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https://plus.google.com/114865618166480775623 Russ Abbott : In an earlier post (https://goo.gl/2c4mwt) I wrote about Richard Lugar's +The New York Times column ...
In an earlier post (https://goo.gl/2c4mwt) I wrote about Richard Lugar's +The New York Times column saying that of course Obama can prioritize immigration deportation. The case that triggered this column was heard by the SCOTUS today. It seems the issue isn't quite whether Obama has the authority to prioritize but whether he has authority to declare the people whose deportation priority he wants to reduce to be "legally present," as he is now doing.

Solicitor General Verrilli argued that the president doesn’t actually need to insist that the undocumented persons are “lawfully present,” as the executive order states. "We are not trying to change anybody's legal status," Verrilli said. "If the court thinks it's a problem and wants to put a red pencil through it, it's totally ….fine. Really." All Obama needed to do, he asserted, was to defer deportation of the immigrants in question.

Verrilli's gamble placed Texas in a difficult position. Keller, representing the state, all but admitted that the president could choose to tell parents of children born in the U.S. that they were low priority for deportation, and even give them a document that says so. But he stuck with his insistence that the executive order was unconstitutional because it would change the legal status of the undocumented parents to lawfully present -- an action he said exceeded presidential authority.

But if the executive order doesn’t actually change the person's legal status, and instead just defers deporting them, then there’s nothing unconstitutional about it. Roberts seemed open to this argument.
Who Cares If They're Legal?
Just don't send them back. That gives the Supreme Court an easy out on Obama's immigration plan.
10 days ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/114865618166480775623 Russ Abbott : Richard Lugar, former Republican Senator from Indiana, writes that Obama's immigration policy is consistent...
Richard Lugar, former Republican Senator from Indiana, writes that Obama's immigration policy is consistent with those of past presidents and approaches  an optimal state-friendly federal immigration policy.

President Obama ... has operated under longstanding provisions of law that give the executive branch discretion in enforcement. This presidential prerogative has been recognized explicitly by the Supreme Court. Moreover, the nature of immigration enforcement and the resources (or lack thereof) appropriated by Congress necessitate exactly the type of choices that the president has made.

The 2002 law creating the Department of Homeland Security explicitly said the executive should set “national immigration enforcement policies and priorities.” The Supreme Court has recognized the leeway Congress gives the executive branch in deportations. In a 2012 majority opinion written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the court noted that “a principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials,” including the decision “whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all.” ...

In 1990, for example, under President George H.W. Bush, the immigration service, relying in part on authority dating from the Reagan administration, offered extended voluntary departure and work authorization to the spouses and children of aliens who had previously been granted legal status.

From [the Republican] howls of outrage, you wouldn’t know that the Obama administration has vastly exceeded the deportations under President George W. Bush. And Mr. Bush vastly exceeded those of President Clinton. President Obama’s directives to focus enforcement efforts on those who have committed crimes in the United States and recent border crossers are a rational executive prioritization, given the resources and the realities.

These facts undercut Texas’s argument that it is unduly burdened by the president’s decisions. With deportations aimed at criminals and new border crossers, we would seem close to an optimal state-friendly federal immigration policy.
On Immigration, Law Is on Obama’s Side - The New York Times
The president has operated under longstanding provisions of law that give the executive branch discretion in enforcement.
10 days ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/115751985982972246887 George Mattathil : Type 2 diabetes affects more than 30 million Americans and kills two of them every five minutes. That’s...
Type 2 diabetes affects more than 30 million Americans and kills two of them every five minutes. That’s why Sen. Franken—a member of the Senate Health Committee—teamed up with Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) to establish the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP),…
Minnesota Daily: Save money, lives with prevention | Al Franken | Senator for Minnesota
Type 2 diabetes affects more than 30 million Americans and kills two of them every five minutes. That’s why Sen. Franken—a member of the Senate Health Committee—teamed up with Sen. Richard Lu…
23 days ago - Via - View -
https://plus.google.com/116418716601365816364 Thorvald ver Jarlsson II : Today is Monday, April 4, the 95th day of 2016. There are 271 days left in the year. Today's Highlight...
Today is Monday, April 4, the 95th day of 2016. There are 271 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot and killed while standing on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

On this date:

In 1818, Congress decided the flag of the United States would consist of 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars, with a new star to be added for every new state of the Union.

In 1841, President William Henry Harrison succumbed to pneumonia one month after his inaugural, becoming the first U.S. chief executive to die in office.

In 1850, the city of Los Angeles was incorporated.

In 1859, "Dixie" was performed publicly for the first time by Bryant's Minstrels at Mechanics' Hall in New York.

In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln, accompanied by his son Tad, visited the vanquished Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, where he was greeted by a crowd that included former slaves.

In 1933, the Navy airship USS Akron crashed in severe weather off the New Jersey coast with the loss of 73 lives.

In 1949, 12 nations, including the United States, signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, D.C.

In 1958, Johnny Stompanato, an enforcer for crime boss Mickey Cohen and the boyfriend of actress Lana Turner, was stabbed to death by Turner's teenage daughter, Cheryl Crane, who said Stompanato had attacked her mother.

In 1975, more than 130 people, most of them children, were killed when a U.S. Air Force transport plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans crash-landed shortly after takeoff from Saigon. Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In 1976, the film "All the President's Men," starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, had its world premiere in Washington, D.C.

In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage. (It was destroyed in the disaster of Jan. 1986.)

In 1991, Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., and six other people, including two children, were killed when a helicopter collided with Heinz's plane over a schoolyard in Merion, Pennsylvania.

Ten years ago: The Iraq tribunal announced new criminal charges against Saddam Hussein and six others, accusing them of genocide and crimes against humanity stemming from a 1980s crackdown against Kurds. Denis Donaldson, a former Sinn Fein (shin fayn) official recently exposed as a British spy, was found fatally shot at his home in County Donegal, Ireland. Maryland beat Duke, 78-75, in overtime to win its first NCAA women's basketball title.

