1. blf says

    Women deserve better than two clowns reducing the presidential race to a hottest wife contest:

    Donald Trump and Ted Cruz’s Twitter slap-fight reveals the misogynist bigotry in the Republican DNA

    I’ve been keeping a list, as this election season shambles toward its climax, of things that might mount a more dignified, qualified, intellectually rigorous fight for the presidency of the US than our two Republican frontrunners, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. At this point, I have:

    ● Two air horns in an off-balance washing machine.
    ● Two baby bears who ate too much honey and are all tuckered out.
    ● A melting butter sculpture of a lizard and a dried apricot that fell on the barbershop floor.
    ● A wet paper towel with low self-esteem and a lamprey that did too much cocaine and thinks it can “destroy Isis”.
    ● A bar of soap with a hair on it and my grandma, who is dead.

    It’s difficult to understand how any American human being with a healthy sense of self-preservation would voluntarily place their nation, their body, and their livelihood in the hands of either of these incompetent, bleating clowns; never more so than after this week’s demonstration of how the two noble statesmen plan to comport themselves during their battle for the nomination and the presidency beyond — that plan being, apparently, to reduce the future of my country (and the world) to a hottest wife contest.


    Setting aside the notion that a woman’s looks determine her value, as well as the dehumanising reduction of Heidi Cruz and Melania Trump (two successful, professional women with fully formed, complex lives) to inanimate chips in a dick-swinging contest, the most odious thing about this whole exchange is that it positions Ted Cruz as the good guy when it comes to gender.

    Cruz is a man who believes that every human life is a precious gift from God, which should be protected from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death — in other words, all pregnant people should be treated as incubators and forced to give birth. He supports a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks, without exception. Are you a woman with a wanted pregnancy who found out at 21 weeks that your foetus is not viable? Sorry! Carry it inside of you for four more months because Ted Cruz says so! […]


    The Great Trump v Cruz objectification-off of 2016 isn’t just bad statesmanship or a goofy sideshow; it’s one manifestation of a fundamental misogynist bigotry that is in the Republican party’s DNA. Whether you’re Trump, leveraging your wife’s body as social capital while calling women who challenge you fat pigs and dogs, or Cruz, paying watery lip service to not attacking women while working full-time to strip women of basic, life-saving healthcare, American conservatives make it abundantly clear that they do not fully believe that women are people. Not even if they’re in the same party. Not even if they’re in the same house. Not even if they’re in the same bed.

    Some readers’s comments:

    ● “Men deserve better too. The race, the candidates, and the American idiots who vote for them are all incredible embarrassments”.

    ● “[…] Both Cruz and Trump live in a totally sheltered and filtered Alternate Reality, one in which they fancy themselves ‘successes’ and ‘leaders’, and in which there are never any consequences to face for any behavior by The Self-Anointed Super-Privileged, no matter how atrocious that behavior is. Obviously, great ‘Presidential material’. Just gimme them thar launch codes and ‘I’ll show you who’s a loser’.”

    ● “Trump lacks the maturity to be President of a third grade.”

    ● “Slime Bucket Ted Cruz started it. So there!”

    ● “Why do politicians always project with their penis?”
    In reply: “It is where they store their brain(what little they have).”

    ● “Maybe the oncoming climate apocalypse isn’t such a bad thing.”

    ● “I think this is probably my favorite summation of the train wreck that is the Teapublican party race to the bottom. […]”

    ● “The shameless sleaze vs the pious sleaze.”

    ● “Women deserve better than two clown[s]? […] That’s why the Republicans started out with 13 clowns.”

  2. says

    Slime bucket Ted Cruz did not start the war of the wives.

    Trump keeps repeating that Cruz “started it,” but he didn’t. A stop-Trump SuperPAC that is not aligned with Cruz started it by posting photos of Melania aimed at Republicans in Utah. The ad was paid for by Make America Awesome. Although the group was trying to get Utah voters to vote for Cruz in order to deny delegates to Trump, Make America Awesome is not really a pro-Cruz PAC. They are more of an anyone-but-Trump PAC.

    Nevertheless, with no evidence whatsoever, Trump continues to claim that Cruz knew about the ad and that he was behind it. This is Trump’s way of absolving himself. He’s just hitting back after someone else hit him first. Not true.

    Every Trump statement on this issue since the 23rd of March has included the false accusation that Cruz started it. Repetition equals truth in Trump’s world. By now, Trump’s followers also believe that Cruz started the fight.

  3. says

    Another law enforcement official has denounced Ted Cruz’s proposal that the police should “patrol Muslim” neighborhoods and prevent radicalization. This is New York Police Department’s John Miller weighing in:

    Well I talked to the commissioner about this quite a bit. I think patrol and secure was a subtext for occupy and intimidate. I think if you listen to what he said and how he said it —

    Listen, we’re the proudest country on the planet. And that’s because we have been a leader in freedom and human rights and everything else. I think in our history if there are moments of shame it would be Japanese internment, the Red Scare and McCarthyism, torture after 9/11. These are things that on reflection through history the American people have rejected. And each one of those is driven by fear.

    And I think when you have people campaigning through fear and using that as leverage and then giving advice to the police to be the cudgel of that fear, that is not the direction American policing should be taking in a democracy. And I think that’s what the commissioner was saying in today’s op-ed in the New York Daily News. […]

    And in the great law of unintended consequences, I think what Ted Cruz has done has caused police in America, particularly in New York, to have a voice that reassures the community as to what their role really is, which is to protect and serve.

    The quoted text is from an interview on CBS that was hosted by John Dickerson.

  4. blf says

    Slime bucket Ted Cruz did not start the war of the wives.

    This is almost certainly a response to a quoted comment by a reader,

    Slime Bucket Ted Cruz started it. So there!

    As per the added emboldening, I think a snarkcasm detector needs adjusting…

    (Thanks for the details on the start of this round of I’m stooopideristmost than everone!)

  5. says

    Oh, this is good news. The governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, said he would veto that state’s “religious liberty” bill that would have fostered/protected discrimination against LGBT people. The decision to veto the bill was, in part, a response to the very vocal and widespread backlash against a similar bill in North Carolina. (See )

    Governor Deal has received a lot of backlash as well:

    […] “Their efforts to purge this bill of any possibility that it would allow or encourage discrimination illustrates how difficult it is to legislate something that is best left to the broad protections of the First Amendment,” he said.

    The two-term Republican has been besieged by all sides over the controversial measure, and his office has received thousands of emails and hundreds of calls on the debate. The tension was amplified by a steady stream of corporate titans who urged him to veto the bill – and threatened to pull investments from Georgia if it became law. […]

    Georgia passed a different “religious freedom” bill last year, and it is estimated the state lost about $60 million in revenue as a result.

  6. says

    More good news. Low-income workers in California will be getting a raise soon.

    Lawmakers and labor unions have struck a tentative deal to raise the statewide minimum wage to $10.50 an hour next year and then gradually to $15, […]

    The deal was confirmed Saturday afternoon by sources close to the negotiations who would speak only on condition of anonymity until Gov. Jerry Brown makes a formal announcement as early as Monday. […]

    the negotiated deal would boost California’s statewide minimum wage from $10 an hour to $10.50 on Jan. 1, 2017, with a 50-cent increase in 2018 and then $1-per-year increases through 2022. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have an extra year to comply, delaying their workers receiving a $15 hourly wage until 2023. […]

  7. says

    Pat Robertson just can’t catch up, and he is incapable of understanding LGBT issues. Today, Robertson said some particularly stupid stuff:

    Pat Robertson took issue today with the NFL’s opposition to an anti-LGBT bill in Georgia, arguing that the league shouldn’t care about the bill, which would effectively legalize anti-LGBT discrimination, since none of its players are gay.

    “These guys are supposed to be tough warriors in the NFL,” Robertson said. “Why are they suddenly going out to boycott a state because of some alleged offense against homosexual marriage? These NFL players are not going to get same-sex marriage, you wouldn’t think. What is going on with those people?”

    He lamented that “we are making a protected class of somebody that, you know, for centuries have been on the edges of society, and now suddenly it has become the big deal.” […]

    Right Wing Watch link

    Michael Sam is gay. Sam says there are more gay players in the NFL, but they are worried about backlash if they come out of the closet. In 2015, Sam signed with the Montreal Alouettes, and later stepped away from the game.

    I’m just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.

    Was it a risky move? Yes. But at that moment, the reason why I came out is I thought it wasn’t going to be a big deal. Maybe I was naive. Maybe I thought it was 2014, and people will understand that there’s gay NFL players. There’s gay athletes everywhere. But I was clearly wrong. It was a huge deal.

    The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are [on]. I’m just saying there’s some famous people, and I’m not the only one.

  8. says

    The gunman at the U.S. Capitol Complex is in custody. The shooter was injured, but not seriously. No one else was injured. A man entered the visitor center with a gun, and was stopped by police before he even got to the metal detectors.

    Earlier reports said that one Capitol police officer had been shot, but that has now been refuted. The White House is no longer on lockdown.

  9. says

    As we expected, the Secret Service will not allow guns at the GOP convention. A petition to allow guns to be openly carried at the convention gathered tens of thousands signatures, but that’s not going to happen.

    […] Individuals determined to be carrying firearms will not be allowed past a predetermined outer perimeter checkpoint, regardless of whether they possess a ticket to the event,” Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said in a statement to the news outlet.

    The agency’s comments come after a petition on demanding open-carry laws be upheld at the convention garnered more than 45,000 signatures. Ohio is an open-carry state.

    “Only authorized law enforcement personnel” may carry firearms while inside the Quicken Loans Arena, Hoback said in the statement. […]

  10. says

    Republican state Senator Bill Kintner said some especially egregious stuff about “men in dresses” and other LGBT issues:

    […] Kintner argued that there are no problems with discrimination in Nebraska; that the Constitution allows people to violate gay individuals’ civil rights; and that businesses should be able to “make it known” if they don’t want to serve LGBT people by providing them with bad service.

    Kintner also challenged Nebraskans to elect him out of office if they don’t like his positions on LGBT equality.

    “When there’s a majority of people in our state that thinks [LBGT rights are an] important issue, and thinks that they want representation to do that, it’ll happen,” Kintner said. “There were 40,000 people who elected me to represent them … they sent me down here to do this job.” […]

    [….] if you have a restaurant, and they’re not overtly discriminating but, you know, they’re kind of making it known that you know, we don’t like men sitting around in dresses, you now, that stuff takes care of itself. Word will get out that this place doesn’t serve everyone. It doesn’t give everyone equal treatment. If you’re a man wearing a dress it takes you an hour to get waited on, and for everyone else it takes 20 minutes … that’s called bad service. […]

  11. says

    [sigh] Now we get to add “copulating with rodents” to the list of petty balderdash that the Trump and Cruz campaigns have turned into national news. Trump didn’t say that, but Ted Cruz did perhaps say that about Trump’s proxy, Roger Stone. Stone claims Cruz said that. Stone is trying to keep the lie alive about Ted Cruz having multiple affairs. And, he is, I suspect, trying to keep the focus off that disastrous interview of Trump that was conducted by the Washington Post. That tactic seems to be driving all of the candidates and their proxies around the bend.

    Roger Stone — a Donald Trump supporter and the only named source in the National Enquirer’s article about Ted Cruz’s alleged mistresses — spoke to Frank Morano on AM 970 this past Sunday about the allegations against the Texas senator, and he insisted that he couldn’t be a Trump operative because he’s not being paid like one. [bullshit]

    Cruz apparently disavowed the allegations in part by saying that Stone is someone who “copulates with rodents,” to which Stone replied that “knowing what a couple of these women looked like, I actually feel he’s the one who’s been copulating with rodents.” In addition to shaming largely anonymous women, Stone also explained why Cruz’s non-denials were so unconvincing.

    “He’s a lawyer himself,” he said, “so why won’t he sue? It won’t cost him anything. To be absolutely clear — Cruz won’t sue because the allegations are largely true.”

    Stone further noted that this scandal concerns the candidate himself, not his wife — though that didn’t stop him from running her into the ground, and at great length no less, as well. “This scandal doesn’t pertain to Heidi,” he said, before adding that “I presume that Trump is talking about Heidi’s mental breakdown, the fact that she was found by the local police wandering and disoriented and they determined she was a threat to herself.”

    “Or maybe,” he said, continuing his master-class in apophasis, “they’re talking about the fact that Heidi, with her husband posing as a conservative Republican, was the top aide to Condoleezza Rice at the National Security Council prior to going to the U.S. Trade Representative Office, where she was the top aide for Robert Zellick, who then took her to Goldman Sachs.”

    “Do you know who they are, Frank?” Stone asked, because why not? “They’re the bank that you and I bailed out. Of course, Goldman then subsequently gave a million dollar legal sweetheart loan to Ted Cruz’s Senate campaign, which he lied about, claiming the infusion in cash to his campaign came from his wife cashing in her retirement — that’s a lie. Now, all of that pertains to Heidi, [but] none of this.”

    Salon link.

  12. blf says

    To absolutely no thinking person’s surprise, the Secret Service has made clear only law enforcement will be allowed to carry guns at the thugs’s convention or near the site, and that they have the legal authority to so decree, even in carrying openly states. The petition site,, says it believes the petition (now at c.45000 signatures) was created by a gun-fondler as a protest. However, “the signers of the petition are more likely to have signed gun violence prevention petitions than the average user, and are ‘overwhelmingly’ leftwing, pro-Democrat and pro-Bernie Sanders, based on other petitions those users have engaged with”, as reported by the Grauniad:

    “This takes something that Republicans daily refer to as sound principles and makes them live by it,” said Ladd Everitt, a spokesperson for the Coalition to End Gun Violence. The organization, which opposes unregulated open-carry, tweeted a link to the petition twice Monday morning.

    “But I don’t honestly want to see guns carried into that convention because I think people would die,” Everitt said.

    Teh crud is reported as agreeing with the Secret Service, but teh trum-prat apparently said earlier that he would not rule only allowing guns in the convention, saying I want to read the fine print (presumably pandering to the rabid gun-fondlers without actually committing to this particular example of extreme stoopidity — “plausible deniblity”…).

  13. blf says

    There’s a powerful set of interviews in the Grauniad, We live in the Muslim neighborhoods Cruz wants to ‘patrol and secure’. This is what it’s really like (all emboldening in the original):

    From Minneapolis to Los Angeles to Detroit and Chicago, hear from the ordinary people targeted by anti-Muslim rhetoric
    Jalal Baig, Chicago: ‘There is no incubator of terrorism here. There are only Americans’
    I have had the privilege of spending my formative years in Chicago, which has many neighborhoods that serve as a microcosm of the Muslim world. Whether shopping on the frenetic streets of Devon Avenue alongside South Asians or consuming shwarma sandwiches in the hospitality of Arabs in Bridgeview, you will find individuals who have not only embraced their identities as Muslim-Americans but also the accompanying responsibilities.

    Burhan Mohumed, Minneapolis, Minnesota: ‘We see police as an occupying force’
    Here in Cedar-Riverside, where I live, the Somali community is already targeted by surveillance. Immigrant communities find it hard to exercise their rights — its hard to stand up for yourself without privilege. Law enforcement take advantage of that fact. If you’re black, an immigrant and Muslim you’re already petrified. That’s why so many don’t speak up.
    In Riverside, the FBI has walked into people’s homes without warrants and interrogated under-age youth in our community. And programs like Countering Violent Extremism, a de-radicalization program, are fueling divisions, mistrust and the sense that we are being scapegoated. Many such programs claim to be about providing after-school activities but are really just there to collect information about us for law enforcement. […]

    Farhana Shahid, Los Angeles, California: ‘I especially fear for what will happen to my children’
    I am deeply offended and concerned by Senator Ted Cruz’s plan to intensify surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods. I live in one of the neighborhoods that he would want to target: the South Bay area of Los Angeles. I have been residing in my community for 25 years. I am a Muslim woman, an immigrant from Pakistan and a mother of three children. I have been a citizen of this country for 20 years.

    Since 9/11 we have seen intense scrutiny of my community and harassment of my family members. My husband drives a taxi in Los Angeles and on numerous occasions has been subjected to discriminatory and racist language. Last year my son was travelling on a buddy pass on United Airlines and was treated rudely and in a demeaning way by the gate agent.

    My children are all born in the United States. I worry about their future […]

    Saeed Ahmed Khan, Detroit, Michigan: ‘Muslims in metropolitan Detroit are used to demonization and defamation’
    The Detroit area, where I am from, is home to a diverse, 100,000-strong Muslim community. Along with Dearborn, there is also Hamtramck, the first and only American city with a Muslim-majority elected city council. Muslims reside in every zip code, every suburb of this metropolis, working, studying and interacting with their neighbors, as they have for several decades.

    Truth matters, and here is some for Mr Cruz: there has not been a single known case of an Isis recruit coming from the Metro-Detroit area. His call for police surveillance is as superfluous as it is bigoted. The police do come to the Muslim community — not for prosecution or persecution, but for cooperation, consultation and collaboration.

    Yasmine Allie, Dearborn, Michigan: ‘I live my version of the American Dream’
    I am a 19-year-old university student who lives in Dearborn, Michigan, a city whose population is made up of roughly 40% Arab-American Muslims. My community members come from a variety of countries in the Middle East and belong to a variety of sects of Islam.

    A part of me wants to let Cruz bring in all the law enforcement he wants just so he can see what a loving, loyal, successful and American neighborhood we are. Yet another part of me does not want to give up my inalienable rights and freedoms just to prove what is already clear as day.

    As a third generation Arab-American Muslim girl, I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to ballet class and eating TV dinners. I live my version of the American dream — the same dream that brought my great-grandparents to America. When they came, they were promised protection, equality and security under the law of the land, something that was not offered in their home land.

    Three generations later and a potential commander-in-chief is abusing that same law system to make me feel violated, shunned and unwelcome in my own home. Rather than feeling protected, I feel now as if I am what people need protection from. If my great grandparents were still here, I wonder what they would feel. Probably just what I do: disappointment.

  14. says

    This is a followup to comment 13.

    Here is the actual phrase Ted Cruz uttered on March 25, the phrase that Trump proxy Roger Stone twisted to mean something else:

    “Donald Trump may be a rat but I have no desire to copulate with him.”

    Say what now? We need some context.

    Cruz was vociferously denying the stories of alleged past sex scandals, calling them a “tabloid smear” and the fruit of onetime Trump operative Roger Stone‘s dirty tricks.

    Cruz’s dubiously phrased remarks were an allusion to Stone’s reputation for being a “ratfucker.”


    Okay, whatever. It’s still stupid.

  15. blf says

    The most unfortunate thing about teh trum-prat vs crud slimebrawl is it’s insulting to rats. And slime.

  16. raven says

    In October, Dawson reportedly shouted from a House balcony that he was a “prophet of God.”

    By now, most have heard that there was an armed shootout at the US capital.

    It was one of theirs. No surprise, another xian from Idaho is doing time for trying to assassinate Obama.

    And don’t say he was crazy. There are thousands of people who claim to be prophets of god and they frequently have TV shows and run churches.

  17. says

    raven @18, thanks for that additional info.

    NBC News reported that Dawson was from Antioch, Tennessee; and, yes, He did they to tell the U.S. House that he was “a prophet of God.”

    A female bystander was injured and transported to the hospital, but her injuries are described as “minor.”

  18. says

    I figured this probably fits best here. It’s a PDF of a “Court Survival Guide” from a website calling itself Freedom School. I love the part about bringing your own personal US flag with you to court, without gold fringe of course. Some of this seems to be the typical “Say the right magic words and the judge will stop dead in his tracks” stuff Sovereign Citizens are into. I can only imagine how the people who’d use something like this react when it doesn’t work.

  19. raven says

    ‘I am not under the Law!’
    It was not clear why Dawson was at the visitor center Monday, but Verderosa said the suspect was known to authorities in the District. On Oct. 22, police said in an arrest affidavit, Dawson stood in the House chamber gallery, “where he began shouting Bible verses which disrupted the normal flow of Congress.”

    A police officer tried to grab his arm to escort him out, according to the affidavit, but he “refused to comply” and pulled away. Two other officers grabbed him and pushed him outside the gallery. Police said he broke free again and ran toward an exit, where he was caught by officers and handcuffed.
    After failing to show up for a hearing in November, he wrote the court in January, saying: “I have been called chosen and sent unto You this day. I am not under the Law! . . . Therefore, I will not comply with the court order, nor will I surrender myself unto your office.”

    The letter adds: “For sin shall not dominion over you. For you are Not under the law, but under Grace!!!” It concludes, “No longer will I let myself be governed by flesh and blood, but only by the Divine Love of God!!!!”

    More. The wannabe shooter was a xian minister.
    Why does a minister who is a prophet and under the Divine Love of God need to carry a gun?

  20. says

    Consequences: a split decision from the Supreme Court:

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday split 4-4 on a conservative legal challenge to a vital source of funds for organized labor, affirming a lower-court ruling that allowed California to force non-union workers to pay fees to public-employee unions.

    The court, shorthanded after the Feb. 13 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and evenly divided with four liberal and four conservative members, left intact a 1977 legal precedent that allowed such fees, which add up to millions of dollars a year for unions.

    CNBC link.

    Public sector unions’ “agency fees” are the issue.

    Agency fees work like this: Public sector unions are required to cover all employees in a given bargaining unit, whether the employees opt into union membership or not. Public sector employees (which include EMTs, firefighters, public school teachers, social workers, and more) thus pay agency fees to their respective unions even if they are not union members, because public sector unions work on behalf of everyone in their bargaining unit, not just union members.

    Agency fees do not fund unions’ political activities, but rather strictly the costs of union grievance-handling, organizing, and collective bargaining. In the 1977 case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the Supreme Court upheld the right of public sector unions to extract agency fees from public sector workers, and found that agency fees do not violate employees’ freedom of speech, so long as they do not fund unions’ political activities.

    New Republic link.

    Republicans think that all union activities are political, and anti-Republican. They’ve been trying to dismantle unions, and/or to strip them of the ability to collect fees for some time.

    If Scalia had been there, this would have been a 5-4 decision that would have significantly reduced the funds that unions had collected. The split saves public-sector unions … for now.

  21. says

    Finally. Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, was finally arrested for misdemeanor battery.

    Lewandowski denied over and over again that he had grabbed a female reporter, Michelle Fields, and yanked her hard enough to leave bruises on her arm. We now have overhead video of the incident. Yes, Lewandowski did exactly that. (Authorities and news organizations had inconclusive, partial-view video before.)

    Fields worked for Breitbart, an über rightwing news outlet. She resigned when her employer failed to back her up. Lewandowski called her “delusional” and tried to ruin her reputation as a journalist (which, I know, is kind of ironic since working for Breitbart is already iffy for a journalist).

    Trump’s lawyers are still claiming that Lewandowski is innocent.

  22. says

    Republicans in Utah managed to pass a really stupid bill that is intended to restrict access to abortion.

    The governor signed a bill Monday that makes Utah the first state to require doctors to give anesthesia to women having an abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later.

    The bill signed by Republican Gov. Gary Herbert is based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point. […]

    Many doctors in Utah and across the country are concerned that the requirement could increase the health risks to women by giving them unnecessary heavy sedation in order to protect a fetus from pain that it may or may not feel.

    Dr. Sean Esplin of Intermountain Healthcare in Utah said anesthesia or an analgesic would need to go through the woman in order to reach the fetus. Doctors could give a woman general anesthesia, which would make her unconscious and likely require a breathing tube, or a heavy dose of narcotics.

    […] Montana lawmakers passed a similar law in 2015 requiring fetal anesthesia before surgeries, including abortions, performed after 20 or more weeks of gestation, but its Democratic governor vetoed the measure. […]

    […] it could affect women in many other medical situations. […]

    David Turok of the University of Utah’s obstetrics and gynecology department said that could apply to instances in which a woman is past her due date so the doctor induces labor or there’s a problem with the pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia, so it’s safer to deliver the baby early. These common procedures could now require general anesthesia, he said.

    “You never give those medicines if you don’t have to,” Turok said. […]

  23. says

    Another counterterrorism expert has criticized Trump and Cruz for their proposed anti-Muslim policies which would actually benefit terrorist organizations.

    […] “It is never a good idea to do what the terrorists want you to do, yet so many people are doing exactly that. The goal of terrorist groups is not simply to kill people but to influence their target group,” Susan Hasler, who had a 21 year career with the CIA […], writes […]. “They need a hateful response to those attacks to make their point. Anti-Muslim violence and rhetoric and calls for banning and registering Muslims all play beautifully into their plans.”

    […] “Politicians such as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz harness the attacks to advance their own ambitions. They play to the psychological need to hit back, the need to do something quick and spectacular,” she writes. “Go bomb the crap out of someone — a tack which also has the advantage of using up a lot of materiel and enriching the defense contractors who contribute so heavily to political campaigns.” […]

    […] “This is what I’ve been saying for a long time, and I guess it’s at least a small part of the reason why I’m the No. 1 front-runner,” Trump told Fox & Friends […].

    […] The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said Cruz’s statement [patrol Muslim neighborhoods] encouraged a “fascist-like treatment of American Muslims.”

    […] “Politicians scream talking points past each other without engaging in the type of real intellectual debate that leads to understanding and solutions,” she writes. “If we are ever to reduce the danger of terrorism, we must not cede the stage to the ignorant, the angry and the opportunistic.”

  24. blf says

    Time to patrol all the Christian neighborhoods?

    Starting from the alleged Lewandowski–Fields incident, more like Time to patrol all the newsrooms — which teh trum-prat has already proposed, in a sense, by easing the restrictions on the libel laws.

  25. says

    A lot of pundits continue to tell us how intelligent Ted Cruz is, (unlikeable yes, but smart). I continue to see evidence of stupidity and a blinkered mind. He recently repeated the long-debunked theory that there are “no go zones” in Europe where law enforcement is restrained.

    […] “One of the causes of this horror [attacks in Brussels] has been European bureaucrats restraining law enforcement from fully engaging with the Muslim community in ‘no go’ zones,” Cruz wrote. “As a result, for years, a radical, theocratic, violent ideology has spread in some mosques and Muslim neighborhoods throughout Europe. Terrorists have exploited these isolated enclaves to recruit followers, formulate plots and orchestrate attacks.”

    The idea that extremists are creating “no go zones,” or areas in Europe and the United States governed by sharia law where non-Muslims are barred from entering, has been thoroughly debunked. European officials refuted the myth as idiotic, and even Fox News has admitted their segment on “no go zones” in Europe had serious factual errors. […]


  26. says

    Protests, violence, arrests, and potential future violence: an update on the Trump campaign in Wisconsin.

    Some protestors handcuffed themselves together in the lobby of a Holliday Inn that had agreed to host a Trump rally. The protestors highlighted the hotel’s policy against racial discrimination. They didn’t get far with that. Some of the protestors were arrested, and hotel management issued a statement that the Janesville Holiday Inn “offers no interpretation nor endorsement of any political message.”

    Nevertheless, those protestors and others are making news in Wisconsin by mounting “no hate in our state” and “racial justice trumps violence” rallies.

    We need to demonstrate that we totally reject the kind of hate that he’s promoting. He’s not just a dangerous candidate, he’s promoting the growth of a social movement based on far-right, white supremacist ideas.

    The protests follow a disastrous radio interview in which Trump sounded petulant and childish. Some Wisconsinites don’t like Trump.

    Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz, a mistake in my opinion, but not one that matters much.

    Some background on rightwing-inspired hate in Wisconsin:

    Earlier this month, a man in Milwaukee murdered three of his neighbors after he heard them speaking Spanish. The state has also been pushing a bill to penalize so-called “sanctuary cities” that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.

    Those people do like Trump.

    Some biker gangs have threatened to show up at Trump rallies in Milwaukee with a plan to use force/violence against protestors.

    Patriotic Bikers, from all across the United States are planning to show up at ALL future TRUMP rallies to make sure that any paid agitator protesters don’t take away Mr. Trump’s right to speak. Or interfere with the rights of Trump supporters to safely attend. WE SHALL NOT BE SILENCED!

    A reasonable message from a protestor:

    We’re a dairy state. Everyone talks about us being cheeseheads, but so many of the workers on our dairy farms are immigrants. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that absolutely would not exist without immigrants. So I hope Trump’s message will fall flat here.

  27. says

    More feedback on The New York Times interview with Donald Trump:

    […] as MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell said on his show Monday night, the interview in the Times over the weekend was “like taking a world tour of Donald Trumps ignorance.”

    Trump spoke with reporters David Sanger and Maggie Habermann on the telephone for over 90 minutes and on virtually every question they asked he was clearly vamping like a 12 year old giving the book report on a book he hadn’t read. Romney spokesman Kevin Madden characterized the transcript of the interview as being “just full of tautological nonsense.”

    He complains incessantly about the money the U.S. is spending on security, which is fair enough, but his solution is to put a gun to the whole world’s head and demand they pay up or the U.S. will let the world burn. Trump is calling for the U.S. to stop being the world’s policeman and start being the world’s mobster extortionist: nice little country you’ve got here, be a shame if anything happened to it. After all, he’s calling for a gigantic increase in military spending, which doesn’t make a lot of sense if he’s believes we should pull back from the world. Indeed, he never says the US should pull back at all. He’s just going to blackmail the world into ponying up the cash for the huge buildup he’s planning and if they don’t agree, they’ll be sorry.

    Basically, he thinks of world affairs the same way he thinks of his political opponents. It’s all about whether they’ve been “friendly” to him. When asked if he would be willing to lend humanitarian aid he said:

    You know, to help I would be, depending on where and who and what. And, you know, again — generally speaking — I’d have to see the country; I’d have to see what’s going on in the region and you just cannot have a blanket. The one blanket you could say is, “protection of our country.” That’s the one blanket. After that it depends on the country, the region, how friendly they’ve been toward us. You have countries that haven’t been friendly to us that we’re protecting. […]

    Salon link.

    New York Times link to transcript of the interview.

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    North Carolina’s Attorney General won’t defend the LGBT bathroom bigotry the state legislature. He also happens to be running for governor in the fall.

    North Carolina’s attorney general said Tuesday he won’t defend in court a new state law preventing Charlotte and other local governments from approving protections for LGBT people, calling it discriminatory and a “national embarrassment.”
    Democrat Roy Cooper made the announcement during a news conference a day after gay rights advocates sued to overturn the law approved last week and signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
    The federal lawsuit lists Cooper among the defendants because of his official position as the state’s top lawyer, but he has said he wants it repealed.
    “Not only is this new law a national embarrassment, it will set North Carolina’s economy back if we don’t’ repeal it,” Cooper said. “We know that businesses here and all over the country have taken a strong stance in opposition to this law.”
    McCrory is also a defendant in the lawsuit and has doubled down on justifying his decision to sign the law, even as many corporations have criticized it publicly. Cooper said the law will cost the state jobs and millions of dollars.
    Cooper’s announcement raises the stakes for the November governor’s race, in which Cooper is challenging McCrory. National Democrats consider it their best opportunity to pick up a governor’s mansion where a Republican currently resides. The campaigns of McCrory and Cooper already have raised more than $13 million combined and the Republican Governors Association has reserved $4 million in ad time for the fall.

    I see a bit of difference between the two parties….

  29. says

    Several journalists have posted responses to Chris Hayes’ interview of Susan Sarandon on last night’s “All In” show. Here are some excerpts from Michelle Goldberg’s response:

    […] Sarandon, a Bernie Sanders surrogate, said she was unsure if she could bring herself to vote for Hillary Clinton in a general election. Hayes was shocked, but Sarandon posited that a Trump presidency might be preferable to a Clinton one, because it would hasten the revolution. “Some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode,” she said. […]

    Sanders himself certainly doesn’t encourage such political nihilism, and will surely rally to Clinton’s side if she beats him in the primary. […]

    What Sarandon is voicing is the old Leninist idea of “heightening the contradictions,” which holds that social conditions need to get worse in order to inspire the revolution that will make them better. In this way of thinking, the real enemy of progress is incremental reform that would render the status quo tolerable. That was the position of the German Communists in the early 1930s, who refused to ally with the Social Democrats, proclaiming: “After Hitler, our turn!” […]

    The problems with Sarandon’s position go beyond tolerance for human sacrifice. […] Does she mean a political revolution, […]? Because the major barrier to such a revolution is not a populace that needs to suffer more in order to reach Sarandon’s superlative level of wokeness. It is the structural obstacles to democracy systematically erected by Republicans and Republican-appointed judges: the widespread erosion of voting rights, the unlimited flood of money into politics unleashed by the Supreme Court, and the epic gerrymandering following the 2010 census that makes it nearly impossible for Democrats to win back the House, even if they win a majority of votes. These things will get worse, not better, in any Republican administration, making the possibility of a peaceful electoral revolution all the more remote. […]

    Maybe she actually longs for the kind where things “really explode”? If so, one wonders who she thinks is going to fight this revolution. It’s certainly possible that a Trump presidency could lead to violent political conflict. If it comes to that, however, my money is on the side with all the gun fetishists, […]

    The results of a Trump presidency would likely be far less dramatic. They might just include the widespread persecution of undocumented immigrants, the appointment of Supreme Court judges who will jettison Roe v. Wade, the end of any federal action on global warming, and a ramping up of American war crimes. We certainly won’t see any expansion of family leave or early education. Based on what we’ve seen of Trump so far, we can expect him to use the powers of the federal government, including NSA surveillance, to target and humiliate his personal enemies, especially women. One thing, however, is sure. No matter what happens, Susan Sarandon will be just fine.

    Read the entire essay on the Slate website.

    Response from Dan Savage:

    Can I just say I’m for Bernie, or Hillary, or both. Come November I plan to vote for the Democratic nominee whoever it is, because the lesser of two evils is less evil, and I don’t think Donald will bring the revolution.

  30. says

    Nerd @31, I was glad to see that the Attorney General of North Carolina said publicly that he would not support a so-called “religious freedom” law that is really a license to discriminate. Hopefully, Cooper will take McCrory down. It looks like Cooper is building a coalition comprised of people who support LBGT civil rights and the business community.

    In other news, Donald Trump is complaining that CNN does not cover him enough. Delusional.

    Citing “one-sided and unfair reporting,” Donald Trump has threatened to skip tonight’s CNN town hall. In reality, Trump has been interviewed for nearly three hours this month on CNN, which regularly airs the candidate’s events live. […]

    And that’s not counting debates they aired.

    Additionally, CNN employs Trump surrogates Jeffrey Lord […] and Kayleigh McEnany. Since March 22 alone, Lord has appeared six times and McEnany 13 times. […] CNN participated in a conference call where the Trump campaign dictated how Trump could be shot in his events. […]

    Just yesterday, CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour noted the huge advantage that Trump enjoys because interviewers allow him to call in to their shows rather than appearing on camera. […].

    Media Matters link.

  31. says

    This is a followup to comment 23.

    Donald Trump looked at the same video footage that law enforcement officials used as evidence when they arrested Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager. Trump came up with an entirely different interpretation:

    Wow, Corey Lewandowski, my campaign manager and a very decent man, was just charged with assaulting a reporter. Look at tapes-nothing there! Why aren’t people looking at this reporters [sic] earliest statement as to what happened, that is before she found out the episode was on tape?

    The reporter, Michelle Fields, replied to that last bit:

    Because my story never changed. Seriously, just stop lying.

    Politico link.

    Uh, Trum-Prat, the tape shows Lewandowski using physical force to prevent the female reporter from asking a question. That’s not acceptable.

  32. says

    This is a followup to raven’s comment 21.

    Ever more bizarro christian world:

    Records show Dawson was previously licensed in Tennessee to work as a funeral director. After his license expired in 2004, the state’s Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers voted three times to deny requests from Dawson to reinstate his license, citing the “applicant’s lack of good moral character.”

    Kevin Walters, a spokesman for the state funeral board, said the denial resulted from an incident that occurred while Dawson was working as a school bus driver in a Nashville suburb. Dawson had written a letter to a young girl saying that God had told him to have sex with her, Walters said.

  33. says

    Hell must be freezing over. Ann Coulter just criticized Donald Trump.

    Before we get to Coulter dissing Trump, let’s take a look at some of her past praise for Trump:

    Trump is different. We have been lied to for 30 years about immigration. That’s why Trump is striking this chord. He’s attractive. He’s tall. He’s hilariously funny. I think he could be not only a nominee who could win but a third party candidate who would win.
    [Trump is] the only hope for the last genuinely Christian country on earth.
    Trump won me over with that Mexican rapist speech.

    No, Coulter was not making a joke in the last quoted statement above. She was serious.

    Her current deviation from adoration of Trump is related to Trump’s swipes at Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi. Coulter accused Trump of behaving like a “mental” 16-year-old. She also begged him to stop sending out “half-baked tweets at midnight” and to “please stop testing our patience.”

  34. says

    Yeah, of course he did. Alex Jones claimed that the arrest of Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was a “frame job” and/or a “false flag” operation.

    You talk about a staged event, you talk about a false flag, that’s a frame-up. It’s a frame job. But it’s a way he attacked women, it’s the narrative, like the Bush campaign person that worked for other big Republicans, gets up at the town hall, puts her hands on her hips and goes, “Why are you mean to women? Why do you hate ’em, I don’t like you.” And then it turns out it was all staged. All about manipulating women to go basically vote for Hillary. All about demonizing Donald Trump to women.

    Media Matters link.

  35. microraptor says

    Is there any evidence that Alex Jones actually knows what a false flag operation is? Because based on his usage of the term, he seems to think that everything is.

  36. says

    Good news: details from Warren Buffet’s son and from Warren himself on an initiative they are supporting called NoVo.

    “Inherently, girls and young women of color already hold incredible power and potential. This work is about dismantling the barriers that prevent them from realizing that potential and leading us toward a truly transformative movement for change,” said Jennifer Buffett, co-president of the NoVo Foundation. “Our goal is to create the conditions for change by advancing the work of the real experts in this movement: girls and young women of color and the advocates working with them,” added Peter Buffett, co-president.

    “Together, we can dismantle the structures that prevent a girl from exercising that power, leaving her without an education, vulnerable to violence, and lacking access to opportunity. We invest in girls because they deserve better. When their rights are fully realized, girls strengthen both their own lives and entire communities, transforming structures of poverty and inequity.”

    $90 million has been allocated to NoVo.

  37. says

    microraptor @38, I think we have enough evidence to say that Alex Jones is a false flag operation.

    Or, Jones might be a robot stuck in a programming loop.

    In other news, the present lawyer for Corey Lewandowski, Kendall Coffey, used to be the U.S. attorney in Miami (1993 to 1996). Then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno called Coffey to a meeting in Washington D.C. He resigned the next day. Apparently he bit a stripper named “Tiffany” at the Lipstik Club. This may belong in our “the company they keep” category.


  38. says

    Good news: Governor McAuliffe of Virginia vetoed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

    […] “we’re here today to smack down the latest attack on women’s health care rights.” As for the Republican lawmakers who worked to pass the bill, McAuliffe remarked that “they are out of touch with women, with health care providers and with Virginia families.” […]


  39. Hekuni Cat, Social Justice Ninja, MQG says

    Lynna – I was there when McAuliffe signed the veto at Planned Parenthood in Richmond.

  40. quotetheunquote says

    In completely not-even-a-bit-surprising news, Trump T. Trump has gone back on his word:

    Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Tuesday abandoned a pledge to support a party presidential nominee other than himself, a sign of increasing friction with chief rival Ted Cruz.

    “No, I don’t anymore,” Trump replied, when asked at a CNN town hall event whether he still supported a pledge he made last year to support whoever is the Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election.


    More evidence (as if it were needed) that there is no honour among thieves, or Republican presidential candidates. Or thieves who are Republican presidential candidates.

  41. says

    Hekuni Cat @42, oh, that is so awesome. Wish I could have been there.

    quotetheunquote @43, huumpff! Par for the Trump course. I hope that hurts his chances.

    Regarding the Corey Lewandowski problem, Trump is still backing up his man. First he claimed that no onetouched the reporter, then he and Lewandowski tried to discredit the reporter, and now they are claiming that video showing Lewandowski grabbing the reporter actually shows Lewandowski brushing past her. Oh, yeah, almost forgot: Trump is also claiming the reporter grabbed him.

  42. says

    You can see most of the presidential candidates on MSNBC tonight. All times are Eastern:
    Kasich Town Hall 7 PM, hosted by Chuck Todd
    Trump Town Hall 8 PM, hosted by Chris Matthews
    Clinton interview 9 PM, Rachel Maddow
    Sanders interview 10 PM, Rachel Maddow

    Enjoy, or at least use it as an excuse to have some popcorn.

  43. says

    Marco Rubio quit the presidential race, but he didn’t quit Republican politics. He still wants to be a player. To that end, he sent out some letters saying that he does not want the delegates he earned to be given to another candidate. He wants to hold onto them until the convention.

    The letter Rubio sent to the GOP in Alaska misspelled “United States” as “Untied States.” Maybe he meant it as a poetic metaphor? Talking Points Memo link.

  44. says

    Trump does not know what the Supreme Court does:

    Asked about what kind of nominees he would appoint to the Supreme Court, Trump said he’d choose “people that would look very seriously” at Hillary Clinton’s “email disaster.”

    The quote is from an interview during ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

    Trump does not know what “proliferation” means:

    […] “But if you’re concerned about proliferation,” the anchor [[Anderson Cooper] said, “letting other countries get nuclear weapons, isn’t that proliferation?” Trump responded by talking about the national debt and “the very, very bad omnibus budget that was just signed.”

    Cooper went on to note that U.S. policy has long opposed nuclear proliferation in Japan and South Korea. Trump said it may be “time to change” this posture.

    “So some proliferation is OK?’ the host asked. “No, no, not proliferation,” Trump said. “I hate nuclear more than any.” […]

    COOPER: So if you said, Japan, yes, it’s fine, you get nuclear weapons, South Korea, you as well, and Saudi Arabia says we want them, too?

    TRUMP: Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen, anyway. It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. […]

    COOPER: So you’re saying you don’t want more nuclear weapons in the world but you’re OK with Japan and South Korea having nuclear weapons?

    TRUMP: I don’t want more nuclear weapons.

    Maddow Blog link.

    I’m expanding my theories about what is wrong with Trump to include the fact that he does not get enough sleep. His former butler said he only sleeps 3-4 hours a night.

  45. Saad says

    Lynna, #48

    Looking at the transcript of that exchange, not only does he not know what proliferation is, he also doesn’t know how to talk.

  46. says

    Wisconsin’s largest newspaper, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, endorsed John Kasich yesterday. Wisconsin is going to be difficult for Trump. Not only are more Kasich supporters coming out of the woodwork, more anti-Trump forces are also making a play. The Our Principles PAC and Club for Growth are spending $1.7 million in a TV ad buy aimed at reducing support for Trump.

    Meanwhile, Ted Cruz has noticed Kasich. We can tell because the Cruz campaign placed a buy for $500,000 in ads that attack Kasich.

    Hillary Clinton launched an anti-Trump ad today. She held a rally at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and seems to be making sure her footing in NY is solid. BuzzFeed link.

    The latest Public Policy Polling done on a national basis, shows Clinton with 54% and Sanders with 36%. The same poll shows Trump still leading Cruz by ten points and Kasich by twenty points. However, if respondents to the poll are asked about a two-man Republican race, Trump’s lead disappears.

  47. says

    Trump said some more stupid stuff about reporter Michelle Fields, the woman whose left arm was bruised when campaign manger, Corey Lewandowski grabbed her:

    She was off base. She had a pen in her hand, which Secret Service is not liking because they don’t know what it is, whether it’s a little bomb.

    So, a possible suicide bomber then, eh Donald? Donald is the victim. /sarcasm

  48. says

    A 15 year old girl was groped and then pepper sprayed outside a Trump rally in Wisconsin. She yelled and swore at the man who allegedly groped her breasts, and then another man pepper sprayed her. The young woman was carrying a sign that read, “Damn Donald, back at it again with the white supremacy.” Along with others, she was also shouting “Black Lives Matter.”

    In video of the incident, a Trump supporter can be heard saying, “Goddamn communist, nigger lover, get out of here!” Other members of the crowd cheered when she was pepper sprayed.
    Talking Points Memo link.

  49. says

    Saad @49, yes, I agree. In that same interview, Trump used the “He started it!” defense of his derogatory tweets and comments directed at Heidi Cruz. When Anderson Cooper said that was a playground defense, Trump simply repeated, “He started it!”

    How old are children when they learn that “he/she started it” is not a license to do whatever they feel like doing, without regard for rules or norms?

  50. says

    President Obama announced that he will commute the sentences of 61 people serving prison sentences for drug-related offenses. This is one good way for Obama to draw attention to the need for justice system reform. Both Sanders and Clinton have made such reform a major part of their policy speeches.

    […] White House counsel Neil Eggleston [said] that more than a third of the inmates benefiting from the decision are serving life sentences. And most of the 61 people serving time for drug possession, intent to sell or related crimes will be released July 28.

    Obama has now commuted the sentences for a total of 248 inmates during his two terms. In December, he pardoned two federal prisoners and commuted the sentences of 95 more. Forty of those men and women were serving life sentences for nonviolent offenses.

