Est. 1995

Tag: Republicans

Trump on Latest School Shooting: ‘Get over it’

I Stand With Perry

 

https://post.news/@/danrather/2ajL5MyhLcNg170DYOg2tWFWBKy

You may have missed the headline because it has become so horrifically commonplace: children shot at school. The dateline was the small town of Perry, Iowa. Last Thursday, a high school student opened fire in his school cafeteria, killing one person and injuring seven before dying by suicide. We’re barely a week into the new year and already four, four, school shootings have been reported, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database.

The shooting in Iowa comes at a difficult time for Republican presidential candidates. Because of the proximity of the shooting (the Iowa caucuses are next Monday), they’ve been forced to address gun violence in schools. As has also become commonplace with politicians, former President Donald Trump offered up thoughts and prayers. But Trump took it further by saying, “It’s just horrible, so surprising to see it here. But we have to get over it, we have to move forward.”

Many Americans are responding: No, Mr. Trump, we don’t have to get over it. Ever. 

While the Republican Party tells us we should be afraid of immigrants coming across the southern border, we’re supposed to “get over” the increasing numbers of children murdered in schools. 

Are we also supposed to “get over” the never-ending worry in every parent’s mind when they bundle their kids off to school: Will my child’s school be a target? Will my kid?

Think of the first question you ask when you hear of a school shooting: Where did it happen?

American schools collectively spent $12 billion on security guards last year, an expenditure that is second only to teachers’ salaries and doesn’t include millions more for metal detectors, cameras, and door locks. Yet the killings continue. The number of incidents is on the rise, dramatically. In 2017 there were 59 school shootings. That number more than doubled the following year. And in six years, the number of shootings in schools skyrocketed almost six-fold to 346.

Students rally at the Iowa Capitol days after Perry school shooting

We also don’t have to “get over” nonsensical gun laws that make it easy for young people and others to obtain a firearm of mass destruction. In Texas, an 18-year-old can purchase an assault rifle but can’t buy a pistol. 

Many of the nation’s weak gun laws can be traced back to the work of the National Rifle Association. The NRA is the lobbying group that for years did a masterful job of marketing false narratives and stacking state legislatures with pro-gun representatives who enacted these laws. The organization is now in decline, and its longtime CEO, Wayne LaPierre, has resigned just as the organization goes on trial over fraud allegations. The New York attorney general wants to dissolve the nonprofit after executives allegedly pocketed tens of millions of donated dollars for themselves. 

You might be asking, what can be done? Well, Iowa students angered by the shooting organized a protest march at the state Capitol on Monday to coincide with the first day of the new legislative session. What can you do? The list is long. Call your elected officials, all of them: local, state, and federal, to demand stronger gun laws. And don’t forget the power of the ballot box. And, perhaps most importantly, continue to care.

Get the names and contact information of the people who represent you on the federal, state, and local levels.

One hopes that when it comes to the increasing problem of school shootings, America as a whole will not “get over it.” The hope is that we will rededicate ourselves to reducing if not outright ending it. 

Who’s really behind the drive to impeach Joe Biden?

Friends,

Republicans hailed the indictment handed down by Special Counsel David C. Weiss last Thursday against Hunter Biden on tax evasion to validate their impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

But Republicans have still failed to link Joe Biden to any impeachable offense — or any offenses at all. The 56-page indictment never mentions President Biden and provides zero evidence linking the misdeeds of the son to the father.

Nevertheless, House Republicans are pushing ahead this week with their plans for a vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry.

Isn’t it clear that the Republicans’ impeachment inquiry is retribution for the impeachments and indictments of former President Trump?

And that Trump is behind this?

After all, Weiss began investigating Hunter Biden five years ago as the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for Delaware.

Around this time, Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to “look into” former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, according to a White House memorandum of a July 25, 2018, phone call Trump made to Zelensky.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great,” Trump said, according to the memo.

Zelensky noted that Ukraine was “almost ready to buy more [Javelin missiles] from the United States for defense purposes.”

