Thursday, January 31, 2013

Republicans Oppose 'Common Sense' Gun Control Laws in Senate Hearing

Republicans want no changes to gun control laws. WHY?

Yesterday I watched the hearing on Gun Violence before the Senate Judiciary Committee and almost wore out my mute button.  I have discovered that I don't get as irritated with closed caption as I do listening live.  Republicans should be ashamed for doing the bidding of the NRA in yesterday's hearings - they looked like fools who could care less about the shootings in the country.  Their heads are buried in the sand with NRA money when they are not willing to even discuss any changes to gun laws including background checks.  Thought Senator Durbin (D-IL) was outstanding in his questions in not allowing NRA's LaPierre to steer the conversation.

Until today, I didn't realize how dangerous hand guns were to our police with their upgrades:
Furthermore, changes in design have increased the lethality of assault weapons, even in the last decade. A recent report on assault pistols issued by the Violence Policy Center documented the recent surge in popularity of these weapons. According to VPC, because assault pistols can accept ammunition designed for assault rifles that can more easily penetrate police body armor, these weapons, "have the penetrating power of an assault rifle in the concealable format of a pistol." As such, it is no surprise that a VPC analysis of drug cartel firearms trafficking cases uncovered numerous instances of assault pistol trafficking.
When I saw that, I have to wonder what is the matter with today's Republicans on Senate Judiciary who came off very arrogant and unwilling to change.  Looks like you can put Governor McDonnell of VA in that same category after an undercover investigative reporter went with a Virginia Tech victim to a gun show in Roanoke, VA, to show how easy it is to obtain guns from private sellers without even providing your name.  The guns from VA have been traced to crime in New York City yet some GOP Senators and Governors see no need for the background checks or to even close the loophole for gun shows.  Easier to walk in and buy any gun you want with not even giving your name then it is to register to vote or even vote where an ID is required.

Something is inherently wrong with the Republican way of thinking on guns if they think this is what the 2nd amendment is all about.  IMHO, I do not have the right to own a military style weapon - it is that simple.  Those guns do not belong on the street or in houses when a handgun that can be easily hidden can take a 50 round clip.  That is not for hunting.

I also call Bravo Sierra on Lindsey Graham's comments yesterday about the budget forcing police off the street by cutting their jobs so inferring individuals need the right to protect themselves.

GRAHAM: The point is, we have different perspectives on this. The reason I will oppose the legislation, Chief Johnston, is because i respect what your do as a lot — what you do as a law-enforcement officer. Has your budget been cut? 
GRAHAM: Do you think it be cut in the future? 
JOHNSON: I am optimistic that it is not. 
GRAHAM: Well I hope your right, but I can tell people throughout this land, because of the fiscal state of affairs we have, there will be less [SIC] police officers, not more, over the next decade. Response time are gonna be less, not more. So, Captain Kelly, I really do want to get guns out of the hands of the wrong people. I honest to god believe that if we arbitrarily “say nobody in this country can own a 10-round magazine in the future, the people who own them are the kind of people we’re trying to combat to begin with.” There can be a situation where a mother runs out of bullets because of something we do here. 

Is he saying he going to vote for a budget that takes away money from law enforcement.  Republicans already have neutered ATF with their budget cuts, refusing to name a new head of ATF, and gutting  enforcement capability at ATF for their friends at the NRA who are gun/ammo lobbyist for manufacturers.  Are federal law enforcement budget cut next for the FBI and Customs after Graham's statement?   This lends credibility to the GOP being in the hip pocket of the NRA:
President Obama has proposed expanding the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which helps local governments hire police officers, but Republicans have opposed the effort.
Joe Scarbough (R-FL) who was part of the conservative group with Lindsey Graham and Tom Coburn in the House after the 1994 takeover by Republicans had this to say on Morning Joe:

Scarborough jumped back in to praise the president’s gun announcement speech:
One of the president’s strongest moments is when he said if you have a congressman or congresswoman that supports assault weapons, ask them why. See, that’s where the extremists, that’s where the survivalists lose this argument. Why do you need an assault weapon? Why do you need a high-capacity magazine? You start talking to them, and it always goes back to the same thing. Always. It’s either one, ‘I like target practice. It’s fun.’ That’s certainly not a reason to protect that right. Or number two, they say, after much prodding, ‘Because I’m afraid one day the government may come after me, and I will need to use my assault weapon on U.S. soldiers that are coming to my house.’ They don’t say it exactly that way, but that’s what it always boils down to. And Republicans need to understand that at the end of the day, that’s just a losing argument.
While searching for an article I could use on Republicans neutering the ATF, I discovered this little gem which should make every stop and think:
Consider, for example, this irony: Toy guns are among the 15,000 or so products whose manufacture and sale is regulated by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, but real firearms are not. The 1972 law creating the commission did not cover guns, but just to be sure the agency wouldn’t wander there, in 1976, pro-gun lawmakers amended its enabling legislation to prohibit any action regarding guns or ammunition. 
Let me get this straight -- toy guns are regulated but semi-automatic guns that can kill are not?  Yet, the GOP wonders why Americans are disgusted with their stance on gun control.  In that article about toy guns, it gives the background of what some in the Republican Party have been doing for the NRA to loosen the laws:

We might have a better sense of how to reduce gun deaths and injuries, except that the pro-gun absolutists have successfully put an end to federally funded gun research. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once regularly sponsored such research. But when one careful study concluded that people in gun-owning households faced a far greater risk of homicide and suicide, the NRA swung into action. 
First the gun lobby and its allies tried to cut the CDC’s budget by $2.6 million — the same amount CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention had spent on gun-related research the previous year. That money was ultimately restored. But the pro-gun forces succeeded in inserting this line into the CDC’s appropriation: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” Worries about running afoul of that restriction — and fear of further retribution — took CDC out of the gun-research arena. One of Obama’s executive orders is aimed at restarting such research. 
Then there are the so-called Tiahrt Amendments, named after former Republican Representative Todd Tiahrt of Kansas, long the gun lobby’s go-to guy in its attempt to neuter the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. ATF regularly traces crime guns back to their point of sale. But after the agency issued a report saying that a tiny percentage of licensed gun dealers had sold a majority of guns used in crimes, Tiahrt launched a multi-year effort to keep that kind of edifying information under a tight lid. 
Over the next few years, he attached budget riders to prevent ATF from complying with Freedom of Information Act requests or otherwise releasing gun-trace data to the public. He and other gun-lobby allies next managed to forbid ATF from sharing gun-trace data with prosecutors or law-enforcement agencies for any purpose other than investigating or prosecuting specific crimes. That meant ATF data could not be used to identify, and crack down on, gun-trafficking. 
Under intense counter-pressure from law enforcement, the Tiahrt restrictions have been loosened significantly in the last few years. Yet Tiahrt or Tiahrt-like restrictions still require the FBI to destroy background-check information and firearms-sales data within 24 hours after such a purchase is okayed. That renders it more difficult to investigate possible “straw” purchasers, who buy guns for others. Further, gun-trace data still can’t be used in civil proceedings against gun dealers.
I am not naive enough to think the GOP is doing this just for campaign contributions because there has to be more involved.  Most of the funding for the NRA comes from the manufacturers of guns and ammo so it cannot be there is a huge war chest from members who pay $35 in dues each year.  How much money is given to NRA members of Congress that are never accounted for is what I want to know?  Do we have another Enron and Abramhoff scandal this time from the NRA?  It would hit both sides of the aisle just not Republicans.  It is the only thing that makes sense.  Is that why Issa was so intent on Fast and Furious to damage the administration so they would not look into the NRA's relationship with their puppets in Congress?  Why did Fast and Furious investigation all of a sudden go silent?  What did Issa actually find?  Good questions with no answers.

