Compare and Contrast:
Maryland Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession
Compare and Contrast:
Maryland Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) won the CPAC straw poll yesterday. That poll is as meaningless as Rand's plagiarism denials.
Now he's compounding his consistently puzzling behavior with calls for "drill baby drill" as a panacea for the Ukrainian crisis. Yes, he believes that echoing that paragon of fine intellect and reason, Sarah Palin, will strengthen his appeal as a strong, decisive leader.
His brilliant idea? Drilling for oil and natural gas “in every possible conceivable place” here in the U.S. to show Big Bad Vladimir "Bluto" Putin who's boss and make himself-- and the United States-- look like the Popeye (post-spinach consumption) of all nations.
“The other thing I’ve said is, that I would do something differently than the president, is I would immediately get every obstacle out of the way for our export of oil and gas. And I would begin drilling in every possible conceivable place within our territories in order to have production that we can supply Europe with if it’s interrupted from Ukraine.”
A few things come to mind. One is how Paul's idea would be about as effective as that cardboard cutout at CPAC. Why? Think Progress explains:
But some say exporting natural gas to Europe and Ukraine is a more complicated solution than these lawmakers let on. As Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations points out, decisions on where to ship gas are made primarily by the market, not by governments, and it’s much more profitable for the U.S. to ship gas to Asia. The New York Times Editorial Board added Friday that Putin “would not stand idly by” if the U.S. exported gas to Europe, and could lower the price of Russia’s gas to keep customers from switching to American gas. The Times also noted that even if bills expediting permits were approved, “setting up more facilities to liquefy and ship gas would take years and cost billions of dollars.”
Rand Paul has no qualms about giddily diving headlong into the backwash of Former Alaskan Half Gov Myopia McOilSlick's anachronistic, petroleum-soaked mantra. That alone should eventually banish him straight to Facebookland, where all failed right wing extremists go to vent their deranged twaddle to their heart's content.
Well, once again, Rand Paul has won the CPAC straw poll and the hootin' and hollerin' has already begun. The conservatives have spoken and the junior senator from Kentucky has been ordained "their man." Lord knows we're still eons away from them picking "their woman." That just wouldn't be socially acceptable to the old white man's club for boys.
Anyway, what's this overwhelming win for Paul really mean? How good of a predictor of the future is this victory? Well, to borrow loosely from Texas Senator Rafael 'Ted' Cruz, you should ask former Presidents, Rudy Giuliani, Steve Forbes, Ron Paul, George Allen and Jack Kemp — all of whom flamed out spectacularly in the GOP presidential primaries.
Remember the song, "War", by the legendary Edwin Starr? It was a big Motown hit back in 1969. Courtesy of Indylyrics, its refrain was:
War, huh, good God
What is it good for
Listen to me...
If you replace the word "war" with "CPAC Straw Poll" you might have the true context of this "important" Rand Paul victory.
Yet if it does have any meaning as an indicator of things to come, look at the other results of yesterday's poll. Look at who came in behind Paul -- the other horses in the race according to Business Insider:
Here's the Top 9:
So the conservatives have spoken and soundly so. By nearly a three to one margin, they picked Paul over Ted Cruz. That's huge. That's so far behind that you can't even hear the band playing in the front of the hall. Then you get a neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson.
The good doctor polled even better than much ballyhoo'd Chris Christie. Seems his reputation's carrying around a few extra pounds of tarnish. Then you get the rest of the clowns who piled into the conservative car.
The GOP, at least the conservative wing anyway, has nothing much to offer up but a lot of noise and echos of former presidents past, Rudy Giuliani, Steve Forbes, Ron Paul, George Allen and Jack Kemp. Now ask yourselves, conservatives, "How's that working out for ya?"
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.”
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.
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.
Does this sound familiar? Courtesy of elyrics.net:
If there's somethin' strange in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?
If it's somethin' weird an' it don't look good
Who ya gonna call?
