Categories
politics

Amy McGrath’s Senate Campaign Is In Real Trouble

Col Sanders Day 1995

Maybe McConnell’s opponent will not be decided so quickly after all. I’m not in Kentucky, but if I was, I’d probably vote for Charles Booker in the primary, and whoever wins that in the general…

Sarah Jones of New York Magazine reports:

Remember Amy McGrath? Maybe you do. In 2018, the Kentucky Democrat was briefly famous for a viral campaign ad and an ultimately doomed campaign to represent her state’s Sixth Congressional District. A moderate and a former Marine fighter pilot, McGrath is the apotheosis of a particular Democratic electoral strategy: to win in a conservative state, dispatch a veteran with lukewarm politics. That strategy didn’t put McGrath in the House in 2018. But two years later, Senate Democrats tried it again, pitting McGrath against a top prize: Mitch McConnell.

Now she might be lucky to win her primary race.

McGrath faces a robust challenge from Charles Booker, the youngest Black legislator in the Kentucky House of Representatives. Booker has run to her left, and while McGrath holds a major fundraising advantage, Booker is gaining significant momentum ahead of the primary on June 23. Two of the state’s largest newspapers have endorsed him, and on Tuesday, Booker earned another major supporter. Alison Lundergan Grimes, who challenged McConnell in 2014, endorsed him over McGrath.

Enthusiasm might not be enough to propel Booker to victory over McGrath, but it’s a symptom of a bigger problem. National Democrats think they know what Kentucky wants, but Kentucky may disagree. A theory that recommends McGrath over Booker is one worth reconsideration, and not only because Booker marshals local support that McGrath lacks. Whatever momentum McGrath may have been capable of generating, she stifled. Her Senate run is riddled with embarrassments. She said she would have voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh — a no-go area even for many conservative Democrats — before reversing herself in response to outrage. She blurred out the images of two eastern Kentucky coal miners after they threatened to sue her for using them in an ad without their permission. She characterized McConnell as an impediment “in the way of what Donald Trump promised,” a statement understood by many as a way to dodge public criticism of the president.

(click here to continue reading Amy McGrath’s Senate Campaign Is In Real Trouble.)

The national Democratic leadership often makes this mistake: choosing centrist, milk-toast Democrats instead of left wingers. You’d think they would have learned by now, but nope…

Categories
politics

How Mitch McConnell Became Trump’s Enabler-in-Chief

Nothing Left To Turn Off

Jane Meyer, The New Yorker:

For months, I searched for the larger principles or sense of purpose that animates McConnell. I travelled twice to Kentucky, observed him at a Trump rally in Lexington, and watched him preside over the impeachment trial in Washington. I interviewed dozens of people, some of whom love him and some of whom despise him. I read his autobiography, his speeches, and what others have written about him. Finally, someone who knows him very well told me, “Give up. You can look and look for something more in him, but it isn’t there. I wish I could tell you that there is some secret thing that he really believes in, but he doesn’t.”

(click here to continue reading How Mitch McConnell Became Trump’s Enabler-in-Chief | The New Yorker.)

This is why Trump and McConnell are such allies. Trump also cares about nothing except his own power, and wealth.

Read the rest, and if you have the means, donate to McConnell’s opponent, Amy McGrath

——

Updated

Maybe, donate to Charles Booker too, or instead of Amy McGrath…

Categories
politics

Senators Who Are Up For Re-Election in 2020

Lake Michigan at Dusk, number 713

Since I looked this up, here is the list of Senators who are running for election in 2020. I would suggest that the ones who voted against witnesses in the Trump* trial should not win their re-election, unfortunately, some will anyway.

