Thursday, August 29, 2013

IRS Announce That All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized For Federal Tax Purposes

from irs newswire

Issue Number:    IR-2013-72

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26 Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

Under the ruling, same-sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.

Any same-sex marriage legally entered into in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory or a foreign country will be covered by the ruling. However, the ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.

Legally-married same-sex couples generally must file their 2013 federal income tax return using either the married filing jointly or married filing separately filing status.

Individuals who were in same-sex marriages may, but are not required to, file original or amended returns choosing to be treated as married for federal tax purposes for one or more prior tax years still open under the statute of limitations.

Generally, the statute of limitations for filing a refund claim is three years from the date the return was filed or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. As a result, refund claims can still be filed for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012. Some taxpayers may have special circumstances, such as signing an agreement with the IRS to keep the statute of limitations open, that permit them to file refund claims for tax years 2009 and earlier.

Additionally, employees who purchased same-sex spouse health insurance coverage from their employers on an after-tax basis may treat the amounts paid for that coverage as pre-tax and excludable from income.

How to File a Claim for Refund

Taxpayers who wish to file a refund claim for income taxes should use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

Taxpayers who wish to file a refund claim for gift or estate taxes should file Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement. For information on filing an amended return, see Tax Topic 308, Amended Returns, available on, or the Instructions to Forms 1040X and 843. Information on where to file your amended returns is available in the instructions to the form.

Future Guidance

Treasury and the IRS intend to issue streamlined procedures for employers who wish to file refund claims for payroll taxes paid on previously-taxed health insurance and fringe benefits provided to same-sex spouses. Treasury and IRS also intend to issue further guidance on cafeteria plans and on how qualified retirement plans and other tax-favored arrangements should treat same-sex spouses for periods before the effective date of this Revenue Ruling.

Other agencies may provide guidance on other federal programs that they administer that are affected by the Code. 

Revenue Ruling 2013-17, along with updated Frequently Asked Questions for same-sex couples and updated FAQs for registered domestic partners and individuals in civil unions, are available today on See also Publication 555, Community Property.

Treasury and the IRS will begin applying the terms of Revenue Ruling 2013-17 on Sept. 16, 2013, but taxpayers who wish to rely on the terms of the Revenue Ruling for earlier periods may choose to do so, as long as the statute of limitations for the earlier period has not expired.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rand Paul: Food, Water And Health Care Are Not Human Rights


"Asked about whether health care is a commodity or not, here was his response:

There's a philosophic debate which often gets me in trouble, you know, on whether health care's a right or not," Paul, in a red tie, white button-down shirt, and khakis, tells the students from the stage. "I think we as physicians have an obligation. As Christians, we have an obligation. . . . I really believe that, and it's a deep-held belief," he says of helping others.

But I don't think you have a right to my labor. You don't have a right to anyone else's labor. Food's pretty important, do you have a right to the labor of the farmer?

Paul then asks rhetorically if people have a right to food and water. His response?

As humans, yeah, we do have an obligation to give people water, to give people food, to give people health care. But it's not a right because once you conscript people and say, 'Oh, it's a right,' then really you're in charge, it's servitude, you're in charge of me and I'm supposed to do whatever you tell me to do. . . . It really shouldn't be seen that way.

So basically what Paul is saying that we are not truly free as long as the government plays a role in humans getting food, water, and health care. If the government does play a role, then we are basically being enslaved by the government. He didn't mention it, but he certainly feels the same way about housing."

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@TheOnion Obliterates @CNN ’s Obsessive @MileyCyrus Coverage, Exposes Bigger Issues


"While many stories on The Onion are meant for pure entertainment, there are a few which mock real-life events.  This article mocked's managing editor, Meredith Artley, for the website's choice to make Miley Cyrus the "Top Story" on CNN this morning.

Of course Ms. Artley never wrote the article, as she clarified on Twitter (apparently there are still people on the Internet who don't know The Onion is satire).  But she failed to make any mention of or respond to the very real point the article made, a point I've been talking about for years — quality journalism is dying and we're the ones killing it."

