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DeLay convicted of dishonesty in US court

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Big News Network.com     Thursday 25th November, 2010

Tom DeLay, the former Republican majority leader in the US House of Representatives, has been found guilty of money laundering.

Tom DeLay, the former Republican majority leader in the US House of Representatives, has been found guilty of money laundering.

Convicted by a Texas jury on Wednesday, DeLay was found to have illegally funnelled corporate money to Republican party election candidates in 2002.

It was proved he had used his political action committee to channel $190,000 in corporate donations into Texas legislative races through a money swap.

Prosecutors accused DeLay of conspiring with two associates, John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, to channel donations into the Republican National Committee, which then sent the same amount to seven Texas House candidates.

The prosecutors said the money had helped Republicans take control of the Texas House.

The man whose domineering style was felt by US representatives, was once given the nickname: “The Hammer.”

His political career, representing suburban Houston, has now come to an end. Today DeLay runs a consulting firm.

DeLay faces five years to life in prison on the money laundering charge and two to 20 years on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

 

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Most Americans don’t know GOP won

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Pedestrian crosses street
Less than half of the American nation is aware that Republicans has won control of the US House of Representatives this month, a new poll shows.

The Pew Poll suggests that only 46 percent of those surveyed correctly verified that the Republican Party won control of the House as a result of the November 2 midterm elections.

Another interesting finding by the poll was that only 15 percent of Americans knew that David Cameron is the current Prime Minister of England.

The poll, aimed at assessing the US public knowledge on current affairs, surveyed 1,001 adults by telephone between November 11 and 14 with a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

MSD/PKH/MMN

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Republicans Vote Against Equal Pay for Women–Unanimously

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Susan Collins (R-ME), member of the United Sta...

Susan Collins (R-ME), member of the United States Senate.

Senate Republicans don’t care about equal pay, privileging small business over gender equality. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have expanded womens’ recourse against wage discrimination, died in the Senate today, under the oft-invoked guise of protecting small business.

Even some previously pro-equal pay women turned their backs on the bill–Vermont conservatives Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins both registered “no” votes. Ironically, the bill failed by just two votes.

The bill would have worked to ensure equal pay for women, giving them more remedies in the court system for wage discrimination.

The summary of the bill states that it “amends the portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) known as the Equal Pay Act to revise remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages.”

After Fair Pay was annihilated, Obama released a strong statement expressing his dismay. “I am deeply disappointed that a minority of Senators have prevented the Paycheck Fairness Act from finally being brought up for a debate and receiving a vote,” he said. “This bill passed in the House almost two years ago; today, it had 58 votes to move forward, the support of the majority of Senate, and the support of the majority of Americans. As we emerge from one of the worst recessions in history, this bill would ensure that American women and their families aren’t bringing home smaller paychecks because of discrimination.”

Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, echoed Obama’s sentiments. “In this difficult economy, in which nearly 40 percent of mothers are primary breadwinners, women shoulder increased responsibility for supporting their families and cannot afford to have employers discounting their salaries,” she said in a statement. “Among other important provisions, the law would make it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who seek to learn whether they are being paid unfairly.”

Republicans’ justification for killing the bill was based on the potential for “excessive litigation against the small business community,” aka bosses who knowingly discriminate against their female employees might actually have to own up to their actions in a court of law. Meanwhile, women still earn 77 cents to every dollar a man earns, on average–a statistic that hasn’t changed in decades, and likely won’t anytime soon. So thanks for that, Republicans.

By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd | Sourced from AlterNet

Posted at November 18, 2010, 8:48 am

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Let’s Pass Some Laws Before the Republicans Head Into Town (after all, that’s what they’d do)

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Michael Moore in 2004

Michael Moore in 2004

…an open letter to Congressional Democrats from Michael Moore

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Dear Congressional Democrats:

Welcome back to our nation’s capital for your one final session of the 111th Congress. Come January, the Republicans will take over the House while the Democrats will retain control of the Senate.