  • Alabama – Doug Jones – voted for witnesses, but who knows if he’ll win again in deeply conservative Alabama
  • Alaska – Dan Sullivan – voted no, sadly will probably win re-election
  • Arizona (special) – Martha McSally – voted no, of course, and should lose her election because of it and other reasons
  • Arkansas – Tom Cotton – voted no, sadly will probably win re-election 
  • Colorado – Cory Gardner, voted no, should lose because of his moral cowardice
  • Delaware – Chris Coons – voted yes, should win in a Democratic plurality state
  • Georgia –David Perdue – voted no, sadly will probably win re-election 
  • Georgia (special) –Kelly Loeffler – voted no, sadly will probably win re-election 
  • Idaho – Jim Risch -voted no, sadly will probably win re-election 
  • Illinois –Dick Durbin – voted yes, should win re-election handily as he’s fairly popular in Illinois
  • Iowa – Joni Ernst – voted no, should lose for being a tool of Putin, but Iowa is a toss-up so who knows 
  • Kansas – Pat Roberts (retiring) -voted no, because he has no moral courage. Not sure who wins to replace Roberts, the universe sure hopes it isn’t Kris Kobach. Doubtful this seat flips, but maybe? 
  • Kentucky – Mitch McConnell -voted no, sadly will probably win, but it will be closer than usual for Moscow Mitch.
  • Louisiana  – Bill Cassidy – voted no, sadly will probably win re-election 
  • Maine – Susan Collins – voted yes, but is not popular in Maine and could very well lose which would cause much rejoicing across the country.
  • Massachusetts – Ed Markey – voted yes, should win easily
  • Michigan –Gary Peters – voted yes, and probably will win, but it will be close
  • Minnesota – Tina Smith – voted yes, and might squeak out a win in Al Franken’s old seat
  • Mississippi –Cindy Hyde-Smith – voted no, sadly will probably win re-election in deeply conservative Mississippi 
  • Montana – Steve Daines -voted no, sadly will probably win re-election 
  • Nebraska – Ben Sasse – voted no, sadly will probably win re-election despite having no moral courage
  • New Hampshire – Jeanne Shaheen – voted yes, will probably win re-election
  • New Jersey – Cory Booker – voted yes, will probably win easily. Did you know he is a vegan?
  • New Mexico – Tom Udall (retiring) – voted yes, but will the seat flip? Depends who wins the primary I suppose
  • North Carolina – Thom Tillis – voted no, could very well lose because of it, but it’s currently a toss-up 
  • Oklahoma – Jim Inhofe – voted no, sadly will probably win re-election. Should really move to Yemen or somewhere not America.
  • Oregon – Jeff Merkley – voted yes, should win easily
  • Rhode Island – Jack Reed – voted yes, should win easily
  • South Carolina – Lindsey Graham – voted no, of course, and is in real trouble. I’d be embarrassed to be represented by such a sycophant if I lived in South Carolina
  • South Dakota – Mike Rounds – voted no, sadly will probably win re-election 
  • Tennessee – Lamar Alexander (retiring) – voted no, even though said Trump* was probably guilty. No moral courage, in contrast to his mentor Howard Baker. Will the state flip? Probably not. 
  • Texas – John Cornyn – voted no, and as much as I hate to say it, will probably win because of rural Texans and voter suppression etc.
  • Virginia – Mark Warner – voted yes, should win re-election, though it could be close
  • West Virginia – Shelley Moore Capito – voted no, sadly will probably win re-election 
  • Wyoming –Mike Enzi (retiring) – voted no, sadly will be replaced by a similarly morally bankrupt Republican. 

Remembering That Imperfect Memory

Too early to game it out with certainty, but it is possible that Moscow Mitch will no longer be Senate Majority Leader in 2021, and the nation will collectively heave a sigh of relief

Categories
politics

Trump Impeachment Trial: The Senate Can Stop Pretending Now

In The Less Part Of Your Day

The New Yorker reports:

Just like that, at precisely 11 p.m. on Thursday, minutes after the end of the ninth day of the Senate trial of Donald John Trump, Senator Lamar Alexander ended it. In a statement tweeted out by his office, the Tennessee Republican said that the President was guilty of “inappropriate” pressure on Ukraine in the service of his own reëlection. The House Democrats managing the case had “proven” it, but that was not enough to impeach and remove Trump from office. Nor was it enough to continue the trial, Alexander said. He would not support calling witnesses. He would not support any effort to obtain further evidence. He did not want to hear even from John Bolton, the former Trump national-security adviser who is prepared to testify that the President directly admitted to the central allegation in the impeachment case. Without Alexander’s support, the trial almost certainly cannot continue. Democrats do not have the fifty-one votes they need to call witnesses, and so, sometime on Friday or early Saturday, the third Presidential-impeachment trial in American history is virtually certain to reach its preordained conclusion: a partisan acquittal by the Republican-controlled Senate, following a partisan impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House.

