May 19, 2013, 6:00 am
Republican Representative Darrell Issa is the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee. If you know him at all, you know him as an ardent hater of the President, using his powerful committee to aggressively attack President Obama since becoming Chairman in 2009. But what you probably don’t know is who and what Issa really is.
PoliticusUSA recently gave us the skinny on Issa’s background – based on this report in January 2011 by The New Yorker – before becoming a member of Congress. And to tell the truth, it’s not pretty. However, it tells us a lot about the kind of people being elected to run our country these days.
- From his Army days, Issa claimed he was always given the “highest marks” by the Army. But that isn’t true. Issa received unsatisfactory conduct and efficiency ratings and was transferred to a supply depot. Only later did he receive high marks.
- Issa claimed he provided “security” to then President Nixon at the 1971 World Series games although Nixon never attended any of the games.
- While in the Army, Issa was arrested for car theft and indicted for grand theft. Through some legal maneuvering, the charges were dropped.
- Shortly after the car theft charges were dropped, Issa fled from an accident after he hit a 1959 Thunderbird classic driven by woman. Issa was later sued by the woman and a settlement was agreed upon.
- One month after leaving the Army, Issa was arrested and indicted for stealing another car. Ohio police arrested Issa and his older brother, William, and charged them with stealing a red Maserati from a Cleveland showroom.
- While the case for stealing the Maserati was pending, Issa was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, 44 rounds of ammunition, and a tear gas gun with two rounds of ammo. He claimed he need that to protect his car — and himself.
- In 1979 Issa’s brother, William, was arrested for using Issa’s drivers licenses to sell Darrell’s car. Darrell claimed he had left the car title in the car’s trunk. (Who does that?) The investigator believed the two had conspired to get rid of the car and then collect the insurance money.
- Issa acquired his business by loaning $60,000 to the owner of Steal Stopper, a car alarm company. When the owner was late on a payment, Issa went to court and foreclosed on the business and then called the previous owner and told him “I just took your company”.
- Shortly after the take over of Steal Stopper, Issa walked into Jack Frantz’s office, an employee, placed a box on the table and opened it to reveal a gun. Issa claimed Frantz had the box already and opened it as a threat to Issa. Issa used that incident to fire Frantz.
- Shortly after raising his insurance on his car alarm company from $100,000 to $400,000 there was a very mysterious and questionable fire that destroyed the building (An accident report on the fire matched up more with arson than it did with accidental fires). The report cited “suspicious burn patterns,” such as “two separate major areas of origin,” and it said, “No accidental source of heating power was located at either of these two major areas of origin.” Cardboard boxes appeared to have a flammable liquid poured over them, and several test concluded that that was probably the cause. Issa somehow evaded charges although there were numerous pieces of evidence suggesting that Issa planned for the fire by removing critical information, including computers, and putting irreplaceable documents in a fire proof box just prior to the fire.
- During the fire investigation, insurance authorities could not trace the money Issa used to loan to the previous owner.
- Issa blames his brother’s illegal activities for being targeted for investigations.
How’s that for the man trying to prosecute President Obama and any other Democrat for perceived illegal activities? Does this sound like an honest man to you?
May 18, 2013, 11:12 am
Some of the internal emails generated during preparation of Susan Rice’s September 2012 talking points about the deadly events at the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya were released to certain members of Congress late last year, and others revealed to Republican members this past March in a meeting with the White House. Using those emails, a report was generated by Republicans that contained excerpts from many of those emails. Then, a couple of weeks ago – with the Benghazi hearings approaching – some tea party Republicans decided to edit some of those emails / excerpts in order to support their allegations of cover-up and conspiracy and then leaked them to the news media.
Believing that the White House would never release the original emails, Republicans fed both ABC and CBS News the edited emails / excerpts last week. ABC was the first to report on the emails – without obtaining confirmation from the White House – with their Jonathan Karl going to great lengths to make it sound much worse than it was. Unfortunately for both Republicans and ABC, the White House called their bluff: Not only did they release the original emails, but they released dozens more. Results? Republicans got caught in their lies and the other emails have, for all practical purposes, stabbed their cover-up and conspiracy allegations right in the heart.
ABC is trying to figure out how to get the egg off their face, while CBS came clean with the attempted con job by Republicans.
CBS reported the discrepancy between the emails used by Republicans and those released by the White House. Mother Jones was one of the first independent agencies to report on CBS’s announcement. These were quickly followed up by other news groups. However ABC is sticking to their original story and saying, in their silence, that the original unedited emails don’t matter.
ThinkProgress has given us the easiest-to-read differences between some of the email excerpts that were edited by Republicans:
A leaked email adds new language to State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland’s email, including a specific reference to al-Qaeda:
“The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda’s presence and activities of al-Qaeda.“
The actual email read:
“The penultimate point could be abused by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings.“
A leaked email written by deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes suggests that he asked for the final draft to remove references to warnings about specific attacks, a demand made by the State Department:
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation.”
But the actual email did not mention the State Department:
“We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.”
