Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Powerful Speech that Made Santorum Throw Up and Lose Michigan and Arizona


Breaking News: James Murdoch Steps Down



by Nomad
According to the BBC, James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, has decided to step down from his position as executive chairman at News International the United Kingdom newspaper publishing division of News Corporation
News International publishes The Times, The Sun and The Sunday Times. News International has been the center of an ongoing scandal involving illegal phone-hacking and as a result, several top editors were arrested. Additionally the News of the World, once considered Murdoch's flagship, abruptly closed last year. 
James Murdoch, the son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, will now be taking on a new role. Rupert Murdoch issued this statement:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Faith in Politics Exposed: Controversial but Necessary Questions for the Presidential Candidates

by Nomad


Here's an excerpt from an NPR article, entitled "Has Obama Waged War on Religion?"
Newt Gingrich warns the U.S. is becoming a secular country, which would be a "nightmare." Rick Santorum says there's a clash between "man's laws and God's laws."
Religious conservatives see an escalating war with the Obama White House. One Catholic bishop called it "the most secularist administration in history." Another bishop says it is an "a-theocracy." Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' new Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, believes the First Amendment is clear: The government cannot make people choose between obeying the law and following their faith.
Whether Newt Gingrich knows it or not, America is NOT becoming a secular state. It is a secular state and has been since its inception. It is in very real danger of becoming a theocratic state and that, many people would say, is the potential “nightmare.”

Two Roads Diverged: Jimmy Carter’s Speech - July 15, 1979

By Nomad
Two roads in the wood

Few people recall that night in July 1979. With uncompromising directness, President Jimmy Carter laid out the truth for the American people. It was time to chose between the two ideas of progress.

A President in Search of Redemption
The recent stunning images of revolution in the Islamic world is reminiscent of the Iranian revolution of 1978. Protests throughout Iran had led to the dethroning of the Shah of Iran and in his place, Ayatollah Khomeini- a fundamentalist cleric- became the leader of the nation.

The revolution had thrown oil production into decline and, this, in turn, had driven up prices.

To make up for this loss, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations boosted their respective production; however, the cartel had also announced that a series of oil price increases would accompany this increase. Gasoline prices skyrocketed and the perception of a shortage had led to widespread panic.

Beginning in California and spreading eastward, the panic soon turned to anger from the American public and this hostility was primarily directed at the Carter administration. One of reason for this was Carter’s decision to cut all imports of Iranian goods, following the seizure of American hostages when students raided the American embassy in Tehran.

Carter's approval rating had dropped to 25%, even lower than Richard Nixon's during the Watergate scandal. Following an exhausting summit in Tokyo, the one thing President Carter desired most was a break. He had planned to travel to Hawaii for a vacation. However, his chief of staff took a look at the poll numbers and warned him that his chances of re-election would be in serious doubt unless he took some action immediately.

Monday, February 27, 2012

You Cannot Deny Women..

Gender Equality women

American Dreams: My Father, Karl Marx and the Man who Sold the Rope 2/2

In part one of this two-part series, I wrote of how the American dream had changed since my father's time. The promise of ever-increasing prosperity seems to belong to a shrinking minority. History had played an ironic joke on the West. While the Soviet Union was collapsing due to the pressure of union labor, the United States under Reagan was signaling to corporate America that unionized labor was to be discarded on the ''scrap heap of history.'' 
Now let's take a look at the consequences of this policy and who actually benefited.


And Then The Slow Decline

At one time, when the main challenge to capitalism was Communism, leaders of the free world touted rising consumption afforded by rising wages as a measure of its success. Starting around 1980s, however, real wages and productivity, which once went hand in hand, decoupled. No longer did harder work mean higher wages. Productivity continued to rise- adding to the wealth of corporations- while wages remained steady. This trend has continued to the present day.

Additionally, access to easy credit has allowed the American citizen to shop and shop, giving, at least, the illusion of prosperity. But buying a lifestyle built on credit is a gamble, because credit assumes that tomorrow will be as good or better than today. Life could be pretty good with a high credit limit. Especially with the flood of cheaply-priced merchandise on offer, all of it made possible by non-unionized workers in Asia and elsewhere.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

American Dreams: My Father, Karl Marx and the Man who Sold the Rope 1/2


by Nomad
Let’s Begin With My Father
My father, born in 1929, grew up in the midst of the Great Depression, in what most people would consider extreme poverty. His father died one week after his birth leaving his widowed mother to raise her five children alone. Had it not been for a productive farmland, it is doubtful they would have survived. “We didn’t have two nickles to rub together,” he’d often tell me,”but we never even realized we were poor. Everybody we knew was in the same situation as we were.”

