Archive for votes

Sen. Grinch McConnell Spreads War On Christmas

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Grinch McConnell

Mitch McConnell isn't making any friends on either side of the aisle lately. By definition of his obstructionist policies, the Democrats don't like the minority leader's determined actions to hold up nominees and bills facing full floor votes in the senate. It's that obstructionism that led Harry Reid to invoke the nuclear option  And plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.

Someone please explain to the minority leader how things work. We elect a President and he gets to make certain appointments. Then it's up to the Senate to decide if there's valid reason to not allow the chief executive to have his people. It's not for the opposing party (the losers) to deny the selections without a valid reason. Just not liking the President isn't one of those.

So now Obama's picks are sailing through the Senate. In the last ten days, more nominations have been approved than in the first 11 months of the session. The reason is simple. It's not the quality of the nominees. It's the lack of necessary votes by the minority to stop the elected President from doing his job and doing it the way he wants.

Now Mitch McConnell doesn't like Obama's selection of John Koskinen as IRS commissioner,. Notice I didn't say he objected to the nominee's qualifications, just this man's personality. Thus, we have a limited filibuster on the floor. This isn't going down well with Democrats who want to vote and go home, but it's also making the Republicans angry. Senators like Jim Inhofe.

THE HILL:

Sen. Jim Inhofe (Okla.), the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, went so far s to display an enlarged picture of his family on the Senate floor and plead with colleagues to let him get out of town in time to celebrate his 54th wedding anniversary.

“I would sure like those 20 kids and grand kids [who] are waiting for me for a big dinner on our 54th wedding anniversary tomorrow night,” he said motioning to the photo of his family behind me.

“So have mercy, give us a break and let’s try to get this thing voted on and go home,” he added, referring to the Defense authorization bill, which has been held up as part of the year-end gridlock.

So Mitch has his hands full, even with his own people. But interestingly, look at the self-serving reasons Inhofe gives in wanting to go home. He wants to party with his family. He wants to celebrate his anniversary. He wants mercy -- a break -- so he can just get things going and go home.

Where was that kind of thinking when it came to shutting down the government? How about voting on the unemployment insurance extension? Wouldn't those effected people like to get going with their lives, too? Where was your compassion then?

It's easy to put the blame on Mitch. He deserves it. But there's enough to spread around. I hope Harry keeps the GOP obstructionists as long as it takes to do what the President was elected to do -- run a government with the people he wants doing it. News flash to Republicans, Obama won. It's over a year now and you're still making believe it didn't happen. Well that'll give you something to talk about when you're still in session over the weekend instead of sipping your toddies and singing carols with the family. Obstructionism's a bitch, or should I say, a Grinch.

UPDATE:

McConnell, threatened with desertions from his GOP cohorts and Reid got together and with both sides wanting to go home for the holidays (how trite) an agreement was reached. The Republicans dropped their demand to use all of their allowed time to hold up votes and by mid-day today, all of the nominations and official business will be concluded. The last vote is scheduled for 1 PM EST.

The only casualty of this rush to the exits is the vote on the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve Board. A final vote on her confirmation is now planned for January 6, instead of this Saturday evening.

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Cartoons of the Day- GOP Agenda

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Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Clay Bennett

gopagenda3

David Horsey

gopagenda2

Bruce Plante

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Clay Bennett

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Are Corporations People or Not? If They Are, We Can Put Them Involuntarily In Conservatorship

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Corporations are people 2

Republicans, led by the vocal charge of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney have been saying corporations are people, too.

Then in 2010, the Supreme Court with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, determined that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to exercise their freedom of speech to buy elections and run our government.

In my mind, it's human beings that are people and corporations are strictly legal entities. And now it comes down to the distinction. Because if corporations are people, I want them treated that way.

If I make a series of bad, irrational or even questionable actions as an individual I can be deemed a threat to myself or others. I can be forced to appear in court and prove my competency or I can be institutionalized or made to report to a conservator. My rights can be taken away from me.

Using the Citizen's United ruling, can't we, as a stock holder (meaning someone with a vested interest in the well-being of the "individual) or purchaser of a company's product, petition the court and make them appear before a judge and prove to be competent enough to avoid supervision? Can you imagine the competency hearings that could spur on?

Outrageous, of course. That's taking the ruling way too far. But didn't the Supreme Court do the same thing?

They gave corporations the right to make donations large enough to sway elections and therefore impact my well-being. So why can't the shoe be put on the other foot? Just think about it for a minute.

show on other footThe reason there's local courts is to handle local issues, violations of laws. There are state Supreme or Superior courts to review those when justices may have made a mistake. There's Federal Appeals courts to review possible mistakes by Superior Courts. And there's the Supreme Court to review those possible misrulings. What happens when the Supreme Court makes a mistake? They can be guilty of that just as easily as any other court.

