Chinese, GOP Agree Non-Rich Shouldn’t Vote


The Huffington Post

Speaking just like an American Republican, the Communist Chinese-appointed leader of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying, said last week that if the state granted democratic rights to its poor and working class, they could dominate elections and choose leaders who would meet their needs.

If Hong Kong’s 99 percenters picked their leaders, Mr. Leung said, “Then you would end up with that kind of politics and policies.”  To ensure politics and policies favoring Hong Kong’s one percent, Mr. Leung insists that a committee appointed in Beijing approve all candidates to succeed him.

Mr. Leung fears rule by the majority – just as U.S. Republicans do. It’s the reason the GOP has launched a massive voter suppression campaign across the country. Republicans believe in rule by and for the one percent. To accomplish that, they must do what Mr. Leung and the Chinese Communist party did: foil democracy. That’s the GOP goal when it subverts America’s precious one person-one vote equality. Every American who holds democracy dear must do whatever it takes to defy GOP attempts to deny them access to the ballot next week.

Protesters demanding democracy in Hong Kong have thronged streets and faced down baton-wielding police for three weeks. Mr. Leung’s anti-democracy remarks further inflamed the demonstrators who live in a state with among the highest income inequality in the world. Mr. Leung said he could not allow the state’s majority – workers and the poor – to choose nominees because then those candidates would address the demands of the majority.

“If it’s entirely a numbers game and numeric representation,” Mr. Leung said, “then obviously you (candidates) would be talking to half of the people of Hong Kong who earn less than $1,800 a month.”

That is exactly who Republicans don’t want to talk to – America’s middle class and working poor. The GOP presidential candidate, quarter-billionaire Mitt Romney, said that it was his “job not to worry about those people” who are elderly or too poor to pay federal income taxes. To make sure Republicans can focus on the rich and forget the rest, they’ve passed a multitude of laws to stop the working poor, seniors, people of color, women and students from voting. The intent is to prevent them from choosing who will run the government that, in a democracy, is supposed to represent them.

The Brennan Center for Justice calculated that if all the suppression laws passed by nearly two dozen states in the past five years took effect, 5 million citizens would confront new obstacles to exercising their right to vote. The laws would likely deny suffrage altogether to some citizens, such as those lacking birth certificates because they were born at home.

In addition to demanding specific ID, some states restricted early voting, ended same-day registration, purged voter rolls, and failed to process tens of thousands of registration forms collected by groups encouraging low-income and minority citizensto vote. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the NAACP and other voting rights groups challenged these schemes in court.

In recent weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court, dominated by Republicans, issued preliminary rulings approving voter suppression in three states for the Nov. 4 balloting.

In a fourth, Wisconsin, the court temporarily barred the voter ID mandate. The Supremes will hear the case later and may allow the state to demand specific identification. That would be ID requirements that Federal Judge Lynn Adelman determined could disenfranchise 300,000 Wisconsin voters, particularly poor and minority citizens, because they lack the requisite documents.

Judge Adelman, who ruled the law unconstitutional, concluded that in Wisconsin, there were no cases of the in-person voter fraud that Republicans claim the law is intended to prevent.

Texas was among the three states that Republicans on the Supreme Court granted permission to begin demanding specific voter identification. The court ignored the fact that Texas passed the law within hours after the Republican Supremes gutted the Voting Rights Act.

The court ignored the fact that the trial judge in that case, Nelva Gonzales Ramos, calculated that it could disenfranchise 600,000 voters, particularly black and Hispanic Texans. These are citizens who don’t have a gun permit or driver’s license allowed as voter identification by the law, but who do possess other ID, such as student cards, forbidden by the law.

The court ignored the fact that Judge Ramos found only two cases of in-person voter fraud out of 20 million ballots cast in Texas over 10 years.

Consider what red, white and blue-wearing, flag-waving, democracy-praising Republicans have said about their voter suppression campaigns.

Georgia state Rep. Fran Millar complained about a decision to allow Sunday voting in a location near a mall that, as he described it, “is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist.”

When accused of racism, he said, “I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”

In other words, he only wants some people to vote, not all people.

That’s not democracy.

In Ohio, where Republicans tried to allow GOP-dominated counties to add hours for early voting but deny it in Democratic areas, Doug Priesse, the chairman of the Republican Party in Franklin County, where Columbus is located, said it was fine to make voting more difficult for black citizens:

“I guess I really feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban – read African-American – voter-turnout machine.”

That’s not democracy.

In Pennsylvania, the Republican House Majority Leader Mike Turzai shepherded voter ID through the legislature in 2012, then announced  to a GOP gathering: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: done.” In other words, the law would stop voting by the working poor, minorities, student and others who tend to vote for Democrats.

That’s not democracy.

