Republicans are frustrated . . . and that’s a good thing

Perhaps he was not being sincere. Or perhaps he is not the wonk he is forever portrayed as.

Speaker Paul Ryan predicted in January that tax reform, Obamacare repeal and a border wall would all be done by now. Instead, Obamacare repeal may be completely dead at month’s end, there are just broad strokes on tax reform and many Republicans oppose the border wall being pushed by their own president.

“Obamacare repeal” was always going to be a fiasco, from the first day onwards; the reason that Republicans have yet to come up with a palatable “plan” for doing so despite spending many years of effort obsessing over it is because the act of stripping millions of American citizens from their health insurance is a tough sell even in the best of circumstances, and a near-impossible sell when the only thing you offer them in return is that the fabulously wealthy will, yet again, make out like bandits in the exchange. The border wall has been the stuff of xenophobe pipe dreams for years, and has never amounted to more than cynical ploy to throw money at the supposed problem until the xenophobes pronounce themselves momentarily satiated—which will never and can never happen.

Tax “reform” is forever popular, though. Americans have long loved tax “reform” even when the “reform” is aimed at rungs of the economic ladder far above ones they themselves will ever reach. For Paul Ryan to come up with a tax “reform” plan that even the wordsmiths of the Republican marketing team can’t put a shine to is remarkable even for him.

Needless to say, the entire party is unhappy with, well, themselves. The burn-it-downers are fairly irate that there’s not more burn-it-all-downing going on:

“If we get to December and we’ve not repealed and replaced Obamacare, we’ve not built the wall, we’ve not done tax reform, let me just tell you it is not going to be pretty,” said House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). 

While those attempting to pass themselves off as moderates don’t really give a damn what gets burned down or in what order, so long as the match is struck somewhere.

“I’m extremely worried,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), an ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who’s urging him to cancel an October recess to get more accomplished. “My gosh, why were we not here in August doing all of this?”


The danger is, of course, that as the year rumbles onward and the governing caucus continues to look more and more incompetent, they will lash out with even more radical, even less thought-out plans until something sticks.   God only knows what bullshit the GOP will come up with then.  If the nation can survive until the 2018 mid-terms, perhaps we can save ourselves.

This is dangerous. CIA director is a biblethumper who is forcing his bizarre “faith” on the agency

According to an investigation by Foreign Policy into changes in the intelligence community under President Donald Trump, the CIA has set aside plans to diversify and has become more white and more Christian under new director Mike Pompeo.

Noting the Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas,  is a self-professed evangelical, the report states that the new director once claimed, Islamist terrorists will “continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ is our savior is truly the only solution for our world.”

Insiders — many of whom are afraid to come forward — say Pompeo’s religious beliefs are becoming part of CIA dogma to the dismay of longtime employees.

“According to four sources familiar with the matter, Pompeo, who attends weekly Bible studies held in government buildings, referenced God and Christianity repeatedly in his first all-hands speech and in a recent trip report while traveling overseas,” the report states, adding that since taking over, Pompeo has also set about establishing a chaplaincy on the CIA campus.

A spokesperson for the CIA defended the move, saying, “Director Pompeo is a man of faith. The idea that he should not practice his faith because he is Director of CIA is absurd.”

According to Michael Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, he is being flooded with complaints about the creeping evangelical Christianity that is beginning to pervade the intelligence agency.

Weinstein notes that insiders are afraid to speak up, stating, “They don’t typically file formal complaints within the government. But certain things are making them especially uncomfortable, such as officials signing off with the phrase ‘have a blessed day.’ That’s something “straight out of The Handmaid’s Tale.”

“In the intelligence community, we see supervisors wanting to hold Bible studies during duty hours [and] inviting lower-ranking individuals to their homes for Bible studies,” Weinstein  continued. “Our clients at CIA feel extremely isolated in a way they have not felt before.”

NO!! Republicans are NOT the party of civil rights.

With Republicans having trouble with minorities, some like to point out that Republicans have  a long history of standing up for civil rights compared to Democrats. Democrats, for example, were less likely to vote for the civil rights bills of the 1950s and 1960s. Democrats were more likely to filibuster. Yet, a closer look at the voting coalitions suggests a more complicated picture that ultimately explains why Republicans are not the party of civil rights.

