Thursday, August 29, 2013

House Conservatives Turn on Heritage Foundation

Tim Alberta at the The National Journal has a great rundown on the fiasco created this summer by Heritage Action ending with House Conservatives turning on them.

This article offers some great insight into the dysfunctional House and is well worth your time.
In June, as the House prepared to vote on an extension of the farm bill—an enormous legislative package that governs everything from crop subsidies to food-stamp policy—conservative lawmakers and outside groups rallied in opposition. Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of the right-wing think tank, called for the bill to be split into two pieces—one dealing specifically with agriculture policy (called a "farm-only bill") and another legislating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the food-stamp program known as SNAP.

Members of the RSC agreed. In fact, Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana sponsored an amendment that would accomplish exactly what Heritage Action and other outside groups were advocating: splitting the farm bill. Stutzman's amendment failed, however, and Heritage Action issued a key vote alert warning lawmakers to vote "no" on the farm bill. (If they voted "yes," members faced consequences, anything from a demerit on their Heritage Action "scorecard" to a 30-second radio ad launched back in their districts.)
The result was that the Farm Bill failed and Boehner capitulated to Heritage Action and their conservative backers and split the bill exactly has they had demanded. 3 weeks later the farm only bill came to the floor and passed by a narrow margin.
The new farm bill had passed over the objections of Heritage Action, which, to the astonishment of some RSC members, had issued another alert, telling conservatives to vote against the split bill—despite having spent years agitating for exactly that. In its warning, Heritage Action said the revised legislation "would make permanent farm policies—like the sugar program—that harm consumers and taxpayers alike."

To some conservative members, this was Heritage Action moving the goalposts, plain and simple. And they were furious about it....That's when Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., decided to do something about it. An ambitious conservative elected in the tea-party wave of 2010, Mulvaney was perfectly positioned to spearhead an offensive aimed at undermining the influence of these outside groups. At the beginning of the 113th Congress, Heritage Action named Mulvaney one of its "sentinels" for his ultraconservative voting record, which had earned him a 95 percent rating on the organization's scorecard for the 112th Congress.
There's much more. It really is a fascinating read on the inner-workings of the most dysfunctional House in 150 years.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Germany & Italy made more Facebook demands to snoop

Facebook has released data for the first 6 months of 2013 on which counties made the most demands on Facebook for user data.

Kevin Drum cleverly adjusted the data by population to over some meaningful insight into which counties made the most request by population.

While the U.S. unsurprisingly made the most total demands, when you adjust by population, Germany and Italy made more requests than the U.S.   But neither was first.

First place oddly goes to Malta! Kevin assumes Malta hits the top due to it being a tax heaven for the Russian mob. 

What will the U.S. Achieve bombing Syria?

It's an important question.

We're all horrified by the images of the murdered men, women and children gassed by Assad in suburban Damascus. It's easy to want to lash out in anger but what does Obama actually hope to accomplish?

And how many more civilians will die? 

George Packer has a debate with himself.
So it looks like we’re going to bomb Assad.


Really? Why good?

Did you see the videos of those kids? I heard that ten thousand people were gassed. Hundreds of them died. This time, we have to do something.

Yes, I saw the videos.

And you don’t want to pound the shit out of him?

I want to pound the shit out of him.

But you think we shouldn’t do anything.

I didn’t say that. But I want you to explain what we’re going to achieve by bombing.
Read on, it's well worth you time.

And in rides Sarah,....

Sarah Palin backs Defund Obamacare
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is set to announce Tuesday that she has signed on to the Defund Obamacare movement.“Forced enrollment in Obama’s ‘Unaffordable Care Act’ is weeks away,” Palin says in a statement to be released by the Senate Conservatives Fund and shared early with Post Politics. “This beast must be stopped — by not funding it. Today, Todd and I joined with many of our fellow citizens to urge those in the U.S. Senate to not fund Obamacare.”
Ain't life grand?

It appears that the GOP will never be ride of Sarah Palin.

As an aside, isn't Sarah Palin the perfect example of the GOP's sexist view of women?  Nancy Pelosi is a bitch and Hillary is a lesbian.  Sarah Palin, pretty and dumb, was deemed the future of the GOP and pushed by important people in the conservative movement including Bill Krystal and Fred Barnes.  Jane Mayer told the story in 2008.