Archive for the ‘Tea Party’ Category

So we just got over the Jim Crow anti-LGBTQIA bill that the Gov. vetoed the other day.  Well, they’re at it againHouse Bill 2481 would allow ministers the right to refuse to perform same sex weddings.

My drawing of "Just a Bill"

My drawing of “Just a Bill”

Never mind that they already have that power.  [ht Ashby at BobCesca.com] A minister is by definition bound by his particular faith and is NEVER required to marry anyone.  They’ve always had this choice.  However, this new bill defines minister very broadly.  So broadly that it would allow government officials like judges, county clerks, etc the right to refuse to marry same sex couples.  Essentially allowing government officials to discriminate.

Again, this bill is so unconstitutional it’s laughable and it would continue to be laughable if it didn’t have a good chance of passing.  See the religious right here in AZ (really around the country) are engaging in a broader strategy that you might not notice unless you were paying attention to the kind of bills that are being promoted and passed in all of the different state legislatures.  For example, everyone knows that conservatives are unhappy with Roe v. Wade and have tried and tried to get it overturned through the Federal Court system to no avail.  So they’ve inundated state legislatures with bills that aren’t specifically about abortion or are about various aspects of abortion but affect abortion anyway.  The Wisconsin “we have the right to shove a wand up your hoohoo” bill was one of those.   Other examples include attempts to have the fetus given legal “personhood” status, laws prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, and modifying regulatory laws that affect clinics so they can’t provide services or cutting of their funding entirely.  On this last effort in Texas, I think there are only two clinics left to service the entire state that meets the new regulatory restrictions.  To make matter worse, Texas has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country.  I hope taxpayers there are as interested in paying to raise all those children as they were in forcing the mother to give birth.

This is just a few examples of their attempts to overturn Roe v. Wade “de facto” because they couldn’t do so “de jure“.  The same thing is happening with same sex marriage laws.  Hence the recent attempts in Arizona (and elsewhere).  And you will see the pattern on every single issue that the right has lost on over the last few decades.  In one sense it’s very frustrating to fight against this kind of attack because you’re constantly putting out a fire in different states and having to shift focus.  This is intentional on their part, of course, to make us fight in all fifty states and use up our more limited resources (they have the Koch brothers and other billionaires bankrolling their efforts–the laws were drafted by ALEC which is funded by these conservative billionaires).   And it distracts us from focusing on doing things that could really help people on a day to day basis like healthcare, raising the minimum wage, decreasing the gap between the 1% and everyone else (again, this benefits their wealthy benefactors).

In another sense, this may be a good sign because it means they’re getting desperate and that their values are dying as society changes both demographically and culturally.  In the meantime, we need to continue to fight all of these kinds of “local” incursions against our Civil Rights until the day when these zealots no longer have a choke hold on the nation’s political agenda.  I don’t care how they “phrase it”, discrimination is discrimination and I will oppose it to the bitter end.  It’s a Rubicon that this country cannot afford to go back across because it will mean that the LGBTQIA won’t be the only group they can and will exclude from having all of the same Civil Rights that they enjoy.  First they came for the Jews and I said nothing because I wasn’t Jewish, then they came for….

 

Edited after publication — see red text

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Three AZ state senators who voted for the hideous “Jim Crow Bill” permitting civil rights discrimination against LGBTQIA people are now asking the Governor to veto it.  Sen. Bob Worsley (R-Mesa), Sen. Steve Pierce (R-Prescott) and Sen. Adam Driggs (R-Phoenix) said they have received feedback from fellow Republicans from across the nation that the bill was unacceptable.  They also say that they didn’t get enough time to really consider the bill.  And finally, they’re saying that opponents of the bill are mis-characterizing it as “religious intolerance” and that this accusation is “causing our state immeasurable harm.”

First, I don’t EVER, EVER want to hear from the people who make laws on behalf of this state or country that they were rushed.  Bullshit.  I don’t care how much pressure they feel. When it comes to ANY bill related to Civil Rights, it’s their job to slow down, present it to their constituents, think about the ramifications (good and bad), run it by some Constitutional Lawyers, and take their DAMN time before making up their mind. Saying they were rushed is a child’s excuse.

Second, why did they have to hear this from their fellow Republicans from other states?  There are plenty of people, you know their actual constituents, complaining right under their noses.  On Feb. 21st about 300 people gathered at the Capital to protest and encouraged Gov. Brewer to veto the bill.  As of last night, the crowd has grown to around thousand–on a weekday.  NYC or LA probably gets flash mobs with more people, but for AZ that’s not a bad turn out.  And it wasn’t just in the state capital either.  Tucson had protesters as well.  And I know the activity online is hot and furious–I wonder how many emails and calls the Legislature and Governor are getting now….  The very angry and active LGBTQIA community and others who support them, like myself, need to be heard.  That’s who our Reps and Senators should be listening to…not other members of their political party from out of state.  Those other Pols are much more concerned about optics than real justice or good governance.

