Archive for funding

Speaker of the House Boehner Calling It Quits

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I quit

Faced with an imminent crushing and humiliating defeat by his own caucus, Speaker of the House Boehner unexpectedly quit today. No, he didn't give up his Speakership -- only his obligations to run the House.  He's decided to throw in the towel, do nothing (something he excels at), and hang out a sign on Congress's door saying, "Gone Fishing. Be back in 5 weeks."

With no significant immigration bill to assuage the border fears he and his fellow Republicans fueled, he looks like he's a loser who's no longer got the control over his own people. Stick a fork in the old fool. He's done.

He can take solace in the fact that his leadership isn't the only one to take an embarrassing wallop by pulling his weak and ineffective immigration bill. The troika of House GOP leaders all were crushed. Washington Post reports:

The pulling of the bill marked an embarrassing failure in the first real test of the new leadership team that takes office Thursday following Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor’s resignation as majority leader.

Exiting a closed-door morning huddle at the Republican National Committee, senior Republicans had expressed confidence that the Boehner proposal would pass.

As recently as Thursday morning, hours before the scheduled summer break, Boehner had signaled he wanted a bill passed so the Democrats couldn't use the August break to pound away at the Xenophobic GOP. To ensure he could get conservative Republicans on his side, he was even ready to do away with the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program (DACA) -- surely something that would would get the Tea Party right wing immigration haters on board. It was all but assured -- and then the collapse. Newly elected GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise dashed Boehner's hopes with the news that he couldn't drum up the votes. Out the window went the bill as well as any possibility of getting Latino or Asian votes in the fall.

Smells-Like-Bullshit_o_99704

So now Boehner and his two cohorts have five weeks to hide their faces before they're called back to spend three more weeks doing nothing and then going on their next scheduled break. The national budget, transportation, immigration, embassy appointments, education reform, long term unemployment -- all of these are now going unattended.

Well, Boehner's done. And truthfully so is the GOP as they used to be known. There are three parties now in the US running our government -- Democrats, the remnant Republicans, and the Tea Party.

Are you an unhappy Republican? If so, blame John Boehner -- but do it quick. He might retire before returning. His orange face is obviously not wanted in Washington D.C. anymore, unless it's on a Wanted poster for obstruction of justice and dereliction of Duty.

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Contributing Impressively to the GOP War On Women, Domestic Violence in Arkansas

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Republican Elephant

The great state of Arkansas. Most known politically perhaps for producing President Bill Clinton and Fvx Nation star and famed squirrel-hunter, Mike Huckabee.

Recently on MSNBC's NewsNation with Tamron Hall, it also became fully known for the depths of its domestic violence problem, did Arkansas.

Violence against women has been getting press for all the wrong reasons, both an uptick in incidence and a general defunding and denial of it as an epidemic by the Regressive Right. Civilian, military, southern and northern, all economic classes and ethnicities included. It's a nondiscriminatory epidemic.

We The People Equality

Even prior to the #YesAllWomen outcry, we had seen the media make efforts to report on both sexual and other violence against women, and girls, to spread awareness. It was heartening to see a politician tackle it head on, as Mike Ross has done in Arkansas.

A short time ago we saw the heroine Malala dedicate her birthday wish and the energies associated with acknowledging her own significance globally, to the Nigerian girls still kidnapped and ripped apart from their families. [Video below from Time Magazine.]

 

 

Now bring that awareness of Global Girlpower to Tamron's coverage of the inadequate attention to the plight of women and violence in the all too close to home great state of Arkansas.

Mike Ross' plan calls for boozing funding for the sort of shelter that Laura might have found sanctuary within, as opposed to being in the grave, one more victim of domestic violence in Arkansas that might have been saved were dangers better managed.

Deja Moo

Domestic violence is particularly difficult to reach. It certainly needs as much boosting in law enforcement and awareness in the state of Arkansas as can be raised to tackle it. Laura Aceves is one horribly tragic story.

There are daily cases across the country that parallel hers, a horrific modern reality that the GOP continually chooses to deny and defund.

The candidate for the Arkansas governor's mansion behind this plan, Mike Ross, is a Democrat who feels this is an under-discussed and under-funded issue, and not a partisan issue. He is running for office on a number of platforms, and this appears one of the strongest. Have a look, from MSNBC.

Arkansas has some of the worst domestic violence realities in the country. May this election cycle see some healing light and public funding come to helping the victims and treating the roots of this endemic problem.

Wife beaters maybe aren't just standard apparel in Arkansas? That term has always bothered me - but so does this story.

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GOP Won't Vote To Protect Our Borders But They Do Vote To Protect Wall Street

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Wall Street

While the GOP is playing games of distraction with the lives of innocent children at our border, with phony IRS scandals perpetrated by Darrell Issa, and bogus Benghazi fantasies trashing human lives, the Republicans quietly used that to very quietly pass a bill which will impact all of us. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then the GOP has done its job of 'follow the shiny object' while they attack us and our financial and consumer protections.