In the end, it’s no small irony that Trump was saved from embarrassing public testimony against him by one of the last representatives of the Republican establishment that so recently scorned him—and for which the President himself has nothing but scorn. Alexander declined to endorse Trump in 2016, and had previously bucked the President on trade, health care, and his much-vaunted border wall. But as Alexander retires later this year, after decades of service once characterized by bipartisanship, his most decisive final act will have been to do Trump an enormous favor. Alexander’s mentor in politics, Senator Howard Baker, is remembered as the Republican leader who pursued the facts about Richard Nixon during Watergate and demanded answers to the key question of what Nixon knew and when he knew it. Lamar Alexander will not have such an honor. He will go down in history as the Republican senator whose choice at a pivotal moment confirmed the complete and final capitulation of the G.O.P. to the crass New York interloper in the White House.

Alexander’s late-night statement was no real surprise. The “closest friend” to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—as McConnell made sure to point out to the Times, earlier this week—Alexander ended up where most Senate Republicans were always expected to end up. He criticized Trump but refused to vote to remove him from office. After making that decision, Alexander went a step further and said that there was no real need to hear any of the evidence that Trump has so far successfully ordered his Administration not to provide. Even the last-minute revelation, on Sunday night, in the Times, of Bolton’s unpublished manuscript, could not sway Alexander; he knew enough.

All fifteen previous impeachment trials in the U.S. Senate, including the two previous Presidential-impeachment trials, had witnesses. But Lamar Alexander has spoken. Donald Trump’s stonewalling will succeed where Nixon’s failed. Perhaps Alexander has done us all a favor: the trial that wasn’t really a trial will be over, and we will no longer have to listen to it. The Senate can stop pretending.

(click here to continue reading Trump Impeachment Trial: The Senate Can Stop Pretending Now | The New Yorker.)

Tiny Hands Tiny Wiener Tiny Heart Free The Kids

Sad day for our system of government, craven politicians choosing their own political party over the country they were elected to serve. The impeachment of Trump* was always going to fail, but the Republicans couldn’t even make a pretense of wanting a fair airing of evidence. Traitors to democracy, and to rule of law…

Categories
politics

Our expectations for Republican senators are so low it’s astonishing

The Sun Poured Down Like Honey

 Speaking of the dignity of work, The Washington Post reports:

Every single one of the 53 GOP senators swore an oath to the Constitution. Every single one of them is supposed to be exercising oversight of the executive branch. Every single senator is receiving a taxpayer-funded salary to serve the public and ensure that the president, whatever his party, does the same.

The default assumption should therefore be that they all perform the jobs they were sent to Washington to do. The idea that we expect (or hope) just four Republicans to rise to the occasion — and that the burden is on Democrats to coax these four into doing so — is astonishing.

Truly, it’s the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Perhaps it’s understandable, though. Lately Congress has been shirking many of its most critical, constitutionally enshrined duties.
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Legislators have surrendered their power of the purse. They allow Trump to spend tax dollars as he pleases, regardless of congressional appropriations for, say, aid to Ukraine or a border wall.
They have also ceded their obligation to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations,” allowing Trump to slap tariffs on steel, aluminum and (possibly soon) cars, under the guise of “national security.”
They’ve given up on providing “Advice and Consent” on key administration appointments, tolerating an executive branch riddled with “acting” officials in what should be Senate-confirmed posts. They’ve stood idly by as the White House has rewritten large sections of various laws wholesale, frequently contradicting legislative provisions or intent.

And of course long before this president took office, lawmakers of both parties abdicated their responsibility to declare war.

So why has Congress capitulated so readily? Maybe lawmakers are cowards. Or maybe they’re simply too lazy to do the jobs Americans elected them to do.

(click here to continue reading Our expectations for Republican senators are so low it’s astonishing – The Washington Post.)

It is pretty sad to watch one house of our government cede all of its power voluntarily. Especially in Year 4 of a Presidency…

Categories
politics

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes knocks senators for ducking out of impeachment trial: ‘You can resign’

Sleeping on the El

The Hill reports:

MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes blasted senators who reportedly fell asleep during the opening of President Trump’s impeachment trial or left early, saying lawmakers can listen to arguments or “resign tomorrow.”

Hayes contrasted senators who are in the Senate chamber for the duration of the trial with citizens who regularly serve on juries, noting that many often have to take time off work to complete the responsibility.

“If the trial goes for a long time, often [jurors] don’t collect their paycheck from that and are given a meager amount of money relative to what some of those people might make,” Hayes said on the air Wednesday evening. “This is literally [senators’] job. If you find it too annoying or frustrating or uncomfortable to sit for eight hours and listen, you can resign tomorrow and go get another job.”

