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Monday, April 29, 2013

63% Say GW Bush Worst President Ever



Sandra Day O'Connor has Doubts about the Decision in Bush V. Gore and she is not alone.   George W Bush should never have been given the keys to the White House unless and until a count of all of the votes showed that the voters had elected him.    The little hushed secret is beginning to see the light of day and it is a good thing that truth is finally getting out.   Bush was a terrible president.   In most countries other than here Bush's name would disappear from the history books.

Al Gore Won The Election,  GW Bush Was Awarded the Presidency by the Supreme Court

As more and more time passes it is increasingly clear the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds in awarding the Presidency of the United States to George W Bush.   The courts gift to the republican party may go down in history as the greatest blunder of all time.    It is not that the court was not wrong before, but they had never abused the will of the American people so completely with so little reguard to fairness.   After this gift from the Supreme court Bush,  Cheney went on to nearly destroy the country and completely make fools of even their own partisan supporters.   The United States Government was sold down the river so the Bush High Dollar supporters could profit off the spoils of war.  

Supreme Court Case Study: Bush v. Gore

Perhaps no event better illustrates the power of the United States Supreme Court than the resolution of the 2000 presidential election.   Just when you thought the separation of powers issue had been settled once and for all, the Court stepped in to adjudicate who had won the biggest political contest of all.   Legions of Court watchers, law professors, media commentators, and armchair legal analysts across the country thought the Court's willingness to step into the fray was a major misstep.    Even worse a decision that supported ultra right wing business interest was forced on the voters and the slippage of the country started almost immediately.

Background info

Election night 2000 was a cliffhanger that went on for weeks. Many people went to bed that night thinking that Al Gore had won, only to discover in the morning that George W. Bush had been declared the winner.   In fact, the election was simply too close to call.   Several states were up for grabs, but in the end it came down to one:   Florida, where Bush's younger brother, Jeb, was governor.   Florida electors were unable to commit themselves to either Bush or Gore owing to the closeness of the vote.   Brush fires erupted in several precincts where the candidates' surrogates traded allegations about various improprieties.   Recounts were started, then stopped as Republicans and Democrats wrangled over what standards to apply.  It was more than a little chaotic.

The Court steps in

The Supreme Court actually interposed itself into the election contest three times.   Only the last two are known as Bush v. Gore.  In the first of these cases, Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, the Court hoped to end the election crisis by putting a stop to the Florida Supreme Court's decision to extend the time for certifying the vote past the period set by state law.   But by the time the Court began hearing arguments in the appeal on December 1, the certification had already occurred.   The embarrassed justices sent the case back down to the Florida Supreme Court, instructing the lower court to rewrite its opinion so that it would not create a conflict between state and federal law.

A week later, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a statewide recount of ballots.   Unlike its earlier decision, however, this one was not unanimous.   With the Florida justices split 4-3, the U.S. Supreme Court once again exercised its discretionary appellate review jurisdiction and granted certiorari, or review, to Bush v. Gore.   The day after the Florida Supreme Court had ordered a recount, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a temporary stay, or delay, in enforcing the Florida Supreme Court's order.   The U.S. Supreme Court justices, too, were narrowly divided, 5-4.   The five justices voting in favor of the stay were the same five conservatives who had been moving the Rehnquist Court to the right for more than a decade.   The first hearing of Bush v. Gore telegraphed to the nation what would happen if the Court took further action in the case.

The Court's third and final intervention in the 2000 presidential election came just days later.  In its unsigned opinion, the Court explained that it had voted 5-4 to put a stop to the Florida recount.    Allowing the recount to go forward, the Court said, would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.   The U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back down to the Florida Supreme Court, which had no alternative but to dismiss it.   The presidential election of 2000 had been decided, in essence, by the vote of one Supreme Court justice.    That is how right wing conservatives stole control of the United States Government.    The truth is beginning to seep out and the sooner the whole sorry affair is exposed the better.

Needless to say, the George W. Bush camp was jubilant.   Al Gore supporters were incensed.   Many people were simply happy to have things settled.   But others worried that the Court had gone too far.  In the past, in landmark cases like Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which put an end to legal segregation, and United States v. Nixon (1974), which led to the first presidential resignation under threat of impeachment, were unanimously decided.   After Bush v. Gore, the concern was that the Court had not only overreached itself but undermined its authority by not speaking with one voice.   That split decision, 5-4, suggested that Bush v. Gore was a political, not a judicial, decision.    The suggestion that it was a political decision was correct and now the question is can all the kings armies and all the kings men put humpty dumpty back together again?    The conservatives on the court live and breathe to make sure it can never be corrected.

Precedents

Bush v. Gore wasn't the Court's first foray into the realm of king making.   The election of 1876 pitted Samuel J. Tilden, the Democratic governor of New York, against Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican governor of Ohio.   After the votes had been counted, it seemed that Tilden had won the popular vote and had 184 uncontested electoral votes to Hayes's 165.   The magic number was 185 electoral votes.

Twenty votes of the Electoral College were still up for grabs, however — all but one of them in the southern states of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina.  (The exception was Oregon.   They always have marched to a different drummer.)

The Twelfth Amendment stipulates that in a contested presidential election,  "The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted."     Because in 1876 Congress was equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democrat-controlled House set up an electoral commission to decide who would become president.   The Senate chose three Republicans and two Democrats to sit on the commission, and the House chose two Democrats and three Republicans.   The remainder of the commission was to consist of five justices of the Supreme Court.   The bill setting up the commission named two Republican justices and two Democratic justices, but let those four select their own nonpartisan tiebreaker.

The only truly neutral member of the Court at the time was David Davis.  But Davis resigned from the Court almost immediately, leaving only Republican justices as alternatives.   Joseph Bradley, seemingly the least partisan of those remaining, was selected as the final member of the commission.   To no one's great surprise, the commission voted along party lines, selecting the Republican Hayes.

Democrats, who were mostly Southerners, cried foul, claiming that Davis, and perhaps Bradley, had been subjected to political blackmail.