The ACLU got an injunction to stop the Pennsylvania ID law. President Obama won the state. And the state Supreme Court later ruled the law unconstitutional.

The rich are represented in government, and as a result, highly profitable oil companies get tax breaks. Wall Street gets bailouts. And one percenters get tax deductions for yachts. By contrast, no one bailed out underwater homeowners.Twenty-four states refused to expand Medicaid to millions of working poor citizens. And the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised in five years.

In a democracy, there’s nothing more important to securing representation in government than the vote.  Don’t let Republicans take it from you.


Fox Host Rails Against GOPers Calling Ebola Czar A Political ‘Hack’


Ron Klaine – Revolution LL

TPM LiveWire

He noted that Republicans didn’t make a “big fuss” when President George W. Bush named Stewart Simonson to coordinate response to the bird flu.

“He didn’t have any medical background either,” Cavuto said, noting that Simonson had knowledge of the government agencies that needed to coordinate the response.

Cavuto said that Simonson was “just as much the Republican political insider as Klain today is deemed a Democratic political insider.”

“You really don’t need an M.D. to simply get this: Ebola calls for a coordinated and coherent government response,” Cavuto continued. “Ripping a guy who’s just getting started trying to get a handle on a crisis, that’s not fair; that’s not right.”

The Fox host stopped short of praising Klain, but told conservatives not to judge him before he starts his work.

“I’m not saying that Mr. Klain’s a hero, but now is not the time to be calling him or anyone a hack. Remember, just because this virus is mutating doesn’t mean simple civility and decency should be mutating with it. Because that would be sick,” he said.

Republicans want you scared of ISIS. Democrats want you scared of the GOP.

Don't let fear dictate your vote.

Don’t let fear dictate your vote. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Week

But in truth, we have nothing to fear but fear itself

Fear is a powerful emotion. It’s not a great guide when you’re making a decision, but in an election year like 2014 — in which the main voter sentiments seem to be disenchantment and disgust — politicians apparently think it’s their best bet. Republican campaign ads and debate talking points aren’t all that subtle on this point. Democrats are only a little more indirect.

“Republicans believe they have found the sentiment that will tie congressional races together with a single national theme,” says Jeremy W. Peters at The New York Times. The theme is that things are really bad right now — Ebola, ISIS, even years worth of mishaps at the Secret Service — and that it’s mostly President Obama’s fault. And since Obama isn’t on the ballot, all Democrats running for Congress are Obama’s “lieutenants,” as Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus explained to The New York Times.

The Democrats’ big perceived soft spot is ISIS. Congress — after quickly and bipartisanly agreeing to Obama’s request for money to train anti-ISIS Syrian fighters — opted to go home and campaign rather than to debate what, if anything, Obama should be doing differently in Iraq and Syria. But the long-term plan Obama laid out to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS without U.S. ground troops hasn’t stopped ISIS from gaining some new territory, so Republicans are calling it a dangerous failure.

“ISIS is just one of the things leading to a crisis mentality among voters,” Joe Pounder, president of the GOP opposition-research company America Rising LLC, tells The Daily Beast‘s Josh Rogin. “And when you don’t have much new in the way of the economy going on, this is the new issue.”

This isn’t a dumb strategy on the GOP’s part. The American electorate cares about ISIS. “The situation with Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria” was voters’ No. 4 concern in a Gallup analysisreleased Monday, with 78 percent saying it is extremely or very important to their vote — and voters trust Republicans more than Democrats to deal with the situation. Tellingly, ISIS was the No. 2 issue for Republican respondents, with 85 percent calling it really important to their vote.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday, Obama’s approval rating on ISIS had plunged 15 percentage points in two weeks, to 35 percent; 51 percent disapproved.

The Republicans don’t have to have a better plan, or really any plan, to dispatch ISIS — if they disagree with Obama about anything, it’s mostly to plug sending in U.S. ground troops, hardly a popular suggestion. They just need to not control the White House.

Presidents normally want to exude sunny optimism on their watch, with varying degrees of success. But in a pinch, the party in power will be happy to paint the other side as dangerous and slightly unhinged.

Democrats can read polls, too, of course. They want you to be afraid of Republicans — or at least they want dispirited and unenthusiastic Democrats to be afraid enough that they’ll vote. In the ABC News/Washington Post poll, for example, Democrats actually lead Republicans in voter preference for House races, 46 percent to 44 percent — but Republicans take a 50 percent to 43 percent lead when it comes to likely voters.

Republicans are less popular nationally than Democrats — 33 percent favorability to 39 percent, per ABC News/Washington Post — and Democrats would like this to be an election about the minority party. It usually doesn’t work that way.

