Posts filed under ‘Democrats, Including Blue Dogs & "Liberals"’
Ah yes, Congress working to create jobs again:
Congress Quietly Deletes a Key Disclosure of Free Trips Lawmakers Take
It’s going to be a little more difficult to ferret out which members of Congress are lavished with all-expenses-paid trips around the world after the House has quietly stripped away the requirement that such privately sponsored travel be included on lawmakers’ annual financial-disclosure forms.
The move, made behind closed doors and without a public announcement by the House Ethics Committee, reverses more than three decades of precedent. Gifts of free travel to lawmakers have appeared on the yearly financial form dating back its creation in the late 1970s, after the Watergate scandal. National Journal uncovered the deleted disclosure requirement when analyzing the most recent batch of yearly filings.
“This is such an obvious effort to avoid accountability,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “There’s no legitimate reason. There’s no good reason for it.”
Free trips paid for by private groups must still be reported separately to the House’s Office of the Clerk and disclosed there. But they will now be absent from the chief document that reporters, watchdogs, and members of the public have used for decades to scrutinize lawmakers’ finances.
“Democrats” in Democratically-Controlled Rhode Island Move to Quash $15 Wage Increase for Hotel Workers
Ah yes,the power of money:
Following Seattle and other cities, Rhode Island’s Providence City Council voted unanimously Thursday to place a $15 minimum wage referendum on the ballot. The measure applies only to large hotels, and polling suggests that it would pass at the ballot box with votes to spare. Just one problem: The state’s Democratic leadership is poised to prevent that vote from ever happening.
“I’m really surprised,” said Providence City Councilmember Carmen Castillo, to see “Democrats attack the minimum wage.” Castillo is an Omni hotel housekeeper and an activist with the hospitality union UNITE HERE Local 217, the group that pushed the council to advance the referendum. (Full disclosure: I worked for UNITE HERE in California and Pennsylvania from 2006 to 2011.) Just hours after Castillo and her colleagues voted to do so, the Rhode Island House quashed their effort by passing a budget that would ban cities from going beyond the state minimum wage. That budget is expected to pass in the State Senate and to be signed by Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat Governor Lincoln Chafee.
This kind of thing makes me feel two ways: (1) Like I want to drop out and tune out, and (2) Furious such that I want to get involved and help get rid of every single “Democrat” like this there is.
This post at ProPublica struck me like a bolt of lightening: Temp Worker Regulations Around the World.
The thing that hit me straight up the side of my head was the notion that many countries have defined what “temporary worker” means. Ah, yeah. That should be defined. What’s “temporary?”
To some countries it means someone who works a year, to some it means three or five. Yet the United States is mum on that, meaning that businesses everywhere define workers as “temporary” on infinitum and thus screw them out of raises and benefits.
This is happening, of course, because corporations own the U.S. government but seriously, what a simple concept. What is “temporary?” To fail to define that means “temporary” is permanent.
Here’s more. The higher the bar, the better the protections. The U.S. is the blue bar, third from left.
The United States has some of the weakest labor protections for temp workers in the developed world. Other countries have adopted regulations limiting the length of temp assignments, guaranteeing equal pay for equal work and restricting companies from hiring temps for hazardous tasks. Here, we map out how countries compare based on data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which produces research on behalf of the world’s industrialized nations.
I wish it were that Washington worked for We the People instead of the corporatocracy.
Eric Cantor forgot who he was working for. If Brat wins, he probably will too.
Here’s more: Dave Versus Goliath, by the Numbers.
I think we’re all upset by this.
Here’s the latest on the awful crash that killed one man and critically injured three others, including comedian Tracy Morgan:
The truck driver who caused a six-car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that killed one man and critically injured three others, including comedian Tracy Morgan, had not slept for 24 hours according to the complaint charging him with vehicular homicide.
The complaint charges that Kevin J. Roper, 35, of Georgia, was driving his tractor-trailer on the Turnpike in Cranbury early Saturday morning, “ without having slept for a period in excess of 24 hours” before he struck the 2012 Mercedes van carrying Morgan, 45, who is in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
By the way, the trucker was driving a WalMart/Sam’s Club rig. Given WalMart’s reputation for horrible working conditions, I hate to think what kind of pressure he was working under.
Anyway, lookie here at what the United States Senate did last Thursday:
A Senate panel on Thursday approved an amendment that would nullify some of the federal rest requirements for truck drivers.