 “It’s a terrible look to the public to the extent that the news reports are getting out,” MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley said during the segment. “These are people who are supposed to be listening, hearing and then making a decision on what’s being presented all day long. We’ve also heard a lot of people have made up their minds already and are not actually taking their oath seriously.”

Hayes reiterated the point on Twitter, assailing “the sheer entitled whininess on display here.”

The sheer entitled whininess on display here. We ask every citizen to serve on juries! And this is literally your job, to just show up and listen. I’m so sorry this is so hard for you. Go get another gig. https://t.co/JbKnwnbjbv

Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 23, 2020

(click here to continue reading MSNBC’s Chris Hayes knocks senators for ducking out of impeachment trial: ‘You can resign’ | TheHill.)

Asleep at the Post

I whole-heartedly agree with this sentiment. I was under the impression that even leaving the chamber was forbidden, but multiple senators ignored this, and went to give interviews while the proceedings were underway. They should be chastised by Chief John Roberts, or even lose their ability to vote.

Laurie Kellman, AP, reports:

 So much for the Senate’s quaint rules and tradition.

Almost immediately after Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled in Wednesday’s session of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, bored and weary senators started openly flouting some basic guidelines in a chamber that prizes decorum.

Crow, a military veteran speaking on the impact of Trump’s holdup of military aid to Ukraine, had trouble holding the Senate’s attention. Some senators left their seats and headed to cloakrooms, stood in the back or openly yawned as he spoke. At one point during his address, more than 10 senators’ seats were empty.

 Crow wondered aloud if the Senate wanted to take a recess.

 

(click here to continue reading 24 hours in, senators flout quaint impeachment rules.)

Sleeping cats

That seems wrong, and really, if Senators miss most of the impeachment proceedings, they should lose their vote on the matter. That would wake them up…

Categories
politics Quotables

Ted Cruz is a Serpent Covered In Vaseline

Brett Stevens is a reliably irritating neo-con newly hired columnist for the NYT, formerly of the WSJ, but this is a spot-on description of Ted Cruz.

Asp door handle- Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum

The New York Times:

I share your enthusiasm for the Texas Senate race, for a couple of small reasons and one very big one. Small reasons: I like Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger, and I like the idea that Texas can turn a bit purple if you have a candidate with energy, wit and a human touch.

The big reason is that I despise Ted Cruz. That is “D-e-s-p-i-s-e,” in case I haven’t spelled out my loathing clearly enough. Would you like to know why?

…Because he’s like a serpent covered in Vaseline. Because he treats the American people like two-bit suckers in 10-gallon hats. Because he sucks up to the guy who insulted his wife — by retweet, no less. Because of his phony piety and even phonier principles. Because I see him as the spiritual love child of the 1980s televangelist Jimmy Swaggart and Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining.” Because his ethics are purely situational. Because he makes Donald Trump look like a human being by comparison. Because “New York values.” Because his fellow politicians detest him, and that’s just among Republicans. Because he never got over being the smartest kid in eighth grade. Because he’s conniving enough to try to put one over you, but not perceptive enough to realize that you see right through him. Because he’s the type of man who would sell his family into slavery if that’s what it took to get elected. And that he would use said slavery as a sob story to get himself re-elected.

Otherwise, you might say I’m his No. 1 fan.

(click here to continue reading Opinion | Supreme Confusion – The New York Times.)

Categories
crime politics

Christine Blasey Ford Wants F.B.I. to Investigate Kavanaugh Before She Testifies

Perched
Perched

The New York Times reports:

The woman who has accused President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault all but ruled out appearing at an extraordinary Senate hearing scheduled for next week to hear her allegations, insisting on Tuesday that the F.B.I. investigate first.

Speaking through lawyers, Christine Blasey Ford said she would cooperate with the Senate Judiciary Committee and left open the possibility of testifying later about her allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. But echoing Senate Democrats, she said an investigation should be “the first step” before she is put “on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.”

Republicans signaled Tuesday night that they would not negotiate an alternative date and would go ahead with the hearing without her or declare it unnecessary if she refuses to appear, then possibly move to a vote.

(click here to continue reading Christine Blasey Ford Wants F.B.I. to Investigate Kavanaugh Before She Testifies – The New York Times.)

