President Obama warned supporters during a fundraiser in McLean, Virginia on Sunday evening that Republicans would reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell if they regain power in 2012. “You know something about that in Virginia; the kinds of nonsense that?s been going on,” Obama began. “But that’s all across the country. When you have folks who talk about ? want to repeal ‘don’t ask’ ? repeal the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ When you have folks who are talking about not just constraining women’s reproductive health, but questioning things like contraception as part of our preventive care.” Republicans in Congress — and former GOP presidential contenders — have indeed promised to bring back the policy, although Mitt Romney has said he would preserve the repeal.
In 2006, under President George W. Bush, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives began the first of a series of misguided operations that allowed illegal guns to be sold to arms traffickers and, eventually, to Mexican drug cartels. At least two of these guns were later used to kill a federal agent. These operations were misguided from the very beginning, and they deserve the kind of thorough investigation the Justice Department’s Inspector General is currently trying to conduct — as well as new procedures to ensure that similar mistakes are not made in the future.
Unfortunately, House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) sees things differently. For more than a year, he has compounded the tragedy of these botched operations by treating them as little more than an opportunity to embarrass Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama Administration. Issa’s held half a dozen hearings on “Fast and Furious,” one of the botched operations, but refused to call Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who was in charge of the Justice Department when these operations were conceived. He’s led a months-long witchhunt for proof that Holder was somehow responsible for the operations, grasping at increasingly thin straws throughout this effort. And he’s touted the ridiculous conspiracy theory that the Obama Administration somehow wants to harness these botched efforts to “take away or limit people?s second amendment rights.”
And now, Issa’s going to escalate his inquisition even further:
Republican House leaders have drafted a proposed contempt of Congress citation against Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. in which they charge that he and his Justice Department have repeatedly “obstructed and slowed” the Capitol Hill investigation into the ATF’s flawed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation.
The 48-page draft citation is being drawn up by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Top committee officials recently met for most of a day in the House speaker’s office and were given the green light to proceed toward a contempt citation, according to sources who declined to be identified.
If adopted by the GOP-led House, the contempt resolution would be sent to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington or perhaps an independent counsel in an attempt to force the Justice Department to provide tens of thousands of internal documents to the committee.
Notably, Issa did nothing to inform the committee’s minority members of this pending citation — Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) learned about it from the press. A tactic which, in Cummings’ words, “suggests that [Issa is] more interested in perpetuating [his] partisan political feud in the press than in obtaining any specific substantive information relating to the Committee’s investigation.”
More importantly, there is a very good reason why DOJ has not turned over every single document Issa seeks — those documents could undermine countless ongoing criminal investigations. Many of the documents Issa seeks are confidential materials concerning open investigations. Such documents are not subject to congressional subpoena because revealing them would also reveal “strategies and procedures that could be used by individuals seeking to evade [DOJ's] law enforcement efforts.”
Moreover, as President Reagan’s Justice Department warned in the 1980s, the Constitution’s separation of powers prevents such documents from being revealed to Congress because of the risk that the legislature could “exert pressure or attempt to influence the prosecution of criminal cases.” The Constitution separates lawmaking from enforcement because the framers feared that combining the two would be “the very definition of tyranny,” yet Issa seeks to erode this understanding as well.
America deserves a thoughtful and objective investigation into the ill-conceived operations that armed drug cartels and killed at least one federal official. Instead, they are getting partisan grandstanding that does nothing but undermine the Justice Department’s ability to do its job.
Conservative lawmakers in Britain are speaking out against Prime Minister David Cameron’s push for a measure legalizing same-sex marriage and reports indicate that “Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin has privately assured anxious Tory backbenchers that the Prime Minister’s same-sex marriage plan will ‘not come to a vote’.” Lawmakers are also warning Cameron “that a Tory rebellion in the Commons would eclipse last year’s EU referendum revolt” and “are reporting an ‘avalanche’ of protests from Conservative supporters over the gay marriage initiative.” Cameron has previously said that “I support gay marriage because I am a conservative” and has tried to reassure religious groups that marriage equality can co-exist with Christianity.