In 1951. he left the farm to join in the Korean War to fight the spread of the Communist threat. The Red Menace- China- was on the verge of expanding across the border into Korea. Following that, he received credit from a GI loan which allowed him to buy a very humble mobile home to start his married life.

In the economic boom of the 1950s, my father found employment as a precision sheet metal worker at a aircraft manufacturing plant. Along with thousands of other unskilled workers returning from Korea, the company trained my father with the idea of steady long term employment. In turn, my father worked at the company for thirty years. He did not particularly desire to rise up in the hierarchy of the company. He told me that he’d prefer not to have the stress that went with the responsibility. He preferred to spend more time at home at the end of his shift. There was also the goal that he knew that his children would, by his hard, boring and unsatisfying labor, have a better life than he did. It was an attainable goal. Through the use of collective bargaining of his union or the rare labor action, my father’s wage steadily increased.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Evangelical Candidates: Personal Faith vs. Public Policy

by Nomad
A Sin Against God
In the 2012 election year, the subject of a presidential candidate’s religious beliefs is once again becoming a matter of public discussion. Of course, this isn’t, by any measure, the first time. In fact, in modern American politics, the issue of personal faith has become a more or less common feature in American elections.

What has changed is to what degree this once personal issue has become a candidate's "selling point" to the politically powerful Christian Right Wing of the Republican party.

When this problem was brought up in the 1960 Kennedy vs. Nixon election the matter was mentioned because some people were concerned that Kennedy could not represent all people and that there might well be conflicts between the Catholic doctrine and the Constitution. How this problematic issue was dealt with, the answer Kennedy gave to critics, is an example of the kind of politics and politicians that have come and gone.

The Sudden Death of the Living Wage: ACORN 3/3


by Nomad
In the previous posts (Part One) (Part Two), we have looked into the meaning and importance of the living wage movement. We have also examined both the Conservative argument against and the history of the movement. In the final part of this three part series, we will examine at the more recent attempts at establishing a living wage and the organization that was destined to achieve some impressive results.  

The Rebirth of the Movement
One organization took up the cause of campaigning for a living wage and throughout the 1990s, won unprecedented successes. It was called “the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities" with the name the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known as ACORN.

Ilyse Hogue, writing for The Nation, gives this summary about the important role that ACORN played.
ACORN was unique as an organization that served our nation’s poor people. Wrangling with life’s common challenges like mortgages and housing forms, ACORN employees built trust by offering help person to person, neighborhood by neighborhood. They then leveraged that trust to lobby for federal legislation to address the root causes of the crises facing these people—predatory lending, lack of community investment and stagnant wages.

The Sudden Death of the Living Wage: Republican Class Warfare 2/3

by Nomad
In Part One of this series we introduced you to the concept of the Living Wage, which is entirely different from the Minimum Wage. Next we will look at conservative's arguments against the idea and the true and somewhat surprising history of the living wage.

A Threat to Health
The Republican party has had a long-held opposition toward any talk of a living wage. This latest crop has their own ideas about how to deal with the poor. Rick Santorum, for example, seems to think that marriage is the solution to poverty.
What two things, that if you do, will guarantee that you will not be in poverty in America?” he asked the crowd. “Number one, graduate from high school. Number two, get married. Before you have children,” he said. “If you do those two things, you will be successful economically. 
Michele Bachmann, who recently claimed she had been the “perfect’ candidate for president, had announced her intention to do away with any sort of minimum wage limit in order to stimulate the economy. Newt Gingrich called child labor laws “stupid” and Herman Cain told unemployed OWS protesters that
“ If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself ... It is not a person's fault if they succeeded, it is a person's fault if they failed."
This attitude is fairly common with Fox-News-watching public. Reagan played that mish-mash of religion, patriotism and the much-touted work ethic very convincingly. The logical runs like this:
America is the land of opportunity. 
We, as a nation, are blessed by God. 
Wealth and success is a sign of God's blessing. 
Every man's success and failure depends on the his individual attributes. 
Therefore, government has no responsibility in the matter.
It is linked with the delusion that that the United States of America is a meritocracy where everyone is treated fairly and anyone can pull himself up by his bootstraps if he or she just works hard enough, pays their dues and keeps their nose to the grindstone.


