BREAKING NEWS HEADLINES ROUNDUP
SUPREME COURT ABOUT TO DEMONSTRATE THAT IT DOESN’T “GET IT!” AGAIN!
Judging by the news from the Supreme Court’s deliberations over the conviction of former Virginia Governor, Robert McDonnell, it looks like come June, when the ruling is issued, the Justices will come down on the side of “legalism” rather than on the side of reason one more time. McDonnell – and his wife – were convicted of corruption by accepting cash, gifts, a wedding gown and vacations from a Virginia businessman in exchange for favorable treatment for the supplement his company was promoting. As with Citizen’s United where the Court didn’t understand that corporations are not “people” in the same way that you and I are "people" or in their Hobby Lobby ruling that paved the way for the current crop of anti-LGBT legislation and Kentucky’s Kim Davis continued refusal to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples based on “closely held religious beliefs,” a ruling overturning the McDonnell’s convictions will actually support corruption among public officials.
Listening to the Justices questions, you come away with the picture that unless Congressman X or Governor Y is filmed accepting a fat envelope filled with visible cash seconds before he or she signs legislation giving the cash donor what he or she is seeking, all bets are off. This pro quid pro view of corruption, i.e. there is no corruption unless there is a visible, recordable, finger print or DNA-linked proof of actions following cash payments, there is no crime. Right. Can't wait for this ruling.
One of the problems with the current eight Associate Supreme Court Justices is that they are all much-lauded, Ivy League credentialed lawyers and, therefore, seem to be so steeped in the arcane minutiae of legalese, they don’t seem to recognize when they need to step back and see larger issues and that perhaps examining the last dotted “I” and crossed “T” in the law doesn’t quite square with what actually happens out here in the real world. This was the self-same problem with their Citizen’s United ruling. In the history of the Supreme Court, the nine slots were not always filled with highly honored lawyers. No. There was a time when former Cabinet heads, businessmen, and –God forbid – famers were seated alongside their lawyerly seat-mates. I’m thinking that it might be a good idea for a return to a less legal focus when Presidents nominate folks for the Supreme Court. But, of course, this is very unlikely to happen in our lifetimes. So be prepared. In June we will hear in high flaoutin’ legal language why it is that Robert McDonnell did not actually engage in legally tenable, officially corrupt behavior. And you can take this prediction all the way to the bank.
In other, more amusing, news, there's this:
UTAH BULLDOG JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT) THREATENS TO IMPEACH IRS CHIEF
One thing I’ve noticed about House Representative and head of the House Committee on Government Operations and Reform, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), os that he is consistent. And this pretty much sums up the totality of positive traits I can think of when it comes to the good Congressman. That he is consistently a slimeball of the highest order may not be a trait he would claim for himself, but I’m happy to supply it for him. The latest work on behalf of “We The People” is his efforts to impeach current head of the IRS, Commissioner John Koskinen. Why? Well leaving grandstanding, adherence to his batshit crazy Tea Party supporters aside for a moment (Tea Party darling Ted Cruz (R-TX) won the Utah Republican Primary with 69% of the vote compared to Trump’s 16% which tells you exactly who it is that Chaffetz is grandstanding to and for) House Representative Jason Chaffetz has a rather nasty habit of mistaking propaganda for fact, an inability to discern truth from lies, and charging ahead to his partisan conclusion irrespective of what the evidence shows.
This is the guy who grilled Planned Parenthood head, Cecile Richards, for hours, presented faked evidence as proof of her and the organization's guilt, continued citing the doctored videos as evidence of selling baby parts all under the guise of a formal, Congressional Hearing while not even considering that perhaps in order to actually conduct a legitimate investigation – i.e. one that is designed to get to the bottom of things, to ferret out the truth from conflicting narratives, to figure out the facts – you really do need to hear from the other side. But apparently Chaffetz believed that only Planned Parenthood needed to be subject to his “truth quest” as opposed to also subjecting the Center for Medical Progress and David Daleiden to the same quest. It's an odd vision of what it is that Congressional investigations are actually for.
