There Is A War On Women! And We Are Losing!

Another great blog from from our lady of the left, meet Angie Brill, our latest Guest writer. The Mean Progressive is a writer on the far left whose focus is primarily the Stupidparty (who she calls Regressives). I have added a couple of video’s at the end including one of George Carlin, because I just could not resist.

If you cut off my reproductive choice, I'll cut yours off

The right goes out of its way to make a mockery of the phrase ‘War on Women.’ They are desperate to spread the word that the real war is being waged by the left because by claiming there is a movement against us we are creating victims out of women, instead of heroes. In their conflated logic, either we can promote all women to equality or just celebrate those who have already made it there.  This makes as much sense as the rest of their rhetoric so I will just leave it right there. In their desperate attempt to protect American women in this war, the Regressive Party is presently attempting to pass a law that is literally unconstitutional. Although the Supreme Court held in its Roe v. Wade decision that abortions were legal and the states could not decide until the time that the fetus could be deemed ‘viable,’ it offered no specificity on the term. Six years later, in Colautti V Franklin the court told the states (and has not since changed its opinion):

“[N]either the legislature nor the courts may proclaim one of the elements entering into the ascertainment of viability—be it weeks of gestation or fetal weight or any other single factor—as the determinant of when the State has a compelling interest in the life or health of the fetus.

Abortions after 20 weeks make up 1% of those performed annually. They are done out of necessity, not on a whim. Women have these procedures because they have been determined necessary by the doctor and the patient after having discussed health concerns. Many birth defects cannot even be detected until 20 weeks with an ultrasound. And most insurance companies will not even pay for ultrasounds until 20 weeks so the line is drawn right there, isn’t it? What if you can’t have a doctors appointment until the very day of your 20 weeks? What if you cannot get in until the following week? What if the doctor tells you on the day of your 20th week that your child has a birth defect and you have to decide immediately? Do you have time to go home and discuss options with your family? Will the doctor perform the surgery that very day? The obvious answer is: NO. Of course, no intelligent person is having this discussion and only irrational people are screaming about nonsense meant to distract anyone from having  meaningful reflection on the human beings (those which are already actually alive) who are left in these situations and what we would be allowing them to go through if this bullshit passes Congress.

These are the women who have 20+ week abortions

All rational discussions can only begin right here: Abortions are a legal medical procedure. Once you begin in the correct frame of mind, a thoughtful human being has a lot of questions to ask themselves and, more importantly, their society:
Why is it that in America we have had legal and safe abortions for over 40 years and have had to fight so hard to maintain that right? Why are our ‘representatives’ allowed to create laws to limit and restrict our rights? Why are they allowed to go on a witch hunt and determine Planned Parenthood is the purveyor of all evil in the country and attack them so blatantly?
None of the funding for abortions is paid for by federal funds. That reminder comes up every time that we have the Planned Parenthood argument. Although it is an important aside to this specific argument, it also begs the question: Why? It is a legal right. Why are they allowed to deny funding of a legally legitimate health care procedure?Why are states allowed to pass laws to create a waiting period? and consent? and limit where a procedure can be performed? and dictate the policies of the hospitals/clinics performing the surgeries? and force women to listen to an ultrasound or read specific literature?

The answers are simple. And tragic. 

Roe V Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973. The objective of the anti-choice activists and politicians has been very singular ever since: Have it overturned. They take every opportunity they can find to challenge any aspect of the ruling they think there is a precedent for (or they can have a state create for them) and their steadfast objective has been successful. The Supreme Court has repeatedly allowed the cases to come before it and each time they have the verbiage and the meanings behind those rulings have made the statues more hazy. The Regressives, if nothing else, are masters of word play and repeatedly concoct ways to dismantle the ruling one piece at a time.

In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled on Planned Parenthood of SE Pennsylvania V Casey, where three centrist judges (Kennedy, O’Connor and Souter) wrote a joint opinion which remind us of something that will be true for as long as radicals try to limit women’s rights:

“The Constitution serves human values and while the effect of reliance on Roe cannot be exactly measured, neither can the certain costs of overruling Roe for people who have ordered their thinking and living around that case be dismissed.

Although reflection of the opinion quote above can give us all pause and remind us of the truths about objectives, ultimately the Supreme Court decision in Casey created so many holes in the language of Roe v. Wade that the entire 23 years since have offered voice to every radical who wanted to find a way to let semantics dictate our rights.

Those presently running for President are falling all over themselves trying to prove that they are the most ardent supporter of the anti-choice movement. This hearing on Congress, no doubt, is a great opportunity for three of them in the Senate to take the spotlight off of Trump for a minute. And the governors can use this time to boast about their own records.

Jeb Bush was able pass a law in Florida where women seeking abortions needed to get consent. Described here, he even went out of his way to stop abortions by women who had been raped (yes, she needed consent from her rapist):

“… involving a 22-year-old rape victim who was both pregnant and developmentally disabled, Bush asked a court to appoint a guardian to represent the woman’s fetus. The woman had been raped while living in state-supervised facilities, but did not have the mental capacity to identify her attacker.

And for a child whose parental consent would come from the State … In 2005, Bush fought to prevent a pregnant 13-year-old girl, who was a ward of the state, from having an abortion. He was overruled by a judge, and CNN later reported that Bush’s “abortion activism shocked some state officials who believed he was reaching beyond the powers of his office.”

Jeb Bush, I feel it is important to point out, is a perfect example of why this rhetoric around abortion rights is, indeed, a part of a War on Women. In 1995 he wrote, Profiles in Character, a book meant to explain that society’s ills are due to our neglecting our own responsibilities by giving them to the government (its quite contrived but this begins their discussion about why we should have small government so the rich can pay fewer taxes – the latter part, of course, is always omitted from the argument). Society was failing because of the number of unwed pregnancies and the offense here was, quite clearly, society’s tolerance of female promiscuity. There is a place for women and in his dark world, it is clear that he thinks its his job to get us back there:

“One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.

Yep. This prefaced his signing a law requiring women to put an ad in the local newspaper listing all of the men she had slept with before being allowed to put her child up for adoption. The notice had to contain a physical description, including, but not limited to age, race, hair and eye color, and approximate height and weight of the mother and of any person the mother reasonably believes may be the father; the child’s date of birth; and any date and city, including county and state in which the city is located, in which the conception may have occurred. This had to run every week for a month. No War on Women here. Not from a man who wants to deny funding for your abortions and embarrass you out of even having an adoption. Nothing here but good old fashioned care for unborn ‘children.’

In last weeks debate Chris Christie beamed over his own record of having defunded Planned Parenthood and voting against it each of the 8 years since. Glorious! Although this account is actually misleading (I know, you are shocked), it is telling of his role in the War on Women. He eliminated $7.5 million for women’s health care funding, none of which went to abortions.

I live in Ohio. 74% of Ohioans are opposed to shutting down Planned Parenthood. That won’t stop our governor and current Presidential candidate, John Kasich, from sticking anti-choice legislation in bills that have nothing to do with health care so no one notices. He has already cut half of the states clinics. This fall he is expected to sign a new bill which will ban women from choosing to terminate because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome. PAUSE. This bill is actually trying to tell women what their reasoning can be for an abortion. If that is not offensive enough for you, consider what precedent that sets. Remember, that is what all of the states have been trying all along: set a precedent to take to the Supreme Court.

Kasich obviously doesn’t care about representing 74% of his constituents. This is pervasive with candidates on the right. Even though only the radicals on the right support anti-choice legislation, the candidates will continue to fight. If it is something their electorate does not support then why do they overwhelmingly vote against women’s issues?

BECAUSE THERE IS A FUCKING WAR ON WOMEN. God. Damn.

Don’t allow people to confuse the discussion by throwing a word like ‘feminazi’ in a sentence or pretending to give a shit about ‘life.’ We live in a society where the women’s movement hasn’t moved much at all. We live in a society that accepts condemnation for those who fight for our rights. We live in a society that tells itself the rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment aren’t necessarily attributable to women. Does that sound like bullshit? Is this Mean Progressive being dramatic? Then why have we still not passed the Equal Rights Amendment in nearly 100 years?Every opportunity that we have had to make a stand and ignored it while hoping others will step up and do their part brought us to this moment. And do not be mistaken, THIS MOMENT is crucial. The House has managed to get enough votes to defund Planned Parenthood. This is a lot more than their usual antics. It is an imperative that this be stopped. Please go to this site and fill in the blanks. It takes only a moment.

Tell your senators to reject the nationwide 20 week abortion ban
Click Here

ALSO BY Angie Brill, don’t miss Abortion Party.

Making shit up stupidparty style. Note the chart drawn up by a five year old -a chart that questioner lied about.

Just for some comic light relief. George Carlin back in 1983 nails it.

The Pope is Exercising an Exorcism right before our Eyes

On the day after the Blood Moon -it is time to thank our luck stars, for we have a new force in the constellation and now all you need is a telescope or the internet to see how this force can be harnessed. Sunday’s was the fourth appearance of a blood moon over the last two years, in what is known as a tetrad series.Will this be an omen that the ascendancy of Stupidparty will doom all of mankind—or will the forces of Math, Science and Fact and common decency start reviving our chances of survival, of thriving as human beings and protecting our beautiful planet?

Hallelujah – we have a Pope, an Argentinian, an ex-night club bouncer, a Pope who actually has something relevant to say, a Pope who seems to have some grounding in the values of the New Testament, in the values of Jesus Christ.

This new beacon, like a lighthouse, not only shines the spotlight forward onto the oceans of need, but backward onto an establishment that had become bankrupt, irrelevant. The previous incumbent, breaking six hundred years of precedent, resigned because of ill health. This excuse was later amended to say he received some type of message from God. Well, I guess if anyone has a shot at it—but we would hope for some consistency, especially considering that his health one year later seems just fine.

A more plausible explanation: the ever-expanding Vatican scandals, combined with dwindling credibility and the suspect long-term financial outlook of Vatican Venture, Inc. Like any corporation with a plummeting stock price resulting from a faulty product and tainted leadership, the CEO had to step down.

Having righted that sinking Ship, this Pope sets sails right into the heart of the dark forces that threaten the whole of humanity—the forces congregated in the US Congress and on the Supreme Court:

Three Catholic Supreme Court Justices figure that the Pope is not worth their time. Perhaps they were too busy at the supermarket trying to figure out which Koch product would best fit their needs: Would it be “Angel Soft” toilet paper, or “Quilted Northern” toilet paper. Or would “Soft ‘n Gentle” serve me better?

Scalia, Thomas and Alito--Catholics--skip the Pope's address to Congress.

The three people in the most need of guidance on the teachings of Jesus, who most need to be torn away from the hate that can be found in the Old Testament and the hijacked teachings of Jesus—well, when push comes to shove, they have all the answers; but so do we. They are not Catholics, but even worse they are not Christians. Hence we always know what their answers will be, because they are not simply spiritually shallow, they are misogynist tools for the asset strippers who handpicked them for their purposes: to empower laws that are the polar opposite of the teachings of Jesus.

“Speaker John Boehner is a very proud and sincere Catholic, and I think it can’t not have an effect,” said Sheldon Whitehouse [Rhode Island Senator]. “I also think it will change the debate in public because it isn’t just an encyclical that goes up on the Vatican website. Every Catholic school will teach to it. Every Catholic parish will teach to it. Catholic universities will teach to it. It will be a significant force in the community and create very significant ripples.” Those ripples will likely travel well beyond Catholics, who make up about a quarter of the US population. Other conservatives will be influenced by the pope’s message toWhat message did John Boehner hear?o and they are unlikely to be receptive to the conservatives’ attacks.

What message did John Boehner hear?

Pope Francis’ visit to Congress the day before was a “crystallizing moment, for the leader of the House.” Boehner who had had a private face to face with the Pope was clearly moved. I wonder what may have crystallized this moment for Boehner, who was destined to resign shortly after such an epiphany –perhaps if we look at some of the Pope’s own words we can find the answer.

On Misogyny:
“The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions.”

What about the Moochers?
“The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty!”

What does he to have to say to religious fundamentalists who preach intolerance?
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”

John Boehner, repents and resigns. Forgiven of his sins.

What does he have to say about being oblivious to growing Income Discrepancy?
“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

What about the gas guzzlers, the frackers, the drill baby drillers, climate deniers, the environmental asset strippers?
“Safeguard Creation,” he said, “because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!  Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few. Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.”

But Pope Francis not only fully understands that the focus on abortion, contraception, homosexuality is destructive; he does not appear to have much time for the fine print either:
“The church has sometimes locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,” Francis said. “The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials.”

And finally and most pertinently:
“When we exploit Creation, we destroy the sign of God’s love for us.  In destroying Creation, we are saying to God, `I don’t like it!  This is not good!’  `So what do you like?’  `I like myself!’  Here, this is sin.  Do you see?”

Pope Francis is saying that humanity’s destruction of the planet is a sinful act, likening it to self-idolatry. Let me repeat, to destroy the planet is a sinful act. No, the Pope is not ripping America—he is ripping the sandy foundations of the Stupidparty house, that is made of straw—and the big bad Pope has just huffed and puffed and blown that house down.

Do you see?

On Abortion: A priest may forgive.

Rubio gets a lesson from an adult:

Rubio gets a lesson from an adult:

The Exorcism of 16 Stupidparty Faithfuls

OK – let the exorcism begin. Let out all the hate, vent, get it out of your system, and bring it forth for all to see. For while hate and stupidparty remain closeted it cannot be laid bare. Now come out into the sunlight, twist and turn, scream and shout and wriggle it all about and do the hokey pokey and then we can see your views, jot them down, analyze them and prescribe a remedy.

Rush Limbaugh: ” Pope Francis is a “Marxist”  On Climate: “The Pope’s Leaked Marxist Climate Rant” Pope Supports Leaving “Everybody … Living Equally In Misery” and that the papal encyclical suggests that rich countries “need to keep giving” money to the poor “until our rich are no longer rich.”

Michael Savage: Pope sounds like he is “Directing Mankind to Worship the Antichrist” and is a “Danger To The World, a “great deceiver”, “stealth Marxist”,  “eco-wolf in pope’s clothing”, “directing mankind to worship the Antichrist.” “We are living in global tyranny right now”.

WSJ Columnist Peggy Noonan warned the Vatican might be making a “Mistake” because it “fears being tagged as antiscience and antifact”.

Fox News’ Greg Gutfleld calls the Pope “Marxist,” says he “Could Be On Occupy Wall Street.” 

Fox Contributor Andrew Napolitano: Pope wants to “Shame People Into Distributing Wealth” based on “Alleged” Global Warming.

Breitbart Editor: Encyclical [on climate] includes language you would expect from a “16-Year-Old Trotting Out … Formulaic Bilge And Accepted Faux-Wisdom.” 

 Fox Business’ Stuart Varney “The Pope Is In Alliance” with Obama to “Reshape The World” by “Redistributing The Wealth.”

Climate Denier and blogger Steve Milloy: Encyclical is “Adolescent, Insipid” and Pope is a “People-Hater.” 

John Hinderaker Powerline: “The Pope Has No Idea What He’s Talking About.”  Breitbart Promoted Climate Denier’s Claim That “Marxists, Global Warming Extremists Control Vatican.” Breitbart promoted the claims of Christopher Monckton, a supposed “expert” for the industry-funded Heartland Institute, in an article headlined, “Climate Expert: Marxists, Global Warming Extremists Control Vatican.”

Jeb!!! Bush!!! “I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my pope,” Bush said. “I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.”

James Inhofe “The pope ought to stay with his job, and we’ll stay with ours,”  said the granddaddy of climate change deniers in the US Congress and chairman of the Senate environment and public works committee.

Rick Santorum, a devout Catholic and a long-shot contender for the Republican nomination, told a Philadelphia radio station: “The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we’re good at, which is theology and morality.”

GOP Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, for instance, skipped the Pope’s speech because, Gosar said, Pope Francis has spoken out against climate change and failed to speak out “with moral authority against violent Islam.”

Coulter, Beck and Tantaros tweet their ignorance

So now we have it. Stupidparty cannot handle simple truths about Jesus, about Christianity. American evangelicals—80% of them are not Christians. You cannot vote for an asset stripping, misogynistic, serial lying Mormon and consider yourself a Christian. What the hell do you think Jesus would have said to the titans of Bain Capital? He lost his temper just once; I bet he could do it one more time.

Jesus cared about the poor, he did not need a weapon, he was not interested in bashing foreigners, minorities, women, abortion or supporting armed insurrection, in fact Jesus is the polar opposite to the Stupidparty in every conceivable way.

Now we have a Pope, who has an interest in returning to the actual teachings of Jesus, and he is sprinkling holy water upon all who are in his wake. In his wake we see the Stupidparty members fizzing and burning, their very souls exploding; hate literally being shred around their aura. Will this destroy them, turning them into eternal wraiths, souls without a home, or will they have a chance at salvation? Can Boehner do some good in his last month; how will he repent?