Let’s use the 1964 Civil Rights Act as our focal point. It was arguably the most important of the many civil rights bills passed in the middle part of the 20th century. It outlawed many types of racial and sexual discrimination, including access to hotels, restaurants, and theaters. In the words of Vice President Biden, it was a big “f-ing deal”.

When we look at the party vote in both houses of Congress, it fits the historical pattern. Republicans are more in favor of the bill:

Civil Rights support by party

80% of Republicans in the House and Senate voted for the bill. Less than 70% of Democrats did. Indeed, Minority Leader Republican Everett Dirksen led the fight to end the filibuster. Meanwhile, Democrats such as Richard Russell of Georgia and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina tried as hard as they could to sustain a filibuster.

Of course, it was also Democrats who helped usher the bill through the House, Senate, and ultimately a Democratic president who signed it into law. The bill wouldn’t have passed without the support of Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, a Democrat. Majority Whip Hubert Humphrey, who basically split the Democratic party in two with his 1948 Democratic National Convention speech calling for equal rights for all, kept tabs on individual members to ensure the bill had the numbers to overcome the filibuster.

Put another way, party affiliation seems to be somewhat predictive, but something seems to be missing. So, what factor did best predicting voting?

You don’t need to know too much history to understand that the South from the civil war to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 tended to be opposed to minority rights. This factor was separate from party identification or ideology. We can easily control for this variable by breaking up the voting by those states that were part of the confederacy and those that were not.

Civil Rights votes by region

You can see that geography was far more predictive of voting coalitions on the Civil Rights than party affiliation. What linked Dirksen and Mansfield was the fact that they weren’t from the south. In fact, 90% of members of Congress from states (or territories) that were part of the Union voted in favor of the act, while less than 10% of members of Congress from the old Confederate states voted for it. This 80pt difference between regions is far greater than the 15pt difference between parties.

But what happens when we control for both party affiliation and region? As Sean Trende noted earlier this year, “sometimes relationships become apparent only after you control for other factors”.

Civil Rights party region

In this case, it becomes clear that Democrats in the north and the south were more likely to vote for the bill than Republicans in the north and south respectively. This difference in both houses is statistically significant with over 95% confidence. It just so happened southerners made up a larger percentage of the Democratic than Republican caucus, which created the initial impression than Republicans were more in favor of the act.

Nearly 100% of Union state Democrats supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act compared to 85% of Republicans. None of the southern Republicans voted for the bill, while a small percentage of southern Democrats did.

The same pattern holds true when looking at ideology instead of party affiliation. The folks over at, who created DW-nominate scores to measure the ideology of congressmen and senators, found that the more liberal a congressman or senator was the more likely he would vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, once one controlled for a factor closely linked to geography.

That’s why Strom Thurmond left the Democratic party soon after the Civil Right Act passed. He recognized that of the two parties, it was the Republican party that was more hospitable to his message. The Republican candidate for president in 1964, Barry Goldwater, was one of the few non-Confederate state senators to vote against the bill. He carried his home state of Arizona and swept the deep southern states – a first for a Republican ever.

Now, it wasn’t that the Civil Rights Act was what turned the South against the Democrats or minorities against Republicans. Those patterns, as Trende showed, had been developing for a while. It was, however, a manifestation of these growing coalitions. The South gradually became home to the conservative party, while the north became home to the liberal party.

Today, the transformation is nearly complete. President Obama carried only 18% of former Confederate states, while taking 62% of non-Confederate states in 2012. Only 27% of southern senators are Democrats, while 62% of Union state senators are Democrats. And 29% of southern members in the House are Democrats compared to 54% in states or territories that were part of the Union.

Thus, it seems to me that minorities have a pretty good idea of what they are doing when joining the Democratic party. They recognize that the Democratic party of today looks and sounds a lot more like the Democratic party of the North that with near unity passed the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 than the southern Democrats of the era who blocked it, and today would, like Strom Thurmond, likely be Republicans.

Why do people vote for Republicans?

The Republican Party has a lot of support from “working class” Americans.  This is strange in view of the fact that Republican policies not only do nothing to help people who work for a living, their policies actually hurt working people.

