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Republican Con Game

By The Reverend Published: May 31, 2014

The U.S. economy shrunk by .6% in the first quarter of this year. The two stock market indexes, DOW and the S&P, set new all time record highs this week.

I don't have any idea how to explain those seemingly contradictory statements of fact, but both are true at the same time.

Many are blaming the extremely harsh winter. Republicans, however, know who is at fault for the economy's dip.....

“The president promised the American people an economy ‘built to last,’ but instead he’s got us caught in a game of Chutes and Ladders: one step forward, two steps back,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “Americans asking ‘where are the jobs?’ deserve better than this new normal of fits and starts.”

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Selective Outrage Over Veteran Health Care

By The Reverend Published: May 30, 2014

A follow up on the alleged VA scandal. It appears now that accusations of falsifying records by some VA employees of wait times of veterans seeking primary physician care are legitimate. After reading yesterday's revelations, it would seem that the VA, in certain regions of the country, is buried under more calls for veteran care than they can facilitate. That seems to be the root problem.

Obama is feeling the pressure to fire VA head Gen Shinseki. Firing Shinseki would give opponents of Obama a scalp to brag about....but it won't help what ails the VA. Further, even arch-Republican Bill O'Reilly recognizes that the wait time problem for veterans existed before Obama even took office.....

“The problems existed on the day President Bush left office,” the Fox News host said to Rove...on Wednesday evening.

You also may not know that Obama has actually expanded healthcare benefits to veterans during his presidency....which created a swell of new veteran's claims....

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Endless Threats, Endless War

By The Reverend Published: May 29, 2014

Read President Obama's full speech on foreign policy here.

After 13 years of the U.S. waging what we call a "war on terror", here is how the Commander-in-Chief explains what now is our nation's most "direct threat"....

"For the foreseeable future, the most direct threat to America at home and abroad remains terrorism."

Either the "war on terror" has a different rationale......or in fighting the "war on terror" the U.S. is failing miserably. The following from Obama sounds to me like the "long war" will only get longer....and wider in scope....

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"Dead Kids Don't Trump Gun Rights"

By The Reverend Published: May 28, 2014

Another mass shooting, this time in California. Another semi-automatic gun was used. Another tragic situation with lots of dead victims. Another senseless slaughter which, sadly, will surely be followed by even more senseless slaughters. But hey, no matter how many "dead kids" stack up, alleged constitutional rights trump them all.....

Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, insisted the deaths of innocent people "don't trump" his constitutional rights in an open letter to the families of victims in Friday's shooting rampage near the University of California, Santa Barbara.

"I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But: As harsh as this sounds -- ," Wurzelbacher wrote.

The 2nd amendment to the Constitution does not give each U.S. citizen the right to own a gun for self-defense purposes. Yes, yes, I know that the current Supreme Court disagrees with that assertion.....but it is true, nevertheless.

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Finally, Obama Calls Out Lying, Professional Media

By The Reverend Published: May 27, 2014

The GOP could not prevent the election of America's first black president. And try as they might, they couldn't stop his re-election either. But Republicans have done a good job of obstructing Obama's two term presidency.

Other than the four months in 2009 when Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate.....during which the ACA was passed....Republicans have spent the rest of Obama's presidency doing everything they could to stop Obama's agenda. In over 230 years of American history, no political party has ever amassed the number of filibusters today's Republicans have invoked to stop any and all Democratic legislation.

Meanwhile.....while all that has been going on.....corporate media play acted being clueless. First, corporate media embraced and helped to promote a "new grassroots movement" which, all along, was obviously nothing other than the extreme elements of the Republican Party. Then, as the GOP obstruction began in earnest in 2010 thanks to that "new grassroots movement" of Republican voters, main media resorted to their nauseating "both sides do it" theme......refusing to report on how extreme the GOP had become.

Of all the media themes spun during Obama's presidency, the one that insists "both sides do it".....is the most dishonest. If a progressive points out the history-breaking GOP obstruction record during Obama, "both sides do it" media members inform that Republicans just can't trust Obama to do the right thing.

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Profit Motives Drive Calls For VA Privatization

By The Reverend Published: May 26, 2014

It is not surprising to see this from the Wall Street Journal....

The modern VA is a vestige of the flood of veterans coming out of World Wars I and II, but it is as unnecessary as a health-care system dedicated solely to police or firefighters. The best solution is to privatize the system. At the very least veterans ought to receive vouchers that allow them to seek subsidized care from private providers that removes the VA as the choke point. Why are politicians punishing veterans with inferior government health care?