The Sudden Death of the Living Wage : Mitt Romney Flip-Flop 1/3

Mitt Romney Nomadic Politics by Nomad


Romney’s Double Back Flip
Last week Republican front-runner, Mitt Romney somehow managed to flip-flop from the frying pan into the political fire when he told reporters that he didn't fret about the poor because of the social safety net. He explained to a CNN reporter:
“I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it.”
President as handy-man? Naturally, like every politician who finds himself in a pickle, he blamed the media for taking his statement out of context. Like his “corporations are people too” remark, Romney once again seemed unable to hear how out of touch he actually sounds. Until everybody else notices. 
Coming from one of the richest candidates in American history, it gave the (probably accurate) impression that he has no real understanding or sensitivity for the poor. After all, how much more 1% can Mitt Romney be? How can a person like that really represent all of the people?

But then, in order to rectify the gaffe, Romney immediately followed that up with a new problematic statement which had his corporate backers falling out of their cushy chairs. By Wednesday he underlined his commitment to address the problems of the poor by mentioning his support for automatic increases in the federal minimum wage to keep pace with inflation. 
"I haven't changed my thoughts on that," the former Massachusetts governor told reporters aboard his chartered campaign plane, referring to a stand he has held for a decade.
You could almost hear the gasp of a million CEOs and the moan and groan of a thousand Republican Party elites. In that one sentence he confirmed the Right Wing’s darkest suspicions about this candidate. Namely, he is not committed to their agenda after all. Good God, he might even be a moderate, which is next door to a liberal, which is just around the corner from a socialist which is on the same street as a Communist!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Amazing Story of Clarence Thomas' Confirmation Hearings 3/3

By Nomad
Part One
Part Two
In this the final part of the three part series, I will look at the stormy conclusion to the confirmation hearings. The Senate judiciary Committee, unable to reach a decision, passed the issue to the Senate for a vote. Unknown to most of the members, a storm was brewing and it would prove to be a public relations nightmare for the Bush Administration.

Allegations and Revelations
Thomas' Confirmation Hearings
It was at this point- when the Senate took up the task of voting on the confirmation- that the process took an unexpected and ugly turn. A leaked Judiciary Committee/FBI report revealed that a colleague of Thomas, an Anita Hill, University of Oklahoma law school professor, had alleged that Thomas had made inappropriate remarks of a sexual nature while working together at the EEOC and the Department of Education. 

Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Danforth, as Thomas’ protector pulled out all stops in order to force a vote before the Senate was able to hear Professor Hill’s testimony.

Additionally the Senator threatened to refuse to support a civil rights bill presently under discussion if moderate Democrats opposed Thomas. According to sourcewatch
In his book, Danforth would later admitted displaying very un-diplomatic behavior when Thomas' nomination was challenged: "I completely lost my temper in a table-pounding, shouting, red-in-the-face profane rage." Danforth wrote that he saw his role defending Thomas as "a warrior doing battle for the Lord."
The entire question of Thomas’ qualifications suddenly took a back seat to the more sensational allegations of sexual misconduct in the office. The White House had worked hard to build up the image of Clarence Thomas as a man who had risen from abject poverty to an esteemed position of trust. It was a focus away from qualifications and competence to character and judgement. And suddenly, with the testimony of Anita Hill, they watched as all their hard work slip away as the young black woman began her testimony..
My name is Anita F. Hill, and I am a professor of law at the University of Oklahoma. I was born on a farm in Okmulgee County, OK, in 1956. I am the youngest of 13 children. I had my early education in Okmulgee County. My father, Albert Hill, is a farmer in that area. My mother's name is Erma Hill. She is also a farmer and a housewife. My childhood was one of a lot of hard work and not much money, but it was one of solid family affection as represented by my parents. I was reared in a religious atmosphere in the Baptist faith, and I have been a member of the Antioch Baptist Church, in Tulsa, OK, since 1983. It is a very warm part of my life at the present time.
She then describe the duties and responsibilities while she worked with Thomas. It was, however, the troubling allegations about his behavior that caused a stir.
After approximately 3 months of working there, he asked me to go out socially with him. What happened next and telling the world about it are the two most difficult things, experiences of my life. It is only after a great deal of agonizing consideration and a number of sleepless nights that I am able to talk of these unpleasant matters to anyone but my close friends.
Her allegations were specific and detailed. From a television producer’s point of view, exactly the kind of sensationalism that could turn a rather dry debate about judicial matters into a television news event.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Amazing Story of Clarence Thomas' Confirmation Hearings 2/3