For if there is a God, god appears to be talking and seemingly he is no longer talking to self-anointed idiots –he has gone to the Vatican and he has started at the top. Perhaps we are today, on the very dawn of the night that was meant to mark the end of the world. The “Blood Moon” brings prophecies of end times, but NASA says not to worry. Perhaps on this dawn we can see the rekindling of good in orderto prevent the end of mankind—a species that threatens to destroy itself as a result of its own stupidity.

Many powerful people don't want peace because they live off of war.

Republican “Debate” Circus Round 2:

Trump vs. Fiorina and Why the Kids’-Table Debate Was Better

Florina or Cara Carleton Florina is an American businesswoman and a political party member she was unsuccessful in the 2016 Republican Presidential election. In the year 2006, she wrote her autobiography.she also worked with John McCains as a consultant for 2008 S presidential election. To know more about her click learn the facts here now

Fiorina, Trump, and Carson lead in the pollsGoogle Trends

A Tale of Two “Debates”

On one level, you have to feel sorry. Not for the Republicans—they most certainly have brought this fiasco on themselves—but for the TV networks. How on earth is it possible to conduct a substantive, informative debate with ten or eleven people on stage taking part at the same time?? I am not arguing that Fox News or even, especially, CNN, could not have done a better job with their debates; they both could have, but such action would not have made much of a difference. The main problem was that there were just too many damn candidates on stage at the same time. Just before the first main debate back in August, there was a pre-main-“debate” “kids’-table” debate with the seven bottom-feeders out of the seventeen candidates. That pre-debate debate then was boring and unremarkable. Not so for the pre-“debate” debate this time around: while eleven people made it into the main “debate” this time, in terms of the pre-“debate” debate, the hapless Jim Gilmore, at 0% in the polls, was not included, plus Rick Perry had dropped out. So that only left four candidates—George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and Lindsey Graham—in the pre-main “debate” kids-table bottom- feeder “debate” extravaganza.

That smaller debate was everything the main “debate” should have been: informative, entertaining, substantive, deep, with some candidates willing to speak harsh truths to their base and an exchange of views in which candidates clearly differentiated themselves on politics and governing philosophy. Absolutely none of these qualities were present to any significant degree in the three-hour show that was labeled the main “debate” but that can hardly be characterized as such. Even when it came to the entertainment factor, the main debate only had exceptions to what was in general a boring slog that only gave candidates on the crowded stage enough time to spew talking points, slogans, and one-liners that generally were not able to stand up factually to scrutiny. Some candidates in the main “debate”—especially the much overhyped Carly Fiorina (more on her in a soon-to-be-published piece by yours truly) did a good job delivering their hackneyed and rehearsed lines. Yet unless this is an audition for a slightly colorful infomercial, that should hardly be a metric as to whether a person should be considered for the office of President of the United States of America (Sorry, Fiorina).  In contrast, in the pre-“debate” debate, everyone was sharp, everyone crisp, everyone articulate, everyone had moments to shine, and everyone was able to withstand vigorous challenges from their fellow candidates but were also able to issue strong challenges themselves.

I might have been having more beers during the main “debate,” but I honestly can remember very little from it and the alcohol is not the reason why. The main “debate” and its candidates were duds, unremarkable from beginning to end. We can give Rubio credit for having fire and also seeming “competent” (relative to a lot more obvious and blatant nonsense) and Christie was able to eke out some maturity and substance as well, but the format simply did not give them or the others enough time to shine or candidates like Trump, Cruz, and Carson enough rope to hang themselves. At the same time, I will also note that many people—including one of my best friends who is a very intelligent conservative Republican and successful attorney—aren’t looking for substance or well-crafted policy solutions from experienced politicians; they are looking for a style that is pleasing to them and ideology that meshes with theirs (a bizarre mix of an exclusionary sense of self-entitlement, thoroughly unoriginal nativism, hatred of government and politicians, intense anti-intellectualism, an embrace of evangelical fundamentalist Christianity, and other troubling ideas) a phenomenon that I must admit confuses me at times, though not entirely. This is the reason why the political pundit class has been so off with its predictions and why this Republican presidential race in particular is so unpredictable (going into October, who before would have had Trump and Carson as #1 and #2/#3, respectively, way ahead of pretty much everyone else both nationally and in the key early-contest states?), and I must regrettably, at least to a degree, include myself in this class: while I thought that Trump had a legitimate shot, I did not see the race playing out like this overall, and I had thought that Carson was done after what I thought was a terrible performance in the first debate, with me predicting his exit sooner rather than later.

Part of what makes this race so confusing is the steady position of Trump at the top, and the volcanic magma mess of the middle. Only Fiorina has made it out of the pack of bottom-feeders to the main stage, but I and others find it hard to believe that she will actually rise to the top. A real part of the problem and confusion is that as one candidate rises, it is hard to predict at whose expense this occurs. Ben Carson may have taken a nibble at best out of Trump so far, but Trump’s support is relatively strong and steady and the rise of anyone other than Trump seems to take support away from anyone other than Trump. As I wrote earlier, if such a dynamic continues, Trump could very well continue to stay on top in a crowded field and win the nomination, or, at the very least, have the most delegates of any single candidate going into the convention.

As for the specifics of the main “debate,” in many ways it was the true kids’-table-debate. Some of this is because of the candidates themselves, some of it the moderation and questions, but most of it has to do with the fact that with eleven candidates on single stage, hoping for substantive exchanges is like hoping for ISIS to set up academic exchanges with Israeli universities.

Still, let’s talk about the candidates.

The Republicans Contenders Going Forward…

CNN released a poll conducted just after the “debate.” Nationally, Trump is still on top by nine points (24%), but dropped slightly compared with recent polls. Ben Carson fell quite a bit and is now third (14%), but is practically tied with Fiorina (15%), who saw a huge bump and is now technically in second place. Rubio saw a big boost that nearly doubled his support (11%) and is now in fourth place, with Bush relatively holding steady or gaining just a bit (9%) and in fifth place. Cruz and Huckabee are hanging in there, both tied for sixth place (6% each). Fitting with (and probably because of) his dismal “debate” performance (although for the sake of the American republic I wish it was because of his weak record), Walker—once a great hope of the Republican faithful—is now polling at o%, behind even Santorum, who was not even part of the main “debate.” If he doesn’t finish near the top in Iowa, which is as likely as Mitt Romney throwing his hat into the ring and winning the nomination, expect Walker to drop out soon (UPDATE: 9/22: Walker has, unsurprisingly, dropped out). Christie, Kasich, and Paul are floating in the bottom, but are each within striking distance of the middle. Christie can rely on his strong debate performances and record of substance as a governor, along with his ability to skillfully and quickly convey that record. Kasich is loved by the media as the conservative with a heart; he also has a strong record as a governor and a U.S. Congressman and is in the top tier in New Hampshire, the second contest of the primaries. Paul is, well, a Paul; he may yet be able to tap into more of his father’s die-hard supporters and be the libertarian and youth-voter banner-carrier of these primaries. The bottom four in the other debate? They all performed well; for the questions that matter, was anyone paying attention, and does anyone care? That remains to be seen. For the sake of argument, let’s say 3-5 candidates (including Gilmore) drop out in the coming few months; does that leave room at the adult table for anyone from the pre-“debate” debate who stays in race? It would be a tough battle, especially with the media seeming so keen (consciously or unconsciously) on seeing a Republican woman be elevated, but not impossible (if anyone breaks out, my money is on Santorum;nhis message is in some ways unique, he is passionate, and he has a potential army of volunteers who campaigned for him in 2012 that he can call upon in the eleven primary states he won when he came in second to Mitt Romney in 2012), which is much more recent and therefor more relevant than Huckabee’s 2008 second-place finish).

Trump was… well, still Trump, if just a bit off from his performance of the first debate. That is to say, he was unapologetic and a bully, but this is what his supporters love the most about him. What others see as weaknesses, his supporters inhale like laughing gas. No matter what inane things come out of his mouth, Trump has stayed strong: for three months, he has been the only candidate consistently polling nationally above 20%, and the only one to poll above 30% at all. Only Ben Carson has also been above 20%, but only recently and if the latest CNN poll is the harbinger of what is to come, Carson may have already peaked and his 20+% support may be over, though officially count me as wait-and-see as to whether Carson has peaked, but it’s a possibility (see below). Trump has also dominated the key early-contest states. And, obviously, he has very effectively dominated the media coverage of the Republican field. So those thinking that somehow this debate was a game changer for him are almost certainly wrong, just as they have been before. Also, don’t forget about how much money he has; if he chooses, he can flood any market he wants with ads. Maybe he even pulls a Ross Perot and buys large chunks of prime-time TV slots that he turns into infomercials. All I can say is that any Trump television anything will be dramatically higher quality (“THE BEST!” “THE CLASSIEST!”) in terms of production values compared to his competitors, and certainly far more entertaining and therefore captivating. Basically, those writing Trump off seem to be missing the big picture.

Fiorina, as in past performances, didn’t stumble. She continued to make the most of her (weak) resume (denying that her performances as a CEO were not awful, which they certainly at least seem to be and which I will discuss in my next piece) and make a big deal out of the fact that she’s met “Bibi” Netanyahu (always referring to him by his nickname as if we are supposed to believe that they are BFFs or perhaps even past lovers; contrast this with Hillary Clinton’s more substantive discussion of her actual relationship with him) and met Putin, King Abdullah of Jordan, and others before as if a few meetings with world leaders as the CEO of a major tech company means the UN should roll out the red-carpet for her to be Secretary-General (this reminds me a bit of Sarah Palin saying Russia was near Alaska and that that made her qualified on foreign policy issues, although to be fair to Fiorina her global experience was much more substantive than Palin’s and the fact that she can say she’s met these people is something most of her rivals cannot claim, so one can’t blame her for milking those meetings for everything she can get from them). Fiorina delivered her lines well, but that’s all they were: rehearsed lines, and they were often impractical or factually incorrect (e.g., claiming she can get the world to reimpose sanctions on Iran when world powers clearly do not want to, her shameful exaggerations of the planned parenthood video, etc.), but in this she was in good company on that stage. As a performance artist, she was good: making the most out of a weak record, sounding strong, not stumbling over her words, having a (brief) answer to everything. She performed her role on stage as well as anyone and better than most of the people who shared that stage with her. Never mind that her answers, statements, and characterizations won’t hold up to scrutiny: a debate with eleven people on stage has time for almost nothing, let alone scrutiny. Fiorina understands the game, used both debates as a way make herself “viable” in this incredibly weak field, and played the game well. The media would do well do recognize and discuss the difference between debate performance and being a serious candidate for high office. If she stays in the top three or four spots in the polls between now and the next debate, expect moderators and candidates to go after her many glaring weaknesses, not least of all her record as a CEO. She is also weak in fundraising (though she has a respectable amount of personal wealth—some $59 million—upon which to draw). Consider this one overhyped, but don’t dismiss her.

Carson very likely failed to capitalize on his solidly #2 position entering the debate; he declined to go after the only candidate—Trump—who was ahead of him. He was his usual rambling and incoherent self, a self that is also charming and affable, and this self, who seems like a terrible candidate to most of us, is beloved by evangelicals, over one-quarter of America’s population and a huge portion of the Republican base. This helps to explain his unpredictable rise. The first post-“debate” poll just released saw his support drop considerably, but it is still in the middle-teens and though he is technically third, he is virtually tied with Fiorina for second. I do not think anyone should be predicting a collapse of Carson anytime soon, and though his days of nipping at trump’s heels may (I’m only saying MAY) be over, it is quite possible for him to stay in the top tier for the foreseeable future and even beyond. The truth about him and Trump is that they appeal to the fearful, the irrational, and the emotional, and few words besides those three could better describe today’s Republican base. The pundit class would do well to remember this, and factor in the fact that their popularity does not make sense and should not make sense, but that this support is real and needs to be recognized. The fact that a candidate like Fiorina is being taken seriously by the “serious” wing of the Republican Party now, more so than Bush, is a joke in and of itself.

The most intelligent, realistic, and substantive Republicans are probably torn between Rubio and Bush. This, too, is sad in some ways, though not as much as is the case of the candidates discussed above. To me, Rubio is a better performer and more exciting and fiery than Bush, but Bush is more measured with his foreign policy statements and in general, especially on the signature issue of our times, the Iran nuclear deal, an issue on which Rubio is simply ridiculous. Bush, much older than Rubio, also carries more gravitas. Both have moderate streaks, especially on immigration, but Rubio is a bit more radical and rose to power with support from the Tea Party movement. Bush-Rubio could be a formidable ticket (possibly even in reverse order). Rubio seems to have more potential to gain from debates, outperforming Bush in both debates so far, but offsetting this people also need to remember that Bush has raised $114 million, and though his polling numbers do not suggest this, he has barely begun to utilize those resources. For either to rise to the top, both still have a lot of work to do; neither of them lead in any polls, even in their home state of Florida, where in the latest poll Bush and Rubio are a distant third (13%) and fourth (10%), respectively, to Trump’s 28% and Carson’s 17% and where the last three polls have in them in the same ranking.

Cruz and Huckabee didn’t do any damage to themselves, but didn’t do anything to help themselves rise from where they are—the top of the middle—either.  As I already noted above, Paul, Kasich, and Christie are all within striking distance of breaking out, at least to Cruz-Huckabee levels; if the elections gods (and media) deem it so, any one of them could be another Fiorina, though as white males lacking vaginas, they don’t do much to address the dire diversity problem the Republican Party faces and the uphill, lopsided demographics battles it will face in the 2016 general election. The Kids’-Table four, unlike Scott Walker, seemed very eager for a chance to prove their mettle and relished the spotlight; they seem to have to drive and motivation to continue fighting for a long time. And in a long, volatile, race, they are not that far away from Paul, Kasich, and Christie and, therefore, are not far away from being within striking distance of being relevant. Bobby Jindal, himself an Indian-American, maybe very well become more appreciated by Republican voters and elites as well as conservative media if any of them start thinking with their heads, although he never talks about his Indian heritage. In this way, he is not that different from Ben Carson, and do not underestimate the power to appeal to conservatives of person in a minority group totally downplaying their identity as part of that minority (Republicans love that sort of thing).

All in all, the race is far from over and promises to be a long, hard, interesting slog.

Brian E. Frydenborg (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter @bfry1981) September 22nd, 2015

More Election 2016 coverage from this author:

Scott Walker – Wisconsin Voters Decide to Slit their Throats

Republican Presidential Candidate Scott Walker’s Record as Governor of Wisconsin Is Hardly an Asset, Especially When It Comes to the Economy. 

In the year-and-half before Scott Walker took office—a period that was officially after the end of the Great Recession—Wisconsin actually had an impressive recovery under two-term Democratic Governor Jim Doyle, in office since 2003:

Scott Kevin Walker is a politician of United States, he is the present governor of Wisconsin. He won 2012 recall election and again got re-elected in 2014 as governor. He was also the member of Wisconsin state general assembly. He was born in Colorado and worked with American Red Cross in the earlier part of his life. To know more about him, click here for further information

Wisconsin added jobs at a faster pace than the U.S. as a whole and most individual states, the value of publicly-traded Wisconsin companies was up 40%, and tax revenue was up 50%. It was found that, after New Hampshire, Wisconsin actually had the lowest rise in economic insecurity from 2008-2010. And then they elected Walker.

By Brian E. Frydenborg (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter @bfry1981) September 16th, 2015

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker proves to be a poor choice as a Republican presidential candidate.

Steve Apps- State Journal

[This blog has been slightly edited, in regards to a couple of comments about Jeb Bush, who is not the topic of this blog— standard misconceptions, yet very distressing ones, that do not tie in with material unearthed whilst undertaking an in-depth analysis of Jeb Bush, such analysis should be published within a few weeks. (Patrick Andendall)]

When it comes to politics, I am much more of a policy guy than a personality guy.  I love wonk, and disdain showmen.  I was far more excited about John Kerry as a candidate than Barack Obama (that’s not to say I wasn’t excited about Obama, just not as much as Kerry).  In other words, I care much more about a politician’s record and specific plans than about “character,” “values,” or any of the other more amorphous concepts that are constantly bandied about in our rather thin political discourse.

When it comes to Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s controversial Republican governor, we may be satisfied in knowing that there is a clear record on which we can judge him.  So judge him on this record we must, if we are to fulfill our duty as citizens of this republic when we consider for whom we will be voting.  Thus, below, there will be a discussion of the record of this man as Wisconsin’s governor and a concluding discussion of how this record either makes him worthy of consideration for the highest national office or, conversely, merits him as unworthy of such consideration.

