Archive | Wing Nuts

So Republicans are really worried about losing Texas

gop-texas

And Arizona, too, where they sent out similar mailers. Who could have guessed?

In response to the GOP email, J. Gerald Hebert, the director of the voting rights and redistricting project at the non-partisan, non-profit group, the Campaign Legal Center, sent a voter discrimination complaint to the Department of Justice on Friday calling for federal election monitors.

“Virtually every precinct in Tarrant County that is ‘Democrat-controlled’ is a majority-minority precinct,” Hebert’s complaint noted.

“The vote suppression efforts being made are cloaked in partisan rhetoric but are clearly targeted at Hispanic and African American voters in Tarrant County,” the letter said, while noting other “inflammatory” language in the email, like “..buy, steal, and cheat their way to victory…”

The Department of Justice confirmed to TPM it had received the complaint and was reviewing it, but would not comment further.

Hebert, in an email to TPM, called it a “a very serious matter,” while noting he also reached out to county officials about the GOP email.

“Intimidating voters for any reason violates federal law and we are prepared to take legal action, if necessary,” Hebert said. “The County officials running the election have primary responsibility to make sure the election is being run in conformity with all provisions of state and federal law.”

Tim O’Hare, the chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party, called the claims that the local party was encouraging racially discriminatory voting practices “hogwash.”

“It’s become the rallying cry of Democrats. Call racism at every turn, and what happens? The media will go run and write a story about it immediately,” O’Hare told TPM Wednesday.

The Tarrant County GOP’s email comes as Donald Trump has urged his supporters in stump speeches to act as vigilante poll watchers of sorts, prompting concerns that what will result is voter intimidation.

John McCain promises GOP will block Clinton’s SCOTUS nominees

800px-John_McCain_official_portrait_2009

This is how insane this election has become. John McCain, in his zeal to save the Senate from evil Democrats, said that Pat Toomey needs to be re-elected so they can block Clinton Supreme Court nominees. Or maybe he didn’t, depending. Initial reports say oh, yes, he will. Speaking on behalf of Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey,… Continue Reading →

Report: Bush ignored numerous warnings before invasion

Chilcot Inquiry Rally (6.7.16) (163)

The dirty hippies were right again. I’m sure none of us are surprised, exactly, but it’s still shocking to see it all laid out:

Last week, the independent British committee established to delve into the blunders that led to that country joining the Iraq misadventure released a report astonishing for its breadth and sobriety. It is no easy read—with 2.6 million words in 12 volumes, it explores every detail of the processes and decisions that cost the lives of 179 British servicemen and women. And since the goal of the inquiry was to determine what went wrong across the board, it provides information no Republican politician would allow anyone on Capitol Hill to dig up.

The report’s shocking conclusion is obvious: The White House, the Pentagon and, to a lesser extent, the State Department had no idea what they were doing.

Incompetence permeates the tale, with Bush officials arrogantly waving aside warnings and pleas for better planning. The march toward war took on an unstoppable political momentum as evidence piled up that this invasion would be a colossal catastrophe. Preconceptions—such as blithe dismissals of a humanitarian and governmental role in the invasion for the United Nations, as well as a disregard for day-after-war preparations in favor of gut feelings and slogans—undermined the chance for success. Records show the British considered themselves indispensable to the effort, if only to counter the Bush administration’s reckless planning, which officials in Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government derided as fantastical.

If you have the stomach for it, go read the rest.

Challenge to the Concept of “One Person, One Vote” …

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case if states should draw voting districts based on eligible voters, instead of total populations.

The case — Evenwel v. Abbott — stems from the 2013 redistricting of 31 seats in the Texas Senate, which was based on 2010 census population figures alone. Texas voters Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger sued then-Texas Governor Rick Perry and then-Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry for allegedly violating the “one-person, one-vote” principle of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause by not dividing districts in a manner that equalized both total population and voter population.

This principle requires that, “when members of an elected body are chosen from separate districts, each district must be established on a basis that will insure, as far as is practicable, that equal numbers of voters can vote for proportionally equal numbers of officials.”

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the state, which argued that there was no legal basis for Evenwel and Pfenninger’s claims that the new election districts were unconstitutional.

Why is this being heard and possible consequences if the SCOTUS sides with Evenwel and Pfenninger’s claims…

A 1964 Supreme Court decision, Reynolds v. Sims, ruled that voting districts must contain very close to the same number of people. But the court did not say which people count.

