While Pelosi and House Democrats are trying to do the work of the people and keep the nation moving forward into the 21st century, Trump and McConnell’s Republicans are trying to rocket us back to the 19th.
With Trump’s Roy Cohn-inspired attorney general William Barr acting as his authoritarian wingman, who can even predict how far a GOP-acquitted Trump will go next spring in retaliating against public servants that he and his angry mob have branded as “the Deep State” or the journalists he calls “the enemies of the people” — or in encouraging Vladimir Putin or other bad actors to meddle in his reelection?
No, the challenge for 2020 seems increasingly less about how to prosecute a president’s bribery and extortion, or even how to defeat such a bad actor in a general election, but whether America can figure out how to deprogram a cult before it’s far too late.
Rather than speak out, these departing Republicans have chosen to flee. Had they spoken up earlier like Rep. Hurd and offered any sort of collective resistance to Trump’s white supremacist policies, the situation we find ourselves in might not be as dangerously wretched.
Of course, they didn’t resist. Soon they will be gone, and we will all be the better for it.
The GOP’s criticism of Twitter comes as Trump and McConnell are being pressured to endorse gun control measures after last weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Canton, Ohio, that left 31 people dead.
Trump’s denigration of minorities and immigrants has prompted many to blame him for contributing to an anti-immigrant atmosphere.
McConnell has long led Republican efforts in the Senate to stifle gun control proposals and is resisting Democrats’ cries to interrupt Congress’ recess and approve new restrictions.
GOP FINALLY Denying Trump’s Racist Rants. It’s Socialism (ODT)
The Republican party has come out swinging against socialism – a strategy sure to be a mainstay of its 2020 campaigns. “Our opposition to our socialist colleagues,” the Wyoming senator Liz Cheney claimed, referring to the congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley, “has absolutely nothing to do with their gender, with their religion, or with their race. It has to do with the content of their policies. They are wrong when they attempt to impose the fraud of socialism on the American people. They are wrong when they pursue policies that would steal power from the American people and give that power to the government.”
The depths of hypocrisy of the Republican Party in supporting Trump’s meeting with the North Korean dictator in Singapore are hard to plumb. This is a party whose leading members adopted the Ostrich Foreign Policy Principle for decades. If you don’t like a country’s government or political and economic system, pretend it does not exist.
There was that time when Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republicans lambasted Obama for visiting Cuba while there were still political prisoners in that country. So the principle is, no talks with leaders who have prisoners of conscience in their jails? Trump has broken that principle every which way from Sunday. Sen. John McCain even compared Obama’s handshake with Castro to the Hitler-Chamberlain meeting. Seriously. That’s what he said.
Eastwood denies threatening Michael Moore, then does it again. The tough-guy act’s wearing thin for his whole party
In his daily free-association exercise, the Republican presidential nominee accused the president of creating the terrorist organization by withdrawing troops from Iraq in 2011. But the timetable for withdrawal was set by the Bush administration.
York Township Republican committeeman Chris Ladd quit his party because of Trump and posted an open resignation letter to the GOP that has gone viral.
Speaker of House says delegates ‘write the rules, make the decisions’ as divisions in party threaten hopes of White House and Congress majority
In Part 2 of our wide-ranging conversation with the world-renowned dissident Noam Chomsky, we talk about the conflict in Syria, the rise of ISIS, Saudi Arabia, the political crisis in Brazil, the passing of the pioneering lawyer Michael Ratner, today’s Republican Party and more.
The gun-toting ex-governor of Alaska takes aim at Bill Nye, while Bill O’Reilly lectures black America on racism
Remarks by the most outlandish Republican candidates represent, in the best case scenario, the more moderate positions of Israel’s prime ministers since the state’s founding. By Abed Abu Shehada Let’s imagine for a second that…
And other tales from Rafael Cruz’s world of extreme Christian fundamentalism.
By Donald Kaul | (Otherwords.org) | – – Who prevails in the Iowa caucuses won’t matter much, except in the …
Source: A Tale of Two Goons
Terrorists and the far right both see democracy as a decadent failure; at least ISIS admits they want to destroy it
There’s much more variety than you might think.
The Pontiff’s visit to the U.S. presents some difficulties for Catholic GOP Presidential Candidates.
