Tag: House of Representatives

The Once and Great GOP Tech Guru: John McAfee

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

You could label this “what were they thinking” but we’re talking about the Republican Party here. IT seems that in the midst of the latest “crisis,” the failure to launch of the Healthcare.gov web site, the genius Republicans of the House of Representative decided to ask a murder suspect to testify as an computer expert. No, I am not pulling you leg.

House Republicans Asked Murder Suspect John McAfee to Testify on Obamacare Website

by David, Crooks and Liars

According to emails obtained by CNBC, House Republicans asked the founder of McAfee Associates to “guide our oversight and review” of the Affordable Care Act website.

In 2012, McAfee went on the run from Belize authorities after being suspected of the murder of his neighbor. He was later detained in Guatemala and deported to the United States, but has not been charged with a crime.

“This is the Committee of jurisdiction for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare),” House Committee on Energy and Commerce counsel Sean Hayes wrote to McAfee’s lawyer on Oct. 14. “For three years we have been monitoring the implementation of the law and have been trying to dig into what has happened with the Exchange rollout.”

“Given the failures of Healthcare.gov, and Mr. McAfee’s expertise, I was hoping he might be able to discuss his views with staff on the hill,” the email continued. “It would be an informal discussion: we would take notes but these would not be for attribution, it would mainly guide our oversight and review of the program.”

“This would hopefully not be a heavy lift for him: what problems could lead to the compromise of personal identifying information? What could we be doing to prevent data or identify theft? What advice generally does he have?”

The deal fell through when the House wouldn’t pay for Mr. McAfee’s travel expenses. In case you aren’t aware of the hilarity of this invitation, Rachel Maddow gives us the Cliff Note version of Mr. McAfee’s biography

Can you imagine the hilarity of McAfee’s testimony as his mind wanders from the technicalities of launcing a web site to his sexual prowess and drug expertise? C-Span’s ratings would soar.

The House Goes Home Leaving Sandy Victims Behind

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Late last night the House of Representatives voted to pass the Senate’s “Fiscal Cliff” bill and, by unanimous consent a few meaningless bills that will go nowhere. What they didn’t do, that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had promised they would, was pass the $60.4 billion Sandy Relief Bill that passed the Senate last week. The reaction from the regions representatives was scathing, especially from Republicans.

“I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to Congressional Republicans is out of their minds,” Representative Peter T. King, a Long Island Republican, said during an interview on CNN on Wednesday morning. “Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace.”

And Representative Michael G. Grimm, a Republican from Staten Island, said the failure to vote was a “betrayal.” He urged that action be taken as soon as possible.

“It’s not about politics,” he said. “It’s about human lives.” [..]

President Obama issued a statement Wednesday calling for an immediate vote.

“When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need,” he said. “I urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same, bring this important request to a vote today, and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans.”

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, a Democrat, released a joint statement condemning the decision not to vote on the storm aid bill this week.

“With all that New York and New Jersey and our millions of residents and small businesses have suffered and endured, this continued inaction and indifference by the House of Representatives is inexcusable,” they said. They added, “This failure to come to the aid of Americans following a severe and devastating natural disaster is unprecedented.” [.]

“Denying emergency aid to Superstorm Sandy victims is a new low for House Republicans,” said Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat. “When our neighbors in other states are knocked down by emergency events, we put partisan politics aside and extend a helping hand to help them get back up. Helping struggling families recover from disasters has never been a partisan issue in Washington and it never should be. New Jersey and New York families have been hurt badly by Sandy and it is shameful that Washington Republicans are adding to their pain by standing in the way of their recovery.” [..]

“Speaker Boehner’s failure to allow vote on Sandy bill is a disgrace,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, issued a blistering statement on Wednesday morning, calling the inaction “indefensible and shameful.” She called on Mr. Boehner to visit damaged neighborhoods on Staten Island and in the Rockaways, but said, “I doubt he has the dignity nor the guts to do it.”

“Speaker Boehner should call his members back for an up-or-down vote today and allow them to vote their consciences,” she said. “Anything less is an insult to New York.”

Outgoing chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who represents part of the area devastated by Sandy, was the most scathing.

“It pains me to say this. The fact is the dismissive attitude that was shown last night toward New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut typifies a strain in the Republican party”

“I can’t imagine that type of indifference, that type of disregard, that cavalier attitude being shown to any other part of the country. We’re talking about real life and death situations here.”

