Tag Archives: Federal government of the United States

Lowdown on the shutdown in 3 minutes

CNN Politics

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October 13, 2013 · 10:26 AM

The Greatest Failure Conservatives Make When it Comes to our Constitution

constitution

Forward Progressives

Perspective—it’s something I always encourage people to use.  Unfortunately many people are reluctant, or incapable, of doing so.

This is especially true when it comes to our Constitution.  How dare anyone say an unkind word about the “infallible Constitution.”

But let’s take a look at just a little bit of what the original interpretation of our Constitution allowed.

Our Constitution, when it was written, allowed for very young women (13-14 in many cases) to be married off by families in arranged marriages to much older men.  Well it didn’t “allow” for it as much as it didn’t prevent it from happening.

This probably had to do with the fact that the average life expectancy in the late-1700′s was around 35 years of age.  Probably another reason why our right to health care wasn’t that big of a deal back then.

However, now days if a 13 year old girl was married off to a 30 year old man we would call that child trafficking, statutory rape, child molestation—or all three.  The man would be labeled as a sex offender, then be required to register as one for the rest of his life.  By the rest of his life I mean as soon as he was freed after serving a very lengthy prison sentence.

Then we have the almighty Second Amendment and the words “shall not be infringed.”  Many believe this amendment is one of the foundations of our rights as Americans.  It’s meant to empower people against a tyrannical government.  When people use this argument, based upon words written over 200 years ago (during a time very different from our own), they completely ignore the glaring fact that our society has changed drastically.

The Second Amendment was written during a time where militias were our primary means of defense against enemies, Native American conflict was frequent and “going out to dinner” meant a family hunting trip in the woods.

Oh, and when guns were single-shot muskets.  (Ed. Emphasis are mine)

Do you really think that if the Founding Fathers knew what our society would become, and what weapons would evolve into, they would have been so general with the wording of our Second Amendment?  After all, couldn’t some argue that “right to bear arms” means all arms?  Things like plastic explosives or military style rocket launchers and missiles.  I mean, if weapons are meant to “keep our government fearful of its citizens,” why is it that the federal government gets to have all of the really kick-ass weapons?

Shouldn’t we, as American citizens who celebrate our Second Amendment, be allowed to own F-22 Raptors loaded to capacity with however many missiles or bombs it can carry?  What could possibly go wrong with selling RPG’s at Walmart—without a background check?

Just imagine if someone could travel back in time and tell a father in 1780, “No, you cannot marry off your daughter to that much older man, that’s illegal.  Oh, and so is owning slaves.”  That father would have scoffed at your attempt to “infringe upon his rights as an American” and you would be deemed unconstitutional by many—if you were lucky enough not to be shot, or hung as “treasonous” for even suggesting something so preposterous.

Yet, in 2013, if someone advocated for the rights of families to sell off their young daughters to older men and for people to be allowed to own slaves, sane people would call them disgusting monsters.

Perspective is not a dirty word.  In fact, it should always be used when referencing the “core of our Constitution” (something written over 200 years ago) and how it translates into a modern society. Refusing to acknowledge proper perspective is the greatest failure conservatives make when discussing our Constitution, and how it should be applied today.

Because I hate to break it to conservatives, but progressive liberal ideas are an American tradition.  They’re what freed the slaves, gave women the right to vote, ended child labor, created Social Security and Medicare, built public schools and our Interstate Highways, integrated schools, brought groundbreaking technologies, discovered life changing health advancements and pushed our country forward.

Those were all done by “radical liberals” bucking tradition, not conservative Americans sticking to it.

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Gun Protesters Plan March On Washington With Loaded Rifles To ‘Put The Government On Notice’

This is absurd.  From where I stand, this proposed demonstration sounds like it will be a veiled threat  to scare pr0-gun safety advocates from supporting any sort of gun reform.

I truly abhor bullies…

Think Progress

Almost 900 people are RSVPed for a July 4th march on Washington, D.C. where protesters plan to carry loaded rifles. In D.C., openly carrying guns is against the law. But the organizer of the event, libertarian radio host Adam Kokesh, says the march is an act of “civil disobedience” that attempts to prove gun advocates’ point in the “SUBTLEST way possible.”