To get Democrats worried or angry enough to vote, Democrats are focusing on the points where voters in general, and Democrats in particular, rate the GOP poorly. In the latest Gallup poll, the Democrats’ No. 2 issue is equal pay for women, which 87 percent of Democrats say is extremely or very important to their vote. Abortion and contraception access is the No. 12 concern for Democrats, but 60 percent of them still call the issue very important (versus 43 percent of Republicans). Democratic ads and talking points reflect those priorities.

But in the favorite words of a man many American politicians cite as their hero: Don’t be afraid. It’s a lousy way to live, and a terrible basis for voting. If you’re afraid, there’s a good chance somebody is trying to pull your strings.

You’re almost certainly not going to get Ebola or even personally know anyone who does. ISIS isn’t going to invade across America’s southern border (which is much more guarded that it was in 2001). Republicans won’t win enough seats to get anything done — at least not for two years. If they win the Senate, we’ll probably get deeper gridlock, which should feel pretty familiar about now.

Fear is also pretty good for the news media. But on Wednesday, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith went a little off-script. “Do not listen to the hysterical voices on the radio and the television, or read the fear-provoking words online,” he said of Ebola. “You have to remember,” he adds — going “big picture” — “that there is politics in the mix.”

With midterm elections coming, the party in charge needs to appear to be effectively leading. The party out of power needs to show that there is a lack of leadership. So the president has canceled a fundraising trip and is holding meetings, and his political opponents are accusing his administration of poor leadership. For the purpose of this fact-dissemination exercise, those matters are immaterial. [Fox News]

He could be discussing just about any big issue of this election.

By all means, vote on Nov. 4 (or earlier, if applicable). There are big policy issues at stake, as well as judicial appointments and other things that may very well have a real impact on your life. But vote for the party or candidate whose ideas you think are better, not the one that scares you the least.

Predicting the Senate election down to the decimal point

Nathaniel “Nate” Silver, editor-in-chief of ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight blog. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

This article might be a bit too wonkish for some but here goes anyway…

The Washington Post ~ Dana Milbank

In the old days, life had many hardships. Among these: the need to wait until Election Day to determine who had won.

But now Big Data has saved us from this struggle. Even close races can now be predicted with mathematical precision.

We know, for example, with 98 percent certainty that Sen. Kay Hagan, an embattled Democrat, will win reelection in North Carolina next month. We are even more certain — 99 percent — that Sen. Mitch McConnell, a vulnerable Republican, will keep his seat in Kentucky. And we are darn near sure — 91 percent, to be specific — that Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will lose.

Throw all of these into our election model, add eye of newt and toe of frog, stir counterclockwise and — voila! — we can project with 84 percent confidence that Republicans will control the Senate next year.

The above data are from The Post’s Election Lab, run by George Washington University professor John Sides, but his is just one of several election models that claim to predict results with finely tuned accuracy. As of Tuesday afternoon, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, which turned the academic discipline of computer models into a media game, gives Republicans a 57.6 percent chance of taking the Senate. (Decimal points are particularly compelling.) The New York Times’s model goes with 61 percent, DailyKos 66 percent, Huffington Post 54 percent and PredictWise 73 percent. The Princeton Election Consortium gives a 54 percent advantage to Democrats . Apparently they forgot to add the toe of frog.

Some models have good records, and the theory behind them is sound. “Models help guard against any natural partisan bias,” Sides told me. “You use data to make decisions instead of your instincts or folklore. Instincts are sometimes correct, but on average data will be better.”

Yet there can be too much of a good thing — as when media outlets put too much faith in the numbers the models churn out. “Nate Silver’s team at Five­ThirtyEight gives the GOP a 59 percent chance of retaking the Senate, down one point from last week,” ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos told his roundtable Sunday on “This Week.” “Was Nate Silver right to move it just an inch away from the Republicans?”

Modelers like to think Big Data can revolutionize election coverage the way “Moneyball” changed baseball recruitment. And some editors see it as an alternative to poll-driven coverage of politics. But models rely heavily (in some cases, exclusively) on polls and are subject to the garbage-in, garbage-out rule. Models also rely on historical patterns, and in politics, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Recently, modelers have taken to discrediting each other publicly. Silver on Sept. 26 tweeted a shot at the “overconfident model” of Princeton’s Sam Wang: “Yesterday, Sam Wang’s snapshot had [Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark] Begich as a 99% favorite in Alaska. Today it gives him a 23% chance.” Silver later let people know Wang gave Sharron Angle a 99.997 percent chance to win the Nevada Senate seat that she lost to Harry Reid in 2010.

Wang, in turn, said Silver blew both the Nevada and Colorado Senate races that year.

Silver’s model has put Republican chances of winning the Senate between 53 percent and 65 percent over the past several weeks. The Times’s model has bounced around over a longer period from about 40 percent to the high 60s. The Post’s Election Lab has gone from 86 percent odds for Republicans in mid-July to a 51 percent edge for Democrats in mid-September before bouncing back up to the current 84 percent GOP advantage.