    The White House says that Obama has commuted more sentences than the past six presidents combined. But Vox reported Tuesday that the number still falls short of his 2014 promise to shorten 10,000 prison sentences.

    “The requests of thousands of petitioners seeking justice will lie unheard,” former Pardon Attorney Deborah Leff wrote the Office of the Pardon Attorney in her resignation letter in January. “This is inconsistent with the mission and values to which I have dedicated my life, and inconsistent with what I believe the Department should represent.”

    Obama still has 10 months left in his term to get closer to the promised number, but Vox noted that it’s unlikely he will approve 10,000 applications for commutations between now and January 2017. […]


  51. blf says

    Yesterday’s political cartoon in the Grauniad, Ben Jennings on guns at Republican convention (cartoon).

    One of the readers linked to this Doonesbury cartoon from several years ago.

    Another reader provided these statistics (I haven’t verified them, but they are very plausible):

    ● USA 2015: 12,223 gun deaths 24,722 gun injuries
    ● Europe 2015: 160 Terrorist deaths, 395 Terrorist injuries

  52. blf says

    Trump: abortions may need punishment (live blog, at the 19:54 point):

    Donald Trump has suggested that there has to be some form of punishment for women who have abortions, should abortions be outlawed.

    He told this to Chris Matthews of MSNBC at a town hall event that will be aired later on Wednesday

    There has to be some form of punishment, Trump said.

    Matthews: “For the woman?”

    Yeah, Trump replied, adding that the details would have to be determined. […]

  53. says

    According to polls (as always, take with a grain of salt), Bernie Sanders is leading Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin, 49 to 45%. On the Republican side, Cruz is ahead of Trump 40 to 30%; and Kasich is polling at 21%.

    For Democrats, delegates in Wisconsin will be awarded proportionately. For Republicans, Wisconsin is a winner-take-all state.

  54. says

    The count keeps rising: 80 companies are now insisting that the Republican governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, repeal the state’s new LGBT discrimination law.

    Facebook, YouTube, Apple, Twitter, Google and Yahoo all signed a letter urging repeal of the law.

    Daily Kos link. You can see the entire letter, and the list of 80 signatories at the link.

  55. says

    So, yeah, more lies about the investigation connected to Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The Washington Post published an inaccurate article that claimed 147 FBI agents were looking into the private server. Nope. Not true. The actual number is fewer than 50 (which is still a lot to my mind.)

    This kind of inaccuracy and hyperbolic shit plays into the hands of rightwing media. I wish I could impose some basic journalistic standards.

    Here’s the text of the actual correction that was issued:

    CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Clinton used two different email addresses, sometimes interchangeably, as secretary of state. She used only as secretary of state. Also, an earlier version of this article reported that 147 FBI agents had been detailed to the investigation, according to a lawmaker briefed by FBI Director James B. Comey. Two U.S. law enforcement officials have since told The Washington Post that figure is too high. The FBI will not provide an exact figure, but the officials say the number of FBI personnel involved is fewer than 50.

  56. says

    Oh, good, Mississippi officials spelled out what kinds of things are covered in HB 1523 (one of those “religious liberty” bills that makes discrimination legal). I say “good,” because now the backlash should be even more intense.

    Those rightwing fools in Mississippi wrote a bill that claims women can be fired for wearing pants. And that’s just one of many so-stupid-it-hurts provisions. Some of the provisions are what we would expect: religious organizations can decline to provide marriage services of any kind to gay people, etc. But some of the other provisions may surprise those who haven’t been paying attention:

    – Religious organizations can refuse to hire, fire, and discipline employees for violating the organization’s religious beliefs.
    – Religious organizations can choose not to sell, rent, or otherwise provide shelter.
    – Religious organizations that provide foster or adoptive services can decline service without risking their state subsidies.
    – Any foster or adoptive parent can impose their religious beliefs on their children.
    – Any person can choose not to provide treatment, counseling, or surgery related to gender transition or same-sex parenting. […]
    – Any person can establish “sex-specific standards or policies concerning employee or student dress or grooming,” and can manage the access of restrooms and other sex-segregated facilities.
    – Any state employee can openly express their beliefs without consequence.
    – Any state employee can choose not to authorize or license legal marriages by recusing themselves from those duties. […]

    Some possible consequences:

    […] an adoption agency could refuse to place a child with a family if the parents lived together before they were married. A counselor could refuse to help an LGBT teen who called a suicide hotline. A car rental agency could refuse to rent a car to a same-sex couple for use on their honeymoon. And a corporation could fire a woman for wearing pants (though this would likely still be illegal under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act).

    Anybody who takes advantage of any of these opportunities to discriminate would be protected from any tax penalty, any loss of contract or grant, any loss of benefit, any fine or penalty, any license or certification, any custody award or agreement, or any setback in employment. […]

  57. says

    This is a followup to blf’s comment 55.

    So Trump says women should face punishment for abortion? He’ll walk that back just a bit and point out that if abortion is outlawed, then of course there has to be punishment. That was still a very stupid and offensive thing for him to say.

    One of Ted Cruz’s advisors went further, saying that abortion providers should be executed. What world do these guys live in?

    The co-chair of Cruz’s “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” organization is Troy Newman. Newman compared a woman who has an abortion to a “contract Killer” who hires a hitman to take out her husband. Newman wants to execute abortion providers (the hitmen), and he wants to bring women who have an abortion “to repentance.”
    Right Wing Watch link.

  58. says

    Trump claimed that other campaign managers had roughed up reporters far worse that what some of Trump’s campaign staff is accused of doing. Trump poked a hornet’s next there. Other former campaign managers called Trump on the lie.

    Karl Rove, David Axelrod and David Plouffe are not taking kindly to Donald Trump’s speculation that they roughed up reporters worse than his own campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. […]

    “Of course, I never manhandled a reporter or anyone else and Mr. Trump should not imply I did,” Rove, chief strategist for George W. Bush, said in an email. “Making wild allegations is what he does to deflect attention from his own problems.” […]

    “I can’t think of any situation even remotely comparable,” Axelrod, chief strategist for President Barack Obama, said in his email to POLITICO. “When it came to interaction with people, we pretty much confined ourselves to hugs and handshakes.”

    Plouffe, who served as campaign manager during Obama’s 2008 campaign, disputed the implication as well. “Successful Presidential campaign managers – from Bobby Kennedy to Lee Atwater – shape the press, they don’t physically shake them and they manage the chaos, not create it,” he said in an email. […]

    During a telephone interview with “Fox and Friends,” co-anchor Brian Kilmeade asserted that campaign managers “should not be putting their hands on reporters,” remarking, “Karl Rove didn’t do it. David Plouffe didn’t do it, David Axelrod didn’t do it. That’s why you have Secret Service and that’s why you have your own security.”

    “OK and you don’t know that they didn’t do it, because I guarantee you they did, probably did stuff that was more physical than this,” Trump replied. “More physical, because this is not even physical. And frankly, she shouldn’t have her hands on me. Nobody says that. But she shouldn’t have her hands on me.” […]

    Politico link.

  59. says

    Trump’s version of walking back his earlier comments about punishing women who have abortions:

    If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed — like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.

  60. says

    Corporate sponsors are backing away from the Republican Convention. It was par for the course in the past for large companies like Coca-Cola and Walmart to sponsor one or often both of the major party conventions. The reasons given for contributing less money or no money towards convention sponsorship are limited to anti-Trump reasons.

    Coke donated $600,000 for the Republican convention in 2012. This year, the company donated only $75,000 and “does not plan to provide more.” They were lobbied to steer clear of Trump’s “hateful and racist rhetoric.”

    Walmart contributed $150,000 four years ago. This year the corporation is donating zero, nada, nothing.

    The New York Times has the story.

    Of course, not everyone is backing away. Republicans have a goal of $64 million in donations for the convention. So far, they have pledges for $54 million. I hope some of those pledges are withdrawn.

    […] Carla Eudy, a longtime Republican fundraising consultant, told the Times, “I have talked to several people at companies who have said, ‘I’ve always gone to the convention, I’ve always participated at some level, but this year we’re not putting it in our budget, we’re not going, we’re not going to sponsor any of the events going on.’”

    Postscript: For several decades, some federal funding was available to the parties to help cover convention costs, but former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) made de-funding a personal pet project, which he completed in 2014 before losing a primary fight in his district.

    Quoted text is from Steve Benen.

  61. says

    Hillary Clinton commented on Trump’s remarks about abortion:
    Rachel Maddow posed the question to Clinton. The video is 13:34 minutes long.

    Part 2 of the Maddow interview with Clinton in which she provides some details to back up her claim that Trump is in over his head on foreign policy. Trump poses a danger to valuable international coalitions. The video is 5:52 minutes long.

    Part 3 of the Maddow interview with Clinton. In this segment Clinton explains why she is outraged by the policy proposals of all of the Republican candidates. She points out that Republicans are insulting each others wives instead of conducting policy discussions. The video is 5:52 minutes long.

    I’ll provide more links, including links to the interview with Bernie Sanders, in subsequent comments.

  62. blf says

    Another follow-up to @55, @60, and @62, The terrifying truth behind Donald Trump’s abortion comments:

    In saying that woman should face ‘punishment’ for illegal abortion, Trump unwittingly exposed the hypocrisy of the right’s claim to care about us
    Apparently Trump wasn’t aware of the fantastical but common Republican refrain that while abortion should be illegal, women themselves shouldn’t be punished — a diplomatic but wholly dishonest response in a country where women have already been jailed for ending their pregnancies. Trump also acknowledged that if abortion were banned, women would seek out the procedure in “illegal places”, once again stepping in the anti-choice party line that insists pre-Roe back alley abortions are a myth.

    That’s why Trump’s comments not only angered pro-choice activists, but those on the right who have spent an awful lot of time trying to convince Americans that overturning Roe v Wade isn’t anti-woman. Talking about punishment reminds voters exactly what outlawing abortion would mean for the one out of three American women who end a pregnancy. They don’t want us to think about the over one hundred thousand women in Texas who have already attempted to self-abort […]

    [… Teh trum-prat’s campaign’s walking back of his burbling] to the carefully cultivated talking points of anti-abortion groups doesn’t change the fact that Trump’s original statements are true. (Hey, there’s a first time for everything.) When abortion is illegal — or even difficult to obtain — women will seek out dangerous and illegal procedures. If Roe is overturned, women will be arrested and thrown in jail.

    Some selected readers’s comments:

    ● “The man needs to be caught off guard more so people can clearly see how much he will stumble, flip flop, backtrack, threaten and just flat out refuse to come play ball! […]”
    In reply: “That kind of behaviour doesn’t prevent a fellow from becoming president, unfortunately. See George Bush Jnr.”

    ● “the chump gets more reactionary by the day as does the violence he condones. Pure scum and an embarrassment to any notion of humanity.”

    ● “I think Donald Trump was a goldfish in a previous life. He seems to have no memory of what he said 5 seconds ago. […]”

    ● “It is astounding that, for all of the things that are important, a certain group of men is so unbelievably obsessed with abortion. And moreover hate the idea of happy planned families.
      “They can simply choose not to have one. […]”
    In reply: “They can’t choose not to have one either as some states clamp down on accessible contraception.”

    ● “He exposed the hypocrisy of the right. If they think abortion is tantamount to murder then of course they believe the mother should be punished. The only reason they don’t say so is they know it would be a PR disaster. […]”

    ● “He should be punished for that stupid hair and just being a total twat.”

    ● “Mr Flip flop himself, feed the angry mob with what he thinks they want to hear. Engage mouth before brain. With the US being a nuclear power, the prospect of Drumpf on the button is terrifying.”

    ● “The underlying issue is that Mr Trump is not very bright and really doesn’t seem to have given serious thought to any of his ‘policies’. He speaks in dog-whistle slogans, is incapable of answering a question, and there is simply no substance to any of his incoherent utterances. You’ve got to admire someone that has the confidence to speak in public without engaging his brain at all. Can we maybe consider changing ‘God bless America’ to ‘God help America’?”

  63. says

    Part 4 of the Maddow interview with Clinton in which the peculiarities of the party’s delegate system are discussed, and in which Clinton talks at length about the Republican obstruction to confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. President Obama is still the president, and we need to elect a Democratic Senate.

    Part 5 of the Maddow interview with Clinton in which Clinton makes the point that despite the personality clashes, the Republican candidates are politically the same.

    Part 6 of the Maddow interview with Clinton in which Clinton discusses the Clinton Foundation, campaign donors, and other ethical issues.

  64. says

    Part 1 of the Maddow interview with Sanders, in which Sanders draws a contrast between the Democratic primary race and the Republican primary. The GOP has become a fringe party.

    Part 2 of the Maddow interview with Sanders, in which Sanders emphasizes the importance of a 50-state strategy, and of super delegates.

    Part 3 of the Maddow interview with Sanders, in which Sanders discusses the difference between corporate political activism or influence and billionaires rigging the system.

    Part 4 of the Maddow interview with Sanders, in which Sanders talks about the Koch brothers and the conservative push to privatize the Veterans Administration.

  65. says

    Senator Elizabeth Warren is backing a rule that would require financial advisors to put clients’ interests ahead of their own. Makes sense right? Why do we now have a system that allows financial advisors to push clients to invest in products that make the advisor money at the expense of the client?

    Lots of lobbyists are fighting Warren and her collaborators on the changes, and now Warren has accused the lobbyists and the financial industry of lying to get their way.

    […] The financial industry has put up a big fight […] Warren argues that the public statements they’ve made claiming that the rule will harm their ability to serve their clients contradict what they’ve told their investors in private.

    […] in July of last year, as she points out, the CEO of Lincoln National said in his public comment letter to the DOL that it would be “so burdensome and unworkable that financial advisors and firms will not be able to use it.” […] two months earlier he told his investors that he didn’t see the proposed rule “as a significant hurdle for continuing to grow that business.” An executive vice president at Prudential Financial said in a comment letter that the rule would pose a “significant challenge” that would “significantly increase” its costs, yet a different official told investors that same month that it wouldn’t stop the firm from offering those services.

    Similarly, the president of Jackson National Life Insurance Company said publicly that the rule will be “very difficult, if not impossible for financial professional and firms to comply” with, but a month later told investors that a similar rule in the United Kingdom actually led to an increase in sales and that the company is prepared to “adapt faster and more effectively than competitors.” The CEO of Transamerica’s Investment and Retirement Division called the rule “unworkable” in his comment letter but told investors that the company had plenty of “flexibility.”

    Warren raises concerns that the contradictory statements violate securities laws […]

    “Corporate interests have become accustomed to saying whatever they want about Washington policy debates, with little accountability when their predictions prove to be inaccurate,” she adds. She is calling for an SEC investigation into the statements banks have made. […]

  66. says

    blf @65, Thank you for that roundup of Trump’s flip-flopping and pandering. I saw a piece on MSNBC this morning that simply played Trump’s contradictory statements. Most of the contradictions were blatant, and most came within hours or days of previous statements. Many included more than one flip-flop on a single subject within 24 hours.

    Now we have more details on another flip-flop of sorts, and this one concerns his proposed ban on Muslims entering the USA. Trump would make an exception for his rich friends:

    […] “I have actually—believe it or not—I have a lot of friends that are Muslim and they call me,” Trump said, when asked about his plan by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the event’s moderator. “In most cases, they’re very rich Muslims, okay?”

    Matthews then asked Trump if his rich Muslim friends would be able enter the country under Trump’s Muslim ban. “They’ll come in,” Trump said. “You’ll have exceptions.”

    But he didn’t stop there. A few moments later, when Matthews suggested a blanket ban might rub Muslims the wrong way, Trump flipped the script, arguing that it would instead have a galvanizing effect on Middle Eastern countries in the fight against ISIS.

    “Maybe they’ll be more disposed to fight ISIS,” Trump said. “Maybe they’ll say, ‘We want to come back into America, we’ve got to solve this problem!'” […]

    Mother Jones link

    Mother Jones’s reporters are asking Trump’s rich Muslim friends to contact them. That should be interesting.

  67. says

    This is an excerpt from the interview Maddow conducted with Sanders yesterday. Sanders replied to a question about the Republican Party possibly breaking up or disappearing:

    I think if we had a media in this country that was really prepared to look at what the Republicans actually stood for rather than quoting every absurd remark of Donald Trump, […] a party which with few exceptions doesn’t even acknowledge the reality of climate change, let alone do anything about it, a party which is not prepared to stand with women in the fight for pay equity, a party that is not prepared to do anything about a broken criminal justice system or a corrupt campaign finance system, I think, to be honest with you—and I just don’t, you know, say this rhetorically, this is a fringe party. It is a fringe party. Maybe they get 5, 10 percent of the vote.

    Clinton said something similar when she pointed out that most Republicans do not question Trump on his policies. Many rightwing media outlets also do not press Trump on his policies.

  68. says

    This is telling:

    Ken Nwadike, founder of Free Hugs Project, attended both a Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders rally and offered attendees free hugs.

    The reception he received from the two parties is shockingly different. The Trump rally attendees denied the hugs, claimed there is “no love in this world” and asked Nwadike is he was selling drugs. Later, at a Sanders rally people of all ages and races opened their arms to get hugs from Nwadike. […]

    Good video at the link. Youtube link

  69. says

    Republican lawmakers in Mississippi based a bill that allows guns to be carried in churches, and that significantly lowers the requirements for a Mississippians to get a concealed-carry permit. Anyone in the state can now carry a weapon with no training required, no safety course required.

    Law enforcements officers objected to the bill, “We just don’t believe that it’s a good idea for people to be carrying concealed weapons and not have participated in any training.” The NRA praised the bill, and noted that Mississippi is the 9th state to allow people to carry concealed guns without having to pay a fee, get a permit, or get safety training.
    Talking Points Memo link.

  70. says

    Head-desking, eye-brow-raising stupidity from rightwing organizations who want to ban sex education:

    Sharon Slater, the head of Family Watch International, which works to promote social conservative policies at the UN, recently released a documentary called “The War on Children: The Comprehensive Sexuality Education Agenda.” […]

    “What this means,” she said, “is that a business that makes money off of sexualizing children — because if they can sexualize children through the school system through their programs, they can provide them with sexual counseling, condoms, abortions, contraception, STD treatment, HIV treatment, etc., etc. — they’re making lots of money off of sexualizing children. So, they’re getting it into the classroom all across the United States and in countries all around the world.” […]

    “What most people don’t understand,” Slater said later in the interview, “is that there is an intentional, targeted effort to get to your children and change the way they think about sexuality, to encourage them to engage in sexual activity, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual or self-stimulation, because if they can recruit children into this worldview and this sexual ideology, then they’ll have the future, if they can train up the next generation in all these radical ideas. And that’s what they’re after. In fact, even Hitler said, ‘He who owns the minds of the children owns the future.’ […]”

    Right Wing Watch link.

  71. says

    Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and other officials are attending a Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC. Moniz responded to questions about Donald Trump’s recent comments concerning the use of nuclear weapons:

    […] The energy secretary was speaking to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Thursday […] when he was asked about comments Trump had made during MSNBC’s town hall Wednesday night. In that interview with Chris Matthews, Trump said he “would never take any of my cards off the table,” including using a nuclear weapon in the Middle East or in Europe.

    The comments are “extremely troubling, obviously,” Moniz said.

    “We are trying to work to reduce nuclear weapons. Their footprint. We in the United States with Russia have made significant cuts in the arsenal. The president has talked about trying to go further. Ultimately, going to the goal of ideally, a nuclear-free world. Nuclear weapon-free world,” Moniz said.

    “I’m afraid this kind of talk in an election is just bluntly irresponsible and is detrimental to our […] security posture,” […]

    Politico link

    Moniz also commented that U.S. allies have asked him about “many statements made in this campaign.”

  72. says

    Donald Trump claimed that his comments about abortion during an interview with Chris Matthews were “cut” or edited. Nope. Not true.

    Trump went on Fox News to claim that “they just cut it out,” but the town hall was taped as a live event and the entire thing was aired later the same day, with no cuts. MSNBC proved that Trump was lying.

    The town hall interview with Donald Trump was taped in advance and then aired in its entirety. Absolutely no part of the exchange between Trump and Chris Matthews was edited out. The argument over the video, and Trump’s lie, was covered by Rachel Maddow. Her segment is 2:46 minutes. Rachel was angry.

  73. says

    A lot of people are covering Trump’s comments about abortion with a “what will it do to his campaign” slant. As Rachel Maddow pointed out that Ted Cruz and his advisors hold even more extreme views. Furthermore, what Trump said is really true of the anti-abortion organizations. He said out loud the truth about the aims of the anti-abortion movement in the U.S.

    Maddow’s video segment is about 21 minutes long and it covers the issue so well that I can’t really summarize here. This one is worth watching.

    The video begins with the shutdown of the Peoria International airport, a subject that seems off-topic, but is not.

  74. says

    This is a followup to comment 59.

    The lies about Hillary Clinton that are being fed to rightwing media, and to mainstream media like the Washington Post, are even worse than we thought.

    Chris Hayes covered this well last night.

    The number of FBI agents? Now down from 147 to 12. More details in the video, which is 5:13 minutes long.

  75. says

    This is a followup to comment 7.

    New York is joining California in making it official: parts of the state will achieve the goal of a $15/hour minimum wage in three years (there are some exceptions).

    Under the terms of the deal the minimum wage would rise from its current $9 per hour to $15 over three years in New York City starting on Dec. 31, 2016. City businesses with up to 10 employees would be given four years to implement the measure. […]

    Some outlying areas, like Long Island and Westchester County have six years to meet the $15/hour goal. In other parts of the state, outside of New York City, the goal is only $12.50/hour in five years … not so good.

    In New York City, provisions for family leave were also improved.

    Huff Po link

  76. says

    This is a followup to comment 83.

    Here are some excerpts from Maddow’s segment about Republican anti-abortion policies, and about the anti-abortion movement in general:

    The media narrative and the political narrative that have come up in the last 24 hours in response to what Donald Trump said yesterday about abortion and what it means to be anti-abortion and what it means to want to ban abortion in this country, it is so out of touch and so facile right now it is mind bending.

    Reporting on what the anti-abortion movement is. Reporting on that movement’s aims, reporting on what it means to be a pro-life politician doesn’t just mean writing down what they want you to say about them. You don’t have to use the antiseptic language and chosen phrases they choose to use themselves when they describe their own position. You don’t have to talk about them only the way they like to be talked about.

    When you talk about them in terms of their actual policy goals in an objective way, you very quickly realize what Donald Trump did yesterday, it may be viewed as a gaffe, but it wasn’t a gaffe. Right? He just used blunter language than the anti-abortion movement likes to use in public.

    Let’s just get real about this for a second. If you are pro-life, that means you don’t think a woman has a right to have an abortion if she wants one. If you’re pro-life, that means you think there isn’t a right to get an abortion. It means you are anti-abortion. If you’re anti-abortion, it doesn’t just mean that you don’t get an abortion in your own life. It means that you believe nobody else should be able to get an abortion either. When a politician says that he or she is pro-life and will govern as such, what that means is that they would like abortion to be outlawed. It means they want the United States of America to be a country in which getting an abortion is a crime. If getting an abortion is a crime, that means anybody who gets an abortion is a criminal. […]

    Just a note to the national media and to the beltway media on this subject. I know everybody is all over Donald Trump on this. ‘Oh, what does this mean for his campaign.’ Covering a story like this does not mean just writing down what people want you to say about them in he terms they want you to use. The idea that there is any distance at all between what Donald Trump said yesterday on this subject and the aims of the anti-abortion movement in this country that is a fallacy. And one that no responsible person should repeat. […]

    The excerpts above don’t show how well Rachel Maddow took down Ted Cruz and his advisors.

  77. says

    Stephen Colbert ridiculed the NRA for adding guns to classic fairy tales.

    Seth Meyers condemned Trump for “running out the clock without actually saying anything” and then saying a load of bullshit about his anti-abortion viewers.

    […] Now it wasn’t just pro-choice advocates who are angry at Trump. He also received intense criticism from the right and from anti-abortion advocates, the last majority of whom do not favor any kind of criminal punishment for women who receive abortions. But while it’s right for anti-abortion advocates to criticize Trump, it’s also a little hypocritical because in state houses across the country anti-abortion advocates are still looking for other non-criminal ways to essentially punish women for having abortions.

    Look at Utah, where Gov. Gary Herbert just signed a law that will require doctors to ignore best medical practice and give some women unnecessary anesthesia for abortions. Not only do doctors say such procedure is medically unnecessary and risky, it also makes no sense. As one doctor put it, “I’ve emailed the governor and asked him to tell me what to do, because I don’t know what to do. It’s like saying, ‘Take someone’s widget out using standard medical practice.’ I don’t know what that means.” […]

    Meanwhile in Florida, the Republican-led state legislature passed a measure intended to cut funding to reproductive health clinics, and in the process, the state would direct women to dentists and optometrists for reproductive care. Can you imagine having to go to a dentist for reproductive care? The only thing a dentist and a gynecologist have in common is they both say “open wide.” […]

    So while it’s nice that everyone agrees a women shouldn’t be criminally punished for getting an abortion, let’s not forget the state legislatures across the country are still proposing plenty of other abortion restrictions that essentially punish women for making choices about their bodies. […]

  78. says

    Hillary Clinton got a bit testy when a Greenpeace activist asked her about being beholden to oil and gas industry lobbyists and corporations. Lots of back and forth followed, but let’s just summarize with some facts:

    […] So let’s unpack the question from that Greenpeace activist. The suggestion appears to be that this 0.15 percent of all Clinton fundraising – a percentage that, again, consists of contributions from employees of oil and gas companies regardless of job title – somehow influences Clinton’s behavior. The activist didn’t connect the dots, but the implication is that this 0.15 percent makes Clinton more susceptible to the lures of the oil industry than does Sanders’s 0.04 percent. […]

    Washington Post link.

    More facts: Clinton has not taken money from PACs tied to the oil and gas industry, nor has Sanders. Neither candidate has control over whether or not lobbyists or others connected to the oil and gas industry make donations to PACs. They have no legal control, and they have no organizational control.

    As Steve Benen put it:

    There’s ample room for a debate about Clinton’s and Sanders’ energy and environmental platforms – both, by my estimation, are offering excellent policy blueprints – but neither appears to be in Big Oil’s pocket.

  79. blf says

    The Grauniad is snarking, Death by smartphone: the .38 calibre mobile that really sends a message (I should point out this is an opinion piece, not an actual news story, albeit it is apparently based on a new stooopid idea):

    The firearm that resembles a mobile is ingenious, but surely its creator has missed a trick — a phone that actually is a gun. It’s going to happen

    Until so recently the selfie-stick was the top gizmo of choice for gadgety-minded people everywhere. But in the United States, something else is now hogging the limelight: the Ideal Conceal, a .38 calibre handgun that folds up to look exactly like an iPhone-sized smartphone. Unfolded, it fires two shots before needing to be reloaded and costs $395 (£275).

    Advance orders are flooding in. Its inventor, Kirk Kjellberg of Minnesota, says the idea came to him when he was walking through a restaurant. Being in possession of a “concealed carry” permit, his weapon was just visible. A small child said: “Mommy, mommy, that man’s got a gun!” And Kjellberg says he thought to himself: There’s got to be another way to carry without bothering other people.

    What a lovely anecdote. However, it could be that Kjellberg, despite his ingenuity in allowing more guns to circulate more freely, is actually missing a trick. How about a gun that not just resembles a smartphone — but is one too? A phone that unfolds into a gun. A phone that will make you think twice before complaining about people texting in the cinema auditorium. […]

    Some readers’s comments:

    ● “Phone gun sounds good. I can use it to protect myself while I’m browsing the internet, as the world is a very dangerous place.”

    ● “So let’s make a gun look like something that kids never pick up. My kids are never nicking my smartphone to play with!”

    ● “Can we club together and get one of these for Donald Trump then get him to take a selfie?!”

    ● “I have thought a mobile phone disguised as a sex aid in vibrate mode might have financial potential. You could for example, ring your partner mid meeting whereupon they would be impressed by the enthusiastic utterances.”

    ● “This is going to lead to an epidemic of rightwingers shooting themselves in the head.”
    In reply: “More likely there will be an epidemic of people shot by police for trying to use their cellphone”.

  80. says

    Governor Paul LePage, über rightwing governor of Maine, has done a lot of amusing (black comedy) and horrifying things in the past. You may remember him for his statement that black men who are drug dealers come to Maine to impregnate white women.

    LePage is a thorn in the side of state government. To mix metaphors, he frequently throws a wrench in the works so that routine functions of government fail. His most recent escapade is to hide in a closet, refusing to come out. As a result, a newly-elected Democratic state senator, Susan Deschambault, was left standing around trying to decide what to do when her swearing-in ceremony failed to take place as planned.

    […] Deschambault was scheduled to be sworn in this morning before 9am, and has her family with her at the State House to witness the ceremony, but LePage’s spokesperson now says that won’t be happening because he’s mad about an unrelated vote in the Labor Committee against his nominee for labor representative to the Unemployment Insurance Commission. […]

  81. says

    Hot, breaking news! Elizabeth Warren has endorsed Bernie Sanders.

    In a brief press conference Warren stated that she was endorsing Sanders because “it’s the right thing to do. Bernie has been with me every step of the way in the fight on taking this country back from the crooks on Wall Street. He is the real fighter for the working people in this country.”

    Nope. Sorry. Couldn’t resist at least one April Fools joke. Elizabeth Warren has said laudatory things about both Sanders and Clinton, but she has not endorsed anyone yet.

  82. says

    Here’s some good news that’s real: The FCC updated and expanded the “Lifeline” program, a program that subsidizes broadband internet service for low-income Americans.

    […] To help close this digital divide, the Order adopted by the Commission today refocuses Lifeline support on broadband, which will enable low-income Americans to share in the 21st Century opportunities that access to the Internet provides. At the same time, new rules build on recent reforms in the program to combat waste fraud and abuse and increase program efficiency.

    For the first time, Lifeline will support stand-alone broadband service as well as bundled voice and data service packages. To spark competitive service options for Lifeline consumers, the rules will unlock the Lifeline broadband marketplace to attract additional providers. And new service standards will ensure that supported services meet modern needs. […]

    FCC News link.

    Expect a resurgence of the “Obamaphones” conspiracy theory from the rightwing.

  83. says

    Some excerpts from Elizabeth Warren’s appearance as a guest on the “Late Show” with Stephen Colbert:

    […] “The truth is that he [Trump] inherited a fortune from his father, he kept it going by cheating and defrauding people, and then he takes his creditors through Chapter 11,” Warren told host Stephen Colbert.

    “We have an economy that is in real trouble,” she added. “But when the economy is in this kind of trouble, calling on Donald Trump for help is like if your house is on fire, calling an arsonist to come help out.” […]

    “The Democrats are doing exactly what we should be doing,” she said. “We’re out talking about the issues that affect hardworking families: student loans, Social Security, more cops on Wall Street, trade.”

    She concluded by encouraging Democrats to vote for whoever picks up the party’s nomination, whether it be Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.

    Mother Jones link.

  84. says

    This is a followup to comment 94.

    One of the most dishonest smears against President Obama from conservatives in the last presidential election was that he distributed federally subsidized “Obama phones” to low-income African-Americans in order to win their votes.

    These critics, however, generally failed to mention that the so-called “Obama phone” program, known as Lifeline, actually originated in the Reagan era and was expanded by the Bush administration.

    Today, the conservative website WorldNetDaily responded to the news that the Federal Communications Commission just “approved a $9.25 monthly broadband subsidy to help millions of low-income households connect to the Internet” through the Lifeline program by bashing it as the “ObamaInternet.” […]


    WorldNetDaily is the same organization that claimed they have proof that President Obama is Satan. Flies sometimes land in his presence.

  85. says

    This is a followup to comments 83 and 86.

    Yes, some rightwing organizations and pundits are willing to say out loud what Trump said, women should be punished for having abortions:

    […] Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, [explained] on his radio program yesterday that if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, of course states would be free to impose punishments on women who get abortions, especially if they view embryos and fetuses as “persons” under the law. Sekulow also hinted that he might agree with such a policy for women who use abortion for “birth control.”

    While the current federal ban on “partial-birth” abortion protects women from prosecution, Sekulow explained, if Roe were overturned, states would be free to impose whatever abortion penalties they wanted.

    “That’s a different question from whether you legally could have statutes, if Roe v. Wade was overturned, that criminalized the abortion activity,” he said, “including anybody that voluntarily — not coercion, not life of the mother, not rape or incest, because those would all be defenses — but could a state say if a woman voluntarily had a partial-birth abortion that that act could be criminalized, could a state say that? Sure, a state could say that. And if you believe that the child’s a person, well, I’m not so sure that that’s contradictory.” […]


  86. says

    Keeping it as classy as seems to have become the norm for Trump campaign operatives, Roger Stone said he would “kick in” money to see Hilary Clinton kill herself. To be clear, Stone and radio host John B. Wells said they would pay $675,000 to see “her jump off the Hollywood Sign.”

    How high is the Hollywood sign? Are there restrictions on how, or if, Clinton could pad the landing?

    What a bunch of offensive nonsense either way.

  87. blf says

    Teh trum-prat’s latest plan:

    Campaign bans social media and ‘sex and adult websites’ in latest attempt to control the flow of digital information

    Teh wazzock’s campaign has officially announced it is blocking Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Reality™ itself in a bid to further control access to outside information.

    The Ministry of Absurdity announcement was published this week at the campaign’s main mobile service provider, TrumPratLink, and other places serving internet users in la-la land.

    Very few la-la-landers have internet access and if they do are limited to a sealed-off, campaign-sanctioned intranet.

    The new restrictions will make it more difficult for visitors or the small community of Reality-unimpaired to post real-time information about teh trum-prat the outside world, and will further limit the ability of true believers with Internet access to view information about their wazzock posted elsewhere.

    The campaign’s announcement named YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Voice of America and all media sites as specific examples of what it is blocking for a certain period of time.

    It also said gambling and sex and adult websites have been blocked.

    Facebook and Twitter had been informally blocked for months and could not be accessed Friday in a web search from campaign headquarters.

    The announcement added that anyone who tries to hack onto such sites, access them in an improper way or distribute anti-republic data from them will be subject to punishment under [mumbles] law. It did not say what the punishment would be.

    The new trum-prat campaign restrictions are similar to censorship measures of teh crud, which allows less access in general and also maintains strict bans on sites that are are not challenged by Reality™.


    It is dreadfully easy to edit an article about N.Korea’s antics into a even-more plausible story about teh trum-prat’s antics. In this case, the original was North Korea announces blocks on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

  88. says

    This is a followup to comment 89.

    The Daily Kos took a look at Hillary Clinton’s voting record on oil and gas, and a look at her policy positions on oil and gas.

    The most helpful feature of the Daily Kos article is that it presents all of the voting record and the policy positions in an easy-to-read list. Check it out for yourself before coming to a conclusion.

    Here’s their conclusion:

    These are not the positions, actions and votes of a person who has been “bought” by the oil and gas industry and to further that notion is deceptive at best and an outright lie at worst. It’s time for people to stop pushing this false narrative. […]

  89. says

    Here’s one story about how hard it is to get a Voter ID in Wisconsin. The article details the trials of two low-income people who lack transportation to a place where Voter IDs can be obtained. They also lacked information on what documents were required.

    […] while other states have spent millions to educate their voters about the new requirements, Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature never approved the funds to do so. The Government Accountability Board created PSAs, but have no budget to buy airtime to get them to the public. Nothing in the law compels radio and TV stations — in the middle of a heated election when the cost of airtime is skyrocketing — to air these educational messages. […]

    For the election in November, things are only going to get worse:

    The governor signed a bill that will dissolve the state’s non-partisan Government Accountability Board and replace it with separate Elections and Ethics boards made up of partisan members appointed by the governor. […]

    Johnson and other voting rights advocates are also sounding the alarm about a bill the governor signed this month giving residents the option to register to vote online, but abolishing a program that trained community groups to conduct voter registration drives.

    “Right now, I can just register anybody,” Johnson explained. “When I go to churches to speak, for example, I can register people to vote. I won’t be able to do that anymore, unless I can carry around a computer and a copy machine, since they want an ID and proof of residence attached when you register.”

    While voting rights groups are praising the implementation of online voter registration, they note that many of the state’s residents who live in poverty have no access to the internet. […]

    Bottom line: Republicans in Wisconsin have succeeded in disenfranchising about 300,000 voters. This disenfranchisement will disproportionately affect disabled people, poor people, people who live in communities with fewer transportation and DMV resources, etc. The disenfranchisement will likely affect the outcome of primary voting this coming Tuesday.

  90. says

    Here is another story about voter disenfranchisement in Wisconsin.

    […] Thanks to an error on his birth certificate, the formerly homeless Marine Corp veteran spent months working with the voting rights groups Citizen Action and Vote Riders, finally obtaining a state ID just in time to vote.

    Born in Dumas, Arkansas in the early 1960s, Hatten told ThinkProgress he heard his uncle, who couldn’t read or write, complaining that “white folks wouldn’t let him vote.” He later learned that many members of his family were disenfranchised by Jim Crow voting laws.

    When Wisconsin refused at first to issue him an ID, those childhood memories came flooding back. “I thought, is this sort of a poll tax type of thing?” he told ThinkProgress. “Are they trying to stop us from voting? But I tried to look past that and went ahead and did what I had to do.” […]

  91. says

    Horrible conditions for prisoners in Arizona:

    […] Maricopa County — notorious for anti-immigrant policing and barbaric jail conditions under Sheriff Joe Arpaio — is neglecting inmates in desperate need of mental health treatment, according to an ACLU motion filed on Friday. Eighteen months after Sheriff Joe Arpaio and county commissioners asked a federal judge to lift a 2008 court order, which required the county to provide adequate medical and mental health services for prisoners, people behind bars are still denied basic care. […]

    Some of those prisoners, including Cruz, are so mentally impaired that they aren’t competent enough to go to court. Their cases can’t move forward, so they’ve been locked up for extended periods of time without a trial. Instead of sending them to local hospitals, Maricopa County jails are keeping them in solitary confinement.

    That’s a stark departure from the 2008 court order and 2014 renewal of that order requiring the jails to either give these detainees mental health services or transfer them to another facility that can provide treatment.

    “Locked down for up to 24 hours a day, they deteriorate, refusing medication and treatment, living in squalor, and growing more symptomatic by the day,” the motion reads. […]


  92. says

    Not only is Donald Trump sliding downhill in Wisconsin, his surrogates are likewise failing. Take Sarah Palin as an example. She spoke for 18 full minutes in Milwaukee before getting one weak applause reaction from the audience.

    For flavor without having to listen to the full Palin rant, here is a shot description:

    Her presentation “focused” on the issues of immigration, trade, and “foreign policy and military might.” She discussed how the “other” candidates were actually “inducing and seducing” immigrants to come illegally with promises of “gift baskets … teddy bears and soccer balls,” […]


  93. says

    President Obama held at press conference at the Nuclear Security Summit. Reporters asked about the comments made recently by Republican candidates. President Obama gave a clear answer:

    REPORTER: You have spent seven years on nonproliferation issues, and you said in your opening remarks that you hope a future administration would do the same, make it a priority. This week one of the Republican frontrunners to replace you said that perhaps South Korea and Japan should have nuclear weapons and he wouldn’t rule out using nuclear weapons in Europe. Did that come up at this summit and generally what message does it send when a major party candidate is articulating such a reversal in U.S. foreign policy.

    OBAMA: What the statement you mentioned tells us [is that] the person who made the statement doesn’t know much about foreign policy, or nuclear policy, or the Korean Peninsula, or the world generally.

    It came up on the sidelines. I have said before that people pay attention to American elections. What we do is important to the rest of the world. Even those countries that are used to a carnival atmosphere in their own politic, want sobriety and clarity when it comes to U.S. Elections because they understand the President of the United States needs to know what’s going on around the world and has to put in place the kind of policies that lead not only to our security and prosperity but will have an impact on everybody else’s security and prosperity.

    Our alliance with Japan and the Republic of Korea is one of the foundations, one of the cornerstones of our presence in the Asia-Pacific region. It has underwritten peace and prosperity of that region. It has been an enormous boon to American commerce and American influence. And it has prevented the possibilities of a nuclear escalation and conflict between countries that in the past and throughout history have engaged in hugely destructive conflicts and controversies. You don’t mess with that. It is an investment that rests on the sacrifices that our men and women made back in World War II when they were fighting throughout the Pacific. It is because of their sacrifices and the wisdom that American foreign policy makers showed after World War II, we’ve been able to avoid catastrophe. We don’t want someone in the oval office who doesn’t recognize how important that is.”

    Consider Donald Trump schooled.

  94. says

    Sigh. I think I should provide a list of Trump’s positions on abortion, beginning with Wednesday and continuing to today.

    1. Position #1 included that “some form of punishment” should be meted out to women who have abortions. Trump made that statement in an interview on Wednesday with Chris Matthews.

    2. Within a few hours, position #2 was proffered in which Trump said “the issue is unclear” and “should be left to the states.”

    3. We waited a few more hours for position #3 in which Trump said that a woman who undergoes an abortion is “a victim” and that only the doctor who performs the abortion should face punishment.

    4. Position 3 lasted about 48 hours before position 4 was introduced: Trump said that he supported existing abortion laws and they should not be changed.

    Position 4 is anathema to most Republican voters, so expect that to change.

    Oh, wait, it has changed!

    5. Position 5 was introduced by Trump’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks:

    Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today and made clear it must stay that way now — until he is President. Then he will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn. There is nothing new or different here.

  95. blf says

    Lynna@106, You overlooked “position #0”: In years past teh trum-prat said he was pro-choice. (BBC)

  96. blf says

    This is a follow-up to a previous (@471 on previous page) comment about Poland’s “government” approving large-scale logging in Europe’s last primeval forest, ostensibly due to a beetle infection. At the time I noted “The article is, unfortunately, quite short, and does not go into what scientists and others recommend to do about the infestation, nor does it make [an] attempt to ‘follow the money’ and explain who will be profiting.”

    There is now a longer opinion column with does chase those details, Will no one stop Poland destroying Europe’s most precious forest?

    On what to do (there apparently really is a beetle infestation):

    […] The new environment minister, Jan Szyszko, claims that the forest is rotting away because spruce trees are being killed by the spruce bark beetle. But scientists say such intervention will do more harm than good.

    “Unhappy is not a good word — we are devastated,” says Rafal Kowalczyk, director of the Mammal Research Institute inside Białowieża. “If we allow it to become a managed forest, its value and its biodiversity will be lost. It will take hundreds of years to reverse this kind of destruction.”

    As Kowalczyk explains, the shallow-rooted spruce is suffering because of drier soils and climate change. Its destruction by the beetle is a natural process that creates a more resilient forest: in areas where spruce does not regenerate, it will be quickly replaced by species — such as hornbeam and lime — better suited to these environmental conditions. It is natural for healthy forests to have plenty of dead wood, supporting huge numbers of invertebrates and other animals. The three-toed woodpecker is four times rarer in the commercially harvested part of Białowieża.

    Basically, do close-to-nothing.
    And on “follow the money”:

    […] Before Szyszko (a forestry teacher) was elected, he spoke of the wasted commercial potential of unlogged wood. Only 57% of the proposed harvest refers to disease-ridden spruce — its rotten wood is worthless. Loggers want to get their hands on valuable, large old trees. One forest district has already almost felled an allowance of trees which was supposed to last until 2021 and so the government will permit it to increase its annual take from 6,000 cubic metres to 53,000 cubic metres. Other districts are likely to follow suit.


    The untouched character of Białowieża has an economic value far greater than a once-in-200-year tree harvest. Forestry employs few people and its profits are channelled into the state forestry department and not local communities, argues Kowalczyk. In contrast, there are 70 scientists working permanently in the woods, 100 national park staffers and thousands of tourists who visit Białowieża to marvel at its riches. Białowieża represents just 0.5% of Poland’s forests, most of which are relatively barren commercial plantations. Why destroy such a special, precious remnant?

    Basically, what you might guess, logging companies and their cronies in the “government”, and most certainly not those obnoxious locals, experts, and tourists.

  97. says

    blf @107, ah, yes, I did forget that. Thanks for the addition to our list.

    blf @108, Here in the U.S. some logging companies have used the cut-them-down-before-the-beetles arrive excuse to clear-cut forests. It’s the one time that they acknowledge global warming.

    Beetle infestations in Alaska are particularly bad in coastal forests. Northern Idaho’s inland temperate rainforest is suffering thanks to dryer conditions. I think the scientist you quoted, Kowalczyk, is right.

    I doubt that Poland’s current government will deal with the issue responsibly.

  98. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Donald is still being a fearmonger. This time about the economy. He is pretending there is massive recession in the offing.

    Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump predicted that the United States is on course for a “very massive recession,” warning that a combination of high unemployment and an overvalued stock market had set the stage for another economic slump.
    “I think we’re sitting on an economic bubble. A financial bubble,” the billionaire businessman said in an interview with The Washington Post published on Saturday.
    Coming off a tough week on the campaign trail in which he made a series of missteps, Trump’s latest comments bring him back into the limelight ahead of Tuesday’s important primary in Wisconsin where he trails in the polls.
    The former reality TV star said that the real U.S. jobless figure is much higher than five percent number released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    “We’re not at 5 percent unemployment,” Trump said.
    “We’re at a number that’s probably into the twenties if you look at the real number,” he said, adding that the official jobless figure is “statistically devised to make politicians — and in particular presidents — look good.”