Third, this change of heart is really about money.  They spoke to leaders of the business community (Apple, Inc, American Airlines, etc) who said if you do this, not only will tourists stop coming to the state (and we rely heavily on tourism for our economy) but businesses would also stop moving to Arizona.

Fourth and final, I get the impression that they’re saying [paraphrasing] that ‘people’s misconception of the bill is making us look bad.’  No, no that’s not it. What’s making us look bad is literally the bill itself.  It’s because the bill is an unconstitutional abomination that makes Arizona look like the home of the American Taliban.  Who needs to worry about Sharia Law?  It’s not the scary Muslim Usurper in the White House you need to worry about.  It’s the American (supposed) Christians that are trying to install their very own theocracy that keeps me up at night.  They need to stay out of people’s bed rooms and treat everyone with respect, compassion and kindness….I seem to recall a famous guy who purportedly lived in The Holy Land about 2,000 years ago  saying something like this…..hmmmm….if only I could recall his name…….if only THEY could recall his teachings.

As an astute reader pointed out yesterday*, Senator McCain who has represented Arizona for 30 years is being challenged from the right.  The Maricopa County Republican Committee voted by a wide margin to censure Sen. McCain for not representing conservative issues.  The final count was 1,150 to 351.  Contrast this with his 100% conservative rating by the American Conservative Union and in 2011 his voting record made him one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate.  McCain is not a RINO…he’s not even a moderate conservative.  He is to the right of Attila the Hun.

However from the Tea Party’s extreme positions, he is a liberal.  So they’re using the local Republican committee to flex their muscles and falsely label McCain as a liberal because he dared to compromised with the President and, you know, help to govern the country.  They’re so blind and adamant in their condemnation they had this to say:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that until he is consistently champions our Party’s Platform and values, we, the Republican leadership in Arizona will no longer support, campaign for or endorse John McCain as our U.S. Senator.

Sounds like another Tea Party hostage situation to me.  And the timing is funny (as Alopecia pointed out).  As the censure vote was going down, the news of McCain’s letter to Homeland Security expressing his concerns with Border Security came out.  A careful reading of McCain’s letter and Immigration Reform position (which is also currently at odds with the Tea Party members in the House) seems to indicate that McCain is actually closer to the middle position on this particular issue now than local Republicans would probably like him to be.

But this is nothing new.  McCain has a pattern of moving left and right on this issue depending on whatever he thinks is in his political interests.  A couple of years ago he was virulently opposing everything the President wanted.  He and Senator Jon Kyl (since retired) refused to address comprehensive Immigration Reform until the Border had been made secure against “violence” supposedly spilling over into the U.S.  Now he wants to deal with comprehensive Immigration Reform and is concerned that there are too many ineffective assets deployed on the Border and that they are too militarized.

This is all part of a power play.  The old school Republicans are fighting with the Tea Party and this is one delightful result.  I don’t think they’ll hurt McCain come 2016 because he doesn’t need their money or their support really. The geriatric vote will keep McCain in office until he is mummified by the Arizona climate (similar to Sheriff Arpaio).  But I can always dream.  In the meantime, get out that frosty beer mug and pop some popcorn because it’s going to get  interesting in the wild wild far right west.

*Via commenter Alopecia (via ThinkProgress who go it from local station ABC15)

It’s anotherSunday morning breakfast at IHOP before I launch into another project. My sig other has finally decided to move out of his place and I am helping him get started today. He helped me move out of my apartment and saved me hundreds of dollars so it is the least I could do.

I have been real slack on blog posting lately so I’m going to use the time while I am waiting on a table to let you know about the latest high jinks by Senator McCan’t on Immigration Reform.

Over the last few months he has been frozen out of leadership on this issue because the Tea Party members of the House have hijacked the Congressional ship. They’d prefer to cause our economy to crash rather than actually govern. Anyway Senator McCan’t has sent a letter to Homeland Security posing some interesting questions about the effectiveness and methods of US Border control. Pundits think the letter serves two purposes. First it gets the Senator back in the news and we know how much he loves being on the Sunday talk shows.. Second, it is supposed to be a wrist slap for the Congressional Teahadists who are making noises about doing something but ultimately don’t want a real solution preferring to deport everyone instead.

Not that Senator McCain’s position all that different. Instead of offering comprehensive reform to deal with all aspects of this very complicated problem he has spent the last decade demanding that border security be dealt with before anything else can be discussed. This is a lovely Catch-22 because no matter how much money we pour into Border Security it will never be truly secure for many practical reasons and that lack of perfect security can be used as both a cudgel against Dems in Congess and the White House AND as an excuse to never really deal with the problem comprehensively. It doesn’t matter if the Teahadists propose absurd reforms or if McCain and his cabal propose increased security….the sum effect is the status quo will be maintained. And the conservative employers who are also McCain donors and who depend entirely on the slave labor of immigrants are simply thrilled.

