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Tomorrow Benjamin Netanyahu will give his speech to a joint session of Congress.  We have heard a lot of talk about the speech.  Boehner, who invited him, is defending his actions even thought he broke protocol in his invitation.  Democrats are furious about the speech with some threatening to boycott it.  Netanyahu’s opponents, and even some Israeli hawks are against the speech.

One has to wonder exactly what John Boehner is trying to accomplish with his invitation.  Some believe he is trying to help Netanyahu win his election that is being held in two weeks.  Some believe that he is just trying to “embarrass” the President.  Others believe it is an attempt to derail the nuclear talks with Iran.

After reading everything from both sides of the spectrum, I have come to the conclusion that John Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak at a joint session of Congress because he does want him to win the election in two weeks.  This is important to Boehner and the Republicans because they have one very real fear in common with Netanyahu.  They all fear peace.

I believe that if Netanyahu would actually negotiate with the Palestinians, recognize the Palestinian State, and stop throwing up settlements in the Palestinian territory we might actually see peace break out in the region.  Not only that, but if the Palestinian State was recognized, many of the arguments that other Arab countries in the region have against Israel may also fade away.

Allowing the Palestinians their own self-run state would let Israel stop looking like an aggressor.  It would allow Israel and the Palestinians to work together to maintain peace between the two states and even help the economy of both countries to grow.

Unfortunately, Netanyahu has shown no inclination of accepting the Palestinians right to their own state.  That continues to cause a bigger rift between the two parties and allows the radicals on the Palestinian side to fight against Israel by arguing that Israel is the aggressor.  Whether or not that is a valid argument it works to recruit more fighters to the radical side.

Of course the biggest fear for both the Republicans and Netanyahu is that the nuclear talks with Iran may actually come to a positive end.  The Republicans and Netanyahu claim that any deal with Iran will only mean they will be able to build their bomb.

I would not support any deal with Iran without very strong verification policies in place.  We do have to remember that Iran in the past claimed it wanted to wipe Israel off the map.  But, the Soviet Union also promised to “bury” us too.  It was only through diplomacy with Russia that things finally calmed down, even before the fall of the Soviet Union.

One only needs to remember Netanyahu’s speech at the U.N. with his hastily drawn bomb showing how Iran was so close to building an atomic bomb.  I wonder if he will bring it out for this speech as well.  I am certain he will argue that Iran cannot be trusted.  He will argue that any deal with Iran is against the interests of Israel.  I am also sure that the Republican side will erupt in applause when he does.

You would think that “peace in the middle east” would be a good thing.  You would think that everyone would consider that if all sides agree on creating peace that the radicals would lose their poster points for recruiting.  But since Netanyahu and the Republicans share an absolute hate towards Islam, they don’t want peace in the region.  If there is peace, you don’t have any justification to “wipe out” your enemies.

I am not stupid.  I know that reaching a point of peace in the middle east is not going to be easy.  I also know that steadfastly arguing against any diplomacy that may take a step in that direction is stupid.  Hawks all around the world believe that diplomacy is a form of appeasement.  That is ridiculous.

Benjamin Netanyahu has been as much of an impediment to peace in the region as the radical Palestinians have.  If he wasn’t, we would be seeing talks between Israel and the Palestinians.  He refuses to negotiate with them.  Israel has the right to exist as a country.  I believe that the Palestinian State also has a right to exist.  Mutual recognition of the rights of each state would go a long way towards creating an environment where peace is possible.

However, Netanyahu does not want peace.  If he gets it, he may lose power.  That is something that he is unwilling to risk.  So, he accepted the invitation from Boehner in order to help Republicans stop peace in its tracks.  Republicans don’t want peace either.  They don’t want anything to get in their way of a New Crusades against Islam.

That, I believe is the real reason John Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak at a joint session of Congress.  We have already seen too many times that foreign wars take the spotlight off how much you are trying to screw your own people over.  This is just another case of the “tail wagging the dog.”

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The FCC ruled on its net neutrality decision.  The new regulations bar companies such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. from blocking or slowing online traffic, or offering faster service in return for payment.  The idea is to ensure that the internet remains open to everyone.

The FCC vote seeks to settle more than a decade of debate about whether the Internet should be a highway offered to all users on equal terms, or whether broadband providers can levy fees and restrict access.

