Posts Tagged ‘Republican Party

The likely future of Voter ID laws

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“Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal”

It’s way too early to forecast the fate of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, the federal legislation introduced Thursday in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision last June in Shelby County v. Holder which struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act. This sensible new measure has bipartisan support. But already there are grumblings on the right that the bill either isn’t necessary or that it too boldly protects the rights of minority citizens to be free from…discriminatory voting practices…

But it’s not too early to know that state voter identification laws will have an exalted place of protection in the Congressional response to Shelby County no matter what the final legislation looks like. In an effort to garner bipartisan support, that is to say in an effort to appease Republican lawmakers, the bill’s sponsors specifically exempted state voter ID laws from the litany of discriminatory voting policies and practices that would count under the new “coverage formula” contemplated by Section 4 of the proposed law. It’s like proposing a law to ban football and then exempting the Super Bowl.

The VRAA tells us that it will be left to state and federal judges around the nation to render their own judgment about the constitutionality of voter ID laws. And right on cue, the day after the federal measure was introduced on Capitol Hill, a judge in Pennsylvania did just that. Following a lengthy trial last summer, and six months of agonizing delay, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley on Friday struck down Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law as violative of the constitutional rights of state voters…

The ruling is significant on its own terms, of course; it’s a major victory for voting rights advocates and a setback for vote suppressors in the state and everywhere else. As a matter of politics the import is clear. Pennsylvania is an eternal swing state—although it has swung blue most recently in national contests—and it is still considered a must-win for Democratic candidates for president. By blocking a law that would have erected practical impediments to mostly poor, young, old, and minority voters, Friday’s ruling makes it more likely that those likely Democratic voters will have their votes counted in 2014, at least…

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Written by Ed Campbell

January 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Republican Party wants to repeal law against offshore tax dodgers

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The Republican Party is expected to approve a resolution this week, calling for repeal of an Obama administration law that is designed to crack down on offshore tax dodging…In what would be the party’s first appeal to scrap the law…

True to their dedication to time-wasting, we can expect 47 more attempts to follow another failure to make 19th Century capitalism the state religion.

Approved in 2010 after a tax-avoidance scandal involving a Swiss bank, FATCA requires most foreign banks and investment funds to report to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service information about U.S. customers’ accounts worth $50,000 or more…

Repeal seems unlikely, but more political heat from Republicans could further complicate and delay implementation, said financial industry lobbyists…

Defending the law, Treasury Department spokeswoman Erin Donar said in a statement: “FATCA continues to gain momentum and international support as we work with partners around the world to fight offshore tax evasion.”

In the tradition of rightwing politicians in American history, today’s Republicans want armies stationed around the world, highway and rail systems to move industrial products to market, a certain level of education [albeit minimal] and obedient Bob Cratchit-level bureaucrats to run the infrastructure – paid for exclusively by taxes on workingclass families, our ever-diminishing middle class. No taxes on wealthy individuals or corporations.

Perish the thought Republican family values include honesty, responsibility, paying your own way.

Written by Ed Campbell

January 21, 2014 at 8:00 pm

GOP candidate says spousal rape shouldn’t be a crime

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After taking a drubbing in last year’s state elections, Virginia Republicans are debating whether their party has come to be defined by its extremists. But in a congressional district in Northern Virginia, one of the state’s main instigators of culture warfare, state Sen. Richard H. “Dick” Black, is running in the Republican primary to replace longtime GOP moderate Rep. Frank Wolf, who is retiring. And he’s guaranteed to ignite wedge-issue passion. Exhibit A: As a state legislator, Black opposed making spousal rape a crime, citing the impossibility of convicting a husband accused of raping his wife “when they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth.”

Black has referred to emergency contraception, which does not cause abortions, as “baby pesticide.” Black also fought to block a statue of Abraham Lincoln at a former Confederate site in Richmond. He wasn’t sure, he explained at the time, that statues of Lincoln belonged in Virginia. He has argued that abortion is a worse evil than slavery…

Black entered politics in the late 1990s after retiring as a military prosecutor. He spoke frequently to media outlets about sexual assault in the military, and called military rape “as predictable as human nature.” “Think of yourself at 25,” Black told a newspaper in 1996. “Wouldn’t you love to have a group of 19-year-old girls under your control, day in, day out?”

