Rep. Vance McAllister, a freshman Republican elected in a November special election with the support of the Robertson family from Duck Dynasty, is already in a political scandal and asking forgiveness from his constituents. McAllister, a family values social conservative, was caught on camera apparently making out with his scheduler, Melissa Peacock, in the hallway of his Monroe, Louisiana, district office. In what appears to be the building’s security footage, the newly elected congressman seems to be cannoodling with Peacock, who was a max donor to McAllister’s special election campaign.

progressive-politics:

Image via Free Speech TV
Excerpt from "…Breyer’s dissent in McCutcheon v FEC”

What has this to do with corruption? It has everything to do with corruption.Corruption breaks the constitutionally necessary “chain of communication” between the people and their representatives. It derails the essential speech-to-government-action tie. Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard. Insofar as corruption cuts the link between political thought and political action, a free marketplace of political ideas loses its point. That is one reason why the Court has stressed the constitutional importance of Congress’ concern that a few large donations not drown out the voices of the many. That is also why the Court has used the phrase“subversion of the political process” to describe circumstances in which “elected officials are influenced to act contrary to their obligations of office by the prospect of financial gain to themselves or infusions of money into their campaigns.”

Read more

progressive-politics:

Image via Free Speech TV

Excerpt from "…Breyer’s dissent in McCutcheon v FEC

What has this to do with corruption? It has everything to do with corruption.Corruption breaks the constitutionally necessary “chain of communication” between the people and their representatives. It derails the essential speech-to-government-action tie. Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard. Insofar as corruption cuts the link between political thought and political action, a free marketplace of political ideas loses its point. That is one reason why the Court has stressed the constitutional importance of Congress’ concern that a few large donations not drown out the voices of the many. That is also why the Court has used the phrase“subversion of the political process” to describe circumstances in which “elected officials are influenced to act contrary to their obligations of office by the prospect of financial gain to themselves or infusions of money into their campaigns.”

Read more

"

There is a truism in Washington that was confirmed last week in Congress: Even less popular than government regulation is a regulator suspected of not doing its job.

Not for the first time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — or N.H.T.S.A. (pronounced NITZ-ah) — was forced to answer for failing to protect consumers. In this case, the failure involved a defective General Motors ignition switch implicated in 13 deaths. While G.M.’s new chief executive, Mary T. Barra, took most of the heat in two days of House and Senate hearings last week, she shared the grill with the safety agency’s acting administrator, David J. Friedman.

Critics, and not just in Congress, have noted that it was not the N.H.T.S.A. that exposed G.M.’s safety lapse and forced the automaker’s recent recalls of nearly 2.6 million vehicles. The defect was discovered by a lawyer and engineer involved in a lawsuit filed against G.M. by the parents of a Georgia woman killed in 2010. Subsequent press reports spurred the recall. Further stoking concerns, the agency twice considered and decided against opening a formal investigation of the suspected defect.


Given that backdrop, Mr. Friedman’s testimony that his agency would have acted differently had G.M. not withheld information about the flawed part won little sympathy from Congress.

“He basically told us that if only General Motors told them there was a problem, then N.H.T.S.A. could have told G.M. there was a problem,” said Representative Tim Murphy, Republican of Pennsylvania who presided over the House hearing, in an interview. “It’s almost dismissive of their role and I’m not satisfied with that.”

“So what we want to know,” Mr. Murphy continued, “is what is all the information that N.H.T.S.A. had, and how did they handle it each step of the way?”

Yet Congress, too, faces questions. The N.H.T.S.A. budget for operations and research has fallen relative to inflation since 2002, when the G.M. saga began, though no one has suggested that more money and a larger staff might have prevented it. The agency’s unit for investigating defects gets about $10 million a year — less than Ms. Barra’s compensation, noted Joan Claybrook, a consumer advocate who led the N.H.T.S.A. in the Carter administration.

Aggressive regulation is typically not rewarded, especially in the Republican-controlled House. And the G.M. case is reviving calls for Congress to strengthen a law enacted in 2000 after the safety scandal involving defective Firestone tires on Ford Explorers. That law was supposed to give the N.H.T.S.A. greater regulatory muscle by requiring manufacturers to file quarterly early-warning reports on any potential problems or defects. But rules written during the George W. Bush administration give companies a loophole to withhold information they define as business secrets.

