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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 3,922

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

Bush-Appointed Judge Slams Decision Striking Voting Rights Act — Court’s Reasoning Was ‘Made Up’

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/07/08/2262691/bush-appointed-judge-slams-decision-striking-voting-rights-act-courts-reasoning-was-made-up/

If a leading conservative scholar and former judge were now on the Supreme Court instead of Chief Justice Roberts or Justice Alito, it is likely that the Voting Right Act would remain intact.

Judge Michael McConnell was a leading conservative law professor at the time President George W. Bush named him to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 2002 (he’s since left the bench to return to the legal academy at Stanford Law School). McConnell was also widely viewed as a possible Supreme Court nominee during the Bush Administration.

In an interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg, McConnell has harsh words for the five conservative justices’ recent decision neutering much of the Voting Rights Act — labeling the reasoning that drove that decision “made up.”

Although the conservatives’ decision in Shelby County v. Holder never actually identifies the legal standard of review that led them to strike down the heart of America’s voting rights law, the opinion rests in large part on the fact that the Voting Rights Act applies some of its requirements “only to some States,” in what the Court labels as a “dramatic departure from the principle that all States enjoy equal sovereignty.”

As McConnell explains, however, “(t)here’s no requirement in the Constitution to treat all states the same,” adding that “(I)t might be an attractive principle, but it doesn’t seem to be in the Constitution.”
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Don't let Snowden's long, strange trip take NSA off the hook.


"...an honest debate isn't possible when top officials, who hold all the cards, continue to muddle facts and dodge direct answers."



http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/07/02/edward-snowden-nsa-phone-metadata-records-editorials-debates/2484925/

When Edward Snowden alerted the public last month to secret government programs that threaten to trample Americans' privacy, he cast himself as a heroic, self-sacrificing whistle-blower. His leaks were selective, the recipients were responsible news organizations.

But since fleeing the United States for Hong Kong, getting stuck in a drab no man's land in the Moscow airport and casting about the world for asylum, Snowden has looked more like a desperate man bent on revenge against his native country.

Facing charges of espionage, he has allied himself with the publish-anything WikiLeaks website, and he has spilled additional beans — about U.S. hacking into Chinese computers and spying on its European allies — that do more to embarrass the United States than to protect its citizens' civil liberties.

Snowden's self-destructive mystery tour does more than tarnish his image. It threatens to short-circuit the useful debate sparked by his original revelations. The government can use the flawed messenger to divert attention from his alarming message about two National Security Agency programs, one that targets the contents of foreign e-mails, at times sweeping in messages from Americans, and another that vacuums up domestic phone records by the billions.
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Tell Your Senators: Confirm Richard Cordray to Lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

http://action.citizen.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12147

President Obama’s recess appointment of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is expiring. Cordray has been re-nominated and is going through the confirmation process once again.

A former Ohio State Attorney General, Cordray’s history of standing up for consumers and winning against Wall Street and big banks when they try to rip off their customers makes him an excellent nominee.

But 43 Senate Republicans have threatened to filibuster Cordray’s nomination unless the consumer protection agency he heads is fundamentally weakened.

Don’t let opponents of consumer protection hold Cordray’s nomination hostage.



Tell your senators to confirm Richard Cordray — and that you support Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)’s use of all the tools at his disposal, including rules changes, to push for important nominees if Republicans continue their obstructionist tactics.

As Senate Majority Leader, Reid has the authority to reform filibuster rules so that a 51-vote simple majority — not the 60-vote super majority now necessary — will be needed to confirm Cordray (and other nominees like the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor and more).

Many Republican senators claim they have no problem with Cordray.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) – one of the 43 obstructionists – even praised Cordray during his nomination hearing earlier this year: “I think you have done a wonderful job so far in carrying out your duties.”

But, as a result of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) demented interpretation of Senate rules, this non-controversial nominee’s prospects are in peril.

McConnell’s views on the consumer protection agency are unambiguous. “If I had my way, we wouldn’t have the at all,” he recently told a crowd of Wall Street bankers.

Our communities can’t afford to let ridiculous partisan antics get in the way of meaningful safeguards for consumers.


Tell your senators: Confirm Richard Cordray.

Libertarian Activist Openly Loads Shotgun and Calls for Revolution in D.C.

.. somewhere there's an asylum missing a patient....


http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/libertarian-activist-openly-loads-shotgun-and-calls-revolution-dc

It is illegal to openly carry a firearm, much less a loaded one, in the District of Columbia.

