Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


In the News: America’s New Congress – Buyers Remorse?

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material


Greg Sargent, WaPo: GOP deportation priorities, in the raw

As expected, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives today passed a package of measures that would roll back President Obama’s executive actions shielding hundreds of thousands of DREAMers, and millions of parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents, from deportation.[…]

Today’s action goes further than merely defunding Obama’s recent executive actions deferring the deportation of immigrants brought here as children (the 2012 DACA) and of millions of parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents (the more recent DAPA).

It also defunds the implementation of the 2011 Morton memos. […]

“Republicans just voted against a mainstream law enforcement utilization of prosecutorial discretion,” Frank Sharry of America’s Voice tells me. “Would they instruct enforcement agents to treat a DREAMer, the spouse of a soldier, or the mother of an American citizen as an equal deportation priority to a convicted gang member, a smuggler, or a serious criminal?”

Apparently so. Here is how they plan to solve the sticky wicket of deporting parents of American citizens and the humanitarian crisis created from millions of children left parentless:

A group of hardline conservatives will use this week’s GOP retreat to pressure their colleagues into adopting an agenda that includes bills to end “birthright” citizenship


Pew Poll

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 7-11 among 1,504 adults, finds that Obama’s job approval has risen five points since December (42%). […]

For the first time in five years, more Americans say Obama’s economic policies have made conditions better (38%) than worse (28%); 30% say they have not had much of an effect. And Obama engenders more confidence on the economy than do the leaders of the new Republican majority in Congress.[…]

Currently, 40% approve of Republican leaders’ plans and policies for the future, while somewhat more (49%) disapprove. Shortly after the midterm elections, when Republicans gained full control of Congress, about as many approved as disapproved of GOP future plans (44% approved vs. 43% disapproved).

Now that Americans have caught a glimpse of the future, they appear to be having a bit of buyers remorse.


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In the News: 2015!!

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material


Millions Of Workers Will Get A Raise On New Years Day

On January 1, 20 states will raise their minimum wages, while one – New York – will increase its wage on Wednesday.

That means that all told, 3.1 million American workers will ring in the New Year with a pay raise.

Higher wages also put more money into low-wage workers’ pockets, alleviating poverty while boosting economic growth when they go out and spend it.


Illinois governor pardons 1800s abolitionists

Three Illinois abolitionists who were convicted for anti-slavery efforts in the 1800s were posthumously pardoned Wednesday by Gov. Pat Quinn. […]

Efforts to pardon the three were spearheaded by Quincy historians and Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, who filed petitions on their behalf last year as part of a special project. Among them was an Underground Railroad conductor – Dr. Richard Eells -whose Quincy home was declared by the U.S. National Park Service as one of the nation’s most important sites on the covert network that led escaped slaves to freedom and safety. […]

Illinois residents voted to abolish slavery in 1824. However, state and federal law prohibited the harboring or assisting of runaway slaves in free states.


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In the News: End of Combat Operations in Afghanistan

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material


Statement by the President on the End of the Combat Mission in Afghanistan

Today’s ceremony in Kabul marks a milestone for our country. For more than 13 years, ever since nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken from us on 9/11, our nation has been at war in Afghanistan. Now, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.


@BFriedmanDC: What the end of two wars looks like:


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In the News: Things are looking up.

Found on the Internets …

Well, of course there are probably some Republicans who are glad that the economy is doing well (perhaps as a sign that the trickling down that started in 1981 is finally reaching ordinary Americans????) … but in general terms Eric Boehlert is right: this is NOT good news for those who are willing to destroy the economy to bring down President Obama.

Here are the cold hard facts.


The White House: Third Estimate of GDP for the Third Quarter of 2014

Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.0 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter of 2014-the strongest single quarter since 2003-according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. While quarterly growth reports are volatile, and some of the growth in Q3 reflected transitory factors, the recent robust growth data indicate a solid underlying trend of recovery. Indeed, the strong growth recorded in each of the last two quarters suggests that the economy has bounced back strongly from the first-quarter decline in GDP, which largely reflected transitory factors like unusually severe winter weather and a sharp slowdown in inventory investment. Consumer spending, business investment, and net exports all remained positive contributors this quarter. Real gross domestic income (GDI), an alternative measure of the overall size of the economy, was up 4.7 percent in Q3.