If the Wall Street Journal is pushing privatization of the VA, then Fox can't be far behind......

Calls to move veterans’ health care into the hands of private hospitals....gained momentum this weekend with House Speaker John Boehner and a Department of Veterans Affairs whistle-blower backing such a plan.

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Republican "Wacko Bird" Lies Defending Oligarchy

By The Reverend Published: May 25, 2014

I am often told that I am too cynical. Perhaps I am. But it is at least a possibility, I would argue, that others are not cynical enough.

Democratic Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico has introduced a constitutional amendment to counter the Roberts Court rulings which freed America's richest few to monopolize political campaigns.

The amendment would roll back the 2010 Citizens United and 2014 McCutcheon rulings by re-instituting the power of Congress to pass legislation limiting campaign contributions and expenditures.

The amendment will never gain two-thirds support in Congress, let alone approval from three quarters of the states. But the amendment will make a point. Americans, by a large majority, disapprove of Citizens United and the idea that only a handful of very rich Americans should monopolize political campaign advertising. Taking a vote in the Senate on Udall's proposal will be an object lesson on who in the Senate will stand with the majority of Americans, and who will stand on the side of the rich few.

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When Words Are Used To Disinform

By The Reverend Published: May 24, 2014

Words and meanings. A three act psycho-drama.

1) What qualifies as an official "terrorist" attack? What does the phrase "terrorist attack" even mean? No, I'm not just being a nit-picky dick, there's method to my madness.

What troubled opponents of President Obama the most about Benghazi....at least in the salad days of the contrived scandal....was that Obama didn't call what happened the night of 9-11-2012 at a CIA outpost masquerading as a diplomatic consulate....a "terrorist" attack.

Originally, a "terrorist" attack included the aspect of suicide. Right? The nineteen hijackers from 9-11-2001 suicided themselves in the attack. The "shoe bomber" and the "underwear bomber" were going to suicide themselves to kill Americans.

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Scandal-In-A-Box.....VA Edition

By The Reverend Published: May 23, 2014

If you have been paying attention, you know that the conservative munchkins are once again creating a frenzy of Obama-scandal without any solid evidence. For those interested in finding out about what Republicans are calling Obama's new Veterans Administration scandal.....I encourage you to read this AP summation.

Conservatives appearing on all "news" programs are calling for Obama to fire General Shinseki, current director of the VA......all before anything concretely is known about whether there actually is something scandalous for which Shinseki should be fired.

If you recall, Shirley Sherrod faced the same pressure a few years ago when cleverly edited video of Ms. Sherrod left the impression that the Agriculture Department official was promoting racism in her job. President Obama and AG Sec. Vilsack knee-jerked Shirley Sherrod out of her job before the truth was known, basing the firing on the edited and bogus video promoted on Breitbart and then, Fox.

After learning they were punked by conservative punks, Obama and Vilsack quickly backtracked and tried to re-instate Sherrod.

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"Learning Tough Lessons" In Oklahoma

By The Reverend Published: May 21, 2014

Last May 20th, 24 Oklahomans lost their lives when a tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma. Seven of those killed were school age children whose school building was completely destroyed in the devastation.

Yesterday, as politicians and media tend to do, a one year photo-op anniversary get together was held in Oklahoma in front of the construction site for the new Moore Medical Center. GOP Rep. Tom Cole and GOP Governor Mary Fallin spoke at the photo-op and even took time for a few questions from "journalists."

MSNBC"s Thomas Roberts reminded viewers of another devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma in 1999 and then asked Rep. Cole "what makes the citizens of Moore want to come back and rebuild?"

Cole: "People forget, tornadoes are not as bad as hurricanes".....the GOP representative then explained that he has lived in Moore all his life and has never seen his home damaged by a tornado and that that "was true of the majority of people."

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Atheists: The Last Frontier Of Discrimination

By The Reverend Published: May 20, 2014

* Thanks to readers who are still reading here despite the recent changes at Ohio.com. Mass Destruction still has a link on Ohio.com. Bottom of the home page.....click on the smallish-lettered word "blogs", bottom of that page is where Mass Destruction is still linked.

_____________________

Results of a 2006 study done by the University of Minnesota....

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

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Republican Racism During The Age Of Obama

By The Reverend Published: May 19, 2014

Salon has a very good piece up explaining how Fox News has used white male grievance and outright racism to do political damage to our first black president, Barack Obama.

