In the USA...United Surveillance AmericaOutgoing NSA Chief Wants Snooping Row 'Resolved'
by Naharnet Newsdesk
28 February 2014, 06:45
The outgoing chief of the National Security Agency told lawmakers Thursday he wants to end the controversy over massive surveillance programs to move forward on key defense and cybersecurity issues.
General Keith Alexander, who is due to retire this month, said the public outcry over leaked NSA documents has prevented progress on issues such as cybersecurity legislation.
"I think that we need to step back, set a framework for discussion with the American people," Alexander told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"This is going to be absolutely important in setting up what we can and cannot do in cyberspace to protect this country. And from my perspective, that's going to be one of the big issues that we move forward. I think a precursor to that is getting the NSA issues resolved. We have to get those resolved because, ironically, it operates in the same space."
Alexander said that in line with a directive from President Barack Obama, his agency will draft a proposal for reforming the NSA and its surveillance authority.
Obama last month ordered a revamp of the NSA authority including a plan that could retain bulk data collection of phone records, but outside of government.
Alexander said that as the reforms move ahead, there is a need to advance stalled cybersecurity legislation that would enable better information sharing between government and private networks about threats to key infrastructure such as pipelines, power grids and financial networks.
"I am concerned... that the lack of legislation will impact our ability to defend the country in this area," Alexander said.
"I do think, though, given where we are today, we have to be transparent on this in the cyber legislation so the American people can enter into it."
Alexander, who also heads the military's Cyber Command, said that unit's mission depends on the NSA and its intelligence-gathering.
"If there is an attack, especially a destructive attack, the probability that that will get through is higher in the civilian infrastructure," he said.
"From my perspective, the space, cyberspace, where both NSA and now Cyber Command operates, is one space where both the good guys and the bad guys both operate in that same space. Forty years ago it was different. Foreign military communications were on a separate circuit from our domestic communications. Now they're all intertwined."
*************DOJ Asks To Hang Onto Bulk Collections Longer, Citing Need To 'Preserve' Evidence It Has No Intention Of Presenting In Court
The DOJ is asking the courts to extend the amount of time it can hold onto bulk metadata records. The use-by date is normally five years, but the DOJ wants more time. It's stated reason for the request is to prevent spoliation of evidence that might be needed in the several lawsuits filed against the government since the exposure of the NSA's bulk collection programs.
Some things to note: the DOJ is asking for the first FISA order of 2014 to be amended to remove the 5-year expiration date, which seems to indicate that the amendment won't affect anything previously collected. The storage limit has been five years since at least 2006, so what the DOJ is asking for is for data to be held indefinitely, for an indefinite period going forward.
Obviously, this carves a rather large hole in the NSA's (already minimal) minimization procedures. The DOJ claims the retained data will be reserved for "non-analytic" purposes, but I don't really see how the it can make that assertion, considering the NSA, at this point, still collects and stores it. Searches could be limited to five years from date of search, but this presumes a lot of an agency run by people who routinely "explore the edges of the box." (Granted, historical data tends to become less useful the older it gets, but there are hardly any limits placed on the NSA's collection abilities, so it's really not a good idea to let the government start stripping these few stipulations away.)
What's absolutely disgusting about this request is the fact that the DOJ has no interest in allowing these records to be admitted as evidence. In fact, the DOJ has already withheld this information from several defendants, effectively preventing them from discovering where the government obtained the evidence being used against them. The DOJ is talking a good game about due process, etc., but its track record shows it's willing to keep this information hidden for as long as possible.
Before the leaks, the DOJ didn't even have to acknowledge it used these programs to gather evidence against defendants. Before the leaks, other national law enforcement and investigative agencies were given this evidence and instructed to construct a paper trail to cover up the origins. The DOJ can't really get away with this anymore, but that won't stop it from pretending national security concerns outweigh a defendant's need to know what evidence is being used and how it was derived. And that's not even addressing those already imprisoned using evidence the DOJ actively hid from defendants, as Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel points out.