Wisconsin Before Walker

Of course, to judge any record, context is required, so we must examine what Wisconsin was like before Scott Walker became governor.  Obviously, the years before Walker took the office of Governor of Wisconsin in January of 2011 were tough ones for America and Wisconsin, following the years of the Great Recession (2008-2009).  Still, the recession in Wisconsin was not as severe as it was, on average, in the United States as a whole.  Whereas the U.S. as a whole saw employment fall 5.6%, Wisconsin’s employment rate fell by 5.2% (meaning Wisconsin held onto over 7% more of its jobs), and by 2012, Wisconsin recovered 96.7% of its 2010 pre-recession employment level, whereas the U.S. had only recovered 95.3%.  In the year-and-half before Walker took office—a period that was officially after the end of the Recession—Wisconsin actually had an impressive recovery under two-term Democratic Governor Jim Doyle, in office since 2003: Wisconsin added jobs at a faster pace than the U.S. as a whole and most individual states, the value of publicly-traded Wisconsin companies was up 40%, and tax revenue was up 50%.  Additionally, a collaborative effort of a team of leading academics came up with an “Economic Security Index” measurement involving employment, medical care, wealth, and family arrangements meant to demonstrate the level of economic insecurity (i.e., the level of large economic losses for people year-to-year) in each state; in the accompanying reports, it was found that, after New Hampshire, Wisconsin actually had the lowest rise in economic insecurity from 2008-2010 out the forty-eight continental states and the District of Columbia (Hawaii and Alaska were outliers and difficult to measure), covering the entire period of the Great Recession and all of Wisconsin’s recovery period before Scott Walker assumed office.  Another measure, the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States, which looks at a range of economic indicators, ranked Wisconsin 20th-best out of all states for Doyle’s 2007-2010 second-term (the same rank applied for the single year 2010, the last year of Doyle’s governorship) and ranks the state #10 overall from the end of the recession until Doyle let office.  Doyle’s second term rank was up from ranking #42 throughout his first term.  Unless one would make the argument that Doyle as governor had no effect, it would seem he managed the Great Recession and recovery relatively well, then.

Of course, there are a large number of factors affecting what a governor can accomplish while in office and affecting these outcomes besides just who is governor, but these statistics and measurements are certainly a necessary dataset to have handy in any discussion of attempting to measure Walker’s impact and performance as governor, which necessarily must be judged in terms of the situation he inherited and what he did with it.

Now you have something of a picture of how Wisconsin was doing relative to other states and the rest of the nation throughout the Great Recession, and before Scott Walker was able to have any impact as Governor of Wisconsin.

Walker Walks onto the Stage

Despite the fact that Wisconsin did better than just about any other state, as the Economic Security Index data makes clear, the people of Wisconsin still suffered greatly during the Great Recession, with about one in six people in the state losing at least 25% of their wealth from one year to the next during the period.  This was such a bad crisis, though, that that is actually a good record.  But one can’t really blame Wisconsin voters for not realizing that or feeling that; voters don’t pay attention to the idea that their relatively less devastated status is better than most, they think more about the fact that they are still devastated.  This translates into anti-incumbent-party feelings.  In fact, in America in general, normal people have been struggling during this recovery.  A not insignificant minority of people have been left behind by (and out of) the recovery; far more workers are being paid at or near-minimum wage salaries, and wages are stagnant (this being a persistent problem and having been so for thirty-five years) and not even keeping up with inflation unless you are at the top of corporate structures.  In fact, most of the jobs that have been added during the recovery have been low-wage jobs, not the type of jobs needed to sustain a middle class or social mobility.  Overall, the recovery has been pretty uneven.  Even if someone is going a good job as a leading politician, inevitably under such circumstances, that politician and his party will get some of the blame.

Walker ran primarily on creating jobs (promising to add 250,000 by the end of his first four-year term), cutting government spending, and lowering taxes, and won by close to six percentage points because of voters’ worries regarding jobs and the economy.  With so much anxiety about the economy, it’s not surprising that he was able to beat a Democratic candidate after a such a painful recession that occurred when a Democrat was in the governor’s mansion.

Walker’s Wisconsin

As for Walker’s big campaign promise of creating 250,000 new private-sector jobs in his first term, he has fallen far short of that promise.  All total, with the final adjusted numbers, Wisconsin saw 129,154 jobs created in the four years of Walker’s first term, from January 2011-December 2014; that’s barely over half the jobs he promised to create.  Furthermore, the vast majority of these have been low-wage jobs even though the vast majority of the jobs Wisconsin lost in the recession were not.  In 2014, Walker’s best year for job growth, the state ranked only #38 overall and 35,759 private-sector jobs were added (this coming from far-lower revised data after misleading preliminary data); his four-year average for private-sector job growth in his first term was only 32,288.5 jobs.  Exceeding this average, Doyle’s final year as governor in 2010 saw the state gain 33,658 jobs.  Walker’s first year of 2011 saw the state gain only about 28,000 private-sector jobs but it should also be noted Walker eliminated about 8,000 government jobs that year.  Adding in the loss of government jobs, for much of 2011 Wisconsin had the worst job numbers in the country.  It continued to lag behind most of the rest of the nation for the rest of Walker’s first term.

In general, while the state exceeded the national average rate of job growth during Doyle’s last year as governor by 0.38%, in Walker’s first term as governor, the state was behind the national rate of job growth by 0.59% in 2011, by 0.66% in 2012, by 0.77% in 2013, and by 0.9% in 2014; this means that, even in 2014—which was the most impressive year for job-creation under Walker—the state under his leadership only added jobs at 59% the rate of the nation, seeing its biggest percentage gap in the rate (1.3% growth in Wisconsin vs. 2.2% nationally).  Another indicator for Walker’s poor first term is that the state ranked well in the bottom half (#35) in private-sector job growth in terms of a percentage increase.  In any event, the number of jobs created under Walker is not in any way impressive or a record to point to that would make him presidential material.

Governor Scott Walker saw a lagging job growth rate following the Great Recession, when compared to the rest of the country as a whole.

Also under Walker, the African-American unemployment rate in Wisconsin (19.9%) is the highest in the nation and by far (Nevada has the second-highest with 16.1%).

Looking at other factors beyond only (but including) employment, the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States looked at Wisconsin from 2011-2014, the period of Walker’s first term, and ranked Wisconsin #35 out of all the states in terms of a range of economic indicators; all of Wisconsin’s neighbors fared far better (Michigan was #3, Illinois #14, Iowa #18, and Minnesota #19).  This #35 ranking was down from the #20 ranking for Doyle’s second term and the #10 ranking the the period of recovery after the recession under Doyle.

The website Wall St 24/7 has been publishing rankings of how well each state is run; Jim Doyle handed off a Wisconsin to Scott Walker in January 2011 that, ranked on data (mostly) from 2010, was #16 overall (the higher the ranking, the better-run the state, based on methodology that took into account unemployment, state credit ratings, per capita debt, crime rates, foreclosure rates, high-school completion rates, change in home values, poverty rates, and health insurance coverage rates).  This ranking had fallen to #26 for data covering the year 2013, using similar methodology.

Similarly, CNCBC does a ranking of the states in terms of being best for business, and one of the categories is “quality of life,” an index that includes data for the crime rate, protections against discrimination, health insurance coverage, health care quality, healthiness, local attractions, and/or environmental health; for 2010, Doyle’s last year as governor, Wisconsin ranked #19 in this category; four years into Walker’s tenure as governor, Wisconsin rank has dropped to #23 in quality of life.  The same survey had a cost of living index, which ranked Wisconsin #23 in 2010, but saw it drop to #28 in 2014.  The survey’s ranking of each state’s economy overall put Wisconsin at #22 just before Walker took over, and then saw it drop to #30 four years into his stewardship.

In its annual survey ranking which American states are “best” for “business,” Forbes ranked Wisconsin #10 for the year 2010 in its quality of life measurement (taking into account data on schools, health, cost of living, and crime and poverty rates); the same category in the same survey in 2014 saw Wisconsin fall to a rank of #17.  In both the CNBC and the Forbes surveys, to be fair to Walker, Wisconsin saw a significant improvement in terms of being ranked good for business.  But in the end, there is an abundance of data relating a wide array of metrics that place Wisconsin under Walker far behind many other states (including all its neighbors and the whole Great Lakes Region) and the national average, metrics that that make it very difficult to argue that Scott Walker has been good for Wisconsin’s economy.  The numbers at least suggest the possibility that Walker’s policies might have slowed and blunted Wisconsin’s recovery.  What is clear in both the CNBC and Forbes surveys is that the rise of a better pro-business environment came at the expense the quality of life of Wisconsin’s residents.

Walker’s Wisconsin is also facing a massive $2.2 billion budget deficit, when not long ago, predictions were for a surplus; rather unsurprisingly, the tax cuts enacted by Walker failed to bring in the revenue he promised they would (tax cuts generally don’t bring in revenue but Republicans don’t seem to notice this reality and prefer to keep that myth as a article of faith) and now Wisconsin’s budget is a mess.

A final interesting tidbit on the economy: Walker signed a repeal of a law that forced companies to give retail and factory workers at least one day a week off from work…

As for those quality of life issues that saw the related ranking drop in multiple surveys, let’s begin with poverty.  In 2010, before Walker took office, Wisconsin had 10.1% of its population living in poverty, and had the fifth-lowest poverty rate in the nation.  By 2014, after four years of Walker as governor, the poverty rate had risen to 10.9% and, more tellingly, Wisconsin had dropped to #13 for the lowest poverty rate rankings, providing even more evidence of how badly Wisconsin’s recovery has stalled under Walker.

Moving onto education, Walker has overseen the largest cuts to public education spending in Wisconsin’s history.  Aside from just cutting one-quarter of a billion dollars from Wisconsin’s state university system and ending legal tenure for its professors, Walker’s new budget also cuts funding for most public schools and does not even keep up with inflation for the schools that aren’t facing funding cuts.  On top of this, Walker is diverting precious funds towards vouchers for ineffective, now-thanks-to-Walker relatively unaccountable, and often religious-based private schools and he does this based on an anti-government ideological basis (Walker and his associates also have unseemly personal and financial ties to the state’s private education lobby/industry, it should also be noted).  In general, Wisconsin under Walker has seen some of the most severe cuts for education spending in any state.  In fact, a number of school principals in the state have publicly complained about funding and curriculum issues.

When it comes to healthcare, America’s Health Rankings®, from the United Health Foundation, has provided yearly rankings of state health care longer than any other entity in the U.S.  The index measures state performance in a wide variety of metrics spread out across four major areas: behaviors, community and environment, policy, and clinical care; in 2010, before Walker came into office, the state ranked #18 overall; at the end of Walker’s first term in 2014, it has fallen to #23, the lowest rank it had ever received in the twenty-five years of the survey.  One of the three highlighted “challenges” facing the state was “low per capita public health funding.”

That does not cover every issue in the state, but it sure does cover a lot, and Wisconsin does not look too good under Walker.

Why Walker?  The Governor and the Decline of Republican Seriousness

What was Walker good at, you might ask?  Taking on unions.  That he would wage war against them was clear from the beginning.  He severely limited the ability of state workers in Wisconsin to collectively bargain.  This prompted such a severe backlash that Walker became the third governor in U.S. history to be subject to a recall election (an election that basically allows people to schedule another election to be able to remove an elected official from office before the end of that official’s term by electing someone else as a replacement).  Unlike the other two governors from America’s past, Walker won the recall election in 2012 and stayed in power.  He also managed to win reelection in a tough race in 2014.  Three months into his second term, he was able to deal a major blow to private-sector unions in Wisconsin by hurting their ability to maintain membership and influence with the passage of “right to work” legislation.  In political terms,Walker crushed unions in a state that had a long historical legacy of union strength.  Never mind that unions are good for wages, reducing inequality, and the social mobility of union workers’ children in an era where wages, inequality, and social mobility are all growing major problems; Walker has won the labor battle in Wisconsin for Republicans.

Walker also likes to brag that he won three elections in four years, including the recall election and his reelection after his first term, but multiple solid analyses have shown that these wins are not as impressive as he would have voters believe and do not mean much for prospects at winning the presidency, in part because they have occurred in off years where Democratic voter turnout has been poor.  And yet, he is a very conservative governor who was able to win in a purple state, divided between liberals and conservatives, so that is a decent counterargument.

Unless you really hate government and unions—two big targets successfully decimated by Walker—it is hard to think of Walker as anything other than an unremarkable governor at best, a mediocre governor to be in the middle, or a failure at worst.  The fact that he was (I say was because Walker’s presidential star has dimmed greatly and all but fallen from the sky) considered such a great potential candidate by Republicans says much about the Republican Party today: it is concerned more with tearing down that which its constituents hate—unions, government assistance for those less fortunate, a role for government to play in education or fairness or health care—than it is concerned with actually building anything new; it is a party that seeks to destroy and undo, not to create and do.  Thus, Scott Walker—whose biggest achievement is destroying union power in Wisconsin and thus drawing the ire of liberals nationwide—is seen as a potential president even though his record on the major issues is quite mediocre.  Thus, a Donald Trump who insults and disparages and a Dr. Ben Carson who insulted Obama to his face at a public non-partisan prayer (!) event and calls Obamacare“the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery”—two candidates who have never held political office and whose popularity has nothing to do with workable policy solutions—are the #1 and #2 candidates, respectively, in a Republican primary campaign that seems utterly devoid of substance as far as the frontrunners are concerned.

Walker’s popularity was just an early manifestation of the same type of politics Trump and Carson are perfecting.  Walker’s problem is that, while his policies were extreme, ideological, based on hatred of things (like unions, government) and negating them as much as possible, he tried to talk the talk of a serious, policy-minded politician.  This was clearly not what the Republican faithful wanted to hear; the meaner and nastier and more critical of Obama and liberals, the better.  Too bad for Walker, his policies, and not his rhetoric, are just what they are looking for, and that Trump and Carson have no real policies embodying this since they have no policy records but their rhetoric is music to the ears of Republican primary voters.  That Ted Cruz is often #3 or #4 and often very close to generally #3 Jeb Bush—a Ted Cruz whose entire Senate career is based on hatred of government and its negation—only shows this dynamic even further.  That’s right: of the top four Republican candidates, the top two have no political policy record and have never held office, and one of the others has only a record based on obstructionism and delay; but those three out of the top four spew venom and generally without serious policy solutions, and they are loved for it.  I will not comment about Jeb Bush’s economic record as I understand that my colleague Patrick Andendall is soon to be discussing his findings.

See, following a policy record takes time, effort, and analytical brainpower.  Getting swept up by a speech is a passive act and requires little to no effort on the part of the listener.  Thus Scott Walker is the thinking-man’s blind-hater-of-government candidate, but Trump, Carson, and Cruz are the candidates of the blind-hater-of-government who does not really feel like thinking but much prefers to feel.  All these people seem to have one thing in common: support the Republican presidential candidates who simply want to destroy what Obama has accomplished and care more about attacking liberalism than improving their own lives, or their children’s, or their fellow citizens’.  Aside from theatrics, it is a political nihilism that the most ardent conservatives and libertarians would find refreshing.

As Walker struggles on the campaign trail, don’t expect Republicans to pick him for their nominee; as Trump and Carson show, no record is better than a meh or a bad record,

Welcome to the Republican Party in 2015.

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The State of Illegal Immigration 2015: Reality vs. Republican Fantasy

By Brian E. Frydenborg (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter @bfry1981) 

Introduction

Illegal immigration is seldom not in the political spotlight these days. Prominent Republican politicians, in particular, are quick to emphasize the supposed massive harm that illegal immigration causes the United States and its legal citizens and residents. Calls to deport all illegal immigrants are now routine and regular among leading contenders for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for the 2016 election. In fact, the consistent Republicans leader and frontrunner in the polls of late, businessman and reality-TV personality Donald Trump, seems to talk about this issue more forcefully and more prominently that any other candidate. Add to this fact that he seems to be getting a nearly unlimited amount of press coverage and the situation is clear: illegal immigration is currently one of the most talked about political issues, possibly the most talked about issue, and looks to be a dominant topic throughout the 2016 election season, with or without Trump.

Leading Republicans, especially Mr. Trump, have made some bold claims about illegal immigration: who the immigrants are, what effect they are having on our country and economy, what solutions will best work towards addressing the problem. Here, we will get to bottom of the real nature of the human beings who come to work and live in the United States illegally and the effects they collectively have on America as a whole and the states where they are most numerous. Then we will look at what some of the leading Republicans are saying, and see how that squares with the reality of the situation.

 

The Current State of Illegal Immigration

Pew presents research that shows illegal immigrants living in the U.S. peaked after a steady increase of many years in 2007 when they reached 12.2 million people (about 4% of America’s population then). That level has since reached a relatively stable level and has declined from its 2007 peak of 12.2 million to 11.3 million in 2014 (3.5% of the U.S. population), and was as low as 11.2 million in 2012. These people represent 26% of America’s foreign-born population, down from 30% in 2007. That means that, roughly, for every four foreign-born people that enter the U.S. and stay, three do so legally.

The unauthorized immigration in the United States violating the immigration laws is the cause of concern for the government. In the year 2011 US has got about 11million illegal immigrants representing 3.4% of total US population. The highest number of immigration happened in 2007 i.e., 12.2million. but after the recession, many illegal immigrants left the United States. To know more about this click Suggested Web page

A little over half of the illegal population (52 %) are Mexicans as of 2012 but this percentage is in decline, as are their absolute numbers, to 5.9 million down from 6.4 million in 2009.  At the same time, illegal immigrants from other some other parts of world have slightly increased. After Mexico, for 2013 only El Salvador had an illegal immigrant population that is more than 5% of the total illegal population, and only slightly so. The country with the next highest number of its people living illegally in the U.S. is Guatemala, with a little under 5%. India comes next, in the middle between 4% and 3%, followed by Honduras and then China, with a bit under 3% each. The only other country that broke 2% was the Philippines, and only slightly. The Dominican Republic follows at close to 2%, with South Korea slightly behind. The only other countries that are each contributing at least 1% of the total illegal U.S. population, in descending order, are Ecuador, Colombia, Haiti, Vietnam, Peru, and Brazil, the last thee at 1% and the others only slightly above this.