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Rand Paul and Ted Cruz Plan “Defund Obamacare” Rally


"In an apparent joint attempt to prove that neither of these men understand how our government works, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are planning an anti-Obamacare rally for the first day when Congress returns from their August recess.

What's the main focus going to be?  You guessed it — defunding the Constitutionally-upheld law.

Two of the biggest names in the "let's shutdown the government if we don't get our way" cheerleading squad, Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, are apparently aiming to capitalize on the first day Congress returns from recess to make fools of themselves — which, of course, right-wing voters will eat right up."

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@Starbucks Starbucks Won’t Use Obamacare as Excuse to Cut or Lower Benefits for Its Workers


"Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz publicly stated during a phone interview, "Other companies have announced that they won't provide coverage for spouses; others are lobbying for the cut-off to be at 40 hours. But Starbucks will continue maintaining benefits for partners and won't use the new law as excuse to cut benefits or lower benefits for its workers."

The keyword in his comment that I like the most is "excuse," because that's exactly what these companies have used the Affordable Care Act as — an excuse."

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@speakerBoehner Promises 'Whale Of A Fight' Over Debt Ceiling

More of the same BS from the GOP.


"House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised a "whale of a fight" over the debt ceiling Monday and said that he wanted cuts greater than the increase in the limit.

"I've made it clear that we're not going to increase the debt limit without cuts and reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit," he said at a Boise fundraiser for Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), according to the Idaho Statesman. "The president doesn't think this is fair, thinks I'm being difficult to deal with. But I'll say this: It may be unfair but what I'm trying to do here is to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would produce if left to its own devices. We're going to have a whale of a fight.""

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Toxic 100 Names Top Corporate Air Polluters


"Precision Castparts, DuPont, Biomet, the Bayer Group and Dow Chemicals are the top five corporate air polluters in the US, say researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

ExxonMobil ranks No. 6, with BASF, LyondellBasell Industries, Renco Group and General Electric rounding out the top 10 in the fifth edition of the Toxic 100 Air Polluters.

The list assess how many pounds of pollutants big firms release as well as the toxicity of chemicals, transport factors such as prevailing winds and height of smokestacks, and the number of people exposed. For example, the No. 1 firm, Precision Castparts, has a toxic score — pounds released multiplied by toxicity multiplied by population exposure) of 16.6 million and releases .11 millions of pounds of toxic pollutants (see chart). No. 2 DuPont, meanwhile, has a toxic score of 7.1 million with 10.94 millions of pounds of toxic air releases, according to the index.

The Toxic 100 Air Polluters index is based on air releases of hundreds of chemicals from 10s of thousands of industrial facilities across the US."

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

@gop is willing to use debt ceiling as leverage to shut down obamacare - insane...


"Reuters is reporting Thursday on a strategy that appears to be picking up steam within the Republican Party — moving on from threatening a potential government shutdown to using the debt ceiling as leverage to force action on the Affordable Care Act. 

There's not a lot new here from what GOP aides were discussing last week. But Reuters does report that an aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the debt limit could be a "good leverage point" on Obamacare — the most candid on-the-record admission that the strategy is being discussed in a proposal to appeal to the more conservative members of the party that want Obamacare defunded."

Cruz heckled during ‘Defund Obamacare’ event: ‘You have health care, so can we!’


"Hecklers confronted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during a Tuesday Heritage Action event in support of defunding President Barack Obama's health care reform law.

After Cruz told members of the Dallas audience that he would be willing to shut down the government to in order to stop Obamacare, at least two people stood up and began yelling at him.

"You have health care, so can we!" they shouted.

"Gentlemen, thank you for sharing your views," Cruz replied. "You know, part of the First Amendment is about respecting the views of others.""

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Ted Cruz: A Scary Mixture of Michele Bachmann and Allen West


"But Republicans need not fear, both of these characters have been replaced by just one man—Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz seems to encompass the worst of both Michele Bachmann and Allen West.  But the difference is, where Bachmann and West were simply babbling buffoons spouting off some of the most ridiculous lies imaginable, Ted Cruz is much more calculating and deceitful with his mythical version of "reality."