    Another bunch of evidenceless assertions that most economists would disagree with.

  99. says

    David Akadjian took a closer look at how politicians, especially Republican politicians, give tax breaks to the wealthy and then shit the costs onto everyone else.

    All taxes are not created equal. Some benefit average people. Some benefit Wall Street and the wealthy.

    Consumption taxes are taxes on goods and services that everyone buys regularly like food and gas. As you make more money, you don’t tend to buy more of these items. The wealthy pay very little in terms of consumption taxes. The costs are borne by consumers.

    Progressive taxes, by comparison, are taxes where you pay more back as you benefit more. The idea behind progressive taxes is that the more people benefit from the efforts of our country, the more they should pay back in to help make sure we have strong infrastructure and a strong country and that future generations have the same opportunity to succeed. […]

    See the chart at the link for a good explanation-at-a-glance.

    […] Payroll taxes are paid by both employees and employers. However, the economic burden of payroll taxes falls on workers as the employers’ share of payroll taxes is passed on to employees in the form of lower wages.

    Capital gains taxes affect the profit on investment. Cuts to capital gains taxes primarily benefit people who can afford to invest and disproportionately benefit the wealthy who hold most of their wealth in stocks. Taxes on luxury items and estate taxes are taxes on wealth. If your “estate” is worth less than $5.43 million, you pay no federal tax.

    Property taxes are a bit tricky. You might think property taxes affect only people who own property and also impact the wealthy more, as they own the most property. First, property taxes can be passed on to renters in the form of higher rent. Second, property owners have ways to reduce or offset the amount they pay in property taxes. For example, property owners receive an income tax deduction for interest paid on their homes. The more interest you’re paying, the bigger the tax deduction. There are also often loopholes that allow people to declare their property a farm or some other type of business for a tax deduction. Long story short—property taxes are usually paid by average people. […]

    I snipped an explanation of corporate taxes and their effects on different groups].

    An analysis of Donald Trump’s plan by the Tax Policy Center reveals the rich would get a lot richer. His plan would reduce federal revenue by $9.5 trillion over the first decade and an additional $15 trillion in the next 10 years. It would cause the debt-to-GDP ratio to hit 180 percent by 2026. Ted Cruz’s plan isn’t much better. It would reduce federal revenue by $8.6 trillion in the first 10 years and we’d lose $12.2 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years. […]

    I snipped a very good overview of tax reforms over the last 40 years. Bottom line: 22 of those reforms benefitted wealthy people, only 6 benefitted the other 99%.

  100. says

    Nerd @110, the Trump-Prat is very good at finding a new way to scare-monger every time he wants to erase from the news cycle the last stupid thing (things) he said.

    The only thing related to Trump’s prognostications and warnings that really scares me is the one where he predicts he’ll win the presidency.

    The people who buy into Trump’s schtick and who support him need a dose of reality. SNL skit that makes fun of “full-blown nut job” Trump supporters.

  101. blf says

    We want slavery! When do we wants it!? We want slavery!! April 25th!!! April 25th!!! Mississippi’s Confederate Heritage Month proclamation prompts outcry:

    Governor Phil Bryant faces backlash after announcement, which fails to mention slavery as it establishes 25 April as Confederate Memorial Day
    Mississippi governor Phil Bryant recently proclaimed April to be Confederate Heritage Month, adding an official flourish to a longstanding tradition in his state and several others. April, he wrote in the proclamation, is the month in which the Confederate States began and ended a four-year struggle.

    Bryant’s proclamation does not mention the central cause of the struggle — slavery — but instead announces the month as a chance to gain insight from our mistakes and successes and to earnestly strive to understand and appreciate our heritage and our opportunities which lie before us. It also sets aside 25 April as Confederate Memorial Day.

    The proclamation set off an outcry around the state. Bryant may have expected less-than-universal acceptance of his declaration: he did not issue it on the official Mississippi state website, alongside other proclamations. Instead it appeared without notice on the site of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.


    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leaders in Mississippi reacted by proposing a civil war remembrance of their own: Union Army Heritage Month.

    “These white and black Mississippi patriots fought for the continuation of the United States of America as one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all,” Derrick Johnson, president of Mississippi’s NAACP, wrote to the Clarion-Ledger.

    “Should not these soldiers be honored, too?”

    […] The last time Virginia declared such a month, in 2010, the backlash was immediate. On 8 April that year Governor Bob McConnell issued a lengthy apology to the citizens of his state and amended his proclamation.


    In Mississippi, Bryant has showed no inclination to include such an acknowledgment. […]

  102. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A little checking showed a Washington Post Fact Check Article on the Donald’s bogus figures.

    The most commonly-reported unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is officially known as the “U-3” rate. This is one of six different “labor utilization” rates issued every month by the agency. The U-3 rate reflects people who are actively seeking jobs but cannot find one. As of December, that was 5.0 percent of the labor force above the age of 16.
    The estimate of unemployment is based on a monthly sample survey of 60,000 households. The BLS did not come up with this definition of unemployment willy-nilly; it actually reflects an internationally-embraced definition set by the International Labour Organization — that the “unemployed” are people who are not working but have actively searched for work, are available to work and are willing and able to work for pay.
    While Trump claims that people who quit searching for a job are counted as having one, in reality they are simply not counted as being unemployed in the the U-3 rate. But the BLS has other measures that do count those people as unemployed.
    For instance, there are people who are considered “marginally attached to the labor force.” These are workers who are not looking for work, but would like a job; they may, for instance, be discouraged by the lack of apparent opportunities. If you add in those possible workers, you end up with what is known as the U-5 rate. That was 6.1 percent in December.
    Finally, the BLS produces a rate that include people who are employed part-time — but want and are available for full-time work. This “U-6” employment rate is 9.9 percent…
    So why does Trump claim 23 percent? We have no idea, since as usual his campaign refused to explain his reasoning. But a clue might stem from his comments on “Meet the Press” — that “you have 60, 70, 80 million people out there that want to work that aren’t getting jobs.”
    That’s a big range of 20 million people. But it’s a bit of pullback for Trump, who a few months ago asserted that there were 93 million people out of work, or 42 percent unemployment. He appeared to be referring to the labor force participation rate, but that 93 million number (as of December, 94 million) mainly reflects the number of people who have chosen not to work, such as retirees, students and stay-at-home parents. (After all, 10,000 baby boomers retire every day.) Only a small portion of that number includes the officially unemployed, the discouraged workers and so forth.
    Still, if you take 60 million as a percentage of the entire civilian noninstitutional population, you end up with 23 percent. But only about 25 million are really unemployed, or discouraged from looking for work or marginally attached to the labor force. There’s another 35 million “unemployed” who Trump has not accounted for.

    It sounds like The Donald is counting people like the Redhead, who is disabled, and myself, who is retired and not looking for work (it was costing me money to work full-time as I needed to hire nurses for the Redhead while I was working).

  103. says

    This is a followup to comments 59 and 84.

    Update on those 12 FBI (not 147 agents as rightwing media reported) agents looking at the Hillary Clinton email server:

    […] NBC News’ “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd asked Clinton if the FBI had contacted her.

    “No, no, they haven’t. But, you know, back in August, we made clear that I’m happy to answer any questions that anybody might have,” Clinton said. “And I stand by that.”

    She told Todd that she wasn’t nervous if the investigation didn’t wrap up before the convention, adding that she didn’t believe “anything inappropriate was done.” […]


  104. says

    Trump continues to whine about how he is being treated by the Republican Party, and he continues to dodge the question of whether or not he will support the Republican nominee for president no matter who that is:

    “I will tell you when we meet at the convention. We’ll see how we’re treated. I want to see how we’re treated,” Trump replied. “I want to see how we’re treated. Look, I signed a pledge. They wanted me to sign the pledge. And I’m the one that’s being discriminated against.”

    The quoted text is from a CBS “Face the Nation” interview, April 3, today.

  105. blf says

    It sounds like The Donald is counting people like the Redhead […] and myself

    Also yer two goldfish, and the boojum under the bed.

    So that’s six (using TRUMPratmath™© addition) unemployed with nil employment in just one household, a rate of (using TRUMPratmath™© advanced finger-counting) of 600%.

  106. says

    Ted Cruz is salivating over the Donald’s recent troubles with women, so much so that Cruz thinks he can pick up some of the women voters who have rejected Trump.

    This is silly and arrogant. Cruz has his wife and mother hitting the campaign trail for him to help win over women, but how will his wife and mother account for these awful policy positions:

    – opposes paycheck fairness
    – opposes paid family leave
    – voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act
    – proposes abolishing the Department of Education
    – will not raise the minimum wage
    – votes against all reform to gun laws
    – wants to defund Planned Parenthood
    – intends to prosecute Planned Parenthood
    – supports criminalizing abortion (Cruz is the most rabidly anti-abortion of any GOP candidate running for the presidency, National Memo link)

    There’s also the statement Cruz made about spanking Hillary Clinton. And there are many misogynistic advisors we have noted previously.

  107. says

    Oh, boy. I predict the fallout from this gargantuan leak of documents will last for awhile. At least I hope so.

    The recent exposé by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and their media partners have once again shown the insidious role that tax havens, corporate secrecy and shell companies play in aiding widespread crime, corruption and violence. These threaten the safety, security and well-being of people around the world.

    What’s less well known is that, despite stereotypes portraying the problem of tax havens and shell companies as an ‘offshore’ problem, this is a big and homegrown issue in the U.S. as well.​

    Global Witness link.

    The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is comprised of 370 journalists who work at 107 media organizations (25 languages in 80 countries) . They produce what Fusion magazine calls “Wikileaks of the mega-rich.”

    Over a year ago, an anonymous source contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that sells anonymous offshore companies around the world. These shell firms enable their owners to cover up their business dealings, no matter how shady.

    In the months that followed, the number of documents continued to grow far beyond the original leak. Ultimately, SZ acquired about 2.6 terabytes of data, making the leak the biggest that journalists had ever worked with. The source wanted neither financial compensation nor anything else in return, apart from a few security measures.

    The data provides rare insights into a world that can only exist in the shadows. It proves how a global industry led by major banks, legal firms, and asset management companies secretly manages the estates of the world’s rich and famous: from politicians, Fifa officials, fraudsters and drug smugglers, to celebrities and professional athletes.

  108. says

    This is a followup to comment 120.

    The quoted text if from The Guardian:

    – Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.

    – A $2bn trail leads all the way to Vladimir Putin. The Russian president’s best friend – a cellist called Sergei Roldugin – is at the centre of a scheme in which money from Russian state banks is hidden offshore. Some of it ends up in a ski resort where in 2013 Putin’s daughter Katerina got married. […]

    – In the UK, six members of the House of Lords, three former Conservative MPs and dozens of donors to British political parties have had offshore assets.

    – The families of at least eight current and former members of China’s supreme ruling body, the politburo, have been found to have hidden wealth offshore.

    – A key member of Fifa’s powerful ethics committee, which is supposed to be spearheading reform at world football’s scandal-hit governing body, acted as a lawyer for individuals and companies recently charged with bribery and corruption.

    – One leaked memorandum from a partner of Mossack Fonseca said: “Ninety-five per cent of our work coincidentally consists in selling vehicles to avoid taxes.”

    How to Hide a Billion Dollars.

  109. says

    This is a followup to comments 120 and 121.

    The quoted text is from the African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting. Silas Gbandia is the writer.

    He is De Beers’ most prolific diamond buyer, a supplier to the luxury jewelry brand Tiffany & Co., and an alleged criminal, accused of bribing the wife of a former Guinean president to land a multibillion-dollar iron deal. Given that profile, it’s not surprising that Beny Steinmetz and his eponymous company try to stay out of the limelight. But with the Steinmetz Group’s alleged tax avoidance scam in South Africa and an ongoing US grand jury investigation into corruption in Guinea, for the past two years, Steinmetz hasn’t been able to keep his name out of the headlines. So, to avoid exposing the company, the embattled billionaire allegedly sold his 37.5% share in the Steinmetz Group’s diamond segment, Diacore, to his brother, Daniel, in 2014.

    Steinmetz left the Steinmetz Group’s diamond business, Diacore, but has kept a business in Sierra Leone diamonds through the British Virgin Islands-based entity Octea. The company, which he runs through BSG Resources (BSGR), counts the Steinmetz family as beneficiaries. Unlike BSGR which operates in West Africa, Diacore maintains a presence in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

  110. says

    Excerpts from an interview with Trump that was conducted by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of the Washington Post over the weekend:

    Well, I think Lincoln succeeded for numerous reasons. He was a man who was of great intelligence, which most presidents would be. But he was a man of great intelligence, but he was also a man that did something that was a very vital thing to do at that time. Ten years before or 20 years before, what he was doing would never have even been thought possible. So he did something that was a very important thing to do, and especially at that time.
    The coalition building for me will be when I win. Vince Lombardi, I saw this. He was not a big man. And I was sitting in a place with some very, very tough football players. Big, strong football players. He came in — these are tough cookies — he came in, years ago — and I’ll never forget it, I was a young man. He came in, screaming, into this place. And screaming at one of these guys who was three times bigger than him, literally. And very physical, grabbing him by the shirt. Now, this guy could’ve whisked him away and thrown him out the window in two seconds. This guy — the player — was shaking.

    A friend of mine. There were four players, and Vince Lombardi walked in. He was angry. And he grabbed — I was a young guy — he grabbed him by the shirt, screaming at him, and the guy was literally. . . . And I said, wow.

    And I realized the only way Vince Lombardi got away with that was because he won. This was after he had won so much, okay? And when you have these coaches that are just as tough as him but they don’t win, there’s revolutions. Okay? Nobody. . . . But Vince Lombardi was able to win, and he got — I have never seen anything like it. It was such a vivid impression. You had this big powerful guy, and you had Vince Lombardi, and he grabbed him by the shirt and he was screaming at him, he was angry at him.
    [On arming South Korea with nuclear weapons] I would rather have them not arm, but I’m not going to continue to lose this tremendous amount of money. And frankly, the case could be made that let them protect themselves against North Korea. They’d probably wipe them out pretty quick. If they fight, you know what, that’d be a terrible thing. Terrible. … But if they do, they do.
    People would pay me money for speeches on success. So I would do that, before this. And I would tell people, don’t invest that, don’t go – I was pretty good at prognostication, at telling people what to do in terms of. . . . Now, I’d talk about success, but I’d say, this is a bad time to invest. I also said, this is a good time to invest.
    (In the spring of 2006, the tycoon hosted a glitzy event at Trump Tower to introduce Trump Mortgage LLC, a new firm that specialized in selling residential and commercial real estate loans. He devoted a floor of the Trump Organization headquarters at 40 Wall Street to the new business. And his picture appeared atop the company website with the instruction: “Talk to My Mortgage Professionals now!”)

    “I think it’s a great time to start a mortgage company,” Trump told a CNBC interviewer in April 2006, adding that “the real estate market is going to be very strong for a long time to come.” […]

    (Within 18 months the housing market was in free fall. Trump Mortgage closed its doors, leaving some of it’s bills outstanding and Trump blamed his employees for the failure.)

    Link to transcript of Washington Post interview.

  111. says

    Nerd @114, The Donald voiced some equally fantastical numbers about the national debt.

    It’s practically impossible to rank Donald Trump’s various pronouncements based on some kind of ridiculousness scale, simply because the frequency and volume of the Republican’s outlandish rhetoric is overwhelming. But if such a list were to come together, yesterday brought a new, top contender.

    The GOP candidate sat down for a 96-minute interview with the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, and though they covered quite a bit of ground, this was probably the most jaw-dropping exchange.

    TRUMP: We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt.

    WOODWARD: How long would that take?

    TRUMP: I think I could do it fairly quickly, because of the fact the numbers …

    WOODWARD: What’s fairly quickly?

    TRUMP: Well, I would say over a period of eight years.

    Not to put too fine a point on this, but Trump would be just as likely to grow wings and fly around the White House complex while shooting lasers out of his eyes.

    […] Almost every year for generations, the United States has spent more than it’s taken in, resulting in “the deficit.” In the most recent fiscal year, the deficit was about $439 billion – which may sound painfully large, but it’s actually nearly $1 trillion smaller than the deficit President Obama inherited from the Bush/Cheney administration, and relative to the size of the U.S. economy, it’s fairly small, at least by historic standards.

    When new deficits are added to old deficits, they cumulatively become “the national debt.” In the Bush/Cheney era, the debt roughly doubled, in the Obama era, it’s roughly doubled again, reaching about $19 trillion. (Funny story: when Bill Clinton left office, the deficit didn’t exist, and the country was actually running a big surplus, taking in more than we were spending. The United States was on track to pay off the entirety of the national debt by 2010. Bush/Cheney, however, preferred tax cuts and wars, none of which were paid for.) […]

    Trump is effectively promising to deliver a $2.4 trillion surplus every year for eight consecutive years. To put that in perspective, the largest surplus in modern U.S. history came in 2000, when the surplus was about $300 billion. Trump is saying he can create surpluses eight times larger – which is bonkers – every year of his two terms.

    […] Trump is not only counting on $2.4 trillion surplus every year for eight years, he intends to pull off this trick while cutting taxes by trillions of dollars and not touching spending on the military or Social Security.

    Go ahead, try to pick an adjective – “absurd,” “foolish,” “dumb,” etc. – with the realization that there are no words that fully capture such an outlandish platform. At its root, what Trump is presenting is a lie. […]

    Maddow Blog link to an article by Steve Benen.

  112. says

    Sarah Palin is working for Donald trump. She is currently trying to get voters in Wisconsin to vote for Trump in tomorrow’s primary.

    Here’s her strategy: she posted photos of herself posing with a rifle and a dead wild boar. Below the photo she posted some text:

    Faith of America is in you to take us forward on Tuesday; to remain strong and independent of the status quo political establishment so your vote will truly represent your optimistic spirit and desire to WORK! Vote for Donald Trump on Tuesday to make America great again. […]


  113. HappyNat says

    Lynna @ 123

    I read the quote on Lincoln yesterday and reread it over and over. The same thing happened today. It’s like a circle of stupid and once I start reading it I can’t get out.

  114. says

    White supremacists are playing a part in the upcoming Wisconsin primary. As they did before, some white nationalists are using robocalls to stump for Trump.

    […] The American National Super PAC, run by lawyer and self-proclaimed white nationalist William Johnson, sent a prerecorded message to every landline in Wisconsin over the weekend encouraging voters to support Trump in the state’s Tuesday primary.

    Johnson, who also serves as the chairman for the white nationalist American Freedom Party (AFP), has launched similar robocall campaigns in other early voting states including Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Minnesota. […]

    Like all of their robocall efforts, the Wisconsin call ends with a send-off from Johnson saying, “This message is paid for by William Johnson, a farmer and a white nationalist.” […]

    “I want people to hear, to feel comfortable with, the term ‘white nationalist,'” Johnson told the newspaper.

    Previous robocalls have called for keeping “beautiful white children” the majority in America and claimed that the US should only accept “well-educated white people” as immigrants. […]

    Trump also said in February that he would return a $250 check from Johnson, telling a supporter concerned that he was receiving donations from white nationalists to not “be so angry” about it.


  115. says

    HappyNat @126: I think it’s an understandable trait to try to make sense of awful syntax and circular logic. But it’s painful.

    One journalist compared Trump’s comments about Lincoln to a book report given by a 7th grader who hasn’t read the book. That wasn’t the first time the “bogus book report” metaphor has been used in reference to Trump, although some of the earlier metaphors reduced Trump to a 5th grader, not a 7th grader.

    Trump is not just a bullshitter, he is an amateur, unskilled, and obvious bullshitter.

    The interview from which the comments about Lincoln were taken is quite long. Reading the whole thing was enlightening … but in a horrible way. I felt like Trump had invaded my brain and infected it with bogus neuronal connections. Depressing. I finally had to give up when it came to parsing or to commenting on other parts of the interview. If voters read that interview, more of them would throw Trump overboard.

  116. blf says

    [I]t’s an understandable trait to try to make sense of awful syntax and circular logic.

    On a one-off or occasional basis, I don’t not concur… but repeatedly?… nah, it’s just not-applying various well-worn but useful rules-of-thumb: “Follow the money!” , “Politicians lie”, “Lawyers lie even more”, “Follow the money!” (perhaps the cardinal rule(-of-thumb)), and, of course, “Follow the money!”

  117. says

    Last week we discussed North Carolina’s version of a “religious liberty” law that actually enshrines the right to discriminate against LGBT people. The Obama administration doesn’t like the legislation and is looking for ways to put pressure on N.C. to repeal the law.

    The Obama administration is considering whether North Carolina’s new law on gay and transgender rights makes the state ineligible for billions of dollars in federal aid for schools, highways and housing, officials said Friday.

    Cutting off any federal money — or even simply threatening to do so — would put major new pressure on North Carolina to repeal the law, which eliminated local protections for gay and transgender people and restricted which bathrooms transgender people can use. A loss of federal money could send the state into a budget crisis and jeopardize services that are central to daily life.

    […] Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina had assured residents that the law would not jeopardize federal money for education. […]

    Anthony Foxx, the secretary of transportation, first raised the prospect of a review of federal funding […]. The Department of Transportation provides roughly $1 billion a year to North Carolina. The New York Times then asked other federal agencies whether they were conducting similar reviews.

    A Department of Education spokeswoman, Dorie Nolt, said on Friday that her agency was also reviewing the North Carolina law “to determine any potential impact on the state’s federal education funding.” She added, “We will not hesitate to act if students’ civil rights are being violated.” […]

    New York Times link.

  118. says

    The anti-LGBT law in North Carolina is already undermining NC’s economy in concrete ways:

    PayPal, an online money transfer service, has canceled its plans to open an operations center in Charlotte, citing North Carolina’s new anti-discrimination law.

    The company announced plans on March 18 to open its new global operations center that would have employed 400 people. Five days later, Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law House Bill 2, which barred transgender people from using the public bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

    WRAL link

    Lionsgate Films made a similar announcement. All of the corporations we mentioned earlier are also taking an “avoid North Carolina” approach.

  119. says

    The Clinton and Sanders campaigns have agreed to a debate on April 14th, in New York, (I think.)

    Today is the Wisconsin primary. This is an open primary (anyone can vote for any candidate as long as they have a Wisconsin voter ID. Bernie Sanders is expected to win on the Democratic side, and Cruz is expected to win on the Republican side.

    I’ll post primary voting results later.

  120. says

    Donald Trump has provided more details regarding how he will get Mexico to pay for border wall he has promised to build if he becomes president:

    Donald Trump says he will force Mexico to pay for a border wall as president by threatening to cut off the flow of billions of dollars in payments that immigrants send home to the country, an idea that could decimate the Mexican economy and set up an unprecedented showdown between the United States and a key diplomatic ally. […]

    In the memo, Trump said he would threaten to change a rule under the USA Patriot Act antiterrorism law to cut off a portion of the funds sent to Mexico through money transfers, commonly known as remittances. The threat would be withdrawn if Mexico made “a one-time payment of $5-10 billion” to pay for the border wall, he wrote.

    Washington Post link.

    Let me summarize: extortion. Bad politics, bad diplomacy, probably illegal. And, no, the wall (if it were built) would not cost $10 billion. It would cost more.

    More details from the Washington Post:

    […] Nearly $25 billion was sent home by Mexicans living abroad in 2015, mostly in the form of money transfers, according to the Mexican central bank. In his memo, Trump said that “the majority of that amount comes from illegal aliens.”

    But that figure includes cash from around the world, not just the United States. In addition, a Government Accountability Office report in January said that it is difficult to track how much money illegal Mexican immigrants are sending versus those working legally in the United States.

    Another complication in Trump’s remittance proposal is that he also wants to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, many of whom come from Mexico.

    Throughout the campaign, Trump has claimed that he could build his proposed U.S.-Mexico barrier for about $8 billion — a figure that numerous experts have described as dubious because of the costs and other obstacles to building a lengthy, impenetrable concrete barrier through numerous jurisdictions. […]

  121. blf says

    Donald Trump has the manner of an arrogant televangelist suspected of murder by Columbo:

    Trump is casting himself as a solution to immigration and unemployment, Clinton is a cynical power player and a Sanders presidency would certainly be entertaining

    In this tumultuous US election there seems, for once, to be a genuine choice on offer about which kind of ideas will spend four years being thwarted in a congressional logjam. This year’s race has already spawned thousands of newspaper articles and even a Book of Revelation. It’s actually hard to find a clip of Donald Trump’s campaign that doesn’t look like a RoboCop insert. […]


    One feature of this election is the way that the elite of the Republican party seem to have become completely estranged from their own electorate. Of course, they always worked against the interests of their voters, but they used to at least understand who they were and what they wanted. With almost infinite resources, the closest they’ve got to producing a popular candidate is Ted Cruz: a cross between a permanently disappointed sitcom vampire and the high school yearbook photo of every serial killer of the modern era.

    The Republicans seem to be shocked that the result of decades of polarising rhetoric is a polarised society. The conservative establishment has spoken in a language of constant crisis, despite being ridiculously well served by the status quo, and it’s surprising how well the fear campaign has worked, considering that most of the country is on anti-anxiety medication. […] Trump is in many ways just saying what the other candidates would say on cocaine, but he’s also a unity candidate. His hope is to bring all of America together in their rejection of reality.

    Trump divides his time between working some kind of King Ralph angle, and claiming that he’s going to make the US great again by using his business experience. We can only assume that means repeatedly declaring it bankrupt, then changing its name so he can just shake off all the debt. […] You can actually make your own Trump policies by going through the incinerator at the Daily Mail [a British tabloid often called the “Daily Hiel” –blf] and picking through the dust for anything they thought might get them prosecuted. His position on climate change is “How can there be global warming when it’s still so cold in my soul?”


    Trump seems to have the emotional range of a Power Rangers villain and the social skills of a teenage Minotaur. He looks like a pumpkin having a nervous breakdown, talks like the words are being fired out of his mouth by a tennis ball launcher and has the general manner of an arrogant televangelist suspected of murder by Columbo. His approach to public speaking? “If in doubt, switch to your internal monologue.” His core demographic? Possibly men whose holiday destinations would significantly overlap with a list of missing women. […]


    Trump/Sanders might actually end up being an interesting election centring on detailed arguments about trade and jobs, and Trump might come off really badly, as these are areas on which he has the firm grasp of a stroke victim eating an eclair. It’s certainly been entertaining to watch Sanders try to convey a message of hope through the dark prism of the US’s Stage 4 corporate media. Aside from all the obvious problems of inherent bias, he has to energise people by asking them to engage in the passive activity of watching him on television, has to ask for activism and a more sophisticated understanding of political problems through a medium that is all about voyeurism and simplification. It reminds me of when you used to see communists in the city centre of a Saturday, trying to explain Marxism to people while they were out shopping.


    Hillary Clinton hasn’t really had any idea how to deal with Sanders. To continue to calmly explain why someone ahead of you in general election polling is unelectable (and Clinton hates to see a leader being unelectable, unless they’re a dictator in some vassal state) suggests that some of her personal stiffness has seeped into what seems increasingly a detached and inflexible campaign. On the campaign trail, she’s a cynical power player projecting the weary joy of a shopping mall Santa while inside her burns the fury of Michael Corleone having to do a meet and greet at a farmers’ market in Idaho. She seems to shake hands with each member of the public as if musing on all the things she could do to them if only they were Libyan.

    I know this all sounds like a lazy swipe at Clinton for being an uncaring android, and of course it is, but there’s a serious point. The sort of presentation strategy that would work best against Trump — a tireless public servant saddened at having to deal with the insults of a reality show star — is probably well outwith her abilities as a performer. Also, Trump fares best against candidates who he can paint as opportunistic insiders subservient to corporate interests, and Clinton can only accentuate those qualities as she pivots to the right to take him on. The sentiments she has to fake in a campaign — joy, relaxation, a desire to reach out to people — are all incredibly difficult for her. Luckily, the palette of emotions we can expect of her presidency — bitter triumph, cynicism and indifference — are well within her range.

    […] For America, and indeed the rest of the world, Clinton versus Trump will be like being on a bus being driven at high speed towards a cliff by a psychopath, where there’s a chance that a chimpanzee might grab control of the steering wheel. It’s not a question of whether this will make things better or worse, it’s more that the whole idea of “better” may be gradually ceasing to exist.

  122. says

    Bernie Sanders met with the editorial board of the Daily News for an interview. Here is the transcript.

    The section of the interview that deals with Sanders’ promise to break up the big banks, etc. is somewhat alarming. There are too many instances of Sanders being unable to answer a question. Here’s just one example from the section that troubled me:

    Daily News: And then, you further said that you expect to break them up within the first year of your administration. What authority do you have to do that? And how would that work? How would you break up JPMorgan Chase?

    Sanders: Well, by the way, the idea of breaking up these banks is not an original idea. It’s an idea that some conservatives have also agreed to.

    You’ve got head of, I think it’s, the Kansas City Fed, some pretty conservative guys, who understands. Let’s talk about the merit of the issue, and then talk about how we get there.

    Right now, what you have are two factors. We bailed out Wall Street because the banks are too big to fail, correct? It turns out, that three out of the four largest banks are bigger today than they were when we bailed them out, when they were too-big-to-fail. That’s number one.

    Number two, if you look at the six largest financial institutions of this country, their assets somewhere around $10 trillion. That is equivalent to 58% of the GDP of America. They issue two-thirds of the credit cards in this country, and about one-third of the mortgages. That is a lot of power.

    And I think that if somebody, like if Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, he would look at that. Forgetting even the risk element, the bailout element, and just look at the kind of financial power that these guys have, would say that is too much power.

    Daily News: Okay. Well, let’s assume that you’re correct on that point. How do you go about doing it?

    Sanders: How you go about doing it is having legislation passed, or giving the authority to the secretary of treasury to determine, under Dodd-Frank, that these banks are a danger to the economy over the problem of too-big-to-fail.

    Daily News: But do you think that the Fed, now, has that authority?

    Sanders: Well, I don’t know if the Fed has it. But I think the administration can have it.

    Daily News: How? How does a President turn to JPMorgan Chase, or have the Treasury turn to any of those banks and say, “Now you must do X, Y and Z?”

    Sanders: Well, you do have authority under the Dodd-Frank legislation to do that, make that determination.

    Daily News: You do, just by Federal Reserve fiat, you do?

    Sanders: Yeah. Well, I believe you do.

    There’s a lot more where that came from.

    I hope Sanders does some more homework and comes up with better, more specific examples of how he intends to break up the big banks.

  123. blf says

    Workers vote to unionize at Donald Trump’s Las Vegas hotel:

    Trump’s company is likely to appeal after the National Labor Review Board told it to negotiate with staff representatives at the Trump International Hotel

    The National Labor Relations Board has officially certified the union election by 500 workers at Donald Trump’s Las Vegas hotel, overruling the objections of the union-averse employer.

    “We voted for a union so we could negotiate a fair contract with Mr Trump,” Jeffrey Wise, a food server at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, said in a statement. “We voted and won — now it’s time for him to listen to us, the voters, and finally do the right thing by making a deal with his employees.”


    “Mr Trump says he wants to make America great again — he has a great opportunity to start right here in Las Vegas at his hotel,” said Geocanda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the union.

    There aren’t too many readers’s comments at the moment. Some of them:

    ● “Presumably he’ll take the line that his plan to Make America Great Again by beating the Chinese is to pay Chinese-level wages to Americans.”

    ● “Yep, that Trump really cares about his workers in the USA. Pays them shit with no healthcare. No wonder he loves taking his jobs to Mexico, China, and the Middle East.” [The article mentioned that “[…] workers at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas earn on average $3.33 an hour less than workers at unionized hotels. They also have to pay for their health insurance […]” –blf]

  124. blf says

    Follow-up to previous comments on this and the previous page, California and New York governors sign bills raising minimum wage to $15. The bills are quite different.

    California: “The bill will bump the state’s $10 hourly minimum by 50 cents next year and to $11 in 2018. Hourly $1 raises will then come every January until 2022, unless the governor imposes a delay during an economic recession. Businesses with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply.
      “Wages will rise with inflation each year thereafter.”

    New York: “[G]radually [raises] the $9 minimum wage to $15, starting in New York City in three years and phasing in at a lower level elsewhere. An eventual statewide increase to $15 would be tied to economic indicators such as inflation.”

  125. says

    blf @134: From text you quoted, “The Republicans seem to be shocked that the result of decades of polarising rhetoric is a polarised society.” That reminds me of men’s rights advocates that are surprised when their misogyny has a deleterious effect on women. If you work at it long enough, you can divide populations, political cohorts, etc. Or, you can heat up a gender war or a racial war.

    This paragraph had me laughing (black comedy):

    Trump seems to have the emotional range of a Power Rangers villain and the social skills of a teenage Minotaur. He looks like a pumpkin having a nervous breakdown, talks like the words are being fired out of his mouth by a tennis ball launcher and has the general manner of an arrogant televangelist suspected of murder by Columbo. His approach to public speaking? “If in doubt, switch to your internal monologue.” His core demographic? Possibly men whose holiday destinations would significantly overlap with a list of missing women.

  126. blf says

    Loonies on the march, Utah ranchers vow to stand up to government despite Oregon arrests:

    As the unofficial leaders of the land-use rights movement [sic] are being prosecuted, ranchers remain steadfast in fighting what they say is federal overreach

    On 23 January, a group of Utah ranchers gathered in Cedar City and made a pledge: they signed notices of withdrawal of consent to be governed — a statement rejecting the authority of the federal agencies that regulate grazing and charge fees to have livestock use public lands.


    Some in rural parts of central and southern Utah tell stories of extreme overreach by the government, alleging that the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and environmental advocacy groups have used endangered species regulations and conservation initiatives to prevent families from sustaining ranches passed down through generations.

    Environmentalists, meanwhile, argue that the federal government, which controls roughly 66% of the land in Utah, plays a vital role in protecting habitats and regulating multiple land uses — and that if ranchers had more discretion to graze, the consequences would be devastating.


    Utah needs to stand up and take their land back, said Stanton Gleave, a 66-year-old Kingston rancher and one of the men who signed […]. I don’t think we was ever supposed to be governed by a federal government. We’re supposed to be a free people{…} If we was ever free, we’ve lost it somewhere down the line.


    They’re doing all of this stuff illegally to the Finicums and to the Bundys, said Matthew Wood, a […] rancher. When are they coming after us, and what excuse are they going to use to come after us?

    Todd Macfarlane, [… another] rancher who had traveled to the Oregon occupation […], said that Utah ranchers were tired of being labeled as extremists for defending their rights to use the land and maintain their ranching businesses.


    Bill Hedden, executive director of the Grand Canyon Trust, a Utah environmental group, said the complaints of ranchers were wildly exaggerated — and that BLM’s restrictions are critical to the health of the land. “America has decided they are public lands,” he said. “No matter how these guys want to rewrite history{…} these never were their lands.”

    Selected readers’s comments:

    ● “Ranches passed down for generations? In fact their ancestors never owned that land, they squatted on it. […]”

    ● “Glorified Welfare Queens, steeling [sic] public resources has become a way of life for these people.
      “Their ancestors did it by claiming the Indians were less than human, and had no rights. Now they are claiming they are better than the rest of the taxpayers because they ‘squat’ on the land. […]”

    ● “White folks have always been particularly adept at stealing other people’s land.”

    ● “And by federal overreach these ranchers mean the government won’t allow them them to exploit public land for their own financial rewards.”

    ● “Utah is an extraordinary state in terms of wildlife and beauty. Unfortunately for it and all of us, current leaders have turned a couple hundred years of law and the constitution on its head to to conclude the federal government cannot hold lands in trust for the people. These tumbleweed terrorists seem to think that if they stomp and yell loud enough, lie a lot more, and better fund the absurd they will get their way and our public lands will be gone forever. […]” [emphasis in the original –blf]

    ● “‘I am a rancher, so I want my cattle to graze for free on somebody’s else land!’
      “Those guys are very unhappy to have to pay for something because of a nasty federal government, but at the same time, are very happy to receive federal farming subsidies or to use federally paid infrastructure.”

    ● “With their logic I can now freely settle in Yosemite Valley.”

    ● “Utah needs to stand up and take their land back — Hope that the 5 Nations do it first, lead by the Utes.”

  127. says

    He did it. The governor of Mississippi signed the anti-gay law that the Republican-dominated legislature sent to him.

    The measure allows churches, religious charities and privately held businesses to decline services to people whose lifestyles violate their religious beliefs. Individual government employees may also opt out, although the measure says governments must still provide services.

  128. says

    Uh, this is not a good idea.

    Roger Stone, an informal adviser to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, said Monday that in the event of a contested GOP convention he planned to disclose where delegates are staying in Cleveland so that Trump supporters could give them a piece of their mind.

    Stone issued a scathing condemnation of the GOP nomination process in an interview on Freedomain Radio, and urged Trump’s supporters to “march on Cleveland” if delegates were to “steal” the nomination from the real estate mogul.

    “Join us in the Forest City. We’re going to have protests, demonstrations,” Stone said. “We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal. If you’re from Pennsylvania, we’ll tell you who the culprits are. We urge you to visit their hotel and find them.” […]

  129. says

    President Obama criticized both Trump and Cruz in his press conference today.

    […] Obama was asked whether Trump’s proposals — including his latest, to use the remittances Mexicans immigrants in the United States send back to Mexico as leverage to fund a border wall — were doing damage to the U.S. image abroad.

    “I’ve been very clear earlier that I am getting questions constantly from foreign leaders about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made. I do have to emphasize it’s not just Mr. Trump’s proposals,” Obama said. “You’re also hearing concerns about Mr. Cruz’s proposals, which, in some ways, are just as draconian when it comes to immigration, for example.”

    Obama went on to criticize Trump’s “impractical” remittance plan, the consequences of which Obama said would be “enormous.”

    “The notion that we’re going to track every Western Union bit of money being sent to Mexico, good luck with that,” Obama said. He also said that any harm done to Mexico’s economy would cause more immigration into the United States.

    “We got big issues around the world,” Obama said. “People expect the president of the United States and the elected officials in this country to treat these problems seriously, to put forward policies that have been examined, analyzed, are effective, where unintended consequences are taken into account. They don’t expect half-baked notions coming out of the White House.” […]

    “Half-baked” is a good adjective for Cruz’s policy proposals.

  130. says

    After a crude oil spill in South Dakota, a portion of the Keystone pipeline was shut down.

    Pipeline operator TransCanada shut down a section of its Keystone pipeline Sunday after about 187 gallons of crude oil spilled from the line […]

    The Keystone pipeline ships about 500,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Illinois and Texas. The section of pipe running from Alberta to Cushing, Oklahoma has been shut down and will remain closed until Friday at the earliest, but the bottom portion of the pipeline — which runs from Cushing to Texas — is still up and running.

    The pipeline is the namesake for the Keystone XL pipeline, which President Obama rejected in November. Keystone XL would have provided additional oil-transporting infrastructure to the route — the proposed pipeline, if approved, would have carried up to 830,000 barrels of oil from Alberta’s tar sands each day. […]

    Environmental groups said Monday that the older Keystone’s spill drives home the threat that Keystone XL would have posed to the environment. They also pointed out that the Keystone pipeline, which was approved by President George W. Bush in 2008, leaked oil 12 times in its first year of operation alone. […]

    Think Progress link

  131. says

    This is, in a way, a followup to blf’s comment 139.

    Politicians from Utah are proposing the sale or disposal of public lands in places other than the western USA. Representative Rob Bishop is a Republican and a mormon from Utah. He is infected with the make-public-land-private and the no-regulations ideologies. Look at what he wants to do in Puerto Rico:

    A new bill to address Puerto Rico’s debt crisis is drawing fire over a controversial provision that would enable the sale and private development of thousands of acres in the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge.

    The provision, authored by Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT), would give 3,100 acres of the popular wildlife refuge to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to sell off to private interests. Right now, the wildlife refuge is protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but in the hands of private interests, it could end up being developed — a scenario that could threaten the species that call the refuge home.

    Vieques National Wildlife Refuge is the largest and one of the most ecologically diverse refuges in the Caribbean. It is home to at least 14 endangered animals and plants and many other endemic species, and provides important habitat for 190 species of migratory and resident birds. […]

    Bishop has repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted to sell off national forests and other federally-managed natural areas around the country. In addition to sponsoring a bill that would dispose of 40,000 acres of public land in Utah, he organized an “action group” to sell off national public lands, and has sympathized with the armed militants who took over the Malhuer National Wildife Refuge earlier this year.

    Think Progress link

  132. says

    This is a followup to comments 120, 121, and 122.

    President Obama talked about the corporate looting outlined in the Panama Papers.

    […] After laying out new Treasury Department rules intended to discourage American companies from using international mergers to get out of paying their taxes, Obama connected the dots between such “inversion” mergers and the revelations of the Panama Papers. […] he said, powerful Americans use the same elites-only financial clubhouse too.

    “In the news over the last couple of days we’ve had another reminder in this big dump of data coming out of Panama that tax avoidance is a big global phenomenon. […] frankly there are folks here in America who are taking advantage of this same stuff,” the president said. “A lot of it’s legal, but that’s exactly the problem. It’s not that they’re breaking the laws, it’s that the laws are so poorly designed that they allow people, if they’ve got enough lawyers and accountants, to wiggle out of responsibilities that ordinary citizens have to abide by.”

    […]. Inverted firms are “getting all the rewards of being an American company without fulfilling the responsibilities to pay their taxes the way everybody else is supposed to pay them,” Obama said.

    When a large corporate entity keeps relying on U.S. roads, patents, research funding, and workers while ensuring they don’t kick as much money back into public coffers as they are supposed to, they are effectively changing their corporate passports in order to loot American society. Such tax avoidance, while carefully designed to stay within the letter of the law, “makes it harder to invest in the things that are going to keep America’s economy going strong for future generations,” he said. […]


  133. says

    This is a followup to comment 141.

    Roger Stone has been banned from MSNBC. Even the most Republican or rightwing show on MSNBC, “With All Due Respect,” cancelled a scheduled appearance by Stone.

    […] Stone has written disgusting tweets targeting figures at media organizations including CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. He’s called various media personalities an “arrogant know-it-all negro,” a “stupid negro,” a “fat negro,” a “professional negro,” a “Mandingo,” “quota hires,” “senile,” and “the muff-diver.” […]

    Media Matters link.

    Roger Stone is one of the major spokespeople for Donald Trump. Supposedly, Stone is now an “unofficial spokesperson,” but you would not be able to tell that from the way the Trump campaign uses him to make its points.

  134. says

    The Panama Papers have claimed their first victim. The Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, has resigned. Link

    See comments 120, 121, 122 and 145 for more on the Panama Papers.

  135. says

    What a nasty combination: white supremacy and meth. Some members of the Aryan Brotherhood in East Texas were arrested for running a meth distribution and sales operation, and for being connected to local murder cases.

    The feds are cracking down on an East Texas meth ring that’s believed to have united the Aryan Brotherhood and unidentified African-American street gangs. And in an unusual twist, a federal prosecutor has singled out a group of white women as the possible leaders of the operation, which could be connected to two recent execution-style murders.

    “It’s unusual. We’ve got women [at the top of the indictment],” John Malcolm Bales, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, said at a press conference Monday.

    “It’s an unfortunate expression of girl power,” he added. […]

    The Daily Beast link

    Conflicting reports that the three white women involved are not white supremacists are presented in the article. The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas identified them as white supremacists. And there’s this:

    In one October 2015 post, Courtney Crim-Gross shared a black-and-white flyer for the American Freedom Party—a white nationalist political party—reading, “White pride doesn’t mean hate! It’s ok, you can say it! I’m proud to be white!

    “There is no need to feel guilty because of the past! If that offends you, your (sic) racist,” the poster continues before adding, “Why can’t pro-white rights organizations exist without being labeled ‘racist’?”

    Sounds like white supremacy to me. Or total cluelessness.

  136. says

    CaitieCat @149, I’ll go for that. “AND” it is. [smiles, ’cause yes they do go together]

    Votes are still being counted in Wisconsin, but the race has been called.

    Bernie Sanders won on the Democratic side. At this point in time, Sanders has 53.4% and Clinton has 46.4% of the vote.

    Ted Cruz won on the Republican side. At this point, Cruz has 52.9%, Trump 29.7% and Kasich 5.1%

    I’ll update the percentages later when all the votes are in.

    Cruz is giving his victory speech … and I just can’t.

  137. says

    I came across this story that you may have read about (or already knew the details of). I think it qualifies as a Mormon Moment of [Political] Madness-

    A decade after the arrest of polygamous prophet Warren Jeffs, insiders say his church has literally become a place of feast or famine, of haves and have-nots.

    Prison has done little to loosen Jeffs’ hold on many of his followers, even if he is now a convicted child-sex offender serving a life sentence. They still await his revelations and follow his directives, both difficult and bizarre.

    But some members are leaving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints — and disobeying their prophet’s longstanding orders to avoid law enforcement and “answer them nothing.”