by Nomad
In the first part of this three part series, we took a closer look at the rise of Clarence Thomas, starting from his graduation from Yale to a circuit court judge. 

Now I want to report the story of the reaction when the Bush Administration pushed to have Thomas, after only one year as a circuit court judge, confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice.

The Battle Begins
Even before the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings had begun, it was clear that a public relations battle was brewing about the administration’s choice. President Bush clumsily said, at the announcement of Thomas’ nomination, that he was the "best qualified [nominee] at this time." This was odd phrasing, to be sure. In typical Bush fashion, the president floundered while trying too hard to explain what he really didn’t mean: 
"I've kept my word to the American people and the Senate by picking the best man for the job based on merits. And the fact that he's a minority, so much the better. But that is not the factor, and I would strong resent any charge that might be forthcoming on quotas when it relates to appointing the best man to the court.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Amazing Story of Clarence Thomas' Confirmation Hearings 1/3

by Nomad
It  always comes as a shock to realize that many people may not be aware of the history of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. As a service ,I thought I would take a careful examination of the lead-up to his confirmation, the struggle and the scandalous allegations in a three part post. I hope you will find it an interesting and enlightening peek backwards.

Prelude
In the autumn of 1971, Clarence Thomas, having graduated from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts with an A.B. cum laude in English literature, enrolled in Yale Law school, in part under the university’s affirmative action plan to increase the numbers of minority students. As a black man, Thomas was troubled by this policy which he saw as nothing more than a selection by quota. 
According to the book, "First Principle" the jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas, Thomas would later say of the policy,
"You had to prove yourself every day because the presumption was that you were dumb and didn't deserve to be there on merit."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Republican Faust: The Rise and Fall of Mike Connell -3

Mike Connell by Nomad


Part One and Part Two of the Series. In this last part of the series, I'd like to take a closer look at the strange circumstances of the airplane crash that took the life of Mike Connell.

Accident or Conspiracy?
T
he timing of Mike Connell's sudden death in a plane crash was. given the situation he was involved in, remarkably coincidental, to say the least. It is the kind of event that naturally creates speculation about conspiracy.

Of course, planes all too often do fall out of the sky. In the year of Connell's death, there were 156 other crashes and 884 other deaths. And the most likely scenario- as opposed to sabotage- would be problems with ice on the wings.


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report speculates that the most probable cause of the crash was a combination of pilot error and weather conditions. Connell was faulted for deciding to conduct the flight into "known icing conditions."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Republican Faust: The Rise and Fall of Mike Connell -2

by Nomad

In Part One of this three part series, we discussed the rise of one of the GOP's insider, who quite possibly helped to engineer the 2004 presidential election fraud.

Taking the Fall
A
fter agreeing initially to give critical information in a vote-rigging case in Ohio, Connell, for whatever reasons, apparently had a change of heart and hesitated. Given the potential disastrous consequences of defying his former bosses, it is perhaps understandable that he should have second thoughts.
Back in Ohio courts, King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell was an ongoing case filed on August 31, 2006 and dragged on and on. The former Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell the defendant, was accused of 
"having conspired to deprive and continue to deprive Ohioans of their right to vote and have, in fact, deprived and continue to deprive Ohioans of their right to vote by, in a selective and discriminatory manner, unfairly allocate election resources (such as voting machines), institute a system of provisional ballots, purge voter registrations, and broke the bi-partisan chain of custody ballots."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Republican Faust: The Rise and Fall of Mike Connell - 1/3

by Nomad

A
t about 6 p.m. on Friday December 19, 2008 a single-engine 1997 Piper Saratoga aircraft, with only the pilot aboard, crashed into a residential area in Uniontown, Ohio as it was preparing to land at Akron-Canton airport. 
Upon arriving to the scene, fire crews found only burning wreckage of the plane scattered between homes on Charolais Street. The pilot had been thrown upon impact and had died instantly of massive blunt force trauma, his belongings scattered in the yards.