The amendment, which was opposed by the Obama administration and safety advocates, rolls back a requirement that drivers be given time off during specific hours of the night. The “restart requirements” were enacted in 2013 to reduce fatigue among drivers.
Specifically, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 21-9 to rescind portions of the rules that require truck drivers to take breaks between 1 and 5 a.m. on consecutive nights before they can work again. The amendment would also undo a rule that limits truck drivers to declaring only one “restart” per week.
The amendment was sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has been sharply criticized by transportation safety groups for the effort to change the rules.
Lawmakers were under pressure from the trucking industry and business groups to eliminate the 1 to 5 a.m. requirement and the one-restart-per-week limit because the industries said the rules resulted in drivers having to take two full days off between shifts, in some cases.
Democrats in Montana who are (1) owned by the oil and gas industry or (2) who suffer from Stockholm Syndrome and are to immature to know it and too terrified to get therapy to overcome it have got to go:
BUTTE – While the Obama administration is churning out rules to limit greenhouse gases that cause climate change, Montana Democrats on Friday resisted placing the words “climate change” in their party platform.
“We can sit here and talk about what we believe here as Democrats,” said Sen. Jim Keane, D-Butte, who argued against mentioning the costs of climate change in the platform. “I believe in the (coal) workers who work in eastern Montana, too.
A party platform committee considered the change, which would have said the party believes in protecting the environment rather than burdening future generations with the “extraordinary costs of climate-change-caused” effects, but voted against adding the climate change language.
Short-sighted, uninspired, backward-looking idiots chained to the coal lobby: A huge majority of Americans support regulating carbon from power plants. And they’re even willing to pay for it.
Do they have kids? Grandkids?
We need LEADERS.
From David Corn over at Mother Jones magazine:
Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs Problem – She talks populism, but hobnobs with Wall Street
A few weeks ago, Hillary Clinton delivered a much-touted policy speech at the New America Foundation in Washington, where she talked passionately about the financial plight of Americans who “are still barely getting by, barely holding on, not seeing the rewards that they believe their hard work should have merited.” She bemoaned the fact that the slice of the nation’s wealth collected by the top 1 percent—or 0.01 percent—has “risen sharply over the last generation,” and she denounced this “throwback to the Gilded Age of the robber barons.” Her speech, in which she cited the various projects of the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation that address economic inequality, was widely compared to the rhetoric of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the unofficial torchbearer of the populist wing of the Democratic Party. Here was Hillary, test-driving a theme for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, sticking up for the little guy and trash-talking the economic elites. She decried the “shadow banking system that operated without accountability” and caused the financial crisis that wiped out millions of jobs and the nest eggs, retirement funds, and college savings of families across the land. Yet at the end of this week, when all three Clintons hold a daylong confab with donors to their foundation, the site for this gathering will be the Manhattan headquarters of Goldman Sachs.
This is a case of actions speaking louder — way louder — than words. I don’t trust her.
You know the saying: If you post something on the Internets it’s going to be there forever. Too bad House Republican Mark Amodei of Nevada didn’t get the memo about how he should be really, really mad at President Obama for rescuing Bowe Bergdhal before he posted this now-deleted tweet. It was up for 15 hours before it was deleted at 10:19 a.m. on June 1.
Yikes, big OOPS there.
Gee. I wonder if we can take anything from this as in maybe — ya think? — the conservative media blitz we’re living through right now is all about hating on Democrats and the 2014 election?
Nah. They’d never do that. They care about creating jobs, jobs, jobs, right?
Thanks to Politwoops (deleted tweets from politicians).
Oh, and there’s this inconvenient fact which I’m sure you’re hearing and reading everywhere as we speak: White House first discussed Bergdahl prisoner exchange with lawmakers in 2011
President Obama is holed up in the D.C./White House bubble, and has been for lo the the last six years, but one would hope and think he’d appoint advisers who are in touch with reality and with the pulse of his party. I mean, there is an election coming up.
But no. This is so shockingly tone-deaf:
What. Are. They. Thinking?
Oh, and btw, Obama went to Walmart to promote solar energy. If you’re like me, you’re shaking your head. Walmart = solar energy? Really?
This is what happens to the tax system when it’s permissible for corporate lobbyists to throw megabucks at people who are supposed to represent, ah, We the People. Hardscrabble teachers’ (and other) unions crawl on their hands and knees in an attempt to be heard but they aren’t. They don’t have the
This is so wrong:
My Tweet of the Day is a big yep. It’s complicated of course but in a nutshell, this is where we are:
Democrats in Illinois plan to spend — get this — $100,000,000.00 to lure Barack Obama’s presidential library to the state:
The Democrats, who run this state, regularly fret over Illinois’s financial woes — the unpaid bills, the mortifying credit ratings, the benefits cuts to save one of the nation’s most underfunded pension systems. But then there is the dream of becoming home to Barack Obama’s presidential library, which is, it seems, a whole different matter.
