Thursday, March 29, 2012
Koch Operative Steve Lonegan Offers Rude Gesture When We Ask About Lawsuit Over His Questionable Public Financing
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
WASHINGTON — One accusation long directed at Congress is that lawmakers come to this capital city not just to serve the American people but also to enrich themselves and their families.
For the House of Representatives, at least, there is now an encyclopedia of sorts that reinforces this suspicion.
A nonprofit ethics group here spent the last nine months examining every member of the House — for campaign spending, budget earmarks, office accounts and lobbying by any relatives — and found that the families of more than half of all the House lawmakers have received payments or otherwise benefited financially from their affiliation with a lawmaker in the two previous election cycles.
The 346-page report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, is an extraordinary compendium of creative accounting, self-interested budgeting and generous expense reimbursements. It highlights common practices that translate into tens of millions of dollars in payments to relatives or the lawmakers themselves.
There are hundreds of examples to choose from, but here are just a few:
Campaign accounts of Representative Ron Paul, a Republican of Texas who is running for the party's presidential nomination, paid salaries or fees to his daughter, brother, grandson, daughter's mother-in-law, granddaughter and grandson-in-law, totaling more than $300,000, according to the report.
Mr. Paul did not dispute the findings, though Jesse Benton, a spokesman, said, "Any implication that there is anything inappropriate is wildly off base."
Representative Rubén Hinojosa, Democrat of Texas, who paid two grandnieces and a son-in-law with his re-election campaign funds, also contributed money from his campaign account to his daughter's election bid for county clerk in Texas, and he helped secure a federal budget appropriation for a hospital where his wife serves on the board, according to the report.
Representative Jo Ann Emerson, Republican of Missouri, has two daughters who have worked in Washington as lobbyists, one for General Motors, the other for the chemical giant Monsanto, one of 44 House lawmakers who have a relative that is registered to lobby or at least works in government affairs, the report says.
Representative Silvestre Reyes, Democrat of Texas, has paid nearly $600,000 over the last two election cycles to himself or his family in reimbursements, salaries, consulting contracts and other payments, with some of the largest amounts going to his niece, Veronica Cintron, who served as a campaign fund-raiser. He even reimbursed thousands of dollars in charitable contributions that Ms. Cintron made over the last several years, the records show.
Most of these practices do not appear to violate any laws or House ethics rules. And it is extremely common for lawmakers to use campaign funds to reimburse themselves for expenses related to a re-election bid. Lawmakers asked for response uniformly defended their spending or other family ties.
But Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said that some of the payments at least raise questions. One such example is the use by Representative Michael Burges, Republican of Texas, of his campaign funds to renew his membership in a professional medical society — which at least appears to be a personal expense. (Mr. Burges did not respond to a request for comment.)
"Some things that aren't illegal may still raise serious ethical questions," Ms. Sloan said. "If donors really understood where their money is going, I think they would be aghast."
Lawmakers who use campaign funds to pay relatives should be required to disclose that the payment is going to a family member, Ms. Sloan said, and there should be more detailed accounting of reimbursements paid to lawmakers or their family members for campaign expenses.
In all, the "Family Affair" report — featuring a cartoon-style cover with lawmakers being served lobster and caviar and plates overflowing at a big dinner table — includes 248 House members, representing 105 Democrats and 143 Republicans, about equal to their parties' proportional makeup in the House.
Lawmakers earned a mention if the researchers were able to document any relative who served as a lobbyist, if the lawmaker or a relative had been paid a salary or consulting fee by the lawmaker's campaign or official government accounts, or received a campaign contribution from the House member's campaign fund.
Lawmakers were also included if they had helped direct federal spending — an "earmark" in Washington lingo — toward an organization affiliated with a relative, or if the lawmaker or relatives collected more than $10,000 in reimbursements from campaign accounts during the two election cycles.
The report — which involved examining detailed campaign finance documents that list individual campaign expenditures — turns up some odd reimbursements for individual lawmakers or their families, like baby-sitting bills paid on behalf of Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, or his wife, or the reimbursements to Representative Aaron Shock, Republican of Illinois, for hotel bills in Miami and Athens and a seaplane in the Caribbean.
The examination of these accounts also turned up records of loans granted by the lawmakers to their own campaigns, which often are repaid with interest. Representative Henry Cuellar, Democrat of Texas, for example, loaned his campaign $100,000 about a decade ago but then used campaign funds to pay back not only the principal but an additional $25,000 in interest on the loan, which he gave to his own campaign at a 6 percent interest rate.
"We have been in 100 percent compliance with the rules," said Colin Strother, a campaign spokesman, noting that the interest rate reflected the market rate at the time that the loan was given."
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
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How to Get Away With Murder and Other Things the Killing of Unarmed Black Teen Trayvon Martin Teaches Us
Ryan Budget: take health insurance away from millions, eliminates federal government except for entitlements and defense spending #p2 #tcot @gop
Except Paul Ryan just did.
No, he didn't put it in quite those terms. Instead, Ryan on Tuesday unveiled the latest version of his proposal for the federal budget, which he calls the "Path to Prosperity." He vowed that it would reduce deficits, promote economic growth, and strengthen the safety net. The first two claims are dubious, at best. The third is just dishonest—and, if taken literally, morally bankrupt.