Five years ago: Yielding to political opposition, the Obama administration gave up on trying avowed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators in civilian federal courts and said it would prosecute them instead before military commissions. President Barack Obama's campaign announced in a web video that he would run for re-election in 2012. The Connecticut Huskies beat the Butler Bulldogs 53-41 for the NCAA men's basketball title. Dennis Rodman, Chris Mullin, Artis Gilmore, Arvydas Sabonis, Olympic gold medalist Teresa Edwards, Harlem Globetrotter Reece "Goose" Tatum and Boston Celtic Tom "Satch" Sanders were elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

One year ago: In North Charleston, South Carolina, Walter Scott, a 50-year-old black motorist, was shot to death while running away from a traffic stop; Officer Michael Thomas Slager, seen in a cellphone video opening fire at Scott, has been charged with murder. More than 300 enslaved migrant fishermen, mostly from Myanmar, were brought to freedom by an Indonesia delegation following a dramatic rescue from a remote island that was the result of an Associated Press investigation. The United States defended their women's world hockey championship with a 7-5 win over Canada in Malmo, Sweden. Jenny Wallenda, 87, the matriarch of the famous family of high-flying circus performers, died in Sarasota, Florida.

Today's Birthdays: Former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is 84. Recording executive Clive Davis is 84. Bandleader Hugh Masekela is 77. Author Kitty Kelley is 74. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 72. Actor Walter Charles is 71. Actress Christine Lahti is 66. Country singer Steve Gatlin (The Gatlin Brothers) is 65. Actress Mary-Margaret Humes is 62. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 60. Actress Constance Shulman (TV: "Orange is the New Black") is 58. Actor Phil Morris is 57. Actress Lorraine Toussaint is 56. Actor Hugo Weaving is 56. Rock musician Craig Adams (The Cult) is 54. Talk show host/comic Graham Norton is 53. Actor David Cross is 52. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 51. Actress Nancy McKeon is 50. Actor Barry Pepper is 46. Country singer Clay Davidson is 45. Rock singer Josh Todd (Buckcherry) is 45. Singer Jill Scott is 44. Rock musician Magnus Sveningsson (The Cardigans) is 44. Magician David Blaine is 43. Singer Kelly Price is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Andre Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 42. Country musician Josh McSwain (Parmalee) is 41. Actor James Roday is 40. Actress Natasha Lyonne is 37. Actor Eric Andre is 33. Actress Amanda Righetti is 33. Actress-singer Jamie Lynn Spears is 25. Actress Daniela Bobadilla is 23. Pop singer Austin Mahone (muh-HOHN') is 20.

Thought for Today: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King Junior (1929-1968).

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/H/HISTORY?SITE=ILBLO&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT#9d4f861d-8a62-4090-8e42-f278b15f54f7
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-aV0juhEYtkg/VwM1dWoi8QI/AAAAAAAAE4k/CF-zIN5GGF47YzjuOGFG4nwstOZdvq0Gg/w506-h750/America%2B399%2BMartin%2BLuther%2BKing%2BJr.jpg
24 days ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/111099848984836759756 Robert Weil : BEST LETTER EVER? Richard North Patterson’s “Open Letter to My (His) Republican Friends” on HuffPo (...
BEST LETTER EVER?
Richard North Patterson’s “Open Letter to My (His) Republican Friends” on HuffPo (3/22/16)

Dear Cherished Friends,
The Republican Party has become intellectually and morally bankrupt, a mockery of its traditions — corrosive to our society, our civility, and our capacity to govern. This is not a temporary condition; it is woven into the fabric of the party. Unless and until it reverses course, you should take your votes and money and walk away.

I never thought I would presume to say this. I respect that your allegiance is rooted in considered beliefs and years of loyalty which, at the beginning of my political journey, I shared. I certainly don’t think I have all the answers, and I enjoy exploring our differences. You inform me, correct me and, most generously, tolerate me. You care, as do I, about the world we are leaving the next generations.

Our friendship far transcends our political beliefs. We share each other’s celebrations, enjoy each other’s successes. I value your advice. You’ve helped me through hard times, and some of you have helped my kids as well. You are loyal friends, generous members of the community, and deeply committed parents and grandparents. My world, and the larger world, would be a grayer place without you.

Knowing you as I do, I know that you are troubled by the direction of your party. Little wonder — you are mainstream Republicans whose mainstream has run dry. But I also accept that, for you, the Democrats may not be the answer — that you see them as feckless devotees of identity politics and too much government, don’t trust Hillary Clinton, and believe that Bernie Sanders would drive us off the fiscal cliff. I’m not writing to quarrel with these beliefs. Nor do I suggest that unchallenged dominance by the Democrats would serve the country well.

But to compare the two parties at this time in our history is to indulge in false equivalency.
For rationalizing the GOP’s pathology by responding with a partisan tit-for-tat is not adequate to the circumstances. The sins you perceive in Democrats are the usual ones — misguided policies, ill chosen means for dubious ends, and the normal complement of rhetorical dishonesty and political squalor. However mistaken you may find Clinton and Sanders on the issues, their debate is addressed to the world as it exists and therefore open to a sensible critique. The squalor to which the GOP has sunk, an alternate reality rooted in anger and mendacity, transcends mere differences in policy, threatening the country with profound, perhaps irreparable, damage.

This is not simply about Donald Trump. For Trump is not the result of forces which will come and go, but of a deterioration within the Republican Party that has been accelerating for years. The GOP has become a Frankenstein monster, assembled from dysfunction, demagoguery, myopia and myth, nurtured in a fever swamp where lies and hysteria kill off reason. Nothing better will arise until you help drive a stake through its heart.

