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DemocratsForProgress

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Member since: Mon May 28, 2012, 12:11 AM
Number of posts: 514

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Gloom and Doom in the Senate

Grumpy and Ms. Mouse: Gloom and Doom in the Senate



Grumpy: Ya know, Mouse, I’m actually not exactly grumpy today. Now that the post-election fog has lifted and I can get a clear picture of what the next two years are going to look like, my grumpiness has been replaced by unmitigated terror. The havoc that the Teapublicans could cause on every aspect of American society and economy has me ready to crawl under a rock until sanity is restored. The reality is that if we all did that then the insanity would continue and only get worse.

Mouse: I’d crawl under a rock too but they’re kinda uncomfortable and don’t provide near enough protection from the elements and cats, snakes, owls, and, well… you get the idea.

Grumpy: I don’t think we have time in this discussion for touching on all the areas of dread, so I’ll bring up a few on the Senate side of things as they relate to defense and “homeland security” (I really do hate that phrase but I guess we are stuck with it).

Mouse: “Homeland security” reminds me of the Bush Jr. years. That’s yet another thought to curdle the milk on your breakfast cereal...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/11/22/gloom-and-doom-in-the-senate/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Sat Nov 22, 2014, 02:48 PM (0 replies)

We Know Tar Sands, But Why Don’t We Know Biomass?

Walter Rhett: We Know Tar Sands, But Why Don’t We Know Biomass?



The US Congress perseverates. Its new leaders, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, have it bad. John McCain holds its longest recognized precondition. It is incurable and resists every treatment. Perseveration is a state of thought and speech, a mindset on a loop that repeats and repeats and prolongs an action long after the stimulus that prompted it has ceased. Think Keystone XL. Think Keystone. A political mutation from the perseveration of Obamacare.

Perseveration is a dangerous condition. It is a frequent condition that infects terrorist leadership who carry it to inhuman extremes. At home, perseveration often occurs as a host/carrier relationship between politicians and the media. Media is highly susceptible to its effects and has created recent epidemics and panics that stem from the main condition. Fears of Ebola’s spread to US soil is one such recent incident. The grand jury verdict in Ferguson is now another.

Congressional Republicans are single-minded and love to perseverate. About the XL, they ring memes: “thousands of jobs,” thousands of jobs,” “thousand of jobs;” the loud repetition masking that the pipeline has many dirty little flaws—beginning with the misleading jobs claim. Perseverating Republicans have a wild XL jobs math that includes school crossing guards anywhere near trucks with XL equipment, the counter and register workers at the doughnut shops where the truck drivers have coffee, and the supermarket worker who sells the bread for their sandwiches and the banker who receives their mortgage.

Here’s a more accurate picture: As we know, XL pipeline construction jobs will be less than the number on any NJ-NY highrise, less than those involved in building the new Tappan Zee Bridge...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/11/19/we-know-tar-sands-but-why-dont-we-know-biomass/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Wed Nov 19, 2014, 04:09 PM (0 replies)

A Time to Act

Walter Rhett: A Time to Act



The next Republican step will be to force President Obama to use the veto in a way that tanks Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the Presidency. The GOP-led Senate will not be interested in passing any useful legislation. The Senate will function only as a political wedge, driving bills that the President will veto, but that will also be loaded with riders affixed to the GOP agenda.

With the McConnell Senate, President Obama will be consistently faced with the lesser of two evils, between which there won’t be a dime’s worth of difference. The Senate will turn his vetoes into a political wedge, often pointing to the issues from both sides, to create a circle of confusion.

Remember, the House rarely sent up a clean bill, whether on the debt or a continuing resolution—which is what led to the government shutdown in 2013—surprisingly never mentioned by Democratic candidates, who gave the GOP a free pass on one of the worst of its legislative disasters domestically and internationally, damaging US standing in every world capital. Expect no less from Democrats, nor any more from Republicans with their win in the Senate.

