Thursday, April 30, 2015

Obama Presidential Library to be on the Southside of Chicago

++He had to wait until Rahm Emmanuel was re-lected as mayor of Chicago before the decision was finalized. But it seems that President Obama chose the south side of Chicago as the site for his Presidential library. 

++He alluded to this choice when he spoke earlier in dedicating the Haymarket national park. Chicago was chosen over Columbia, the University of Illinois, and the University of Hawaii. 

++It will not be quite on the campus of one of my alma maters but close.

Muhammed Ali tweets about Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight

++Muhammed Ali just wanted you to know about this Saturday's fight that "I am the greatest." He doesn't accept substitutes. Can you imagine Ali having twitter during his career?

As The Month Fades

++Reading Oliver Sacks's memoir. And, lo and behold,who is he related to and actually had a seder with. A distant cousin,who had characteristics they both shared. Also, this person was related to Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union. The great Abba Eban. Eban claimed they shared characteristics and mannerisms because of Sacks' grandfather who acted the same way. Sacks is also related to Al Capp, the cartoonist of Lil' Abner fame and later a bitter speaker on the college circuit.

++John Boehner found himself trying to save the Export-Import Bank, which has become some type of conservative cause.

++Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio have paralyzed the Senate Republican caucus over the Corker-Carden Bill. They have added amendments which will kill the bill. Somehow they don't understand this. 

++Jeb Bush lost the Adelson primary because of James Baker, one of his advisers speaking to J Street. Jeb says he admires Clarence Thomas and thinks Anthony Scalia's opinions are marvelous reads. Please remember that remark. 2016 is about the Supreme Court. 

++The House Republicans are trying to figure out some legislative formula for saving Obamacare subsidies until 2017. They really don't want to debate it during the general election.

++Harvard did a poll of the millenials, which found that that they favor Democrats 55 to 40 and that Hillary is the preferred candidate. 47% would vote for her tomorrow.

++Thinking of Baltimore,I've been reading Bryan Burrough's Day of Rage about America's radical underground and the Black Liberation Army and wonder when and if it will come back.

HRC at Columbia, Bernie Sanders in,Mike Huckabee at Hispanic Christian Conference

++Hillary Clinton talked to the 18th Annual Dinkins Forum on Public Policy at Columbia and delivered her first policy speech on the campaign. With the backdrop of Baltimore,Mrs. Clinton focused on the issue of race and law enforcement in the country.

++She tied her past work at the Arkansas School of Law to efforts to reform our justice system and free prisoners who have not committed violent crimes. You would not expect it with Baltimore and Ferguson but our crime rate is the lowest in twenty years.

++Hillary Clinton pointed to the growing bipartisan consensus on penal reform in the Senate. But she also focused on policing communities and getting the police to deal with community issues.

++She then brought up an issue that has been sorely neglected even with the healthcare debate--that is mental health. She pointed to the deinstitutionalization movement and the neglect of its second part--establishing community-based mental health facilities for local treatment. Now, she says, our prisons are the mental health facilities of the country.

++She promised full policy proposals as she campaigns. But yesterday was a good start.

++Also she tacked left by criticizing the TPP.

++Meanwhile Bernie Sanders threw his cap into the ring at the age of 73. Sanders of all candidates is the primier climate change hawk and an economic populist. Matt Taibibi at Rolling Stone was thrilled and said don't count Bernie out.

++Martin O'Malley, who stumbled a biut, but the reaction in Baltimore and the blame thrown his way by the locals,printed in Huffington Post an op-ed on the situation in Baltimore. 

++Whatever you say,the Democratic race looks like it actually will be about real issues and not memes. 

++Mike Huckabee addressed the Hispanic Christian Association and said that whatever SCOTUS rules on same sex marriage, they can not over-rule God. Egads.

++Bobby Jindal has thrown his weight behind the movement to get Ginsberg and Kagan to recuse themselves from the same sex marriage case. Why not throw in Sonia Sotomayor.

++Representative Steven King of Iowa is trying to get  throw out the law that you are a citizen if you are born here in the United States. This is Louie Gohlmert's "Terror" babies.

++The House and Senate have passed a budget resolution--not law---that would cut $5 trillion from the federal government over 10 years and just devastate Medicare and almost any discretionary program. This is Paul Ryan on steroids.

++The White House denies they are trying to seize Texas in a military coup. Rand Paul is going to investigate the idea. Governor of Abbott has asked the National Guard to spy on our military exercise in the state and make sure the United States military is not going to seize Texas. True story.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#Benghazi!!! Drudge Siren. State Department to release Hillary's e-mails

++Well,Reuters reports that the State Department will be releasing 300 Hillary e-mails about Benghazi this week.

++But, alas, they don't produce the smoking-gun that showed Hillary was responsible for weakening security at the Benghazi station. 

++But you can always speculate on what she erased on her personal server. 

Joni, Please Don't Go

++Yesterday had conflicting news about Joni Mitchell's health condition. Her representatives put out the spin that she was still hospitalized but alert and in good spirits.

++But her close companion had filed a court document to become conservator because she maintained that Joni was still in a coma and can't make decisions about her healthcare.

++Unfortunately,the latter seems to be true and the court document has been filed on-line for everyone to see.

++The 72-year old Joni Mitchell was found collapsed outside her house. She has been in poor health for a number of years.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Mayor of Burlington, Vermont announces

++Bernie Sanders has let out be known he will announce on Thursday by written statement and then hold an opening rally sometime later in May.

++As Barack Obama said at the White House Correspondents' Dinner,"A pot-smoking socialist, You might get third Obama term."

++Note my WIFI is on the fritz. So I will blog when technically able.

Monday, April 27, 2015


++Curious, they polled "registered "voters on this subject. But,alas,FOX News found that 48% approved same sex marriages,44 were against. This is higher than their last poll but a few points down from more national polls.

