Saturday, December 27, 2014

Last Call For Making Good On Their Threat

Behold what two-thirds of you not voting in November hath wrought, America.  Republicans are now making the country choose between the Secret Service and President Obama's immigration order, and one of them will be getting the budget axe thanks to the GOP.

Indeed, the whole arrangement is a fragile patchwork since the Department of Homeland Security — of which the Service is a part — is guaranteed funding only under a continuing resolution that expires Feb. 27.

How did it reach this point?

Top lawmakers in both parties and the White House acquiesced to the compromise, which was judged the fastest way to send Congress home, avoid a shutdown and put the rest of the government on permanent footing through Sept. 30 next year.

But it was House Republicans who really drove the bargain because the GOP insisted on holding Homeland hostage as a spending vehicle with which to challenge Obama over his Nov. 20 executive order shielding millions of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation.

Before the Homeland CR runs out, Republicans can count on being fully in charge of Congress. Their immediate target is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the office within Homeland that will implement Obama’s order including the issuance of temporary work permits for qualified individuals who come forward.

Ironically enough, USCIS is largely self-funded, living off the fees it collects and not the relatively small share of annual appropriations it gets from Congress. By contrast, the Secret Service is wholly dependent on appropriations and now caught in the political crossfire.

There was absolutely no intention to freeze the Secret Service,” said a House Republican aide, who quickly added that “the president must bear some responsibility for any fallout that occurs as a result of the Homeland CR.”

So after complaining that the US Secret Service is underfunded, understaffed, and in need of reform Republicans cut $50 million from the USSS budget to put Obama in his place over immigration.  So if the Secret Service is stretched too thin, with a President that already gets more threats than any in modern history, of course that's where "patriots" like today's GOP make budget cuts.

After all, "the president must bear some responsibility for any fallout that occurs".

Republican hatred of Obama is now a direct threat to the safety of the President of the United States.  Remember that.

Backs To The Wall

New York's Finest continue to show their asses.

Hundreds of officers outside the church where a funeral was held for a policeman killed along with his partner in an ambush shooting turned their backs on the mayor as he spoke during Saturday's service.

The reaction from officers watching Officer Rafael Ramos' funeral on giant TV screens followed comments from police union officials who had said Mayor Bill de Blasio contributed to a climate of mistrust that contributed to the killings of the two New York Police Department officers.

Inside Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, however, mourners gave de Blasio polite applause before and after his speech.

The mayor said hearts citywide were aching after the Dec. 20 shootings that left Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu, dead.

"All of this city is grieving and grieving for so many reasons," de Blasio said. "But the most personal is that we've lost such a good man, and the family is in such pain."

Police union officials have blamed de Blasio for fostering anti-police sentiment for his support of protesters angry that no charges will be filed in the police deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner on Staten Island. At a hospital after the officers' slayings, the police union's president, Patrick Lynch, and others turned their backs on de Blasio in a sign of disrespect. Lynch said the mayor had "blood on his hands."

Why, you'd almost think there was a new police union contract coming up for negotiations or something, and that the police union has hated de Blasio since he was elected last year.

Bernie's Game

Will Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders join the 2016 dance?  He says he'll decide by March whether or not to join the race.

Sanders said the issues about which he's been railing all these years are only becoming more dire. The wealth gap has grown, and the middle class, he says, is "collapsing."

"You have one family, the Walton family of Walmart, owning more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of the American people," he said. "We have 95 percent of all new income going to the top 1 percent. You have millions of families unable to afford to send their kids to college. People are desperately worried about whether or not they are going to retire with dignity."
Sanders has a 12-step plan that he says will restore the economy and especially the middle class, most of it dependent on higher taxes on the rich and corporations. Among the proposals: A $1 trillion infrastructure building program that would "create 13 million decent-paying jobs," more worker-friendly international trade deals and legislation to strengthen unions, and transforming the U.S. energy system "away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy."

He says he'll make a "gut decision" about running for the presidency - and, perhaps, challenging Democratic favorite Hillary Rodham Clinton.

And he has a message that has resonated with the left for years.  But he's exactly the person the GOP wants to run against that would let them put up a Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Paul Ryan as a clear favorite to win.  And as much as I think he'd make a great President, he'd also be the McGovern to the GOP's Nixon.

After twenty years of "taxation is theft" America is not a center-right nation, it's a Tea Party one.  November proved that, the lowest turnout in 84 years.  We don't care anymore.  Sanders running wouldn't be enough of a reason to care, frankly.

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