You are supposed to get a perjury charge if you lie during your testimony to a committee of Congress because you are sworn in before you testify.  Obviously that was not enforced from yesterday's hearing.  Misleading testimony is an understatement:

What The Media Should Know About The NRA's Misleading Testimony At The Senate's Gun Violence Hearing 
Ahead of tomorrow's hearing on gun violence before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the National Rifle Association released the testimony of its representative, executive vice president Wayne LaPierre. When reporting on LaPierre's remarks, the media have a responsibility to provide context for his frequently inaccurate statements. 
In his remarks, LaPierre dismissed the idea of requiring a criminal background check on every gun sale while unwittingly demonstrating how these checks keep guns out of the hands of criminals, falsely suggested that assault weapons are no more dangerous than firearms available to civilians 100 years ago, and exaggerated the effectiveness of armed guards in schools.
Background Checks Have Prevented Hundreds Of Thousands Of Firearms Sales To Prohibited Purchasers 
In his testimony, LaPierre attacked the proposal to require criminal background checks on nearly all gun sales "because criminals will never submit to them." According to LaPierre's rigid reasoning, because background checks will not stop every dangerous person from acquiring a gun, there is no point in strengthening the system. 
But even under our current set of laws that allow a significant proportion of firearms transactions occur without a background check, evidence has shown that over 1.5 million individuals have been prevented from acquiring a firearm after failing a background check.
LaPierre even acknowledged earlier in his testimony that over 76,000 firearms purchases in 2011 were denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It should be noted that LaPierre is either referring to FBI denials only or understating the figure, as over 150,000 purchases a year are typically denied through the background check system, with about half of denials being processed by the FBI. 
According to the FBI, less than five percent of denials are reversed upon appeal. The primary reasons for denial were a felony conviction or indictment (47.4 percent) or status as a fugitive (19.1 percent). 
Crimes Committed With Assault Weapons Usually Result In More Victims
In his remarks, LaPierre lumped in assault weapons with all semi-automatic firearms to claim that they "have been around for over 100 years" and that "[t]hey are the most popular guns made for hunting, target shooting and self-defense." In doing so, LaPierre invoked a common argument that assault weapons are no more dangerous than other firearms. 
In fact, an examination of mass shootings between January 2009 and January 2013 by Mayors Against Illegal Guns determined that shootings where the perpetrator used an assault weapon resulted in 54 percent more deaths than other incidents and 123 percent more combined wounded and killed. A previous study by the Urban Institute comparing shootings involving assault weapons to other firearms reached the same conclusion.    
Read More at Media Matters
What's the bottom line?  Republicans are fighting against any change in gun laws.  They don't event want to close the gun show loophole that allows felons or even terrorist to walk in and buy a gun with no information required which should frighten everyone.  Probably why over 80% of Americans want background checks tightened up including at gun shows.  For Republicans to say that the Government is going to come take their guns is beyond ludicrous.  They know it or are in a bigger conservative media bubble then I think.

NRA used to be about gun safety but now it is a lobbying arm for gun/ammo manufacturers as they get paid huge bucks to lobby and curtail any hint of gun control so manufacturers of automatic weapons/ammo can continue to make big bucks.  They don't care if a person buying a gun is a felon, a terrorist, or mentally ill.  They are more than happy to see private gun owners sell huge amounts of guns to one person as it helps their bottom line.  It is greed of the wealthy to get even wealthier if more guns/ammo are sold.

The gun/ammo manufacturers don't seem to care what happened at Sandy Hook to those 20 first graders, to the people in a movie theater in Aurora, CO, to a US Congressman in Tuscon, AZ, where if the shooter had to reload a clip because he had smaller clips a little girl would still be alive, or in Columbine, CO.  The list goes on and on with shootings that kill people daily like one in Phoenix during the Congressional hearing that killed someone in an office.

How many more children have to die before we get sensible gun control legislation that regulates the size of clips and stops the selling of handguns that can take the same clips as the military style assault rifles.  Military style weapons don't belong on our streets period.  Military members don't keep their assault weapons in their homes but in armories on base so why should individuals have military style weapons in their homes. Have an intruder?  Use a shotgun! This is not playing toy soldier but playing with people's inherit Right to Life as guaranteed by our Constitution.

The second amendment is now more important to some gun owners then any other amendment which should scare all of us if any of our neighbors believe that and have military style weapons.  Call/write your Congressman and Senators to tell them to at least get behind stronger Background Checks and closing the gun show loophole.  At least it would be a start.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why did Texans vote for Tea Party Republican Senator Ted Cruz?

Have a hard time remembering a first time US Senator being a bigger media hog and arrogant then Senator Cruz of TX who took office less than a one ago.  Even the hard right Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) took awhile to get started.  Let me say that I donated to Cruz's opponent Texas Governor Lt Governor Dewhurst who seemed to have more common sense -- didn't realize how much more until the last month.  Cruz has no common sense -- zero, zip, nada.

Thought this open letter to Americans about Texas send Cruz to the Senate spoke volumes: 

Ted Cruz’s craziness is the unfunny, dangerous kind, @JasStanford4:33 PM on 01/30/2013 
Dear America, 
I think we might have messed up again in Texas. We thought Ted Cruz would be an educated, articulate senator with a positive vision of constitutional conservatism. But it turns out he might also be crazy, and not the Charlie Wilson “Let’s see how many Playboy bunnies fit into this hot tub!” kind of crazy. Ted Cruz’s crazy is the unfunny, dangerous kind, and we just gave him a six-year term. Sorry. 
It struck me that Texas might have let a charming sociopath loose in Washington when I read this morning about his efforts to bring assault weapons into a Senate hearing on gun safety. His aim, as it were, was to wave unloaded guns around to demonstrate how safe they are in the hands of “millions of law-abiding Americans for self-defense, hunting, and sporting purposes,” he explained. Maybe using them as political props falls under “sporting.” Unfortunately for him, DC has banned assault weapons, which cancels out the “law-abiding” bit. 
Trying to bring a gun to a knife fight is one thing. Picking a fight with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel might be burning a bridge too far. Emanuel pushed the Chicago Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund to divest $1 million in investments in three gun manufacturers and asked two locally headquartered banks to stop lending money to firearms makers who oppose gun safety laws. This drove Cruz to invite the banks and gun manufacturers to do business in Texas. “Both of your companies do considerable business in the City of Chicago, and you may be understandably concerned that there are risks to refusing to comply with the demands of a politician who has earned the nickname, ‘the Godfather,’” wrote Cruz. 
And then there was his explanation for being one of three votes against confirming John Kerry as Secretary of State: “I was compelled to vote no on Senator Kerry’s nomination because of his longstanding less-than-vigorous defense of U.S. national security issues, and, in particular, his long record supporting treaties and international tribunals that have undermined U.S. sovereignty,” said Cruz in a statement. 
It’s hard not to focus on Cruz’s cheerful venality in sliming Kerry’s commitment to national security. Cruz wasn’t even born when Kerry left the U.S. Navy as a full lieutenant after having earned a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. And when Cruz was still in diapers, Kerry raised the stakes on patriotism by becoming the first Vietnam veteran to testify before Congress about the war, famously asking the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” 
Voters don’t require military service anymore in their politicians, but if Cruz’s statement is any indication, voters don’t require basic decency either. Cruz had a chance to serve when we were kicking Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, but he was busy excelling at debate at Princeton.
That bit about Kerry “supporting treaties and international tribunals that have undermined U.S. sovereignty” raises a different alarm. Cruz’s campaign website had a page devoted to stopping Agenda 21, a black-helicopter conspiracy theory about the United Nations abolishing “‘unsustainable’ environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads.” We should have known better. 
So why didn’t the media raise the alarm when a possible demagogue was sailing toward a U.S. Senate seat? If there’s a media bias in Texas, it’s to ignore the ridiculous as unserious and unworthy of attention. Not spotlighting the absurdity deprives Texans of the unintentional high comedy of their elected officials who remain bathed in the flattering light of undeserved dignity. (Case in point: Rick Perry. In Texas, the media portrayed him as a serious, ideologically conservative leader, but once he crossed the state line… Oops.) 
Cruz rode a Tea Party wave from 4% in the polls into the U.S. Senate. It’s possible that this was not a marriage of convenience but of common interests. We’re not all crazy in Texas—a poll out today shows that a plurality of Texans support banning assault weapons—but it’s becoming increasingly clear that Cruz could be.