Don't Worry About Tomorrow

++A reader saw I lived Stevie Ray Vaughn and suggested I listen to some Albert King. The NSA seemed to be listening because today Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly posted three Albert King renditions of the blues. Listen!

++Tomorrow I dread because we are supposed to read the tea leaves coming out of the SCOTUS questions on same-sex marriage. I may take a bye. This town is anxiety-producing enough.

++So the Religious Right dropped off petitions that Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Elaine Kagan recuse themselves because they are biased in favor of same sex marriage. Remember this stunt with Obamacare. Try to fix the count so you can have the decision you want.

++The Amicus curiae brief by the "marriage experts" that said that same sex marriage causes abortions may seem nuts except it is aimed at one vote--Justice Kennedy. They know his position on abortion and also know that he previously concurred with a decision that the courts can not define traditional marriage. So knowing of his intense hatred of abortion rights,they want to persuade him to join the Dark Side.

++It seems so long ago that the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage because the state had no interest in the matter. This ignited the Religious Right's fury and efforts to impeach the judges.

++So here in 2015--yes the 21st Century--the Freedom and Faith Summit brought forth the bile of the GOP Presidential candidates. 

++Ted Cruz said that a Liberal fascism was going on against Christians.

++Mike Huckabee said that it wouldn't be long before Christianity would be criminalized.

++Marco Rubio said it would be an absurd bending of the Constitution that would allow Gay marriage.

++Bobby Jindal distributed his New York Times op-ed and said he supports his Religious Freedom bill but would go to a gay wedding.

++Steven King said that SCOTUS can't change the definition of marriage just because they are the Supreme Court. I guess not.

++Rick Perry said he was proud to have helped George W. Bush pass the Religious Freedom Bill in Texas during the 1990s.

++Jeb Bush couldn't make it but his evangelical outreach person assured the crowd that Jeb supporting defunding Planned Parenthood.

++The Supreme Court reversed a ruling by a lower court that upheld Obamacare's contraceptive coverage because the Catholic Church objects to it and invoked Hobby Lobby against it.

Quinnipiac Poll On Iran Deal

++John Kerry meets the Iranian Foreign Minister today at the meeting on the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Meanwhile negotiators say they are making progress.

++The Corker-Cardin Bill still faces amendments in the Senate that could torpedo it.

++This week expect two issues to get white hot--same-sex marriage and Iran.

++ It is no coincidence that W re-appeared at Adelson's cattle call at the Venetian Hotel in Vegas.

++W took potshots at President Obama's Mideast policy, saying all the problems there are after he left office. He doubted that you could "snap-back" sanctions like President Obama said and that since sanctions brought Iran to the table then we should keep it up. He said that the deal was not in the long-term strategic interest of the United States. He says we should be thinking about our grandchildren. If that were true, then wouldn't you think we should do something about climate change?

++Meanwhile Bibi now says that the most dangerous threat against Israel is Hezbullah. Stay tuned.

++Now the polls. Quinnipiac on the iran deal:
Approval of the Iran deal:
Democrats 76 to 15
Independents 60 to 33
Republicans  37 to 56

Americans favor Congressional approval of deal:
65 to 24

Americans Favor negotiated settlement versus military action.
77 to 13.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Before I Forget

++John Boehner is going to subpoena Hillary's server. He claims it's because she broke the law.

++Time Magazine and NBC backed away from the Clinton uranium sales deal story. They agreed with me about how it falls apart.

++Business Insider is more on the Bill Clinton Kazakstan story. But then when you dig down into the story, you find out that he was involved in the uranium situation in the middle of W's presidency.

++I thought the best line of Obama's speech at the WH Correspondent's Dinner was his reference that Michelle Bachman said he would bring the End Times. "Now that's a helluva legacy." "Even George Washington didn't do that."

++9 GOP Presidential hopefuls will be at the Faith and Freedom Summit in Iowa to count the Religious Right vote.

++Bobby Jindal is leaving Louisiana a real mess. Several state universities have made plans for bankruptcy. The State budget faces millions upon millions of debt ala Brownback's Kansas. The only thing that is earning money is tourism, which had a boom year. Now with his Religious Freedom bill it's like that will tank too. 

++Mrs. Chris Christie quit her job on Wall Street , another sign that the Jersey Governor is going to run.

++Washington Monthly yesterday posted archival footage of a 1995 Barack Obama reading excerpts of "Dreams from my Father" at the Cambridge, Mass library. It is a wonderful clip on Barack Obama talking about race and his days organizing in Chicago.

++The Iranian nuclear deal moves ahead. Negotiators have said their first days have made progress in finalizing details. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

The New York Times Is Getting Touchy

++The New York Time editorial admits they have found nothing wrong --yet--in the millions accepted by the Clinton Foundation and any of Hillary Clinton's actions as Secretary of State, they think she should reveal as much as possible about the donations and state what her policy as President will be if she becomes President.

++Media Matters has taken up the sword against the Times by pointing out "Her alleged breach" of her promise that the Clinton Foundation would not accept foreign government donations when she became Secretary of State is false. Indeed, the Clinton Foundations pointed out that countries such as Norway,and other European countries would continue on projects that dealt with health and humanitarian issues. That her so-called pledge was not that.

++The right as can be expected is circulating stories about the two press reports. Jennifer Rubin says that Hillary's standard for no quid pro quo is phony. Yes, it's the optics, my dear. Mitt Romney tweeted it looks like bribery after reading the Russian piece.

++The e-mails from the right indicate they think the Foundation is Hillary's Achilles' heel.

++Joe Scarborough of "Morning Joe" fame went crazy on Howard Dean who simply said the reporting has been shabby and lousy. Conservatives are surprised by how many on talk shows are dismissing the allegations.

++But they will always have #Benghazi!

