In the USA....United Surveillance America
Apple releases fix for suspicious security ‘flaw’
By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 18:46 EST
Apple released a series of software patches for its Mac computers to fix what was described as a serious security flaw in the operating system.
The updates for Mac OS follow Friday’s release of a security update for the iOS 7 mobile operating system used on the iPhone and iPad.
Apple’s comments on the security flaws were limited, but cryptographer Matthew Green said before the updates that the flaw was “seriously exploitable,” meaning that it could allow hackers to gain access to user accounts.
An Apple spokesman said of the latest patch: “Today’s update does address the same issue that was fixed in iOS 7.”
The Apple support website said the update “improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac.”
The website said the update fixes a series of problems and also allows the computers to make and receive voice calls using Apple’s FaceTime program.
Security researcher Ashkan Soltani said in a tweet that it “still surprises me that Apple waited 3 extra days to fix (the problem) with a version update rather than just do a timely Security Update.”
The first news of the flaw came from the security firm Crowdstrike in a blog post Friday, which said hackers could intercept communications over Wi-Fi networks from users of Apple devices.
The updates cover the Mac OS X Mavericks operating system as well as the older Mountain Lion system.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
The GOP Can’t Decide if the Majority Matters
By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Wednesday, February, 26th, 2014, 8:33 am
ReligiousOppressioninAmericaThe American Family Association (AFA) posted a despairing yet jubilant note on their FB page yesterday, meant, I suppose, to rally the troops, who, while being a majority of Americans, are also somehow, paradoxically, a persecuted minority:
READ & SHARE: Thank you for your vigilance in standing with AFA for Truth. Here is an important reminder today from Joe McKeever, “We may want to prepare our children for the changes coming to this society whether we like them or not: The marginalization of biblical Christianity, the erosion of hard-won liberties, the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle in every area of our culture, gay marriage accepted everywhere, and certain cults (we will leave them unnamed here) to be seen as part of Orthodox Christianity. One scripture, however, becomes more and more important to God’s people: “Their unbelief does not nullify the faithfulness of God…. Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Romans 3:3-4). God’s word was not given to us “on approval,” friend. It stands!”
So let’s get this straight:
biblical Christianity (as opposed to, I suppose, non-biblical Christianity), is being marginalized;
Unspecified but hard-won liberties are being eroded;
The homosexual lifestyle is being accepted in every area of our culture;
Gay marriage is being accepted everywhere;
Certain cults (look out, Mitt Romney!) want to be seen as part of Orthodox Christianity.
The problem seems here, at least, to be the will of the people. All these people the AFA is complaining about, want what the Bible allegedly says they cannot have. The will of the people is being heeded, and that’s a problem, says the AFA, because it’s contrary to the Bible.
If you find this mish-mash of ideas to be, well, a mish-mash of ideas, think about mish-mashed Iowa Republican Bob Vander Plaats. Vander Plaats is the head of The Family Leader (surely you remember the infamous Family Leader pledge that said blacks were better off as slaves?).
Vander Plaats is upset that the U.S. Constitution trumps state constitutions, and he is doubly upset with Rand Paul for doing nothing as a response to a judge striking down Kentucky’s marriage ban, despite the fact that really, there is nothing Paul can do.
Well, I think one thing is that he needs to step up to the microphone. This is his state, this is Kentucky. This is something that runs totally against who he is. I mean, he’s about liberty. And if it’s about liberty, and if you have a judge usurping the will of the people of Kentucky, that runs contrary to liberty. If you believe marriage is a state rights issue and the state of Kentucky says, ‘This is what marriage is to us, one man and one woman, clearly defined,’ then you better stand up to that state rights issue. If you believe what you say you believe, that marriage is foundational and it’s between a man and a woman, which is what he says he believes, then you got to stand up for that, because that’s the law of nature, that’s the law of nature’s God, that’s the Declaration of Independence, which this whole country was founded on.
The problem here (other than the problematic nature of “traditional marriage” itself) also centers around the will of the people; specifically, that the will of the people is being ignored. The lesson to be drawn here seems to be that,
If the majority want something the Bible says they cannot have, the majority is wrong and must be denied; and,
If the majority want what the Bible says they must have, then the majority must be heeded; therefore,
Only what the Bible says matters (Oh, and as a logical consequence, the Constitution doesn’t – not at all).
The Declaration of Independence Vander Plaats says, somehow managing not to mention the U.S. Constitution – you know, the one Tom DeLay says Americans have forgotten was written by God. You know, the Constitution that guarantees freedom of religion by banning the sort of state sponsored religion the AFA and Vander Plaats want to impose on America?
Just as a side note to Tom DeLay: you don’t see God’s name on the United States Constitution, and you won’t anywhere within it find any biblical principles. Saying that the Constitution is identical with the Bible is just a means by which the Constitution can be swept aside and ignored, because, after all, it just says what the Bible says.