From the article, we are reminded of this overarching white-man grievance against civil rights in America.....

"[B]asically, if you’re talking about a day like today, Martin Luther King Junior Day, and you’re gonna understand what civil rights has become, the con it’s become in this country. It’s a whole industry; it’s a racket. It’ s a racket that is used to exploit primarily heterosexual, Christian, white males’ birthright and steal from them what is their birthright and give it to people who didn’t qualify for it. Take a guess out of whose hide all of these rights are coming. They’re not coming out of women’s hides.

Are they? No, there’s only one group that’s targeted, and that group are white, heterosexual males. They are the new witches being hunted by the illiberal left using the guise of civil rights and fairness to women and whatnot."

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Why Kasich Doesn't Deserve Another Term

By The Reverend Published: May 18, 2014

Ohio GOP Governor John Kasich is up for re-election this November and will be running against Democrat, Ed Fitzgerald, Cuyahoga County Executive. I encourage everyone to cast their ballots for Fitzgerald .

Here are three reasons why Kasich doesn't deserve another term.

First: SB5

Yes, the Republican battle to destroy public unions and collective bargaining rights in the Buckeye State has subsided for now.....but not before Governor Kasich took his best shot. It took a backhand to Kasich's jaw from a 60-40% referendum vote to overturn SB5 and turn back Kasich's battleplan to degrade public service and public worker pay and benefits in the state.

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Gun Zealots Behaving Badly

By The Reverend Published: May 17, 2014

As Jennifer Longdon wheeled her wheelchair through the Indianapolis airport on April 25, she thought the roughest part of her trip was over. Earlier that day she'd participated in an emotional press conference with the new group Everytown for Gun Safety, against the backdrop of the National Rifle Association's annual meeting. A mom, gun owner, and Second Amendment supporter, Longdon was paralyzed in 2004 after being shot in her car by unknown assailants, and has since been a vocal advocate for comprehensive background checks and other gun reforms.

As Longdon sat waiting for her flight, a screen in the concourse showed footage of the press conference. A tall, thin man standing nearby stared at Longdon, then back at the screen. Then he walked up to Longdon and spat in her face. No one else blinked.

Last May, Ms. Longdon helped organize a gun buyback program in Phoenix. This is how she was treated....

They (gun enthusiasts) shouted about constitutional rights and tyranny, and called people arriving to trade in their guns "sellouts."

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Bush Evil Requires Sacrificing Obama Presidency

By The Reverend Published: May 16, 2014

Sometimes I am of the opinion that the crazy we've seen directed at Barack Obama these past five years is actually a hangover effect from the George W. Bush presidency. Bear with me.

Republican George W. Bush left office with a 22% approval rating. Twenty two percent. Yes, Bush's presidency was an unmitigated disaster. In the end, Republicans even thought Bush was a disaster.

Bush turning out to be a disaster in the Oval Office made conservatives and Republicans very angry. Karl Rove, Bush's Brain, had predicted a permanent Republican government with the Supreme Court decision to put Schrub in the White House in 2000.

But Bush turned out to be President Numbnutz, just like Babs Bush tried to warn us, and Rove's "permanent GOP majority" evaporated in thin air much like the notion that Saddam had WMD.

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Why Are Repubicans Keeping Wages Low?

By The Reverend Published: May 15, 2014

I had it good back in 1968....and didn't realize it.....

...the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968. If it had been indexed to the official Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) from that point forward, the minimum wage in 2013 would be $10.75 — $3.50 per hour higher than it actually is.

Just to keep up with the purchasing power of the minimum wage of 1968, today's minimum wage would have to be increased by $3.50 per hour. To fully understand how it could be that all non-wealthy workers in America have not actually received a raise in some three decades.....you must first start by looking at the minimum wage.

Economic conditions in the U.S. should be ripe for expansion. We have historically low interest rates. Inflation is very low. But consumer demand, though improving, is still too low to create enough new jobs for those looking for one.

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We're On Our Own

By The Reverend Published: May 14, 2014

The owner of the L.A. Clippers, Donald Sterling, is a very, very rich guy. If Mr. Sterling happened to be some average earner, no one would care about anything he had to say in public, let alone in the privacy of his own home.

But I find myself more in agreement with what Bill Maher said recently in his contrarian take on this spring's IT story....

”Now, last week when President Obama was asked about the Sterling episode he said, ‘When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, just let them talk,'” Maher began. “But Sterling didn't advertise, he was bugged. And while he might not be worth defending, the Fourth Amendment is.”