I've listened to countless soundbites or speeches from Bachmann and West, never walking away thinking, "Yeah, that's someone that stands a chance nationally."  Ted Cruz, though extremely radical, is much less of a babbling idiot and more of a manipulative sociopath.

Which is exactly the kind of leaders, and society, Republicans want."

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rick Perry Begging For Obamacare Even As He Maligns It


"This should really not come as a surprise. Governor Perry has a habit of speaking out against federal government handouts in public even as he begs for government handouts behind the scene. When the fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas, a private company that was privy to virtually no state regulations, he vehemently complained when his requests for government handouts were initially denied."

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some facts on North Carolina @gop 's incredible cruelty to the poor

South Carolina City Approves Plan To Exile Its Homeless


" the Columbia City Council unanimously approved a new plan — the Emergency Homeless Response" — to remove homeless people from the downtown business district. Here's how the initiative, which was spearheaded by Councilman Cameron Runyan, will work.

Police officers will now be assigned to patrol the city center and keep homeless people out. They will also be instructed to strictly enforce the city's "quality of life" laws, including bans on loitering, public urination, and other violations. And just to ensure that no one slips through, the city will set up a hotline so local businesses and residents can report the presence of a homeless person to police.

In order to accommodate all the homeless people who will now be banned from downtown, the city will partner with a local charity to keep an emergency shelter on the outskirts of town open 24 hours a day. However, it's unlikely the shelter, which can handle 240 guests, will be enough to handle the local homeless population, which numbers more than six times the available beds.

Homeless people can stay at the shelter, but they're not permitted to walk off the premises. In fact, Columbia will even post a police officer on the road leading to the shelter to ensure that homeless people don't walk towards downtown. If they want to leave, they need to set up an appointment and be shuttled by a van.

In other words, the 1,518 homeless people in the Columbia-area now have a choice: get arrested downtown or be confined to a far-away shelter that you can't readily leave. Jail or pseudo-jail."


Rick Perry Quietly Lobbies The White House For $100 Million In Obamacare Funding @gop


"Politico reported Tuesday evening that Texas Gov. Rick Perry's (R) administration is in negotiations with the Obama White House to accept about $100 million in federal money to implement an Obamacare Medicaid program to help elderly and disabled Americans.

Perry has been a heated opponent of the health law. He refused to accept $100 billion in federal funding to expand Texas' Medicaid program under Obamacare, which could have helped 1.5 million poor Texans afford basic health benefits. As recently as April, Perry essentially called the expansion a joke. "Seems to me April Fool's Day is the perfect day to discuss something as foolish as Medicaid expansion, and to remind everyone that Texas will not be held hostage by the Obama administration's attempt to force us into the fool's errand of adding more than a million Texans to a broken system," said Perry."


China Plans To Stop Harvesting Organs From Executed Prisoners


"Huang Jiefu said China would now rely on using organs from voluntary donors under a new national donation system.

Prisoners used to account for two-thirds of transplant organs, based on previous estimates from state media.

For years, China denied that it used organs from executed prisoners, but admitted it a few years ago.

Official figures from China's newly formed health and planning commission show that, on an annual basis, there are on average 300,000 patients who need organ transplants, but only 10,000 of them are able to get them, state media said."

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Germany Produces Record-Breaking 5.1 Terawatt Hours of Solar Energy In One Month

Why groklaw shutting down is a big deal


"In turning a powerful spotlight on some arcane legal cases, and leveraging the power of crowds to carefully pick the nuances of those cases apart, Groklaw delivered what many perceived as a valuable service. But Jones felt that service couldn't endure in the current security environment. Many will see that as a loss."

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Groklaw Shuts Down Because of NSA Dragnet


"I hope that makes it clear why I can't continue. There is now no shield from forced exposure. Nothing in that parenthetical thought list is terrorism-related, but no one can feel protected enough from forced exposure any more to say anything the least bit like that to anyone in an email, particularly from the US out or to the US in, but really anywhere. You don't expect a stranger to read your private communications to a friend. And once you know they can, what is there to say? Constricted and distracted. That's it exactly. That's how I feel.

