Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

Charles Jaco, Todd Akin Interviewer: I ‘Screwed Up’



The first amendment gives specific protection to the press because it is intended to be the watchdog of the country, exposing problems in both the government and the private sector.

The commercialization of the news has nearly eliminated the watchdog role of the press, pushing it more toward schmoozing the audience instead of informing them.

Jaco dropped the ball because intellectual incuriousity has become the new normal. Fact checking has been drowned in the bathtub for economic and political reasons. It is no surprise that conservatives want to go after PBS as the last bastion of the fourth estate not corrupted by commercial interests.

If Newsweek is not fact-checking their articles before publishing, then they are more of a news kiosk than a reliable news outlet.

The decline of journalism represents a tangible threat to the survival of democracy in America.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

August 21, 2012 Posted by | Ethics, Journalism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eric Cantor’s Small-Business Tax Cut Faces Threat Of Presidential Veto


And a well-deserved veto it would be.

Holy Crap, Batman! Look at the numbers!

$46B added to the deficit in order to create 100K jobs. That’s $460,000/job. That’s likely 10 to 15 times the salary of the jobs created. There is no possibility that this would generate enough new revenues to pay for the cuts, even if the new jobs were taxed at 100%.

Cutting taxes for 22M “small” businesses to create 100K jobs means only 1 job would be created for every 220 businesses getting a tax cut – and that’s if the republican best-case scenario proves true.

Official portrait of Congressman .

Official portrait of Congressman . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think that Eric Cantor and I have radically different definitions of “potent economic stimulus”. This is designed to be incredibly inefficient, ineffective, and wasteful as a “jobs” program.

Could the lies be any more blatant? Promoting this as a “jobs” bill is an insult to the intelligence of every American, and a clear demonstration that republicans are fiscally irresponsible in ideology and practice. After all, they can blame President Obama for not signing it, or the Senate Democrats for not passing it, and never face responsibility for passing it. I expect them to accuse the Democrats of playing politics in stopping this moment of insanity.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

April 19, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Budget, Economics, Ethics, GOP, Legislation | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Susan G. Komen Hires Consulting Firm To Assess Damage To Reputation


Damage control? How about a little introspection and root cause analysis. I’ll help you get started:

  • You put a political activist in a position of authority.
  • You let her use SGK for political purposes, attacking women’s health.
  • You offered excuses that were not credible.
  • You only took corrective action when that didn’t work.

You broke a trust, which will take a lot of work over a long time to earn back.

So what do you do? You hire a PR firm stupid enough to distribute a questionnaire asking how best to play people. Their questions alone make SGK appear even more callous and disingenuous than ever. And more untrustworthy.

To quote Tank Girl:

“Now you’re workin’ my tits.”

Stop thinking like a business and start thinking like a humanitarian organization!

Modify your charter to prohibit political activism. Limit political advocacy to promoting women’s health issues.

If you want to assess damage, don’t just try to schmooze the big donors. Keep an eye on event participation levels. All your support begins at ground level. If you lose the feet on the ground, well, don’t think you’re irreplaceable.

My answer to your questionnaire. Now go learn to be a conservatism survivor.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Ethics, Health Care | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sen. Mike Lee Vows To Block Obama Nominees


Mike Lee went ballistic over President Obama’s recess appointments in January. This is how someone who believed in presumption of innocence might have worded it:

Senator Mike Lee formally responded to the President’s (allegedly) unconstitutional recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In a statement delivered at a Judiciary Committee business meeting, Lee outlined the (allegedly) unconstitutional nature of the appointments and criticized the justification offered by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

“President Obama used (in Lee’s opinion) deeply flawed legal reasoning to circumvent the Constitution’s clear requirement that the Senate must be in (official) recess in order to make such appointments,” said Sen. Lee. “The President’s assertion that he (the Office of Legal Counsel) may unilaterally determine for himself (the administrative branch of government) whether or not the Senate is in recess (allegedly) violates the Constitution’s fundamental separation of government powers and the Senate’s rightful prerogatives.”

“Although some Senate Democrats claim prior ‘obstruction’ of nominees during this Congress, in reality Senate Republicans have willingly allowed the overwhelming majority of the President’s nominations to pass through the Judiciary Committee with little controversy and receive an up or down vote on the floor.”

Passing a nominee out of committee does not necessarily mean that the nominee got an up-or-down vote.

Getting nominees confirmed has proved a challenge for the administration. A recent report from the Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington said the federal judiciary had had more than 750 days with at least 80 vacancies on the federal bench, which adds to the workload of an already overburdened judiciary.

“Never before has the number of vacancies risen so sharply and remained so high for so long during a president’s term,” wrote the group, which noted that all presidents come into office with a backlog that gets worked down more quickly over time.

Judicial nominations have been a source of escalating conflict since the fight over President Ronald Reagan’s attempt to nominate Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987. Over the years, fights have included refusals by Senate Republicans to hold hearings on Mr. Clinton’s nominees and Democratic senators filibustering nominees of Mr. Bush.

Now that conflict is just one of many in a continuing battle between Congress and the president that also includes nominations to the executive branch and efforts to pass major legislation.

While Mr. Obama was relatively slow to nominate judges earlier in his term, his team has now sped up, the group said. But Congress has been slow to confirm nominees, some of whom “go through committee without any opposition and still spend months and months waiting for a vote on the Senate floor,” said Doug Kendall, the group’s founder. “That’s never happened before, and it’s a big part of the reason the judicial vacancy problem has reached crisis proportions.”

