Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Last Call For Drowning Down Under

A right-wing government budget that plans to all but eliminate climate change research and renewable energy and dump that money into subsidies for Big Energy?  America isn't the only country with anti-science conservatives beholden to coal, oil, and natural gas.  Our friends in Australia have taken a sharp right turn since the government of PM Tony Abbott came to power, and now they're paying the price.

Tony Abbott is the true "inter-generational thief" for boosting fossil fuels at the expense of renewable energy, increasing the likelihood of Australians paying a big price from climate change, Greens leader Christine Milne said.

Both the Prime Minister and Treasurer Joe Hockey have based their budget sales pitch on the need to raise taxes and slash spending to rein-in future debt that had been projected to balloon above $600 billion without policy changes.

"We could not go on running up massive debts for our children and grandchildren to pay," Mr Abbott told ABC's Insiders on Sunday. "That would be a form of inter-generational theft."

Senator Milne, though, said the increases in subsidies for big miners – which rise by $720 million to almost $14 billion over the forward estimates – and efforts to promote more coal seam gas, coal mines and coal ports were the real form of "future theft".

"Not only is it bad for the environment but these will be stranded assets which the next generation will have to pay for," Senator Milne told media in Sydney. "Tony Abbott is the one selling-out future generations."

The budget is extremely unpopular, with nearly three-quarters of Australians saying they would be worse off, and it seems the voters may be ready to do something about Abbott.

The Greens would welcome a double dissolution election, if the Coalition called one. 
"I say bring that on," Senator Milne said. "The Australian community has been betrayed by the Prime Minister. Nobody signed up for this budget. Nobody knew who the PM was before the election. 
"People are well and truly ready to show him what a trust deficit looks like."

Will the Abbott government come apart over climate change denial?  If there's any country that is dealing with major effects of climate, it's Australia.  Stay tuned...

Dinesh D'Guilty

Noted conservative scold, budding propaganda filmmaker and human embodiment of "Well, actually..." nonsense Dinesh D'Souza, has plead guilty to campaign finance violations in order to head off his trial expected to start today in a Manhattan court.

D'Souza, known for his biting criticism of President Barack Obama, pleaded guilty to one criminal count of making illegal contributions in the names of others. A second count concerning the making of false statements is expected to be dismissed once he is sentenced.

The plea came four months after Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged D'Souza with using "straw donors" to give funds in 2012 to Republican Wendy Long's U.S. Senate campaign in New York. Long, who met D'Souza while they were students in the 1980s, lost to Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand.

"I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids," D'Souza, 53, told U.S. District Judge Berman on Tuesday. "I deeply regret my conduct."

Prosecutors said D'Souza asked two friends and their spouses to contribute $10,000 each to Long's campaign and then reimbursed them. At the time, campaign finance regulations limited individual donations to a maximum of $5,000 during an election cycle.

One of the friends was Denise Joseph, who was engaged to D'Souza while he was still married to another woman. D'Souza resigned as president of King's College, a small Christian school in New York City, after the media revealed his relationship with Joseph in 2012.

This guy's a real champ.  Also, nice of him to cop a plea and avoid the truly nastier parts of our criminal justice system, but you can do that when you've got as much money as D'Souza does (enough to bankroll a 2012 anti-Obama campaign propaganda film and stuff).

It's not stopping GOP senators from coming to his defense, so you know he was never going to spend a day in jail.  But he is guilty, and it's hard to make the case that he's somehow being persecuted when he's pleading guilty to a crime.  Kinda funny if you think about it, as these senators insisted that Obama was personally going after D'Souza as part of a Nixonian "enemies list" and he of course was innocent of all wrongdoing.

Just because you publicly hate and want to destroy the President doesn't mean you can break the law, kids.  In the end, Republicans are really bad judges of character.

Oregon-na Get Hitched

In another win for equality advocates, Oregon has become the latest state where a federal judge has struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional, and for once it's a state where officials will not choose to contest the ruling, meaning same-sex couples can get married immediately.

Oregon cannot bar same-sex couples from marrying, a federal judge ruled Monday.

“Because Oregon’s marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane wrote.

The ruling from McShane is the 12th federal trial court ruling since last summer’s Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act to find a state ban on same-sex couples’ marriages and/or on recognition of such marriages to be unconstitutional.

Two federal appeals courts, those in Denver and Richmond, already have heard appeals of challenges from three states, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia.

Unlike most of the other challenges, however, none of the government officials in Oregon plan to appeal McShane’s ruling. In McShane’s order, issued moments after his opinion was released shortly after noon PT, he stated that the order stopping enforcement of the ban is effective immediately. Although Oregon law has a three-day waiting period for issuing marriage licenses, there are exceptions to that waiting period that mean couples could marry on Monday.

Add another state to the growing list where same-sex marriage is 100% legal.  It won't be long before that number is 50.


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