So. There we are. The foundation of Groklaw is over. I can't do Groklaw without your input. I was never exaggerating about that when we won awards. It really was a collaborative effort, and there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate.

I'm really sorry that it's so. I loved doing Groklaw, and I believe we really made a significant contribution. But even that turns out to be less than we thought, or less than I hoped for, anyway. My hope was always to show you that there is beauty and safety in the rule of law, that civilization actually depends on it. How quaint.

If you have to stay on the Internet, my research indicates that the short term safety from surveillance, to the degree that is even possible, is to use a service like Kolab for email, which is located in Switzerland, and hence is under different laws than the US, laws which attempt to afford more privacy to citizens. I have now gotten for myself an email there, p.jones at in case anyone wishes to contact me over something really important and feels squeamish about writing to an email address on a server in the US. But both emails still work. It's your choice.

My personal decision is to get off of the Internet to the degree it's possible. I'm just an ordinary person. But I really know, after all my research and some serious thinking things through, that I can't stay online personally without losing my humanness, now that I know that ensuring privacy online is impossible. I find myself unable to write. I've always been a private person. That's why I never wanted to be a celebrity and why I fought hard to maintain both my privacy and yours."

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How The NSA Scans 75% Of The Internet Through Telco Partnerships


"Tuesday the Wall Street Journal reported the existence of several NSA programs that were either previously unknown, or little was known about. Meet Blarney, Fairview, Oakstar, Lithium and Stormbrew. The programs allow for far greater surveillance than the government has admitted to, and, importantly, detail how the government forces Internet service providers (ISPs) to hand over raw data.

The programs have the ability to "reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic," according to the Journal, "including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans." That content includes the writing of emails – not merely their metadata – and touches phone calls placed inside the U.S. that use digital telephony."

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

America's 50 Worst Charities - Where Do Our Billions Go?


1.Kids Wish Network
2. Cancer Fund of American
3. Children's Wish Foundation International
4. America Breast Cancer Foundation
5. Firefighters Charitable Foundation
6. Breast Cancer Relief
7. International Union of Police Associations, AFL -CIO
8. National Veterans Service Fund
9. American Association of State Troopers
10. Children's Cancer Fund of America

Friday, August 2, 2013

why food pantries matter: story of Jacqueline Dunkentell & her daughter Jada & Fraternite Notre Dame food pantry


Jacqueline Dunkentell (right) and her daughter, Jada, wait in line at the Fraternite Notre Dame food pantry.

In the food pantry line at Fraternite Notre Dame in the Austin neighborhood, 7-year-old Jada Dunkentell just wanted to practice her gymnastics.

"Do you want to see me do a cartwheel into the splits?" she asked the crowd waiting for boxes of food.

Without waiting for an answer, she bounced down the sidewalk, flipped over, and landed in a patch of grass. She quickly exclaimed, "See! I did it!"

"You did great," said Jada's mother, 44-year-old Jacqueline Dunkentell, who stood nearby in the line. Jacqueline injured her back about a year ago and has not been able to work since. She struggles to afford food and comes to Fraternite Notre Dame, a Greater Chicago Food Depository member agency, once a week.

"This has helped me make ends meet and this keeps my kids from going hungry," she said.

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Why do Republicans keep voting against Obamacare? Because we keep writing about it


Here's a chart from Google Trends, which tracks news headlines over time. I typed in "Obamacare repeal," and here's what it came back with:

obamacare repeal

The first spike happened right after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives and, in the first major action of the session, voted to repeal Obamacare.


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This chart will convince you that the stock market rally is for real and that the economy is getting better


@speakerboehner @EricCantor @GOPLeader want to try for 40th time to repeal obamacare - huge taxpayer waste

John Boehner, Eric Cantor and the Tea Party Congress is getting ready to vote to repeal Obamacare for the 40th time today.

Stand with Obamacare and against this massive waste of the American people's time:

@foxnews want evidence that Benghazi is a phony scandal? look no further than Fox itself.