Smooth out the fluctuations, average the models together, and you end up with a reasonable forecast: Republicans are slightly favored to get the six seats they need to take the Senate.

Now compare that to Stu Rothenberg, an old-school political forecaster supposed to have been made anachronistic by Big Data. In August 2013, he predicted Republicans would gain three to six Senate seats, gradually moving that up to his current prediction of a five-to-eight-seat Republican gain, which he has held since August. He was earlier and more consistent than the models.

Rothenberg told me the models “hype” and are “intellectually deceptive” because they “convey a sense of mathematical certainty that is simply misleading.” Rothenberg uses polling and other data, but he also interviews candidates and is “humble enough to know that every election cycle is different.”

Charlie Cook, another old-school forecaster, thinks the Big Data models have a place, but they put too much science in politics. “They err,” he told me, in assuming “a precision and confidence that doesn’t exist in human behavior.”

I’m 98.7 percent certain Cook is correct.

Republicans brace for 2016 free-for-all

Top row, left to right: Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are shown. Middle row, left to right: Bobby Jindal, Mike Pence, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker are shown. Bottom row, left to right: Rob Portman, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan are shown in this composite. | AP Photos

There is no clear Republican frontrunner. | AP Photos


The message from Republican officials has been crystal clear for two years: The 2016 Republican primary cannot be another prolonged pummeling of the eventual nominee. Only one person ultimately benefited from that last time — Barack Obama — and Republicans know they can’t afford to send a hobbled nominee up against Hillary Clinton.

Yet interviews with more than a dozen party strategists, elected officials and potential candidates a month out from the unofficial start of the 2016 election lay bare a stark reality: Despite the national party’s best efforts, the likelihood of a bloody primary process remains as strong as ever.

The sprawling, kaleidoscope-like field that’s taking shape is already prompting Republican presidential hopefuls to knock their likely rivals in private and, at times, publicly. The fact that several candidates’ prospects hinge in part on whether others run only exacerbates that dynamic. Ultimately, the large pack won’t be whittled for many months: Republicans have no idea who will end up running, and insiders don’t expect the field will gel in any way until at least the spring of next year.

“It feels like a big traffic jam after a sporting event,” said Craig Robinson, a former executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa. “There’s a lot of competition for every segment of the party.”

At least 15 Republicans are weighing campaigns, with no clear front-runner. Contrast that with Clinton, who has solidified her Democratic support to a deeper extent than any candidate in recent memory.

There’s no indication that the reforms suggested by the national Republican party to protect the eventual nominee — fewer debates, friendlier moderators and a truncated primary calendar — have necessarily altered how potential candidates are thinking about campaigning against other Republicans. In fact, they already are jockeying to define themselves — and their opponents — in sharp terms.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is a prime example. Seeking to expand his base of support beyond tea party conservatives, Cruz, who has been working donors and elites aggressively, has routinely dismissed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in private conversations as the “Rudy Giuliani of this cycle,” multiple sources told POLITICO. (A Cruz adviser noted that the senator has often praised Christie.) Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) denounced Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), an establishment avatar, in a Senate floor speech last month over what turned out to be an Internet hoax, a photo that falsely identified the senator meeting with Islamic State militants. When outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry attacked Paul’s foreign policy views, Perry responded in kind.

The desire in some quarters for a new tenor in the Republican primary is a visceral reaction to the party’s bitter 2012 loss, and Clinton’s commanding position on the Democratic side.

“I think because we’ve been frozen out of the White House for two terms here, I think Republicans by and large are going to be really focused on winning the general election and not wanting to do things to handicap your eventual nominee,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told POLITICO. He said that there will be “pressure this time around to ask candidates to play nice with one another so that we can make sure we can focus on the general election.”

In an interview, Christie said, “It’s always important for us not to destroy each other — it’d be nice.”

“I think that after eight years in the wilderness, we should all be focused on winning,” he said. “That would help. And I think if we did that, people will conduct themselves” in a positive way.

Yet Christie and Paul spent a good chunk of 2013 savaging each other. And several Republicans point to a simple reality: After the GOP’s tea party wing notched big wins in the 2010 and 2012 congressional elections, and establishment forces battled back successfully this year, both sides are primed for a fight.

Newt Gingrich, one of the short-lived insurgent front-runners in the 2012 primary, dismisses the party’s desire to avoid bloodletting as “nonsense.”

“There’s a wing of the Republican party which would like life to be orderly and dominated by the rich,” said Gingrich, whose own candidacy was enabled by a super PAC funded by $21 million from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam. “And so they would like to take all of the things that make politics exciting and responding to the popular will and they would like to hide from it. The fact is, if you can’t nominate somebody who can win debates and come out of the contest stronger, they wouldn’t have a chance to beat Hillary in the general.”