One of our ongoing disagreements has been about the nature of the party, and where you fit within it. With respect to GOP extrem-ism in areas like climate denial, gun violence or reproductive rights, you often say, “but I’m not like that.” But the party is. You may be moderate in your views; the party is not. Even candidates with temperate instincts must go along to survive, or meet the fate of Jon Huntsman, mocked for publicly accepting climate change and evolution.

Long since, the GOP killed its moderates and trashed everything they stood for. It has replaced respected figures like William Cohen, Richard Lugar and John Danforth with rigid ideologues like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, and social illiterates like James Inhofe, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby. On issue after issue, they have embraced an orthodoxy rooted in extremism and divorced from fact. These dynamics forced Mitt Romney to win the nomination by running so far right that he could never get back. And what was the lesson learned among the party base? That Romney was not nearly extreme enough.

In short, the Republican Party no longer belongs to you, or you in it. 2016 has proven the point.

I saw this coming not because I’m uniquely prescient, but because I began writing reality-based political novels 20 years ago. I hung around with party pros, consultants, lobbyists, donors, pollsters, officeholders and political partisans, some of whom became my friends. Bit by bit, I saw the party sell out its agenda for short-term gains with disastrous long-term consequences. Eventually the GOP’s train wreck became inevitable — no longer a matter of if, but when.

How did this happen? Start with the relationship between the party establishment and its base. Your family, and mine, occupy a privileged slice of American society. Not so for most members of the GOP electorate. They are folks that few of us know very well: evangelicals; modestly educated whites threatened by economic dislocation; and people whose distrust of government partakes of paranoia.

Economically, they are not natural allies of the party of business or its wealthy donors, who tend to focus on tax cuts and free-market principles irrelevant to the base. So in exchange for pursuing its economic agenda, the party offered evangelicals a faith-based vision of America: barring abortion, banning gay marriage, and giving government preferences to fundamentalist religious institutions. Why should business people care, the reasoning went, when we can rally these voters with promises which, however illusory, cost us nothing?

But as “promise keepers,” the party failed its fundamentalist flock. Abortion remains legal; gay marriage became a right; the constitution prevents government from enshrining religious preferences as law. So there was nothing to stop evangelicals from noticing that their own lives were often harder and less secure.
Ditto other members of the middle and working classes. The real causes of their woes are globalization, the Great Recession, the housing crisis, and an information society which marginalizes blue-collar jobs. But the GOP never addressed these complex forces with any kind of candor — let alone proposed solutions like job retraining and educational access for their kids.

Barren of ideas for helping its base voters, it resorted to blame-shifting and scapegoating — of government, Obama, illegal immigrants, Muslims and other minorities. Instead of looking forward, the party indulged a primal nostalgia for simpler times, an imaginary white folks’ paradise which can never be resurrected.
“Typical was the establishment’s darling, Marco Rubio, who claimed that Obama was not simply wrong, but trying to destroy America as we know it. Republican politics became not faith-based, but hate-based.”

Some of this was shameful. The GOP countenanced a race-based birtherism directed at our first black president, giving Donald Trump a political foothold. It nurtured xenophobia that targeted all Muslims at home and abroad. It pretended that illegal immigrants were poisoning our economy. It aped the mindless masters of talk radio and trafficked in conspiracy theories. It embraced Tea Party dead-enders who claimed that shutting down the government, at whatever cost, was the only answer.

In Congress, the party resolved to deny Obama reelection by grinding the legislative process to a halt, then blaming him for gridlock as if its tactics played no role. Political polarization polluted foreign-policy — as when all 300 Republicans in Congress turned the Iran deal into a political wedge issue, shunning the careful consideration it deserved in favor of shrill and simple-minded denunciations. In the world of the GOP, our many and complex problems had but one misbegotten cause: that Barack Obama was president.

So-called mainstream Republicans competed to fan the flames of outrage, poisoning political discourse. Typical was the establish-ment’s darling, Marco Rubio, who claimed that Obama was not simply wrong, but trying to destroy America as we know it. Republican politics became not faith-based, but hate-based.
For the Republican base, nothing changed.

Except, of course, their rising anger, stoked by yet more empty and diversionary anti-Washington rhetoric that only deepened their sense of impotence. Focused on the donor class, party leaders charged the Democrats with “class warfare” against the less than embattled rich, while still failing to acknowledge through substantive policies the very real struggles of its rank-and-file. The election in 2014 of yet more Republican senators and congress-men made no difference in the lives of the people who supported them.

Not unreasonably, the base came to believe that our governmental and financial institutions — including the Republican Party — were controlled by an elite that was indifferent to their plight. And so demagogues like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz became the agents of their frustration and despair. Like the sorcerer’s apprentice, the party lost control.

Among the casualties was the agenda most dear to the Republican establishment. Its insensitivity to the base has eroded support for free trade. Despite its claims of fiscal probity, the GOP continued its meretricious complaints about deficit spending — for which, as ever, it blamed the Democrats’ self-serving rhetoric about pro-tecting Social Security and Medicare — while proposing tax cuts for the wealthy that would explode the national debt. And consider this: How do tax cuts at the top benefit the struggling middle and working classes? And wouldn’t slashing or privatizing Social Security further threaten their fragile place in our society?
But set aside the party’s disingenuousness with respect to the economic and fiscal concerns that, in many cases, have gained it your allegiance. In other important areas the party has abandoned serious thought. Instead, the alternate reality of the GOP has created a closed intellectual system immune to fact or reason, imposing a mindless political fundamentalism on its candidates which no reflective person, least of all you, can any longer support.
Here is the fact-free theology one supports every time one votes for a Republican candidate for president, senator or representative:

* Climate denial. In the anti-science world of the GOP, man-made global warming is a hoax — just ask Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. This is one of many areas where the party perpetuates ignorance among its base, separating them from the populace at large. In a recent Gallup poll asking if human activity was a factor in climate change, a 85 % of Democrats and 68 % of independents answered yes. Republicans? Only 38 %. Faced with overwhelming scientific consensus, the party will not even consider how to combat this existential menace.