“In this case, we’re talking about a son of Illinois who became president of the United States,” Michael J. Madigan, the longtime Democratic speaker of the Illinois House, said on Wednesday, urging fellow lawmakers to pledge $100 million in state money [as in taxpayer dollars] as a way to help lure the presidential library here — and away from other states with claims on the president’s history, like New York and Hawaii.
That’s fu*ked up. But it gets worse:
Richard Nixon’s presidential library cost $25,000,000. Jimmy Carter’s presidential library cost $26,000,000. George H. W. Bush’s presidential library cost $43,000,000. Bill Clinton’s presidential library cost $165,000,000. George W. Bush’s presidential library cost $250,000,000. The estimated cost of building Obama’s presidential library are coming in at $500,000,000.
A half a billion dollars for a presidential library.
The presidential library is like the American version of the pyramids.
I hope headlines around the country tomorrow read like this:
Senate Republicans Block Vote on Bill Hiking National Minimum Wage
Senate Republicans Wednesday killed a bill that would have increased the minimum wage gradually to $10.10 an hour. They said it would cost employers too much and cut jobs.
We’re not talking “liberal media” here, we’re talking facts. The Republicans killed the bill. Period. I don’t want to see headlines like: “Senate Fails to Approve Minimum Wage Increase.” I want to see headlines like the one above. Republicans killed the bill, the Senate as a whole didn’t.
Here are some of the questions “illegal immigrants” have to answer before they’re given U.S. citizenship.
Would you pass?
I think Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign was the biggest scam ever. Put another way, I was an idiot to vote for the guy.
This would be Obama in 2007:
This would be Obama today:
Apparently net neutrality is officially dead. The Wall Street Journal reports today that the FCC has given up on finding a legal avenue to enforce equal access and will instead propose rules that explicitly allow broadband suppliers to favor companies that pay them for faster pipes.
Shorter: If you have a website, the more money you pay to, say, Comcast, the higher your visibility.
Guess who wins. Again?
The people who have $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
You and me and our little blogs? Bye bye.
Bill Maher has some good insight on how maddeningly inept Democrats are at selling ideas (and how good Republicans are at it):
Bill Maher had a lesson in language and wordsmith that should be heeded. The reality is those that have been trying to provide Americans with fact based information in the aggregate have failed. Why is that the case? It is because of the deceptive use of language. The essence of communicating one’s thought is the effective use of language.
For decades now liberals pushed the issue of assisted suicide and it got nowhere. Then they started to call it aid in dying and its approval shot up 20 points and it is now legal in five states. … That’s the power of language.
That success and the success the Democrats had rebranding gay marriage as marriage equality means they’ve finally caught on to what Republicans learned a long time ago from their guru on words, … Frank Luntz. Frank is the genius Right Wing wordsmith who taught Republicans instead of saying ‘estate tax’, say ‘death tax’. Instead of saying poor people, say the takers.
Being a Republican means starting with a bedrock principle like rich people shouldn’t pay taxes. … Did I say don’t tax rich people? I meant encourage the job creators. Did I say don’t let Black people vote? I meant clamp down on voter fraud.
Perhaps you noticed how everyone on the Right universally decided at the exact same moment that Obama’s ‘weakness’ is what ‘emboldened Putin to take Crimea. At that’s not a matter of great minds thinking alike because for that you would need great minds. …
That’s because once the word is decided on, every single Republican from the presidential contenders on down to the feces throwers on hate radio … all chant it like rain man over and over until it is beaten into our skull.
B R A V O! My God Democrats. Listen to this guy!!!
This happened 11 years ago tonight:
Watch it. I’m serious. It’s amazing how much pleasure CNN got from showing live video of bombs blowing people up.
I remember thinking how thrilled Americans would be about this: explosions, patriotism and oh yeah, they’re gonna pay! We bad!
Eleven years on:
Jim Himes is the Democratic congressman from Connecticut’s 4th District. The 4th District consists of New York City “bedroom communities” like Greenwich. Mr. Himes, “began his professional career at Goldman Sachs & Co. where he worked his way up to Vice President over the course of a 12-year career. There he worked extensively in Latin America and headed the bank’s telecommunications technology group.” He “lives in Greenwich with his wife Mary and two daughters Emma and Linley.”
