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The General 'Murican Politics Thread

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59 minutes ago, Candescence said:

They already have. Again, the omnibus includes The Fix NICS Act, which modestly improves the existing gun background-check system, plus a provision instructing the Centers for Disease Control that it is free to conduct research on gun violence, which they haven't been able to do since 1996.

That's huge, but so's the fact we could see a huge age raise to purchase guns across multiple states, which is highly likely to make it way to the Supreme Court.

It's always a fine day when the college-age people the right generally question the rationality of are suddenly the most wronged group in America for being told they can't have firearms.

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Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, the Republican Party continues to demonstrate its anti-democratic credentials:

Quote

Wisconsin GOP will tinker with election laws rather than follow court order

Wisconsin Republicans signaled Friday that they will hold a special election to change election law rather than face special elections in two heavily Republican legislative districts.

On Thursday, Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds ordered Gov. Scott Walker (R) to call special elections in two legislative districts that have been vacant for months.

Walker's attorneys had argued state election law did not require him to fill the seats, because they were made vacant during an off year. The legislators who occupied both seats quit to take jobs in Walker's administration.

But the judge rejected those arguments, ruling in favor of voters from both districts and the National Democratic Redistricting Trust, a group led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, who argued that Walker's refusal to call special elections denied voters their right to representation in Madison.

Reynolds, who was appointed to the bench by Walker, ordered the governor to declare vacancies next week, thus setting up special elections that would be held later this spring or summer.

But in a joint statement released Friday, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) said they would ask Walker to call the legislature back into session in order to change Wisconsin's special election law.

"After consulting with [the state Department of Justice] and others, we have decided it's best to move forward on an extraordinary session in order to clean up the statute on special elections and ensure that it aligns with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act," Vos and Fitzgerald said.

"It's clear that little thought was given to the impact of the special elections ruling," they went on. "In essence, there will be two elections occurring simultaneously for the two offices. It will undoubtedly lead to voter confusion and electoral chaos. Also, holding the special elections after the conclusion of the regular session is a waste of taxpayer dollars and local government resources."

In his own statement, Walker blamed Holder's group for forcing Wisconsin "to waste money on special elections."

"It would be senseless to waste taxpayer money on special elections just weeks before voters go to the polls when the legislature has concluded its business," Walker said. "This is why I support, and will sign, the Senate and Assembly plan to clarify special election law."

Neither the legislative leaders nor Walker addressed costs associated with a special session.

Wisconsin Democrats castigated Walker and the GOP for what they called a singular focus on keeping power, and a disrespect for the judge who ruled against them.

"Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans' sole focus is maintaining their grip on power and once again they are changing the laws to ensure their control," said state Sen. Jennifer Shilling, the Democratic minority leader. "They want to undercut our judicial system and deny thousands of Wisconsin families their constitutional right to equal representation. The Republican efforts to prevent court ordered special elections from being held is the height of corruption and desperation."

The special elections — one in a Senate seat south of Green Bay, one in an Assembly seat north of Madison — would ordinarily favor Republicans. President Trump won the Senate district by 18 points in 2016, and he won the Assembly district by 14 points.

But Wisconsin Republicans were rattled earlier this year when Democrats won a special election for a rural state Senate seat that Trump had won by 17 points in 2016. In a tweet after that election, Walker said the results should be "a wake-up call for Republicans in Wisconsin."

Since Trump's election, Democrats have netted 17 state legislative seats in special elections, in areas ranging from suburban Seattle to rural Oklahoma and from the Miami-Dade area to rural Missouri.

http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/380045-wisconsin-gop-will-tinker-with-election-laws-rather-than-follow-court

Cue Republican zealots in support of Walker chiming in with, "hurr durr we're not a democracy we're a republic hurrrrp," or some other equally ignorant statement that demonstrates how little they know their own country.

It's a sickening display by the GOP, and I hope it goes all the way to the supreme court. They cannot be permitted to change the rules willy nilly to cling to power.

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Er, I'm going to break with the liberal consensus for a moment.

If the session has concluded and there's a regular election right around the corner, it does seem like a smart move to hold off on holding a special election. Of course, they are holding a special legislative session which has its own costs and that weakens the argument depending on the exact costs. Nonetheless, it looks like the 2018 session lasts until May 23rd and with the elections being held on November 6th, it does seem questionable. Particularly since the GOP has such a massive majority that even if Democrats took both these seats, it would not change anything.