* Denial of evolution and general scientific knowledge. I know you can’t believe this, but a Pew Research poll showed that over 50 percent of Republican voters don’t accept the theory of evolution. When the core of the party thinks that The Flintstones was a documentary — and none of its presidential candidates dare say otherwise — the broader implications for policies rooted in scientific inquiry are disturbing. Hence people like Trump who profit by suggesting that vaccination engenders autism.

* Gun violence. The GOP slavishly follows the NRA line. It has opposed any effort to curb gun violence, hiding behind paranoid nonsense about disarming all Americans. Its only answer to our unique and devastating mass slaughter is that more Americans should carry guns — quite literally, that the black churchgoers in Charleston mowed down by a madman should have brought weapons to their place of worship.

* Racism. Given that all of you deplore it, I can feel you bridling. But the troubling signs proliferate. Voter suppression laws aimed at minorities in states where no evidence of fraud exists.

* Scapegoating American Muslims — many of whom have more experience defending our country than any of us — as potential terrorists. Targeting illegal immigrants whose presence owes as much to American business interests as to their own desperation.

* Want more? Ignoring the glaring evidence of unequal law enforcement against blacks which, in some cases, includes unjustified police shootings. Upholding a death penalty that disproportionately targets minorities and the poor — not a few of whom turn out to be innocent.

* And still more? Gutting programs that seek to recognize the impact of race and class, often because they are deemed “unfair” to far more advantaged whites. Tolerating a relentless disparage-ment of our president that reeks of racism — imagine, if you will, the outcry if a black congressman had shouted “liar” at George W. Bush during a State of the Union Address. The party which claims to be “race-blind” has become blind to its own tacit bigotry.

* Curbing reproductive rights. Protected by Roe v. Wade and our own privilege, it is easy for us to ignore what the GOP is doing beyond our field of vision — our daughters, after all, have access to safe and legal abortion and any form of birth control they need. But this is not so in America at large, where Republican legislatures and the Congress are working overtime to limit access to abortion and reproductive care, often at great cost to women and their families.

The GOP’s senseless war on Planned Parenthood is only part of it. How many of us know that, due to draconian laws sponsored by Republicans, 90 percent of American counties have no legal abortion provider? How many of us have stopped to consider that no healthy family needs GOP-sponsored parental consent laws, which in authoritarian, abusive and incestuous families can lead to the murder of a daughter?

All this is central to the rigid orthodoxy that Republican presidents and legislators will be forced to follow, now and in the future. Mitt Romney did; Marco Rubio has; Paul Ryan will. No matter how personally attractive, no candidate will change this party until forces outside the party make dramatic change imperative.

I appreciate that this conclusion is depressing. No doubt many of you will object to some aspect of my indictment. Fair enough. But I doubt that you are much inclined to dispute most of its particulars — if only because you’ve acknowledged them yourselves.

And there are still more issues to consider. Why hasn’t the GOP made creative efforts to confront the problems of middle-class and working people — many of whom have now turned to Donald Trump — seeking solutions that are consistent with its philosophy? Are we squandering the talents of our young people by saddling them with prohibitive student debt, cheating our society in the bargain? Are we stifling struggling families by not trying to retrain their breadwinners?

For that matter, what sense does this phony war on Obamacare make when the GOP offered no alternatives — even to deal with pre-existing conditions or the ruinous effects of catastrophic illness? When did the GOP stop caring — I mean really caring, not offering bromides about liberating the engines of free enterprise — about the everyday life of citizens who are falling behind?
One can debate the best policies and solutions for all this — and we should. But the GOP has utterly abdicated its responsibility to participate in reasoned governance, and so given us Donald Trump.

Trump’s policies, such as they may be, are a disastrous expression of bottled up resentment among the base, a blind lashing out at all they feel besets them. Again and again, he offers phony and dangerous prescriptions that betray his complete ignorance of the most basic rudiments of governance, economics, domestic policy, and national security. He caters to racial antagonism, spreading its toxins in the party and the country as a whole. As a man, he is an intellectually vacant and self-obsessed misogynist clearly in the grips of a profound personality disorder which makes him unfit to lead. He is not simply a disgrace to the party, but a product of all that disgraces it.

And yet it is not Donald Trump who best captures the party’s sickness. It is that the only possible alternative in the GOP as it exists is not John Kasich, but Ted Cruz.

Indeed, Cruz expresses the disease in its purest form. He is gratuit-ously cruel in his comments about others — who can forget his deathless assertion that, in debate, “Mitt Romney French-kissed Barack Obama.” He uses his own GOP colleagues as targets for lies, slander and smears. He panders to hatred and suspicion of all Muslims. He casts his irresponsible grandstanding — like trying to shut down the government — as lonely heroics. He denies climate change and compares himself to Galileo. He wallows in fake piety while perpetrating dirty tricks. He demonizes disagreement and lies without compunction. He shows no real empathy for anyone.
His campaign appeals to fear, not hope. His transcendent cal-culation is repellent; his apocalyptic and nihilistic “conservatism” exists solely to slake his craving for power. His coalition is evan-gelicals, gun fanatics, nativists, climate deniers and Tea Party atavists — and even many of his ideological allies despise him. He is Joseph McCarthy reborn, a man without conscience, willing to say anything. Choosing between Trump and Cruz depends on whose personal and political pathology you fear most.

I can’t imagine you will ever make such a choice. That this is the only choice you have makes it imperative to leave the GOP.

I’m not urging you to become Democrats. I’m not even trying to win an argument. I simply want our political arguments to make sense in the world of reality, the better to move our country forward with the goodwill and considered judgment required by these challenging times.

