Archive for U.S. Congress – Page 2

"Here's what your money is buying right now..."


gop your money

We have written countless posts about the Supreme Court's terrible Citizens United decision, followed by their latest debacle, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the other appalling Supreme Court ruling that favors billionaires and allows them to influence our election outcomes.

Even Garry Trudeau couldn't keep quiet about it any longer: The Koch brothers can buy anything, including Doonesbury!  As I said in that post, a very few obscenely wealthy individuals are able to spend lavishly on candidates, politicians, and potential votes while, try as you might, your money simply can't compete with the endless supply of cash donated by the corporate big boys.

And with that, another installment of today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Money won't buy you votes," Opinion, April 20

Sure, money won't buy the vote of a regular person, but it sure can buy members of the state legislature or Congress. Here's what your money is buying right now:

Profits on gun sales fund the National Rifle Assn. and ensure that even when little kids get slaughtered at school, universal background checks won't pass the Senate despite the fact that about 90% of the country supports them.

Wealthy people who make money from investments make sure they don't get taxed at the same rates as wage earners.

Money strangles the implementation of banking reform. And it makes sure that no matter how many floods, fires or hurricanes we have, nothing is done about climate change.

Best of all, money buys donors the ability to hide behind "social welfare" organizations so nobody knows who's doing these evil things.

Joanne Zirretta

Aliso Viejo


A large war chest doesn't guarantee victory, as Republican Meg Whitman learned in 2010 when voters elected Democrat Jerry Brown governor by a wide margin.

But what money does allow is for the wealthy to buy the loyalty of politicians. The handful of GOP presidential hopefuls who visited billionaire Sheldon Adelson recently offer proof of that.

Most Americans agree that the latest Supreme Court rulings loosening campaign finance rules were steps in the wrong direction.

Kyle Laurent



Fla. GOP conservative candidate's double life as bizarre vampire


Jacob Rush double life vampire gop florida 2

Jacob Rush double life vampire gop floridaPhoto via St. Peters Blog

Here we go again, another "conservative" candidate for U.S. Congress (this time from Florida) leading a double life and revealing himself to be a complete crackpot. No hype, this guy's got serious issues. St. Peters Blog has the full report, and it's a must-read.

Here's how Jacob A. Rush, "conservative straight shooter," wants us to see him:

However, in his super duper ultra secret double life, Rush belongs to "a nationwide community of gothic-punk role-players who come together to take on personas of vampires and other supernatural beings" who deal with "night-to-night struggles 'against their own bestial natures, hunters, and each other.'” I'msorrywhat?

What is up with conservatives named Rush? But I digress.

One of his supernatural personae goes by the name of "Chazz Darling" (Carlos Danger's swashbuckling unbuckling, brother?), a member of the Mind’s Eye Society, aka “Camarilla.”

fear 2

St. Peters Blog:

Among the photos still available on the wiki are:

Burning books
Aiming shotguns at dogs
Dressed as a vampire
Dressed as a demon
Satanic symbolism
Being chained and gagged
Bloody angel wings

Note: For the uninitiated, a succubus is a female demon who appears in dreams, usually in human form, to seduce men through sexual activity.

hiding under covers fear

This is what he wrote, as "Chazz Darling":

At first I thought you were just stupid and I wanted to stick my dick in your mouth to shut you up while I snorted a line off my new machete that was blessed by Rui (sic) but then I remembered that you were typing so my dick would really have to be in your hands to keep you from typing but since you are walking in Omaha that’s not really realistic right now.

I’m sorry, I tried.

Rae tells me that you are a Maiden, and it’s your job to be kind of stupid and that I’m not supposed to have intercourse with Maidens.

You shouldn’t believe everything that people tell you or you’re going to end up naked and sore, tied to the floor of a van marked “Free Candy.”

And stop letting people torpor (sic) you.

Except for the run-on sentences, poor word choices, perversion, vulgarity, and apparent mental illness, ol' Jake shows real promise! He'll fit in just fine in GOPland. He won't even need a speech writer, what with all that literary talent oozing out of what's left of his mind.

And hey! Nothing says "family values" like a "conservative straight shooter who wants "to stick my dick in your mouth to shut you up while I snorted a line off my new machete."

