fund in renewable energy in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions as the country struggles to meet its 2020 climate goals.

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, built in large part on investment from the country’s oil and gas reserves, currently only invests a small fraction of money in green technology. The fund invests in listed equities, bonds and real estate, about 10 percent of which is made up of coal, oil and gas investments. The fund is also evaluating whether to exit these investments, as over the last 10 years nuclear weapons producers, companies in-breach of human rights, and tobacco companies have all been excluded.

Kudos to Norway. The US should redeploy welfare payments to oil, gas, and coal companies to investment in renewable green energy!

From Raw Story: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has thrown his support behind legislation that Republicans could use to force President Barack Obama to crack down on legal marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington.

Speaking to Fox News on Thursday, the libertarian-leaning senator said he supported the Enforce the Law Act, which has been approved by the House. The legislation would allow Congress to sue the president for failing to faithfully execute laws.

Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot was happy to join his misanthropic father in pretending to favor legalization, but only as long as it was actually illegal. He’s just one more goose-stepping Republican hypocrite.

Cartoon:

0315Cartoon

This led to the US overthrow of democratic government in Iran and installation of a dictatorship under the Shah,

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Mar 052014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and am feeling quite tired, because, between personal business, volunteer business, and research, I’ve been going strong for six hours.  Two pounds of you know what in a one pound bag is a constant around here.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:05 (average 6:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law is so extreme it’s almost unbelievable. But it is very real for the lesbian and gay community living there. And if you want to organize a movement against the law in Uganda? You could go to prison too. That’s why the rest of the world must speak up, and loudly.

0305Uganda

When Republican Representatives and Senators from the US originally travelled to Uganda to propose and promote this law, it also contained the death penalty.

From Daily Kos: You know how experiencing personal tragedy can make some Republicans very nearly human? Like when Sen. Mark Kirk had a stroke and the epiphany that low-income residents on Medicaid wouldn’t get the same chance at rehabilitation that he got? And that that was bad? Well, that doesn’t work with every Republican. Meet Arkanasas [sic] state Rep. Josh Miller, one of the Republicans trying to take Medicaid away from what is now about 100,000 people who’ve gained it through the state’s Medicaid expansion.

Miller, 33, was on an alcohol-fueled drive with a friend about 11 years ago (he can’t remember who was driving) when their pickup plunged off a ravine near Choctaw. He was rescued, but suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed. Miller was uninsured. [...]

Months of hospitalization and rehabilitation followed, including a long stretch in intensive care at St. Vincent Infirmary. There was a $1 million bill. Medicaid paid most of it. Miller was placed on disability and checks began. In time, between Medicaid and Medicare, all his health costs were covered by the federal government. For that reason, he need not be among the 82 Arkansas legislators (61 percent of the body) who enjoy heavily subsidized and comprehensive state employee health insurance.

Health insurance isn’t Miller’s only government benefit. Another federal Medicaid program for which he qualifies provides daily personal care assistance…

Click through for more. How do you spell hypocrite? R-E-P-U-B-L-I-C-A-N!!

From The New Yorker: Russian President Vladimir Putin received “strong, unqualified words of support” last night in a ninety-minute conversation with himself, Mr. Putin confirmed today.

The invasion of Crimea was the main topic of the conversation, which Mr. Putin described as “extremely collegial and enthusiastic.”

“We discussed a wide range of issues, including how everyone in Ukraine had invited us to come to Ukraine, and also how the soldiers reported to be in Crimea were not actually Russian soldiers but, in fact, local volunteers who looked a lot like Russian soldiers,” he said. “There was strong agreement on all of these matters.”

But Andy, Putin (R-RU) dies not need himself for praise. He has the Republican Party!

Cartoon:

0305Cartoon

Note here that the lawyer who volunteered to defend the British soldiers was John Adams, because he believed that all accused have the right to a vigorous defense.  If only Republicans would recognize this.

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