But Dems — here’s something I don’t understand: Why do you look all sullen and depressed? Clearly you’re not aware of one very important fact: YOU ARE STILL COMPLETELY, TOTALLY, LEGALLY IN CHARGE! When (and if, mostly if) you wake up to the reality that you can do whatever you want for the next seven weeks, you will realize that you have two clear options:

1. You can continue your “Sit Quietly and Hope No One Hits Me” strategy and thus lay the groundwork for an even bigger ass-kicking two years from now;

Or…

2. You can actually use the power you hold for the next seven weeks and have the Senate pass the legislation that the House has already passed!

Wake up, Democrats! You are in an awesome position right now. The House of Representatives, in this current session of Congress, has already passed an astounding 420 bills since January of 2009 — 420 bills that are just sitting there on the Senate leader’s desk. The Senate has refused to take up these House bills because they’ve been afraid of a Republican filibuster. Well, Dems, here’s the truth: You can pass all of these bills and turn them into law RIGHT NOW, TODAY, by simply calling for a majority vote of 50 Senators (plus Vice President/President of the Senate Joe Biden). Yes, you will need to change the filibuster rules. So do it. You have the votes! And yes, the Republicans will scream bloody murder — so let them! Make them. Let America see them in all their hateful, spiteful ways — it will act as a beautiful coming attraction trailer for all the world to see. Let all of America watch the Republicans as they try to derail democracy by holding up a bunch of bills that nearly every American I know would want to see as the law of the land. Many of these bills are so safe, so innocuous, I have a hard time understanding what the heck the problem was in the first place. Like the bill that’s already passed the House to name a post office after Jimmy Stewart. I know, I know, the idea of a post office named after Jimmy Stewart is really, really, incredibly controversial and divisive and somebody on the other side of the aisle might yell at you. Be brave, Democrats!

There’s a whole slew of these bills the House has passed. Some are no-brainers; others are absolutely necessary. You can pass them in the next seven weeks. And because you Dems seem to have a problem with properly naming your bills and communicating effectively with the average American, I have helpfully renamed them for you so they sound like what they actually are — things people would really want. Here’s a partial list of the bills the House has already passed and are now just in need of approval by the U.S. Senate:

• The “Give Mom a Raise Act,” officially known as the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” which addresses pay gaps between men and women. Now, who out there still believes women should be paid less than men? I REALLY want to see Republicans try to stop this one.

• The “Don’t Amputate Our Feet Act,” aka the “Eliminating Disparities in Diabetes Prevention Access and Care Act of 2009.” Which Republican will stand to speak out in favor of diabetes?

• The “Pay Up, BP Act,” aka the “Audit the BP Fund Act,” which makes sure BP is paying people hurt by the Gulf oil spill as quickly as possible — and makes BP pay the cost of keeping track of where the money’s going.

• The “Stop Foreigners From Hitting Grandma Act,” aka the “Elder Abuse Victims Act.” This doesn’t really have anything to do with foreigners, but our fellow Americans seem to automatically dislike people from other countries, so this should help just in case the Republicans think an “elders abuse victims act” doesn’t sound patriotic enough.

• The “Let’s Try Not to Destroy Planet Earth Act” (aka Cap and Trade, a lousy half-way measure to begin with, but about the best you can expect from you Democrats these days).

• The “National Bombing Prevention Act” (it’s actually already called that, which is hard to improve on).

And while those of you in the Senate are taking care of all that, the House can come up with a better version of Michelle Obama‘s “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act” to improve child nutrition. The Senate has already passed this bill. (The House should fix it so that it isn’t paid for by cutting food stamps to poor people. Yes, you, a Democratic Senate, did that.)

Then there are also things that neither the House or Senate has dealt with. These would take more work during the next two months, but that’s what highly-caffeinated “energy” drinks are for.