As of 2013, almost sixteen percent had arrived just recently (less than five years prior), over 24% had been in the U.S. from five to nine years, over 28% percent had been in the U.S. from ten to fourteen years, 14.5% had been in America for fifteen to nineteen years, and 17% for at least twenty years. Combining elements of this data, we can see that in 2013 over 40% of illegal immigrants had been living in the U.S. for less than a decade, while almost 32% had been here for at least fifteen years. The largest number of illegal immigrants, over 28% of the total, arrived from 2000 to 2004 and about 24% arrived from 2005-2009. This means that about a little over one-half the total illegal immigrant population arrived in the decade of 2000-2009 (for those looking for political “blame,” George W. Bush was president for almost that entire time, meaning more of the current illegal immigrants arrived under his presidency than under any other president). About 17% arrived from 1995-1999, and about 11% from 1990 to 1994 (28% overall from that decade). About 12% have arrived from 2010 on, and only about 8.5% before 1990, although it should be remembered that in 1986 the Reagan Administration gave legal status to about 2.7 million illegal immigrantswho had entered the U.S. before 1982 after Congress passed a law authorizing Reagan to do so in 1986. Further action by Reagan and his successor, George H. W. Bush, added to this number and brought it closer to three million than 2.7 million. In addition, many Cuban immigrants have legal status in the U.S. as the special situation between Cuba and the U.S. over the decades since Castro’s revolution gave way to special policy, law, and agreements for people arriving to the U.S. from Cuba, giving them legal status in ways that if they were not specifically Cuban would have left them part of the illegal immigrant community. As of 2013, over 1.1 million people born in Cuba were living in the U.S, the product of a half-century of these special policies.

The recent decline in illegal immigration is in part due to the Great Recession; since 2009, about 350,000 people each year (100,000 of them Mexican) have entered the U.S. illegally, but this represents a dramatic decline in the number of immigrants from over a decade ago, when far more people were coming to the U.S. illegally and far more illegal immigrants as a share of the total pool were recent arrivals, with the proportion of illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for at least a decade almost doubling since 2000 while the proportion who have been in the U.S. for less than five years being more than halved since 2000.

Also, from 2009 to 2012, the illegal immigration population fell in fourteen statesand rose in only seven. Illegal populations decreased in Oregon, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, and grew in Idaho, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Jew Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. The six states of Texas, Florida, California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey together have 60 % of the illegal immigrant population in the country, and Nevada is the state with the highest proportion of its population (8 %) consisting of illegal immigrants. Nevada also stands out as the state with the highest percentage of K-12 students who have at least one illegal immigrant parent (18%), while next-highest are the states of California, Texas, and Arizona, where that number is between 13% and 11%. Overall in the U.S., about 7% of all K-12 students fall under this category, with almost four-fifths of those being born in the U.S.  Illegal immigrants also make up 5.1 % of the labor force, a rather high percentage considering they just account for 3.5% of the population. The states with the highest percentage of illegal immigrants in their labor forces (ranging from 10% to 8%) are Nevada, California, Texas, New Jersey, and, again, Nevada leads the pack with 10% (for those wanting more data on illegal immigrant populations state-by-state you can look here and here).

As far as their socio-economic status, in 2013 illegal immigrants were almost twice as likely be living in poverty (27.6%) than the population as whole (14.5%, taken from census data including illegal immigrants), are far less educated—only 13.6 % of illegal immigrant adults had at least a college degree and only a little more than half had successfully finished high school compared with 31% and almost nine out of ten for the whole population, respectively—and are much less likely to have health insurance, with only about one-third of illegal immigrants having coverage compared with over 86.8% of Americans in general.

Republicans might be particularly surprised to learn about illegal immigrants’ contributions to the U.S. system overall. At the federal level, their tax contributions far outweigh any financial payments they receive. For example, Illegal immigrants pay about $15 billion in payroll taxes each year into Social Security, but only take about $1 billion in benefits, and over the years they have paid about $300 billion into Social Security, accounting for 10% of the contributions even though they are only about 3.5% of the population (and never more than their 4%-2007-peak) and are only about 5% of the labor force. They also paid $11.84 billion in 2012 alone in state and local taxes with about 8% of their income (compared with 5.4% of the income for the richest 1% of Americans). Only a small percentage of illegal immigrants receive any type of federal benefits, even though they still often pay payroll taxes that go to Social Security and Medicare. Giving all illegal immigrants temporary legal work permits could bring in as much as $2.2 billion more in state and local taxes. President Obama is trying to do this for a 5.2 out of America’s 11.4 million illegal immigrants through executive action (which would generate about $845 million in new state and local taxes if fully implemented), despite lawsuits from twenty-six states, twenty-four of which have Republican governors, that have put his program on hold.

While there is some variation at the state and local level, state and local costs associated with illegal immigration are an overall small percentage of state and local spending, and have only a “modest” effect on state and local budgets (averaging 5% of the relevant programs), an impact that is greatly offset by state and local taxes paid by illegal immigrants and by federal assistance for covering these costs, though not wholly offset, with some states pulling in modestly less revenue relative to expenditures related to illegal immigrants and other states (e.g., Texas) pulling in significantly more revenue from them than they spend on them. These numbers only relate to state revenues and expenditures, and do not even factor in other much-harder-to-measure but very significant economic benefits for the states’ economies (e.g., illegal immigrant consumer spending, productivity and contribution to states’ GDPs, and the costs employers save by paying relatively low wages to them).

Thus, for America as a whole, illegal immigration would seem to bring in more economic benefits than costs.

As for crime, immigrants tend to be imprisoned less often than native-born Americans (one-fifth the rate of native-born Americans and decreasing significantly over the years), seeming to have either or a combination of less of a crime-committing tendency or being “more responsive to deterrent effects” and going out of their way to avoid any problems with law enforcement. This is also true across all immigrant groups, from Indians and Bulgarians to Mexicans and Guatemalans. However, it should also be noted that the data of this study was not able to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants. Crime also decreased nationally as illegal immigration increased and crime decreased even more so in states with large immigrant populations, with immigration even seeming to actually decrease crime in cities. Even statistics that show proportions of illegal immigrants in federal prisons are relatively high for violent crimes are incredibly misleading, as almost all of these crimes are handled by state and local authorities; for example, the statistic that illegal immigrants in 2013 were 9.2% of all federal prisoners held on murder charges might seem bad, but this only involved eight cases. In short, there is no data linking illegal immigrants or specific groups of them, such as Mexicans, with higher rates of committing violent or drug-related crimes than the native-born American population. In fact, four out of five drug-related arrests by the U.S. Border Patrol—and this does not include normal domestic arrests, only those made by the Border Patrol—involved American citizens. This suggests the problems are not so much about Mexicans bringing drugs into the U.S. from Mexico, but, rather, Americans bringing drugs in from Mexico and, more generally, the high American demand for illegal drugs.

Many Republicans “Know-Nothing” About Immigration As an Issue or How to Handle It and Their Harsh Approach to Immigrants Matches Their Harsh Approach to Everything Else

The current leader—and dominantly so, from polls to media coverage—among the Republican presidential candidates, real estate mogul and reality-TV-personality Donald Trump—has called for deporting all 11+ million illegal immigrants, as well as any of their American-born children, whom are derisively called “anchor babies” by Trump and those with harsh views on immigration but whom are widely accepted to be defined as citizens under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.  Such a move would cost at least hundreds of billions of dollars to well over a half-trillion and take as long as twenty years, and if associated economic costs are included, could cost closer to $1 trillion for America overall.  Trump’s comments also suggest he clearly believes that many illegal immigrants are criminals: drug traffickers, murderers, rapists, etc. But Trump’s plan andviews on illegal immigration, like many Republicans and conservatives’ views on this issue, are based on a highly inaccurate fantasy of “false assumptions” that islight on facts and heavy on mythology. Trump seems to be dragging other candidates down with him on this issue, too.

Critics of the Tea Party and the Republican Party often find a dearth of rationalityand practical or forward thinking; that in 2015 the number one issue in theRepublican nomination contest—illegal immigration—is, as noted above, a problem that has dramatically lessened in severity, volume, and proportionalityhas done little to reduce the incessant importance of this issue in the conservative/Republican mind. With America as a nation facing real-life severe, looming crises and with most of the of the oxygen in the political discussion of one of America’s two major political parties being burned focusing on a problem that is becoming far less of an actual problem while other problems only increase with severity, there is little to respect in that party—the Republican Party—as being worthy of serious consideration for taking over the reins of governance of our modern super-state replete with crises requiring serious, rational, and grown-up solutions. America is hardly the only place where such xenophobia is growing,for one only needs to look at Europe in recent years, for example, to dispel such a notion. And as alarming as the recent nativist wave should be for all Americans and people in the world for whom a well-governed, rational America tackling its crises head-on and being an example worthy of emulation and alliance throughout the world, the emergence of xenophobia in this time of crises should also hardly be surprising. There is nothing new in America having a fluctuating undercurrent of nativism, or anti-immigrant feeling, hinged with anything from a hint of intolerance to outright bigotry and violence (just watch Martin Scorsese’sGangs of New York to get a loose sense for this vibe in years past), but in the year 2015, to see a party—its leaders and base of constituents—so crudely consumedby blind, ignorant, and irrational fear and hatred of “the other” is banal in the most tedious and hackneyed sense.

While many of us are ready to move forward into the twentieth century, too many others are stuck in the nineteenth. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton came out with a bold new plan to tackle the $1.2 trillion student loan debt-bubble andcollege financing, put forth a detailed economic plan that emphasizes raisingmedian and women’s income, proposed a bold environmental/energy policy thateven exceeds President Obama’s recently proposed plan, laid out an immigration policy that would give millions of hard working, law-abiding illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, and spoke out passionately about the racism in American society and in its criminal justice system.  A Republican Party that lost the last two presidential elections by losing a majority of all American gender and ethnic categories by more than ten percentage points (and often far more) except males as a group and whites as a group  is running on defining an exclusive America that rejects or ignores others—illegal immigrants, homosexuals, the poor and uninsured (Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Scott Walker both just released health care plans that would dramatically lessen assistance for the poor and uninsured, those people most in need of healthcare)—is now seeking to build a community and constituency of Americans based on existing affluence, privileges, rights, and opportunities and that takes care of it members through the distribution of benefits through the system while excluding from these benefits those who are currently shut outside of this community.  How this party expects to win in the face of changing American demographics that very much do not favor white voters and will only make such strategies even less likely to succeedthan in the past is a mystery for which no one has an answer. It is the 2012 election’s “makers vs. takers” debate all over again, and is the political equivalent of a town election campaign based on shifting resources to the nice, gated communities of homeowners and away from those outside these gated community—immigrants, the poor, the uninsured, perpetual renters, homeless, and those struggling while working part-time jobs with no benefits.

For such a campaign, America is a gated community where those with means should band together; in the immigration debate, this is about keeping “non-Americans” out of the community and shutting the gate, but this theme runs rampant through all the other Republicans’ policies, generally speaking, except those who are to be shut out are no longer illegal immigrants without American citizenship, but American citizens of much lesser means looking for ways into the gated community but whose chances are all but crushed by a society that keepspunishing them for their lack of means. All this is part of a general redistributionof wealth, energy, and resources away from the needy and to the affluent. If many Republicans want to deport millions of illegal immigrants, this same crowd also wants to deport millions of Americans not from the soil of our nation but from the rolls of welfare, Medicaid, educational assistance, affirmative action, Obamacare, and other programs that make a major difference in the lives of those Americans without means. Thus, immigration warfare and class warfare are in many ways one in the same, from the same exclusive heart and spirit that captures so much of today’s conservative movement.

One final point: 72% of Americans are against forcing illegal immigrants to leave America, with only 27% against letting them stay; this even includes a majority of Republicans (56%), but you would not know this from listening to many of the leading Republican candidates.

Time for Republicans to Look to Lincoln

In thinking about immigration as an issue, perhaps the greatest Republican—Abraham Lincoln—can be the most instructive even 150 years later. In Lincoln’s time and before the Civil War, a new political party emerged, popularly called the “Know Nothings” and officially called the (Native) American Party (it doesn’t get more nativist than that for an official title!). They were virulently anti-immigrant and would likely capture the same people that in today’s America that are so angry and paranoid about immigration. For Lincoln, the anti-immigrant sentiment was dangerously similar to proslavery sentiment.  In a speech given shortly after Independence Day in 1858, Lincoln noted how that holiday was often celebrated by the descents of the Americans who fought the Revolution as a day to celebrate both their ancestors and their connection to these ancestors. He continues:

But after we have done all this we have not yet reached the whole. There is something else connected with it. We have besides these men—descended by blood from our ancestors—among us perhaps half our people who are not descendants at all of these men, they are men who have come from Europe—German, Irish, French and Scandinavian—men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us, but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration, [loud and long continued applause] and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world. [Applause.]

Thus, for Lincoln, a shared love of freedom and equality within immigrant and native-born alike united all as Americans. But also for Lincoln, discriminating against a black man in America was the same as discriminating against a German man or anyone else:

Now, sirs, for the purpose of squaring things with this idea of “don’t care if slavery is voted up or voted down,” for sustaining the Dred Scott decision [A voice—“Hit him again”], for holding that the Declaration of Independence did not mean anything at all, we have Judge Douglas giving his exposition of what the Declaration of Independence means, and we have him saying that the people of America are equal to the people of England. According to his construction, you Germans are not connected with it. Now I ask you in all soberness, if all these things, if indulged in, if ratified, if confirmed and endorsed, if taught to our children, and repeated to them, do not tend to rub out the sentiment of liberty in the country, and to transform this Government into a government of some other form. Those arguments that are made, that the inferior race are to be treated with as much allowance as they are capable of enjoying; that as much is to be done for them as their condition will allow. What are these arguments? They are the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden. That is their argument, and this argument of the Judge is the same old serpent that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it. Turn in whatever way you will—whether it come from the mouth of a King, an excuse for enslaving the people of his country, or from the mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another race, it is all the same old serpent, and I hold if that course of argumentation that is made for the purpose of convincing the public mind that we should not care about this, should be granted, it does not stop with the negro. I should like to know if taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle and making exceptions to it where will it stop. If one man says it does not mean a negro, why not another say it does not mean some other man? If that declaration is not the truth, let us get the Statute book, in which we find it and tear it out!

In an 1859 letter of Lincoln’s in which he wrote why he would not support certain anti-immigrant initiatives, Lincoln expressed his disdain of any measure based on the exclusion of people:

Understanding the spirit of our institutions to aim at the  elevation of men, I am opposed to whatever tends to degrade them. I have some little notoriety for commiserating the oppressed condition of the negro; and I should be strangely inconsistent if I could favor any project for curtailing the existing rights of  white men, even though born in different lands, and speaking different languages from myself.

An earlier 1855 letter has Lincoln expressing a deep sadness with the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment:

I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ” all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal,  except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes,  and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.

Well, it sure seems Lincoln would feel despair in reaction to his own Republican Party today on the issue of immigration (not to even mention others). As usual with Lincoln, I find myself as a writer humbled in reading him, and at this point I cannot “add or detract” to his poetic words. Perhaps no other American can so beautifully and simply express how anti-American it is to be anti-immigrant. Trump and other Republican presidential hopefuls are missing the facts of realityin their framing of this issue. But when it comes to the spirit of their sentiment, it is their own Lincoln they should read to can see how deeply wrong they truly are.

Dispelling Stupidparty Myths – The GOP is Ideologically No Longer the Party of Lincoln

Social media has become an excellent medium for people to express their political views – the feeling of anonymity, however, has compelled historical revisionists to unabashedly disseminate fabricated political material. There are countless myths making the rounds, but one in particular annoys me: the belief that the contemporary Republican Party, from an ideological standpoint, mirrors the Party of Lincoln. While this is a true from a abraham_lincoln_quote_on_slavery_poster-rb55286ed20134ebbb631c30445995e8a_z77ll_8byvr_1024technical standpoint, i.e., the GOP party label is the same, the ideological makeup of the Party has changed drastically. The contemporary Republican Party has become a bastion of staunchly conservative ideals, but this wasn’t the case during Lincoln’s presidency as Republican Radicals (the progressive faction) had an enormous influence on the Party’s desire to abolish slavery. Without progressive thought, the Party of Lincoln, which included Radical Republicans (known as progressives before joining) and Abolitionists—who teamed up with the newly founded Republican Party—the institution of slavery may have existed much longer.