A little background on Senator Cruz:
Cruz the newest Latino GOP Senator was elected in November by tea party activists and notably gathered only a smattering of Latino votes.  Tea Party activists in Texas have been prone to attempt any and all political maneuvers to thwart President Obama including their recent call for their state to secede from the Union. Cruz finds himself tied to the most extreme elements of his party and seems unwilling at this point to differ from them.
Some of Cruz's comments made me go WHAT?  

Delaware state Attorney General Beau Biden chided Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday over Cruz’s statements on gun safety legislation. 
“Senator Cruz is new to the job here,” said Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden. “Over the course of this debate he’ll get the facts. The facts are that 40 percent of weapons transfers in America are done outside of federal licensees. Forty percent. So nearly half of weapons that are sold or transferred are done, not through Dick’s Sporting Goods or your local gun shop, where I have my shotgun from.”
Cruz, a freshman senator, said on “Meet The Press” Sunday that there is no gun show loophole for weapons sales.
“Any licensed firearms dealer, who sells at a gun show, has to have a background check,” Cruz said. “What it doesn’t apply to is personal sales, one on one, and that’s true, whether it’s at a gun show or not.” In that same interview, Cruz also accused President Barack Obama of exploiting last month’s mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut “within minutes” for the sake of pandering to his political base.
Raw Story (excerpt)
Then there is this one:
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued the following statement regarding Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) Assault Weapons Ban of 2013: 
Washington politicians shouldn’t be taking advantage of recent tragedy to try to push an aggressive gun control agenda. Real assault weapons—machine guns—are already functionally illegal, and they have been since 1934. This proposal would have done nothing to prevent the terrible murders in Newtown, but it would limit the constitutional liberties of law-abiding citizens. And gun control doesn’t work – the empirical data overwhelmingly demonstrate that strict gun-control laws consistently produce more crime and more murders.
The Second Amendment exists to ensure that law-abiding Americans can protect their homes and families, and I look forward to helping lead the fight to defeat this bill and to protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. 
Cruz also would have voted against the financial cliff agreement if he had been in the Senate:
During Senator Cruz’s appearance on CNN on January 3rd he retreated to Tea Party talking points on issues surrounding the now resolved fiscal cliff debate. Additionally Cruz indicated that he would be willing to use the upcoming approval on the debt ceiling to gain political leverage.  “part of the reason we got a lousy deal is that when you have divided government, whoever owns the defaults, whoever wins if there is inaction, has the advantage. With the fiscal cliff, if there was inaction, there would be a massive tax increase. That gave President Obama an advantage. Moving forward to the debt ceiling, I think it is the mirror image” said Cruz to an openly astonished Wolf Blitzer.
Cruz, a Latino of Cuban descent (his Dad was Cuban and his Mom a US Citizen) elected with Tea Party support, opposes citizenship proposals as amnesty, but supports increased visas for high-tech and temporary workers.
Cruz's comments on immigration reform regarding bipartisan immigration reform proposal:
I appreciate the good work that senators in both parties have put into trying to fix our broken immigration system. There are some good elements in this proposal, especially increasing the resources and manpower to secure our border and also improving and streamlining legal immigration. However, I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship. To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally.
Senator Cruz doesn't think twice of running out with his comments unlike most Freshman Senators in their first month.  I want to know why Republicans put first term Senatosr Cruz and Flake (R-AZ) on Judiciary. Those assignments used to be reserved for more senior members who understand how things work but after both Cruz and Senator Graham (R-SC) tried to bring guns to the Senate hearings on gun control which Graham knew would never be approved, grandstanding seems to be the new norm for Republicans in the Senate. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fiscal Cliff Facts: Three US Senators Gave $500,000,000 Loophole to Amegen Pharmaceutical

Senators McConnell (R-KY), Baucus (D-MT), and Hatch (R-UT), Bi-partisan Senate "perpetrators," used the fiscal cliff at the end of 2012 to give a $500,000,000 break to Amgen, a pharmaceutical company from Thousand Oaks, CA, who just pleaded guilty to fraud. 

Term "despicable" describes these three Senators who should resign immediately from the Senate. Nothing will happen though since this has become a way of life for Senators and some members of the House where anything goes in order to get donations. We know what is being paid openly, but how much do these dishonest members of Congress receive that never sees the light of day?  The lack of honesty and integrity is permeating the halls and offices of the Capitol today as the wealthy are protected by their puppets in the Senate and House.

Bill Moyers did an excellent job of covering this investigative story from The New York Times along with his interview with Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) below.  Moyers gives an insight into those members of Congress who are as disgusted as a lot of us with what we are all seeing today by some members of Congress who are on the take in exchange for getting money for their wealthy donors.

On Twitter last night it was announced both the right and left in Kentucky are out to oust Minority Leader McConnell from the Senate.  They are going to work together to make it happen.  Now that is called a bi-partisan effort and shows how corrupt McConnell has become when both sides can agree.  Are the Koch Brothers going to rush in with big bucks to try and save his re-election campaign where he already has over $7M?  Would bet that most of the $7M donated to McConnell came from wealthy donors who through their lobbyists want payback.

The more you read about this $500 million of our tax dollars going to Amgen, the madder you get.  This part jumped out that we have three US Senators giving loopholes to a company, Amgen, who was just convicted of fraud and had to pay over a $700M fine:
So the trail winds deeper into the sordid swamp beneath that great Capitol dome, a sinkhole where shame has all but disappeared. As reporters Lipton and Sack remind us, just weeks before this backroom betrayal of the public interest by elected officials and the mercenaries they have mentored, Amgen pleaded guilty to fraud. Look it up: fraud means trickery, cheating and duplicity. Amgen agreed to pay $762 million in criminal and civil penalties; the company had been caught illegally marketing another one of its drugs. 
The fact that their puppet master had been the subject of fines and a massive federal investigation mattered not to its servile pawns in the Senate, where pomp and circumstance are but masks for the brute power of money.
From Bill Moyers site comes the details (excerpted) of the Amgen rip off of the American taxpayer:
Foul Play in the Senate 
January 25, 2013
by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship 
The inauguration of a president is one of those spectacles of democracy that can make us remember we’re part of something big and enduring.... 
... Just a couple of days before the inaugural festivities, The New York Times published some superb investigative reporting by the team of Eric Lipton and Kevin Sack, and their revelations were hard to forget, even at a time of celebration. The story told us of a pharmaceutical giant called Amgen and three senators so close to it they might be entries on its balance sheet: 
Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and that powerful committee’s ranking Republican, Orrin Hatch. A trio of perpetrators who treat the United States Treasury as if it were a cash-and-carry annex of corporate America. 
The Times story described how Amgen got a huge hidden gift from unnamed members of Congress and their staffers. They slipped an eleventh hour loophole into the New Year’s Eve deal that kept the government from going over the fiscal cliff. When the sun rose in the morning, there it was, a richly embroidered loophole for Amgen that will cost taxpayers a cool half a billion dollars.