When the uproar threatened to derail the orderly transfer of power, a deal was struck.   The Republicans agreed to withdraw the federal troops still occupying the South in the wake of the Civil War, to appropriate funds for Southern improvement, and to appoint at least one Southerner to the cabinet.   In return, the Democrats agreed not to delay Hayes's inauguration.  It was a flat-out political deal, and ever since its implementation, the Court has been criticized for having played a part in what many saw as outright log rolling.

And the winner is . . .

Why, then, did the Supreme Court agree to get back into the fray after the election of 2000?   In a sense, the justices had no choice.    When the contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore proved too close to call,  the contestants resorted to a series of lawsuits in an effort to settle the matter.    These suits proceeded simultaneously in the state court system and in federal court.   The cases largely concerned the matter and manner of vote counting (and recounting) in the pivotal state of Florida. 

There were charges of voter intimidation, ballot rigging — all manner of political shenanigans.   Something had to be done.    The proper something was to have all the ballots counted and let the voters pick the winner but the court stopped the counting of ballots and awarded the job to George W Bush.    Bush took the GOP down and dam near destroyed the country giving all the surpluses
built up by William J Clinton to the wealthy (he called them his base) and leaving the country mired in debt and millions unemployeed.  

Bush did long term damage to the republican party and was a big factor in Barack Obama being elected President.   Until the GOP cleanses itself and once again is led by adults it should wander in the desert devoid of power.   It will take 20 years to fix all the republicans laid waste to.   GW Bush's Presidential Library is now opening, it is a Fantasy Land bigger in dreams than Disney World in Jeb Bush's Florida.

The Supreme Court stopped the counting of the votes.   How would a proper and full counting have turned out?    Glad you asked.   What a disaster it was that Bush stole the election.   The consortium (9 major newspapers) did a full recount showing that Gore beat Bush, 50,999,896 (49.38) to 50,456,002 (47.87%).    Even winning the disputed Florida vote.   Now how ironic that Bush is listed as one of the worst Presidents (68% say so) in our history.



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Lynchburg Police say Be On Alert

Armed and Dangerous

Police are looking for a Lynchburg man on charges of attempted murder and other crimes after a shooting early Monday morning.



Hasan Ibn Sami Abdussalaam, 31, faces malicious wounding and three firearms charges in connection with the shooting of Jemell L. Johnson, 32, of Lynchburg, police said.


Lynchburg police have also obtained an attempted murder warrant against Abdussalaam for shooting at another person who was with Johnson but was uninjured.


Police ask anyone who knows Abdussalaam's whereabouts to call  Detective J.T. Loyd  Lynchburg Police Department at  455-6178 or Central Virginia Crime Stoppers at 1-888-798-5900.


The charges arose after police went to the 900 block of Virginia Street, near the street's intersection with Florida Avenue, around 3:09 a.m. Monday, where they found Johnson with a gunshot wound on his leg.


Police said Johnson told them he was confronted by Abdussalaam, who shot him.











Barack and Conan Headline Press Dinner



Barack Obama joked that the years were catching up to him and he was not "the strapping young Muslim socialist" he used to be.

The United States president poked fun at himself as well as some of his political adversaries during the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday, which was attended by politicians, members of the media and Hollywood celebrities.

Entering to the rap track All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled, Mr Obama joked about how re-election would allow him to unleash a radical agenda.   But then he showed a picture of himself golfing on a mock magazine cover of Senior Leisure.

"I'm not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be," the president remarked, and then recounted his recent 2-for-22 basketball shooting performance at the White House Easter egg hunt.


But Mr Obama's most dramatic shift for the next four years appeared to be aesthetic.   He presented a montage of shots featuring him with a hairstyle similar to those sometimes sported by his wife.

"So we borrowed one of Michelle's tricks,"  Mr Obama said.   "I thought this looked pretty good, but no bounce."
Mr Obama closed by noting the nation's recent tragedies in Massachusetts and Texas, praising Americans of all stripes, from first responders to journalists, for serving the public good.

Despite coming at a sombre time, nearly two weeks after the deadly Boston Marathon bombing and 10 days after a devastating fertiliser plant explosion in Texas, the president and political allies and rivals alike took the opportunity to enjoy some humour.

 





Conan O'Brien, was the headliner for the event and Conan was terrific.   In a poke at Fox News Conan said  "When the President laughs everybody laughs and when the Fox News table laughs a small girl has fallen off her bicycle"


Sarah Palin who has attended the dinner in the past when she had a tv show or book to promote complained about it this year and called those who went ass clowns.   Sarah always goes the extra mile to prove to one and all that she is a dirtbag bimbo.   Good Lord she could have been vice president of the country.    Really, there is no way John McCain can be proud of that choice.




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Thursday, April 25, 2013

April Moore Visits The White House, Sort of

Thoughts from a Climate Jailbird,                   by April Moore

April and Andy


Here in the Amherst County, Lynchburg area we are aware of April Moore and know her as the mate of Congressional Candidate Andy Schmookler.   She is outgoing with a good command of a crowd as she assists Dr. Schmookler with his presentations but now we reveal her secret connection to the White House.   April didn't rob a train like Jessie James but she managed to run afoul of Johnny Law Dog anyway.   ACVDN presents the April Moore slow walking, law breaking, malingering with the intent to gwak and sing, story of April's D.C. visit in its entirety.   April stood up for the planet, if you would like to stand with her her visit   http://fiftyoverfifty.org/join/

Please Help because right now it's the only planet we have.

 April Moore of FiftyOverFifty.org was one of four members of a group of 15 people arrested at the White House on March 21 in a protest organized by Interfaith Moral Action on Climate.    This is her story.    No names were changed because no one is innocent
and everyone acted for a good cause.
 

The following is from April, her testimony so to speak.


"Yesterday was a big day for me.

Normally a law-abiding citizen, I joined with 14 others in breaking the law and being arrested in front of the White House. The reason for this uncharacteristic behavior was climate change.


