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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
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Arizona’s primary was an utter disaster. But was it just a big mistake, or something more nefarious?

Source: Washington Post

If the botched election happened in a vacuum, perhaps the long lines might not have become such an explosive political issue. But voting rights activists who were on the ground that day say there are too many parallels to past fudged elections in Arizona not to wonder whether there's something more sinister going on.

* * *

Voting rights advocates say Latino voters didn't want to mail in their ballot because many recalled the bottleneck during 2012's heated election when controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio was on the ballot. People in minority communities waited in long lines, and eventually many had to cast provisional ballots that weren't counted until almost a month later. That same year, the county sent out a Spanish-language announcement that had the wrong voting day on it.

Going back to March 22's election, voting rights activists say they have evidence the poll closures were heaviest in the most disadvantaged areas of the county, like West Phoenix, which has a big minority population. They add they did not find nearly the volume of independent voters officials said there were.

They also argue that Arizona's voting laws don't suggest an openness to minority voters. Arizona's governor signed a bill making it a felony for third-party groups, like nonprofits, to collect and submit early ballots on behalf of voters. It's a move advocates say further discourages minority voters from participating. And Arizona is one of two states that required voters to prove their citizenship when applying to vote (though the courts recently said the states can't require a proof-of-citizenship document for voters registering via a federal form).

Read more: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/arizona%e2%80%99s-primary-was-an-utter-disaster-but-was-it-just-a-big-mistake-or-something-more-nefarious/ar-BBrb3H0?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=iehp

Nice bit of investigative reporting that puts the Arizona election disaster into context. Of course, remember that Arizona's former Governor, Jan Brewer, endorsed Trump.

Salon - Susan Sarandon can afford a so-called Trump “revolution” — the rest of us will be screwed

I am not sure why Susan Sarandon even suggested that she might prefer a revolution resulting from Trump, rather than vote for Hillary. That was just stupid on her part.


Celebrities — they’re not just like us! They’re not regular people! Even the ones who seem likable and earthy, who probably are pretty likable and earthy, still live in a totally different America than the rest of us here in the 99 percent. Case in point — imagine being well enough off to not be scared out of your mind right now about the outcome of the 2016 election.

Susan Sarandon doesn’t seem to be sweating it. Sarandon — who three years ago declared, “I think of myself as a humanist because I think it’s less alienating to people who think of feminism as being a load of strident bitches and because you want everyone to have equal pay, equal rights, education and healthcare,” is a Bernie Sanders supporter. But in a Monday conversation with MSNBC Chris Hayes, she went further, saying that “I think Bernie would probably encourage people to because he doesn’t have any ego in this thing. But I think a lot of people are, ‘Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to.'”

When pressed how she’d vote if it came down to Clinton or Trump, she admitted, “I don’t know. I’m going to see what happens,” adding, “Some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode… If you think it’s pragmatic to shore up the status quo right now, then you’re not in touch with the status quo. The status quo is not working.”

Well, sure, the status is not quo. But it must be super nice to be a highly-paid Oscar winner who at nearly 70 can still be a L’Oreal brand ambassador and feisty fashion role model. It must be nice to espouse liberal causes but also feel secure that you’ll be fine if everything goes entirely to the dogs. Your family wouldn’t be deported. Escalating racism? Not your problem. A misogynist in the White House setting the tone on how to talk to women? Wouldn’t affect your career or personal safety. Your health insurance wouldn’t be lost. You wouldn’t lose your job or your mortgage. You have no student loans to default on. You could, you might imagine, safety watch “things really explode” from your West Village penthouse. That’s a privilege the rest of us don’t have.

NY Times - Russia Shows What Happens When Terrorists’ Families Are Targeted

I guess we now know that there is more to Trump's Russia fetish than first thought. In addition to expressing admiration for Putin, which is not unique among Republicans, Trump is not alone as a fan of this war crime.


MOSCOW — Donald J. Trump, the leading Republican presidential candidate, was widely condemned when he called for the United States to “take out the families” of terrorists.

His approach — even after he clarified that he was not talking about killing the relatives — was dismissed by many as immoral and unlawful. Yet, it is the very tactic that Russia has pursued for decades.

It is the signature, though officially unacknowledged, policy behind Moscow’s counterinsurgency and counterterrorism strategies, and Russia’s actions in smashing a Muslim separatist rebellion in the Caucasus provide a laboratory for testing Mr. Trump’s ideas.

The family ties that bind in terrorist groups came into focus last week after the police in Brussels disclosed that two of the three suicide bombers in the attacks there were brothers, Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui. All told, analysts estimate that a third of the participants in terrorist acts are related to another attacker.

NY Times - How the G.O.P. Elite Lost Its Voters to Donald Trump

Nice story of how the GOP's mega donors helped create and benefitted from the conditions that paved the way for Donald Trump's candidacy.