The president's remark during his economic speech in Tennessee Tuesday that "for most of this year, an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals have shifted focus from what we need to do to shore up the middle class" once again revved up the conservative outrage machine.

Their fervor was only increased when White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed that the ginned-up controversy about Benghazi talking points was among the "phonyscandals" President Obama was talking about.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz appeared on Hannity last night and accused the Obama administration of  "try[ing] to personally disparage the people that are trying to get at the truth," and concluding that it's something "we should not stand for."

This sentiment was simply a repetition of what was being stated by conservative media figures such as Rush LimbaughMichelle Malkin, and the hosts of The Five as they simultaneously ignore the fact that each of their Benghazi charges are falling apart, now in fairly rapid succession.

Take for example the latest conservative media accusation -- that CNN was able to interview the purported perpetrator of the Benghazi attack yet the FBI has done nothing.

Eric Bolling claimed this was evidence that "President O" has "no suspects, no interviews, no leads, and no answers."

Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry questioned Jay Carney on this in the White House briefing room:

HENRY: How is it that someone who is potentially the lead suspect in this terror attack could sit down with a media organization for a couple of hours and never be contacted by the FBI?

Hopefully Henry and Bolling were watching Greta's show later that evening when she interviewed former FBI Special Agent Jonathan Gilliam and queried him on why CNN's suspect had not been interviewed by the FBI:

GILLIAM: [L]et's just go back to investigations 101 and think about this. First off,why in the world would an open investigation, that's active, would the investigators go and talk to a suspect? When I was in the FBI I could have talked to a thousand of the suspects that we were looking at. But we knew where they were, we knew what they were doing, and that's what leads an investigation.

And once again another element of the Benghazi scandal turns out to be phony. It's no surprise -- we have consistently witnessed over the past eleven months conservative accusations about Benghazi fall flat in the face of truth.

  • The President or Secretary of Defense refused to deploy forces to assist those under attack -- the House Republicans' own report undermines that claim [emphasis added]:

In addition, the House Armed Services Committee conducted a review of air assets available to respond to Benghazi.  No U.S. government element refused or denied requests for emergency assistance during the crisis. The evidence also does not show there were armed air assets above Benghazi at any time or that any such assets were called off from assisting U.S. personnel on the ground.  According to witness testimony, the security officials on the ground did use laser sights, but they did so as an escalatory demonstration of force in an effort to deter some attackers.  They were not lasing targets for air assets.

The House Armed Services Committee also examined the question of whether the Defense Department failed to deploy assets to Benghazi because it believed the attack was over after the first phase.  The progress report finds that officials at the Defense Department were monitoring the situation throughout and kept the forces that were initially deployed flowing into the region.  No evidence has been provided to suggest these officials refused to deploy resources because they thought the situation had been sufficiently resolved.

  • We could have buzzed the compound with fighter jets -- Robert Gates,former Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, called that "sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces." He went on to explain: "[G]iven the number of surface to air missiles that have disappeared from Gaddafi's arsenals, I would not have approved sending an aircraft, a single aircraft, over Benghazi under those circumstances."
  • A stand down order prevented forces from going to rescue our personal in Benghazi -- once again a Republican committee report contradicts that accusation:

Contrary to news reports, [the commander on the ground in Tripoli] was not ordered to 'stand down' by higher command authorities in response to his understandable desire to lead a group of three other special forces soldiers to Benghazi.

  • The President engaged in a cover up of the attack -- yet even lead congressional Benghazi investigator Jason Chaffetz cannot articulate what was being covered up.

From bad reporting about the authoring of talking points, to parsing the difference between an "act of terror" and a terrorist attack, to Hillary Clinton concussion trutherism, this has been a phony scandal from the start.


Morally bankrupt prostitute hound Sen. @DavidVitte tries to deny funds to Detroit which haven’t even been requested

It's no secret that as a former Republican there is little love lost between me and the party. Some are just greedy, union-busting corporate puppets like Chris Christie or Scott Walker, others are just religious-right driven nuts like Rick Perry or Rick Santorum.