The GOP-controlled House and Senate budgets not only drastically cut spending on education, retirement, environment, road and bridges, job creation, health care, food stamps, and other social welfare programs; but it gives the Pentagon a blank check, and includes tax cuts for the rich and corporations while raising taxes for lower-income Americans.

Poll after poll report that a majority of Americans want Congress to invest in education, road and bridges, jobs, climate change, immigration, healthcare reform, retirement security, safety nets for the poor and vulnerable, and raise taxes on those who can easily afford to pay a fairer share.

Astoundingly, congressional Republicans not only oppose every one of those goals, but their budget proposals, if enacted, would undeniably make life harder for average Americans, millions of whom would slide down the economic ladder toward poverty.

So — why do the people who are hurt by Republican policies still vote for Republicans?


People do not vote with their brains.  They vote with their emotions.  Republican voters — most of whom are actually hurt by Republican policies — still vote for Republicans because they believe by electing Republicans:

  • Gay people will be pushed back into the closet
  • Black people will be pushed to the back of the bus and out of the voting booth
  • Women will get back in the kitchen
  • Dark-skinned people with funny accents will be rounded up and deported
  • Straight white men will be back in charge

And why do people believe these things?  Because they have their own Jesus.

Kris Kobach is a greater threat than North Korea

Kansan Kris Kobach is a man who wears many hats. He’s running for governor in Kansas, he’s a paid columnist at white supremacist lovin’ Breitbart, he’s the architect of the most racist law in modern American history, he is actively and aggressively working to deport DACA enrollees and their families, he is the Kansas secretary of state (worst in the nation) and last, but not least, Kobach leads Trump’s so-called “election integrity” commission, a sham commission that is nothing more than a large scale effort to suppress the vote nationwide, taking away people’s Constitutional right to vote—something he’s done very effectively in Kansas.

Yesterday, Kobach offered up his latest paid column at Breitbart and made the incredible claim that there were roughly 5,313 potentially illegal voters in New Hampshire during the 2016 election, enough to “steal” four electoral votes and cost the GOP a seat in the U.S. Senate. Here’s the gist of his argument. You can Google if you want to see the source, but let’s not reward that craptastic site with a click, mmkay?

According to statistics released by the Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, on the date of the general election in November 2016, there were 6,540 same-day registrants who registered to vote in New Hampshire using an out-of-state driver’s license to prove their identity. In and of itself, that doesn’t prove that any fraud occurred – theoretically, each of those individuals could have been someone who recently moved to the State and had not yet had time to get a New Hampshire driver’s license. According to New Hampshire law, a new resident has 60 days to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license.

So if those 6,540 voters were bona fide New Hampshire residents, they would get their driver’s license no later than January 7, 2017. However, the numbers tell a very different story. It turns out that, as of August 30, 2017 – nearly ten months after the election – only 1,014 of the 6,540 same-day registrants who registered with an out-of-state license had obtained a New Hampshire driver’s license. The other 5,526 individuals never obtained a New Hampshire driver’s license. And, of those 5,526, only 213 registered a vehicle in New Hampshire.

So 5,313 of those voters neither obtained a New Hampshire driver’s license nor registered a vehicle in New Hampshire. They have not followed the legal requirements for residents regarding driver’s licenses, and it appears that they are not actually residing in New Hampshire. It seems that they never were bona fide residents of the State.

Every single way you slice this, Kobach is wrong. Dead wrong.

  Let’s start with this important point from Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project who pointed out that, under NH law, someone who moves in from out of state can use their out-of-state driver’s license as ID to vote.

Right off the bat, Kobach’s premise that these 5,000+ voters broke the law is completely false and was widely ridiculed by voting rights experts like Ari Berman, who pointed out that Kobach’s claim was a lie.

Dave Weigel of the Washington Post took it a step further and contacted some of the allegedly illegal voters. In less than an hour, he confirmed that these were in fact college students:

Patrick Derenze, 22, said that he voted with a New York ID, and was unaware of any New Hampshire law that required voters to change their licenses after voting.

“I was a student at Saint Anselm College in Manchester until I graduated this past May, and because I spent most of my time in the state I felt it was right I vote there instead of my native state of New York,” Derenze said.

Alexander J. Rounaghi, 19, used his California ID to vote while studying at Dartmouth. “I lived in New Hampshire then, and I’ll live there again when I’m back from summer vacation,” he explained.