As the Republican Party collapses on itself, conservative leaders struggling to explain Mr. Trump’s appeal have largely seized on his unique qualities as a candidate: his larger-than-life persona, his ability to dominate the airwaves, his tough-sounding if unrealistic policy proposals. Others ascribe Mr. Trump’s rise to the xenophobia and racism of Americans angry over their declining power.

But the story is also one of a party elite that abandoned its most faithful voters, blue-collar white Americans, who faced economic pain and uncertainty over the past decade as the party’s donors, lawmakers and lobbyists prospered. From mobile home parks in Florida and factory towns in Michigan, to Virginia’s coal country, where as many as one in five adults live on Social Security disability payments, disenchanted Republican voters lost faith in the agenda of their party’s leaders.

In dozens of interviews, Republican lawmakers, donors, activists and others described — some with resignation, some with anger — a party that paved the way for a Trump-like figure to steal its base, as it lost touch with less affluent voters and misunderstood their growing anguish.

“This is absolutely a crisis for the party elite — and beyond the party elite, for elected officials, and for the way people have been raised as Republicans in the power structure for a generation,” said Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary for President George W. Bush. “If Donald Trump wins, he will change what it means to be a Republican.”

Ted Cruz - ‘Religious Liberty’ Plan - Okay to Discriminate Against LGBT Community

So long as you claim you are discriminating based on your religious beliefs, then it is okay.


his bid for the presidency, Ted Cruz (R) has consistently surrounded himself with some of the most extreme social conservatives in the country. In addition to appearing beside these individuals at various events, he also recruited a Religious Liberty Advisory Council — what Fox News’ Todd Starnes calls a “faith-based Justice League.”

Through Starnes, Cruz unveiled this week just what kind of ideas this council has developed to protect “religious liberty.” Given the fact that his council consisted of representatives from only the most conservative iterations of Christianity, the 15-point list is unsurprisingly dedicated to privileging Christian beliefs and enabling discrimination against the LGBT community and women.

For example, one of the recommendations is to “rescind Executive Order 13672 – an order that requires certain federal contractors to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” This order, which Obama first issued back in 2014, requires companies that contract with the federal government to have a policy against discriminating against LGBT people. By vowing to rescind it, Cruz is blatantly endorsing such discrimination and promising to subsidize it with taxpayer funding.

The council also recommends that Cruz “direct all federal agencies to stop interpreting ‘sex’ to include ‘sexual orientation’ and/or ‘gender identity.'” This would gut essential protections that LGBT people — and particularly members of the transgender community — are relying on. Victims of discrimination in employment and education have successfully found relief based on these interpretations of the law, and that protection would be eviscerated.

New Yorker - "Ted Cruz and the Art of the Dirty Trick"

In light of Ted Cruz's recent poutrage over the National Enquirer story, it sure seems like Ted can dish it out, but has trouble taking it.


has never been a more tainted victory in the Iowa caucuses,” a spokesman for Ben Carson’s campaign said on Tuesday. He was referring to what he called Ted Cruz’s “abject lies” and, particularly, to what appears to have been a concerted effort on the part of the Cruz campaign to persuade voters at caucuses that Carson had dropped out. Carson himself told Fox News that his wife had had to personally refute that rumor at one caucus site—and once she had, he said, he won there. “Isn’t this the exact kind of thing that the American people are tired of? Why would we want to continue that kind of, you know, shenanigans?” Donald Trump put the charge in his own terms in a tweet: “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!”

That was only part of what Trump had to say. He threatened to sue Cruz; he made himself the champion of the honor of Ben Carson, a man who Trump has suggested is “pathological.” He tweeted that “the State of Iowa should disqualify Ted Cruz from the most recent election on the basis that he cheated—a total fraud!” Cruz had also sent out a mailer marked “Voter Violation,” which purported to contain information about voters and their neighbors, and was printed on yellow paper to look like a real ticket—which, as Ryan Lizza noted, was just the beginning of its problems. It was a “disgrace,” Trump said, adding what was, for a New York real-estate developer, the ultimate insult: “It looks right out of municipal government.” Cruz tried to dismiss it all as a “Trumpertantrum.” The problem was that, in the whirlwind of Trump’s rage, there were some hard objects swirling around and banging into Cruz’s story.

Cruz has said that he won Iowa by being uncompromising and clever, with all those data-driven, micro-targeted canvassing runs—part of what his campaign reportedly called the Oorlog Project. According to Sasha Issenberg, of Bloomberg News, it was “named by a Cruz data scientist who searched online for ‘war’ translated into different languages and thought the Afrikaner word looked coolest.” (“War” is cool; “war” with a hint of an illiberal siege mentality in its orthography is, apparently, coolest.) And it was, by all accounts, a get-out-the-vote drive like none other—even better than Barack Obama’s, in 2008, which had set the standard.