Of course, it was only 24 hours ago when DOJ was last caught violating that principle in Section 702, abrogating a defendant’s right to know where the evidence against him came from. And there are a whole slew of criminal defendants — most now imprisoned — whose 702 notice DOJ is still sitting on, whose rights DOJ felt perfectly entitled to similarly abrogate (we know this because back in June FBI was bragging about how many of them there were). So I am … surprised to hear DOJ suggest it gives a goddamn about criminal defendants' rights, because for at least the last 7 years it has been shirking precisely that duty as it pertains to FISA.
Wheeler also notes that the DOJ may be pretending to be concerned about the lawsuits it's currently facing, but it expressed no similar concern in the years before Snowden's leaks exposed the NSA's programs.
[A]s EFF's Cindy Cohn pointed out to the WSJ, Judge Vaughn Walker issued a retention order in EFF’s 2008 suit against the dragnet.
"Ms. Cohn also questioned why the government was only now considering this move, even though the EFF filed a lawsuit over NSA data collection in 2008.
In that case, a judge ordered evidence preserved related to claims brought by AT&T customers. What the government is considering now is far broader."
At that point, the DOJ has no problem letting evidence against the NSA expire, but now it wants an indefinite extension to records going forward, using the pretense that it cares about due process as leverage. The NSA wins either way. Longer retention means more access to the collection, on or off the books. And it knows the incredibly misnamed Dept. of Justice will do its best to keep collected surveillance data out of the harsh judicial sunlight.
***************Senate Republicans Betray U.S. Vets By Blocking Veterans Benefits Bill
By: Jason Easley
Thursday, February, 27th, 2014, 5:06 pm
In a shameful display of partisan obstruction, the Mitch McConnell led Senate Republicans a blocked a bill that would have improved veterans benefits.
Senate Republicans blocked the veterans bill by using a procedural maneuver to invoke the 60 vote rule. The final vote to waive the budget point of order failed, 56-41. Only two Republicans (Sen. Dean Heller and Sen. Jerry Moran) joined with Democrats on the vote.
Republicans claimed that they blocked the bill because Majority Leader Harry Reid would not allow an up or down vote on an amendment that would have attached sanctions on Iran to the bill.
Sen. Reid said, “I hope all the veterans groups have witnessed all the contortions the Republicans have done to defeat this bill. Shame on Republicans for bringing base politics into a bill to help veterans.”
The chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Sen. Bernie Sanders, said,
I had hoped that at least on this issue – the need to protect and defend our veterans and their families – we could rise above the day-to-day rancor and party politics that we see here in Congress
I am going to keep fighting. I am proud that we received every Democratic vote and that two Republicans also voted with us. In the coming weeks, I will be working hard to secure three additional Republican votes, and I think we can do that.
The cost of war does not end once the last shots are fired, and the last battles are fought. When members of the military lose arms, legs and eyesight fighting in wars that Congress authorized, we have a moral obligation to make sure that those Americans receive all of the benefits that they have earned and deserve. When American soldiers die in combat, we have a moral obligation to make sure that the spouses and children they leave behind are taken care of and do not live in abject poverty.
The only message that can be taken away from today’s vote is that Senate Republicans think it is more important to deny President Obama a “win” than it is to help our nation’s veterans. The bill contained provisions that would restore the COLA for vets, and protect them from losing their benefits in the event of another government shutdown. It also would have authorized the construction of 27 new clinics and medical facilities, and it would have provided tuition assistance to post-9/11 vets.
It is the kind of legislation that used to be a no brainer, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the same group of Republicans who think that they shouldn’t have to pay the nation’s bills also want to renege on their obligations to our veterans.
Senate Republicans committed a disgraceful betrayal of the promise that has been made to those who put their lives on the line for this country. I hope this is a wake up call for vets who think that the Republican Party has their interests at heart.
The Republican Party doesn’t care about veterans. This vote stabbed veterans in the back, and should make every vet question why they would ever vote Republican.