    These FLDS outcasts are talking to the FBI.

    They include the former cooks and drivers for the Jeffs family, as well as ex-wives and others who hovered close to the church leaders and their power center. Their words fill hundreds of pages of freshly filed federal court documents, bringing outsiders into the cloistered world of the FLDS like never before.

    According to these breakaway members, the FLDS of 2016 has a pecking order: There are the elite church leaders and chosen followers, and everyone else.

    “There was so much class distinction and shunning of people,” said a former cook for the family of Bishop Lyle Jeffs, the prophet’s brother and right-hand man. She spoke of seeing shopping carts full of meat and turkeys earmarked for the bishop’s family while others made do with rice and beans.

    The new social structure came about, as so many things do in the FLDS, when prophet Warren Jeffs had a revelation. This one came on December 12, 2011, about four months after he started serving the life sentence in Texas.

    He told followers that God ordered him to create a United Order of members most worthy of heaven. And, before the month was up, his brother Lyle was lining up members at the old elementary school and quizzing them about their lives and faith to determine who was, indeed, worthy. They were instructed to hand over everything they owned and told the church would provide for their earthly needs.

    The prophet — and there is little doubt Warren Jeffs is still the FLDS prophet — chooses who will be included in the United Order. His brothers, Lyle and Seth, serve as “bishops” and carry out the prophet’s wishes at FLDS compounds along the Utah-Arizona border and in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

    The cook, Allene Jeffs Steed, told the FBI last year that while she prepared feasts of lobster and shrimp for the bishop, her own children “lived off toast.” She used duct tape to hold her kids’ shoes together. And hers wasn’t the only FLDS family to go without.

    “We were literally starving,” Sheryl Barlow told the FBI in February. She lived in a house with 40 people and said they subsisted on noodles, brown rice, tomato juice and, when they were lucky, bread or a few containers of yogurt.

    Federal prosecutors allege that food for the families of church leaders was ordered separately from stores such as Costco, while other members were left to shop at a warehouse of pooled resources called “the bishop’s storehouse.” Often, there wasn’t enough in the storehouse for everyone, and those at the bottom of the FLDS pecking order had to settle for whatever was left.

    “We had little children that were starving, big people that were starving,” Barlow said. “It wasn’t enough to sustain.”

    Fear and small numbers have long silenced the “apostates,” as the FLDS calls its turncoats. They’d be cut off from their families, shunned and harassed. Now, there are just too many of them. In some cases, entire families are leaving the fold.

    The witnesses lent their voices to two court actions likely to mark a major turning point for the FLDS. In one, federal authorities took aim at the church leadership, trying to loosen its grip on two small towns along the Utah-Arizona border known as Short Creek, where some 7,500 FLDS members live. The other, filed in February, targets the way the FLDS allegedly uses women and children as welfare cash cows.

  138. says

    Florida Governor Rick Scott.
    Oh the poor, poor dear.
    So beleaguered. So despised.
    So unable to get a cup of coffee at Starbucks:

    Today, footage surfaced of Florida governor Rick Scott, at a Starbucks in Gainesville, getting yelled at by a customer—local woman Cara Jennings, who is none to happy with the governor.

    “You cut Medicaid so I couldn’t get Obamacare,” Jennings shouts. “You’re an asshole. You don’t care about working people. You should be ashamed to show your face around here.”

    The two have a small back and forth as Scott attempts to remind the customer that he’s “created 1 million jobs.” “Where?” Jennings responds.

    As he leaves the cafe—without any coffee—Jennings accuses Scott of denying women access to vital care, presumably because that is precisely what the governor did last month. He then says something unintelligible back to the customer before hurrying out of the store.

    Jenning told ABC Action News that she knew she had to say something about the abortion bill to the governor when she saw him in her local Starbucks and that “a number of people came up to me and thanked me.”

    I feel so tewwibwy, tewwibwy bad for the governor.

  139. says

    Tony @151, I hadn’t read the source you provided, but I have seen from other sources that more people are coming forward to testify against the FLDS leaders. Some of them still think that they are endangering their eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom by doing so, but they have been pushed over the edge.

    Warren Jeffs sent instructions to his followers via his lawyers, including an instruction that only men he deemed “worthy” could impregnate the women (who was married to whom made no difference). When wives of Jeffs visited him in prison they wore tiny tape recorders disguised as watches to record a sermon of sorts for the faithful. Authorities finally put a stop to that, but it is amazing how much control he still exerts.

    Some of those malnourished mothers and children were used for welfare fraud.
    Salt Lake Tribune line.
    Another Salt Lake Tribune link.

    […] FLDS leaders ordered members to give their food-stamp benefits — in food and cash transfers — to the church, which collects and redistributes commodities to the community. The leaders tell church members that they must obtain their food and household goods only through the church […]

    The leaders have also been accused several times of using child labor on construction jobs, to pick walnuts, etc.

    FLDS is obviously a patriarchal power structure set up to serve the top men with goodies and to disenfranchise everyone else.

  140. says

    Here are the final results from the Wisconsin primary vote yesterday:

    Ted Cruz, 48.2%, awarded 36 delegates
    Donald Trump, 35.1%, awarded 6 delegates
    John Kasich, 14.1%, not awarded any delegates

    Bernie Sanders 56.6%, awarded 47 delegates
    Hillary Clinton, 43.1%, awarded 36 delegates

    Trump now has 743 delegates, Cruz 517, and Kasich 143. The number needed for nomination is 1,237.

    Clinton now has 1,748 delegates, and Sanders has 1,058. The number needed for nomination is 2,383.

  141. says

    Wisconsin voters were also selecting a judge during last night’s voting. The winner is awful. Rebecca Bradley was voted to a full term on the State Supreme Court.

    […] Bradley had the full support of the conservative movement behind her. She has risen through the ranks during Walker’s tenure with the support of groups like the Wisconsin Club for Growth. […]

    In one of her college columns, Bradley criticized people trying to bring attention to the AIDS epidemic, hitting “their misdirected compassion for the degenerates who basically commit suicide through their behavior.” […]

    “How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments,” she added.

    In another column, she compared abortion to the Holocaust and slavery.

    Bradley apologized for the columns after they came out, saying they were old and have “nothing to do with who I am as a person or a jurist, and they have nothing to do with the issues facing the voters of this state.”

    Bradley defeated state Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg, who was backed by liberals. She will now have a full 10-year term on the state Supreme Court and be part of the conservative majority on the seven-member court. […]

    “Public confidence in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has plummeted in recent years, and high-cost and politicized elections like this one are one of the big reasons why,” said Alicia Bannon, senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “When judges start looking like politicians in robes, the public may wonder if they can be trusted to decide cases fairly and impartially.” […]

    “There is no place on any Supreme Court or any court in this country, no place at all for Rebecca Bradley’s decades-long track record of dangerous rhetoric against women, survivors of sexual assault and the LGBT community,” Hillary Clinton said during a speech in Milwaukee Saturday night.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin, that he was hoping for a large turnout, which “will help elect JoAnne Kloppenburg to the Supreme Court.”

  142. says

    Huff Po link for text quoted in comment 155.

    After losing in Wisconsin, Donald Trump threw a temper tantrum. Here’s the statement that was issued:

    Donald J. trump withstood the onslaught of the establishment yet again. Lyin’ Ted Cruz had the Governor of Wisconsin, many conservative talk radio show hosts, and the entire party apparatus behind him. Not only was he propelled by the anti-Trump Super PAC’s spending countless millions of dollars on false advertising against Me. Trump, but he was coordinating with his own Super PAC’s (which is illegal) who totally control him. Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet— he is a Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump. We have total confidence that Mr. Trump will go on to win in New York, where he holds a substantial lead in all the polls, and beyond. Mr. Trump is the only candidate who can secure the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination and ultimately defeat Hillary Clinton, or whomever is the Democratic nominee, in order to Make America Great Again.

  143. blf says

    Pratzis gotta be prattling prats, Jean-Marie Le Pen fined again for dismissing Holocaust as ‘detail’: “French court fines former leader of far-right Front National for third time for calling Nazi gas chambers a mere detail of history. Nothing particularly surprising there, but as a reminder, Jean-Marie Le Pen endorses Trump days after ex-KKK leader urges support: “Ex-leader of French far-right party tweets that if he were American he would vote for the Republican frontrunner […]. [Le prat] in the past has said the Nazi occupation was not particularly inhumane and suggested Ebola could solve Europe’s immigration problem.”

  144. blf says

    Over 100 medical groups urge Congress to fund CDC research on gun violence:

    Congress asked to lift 1996 amendment on bill that effectively banned Centers for Disease Control from researching guns as a ‘serious public health threat’

    A coalition of more than 100 medical groups is asking Congress to fund research on gun violence at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to end a decades-long drought of federal public health research on the subject.

    The groups sent a letter on Wednesday requesting that Congress “end the dramatic chilling effect of the current rider language restricting gun violence research and to fund this critical work”.

    The lack of gun violence research at the CDC is attributed to the Dickey amendment, a rider on a 1996 bill which prohibits the organization from using funds to advocate or promote gun control. The amendment has been interpreted as a prohibition on almost all gun violence research at the organization, though even its author, former congressman Jay Dickey, has since called on the US to reverse the law and start funding gun research. The groups say that although the language does not expressly prohibit research on gun violence, the amendment combined with the dearth of funding for such research has caused a de facto ban.

    The letter was signed by 141 organizations who said they represented more than one million health professionals across the country, including the American Medical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The groups requested funding for the CDC to be included in health and human services funding for the next fiscal year.


  145. says

    Representative Glenn Grothman, Republican congressman from Wisconsin, accidentally said out loud the real reason Republicans are pushing voter ID laws:

    I think Hillary Clinton is about the weakest candidate the Democrats have ever put up. And now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.

    WTMJ-TV Milwaukee link.

    This accidental truth-telling is reminiscent of a Pennsylvania Republican official saying in 2012 that the state’s voter ID law was “gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

    We’ve seen a lot of pushback against voter ID laws in Wisconsin, but so far the laws are still on the books. Yes, those laws will reduce voter participation in the following populations: low-income, minority, and student.

  146. says

    Trevor Noah presented a segment that included a roundup of Trump’s misogynistic comments, but it was the end, the part following all the stuff we already know, that was really yucky.

    When asked about one of his infant daughters, Tiffany, Trump said:

    Well, I think she’s got a lot of Marla and she’s a really beautiful baby. And she’s, uh, she’s got, uh, she’s got Marla’s legs. We don’t know whether or not she’s got this part yet (puts hands over breast area), but time will tell.

    Scroll down to view the video.

  147. blf says

    Former Mexican president Vicente Fox attacks Donald Trump’s ‘racist’ ideas:

    In Guardian op-ed, Fox says Republican frontrunner’s statements are ‘disgraceful and offensive’ […]

    Former Mexican president Vicente Fox has condemned Donald Trump for what he said was a series of “racist and ignorant ideas” regarding Mexico in an op-ed for the Guardian.


    “He thinks building the ‘Trump Wall’ will right every wrong in the United States,” Fox wrote. “Indeed, he’s built a huge mental wall around himself already, which doesn’t allow him to see the greatness of our people.”


    Presidente Fox’s article, Let’s raise our voices against this dictator, Donald Trump is worth reading. I don’t have any excerpts to add to those reported above.

  148. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The group/leader that made the fake videos of Planned Parenthood was raided by the California Department of Justice.

    California Department of Justice agents have raided the home of David Daleiden, the anti-abortion activist who targeted women’s healthcare group Planned Parenthood with a series of undercover videos, his attorney said on Wednesday.
    Eleven agents seized four computers and hundreds of hours of video footage from Daleiden’s apartment in Huntington Beach on Tuesday, said Charles LiMandri, a civil attorney for Daleiden in three cases in California.
    Daleiden and his group, the Center for Medical Progress, began releasing videos in mid-2015 purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to negotiate prices for aborted fetal tissue. Under federal law, donated human fetal tissue may be used for research, but profiting from its sale is prohibited.
    Planned Parenthood denied the accusation and called the probe politically motivated.
    The videos caused a political uproar, leading several Republican-controlled states as well as Republicans in the U.S. Congress to try to halt funding for the women’s health organization. They also renewed the debate over abortion rights, which has since become one of the central issues of the presidential campaign.
    Asked about the raid, Brenda Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for California Attorney General Kamala Harris, said: “I cannot comment on any ongoing investigation.”
    Harris said last year she would “review” the undercover videos. On Wednesday, a source with knowledge of the matter said her office was conducting an investigation.
    Daleiden is under criminal investigation in Texas, where he was indicted in February for tampering with a government record and violating a prohibition on the purchase and sale of human body parts.
    LiMandri said the California seizure came “out of nowhere” as Daleiden continued to cooperate with authorities in civil investigations. He added that Daleiden was working to secure a criminal attorney.
    “We will pursue all remedies to vindicate our First Amendment rights,” Daleiden said in a statement released on Tuesday.
    Planned Parenthood said the raid showed Daleiden was “paying the price” for creating his undercover videos and maintained it had done nothing wrong. “David Daleiden’s lies are catching up with him,” communications director Erica Sackin said in a statement.

    Evidently Daleiden’s lying and bullshitting led to some bad Karma…

  149. says

    President Obama asked Congress to approve $1.9 billion to fight the Zika virus. He didn’t get the funds … at least not yet. Congress is balking for the usual reason: the Republicans do not want to say yes to anything Obama proposes.

    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that Republican legislators need to decide if their hatred for President Obama “trumps their desire to try to protect pregnant women in their states from this terrible disease.”

  150. says

    Well this is just silly. Hillary Clinton made some remarks about Bernie Sanders being “unprepared” to follow through on some of his campaign promises. The “unprepared” remark came during an MSNBC interview in which the Sanders interview with Daily News editors was discussed. (See comment 135.)

    Sanders did not answer several questions during that interview, so “unprepared” could be considered accurate. Clinton had actually resisted saying “unqualified” when pressed by MSNBC journalists. Then the media blew up the remarks, with some reporters spinning the story into a “Bernie is not qualified to be President” headline. Then Bernie Sanders responded by claiming that Clinton had said he was not qualified to be president, so, [big emphasis and lots of shouting], “Secretary Clinton is not qualified to be President of the United States!” (paraphrased0

    Give me a break. Tempest in a teapot. Please return to your corners and get some perspective before speaking again.

    Here’s what Sanders said:

    Secretary Clinton appears to be getting a little bit nervous. And she has been saying lately that she thinks that I am quote unquote not qualified to be president. Well, let me, let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton: I don’t believe that she is qualified, if she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds. […] That maybe the American people might wonder about your qualifications, Madam Secretary, when you voted for the war in Iraq, the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in the modern history of America.

    Here’s what Clinton said:

    “I think he hadn’t done his homework [for the Daily News interview] and he’d been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn’t really studied or understood, and that does raise a lot of questions,” Clinton said when asked whether Sanders was qualified or ready to be president. “Really what that goes to is for voters to ask themselves can he deliver what he’s talking about.”

    When questioned about the argument, Clinton added today:

    “It’s kind of a silly thing to say, but I’m going to trust the voters of New York, who know me, and have voted for me three times — twice for senate, once in the presidential primary,” Clinton told reporters outside of a campaign event at Yankee Stadium in New York. “I don’t know why he is saying that, but I will take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz any time.”

    Sanders blamed the media today:

    “So when, you have headlines in the Washington Post, ‘Clinton questions whether Sanders is qualified to be president,’ my response is well, you know, if you want to question my qualifications, let me suggest this,” Sanders said. “That maybe the American people might wonder about your qualifications, Madam Secretary, when you voted for the war in Iraq, the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in the modern history of America.”

    The Washington Post article he referenced pulled together numerous interviews in which Clinton said Sanders was ill-prepared for an interview with the New York Daily News and questioned his commitment to the Democratic Party. In those interviews, Clinton didn’t explicitly say Sanders was unqualified for the presidency.

    I was going to ignore all the silliness, but the fight is continuing today, and it is getting a lot of play in almost every media outlet I checked. Still silly.

  151. says

    Nerd @162, I was really glad to see the anti-abortion propagandist (liar) David Daleiden now needs a criminal lawyer. However, I also see that the raid on his propaganda mill has made him even more of a hero on the far right, especially with religious right-wingers. They are turning him into a martyr.

    In other news, Ben Carson is trying to remain relevant by acting as a surrogate for Donald Trump. While doing so, Carson continues to say stupid stuff.

    Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson on Thursday briefly left CNN anchors John Berman and Kate Balduan speechless when he suggested Berman had “probably been charged” with a crime.

    Berman had asked the Donald Trump surrogate to justify the continued employment of Trump’s campaign manager, who has been charged with misdemeanor battery.

    Berman asked Carson if Corey Lewandowski should remain in charge of the Trump campaign in light of his arrest for allegedly grabbing the arm of a former Breitbart News reporter. He noted many people cited Lewandowski’s battery as a credible reason to dismiss the top aide.

    “Well, I mean, a lot of people have been charged with various things,” Carson responded. “That doesn’t necessarily mean we need to demonize them. You’ve probably been charged with something too, maybe with a misdemeanor or something. It doesn’t mean you’re an evil, horrible person.”

    Bolduan and Berman looked at each other with disbelief for a few seconds after Carson suggested Berman had a criminal record.

    “I actually haven’t, as far as I know,” Berman then chimed in as Carson continued to talk over him.[…]

  152. says

    Ted Cruz got a heaping serving of New York values today.

    […] The Republican presidential candidate who has criticized Donald Trump for his “New York values,” spent Wednesday campaigning in the Bronx, a borough of New York City known for its largely Hispanic and black population. But the day didn’t go as planned.

    At one campaign stop, protesters and hecklers interrupted Cruz’s stump speech and approached him on the street, yelling that Cruz has “no business in the Bronx.” And later in the day, the Texas senator was forced to cancel a visit to a Bronx high school after students planned a walk out.

    The U.S. Census Bureau considers the Bronx to be the most diverse area in the country — more than 53 percent of the population is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. Those diverse residents made it clear on Wednesday that they are not pleased with Cruz’s plans to deport millions of people including children and to hire Trump to build a Mexican border wall, despite the senator’s upbringing by an immigrant father.

    One protester, Rodrigo Venegas, interrupted Cruz’s event to call him a “right-wing bigot.”

    “You’re running on an anti-immigrant platform, and you’re speaking in the Bronx,” Venegas told Cruz. “You should not be here.” […]

    This reminds me of the coffee shop confrontation PZ highlighted, when a regular citizen got in the face of a politician and told it like it is.

  153. says

    This is a followup to comments 13, 16, 98, 141, and 146.

    Roger Stone, infamous Trump supporter, mouthed off some more. He still sounds stupid.

    Yesterday, […] Roger Stone chatted with Dana Loesch about the “Days of Rage” he is planning with Alex Jones to make sure that delegates and party officials at the Republican National Convention don’t “steal” the nomination from Trump.

    Stone, who remains one of Trump’s close confidants, said he resented any claim that he was provoking violence.

    “If somebody wanted to cast false asparagus on this, sure, but it’s a famous phrase from the ’68 convention,” he said.

    (We are not sure if he simply flubbed the word “aspersions” or was deliberately channeling Rep. Louie Gohmert.)

    “There’s no place in my comments ad nauseum where I advocated violence, but I do think there’s strength in numbers and I do think it’s important that people come to Cleveland to let their voice be heard,” Stone added.

    He also criticized MSNBC for joining CNN in banning him from the air, alleging that the network practices “Soviet-style censorship” and “has decided to throw out the First Amendment to trample on free speech rights.” (Stone, like some others in the conservative movement, apparently thinks he has a constitutional right to appear on television.)

    Right Wing Watch link.

  154. says

    On, this is good. Both Sanders and Clinton have called for expanding federally-mandated parental leave. It is great to see some cities moving ahead on this issue on their own.

    On Tuesday, San Francisco became the first US city to require that all new parents—mothers, fathers, and same-sex partners—get fully paid parental leave for six weeks after giving birth or adopting a child. The new law follows the efforts by tech companies in the area, including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Twitter, to offer employees robust parental leave policies in an effort to increase work-life balance.

    California is one of only five states that already offers some form of parental leave, but this new city-wide law is one of the most generous in the country. Workers in the Golden State now get six weeks off, but they receive just 55 percent of their pay. New Jersey and Rhode Island have similar laws, and Washington state recently passed a parental leave law that has not taken effect. In March, the New York legislature approved a parental leave policy that will cover 12 weeks of paid time off, though the law will go into effect in 2018 and will initially cover only 50 percent of average pay.

    The United States, which guarantees up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave, is the only developed country that does not guarantee all new parents paid parental leave. Expectant mothers get 18 weeks of paid leave in Australia, 39 weeks in the United Kingdom, and 480 days in Sweden. […]

    Mother Jones link.

  155. says

    Ellen DeGeneres created a thoughtful, 3:38 minute, video arguing against Mississippi’s anti-LGBT bill.

    Jessica Williams of The Daily Show debunked the “bathroom predator” myth.

    Charles Barkley said:

    The NBA Should Move The All-Star Game From Charlotte.

    Barkley was referencing the anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill in North Carolina.

    […] You know, as a black person, I’m against any form of discrimination — against whites, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, however you want to phrase it. It’s my job, with the position of power that I’m in, and being able to be on television, I’m supposed to stand up for the people who can’t stand up for themselves. So, I think the NBA should move the All-Star Game from Charlotte. And we can figure it out, I know Atlanta wants to host it. But they should move it out of Charlotte.

  156. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    To the surprise of nobody here, a AP-GfK poll shows that The Donald has the largest negatives of any candidate.

    For Americans of nearly every race, gender, political persuasion and location, disdain for Donald Trump runs deep, saddling the Republican front-runner with unprecedented unpopularity as he tries to overcome recent campaign setbacks.
    Seven in 10 people, including close to half of Republican voters, have an unfavorable view of Trump, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. It’s an opinion shared by majorities of men and women; young and old; conservatives, moderates and liberals; and whites, Hispanics and blacks — a devastatingly broad indictment of the billionaire businessman.
    Even in the South, a region where Trump has won GOP primaries decisively, close to 70 percent view him unfavorably. And among whites without a college education, one of Trump’s most loyal voting blocs, 55 percent have a negative opinion…
    Beyond their generally negative perception of Trump, large majorities also said they would not describe him as civil, compassionate or likable. On nearly all of these measures, Trump fared worse than his remaining Democratic or Republican rivals…Candi Edie, a registered Republican from Arroyo Grande, California, is among those whose views on Trump have grown more negative.
    “At first, I thought he was great. He was bringing out a lot of issues that weren’t ever said, they were taboo,” Edie said. Now the 64-year-old feels Trump’s early comments masked the fact that he’s “such a bigot.”…
    Andrew Glaves, a “hard core” Republican from Bothell, Washington, said he might have to side with Clinton if Trump becomes the nominee, even though she’s out of step with his views on gun rights, his top election issue.
    “I’d be willing to take that as opposed to doing so much harm to the country’s reputation,” said Glaves, 29…
    One group that is still with him includes those who describe themselves as both Republicans and supporters of the tea party movement. Sixty-eight percent of them have a favorable view.

    Still a favorite of kill the government/bigot faction.

  157. says

    Another Republican has told the truth about voter suppression techniques in Wisconsin. (See comments 101 and 159 for previous discussion.)

    A former top staffer for a Republican legislator in Wisconsin suggested this week that GOP legislators were motivated to pass the state’s tough photo voter ID law because they believed it would help them at the ballot box […]

    Todd Allbaugh, who served as chief of staff for state Sen. Dale Schultz (R,) […] recalled a 2011 caucus meeting of GOP state senators about the voter ID legislation. Allbaugh said during that meeting, some Republicans were “giddy” over the legislation’s “ramifications” and the effect it would have on minority and young voters. […]

    “It just really incensed me that they started talking about this particular bill, and one of the senators got up and said, ‘We really need to think about the ramifications on certain neighborhoods in Milwaukee and on our college campuses and what this could do for us,’” Allbaugh said. “The phrase ‘voter suppression’ was never used, but it was certainly clear what was meant.”

    […] another senator said, ‘What I am interested in is getting results here and using the power while we have it, because if the Democrats were in control they would do they same thing to us, so I want to use it while we have it,’” Allbaugh said. […]

    “It left a pit in my stomach to think that a party that I had worked for for years and years and years was literally talking and plotting to deny someone, a fellow citizen, their constitutional right,” Allbaugh said.

    […] “When you see the real world ramification, it just sickens you,” Allbaugh said. “I have to tell people what’s going on.” […]

    By coincidence, after Allbaugh’s Facebook post went up, U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) told a local TV station that the Wisconsin photo ID law would help Republicans win in November’s election. […]

  158. says

    Seth Meyers talked about the primary in Wisconsin. Besides focusing amusingly on cheese, Meyers called out Republicans for instituting a new, discriminatory voter ID law.

    The video is about seven minutes long, and it is an excellent overview of the mythical “voter fraud” excuse Republicans use, and of the recent truth-telling by Republicans.

    Our voting process is likely to be more dysfunctional in November. There were 5-hour-long lines in Arizona and 3-hour long lines in Wisconsin. There were also long lines in North Carolina.

  159. says

    Rudi Giuliani endorsed Trump for president.

    In other news, here’s more dispiriting anti-gay legislation news out of Tennessee:

    […] Tennessee’s House of Representatives just passed a bill that would allow therapists who believe homosexuality is the mark of Satan to refuse to treat gay clients. […]

    New York Magazine link.

  160. says

    This is a followup to Nerd’s comment 162.

    Oh, FFS. The Center for Medical Progress is still distributing deceptive videos. They issued a new one on April 5th.

    […] This latest video attacks Planned Parenthood’s patient consent process and demonstrates the dangerous feedback loop operating between CMP and anti-choice lawmakers on the select panel. […]

    Media Matters link.

    […] In this latest video, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) used decontextualized footage from the Select Panel on Infant Lives’ first hearing to allege that Planned Parenthood’s consent form — given to women when they are considering donating fetal tissue — is misleading because it states that donated tissue “has been used to treat and find a cure for such diseases as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and AIDS.” CMP notes, “No cures for these diseases are currently available, and no current therapies for them utilize aborted fetal tissue.” […]

    A brief look at some of the facts:

    […] While Goldstein says it’s true that fetal tissue research has not yet found cures for the diseases in question, he also highlights the “vital role” fetal tissues play in research that is searching for cures and treatments. In his opening statement, Goldstein describes fetal tissue research as “ethical, valuable, and vital” to medical progress. According to Goldstein, fetal tissue “cannot be easily replaced” by other other types of stem cells, and it plays a “vital role in modern, cutting-edge biomedical research” such as the work his lab does on Alzheimer’s disease. Goldstein does not parse the specific language of the consent form in question. But in this fuller context, it is clear Goldstein believes fetal tissue research can play a role in developing therapies for the diseases listed on the consent form. […]

    LAWRENCE GOLDSTEIN: […] we are using fetal astrocytes in the study of Alzheimer’s disease. This devastating disease affects 5.3 million Americans and costs us in excess of $200 billion to $300 billion a year. It killed my own mother. […] We don’t have a cure. No cure is obviously in sight and we really do have to find a way to treat this terrible disorder.

    Now, in my own lab, the approach we are taking is to use reprogrammed stem cells to make Alzheimer’s-type brain cells in the dish. That is, to generate Alzheimer’s disease in a dish and to try to understand what is going wrong and to develop drugs that curtail the problems that happen biochemically.

    […] We use fetal astrocytes, which are vital to these investigations. These fetal astrocytes provide growth factors that keep the nerve cells healthy, that help them establish connections, and to be honest, they produce factors that we do not yet have fully defined that help maintain the viability of these cultures and are proving important to us to make new discoveries. […]

    So, let me close by stating once again, that in my opinion, research with fetal tissue and cells that would otherwise be discarded is ethical, valuable, and vital to ongoing biomedical research projects […]

    Other factual presentations are used to debunk the following claims made in the deceptive video:
    – Planned Parenthood exerts “undue influences” to coerce women to donate tissue.
    – Planned Parenthood has been “fraudulently inducing patient consent.”

    The Republican-dominated “Select Panel” uses as “evidence” various kinds of pseudo-facts and fraudulent forms or video segments that is pulled directly from the Center for Medical Progress’ website.

  161. says

    Representative Peter King of New York was being interviewed on a live radio sho when he said this:

    “Let me say something about the New York primary: Any New Yorker who even thinks of voting for Ted Cruz should have their head examined,” King said on the Joe Piscopo Show on AM 970 […]

    “New York keeps going forward,” King continued, citing the city’s response to 9/11. “We’re tough, and to have some guy like Ted Cruz with cowboy boots walk around criticizing us. Look, I hope he gets the cold shoulder and other things from every New Yorker. Send him back where he belongs. He’s a phony, and that was all off the record by the way. I don’t want anyone listening. That was all off the record.”

    “I just can’t stand that guy,” he added.

    King, who previously backed Sen. Marco Rubio, said he would “wait and see” who to support in the primary, but said he didn’t “have the hostility” towards Trump as he did towards Cruz. He said the ideal race would be between Trump and John Katich.

    “Cruz is a guy I really don’t like and by the way, John Kasich is a really good guy,” said King. “John Kasich is good guy.”

    “I would love to see Trump over Cruz here in New York,” added King. “To me, the best debate is between Kasich and Trump. Not between Cruz with that smooth talking, how he loves everyone and is gonna wear the armor of God as he’s into battle and all that. Come on. Give me a break.” […]

    BuzzFeed link.

    Yeah, right. That was all off the record.

    That’s a good window into how much some Republicans dislike Ted Cruz.

  162. says

    Remember that hearing held by the House Republicans’ Benghazi Committee in October 2015, the one that turned out to be an 11-hour campaign ad for Hillary Clinton?

    Well, after Clinton demonstrated with her answers, and with her demeanor, that the committee served no legitimate purpose, and that Trey Gowdy and his fellow Republicans were petulant, childish partisans, the committee did not implode. Nope. That farce is ongoing.

    The Select Committee on Benghazi’s Democratic minority issued a statement yesterday:

    [Thursday] marks the 700th day since the authorization of the Select Committee on Benghazi. During this time, Republicans have discovered no new evidence that contradicts the key findings of the previous bipartisan and independent investigations.

    “As House Republicans drag on their taxpayer-funded partisan attacks on Secretary Clinton closer and closer to the election, their actions have shockingly become even more partisan, secretive, and dysfunctional,” said Ranking Member Elijah Cummings. […]

    Here’s a bit more detail:

    This investigation is one of the longest, least productive and most partisan investigations in Congressional history, having surpassed the length of the 9/11 Commission, as well as the congressional investigations of the Church Committee, Hurricane Katrina, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President Kennedy, and Iran-Contra.

    Ranking Member Cummings sent a letter on March 15, 2016 to Chairman Gowdy strongly objecting to the fact that Republicans have withheld from Democratic Members and staff copies of witness interview transcripts since February 11, 2016. […]

    Seven different congressional committees investigated the attack in Benghazi before the current Select Committee was created. The cost to taxpayers so far is more than $6.5 million.

    Republicans have admitted several times that the committee’s purpose is to reduce the vote for Hillary Clinton, and to reduce her favorability rating among voters. They’ve said that publicly, in accidental truth-telling slip-ups reminiscent of the way that Republicans in Wisconsin admitted that voter ID laws were designed to reduce the vote of constituencies that usually vote Democratic Party candidates. (See comments 159 and 171).

    Republicans intend to keep the Benghazi panel active at least until the elections in November. In an interview with Hillary Clinton in the Bronx today, Matt Lauer told Clinton that many Republicans are hoping for a hail-mary of sorts, namely that the Benghazi investigation or the email security review would come up with evidence that would result in Clinton’s arrest. Today link.

  163. says

    This is a followup to comments 101, 159, 171 and 172 (with emphasis on 171).

    Chris Hayes interviewed Todd Allbaugh.

    […] TODD ALLBAUGH: I’ve been a Republican for a long time. It was at that moment, Chris, in that room in the senate Republican caucus when I heard people, a Party I had fought for for over 30 years of my life, actually giddy and happy and talking about how we can take people’s Constitutional rights away, or at least impede them, in order to hang onto power. […]

    Now, you have a group of people in the state legislature, particularly in the senate Republican caucus, who want to impede peoples’ voting rights. That’s the point where I said “I can’t do it anymore.” I can’t be a Republican, I can’t keep going to caucuses because this Party no longer represents me and what I believe in. […]

    Republicans used to fight for voting rights, and here they were taking them away. So, yes, the point is, this was a poignant point in my life. I remember it clearly and certainly the point in that room that day was how do we do this quickly because there was a lot of recalls going on in Wisconsin at that time. How do we do it quickly so that we can make sure we hang onto power in the future. […]

    Video of the interview is available at the link.

  164. says

    Remember back in January when Donald Trump got all huffy and skipped a debate at which Megyn Kelly was slated to be one of the moderators? Trump said Kelly was blah and blah, then he ran away ’cause he’s a real man … or something like that.

    To cover his retreating ass, Trump held a competing event, a rally to raise funds for charities that help veterans. Trump claimed to have raised $6 million.

    […] Almost $4 million raised by Donald Trump’s campaign at a veterans’ charity fundraising event in January has yet to be distributed to the intended recipients […]

  165. says

    Pope Francis invited Bernie Sanders to speak at a Vatican conference. Sanders will meet with the Pope at the Vatican on April 15. The discussion is supposed to include environmental sustainability and the global economy.

    In other news, to her credit the governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, says she will not support an anti-LBGT bill that would require that people use public restrooms that align with their birth sex. The same bill proposed to ban local governments from setting their own bathroom rules that might allow transgender individuals to choose which bathroom to use.

    When we look at our situation, we’re not hearing of anybody’s religious liberties that are being violated, and we’re again not hearing any citizens that are being violated in terms of freedoms. Like it or not, South Carolina is doing really well when it comes to respect and when it comes to kindness and when it comes to acceptance. For people to imply it’s not, I beg to differ.

  166. says

    This is a followup to comment 143.

    That Keystone Pipeline spill is much, mush worse than was reported. TransCanada reported a spill of 187 gallons, but the spill is really 16,800 gallons of oil. Keystone transports Canadian tar sands oil, which is difficult to clean up when there is a spill.
    Think Progress link.

  167. says

    Here’s how Republican voters in Colorado choose a candidate prior to the Republican convention. It’s not really a direct process: voters vote only for county-level delegates. Next, the county-level delegates get together and choose delegates who will attend the convention in Cleveland.

    Cruz outmaneuvered Trump in Colorado. Cruz organized his supporters and managed to rack up impressive wins at the county level. Trump may end up with no delegates from Colorado, and Cruz may end up with 37 delegates.
    Mother Jones link.

    The process is slightly different in Wyoming and North Dakota but Cruz is out-maneuvering Trump there as well.

  168. says

    Rightwing activist Wayne Allyn Root, an avid Donald Trump supporter, says that the people responsible for violence at Trump rallies are liberals on welfare.

    But the liberal crowd, they’re all on welfare, they don’t own a home, they rent, they don’t own a business, they have nothing to protect. They get arrested, they’re out tomorrow, they don’t care. It’s not the Right that’s ever violent; that’s an absolutely ludicrous storyline.


    Root is ludicrous. So is Representative Louie Gohmert, a prominent Ted Cruz supporter.

    So if we get a president that decides to do any kind of amnesty, then the republic will be lost. Because you cannot give people the rights without them being educated to the responsibilities. If they come into this country and they don’t understand there’s a responsibility to be properly educated before you vote, then they’re going to vote for whoever will give them the most welfare, and we’re on our way to bankruptcy already, that will help push us over the edge.


    More ludicrous statements from the right wing, in this case it is Congress critter Louie Gohmert again. The infamous “stupidest man in Congress” is a Republican from Texas, but he was commenting on North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law:

    When it comes to this current legislation where — in most of the world, in most of the religions, the major religions, you have men and you have women, and there are some abnormalities but for heaven’s sake, I was as good a kid as you can have growing up, I never drank alcohol till I was legal, never to, still, use an illegal drug, but in the seventh grade if the law had been that all I had to do was say, “I’m a girl”’ and I got to go into the girls’ restroom, I don’t know if I could’ve withstood the temptation just to get educated back in those days.

    […] telling states that you have to let boys into little girls’ restrooms or we’re pulling our business, it’s just the height of lunacy.


    Okay, we’re adding “lunacy” to “ludicrous,” but these guys are putting the labels on the wrong people.

  169. says

    The president of the University of North Carolina is happy to enforce North Carolina’s new anti-LBGT law.

    […] Installed by the hyper-partisan UNC Board of Governors through a de facto coup, [Margaret] Spellings served as secretary of education under President George W. Bush, an office she infamously used to suppress depictions of same-sex couples on children’s shows. When appointed UNC president, Spellings maintained her anti-gay stance, dismissively describing homosexuality as a “lifestyle.” […]

    Spellings issued guidelines to put UNC in compliance with the statute [Carolina’s vicious anti-LGBT law], declaring that “University institutions must require every multiple-occupancy bathroom and changing facility to be designated for and used only by persons based on their biological sex.”

    Some of the consequences, some of the problems, of the anti-LGBT law:

    […] This rule effectively excludes most trans UNC students from using the correct bathroom. HB 2 defines sex as “stated on a person’s birth certificate.” But in North Carolina, you cannot change the sex on your birth certificate unless you receive gender reassignment surgery, a procedure which many trans people forego for medical, ideological, or financial concerns. Other states, like Tennessee, explicitly bar trans people from changing their birth certificate sex—even if they receive gender reassignment surgery. So a trans UNC student born in Tennessee, for example, is now banned from public bathrooms for life.

    […] far from being the clear governing law, HB 2 is in direct violation of two federal laws. As interpreted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids employers from discriminating on the basis of gender identity. […] And as interpreted by the Department of Education, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits schools that receive federal funding from discriminating against trans students. Both of these laws view trans-exclusionary bathroom policies as illegal discrimination. […]

    Slate link.

  170. says

    Bruce Springsteen cancelled a gig in North Carolina in response to that state’s new anti-LGBT law.

    As you, my fans, know I’m scheduled to play in Greensboro, North Carolina this Sunday.

    As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the “bathroom” law. HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use.

    Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden.

    To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.

    Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th.

    Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.

    Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s Sunday April 10th show is canceled. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.

  171. blf says

    Secretary Clinton shows her privilege, Hillary Clinton broke the rules on the NYC subway. That’s not fair:

    Campaigning, just like performing, is not allowed in subway cars. As long as musicians are slapped with fines, Clinton should be too

    […] Hillary Clinton broke the subway rules, and did so not only within full sight of New York City officials and law enforcement, who stood around and watched her do it.

    According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Rules of Conduct, the subway system is for transporting riders to their destinations, and nothing else. But the rules list several exceptions, including “campaigning”. So far, so good, Hillary Clinton.

    However, Section 1050.6(c)1 of the subway rules states unequivocally that none of these activities may be performed on the actual subway cars.

    This is the rule Clinton broke. Clinton’s defenders might think the short subway trip wasn’t actually campaigning, but […] a video of her two-stop ride […] clearly shows Clinton glad-handing on the train itself.

    She’s aided in doing so by Rubén Díaz Jr, the president of the borough of the Bronx, who introduces her to strap-hangers as the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton. If that wasn’t enough, Clinton then takes some questions from the press aboard the 4 Train car.

    The incident is all the more galling because there are actual, regular New Yorkers trying to make ends meet who are arrested for violating the same rules that Clinton disregards with impunity. These regular New Yorkers are, of course, the acrobatic showtime performers and musicians — a cultural point of pride for the city — who perform legally on platforms and other areas of the transit system […] but are barred from playing on board subway cars by the same rules that should have prevented Clinton’s campaigning.

    “When performers are playing music they are thought to be committing a crime and arrested,” Matthew Christian of BuskNY, a group that does advocacy for New York subway musicians [said]. “And apparently when Hillary Clinton does public speaking on a train car that is not considered a violation of the statute.”

    Buskers who get busted can face criminal charges […] or civil fines, which can rise to a staggering $100 […].

    You can bet that Clinton will face no such prosecution or fines, despite the clear evidence of her breaking the subway rules. Not that she couldn’t afford it: unlike the musicians struggling to make $40 an hour in donations, Clinton and her husband are reportedly worth more than $50m.


    In light of Clinton’s violation of the subway rules, she should seek out the next subway busker she can find and give him or her $125, an amount equal to the potential criminal and civil fines for the statutes that she violated this morning.

    Selected readers’s comments:

    ● “Government of the people, by the special people, for the very special people, shall not perish from this earth. With apologies to A. Lincoln.”

    ● “Silly peasants, laws are for poor people.”

    ● “Just like in MA. Her husband held a rally outside a polling place on election day on the street in front of it. He held up traffic, voters were stuck in line for hours and people were mad. He was well within the 150 ft. while Secret Service kept people well away from Bill. A lot of people complained about it and nothing happened (this was New Bedford, MA). After Bill closed down the rally and the yellow tape was taken down, a few Bernie supporters with signs tried to come in and stand where Bill has stood minutes earlier with a microphone and they were thrown out. […]”

    ● “I await the Republican congressional hearings on this incident in an effort to indict her.”

    ● “The incident is of course quite minor but I believe it illustrates a major problem: different application of the rules depending on wealth, status, fame, education and skin color. I have witnessed the NYPD hassle people for being asleep, feet up on the seats, playing music loudly i.e. enforcing the rules. Rather than simply reminding them of the rules and asking them to desist […]”

  172. says

    The self-described best businessman in the world, and the best manager, is messing up big time when it comes to his own campaign. Trump should look in the mirror and fire himself. He didn’t learn what he needed to know about how the Republican Party actually runs the nominating process, nor how that process differs state by state.

    Here’s just one example: the Trump campaign sent out emails encouraging supporters in Washington state to sign up to be a potential delegate. They sent that email two days late. The filing deadline to be on the printed ballots in the Washington state conventions had already passed.

    Earlier, some invitations meant to go to supporters in Washington State went out instead to supporters in Washington D.C.

    Also, it looks like Trump is getting tired of campaigning. When the force of his personality and obnoxiousness failed to completely carry the day, he got mad (see his post-Wisconsin whine), and now he’s tired. He tweeted:

    Isn’t it a shame that the person who will have by far the most delegates and many millions more votes than anyone else, me, still must fight

    A Clinton spokesperson, Brian Fallon responded:

    You’re also describing @HillaryClinton . Only she doesn’t complain about fighting on. She welcomes it.

    In other news, there seems to be some kind of flap developing about Bernie Sanders having been invited to speak at the Vatican. I’m going to wait to see what happens, and will assume it will all be straightened out. Link.

  173. says

    Senator Cory Booker and Representative Barbara Lee, along with other Democrats, have been trying since 2013 to fix sex education. On Thursday, Booker reintroduced a revised sex education bill, the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act.

    This is a great bill.

    […] It’s the first piece of federal legislation to assert a young person’s right to comprehensive education about sexual health that includes information about dating violence, communication and decision-making, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and preventing pregnancy and STIs. […]

    Most U.S. states don’t mandate any kind of sex education, and only 13 states require that the information taught be medically accurate. Those lax requirements have paved the way for untrained or religiously motivated sex-ed teachers to use bizarre, inaccurate metaphors that imply that sex makes people dirty and unlovable. Some states even instruct their public-school sex-ed teachers to tell students that gay sex is immoral, against the law, and a surefire way to end up with AIDS.

    If passed, REHYA would provide grants for teacher training and comprehensive sex education programs in K-12 schools and institutions of higher education. It would prohibit the use of federal grants for programs that promote gender stereotypes, suppress information about HIV/AIDS, teach any medically inaccurate information, or do not include accurate, sensitive information for LGBTQ youth and survivors of sexual abuse. REHYA would also allow schools to use these federal funds for contraception distribution. […]

    Slate link.

    The Republican Congress is unlikely to vote yea on this bill. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they still believe in abstinence-only sex miseducation.

  174. says

    The Trump campaign screwed up so badly in Colorado that we’re now seeing headlines that say Cruz swept the delegate-selection process in that state. (See comment 182 for more details on the Colorado selection process.)

    The news is bad for Trump in Indiana too. It looks like the Cruz campaign outmaneuvered Trump in that state too.

    To have Trump fail to get the Republican nomination as a result of mismanagement … Better not go there. I don’t want to jinx what looks like a string of Trump failures. Keep them coming.

  175. blf says

    Here is Bloomberg’s report on the manufactroversy about Senator Sanders visiting raping children central, Sanders’s Vatican Invitation Sparks Accusation of ‘Discourtesy’. On the face of it, it is at least two groups of raping child cultists backstabbing each other over protocol and (probably) other issues. The Sander’s campaign quite possibly walked into a trap set by at least one group of authoritarians. That, or a similar interpretation, is then being used as an example of Sander’s relative inexperience in foreign affairs. Added to that are unevidenced claims of campaigning for the raping children cultists’s votes.

    At the moment, the whole thing stinks of the internal “politics” of an authoritarian, historically antisemitic, extremely rich and privileged cult, mixed with a possible attempt to discredit a socialist.