First responders arrived on the scene immediately after the crash. Even then, irregularities began. Simon Worrall in an article The Mysterious Death of Bush's Cyber-Guru, writes of those first minutes:
Capt. Lorin Geisner of the Greentown Fire Department was the first person to arrive at the scene. “We received a 911 call, so we contacted the tower and asked what size plane it was and how many souls were on board,” he recalls. “But we were informed that the tower was in lockdown and that no information was available.”
This was to be the first of many abnormalities in a case that would send shock waves through the blogosphere with speculations of sabotage and foul play. In the bewildering reality-bending world of conspiracy theories, the events that surround the Connell crash belong in a class all their own.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sarah Palin: Fooling Some of the People

by Nomad
Back in March of 2001, speaking at the Gridiron Club dinner, George W. Bush made this remark, presumably in an attempt at humor. "You can fool some of the people all the time... and those are the ones you want to concentrate on." 
Perhaps nobody, since that time, has put those remarkably un-funnny sentiments into practice better than Sarah Palin


Palin is an instructive example of how a demagogue can collect enough of a following to become something of a phenomena in American politics. The techniques she has used have been effective for a small percentage of the population but seem now to have reached a kind of limit of diminishing returns. The Palin package, which has been sculpted and revised since the moment she was chosen as McCain's running mate, is a triumph of modern-day political marketing. 
Sadly, outside of the bloggers and their followers, practically the only challenge or threat the marketers, press agents and handlers ever faced was Sarah Palin herself. This is a person who obviously has a lot of skeletons scratching at her closet doors. Like a majority of politicians perhaps. 
More importantly, Sarah Palin's larger problem is her own behavior when challenged. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Santorums and the Bully's Defense: Rick and Karen Play the Victim Card

by Nomad
Victimhood and the Messiah-Complex
I saw this interesting video clip at The Raw Story. Here’s the background information to the clip. At  a question-and-answer event in South Carolina for mothers, “Moms Matter 2012″ Rick and Karen Santorum alleged that the gay community has been attempting to vilify her husband by portraying him as a gay-hating religious bigot.
Nothing could be further from the truth, Karen Santorum declared to the friendly audience. She took the microphone to defend her husband who meanwhile wore his best victim expression.
“As Rick’s wife, I have known him and loved him for 23 years,” she said. “I think it’s very sad what the gay activists have done out there. They vilify him. It is so wrong. He loves them. What he has simply said is marriage shouldn’t happen.”
It’s all very confused in Karen Santorum’s mind, it seems. She somehow managed to twist things around a great deal. Very conveniently.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Things You Should Know about the Rise of the American Police State

y Nomad

From Fiction to Fact


Here is a clip from that brilliant, strange but frightening film "Brazil." The film was a surreal tragic comedy involving a Dystopian authoritarian world where the last refuge of the common man is in his heroic dreams. 

Because of the threat of terrorism, the state relies on an aggressive policy of No-Questions-asked policy which soon becomes mere intimidation. 

Even then, sometimes things go wrong. But this was all fiction, you say. Just a harmless bit of entertainment. I mean, it couldn't happen in the free nations of the West. We have protections for our civil rights built into the system, after all. These have to be respected by authorities. Perhaps not in some third world banana republic, but in the US or in Europe, it's simply not possible. That is a proud notion based on a small degree of truth and a great deal of wishful thinking. In fact, beginning with the war on drugs and dramatically increasing with the war on terror, the local police have become more and more aggressive in their assault on the rights of citizens.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Americans for Prosperity: The Koch Industries - Tea Party Nexus

