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GOP Senators Vote Against US Pledge of Allegiance

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I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all...

That's how the original Pledge of Allegiance goes. But the U.S. Senate, under the leadership of the Republican party, has undertaken to amend the age-old pledge. They're adding "except for minorities, the poor, and women."

It seems the GOP has determined there's a new meaning to phrases or words like "one Nation," "indivisible" and "liberty and Justice for ALL". It used to be that "All" means everyone. "Liberty and Justice" means freedom and fairness. Finally, "one nation" means united, as in the United States. Evidently, gone are the days...

Sadly yesterday the Senate Republicans, voted to trample their pledge. They voted down, as a unit, the Paycheck Fairness Act. Its purpose was to fix a wrong in our nation. It was to close the gap between wages of men and women doing the same job. And this bill would not cost anything. Here's what the proposed law would do, according to THE HILL:

The legislation punishes employers for retaliating against workers who share wage information, and puts the justification burden on employers as to why someone is paid less and allows workers to sue for punitive damages of wage discrimination.

So let's hear it for the patriotic Senate hypocrites from the GOP who swear by their patriotism yet feel it's important to trample on the very tenets of our Pledge of Allegiance. 

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Koched-Up: Take This Job and Shove It, I Don't Work Tea Hill, Anymore

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Image Courtesy Demos

Image Courtesy Demos

Written by guest contributor, "hardybear" of the wonderful Free Range Talk site:

The Federal government and the Koched-Up Lipton Brigade who finished trashing it after BushCo. have officially become the shite-iest bosses in the world. And not just the Free World.

GOP-HypocrisyTwo full branches are in need of a tree surgeon at this point, and what is even an Executive of Obama's calibre to do with both chambers crawling with petulant rich kids  and antique lifer 'Justices'??  Beleagured man was probably trying to recruit the People's Pope for that highest bench just to shame Scalia & Gang.

I confess that I, staunch progressive since the womb, wept when Olympia Snowe announced her exit from Stage Crazy In Washington D.C. early on. Partly because she was one of the last New England RINO's in existence we could count on to 'swing vote' key legislation.

Image, Cagle Cartoons

Image, Cagle Cartoons

Primarily because we were at the beginning of a Domino Fall Fail of "will not seek reelection' announcements that would include good liberals as well. Have a look at the roster of who has already said ¡Hasta La Vista Suckers! here. 

Citizens United was a cancerous, bloated pestilence unleashed by That Manly Bench. SCOTUS used McCutcheon to put every office that can be leveraged with the USD for sale this week, which means we can now add usury and an extra level of corrosive conservative corruption thinly (Fredericks of Hollywood thinly) disguised as more transparent handling of campaign contributions by The People.

 

Congressional Retirement Chart from Pew Research

Congressional Retirement Chart from Pew Research

To roughly paraphrase NY state's Senator Chuck Schumer in response to that Robed Regressive Ridiculousness: "It's another step on the ruination of our political system ... until we are back to the days of the robber barons …"

It only took from 1776 until this week to return to a nation ruled by the monied class.

lobbyistSo what are we liberals going to do about it?? Turn the Sluther Mucking Titanic around and get out every last Vote possible. Worse may be on the way, according to Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker. 

We fight back. The Hobby Lobby Green family may own nigh on every for-sale Biblical artifact available,  Shelly Moneybags will buy all elections that take cash or 'credit' and the GOPissants may well have to run Jeb as their Savior.

We fight back. Regressives may have Texas down to six [as of this morning] functioning Women's Healthcare clinics, the Tea Party has crawled up our collective uterus and the War is young.

They won't give up … until Roe is long gone,  the country is Fenced In, every gay American is single, and back in the closet and girls are back to doing floors on their hands and knees in all trimesters.

SCOTUS approved purchasing their employees is just this week's con Cristal news. Fight Back.