For several years now, I have viewed climate change as a global emergency, the greatest problem humanity has ever faced, a situation that requires nothing short of a World War II-level of effort to address.  I have only recently put climate change action at the top of my personal agenda, after spending the last two years focused on helping my husband Andy Schmookler in his run for Congress.    I felt that helping his campaign was the best way available to me to address the problem of climate change.

Since the election, I have been looking for other, more direct ways to address climate change.    I feel fortunate to have found FiftyOverFifty.org, a group of people over age 50 who are eager to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience and willing to risk arrest for the sake of the our planet’s health.   After all, if not we baby boomers, then who?   My age cohort, more than any other, CAN risk arrest.  We boomers are no longer raising children, and many of us no longer work full-time.    Besides, my generation owes it to younger people to act on their behalf.   While it is too late to ensure that our grandchildren will be born into a world as healthy as the one we inherited, it is our duty to do our best to stop as much of the ravaging impact of climate change as we can.

The March 21 event, organized by Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, was a multi-faith outdoor service near the White House. Native American, Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders called on President Obama to take strong action on climate change.

Following the service, 15 of us separated ourselves from the larger group to line up in front of the White House fence.   I was moved almost to tears by the alignment in that moment of my love for the planet and this public and serious step of inviting arrest."


FiftyOverFifty members joined a protest organized by the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate Change

It is illegal to tarry for long in front of the White House.   But tarry we did, singing.  And we were joined in song from across the street by the 25 or so others from the service who were not risking arrest.  I especially loved singing our version of the old song,  “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”   We sang,   “WE’VE got the whole world in OUR hands,”  spontaneously substituting  “the future generations”  and  “the mountains and the rivers”  for “the whole world.”

And truly, we do have the world in our hands.    Now those hands are plundering the planet.   But it’s also in our hands to quit trashing the earth and to work for a planet that will support the coming generations as it has supported us so abundantly.

As we sang, we received three official warnings from the US Park Police to move on.    When we didn’t, the 15 of us were handcuffed, searched, and escorted, one by one, into waiting police wagons, one for the eight women and one for the seven men.   All went smoothly, and the police treated us with courtesy and respect.  One officer, upon escorting me into the wagon, even apologized for the lack of heat in the vehicle!    You can glimpse me getting handcuffed, then Katherine Layton, then other members of FiftyOverFifty.org  including Karen Menichelli and eventually Lawrence MacDonald.

While the Park Police had been notified in advance that only 10-20 people would be inviting arrest, officers were out in full force.   Four policemen on horseback stood by, along with numerous cops in squad cars and on motorcycles.   Then there were about a score of officers on foot.  I appreciated their help in amplifying the event!

The police van ride, a first for me, was unexpectedly exciting.  The two wagons were preceded by an eight-motorcycle police escort.    Lights flashing, the motorcycles roared ahead of us, sometimes on the wrong side of the road.  The wagons followed close behind, as if we were ambulances en route to the hospital.  Inside the wagon, we ladies were sitting, four on either side of a dividing wall.  Neither group could see the other, but we could hear each other just fine.   In high spirits, we sang and stomped and talked our way to the police station.

After the rush through DC’s streets, it was waiting time at the police station.  We women were led out of the wagon and into a dreary, cement-walled police station basement.  Four women were escorted into each of two holding cells, while the men were held in their wagon.   We continued singing and got better acquainted as we stood around the room’s sole furnishings–a stainless steel toilet and a stainless steel bench.

After a half-hour or so, our (disposable) handcuffs were cut off, we were issued written citations, we each paid our $100 fines, and we were released.    Only then were the men taken from their wagon and brought inside for processing.

Once outside,  how cheerful it was to see fellow climate activists waiting for us with food and drink and appreciation.  I found that the others’  support before, during, and after the arrest meant a great deal to me.  Even though I had been told what to expect when arrested, I still felt some fear, and their support comforted me.

So what did we accomplish yesterday?

Dr. Andy and April,  2 excellent people dedicated to making life better for others.


Although we didn’t get attention from major news outlets, several alternative media outlets showed up.  They filmed and interviewed, and the word is out on Facebook and Twitter.  And many passersby saw our signs and heard our call.  Whether President Obama, who was in Israel, will ever know we were there, we’ll probably never know.   Whatever our direct impact, it felt like time and money well-spent.  I remind myself that we are just at the beginning;  as more people come to share our alarm over changing climate, more will join us.  I see it happening.  Besides, those of us who participated yesterday are getting the word out to the people in our lives.  And we are strengthening each other for future actions on behalf of the planet.







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Paul Ryan


Paul Ryan Accidentally Reveals Republican Agenda
Republicans out to destroy medical care

Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate in last year's presidential election and Congressman from Wisconsin, made what many consider a
slip of the tongue yesterday, March 13, 2013, but what in fact may not have been a slip of the tongue, when he announced that the Republicans want to destroy health care in the United States.    The exact quote:   "This is something we will not give up on because we are not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people."

Ryan is a devoted disciple of Ayn Rand, whose book Atlas Shrugged extols the  "virtue"  of selfishness and greed.    He is a water carrier for those who would, in the words of Grover Norquist, shrink the government  "so its small enough to drown in a bathtub."





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Bernie Sanders - a voice crying in the wilderness

Bernie Sanders



The Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, has been warning President Barack Obama that a  "grand bargain"  with the Republicans should really be seen as a  "grand sellout."

Writing in The Hill newspaper, Sanders said:  "At a time when the middle class is disappearing, 46 million Americans are living in poverty and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, we need a 'grand bargain' that protects struggling working families, not billionaires.

"...One out of four profitable corporations pays nothing in federal income taxes...we need a grand bargain that ends corporate loopholes and demands that corporate America starts helping us with deficit reduction.   We must not balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.   We must not cut Social Security, disabled veterans' benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, education and other programs that provide opportunity and dignity to millions of struggling American families."