Mitt Romney attended a fundraiser at the luxurious estate of Papa John’s founder John Schnatter recently, where he told the audience that Democrats don’t believe anyone should own a golf course or a pool. ?What a home this is, what grounds these are, the pool, the golf course,” he said. “You know, if a Democrat were here he?d look around and say no one should live like this. Republicans come here and say EVERYONE should live like this. This is a real tribute to America, to entrepreneurship.? Watch it:
To attend the fundraiser, contributors gave anywhere from $1,000 per person to get into the general reception to $25,000 to be listed as a co-host for the event.
Oh, that librul media strikes again...
During the bruising Republican primaries, there was one candidate whose coverage was more relentlessly negative than the rest. In fact, he did not enjoy a single week where positive treatment by the media outweighed the negative.
His name is Barack Obama.
That is among the findings of a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Washington nonprofit that examined 52 key newspaper, television, radio, and Web outlets.
?Day in and day out, he was criticized by the entire Republican field on a variety of policies,? Mark Jurkowitz, the group?s associate director, says of Obama. ?And he was inextricably linked to events that generated negative coverage??including rising gas prices, the ailing economy, and the renewed debate over his health care law.
In short, while the president was being hammered on both fronts, his message was somewhat drowned out by the volume of news coverage surrounding the GOP candidates.
Surprise! The media doesn't seem to want to offer up "balanced" coverage, do they? They don't want to inform their audience that the president has little to do with rising gas prices, or that the economy is in fact recovering, albeit slowly, or that there are massive lies constantly flung by Republicans over the health care law. No, it's much more interesting to cover the Republican primary as a horse race and to uncritically regurgitate Every. Single. Republican. Talking. Point. without bothering to fact check or place it into context.
And that's why Democratic voters cannot take this election for granted. The media -- by abdicating their jobs -- have muddied the waters. They have made this race far closer than it should be, for their own purposes. And while Obama is nowhere near the progressive hope that some may have thought him to be in 2008, there is no question that the alternative is far, far worse.
Not that the media will ever admit that.
Before I get started, I feel compelled to point out that the title of this post should not be viewed as a challenge by the GOP majorities to get even more ridiculous in the waning days of the legislative session.
I've said it before and I will most certainly say it again...It's really, really hard to be from here sometimes, and this session of the state legislature has proven especially trying for those of us with a liberal bent and a modicum of sanity, or even those who don't see vile and odious tyranny that's just waiting for the opportunity to enslave us all around every corner.
And as over-the-top as the legislature has been in past sessions, this year, it has become a caricature of a bad parody of a surrealist dreamscape. Those of us who have been horrified in the past by republicans who equate an expansion of SCHIP with slavery, guaranteeing a woman's equality and right to choose with "The War of Northern Aggression," legislators who believe hunger is a motivator for poor children and anything Ed Emery ever affixed his mark to in his entire time in the House.
But this year, they're making past sessions look sober, staid and downright sane. This year, about the only thing that might surprise me would be if the GOP caucus got liquored up and fired on Ft. Leonard Wood.
But as the legislative session wore on, they became increasingly more unhinged and histrionic. I thought they had achieved wingularity with SJR 45, a nasty little piece of unconstitutional legislation that one could imagine resulting from an open marriage between nullification, interpolation and sessionism. SJR 45 is a proposed tea-stained amendment that would have to make it out of both chambers of the General Assembly before being put on the ballot, and if passed, give the state the authority to ignore federal laws that the state doesn't like -- you know, like ObamaCare. The proposed amendment would achieve nothing but debt incurred defending a wingnut nullification fantasy that would certainly be found unconstitutional as an assault on the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, and fortunately hasn't cost us anything yet because it is still stuck in committee.
But that doesn't mean anything to these morons, and it will be a cold day in hell and over the cold, dead carcasses of every wingnut in the House before the state Senate get's the final word on crazy. But don't take my word for it. Just get a load of HR 1534...
HB 1534 -- FEDERAL HEALTH CARE REFORM LAW (Bahr)
COMMITTEE OF ORIGIN: Committee on General Laws
This bill declares that the General Assembly finds the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama exceeds the powers granted to Congress under the United States Constitution. Therefore, it is not law and is altogether void and of no force. It is the General Assembly's duty to enact any measure necessary to prevent its enforcement within this state.