Amgen is the world’s largest biotechnology firm, a drug maker that sells a variety of medications. The little clause secretly sneaked into the fiscal cliff bill gives the company two more years of relief from Medicare cost controls for certain drugs used by patients who are on kidney dialysis, including a pill called Sensipar, manufactured by Amgen. 
The provision didn’t mention Amgen by name, but according to reporters Lipton and Sack, the news that it had been tucked into the fiscal cliff deal “was so welcome, that the company’s chief executive quickly relayed it to investment analysts.” Tipping them off, it would seem, to a jackpot in the making. 
Amgen has 74 lobbyists on its team in Washington and lobbied hard for that loophole, currying favor with friends at the White House and on Capitol Hill. The Times reporters traced its “deep financial and political ties” to Baucus, McConnell and Hatch, “who hold heavy sway over Medicare payment policy.” 
All three have received hefty campaign donations from the company whose bottom line mysteriously just got padded at taxpayer expense. Since 2007, Amgen employees and its political action committee have contributed nearly $68,000 to Senator Baucus, $73,000 to Senator McConnell’s campaigns, and $59,000 to Senator Hatch. 
And lo and behold, among those 74 Amgen lobbyists are the former chief of staff to Senator Baucus and the former chief of staff to Senator McConnell. You get the picture: Two guys nurtured at public expense, paid as public servants, disappear through the gold-plated revolving door of Congress and presto, return as money changers in the temple of crony capitalism. 
Inside to welcome them is a current top aide to Senator Hatch, one who helped weave this lucrative loophole. He used to work as a health policy analyst for — you guessed it — Amgen.
Peter Welch, Vermont’s Democratic congressman, has just introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal the half billion-dollar giveaway to Amgen [see the video clip below]. Its co-sponsors include Republican Richard Hanna of New York and Democrats Jim Cooper of Tennessee and Bruce Braley of Iowa.

The Amgen deal “confirms the American public’s worst suspicions of how Congress operates,” Representative Welch told us this week. “As the nation’s economy teetered on the edge of a Congressional-created fiscal cliff, lobbyists for a private, for-profit company seized an opportunity to feed at the public trough. It’s no wonder cockroaches and root canals are more popular than Congress.”
Read More From Bill about this Foul Play by three US Senators McConnell, Baucus, and Hatch
Senator Baucus (D-MT) was a good friend of President Bush and was always counted to be there for a vote when it was needed for a Bush agenda item.  Now he is part of the 'good old boy' system that flourishes in the Senate.  Yet these Senators wonder why both sides are mad?  Although I think those of us who are center right are probably more livid at Republicans in Congress then those on the left as we have a lot more to be livid about as we swallowed their koolaid over the years.  

For example, yesterday 35 Republican Senators and one Democrat Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) voted against aid for Hurricane Sandy victims including Rubio from Florida who has seen large amount of hurricane relief given to his state, my two Oklahoma Senators who also saw tornado relief in huge numbers come into Oklahoma and other Republicans along the eastern shore whose states have received large amounts of aid. 
When the Senate passed the long-delayed $50.5 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package Monday, 36 Republicans voted against the bill. But of the 32 no-votes from Senators who are not brand-new members, at least 31 came from Republicans who had previously supported emergency aid efforts following disasters in their own states. 
While opponents complained that the bill contained too much unrelated “pork,” each of the 30 of them who had been present earlier this month when the Senate passed the much-smaller $9 billion Sandy relief bill also voted no. All five top members of the Senate Republican leadership voted no on both. 
Most incredible among the no voters were Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). Those two had not just backed disaster aid in the past — they actually sought disaster aid for their own states for relief from Hurricane Sandy. And Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) endorsed disaster relief for snow storms damages in Arkansas just four days before casting his “nay” vote.
Visit Think Progress to see a list of the aid requested by these 31 Republicans for their states for past disasters
Senator Vitter (R-LA) did vote for the aid which to me shows he appreciated what the Federal Government has done for New Orleans and the Gulf.  Senator Heller from NV was another 'yes' vote.  In fact Senator Heller has been voting for his state on almost all votes instead of following the party line which is refreshing.  Reminds me of the Maine Senators Collins and Snowe (now retired).  Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was right there with Collins to vote yes so we have a few with common sense.  Unfortunately there are 35 Republican Senators who voted "NO" to go along with their arrogance, hypocrisy and heads buried in the sand who will do anything to block something President Obama requests.  

Yet the GOP wonders why so many of us center right Republicans are not only mad but have one foot out the door.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Health of Today's GOP: On Life Support and Running out of Oxygen!

Every day that goes by, it is increasingly difficult to remain in the Republican Party which has gone so far hard right that I am not sure it will ever go back center right.  The latest talking point is that Obama is trying to destroy the GOP.  All the President has to do is sit back, eat some popcorn, and watch it happen as the GOP implodes.  More and more center right/moderate Republicans are increasingly talking about switching party registration thanks to a Republican Party which has gone hard right.

Wasn't happy with the GOP in 2008 but nothing compared to my disgust in 2012.  From inside the party with all the emails, it looks to me like the Party is nothing but an arm of the hard right Koch Brothers organization like Americans for Prosperity, ALEC, Freedom Works, and Cato Institute along with the Tea Party groups.  The GOP has become very hateful and extremely deceitful in their move hard right.  They will say or do anything for votes today in order to take over to push their extreme agenda.

Been involved on Twitter this past weekend where a conservative group sponsored by the Koch Brothers along with the Tea Party Express decided it was their responsibility to get progressives kicked off Twitter or anyone that posted against the hard right, Koch Brothers, Tea Party, GOP, etc.  As more and more progressives were getting suspended, several of us who are still Republican figured we were next.  Someone came up with an idea to protect all of our Free Speech by joining together as a group.  @UniteBlue stepped up to the plate to have us join.  Since then, I have met some of the most interesting people including a lot of former Republicans, sports fans, and people associated with the military/industrial complex.  Today I seem to have more in common with a lot of Progressives who are center left then I do the hard right GOP.

My takeaway from this weekend's experience is that some conservatives only want Free Speech when it applies to what they are saying.  In their small minds on Twitter they go after anyone who disagrees with them to get them suspended or even banned.  That 'my way or no way' mentality is seeing the light of day and a lot of Republicans are as disgusted with the hard right as the Democrats/Independents if not more so as we see what is happening to our Party and absolutely nothing we can do as leadership only listens to the wealthy donors like the Koch Brothers.

Re-electing the same RNC Chair Priebus who oversaw the debacle in 2012 says it all about the health of today's Republican Party -- it is on life support and running out of oxygen.  Anyone with half a brain knows that Preiebus is nothing more than the Koch Brothers puppet from Wisconsin who will do anything they say like pushing the ALEC plan on electoral votes to steal the 2016 election.  Already FL and VA are standing up and saying count us out.  PA, OH, MI, and WI are still moving ahead knowing full well that the Congressional seats are gerrymandered so bad that they don't truly represent the voters of the states.  ALEC has also been pushing Right to Work laws in states as well.

In Oklahoma, a Right to Work state,  union membership went up 22% in 2012 as workers are discovering the unions were the only people looking out for manufacturing and construction workers. Oklahoma has gained about 9,000 manufacturing and 3,000 construction jobs since the beginning of 2011 which could also be accounting for the rise in union membership.  My Dad always said if there were no unions, that heads of companies would not treat their workers well.  Looks like he was right.  The Koch Brothers seem to be pretty anti-worker with their push to rid the Country of unions, minimum wage laws, medicare/medicaid and social security as we know it but the GOP goes right along with them.

Koch Brothers seem to want to take over the Country and Republican leadership is falling right in line.  They have lost all common sense in the GOP as they have tracked hard right and now see their problem as the way the message is delivered not the message.  Note to GOP:  It is your agenda no matter how you dress it up!

Let me give you a few examples of today's Stupid GOP in the States:
Texas Public Schools: Still Teaching Creationism 
In Texas public schools, children learn that the Bible provides scientific proof that Earth is 6,000 years old, that the origins of racial diversity trace back to a curse placed on Noah's son, and that astronauts have discovered "a day missing in space" that corroborates biblical stories of the sun standing still. 
These are some of the findings detailed in Reading, Writing & Religion II, a new report by the Texas Freedom Network that investigates how public schools in the Lone Star State promote religious fundamentalism under the guise of offering academic courses about the Bible. The report, written by Mark Chancey, a professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University, found that more than half of the state's public-school Bible courses taught students to read the book from a specifically Christian theological perspective—a clear violation of rules governing the seperation of church and state.
Other states are trying to follow Texas who more bills waiting to pass but so far their efforts with nine bills have been stopped in Committee in TX, KY, FL, TN, OK, NM, and MO.  In a time of dwindling dollars they want to teach the earth is 6,000 year old crap.  Some parents refused to allow their children to go to Natural History Museums like the Ed Noble Museum of Natural History we have on the University of Oklahoma campus.  Do these people fear their children might see the truth about natural history and how old the is the earth by viewing the various time periods the earth has gone through over 4.54 billion years.  Yet this group of Creationists want us to believe the earth is only 6,000 years old?   It is a travesty to teach Creationism in the schools since the very idea comes from such a small but loud group of evangelicals. 

