When talking about the current Republican shutdown of our government, it's helpful to take a look at the last time we had a government shutdown (again, by Republicans).
Back in 1995, then Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich cited being snubbed on a plane by President Clinton as a main reason for the shutdown.
"This is petty. You've been on the plane for 25 hours and nobody has talked to you and they ask you to get off the plane by the back ramp. ... You just wonder, where is their sense of manners? Where is their sense of courtesy?"
"I think that's part of why you ended up with us sending down a tougher ... resolution. This is petty, but I think it's human."
Republicans got their feelings hurt and so the government was shut down.
This time around, Marlin Stutzman, the Republican congressman from Indiana, explains this new Republican shutdown of government:
"We're not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."
So once again, Republicans have their feelings hurt and they shut down the government.
Republicans claim they want to negotiate with Democrats over the Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government.
See, Republicans want to destroy the Affordable Health Care Act - a law passed by congress, signed by the President (who ran on it and was re-elected) and was found constitutional by a conservative Supreme Court. They're afraid that it will be as successful and popular as Social Security, and they'll never be able to kill it.
So they want to hold the funding of the government hostage until they can damage (if not destroy) affordable health care for Americans.
But here's the thing, the CR, which is budget funding, is already operating under the draconian Sequester. Which means the budget is much closer to the proposed Paul Ryan (Republican) budget than it is to the proposed President Obama budget.
So, if Republicans really want to negotiate, Democrats should come to the table with a demand for Republicans to end the Sequester and fully fund the government in accord with the proposed Obama budget instead of negotiating from a position where Republicans have already won.
One must also keep in mind that should Democrats actually negotiate on the CR (which would be a huge mistake), they are setting a precedent that this sort of hostage taking is now an acceptable tactic. And Republicans will do well to remember that if they are actually ever able to reclaim the Executive Branch of government.
But the real problem we are now facing is that the Republican Party has become a radical, extremist party bent on ideology instead of pragmatism. And these radicals like the Sequester. They like shutting down the government. This is actually the end goal for many of them, and it's what they ran on to get elected in their districts.
They quote Ronald Reagan, saying over and over, "Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is our problem."
When you elect representatives to government who don't believe in government, government will fail.
Republicans are OUTRAGED that no Republicans participated in the 50th Anniversary of the civil rights march on Washington this week.
And it is a very interesting thing to point out - the lack of any Republican Party official participating in the commemorating of a landmark moment in America's Civil Rights movement.
So why weren't any Republicans involved?
Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner was invited and declined to attend.
Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was invited and delcined to attend.
Possible 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush was invited and declined to attend.
Former Republican Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain as invited and declined to attend.
Every Republican member of congress was invited and declined to attend.
Former Republican Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush were invited and declined to attend.
In the Republiverse (the slightly off-kilter "reality" that Republicans live in), conservatives are outraged at organizers of the celebration because every major Republican politician invited to participate in the celebration declined to attend.
Perhaps these Republicans were too busy meeting to figure out new voter laws to help disenfranchise minority voters.
Well, except for Eric Cantor. He said he was too busy meeting with oil lobbyists.
He believes that male fetuses masturbate in the womb.
During a discussion over the recently passed House ban on abortions, Burgess said:
"Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?"
This should raise certain profound questions in religious circles - is it a sin for a fetus to masturbate?
Oh yeah, and also, the Republican Party made him the Vice-Chair on the Subcommittee on Health.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an abortion ban.
Let me say that again.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a ban on abortion.
Republican Trent "Incidence of Rape Resulting in Pregnancy Are Very Low" Franks (AZ) authored The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
This bill (HR1797) "bans abortions after 20 weeks, based on the medically disputed theory that fetuses can feel pain at that point. It contains exceptions for women whose lives are in danger as well as some rape and incest victims who can prove that they reported their assaults to criminal authorities, but it contains no exceptions for severe fetal anomalies or situations in which the woman's health is threatened by her pregnancy."
The vote was 228 for the abortion ban to 196 against it. The bill had 181 Republican co-sponsors, including Maryland's Rep. Andy Harris.
222 Republicans voted for this bill. 6 voted against.
6 Democrats voted for this bill. 190 voted against.
Does it matter that this bill is unconstitutional? No. Similar bans, lead by Republicans, have or will soon become law in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Texas.
And unless these laws are legally challenged, they go into effect. And right now, no one is comfortable challenging them given the likelihood of a Supreme Court anxious to overturn Roe V. Wade if provided with the opportunity.
Fortunately, the House Bill won't make it to law - THIS TIME. A Democratic controlled Senate and a Democratic President who has already promised to veto the bill should be enough to enure that this Republican abortion ban won't make it to law. Again - THIS TIME.
If you don't want there to be a next time, then all you have to do is just not vote for a Republican ever again. It really seems so simple.
Johns Hopkins Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson has recently and rapidly become a conservative folk hero.
This week he went on FOX News and compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia.
He said to Sean Hannity: “Marriage is between a man and a woman. It's a well-established, fundamental pillar of society. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn't matter what they are, they don't get to change the definition. So it's not agianst gays, its against anyone who comes along and wants to change the fundamental pillars of society. It has significant ramifications."
Yes, yes. Groups must never change supposed "pillars of society," If that were true, we'd still have slavery, blacks couldn't marry, people of different races couldn't marry, there'd be no civil rights, women couldn't vote, we'd still have child labor ...
Look, if you're going to go on tv, could you not embarrass all of Baltimore (and Johns Hopkins) by saying stupid shit?