It was in the low 20º F’s here in NYC this morning with wind chill factors near 0º F. There are still thousands living in homes and apartment buildings that have intermittent to no heat, hot water, or electricity. For many food and medical care is still a crisis. The official death toll from the storm is about 143 for the region. The fact is there are many more deaths that can be attributed to the storm, either from accidents or exacerbation of medical conditions from stress or lack of access to medical care or medications. The fears now is that people will die from hypothermia in their own homes that they fear to leave because of vandalism. Most have lost everything and have struggled to keep what is left and rebuild their live, they are afraid to leave and still willing to risk their lives to keep what is left. Yet, the House leadership has left for vacation refusing to do their jobs.

I don’t often agree with Peter King, as a matter of fact I can’t recall ever agreeing with him, but he spoke for me and everyone living here in the region, especially those still struggling to survive.

Election 2012: Congress

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Despite the Obama administration’s poor performance, it appears that President Obama is on his way to a second term. It also appears that the Senate will continue to remain in the hands of the Democrats and now there is speculation that favors the Democrats taking back the House of Representatives.

What has changed? Up with Chris Hayes host Chris Hayes and The Nation‘s Washington correspondent, John Nichols discuss the status of heavily contested U.S. House and Senate races across the country, and the polls that show a potential uptick for Democrats.

At the New York Times, Nate Silver, who writes Five Thirty Eight, gives his analysis on key Senate races and what has gone wrong for GOP Candidates:

Since we published our initial Senate forecast on Tuesday, Republicans have seen an additional decline in their standing in two major races.

Two polls of Virginia published on Wednesday gave the Democrat, the former Gov. Tim Kaine, leads of 4 and 7 percentage points over the Republican, the former Senator George Allen. [..]

The other problematic state for Republicans is Wisconsin, where their candidate, the former Gov. Tommy Thompson, had once appeared to hold the advantage.

Mr. Thompson’s Democratic opponent, Representative Tammy Baldwin, had published an internal poll earlier this week showing her pulling into the lead. [..]

Wednesday also brought bad news for Republicans in Massachusetts, where a fourth consecutive poll showed the Democrat Elizabeth Warren ahead of Senator Scott Brown; in Connecticut, where a poll gave the Democrat Chris Murphy a slight advantage over their candidate, Linda McMahon; and in Florida, where a Fox News poll gave the Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson a 14-point lead.

The Democrats’ chances of controlling the Senate have increased to 79 percent in the forecast, up from 70 percent on Tuesday.

Nate has two theories on what has effected the downturn for the GOP:

Theory No. 1: Is Romney a Downballot Drag?

Mr. Romney has not dictated much in the way of detailed programs in these areas, and some of the policy stances that he has articulated are unpopular.

Mr. Romney has also been less able to campaign effectively against an unpopular Democratic initiative, the Democrats’ health care bill, because he passed a similar bill as governor of Massachusetts.

Finally, some voters who disapprove of Mr. Obama, but who also have lukewarm feelings toward Mr. Romney, might lean toward voting Democrat for Senate in effort to ensure divided government, especially since Republicans also have control of the House.

Theory No. 2: G.O.P. Conservatism Is Hurting

An alternative hypothesis is that the shift has to do with overall perceptions of the Republican platform.

Nate’s last comment in the article was that if this trend continues with the Senate races leaning to Democrats just how vulnerable is the GOP to losing the House? Well here are a couple of articles that discuss just that possibility:

Breaking blue? Will Romney-Ryan troubles give Dems shot at House Majority?]

by Michael John Spinelli

(As) Romney-Ryan lose steam just when they’re supposed to be gaining on the White House, Republicans, including House Ohio Congressman and House Speaker John Boehner, show by actions they took last week that maintaining control of the people’s chamber may not be the slam dunk they once thought.

Reports surfaced late last week that House Republicans are throwing in $3.2 million to save their majority. Speaker John Boehner, one report said, is in “all-out panic mode,” manifested by his initiative to ask his Republican Members to put up $3.2 million from their coffers to save their shaky House majority.

If the Senate can stay in Democratic control, as many pollsters believe it can, and the House gavel leaves Boehner’s grip to be wielded by California congresswoman Nancy Pelosi again, President Obama’s second term will turn on a dime from being four years of more GOP obstruction to his every policy recommendation, to a term he can double down on, learning from the battlefield of missed first-term opportunities. [..]

Democrats are currently leading in national “generic ballot polls that ask people which party they prefer for House races (without naming candidates), Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog writes, about the fact that has led a forecasters like Princeton’s Sam Wang to conclude that, based on past elections, Democrats are favored to retake the House. Wang puts the odds of that occurring at 74 percent.