For Obama, a Record on Diversity but Delays on Judicial Confirmations

Back to Mike Lee (NO relation):

“Given this President’s (allegedly) blatant and egregious disregard both for proper constitutional procedures and the Senate’s unquestioned role in such appointments, I find myself duty-bound to (commandeer the authority of the judiciary to determine constitutionality, ignore my “advise and consent” responsibilities under the Constitution, and) resist the consideration and approval of additional nominations until the President takes steps to ‘remedy’ the situation. Regardless of the precise course I choose to pursue, the President certainly will not continue to enjoy my nearly complete(ly imaginary) cooperation, unless and until he rescinds his (allegedly) unconstitutional recess appointments.”

Now that we’ve seen the rant, let’s look at the Constitution.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

US Const. Article II, sec 1.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

US Const. Article II, sec 2

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

US Const. Article II, sec 3

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

US Const. Article VI

“I, (name of Member), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constituti­on of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservatio­n or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
Mike Lee is only concerned with the Constituti­on when it is politicall­y advantageo­us. How many pledges of allegiance (like the Norquist pledge) did he swear to before he got to the oath of office?
  1. Lee has personally determined that these particular recess appointments are unconstitutional. He has no constitutional authority to make such a determination. His constitutional authority is limited to legislative actions, confirming specific actions of the President, and approving selected structural matters of the country. “The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” Unless he has legal standing to challenge a law in court, his only constitutional remedy is to change the law. In either event, he is obligated to support the law until it is legally determined to be improper.
  2. It is Lee’s Constitutional duty to support the “Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof”. While he has the authority to oppose specific nominees, he does not have the authority to reject the Constitutional mandate for a confirmation process.
  3. The President has a Constitutional obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”, and the obligation of a Senator to “support and defend the Constituti­on of the United States” and “bear true faith and allegiance to the same” requires him to support and enable the President to fulfill his own obligations to the Constitution.
  4. By putting his ideology ahead of his (alleged) commitment to the Constitution, he is rejecting his oath to “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office”. He has set himself up as judge, jury, and executioner for laws that offend his ideology. This is how dictators operate, not American Constitutional officers. This could easily be considered an impeachable offense. If he does not like a law, his sole Constitutional remedy is to change the law.  Congress does not have the authority to implement, or prevent the implementation of, a law.

This is an anti-constitution power grab.

Lee has made at least two oaths he clearly holds above his oath of office. His loyalties are divided. Patriotism or subversion?

Continue reading

February 4, 2012 Posted by | Constitution, Ethics, GOP, Governance, Government | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marilyn Davenport’s Racist Email Denounced By OC GOP


We have seen this before. The images were different, but the intent to denigrate was the same. The “sense of humor” was the same. And the excuses were the same. The counter-ac­cusations were the same. The pursuit of the whistle-bl­ower, the refusal to consider that they may have been wrong, the refusal to consider the possibilit­y that they should resign for the good of their cause. Pride and arrogance control them.

“I only sent it to a few people–mo­stly people I didn’t think would be upset by it.”

Admitting that there are others who think like her is not going to help their efforts to build a non-racist image. Every cause attracts it’s loons, but the honorable causes do not install their loons in positions of power or responsibi­lity – and remove them when discovered­.

Defaming President Obama is hardly the only monkey business incorporat­ed by the GOP:

SD 56 GOP web video prompts call for ouster of district chair
http://min­nesotainde­pendent.co­m/64086/jo­e-salmon-s­d-56-gop-v­ideo (The “Who let the dogs out?” scandal.)

The republican party needs to show less “family values” intoleranc­e and more respect for the rights of others and the basic social necessity of respecting human dignity.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

April 17, 2011 Posted by | Ethics, GOP | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Newt Gingrich Discusses Potential Obama Impeachment (VIDEO)



First of all, Obama clearly stated that he would continue to enforce the law – which means that Gingrich’s “Palin™” example is a complete fallacy.

Secondly, the courts have determined that DOMA is unconstitu­tional – at least in parts.

Lastly, Obama is not dropping ALL defense of DOMA. He is only dropping cases that involve weaker protection of rights for a minority group historical­ly discrimina­ted against.

“After careful considerat­ion, including a review of my recommenda­tion, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimina­tion, classifica­tions based on sexual orientatio­n should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitu­tional. Given that conclusion­, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’­s determinat­ion.”
http://www­.justice.g­ov/opa/pr/­2011/Febru­ary/11-ag-­223.html

There is nothing impeachabl­e here. Gingrich just wants to bring down the government in the grand GOP tradition of lies, fear-monge­ring, and prejudice.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 26, 2011 Posted by | Campaign Strategy, Direction, Ethics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ethics Watchdog Targets Congressional Sleepovers


One or two could be overlooked­, but dozens are another matter. Whether it is ethical or not, the facilities were not designed or intended for residence. They are squatters living on public property, on the public dime. They should be charged rent. They should be charged for additional utilities, security, and janitorial services.

They are not showing frugality, they are squanderin­g public resources for personal gain. They are also demonstrat­ing their obliviousn­ess to the consequenc­es of scaling – how the conditions change as the scale of something changes.

They should be using private sector housing instead of turning the United States Capital into a commune.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 14, 2011 Posted by | Ethics | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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