By Nomad
Americans for Prosperity: What It is
The Tea Party members seem to take great pride in portraying themselves as modern day revolutionaries, the conscience of the people taking back their government. In their minds, the Tea Party is a spontaneously organized, leaderless and populist grassroots movement. 
 In fact, many- if not most of them- have never heard of the oil billionaires David and Charles Koch, or what they do or how they spend their wealth. It is a sadly ironic fact that even those saluting the Kochs’ flag may not know who these brothers are. If they have heard of the organization named Americans for Prosperity, it would have probably have been on Fox News. And, for a news organization, Fox News is exceedingly good at keeping secrets.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Michael Glassner - Palin's New Chief of Staff - The Haiti Connection

by Nomad
If CNN's latest report is true, Sarah Palin may be serious about running for president after all. In the last few days, she has apparently decided to add a veteran Republican strategist to serve as chief-of-staff for her political action committee, Sarah PAC. If so, she is off to a pretty bad start.

Michael Glassner, an attorney and longtime adviser to former Kansas senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole, has signed on to steer the former Alaska governor's political operation as she considers a possible 2012 presidential bid.

One would assume that this is the very same Michael Glassner who was in charge of campaign operations during the 2008 McCain-Palin bid. Glassner, registered as a federal lobbyist, was a member of the McCain New York, New Jersey Connecticut Finance Committee and a bundler for John McCain.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tornadoes and Koch Industries: An Elegant Solution

by Nomad

On one hand, we have the Tea Party demanding less government, except in an emergency, and on the other hand, we have the Koch Brothers- who've spent a fortune trying to undermine climate change legislation. Why not unite these two and cut out the middle man? That's the taxpayers. I'm just surprised nobody thought of this solution before.


(originally posted in April 2011 at Nomadic View blog)

A Declaration of Emergency
On April 28th, 2011, tornadoes swept through the south of the United States, killing 128 people in Alabama and 32 others in Mississippi and leaving long trails of destruction. Homes and businesses were left as piles of rubble. Towns were plowed down the middle and many residents, having lost all they owned, felt lucky just to be alive. My sympathies went out to the survivors and my condolences to the families that have lost loved ones.

This all came after a week in which storms torn through a half a dozen states in what meteorologists have called the deadliest season in nearly four decades. Republican Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama declared a state of emergency and said he was deploying 2,000 National Guardsman.

Similarly, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour declared a state of emergency for 39 counties. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost loved ones or property in these devastating spring storms,” Gov. Barbour said. “A large section of our state has been impacted, and our emergency responders are doing an excellent job in helping communities. This State of Emergency declaration will allow the state to offer aid to begin recovery efforts.”


The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency coordinates with the Federal emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA in administering disaster recovery. Federal sources contributes at least 75% of damage repair costs while while state and local entities share the remaining 25 percent or less of repair costs.

Nobody can blame the governor for requesting money when it is urgently needed. However, there's a ugly, hypocritical side to Barbour's requests. Like numerous Republican politicians of late, Gov. Haley Barbour last March chastised Obama for "limitless government" and out of control spending. His stand against Big Government has made him something of a "politician of note" in the Republican party.

Mind you this is the same governor who easily took $15 billion in aid following
Hurricane Katrina, which critics of Barbour have charged, was mishandled. Timothy J. Burger, writing for Bloomberg notes, the use of those funds has raised many questions.
No evidence has surfaced that Barbour violated the law; at the same time, the pattern that emerges from public records and interviews raises ``many red flags,'' said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a watchdog group in Falls Church, Virginia, that investigates the investments of government officials. ``At the minimum, the public is entitled to a full explanation of the facts,'' he said.
Exactly what Boehm is referring to is illustrated in an article from the website, The National Corruption Index
The wife of Barbour’s nephew, Rosemary Barbour, was one of the biggest Mississippi-based winners of Katrina contracts. Her company, Alacatec LLC, picked up nearly $300 million in contracts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the General Services Administration, the bulk of it for trailer maintenance. The FBI began an investigation in 2007.
Of course, there's' nothing particularly remarkable about a politician being hypocritical. Of course, in Babour's case, in terms of hypocrisy, it is a little above the usual standard.

Should We Talk About The Weather?

But first of all, let's take a small step back and examine what on earth is going on with the weather. Most meteorologists have already declared this year to be something special in terms of storm activity and indeed, records seem to show an overall increase in the number of tornadoes from decade to decade. A 2011 preliminary count from all National Weather Service reports for the month of April is an eye-opening 654 tornadoes, compared to 2010 count of 139 and 2009 count of 226.