It seems throughout the election Democrats were thinking about offices; Republicans were thinking about power. Republicans used the very shadows they created (a do-nothing Congress, Obama!) and pretended to oppose it by feigning substance, taking even tougher stands on waste, debt, red tape and intrusion—all of which they created in the shadows, all of which had been reduced in the light. But no one among the Democrats attached this darkness to their names...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/11/12/a-time-to-act/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Wed Nov 12, 2014, 05:26 PM (1 replies)

Consequences

Jeff Rosenzweig: Consequences



Well. With last week’s little unpleasantness out of the way, it’s at least a small relief that the cable news networks have mothballed their portentous horn-laden stings and seizure-inducing election-themed graphics. Until shortly before the first ’16 primary, anyway.

It’s less comforting that their energies now shift to helping Republicans craft their Grand Obstructionist Lame Duck narrative for the last half of the last term of Barack Obama, one where the “deeply unpopular” President, still diligently portrayed as a disengaged and feckless weakling, will nonetheless also be vilified as a stubborn, unreasoning bulwark against the bold (though coincidentally asinine) policy ideas of Republicans, through his preternatural command of a microphone and a veto pen.

Unless Republicans impeach him, of course, in which case… well, who the hell knows? Personally, I’d be delighted if the President were to veto everything the new Republican majorities stink up the inbox of the Resolute Desk with, and publicly call them all out as mendacious shitweasels in his next SOTU before daring them to start impeachment proceedings. Alas, that’s not going to happen.

As is his wont, the President will pick his battles with a seeming overabundance of caution, especially early on as the parties begin to square off in Congress. And that very well might entail his signature on some misshapen, though – one hopes – not monstrous legislation. In a landscape this ugly, there’s no reason to believe this is going to be anyone’s finest hour, and whatever compromising there is, I’m sadly sure most of it will be done by Democrats...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/11/10/consequences/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Mon Nov 10, 2014, 06:13 PM (0 replies)

Midterm Hangover

Grumpy and Ms. Mouse: Midterm Hangover



Grumpy: Well Mouse, I’m not feeling too well this week. In fact I think I’m about to have a two-year hangover after Tuesday night’s election results. Austerity will be the name of the game for the foreseeable future. Obama can use his veto pen, but I can’t see him using it on a budget which would effectively shut down government again. This time the blame will go to him, fairly or not. Filling vacant federal court seats? Don’t even think about it, they’ll never make it out of committee.

Mouse: And don’t forget about the Supreme Court. If any Justices should need to be replaced in the next two years expect the Republican Senate to create problems like we’ve never seen before. They will filibuster, drag their feet, and do anything and everything they can to prevent the President from seating a liberal-leaning Justice.

Grumpy: It isn’t just the Congress we have to worry about either. Teapublicans held onto and even gained governorships. Ohio should have gone to Democrats but we had a very weak candidate in Ed Fitzgerald. He had so much dirt on him the Teapublicans couldn’t shovel fast enough. He ended up dragging the entire statewide Democratic ticket down with him. The Republicans even hold a 6-to-1 majority on Ohio’s Supreme Court. Ohio may be a deeper red than ever before after the debacle of 2014.

Sadly, Ohio isn’t the exception this year. Governorships in four states (Arkansas, Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois) switched to Teapublican control and only Pennsylvania switched to Democratic control. I think we can expect many more attempts at voting restrictions in all the states. In the past the Democrats have been reactionary about Teapublican attempts at voting restrictions. I think it is time for the Democrats to get off their behinds and get proactive about using referendums, lawsuits and any other legal means of securing the voting rights that people died to win for us...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/11/07/midterm-hangover/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Fri Nov 7, 2014, 07:06 PM (1 replies)

New Hampshire Points to the Future

Walter Rhett: New Hampshire Points to the Future



The real story of the 2014 midterm election can be found in New Hampshire’s Senate race. More than any other states, its votes show how American politics is being redefined. Its results show how rapidly voters are shifting away from the old political paradigms of party and local issues to agenda-driven national issues that drown out regional and state concerns. In New Hampshire, look beyond the winners and losers, at the details and trends. There you’ll find the emerging politics of tomorrow.

