Dec 182014
 

The US Senate is done for the year, but before they went home they confirmed a bunch of Barack Obama’s appointments.  That’s the last thing Republicans wanted, but Democrats got the extra floor time, Because Ted “The Immigrant” Cruz made a fool of himself.  That’s an easy undertaking for him.

1218SenateThe Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed the last batch of President Obama’s judicial appointees and sent the White House legislation extending tax breaks for working-class millions and special interests alike late Tuesday as Congress ended a tumultuous two-year run.

The Senate adjourned at 11:24 p.m., officially ending the 113th Congress.

An 11th-hour attempt to renew a program obliging the government to cover part of the cost of terrorism-caused losses was sidetracked by retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who said it was a giveaway to private industry.

But dozens of Mr. Obama’s nominees to agency positions won approval on the final night of the Congress. Among them were Sarah Saldana to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Nicholas Rasmussen as director of the National Counterterrorism Center at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Rasmussen is currently the deputy director, a post he has held since 2012. He served on the National Security Council from 2007 to 2012, where he was a special assistant to the president and senior director for counterterrorism.

In addition, the Senate voted 55-38 to approve the president’s nominee to be Deputy Secretary of State, despite criticism from Sen. John McCain and other Republicans. Tony Blinken, who is replacing the retiring William Burns, joined the White House in 2009 as a top aide to Vice President Joe Biden. He later became Mr. Obama’s deputy national security adviser and a key player on foreign policy issues, including the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria…

Inserted from <CBS>

This could never have happened had not Democrats changed Senate rules to eliminate filibusters on nominees.

Lawrence O’Donnell discussed the rule change and it’s effects with Jeff Merkley (D-OR).  Unfortunately, I can only bring you MSNBC clips, if I can find them on YouTube.

No I imagine you think that I’m pro-filibuster, now that Republicans control the Senate.  That is not so.  I think the only kind if filibuster that should be allowed is a talking filibuster by one Senator taking no breaks.  We might get some Republican votes of we give David Vitter (R-LA) the diaper concession. The party in charge must be allowed to govern.  Had we gone to a talking filibuster only in 2009, we would not have a Republican Congress now.

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Dec 052014
 

A few days ago I made the statement that all police should be equipped with body cameras, as a solution to the spate of police murders perpetrated against black men and children.  When I’m wrong, I say so.  Now we can see that, even if we have clear video, justice will STILL not be done.

1205eric-garnerHundreds of protesters took to the streets across New York City and in other cities Wednesday evening after a Staten Island grand jury said it would not indict a white police officer in the death of a black man, a decision that prompted Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to announce the opening of a federal civil rights investigation.

The grand jury declined to bring charges­ in the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Staten Island man who died in July after a New York police officer placed him in an apparent chokehold during an arrest.

The decision struck many protesters as a chilling and frustrating repetition of events in Ferguson, Mo., where a grand jury last month said it would not indict the white officer who killed Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old. The Brown case ignited waves of protests and a national debate over the treatment that African American men receive at the hands of law enforcement officers…

Inserted from <Washington Post>

There is little doubt as to what happened.  I passer by recorded it with his cell phone.

Any standard issue Mark II eyeball should be clear about that.

Chris Hayes and his panel discussed the background, the meaning, and the demonstrations.

If you can’t see it here, try the direct MSNBC link.  If that doesn’t work you can watch it on YouTube.

This reminds me of an incident that happened here in Portland in 1985.  It also shows just how blatant polics were in their lack of respect for human life and civilian authority over them

1205specialsection83Then Greg Cavic, a Shell gas-station attendant bearing a spooky resemblance to Kato Kaelin, walked over and started arguing with Stevenson. By the time police arrived, Cavic and Stevenson’s dispute had grown heated enough that Officer Bruce Pantley stepped between them. To this day, exactly what happened next remains a mystery. But the upshot was that Officer Gary Barbour put Stevenson in a "sleeper hold" for 15 seconds, and Stevenson’s heart stopped beating. None of the officers administered CPR, and Stevenson was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby emergency room.

That Barbour and Pantley overreacted was clear. So, too, was their violation of police rules that called for officers to apply CPR following use of the sleeper hold.

But the incident posed larger questions: Would the officers have reacted the same way if Stevenson had been white?

When District Attorney Michael Schrunk called a highly unusual public inquest, many questioned whether the panel would be anything more than a whitewash.

Against this backdrop of tragedy, two officers spat in the face of a city trying to grapple with these questions. On the very day Stevenson was buried, officers Richard Montee and Paul Wickersham sold as many as 30 T-shirts in the East Precinct parking lot, depicting a smoking gun and emblazoned with the slogan "Don’t Choke ‘Em, Smoke ‘Em.”

The black community was outraged… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Willamette Week>

Click through for an excellent article.

Clearly cameras will not be enough.  The prosecutors who depend on police for their career advancement need to be removed from the loop.

I did take a quick peek at the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise.  Their take is that Garner was the only guilty one.

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Nov 272014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 22.  It’s already evening, and I just started cooking, because I slept most of the day.  Yesterday’s CoDA meeting in prison was excellent.  We discussed what it means to be willing to make amends to the people we have harmed.  My guys showed authentic insight, but more than that would violate confidentiality.  I was especially exhausted, because having to meet my ride away from downtown upped my walking total to over two miles.  (Later:  I fell asleep at my desk and just woke up.)

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 6:44 (average 5:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Media Matters: Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Don’t let right-wing lies ruin your Thanksgiving dinner.

This year, be ready with the facts.

1127net_neutrality_TGiving

This is just one of twelve fact cards. Click through for the other eleven.

From NY Times: With negotiators nearing an accord on permanent tax breaks for businesses worth $440 billion over 10 years, President Obama rallied Democratic opposition on Tuesday and promised a veto.

“The president would veto the proposed deal because it would provide permanent tax breaks to help well-connected corporations while neglecting working families,” said Jennifer Friedman, a White House spokeswoman.

The deal, negotiated by House Republicans and aides to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the outgoing majority leader, showed how much power has shifted since the Republican election victories this month. The negotiations fractured Democrats, and separated the Obama administration from Mr. Reid.

So he should. It looks like Leg Hound Harry is back.

Reid-LegHound

From KGW: Hundreds of protesters clashed with police during a rally against the Ferguson ruling Tuesday night.

Seven people were arrested, police said, mostly for interfering with an officer and disorderly conduct. None of them remained in jail Wednesday morning.

 

Needless to say, the news coverage of Portland’s protest was biased.

Cartoon:

1127Cartoon

No pardon for this turkey!!

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Nov 172014
 

I’m  writing for tomorrow, day 12.  It’s been a terrible day.  I feel like I’ve been ravaged by a bunch of horny sheep.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:39 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Agony:

1116-Broncos7-Rams22

Three key players were injured early in the game.  It was their worst outing this season.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Hat-Tip JL A): The U.S. Supreme Court’s unprecedented, highly politicized and extremely activist decision to take on a challenge to the structure of subsidies for people enrolling in Obamacare threatens to fatally undermine the law. But, there is a work around the White House could employ that could maintain subsidies for people who’ve purchased insurance on both the state exchanges and the federal exchange. At issue in the King case, which the court is hearing, is whether subsidies can be provided to the people in the three dozen states which are using the federal exchange.

The specifics would need to be worked out, but the crux is this: States could continue to use HealthCare.gov as their technical backdrop, but they would be considered state-based exchanges. That would allow the law’s tax subsidies to keep flowing, even if the Supreme Court were to invalidate them on the federal exchange, as the lawsuit’s plaintiffs argue it should…

…Politically, though, putting the onus on Republican governors and legislatures to maintain insurance for well over four million people is a pretty good idea. All of those people with their new insurance—and all of the insurance companies with their new customers—certainly have a stake in this, and could exert a great deal of pressure. This effort by Republicans—and the conservative justices—could end up biting them in the ass.

I like this. There would be Republican governors who will refuse to do this is the Republican Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) kick them of their ACA subsidized plans. Don’t get me wrong, I want them to have health care, but they would need to understand that to keep it, they would have to dump their state level Republican Reich.  Then they would avoid the RepubliCare Death Benefit.

From Crooks and Liars: Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Sunday asserted that President Barack Obama had refused to restrict immigration from countries that were being invaded by ISIS Islamic radicals because giving social welfare benefits to terrorists was "exactly the policy" of the United States.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

The country is overrun with terrorists. Most are employed by the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise or are elected Republicans.

From Blue Oregon: …Nonetheless, as Democrats back in DC are trying to figure out the lessons learned, some are pointing to Senator Jeff Merkley’s success as a model for how a progressive and populist campaign can actually connect with voters. From the NY Times:

There were a handful of bright spots in an otherwise dismal year for Democrats, and progressives are holding up as models the success of three Senate candidates who ran as populists: Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Senator-elect Gary Peters of Michigan.

Mr. Merkley won by 19 percentage points with a campaign centered on the loss of well-paying jobs, the spiraling cost of college tuition and his opposition to trade deals that he said send jobs overseas. While Democrats nationally were losing whites without a college degree by 30 percentage points, Mr. Merkley narrowly carried that bloc of voters.

“We didn’t lose them here in Oregon because we talked about what they care about,” Mr. Merkley said.

What do you think? Is Oregon an anomaly? Or should the rest of the country learn a lesson from what happened here?

If Democrats everywhere follow Oregon’s example, we can send the Republican Party the way of the Whigs.

Cartoon:

1117Cartoon

He’ll never find his way.  He would have to turn left.

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Nov 102014
 

As I have mentioned earlier, Oregon was the exception to the national disaster, and with good reason.  We did what the rest of the country did not.  We have a solid progressive government here, because we earned it.  This is what we won.

1110Hood

Oregon has mail-in voting, no serious efforts at voter disenfranchisement, and an engaged populace. Here’s the big one:

Out of the 2.2 million registered voters in Oregon, 69.5 percent, or 1,519,804, returned ballots.

Which is actually a point and a half down from the 2010 midterm.

And the result?

