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Politics, life, and other things that matter

Playing The Place Card: MN GOP

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 11, 2015

The modern Republican Party uses the divide-and-conquer principle as its overarching guide when it comes to electoral politics. The Southern Strategy, where working-class whites are tricked by Republicans into voting against their own best interests in order to hurt nonwhites, is the best-known and best-documented method. But another method, one that has the advantage of being less blatantly racist and thus harder to be attacked on that count, is what Bluestem Prairie blogger Sally Jo Sorensen calls “placebaiting”, in which Republicans seek to get rural (and generally white) voters to oppose things or candidates seen as benefitting urban residents.

Playing the place card is a specialty of freshman Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt. In fact, it may well be the only thing he knows how to do. Here he is, courtesy of BSP’s Sorensen, trying to foment rural unrest over a proposed commuter rail line – one which would be built in large part with Federal and not State funds:

Speaker Daudt continues his campaign of placebaiting across Greater Minnesota, chumming the rhetorical waters with language that divides the metro from the rest of us.

At the Brainerd Dispatch, Zach Kayser reports in Minnesota speaker Daudt visits Brainerd: Says public can still view floor sessions of Legislature in 2016:

Daudt appeared optimistic the Legislature could finally get a transportation bill through, although he said there were still sticking points left.

One transportation issue that remained “unanswered” was mass transit in the metro, Daudt said.

“Some of the members in Minneapolis and St. Paul really want to see some new revenue go into the light rail, different modes of transportation in the metro area,” he said. “To try to sneak money through for trains in the metro area, we don’t think that’s a very effective way to spend our dollars.”

Speaker Daudt appears to hold his own private definition of the word “sneak,” since neither the governor nor Senate transportation chair Scott Dibble have been secretive about how they want to fund light rail in the metro.

As Sorensen goes on to note, Daudt is the real sneak here, as he is known for bringing bills to the floor without allowing Democratic legislators to view them first.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

The Telemundo GOP Debate That Wasn’t

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 7, 2015

As Charles mentioned last week, the three remaining major Democratic candidates (Linc Chafee and having bailed, and Jim Webb probably preparing for a third-party run from the right to try to do to Hillary Clinton in the general what he couldn’t in the primary) met on Telemundo for a forum, using the time slot that was supposed to be filled by the third Republican presidential debate. (Univision is carrying one of the Democratic debates in March, which is probably why the Telemundo Democratic event became a forum instead of a debate.)

Greg Sargent has a nice article explaining how the GOP shot itself in the foot with Latinos as the entire party strove to see who could out-Trump Trump in showing their hatred for immigrants:

Republicans are pulling out of their only scheduled debate that would be aired on a Spanish-language TV network. So Democrats may respond by holding a second gathering aired on one.


But you’d think it would be a good idea for Democrats to try to make this happen. The RNC is claiming there will be another debate scheduled to replace the cancelled one on NBC and Telemundo. But RNC chair Reince Priebus has declined to say whether Telemundo would be included in the replacement debate. Obviously the RNC did not cancel this debate because of the Spanish-language network’s participation; it had many other reasons for doing so. But one consequence of this decision could be that Republicans end up holding no debate aired on a Spanish-language network. If Democrats do add a second such gathering, they would then be able to argue that they are far more interested in communicating with Latino voters than Republicans are, which is a good message for the general election.

Indeed, one of the GOP campaigns — that of Jeb Bush — is actually protesting the decision to cancel the NBC/Telemundo debate, and demanding that Telemundo be reinstated, presumably because Latino outreach would be good not just for Jeb Bush, but for the GOP overall. Guess which GOP candidate isopposing a reinstatement of Telemundo? Yep: Donald Trump. All this comes after GOP establishment types went into full-scale panic earlier this fall over the damage Trump — with his call for mass deportations and suggestion that Mexican immigrants are rapists — may already be doing to the GOP brand among Latinos. And it comes as incoming House Speaker Paul Ryan is renewing his pledge not to act on immigration reform while Obama is president.

Looks like Jeb’s finally realized that he shouldn’t have let himself get panicked by the base’s craving Trump’s blatant expressions of bigotry. The key for him, as it always has been, is to sit back and let Trump suck up all the oxygen to Jeb’s right, killing off all of Jeb’s rivals on the right; then, when Trump fails to advance past Super Tuesday, be ready to pick up Trump’s crestfallen supporters as the last man standing – and, more importantly, a man who won’t scare off moderate voters in the general election. The question for Jeb is if he has any backers left who are going to be patient enough for this strategy to work.

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Just don’t go crazy

Posted by Charles II on November 7, 2015

Leonora LaPeter Anton, Michael Braga, and Anthony Cormier, Tampa Bay Times (via Ritholtz):

Florida’s state-funded mental hospitals are supposed to be safe places to house and treat people who are a danger to themselves or others.