And then there's Louisiana's own Senator David Vitter.

Let me tell you what kind of scumbucket this guy is. In addition to his prostitute scandal which far outdid anything Anthony Weiner or any other member of Congress has been involved in since, he had the unmitigated gall to vote against bills like requiring TRICARE to expand coverage for autism. He's also voted against keeping student loan rates from going up, for an amendment to defund the Affordable Care Act, etc. One look at his overall voting record will show you how he is morally bankrupt not just personally, but politically as well.

Thursday, David Vitter once again proved what a partisan sleazebag he really is by attempting to introduce a bill that would have prohibited the Federal bailout of any state or local government that was in financial distress, like Detroit currently is. Detroit has not asked for a bailout, but that didn't stop the guy who represents a state that pays far less into the Federal government in taxes than it receives, from trying to preemptively score some political points with the tea party wing of the GOP.

"When you look at situations like Detroit – the largest ever municipal bankruptcy – and when you look at our fiscal situation in Washington at the federal level, it's clear that this bar against bailing out state and local government is very, very much needed," Senator Vitter explained.

This is the same Senator who begged Washington for help after Katrina and requests Federal money every chance he gets for Louisiana projects, yet he has the nerve to try to deny money that hasn't even been requested yet and may not even be requested at all?

For those of you who don't have to face the embarrassment of having this moral and fiscal hypocrite represent your state, consider yourself lucky. Barring some scandal or other event that forces him from office, we are stuck with David Vitter until at least 2016.


@McConnellPress @Team_Mitch Mitch McConnell losing Congressional GOP friends at rapid rate

Picture 60

We didn't think McConnell's relationship could get any icier with his Republican Senate colleagues, but we apparently thought wrong.

Last month his more moderate — or at least less obstructionist — colleagues openly called "bullshit" on McConnell and compared him to President Obama, saying McConnell was "leading from behind."

Then came this story from yesterday, with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine directly calling out McConnell for bullying her and other Republican senators to filibuster and kill a transportation funding bill:

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican on the panel that wrote the $54 billion transportation bill, appeared to grope for an explanation for why Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) worked so hard to kill her legislation.

Asked if McConnell's upcoming primary fight with a tea party challenger might have something to do with the pressure, Collins told POLITICO: "I can't speculate on why. All I can tell you is he has never worked harder against a member of his own party than he did against me today."


As the bill was facing a crucial procedural hurdle Thursday, McConnell posted himself at the desk where senators cast their votes, eyeing each Republican as they approached to signal their preference to the clerk. McConnell also spent much of the week publicly and privately rallying rank-and-file members to vote down the bill.

Forget leading from behind, that's bullying from the front of the chamber.

McConnell also gave this giant bear hug to the Budget Control Act's sequestration cuts that are rapidly gutting the economy:

Asked the same question, McConnell instead portrayed the vote as a sign of the GOP's commitment to abide by the limits of the 2011 bipartisan deal known as the Budget Control Act. "We need to indicate we're going to keep our word around here."

One very interesting aspect of McConnell's actions yesterday is that the pervious day, Congressman Hal Rogers of Kentucky's 5th District lashed out at his Republican colleagues for killing the vote on their own transportation funding bill, calling out sequestration as a disaster:

"I am extremely disappointed with the decision to pull the bill from the House calendar today. The prospects for passing this bill in September are bleak at best, given the vote count on passage that was apparent this afternoon. With this action, the House has declined to proceed on the implementation of the very budget it adopted just three months ago. Thus, I believe that the House has made its choice: sequestration – and its unrealistic and ill-conceived discretionary cuts – must be brought to an end. And, it is also clear that the higher funding levels advocated by the Senate are also simply not achievable in this Congress.


The House, Senate and White House must come together as soon as possible on a comprehensive compromise that repeals sequestration, takes the nation off this lurching path from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis, reduces our deficits and debt, and provides a realistic topline discretionary spending level to fund the government in a responsible – and attainable – way."

LEO Weekly asked Rogers' spokesperson at his congressional office and Appropriations Committee what he thought about McConnell's actions and words yesterday, but they have not responded.