  • Despite a huge Koch cash dump, liberal Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley re-elected in a landslide.
  • Despite a relentless smear campaign by the state’s largest (but shrinking) newspaper, Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber re-elected to an unprecedented fourth term.
  • The Democrats’ state House majority expanded.
  • The Democrats’ state Senate majority expanded by the critical seat that will neutralize a conservadem who had been gumming up the works, with a second possible pickup still too close to call.
  • Marijuana easily legalized.
  • An equal rights amendment resoundingly passed.
  • Top two primaries resoundingly rejected.

A couple of other good ballot measures failed, but overall this was a wide and deep sweep for Oregon Democrats, who continue to hold all statewide offices, and four of five Congressional seats

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

Our vote by mail system makes a big difference, but we wouldn’t have it, if progressives didn’t earn it.  You can be sure that big money pulled out all the stops to keep us from getting it.  Oregonians are politically involved.  Neighbors talk to neighbors.  This year I helped five people fill out their ballots.  I resisted the urge to proselytize a Republican.  Two of the five did ask my opinion on candidates and issues and followed my advice.  Like any other state, Bubba Bagger lives here too, but we make him sit in the back of the bus, and we never let him drive.  Most important, we not ashamed of being liberals and progressives.  We talked about the issues that matter.  In spite of our disappointment that our President has failed to follow through on his promises far too often, we have not thrown him under the bus.

And don’t tell me Oregon has always been liberal.  We weree the very last state in the nation to give up Jim Crow laws.

So once again, Oregon leads the way.  If you want your state to perform like ours, do what we did.  For starters, replace the Republican dog catcher with a Democrat.  Work up from there.

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Nov 032014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 196.  It’s early in the morning, and I invested my fall back hour wisely.  ZZZZzzzz!  Hopefully I can catch up now, because I have no major outside commitments until I pick up my coat on Thursday {furiously knocking on wood}.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:22 (average 4:54).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Agony:

1102-Broncos21-Patriots43

Who knows what might have happened, had I not been Seachickened. :-(

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: James Chao, father of Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine, has a lot of questions to answer after 40 kilograms of cocaine (about $6.7 million worth) was found on the Ping May, a ship owned by the Foremost Group, a company James Chao founded and led to a tidy fortune. But was that fortune built on honest movement of legitimate bulk trade goods, or has Mr. Chao been trading in less than legal goods?

The cocaine, found in 40 separate packages, was discovered during a routine inspection hidden among a load of coal bound for Europe from the port of Santa Marta, Columbia onboard the Ping May, one of 15 ships Foremost currently operates, with another 8 under construction. The final destination for the ship was to be the Netherlands, likely one of the port cities surrounding Amsterdam. It is known that the Ping May has been witnessed at the port of Zaanstad, one of these cities, in the past.

Foremost Group is the source of most of Senator McConnell’s fortune through gifts and inheritance from his in-laws. It is a shadowy corporation, utilizing a complex scheme of shell companies to skip out on millions in taxes annually.

So that explains the horrid appearance of Bought Bitch Mitch’s nose! And I thought he was just Repugly!!

From TPM: Bill Maher ripped into Democratic candidates on his HBO show Friday night for distancing themselves from President Barack Obama and their own achievements on the 2014 campaign trail.

 

He said the same things I’ve been saying for months, with one key difference. He’s funnier.

From Blue Oregon: Even as Monica Wehby circles the drain, the Koch Brothers can’t resist one more parting shot before they slither away, via their American Future Fund. AFF is bankrolled by the Koch boys.

The two have dropped $200k on a new anti-Merkley ad, because apparently they can’t think of anything nice to say about Monica Wehby. Not that I can blame them for that.

It’s the same old recycled crap they’ve been dealing out all over the country.

My own Senator is the one race I’m not worried about. Come Wednesday morning all my personal representatives will be progressive Democrats. Why? I and thousands more like me earned it

Cartoon:

1103Cartoon

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Oct 302014
 

There are very few organizations that I try to give a little support each year.  One is HRC.  I figure I owe the LGBT community a debt for the hateful way I treated some of them, before a gay man decided that he was going to be my friend, no matter how I acted, put a face on gay, and kick-started my evolution from homophobia to support for full LGBT equality.  Now HRC is paying me back.

1030hrc-logo

HRC President Chad Griffin meets with LGBT champion Senator Jeff Merkley and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek.

Greetings from Portland, Oregon. Team HRC is here in the Beaver State rallying volunteers on behalf of the re-election of one of the greatest champions for LGBT equality in Congress, Senator Jeff Merkley. We were exceptionally proud to have been joined by other champions of equality, including Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Along with dozens of volunteers, we made calls to HRC members across Oregon encouraging them to return their ballots before next Tuesday. I have to say, the energy in the room and on the phones was overwhelming. In this 100% vote-by-mail state, we spoke to so many voters who had already returned their ballots for pro-equality candidates.  Many others hadn’t yet mailed their ballot or dropped it in a ballot drop box

Inserted from <HRC>

 

I could not be more delighted with my Senator.  Oregon kudos to HRC!

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