Member since: Tue May 13, 2008, 03:07 AM
Number of posts: 9,457
Number of posts: 9,457
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DANNY JOHNSTON Credit: AP
LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas police have destroyed a record outlining a nearly decade-old investigation into reality TV star Josh Duggar, a spokesman said Friday, a day after the 27-year-old resigned his role with a prominent conservative Christian group amid reports about sexual misconduct allegations from when he was a juvenile. The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which obtained the offense report before its destruction, reports Duggar was accused of fondling five girls in 2002 and 2003. Duggar issued an apology Thursday on Facebook for unspecified bad behavior as a youth and resigned his role as executive director for FRC Action, the tax-exempt legislative action arm of the Washington-based Family Research Council.
"I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions," Duggar wrote. "In my life today, I am so very thankful for God's grace, mercy and redemption."
Duggar appears on the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, which stars his family. He is the oldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19 children. Springdale Police began investigating Duggar in 2006 when officers were alerted to a letter containing the allegations that was found in a book lent by a family friend to someone else. The report, originally published by tabloid In Touch Weekly, states that a member of Harpo Studios, the producer of Oprah Winfrey's then show, received an email containing the allegations before the family was set to appear in 2006. The tipster warned producers against allowing the Duggars on the show and studio staff members faxed a copy of the email to Arkansas State Police. Springdale Police spokesman Scott Lewis said Judge Stacey Zimmerman ordered the 2006 offense report destroyed Thursday. Zimmerman didn't return a request for comment Friday.
"The judge ordered us yesterday to expunge that record," Lewis said, adding that similar records are typically kept indefinitely. "As far as the Springdale Police Department is concerned this report doesn't exist."
Neither Duggar nor his father, a former state representative, returned calls seeking comment Friday. Several Arkansas Republicans have rallied behind the Duggar family, which is still engrained in state politics. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar attended the kickoff event earlier this month for Republican presidential nominee Mike Huckabee, who supported the family in a Facebook post Friday.
"Those who have enjoyed revealing this long ago sins in order to discredit the Duggar family have actually revealed their own insensitive bloodthirst, for there was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed, not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims," Huckabee wrote.
Posted by Segami | Fri May 22, 2015, 05:58 PM (12 replies)
Back in January, Josh Duggar tweeted:
Josh Duggar @joshduggar
Good to catch up with @govjebbush this morning in DC.
9:18 AM - 21 Jan 2015
'HOLIER THAN THOU' JOSH DUGGAR & JEB BUSH.......BEST BUDS!.................
The Josh Duggar molestation scandal has the potential of causing a major heading for another Republican contender as Duggar was photographed with Jeb Bush. Bush isn’t the only Republican presidential contender with Duggar trouble. Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Perry have all had photos of themselves getting chummy with a child molester tweeted by Duggar.
At heart, the Republican Party is in the middle of the Duggar scandal because the GOP continues to pander to evangelical social conservatives like the Duggar family. Social liberals outnumber social conservatives in the United States, but evangelical conservatives are vastly overrepresented in the Republican Party. The Republican presidential candidates have gone silent. Josh Duggar was one of their own. He was the executive director of the Family Research Council’s political arm, which means that Duggar came into contact and had access to the very top of the Republican Party.
Posted by Segami | Fri May 22, 2015, 01:49 PM (17 replies)
1:44 of Video: Tom quote's 'cali from democratic underground'......................
Thom Hartmann shares some of bad things we can expect as a result of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Posted by Segami | Fri May 22, 2015, 06:21 AM (7 replies)
New York Democrat shut down a black conservative Wisconsin sheriff who blamed police violence on black criminality. David Clarke, the Milwaukee County sheriff, described “black-on-black crime” as the “elephant in the room” Tuesday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the rising tensions between police officers and African-Americans.
“The conversation should be about transforming black underclass subculture behavior,” said Clarke, who frequently appears on Fox News. “The discussion must start with addressing the behavior of people who have no respect for authority, who fight with and try to disarm the police, who flee the police, and who engage in other flawed lifestyle choices.”
“Bashing the police is the low-hanging fruit,” the sheriff added. “It is easier to talk about the rare killing of a black male by police because emotion can be exploited for political advantage.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) agreed that black-on-black crime was a problem – but he pointed out that 83 percent of white homicide victims were killed by other white people. “Is white-on-white violence also a problem that we should have a robust discussion about?” the lawmaker asked the sheriff. Clarke and Jeffries agreed that the rates of violence within ethnic groups is roughly equivalent, which the congressman said was likely due to segregated housing patterns in many cities.
