Name: Mister Rea
Home country: Moon
Current location: afk
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 42,433
Home country: Moon
Current location: afk
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 42,433
I live in Houston, if you can call this living. I teach history to 11th graders. They don't appreciate my genius. I'm an active Democrat really only around election time (knock on doors, make a few phone calls, maybe donate a dollar or two if I think it'll do some good). I'm 48. I'm datin a real special gal right now, but if I don't watch my step I may have to edit out this sentence. I have pretensions toward being a director of performance art, although I've only put on one show (as of Dec 2011). I'm currently working on a second show. Our group is called Invisible Lines (www.invisiblelines.net). I mostly drink Shiner Bock beer because it's a mouth full of heaven. I'm a nut about George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr, and John Dewey. I've resisted for three years saying "I told ya so" about Barack Obama (but then again, I supported Biden in '08 so my room for complaining is minimal). That said, I'll certainly vote mediocre over evil any day of the week. I want Elizabeth Warren to run in 2016. And a pony. I totally want a pony.
Feel free to add to the list. Feel free to revise my guesses, too, but some explanation of your choices would help the discussion:
Posted by Bucky | Sat Dec 31, 2011, 06:49 PM (16 replies)
While they call themselves conservatives and Constitution literalists, I mean "strict constructionists," in practice they only believe in those things when it suits their interests. Looking at the document itself, it's clear that there are parts they just don't care for and are willing to "liberally" reinterpret to suit their prejudices.
Starting with Gouverneur Morris's poetic Preamble--which is essentially the mission statement of our republican form of government--there are parts they just don't feel should apply to them. They tear away at the Union and threaten secession when there's a Democratic president, rather than giving full loyalty to the "more perfect Union" the Framers left us. Their "let 'em die" applause lines shows a contempt for "the general Welfare" that government officers take a pledge to promote. And their expansive view of executive power under the perpetual War on Terror is a direct attempt to whittle away "the Blessings of Liberty" laid out in 1787.
Article One declares that legislative power belongs to the Congress alone. Yet all the Republican candidates save Ron Paul enthusiastically supported Bush's declaration of military tribunals for suspected terrorists, which was legislation written by the executive branch in the hysteria after 9/11. When Bush later started issuing radically revisive "executive orders" that de facto amended the laws of Congress to be whatever the Bushies wanted, and pledged to ignore whatever they didn't like about the laws passed by Congress, again the Republican majorities meekly went along with this attack on separation of powers.
The mainstream Republican view of American government is anything but "republican." Unless there's a Democrat in the White House, they are monarchists--they practice and exalt the supremacy of the Executive Branch and, when there's a Republican president, they challenge the loyalty and Americanism of any who use the system of Checks and Balances in the framework of the Constitution. How often do have to hear "Democrats aren't real Americans" from them before we get that they only exhibit situational patriotism?
Article One also calls on Congress to "make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces." And yet the reliance on and support of the use of contracted mercenaries who are not subject to US military law is a direct repudiation of this duty, as well as an insult to the principle of the citizen-soldier being the security of popular government against despotism. It took Democrats to force thru laws that held private security contractors to at least some military discipline. But these contractors are, by their very existence a rejection of republican values. They are literally the land forces of the US government--guarding our embassies overseas, but the United States government can exercise very little control over who they hire and how they carry out their contracts. Now that these same mercs are seen working on American streets in time of disaster and protest, we are taking another step closer to despotic government. And yet the Republicans, including Ron Paul, support the US government hiring them. Unaccountable power is dangerous power.
Against the limits placed on legislative power, today's Republicans support limitations on Habeas Corpus writs (and get support from too many Democrats, despite the lack "of Rebellion or Invasion" required to suspend Habeas rights.
And where the Senate is obliged to "advise and consent" to the treaties and appointments made by the president, instead Republican senators consistently and routinely stall and block any action made by Democratic presidents, denying up or down votes and routinely placing anonymous holds on any executive action or appointment they please, even after its been authorized by Congress. In this case, they routinely violate their own oaths of office.
Republican contempt for the judiciary (and for the process of civil law) is well known. But in Section Three of the Constitution, it explicitly states that "The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed."
The Republican Congress eventually passed Bush's extralegal military commission system into law. But this system is categorically unconstitutional. While terrorists, who are clearly war criminals, caught overseas are properly put on trial "at such a Place as Congress may have directed," the Constitution clearly states it must be a jury trial. A military commission is not a jury, which specifically means a panel of one's peers, or one's equals under the law.
Excuses about this being a "time of war" do not make sense. The purpose of military law in times of war is to provide justice when civil authority has broken down or is, by reason of geography, not available. This cannot be said of people being put on trial at Guantanamo. There are civil authorities available. The Constitution doesn't give Congress the option of ignoring federal civil courts. But Republicans, in opposition to the Constitution, support the tribunals and denounce civil procedure of being unreliable.
In fact, US civil courts have a much higher success record of prosecuting terrorists. They have a 100% conviction rate. The military commissions have let a lot of the accused go. So Republican complaints that "we can't afford to give these people lawyers and procedures" is false. But facts mean nothing to ideologues. Their preference for martial law betrays contempt for small-r republican government.
Article Six specifies that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." While their continual harping on America being a Christian, rather than a secular, nation is not a technical violation of this language (the tests they have are for who they'll vote for, not who is allowed to take office), the continual harping on the need to infuse Christianity into the halls of power goes against the principle of disestablishment of religion, which almost all the Framers agreed on. The fact that so many of them reject Romney for not being "the right kind of Christian" indicates the potential for further attacks on the non-religious character of the government.
When we get to the Amendments, the Republicans continue to cherry pick which laws they'll honor. The First Amendment guarantees free speech, and yet their obsession with the non problem of flag-burning shows a willingness to outlaw speech they disapprove of. Unified Republican opposition to the "Ground Zero Mosque" shows they oppose the free exercise of religion when it's a religion they don't like. But it is the later parts of the Bill of Rights where their worst cherry picking occurs.
The Forth Amendment protects "people" (not just US citizens) from search and seizure. And yet the Republican presidential candidates (save Paul) advocate the most intrusive and unchecked use of policing powers for routine interactions with the public. They outright oppose the Fifth Amendment's demand for due process of law. The right to not bear witness against yourself when charged with a crime ("pleading the Fifth" ) exists specifically to prevent police authorities from using torture. The Fifth Amendment is the American law designed to prevent Star Chambers and Spanish Inquisitions from arising. This is reiterated by the 8th Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. But today's Republicans make a fetish of cruelty and an applause line of rejecting fair treatment of the accused.
The Third, Forth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments combined make it clear that Americans have a right to privacy. Yet it is always Republicans who say there is no right to privacy as an applause line. The Sixth Amendment lays out the right to speedy trial, an impartial jury, and the confrontation of witnesses. These declaration of human rights are the foundation of Republicans' opposition to using civil court procedures in terror trials. Again, no terrorist has failed to be convicted in American civil courts. The system works every time. Thus the only objection to the accused being allowed to confront the evidence against them, and to the right to a jury trial, and to the right to due process must be a philosophical one. Republicans simply hold the American system of justice in contempt. They do not trust nor approve of the Rule of Law.
Never take a lecture on fidelity to the Constitution or on "limited government" or one strict constructionism from a Republican. It may be a thing they repeat in speeches, but their leaders and their applause lines make it clear that it is not a thing they believe in.
Posted by Bucky | Fri Dec 30, 2011, 02:54 AM (1 replies)
Unlike Perry & Cain, who tanked after they opened their mouths, Gingrich is hanging on to most of his supporters. I think they've come to terms with his immorality (they'll say "imperfection" ) because they have no place else to go. Some evangelicals in Iowa are coming to their senses and going back to Perry or Santorum, but that's not typical of the hate-filled tribal/cultural Republican voters in the rest of the country.
Check this out: http://polltracker.talkingpointsmemo.com/contest/geo/US
Nationally Gingrich had a good early December. One oft-cited PPP poll had him up 35% to 22% over Romney. But that same day (December 18th) Both CNN and CBS released polls showing Romney and Gingrich tied up at 28% and 20% respectively. In the last ten days Newt's been hammered by a barrage of press scrutiny, embarrassing revelations, negative coverage, and attack ads. Yet over the last ten days, Gallup's daily polling showed Romney barely pulling even:
19th - 25-23
20th - 25-23
21st - 27-21
22nd - 26-22
23rd - 26-23
26th - 25-24
27th - 25-25
For the sake of argument, I'm suggesting that national numbers tend to show how voters will behave in a primary far more than the more involved/immersed caucus voters will behave.
Movement toward Mittens is minimal, and arguably within the margin of error. People who might vote for him are already voting for him. Meanwhile, Obama's approval numbers are creeping up. People backing Newt are always gonna hate Obama. But among Romney supporters are those who are capable of swinging to the Democrats in case the economy improves or the Republicans look too much like clowns. Mitt's hit his ceiling, the polls keep showing, but I think he's yet to find out what his personal floor is. I think he's caged in like a dog.
Now interesting things are happening in Iowa, that news is usually eclipsed each election cycle by what happens in New Hampshire--I think this particularly true among Republicans. But I still think NH will itself get eclipsed by South Carolina & Florida. Those are big media states and will have two weeks of media blitz after New Hampshire.
Sorry Paulettes, but Iowa doesn't matter. And because of Romney's fave-neighbor status, New Hampshire doesn't matter much. It's only a winnowing field for the anti-Romney. The real crucible of the primary season will be in South Carolina & Florida. This is where Paul returns to factional side show status. More importantly, this is make or break territory for Rick Perry, the only other viable anti-Romney in the race. The most recent polling is pre-implosion Newt, but I'd argue that those states have more tribal/ideological Republicans who don't care about corruption so much as reliable conservatism--meaning not-Romney.
In Florida on the 6th and 7th of December CNN/Time and NBC/Marist respectively released polls, showing Newt 25 & 15 points up over Romney respectively. On the 5th and 6th the less reliable SurveyUSA firm conducted a robo-poll showing Newt up by 22 points. In those polls, the non-Romney/non-Paul candidates collectively held 8-13% of support. That votes going to be split between Perry & Newt. The question isn't can Romney get them (he can't). The question is can Perry get them away from Gingrich. As a Texan, I suspect Perry can't.
In South Carolina, Gingrich led Romney a week ago by 38-21% (Clemson poll) or 31-19% (InsiderAdvantage). Compare that with the polls from the first week of December: 43-20% (CNN/Time) and 42-23% (NBC/Marist). Newt dropped 6-12%, but Romney didn't gain, in fact he also fell (but inside the margin of error). So who gained? In those polls, Paul went from 6-9% to 7-10%; Bachmann went from 6-7% to 5-8%; Perry went from 7-8% to 5%; Santorum stayed in the 2-4% range; Huntsman went from 1-3% to 3-4%. In other words... no one is gaining yet. There's no one left to run to. Gingrich should hold there and may actually start to come back once his fund raising kicks in in the next couple of weeks.
From that time to now, Newt's national lead over Romney dropped about 10 points. Given that this is his strongest area of support, I would guess that his lead over Romney in SC and FL would right now be in the 10 to 15 point range. The question really is, who's more likely to shoot himself in the foot and give up the mantle of anti-Romney right now, Gingrich or Perry--the Tortoise or the Hair. The only other possible break-out could be Santorum... he's not had his turn as the anti-Mitt. He does have some movement in Iowa right now (CNN has him up to 16%, but everyone else has him around 10%). I suspect for him it's too little too late.
Again, I know the wolves are turning on Newt lately. But I'm not sure there's that much meat left to picked from his carcass. If I was a Republican, I would be tired of jumping from one nonMitt of the month to the next. I would hate you and I would kick puppy dogs and I would feel like an aging Tri Delt with a week left to find a date for the prom. I gotta go with somebody in 2012, even if it's that ugly fat kid from Georgia. It's not that Newt won't say stupid shit between now and February, rather it's that it's the same old stupid shit he's said before. People are used to it. Unlike Romney, I think he's hit his floor.
Posted by Bucky | Wed Dec 28, 2011, 08:00 PM (1 replies)
Those who want Newt nominated, take heart. Mr Gingrich's drop in national polls may not have that big an impact on whether he gets the Republican nomination. First off, compared to the Bachmann, Perry, and Cain implosions, Newt's drop has been fairly moderate. This is partly because the Republicans have simply run out of candidates to turn to and partly because the reasons not to like Gingrich are fairly old news. Yes, he's been a high priced shadow lobbyists for 15 years; yes, he divorced his wife while she was in the hospital for cancer treatments; yes, he has a long history of murdering orphans and eating their livers on Pay Per View to raise money for his Store Asbestos in Public Schools initiative.
But many Republicans knew all that already and he's the Marilyn Manson of conservative politics--just not that shocking anymore. Furthermore, he's not going to drop down to single digits because he's a more disciplined and less flaky candidate than the previous flash-in-the-pan frontrunners. And, as always, Romney each won't ever get more than a third of voting Republicans to approve of him while Ron Paul won't ever get more than a fourth. That missing 45% will have to vote for somebody and that somebody is not going to be Rick Santorum or the pro-science Huntsman. Newt is simply the last clown left in the toy Volkswagen in the center ring.
Once we get into the state primaries and caucuses, the news will start being (stupidly) dominated not by who's ahead in national polls but who won each of the rapid sequence of state contests. It'll go like this:
A week from now Ron Paul will pull off his upset in Iowa, but the unreported story will be all the also-rans' supporters ganging up to deny as many caucus delegate selections going to Paul--even throwing their support strategically to Romney where they can. Romney & Newt will be neck and neck for 2nd place. Everyone has been expecting this outcome, so to the Establishment's delight, Iowa won't seem to matter all that much.
The national media will step up the focus on Paul's nuttier ideas about getting out of most international organizations and the fear of urban minority riots.
Two weeks from now, Romney will win New Hampshire and Gingrich will take 2nd, effectively ending the Ron Paul threat. It will be a four person race at this point--but Paul and Perry are only hanging in there out of sheer Texas stubbornness. Perry is hoping for a southern miracle, but the next two contests are in Gingrich's backyard and frontyard respectively.
Four weeks from now Gingrich will be Romney by 25 points in South Carolina. Three days later he will repeat this margin of victory in Florida. Paul will not break 10% in either contest and Perry will drop out, coming in behind Paul in both states. Gingrich will probably get a majority win in one of those big state primaries. Because the national press has not been obsessing about the South the way they have about Iowa & New Hampshire, these will seem like big momentum swings, even though Gingrich's numbers have not been moving nationally.
In February there are a series of caucuses, followed by a Missouri primary on the 7th and Arizona & Michigan primaries on the 28th.
The media never pays attention to Maine, which Romney will win, while Newt should be able to win over enough wingnuts in the Nevada, Minnesota, and Colorado caucuses. Newt will win all three primaries by narrow margins and his win in Michigan will be wrongly perceived as a huge upset over Romney.
At this point the talk will be that Romney has to exceed expectations on Super Tuesday (March 6th) or the race is over. Super Tuesday means the following states: Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont. Romney's victories will be limited to Virginia (where Gingrich is not on the ticket) and the two New England states.
Mitt might hold on for a little while, but pundits will start discussing him as a regional candidate (even tho the reality is that Newt is better described that way). The media will have tired of talking about the Gingrich swamp of scandals, which will have been fully explored by then. As his inevitability sinks in, Gingrich will become increasingly restrained and cautious in his usual pompous pronouncements--until the summer when the crazy talk finally escapes its cage. Ron Paul will continue to be a nuisance, with only marginally higher results that what he got in 2008.
Romney will come under increasing pressure to pull out. His strongest states are still months away: Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, California. He doesn't handle losing very well and he'll become ever more testy, risking petulant gaffes. Meanwhile the GOP big wigs will start pushing him not to go more negative now that Newt looks likely to win. They want him to end his campaign before April, when he'd otherwise start to finally win big primaries. If the new "disciplined" Newt can pull off an upset in Illinois on March 20th, it's over. A lemon meringue spine like Mitt will cave into the bosses' demands and drop out.
The Gingrich-Daniels ticket will win 45% of the popular vote in November. Threats of a third party ticket will never materialize. Voter turnout will be significantly less than 2008's and in all likelihood the Mayan apocalypse will end all human life on the Winter Solstice 2012. You heard it here first.
Posted by Bucky | Tue Dec 27, 2011, 05:49 AM (39 replies)
A little bit of info about each other would make this place more personable. I think, maybe, culturally as liberals we're less inclined to talk about ourselves, lest it seem like bragging. But just a few snippits of info, mention a hometown, a job, and a hobby or two, would make it easier to think of each other as people rather than cyberbeings that we're conversing with.
I'm gonna go spruce up my DU3 profile now. If you click on it now it says I come from the Moon. That's not technically true.
Posted by Bucky | Sat Dec 17, 2011, 11:19 AM (5 replies)
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