For his part, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus pushed through major changes for 2016, including a condensed primary calendar and fewer debates.

“What I can do is follow through on what I can control,” Priebus said in an interview. “Limiting the process from a six-month slice-and-dice festival to 60-plus” days. Priebus added that he senses a “greater spirit of cooperation” among candidates who understand that the party is “not going to get ahead by killing each other.”

Continue here…


10 Ways Conservatives Sell Their Failed Policies


Poster mocking “Obamacare” | Conservative Report photo

This article is a bit long, but informative…


No, medical bankruptcy is not freedom.

Below are 10 examples of the far right using liberal-influenced rhetoric or terminology to promote destructive policies.

1. “Right to Work” Laws

Proponents of so-called “right to work laws,” which are especially common in Republican-dominated southern states, will claim that such laws are doing workers a favor by “liberating” them from the demands of labor unions. Southern Republicans tout “right to work” laws as a gift to the working class, insisting that collective bargaining is an impediment to one’s ability to be gainfully employed. But as the AFL-CIO and other labor unions have asserted, such laws just give the right to work for less, resulting in lower pay, inferior benefits and bad working conditions. According to the AFL-CIO, median household income in states with right to work laws is $6,437 less per year than in states that are more union-friendly—and in right to work states, only 50.7% of employers offer their employees health insurance compared to 55.2% in states that don’t have such laws. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has noted that the number of deaths in the workplace is 36% higher in right to work states than in union-friendly states.

2. So-Called “Restorative Therapy” For Gays

The Christian Right has been aggressively promoting so-called “restorative therapy” for gays, insisting that homosexuality can be cured with a big dose of Christian fundamentalism. Terms like restorative therapy and reparative therapy have a new age-like ring to them. In Texas—where Republican Gov. Rick Perry has compared homosexuality to alcoholism—such “therapy” is officially endorsed in the state’s Republican Party platform. But Texas Republicans aren’t doing gays any favor by promoting restorative therapy, which doesn’t work—and John Paulk (who, in the 1990s, became the far right’s poster child for turning gay men straight) has come out against it. Paulk now says what many gay activists have been saying all along: homosexuality is not a choice, but a sexual orientation one is born with, and restorative therapy is an abusive practice, especially when imposed on teenagers.

3. Generation Opportunity: Equating Medical Bankruptcy with “Self-Determination” and “Freedom”

Receiving huge donations from oligarchs Charles and David Koch and having strong ties to the Tea Party, the Virginia-based Generation Opportunity (or GenOpp for short) bills itself as a “nonprofit Millennial advocacy organization.” One of its main targets has been the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare. GenOpp, using rhetoric like “self-determination” and “free the future,” has been holding youth-oriented rallies urging Millennials to sign a pledge to “opt out” of Obamacare exchanges. But what GenOpp calls “self-determination” or “freedom” could lead to medical bankruptcy for Millennials. Healthcare reform activists have been quite critical of GenOpp’s irresponsible “Opt Out of Obamacare” campaign. In 2013, Ethan Rome (executive director of Health Care for America Now) asserted that it was“seriously unconscionable” for GenOpp to urge Millennials to make a point of being uninsured and stressed that suffering a major illness or accident while uninsured could result in Millennials being “buried by bills and unable to recover for the rest of their lives.” To GenOpp and their friends at Koch Industries and the Tea Party, medical bankruptcy is “freedom”; to sane people, it’s a cruel and frightening hardship.

4. Social Security “Reform”: Butchering Social Security in the Name of “Prosperity”

When Republicans and the Tea Party speak of “social security reform,” they insist they have the best interests of senior citizens at heart and want to make sure they enjoy a comfortable retirement. “Reforming” social security was part of the so-called “path to prosperity budget” for 2015 that Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin proposed earlier this year, but Ryan’s potentially disastrous ideas for social security would be more like a path to poverty for seniors. Ryan would like to gut social security: his ideas have included allowing workers under 55 to invest large portions of their social security taxes in the stock market (a terrible idea in light of how badly Wall Street and the banking sector crashed in September 2008) and—according to estimates from the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities—cutting benefits by about 40% for workers making $43,000 a year and about 50% for workers making $70,000 a year. There was a time when some prominent Republicans (including President Dwight D. Eisenhower) recognized social security as a valuable element of the New Deal, but these days, Ryan and other Tea Party favorites speak of “reforming” social security when in truth, they want to butcher it.

5. So-Called “Pro-Life Feminism”

Founded in 1972, Feminists for Life of America is the leader of the so-called “feminist pro-life” movement—which claims that it is “empowering” women by fighting to deny them access to safe and legal abortions. The organization is big on pseudo-feminist rhetoric, often invoking the name of Susan B. Anthony and saying it employs “holistic, woman-centered solutions” when addressing unplanned pregnancies. But even though Feminists for Life of America calls itself nonpartisan, it has never been shy about associating with or endorsing the Christian Right. One of its outspoken members is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whom the organization haspraisedfor her “pro-life feminist” views. And the former head of its California chapter is none other than long-time Republican Party activist Susan Carpenter-McMillan.