“It was mentioned that there was a cooperation issue in the black-on-black violence context – but I don’t think I’ve heard the phrase mentioned, ‘blue wall of silence,’” Jeffries said.
“If we’re going to have a conversation about cooperation when someone crosses the line, seems to me to make sense that we also have to deal with what may be another elephant in the room, to use your term,” the lawmaker added.
Jeffries next addressed the sheriff’s testimony complaining that police violence was addressed on emotional terms, using what he referred to as “false narratives” – including the slogans “hands up, don’t shoot,” “no justice, no peace” or “black lives matter.” He asked Clarke if the reaction to Eric Garner’s death, after he was choked to death by New York City Police officers using a banned restraining maneuver, was also a “false narrative.”
“First of all, he wasn’t choked to death, not from the report that I had seen out of the grand jury testimony,” Clarke claimed. “Even from the medical examiner’s report, he wasn’t choked to death.”
Jeffries interjected and pointed out that the medical examiner had ruled Garner’s death a homicide by asphyxiation.
“In the ghetto, that’s called being choked to death,” Jeffries said.
Posted by Segami | Thu May 21, 2015, 07:35 AM (20 replies)
Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered a floor speech on May 20, 2015 about her amendment to the Trade Promotion Authority ("Fast Track") bill. The amendment would block the use of Fast Track to pass trade deals that would weaken financial regulation
Posted by Segami | Thu May 21, 2015, 06:40 AM (4 replies)
My, my,...who would have ever thunk....President Obama & Mitch McConnell are best of buds!!...........
WASHINGTON -- The push by President Barack Obama and Republicans for gigantic new trade deals meets the definition of insanity, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) charged in a Senate floor speech Wednesday. The president and Republican leaders are pushing hard to pass legislation known as Trade Promotion Authority that allows a White House to fast-track trade deals through Congress with no amendments, no procedural hurdles or filibusters, and a simple up-or-down vote in limited amount of time. That fast-track authority likely would make it possible for the Obama administration to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership with a dozen Pacific Rim nations, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with Europe. Together, those pacts would cover about 80 percent of the global economy. The much-maligned North American Free Trade Agreement of the 1990s covered about 10 percent of the word's trade, and Reid said that deal and many since have all been disastrous for American workers, costing millions of jobs.
"It causes huge job losses," Reid said. "As Einstein said, you keep doing the same thing over and over again, and you expect a different result, that's the definition of insanity."
"We can look at these trade bills over the years -- every one of them without exception causes to American workers job losses. Millions of job losses," Reid added. "But yet they're going to try the same thing again and hope for a different result. That's insanity." Obama has tried to counter such complaints by pointing to some of the benefits of free trade deals, insisting they do create jobs, and that his will be the "most progressive" trade pact in history. He's also accused people like Reid and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) of "making stuff up." "I would not be promoting any agreement that I didn't think at the end of the day was going to be creating jobs in the United States and giving us more of an opportunity to create ladders of success, higher incomes and higher wages for the American people, because that's my primary focus," Obama argued last week. Democrats have pushed back on that, though, with Warren releasing a report this week that details the same sorts of promises made in trade agreements for decades, most of which were broken, according to the report. Obama got support Wednesday from his would-be trade ally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who spoke just before Reid, accusing Democrats of blocking progress and jobs for America.
“Our friends on the far left may try to cynically spin their war against the future as something other than what it truly is, but we know better," McConnell said. "It’s no wonder President Obama has called them 'wrong' and suggested they make stuff up."He said the main result of failing to craft trade agreements that lower barriers would be to cost the United States and its businesses markets.
“What happens if the far left actually succeeds in its apparent quest to retain foreign tariffs that unfairly impact American workers and their paychecks?" McConnell said. “It would mean lost opportunities for American risk-takers. ... It would mean lost opportunities for American manufacturing, lost opportunities for Kentucky farmers and lost opportunities for more jobs, better wages and a growing economy that can lift everyone up."