That should go over well with conservative voters.

family values my ass


Cover-up: Border agents created pretext to shoot Mexicans


cover up 2 cover-up

What's that saying again? Oh yeah: The cover-up is worse than the crime... or as in this case, at least as bad. The Los Angeles Times is reporting on border patrol agents who purposely got in the way of oncoming cars in order to justify using deadly force against Mexican drivers. And then U.S. Customs and Border Protection kept their violent little activities hush-hush... from Congress.

The law enforcement experts who wrote up a review of dozens of cases recommended that agents should be trained "to get out of the way… as opposed to intentionally assuming a position in the path of such vehicles." Ordinarily, law enforcement agencies make use-of-force policies public, but not in this case.

And to make matters worse, per Mexican authorities, U.S. border agents who kill Mexicans "are rarely disciplined and the results of investigations are not made pubic for years." According to the Times, the authors said that border agents would stand right there in the road so they could shoot drivers who were trying to avoid arrest. These drivers "posed no direct lethal threat to them or others." Welcome to the U.S.A.:

Border Patrol agents have deliberately stepped in the path of cars apparently to justify shooting at the drivers and have fired in frustration at people throwing rocks from the Mexican side of the border, according to an independent review of 67 cases that resulted in 19 deaths.

The report by law enforcement experts criticized the Border Patrol for "lack of diligence" in investigating U.S. agents who had fired their weapons. It also said it was unclear whether the agency "consistently and thoroughly reviews" use-of-deadly-force incidents.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which had commissioned the review, has tried to prevent the scathing 21-page report from coming to light.

House and Senate oversight committees requested copies last fall but received only a summary that omitted the most controversial findings — that some border agents stood in front of moving vehicles as a pretext to open fire and that agents could have moved away from rock throwers instead of shooting at them [...]

The [internal] response rejects the two major recommendations: barring border agents from shooting at vehicles unless its occupants are trying to kill them, and barring agents from shooting people who throw things that can't cause serious physical injury.

Meanwhile, in Arizona:

Border-area residents, upset with what they called an increased militarized presence in their community, began an effort Wednesday to monitor Border Patrol actions at a federal immigration checkpoint about 25 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona.

Organizers with a humanitarian aid group called People Helping People in the Border Zone have called on the Border Patrol to remove the checkpoint in Amado, a town of about 300 people. Some residents say they have to deal with unnecessary delays, harassment and sometimes abuse at the checkpoint.



Who's leaving the US Senate, in one handy chart


US Senate letterheadbuh bye by Kelly Kincaid

The US Senate will be missing a few overpaid members in the near future. Recently, I posted Who's leaving the US House of Representatives, in one handy chart. Now it's time to fill you in on who's spending more time with their family running away from leaving the upper chamber.

So here you go, a sequel to Chart One. Meet Congressional Exodus, Version 2.0. This time you're getting a handy dandy at-a-glance opportunity to see which members of the US Senate are waving bye-bye.

members leaving the US Senate(Sorry, no link, subscription only, but attribution is on the image)

As annoying and frustrating as some of the departing Dems have been, at least they were Dems. Sort of. The next big challenge will be getting enough people to the polls (thanks for nothing, voter-suppressing Republicans) to maintain our majority.

This is where all of you come in. All kidding aside, this is of ultimate importance: Come November, your biggest priority should be to Get Out the Vote, and of course, getting yourselves to the ballot box. Let's avoid a 2010 redux, mmkay?

I'm repeating myself here, but for once I agree with every one of those who are exiting, even the ones I never see eye to eye with on anything ever. After all, who in their right mind would want to be a part of such a combative, obstructionist-filled, filibustery, when-the-hell-will-the-United-States-House-of-Representatives-pass-one-of-our-bills group of Citizens United progeny?

I don't want to belong to club Groucho Marx


Who's leaving the US House of Representatives, in one handy chart


U.S. House of Representatives terrible no good day

buh bye by Kelly Kincaid

For your consideration, a handy dandy at-a-glance chart that allows you to see which members of the US House of Representatives are waving bye-bye.

Or as I like to call it, Get Out the Freakin' Vote in 2014, Dems, because the last thing we need is another Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Do-Nothing, Obstructionist, GOP-led Congress.