Clinton Cash

++I sold several cartons of Clinton books several weeks ago because they were taking up space and had no earthly value. Everything from WhiteWater to Monica Lewinsky. Some of the same people who penned these tomes are involved in the $400 million scheme to go after Hillary. There is Karl Rove and Citizens United, who brought us the last Hillary documentary which took down campaign finance laws.

++During the Clinton era, mystery writer and chronicler of American foibles, James Ellroy said he wanted to write novels about the Clinton era. That would be interesting but he hasn't produced.

++We've had the Benghazi books but they couldn't tell whether Obama or Hillary were the villains. But now we have Clinton Cash, which pretends to be the revelation of how the Clintons got superrich and used the Clinton Foundation to manipulate American foreign policy. Unfortunately, the New York Times, the Washington Post gave credibility to its author, a former speechwriter to W and foreign policy consultant to Sarah Palin.

++So far the New York Times has produced two stories both centered around Canadian Frank Giustra , a millionaire who gave buckets of money to the Clinton-Giustra Sustainable Development Project.

++The first story concerned the Colombian Free Trade Pact, which was supported by Giustra but only buried in the story was that Hillary opposed it until Obama wanted to see whether they could get better labor rights and environmental protections into it. The story couldn't confirm that Hillary had any contact with Giustra.

++OK, story number two looks hot. Vladimir Putin acquires 20% of America's uranium through a company named Uranium One. The article details Putin's global effort to monopolize uranium production and how this is a national security threat to the United States. Naturally, this was at a time when Russian relations were on a "Reset" and we were cooperation with nuclear arms reduction.

++The State Department approved the sale of then Uranium One to the Russians. The plot thickens. Unless you read the article microscopically you would not know that the State Department guy in charge of approving the sale one "Jose Fernandez" said on the record that Hillary never interfered with his decision.

++Another fact conveniently left out was that State was only one out of 9 different agencies who approved the deal.

++And the State Department approved the sale of the remaining segment of Uranium One to the Russians after Hillary Left.

++Since this terrible breach of national security occurred because the Clinton Foundation's donor had ties with Hillary, it should be noted that Frank Giustra sold Uranium One three years before any of this happened.

++Ok, by another Clinton donor named Tilfer picked up the company and sold it to the Russians. But the article admits they never talked to him. He says he has never met or talked to either Clinton. His donation was to support his friend's Sustainability Project.

++On the surface of it, this looked like a barnburner of a piece which would wound Hillary Clinton. The Business Insider led with the piece yesterday and it has gained traction. But no one has actually walked through the piece. It not only doesn't prove a quid pro quo but suggests the Clinton's had nothing to do with any of this.

++That's not to say Bill is out of the water. The piece has Bill in Kazakhstan negotiating business that involved that country's uranium. He denied it to the New York Times but author Jill Becker called him to say there are photos and indeed there are. If anything, Hillary has to watch out for Bill's chronic willingness to lie or obfuscate when it's not necessary. One of his lawyers prior to the impeachment hearing said that if Bill had admitted to his affair with Jennifer Flowers in the beginning none of the circus that overtook Washington would have ever happened.

++So far the great Clinton Cash stories haven't touched Hillary directly. But husband Bill will be brought into this and even his involvement isn't clear. 

++Watch out for these stories. They make great reading but you soon get the timelines are all off. Giustra sold off his company years before the questionable transaction and in the Colombia case he started his affairs in that country in 2007 and his actions could not be tied to Hillary because she hadn't even run for President and no one knew she would become Secretary of State.

++Even the author of the book Clinton Cash admits there is no smoking gun--but he encouraged more reporters to dig into it. 

++That's not to say the Clinton machine doesn't create problems of its own. Yesterday they announced they had to re-file five years of taxes. We forget that Obama beat Hillary because ,in part, he kept a tighter ship. 

Remember When Romney Beat Obama Because of Benghazi? Proceed, Governor

++Or how President Obama was going to be impeached because of #Benghazi! ? That's turned out well.

++The tragedy at Benghazi has been thoroughly investigated by 9 committees and Curt Gowdy's make it ten. Not even Whitewater drew this much attention.

++When Trey Gowdy said that the Special Committee couldn't complete its work until 2016,no one missed the point.

++Now the great scandal is Hillary Clinton's e-mail server and that she only gave State 30,000 e-mails for their records. But remember, dear Reader, all her calls and e-mails were monitored by the NSA. When will Curt Gowdy subpoena the NSA records. What is all this surveillance for, anyway?

++Well, Gowdy received a full blast of pushback on his plan and now he will have Hillary Clinton testify for two days on Benghazi and the e-mails sooner rather than later. 

++Gowdy had wanted close hearings so that the GOP members could selectively leak things to the press. Don Kendell, Hillary Clinton's lawyer, said ,"No way, Jose." So they are to be public next month or early June.

++Rand Paul skipped a hearing on State Department funding, which includes security for embassies, to attack Hillary Clinton on Bengazi in a television interview. That sounds familiar. The House cut funding for embassies, against then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's advice, and "Voila!" you get Benghazi and attacks on embassies  throughout the Middle East.

++Hey, maybe Trey can strike pay dirt. Or then again waste more money for the nuts and kook crowd.

Hillary at the 2015 Women In the World Summit

++They are not flies on Hillary when it comes to women's issues. Carly Fiorina may think her entrance in the race may neutralize Hillary's appeal to women but Mrs. Clinton history on this subject is too long established to be ignored.

++Her speech to the 2015 Women in the World Summit in Manhattan has been characterized as her taking a page from President Obama's playbook in speechmaking. 

++She adopted a style that wears well. That's important for a presidential race. Perhaps it is her maturity but her extended speech had the right rhetorical flourishes and her inflections carried well.

++She invoked the Change mantra from Obama's old campaign days urging the women to be agents of change. She actually made the case for parental leave,equal pay,reproductive rights ,LGBT rights and equality in health insurance in a way that is integrated into the economic needs of the country.