Posted by Segami | Wed May 20, 2015, 02:59 PM (0 replies)
Florida DINOs Gwen Graham and Patrick Murphy
When Boehner and McCarthy boast how their extreme right agenda gets bipartisan support, they're talking about a gaggle of reactionary Democrats who for one reason or another vote with the GOP-- primarily Blue Dogs and New Dems. Last week, for example, the House voted 242-184 to further restrict women's right to reproductive Choice. Boehner was crowing how it was a bipartisan vote; it wasn't really. 4 Republicans voted with the Democrats and 4 Democrats voted with the Republicans. Of the 4 Democrats, one, Jim Langevin (RI), is a deranged religious fanatic and the other 3-- Henry Cuellar, Collin Peterson and Dan Lipinski-- are hard-core right-wing Blue Dogs who vote far more frequently for conservative initiatives than for progressive ones.
The real tragedy is that with "former" Blue Dog and New Dem leaders, respectively Steve Israel and Joe Crowley, rising in the ranks of House Democratic leadership, more and more conservatives and fewer and fewer progressives are being recruited by the DCCC. So far this cycle Blue America has endorsed 8 progressives for House seats. The DCCC hasn't lifted a finger in any of those districts. They don't want progressives or independent-minded legislators. They want hackish followers who won't make Wall Street banksters nervous. And both Blue Dogs and New Dems insist they're just trying to save the Democratic Party from itself-- by acting more like Republicans.
Blue Dogs knew from the beginning they were doing something their leadership probably wouldn’t appreciate.
Rep. Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota, a founding member who’s also the longtime top Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, said the group started meeting secretly in 1994.
“We could see the party was gonna drive us into a ditch,” Peterson recalled.
Fiercely protective of its ideological purity and committed to preserving trust within the ranks, the Blue Dogs enforced a strict quota for membership and specific guidelines for admittance, even after going public in 1995.
Members were predominantly from the South — so much so that aspiring Blue Dogs from elsewhere seemed circumspect.
“It was the Southerners, they thought anybody from Minnesota had to be a raving liberal. I had a couple buddies who helped get me in,” Peterson said. “The way the rules worked, people were invited one at a time. But any member could blackball you.”
Fifteen years later, Schrader faced similar skepticism. The Oregonian applied for membership in 2010, at the plateau of Blue Dog prominence, and struggled to make his case at a time when, according to rules, the group couldn’t exceed a quarter of the caucus.
Schrader said he finally earned a spot when he revealed his nickname as Budget chairman in the Oregon Legislature: “Darth Schrader.”
In 1995, the Blue Dogs started with 23 members and quickly established themselves as players, putting forth welfare overhaul legislation and a budget resolution that won plaudits from Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, D-Mo.
In 2006, Democrats won back the House; two years later, President Barack Obama won by a landslide. Democrats felt invincible, and in early 2010, Blue Dog membership topped 50 — a formidable bloc. Members were courted heavily to shore up votes for then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s big-ticket items, most significantly the Affordable Care Act.
That support would prove costly: In 2010, 26 Blue Dogs lost seats as Republicans reclaimed the House.
“We thought we were all about the right message, we had a mandate, the Republicans are gonna be irrelevant again,” Schrader said. “Only to find out the vote was mostly against George Bush, not for Barack Obama an
The two freshmen who vote with the GOP most frequently are Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE) and Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL). Each has an abysmal 22.86 ProgressivePunch score this session, worse than the records of several Republicans. And yet the DCCC is gearing up to spend over a million dollars on each of these worthless Members to help save their seats, despite all their votes for Boehner's agenda.
Here are the 10 "Democrats" who have been with the GOP the most this session on the crucial roll calls:
• Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL)- 22.86
• Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE)- 22.86
• Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)- 25.71
• Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)- 31.43
• Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY)- 31.43
• Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)- 35.29
• Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL)- 39.39
• Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL)- 42.86
• Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL)- 42.86
• Rubén Hinojosa (TX)- 45.0
Contribute to the DCCC and most of that money will go to Blue Dogs and New Dems who have nearly as little in common with you politically as the Republicans do. The main Blue America page is for House candidates. There are no Blue Dogs and no New Dems on that page. And there never will be.
Posted by Segami | Wed May 20, 2015, 12:07 AM (13 replies)
Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, “probably the most important economist in the world,” and by Time Magazine “the world’s best known economist.” A recent survey by The Economist Magazine ranked Professor Sachs as among the world’s three most influential living economists of the past decade.
"....ISDS is just one of the gifts to big business hidden in the draft TPP and TTIP agreements. These are treaties written behind closed doors by the lobbyists, for business interests, not for the public's interest. Fast track is a way to jam these lousy provisions down the public's throat, without a proper public airing of the issues. Other dangers include further empowerment of international drug companies to strengthen their patent claims, thereby continuing to gouge consumers with sky-high prices...."
