Archive for House of Representative

Xenophobes Should Remember M.S. St. Louis, 1939

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MS St. Louis 2

If you could ask FDR about his toughest decisions as President, one of them would be the "Voyage of the Damned" tempest. For those who don't associate that event, here's the simple recap:

In 1939, a German ocean liner, the MS St. Louis, carried 937 German Jewish refugees seeking asylum in the United States. They arrived at our shores but were denied admission to our country. The result was the ship was returned to Europe where most of these refugees were put into concentration camps. 254 of them died.

Now we see a huge influx of refugee children, trying to escape similar circumstances that caused the ill-fated MS St. Louis voyage to set sail for America. And what do today's xenophobic right-wingers propose? They want our country to negate due process of law -- specifically the 2008 George Bush signed bill (the child trafficking law) which sets regulations as to how undocumented minors entering this country are treated.

If Obama were to use his executive order powers, he'd be labeled a tyrant taking the law into his own hands. If he allows the law to work, he is condemned for upholding the law. He's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.

children immigrant holding cell 3picture: Western Free Press

Hopefully unlike FDR, Obama won't ice his heart and send these innocent children back home to a fate of rape, severe physical injury/maiming, or even the ultimate, death. These children are refugees, fleeing for their safety. This is the time for compassion, not unfounded fears. America needs to show heart, not knee-jerk reactions to false rumors and innuendos.

The Senate passed a bi-partisan immigration bill over a year ago that might have lessened this influx by adding the manpower and facilities needed to handle this crisis. If the political right needs to do any finger-pointing, then the proper culprit here is one of their own, John Boehner. The Speaker of the House has consistently rejected calls to bring the Senate immigration bill to the House floor for consideration and a vote.

The Republicans in the House made this uncomfortable bed. Now we must all lie in it.

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Old Habits And Larcenous Senators Never Die - They Just Become Rand Paul

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thief

Well, Rand Paul is at it again. After being caught plagiarizing passages from other people's work and passing them off as his own in speeches late last year, the junior Kentucky senator evidently hasn't learned his lesson. In making his un-heartfelt semi-apology after being confronted, he promised to correct this "oversight." via Talking Points Memo:

Paul was hammered by critics last year after news outlets uncovered a string of his speeches and op-eds that seemed to lift material from Wikipedia and other sources. He has since vowed to better vet his material and offer footnotes.

Okay, it happens. But Rand Paul should know better. Anyone who publishes or makes public speeches knows how easy it is to simply acknowledge the source of their materials, just like I did above with linking to Talking Points Memo for the passage above.

This latest theft of intellectual material stems from a class action law suit he's filed against President Obama regarding the NSA.

It's not just a large law suit, it is the largest class action suit ever filed.

Now its not to be unexpected that there would be some similarly worded "boiler plate" and references to the broken laws in the filing. But that's not the case here. It's more than that. Paul and his attorney, former Virginia Attorney General Ken "the Cooch" Cuccinelli allegedly stole or lifted entire passages from the work of another attorney, Bruce Fein, who recently served as an attorney for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's father.

From the Washington Post's Dana Milbank:

But a Jan. 15 draft of the complaint written by Fein has long passages that are nearly identical to those in the complaint Cuccinelli filed Wednesday. Except for some cuts and minor wording changes, they are clearly the same documents.

Now the Cooch and Rand Paul's defense is not that they stole from Bruce Fein but that he did this work, (evidently quid pro quo) for some future consideration. Of course acknowledging this would have saved them a lot of embarrassment, but that's never been an issue for either Paul or the Cooch. The two shysters just slough this claim off by saying, again via TPM:

Doug Stafford, the executive director of Paul's political action committee RandPac, told Bloomberg Businessweek that “allegations that Bruce Fein was not paid are false, he was paid. Additionally, Bruce was one of several attorneys involved in this lawsuit.”

But...

I know you were waiting for that three-letter word... But, it seems this is all news to Bruce Fein. He claims this is not true. He was never "hired" by them nor was he compensated.

Fein's ex-wife and spokeswoman, Mattie Fein, told Milbank that Cuccinelli stole "the work product, intellectual property and legal genius of Bruce Fein" without payment.