The event’s Facebook invitation describes the march as a nonviolent demonstration, “unless the government chooses to make it violent”:

This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.

There’s a remote chance that there will be violence as there has been from government before, and I think it should be clear that if anyone involved in this event is approached respectfully by agents of the state, they will submit to arrest without resisting. We are truly saying in the SUBTLEST way possible that we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.

It is not exactly clear whether Kokesh will carry through with the event, since he says it needs to reach a critical mass of 10,000 RSVPs first. However, the National Rifle Association is newly reenergized after the Senate filibuster of background check legislation.

Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald notes that Kokesh has expressed increasingly radical views on his show and on Twitter. Just this week, he called for the abolishment of the U.S. government.

Generally, open carry demonstrations have occurred in places with weaker gun laws, as well as a litmus test for how far gun violence laws can be challenged. Most recently, a group of menbrought their rifles to intimidate moms who rallied for action on gun violence. “Another group brought guns into a Virginia public library full of children, while demonstrators in Oregonbrandished assault rifles in the State Capitol.

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Once again, Washington fails

Here we go again with yet another GOP “manufactured crisis“…

The Week

Surprise! With the sequester, our lawmakers have once again manufactured a totally unnecessary and very harmful crisis

Well isn’t this familiar. Once again, our feckless politicians have pushed the nation to the brink over a problem that they created but can’t solve. Pick your cliché: We’re about to go over a cliff. The sky is falling. The ax will drop. And guess what? An even bigger crisis — a possible government shutdown — awaits at the end of March. In Washington, the good times just keep on coming.

I’m guessing that by now you know what the sequester is. If not: The federal government is about to begin cutting $1.2 trillion in spending, divided among defense and domestic programs. That sounds like a lot, but it’s spread over a decade. It amounts to about two pennies on the dollar.

There are a few good things to say about the sequester, but there seem to be more bad ones. On the plus side: Spending cuts might prevent another downgrade of the federal government’s long-term credit rating. Major rating agencies like S&P and Moody’s have warned of another ratings cut, which would further tarnish America’s financial reputation. Also: Cutting two cents out of every dollar is, sequester advocates say, hardly disastrous. The federal government is bloated and redundant. A few quick examples to illustrate this point:

* There are 15 agencies overseeing food-safety laws

* There are more than 20 different programs to help the homeless

* There are 44 overlapping employment and job training programs

These findings were part of a 345-page report in 2011 by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that identified “81 areas for consolidation” among overlapping agencies and programs. The report says “reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap or fragmentation” could potentially save “tens of billions of dollars” annually and help agencies provide “more efficient and effective services.”

Continue reading here…

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Social Security and its role in the nation’s debt

This information is vital when debating right-wingers who blame a large part of the deficit on Social Security…

The Washington Post Fact Checker

“Social Security has not added one penny to the deficit.”

— Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Nov. 27, 2012

In 2011, we evaluated a similar statement about Social Security and gave it a relatively rare rating — “true but false” — which seemed to please no one. Yet as the “fiscal cliff” negotiations have heated up, Democrats have once again been using this talking point to shield Social Security from the chopping block.

Durbin, to his credit, in a speech to the Center for American Progress this week, acknowledged that Social Security’s long-term financing is an important issue that cannot be deferred. He advocates creating a commission that would separately address how to ensure 75 years of solvency to the program.  So we don’t mean to pick on Durbin since plenty of Democrats in recent days have made similar comments.

But we remain troubled by the reemergence of this talking point, especially given the further decline in Social Security’s finances in the past year. We do not think this line is a slamdunk falsehood, as some believe, but it is certainly worth revisiting.

 

The Facts

Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, which means that payments collected today are immediately used to pay benefits. Until recently, more payments were collected than were needed for benefits. So Social Security loaned the money to the U.S. government, which used it for other things, which in effect masked the overall size of the federal budget deficit.  In exchange, Social Security received interest-bearing Treasury securities, which now total more than $2.7 trillion.As we have repeatedly explained, the bonds held by Social Security are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. The bonds are a real asset to Social Security, but — here’s where it gets complicated — they also represent an obligation by the rest of the government. Like any entity that issues debt, such as a corporation, the government will have to make good on its obligations, generally by taking the money out of revenue, reducing expenses or issuing new debt.