From afar and even up close, the new Ryan budget actually looks a lot like the old Ryan budget. It calls for a reduction in taxes that, if implemented, would likely give a disproportionate share of benefits to the wealthy. It calls for radically reducing discretionary spending, so that it is less than 4 percent of gross domestic product by 2050. And it calls for transforming Medicare into a voucher system."
Analysis of the FY 2013 House Republican Budget Resolution - fails the test of balance, fairness, and shared responsibility #p2 #tcot @gop
Trayvon Martin A ‘Little Thug Ghetto Monkey.’ @FoxNews Readers Set New High Water Mark For Racism #p2 #tcot
littlegreenfootballs.com has posted a partial list of the comments regarding the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. You'll recall that Trayvon, armed with Skittles and a bottle of iced tea, was stalked by George Zimmerman and shot for the crime of walking while black. Three weeks on and Zimmerman has yet to be arrested. The Department of Justice and the FBI have announced that they will be investigating this…oversight as a hate crime. Apparently this has outraged the Fox News commentator community.
Warning: The following conservative responses are disturbing in the extreme.
What a shame—a tragedy, really— because the dead lil' gangsta could've used "'A-FIRM-TIV AK-SHUN" to go to kollige an play footballz and make lotsa cash munny!""
Paul Ryan would eliminate the non-health care, non-military, non-social security federal government: http://t.co/j5pwh6t9
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Santorum comes off as a populist machine voice emitter as his mindless supporters applaud - its over; you're done pal #p2 #tcot @gop
Mitt , as head of Bain Capital, bought distressed companies, laid off tons of people, and flipped those companies for huge profits. Mitt calls himself a champion, a job creator. He makes money on money. He destroys lives under the guise of entrepreneurship. Mitt is full of crap and like others of his ilk, want to maintain the status quo so that Plutocrats like Mitt continue to feast and become super wealthy.
Listening to his stupid ass faced followers cheer as this pirate, this plunderer of capital, touts himself as a dreamer and job creator. These people are clueless.
But things could be worse - Santorum could be winning.
Monday, March 19, 2012
@Foxnews 's Varney Attacks "Feel Good" Food Stamp Program As Hunger Reaches Elevated Levels #p2 #tcot
Varney Attacks SNAP As A "Feel Good" "Entitlement" That Dems Use To "Buy Votes"
Varney: Informing People Of SNAP Eligibility Creates "An Entitlement Nation" And "Make[s] You Feel Good." On the March 15 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox Business host Stuart Varney attacked an outreach program for SNAP, asking "can we afford" to "reach out and give people food" and claiming that expanding SNAP coverage leads to "an entitlement nation" by making people "feel good." From Fox & Friends:"
Arizona’s ALEC Leader Wants Your Boss to Make Decisions About Your Contraception Coverage #p2 #tcot @gop
The Arizona Legislature is considering Lesko's new bill which would grant all employers, not just those that are religiously affiliated, the option to exclude contraceptives from health insurance coverage. The only exception is if a woman can "prove," by disclosing private medical information, that she is taking the contraceptives for other medical reasons.
Arizona already has a law on the books that allows religious employers to deny such coverage, but the current bill would modify the law to allow any employer (or :mom and pop" businesses as Lesko tries to spin it) to make the same exclusion.
While women are still free to go out and buy their own insurance in the free market, the bill specifically removes a provision in the current state law that prohibits religious employers from discriminating against an employee who chooses to use birth control pills and pay for them out of pocket. This has prompted observers to suggest that employers will be allowed to fire employees that don't have union protection if they disagree with their health care choices. Or as Jezebel.com put it "the law will allow employers to fire women for using whore pills."
"We don't live in the Soviet Union"
The bill's author, claims the bill responds to a contraceptive mandate in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law March 2010.
"We don't live in the Soviet Union," Lesko told the State Press. "And so government shouldn't be telling employers, Catholic organizations and mom and pop (businesses) to do something that's against their moral beliefs."
Bryan Howard of Arizona Planned Parenthood called the measure "an attack on women's health care and their ability to make health care decisions for themselves and their families according to their faith," not their bosses.
Arizona college student Megan Riley said the employer doesn't have the right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees. "Taking away birth control is not a religious freedom," Riley said. "It's oppression.""
fascism: Chicago Police Detain Reporters “Your First Amendment rights can be terminated if you’re creating a scene,”
what assholes: "Illinois Republican primary voters: President Obama is a secret Muslim and might not be American" #p2 #tcot @gop
Do you think Barack Obama is a Christian or a Muslim, or are you not sure?Of course, President Obama is a Christian, he was born in the United States, and evolution is quite real. If you believe otherwise, you're either ignorant or hateful or both. (Well, to be fair, your belief—or lack thereof—in evolution doesn't really have anything to do with whether or not you are hateful.)
Not sure: 37
Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States, or not?
Was born in U.S.: 36
Not born in U.S.: 36
Not sure: 28
Do you believe in evolution, or not?
Believe in evolution: 41
Do not: 43
Not sure: 16
It's been fashionable in some circles to suggest that when PPP asked these questions ofAlabama and Mississippi Republican primary voters, it was trying to trick Republican voters into saying mean things. If that's what you believe, then you also believe that Republican primary voters are incapable of answering the questions that PPP asked, the wording of which is presented above.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
rest at http://digg.com/news/politics/occupy_miami_raided_swat_team_draws_weapons_on_children_michaelmoore_com