6. Christian Fundamentalists Promoting “Great Sex”

The Christian Right has a long history of being anti-sex, from opposing real sex education (choosing instead to support failed abstinence-only programs) to opposing birth control. But some Christian fundamentalists have tried to counter that puritanical image by insisting they want you to have wild, explosive sex. For example, 1Flesh describes itself as “a grassroots movement dedicated to bringing great sex to the entire universe.” But it is actually a far-right Christian fundamentalist site that opposes contraception. Similarly, is a website that addresses a wide range of sexual topics yet opposes any type of sex outside of marriage. These websites underscore the fact that when Christian fundamentalists try to sound liberal or progressive, they often end up showing how socially conservative they are.

7. The Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011

It isn’t uncommon for far-right Republicans to invoke the names of civil rights figures when they are pushing oppressive ideas. A perfect example was the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011. When Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona proposed the bill, he claimed that it was designed to prevent the epidemic of “race-selection abortions” and “gender-selection abortions” (an “epidemic” that doesn’t exist). But Franks’ attempt to sound like the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women all rolled into one fell painfully flat because it was obvious he wasn’t motivated by concern for women or African Americans—he was pandering to white anti-abortion zealots of the far right. Unafraid to call Franks out, Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan told him, “I’ve studied Frederick Douglass more than you, and I’ve never heard or read about him saying anything about prenatal non-discrimination.”

8. So-Called “Pregnancy Crisis Centers”

Although the Christian Right will never admit it, Planned Parenthood actually reduces the number of abortions in the United States by providing contraception for women. But instead of preventing unwanted pregnancies by supporting Planned Parenthood, easy access to contraception and comprehensive sex education programs, the Christian Right would rather deny women access to abortions when unwanted pregnancies occur. A common tactic among far-right Christian fundamentalists is pretending to be an abortion clinic or offer pregnancy counseling: once women are lured into those so-called pregnancy crisis centers with warm, fuzzy language, they are bombarded with militant anti-choice rhetoric from the same zealots who oppose contraception. And even if the pregnancy is the result of rape, many of these Christian fundamentalist “clinics” still try to shame and bully women into not having abortions.

9. Allen West and the Modern-Day “Underground Railroad”

When Republicans and the Tea Party try to sell wingnut ideas to African Americans, one of their tactics is mentioning civil rights leaders of the past. Former Florida Rep. Allen West, for example, has described himself as a “modern-day Harriet Tubman” whose mission is to “lead people on the Underground Railroad” away from the Democratic Party and into the loving arms of the GOP and the Tea Party. West likes to paint himself as a friend of the oppressed and the downtrodden, but his positions—disdain for unions and healthcare reform, trying to butcher the social safety net, opposition to raising the minimum wage—demonstrate that he is anything but.

10. Mike Huckabee’s Idea of Female “Empowerment”

When President Barack Obama was reelected in 2012, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee asserted that the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan ticket lost because Republicans’ rhetoric was too harsh. There was nothing wrong with the GOP message, Huckabee claimed—only in the way they presented it. Huckabee has long been a master of trying to make extreme Christian fundamentalism seem warm and caring. But this year, Huckabee showed his true colors when an awkward, clumsy attempt at preaching female “empowerment” ended up sounding contemptuous of women. Opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate, Huckabee insisted: “Republicans don’t have a war on women. We’re having a war for women—to empower them to be something other than victims of their gender.” Huckabee went on to say, “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.” Huckabee, in essence, echoed Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that women are sluts if they want health insurance to cover birth control pills. So much for Republicans softening their rhetoric.

Republicans Deploy The Buffoon Squad Of Rick Perry and Sarah Palin To Save Kansas For The GOP

Half-term former Gov of Alaska: Sarah Palin and Tx. Gov. Rick Perry | no attribution

The title says it all…

Politicus USA

Yeah, this will help. With Republicans losing both the governor and Senate races in Kansas, the GOP is deploying the dream duo of Rick Perry and Sarah Palin to the state to help their sinking candidates.

According to The New York Times, hillbilly brawler Sarah Palin is heading to Kansas to help sinking Senate incumbent Pat Roberts, “Roberts is flying in a motley crew of GOP surrogates — including former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush — to stir suspicions about Orman and convince voters that a GOP majority hinges on Roberts’s reelection.”

Meanwhile, the flatlining gubernatorial campaign of Gov. Sam Brownback is looking for a boost from indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, “Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be in Wichita on Wednesday for a 4 p.m. rally at the Republican Party headquarters followed by two private receptions for donors.”