The article by Mr. Wang that is cited above is from August. This is Mr. Wang’s latest analysis of the Democrat’s change of taking back the House:

Conditions through August showed a 2% lead on the generic Congressional ballot for Democrats. As of September 20th, in the wake of the Democratic convention, the lead has widened to 4.0 +/- 2.0%. Although it has yet to be appreciated by pundits, this could well translate to a November loss of the House of Representatives by Republicans. Based on the generic Congressional ballot, the probability of a Democratic takeover is 74% with a median 16-seat majority. Whichever party is in control, the seat margin is headed for being narrower than the current Congress. Like any probability in the 20-80% range, this is a knife-edge situation. This picture may change over the coming six weeks as more information, especially district-level polls, becomes available. [..]

Predicting the House outcome is challenging. First, there is the basic problem that we have to estimate how far opinion will move between now and November. On top of that, there is uncertainty in knowing how the polling measurement – generic Congressional ballot preference – translates to a seat outcome.

Another approach would be to use district-by-district polls and ratings. An estimate like that can be seen from our data partner, Pollster.com. Their House outlook shows retained GOP control, and RealClearPolitics implies the same. However, many of those polls are weeks or months old. My estimate today suggests that in the coming weeks, we might look for district polls to move in the Democrats’ direction. This is also an opportunity for a detailed analytical approach, as taken elsewhere, to shine.

Regardless of which party controls the Executive Branch, it is the Congress that can dictate the direction of policies. We will be following these races and trends closely.

Another Blue Dog Bites The Dust

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Good news for the real left: an eight term House Democrat in the Texas 16th Congressional District went down in flames in a primary against former El Paso City Council representative:

Former city Rep. Beto O’Rourke bucked a nationwide trend Tuesday night by ousting eight-term U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the 16th Congressional District race.

In the final tally, O’Rourke beat Reyes by 23,248 votes to 20,427, or 50.5 percent to 44.4 percent.

Nationally, challengers rarely defeat incumbents in primary elections, and only a few exceptions have occurred so far this election cycle.

When the first numbers were posted earlier Tuesday evening — the results of early voting — O’Rourke had a healthy 51.3 percent to 43.3 percent lead, but Reyes was closing the gap as the evening progressed. However, he was not able to garner enough votes to push the race into a runoff election.

Rep. Reyes had the blessing of President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, who personally reaffirmed an endorsement delivered earlier in a video. The voters obviously were ready for real change by voting for O’Rourke who is opposed to the war on drugs arguing that drug laws increase profits for Mexican drug cartels and increase violence, as well as, real job stimulus by supporting government sponsored projects and a full service Veterans Hospital.

Matt Stoller, writing at naked capitalism, had this to say about Reyes’ defeat:

There are many reasons to be happy that Reyes lost.  He is and was an awful Congressman, both stupid and craven.  As Democratic leader of the Intelligence Committee, Reyes did not know the group Hezbollah, and he didn’t know whether Al Qaeda was Sunni or Shia.  Reyes is a proponent of any number of authoritarian policies violating our civil liberties, and he is backed by predator drone cash.  So if you like militarizing, well, everything, then Reyes is your man.  And this has been the trend recently.

So it’s nice to see voters choose peace over war, and an end the war on drugs.  Now that a candidate won a significant race while arguing for drug decriminalization, it’s going to be increasingly more difficult for politicians to avoid debating the issue.  And that’s good.

The 16th CD is located in a heavily Democratic El Paso and since it creation in 1903 has had only one Republican representative who lasted just one term. So, in all probability Mr. O’Rourke will handily defeat his Republican Barbara Carrasco in November holding the seat and moving it left.

Take that Third Way Democrats. This is how you get real change.

Congressional Game of Chicken: The House Of Unrepresentatives

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

House Rejects Senate Payroll Tax Deal

by David Dayen

The House of Representatives officially rejected the bipartisan agreement that passed the Senate with 89 votes for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, extended unemployment benefits and a doctor’s fix to prevent a 27% reduction in Medicare reimbursement rates. They did so under a complicated scheme whereby members did not vote on the Senate deal itself, but on whether to move to a conference committee on the package, with the rejection of the Senate deal implicit in the exchange. The final roll call was 229-193, with seven Republicans switching sides and voting with Democrats to reject the conference committee. All Democrats present voted against the bill. [..]