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The common sense of Robert Reich

Robert Reich


Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary under Bill Clinton, writes "We are the richest nation in the history of the world - richer now than we've ever been. But an increasing share of that wealth is held by a smaller and smaller share of the population, who have, in effect, bribed legislators to reduce their taxes and provide loopholes so they pay even less.

"The budget deficit 'crisis' has been manufactured by them to distract our attention from this overriding fact, and to pit the rest of us against each other for a smaller and smaller share of what remains. Democrats should not conspire.

"Needy children should be getting far more help, better pre-school care, better nutrition.   Seniors need better healthcare coverage and more Social Security.   All Americans need better schools and improved infrastructure.   "The richest nation in the history of the world should be able to respond to the legitimate needs of all of its citizens."

Unfortunately, Barack Obama and the Democrats are not listening to the likes of Bernie Sanders and Robert Reich, preferring instead to play into the hands of the Republicans, so that they become in the end indistinguishable from them. Now the Democrats follow the lead of the Republicans; now they too become locked arm in arm with the forces of selfishness and greed, and God help the United States of America.




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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Republicans See Workers as Replaceable Farm Animals

Texas Fertilizer Plant Inspection Long Overdue

OSHA last inspected this plant in 1985, 28 years ago.   This is how republicans bend over backwards to protect business.   Republicans get out of businesses way and let them operate any way they please.




WEST, Texas - Last night an enormous explosion rocked this small town situated near Waco, killing 15 and injuring hundreds.

The New York Times and others have reported that the fire began at a fertilizer plant owned by West Fertilizer, just off Interstate 35, only 20 miles from Waco.

There is no paid Fire Department in the area so the blaze was tackled by volunteers.   The Fertilizer Plant had no Fire Equipment or rescue vehicles and no adherence to safety practices and the Republican Government that runs Texas is just fine with this.   Governor Rick Perry could not care less.   Republicans all across America are trying to copy this and free business of all rules and regulations.    WhenTexas Fertilizer Plant Inspection Long Overdue
OSHA last inspected this plant in 1985, 28 years ago.   This is how republicans bend over backwards to protect business.  

WEST, Texas - Last night an enormous explosion rocked this small town situated near Waco, killing 15 and injuring hundreds.

The New York Times and others have reported that the fire began at a fertilizer plant owned by West Fertilizer, just off Interstate 35, 

only 20 miles from Waco.

There is no paid Fire Department in the area so the blaze was tackled by volunteers.   The Fertilizer Plant had no Fire Equipment or 
rescue vehicles and no adherence to safety practices and the Republican Government that runs Texas is just fine with this.   Governor Rick Perry could not care less.   Republicans all across America are trying to copy this and free business of all rules and regulations. 

When will republican voters realize thast the GOP does not represent the interest of workers, the GOP is the voice of big business.
 






Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, in whose district the town is located,     
told the New York Times:   "The fire spread and hit some of those
tanks that contain chemicals to treat the fertilizer and there was an explosion causing wide damage."
It is expected that questions will be raised regarding unsafe workplace conditions at West Fertilizer.   The plant was cited for failing 
to obtain or qualify for a permit in 2006 after the strong smell of ammonia wafted over the plant and the town.

The plant has not been inspected even once in the last five years. Company officials argue that there is nothing unusual about the lack 
of inspection and point to the fact that only six Texas fertilizer plants have been inspected at all during the last five years.

A spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said this is because the agency is severely understaffed. A given 
plant like West Fertilizer, the spokesman said, can expect to be inspected only once every 67 years on average.   Once every 67 years on average, can you grasp that?    Art Republicans crazy?   Is Texas trying to become the China of the USA?   This Fertilizer plant had No firewalls, No backup systems.   It is plain Texas has no workplace rules.

The understaffing of OSHA has had dire consequences for workplace safety across the country.  In 2010 alone, some 4,500 people were 
killed on the job, up three percent from the previous year.   Are factory deaths just part of the cost of freedom like gun nuts shooting up schools and killing 6 year olds?    More people killed in factory accidents in 2010 than when the planes hit the twin towers.   Every year we remember the anniversary of the towers falling and in reaction to that trajedy our lifestyles have changed and huge sums of money have been given to the surviving familiy members.   How much did workmans comp pay the families of the deceased factory workers?   Do you remember their lives at all?

The death-on-the-job figures don't count those outside the workplaces who may suffer injury or death due to unsafe conditions at a 
plant.   Hundreds injured in this blast, for example, are West residents not employed by West Fertilizer.   Will Rick Perry call for corrective action or just keep his mouth shut and stuff his pockets with the money big business pays politicians to look the other way.
  
 This fixed and broken system has to end and only the people wakeing up and voting the bums out of office will get the ball rolling. 
  
Weak needed Democrats and corrupt Republicans need to be shown the door.   

Things are expected to get even worse with OSHA because of looming huge cuts that are part of the sequester. OSHA ,under the sequester, 
must cut its $564.8 million budget by 8.2 percent, or almost $50 million.

The White House has already said this will mean more than 1,000 fewer inspections.   The plant owners must be grinning all the way to 
the bank.   With so little oversight they can dispose of their waste by dumping on the ground and in waterways.   When a worker dies in a plant accident the owners and managers of that plant need to be tried for manslaughter or even second degree murder.   If the business owners faced this kind of scrunity they would be a lot more carefull about the sleasy things they do and they would place more value on the life of the workers.
When will republican voters realize thast the GOP does not represent the interest of workers, the GOP is the voice of big business.

Republican plans for OSHA, meanwhile, would be even more devastating.   The GOP budget calls for a $99 million cut in the agency's budget.   If you work for a living and vote republican you are an idiot.   I hope I said that plain enough for you to understand.


Rick Perry was a republican candidate for president for about three weeks.     Under his leadership Texas is dead last in about everything they keep records on.     Rick is bought and paid for and belongs to big business.


A Letter To Alan Simpson

No skin off Alan's butt, he's not giving anything up.


Alan Simpson, the Senator from Wyoming calls senior citizens the Greediest Generation as he compared  "Social Security "  to a Milk Cow with 310 million teats.  Here's a response in a letter from PATTY MYERS in Montana ... I think she is a little ticked off!   She also tells it like it is!