++She seamlessly wove the stories of women she met in Iowa with those who were active abroad in their countries and ,most importantly, she personally knew. I pity the man who runs against her. She is formidable. That's the reason the GOP is trying to knock her out early with the "Clinton Cash" stories.

++For progressives, they forget that Hillary was the Red Queen of the Clinton Administration and that she had her own agenda that provoked fear in conservatives' hearts. After all these years of experience,her agenda hasn't mellowed as much as blended with the new realities. 

++She also knows how to deliver political attacks. She attacked "leaders" referring to the GOP wannabe presidents on wanting to defund our country's largest woman's health provider --i.e. Planned Parenthood,Hobby Lobby for deciding on women's health issues, and the resistance to equal pay. If she sticks to her rhetoric, it makes it very hard to counter without looking like a buffoon.

++But a warning to the wise. President Obama at the OFA reminded people how often he talked about income inequality like in his historic Kansas speech as President. "Now it's everybody's platform." 

++My experience is that no one really listens to President Obama . Instead they regurgitate what the media or talk radio says. I've encountered this from conservatives who insist he said things which are just the opposite of his statements and actions.

++This will happen to Hillary Clinton, also. Her comments will be deliberately misconstrued.

++For the first extended outing,Hillary Clinton showed her knowledge and experience. She no longer has that grating tone in her voice. 

++So far, I haven't heard a GOP candidate, even Jeb, give a fluid, coherent speech , even on a subject they may know. And they all have captive audiences like Hillary's. 

++Hillary's first speech out of the box is a good omen for her campaign.

Fired Up and Ready to Go--Obama Speaks to Organizing for America

++President Obama spoke to the Summit of Organizing for America yesterday and reiterated the achievements of his administration. Then he gave a full-throated defense of the TransPacific Trade Agreement.

++He twined the TPP with the Iranian Nuclear Deal by saying he did them because both were right. To the load cheers to the Iran deal he emphasized that TPP gives discomfort to Democrats, while the Iran deal gives discomfort to Republicans. 

++He listed all the actions he has done for the middle class, the economy, the manufacturing sector which has seen the greatest growth since the 1990s. He then said,"Do you think I woke up one day and decided to tear all that down?"

++President Obama was on the offense about the trade agreements recalling the effects of NAFTA when he started out his political career in Illinois. He said that was some years ago and that his administration learned from the trade deals in the past. 

++I thought it interesting that he said that Canada and Mexico were in the TPP and that the faults of NAFTA were being corrected in this trade deal. You may recall that he campaigned on re-negotiating NAFTA something his "progressive critics" have criticized him for not doing. 

++President Obama said that progressive critics of TPP always refer to NAFTA but do not mention specific contents of TPP. 

++He went on to argue pretty much the points Ed Klein's VOX piece had about his vision of America in trade agreements and that without America China would establish agreements beneficial to their workers at our expense.

++His shot at MSNBC sparked a reaction from Ed Schultz of the ED Show who challenged the President to a debate because Ed "knows" TPP is wrong for America. He interrupted his guest Bernie Sanders to play a cut of President Obama at the OFA summit. 

++President Obama ran through a list of achievements and mentioned that Loretta Lynch, the first black, woman Attorney General had finally been confirmed. 

++For someone who keeps saying he's not running for office again,he had his spark, easy humor, and eloquence back. For someone like myself, he is the best salesman for his policies and his appearance around town changes the whole dynamic.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Donald To Open New Hampshire Office

++The Donald gets closer to really announcing a president campaign. He will open his New Hampshire office on May 2.

++The Donald has gotten raves for chastising the GOP for wanting cuts to Social Security and Medicare, prompting the Washington Post to suggest he run as a Democrat.

++He has drawn rave reviews from the ED Show.

++Meanwhile Mike Huckabee is intending to announce on May 5.

Rubio Rocks

++Quinnipiac has Rubio at 15%, Jeb at 13%, and Walker at 11%. Rubio only trails Hillary by 45 to 42.

++None of the other 20 or so candidates broke double digits.

++ On "No Way" I'll vote for them. Jeb now tops Christie 17 to 10. And Hillary in a GOP poll only gets a 7% "No Way".

++Rubio's other good news is that he is the likely winner of the Sheldon Adelson primary. 

Are Christians Opposed To Same Sex Marriage?

++With the Family Research Institute and recent comments from Rev. Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, and Steven King, you would thinks so.

++But Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly refers us to the Public Religion Research Institute which polls Christians.

++Yes, Christian Evangelicals oppose same sex marriage by a 28/66 margin.

++Mainline Protestants approve by 62/30.

++Catholics approve 60/30.

++Black Protestants disapprove by 38/54.

++The General public on this issue approve 54/38.

++And leading the way are the unaffiliated at 77/18.

++So when you hear "Christians oppose",check out the label.

Loretta Lynch Confirmed

++Loretta Lynch was confirmed by the Senate 56 to 43, with 10 republicans voting for her.

++Her wait to confirmation matched only Edwin Meese and Attorney General Palmer who was the men under Woodrow Wilson who destroyed the Left in the United States.

TPP And Fast Track

++Someone at a progressive website asked a question,"If TPP is NAFTA on steroids,why would President jeopardize his legacy after healthcare, his moves on the environment, strengthening the Labor Relations Board, and fighting for the middle class?"

++We know the flap going on with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders opposing Fast Track. Elizabeth Warren appearing on the Rachel Maddow  Show said that Fast Track extends to 2018 and into 220 and while she would love a Democratic President and Senate,that is not certain and the next President could  negotiate this and other deals. She says that TPP has been negotiated with 28 different committees representing American corporations and their lobbyists.

++So why would President Obama want this? I am agnostic about all trade deals since we have seen how damaging they have been to our manufacturing base and ,in NAFTA's case, to Mexico's agricultural base.

