Thursday, September 12, 2013

Last Call For Putin's Russian Reversal

I'll take "Vlad The Dudesplainer" in the NY Times for $1600, Alex.

RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.

Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again. 

The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades. 

No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization. 

This coming from the guy who, you know, actually murders opposing journalists and politicians, kills his own people in Chechnya, and criminalizes LGBTQ advocacy.  It continues on like this at some length, but the bottom line is that same anti-Obama coalition of libertarian dudebros and Worse Than Bush liberals have a new hero in a mass-murdering quasi fascist jackass, who basically really is actually guilty of all the things they accuse Obama of on a regular basis.  Still, you have to "admire" the guy if you hate yourself some Obama...

He still didn't call the President "Barry" enough times, so it means Dowd is still a better troll. 

What's A Quarter Of A Billion Among Friends?

Meanwhile, the Koch Brothers secretly raised and spent $250 million to influence the 2012 elections, and we're only now just finding this out a year or so after the fact.

The group, Freedom Partners, and its president, Marc Short, serve as an outlet for the ideas and funds of the mysterious Koch brothers, cutting checks as large as $63 million to groups promoting conservative causes, according to an IRS document to be filed shortly.

The 38-page IRS filing amounts to the Rosetta Stone of the vast web of conservative groups — some prominent, some obscure — that spend time, money and resources to influence public debate, especially over Obamacare.

The group has about 200 donors, each paying at least $100,000 in annual dues. It raised $256 million in the year after its creation in November 2011, the document shows. And it made grants of $236 million — meaning a totally unknown group was the largest sugar daddy for conservative groups in the last election, second in total spending only to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, which together spent about $300 million.

Short, a soft-spoken but ferociously conservative 43-year-old operative, provided us a draft of a forthcoming IRS filing that will soon be available to the public. Short, like most in the Koch empire, feels wealthy conservative activists such as Charles and David Koch get a bum rap from the media. So, Short wants to ease his groups and their cause out of the shadows.

“There’s a mystery around us that makes an interesting story,” Short said in an interview in his conference room. “There’s also a vilification that happens that gets exaggerated when your opposition thinks you’re secretive. Our members are proud to be part of [the organization].”

And thanks to Citizens United, they can buy as much of our political process as they want.  When $250 million isn't enough, they'll simply spend more in 2014 and 2016 until the entire country is under Tea Party control.  If you're wondering why nearly half of Americans think Obamacare has been repealed or overturned already and is no longer law, well, you might want to start with the kind of media coverage that $250 million can buy.

Woot Woot! It's The Sound Of The GOP Food Police!

The GOP loves to trash Michelle Obama over her advocacy of healthy food choices and exercise to get kids active and practicing good habits.  Republicans call it "food fascism" of course, that government has no business telling people what to eat. 

Unless you're on SNAP benefits, in which case your forfeit your rights as an American citizen and Republicans are happy to pass laws telling you what you should eat.

Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday proposed legislation that would require people using federal food stamps to buy only healthy food.

The Healthy Food Choices Act, H.R. 3073, reflects a long-standing criticism that the government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allows people to buy billions of dollars worth of junk food.

A 2012 study found that food stamps enable about $2 billion worth of junk food purchases each year, and that more than half of all SNAP benefits are used to buy sugary drinks.

Efforts to curb these purchases have been opposed by anti-hunger groups. But Roe said some states are already exploring ways to curb junk food purchases through the SNAP program, and argued that the federal government needs to take steps as well.

"Already, states like Wisconsin and South Carolina have shown interest in improving the healthfulness of choices in their SNAP programs," he said. "By giving SNAP recipients more nutritious choices, we can take a meaningful step towards ending hunger in America."

So no, Republicans have zero problem with actual government control of what you can buy to eat if they can use that power on those people.

Can't wait to see what big agra and the fast food giants do to this bill, too.  You know they're not going to sit buy and let Congress take $2 billion in yearly sales away from them.


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