I have no doubt to their motivations of course, and it still looks really shady due to the timing.

Honestly, this goes to show the merits of appointment rules in short-term situations. A special election that is won only to have to run again a month later seems like a really pointless one.

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https://www.wisconsinvote.org/election-results

Wisconsin held an election for a state Supreme Court today. Currently it is held by a conservative judge, which has made the state court 5-2 towards conservatives.

Election clerks are reporting higher turnout than expected, and with 33% of the vote counted, the liberal candidate is up almost 20%.

Naturally, some are predicting that Dallet (a Democrat in all but name) is going to win the race, which will put an end to the GOP's winning streak, as it has been dominating state court elections for a while now. It should be noted there is a weak correlation between winning the state court races and winning the Governorship or Congressional seats, but it's certainly more momentum in the Democratic camp if she comes out on top.

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The string of GOP retirements continues.

First up is Dennis Ross of Florida. His district is about 58-42 towards the GOP; with his resignation, this is likely to become a tossup race, putting the Democrats one step closer to a majority.

But the real bombshell?

Paul. Freaking. Ryan. He will not be running for re-election.

With Ryan's departure, the GOP will once more be scrambling to find a leader and this could possibly hurt their midterm chances.

Paul Ryan's seat was 55-43 towards the Democrats in 2012, after the gerrymandering. It's possible his seat could end up flipping.

 

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8 hours ago, SSF1991 said:

The more Republicans gone, the better. I just wish there were more GOP retirements in the Senate.

I can only assume McConnell is really twisting arms to prevent retirements, knowing this is a blue wave year and the GOP would have better luck keeping seats in 2020 or 2022 (if the Democrats win the 2020 Presidential election).

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He's probably seen the writing on the wall, had a think about the yuge profits yet to be made, and decided to get in on the ground floor. I half expect Ryan to do the exact same thing. A lot of these retiring Republicans are going to find their way onto the boards of weed companies as legalization spreads.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to be an idiot:

Uh-huh.

>"I will not telegraph my military actions."
>*Telegraphs military actions*
>*Sharp u-turn after this is pointed out*

Twat.

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James Comey's book is getting a ton of press attention tonight, and will likely dominate headlines over the coming fortnight.

Quote

"[Trump] then began discussing cases where women had accused him of sexual assault, a subject I had not raised. He mentioned a number of women, and seemed to have memorized their allegations."

...

Interacting with Trump, Comey writes, gave him “flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the Mob. The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”

The result, in Comey’s telling, is “the forest fire that is the Trump presidency.”

“What is happening now is not normal,” he writes. “It is not fake news. It is not okay.”

...

In his memoir, Comey paints a devastating portrait of a president who built “a cocoon of alternative reality that he was busily wrapping around all of us.” Comey describes Trump as a congenital liar and unethical leader, devoid of human emotion and driven by personal ego.

Full WaPo article here.

Stunning stuff. Trump is going to go absolutely through the roof, for days on end, over this.

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https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/13/602070410/trump-issues-order-to-review-postal-service-finances-amid-criticism-of-amazon

Meanwhile, the Trump war against Jeff Bezos continues, and now Trump has ordered a review of the Postal Service, claiming that Amazon cheats it.

It's hilarious because in several major cities, Amazon has actually stopped using the postal service in favor of its own package delivery service.

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2 hours ago, Bergamo (Ogilvie) said:

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/13/602070410/trump-issues-order-to-review-postal-service-finances-amid-criticism-of-amazon

Meanwhile, the Trump war against Jeff Bezos continues, and now Trump has ordered a review of the Postal Service, claiming that Amazon cheats it.

It's hilarious because in several major cities, Amazon has actually stopped using the postal service in favor of its own package delivery service.

Not only that, but the postal service actually makes a lot of money from Amazon, so losing Amazon's business would actually deal the USPS a heavy blow.

 

Fucking news out the wazoo this week.

Republicans: Lack of family values is killing America! Look at Clinton & Lewinsky!
Also Republicans: Trump's many affairs, multiple cover-ups, and this illegitimate love child, are all fine, because voters don't care about them. We're cool with all of it.