So what I profoundly hope is that, collectively, you will abandon the Republican Party until it becomes worthy of the country we love in common. Because, in the end, a big chunk of our common future may depend on you.

With abiding friendship,
Ric

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-north-patterson/an-open-letter-to-my-repu_b_9497274.html
An Open Letter to My Republican Friends
Dear Cherished Friends, The Republican Party has become intellectually and morally bankrupt, a mockery of its traditions -- corrosive to our society, ...
1 month ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/105673967397860618997 C Scott : “[W]e do not believe that it is wrong for members to have partisan bills in their portfolio of co-sponsorships...
“[W]e do not believe that it is wrong for members to have partisan bills in their portfolio of co-sponsorships,” writes the former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, whose eponymous Lugar Center co-produces the rankings, in an online explanation. He goes on: “Nor do we believe that all bipartisan bills are wisely written and considered. However, a consistently low score on this index will be a very strong indication that a legislator is viewing his or her duties through a partisan lens.” (Elsewhere the creators use even stronger language: A really low score shows “a member is giving little thought to working with the other party when he or she introduces bills and makes co-sponsorship decisions.”)
The Most Partisan Members of the Senate Are Also Top Presidential Candidates
A new ranking of senators’ bipartisan work dovetails with popular notions of their candidacies and personalities.
1 month ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/118167652368291179725 fran farrell : The current Secretary of Defense was the agent of Senators Sam Nunn (GA) and Richard Lugar (IN) who ...
The current Secretary of Defense was the agent of Senators Sam Nunn (GA) and Richard Lugar (IN) who saved Russian Science and Engineering from selling off their arsenal to whomever.

Deals off!  Now that Putin wants to renew the cold war he can fund russian engineering (lowercase intended)  on roubles.
SES-9 was launched successful into space aboard Spacex's Falcon 9 - News Independent
SES’ most recent communication satellite SES-9 was launched into space while piggybacking SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from its launching pad in the
1 month ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/106328269794946411385 The News Club : #TheNewsClub GOP standing firm on SCOTUS blockade: The GOP has rallied around Senate Majority Leader...
#TheNewsClub GOP standing firm on SCOTUS blockade: The GOP has rallied around Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal to even hold hearings on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, despite Democratic accusations of obstructionism and some Republican fretting that there could be pitfalls to a blockade. Top party strategists maintain McConnell made the right play, even though a growing chunk of polling data shows independents aren't feeling much love for the GOP's stance. That political pressure is only going to increase, not to mention the election-year stakes, with Obama expected to submit a nominee to fill Antonin Scalia's seat as early this week. “I don’t know that Senate Republicans have a choice,” said GOP pollster Glen Bolger. “If they rolled over and gave a vote, I think it would discourage the Republican base.” And as for those independents, Bolger added, “Most swing voters don’t make decisions based on the Supreme Court.” That’s all the more reason, strategists say, to deny Democrats the chance to prolong the debate with confirmation hearings, even if the nominee would ultimately lose a vote. “You can’t even validate the president’s desire to put somebody up,” said Rick Wilson, a longtime Republican operative now at the center of the #NeverTrump movement. “You have to have no daylight on this thing, no way for anybody to break, no way for anybody to suddenly decide that they’re not going to hold the line.” McConnell is showing the base — which hasn’t exactly been enamored with the GOP establishment, as the rise of Donald Trump shows — that he is “serious about the last great battle with Barack Obama, the last great battle with a man who has abused the Constitution and would like to leave a lasting legacy, a lasting stain on the court,” Wilson said. That's not to say that all Republicans are completely comfortable outright denying Obama his pick before he's even made it. "My attitude, particularly on the Supreme Court, was that elections do have consequences, sometimes bad, and I tried to lean towards being supportive of the president's nominees, Democrat or Republican," former Sen. Trent Lott told former Obama adviser David Axelrod on “The Axe Files” podcast posted Monday. "Was it wise to jump out there the way [McConnell] did? You know, time will tell." Other moderate GOP Senate alumni, including Olympia Snowe and Richard Lugar, have also called for a vote, as have current Sens. Susan Collins (R-Me.) and, notably, Mark Kirk of Illinois, who's facing a stiff reelection challenge this fall. Republican senators are feeling some pressure at home. Each day brings a new round of scoldings from hometown paper editorial boards. Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, has been pumping out swing-state polls showing the issue could hurt Kirk in Illinois as well as Sens. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, and Ron Johnson in Wisconsin. On Friday, PPP released polls showing McConnell's strategy is not playing well in redder states, with strong majorities of voters in Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina and Missouri favoring the Senate to at least consider Obama’s nominee. In Arizona, 61 percent of independents said they were less likely to vote for Sen. John McCain because of the Republicans’ stance. GOP strategists just aren’t buying it. “This hasn’t been a debate in the campaign as of yet, and as more people stop and think about it, as it becomes an issue, it’s only going to help,” said Sean Noble, a Republican operative in Arizona. “Independents right now have an unfavorable view of Obama, and just for that fact alone McCain is in very safe territory saying it should wait.” After some early wobbling, most other Republican senators have come around to this line of thinking, People like Johnson and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, who seemed to at least entertain the notion of hearings, are now toeing a hard line on waiting until 2017. And lest they start to feel insecure again, they can expect lots of backup once Obama actually chooses someone. One Nation, a Senate-focused offshoot of American Crossroads headed up by former McConnell chief-of-staff Steven Law, is planning to highlight the Supreme Court issue for the next several months, said Ian Prior, a spokesman for both groups. And once the nominee is actually named, Republicans are gearing up to cast that person as a political partisan not only based on his or her record and highlight how a rebalanced court could remake the country and affect individual states. “I think it’s a tough approach for the party to take given the mood of the country, the expectations that I think a lot of Americans will have regarding the court and the big issues it has to tackle,” said former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said in an interview Friday. “I think they’d like it to be a fair process.” Steele worried the issue would be a “whipping post” in states like New Hampshire, Illinois and Pennsylvania. Wilson said that Beltway institutionalists should get over themselves. “This is a Washington and New York media bubble issue that they’ve convinced themselves is important,” he said. “I’s not going to be an issue that is front and center to voters this fall.” http://tnc.news/KjlmGj
GOP standing firm on SCOTUS blockade
Top party strategists maintain McConnell made the right play.
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https://plus.google.com/117264087495225177415 Nicholae Cline : "During Hillary Clinton’s 2009 Senate confirmation hearings, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., urged the Clinton...
"During Hillary Clinton’s 2009 Senate confirmation hearings, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., urged the Clinton Foundation to “forswear” accepting contributions from governments abroad. “Foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state,” he said. The Clintons did not take Lugar’s advice. In light of the weapons deals flowing to Clinton Foundation donors, advocates for limits on the influence of money on government action now argue that Lugar was prescient in his concerns."
Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton's State Department
Under Hillary Clinton, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments had given millions to the Clinton Foundation.
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https://plus.google.com/111767368508573041020 College of Nursing and Health Professions at USI : USI will present a moderated conversation with Sen Richard Lugar and Congressman Lee Hamilton at 6:30...
USI will present a moderated conversation with Sen Richard Lugar and Congressman Lee Hamilton at 6:30 pm March 23
Lugar, Hamilton to discuss “Civility in American Politics” at USI - University of Southern Indiana
The University of Southern Indiana will present a moderated conversation with Senator Richard G. Lugar and Congressman Lee H. Hamilton at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 in Carter Hall in University Center West. The event is being offered at no charge and is open to the public.
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https://plus.google.com/110609868731574112890 ali redford : >November 28, 1891 >The National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (now International, the IBEW) was...
>November 28, 1891
>The National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (now International, the IBEW) was founded when 10 men met at Stolley’s Dance Hall in St. Louis, Missouri. Their goal: the joining together of electricians in a common organization to make a better life for all.<

>November 28, 1905
>The political party Sinn Fein (meaning “we ourselves” in Gaelic) was founded in Dublin by Irish nationalist Arthur Griffith. Its objective was to end British rule in Ireland and seek national self-determination as a sovereign state.<

>November 28, 1991
>The U.S. Congress passed the Comprehensive Threat Reduction Act (the Nunn-Lugar legislation), which provided up to $400 million to assist with the destruction of Soviet nuclear and chemical warheads. 
The legislation was initiated by Senator Sam Nunn (D-Georgia) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana).<
peace history november
Susan B. Anthony and her three sisters entered a voter registration office set up in a barbershop. They were part of a group of fifty women Anthony had organized to register in her home town of Rochester. Anthony walked directly to the election inspectors and, as one of the inspectors would ...
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https://plus.google.com/100454976275012856323 Marian's Adult Programs at Marian University : RSVP today to hear former State Senator Richard Lugar speak on "American and the World," at Marian University...
RSVP today to hear former State Senator Richard Lugar speak on "American and the World," at Marian University December 6, 7-8 p.m.
http://buff.ly/1SVOsHy
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https://plus.google.com/100773369107430497295 Dom Vargas : November 21, 2012 Subject: America, this is the criteria for a veteran to file for disability. A ...
November 21, 2012

Subject:

America, this is the criteria for a veteran to file for disability.

     A letter was sent to Indianapolis V.A. regional office dated November 23, 1977 explaining that I was denied service connection for a back condition because not incurred in or aggravated by military service. The decision was upheld by the Board of Veteran Appeals decision of November 23, 1997 and October 5, 1994.
     They need new evidence from me to reopen the claim. It must show that conditions happened during service.  A diagnosis made within one year from the date of my discharge may satisfy this requirement. I may submit the evidence at any time.
      


The issue that I have is whether I was treated fairly in my pursuit of a disability and compensation.  I am informing the Veterans Affairs (VA) of my intention to prove I was denied the right to file a claim when I was discharged from the Army in 1971.  The VA used its office to fight me any way it could.  The only way I was able to get the right to file my claim was by contacting Senator Birch Bayh, which the VA frowned upon.  This happened in 1974.  It was spread throughout the VA from Indianapolis to Washington D.C. that their office would not offer me any help for my disability.  Nor would I receive any compensation for my injury.  It was diagnosed in 1967, in Vietnam, by an Army doctor.  I have a few medical records that prove this claim and the allegations that I am making.  Here are just a few issues that have happened to me over the years: 

1. The VA will say I did not file an appeal in 1977 and 1994.  Why should I have to file an appeal when I had symptoms in 1967, while in Vietnam, and the VA failed to recognize them?  I have a service-connected disability.  The appeal's process is a trap, which I was forced into.

2. I took my VA medical records, from Vietnam 1967, to Dr. Scott Walker, an outside medical doctor.  I also provided Dr. Walker with a copy of my (magnetic resonance imaging) MRI, completed by the VA hospital in 1995.  With my documentation, he provided his diagnosis as follows:  “I reviewed a medical record from March 1967 in which the patient was diagnosed with paresthesia of the left foot.  At that time, numbness located around the lateral malleolus was described.  An entry in the medical records from April 17, 1967 revealed persistent numbness in the left distal lateral leg, ankle, and foot including a small diagram of the area of numbness.”  He went on to say, when he evaluated me in 1997, I told him about the numbness in my left foot.  After Dr. Walker reviewed my MRI, which was completed by the VA in 1995, he stated, “There were some changes in the L4 dermatome upon examination.” This was consistent with my medical records from 1967 in Vietnam.  This is just one of several opinions I have from outside doctors.  My medical records were ignored by the VA, but Dr. Walker's letter is how I received my disability after 30 years of trying.  I requested an exam with the VA medical center in Marion, Indiana on December 3, 2012.  The doctor was asked to describe the history including onset and course of the “my peripheral nerve condition.”  The diagnoses states the veteran was diagnosed with paresthesia in 1967 in Vietnam.  The outcome was the VA assigned a 20% evaluation for my right lower extremity and 20% for my left lower extremity.  The VA, like me, knew in 1971 I had some type of injury from the service.  It took this long for them to admit it. 