PoliticusUSA had this to say about the edited emails: “This means that Republicans altered the emails on purpose in order to fit their narrative.” They also said the reason Republicans are refusing to allow public testimony by the co-chairs of the Benghazi report is that “their testimony does not fit the propaganda Republicans are selling.” I have no doubt that is the one and only reason.
Oddly enough, when some Republican members in Congress first saw the emails two months ago, they didn’t think anything of it. But with the Congressional hearings approaching two weeks ago, a few decided they could make hay out of the hearings by editing and releasing the emails / excerpts to the main-stream news media. As Mother Jones pointed out, “it was typical GOP overreach”.
May 16, 2013, 3:28 pm
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the new health care bill into law. 27 months later the GOP-controlled Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional. Today, 38 months after the bill was signed into law, the Republican-held House of Representatives voted for the 37th time to repeal the law. That’s an average of 1 repeal vote per month since becoming law – taking “no less than 15 percent of their time on the House floor on repeal in some way”.
So why have Republicans spent $20- $50 million of taxpayer money trying to repeal Obamacare? It’s most definitely not because it is a bad law — it’s that they can’t stand the idea that a Democratic President – especially a black man – has made life considerably better for a hundred million-plus citizens.
But the 37 repeal votes have actually worked for the GOP in many ways: “This slew of three dozen repeal votes have changed both how the Affordable Care Act works and how the public perceives it.” Furthermore 35 percent of the American people either think the law has already been repealed, aren’t sure if it has been or not, or refused to answer one way or the other. Only 59 percent know that it’s still law.
This uncertainty of whether or not Obamacare is here to stay is making “people resist them aggressively”. And the more people who steer clear of Obamacare for now, the bigger the victory for the GOP.
If the main-stream media reported as much on the positive effects of Obamacare as they do on the rhetoric, things might be different. For example, Obamacare has saved seniors more than $6 billion on prescription drugs. But you can bet your arse you’ve never heard that reported on CNN, Fox Faux, ABC, NBC, and CBS. It doesn’t serve their purpose.
As for implementation, it’s all completed except for about 15 percent of Americans. The only thing left is the implementation for those who have no health care coverage; those who either can’t afford an individual health care policy or have pre-existing conditions.
But there’s one thing we can all take to the bank: Over the next 3-plus years there will be dozens more repeal efforts by Congress — because the GOP is obsessed with repealing Obamacare.
May 13, 2013, 11:28 am
Although the Old Man has kept close tabs on the subject of climate change and the environment over the past few years, he hasn’t spent much time posting on the subject. But a new report was just released that should bring chills down our spines, including those who have been in denial of what we’re doing to our planet.
The Earth System Research Laboratory arm of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Hawaii just recorded for the first time in human history 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere; which will become the new normal by next year.
The Guardian put together an interactive chart which shows how much CO2 has risen over the past 2,000 years. But the scary part is what’s happened in just the last 60 years.
Using core samples from ice, the ESRL determined that CO2 levels stayed around 280 ppm until the mid 1800’s when a very sharp upward trend began. If you take a look at the fourth panel of the interactive chart (chart 1 below), you will get an eye-popping visual of the dramatic increase. The next panel (chart 2 below) shows the forecast by the end of this century, which is expected to reach 1,000 ppm — two and one-half times today’s level — if we don’t do something immediately.
For those who insist that the rise in CO2 is simply a cycle and we have nothing to fear, they should take a look at the sixth panel of the interactive chart (chart 3 below). For 800,000 years CO2 levels bounced around from just under 200 ppm to around 300 ppm. Therefore there can be no basis for denial: human activity has had a direct impact on the dramatic increase in CO2 levels.
So why are we refusing to address this problem? It’s simple — greed!
Fossil fuels have been in use since the mid 1800’s, which coincides with the first increases in CO2 levels. And fossil fuels are a monstrous source of revenue around the world.
Nearly 80 billion barrels of oil equivalent in fossil fuels is produced each year (chart 4 below). Of that, more than 75 billion is in crude oil (chart 5 below). The US produced 2.4 billion barrels of oil in 2012, and is expected to grow by nearly 20 percent this year. Therefore, at today’s oil prices, oil companies producing oil in the US realized more than $226 billion in revenue of the $7 trillion globally in 2012.
It’s important to note that the $226 billion mentioned above reflects gross revenues for US production alone. That does not take into account revenues earned by US oil companies operating in foreign countries. I’m certain that information could be determined should one desire to do the research, but suffice it to say that when you’re dealing in trillions of dollars each year in fossil fuel, extreme efforts will be taken to preserve that golden goose. Therefore, extreme CO2 increases caused by fossil fuels will take back seat – even if it is expected to be the major cause of the demise of the human race.
May 5, 2013, 2:18 pm
Things this past week have been pretty hectic and I’ve had little to no time to concentrate on worthwhile topics to write about. As a result, I haven’t posted anything. Furthermore, I will be out of town for the next week and will not be able to post. I should be back the week of May 13th and hopefully will be able to get back to focusing my attention on the news world and CPSN. Thanks for reading CPSN, and your patience.
The Old Man