Monday, November 30, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Riding Through Congre$$

Not going to take long....

"$1.1 trillion federal budget laden with riders; Dec. 11 is key date for decisions on policy issues" by Andrew Taylor Associated Press  November 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — Farm-state lawmakers are trying to thwart new clean water rules.

Banks are looking to ease oversight requirements.

Brokers are working to stall a new rule raising standards for investment advice on retirement accounts.

Truckers want longer tandem trucks permitted in every state.

These are just some of the policy battles that must be hashed out by Dec. 11 as Congress races to close out a $1.1 trillion spending bill and avoid a holiday season government shutdown.

President Obama and his Democratic allies promise to fight off what they consider the most glaring examples of GOP overreach. Republicans insist they won’t walk away empty-handed.

At issue are dozens of policy provisions that have hitched a ride onto the 12 spending bills. When a bill has trouble advancing on its own, lawmakers often try to add it to must-do appropriations legislation.

For powerful interest groups such as banks, broadcasters, and agribusiness, these riders are often the last chance to push items on their agenda through Congress. They also are a way for lawmakers to weigh in on pet issues such as gun rights, sales of antique ivory, management of wolf populations, and rest requirements for long-haul truckers.

Republicans have laced the spending bills with add-ons that take on Obama’s health law, new environmental regulations, and the 2010 Dodd-Frank law tightening oversight of the financial services industry. If history is any guide, Obama and Democrats — whose votes will be needed to pass the catch-all spending bill — will ward off most of them.

But lots of lower-tier issues are in play.

Anti-Castro forces in the House appear unlikely to reverse Obama’s moves to loosen rules about traveling to Cuba. But supporters of medical marijuana are hopeful they can win new guarantees against harassment by federal authorities.

Broadcasters have bipartisan support for letting them retain advertising sales agreements with other stations in the same market despite a new federal rule that curbs the practice. The Federal Communications Commission says big media companies are exploiting the agreements in order to evade restrictions against owning multiple stations in the same market.

Some conservatives are still pressing to use the spending legislation as a way to take away Planned Parenthood’s federal money and increase scrutiny of Syrian and Iraqi refugees seeking to settle in the United States. Those are nonstarters with Obama and Democrats.


Presidents invariably do well in negotiations on riders, and veto threats can force the removal of the most contentious policy add-ons. That has kept off previous omnibus bills such GOP initiatives as blocking implementation of the health overhaul, stalling antipollution measures, and watering down the financial industry oversight law off previous omnibus bills.

Democrats and the White House are talking tough on riders, and the president is issuing veto threats as freely as ever. This time, it means Republican attempts probably won’t make the cut on blocking rules on power plant emissions, delaying ozone standards, and weakening clean water standards involving mountaintop removal coal-mining operations.

Any rider with bipartisan support has a greater chance of making it. So broadcasters, supported by top Democrats such as Senator Charles Schumer of New York, have an advantage in getting exemptions for local television station sales agreements.

The financial services industry can claim some Democratic support for exemptions to some new regulatory burdens. Watchdogs such as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren warn against efforts to ‘‘weaken, delay or dilute the rules that protect consumers and hold big banks accountable.’’ Warren was on the losing end last year over easing restrictions on banks that wanted to trade in risky financial items known as derivatives.

Once a rider is added the first time, the battle usually is over. A ban on enforcing efficiency standards for incandescent light bulbs is a repeat add-on; restrictions on listing the sage grouse, a bird species, under the Endangered Species Act are likely again.

Both cases would represent GOP victories that sound bigger than they really are. Industry has gone along with the light bulb standards anyway and the Interior Department has declined to take new steps on its own to protect the sage grouse.

Other repeat provisions would block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating the lead content of ammunition; ban federal dollars for needle exchange programs for addicts threatened by HIV; renew several long-standing provisions on abortion; and block the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana dispensaries.


Now over to the Senate:

"Republicans face new hurdle in effort to keep Senate reins" by Erica Werner Associated Press   November 24, 2015

WASHINGTON — Republicans’ plans to defend their Senate majority in 2016 just got a bit more complicated.

Senator David Vitter’s loss in Louisiana’s governor’s race over the weekend, and his decision to leave the Senate next year rather than seek reelection, creates an open seat that Republicans will have to defend.

It’s a deep-red Southern state and the GOP will be heavily favored, but Democrats hope they might have a shot, especially with a newly elected Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, as an unanticipated asset.

Related: Obama Has Destroyed the Democratic Party

So this is all nothing but POLITICAL FILLER, huh?

The Louisiana race is the latest wrinkle as Republicans face what’s already a tough Senate map next year. They are defending 24 seats, compared with 10 for Democrats, and seven of those GOP seats are in states President Obama won in 2012.

That is supposed to help them?

Democrats are sounding increasingly confident they will pick up the seats needed to win back the Senate control they lost just last year. They need to net four seats if they hang onto the White House, since the vice president casts tie-breaking votes in the Senate; or five seats if Republicans win the presidency.

