Monday Reads: Party Nomination Races Beginning to Heat Up

Worlds Full of Lemons by Vitaly-Urzhumov

Worlds Full of Lemons by Vitaly-Urzhumov

Good Morning!!

Following last week’s marathon “debate,” Republican presidential candidates have continued to spread hate everywhere they go.

Current front runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson are pushing hatred of Muslims, along with insinuations that we already have one in the White House.

Bloomberg Politics: Donald Trump on Muslims: ‘Are You Trying to Say We Don’t Have a Problem?’

Trump, the front runner for the 2016 Republican nomination, was asked on CNN’s State of the Union about his campaign rally in New Hampshire on Thursday. At the event, an audience member said President Barack Obama was a Muslim, that the U.S. has a problem with Muslims, and asked “when can we get rid of them?” At Thursday’s event and again on CNN, Trump did not criticize or correct the question.

“We could be politically correct if you want,” Trump said. “Are you trying to say we don’t have a problem?” ….

“We have radicals that are doing things,” he said. “It wasn’t people from Sweden that blew up the World Trade Center.”

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On This Week, continued his anti-Muslim ranting. Bloomberg reports:

On ABC’s “This Week” broadcast, Trump again referred to “a worldwide problem” with Muslims, according to a transcript provided by the network.

“You look around the world, it is a problem,” Trump said.  “You know, the terrorism and everything else, it seems to be pretty much confined there.”

Trump also declined several times during the ABC interview to say that he believed Obama was born in the U.S.

Lovely. I guess Trump hasn’t noticed all the domestic terrorists here in the U.S. Dylann Roof, for example is no Muslim.

From the transcript of This Week, Jonathan Karl reports on a Trump appearance in Iowa at a high school homecoming.

KARL (voice-over): Trump didn’t challenge his supporter’s false claim about the president’s background….

KARL (voice-over): But Trump has no apologies. He recited his Twitter account for an Iowa crowd on Saturday.

TRUMP: So I started by saying, “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so.”

Right?

KARL (voice-over): So is Donald Trump playing with fire? Or simply playing to his base?

A recent poll shows more than half of Trump’s supporters believe President Obama is Muslim and 28 percent of Republicans think the president wasn’t born in the U.S. Even Trump has admitted his conspiracy theories over the president’s birth are part of his appeal, as he told me two years ago.

KARL: You don’t acknowledge that you went overboard on this whole birther stuff?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Actually, I think it made me very popular, if you want to know the truth, OK? So I do think I know what I’m doing.

Yes, Trump is spreading hate, and he knows exactly what he’s doing.

Carson

And then there’s Ben Carson. The Guardian: Ben Carson says no Muslim should ever become US president.

The Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has said no Muslim should be president of the United States of America.

In an interview with NBC for broadcast on Sunday morning, the retired neurosurgeon said: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson’s discussion with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd centered around controversy that arose this week when Donald Trump – the real-estate mogul keeping Carson in second place in the pollsfailed to correct an audience member at a New Hampshire campaign rally who said President Obama was a Muslim.

The audience member also appeared to advocate the forcible removal of Muslims from the US….

In his NBC interview, Carson was asked: “So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?”

“No,” he said, “I don’t, I do not.”

Article VI of the US constitution states: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The first amendment to the constitution begins: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

What does Carson think about Muslims as Congresspeople?

Carson was also asked if he would consider voting for a Muslim candidate for Congress.

He said: “Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what they’re policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know.”

Two members of Congress, both Democrats, are Muslim: Keith Ellison of Minnesota was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and André Carson of Indiana followed in 2008.

Fortunately, neither of these freaks is likely to be president or even see the inside of the White House anytime soon.

Walker

Fading presidential candidate Scott Walker’s hatred is focused on labor unions. From The American Prospect: A Desperate Scott Walker Brings Anti-Labor Crusade to National Stage.

Earlier this week, Republican presidential contender Scott Walker detailed how he would bring his anti-labor crusade to the federal level, unveiling an expansive plan that would eliminate the National Labor Relations Board, ban federal public sector unions, and make the United States a right-to-work country, among a host of other anti-worker policies he said would give “power to the people, not the union bosses.” ….

As recently as July, Walker was leading the polls in Iowa. He’s since plummeted to the bottom of the Iowa field with just 3 percent support. Worse yet, as he admitted after yesterday’s debate, his entire campaign is premised on winning the Iowa caucuses, which kick-off the contest for delegates. “I think we’re putting all our eggs in the basket of Iowa, we’re committed to Iowa, and I think that’ll help us make the case all throughout the country,” Walker told MSNBC .

With Walker following a similar downward spiral as the announcement of his anti-labor plan appears to be an attempt at to lock-down uneasy big-money donors who stand to benefit from gutting worker rights. Walker needs to ensure that he will remain funded well into the primary season.

“The way the system is now set up, to stay alive, you have to really convince your relatively few big donors to stay in the game,” says Larry Noble of the Campaign Legal Center. “[His plan] seems to be aimed at the donors, not the public.”

Hillary1

Hillary Clinton appeared on Face The Nation yesterday. Here’s the transcript of the interview. And here are the headlines in the corporate media.

Buzzfeed News: Hillary Clinton Calls For The U.S. To Take In 65,000 Syrian Refugees.

Hillary Clinton said Sunday the U.S. should commit to taking in 65,000 Syrian refugees next financial year, a significantly higher number than the 10,000 the Obama administration has announced it will accept.

“We’re facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, and I think the United States has to do more, and I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000, to begin immediately to put into place the mechanisms for vetting the people that we would take in,” Clinton told Face the Nation moderator John Dickerson on Sunday….

Clinton said on Sunday that the U.S. should prioritize taking in the most vulnerable — including, she says, Christians and Yazidi women — before repeating her call for a global meeting to address the issue.

“I also want the United States to lead the world, and I’ve recommended at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly there be an international meeting called by the secretary general and literally get people to commit [to] putting money in, helping the frontline states like Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon who’ve absorbed a lot refugees, working with the EU and the European countries, but getting everybody to make a contribution,” Clinton said.

Hillary3

Real Clear Politics: Hillary Clinton: “I Cannot Imagine Anyone Being More Of An Outsider Than The First Woman President.”

In an interview with John Dickerson, moderator of CBS’s Face the Nation, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she can claim outsider status since she could possibly be the first female president.

“In politics this year, it looks like everything wants an outsider,” Dickerson said. “Now that puts you in a fix.”

“Tell us why this doesn’t put you in a fix,” Dickerson said to laughter from Clinton.

“I cannot imagine anyone being more of an outsider than the first woman president,” Clinton stated. “I mean, really, let’s think about that.”

CBS News: “I am a real person,” Hillary Clinton says.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was stumped Sunday when “Face the Nation” moderator John Dickerson asked her to name three words that describe “the real Hillary Clinton.”

“Just three? I can’t possibly do that!” Clinton said, throwing hear head back with laughter. “I mean, look, I am a real person with all the pluses and minuses that go along with being that. And I’ve been in the public eye for so long that I think, you know, it’s like the feature that you see in some magazines sometimes, ‘Real people actually go shopping,’ you know?”

Hillary2

On Dickerson’s question about voters wanting an outsider as president:

“I know you’re asking, ‘Do we want people who have never been elected to anything, who have no political experience, who have never made any hard choices in the public area?'” she told moderator John Dickerson. “Well, voters are going to have to decide that.”

She also addressed criticism that she is too deep inside the political system to help reorient the economy back toward the middle class.