The law also limits fines that the N.H.T.S.A. can assess for noncompliance, and allows civil but not criminal penalties. Legislative attempts to address the loopholes and limits in 2010 were blocked by the auto lobby and allies in Congress, though Democrats are now trying again.

"

The New York Times, “Minding the Minders of G.M.”

It’s like you don’t know whether to SMH, LOL, or WTF.

(via inothernews)

Remixing Paul Ryan

Original statement:

”We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with…you need to get involved, you need to get involved yourself, whether through a good mentor program or some religious charity, whatever it is to make a difference. And that’s how we resuscitate our culture.”

My remix on his utterly simplistic and clueless solution to inner city poverty:

”We have got this tailspin of culture, in our Congress in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with…you need to get involved, you need to get involved yourself, whether through a good mentor program or some religious charity, whatever it is to make a difference. And that’s how we resuscitate our Congress.”

election:

Many thanks to Liba for giving me this opportunity. My blog focuses on informing the electorate. I’ll focus on this during the week, with some new articles, a few shameless self-reblogs, and a few pieces from the very awesome people I follow. I’ll keep it interesting, and I’m pretty sure you all…

(Source: gov)

"I don’t see how anyone who confronts Obama’s record with clear eyes can enthusiastically support him. … How can you vilify Romney as a heartless plutocrat unfit for the presidency, and then enthusiastically recommend a guy who held Bradley Manning in solitary and killed a 16-year-old American kid? If you’re a utilitarian who plans to vote for Obama, better to mournfully acknowledge that you regard him as the lesser of two evils, with all that phrase denotes. … Keen on Obama’s civil-libertarian message and reassertion of basic American values, I supported him in 2008. Today I would feel ashamed to associate myself with his first term or the likely course of his second. I refuse to vote for Barack Obama."

Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic. (via washingtonpoststyle)

i definitely view him as being the lesser of two evils, but more so a President with potential.  still, can anyone argue that Mitt Romney is better?  i mean, with a straight face and without reference fictions propagated by Fox News or Rush Limbaugh?  in the end though, it’s Congress that’s the problem.  why won’t anyone acknowledge or push this?  Congress is where most of the blame lies, and i don’t mean obstructionist Republicans.  i mean the failure of the premiere lawmaking body of the American government unable to do its job, overwhelmed, either willingly or reluctantly, with pressure from outside sources, lobbyists, special interests, staking their futures on monies from these people and then returning the favor.  where are the interests of the American people in this Congressional mix?  they are by the side of the road way back there in the 70s, it seems.

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is now refusing to explain a bill that he co-sponsored with Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) that critics say would have redefined rape, providing federal assistance only to victims of “forcible rape.”

but he’s not done putting his foot in his mouth yet.

“Nobody is proposing to deny birth control to anybody,” Ryan remarked. “And I don’t think [women are] going to take the bait of all these distractions that the President is trying to throw at them.”

As a member of Congress in 1999, Ryan voted to deny birth-control coverage to federal employees. He later co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which would have criminalized some forms of contraception. And he vowed to repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, calling the president “paternalistic” and “arrogant” for mandating that birth control be covered by all health plans, including those offered by religious organziations.


it’s a bitch when your Congressional record comes back to bite you on the ass, ain’t it?

theatlantic:

The Real Ryan Record: 2 Minor Bills, Lots of High-Profile Talk, Lots of Gridlock

A review of every bill Paul Ryan has co-sponsored that did not fail provides a picture of what Ryan has contributed to the nation over his years in public office.
Ryan served as co-sponsor on eight bills that successfully provided for the issuance of new commemorative coins. These coins celebrated: American veterans who are disabled for life; the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center; the Boy Scouts of America Centennial; the San Francisco Old Mint; Jamestown’s 400th Anniversary; Benjamin Franklin; American Bald Eagle recovery; and the American buffalo (which, we can all agree, is a truly majestic animal).
Ryan has honored Wisconsin as a co-sponsor of efforts that celebrated: the 100th anniversary of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; the Wisconsin Badger football team for an outstanding season and 2011 Rose Bowl bid; that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, Wis.; and also the renaming of several Veterans Administration and Post Office buildings in the state.
Speaking of post offices, in addition to sponsoring the renaming of one after Les Aspin, Ryan successfully co-sponsored the renaming of U.S. Post Office branches in Schertz, Tex.; Dixon, Ill.; and Madison, Wis., giving us the Robert M. La Follette, Sr. Post Office Building.
Ryan has co-sponsored five successful resolutions honoring Ronald Reagan. These measures: established the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act; renamed a post office in Dixon, Ill., the “President Ronald W. Reagan Post Office Building”; authorized the Secretary of the Interior to establish the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site; recognized the 90th birthday of Ronald Reagan; and provided for “the award of a gold medal on behalf of the Congress to former President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy Reagan in recognition of their service to the Nation.”
Ryan has co-sponsored successful legislation banning animal crush videos.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

theatlantic:

The Real Ryan Record: 2 Minor Bills, Lots of High-Profile Talk, Lots of Gridlock

A review of every bill Paul Ryan has co-sponsored that did not fail provides a picture of what Ryan has contributed to the nation over his years in public office.

  • Ryan served as co-sponsor on eight bills that successfully provided for the issuance of new commemorative coins. These coins celebrated: American veterans who are disabled for life; the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center; the Boy Scouts of America Centennial; the San Francisco Old Mint; Jamestown’s 400th Anniversary; Benjamin Franklin; American Bald Eagle recovery; and the American buffalo (which, we can all agree, is a truly majestic animal).
  • Ryan has honored Wisconsin as a co-sponsor of efforts that celebrated: the 100th anniversary of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; the Wisconsin Badger football team for an outstanding season and 2011 Rose Bowl bid; that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, Wis.; and also the renaming of several Veterans Administration and Post Office buildings in the state.
  • Speaking of post offices, in addition to sponsoring the renaming of one after Les Aspin, Ryan successfully co-sponsored the renaming of U.S. Post Office branches in Schertz, Tex.; Dixon, Ill.; and Madison, Wis., giving us the Robert M. La Follette, Sr. Post Office Building.
  • Ryan has co-sponsored five successful resolutions honoring Ronald Reagan. These measures: established the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act; renamed a post office in Dixon, Ill., the “President Ronald W. Reagan Post Office Building”; authorized the Secretary of the Interior to establish the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site; recognized the 90th birthday of Ronald Reagan; and provided for “the award of a gold medal on behalf of the Congress to former President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy Reagan in recognition of their service to the Nation.”
  • Ryan has co-sponsored successful legislation banning animal crush videos.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

"Whoever wins Election 2012, Americans will wake up the next morning losers, for at minimum it will be another four years living under a president likely to prove a disaster for the country, at least if you think that another four years of cronyism, extrajudicial killing, growing deficits, imprisoning scores without charges or trial, waging extra-constitutional wars, and spying on innocent Americans is a disaster. I don’t mean to suggest, partisans of one stripe or another, that there is no difference between Obama and Romney. If you could run parallel versions of America under each man I am sure the outcomes would be different in many specifics, and also in aggregate: One would be really bad for the country, the other would be even worse for it."

Conor Friedersdorf, in a masterful essay decrying both Obama and Romney.

the key is Congress, not the President

(Source: jgreendc)

skimmerhat:

“Two raging wildfires in southwest New Mexico merged on Thursday to become the biggest blaze among fires that have torched forest and brush in parts of five Southwestern states.” - Reuters, 5/25/12
The above cartoon displays how many citizens view Congress — we ask questions and we get little in response.
It’s troubling and it’s why Congressional approval ratings have been hovering at historic lows over the past year.
But as citizens, we don’t have to continue to ask questions. We can take action, and when we collectively apply that power, we will begin to receive more than silence and gridlock. That’s why at skimmerhat, we believe in education and action.
Check out some of the other political cartoons and memes we have gathered here.
— Spencer

skimmerhat:

Two raging wildfires in southwest New Mexico merged on Thursday to become the biggest blaze among fires that have torched forest and brush in parts of five Southwestern states.” - Reuters, 5/25/12

The above cartoon displays how many citizens view Congress — we ask questions and we get little in response.

It’s troubling and it’s why Congressional approval ratings have been hovering at historic lows over the past year.

But as citizens, we don’t have to continue to ask questions. We can take action, and when we collectively apply that power, we will begin to receive more than silence and gridlock. That’s why at skimmerhat, we believe in education and action.

Check out some of the other political cartoons and memes we have gathered here.