The inspiration behind the Republican Party’s formation was largely based in an anti-slavery philosophy, exemplified by the first Republican nominee, John C. Fremont, slogan “Free soil, free silver, free men.” This rhetoric was adopted by the Republican nominee for President Abraham Lincoln:

“I have always hated slavery, I think as much as any Abolitionist.”
–July 10, 1858 Speech at Chicago

“Now I confess myself as belonging to that class in the country who contemplate slavery     as a moral, social and political evil…”
–October 7, 1858 Debate at Galesburg, Illinois   

 “He [Stephen Douglas] is blowing out the moral lights around us, when he contends that whoever wants slaves has a right to hold them; that he is penetrating, so far as lies in his power, the human soul, and eradicating the light of reason and the love of liberty, when he is in every possible way preparing the public mind, by his vast influence, for making the institution of slavery perpetual and national.
–October 7, 1858 Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Galesburg, Illinois

One thing was clear: regardless of the motivation behind Lincoln’s presidential run, whether it be keeping the Union intact or channeling Northern resentment based on the South’s economic paradigm, Lincoln abhorred the institution of slavery on a personal level. To claim otherwise is false. On the other hand, the Democrat faction representing the Southern States epitomized conservatism as the faction seceded to preserve an immoral system. And this is precisely the area of history that Stupidparty disciples like to narrow in on – but it’s a misleading tactic due to Southern Democrats encompassing an entirely different political philosophy when compared to contemporary Democrats. They can’t seem to grasp the concept of ideological realignment. Remember, party politics aren’t static; progressivism was ultimately responsible for the abolition of slavery, not conservatism. (Some examples of progressive legislation implemented by the Republican Party during the Civil War were the development of America’s infrastructure [railroads], the creation of a national bank system, and a temporary income tax.)

About fifty years later, the Party experienced an ideological schism that saw the progressive faction leave the party. Prior to the ideological split, Teddy Roosevelt, one of the most idolized presidents of all time, confronted the industrialists and financiers with trust busting and he also strengthened regulations.

cartoon68Roosevelt was unquestionably a big government progressive. Leading up to the Presidential Election of 2012, tariffs became the hot button issue – it was the issue that contributed to a rift forming between President Taft and former President Roosevelt; and of course, Taft’s shift to more conservative ideals contributed to it as well. The 1912 Republican Convention was chaotic: feeling slighted by the delegates favoring Taft, Roosevelt—in his bid for a third term—walked out with the progressive delegates and formed the Bull Moose Party.

The move was significant in Party realignment because the progressive faction that left was a powerful and influential faction within the Republican Party since the Civil War. Nonetheless, the Party dissolved after four years, leaving many progressives without a party affiliation, even though some reluctantly remained in the Party, which became dominated by conservatives. Eventually, most progressives joined the predominately Democratic New Deal coalition—at the same time, the majority of Democratic conservatives joined the Republican Party—and the remaining Republican Party progressives left in the 1940s. The realignment was crucial to understanding the contemporary makeup of the Republican and Democratic Parties.

Incidentally, I suspect that some readers are wondering about the evolution of the Southern Democratic Party – the faction that conservatives typically highlight in their attempt to label the contemporary Democratic Party as still being racist. Let me explain: while the Southern Democratic coalition was responsible for Jim Crow, their motivation stemmed from conservative ideals. In addition, many Southern Democrats in the 1960s felt betrayed by the Party’s acceptance of Johnson’s Great Society and switched to the Republican Party. In the 1970s, the remaining conservative Democrats, angered with Carter’s presidency, ended up supporting Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. As of now, the Southern Republican Party is made up of ex-conservative Democrats.

Rather than accepting Stupidparty arguments relating to the contemporary Republican Party—from an ideological perspective—being responsible for the abolition of slavery, it’s better to analyze historical facts in order to paint an accurate picture. The historical revisionists are crafty, but they’re not the sharpest tools in the shed. It’s crucial to note: the progressive faction that was responsible for the abolition of slavery no longer exists in the Republican Party, therefore, taking credit, as a political entity, for the dismantling of slavery is an outright sham – in reality, the contemporary Republican Party caters to the demands of bigots and racists. The previous notion is bolstered by Trump’s ascendency, which is being fueled by xenophobia and arbitrary hate. The Party that once fought for progressive values has devolved into a paranoid propaganda machine, intent on restricting the vote; deporting 11 million people; and denying the existence of institutional and systemic racism.

The term systemic racism is used to define the impact of race and racism in the development of United States. It also explains how racism is harming one part of the society and helping others. it questions why so much of discrimination is still prevalent in the society. To know more about racism click learn the facts here now

To my astonishment, there are even those who defend the Southern institution of slavery under the transparent guise of state’s rights.
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Now, the Democratic Party’s history is not immune to criticism, the Southern Democratic faction in particular, but ideological schisms transformed the Party’s ideological underpinnings to that of progressive ideals, analogous to what the Republican Party once was. So please, if you come across an individual trying to pin the abolition of slavery to conservative ideals, remember to invoke the role that progressive thought had on toppling conservative tyranny. Hopefully, once presented with these facts, they’ll dispose of this false notion and understand that the contemporary Republican Party has become the antithesis of the Party’s founding philosophy.

WHO AM I? I HAVE SINGLE HANDEDLY REINVENTED MEDIA -NOW PROPOGANDA

Why is the Least Trusted News Media, the Least Trusted News Media? – And who is responsible?

Profitizing Hate, Ignorance and Stupidity

This might seem like an easy question. But simply relying one one’s gut is just not good enough. We are not interested in opinions; we want to know the facts. We all have a gut understanding of why the Economist, the BBC and NPR are trusted. They have journalistic integrity. They have objectivity. They do not start with an agenda and then thrust all stories into that agenda. You remember -what news use to be like before a certain Australian reinvented the wheel. Stupidparty will try and and blunt the effectiveness of good journalism by infantile labeling, providing false equivalence, and simply making shit up.

But we do not label here. If we make an assertion we back it up. The Pew survey reveals what any critical thinker was well aware of—we all intuitively know the media that is responsible for making people more stupid, less informed. This statement is not an opinion.

The pew survey is done to understand the behavior of American citizen. Its mission is to shape the United States and the world with its finding and generate a foundation of fact to help in making strong decisions and enrich the public dialog. To know more about pew survey click Learn even more here

So let us show why we are so adamant on this point, but it will require some connecting of the dots, an ability to see patterns. Have no fear, we are going to make this task really simple, so simple that even Stupidparty disciples will be capable of understanding—so simple that we will be able to simply force them out of their caves, kicking and screaming—where the sunshine of truth can let them sweat out or their bile and ignorance for all to see. So as simpleton Sean Hannity is apt to say “Let not your heart be troubled”—for here we think with our brains and all will be revealed.

Let us start with the poll data:

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I have highlighted the key culprits of distrust, the media that has made journalism a joke, and thereby tainting all media. But before we begin we should add some perspective. It is not like all journalists have been like Walter Cronkite. People have been complaining about the media through the ages.

You may haPictureve recognized something odd about that poll data. A pattern. But I am not here simply to bash Rupurt Murdoch, as that would be lazy and overly simplistic. But we should spend a moment to get an understanding of this man –who on paper has done more damage to the US political process than any other single person.

But in reality he is not the real problem –his horrendous role was more accidental than pre meditated. Rupert Murdoch only cares about one thing—making tons of money by increasing circulation and ratings. This Australian media magnate first had to break into the English establishment and really shake things up. Murdoch had no scruples, he is an opportunist, an equal opportunity offender. Sure he is right wing, but that was never that important—he would far rather be king maker, support and curry favor with the likely winner. If he could help elect a Prime Minister of either party, Conservative or Labour, then that is what he would do.

As it turned out his strategy for the UK was very different from what he was going to do in the United States. He knew what his readers wanted, well his male readers wanted. They wanted boobs. Yes literally, boobs, sex and scandal, this was what Murdoch figured out—and he gave it to his readers, and soon his paper took off and gained the highest circulation.

On page three, every day a gorgeous naked model would adorn the page. Other pages would also discuss related topics. When there was real news, the headline on page one would invariably find a way to sexualize it. Boobs, sex scandals would adorn virtually every household. His Sunday paper the News (Screws) Of The World, followed suit. People in England would typically buy more than one paper and on Sunday household might by three to five national papers. The news was really fun.Picture

Love or hate them, these stories tended to have merit, so one should not compare this to all the silly “Alien UFO Conspiracy” stories that Americans get with their National Enquirer and the like. But the deeper thinkers did realize that what Rupert Murdoch was doing was insidious. Check out the below short remake of It’s a Wonderful Life – starring a young Hugh Laurie (yes, he of “House” fame) as Rupert Murdoch—a skit that was made thirty years ago, but made to look even older to tie back to the original movie  https://vimeo.com/57263481

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But Rupert’s misdeeds in the UK finally catch up with him. In July 2011 Murdoch faced allegations in the UK that his companies, including the News of the World, owned by News Corporation, had been regularly hacking the phones of celebrities, royalty and public citizens.

British law makers went on to report that Rupert Murdoch is not fit to run a major international company, finding him ultimately responsible for the illegal phone hacking that has corroded his global media empire and damaged the political establishment.

The lawmakers said the 81-year-old News Corp chief lacked credibility, his son James appeared incompetent and the company was guilty of “willful blindness” towards its staff at the News of the World tabloid.

Murdoch always recognized that selling boobs was not going to work in the more puritanical and more censored USA. So rather than selling boobs, he had to finds boobs to sell to. And so began the remarkable career of our chief culprit, the “loudest voice in the room.”

Murdoch does not appear to have a huge respect for journalistic standards or ethics. Notwithstanding Murdoch’s well-known reputation, the debacle that is Fox may well now be beyond his control. He has created a Frankenstein that now has a life of its own. The brain inside that Frankenstein is Roger Ailes, and only in understanding Roger Ailes can we really fathom what happened.

Roger Eugene Ailes (born May 15, 1940) is president of Fox News Channel and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group. Ailes was a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush and for Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign (1989). In 1996 Ailes was hired by Rupert Murdoch to create Fox News Channel for News Corporation to help with the new channel’s launch, on October 7, 1996.” (Wiki)

Because of Roger Ailes’s huge success—in 2010 earning about $800m in profits—he can now pretty much do whatever he wants. Employees must be subservient to his agenda. Even Murdoch, who is very conservative, needs to be careful. He surely respects the profits but was quoted as saying, “You know, Roger is crazy,” Murdoch recently told a colleague, shaking his head in disbelief, “He really believes that stuff.” http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-roger-ailes-built-the-fox-news-fear-factory-20110525#ixzz2d8RnLIov

Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson goes on to discuss how Ailes would like the outside world to perceive his earlier years and that he is now different from his very partisan past. In a recent biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” Gabriel Sherman “delivers a portrait of a manipulating, conniving, controlling, petty and fear-mongering man.” This book, which interviewed 614 people, does indicate that Mr. Ailes has a fertile imagination when it comes to trying to shape his image. But “deception isn’t the theme that knits together the key Ailes epochs documented in The Loudest Voice in the Room. Loyalty is.” The more power you have, the more loyalty you can demand. “I see the most powerful man in the world is here,” President Obama said, according to an “author interview with a person familiar with the matter.” Moving to launch Fox News simply gave Ailes heretofore unknown megaphone methods of thrusting partisan propaganda on a public not equipped to recognize Fact from Fiction, especially when delivered as news under the guise of “fair and balanced.”

As described in the article, he created one of the most “powerful political machines in American history,” which took the helm in navigating Stupidparty—talking points and advancing the agenda of the far right. Fox News tilted the electoral balance to George W. Bush in 2000, prematurely declaring him president in a move that prompted every other network to follow suit. It helped create the Tea Party, transforming it from the butt of late-night jokes into a nationwide insurgency capable of electing.

Take it from Rush Limbaugh, a “dear friend” of Ailes. “One man has established a culture for 1,700 people who believe in it, who follow it, who execute it,” Limbaugh once declared. “Roger Ailes is not on the air. Roger Ailes does not ever show up on camera. And yet everybody who does is a reflection of him.”

By hiring Ailes, Murdoch new that success in the USA was dependent on a different strategy

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Having established the hierarchy, it is now time to start connecting all the dots to the Pew Survey of the least trusted news media

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The above chart depicts how just one Oligarch has successfully had a huge impact in transforming and dividing America into two camps—the critical thinkers and the non-critical thinkers. Because the more you watch or listen to the individual above, the less politically informed you get. Allow me to prove my point:

Take global warming, whether you are in denial or not on this issue is not relevant. I have already proven that the vast bulk of scientists have concluded that climate change is occurring. This is an indisputable fact. But the more you watch Fox, the more ignorant, the more Stupidparty you get. Here are the numbers:

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http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/dec10/Misinformation_Dec10_rpt.pdf 

But a picture of this mission to uneducate is worth a thousand words:

The higher the Number, the greater the Ignorance………The More you watch Fox……

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Fox News . . . investing in ignorance . . . Fox News . . . investing in ignorance . . .

 

A remarkable 60% of those who watched Fox News almost daily believe that “Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring,” whereas only 30% who never watch it believe that. Only 25% of those who watch CNN almost daily hold that erroneous belief—and only 13% who listen to NPR or PBS almost daily.

 As reported in ThinkProgress:

“WPO found one bright spot in its lengthy report: ‘Those who had greater exposure to news sources were generally better informed. In the great majority of cases, those with higher levels of exposure to news sources had lower levels of misinformation.’ However, there was one exception, Fox News. . . .

“This data coincides with results of previous surveys finding that Fox News viewers are more misinformed about public policy issues. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll [in 2009] found that Fox News viewers were overwhelmingly misinformed about healthcare reform proposals. A 2008 Pew study ranked Fox News last in the number of ‘high knowledge’ viewers and a 2007 Pew poll ranked Fox viewers as the least knowledgeable about national and international affairs. And a 2003 study from the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that Fox News viewers were most likely to believe that Saddam Hussein had links to al-Qaeda, that coalition troops found WMD in Iraq, and that world public opinion supported President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.”

NBC News Poll 2009.

72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the healthcare plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants,

79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover,

69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and

75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly.

http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2009/08/19/4431138-first-thoughts-obamas-good-bad-news

Fox will deny and try and shoot the messenger, but they will be unable to come up with studies showing anything different. It should be pointed out that this does not necessarily mean that Fox viewers are the most uninformed on all subjects, just on the subjects that Fox wants them to be uninformed about.

In trying to debunk these polls, Fox News (out of desperation) utilized a Stupidparty zealot, John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, a book on a Stupidparty myth that has been thoroughly and easily dismissed herein. Being a true Stupidparty advocate, Lott does not believe in Global Warming (citing weather “forecasters” ill equipped to address the issue). He denies that after the financial meltdown, the stimulus created the jobs and dismisses statements by the CBO as biased. “The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a federal agency within the legislative branch of the United States government that provides economic data to Congress. The CBO was created as a nonpartisan agency by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974.” (Wiki)

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/01/05/truth-fox-news-viewers/#ixzz2d8wf4rLb

Please note that I eviscerate John Lott here.

Now let us deal with some of the spawn of Murdoch’s Frankenstein, how low can they go?

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Matt Drudge is no journalist. He had to leave Fox because he was too extreme even for Roger Ailes. It is worth getting some background on the man recognized for playing a significant role is driving the news cycle, filling the void created by mainstream Journalists who are “dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity.”

Drudge says that he “failed his Bar Mitzvah“, and graduated 341st out of a class of 355 from Northwood High School in 1984, giving himself, in his words, a “more than adequate curriculum vitae for a post at 7-Eleven“.[1] In the 1980s, Drudge worked as a telemarketer for Time-Life Books.

Drudge was unknown before he began the news aggregation site, the Drudge Report.[4] For many years, he took odd jobs such as night counterman at a 7-Eleven convenience store,telemarketer for Time-Life books, McDonald’s manager, and sales assistant at a New York City grocery store. In 1989, he moved to Los Angeles, where he took up residence in a small Hollywood apartment. He took a job in the gift shop of CBS studios, eventually working his way up to manager. Here, he was apparently privy to some inside gossip, part of the inspiration for founding the Drudge Report.

It is the Drudge report, a report that simply regurgitates news stories from any one or any where, picking and choosing to dovetail with his own unsophisticated world view—that other Journalists fawn to—because it is so much easier not have to one’s own research, fact checking etc. Drudge also set up Drudge radio—and the Kings of hate radio—Limbaugh, Hannity, Mark Levin and Michael Savage all adopt the same faux journalistic techniques.

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Andrew Breitbart was no Journalist, now deceased, but his machinery carries on. Drudge met Andrew Breitbart in Los Angeles during the 1990s and became his mentor, with Breitbart later helping to run the Drudge Report.[6][7] Breitbart announced in 2005 that he was “amicably leaving the Drudge Report after a long and close working relationship with Matt Drudge” but still helped run Drudge’s website from Los Angeles by working the afternoon shift, in addition to running Breitbart.com.[8][9][10] Drudge frequently links to Breitbart’s site, but does not get paid for this service.[7]

Listening to radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh helped Breitbart refine his political and philosophical positions,  In 2004 he was a guest commentator on Fox News Channel’s morning show and frequently appeared as a guest panelist on Fox News‘s late night program, Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld. Breitbart also appeared as a commentator in the 2004 documentary Michael Moore Hates America.[23]

ACORN undercover videos

Breitbart brings down Acorn by making false allegations—But Stupidparty disciples do not care. A former Massachusetts Attorney General hired to investigate the matter found no pattern of illegal conduct by the ACORN employees and said the news media should have been far more skeptical, demanding the raw video from which the edited versions were produced.[26]

Shirley Sherrod resigns after being slandered—but Stupidparty disciple don’t care.