And leave it to Chaffetz to continue the fake IRS scandal that has resulted in six Congressional Hearings with no discernible results except for the reduction in the IRS’s budget. Yes. Following an 2014 FBI investigation that determined that there was no grounds to issue charges against anyone at the IRS, our Congressional representatives (Republicans) deemed it necessary to conduct hearing after hearing about the IRS “targeting” conservative 501(c) 3 and 501 (c) 4 tax exempt, charitable organizations. Nothing has come from any of the hundreds of hours of testimony and millions of tax dollars wasted. On the other hand, Congress has seen fit to cut $5 billion from the IRS budget since the fake scandal broke in 2013 as punishment for doing nothing wrong. And now, naturally, Chaffetz is livid over the decline in the IRS customer service scores. (How utterly bizarre, right?)
But never let it be said that Mr. Consistent doesn’t leap upon every opportunity to demonstrate his total dedication to his Tea Party constituents and to demonstrate how totally intellectually and ideologically corrupt he is. Representative Chaffetz has now introduced a Resolution of Impeachment against current IRS Chief, Koskinen in the House of Representatives. Yes, indeed. Let’s punish the guy who heads up the IRS for his non-crimes. Except, of course, Koskinen wasn’t head of the IRS when the so-called targeting scandal erupted into the public arena. But who cares. Facts just don’t matter to Chaffetz. At least he's consistent.
And sadly there's this:
NASA maps Zika's potential spread in the U.S.
Just yesterday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that Congress is most likely not going to be able to consider the Obama Administration’s emergency request for $1.8 to prepare and counter the spread of the Zika virus, before Congress recesses this session on July 15th not to return until September.
Meanwhile, here’s a CNN report on the Zika virus threat:
(CNN)Houston, we have a problem. It's a Zika-carrying mosquito.
OK, nobody in space is saying that. But it is true that NASA scientists have created a map to better target future search-and-destroy missions for the deadliest animal on the planet, the female Aedes aegypti mosquito. The blood-sucking females are responsible for the spread of dangerous diseases such as yellow and dengue fevers, chikungunya and now Zika.
The researchers focused their analysis on 50 cities within or near to the currently known range of the Aedes aegypti in the United States. The resulting map, newly released in the journal PLOS Currents, applies factors such as temperature, amount of rainfall, poverty levels and travel to the United States from Zika-affected areas of the world. Even more, the researchers analyzed the risk for each month in the year.
A glance quickly shows that except for the tip of Texas and a bit of Florida, including the Keys, most areas of the United States have little to no risk during the winter months. That's the time when colder temperatures and/or a lack of moisture keep mosquito eggs from hatching. Then, as rains and high temperatures begin to gather strength in the Southeast, the risk begins to rise, spreading across the South to California and up into the middle of the country.
By June, nearly all of those 50 cities "exhibit the potential for at least low-to-moderate abundance," according to the study, "and most eastern cities are suitable for moderate-to-high abundance."
NOTE: So while Congress is busy taking a vacation, “We The People” are left out in the cold, in the warmth I suppose in this case, because Congress doesn’t have the time to act on the emergency that’s facing us. And the Zika virus is no joke. It causes birth defects in babies. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has stated that the delay is due to Congress' desire to ensure that the requested funds are going to be used for the proper purpose, spent in accordance with applicable rules and regulations and is not going to be wasted on “pork” projects unrelated to stemming the spread of the Zika virus. Really? Suddenly there is this heart-felt concern over how $1.8 billion is going to be spent to stop the spread of a birth defect causing virus when no such adamant concern is voiced over how $600 billion in Defense appropriations will be spent by the military?
There could not be a better example of Republican malfeasance than this. It is criminal. Perhaps someone needs to explain to House Speaker what the term “birth defects” means.
Have a good day!