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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 63,256

Journal Archives

Gov. Chris Christie tweets up a storm after 'revenge bill' fails in New Jersey Legislature

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie unleashed his inner pit bull Tuesday on Twitter after the Legislature shelved his bill to yank millions of dollars in ads from state newspapers.

The measure was dubbed Christie’s “revenge” against newspapers that aggressively covered Bridgegate — the investigation that led to the convictions of two allies who conspired to cause a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge in 2013 to punish a Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse the governor for re-election.

The bill would have repealed the state law requiring legal notices to be printed in newspapers, clearing the way for the lucrative ads to move online.

Video & More:

GOP leadership in U.S. Senate is now involved in obstructing & covering up the Russian hack of 2016

Republican leadership in the U.S. Senate is now involved in obstructing and covering up the Russian hack of the 2016 presidential election by failing to authorize a select committee to investigate the incident. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the hacking was “a serious issue, but it doesn’t require a select committee.”

In rejecting the committee, McConnell is obstructing a proposal that had bipartisan support. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) had both urged the leadership to take up the select committee.

The CIA has said that they believe Russia intentionally broke into Democratic Party emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to be released in order to influence the outcome of the election in favor of Donald Trump.

Previously, Republicans authorized a select committee to investigate the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi when they believed such an investigation would harm the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.


The Rosetta Stone of House GOP behavior:


I am afraid.

This Is Real, This Is Happening
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed


I am afraid.

I am afraid to admit that I am afraid, because such an admission makes the whole thing real.

It's real. This is happening. The sun will rise on January 20 to shine down upon Donald Trump taking the presidential oath of office. The bitter winter wind will raise up his hair flap like a shark fin unless his handlers dog it down like some errant sail, he will complete the oath, and every living organism on Earth will be joined together as we enter the uncharted waters of the terrifying history to come.

Easier to pretend it's all just bad television while sorting the spoons for the sixth time. Easier, but not better. It is fine to be afraid -- you'd be a fool to feel otherwise -- so long as you remember that you are not alone in your fears. There are millions of people in this country who share the sentiment, and millions more besides throughout the world.

Importantly, not everyone is stuck in the mud. Many people -- including many of you -- are already knee-deep in resistance, strategizing and formulating plans to push back against Trump's destructive vision. The work to defend and preserve a century of human progress is already well underway. This is a generational affair, a towering global challenge. It will be nasty, brutish and hopefully short, but it will be. The trick is not to shelter in place, but to find the people near us who are mobilizing, and join with them. It takes many fingers to make a fist.

The cupboards will keep. It's time to get to work.


Way more:

New CA Senator Kamala Harris: Im In Senate To Stop Trump

Kamala Harris, the newly elected Democratic senator from California announced that her committee assignments in the Senate would position her to oppose Donald Trump’s agenda once he becomes President.

In a statement Harris said, “No state will be more impacted by any potential changes to federal immigration policy than California, and I look forward to zealously protecting our state’s interests on the homeland security committee.”

Harris will also be a member of committees on intelligence, the environment and public works, and the budget.

Her position on the environmental committee will be used to “fight hard against attempts to roll back key environmental protections,” Harris said. Trump has publicly promised to roll back environmental protection legislation in favor of polluting industries like oil and gas. He also has said that he believes climate change science is a hoax created by the Chinese government.


Barbara Boxer's last op-ed as member of Congress: Trump undermines our republic-threatens our values

Trump undermines our republic: Barbara Boxer
Barbara Boxer 6:03 a.m. EST December 21, 2016

President-elect's cabinet picks, attitudes and business conflicts are a threat to American values.

Whether you voted for Donald Trump or not, there are certain American values that transcend politics.

As Americans, we value science. We value civil rights. We value human rights. We value women’s rights. We value worker’s rights. We value voting rights. We value clean air, clean water and a healthy environment. We value immigrants, who come to our country seeking better opportunities, and at times, refuge. We value free speech and a free press. And we expect our elected leaders to put our country’s interest ahead of their own self-interest.

These values are ingrained in the fabric of America because generations risked their lives to ensure them.

Judging from the recent actions and appointments of our new president-elect, every single one of these values is at great risk. Just look at the selections he has made for his Cabinet:

His nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency is a climate change skeptic who has led lawsuits against the very agency he hopes to lead.

His nominee for Energy secretary couldn’t even remember the name of the agency he hopes to run — and when he did, he said he wanted to eliminate it.