Well, like with your iPhone, we have an app for that.

MovetoAmend.org has been created to put some sanity back in America after the egregious Citizen's United ruling. They want to see it change -- recent elections have proven we need to take steps to protect our votes and now. MovetoAmed makes the argument is that with unlimited corporate money in the election process individuals rights are being trampled.

Remember Orwell's 1984 with big brother looking over our shoulder. We scoffed. Then come 2013 and Snowden's revealing the vast big brother of the NSA. It became reality.

So if you think corporate takeovers of this country isn't possible, you're naive.

Dissenting Justice Stevens wrote:

". . . corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their 'personhood' often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established."

~Supreme Court Justice Stevens, January 2010

The video below demonstrates how we CAN and MUST take corporate and special interests out of political campaigns. It's really a hopeful few minutes, definitely worth a look-see.

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Know What You're Backing When You Shop At Certain Stores

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fast food logos

Who really pays much attention when they go shopping as to corporate political leanings or support when they need an item? If you can't find your hammer or drill, you just go to the closest hardware or Home Depot-ish store and grab one.

Hungry and in a hurry, you might just pick the next fast food store that comes up on the right, so you don't have to cross traffic on your way to sating your grumbling stomach.

For most of us, if we need a new pair of jeans, we walk into the mall, see who's got a sale and grab a pair. They're jeans, for Chrissake, not evening wear for the Oscars red carpet ceremony.

The bottom line is for most things, we really don't care where we get them -- price and convenience are the guidelines. But maybe we should take a moment and realize that there's more to our decisions. There's financial backing of a company that gives it power to drive away the competition as well as get their political missions funded. Recently HuffPo posted an interesting look at corporations and what they stand for. It's entitled, 8 Brands with Religious Affiliation. The quotes below are from them.

Perhaps you heard of Hobby Lobby. They're a crafts store with many branches across the country as well as having a large, internet E-tail business. They have over 560 stores nationwide. They also happen to be a right-wing Christian run outfit. They are so inclined that this year they refused to carry and Chanukkah merchandise or materials until public outroar made them change their mind. They also are outwardly anti-Obamacare, having filed a federal lawsuit against the ACA for mandating contraceptive coverage in their insurance.

Is this a place you want to support?

How about Forever 21, the youthful appealing casual attire outfit? They are considered a Born-Again Christian run chain. How so? Their founder, Do Wo Chang had demanded the following:

 — John 3:16 is printed on every bag: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Not a bad message, but do I need to advertise this on every shopping bag from them? If religious backing is that important to you, then the next time you buy chicken to make at home or for a barbecue, don't forget to buy Tyson Brand. They're so evangelical Christian that they provide counseling services for all employees from their evangelical in-house Chaplaincy Program, Would you like a prayer with those hot wings?

But you know who else falls into this Christian category? In and Out Burgers. Yeah, that big dog'll hunt -- for double barbecue cheese burgers, and a side of the Holy Ghost.

Now if Mormonism is more to your liking, next time you travel, stay at a Marriott. In your night stand,

you'll find another religious text alongside your Gideon's Bible: the Book of Mormon.

Now if only it was a DVD of those South Park guys' play, I'd stay there for sure. Oh, and just so you know, don't go looking for any porn on their pay TV in-room service. That's all been taken out. You'll just have to settle with regular TV or video's of the complimentary breakfast available from 5:30 AM until 9:30 AM.

Here's a twofer if you're interested in that kind of bonus-- Chick-fil-A. This company is both openly anti-LGBT AND devoutly Southern Baptist. How can you hate that?

Truett Cathy, the founder and CEO of Georgia-based Chick-fil-A, says he closes all 1,700-plus locations on Sundays for two reasons: "One, that there must be something special about the way Chick-fil-A people view their spiritual life and, two, that there must be something special about how Chick-fil-A feels about its people." He also believes that giving employees Sunday off "as a day for family, worship, fellowship or rest" is the secret to attracting quality people to the company.

If you're Seventh Day Adventists or Jewish and celebrate Saturday as your Sabbath, I guess you're excluded from the fun and frivolities Chick-Fil-A has to offer it's employees. But there's someplace for everyone.

Have no fear, Seventh Day Adventists, you aren't without a retail outlet of your own. It's the delectable darling of the desserts, Little Debbie Snacks.