More Americans still disapprove of the job Obama is doing as President. But at 48%, Obama’s approval rating is at its highest point in CNN polling since May 2013.

The gains were driven by newfound backing among women, independents and millennials – groups where Obama’s approval numbers jumped 10 percentage points from a month ago. […]

Tuesday’s CNN/ORC poll showed for the first time in seven years, a majority of Americans – 51% – have a positive view of the economy, a sharp increase from the 38% who felt that way in October.


1.9 Million Americans Sign Up For Obamacare, 4.5 Million Renew Coverage

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell says health care sign-ups are off to an encouraging start, but a lot of work is still needed to make the second open enrollment season for the federal insurance market a success.

Burwell says 1.9 million new customers have picked a plan through the federal market as of Dec. 19. It serves 37 states.

Another 4.5 million have renewed existing coverage, with most automatically re-enrolled.


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In the News: President Obama’s very good month

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material


Lots of folks are noticing that the president is having a pretty good month. Republicans are beside themselves because they expected him to curl up in a fetal position in a corner after the midterm election. Instead, with a series of executive orders, new government agency rules, diplomatic initiatives, and the results of his policies yielding positive benefits,  the president is finishing the year strong.

Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): Obama’s Had a Helluva Good Month Since the Midterms

November 10: Surprised everyone by announcing his support for strong net neutrality.

November 11: Concluded a climate deal with China that was not only important in its own right, but has since been widely credited with jumpstarting progress at the Lima talks last week.

November 20: Issued an executive order protecting millions of undocumented workers from the threat of deportation.

November 26: Signed off on an important new EPA rule significantly limiting ozone emissions.

December 15: Took a quiet victory lap as Western financial sanctions considerably sharpened the pain of Vladimir Putin’s imploding economy.

December 16: Got nearly everything he wanted during the lame duck congressional session, and more. Democrats confirmed all important pending nominees, and then got Republican consent to several dozen lesser ones as well.

December 17: Announced a historic renormalization of relations with Cuba […]

All of these things are worthwhile in their own right, of course, but there’s a political angle to all of them as well: they seriously mess with Republican heads. GOP leaders had plans for January, but now they may or may not be able to do much about them. Instead, they’re going to have to deal with enraged tea partiers insisting that they spend time trying to repeal Obama’s actions. They can’t, of course, but they have to show that they’re trying. So there’s a good chance that they’ll spend their first few months in semi-chaos, responding to Obama’s provocations instead of working on their own agenda.

“Provocations”, indeed. Democrats like to call them “good government initiatives”.

Paul Waldman at The American Prospect: “… the man certainly looks like he’s been set free. He doesn’t have to worry about getting reelected or about losing Congress (done both), so he can go back to see what fell off the to-do list and do things that he’s always wanted to, whether they were politically risky or not.”

But Greg Sargent at WaPo notices something else about “Obama Unbound”: it is not just “cementing a legacy” but setting up some stark contrasts between Democrats and Republicans going into the 2016 election cycle:

When you step back and look at the degree to which these actions are beginning to frame [2016], it’s striking. Hillary Clinton has now endorsed Obama’s move on Cuba. GOP presidential hopefuls are lining up against it. She has vowed to protect Obama’s actions on climate “at all costs,” a stance that could take on added significance if a global climate treaty is negotiated next year. Potential GOP presidential candidates will likely vow to undo those actions and line up against U.S. participation in such a treaty. Clinton has come out in support of Obama’s action to shield millions from deportation. GOP presidential hopefuls have lined up against it, effectively reaffirming the party’s commitment to deporting as many low-level offenders and longtime residents as possible.

So to the extent that there is an “Obama coalition” to pass on to the Democratic nominee in 2016, his actions have created policy positions that the Republicans are already on board as opposing. These positions are popular with youth and minorities, groups that will be courted in the 2016 general election.


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In the News: A Tortuous Path

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts a wee bit of material making its way tortuously to the Senate floor.