Jenni Suri of Ligonier, Indiana, has set up a petition with a good list, which anyone can sign here to tell the Congressional leadership to get started. Among the “to do” items on the list:

• Extend emergency unemployment benefits

• Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

• Pass the DREAM Act (to provide young immigrants with a path to citizenship)

• Pass the Disclose Act to force corporations to say what politicians they’re giving money to

• Pass the Employee Free Choice Act, so we can have unions again in the U.S.

• Pass Rep. Donna Edwards’ constitutional amendment that — in the wake of the Citizens United decision — would give Congress the power to regulate corporate spending on elections

So what do you say, Democrats? What’s the worst that could happen — you’d lose an election? You already did that! C’mon, here’s your one last gutsy chance to show us that you’re made of something other than wish and wash.

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

P.S. Be sure to let the Democrats in Congress know right now you expect action from them during this next month. You can call your Senators and Representative at (202) 224-3121 or find their direct number and email at Congress.org.

P.P.S. If you missed Bill Maher or Larry King on Friday, here are the links to watch my visit to both of them: Maher, Part 1, Maher, Part 2, King, Part 1, King, Part 2, King, Part 3 and King, Part 4.

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Congress Comprised of Fewest Women in 30 Years

November 6, 2010 Leave a comment

In terms of sheer numbers, there are dark times ahead for women in Congress.

For the first time in 30 years, the amount of  of women in the house has decreased, with nine representatives losing their seats. And in the Senate, it looks like the number will remain the same at 17, even with Patty Murray‘s recent win–though if Murkowski somehow gets the shaft in Alaska, that number will decrease as well. Even with all the brouhaha about the so-called mama grizzlies–of Republicans, only three women out of 30 candidates ran on open tickets–Congress is still comprised of only 17 percent women. According to Debbie Walsh, Director for the Center of American Women and Politics at Rutgers, “This year is the first time that it has gone down, it’s gone down a little bit, but going down or staying the same if you care about women’s participation in politics.”

But it goes beyond mere participation. As the Republicans take over the house, and the number of men and women aligned with anti-choice groups such as The Susan B. Anthony Foundation increase, the implications of a lack of female representation are troubling. New Hampshire‘s Kelly Ayotte, for example, defended parental consent laws during her time as attorney general–and she was propelled to her new seat thanks to cash infusions from the SBA. Similarly, while women made gains across the country in gubernatorial races, they were generally conservatives who toe the tea party line–radically anti-choice, anti-gay rights, steeped in traditional gender roles–not exactly the paths to parity.

By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd | Sourced from AlterNet

Posted at November 5, 2010, 10:07 am

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Despair Follows Delusion

November 3, 2010 1 comment

Joel S. Hirschhorn

Despite all the hype and rhetoric, only one impact of the midterm elections is assured.  Notwithstanding power shifts from Democrats to Republicans in Congress there will not be any deep, sorely needed true reforms of our corrupt, dysfunctional and inefficient government.  The culture of corruption in Washington, DC will remain.  Hundreds of millions of dollars from corporate and other special interests will assure that.

Voters who think otherwise are either delusional or stupid.  It will not matter whether you voted for Republicans because you wanted to defeat Democrats (or vice-versa), or whether you voted for Tea Party candidates, or whether you voted against incumbents, or whether you voted for what you believe are lesser-evil candidates.  Americans lost however they voted, but it may take time for most to comprehend that.  That is a terribly painful reality, which is why many who chose to vote will resist facing the ugly truth.

When it comes to politics in America, delusion and stupidity are rampant, like a terrible epidemic that has killed brain cells.  Several billion dollars were spent selling candidates this year.  Who profited?  The many media outlets that received the advertising bonanza and companies that supplied mailings, posters and automatic phone calls.  At least all that spending was kept domestic.

Yes, you are thinking that this is the most cynical view possible.  Cynicism beats delusion.  I recommend it.

This is what American history tells us.  Americans have been brainwashed and tricked into thinking that elections are crucial for maintaining American democracy.  That is exactly what the two-party plutocracy needs to maintain their self-serving political system and that is also what the rich and powerful Upper Class wants to preserve their status.  But voting in a corrupt political system no longer sustains democracy.  It only sustains the corrupt political system that makes a mockery of American democracy.  Think about it.