No public officer or employee of this state has any authority to enforce or attempt to enforce any aspect of the act. Any United States official, agent, or employee who undertakes any action within this state that enforces or attempts to enforce the act in violation of these provisions will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Any person who has been subject to any action attempting to enforce the act within this state will have a private cause of action for declaratory judgment and damages against any person violating these provisions.
Wow. That is some world-class wingnuttery right there.
And who needs to fire on Ft. Leonard Wood anyway, when you can just arrest and imprison federal employees of the Department of Health and Human Services for doing their jobs and setting up exchanges that will allow Missourians who couldn't otherwise afford health coverage to access it.
Never mind that the idiot who sponsored it and the idiots who support it are freakin' delusional if they think a state -- even one as awesome and great as Missouri -- has the right to pick and choose which federal laws they will enforce and which ones they won't. Nor can a state legally and constitutionally pass legislation barring enforcement of a federal law, nor legislation that criminalizes official actions undertaken on behalf of the feds, and finally, a state sure as hell doesn't have the right to sue federal officials for monetary damages for fulfilling the duties of their job.
And unlike SJR 45, HB 1534 isn't languishing in committee. It passed the house with a comfortable margin -- 108-44 -- with every republican voting for it, and eight scurrillous, mangy blue-dogs alligning themselves with the Crazy Caucus. Meanwhile, lack of access to care out-state means that people die needlessly. Literally.
You know what I would like to see? Legislation mandating that when these crazy, grandstanding, unconstitutional stands are made and codified into state law that the SPONSORS of the legislation have to personally pay the attorneys to defend it, not use state resources. They are the ones, after all, that put "personal responsibility" on such a high pedestal...Of course that will never happen.
So instead, we have a state legislature that has been, for the most part, possessed. The spirit of John C. Calhoun has clawed his way out of the depths of hell and has taken over the bodies of all the republicans and at least eight Democrats in the Missouri state legislature.
That makes more sense and is easier to get my head around than the fact that I live in a state with enough dumbasses, morons, idiots and cretins to elect these malefactors and Neo-Confederates to the state legislature.
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Wind turbine blades on the road west of Albuquerque, New Mexico (Photo by Meteor Blades)Environmental advocates have mixed feelings about the Obama administration. One day it's the precedent-setting Environmental Protection Agency's rules curtailing coal plant emissions and the next it's opening up more deep-water oil drilling. But there's no question the administration has taken forward-looking action on both energy and environment in ways that no president has done since Jimmy Carter. And, now, with the general election campaign in full swing despite the GOP nominee's not yet being officially crowned, administration heavyweights are making the rounds with speeches tying environment to the economy and pushing back against Republican claims that Obama is doing too much on one and not enough on the other.
EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar delivered two speeches apiece last week that challenged the GOP claims that the administration has put the brakes on the economy by implementing environmental over-regulation and keeping too much public land off-limits to oil and gas drilling.
At American University on Friday:
?Our mission day in, day out, is to protect the health of the American people, by keeping pollution out of the air that we all breathe, by keeping toxins out of the water that we all drink, keeping harmful chemicals out of the lands where we build our homes, and our communities, our schools, our churches,? Jackson said.And then there was Salazar who said at an April 24 National Press Club luncheon address that Republicans and other critics were living in a fantasy energy world:
?The work that we do each and every day is focused on ensuring that our economy works for the American people,? she said.
"I think that those who have stood in the way of solutions are going to find the ground shifting under their feet," Salazar maintained. "The energy world is changing, with or without them. Whether it's our oil and gas technology, our solar power plants, or our auto manufacturers, the pace of American innovation is staggering. The US is determined to lead in the new energy world."It's easy enough to argue, from the left and from a "greener" perspective, against various aspects of what both Jackson and especially Salazar are saying. Or with what Obama himself has said and done regarding opening up public lands for more drilling.
But, at the same time, the administration has put more billions of dollars into green energy projects than any presidency, ever. It's the closest thing the U.S. has to a desperately needed industrial plan.