Fox Cable News announced its pick for the 10 Republican presidential candidates it will allow in its Thursday debate. These are candidates who are getting at least 3% support in a basket of opinion polls, including one commissioned by Fox itself. CNN will follow a similar procedure for the debate it will televise in September.
Now that we know the roster of the big ten, I thought we should review them on one key issue, of how likely they are to drag us into another war. And what is amazing is that sending US troops back into the Middle East and going to war there is virtually a plank in the GOP platform. After the disaster in Iraq, they are actually running on war and against diplomacy for the most part!
I think this saber rattling in part has to do with the advent of truly big money in US politics and the end of campaign finance limitations. Since the Republican Party is in general the representative of the 50% of the economy dominated by big corporations, and since arms manufacturers are among those big companies, the GOP has become increasingly the party of war and belligerence. If you actually drop those bombs, you have to order more, which is good for some businesses. In fact, one candidate who did not make the cut and is a notorious warmonger, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), is apparently mainly backed by military-industrial complex money. It is no surprise that he is perhaps the most aggressive candidate in his statements on foreign policy, though he has a lot of competition.
Here is how they stand on this key issue of war and peace, life and death:
Donald Trump (with a polling average of 23.4 percent):
“America’s primary goal with Iran must be to destroy its nuclear ambitions. Let me put them as plainly as I know how: Iran’s nuclear program must be stopped–by any and all means necessary. Period. We cannot allow this radical regime to acquire a nuclear weapon that they will either use or hand off to terrorists. Better now than later!”
I take “by any means necessary” to be enthusiasm for war on Iran, since their civilian nuclear enrichment program cannot be shut down by any other means.
Trump has also urged a US bombing campaign against Iraqi oil refineries as a way of defeating Daesh (ISIL, ISIS). Since Iraq will need those refineries to rebuild after Daesh is defeated, bombing them wouldn’t be optimal. But there you have it.
former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (12.0 percent):
- , wants to send more US troops to embed with the Iraqi army in Iraq.
So, two wars?
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (10.2 percent),
- “that not only would he undo any deal with Iran on his first day as president; he would do so even if our European allies wanted the deal to continue.”
So, brinkmanship and unilateral action.
Mr. Walker also said in February that that if he could take on union protesters of Wisconsin, he can take on ISIL. He seems to confuse exercizing first amendment rights with being a target.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (6.6 percent):
- Huckabee characterized the Iran deal as marching the Jews to the Nazi ovens. I presume that means he would risk war with Iran.
In an interview on Fox, “Huckabee was quick to return to those comparisons, saying, “I don’t want to standby and watch it happen again. I do not want to stand by and see Jews get targeted, because if they come after them they will eventually come after all of us. We’ve seen this before.”
Mediaite also notes, “Huckabee proposed a “third option” that involves taking the Russians, Iranians and Saudi Arabians “out of the energy business” but making the U.S. energy independent.” Short of going to war on them, it is hard for me to imagine how he would do that.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (5.8 percent):
- Rejects the
- . He said: “If you’re gonna have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war,” he said. “Other than that, we have to win. Our life depends on it.”
He also says that the Iran deal endangers all Americans and that he would reduce personnel cutbacks in the US military.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (5.4 percent):
- will “lead to war” and cause the death of “millions of Americans” by undoing the sanctions regime on Iran.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (5.4 percent):
- with Iran is an option.”
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (4.8 percent):
- toward Iran and now says the country is too dangerous for that policy to succeed.
But the bigger and more powerful Soviet Union was contained. And is the alternative war?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (3.4 percent):
- Says President Obama, having drawn a red line on Syria,
- “finished the job.”
War in Syria, then.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (3.2 percent).
- Would not immediate rip up Obama’s Iran deal.
But would send US troops to fight ISIL.
So, war on ISIL, then.
WASHINGTON (CT&P) – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is technically a white person, is vigorously supporting House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), another white person, as he faces a deluge of criticism and questions over a 2002 speech he gave to a white supremacist group.
“More than a decade ago, Representative Scalise made an error in judgment. He was not secretive enough in his support of white supremacists in his state. Like many of my colleagues on our side of the aisle, I know Steve to be a man of high integrity and good character, who will stand up for the rights of wealthy white people all across this great country of ours. He has my full confidence as our Whip, and he will continue to do great and important work for all white Americans,” Boehner said in statement made today outside the “Stars and Bars,” a swanky whites-only supper club in Georgetown.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is also white, is standing by Scalise as well.