As part of the cudgel, McCain’s latest press release/letter of inquiry shows concern for a couple of things. First he is worried about effectiveness. He says that the increased number of apprehensions means that what we are doing isn’t working. That sounds kind of counterintuitive since better security should mean increased apprehension rates, logically speaking. The truth is the experts don’t know if the increase is the failure of preventative efforts or if it is due to a simple increase in illegal immigration having nothing to do with border security or if the numbers were always higher than we knew or if the new security is over zealous. Like I said its a very complicated issue. of course McCain jumps the gun and assumes it is a lack of effectiveness because that is the politically expedient thing to assume.

The second concern is a monster of his own making, which cranks the irony factor to 11. He is worried about the militarization of the US Border Pattol. He has pressured for and received from this Administration and the previous one billions of dollars in manpower, weaponry, equipment, fortifications, walls, high tech unmanned gadgets like drones (here is just one example). He and other AZ politicians have been banging on the fear drum about beheadings in the desert, Mexican drug dealers crossing over to kidnap Americans, and Muslim terrorists using the supposedly wide open border as a highway to the heartland. But now, NOW, he wants to get his panties in a bunch about the militarization of border patrol? I gotta call BS on this one.

Oh what I wouldn’t give for an actual Senator doing actual work on behalf of his constituents in Congress. I think we will have to wait until he passes. Unfortunately he will probably live longer than Strom Thurmond and we will just get another old, white guy who cares more about his Q score than his state and his country.

The President, like every other President, wants to be as effective as possible in his second and last term because he doesn’t have another election to win. As a result he can turn his entire focus towards the progressive agenda on which he initially campaigned in 2008/2012. And in order to make it stick, to leave a real, lasting legacy, he should have already gotten started on that agenda. Although, he did get an early start with healthcare there are many other things that need to be done 1. Unfortunately, the GOP and approximately 27% of the country 2 absolutely, positively hate and/or fear him have been actively engaging in obstructionism from the very beginning 3.

This is purposeful obstruction has manifested itself in a variety of ways. The most obvious methods have been the House Republicans blocking debate on (much less voting on) meaningful legislation and blocking the President’s nominees. FFS they blocked debate on withdrawal from Afghanistan, jobs bills during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and now Immigration Reform. They don’t even want to talk about the issues unless it’s on TV and in front of the stenographers we used to call journalists. Since there is nothing the President can do about the legislative stalemate going on right now, nothing will get through Congress for the remainder of his second term. This leaves the President with only one option–using the Constitutional powers of the Executive. This is not that unusual as every President uses those powers to various degrees to enact their agenda and reinforce their legacy.

The Republicans knew that this would be his only option so they’ve been obstructing that as well. Blocking nominees to head Executive Agencies and Judicial Appointments is a big deal because some of those positions have been vacant for years 4. And such a vacancy really hurts the effectiveness of the agency AND has a lasting effect on what policies can and will be implemented.  And if you doubt that they’ve been willfully and abusively blocking nominees, check out this chart below or this one.

From Ezra Klein article, The Washington Post

Well, after years of this bullshit Senate Dems and Moderate Republicans finally said enough is enough and they changed Senate Rules to say that a simple majority vote in the Senate is enough to stop a Filibuster on a nominee 5. Before the rule was they needed 60 votes to stop a Filibuster. Of course, the right and the DC Press Corps are weeping about the loss of comity and “the horror, the horror”.

In truth no such comity ever existed, so these “centrist” journalists need to STFUSD. They’ve been bemoaning the lack of collegiality from the President’s Inauguration up to the present without ever acknowledging that the Republicans NEVER wanted to compromise and NEVER would. The President could have put on a hair shirt, crawled on his knees from the White House to the Capital, periodically flagellating himself and they STILL wouldn’t have accepted him with any decency, much less compromise with him. In point of fact, they probably would have found fault with his method (e.g., “he didn’t wear his flag pin”) as an excuse for their refusal. Furthermore, if the recent government shutdown and flirtation with defaulting on our debt didn’t make that plain as day to the DC Press Corpse 6, then they are not only blind, but deaf and dumb as well.

These same idiots are using the term “Nuclear Option” for this change to Senate Rules. Truth of the matter is the real Nuclear Option has been the 5 year-long obstructionism and purposeful lack of governance being perpetrated by conservatives. But you won’t hear that from our supposedly centrist press corpse. Instead the right will market it as the Presidents fault, as just another abuse of his power 7 and another sign that he’s the Antichrist 8 and the stenographers posing as journalists will amplify that message.