  176. blf says

    In a follow-up to @189, teh trum-prat recently hired an advisor to Ferdinand Marcos and other dictators in an attempt to solve his campaign’s problems, New Hire Signals a Reboot in the Donald Trump Campaign:

    […] Trump is expanding his team and empowering his newly hired convention manager as he tries reboot his presidential campaign after the worst two-week stretch of his brief political career.

    The stepped-up role for the convention manager, Paul Manafort, a veteran of floor fights whose presence on Mr. Trump’s campaign has created anxiety among other top aides, was intended in part to quash reports of infighting and concerns about an organization whose performance has been lackluster at best in a recent string of nominating contests.


    The campaign has now gotten to the point where how you win and where you win does matter and then protecting what you won and that’s why I’m involved in everything from what’s happened to what will be happening, [Manafort] said.

    Mr. Trump, a first-time candidate and full-time real-estate developer, has hit a series of snags in his campaign for the Republican nomination, many of them of his own making. As worried Republican donors and officials seek to thwart his ascent, Mr. Trump has resisted calls from allies to broaden his team to include a wider group of people with previous experience on presidential campaigns. He has no pollster on a staff that has remained small, and infighting has erupted repeatedly as several publications have run “campaign-in-disarray” stories.


    Mr. Lewandowski and Michael Glassner, the deputy campaign manager, have been described by people in the campaign as viewing Mr. Manafort, who is working on a volunteer basis, as a threat. Mr. Manafort is the former business partner and longtime friend of Roger Stone […]

    Den of thieves. With more crooks and liars coming:

    Mr. Manafort’s team is expected to include several aides from the presidential campaigns of both Gerald R. Ford and Ronald Reagan […] as well as a few operatives from the orbit of Ron Paul […]

    The above excerpts are from the New York Times, which didn’t mention Manafort’s connection any dictators. The Washington Post points out Manafort has multiple dubious connections, From Ukraine to Trump Tower, Paul Manafort unafraid to take on controversial jobs:

    Over a 40-year career as a lobbyist and political consultant, Manafort and his firms have advised, in no particular order, a business group tied to Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator of the Philippines; Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted Ukrainian president and ally of Vladimir Putin; and Lynden Pindling, the former Bahamian prime minister who was accused of ties to drug traffickers.

    Now, he works for Donald Trump.


    Manafort is the co-founder of two lobby and consulting firms, Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (BMS&K) and, later, Davis Manafort. Even in the lobbying industry, where the buying and selling of influence can blur ethical lines, both businesses garnered considerable scrutiny for their tactics and clients.

    BMS&K, founded in 1980, was investigated by a congressional panel in 1989 for its role in obtaining millions of dollars in federal grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to rehabilitate a low-income housing complex in New Jersey.

    In exchange, Manafort and his partners received consulting fees from developers. During the investigation, Manafort acknowledged that the work he performed in return for consulting fees could be termed “influence peddling,” The Post reported in 1991. […]

    BMS&K also appears to be the early link that connected Manafort and Trump decades ago. The firm lobbied on behalf of the Trump Organization on gaming, taxes and other issues related to Trump’s hotels, at both the federal and state levels in New York and Florida […]

  177. blf says

    Despite living in France, I must admit I was unawares of this recent series of protest actions until I read the article in the Grauniad, Nuit debout protesters occupy French cities in revolutionary call for change:

    For more than a week, vast nocturnal gatherings have spread across France in a citizen-led movement that has rattled the government

    As night fell over Paris, thousands of people sat cross-legged in the vast square at Place de la République, taking turns to pass round a microphone and denounce everything from the dominance of Google to tax evasion or inequality on housing estates.

    The debating continued into the early hours of the morning, with soup and sandwiches on hand in the canteen tent and a protest choir singing revolutionary songs. A handful of protesters in tents then bedded down to “occupy” the square for the night before being asked to move on by police just before dawn. But the next morning they returned to set up their protest camp again.

    For more than a week, these vast nocturnal protest gatherings — from parents with babies to students, workers, artists and pensioners — have spread across France, rising in number, and are beginning to panic the government.

    Called Nuit debout, which loosely means “rise up at night”, the protest movement is increasingly being likened to the Occupy initiative that mobilised hundreds of thousands of people in 2011 or Spain’s Indignados.


    “There’s something here that I’ve never seen before in France — all these people converge here each night of their own accord to talk and debate ideas — from housing to the universal wages, refugees, any topic they like. No one has told them to, no unions are pushing them on — they’re coming of their own accord” [said Michel, 60, a former delivery driver].


    Jocelyn, 26, a former medical student acting as a press spokesman for the movement, said: “There are parallels with Occupy and Indignados. The idea is to let everyone speak out. People are really sick and tired and that feeling has been building for years. Everything Hollande once promised for the left but gave up on really gets me down. Personally, it’s the state of emergency, the new surveillance laws, the changes to the justice system and the security crackdown.”


    Various committees have sprung up to debate a new constitution, society, work, and how to occupy the square with more permanent wooden structures on a nightly basis. Whiteboards list the evening’s discussions and activities — from debates on economics to media training for the demonstrators. “No hatred, no arms, no violence,” was the credo described by the “action committee”.


    Demonstrators regularly help other protest movements, such as a bank picket over revelations in the Panama Papers or a demonstration against migrant evictions in the north of Paris.

  178. says

    blf @191, Manafort’s close connection to Roger Stone is enough to condemn him in my eyes. Several media sources have reported that Manafort was recommended to Trump by Stone. Trump didn’t search for the best guy for the job, he just hired whomever Stone recommended. Den of thieves indeed.

  179. says

    Bernie Sanders may be upping his game when it comes to dealing with big banks. He added William K. Black to his advisory team. Black’s most famous line is “The best way to rob a bank is to own one.”

    An expert in banking corruption and finance has joined the Bernie Sanders campaign. William K. Black, an associate professor at the University of Missouri-KC, is Bernie Sanders’ new economic advisor. Black was one of the central figures in exposing and prosecuting corruption in the savings and loan crisis from the late 1980s and mid-1990s.

    Inquisitr link.

  180. says

    Freedom of the press? Arizona Republicans are revising that to mean less freedom to criticize Arizona politicians. House Speaker David Gowan is pushing for new policies in order punish reporters that document his shady activities.

    The new policy goes as far as to list specific offenses, including misdemeanor ones like trespassing, which automatically disqualify a reporter from being on the House floor for up to 10 years. That’s significant because misdemeanor trespass is an offense that Arizona Capitol Times reporter Hank Stephenson was convicted of following a bar fight a couple years ago.

    Early this year, Stephenson wrote a piece scrutinizing Gowan’s use of a state vehicle during a 19-day period last October during which he logged nearly 4,800 miles of windshield time. Some of the events he traveled to were related to his congressional campaign, and using a state vehicle for that purpose is unlawful. Gowan has since reimbursed the state more than $12,000, and his is office is now under investigation by Arizona’s Attorney General for misuse of public resources.

  181. says

    Not a lot of people were watching for the caucus results in Wyoming, possibly because it won’t change the delegate counts for Sanders and Clinton by much. Here are the results: Sanders won statewide by about 11% over Clinton, but the caucus outcome was really a tie. Each Democratic candidate added seven pledged delegates to their count. Clinton’s delegate lead stayed the same: 219 more than Sanders.

    The significance is more in the over all view of recents wins. Sanders won in Washington State, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Hawaii and Wisconsin.

  182. says

    The pantheon of religious rightwing nutjobs who support Ted Cruz has been noted many times on this thread. Cruz’s latest addition is Colorado state legislator, Gordon Klingenschmitt. Cruz says he is “honored” to have Klingenschmitt’s support.

    Here’s what you get with Klingenschmitt:

    – He claimed that an attack on a pregnant woman was the “curse of God upon America” for legal abortion

    – He tried to kick the “foul spirit of lesbianism” out of a woman with an exorcism

    – He claims that gay people “want your soul” and may sexually abuse their own children

    – He says that gay people should be subject to discrimination by the government because they are not going to heaven, and it is clear that only people going to heaven should get equal treatment by the government

    – Klingenschmitt says that judges who rule that gay marriage bans at the state level are unconstitutional are “imposing the Devil’s law upon people.”

    – He says that Jesus will overturn all marriage equality laws and will then send gay people to hell.

    – He says gay soldiers in the military are always taking time out to change their diapers, which they wear because “their treacherous sin causes them to lose control of their bowels.”

    – If you are not welcome in Klingenschmitt’s version of church, you should not be allowed to enter or use public bathrooms.

    – He advises Christians to print anti-gay bible verses on the backs of gay people’s wedding photos.

    – According to Klingenschmitt, President Obama is ruled by “demonic spirits” and that “Obamacare causes cancer.”

    There’s more, but I’m getting really sick and tired of listing Klingenschmitt’s whacko pronouncements.

  183. blf says

    Lynna@193, About Paul Manafort: “Trump didn’t search for the best guy for the job, he just hired whomever Stone recommended.”

    That is very possibly not quite correct. Yes, it appears Stone did recommend Manafort. However, Manafort is an understandable choice as he did the same-ish job the last time the thugs failed to preselect the winner (and won), and apparently is highly regarded by other thugs. Also, Manafort was known to teh trum-prat from previous, and presumably sleazy, dealings (see, e.g., @191).

    As the Grauniad notes, Eyeing open convention, Trump turns to man who helped win the last one: “Strikingly, Manafort, who has known Trump for decades and owns an apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, referred to the candidate as ‘Donald’. Other staffers on the campaign call him ‘Mr Trump’.”

    Manafort is already showing his appallingness, Trump convention manager accuses Cruz campaign of ‘Gestapo tactics’:

    Paul Manafort said Texas senator is ‘not playing by the rules’ as Donald Trump claimed Cruz campaign bribed Colorado delegates with ‘all sorts of goodies’

    The man charged with bringing order to Donald Trump’s chaotic campaign for president has accused the millionaire’s main Republican rival, Ted Cruz, of Gestapo tactics, a day after Trump failed to win a single elected supporter at the Colorado state convention.

    You go to these county conventions and you see the Gestapo tactics, the scorched-earth tactics, said Paul Manafort […].

    Manafort was not specific about what Cruz […] or his campaign had done to remind him of the Nazi secret police.


    The businessman [sic] hired Manafort to reorganize his campaign, hoping to draw on the aide’s experience in helping Gerald Ford win a contested convention against Ronald Reagan in 1976.

    Manafort has since advised Viktor Yanukovych, the twice-ousted former leader of Ukraine, and Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator of the Philippines. […]

    If my recollection is correct about Manafort’s tactics in the Ford–raygun brawl, he did about the same things he now seems to be claiming teh crud did: Give not very well concealed bribes, and lie extensively about the rules. (And other stuff, not necessarily within the thugs’s rules, or even legal.)

    Some selected readers’s comments:

    ● “An accusation of ‘Gestapo’ tactics from the group who threatened to give delegates room numbers at the convention to supporters for ‘chats’ if they didn’t give Trump the nomination? […]”

    ● “they are offered all sorts of goodies — Yes, because if there’s one thing the gestapo are remembered for, it’s offering people goodies.”

    ● “Gestapo tactics? Isn’t this what you get when you have two little Hitlers wanting the same thing — POWER?”

    ● “Well that is certainly the pot calling the kettle black”.

  184. says

    blf @198, Thanks for the additional info. Sleazy operatives all around, some of them with years of experience in operating sleazily. And, of course, years of experience in projecting their own “Gestapo tactics” onto others. Sheesh.

    In other news, Hillary Clinton responded to the recent exchange Bill Clinton had with Black Lives Matter protestors.

    Well, I think what Bill said is that we should all be listening to each other. And I certainly have been listening. […] he’s not only a former president, he’s my husband. And he does take defending and protecting me very seriously, and I appreciate that. And I think he has a great legacy.

    Snipped section where Hillary notes that Bill has conceded that lowering crime needs to be addressed.

    […] I mean, you know, he believes that people need to talk and listen to each other. And he is often, you know, very clear, I will listen to you, but then you have to listen to me — respond and we need to get back to doing that.


    Sanders said some stupid stuff recently about “ghettos,” and both Clintons have said stupid stuff in the past about black communities. Looking at the policy proposals, both Sanders and Clinton have solid foundations for reforming the criminal justice system. To my mind, those policy proposals are more important.

  185. says

    The Boston Globe published a fake front page meant to be political satire. It was Scary as hell.

    “President Trump calls for tripling of ICE fore; riots continue:
    “Markets sink as trade war looms”

  186. says

    This is a followup to comment 200.

    The Boston Globe just took Trump at his word when they created that fake front page. They used Trump’s stated policies (about immigration, and trade, for example) to make assumptions that those policy proposals had been put into place when Trump was elected president. If so, what would happen?

    Trump has fired back. As usual, he does not address the substance of the Globe’s political satire at all. He lobs a few insults, and then brings the whole argument down to the level of money. Apparently, The Boston Globe does not make enough money to be able to criticize Trump.

    Here’s what Trump said at a rally in Rochester, NY:

    The Times, which is totally dishonest, total piece of garbage [boos] Washington Post, these are, how about the stupid Boston Globe? It’s worthless, it sold for a dollar. [boos] Did you see that story? The whole front page, they made up the whole front page, it’s a make-believe story, which is really no different from the whole paper. [laughs] Here’s a paper that the New York Times spent $1.3 billion to buy, they spent hundreds of millions of dollars on lawsuits and operations, they recomputerized it, they spent a fortune. Let’s assume the (inaudible) $1.5 billion, they sold it for one dollar, one dollar, and then they do editorials telling me what I should be doing about Japan and about Saudi Arabia and other countries.

    As usual, I think we can assume that Trump is indulging in hyperbole when he claims that the New York Times sold the Boston Globe for a dollar. They sold it for $70 million in cash to Boston businessman John W. Henry. Yes, the NY Times probably lost some money, but they also did not pay $1.5 billion for. They paid $1.1 billion about 20 years ago, and that was mostly in stock. I don’t know how much money they made, or lost, over that 20-year period. Also, what does “recomputerize” mean?

    Yes, lots of newspapers are suffering, but that doesn’t make them “worthless” as Trump claims. Nor does it make them all “liars.”

  187. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Drumpf supporters love his “political incorrectness”.

    Donald Trump’s inflammatory statements about Mexican immigrants, Muslim refugees and women who get abortions may eventually be his campaign’s undoing, some analysts say. But don’t tell that to the many supporters such as Titus Kottke, attracted to the Republican front-runner specifically because he shoots from the lip.
    “No more political correctness,” said Kottke, 22, a cattle trucker and construction worker from Athens, Wisconsin, who waited hours last weekend to see the candidate in a line stretching the length of a shopping mall.
    Trump is “not scared to offend people,” Kottke said. He agrees with some of the views Trump expresses but likes the fact that the candidate shows the confidence to reject the dogma of political correctness. That “takes away your freedom of speech, pretty much. You can’t say anything.”
    For years, conservatives have decried political correctness as a scourge of orthodox beliefs and language, imposed by liberals, that keeps people from voicing uncomfortable truths.
    Now, some Trump supporters — many white, working-class voters frustrated with the country’s shifting economics and demographics — applaud him for not being afraid to make noise about the things that anger them but that they feel discouraged from saying out loud.

    Definitely sounds like many people want to be able to use microaggressions against those they consider “not us”. Be scared as they are ready to be bullies.

  188. says

    This is a followup to comments 182 and 189, in which we see Trump being such a bad manager that he fails when it comes to winning in the Republican delegate selection process.

    More evidence of bad management and inability to pay attention to details:

    […] his backers passed out flyers at the convention site [in Colorado] with official campaign slate of 13 delegates and 13 alternates accompanied by their three-digit number position on the 600-plus person ballot. Seven of the names, however, directed people to the wrong number and one delegate’s name was misspelled. […]

    Of course, Trump does not consider this a management failure. He does not take any responsibility, and he doesn’t even blame his underlings that did the work for him. No, he blames the Republican Party. They are somehow responsible for his failure to understand and to work within their rules:

    […] They’re trying to subvert the movement,” Trump said to thousands of voters crammed into a frigid airplane hangar Sunday. “They can’t do it with bodies, so they’re trying to subvert the movement with crooked shenanigans.

    Trump really, really is upset by the fact that his nemesis, Ted Cruz, figured out the rules of the game, played by those rules, and won a lot of small battles during the delegate selection process in Colorado, South Carolina and Louisiana. Cruz is poised to do the same in Indiana.

    Trump’s take on this is that he should not be bothered with “nonsensical” details. As Steve Benen put it:

    […] Trump neither likes nor understands the nuances of the rules, and he finds it easier to condemn them, not play by them.

    To the extent that the facts matter, there’s nothing untoward about Team Cruz taking advantage of a superior field operation and excelling in state and local Republican conventions. It’s not the Texas senator’s fault that Trump’s clumsy, bumbling [campaign] doesn’t have its act together.

    What’s more, in the end, it’s not altogether clear whether or not it’ll matter. If Trump can get to 1,237 pledged delegates by the start of the Republican National Convention in July, Cruz’s success at state conventions almost certainly won’t matter, and Trump will prevail on the first ballot.

    But if Trump falls short on the first ballot, there’s reason to believe his candidacy will face a very serious challenge – because as we saw over the weekend, many of the delegates who’ll go to Cleveland required to support Trump on the first ballot will be eager to support Cruz on the second.

    It’s a scenario Trump and his aides could have taken steps to prevent through better organizing, but the candidate’s amateurishness and d-i-y aesthetic are catching up with him. […]

  189. says

    This is a followup to comments 182, 189 and 203.

    Trump is lying to his supporters. He is not telling them he failed to manage his campaign properly. He is telling them, over and over again, that the culprit is the Republican Party and that he is the victim. His supporters are eating this up.

    “The people out there are going crazy,” Trump said in a Monday call-in interview on Fox News. “They’re going absolutely crazy. Because they weren’t given a vote. This was given by politicians. It’s a crooked deal. And I see it.”

    “There was no voting. I didn’t go out there to make a speech or anything,” the billionaire continued. “That’s not the way democracy is supposed to work.” […]

    “The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed.!”


    As Ari Melber noted, a lot of the Republican system that Trump is now complaining about actually helped him.

    […] Trump has benefited far more than Ted Cruz under the party’s arcane rules for allocating delegates.

    Trump now leads the Republican field with 756 delegates — or 45 percent of all delegates awarded to date. Yet he has won about 37 percent of all votes in the primaries, […], meaning Trump’s delegate support is greater than his actual support from voters. For each percentage point of total primary votes that Trump has won, he has been awarded 1.22 percent of the total delegates.

    In other words, as a matter of Republican Party math, Trump has been awarded a delegate bonus of 22 percent above his raw support from voters.

    By contrast, Cruz has been awarded about 1.14 percent of the delegates for each percentage point of votes he has won — a delegate bonus of 14 percent above his raw support. […]

    While states decide exactly how to allocate their delegates, the thrust of the GOP rule book is that front-runners get a bonus.

    A variety of state rules award extra delegates to the winner, from rounding up by congressional district to handing all of a state’s delegates to the winner, as Trump saw in Florida. […]

    After the 2012 race, in fact, the Republican National Committee pushed reforms to the calendar and rules to accelerate a front-runner’s progress. The moves were seen as a way for party bosses to dispense with a protracted primary when a candidate like Mitt Romney was in the lead — never imagining they would help an insurgent like Trump. […]

  190. says

    Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is really good at this kind of skullduggery. He has pulled similar tricks in the past. For this year’s election season, Kobach’s office put out a Spanish-language guide to voting with the registration deadline wrong. That wrong date was not repeated in the English language version.

    Kobach is trying to oppress the vote from Spanish-speaking people in Kansas.

    […] The Spanish-language guides said that voters could register up to 15 days before the election, while the English version included the correct deadline, 21 days before the election, […] And while the English guides told voters they could use their passport as a photo ID, the guides in Spanish did not include a passport in the list. […]

    Now that the media is reporting the errors, officials in Kansas say they are correcting them. Some damage has already been done.

  191. says

    John Oliver skewered the governor of Alabama, referring to the sex scandal in which the governor is currently embroiled (misuse of public funds in also in there somewhere). Scroll down to see the video.

    Rachel Maddow has also been covering this story, but I really like Oliver’s comedic presentation.

    An impeachment process has been started. However, the guy who has to oversee the impeachment process, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, is currently facing 23 felony ethics charges. Once the impeachment trial begins, Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court Roy Moore will hear the charges. That’s the judge who was briefly removed from office for ethical violations.

  192. says

    More Bundy-like fallout from the anti-public lands movement:

    A group of 20 senators and representatives has formed a de facto “anti-parks caucus” in Congress and is waging the most significant legislative and ideological challenge to America’s national parks in decades, says a new report released Monday by the Center for American Progress.

    The analysis finds that this anti-parks caucus is composed of less than five percent of Congress but is responsible for introducing dozens of bills to block the creation of new national parks, end America’s most effective parks program, and sell off public lands.

    Eight anti-parks caucus members also participate in the Federal Land Action Group, a group formed last year with the sole purpose of developing land grab legislation that would transfer federal land to state and local control.

    “Public land grab efforts almost never rise up from local communities,” according to Jim Caswell, BLM director under President George W. Bush. “They are instead galvanized by partisan politics, mainly at the national level, where the real agenda is wresting public lands from public hands and ultimately privatizing them for nonpublic uses.” […]

    Ted Cruz is part of the anti-Parks caucus.

  193. says

    The Donald-Trump-racism effect has trickled down to high school sports.

    It’s not that some level of racism didn’t exist before in the area served by Elkhorn Area School District in Wisconsin — but, now the Trump effect has made it okay (a virtue even in the minds of some) to be out and proud about that racism.

    […] administrators in Wisconsin are investigating after some of their students reportedly chanted racist taunts at the soccer players from Beloit Memorial High School, a diverse school where more than half the student population is either black or Hispanic.

    According to Beloit soccer coach Brian Denu, Elkhorn students began chanting “Donald Trump, build that wall!” The girls from Beloit were devastated:

    “They came off the field and weren’t able to finish the game because they were too upset and distraught over what happened to them,” Denu said. “

    Elkhorn school officials confirmed the racist taunt happened and will announce action soon.


    Local Beloit news link.

  194. says

    The Republican administration in Illinois is damaging the state’s nine public universities with extreme funding cuts. The presidents of the affected universities sent a letter to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner saying that the budget impasse is damaging public higher learning “beyond repair.”

    […] That letter, and a Wednesday morning news conference called by a new coalition of university officials, businesses and labor groups, are part of a push to draw attention to the budget stalemate’s impact on state universities. Even if a deal is reached, the campuses are likely to see their funding slashed. Rauner had proposed a 31 percent cut to higher education, while the budget that Democrats sent to the governor included a 6.5 percent cut. […]

    “When colleges and universities reach this point of no return — when bills cannot be paid and payroll cannot be met — they will close,” the university presidents wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the Tribune. “The results will be catastrophic for the economy of the State of Illinois and it will shatter the dreams and lives of hundreds of thousands of Illinois students and families.” […]

    Chicago State University is a 150 year old predominantly African American institution on the south side of Chicago that is on the verge of closing because of GOP Governor Bruce Rauner and his unwillingness to break the budget stalemate. In fact he seems to be reveling in the failure of Illinois’ higher education system (shades of Scott Walker, anyone?). […]


  195. says

    Vice President Joe Biden came close to endorsing Hillary Clinton:

    […] A Mic reporter then asked Biden if he wanted the country to elect a woman.

    “I would like to see a woman get elected,” he responded. […]

    “The President and I are not going to endorse because we both, when we ran said, ‘Let the party decide.’ But gosh almighty, they’re both qualified,” Biden said. “Hillary’s overwhelmingly qualified to be president.” […]

  196. says

    This is a followup to comment 205.

    Kris Kobach, the suppress-the-vote-of-minorities guy, is backing Donald Trump, and advising Trump on immigration issues. Sheesh.

    Kris Kobach has been advising Donald Trump on immigration issues, the Kansas secretary of state told the Topeka Capital-Journal in an interview published Sunday.

    Kobach has specifically helped with Trump’s proposal to force Mexico to pay for a wall along its border with the United States. When the Kansas official endorsed Trump in February, he laid out a way for Trump to use the Patriot Act to bar Mexican nationals in the United States from wiring money to Mexican residents. This loss of money would motivate the Mexican government to pay for the wall, Kobach wrote. […]

    Kobach told the Capital-Journal that he helped write Trump’s plan and has “been in touch with Mr. Trump directly and his campaign team about this issue.”

    “Mr. Trump was receptive to that idea and I think he’s an excellent negotiator and he looks for opportunities to put pressure on opposing parties in negotiations and this fits the bill,” Kobach said.

    Kobach has been among the GOP’s fiercest immigration hardliners. He helped write the Arizona law that allowed law enforcement officers to stop people they believed were undocumented immigrants, and has pushed for proof of citizenship as a requirement to register to vote. […]

    The company they keep: all around scumbags in the sewer together.

  197. says

    Representative Elijah E. Cummings endorsed Hillary Clinton yesterday.

    In other news, it’s not just the Republican governor of Florida who is a bit whacko … so, apparently, is his wife.

    […] Last week, Rick Scott was eviscerated in the local press for having his political action committee spend funds to run an ad campaign against a heckler who embarrassed him at a Starbucks. That same week, Ann Scott selected an adult book to read to elementary school students at a Hillsborough County school.

    The school had won some literary award, so unfortunately, they were punished with a visit from the Scott clan. […]

    Ann Scott decided to read to them a few passages from Patrick D. Smith’s A Land Remembered.

    After reading a passage from the book that liberally used the terms “bastard,” “damnit,” and “son-of-a-bitch,” she read this passage:

    “They turned left again at the mainland, cruising down Biscayne Boulevard, its northern section jammed with more motels and junk food shops, service stations, massage parlors, porno movies, bars, adult book stores, the sidewalks empty in the early morning sun but teeming at night with prostitutes and junkies and winos and professional muggers. Then they came into the downtown business section of Miami, passing the MacIvey State Bank Building with the letters MCI across the front entrance, then Bayfront Park with more winos and junkies and panhandlers and muggers.”


  198. tomh says

    @ #207
    Anti-parks. Another in a long list of issues that would be rubber-stamped by a Republican president and blocked by a Democratic president.

  199. says

    Uh, head-desking, face-palming, existential despair warning: CBS took a closer look at “Trump bros.”

    […] “Misogyny was an issue about maybe 60, 80 years ago,” said [18-year-old Jack Rowe]. “That’s not an issue today. There are a lot bigger fish to fry…You know, ISIS is chopping off heads. We’ve got 19 trillion dollars in debt.” […]

    “You tell a joke it gets blown out of proportion. You gotta walk on eggshells. There’s kind of that feeling, and Trump, he tells a joke and doesn’t back down. He says things that would normally been frowned upon. At a school, a kid would get expelled. Not that it’s right or wrong, but he’s sort of defending a lot of the things they’ve been attacked for in the last five years or so.”

    “It’s an F-U to society, who is telling us we are a bad guy because we like hooking up with girls on spring break,” he added. “And they see Trump sticking up for that.” […]

    “We’re not afraid to show that we enjoy being Americans, and Trump portrays being a good American,” […]

  200. says

    Two of Trump’s kids who live in New York will not be able to vote for dear old dad. The Republican primary is a closed contest, only registered Republicans can vote.

    Ivanka and Eric did not register to vote in the primary. Daddy Trump let them down easy:

    “[…] they were, you know, unaware of the rules, and they didn’t register in time,” Trump told the hosts of “Fox and Friends.” “So they feel very, very guilty.”

    He continued: “They feel very guilty. But it’s fine. I understand that. I think they have to register a year in advance and they didn’t. So Eric and Ivanka, I guess, won’t be voting.” […]

    Nope. Not quite right. Not a year in advance. Mail-in registrations to vote were due March 30th for people who wanted to vote in the Republican primary on April 19th. I don’t know if the two offspring were previously registered as Republicans, Democrats or Independents; but for New Yorkers who wanted to change their party enrollment before voting on April 19, the deadline was October 9, 2015. That’s last year, but not a year ago.

    Ivanka has participated in campaign informational media aimed at telling other people the rules, so you would think that she would have understood what she needed to do.

    Slate link

  201. microraptor says

    So the Frank Zappa quote from the Liars and Monsters thread got me thinking. Is it just me, or is I’m The Slime about the most perfect song for the Republican Party?

    I am gross and perverted.
    I’m obsessed and deranged.
    I have existed for years,
    but very little has changed.

  202. says

    opus @215, Georgia legislatures passed that bill because Jesus loves college athletics so much.

    micro raptor @216: agreed, that’s perfect.

    In news related to 2

  203. says

    In news related to comment 216, Donald Trump does not use his own personal cash when he gives to charity.

    Since the first day of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has said that he gave more than $102 million to charity in the past five years.

    To back up that claim, Trump’s campaign compiled a list of his contributions — 4,844 of them, filling 93 pages.

    But, in that massive list, one thing was missing.

    Not a single one of those donations was actually a personal gift of Trump’s own money.

    […] many of the gifts that Trump cited to prove his generosity were free rounds of golf, given away by his courses for charity auctions and raffles. […]

    It gets worse. The more you look into it, the more you find that Trump has perverted the entire idea of charitable giving.

    […] The largest items on the list were not cash gifts but land-
    conservation agreements to forgo development rights on property Trump owns.

    […] many of the gifts on the list came from the charity that bears his name, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which didn’t receive a personal check from Trump from 2009 through 2014, according to the most recent public tax filings. Its work is largely funded by others, although Trump decides where the gifts go.

    Some beneficiaries on the list are not charities at all: They included clients, other businesses and tennis superstar Serena Williams.

    This list produced by Trump’s campaign — which has not been reported in detail before — provides an unusually broad portrait of Trump’s giving, and his approach to philanthropy in general. […]

    Trump claimed credit for at least 2,900 free rounds of golf, 175 free hotel stays, 165 free meals and 11 gift certificates to spas. […]

    Trump’s list was also riddled with apparent errors, in which the “charities” that got his gifts didn’t seem to be charities at all. […]

    Trump counted $63.8 million of unspecified “conservation easements.” That refers to legal arrangements — which could bring tax breaks — in which a landowner agrees to forgo certain kinds of development on land that he owns. In California, for example, Trump agreed to an easement that prevented him from building homes on a plot of land near a golf course. But Trump kept the land, and kept making money off it. It is a driving range. […]

    Washington Post link

    Well, that’s enough of that. Almost. How about this “charitable” donation: Trump appeared on the TV show “Extra” and agreed to pay the bills of a woman who was struggling financially. To receive her $5000, “The winner must live in New York, provide their own transportation to Trump Tower, and be willing to meet Donald on-camera to accept his check,” and more to the point, the money came from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a foundation to which Trump himself has not contributed since 2009.

  204. says

    North Carolina Republicans continue to pay a big price for passing an anti-LGBT bill:

    Deutsche Bank announced Tuesday that it would suspend its plans to add 250 jobs in its Cary, North Carolina office, citing the state’s sweeping law that overrode local measures protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination and limited employees’ ability to sue over workplace discrimination.

    “We take our commitment to building inclusive work environments seriously. […]


  205. says

    An anti-Islam group that is planning a protest rally in Atlanta, Georgia says they plan to publicly shred one or more copies of the Quran. They also plan to rip up photos of Hillary Clinton. Say, what now? What’s the point in combining desecration of the Quran with ripping up Clinton photos?

    And why do they need to carry loaded weapons to do so?

    […] According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgian James Stachowiak, founder and editor of “Freedom Fighter Radio,” sent a letter to the Georgia Building Authority in February asking for a permit to hold a “United against Islam and Islamic immigration refugee rally” at Liberty Plaza in front of the state capitol. The Authority declined his request, but protest organizers have decided to convene along the public sidewalk in April 18 anyway — with guns in tow.

    “You are hereby notified that protest organizers have encouraged their participants to carry loaded long guns,” […] The Georgia Department of Public Safety] is currently monitoring the threat risk […]

    “We also plan to shred images of Obama, Loretta Lynch, Hillary Clinton and Muhammad along with the shredding of the Koran (sic),” Stachowiak said […]

  206. says

    Today is “Equal Pay Day” in the USA. A lot of celebrities speaking out for equal pay have appeared in TV interviews (Patricia Arquette on MSNBC for example); and in New York, 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Megan Rapine joined Hillary Clinton and others to talk about the gender pay gap.

    The event was hosted by Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman. During the roundtable discussion, Clinton laid out some of her plans to close the gender pay gap:

    […] She again called for the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act “so people won’t be fired or retaliated against for asking what their coworkers make,” […]

    […] she argued the country should go even further than what’s included in that bill. “There’s not enough transparency, and we don’t know exactly what the pay gaps are in many settings, predominantly in the private sector,” she said. “We need to use the federal government, the Department of Labor and others, to really encourage more transparency, to get more public information.”

    […] the Obama administration recently announced a similar initiative, instructing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to require companies with 100 or more employees to report pay broken down by gender, race, and ethnicity. […]

    […] she pointed out that California and New York just raised their minimum wages to $15 an hour and called for a higher minimum wage. She argued that a higher wage would help close the gap since women make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers, while also calling for an end to the tipped minimum wage that is even lower for workers like waitresses and hair cutters. […]

    And she called to “do more to support working parents, moms and dads alike, so they can stay on the job and keep earning a paycheck.” She wants to do it through policies like paid family leave — also enacted in New York and California — and affordable child care so parents “can focus on work when they’re at work.” […]

    The wage gap, Clinton said, “devalues the work that women do, from minimum wage workers to chief executives and even the best athletes in the world,” such as the U.S. women’s soccer team.

    Rapinoe is part of a group of U.S. women’s soccer players who are suing over unequal pay, given that their team was paid $2 million for winning the World Cup while the men’s team got $8 million when they lost. For her part, she called for more investment in women’s sports, but also pointed out that the women’s team is making more revenue than the men’s team “even without the investment,” […]

    Tuesday marks Equal Pay Day, the day by which the average American women’s earnings have finally caught up to what men made the year before. American women who work full-time, year-round make 79 percent of what men doing the same make, for a variety of reasons. […]

  207. says

    tomh @22, I’m not sure. Perhaps it is just a case of being female and part of the Obama Administration. You’ve gotta know that’s very scary to armed doofuses in Atlanta.

    In other news, Samantha bee demonstrated how easy it is to buy a gun.
    Mother Jones link. Video at the link.

    “Are you a felon?” one gun own seller in New Mexico asked a Full Frontal producer.

    “No,” she replied.


    Bee included members of her production team in the effort to buy guns. They amassed an arsenal with ease.

  208. says

    Ah, yes, I do love it when religious whackos predict that 30,000 “pastors and Christian leaders” will show up at an “an historic event,” and then a few hundred people show up … and it rains on them … and they attempt to pray the rain away and their prayer fails miserably.

    […] a bunch of Religious Right figures [planned] a seven-hour prayer rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, while a 15-hour rally organized by dominionist Lou Engle was scheduled for Los Angeles. […]

    […] A few hundred attendees — at best — fit comfortably in the small plaza between the stage and the reflecting pool, the dozens of unnecessary porta-potties standing in silent testimony to the organizers’ unfulfilled hopes. The organizers of the D.C. event had sent an email on Thursday asking people to pray away the rain; those prayers were also not successful.

    The gatherings in DC and Los Angeles were covered by GodTV, and WorldNetDaily wrote an upbeat article about the Lincoln Memorial event. The article never offered a description of the size of the crowd, and the headline — “Christians Occupy Washington in ‘Sacred Assembly’” — seems laughably overblown. […]
    Right Wing Watch link.

  209. says

    President Obama spoke today on the importance of Equal Pay Day (see comment 221 for the earlier discussion).

    Fox News devoted less than one minute of airtime to cover President Obama’s speech at the newly-designated Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Washington D.C., while MSNBC and CNN aired the speech nearly in its entirety.

    Obama spoke at the designation of the monument seeking to “honor the movement for women’s equality,” which coincided with the 20th anniversary of Equal Pay Day […] The guest host of Fox News’ Happening Now, Heather Childers, described the monument and Equal Pay Day but instead of cutting to the speech, simply noted, “We wanted to let you know it was going on”: […]

    Media Matters link.
    Very big of you, Fox News.

  210. says

    Bill O’Reilly talked to Donald Trump about Trump’s plan to increase the number of jobs available and to decrease unemployment for blacks. O’Reilly said:

    How are you going to get jobs for them? Many of them are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads and I hate to be generalized about it but it’s true. If you look at all the educational statistics, how are you going to give jobs to people who aren’t qualified for jobs?


    Yeah, that’s not racist at all. /sarcasm

  211. says

    This is a follow up to comments 13, 16, 98, 141, 146, 167, 191 and 193.

    Roger Stone is writing a book. The premise of the book is that the Clintons murdered JFK Jr.

    […] Stone is an longtime ally and friend of Donald Trump, who has previously used the discredited operative’s research in attacks against the Clintons.

    […]Stone is a notorious “dirty trickster” who formed the anti-Hillary Clinton group C.U.N.T. in 2008 and has spent much of the 2016 cycle pushing smears about the Clintons. He has a history of using racist and sexist attacks against media figures, and was recently banned by CNN and MSNBC.

    He currently heads the pro-Trump super PAC Committee to Restore America’s Greatness and is a frequent Trump supporter in the media. Stone has been under heavy criticism recently because of his stated plan to “disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in” allegedly stealing the nomination from Trump at the Republican convention.

    Stone last month appeared on the internet radio show of fringe conspiracy theorist James Fetzer, who believes the Holocaust, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and 9/11 attacks were faked. During a brief aside, Stone mentioned he was writing books about Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and the alleged murder of John F. Kennedy Jr. “by the Clintons”: […]


    Hey, Donald Trump, take a closer look at the company you keep.

  212. says

    This is a followup to comment 219.

    The U.S. Navy is joining others in distancing themselves from southern states that have passed anti-LGBT laws:

    The USS Portland is a “San Antonio-class amphibious transport vessel currently being built at the Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.” Some Portland groups had previously been pushing for the ship to make its way to Portland, Oregon, for the commissioning ceremony, but the new Mississippi law legalizing discrimination against its LGBT residents and visitors was the straw that broke the camel’s back:

    After Portland Mayor Charlie Hales announced he refuses to travel to Mississippi next month to commission the USS Portland over the state’s anti-gay laws, the Navy has announced the commissioning will take place in Portland.

    Huzzah! The U.S. Navy is rerouting the USS Portland and will head to Oregon. Mayor Hales was harsh in his criticism:

    “[These kinds of laws are] wrong, they’re fundamentally wrong,” Hales said. “They’re probably unconstitutional, but until they’re overturned in the courts or repealed by the legislature that wakes up the next day and says that was really a bad idea, we are not going to go there, literally,” Hales said […]

    Daily Kos link.
    KVAL Eugene, Oregon link.

  213. says

    Ha. This is funny. No porn for the Tar Heel state.

    For any North Carolinian turning to the Internet for carnal pleasure, one popular website will prove disappointing., a porn website that, as of Monday, is one of the world’s 100 most visited websites according to data from Alexa, is refusing to serve anyone using a computer in North Carolina. Since 12:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday, the website has appeared as a black screen for anyone with a North Carolina IP address.

    Washington Post Link.

    See comments 219 and 228 for some of the previous discussion of the fallout from passage of anti-LGBT laws in some states.

  214. says

    What do our election laws allow when it comes to candidates wooing the delegates who will be going to the conventions of the two major political parties?

    Under regulations established in the 1980s, delegates cannot take money from corporations, labor unions, federal contractors or foreign nationals. But an individual donor is permitted to give a delegate unlimited sums to support his or her efforts to get selected to go to the convention, including money to defray the costs of travel and lodging.

    A candidate’s campaign committee can also pay for delegate expenses. Some legal experts believe a campaign could even cover an all-expense-paid weekend prior to the convention to meet with senior staff at, say, a Trump-owned luxury golf resort in Florida.

    Quoted text is from the Washington Post.

    As Steve Benen of the Maddow Blog put it:

    […] if a super PAC started buying plane tickets and renting luxury hotel suites, for example, that would not only be legal, there’s reason to believe such money wouldn’t even have to be disclosed under current rules. […] we should expect to see campaigns “testing” the rules that have gone largely without scrutiny for decades.

  215. says

    President Obama is going to be a host on the Science Channel. Here’s his statement about the annual White House Science Fair:

    As a society, we have to celebrate outstanding work by young people in science at least as much as we do Super Bowl winners. Because superstar biologists and engineers and rocket scientists and robot-builders… they’re what’s going to transform our society. They’re the folks who are going to come up with cures for diseases and new sources of energy, and help us build healthier, more successful societies.

    And here’s the statement about Obama hosting Science Presents News segments:

    As the White House prepares to welcome some of the brightest minds for the White House Science Fair later this week, the President will provide primetime science-focused updates at 9pm ET/PT tonight through Friday on Science Channel

    Discovery Blog link.

    The segments hosted by Obama will also be available online:

  216. says

    Clear Channel Communications, which changed its name to iHeartRadio, is clearly in financial trouble. The company may even go bankrupt.

    A brief history of stock prices:
    $90 in January 2000
    $39 in April 2007
    $8.30 in July 2011
    $1.15 in April 2016

    Why do I care? This downturn also spells trouble for Rush Limbaugh. [schadenfreude moment] In 2008, Limbaugh signed a $400-million deal for eight years of talk radio hate-spewing. Clear Channel/iHeart even paid Limbaugh a $100 million signing bonus.

    That contract with Limbaugh was a really bad idea, one that was made worse by a leveraged takeover engineered by Bain Capital in 2008.

    Limbaugh’s fee played a part in bringing iHeartRadio down to its $1.15 stock price today. He made a big mistake going after Sandra Fluke in 2012, his audience is aging and dying. His advertisers have fled. Limbaugh made a lot of other stupid mistakes, but we’ll let his disrespect for Sandra-Fluke stand for the lot of them — the general tenor of his mistakes is pretty much always awful migogyny, racism, or bullying.

    Here’s where Clear Channel/iHeart is today:

    In 2007, the company, then called Clear Channel, reported a net income of $939 million. In the years since the LBO, the company has reported losses of between $220 million and $4 billion per year. For 2015, it reported a loss of $738 million.

    That’s an ugly picture. Interest payments on debt take up any earnings. Limbaugh’s contract is expiring. Yay. Can iHeart afford to pay him $38 million per year? Can they afford to sign another contract with Limbaugh? No. Yay.

  217. says

    This is a followup to comment 141.

    Trump supporter Roger Stone claimed that he and other Trump campaign personnel would give out the hotel and room number information for Republican delegates attending the convention in Cleveland so that Trump’s supporters could go to their rooms and harass them if they weren’t voting for Trump.

    Trump’s supporters are already harassing delegates. They are sending threatening emails to some delegates. The problem is serious enough that the state police in Indiana are investigating:

    State police are reviewing alleged threats against Indiana delegates who were critical of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

    “What I can share with you at this time is information has been referred to the Indiana State Police that alleges threatening emails have been sent to some Indiana delegates that will be participating in the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH,” said Capt. David Bursten, a state police spokesman. “Presently the Indiana State Police is reviewing the information to determine if it may cross the line of free speech and could be considered criminal in nature.”

    Several of Indiana’s delegates to the 2016 Republican national convention said they received a barrage of hate mail from Trump supporters after they expressed reservations about the billionaire real estate developer and reality TV star in a Politico story published online Saturday. […]

    Indy Star link.

  218. says

    More coverage of the wave of threats Trump’s followers are directing toward delegates:

    Death threats — including threats that describe death by hanging.

    References to where you live.

    Not-so-subtle allusions to your family.

    Warnings that your personal information will soon become public — or perhaps it has already.

    These are just some of the reports coming in from low-level GOP officials around the country about the threats they claim to have received from pro-Trump forces. As Trump accuses other politicians and the party at large of denying him delegates, ominous messages believed to be coming from freelance Trump backers — usually hiding behind anonymity — have injected fear and anxiety into the usually low-stakes delegate selection process at the local and state level. […]

    Jeb Bush said that he will not attend the GOP convention. Seems wise.

  219. says

    More trickle-down hatred from Trump to students, this time at Tulane University where a group of fraternity brothers built a mock “border wall” around their frat house.

    […] The Kappa Alpha brothers insist the wall, which was constructed out of sandbags, was meant as a joke. But many of their fellow students found it offensive and disrespectful to people of color on campus. And it’s become just the latest example in a string of incidents invoking Trump’s name as somewhat of a racial slur that connotes xenophobia, particularly against Muslims and immigrants. […]

    It is possible that the fraternity was trying to mock Trump instead of to support him, but a lot of other students didn’t take it that way.

    […] they built a wall filled with connotations of hate and ignorance, directly mocking the experiences of Latino immigrants and workers throughout the nation. […]

    The fraternity issued a statement:

    […] The KA chapter at Tulane said in a statement that the wall was meant to “mock the ideologies of a political candidate.”

    “Our chapter takes KA’s values of gentlemanly conduct very seriously,” KA’s statement read. “This respect extends to every student of Tulane and every member of the broader community. A comment was written on a makeshift wall on our private property, normally used for a game of capture the flag, to mock the ideologies of a political candidate. This had a unintended negative effect and as such it has been dismantled.” […]

    Think Progress link.