(members of Towson University's White Student Union, Scott Terry (l) and Matthew Heimbach (r))
I am a huge fan of the big conservative meet-up CPAC, or as I like to think of it, "The Right Wing Freak Show."
It took place last week at National Harbor, MD as a laundry list of big names in the Republican Party convened to address and toss red meat to their right wing base (interestingly, I'd always thought of CPAC as extreme right wing, but I've read more than a few reports this year that describe the conference as center-right - it's pretty unnerving to think the baseline may have shifted so far right that CPAC is no longer considered far right).
But it was at a CPAC panel called "Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You're Not One?" where Towson University students were able to peel away the false mask of racial tolerance and reveal the Republican and Tea Party's true feelings about minorities.
Incidentally, if you feel the need to have a panel called "Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You're Not One?", you might be a racist.
If you're sick of being called a racist, stop saying and doing racist things, and stop supporting racist policies.
But as the quotes below reveal, despite a mainstream media narrative that inexplicably and incorrectly seems to assert that the Republican Party recognizes it has to change (it doesn't, it just feels like it needs to better state its message - aka apply a new coat of paint to the same rotten policies) there is a new breed of Republicans who are looking to embrace racism and seem to think they are being unfairly victimized for it.
During the panel, Scott Terry (according to Think Progress, a member of Towson University's White Student Union) suggested that slaves should have been grateful to their masters for feeding and housing them.
He then called for party segregation by offering that the races within the Republican Party should be "united like the hand, but separate like the fingers."
Terry later got right to the point by asking, “Why can’t we just have segregation?”
He also said he'd be comfortable with a society where African-Americans were permanently subservient to whites and said that all Tea Partiers shared the same racial concerns.
But lest we think his backwards attitudes were directed just at non-whites, when he was challenged by a woman at the panel, he said "I didn’t know the legacy of the Republican Party included women correcting men in public."
Matthew Heimbach, the Imperial Wiz... er, head of Towson's White Student Union, also attended the panel. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, he bemoaned: “Diversity is not a strength,” and “We’re being displaced from our own country.”
The Sun also reported that, according the group's website, "Members ... recently attended a Latin Mass before heading to a gun range for 'tactical firearms training,' and plan to start campus patrols at Towson University."
So there's that: The new face of the next generation of Republicans - armed segregationists patrolling our college campuses.
Expect these students to have a long career in Republican politics.
Yes, yes, rape is a horrible crime. Sure it ruins lives, but not always the lives most rational, empathic human beings would assume. No, it doesn't just wreck the lives of the victims, but it also destroys the lives of the rapists. Those poor, poor rapists.
At least, that's how CNN chose to frame their coverage of the judgment of the Steubenville rapists when the judge pronounced the guilty verdict and sentencing,
Jocks Trent Mays (17) and Ma’lik Richmond (16) were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old while she was unconscious. Poor Richmond could be released from a juvenile rehabilitation facility by the time he turns 21 and Mays could be incarcerated until the ripe old age of 24.
Anchor Candy Crowley set the sympathetic tone by telling location reporter Poppy Harlow she couldn't imagine how emotional the sentencing of the rapists must have been.
Harlow concurred, saying "It had been incredibly difficult" to look on “as these two young men — who had such promising futures, star football players, very good students — literally watched as they believed their life fell apart. One of the young men, Ma’lik Richmond, as that sentence came down, he collapsed,” the CNN reporter recalled, adding that the convicted rapist told his attorney that 'my life is over, no one is going to want me now.' ... I was sitting about three feet from Ma’lik when he gave that statement. It was very difficult to watch."
I'm assuming Harlow found the sentencing of the rapists more difficult to watch than the actual rape itself, which was recorded and spread throughout the internet by these poor, poor weeping boys.
Crowley, evidently really hung up on CNN's "Sympathy for the Rapists" narrative then turned to CNN legal contributor Paul Callan, and pointed out that “a 16 year old, sobbing in court, regardless of what big football players they are, they still sound like 16 year olds.” Not entitled, crybaby rapist jocks, but crying boys.
Crowley asked, “What’s the lasting effect though on two young men being found guilty juvenile court of rape essentially?”
Callan continued with the rapist sympathy framing, adding “There’s always that moment of just — lives are destroyed. But in terms of what happens now, the most severe thing with these young men is being labeled as registered sex offenders. That label is now placed on them by Ohio law. That will haunt them for the rest of their lives.”
Know what else haunts people for the rest of their lives? BEING FUCKING RAPED!
Jocks Trent Mays (17) and Ma’lik Richmond (16) were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl while she was unconscious. Poor Richmond could be released from a juvenile rehabilitation facility by the time he turns 21 and Mays could be incarcerated until the ripe old age of 24.Jocks Trent Mays (17) and Ma’lik Richmond (16) were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl while she was unconscious. Poor Richmond could be released from a juvenile rehabilitation facility by the time he turns 21 and Mays could be incarcerated until the ripe old age of 24.
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case on the 1965 Voting Rights Act that, by all indications, the conservatives on the bench are poised to strike down despite a unanimous vote in the Senate in 2006 to renew the Act.
During the proceedings, Justice Antonin Scalia said: And this last enactment, not a single vote in the Senate against it. And the House is pretty much the same. Now, I don’t think that’s attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.
In true conservative form, not only does Scalia think the Voting Rights Act turns the act of voting into a "racial entitlement", but the fact that there is overwhelming bi-partisan for it in congress does not actually illustrate its necessity, it somehow proves the Act is no longer necessary.
Antonin Scalia is a terrible Supreme Court Justice.