First, New Hampshire was the place of Scott Brown’s third try in four years for the US Senate, with only his first attempt being successful but short-lived—but each of his last two races were competitive. New Hampshire was Brown’s second try in two years to win a Senate seat; he moved to the state in December 2013, after losing to Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, losing a seat he won after a special election.

His 2014 Democratic opponent was the incumbent Senator, former Governor and state legislator Jeanne Shaheen, who had a string of eight election victories in New Hampshire, and was without scandal or personal negatives. She had lived in New Hampshire for 40 years.

In the end, the difference was 17,000 votes out of a rough count of a quarter-million votes cast. That means over 225,000 voters voted for a man who had never served in New Hampshire politics and only jumped into its Senate race last April. Brown had never lived there until 11 months ago, and was clearly using the state as a stepping stone for his singular ambition to win a Senate seat. He had a single plank in his platform: Obama is bad news...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/11/05/new-hampshire-points-to-the-future/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Wed Nov 5, 2014, 03:00 PM (1 replies)

Stormy Monday, 11/3/14

Jeff Rosenzweig: Stormy Monday, 11/3/14



According to everyone from Nate Silver to Reince Priebus to Joe Trippi to a host of Democratic and Republican candidates sending out last-minute fundraising e-mails, on Tuesday Republicans will take over the Senate, strengthen their hold on the House, and ramp up their assault on women’s rights, voting rights and civil rights in general with increased legislative majorities at the state level. I trust, Gentle Reader, that you’re about to prove all of them wrong. Thanks in advance!

For those waiting restlessly for the next generation of gormless, amoral, deceitful, opportunistic and downright dumb “civil servants” named Bush to come along, the wait is almost over. Tuesday, son o’Jeb George P. Bush is strongly favored to become Texas Land Commissioner. Interestingly, while Land Commissioner is an actual position, there is no actual Land Commission. Sounds like the perfect job for P.

Salon has a good rundown of some of the most closely watched of the 147 ballot measures that will go before voters on Tuesday. These include recreational cannabis initiatives in DC, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, gun control measures in Washington, GMO labeling in Oregon and Colorado, and abortion restrictions in Tennessee, Colorado and North Dakota.

Good news for calendar-impaired Teabaggers: National Impeach Obama Week II has been extended to November 4, making it technically National Impeach Obama Two Weeks and Four Days, but, hey, who’s counting? The group’s website features allegations about the President “overning by dictatorial fiat with lawless executive orders targeting Amnesty, Obamacare, gun regulation, etc.,” “blatantly lying to the American People about the Benghazi attack, Obamacare, etc. for political reasons,” “encouraging massive numbers of illegal aliens to enter the US for his own perverse political reasons,” and “bizarre and erratic behavior, which implies psychological pathology.” Speaking of “bizarre and erratic behavior,” the “II” in the event’s official name commemorates the fact that these buffoons held a week of events back in August, which, judging from the photos on their site, were attended by five people in Austin, TX, four or five more in Middletown, NJ, four people in Prescott, AZ, and a confused-looking woman in Annapolis, MD...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/11/02/stormy-monday-11314-2/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Sun Nov 2, 2014, 08:42 PM (0 replies)

How to Buy Power and Influence

Walter Rhett: How to Buy Power and Influence



Once, you bought elected officials. Today, you buy the election. How? With ads! Short, distorted, repetitive, intense, saturated, without facts. Who pays? Outside groups. An example: since 2006, the Republican State Leadership Committee has gone from spending $20 million on GOP candidates to a projected $37 million by next week, mainly aimed at state legislatures and judges. In a break with precedent (and mainstream media coverage!), the new era of free speech has focused attacks on elected judges, especially on state Supreme Courts. In North Carolina, one televised ad accused a sitting judge of “siding with child predators.”