I ain't afraid o' no ghost
I ain't afraid o' no ghost
Now rejigger or reconcile this with the latest findings of the Purple Strategies Poll reported by the BOSTON GLOBE on January 30, 2014:
In a hypothetical 2016 presidential field, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney would be the front-runner in the Granite State GOP primary field, with 25 percent of the vote. Behind Romney are Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, at 18 percent, then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, at 17 percent, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, at 13 percent.
At first I had to laugh, then I took a few minutes to digest this and think it through. Mitt's high rating might just be a result of him being a former Massachusetts governor and his familiarity in the region. Add to that his two presidential campaigns in the state in 2008 and 2012. He's spent time there and people know him. Just as they know him all across the country based on his presidential run in 2012 nationally. Whether a punchline to a joke or a Jeopardy answer, "Who blew his election on his 47% comment?", people know who you're talking about.
So what can we read from these tea leaves? In second place is Rand Paul. He's the acorn that didn't fall too far from his father's tree. If Ron Paul couldn't win over his party with some very outrageous contentions and claims, it's unlikely that the Ayn Rand-worshiping Kentucky senator will gain much national attention. Could he gain enough traction to grab the nomination from the right wing conservative or evangelical Republicans who seem to control the GOP's ultimate nomination? Highly unlikely.
Coming in third on this list with plummeting approval ratings is scandal-plagued Chris Christie. With more and more revelations about the New Jersey governor's leadership coming out daily, his chances are fleeting. Either you believe his associates were wreaking havoc without his knowledge which makes him a poor executive or he was actively involved in the scandal, which isn't the quality a party looks for in it's standard bearer. Day by day, the likelihood of a successful Christie run are diminishing.
Then with roughly half the popularity of Romney you find Jeb Bush. He's been out of politics long enough that he can hope that people have forgotten that he's one of "those" Bushes. The big problem for Jeb is he's just a wishy-washy guy. He came out with a book where he proclaims he's all for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents and then he does the famous flip-flop and denies that stand despite it being printed in his book. He has nothing but family name to run on and I'm not sure the Republicans are ready to want to defend another Bush presidency. He'll be running away from his family's disastrous tenures in office. It just doesn't seem to be logical, but these are the Republicans I'm writing about. Logic is far down the road of qualifications for doing or saying anything.
So that leaves the hind titty. Those are Sen. Rubio, Gov. Walker, Sen. Cruz and... that's just it. There doesn't seem to be an 'and'.
What makes this most interesting is that New Hampshire is very important -- it's the first presidential primary in the nation . It follows closely on the heels of the Iowa caucuses. Not to cast aspersions on Iowa, but that's a bought and paid for caucus state. It's hardly a bellwether predictor of the ultimate winner of the nomination. Yet New Hampshire has had some success as a forecaster. Romney won there in 2012 and he ended up with his party's nomination. In 2008 McCain won and went on to get the nod.
Will Mitt make another run for President? He's just rich enough and foolish enough to think he could win this time, "third time's the charm."
So while the Republican party, the party that took four different responses to President Obama's State of the Union speech, continues being a fractured party, there is one constant that they might unite behind. He'll be a bit more conservative this time around, and he's seasoned enough for those GOP voters to consider him viable. He's got the name and face recognition. And he's already putting out feelers. Just last week he was on Jimmy Fallon slow jammin' the news. He wasn't doing that because he loves Jimmy Fallon (or even knew what slow jammin' meant). He's just positioning himself. He's meeting with big investors. He's giving interviews. And his new documentary "Mitt" was just released on Netflix. It was the attempt to make him appear human. I saw it. And surprisingly, it does.
He's ready, willing and able. He's got the infrastructure from the last campaign. And it may just turn out that he gets his third try at the POTUS brass ring. Just sayin'...
Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.
See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?
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Lt. Col Barry Wingard is the lawyer for Gitmo detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. For their ongoing story + related topics, please click on the link below:
Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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