Archive for the ‘government’ Category

Senate Confirms Loretta Lynch

April 25, 2015

Senate Confirms Loretta Lynch

After symbolically stonewalling for 161 days, the U.S. Senate finally confirmed the appointment of federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States on Thursday by a vote of 56 to 43, with 10 Republicans voting “Aye.” Maybe those 10 GOP senators wanted a tough prosecutor running DOJ or were anxious to see the back of incumbent AG Eric Holder, but several may have thought they were voting for country singer Loretta Lynn.

Not country music fan Ted Cruz, though. The Texas Tea Party senator skipped the vote, the only senator to do so. He was too busy raising campaign money in Dallas for his presidential crusade.

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Schock & Awe

March 17, 2015

Schock & Awe

Aaron Schock, Earl of Peoria and the Viscount Sangamon, has retired from the Imperial Government and will return to his country estates. Lord Aaron was aghast to discover he was sitting in the House of Commons, not the House of Lords.

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Court Okays Secret Government Internet Switch

February 25, 2015

Court Okays Secret Government Internet Switch

From the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC):

“The federal court of appeals based in Washington, DC has ruled that the Department of Homeland Security may withhold from the public a secret procedure for shutting down cell phone service. EPIC pursued the DHS policy after government officials in San Francisco disabled cell phone service during a peaceful protest in 2011. EPIC sued DHS when the agency failed to release the criteria for network shutdowns. A federal judge ruled in EPIC’s favor. On appeal, the D.C. Circuit held for the DHS but said that the agency might still be required to disclose some portions of the protocol.”

— “In EPIC v. DHS, DC Circuit Backs Agency Secrecy on ‘Internet Kill Switch,'” EPIC.org

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Bread Bags Full of Government Cash

January 23, 2015

Bread Bags Full of Government Cash

Montgomery County, Iowa is know as the site of the Villisca Axe Murders and as the childhood home of Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA). On Tuesday, in a recycled campaign speech mislabeled as a State of the Union Response, Senator Ernst explained that when it rained she and other Iowa school kids wore plastic bread bags over their shoes as galoshes, an example of Hawkeye State thrift and self-sufficiency.

But Ms. Ernst’s family may have paid for their Wonder Bread with money from the federal government. Her Uncle Dallas got a bushel full of agricultural subsidies, $370,000, and her Grandpa got $57,479. And while her Poppa pocketed a mere $38,395 in USDA corn subsidies and conservation payments, he landed $215,665 in building contracts from the Montgomery County Government during the years when daughter Joni was the County Auditor.

So much for pork-busting, honesty, and good government. Joni Ernst should be right at home at the slop trough that is the U.S. Senate.

Related:

“GOP Response: The Breadbags of Empathy,” Paul Waldman, The American Prospect

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The New GOP Math: ‘Dynamic Scoring’ Doesn’t Add Up.

January 7, 2015

The New GOP Math: 'Dynamic Scoring' Doesn't Add Up.

Republicans now rule Congress, so the House of Representatives has a new rule: “Above All, Do No Math.” From now on, there’s no problem that can’t be solved by cutting taxes for rich people and corporations. The GOP calls this “Dynamic Scoring,” but others have called it “Voodoo Economics” and “Magical Thinking.” Why? Because it doesn’t work. Paul Ryan wants to call it “Reality-Based Scoring,” but clearly he lives in an Alternate Reality.

The assumption underlying “Dynamic Scoring” is the “Trickle-Down Theory” of economics. In a pre-automobile age this was called the “Horse-and-Sparrow Theory,” because if you fed your horse enough oats surely some would filter through the horse, fall on the road, and feed the sparrows. Then as now, this produces pitifully few oats but a whole lot of horsecrap.

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Congress: Just Like You, Only Much Richer

December 7, 2014

Congress: Just Like You, Only Much Richer

“Congress is rich. The average net worth in Congress is a bit more than $6 million, while the median net worth is $1 million. To put that in context, $4 million in net worth is enough to put someone in the top 1 percent, and $660,000 is enough to put an individual in the top 10 percent. Meanwhile, the median family wealth for whites is $134,000 and for blacks is $11,000. Emerging political science research suggests that the implications of this class bias are profound and important.”

— “The death of working-class politics: How the wealthy conquered Congress and abandoned blue-collar America,” Sean McElwee, Salon

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GOP Health Insurance: Ryancare

November 17, 2014

GOP Health Insurance: Ryancare
Hey oldsters! You voted GOP? Congratulations, seniors, here’s what you get:

“. . . GOP congressional leaders are promising to act immediately on their budget-slashing ideas when 2015 begins. High on their list, according to the New York Times, is implementing Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to ‘overhaul’ Medicare by replacing it with ‘premium support’ vouchers designed to privatize the system over the coming decades. They will also form a commission to examine ‘options’ for Social Security, which Ryan has also long favored privatizing.”

 — “Get ready for Ryancare, America! Why GOP’s all set to end Medicare as we know it,” Joan Walsh, Salon

Related:

“Yes, the Republican Obamacare Strategy Will Kill People,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

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Cellphone Spies in the Sky

November 16, 2014

Cellphone Spies in the Sky

The Wall Street Journal reports that, for the last seven years, the U.S. Marshals Service has flown Cessna aircraft over America’s cities, collecting cellphone location data from thousands of people with “dirtbox” devices that mimic cellular towers. The Marshals Service, a unit of the Department of Justice, predominately searches for federal fugitives, but its Special Operations Group conducts “tactical operations for sensitive and classified missions involving homeland security, national emergencies, domestic crises and the intelligence community.” Flying spying and data harvesting on such a broad scale raises serious Fourth Amendment questions.

More:

“Report: Secret government program uses aircraft for mass cellphone surveillance,” Gail Sullivan, Washington Post

“WSJ: A Secret U.S. Spy Program Is Using Planes to Target Cell Phones,” Kate Knibbs, Gizmodo

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Billionaires Recapture the Senate

November 5, 2014

Billionaires Recapture the Senate
With Tuesday’s midterm elections, the Republican Party has seized control of the U.S. Senate. Disgruntled voters decided to empower the party that crashed the economy, entangled the country in long and bloody foreign conflicts, and enriched the few at the expense of most Americans. Winning GOP Senate candidates, largely from the “establishment” Republican Millionaires’ Club, are expected to faithfully do the bidding of their billionaire funders.

More:

“Big win for conservative big money,” Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico

“Election 2014: A new level of collaboration between candidates and big-money allies,” Matea Gold, Washington Post

“Congressional Seats Sell for Record Four Billion Dollars,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

“New Horizons for the GOP Money Machine,” Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly blog

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This Is Not a Test

November 4, 2014

This Is Not a Test

It’s Election Day. Vote. This is Not a Test.
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