So what is happening today? The Congressional Budget Office tracks the flow of money in and out of the Social Security fund, and below is a summary of the data for fiscal 2013. To keep things simple, we will include transfers made for the payroll tax holiday as part of “other income.”

Continue reading here…

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GOP California Lawmaker Opposes Texting And Driving Fine Because It’s Not What ‘The Founders Intended’

 

George Washington, who probably didn’t have much of an opinion at all about cell phones

It’s past ‘silly season’ on the current political calendar but a lot of GOP politicians didn’t get the memo.  I’m now wondering if these people even know that what they’re saying is hilarious?

Think Progress

A California state legislator railed against a proposed $10 “texting and driving” fine increase in an appropriations committee hearing Wednesday, arguing that “policing ourselves” is “what the founders intended.” If passed, the bill wouldincrease the base fine for texting and driving from $20 to $30, with the $10 increase to be used for a public awareness program. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-59), however, warned that such an increase would cause George Washington to roll over in his grave:

DONNELLY: And I think the fact that you might cause a death, someone else’s death or your own, is such a powerful prohibiter of that, that we really don’t need to be increasing the fine. And I don’t think we need to have the cops pulling people over and giving them texting tickets. I see the cops driving down the street texting. So when a cop is driving down the street texting, and then he’s going to give me a ticket for texting, I think it’s wrong. And I think ultimately, there’s a great consequence to that kind of behavior. And as intelligent, rational human beings who live in a free society, is it too much to ask that we just police ourselves? It just seems that’s what the founders intended. And I feel like this is just more of a nanny state government that costs us a lot of money, and ultimately abridges more and more liberties to the point that – is the government going to tell me where I can go next? Or how many miles I can drive?

Watch it:

For the record, drivers distracted by their cellphones killed an estimated 16,000 people from 2001 to 2007. So this law has nothing to do with some kind of “nanny state” effort to protect people from themselves, and everything to do with eliminating a dangerous activity that kills thousands of innocents every year.

Donnelly is right in one respect, however. There can be no doubt that the founders did not foresee liberty-squashing texting and driving laws, for the same reason their vision of American government says nothing about the Internet, space shuttles, automatic dishwashers, the Industrial Revolution, iPads or the short-lived professional baseball career of Michael Jordan.

Assemblyman Donnelly, for his part, has not yet explained how he thinks Thomas Jefferson would have regulated the nuclear power industry.

 

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Supreme Court Ruling and the Right-Wing Freak-Out Begins

John Roberts   :    http://mariopiperni.com/

As usual, the Mario Piperni website never fails its readers…

Mario Piperni

What happened? I leave for a couple of days and come back to find that all hell has broken loose. My favorite website, the Daily Mauler Caller had this headline to greet me:

Congratulations, Americans: The government owns your bodies

Wow. Being forced to give up ownership of one’s body to a tyrannical government is serious stuff. Hoping to find better news at my second favorite website, I moved on to World Nut Net Daily. Not good. Right below this headline,

Muslim mob stones Christians – in U.S.!

I was shocked and dismayed to find this headline:

Ruling awakens ‘revolutionary fervor’

The World Nut Net Daily is a serious source for honest and balanced news, so when they talk of “revolutionary fervor’, watch out. Any website that gives Chuck Norris and Jerome Corsi space to blog their demented trash, err, enlightened views, knows what they’re talking about. Yes, sir, a revolution is on the way.

Twitter didn’t make me feel any better.

The end of America. Scary. And to let you know how serious he is, Shapiro states that he’s not exaggerating. Very cool of him.

Sigh. Checked in with my favorite right-wing talk radio guy, Limbaugh. I was hoping he could put a positive spin on it all. Nope.

Obamacare is nothing more than the largest tax increase in the history of the world…as of today, the American government can and will seize your private property if you don’t purchase and/or sell what’s been ordered. It’s really breathtaking, what happened today. And it is breathtaking to watch ignoramuses who don’t really understand what happened celebrate it. We have been betrayed and deceived by Congress. We have been betrayed and deceived by the Supreme Court.

There you go. Right-wing response to the Supreme Court ruling in a nutshell: betrayal, revolution and the end of America.