And win or lose, these ads are working. A new report says state judges are considering these ads when they issue rulings in court. The net effect of these ads is slowly, invisibly changing justice, even on constitutional questions.

According to the American Constitution Society (ACS):

Outside interest groups, often with high-stakes economic interests or political causes before the courts, now routinely pour millions of dollars into state supreme court elections. These powerful interests understand the important role that state supreme courts play in American government, and seek to elect justices who will rule as they prefer on priority issues such as environmental and consumer protections, marriage equality, reproductive choice and voting rights. Although their economic and political priorities are not necessarily criminal justice policy, these sophisticated groups understand that “soft on crime” attack ads are often the best means of removing from office justices they oppose.


The Society issued a report, Skewed Justice: Citizens United, Television Advertising, and State Supreme Court Justices’ Decisions in Criminal Cases, that compiled data from more than 3,000 criminal appeals decided in state supreme courts in 32 states from 2008 to 2013...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/10/29/how-to-buy-power-and-influence/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Wed Oct 29, 2014, 07:46 PM (3 replies)

Fever Dreams

Jeff Rosenzweig: Fever Dreams



For all the mainstream media’s obsession with Ebola in recent weeks, one disquieting aspect of the virus remains largely unexamined: its ability to provoke delusional raving from right-wingers.

Take, for example, Larry Klayman, whose history of delusional raving actually predates the current outbreak by about 63 years. Klayman took some time out from his current projects (barking at the moon and petitioning the Department of Homeland Security to deport Barack Obama) to discuss Ebola in the October 10 edition of his WND column. More specifically, Barack Obama and Ebola. His opening salvo echoes criticism leveled at the President from various quarters, not all of them arch-conservative, insisting that “free entry” into the United States by people from Ebola-affected nations be halted.

But Klayman’s just getting started. He then alleges the White House forced CDC Director Thomas Frieden “… to walk the proverbial medical plank, by spewing forth what in street vernacular was vintage cr-p to the American people.” Putting aside the odd revelation that there’s such a thing as a “proverbial medical plank” – who knew? – Klayman’s contention that Frieden is being “forced, likely to keep his job” to toe the White House line on travel from West Africa begs the question of why the CDC Director would acquiesce and allow, in Klayman’s framing, “potential massive death to our citizenry.” Maybe there’s an obscure out clause in the Hippocratic Oath.

Breaking out multiple dog whistles, Klayman then goes on to claim that Ebola “appears to be even worse a threat to this nation than AIDS or other incurable African generated diseases,” and then calls it “more than likely” that “suicide terrorists from ISIS, perhaps American Muslim traitors” will infect themselves with Ebola and enter the United States. Hey, way to give ‘em ideas, Larry...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/10/28/fever-dreams/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Tue Oct 28, 2014, 08:24 PM (0 replies)

Say NO to Voter Suppression

Grumpy and Ms. Mouse: Say NO to Voter Suppression



Mouse: Gotta say I’ve been feelin’ a bit grumpy myself these last few days. You all know how important I consider voting, and the Supreme Court ruling on Texans needing ID has me spitting mad. The Justices said it was too close to the election to change the ruling requiring ID. I hope the Koch brothers like what they’ve bought.

Grumpy: Well, now you’ve gone and ruined my whole day, Mouse! You should know better than to use four-letter words like “Koch” so early in the day. I haven’t even had a chance to digest my breakfast yet!

Mouse: The Texans who wrote these laws don’t care if they’ve taken away a few Republican votes with this law as certainly a few people who would have voted Republican don’t have the proper ID. As long as they make sure that a greater number of Democratic ballots are denied, they’ll be satisfied the numbers will work in their favor.

It’s no surprise the vast majority of people without the proper ID are African-American and Hispanic. Hmm… I think I see a pattern here. The groups most likely to vote for Democrats are being denied their right to vote...


More at: http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2014/10/27/say-no-to-voter-suppression/
Posted by DemocratsForProgress | Mon Oct 27, 2014, 07:35 PM (1 replies)
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