Republicans would like to make that all about wasteful spending. But, in fact, it's an investment in the future with a big payoff. And it complements what many states are doing. In Iowa, for instance, wind power now generates nearly 19 percent of the state's electricity. That's in large part a result of the federal Production Tax Credit that gives incentives to the renewable energy industry by giving investors some certainty about their return on investment.
The PTC expires in eight months, and Republicans seem determined not to renew it despite the fact that it already generates tens of thousands of jobs nationwide. Government investment in new battery technology also provides jobs and lays the groundwork for many more in the future. These are just a few such investments that aren't only about jobs and energy "independence," important as those are: They are also about reducing our impact on the atmosphere by cutting carbon emissions.
Republicans and other myopic critics never seem to understand that the economy and the environment are not separate entities. They are inextricably entangled. The failure to acknowledge this, not just in rhetoric but also in policy, is yet one more arena of GOP fail. That's a message the Obama campaign team is right to keep pounding whatever its own shortcomings in the matter.
Nearly five years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama said that if he were president and had actionable intelligence that high-value al Qaeda targets like Osama bin Laden were within Pakistan, he would take action with or without the cooperation of the Pakistani government?and Mitt Romney slammed him for it:
"I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours... I don't think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort," Romney told reporters on the campaign trail. [...] Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is one of the Republican front-runners, said U.S. troops "shouldn't be sent all over the world." He called Obama's comments "ill-timed" and "ill-considered."Despite that criticism, Barack Obama kept his promise four years later, giving the order that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden. That order carried significant political risk, but it was the right call. Yet now that Obama's position has been vindicated, Mitt Romney is trying to erase history:
While attending the White House Correspondents' dinner Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to the Huffington Post that President Obama misled Rolling Stone about federal marijuana law. Obama claimed he "can't nullify Congressional law" when it comes to[...]
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CHARLOTTE – The Democratic National Convention Committee today named Raleigh-based Business Empire Consulting as the website services vendor for the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The company will create a new official convention website that will launch this spring, part of a broad digital media effort that will engage Americans across the country in the convention.
“Business Empire Consulting brings talent, experience and enthusiasm to this project,” said DNCC CEO Steve Kerrigan. “Business Empire Consulting is committed to working with the DNCC to create an innovative website that will allow more Americans than ever before to participate in this convention, which will be the most open and accessible in history.”
The website services vendor will be responsible for providing web design, development and production services. The DNCC website will support information sharing and other logistical communications with approximately 6,000 delegates, an expected 15,000 members of the media, thousands of other convention guests and the general public. The website will integrate social media, making it an interactive community that will allow anyone, anywhere in the country and the world to take part in the convention.
This is the sixth contract announced by the DNCC. The DNCC has previously awarded contracts for construction management, event architect, event and exposition services, housing services provider, transportation management and security printing services vendor.
The DNCC evaluated proposals based on numerous criteria, including, but not limited to: experience, reliability, relationships to Charlotte, North Carolina, and the surrounding region, participation of union labor, women, minorities, LGBT, veterans and persons with disabilities, and innovative proposed solutions.
The DNCC and the Host Committee have adopted a diversity contracting policy for the 2012 Democratic National Convention that represents unprecedented progress towards both the inclusion and use of diverse businesses. The policy states that the DNCC has a goal of spending at least one third of its funding for contracts and projects with Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), Women Business Enterprises (WBEs), Disability-Owned Businesses, LGBT-Owned Businesses and Veteran-Owned Businesses.
About Business Empire Consulting
Business Empire Consulting (BEC) is a Raleigh-based minority-owned company with 11 employees. BEC is a full-service agency that creates and implements marketing strategies designed to help brands effectively engage their consumers. Since 2009 BEC has used an accelerated data-driven and consumer-focused mentality, now known as adaptive marketing.
The company’s expertise spans from online advertising and interactive websites to social media strategies, microsites, blogs, web videos and mobile experiences. Their creative approach and digital strategies factor in consumer insights and behavioral data. BEC creates smart marketing that forms a strong relationship between a brand and its consumers.