Sunday, March 15, 2015

Last Call For Obstruction Construction

Meanwhile, over in the GOP Senate...

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday said he plans to hold up attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch's confirmation until the Senate passes a now-controversial human trafficking bill.

"This will have an impact on the timing of considering a new attorney general," McConnell told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union." "I had hoped to turn to her next week, but if we can't finish the trafficking bill, she will be put off again."

Democrats are now holding up the trafficking bill, which glided through the judiciary committee, after they noticed an abortion provision embedded in the bill that would prevent victims of human trafficking from using restitution funds to pay for an abortion.

"We have to finish the human trafficking bill," McConnell said. "The Loretta Lynch nomination comes next."

A vote on Lynch's nomination was slated to take place this coming week, more than two weeks after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Lynch's nomination.

Democrats have pointed out that Lynch's nomination has been held up in the Senate longer than any U.S. attorney general nominee in three decades.

To recap, Republicans are insisting that a woman raped by her captors while held as a slave cannot use US government money to get an abortion, because that is apparently worse than being raped a victim of human trafficking and to make this point, they're going to stop the nomination of an AG until they make this an actual frigging law.

Because this, America, is what you voted for in November.

The New Benghazi

After completely losing his tantrum fight on shutting down the Department of Homeland Security, House Speaker John Boehner needs to get the Tea Party back on his side by going after somebody they hate more then himself, namely Hillary Clinton.

House Speaker John Boehner is expected to announce this week a new investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices as Secretary of State, including her admission that more than 31,000 emails were destroyed because she determined them to be personal, top House Republicans told ABC News today.

During a news conference last week, Clinton did not go into the details of how the review of her email was conducted, but said it was “thorough” and that she went “above and beyond” what she was required to do in turning over many of her emails to the State Department.

"We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails and deliver them to the State Department," she said, adding that all other emails were personal and pertained to matters such as "yoga routines," "family vacations," and "planning Chelsea's wedding."

So for the next year and a half, expect this to be on FOX News daily.  Except the part where House Republicans admit they were unable to find any evidence of wrongdoing after wasting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.  You'll never see that on Roger Ailes' network.

Sadly, Orange Julius is going to find out that this won't be enough red meat for the 2016 campaign.  Voters will start to tune this out long before November of next year.  But it sure gets him off the hook for caving on immigration, huh?

Sunday Long Read: Down And Out in Beattyville

When most people think of "poverty in America" images of boarded up inner city schools and black families on welfare immediately come to mind.  The reality of poverty is that one of the poorest counties in America is just 2 hours from my apartment, in Lee County, southeast of Lexington.  Lee County is 97% white, and the county's per capita income is under $14,000 a year.  But the idea here is that everything is the federal government's fault, and more specifically President Obama's problem, for structural issues that have been around for decades.

Bob Smith, editor of the local Three Forks Tradition newspaper, looked out the window of his Main Street office, resting one hand on his prodigious paunch and twisting his handlebar mustache with the other. 
The reason this town is struggling,” he said, “rests squarely on the current administration in Washington. The potential for this town is here. There’s opportunity for tourism, and a population that’s ready to work—but there aren’t any jobs.” Smith doesn’t buy the official job growth numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “If there were all these jobs they say are being created, you wouldn’t see all these stores closed down. This town has potential, but the liberal media up in Lexington [Kentucky] won’t credit us ‘mountain folk’ with being able to chew gum and walk down the sidewalk at the same time.” 
On his desk sat a mountain of paper, books, and office supplies. A large dictionary was bookmarked with an array of objects—pens, flyers, a pair of scissors—and a decorative wooden box at the corner of the desk read, “All a man really needs out of life is three squares a day, a roof over his head, a reasonably good woman, and a damn good shotgun.” 
“In 1964, when I left Beattyville for a short while, there wasn’t a soul that didn’t have work in this town,” he recalled. “There was no welfare, no unemployment. Whoever thinks this War on Poverty hasn’t cost us is out of their mind. Do you know what the national debt is? Seventeen and a half trillion. And do you think it’s any coincidence that the cost for the War on Poverty has totaled seventeen and a half trillion? I don’t think so. It’s the same exact figure.”

This is the prevailing attitude in a lot of small town flyover country, the kind of place I grew up in back in North Carolina, you'll meet a dozen Bob Smiths just walking down the street. Most importantly, these are the folks who honestly believe all the "real" money being used to fight poverty is a massive giveaway going to inner city black kids and not poor Appalachian towns like Beattyville.

Never mind that Beattyville has a major drug problem, and people find the money to pay for their habits around here.

In the middle of Kooper’s General Store is a large wooden table where people come to chain smoke and talk over bologna sandwiches. The owner of the store, Karl, sat across from a soft-spoken logger named James who was on his lunch break. 
“I hate the drugs in this damn country,” Karl said. “That’s the cause of most the problems we have around here—not all, but most. They spend millions of dollars to fix it, but that’s all for show—they let this county go wild. Kids get hooked on this shit and you see it generation after generation. The parents pass it along to the kids.” 
James nodded in agreement as he chewed his sandwich. He spoke up only every once in a while, usually to agree with Karl. 
“You see the same people running around with this shit,” Karl continued. “Same families year after year, and nobody ever fusses. The sheriff has his hands tied, he can’t do anything about it. The FBI, the government—they don’t wanna deal with it. Too much money in drugs. Judges make money off of it, lawyers make money off of it, state police make money off of it.” 
“Pharmaceutical companies make plenty off it,” James added. 
“Exactly,” Karl said.

The war on drugs has certainly been bad in Appalachia.  And in many ways these are the same problems that you would find in inner-city Detroit or Cleveland or Phoenix or a host of other major cities.  What these places need is investment, real investment, but of course, that would be a handout.

And we can't have that.
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