Trump responded: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”

That conversation with Zelensky was central to the whistleblower complaint that spurred Democrats to support an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Trump and his Republican enablers would like nothing better than for the House to spend much of the spring conducting a drawn-out impeachment of Joe Biden. That way, Trump can deflect attention from his criminal trials.

And they’d like nothing better than for the Senate to consider whether to convict Biden in the months and weeks leading up to the 2024 election, for the same reason.

Although there’s not a scintilla of evidence linking President Biden to any high crime or misdemeanor, Trump and his allies know that the mere fact of an ongoing impeachment inquiry will generate enough media stories to confuse a portion of the public about whether Biden is guilty of something.

Trump will use that confusion to repeatedly accuse President Biden of being corrupt.

In other words, House Republicans will do for Trump in the 2024 election what Trump wanted Zelensky to do for him in the 2020 election — use dirt on Hunter as a way to throw dirt on Joe.

This time, Trump also wants to use the dirt to bury stories about Trump’s criminal trial for seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election, on which a verdict before the 2024 election seems likely.

SCOTUS’s “ethics code” provides cover for corruption

It’s weak sauce – which was the goal all along.

After unrelenting pressure from everyone but Republicans, who by and large are thrilled that Supreme Court justices can be bought, the Court has issued a voluntary, non-binding code of conduct.

Of course, a non-binding code is no code at all, which is the problem here. As long as the members of the Court see themselves as above petty things like rules, the corruption of the institution will not change.

Even the first page of the document (why call it a code when it is not a code?) displays what can only be described as a fit of pique about having to put out anything at all:

“The absence of a Code, however, has led in recent years to the misunderstanding that the Justices of this Court, unlike all other jurists in this country, regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules. To dispel this misunderstanding, we are issuing this Code, which largely represents a codification of principles that we have long regarded as governing our conduct.”

This is laughable, of course, as it implies that the public’s issues with the justices are grounded only in the fact that the rules governing the Court’s conduct were not codified, as if the public had been searching in vain on the Court’s website for it. Rather, the issue is that two justices in particular — Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas— have benefited from the largesse of wealthy Republicans who have business before the Court.

So, the impetus for the code was not that the Court suddenly saw the light about ethics. Instead, it’s designed to quash any outside inquiry into the Court — particularly congressional ones — by saying that any ethics concerns are taken care of now. As Steve Vladeck, an expert on the Supreme Court, wrote when the code was released, the code “reflects a rather remarkable lack of contrition or humility” on the part of the justices.

Source:

How SCOTUS’s “ethics code” provides cover for corruption

Republicans are “this close” to ending Social Security

 

Republicans are “this close” — just a matter of months away — from ending Social Security, a goal they’ve worked toward ever since 1935. They hope to use six Republicans on a corrupted Supreme Court to get there.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse points out, in his book The Scheme and his YouTube series about the same, that American oligarchs launched a campaign to seize control of the Supreme Court — and, thus, the American government — over 40 years ago, and they are now close to their goal of turning America back to the 1920s.

“This case is the product of a decades-long effort by pro-corporate interests to eviscerate the federal government’s regulatory apparatus, to the detriment of the American people.” Said Senators Whitehouse, Hirono, Feinstein, and Warren

Recently we learned from ProPublica reporting that Clarence Thomas has been the featured attraction at several multi-million-dollar fundraising events by the Koch brothers to marshal resources that could apparently be used, in part, to bring cases before the Supreme Court. In previous years, the late Antonin Scalia often joined him at these events.

Now that the billionaires have succeeded in packing the Court with six hard-right justices who are perfectly willing to ignore federal law about ethics on federal courts and enthusiastic to dance to their benefactors’ tunes, we’re getting close to the point that David Koch envisioned in 1980 when he ran for Vice President on the Libertarian ticket.

His platform was clear, calling for the end of the EPA and other regulatory agencies, and the privatization of the Post Office, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schools, libraries, and all the nation’s roads and rivers, among other things.

With two cases that the six corrupt Republicans on the Court will be hearing this fall, David could be getting his wish.