++Ezra Klein posted his views at VOX. Ezra says he is also an agonistic but wanted to ask Paul Krugman-like questions about the deal. He has been talking to administrative officials about this. 

++They say that President Obama is saying that this pact corrects what went wrong in NAFTA--the Canadian  and Mexican government is involved. It provides labor and environmental standards.They say the final document counts and that it is better than the alternatives. 

++They claim the problems with trade pacts in the past pre-dated the rise of China's economic clout and that Beijing is pushing for weaker labor and environmental laws. Larry Summers says that TPP must be seen against a wold in which trade integration is already happening with or without the United States. So, it's either a trade deal with America at the core or else China.

++Ezra says that the TPP is central to Obama's pivot to Asia. That he sees economic policy as an effective tool of statecraft. The argument is that it is a put up or shut up moment for America. If the talks collapse, then US leadership in Asia will be questioned.

++We aren't trying to save our manufacturing base. That's gone but we are trying to protect our IT base and that's the reason the United States is fighting for our intellectual property rights. Krugman thinks this section goes too far and will make the world in general poorer.

++As for transparency, both House and Senate committees regularly hold hearings on sections of the agreement. Ezra has a point--even where there is transparency,only politically sophisticated and highly motivated actors can understand the process. 

++AS for currency manipulation, the U.S. Treasury has warned Congress you don't want to go there because our own FED policies.

++It's obvious that this is beyond my pay grade. From a geopolitical perspective, it makes sense since President Obama wants to take away the military dominance in our foreign policy and China and Russia have made moves to coordinate a trade policy for Eurasia.

The Koch Agenda For 2016

++Crooks and Liars website as well as Politico put out the 2016 agenda for the Americans for Prosperity, the Koch funded operation.

++Called the Partner Prospectus, it whines about "progressives" and "earned prosperity". But its 2016 agenda is eye-opening and banal.

++1. Medical Device Tax Repeal--which almost made it the last Congress.
++2. Defining full-timework as 40 hours for Obamacare eligibility.
++3. Get the Keystone XL Pipeline built.
++Kill the Wind Energy Credit forever.
++Kill the EPA.
++Balance the Budget
++Get Rid of the repatriation tax.
++Get ride of the estate tax.

++This is aimed at millennials. Or else trust fund babies. 

ABC/Washington Post Poll on Same Sex marriage

++The ABC/Washington POst poll shows that 61% of Americans support same sex marriage;61% oppose states blocking same sex marriage; and 62% are for other states recognizing same sex marriages from other states.

++Contrast that with 2006 when only 36% approved of same sex marriage. Support for same sex marriage only hit the majority pint--53%--in 2011.

Another Poll Shows Walker Approval Following in Wisconsin

++St. Norbert's poll mirrors the findings of the Marquette poll. Walker has a 41% approval rating and 58% disapprove. At this rate he'll be as popular as Chris Christie in New Jersey.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Correction: The Senate Approved Fast Track 20 to 6, not 21 to 6

Senate Committee Approves Fast Track 21-6

For Israel's 67th History

++I stumbled on an essay that summed up the situation of the Jews in Europe after WWII. It is written by Reinhold Neibuhr in 1942 entitled "Jews After The War" and is prescient. Neibuhr argues that it was not enough to defeat Hitler and Nazism because one form of fascism would reoccur in history. Western countries were not self-critical enough about the anti-semiticism that existed before Hitler made his program for annihilating a race. As he was a Christian theologian, he pointed his finger at his co-religionists and thought anti-semitism would not disappear from Western societies. 

++He felt Jews deserved a homeland where they could feel protected. He wrote that the Zionists were proletarian and understood what their upper-class co-religionists did not--about the nature of European culture and the perpetual dangers it posed to the continued existence of the Jewish race. He also pointed out that Zionists were secular and nationalistic and not simply religious. 

++The second solution to the issue lay with the democracies promoting the notion of pluralism and tolerance where one group nor religion doesn't dominate another but recognizes that the Jewish will to survive is a right and deserves respect. 

++Niebuhr gets highly critical of liberals (in the old fashioned way) insisting that America is a melting pot and that everyone must assimilate to the dominant culture. This leads him off to a wonderful examination of the problems with American democracy. But for the issue at hand, he places great value on a Jewish homeland in Palestine as one form of protection and one of the means of protecting Jews worldwide. 

++Reinhold Neibuhr was one of the last public intellectuals that commanded national respect. John Dewey was another. But our own society has gotten so fragmented that others who emerged either respected influential subcultures or political factions.

++The problem with Neibuhr is that his arguments can be quite dense. But the essay is worth a read in the Library of America edition of his work.  He was also a friend of my grandfather.

Senate Passes Human Trafficking Bill 99 to 0

Mark Your Dates

++Carly Fiorina, the former HP CEO,will announce for the presidency on May 4th. She is going to do it online.

++She says she will take away Hillary's ability to run on her gender. This ought to be good.

++Then the following day Dr. Ben Carson will announce. 

++The first week of May looks like the clown car will be filling.

Gallup's Quarterly Approval For Obama

++President Obama has a 46.4% approval rating for his 25th quarter. Reagan had 46%. W was at 35%.

Oliver Sacks' The Catastrophe

++The April 27th New Yorker has a piece by Oliver Sacks that helps explain Spalding Gray's "mysterious" suicide.

++Sacks met with Gray and his wife many times over the last few years of his life, beginning after the time Spalding Gray was in a car accident in Ireland and its belatedly discovered he suffered a brain injury as well as the breaking of his hip.. 

++He became fixated on selling his old home in Sag Harbor, New York and believed its sale was the beginning of his misfortune. Sacks found that Gray got this because his mother also had become obsessed with selling her house and then sinking into a deep depression. Later she too would commit suicide.

++Sacks chronicles all the times Grey in his last years had to be kept in various psychiatric units and how he and his wife tried to find the appropriate treatment. 