So what is the cause? NOAA 's answer is somewhat guarded.
Tornado  Nomadic PoliticsDoes "global warming" cause tornadoes? No. Thunderstorms do. The harder question may be, "Will climate change influence tornado occurrence?" The best answer is: We don't know. According to the National Science and Technology Council's Scientific Assessment on Climate Change, "Trends in other extreme weather events that occur at small spatial scales--such as tornadoes, hail, lightning, and dust storms--cannot be determined at the present time due to insufficient evidence."
Many researchers feel the evidence suggests a more direct influence.
Research Meteorologists found that the temperature changes brought on by global warming are significant enough to cause an increase in the occurrence of severe storms.
"What we found is that increases in human-induced greenhouse gases will lead to more frequent severe storms in the United States," Jeff Trapp, Ph.D., a meteorologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said.
Weather Tornado Storm Nomadic PoliticsBased on the models, the researchers believe the number of days that favor the formation of severe storms could more than double in places like Atlanta and New York. These added storms will likely hit areas during already heavy storm seasons and extend wet weather seasons.
"This obviously impacts people in terms of potential hazards to their life and property," Dr. Trapp said.
Purdue University scientists are not alone in that assessment. NASA scientists have developed a new climate model that indicates that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth's climate warms.
"..[T]he model suggests that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common with warming.'
Clouding the Issue
This kind of research isn't universally accepted, especially by climate change deniers. According to a Greenpeace report, one of the largest private corporations in the country has spent a veritable fortune in undermining climate change research by funding organizations that spread inaccurate and misleading information about climate science and clean energy policies.
This report documents roughly 40 climate denial and opposition organizations receiving Koch foundation grants in recent years, including:
• More than $5 million to Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP) for its nationwide “Hot Air Tour” campaign to spread misinformation about climate science and opposing clean energy and climate legislation
• More than $1 million to the Heritage Foundation, a mainstay of misinformation on climate and environmental policy issues.
• Over $1 million to the Cato Institute, which disputes the scientific evidence behind global warming, questions the rationale for taking climate action, and has been heavily involved in spinning the recent ClimateGate story.
• $800,000 to the Manhattan Institute, which has hosted Bjorn Lomborg twice in the last two years. Lomborg is a prominent media spokesperson who challenges and attacks policy measures to address climate change.
• $365,000 to Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE) which advocates against taking action on cliimate change because warming is “inevitable” and expensive to address.
Additionally the report cites the tremendous political power that the Koch brothers have used to defeat carbon-limiting regulatory legislation, through direct federal lobbying and campaign contributions.
• Spent $37.9 million from 2006 to 2009 for direct lobbying on oil and energy issues, outspent only by ExxonMobil ($87.8 million) and Chevron Corporation ($50 million).
• Spent $5.74 million in PAC money for candidates, committees, and campaign expenditures since the 2006 election cycle.
• Contributed at least $270,800 to federal political party committees since the 2006 election cycle.
Flexing Muscles
It shouldn't surprise anybody that Koch Industries should be willing to invest a fortune to derail any legislation that might negatively affect its ability to do business, much of which involves the petro-chemical sector.

Koch Industries would certainly have a lot to lose if carbon emission industries were more carefully regulated.

According to SourceWatch, for example, Koch Carbon trades and transports petroleum coke, coal, cement, pulp and paper, sulfur and other commodities, the Koch Exploration Company acquires, develops and trades petroleum and natural gas properties in the United States, Canada and Brazil. Flint Hills Resources operate crude oil refineries in Alaska, Minnesota, and Texas and petrochemical plants in Illinois, Michigan and Texas.

The Koch Pipeline Company owns and operates approximately 4,000 miles of pipelines used to transport crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas liquids and chemicals while the Koch Alaska Pipeline Company owns an approximate 3 percent interest in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. Koch Industries also owns a 28% interest in the Colonial Pipeline Company which it describes as the "owner and operator of the world’s largest-volume refined products pipeline.

That's capitalism in action and with an estimated of $100 billion (2008 figures) Koch Industries can afford to flex its muscles.