I suppose one method of turning back the “marginalization of biblical Christianity” is to adopt Bryan Fischer’s scheme to allow into this country only Christians immigrants fleeing from Muslim persecution, because, you know, that’s what it says on the Statue of Liberty: “Christians only.”
Oh wait, it doesn’t say that at all, does it? No more than the Constitution says the First Amendment applies only to Christians. The Statue of Liberty says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – without exception, while the Old Testament Republicans are so fond of quoting says its teachings are for the Chosen People of Israel – without exception, something to which Jesus himself agreed when he told his followers not to give to dogs what is holy or to throw pearls before swine.
The Old Testament was never meant to apply to us gentiles, yet here we have it being forced down our throats despite God’s expressed will in the Old Testament and the will of our Founding Fathers as expressed in the United States Constitution.
The Religious Right wants to harness the tyranny of the majority if they can get it, and ignore the majority if they can’t, all the while ignoring the Constitution that, rather than the Bible or the majority in individual states, cities or towns, is the law of the land.
New Republican Plot to Kill Obamacare Would Cost 1 Million Workers Their Health Insurance
By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, February, 25th, 2014, 5:23 pm
According to the CBO, the latest Republican attempt to kill Obamacare through adding 10 more hours to the work week would cost 1 million workers their employer provided healthcare.
The CBO report on the House bill that would increase the work week in the ACA from 30 hours to 40 hours found that the bill would increase the deficit, and take away health insurance from 1 million workers.
The CBO laid out the consequences of this Republican plan to American workers:
The CBO’s findings are more proof that repealing, or limiting the ACA will harm the country. The Republican plan would force half of the 1 million workers who will lose their health insurance to get on Medicare or Medicaid. Republicans would be shooting themselves in the feet because they would be adding people to the same programs that they are trying to kill.
All of the Republican efforts to kill the ACA are based around the same idea of taking access to healthcare away from the American people. To call this latest House Republican scheme harebrained would be an understatement. The Republican plan to “fix” Obamacare is to take away healthcare from millions of people. As a bonus, the party of fiscal conservative also wants to increase the deficit while they increase the ranks of the uninsured by 500,000 hard working Americans.
House Republicans are so determined to injure the ACA that they are willing to increase the culture of “government dependency” that they rail against every single day. Small government Republicans are going to meddle in the affairs of private businesses for the sole purpose of scoring a political victory against President Obama.
The CBO’s report demonstrated once again that every single Republican Obamacare talking point is a lie. The ACA is lowering deficit, providing millions with access to affordable health insurance, and not killing jobs.
Republicans aren’t harming President Obama with their plots to kill the ACA. They are harming millions of Americans, and without even realizing it, they are also harming themselves.
Republicans Proven Wrong as Obamacare Enrollment Surges Past 4 Million
By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, February, 25th, 2014, 7:56 pm
As Republicans continue to sputter and fight among themselves, the ACA continues to surge ahead as Obamacare enrollment has passed 4 million.
HHS posted the news on their blog:
As we head into the last five weeks of this historic open enrollment period, millions of Americans are taking advantage of the new choices they now have to access affordable, quality health care thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The most recent data indicate that approximately 4 million people have now signed up for a private health insurance plan through the Federal and State-based Marketplaces since October 1. A full enrollment report for February will be released in mid-March.
The Obama administration is on pace to either hit, or come close to their goal of 7 million enrollees
Over in Republican land, Speaker of the House John Boehner tried to argue that premiums are rising, and he described the ACA as a sucker punch to the economy. Boehner said, “Another sucker punch to our economy. Another broken promise to hardworking Americans. And the only reason we even know about it is that the House demanded this transparency from the administration.”
At the same time, Majority Leader Eric Cantor is having trouble with getting Republicans to agree on their Obamacare alternative. The plan that Cantor is proposing would raise taxes on 150 million workers who get their health insurance from their employer.
Republicans are in big trouble here. The ACA is surging ahead while the GOP can’t agree on what their alternative should be. The only idea that they have would raise taxes on nearly half of the population.
By limiting their entire position to repealing Obamacare, Republicans painted themselves into a corner.
They have no alternative to offer the tens of millions of people who will have access to health insurance via the ACA. The GOP plan looks to be going nowhere fast as each day proves President Obama right. Americans do want access to affordable healthcare.
All Republicans can do is watch their hopes for 2014 and 2016 melt away as the people all across the country continue to flock to Obamacare.
President Obama Rips Fox News Misleading People About Obamacare
By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, February, 25th, 2014, 10:55 pm
President Obama got in a strong jab at Fox News tonight for their constant misleading of people about the ACA.
THE PRESIDENT: So everybody here has got a story. A lot of you, you got involved in the first place because of this health care issue, a lot of you — because I know I met you on the campaign trail in some cases, and you came up and told me about a story of how painful and difficult an illness in the family had been, and not knowing how you were going to pay for coverage, how you were going to pay for the care for a loved one.