“That's the one that says we have the right to be secure in our person, in our homes, in our property,” the comedian continued. “Well, not if bitching to your girlfriend in your home loses you your property.”

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Reince Announces GOP Retreat

By The Reverend Published: May 13, 2014

A group of 13 RNC members, essentially operating under the control of party Chairman Reince Priebus, will choose the timing, location and media partners of the 2015-2016 Republican primary debates. They will insist that conservative panelists join moderators from the mainstream media.

Additionally, instead of the 20 primary debates Republican presidential candidates participated in back in 2012, the GOP's new plan for 2016 has candidates participating in only "6 to 10" primary debates.

So it appears the new GOP primary plan is to cut back on candidate exposure time, cherry pick only guaranteed friendly-to-conservatism media channels and rig the panelists in such a way that the faux-narratives of the far right, as taught and reinforced hourly by Fox and affiliated friends, are equally represented alongside of reality-based questioners.

Yeah, that's gonna help.

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Dazed & Confused By Their Own....BS

By The Reverend Published: May 12, 2014

Remember when Mitt Romney relied on the Fox News narrative about Benghazi.....and embarrassed himself before a national presidential debate audience by sarcastically challenging....well...reality.....

"You said in the rose garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror?" Romney asked. "I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror."

In those days Obama's critics were oh-so-upset by the president's word choices immediately following the violence in Benghazi. The "scandal" centered, at least partially, on the vocabulary of the conservative Democratic president. As silly and as inconsequential as that may sound.......that was how it was.

Obama critics actually tried to make a case of scandal out of whether or not the president used the word "terror" or "terrorism" in describing the violence at Benghazi....and whether, if Obama did reference "terror", did he use the word "terror" soon enough following the tragedy. Believe it or not.....that was a big portion of the GOP's argument with Obama over Benghazi immediately after the tragedy took place.

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Did U.S. Conservatives Cause The Benghazi Killings?

By The Reverend Published: May 11, 2014

Fiscally responsible, limited government Republicans in Congress have pissed away millions of taxpayer dollars hunting witches in the ATF, IRS and State Department. No witches have been found.

But just because no witches have been found doesn't mean to fiscal-hawk Republicans that there aren't any witches......instead, it means that the witch hunters must spend even more millions of tax payer dollars to expand the hunt. After all, these guys might be witch hunters, but they're, by god, fiscally responsible witch hunters.

As House Democrats mull over the question of whether or not to participate in the expanded hunt for Democratic witches.....here is my advice: House Democrats should participate and structure all of their questioning of witnesses around the COST of the GOP witch hunting. Example: How much additional consulate security could be purchased with the tax dollars Republicans have wasted hunting ghosts? And like that.

From the beginning, the Benghazi event and the GOP's response have had a surreal quality to them. It's the same quality that was in the atmosphere during the run-up to attacking the sovereign, non-threatening nation of Iraq circa 2002-2003. We now know that Americans were misled by the last administration over Saddam being a threat to the U.S. Perhaps, Republicans are also misleading Americans over the Benghazi event. Perhaps.

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"The Legitimate Redistribution Of Economic Benefits"

By The Reverend Published: May 10, 2014

I knew it would only be a matter of time before Pope Francis would come under heavy assault by conservative forces here in the U.S. It was inevitable.

It was only a few months ago that Francis shocked Republican leaders and corporate media in the U.S. with his skewering of supply-side economics.....

Francis had a similar message to the World Economic Forum in January and in his apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel." That document, which denounced trickle-down economic theories as unproven and naive, provoked criticism in the U.S. that he was Marxist.

As I wrote at the time, conservative media figures in the U.S. were hesitant to pull a Benghazi on Francis after he condemned conservative economic ideology for the rank failure and deceptive sleight of hand that it is. But because the Pope was new and the number of Catholic voters in the U.S. rather large, those conservative priests of the voodoo refrained from trashing the papa.

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Coal Oligarchs Censoring Science In Wyoming

By The Reverend Published: May 9, 2014

This caught my attention this morning.....

The Wyoming Board of Education decided recently that the Next Generation Science Standards need more review after questions were raised about the treatment of man-made global warming.

The state of Wyoming is coal country, supplying 40% of of the total amount of coal burned in power plants around the country. Coal is the dirtiest fuel in the energy production industry.....contributing greatly to the dangers we now face with global climate change.