It's two factions $erving the $ame intere$ts in a game of mu$ical chairs (where no one is left $tanding).

But Republicans insist they will keep Louisiana safely in their column and keep their majority, too. They point to strong incumbents in battleground states like Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Ohio, although Illinois and Wisconsin may be tougher for them to hold.

And although there’s talk of a primary challenge against GOP Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who will face a tough general election battle against Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan, Republicans boast of steering clear of disastrous primaries.

Difficult GOP primaries have plagued earlier election cycles, most notably 2010 and 2012, when Tea Party Republicans with controversial views on rape and even witchcraft emerged from primaries only to lose the general election.

‘‘None of our members have put their foot in their mouth,’’ said Ward Baker, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, but he noted that things could still go wrong.

Strategists of both parties make a few points about the Senate map.

In Louisiana, Democrats see an outside chance; Ayotte, in independent-minded New Hampshire, has upset some conservatives, though national Republicans play down the threat.

Threat! In our wonderful political system that encourages fullest debate (or so I have been led to believe)??

Indeed Republicans argue that Democrats are the ones with problematic primaries, as their chosen candidates contend with vigorous challenges from the left in states including Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois.

With Hillary Clinton likely to emerge as the Democratic presidential nominee, it’s going to matter, a lot, whom the Republicans select as their presidential candidate. Republicans dread Donald Trump or Texas Senator Ted Cruz and sound most excited about Florida Senator Marco Rubio with his forward-looking message and prospect for generational change....

Their opinion as news narrative! Great!


RelatedA modest proposal for the Democrats

The election has already been decided?

So what are the Democrats up to anyway?

"Democrats shift focus to fighting ISIS during N.H. speeches" by James Pindell Globe Staff  November 28, 2015

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The shift in rhetoric from the candidates reflects the change on the campaign since terrorist attacks in Paris this month.

On the one hand we are told to eggshell our fears so the war agenda can be given a big shove, while on the other hand it's don't forget to do your shopping and stuff, no threat here.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has based his populist campaign on the idea that the nation’s growing income inequality gap is the moral and economic issue of our time, nonetheless devoted a third of his 30-minute speech to how to address the threat of terrorism by groups such as the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

Yeah, amazing how the whole tone and focus of the campaign and its coverage changed because of what happened in Paris. Moved away from wealth inequality and the very $y$tem driving it to self-created demons from afar.

“As everybody knows, we live in a difficult and dangerous world, and there are people out there who want to do us harm,” Sanders said. “As president, I will defend this nation — but I will do it responsibly. We do not need a quote-unquote ‘tough foreign policy.’ We need a quote-unquote ‘smart foreign policy’ that achieves our goals.”

Sanders argued that as president he would ask Middle Eastern countries to take the lead with American support.

“The fight against ISIS is a struggle for the soul of Islam, and countering violent extremism and destroying ISIS must be done primarily by Muslim nations,” Sanders said.

What he does is adopt that divisive and tired old rational and narrative regarding the clash of civilizations crap Sam Huntington was shoveling way back in the 1990s, and what irony is it that a Jew is lecturing Muslims on their religion? Take a look Israel and the war being waged for the soul of Judaism first.

This stood in contrast to his rivals, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, who both called for a more robust response.

“This is personal to me,” Clinton said, noting that she served as a senator from New York during the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. She told the audience: “You are not just electing a president, you are picking a commander in chief.”

I can't believe she stooped so low as to cite that day, and wouldn't Benghazi have been a more personal matter for here (same date and all)?

For his part, O’Malley said the Islamic State required a broader, US-led coalition.

“This violent jihadist extremism known as ISIS must be confronted and destroyed,” O’Malley said. “This is a global problem that requires a global solution.”

We can see where he is going on this.

Despite increased attention to the unstable world situation, the bulk of the speeches Sunday at the Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner focused on domestic issues, such as middle class economic anxiety and abortion rights. All three also mentioned the recent mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. 

They didn't change the name?

As for the shooting....

"Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, noted that the rampage was one of an alarming number of mass shootings and cited recent attacks at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., and a community college in Oregon. 


Oregon Shooting an Obvious Psyop

South Carolina Church Shooting Cover Story is a Set-Up 

Did you learn anything?

Colorado has been the site of two other notorious mass shootings, at Columbine High School in 1999 and at a movie theater in Aurora in 2012. 

There are still some questions regarding Columbine.

Also see: Aurora Anniversary 

At least he is safely in a cell now. 

What I would like to point out here is the citing of such searing events clues one in to the mind-manipulating psyop nature of the events, be they real or staged fictions.

Several other guests on Sunday talk shows called the shootings domestic terrorism, including Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who is a Republican presidential candidate; the mayor of Colorado Springs; and the head of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Many, including Hickenlooper, also suggested that it was time to begin discussing how to tone down rhetoric that “is inflaming people to the point where they can’t stand it, and they go out and they lose connection with reality in some way and commit these acts of unthinkable violence.” 