So you all know this, and you can tell these stories in ways that are outside of politics. Politicians, if they’re talking here in Washington, people discount them. I’ll just be honest with you. People, they just assume, you know what, everybody is just yacking and trying to win an election. And so that’s why misinformation can thrive.
But when they hear from their friends and their neighbors and their coworkers like you, and you’re able to say, hey, here check it out, take a look on the website — if you reach out to your Republican friend who can’t stand Obama, but is basically a nice person and they just– but they watch the wrong newscast or — you all know those folks. Some uncle or cousin, you love them to death, but they come in with all this information that’s just wrong, and you’re shaking your head, but you decide you don’t want to get in an argument with them because you haven’t seen them in a while and you miss them. Right? Everybody has got those folks. You know them.
So if you’re able to reach out to them, and you just say, take a look, here, here, let’s get on the website. There’s the price. There’s the plan. Here’s the tax credit. Here’s what it will cost for you. Come on, Uncle Joe, I know you don’t have health insurance. You may not like the President, but this really is a good deal. They’ll listen to you, right?
And then there are some folks actually who do like me, but they just don’t know. Because they’re not paying attention. Because they’re on one of the other channels that has “Real Housewives” or something. They really don’t know that there’s this health care plan out there.
Like all of the best presidential take downs, this one was delivered in the form of a joke. It was clear whom the president was talking about. Republicans who get bad information from watching the wrong newscast. Obama was clearing describing Fox News, and that tiny segment of America known as Fox News viewers.
The president’s description was deadly accurate. Fox News viewers are certain that they are right about the ACA, when it is clear that they have been blatantly misled, and possess very few facts about the healthcare law. It is nearly impossible to reason with one of these individuals because they have been subjected to endless hours of propaganda that has been disguised as news.
Considering what the ACA has been up against, it is amazing that the White House is on target to meet their enrollment goals. The Koch brothers have been spending millions of dollars the Republican Party has been on the attack non-stop for years, and the top cable news network in the country pounds out a daily endless drumbeat of anti-ACA propaganda.
Even in the face of all of these obstacles, the Affordable Care Act is poised for success. The law and this president have overcome these challenges because people really do want access to affordable health insurance.
Obama got in a nice shot on Fox News tonight, but his biggest victory will be in the form of tens of millions of Americans gaining access to affordable health care.
Un-American Senate Republicans Threaten to Filibuster Veterans Benefits
By: Sarah Jones
Tuesday, February, 25th, 2014, 2:45 pm
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced a bill with the most “the most comprehensive legislation for veterans to come before the Senate in decades,” per a one pager of the bill. It’s up for a vote Monday, around 3PM. This bill is chock full of very important benefits that our veterans are entitled to and should already have. It’s a bipartisan effort.
This legislation is the result of meetings with veterans’ groups and communities. It’s supported by “virtually every veterans organization in the country including The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).” (Read theSummary.)
So naturally, Republicans are threatening to filibuster it, ostensibly because they want a better way to pay for it. They don’t like the war savings pay-for.
Talking Points Memo’s Sahil Kapur tweeted:
On Senate veterans bill: Rs open to allowing cloture to get on it, but they oppose war savings pay-for. So may filibuster before final vote.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) February 25, 2014
And Manu Raju, Senior Congressional Reporter for POLITICO, tweeted:
Lindsey Graham says he will vote to proceed to the vets bill but won't vote to end debate unless there's a better way to pay for it
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 25, 2014
To explain, the CBO is required to assume that war spending will grow each and every year based on the rate of inflation, but since we are in the drawdown phase of both wars, we won’t be spending as much money on war. The supporters of the veterans bill are saying that this money will pay for the benefits, which seems kind of fitting.
But Republicans don’t like the idea. Maybe they don’t like anything with the phrase “drawdown” or “paid for” in it, it’s hard to say (given their unfunded tax cuts under Bush, unfunded Medicare Part D, and unfunded wars).
But no matter how committed Republicans are to pretending to be fiscal conservatives when someone else is in charge, when we make promises to our veterans, we need to honor them.
Here’s what Sanders bill would mean, as laid out by a statement of support by DAV:
“This massive omnibus bill, unprecedented in our modern experience, would create, expand, advance, and extend a number of VA benefits, services and programs that are important to DAV and to our members. For example, responding to a call from DAV as a leading veterans organization, it would create a comprehensive family caregiver support program for all generations of severely wounded, injured and ill veterans. Also, the bill would authorize advance appropriations for VA’s mandatory funding accounts to ensure that in any government shutdown environment in the future, veterans benefits payments would not be delayed or put in jeopardy. This measure also would provide additional financial support to survivors of service members who die in the line of duty, as well as expanded access for them to GI Bill educational benefits. A two-plus year stalemate in VA’s authority to lease facilities for health care treatment and other purposes would be solved by this bill.”