Source:
 
How the Billionaire Corruption of SCOTUS Could End Social Security – and America

Everyone loses when MAGA Republicans get their way

Freedumb Caucus

Freedom Caucus, US House, GOP Right Wing, speaker of the house, political cartoon

 

What you need to know

Now you might be thinking: Didn’t we just go through this whole cycle a few months ago? The brinksmanship, the urgent warnings, the crisis over government funding? Why on earth is this happening again?

The short answer: Because Republicans have handed the car keys to the most extreme members of their caucus and they’re driving us all off a cliff.

The long answer: The May default crisis was resolved in the nick of time with a deal between President Biden and Kevin McCarthy. That deal set top-line spending levels for the coming year’s budget.

MAGA arsonist Matt GaetzExtreme MAGA Republicans have spent the last several months agitating against the deal. Their demands are wide-ranging and radical. They want dramatic cuts to federal programs. They want to defund the DOJ and aid to Ukraine. They want to restrict access to medication abortion. They want drastic cuts to social safety net programs. In short, they want to move the goalposts for the budget process into right-wing fantasy land. As a result, Republican House members are currently literally unable to agree with each other on how to fund the federal government.

Now, this would not be a problem if Kevin McCarthy was willing to ignore the MAGA caucus. Because he does have enough votes in the House to pass the original deal. It’s just that he’d need Democratic votes to do it. And he’s committed to his caucus that he won’t pass a funding bill unless it can pass with only Republican votes.

US government shutdown: What is it and who would be affected?

This crisis could also be resolved if even a handful of Republicans were willing to go against their party and sign a discharge petition to allow Democrats to bring a bipartisan bill to the floor. A discharge petition is a tactic that allows a majority of Congress members to override the Speaker and put a bill on the floor. Plenty of Republicans (especially the ones who are worried about their re-elections, like the Unrepresentatives) are giving quotes about being frustrated, or how they wish their party would get its act together. Every time you hear that, just remember: it would take 6 Republicans signing a discharge petition to allow Democrats to bring a bipartisan bill to the floor. If your representative isn’t willing to do this, then their words are meaningless.

It’s common for the media to frame shutdowns as a “both sides” issue. But let’s be clear: This is not a situation where “Washington is broken” or “the two sides can’t work it out.” The deal has been reached. The votes for the deal are there. That’s not the problem. The problem is that Republicans, under pressure from their most extreme MAGA members, have unilaterally abandoned the deal. They would rather shut the government down than simply work with Democrats to pass the budget deal they already agreed to.

Don’t just take our word for it — here’s the same point from an unlikely source:

 

Said arsonist Matt Gaetz, “We cannot blame the Democrats for having not done our job to comply with the coalition agreement that we made at the beginning of the year. That is the fault of the Speaker.”

All of this would be comical if there weren’t such awful consequences for the rest of us. The pain of a government shutdown is enormous. Essential services for seniors, working families, the military, and first responders are disrupted. Kids go hungry because programs like WIC and SNAP lose funding. Disaster relief funding — like money for the survivors of the Maui fires — is delayed or cut. And crucial government functions like food safety inspections and air travel oversight risk disruption.

Everyone loses when MAGA Republicans get their way.

OK, so what do we do about it?

There are two things we need to do here: 

First, we need to get out of this mess without rewarding Republicans’ terrible behavior. If you’ve got a Democratic representative, you should be telling them to stand strong. If you’ve got a Republican representative, you should be putting the heat on them — especially if you’ve got a Republican who represents a flippable district, or who’s in principle opposed to their party’s shenanigans.

Second, if a shutdown does occur, we need to make sure that the public understands that it’s a product of Republican extremism and dysfunction. Republicans are doing something very unpopular (shutting down the government) to try to get something else that’s also very unpopular (cuts to essential programs for families, seniors, and more). They need to pay a political price for it. Fortunately, we’ve got a plan for that – an entire campaign. Join our Unrepresentatives Project and help us hold the most vulnerable Republicans accountable. 

The reality is that for these folks, the election season has already started. If this shutdown drags on, we’ve got to make sure they see consequences for it.

In solidarity,
Leah Greenberg
Co-founder and Co-Executive Director, of Indivisible

US Military Held Hostage by MAGA Republicans


Listen to Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger talk about the impact on the spouses and children of military families who deserve more than cheap platitudes and drunken clapping for their contributions to our nation.