While the GOP won't vote for money to protect our borders, it quietly found time to vote on a bill to protect Wall Street.

Raw Story:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to slash funding for Wall Street oversight and revamp new agencies dedicated to cracking down on fraud against consumers and policing risks after the financial crisis.

The $21.3 billion funding bill, which covers appropriations for the 2015 fiscal year beginning Oct 1 for financial services and other areas of government, passed the House in a 228 to 195 vote along largely partisan lines.

Ask yourself this: why are Republicans protecting Wall Street over the US citizenry? They claim border security is a major concern. What about our financial security and our customer fraud protections?

It [the bill] would temporarily bar a group of regulators responsible for policing market risks from designating large non-bank companies as “systemically important” – so big that their failure would destabilize markets.

In lay terms, it would make them "Too big to fail, too big to jail." Is that really the GOP looking out for us? Can any Republican say, "Lehman Brothers?"

The legislation would also cut mail delivery on Saturdays. Along with that is another seemingly unrelated issue to the Wall Street funding bill. This piece of legislation would prevent the District of Columbia from using federal funds to pay for abortions [including incest and rape victims] and implement rules that decriminalize marijuana use. What's the connection to Wall Street oversight with these tag-ons? Is this a funding bill or some criminal bill? Maybe the only thing criminal about it is that it passed the GOP house.

So as not to make this sound too one-sided. The House Republicans in this spending bill did take a much needed stab at cutting the deficit with a partial spending off-set.

It includes a ban on using taxpayer funds to pay for oil paintings of government officials, including the president and members of Congress.

If that makes it through the Democratic senate (fat chance there), we'll finally have a cost saver we can all live with.

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Romney All In For Another Run To Purchase White House

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dollar signs

Six months ago, I posted on The Political Carnival that Mitt Romney was leading in the New Hampshire polls for a 2016 run. And in those six months, nothing has changed. He still leads.

Last week's Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll of New Hampshire Republicans finds Romney to be the overwhelming favorite to be their 2016 GOP presidential nominee, with 24 percent going for Mitt and a mere 9 percent for the second-place finisher, Christie.

On the surface, Mitt is saying no, but in reality, he's pulling out all the stops behind the scenes to make a third go of it, having failed in 2008 to McCain and having bested the GOP crowd in 2012. Romney is actively looking to blunt the fundraising of the other Republicans in consideration, Rand Paul, Rafael Cruz, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and even Jeb Bush.

It takes huge money to run for POTUS. Romney not only has a lot of it himself, but according to this report from THE HILL:

Here is the dirty little secret of the GOP donor class, i.e. the rich establishment bundlers who funded the recent presidential campaigns of the Bushes, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.): They are actively trying to recruit Romney to run again in 2016 — and Mitt is indeed interested.

With the Chris Christie Bridge scandals and the lack of support for Jeb Bush, there's nowhere for the Republican party to turn if they want to beat Hillary Clinton. And for once, this is a smart choice for the Republicans. Romney has a ground organization. He's got name recognition. And he's got the bankroll.

How certain can we be that Romney's really going to go full bore?

At least that was the word sweeping through emails and conference calls heading into mid-June's exclusive Romney-sponsored GOP ideas summit out in Utah.

The truth is that the entire Utah event was actually aimed at beginning the process of having Romney again be the candidate of this Establishment Money Machine — only with some severe, but reachable, caveats.

Romney spoke to this summit — and on Sunday morning TV shows — on "how to beat Hillary," without actually saying what many were thinking: "Mitt Romney is the only Republican who could beat her."

 

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Bridge-it Loves Christie

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Pulaski Skyway Bridge Pulaski Skyway Bridge

What is it with boys and their toys? They just won't leave them alone sometimes. They have a fascination that they can't give up -- until they break them.

And NJ Governor Chris Christie may just have crossed that bridge too far.

Now comes another bridge scandal. No, really. Another bridge scandal. You just gotta love this guy, Christie. He doubles down when he thinks he can get away with something. He's determined to leave no bridge unturned.

Here's the latest from the Daily Beast:

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Manhattan district attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Christie's office for lobbying the Port Authority to divert $1.8 billion away from a canceled rail-tunnel project and towards repairing the Pulaski Skyway bridge. Pulaski is a state bridge, outside of the Port Authority's purview. The Christie administration recast the bridge as an access road to the Lincoln Tunnel (they're not connected) in order to justify using Port Authority funds. The move is under scrutiny for potentially defrauding bond holders. Under the Martin Act, prosecutors could bring felony charges without proving intent to defraud. The SEC could also take civil action.

What's it all mean? Fraud.

Christie, who boasted he could balance the state's budget in his reelection stump speeches, couldn't. So he diverted funds from a public source, the billion dollar rail-tunnel project. Christie cancelled the project which was already underway then took the unspent funds and used them for repairs that were not authorized. He did it by claiming the bridge was an access road.

A bridge became an access road? Okay, that's stretching it, but we'll move on.