The only way this would make sense is if Republicans thought that the problem with Kansas was that it wasn’t conservative enough. But the very reason Republicans find themselves in jeopardy of losing Pat Roberts’ Senate seat to an Independent is precisely because Governor Brownback purged moderate Republicans from the state legislature 2012.

Those moderates want their state back. They are siding with the moderate/sane people. They are against extremists. Clearly this rules out secessionist cheering Rick Perry and Sarah Palin. Sending Perry and Palin into Kansas as fixers is the equivalence of a white flag surrender.

Yes, Perry and Palin can whip up some frothing hatred, misunderstanding of government and a dazzling ability to con voters into ignoring their own self interest, but Perry and Palin are political failures as politicians. Perry has been indicted and Palin had to quit her “job” as governor after blatantly lying about being found guilty of abusing her power on the trail.

Hate President Obama and think he should be impeached for daring to act as President even though he was elected in a landslide? Perry and Palin are your peeps. Too ignorant to understand just how ignorant these two are? Perfect GOP voter. Need to save your party due to the influence of Republicans like Perry and Palin? Don’t send Perry and Palin to fix that.

Only in the Republican Party could being one of the least popular politicians and being indicted be a bonus. If this sentence is not enough to give Republicans pause, they are never going to fix their national branding issues.

Psst, GOP: When the best solution to your problem — any problem — is Rick Perry or Sarah Palin, you have bigger problems than you know.

Paycheck Fairness Act Blocked Again By Senate GOP


Alex Wong via Getty Images


The Huffington Post

Senate Republicans on Monday blocked for the fourth time a bill that would strengthen federal equal pay laws for women.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would ban employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with each other, impose harsher penalties for pay discrimination and require employers to be able to show that wage gaps between men and women are based on factors other than gender.

The bill needed 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster and advance to a final vote on passage, but it fell short Monday by a vote of 52 to 40. Senate Democrats have brought the bill to the floor four times since 2011, and each time Republicans have rejected it.

“The wage gap not only hurts our families, it hurts the economy,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said before the vote. “If it were reversed, I’d be standing here fighting for the men. It’s not right.”

Republicans say they oppose the bill because they believe it would discourage employers from hiring women, out of a fear of lawsuits. The GOP has accused Democrats of staging a “show vote” on the bill in an election year, knowing it won’t pass.

“At a time when the Obama economy is already hurting women so much, this legislation would double down on job loss, all while lining the pockets of trial lawyers,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said before the last vote on the bill in April. “In other words, it’s just another Democratic idea that threatens to hurt the very people that it claims to help.”

Women working full-time in the U.S. earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the Census Bureau. A small portion of that gap, economists say, is due to employers paying women less than men for the same work.

Republicans are trying to engage women voters ahead of the November midterm elections, but their opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act and other equal pay measures has repeatedly been used against them in campaigns.

Democrats Have Their Best August In History and Strengthen Their Position To Keep The Senate


Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) |no attribution

This is relatively good news…


Senate Democrats set another fundraising record in August. They are crushing their Republican opponents in fundraising, and find themselves in a much stronger position to keep control of the Senate than the experts predicted.

The Democratic Senate Congressional Committee (DSCC) had their best fundraising month in history in August. Democrats outraised Republicans $7.7 million to $1.6 million. Overall, Democrats have outraised Republicans by $29 million. The DSCC has $25.3 million in cash on hand and no debt.

In a statement, DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil said, “With less than 50 days until Election Day, Democrats are in strong position to hold the majority. While the Koch brothers are spending millions on misleading attack ads to prop up candidates like Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton, Thom Tillis, and others, Democrats are running stronger, smarter campaigns with better candidates. Thanks to our energized grassroots supporters, the DSCC will continue to highlight on the airwaves how Republicans want to privatize Social Security, gut Medicare, and limit access to common forms of birth control as well as heavily invest in the Bannock Street Project, which at its peak will be the largest, most data-driven field operation ever in a midterm election.”

As The New York Times recently reported, a path to Democrats keeping the Senate majority is becoming visible. Democrats have a base of 45 seats. If the Democratic candidates win in Colorado and Michigan, where they currently lead, the party would only need to win three more states to keep their majority. Sen. Kay Hagan leads in North Carolina. A Hagan win would bring the Democratic total to 48. Democrats could keep the by winning in Iowa and Alaska. Wins in those two states, would give Democrats the majority with Vice President Joe Biden serving as the tie breaking vote.

If Democrats win a Republican held seat in Kentucky or Georgia, they could afford to lose a vulnerable seat like Alaska and still keep the majority.

Republicans are putting all of their resources into capturing the Senate, which is why the Democratic fundraising has been so impressive. Having money is the first step towards keeping the majority. The next step is for Democrats to mobilize and get their voters out to vote in November.