Of course, Republicans are against net neutrality.  Or, at least the type where companies can’t slow down or charge extra for faster service.  House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said lawmakers would try to stop what he called the FCC’s “misguided scheme.”

The vote also brought wireless service under net neutrality rules as well.  That didn’t sit well with Meredith Attwell Baker, president of CTIA-The Wireless Association, a Washington-based trade group with members including AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc., who said the ruling was  “disappointing and unnecessary.”

Under this ruling, the agency has taken authority to judge whether Internet service providers offer fair terms for accepting Web traffic from the likes of video streamer Netflix Inc. and data shippers such as Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. and Level 3 Communications Inc.

It also allows the agency to judge mobile deals that exempt services such as music streaming from counting against subscribers’ data caps. The agency can accept complaints and might ban an anti-competitive plan.  Venture capitalists had told the FCC that these deals violate the concept that all Web traffic should receive equal treatment.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said:  “The action that we take today is an irrefutable reflection of the principle that no one, whether government or corporate, should control free and open access to the Internet.”  Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak was one of the people in the spectator gallery and said that this action is “an indication that the people can sometimes win.”  He went on to say “This is a victory for the people, the consumers, the average Joes.”

You may wonder why the Republicans are so against this ruling?  Well it is very simple.  They only see dollars and cents for their contributors.  If internet providers are allowed to decide which sites will be in their infamous “fast lane” and which will be slowed down, the internet providers will essentially be allowed to control what you see or get on the internet.

You will hear the Republicans complain that all of this is “government overreach” and that is why they are against it.  They are lying.  They want companies to control the highway known as the internet.  They want to be able to bully certain providers to say what can be seen and what cannot.

Republican legislatures all across the country are slashing education funding including university funding.  They have been attacking education like it is a cancer that is making our citizens too smart.  The internet offers open access to sites that help us learn more about today’s world.  With an intelligent constituency, Republicans fear their “fear mongering” won’t work anymore.  So, they want to put the clamp down on the internet as well as public education.

Since the internet and wireless are both monopolies, it would be easy to bully them into doing just that.  This isn’t just about streaming like Netflix, it is about education as well.  As a result, they want internet providers and wireless providers to be able to charge extra for internet users to get into their “fast lane” so their streaming will not be hindered.

How long do you think it would be before special interest groups started bullying internet providers to “slow down” or deny access through their services to users who do not comply with their ideals?  The AP History curriculum is under attack in several states.  What would stop them from bullying or passing a law that denies access to the very parts of the curriculum they don’t like over the internet?

We will see various lawsuits over this ruling.  We will see Republicans introduce legislation trying to overturn this ruling.  As David Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, said the FCC action portends “inevitable litigation and years of regulatory uncertainty.”

The real problem for Republicans in this ruling is that these rules are designed to preserve the Internet as an open medium.  Open mediums are not what the Republicans want.  They want control.  They are even willing to let internet providers be their arm for control over what’s on the internet.

This fight isn’t over.  We still have too many conservative judges , even a conservative Supreme Court, that can overturn these rulings.  Only time will tell if they stand or not.  If they do, then the people have finally won one over the oligarchs and Republicans.

 

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At precisely 0000 hours (midnight) tomorrow night, the Department of Homeland Security is going to run out of money unless Republicans can get their “stuff” together.  The Republicans who want you to believe that they are the only ones interested in protecting our country from terrorists, are about to let the one department charged with protecting us from terrorists run out of money.

I am not overly concerned about terrorists running amuck in the country, however.  We all know that about 200,000 members of the various agencies under DHS will continue working.  They are considered “essential” personnel.  However, they will be working for an IOU from the government instead of actually being paid.

This tragedy is all tied to immigration reform.  Our immigration laws are archaic at best and need to be reformed.  Two years ago the Senate passed a bi-partisan Immigration Reform Bill and sent it to the House.  It has been languishing in John Boehner’s desk drawer ever since.  This was truly a bi-partisan bill.  Even 14 Republican Senators voted for the bill, and several Republicans were involved in its creation.  Should have been an easy task for Boehner to pass it in the House.

But, once again John Boehner proved that he is only interested in having the title of “Speaker of the House” rather than acting like one.  His bellicose comments about immigration reform are just another example of his unwillingness to “govern”.  He is too afraid of the Tea Party wackos in his caucus to try to pass any meaningful legislation.

