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Member since: Thu Mar 16, 2006, 02:07 PM
Number of posts: 8,807

Journal Archives

5 of 8 Republicans skip Benghazi hearing; complain about lack of information on Benghazi

Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 02:13 PM PST
5 of 8 Republicans skip Benghazi hearing; complain about lack of information on Benghazi
by SantaFeMarie

This needs to be read by - or to, if necessary - to every wingnut in the nation peddling insane Benghazi theories:

Republicans skip Benghazi hearing; complain about lack of information on Benghazi

This week, a number of Republican senators have strongly criticized the administration for failing to properly explain the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Some of those senators failed to show up for a briefing on the attack Wednesday.


Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been the leading congressional critic of the administration's handling of the Benghazi attack ...But although McCain had time to speak on the Senate floor and on television about the lack of information provided to Congress about the attack, he didn't attend the classified briefing for senators Wednesday given to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, of which he is a member.

Committee ranking Republican Susan Collins (R-ME) called out McCain for skipping the briefing and said his call for a special committee to investigate the Benghazi attack was not necessary because the Homeland Security committee could handle it.


Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), another Homeland Security committee member who was on television complaining about the lack of Benghazi information, also did not show up for the Wednesday hearing. Paul did a CNN interview from the Capitol building Wednesday in which said he had questions about the anti-Islam video, the lack of Marines in Libya, and diplomatic security. At one point he says, "I don't know enough of the details."

CNN reports that only three of the eight GOP members of the committee attended the two hour briefing; seven of the nine Democratic members were there.

That same report also says that when he was asked about this today, McCain shouted "get off my lawn". Well, not quite, but almost - see the link I just gave you.


Robert Reich Gets It Right

Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:22 AM PST
Robert Reich Gets It Right
by slinkerwink

Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor from the Clinton administration, and a well-respected economist in his own right, advocates for President Obama to open the negotiations from a higher position rather than the position that he had staked out with John Boehner during last year's so-called "grand bargain" deal:

I hope the President starts negotiations over a “grand bargain” for deficit reduction by aiming high. After all, he won the election. And if the past four years has proven anything it’s that the White House should not begin with a compromise.

The Simpson-Bowles deficit deal, and the grand bargain deal should NOT be the opening gambits to start a discussion on. They should never have been a part of the discussion to begin with, but advocates of Simpson-Bowles are doing a campaign to resurrect it through the "Fix The Debt" coalition, and reaching out to lawmakers and businesses to push for so-called reform of Social Security and Medicare.

Robert Reich proposes what the President should start out with in negotiations:

1. Raise the taxes on the rich by more than the top marginal rate on the wealthy during the Clinton years.

2. A 2% surtax on the wealth of the richest one-half of the 1 percent that would bring in $750 billion over a decade. Also, a one-half of 1 percent tax on financial transactions brings in $250 billion.

With these two points, half of the deficit will be gone over the next decade.

3. Raise capital gains rate to match rate on income and cap mortgage interest deduction at $12,000 per year. That would bring in an additional $1 trillion over the next decade, bringing the total to $3 trillion in revenue.

4. Eliminate special sweetheart deals for Wall Street, oil, gas, pharma, agriculture, and military contractors.

5. End Bush tax cuts on incomes above $250,000 and $1 million, and we've achieved $4 trillion in revenue over the next decade.

And Reich points out that this can be done without raising taxes on the middle class, cutting benefits in Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid, or reducing education spending. As anyone knows in negotiations, you should never start out low or from a weak position.

The grand bargain deal last year is such a weak position. The President should not be beginning from there. He has the upper hand. People supported his campaign and his pledge to raise taxes on the wealthy. Thus the President should aim high.


STUNNING: Colbert's Revelation

Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:51 AM PST
STUNNING: Colbert's Revelation
by The Troubadour

Last night, Stephen Colbert revealed an incredibly corrupt and nefarious aspect of the Super PAC structure, a loophole that had previously gone unnoticed.

As head of Colbert Super PAC, Stephen explained in satirical tones, with the help of his lawyer, how he now has the ability to siphon all of his PAC's remaining money to himself. Secretly. Without a need to report the funds to the IRS or anyone else, for that matter.

Watch Colbert "learn" that he can now use the PAC's money in any way he wishes due to a "legal fiction":


Yes, the corrupting influence of Super PAC money in elections will remain a monumental problem going forward, so long as Citizens United remains.

However, this is one of the most corrupt and nefarious aspects of the Super PAC structure: the apparent ability for organizers to secretly "steal" and hide millions without a trace.

Citizens United hasn't just created a situation in which we've gone off the rails. The tracks don't even exist anymore.