  220. says

    In 2007 Ted Cruz defended a Texas ban on dildos.

    […] The brief insisted that Texas in order to protect “public morals” had “police-power interests” in “discouraging prurient interests in sexual gratification, combating the commercial sale of sex, and protecting minors.”

    There was a “government” interest, it maintained, in “discouraging…autonomous sex.”

    The brief compared the use of sex toys with “hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy,” and it equated advertising these products with the commercial promotion of prostitution.

    In perhaps the most noticeable line of the brief, Cruz’s office declared, “There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.” That is, the pursuit of such happiness had no constitutional standing. And the brief argued there was no “right to promote dildos, vibrators, and other obscene devices.”

    The plaintiffs, it noted, were “free to engage in unfettered noncommercial speech touting the uses of obscene devices” but not speech designed to generate the sale of these items. […]

    Mother Jones link.

  221. says

    The New York transit workers union endorsed Bernie Sanders. Sanders accepted the Transport Workers Union Local 100 in person. In his speech he promised a $1 trillion investment to rebuild crumbling infrastructure.

    The union represents 42,000 workers in the New York region.

    Also, finally, one of Sanders’ senate colleagues endorsed him today, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

  222. says

    Hillary Clinton has been fundraising for down-ballot Democratic candidates for years. Now Bernie Sanders has joined her in this effort. He is raising money for New York’s Zephyr Teachout, Nevada’s Lucy Flores, and Washington state’s Pramila Jayapal.

    That’s a limited list of progressives. It remains to be seen if Sanders will expand his down-ballot efforts. If he does, I think that would be a great boost for more down-ballot races.

    […] Clinton raised millions for the DNC and a wide array of state Democratic parties, including $15 million so far in 2016. But given Sanders’ fundraising prowess — he has raised $109 million in 2016 alone — some Democrats have chafed at his lack of effort on behalf of other candidates.

    When pressed on his plans to raise money for other Democrats in late March by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Sanders simply said, “Well, we’ll see.” […]

    Politico link

    Down-ballot races are important. I would like to see Democrats regain control of the Senate, and make significant gains in the House. Races for state-level legislators are also important.

  223. raven says

    More coverage of the wave of threats Trump’s followers are directing toward delegates:
    Death threats — including threats that describe death by hanging.

    Gee. You would think GOP delegates were atheists, biologists, or MD’s or something.
    The GOP is going to have to have massive security at their convention. You can’t ask people to risk their lives just to be one of thousands of delegates at a convention. And oh yeah, where is DHS/FBI here. Death threats are felonies and they can track these down if they really want to.

    Jeb Bush said that he will not attend the GOP convention. Seems wise.

    As a member of the ultra-rich, he does have a lot to lose. All those millions are useless if you are dead.

  224. says

    Whacko celebrities who are Trump supporters:
    Hulk Hogan
    Rudi Giuliani
    David Duke
    Jon Voight
    Dennis Rodman
    Stephen Baldwin
    Willie Robertson (Duck Dynasty)
    Jesse James (used to be married to Sandra Bullock, is a Celebrity Apprentice alum)
    Tila Tequila
    Ted Nugent
    Gary Busey
    Kid Rock
    Mike Tyson
    Scott Baio
    Roger Stone

  225. Chris J says


    Ok, wait, hold up for a second. ““There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship?”

    What? So, there is a right to have your significant other get you off (to have babies or otherwise), but not for you to do so on your own time even without using a sex toy? Are you kidding me?

    I… I’m literally speechless. What?

    Anyone who writes those words or agrees with them completely gives up the right to say they are in favor of small government.

  226. blf says

    You can’t ask people to risk their lives[…]

    This is the thugs, they do so routinely with their policies.

    And oh yeah, where is DHS/FBI here. Death threats are felonies and they can track these down if they really want to.

    Investigations are not always twaddled in real-time, or necessarily even announced. Whilst I have no idea of what any of federal goon squads are doing, I do not know of any evidenced reason for implying none of those goons are active.

  227. says

    If you think other college/university officials fall short when it comes to supporting students who report rape or sexual assault on campus, take a look at Brigham Young University in Utah. The mormon-based university actually punishes victims who report sexual crimes.

    Brigham Young University students who are victims of sex crimes say they are investigated by the school and sometimes disciplined after reporting their abuse, a consequence that critics say silences victims and emboldens offenders.

    At colleges nationwide, student victims are encouraged to report sexual assaults to schools’ Title IX officers, charged with enforcing a federal law that guarantees students don’t face hostility on campus based on their gender.

    But at BYU, according to multiple students, Title IX staff routinely alert the Honor Code Office.

    Students say Honor Code involvement means a victim who reports an assault faces possible punishment if she or he was breaking curfew, violating the dress code, using drugs or alcohol or engaging in consensual sexual contact — all banned by the code of conduct — before an attack. […]

    Salt Lake Tribune link.

  228. says

    In a speech she gave today at the National Action Network convention in NYC, Hillary Clinton focused on environmental justice.

    […] the Clinton campaign released a fact sheet outlining the candidate’s plans for lessening the environmental burdens faced by low-income communities of color.

    “Environmental and climate justice can’t just be slogans — they have to be central goals,” the plan reads. “Clean air and clean water aren’t luxuries—they are basic rights of all Americans. No one in our country should be exposed to toxic chemicals or hazardous wastes simply because of where they live, their income, or their race.”

    […] During her speech, Clinton referenced the ongoing crisis in Flint, Michigan, arguing that the problem would never have occurred in a more affluent area. […]

    Think Progress link.

  229. says

    Bernie Sanders stopped by a picket line of striking workers in Brooklyn today.

    Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers went on strike on Wednesday morning, by far the biggest strike in the United States in recent years.

    Among other grievances, workers are striking to try to keep Verizon from offshoring more jobs, […] Verizon has sent more than 5,000 jobs overseas to the Philippines, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere, and is pushing to send more, according to the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the union representing Verizon workers.

    Despite a profit of $39 billion in the last three years, Verizon is insisting on outsourcing more work to low-wage contractors, seeking to freeze worker pensions, and instituting policies that force employees to commute hours a day or spend months away from their families, according to a CWA press release. […]

    Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stopped by the picket line in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

    Sanders, whose campaign has been endorsed by the CWA, last week stood with representatives from both CWA and IBEW and called out Verizon for attempting to shift American jobs overseas, “where people will be paid pennies an hour.”[…]

    Think Progess link.

  230. says

    Despite a lot of failures at the ballot box, anti-abortion forces are still backing “personhood” changes to state constitutions.

    This week, legislative committees in Alabama and Missouri approved so-called “personhood” measures that would, if successful, outlaw all abortions and even endanger some forms of birth control.

    An Alabama House committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment today that would “define the term ‘persons’ to include all humans from the moment of fertilization.” If the state legislature approves the amendment, it will move to a statewide ballot referendum.

    One doctor who testified in favor […] insisted that a fetus is “totally separate” from a woman and that “the mother only contributes the egg and the incubator.”

    In Missouri, a House committee approved a similar measure yesterday which would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot defining “persons” to include “unborn human children at every stage of biological development.”

    The Missouri amendment, however, seems designed to avoid going head-to-head with Roe v. Wade, stating that it can only be enforced “to the extent permitted by the federal constitution.” The anti-choice group Live Action said that the amendment would ensure that Missouri “has clear legal protection from conception onward in place, should Roe v. Wade be eventually overturned.” […]

    Right Wing Watch link.

  231. says

    A summary of the latest endorsements for Clinton and Sanders:

    Hillary Clinton notched another union endorsement Wednesday in New York, earning the support of the Local 3 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

    The endorsement of the union, which represents 27,000 area members, comes on the same day the 42,000-member Transport Workers Union Local 100 announced that it would be supporting Bernie Sanders for next Tuesday’s primary.

    Clinton, who represented the state for eight years in the U.S. Senate, was endorsed by the New York Daily News on Tuesday, while Sanders picked up his first endorsement from a Senate colleague, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) earlier Wednesday.

    Politico link

  232. says

    This is a followup to comments 233, 234, 239 and 242.

    More details regarding threats issued by Trump supporters:

    The chairman of the Colorado Republican Party has gotten such a violent reaction to the results of his state’s caucus last weekend that he says he is considering bringing a local sheriff as one of his guests to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer.

    “I’ve made the decision that I would not take my wife along. I am certainly at the very least going to use my personal guest pass to bring along a Republican sheriff,” Steve House told POLITICO in an interview. “People might think that’s crazy, but not after what we’re growing through right now.”

    What House is “going through” is 50 to 60 calls an hour, emails, text messages and online death threats from angry Donald Trump supporters since Sunday night when his contact information was released (it is not clear who originally sent out the information). […]

    Politico link

  233. says

    Donald Trump is unable to see that a lot of his problems with the Republican delegate-selection process are of his own making. He continues to blame everyone but himself. He is not taking responsibility for his own campaign management failures.

    […] The problem is the Trump campaign has failed miserably to do the necessary follow-through at Republican conventions, where Ted Cruz’s superior field operation has repeatedly filled delegate slates with its allies.

    On the first ballot, many of these delegates will be required to vote for Trump, but […] After the first ballot, Trump would likely to discover a Republican convention where he has few real friends.

    And as this fact sinks in, Trump is beginning to lash out angrily at the process he’s never fully understood or taken the time to study. At a New York rally the other day, Trump condemned the “corrupt” system and “crooked shenanigans.”

    Yesterday, he went further, insisting that the RNC created a system that’s been deliberately “stacked against” him. “The Republican National Committee, they should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this kind of crap to happen,” Trump said. In an interview with The Hill, the candidate added that the process is a “scam” and a “disgrace.” […]

    RNC chairman Reince Priebus battled back against Trump’s criticism.

    “Nomination process known for a year + beyond. It’s the responsibility of the campaigns to understand it. Complaints now? Give us all a break,” he tweeted. […]

    The oddity of Trump’s whining is his inability to recognize the root problem. There was nothing stopping Trump and his campaign operation from getting organized, recognizing the significance of the delegate-selection process, and lining up supporters at state, district, and local conventions. Team Cruz isn’t cheating, so much as it’s playing the game by the rules.

    When Trump complains about corruption, what he’s effectively saying is, “My team and I didn’t realize we had to worry about all of that other stuff.” […]

    […] his amateurish understanding of the rules will end up costing him dearly.

    Maddow Blog link.

  234. says

    What a difference a Democratic governor makes!

    Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order Tuesday (April 13) that protects state workers and state contractors from being fired, discriminated against or harassed based on their gender identity as well as their sexual orientation. State agencies, departments and offices also wouldn’t be able to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

    This means the nondiscrimination policy will not only cover gay, lesbian, and bisexual people but also transgender people for the first time. Most of the order were enacted immediately, though the parts that apply to state workers won’t take effect until July 1.

    NOLA link.

    There are still exemptions for religious organizations like the Catholic Church, but this is so much better than we’ve seen in North Carolina, Mississippi, etc.

  235. says

    Ringo Starr has joined other musicians in cancelling upcoming shows scheduled in North Carolian.

    Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr has canceled an upcoming show in North Carolina in protest of the state’s anti-LGBT legislation. The show was set for June 18 at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary. “I’m sorry to disappoint my fans in the area, but we need to take a stand against this hatred,” Starr said of the new law that prohibits local ordinances against gender identity-based discrimination. “Spread peace and love.” Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams have also canceled show in the state as part of an unorganized boycott against the law.

    The Daily Beast link.

  236. says

    dianne @252, thanks for that link. I read several other stories of hatred trickling down from the Trump campaign to college and high school students, but I had not seen that more in-depth report. Children are susceptible to the sort of stupidity Trump spews, including the stereotypes, the cardboard characters, and the simplified world view. It’s bad for everyone, but I am particularly alarmed to hear that it is affecting children.

    One media outlet did point out that some of the reports came in from teachers who self-selected to report to the Southern Poverty Law Center. This means they were on the SPLC mailing list. I don’t doubt the report, which included an increase in bullying of Muslim girls, I just want to add a grain of salt because of the self-selection aspect of the sampling pool.

  237. says

    From Bernie Sanders’ point of view:

    Bernie Sanders told “Nightly Show” host Larry Wilmore at a taping Wednesday evening that scheduling Southern states early in the Democratic primary “distorts reality.” […]

    “Well, you know,” Sanders said, “people say, ‘Why does Iowa go first, why does New Hampshire go first,’ but I think that having so many Southern states go first kind of distorts reality as well.”

    Time link.

  238. says

    Oh, dear. This is one time when I really would like to see the partisanship in Congress fall away. It is not appropriate to cling to voting along party lines when we’re faced with the need to combat disease. Steve Benen took a closer look at the White House efforts to fight the Zika virus:

    […] the dispute over the federal response to the Zika virus is a little different than most.

    When the process began two months ago, it didn’t seem especially contentious. The Obama administration requested $1.9 billion in emergency funding to respond to the looming public-health threat. The White House noted at the time, “This sort of falls in the category of things that shouldn’t break down along party lines.”

    But that’s exactly what happened anyway. Congressional Republicans responded to the request by telling the administration to use $600 million that had been allocated to combat Ebola. The trouble, of course, is that this money (a) is far short of the $1.9 billion needed, and (b) still being used to address Ebola in West Africa.

    And so, the White House kept pushing, saying Congress needs to step up to help address the Zika threat. Then the Office of Management and Budget soon after said in effect, “No, really, Congress needs to step up to help address the Zika threat.” Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention effectively said, “No, really, Congress needs to step up to help address the Zika threat.” Then the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases effectively said, “No, really, Congress needs to step up to help address the Zika threat.”

    […] Congress did pass a bill, intended to create incentives for drug makers to speed work on Zika treatments, but it allocates none of $1.9 billion the administration says is necessary. It’s reached the point at which the White House has stopped being polite and started getting real.

    Press Secretary Josh Earnest compared a Zika bill the House sent to President Barack Obama’s desk on Tuesday to “passing out umbrellas in the event of a hurricane.” […]

    Earnest called the bill (S 2512) “insufficient” because it would not allocate a single dollar for things the Obama administration says are needed to combat the virus before mosquitoes are out in force across the U.S. That list includes targeting specific Zika-carrying mosquito populations, diagnostic testing and other efforts, according to the White House. […]

    Some Republicans are complaining that the White House hasn’t given them the information they need to have before allocating funds. Hogwash.

    […] House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) complained that the White House hasn’t given Congress enough information on what, specifically, the $1.9 billion would be used for, fearing that the administration’s plan amounted to the creation of a “slush fund” with money that “could be used for any purpose.”

    “I quite frankly don’t know what information you all are looking for from the administration,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) told the Kentucky Republican. “It is pretty detailed as to what this would encompass.”

    And so, very little is happening, even as Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC, explains, “Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought.”

    […] in February, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared, “We need to get out in front of the Zika virus.” In hindsight, “we” apparently did not refer to Republicans in Congress.

  239. says

    Bernie Sanders drew a crowd of 27,000 people to Washington Square Park in NYC yesterday evening. The size of that enthusiastic crowd is good news The fallout from the comments made by one of the speakers who took the stage before Sanders arrived is not good news.

    Paul Y. Song mentioned Hillary Clinton twice, and then went on to say:

    Medicare-for-all will never happen if we continue to elect corporate Democratic whores who are beholden to big pharma and the private insurance industry instead of us.

    Name-checking Clinton twice in one minute and claiming the next day that you were calling Democrats in Congress whores and not Hillary Clinton … that just doesn’t wash.

    In his response, Bernie Sanders tweeted:

    Dr. Song’s comment was inappropriate and insensitive. There’s no room for language like that in our political discourse.

  240. says

    This is a followup to comment 214.

    It’s not just two of Trump’s children, Ivanka and Eric, who won’t be able to vote for Trump in the New York primary. His Lawyer, Michael Cohen also won’t be voting for him.

    No, I’m not voting in the primary. I’m a registered Democrat.

    It is estimated that about 300,000 New Yorkers will have missed deadlines for registering to vote, or for changing their party alignment in order to vote.

  241. says

    Hillary Clinton wrote a column that was published today in the New York Daily News. Among other things, she blasted Trump for his comments on using nuclear weapons.

    […] when Donald Trump says “we need unpredictability” when it comes to nuclear weapons, when he talks casually about actually using these weapons, and when he says he sees no problem in letting more countries develop nuclear weapons, he’s not just wrong. This kind of loose talk is dangerous.

    These may be the most reckless statements on national security by any major presidential candidate in modern history.

    Trump’s policies would reverse decades of bipartisan consensus. Even letting friendly nations go nuclear would make it harder for us to prevent rogue regimes from doing the same. Trump would risk unleashing an arms race in places like East Asia and the Middle East, expand the amount of nuclear material in the world and increase the chance of terrorists acquiring some of that material and using it to attack the U.S. […]

  242. says

    This is a followup to comment 172.

    The primary election in Arizona featured a cluster of mistakes made by state officials. All of those mistakes made it harder for people to vote. The state is now being sued.

    A federal lawsuit led by the Democratic Party and the Hilary Clinton campaign will be filed Friday challenging Arizona’s election practices […]

    The complaint will accuse Arizona of having an “alarmingly inadequate number of voting centers” that “resulted in severe, inexcusable burdens on voters county-wide, as well as the ultimate disenfranchisement of untold numbers of voters […]

    It will zero in on Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county, where the 200-plus polling precincts had been replaced with about 60 vote centers, and residents reported waiting in lines as long as five hours.

    […] The lawsuit was organized by Marc Elias, her [Clinton’s] campaign lawyer and voting rights attorney who has brought a number of other elections-related lawsuits elsewhere.

    The lawsuit will also ask the court to stop other voting regulations put forward by the state that it says have a “dramatic and disparate impact” on minority voters […]

    Talking Points Memo link

  243. says

    This is a followup to comments 205 and 211.

    Univision recently produced a segment that summarized all of Kris Kobach’s anti-immigrant career moves, including his latest support for Trump.
    Media Matters link

    Spanish-language video is available at the link, along with English translation of some of the presentation.

    GALO ARELLANO (REPORTER): The brain behind the construction of Donald Trump’s border wall has a first and last name: Kris Kobach. But he doesn’t only stand out for that. When it comes to anti-immigrant proposals, he has always been available to pitch the strictest and most far-fetched measures to, according to him, control the entry of undocumented immigrants to the United States.

    Univision first met Kobach in 2012, when he had been Secretary of State of Kansas for a year. Back then he authored the presidential initiative of self-deportation that Mitt Romney pushed, which in a few words, sought to block all types of access to jobs so undocumented immigrants would return voluntarily to their countries of origin due to a lack of opportunities. His plan, he explained back then, was to make it impossible for an immigrant to work with fake documents, and he said it was totally realistic that entire families with undocumented heads of household would self-deport, even though in many cases their children were born in the U.S.

    He’s also behind anti-immigrant legislation in Alabama, and Arizona’s HB1070 was similarly inspired by Kobach, who is gaining standing within the Republican Party and who currently advises Donald Trump.

    He’s told media outlets that Trump has been receptive to the idea of blocking the $20 billion in remittances that Mexicans send every year to their families in other countries, as a way to pressure the Mexican government to fund the entire cost of building a border wall, estimated at $10 billion. […]

    ARELLANO: But in a letter endorsing the mogul, Kobach states that because “there are too many Americans who are out of work because of illegal immigration,” “America needs Mr. Trump’s aggressive approach to the problem of illegal immigration.” Despite the criticism that his proposal has received, he says that if they capitalize on the enthusiasm raised by Trump in the electorate, they could see their dreams of a wall turn into a reality. […]

  244. says

    Tonight Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will participate in a debate at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. CNN is hosting the debate, which will air at 9:00 p.m. on CNN and

    In other news, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski will not be prosecuted for simple battery against a female reporter. Politico link.

  245. says

    Hillary Clinton picked up an endorsement from the New York State Immigrant Action Fund, which is the largest immigrant rights coalition in the U.S.
    MSNBC link.

    In other news, polls show Trump leading in New York, Maryland, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The leads vary from 16 points to 33 points, with the largest lead being in New York (Kasich comes in second in the NY polls). Trump’s support nationwide has dipped a bit, but is still at 42%.

  246. says

    The anti-abortion group, Americans United for Life (AUL), has been writing legislation for Republican-dominated state legislatures. As a result, a new way to shame women who have abortions has emerged.

    Some states have tried to pass laws that prevent Planned Parenthood from “selling” fetal tissue, only to find out that Planned Parenthood does not make fetal tissue available for scientific research in those states. The anti-abortion foes needed another tactic.

    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was one of the doofuses that used a tactical pivot provided by AUL. The new tactic involves requiring “fetal burial.”

    […] “Fetal burial” bills like Ohio’s have begun to make a significant appearance in the legislative sessions of conservative-led states — states that have already passed nearly every restriction possible to restrict a woman’s access to an abortion. Kellie Copeland, director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said […] “let’s be clear. Burial and cremation laws are only intended to shame women for their decision.” […]

    The demands for “humane” disposal of aborted remains are not humane so much as they are a means to create a public record, since cremation or burial requires that. A woman who has an abortion would be listed in that public record.

    […] Idaho, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina all have bills in their current session with language pulled directly from AUL’s model legislation, which is evocatively titled the “Unborn Infants Dignity Act.”

    States like Ohio and Indiana […] are slightly less overt in their duplication of AUL’s draft bill, but are clearly inspired by its model.

    AUL’s bill is meant to applied to “every instance of fetal death, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy.” In some cases, this would mean a woman who took an abortion pill a couple months into a pregnancy would be asked if she wanted a quarter-sized blood clot to be formally buried. She would then get a death certificate. […]

  247. blf says

    ‘I have a conscience’: the Wall Streeters fighting for Bernie Sanders in New York:

    The financial industry looms large in the coming primary — and some bankers say they’ll push for the Vermont senator even if his policies could hurt their careers

    A few months ago, Democratic party leaders attended a meeting in New York with some of the titans of Wall Street, among them heads of brand-name hedge funds and top private equity firms. The gathering was billed not as the usual high-dollar fundraiser but as a bridge-building exercise in which powerful financiers could vent their opinions privately to Democratic bosses.

    Two US senators who formed part of the Democratic delegation kicked off the meeting by inviting the financiers to air their concerns about party policy. One of the big name Wall Street figures stood up, proclaimed grandly that he was speaking on behalf of every financial person in the room, and then slammed into the Democratic lawmakers for having had the audacity even to consider disbanding a low-tax arrangement popular with hedge fund managers known as “carried interest”.

    “That was startling to me,” said one of the other financiers present in the room that day. “Here was a gathering of Wall Street’s greatest minds and what were we discussing? Not how to generate more jobs or create an economy that works for everyone, but how to protect our vested interests and tax advantages.”

    Let’s call the financier speaking here by the false name Frank. He is one of a rare and fascinating breed which Politico has dubbed Bankers for Bernie — high-profile Wall Street figures who, unlike most of their peers, are prepared to abandon pure self-interest and embrace the radical financial reforms espoused by Bernie Sanders.

    Even Asher Edelman, one of the real-life templates for Gordon “greed is good” Gekko of the 1987 movie Wall Street, has joined the club, writing in the Guardian that only Sanders is “committed to honest solutions” to the crisis of income inequality.

    The fact that Frank — a prominent New York hedge fund manager — is only willing to talk to the Guardian anonymously itself tells a story. It’s not that he’s ashamed about his backing for Bernie — quite the contrary: he has openly canvassed for Sanders in Iowa and frequently goes out leafleting for him in New York City. Rather, Frank’s desire to keep his name out of the news was a reflection, he said, of the stultifying consensus within the New York financial world that Sanders’ proposals to rein in Wall Street and prevent another Great Recession are dangerous and must be rebuffed. He looks at his fellow hedge fund folk, and thinks to himself that “they have made so much money, yet all they want to do is preserve what they’ve got. It’s got so out of whack that virtually nobody is willing to think about the basic unfairness of income inequality or how to improve the economy.”


    [… I]t is indisputable that the unexpectedly potent campaign of a self-described democratic socialist who has put Wall Street at the core of his critique of modern America has forced Clinton to shift ground sharply to the left. She has come a long way from the first lady who stood by President Bill Clinton’s side in 1999 as he signed into law the repeal of Glass-Steagall regulations that in turn allowed investment and commercial banks to fuse and unleashed, in the view of several erudite economists, the reckless lending that would cause the Great Recession.

    In her own [New York] Daily News editorial board interview, published on Monday, Clinton went as far as to agree with Sanders that Dodd-Frank gave the White House authority to break up banks “that pose a grave threat to financial stability”. She promised that as president she would appoint financial regulators who would be prepared to make hard calls to prevent a repeat of 2008, as well as to empower and resource prosecutors to press criminal charges if merited — a far cry from the 1990s.


    For the Bankers for Bernie […], Clinton’s talk about toughening up the regulators and empowering prosecutors doesn’t go far enough. He may be an investment banker himself, but [Paul] Ryan [a managing director at Tripoint Global Equities, an investment bank that works with small businesses] prefers Sanders’ pledge to begin breaking up the banks in his first 100 days in the White House over Clinton’s more indirect promises.

    “She has a thousand talking points, but when the lights are turned off and all the glare of the election fades, politics-as-normal will return, the lobbyists will get to work, and nothing at all will happen,” he said.

    Frank, still speaking anonymously, agrees. “Hillary Clinton is paying lip-service to Wall Street changes. Maybe in her heart she means business, but for me income inequality is the civil rights issue of our time, and I feel strongly we need a president who is totally committed to making this happen.”

  248. says

    blf @265, thanks for that post. It’s good to hear some financiers talking about leaving greed and self-interest behind to embrace a greater good. That post also confirmed what a lot of people are saying, that the Sanders campaign has shifted Clinton to the left, which I think is a good thing for entire Democratic Party.

  249. says

    Six former contestants on Trump’s “The Apprentice” show plan to publicly denounce Trump’s campaign for president.
    NY Daily News link.

    The public announcement is slated to take place tomorrow, Friday. In a statement to which The Daily News has access, the former contestants state that they plan to denounce the presidential campaign for “sexism, xenophobia, racism, violence and hate.”

    The contestants are:

    Randal Pinkett (season 4, and the first contestant of color to win)

    Marshawn Evans Daniels (who described Trump’s campaign as “unpatriotic, anti-American, self-serving, regressive and downright lazy” … “Trump is passionately and strategically reigniting a dirty and divisive culture soaked in a history of prejudice, fear and hate.” (Daniels is also from season 4, and is a woman of color.)

    Kwame Jackson, season 1

    Kevin Allen, season 2

    Tara Dowdell, season 3

    James Sun, season 6

    Trump’s response is typical:

    How quickly they forget […] I couldn’t have been nicer or more respectful […] They just want to get back into the limelight like they had when they were with Trump. Total dishonesty and disloyalty. [… they should be careful or I’ll play hours of footage of them individually praising me.

  250. says

    Kasich said some reasonable stuff about marriage equality and about how parents should react if their children come out as gay (further proof that Republicans will not nominate him as their candidate for president):

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said Thursday that his feelings towards his twin daughters would be unchanged if they were gay.

    “I would say, ‘I love you girls. End of it,” […]

    Though Kasich maintained that he believed in “traditional marriage,” he urged tolerance and noted, as he has many times on the campaign trail, that he once attended a gay wedding.

    Kasich also said the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide should stand.

    “There could be an effort to pass a Constitutional Amendment,” Kasich told Matthews during the town hall. “I’m not for doing it. I’m for moving on.”

    […] The Ohio governor recently expressed opposition to legislation passed in North Carolina that prevents cities and counties from passing their own rules against LGBT discrimination.

    “Why do we need to write a law every time we turn around in this country?” he said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” “Everybody, chill out, get over it if you have a disagreement with somebody.”

    […] Trump has said he “would strongly consider” appointing judges to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. […] Cruz voiced support for the anti-transgender “bathroom bills” passed in North Carolina […] calling them “perfectly reasonable.”

  251. says

    I suppose you’ve already heard that the debate last night was “contentious.” Contentious seems to be everyone’s favorite word for describing some of the exchanges between the two candidates that were really just stupid instances of talking past and/or over each other. I’m all for contention if it adds substance to the debate, but this is ridiculous:

    SANDERS: Are you or are you not supporting legislation to lift the cap on taxable income and expand Social Security for 58 years and increase benefits…

    CLINTON: I am…


    At least the two candidates did talk more about climate change, more than in all the previous debates combined.

    […] Sanders highlighted Clinton’s work as Secretary of State supporting fracking globally and said her plan to address climate change was “incremental.”

    “Now, what I think is when we look at climate change now, we have got to realize that this is a global environmental crisis of unprecedented urgency,” the Independent senator from Vermont said. “We have an enemy out there, and that enemy is going to cause drought and floods and extreme weather disturbances. There’s going to be international conflict.”

    Clinton hit back that her plan was more realistic than Sanders’.

    […] Sanders supports eliminating new leases for drilling in the Gulf, halting programs to extract coal, gas, and oil on public lands, and banning fracking nationwide.

    Clinton has said that banning fracking outright would keep the United States’ electricity sector tied to coal, which, when burned, emits nearly twice as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide as natural gas does. […]

    “I don’t think I’ve changed my view on what we need to do to go from where we are, where the world is heavily dependent on coal and oil, but principally coal, to where we need to be, which is clean renewable energy, and one of the bridge fuels is natural gas,” Clinton said.

    The argument for natural as a bridge fuel has been heavily criticized by environmentalists. […]

    “I have big, bold goals, but I know in order to get from where we are, where the world is still burning way too much coal, where the world is still too intimidated by countries and providers like Russia, we have got to make a very firm but decisive move in the direction of clean energy,” Clinton said.

    Clinton, a former senator from New York, where the debate was held, said that Sanders’ proposals would not be able to get the support from Congress necessary to, for instance, ban extraction on public land. […]

    Despite their differences, the two Democratic candidates are worlds away from where the Republican field has been on climate. None of the Republican candidates even accept the scientific consensus that, yes, the planet is warming, and, yes, humans are causing it.

  252. says

    I really didn’t quite get it when Sanders repeated during last night’s debate a line he recently introduced to his stump speech. It’s an excuse/explanation for why he lost in the southern states, and the excuse comes off, unintentionally I’m sure, as showing disrespect for black voters.

    Secretary Clinton cleaned our clock in the Deep South, no question about it. We got murdered there. That is the most conservative part of this great country. That’s the fact. But you know what, we’re out of the Deep South now.

    Representative Greg Meeks put it this way:

    Is Bernie saying black votes don’t count? This is a guy who can’t seem to get anybody but white voters to go for him – and he’s demeaning the primaries where black voters participated in big numbers. What’s he really saying here?

    I agree. It’s confusing. My bet is that, after all the negative feedback, Sanders will rethink that line and then amend it.

  253. says

    I wouldn’t expect any hurry on that amendment, Sanders and his staff have been open about their disdain for what they characterise as “low information” voters, namely those in Southern states who went strongly, and among Black voters very strongly, for Clinton. One criticism I’ve heard from a Black friend of mine was that Black voters are easily able to spot such dog whistles for what they are.

  254. says

    This is a followup to comment 267.

    The former “Apprentice” contestants held their press conference. Here are some of their comments:

    […] “Because our allegiance to our country supersedes our relationship with Donald, we see today as an act of patriotism and not disloyalty,” said Randal Pinkett, who won Season 4 of NBC’s “The Apprentice.”

    The group of former contestants said they came together to speak out against Trump, not as Republicans or Democrats but as Americans, insisting that their collective remarks were not a partisan statement.[…]

    “Today, we denounce Donald’s campaign of sexism, xenophobia, racism, violence and hate as a unified team, “ said Pinkett, who personally invited former contestants Kevin Allen, Tara Dowdell, Marshawn Evans Daniels, James Sun and Kwame Jackson to condemn Trump’s candidacy for the first time as a group.

    Jackson […] blamed Trump for creating a “toxic ecosystem” by appealing to fear, racism and divisiveness and questioned his disposition to be commander in chief. […]

    “Trump does not have the temperament to deal with the sensitivities and diplomacy required on the world stage with volatile regimes in Iran, North Korea and the threat of ISIS,” he said. […]

    “Trump is playing the old Dixiecrat southern strategy of yesteryear by playing to small-tent politics, assuming you can win an election with an all-white, male electorate that is shrinking, angry and tricked into voting against their own economic self-interest by a beguiling and shiny billionaire,” he said.

    Dowdell, a contestant from Season 3, said Trump has been so divisive that it would be irresponsible not to condemn him. Citing violence at his rallies, she accused the New York businessman of validating hate and bigotry she said could tear apart America and mocked his ubiquitous campaign slogan.

    “You don’t make America great by rejecting the very promise of America. America has always been a place where we welcomed immigrants, where we welcomed people coming here seeking a better life or escaping extreme violence and totalitarianism,” she said. “That is what has made America great. You don’t make America great by dividing people. You don’t make America great by creating an environment where people think it’s acceptable to physically harm someone exercising their constitutional rights.” […]

    Politico link

    Trump had a reply, of course he did:

    Ask how successful they’ve been since they left. Six failing wannabes out of hundreds of contestants — so sad!

  255. says

    The New York Times published a transcript of the debate that took place in Brooklyn last night.

    Here’s an excerpt that references reproductive health for women:

    CLINTON: You know, there is no doubt that the only people that I would ever appoint to the Supreme Court are people who believe that Roe V. Wade is settled law and Citizens United needs to be overturned.

    And I want to say something about this since we’re talking about the Supreme Court and what’s at stake. We’ve had eight debates before, this is our ninth. We’ve not had one question about a woman’s right to make her own decisions about reproductive health care, not one question.

    And in the meantime we have states, governors doing everything they can to restrict women’s rights. We have a presidential candidate by the name of Donald Trump saying that women should be punished. And we are never asked about this.

    And to be complete in my concern, Senator Sanders says with respect to Trump it was a distraction. I don’t think it’s a distraction. It goes to the heart of who we are as women, our rights, our autonomy, our ability to make our own decisions, and we need to be talking about that and defending Planned Parenthood from these outrageous attacks.

    SANDERS: You’re looking at a senator and former congressman who proudly has a 100 percent pro-choice voting record, who will take on those Republican governors who are trying to restrict a woman’s right to choose, who will take on those governors right now who are discriminating outrageously against the LGBT community, who comes from a state which led the effort for gay marriage in this country, proudly so.

    Who not only thinks we are not going to — not defund Planned Parenthood, we’ve got to expand funding for Planned Parenthood.

  256. says

    Oh, FFS! Trump surrogate Ben Carson is backing up Trump’s complaints about the GOP’s delegate-selection system by comparing the rules to Jim Crow era rules.

    […] “During the Jim Crow era, those were the rules too,” Carson told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “They were written, everybody knew about them, but that didn’t make them right.”

    “[…] you know, I think you get the point. Just because rules are there, just because they’re written by somebody doesn’t mean that they’re right. It doesn’t mean you can’t review the system.”

    Carson was on air to back up Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, who he has endorsed, for his relentless complaints about the delegate system being “rigged” against populist candidates like him. In stump speeches, at fundraisers, and, most recently, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Trump has argued that the delegate selection process is a form of “voter disenfranchisement.”

    The Republican National Committee, which set these rules back in October, released a memo on Friday pointing out that it was the candidates’ responsibility to familiarize themselves with the process.

    “The rules surrounding the delegate selection have been clearly laid out in every state and territory and while each state is different, each process is easy to understand for those willing to learn it,” RNC Spokesman Sean Spicer wrote in the memo. […]

    Trump is really pissed off (still) about being outmaneuvered by Cruz in Colorado. Trump’s take on this is that voters in Colorado were disenfranchised. More than 60,000 Republican voters in Colorado voted to select who would represent them at county-level conventions. At those conventions, votes were held again to select delegates to the state convention. Yes, it seems a bit convoluted, but that is Colorado’s process. If someone wanted to change that process they would have to work with the Republican Party in Colorado to change it well in advance of an election.

    Trump is whining after the fact because he lost. Trump is whining because he can. That’s what he does. He may be a complete dumbass when it comes to RNC rules, but he has a lot of skill when it comes to whipping his supporters into a frenzy.

    For those who want to delve more deeply into the Wall Street Journal op-ed that Trump wrote, here is a discussion of that op-ed on Talking Points Memo.

  257. says

    Thanks CaitieCat for comments 271 and 275. I’m not willing to concede that Sanders has cynical reasons for discounting the votes for Clinton in southern states, but I do think he hasn’t thought this through and is now in delusion land.

    It was really interesting to read Krugman’s take (link in comment 275), particularly this bit:

    […] Mrs. Clinton didn’t win big in the South on the strength of conservative voters; she won by getting an overwhelming majority of black voters. […]

    Is it possible that Mr. Sanders doesn’t know this, that he imagines that Mrs. Clinton is riding a wave of support from old-fashioned Confederate-flag-waving Dixiecrats, as opposed to, let’s be blunt, the descendants of slaves? Maybe. […]

    It’s more likely, however, that he’s being deliberately misleading — and that his effort to delegitimize a big part of the Democratic electorate is a cynical ploy. […]

    Some of the people working at the top levels of the Sanders campaign may be more cynical than he is. Nevertheless, I would like to see the delusions wiped away. The underlying logic is bad, and the implications are ugly.

  258. says

    In my comment 276, I should have included this bit from Krugman. This makes more sense:

    […] claims that Clinton wins in the South should be discounted are really aimed at misleading Sanders supporters, giving them an unrealistic view of the chances that their favorite can still win — and thereby keeping the flow of money and volunteers coming. […]

    Sanders doesn’t really need any more money. He’s already swimming in money. But he does need more supporters for his “political revolution.”

  259. says

    Remember the “Constitutional Sheriffs” who backed Ammon Bundy and their sons as they embarked on various activities that denied the right of the federal government to, um … to govern?

    Well, now those Constitutional Sheriffs are asking rightwing political candidates for sheriff to sign pledges that amount to vows to defy gun laws, health care laws, and other laws. The Constitutional Sherriffs are also pushing a fantasy agenda that involves arresting federal officials.

    Another question asks what candidates would do if the federal government or the UN launched “door to door gun confiscation”:

    If the Federal Government or the United Nations were to implement a policy of door to door gun confiscation in your jurisdiction, what would you do?

    a. Help them confiscate the guns.

    b. Interpose myself on behalf of the people to protect their right to keep and bear arms.

    c. Not interfere one way or the other. A sheriff has no authority to stop the Federal Government from doing anything.

    d. I don’t worry about such a scenario as this would never happen in America

    Right Wing Watch link.

  260. says

    Oh, FFS. Yet another comparison of GOP delegate-selection rules to Jim Crow laws. This time, the stupidity comes not from Ben Carson but from our old pal, Alex Jones

    Jones and Roger Stone got together in order to turn up the volume of their stupidity.

    Earlier this week, Donald Trump’s confidant Roger Stone appeared on “The Alex Jones Show” to discuss developments in the GOP presidential primary race, including the news that CNN and MSNBC have banned him from making appearances on their networks.

    “It’s something you would expect from the Nazis,” Stone said of the decision by the networks. “First we’re banning people, then we’re banning books, then we’re banning movies, next thing you know we’re burning books.”

    “Then we’re burning people,” Jones added.

    Jones, steamed about the results of the GOP Colorado nominating contest, said that the delegate-selection process in Colorado “makes Jim Crow look like a blessing.”

    Right Wing Watch link.

  261. says

    Here’s another moment from the Democratic debate that was held in Brooklyn last night:

    The 1994 crime bill—signed by Bill Clinton, advocated by Hillary Clinton, and voted for by Sanders—has become a major issue in the current campaign.

    Two decades after the law passed, critics have faulted it for helping expand the country’s system of mass incarceration. When asked whether she wanted to apologize for the crime bill, Clinton said, “I’m sorry for the consequences that were unintended and that have had a very unfortunate impact on people’s lives.” She also noted that her first speech of the campaign focused on criminal justice reform. “I want white people to recognize that there is systemic racism,” she said. “It’s also in employment, it’s in housing, but it is in the criminal justice system, as well.”

    That didn’t seem good enough for Sanders. When the moderators turned to him and asked why he had recently criticized Clinton’s use of the term “superpredator” when the crime bill was debated in the ’90s, Sanders didn’t mince words. “Because it was a racist term, and everybody knew it was a racist term,” Sanders said.

  262. says

    Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post endorsed Donald Trump for president. The New York Observer, which is owned Trump’s son-in-law, also endorsed Trump, as did the National Enquirer, which is run by Trump’s close friend, David Pecker.

    From the New York Post endorsement:

    Trump’s language, too, has too often been amateurish, divisive — and downright coarse.

    But what else to expect from someone who’s never been a professional politician and reflects common-man passions?

    Indeed, his political incorrectness is one of his great attractions — it proves he’s not one of “them.” He’s challenging the victim culture that has turned into a victimizing culture.

    In the general election, we’d expect Trump to stay true to his voters — while reaching out to those he hasn’t won yet.

    Trump is now an imperfect messenger carrying a vital message. But he reflects the best of “New York values” — and offers the best hope for all Americans who rightly feel betrayed by the political class.

    He has the potential — the skills, the know-how, the values — to live up to his campaign slogan: to make America great again.

    For those reasons, The Post today endorses Donald Trump in the GOP primary.

    Weirdness all around.

  263. says

    Oh, FFS. The governor of Mississippi just signed a “Church Protection Act.”

    Gov. Phil Bryant has signed into law the Mississippi Church Protection Act to allow churches to legally have armed security if they choose. Bryant signed House Bill 786 on Friday.

    Bryant said in a Twitter post he signed the bill because “churches deserve protection from those who would harm worshippers.”

    Clarion Ledger link.

    The Church Protection Act extends a sort of “castle doctrine” that already gives people defending their home or their personal safety immunity from prosecution. Now, if you defend your house of worship, you are also immune from prosecution.

    Police Chiefs in Mississippi are not impressed:

    The Mississippi Police Chiefs Association has expressed concerns about the bill, saying it will do away with a license to carry a concealed handgun in public and would put law enforcement and all Mississippians in harm’s way. […]

    The Police Chiefs Association says the bill would lower the bar for who can carry a concealed, loaded gun in public to include violent criminals, some severely mentally ill people, and chronic alcoholics.

  264. says

    House Speaker Paul Ryan recently replaced John Boehner in that job. Ryan is having as much trouble with extremist rightwing members (Freedom Caucus members) of his party as Boehner did. How do we know? Ryan failed to meet an April 15 deadline to pass a budget. He can’t get a consensus to do so.

    […] The irony for Ryan is that the budget debacle unfolding on his watch is more about perception than an actual legislative crisis. Under a fiscal agreement struck between outgoing House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama, there is already a 2017 funding bill in place, a parting gift from Boehner that was intended to save Ryan from the kind of high profile vote wrangling he is facing now as GOP schisms bubble up in an election year.

    Ryan, however, had made a pledge to bring back “regular order” and restore the budget process to the committees, all an effort to encourage his conference to feel a stake in the process and unite his party.

    Ryan’s token of goodwill appears to be backfiring. […]

    The disagreement raging in the House is over how much Republicans should set out to spend with their top line number. House Budget Chairman Tom Price released a budget plan earlier this year that set discretionary spending at $1.07 trillion for 2017 but some conservatives in the House wanted to see $30 billion less in spending. Ryan has said he still wants to see a budget, but the intransigence of the far right could prove impossible to untangle without a looming deadline. […]

    Ryan’s hold up on the budget comes from the freedom caucus, the same ragtag group of conservatives who were a thorn in Boehner’s side and ultimately pushed him toward resignation.

    And, the budget is just one of the areas of disagreement Ryan is dealing with at the moment. In an election year, tensions run high and a controversial bill to restructure Puerto Rican debt is also dividing the GOP. […]

    But, the budget, even though it is merely a messaging document, reveals what was already expected: Ryan cannot singlehandedly save the Republican Congress from itself.

    Ryan has said that he still intends to pass a budget this year, but the reality is he has got his work cut out for him. Boehner’s absence doesn’t make the job of speaker any easier.

    In summary, the Republican-dominated House of Congress still can’t get anything done. They can’t govern. They can’t do their jobs.

  265. says

    Ted Cruz said a bunch of stupid stuff about his tax plan, about he fundamentals of economic growth, and about trickle-down wealth:

    […] “My object is a minimum of 5 percent GDP growth.”

    And he would get there, he said, through his tax plan, which does away with most of the tax code to institute a 10 percent across the board rate on all income, and 16 percent on businesses. “The numbers we’re estimating are, if anything, underselling the GDP impact” of his plan, Cruz said. […]

    But the economy hasn’t grown by a five percent annual rate since that high point in 1984, according to government data, and hasn’t even reached 4 percent growth in more than 15 years. The economy grew, on average, 3 percent a year between 1969 and 2007, and it’s averaged about 2 percent growth for the last several years. […]

    It’s unlikely tax cuts will unleash huge economic growth, however. Cruz’s plan would be a huge giveaway to corporations and the wealthy, with the richest 1 percent capturing half of all the benefits and just 7 percent going to the middle and lower class. It would also be costly, reducing government tax revenue by $8.6 trillion over a decade. […]

    And research has found that massive tax breaks for the wealthy don’t trickle down into economic growth. In the post-war period, growth has generally been higher when the top marginal tax rate was also higher, and lower when [top marginal] rates were substantially lower. When the top rate was more than 90 percent in the 1950s, for example, growth averaged more than 4 percent. […]

    Schadenfreude moment: Ted Cruz spoke at a black-tie fundraiser in Manhattan. The audience ignored him. They talked to each other, took selfies, and some of them walked out. The Republican fat-cat audience paid marginally more attention to Trump and Kasich when they spoke.