Every person with a phone should call their two US senators and members of Congress and express outrage over this. You can contact the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request. To find your representative, you can use this tool. Demand action on this very serious issue.

 

By Carlos Del Toro, Frank Kendall, and Christine Wormuth
September 4, 2023

As the civilian leaders of the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Space Force, and Army, we are proud to work alongside exceptional military leaders who are skilled, motivated, and empowered to protect our national security.

These officers and the millions of service members they lead are the foundation of America’s enduring military advantage. Yet this foundation is being actively eroded by the actions of a single U.S. senator, Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), who is blocking the confirmation of our most senior military officers.

The senator asserts that this blanket and unprecedented “hold,” which he has maintained for more than six months, is about opposition to Defense Department policies that ensure service members and their families have access to reproductive health no matter where they are stationed.

After the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, this policy is critical and necessary to meet our obligations to the force. It is also fully within the law, as confirmed by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Senators have many legislative and oversight tools to show their opposition to a specific policy. They are free to introduce legislation, gather support for that legislation, and pass it. But placing a blanket hold on all general and flag officer nominees, who as apolitical officials have traditionally been exempt from the hold process, is unfair to these military leaders and their families.

And it is putting our national security at risk.

Thus far, the hold has prevented the Defense Department from placing almost 300 of our most experienced and battle-tested leaders into critical posts around the world.

Three of our five military branches — the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps — have no Senate-confirmed service chief in place. Instead, these jobs — and dozens of others across the force — are being performed by acting officials without the full range of legal authorities necessary to make the decisions that will sustain the United States’ military edge.

Across the services, many generals and admirals are being forced to perform two roles simultaneously. The strain of this double duty places a real and unfair burden on these officers, the organizations they lead, and their families.

The blanket hold is also exacting a personal toll on those who least deserve it.

Each of us has seen the stress this hold is inflicting up and down the chain of command, whether in the halls of the Pentagon or at bases and outposts around the world.

We know officers who have incurred significant unforeseen expenses and are facing genuine financial stress because they have had to relocate their families or unexpectedly maintain two residences.

Military spouses who have worked to build careers of their own are unable to look for jobs because they don’t know when or if they will move. Children don’t know where they will go to school, which is particularly hard given how frequently military children change schools already.

These military leaders are being forced to endure costly separations from their families — a painful experience they have come to know from nearly 20 years of deployments to places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

All because of the actions of a single senator.

Any claim that holding up the promotions of top officers does not directly damage the military is wrong — plain and simple.

The leaders whose lives and careers are on hold include scores of combat veterans who have led our troops into deadly combat with valor and distinction in the decades since 9/11. These men and women each have decades of experience and are exactly who we want — and need — to be leading our military at such a critical period of time.

The impact of this hold does not stop at these officers or their family members.

With the promotions of our most senior leaders on hold, there is a domino effect upending the lives of our more junior officers, too.

Looking over the horizon, the prolonged uncertainty and political battles over these military nominations will have a corrosive effect on the force.

The generals and admirals who will be leading our forces a decade from now are colonels and captains today. They are watching this spectacle and might conclude that their service at the highest ranks of our military is no longer valued by members of Congress or, by extension, the American public.

Rather than continue making sacrifices to serve our nation, some might leave uniformed service for other opportunities, robbing the Defense Department of talent cultivated over decades that we now need most to maintain our superiority over our rivals and adversaries.

Throughout our careers in national security, we have deeply valued the bipartisan support shown for our service members and their families. But rather than seeking a resolution to this impasse in that spirit, Tuberville has suggested he is going to further escalate this confrontation by launching baseless political attacks against these men and women.

We believe that the vast majority of senators and Americans across the political spectrum recognize the stakes of this moment and the dangers of politicizing our military leaders. It is time to lift this dangerous hold and confirm our senior military leaders.

Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the US Navy
Frank Kendall, Secretary of the US Air Force
Christine Wormuth, Secretary of the US Army

The far right is working to make voter fraud easier to get away with.