“I have an economic policy that is centered on raising incomes, because I think what we inherited from the Bush administration, what President Obama had to deal with, had the potential of becoming a ‘Great Depression,’ not just a ‘Great Recession,'” Clinton said. “We have now recovered 13 million jobs after losing 800,000 a month when he came into office. So why would we go back to the same policies? Call them insider, call them tilted toward the rich, call them giving corporations a free pass to do whatever they want. I’m against that, I’ve always been against that.”

She added, “So you know, I’m not running for Bill’s third term, I’m not running for President Obama’s third term, but it would be foolish of me not to say, ‘You know, that worked better than what the Republicans offer.'”

Biden

Channel 10 News Tampa Bay: Hillary Clinton: I’m not preparing for Joe Biden.

Hillary Clinton said she and her team are not taking steps to prepare for a possible late entry into the Democratic presidential primary by Vice President Joe Biden.

“This is such a personal decision and the vice president has to sort this out,” Clinton said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “He’s been so open in talking about how difficult this time is for him and his family and he’s obviously considering what he wants to do including whether he wants to run.”

“I just have the greatest respect and affection for him and I think everybody just ought to give him the space to decide what’s best for his family,” she added.

Biden met with political advisers Monday at his residence in Washington, D.C. as part of his ongoing conversation with family, friends and staff over whether to jump into the 2016 presidential race.

Over the last few days, some Democratic donors have also calls for the vice president to mount a challenge to Clinton.

According to Chuck Todd and friends, Biden’s wife has given him her blessing to joint the presidential race.

Contrary to reports suggesting Vice President Joe Biden’s wife remains an obstacle to his potential presidential run, sources tell NBC News that Jill Biden is fully behind him for another bid.

Jill Biden, sources tell NBC’s Chuck Todd, is 100 percent on-board with a presidential run, despite reports indicating her hesitation is part of what’s keeping Biden from jumping into the race.

And that looks more likely by the day, as sources have indicated Biden’s been meeting with Democratic leaders during his travels around the nation over the past week to tell them he wants to do it and thinks there’s room for him to make a credible bid if he does.

The key question that’s still weighing on his mind as he decides whether to make another go of it: Does he have the emotional energy to give it his all, sources say.

Whatever. I still don’t think he’ll do it. Apparently he thinks he needs to make up his mind by October 1, so we won’t have to listen to the speculation much longer.

What else is happening? What stories are you following today?

 

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Woman in Red: Debate, Election and the Shutdown…The GOP’s Albescent-churian Candidate

Womaninred

 

Good Morning

As promised…I bring you the latest edition of The Woman in Red….(It has taken me days, in fact almost the last 24 hours has been straight on through.)

You can read the earlier issues at these links:

The Woman in Red: Protector of the Uteri, Defender of Vajayjay Rights and Fighter Against the #WarOnWomen | Sky Dancing

The Woman In Red: Against The Monsters On The Hill… A comic-ill perspective observation | Sky Dancing

The Woman In Red: Battle of the Sexes…Fight Until the Vacuum Cleaner is Broken | Sky Dancing

As before, click the image to see the full size…and then click on the image itself to enlarge the picture, otherwise you will not be able to read the captions.

So….here we go!

Woman in Red:

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Debate, Election and the Shutdown…

The GOP’s Albescent-churian Candidate

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Tonight is the Republican Presidential Candidate Debate…..

4 things to watch in Wednesday’s Republican debate | MSNBC

Republican Presidential Debate 2015: Start Time, TV Channel, Radio Info For Second GOP Debate

Gloves likely to come off at second GOP 2016 debate – NY Daily News

 

Let’s take you to the debate venue, shortly before the event is to begin……

 

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outside of debate

 

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debate in progress

 

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debate result

 

reaction

 

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wir spe

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wir spe com

 

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Bloody hell, I am exhausted!

Hope you enjoyed this edition of The Woman in Red, and the introduction of the new arch nemesis…S.P.Ermand…The Sperm Man!

This is an open thread.


Friday Reads

grimm-03_0It’s Friday! Get ready for the Zombie Apocalypse!

Today’s another one of those remembrance days that stings all of us but is traumatic and personal for others.  I’m not going to focus on the anniversary of the attack on NYC’s Twin Towers but I will point you to one of JJ’s posts from 4 years ago.  JJ’s story is well worth the read as is everything she shares with us.  It’s odd that JJ, BB, and I have all been through three of the nation’s recent defining moments.  JJ’s is 9/11. BB’s is the Boston Marathon Bombing.  Mine is, of course, Hurricane Katrina.

I’m just going to spend another day without TV news anxiously awaiting the second season premiere of Z Nation.  This is the most creative and fun zombie show I’ve ever watched. It has a sense of humor and loves taking swipes at movies and pop culture in general. I had the pleasure of getting BB addicted to it within about 2 shows last year.  She sent me this fun bit of news for the upcoming season.

Nothing is going to stop George R.R. Martin from finishing his Game of Thrones novels!

The bestselling author will have a cameo during the second season of Syfy’s post-apocalyptic thriller Z Nation playing himself as a zombie, EW has exclusively learned.

And as you can see from the photo above and the two others below, Martin is quite undead while signing his own books (and even tries to munch on one brainy copy). The title of Zombie Martin’s book is a fun tease — “A Promise of Spring,” which plays off A Dream of Spring —the expected title of his eventual seventh (and presumably conclusive) novel in his epic A Song of Ice and Fire saga. Currently Martin is working on Book 6, The Winds of Winter.

Declared Martin: “I just want to prove to my fans that even in the Zombie Apocalypse, the Song of Ice and Fire books will still come out!”

Martin will appear in the eighth epsiode of this year’s Z Nation, which returns to Syfy on Friday at 10 p.m. In the show, Martin has been imprisoned by a character called the Collector, who captures celebrity zombies and keeps George chained to a desk for his own nefarious purposes.

The ensemble cast is great!  They cross the country and you never quite know where they will show up.  The cast has evolved of the last season but the kick ass leader of the group is a fantastic black actress Roberta Warren who is helped by a stranded at the north pole national security nerd who goes by Citizen Z.  You’ll never know what he’ll hack to get in contact with them.  Cast members have been killed off, left, and lost but most of the central crew remains.

I had to laugh yesterday at Bobby Jindal.  He held a press conference and attacked Donald Trump as being a narcissist and devoid of substance.  I can imagine that at some level he feels his public life melting into a Zombie_Trumppool of irrelevance but right now, he’s trying every stupid thing possible.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump responded on Thursday to attacks from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal by suggesting he’d hardly even heard of his GOP rival.

Jindal has consistently ranked at the bottom of the polls, and the GOP frontrunner was happy to point out that out, according to a tweet by Bloomberg politics managing editor Mark Halperin.

Jindal called Trump a “narcissist” and “egomaniac” and released a video Wednesday suggesting actor Charlie Sheen as Trump’s running mate.

Trump dismissed the failed governor as some one below 1%  in the polls and therefore not deserving of a response.   Jindal’s not letting go, however.  This is seriously a man with nothing to lose.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal launched a Twitter tirade against Republican frontrunner Donald Trump on Friday, continuing a 24-hour assault on the business mogul that’s skewered him on everything from his hair to his policy positions.

trump jindal tweets

It started with Jindal’s charge during Thursday’s press conference at the National Press Club that Trump was “shallow,” a “narcissist and an egomaniac,” and a “non-serious carnival act.”

The real estate mogul fired back on Twitter later that day, saying that “Bobby Jindal did not make the debate stage and therefore I have never met him” and that he would “only respond to people that register more than 1% in the polls.”