Jonah Cohen, 20, was also studying at Dartmouth when he used his New York ID to vote in New Hampshire’s 2016 election. “I’ve since transferred to Columbia, so I won’t be voting in New Hampshire anymore, but I haven’t changed my registration yet,” he explained. “I did not end up getting a N.H. license, but I never needed one to vote.”

Here’s why Kris Kobach is quite possibly the most dangerous threat to our democratic process as we know it. He’s creating doubt about those 5,000 legal voters in New Hampshire. As he points out, this is enough to swing the election in New Hampshire. He’s been cutting his teeth on massive voter suppression and election swinging in Kansas. In the 2014 election, he found a way to put an astonishing 35,000 voters on a suspended voter list by saying they had not proved they were citizens of the United States:

And if you look at that suspended voter list in Kansas, which at some points in time has had over 35,000 voters on it, over half of the voters are under 35 and nearly all are first-time registrants ’cause, as I said, it only applies to people who are trying to register after 2013. So these are much more likely to be younger people and much more likely to be new registrants.

GROSS: So why do critics of this law perceive it to have a built in political bias?

BERMAN: Well, if you look at what the law is doing is it’s basically freezing the existing electorate in place by making it harder for new registrants to be able to register to vote. So freezing the electorate in place in a state like Kansas benefits Republicans ’cause Republicans were already in control there. Younger voters in Kansas who are much more likely to be impacted by this law are more likely to be Democratic voters, they’re more likely to be independent-leaning or unaffiliated voters.

They’re less likely to be core Republican voters who might cast a ballot for someone like Kris Kobach.

Boom. That’s the goal. In the case of the 2014 election, Sam Brownback defeated Democrat Paul Davis by roughly 33,000 votes. There is no evidence Davis could’ve pulled out a victory even without Kobach’s voter suppression scheme, but you can see how dangerous Kobach’s schemes could be nationwide. His proof-of-citizenship law even prevented organizations who traditionally work to register voters from even making an effort:

The law made it almost impossible for groups like the League of Women Voters to register voters in Kansas. After the proof-of-citizenship law went into effect in 2013, almost all the local chapters of the League of Women Voters had to suspend their operation because, as I said earlier, people were not carrying around birth certificates or passports or naturalization papers with them when the League of Women Voters was trying to do registration drives outside a farmer’s market.

And moreover, the League of Women Voters didn’t want to have to handle this highly sensitive information. So for example, the Wichita chapter of the League of Women Voters registered 4,000 voters in 2012. But after the proof-of-citizenship law went into effect, they only registered 400 voters in 2014. And that was just one example of the kind of impact this law had.

In 2016, he attempted to prevent 17,000 Kansans from voting by creating a “dual voting system.” In short, Kobach and his Republican enablers in Kansas tried to create the strictest voting requirements in the country, each citizen would be required to prove they are U.S. citizens. When that bucked up against federal law, they said, okay! The voters on his list could vote in federal elections but not be able to cast a valid vote in their own state of Kansas. A Kansas judge stopped Kobach in his tracks:

A Shawnee County judge has ruled that 17,500 voters can have their votes counted in state and local races as well as federal ones in Tuesday’s Kansas primary election.

“Losing one’s vote is an irreparable harm in my opinion,” Judge Larry Hendricks said in his ruling Friday.

The judge noted these 17,500 voters were in danger of losing their Constitutional right to vote:

Hendricks said Friday that Kobach lacks the authority to create a dual voting system. He issued a temporary order blocking the rule, ensuring that all of these voters’ votes will be counted.

Hendricks said the state does have an interest in preventing non-citizens from voting, but that those interests “do not outweigh the rights” of the “overwhelming number of U.S. citizens that will lose the constitutional right to vote” under Kobach’s rule.

Kobach also runs the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck (IVRC) program, a database meant to identify people who may be registered in multiple states. Crosscheck conveniently flags names more common among minority communities:

We had Mark Swedlund, a database expert whose clients include eBay and American Express, look at the data from Georgia and Virginia, and he was shocked by Crosscheck’s “childish methodology.” He added, “God forbid your name is Garcia, of which there are 858,000 in the U.S., and your first name is Joseph or Jose. You’re probably suspected of voting in 27 states.”