After over a year of Boehner derailing a vote on the Immigration Reform Bill, the President issued an Executive Order detailing some changes in the deportation policies.  The Republicans went bonkers, as expected.  Whether or not you think the President’s actions was an overreach or not, I do not think so, is irrelevant.  Something has to be done about our Immigration Laws.

The President’s Executive Order does not make it easier for people to cross the border.  It simply lays out a plan for those already here with U.S. Citizen relations to remain without fear of deportation.  It also gives them a pathway to seek “legitimacy” as the Republicans would say.  It is not amnesty as Republicans are telling everyone.

As a result of this “fight” the Republican House passed a funding bill last year that put the DHS on the spot.  They funded every department of the government except DHS for a full year.  They funded DHS only through tomorrow and the Senate went along.  Then they passed a bill funding DHS but only if the Executive Order was withdrawn.

Naturally, the Senate Democrats filibustered the bill in that chamber.  So, now Mitch McConnell wants to pass a clean DHS funding bill and introduce a bill that would withdraw the Executive Order.  But that puts John Boehner in a corner.  He still has to contend with his wacko fringe group.  And, since he is loath to actually lead and fight the wackos, the idea of a clean bill passing the House is up-in-the-air.

The only way Boehner will be able to pass a clean DHS funding bill in the House is to use the Democrats to get the votes needed.  Although he did use them a few times in the past, that is also something that Boehner is loath to do.  He is afraid that if he goes to the Democrats to pass a clean funding bill, he will face another coup in his caucus.

All of this nonsense was avoidable.  If John Boehner had allowed a debate and vote on the bi-partisan Senate Bill, it would have passed the House.  I am sure there would have been amendments added by the fringe group, but those would have been worked out in a joint committee between the House and Senate.  There would have been no need for the President to issue his Executive Order in the first place.

With the Immigration Reform Bill actual law instead of collecting dust in Boehner’s desk drawer, we would not be in this situation right now.  The other day Boehner said about the DHS funding bill they sent to the Senate: “We did our job, now it is time for the Senate to do theirs.  This will pass if the Democrats stop saying “no” to everything.”

That is really rich coming from a man who has been sitting on the “fix” to all of this for two years!  John Boehner is the worst Speaker of the House in my lifetime.  He makes Newt Gingrich look like a reasonable man.  However, the Citizens United case in the Supreme Court added fuel to this flaming issue.

This is the kind of thing that happens when money is allowed to control politics.  These fringe wackos that Boehner is afraid of are financed by the likes of the Koch Brothers and others.  Their money has polluted and corrupted our political process to the point of stagnation.

Even still, it is John Boehner’s job to “govern” in the name of the People of the United States.  Something that, apparently, he is loath to do as well.  This whole dilemma was manufactured because John Boehner is more interested in holding the title rather than being the Speaker of the House.

There is no other reason for us to be in the predicament we are in over DHS funding.  Even big business and the Chamber of Commerce favor the Senate passed Immigration Reform Bill.  To stop this mess, all John Boehner needs to do is dust off the Senate Bill and bring it to floor of the House.  But he won’t.

I don’t use this word lightly, but John Boehner is basically a coward.  That is why we are waiting to see if there will be a partial government shutdown come midnight tomorrow night.

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Poor Bill O’Reilly just can’t seem to keep out of the spotlight.  Only in this case it is the wrong spotlight.  As we discussed before, O’Reilly appears to have “embellished” his time in Argentina covering the Falklands War.  Instead of answering any questions put to him, he has gone off on everyone who dares think the story may be true.

During a phone interview with New York Times reporter Emily Steel he told her that if he didn’t think her story was “fair” “I am coming after you with everything I have.  You can take it as a threat.”  Again, rather than speaking about the issue, O’Reilly fell back into his bully mantra.

Now, there seems to be another problem with O’Reilly’s account of something he wrote in his supposedly non-fictional book about “Killing Kennedy.”  See in his book “Killing Kennedy” we was present when George de Mohrenschildt, a friend of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald committed suicide in his daughter’s home in Florida in 1977.  Then while promoting his book on Fox and Friends, he repeated the claim.