I can't remember a single time that McConnell and Rogers have squabbled publicly, but if there was ever a time that this would happen, it would be right about now.

But at least McConnell's new Tea Party friends on his right flank in Congress have his back, right?


And even some of McConnell's current Senate colleagues — particularly those who were themselves little-known tea party candidates before they won races that the national party never thought they were supposed to win — aren't necessarily backing McConnell in the May 2014 primary.

"That's a decision for the people of Kentucky to make," Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said when asked on Thursday if he planned to support McConnell over Bevin.

"I think Sen. McConnell is very capable of taking that challenge on himself," said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., adding that he doesn't typically involve himself in primaries. "Pretend we never talked," he said, laughing.

Asked a follow up question about whether he planned to support Bevin or McConnell, Lee said: "You've gone off topic. Thank you though."

Yes, that would be three of McConnell's GOP Senate colleagues refusing to endorse his re-election over primary challenger Matt Bevin, one of which — Sen. Cruz — is the vice chair of the National Senatorial Campaign Committee, the organization that has refrained from defending McConnell against Bevin's attacks so far.

These three Senators are also one of the small group trying to shutdown the government in order to defund Obamacare, a cause that McConnell is actively seeking to undermine by twisting a few senators' arms to withdraw their pledge of support. Freedom Works — the PAC that helped Tea Party challenger Richard Mourdock oust Sen. Dick Lugar across the river in Indiana last year — finally directed their aim at McConnell in an email blast this week over this action. It would be an understatement to say that McConnell doesn't want Freedom Works on his back until next May's primary election.

McConnell still has Sen. Rand Paul as his blood oath alliance partner, but at this rate, he might soon be one of the only Republican senators to not give him dagger eyes in the Senate chambers.


@gop @speakerboehner Republicans offer details on plan to starve American citizens


House Speaker John Boehner and other House Republicans hold press conference aimed at blaming President Obama for the sequester with a sign reading
attribution: MSNBC Screenshot
Republicans want to replace the sequester with hunger games
Yes, I know that if you're one of the beltway insiders who spends their evenings thumbing through the index of This Town, it's probably shocking to see a headline saying that Republicans are consciously pursuing a policy of starvation ... but this isn't a question of opinion. It's fact:
House Republicans are proposing to double their food stamp savings to nearly $40 billion by rolling back waivers for able-bodied adults and targeting funds to states that are willing to impose greater work requirements on the parents of young children.
I suppose that we can debate whether or not it's a good thing that Republicans are pursuing policies to take food away from hungry people, even though the answer ought to be self-evident. But there's no question about whether or not this is the Republican policy:
The prime target appears to be able-bodied beneficiaries under 50 years old and without dependents — a population that has grown significantly since 2008 because of the bad economy and increased state waivers of a 20-hour-a-week work requirement.

By rolling back these waivers, large savings are possible, essentially by forcing millions off the rolls if they don't find work after three months. Unless approached with some care, the impact could be severe in areas of chronically high-unemployment, such as the Rio Grande Valley, poor urban areas and Indian reservations, for example. And the final details of the bill have not been made public.

A second area of more modest but still controversial savings would come from using federal funds to pressure states to take a more aggressive welfare reform-like approach imposing work requirements on able-bodied parents with young children.

The second round of cuts would hit New York and California particularly hard. I guess to Republicans, that's okay, because who the hell cares if people in "Democrat" parts of the country don't have enough food to eat? And of course their other cuts go after areas with much larger minority populations than you'd find in the typical Republican congressional district. Which again is okay, because why should people who didn't vote for Mitt Romney be allowed to eat?

I'm sure that if pressed to explain their heartless and cruel policy, Republicans will say something along the lines of they don't want a country where so many people need help in order to keep food on the table. But if that's really the case, why don't they do something about creating jobs and growing the economy?

Tell Congress: Oppose all cuts to food stamps.

rest at

As Detroit goes bankrupt, study reveals Michigan leads nation in corporate tax breaks over a 30-year period


story here: