Gay marriage headed for final approval in Hawaii

Hawaii State Sen. Clayton Hee (right) and Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria. (AP/Oskar Garcia)
Hawaii State Sen. Clayton Hee (right) and Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria.
(AP/Oskar Garcia)

Gay marriage is on its way to approval in the Hawaii next week and could become law soon, the head of that State’s Senate said Saturday.

Sen. Clayton Hee said he will recommend passage to Senate Democrats, who outnumber the body’s long Republican dissenter 24-1, after the body reconvenes Tuesday following the Monday Veterans Day holiday.

“There are very few opportunities to participate in government in decisions that define your career and this is one of those decisions that will define the careers of all of the members of the legislature.”

Hee said he expects the Senate to approve the measure passed by the Hawaii House late Friday night after two long and sometimes bitter floor sessions.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is expected to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

Both Hee and Abercrombie said they approved changes in the bill by the House and Hee said he expects the revised bill to pass the Senate 20-4 — the same margin on an earlier version of the bill approved by the Senate on Oct. 30.

If the bill is passed, Hawaii would join 14 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing gay marriage.  Similar legislation in Illinois awaits the governor’s signature there.

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Ryan, Cantor appear secretly at Koch gathering in New Mexico

Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan: Catering to the ultra-rich at Koch gathering. (AP)
Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan: Catering to the ultra-rich at Koch gathering.  This photo was taken in Washington, not at the Koch confab. (AP)

Charles and David Koch, the ultra conservative energy brothers who already control the Republican Party and want to control the nation as well, brought in the usual suspects to deliver the standard right-wing lines to their following of rich conservatives who gathered covertly just outside Albuquerque, New Mexico last weekend.

Among those who spoke and laid out plans for the upcoming mid-term elections next year and the Presidential contest in 2016 were tea party puppets like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and failed vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

What details did they provide to the right-wing rich?  Nobody is saying for sure, but sources close to the gathering — one of two that the Koch brothers host each year to map out the conservative campaign for absolute control say both Cantor and Ryan were “well received” and mapped out plans that they feel will achieve success at the ballot box.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, one those anointed as a right winger who has her “head on straight,” also spoke to the gathering at the ultra-expensive  Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort in Bernalillo where hired security blocked off roads and turned away reporters from Albuquerque and national media.

The invitation-only event is listed by the Kochs as a gathering to “discuss solutions to our most pressing issues and strategies to promote policies that will help grow our economy, foster free enterprise and create American jobs.”

The Kochs, of course, are the primary financial backers of the tea party movement, an interesting irony that two of the nation’s richest men back what is purported to be a “grass roots” movement of “ordinary people.”

“The Kochs are a fraud,” former tea party activist Gary Lawson tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “They seek to control everything for their rich brethren and they often do so with phony movements.”

Ryan and Cantor both have deep ties to the Kochs and flew into New Mexico on a private jet owned by the brothers.

Secrecy surrounding the meeting was so tight that Americans for Prosperity, the primary political funding operation of the brothers, claimed it didn’t know anything about the event.  Gov. Martinez refused to discuss any details and a spokesman for her office told the Albuquerque Tribune that the state’s governor “attended a private political event at the Tamaya where she gave brief remarks and had casual meetings with several national political leaders, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Congressman Paul Ryan.”

Albuquerque is now also the home base for longtime Koch consultant Eddie Mahe, who owned  The Eddie Mahe Company, the Washington “strategic business consulting company” that created for the core groups that later became  FreedomWorks a political operation that was started by former Texas Congressman Dick Armey and spawned the tea party out of another phony grassroots operation.

Capitol Hill Blue founder and publisher Doug Thompson worked for Eddie Mahe as a senior communications adviser from 1994-2002.  When asked about the meeting, Thompson laughed and said “how the hell would I know?  First and foremost, I’m independent media and independent media has no role or use in any activity involving the Kochs.”

Enhanced by ZemantaWhen asked if he was invited, Thompson laughed again and responded “no way.  I’m the enemy to those folks because I believe power in this nation belongs to the people, not the rich or the right-wing.”
Copyright  © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

Peter King for President? Apparently, he thinks so

Rep. Peter King:  Presidential material?  He thinks so.
Rep. Peter King: Presidential material? He thinks so.

Longtime New York Republican Congressman Peter King thinks he might be Presidential material — a consideration that most GOP political operatives think laughable.

“Here we go again, the beginning another round of ego-driven fantasies who think they have what it takes to get into the Oval Office,” GOP strategist Alan Mumford tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “Peter King? Get serious.”

King says he is considering a Presidential run with the goal of stopping what he calls is a “dangerous shift” of the GOP towards an isolationist foreign policy.

“We have to go back to being the party of national defense,” King said in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Monday.

Polls show King is largely unknown to most Americans and internal polling by the Republican Party says he is not that popular within his own party.

“Another single-issue candidate who’s out of touch with the grassroots,” says GOP activist Sandra Lumley.  “Write him off.”

New Hampshire GOP strategist Jim Merrill, who led 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s New Hampshire effort, calls King “a long shot at best.”

“Single issue candidates usually don’t succeed,” Merrill says.

King claims he’s not a single issue contender.

“I don’t want it to sound like I’m looking for a consolation prize,” he told The Associated Press Monday.

GOP political insiders say King would lucky to even win that.


Copyright  © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue


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Rand Paul claims American taxpayers fund ‘wars against Christians’

Rand Paul:  Yeah, he said that
Rand Paul: Yeah, he said that

In the kind of statement that keeps people shaking their heads about right-wingers, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul Thursday claimed American taxpayers are footing the bill for a “war on Christianity” in both the United States and in other nations.

Claimed Paul in a conservative conference in Washington:

There is a war on Christianity, Not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide. And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it. You are being taxed to send money to countries that are not only intolerant of Christians, but openly hostile. Christians are imprisoned and threatened with death for their beliefs.

Paul did not elaborate on how taxpayers are funding a war against God and Christians in the United States but said foreign aid goes to countries where burning the American flag is allowed.

“I say not one penny more to countries that burn the American flag,” he said to the annual Faith and Freedom Conference.   “While they burn the American flag and mobs chant ‘Death to America,’ more of your money is sent to these haters of Christianity.”

Paul claimed American tax dollars are used to “enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East.”

The conference was organized by Ralph Reed, the former director of the Christian Coalition and a close friend and partner of disgraced and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to prison.  Reed was part of several Abramoff schemes to make money off phony causes.


Copyright  © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue


Failed governor and candidate Sarah Palin calls Obama a failure

Sarah Palin brings her dog and pony show to CPAC. ( REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
Sarah Palin brings her dog and pony show to CPAC.
( REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Failed Alaska Governor and equally-failed 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin took the stage of the annual gathering of right-wing failures — the Conservative Police Action Conference — over the weekend to call President Barack Obama a lair and delivered a tired speech of one-liners to a group that hoops and hollers a lot but makes little difference to the party.

Barack Obama promised the most transparent administration ever,” sneered Palin, who ran into trouble with her own coverups while serving as Alaska governor. “Barack Obama, you lie.”

Palin resigned from office before her first and only term as governor ended.  He tenure in office was tinged with scandal, investigations and charges of double-dealing and false statements.

For example, while running for vice president, Palin claimed she “was cleared” in the “troopergate” scandal that accused her of illegally using influence to dismiss a state police official.  In fact, she was not cleared and never was.

CPAC is viewed by Republican party main streamers as a gathering of extremists and hardcore activists who represent what some see as the root of the party’s problems and cause of a stream of election losses.

Palin, however, urged the group to stop any attempts to change the focus of the failed party.

“We’re not here to put a fresh coat of rhetorical paint on our party,” Palin said. “We’re not here to abandon our principles in a contest of government giveaways.  That’s a game we will never, ever win.  We’re here to restore America.”

Since failing in the 2008 Presidential campaign and then resigning from office, Palin has gone from one failure to another, including a TV series idea that didn’t work and a gig at Fox News that ended in dismissal.

She aimed some of her criticism at political strategists like Karl Rove, once described as “Bush’s brain” during her tenure with former President George W. Bush.

Rove’s response?  “If I was elected to office I would finish my term,” he said.


Copyright 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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Failed ‘fiscal conservative’ GOP Presidential candidates face millions in unpaid campaign debts

Failed Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: Living large off other people’s money.
(AP Photo)

Failed Republican primary candidates for President — who preached fiscal responsibility throughout their aborted runs for office — face millions of dollars of debts from their now shuttered campaigns.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich‘s campaign owes creditors close to $5 million, according to his Sept. 30 filing with the Federal Election Campaign.

Gingrich, who used private planes and luxury hotels throughout his failed bid for the Presidency, managed to pile on another 50 grand in debt after his campaign ended, the reports reveal.

“Newt live large on other people’s money,” GOP strategist Al Waring tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “That has always been his style.”

The overdue bills from the Gingrich campaign bills include fees for advertising, ballot fees, event expenses, consulting, legal fees, telemarketing, travel and web hosting.   Gingrich also stiffed some states when his checks for ballot fees bounced.

Former Senator Rick Santorum, another self-described “fiscal conservative,” owes $1.13 million.  Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is $607,218 in the hole and Hermain Cain still owes $450,000 in unpaid travel expenses and loans.

In contrast, Texas Congressman Ron Paul ended his third unsuccessful Presidential campaign with a $2 million surplus which, is Paul follows his practice from previous campaign, will go into the foundations that support his various programs and employs members of his family.

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Political reporters are tired as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore

Capitol Hill Blue publisher Doug Thompson: America is out there but not on the campaign trail

Many Americans say they are fed with up the relentless, bitter partisanship that runs rampant in political campaigns in this highly-contentious, seemingly non-stop Presidential election year.

They aren’t alone.  Reporters, photographers, videographers and bloggers on the campaign trail say they’re tired as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

Writes Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for New York Times Magazine:

This spring, for the first time since I started writing about politics a decade ago, I found myself completely depressed by a campaign. “How am I ever going to get through it?” is not the question you want to be asking yourself as you enter what are supposed to be the pinnacle few months of your profession.

He’s not alone. Reporters on the campaign trail tell Capitol Hill Blue that the fun has gone out of covering what used to be the Greatest Political Show on Earth.

“It’s a never ending, around-the-clock grind driven by an unforgiving 24-hour news cycle dominating by spin, partisan blogs and media manipulators,” complains free-lance writer Cal Rogers, who said this is his last campaign.

Walter Shapiro is covering his ninth presidential campaign.

“This is worse than normal, a lot less fun,” he tells Politico.

Former New York Post reporter Maggie Haberman, covering the 2012 race for Politico, says:

People are feeling grateful that it’s almost over. There has been this ongoing lack of enthusiasm. Neither side seems to be enjoying this race — not the Democrats or the Republicans, and not the reporters.

Capitol Hill Blue publisher Doug Thompson, who covered several presidential races as a newspaper reporter and worked as a media consultant in the 1984 Reagan-Bush campaign, says the joylessness is a reflection of the national mood:

We see too much anger, too much bitterness, too much despair — not only in politics but also in the American psyche.  People look at those seeking elected office and ask: “Is that all there is.”  Reporters follow the candidates around and realize there is no substance in the national dialog, just a drone of shallowness and partisan hyperbole.

Thompson missed last week’s Republican convention when his mother died just as the GOP confab began.  On Monday, he decided to skip the Democratic convention in Charlotte, just a 9-minute drive from his home in the Southwestern Virginia mountains.

I’m going to climb on my Harley-Davidson, ride the open-road, and go in search of America. It’s out there somewhere. It’s not in Charlotte, it wasn’t in Tampa and it sure as hell is not on the campaign trail.

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