“I was about to knock on the door where [de Mohrenschildt] was, his daughter’s house, and he blew his brains out with a shotgun,”

Unfortunately, there is a problem with this wonderful tale as well.  According to two of his colleagues at WFAA TV station in Dallas, TX, where O’Reilly was working at the time, he was not in Florida, but in Dallas, TX!  Hmmm.  Tracy Rowlett and Byron Harris, O’Reilly’s WFAA colleagues at the time, both say the embattled host was with them at WFAA’s Dallas headquarters when de Mohrenschildt died.

On top of that, the police report of the incident does not mention O’Reilly being there.  Nor does The Associated Press report of the incident, which only says de Mohrenschildt was in the house with two maids at the time, neither of whom heard the gunshot.  If O’Reilly was present he must have been interviewed by the police as a witness!  So why isn’t he even mentioned in their reports?

Besides, if O’Reilly was really at the scene when de Mohrenschildt died, wouldn’t he have done a “stand up” and broke the story for his station?  As the half-governor would say “you betcha!”  There was no stand up about the story.  Nor, did WFAA even break the story.  The story was actually broken by the Dallas Morning News.

Then there is the story of Gaeton Fonzi, an investigative reporter who has written extensively on the Kennedy assassination.  Fonzi has who is now deceased, writes in his autobiography that he received a call from O’Reilly shortly after the suicide, asking for confirmation it had happened.  In his autobiography Fonzi wrote:

About 6:30 that evening I received a call from Bill O’Reilly, a friend who was then a television reporter in Dallas. “Funny thing happened,” he said. “We just aired a story that came over the wire about a Dutch journalist saying the Assassinations Committee has finally located de Mohrenschildt in South Florida. Now de Mohrenschildt’s attorney, a guy named Pat Russel, he calls and says de Mohrenschildt committed suicide this afternoon. Is that true?”

Why on earth would a journalist who was supposedly “about to knock on the door” when he heard the gunshot have to call another journalist to ask if the story of de Mohrenschildt’s suicide is true?  I guess it is because he was never there!

So far, there has been no response from O’Reilly or Fox News about this latest “embellishment” of the facts.  I can’t wait to hear O’Reilly tell his audience that this is another left-wing media attack on him.  I wonder if he will tell his two former colleagues that “he will go after them,” too?

But, if you think that Roger Ailes who runs Fox News Network will do anything to O’Reilly, you are living in another fantasy world, too.  All of this only proves that O’Reilly is a serial liar.  That is not something that Ailes is too concerned about either.

It has always been humorous to me that Fox News tells America that their “news” is “fair and balanced.”  Yet, when things like this come up, they just pretend that it is nothing more than a personal attack by the “left-wing media”.  In truth, Ailes and O’Reilly are flip sides of the same coin.  They both attack, threaten, and openly bully anyone who disagrees with their warped view of the “truth” and the world.

That is why O’Reilly won’t face any problems at Fox News over his serial lying.  He works for a network that makes its money doing the same thing all of the time.  Unless there is a backlash against the advertisers for O’Reilly’s show, nothing will be done, and O’Reilly will keep making stuff up as he goes along.

Unfortunately, for America, too many people will continue to listen to his bullshit as pure truth.  As the Wicked Witch of the West said, “what a world!”

 

 

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece talking about the Brian Williams saga and stating this is what happens when the news becomes no more than entertainment.  Today’s news reporters seem to believe that they are as much of the story as the story itself.  That is what leads reporters to “exaggerate” their experiences.

When the story about Brian Williams broke, the self-anointed prophet, Bill O’Reilly went on air to blast Williams and to state how this explains how corrupt the “liberal media” is.  During his show about Williams, O’Reilly said”

We’ve made some mistakes in the past but very few…We take great pains to present you with information that can be verified. Reporting comes with a big responsibility, the Founding Fathers made that point very clearly. They said to us, “We’ll give you freedom. We’ll protect you from government intrusion. But, in return, you, the press, must be honest.”

That sounds so grown up and so professional.  But, there seems to be a problem with the self-anointed prophet’s own stories of him being a “war correspondent” in places like El Salvador and the Falklands.  Mother Jones reported yesterday that poor Bill’s accounts of his “war corresponding” do not fit the facts.  There seems to be some real issues with his accounts, both in his book “No Spin Zone” and interviews he has granted about his time in the “war zones.”

In trying to put other correspondents down about “covering the war” he tried to show his bona fides as a “war correspondent” during the Falkland War.  He asserted:  “I’ve been there. That’s really what separates me from most of these other bloviators. I bloviate, but I bloviate about stuff I’ve seen. They bloviate about stuff that they haven’t.”