Yes, much more important to speedily nominate Kavanaugh to a lifetime appointment than take a couple of days to investigate her claims and his counter-claims. The GOP motivation is transparent – make sure there is a conservative majority in the Supreme Court in the last few months before they lose their upcoming election. Disgusting.

Rule of law, ha.

 Would You Believe

Unfortunately, if Ms. Blasey doesn’t agree to the bullies’ terms, they will just skip the testimony part and go right to the vote, depending upon reliable Republicans like Susan Collins to vote Kavanaugh in.

NYT:

In the letter to the Judiciary Committee, Dr. Blasey’s lawyers said that she has been the target of “vicious harassment and even death threats” since her name was made public on Sunday in an interview published in The Washington Post. Her email has been hacked, she has been impersonated online and she and her family have been forced to relocate out of their home, according to the lawyers, Ms. Banks and her partner, Debra S. Katz.

“While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident,” the lawyers wrote to Mr. Grassley. The hearing “would include interrogation by senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is ‘mistaken’ and ‘mixed up.’”

 

(click here to continue reading Christine Blasey Ford Wants F.B.I. to Investigate Kavanaugh Before She Testifies – The New York Times.)

Categories
Business politics

These corporations are helping elect Roy Moore, an alleged pedophile, to the U.S. Senate

Double Rainbow Over Boeing
Double Rainbow Over Boeing

I was curious which corporations were giving money to the RNC, which in turn is helping Roy Moore in his quest to usher in the pedophilia-supporting era into the GOP. There have undoubtedly been other sexual criminals and ne’er-do-wells elected to the US Congress over the years, but I’d be hard pressed to find another example of one who seems to be making his (alleged) infraction part of his campaign platform. Since it took me some time to track down this information, I’m posting it here.

A ThinkProgress review of contributions to the Republican National Committee so far in this 2017 to 2018 campaign cycle, at least 15 companies have donated $15,000 or more each from their corporate political action committees (PACs) to the party, and are thus contributing to the pro-Moore efforts. The totals include donations through the end of September. According to Federal Election Commission data from the subscription online Political MoneyLine, these include:

(click here to continue reading These corporations are helping elect an alleged child sex abuser to the U.S. Senate – ThinkProgress.)

I was unable to find information on the websites of these corporations if pedophilia was part of company policy or listed in their Code of Conduct, perhaps only in the boardroom, will this be discussed.

Categories
government

GOP Senator Tillis Hasn’t Read The Constitution In A While, Or Ever

Oath
Oath

I know there isn’t a civics test a prospective Senator has to pass before running for office, but perhaps there should be.

Republicans have never made it easy for President Barack Obama to confirm judges. But Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) came up with a new reason the Senate shouldn’t be filling empty court seats: It’s not our job.

Democrats including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) made repeated requests Wednesday to confirm a batch of Obama’s judicial nominees who are ready for votes. Each time they tried, Tillis objected and suggested the Senate shouldn’t be spending time on judges.

“What we get are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs,” he said. “I’m doing my job today and objecting to these measures so we can actually get back to pressing matters.”

It’s a weird thing to say since it is literally the Senate’s job to confirm judges, as spelled out in the Constitution. It’s also ironic that Tillis is the one saying this, given that he’s overseeing the longest federal court vacancy in the country. There’s been an empty seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for 3,848 days, or 10.5 years.

(click here to continue reading GOP Senator: Confirming Obama’s Judges Has ‘Nothing To Do With Doing Our Jobs’.)

/Eye Roll!

For reference:

Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, known as the Appointments Clause, empowers the President of the United States to appoint certain public officials with the “advice and consent” of the U.S. Senate. This clause also allows lower-level officials to be appointed without the advice and consent process.

He (the President) shall have the Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Councils, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.

 

(click here to continue reading Appointments Clause – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Categories
politics

Al Franken Ran As A Liberal, and Won

Everything Is Political
Everything Is Political

Senator Al Franken won re-election with a novel strategy; he campaigned as he votes: as a Liberal! And won! Sadly, too many of his party tried to win by playing up their conservative side for some reason, and then lost. Seriously, what is the point of presenting oneself as Republican-Lite? Won’t voters just vote for the actual Republican?

Luckily for the Wellstone wing of the Democratic Party, there are a few smart guys, like Senator Franken:

Across the country, other Democratic Senate candidates distanced themselves from President Obama and the Democratic Party platform. Mark Warner, who squeaked by in Virginia, preferred to talk about how he’d tweak the Affordable Care Act than his vote for the bill, while arguing that he hasn’t actually voted with President Obama all that often. Mark Udall in Colorado decided he didn’t want to be seen with Obama. Challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky wouldn’t even say if she voted for Obama in 2012—after serving as one of his delegates to the national convention.