Texas Legislature strikes again:
Texas Legislature Wants To Reward Companies That Deny Employees Contraception 
By Annie-Rose Strasser posted from ThinkProgress Health on Jan 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm 
A bill recently introduced in the Texas state house aims to reward employers who violate Obamacare, offering subsidies to any company that uses religious objection as an excuse for denying its employees copay-free contraception. 
House Bill 649, introduced by state Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R), was apparently inspired by the controversy over craft chain store Hobby Lobby. That store sued to deny its employees contraception coverage, citing its male president’s religious objections. But since Hobby Lobby, and companies like it, will be forced to pay a fine for violating the law, Strickland wants to compensate them with tax breaks
The tax credit would be limited to the amount of a federal fine that the company pays or the amount of state tax the company owes.
“When a business is being stressed nearly to the point of bankruptcy by punitive federal taxes, of course the state should give them relief,” Stickland said in the news release.[...] 
“The Obama administration’s mandate and their threats to bury Hobby Lobby with $1.3 million per day in tax penalties aren’t just unconstitutional, they’re unconscionable,” he said. “It is simply appalling that any business owner should have to choose between violating their religious convictions and watching their business be strangled by the strong arm of Federal mandates and taxation.”
By offering to help compensate these companies, Strickland is accepting a drastic cut in funding to the Texas government. His plan proposes letting organizations like Hobby Lobby off the hook for state taxes up to the amount they owe in federal penalties. Since Hobby Lobby is estimated to owe a fine of $1.3 million a day (more, in a year, than it would be paying in state taxes), Hobby Lobby would get a pass on giving a single cent to the state of Texas.
You want stupid -- look no further then Texas to understand why many are predicting that because of Governor Perry and the Legislature, the state is going back to the Democrats in the next ten years.  I used to laugh at that but with some of the dumb things coming out of Austin, I beginning to agree with that analysis.  The bill on Obamacare they want to pass will most likely not pass a court test but Texas leadership opposes Obamacare so much they are willing to risk taxpayer money to get Hobby Lobby off the hook and allow them to not provide contraceptives to their employees.

It is not only Texas but in Arizona:
Arizona Bill Requires Hospitals To Screen Immigration Status Of Uninsured Patients 
Hospitals would need to check the immigration status of uninsured patients under a new bill introduced by an Arizona lawmaker. Rep. Steve Smith’s (R) H.B. 2293 would require hospital staff to “reasonably confirm” patients’ status during check-in or treatment, and immediately report those who do not have the required papers to immigration officials.
Smith claimed it is a hospital’s civic duty to check immigration status:
“I would hope if you witnessed somebody who is not lawfully present in this country taking advantage of, getting, acquiring any benefit or social service or something that they’re not entitled to, or something they’re abusing or neglected, I would hope somebody would pick up the phone and go, ‘Maricopa police, Buckeye police, I think — I’m not sure — but I think this is happening.”’
The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association has already rejected the attempt to turn hospitals into another front for immigration enforcement: “When does this begin or end?” a spokesman said. “What other industry should be screening their customers for citizenship verification?”
Cannot leave out NM and their strange bill to jail the woman for getting an abortion after being raped:
New Mexico Bill Would Make Abortion After Rape A Felony 
A Republican state lawmaker in New Mexico has proposed a bill outlawing abortion in cases of rape, arguing that to conduct a termination would amount to "tampering with evidence" of a crime. 
The draft legislation proposed by Cathrynn Brown would legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term so that the baby could be used as evidence during a sexual assault trial. 
And a woman who terminated her pregnancy following an alleged rape would face being charged with a third-degree felony.
Some of you may ask where are the Oklahoma stupid bills, just wait as the legislature is not session.  I can guarantee you from what I am hearing we will be the winner again for stupid bills submitted by the hard right that will never stand up in the Courts.  Why let that stand in the way as they push bills knowing full well they never will become law as they play to their base and cost the taxpayers money defending their stupid unconstitutional bills.

Thought the Democrats were bad when they were in charge of some of the legislatures but frankly they were much better then the hard right Republicans who have been elected to the legislatures in states like mine.  I really feel for the new Speaker of the House who is a really good person who believes in fairness because he has to put up with some of the OK nutcases.  There is no other word for some of these people.  More on that this week about the Oklahoma Congressman Langford and his strange ideas now he has been elected to a 2nd term.

Friday, January 25, 2013

RNC Chair Priebus backs 'Grand Theft Election" Changes to Electoral College

How do Republicans Plan to commit "Grand Theft Election?"

How the Republican election-rigging plan works 
This Republican Plan would reallocate electoral votes so that a maximum of two electoral votes would go to the overall winner of several key blue states. The lion’s share of the state’s electors would then be allocated one by one to the presidential candidate who won each individual congressional district. (see Figure 1) Thus, in a blue state such as Michigan—which President Obama won by nearly 10 points in 2012—Gov. Romney would have received 9 of the state’s 16 electoral votes because he received more votes than the president did in nine of the state’s congressional districts. In other words, the Republican candidate would receive more than half of the state’s electoral votes despite being overwhelmingly defeated in the state as a whole 
Cashing in on gerrymandering 
The Republican Plan does not just apply one set of rules in red states and another set of rules in blue states—it also takes advantage of profoundly gerrymandered congressional maps in order to stack the deck even more for Republican presidential candidates. In 2012 Democratic House candidates received nearly 1.4 million more votes than their Republican counterparts. Yet Republican candidates currently hold a 33-seat majority in the House, due in large part to the fact that Republican state legislatures controlled the redistricting process in several key states. Indeed, Republicans were so successful in their efforts to lock in their control of the House of Representatives through gerrymandering that Democratic House candidates would have needed to win the national popular vote by more than 7 percentage points in order to receive the barest majority in the House. Republicans aren’t particularly shy about touting the success of their gerrymanders either: The Republican State Leadership Committee released an extensive memo boasting about how they used gerrymanders to lock down GOP majorities in the House.
Not only has the RNC but would bet Karl Rove and Koch Brothers come up with a plan to put a Republican in the White House in 2016.  They to win by changing the rules of the game based on their extreme gerrymandering in states the GOP won in 2010.  By all accounts, there is no way they should have won control of the Governor's office and State Legislatures in places like MI and PA.  How much voter fraud was involved?

For years I have been buying into the Democrat voter fraud koolaid but lo and behold, it is mostly in the Republican Party as I have learned over the past year.  It took a combination of a horrible candidate with Romney, Rove way over stepping, and the Koch Brothers Tea Party and Americans for Prosperity to wake me up what was happening with the GOP going way hard right, cheating, and lying.  The lies coming out against President Obama by the conservative media made me join Republicans for Obama.  Most had no basis in fact as I learned the more I researched.

Now Republicans want to steal the Presidential election in blue states with allocating electoral votes to their gerrymandered Congressional districts while keeping red states the same -- no change.  Words despicable, underhanded, cheating, unethical, and jerks come to mind.  In order to make it work, the Koch Brothers RNC Chair Priebus had to have all battleground states on board but his grandiose plan to steal 2016 has suffered two setbacks in Battleground states -- one in Virginia and now in Florida.