In the months following this election, when unemployment and economic pain for all but the rich remain awful, anyone who pays attention and is able to face the truth will see that there is little chance of genuine government reforms.  Nor will any of the nation’s severe fiscal and spending problems be smartly attacked.  The Republicans will blame the Democrats, the Democrats will blame the Republicans, the Tea Party winners will blame the system, the radio and cable pundits will blabber endlessly, and Jon Stewart and other comics will have an abundance of material to take jabs at.  The two-party plutocracy will triumph.

Every member of Congress will, as before, spend most of their time and energy doing what is necessary to win the next election.  The army of lobbyists will be busier than ever legally bribing politicians to sustain the successful political strategy of the rich and business sector to make the rich and superrich still richer at the expense of the middle class.  Anyone who thinks that winner Republicans will work to overturn economic inequality is stupid or delusional.  A disproportionate and ludicrous fraction of the nation’s income and wealth will go to a tiny fraction of rich and superrich Americans.  Nothing that President Obama or the Democrats have done or championed was aimed squarely at reversing economic inequality and the death of the middle class, which by itself justified defeating them.

President Obama, of course, will continue his self-serving rhetoric with the sole goal of winning reelection in 2012.  The presidency just made him destructively delusional.  Of course he will speak about working with Republicans.  Wait and see.

Here is what non-delusional Americans can hope for: Maybe a decent third party presidential candidate will emerge.  Maybe the Tea Party movement will wake up to the reality that electing Republicans is a terrible strategy for reforming the government and restoring the health of the nation and shift their interest to forming a third party.  I doubt very much whether any of the Tea Party winners in Congress will stand up and aggressively work for and demand true reforms.  The new Republican Speaker of the House is a classic establishment Republican.  Maybe the greatly expanded calls for an Article V convention (mostly by Republicans and conservatives) as the constitutional path to reforms through constitutional amendments will gather more energy (especially from Tea Party people) and finally succeed.

Welcome to the good old USA where citizens, unlike those in Europe, do not riot in the streets demanding justice but keep believing in the nonsense that voting for either Republicans or Democrats will work for them and the nation.

Despair follows delusion.  Despite the endless media hype, the political revolution of 2010 is like a badly made firecracker – a dud.  President Obama, Republicans and Democrats will have learned nothing profound, not enough to dedicate themselves to real reforms.  Along with economic pain, widespread anger will persist as nothing tangible results to make the lives of ordinary Americans a lot better.  Will Americans demand smarter strategies than voting in regular elections with choices between Democrats and Republicans?  What do you think?

[Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through delusionaldemocracy.com.]

 

GOP takes house; Dems hold senate

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Top news: Riding a surge of voter discontent with the state of the economy, the Republican Party retook the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday night, dealing a major blow to President Barack Obama’s domestic and international agenda. Republicans have won at least 58 seats in the House, exceeding the 52 they won during the Republican sweep of 1994.

“The American people’s voice was heard at the ballot box,” said Representative John Boehner of Ohio, who will likely replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.

The Democrats will hold their majority in the Senate, though Republicans picked up at least six seats, a significant gain in today’s filibuster-heavy politics. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid held his seat after a close-fought battle with Tea Party favorite Sharon Angle.

Tea Party backed candidates Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio won their races, increasing the anti-big government movement’s visibility and influence in Washington, though others did not fare so well. Despite heavy media coverage, Chrstine O’Donnell was defeated in Delaware and Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, running as a write-in candidate, appears likely to have pulled off a victory against Tea Party-backed Joe Miller, though her votes still need to be verified. Senate races in Colorado and Washington were still too close to call on Wednesday morning.

Despite the passage of major healthcare reform legislation and stimulus spending, polls showed voters even more dissatisfied with congress than when Democrats retook control in 2006. Nearly nine in ten said they were worried by the state of the economy.

FP‘s Cable blog has much more on the foreign-policy implications of last night’s results.

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