Franken took the opposite approach.

Instead of running away from the progressive accomplishments of the Obama era, he embraced them, railing against bankers, advocating for student loan reform—even defending the Affordable Care Act. Franken ran as an Elizabeth Warren-style Democrat, running a populist campaign that didn’t shirk discussion of the specific policies Democrats could pursue to help the middle class. And voters rewarded him. “This wasn’t a safe seat,” Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said in an e-mail. “He earned his victory by being a proud populist Democrat for six years and inspiring voters.”

Franken’s Republican opponent, investment banker Mike McFadden, centered his campaign on painting Franken as an Obama shill. But Franken didn’t deny his ties to the president and the Democratic party—and he would have had a hard time of it if he tried. Franken was a favorite of the liberal base before entering politics thanks to his combative, unabashed left-winger radio persona on Air America and his anti-Fox News books. He joined Congress in 2009 as the Democrats’ 60th, filibuster-breaking vote, allowing the party to pass the Affordable Care Act. Since then he’s racked up a clear lefty record, regularly ranking among the most liberal members in the Senate.

(click here to continue reading Al Franken Was Liberal Enough, Tough Enough, and Doggone It, People Reelected Him | Mother Jones.)

Maybe in 2016, more Democrats will decide to run as liberals. Shocking concept, eh?

Democratic Strategists Are Clueless - Tom Tomorrow
Democratic Strategists Are Clueless – Tom Tomorrow
– via http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/10/1342914/-Cartoon-Midterm-mayhem

Categories
Advertising Business

Senator Rockefeller Warns Marketing Data Giants: You’re On Notice

Video Flag Z by Nam June Paik
Video Flag Z by Nam June Paik

We’ve long been dismayed by how powerful and secretive the massive data broker corporations have become. Our data is collected, often surreptitiously, then repackaged and sold to other corporations, and we don’t get a percentage of the profits, nor any real notice that this is happening.

Good news, maybe, from Washington, as reported by Kate Kaye of AdAge:

Today the Senate Commerce Committee held a long-awaited hearing about the consumer-data-broker industry.

“We have a feeling people are getting scammed or screwed,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., whose office sent inquiries to several data brokers in the past year. He called out data giants Acxiom, Epsilon and Experian, threatening to use more forceful ways of getting them to divulge information about how they do business and with whom.

One concern shared by Mr. Rockefeller and privacy advocates is predatory marketing activity conducted by financial firms or other companies targeting vulnerable groups such as the impoverished or immigrant populations. Another concern is the practice of scoring individuals determined by algorithmic data analysis and serving them with tailored offers. In some cases that could involve higher interest rates for loans or dynamic prices for products based on prior web behavior or demographic data.

“To date they have not given me complete answers,” said Mr. Rockefeller of Acxiom, Epsilon and Experian. “I’m putting these three companies on notice today…that I am considering further steps and I have steps I can use to get this information.”

Mr. Rockefeller sent letters to data companies such as Acxiom, Datalogix, Epsilon, Experian and Transunion in June, then broadened the inquiry to include media firms — typically big collectors of behavioral web data — like About.com, Babycenter.com, Cafemom.com, Time’s Health.com and Conde Nast’s Self.com.

 

(click here to continue reading Rockefeller to Marketing Data Giants: You’re On Notice | Privacy and Regulation – Advertising Age.)

Bares paying attention to…

Categories
politics

Todd Akin Is Aching to Be In Charge of Your Ladyparts

Locked up Tightly
Locked up Tightly

Maureen Dowd says what many, many have been saying recently re: Todd Akin and his party of mouth-breathers.

Other Republicans are trying to cover up their true identity to get elected. Even as party leaders attempted to lock the crazy uncle in the attic in Missouri, they were doing their own crazy thing down in Tampa, Fla., by reiterating language in their platform calling for a no-exceptions Constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, even in cases of rape, incest and threat to the life of the mother.

Paul Ryan, who teamed up with Akin in the House to sponsor harsh anti-abortion bills, may look young and hip and new generation, with his iPod full of heavy metal jams and his cute kids. But he’s just a fresh face on a Taliban creed — the evermore antediluvian, anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-gay conservative core. Amiable in khakis and polo shirts, Ryan is the perfect modern leader to rally medieval Republicans who believe that Adam and Eve cavorted with dinosaurs.

