Thursday, February 5, 2015

Last Call For One Dares Call It Treason

Ho hum, another week, another open carry advocate caught threatening lawmakers who disagree with him, hoping to intimidate people with his big, shiny overcompensation tool.

The outspoken leader of an open carry gun group denied Wednesday that he was threatening Texas lawmakers when he called the restriction of citizens' gun rights "treason" that is "punishable by death" under the Constitution.

In a video that was removed from Facebook but uploaded to YouTube by a user named "CoCo Mars," Open Carry Tarrant County leader Kory Watkins ranted about the need to implement "Constitutional Carry," or the legal carrying of a handgun without a government permit. 
"I don’t know if they forgot what their duty is, but it’s to protect the Constitution. And let me remind you, going against the Constitution is treason," Watkins said on the video. "And, my friend, that is punishable by death. That’s how serious this is." 
“They better start giving us our rights or this peaceful non-cooperation stuff is going to be gamed up. We’re going to step it up a notch,” he added. “We should be demanding these people give us our rights back, or it’s punishable by death.” 
Watkins said later Wednesday in a Facebook post that he took down the video because he thought people would misinterpret his message: that he "simply wished to point out the seriousness of the constitution."

There's very little room for misinterpretation of "it's punishable by death" and "this peaceful non-cooperation stuff is going to be gamed up" when your goal is to literally wave armed weapons around in public and the subjects of your ire are lawmakers who disagree.  This is intimidation and threatening behavior by an armed group of thugs, period.

And as I keep saying, there's a federal law enforcement term for people who use the threat of violence to affect legislative changes by duly elected lawmakers and executives: Terrorist.

These guys are far more dangerous than the notion that "ISIS bad guys" will infiltrate the country and cause mayhem.  Assholes like Watkins are already here, armed, and clearly ready to "step it up a notch" to get what they want.

Start The Shutdown Countdown Clock (Again)

It's looking more and more like House Republicans are more than happy to shut down the Department of Homeland Security in order to stop President Obama's immigration executive orders, and it's especially dangerous to see the House GOP leadership make these threats.

The Republicans, including Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), are vowing to hold the line on tying funding for the Homeland Security Department to language reversing Obama’s executive actions on immigration — even after Senate Democrats blocked their bill from being considered in the upper chamber.“There’s not a Plan B, because this is the plan," Scalise said minutes after the Senate vote, according to Fox News's Chad Pergram.

Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) echoed that message, saying “many of us agree that we should stand behind the one bill that we sent over there.”

“Most of us feel that way,” he said just before the Senate vote. “Anything less than that, we're not going to get any better result anyway. So why not just go for what's really right?”

Tuesday's Senate vote was 51-48 to end debate on the House-passed Homeland Security bill — far shy of the 60 supporters GOP leaders needed to move to a vote on final passage.

Every Senate Democrat voted against proceeding to the package, as did Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.).

It’s unclear how GOP leaders intend to proceed. Republican leaders in both chambers are under pressure to stand firm in opposition to Obama’s actions.

If Republicans are bluffing, they're playing right into the hands of Democrats.

Democrats, who are calling for a clean bill to fund the Homeland Security Department, have used every opportunity to hammer the Republicans for risking the nation's security to score political points with their conservative base.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday accused GOP leaders of “baying at the moon instead of honoring their responsibilities to protect [Americans].” And Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, said there's zero chance the Republicans succeed in rolling back executive orders that Obama has vowed to defend with a veto.

“They knew that in December,” Hoyer said of GOP leaders. “Nobody doubts ... that this is all about the politics of dealing with their right wing. Period. Nothing else.”

And this time there's no dodging.  Republicans control Congress, period, as they keep reminding us.  If they shut down the DHS, they will pay the price.

Fifteen An Hour In The Five Boroughs

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio continues his populist campaign to help the Big Apple's working class, and he's openly calling for a $15 minimum wage for the city.

While de Blasio took office promising to push for a change in state law that would allow the city to set its own minimum wage, he laid out concrete steps for how he would like to see the wage raised. In his address, he called to raise it to $13 an hour in 2016 and then increase automatically with inflation after that, eventually bringing the minimum wage to the $15 level. He said such indexing is important because “it means that hardworking New Yorkers won’t have to wait on new action from Albany just to keep pace with inflation.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has proposed a different plan. In January, he put forth a proposal that would raise the city’s minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by the end of 2016 and the rest of the state to $10.50. De Blasio pushed back at that plan in his speech, saying, “The current wage proposal simply doesn’t do enough to help New York City.” State lawmakers increased the minimum wage last year so that it will rise to $9 an hour by 2016.

De Blasio’s call for a $15 wage comes after city lawmakers introduced legislation last yearthat would increase the minimum wage at chain stores with sales of $50 million or more to that level. It also comes after the city has been home a number of strikes by fast food workers demanding at least $15 an hour, including the original one-day strike two years ago. Those workers and their Fight for 15 campaign have put that wage level on the agenda, and since then Seattle has adopted a $15 wage and it’s been proposed in other cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago.

A $15 minimum wage is so far the highest proposal being considered by a city or state, but plenty of places have raised their wages to other levels. After increases on January 1 either due to changes in law or automatic adjustments, a majority of states have higher minimums than the federal floor of $7.25 an hour. Action to raise the national wage has stalled multiple times, however.

Right now NY state law prohibits any local government from raising the minimum wage, but de Blasio wants to change that.  Considering Gov. Cuomo is at least open to raising the minimum wage, the issue then become Republicans that control the NY state Senate and what they will do.  We'll see how far this proposal gets.

The larger issue is that Republicans in Congress have blocked raising the minimum wage several times, and they say they have no plans to bring it up now that they are in charge.  In fact, if anything Republicans want to abolish a minimum wage completely and "leave it to the states".

I'm sure that will improve the lives of people.


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