Notes:
1. IMHO healthcare will be his most important legacy akin to the introduction of Social Security by FDR. A couple of generations down the road, historians will marvel at how much it helped. Mark my words because I plan to still be here and I WILL be telling conservatives “I told you so”.

2. It’s no coincidence that this number is the same for both the hard-core conservative base AND the percentage of the U.S. population that routinely vote against their own best interests and are consistently wrong on all major issues–the “crazification factor”.  Read the 

3.   We all suspected way back in 2010 that it was a concerted group effort when Mitch McConnell became Minority Leader in the Senate but we just found out that they planned to do this even before President Obama was even elected. 

4. Some judicial nominees have been waiting since 2011 and Richard Cordray  was finally accepted after a 2 year wait to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you know that new bureau that the GOP hated and didn’t want to even exist….

5. Of course, when and if a Republican President is elected Republicans (if they have a simple majority vote will also be able to use this rule to their advantage…..I’m willing to risk it if it means we can move forward.

6. ht Doug J over at Balloon-Juice 

7. Here’s the link 

8. No link to this filth in the text of my post but if you really want to read about it, here 

60 Minutes, a once respectable investigative TV news show, has “jumped the shark” by airing a story about Benghazi based on the word of a lying liar.  They apologized for using the guy for the story and admitted they made a mistake. They didn’t retract the whole story in spite of the fact that the ENTIRE segment and the supposed controversy that makes the story newsworthy is no longer based in fact.  In other words, it’s a non-story.  Just  as liberal bloggers and the liberal press have been saying all frigging along.  If you want a laugh, you can see Jon Stewart skewer the 60 minutes “apology”.

The other aspect of this matter is that South Carolina’s long suffering drama queen of the Senate, Lyndsey Graham, is blocking the President’s nominations because he believes the Benghazi controversy is real.  In fact he used this 60 Minute story as his reason to block a vote on the nominees even AFTER the main and only witness was found to be lying.

This is how the right wins.  They create nontroversies that they push and push and push on the Internet until they make enough noise to catch the attention of the mainstream media, who then turns around and amplifies the story without first passing it through any real journalistic investigation, and then the average American becomes aware of the nontroversy and tunes into TV news.  Any corrections that come after the fact, do not and never will have the same effect (see 24 hour rule definition below) as the original story.  Politicians latch onto the nontroversy as a political tool and use that as cover for their real purpose, which is to ensure that government doesn’t work (particularly government run by a Black Islamic Soshulist Usurper).  This in turn provides support to one of the pillars of their belief system that government is part of the problem and never part of the solution.  Americans believe the nontroversy and they lose faith in government.  The average American doesn’t have the time, the training and/or the inclination to research these stories on their own. They totally depend on The Fourth Estate and that dependency, which used to make us strong, is now weakening us.  Not because the concept is faulty but because The Fourth Estate is not doing its job.  This is how they win and the rest of us lose.   As I’ve said many times before…shitty journalism and the Right’s ongoing attempts to sabotage government functioning will kill this country in the end.

_________________________

*From Bob Cesca over at The Daily Banter:  The 24 Hour Rule: 1) A wild claim is made via a news article, most often The Guardian, about the U.S. government or related entities. 2) The article sparks wild fits of outrage. 3) Then, within 24 hours, a mitigating detail is added, undermining or totally debunking one or more of the central claims contained with the article. Related quote: “A lie can travel half-way around the world before the truth gets its pants on.””

Four women in TX went to lunch to discuss how they could grow their group membership (ht Bob Cesca). Their group, “Mother’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” or MDA for short, is kind of new and looking to expand.  They weren’t protesting.  They weren’t making noise. They were having lunch at a public restaurant.

A group of 40 gun owners who believe that there should be no restrictions whatsoever on the right to carry, brought their weapons and sat outside of the restaurant waiting for the women to come out.  The women were frightened, as any normal person would have been particularly in light of all the mass shootings that have been occurring lately. Other patrons were worried and the restaurant owner was too scared to call the cops (thinking that might make things more violent instead of less).

So this is where we are at.  If you disagree with the right, they will follow you to a public place and intimidate you.  Then they’ll claim to be exercising the First and Second Amendments.    It made me pretty angry.  I commented over at Bob’s blog and was immediately insulted by a conservative commenter who says he’s to the right of the NRA (never thought I’d hear anyone actually admit to that).  My response to his attack?

And thanks for that cherry on top of your ad hominem attack. So far you’ve insulted my English reading comprehension skills, my knowledge of American jurisprudence, and now mental stability. You must be The Great Carnac with your ability to gauge someone’s mental and intellectual level over the Internet! I bet you have a tin foil hat in the shape of a turban with a little tea bag hanging jauntily down the front.

My photo response--The Great Conservative Carnac!

My photo response–The Great Conservative Carnac!

I’m seriously considering donating some money to MDA so they can hire a lawyer to sue the shit out of the gun nuts or hire some protection, or maybe both.