And yet, John McCain claimed that Sanders doesn’t know what vets want. Burgess Everett, a POLITICO congressional reporter tweeted:
Key @SenJohnMcCain quote this a.m.: Vet Committee Chair @SenSanders "doesn’t really understand what the priorities of the veterans are."
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) February 25, 2014
Apparently Senator McCain believes that he speaks for all veterans and apparently all veterans would rather not have these benefits (partial list):
Restoration of Full COLA for Military Retirees: This legislation would restore full cost-of-living adjustments for all military retirees.
• Authorization of Major Medical Facility Leases: This legislation would authorize VA to enter into 27 major medical facility leases in 18 states and Puerto Rico.
• VA Health Care and Dental Care Expansion: This legislation includes provisions that would expand access to VA health care – including complementary and alternative medicine – and dental care, in a cost-effective and equitable way.
• Advance Appropriations for VA: This legislation would ensure veterans receive consistent access to the benefits they have earned by establishing advance appropriations for the mandatory accounts at VA.
• Ending the benefits backlog: Members from both sides of the aisle have presented legislative solutions (incorporated in this bill) that would support VA’s ongoing efforts and would make needed improvements to the claims system.
• In-State Tuition Assistance for Post-9/11 Veterans: This legislation would give our transitioning servicemembers a fair shot at attaining their educational goals without incurring an additional financial burden.
McCain says, “Thanks, but no thanks,” on behalf of veterans and their families.
When it comes to insisting on paying for things a certain way, Republicans are hardly experts. This is the party that smirked “deficits don’t matter” as they racked up the charges on Obama’s credit card. Now they want Obama to pay off the entire credit card including the interest from their sprees, but without any revenue. And if he dares to try to uphold previous commitments to veterans, Republicans tell him he must pay for it their way first.
Sure, war savings are a bit of a gimmick, but then again, they’re not. Democrats prefer to spend that money on things like education and a social safety net, while Republicans are very hawkish and enjoy running about the globe invading a sovereign nation on a misguided and inaccurate whim. When the money is being spent on their invasions, Republicans don’t even bother putting the war on the budget. But when that same money is moved over into the veterans’ column, suddenly they call it a gimmick.
A Fed Up Top Democrat Calls Out Darrell Issa and His Many Lies
Tuesday, February, 25th, 2014, 10:01 am
In political circles there is an unwritten rule that members of Congress observe “comity” in dealing with each other that, in general terms, means exercising courteous and considerate behavior towards each other. Comity is why Americans will hardly ever hear one member of Congress call another a filthy liar when both the liar and other members of Congress know without a doubt the liar is lying. Over the weekend, one member of Congress came as close to calling Darrell Issa a blatant liar as Americans will ever hear, and for congressional observers sick to death of Issa’s persistent lies regarding anything remotely related to the Obama Administration, it was long overdue.
Despite Defense and State Department records detailing the events that lead to the deaths of diplomat Chris Stevens and three Americans serving in a hostile environment in Libya, Darrell Issa continues spreading blatant lies to defame former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Last week Issa addressed campaign donors in New Hampshire during a trip he described as “a campaign to shape the debate for 2016,” and categorically accused the former Secretary of State of ordering the Department of Defense to stand down and allow the diplomatic outpost fall to attackers. Issa answered his own hypothetical question while pandering for campaign donations and said, “After asking why there was not one order given to turn on one Department of Defense asset,” Issa said “Secretary Clinton told (former Secretary of Defense Leon) Panetta to stand down.”
Issa’s false accusation was too much for the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee and it drove Representative Elijah Cummings to pen a letter to Issa and demand that he “publicly apologize for your statements and withdraw them immediately.” If Issa’s criminal character is any indication, Representative Cummings is going to wait an eternity because if there is one thing Issa can be counted on doing, it is to keep lying because there is no law against being a pathological liar; even for a United States House member. However, Cummings’ letter to Issa did not stop at calling for a public apology and retraction. He wrote “I was personally stunned by the reckless, baseless, and utterly offensive accusations you launched against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.” Cummings should be used to being stunned at Issa’s lies to drum up opposition to anyone connected to the Obama Administration, but he took the time to outline, in great detail, the severity of Issa’s filthy lies including testimony and documents refuting Issa’s contention about Clinton gathered during the House Oversight Committee investigation into the phony scandal surrounding the attack on the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.
Cummings letter to Issa could not be more pointed or accusatory, and he denounced the liar Issa for accusing Clinton of committing treason. Cummings wrote “The definition of treason is the betrayal of allegiance owed to one’s country, and you suggest that Secretary Clinton directed the Secretary of Defense of the United States to intentionally withhold military assistance that may have saved the lives of one of her own ambassadors and three other brave Americans serving their country. Your accusations are beyond the pale, and you should immediately retract them and issue a public apology.” Clearly, Cummings is weary of Issa’s lies as well as spending taxpayer time and money chasing phony scandals of Issa’s making. It is the second time that Issa is officially being called out by Democrats who have had enough of his phony witch hunts and manufactured scandals targeting the Obama Administration.