In asserting that women have the superpower to repel rape sperm, Akin ratcheted up the old chauvinist argument that gals who wear miniskirts and high-heels are “asking” for rape; now women who don’t have the presence of mind to conjure up a tubal spasm, a drone hormone, a magic spermicidal secretion or mere willpower to block conception during rape are “asking” for a baby.

“The biological facts are perhaps inconvenient, but whether the egg meets the sperm is a matter of luck or prevention,” says Dr. Paul Blumenthal, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology who directs the Stanford Program for International Reproductive Education and Services. “If wishing that ‘I won’t get pregnant right now’ made it so, we wouldn’t need contraceptives.”

When you wish upon a rape.

Dr. Blumenthal is alarmed that Akin is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

“What is very disturbing to me is that people like Mr. Akin who have postulated this secret mechanism for avoiding pregnancy have developed their own make-believe world of science based on entirely self-serving beliefs of convenience or just ignorance,” he said. “I don’t think we want these people to be responsible for the lives of others.”

But, for all the Republican cant about how they want to keep government out of the lives of others, the ultraconservatives are panting to meddle in the lives of others. Contrary to President Obama’s refreshing assertion Monday that a bunch of male politicians shouldn’t be making health care decisions for women, this troglodyte tribe of men and Bachmann-esque women craves that responsibility.

(click here to continue reading Just Think No – NYTimes.com.)

 Todd Akin ben sargent 120821
Todd Akin – Christian Taliban by Ben Sargent 120821

Akin isn’t some outlier in the GOP, he’s just voicing what most of his colleagues have the political sense not to mention on television. He shouldn’t be forced out of the election for his views, but he shouldn’t be elected either. However, the odds are still 50-50 he’ll win; there are a lot of Missouri Christian Taliban who believe exactly what Akin and the GOP do – namely that the government should be in charge of a women’s body. 

Legitimate
Legitimate

The GOP convention in Tampa is going to codify this outrage, as Jodi Jacobson explains:

As of today, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan may find themselves in a wee bit of a bind.

For the past two days, the pair have been running around trying to assure the press and ultimately women voters that they really do believe in “real rape,” not just “legitimate rape,” that they are not as misogynistic as Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, and that, of course, a Romney-Ryan Administration would never eliminate rape and incest exceptions for abortion.

And, now it appears that, all the while, the people really in charge of the GOP—fundamentalist anti-choicers among them—have been writing a party platform that not only makes all of that a lie, but is in effect a promise to make the personhood of fertilized eggs the law of the land.

The draft official platform strongly supports a “a human life amendment” to the Constitution:

“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” the draft platform declares. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

Let’s be very, very clear that such an amendment—which Mitt Romney has said unequivocally he would sign—would not only criminalize abortions of any kind for any reason, but also would outlaw many forms of contraception, in-vitro fertilization, and treatment of pregnant women with life-threatening conditions such as cancer. Moreover, it would also criminalize miscarriage.

(click here to continue reading As Romney and Ryan Dissemble, RNC Prepares Radical Anti-Choice Platform Based on Personhood | RH Reality Check.)

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politics

Richard Lugar Should Retire

Welcome to Indiana
Welcome to Indiana

I would not care if the Tea Party claimed another scalp, in this case, of Republican Dick Lugar. There is no rule that says just because a Senator has been in office for a while, they never have to face a primary again. 

Gail Collins writes:

INDIANA Next Tuesday we will learn whether Richard Lugar, a Republican, wins renomination for the Senate seat he has held for almost 36 years. This is the guy who won international renown for his work against nuclear proliferation. If he loses, the Tea Party will have claimed another victim, terrifying the remaining moderate Republican in the Senate.

His opponent, Richard Mourdock, the state treasurer, claims that Lugar has become a creature of Washington. Generally, these lost-touch-with-the-people campaigns are bogus. But it does seem peculiar that Lugar’s 2012 Indiana voting address was a house he sold in 1977.

Lugar, who has a home in the Washington suburbs, says he can’t afford a place in Indiana too. This is a guy who represents a state where the median price of a house in Gas City is $88,000. Also, Lugar owns a family farm outside Indianapolis, but apparently there is no family house on the family farm. Personally, I’d have gone for the family shed.