“Congressman Scalise acknowledged he made a mistake and has condemned himself for being so dumb,” McCarthy said in a statement released moments after Boehner’s. “I’ve known him as a friend for many years and I know that he is much smarter than he appears. I know that if he could do it all over again, he would have insisted that the speaking engagement be held at night in some field using only torches for lighting. That way no one else would have known about it.”
The show of support from GOP leaders came as Scalise has found himself under fire for being a guest speaker at a 2002 meeting of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, a group founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. A Louisiana political blogger unearthed evidence of Scalise’s presence at the rally, and from there the news went viral.
Scalise, who was a state lawmaker at the time, maintains that he spoke to any groups who would give him any money whatsoever and says he didn’t know that EURO was affiliated with racists and neo-Nazi activists.
“Twelve years ago, I spoke to many different Louisiana groups as a state representative, trying to build support for legislation that focused on cutting government handouts to black people and half breeds, eliminating government corruption that did not benefit big business, and stopping tax hikes on the white majority. One of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation was a group of folks wearing swastikas and white hoods. I want to stress that I had no idea that they were Nazis or members of the Ku Klux Klan. Had I known they were members of any white supremacist groups, I would have been much more circumspect with my support. It was a mistake I regret, and I want everyone to know that I emphatically oppose any groups that would divide the white majority and thus hurt my chances of re-election,” said Scalise.
He continued, “As a Christian, these groups hold views that are vehemently opposed to my own personal faith, and I reject any kind of hateful bigotry except the kind that keeps desperate Hispanic kids on the Mexican side of the border and prevents homosexuals from enjoying the same civil rights as straight Americans. Those who know me best know I have always been passionate about helping, serving, and fighting for every white family that I represent. And I will continue to do so.”
Duke described Scalise as “a pretty nice guy” and “a family man” and “very white” in a Monday night interview with The Huffington Post. He also said it seemed a bit strange that Scalise — who had a friendly relationship with Duke’s campaign manager Kenny Knight, the EURO event’s organizer — claims he didn’t know what the group’s message was about.
“It would seem to me that the son of bitch knew exactly what the fuck he was doing and this is just another example of the white GOP leadership not having the guts to stand up for what they believe in,” said Duke.
Today’s GOP is the most anti-idea party in the history of parties. Beating them shouldn’t be this hard. So why is it? Well, let me tell you.
Back in February, I wrote a column arguing that the Democrats would need a strong, base-motivating message this year. By which I did not mean happy talk about jobs or the minimum wage. I meant the age-old motivator, fear—stoking fear in their base of what a Republican Senate would look like.
Well, here we are eight months later and less than a week out from the voting, and they haven’t done it. They’ve done a little of it. They push the “war on women” button, and a couple of others, like Social Security, which I discussed yesterday. But it just amazes me. They are running against a party that is as intellectually dishonest and bankrupt and just plain old willfully stupid as a political party can possibly be, and they have developed no language for communicating that to voters.
I mean it is truly admirable, in its perverse way, how anti-idea this party is. It has no economic plans. Did you see this Times article last week called “Economists See Limited Gains in G.O.P. Plan”? I trust that you understand the world of newspaper euphemism enough to know that “limited gains” basically means “jack shit.” It’s all tax cuts and fracking and the wildly overhyped (in jobs terms (PDF)) Keystone pipeline.
Republicans know the truth about these proposals deep down, or I think most do (I suppose some actually are that dumb). But they keep peddling them like a costermonger selling rotten fruit. Why? At least in part because they also know deep down that things like an infrastructure bank are what will really create jobs. I mean, it’s the very definition of creating jobs. But they can’t be for that, because it would be a vote for Obama, and Party Chairman Limbaugh would call them mean names.
Not a single constructive idea. Oh, they put out these things they call “ideas,” so they can sound like they have ideas, but they’re not meant for actual implementation. They’re just meant to exist so candidates can campaign saying, “See? I have ideas!”