ON EDIT: h/t to Junkdrawer for this video link (in case the CC link gives you trouble) http://www.hulu.com/watch/424407

A Guide to Conservative Hideaways

Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 08:48 PM PST
ThatPoshGirl's Guide to Conservative Hideaways
by ThatPoshGirl

Hello Conservative!

So, you lost, huh? Sorry to hear that. I know how hard it must be for you. I heard you were thinking of heading to Canada, but then you discovered they have socialized medicine up there and you changed your plans. You may be wondering what free-market havens you can head to now that your country is dead.

Good news! I've compiled a list of the top three destinations you can go to to get your Freep on.

I'm sure you are hoping to get away to a relatively wealthy nation. Unfortunately, all the other countries in the list of top ten nominal GDPs, outside of the United States, have national healthcare, even India and Brazil. In fact, to find a country without a national healthcare system, we have to go all the way down to lucky number 18, Indonesia.


Slum life, Jakarta Indonesia. Picture taken by Jonathan McIntosh, 2004.

You're sure to appreciate the rampant deforestation and pollution caused by lax or non-existent environmental regulation. Beautiful Buyat Bay is teeming with arsenic and other heavy metals from the unregulated dumping of tailings from Grasberg Mine, the largest gold mine in the world. Perhaps you'll even enjoy long swims in the toxic water, it's not like hair and teeth matter, anyway.

There are a couple of problems, however. Even though Indonesia doesn't currently have a national healthcare system, they are in the process of implementing a program that will provide 100% coverage by 2014. The country was also the home of Barack Hussein Obama for four years. So, maybe it's not exactly perfect.

If Indonesia doesn't tickle your fancy, you could give Somalia a try.


Somali Pirates

Following the collapse of communism and a civil war, Somalia became a Libertarian paradise. The country has no functional government, which should set your anarchist heart a twitter. There really is no better place to let your free-market spirit run free than Somalia. Sure, you may have to battle pirates and rape gangs, but that's a small price to pay for freedom.

Of course, Somalia is on the eastern most cost of Africa, so, you know, blah people.

Don't feel like battling pirates? Then Honduras may be the place for you.


A Conservative taking a Swim in Honduras

In Honduras, the quality and availability of healthcare is directly tied to income level. Sure, they speak Spanish in Honduras, but you'd technically still get to be an American. In the past 20 years, Honduras has continuously moved toward decentralization and privatization of just about everything.

If you decide to move to Honduras, you might want to hire a bodyguard, as Honduras has the highest intentional homicide rate in the world. Don't worry, though, there are surely plenty to find in the free-market.

So, there you go. Three places built on the conservative values you cherish. Have fun and don't let the door hit you on the way out.


To the repubs who now want to move to Australia -- the Aussies have a message for ya!

BREAKING: GOP stealing ballots with "Victory Vans"

Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 11:53 PM PST
BREAKING: GOP stealing ballots with "Victory Vans"
by BeerNotWar

Here in King County Washington Democrats are raising a red flag calling attention to shady Replican efforts to intercept our ballots by luring voters to drop their ballots in "Victory Vans" touring the county. Washington is 100% vote-by-mail so voters fill out their ballots at home then deliver them to state dropoffs or send them in by mail. But the GOP has created special "Victory Vans" to collect ballots before they can ever reach these official delivery sites.

If you think you can trust the GOP with your ballot, I assure you, you cannot. Nobody in King County should hand their ballot to someone in a Republican "Victory Van," but should only drop off their ballot at an official state ballot collection site. This is critical for close state races such as the one for Governor where both Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna need voters in King County. Republican McKenna needs just enough Democrats in King County to vote for him, or not vote, to defeat Inslee. This, I suspect, is the Replublican game. Once they have the ballots they could be disposed of or even altered. I wish this were a completely irrational belief, but Republicans have demonstrated their unwillingeness to allow democracy to function if it won't result in a victory for their candidate. If you think I'm crazy then please explain why the hell they have vans running around in a massively Democratic county collecting ballots. Why would they spend the money to do that?


TOM TOMORROW: Red State Spex

Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 06:56 AM PST
Red state spex
by Tom Tomorrow

Why the "takers will re-elect Obama" meme is wrong in one picture

Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 05:09 AM PST
Why the "takers will re-elect Obama" meme is wrong in one picture
by bradams

This probably doesn't count as a diary but I am starting to hear from my conservative friends that the only reason President Obama will win re-election (and he will win re-election) is because people who are dependent on the government (aka "takers") outnumber the people willing to work to provide for themselves (aka "makers"). That's BS so I put together this image to prove it. Thought some of you might like to use it with your own misguided friends.