One more illustration of what the term “conservative” has come to mean in today’s Republican Party. Brutality and bigotry in the War on Women accepted as an ideological standard.

Written by Ed Campbell

January 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm

North Carolina vs Taliban – who’s copying whom?

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Thanks, Smartalix

Written by Ed Campbell

December 2, 2013 at 11:00 am

Seeking overwhelming choices in electoral politics

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Matthew Dowd [right] talking to a Republican who will never leave the past

One big way I have changed is how I look at politics, governing and, ultimately, all relationships. In the past I was very adept when I worked in campaigns on both sides of the aisle in coming up with strategies and tactics that would provide a candidate or a legislative effort with just enough votes to win. We call it the 51 percent effort. You figure out the coalition to just barely win, then create the campaign to achieve that. And this is what is employed in most instances in nearly every campaign and legislative effort.

And it is these 51 percent campaigns that have helped contribute to a very divided and polarized country. I have remorse over my own involvement in them. Today I believe our country needs something more, and something very different. We need to design campaigns and policy efforts that will receive overwhelming support…

These 51 percent campaigns have contributed to a lack of governing ability by politicians from the White House to state houses around the country. Without real mandates or without having run campaigns targeted at a huge majority, leaders are left with very little room for error and political capital. So many leaders are faced with 49% of the voters totally out of sync with their leadership, and they have difficult time governing, floundering throughout their terms…

And turning to our personal lives, I have come to the same conclusion that we shouldn’t settle for bare majorities in the choices we make in life. In the few big decisions we get to make in this world from who we choose as partners or companions to the work we do, we should strive to make decisions that are from a place of overwhelming joy. We shouldn’t be putting together a balance-sheet approach to these decisions that, when calculated, barely get us in the positive direction.

I disagree with half of Matthew Dowd’s analysis. Yes, I agree about the 51% – not about why we are where we are.

The essentials of his analysis presumes both halves of our shoddy two-party-limited electoral system are equally interested in moving living standards forward as a nation. That hasn’t been the case in decades. The decline began with the adoption of the Southern Strategy by Nixon and the Republican Party.

Before that, the racist vote in the United States belonged to the Democrats. It was an inheritance that traveled a convoluted path from the Civil War up into the start of FDR’s New Deal. Nixon saw the Democrats were becoming an instrument of equal opportunity. And he realized he could fire the coals of racism and take the electoral loyalty of disaffected whites over to the party that didn’t care at all about their economic lot – but, would feed on their ignorance and hatred.

Time passes and regardless of success and failure, the progressive movement ain’t going away. Building a better life on Earth is still the most natural way to live. And, so, the equally natural reaction of that class of people profiting from bigotry and hatred has been to fight the most stubborn retreat in American history.

As I would expect of someone who lives like the old-fashioned Christians I grew up with, Matthew Dowd also applies his philosophy to the non-political side of his life. Frankly, that works pretty well. Get folks away from the ideology they’ve been sold to govern the political side of their lives and humanity takes hold on its own. An important conclusion he draws from his own experience. For that he deserves respect and praise.

Written by Ed Campbell

November 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Congress-critters not even loved by their moms, anymore!

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Americans are holding Republicans primarily responsible for the partial government shutdown as public esteem sinks for all players in the impasse, President Barack Obama among them, according to a new poll. It’s a struggle with no heroes.

The Associated Press-GfK survey, out Wednesday, affirms expectations by many in Washington — Republicans among them — that the GOP may end up taking the biggest hit in public opinion from the fiscal paralysis, just as that party did when much of the government closed 17 years ago. But…there’s plenty of disdain to go around.

Overall, 62 percent mainly blamed Republicans for the shutdown. About half said Obama or the Democrats in Congress bear much responsibility…

The poll found that the tea party is more than a gang of malcontents in the political landscape, as its supporters in Congress have been portrayed by Democrats. Rather, it’s a sizable — and divisive — force among Republicans. More than 4 in 10 Republicans identified with the tea party and were more apt than other Republicans to insist that their leaders hold firm in the standoff over reopening government and avoiding a default of the nation’s debt in coming weeks.

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Written by Ed Campbell

October 9, 2013 at 8:00 am

The Nullification Party

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…How does one party that has lost two presidential elections and a Supreme Court case – as well as two Senate elections – think it has the right to shut down the entire government and destroy the full faith and credit of the United States Treasury to get its way on universal healthcare now? I see no quid pro quo even. Just pure blackmail, resting on understandable and predictable public concern whenever a major reform is enacted. But what has to be resisted is any idea that this is government or politics as usual. It is an attack on the governance and the constitutional order of the United States.