In July 2010 Breitbart was accused of smearing USDA official Shirley Sherrod with a viral video titled “Proof NAACP Awards Racism”. The video showed Sherrod speaking at a NAACP fundraising dinner in March 2010 admitting to a racial reluctance to help a white farmer get government aid. The NAACP later posted the longer 43-minute video of the speech In it, Sherrod said her reluctance to help a white man was wrong, and she had ended up assisting him. The NAACP then reversed their rebuke of Sherrod,[28][29] and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack apologized and offered Sherrod a new government position.

 “Friends of Hamas”

On February 7, 2013, Ben Shapiro published an article on Breitbart.com reporting allegations that former Senator and nominee for United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) may have been paid to speak at an event sponsored by a group called “Friends of Hamas“.[36] Breitbart.com said that the story was based on “exclusive” information by “Senate sources”. The story was later repeated by other conservative opinion websites such as RedState,[37] National Review,[38] Washington Times,[39] PJ Media[40] and commented on by US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

An investigation by Slate reporter David Weigel failed to confirm the existence of the purported group.[41] On February 19, New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman said that the story had originated from a sarcastic comment he made to a Congressional staffer, Other media including Washington Post,[46] New York Magazine[47] and The Daily Beast[48] strongly criticized Breitbart.com for its inaccuracy and low journalistic standards.

Mis-identification of Loretta Lynch

On November 8, 2014, Breitbart.com posted an article headlined “Obama’s attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch represented Clintons during Whitewater.” The article, by Warner Todd Huston, erroneously reported that Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general, had been part of Bill Clinton‘s defense team during the Whitewater scandal. In fact, the two Lynches are different people. After this mistake was pointed out by several news outlets, Breitbart did note that the two Lynches were different people, but “buried its correction at the end of the article without bothering to fix the mistake in the story itself.” This generated further criticism; The New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal noted, “The appended correction didn’t really do justice to the scope of the misidentification.” Other media watchdogs noted “that Breitbart had let the mistaken fact stand in the headline and the article itself,” and even published a second story containing the incorrect information on November 9. By November 10, the initial story had been deleted from Breitbart.com.

James O’Keefe partner in Crime and real life Criminal

Stupidparty has had some success in various fabricated sting operations. I am personally aware of his effort to undermine the Wendy Davis campaign to become Governor of Texas. O’Keefe inserted his operatives into the campaign for months to try and gain trust and seek mistakes. I guess they could not find much, so onto plan B—entrapment. An O’Keefe operative approached a young staffer, just out of College, and advised this person that she/he had destroyed some ballot applications because the applicants were clearly racist. Now this would be against the law, but luckily the young man did nothing wrong and said that that was illegal and he would look into what to do. Now technically the moment you become aware of an illegal act you should report it to the authorities. Thus the next morning O’Keefe shows up in person at his young man’s house with the media—asking for comment. Fortunately this kid was smart enough to say nothing and so O’Keefe had just wasted months of effort. But did he though? Because trying to throw a young man to the the flesh eating zombie base not only puts this young mans life in danger, but makes O’Keefe look good to people who can not think critically. O’Keefe knows his audience. But this type of fake news effort, similar to Murdoch’s phone tapping UK escapades, lead to criminal behavior:

O’Keefe and colleagues were arrested in New Orleans in January 2010 during an attempt to make recordings at the office of United States Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat. He and three fellow activists were apprehended with two of them dressed as telephone repairmen including Robert Flanagan, the son of William Flanagan, acting U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Louisiana at the time. The four men were charged with malicious intent to damage the phone system. O’Keefe said he entered Landrieu’s office to investigate complaints that she was ignoring phone calls from constituents during the debate over the Affordable Health Care bill. The charges in the case were reduced from a felony to a single misdemeanor count of entering a federal building under false pretenses. O’Keefe and the others pleaded guilty on May 26. O’Keefe was sentenced to three years’ probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine. The other three men received lesser sentences.

In October 2014 O’Keefe was accused of soliciting Colorado Democratic campaign staffers for then-U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), as well as independent expenditure organizations,[clarification needed] to commit voter fraud.

When a Rolling Stones reporter wrote a tongue in cheek obituary about Breitbart, evidently Breitbart’s Zombie fan base did not react so well.

Well done, Breitbart fans, well done! In less than 24 hours you’ve hacked into my Wiki page, published my telephone number on Twitter, called the Rolling Stone offices pretending to be outraged “advertisers” (anonymous ones, who hung up before we could figure out which “ads” to pull), and then spent all night calling and texting my phone with various threats and insults, many of them directed at my family. “Better grow eyes in the back of your head,” was one; “I’m going to take a shit on your mother’s grave,” was another; a third called my wife a “piece of shit like you,” and many others called me a “pile of human excrement.”

So there we have it. This is what Rupert Murdoch has created. This is the end game from profitizing hate, ignorance and stupid. The more prevalent these attitudes become, the bigger the profits to Murdoch and his minions. The result is that he rest of the media has become polluted as they race to the bottom of the sewer. Just look at CNN. If ever there was an example of Stupid trumping Cowardice. If CNN had just had some balls they would never have found themselves held in contempt by both sides. A whole industry promoting misinformation is now in full bloom. But there is an Achilles heel—which we might well be witnessing now. What happens when Zombies start attacking each other, eating there own flesh and blood? This is bound to happen once they have sucked the life out of every intelligent thought. Perhaps that is the only way of killing off this deadly Stupidparty virus that has been growing exponentially? This is what we may be  seeing in the one man wrecking ball called Donald Trump. Long live the emperor of the Zombies—leading his Zombie army fat full charge right into the Zombie army. Now that is feast that I would love to witness.

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Iran, the Constitution, Stupidparty and Treason.

Republicans: Wrong on Iran Deal & Constitution, Wrong for USA & Israel

It’s hard to be so wrong and silly on such substantive issues as war and peace, nuclear proliferation, improving our relationship with Iran, and our Constitution, but the Republican Party (better known as the Stupidparty) is trying very hard and is succeeding spectacularly.  We should all give Republicans due credit by making it clear how dead-wrong they really are.

By Brian E. Frydenborg (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter @bfry1981) July 22nd, 2015

Reuters

“Republicans, in fact, often find themselves empowering America’s enemies through their actions).”

Treason is not a word that should ever be used lightly.  Expressing a dissenting opinion during wartime, for example, should not be thought of as treasonous, even though some still seem to think that using that word is appropriate.  Challenging your government, its officers, and your fellow citizens when you believe they are incorrect is also something that a sane definition of treason should not include.  In the words of the great journalist Edward R. Murrow, “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.”

And yet, how you express these opinions, and who you are and in what capacity you are speaking, can matter in certain circumstances.

With the Obama Administration’s twenty months of negotiations with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s negotiators on a nuclear deal (full text here) to prevent or slow Iran’s ability to acquire nuclear weapons production and deployment capabilities ending in(despite some delays) a momentous, historic success, we reached those certain circumstances during the negotiations with a letter signed by forty-seven out of fifty-four Republican senators, nearly half of the one-hundred-strong United States Senate, our senior legislative body.  This extraordinary action can also be viewed as one-sixth the power and authority of our government, being roughly one-half of one-third of one of our three co-equal branches of national government (the other two being the presidency’s Executive Branch and the federal courts of the Judicial Branch).  The short letter of the senators, authored by Sen. Tom Cotton and titled “An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” basically claimed that the president and his officials alone could not conclude a meaningful agreement without their approval and could only reach “a mere executive agreement,” that most of them would likely still be senators when Obama leaves office in January 2017, and then concluded that the “next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and the future Congress could modify the terms of the agreement at any time” (with “any time” not actually being true because any president could veto any changes and that veto would be insurmountable without a two-thirds vote against the president in both the House and Senate).  The letter was directly addressed to Iran’s leaders and was clearly designed to sabotage and undermine the Obama Administration’s efforts towards reaching an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program (meaning that both Republican hardliners and Iran’s Islamic hardliners found common cause in opposingthe agreement; Republicans, in fact, often find themselves empowering America’s enemies through their actions).  The letter was produced and released on official United States Senate stationary with the official Senate letterhead and was signed by forty-seven sitting senators.  They were not merely conveying their opinions as individuals, but were conveying them as senators and in their official capacity.

The relevant historians find this to be unprecedented, including the official Senate Historian himself who said that “We haven’t found a precedent…That doesn’t mean there isn’t a precedent. After 200 years, it’s hard to find anything that unprecedented.”  In the end, he says, “We really didn’t find anything.”  Secretary of State John Kerry, the Obama Administration’s point man on negotiations with Irancomplained of the letter’s unprecedented nature.  The complaints did not stop there…

Now, there are some basic lessons from American history and some principles behind our Constitution that these forty-seven Republican senators, and those who support them, seem to miss.  Actually, we can say this about a whole lot of things when it comes to Republicans and conservatives, who often seem to prefer the disaster that was the Articles of Confederation (see the thoughts on its “Deficiencies” of Founding father, author of the Constitution, and [fourth] President James Madison) over our Constitution and constantly read the latter as if it was the former (they should read Federalist No. 63, in which Madison discusses the need for both government power and the people’s liberty to be checked).

The article of confederation came into existence in the year 1777. It was formerly known as articles of confederation and perpetual union. It was the agreement between thirteen states of America and it served as the first constitution of the country. Bt the article of confederation got replaced in the year 1789 by present United States Constitution. Click here to know more it is scam

That could be a whole other article, but the point about the Republican senators’ letter goes back to issues from the very period of the Articles of Confederation that led to its being scrapped in favor of the Constitution (see The Federalist Papers Nos. 15-22).  The period of 1781–1789, during which the Articles of Confederation governed the United States, saw tremendous chaos in the realm of the new nation’s foreign affairs.  Though in theory foreign policy was supposed to more-or-less be conducted by the national Congress of the Confederation, in practice the weak and ineffectual national government proved unable to prevent individual states and individual people from meddling in foreign policy, confusing other parties as to who really speaking for the United States and with real authority.  To say this led to misunderstandings and crises would be an understatement.  After the Constitution went into effect in 1789, over time“Americans began to see alternative negotiating as treason.”

Still, with a new government in place and officials navigating in unchartered waters, it would take some time for clear limits to be established and understood.  While the primacy of the Executive Branch in foreign affairs was clear in the Constitution as originally worded, what crossed the line and how this line would be enforced was not as clear.  This gray area was left for Congress, Executive practice, and the Federal Judiciary to decide.  And that is what began happening.  When hostilities on the open seas emerged with Revolutionary France during the undeclared “Quasi-War” (1798-1800), a private citizen named George Logan took it upon himself, without approval from the government, to travel to France in 1798 to negotiate on behalf of the United States.  In response, Congress passed a law known as the Logan Act in 1799 that basically criminalized unauthorized diplomacy.  This law still remains on the books today and has been modified slightly in the modern era, yet there has never been a full prosecution of anyone over this law; over the entire history of the Act, only one Kentucky farmer was charged with violating it in 1803, but his case was never even brought to trial.

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In terms of the Senate Republicans’ Iran letter, there seems to be a consensus among serious non-partisans and policy analysts that the letter itself is almost farcically sillyand “embarrassing”; it presumes to lecture on U.S. Constitutional mechanisms, then proceeds to mischaracterize one of the key mechanisms in question, claiming that Congress “ratifies” treaties when actually it simply give its advice and /or necessary (but not sufficient) consent to the president, who makes the ultimate decision on ratification if and after the Senate votes to consent (in Iran’s snarky responses to the letter, the fact that the Senators mischaracterized their own Constitution was, embarrassingly, not lost on the Iranians).

However, there is some debate among scholars and analysts as to whether or not the letter is a clear violation of the Logan Act.  Some say it is a clear violation, others feel it is more gray, some say it is pointless to even determine this because prosecution under the act is both impractical and unlikely.  If you’re thinking that Logan was outside the government and that that means senators can’t be in violation of the act, before we go any further, it is time to open up the U.S. Constitution that both restricts and empowers the Federal Government.  For forty-seven Republican senators, and anyone who agree with their action of sending a certain letter to Iran’s Supreme leader at this moment in time on the subjects it covered, they may need to blow the dust off of their copy.

Article I is the section of the Constitution that lays out the powers and responsibilities of the U.S. Congress, and it very clearly does not authorize Senators or any other member of Congress to engage in foreign relations or negotiations of their own accord.  However, in Article II, which deals with the powers of the President, the U.S. Senate is given “Advice and Consent” roles in Section 2 in relation to the President’s and the executive branch’s express powers to be the executors of foreign policy: “[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.”

Congress legislates, but the president executes the actions of government.  The Constitution was clearly designed to have one principal agent, the president (and any people to whom he chose to delegate authority), act in the arena of foreign relations with the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.”  Having multiple centers of gravity in the same type of power with respect to foreign relations would have been to invite chaos and disaster and inconsistency (as during the Articles of Confederation era), and this the Constitution clearly avoids having.  The president’s Constitutional powers empower the presidency to make “presidential or sole executive agreements” without a Congressional role, agreements that fall short of the stature of “Treaties” that can be subjected to future change or rejection but are hardly insignificant.  That is not to say the Senate has no role, as clearly the President is supposed to act with senators’ “Advice and Consent,” and best practice and the best results come from when the president and the Senate work together in the process of treaty-making, with the president often delegating senators to negotiate or involving them in negotiations.  However, with the treaty Power falling under Article II, and the president having “Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” and not the other way around, it is clear that the president leads and that senators cannot act independently of the Executive Branch in this realm, save to offer their “Advice” or to withhold their “Consent.”  Advising and Consenting in no way even implies unilateral insertion into an official process or unilaterally officially communicating to active parties in an official negotiation; there is no Constitutional room for senators undermining the Executive Branch’s negotiating positions and negotiations through official non-legislative action directed specifically at negotiations or the parties involved in them; such actions would be clear violations of both the language and spirit of Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution.

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So even if there was not a violation of the Logan Act, or any law with a specific penalty,there is perhaps an even stronger case to be made that the senators violated the Constitution and encroached on the prerogatives of the Executive Branch and the presidency.  In American jurisprudence, there is a concept known as the “sole organ” doctrine that is confusing and misunderstood and often taken out of context.  But, as constitutional scholar Louis Fisher shows in his lengthy and comprehensive discussionof the Executive Branch’s prerogatives regarding foreign policy, where there is little confusion among the framers of the Constitution and the Judicial Branch’s interpretation is in the consensus that the Executive Branch is the sole executor of foreign policy, and that this includes all communications to and through foreign powers.

And yet, what we have happening here today is exactly what the Constitution was designed to prevent: members of the Senate inserting themselves publicly and without presidential authorization into ongoing negotiations between the Executive Branch of government, acting within its Constitutional authority in its capacity for action, and the government of Iran.  To insert themselves directly into the negotiations with messages that expressly contradict both the intent and the spirit of the elected president’s administration is a clear violation of both the separation and the division of powers as laid out in the constitution.  And the fact that it was done to deliberately undermine the goals of a presidential administration engaged in active negotiations with a foreign power makes it treasonous any way you slice it or dice it.  That it does not fit the prosecutable Constitutional definition of treason as laid out in Article III Section 3 does not mean it does not fit the dictionary definition and spirit of the general concept of treason (it clearly does).  Senators may no more publicly use their office to undermine the president’s authority to engage in negotiations as an executive head of state than the president may issue an executive order that empowers himself or those acting on his authority to violate laws that Congress passes.  The Senate does not consist of one-hundred individual ambassadors-at-large-to-the-world able to act on their own impulses any more than the presidency consists of one legislator-at-large able to legislate at will.  To use Alexander Hamilton’s words in Federalist No. 75, “the Executive…[is] the most fit agent” for “the management of foreign negotiations,” a sentiment echoes by John Jay notes in Federalist No. 64.  That is partly why executive power and legislative power, unlike in Britain and other parliamentary systems, are divided and separated by our Constitution.  For a president to legislate or a senator to execute, is, if you’ll pardon the expression, un-American.

Thus, the Republican senators’ letter is clearly a violation of the Constitution, even if it may be less clear as to whether their letter is a prosecutable offense under the Logan Act.  Yet even worse than the their specific treasonous-in-spirit-act is the fact that their position is so wrong and dangerous for everyone involved: Americans, Iranians, all the peoples of the Middle East (including Israelis), and even the whole world.