The Obama Administration is now on track to get "fast track" legislation through the Senate, heading towards a close vote in the House. The end goal is to conclude two major business treaties: the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The House Democrats are right to withhold their support until key treaty positions favored by the White House are dropped. One of the key reasons to fight fast track is the Administration's insistence on including Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the two draft treaties. ISDS is a dangerous policy that undermines the case for TPP and TTIP. The ISDS framework is an unjustified grant of exceptional power to multinational companies above and beyond the legal system in which the companies operate. ISDS allows foreign companies and individuals to sue their "host-country" governments through ad hoc arbitration proceedings rather than through normal administrative and judicial channels in the country. Through this mechanism, foreign investors can challenge domestic laws, regulations, court decisions (including Supreme Court decisions) and other domestic actions in front of party-appointed tribunals, and governments can be ordered to pay the investor millions or even billions of dollars. When governments lose, they have little recourse to challenge the decision, even if the tribunal erred on matters of fact or law.
ISDS's main supporters--basically trade associations, law firms, and some powerful companies--say that ISDS is nothing new, that it has been included in many hundreds of investment treaties over the past several decades. Indeed, it has been, but companies (and their lawyers) have only become aware of it relatively recently. In 1995, only a handful of ISDS cases had been filed; as of the end of 2014, there had been more than 600 known claims (since most arbitration can be conducted in secrecy, there may have been many more claims). The alarming evidence from recent cases shows that investors are using ISDS to contest a virtually unlimited range of government actions including tobacco regulation, measures relating to taxation, environmental regulation, water and electricity tariffs, health insurance regulation, and health and safety restrictions on pharmaceutical imports, among others. Under normal law, companies and individuals indeed can and do sue host governments regarding various government actions. Yet those lawsuits operate in a legal framework that evolves over time to balance the need to protect investors' economic interests with the government's need to regulate investors and their activities for the safety, health, security, and social interests of other parties. In the US and in many other countries, that balance is reflected in complex and detailed substantive and procedural rules governing who can bring claims against the government, under what circumstances, through what processes, for what types of harms, and for what remedies.
Under ISDS, none of those rules apply. Accordingly, investors can bring cases that they either couldn't have brought or wouldn't have won in domestic courts, and obtain remedies that wouldn't have been available under domestic law. Many countries in Europe and elsewhere are aghast at the end-run around domestic legal systems, rightly worrying that multinational companies will begin to ride roughshod over labor, environmental, financial and other regulations. These fears are well placed. Many big international businesses are aggressive and operate with impunity. If they can challenge regulations that they don't like, they are sure to try. They treat ISDS claims as corporate lobbying 2.0, a new, powerful way to challenge government action. Rather than further entrenching ISDS through TPP and TTIP, the opponents of ISDS are absolutely right to call on the US (and other governments) to remove this provision from these draft agreements. As an alternative to ISDS, the governments could agree on state-to-state consultation and dispute settlement mechanisms like those commonly used to settle trade disputes under international treaties. To the extent that US investors cannot get efficient or fair relief in their host countries, the US should be helping those governments to strengthen their domestic legal frameworks so that they are capable of developing and enforcing laws that protect and regulate business activities. Not only will such efforts help to improve dispute settlement between investors and states, it will also enable foreign investors to enjoy greater legal security when dealing with consumers, suppliers, and competitors, and will more broadly improve the investment climate of the host country.
President Obama and the Republican Senators know what they are doing. They are handing gifts to the business lobbies out of sight of the American people, and attacking the opponents of fast track as anti-trade or ignorant, when in fact the opponents are merely pro-public interest. If the President and the Republicans believe these draft agreements are so good, and therefore merit fast track, let them make the agreements public, so that the public could say a resounding NO to ISDS and other threats to the common interest hidden within the draft agreements.
Posted by Segami | Tue May 19, 2015, 11:09 AM (8 replies)
One of the great blog posts of all time was from Daniel Davies, who declared — apropos of Iraq — that
"...Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance..."
It’s a good dictum; and if you see a lot of lies, or at least misdirection, being used to sell a policy you should be very, very concerned about said policy. And the selling of TPP just keeps getting worse.
And the selling of TPP just keeps getting worse.