Looks like the RNC Chair Priebus plan to steal the Presidential election in Virginia at least is now failing as Republican Senators and now Governor McDonnell is saying no.  Yet this Koch Brothers bought and paid for Chair was reelected to head the RNC.
Virginia state Sen. Ralph Smith (R) said today that a Republican plan to rig the next presidential election by changing the way electoral votes are counted is a “bad idea” and that he would oppose it. Smith joins state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-VA), who told ThinkProgress earlier this week that “I am generally not in favor right now of the bill and it’s very unlikely that I will vote for it in full committee or the Senate floor.” As the Virginia Senate is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, Smith and Vogel’s opposition is likely sufficient to kill this election-rigging scheme in this state.

Now that it’s clear the bill is dead in Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has announced he opposes the move.
Another Battleground State, Florida, has weighed in with its Republican Speaker of the House Weatherford opposing the idea:
Florida, the largest swing state, won’t go along with changing the Electoral College if Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has any say (and he has a major say).
“To me, that’s like saying in a football game, ‘We should have only three quarters, because we were winning after three quarters and the beat us in the fourth,” Weatherford, a Republican, told the Herald/Times. “I don’t think we need to change the rules of the game, I think we need to get better.”
Fellow Republican leader, Senate President Don Gaetz, wasn’t favorable to the plan either. He said he would prefer a more progressive proposal: abolishing the Electoral College and replacing it with a national popular vote. Said Gaetz, “The farmer standing in his field in North Dakota should be just as important as the factory worker in Ohio.” 
Will PA, OH, MI, and WI go ahead with their plans or has the outcry by not only Democrats but a lot of Republicans making them stop and think?  Know that this will be the last straw for many Republicans if this is adopted including this one.  Will not stay in a Party that cheats right before our eyes and that is exactly what we are seeing.  They don't even try to hide it anymore but come right out and say it.

As for the Democrats fighting this action, they need to make sure that Majority Leader Harry Reid is no where near their plans to stop this Grand Theft Election after he caved to Minority Leader McConnell on the filibuster.  You want to know how dumb Reid looks, McConnell's campaign sent out a fundraising email:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) campaign is touting what it characterizes as the senator's work to stop filibuster reform in a new fundraising pitch that proclaims, "We beat the liberals. 
"A group of the Senate's most liberal senators, fueled by left-wing groups like MoveOn, have been pushing a dangerous scheme to change the rules of the United States Senate and fundamentally alter the checks and balances of our system," the email, written by campaign manager Jesse Benton, reads. 
He goes on to declare that McConnell "stopped that scheme dead in its tracks."
Benton adds that McConnell "is willing to work with his colleagues across the aisle when it is in the best interest of Kentucky and our country," but warns that doing away with the filibuster would allow what he characterizes as the worst excesses of liberalism to flourish.

"Can you imagine what the left might cook up with that kind of unchecked power? We’d be sure to see a litany of new anti-coal regulations, tax hikes, anti-Second Amendment bills, forced unionization bills and crazy new deficit spending. And that would just be the tip of the iceberg," he writes. 
He goes on to make a plea to "help me give him a little pat on the back right now" by way of a small donation.
Have said for a long time that I thought Harry Reid was bought and paid for by not only the Mormon Church, but NRA and oil and gas.  Looks like the NRA might have pulled some strings to get Reid to back off having a talking filibuster which was fine during the Reagan years but now Senators don't have to talk just put a hold on something.  Harry Reid sold out and now looks like a fool.

We need new leadership in Congress from both parties as the group we have in charge today are not working for the American people but to line their campaign coffers and pockets the way it looks.  They are so afraid of being primaried or removed from leadership they will do anything to keep their job tossing the American people under the bus.

In 2014 think long and hard before voting for anyone even near the Tea Party or someone who has been in office for years.  We need new, honest people to run for seats in Congress who are not bought and paid for before they get to DC and will not be influenced by lobbyists if there are such candidates out there with the nastiness of today's elections.  We can make it happen if we work together to support better candidates and make sure they have all the on the ground support they need.  We can defeat the bought and paid for candidates with honest men and women.  Now is the time to start finding their candidates and offering your support.

It is time for real change and it starts with 2014!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

No Labels 12 Point Plan to Make Congress Work!

This video from No Labels shows what is needed to Make Congress work but will the members of Congress listen.  The group is made up of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans who have all had it with the gridlock in both Houses of Congress that never seems to get fixed even after an election.  Part of the problem -- the same leaders in the previous Congress are re-elected and if the Senate or House flips the same old leadership takes over and then current leadership goes to minority status.  You could say it is the good old boy system at work where the parties looks out for each other over the American people.

You will be reading today about the compromise filibuster bill of Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell and then ask yourself if this is the best they could do.  Not enough votes to change much -- mostly semantics.  Both parties are at fault for the gridlock as ideology trumps what is best for the American people.  Lack of backbones by the male dominated Congress doesn't help.

No Labels is picking up steam.  If you haven't checked out the site, please do and sign up to get their emails.  This video says it all:

Background on "No Labels" 12 Point Plan to make Congress Work:
No Labels is a group of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who want our country to work again. Our dozen proposals to Make Congress Work! mostly don't require new laws or new spending, and they don't favor any party or particular cause. These are simple, straightforward proposals to break gridlock, promote constructive discussion and reduce polarization in Congress. They can mostly be adopted all at once when the next Congress convenes in January 2013.
Make Congress Work!
The No Labels Action Plan to Change the Rules and Fix What's Broken:
  1. No Budget, No Pay
    If Congress can't pass a budget and all annual spending bills on time, members of Congress should not get paid.
  2. Up or Down Vote on Presidential Appointments
    All presidential nominations should be confirmed or rejected within 90 days of the nomination.
  3. Fix the Filibuster
    Require real (not virtual) filibusters and end filibusters on motions to proceed.
  4. Empower the Sensible Majority
    Allow a bipartisan majority of members to override a leader or committee chair’s refusal to bring a bill to the floor.
  5. Make Members Come to Work
    Make Congress work on coordinated schedules with three five-day work weeks a month in DC and one week in their home district.
  6. Question Time for the President
    Provide a monthly forum for members of Congress to ask the president questions to force leaders to debate one another and defend their ideas.
  7. Fiscal Report to Congress: Hear it. Read it. Sign it.
    A nonpartisan leader should deliver an annual, televised fiscal update in-person to a joint session of Congress to ensure everyone is working off the same facts.
  8. No Pledge but the Oath of Office
    Members should make no pledge but the pledge of allegiance and their formal oath of office.
  9. Monthly Bipartisan Gatherings
    The House and Senate should institute monthly, off-the-record and bipartisan gatherings to get members talking across party lines.
  10. Bipartisan Seating
    At all joint meetings or sessions of Congress, each member should be seated next to at least one member of the other party.
  11. Bipartisan Leadership Committee
    Congressional party leaders should form a bipartisan congressional leadership committee to discuss legislative agendas and substantive solutions.
  12. No Negative Campaigns Against Incumbents
    Incumbents from one party should not conduct negative campaigns against sitting members of the opposing party.
These are simple fixes but will the neanderthals in the Congress figure out that they are in Congress to work for the American people not to feather their own next.  My guess is that todays members of Congress didn't learn much from the last election the way they have been acting.  Only a few are standing up like Senators Feinstein, Murkowski, Collins, and Boxer, all women in the Senate.  Maybe that is the way to break the good old boy system -- elect more women to Congress.  The day I discovered that in a normal three-day Congressional work week that members are to fundraise for four hours a day on the taxpayers nickle, it sent me through the roof. Recently, I saw a bumperstrip that said "Vote Them All Out of Congress!"  Maybe the guy was on to something.  The gridlock needs to end today.

After yesterday's debacle by the Senate Republicans on questioning Secretary of State Clinton on Benghazi, you would think they would be ashamed and embarrassed this morning.  Republicans are the ones who stalled the increased security measures that the State Department asked for in the budget and then they blame on Sec Clinton.