"Hey Alan, let's get a few things straight!!!

1. As a career politician, you have been on the public dole (tit) for FIFTY YEARS.

2. I have been paying Social Security taxes for 48 YEARS (since I was 15 years old. I am now 63).

3. My Social Security payments, and those of millions of other Americans, were safely tucked away in an interest bearing account for decades until you political pukes decided to raid the account and give OUR money to a bunch of zero losers in return for votes, thus bankrupting the system and turning Social Security into a Ponzi scheme that would make Bernie Madoff proud.

4. Recently, just like Lucy & Charlie Brown, you and  "your ilk" pulled the proverbial football away from millions of American seniors nearing retirement and moved the goalposts for full retirement from age 65 to age, 67.    NOW, you and your "shill commission" are proposing to move the goalposts YET AGAIN.

5. I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying into Medicare from Day One, and now  "you morons"  propose to change the rules of the game.   Why?   Because "you idiots" mismanaged other parts of the economy to such an extent that you need to steal our money from Medicare to pay the bills.

6. I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying income taxes our entire lives, and now you propose to increase our taxes yet again.   Why?   Because you "incompetent bastards" spent our money so profligately that you just kept on spending even after you ran out of money.   Now, you come to the American taxpayers and say you need more to pay off YOUR debt.   To add insult to injury, you label us  "greedy"  for calling  "bullshit"  to your incompetence.   Well, Captain Bullshit, I have a few questions for YOU:

1. How much money have you earned from the American taxpayers during your pathetic 50-year political career?

2. At what age did you retire from your pathetic political career, and how much are you receiving in annual retirement benefits from the American taxpayers?

3. How much do you pay for YOUR government provided health insurance?

4. What cuts in YOUR retirement and healthcare benefits are you proposing in your disgusting deficit reduction proposal, or as usual, have you exempted yourself and your political cronies?
It is you, Captain Bullshit, and your political co-conspirators called Congress who are the "greedy" ones.    It is you and your fellow nutcase thieves who have bankrupted America and stolen the American dream from millions of loyal, patriotic taxpayers.


And for what?    Votes and your job and retirement security at our expense, you lunk-headed, leech.

That's right, sir.    You and yours have bankrupted America for the sole purpose of advancing your pathetic, political careers.   You know it, we know it, and you know that we know it.


And you can take that to the bank, you miserable son of a bitch.

P.S.  And stop calling Social Security benefits "entitlements". WHAT AN INSULT!!!!
I have been paying in to the SS system for 45 years  “It's my money” -give it back to me the way the system was designed and stop patting yourself on the back like you are being generous by doling out these monthly checks .



Max Baucus: Connoisseur of Revolving Door Corruption

  Max Baucus, the most corrupt lowlife Democrat in the Senate

Max Baucus is a scum sucking dirtbag and a sell out who deals for his own interest and to fatten his own pocket.

Major tax cuts were extended for giant corporations — while the average Montana was stuck with a $900/year in increased taxes — and the person responsible is claiming he doesn’t even know how his staff put it in there for his former staff? This is why Bill Moyers referred to Max Baucus as,  “a connoisseur of revolving door corruption.”
The Baucus revolving door cabal numbers in the dozens.   In fact, his last revolving door scandal was less than a month ago.  There was another Baucus revolving door scandal only six weeks ago.


And another Baucus revolving door scandal only six months ago.

Last year, Baucus had a revolving door scandal on tax policy. In the previous congress, there was his revolving door scandal on climate change.   And of course, who could forget the obscene revolving door scandal during health care reform. And these are just some of the highlights from this term, which is only 2/3 of the way done.   And Baucus is in his sixth, 6-year term in DC. Montana voters rightfully retired Conrad Burns for his culture of corruption.    Unfortunately, Montanans are still represented by the most corrupt member of the House of Lords.

It is time for Baucus to go.






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NRA Sells Protection to Gun Makers

The photo is taken at a gun show and there are no background checks required to purchase any weapon, just the money.     40% of gun sales take place without a background check.     You can be mentally unstable, an escaped convict, a terriorist or anything else so long as you have the price of admission.     This is how the NRA and the Gun Makers want it and the republican party and some democrats have sold their votes to make it happen.     These scum politicians need to be removed from office.

In the days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on Dec. 14, executives with six major U.S. gun manufacturers
contacted the National Rifle Association.   The firearm industry representatives didn’t call the NRA, which they support with millions of dollars each year, to issue directives.   On the contrary, they sought guidance on how to handle the public-relations crisis, according to people familiar with the situation who agreed to interviews on the condition they remain anonymous.

While the Obama administration had reacted meekly to mass shootings in Tucson and Aurora, Colo., Sandy Hook would be different.   Twenty first-graders were dead.   The president, a gun control supporter who previously had avoided the radioactive issue, wiped away tears when talking on television about the  “beautiful little kids.”    As a nation, the normally stoic president added,  “We have been through this too many times.”    In crass political terms, he was newly reelected and had less to lose in confronting pro-gun forces.   The NRA’s leadership faced a choice:   Go to the mattresses as usual, or acknowledge the special horror of Sandy Hook and offer an olive branch.

That decision rested with Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s chief executive since 1991.   One of Washington’s most durable and enigmatic power brokers, LaPierre arrived at the organization in 1978 with a master’s in political science from Boston College.   The bookish Roanoke (Va.) native didn’t know much about firearms.   Colleagues joked that duck hunting with Wayne was more dangerous for the hunters than the ducks.   Nevertheless, driven by an ambition impressive even by Washington standards, he rose swiftly, a mild-mannered presence in private who developed an Elmer Gantry-like persona for speeches and interviews.

In the immediate wake of Sandy Hook, the NRA reassured nervous gun company reps that they could stand down, according to people familiar with the situation.    LaPierre would handle it.