++Spalding started enacting "creative suicides'" once diving of a boat only to hang on. He would leave suicide notes in the house and scan the horizon for the proper place to end his life. At the end he would ride the Staten Island ferry endlessly as a rehearsal to the event. Finally, he left no note and his body was found in the East River.

++Oliver Sacks' description of the process from the car accident to the end is another example of his writing prowess.He talks about how anesthesia seem to normalize Gray and he would spring back to form after surgery. He would scribble his new monologues into notebooks by his bed and be articulate and reflective in his post-operative days. Then within days he would be in a deep depression and his answers would be almost monosyllabic. 

++Prior to his front-lobe injury, Spalding always responded to talk therapy and a little lithium. But now he seem to trip into near-psuchotic states haunted by hallucinatory images of his mother's suicide. 

++He took his children to Tim Burton's "Big Fish" in which a dying father passes on his stories and then returns to the river where he dies. That evening Spalding left home and never returned.

Happy Earth Day

++The Results of the Gallup poll on global warming.

++40% of self-described conservative Republicans believe global warming will never happen.

++17% believe it will affect future generations.

++37% only believe that the current generation will have to deal with its effects.

++89% of Liberal Democrats

++78% of moderate Democrats

++66% of Independents

++64% of moderate Republicans 

 ++think they'll see effects of global warming during their lifetime. 

++I want to know how many people think they see the effects NOW.

++But aren't you happy that there will be a mall on the ridge of the Gran Canyon? What a better way to celebrate Earth Day--Shop!

Surprise--#Benghazi!!! Report Delayed!

++Curt Gowdy announced that the Benghazi Report on the Special Subcommittee will be delayed..until 2016.

++He gave all sorts of reasons like witnesses unavailable. 

++A reporter who works for Marist poll asked,"is the date around October?"

++Pre-planning your October Surprise may dull the impact. 

++Remember this was the issue that was going to propel Romney to the presidency except he blew it so badly. Proceed, Governor.

Obama Makes A Mistake

++The United States has danced around the Armenian genocide for years, fearing alienating Turkey. Every year there is a new excuse.

++This year the Washington correspondent for Haaretz said he had it from a good source who had it from another good source that President Obama would use the G word in commemorating the death of 1.5 million Armenians 100 years ago.

++Yesterday President Obama commemorated the occasion and whiffed. He did not use the G word. A terrible disappointment.

++ Mean while Rand Paul caught people's attention when he referred to John McCain and Lindsey Graham as being "Obama's Lapdogs" backing his every move. He said they support Hillary Clinton's War in Libya ( something else to hang on Hillary) and Obama's bombing of Syria. 

++Ed Kilgore was intrigued whether Paul is gong to advocate a more anti-interventionist policy abroad. I doubt it. He just wanted to get his licks in on McCain and Graham. Graham said that Paul would be worse than Obama on foreign policy.

++Jeb Bush made some intriguing statements. He said he wouldn't do anything different on the Iraq invasion of his brother and he said the "best thing Obama has done" is to expand NSA data-gathering ability.

++Senator Corker doubts the Authorization to use Military Force can get very far with this administration. McCain fears that it unduly restricts the Commander-in-Chief. But somehow the Iran bill doesn't.

++Former Mossad Director Efraim Haley told Bibi to bug out of interfering with the Iran nuke talks. He criticized Bibi for abandoning diplomacy for a "pure military approach." He called the situation "regrettable". He said that consequences of de-railing the talks would be untold. 

++He called on Israel to heal whatever needs to be healed in its relationship with the United States.

++The wars over TPP have intensified. President Obama criticized Elizabeth Warren over misconstruing the content of the trade agreement. 

++This is an argument that will run through the primaries.

++Gina McCarthy of EPA said the new rules for the ozone will be done by October. The question is at what level the scientists put the mark.

++Rick Scott is suing President obama in order to get the Medicaid extension money without actually extending Medicaid. It seems he has a huge budget shortfall and his tax cuts for the wealthy are in jeopardy. And lo and behold,the missing hole in the budget can be filled with the Medicaid money. Presto Change-o.

++At the Daily Beast,Mike Tomasky takes a peek at Clinton Cash and says Hillary isn't a crook. He takes the case of a contribution from a Colombian businessman to the Clinton Foundation and finds out that the author has his timeline all wrong. Hillary hadn't even started running for President in the 2008 election yet and she ran across the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia. Then fast forward she's defeated and hadn't become Secretary of State yet. President Obama wants to use the Colombia Free Trade agreement as a test case for strings labor and environmental requirements. Then Hillary supports it. That's beyond a stretch that she was influenced by the donation some years before.

++Expect alot of these things with this book. Remember his great revelation that Al Gore, while he campaigned against climate change,he received royalties from a zinc mine on his property. Actually years before he did but the mine had closed. 

++Mother Jones has a piece entitled "Raiders of the Lost Archives" by Tim Murphy about the GOP opposition team descending on Little Rock Arkansas to find of what remains from the series of bogus scandals from the past. Murphy writes about meeting some of Clinton's old adversaries and finds out they are either bored with the subject or enthusiastically endorse Hillary.

++Josh Marshall seems to be challenging Steve Benen for this year's champion at finding out how GOP candidates lie. Remember Steven earlier on in 2012 discovered that Mitt Romney lied about everything and he detailed this to great credit to his work. Josh has zeroed in on Ted Cruz as a "Stone Cold Liar" pointing out that Ted Cruz never contacted John McCain about holding hearings on guns at military bases. McCain later had fun with this. Remember John thinks Cruz and Paul are a bunch of "whacko birds". Go for it, Josh.

Koch Brothers Hedge Their Bets

++David Koch says the Brothers aren't endorsing anyone. Instead, they will be providing financial support to five Republican candidates in the primaries. 