But years of neglect and $100 million in budget cuts have turned them into treacherous warehouses where violence is out of control and patients can’t get the care they need.

Since 2009, violent attacks at the state’s six largest hospitals have doubled.

Nearly 1,000 patients ordered to the hospitals for close supervision managed to injure themselves or someone else.

state officials have no way to know how much violence occurs at their own facilities.

Since 2005, DCF administrators have steadily relaxed reporting requirements so that hospitals no longer need to disclose most patient injuries. The reports that have been filed are in such disarray that accurately comparing them over time is impossible.

Instead of hiring more guards, adding nurses or increasing counseling sessions for patients, DCF and state lawmakers kept cutting.

From 2011 to 2013 alone — at the same time violent incidents rose across the state — former DCF Secretary David Wilkins oversaw $61 million in cuts from the hospitals, more than 15 percent of their funding.

The hospitals eliminated almost a third of their workforce.

In 2010, state health inspectors discovered
raw chicken dripping blood on top of hard boiled eggs that were about to be served to patients.

In 2013, inspectors found fire extinguishers in a cabinet that had
been painted shut. The central alarm in one building no longer triggered an alert, putting 300 patients at risk. It had been broken for two years.

In 2015, some patients had no air conditioning. Others found roaches in their cake.

One patient had his scalp split to the bone and wound up in a coma because his rival thought he had “demonic powers.” A female counselor left alone with a patient was beaten so badly she now uses a cane to walk. At the hospital in Macclenny, a man lost two fingers when he was trapped in a room and a patient slammed the door on his hand.

It’s amazing reporting.

Posted in Republicans as cancer, science and medicine | Leave a Comment »

Hillary strikes out

Posted by Charles II on November 7, 2015

If they cover the South Carolina candidate’s forum at all, the media will probably call the South Carolina forum a win for Hillary. But I think it was a poor showing.

She dodged a number of questions. She outright would not answer which of the Republican candidates would be an acceptable VP if forced to accept one. She could have said George Pataki without helping him or harming herself.

Then there was a very long non-answer to the question of whether she would be more hawkish than Obama because she advocated a no-fly zone in Syria, an earlier bombing of Libya, and the Iraq war.

The strangest moment was when she claimed to have gone to the Nasdaq to warn about the coming crisis in mortgage CDOs. The Nasdaq is the stock market for tech stocks, nothing to do with the people who perpetrated the mortgage fraud. Maybe there was a speech there or something, but it was one of those “whaa?” moments. [Per Mark Lippman at Daily Kos, Hillary did indeed give a speech at the Nasdaq (why there?) “threatening Wall Street with regulation of the mortgage investments.” So it’s just clumsily stated and not terribly persuasive, but at least not weird. Lippman also notes that she voted for the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 as evidence of her stand against Wall Street, but the main effect of that seems to have been to give billions to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac]

Asked about the death penalty, she was reluctantly for it. In other words, yes and no.

That pattern continued when she was asked if she was an extrovert or an introvert. She was an extrointrovert, she said.

Asked about whether police should be in schools, she said something to the effect that we should have a conversation about it. She could have said it’s a state responsibility, but she didn’t.

People who support her will not have heard any of this. But I see a real danger that she’s going to faceplant in the general when the media really are paying attention.
Added: Guardian Liveblog here.

Posted in 2016, Democrats | 7 Comments »

Talking Turkey

Posted by Charles II on November 4, 2015

James Carden, The Nation:

As it [foreign policy] has been carried out latterly, Turkey has gone from espousing a seemingly benign foreign policy to one which has been aimed at subverting the fight against Sunni radical extremism. Some [Sy Hersh] believe that Turkey was behind the horrific sarin gas attack in Ghouta, Syria, in August 2013, though this remains a matter of great public controversy. And only last week, The Washington Post reported that Turkey fired on the US-supported People’s Protection Units, the Kurdish forces leading the fight against ISIS on the ground.

I think there is zero chance the US will isolate Turkey, as Carden suggests should be done. If Obama is putting American Special Forces in among the Kurdish fighters, that should be a pretty strong signal.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Those who forget the past… [The Bush AWOL story]

Posted by Charles II on November 3, 2015

James DiEugenio, Consortium News:

In spring 2004, CBS news producer Mary Mapes was doing what journalists are supposed to do – dig up facts that help the public understand important events and often make the powers-that-be squirm. She and Dan Rather, her colleague at the “60 Minutes” offspring “60 Minutes II,” had just exposed the U.S. military’s bizarre mistreatment of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison.

Mapes had done other compelling stories for “60 Minutes” and its spinoff, including coverage of Karla Faye Tucker’s execution. The young woman was convicted of murder, but, in prison, became a born-again Christian and asked for a commutation from then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush. But Bush was eyeing political advancement and refused to grant it, letting her execution go forward.