Here are some factoids about the 4th District:
– The 4th Congressional District is 5th out of 436 other congressional districts [in the country] in income per capita.
– The 4th Congressional District is 22nd out of 436 other congressional districts [in the country] in income per household.
– The average income per household is: $82,174.
Bearing all of the above in mind, read this clueless tweet Himes sent out today:
And Greenwich, Connecticut is?
(He’s dissing NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, members of his own party who are trying to represent We the People as opposed to his constituents, the 1%ers.)
There is no way the United States can say a thing like this ever, from now, until the end of time:
Kerry Condemns Russia’s ‘Incredible Act of Aggression’ in Ukraine
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday condemned Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine and threatened economic sanctions by the United States and allies to isolate Moscow, but called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text,” Kerry told the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
If Republicans ever – ever — bring up the supposed scandal that was Benghazi again, I hope every single Democratic politician and journalists everywhere will wave this in their face:
GOP Report Acknowledges That The U.S. Military Couldn’t Have Changed Benghazi Outcome
In a new report released on Tuesday, the House Armed Services Committee concludes that there was no way for the U.S. military to have responded in time to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya to save the four Americans killed that night. In doing so, the report debunks entirely a right-wing myth that says the White House ordered the military not to intervene.
The Democrats on the panel asked their Republican colleagues if they could finally move on from Bengahzi. “This report, produced by House Armed Services Committee Republicans, should finally bring an end to the politicization of the heinous attacks on brave Americans in Benghazi,” HASC Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith (D-CA) and Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA), the HASC Oversight and Investigations subcommittee’s ranking member, said in a statement. “It is time to move forward, take the real conclusions we have arrived at and establish how to best protect our citizens around the globe. It is our hope that today’s report, which was authored by Republicans, finally brings this attempt to manufactured scandal to an end.”
It would be so cool if every so-called journalist and every so-called news reporter knew that President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than any modern president. And it would be so cool if they’d print a copy of this chart and whip it out when people like Rand Paul accuse Obama of “arrogance” or of issuing “threats” when he says he just might issue executive orders to get some things done around here.
This spate of retirements (and who knows how many more there are to come in the next, well, hours) goes to show that Democrats have completely given up on retaking the House in this election or any election in the near future. And that’s perfectly rational, because they’re not going to!
In 2012, Democrats won a handsome victory of all votes cast for House members, on the tails of a reelected Democrat president, and still only managed to pick up a handful of seats—nowhere near what they needed to regain the majority. In 2014, by comparison, Democrats are expected to suck. And Republicans have drawn the map in their favor.
For Democrats to regain a majority, they basically need a good state-level election in a Census year by which they can redraw the map to something a little more in their favor…
But surely powerful figures in the minority can “get things done,” even little things, by working with the majority, right? Ha no. The most “action” that House Democrats have seen since they’ve been in the majority has been in helping to bail out John Boehner on things like debt ceiling hikes or funding agreements. There’s really no point to being even a veteran in the House minority at all anymore if there’s no chairmanship on the horizon. House Republicans will not bring up any bill of yours, because why would they? They’re trending more conservative, and House Democrats, at least rhetorically, are trending more liberal. Even if you’re a powerful member of the House minority, like [Jim] Moran [D-VA - 12 terms] or [George] Miller [D-CA - 20 terms], the best you can do is sit quietly during a hearing as a ranking member while the clown chairman berates some mid-level bureaucrat about creeping communism.
This morning I came across this:
ALEC Plans Massive Environmental Attack for 2014
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has a big year ahead of them, as they attempt to dismantle a slew of environmental protections from state to state. More specifically, the corporate front group is hoping to pass dirty energy friendly legislation to ease the rules for electric utilities.
From state to state, ALEC is drafting legislation that would cut renewable energy, increase dependence on coal and dismantle energy efficiency standards.
And then I remembered reading about this a few days ago:
[Colorado's "Democratic"] Governor Hickenlooper has chosen Glenn Vaad, a former state representative from Weld County, as the newest of the three-member Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Mr. Vaad is no friend of clean energy for Colorado—his voting record allied primarily with the fossil fuel industry at the expense of Colorado’s clean energy economy. Mr. Vaad is also a former high-ranking member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a powerful corporate lobbying group whose members include Koch Industries and others pushing state legislatures to turn back the clock on adoption of renewable energy in Colorado and elsewhere.