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Mary Barra-ly Telling The Truth About GM Related Deaths

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GMMaryBarraw300h264

 

Sometimes people just aren't the right people to ask when something goes wrong. But in the case of GM and the multiple deaths attributed to a faulty ignition switch design, you'd think the government had found the right person to quiz.

There was an apparent `cover-up and to get to the bottom of this, General Motors tabbed the CEO of the company to come in and answer official inquiries by both the House and Senate committees into what happened, how it happened, when the company knew about it and what steps did they take to correct the situation?

Simple enough questions. And Mary Barra, the GM CEO, should be ideally suited to answer these questions. That is, if GM had nothing to hide. Sadly, they do and she did. She showed up to the Senate hearings and played the typical ignorance game -- she defended her lack of knowledge in this deadly issue by playing dumb. Truth is, she's anything but. She claimed that she is new to her job and she needs time to look for the answers. Currently she just doesn't know enough to comment on her company's potential criminality nor their alleged cover-up.

That wasn't good enough for committee chairperson, Sen. Claire McCaskill, (D-Missouri). She got right to the point to tear apart Barra's 'neophyte status' defense. Checking out Barra's resume, which McCaskill does so deftly, you can see why her "I wasn't aware of a problem" defense" was shred into itty-bitty pieces.

It's time for GM to stop lying to buy time and confess to their liability. Thirteen families have been devastated by their actions. We Americans have put a lot of money into big corporations to save them. Maybe they should start coming clean with us on their actions.

If the American public is going to subsidize you, (hear that big oil), you better come honest and prepared to our elected officials when summoned or face the consequences next time you look for us to give you any help.

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Senators Trying To Practice Medicine Without A License

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Here is part of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) mission statement from their website:

FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

Who makes up the FDA? Scientists, doctors and experts in related fields.

Who does NOT make up the FDA? Corporate sponsors, Big Pharma, groups or organizations which benefit from rulings AND elected officials.

The last one is why this post exists. It seems there are some in Congress who feel they, despite lack of any scientific facts, research or background education and training in medicine, know more about pharmacology than the experts do. Being elected for office requires no educational background and we've certainly seen way too much proof of that. So why should they be telling the FDA what's safe and what isn't? When they're sworn in, do they get a diploma from Dufus U. School of Medicine?

Dunderheads like Todd Akin, Steve King and others just don't get it. Now we can add a few more names to this list of non-doctors telling licensed medical practitioners what medications they can and cannot be prescribing.

This, from The Hill:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) plans to introduce legislation in the coming days that would push back against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approving a controversial prescription drug, his office confirmed Wednesday.

Manchin is working with several other senators on a bill that would target the FDA's approval process, after the agency gave the green light in October to Zohydro, which critics say is a highly-addictive and easily-abused painkiller.

Those several other senators include the Madam's boy,  David Vitter (R-Louisiana) and the ever increasingly neurotic Charles Schumer (D-New York). Each of them sent letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this month, demanding she step in and force the FDA to reverse its decision. She has jurisdiction over the agency.

What is this horrible drug that needs to be halted before it can be sold?  Zohydro. It's the first FDA-approved drug that uses pure hydrocodone to treat chronic pain. In lay terms, is amped up Vicodin. One tab of Zohydro would take the place of six to ten Vicodin. So, instead of two pills every two to four hours, you'd take one pill once or twice a day. It's cheaper, its more effective and would aid people in chronic pain. It's been tested, researched and successfully made it through the numerous, stringent studies involved with any new medication.

How is that so awful? According the the Manchin gang, it could lead to abuse and overdosing. Well, Senators, so can Vicodin and other pain meds. According to GEN (Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology), the most abused medication today is Oxycontin. Hydrocodone is only number 17. So maybe you should be looking into the 16 medications that are abused in greater numbers than Vicodin. They include Xanax, Ativan and Valium.

Oh, that's right, those are the pills you might already be using to deal with the anxiety and pressures of your new responsibilities as resident doctors in the Senate chambers.