One week after the massacre, he delivered a nationally televised tirade tinged with his trademark cultural resentment and paranoia. “Is the press and the political class here in Washington, D.C., so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and American gun owners,” he said, “that you’re willing to accept the world where real resistance to evil monsters is [an] unarmed school principal left to surrender her life, her life, to shield those children in her care?”

As intended, LaPierre’s performance received massive media attention.    It also upset many—including some gun makers.    “The funerals were still going on in Newtown,”  says Joseph Bartozzi.    “Parents were burying their children.”    A senior vice president at O.F. Mossberg and  Sons, a shotgun and rifle manufacturer in North Haven, Conn.,   Bartozzi belongs to the NRA and applauds its stalwart defense of Second Amendment rights.    But this time, LaPierre’s diatribe struck him as ill-timed and graceless.

LaPierre is shown testi-lying before the Senate, a group he owns and funds.

The companies that make and market firearms might prefer a softer tone, but they rarely complain publicly about NRA fear mongering
because it’s been so good for business.   Corporate donations to the NRA, which together with its affiliates has annual revenue of $250
million, have risen during the past decade, a period when the organization has taken increasingly absolutist positions.    Still, it’s not the industry that muscles the NRA.

“NRA leadership worries about two things above all else: perpetuating controversy to stimulate fundraising from individual members and protecting its right flank from the real crazies,”  says Richard Feldman, author of a feisty 2007 memoir, Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist.    Feldman has worked in various capacities for both the NRA and the industry.    “The idea that the NRA follows orders from the gun companies is a joke,”  he says.    “If anything, it’s the other way around.”

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam declined to comment for this article, as did LaPierre and other top officials at the lobby group’s Fairfax (Va.) headquarters.    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun control advocate, founded Bloomberg LP, which owns this magazine.

Gun companies defer to the NRA for two main reasons:   First, there’s intimidation.    The lobby group has incited potentially ruinous consumer boycotts against firearm makers that fail to follow the NRA line with sufficient zeal.    Second, regardless of some executives’ concerns about civil discourse, gun companies benefit financially from the NRA’s hype.    Alarms about imminent gun confiscation—an NRA staple, despite its implausibility—reliably send firearm owners back to retail counters.    Sales are booming.    Mossberg is running three shifts a day.    “Demand,” Bartozzi says,  “is very strong.”




The two-story red brick Mossberg factory in North Haven stands behind barbed-wire-topped fencing just 25 miles east of Newtown, where the Sandy Hook children died, along with six educators.   On the fatal morning, dazed company workers ran the production line with tears in their eyes.    “They’re neighbors,”  Bartozzi says. “Something like that, 20 little kids dead—what’s the answer?”

Founded in 1919 and still owned by the wealthy Mossberg family, the company manufactures more pump-action shotguns than anyone else in the world.    For generations, hunters, trap shooters, police departments, and the Pentagon have purchased its highly regarded weapons.    In 2011, Mossberg began making the sort of large-capacity, military-style semiautomatic rifle used by the Newtown madman.    The killer fired a Bushmaster Firearms International model, but it could just as easily have been a Mossberg.    On the day I visited, a rack of black phosphate-finish MMR Tactical Rifles accommodating 30-round magazines awaited packaging and shipping near the loading dock.    They retail
for about $1,000 each.

Bartozzi, a former plant manager, has worked in the firearm industry for 33 years.    He knew Sandy Hook would reignite gun control hostilities in Washington and the state capital of Hartford. “I get it,”  he says.    “Politicians want to do something.”    Sure enough, Congress and Connecticut legislators were soon debating proposals to ban the sale of semiautomatics like those 30-round MMR Tactical Rifles.    The instantly vicious tone of the debate, however, took even Bartozzi by surprise.    The NRA, he says, should have  “waited longer and tried to be more respectful of people who might disagree with them and still be struggling with grief.”

Reaching out to those who disagree with him isn’t the LaPierre way.    A former legislative aide in the Virginia statehouse, he joined the NRA staff just after a brutal putsch by Second Amendment firebrands ousted the cadre of more reticent sportsmen who had traditionally dominated the group.    The NRA made its first-ever presidential endorsement in 1980, when it backed Ronald Reagan.    The sharper-edged gun organization joined conservative evangelicals and anti-abortion activists as ascendant players in the Reagan revolution.

Even after taking the NRA’s helm in 1991, LaPierre fenced with the likes of  Neal Knox, a lobbyist known for even more inflammatory, conspiracy views.    Knox, who died eight years ago, insinuated in a gun periodical in 1994 that the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were part of a liberal plot to justify government confiscation of firearms.

LaPierre performed a remarkable high-wire act, trying to consolidate power, marginalize the Knoxites, and keep member contributions flowing.    He became a  “skilled hunter,”  according to the NRA’s website.    In 1995 he spiced a fundraising appeal with references to  “federal agents wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms”  who “seize our guns, destroy our property, and even injure or kill us.”    Those comments struck some NRA members as over the line, especially after April 19, 1995, when insurrectionist  Timothy McVeigh  blew up an Oklahoma City building housing federal agents, killing 168 people. Former President George H. W. Bush quit the NRA in protest.

The Columbine (Colo.) high school massacre, which took 13 innocent lives in April 1999, prompted LaPierre to lean slightly in the other direction.    At an NRA convention in Denver shortly afterward, he endorsed gun-free schools.     “We believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools,”  he told attendees.    “That means no guns in America’s schools, period.”    In congressional testimony, he urged lawmakers to expand the computerized Federal Bureau of Investigation background check system for sales by federally licensed
retailers to cover  “private”  transactions at weekend gun shows and elsewhere.

