Archive for dick durbin

Group finds that ALEC falsified signatures on "stand your ground" letter to Sen. Dick Durbin

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We've posted about ALEC a lot here at TPC. For example:

ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) is an organization of state legislators which favors federalism and conservative public policy solutions. They literally write legislation for Republican Congress members, who then do whatever they can to pass it. The Nation:

Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding.

And as ALEC Exposed explains:

ALEC bills would privatize public education, crush teacher’s unions, and push American universities to the right. Among other things, these bills make education a private commodity rather than a public good, and reverse America’s modern innovation of promoting learning and civic virtue through public schools staffed with professional teachers for children from all backgrounds.

Now we have this, via Think Progress:

This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) sent Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) a letter that claimed the Senator’s investigation into ALEC’s involvement “Stand Your Ground” laws was a form of “intimidation.” The letter was supposed to have carried the clout of about 300 state legislators who signed onto it, but, according to an investigation by progressive group by ProgressNow, many of the signatures on that letter were falsified or duplicated. [...]

The group said it was signed by 293 elected officials. But, ProgressNow found, 55 of the signatures are “blatantly invalid.”

ALEC itself is "blatantly invalid," yet it still dictates legislation on behalf of Corporate America. Let's hope this tarnishes ALEC's image and helps more people to become aware of how they operate, eventually leading to its undoing.

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Sen. Dick Durbin: Assault weapon ban won’t be in gun measure.

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nra money cartoon Luckovich

tweet emptywheel assault weapons banLink

Once again, our elected officials are listening with their wallets. Apparently, they forgot about this:

poll assault weapons ed show gun

The assault weapon ban is about to be, well, banned unless Dianne Feinstein can pull off a miracle and garner support for her amendment. Dick Durbin is saying that Senate gun-safety legislation won't include a proposal to ban assault-style weapons.

How’s that "gentleman’s agreement" workin' for ya, Harry? This could be why Durbin said, “We need to revisit” the filibuster rules.

Bloomberg:

Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told reporters he is working toward gun legislation that can get 60 votes to overcome Republican delaying tactics. He said Feinstein’s measure has fewer than 40 votes.

Expanding background checks, school safety measures, and tougher penalties for gun trafficking are still included.

 So is the ability to use the silent filibuster.

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Sen. Dick Durbin: "We need to revisit" the filibuster rules

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filibuster reform

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill), don't tease us, please don't tease us... unless you mean it. After my previous post, many of us got a Chris Matthews thrill up our collective leg: Senate Dems think Harry Reid should revisit filibuster reform if GOP continues to block Chuck Hagel.

Of course, Harry Reid never really wanted to change the filibuster. Dick Durbin said that he was uncertain whether the filibuster deal that Reid made with McConnell would make it easier to pass bills, saying, “It requires good will [and] good faith.” Well, at least he has a sense of humor.

But we've had enough. As Rachel Maddow put it, “How’s that ‘gentleman’s agreement’ going now that we’ve just had a filibuster of a cabinet nominee for the first time in American history?”  And it appears that Durbin is asking himself and Harry Reid the same question.

Durbin, via Roll Call:

“We have tried at the beginning of this Senate session to avoid this kind of filibuster confrontation. The last several years we have had over 400 filibusters — a record number of filibusters in the Senate... I hate to suggest this, but if this is an indication of where we’re headed, we need to revisit the rules again... We need to go back to it again. I’m sorry to say it because I was hopeful that a bipartisan approach to dealing with these issues would work.”  [...]

“We had the first filibuster in history of a secretary of Defense nominee, the first... And now we follow with this filibuster of this D.C. Circuit nominee. I don’t think we’ve achieved much in our rules reform. I don’t think our spirit of bipartisanship has shown much in terms of results.”

Bingo. He's referring to the fact that Senate Republicans just filibustered the nomination of Caitlin J. Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She got 51 votes.

And GOP Sen. Rand Paul did actually take the floor to “actively filibuster” the nomination of John O. Brennan to be the next CIA director. He talked his fool head off. For hours.

Ironically, that's exactly the kind of filibuster that has been proposed. Under Jeff Merkley’s plan for reform, the filibuster wouldn’t have ended and the Dems would still be able to use the option to filibuster when they are the minority party. It would have taken more effort and transparency to voice opposition, but the filibuster would have remained intact.