When ideologies become as calcified, as cocooned and as extremist as those galvanizing the GOP, the American system of government cannot work. But I fear this nullification of the last two elections is a deliberate attempt to ensure that the American system of government as we have known it cannot work. It cannot, must not work, in the mindset of these radicals, because they simply do not accept the legitimacy of a President and Congress of the opposing party. The GOP does not regard the president as merely wrong – but as illegitimate. Not misguided – illegitimate. This is not about ending Obamacare as such (although that is a preliminary scalp); it is about nullifying this presidency, the way the GOP attempted to nullify the last Democratic presidency by impeachment.

Except this time, of course, we cannot deny that race too is an added factor to the fathomless sense of entitlement felt among the GOP far right. You saw it in birtherism; in the Southern GOP’s constant outrageous claims of Obama’s alleged treason and alliance with Islamist enemies; in providing zero votes for a stimulus that was the only thing that prevented a global depression of far worse proportions; in the endless race-baiting from Fox News and the talk radio right. And in this racially-charged atmosphere, providing access to private healthcare insurance to the working poor is obviously the point of no return…

I regard this development as one of the more insidious and anti-constitutional acts of racist vandalism against the American republic in my adult lifetime. Those who keep talking as if there are two sides to this, when there are not, are as much a part of the vandalism as Ted Cruz. Obama has played punctiliously by the constitutional rules – two elections, one court case – while the GOP has decided that the rules are for dummies and suckers, and throws over the board game as soon as it looks as if it is going to lose by the rules as they have always applied.

…If we cave to their madness, we may unravel our system of government, something one might have thought conservatives would have opposed. Except these people are not conservatives. They’re vandals.

This time, the elephant must go down. And if possible, it must be so wounded it does not get up for a long time to come.

I agree. Too much work getting in winter’s firewood to spend on elaboration of my own. But, Andrew Sullivan says it well enough for now.

The silliness of TV Talking Heads blathering about middle ground and negotiations are as ignorant as ever. When half the proposed negotiations is illegal and refutation of our constitutional rights to democracy – the topic is moot. Ended. As over as Romney’s career as a national politician.

Written by Ed Campbell

October 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Republicans pass bill cutting food stamps by $39 billion

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The U.S. House approved a bill Thursday that would cut $39 billion in food stamp spending over 10 years, and which the White House has said would be vetoed.

The House passed the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act on a vote of 217-210, with no Democrats voting in favor and 15 Republicans joined Democrats in voting against…

House Republican leaders offered their usual lies about why the bill is necessary .

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the bill “a full assault on the health and economic security of millions of families.”

Senate Democrats have already said the bill has no chance of passage in the Senate.

In a statement Wednesday, the White House said the bill “would result in millions of Americans losing access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is one of our nation’s strongest defenses against hunger and poverty.”

“These cuts would affect a broad array of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, including working families with children, senior citizens, veterans, and adults who are still looking for work,” the White House said. “Slashing SNAP also weakens our nation’s farm and rural economies.”

Republicans Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia; Mike Fitzpatrick and Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania; Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska; Chris Gibson, Michael Grimm, Richard Hannaand Peter King of New York; Walter Jones of North Carolina; Frank LoBiondo and Chris Smith of New Jersey; Gary Miller and David Valadao of California; Frank Wolf of Virginia; and Don Young of Alaska voted against the bill.

Welcome to the human race.

The remaining scumbags pretending to be responsible elected officials have the consummate gall to claim they’re doing anything more than acting out over their hatred of poor people and the working poor. Just one more quality they can add to their hatred of women, schoolkids and folks in general who work for a living.

Written by Ed Campbell

September 20, 2013 at 2:00 am

The wonk gap – har!

Republicans keep producing chuckles

On Saturday, Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming delivered the weekly Republican address. He ignored Syria, presumably because his party is deeply conflicted on the issue. (For the record, so am I.) Instead, he demanded repeal of the Affordable Care Act. “The health care law,” he declared, “has proven to be unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable,” and he predicted “sticker shock” in the months ahead…

So, another week, another denunciation of Obamacare. Who cares?…Well, one likely answer is that he hasn’t heard any of the good news. Think about it: Who would tell him?