Then, on Monday evening, as the caucuses were assembling, Chris Moody, a CNN reporter, sent out three tweets in the space of two minutes. The first referred to a flight that Carson would be catching that night; the second said that “Carson won’t go to NH/SC, but instead will head home to Florida for some R&R. He’ll be in DC Thursday for the National Prayer Breakfast.” The third, seconds later, noted that “Ben Carson’s campaign tells me he plans to stay in the race beyond Iowa no matter what the results are tonight.” CNN’s on-air report also made it clear that the Florida trip was just a detour. Nevertheless, the Cruz campaign sprung into action and retailed the second tweet, out of context, as news of the suspension of Carson’s campaign. The Cruz camp’s emphasis on quick, sophisticated communications meant that it could send a directive to spread the story to campaign workers in every Iowa precinct, but it also left behind a digital trail of tweets and e-mail alerts. One of the tweets, from Representative Steve King, the campaign’s national co-chair, said, “Carson looks like he is out. Iowans need to know before they vote. Most will go to Cruz, I hope”—and it was sent after the Carson campaign had issued clarifications.

With the Supreme Court Vacancy, Could Citizens United Be Reversed?

Interesting article in the Atlantic, which recognizes the opportunity to reverse Citizens United, but argues that even with a more liberal judge, the Court would be reluctant to reverse established precedent. However, didn't the Court reverse decades of precedent in the first place when it issued Citizens United in the first place?


Few supreme court opinions have been as controversial as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 decision that struck down limits on corporations’ campaign expenditures, finding them to be an abridgment of free speech. Like most of the Court’s recent campaign-finance rulings, the case was decided 5–4, with Justice Antonin Scalia in the majority. Even before Scalia’s death, Citizens United featured significantly in the presidential primaries. Bernie Sanders had made its negation, through a constitutional amendment, a key goal of—and rationale for—his candidacy. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had condemned the existing campaign-finance system, and Clinton had vowed to appoint “Supreme Court justices who value the right to vote over the right of billionaires to buy elections.”

Now, with a new justice in the offing, the prospect of reversing Citizens United, among other Roberts Court decisions, seems suddenly larger, more plausible: For campaign-finance-reform proponents, the brass ring seems within reach.

* * *
In a powerful dissent in 2014, Justice Stephen Breyer demonstrated how the Court’s recent 5–4 decisions striking down campaign-finance laws are out of step with the Court’s own precedents, thus laying out the logic for a reversal. In theory, he just needs one more vote.

And yet, even if Scalia’s replacement shifts the ideological balance of the Court, the effort to undo Citizens United will still face daunting hurdles. The Court hesitates to overturn any past decision, but it is especially reluctant when a reversal means cutting back on a constitutional right, rather than establishing a new one (as pro-life opponents of Roe v. Wade have learned).

Bernie and Hillary Both Score Over 50 Percent on Politifact

Both Hillary and Bernie Score Just Over 50 Percent on True or Mostly True Statements:



In contrast, Donald Trump scores under 10 Percent on True or Mostly True Statements and Ted Cruz scores under 25 percent:



Ted Cruz Day One: How feasible is his conservative checklist?

If it weren't for Trump, we would all be talking about how batshit crazy Ted Cruz is...


A Cruz presidency could set the United States on a very different trajectory within hours — if he can make good on his many promises for change on Day One.

Throughout his campaign, GOP presidential hopeful and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has outlined the actions he plans to take on his first day in the Oval Office if he is elected president.

Mainstream America first heard this list during Cruz’s closing statement at this election cycle’s first Republican presidential debate, on Aug. 6.

“If I am elected president, let me tell you about my first day in office,” he said at the Fox News debate. The list included overturning President Obama’s executive orders, canceling the Iran deal and ordering the Department of Justice to investigate Planned Parenthood, among many other things.

"Mitt Romney won’t rule out accepting GOP nomination at contested convention"

You know how Romney has suddenly come out of the woodwork to try to stop Trump? First, in Ohio, he came out in support of Kasich:


Then, he turned around, and attacked Kasich to prevent Kasich from emerging as the consensus establishment choice:


Well, it is just part of Romney's plan to try to steal the nomination from the top three candidates, Trump, Cruz and Kasich and run for a third time at the 11th hour. This would be like choosing John Kerry to run in the 2016 election. It would be quite a coup d'etat for the Republican power brokers to simply hand pick their chosen nominee and render millions of Republican primary votes irrelevant.


Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, refused Sunday to rule out becoming the nominee again this year at a brokered convention, though he insisted he couldn’t imagine that happening.

“I don’t think anyone in our party should say, ‘Oh no, even if the people of the party wanted me to be president, I would say no to it.’ No one is going to say that,” Mr. Romney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Speculation abounded that Mr. Romney was setting himself up for a surprise nomination last week when he unleashed a brutal denouncement of front-runner Donald Trump, urging voters to support anyone but the billionaire real estate mogul in upcoming primaries to force a contested convention this summer in Cleveland, Ohio.

Mr. Romney lambasted Mr. Trump as “a fraud, a phony” in a speech Thursday. “He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.”
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