I have discussed the deal’s details before.  But even as Iran’s ability to produce a weapon would increase towards the end of the fifteen-year-agreement, the length of time required to make a weapon in the event of a breakdown in the agreement—termed “breakout time”—even at that juncture would still take longer than it would currently take Iran, before the implantation of this new agreement.  Now, Iran’s breakout time is two-three-months; once the agreement is in place, it would take Iran a year to produce a bomb.  That’s a big difference in my book.

As I have written, and as President Obama himself has noted, those opposing this deal do not have logic on their side at all.  When negotiating a deal, both sides must make concessions; neither side will be totally happy with the results, and the fact that this deal is not a perfect deal from the perspective of the interests of America is simply the reality of negotiating a deal, and does not mean that the deal is a bad one, is not good, or should be rejected.  The idea that Iran would have likely given up more ground—whether, as Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump claims, Iran would have cowed before the supposedly-awesome might of Trump’s negotiating skills, or whether, as reporter Major Garret obscenely suggested, that Obama should have jeopardized an entire nuclear deal affecting millions by tying it to the fate a few American citizens being detained by Iranian authorities (and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are released in the near future, much like Kennedy quietly and subsequently removed Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey as part of a secret caveat helping to end the Cuban Missile Crisis)—is just not grounded in reality, considering especially that Iran already gave a lot of ground.  So don’t let anyone tell you that a significantly better deal for the U.S. at this time could have been reached.  If sanctions were ratcheted up and a significant amount of time went by before resuming negotiations, perhaps Iran would be feeling more pressure, but it would also be much closer to a bomb or might already have one by the time negotiations resumed.  So, that would have been a bad risk to take.  No deal now, and no deal in the future, would have allowed Iran’s already strong nuclear program to continue unhindered, then, and nuclear weapons capability would have been certain in the near future.  No deal, with a nuclear Iran and Middle East with a deteriorating and expanding Sunni-Shiite regional conflict, is not in anyone’s interests, except ISIS and other terrorist groups.  And as Obama himself correctly made clear, “Put simply, no deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East.”  The only other realistic alternative to this risky status quo and this agreement, then, is a risky military path, from a single strike up to and including all-out war.  These military options seem to be the ones favored by Saudi Arabia’s new king and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu (one of the largest critics of the deal), who would love to have America fight a war against Iran on their behalf.  Yet even just a limited strike could risk a radicalization of the Iranian regime and to galvanize the people behind Iran’s ayatollahs, who aren’t exactly currently loved by many Iranians for leading their country to diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions.  A lot of people would die in those strikes and their responses, likely including many Israelis.  And an all-out war, with Iran’s mountainous terrain and large population, would make the Iraq war, by comparison, look like child’s play.  And I frankly don’t think Americans are willing to wage a war that could take much longer than our recent war in Iraq and result in far more casualties for Americans, especially when this deal presents a viable alternative to war.  Even with a war, it is very difficult to know that we would be able to eradicate Iran’s nuclear capability, and if Iran was in possession of any nuclear weapons during a war it was fighting on its own territory, if its situation were desperate, that would only increase the chances, not lessen, of the use of nuclear weapons in combat for the first time since Nagasaki in 1945.  If America stopped its efforts short of a full regime change and the eradication of Iran’s nuclear program—very tall tasks, indeed—then the result would a humiliating disaster for America that would leave every party in a worse off situation than before fighting began.  So, no, when this deal is stacked up against realistic alternatives—not Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice fantasy negotiations, but negotiations that would have taken place in the real world—there really is not a better alternative or one with less risk.  And this is the only one of the realistic options that does not involve massive bloodshed that severely limits Iran’s nuclear program and keeps it from developing a bomb for at least a decade and then some.

Perhaps most importantly, we have a chance to begin anew our relationship with Iran.  Recognizing this potential, over 100 former American ambassadors praised the deal.  The United Nations Security Council has already unanimously endorsed the deal, and has also voted to lift sanctions on Iran (the latter provoking complains from the U.S. Congress). This deal enjoys broad global support for good reasons.  I’m not going to mince words at all here: this is, clearly, Obama’s greatest achievement in foreign policy (including the killing of bin-Laden, who relevance had decreased significantly in the years before his death) and possibly even of his entire presidency.  TARP and the stimulus packages were either a joint-effort with the departing Bush Administration and/or with Congress; this, on the other hand, was all Obama and his team.  This may very well be the biggest foreign policy development in over forty years, since Nixon went to China in 1972 and began a path that led to engagement between the two countries that has benefitted both nations in many ways and helped to prevent war between us.  No singe act of a U.S. presidential administration has happened from that 1972 trip until this Iran deal that has so much potential to be a game changer and to change the course of world history so greatly.  This is truly a monumental achievement of great substance that makes many millions of people safer than any of the realistic alternatives; Obama, Kerry, and Rouhani and their negotiating teams should be hailed as heroes.

But all the Republicans do is bash this deal, with incredibly myopic points that do no address any of the points I raised about realistic alternatives being far worse.  The Republican clown-car of potential candidates vying to be their party’s choice to be the leader of the world would, if their words are to be taken seriously, dramatically escalate the likelihood of all-out war and would see current levels of bloodshed all over the Middle East very likely rise should any of them occupied the White House.  From supporting treasonous and un-Constitutional acts to endangering Americans, Israelis, and the world with awful policies and deeds that illogically undermine the very sound policies of the Obama Administration, the Republican Party is not to be trusted, respected, or voted into power because they are just so wrong.

 

The “Magical” Supreme Court, the Constitution and Gerrymandering.

On the subject of our imperiled Democracy, don’t hold your breath hoping we will  get to see many more ‘magic tricks’ from the Supreme Court after  the magical tri-factor of opinions erupting in June 2015.

Supreme Court Decision: Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

While everyone is wild with excitement over the Gay marriage decision, an historic event that delights more than half the Country, and drives the Stupidparty disciples from their caves, into the burning sunlight of public exposure,

The history of Gay marriage or same-sex marriage dates back to 1970s, which then came under the question of civil marriage right and what is the benefit of getting married in the same sex, the lawsuit which was filled became unsuccessful. But it became legalized in the year 2004 by the court of Massachusetts.  To know more about gay marriage click this review

a place where hate will go to fry—and the upholding of Obamacare in a case where the Stupidparty legal team somehow managed to congregate a bunch of self-evident odious mental midgets as plaintiffs—hidden behind all this, another case has been decided, that in terms of trying to actually salvage a defunct Democracy, has larger implications.

In our platform for reform we had established the Six Simple Fixes for US Democracy, see point 2:

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Lets us look at just one example of how Gerrymandering works. Florida is a Blue State yet Stupidparty wins this “Blue state” hands down by securing 17 Congressional seats compared the Democrats who only win 10 seats. The since the Democrats should have at least a one seat edge, how come the Stupidparty walks away with an undeserved 8 additional seats? Well, study how the district below has been cunningly created to corral as many Democratic voters into one district as possible.  Florida—20

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 In 2012 The Democrats won this seat with 88% of the vote. Now let us look how this microcosm morphs out on a large scale.

 How to Condense Democratic votes into one congressional district 

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Justice Ginsburg Deals a Blow to Partisan Gerrymandering

And it is not like we do not now understand what happens if you ban Gerrymandering. California was able to do precisely that, once they ditched the economically disastrous Stupidparty. Since a Democratic governor (Jerry Brown) was installed, with Democrats holding a massive majority in the Assembly and the Senate, we can now see the results of basic critical skills re asserting themselves. The Stupidparty is presently pretty much irrelevant at the local level; it might even be dead, thus allowing for a rebirth of something that used to be referred to as Republicans.

There has been dynamic electoral reform.

1) Lawmakers have been voted in from districts drawn up by a nonpartisan commission. Yea!

2) In the new nonpartisan system, the two top primary finishers run against each other. Yea!!

3) Last year voters eased the stringent term limits that forced out seasoned legislators. Yea!!! or not. What ever.

The New York Times reports (Oct 19, 2013):

In the past month, California has been the stage for a series of celebrations of unlikely legislative success—a parade of bill signings that offered a contrast between the shutdown in Washington and an acrimony-free California Legislature that enacted laws dealing with subjects including school financing, immigration, gun control and abortion . . . The new atmosphere in Sacramento also offers the first evidence that three major changes (listed above) in California’s governance system intended to leach some of the partisanship out of politics—championed by reform advocates—may also be having their desired effect in a state that has long offered itself as the legislative laboratory for the nation.

As The New York Times goes on to report, Stupidparty representatives in more logically drawn up districts have to contend with a less-partisan base. Now such representatives (not having been selected from a partisan primary) have to deal with the realities of an election where the outcome is not preordained; they have to be more responsive to their constituents and be sensitive to the changing demographics. Stupidparty reps have to listen to minorities, immigrants, etc., and they can begin to morph back into Republicans, back into being in touch with humanity.

Republican Rep. Anthony Cannella (for he is no longer Stupidparty) is quoted as saying, “It’s given more courage to my Republican colleagues . . . They were afraid of getting primaries. Now, it’s not just their base they have to appeal to.”

Another Republican: “It gives Republicans the chance to break from their caucus on certain issues . . . It is very different than it was four or five years ago.”

Now that we have set up the context, let’s go back to the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Gerrymandering. The case hinged on the term “Legislature.” Can the term the Legislator mean the “people?”

Here we have a classic case of should the constitution be a living breathing concept or should it literally never evolve. Justice Roberts was chosen for his encyclopedic knowledge of the constitution and for his politically rigid and conservative background that demands adherence to the notion that the constitution must be bubble wrapped in its time warp.

This is odd because the Founding Fathers where hardly Stupidparty – in fact they would loathe what is happening today on the right. The original root of true intent could perhaps best be summed up by Thomas Jefferson:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

So what does “Legislature” mean and what could it mean? Well this is a no brainer for John Roberts:

In his dissent, Roberts accused the majority of performing a “magic trick” with the wording of the Constitution. His dissent begins with an account of Arizona’s passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, providing for the direct election of US senators. “What chumps!” the chief wrote. “Didn’t they realize that all they had to do was interpret the constitutional term ‘the Legislature’ to mean ‘the people’? The Court today performs just such a magic trick with the Elections Clause.”

But Robert’s dissent was far too polite for Scalia who torches the majority with these words:

“[T]he majority’s resolution of the merits question (‘legislature’ means ‘the people’) is so outrageously wrong, so utterly devoid of textual or historic support, so flatly in contradiction of prior Supreme Court cases, so obviously the willful product of hostility to districting by state legislatures, that I cannot avoid adding my vote to the devastating dissent of the Chief Justice.”

Why would any one be hostile to rigging elections? Anyway their case seems water tight  to me.

Now before proceeding, I have to say that I am rather cynical about the Constitution. It seems to me that it can used as a tool for good and bad, dependent on the opinion (politics) of the individual Justice. You can know nothing about the constitution and yet you will know how Justice’s Scalia, Alito and Thomas will vote on virtually every issue. Two of the Justices seem pretty tight with right wing political organizations to the point that one has to wonder why they do not permanently recluse themselves. Justice Scalia allows religious superstitions to steep into his very being.

Justice Alito of course sided with Justice Thomas and Scalia. But his views on Gerrymandering should never have been a surprise:

Back in 2005 then Congressman Barny Frank had some prescient comments regarding Alito.

“It is also interesting to watch them [the right wing] try to deny the very, very deep conservatism of the nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Alito. They are hiding his views on abortion. Recently, in the Boston Globe, an article by Kenneth Starr and Ronald Cass tried to explain away one of the most astounding examples of his extreme conservatism: his opposition to the basic principle of one man, one vote as articulated by the Warren Court. And given the difficulty of trying to get someone confirmed who has views that extreme, these two advocates tried to explain it away by claiming it was all about gerrymandering and proportional representation.”

Professor Michael Tolley of Northeastern University wrote a very good letter exposing the inaccuracy of this attempted defense of Judge Alito and reaffirming that in fact what was involved in his 1985 statement was an objection to that basic principle of democracy articulated by the Warren Court, that it should be one man, one vote.

“Does Alito believe, like O’Connor, in the principle of “one person, one vote”? Or is he against the use of federal judicial power to remedy discrimination resulting from malapportioned legislative districts? The difference between disagreeing with the extension of the principle “one person, one vote” to issues such as partisan gerrymandering and disagreeing with the principle of “one person, one vote” is the difference between a moderate and someone out of the judicial mainstream.

Alito is a core representative of the Federalist Society. It was the Federalist Society that encouraged George H Bush to stop the ABA (the American Bar Association) from rating judges – thus doing away with notion that Judges should viewed on merit in addition to being philosophically in agreement with the President – this leading to the appointment of two second rate political hacks posing as individuals actually trying to interpret the law – Alito and Thomas.

Federalist Society, is an organization of conservatives and libertarians seeking reform of the current American legal system in accordance with a textualist or originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. It is one of the nation’s most influential legal organizations. It has played a significant role in moving the national debate to the right on the Second Amendment, campaign finance regulation, state sovereignty, and the Commerce Clause. It plays a central role in networking and mentoring young conservative lawyers

As The Huffington Post  reports:

Alito’s class at Princeton was the last all-male class at the university, and when Alito was angling for a promotion within the Reagan-Meese Justice Department in 1985, he bragged that he was a “proud member” of Conservative Alumni of Princeton, a group that aggressively fought the university’s efforts to diversify its student body by accepting more women and people of color. (He developed a surprisingly thorough amnesia on the topic between his Justice Department days and his Supreme Court confirmation hearings.)

At the Justice Department, Alito was part of a team that pushed to limit civil rights protections and advance a right-wing legal ideology. Even in that hothouse of right-wing activism, he was an outlier, unsuccessfully trying to push Ronald Reagan to veto an uncontroversial bill against odometer fraud on the grounds of federalism. Alito argued that it is not the job of the federal government to protect the “health, safety, and welfare” of Americans. He continued to push that kind of federalism argument as a judge, dissenting from a ruling that upheld a federal law restricting the sale of machine guns. On the Third Circuit Court of Appeals he was often the lone dissenter staking out far-right interpretations of the law that consistently sacrificed the rights and interests of individuals to powerful corporate or other institutions.

But suddenly these right wing extremists have zero interest in the Constitution when it comes to promoting business interests over the people.

Knox v. SEIU, (Service Employees International Union) in which Alito led an attack on unions by deciding to answer a question that had not even come before them in the case. In essence, he and the other conservative justices argued that a system that allows workers to opt out of assessments for unions’ political work was suddenly unconstitutional, and required an opt-in. Justice Sotomayor slammed the Alito decision for ruling on an issue which the SEIU had not even been given an opportunity to address. That kind of right-wing activism moved People For the American Way Foundation’s Paul Gordon to write that the Court’s conservative judges “might as well have taken off their judicial robes and donned Scott Walker T-shirts in their zeal to make it harder for unions to protect workers.”

So this justification for heinous rulings, because the Constitution “must be taken literally”, is just stuff – it all goes out the window when push comes to shove. As The American Constitution Society reports:

“Judicial activism” mantra has been inordinately effective in shaping the debate over judicial nominations. It has allowed them to push through deeply conservative nominees [and] changed the course of American jurisprudence from one based on advancing principles of equality and liberty to one centered on protecting wealth and privilege.

So how do Supreme Court Justices get nominated? Why has the Supreme Court trended so? I believe that all critical thinkers accept that money has a corrupting influence in politics.

American Spending on Elections: For the 2012 US election—the parties (basically two parties) spent $6,000,000,000. And every cycle, it just keeps getting worse:Picture

UK V USA Money corrupting politics.Picture

It is worse than indicated because the USA presidential elections occur every four years (not five, as in the UK), plus the USA has critical congressional elections every two years. Midterm congressional elections cost more than 50% of the presidential cycle. So actually it is fairer to say that U.S. elections cost almost $10b, (see below graphics) when they should only cost about $100m—that is, if you wanted a relatively uncorrupt system, or congressmen actually looking after their constituents).

If these trends continue then of course that must mean that any remnants of Democracy get ceded to the Oligarchs – the top 0.01%. I defy you to imagine a more plausible consequence. Some already argue that we are already at that point. I would argue that we have not yet arrived at a “Hunger Games” Scenario but that is the direction we are headed. There are already a growing number of the well to do that are so narcissistic as to resemble the ruling class as comically spoofed on in the “Hunger Games”. 

Accepting money corrupts – this would mean that the US political process is 50 times more corrupt than the UK. In the following graphs the amount of money spent by the UK has been multiplied by a factor of 5 – to accommodate the difference in population

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Thus politicians are in the pocket of the people who contribute to their campaigns –and as these contributions increase, so the best interests of the voters get marginalized. The Asset Strippers, the Beneficiaries, they are taking control. They are the oligarchy in waiting; the democracy we think we see—it is just a miragePicture

With these five guys—­­Big Business must win every time—they are fine with unlimited funds for the Asset Strippers to buy politicians. The Supreme Court justices are not chosen on merit; money chooses the justices. The more money in the political process, the less the newly selected justices will reflect the will of the ever more suppressed and uninformed electorate. Belief in Myth is ignorance, and the ignorant can be easily manipulated. Money will use an outmoded and ever-more-moribund Constitution to further its own agenda and not the agenda of the people. The Constitution had a history of evolving, but that is history now, June 2015 victories not withstanding.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Ritchie, December 25, 1820

“A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone is a good thing; but independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government.”