“I never thought he had a chance and I’ve been proven right,” Trump’s tweet read.

In response, Jindal mocked the businessman with a line Trump has popularly used to criticize candidates like Jeb Bush.

“I’m disappointed,” he tweeted. “Is this the best you can do? Are you suffering from low energy today?”

I will say that Jindal’s pretty good with the come backs.  That’s about all he’s good for, however.

Mitch McConnell was dealt a serious blow in the Senate yesterday as Senate Democrats found their spines and stood up for the MitchMcConnellPresident’s Iraq deal.  The GOP is showing signs of major butt hurt.  I’m enjoying this one.

It may be years before the political fallout of the Senate’s mostly party-line vote Thursday to preserve the Iran nuclear agreement becomes clear. But it’s already a defining campaign issue — and like the Iraq War and Obamacare votes last decade, looks likely to remain a stark dividing line in many election cycles to come.

Republicans are plotting to make Democrats pay dearly for backing an agreement the GOP argues hinges on an historic enemy of the United States playing nice. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to return to the floor next week to force Democrats to take more votes Republicans say they’ll regret as soon as Iran violates the terms of the deal or sponsors terrorist attacks, which critics believe is just a matter of time.

After that will come the attack ads, national GOP officials say. It’s expected to be a key cog of Republicans’ electoral strategy: some GOP senators are already comparing it to Obamacare in its scope and potential to damage Democratic supporters politically.

“It will be very harmful to their chances,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

“I don’t know what else the Democrats could do to chase the pro-Israel community in the United States any further in the Republican direction,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), a former NRSC chairman. “This is the same mistake they made on the Affordable Care Act. They made this a partisan issue.”

Democrats acknowledge the political risk of the vote — 42 Democrats successfully filibustered a resolution to scuttle the Iran deal — but say Republicans are overplaying their hand. If the agreement succeeds in curbing Iran’s nuclear program, the GOP effort will at the very least fizzle, they say, if not hurt Republicans for opposing a move toward peace.

Screen-Shot-2012-10-29-at-3.07.53-PMThe Boston Globe is reporting that zombies are heading towards Trump Towers. Yes!  Team Romney is back!

Some of them go back to 2002, the win. Others slogged through Iowa, twice, and rode aboard the Mitt Mobile. In 2012, they were so close to the White House they could taste it.

Now, the Mitt Romney diaspora — an army of former aides and advisers from Romney’s long political career — are arrayed among a host of Republican presidential campaigns. But, through no concerted effort, they are curiously aligned once again in common cause, a stem-to-stern effort that has united old comrades even as they nominally play for different teams: stopping Donald Trump.

“We are united,” said one former Romney aide now working for another campaign, which he said would not permit him to speak for attribution.

“It’s a common goal and not just for Romney people, but for anyone invested in Republicanism, conservatism, and anyone who gives a flying [expletive] about what we’re trying to do here. Even if you’re not getting paid, this isn’t good for anybody,” he said.

“It would be ironic if it wasn’t like every single person in the political wing who can stare more than five seconds into the future wasn’t mortified or petrified at the prospect of Trump being the nominee,” said Florida-based GOP strategist Rick Wilson who called a Trump nomination “an existential threat” to the party.

Yes, the insurgent base of the Republican party is certainly to going to love it when the Party Establishment goes down the war path for an identifed “existential threat”.   I can just see Huckabee’s gang of Baptist Thugs cockblocking Ted Cruz for the photo op on this one!

zombie walkerHillary Clinton went on the offensive calling Scott Walker “a tool of the Koch Brothers”.  What’s fun is that she actually did this in Wisconsin!!

Making her 2015 debut in Scott Walker’s home state of Wisconsin, Hillary Clinton on Thursday unleashed her harshest and most extended diatribe yet against a Republican rival not named Donald Trump, accusing the governor of being a tool of the billionaire Koch brothers.

“It seems to me, just observing him, that Governor Walker thinks because he busts unions, starves universities, guts public education, demeans women, scapegoats teachers, nurses, and firefighters, he is some kind of tough guy on a motorcycle, a real leader,” Clinton said to a packed audience at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “Well, that is not leadership folks. Leadership means fighting for the people you represent.”

While Clinton frequently criticizes her Republican opponents on the campaign trail, her barbs are rarely so extended or pointed. She also mentioned Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Rand Paul on Thursday evening — but Walker faced the brunt of her fire.

“It looks like he just gets his marching orders from the Koch brothers and just goes down the list,” she added.

Opening her speech, the Democratic front-runner recounted her time spent in Wisconsin while growing up in Chicago. “What happened?” she asked the crowd in feigned disbelief, implying that the state had declined.

“Scott Walker!” the riled up crowd responded, jeering.

Minutes later, the crowd again drowned her out after she started asking, “What happens when you’re a proud union member and your governor wants to—?”

That’s our gal!

Well, I’ve got papers to grade and popcorn to pop!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Afternoon Reads

I got to spend the weekend with both girls and their guys which is a treat these days since both are adults and live far away. No matter how old they get or I get, it seems that seeing them leave is a challenge.  My goal was to raise independent women who could make good decisions and act in ways that do no harm to themselves or others.  I wouldn’t have them any other way. But, the fact they’re so independent is difficult on their old mom sometimes. So, this post is a little late because I slept as late as I could.

14ANNOUNCE-web-master675I’m going to start out with some items on Scott Walker since he’s the latest KochBot Governor to enter the race and appears to be the anti-government pony that the Kochs are backing.Just like Louisiana and Kansas, Wisconsin has become a failed state through experimentation with right wing libertarian cult fetishes.  Walker has been particularly rough on unions. Turning workers into hapless, powerless wage slaves is one of the key Koch goals. Union money and campaign work has been one of the linchpins in the election of Democrats.  It’s one of the few offsets to big money coming from billionaires like the Kochs.

The anti-union law passed here four years ago, which made Gov. Scott Walker a national Republican star and a possible presidential candidate, has turned out to be even more transformative than many had predicted.

Walker had vowed that union power would shrink, workers would be judged on their merits, and local governments would save money. Unions had warned that workers would lose benefits and be forced to take on second jobs or find new careers.

Many of those changes came to pass, but the once-thriving ­public-sector unions were not just shrunken — they were crippled.

Unions representing teachers, professors, trash collectors and other government employees are struggling to stem plummeting membership rolls and retain relevance in the state where they got their start.

Here in King, Magnant and her fellow AFSCME members, workers at a local veterans home, have been knocking on doors on weekends to persuade former members to rejoin. Community college professors in Moraine Park, home to a technical college, are reducing dues from $59 to $36 each month. And those in Milwaukee are planing a campaign using videos and posters to highlight union principles. The theme: ­“Remember.”

But recalling the benefits that union membership might have brought before the 2011 law stripped most public-sector unions of their collective-bargaining rights is difficult when workers consider the challenges of the present.

“I don’t see the point of being in a union anymore,” said Dan Anliker, a 34-year-old technology teacher and father of two in Reedsburg, a tiny city about 60 miles northwest of Madison.

b8Walker made his presidential ambitions official.

Scott Walker made it official today, breaking the news that he is a Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential race first in a Facebook post this morning before a formal announcement event in Wisconsin later today.

“I’m in. I’m running for President of the United States because Americans deserve a leader who will fight and win for them,” the two-term Wisconsin governor says in the Facebook post, which includes a video in which he argues that his track record as governor sets him apart from the rest of the Republican field as a proven leader who has succeeded in winning elections and taking on big policy battles.

