What’s the rationale?

Here’s the really puzzling thing about this whole fiscal-cliff, “let’s sacrifice a virgin on the mountain top” adventure we’re on. No one really wants this, except rich people and the politicians they own. No one. Tell me one good reason why non-profits should, in effect, slit their own throats — particularly at a time when we really need them, because of that aforementioned ritual sacrifice to the austerity gods. It’s like a giant game of Whack-A-Mole — as soon as they try to cut one thing, people rise up and say, “No way, pal!”

That’s because we still want clean air, safe food and prescription drugs, trains that run, roads without giant potholes, good schools with enough books, and programs that help the vulnerable.

You know what we don’t want? A massive black hole of a military budget. You want to talk about austerity? The Pentagon owns over 200 golf courses around the world — 234, the last time a reporter counted. (They hide the numbers, just because of stories like this.) Four-star generals live like kings:

The commanders who lead the nation’s military services and those who oversee troops around the world enjoy an array of perquisites befitting a billionaire, including executive jets, palatial homes, drivers, security guards and aides to carry their bags, press their uniforms and track their schedules in 10-minute increments. Their food is prepared by gourmet chefs. If they want music with their dinner parties, their staff can summon a string quartet or a choir.


The elite regional commanders who preside over large swaths of the planet don’t have to settle for Gulfstream V jets. They each have a C-40, the military equivalent of a Boeing 737, some of which are configured with beds.

So when Leon Panetta is running around the talk shows, sternly lecturing that the military is cut to the bone and oh noes! fiscal cliff!!, try to keep that in mind.

Oh, and you know what else we don’t want? Enough perks to make the members of Congress into royals who will never want for a pension or health care for the rest of their lives. There’s not a ghost of a chance they’re going to give up the good life.

So why are they asking everyone else to go without? Why did the president want this created “crisis”?

The White House and the nation’s most prominent charities are embroiled in a tense behind-the-scenes debate over President Obama’s push to scale back the nearly century-old tax deduction on donations that the charities say is crucial for their financial health.


In a series of recent meetings and calls, top White House aides have pressed nonprofit groups to line up behind the president’s plan for reducing the federal deficit and averting the year-end “fiscal cliff,” according to people familiar with the talks.


In part, the White House is seeking to win the support of nonprofit groups for Obama’s central demand that income tax rates rise for upper-end taxpayers. There are early signs that several charities, whose boards often include the wealthy, are willing to endorse this change.


But the White House is also looking to limit the charitable deduction for high-income earners, and that has prompted frustration and resistance, with leaders of major nonprofit organizations, such as the United Way, the American Red Cross and Lutheran Services in America, closing ranks in opposing any change to the deduction.


“It’s all castor oil,” said Diana Aviv, president of Independent Sector, an umbrella group representing many nonprofits. “And the members of the nonprofit sector I represent don’t want any part of it. It’s a medicine we’re not willing to drink.”

‘Bigger fish to fry’

I’ll file this one under “weasel words”, right there with “I’m not going to slash Social Security”:

President Barack Obama said prosecuting pot users in states that have legalized the drug won’t be a top priority for his administration.


“We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Obama told ABC News’ Barbara Walters. “It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal.”


Last month, voters in Colorado and Washington legalized recreational pot use for adults, though marijuana remains illegal under federal law.


The Obama administration suggested last week that it was considering plans to undermine the voter initiatives. In his interview with Walters, Obama did not say whether his administration would go after producers and suppliers of marijuana in those states. The administration has cracked down extensively on the medical marijuana industry in California, despite its legality under state law there.

Stephen Colbert is a good Catholic boy

And I mean that in the most complimentary sense:

My Dearest Email List,


Last month, my friend Ham Rove passed away in a very unsuspicious fashion. On the same day, Colbert Super PAC’s money, $773,704.83, was squirreled away in a fashion that was extremely suspicious, but entirely legal. I thought that’s the last I’d hear from Ham Rove, particularly because a dog ate him.


But Ham Rove had plans beyond his death, and I was recently surprised to find myself on the board of the Ham Rove Memorial Foundation. I was equally surprised to learn we received a $773,704.83 donation. Where did that very specific amount of money come from? There’s simply no way to know.


Tonight, I am honored to announce First and Final Annual Charitable Donations by the Ham Rove Memorial Fund.


Hurricane Sandy was much like Ham Rove: Cold, cruel, salty, and the cause of untold devastation. In his honor, Donors Choose, Team Rubicon, and Habitat For Humanity will each receive $125,000 to assist with their Sandy relief efforts.


We’ll also be donating $125,000 to the Yellow Ribbon Fund, which serves wounded soldiers and their families. My attempts to get a matching donation to the Blue Ribbon Fund, which serves me frosty cans of PBR, were not successful.


The remaining money will be split between two pro-transparency groups who fight against the corrupting influence of outside money in politics. Luckily, they were both fine with the corrupting influence of outside money in their offices. As per his wishes, the Center for Responsive Politics has officially renamed their meeting space “The Colbert Super Pac Memorial Conference Room.” And the Campaign Legal Center will, from here on out, be home to “The Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room.”


It is the highest compliment that I can pay when I say I miss Ham Rove almost as much as I miss that money. I wish he could have stayed with us a little longer. Because now I have to plan a whole new Christmas dinner.


Yours Givingly,


Stephen Colbert

Accidental Chairman, The Ham Rove Memorial Fund

Michigan law may not apply to government workers

You mean after all that, they didn’t even bother to have their new law checked against existing legislation? Ha, ha! Boy, the Kochs really should be more careful about the quality ofthe people they buy:

Lansing – Less than 24 hours after Governor Snyder signed his damaging “Right to Work” legislation into law, analysis shows that the flawed legislation may not even have the result the Governor claimed it would, raising serious questions about whether the Republican leadership even read the language of the bills before voting it through and signing it into law.


“It’s become increasingly clear that the Governor presented the legislature with bills written by out-of-state extremists who had no understanding of Michigan’s constitution or how our laws apply to Michigan workers,” said Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer. “This is what happens when the Governor does an 11th hour about face in a lame duck session showing utter contempt for our people by cutting out all public input, scrutiny and debate. That isn’t leadership, it’s epic incompetence .”

Someone needs to tell ALEC to get better lawyers!

Reports today show that HB 4003, which the Governor said would provide “Right to Work” type policies for public employees in Michigan, could not be implemented as intended as the Michigan Constitution gives clear authority to the Civil Service Commission over conditions of employment for the state’s workforce. Experts have suggested today only a vote of the Civil Service Commission could enact Right to Work policies for state workers.


“The public was not given an opportunity to read these bills, legislators were not given an opportunity to read these bills, and we now know that the Governor himself either didn’t read or didn’t understand these bills himself,” said Senator Bert Johnson (D – Detroit). “This process has been a complete affront to democracy from the start and was nothing more than a political gift to the Koch Brothers and ALEC who bought and paid for this legislation.”


A series of questions have been raised in recent days over the legality of the “Right to Work” legislation as well as the process in which it passed. A lawsuit has already been filed against the Michigan House of Representatives for violating the Open Meetings Act as these bills were passed while the public was illegally locked out of the State Capitol and additional legal challenges are expected in the coming days.

I took a look at their Open Meetings Act, and Democrats look like they have solid grounds to sue and overturn the new law. See, under open meetings or “sunshine” laws, politicians aren’t allowed to meet in secret to plan these little legislative coups, and since the Democrats had no idea what was coming, looks like a de facto violation to me,

Site Meter