Let's not always look at the worst case scenario. There will always be people who abuse medications. Let's not punish those who are really in need because of a small percentage of abusers. It's doctors who should be the ones either prescribing a drug or withholding it from a patient. But the choice should be left to experts, not politicians. They have trouble walking and chewing gum. Maybe they should stick to improving those skills. Then they can work their way up to walking and talking while making sense.

That's wishful thinking, I know. Maybe there's a pill for that.

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GOP Plays Confusion Card On Adegbile To Suppress Vote

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This past week, the senate voted down President Obama's nominee to head up the Department of Justice's civil rights department. This nominee was Debo P. Adegbile. His proposed appointment drew the ire and nay votes of every Republican in the upper chamber. And to be fair, 7 Democrats joined them if bringing down this lawyer. The most popular reason given was that Adegbile had defended an accused cop killer in Philadelphia. That man's name is Mumia Abu-Jamal. Forget that these are not common or easy names to remember, just keep this in mind: Adegbile is a lawyer and Abu-Jamal is the convicted killer.

Now to get back to the nomination of Adegbile. Once again the Republicans got the facts all wrong - intentionally this time. Adegbile was not, as the GOP says, the lawyer for the cop killer, Abu-Jamal. Adegbile was only 7 years old at the time of the trial. Years later, Adegbile did became litigation director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. They represented Abu-Jamal on an appeal of his death sentence based on questionable instructions given to the jury. As it turned out, Mr. Adegbile was not on the legal team which DID PREVAIL. He merely headed the fund. The ultimate ruling didn't set aside the conviction, only the sentence. Instead of the death penalty, Abu-Jamal received life in prison without chance of parole. He didn't walk. This is outrageous.

So no innocent person went free nor did Adegbile have anything to do with the actual trial. Now Chief Justice Roberts and former President John Adams did actually defend murderers and prevailed. They weren't refused a fair chance to hold their offices for doing their jobs. Why should this happen to Adegbile? The answer is that it had nothing to do with this cop killer case. That's just the smoke screen. It's much bigger than that.

Chris Hayes on All In did a great job of explaining what is really behind this campaign of misinformation. It's about voter rights.

How do you make the connection between voting rights, a lawyer just doing his job and a nominee to head the civil rights division of the Department of Justice? Hayes adroitly connects the dots. Bottom line, this is a coordinated Republican effort to stifle minority voting, senior voting, and young/new voters. It's a choreographed effort by Republicans to hold onto or trample over voter rights.

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2016's True Dream Presidential Ticket For The Dems - No Hillary

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Sanders Warren

There is a potential Democratic ticket that's being floated around that has Hillary Clinton nervous. Not because she doesn't think that she can win the general election if she gets the nomination, she fears the primary battle. A really hard fought primary battle.

If you flip back to 2006, Hillary was, as she is now, considered to be a shoo-in for the nomination. It was a done deal. Her inaugural dinner menu was already being planned.  And we all know how that turned out for her. The bruising primary battles with Barack Obama showed she had backbone and strength. She was a good candidate. Obama was better, plain and simple.

Now we're approaching 8 years from her prior "inevitability." And whispers in the wind are that there's someone who might run who could conceivably capture the Democratic nomination. And coupled with his name is a running mate. Someone who's most compatible and would give the Democrats a dream ticket without the Clinton baggage.

The "potential candidate" is not a Democrat. He is an Independent. And his name is Senator Bernie Sanders (I - Vermont).

Take a moment to digest this. TIME MAGAZINE has:

Sanders, who is the longest-serving Independent in congressional history, would have to officially register as a Democrat before he could run in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. But he says he hasn't yet made up his mind for sure if he’ll run, and he has time yet. One thing he is sure of: He’d make a better President than Hillary Clinton.

You  may ask who or why? Anyone in the political circles, Republican or Democrat, knows that Bernie is a man who speaks his mind and is filled with common sense more that a a need to fall in line with political dogma from either party. He's got America on his mind -- something the two major parties seem to clash over time after time -- and with disastrous results. Bernie just calls it as he sees it. And he sees it with compassion and practicality.