Walker’s policy battles usually mean taking on the little guy and the middle class by promoting the interests of the very rich and powerful.  He would become the first president since Harry Truman to do so without a college degree having dropped out of university prior to graduation.

Walker is not very charismatic and has little national appeal at the moment.  However, his former political rivals say this only leads folks to underestimate him. Given his strong Koch backing, he’s got the ability to go the distance even though he’s less than appealing physically and personality-wise.  My impression of him has always been of a very dull and lifeless man.  He’s characterized by former opponents quite a bit differently.

Since 1990, the Wisconsin governor’s name has appeared on a ballot 14 times, and he’s failed just twice — a winning record that’s central to his pitch to Republican primary voters. Along the way, he’s left a trail of defeated challengers, many of them gripped by resentment toward a foe they recall as crassly opportunistic, loose with facts or blindly ambitious.Yet for all the lingering enmity, as Walker prepares to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, his rivals also grudgingly respect him as a rare and exceptionally canny politician who’s constantly underestimated and always outperforms expectations.

He’s a sneaky-smart campaigner, they say, a polished and level-headed tactician, a master at reading crowds. He learned the value of ignoring uncomfortable questions, rather than answering them. In hindsight, the many politicians he pancaked on the road to the national stage — in races for the state Assembly, county executive and governor — almost invariably see his career as an elaborate practice run for the White House.

To David Riemer, who fell to Walker in a 2004 bid for Milwaukee County executive — a nonpartisan race — Walker’s wiles can be summed up by a single moment during one of their debates. Riemer, sensing Walker’s desire to run for higher office, recalled placing a sheet of paper on Walker’s lectern that included a pledge to fulfill an entire four-year term. Sign it, Riemer demanded.

“He just let it sit in front of him. He didn’t get it back to me. He didn’t rip it up. He didn’t turn it into a paper airplane … he ignored it,” Riemer said. “He understood very well, one of the key lessons in political life is they can’t print what you don’t say.”

Walker is managing to dismantle education in ways that Bobby Jindal only dreams.  Wisconsin–unlike Louisiana–is known for good education and institutions.  He’s managed to attack teacher unions and Screen_Shot_2015-04-23_at_94822_PM_590_477benefits.  Just recently. he went after and back dismantling tenure.  Attacks on higher education are necessary for the right since any form of critical thinking skills in voters is a danger to demagoguery.  Tenure protects freedom of speech and thought at university campuses.  These are dangerous freedoms for folk wishing to push an agenda that is not reality-based.  It’s no wonder that most of the Koch puppets are loose with the truth, data, and facts on the ground.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s trailblazing effort to weaken tenure protections at public colleges and universities is now a reality with his signing of a $73 billion budget on Sunday.

The effort has outraged unions and higher education groups, leaving them fearful that other lawmakers will follow suit to unravel labor protections in higher education that have long been considered sacred ground.

Walker downplayed the changes at Sunday’s signing at a valve manufacturing facility in Waukesha, Wisconsin, emphasizing instead that tuition was being frozen in the University of Wisconsin system for two more years at the rate it was two years ago.

“We made college more affordable for college students and working families all across the state,” Walker said.

Walker signed the budget as he prepared to announce his run for the Republican presidential nomination Monday. The tenure fight could further endear him to conservatives skeptical of what some perceive as the ivory tower of higher education, and it serves to remind voters of his earlier effort to scale back collective-bargaining rights of public employee unions — including K-12 teachers — when he was first building a national profile.

The budget sent to Walker also includes other labor-related issues that frustrated unions, including a provision that rolls back a minimum pay protection for laborers working on local public construction projects like schools.

walkerScott Walker looks like the typical Midwestern Goofus.  He was raised a Baptist as the son of a Baptist preacher. Walker  pushed through the typical christianist culture crap.  Maybe because he appears so ineffectual is one of the reasons that he actually gets his desired outcomes.  His current fundraising efforts are less than stellar and national polls do not favor him.  He is doing well in Iowa, however.

Mr. Walker’s strategy is now focused on building a political operation in Iowa and campaigning aggressively there with an increasingly conservative message. He recently endorsed amending the United States Constitution to leave laws blocking same-sex marriage up to each state, and he is preparing to sign Wisconsin legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except when the life of the mother is in immediate jeopardy.

With those positions and others, Mr. Walker is aiming to sway conservative and evangelical voters, two dominant groups in the Iowa Republican caucuses. They may now have a particular affinity for Mr. Cruz and Mr. Carson, who had a combined 19 percent support of likely Iowa caucusgoers in a recent Quinnipiac University poll. But other Republican candidates like Mr. Perry, a former Texas governor, and Mr. Rubio are angling to appeal to the same voters, and Mr. Rubio and his supporters have more financial resources than Mr. Walker does right now.

“Walker had a great winter but maybe got a little cocky, a little ahead of himself, and now he really has to take the time to work Iowa and build up the resources to compete harder in the early primary states,” said Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican consultant who has worked with David Polyansky, one of Mr. Walker’s advisers in Iowa.

To distinguish himself, Mr. Walker, a 47-year-old career politician, is building his bid for the White House around his style of leadership, reflected in slogans like “go big and go bold” and “a fighter and a winner,” and his record as governor since 2011.

He has also sought to enhance his understanding of national affairs and foreign policy by taking time away from the campaign trail this year for dozens of briefings with experts, heads of state and military officials. As a result, not only has he spent less time fund-raising than other candidates, he has also been absent for long stretches from New Hampshire and South Carolina, which have early nominating contests and where his poll numbers have slipped as well.Wisconsin, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

“I think he waited too late to get into the race, because there was such excitement for him when he was here in March,” said Catherine Welborn, a South Carolina Republican who heard Mr. Walker speak that month in Charleston. “South Carolina doesn’t have much time to get to know him, but one thing is for sure: He needs to come down here and tell the story about beating the unions. That’s the kind of person we need to stand up for America.”

Other admirers of Mr. Walker said he was poised to regain momentum because of his fiscally conservative record in Wisconsin, where he signed a two-year state budget on Sunday that holds the line on taxes and cuts funds for University of Wisconsin campuses while also freezing tuition there.

But Mr. Walker is best known for taking on Wisconsin’s public employee unions, shortly after taking office in 2011, by proposing a bill to repeal collective bargaining for most government workers to give control over pay and benefits back to the state. Championing the measure as a way to deal with the state’s budget deficit, Mr. Walker drew support from his extensive network of conservative backers, as well as Republican leaders in the State Legislature.

There are many interesting comments on that last NYT thread including many from his constituents.   Listen to this from folks that know him best.  They remind me of those of us from Louisiana that are telling the country to run away from Jindal as fast as they can.

pczisny

Fond du Lac, WI

As a Wisconsinite, I can attest to the damage that Scott Walker has done to our state. After promising to create 250,000 in his first term–and insisting that he be held accountable for that pledge when he ran in 2010–the state ended up with half that number (over 50,000 behind same-size but Democratically controlled Minnesota). By 2014, he insisted that the promise was merely a goal.

Our state now ranks in the bottom ten nationally in job creation. It ranks number ONE in middle class decline, according to a Pew Center analysis. We are now among the top 10 states in people moving away.

Scott Walker raised taxes on 140,000 Wisconsin families. What did those families have in common?–they all had a breadwinner who worked for a living, they all had kids to support, and they are all below the poverty line.