There is no doubt about it. Democrats are doing much better than the pundits and “experts” predicted. Republicans were hoping for an early wave that would point to them locking up control of the Senate by now. Instead of a national election, the 2014 contest for the Senate has turned into a state by state battle with no national themes. This is not the kind of election that Republicans wanted to contest.

It is not an easy path, but Democrats have a much better chance of keeping the majority than the political chattering class ever expected.

Immigration is still a huge problem for Republicans

The Washington Post – Greg Sargent

A new narrative seems to be taking hold: Obama’s delay of executive action on deportations — and the backlash it has sparked from enraged advocates — shows the politics of immigration are now perilous for Democrats. The Wall Street Journal, for instance, claims that it shows immigration is a “toxic” issue for Dems as well as Republicans.

That’s true in the short term, but the big picture matters more. And that big picture is this: If Obama does something reasonably ambitious on deportations after the elections, it will very likely restore the larger political dynamic that has been taking shape all year, in which Republicans continue to solidify their image as hostile and unwelcoming to Latinos and Democrats continue to establish theirs as the pro-immigration party.

As I’ve detailed here, Senate Democrats decided, for a range of reasons, that any action on deportations now could imperil their already-tenuous chances of holding the Senate. But the flip-side of this is that after the elections are over, all of the political incentives for Democrats will be flowing in the opposite direction — that is, Dems will stand to benefit politically across the board from ambitious executive action.

There are a number of reasons for this. Democrats have an interest in seeing this happen just before the GOP presidential primary, because it makes it more likely the GOP candidates will out-demagogue one another in calling for Obama’s protections from deportation for millions to be rolled back, pulling the GOP field to the right of Mitt Romney’s “self deportation” stance in 2012. Beyond the debate over the propriety of executive action, Republicans continue to deepen their opposition to theenforcement priorities underlying Obama’s coming action — they haveboxed themselves into a place where they are inescapably calling for enforcement resources to be directed back towards maximizing the deportation of low-level offenders with longtime ties to communities.

What’s more, even as Republicans cling to increasingly toxic positions among Latinos, Dems would presumably stand to benefit in the 2016 general election if the Democratic Party reestablishes — and strengthens — its bond with Latinos, which ambitious executive action would do. Also, asCook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy has noted, some of the 2016 DemSenate candidates will be running in states with increasing Latino vote shares, amid a presidential year electorate. They too might benefit from action, which conceivably could help Dems increase their majority or recapture it if they lose it this year.

It’s still unclear how far-reaching Obama’s action — which will presumably depend on what the administration determines is legally possible — will turn out to be. But unlike now, the political incentives will all point in the direction of doing something ambitious. Indeed, I suspect one reason advocates are beating the heck out of Obama over his delay right now is to raise the price of reestablishing good relations with activists and Latinos, on the understanding that the President will see that so doing carries great political rewards over the long term. Some advocates fear that if Republicans take the Senate, Obama may punt once again. But it’s also quite possible, given that the political incentives favor “going big” no matter who controls the Senate, that advocates may get their way soon enough.

None of this is to minimize the current anger advocates feel about Obama’s delay. The White House did mishandle the issue by promising action at the end of the summer (though Senate Dems did hamstring Obama by also suggesting the President follow a timetable). The human toll of the delaywill be far-reaching and very real.

However, this issue may end up unfolding just as the gay rights debate did. Gay advocates were deeply frustrated for years with Obama, particularly over his slow evolution on gay marriage. But Obama ended up compiling a very good record on gay civil rights. The result: Gay rights is one of many issues where the Democratic Party has continued to reshape itself around the cultural priorities of an emerging coalition that is giving it a built-in advantage in national elections. As Ron Brownstein has explained:

Combined, these confrontations are stamping the GOP as what I’ve called a “Coalition of Restoration” primarily representing older, white, religiously devout, and nonurban voters who fear that hurtling change is undermining traditional American values. Democrats in turn are championing a younger, more urbanized, diverse, and secular “Coalition of Transformation” that welcomes the evolution in America’s racial composition and cultural mores.

As Obama struggles through his second term, it’s clear one of his signal legacies will be cementing the Democrats’ connection with that coalition’s cultural priorities. It’s easy to imagine Hillary Clinton or another future Democratic presidential nominee offering more centrist fiscal or foreign policies than Obama. But on cultural issues Obama has led his party across a Rubicon…The party’s deepening embrace of cultural liberalism may make it tougher for it to hold some red-state House and Senate seats, but is improving its position with the cosmopolitan states and growing demographic groups that key its presidential majority.

If Obama’s actions on deportations is reasonably ambitious, it seems likely that this broader dynamic will remain in force when it comes to immigration and Latinos, too — whatever current political problems Democrats have run into right now.