It has been two weeks since Democrats linked Issa with clearly devious and deceitful unethical behavior in another Issa-created scandal for meeting secretly with a Treasury Department inspector general without notifying or including Democrats on the Oversight Committee. In fact, Issa specifically “forbade the inspector general from including any Democratic Committee members” in a meeting regarding Oversight Committee investigations into the Affordable Care Act and the IRS doing its job scrutinizing applications for 501 (C) social welfare groups concealing dark money. Democrats only became aware of each of two separate meetings between the inspector general and Issa that occurred ten months apart. Two Democrats filed a formal 22-page complaint targeting Issa’s co-conspirator J. Russell George, but Issa still has not faced an ethics investigation and it is why he continues his unethical shenanigans with apparent impunity.
It is curious why only Elijah Cummings and two other Democrats are challenging Issa’s propensity for unethical conduct and arguably criminal conspiracy. It is clear to anyone familiar with the testimony and documents surrounding the perpetual and phony Benghazi scandal that Issa is lying for political gain. Although Cummings did not come out and call Issa the liar that he is, he did the next best thing and his letter cannot be misconstrued as anything but calling Issa a liar. In his letter, Cummings wrote Issa’s comments assailing Clinton were “reckless, baseless, and utterly offensive,” “not the first time you have publicly—and falsely—accused former Secretary Clinton,” and “the Washington Post Fact Checker gave your claim Four Pinocchios, finding that Issa has no basis or evidence, and concluded that your ‘inflammatory and reckless language’ qualifies as a ‘whopper’.” Apparently under so-called congressional “comity” agreements, Cummings assertions are about as close as he will come to stating the obvious; Darrell Issa is a filthy two-bit pathological liar.
Issa needs to be thoroughly investigated for ethics violations and thrown out of Congress, but the Republican-controlled House will never investigate their paid witch hunter, so it is incumbent on all House Democrats to either demand, en masse, an in-depth ethics investigation, or appeal directly to the Justice Department to launch an investigation into the man who brought deep-seated criminal tendencies to his job as Oversight Committee Chairman. Despite irrefutable evidence there are no scandals or cover-ups involving the White House or Hillary Clinton regarding the Benghazi attack, Issa is profiting from spreading outright lies for political and monetary gain and wasting valuable taxpayer time and money with his criminal activity and manufactured phony scandals.
Representative Cummings is a patient man, so for him to reach his breaking point and call Issa a liar, in so many words, must mean he has had enough of Issa’s blatant lying. The letter Cummings sent Issa is replete with references to testimony Issa heard to prove to Issa he knew he was lying about former Secretary Clinton when he asserted she ordered the Defense Department to stand down and ignore the attack on Benghazi. For any American familiar with Issa, the fact he lies as a matter of course is not breaking news, but it is news that Elijah Cummings is the only Democrat in the House to publicly accuse him of what he has done since chairing the Oversight Committee; manufacture phony scandals and lying through his teeth for political expediency. The only scandal in Washington is still Darrell Issa, and the breadth, scope, and frequency of his lies likely does not even convince wealthy donors and racist teabaggers that former Secretary Clinton is dishonest, because if there was even one iota of truth to Issa’s assertions, the indictments would have been handed down over a year ago. It is time for indictments and charges, but they will be emblazoned with the real criminal, Darrell Issa’s name on the complaints and they cannot come soon enough if only he faces investigations.
The Republican Idiocy Behind Laws Banning LGBTQs Will Inevitably Backfire
By: Tim From LA
Tuesday, February, 25th, 2014, 6:39 pm
What is it with Republicans in Arizona and their racist and now homophobic laws? Arizona Senate Bill 1062 would allow:
“Exercise of religion” means the practice or observance of religion, including the ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
So if someone is an LGBTQ, a corporation based upon their “religious belief” can legally discriminate against serving or hiring anyone who happens to be born a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Question…Why? Because, under federal law, LGBTQs are not a protected class, therefore under the 10th Amendment, Arizona has the right to pass discrimination laws.
In California, it is a state offense to discriminate against people who are LGBTQs and doing so, would mean the corporation can get sued and possibly lose its charter to do business in this state. Currently there are 17 states and D.C. that ban discrimination against LGBTQs:
District of Columbia
Thankfully, there are Arizona Republicans who are against SB1062 and are urging Governor Jan Brewer to veto the bill. One such Arizonan Republican is Arizona Senator John McCain. McCain said that he hopes Brewer vetoes the bill. Why are the so-called God-fearing Republicans in a huff? Because one of their largest political contributors are against the bill…the Log Cabin Republicans.