And another way that the Koch brothers have flex their political muscle is through the funding of political organizations like Americans for Prosperity (mentioned above) which has been, among other duties, useful in campaigns against any legislation involving cap and trade or carbon emissions.
Purporting to be a grassroots group, AFP, founded and chaired by David Koch, is the "third largest recipient of funding from the Koch Family Foundations, behind the Cato Institute and the George Mason University Foundation,according to DeSmogBlog.
AFP is a non-profit organization who does not to disclose its donors. However, the Media Transparency project shows from 2003-2006, Americans for Prosperity received $1,181,000 from conservative foundations. $1 million of that funding was given by the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation--one of the Koch Family Foundations.
In the past years, the AFP has organized various Tea Party events throughout the nation. Koch was reported to have said at a Americans for Prosperity Conference in 2009 that in creating AFP:
"'we envisioned a mass movement, a state-based one, but national in scope, of hundreds of thousands of American citizens from all walks of life standing up and fighting for the economic freedoms that made our nation the most prosperous society in history.'"
In other words, the birth of the Tea Party.


A Fair Solution
Last year there was a string of weather related disasters, such as flooding in Nashville, tornadoes in the Midwest, extensive blizzards throughout the nation and powerful hurricanes in the southern states. 
The problem is simple: If Tea Party members wish to limit the role of big government and also wish to reduce taxes, who then is going to pay for clean-up and rebuilding? Not to mention preparedness training and search and rescue. Who is going to build the levies and the dikes that keep the waters back? Who is going to keep the snow off the streets if nobody is paying taxes?
Fear not, I come with what I consider a brilliant and fair solution to this problem. Why shouldn't Koch Industries pay for the clean up and rebuilding?

The Koch Brothers do not seem at all hesitant about spending their fortunes on lobbying against climate change and cap and trade; they don't seem to worry about the vast sums of money for setting up fake grass roots organizations, or sponsoring phony science. After all, they are the ones that are making enormous sums of money by dumping more and more carbon into the environment which seems to be causing more and more dangerous weather.
Let's just drop the middle men.

The government officials, the regulatory busy-bodies, and the corrupt politicians asking for their piece of the action.
With that problem solved, let's take a moment and return to Mississippi Governor Barbour. By decrying the sins of Big Government while happily taking federal emergency funds again and again, Barbour seems to want his cake and eat it too. but that's not all of it.
During the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill Barbour said he was not sure it was a good idea for the federal government to make BP put $20 billion into escrow to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Barbour said that BP needed to use its money to drill oil wells and produce revenue.
So, making the government pay for cleaning up tornadoes and hurricanes is okay, even while you are condemning Big Government spending.. but making oil companies clean up after their own spill is a question? It's not all that remarkable really, I suppose. ThinkProgress points out:
Barbour raised significant amounts in campaign contributions from the industry, and from 1999 to 2003, was a lobbyist for various energy interests. Even as oil was touching Mississippi shores in the summer of 2010, Barbour downplayed the effects of the catastrophic spill. A ThinkProgress review of IRS documents revealed that with Barbour at the helm, the RGA received over $5 million in contributions from the oil and gas industry – including four of the Big Five oil companies – in just one year:
  • $1,000,000 from David Koch, 
  • $25,000 from Koch Industries 
  • $625,000 from Exxon Mobil 
  • Over $150,000 from Chevron 
  • $50,000 from Shell
  • $25,000 from ConocoPhillips
So, Koch Brothers, let's get those angry Tea Party members out there, let them burn off some of that anti-government fury. I imagine many of the people who have lost everything already belong to the Tea Party.

Just like Michele Bachmann, that popular Americans for Prosperity event speaker, said, “Do you see what we can do when we all work together?”
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Michele Bachmann's Constitutional Classes: Spring Training for the Minor Leagues?

by Nomad
Normally when a Republic as great as the United States elects a citizen to a high office, the public expects that person to be politically "fully-developed." Naturally we don't expect to have to give classes to teach them what they should already be familiar with, such as, for example, the laws of the land or the basic principles upon which that republic was founded, namely the Constitution. And we certainly don't expect the American taxpayers to foot the bill for these remedial classes. 
Yet, apparently Rep. Michele Bachmann thinks that new members of Congress - read, Tea Party members - need some indoctrination into the the extreme far right's world view.

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