One problem with this story.  He was never in the Falkland Islands during the war.  In 1982, he was working for CBS News.  He was sent down to Buenos Aires to be part of the bureau covering the war.  Problem is that no U.S. correspondent made it to the Falklands during the fighting.  One NBC news correspondent did manage to get to the capital of Stanley, but that was weeks before the fighting started, and he spent one day there.

The British had about 30 reporters who accompanied them on the trip to the Falklands.  However, these reporters were all British.  None were European or American.  Additionally, they were fully dependent upon the British Army for their stories.

So, what “combat zone” did O’Reilly enter during the war?  None.  When the Argentines surrendered there was a mass protest about the surrender by thousands of Arginine citizens.  During these protests, it was reported that people were beaten, even news correspondents, and that the police fired rubber bullets into the crowd.  There were reports of injuries, but there were no reports of deaths during the protests.  This is what O’Reilly is calling a “combat zone.”

In 2009 O’Reilly did an interview with a television station in the Hamptons about covering these protests which he claimed the other journalists were too afraid to cover.  He said:  “I was out there pretty much by myself because the other CBS news correspondents were hiding in the hotel.” (“We were all out with our camera crews that day to cover the protest,” Schieffer says. “I’d been out there with a crew too.”)

According to O’Reilly’s own words during this interview soldiers “were just gunning these people down, shooting them down in the streets” with “real bullets.”  Yet, there were no reports of deaths during these protests by anyone at the time.

Then he went on to tell the story of how he rescued his South American cameraman, who had been trampled by the crowd: “The camera went flying. I saved the tape because it was unbelievable tape. But I dragged him off the street because he was bleeding from the ear and had hit his head on the concrete…The sound man is trying to save the camera…And then the army comes running down and the guy points the M-16. And I’m going, ‘Periodista, no dispare,’ which means, ‘Journalist, don’t shoot.’ And I said, ‘Por favor.’ Please don’t shoot…Then the guy lowered his gun and went away.”

Mother Jones notified Fox News about the story before they published it.  David Corn, one of the authors said that he sent an email to Fox News at 8:30 am with a list of questions so they could refute what was in the story and asked for a response by 3 pm.  He also sent several follow-ups even saying they could have more time if needed.  Fox News, and of course the self-anointed prophet failed to respond.

Instead of answering the questions, O’Reilly went on a rampage.  He called Corn a “liar”, a “guttersnipe” and the story a “hit job” against O’Reilly.  Problem is that he never answered any questions about the discrepancies between what he has been saying and what the story reports.

As I predicted, Williams is not the only journalist to “make things up” in order to make a bigger name for himself.  The difference so far between these two stories is that Williams apologized for his embellishments and was suspended for six months for his actions.  O’Reilly has not apologized for his embellishments and I will take odds that Fox News will not suspend him for six months, or even six seconds.

If everything in this report is true, and there doesn’t seem to be anything that contravenes it, then it would appear that the “liberal media” isn’t the only source “lying” to American People.  “Conservative media” is just as guilty.  The difference is in how they handle it and whether or not the guilty is punished.  The “liberal media” has proven it will punish their guilty.  The only question is will Fox News punish its own?  If Fox News doesn’t, it will prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the “conservative media” doesn’t care about the “truth.”

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Interior Secretary Sally Jewel was in Alaska yesterday.  She went to a small village to see first-hand the effects climate change is having on this village.  She visited Kivalina, a village of 370 on a barrier island just off Alaska’s northwest coast.

For those who don’t know very much about Alaska, savage winter storms can have a devastating effect on coastal areas.  Kivalina was protected in the past from some of these storms because of the ice which created a natural barrier.  However, in the last few decades, this natural barrier hasn’t been as effective because the ice freezes later in the winter than in the past.

As a result, coastal erosion has increased dramatically.  “You can see the impact of coastal erosion in the village,” Jewell said. “You can hear the fear in people’s voices about what’s happening with climate change. Things are changing up here, and that’s part of what I’m on this trip to learn about.”

The erosion has gotten so bad that residents have moved bodies from the village cemetery in order to prevent them from washing away.  Additionally, they report that due to migration route changes, subsistence hunters must travel greater distances to harvest caribou and whales.