— Spencer

(via political-cartoons)

"Considering members of Congress “on an individual basis,” Kerrey says, “you should presume patriotism.” But he thinks congressional rules favor partisan gridlock: “I am campaigning to amend the Constitution to abolish both the Republican and Democratic caucuses. . . . We should not allow Congress to organize by party. How can you work with someone who is raising money to defeat you? The rules of Congress have to change, and they can’t be trusted to rewrite their own rules.”"

— great thoughts!

(Source: Washington Post, via jgreendc)

theweekmagazine:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is criticizing the House Republican budget for cutting food stamps and other social programs too drastically. Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, says his Catholic faith served as a guide when he wrote the spending plan, and that runaway government debt is what will really damage programs for the poor. But the bishops say making disproportionately large cuts to the food stamp program — $33 billion in reductions over 10 years — fails to meet the church’s “moral criteria” to “serve poor and vulnerable people.” Is slashing spending on food stamps really immoral?

Yes. We have to help those in need: More Americans than ever are struggling in this sour economy, says Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite in The Washington Post, and it’s our “moral responsibility” to help them. “The ‘small government’ or even ‘no government’ folks want to say that the churches should pick up the slack on taking care of the poor instead of us paying taxes for a social safety net.” But churches simply “can’t do it all without the government.”

More opinion

and from what i’ve seen and read (check the stats), churches won’t.  why feed the poor when the church can have a new congregation hall with a flat screen TV and a new bingo machine?  i’m all for the church to participate in helping the community, but it’s way too easy to call them out for not doing hardly anything most of the time with all the “good church-going people” around and all the money that goes into churches and never comes out again.  last stats i saw, churches typically put less than 10% of their “income” back out to the community.  now, what kind of community pillar is that, i ask?

BAM! Congresswoman Jackie Speier dropkicks Susan G. Komen

Mr. Speaker, today I rise quite saddened by the news that the Susan G. Komen race for the cure has made a political decision. A fine nonprofit that I have been associated with for years, I have run in the Susan G. Komen race for the cure, I have walked in the race for the cure, I have been the emcee at a number of events locally that they have held, so I have been a big booster of the Susan G. Komen organization, but not anymore. Their announcement yesterday that they are no longer going to fund any organization that is being investigated by a federal, state, or local body means that Planned Parenthood is no longer going to receive $600,000 a year. Now, ironically yesterday the Komen organization also announced and with great concern in a statement that the dismal rate of breast cancer screening with women who do not have insurance is something like 38.2%. Last year the Planned Parenthood organization was responsible for over 700,000, 700,000 breast cancer screenings for women who are poor, for women who don’t have insurance, for women who seek to get the health care they get through Planned Parenthood. So over the last five years there have been four million breast cancer screenings by Plant Parenthood. Komen has funded about 170,000 of them through Planned Parenthood. So what does this mean? Well, I guess it means that Susan G. Komen has decided to become a 501-c-4 because no longer did they want to be providing nonprofits, they want to become a political advocacy group. Last time I checked, we were all presumed innocent until proven guilty and we look to investigations in the federal judicial branch, we look to investigations by the U.S. attorney or the district attorney. Far be it for us to rely on the House of Representatives holding a hearing as being emblematic of justice because oftentimes it’s a political sandbox. Now, this investigation is one that has been called on by Mr. Stearns who is the Subcommittee Chair of Energy and Commerce on Oversight. The hearing has never been held. So why would Susan G. Komen take the remarkable step of saying they are no longer going to fund Planned Parenthood? I suppose when we review NIH and bring them under some investigation that they will stop funding NIH to the tune of $1 million, or I suppose that when we have a pharmaceutical company that we bring to the hill to ask them questions about a particular activity that they will stop accepting sponsor money from that particular pharmaceutical company. All of you across this country that feel that Susan G. Komen should stick to what it knows and that is breast cancer research and breast cancer screening and support and promote those activities by organizations that do the research and do the screening, I ask you to call them at             1-877-465-6636       and tell them that you want them to stick to what they know. Let’s not make this a race to the political bottom. I yield back.

number of protesters against billions of dollars of bank/mortgage fraud arrested?  hundreds.  number of bankers committing billions of dollars of fraud arrested?  at least two that i’ve seen so far

number of protesters against billions of dollars of bank/mortgage fraud arrested?  hundreds.  number of bankers committing billions of dollars of fraud arrested?  at least two that i’ve seen so far