Poor babies. Well at least some of the brighter wingnuts now know what they’re going to do.

And they call them idiots. I wonder why that would be?

UPDATE:

My, my, they’ve really gone off the deep end. Here’s a comment from a Washington Times piece about Republican governors planning on ignoring the Supreme Court ruling on the ACA. The comment is typical of the madness that has overtaken the right beyond what we’ve witnessed over the last 4 years.

All three Branches of the Federal government are now operating outside their Constitutionally enumerated powers.  Therefor, by the Founding Fathers own concerns, the Federal government is null-and-void.  The individual States are now in charge of our government.

Each State should enact Marshal law, withholding all Federal withholding taxes from transfer to Washington!

Marshall law…now there’s a wonderful ideal. These sad fools really don’t know any better. They’re spouting the same crap they hear on Fox and other conservative media. In my more compassionate moments, I almost feel sorry for them.

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Filed under GOP Access for Sale, GOP Cluelessness, GOP Hubris

Tuesday Blog Round Up

It’s the scapegoating, stupid: Why extreme right-wing ideology so ofte..

Phone Hacking Scandal Engulfs More British Newspapers

A Tea Party Turncoat

Mike Lee: I Want America’s ‘House To Come Down’ Unless Congress ..

Palin documentary plummets to $1700 per theater in second week

Bernie Sanders Calls for Dem Primary Opponent to Obama

Obama wants compromise. Boehner is still holding the debt limit hostag..

Boehner: Obama Has Created A ‘Crisis Atmosphere’ 

Right wing money pours into Wisconsin recall wars

BREAKING: Eric Cantor Admits That $1 Trillion In War Savings Counted I..  

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The Republican Con

The entire debt ceiling fiasco as presented by the GOP should be exposed at every turn…

Political Ruminations

Debt Limit: Myth v. Fact” (pdf): A Treasury Dept. Fact Sheet:

If Congress fails to increase the debt limit, the government would default on its legal obligations – an event unprecedented in American history. This would cause investors here and around the world to doubt, for the first time, whether the United States will meet its commitments. That would precipitate a self-inflicted financial crisis potentially more severe than the one from which we are now recovering.

President Obama, June 29, Press Conference (from the transcript):

By August 2nd, we run out of tools to make sure that all our bills are paid.  So that is a hard deadline.  And I want everybody to understand that this is a jobs issue.  This is not an abstraction.  If the United States government, for the first time, cannot pay its bills, if it defaults, then the consequences for the U.S. economy will be significant and unpredictable.

Defacto Tea Party leader, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) June 26, on State of the Union (CNN):

If we never raise the debt ceiling again, we’re going to pay our bills, we’re going to pay Social Security. …We won’t default. We’ll be going back to budget levels of about eight years ago.

Founder and Leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the 112th Congress, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), June 26, on Face the Nation (CBS):

It isn’t true that the government would default on its debt because, very simply, the treasury secretary can pay the interest on the debt first and then, from there, we have to just prioritize our spending…. It is scare tactics because, Bob, the interest on the debt isn’t any more than 10 percent of what we’re taking in. In fact, it’s less than that. And so the treasury secretary can very simply pay the interest on the debt first, then we’re not in default.

Republicans are running a con on the American people!

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Hackers Attack Senate Website

We live in an advancing technological age.   Sadly, it seems that internet privacy may truly be a thing of the past. 

The irony is that the U.S. Government doesn’t believe in privacy for its citizens (due to the war on terror) but reacts quite defensively when exposed for its hypocrisy through breaches of its security apparatus. 

 Meanwhile…

The Daily Beast

The U.S. Senate website was the latest target in a string of cyberattacks from Lulz Security, the hacker group that had previously compromised PBS and some Sony sites.

The hackers got into the servers’ public side but were not able to penetrate the firewall to reach private information, such as senators’ contact information.

“We don’t like the U.S. government very much,” Lulz Security said in its release of the information it obtained. “This is a small, just-for-kicks release of some internal data from Senate.gov—is this an act of war, gentlemen? Problem?”

 The reference is to a report that the U.S. government may consider cyberattacks acts of war; however, the report referred specifically to attacks from foreign governments, not loose-knit hacking groups like Lulz Security.

Read it at Reuters

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