If a so-called Democratic governor is appointing “former high-ranking” members of ALEC to state boards — any board — we’re doomed. Seriously. It illustrates the fact that this isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats anymore — they’re all being corrupted — it’s about the corporatocracy and the monied class against the rest of us.
The House and Senate reconvened on Monday, January 6 — you got it, just ten working days ago — after a three-week vacation.
Now they’re heading off on another week-long vacation next week:
After that, they’re taking the week of February 17th off, the week of March 17th, and then in April they get two weeks off — April 17 – 27. After that they get one week off in May, June and July and then they get the whole month of August off. Check out their schedule here.
Unreal. It’s not as if there’s nothing to do.
I’m thinking we should do away with their salaries and pay them by the hour.
John Hickenlooper: Colorado’s Beer Mogul Governor Wants to Quash Weed Sales to Protect His Alcohol Business
Oh the irony: Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D), a guy who made millions and connected with the establishment by selling alcohol at his bars, is slamming the voter-approved legalization of weed in Colorado.
Yep. Looper is one of those “new Dems.” Dems who aren’t really Dems and who I, for one, am stick as hell of.
Again, he’s a beer magnate. He blows off the will of the people — Democratic values redux I guess — and now he wants to regulate weed “more strenuously” than alcohol.
Bottom line: Colorado’s “Democratic” Governor wants to quash the will of the people in order to maintain his monopoly on the drug that made him rich.
What a guy:
As legal recreational marijuana settles in across Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper said he isn’t about to lead the way in promoting marijuana business.
“I hate Colorado having to be the experiment,” he said Friday in an interview with The Durango Herald editorial board.
Colorado has gained international attention for legalizing recreational marijuana sales Jan. 1. Some communities, including Durango, have moratoriums or bans in place.
Hickenlooper said he wants to reduce youth marijuana use, an ambitious goal in a time of greater availability. Hickenlooper pointed to evidence that smoking marijuana harms long-term memory.
“We should not try to get people to do more of what is not a healthy thing,” he said.
Hickenlooper opposed Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in the state. Now that it’s on the books, Hickenlooper said he’s committed to regulating it more strenuously than alcohol.
The U.S. is a “center right” nation? I don’t think so. A majority want single-payer health care. A majority now support gay marriage. There’s huge support for extending unemployment insurance and now — now — most of us support legalizing marijuana:
D.C. pundits, receiving text messages from conservatives as they speak, insist we’re, ah, a conservative nation but no we aren’t.
As I’ve mentioned before, six or seven years ago I read a quote somewhere from someone (don’t remember any of the particulars) about why so many Republicans appeared on “talk news” shows. The answer was, “They’re the ones in power.”
It made sense at the time but whoever said was obviously full-o-crap. Democrats are in power now but Republicans still dominate. The blue lines are Democrats, the red lines are Republicans:
Larger version here.
Not only that, the Democrats, left to right, are Joe Manchin (Coal Industry-WV), Chuck Schumer (Wall Street – NY) and Dick Durbin (In Favor of cutting Soc. Sec. benefits – IL). Manchin and Schumer are corporate Democrats. Something happened to Durbin along the way because he’s itching to cut Social Security. If they switched parties no one would notice. All these guests have pretty much the same point of view. It’s misleading to think that just because someone labeled a Democrat is on with a Republican at any given time, the audience isn’t actually hearing differing opinions. For all intents and purposes all of these guests are Republicans.
The next time I hear the term, “liberal media,” you’ll probably be able to hear me scream.
Ah duh. Since Democrats seem to be suffering from Stockholm syndrome (going on 30 years now) and they’re incompetent when it comes to messaging, wouldn’t it be nice if someone put into context the Republican claim that extending unemployment benefits will break the bank?
Thank you Dean Baker. I mean, how hard is this:
Scream about this Democrats.
Got that? Earlier this month, Republicans refused to extend unemployment insurance to more than a million Americans because they’re lazy a++holes and if we coddle them they’ll just keep on keepin’ on sucking the tit of the American taxpayer.
Dear god of the universe: If only we really did have a liberal media here in the U.S., they’d be screaming about this: <—- <—-:
And if we had Democrats here in the U.S. who made some serious noise, who had guts and a willingness to stand up to the corporatocarcy (thank you Justice Roberts and your ruling on Citizens United), We the People might stand a chance…
So John Boehner is a hero because he stood up to the people who hated his budget before they read it?
This is what’s really going on here (heads up Tea Partiers — they’re playing you for fools):