The coastal erosion has also resulted in less land on the island.  That means there is less land to build new homes.  As a result, many residents are “cramming” up to 20 people in a 2 or 3 bedroom house.  “Hopefully this session will bring the kind of visibility that you need to Kivalina for the challenges you have with climate change,” Jewell said, pointing to television cameras carried by reporters. “Because you’re on the front lines, right here.”

But, there is another problem in Alaska that is harming villages like Kivalina.  The state budget is tied to the petroleum industry with 90% of its revenue coming from that industry alone.  With oil prices dropping, the state is now facing a multi-billion dollar deficit.

As a result, some of Alaska’s officials followed Jewel on her visit.  However, they didn’t seem to interested in the plight of the village or its population.  Rather, they were only interested in being able to produce more oil.  President Barack Obama’s announcement last month that he would seek wilderness status for the oil-rich coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, and Jewell’s announcement that she would remove five Arctic Ocean areas from future offshore lease sales, prompted protests from Alaska officials.

“I may be an easy target,” Jewell said. “But the reality is oil prices have fallen dramatically, and that’s impacted the state’s budget. We are supporting responsible and safe oil drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve and in the Outer Continental Shelf.”

Residents of Kivalina talked about something other than oil drilling.  “When I was in the village of Kivalina, they didn’t talk with me at all about resource development,” she said. “They talked to me about personal life and safety. They talked about subsistence. They talked about a change in climate, about melting permafrost that’s impacting berry picking and their movement across the landscape.”

U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska said past administrations have always treated Alaska like a “little jewel” without consideration about its residents.  He then went on to say that President Obama was even worse than past administrations.

“What’ll be accomplished? We don’t know,” Young said. “I’m not overly optimistic, because this is not the secretary’s, personally, I don’t think it’s her personal opinion. It’s an environmental group around the president. And the president’s decided to be against fossil fuels.”

His last comment came straight from the Republican and Oil Industry playbook.  He said:  “The idea that global warming is caused by people is the biggest charade ever perpetrated on the people of Alaska.”

Well Mr. Young, what does the State of Alaska plan to do to assist villages like Kivalina?  You never mentioned the plight of these people and their village.  If this continues, it is very possible that Kivalina is going to disappear from the map.  Do you have any plans to help them?

Climate change is very real.  2014 was the warmest the planet has been in history!  As a matter of fact, 13 of the warmest years in history have come since the year 2000.  All over Alaska the permafrost is melting.  The arctic ice is melting.  Sea levels are rising.  And people who live in areas like the little village of Kivalina are paying the price for it.

Still, a Congressman from Alaska has the audacity to claim that the idea of global warming being caused by humans is “the biggest charade” ever perpetrated on the people of Alaska.  If this idea is such a hoax, why has there been more snow on the east coast than in most parts of Alaska this winter?  Why is the temperature in a small village on the northwest coast of Alaska about the same as in Washington, D.C.?

As usual, this is really about economics.  Specifically the oil industry’s economics.  Since oil prices have fallen, something must be done to increase their revenues.  Never mind that a lack of snow in many parts of the west and Rockies have cost ski resorts money.  Never mind that global warming is threatening to wipe out this village in Alaska, and it isn’t the only one either.

For Mr. Young and his cohorts, it is about protecting your donor list.  It has nothing to do with the citizens he is supposed to be representing.  As I see it, Mr. Young considers the plight of the villagers in Kivalina about as much as he does stepping on a bug.  Not at all.  Just keep the money from the oil industry flowing into his coffers and the world will be a wonderful place.

 

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It has been six weeks since Republicans gained control of both houses of congress.  And, after a grueling whole six weeks of being on the job, they have taken another week-long vacation.  In those six weeks, they managed to pass two pieces of legislation through both houses.  One deals with veteran mental health help, and the other is the Keystone XL Pipeline authorization.

One of the biggest problems with the Republicans is that they took over Congress without any game plan.  Oh, they said they had some obscure policies, but they have no game plan on how to get things working in their “New Congress” as they called it.  The other problem is that they are taking a week off without doing anything on DHS Funding.  When they return, the will have four days to get the department funded.

However, that is not likely to happen.  Democrats have remained unified in their opposition to the House Bill that funded DHS but removes all of the protections for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from being deported.  Including the Dreamers.  Boehner said just before leaving for his vacation that “the House did its job.  Now it is up to the Senate to do theirs.”