3. I filed an appeal and received a decision in December 1997.  It was denied.  I filed again in January 1998.  I received a questionnaire in 1998 asking about treatment by the VA.  I was asked for additional comments concerning how the VA could improve the way claims are handled.  I wrote back and said, “The VA should help a veteran more in proving a claim than denying one.”   I always thought it was their job.  The questionnaire with my comments was sent to the Department of Veteran Affairs Benefits Administration.  Later, I received a call from the VA regional office telling me to come for a hearing in 2001 with Mr. D.D. Espling.  Mr. Espling was trying to make a decision from my medical evidence that Dr. Scott Walker used in his letter to the VA in 1997.  Mr. Espling stated, “He was between a rock and a hard place when making a decision on my claim,” so it was denied.  He knew this before I got there.  I asked that my case be sent to Washington D.C. to be heard by a law judge from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA).  The BVA judge stated, “It would be unfair not to give Mr. Vargas a disability.”  I was granted disability by using Dr. Walker's medical letter which consisted of my VA medical records and the same information Mr. D.D. Espling had received.  It has taken 30 years to be heard and to receive my disability.

4. This has been going on since the days of R.L. Hornbarger, F.G. Rathgeber, S.E. Draves, Robert J. Linden, Mrs. Every, and Ena Lima.  This is the, “Not going to happen on my watch” squad.  They all approved and passed this order over the years.  I also contacted Tecola Plowdern and Richard Thrasher from Washington D.C. (BVA).  They were reluctant to get involved, but they did help out.  Also, let me not forget about Collen Kirksey and Mark Brummner, Regional Office, Indianapolis.  They called Attorney Keith Synder about the $27,000 payout.  I think they were forced to do the dirty work.  That is my opinion.

5. On December 12, 2012, I went to the regional office to see if I could get an earlier effective date. I ended up seeing two counselors.  They proceeded to tell me about the benefits I am already receiving and those I could lose.  They went on to give me a phone number to contact them.  On this card they wrote their names and a phone number (1-800-827-1000), knowing I would not be able to reach them.  My wife and I thought it was a real joke on our behalf.  After being granted a disability in 2003, I filed for an earlier effective date and a decision came in 2005, telling me I had received a decision in 1997.  I was aware I only had five days to communicate (December 11-December 16) with a representative.  December 11th fell on a Thursday.  I have a remark followed by a question.  I live in Muncie, Indiana.  It takes more than five days, including the weekend, to get from Washington D.C. to Muncie, Indiana.  How was I supposed to know about something that happened in 1997, with the case still going on in 2005?  The first time I heard about five days, was in the decision from 2005.  There was no mention of a five day timeframe in my 1997 decision.

6.  Below, I have listed more questions: 

a) I want to ask why $27,000 was removed from my award and paid to an attorney that only worked four to six months on my case?  Attorney Keith D. Snyder called me and said the regional office called him and made this statement, “Your boy finally got in.”  Followed by a laugh.  “Our office is sending you $27,000.”  I was never notified.  That was a joke to the regional office.

b) Why do I, a veteran with a 100% disability, have to travel three to four hours away for care when there is care ten minutes away from my location?



c) Why was the VA regional office going to withdraw my wife's education benefits, if I did not turn in the form about my employment?  I never received a form until 12/20/12.  This organization used the power of its office to keep me down, but I am still here.  I am a veteran who went into combat at 18 years of age; promoted to a sergeant, E-5; wore the Combat Infantryman Badge with honor; and received an Honorable discharge.  And with that said, I believe I should be treated as such and receive what is rightfully mine.  I am now a 100% disabled vet, with injuries sustained while in Vietnam. I am unemployable due to:

-Paresthesia began in 1967 in Vietnam

-Degenerative joint disease 60%

-Leg turns inward 90 degree

-Peripheral Polyneuropathy, right lower extremity 20%

-Peripheral neuropathy, left lower extremity 20%

7.  I have my last and final concerns.  On March 22, 2013, I had an MRI completed through the VA by a nurse practitioner at the Fort Wayne, IN Hospital.  The MRI process lasted no more than 10 minutes.  Imagery was obtained from my lumbar vertebrae: L1-L2, L2-L3, L3-L4, L4-L5, and S1.  The MRI scan indicated mild findings.

8.  On April 7, 2013, I had an MRI completed by the Indiana University Health Hospital.  The MRI process lasted approximately 25 minutes.  Imagery was obtained from my lumbar vertebrae: L1-L2, L2-L3, L3-L4, L4-L5, and S1, as previously scanned in March 2013.  I also had an x-ray taken by Dr. Scott Walker.  The MRI scan indicated severe findings.

9.  I do not understand how I have two MRI reports; both from my lumbar vertebrae, conducted 16 days apart, but the results (findings) are completely different.  I need answers to my questions and some type of clarification.    

10.  If I do not hear from someone in adequate time, I will send this letter and other evidence I have to all the news outlets available.  This will grab the attention of the President of the United States, the Governor of Indiana, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the VA Regional Office and the American people.  I have fought long and hard to prove that I have service-connected disabilities.  Why should I be persecuted and punished?  This is just the tip of the iceberg.