His nominee for Education secretary wants to drain funding away from our public schools, which 95% of our children attend, and she and her family have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that oppose lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

His nominee for Labor secretary, a fast food chain CEO, has been accused of labor violations by the very department he has been tapped to lead.

How to cope with post-election blues: Column
His nominee for attorney general not only opposed theVoting Rights Act, but said he liked the KKK until he found out they smoked marijuana.

His nominee for Housing and Urban Development secretary opposes the Fair Housing Act.

His nominee for Treasury secretary, who recommends economic policy, profited from the financial crisis by repossessing tens of thousands of homes in an operation that was dubbed a “foreclosure machine.”

His nominee for Health and Human Services secretary led dozens of repeal efforts in Congress to take health care away from the American people.

And his nominee for secretary of State is the CEO of the largest oil company in the world, has no official diplomatic experience and has cozied up to repressive leaders, including former KGB operative Vladimir Putin, who awarded him Russia’s "Order of Friendship.”

His picks for his White House staff are also alarming, starting with a chief strategist who is associated with white supremacist hate groups. His national security adviser is someone who has shown vitriol toward Muslims and a military investigation found that he “inappropriately shared” classified information with foreign military officers.

Trump’s contempt for the free press is on display every day. He hasn’t held a press conference since July 27, breaking with a longstanding tradition for incoming presidents. Instead he uses Twitter to personally attack reporters and news outlets — a tactic continued from his campaign, which he spent bullying the media and threatening them with lawsuits if they wrote negative pieces about him.

And look at his complex web of business interests, which pose enormous potential for conflicts of interest. Presidents should never make decisions in the White House that could enrich themselves or their family members, yet Trump refuses to listen to the clear advice from ethics experts to completely divest or place his assets in a blind trust.

Trump has been elected president, and he is now profiting from the results. Right now, foreign leaders are staying in Trump hotels in Washington, D.C. and all over the world. Once he takes the oath of office, it will be a clear violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which states that that no American officeholder shall, “without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

Experts say if Trump continues to ignore their advice, the only course is impeachment — an extreme measure that could be avoided if he took simple action now.

People ask me why the Emoluments Clause hasn’t come up before. It is because no president has ever done what Trump has done: put his assets and personal interests before the interests of the country.

Trump says he is a “smart person” and uses that as an excuse for avoiding daily intelligence briefings. Americans deserve a commander in chief who makes his decisions based on facts — not guesses — because the safety of our country will be in his hands.

Now our new president-elect is refusing to acknowledge what everyone from the CIA to GOP leaders know to be true: Russia deliberately interfered with our elections to help Trump win. Instead of getting the facts, which will allow him to defend our nation, he continues to cozy up to Putin, who is now suspected of having directed this unprecedented cyber attack on our nation.

I am heartened that a few Republicans are standing up and fighting back against some of the outrages I have described. We need many more Republicans and Democrats to come together, to put partisanship aside and to defend the American values that both parties have embraced over time.

We cannot stay silent. We cannot turn away. We must unite against this unprecedented assault on our ethics and ideals.

Upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked what sort of government had been created. He answered, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”​

We are being challenged now to protect our republic from those who would undermine its very foundations.

Barbara Boxer, a Democratic senator from California, is retiring next month. This is her last op-ed as a sitting member of Congress after 24 years in the Senate and 10 years in the House of Representatives.

David Corn Calls Out Bill O'Reilly: 'He Was Defending Apartheid!'

O'Reilly made the case for white supremacism, arguing, "this is all about race. The left sees white privilege in America as an oppressive force that must be done away with."

"Very few commentators will tell you that the heart of liberalism in America today is based on race. It permeates almost every issue. That white men have set up a system of oppression. That system must be destroyed. Bernie Sanders pedaled that to some extent Hillary Clinton did. And the liberal media tries to sell that all day long. So-called white privilege bad. Diversity good."

He concluded, "Summing up, the left wants power taken away from the white establishment. They want a profound change in the way America is run. Taking voting power away from the white precincts is the quickest way to do that."

Lawrence O'Donnell summed up opposition to the Electoral College clearly. "It is making all votes equal," to which Corn agreed. And then he nailed O'Reilly.

"When I was listening to O'Reilly do that rant tonight, I was thinking about South Africa," he said, incredulously. "Talking about protecting the white establishment?"