Here are some other stories that you might find interesting.157666_600

Study Finds Nearly 100 Percent Of Women Who Had An Abortion Say It Was The Right Choice

According to a new study that tracked hundreds of women who had abortions, more than 95 percent of participants reported that ending a pregnancy was the right decision for them. Feelings of relief outweighed any negative emotions, even three years after the procedure.

Researchers examined both women who had first-trimester abortions and women who had procedures after that point (which are often characterized as “late-term abortions”). When it came to women’s emotions following the abortion, or their opinions about whether or not it was the right choice, they didn’t find any meaningful difference between the two groups.

These findings contradict the notion that women experience negative mental health effects after ending a pregnancy, as well as the idea that later abortions are more psychologically traumatic.

Though there’s no scientific evidence to support the idea that abortion is linked to a greater risk of mental health problems, this framework is often used to justify passing additional restrictions on the procedure. Seven states, for instance, have mandatory counseling laws that require pregnant women to receive information about abortion’s negative psychological consequences before they’re allowed to proceed. Some of those materials specifically reference “postabortion traumatic stress syndrome,” a supposed disorder that isn’t recognized by the American Psychological Association or the American Psychiatric Association.

The President commuted sentences for 46 non violent offenders held on drug charges.

Hillary Clinton and  Jeb Bush go at each other over worker hours and pay. Bush also seems to be on the offensive against Rubio and Walker.

Hillary Clinton laid into Jeb Bush’s remark that Americans need to work longer hours on Monday during her first economic policy speech at the New School in New York City.

“Well, he must not have met very many American workers,” Clinton said to applause and cheers. “Let him tell that to the nurse who stands on her feet all day or the teacher who is in that classroom, or the trucker who drives all night. Let him tell that to the fast-food workers marching in the streets for better pay. They don’t need a lecture. They need a raise.

“The truth is, the current rules for our economy do reward some work, like financial trading, for example, much more than other work, like building and selling things,” Clinton added.

Bush made the suggestion last week during an interview with New Hampshire’s Union Leader, urging the need for people to work longer hours because workforce participation is at all-time modern lows.

It’s not the first time Clinton’s campaign has taken a shot at that remark. Her campaign tweeted a graph by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute showing stagnating wages as productivity has risen over the past four decades.

Well, that’s it for me today.  I have to catch up on some grading!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: Learning Life’s Lessons in a Pool Room

tumblr_ni41p9AFwA1qfm2v7o1_1280

Good Afternoon

Do you want ever wonder what the hell is going on with politicians today and how they can get away with this kind of shit to begin with in the first place?

That is a rhetorical question…but the setup is legit.

 
Lady Lindsey.

And away we go….

Lindsey Graham: I Know Iran’s Lying Because I Ran My Family’s Pool Room | Mediaite

In pre-taped remarks to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference over the weekend, Senator Lindsey Graham says he knows Iran’s lying because he learned how to spot a liar in his parents’ pool room.

No, seriously.

Graham, of course, kept the focus largely on politics, talking about his background, his belief in the greatness of America, his expected 2016 run, his foreign policy chops, and Hillary Clinton.

But it was when he talked about growing up that he made the connection between his time working at the pool hall and the current Iran nuclear negotiations:

“My family owned a restaurant, a pool room, and a liquor store. And everything I know about the Iranians I learned in the pool room. I ran the pool room when I was a kid and I met a lot of liars, and I know the Iranians are lying.”

Wow.

As the comic image above states, “What the fuck is this bullshit?”

Then you have the other one, Walker…the Kochsucker favorite I guess, who says… about those forced ultrasounds he makes the women in his state take who are looking to get an abortion…yeah they should just shut up about that because you know, forced ultrasounds are “lovely” and “cool.”

Scott Walker: Women should be forced to have ultrasounds because they’re ‘a cool thing’6fabe427599a85d4808b4b24bd0fdb25

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defended a bill he signed that required women to undergo ultrasound examinations before seeking an abortion, saying the medically unnecessary procedures were a “lovely” and “cool thing.”

The likely Republican presidential candidate told conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch on Friday that the law, portions of which were struck down earlier this year by a federal judge, was misrepresented by a hostile media, reported Right Wing Watch.

“The media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea,” Walker said. “Most people I talked to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time that pull out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, (and) we still have their first ultrasounds. It’s just a cool thing out there.”

Yes, there is nothing more lovelier than what basically can be described as a forced (uh, emphasis on forced for all those dumbass shitbags who don’t think the word rape is violent enough) rape on a woman by sticking a vaginal probe ultrasound stick up her v-hole to get a cool picture of a clump of “misogynist funded government up your uterus.”

See what I mean: The Koch brothers try to rein in the GOP presidential clown show – The Washington Post

…there are currently 10 candidates who are declared or all but certain to run, and another four who will probably run. But while the voters might find this an embarrassment of riches, for the party’s leaders and financiers, it looks like a recipe for trouble.

[…]

this news:

In a Saturday interview on the Larry Kudlow Show,  a nationally syndicated radio broadcast, David Koch let it slip that the roughly$900 million that he and his brother, Charles, plan to lavish on the 2016 presidential race could find its way into the hands of more than one GOP contender.

“We are thinking of supporting several Republicans,” David Koch said, adding, “If we’re happy with the policies that these individuals are supporting, we’ll finance their campaigns.”

Koch said the brothers would begin writing checks to individual candidates in “the primary season, winter and next spring.”

Up until now, the Koch brothers hadn’t indicated that they’d be taking a side in the primaries. It almost seemed that they viewed that as the kind of thing amateurs like Sheldon Adelson do, throwing money at some candidate based on overly irrational personal feelings, while they keep focused on the real goal of getting a Republican — any Republican — into the White House. By saying they’re going to support several candidates in the primaries, the Kochs are pledging to accelerate the winnowing process, by which the race’s chaff can be sloughed off and the focus can stay on the serious contenders.

af023f1da0fe841ac983ad93d5a9ebe5Don’t be fooled by the line about them supporting all the ones whose policies they’re happy with. That’s because there’s almost no disagreement among the candidates, at least on the issues the Kochs care about. All of them would like to see low taxes on the wealthy (most have even advocated a flat tax, a boon to people like the Kochs), a dramatic reduction in regulations that affect corporations and a rollback of the social safety net. Where the Kochs personally disagree with the candidates (as they may on some social issues or on immigration), they disagree with all the candidates, because the candidates’ positions are so similar.

Gawd, I hate those fuckers.

The rest of today’s links below are on the quick, because the Koch Brother’s have disgusted me so…

Supreme Court Agrees to Settle Meaning of ‘One Person One Vote’ – NYTimes.com

The Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear a case that will answer a long-contested question about a bedrock principle of the American political system: the meaning of “one person one vote.”

The court’s ruling, expected in 2016, could be immensely consequential. Should the court agree with the two Texas voters who brought the case, its ruling would shift political power from cities to rural areas, a move that would benefit Republicans.

28021bd19df44577a64ea181f3d88a0fI can’t believe this: Australia wants to scrap the tampon tax – Business News – Business – The Independent

Tony Abbott has distanced himself from comments made by one of his own ministers in which he agreed the tampon tax should be scrapped in Australia.

“I understand there’s long been a push to take the GST off goods, which are one way or another regarded as health products,” Mr Abbott said. “It’s certainly not something that this Government has a plan to do.”

The reaction comes after Treasurer Joe Hockey vowed to lobby state and territory governments to remove the consumption tax on tampons and said he would raise the issue in his next meeting with state treasurers in July.

Well, no strike that. I can totally believe it.

