The NSA will likely get a gift from Sen. Mitch McConnell this week: a massive reauthorization of their metadata collection and surveillance program, codified in the PATRIOT Act. Even though the NSA's practice of invading privacy to collect cell phone information is uniformly unpopular with both parties, and measures have been taken to reform the process and even interrupt the NSA's authority, in pursuit of a perfect record of completion for the Senate, McConnell is bypassing objectors and shoving the bill through. It could allow the NSA to keep scanning your phone bills for evidence of your terrorist activities through 2020.
The Spectacle Blog
Having spent a significant amount of time in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I have lost almost all of my appreciation for Earth Day. Sure, I believe that we as humans have a responsibility to ensure that our planet remains clean, and to use our resources with care and consideration for future generations. But there's a big difference between environmental stewardship and whatever Earth Day is about - even if you don't consider that the co-founder of Earth Day stayed as true as possible to his commitment by composting even his ex-girlfriend. In Ann Arbor, they would celebrate it by hosting a drum circle. And I would celebrate the drum circle, by driving around it in a sport utility vehicle, spraying aeorsol hairspray out the windows.
As $ecretary of $tate, Hillary Clinton may have shifted positions on the human rights record of Colombia for Clinton Foundation Cash.
The New York Post reports, “one example of an alleged quid pro quo cited by the Times and other sources involved the State Department’s backing of a free-trade agreement with Colombia that benefited a company founded by a big donor to the Clinton Foundation.”
Evidently, Hillary opposed the deal when running in 2008 because of a worker rights issue. Friend of the Clintons whose company would benefit from trade deal donates millions to Clinton Foundation. Check clears.
Two short years later, Hillary’s State Department reports that Colombia has a laudable human rights record. Donor makes big money.
Hillary is proving to be a champion. Not for average Americans, but for being the best at raising money from government service.
If you need any proof that Hillary Clinton doesn't know how to talk to people - even people who support her get a load of this from The Boston Herald: which was covering her visit to Keene yesterday:
Clinton came here for her first stop in the Granite State since announcing her 2016 Oval Office campaign. The former U.S. secretary of state toured Whitney Brothers, a family-owned children’s furniture business, and huddled with employees for a much-publicized roundtable — but never pressed the flesh with several dozen people huddled outside.
This morning, Democrats and Republicans came to a consensus on a human trafficking bill that was the main hurdle to holding a vote on Loretta Lynch's nomination to head of the Department of Justice.
In defiance of their Planned Parenthood overlords, Harry Reid, now exiting the Senate for greener pastures and safer exercise equipment, ultimately caved on the point of contention between the two parties: a provision that would have prevented funds earmarked within the program for medical costs from going to provide abortions. Republicans changed the bill to prohibit any expenditures under the bill from going to medical care, instead shuttling those expenses through appropriations, which are already covered under the Hyde Amendment. Democrats rolled over, probably on the assumption that their abortion-promoting donors would fail to understand the fine print, and now we're on to the Lynch nomination.
I think. Stay with me here.
Yesterday was 4/20, the unofficial national holiday celebrating marijuana. Generally, Presidential candidates try to avoid referencing 4/20 unless they have a comprehensive policy regarding pot legalization and/or the relevance of 1990s jam band Sublime. Few take the opportunity to unveil their Presidential campaign on 4/20. Until now.
Rapper Waka Flocka Flame, better known as "Waka Flocka," yesterday announced that he will seek the office of the Presidency in 2016, and marijuana legislation will be among his top priorities.
Waka Flocka Flame took time out of his favorite holiday (4/20) to make a special announcement Monday. Via Rolling Stone, the Queens-born “No Hands” rapper announced he’s making good on his 2012 tweet: “I’m dead a– running for president in 2016.”
The Iranians aren't quite at the same point the United States is when it comes to inking a deal over their nuclear ambitions, to put it mildly. They see this nuclear agreement as a way to end economic sanctions against their country, promoting their domestic economic stability, while giving them an exceptional harassment-free period in which to concoct a plan that would wipe most of the Eastern world off the face of the planet. The United States sees this as the only way Barack Obama can successfully navigate his way to deserving a Nobel Peace Prize and a global post-Presidency speaking tour.
Fortunately, it seems that the State Department has found a way to bridge the gap and bring Iran to the table to at least sign the agreement, even if they rip it up almost immediately: if Iran inks on the dotted line, John Kerry will show up to the signing ceremony with one of those oversized novelty checks, made out to Ayatollah Khomeini, in the amount of $50 billion.
Being Hillary Clinton must be difficult. I mean, I have a tough enough time keeping small lies of convenience straight, let alone an attempt to mastermind the creation of a populist progressive facade. The sheer exhaustion that must result — it must wear into her like nothing else.
Earlier this year, in preparation for her Woman Warrior of the People campaign, Hillary Clinton met with economists who instructed her on the fine art of discussing income inequality, and demonstrated, with the help of easy-to-understand pictures, how the "top 1%" of wage earners were now, officially, off the charts thanks to the machinations of those dastardly Republican economic policies, spearheaded by the Koch brothers and, miraculously, put into effect during a Democratic Presidency.
Hillary Clinton's response? Smash the institutions of the wealthy and lop off their heads.
Big Solar. It sounds like a silly notion. The innocent seeming, well-intentioned alternative to fossil fuels, solar is a promise of the future everyone is familiar with. We see panels everywhere. There are solar farms, contentedly harvesting solar power from our friend the Sun, ready to help build a clean energy future we can be proud and green of. So how could there be a Big Solar?
Put Big in front of anything and you conjure up images of nefarious multinational corporations or the iron fist of government. Not something you associate with the world’s most Sesame Street friendly power source. But Big Solar is a real thing, and there are billions of dollars at play. Tax dollars are at play. Your dollars.
I saw the 60 Minutes segment on Syria last night which showed images of people in the throes of death following sarin gas attacks by the Assad regime in 2013.
Needless to say, the images were horrific. But I agree with their decison to show them.
What I object to is this one sentence from the report:
With the threat of airstrikes, President Obama forced Assad to give up his chemical arsenal.
This is simply nonsense. It wasn't President Obama who forced Assad to give up his arsenal, it was a deal brokered by the Russians in September 2013. OK, it was officially and the Russians and the Obama Administration, but it was Vladimir Putin's initiative.
It is interesting that Scott Pelley didn't see fit to mention Obama drew a red line when it came to Syria using chemical weapons and then they crossed it without facing the consequences. This isn't exactly a small detail.