This bill, as written, leaves the door wide open for discrimination. For example, a Jewish or Muslim store owner can refuse service to a Christian, because it is in conflict with their belief. If a person with a cross walks into their place of business, the Muslim or Jew can say no Christians are allowed.
An atheist can do the same. Though they may not be a part of a religious institution they can also legally discriminate against cross-wearing customers because of the Constitution:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Just because people like me don’t believe in a god, the Constitution states AZ cannot deprive [me] of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws if I were a resident and business owner in Arizona.
These laws apparently are written based upon some phobia or a lust for the religious folks and their desire to remain in office. These Republicans write laws without really thinking about the consequences: legal and/or political, so that they can cater to a society, though a minority, that is extremely vocal. One such bill-turned-law was SB 1070.
The evidence that the Arizona legislature’s bill that was crafted and now law proved that the legislature did not think the bill thoroughly, which was later signed by Brewer. The evidence are Sections 26 to 30. It is a felony at the state level to hire undocumented workers. After the passage of the bill, I’m sure the lawmakers are hoping that the residents of Arizona are asleep. Why?
According to Phoenix New Times reporter Stephen Lemons, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is still arresting undocumented workers, but apparently not arresting CEOs or managers who hire them. This disregard of their own law is in violation of 18 U.S. Code § 4 – Misprision of felony and Arpaio can be arrested.
How? §13-3884 which reads:
13-3884. Arrest by private person
A private person may make an arrest:
1. When the person to be arrested has in his presence committed a misdemeanor amounting to a breach of the peace, or a felony.
2. When a felony has been in fact committed and he has reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has committed it.
So an Arizonan can legally arrest Joe Arpaio for violating SB 1070 sections 26 to 30 for not enforcing Section 31 subsection a&b. Actually, the undocumented worker can have Joe Arpaio arrested, too. Oh, and full disclosure, I am NOT a lawyer nor am I offering anyone legal services, but being a reporter, searching for and reporting on a law like this is perfectly within my Constitutional rights. But I do suggest you see a lawyer.
The backlash to the elected officials in Arizona can bite them in the behind and destroy the very fabric that makes Arizona the great state that it is. When the conservative values, racism, homophobia and right winged Christianity, are foisted upon their people, expect the infrastructure to collapse from their insolence.
Rand Paul Hits Rock Bottom By Accusing Bill Clinton Of Sexual Violence Towards Women
By: Justin Baragona
Tuesday, February, 25th, 2014, 3:36 pm
On Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton joined Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes at a campaign event and spoke on her behalf. This was a pretty big deal, as it showed that Grimes is truly a credible threat to toppling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) this November. Having the popular ex-President campaigning on your behalf can only boost your chances come election time.
Well, the Junior Senator from Kentucky, Republican Rand Paul, had to get his two cents in before the event. In a clip that aired Tuesday morning on MSNBC, Paul made the following statement:
You know, it concerns me. The thing is, I think workplace violence is a serious thing. If the president of your network had relations with a 20 year-old girl who was there from college, I think the president of your network would be fired. If that’s what Bill Clinton did multiple times, really they ought to be concerned about being associated with him.
Did you catch that? In pretty clear terms, Rand Paul not only called Bill Clinton a sexual predator, he stated that Clinton committed violence against women in the workplace. He is stating that Monica Lewinsky was assaulted by the President between 1995 and 1997, when their sexual encounters took place. Paul is also making the point that anyone else that did what Clinton did would have been fired from their job and ostracized.
Rand Paul has been beating this drum for a while now. Mostly, it has been seen as a way to try to discredit Hillary Clinton prior to the 2016 election, especially since Paul sees himself as a potential candidate. Now, with Bill Clinton going out on the mid-term campaign trail in areas where President Obama isn’t overly popular, Paul appears to be doing it as a way to directly attack the former President.
His previous claims and attacks were already over the line. Plus, they just came across as desperate, seeing as the nation already came to terms with the Lewinsky scandal over 15 years ago. Now, he has decided to take it up a notch to the point where he not only should be forced to apologize, but perhaps the US Senate should think about censuring him for these abhorrent comments about a former Commander-In-Chief.
Absolutely everything he said on Tuesday morning was an out and out lie and completely inappropriate. First off, how was there any ‘workplace violence’, as Paul directly stated? Is Paul stating that Bill Clinton punched or physically hurt Lewinsky in some way? Because Lewinsky has always stated that the sexual encounters between the two were consensual.
Also, he has constantly referred to Lewinsky as a ’20-year old’ college girl. The fact is, Lewinsky was 22 at the time of her first encounter with Bill Clinton and she’d already graduated from college. She had also already carried on another affair with an older, married man prior to getting involved with the President. She wasn’t a young, naive, little girl barely out of high school. She was an experienced, adult woman who had already finished her college degree. It is extremely dishonest for Paul to keep saying that Lewinsky was younger than she was.