LaPierre’s Columbine response earned him no affection from gun control backers and mostly disdain from  “the base,”  says Feldman, the former NRA operative.    “Wayne took incredible grief among the more extreme elements, and he must have resolved, ‘never again.’ ”

To understand LaPierre’s reaction to Newtown, it’s crucial to know that his organization does not possess a monopoly on the gun rights
movement.    Smaller, even more confrontational groups jostle with the NRA for attention and give LaPierre heartburn, say people who have worked with him over the years.    Gun Owners of America, for example, calls itself   “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington,”  an unsubtle dig at the NRA.    Two days after the elementary school massacre, Larry Pratt, leader of the Springfield (Va.)-based GOA, jumped in front of LaPierre with a blistering op-ed in USA Today:    “In addition to the gunman, blood is on the hands of members of Congress and the Connecticut legislators who voted to ban guns from all schools in Connecticut.    They are the ones who made it illegal to defend oneself with a gun in a school.” Pratt’s group says it has 300,000 members;   the NRA claimed 4 million before Newtown and says it has added hundreds of thousands since.

With Pratt on the warpath, LaPierre did not want to repeat what he saw in retrospect as his Columbine mistake, according to people
present at the time.    In his Dec. 21 appearance, he called for armed security in all schools, scorning gun-free classrooms as an
enticement to  “every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.” More broadly, he described the country as plagued by surging bloodshed and dislocation.    “Add another hurricane, terrorist attack, or some other natural or man-made disaster,”  he said,  “and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization.”

Apocalyptic rhetoric reverberates through American gun rights circles.    Matt Barber, vice president of Liberty Counsel Action, a
Christian-right advocacy group, warned in a Jan. 11 article on the WorldNetDaily website that by pushing gun control in the wake of
Sandy Hook, Obama was  “playing a very dangerous game of chicken”  with firearm owners:   “I fear this nation, already on the precipice of widespread civil unrest and economic disaster,”  he wrote,  “might finally spiral into utter chaos, into a second civil war.”

At a Jan. 20 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing,  Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont noted that Second Amendment advocates have taken more extreme positions over the years.    The Democratic senator asked LaPierre about his past support for background checks at gun shows.    As with gun-free schools, LaPierre said that he had abandoned his earlier stance.    Then he went further, condemning the background check system for licensed dealers:   “I mean, we all know that homicidal maniacs, criminals, and the insane don’t abide by the law.”


That’s not how a lot of the gun industry sounds.    In mid-January, a month after Sandy Hook, the industry held its annual meet-and-greet, the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show in Las Vegas.    In a keynote speech, Steve Sanetti, the president of the sponsoring trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, boasted that the industry had helped invent computerized background checks in the 1980s, years before they became mandatory under federal law.    “There have been 147 million background checks since 1998,”  he said proudly.

Sanetti, a former general counsel for gun manufacturer Sturm Ruger (RGR), didn’t rail about the breakdown of law and order, let alone a second civil war.    He stressed that the U.S. has a vibrant gun culture: “Over 300 million firearms are owned by almost half the households in America.”     (Gallup reports that “nearly 1 in 3 Americans personally owns a gun, and nearly half of households do.”)

“Firearm ownership among normal, law-abiding citizens has undeniably increased,”  he continued,  “and over the last 30 years, despite the growth in firearm ownership, the homicide rate has declined by 50 percent, and violent crime has dramatically decreased to record lows not seen since the early 1960s.”    That’s a far cry from Barber’s or LaPierre’s dystopia.

Over a couple of days, my interviews of executives and trade association officials at the SHOT expo revealed a significant patch of potential common ground between the industry and the White House.    There was little opposition to expanding background checks to cover private sales, a proposal that the administration has identified as its top priority.    A beefed-up check system would not necessarily stop a determined mass killer, but proponents argue that it would provide a deterrent to a range of questionable transactions.

The businesspeople I spoke to in Las Vegas weren’t brave about their views.     Their not-for-attribution logic went like this: Licensed gun retailers, from giant Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) to mom-and-pop Main Street shops, already do background checks.    These gun sellers would not mind seeing their unlicensed dealer competition forced to comply with the same rules.    Most gun manufacturers, meanwhile, are agnostic on the issue.    They sell their products to wholesalers, which in turn do business with licensed dealers.

On March 5, the Washington Post quoted Sanetti as saying that comprehensive background checks  “are more the NRA’s issue.”    He added:   “From the commercial side, we’re already there, and we’ve been there, and we were the ones that have been the strongest proponents of an effective, complete background check.” The same day, Sanetti clamorously retreated in a press release, saying that the newspaper  “incorrectly implies”  that his statement put him at odds with the NRA.


The gun industry has not always been so timid.    For a brief period in the 1990s, executives at some companies rethought their
relationship with the NRA.    Feldman says LaPierre’s likening federal agents to Nazis particularly stirred apprehension.    “Gun companies wanted to sell guns to law-abiding citizens and cops. They didn’t want to be associated with McVeigh and the black-helicopter crowd,”  he says.

In October 1997, senior executives from Smith and Wesson (SWHC), Glock, and other handgun manufacturers trooped to the White House Rose Garden for a photo op with Bill Clinton—a gesture of cooperation with a Democratic president unimaginable today.    Feldman, then the executive director of a trade group called the American Shooting Sports Council, had orchestrated the televised event.    Clinton praised the gun companies for volunteering to ship a trigger lock with every handgun.    The manufacturers did so as an alternative to a proposed federal lock mandate.    Before the ceremony, Feldman joked with Clinton that there would be hell to pay from the NRA:    “I want to thank
you, Mr. President,”  Feldman recalls saying,  “for offering to find me a spot in the federal witness protection program.”   Clinton
chuckled.

LaPierre was not amused. He sent a vitriolic open letter to the executives who visited the Rose Garden.    “Firearm safety—as it’s being pressed by the Administration—is a phony,”  LaPierre wrote. “It is simply a stalking horse for gun bans.”    Rather than herald an era of gun control d├ętente, the Rose Garden episode turned out to be the high point of tension between gun makers and the NRA.

In 1998 and 1999, gun control activists working with big-city mayors and the Clinton administration launched a series of lawsuits against the industry en masse—an attempt to imitate earlier litigation against cigarette manufacturers.    While the much larger tobacco companies could afford to settle (ultimately for $246 billion to be paid over a quarter-century), the U.S. gun industry at the time had total annual sales of only about $1.3 billion.    Defense lawyer fees alone threatened some firearm companies’ financial viability.