In another powerful human-interest story, Mapes found the child of segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond, a child he had fathered with a black woman.

In other words, Mapes was the kind of producer who delivered hard-hitting stories that news organizations claim that they crave, the sort of reporting that not only makes for good journalism but good TV.

But Mary Mapes ran into a buzz saw of career-destroying trouble on Sept. 8, 2004, when she and her colleagues at “60 Minutes II” broadcast a segment on Bush’s spotty service in the Texas Air National Guard, the route that the Bush Family scion took to avoid the Vietnam War.

Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Charles II on November 3, 2015

Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian:

two controversial new books describe a Vatican awash with cash that is woefully mismanaged, where senior officials pour church funds into their already-lavish apartments, and where even the office that researches candidates for sainthood has had its bank accounts frozen out of concerns about financial impropriety.

According to Gianluigi Nuzzi’s Merchants in the Temple, due to be published on Thursday, one high-ranking Vatican official, Monsignor Giuseppe Sciacca, was so keen on improving his apartment that he took it upon himself to knock down a wall separating his flat from his elderly neighbour’s. When the elderly priest returned from hospital, where he had been very ill, he found his things had been packed in boxes.

Avarice, a work by journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi also to be released on Thursday, delves into allegations of financial shenanigans, including an allegation that the Vatican’s former secretary of state, Tarcisio Bertone, used €200,000 (£142,000) from a foundation meant to support the Bambino Gesù paediatric hospital in Rome to renovate his own apartment.

Posted in rightwing moral cripples | Leave a Comment »

Kudos to Jane and many other Firebaggers and environmental advocates

Posted by Charles II on November 3, 2015

Joseph Horton, Omaha World-Herald:

WASHINGTON — Trans­Canada wants a Keystone XL timeout.

The company on Monday asked the State Department to suspend consideration of its controversial pipeline while Nebraska officials review its route through the state.

Last month, TransCanada applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission for route approval after opponents went to court, challenging the law under which the route had been approved by then-Gov. Dave Heineman.

“I note that when the status of the Nebraska pipeline route was challenged last year, the State Department found it appropriate to suspend its review until that dispute was resolved,” according to a statement from Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer. “We feel under the current circumstances a similar suspension would be appropriate.”

TransCanada says it anticipates the PSC approval process in Nebraska will take seven to twelve months.

It’s not dead. Transcanada may be trying to avoid a ruling either by State or by Nebraska. But KXL is in trouble. And it all was possible because of the protests by Jane Hamsher and other members of that community, as well as a broad coalition of environmental groups.

Posted in energy, environment | 1 Comment »

Watch that space

Posted by Charles II on November 2, 2015

From a diary by Leslie Salzillo, DK:

Last week Anonymous released a press release stating they would be revealing the identities of 1,000 Ku Klux Klan/KKK members, and the news lit up social media within minutes. The Daily Kos article which has also appeared on Anonymous Twitter pages reached over a million people and garnered over 80,000 Facebook likes/shares in a matter of days. Dislodging and unraveling the KKK is something the public has been craving for decades.

I don’t know how they’re going to pick those names or where they got them from, but to the extent that they include members of the military, of police forces, of the Legislature, or of the Judiciary–or anyone who holds a position of public trust–the release of names of extremists is reasonable. We don’t want a left-wing version of McCarthyism, but neither do we want people who have falsely sworn an oath of allegiance to the United States serving in positions of trust.

Posted in computers and software, rightwing moral cripples, terrorism | 2 Comments »

Chinese naval power

Posted by Charles II on November 1, 2015

From Henry Farley of Lawyers, Guns, and Money, writing in The National Interest, which appears to be a paleocon publication:

China’s second effort, the Type 094 class, has resulted in a much more effective group [than the 1981-vintage 092 class] of boats. The Type 094s displace about 11,000 tons submerged, and carry 12 JL-2 submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), capable of launching a nuclear warhead some 7,500 kilometers.

Reports vary on whether the missiles can carry MIRVs, but given Chinese advances in this area it is likely that these and future boats will carry them in the future. Thus far China has constructed around four Type 094 class subs, the minimum necessary for conducting continuous deterrent patrols.

The next step is the Type 096 “Tang” SSBN. Reports vary widely on the design parameters and expected deployment dates, but it will undoubtedly be larger, quieter, and carry more missiles with more warheads. The Type 096 is expected to carry up to 24 JL-3 SLBMs, with a range of 10,000 kilometers.

the noisiness of China’s boomers make them easy for U.S. attack boats to find. On the other hand, and insecure nuclear deterrent does not bode well for crisis stability.

In practical terms, the expansion of the Chinese submarine nuclear deterrent doesn’t have much effect on the United States.

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