Why does Paul need to completely embellish the actual facts of this affair? If the Lewinsky scandal was as horrible as he keeps making it out to be, nearly 20 years later, why can’t he just discuss it honestly? Why does he have to make up so much stuff? The reason is because Rand Paul is a pathological liar. Once he tells something dishonest, he has to keep building on it and adding to it. The lie has to keep getting bigger and bigger. That is all he knows. He can’t help himself.
And to think…this man wants to be President!
Bill Clinton and Alison Grimes Level Mitch McConnell With a Devastating One-Two Punch
By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, February, 25th, 2014, 2:19 pm
Former President Bill Clinton stormed into Louisville today, and combined with Democratic challenger Alison Lundargen Grimes to hammer Mitch McConnell.
Alison Lundargen Grimes told the sold out crowd that Kentucky is Clinton country. She said, “We will send the message with this campaign that Mitch McConnell is out of touch out of ideas, and come November with your help and support, he will be out of time.”
Grimes told the story of she and her sisters welcoming President Clinton to Washington with flowers in 1992 when she was 14 years old. Later, she said today Washington looks just like what President Clinton found when he arrived in 1992. She said Washington is broken because hyperpartisan people like Mitch McConnell are calling the shots. She said her Senate campaign is about restoring faith in our future in Kentucky.
Grimes called on increasing the minimum wage. She hit McConnell for increasing his pay every year while voting against raising the minimum wage 15 times. Grimes gave a very pro-middle class and pro-worker speech. She said that she believes Kentuckians don’t see this race as a toss-up, but they are ready to toss out Mitch McConnell.
Former President Clinton took the stage, and after the standard political thank you, he praised Gov. Brashear for his handling of the ACA.
Clinton said that he has reached the age where he can tell people exactly what he thinks. He talked about the things that really matter in elections. Former President Clinton hit McConnell for being anti-middle class. Clinton never mentioned McConnell by name, but accused him of pouting because Republicans aren’t in the White House, stopping anything good from happening.
Clinton told the crowd that he wanted them to go out on Election Day, and say give us back our country. The former president said, “You have a Senate candidate who says I believe in you. I trust in you, and I want this job so that I can do something for you.”
President Clinton called out the Koch brothers and the dark money ads, and said that those ads have worked for thirty years because they discourage Democrats who then stay home on Election Day.
McConnell’s amount of spending and the dark money ads were mentioned because this was a fundraiser for Grimes. Frankly, the Democrat is going to need all the money that she can raise, and then some. McConnell is trying to save his seat with millions of dollars in ads. He, and people like the Koch brothers are going to be relentlessly attacking the Grimes campaign from now until November.
Both Grimes and Clinton did an excellent job laying out the two paths for the future. The McConnell path is more of what we have already seen, obstruction, gridlock, and little concern given to the people of Kentucky. Grimes is offering to be a senator that will get things done for the people of the state. She sees a bright future for Kentucky, and her message translates well with voters who are tired of McConnell and his obstructionist games.
President Clinton was in fine form, and the role of being the 2014 Democratic turnout booster is perfect for him.
In a statement the McConnell campaign portrayed Clinton’s visit as an act of desperation by Grimes,”I guess Alison Lundergan Grimes will take any help she can get.” If Team Mitch really believes that’s true, McConnell’s campaign is completely out of touch with reality.
McConnell is running scared as President Clinton gave Kentucky voters plenty of hope that they can finally ditch the unpopular Mitch this November.
Democrats in Unique Position of United Comfort as Republicans Grapple with 2016 Dread
By: Becky Sarwate
Tuesday, February, 25th, 2014, 11:12 am
Before I launch into the meat of my argument, I must take a moment to preface with a drop of journalistic reality. The 2016 Presidential elections are a LONG haul. Political fortunes will be won, lost, regained and quite possibly, lost again before the first voter casts a ballot 21 months from now. The presumed front runners of late 2013 (Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Republicans: Chris Christie) have experienced a seismic shift on the right side of the political spectrum with an alacrity that caught even the most overstimulated among us by surprise. Truly at this point, anything is possible.
That said, it’s kind of fun to be a loyal Democrat right now. There was a really dispiriting moment in late 2004, after the super dull but well-meaning John Kerry lost to a resurgent George W. Bush, when it seemed that the White House might never welcome a Blue occupant again. Because if the unraveling scandal of fictional WMD intelligence and the mismanagement of the war in Iraq wasn’t enough to get Dubya tossed; if the expensive, seemingly objectiveless Afghanistan quagmire couldn’t produce regime change; and if the unpaid for tax cuts for the wealthy and a tired attempt to leverage gay marriage as a base-appealing wedge issue couldn’t galvanize a solid liberal opposition – well then it seemed nothing could upend the prospect of a permanent conservative majority.