Kokesh initially planned to lead a July 4 march on Washington with loaded firearms to advocate for open carry and “to put the government on notice.” When he announced the original armed march on Washington, authorities thoroughly warned against it. But he later abandoned those plans in favor of raising an “army” of secessionist rallies held at state capitols.

Kokesh, who has also compared himself to Gandhi, has even implied violence as the end result. “Should one whole year from this July 4th pass while the crimes of this government are allowed to continue, we may have passed the point at which non-violent revolution becomes impossible,” he said in a statement.

The July 4 protests inspired by the gun activist were small in number and attendance. At one small protest in Concord, New Hampshire showed a man calling for a revolution with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder.
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Is the South Dragging the Rest of the Nation Down? - Allan Berra, Truthdig

http://www.alternet.org/south-dragging-rest-nation-down

Why poor white Southerners keep voting for policies that screw them and how this hurts the rest of the nation.

In 1978, out of college without a job and having failed to establish Birmingham’s version of The Village Voice, I took a job as advance man for the Alabama Republican Senate candidate.

One incident that stuck with me was a visit to campaign headquarters by a young Republican adviser—I didn’t recognize his name, but I remember that he strummed a guitar while talking to us. He told us, “Don’t ever use the words ‘black’ and ‘white’ in an argument. Always say ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative.’ You’ll turn every argument about race into a political one. You do that, and race will start to disappear as an issue.”

Our candidate, Jim Martin, lost the election to somebody named Donald Stewart, who was the very model of the politically ineffectual Democrat who would soon get steamrolled by the new Reagan-led Republican Party. Within a few years, however, Alabama would move, along with much of the South, from the Democratic to the Republican Party. But it was a case of rebranding rather than change. In less than a generation, every Wallace segregationist Democrat I knew had turned into a conservative Reagan Republican; as the guitar-picking adviser had predicted, race almost ceased to be a political issue and, as my friend the late journalist Paul Hemphill put it, “George Wallace’s role in framing the politics of the new South was obscured.”

I thought of these words while reading Chuck Thompson’s “Better Off Without ’Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession.” Or rather, rereading. On its release in August, I dismissed it because the author is rude and obnoxious and because his chapter on football in the South is utterly lacking in logic and sound history. Thompson doesn’t think that the Alabama Crimson Tide has the greatest tradition in college football. But I digress. (More on football later.)

Over the past months, however, I’ve become more convinced by Thompson’s main argument, that the South—the states that comprised the Old Confederacy—should not only be allowed to secede, but both countries created by the split would be better off.
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Congressional Budget Office: Tax offsets don't offset the higher cost of Hybrids and PHEVs

http://www.inautonews.com/evs-and-hybrids-still-too-expensive#.UdiJQxjD-mw


The EVs and hybrid vehicles are still too expensive even with tax credits of $7,500 per vehicle.

According to the Congressional Budget Office’s presentation at this year’s Energy Information Administration conference, which took place on June 24th, based on the 2011 prices, the tax credits offered by the government could not offset the higher lifetime cost of EVs compared with the gasoline-fueled cars.

The government is currently offering subsidies on purchases of EVs and hybrids, which are fitted with an externally charged battery which can be powered by gasoline. The subsidy can be between $2,500 and $7,500 in tax credits, and depends on the battery’s capacity. The report also says that the federal tax credit should see a boost for the EVs to be as cost effective as traditional vehicles.

This means that it would take a federal tax-credit higher than $12,000 to make a 16-kWh battery-powered vehicle commercially competitive with the usual fuel-economy compact car. The gasoline prices also play an important role in this debate, but as the gas prices are below $4 per gallon, EVs are not cost-competitive.


Car companies have adopted an “all hands on deck strategy,” says Alan Baum, a principal at Detroit-based automotive market research and forecasting firm Baum & Associates. “They need to invest in fuel efficient technologies, including electric vehicles, to not just comply with higher emission standards but also to be ready to seize the moment when changes in technology reduce electric vehicle costs and drive sales volume.”


Roberts Court decides conditions have changed therefor Sectn 4 isn't necessary. This is a judgement

.. on the constitutionality of the law??? Since when does the Supreme court decide on whether a law is practical or appropriate given current circumstances. I thought they were limited to deciding whether a law was constitutional or not??

... oh, yeah, I forgot, the Roberts court is free to pick and choose whether it agrees with laws philosophically (iow: politically) or not.

