Friday, May 17, 2013

This Week Three Phony Scandals from the GOP, Vote to Repeal Obamacare by House GOP, and Farm Bills Cutting SNAP Kept Media Busy

It is TGIF which means the House work week ended on Thursday as they only work three days a week under Republican Leadership.

Yesterday in acceding to demands of their new GOP Freshman, Speaker Boehner and House leadership agreed to waste more tax dollars taking another repeal vote on Obamacare which they know is going nowhere.  The Speaker has the backbone of a noodle bowing down to the Tea Party like Bachmann demanding a vote.  The same Michelle Bachmann who is under investigation for campaign violations in her Presidential race.  BTW,  two aides have turned on her.

This week also brought about the public release of the Benghazi emails which Republicans never thought President Obama would allow to happen.  CBS learned that the Republicans had doctored the emails the White House had given Congress earlier in order to make the Administration look bad.  Imagine that, the most unethical House in many years doctored emails they released to the media.  Then there was Jonathan Karl of ABC who talked like he had the emails when he had a synopsis provided by a GOP staffer.  When is the media going to realize you cannot trust this GOP in the House or Senate.

My favorite of this week was Boehner running out to the microphone to condemn Obama and demand people go to jail for the IRS targeting of Tea Party non-profit applications.  He should have waited as his home town Cincinnati IRS was responsible.  The acting head of IRS resigns/fired and some Republicans complain.  House Republican Leadership never ceases to amaze me at how little they bother to investigate before opening their mouths and getting egg on their face time and time again - slow learners?

Then there are the little details the Republican House Members left out while going after Obama for targeting Tea Party groups and comparing it to Watergate - IRS also investigated liberal groups trying to claim the same non-profit status especially under Bush.  Guess that was okay in the GOP because that was against the 'nasty liberals.'  IRS oversteps all the time which Republicans with a thinking brain would know.  Some IRS agents even seem to take pleasure in making their targets uncomfortable.

Now maybe the tax code can be rewritten to tighten up on criteria to be used under 501(c) for an organization applying for non-profit status in order to hide the source of political donations which is the opposite of what the GOP want.  Their whole purpose of the outrage was to make Obama look bad but once again he comes out of top.  Republicans were not counting on Obama and Democrats agreeing that IRS had overstepped and it needed to be stopped.  GOP misjudged Obama once again!

Then there is the feigned AP scandal which you find out goes back to a law passed after 9/11 called The Patriot Act which gave the FBI the right to investigate and subpoena.  You guessed it - Republicans passed the legislation and Bush signed it into law.  That doesn't keep today's loony hard right from still going after Obama.  A little common sense tells you that when AP outed a double agent thanks to info from inside the Government, the government has a right to investigate and determine where AP emails were going as they followed up on a national security leak.

President Barack Obama defended the Department of Justice's national security leak investigation that involved obtaining Associated Press phone records. 
"Leaks related to national security can put people at risk," Obama said Thursday at a White House press conference. "And so I make no apologies, and I don't think the American people would expect me, as commander in chief, not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed." 
It was the first public comments from the president about the justice department's controversial decision to subpoena reporters' phone records. Investigators were looking into media leaks about a Yemen-based plot to bomb a U.S. airliner.

Another failed scandal to join the other two as the GOP attempts to go damage Obama who is not running in 2016 no matter how many conspiracy theories the hard right put together.

Charlie Cook in an article today comes along and tells Republicans to quit attacking President Obama openly:

Republicans Should Go Easy on Obama, At Least in Public 
As a tactical matter, a subterranean campaign will score more direct hits on the president. 
Read more 
Now Cook wants them to do a subterranean campaign to score more direct hits on President Obama?  What kid of advice is that?  Is Cook advocating that the GOP do more phony attacks to harm Obama but only under the radar?  First of all, Cook doesn't know this group of Republicans whose whole lives revolve around being first to run out to a microphone to get out their side and attack Obama.  Secondly, they couldn't handle not talking to the media so much because then they would have to work.  Maybe if they were not media hogs they would have time to pass a jobs bill or two during their 3-day work week.

This week we had the Senate and House Agriculture Committees voting to take away money from the SNAP food program which helps children and families put food on the table.  Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) has vowed to put the money back in the bill when it comes to the floor of the Senate.  It is a Democrat controlled Senate Committee with a vote of 15-5 passed the bill out of the Committee which Senator Donnelly (D-IN) detailed on his site:
The Bill makes significant cuts in the SNAP program, and Democrats proposed an amendment to restore funding. “Tightening our belts around the waists of our children is not a shared American value,” said Senator Kristen Gillibrand of New York. While the amendment was not adopted by the committee, the issue of cuts in food and nutrition programs, which account for 80% of the Farm Bill’s price tag, is expected to be a major point of debate when the Farm Bill reaches the Senate floor.
Unlike the Senate Farm Bill that passed last year, the commodity title this time around included target prices. These were placed in the bill to satisfy peanut and rice growers in Southern states. Kansas Senator Pat Roberts blasted the concept, calling it a step backward in farm policy, “Why should these two commodities be allowed to dictate that all others should have to have target prices when we don’t want them.” Senator Thune of South Dakota offered an amendment to remove target prices from the commodity title; it was rejected by the committee. 
Another attempt to remove target prices for all commodities except rice and peanuts was also rejected. Committee Chairman Stabenow said the commodity title, as written, is fair to all producers, “We have a balance that strikes the right set of issues.”
Why are Senators putting target prices in the bill for peanut and rice growers in Southern states?  Is this going to raise the price to consumers?  With the exception of the huge cuts to SNAP and $20M a year to the 2501 Outreach, the bill is being supported by Rural Coalition and other Farm Groups.  Rural Coalition had this to say:
- Let your Senators and your Representatives know what is important to you! You can reach them by asking for their office through the Capitol Switchboard at: 202-224-3121. Ask to speak to their Agriculture Legislative Assistant. Urge them to restore of full funding of $20 Million a year to the 2501 Outreach and Technical Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers; and also to Protect Funding for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
For further information on the Farm Bills from the House and Senate, please check out the links at Rural Coalition.  Both Houses have passed farm bills out of Committee to the floor.  Will the bills get out of both Houses this year or will the House end up stalling the bill again and not take a floor vote?  Will the Senate Republicans filibuster the bill to cause farmers/ranches will have to wait another year for a real bill?  The jury is out as we are in a wait and see mode now from both Houses on the Farm Bill.

Speaker Boehner has refused to appoint conferees to a joint committee on the budget after the Senate finally passed a budget. Republicans in the House have been using not passing a budget against the Senate for several years.  Now the Senate has passed a budget, the House has gone silent.  Will Boehner also refuse to appoint conferees to a joint committee on the Agriculture bills if they do clear both houses?

These were some of the Highlights/Lowlights of the week where I would say the final tally on scandals was GOP 0 - Obama - 3 in the final tally for the week.

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