The seven Republican no votes: Charlie Bass (NH), Jeff Flake (AZ), Chris Gibson (NY), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Tim Johnson (IL), Walter Jones (NC), Frank Wolf (VA).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t play:

“My House colleagues should be clear on what their vote means today. If Republicans vote down the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Republican and Democratic leaders, and passed by 89 senators including 39 Republicans, their intransigence will mean that in ten days, 160 million middle class Americans will see a tax increase, over two million Americans will begin losing their unemployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians. “Senator McConnell and I negotiated a compromise at Speaker Boehner’s request. I will not re-open negotiations until the House follows through and passes this agreement that was negotiated by Republican leaders, and supported by 90 percent of the Senate. “This is a question of whether the House of Representatives will be able to fulfill the basic legislative function of passing an overwhelmingly bipartisan agreement, in order to protect the economic security of millions of middle-class Americans. Democratic and Republican leaders negotiated a compromise and Speaker Boehner should not walk away from it, putting middle-class families at risk of a thousand-dollar tax hike just because a few angry Tea Partiers raised their voices to the Speaker. “I have always sought a year-long extension. I have been trying to forge one for weeks, and I am happy to continue negotiating one once we have made sure middle-class families will not wake up to a tax increase on January 1st. So before we re-open negotiations on a year-long extension, the House of Representatives must protect middle-class families by passing the overwhelmingly bipartisan compromise that Republicans negotiated, and was approved by ninety percent of the Senate.”

A couple of point where I disagree with Barney Frank is that we are doing better than Europe and that the economy is doing better. Maybe for the 1% it is but the middle class is shriveling. The important part of this bill was an extension of the UI which is about expire.

US House of Representatives votes to abolish Medicare

http://wsws.org/articles/2011/… by Patrick Martin.

Don’t trust Obama (or the Dems, for that matter) for a second on this.  Period.  He may not support Medicare’s destruction until after the election, but he’ll support it under some guise should we make the mistake of re-electing him.  The ‘progressive’ wing (well…the ‘bots) are thrilled that this has passed the House because they think that it ensures Obama’s re-election, but having it pass is to get the public ready for when it really does get cut.

Social Security: If You Can’t Kill The Program, Screw The People

There’s a lot of ways to be petty and cheap and stupid, and a lot of ways to stick it to a program you don’t like, and by extension, the clients of that program…and this week the House Republicans have embarked on an effort to combine the two into one petty, cheap, and stupid way to stick it to the clients of Social Security and the workers who administer the program.

They’re going to sell it to you, if they can, as a way to “lower the deficit”, or words similar…but what this is really about is making the actual Social Security program work less well-because, after all, if a program is popular today, the best way to make it less so is to apply a bit of “treat ’em like their cars were impounded” to every interaction customers have with the system.

And what better way to make sure that happens…then to aggressively demoralize everyone who works down at the ol’ Social Security office?

Veterans: WRONG Direction for Funding {once again}

<——- Remember these? They were a big joke and joy for a group still calling themselves republicans and happened as the Country were sending Military Troops into war once again, wars that still continue, and never a real apology for their joke. I’ll bet some of them still have some handy to be used and laughed about when their need arises to do so as they wave the flag and condemn others who don’t agree with them. Oh and while they seem to get joy about Soldiers being wounded in our wars and awarded the “Purple Heart” these were pointed directly at a brother In-Country Vietnam Navy Veteran, my tour there, as a Navy GunnersMate 3rd, was my last year of my four ’70-’71.

Or how about the many forms of these ——->

Till they quickly blew off the SUV’s and other vehicles never to be replaced, only ones you’ll see now are the very rare bumper stickers that only weather will remove after they fade out to much effort needed to remove by the owners.

Or who can forget these ——–><——–, that any who wore suits, especially representatives hired by the people, if they didn’t wear were called unpatriotic, unsupportive of our soldiers and veterans, even enemy sympathisers and much more, why the FOX couldn’t stop supposedly reporting on these traders of the U.S. and {non}Americans.

In the previous election did anyone hear any mention by the so called great movement of royally pissed off americans, corporate sponsored and corporate media hyped, still, TEA Party and their many talking heads as to any Demands for Finally ‘Sacrificing’ as Soldiers are still sent into two conflicts, their families waiting for their return, and those who survive come back as Veterans of their Military Service to the Country. I didn’t, all I heard once again were ‘tax cuts’ which every time I’ve heard these last some forty years, as a Veterans Advocate and Activist, says the Country doesn’t want to pony up for the results of it’s Wars and our brother and sister veterans will continue facing an underfunded Veterans Administration and be in constant catch up mode which in the long run constantly costs more to give what is owed and promised. One of the results of that around the country, contributing to as well is the collapsed economy from failed economic and business practices the past thirty years, has been the cutting back or shutting down of local Veterans offices that help the millions of Veterans coop with the system and the paperwork etc. needed to get that promised help as it took the past four years to finally start not only catching up with what wasn’t done but bring the VA into the 21st century.