Almost all state and local governments draw districts based on total population. If people who were ineligible to vote were evenly distributed, the difference between counting all people or counting only eligible voters would not matter. But demographic patterns vary widely.

If the challengers succeed, the practical consequences would be enormous, Joseph R. Fishkin, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin wrote in 2012 in The Yale Law Journal.

It would, he said, “shift power markedly at every level, away from cities and neighborhoods with many immigrants and many children and toward the older, whiter, more exclusively native-born areas in which a higher proportion of the total population consists of eligible voters.”

That sounds like a bit more of the erosion of representation of the people. Election Finance Laws, the Voting Rights Amendment, voter ID laws and the list goes on. I am just wondering where these Texas voters got this great idea

The organization behind the challenge, the Project on Fair Representation, also was the brainchild of other major Supreme Court cases challenging minority preferences. Among them: Fisher v. University of Texas, challenging the use of affirmative action policies in college admissions, and Shelby County, Ala., v. Holder, challenging a major section of the Voting Rights Act.

The challengers were backed by a half-dozen conservative and libertarian groups, an unusually large number for a case that had yet to be granted by the high court. But it appears they were persuasive.

I guess the “real constituency” is dying out and needs a boost of power.

Evenwel v. Abbott will be heard by the SCOTUS in the fall.

House scraps Border Bill…

House Speaker John Boehner cancelled the vote on the legislation designed to help alleviate some of the issues caused by the current border crisis. Among agreements that could not be reached were the amount of requested funding the President said was needed to deal with crisis and changes to the 2008 Child Trafficking law….

More than 57,500 unaccompanied children and teenagers have been apprehended after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally since October, overwhelming a system already plagued by backlogs and in need of significant resources. President Barack Obama requested $3.7 billion to deal with the crisis, and Senate Democrats proposed a $2.7 billion package. House Republicans introduced a bill to approve just a fraction of that sum — with the possibility of appropriating more funds later — with conditions many Democrats oppose, such as changing a 2008 law so unaccompanied minors from countries other than Mexico and Canada can be deported more quickly and sending the National Guard to the border.

The issue over the 2008 law, in particular, became a flashpoint in the debate. While the White House has voiced support for changing the law to allow for speedier deportations, most Democrats in Congress have voiced vehement opposition. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the bill an “unjust and inhumane proposal,” and Democratic members were urged to oppose it.

Statement issue by House Republican leadership…

This situation shows the intense concern within our conference – and among the American people – about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws.  There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries.

Huh, Mr. Speaker? Are you suggesting the President use an executive order?

“Senator Reid agrees with House Republican leaders’ statement that President Obama has the authority to take steps on immigration reform on his own,” Jentleson (Reid’s aid) said. “He’s glad Republicans have come around and hopes this means they’ll be dropping their frivolous lawsuit against the President, instead of continuing to waste the American people’s time and money.”

Update…

House Republicans resurrected their bill to address the crisis at the U.S-Mexico border late on Thursday, and they are delaying a planned five-week recess in an attempt to pass the revived bill before Congress leaves town for its August recess.

House GOP leaders led a conference meeting Thursday afternoon in which the decision was made to stay at least one extra day in Washington. House Republicans are planning to meet at a 9 a.m. conference. However, plans could change at any minute. The latest move followed a chaotic day on Capitol Hill where House leaders abruptly postponed a scheduled vote on the bill and then pulled it from the day’s schedule.

According to House Republican sources, House leadership heard from a number of dissatisfied members who said it was imperative to pass something before recess…

House Democrats wants GOP governors to explain rejecting Medicaid expansion…

TPM

House Democrats are demanding that some Republican governors, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, provide the documents behind their decision to reject Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

House Oversight ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent requests Wednesday to Perry, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R).

“In order to better understand the basis for your opposition, I request that you provide … copies of any state-specific analyses, studies, or reports that you ordered, requested or relied on to inform your decision,” Cummings said in the letters.

He specifically asked for how much funding the states would forgo by rejecting Medicaid expansion, how much the states themselves would have had to pay, how many jobs would have been created with Medicaid expansion, and how many residents would have to forgo “preventive services and other medicare care” without expansion…

Minority Democrats have no subpoena power, and it’s not clear whether the governors will voluntarily comply with the request

I can almost bet if Georgia’s governor, Nathan Deal, had received one of these requests, he would not comply. Deal staunchly opposed the expansion and says the Federal Government will back out of the funding costing the state billions that would go to education (wink, wink.) Rural hospitals in Georgia are getting financially squeezed without this funding and in the past two years four rural hospitals have closed with as many as ten more will follow. This is an election year and Gov. Deal is having some extreme ethics issues as of late. In case he doesn’t get elected this November, the legislature last spring passed a law that any Medicaid expansion will have to be approved by the legislature preventing his opponent, Jason Carter, from accepting the expansion if elected.