Senators Durbin and Reid? Your move.

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Quickie-- Sen. Dick Durbin: White House won't increase Medicare age

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Today's Quickie is a welcome one:

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of President Barack Obama's top Senate allies says he's been assured by the White House that the president won't yield to GOP demands to increase the eligibility age for Medicare.

That was today's Quickie. Was it good for you?

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Video- Fox News Sunday Dishonestly Cuts Up Obama's "Acts Of Terror" Speech

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We have no chance with Fox calling the shots. Via.

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VIDEO: "Mitt Romney is the Obamacare daddy."

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At about 3:30, Sen. Dick Durbin said:

“Let’s get down to the bottom line here. Mitt Romney is the Obamacare daddy. He gave birth to this baby up in Massachusetts, and now he doesn’t recognize it.”

So this is how Willard treats his own offspring? Not very family valuesy of him, is it?

Durbin also said this:

"You either get a Swiss bank account to conceal what you are doing, or you believe the Swiss franc is stronger than the American dollar."

Earlier I posted about Haley Barbour's support of Willard Romney's strategy of evasion. Brilliant move. If President Obama dodged questions and hid his tax returns the way Mitt does, the right would demand his impeachment.

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Sen. Dick Durbin calls for Congress to investigate News Corp. + phone-hacking whistleblower found dead

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I have a few news items to share regarding MurdochGate. First, the L.A. Times goes into a lot of detail about the back story, who's been arrested, what's coming up, etc. I singled out a few excerpts, because the take is slightly different than all the "Boyoboy, they are so busted!" ones I've seen.

Their reporting on Rebekah Brooks differs slightly from what I've seen elsewhere (see last sentence of this post), in that they say her participation has been "thrown in doubt."

And this:

For Murdoch, the challenge Tuesday will be to strike the right note of humility and contrition ...

Talk about mission impossible.

Analysts said it was the media mogul's only hope for salvaging a reputation so badly battered... [...]

"Sackcloth and ashes from now on" is how Brian Cathcart, a journalism professor and member of a campaign demanding full accountability over the scandal, described the attitude Murdoch must adopt to keep public opinion here from further hardening against him.

So if he hangs his head, shuffles his feet, and puts on a good show, he's off the hook. Got it.

Oddly, I read a sentence in my hard copy of the Times from Paul Connew, a former deputy editor of the News of the World and now a public-relations consultant, that was omitted from the online version of the article: "Testifying before a parliamentary committee would have more effect than an ad."

I beg to differ, Paul No-Longer-of-News of the World.

He goes on:

"The more candid he is, the more chance … the damage control could be pretty successful," Connew said.

Murdoch, News Corp.'s chairman, will almost certainly deny any personal knowledge of phone hacking at the News of the World. Since the tabloid represented only a minuscule part of his media empire, his denials will seem plausible, analysts say. [...]

Patrick Dunleavy, a political analyst at the London School of Economics, said the quality of the questioning by the committee is likely to vary widely. Some lawmakers may relish an opportunity to vent their spleen against a media kingpin before whose power they once trembled; others may ask strong first questions but flail at follow-up ones.

This is one reason we need our own investigation. Speaking of which...

Via The Hill:

Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the second-ranking Senate Democrat, has called for congressional hearings and investigations of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to determine whether it employed illegal practices in the United States. [...]

We need to follow through with the FBI investigation and also with congressional investigations,” he said. [...]

Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.), chairman of the Senate Republican Steering Committee, said Sunday that Congress should stay out of the issue. 

I wonder how many times Jim DeMint has appeared on ClusterFox.

And just when you think this story isn't sordid and bizarre enough, The Guardian is reporting this:

Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbiz reporter who was the first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead, the Guardian has learned.

Hoare, who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Coulson before being dismissed for drink and drugs problems, is said to have been found dead at his Watford home. [...]

"The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing."

Rupert Murdoch's testimony before Parliament starts at 9:15 a.m. Eastern tomorrow. Keith Olbermann will cover it live on Current TV. Rebekah Brooks will also be testifying.

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