If you ask me, if anyone would know whether or not payment was made, it would be Fein's ex-wife and spokesperson. Who better than his ex-wife, knows and cares extensively whether or not her ex got paid? Future alimony payments could be affected.

heavy lifting 2

So I'm going to leave it with you to sort this one out. Who do you believe, confessed plagiarist Senator Paul along with his extremist attorney the Cooch, or lawyer Bruce Fein and his ex-wife/spokesperson, Mattie Fein? It does make you ponder what's next from Senator Paul. A new Constitution that he'll take credit for that still has the faint signature of Thomas Jefferson on it? I hope Paul doesn't tire too soon from all the "heavy lifting" he's been doing during the campaign. He's fun to watch when caught -- he squirms and sweats profusely.

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Balance Budget Or Else -- Cut Your Pay

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Balance the Budget

Well you have to hand it to the Republicans, or actually two of them. Both from Michigan, they want to put their money where their mouth is -- and they want the rest of Congress to join them.

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) on Wednesday proposed a new bill that would require congressional salaries to be cut 15 percent any time Congress fails to balance the budget.

Bentivolio said his Spending Accountability Act, H.R. 3993, is needed to give Congress an incentive to cut the annual budget deficit, which is now at $600 billion per year and expected to rise.

"I think my colleagues need a little more motivation to do the right thing and balance the budget," Bentivolio said Thursday. "They're hitting the American taxpayer in the pocketbook by accumulating so much debt.

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) and his co-sponsor is Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), and must feel they have no chance at re-election because they're pulling out all of the stops to make one last, desperate attempt to woo voters and to keep their jobs. They're challenging all of their fellow Congress persons to balance the federal budget or take a pay cut. This certainly won't get them invited to too many congressional parties.

Voting against this bill would make the rest of Congress look like the money grubbing representatives they generally are. Gee, I kind of like that. Put up or shut up. 

Of course this bill will never see the light of day, but even if, miracle of miracles, Boehner brought it to the floor, it wouldn't have much effect. If the bill were passed into law, it would not apply to the current Congress due to the 27th Amendment, which says pay adjustments can only apply to the next Congress, not the current one.

But you can't fault these two GOP'ers for trying -- at least they're willing to pay a price for not doing their jobs. Of course when you make a base pay of $174,000 a year, after taking a 15% pay cut, you're still doing okay -- $147,900. Not too shabby for working less that 120 days a year.

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First She Lied In GOP Reply To SOTU, Now Her Party Turns On Her Ethics

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Cathy McMorris Rodgers

You know you must really have some enemies when the GOP doesn't have a problem with your blatantly lying in the official party reply to the State of the Union address, but they jump on you for other actions. How heinous can they be?

The seemingly lone Republican female face on that great party of inclusion, the GOP, now has a whistleblower problem. One of Congressperson Cathy McMorris Rodger's (R-Wash.) former aides says she played a little footloose and fancy free (oh, you gotta love those old descriptive slang expressions) with official re-election funds. The aide accuses her of abusing official funds and co-opting them for her personal gain, a committee chairmanship. In case you didn't know, yes, these seats are contested and in many cases bought with promised favors and of course, re-election cash. Who determines who gets them? Ask Speaker John Boehner.

Oh, and here's the kicker to this breaking story: It's not the Democrats who are singling her out for her alleged indiscretions. It's the House Ethics Committee, chaired by Republican, Michael Conaway.

From Politico:

GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers faces a possible House Ethics Committee investigation over allegations by a former staffer that she improperly mixed campaign and official funds to help win a 2012 House leadership race.

The Office of Congressional Ethics has recommended that the Ethics Committee conduct a full probe into the case.

Well, certainly this is a bit of a stain on the woman who so charmed us so with her skewed, lightly tangential official reply to the President's State of the Union address a few short weeks ago. Until now, this mostly invisible congressperson was only paraded out in the public spotlight when the Republicans wanted to show that they had some members of the female persuasion in their caucus. The lie she told about a woman's insurance premiums going through the roof under Obamacare was instantly jumped on by the press and exposed as a blatant lie. Since that revelation that she wasn't being truthful in her SOTU reply, she had sneaked off (or was banished) to hide out of plain sight. Lay low. Looks like low just hit a new benchmark, in low-ness.

Hmm. I guess it's not just Boehner, Cantor and McConnell in the upper ranks of the GOP hierarchy that have a problem with straight talk and honesty. Maybe McMorris Rodgers is innocent of these charges. But her accuser in this action is a committee dominated by her own party members who are calling her out on this irregularity, an ethics violation.

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