But just like with evolution, conservatives in Wyoming reject the scientific findings connecting the burning of fossil fuels with climate change. Naturally, as with most of the larger challenges facing America today, the profits of the few are much more important than the lives of the many.....and that explains why Wyoming state leaders are pushing back against the newest national Science Standards.

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Returning To The Days Of Open Discrimination

By The Reverend Published: May 8, 2014

GOP Senator Ted Cruz....

“I’m very much a believer that the scripture teaches that you hate the sin and love the sinner, and so, you know, from my perspective I am perfectly willing to interact with anybody,” he said. “Look, I work in the U.S. Congress. But at the same time, I don’t think the law should be forcing Americans to violate their religious faith.”

Notice that Cruz slyly implies he works with fellow senators who he regards as "sinners." Humility is not his forte.

But the core of Cruz's argument is the same I hear almost daily from other conservative sources who are defending the right of Christian Americans to openly discriminate against certain other Americans. In context, Senator Cruz was defending the right of Christian business owners to discriminate against gay Americans and female employees who use certain forms of contraception.

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Excellence In Lying

By The Reverend Published: May 7, 2014

The federal government released a new climate change report yesterday. .....

A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

A few scientific findings....

The decade starting in 2000 was the hottest on record, and 2012, the year Hurricane Sandy followed an epic summer drought, was the hottest ever recorded in the nation’s history, the report said. U.S. temperatures are 1.3 degrees to 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit higher now than they were in 1895, and most of that increase — 80 percent — occurred over the past 44 years, the assessment says.

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Supremes Establish Religion

By The Reverend Published: May 6, 2014

The Supreme Court on Monday narrowly upheld the centuries-old tradition of offering prayers to open government meetings, even if the prayers are overwhelmingly Christian and citizens are encouraged to participate.

The case was the Town of Greece, New York versus Galloway. The pdf file ruling is found here. The decision was 5-4 along Republican-Democratic appointee lines.

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Boy Howdy & The Bitter Clingons

By The Reverend Published: May 5, 2014

I watched a portion of a Tea House hearing awhile back when usual suspect Republicans were embarrassing themselves, and all of  us, with their purely partisan theatrical questions over an IRS scandal that doesn't exist. It was then that I first saw S. Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy perform. Yes, perform.

Today we know that Trey Gowdy has been appointed by Speaker Boehner to supply the pre-Obama-impeachment entertainment. Officially, John Boehner is calling the newly announced entertainment the Very Serious sounding Select Committee to investigate Benghazi something, something.....but everyone who isn't blinded by rank partisanship knows what the Select Committee really is......cheesy, classless, amateurish, entertainment for the GOP's bitter and extremist base voters.

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About The New Commenting System

By The Reverend Published: May 4, 2014

Recently, Ohio.com decided to upgrade it's online edition of the daily Akron Beacon Journal website. As you know, the Beacon has been obsessed with the issue of "civility" for some time. After seven years of writing my blog here, I still do not understand what the obsession is all about.....check that.....I do know what the Beacon says it's about.....I just disagree with their conclusions.

What I do know is that many readers of the Beacon's online site ENJOYED participating in the commenting sections. On a daily basis the comments in response to the 'letters to the editor' sections alone would number in the hundreds. It was a virtual coffee-klatch community.

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Willie Defends Neo-Liberal Voodoo

By The Reverend Published: May 3, 2014

I see that Bill Clinton has been out defending his alleged progressive presidential legacy. 

“Former President Bill Clinton, who has grown increasingly frustrated that his economic policies are viewed as out-of-step with the current focus on income inequality, on Wednesday delivered his most muscular defense of his economic legacy.”

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Not A Smoking Gun.....A Pop Gun

By The Reverend Published: May 2, 2014

Sometimes it is embarrassing to be an American. The way Republicans reacted, and continue to react, to the deaths of 4 Americans in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 is one of those times.

Yesterday, the embarrassment reached new, but not lofty, heights. Judicial Watch, a right wing outfit which specializes in conspiracy theories, mostly about our unAmerican president.....released an e-mail they obtained from a FOIA request.

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Worker Income At 1989 Levels....GOP Senators Obstruct Increase

By The Reverend Published: May 1, 2014

As expected, the Koch Brothers Senate, formerly known as the U.S. Senate, blocked a closure vote to proceed to a debate and final vote on an increase in the nation's minimum wage.

On a nearly party-line vote of 54-42, Obama's Democrats fell short of the needed 60 Senate votes to end a procedural roadblock against a White House-backed bill.

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