Let me make it absolutely clear that I reject the "makers" and "takers" labels. I know people who don't earn enough to pay federal income taxes pay other taxes. I also know that in many instances they contribute more to our country than most millionaires and billionaires. I know Mitt Romney's "47%" is comprised of people like senior citizens who paid taxes all their lives and soldiers who are risking their lives on our behalf.


I voted Friday, and I'm still angry

Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 11:50 AM PST
I voted Friday, and I'm still angry
by yulooloo

At 2:30 or so on Friday afternoon, my partner said to me, "Let's get the kid in the car and go vote."

Of course, when you have a 19-month-old, nothing — and I mean nothing — happens in a simple, linear fashion. So by the time we got out the door, it was 4:18. I started doing the math in my head: 15 miles from Petaluma to Santa Rosa; not quite rush hour traffic, so . . . taking the back roads instead of the freeway, with a little luck we could just make it to the Registrar of Voters, which closed at 5, in time...

...We pulled up to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters building in Santa Rosa at 4:49 pm, and pulled into a 30-minute parking spot right in front of the entrance. I got the kid's socks and shoes back onto her feet and lifted her out of the car seat, and we went inside.

No lines. No waiting. No liars or thugs or "concerned citizens" outside trying to turn us away or challenge our right to be there. We sat in comfy chairs and filled out our ballots while my daughter scribbled on a voter registration card and basked in the attention of both the county employees and our fellow voters, who made much of the Wonder Woman costume she had insisted on wearing, and her gorgeous hazel-and-green eyes. I even borrowed an eraser to correct a bubble I'd filled in by mistake. We did have one problem: my partner had forgotten her sample ballot, so she had to fill out an absentee ballot request card by hand, which took nearly a full minute. Can you imagine.

We thanked the elections department staff and left, got back in the car, and were sitting down to dinner in a nearby restaurant by 5:30.

Like many Kossacks, my partner and I are huge civics geeks. Voting gives us a rush of elation and pride; we've both been known to get choked up after handing in our ballots. And this time was no different, except it was. Underlying our nerdy euphoria was something new — a furious, seething rage.

You see, in all my voting life, I've never had to wait longer than 15 minutes, tops. In Brookline, Massachusetts, I simply swung by my polling place on my morning walk to the office. In San Francisco, I walked around the corner — the polling place was closer to our house than the coffee shop, so we would vote and then caffeinate. And in Sonoma County, it's even easier, if that's possible.

So why were we so angry? It's because we both realized all over again that voting should be this easy, this casual, this much fun, for every single American. No matter where they live or what color their district (and do I even need to say, no matter what color their skin?).

We also realized that, up till now, we've been lucky. As a childless, professional couple who have always had the flexibility to show up to work late, leave early, take a long lunch, etc, making it to the polls has never been difficult. But the simple addition of a toddler to our lives has completely changed the game. We suddenly got quite a vivid picture of how a long line, a moved or closed polling place, or a challenge to our registration status could keep us from voting.

I'm furious, knowing that people in Florida are standing in line for 9 hours just to exercise their right to vote. That people in minority neighborhoods across the country have to navigate a minefield of intimidation, misinformation, and dirty tricks, just to be counted. That one of our two major political parties seems to view voter suppression as just another, completely appropriate, arrow in the quiver of their campaign strategy.

I agree wholeheartedly with MSNBC's Chris Hayes: interfering with the right to vote isn't just wrong. It's an obscenity.

I know President Obama is going to be re-elected on Tuesday, and I'm hopeful that we'll expand our seats in the Senate and take back the House. But one thing is certain: we can't let another four years go by without working for election reform. We need a single set of rules nationwide, for every state, every county, every polling place, every voter. And we need it fast.

To those of you who haven't had it as easy as I have, who've had to wait for hours or come back another day with the right documents, or deal with any other Republican nefariousness, I offer my profound respect — and my sheepish apologies for not appreciating nearly enough just how fortunate I've been. And let's just say that election reform has moved up several places on my list of critical issues for activism and advocacy.

4:36 PM PT: Rec list? Seriously? I'm gobsmacked, truly. Thank you all for your stories, your insights, and your recommendations.

Starting Wednesday, let's work together to make voting a sacred thing for every American . . . but first, let's GET. OUT. THE. VOTE!

8:36 PM PT: Watching Rachel Maddow's special Sunday coverage of the Miami-Dade voters who waited until 1 a.m. to vote and had to put up with locked doors, having their cars towed, and more. All I can say is, Florida voters, you embody the very best that we as a people and a nation have to offer: against all odds, we find a way. I'm humbled and inspired by your determination and tenacity — and speechless with gratitude.


Who Counts the Votes in Ohio?

This is very disturbing:

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