It was with this sense of defeated resignation that many idealists observed the commencement of the 2008 Presidential races. The only upside appeared to be the lack of a Cheney candidacy. The New York Times Jonathan Martin alludes to that period and other recent transitions before it, this week in a piece entitled, Stability and Chaos, Hallmarks of Presidential Races, Swap Parties. Martin opens the article by observing, “Republican primaries usually amount to coronations, in which they nominate a candidate who has run before or is otherwise deemed next in line, while the Democratic contests are often messier affairs, prone to insurgencies and featuring uncertain favorites.”
This was true in 2008, when it seemed that Arizona Senator and erstwhile maverick John McCain might be rewarded for his patience and perseverance with the Presidential oath of office. This appeared even more likely when the “inevitable” campaign of former First Lady and New York Senator Hillary Clinton foundered under a challenge from young Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Really, were it not for the timeliness of a late-2008 economic collapse that can only be tied to eight years of Bush leadership, and the Hail Mary nomination of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate, we might be playing “Hail to the Chief” today for another in a long string of old, white men.
But it turned out that Yes, We Can sometimes ask the voting public to make a statement for change. And though the last six years of Obama leadership has been marked by dogged opposition from the GOP, the public has yet to shift its allegiance, in large part because “Just Say No,” makes a better drug abuse prevention slogan than a party platform.
Though the shenanigans related to Congressional redistricting (aka gerrymandering) has awarded the Republicans a virtual stranglehold on the House, the right has utterly failed to offer plausible alternatives to the initiatives put force by the President’s team. October’s disastrous government shutdown finally disabused Team Right Wing of the notion that obstructionism alone represents a path to Washington. Turns out that voters prefer imperfect government to no government at all.
The following quote from Martin exemplifies why Democrats are, for the moment at least, relishing the prospect of another long campaign season, “the Republicans are acting like the Democrats of yore, anticipating a free-for-all primary that highlights the competing and at times fractious constituencies in their coalition.”
Ah yes. Who can forget the freak show that was the 2012 Republican primary series of candidate debates? Good times that almost succeeded in making Rick Santorum look like a palatable, centrist alternative to the other crazies. And folks, we’re just gearing up for the fun of 2016. I’m literally performing an impatient two-step, desperately awaiting the first time (because you know it’s coming) a flustered member of the establishment upbraids Ted Cruz in front of a live audience.
Cruz, Paul, Rubio, Bush (Jeb), Walker, Christie, Jindal – this is a just a smattering of the unelectable names being thrown about in Republican circles. Possibly the least offensive member of this group, Jeb Bush, can’t even secure the endorsement of his own mother.
For the moment, the grass is looking a lot greener on the Democratic side of the fence. Martin quotes Bill Clinton’s former chief strategist, James Carville, as saying, “My party is in a little bit of a just-don’t-blow-this-thing mode…The idea that we’re now consistently winning presidential elections isn’t lost on us.”
As I noted in the first paragraph, there’s miles to go before Decision 2016 sleeps. But for the first time since 1996 really, that encroaching feeling of dread is at bay.
Dick Cheney: Obama Would Rather Pay For Food Stamps Than Support The Troops
By Susie Madrak February 25, 2014 8:37 am
What a venal, nasty little waste of a heart transplant.
If there's one thing I am really, really sick of, it's greedy, amoral, inhuman politicians who worship and fetishize the military to the detriment of everyone else. And if I had to pick the worst example of that kind of politician, Dick Cheney would top my list:
Former vice president Dick Cheney went on Fox's "Hannity" show last night to discuss the recent plans to reduce the Army to levels not seen since 1940 — through a reduction in personnel and removing a class of warplanes from the field — in an effort to cut budgets after a decade of war, calling the decision "over the top." He told host Sean Hannity that President Obama would "much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”
The military cuts proposed by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Monday were in part a reaction to the Congress' latest appropriations bill. The Pentagon is authorized to spend $1 trillion over the next two years — far more than the sequestration cuts allowed but $75 billion less than the Obama administration requested. The Pentagon's plan would call for a reduction in troops from their wartime peak of 570,000 to between 440,000 and 450,000 troops.
The plan also proposes cutting pay and benefits for military employees. Hagel said Monday, “No realistic effort to find further significant savings can avoid dealing with military compensation."
Earlier in the interview, Cheney said, "The fact of the matter is he’s having a huge impact on the ability of future presidents to deal with future crises that are bound to arise. ... I can guarantee you, there’s never going to be a call from the future secretary of defense to Barack Obama, to thank him for what he’s done to the military. This is just devastating.”
Hey shithead, let me point out the obvious for you: Lots of active duty military families use food stamps. A half-million veterans of your nasty little wars also use food stamps. You know, the men and women whose lives you destroyed in pursuit of your Middle Eastern wet dream?
Decent people should shun you. For all I know, they already do. But you'll always have Fox to act as your own person fluffer team. Fuck you, Dick.