He then claimed this "access road" connected to the Lincoln Tunnel. It does NOT  lead or connect in any way, shape or form to the Lincoln Tunnel. That's like saying the Bridge over the River Kwai connected Burma with London.

So, just when you thought it was safe to return to New Jersey, think again. You may be following road signs from Trenton to New York City and end up in Pennsylvania thanks to Gov. Christie and his new road connection designations.

But if you want to speak to him, you better do it quickly. He may be moving his office to the New Jersey State Department of Corrections.

Looks like he's gonna have a bit more 'splainin' to do, Lucy.

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GOP To Starving Unemployed: Live With It. I'm Getting My Nails Done

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Marsha Blackburn Representative Marsha Blackburn

Sometimes we as people get in over our heads. It's at times like those that we hope no one calls on us to explain our lack of knowledge or skills. Yesterday, on national TV, we got a glimpse of such an event. The interviewer MSNBC's Chris Jansing interviewed Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. The relatively unknown representative who faces reelection in November was advised to become the sacrificial lamb for the GOP in explaining the Republican's reluctance to extend long term unemployment insurance.

They sent her out unarmed and facing a well prepared journalist in Jansing.

Here is someone that her state of Tennessee elected, entrusting her to look out and protect their interests. Her state, BTW has a 8+ unemployment rate vesus a national 7.1. So of all people, she should be concerned with her constituents. But when you're a paper tiger, you go out and take all the slings and arrows that common sense tosses your way, with a smile and your ignorance. Her defense of fighting the extension is that it's not the problem, jobs are the problem. She dismisses that during the last Republican tenure in the White House, passing this, unpaid for, was standard stuff -- over 7 times.

Instead she blames Harry Reid and President Obama. Noticeably absent from that guilty group was her own, Speaker of the House, John Boehner. His job (oops, there's that word again) is to help create jobs. And as a congresswoman. she is part of Boehner's caucus, not Reid's or Obama's.

The two questions that Jansing didn't ask the syrupy sweet puppet from the Volunteer State is "If jobs are the big problem, what's your jobs plan?" What bill have you brought up that creates jobs?

If you want to see how crazy wackadoo the lemming GOP House has become, and how out of touch the dilettantes are thinking, watch this. Every point the Congresswoman makes, she's shot down by Jansing. When you have nowhere to turn and you're out of ammo, here's what you look like. Priceless is the moment, toward the end when she's asked what she would say to the people of her state who have higher unemployment than the average -- she doesn't offer them help. No, instead she offers them compassion. Tell me how much food you can put on a poor person's plate with compassion. How much heat you can add to your home when the polar vortex comes knocking on your door. strictly with compassion. This clip would be hysterical on Saturday Night Live, if it weren't so real.

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Sallie Mae Go Away

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Elizabeth Warren

Start with this jaw-dropping introduction by Huffpo:

Student loan giant Sallie Mae is currently under fire from lawmakers, federal regulators, consumer groups and student advocates for allegedly violating numerous consumer protection laws. The company is facing accusations that it cheats soldiers on active duty, engages in discriminatory lending, pushes borrowers into delinquency by improperly processing their monthly payments, and doesn't provide enough aid to borrowers in distress.

Then I say, screw them. No wonder Senator Elizabeth Warren has been calling for investigations into the student loan industry.

The U. S. Department of Education surely has options. Luckily there's a small window of opportunity here before the current contract with Sallie Mae is up in June.

The new contract, which would run through June 2019, is potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Last year, Sallie Mae recorded $84 million in revenue from its Education Department contracts. But the company wants more.

In its latest annual report, released in February, Sallie Mae told investors that in the 2013 fiscal year, the Education Department was projected to originate more than $121 billion in new loans and dole out more than $1 billion in servicing and other fees -- a large slice of which Sallie Mae hoped to capture.

Why isn't the DofE out there soliciting bidders? Something's not right here -- and the implication from this perceived closed bidding is that there's some shenanigans going on here. If we're willing to offer bail outs and support a 'too big to fail' philosophy, why don't we support 'small enough to fail but small enough to care?' Why not a consortium of smaller financial institutions and investors who want to make big money?

Student loan default rates have become alarmingly high. But much of that could be attributed to the onerous overseeing of Sallie Mae and their untoward business practices. If Sallie Mae cheats, why reward them?

Even better put is Senator Warren's comments:

The agency has yet to respond to a Sept. 19 letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) criticizing it for its apparent inability to hold Sallie Mae accountable, despite what Warren described as a “pattern of breaking the rules and ignoring its contractual obligations.”

If Sallie Mae’s past actions have not warranted an end to its federal contracts, Warren asked Education Secretary Arne Duncan, under what circumstances would the department terminate a contract with a law-breaking company?

What we need is to listen more to Senator Warren and less to Sallie Mae -- and it's mouthpiece, Arne Duncan. C'mon Mr. Secretary, grow a pair -- a big pair -- and stand up for the students of America, not a corrupt, lawbreaking organization.

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