This created an opening for the NRA.  “Your fight has become our fight,”  ex-Hollywood star Charlton Heston, then the group’s ceremonial president, told executives at the winter 1999 SHOT Show. In 2000, when Smith and Wesson tried to resolve its liability problems by negotiating a truce with the Clinton administration, under which S and W agreed to unprecedented federal regulation, the NRA helped incite a consumer boycott that nearly destroyed the company.    Smith and Wesson renounced its settlement and was readmitted to the fold.    The NRA then pressed successfully for state and federal statutes that summarily extinguished the municipal lawsuits.

Along the way, most gun companies, with the NRA’s encouragement, branded the wheeler-dealer Feldman persona non grata and shut down his trade group.    Today he leads a small organization called the Independent Firearm Owners Association, which promotes gun rights but also backs expanded background checks.     “I think you could say that the industry learned a lesson,” Feldman says:    “If you cross the NRA, you will pay for it.”

Having rescued the gun companies from death by lawsuit, the NRA informed the industry in 2005 that a reward would be appropriate. Over the next six years, various companies donated a total of between $14.7 million and $38.9 million, according to the pro-gun control Violence Policy Center, which analyzed NRA records. About three-quarters of NRA corporate donors came from the firearm industry, others from fields such as insurance and advertising.

The corporate generosity continues.    During the past year, the NRA has welcomed Smith and Wesson to its Ring of Freedom program for donations exceeding $1 million.     At the NRA’s annual meeting last year in St. Louis, Sturm Ruger presented a check for $1.25 million.

Drawing on the Violence Policy Center’s research, activist groups such as MoveOn.org have focused their post-Newtown politicking “on who the NRA really is and who really calls the shots, which is the gun companies,” according to Garlin Gilchrist II.    MoveOn’s Washington-based national campaign director, Gilchrist adds that the NRA “is the mechanism by which the gun industry is spreading the money around to block common-sense reforms and preserve loopholes in existing laws.”    In an online campaign called    “The NRA Doesn’t Speak for Me,”     MoveOn is promoting gun owners who favor greater restrictions.    “We’ve never seen a reaction from our members like this on any issue,”    Gilchrist says.     MoveOn has raised nearly $1 million in donations on the gun issue since Jan. 1.

By accelerating its corporate buck-raking, the NRA opened itself to MoveOn’s critique.    The question, though, is whether liberals are
accomplishing anything other than gathering money and mirroring their foe’s conspiracy talk.    There’s no indication that attention to NRA financing has propelled legislation in Washington, where it remains uncertain whether the Democratic-controlled Senate will pass something ambitious.    The House, dominated by Republicans, is even less likely to approve gun control measures.

Corporate dollars, moreover, still make up only a modest fraction of the NRA’s budget.    Most of its money comes from individual dues and contributions, ads sold by NRA publications, and merchandise.     During a Jan. 13 interview with CNN (TWX), David Keene, the NRA’s president, said corporate fundraising will continue, adding:   “We get less money from the industry than we’d like to get.”


Mossberg doesn’t appear on the NRA’s roster of the top 93 corporate donors, but it does promote NRA membership to its customers.    The Mossberg family typically keeps a low profile, and its company doesn’t disclose its financial results.    Bartozzi will say that, like the rest of the industry, his employer has been enjoying strong revenue, in part because of the  “Obama surge,”  a buying spree that began in late 2008 in response to the NRA’s warnings that President Obama eventually would make it more difficult to acquire certain guns.

Industrywide sales for 2011 were $4.3 billion, up 30 percent since 2008.    “We have shown a year-over-year increase in sales for several years,”   Bartozzi says.    He expresses gratitude to the NRA.    The group, he says, “protects Second Amendment rights, and those rights protect the ability to buy our products.”

The current round of gun control debates would have had less effect on Mossberg had the company not begun, in 2011, to manufacture the military-style rifles referred to within the industry as AR-15s or, by gun opponents, as assault weapons.    “We’re late to the AR game,”  Bartozzi says.    “We sell those because that’s what people want. Our customers drive our decisions.”  Mossberg invested $4 million last year in plant improvements, largely to accommodate its AR-15 products for hunting and law enforcement.

Industrywide, some 4 million AR-15s have sold in the past decade.
Bartozzi frames his arguments in practical terms.    He doesn’t expect bans of military-style weapons or large magazines to pass Congress.

The Connecticut legislature is another story.    Mossberg’s home state appears poised to approve new restrictions on certain rifles, as
Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, insists that Newtown demands a dramatic response.

The NRA and the Connecticut Citizens Defense League have organized popular opposition to the state curbs, including a March 11 rally in Hartford that featured a caricature of Governor Malloy as a British redcoat with a proclamation that it’s  “1775 all over again.”

Connecticut gun executives, including Bartozzi and officials with Colt’s Manufacturing, based in the state since the mid-19th century,
have been lobbying in less emotional terms.    In an interview, Bartozzi suggests that Connecticut companies should get an exemption from any legislation that would allow them to continue manufacturing AR-15s, even if in-state sales of the rifles became illegal.    Such an anomaly seems odd:   Go ahead and build the weapons, but make sure to sell them elsewhere.    Bartozzi says it would be justified, in part, because of Connecticut’s special role in firearm history.    “Eli Whitney started the American gun industry in Connecticut in the 1700s,” he says.   “It would be a shame to destroy that good and long history.    Also, Connecticut needs the jobs.”

The Mossbergs reside in the state and want the company to continue operating there, he says.    But depending on the regulatory landscape, the family will have to consider moving more, or all, of its operations to a Mossberg plant in Eagle Pass, Tex., which already employs a majority of the company’s 670 workers.

“We know we’re going to get some kind of legislation in Connecticut,”  Bartozzi says.  “All we’re asking is that we be at the table to lend our expertise and work out a way for people to keep making firearms in this state.    Otherwise, we’ll just make them somewhere else.”


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