This NPR investigation, which found a video of the Houma event posted to Facebook, is the first to report that Ardoin announced his ERIC decision to conservative activists.

And a deeper look at the red-state exodus that followed — eight states and counting have now pulled out of ERIC — shows a policy blueprint for an election denial movement, spearheaded by a key Trump ally, eager to change virtually every aspect of how Americans vote.

Even if it means making voter fraud easier to get away with.

How the far right tore apart one of the best tools to fight voter fraud

What’s behind the Republican push to repeal child labor laws?

Miserable working conditions including crowded and unclean factories, a lack of safety codes, and long hours were the norm. Children could be paid less and were less likely to organize into unions. Working children were typically unable to attend school, creating a cycle of poverty that was difficult to break. Nineteenth-century reformers and labor organizers sought to restrict child labor and improve working conditions to uplift the masses, but it took the Great Depression—a time when Americans were desperate for employment—to shake long-held practices of child labor in the United States.

According to the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, legislatures in at least ten states have set out to weaken federal child labor laws. In the first three months of 2023, legislators in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Dakota introduced bills to weaken the regulations that protect children in the workplace, and in March, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a law repealing restrictions for workers younger than 16.

Those in favor of the new policies argue that fewer restrictions on child labor will protect parents’ rights, but in fact, the new labor measures have been written by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a Florida-based right-wing think tank. FGA is working to dismantle the federal government to get rid of business regulations. It has focused on advancing its ideology through the states for a while now, but the argument that its legislation protects parental rights has recently enabled them to wedge open a door to attack regulations more broadly.

FGA is part of a larger story about Republicans’ attempt to undermine federal power in order to enact a radical agenda through their control of the states.

That goal has been part of the Republican agenda since the 1980s, as leaders who hated federal regulation of business, provision of a social safety net, and protection of civil rights recognized that a strong majority of Americans actually quite liked those things and getting Congress to repeal them would be a terribly hard sell. Instead, Republicans used their control of federal courts to weaken the power of the federal government and send power back to the states.

Learn more:

April 28, 2023

According to the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, legislatures in at least ten states have set out to weaken federal child labor laws. In the first three months of 2023, legislators in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Dakota introduced bills to weaken the regulations that protect children in the workplace, and in March, Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a law repealing restrictions for workers younger than 16.

Notes:

https://www.epi.org/publication/child-labor-laws-under-attack/

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/is-ikea-the-new-model-for-the-conservative-movement

https://thefga.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/FGA-Annual-Report-2021.pdf

https://www.foxnews.com/official-polls/fox-news-poll-voters-favor-gun-limits-arming-citizens-reduce-gun-violence

https://northplattepost.com/posts/3603f063-d69f-43d0-8227-5be82ba4fdfd

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/04/20/cleta-mitchell-voting-college-students/

https://apnews.com/article/north-carolina-redistricting-voting-maps-bfe03c47daeca14444f15bc9e6438d4a

Texas is trying out new tactics to restrict access to abortion pills online.

Online abortion resources can pose risks to privacy. But there are lots of ways to access them more safely. Here are some resources we recommend.

There’s been a quiet shift in the abortion fight in the US. Since the reversal of Roe v. Wade last June, laws that make most abortions illegal have passed in 13 states. Efforts to restrict abortion care have, so far, focused mostly on criminalizing medical providers. But increasingly, the battleground is moving online.

Texas is currently in the process of trying to limit access to abortion pills by cracking down on internet service providers and credit card processing companies. Earlier this month, Republicans in the state legislature introduced two bills to that effect.

These tactics reflect the reality that, post-Roe, the internet is a critical channel for people seeking information about abortion or trying to buy pills to terminate a pregnancy—especially in states where they can no longer access these things in physical pharmacies or medical centers.

Texas is trying out new tactics to restrict access to abortion pills online

Skip to Content Proposed laws would punish ISPs, online publishers, and credit card companies for providing information about or direct access to pills. This article is from The Technocrat, MIT Technology Review’s weekly tech policy newsletter about power, politics, and Silicon Valley. To receive it in your inbox every Friday, sign up here .

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