Sanders caucuses with the Democrats so his pick wouldn't be a far-fetched bit of chicanery. His reason for running he puts this way:

Clinton, he says, “is a very, very intelligent person, no question about it. But, I don’t know what her political future is, whether she’s going to run. I don’t know what she’s going to say. But, if you talk about the need for a political revolution in America, it’s fair to say that Secretary Clinton probably will not be one of the more active people.”

Senator Sanders knows what he's talking about. Clinton is a really well-rounded pick, but she's very willing to make compromise at the expense of Democratic policy. She's worldly, bright, articulate and an insider's insider. Is that what we want though? No one is more beholden to big money than the Clintons -- on either party's radar.

Here's the kicker to the Sander's potential for running. It paves the way for Senator Elizabeth Warren to run as Veep. If Hillary runs, the Dems won't put up an all-female ticket. Sad but true. And nobody, and I mean nobody comes close to standing up for consumers and against Wall Street's onerous practices than EW. In second place would be Bernie S. Together America wins.

Time will tell, but there's more and more chatter. Despite it being an all-New England ticket, it's most formidable. It's early and with Hillary playing games as she did in 2006 hemming and hawing about her running, she may be tricking herself once again. This time there's a potential juggernaut ready to take her on. If she announces she's running and Bernie still steps to the plate, look for one of the most amazing presidential primaries in the last hundred years.

Unlike the Republicans who have nobody running who can win the general election, the Democrats could have two major players, each qualified and each good for America. And if Democrats go with the fresher face of Bernie Sanders, he's less controversial, he's brilliant and he's got Elizabeth Warren at his side to groom for the Presidency after Bernie's 8 years.

Don't say I didn't warn ya!

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Once Again Sen. Warren Proposes Help To Consumers And Students

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Warren

Well, when it comes to consumer protections and forward thinking plans on how to make life better for all of us, there's now really only one voice. It's not Obama. It's not Boehner. It's not even a man. It's a woman who's becoming more a more of a hero every day to Democrats and Independents, and a seemingly unstoppable force against Republicans. She's Elizabeth Warren. Not even Hillary Clinton scares the GOP as much as she does.

She's been fighting Wall Street for us, trying to keep down runaway profits that don't, as the Republicans like to say, "trickle down" to working-class people. The GOP call them "job creators," but in reality they are money grabbers and thieves. Simon Legrees.

Yesterday EW, as the Senator is being called these days, announced a proposed bill to help the underwater fiscal lives of recent graduates of colleges and universities. And she's also allowing millionaires to take advantage of their preferential financial status and give a little back to those starting out, those who will someday lead these big financial institution and raise up civilization as a whole.

Her plan is quite simple -- a surtax -- yes a tax -- on earnings over $1Million. It's a modification to the Buffet rule. If you never heard of the Buffet rule, it that's because Republicans vetoed it. Think Progress:

The Buffet rule is named after billionaire Warren Buffet and would establish a minimum tax on income in excess of $1 million. The measure, which never got out of Congress, raises approximately $50 billion in revenue and ensures that millionaires do not pay lower tax rates than middle-class families.

Right now the government gives tax breaks to the highest earners but puts the burden on the lower wage earners. Millionaires and billionaires, pay lower taxes, if they even pay any, than middle class workers.

Warren's proposed bill will put those surtaxed revenues toward student loans which make trillions for the US treasure coffers. The onerous and usurious student loan rates in effect up until last year's reduction (which EW was a moving force in getting passed) are still in force. Unless they can be refinanced to current rates (not allowed under current rules), the older loans are going into default and students are crumbling under their weight. All Warren wants is to help people pay back the money they borrowed at today's lower rates, giving graduates more of a fighting chance to make it. It's win-win for America and our future. If you can refinance a house or a car, why not a student loan?

If you want to hear the future voice of America, Senator Warren of Massachusetts is the voice we need to listen to.

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