************The Religious Liberty Bill Fight Continues in Georgia and Other States
By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Friday, February, 28th, 2014, 7:23 am
Democratic state Rep. Stacey Abrams is the House minority leader for the Georgia General Assembly co-wrote an op-ed for CNN yesterday with conservative James Richardson, pointing out that Georgia “may shift from the cradle of the civil rights movement to the vanguard of legalized 21st-century bigotry with the consideration of this legislation, modeled on Arizona’s, that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers on the basis of alleged religious conviction.” Abrams and Richardson wrote that should the bill become law, Georgia will be stained with the “lasting ignominy of Jim Crow.”
Jim Crow hits the nail on the head. As Ian Millhiser wrote the other day on ThinkProgress, “religious liberty” was once “used to justify racism instead of homophobia.”
And don’t count the collective religious insanity of Kansas and its governor out just yet. According to The New York Times, Kansas’ extreme antigay bill may be revived. Mississippi’s bill has already passed the State Senate.
The Republican establishment has led the retreat from these hateful and hurtful pieces of legislation, as have Republican businesses owners and even chambers of commerce, leaving in their wake Nazified crowds of Religious Right and Tea Party bigots.
You would think, listening to them, that rather than a bill that persecutes gays being vetoed, a bill that persecutes Christians had been signed into law.
The Family Research Council (FRC) claims that the vetoed bill “should have been a political no-brainer.” That no brains had something to do with the bill I think we can agree with. The FRC claims, with a straight face yet, that “by vetoing this bill Gov. Brewer is saying she supports government discrimination against people’s religious freedoms.”
The Tea Party Nation’s Judson Phillips, opined on his group’s website that Jan Brewer’s veto turned discriminatory business owners into “slaves,” saying that “The left and the homosexual lobby are both pushing slavery using the Orwellian concepts of ‘tolerance’ and ‘inclusiveness.’” Phillips is afraid people will be forced to bake penis cakes for gay couples.
Who knew tolerance was Orwellian? Did you know that? I didn’t know that. I’m pretty sure penis cakes aren’t.
Rush Limbaugh differed from Phillips only in the direction of his paranoia, saying on his radio program that the Arizona bill was vetoed because, “There’s just abject fear of minorities right now.” He should have added fear of penis cakes.
*************True Believers Continue Their Fight To Make America a ‘Christian Nation’
Thursday, February, 27th, 2014, 10:37 am
In 1951 Eric Hoffer authored a book, “The True Believer,” that analyzed and explained the psychological causes of fanaticism, the motives of personalities that give rise to extremist movements, and the similarities between them; whether the movements are religious, political, or reactionary. Hoffer argues that even when their stated goals or values differ, these movements attract the same type of followers and use the same tactics and rhetorical tools as fascists, Nazis, and religious fanatics such as fundamentalist Christians intent on ruling America by Christian theocracy. Hoffer’s book is as prescient today as it was in 1951, and his analysis described many Americans after the terror attacks on 9/11 and teabaggers’ racist revolt over Americans electing an African American man as President.
Hoffer explains that the technique of a fanatical movement aims to infect people with a malady and then offer the movement as a cure, and he explains that these movements begin with a widespread “desire for change” from discontented people who place their locus of control outside their power, such as in god and the bible and who hate the existing culture. Since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the religious right successfully convinced evangelical extremists that they lost their religious liberty and that their only hope was electing Republicans who are furiously passing unconstitutional religious laws as both a cure and to change America back to a Christian nation true believers are certain is the key to their redemption.
The Founding Fathers were aware that America was prone to a takeover by a religious movement filled with true believers and protected the country with a ban on religion interfering with the legislative process. It is that ban that drives Republicans and their evangelical voting bloc’s lust to abolish the Separation Clause of the Constitution. Despite the Constitution’s ban on government forcing religion down the throats of the people, another Republican-led southern state is pushing a law to force prayer on students in public schools. In January it was South Carolina that revived a year-old attempt to require mandatory teacher-led prayers in public schools, and now it is Alabama pushing legislation to force all students at all grade levels to suffer through daily mandated prayer sessions under the guise of learning about Congressional procedures.