And then, of course, there are a few actual ideas they do have, like the Ryan Budget, but those are deep-sixed at campaign time, because the Republicans know that it would indeed force seniors to pay more out-of-pocket for their Medicare—I mean, as far as Paul Ryan is concerned, that’s the point!—and they’d much sooner not have to answer such questions at election time.
So they’ve got nothing. Not on the economy. Not on immigration reform. Not on health care—ah, health care. Think back with me now. In the first half of this year, there were a lot of news stories that got pumped out through Speaker John Boehner’s office about the Republicans working on a plan to replace Obamacare. Oh, it’s coming along, he said in summer. And the media scribbled down stories: Lookout, Obama! Republicans coming with alternative proposal!
Today’s GOP is the most anti-idea party in the history of parties. Beating them shouldn’t be this hard. So why is it? Well, let me tell you.
Well, try Googling it now. You won’t find a word. They have no intention of “replacing” Obamacare with anything, and they never did. It was just something they knew they had to say for a while to sound responsible in Beltway land. Oh and by the way, that celebrated House lawsuit against Obamacare—remember that one, announced back in June? It turns out they haven’t even filed it! How empty can you get? Even their smoke and mirrors is smoke and mirrors.
On foreign policy, which is to say on the question of a world that is clearly in a deep crisis that the United States must perforce play a central solve in trying to solve, Republicans again have nothing meaningful to say. And please, don’t tell me “but Rand Paul!” His speech laid out some decent notions as far as they went, but how can a person support the war against ISIS while opposing the arming of the Syrian rebels? That’s like supporting a crackdown on bank robbery while advocating that banks keep the safes unlocked. And Paul, probably, is the closest thing the party has to a responsible voice on foreign policy.
I could go on, but you follow me. The GOP has absolutely nothing of substance to say to the American people, on any topic. The Republicans’ great triumph of this election season is their gains among women, which have happened because (mirabile dictu!) they’ve managed to make it through the campaign (so far) without any of their candidates asserting that rape is the will of God. All these extremists who may be about to win Senate seats are winning them basically by saying opponent, opponent, opponent, Obama, Obama, Obama.
And the Democrats can’t beat these guys? This should not be hard. But it is hard. Why? There’s the “who votes” question. There’s money, especially the outside dark money I wrote about last week. And there’s the GOP skill at pushing the right fear buttons. And there’s the fact that the president happens to be, well, you know.
But the underlying reason is this: The Democrats don’t have the right words for attacking the Republicans’ core essence and putting Republican candidates on the defensive. When Republicans attack Democrats, the attacks quite often go right to the heart of Democratic essence, and philosophy. “My opponent is a big-government, big-spending, high-taxing” etc. That gets it all in there in a few short words. Every Republican says it, and the fact is that it’s typically at least sort of true, because Democrats do believe in government and spending and taxes.
As a result, in almost every American election, the Democrat is instantly put on the defensive, while the Republican is playing offense. Of course that’s going to be truer in a sixth-year election of an incumbent Democratic president. But it’s usually more true than not. The Democrat, who is for things, who wants to do things besides cut budgets and taxes, carries the burden of explaining why those things will be good.
In fairness to the Democrats, they’re a little boxed in, because they can’t respond to the above attack by saying, “Well, my opponent is a small-government, low-spending, low-taxing” etc., which wouldn’t sound like much of an attack to most people.
So what they have to do instead is find a way to talk about this policy bankruptcy and duplicity of the GOP that I describe above, the party’s essential anti-idea-ness, because it’s through that bankruptcy and duplicity that the Republican Party manages to conceal from voters its actual agenda, which is to slash regulations and taxes and let energy companies and megabanks and multinational corporations do whatever it is they wish to do. Most Americans may be for limited government and lower taxes, but they sure aren’t for that.
In my experience, Democrats seem kind of afraid to do this. Partly afraid of the Republicans, and partly afraid of the conglomerates (they seek campaign contributions from Citibank too). And maybe my suggested way isn’t the only way to do it.
But high-ranking Democrats collectively need to perform the following exercise. Sit down together in a room. Distribute index cards. Let each of them write down five adjectives they associate with the GOP, adjectives they not only believe themselves but hear from constituents. Because the crowd has wisdom that the individual does not, take those that get the most mentions and turn them into attack on the GOP’s essence that will put Republican candidates on the defensive. Maybe that’s when our campaigns will change.