The Congress needs fixed and if it takes millions of Americans joining a group called No Labels then that is what we need to push to get people to sign up and stop the nonsense in the Senate and House.  Time for real change and No Labels has some good ideas.  The worst offenders today are Republicans which I hate to admit but in all fairness to long time GOP, many Republicans today are former Democrats from the South who seem to be still fighting the Civil War with some of their rhetoric.  The racism and anti-women rhetoric that oozes out of today's GOP is despicable.  Rhetoric cannot change what these neanderthals actually believe which comes out from time to time.  Tea Party is the worst thing that ever happened to the Republican Party as it allowed the Koch Brothers to take over who then welcomed the John Birchers of their Father back in the Party.

For now a lot of center-right people who are fed up with the Republican Party have not taken the final step to switch parties because frankly the Democrats have their own set of problems.  That is why many of us are joining No Labels to push both parties in Congress to do what is right for all Americans just not the very wealthy.

Please join No Labels today at and start making a difference.  Time to get Congress moving again.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Senator McConnell is Dishonest on Gun Control with his Constituents

McConnell needs to retire from the Senate and leadership after this email and robocalling on gun control

In an 'urgent' email to his constituents in Kentucky, McConnell lied about President Obama and his plans for gun control.  As Minority Leader he want way past the line as the loyal opposition and needs called on his actions by fellow Republican Senators.  He talks about shredding our Constitution with gun control even though it was also passed under President Reagan.  Mr. McConnell, is the one shredding our Constitution with lies and distortions putting his zeal to raise money for his campaign over honesty, integrity, and adherence to the oath of office he took.  That email makes sure you know where you can donate to his campaign.  Is he afraid of Ashley Judd running against him?

First of all, the 23 executive orders signed by President Obama are not against the Constitution which McConnell very well knows and if he doesn't, he is too dumb to be in the Senate.  He is bought and paid for by Wayne LaPierre and the NRA which is very evident.  He puts winning elections over the good of the Country and has been doing that for years.  Donors first, GOP second, and American taxpayers a distant third.

Anyone in leadership who sends out such garbage and makes a voice recording to go to phones in their state needs out of office today.  He has lost all credibility with this stunt and time for the GOP in the Senate to grow spines and take action.  This is reprehensible out of the Minority Leader:
In an urgent email from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, he warned fellow Kentuckians that “You and I are literally surrounded. The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on your rights, on your freedom from those who want to shred our Constitution – they’re coming for your guns.” McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, said “It is almost hard to believe the sheer breadth and brazenness of this attempt to gut our Constitution,” referring to gun control measures to reduce the proliferation of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines on American streets. 
McConnell’s use of battleground siege terminology such as “surrounded” and “about to launch an all-out assault” cannot be misconstrued as anything other than government declaring war on gun owners and the U.S. Constitution. McConnell even made a pre-recorded phone message telling Kentucky hunters and gun owners “Their efforts to restrict your rights, invading your personal privacy and overstepping their bounds with executive orders, is just plain wrong,” and he vowed to fight them “tooth and nail.” The only thing missing from McConnell’s clarion call to arms was the time and staging area to make a stand against tyrannical government reminiscent of colonial Americans facing British troops at Concord where the “shot heard round the world” signaled the beginning of America’s war of independence. An NRA spokesman and board member did make a direct reference to Concord in a warning to the Obama Administration.
Then there is Ted Nugent who was aligned with the Romney campaign and is a friend of George W Bush so you can see his rhetoric has permeated the highest levels of the GOP who remain silent.  No one in leadership seems inclined to call McConnell or Nugent out for their rash and potentially harmful statements.  Do they not realize there are gun owners out there on the very edge like Tim McVeigh, the people at Ruby Ridge, Waco, abortion doctor killers, etc. that listen to what they say and take it to heart.  Those people could take their guns and start shooting at law enforcement believing the Government is coming for their guns?  Some are unstable to being with and this could push them over like the guy in NY who set fire to a house and started shooting firemen.  How many of the shootings have been set off by the harsh gun rhetoric over the last six months that has escalated since Sandy Hook.  It way pretty nasty during the campaign that was filled with a lot of lies and hate filled statements toward the President from the right.

People with common sense will just say they (McConnell and Nugent) are nuts or loons but we have people in this Country that hang on to words by people like McConnell and Nugent thinking they are telling the truth and it is a call to arms.  Fox News also comes to mind with their scare tactics.  When you state that Ronald Reagan signed an Assault Weapons Ban, the hard right calls you a liar and will trash or threaten you on line.  The hard right doesn't think twice of putting Malware or accusing your blog of spam if you dare go after the NRA or one of their heroes.  Know because I have had it happen several times.  Does it silence me?  Not even close as it makes me more determined than ever to get out the truth.

You see in today's America, many of the hard right only believe that they have the right of Free Speech not anyone else.  They have the only correct agenda and anyone else's needs trashed.  Small minded people who are easily led around by the likes of Mitch McConnell, the NRA, Ted Nugent, Glenn Beck, Rush, Hannity, Levin, Fox News and others who don't mind lying to fit their narrative.  This group is trying to tear this Nation apart and finally Common Sense Republicans from all over the Country have had it -- no one listens to us who are justly lowly activists and voters but when the 2014 elections roll around a lot of Republicans like myself will be voting for Democrats to oust this bunch of neanderthals from the House and Senate.  We are tired of their rhetoric, lies, and refusal to stand up and be counted by putting Country first over the hard right GOP.  This group prefers to put hard right GOP Tea Party, John Birchers, libertarian GOP, and their major donors over Country.

Today's GOP elected officials are always working the angle which you can see right through.  Perfect example was the VA redistricting which is against their Constitution but it didn't stop the GOP from passing it  on Inauguration Day since a longtime member of the Senate and Civil Rights advocate was at the Inauguration and so they had the majority to pass.  Today's GOP doesn't want you to know a lot of things as they play on emotions of the hard right to get what they want.  Lying has become an art form for the GOP today.  The fact they have not disavowed Ted Nugent speaks volumes about the lack of integrity and honesty in today's GOP who would rather go after Beyonce for lip singing then a maniac like Nugent for wanting to start a revolution:
The NRA board member, draft dodger Ted Nugent, made his comments during the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) in Las Vegas over last weekend. 
Nugent said the “Barack Obama gang is actually attempting to re-implement the tyranny of King George that we escaped from in 1776, and if you want another Concord Bridge, I got some buddies.” Nugent summoned the Revolutionary milestone that pitted a group of colonists against British soldiers assembled at the North Bridge in Concord, Mass. in 1775, and broke a standoff when a soldier opened fire. Nugent went on a tirade claiming “The president of the United States goes to the Vietnam Memorial Wall and pretends to honor 58,000 American heroes who died fighting communism and he pretends to pay honor to men who died fighting communism, and then he hangs out with, hires and appoints communists. He is an evil, dangerous man who hates America and hates freedom. And we need to fix this as soon as possible.”
Nugent has an inordinate amount of gall citing the 58,000 American heroes who died fighting communism in Viet Nam, because to avoid serving his country, he defecated and urinated in his own pants and feigned insanity when he went before the draft board because as he said, “I did not want to get my ass blown off in Vietnam.” Apparently the NRA board member who was too much of a coward to fight for his country has no  compunction fighting against his own country, or inciting his gun-fanatic buddies to “fix” the fact the American people re-elected President Obama; “as soon as possible.” 
Since the Sandy Hook massacre took place prompting outrage and calls for stricter gun controls and safety measures to protect Americans from gun-crazed “law abiding citizens” and their assault weapons, so-called patriots who equate sane gun laws with “shredding the Constitution” have made overtures of revolution to protect their precious AR15s and high-capacity magazines. 
However, McConnell and Nugent represent the first official institutional forays into inciting gun advocates to fight tooth and nail against President Obama’s attempt to blunt the daily reports of gun atrocities McConnell and Nugent claim are “shredding the Constitution” that drives hate-filled gun-zealots into revolutionary war mode. 
It is noteworthy that neither the NRA, or the Republican Party, have distanced themselves from Nugent or McConnell’s fear mongering and blatant lies that serve one purpose and one purpose only; incite violence against the United States government and its Commander in Chief that regardless how one defines it, is sedition.
RMuse at Politicususa had it right -- please visit the site for the full article as it is well worth reading.