Swedlund’s statistical analysis found that African-American, Latino and Asian names predominate, a simple result of the Crosscheck matching process, which spews out little more than a bunch of common names. No surprise: The U.S. Census data shows that minorities are overrepresented in 85 of 100 of the most common last names. If your name is Washington, there’s an 89 percent chance you’re African-American. If your last name is Hernandez, there’s a 94 percent chance you’re Hispanic. If your name is Kim, there’s a 95 percent chance you’re Asian.

This inherent bias results in an astonishing one in six Hispanics, one in seven Asian-Americans and one in nine African-Americans in Crosscheck states landing on the list. Was the program designed to target voters of color? “I’m a data guy,” Swedlund says. “I can’t tell you what the intent was. I can only tell you what the outcome is. And the outcome is discriminatory against minorities.”

And this is the man Donald Trump selected to lead his “election integrity” commission. Make no mistake about it, Kris Kobach is dangerous. His sole purpose, his life’s work, is suppressing minority votes in Kansas and across the country. He simply has to be stopped. The 2018 midterm election will be a critical test of our democracy. It will be an all hands on deck effort to register voters, get out the vote and fight Kobach’s unconstitutional voter suppression challenges in every corner and county in this country. No exaggeration, the future of our nation truly depends on it. 

American Nazis spreading lies about their murder of Heather Heyer

Even ACting President Donald Trump has condemned James Fields, Jr., the Nazi-obsessed attacker who killed Heather Heyer at last month’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But according to Media Matters, some white nationalists online have begun painting Heyer’s death a heart attack to absolve Fields and portray her murder as a false flag.

On September 5, the fringe right-wing blog Occidental Dissent published a post claiming Heyer’s mother “said in an NBC interview she died of a heart attack,” and went on to blame the supposed “heart attack” on her weight.

“We can’t find any information about Heather Heyer’s injuries or an autopsy,” the blog’s notoriously racist writer Hunter Wallace claimed. “She does seem to be a very large woman though. My guess is that she was at least 250 pounds lying on her back in 90 degree heat. It is reasonable to wonder if her health had something to do with her death.”

“To my knowledge,” he continued, “no one else has died in these incidents when protesters are in the street and get run over. It happens quite frequently.”

 The post was quickly picked up by fake news site Before It’s News, and Wallace’s claims became the subject of multiple alt-right YouTube screeds “debunking” the notion that Heyer had been murdered.

Andrew Auernheimer, who hacker-turned-Daily Stormer writer who infamously threatened CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski, wrote that supposed “proof” of Heyer’s heart attack meant Fields should be exonerated.

“Murder charges on Fields gotta be dropped,” Auernheimer wrote on Gab, the alt-right’s favorite social network, “and the public has to get told it’s because Heyer was a f*cking fat cow.”

The theory soon spread to 4chan and Reddit, including the popular r/The_Donald subreddit.

Conspiracy theories ranging from the notion that Heyer was killed by a Hillary Clinton supporter to Scott Baio’s assertion that her murder as a false flag have circulated in the weeks since her death.

These Nazi assholes have no shame, which is why the Old Redneck squashes them underfoot like the cockroaches they are.

Did Trump meet with Russians in Scotland prior to the election??

May I ask some questions regarding Donald Trump’s visit to Turnberry Scotland in June 2016?

1. On June 9, 2016, the Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr and several Russian operatives occurs.

2. On June 23, 2016, Donald Trump unexpectedly interrupts his campaign to visit Trump Turnberry Golf Resort in Scotland. People are puzzled as to why a presidential candidate would travel to a golf course in Scotland in the middle of his campaign.

3. Did Donald Trump visit Scotland to meet with Russian operatives to follow up on any offers made during the June 9 meeting?

4. Scotland is a favorite vacation spot for rich Russians.

5. Scotland has witnessed Russian money laundering activities in the last few years involving the Royal Bank of Scotland, Dmitry Klyuev, and Renaissance Capital.

6. If there was a major meeting between Donald Trump and Russian operatives at the Trump Turnberry Golf Resort in June 2016, would folks working at the resort have seen something? I believe Ralph Porciani was the General Manager in June 2016. I believe Vladimir Döme was Director of Rooms at Trump Turnberry in June 2016

We report.  You decide.