America, the Congressional Exodus is now in progress (Or is that "regress"? I retort, you deride.):

members leaving the US House of Representatives 2014(Sorry, no link, subscription only, but attribution is on the image)

They're leaving in droves. Gee, can't imagine why.

rats_leaving_ship1For once I agree with every one of these people, even the ones I never see eye to eye with on anything ever. After all, who in their right mind would want to be a part of that impotent, petty, self-destructive, imploding group of Citizens United progeny?

I don't want to belong to club Groucho Marx


"Any visit to Washington DC will prove" that Neanderthals did not vanish.


evolution of gop smaller devolution devolved

Neanderthals are alive and well in Washington DC as you can see in this Los Angeles Times letter to the editor, one of the few places remaining where our voices matter:

Re "The human race is part Neanderthal," Jan. 30

Your article was very interesting except for one slight error: You state that about 30,000 years ago the Neanderthals mysteriously vanished except for some minuscule DNA that might still be around.

Wrong. Any visit to Washington will prove my point.

Please correct this.

Marvin Biers



ENTIRE VIDEO- Pres. Obama on extending unemployment benefits: "Hope is contagious."


obama speaks on extending unemployment benefits

Via UpTakeVideo:

President Obama says Americans who need an emergency extension of unemployment benefits are "not lazy" as some might want you to believe. He points to the case of Katherine Hackett who introduced him. As an unemployed mom of two military sons she keeps the heat down just to make ends meet as she looks for a job. Without unemployment benefits, it makes it harder for her to find a job.

I wish the video had included Katherine Hackett, who introduced the president, because she was so effective, exactly who Americans, especially Republicans, needed to hear from. One memorable quote was, "'I am not just sitting at home living the good life." Got that, GOP?

The full transcript can be found at WaPo. Here are some excerpts:

For the Americans who join me at the White House today and millions like them who were laid off in the recession through no fault of their own, unemployment insurance has been a vital economic lifeline.

For a lot of people it's the only source of income they've got to support their families while they look for a new job. These aren't folks who are just sitting back, waiting for things to happen. They're out there actively looking for work. They desperately want work. But although the economy has been growing, and we've been adding new jobs, the truth of the matter is, is that the financial crisis was so devastating that there's still a lot of people who are struggling, and in fact if we don't provide unemployment insurance, it makes it harder for them to find a job...

Katherine went on to say, I've applied to everything for which I'm possibly qualified, to no avail. I've worked hard all my life, paid taxes, voted, engaged in political discussion and made the ultimate sacrifice: My two sons serve in the U.S. military. Job loss is devastating, and if I could fix it myself, I would. I challenge any lawmaker to live without an income. (Laughter.) That's what Katherine said. It's hard. (Applause.)

So when we've got the mom of two of our troops who is working hard out there but is having to wear a coat inside the house, we've got a problem, and it's one that can be fixed.

And Katherine's not alone. Develyn Smith (sp), who's watching today from her home in California wrote me about her hunt for a new job. Since she was laid off 13 months ago, she's sent out hundreds of resumes, she's volunteered, she's done seasonal work, she doesn't want to just be sitting around the house. She's been taking online courses to learn new skills. Without unemployment insurance, though, she won't be able to pay for her car or her cell phone, which makes the job hunt that much harder...

Now, two weeks ago Congress went home for the holidays and let this lifeline expire for 1.3 million Americans. If this doesn't get fixed, it will hurt about 14 million Americans over the course of this year -- 5 million workers along with 9 million of their family members, their spouses, their kids.

Now, I've heard the argument that says extending unemployment insurance will somehow hurt the unemployed because it saps their motivation to get a new job. I -- I really want to -- I want to go at this for a second. ... (applause) -- that really sells the American people short. I meet a lot of people as president of the United States and as a candidate for president of the United States and as a U.S. senator and as a state senator. I -- I meet a lot of people. And I can't -- I can't name a time where I met an American who would rather have an unemployment check than the pride of having a job. (Applause.)...

Katherine, in the letter that she wrote to me, said, do folks really think that cutting this benefit will make someone hire me? I mean, that's not how employers are thinking...

Voting for unemployment insurance helps people and creates jobs. And voting against it does not. Congress should pass this bipartisan plan right away and I will sign it right away. And more than 1 million Americans across the country will feel a little hope right away. And hope is contagious...

You know, when I was listening to Katherine, I was just so struck by her strength and dignity, and I think people, when they bump into some tough times like Katherine, they're not looking for pity; they just want a shot.