Even Senate Republicans have expressed concern over the House’s bill.  They don’t see it as anyway to “govern” as they like to say.  As a result, the bill is languishing in the Senate due to a Democrat filibuster.  So, Mr. Boehner says that the Senate should change the rules and eliminate the filibuster.  The filibuster was the favored method of “saying no” to the President when Democrats held control of the chamber.  Republican Senators are in no mood to change the filibuster rules.

So, the heads of the DHS are starting to seriously plan on how to function without any money after next week.  Even though this administration has deported more undocumented immigrants than the previous three administrations before them combined, the Tea Party wackos are still not happy. As a result, the one department responsible to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the country, is responsible to deport undocumented immigrants they do catch, is supposed to stop terrorists from entering the country, and is supposed to stop our ports from being attacked by foreign shipping is going to run out of money.

The other story that is not gaining much press is the fact that the Republicans in the House are passing tax breaks again increasing the budget deficit another $300 Billion.  Whenever Republicans talk about funding programs like Head Start, Food Stamps, WIC, even Social Security and Medicare, they always say that “it must be paid for.”  Yet, when they want to pass these tax cuts, they don’t “have to pay for them.”

The first of these tax cuts doesn’t sound like a big deal.  What they are trying to do is make permanent some temporary tax cuts aimed at helping small business earning up to $2 Million.  These cuts allow these small businesses to immediately write off equipment purchases up to $500,000.  This is one of those temporary measures that has passed about a dozen times in the past.  The House Republicans want to make them permanent.

The biggest problem with this is that it is nothing more than a ploy to destroy comprehensive tax reform in the future.  Both parties want to overhaul the tax code.  Yet, by changing the tax code piece-meal the Republicans are trying to eliminate things that can be included in the bargaining over how the tax code can be overhauled.

Rep. Sander Levin said:  “The gist of that ploy — take a number of provisions separately, make them permanent, separately make them permanent, and don’t pay a dime for them, not a dime.  Not having to pay for $800 billion worth of tax [cuts] made permanent would make it easier for Republicans to lower taxes, especially on higher-income taxpayers, carrying out further their trickle-down tax policies.”

By reducing revenue to the government, Republicans are planning to make sure that items favored by Democrats and the American Public cannot necessarily be protected in any future tax code reform talks.  Like mortgage interest deductions, child tax credits, and earned income tax breaks.  Furthermore, reduced revenues will allow Republicans to complain about the deficit being too big and take a sledge-hammer to other programs like Head Start.

The plan is to create a deficit bigger than what we already have, and use it as an excuse to eliminate the programs you hate.  You can then safely go after Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  That old faithful argument of the deficit being too big will hold more water, they believe.  Even though you created the bigger deficit through irresponsible “governing.”

As a result of the criticism, Paul Ryan took a page out of Boehner’s book and criticized the Democrats for wanting to “pay” for these tax cuts.  He said:  “If you dare try to make these things that we all agree on that need to stay in the tax code permanent, it’s ‘You’re not paying for it; it’s a budget buster; you’re being irresponsible; you’re jeopardizing tax reform.’ Process, process, process.”

In other words, “how dare the Democrats use the same arguments we use all of the time to strip the social safety net from the American People when we try to cut taxes.”  As Ryan says “process, process, process.”  Only they don’t like it when what they argue about all of the time is used to call them out for their own failed policies.

We have lived under the sewage of “trickle-down economics” for 40 years.  It has failed us miserably.  We have lost over 5 million factory jobs overseas.  We have become a nation of an economy built on part-time workers in a “service” economy.  Middle-class wages have stagnated while the rich get richer.  Deregulation caused the latest economic crash that was the worst since the Great Depression.

Yet, Republicans are still trying to get us to “buy into” their “trickle-down” economy.  There has been no “trickle-down” for over 40 years.  There will be no “trickle-down” in the next 40 years either.  “Trickle-down” and “Supply Side” economics are nothing more than hocus-pocus economics.

We are six weeks into the “New Congress” and we are already facing a partial shutdown of the government.  The very department that actually is responsible to “protect our borders” is facing a shutdown simply because Republicans cannot agree on anything among themselves.  We have already had two tax cuts passed by the House and more are on the way which will only increase the budget deficit.  And, Congress is on vacation, again!

That is Mitch McConnell’s and John Boehner’s definition of “governing!”

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