++They are: Scott Walker, Jeb nBush,Ted Cruz,Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. 

++It looks like they are trying to buy pieces of each. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I Forgot

++Same Sex Marriage will lead to 900,000 abortions. Pass it on. That's the latest argument being used to derail the Supreme Court Case. Thats why you hear the linkage between gays rights and abortion among Republican candidates. This is being pedaled by the Heritage Foundation.


++President Obama appeared on Chris Matthews' Hardball and defended the TPP. 

++Rachel Maddow announced that the House will be voting on Fast Track authority tomorrow.

++Today, the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO clashed over Fast Track Authority in the Senate.

Watch Out, Congressman Stephen King is Coming!

++Speaking to the Susan B. Anthony List dinner in Iowa, Congressman King said that Obama (not President) "destroyed the Soul of America" and he is a man "who is taking on the pillars of American exceptionalism--with a procedural jackhammer."

++King said he would be campaigning in New Hampshire and South Carolina for a "Full Spectrum Constitutional Conservatism--Life and Marriage--all the way through". This is a man who said last week that Obama was allowing millions of "undocumented Democrats" into the country.

++His mission now is to make sure the Republican nominee will be against abortion and LGBT rights and will restore "The Soul of America."

++I still fear for our President's life with this rhetoric continuing and getting even more vicious.


++With President Obama's almost call to legalize medical marijuana and the resignation of the DEA director, maybe it's time to look at the issue of legalizing marijuana.

++More state referendums on the ballot and half the states have legalized medical marijuana because there is an outright rebellion of seniors who complain about more traditional pain killers.

++A new CBS poll says 53% want legalization of recreational marijuana. Gallup has it at 51%, down from 53% of last year. Beneson Strategy has it at 61%. The General Social Survey has it at 52%. 

++FOX News has been running shows where older drug Tzars from Republican Administrations have been appearing arguing against the new blends of marijuana bring sold in Colorado.

++Vermont Republicans mounted a resistance to the legalization effort in Vermont. So the Democrats moved to ban alcohol and restore Prohibition.

++This is beginning to look like the rapid rise of the legalization of gay rights. This is an issue hot with a bullet.

David Horowitz Is Angry

++David Horowitz appeared on a Florida radio station and said that "traitor" Obama's "heart is with the enemy". That's the reason he is allowing terrorists to walk across our southern border carrying nuclear bombs.

++Wow. Do you remember when Horowitz was of the New Left? 


++I applaud President Obama on his appointment of Gina McCarthy. I am not appalled.

Gina McCarthy--One Reason to be Hopeful about America

++Gina McCarthy is one of the reasons I am hopeful about President Obama's climate change policies. As head of the EPA, she impresses me with her policy savvy and skill at negotiating the climate change regulations with the states.

++Check out her video interview on Huffington Post.

++She is one of those personnel picks that I appalled President Obama for. It's just the same as with Dr.Moniz as head of the Department of Energy. 

++The EPA Chief is confident that the regulations announced by President Obama will be done in place by mid-summer. She has already received 3 million comments on the proposed regulations. The goal is to have a 30% reduction in greenhouse gases produced by power plants by 2030. 

++Ms.McCarthy said that Mitch McConnell's call for the states to ignore the EPA has fallen on deaf ears. The intense consultations with the states continues and has become more intense as each state is debating the right mix of energy sources to reach the goal. 

++She is confident that the regulations will be legally and technically sound. She also dismissed any potential GOP successor to President Obama disrupting the EPA's work.

++She said the low carbon future is inevitable. She pointed to the solar energy sector has the greatest job creator in our economy right now. The reason the EPA regulations will be implemented is that they have shown that it pays off for the consumer to have renewables. 

++She doesn't come of as glib or spinning. She comes off as someone who in marinated in the subject and the state of all the negotiations.

++She did mention that coal will still be 30% of electricity generation by 2030.

Koch Brothers Defend The Purchase of Scott Walker

++Andy Borowitz captures the essence of the story by having the Koch Brothers say they will be putting hundreds of millions into upgrades of the Wisconsin Governor.

++The news out of the New Hampshire GOPfest was that David Koch said over lunch that he and his brother have decided that Scott Walker should be the GOP nominee.

++Mile Allen at Politico tried to finesse this by quoting Koch spokespersons saying that the Koch Brothers haven't made tip their mind. 

++Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly explains this in detail by saying that the Koch Brothers are going to give Jeb Bush a try-out at their June rave because people have told the Kochs he is a winner. That hasn't quenched the other candidates thirst for Koch approval. Rand Paul didn't satisfy them because he wore jeans to their Palm Beach meeting.

++The Kochs are walking back their endorsement of Scott Walker--but not by much. 

++The implications are huge. The Kochs said they would contribute at least $300 million to a SuperPac of the candidate of their choice--nearly 40% of what the whole RNC will contribute to their candidate. In essence, the Kochs are saying they own the Republican Party.

++Meanwhile their candidate then and now Scott Walker is facing another rebellion in Wisconsin. This time the Republicans are rebelling against his draconian budget that will produce Brownback-like calamities. His approval rating is dropping there also. 

++In the early polls in new Hampshire and Iowa, Walker gives Jeb a run for his money. 

The Cost of Gun Violence

++Mother Jones has a special investigative report by Mark Follman, Julia Lurie and Jaeah Lee. It is based on the research by Ted Miller. 

++For the use of this post,I am using Ted Miller's figures from his studies on the cost of gun violence. The full article if gripping and clearly what good investigative journalism is all about.

++Guns kill 33,000 Americans and injure 80,000 per year. Guns are used in 70% of homicides and more than 50% of the suicides in the United States.93% of gun suicide victims are white. 80% of suicide attempts with a gun are successful. 93% of gun suicides are white.

++ 57% of gun homicide victims are black.Black men are 10 times more likely to be shot and killed than white men. Black women are more than 3 times more likely to be shot than white women.