Anyway, here is our question: Would you rather see Lugar win, striking a blow for moderate-although-actually-pretty-darned-conservative-but-just-not-crazy Republicanism? Or would you prefer to see him lose and give the Democrats a chance to pick up an unexpected seat? Feel free to choose. It’s like the basketball playoffs. Every team has its good points. Except, of course, the Miami Heat.

(click here to continue reading Changing the Subject – NYTimes.com.)

Charles Pierce adds:

Richard Lugar, the Ent who has represented the state of Indiana in the U.S. Senate since shortly after George Rogers Clark kicked the bucket, is stuck in the middle of a primary dogfight with state treasurer Richard Mourdock, a Tea Party heartthrob. That being the case, one of the hottest issues in the race has been Lugar’s status as a “Washington insider,” since, as Tea Party logic demands, the more you know about how to function within the government, the less you know about Liberty (!), competence basically being another word for treason. Anyway, as a line of attack on this issue, Mourdock is making dinner out of how little time Lugar seems to spend back home in Indiana.

While Lugar is still leading in the polls, the trend lines are not good at all, as evidenced by the fact that, over the weekend, his campaign felt compelled to release an accounting of how much time Lugar spent in the state as opposed to the amount of time he was sequestered inside the Beltway: The low point was 1985, when he was in Indiana for 20 days. That was the year he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The highest number came in his re-election years of 1982 and 1998, when he was in the state 92 days. As for the total number of days he spent in the state he has represented since 1977 over the course of full six-year terms, the highest was his first term, with 353 days in Indiana, and the lowest was his fifth, with 237.

(click here to continue reading Richard Lugar Re-Election 2012 – Dick Lugar’s Last Stand – Esquire.)

and, for good measure:

First of all, there is absolutely nothing prima facie wrong with any politician’s being challenged in a primary at any time in any place. God knows, the Democrats could use a couple of dozen more good solid primary fights. You can’t moan endlessly about how Americans take no interest in government and then complain when they actually do. That said, I am sorry, but the Reverend Danforth can go pound sand. He was in the Senate when the NCPAC campaigns were run. He was in the Senate when Lee Atwater was the presiding Republican genius. He was in the Senate when Newt Gingrich came to power. He likes to pretend that he’s become appalled by what’s happened to the party since he left the Senate, but he was there when all the forces were gathering, and it’s a little late to decide he doesn’t have the belly for the inevitable results. But, more to the historical point, it was Danforth most of all who is responsible for the phenomenon that is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and, in that fight, Danforth was as much a culture warrior as all the people who seem to offend him today.

It was Danforth who gave Thomas sanctimonous cover during the Senate confirmation hearings in which Thomas, at the very least, played Edward Scissorhands with the truth. Danforth even later wrote a book about it in which poor, misused soon-to-be Justice Thomas was nearly destroyed by the high-tech lynching he received, and in which Danforth confesses quite Heepishly that he may have been less than Christian in his defense of his protege. Well, horse hockey. You got what you wanted: a permanent seat on the Supreme Court for a vengeful conservative extremist. (In his book, Danforth argues that,”I did not think his political philosophy should be relevant to his nomination,” to which Clio, Muse Of History, replies, “WTF?” and opens another bottle of Virginia Gentleman.) I am utterly at the end of my patience with all of these “How could this ever have happened to my party?” arias from the people who could have stopped it at the time, but found it expedient not to do so. It’s enough to get me rooting for Richard Mourdock.

(click here to continue reading John Danforth on Dick Lugar – Dick Lugar and the Right’s Men Overboard – Esquire.)

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politics

Some Senators Still Want to Conduct Insider Trading

AIG and you
Payday ATM Cash

Even though this bill passed the Senate, despite the obstructionism of Oklahoma’s troll, Tom Coburn, you have to wonder why these Senators voted against (or abstained) the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act)

“Members of Congress and their staffers have the duty to the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor today. “They may not use privileged information they get on the job to personally profit, but the perception remains that a few members of Congress are using their positions as public servants to serve themselves instead… The STOCK Act will clear up any perception that it’s acceptable for members of Congress to profit from insider trading.”

Senators Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., voted against the motion. Five senators did not vote: Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Mary Landrieu, D-La., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

(click here to continue reading STOCK Act advances in the Senate – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.)

Well, at least Mark Kirk had an excuse. The rest of these jokers better prepare for an opposition ad to point out their position on enriching themselves while conducting the people’s business.