UPDATE: Link to the report Senate Intelligence Committee Report on CIA Torture Techniques

… the CIA’s interrogation techniques never yielded any intelligence about imminent terrorist attacks”


Senate Expected To Release Long-Held CIA ‘Torture Report’

Later this morning, the Senate Intelligence Committee will release an executive summary of what’s come to be known as its “torture report.”

The report is expected to be the most comprehensive public accounting the interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

What’s in it is so sensitive and controversial that the report’s release has sparked public spats between the CIA and Senate lawmakers.

It all came to a dramatic head on the floor of the Senate in March. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate intelligence panel, accused the CIA of trying to thwart her committee’s work by deleting files and later by illegally spying on Senate computers. The CIA – which eventually apologized to the Senate – had accused Feinstein and her committee of improperly removing classified documents from a government network.

The Senate is expected to release a 460 page executive summary today.


Dick Cheney Was Lying About Torture

It’s official: torture doesn’t work. Waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, did not in fact “produce the intelligence that allowed us to get Osama bin Laden,” as former Vice President Dick Cheney asserted in 2011. Those are among the central findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation and detention after 9/11.

The report’s executive summary is expected to be released Tuesday. After reviewing thousands of the CIA’s own documents, the committee has concluded that torture was ineffective as an intelligence-gathering technique. Torture produced little information of value, and what little it did produce could’ve been gained through humane, legal methods that uphold American ideals.


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In the News: It’s cold out there

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material


This week is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Follow the hashtag #NHHAW and this Twitter account for more information.


America’s Shameless Child Homelessness Record

A record 2.5 million children in the U.S. were homeless at some point in 2013, according to a new report from the National Center for Family and Homelessness.

This amounts to one in 30 children and an 8 percent increase in child homelessness between 2012 and 2013. Nearly half the children are under the age of six. While the problem is most prevalent in Alabama, Mississippi, and California, it exists in every city, county, and state in the country.

Why does this matter?

Chilly temperatures and cold on tap

– The arctic chill dominates the Midwest with highs in the 10s and 20s for most areas.

– Slightly less cold 30s are confined to eastern Kentucky and the upper Ohio Valley.

– Record low temperatures are likely Monday night from the eastern Plains through the Ohio Valley as the mercury drops into the single digits and lower teens.


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In the News: Emissions

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material some of which is emitted as noxious gasses.


China Agrees To Greenhouse Gas Cap; U.S. Will Accelerate Cuts

The United States and China pledged Wednesday to take ambitious action to limit greenhouse gases, aiming to inject fresh momentum into the global fight against climate change ahead of make-or-break climate talks next year.

President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would move much faster in cutting its levels of pollution. Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to cap China’s emissions in the future – a striking, unprecedented move by a nation that has been reluctant to box itself in on global warming. […]

Developing nations like India and China have long balked at being on the hook for climate change as much as wealthy nations like the U.S. that have been polluting for much longer. But China analysts said Beijing’s willingness to cap its future emissions and to put Xi front and center signaled a significant turnaround.

For Obama, the fight against climate change has become a central facet of the legacy he hopes to leave. Facing opposition in Congress, Obama has sought to bypass lawmakers through emissions regulations on power plants and vehicles.

This is not just about “cementing a legacy”, this is caring about the future of the human species.


Emissions of a different sort (effluvia?) … Obama’s Climate Deal With China Enrages GOP In Congress

But Obama’s opponents in Congress balked, dismissing the new U.S. target as “job-destroying red tape” that would squeeze the middle class.

“This unrealistic plan that the president would dump on his successor would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is set to become the majority leader early next year.

Yes, those pesky regulations … killin’ jobs again!! Who needs clean air or safe work environments??!? Why, wanting people to have better lives and a brighter future is downright un-American!!


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In the News: Ebolinsanity

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of non-contagious but highly infectious material


Threat of Lawsuit Could Test Maine’s Quarantine Policy

A nurse who cared for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone was headed for a legal showdown with the State of Maine on Wednesday over whether the state can quarantine her against her will.

The dispute is heightening a national debate over how to balance public health and public fears against the rights and freedoms of health care workers, and troops, returning from West Africa.