The Alabama House Education Policy Committee advanced legislation to order state mandated and sponsored prayer in public schools that will certainly be struck down as patently unconstitutional, but the bill is being pushed by true believers with no regard for the nation’s founding document. The legislation requires that “At the commencement of the first class of each day in all grades in all public schools, the teacher in charge of the room in which such class is held shall, for a period of time not exceeding 15 minutes, instruct the class in the formal procedures followed by the United States Congress. The study shall include a reading verbatim of one of the opening prayers given by the House or Senate Chaplain or a guest member of the clergy at the beginning of a meeting of the House of Representatives or the Senate.”
Now, it is unclear how a mathematics, science, or physical education teacher will afford the time to abandon the regular required curriculum in their field to spend 15 minutes instructing their classes on formal congressional procedures, but that is obviously not the point of the religious legislation. The wording of the legislation makes its purpose clear that school teachers will be forced, under fear of losing their jobs, to conduct forced prayers to all students under the guise of instruction about formal congressional procedures. Actually, it is highly likely that the United States Congress allowing prayers at the beginning of meetings is state sponsored religion, but true believers in Congress will never address the unconstitutionality of the practice. That is the problem with true believers; they have no qualms disregarding the Constitution they claim to love and forcing their beliefs on everyone and claim it is their religious freedom protected by the First Amendment.
There is a flawed belief among fanatical religious conservatives demanding the people accept domination by the religious right that America veered away from its biblical founding and needs the religious right to fight to bring the nation back under the purview of Christianity. In fact, disgraced Republican Tom DeLay explained that America lost its way when “we stopped realizing that God created this nation, that He wrote the Constitution, that it’s based on biblical principles, and we allowed those that don’t believe in those things to keep pushing us… away from the government.” DeLay’s remarks are succor to true believers who demand the nation return to its “Christian roots” and return to government by bible. DeLay continued that if more fundamentalist extremists would have opposed the Constitution’s Separation Clause and “fought for our values,” that the bible would be the “still be” the law of the land. DeLay said he beseeches his god every day “for an awakening in this country, and I think it’s coming.”
There is a tendency among most Americans to disregard the preponderance of religious edicts being passed in Republican state legislatures as harmless experiments to test the Constitution, but for the true believers passing and supporting biblical laws it is not an experiment. A couple of days ago David Harris Gershon penned a thoughtful article discussing the demise of the religious right’s impact on America due to the courts striking down bans on same-sex marriage as well as Kansas, and now Arizona, abandoning legislation legalizing discrimination borne of religious liberty. However, there are increasing reports of states passing, or proposing, laws that ban teaching science or restrict access to abortion services and they are emboldened by true believers that own corporations claiming religion gives them the right to ban contraception coverage in health plans. It is true that some Republicans support religion by government mandate to garner electoral support, but the unfortunate truth is there are as many Christian true believers in state legislatures and Congress than representatives who embrace the Constitution’s ban on religion imposing on the government.
It does not matter if it is legislating prayer in public schools, teaching the bible creation story as science, or legislating legal discrimination under the guise of religious liberty; the religious right will never stop attempting to rule by theocracy. It is noteworthy that the highest court in the land has struck down attempts to force prayer on students, teach creationism in public schools, and discriminate against gays and still, religious fanatics will not be dissuaded from their biblical mandate “to make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:9) the religious right is attempting to fulfill by legislation regardless their efforts are blatantly unconstitutional.
Many Americans fail to realize that true believers, particularly religious true believers, are convinced it is their mandate from god to transform America into a religious state with forced compliance to biblical edicts. There is a strongly-held belief among evangelicals, and Republicans perpetuate the idea, that there is a war on Christianity because the religious right is prohibited by the Constitution from imposing their beliefs on the people. Americans must understand that until there is rigorous response to the religious right’s war on the Constitution, their relentless attacks will continue including passing legislation teaching creationism as science, legalizing discrimination against gays, and mandating public school teachers force Christian prayers on our children.