Can you imagine the furor among the right-wing press and political establishment if any Democrat had done what Trump has? They'd be baying his (or her) head on a pike!

Proof, if any more were needed, that values and morality are partisan. This runs both ways - how many Democrats ignored or otherwise excused Clinton's affair(s)? We generally only really care about them when someone on other side gets into shit, and try to look past our side's indiscretions. This is why so many Trump voters are impervious to his many, many scandals.

Quote

A [Republican] Congressman's Profanity Laced Tirade in a Safeway Grocery Store
One of the President's congressional defenders has privately decided he hates Trump and wants to unload.

"If we're going to lose because of him, we might as well impeach the motherf**ker," said the congressman as we roamed the aisles of a Safeway grocery store together. I haven't been in a Safeway since my family moved home from Dubai in 1990. The congressman did not want to be seen with me on Capitol Hill. He needed to get some stuff anyway and decided he'd let me walk with him through the cereal and dairy selections at the Safeway near my hotel. He is not happy with President Trump. He was never a die hard Trump supporter. He supported him in the general and never expected him to win. But he did. So the congressman, whose district Trump won, has been a regular supporter on Fox News and elsewhere defending the President. He is happy to be quoted, so long as I don't name him. He says he just needs to vent. I suggest what we're doing is one of the reason's Trump won -- a congressman says nice things in public and bad things in private.

"Everybody does this sh*t," he says. It's his turn. We have known each other for years and have been promising to connect this week while I'm passing through DC. So this is it. I'm passing along his comments, not endorsing them.

"I read you writing about this, about wanting to say nice things when you can and criticize when you need to. He may be an idiot, but he's still the President and leader of my party and he is capable of doing some things right," he says before conceding it's usually other people doing the right things in the President's name. "But dammit he's taking us all down with him. We are well and truly f**ked in November. Kevin [McCarthy] is already circling like a green fly circling sh*t trying to take Paul's [Ryan] job because nobody thinks he's sticking around for Nancy [Pelosi]. She's going to f**k up the cafeteria again too. [Lord's name in vain], at least I'll probably lose too and won't have to put up with that sh*t." He won't lose. His district is very Republican.

What's the problem, though? Well, get ready…

"It's like Forrest Gump won the presidency, but an evil, really f*cking stupid Forrest Gump. He can't help himself. He's just a f**king idiot who thinks he's winning when people are b*tching about him. He really does see the world as ratings and attention. I hate Forrest Gump. I listen to your podcast and heard you hate it too. What an overrated piece of sh*t movie. Can you believe it beat the Shawshank Redemption?"

We deviated to Stephen Speilberg for a moment and I had to remind him Robert Zemeckis, not Speilberg, directed it. Then I had to point out his taste in coffee sucks and suggested better. Moving right along…

"Judiciary is stacked with a bunch of people who can win re-election so long as they don't piss off Trump voters in the primary. But if we get to summer and most of the primaries are over, they just might pull the trigger if the President fires Mueller. The sh*t will hit the fan if that happens and I'd vote to impeach him myself. Most of us would, I think. Hell, all the Democrats would and you only need a majority in the House. If we're going to lose because of him, we might as well impeach the motherf**ker. Take him out with us and let Mike [Pence] take over. At least then we could sleep well at night," he said before going off on a tangent about how the situations with Russia and China scare him. Then, "You know having Mike as President would really piss off all the right people, too. They think they hate Trump. Mike is competent," at which point he sighs and laments that there were, in his mind, more than a dozen competent choices in 2016.

So the implication is they wouldn't vote for impeachment if they might be opposed in primaries, I asked. He confirmed he does not think the votes are there to impeach the President if any of the Judiciary Committee members are facing primary opponents. But get through that and, if Mueller is fired, he thinks so and thinks a majority of the House would vote to impeach President Trump.

"I say a lot of shit on TV defending him, even over this. But honestly, I wish the motherf*cker would just go away. We're going to lose the House, lose the Senate, and lose a bunch of states because of him. All his supporters will blame us for what we have or have not done, but he hasn't led. He wakes up in the morning, sh*ts all over Twitter, sh*ts all over us, sh*ts all over his staff, then hits golf balls. F*ck him. Of course, I can't say that in public or I'd get run out of town."