It is a sad state of affairs for this long time Republican when I have had to start visiting progressive sites to get the truth because conservative sites are giving spin or outright lying about what I can see right before my eyes.  Where are the conservative sites in highlighting what McConnell or Nugent said?  Silent because it goes against their narrative.  These are quotes of these two men not some 3rd hand remark that was repeated.  Conservatives don't seem to care what is the right thing to say or do as their egos have gotten so large that they think they can say or do anything they want and no one is going to challenge them.

Unfortunately, their only challenge comes from the left and the GOP just swats that away that those people just hate conservatives.  Pretty good deal they have as so many people believe just that -- it is liberal talk because our guys are honest in what they are saying.  Many on the right refuse to look down below the surface because I think many suspect they are being fed garbage but don't want to admit that the liberals just might be right or even some more moderate conservatives are right.  When you finally take off those blinders, the anger at being duped sets in, then you get mad at yourself for falling for the nonsense all these years, and then in the 3rd stage you want the Republicans/pundits who duped gone from the stage especially candidates who you helped win your hard work.  After that you agree to join others on the center and left in working to oust these hard right GOP from the House in 2014.

How much lower can the Republicans in Congress and RNC go?  Throw a dart!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Will the GOP Wake Up or Go Down the Path of Rhetoric to Mask Their True Agenda?

Do you want to know how hard it is to still be a Common Sense Republican?  Watch what General Powell is telling leadership of the GOP who are not listening.  If the GOP won't listen to Colin Powell, they certainly are not going to listen to any of us who they consider throw aways if we don't support their hard right agenda.

Some Republican comments from yesterday about President Obama's Inauguration made me cringe - then there was this morning.  Found it pretty shallow out of Senator Coburn (R-OK) to be telling Joe Scarborough that President Obama should have reached out to Republicans more to bring everyone together. Coburn was one of the ones who attended the GOP meeting with Gingrich and Luntz four years ago on Inauguration night to determine how to obstruct the President for four years and in the end they obstructed the American people sending our economy down the tube.  Will never understand why Senator Coburn was with that group four years ago.  Has he apologized to the President for being part of that group?

Late last night it was reported that the GOP hard right Senate in VA had passed redistricting for VA General Assembly districts while one of the VA Civil Rights leaders was attending the Inauguration -- no hearings, no mention before it happened.  It was done in secrecy against the VA Constitution but why let that stand in the way when you want to cheat at the state level for redistricting like the GOP did for Congressional seats.  Despicable out of the Senate GOP in VA.  Will it hold up -- not likely.  Their stunt was done without the Governor who is not happy:
The move apparently came as a surprise even to Virginia's Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, who TPM described as "non-committal on the new maps," possibly because of the power play's problematic optics.
There is a lot of blow back in VA this morning that could have an adverse affect on the Republican in the Governor's race.  Not only is leadership in some state legislatures hard right but they are not very bright to think this could stand up against the light of day and that Democrats were just going to roll over.  It gets even worse as redistricting is only allowed by the VA Constitution ever ten years which was rewritten in 2004.  That window has shut but Constitutions, laws, rules, etc. don't seem to apply to today's Republican legislators at all levels:
Members of the House of Representatives of the United States and members of the Senate and of the House of Delegates of the General Assembly shall be elected from electoral districts established by the General Assembly. Every electoral district shall be composed of contiguous and compact territory and shall be so constituted as to give, as nearly as is practicable, representation in proportion to the population of the district. The General Assembly shall reapportion the Commonwealth into electoral districts in accordance with this section in the year 2011 and every ten years thereafter.
This one is headed for Court if the Governor/Attorney General do not step in to stop the GOP runaway train heading over the cliff.  

Then there is the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell email about gun control accusing the Federal Government of coming for your guns:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) addressed supporters in a frantically toned email on Monday, warning them of a looming effort to snatch up their guns. 
"You and I are literally surrounded. The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment. On your rights. On your freedom," reads the opening of the email, according to The Hill
"[T]hey're coming for your guns," the email exhorts.
So much for McConnell willing to even consider any gun control -- guess his charade as reasonable is over.  Wait, there is a new wrinkle as McConnell is trolling for dollars for his campaign:
And the email pledges that McConnell will oppose any extended gun-control measures, asking supporters to sign a petition opposing the expanded measures outlined in the email. 
McConnell's campaign also launched a phone recording last week of the senator pledging to block gun-control measures, which went out to gun owners and hunters across Kentucky, according to USA Today.
When supporters sign that pledge, the site redirects to a page to donate to McConnell's campaign.
So in today's GOP it is okay to lie to your constituents if you are raising campaign funds?  That is how it is coming across when the GOP leader of the Senate sends out garbage he knows is a lie all to raise funds when he is already sitting on millions.  McConnell could do the American people a favor and retire at the end of this term but his arrogance means he will do anything to win including lying, cheating, and stealing an election if he needs to get votes to win.  I put nothing past McConnell.

Note:  I had little respect for McConnell when I was a staunch Republican as I held the view he was the wrong person to lead the Senate for Republicans.   When his wife was in the Bush cabinet and he was Majority Leader it seemed like a conflict of interest.  Didn't like Senator Lott either but I did like Sen Frist from TN.  McConnell morphed into a rabid Tea Party person to get reelected which shows his election is more important then Kentucky or the United States.

Then there is this from Senator Thune (R-SD):

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of leadership, said the speech was "mostly 30,000-foot stuff" that did not extend any olive branches to the GOP. 
"It did seem that he wasn't doing the kind of outreach that he needs to do if he wants to get things accomplished in a second term," Thune said. "We'll see how it's received."
Why would President Obama extend an olive branch to members of Congress who for four years obstructed his every move in order to make him a one-term President?  Some Republicans in the Senate are clueless while a few others have figured it out:

In fairness, I (Maddow)should note that other Republicans were more gracious and appreciated the president's frequent references to working together.
"I do come away with hope, as long as from the bully pulpit, he speaks the same way in the days ahead as he did today," said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.). [...] 
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said that the White House would need to reach out to Republicans in Congress if the challenges of the debt and deficit were actually going to get addressed. 
"The part I liked is when he emphasized working together -- that's what we need," Hoeven said. [...] 
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the longest-serving GOP senator, said there were certainly things he differed with in the speech, but that overall he found a positive message. "It was a together agenda as far as I can see," Hatch said.
At least some Republicans in the Senate get it -- maybe there is a glimmer that a small group can grow into a bigger group and take back the GOP from the hard right Tea Party, John Birchers, Koch Brothers and wealthy donors.  Will they take a stand against the hard right or bow to their wishes or when the chips are down in the Senate continuing to vote the way they are told by the hard right?  The jury is out on that one.

There is so little honesty left in so many of today's hard right Tea Party elected officials that you have to wonder what is going to happen in the future with one party becoming more irrelevant by the day.  That is not good for the Country but then the GOP wants to change rhetoric not its hard right beliefs which is not going to work as voters will be able to see right through them.

GOP needs to start listening to people like General Powell who understands what is needed or they will become irrelevant if they don't stop parroting what  Rush/Hannity/Fox News are saying.  Don't know how many times during the last election Rush/Hannity would say something on their shows, it ends up on Fox News, and next day the GOP candidates are spouting the exact words.  That needs to end today but am not hopeful as the hard right seems to have complete control of the GOP and its office holders except for a few willing to speak out like General Powell, Michael Steele, Joe Scarborough, Jon Huntsman, and Mark McKinnon.  We need a lot more to speak out and take the Party back more to center right or they will become the true minority party -- that is a guarantee.