************The End is Near for the Extremist Wing of the Republican Party
By: Keith Brekhus
Thursday, February, 27th, 2014, 8:00 pm
The end is near for the Christian right. No, they are not about to be beamed up into heaven , rewarded for their piousness, on a glorious ride symbolizing the rapture of the church. Instead, they are about to wither and die as a political movement in the United States, victims of their own hatred and hubris. Yes, for over three decades, theocrats rode an unholy alliance with the modern Republican Party to unprecedented heights of power. Ronald Reagan, two George Bushes, and hundreds upon hundreds of Republican Senators and Congressmen were their willing enablers.
Big business Republicans, neo-conservatives, and libertarian economists alike embraced Christian fundamentalists as they exploited bigotry and fear to push free market economics and expansionist foreign policies, while giving lip service to school prayer, ending abortion, and preserving traditional marriage from the onslaught of the “homosexual agenda”. Karl Rove exploited Christian right bigotry by pushing anti-gay ballot measures in 2004 that would herd evangelical conservatives to the polls to cast their votes for George W. Bush. That was a decade ago, when the Christian right’s influence in American politics was unmistakable and their grip on the GOP iron tight.
However, in the last ten years the Christian right’s power has been steadily eroding. Oblivious to their waning influence, conservative Christian groups have soldiered on without any apparent awareness of their impending demise. Perhaps they still do, but yesterday was a watershed moment. The Christian right tried to flex its muscle in Arizona by passing a bill that would codify into law the right for Christian-owned businesses to exercise their “religious liberty” to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Many other red states introduced similar measures, though Arizona’s was the first to pass such a bill through both chambers of the legislature.
The Christian right miscalculated badly and failed to anticipate the backlash that would follow. Chamber of Commerce chapters and major corporations based in Arizona balked at the measure, citing the potential for lost tourism revenue and lawsuits. GOP politicians piled on. Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain joined the opposition. Florida Governor Rick Scott and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney also rose in opposition. Politicians who had long embraced Christian right extremism for politically expedient reasons more than on principal, were now turning on the fundamentalists at the eleventh hour.
Then on Thursday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who like most GOP politicians had long courted Christian extremists, sealed their fate with her veto pen. In that moment, the lipstick wore off the Judas kiss that the Republican Party leadership made with Christian extremists years ago. The Christian right long wielded disproportionate influence in the halls of Congress, with the likes of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson seducing GOP politicians with promises of fealty and winning them over to socially reactionary policies. Ronald Reagan enthusiastically brought the “moral majority” into his winning coalition, and since 1980 GOP politicians have relied upon evangelical right-wingers to help propel them to victory. Though they were never a true majority, the bible thumpers on the right were able to bully timid Republican politicians to press their agenda in exchange for contributions and votes.
However, now that bigotry is no longer a recipe for electoral success, the toxic embrace between pro-business Republicans and moralizing troglodytes has been pulled apart. As a political force, the Christian right is unraveling at warp speed. Even the Bible Belt is unbuckling at a rate that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. Sure Mike Huckabee and Rush Limbaugh still pollute America’s political discourse with their jeremiads against unseemly gays and promiscuous single women, but their taunts fall mostly on deaf ears outside the shrinking realm of “true believers” who nourish their hateful minds with unhealthy doses of talk radio and FOX News.
With the tactical brilliance of General George Custer’s Army at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the Christian right has hastened their own defeat through arrogance and miscalculations that could only be made by people who truly believe they are called by God, and who have no concept of the earthly consequences they are about to face. They are making their last stand in the great American culture war, and they are losing badly. Not only is America becoming more secular and more tolerant, but even mainstream Christianity is distancing itself from the far right. Even bulwarks of traditionalism, like the Mormon and Roman Catholic church hierarchies are moving away from prejudice and dogmatism.