My guess, in other words, was that Mr. Barrasso was inadvertently illustrating the widening “wonk gap” — the G.O.P.’s near-complete lack of expertise on anything substantive. Health care is the most prominent example, but the dumbing down extends across the spectrum, from budget issues to national security to poll analysis. Remember, Mitt Romney and much of his party went into Election Day expecting victory…

For the truth is that the good news on costs just keeps coming in. There has been a striking slowdown in overall health costs since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, with many experts giving the law at least partial credit. And we now have a good idea what insurance premiums will be once the law goes fully into effect; a comprehensive survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that on average premiums will be significantly lower than those predicted by the Congressional Budget Office when the law was passed.

But do Republican politicians know any of this? Not if they’re listening to conservative “experts,” who have been offering a steady stream of misinformation. All those claims about sticker shock, for example, come from obviously misleading comparisons…

And the point is that episodes like this have become the rule, not the exception, on the right. How many Republicans know, for example, that government employment has declined, not risen, under President Obama? Certainly Senator Rand Paul was incredulous when I pointed this out to him on TV last fall…For that, surely, is what the wonk gap is all about. Political conservatism and serious policy analysis can coexist, and there was a time when they did. Back in the 1980s, after all, health experts at Heritage made a good-faith effort to devise a plan for universal health coverage — and what they came up with was the system now known as Obamacare.

Modern conservatism has become a sort of cult, very much given to conspiracy theorizing when confronted with inconvenient facts. Liberal policies were supposed to cause hyperinflation, so low measured inflation must reflect statistical fraud; the threat of climate change implies the need for public action, so global warming must be a gigantic scientific hoax. Oh, and Mitt Romney would have won if only he had been a real conservative.

It’s all kind of funny, in a way. Unfortunately, however, this runaway cult controls the House, which gives it immense destructive power — the power, for example, to wreak havoc on the economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. And it’s disturbing to realize that this power rests in the hands of men who, thanks to the wonk gap, quite literally have no idea what they’re doing.

Paul Krugman is spot on to what has happened to the party-formerly-known-as-Republican. A significant chunk of my family and friends are traditional American conservatives. That means they prize informed consent as core to republican government with a small “r”. The neo-cons, religious nutball Right, ignoranus conservative Libertarians who skip over facts in the manner of Rand Paul – have created themselves a party guided entirely by ideology. Ideology that as a matter of principle ignores science and history, economic history as much as the formation of constitutional civil rights.

Written by Ed Campbell

September 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Ross & Margot Perot donate $1 million to Planned Parenthood and the women of Texas

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Since Texas dismantled its Medicaid-funded Women’s Health Program in 2011 because Planned Parenthood was a program service provider, thousands of women across the state have lost access to affordable health services.

Continued cuts and anti-choice legislation in the state are forcing more reproductive health clinics to shut down.

But last week, The Perot Foundation of Dallas, founded by billionaire and former presidential candidate Ross Perot, donated $1 million to Planned Parenthood to help serve the women of Texas.

“For nearly 100 years Planned Parenthood has helped to educate men and women regarding family planning and general family health,” said Margot Perot in a written statement. “Our family has supported this nonprofit for many years because we are impressed with the work they do — providing birth control; scientifically based education; breast health exams; and basic, life-saving healthcare for women who cannot afford services otherwise.”

“We also recognize the need to further inform the public of the mission of this great organization and the need to support it at this critical time,” she wrote.

The foundation has been donating to Planned Parenthood for more than 20 years, and founded the Margot Perot Center for Women and Infants.

The should help some of you to understand what geezers like me are talking about when we refer to traditional American conservatives. They have little or nothing to do with what today’s neo-con-infested Republican Party has become. The scumbag Tea Party which functions as a front for both Birch Society right wingers and more ordinary racists wouldn’t have a clue what the Perots are about.

I have kin who walked away from the Republican Party after 50 years of loyalty because it has become a nest of vipers ranging from religious nutballs like Rick Perry to hate-filled thugs like Ted Cruz, the Texas Twins. I only had to mention the donation from the Perot family and the conversation lit up with reminiscence of former conservatives who fought for civil rights, who cared enough for the natural wonders of America to support conservation.

Days gone but not forgotten.

Written by Ed Campbell

September 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm


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