I doubt any of the governors will comply at all; the minority party has no subpoena power. But, if any of them do, I can bet there is going to be some serious pretzel logic presented…

Another mainstream lie – populists are ‘taking over’

My friend the swamp rabbit was trying to make me stop reading a lengthy op-ed with the provocative headline “Plutocrats vs. Populists.” “This paper ain’t fit to wrap fish in,” he said. “Even virtual fish.”

He’s right. The New York Times rarely publishes anything truly provocative, even if the subject is as important as the corruption of government by the super-rich. The piece on plutocrats, by Chrystia Freeland, “a Liberal Party candidate for the Canadian Parliament,” makes so classic a case of false equivalence that I’m tempted to think The Times’s former editor Bill Keller helped write it. The first paragraph:

Here’s the puzzle of America today: the plutocrats have never been richer, and their economic power continues to grow, but the populists, the wilder the better, are taking over. The rise of the political extremes is most evident, of course, in the domination of the Republican Party by the Tea Party and in the astonishing ability of this small group to shut down the American government. But the centrists are losing out in more genteel political battles on the left, too — that is the story of Bill de Blasio’s dark-horse surge to the mayoralty in New York, and of the Democratic president’s inability to push through his choice to run the Federal Reserve, Lawrence H. Summers.

Populists are “taking over” what, exactly? How do you define “centrist” when one of the two major parties keeps moving further to the right? How valid is the phrase “rise of the political extremes,” given the fact that only one party, the GOP, is pushing an ideologically driven agenda? Use of the plural “extremes” points to the big lies at the core of Freeland’s argument — that populists are undermining plutocrats and their lobbyists, who control both major parties, and that left-wing populists — whoever they are — are having an impact on Democratic policy-making.

Freeland compares the GOP’s shutdown of the government with the Democrats’ nomination of De Blasio and resistance to Summers, as if these are equally significant examples of extremist power. As if the accepted choice for the Fed, Janet Yellen, is a fire-breathing leftist. As if there is a Tea Party equivalent on the left. As if there are any true leftists in the Dem Party!

If the Dems had a left wing, Obama’s nomination for a second term wouldn’t have gone unchallenged. There would have been resistance in the party to massive tax breaks for mega-corporations, pressure to prosecute George W. Bush and other war criminals, a strong push for single-payer insurance rather than acceptance of clumsy Obamacare. We would have seen a real fight for laws to address climate change and a serious effort to create jobs programs and rescue homeowners rather than big banks.

Freeland warms up using false premises then spouts one logical fallacy after another. Her false equivalence of the GOP’s billionaire-backed “populists” with mythical left-wing foes of the Obama administration seems willfully obtuse. Honest observers know the Tea Party is on board with plutocrats, and that the left — such as it is — isn’t.

But The Times is interested in the appearance of so-called objectivity, not in presenting an honest assessment of our broken political system, even in the op-ed pages. The plutocrats who own The Times and the other media giants don’t allow that.

The whiners

Gin and Tacos:

The iconic political image of the post-Reagan era, for my money, is the 2003 Schwarzenegger campaign (in the California gubernatorial recall election) using “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister as its theme song. To see Arnold and his fellow Orange County millionaires on stage stiffly pumping their fists to a dated song about the terrible unfairness of it all was…rich. It requires the kind of total lack of self-awareness usually found only in ancillary characters in slasher movies.

If there’s one thing I honestly, legitimately do not understand about politics, it’s how so many well-off conservatives have managed to convince themselves that they are the victims of an unfair society. They are the luxuriously oppressed, the forgotten, long-suffering minority that has everything that money can buy. The urge to grab these people, shake them, and scream “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR LIFE? WHAT DO YOU NOT HAVE? HOW ARE YOUR NEEDS GOING UNFULFILLED?” is overwhelming. With right-wingers I know well, I have actually done this on more than one occasion. The amount of delusion necessary to allow someone to sit in front of a 70″ TV in a giant house with two luxury cars in the garage and complain about the unfairness of it all is incomprehensible.

Go read the rest.

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