2010 Green Party U.S. Senate Candidates

The following Green Party candidates are running for U.S. Senate this year.

http://www.greenscc.org/pages/…

Jerry Joslyn – Arizona

   http://www.joslynforsenate.com

   John Gray – Arkansas

   http://www.johngrayforussenate…

   Midge Potts – Missouri

   http://www.midgepotts.com

   Duane Roberts – California

   http://voteforduane.wordpress.com

   Bob Kinsey – Colorado

   http://www.kinseyforsenate.org

   LeAlan Jones – Illinois

   http://lealanforsenate.org

   Natasha Pettigrew – Maryland – Deceased on account of a hit-and-run this week.  Please send condolences to the family, if you want to help them in their time of need.

   http://www.natashaforsenate.com

   Colia Clark – New York

   http://www.coliaclark.org

   Cecile Lawrence – New York

   http://www.cecilelawrence.org

   Richard Weir – North Carolina

   Mel Packer – Pennsylvania – Forced to drop out because of another questionable Democrat legal challenge to remove him from the ballot.

   http://www.melpacker.com

   Tom Clements – South Carolina

   http://clementsforsenate.com

   Jesse Johnson – West Virginia

   http://www.jesse4ussenate.org  

As far as I am aware, the other candidates are still running.  Numerous candidates are running for seats in the House of Representatives.  The link to the page with their info is here.

http://www.greenscc.org/pages/…

Finally, Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein has almost raised enough money to qualify for matching funds.  You can donate by going here:

http://www.jillstein.org/contr…

Dave Schwab reports that her campaign, at last posting, is $8,655 shy of the $125,000 needed, and phred updated that amount raised to $117,690 here.  This means that less than seven thousand dollars is still needed by 4:30PM today to meet the deadline.  Considering the short period of time that Ms. Stein has been able to raise money, she might be able to do it, but she needs your help.

So many progressives say that they will support progressive candidates if viable ones appear.  Well, Jill Stein looks like exactly that kind of candidate.  Her positions on the issues are a left-winger’s dream, and she has proven that she can raise a lot of money in a very short amount of time.  Help put her over the top to qualify for matching funds in the Massachusetts gubernatorial election.  This is the moment of truth.  Let’s make it a reality as well.

Updated: The Return of Confederate Dollars in South Carolina

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Talk about love of retro money.

The Palmetto Scoop in South Carolina has this bizarre report

South Carolina will no longer recognize U.S. currency as legal tender, if State Rep. Mike Pitts has his way.

Pitts, a fourth-term Republican from Laurens, introduced legislation earlier this month that would ban what he calls “the unconstitutional substitution of Federal Reserve Notes for silver and gold coin” in South Carolina.

If the bill were to become law, South Carolina would no longer accept or use anything other than silver and gold coins as a form of payment for any debt, meaning paper money would be out in the Palmetto State.

Just in case you missed it…

Anger is flying at Mach 1,000 and everybody who isn’t a member of the Democratic leadership wants to punish the Democrats for their endless betrayals, broken promises, lies, and capitulations.  Well, I seem to remember someone posting ideas for how we can do something more than just bitch and complain.

http://docudharma.com/diar…

Just thought I’d remind you so we can start holding discussions for how we can implement these ideas.

Tell Congress to PASS the Weiner Amendment to H.R. 3200!

According to a post on Pennsylvania blog, House speaker Nancy Pelosi will allow a mere twenty minutes of debate on single-payer, albeit indirectly.

The debate will actually be on an amendment put forth by Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York’s 9th District, which would effectively transform the corporate giveaway that is HR 3200 into something very close to the single-payer form offered by Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers’s HR 676.  According to David Swanson, the debate on the Weiner amendment is being used as cover for dropping Kucinich’s amendment, which would allow states to create their own single-payer health insurance systems.

This is probably our last, best chance to improve what is shaping up to be a disastrously bad bill that will force Americans into buying unaffordable insurance.  Click on the House Telephone Directory link, call as many representatives as you can, and demand that they pass the Weiner amendment.  This may be our only shot at getting something that will work for all Americans, instead of simply further enriching Big Insurance.

Load more