Sincerely,


                                                       Combat Veteran




These are the contacts over the years:   

  Mr. Barack Obama, President of the United States
  Michael Pence (R-IN), Governor
  Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs,     
  Indianapolis VA Regional Office 
  CNN 
  Inspector General, Washington D.C.
  Hillary Clinton
  John McCain
  John Runyon
  Richard Lugar
  Evan Bayh 
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https://plus.google.com/113768640513130436414 shahriyar Gourgi : The Greatest Terrorist Threat - Sam Nunn, Richard Lugar, and Des Browne, Politico
The Greatest Terrorist Threat - Sam Nunn, Richard Lugar, and Des Browne, Politico
The Greatest Terrorist Threat
How to stop nuclear material from falling into the wrong hands.
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https://plus.google.com/103025089161608727309 James Patterson : Jim Patterson at ISH Global Leadership Awards 2-15 I enjoyed attending this event and seeing friends...
Jim Patterson at ISH Global Leadership Awards 2-15
I enjoyed attending this event and seeing friends.  GLOBAL LEADERSHIP AWARDS - HIGHLIGHTS   ISH-DC Resident Zinhle Mkhhabela of South Africa, Ambassador Geir Haarde of Iceland, Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal, Senator Richard Lugar, General Brent Scowcroft, D...
Jim Patterson at ISH Global Leadership Awards 2-15
I enjoyed attending this event and seeing friends. GLOBAL LEADERSHIP AWARDS - HIGHLIGHTS ISH-DC Resident Zinhle Mkhhabela of South Africa, Ambassador Geir Haarde of Iceland, Rear Admiral Susan Bl...
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https://plus.google.com/107410219182504612183 THE DOUBT film : HOLLYWOOD . It has no sex scenes, no car chases, and no wisecracking sidekicks, and it is only forty...
HOLLYWOOD . It has no sex scenes, no car chases, and no wisecracking sidekicks, and it is only forty-five minutes long, but it lays out a frighteningly plausible narrative of how terrorists might buy or steal the makings of a nuclear bomb, assemble one, smuggle it halfway around the world, and send it on its way to an American city in an S.U.V. Movie screenings in private theatres for invited audiences, with drinks, canapés, and opportunities to schmooze with stars and directors, are a favorite tactic of the Manhattan branches of Hollywood’s publicity machines. The goal is to generate buzz, which, with any luck, will trickle down to the ticketbuying masses.One of them was different. Its setting was a modest auditorium in the immodest East Side mansion that houses the Council on Foreign Relations. The audience consisted of diplomats, military officers, international bankers and lawyers, and think-tankers. The speakers after the lights went up were white-haired gentlemen in business suits: Pete Peterson, the council’s chairman; Ted Turner, the billionaire philanthropist and founder of CNN; Warren Buffett, the folk philosopher and fabulously rich investor; Richard Lugar, Republican, the current chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and Sam Nunn, Democrat, the retired chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and now head of a nongovernmental organization called the Nuclear Threat Initiative.The film, “Last Best Chance,” was a bit unusual, too. You might even say it isn’t really a movie at all—it just plays one on TV. Set in the near future, it takes the form of a slick international suspense thriller, the kind that cuts from a rainswept warehouse in a bleak corner of the former Soviet empire to a dimly lit White House Situation Room.  The closest thing to a star in the cast is Fred Thompson, the lawyer turned actor turned Republican senator from Tennessee turned actor again. Thompson plays the President of the United States, and his character is mature, wise, and serious—the one jarringly unrealistic note in the picture.“Last Best Chance” was made not by a movie studio but by a singularly unraffish indie producer: Nunn’s Nuclear Threat Initiative, with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the MacArthur Foundation. The blurb on its poster comes not from Ebert & Roeper but from Kean & Hamilton—Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the chairman and vice-chairman of the 9/11 Commission. Its grosses are zero. 
“Last Best Chance” is a symptom of an immense failure of national, and especially Presidential, leadership. “As short a time ago as nine years or eight years,” Turner said in his remarks after the screening, “I still thought that nuclear weapons, biological and chemical weapons, was an area that the government took care of.”One of the attendees at the screening was Graham Allison, the founding dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the director of its Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, who held high Pentagon posts under Reagan and Clinton. Allison’s “Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe,” which has just been published in an expanded paperback edition, is the indispensable text on the subject. “Americans are no safer from a nuclear terrorist attack today than we were on September 10, 2001,” he writes. “A central reason for that can be summed up in one word: Iraq.” The invasion and occupation have diverted essential resources from the fight against Al Qaeda; allowed the Taliban to regroup in Afghanistan; fostered neglect of the Iranian nuclear threat; undermined alliances critical to preventing terrorism; devastated America’s standing with the public in every country in Europe and destroyed it in the Muslim world; monopolized the time and attention of the President and his security team (for simple human reasons, an extraordinarily important factor); and, thanks to the cry-wolf falsity of the claims about Iraqi weapons systems, “discredited the larger case for a serious campaign to prevent nuclear terrorism.” CONTINUED ...
Watch the video: Last Best Chance
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/NCq9ZvFMTsbyxjkgw4RRbp0CHoLWIUaCOYG0LjMYNdxV2xyZZ2p_BeAOUaehkIbXRTpMliKrdCxAdtuagM39og=w506-h284-n
Docudrama about the threats from loose nuclear weapons and materials around the world. In the film, Al Qaeda operatives organize separate operations aimed at...
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https://plus.google.com/108385828209467719352 Nicholas Thompson : The Benghazi hearings today could have really mattered, and they could have really put Hillary Clinton...
The Benghazi hearings today could have really mattered, and they could have really put Hillary Clinton on the hot seat---but only if the GOP were led by serious people, like say Richard Lugar, not Trey Gowdy. 
Where the Benghazi Committee Went Wrong
When Hillary Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, she may have briefly looked uncomfortable, but it was clear that she would emerge largely unscathed by Republicans’ questions. Credit Photograph by JIM WATSON / AFP / Getty
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