The congressman's base loves the President. And we're done. He feels better having let it all out. It was a funny conversation with a few additional remarks about the President's personal life I dare not print.

And yes, I agree, it is bad form to say all this in private while publicly praising the President. Welcome to Donald Trump's Washington. Everybody does this sh*t here.

https://www.themaven.net/theresurgent/erick-erickson/a-congressman-s-profanity-laced-tirade-in-a-safeway-grocery-store-SeHI2l5bIECGQn4gmnzGaw/?full=1

Absolutely incredible. I hope that he's right when he says that many of them would vote to impeach Trump in the event he gets rid of Mueller, but at this point I have no faith that they'd do that. But maybe if they reasoned that he had become a far greater electoral liability than getting rid of him would be (as ordinarily it'd be electoral suicide), the knives may well be out.

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So genuine question. What are your thoughts on the current issues revolving government assistance to everyone, especially the less fortunate, and the rich doing more to help those under them? Is it something you feel the people of the country are entitled to, is it just gonna enable citizens and make them dependent on the government fixing every issue they have, are the wealthy already doing a lot so shouldn’t need to do more(from articles I’ve seen shared by some the rich apparently pay around 84% of the countries taxes iirc?) , etc? 

Also is empathy(or at least excessive empathy) hurting our country when discussing issues like gun control, immigration, taxes, job equality, etc. are the proposals and desires it sparks in those kinds situations not realistic or practical? 

These are topics I recently saw debated heavily on a post online, and it got me curious about what you all feel.

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Historically, welfare would be very easily abused due to the incentive structure. However, 3/4 of people were still off it within 5 years and most never returned to the rolls. The fact is, pride is strong and deters staying on the dole forever, never mind what you make on the dole is likely to not be as great as what you could make being employed. For most people, it is emotionally and financially satisfying to try for an actual career.

Honestly? Welfare only really became a huge public issue around the 1990s because large numbers of black people signed up for it; historically, measures were in place to deter blacks from gaining benefits, but those started to disappear after the Democrats embraced Civil Rights. It would be accurate to say a lot of conservatives actually have a national socialist mentality: they're fine with socialism... so long as it only benefits whites.

The rich may pay the bulk of taxes in relative terms, but it's the aggregate that matters. Considering they are making the bulk of the income and accumulating the bulk of the wealth, it is absolutely fair to tax their shirts off.

What's more? If they hate paying higher rates, they can always choose to not make extra income. Oh wait. That would be stupid, because even with progressive taxes, it's still worth it to make more, never mind that when you have a massive income, you are likely getting it from a model that is more independent of how much work you put in. It's not like you or me, where our wages directly correlate with hours worked. A businessperson's company has good years and bad years, often beyond their control, and this will change their income accordingly.

Overall, though? The rich can only have their wealth because of the people working below them, the people buying their goods, and the collective society putting infrastructure in place that allows smooth conducting of business. I think it would be perfectly fair to confiscate, say, 90% of what they make, as they'd still have more than most people and quite frankly, the evidence shows we need workers more than bosses. They're not geniuses. They're not mavericks. They're people who got lucky and then say luck should be the basis of multibillion dollar fortunes.

To Hell with that. I say we give workers control of most enterprises and let them decide how much the boss gets paid. They would be nothing without the people below them.

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I don't understand why Assad would launch a large chemical weapon attack at this late stage of the Syrian Civil War, when his victory is all but assured via conventional means, and when chemical attacks are one of the few things likely to draw foreign powers in on the rebels' side.

Did Russia force, or otherwise coerce, them into attacking with chemical weapons, to get the UK spy poisoning fiasco (and the UN investigation into it that Russia has been blocking) out of the headlines?

Are the Russians trying to divert western rage into Syria while they move enormous numbers of heavy weapons, military personnel and other war materiel to the Ukrainian border?

Edit: This is beautiful:

:wub: Almost as beautiful as Mark Hamill reading out a fresh batch of Trump tweets:

 

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The strikes will do nothing. The Pentagon has no Syria strategy, and Trump has publicly expressed that he has no desire for a war, so Assad and Putin will just wait them out and go back to business as usual, same as last year.

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