Sanitary pads and tampons currently attract the 10% Goods and Services tax in Australia, whereas condoms and sunscreen do not.

Mr Hockey’s pledge comes after a Sydney university student, Subeta Vimalarajah, started an online petition addressed to Mr Hockey against the tax on a “bodily function.”

The petition argues against the tax and the current categorisation of sanitary products as not “necessary” enough to be GST-free.

“On the other hand, condoms, lubricants, sunscreen and nicotine patches are all tax-free because they are classed as important health goods, but isn’t the reproductive health and hygiene of 10 million Australians important too?” the petition says.

Pads and tampons essential? Does a bear need Viagra to get stiff? And is this Viagra covered 100% here in the USA? You bet your ass it is.

8c159e8cf8df96b914210cb2c7215d9eAnyway, more links:

UN Officials Didn’t Follow Up On Sex Abuse Claims For Months, But Whistleblower Was Punished

How the Duggars’ Conservative Christianity Can Enable Abuse and Cover-Ups

Bill Cosby Gets the Trial America Craves on Inside Amy Schumer

Bill Nye Confirms ‘The Universe’ Is Trying to Tell Amy Schumer Something | Mediaite

Stop Policing Women’s Bodies | Beth Cone Kramer

Meb93c3b93ed1ee00f40e65fc5159e7dey Favorite Photographer Mary Ellen Mark Has Died

An Ode to the Feminism of Mad Men | The Mary Sue

Georgia counties seeing racial shifts amid reversal of Great… | www.myajc.com

The Cost of an Adjunct – The Atlantic

Why Humblebragging Doesn’t Work – The Atlantic

The VA Can’t Fund IVF for Soldiers Because Congress Loves Embryos More

Emoji is dragging us back to the dark ages – and all we can do is smile | Art and design | The Guardian

So it’s official. We are evolving backwards. Emoji, the visual system of communication that is incredibly popular online, is Britain’s fastest-growing language according to Professor Vyv Evans, a linguist at Bangor University.

The comparison he uses is telling – but not in the way the prof, who appears enthusiastic about emojis, presumably intends. “As a visual language emoji has already far eclipsed hieroglyphics, its ancient Egyptian precursor which took centuries to develop,” says Evans.

2dbfaccd482800605d19ef3dfcd47d65Perhaps that is because it is easier to go downhill than uphill. After millennia of painful improvement, from illiteracy to Shakespeare and beyond, humanity is rushing to throw it all away. We’re heading back to ancient Egyptian times, next stop the stone age, with a big yellow smiley grin on our faces.

[…]

…the simplest and most common-sense historical and anthropological evidence tells us that Emoji is not “progress” by any definition. It is plainly a step back.

Evans compares Emoji with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Well indeed. ancient Egypt was a remarkable civilisation, but it had some drawbacks. The Egyptians created a magnificent but static culture. They invented a superb artistic style and powerful mythology – then stuck with these for millennia. Hieroglyphs enabled them to write spells but not to develop a more flexible, questioning literary culture: they left that to the Greeks.

These jumped-up Aegean loudmouths, using an abstract non-pictorial alphabet they got from the Phoenicians, obviously and spectacularly outdid the Egyptians in their range of expression. The Greek alphabet was much more productive than all those lovely Egyptian pictures. That is why there is no ancient Egyptian Iliad or Odyssey.

Read that whole article, it is interesting, in an Idiocracy sort of way.

What is it like to be an Octopus? | Boria Sax

This is an open thread.  Have a wonderful fucking day!


Tuesday Reads: The GOP Clown Car

clown car via crooks and liars

Good Morning!!

In this today’s Washington Post, Dana Millbank belatedly latches onto a very old meme–The Republican field is a clown car–in order to promote one of the clowns.

“If you can’t take a joke,” Lindsey Graham has said , “don’t run for president.”

Graham, a senator from South Carolina and one of umpteen Republicans running for president, can take a joke — which is why he appreciates the absurdity that is the GOP field. There are far too many candidates (so many that there are concerns they won’t all fit on a debate stage), and to gain attention they are juggling, tooting horns and blowing slide whistles like so many painted performers emerging from a clown car.

“I do bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, weddings, funerals — call me, I’ll come,” Graham told a crowd in New Hampshire last month. He said voters should ignore Hillary Clinton and “look to the 35 people running for president on the Republican side. And just shoot up among us until you get one of us out of the tree.”

But what if you are the joke? Just think, Graham could be the first obviously closeted gay man to win the nomination of the party that hates gays and wants them to be second class citizens.

Ted Cruz tried for his 15 minutes of fame by holding the first announcement. Marco Rubio drew thousands to Miami’s Freedom Tower. Mike Huckabee brought in aging crooner Tony Orlando but was easily eclipsed by Ben Carson, who had a musical extravaganza and a video putting the candidate in the company of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.

Former New York governor George Pataki, perhaps the smallest of the GOP Lilliputians, announced on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” last week that . . . he will make his announcement on May 28. Donald Trump announced over the weekend that he would make an announcement in June and that “the announcement is going to surprise a lot of people.”

It would probably surprise a lot of people if Trump said something that made sense.

clown-car

Sigh . . . .

Also in this morning’s WaPo, Bobby Jindal hints that he too will have an important announcement soon: Bobby Jindal launches presidential exploratory committee.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Monday formally launched a presidential exploratory committee, the clearest indication yet that he is gearing up for a White House run.

“For some time now, my wife Supriya and I have been thinking and praying about whether to run for the Presidency of our great nation,” Jindal said in a statement. “If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. Not a course correction, but a dramatically different path.”

The Louisiana Republican has made frequent visits to key early voting states in recent months, testing a message centered on the need to “restore the American Dream,” which he says President Obama’s “weak leadership” has diminished. But despite his experience as governor and a compelling personal background as the American-born son of Indian immigrants, Jindal has struggled to make an impact in national polls of potential Republican candidates.

If Jindal does anything “dramatically different,” I’d be stunned. But he’ll just be peddling the usual Koch brothers gibberish to very small audiences.

cpac-clowns

What are the other clown car occupants up to?

Rick Sanatorum has been busy either grossly misinterpreting or blatantly lying about a book he supposedly read.

Buzzfeed: Harvard Professor: Rick Santorum Is Misusing My Book To Say “All Black Men Are Sexual Predators.”

Last week, former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum called men who father children with multiple women “sexual predators.”

When making his argument to the socially-conservative Cornerstone organization in New Hampshire, Santorum cited statistics on marriage from Harvard professor Robert Putnam’s book, Our Kids.

“Another new statistic just came out in his book. A majority of children being born out of wedlock today in America are born in families where the father is in the home. But they’re not married,” said Santorum. “So they are born to cohabiting couples. So the majority of children born out of wedlock are born to cohabiting couples. And what does Putnam say about these? They stuck to them longitudinally, they never get married. Let me use that term, never, like one or two percent ever get married.

“And he compared it when he was growing up in the 1950s and when children were conceived out of wedlock, what happened in the 1950s,” added Santorum. “We all know what happened in the 1950s and here is the amazing thing, this is Putnam saying this, 80 plus percent of these marriages succeeded.

“And children were raised in stable homes. Now these fathers leave the home and not just father children with that particular women, they father a child with another women, and another and another. We have created predators, sexual predators particularly where, again, Putnam—low income America.”

Voters will spend the next year trying to figure out the different shades of the GOP presidential candidates.

Voters will spend the next year trying to figure out the different shades of the GOP presidential candidates.

Here’s what Putnam had to say about Santorum’s comments.