  266. says

    This is more of a Moment of Maximum Stupidity, but it is laugh-worthy:

    Televangelist Jim Bakker invited Dr. Dennis Lindsay on to his program on Wednesday to discuss Lindsay’s latest discovery in the realm of Creation Science: the truth behind Stonehenge.

    Hold on to your hats: Stonehenge, it turns out, was built by giants who were created by Satan. […]

    Right Wing Watch link.

  267. says

    Cliven Bundy’s deadbeat status has terrible consequences for his herd of cattle. Some of the cows are starving.

    The Justice Department describes Bundy’s ranching operation as negligent to the point of cruelty in sending half-wild cattle to graze illegally on protected lands without supervision. Unvaccinated and susceptible to illness, the cattle have little contact with humans and Bundy often has no idea where they are, the government said.

    The cattle were left out during harsh winters, according to the Justice Department memo, their lives coming down to “fighting off predators and scrounging for the meager amounts of food and water available in the difficult and arid terrain that comprises the public lands” in the Nevada desert.

    LA Times link.

    Unmonitored, Bundy’s 1,000 head of cattle are left to wander, and often end up in public parks, on golf courses, on highways or stuck in mud.

  268. says

    This is a followup to comment 243.

    Police in Utah County, Utah cooperate with Brigham Young University to make it difficult for victims of sexual assault to report the assault, and after reporting, to get justice.

    Prosecutors say Brigham Young University is jeopardizing a pending rape prosecution because the school refuses to delay its Honor Code case against the alleged victim.

    Deputy Utah County Attorney Craig Johnson brought charges against the woman’s alleged attacker and said he implored school officials to consider that their Honor Code investigation of her conduct would further victimize her. He asked them to postpone their investigation until the conclusion of the trial, originally planned for next month.

    He said they declined, and have barred the student from registering for future classes until she complies with the school’s investigation. […]

    “When we have a victim that is going to be revictimized any time she talks about the rape — it’s unfortunate that BYU is holding her schooling hostage until she comes to meet with them,” Johnson said. “And we, as prosecutors, prefer she doesn’t meet with them.”

    The Honor Code probe began after a Utah County sheriff’s deputy, a friend of the accused attacker, gave BYU a copy of the police case file. Johnson said he has stressed to school officials that the file is “paperwork that lawfully they shouldn’t have.”

    Prosecutors charged the rape defendant and the deputy with retaliating against a witness, but the cases have since been dismissed.

    Okay, so we can add the entire justice system in Utah to the patriarchal mormon network that makes things difficult for rape victims. They dismissed charges against the deputy who gave confidential files to BYU officials? Why dismiss the charges when the deputy was clearly at fault?

    The 19-year-old woman reported to Provo police that she was raped in her off-campus apartment by a man last September. About two months later, court records said, she was contacted by staff at the BYU Honor Code and Title IX offices, who told her they were given a copy of the police case file. Campus Title IX offices are charged with enforcing a federal law that guarantees students don’t face hostility on campus based on their sex.

    Information in the file — which included at least 20 pages of detailed statements and a report on her sexual assault medical exam — implicated the woman in violations of BYU’s Honor Code, according to court records. The code is a catalog of rules, such as a dress code, a ban on alcohol and other prohibitions for students at the private school, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    The woman was asked to participate in the school’s evaluation of her actions. […]


    Salt Lake Tribune link.

    Some ex-mormons noted that calling 911 in Provo Utah to report a sexual assault may connect you to the police station, but it is the same as calling BYU officials to report. It’s all one big, patriarchal mormon family.

    […] Randolph [the deputy], who has coached track at BYU as well as working as a sheriff’s deputy, said he consulted with a friend who previously worked at the Honor Code Office. He said that friend encouraged him to give the report to code enforcers.

    Randolph also seemed to believe that law enforcement officers were obligated to submit records of Honor Code violations to BYU, testified Provo police Detective Martin Webb. […]

  269. says

    This is a followup to comment 287.

    From the readers comments associated with the Salt Lake Tribune article:

    A sheriff’s deputy who thinks he’s required to turn over information on “loose women” to BYU.

    And he’s still on the streets. The literal morality police. Protecting rapists.
    rather telling is how the obstruction of justice cases were dismissed. The motivation by the deputy who is a friend of the accused using BYU as a weapon to attack the rape victim. Then the likely LDS faithful involved squashing a case that could put BYU in the spotlight is probably a very predictable reaction.
    The legal and ecclesiastical systems in Utah County are bending over backward to privilege the defendant by dragging his accuser through the mud.
    A person in a position of privilege at the victim’s university and who is also in position of authority as a law enforcement officer collaborating with the university to punish the victim.

  270. says

    The governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, vetoed a bill to make the Christian Bible the official book of the state. Haslam is a Republican, but he took the advice of his state attorney general who said the proposal was unconstitutional. To placate the christians, Haslam said he vetoed the bill because “trivializes” the Bible.
    Tennessean link

  271. says

    This is a followup to comment 283.

    Not only is House Speaker Paul Ryan having trouble getting his cohorts to sign off on a budget that was actually agreed upon before John Boehner left the job as speaker, but when Freedom Caucus Republicans meddle with the budget, they consistently harm American vets and workers.

    You would think that Republicans would at least help the vets alone. Nope. Congress was all too happy to allot $1.5 trillion in “emergency spending” to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but taking care of vets is a “non-defense” need, and as such it is the victim of spending caps the Republicans passed in 2011 (and never rescinded).

    […] VA medical costs have more than doubled over the past decade, as the aging Vietnam generation converges with the younger Iraq-Afghanistan vets entering the system. The rapid growth far exceeds the pace of inflation. And under the budget caps, this leaves less money on the table for other “non-defense” needs — among them worker training and assistance. […]

    Politico link

  272. says

    What the Pope said about meeting Bernie Sanders:

    ….“This morning as I was leaving, Senator Sanders was there,” Francis said. “He knew I was coming out at that time, and he had the kindness to greet me.”

    “When I came down, he introduced himself, I greeted him with a handshake, and nothing more,” the pope added. “It’s common courtesy, this is called common courtesy.

    “If someone thinks that greeting someone is getting involved in politics,” he said, “I recommend that they find a psychiatrist.”….

    CRUX link.

  273. says

    Bernie Sanders released his 2014 federal tax return forms. We see pretty much what we expected to see.

    […] Sanders and his wife, Jane, donated $8,350 to charity while reporting an adjusted gross income of about $205,000 that year, according to the couple’s joint tax return. The share of his family’s income that went to charity was about one-third the percentage of income that his primary opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, gave to charitable groups. […]

    Donald Trump still hasn’t released any of this tax returns. Cruz and Kasich released partial returns.

  274. says

    Rachel Maddow presented an overview of cringe-worthy statements made by John Kasich. Maddow focused on the many ways in which Kasich cannot talk to or about women without demeaning them.

    The segment begins with a discussion of political symbolism. Interestingly, even the political symbolism around governors signing bills, which as Governor Bryant of Mississippi demonstrated, can also be used to disregard or otherwise demean women.

    The video is about 18:30 minutes long.

  275. says

    Rachel Maddow provided an update on the Flint, Michigan water crisis.

    Guess what, Governor Rick Snyder is proposing long-term, large-scale projects to address water infrastructure problems at some undefined time in the future, long after Snyder’s term as governor is over. And, no, there are no short-term solutions for Flint. The governor is not solving the crisis in Flint. He is not even delivering clean drinking water to homes there. No action from Snyder.

  276. says

    More than one journalist has floated the idea that all of Trump’s whining about the Republican nomination being stolen from him by a rigged system is actually a ploy to pave the way for Trump’s exit from the race. Trump will still claim he was a winner. He gets to whine a lot, which he loves to do, and he doesn’t have to be president (a job that’s too difficult for him to do).
    Slate link

    […] Trump is cleverly trying to spin his apparent lack of organization into a virtue of his candidacy: that the rules are complicated by design to prevent an outsider from succeeding. “In recent days, something all too predictable has happened: Politicians furiously defended the system,” the writer writing under the name of “Donald J. Trump” explains in the Journal. “ ‘These are the rules,’ we were told over and over again. If the ‘rules’ can be used to block Coloradans from voting on whether they want better trade deals, or stronger borders, or an end to special-interest vote-buying in Congress—well, that’s just the system and we should embrace it.” […]

    rump may be denied the nomination, but that won’t stop him from saying he won it anyway. He will argue until his death that he actually is the rightful GOP nominee but that the RNC pulled some rules run-around on him to deny him his crown. Trump should be able to successfully spin that to his need, and his need is simply to avoid being labeled a choker every place he goes for the rest of his life.

    Chris Hayes hosted an excellent segment in which Drew Magary and Sam Seder join Hayes to discuss whether or not Trump wants to lose the nomination while still being able to claim that he won.

    Worth a read: Drew Magary’s article.

    We are at a precarious moment in the primary cycle where extruded bucket of USDA-rejected pink slime Donald Trump has amassed enough delegates to make it impossible for anyone else to win the Republican Presidential Nomination outright, but might be too unpopular and too sloppy to amass the winning amount of delegates himself.

    Not only that, but Trump’s two-bit campaign operation has consistently failed to secure loyal delegates if the Republican convention (oh dream a little dream) ends up being brokered. In other words, once the first ballot passes and Trump fails to clinch the nomination, he’s fucked. Those delegates are going to Ted Cruz (LOL) or to some mysterious, and potentially hilarious, party-approved white knight like Paul Ryan or Mittens Romney or Mel Gibson or a hologram of Nixon.

    Now here’s an obvious theory: Getting fucked at the convention is precisely what Trump wants. […]

  277. blf says

    A follow-up of sorts to @293, and a reminder the third loon still officially in the thugs’s contest to dig the deepest hole, hide their collective heads in the molten core of the Earth, and lay siege to reason, is also a kook, No, John Kasich, women are not to blame for rape:

    It’s a fundamental lack of empathy that makes men say women should avoid parties, where they’d never say drunk driving victims should avoid roads

    Today [Friday] Ohio Republican governor John Kasich presented a “solution” to sexual violence that is more flawed than his losing presidential campaign. At a town hall in Watertown, New York, he told a female college student that to avoid sexual violence, harassment and rape she should not go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol.

    His flawed logic should not be surprising. After all, Kasich’s comments are only the latest in a long tradition of Republican victim-blaming, which includes Todd Akin’s idea of legitimate rape and more recently, Ben Carson’s opposition to abortion for sex assault survivors. Yet the fact that so many influential men still fail to grasp the basics of rape culture is both intellectually baffling and incredibly dangerous for women. To decrease the rates of sexual assault, we need men to fight misogyny.

    You’ve heard the rape myths before: women are raped because they show cleavage, drink too many coolers or twirl their hair flirtatiously at fraternity houses. In reality most sexual assaults happen in bedrooms, not at parties, bars or in alleyways. Some 80% of victims know their perpetrators and almost 20% of sexual assaults are committed by intimate partners. Any woman who has walked down a street is more than familiar with harassment.

    Despite those inconvenient facts, rape is the only crime for which we blame the victim. [Eh? Only? Seems a bit hyperbolic there… –blf] We do not tell someone who was hit by a drunk driver that they should not have been on the road. We do not tell someone who gets shot that they should not have left the house. Why can Republican men understand this logic in scenarios that might affect their own safety, but not when it’s applied to female victims?

  278. blf says

    Another one of the kooks is really, really, thin-skinned, and also, possibly, afraid to take responsibility, seems to have a very poor grasp of freedom of expression(for other people), and has rabid followers happy to issue death threats, Artist threatened with lawsuits if she sells nude Donald Trump painting:

    Illma Gore’s painting, on display at Maddox Gallery in London now with a £1m pricetag, depicts the Republican presidential candidate with a small penis

    An infamous nude of Donald Trump has attracted bids of over £100,000 after it went on display at the Maddox Gallery in Mayfair, London, last week, but the artist is being anonymously threatened with legal action if she sells it, due to its resemblance to the Republican presidential hopeful.

    The piece by Illma Gore, titled Make America Great Again, depicts Trump with a small penis and went viral in February after the artist published it on her Facebook page. It has since been censored on social media sites and delisted from eBay after the anonymous filing of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice threatening to sue Gore.

    The Maddox Gallery in London offered to exhibit the painting after galleries in the US refused to host the piece due to security concerns following threats of violence from Trump’s supporters. Hundreds of visitors have queued to see the work in the English capital.

    Gore said: “The reaction, especially in the UK, has been incredibly supportive. Everywhere apart from America has been great. Who knew it would be such a big deal? I think an artist’s job is to take the times we’re living in and then set the scene. It is a representation of where we are.”

    The LA-based artist has received thousands of death threats and traveled to the UK to escape the frenzy, agreeing to allow Mayfair to manage the sale of the controversial painting, now priced at £1m.

    Cordelia de Freitas, Maddox gallery director, said: “It only really got out of hand when Donald Trump referenced it in a debate, which sums up Trump and his ego. From there, everyone wanted to see this image.”


    Gore states she will donate her part of the fee for the painting to the charity Safe Place for Youth, a homeless shelter in Los Angeles.

    There is an image of the full painting, small penis and all, at The Grauniad.

  279. blf says

    As insight into one of teh trum-prat’s advisors — Stephen Miller, apparently the wazzock’s “No1 adviser on foreign and domestic policy” — Top Trump policy adviser was a ‘controversial figure’ for college writings (The Grauniad’s edits in {curly braces}):

    Stephen Miller, who has been on Trump team since January, wrote conservative column at Duke University on torture, the lacrosse scandal and racial paranoia
    Trump’s senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, may be bringing his own baggage to Trump Tower, in the form of more than two dozen columns he wrote for his college newspaper a decade ago.

    Miller, who attended Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, [… is] Trump’s No1 adviser on foreign and domestic policy.


    His columns for The Chronicle [at Duke University] range in subject from multiculturalism (which he calls segregation); to paid family leave (which results in men getting laid off because {their} boss was losing too much money by paying absent employees); […].

    The columns offer a revealing glimpse into the opinions and ideology of Trump’s top policy adviser, and the sort of advice the presidential hopeful might be getting.


    On torture, for example, Miller writes that criticism of the use of enhanced interrogation techniques by American soldiers made then-senator Ted Kennedy a traitor, and that comparing the actions of the US military with those of its enemies means you have betrayed your nation and are morally guilty of treason.

    Most of Miller’s writings, however, are concerned with the culture wars, particularly matters of race. […]

    The concept of a broader campaign against traditional values is a frequent theme in Miller’s work. In one piece in which he calls the entertainment industry the left’s most influential resource, after the education system, Miller intimates that Hollywood elites are engaged in a pro-LGBT conspiracy to force societal acceptance.

    Ironic, as teh trum-prat is supposedly a Reality TV — entertainment industry — star. For that matter, teh wazzock’s hole-digging (in multiple deep holes at once!) is also, in a sense, entertaining. And rent-seeking wazzock trum-prat has used his impact on ratings / viewer numbers as an argument. (Just that, an argument. Not for, against, or about anything, other than the wazzock’s ego.)

    Shows like Queer As Folk, The L Word, Will & Grace and Sex and the City all do their part to promote alternative lifestyles and erode traditional values, Miller writes.

    Miller, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, appears to have relished the reputation his columns established on campus.

    As a deeply committed conservative who considers it his responsibility to do battle with the left, he writes in his farewell column, being a controversial figure at Duke is not in the least surprising.

    In a jeremiad against political correctness redolent of his future employer, Miller writes that politically correct dictates are anathema to American values.

    He continues: Inside our borders, the nation of e pluribus unum {out of many, one} threatens to be fractured across ethnic lines by racial animus and divisive multiculturalism. We suffer from sagging patriotism, growing malaise and a loss of faith in the noble history and principles that have made us great.

    Many who once wrote for their college newspaper may look back at such scribblings with regret. But if Miller’s current statements as the top policy adviser to the Republican frontrunner are any indication, his opinions have not changed much.

    Some selected readers’s comments:

    ● “Miller calls himself a deeply committed conservative but in his marrow flows essence of extreme not conservative.
      “As with many of Trumps guys, he is an educated thug. Ignoring the constitutional right to free speech, he calls Ted Kennedy a traitor.
      “He fits right in with Trumps team that are doing everything they can to subvert the constitution.”

    ● “And in elementary school he would not put his head on his desk at nap time.”

    ● “Garbage in, garbage out. That’s the Trump way!”

    ● “Trump is a social diarrhoea personified in a man with no principles, who advocates hatred, division, the abuse of minorities and women and who encourages open xenophobia, he represents the nasty underbelly of some americans. […]”

    ● “He’s obviously rather deranged. So naturally, he has found a home at Trump HQ.”

  280. blf says

    Oh for feck’s sake, Southwest Airlines draws outrage over man removed for speaking Arabic:

    ‘This is what Islamophobia looks like,’ the Iraq-born researcher told local press, in the latest instance of what critics call a trend of racial profiling on US flights

    The account of a UC Berkeley researcher who was removed from a flight after a fellow passenger heard him speak Arabic on his phone has drawn condemnation and outrage for the airliner, Southwest, about a perceived pattern of barring travel.

    Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a senior at the university, was removed from the Oakland-bound flight from Los Angeles International Airport on 6 April. Makhzoomi […] was born in Iraq, and his family fled the country in 2002 after his diplomat father was killed by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

    According to Makhzoomi, he was removed from the flight and questioned by the FBI after another passenger reported to airline staff about his phone conversation, which was to his uncle in Baghdad. He ended the call with the word “inshallah”, meaning “God willing”, and said the passenger thought he used the word “shahid”, meaning “martyr”, during the conversation.

    Southwest confirmed that it had removed Makhzoomi from the flight late Friday.

    “She kept staring at me and I didn’t know what was wrong,” Makhzoomi told the Daily Californian. “Then I realized what was happening and I just was thinking ‘I hope she’s not reporting me.’”

    As Makhzoomi was being questioned by airline staff and police officers, the student complained he was the victim of discrimination.

    “I told them, ‘This is what Islamophobia looks like,’” he said in an interview with SFGate. “And that’s when they said I could not get on the plane, and they called the FBI.”


    The incident occurred a day after Makhzoomi attended a dinner with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. Makhzoomi said he is still waiting for a proper explanation for the decision to remove him.

    In a statement, Southwest Airlines said Makhzoomi was removed because of potentially threatening comments made aboard our aircraft, and added that it doesn’t tolerate discrimination of any kind.

    LIARS — Southwest Airlines criticized after incidents involving Middle Eastern passengers: “Philadelphia man says gate agent in Chicago asked him to step aside because another passenger was worried after hearing him speak Arabic”.

    Now back to the original article:

    We wouldn’t remove passengers from flights without a collaborative decision rooted in established procedures, the company said. We regret any less than positive experience onboard our aircraft.

    Note the way that inane and highly dubious statement ignores, e.g., the reported incident in Chicago, which happened at the gate, not on the aircraft.

    Despite the company’s reassurances, its decision to bar Makhzoomi drew outrage from many people, including those concerned about anti-Muslim sentiment stirred up by politicians such as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.


    The Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair) said it is concerned about what it sees as a trend of Muslims being profiled and having their flights disrupted in the US.

    Last week, the group called for an investigation into a decision to remove a Maryland woman from a flight in Chicago. The woman, of Somali background and who wears an Islamic head scarf, was allegedly removed without explanation by police after she asked another passenger to swap seats so she could sit by the window.


    “We are tired of Muslim-looking passengers being removed from flights for the flimsiest reasons, under a cryptic claim of ‘security’,” said Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for Cair.

    I have no recollections of ever having flown on Southwest, so my boycott of them is more symbolic than anything else.

  281. says

    Cross posted from the “Toxic Gallantry” thread.

    Mary Tudor was the first ruling queen of England in 1553. This prompted John Knox to write “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women,” that for the weak to govern the strong was “repugnant to Nature” and “the subversion of good order.”

    To defend her, Mary Tudor’s supporters had to pretend she was sort of like a man:

    […] politically speaking, she was a man, “the Prince female.” […] John Aylmer, later the bishop of London, insisted that if God decided “the female should reigne and governe” it didn’t matter that women were “weake in nature, feable in bodie, softe in courage,” because God would make every right ruler strong, and, in any case, England’s constitution abided by a “rule mixte,” in which the authority of the monarch was checked by the power of Parliament, and “it is not she that ruleth but the lawes.” […]

    Same old, same old misogynistic crap rains down on women from 1651 to yesterday:

    In 1651, in “The Leviathan,” Thomas Hobbes wrote about Amazons to support his claim that “whereas some have attributed the dominion to the man only, as being of the more excellent sex; they misreckon in it,” which is why it’s important that laws exist, to grant man that dominion.

    In 1680, in “Patriarcha,” Sir Robert Filmer located the origins of all political authority in Adam’s rule. […] But the chief consequence of this debate was the Lockean idea that men, born equal, create political society, to which women do not belong; women exist only in the family, where they are ruled by men. Hence, in 1776, Abigail Adams urged her husband, in a letter, to “remember the ladies” in the nation’s “new Code of Laws,” which he most emphatically did not. “Depend upon it,” he wrote back, “we know better than to repeal our Masculine systems.”

    U.S. history:
    – 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment is ratified
    – 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment is introduced but never ratified
    – 2000, a Republican from New Hampshire calls Elizabeth Dole’s campaign unnatural: “The Bible teaches us that a woman should not have authority over a man.”
    – 2016, Trump demeans women right and left, then denies it.
    – 2016, Kasich says so many stupid things about women being in the kitchen, etc. that Rachel Maddow presents an entire segment documenting the Kasich/Republican brand of awkwardness.

    Quoted text is from an article by Jill Lepore in The New Yorker.

  282. says

    From blf’s comment 298:

    Shows like Queer As Folk, The L Word, Will & Grace and Sex and the City all do their part to promote alternative lifestyles and erode traditional values, Miller writes.

    I’ll correct that to more closely match reality:

    Shows like Queer As Folk, The L Word, Will & Grace and Sex and the City all do their part to promote alternative lifestyles and erode traditional values tolerance and the gradual erosion of bigotry.

    In reference to the last comment from a reader: Yes, it does look like Trump is a magnet for other people who are whackos, and who are willing to worship Trump.

  283. says

    Video and text has been released for a speech Hillary Clinton gave for Goldman Sachs. Here are a few excerpts:

    If we are talking about global economic growth, certainly if we’re talking about inclusive prosperity, there is no path forward that does not include the empowerment of women. […]

    When women participate in economy, especially the formal economy, everyone prospers. Productivity, growth, the GDP — all rise when women have the opportunities they deserve. […]

    In 2012, more than 125 million women around the world started and managed new business ventures. Nearly 100 million more women were running established businesses. And in the US between 1997 and 2007 the number of women-owned businesses grew 44% to nearly 8 million businesses. But we have to, in addition to being optimistic and positive, have awareness of the fact that in developing countries there are too many disappointments for women because they were underserved or unserved. […]

    I have to tell you — women are a really good risk to lend to. And there are still too any financial institutions that either don’t know that or don’t believe it. […]

    Daily Kos link

  284. says

    Trump has decided to disparage Hillary Clinton more stringently and more often. He has already called her a liar and a criminal several time. Now he seems to have settled on a descriptive phrase similar to the one he chose for Ted Cruz (Lyin’ Ted). In reference to Clinton, Trump’s phrase of choice is “crooked Hillary.” Trump is enjoying repeating that.

    Clinton responded:

    What I’m concerned about is how he goes after everybody else. He goes after women. He goes after Muslims. He goes after immigrants. He goes after people with disabilities. He is hurting our unity at home. He is undermining the values that we stand for in New York and across America. And he’s hurting us around the world. He can say whatever he want to say about me. […]

  285. says

    Yes, once again Ted Cruz out-organized Donald Trump. This time, Cruz picked up all 14 delegates in Wyoming.

    […] In Wyoming, Cruz easily won all 14 delegates that were up for grabs at the state convention on Saturday. The senator was the only contender to actually attend the convention. […]

    Yes, Trump was a pissed off whiny baby. He said he was not going to waste his money and time participating in a process where “the bosses” pick delegates.

    I’m funding my own campaign, and I’m putting up my own money. I don’t want to waste money going to Wyoming, sending crews for months and months knowing you’re not going to beat the bosses. I’ve beaten the bosses.


    Umm, Mr. Trump, you are not making sense.

  286. says

    Republicans in Texas are flying their Whacko flags high.

    A group that advocates for Texas seceding from the United States says at least 22 local Republican conventions passed resolutions last month that called for a vote on secession at the state convention […]

    Well, well, well. I guess we didn’t have enough drama building as the nationwide convention approaches. Trump has threatened riots if he is not nominated at the GOP convention. Roger Stone said that posses of enforcers would be visiting delegates in their hotel rooms in Cleveland. There are already loads of behind-the-scenes fights over convention rules, delegate-selection, etc. That’s not enough. We also need a vote to secede at a state-level convention. Looking good, Republicans.

    […] the Texas Nationalist Movement has gained some momentum since 2012, when a secession resolution passed at just one county convention […]

    A party committee will consider introducing the resolutions at the state GOP convention, which is scheduled to take place May 12-14 in Dallas. […]

    The secession issue has cropped up time and time again in the Lone Star State. In December, Texas Republicans failed to pass a measure that would’ve asked residents whether they wanted to secede on a ballot in the state’s primary.

    The Supreme Court ruled in 1869 that states don’t have the right to secede […]

    Talking Points Memo link.

    I wonder if guns will be allowed at the state convention.

  287. says

    This is sort of a followup to comment 307.

    Republicans are looking good in the Virgin Islands. (sarcasm) It’s not just Texas Republicans that are displaying whacky tendencies.

    […] The Republican Territorial Committee held a joint meeting Saturday at a gun range in St. Croix, but the meeting erupted into chaos with attendees shouting over one another, calling for points of order, and at one point, Gwen Brady, an elected delegate, being allegedly shoved to the ground, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.

    A gun range? Perfect.

    […] Virgin Islands Republican Party Vice Chairman Herb Schoenbohm told the paper that Brady was “slammed against the wall and thrown to the floor because she objected to the Gestapo-like tactics of the V.I. Chairman John Canegata.”

    […] Canegata was “banging the table with a large ammunition cartridge being used as a gavel” and walking around with a “firearm on his belt.” […]

    Republican Party Chairman John Canegata gave the newspaper a different account, claiming that Brady actually took a cell phone from Dennis Lennox, another attendee, and chucked it at his head. […]

    More than a dozen members of the committee met later, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported, and had a vote of “no confidence” in Chairman Canegata as well as “demanded” that the RNC finally rule on which of the competing delegate slates should be allowed to go to the GOP convention in July.

    Competing delegate slates … what could possibly go wrong?

    The Virgin Islands Republican Party is currently divided over whether or not to send the slate of elected delegates to the convention or another slate that was later picked by the chairman. The chairman believes that the delegates who were elected in March failed to meet requirements to be delegates. On Friday, the elected delegates filed a lawsuit against Chairman Cantata.

    Talking Points Memo link

    Chairman Cantata works at the gun range.

  288. says

    Uh-oh. This sounds like a major paperwork snafu that will disenfranchise a lot of voters in New York.

    […] More than 3 million people — about 27 percent of New York voters — were registered outside the Republican and Democratic parties as of April, and are therefore ineligible to vote on Tuesday. A significant number of voters, including many named in the lawsuit, say their party affiliation was switched without their knowledge.

    Westchester County voter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decided to check on the status of her voter registration last month, after hearing about problems in Arizona’s primary. She was dismayed to discover that, despite being a registered Democrat since 2008, her party affiliation had been changed to unaffiliated. She is now unable to vote for her preferred candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), in the primary. […]

    Ocasio-Cortez was later told by her local Board of Elections that her party affiliation was changed during Hurricane Sandy. The devastating storm hit right before Election Day 2012, and in an emergency measure, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) allowed New York residents to vote at any precinct via affidavit ballot. Ocasio-Cortez was stuck in New York City for the storm, so she voted there instead of in Westchester.

    “Apparently when I signed that affidavit my party affiliation was waived,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “I had no idea I was losing my party status when I did that… Had I known this was the case I would have fixed this ages ago.” […]

    Think Progress link.

    There are also tales of voter registrations mysteriously “lost in the mail.” A lawsuit has been filed asking for an emergency declaration to make tomorrow’s primary vote open. Any registered voter can cast a ballot in either party’s primary if the emergency declaration goes through.

  289. says

    This is a correction to comment 306. I mentioned the 14 delegates that Cruz won in Wyoming, but I didn’t make it clear that those were the 14 at-large delegates. Cruz also snared 23 of the 26 pledged delegates. He defeated Trump more thoroughly than I had initially indicated.

    In other news, Trump is still harping on the “dishonest” process by which Republican delegates are chosen, and, even worse, he is still all but promising violence at the convention. Yesterday he said that he hopes the GOP convention “doesn’t involve violence.”

    Polls show Trump winning in New York, with his current lead of 55% over Kasich’s 21%.

  290. says

    Thousands of people gathered in front of the Supreme court to show support for Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Thousands.

    Meanwhile, twenty people showed up to a Tea Party Patriot event to protest Obama’s executive actions. The Tea Party group also expressed their support for Senate Republicans who are refusing to confirm Merrick Garland’s nomination to the court.

    In other news, we have an “oh, FFS” moment from Trump, who now claims that the way he stood up for his campaign manager’s rough handling of female journalists shows that he (Trump) will be tough on terrorism. Maybe he’ll send Corey Lewandowski to shove female terrorists to the sidelines? Garbage.

  291. blf says

    Maybe [wazzock trum-prat will] send Corey Lewandowski to shove female terrorists to the sidelines?

    Only after he negotiates with daesh and they agree to pay for trip.

  292. says

    blf @313. Ha! Good point.

    In other news, the Affordable Care Act continues to give Republicans indigestion. Cruz and Trump are still pledging to repeal every word of Obamacare. But guess what, Obamacare don’t care what what those doofuses say.

    Obamacare racks up good news on a daily basis. With every new report or analysis, we see good news.

    The first full year of the Affordable Care Act brought historic increases in coverage for low-wage workers and others who have long been left out of the health care system, a New York Times analysis has found. Immigrants of all backgrounds—including more than a million legal residents who are not citizens—had the sharpest rise in coverage rates. […]

    […] by the end of that first full year, 2014, so many low-income people gained coverage that it halted the decades-long expansion of the gap between the haves and the have-nots in the American health insurance system, a striking change at a time when disparities between rich and poor are growing in many areas.

    “The law has clearly reduced broad measures of inequality,” said David Cutler, an economics professor at Harvard, who served in the Clinton administration and advised the 2008 Obama campaign on health issues. […]

    New York Times link

    Oh how Republicans must hate the fact that Hispanics accounted for 1/3 of the increase in adults with health insurance.

    We still don’t have universal coverage, but we would have come closer if 19 states had not refused to expand their Medicaid programs for the poor.

    Let’s remember that Obamacare became the law of the land without a single Republican vote. That’s right, none of the Republican dunderheads voted for this program that has, so far, proven to be quite successful.

    1.2 million of the newly-insured are immigrants who are in the U.S. legally, but who are not citizens. Oh how that fact must stick in Trump’s craw. That’s 1.2 million out of the 8.7 million that signed up in 2014. I don’t know what the totals are now.

  293. says

    This is a followup to comment 314.

    […] St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in South Los Angeles as an example: 18,000 new patients, a 44 percent increase in cervical cancer screenings; a 25 percent increase in stop-smoking programs; and a 22 percent increase in patients who have controlled their hypertension. […]

    That equates to a huge impact in the overall health of an entire community. All that preventative care will also add up to dollars saved in the long run.

  294. blf says

    China finance minister calls Trump ‘irrational type’ after trade proposal:

    Lou Jiwei says if proposal that tariffs on imported Chinese goods be raised to 45% were implemented, US ‘would not be entitled to be world’s major power’

    The Chinese finance minister, Lou Jiwei, has criticized Donald Trump, calling him “an irrational type” due to [teh trum-prat]’s proposal that tariffs on imported Chinese goods be increased to up to 45%.

    In an interview with the Wall Street Journal […], Lou said: “Trump is an irrational type. If he were to do this, that would be in violation of the rules set by the World Trade Organization.”

    Lou said that if the US put Trump’s proposal into effect, it “would not be entitled to its position as the world’s major power. The US needs to recognize that the US and China are mutually dependent on each other. Our economic cycles are intertwined.“

    He acknowledged that rhetoric in a US presidential campaign can become heated.

    On Sunday, Trump again asserted that China has waged economic war against the US.

    They’ve taken our jobs, they’ve taken our money, the billionaire businessman said at a campaign rally in Staten Island, New York. We can’t continue to be ripped off like we’re being ripped off.

    At a Republican presidential debate last month, Trump said China would not allow free trade or US manufacturers to compete freely.

    The 45% {tariff} is a threat that if they don’t behave, if they don’t follow the rules and regulations so that we can have it equal on both sides, we will tax you, he said.

    Senator Ted Cruz […] has criticized the 45% tariff proposal, saying in the same debate that it would be passed on to US consumers.

    Some readers’s comments:

    ● “China finance minister calls Trump ‘irrational type’ — Lou Jiwei putting it v-e-r-y politely.”

    ● “For too long those with an IQ below 90 have been neglected in American democracy, Trump is here to make sure they get heard.”
    In reply: “I think he even said something along the lines of ‘I love the poorly educated and the brain-dead’.”

    ● “So does that mean that Trump will stop using Chinese goods to stock his hotel, clothing range, and other businesses?”

    ● “Trump is a guy who chose to offshore his manufacturing to China and Mexico. And who imports people to staff his businesses rather than hiring Americans. It was the GOP that in 2003 gave companies that off shored jobs a big tax credit. […]”

    ● “‘Man with small dick must be careful when talking big’ old chinese proverb.”
    In reply: “The Trump campaign claims the Great Wall isn’t the only thing you can see from space.”

    ● [ a long but brillant comment, quoted in full –blf]:

    Most Mexicans and Latinos are against my hero, Trump the Greatest Billionaire in the world…
    Most Asians and Chinese are against my hero, Trump the richest Billionaire & Biggest Job Creator in the world….

    Most Blacks and minorities are against my hero, Trump the Richest and Smartest Billionaire in the world…

    Most Muslims are against are against my hero, Trump the richest Billionaire and most Fair and Most Just Man God and his Brother, Allah, have ever put on earth…

    Most British are against my hero, Trump the smartest and best educated Billionaire in the world…

    Most Conservatives and Republicans are against my hero, Trump the most PRO-LIFE Conservative Republican Billionaire in the world…

    But it’s okay… we have the KKK’s support… we have David Duke’s support… we have Rush Limbough’s support…. we have the Greatest Gofnor in history, Sarah Palin’s support…. We WILL BE OKAY….2017 and we will rule the White House and the World… with our giant and smart high school educated blue collar gun and bible loving crowds…

    ● “When the White House Casino will be open? Many Chinese gamblers are anxiously waiting!”
    In reply: “Well if he handles it as well as he did the casino he owned we taxpayers will be bailing out his new venture as well.”

    ● “[teh trum-prat] is a shameless hypocrite. He employs the cheapest immigrant labour he can get but then uses immigration as a campaign tool. He has his overpriced tat manufactured in China but then talks about the Chinese ‘stealing our jobs’. No blame for the people who chose to lay off Americans and outsource their manufacturing to China because he’s one of them.”

    ● “Trump has the single handed ability, to bring China to its knees.
      “It must be so, he said so.”

  295. says

    blf @316, Concerning all those things Trump said, (including the nonsense about tariffs on goods from China), just remember that Trump also said:

    What’s the secret of my popularity? Honestly, it’s my looks. I’m very handsome.

  296. blf says

    Speaking of teh wazzock saying something stoopid every time his lips move, a meme I’ve mentioned before is it’s trivial-ish to take a statement from N.Korea and edit it just slightly to appear to be a statement from teh trum-prat or his campaign. And now The Grauniad is joining in the fun, Who said it: Donald Trump or North Korea?:

    An official statement from the DPRK or a soundbite from the Republican candidate on the campaign trial?

    ○ Who said: ‘Hey, Obama… I know you have a lot on your mind these days … I’ve decided to give you a little advice’?

    ○ Who said that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was by ‘no means intelligent’ and sometimes looks ‘like a primary schoolgirl’?

    ○ Who threatened to ‘push the button to annihilate the enemies,’ thus ‘reducing them to flames’?

    ○ Who promised to stop playing by the rules ‘to beat the savages’?

    ○ Who strongly declared that the US ‘must not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries’?

    ○ Who praised Kim Jong-un as ‘incredible’ for taking over the leadership of the regime when his father died in 2011?

    ○ Who said ‘our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks’ by people ‘with no sense of reason’?

    ○ Who said ‘we have power over China and people don’t realise it’?

    ○ Who said it was ‘just far to absurd’ to claim that North Korea had links with Isis?

    ○ Who said that the biggest risk to ‘this country is nuclear weapons, the power of nuclear weapons’?

    I only got six of the ten questions right…

  297. dianne says

    @319: I got 7/10 but counted on syntax, not content, to decide several times.

    Possibly off topic, since not about US politics, but this happened

    I guess the good news is that Germany is taking right wing terrorism seriously. The bad news is that they need to take it seriously.

  298. dianne says

    @318: In what world could anyone, even Trump, think that Trump is handsome? He looks like a lobster that a caterpillar has crawled on top of and died there. He’s got no sense of fashion at all and apparently doesn’t pay anyone else to have it for him. His suits don’t fit. The man is simply ugly. I think he’s trolling us. At least, I’d like to think that because I can’t imagine anyone stupid and egotistical enough to say something like that and believe it.

  299. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Some Kansas republicans in the state legislature are beginning to understand tax cuts don’t work to stimulate the economy as predicted by Brownback. They want to raise taxes to cover the shortfalls.

    After he became Kansas governor in 2011, Sam Brownback slashed personal income taxes on the promise that the deep cuts would trigger a furious wave of hiring and expansion by businesses.
    But the “shot of adrenaline” hasn’t worked as envisioned, and the state budget has been in crisis ever since. Now many of the same Republicans who helped pass Brownback’s plan are in open revolt, refusing to help the governor cut spending so he can avoid rolling back any of his signature tax measures.
    If Brownback won’t reconsider any of the tax cuts, they say, he will have to figure out for himself how to balance the budget in the face of disappointing revenue.
    “Let him own it,” Republican Rep. Mark Hutton said. “It’s his policy that put us there.”
    Tax collections missed projections in 11 months of the last year. A growing number of Brownback’s conservative allies want to scale back the tax cuts to ease the budget crunch.
    Brownback took office on a pledge to make Kansas friendlier to business and successfully sought to cut the top personal income tax rate by 29 percent and exempt more than 330,000 farmers and business owners from income taxes. The moves were popular in a Legislature where the GOP holds three-quarters of the seats.
    The governor argued that Kansas had to attract more businesses after a “lost decade” in the early 2000s, when private sector employment declined more than 4 percent.
    The predicted job growth from business expansions hasn’t happened, leaving the state persistently short of money. Since November, tax collections have fallen about $81 million, or 1.9 percent below the current forecast’s predictions.

    Anybody who understands non-voodoo economics surprised by this reality?

  300. says

    Nerd @322, some of the same economic advisors in whom Brownback believed/believes are advising the present crop of Republican presidential candidates. Voodoo economics are alive and ready to sink the nation into recession again, while simultaneously increasing the gap between rich and poor.

    Phil Gramm is Cruz’s top economic advisor. LA Times link.

    […] Gramm left a long record as a dedicated financial deregulator on Capitol Hill, with much of his effort aimed at freeing up trading in derivatives. That’s why he’s often identified as one of the godfathers of the 2008 financial crisis […]

    Gramm played a key role in legislation that expanded the influence of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission over the objections and at the expense of the Securities and Exchange Commission when his wife, Wendy Lee Gramm, was the CFTC chair, a position she held from 1988 to 1993. Toward the end of her tenure, the agency exempted Enron’s energy-swap derivatives from regulation. According to the watchdog group Public Citizen, her husband was one of the leading recipients of Enron campaign contributions in Congress, having collected nearly $100,000 since 1989. Five weeks after leaving the CFTC, Public Citizen reported, she joined the board of Enron, which paid her between $915,000 and $1.85 million in compensation from 1993 to 2001, when the company collapsed.

  301. says

    Hooray! Now that Bobby Jindal is out of office and Louisiana has a Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, it looks like a Medicaid expansion is set to take effect soon.

    Medicaid expansion is estimated to save Louisiana $677 million over the next five years and more than $1 billion over the next decade, Department of Health and Hospitals officials told Senate Health and Welfare Committee members Monday (April 18).

    The cost estimates came after Gov. John Bel Edwards testified before the committee about his decision to expand Medicaid eligibility to about 375,000 people between July 1 and June 30, 2017. DHH officials will make an effort in the coming weeks to educate legislators about the benefits of Medicaid expansion and what they said was misinformation given to the Legislature to justify not expanding Medicaid under former Gov. Bobby Jindal.

    The Times-Picayune link.

    Note the need to reeducate legislators after they were fed misinformation about Obamacare in the past.

  302. says

    Take all the time you need, guys.

    A group of senior House Republicans is promising to deliver proof that the party is making headway in its six-year struggle to replace ObamaCare.

    “Give us a little time, another month or so,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told reporters this week. “I think we’ll be pretty close to a Republican alternative.”

    Fred Upton works closely with House Speaker Paul Ryan. Upton is also committee chairman on Ryan’s “task force” that is supposed to come up with an alternative to Obamacare. It’s a quest, one full of errors and grand gestures, but no results.

  303. tbtabby says

    Shots fired by Bernie Sanders supporters: George Clooney held a $33,400-per-person fundraiser for HIllary Clinton, Sanders’ campain manager organized a counter-fundraiser that only cost $27 a person, and threw dollar bills at the Clinton motorcade as it drove past. CNN sprung to Hillary’s aid, claiming the protest was sexist because throwing money at a female candidate MUST mean they’re calling her a prostitute, and not that she’s just as beholden to Wall Street as the Repoblicans.

  304. blf says

    [… T]he need to reeducate legislators after they were fed misinformation about Obamacare in the past.

    I assume this reeducation will be done in the dreaded FEMA camps by some of the millions of moolsin terrrrrists Obama is hiding in the National Parks.

  305. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A Federal Appeals Court in Virginia overturns a school rule that requires use of bathrooms based on birth biology for transexual students, based on Title IX.

    A Virginia high school discriminated against a transgender teen by forbidding him from using the boys’ restroom, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in a case that could have implications for a North Carolina law that critics say discriminates against LGBT people.
    The case of Gavin Grimm has been especially closely watched since North Carolina enacted a law last month that bans transgender people from using public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity. That law also bans cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances, a response to an ordinance recently passed in Charlotte.
    In the Virginia case, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — which also covers North Carolina — ruled 2-1 to overturn the Gloucester County School Board’s policy, saying it violated Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination in schools. A federal judge had previously rejected Grimm’s sex discrimination claim, but the court said that judge ignored a U.S. Department of Education regulation that transgender students in public schools must be allowed to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
    “We agree that it has indeed been commonplace and widely accepted to separate public restrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities on the basis of sex,” the court wrote in its opinion. “It is not apparent to us, however, that the truth of these propositions undermines the conclusion we reach regarding the level of deference due to the department’s interpretation of its own regulations.”
    Maxine Eichner, a University of North Carolina law professor who is an expert on sexual orientation and the law, said the ruling — the first of its kind by a federal appeals court — means the provision of North Carolina’s law pertaining to restroom use by transgender students in schools that receive federal funds also is invalid.
    “The effects of this decision on North Carolina are clear,” she said, adding that a judge in that state will have no choice but to apply the appeals court’s ruling.
    Other states in the 4th Circuit are Maryland, West Virginia and South Carolina. While those states are directly affected by the appeals court’s ruling, Eichner said the impact will be broader.
    “It is a long and well-considered opinion that sets out the issues,” she said. “It will be influential in other circuits.”

  306. says

    Mormonism is a proven health hazard, especially to young, gay men. Suicide rates in that group are dispiriting. Mormonism is also a health hazard to women, with Utah ranking #1 in the nation for Prozac-like drugs prescribed to women to help them cope with unrealistic expectations.

    So what does Utah Governor Gary Herbert do? He signs a proclamation identifying pornography as a “public health hazard.” Link.

    [Pornography is] a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms.” It also states that pornography “equates violence toward women and children with sex and pain with pleasure, which increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images, and child pornography. […]

    You can read more in the Salt Lake Tribune.