Roberts has no appreciation for the principal of division of powers. He can make pronouncements on any basis that pleases him. John Roberts, Chief Justice and Ayatollah of the Roberts Uber Court. Like Nixon said "something's legal if the president does it" Ayotollah Roberts believes his uber court can decide what the limits of their charge is by just passing judgements on whatever basis seems right to them (i.e. to Roberts).

Their judgements are, ipso facto, appropriate. Thus the Roberts Uber Court enjoys free range to make whatever determinations they want and only their whims limit them. Roberts rather too easily embraces the traditional idea of the divine right of kings....and of despots.

Wiping The Corporate Tax Code Clean (of tax loopholes) Could Raise Money And Help The Middle Class

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/07/03/2256471/wiping-the-corporate-tax-code-clean-could-raise-money-and-help-the-middle-class/

There is good reason to be wary of Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch’s plan for “blank slate” reform of the individual income tax. But when it comes to the corporate income tax, this approach to reform could be a great opportunity – if it is used to raise substantial revenues.

The corporate income tax is one of the most progressive pieces of our tax code, with the vast majority of the tax borne by wealthy investors. But over the last 50 years, corporate taxes have declined as a share of federal revenues, reducing the progressivity of the tax code overall. The statutory top corporate tax rate is 35 percent, but the code is so riddled with loopholes and special preferences that corporations now pay an average effective tax rate of 12.6 percent — less than many middle class families.

That means that “blank slate” tax reform that wiped out all corporate tax expenditures – the loopholes and special breaks that allow companies to avoid the statutory tax rate – could raise a lot of revenue very progressively while both enhancing efficiency and protecting middle-class families from tax increases and damaging spending cuts. In fact, just repealing one large tax expenditure known as “deferral,” the provision that allows companies like Apple to use offshore subsidiaries to classify their profits as “foreign” and indefinitely avoid U.S. taxes, would raise more than half of the revenue called for in the Senate Budget Resolution.

Yet instead, corporate lobbyists are lining up to tell Congress that corporate reform should be “revenue neutral.” They say the U.S. should lock in the low effective rates corporations have achieved through past lobbying and accounting games, and that even as we are kicking kids off head start and furloughing nurses for returning veterans, corporations should not be asked to contribute any more to our nation’s fiscal needs. Worse, multinationals are pushing for a so-called “territorial” tax system, under which they would never owe tax on any profits they could characterize as overseas. This would magnify the problems created by deferral and potentially lead to even more erosion of the corporate tax base in the future.
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“Gimme Five”: Fight For A Full Labor Relations Board

http://blog.ourfuture.org/20130703/gimme-five-fight-for-a-full-labor-relations-board

Here’s a scary thought: On Labor Day, a day celebrating the contributions that the labor movement has brought Americans – the 40-hour workweek, the weekend, minimum wage – there may be no one to enforce labor law.

The National Labor Relations Board is the five-person panel that makes the final decisions on labor-related cases in the United States. The board derives its authority from the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, the same act that made mandatory a minimum wage, limitations on child labor, overtime pay, and the standard workweek.

Currently, this five-person board has only three members, with Chairman Mark Pearce’s term expiring on the Tuesday before Labor Day. That would leave the NLRB without a quorum, and working Americans vulnerable.


“Why does this important board have so many vacancies?” you ask. It’s the same reason that too many seats on the federal courts are: Republican obstructionism. The five-person board is designed to be split evenly 2-2 between Republicans and Democrats and one choice of the President’s party, meaning the current balance should be 3-2 Democrats. Yet due to GOP threats of filibuster, President Obama cannot get his nominees to even a vote on the Senate floor. When President Obama tried to sidestep the Senate mess through recess appointments, they were declared unconstitutional by the D.C. Circuit Court, which itself was functioning at diminished productivity due to Republican filibustering of the President’s nominees. FYI: The D.C. Circuit Court was only recently balanced out in May, with the 97-0 confirmation of Sri Srinivasan.

After the D.C. Circuit’s decision, many of the decisions made under the appointments have been challenged by businesses that stand to gain from their decisions being overturned. This process has left many Americans in limbo, waiting to hear from the Supreme Court on the validity of the recess appointments, and for what they have been awarded as part of their claim against companies.
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Keystone Academy: Where Legislators Learn the Etiquette of Serving Special Interests

http://www.democraticunderground.com/112748324
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