William Daley’s pro-TPP op-ed in today’s Times is just awful, on multiple levels. No acknowledgment that the real arguments are not about trade but about intellectual property and dispute settlement; on top of that a crude mercantilist claim that trade liberalization is good because it means more exports; some Dean Baker bait with numbers — $31 billion in trade surplus! All of 0.2 percent of GDP!
But what really annoyed me, even if it’s not necessarily the worst bit, was this:
But today, of the 40 largest economies, the United States ranks 39th in the share of our gross domestic product that comes from exports. This is because our products face very high barriers to entry overseas in the form of tariffs, quotas and outright discrimination.
Actually, no. We have a low export share because we’re a big country. Here’s population versus exports as a percentage of GDP for OECD countries:
Population isn’t the only determinant — geography matters too, as the contrast between Luxembourg (in the middle of Europe) and Iceland shows. But claiming that the relatively low US export share says anything at all about trade barriers makes me want to bang my head against a wall.
If this is the best TPP advocates can come up with, this is not looking like a good idea.
Posted by Segami | Tue May 19, 2015, 10:04 AM (18 replies)
"....no matter how many Iowans' questions Hillary answers or how many questions she asks them, it doesn't justify her current unwillingness to stand before reporters (or even a single reporter) and take their questions. Not even a little...."
With Hillary Clinton rapidly approaching a month since she answered a question from a reporter, her allies are working to push back on the idea that she is ducking the press. "PUTTING THE VOTERS FIRST, HILLARY ASKS THE QUESTIONS THAT REALLY MATTER," read the subject line of an e-mail -- ALL CAPS in the original! -- that arrived in my inbox this morning courtesy of Correct The Record, a pro-Clinton super PAC directly coordinating with the presidential campaign on rapid response. The missive lays out the facts aimed at putting lie to the "she won't answer questions" narrative. First, Correct The Record notes that Clinton has answered 20 questions from "everyday Americans": seven during her first trip to Iowa (she's back in the state today), five during her New Hampshire excursion and a whopping eight when she visited Nevada. Then the group notes that Clinton has ASKED 117 questions of "everyday Americans." And, yes, it lists every one of those questions -- from "Give me a sense of your experience with that?" (Iowa) to "Do you want to share your story?" (Nevada).
I mean, where to start with this?
1. The vast majority of the people who have asked Clinton questions in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada were part of a pre-selected group who sat with her around a roundtable. That's not exactly like hosting a town hall event in which none of the questions are pre-screened. And if you look at the questions "regular" people are asking Clinton, they are not exactly the most probing of queries. A sampling: "I’m just wondering, what can you do to bring that heart back to education in the United States?" (Iowa), "What are your plans to help my community and help us not live in fear anymore?" (Nevada) and "I would like you to elaborate on what you think you might do for childcare in the future if you’re elected?" (New Hampshire) None of those questions are bad, per se, but they also aren't pushing Clinton in any way, shape or form on any issue.
2. It makes zero difference how many questions Clinton has asked average Americans. Like, none. If those people were running for president, then I would be super-interested to know how they responded to some (or maybe all) of Clinton's 117 questions. But, they aren't. She is. Citing the number of questions Clinton has asked of people to rebut the idea that she isn't taking enough (or any) questions from reporters is sort of like saying you aced a job interview because you answered every question asked of you with another question. That wouldn't make sense, would it?
3. At issue here is that Clinton is avoiding taking questions from reporters. And nowhere in the Correct The Record memo does it have anything to dispute that fact. In total as a candidate, Clinton has answered 13 total questions from reporters. It's been 39,000 minutes since she last answered a reporter's question. And, while I think it is absolutely of value for Clinton to hear from regular folks about their concerns and hopes, it's hard to argue from the list put together by Correct The Record that the questions those people have asked Clinton are the same as the one reporters would have if given the chance.
No, they're better, you say! They're about policy and not dumb reporters' obsessions, you say!
To all of which, I respond: Do you not think it is of value to know how Hillary Clinton spent her time since leaving the State Department? And how the Clinton Foundation handled its business with various donors who would, undoubtedly, still be in the picture if she was elected president? Or what she thinks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the fight currently happening in Congress? Or Iran? Or the Middle East? You get the idea. The role of the media in this process is to show voters who these people are, really, and to explain how these people would govern the country if elected. Like the media or not, that's a very important role -- and one that is essential to a functioning democracy.
Posted by Segami | Mon May 18, 2015, 04:45 PM (280 replies)