Increasingly defensive, the Christian right has gone from opposing late-term abortions and lobbying for school prayer to more dubious crusades. They have moved the goal posts so far to the right that right-wing Christians are now arguing for trans-vaginal ultrasounds, banning contraception and granting businesses the right to discriminate against lesbians and gays. With unending persecution complexes, they view themselves under attack, lamenting phony assaults on Christianity and a war on Christmas that does not exist. Yet it is they who are launching the attacks by picketing funerals, referring to rape as a gift from God, and blaming homosexuals for terrorist attacks and deadly tornadoes. Twisters, those “acts of God” that raise havoc on “traditional values” strongholds like Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas, while leaving San Francisco, Portland and Seattle unscathed.
The battle will continue, maybe for years, maybe even decades. However, America has already rendered its judgement. Same sex marriages are now legal in 17 states and on the verge of becoming legal in several more. Millennial voters overwhelmingly support marriage equality. The Christian right can do nothing more but dig their heels in and fight a lost cause. No doubt with self-righteous fervor they will continue to fight to the bitter end, enduring one humiliating defeat after another in the years ahead, as America moves further and further away from the Christian right’s outdated prejudices. There will be no sound of trumpets to announce the end of days for the Christian right as a viable political movement, but the end is coming. In fact, it may already be here.
**************Wendy Davis Obliterates Ted Nugent and Greg Abbott With Blistering New Ad
By: Jason Easley
Thursday, February, 27th, 2014, 4:09 pm
The Wendy Davis campaign is slamming both Ted Nugent and Greg Abbott with a powerful new ad that features rape survivor Nicole Anderson.
The ad features rape survivor Nicole Anderson speaking out, “I am speaking out because it really bothered me for Greg Abbott to partner with Ted Nugent knowing his history of being a predator. I was at home. I heard about it on the news. It made me feel like the it minimized the fact that Ted Nugent is a predator. I think that it sends the wrong message that he partnered up with this man that is very vocal about liking underage girls. There’s something wrong with that. It’s not okay.”
This ad is important on a couple of different levels. First, it is telling the truth about Ted Nugent. These types of ads should make Republican candidates think twice before they decide to cozy up to, and appear with, a self admitted sexual predator.
Secondly, the use of Nugent as a campaign booster by Abbott is an escalation of the Republican war on women, and the men who support the rights of all women. Abbott’s embrace of Nugent is sending the message to all voters that if Greg Abbott is elected governor, open season will continue on the rights of women.
It is good to see Ted Nugent getting called out for what he really is, but it also highlights the crucial issue in this election. Do the women and men of Texas think it is representative of their values to have the Republican candidate for governor getting cozy with a sexual predator? If Greg Abbott has no qualms about buddying up with Ted Nugent, he’ll also won’t hesitate to accelerate the extremist anti-women agenda in the state of Texas.
Greg Abbott is still refusing to answer any questions about Ted Nugent. He has been ducking all media inquiries for more than a week. Republicans would prefer to carry out their war on women in silence, but in Texas, Wendy Davis isn’t going to let that happen. Davis is already running an aggressive campaign.
Wendy Davis is showing that she isn’t going to back down from anybody, and she won’t be intimidated into not telling the truth about Ted Nugent, Greg Abbott, and the Republican war on women.
**************Harry Reid Slams The Koch Brothers For Lying To The American People About Obamacare
By: Justin Baragona
Thursday, February, 27th, 2014, 1:15 pm
During a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) railed against the flood of anti-Obamacare ads that the billionaire Koch brothers are bankrolling. Essentially, Reid stated that the Kochs, thought their SuperPACs, are intentionally lying to the American public about the Affordable Care Act in an effort to help the Republican Party retake the US Senate.
Reid did not pull any punches while on the floor. Considering that the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity released what might be their most dishonest ad yet recently in Michigan, Reid felt the need to speak up and decry the Koch’s constant effort to mislead about the health care law.