Four of the six most conservative justices of the 44 who have sat on the court since 1937 are serving now: Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Scalia and most conservative of all, Clarence Thomas. (The other two were Chief Justices Burger and Rehnquist.) Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the swing justice on the current court, is in the top 10.

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Therefore one needs to see the dissenter opinion in a new light. Alito’s ideas of Democracy are extreme; Thomas a bitter man with savagely right wing views, only departing from Scalia and Alito on rare occasions where his colleagues are totally racially insensitive. So these three Justices will happily conveniently bury their heads so deep into a document, that would then be destined to turn to dust, having incinerated Democracy itself—if there were not some critical thinkers that still have some remnants of influence and can block such conceit.

The Gerrymandering case hinged on the term “Legislature.” Can the term the Legislator mean the “people” For what is at stake is the continued ability to treat the people with contempt – a contempt that the Supreme Court has earned for itself with the Citizens United decision, the Shelby County v. Holder Voter Suppression ruling, and finally the efforts of the extremists to  secure the tri –factor of contempt for the will of the people  in the Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

As discussed the “Rotten Apples” appeared to be on solid footing, but during oral arguments Justice Elena Kagan raised a very interesting point – that focused on the numerous laws that promote voter suppression (laws that are not required since Voter fraud by the Voter is Mathematically irrelevant). Her question:

“there are “zillions” of laws regarding elections that were passed by voters without the involvement of the legislature, including those requiring photo IDs to vote and allowing voting on machines and voting by mail. “So would all these be unconstitutional as well?”

I would love to know how the Rotten Apple constitutional purists would have tried to address that question. But then Justice Ginsburg steps forward to put the boot into Stupidparty with her majority opinion.

“The people of Arizona turned to the initiative to curb the practice of gerrymandering,” Ginsburg wrote. “In so acting, Arizona voters sought to restore ‘the core principle of republican government,’ namely, ‘that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.’” Ginsburg’s opinion was joined by the three other liberal-leaning justices and Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Ginsburg went on “It would thus be perverse to interpret ‘Legislature’ in the Elections Clause to exclude lawmaking by the people, particularly when such lawmaking is intended to advance the prospect that Members of Congress will in fact be ‘chosen . . . by the People of the several States,’” Ginsburg wrote, having observed that Gerrymandering effectively rigged the elections to keep one party in power.

So you see, it just takes a slight degree of mental agility to allow the Constitution to magically be a force for good –as opposed to being a tool for individuals who are happy to destroy Democracy, by allowing elections to be “rigged” allowing voting to be suppressed and allowing unlimited amounts of Corporate dark money to buy up every politician in congress.

Now that was not so difficult was it? A victory for the people—god forbid. I have already discussed why Alito, Scalia and Thomas really cannot be trusted to use the Constitution as a positive tool. But Roberts – what makes him what he is? He is smart and does not appear to be closed minded. His dissent against Gay marriage did not appear to come from a dark place; it was rational and well meaning –especially within the context of his life experience. But this is where we get to the rub—his life experience. Like actuaries who are mathematically brilliant but usually lacking in basic common sense (because they just cannot depart from their box), Roberts’s knowledge of the Constitution is unquestioned, yet the founding fathers would surely have wanted him to think outside the box. The Founding Fathers believed in evolution, they fully understood than the laws that made sense in 1760, would often times not make sense in future generations. So how can Roberts be so oblivious?

“One must truly wonder, if, in Roberts, we are seeing a textbook example of the myopia, lack of self-awareness, and narrow-mindedness that can result from attending the non-racially-diverse Roman Catholic grade and boarding schools in 1960s and 1970s small-town, rural, overwhelmingly-white Indiana”

After that Harvard, Harvard Law School, then law clerk for Judge Henry Friendly, then Justice Rehnquist, then working in the  Attorney General‘s office during the Reagan Administration.

That appears to be that. He might as well have been born and bred in the Truman Show, his bubble is so complete, so suffocating. What else does he have other than a Catholic devotion to the Constitution. Think you can find anything interesting about him other than his bot like expertise on the Constitution? Trying to find anything interesting about Roberts outside of his singular expertise was problematic. This linked article pops up if you google him—“Here are 10 things you did not know about Justice Roberts.” Check it out or just trust me—nothing noteworthy at all; perhaps the Journalist was just incompetent. Wikipedia?  Nothing. Other sites, nothing, nothing, nothing. No apparent real life experiences to influence, shape or deepen his world view. So everything must remain two dimensional, no ‘magic tricks’ will ever inspire his opinions. If someone could invent the Manchurian candidate destined to ensure that the Constitution stagnate then, John Roberts is that man. He is at least a Dad, so perhaps he might become more vested in the survival of our species – a survival threatened by Stupidparty.

But today we can celebrate.  We can take a moment from the doom and gloom that Stupidparty inflicts upon critical thinkers every day of the week, to feel that yes, there is yet life lurking at the core of the Country.

In the most recent midterm elections the Stupidparty has managed to increase their majority in Congress notwithstanding the fact that they lost the popular vote by at least 1,000,000. This was done by Gerrymandering which has also allowed them to control more Statehouses, that in turn would lead to more gerrymandering in an ever expanding vicious circle of cheating, because cheating, lying and bullshitting is all that they have to offer. This Supreme Court decision can reverse those trends.

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But these are dark and stormy days and there is a final double plot twist at the end of this tale. The dead villain, is it really dead? Did the heroes really just turn their backs on the corpse, without double checking the pulse? Remember that Justice Elena Kagan question about those insidious voter suppression laws – well one unintentional consequence of this Supreme Court decision, is to make those laws constitutional.

Tragic right? No, hardly – because as already discussed, the “Rotten Apples” (except Roberts) only pretend to be puritans when it suits them. So if this Gerrymandering Court decision had gone the other way – you can bet your bottom dollar that the Supreme Court would either not  take such a voter suppression case, and even if they did, they would have found a way to make those voter suppression laws Constitutional even though they were determined by the people and not by the “legislature”

So much for the complexity of the Constitution, which apparently requires magic, to remain relevant.

Historical Revisionism: Republican Civil War Delusions

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Math debunks Myth again. Here we address the question of how much of the Civil War was driven by the the issue of slavery. We calculate that issues not connected to Slavery took up a mere 15% of the conversation. As Jason Newell will explain the “not associated with slavery” portion at 15% is actually being rather

You know what? It’s time to put “the Civil War wasn’t about slavery” bullshit to rest.

The civil war would have almost destroyed the United States of America.  In this conflict, 630000 soldiers were killed within four years of war. At the end of the war, the total population came down to 35 million. The war was fought for the property rights. the property in question of four million slaves of the south. To know more about civil war click Suggested Web page.

kind.

By Jason Newell

You know what? It’s time to put “the Civil War wasn’t about slavery” bullshit to rest.

In recent weeks, I have come across incredibly uninformed statements regarding American History on social media (a possible consequence of public school curriculum not thoroughly explaining, or even disregarding, important aspects of African-America history)—in particular, the argument centered on the institution of slavery not being the primary catalyst of the Civil War. And while I commend certain media outlets in their attempt to dispel this false notion, their analyses have fallen upon deaf ears. That is why I find it necessary to topple this myth—and I will do so with a methodical approach. The most referenced historical events related to the Civil War, or not related for that matter, will be categorized in three ways:

1) Associated with slavery.

2) Not associated with slavery.

3) Likely associated with slavery (included as a consequence of some causes, or events, being on the fence).

For example, let’s say the event was the Dred Scott decision—it would be listed as “Dred Scott decision (associated with slavery),” along with an explanation as to why it’s related. It’s really that simple! So, let’s topple the Stupidparty myth of slavery not being the primary cause of the Civil War. Here are the causes that I have determined to be associated with slavery (in a list format, but not in chronological order):

Associated with slavery.

1) The Institution of Slavery

Self-explanatory.

2) The Dred Scott Decision (associated with slavery)

The Supreme Court’s holding that a slave was considered the property of his master.

3) The Abolitionist Movement (associated with slavery)

The movement’s primary goal was to dismantle slavery.

4) The Harriet Beecher novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (associated with slavery)

Written in order to reveal the harsh realities of slave life.

5) The Underground Railroad (associated with slavery)

A network of routes for African-American slaves to escape slavery. What was the response of angry slave owners? To pass the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

6) The Missouri Compromise (associated with slavery)

Everyone that has gone to grade school knows about this one. It was designed to ban the expansion of slavery north of the 36°30′ parallel—it was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

7) John Brown (associated with slavery)

The abolitionist who attacked Harper’s Ferry in order to liberate slaves—he was inspired by the immoral system of slavery.

8) Raid on Harper’s Ferry (associated with slavery)

See #7 above.

9) Election of Lincoln (associated with slavery)

Lincoln, in a speech delivered in 1859, said the following about slavery:

I think Slavery is wrong, morally, and politically. I desire that it should be no further spread in these United States, and I should not object if it should gradually terminate in the whole Union.”

10) Southern Secession (associated with slavery)

First of all, look at this excerpt from Missouri’s declaration of secession:

“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth”

And check out this gem from Texas’s declaration of secession:

“ [The North] Proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color – a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law”

These are but two examples of Confederate State’s citing slavery as a justification to secede from the Union. By the way, I don’tPicture see much about “tariffs” in these formal declarations.

11) Fort Sumter (associated with slavery)

After South Carolina seceded, it attacked Fort Sumter (a U.S. Army post). The South was the first to attack, the North did not take any offensive measures until several days later—the war would be more aptly named if it was called the “The War of Southern Aggression.”

12) Constitutional question of slavery/Three-Fifths Compromise (associated with slavery)

Slavery was ingrained in the formation of U.S. Constitution: for one, pro-slavery Founders wanted African-Americans to be counted for political representation—therefore, they were given three-fifths the representation of an American citizen. This was done to increase Southern representation in Congress, even though African-Americans couldn’t vote.

Moreover, due to pressure from pro-slavery Founders, the abolition of slavery could not be implemented by Congress until 1808—talk about kicking the can down the road.

13) Economic envy between the North and South (associated with slavery)

While the North was in fact industrialized, free labor in the South created Northern resentment. You see, the North actually had to pay their “agricultural employees.”

14) Social reformation (associated with slavery)

The Women’s Movement, with inspiration from the Bible, started to view the system of slavery as immoral.

15) Nat Turner’s Rebellion (associated with slavery)

A slave rebellion that resulted in the Southern States placing further restrictions on African Americans, such as prohibiting education for free African-Americans.

16) Gag Rule (associated with slavery)

Pro-slavery congressmen passed gag rules to table all anti-slavery petitions.

17) Amistad Slave Ship (associated with slavery)

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of slaves illegally brought to the US—slaves, at this time, were no longer allowed to be imported.

18) Annexation of Texas (associated with slavery)

Texas was admitted to the Union as a slave state.

19) Popular Sovereignty Slavery (associated with slavery)

Lewis Cass wanted territories to have the ability to decide whether or not to permit slavery—Congress had typically outlawed slavery in the territories. 

20) California bans slavery (associated with slavery)

California’s State Constitution makes slavery illegal.  It’s admittance into the Union was perceived by Southerners as changing the balance of power between free and slave states.

21) Compromise of 1850 (associated with slavery)

Large concessions were made on the slavery issue: California was admitted as a free state; the Utah and New Mexico territories could determine whether or not to implement slavery; slavery was abolished in Washington D.C.; and it simplified the process for slave masters to recover slaves.

22) Fugitive Slave Act (associated with slavery)

This act required escaped slaves to be returned to their masters. Northerners believed it was a “slave power conspiracy” used to increase Southern representation.

23) Kansas-Nebraska Act (associated with slavery) 

This act created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and allowed inhabitants of these territories to choose whether or not slavery would be instituted.

24) Bleeding Kansas (associated with slavery) 

The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act led to violent confrontations in Kansas between abolitionists and proponents of slavery—these confrontations greatly inflamed tensions between the North and South

25) Eli Whitney Cotton Gin (associated with slavery)

This invention incentivized the continuation and eventually expansion of slavery.

26) States vs. Federal rights (associated with slavery)

I guess, in some warped, abstract way, you could look at the Civil War as being a states’ rights issue. However, the Southern States were appealing to the argument of states’ rights in order to perpetuate the existence of an immoral economic system. The inclusion of the states’ rights argument is nothing more than a ploy—utilized by Stupidparty disciples—to cloak the primary cause of the Civil War, slavery.

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Ok, now onto the causes supposedly “not associated with slavery”:

27) Tariffs (not associated with slavery)

Sociologist James W. Loewen thoroughly refutes the tariff claim:

“[The Tariff Thesis is] flatly wrong. High tariffs had prompted the Nullification Crisis in 1831-33, when, after South Carolina demanded the right to nullify federal laws or secede in protest, President Andrew Jackson threatened force. No state joined the movement, and South Carolina backed down. Tariffs were not an issue in 1860, and Southern states said nothing about them. Why would they? Southerners had written the tariff of 1857, under which the nation was functioning. Its rates were lower than at any point since 1816.”

It can be seen that there was no incentive for Southern States to secede due to tariff issues, as the South successfully wrote the tariff of 1857—and, as mentioned earlier, Southern States didn’t include the tariff argument in their declarations of secession.

28) Nullification Crisis (not associated with slavery)

South Carolina, in response to the economically disadvantaging Tariff of 1832, threatened nullification, which is a state’s refusal to accept federal law. The confrontation was eventually quelled with the passage of the Tariff of 1833 as it agreed to remove the Tariff of 1832 within 10 years.

29) Industrial Revolution (not associated with slavery)

The discovery of steam power, the advancement of machines, and improvements in logistics and transportation revolutionized the global economy—these advancements, for the most part, benefited the manufacturing sector. Slavery wasn’t the driving force behind industrial development.

30) Manifest Destiny (not associated with slavery) 

Western Expansion was justified with the philosophy of Manifest Destiny. In essence, God, through divine command, sanctioned Western Expansion—the move West, according to its adherents, would create a “sea to shining sea” empire, and thus, fulfill God’s demands.

31) Mexican American War (not associated with slavery) 

Inspired by Manifest Density, President James Polk supported a conflict with Mexico in order to obtain new territory. After Mexico’s surrender, the United States received large chunks of what was previously Mexican territory.

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Causes on the fence (referred to as “likely associated with slavery”):

32) Election of Democrats & Whigs (likely associated with slavery)

While the election of these two political parties didn’t solely revolve around the slavery issue. Southern Democrats campaigned for slavery, while the conscience Whigs campaigned against it. The subject matter of candidates for office presumably related to the issue of slavery.

33) Lincoln-Douglas Debate (likely associated with slavery)

The debates between the two candidates involved political topics apart from slavery, so they weren’t only about slavery. But, the slavery issue did come up in all seven debates between the two candidates.

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My, oh, my, it feels so good to refute Stupidparty arguments regarding the primary causes of the Civil War being “tariffs” and “space aliens.” Just for fun, I made a visual representation of the three categories (by percentage):

Picture

(*The “not associated with slavery” section would be even smaller if I decided to remove tariffs from the category—but I’m simply being nice.)

Filmmaker, Ken Burns, who produced the PBS television series The Civil War—a man with extensive knowledge on the causes behind the Civil Warsaid the following about bogus arguments related to the Civil War: “If you read South Carolina’s Articles of Secession in November after Lincoln’s election of 1860, they don’t mention states’ rights, they don’t mention nullification, they mention slavery over and over again.” Touché Ken, touché.

I must admit, it’s quite a chore to tell conservative revisionist that they can’t abide by their own set of “facts”—facts that were likely derived from Fox News or Breitbart. Who knows, conservatives, especially from the South, may concoct these historical myths in order to cope with the loss of the Civil War; or, maybe, it’s a way for conservatives to conveniently bypass the existence of institutional and structural racism in the United States. Whatever the reason, denying the facts is the definition of insanity. Disappointingly, when conservatives are confronted with facts that dismantle their fallacious arguments, they resort to—especially on social media—mindless, automatistic responses, such as typing in all caps and slinging homosexual slurs.

Confederate and Stupidparty denialism is a truly disturbing trend: advocates for the “Confederate Flag not being a racist symbol” nonsense truly highlights their abnormally elevated level of delusion. Incidentally, while I understand that symbols can evolve over time, or may become altered in a Foucauldian fashion (changing the meaning of symbol can help people heal, e.g., a persecuted group adopting a racial epithet to positively transform its definition)—contemporary defenders of the Confederate Flag aren’t ailing from historical trauma.  My question is, why do Southerners, white Southerners to be more specific, believe that they’re victims? Did they forget about the actions of their immoral ancestors?  The negative externalities of slavery are still being felt by African-Americans.

It must be said that the Confederate and Stupidparty attempt to both distort American history and alter the meaning of a racist symbol is a slap in the face to the African-American community, whose ancestors were brutally enslaved in order to uphold an immoral economic system. Maybe, just maybe, race relations will improve once these denialists begin accepting historical realities—telling the truth would be a good start.