++84% of gun homicide victims and 88% of gun suicide victims are men. For every gun homicide there are 5 other injuries from assaults with guns.

++This year among 15 to 24-year olds, gun deaths are about to surpass car accidents as the leading cause of deaths.

++When I came down with a severe case of malaria,the local doctor here that specializes in it also made his living treating gun shot wounds. Each gun injury requiring hospitalization costs about $583,000.
Each death about $6 million in total costs.

++The average American life's is worth $6.2 million. The EPA's model sets it at $7.9 million and The Department of Transportation is $9.2 million.

++The price of a murder--from police response and investigation all the way to prison time is $441,000.

++The total cost of Gun Violence is $229 billion per year. It costs each of us $700 a year. It costs almost as much as Medicaid spending.And it is about $50 billion more than APPLE's annual revenues.

++Ted Miller breaks the cost down into lost quality of life, victims' lost wages and productivity, and the actual direct costs. 

++Houston, we have a serious problem. Will the Mother Jones's investigative report lead to any government action. Hell no, Ted Cruz thinks we didn't defend guns enough after the Newtown slaughter at Sandy Hook grammar school. 

The United States is the NRA of the World

++Josh Marshall today had  a valuable piece reminding us we are the most heavily armed nation in the world.

++This post struck me because Mother Jones has a front page investigative piece on "The True Cost of Gun Violence", which I'll get to later.

++According to the Small Arms Survey, the United States has only 5% of the world's population yet between 35 to 50% of the world's small arms. The only country close to our per capital gun ownership is Yemen.

++The United States in the lowest estimate has 83 guns per 100 persons; at the highest 97 per 100. 

++Yemen, which is in 10th place, has a low of 32 guns per 100 persons to a high of 90 per 100.

++Think we have a problem?

US Military Spending

++Dan Froomkin at the Intercept writes that our military spending up 45% from pre-9/11 levels seven with the slight cut in 2010. We spend more on the military than the next 7 countries combined. 

++Froomkin uses the new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SPRI).

++We spend three times more than China. 

++Think Ukraine and Putin's hijinks--we spend 7 times more than Russia.

++The Saudis are number 4 in the world in military spending. Then filter in the alarms about Iran. They don't even appear on the list.

Something To Think About

++"I'm starting to worry about what kind of world we're going to leave behind for Keith Richards and Iggy Pop."

(Tammy Booth at Daylight Video quoted by Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly.)

Hillary in New Hampshire

++Hillary in New Hampshire:
HRC 49 Paul 40
       49 Walker 40
       51 Christie 36
       52 Cruz     37
       50 Rubio   38
       49 Bush    36
       51 Carson 38
       51 Huckabee 38
       51 Perry    38


Iowa Poll

++Gravis Marketing has conducted a poll for the GOP caucus.

++Bush at 16%
    Walker   13%
    Rubio     12%
    Paul         9%
    Carson     9%
    Huckabee 8%
    Cruz        6%

Book Alert

++We read Oliver Sacks' fare well as he announced he was suffering from a terminal illness. 

++But we can celebrate next week when On The Move: A Life, is published. It traces his early life ,his love of motorcycles, his bouts with addiction, to his discovery of rare illnesses and his work as author and neuroscientist.

Sex Trafficking Deal Reached

++ The Senate announced it had reached a deal on the sex trafficking bill. Private funds used to assist the victims would not be subject to the Hyde Act and the funding stream provided by the federal government  would have the Hyde Amendment attached. So both sides claim victory.

++Next up is true confirmation of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General. She has waited more for confirmation than the last six attorney generals combined. Aside from Eric Holder she might be the most qualified to serve. 

Majority Think Economy Is Good

++52% of Americans believe the economy is somewhat or very good, according to the CNN/ORC poll. 

++48% approve of Obama's handling of the economy.

++Less we forget,93% of Americans in December 2008 believed the economy was "very poor".


++The Washington Examiner "exposes" Hillary's annual salary against the 10 top CEOs. Hillary earns a whopping $624 million a year at an hourly rate of $300,000. 

++This reminds me of the results you get from dynamic scoring. In other word, take her top speaker's fee and make her give the same speech several times a day all year long and I guess you come out with a balanced budget ala Paul Ryan.

Obamacare Goes Into Positive Territory

++Obamacare has now a positive approval rating at 43% to 42% felling negative about it. 

++Deeper analysis of Obamacare numbers at Kaiser Health shows that the majority of the naysayers are white seniors who aren't affected by Obamacare in the least and probably are on Medicare.

Monday, April 20, 2015

God Is Going To Lift His Hedge Of Protection On the US Because Of The Gay

++Michelle Bachmann has chimed in that rapture is coming. 

++Why? President Obama is negotiating to "give" Iran the nuclear weapon and because of same sex marriage. The time is closing and Jesus is going to come to judge us all.

++God has had it and is withdrawing his hedge of protection. I guess that means I don't have to trim my hedge this spring.

++Meanwhile Tom Tancredo says that President Obama is going to attack Israel. I guess another that's another sign of the end times.

Jesus Is On The Mainline

++ This seems to be religion day. From Rabbis in the Vatican to Gaia.

++But another religious theme has surfaced. John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, a must win state for the GOP, hasn't determined whether he is running for President because he's waiting for the Lord to tell him.

++You must remember the 2012 race where GOP candidate after candidate said that God wanted him or her to run. Michelle Bachman, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum invoked "God's Will" in their race to the White House. I guess God really does have a sense of humor.

++This year we have Ted Cruz as "anointed" by his mad preacher father,Kasich wondering if God is going to call,Ben Carson, who said the same, Mike Huckabee. I just want Donald Trump to say "God wants me to run."

++Interesting to see whether Bobby Jindal invokes God's will;. After all he has conducted exorcisms at Brown.