Corn observed, "O'Reilly and the folks at Fox News are always yelling at the left and others for putting things in racial terms. I can't think of anything more racial than saying that people are protecting or trying to attack a white establishment."

"It sounds like he was defending apartheid!,"
he concluded.


A Tangerine Wig and a Tightrope Walk: Alec Baldwin as Donald J. Trump"


An open letter from teacher to Betsy DeVos goes viral: You are 'the elephant in the room'

Dear Ms. DeVos,

I don’t think we’ve really met yet; we are America’s public school teachers. There are about 3.1 million of us. We teach in large urban areas, we teach in the suburbs, we teach in small rural communities, and we teach in some really remote parts of our country. The most important thing to recognize is that we teach every kid who shows up. We don’t pick and choose the types of kids that we will teach, we teach ALL of them.

Because we haven’t really had much interaction, we thought it might be nice to share a little bit about the public schools we teach in. First of all, we are very proud of our schools. Public schools today have the highest graduation rate in American history. The Gallup Poll says that the rate of parents who are satisfied with their public school is the highest in American history. We are also very proud that our public schools offer more services to students with low socioeconomic backgrounds and special education needs than ever before. Not to be redundant, but we are proud that we serve ALL of the students in our communities.

Our communities are very important to us. We are taxpayers in our local communities and many of us have children of our own who attend the public schools that we teach in. We care deeply that our schools are safe and that they are providing a rigorous and relevant curriculum to EVERY student who walks in the door. We recognize that each of our communities have different needs and sometimes get frustrated with a “one size fits all” mentality.

We also know that our public schools face real challenges. Twenty-two percent of U.S. public school students live in poverty, 50 percent more than the next highest industrialized nation. English is a second language to almost 10 percent of the students we serve. Enrollment in teacher preparation programs has fallen more than 10 percent in the last 10 years. We are challenged to keep up with increasing state and federal mandates regarding standardized testing.

America’s public schools are here to serve EVERY kid. As the teachers who keep those schools ticking, all that we ask is that you listen to us.

So, I suppose we also need to address the elephant in the room. We are a little freaked out by your nomination to be secretary of education. You aren’t an educator. You haven’t ever attended or sent your children to a public school, yet you seem to have some pretty strong opinions about them. You don’t seem to have been involved in the study of curriculum or school standards. What you have done is lobby (and spend millions of dollars of your own money in advocacy) for taxpayer dollars to go to unregulated for-profit charter schools. As teachers we like to look at data. Interestingly, the data from Michigan (where you have been able to use your wealth to influence a lot of education policy) would suggest that the charter schools you lobby for aren’t really achieving any better than their public counterparts.

If you are confirmed by the Senate to become secretary of education (and we hope it doesn’t hurt your feelings that many of us will work to oppose your nomination), we hope that you will work to get to know us. It seems that anecdotes of ineffective teachers who get to hold on to jobs without accountability are popular these days. Those anecdotes really don’t match up with what we see in our schools. No one is going into education to get wealthy. We go into teaching because we care about young people. We go into teaching because a teacher in our lives inspired us. When you get to know us we think you will find that we desperately continue to work to improve our schools. If you were to meet us and find that you don’t think much of the work we are doing, we will be curious if you can find an army of better qualified people who want to do this work for less money, fewer benefits, and with more regulation.

The education of America’s young people is important. The challenges in front of us are real. Giving families “choice” in their education options is a worthy conversation, but let us not presume that using tax dollars to support those interested in turning a profit to open unregulated schools with no record of success will improve education in our country. How we use our resources is a reflection of what we value. The most unpopular thing a teacher can say is that there is a cost to providing the best possible education to our students, and yet like most things, you often get what you pay for. Many for-profit charter schools have gone out of business because they quickly discovered that the public schools they replaced weren’t the inefficient operations they assumed them to be.

America’s public schools are here to serve EVERY kid. As the teachers who keep those schools ticking, all that we ask is that you listen to us. You are new to all of this and we are here to help. Once we introduce you to the young Bosnian kid who translates letters home to his parents; the kid living out of the family car who does homework with only a street light to illuminate his textbook; the kids who wants to be sure their school offers great music courses, a world language program, and some advanced courses; and the special education students who love spending part of their day with their peers, we think that you will fall in love with our public schools.


America’s Teachers


Trump claimed credit for return of drone---when it was already negotiated before he started tweeting

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