“I can’t say that every one of the Koch brother’s ads are a lie….but a vast, vast majority of them are. What is going on with these two brothers who made billions of dollars last year in an attempt to buy our democracy is dishonest, deceptive, false and unfair. Just because you have huge amounts of money, you should not be able to run these false, misleading ads by the hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Also, in his remarks, Reid called the Koch brothers ‘un-American’ and pointed out that they have to lie to create made up horror stories despite the fact that over 4 million people have signed up through the health marketplaces. You would think that if the law was so awful, and that it was negatively effecting millions of people, there would be no need to embellish, mislead or straight out lie about peoples’ stories in political ads. Yet, that seems to be all we get from the GOP and their supporters.
Of course, conservatives tried to twist around Reid’s words and then also claim that they are attacking a woman suffering from cancer. An executive for Koch Companies, Phillip Ellender, made the following statement regarding Reid’s comments.
“We believe it is disgraceful that Sen. Reid and his fellow Democrats are attacking a cancer victim as part of their campaign against Charles Koch and David Koch.”
This is in reference to the ad that most likely set Reid off, a Michigan ad targeting Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Gary Peters. That ad featured Julie Boonstra, a woman suffering from leukemia that stated that Obamacare was costing her far too much money and that it could be life threatening. She made claims that she could lose her doctor, she was being hit with too many out-of-pocket expenses and that she could be denied her medication. She also said that the costs were unaffordable compared to her old insurance policy, that was cancelled.
Multiple fact-checkers looked over her claims and found that the ad was, at best, being deceptively misleading and , at worst, being completely and heinously dishonest. Since the Kochs and Republicans got caught lying, and using an untrue ‘horror story’ to push that lie, they are now playing victims and trying to turn things around on Democrats and the media. Essentially, they are stating that it is unfair to point out these lies because it means you are attacking a poor cancer victim. Because she has cancer, she is allowed to lie in a Republican ad and nobody should point out the lies.
Republicans can continue to play victim here. They can continue to have billionaires fund dishonest ad campaigns and make under-the-table contributions to lawmakers to get them to play ball. However, the fact of the matter is that Obamacare is here to stay. Millions of people have already signed up and millions more will. The public’s taste for repealing the law is no longer there. Running against Obamacare in this year’s mid-terms and 2016 is going to be a losing strategy.
**************Bill Clinton and the Democrats Are Fighting Back Against GOP Election Stealing Efforts
By: Jason Easley
Thursday, February, 27th, 2014, 2:51 pm
Bill Clinton is leading an effort by the Democratic Party to not only stop Republicans from stealing elections through voter suppression, but to also expand voting access.
After going through the various voter suppression tactics and efforts that Republicans are using in many states, former President Clinton said,
They’re all designed to make it harder for people, especially working people, people of color, the elderly, those with disabilities, and young college students to get to the polls. To form that more perfect union, we have to expand rights, not take them away. We have to empower people, not disempower them. Breaking down barriers and expanding opportunities has always been the hallmark of our nation, and the bedrock of the Democratic Party.
It’s not enough anymore just to be against these new voting restrictions. We need to get back on the road forward, and work for more and easier voting. We need to improve the voting experience, registering new voters, demystifying the process., expanding access to the ballot box, and making the process simpler and shorter.
Clinton went on to announce that he is spearheading a new Democratic Party project that is designed to protect and expand voting rights through legislation, education, and grassroots advocacy.
This kind of project is why Democrats have had so much success stopping Republican efforts to suppress the vote. Voter suppression is nothing more than an attempt to steal elections by manipulating the composition of the electorate.
With his wife potentially poised to be the Democratic nominee, it isn’t a surprise that Bill Clinton would be involved in this effort, but this is about something bigger than one presidential election. This is about the fundamental right to vote. Republicans want every electorate in every state to look like the one that went to the polls in 2010.
They want turnout to be small, mostly white, older, and heavily leaning Republican. The GOP knows that they can’t win elections if the full electorate comes out to vote, so they are erecting barriers to voting that predominately impact Democratic voters.
Democrats aren’t taking it. They are pushing back, and they have the perfect person leading the charge in former President Clinton.