“I’m a progressive and I think the evidence is that first of all, there has been a collapse in the working family class family, black and white, and that’s bad for kids,” Putnam said responding to Santorum in a speech to promote his book last week.

Putnam said Santorum misinterpreted what he was saying and took advantage of “the fact I was trying to be open.”

“But there is a presidential candidate, who yesterday quoted me as saying therefore—he’s quoted me as saying all black men are sexual predators. I’m not going to say who it is but what I’m trying to say is, he’s a conservative and he took what I was saying and sort of so misinterpreted it that it’s nothing like—it’s just isn’t even in the universe of what I said. But that’s an example of how at least this one guy was in effect taking advantage of the fact that I was trying to be open. He says ‘isn’t it amazing that this liberal’, actually he said ‘this extreme leftist at Harvard acknowledges that blah, blah, blah.’”

Another clown car occupant, Rand Paul wants to eliminate the Department of Education (Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee do too). Think Progress explains: What Would Actually Happen If Rand Paul Eliminated The Department Of Education. According to TP,

We wouldn’t have a federal department to administer Pell Grants to students….

There wouldn’t be any oversight over states when they break civil rights laws….

There wouldn’t be a department to check on rampant inequality between low-income school districts and wealthy districts.

We would have inconsistent education data, as the quality of data would vary among the states….

There would be more gender discrimination within schools….

There would be no way to hold schools accountable for the funds they receive.

Of course for the GOP clowns, those are goals that should be wholeheartedly supported.

gop-clown-car-by-hip-is-everything1

Jeb Bush stumbled out the block and has continued to stumble and stagger on his path to an as-yet unannounced presidential candidacy. Here’s the latest from Reuters, via Yahoo News: Jeb Bush sees no constitutional right to gay marriage.

(Reuters) – Republican Jeb Bush said in a weekend radio interview that he does not believe the Constitution grants a right to gay marriage, emphasizing his support for “traditional marriage.”

The Supreme Court is expected by the end of June to make a landmark ruling that could make gay marriage the law of the land or return the decision to individual states.

“It’s at the core of the Catholic faith and to imagine how we are going to succeed in our country unless we have committed family life, (a) committed child-centered family system, is hard to imagine,” Bush told the Christian Broadcasting Network show, “The Brody File, in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

“So, irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling because they are going to decide whatever they decide – I don’t know what they are going to do – we need to be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage,” said Bush, who converted to Catholicism 20 years ago….

Bush also said in the radio interview that Christian business owners should be able to refuse, “if it’s based on a religious belief,” to provide services to same-sex couples.

MAY15-2016-Republican-ClownCar-500x281

But at Slate, Mark Joseph Stern notes that: Jeb Bush Accidentally Made a Brilliant Argument Against Anti-Gay “Religious Liberty” Laws.

Jeb Bush has an odd conception of liberty. As governor of Florida, Bush strongly opposed same-sex marriage, preferring to force committed gay couples to live as legal strangers with no ability to formally adopt their own children. As his presidential campaign warms up, though, Bush has taken a selectively expansive view of liberty.According to Bush, anti-gay business owners should have a legal right to refuse service to same-sex couples seeking to celebrate their relationship.

Bush’s support for anti-gay “religious liberty” laws are no surprise—unless you happen to have believed that silly BuzzFeed report that he would be “2016’s gay-friendly Republican.” What is surprising is that Bush framed his endorsement of such laws in a way that beautifully illustrates exactly why the usual argument for such laws is so fatuous. Take a look at his comment:

A big country, a tolerant country, ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating against someone because of their sexual orientation and not forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs. This should not be that complicated. Gosh, it is right now.

At bottom, Bush is arguing that the law should differentiate between identity and conduct. He believes the state may protect gays from discrimination because they’re gay (identity), but not because they’re celebrating a gay relationship (conduct). Unfortunately for Bush, this argument fails quite spectacularly in the wedding context, because homosexuality is an identity defined by its conduct. To be gay is to be attracted to, and maybe marry, someone of the same sex. There is no more fundamental way to discriminate against a gay person than to refuse to serve them based on the fact that they are marrying someone of the same sex.

cartoon-citizens-united-pledge

Koch brothers favorite Scott Walker is having some not-so-funny (from his point of view) problems. He has been a target of corruption investigations for the past couple of years. Now this from The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Records indicate Scott Walker was copied on letter promising loan to donor.

Madison — State records say that Gov. Scott Walker received a copy of a 2011 letter pledging a $500,000 taxpayer loan to a now-defunct Milwaukee construction company headed by a Walker donor, seemingly contradicting statements by the governor and his aides that he was not aware of the award.

A spokeswoman for Walker said that, in spite of the records, a copy of the letter from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. was never delivered to the governor’s office.

The Sept. 9, 2011, letter from Paul Jadin, WEDC’s chief executive officer at the time, was sent to William Minahan, owner of Building Committee Inc., a company that is now being sued by WEDC for defaulting on the unsecured loan without delivering the promised project and the jobs it was supposed to create.

Jadin said in his letter of intent that he was writing “on behalf of Governor Scott Walker” and noted “cc: Scott Walker, Governor” at the bottom.

Walker’s top cabinet appointee, then Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, urged WEDC officials to provide the loan, and Walker’s then-chief of staff Keith Gilkes attended an initial meeting on it, according to records provided to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by the Walker administration.

“In closing Governor Walker and I are firmly committed to doing everything possible to expedite the processing and awarding of this incentive award,” Jadin wrote in the letter.

Read the details at the link.

first-word11

And from the La Crosse Tribune: Hours after damning audit, Scott Walker calls off WEDC-WHEDA merger.

Gov. Scott Walker has cancelled a planned merger of two economic development agencies after a new audit said Walker’s job-creating entity failed to follow statutes or its own policies when making financial awards.

The audit released Friday also says the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. failed to meet all statutory requirements related to program oversight and that staff “did not consistently comply with policies established by WEDC’s own governing board” which is chaired by Walker.

The audit comes as Walker had been calling for a merger of WEDC and WHEDA, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

Within hours of the audit release, Walker issued a statement calling for that merger to be removed from the state budget along with a merger of two other state agencies.

“After hearing concerns from legislators, stakeholders, and the WHEDA and WEDC boards, we asked legislators to remove the proposed agency mergers from the state budget and we asked the bill authors to not move forward with the proposed separate legislation,” Walker said.

Walker also had proposed a merger of the Department of Financial Institutions and the Department of Safety and Professional Services into one regulatory agency. That merger is also cancelled, he said.

Wisconsin Democrats are gloating . . .

“While Scott Walker has completely abandoned Wisconsin to advance his presidential ambitions the continued incompetence and ineptitude at his Economic Disaster Corporation is bordering on criminal negligence at this point,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said in a statement.

Meanwhile, wicked witch Hillary Clinton and her husband (who is a different person) got paid a lot of money for making speeches. Horrors!

 That’s all the clown car news I have room for today. What else is happening?


Tuesday Reads: NYT and WaPo Join With Fox News and Koch Brothers to Destroy Hillary Clinton’s Candidacy

woman-reading (1)

Good Morning!!

It appears that The New York Times and The Washington Post are determined to help the Koch brothers elect Scott Walker to the presidency in 2016. Dakinikat alerted me to this story by Dylan Byers at Politico:

New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News strike deals for anti-Clinton research.

The New York Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have made exclusive agreements with a conservative author for early access to his opposition research on Hillary Clinton, a move that has confounded members of the Clinton campaign and some reporters, the On Media blog has confirmed.

“Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” will debut on May 5. But the Times, the Post and Fox have already made arrangements with author Peter Schweizer to pursue some of the material included in his book, which seeks to draw connections between Clinton Foundation donations and speaking fees and Hillary Clinton’s actions as secretary of state. Schweizer is the president of the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative research group, and previously served as an adviser to Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Naturally, Byers article is accompanied by an unflattering photo of Hillary.

Fox News’ use of Schweizer’s book has surprised no one. The bulk of the network’s programming is conservative, and the book’s publisher, HarperCollins, is owned by News Corporation. But the Times and Post’s decision to partner with a partisan researcher has raised a few eyebrows. Some Times reporters view the agreement as unusual, sources there said. Still others defended the agreement, noting that it was no different from using a campaign’s opposition research to inform one’s reporting — so long as that research is fact-checked and vetted. A spokesperson for the Times did not provide comment by press time.

In an article about the book on Monday, the Times said “Clinton Cash” was “potentially more unsettling” than other conservative books about Clinton “both because of its focused reporting and because major news organizations including The Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have exclusive agreements with the author to pursue the story lines found in the book.

Anyone who calls either the Times or the Post “liberal” these days is either lying or ignorant. It both papers are morphing into something resembling The Daily Mail.

Peter Schweizer

Peter Schweizer

The author of the new “book,” Peter Schweizer is nothing but propagandist, as Media Matters demonstrates:

Clinton Cash Author Peter Schweizer’s Long History Of Errors, Retractions, And Questionable Sourcing.

Media should be cautious with Republican activist and strategist Peter Schweizer’s new book Clinton Cash. Schweizer has a disreputable history of reporting marked by errors and retractions, with numerous reporters excoriating him for facts that “do not check out,” sources that “do not exist,” and a basic failure to practice “Journalism 101.”

Read a compendium of evidence at the Media Matters link.

Echidne of the Snakes asks whether the Times and Post deals with Schweizer are ethical.

The Ethics of Journalism 101: Is it OK for NYT and WaPo to use Pre-Publication Opposition Research on Hillary Clinton?

I see three potentially serious problems with these exclusive arrangements.

First, depending on what newspapers are supposed to have as their objective*, getting opposition research on only one candidate can bias the reporting in the papers.  If conservative muckrakers are more diligent than liberal ones, the American people (how I love to be able to write that!) will be mislead, assuming that the Republican candidates might also have all sorts of skeletons in their mahogany cupboards.

Second, assuming that those at the newspapers know how to judge the research of Schweizer’s book may be a form ofhubris.  Or at least we should not just be told that there will be experts looking at all the stuff.

Third, and this links to my second point, using a book BEFORE it is published means that the newspapers won’t have access to the expert criticisms which follow the publication of a book.  It’s as if the book is allowed to hold the stage all alone, when the correct approach would be to wait to see what experts in the field might have to say about it.

It’s also important to note that Peter Schweizer writes for Breitbart. And Breitbart is crowing about the mainstream publicity their author is getting.

Scott Walker

As the NYT reported yesterday, David Koch has apparently picked Scott Walker as his preferred candidate for the Republican nomination. You have to wonder if Koch is completely detached from reality though.

From the New York Observer, David Koch: Scott Walker Would Defeat Hillary Clinton ‘by a Major Margin.’

Fuel mogul and conservative activist David Koch today declared to reporters that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker would easily beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a general election—shortly after the co-owner of Koch Industries heard a private speech by the midwestern Republican at the Union League Club in Manhattan.

After meeting with Mr. Walker and a group of GOP donors called the Empire Club, Mr. Koch told the Observer that he believed the governor would trounce the former first lady if a sufficient number of Republicans get involved in the race.

“I think so, no question about it. You know, if enough Republicans have a thing to say, why, he’ll defeat her by a major margin,” he said, effusively praising Mr. Walker’s performance. “I thought he had a great message. Scott Walker is terrific and I really wish him all the best. He’s a tremendous candidate to be the nominee in my opinion.”

Mr. Koch said the Republican candidates should focus their primary season fire on Ms. Clinton to reduce her appeal among voters, arguing that she will most likely be the Democratic nominee.

Koch brothers

Will it work? Hillary commented on the strategy in Keene, New Hampshire yesterday.

ABC News: Hillary Clinton Says Republicans ‘Talking Only About Me.’

During her first visit to New Hampshire as a presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton brushed off accusations about the Clinton Foundation‘s acceptance of donations from foreign governments, dismissing the reports made in a new book as simply being a “distraction” from the issues of her campaign.

“Well, we’re back into the political season and therefore we will be subjected to all kinds of distractions and attacks and I’m ready for that. I know that that comes unfortunately with the territory,” Clinton remarked at the end of a roundtable discussion at a local business here this afternoon, when asked by reporters about a new book, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.”

It seems the Koch brothers are opening controlling the choice of the Republican nominee. Today they announced they will give Jeb Bush a chance to be their pick instead of current favorite Scott Walker. From Mike Allen at Politico:

Koch brothers will offer audition to Jeb Bush.

In [a] surprise, a top Koch aide revealed to POLITICO that Jeb Bush will be given a chance to audition for the brothers’ support, despite initial skepticism about him at the top of the Kochs’ growing political behemoth.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz debated at the Koch network’s winter seminar in January, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made a separate appearance. Those were the candidates who appeared to have a chance at the Koch blessing, and attendees said Rubio seemed to win that round.

But those four — plus Jeb – will be invited to the Kochs’ summer conference, the aide said. Bush is getting a second look because so many Koch supporters think he looks like a winner. Other candidates, perhaps Rick Perry or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, may also get invitations.

Jindal is apparently not high on the Kochs’ list. He must be deeply disappointed after he has destroyed Louisiana with Koch-backed policies in his efforts to please the the powerful brothers.

For a change of pace from the mainstream Hillary hate and GOP love, I’ll end this post with Charles Pierce’s latest assessment of Scott Walker’s chances.

ScottWalker

Watching Scotty Blow, Cont’d: Governor Of His Own Fugue State.

Because it’s fking April, and because it’s fking 2015, and because I have something of a fking life, I decided to take in the Republican floor exercises up there in New Hampshire through the kind auspices of CSPAN. I was especially interested in the evening show provided by Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin. I had to wait for John Sununu, Sr. to go through an introduction that lasted longer than the Good Friday ritual. (Sununu may still be talking. CSPAN cut away to listen to Walker.) But Walker was worth the wait. We heard about how he’s going to ride his Harley to Bike Week in Laconia this year. We heard the bit about buying the shirt at Kohl’s. We heard “go big and go bold.” We heard about the death threats. And we heard a lot of stunning misdirection about how rosy things are with the Wisconsin economy. (I was especially taken with how he boasted that he had turned his state into a right-to-work paradise, Walker having denied up and down throughout the last campaign that he had any such plans.) And there is no question. Scott Walker is the best Governor of Wisconsin that New Hampshire ever has had.

What we didn’t hear, of course, was that, back in America’s Dairyland, they may never get out of the death spiral into which Walker has shown the actual state he allegedly actually governs. His new budget is so draconian that even some of the Republicans in his pet legislature are starting to get nervous. And the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a newspaper of wild ambivalence regarding Walker and his prospective candidacy,dropped a dungbomb on him that demonstrated that, while Scott Walker may have bought a shirt at Kohl’s, he isn’t qualified to run a cash register there.
Go to the Esquire link to read the rest and get the Koch Brothers and the mainstream media’s Clinton Derangement out of your mouth.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a terrific Tuesday!