    From the reader comment section associated with the Salt Lake Tribune article:

    All this is is a useless symbolic gesture that wastes tax payer time and money. Where are your family values when it comes to air quality Herbert? Pornography is damaging? What about rampant sexual abuse of children in LDS Wards or Boy scout troops, BYU and FLDS compounds?
    Mormons and to be fair, others from ultra religious families, are taught from a very young age, that the naked body is unclean and that sex is taboo. You get told that enough and who wouldn’t get curious. Not to mention all the husbands and wives who’s partners believe sex is only for procreation.
    At the same time half the legislature renewed their porn subscription online.

  307. blf says

    The world’s greatest self-proclaim manager is showing his skills, Donald Trump’s campaign faces unprecedented rift amid delegate panic:

    The arrival of delegate operative Paul Manafort into Trump’s inner circle has plunged the campaign into a turf war, sources say, mired in conflict and discord

    Until March, Donald Trump’s campaign to become the Republican presidential nominee seemed almost uniquely lacking in leaks and infighting. But now, in the words of one source, there is “a snake in the garden”.

    The arrival of veteran operative Paul Manafort into Trump’s inner circle to lead his effort to clinch enough delegates to win the nomination has led to much of the campaign devolving into a turf war between the newcomer and longtime campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

    The result is that a once-tight-knit campaign is facing an unprecedented rift and power struggle for control. “There is no hierarchy now,” said one source.

    In the weeks since Manafort’s appointment, there have been a series of leaks of internal meetings and the campaign has become embroiled in conflict and discord. As one source put it, when it was just Lewandowski in charge “you knew exactly where you stood. It’s fucking politics now.”


    The fighting within the campaign has not just been about personalities. Instead, there has been basic conflict over whether the campaign’s longtime mantra of “letting Trump be Trump” should be replaced by turning the unconventional insurgent into a traditional candidate who gives policy speeches off a teleprompter and acts “presidential”.

    The conflict even extends to how the candidate is addressed. A source expressed horror at “the complete lack of reverence” that Manafort has shown Trump. While Lewandowski “in any situation, refers to him as Mr Trump”, Manafort calls the candidate “Donald”.

    On Monday, longtime Trump aide and Lewandowski ally Stuart Jolly left the campaign. Jolly, who was the campaign’s national field director […], resigned after a campaign reorganization meant that he was going to be forced to report to Rick Wiley, a Manafort hire who previously served as Scott Walker’s campaign manager. Many of his duties will now be taken on by Rick Gates, a longtime Manafort aide.


    The problem, though, is that in a campaign where Trump has often been his own top strategist, it doesn’t matter who campaign staffers are loyal to, it only matters to whom Trump is loyal.

    Some selected readers’s comments:

    ● “This chaos behind the scenes is a sneak peek at America if Trump gets into the White House.”

    ● “And these people really think that they will control the most powerful nation in the world? Ye gods…”

    ● “Very telling — although completely unsurprising — that the purported ‘leading candidate’ for the presidency of the United States of America would be hard pressed to organize a piss-up in a brewery.”

    ● “What a circus of rabid animals is the Trump campaign. Is there a candidate I find more appalling than The Donald? Yes, actually. Ted Cruz. […]”

    ● “Sure to spawn conspiracy theories among Trump supporters that Manafort is a mole!”

    ● “They’re all a buch of sponges who know the free ride will soon be over because Trump is a maniac.”

    ● “Gangsters.”

    ● “Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.”

    ● “Cruz or Trump ? This is beyond satire.”
    In reply: “I know. Equally ghastly.”
    Also in reply: “Its remarkable that Trump is probably less dangerous.”

    ● “Bringing order into a campaign predicated on stupidity is bound to fail. […]”

    ● “Far-right always ends in in-fighting and quite often leads to nights of long knives. […]”

    ● “Not tyranny as much as anarchy […]”

  308. says

    Primary voting in New York is not going all that smoothly today. Officials expressed “deep concern over widespread reports of poll site problems and irregularities”. As a result, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has called for an audit.

    Here are some of the problems that have been reported:
    – polling locations failed to open on time
    – some voting machines were broken
    – conflicting voter information was distributed
    – lots of New Yorkers still didn’t understand that the primary was closed. Registered independents showed up to vote and were turned away.
    – some voters reported that their names had been expunged from voter rolls
    – some voters were told to vote at the wrong location

    The polls close 9 p.m. ET, so I will post voting results later.

  309. says

    “Oh, my god,” the most conservative Republicans said to themselves, “We can’t name this program after a woman.”

    Republicans in the House Congress regularly engage in quixotic bouts of meaningless opposition to bipartisan legislation. Meanwhile they continue their new tradition (new since the election of Obama as president) of doing nothing at all most of the time.

    Their latest bout of meaningless action involved rejecting a bill to name a program to recruit women in science after a woman.

    Multiple conservative House Republicans opposed legislation on Monday to rename an Agriculture Department program that recruits women and minorities for science careers after the first woman elected to Congress.

    An overwhelming bipartisan majority approved the measure, 377-6; two House Republicans voted “present.”

    The legislation seeks to make a minor change to the Agriculture Department’s “Women and Minorities in STEM Fields Program” by renaming it after Jeannette Rankin, who, a century ago, was the first woman elected to Congress. She also held a degree in biology. […]

    The Hill link.

    The handful of über conservative Republicans blocking the bill claim to be doing so because Rankin was a pacifist. Oh my god, a pacifist and a woman.

    […] Rankin, a pacifist and a Republican, drew widespread condemnation from colleagues and suffragists at the time for her votes. […]

    Reps. Brian Babin (Texas), Dave Brat (Va.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Morgan Griffith (Va.) and Glenn Grothman (Wis.) voted against the bill, while Reps. Tom Rice (S.C.) and Mark Sanford (S.C.) voted “present.” […]

  310. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    On a more humorous note: A Trump campaign plane is flying with an expired registration.

    One of Donald Trump’s jets has been flying for months with an expired registration, Federal Aviation Administration records showed Tuesday.
    The Republican presidential candidate’s airplane lost its registered status in January after failure to pay a $5 fee to the FAA. The aircraft in violation is not Trump’s Boeing 757, the renovated commercial jet that the billionaire sometimes uses as a backdrop for his rallies. Instead, it is a 1997 Cessna Citation X, a far smaller plane which Trump has used to visit smaller airports. Citation jets of a similar vintage sell for around $3 million, according to aviation brokerage firms’ current listings.
    The FAA declined to comment beyond confirming the registration was expired. In an email to The Associated Press, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said “the standard renewal process is just about complete” for the plane.
    The owner of record for the Cessna is a limited liability corporation whose sole member is Trump.
    The New York Times, which first reported the expiration on Tuesday, said the registration lapse could ground the jet for days.
    Plane registrations are supposed to be renewed every 36 months. If the FAA learns that a registration has expired but the plane is still being flown, the agency typically sends a warning letter to the owner, according to aircraft operators who asked not to be named because they didn’t want to be associated with the Trump case. Fines are also common.
    FAA regulations permit the agency to impose total civil fines up to $27,500 for the lapsed registration. The agency also has the option of seeking up to $250,000 in criminal fines and imprisonment of up to 3 years.

    I vote for imprisoning The Donald.

  311. says

    With more than 50% of precincts reporting:

    Donald Trump wins with 62.4% of the vote
    Kasich got 23.6% of the vote
    Ted Cruz got 14.0% of the vote

    Clinton wins with 59.5% of the vote
    Sanders got 40.5% of the vote

    I will update the delegate count tomorrow.

    Nerd @333, I agree. Let’s fine Donald Trump for flying one of his planes without updating the registration, and then lets put him in jail for awhile (3 years sounds good).

  312. says

    This is an update to comment 334: primary vote results for New York.

    Donald Trump came away with 60.5% of the vote in New York (518, 601 Republican votes). As a result, he added 89 delegates to his count, bringing him to 845.

    Kasich got 25.1% of the vote, and he added 3 delegates to his count, bringing him to 147 delegates. Ted Cruz got 14.5% of the vote, and earned no New York delegates (delegate count remains 559).

    Hillary Clinton won 57.9% of the vote (1,037,344 votes); and she added 139 delegates to her count, bringing her total to 1,930 delegates.

    Bernie Sanders got 42.1% of the vote (752,739 votes); and he added 106 delegates to his count, bringing his total to 1,189.

    The Democratic candidate needs 2,383 delegates to get the nomination of the Party.

    The Republican candidate needs 1,237 delegates to get the nomination of the Party.

  313. says

    It looks like more Republicans will stay away from the GOP convention in Cleveland this summer.

    […] Sen. Roger Wicker [chairman of the Senate Republican campaign arm) told reporters that his colleagues shouldn’t participate in a fight for delegates among Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump.

    “If there’s going to be a brouhaha, I’m advising candidates to be present for more unifying events,” Wicker said, according to The Hill.

    Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) was the first GOP senator to say he won’t attend the convention and instead plans to focus on his re-election campaign. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) also has said he won’t attend in order to work on his own re-election. […]


  314. says

    New Yorkers really, really don’t like Ted Cruz. In the primary vote yesterday, Ben Carson came in ahead of Cruz. Carson dropped out of the race in March.

    Elizabeth Warren is not the only person to recognize Cruz as a hypocrite.

  315. says

    Thank you, Chuck Grassley. We already knew this was the real reason behind blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, but thank you for saying it out loud.

    Chuck Grassley is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said some stupid but true stuff to a bunch of anti-abortion activists:

    […] Grassley told the activists that when someone asked him for an update on the nomination last week, he said that “an update would suggest that something has changed” and that he still intends to block any nominee until the next president takes office.

    He said that preventing “another liberal” from joining the Supreme Court was necessary to keep “even the reasonable restrictions on abortion that have been enacted into law through the democratic process” from being “swept away.” […]

    “But we know that justices who embrace the view that the Constitution is a living document don’t share that view that you and I share,” he said. “The American people, through their elected representatives, should be making these policy decisions, not unelected judges. These are life-and-death issues that we’re fighting for. They show just how important this fight over who’s going to fill Scalia’s seat is.” […]

    Right Wing Watch link.

    Chuck Grassley needs to be defeated. He should retire, or lose the next election to someone less stupid. Grassley is a Republican from Iowa.

  316. says

    Donald Trump finally wised up (sort of) and hired some experts to help him get the number of delegates he needs to win the nomination. The “let Trump be Trump” campaign tactic was tossed out and in his victory speech last night Trump even refrained from calling Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted.” He referred to Cruz as “Senator Cruz,” and referred to Kasich as “Governor Kasich.”

    Big improvement for The Donald. Oh, wait, none of Trump’s new experts has been able to stop him from retweeting white supremacist posts.

    So far, Trump has retweeted at least six white supremacist posts. For the latest, he retweeted:

    @keksec_org: @realDonaldTrump Your policies will make this state and country great again!

    So what’s the problem?

    @keksec__org’s bio currently reads: “#keksec, Capitalist/Neo-Boer, Author, Journalist, #RWDS member. […]” The account, which also frequently posts photos of women with the hashtag #WhiteGirlsAreMagic, had more than 54,000 followers. […]

    #RWDS is a white supremacist hashtag meaning “right-wing death squad,” with neo-Boer a reference to supporting South Africa’s apartheid government. […]


    Trump’s retweet will probably be taken down after the fact, but really, can none of his new experts get him off Twitter. He shows his true self there, and that self is ugly.

  317. says

    All right! Progress in the morridor. Even the majority mormons in Salt Lake City had to agree that renaming 900 South as “Harvey Milk Boulevard” was a good idea.
    Salt Lake Tribune link.

    For extra smile-worthy flavor, consider this fact: “900 South” is a reference to the mormon temple in SLC. Most of the streets are named in reference to the mormon temple. The same is true of other mormon-dominated cities and towns in Utah and Idaho. You might, for example, live in a house with the address of 1100 North, 1200 East. That address would indicate that you were 11 blocks north and 12 blocks east of the mormon temple in your town. The addresses are relative to the center, to the temple, which is 0, 0 on the grid.

    Now, part of that address grid system will be named after the first openly gay person elected to public office in California.

    Some mormons in SLC are not happy. Here are a few of their comments:

    These people are never satisfied.

    What’s next? […] Changing the name of Antelope Island to Fire Island?
    Leave this type of thing to San Francisco.
    Martin Luther King Boulevard, Rosa Parks Boulevard, Cesar Chavez Boulevard, Harvey Milk Blvd. so tiring of the pandering. I used to hope for the best and the success of salt lake city, I used to make an effort to try to shop and dine in salt lake city. no more.

  318. says

    Here is Hillary Clinton’s victory speech following the New York primary vote.

    Here is the speech Bernie Sanders gave after losing in NY. He criticized New York’s voting rules, and looked ahead to the five primaries next week. Excerpt:

    Today we took Secretary Clinton on in her own state of New York, and we lost. I congratulate Secretary Clinton on her victory. Next week we will be competing in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware, and we look forward to winning a number of those states.

    Here is Donald Trump’s victory speech after winning in NY. The guy standing behind Trump’s right shoulder is Carl Paladino, a Trump surrogate who once ran for governor of NY. Paladino is the guy who sent out emails featuring racist images of Barack and Michelle Obama, including pimp/whore images and images of dark-skinned people performing traditional African dances. Paladino also sent out hardcore porn images, including humans having sex with horses. Paladino is also the guy who said he wants to “teach them personal hygiene” in reference to welfare recipients. Nice company you keep, Mr. Trump.

  319. says

    tomh @341, most of new bills, including a $5 bill featuring a civil rights leader, will not reach circulation until about 2030. All of the whackos may have time to get used to the changes, and/or they can delay their freak out.

    The new designs, from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, would be made public in 2020 in time for the centennial of woman’s suffrage and the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. None of the bills, including a new $5 note, would reach circulation until the next decade.

    Meanwhile, we do have some backlash from Fox News hosts, etc., but that’s to be expected.

  320. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Update on the Donald’s airplane with the expired registration. It is grounded by the FAA.

    Federal officials say Donald Trump’s business jet won’t be allowed to fly until its registration is renewed.
    The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement Wednesday that its inspectors have contacted the chief pilot of Trump’s 750 Citation X about the plane’s registration, which expired in January.
    The statement says the plane’s owner “is currently working with the FAA’s aircraft registry and will re-register the aircraft before further flight.”
    The plane is registered to a limited liability company whose sole member is Donald Trump. The plane’s identification number, N725DT, also includes Trump’s initials.

    Dang, I was hoping for The Donald doing a perp walk.

  321. says

    This is a followup to comment 336.

    And … another Republican senator is planning to skip the convention. Paul Ryan pushed hard recently for his fellow Republicans to attend. As Speaker of the House, Ryan has to attend. Many other Republicans are ignoring Ryan. Count Chuck Grassley among them:

    Other senators up for re-election who are planning brief stays include Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Richard Burr of North Carolina. They each insist their past experiences have taught them that conventions suck up valuable time.

    “I’ve gone to every convention since 1980, and every time I get done going I wonder why I went to the convention,” Grassley said. “And I think this time I’m going to talk to myself beforehand instead of afterwards. You waste a lot of time.”

    Bloomberg link

  322. says

    A lot of the media sources I read praised Trump for his short, and unexpectedly presidential victory speech after winning in New York. Well, that didn’t last long.

    Trump gave a speech today that was full of insults and nonsense:

    […] at a Wednesday afternoon rally in Indiana, Trump said that Republicans had the worst of “dishonest” presidential nominating processes in both parties.

    “It’s a rigged, crooked system that’s designed so that the bosses can pick whoever they want and that people like me can’t run and can’t defend you against foreign nonsense,” Trump said, “and can’t defend you against China and Japan and Mexico and Vietnam and India and every single country you can name, because we lose with every—we lose, believe me, with every deal we do.”

    Trump reminded the audience of his nicknames for rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), or “Lyin’ Ted,” and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, or “Crooked Hillary.”

    “We’ll fire Hillary. Hillary, you’re fired! She’ll be fired,” Trump said. “If she ever gets a chance to run. I think she’s being protected.”

    Trump went on to rail against Mexico for stealing jobs like “candy from a baby” and again promised to build a wall between the United States and its southern neighbor. He also said the country was “stupid” for not authorizing waterboarding and called himself a genius.

    At one point Trump also took a quick poll of the crowd, asking them if they hated the media. The crowd shouted back “Yes!” […]


  323. says

    dianne @349, that is scary. I know some people who are voting for Trump because they think he is a good businessman and not a politician. They also think he is not really serious about building a border wall, etc. They think he says stuff like that to be entertaining and to control the media (make the media cover him). They think Trump is funny and smart.

    I take Trump at his word. He will try to build a wall. He will deport undocumented immigrants. He will destroy trade agreements and nuclear agreements. He will insult and alienate the leaders of other countries. And more.

    And he’s not a good businessman.

  324. says

    Coverage of Prince’s death.

    Police were called to a medical emergency at his Paisley Park estate earlier on Thursday, US media reported. An investigation is underway.

    Decades ago, in Minneapolis, MN, Prince played a part in bringing musicians of color to main stages that normally featured white musicians.

    The link above covers most of the music scene in Minneapolis, and not just Prince. An excellent article that provides details about the ways in which non-white musicians struggled, and/or were restricted.

  325. blf says

    Kochroaches for Plutonium! (And something of a follow-up to previous comments on the Bundy-ish schemes and plots to confiscate public lands for private greed.) Koch brothers said to be funding plan to block Grand Canyon conservation:

    Tax forms reveal donor from their network channeled money into Arizona-based group fighting plan that would ban uranium mining around the landmark

    Billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch are channeling money into an Arizona-based organization that’s fighting a plan that would include a permanent ban on uranium mining around the Grand Canyon.

    A proposal to declare the area around the Grand Canyon a national monument — Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument — calls for protecting 1.7m acres of land from uranium mining. A number of environmental groups and native tribes as well as the vast majority of Arizonans support the plan.

    Still, a handful of Arizona Republicans and a major not-for-profit group are trying to block it. Much of the group’s efforts apparently are being funded by the Koch brothers, according to Greg Zimmerman of the Center for Western Priorities.

    […] He found that between 2013 and 2014, the foundation received more than $1.5m — or 83% of its total budget — from a political-advocacy organization called American Encore.

    Sean Noble, a political consultant who has deep ties to the Koch brothers, leads American Encore. The organization is formerly known as the Center to Protect Patient Rights. It changed its name in 2014.

    Some selected readers’s comments:

    ● “Ask some Native Americans about THEIR experiences of Uranium mining in the four corners region — it won’t be hard to see what a bad idea this is.”

    ● “If it helps screw up the environment, the Koch fingerprints are all over it.”

    ● “Lift up any rock and odds are you’ll find a slimy Koch.”

    ● “Not surprised at all. I’m positive the have all their meat delivered from the back of a local orphanage,and their wine is made from the freshly pressed fingers of farm workers. I’m willing to bet their great grandmother was Countess Bathory. They are the very definition of human obscenity.”

    ● “If these two Kocks were turned into Disney villains, children and parents the world over would be traumatized. They’re THAT awfully wicked.”

    ● “What IS the #1 tourist draw in tourism-dependent Arizona? The Grand Canyon. An unsightly uranium mine would not only wreak havoc on the views that people from around the world make the journey to enjoy, it would pollute the water supply. Rendering the Grand Canyon uninhabitable is the most stupid thing they could do. Think of the jobs lost. Of course, ‘stupid is as stupid does’ and Arizona Governor Douchebag is as big a moron as they come.”

    ● “Oh, those lovable, cuddly Koch brothers. They never cease to amaze in the vilest possible manner.”

    And on and on and on…

  326. says

    Governor Paul LePage of Maine said some stupid stuff, and worse yet, he did some stupid stuff:

    “Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose,” LePage wrote, repeating a contention that has caused controversy before. “Creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction.”

    Pharmacy chains such as Rite Aid and CVS already dispense naloxone without a prescription in other states. About 30 states allow sales of the drug without a prescription.

    CVS requested the bill in Maine after receiving a letter from U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine asking the chain to expand the availability of the antidote. The bill got support from both law enforcement and health organizations during the legislative hearing.

    Portland Press Herald link.

    Yeah, so Governor LePage vetoed a bill that would have saved the lives of heroin addicts. I guess LePage thinks those lives are not worth saving. What a dunderhead.

  327. says

    The British government issued a travel warning for LGBT tourists planning to visit the USA. Way to go North Carolina and Mississippi legislators.

    […] The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country. LGBT travellers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi. Before travelling please read our general travel advice for the LGBT community. […]

    Advice for LGB&T travellers while overseas

    avoid potentially risky situations – don’t do anything that you wouldn’t at home

    excessive physical shows of affection, by both same-sex and heterosexual couples, are often best avoided in public

    if you intend to visit cruising areas or internet chat rooms find out about the local situation – police in some countries have been known to carry out entrapment campaigns

    be wary of new-found ‘friends’- criminals sometimes exploit the generally open and relaxed nature of the gay scene

    if you receive unwelcome attention or unwelcome remarks it’s usually best to ignore them

    you’re more likely to experience difficulties in rural areas so it’s best to exercise discretion

    some resorts can be quite segregated – when you are outside the ‘gay neighbourhood’ expressions of sexuality may be frowned upon

    some hotels, especially in rural areas, won’t accept bookings from same sex couples – check before you go […]

  328. says

    More threats of violence from the extreme rightwing:

    In an article published on the website of the anti-government organization Oath Keepers last week, Brandon Smith, who often writes for the organization, reviews what he calls “The Weirdest Possible Outcomes For The Strangest Election In U.S. History,” including what he says is the strong possibility that a victory by Hillary Clinton would provoke “outright civil war.” […]

    A Clinton win, he said, would “probably” result in civil war, […]

    I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if Hillary Clinton is chosen by the establishment to take Obama’s place, the result would probably be outright civil war in the U.S. The level of hatred among conservatives for that woman is so stratospheric I cannot see any other outcome. It might not happen immediately, but a solid bet would be conflagration within her first term. […]

    Right Wing Watch link.

  329. tomh says

    Newsflash: Trump said something sensible.
    Asked about the NC bathroom law, Trump said, “There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate,” said Trump. “There has been so little trouble.” He said the state had paid “a big price” economically.

  330. tomh says

    Of course Cruz jumped on Trump’s bathroom comments, accusing him of succumbing to political correctness. Plus, “He has succumbed to the left’s agenda, which is to force Americans to leave God out of public life while paying lip service to false tolerance”

  331. says

    toms @359, Trump also got himself into trouble with Cruz and other members of the far right by saying that the Republican Party Platform should be amended in the section where it specifies an anti-abortion stance. Trump wants three exceptions added: rape, incest, and health of the mother.

    It’s kind of depressing that an anti-abortion stance that only allows those three exceptions is considered “too liberal” by so many Republicans.

  332. says

    Another musician rejects money from the Republican Party:

    It was my understanding that I was playing a concert which was a non partisan event to benefit the families of American veterans on Monday, July 17 in Cleveland. The admat I approved said this specifically.

    Today it was announced that this event is, in fact, a launch for the Republican National Convention. In addition, my name is to be used to raise sponsorship dollars for convention-related purposes.

    Therefore, I must humbly withdraw my participation in this event with apologies to any fans or veterans and their families that I might disappoint.

    I am very concerned about the rampant vitriol, fear-mongering and bullying coming from the current Republican campaigns. It is both isolationist and spiteful. I cannot in good conscience endorse the Republican party in any way. I will look at doing a veteran related benefit concert later this year.

    Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Joe Walsh (Eagles) represents another trend … lots of people are refusing to have anything to do with the Republican Convention.

  333. microraptor says

    Joe Walsh has, as far as I know, always been pretty vocal about how liberal he is so that’s not surprising.

    If the Republicans want a rock musician they don’t have to trick into performing, who do they have beside Ted Nugget?

  334. Ice Swimmer says

    Actually, Meat Loaf could be more like it, Mustaine may not like anybody that much.

  335. dianne says

    Okay, does anyone else think this article has a serious fallacy in it?

    The authors try to make the case that Democrats are just as intolerant as Trump supporters. In order to do so, they ask people of various political beliefs who their “least liked” group is out of a selection of 8 potential answers. These answers include people of specific religious beliefs (atheists, fundamentalist Christians, fundamentalist Muslims), political/social advocates (pro-life activists, pro-choice activists, gay rights activists), one social/political class of people (illegal immigrants), and one specific organization (the KKK). Trump supporters disliked fundamentalist Muslims the most, the KKK second (surprised me, but there it is), and illegal immigrants third. Democrats overwhelmingly liked the KKK the least.

    They then asked people whether their most disliked group should be allowed to do certain things or should have certain laws enacted against them, i.e. should they be allowed to hold a protest, should they be illegalized, should they be allowed to run for public office, etc. If the person said yes to any of these questions, that was considered evidence of “intolerance”.

    Here’s the problem: When a Democrat said that their most disliked group should be outlawed or not allowed to hold rallies, they were, for the most part, talking about a single specific terrorist organization, the KKK. They were not saying that racists should not be allowed to run for office or hold rallies, just that the KKK should not. In contrast, Trump supporters were mostly talking about “fundamentalist Muslims” (whatever “fundamentalist” means to Trump supporters). This is a religious group–actually, several, Islam having probably as many schisms as Christianity–not a specific organization. A fairer comparison would be if they asked about racists versus fundamentalist Muslims or al Qaeda versus the KKK. You can’t compare someone saying that this specific organization should be banned and someone else saying this religion should be banned and call them equally intolerant. At least, that’s my current read. Anyone see it differently?

  336. says

    This is good news: an expansion of voting rights is taking place in Virginia. Unlike the litany of voting rights restrictions we’ve seen recently, it is really nice to see Virginia set an example for other states that still disenfranchise citizens with a felony record, even after those citizens have completed their sentences.

    Virginia Gov. Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order Friday restoring the voting rights of at least 200,000 residents with a felony criminal record ahead of the presidential election in November. […]

    Virginia is one of a small handful of states that permanently disenfranchise residents with a felony record. In 38 other states and D.C., most ex-felons automatically regain the right to vote when they complete their sentence.

    But reforms implemented by McAuliffe over the past two years have loosened those restrictions and made it possible for thousands of Virginians with non-violent drug convictions to have their rights automatically restored. He also abolished the practice of withholding civil rights from those who can’t afford to pay their court fees — which affected Virginians have called a modern-day poll tax. […]

    The new policy is expected to affect a quarter-million citizens in Virginia, the vast majority of them people of color. Local faith leaders speaking at the order’s signing emphasized that felon disenfranchisement laws like Virginia’s were created with the explicit intent of preventing African Americans from gaining political power. […]

    “Virginia will no longer build walls and barriers to the ballot box. We will take them down,” he said.

  337. says

    John Kasich slipped up. He told the truth about why Republicans do not want Washington D.C. to become a state.

    Fed up with lack of control over the District’s budget, Washington D.C. officials are renewing efforts to make the city America’s 51st state. Congress, however, continues to show no willingness to make it happen. […]

    Toward the end of the interview, Post Associate Editorial Page Director Jo-Ann Armao asked Kasich, “You voted against statehood for D.C. when you were in Congress… Is that still your position?” […]

    [Armao] continued, “But you realize though that people in D.C. pay taxes, go to war and they have no vote in Congress.” […]

    KASICH: Well look, I am not – I don’t – I am not, because you know what, what it really gets down to if you want to be honest is because they know that’s just more votes in the Democratic Party. That’s what–

    ARMAO: So if there were Republicans in the District, you would have a different position? […]

    In other words, Kasich opposes D.C. statehood for partisan reasons — he doesn’t want Republicans in Congress to lose power. […]

  338. blf says

    dianne@365, I haven’t read the linked-to article, but I very bothered by this paraphrase(?):

    They then asked people whether their most disliked group should be allowed to do certain things or should have certain laws enacted against them, i.e. should they be allowed to hold a protest, should they be illegalized, should they be allowed to run for public office, etc. If the person said yes to any of these questions, that was considered evidence of “intolerance”.

    Um, excuse me, but allowing people you dislike (whether it be the KKK or moolins or even thugs) to hold a protest or run for public office is certainly something you’d say “Yes” to, possibly through gritted teeth, possibly whilst organising a counter-protest or supporting someone else’s candidacy — which is, of course, exercising exactly those same rights, and impossible if the people / group / you are illegal (a clear “No!”). So how in hades is saying “Yes” to those two cases an example of intolerance ?

    Assuming the above accurately reflects what the article says, the article is pure unadulterated bilge. This is in addition to the problem you pointed out.

  339. says

    Here’s an “oh, FFS” moment. It comes from Bryan Fischer:

    On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer declared that officials who refuse to accept marriage equality or transgender rights will one day be recognized as heroes, just like Harriet Tubman.

    Responding to the news that Tubman will replacing Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill, Fischer noted that she is hailed as a hero today for breaking an unjust law in favor of obeying a “higher law.” […]

    Fischer said that elected or school officials who defy court rulings on gay marriage or laws allowing transgender individuals to use the facilities that match their gender identity will be seen as American heroes. […]

    Fischer has previously said that there should be an “Underground Railroad to deliver innocent children from same-sex households.”


  340. says

    How are Trump’s supporters trying to pressure delegates selected to attend the GOP convention? Mostly with threats of violence:

    First it was an email warning Steve House, the Colorado GOP chairman, to hide his family members and “pray you make it to Cleveland.” Then there was the angry man who called his cell phone and told him to put a gun down his throat.

    “He said, ‘I’ll call back in two minutes and if you’re still there, I’ll come over and help you’,” House recalled. […]

    One party chair says a Trump supporter recently got in his face and promised “bloodshed” if he didn’t win the GOP nomination. An Indiana delegate who criticized Trump received a note warning against “traditional burial” that ended with, “We are watching you.” […]

    Politico link

  341. blf says

    The Grauniad snarks, How to spot a terrorist on your flight by Arwa Mahdawi (the emboldening is in the original):

    Having someone with brown skin or speaking Arabic sitting next to you on the plane can be worrying — or it could just be Mile High Hysteria, inshallah

    The skies are no longer a very friendly place to fly if you’re brown or “maybe-Muslim”. A few days ago, an Iraq-born researcher at UC Berkeley was removed from a Southwest Airlines plane for speaking Arabic. A passenger heard the guy end a phone call with “inshallah” and decided it must mean “this plane full of infidels is going down”. In reality inshallah (which translates as “God willing”) is a versatile Arabic phrase that can be used to mean everything from “hopefully” to “never going to happen” to “I’ve stopped listening now, kthanxbye.”

    This isn’t the first time someone has raised suspicions simply by speaking Arabic — the world’s fifth most-spoken language — on a plane. Fearmongering around terrorism has ignited a vicious vigilantism in air travel. The 17th century had the Salem witch trials; the 1950s had McCarthyism; today we’ve got Mile High Hysteria.


    You don’t even need to be speaking Arabic to raise suspicions among “concerned citizens”, you simply need to be doing something a little “terroristy”. Like not being white. Last month, Laolu Opebiyi, a (Christian) Brit of Nigerian descent was removed from an easyJet plane after another passenger saw the word “prayer” in his Whatsapp messages.


    [… S]houldn’t aviation authorities be doing a little more to help people identify the terrorists in their midst? Rather than making us sit through demonstrations of how to insert one end of a seatbelt into another, airlines should be showing us the best way to racially profile our fellow passengers. While we await the modernisation of inflight safety briefings, I have taken it upon myself to provide some helpful pointers as to how to spot a terrorist at 30,000 feet. […]


    First-class weaponry
    Taking a knife on to a flight is frowned upon for security reasons. However, if you happen to turn left when you board the plane you are given a variety of sharp knives and glassware at mealtime. I can only assume that intelligence agencies have data which shows that terrorists are more likely to be sitting in the cheap seats. This makes no sense. If I were going to blow myself up on a plane (I’m not, despite my questionable name), I would not add insult to injury by flying economy.

    Recognise terrorist toilet time
    Ten minutes locked in the toilet means someone is suffering explosive bowel movements from the airplane lasagne. Any longer than that and they’re probably going to blow up the plane. It’s just maths, really.

    Beware of scarlet hair
    According to Breitbart, a rightwing blog read […] by people who aren’t very bright, redheads are more likely to be terrorists. The site notes that white “Islamic extremists reported on by the media are 15 times more likely than the general population to have red hair”. The rationale for this, Breitbart writes […] is the “bullying and persecution {redheads} endure early in life”.

    Yallah, yallah
    Anyone who says “Allah” on a plane is 99.9% likely to be a terrorist […]. However, the tricky thing is that a lot of innocuous slang in Arabic sounds vaguely like “Allah”. Take “Yallah” for example, which means “hurry the eff up”. If the guy next to you is muttering “yallah, yallah” to himself he is probably not saying his last prayer, he maybe just wants the food to arrive.

    Some selected readers’s comments:

    ● “i’m much more worried about allowing toddlers on airplanes. Statistics indicate that 21 toddlers shot and killed themselves or others in 2015; 19 Americans died at the hands of potential or suspected Islamic terrorists. (Snopes)”

    ● “More people are killed each year by cows than terrorism. […]”

    ● “An American on a European flight is a classic ID of a terrorist”.

    ● “The airlines do prepare people to be totally anti terrorist by the time they board — particularly those who have to take of[f] their shoes or forgotten to throw away the perfectly good and expensive bottle of water.”

    ● “I wouldn’t worry about the airplane food containing and bugs, it’s always so small and indistinguishable from cardboard, there is very little chance that food can sustain any life, whether it’s the life of a bacteria or anything.”

  342. says

    The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, gives conservative politicians from the USA a run for their money when it comes to saying stupid stuff.

    […] Boris Johnson […] attacked Obama […] for supporting the British government’s position against a so-called Brexit. Johnson recalled an oft-repeated (and debunked) story about Obama returning the bust of Winston Churchill to the British embassy in Washington upon taking office.

    “No one was sure whether the President had himself been involved in the decision. Some said it was a snub to Britain. Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire — of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender,” Johnson wrote. […]

    In 2012, Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer penned a blog post for the White House in which he called reports to that effect “100% false,” writing, “The bust is still in the White House. In the Residence. Outside the Treaty Room.”

    On Thursday, Obama published an op-ed in The Telegraph urging Britons to refuse Brexit ahead of his Friday meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and news conference with Prime Minister David Cameron. “This kind of cooperation — from intelligence sharing and counterterrorism to forging agreements to create jobs and economic growth — will be far more effective if it extends across Europe. Now is a time for friends and allies to stick together,” Obama wrote. […]

    Politico link

  343. says

    This is a temporary fix in Florida, with the State Supreme Court suspending the state’s 24-hour waiting period for abortions while the court considers hearing a suit that claims the law is unconstitutional. Here’s hoping the court does hear the suit, and that it turns out well for women’s reproductive rights.

    […] The Florida Supreme Court on Friday tapped the brakes on the controversial state law, which requires women to visit the doctor, in person, a full day before an abortion. It’s the latest in a protracted legal fight that began last summer after the measure was passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

    Gainesville-based abortion clinic Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida sued the state, claiming the law violates broad privacy protections under the Florida Constitution. A Tallahassee circuit court still hasn’t ruled on that question. The fight has so far surrounded an injunction stopping the law from going into effect. […]

    Miami Herald link

  344. says

    Donald Trump thanked Bernie Sanders:

    […] “He’s been tough on her. In fact, I’d like him to keep going because the longer he goes the more I’m going to like it,” Trump told thousands of supporters during a campaign rally here in Harrisburg.

    Trump lauded Sanders for keeping pressure on Clinton and particularly singled out Sanders’s comments attacking Clinton’s judgment. He also credited Sanders with being the first to question Clinton’s qualifications for office.

    “So Bernie Sanders, not me, said she is not qualified. So now I’m going to say, ‘She’s not qualified.’ OK?” Trump said.

    Washington Post link

  345. says

    This is a followup to comment 366.

    A statement from the Speaker of Virginia’s House of Delegates confirms that Republicans wanted to keep ex-felons from voting because they think that most them, who are disproportionately black, will vote for Democratic Party candidates.

    Republicans are constantly letting slip the fact that they restrict voting rights because they can’t win elections any other way.

    […] Republican Bill Howell, said he was “stunned” that Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) had used an executive action to restore the voting rights of more than 200,000 felons. In a statement issued Friday, Howell accused McAuliffe of granting the felons the right to vote so he could help Hillary Clinton get elected.

    “The singular purpose of Terry McAuliffe’s governorship is to elect Hillary Clinton President of the United States,” Howell said. “This office has always been a stepping stone to a job in Hillary Clinton’s cabinet.” […]

    Howell is not the first Republican to imply that felons would lean Democrat. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said in December that “the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats.” […]

    Howell added that his office was reviewing the governor’s order “to determine what options are available to the General Assembly.” […]

  346. says

    More proposed seizures of public, federally-owned areas (Bundy reference):

    Advocates for the seizure and sale of U.S. parks and public lands are training their sights on marine coastal areas with a new bill that would give state governors unprecedented power over America’s coastal national parks.

    The bill, introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), would give governors veto power over fishery management decisions in national parks and, in particular, would enable the governor’s political appointees to undo planned no-fishing zones that would help restore the health of reefs, fish, and other marine species.

    Critics argue that the legislation, S. 2807, would undermine established, science-based wildlife management plans, degrade the conservation protections afforded through America’s National Park System, and is part of a broader anti-park policy agenda that some members of Congress have been seeking to advance.

    This legislation fits largely within the realm of Bundy-style seizing and selling of public land. The National Park System makes wildlife and land management decisions based on conservation science, towards the goal of preserving the natural resources, systems, and processes of the park system for the enjoyment of all Americans. States often prioritize development and extraction over conservation, which can compromise the ecological integrity of publicly-owned lands like national parks and can have serious implications for wildlife. […]

    Think Progress link

  347. says

    Speaking of voter-restriction laws (comment 375), Rhode Island’s voters will also face some difficulties soon, thanks in part to Voter ID laws, and thanks it part to cost-saving measures that close polling places.

    Sixty-six percent of Rhode Island’s normal polling places will be closed on the state’s fast-approaching presidential primary, leaving at least one advocate worried that voters will experience confusion and frustration while trying to cast ballots.

    […] only 144 of the state’s 419 polling places will be open on Tuesday. […]

    “[…] they might not be voting where they typically vote in November.” […]

    Though the voter ID law was passed in 2011, Tuesday will be the first time photo identification will be required during a presidential primary election […]

    Think Progress link

  348. says

    Trump said something semi-reasonable about North Carolina’s bathroom law … and then he backtracked:

    Less than 24 hours after saying transgender individuals should be able to “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate,” Donald Trump backtracked from that pro-LGBT position. Speaking with Sean Hannity on Fox News Thursday evening, the Republican presidential frontrunner decided that while he still believes North Carolina’s law overturning local anti-discrimination ordinances is “causing a lot of problems,” he thinks “local communities and states should make the decision. The federal government should not be involved.” This comes despite the fact that there was never any questions over whether the feds should have a say in the matter.

    The Daily Beast link

  349. says

    Uh, no, I don’t think God will pay the legal bills of dunderheaded Republicans pushing unconstitutional anti-abortion bills.

    An Oklahoma lawmaker pushing a bill that would more-or-less ban abortion in the state dismissed concerns that the legislation would drag the cash-strapped state into a costly legal battle […]

    “Everybody talks about this $1.3 billion deficit,” state Rep. David Brumbaugh (R) said during Thursday evening’s deliberations of the bill, before invoking a saying he said a friend told him.

    “If we take care of the morality, God will take care of the economy,” he said.

    The Oklahoma state House ultimately passed the legislation, which had already been approved by the state Senate. The bill would revoke the medical licenses of any abortion provider that conducted an abortion unless the woman’s health was in danger or she had suffered a miscarriage. Abortion providers could also face felony charges that could carry a sentence of up to three years in prison. […]

  350. says

    This is a followup to comment 329.

    Could Republican mormon politicians in Utah get any more stupid? That’s a rhetorical question.

    The Utah lawmaker who introduced a state resolution declaring pornography a “public health crisis” has taken his opposition a step further. During a conservative talk radio appearance on Friday, state Rep. Todd Weiler (R) said that the internet, essentially, violates a person’s First Amendment rights by “delivering pornography” to people who don’t want to view it.

    “Someone may have the First Amendment right, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, to view pornography,” Weiler told Tony Perkins, host of “Washington Watch” radio show. “But what about my First Amendment right not to view it?”

    This interview comes days after Gov. Gary Herbet (R) signed Weiler’s bill into law. (See comment 329.)

    At first, Weiler specifically blamed McDonald’s for having free WiFi that did not block porn sites. According to Weiler, kids often go to McDonald’s or public libraries to watch porn on their WiFi networks — especially if it’s blocked on their home internet. […]

    Weiler’s understanding of the First Amendment is deeply flawed, however. The amendment specifically bans laws that prohibit a person’s ability to exercise free speech. It does not, however, ban a person from NOT viewing another’s act of free speech. That’s like saying the amendment protects a pro-choice advocate’s right to never encounter anti-abortion protesters.

    Instead, Weiler’s argument rests on his inability to control how others browse the internet. But exerting control over another person’s behavior in that way isn’t a constitutional right — far from it. […]

  351. dianne says

    @blf: allowing people you dislike (whether it be the KKK or moolins or even thugs) to hold a protest or run for public office is certainly something you’d say “Yes” to, possibly through gritted teeth, possibly whilst organising a counter-protest or supporting someone else’s candidacy — which is, of course, exercising exactly those same rights, and impossible if the people / group / you are illegal (a clear “No!”).

    Sorry, that one was my bad. It was supposed to say “forbidden to hold a protest or run for office” but I got distracted. The things that people said “yes” to as examples of intolerance were all examples of restricting the rights of certain groups or individuals who belong to those groups. I maintain that the primary problem with the study was that it did not acknowledge that there is a difference between holding a belief and acting on it in a violent manner. The reversal of whether something was allowed or forbidden was my fault.

  352. says

    blf @381, Boris reminds me so much of Trump.

    In other news, here’s an update on Ken Ham’s Noah’s Ark attraction:

    The theme park will be searching for 300 to 400 workers to fill food service, ticketing and other theme park-related positions at the 510-foot long Ark Encounter before it opens in July and Ken Ham, founder of the ministry Answers in Genesis, says employees will be required to sign a statement saying they’re Christian and “profess Christ as their savior.”

    The religious group, which will run the ark’s operations, won a federal court ruling in January that clarified that it can make religious-based hires even as it seeks a Kentucky tourism tax incentive worth millions.

    Lexington, KY link

  353. says

    Pastafarian wedding in New Zealand:
    Huffington Post link

    Video and photos at the link.

    When New Zealand approved The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster — whose followers are known as Pastafarians — to officiate marriages, we knew it was just a matter of time until we saw beautiful photos of Pastafarian weddings.

    That day has arrived.

    […]Toby Rickets and Marianna Fenn wed Saturday on a boat in New Zealand’s Akaroa Harbor under the auspices of Karyn Martyn, a “ministeroni,” […]

    They exchanged rigatoni rings and their kiss involved them locking lips by slurping the same noodle at opposite ends, “Lady and the Tramp” style, […]

  354. says

    This is a followup to comments 92 and 354.

    Rachel Maddow presented a segment last night that focused on LePage’s veto of the naloxone-availability bill in Maine.

    Maddow also presented an overview of some of LePage’s most cringe-worthy comments. That guy is such a burden on Maine.

  355. says

    In a story related to comment 387, the company that makes the normally cheap drug Narcan has been jacking up the price. No explanation. No reason for the price hike. If you watch the Rachel Maddow segment (link in comment 387), you’ll note that she stresses how affordable the drug is.

    From New Jersey:

    The state attorney general’s office will look into the soaring retail price of the heroin overdose antidote Narcan, acting Attorney General Robert Lougy […]

    Appearing at Hoboken University Medical Center Monday afternoon at a training session for friends and family members who might need to administer the opioid antidote to drug abusers who’d overdosed, Gov. Chris Christie touted Narcan as a crucial first step in getting people from addiction to detox.

    “Narcan has saved thousands of lives in New Jersey,” Christie said. “People who otherwise would have died of an overdose if someone hadn’t been prepared and trained with the antidote.”

    the price of Narcan doubled in Massachusetts, leaping from less than $15 to more than $30 per dose […]

    But as Amphastar is the only drug company that makes a type of Narcan that can be administered nasally, its price ballooned, along with Amphastar’s revenues, which reached $53 million for the three months ending June 2015. […]

    the cost of Narcan continues to soar in other nearby states, like Maryland.

    “In May 2014, a 10-dose pack (of Narcan) cost the Baltimore City Health Department roughly $190,” said U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland in his opening remarks at a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the heroin epidemic last month. “Guess what? Today, it costs more than $400 for a life-saving drug.”

    New Jersey link

  356. says

    The Philadelphia Tribune, the oldest continually publishing African-American newspaper in the USA, endorsed Bernie Sanders.

    […] Since his days as a student at the University of Chicago protesting against segregation in public schools in Chicago and throughout his political career, Sanders has supported policies and programs that would be in the best interest of all Americans and African Americans, specifically. He has been a consistent fighter for a more just and equitable society. […]

    Philadelphia Tribune link