One could say the same regarding psychopathic mass-murdering, war-criminal liars and their ma$$ media mouthpieces, but I was waiting for the "domestic terrorism" to be raised. 

The war on terror coming home as we all said it would long ago.

Vicki Cowart, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said rhetoric around the health care provider’s practices had created a hostile environment for its clinics. “We’ve experienced so much hateful language, hateful speech,” she said. “I can’t believe that this isn’t contributing to some folks, mentally unwell or not, thinking that it’s OK to target Planned Parenthood or to target abortion providers.” She said politicians had played a role in creating the tensions, as well as broadcasts that use antiabortion language and spread false accusations against Planned Parenthood. In recent months, Planned Parenthood has had to defend itself against conservative critics who have accused it of selling aborted fetuses...."

As if it never happened, and now the event is being used to stifle free speech!! 

Related: Gun Confiscation – Last Refuge of the Tyrant

Someone whose gun should be confiscated:

"Earlier reports found that Officer Tim Loehmann reasonably feared for his life and that the split-second decision to shoot Rice could be justified under the circumstances. Rice had been carrying a replica gun given to him by a friend. The case has become a focal point in the national movement protesting the deaths of black people at the hands of police."

Yeah, never you mind about Johnny Cracker (no protests for whitey). 

As for poor Tamir Rice, the car "pulled into the park after seeing [him] at a distance and slammed on the brakes when [he] did not run as they had expected. That caused the car to slide on the slick grass and stop within a few feet of the boy, who was shot within 2 seconds of the patrol car stopping near him."

Of course, we are always reminded of the danger that faces police.

Time to get back on the campaign trail:

With a little more than two months until the New Hampshire primary, surveys show a statistical tie between Clinton and Sanders in the Democratic contest. A Fox News poll of New Hampshire Democrats released last week showed Sanders leading Clinton 45 percent to 44 percent, within the margin of error. The poll showed O’Malley having 5 percent support.

None of the candidates directly challenged one another by name but made their targets well known nonetheless.

Sanders decried “establishment politics” and a “same-old, same-old” approach, in responding to Clinton’s endorsement of the state’s sitting Democratic senator, governor, and US representative.

Clinton, for her part, referred to policy ideas that were clearly part of Sanders’ approach and dismissed them as “not smart” or “promising things that will never happen.”

Earlier on Sunday, Clinton brought her Democratic presidential campaign to historic Faneuil Hall, where, alongside Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston, she unveiled a new national infrastructure platform aimed at improving roads and bridges.

RelatedClinton to unveil large economic spending proposal in Boston

Clinton announced the five-year $275 billion plan in front of heads of international trade unions and their members, nearly all wearing colored shirts denoting their particular union. In addition to $250 billion in direct investment from the federal government, an additional $25 billion would establish a national infrastructure bank, providing loans to cities and states for local projects, like to expand convention centers or improve airports.

The $ame tired, debt-en$laving $olutions that have failed lo these thirty years.

Clinton’s campaign said this money would come from unspecified “business tax reform.” More details on how the program would work are expected to be released Monday.

Clinton signaled that any changes to business taxes will not include an increase in personal income taxes. “I’m the only Democrat in this race who will pledge to raise your income, not your taxes,” she said.

Clinton’s 35-minute speech to a capacity crowd in Faneuil’s Great Hall was part policy proposal and part campaign rally. Hundreds lined up hours before the event for a seat.

I'm glad she wants to build roads because I gotta hit one quick.

At the Faneuil Hall event, Walsh introduced Clinton and formally endorsed her.

A former labor leader, Walsh told union members to “get your sledgehammers ready. We’ve got a glass ceiling to demolish” referring to Clinton’s attempt to become the first woman to be US president.

Next year Massachusetts is to hold its primary just three weeks after New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation one. A Suffolk University poll released in the last week showed Clinton is poised to win in Massachusetts.


And if you had any doubt that D.C. is for the wealthy elite:

"In D.C., public housing tenants forced out, then homes flipped" Associated Press  November 30, 2015

WASHINGTON — In the rapidly gentrifying nation’s capital, real estate investors aren’t the only ones flipping houses for profit.

The city’s public housing authority is getting in on the actionmoving aging tenants out of homes where they’ve lived for decades, renovating them, and selling them to wealthy buyers.

What more is their to $ay? When the public hou$ing authority.... $igh.

The renovations, at a cost of more than $300,000 per home, are outfitting the houses with luxury amenities, and some of the houses have sold for nearly $900,000. Others, however, have sat vacant for a year or longer after tenants were forced out.

The housing authority plans to use the profits to renovate existing subsidized rental units and build new ones. But most of that work hasn’t started, and none of the money has gone to new construction yet, according to the agency.


Some elderly tenants and their children have asked for an opportunity to purchase the homes, only to be rebuffed.

Flipped 'em the old one-percent finger, 'eh?


Were any veterans?