“This is a tipping point in this whole process,” the nurse, Kaci Hickox, said in an interview, one of several she did from her home in northern Maine on Wednesday, as state troopers and television trucks stood outside.

“So many states have started enacting these policies that I think are just completely not evidence-based. They don’t do a good job of balancing the risks and benefits when thinking about taking away an individual’s rights.”[…]

Ms. Hickox, 33, returned last Friday from a month treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone with the rescue group Doctors Without Borders, She was isolated in a tent at a New Jersey hospital after she registered a low-grade fever on a forehead scanner, though she had not previously registered a fever and has not since.

She has never shown symptoms of the virus and tested negative for it several hours after being quarantined. […]

“I understand how fear spreads,” she added. “But if I’m a nurse and I have a patient in the hospital, it’s our responsibility as medical professionals to advocate for our patients. Now, it’s the medical professionals who are being stigmatized. Even if there is popular public opinion, we still have to advocate for what’s right.”


Connecticut father sues after Ebola fears keep daughter from school

Oct 28 (Reuters) – A father sued a Connecticut elementary school on Tuesday, saying his 7-year-old daughter was discriminated against and banned from school for 21 days based on irrational fears of Ebola because she attended a wedding in Nigeria.

Stephen Opayemi filed the lawsuit in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut. He asked a judge to order the schools in Milford, Connecticut, to immediately permit his daughter to return to her third-grade class.

Opayemi’s daughter has not experienced any symptoms associated with Ebola and her health is fine, but parents and teachers were concerned she could transmit Ebola to other children, the lawsuit says.[…]

According to the suit, a city health official said in an Oct. 15 meeting that the risk of the girl infecting anyone was minor but that she ought to be quarantined because of rumors, panic and the climate of the school.


Louisiana To Ebola Experts: Stay Away

Louisiana state officials wants scientists and medical researchers who have dealt with Ebola patients not to come to the state’s annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene conference next week in New Orleans.

In a letter to the organization, reported by Bloomberg News, the heads of Louisiana’s health and homeland security departments effectively disinvited those who have recently cared for Ebola patients.

Just who are these folks who dare to gather in Louisiana?

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), founded in 1903, is a worldwide organization of scientists, clinicians and program professionals whose mission is to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor. Research, health care and education are the central activities of ASTMH members, whose work bridges basic laboratory research to international field work and clinics to countrywide programs.

Specific ASTMH goals include:

   Improving the health of people worldwide

   Advancing research in tropical diseases

   Fostering international scientific collaboration

   Supporting career development in tropical medicine and global health

   Educating medical professionals, policymakers and the public about tropical medicine and global health

   Promoting science-based policy regarding tropical medicine and global health

   Recognizing exceptional achievement in tropical medicine and global health

Certainly there would be no discernible benefit from their meeting. Sigh.


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Your Vote Counts: Countdown to the Midterms

Are you ready? …

Update: 8 days until November 4, 2014

It is time to step away from the polling and get to the polls.


Voter Turnout in Four Charts

A recent Pew study finds that non-voters are far more likely to oppose repealing Obamacare and support government “doing more things.” While likely voters were split between Obama and Romney, each with 47 percent of the vote, non-voters supported Obama by a whopping 35 points (59 percent to 24 percent). […]

All of this suggests that more turnout, particularly among low-income voters, would shift our political system to the left. The Median Voter Theorem postulates that democratic systems will produce policy outcomes that align with the preferences of the median voter suggests that turnout gaps as a source of policy bias toward more affluent households. Because non-voters are more economically liberal than voters, the median voter is more conservative than the electorate at large. If more low-income people voted, politicians would become more economically liberal to court the new voters. […]

Politicians respond to voters, not non-voters.

Don’t leave your lives in the hands of those who, quite literally, do not give a darn about your life. Your vote will not only elect people who believe in the value of government but it will put pressure on those politicians who think they can get away with ignoring you. Turn out and tell them NO.


The Great Kansas Tea Party Disaster

Extremist Republicans turned their government into a lab experiment of tax cuts and privatization. And now they may be losing control of one of the reddest states in the nation

“Tea Party Disaster” – my new favorite phrase. May the receding tide from the 2010 wave wash away the GOP governors who put their national party above their constituents needs.


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