And though the Company Statement begins with a faith-infused Family Statement — "The McKee family acknowledges the providence of God in our continued success." — you'd be hard-pressed to find evidence of the founders' Seventh Day Adventist faith without an encyclopedic knowledge of NASCAR.

The point of all of this is that we do say things by where and what we buy. Our spending power sends a message either by support or by boycott. I'm not preaching any of those, but merely wish to point out some of your choices. Shop however you like. And your reasons can be random, based on convenience, price, location or perhaps by personal choice to support those who believe the same way as you do.

I just thought it's interesting to let you know where you shop makes a statement about who you are.

Now, getting back to NASCAR...

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Undying Dedication To A Cause

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Naomi Jakobsson,

She said goodbye to her terminally ill son as she fled off to the state house to cast her vote for a cause that she and her family felt so strongly about-- legalizing same-sex marriage.

Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, a Champaign Illinois Democrat, rushed to the state capitol in Springfield to vote on the measure. With her support, the bill was approved with 61 votes in favor -- only one more than the minimum it needed in order to pass. It was her vote that mattered.

When Jakobsson returned to the Mattoon, Ill. hospice where her dying son, Garret, was staying after a 90-minute drive, she learned he had died just 10 minutes before her arrival, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Garret had seven brothers and sisters. He and his wife, Liz, also had a 10-year-old son named Gunnar. Garret was adopted from South Korea in 1968, according to the AP.

All of Garret's family was with him as he took his last breaths are reportedly slipped away peacefully. But how tragic that his mother couldn't be with him for the end. She put courage, faith and compassion above family. She is a true Democrat. Is there one Republican who would have done the same?

It was reported that it was Jakobsson's son Garrett who told his mother to go to cast her vote. If it wasn't something so meaningful, she'd never have left his side. She left with hopes she could go, vote, and return in time. That sadly was not going to be the case.

There are a lot of people in Illinois, today and in the future, who owe their happiness to Representative Naomi Jakobsson. A truer champion for the LGBT cause would be hard to find.

Condolences to the family and congratulations to the state to have such a dedicated civil servant.

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Proof Senators Listen -- If You Have Money

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money talks

With the numerous polls out there on the media today, you can get a pulse of what people are thinking on almost every subject. How accurate they are depends on so many things -- especially the honesty of the people answering the survey. I'm sure the pollsters figure in the goofy answers, a percentage for lying, something else for people giving emotional answers or wanting to seem more tolerant than they really are. There's faked indignation, righteous and moral outrage and just simply stupid people who don't even understand the question.

So what are we to make of pundits and news readers when they say someone's popularity is at it's lowest or that the public favors a certain bill or law?

A lot has to do with where it comes from. Nate Silver was very accurate in the last presidential election predictions. I think he batted a thousand -- for non-sports lovers, that means he got 'em all right. All is a lot. That's like -- everything.

How many other places, organizations or polls have that kind of clairvoyance? Well, really not many, if any. Luck has a lot to do with it. But if you take luck out of the equation, and use proven fact, what you get are graphs and charts. They're far more reliable than polls because they measure what's really happened. It's after the fact number crunching.

Cenk Uygur broadcast a report on The Young Turks showing statistically how senators voted in the recent sessions of the 107th through the 111th (we're in the 113th currently) congress voted. Then those votes are compared those with wishes of their constituents during that time. Kind of a facts meets the polls hybrid kind of research.

The results are quite interesting. For instance, how often do the senators really listen to their constituents? Always? Sometimes? Never?

Well, now there's some proof and it might come as a shocking. What if I told you senators during these five sessions voted 100%* of the time with their constituents wishes?  You'd be right. See, I said you'd be shocked.

Oh, if you were wondering about that little asterisk next to the 100%. That asterisks means, if you were wealthy. The  numbers vary if you weren't in the upper 2%. The rich as we like to call them. Middle class people fared less positively, and it ranges down to 0% if you were poor. No asterisk needed for that. Pure zero.

Take a look and it'll all become much clearer. But what it boils down to is this-- if you have money, you got your desired vote. If you were poor, fuggedaboudit. You got bubkis.

Maybe this behavior explains why 60% of polling respondents to NBC News want to fire the entire Congress and start anew. But, taking into considering of the facts in the video above, that would mean that nobody would lose their seat as the rich are getting exactly what they want. They'll just buy the elections is necessary -- are you listening Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson?

Next election, think about it. Maybe a clean sweep wouldn't be so bad. A "Dump the Chump" vote might just be the cure for what ails ya! All of ya!

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Video- Bill Maher to GOP: If You Want to Attract Young People, Put Down the Gun and Pick Up the Joint

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Via.

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