From Around the Blogroll

It just couldn’t be that the Democrats are about as inspiring as a pile of cow manure:

Millennials aren’t apathetic: Their vote is suppressed
Voter ID laws target students and the young — it’s an active campaign to keep twentysomethings from the polls
Aaron R. Hanlon

“Voter apathy”—particularly among young people—is a post-midterm election cliché that says more about the audiences the punditry write for than the election results themselves. Following from the already overdetermined master narrative about the entitled millennial, “voter apathy” tells the center-left, median-age white professional exactly what she wants to hear: It’s not your fault we’re stuck with this loathsome legislature; it’s those coddled millennials who couldn’t be bothered to vote.

Millennials, I’ll admit, bear significant responsibility for this impression, not only because our voting turnout is indeed poor, but because our response to poor turnout only reinforces the stereotypes. Mathew Segal and Johanna Berkson’s recent Salon piece, a classic example of the genre of millennial backtalk, argues that poor turnout is the politicians’ fault, because they failed to “inspire” with “bold ideas on some of the most important issues to millennials today.” Segal and Berkson may be right, but perhaps blaming low millennial turnout on the failure of politicians to cater to millennials wasn’t the best rhetorical choice.

So instead of rearticulating the old clichés about voter apathy—a topic that, at best, is more complicated than either “kids these days…” or “old folks just don’t speak to us”—we should consider the impact of voter suppression on young people.

The midterm election results were predictable in large part because of the widespread effort of states to pass “voter ID” laws that target women, minorities and, of course, young voters, all of whom are more likely to vote for Democrats. The 2013 Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision lifted requirements for states with a recent history of race-based voter suppression to get Justice Department approval for voting law changes, which opened the doors for states like Texas and North Carolina (among others) to pass measures that restrict voter registration efforts, voting hours and forms of identification required to vote. In Texas, for example, a concealed handgun license is acceptable ID for voting, but a student ID is not. North Carolina does not accept student IDs either.

More at the original. But the notion that “millennials” lack photographic identification is ludicrous: 67% of them have driver’s licenses, and every state in the union has its Department of Motor Vehicles capable of issuing non-driver’s license photo IDs. Combine that with the “motor voter” law, and anyone in the county who can legally register to vote can do so, at a place which has the equipment to provide a photo ID at the same time. If some people, regardless of age, are simply to lazy to register to vote, then I’m perfectly fine with them not being able to vote; that is on them, and no one else.

Of course, mentioning driver’s licensing also means mentioning cars!

And now, to the blogroll!

Rule 5 Blogging: Joni Ernst

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Nancy Pelosi in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

This week we focus on Joni Ernst, Senator-elect from Iowa, who will replace Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) in the next Congress. She served our country in the Army Reserves, deployed to Kuwait and Iraq, and is now a battalion commander in the Iowa National Guard; she has served 21 years in the Reserves and National Guard. She reported back on duty the day after the election.

Retiring Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) supported Mrs Ernst’s opponent, and tried to tell the voters that they shouldn’t vote for her because she’s attractive. Well, Senator Harkin was right enough in noticing that Mrs Ernst is good looking, but the real reason to have voted for her is that she is tough as nails, and is right on the issues. A company commander who wasn’t afraid to risk her life on the roads around Baghdad won’t be intimidated by Barack Hussein Obama!

Senator-elect Joni Ernst (R-IA), while on duty in Iraq. A Lieutenant Colonel now, she was a captain when this picture was taken. She spent 14 months in Kuwait in 2003-2004 as a company commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Joni Ernst’ »

OK, you won. So, now what are you going to do?

We gave, on the old site, excellent advice to the Republicans after they recaptured the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections; regrettably, they chose not to follow it . . . which is unsurprising, since the odds that any of the Republican congressmen actually read CSPT are pretty low:

The Republican wins in Congress give them more power, but the Democrats still control the Senate and the White House. We’ll be told that the House Republicans will have to compromise, but what they will really have to do is present real, solid alternatives.

The first place they can start is to revamp the entire budget process. Right now, the budget of the United States is passed in twelve omnibus appropriations bills, several of which fund more than one federal department. These bills are just plain huge, and, as a consequence, legislators insert controversial items in with non-controversial ones, in appropriations bills which cover so much that they can’t be rejected. The Republicans should pass appropriations in smaller, tighter bills, bills which can be read and understood and which, if rejected by the Senate or vetoed, won’t shut down whole sections of the government, but which will impact the government in smaller, more narrowly tailored ways.

Along with that, by passing appropriations measures every year, the whole budget process gets stacked up and harder to review. The answer is simple: pass half of the appropriations bills for two-year periods, and then, the next year, pass appropriations bills for the other half of the budget for two-year periods. In that manner, each year the Congress will have to pass appropriations for only half of the government, allowing more time for scrutiny and consideration.1

The way we do things now stacks the deck in favor of higher spending: congressmen, Republican and Democrat alike, insert their pet projects, different agencies ask for things they want, special interest groups lobby for things which they think are good, and it all gets pushed into huge bills with far-too-little scrutiny. If the Republicans were to adopt these two simple ideas, they would be well-supported, and really uncontroversial, and the Democrats in the Senate would pretty much have to accept them (for political reasons), but they would reduce the pressure on ever-higher spending.

Another thing that the House Republicans could do, on their own, without any need for the cooperation of the White House or the Senate, is to establish what I’d call the [insert slang term for the sphincter here] budget review. The Republicans need to hire a group of [insert plural slang term for the sphincter here] to go over everything in the budget, people who are hard-hearted enough to look at every little item and ask the simple question — so simple it doesn’t get asked often enough — why do we really need this particular thing, with the emphasis on the word “need.”2

The Republicans won yesterday’s election because they promised to fight against the overblown spending of the Democrats and the Obama Administration, and because the public disapprove of the greatly increased spending and deficits. The Republicans did not win due to any particular loyalty to the Republican Party, and if the Republicans in Congress don’t actually deliver what the voters want them to deliver, the odds are that their time in the majority will be short-lived.3

The Republicans must also sit down and figure out how to prioritize, based on what they can and cannot do with the power they have. While most voters disapprove of ObaminableCare, the Republicans, no matter how much they might want to repeal it, can’t repeal it. That would require legislation which would have to pass the Senate, and even if it did that, get past a certain presidential veto.

But they can refuse to fund it! They can simply choose not to pass any of the appropriations to implement ObaminableCare, and neither the Democrats in the Senate nor the White House can compel them to pass it.

The House Republicans should not waste time tilting at windmills. I don’t really think that anyone is seriously trying to impeach President Obama, regardless of what some people might think. And wasting their time on a zillion subpoenas or useless congressional investigations would be just that: wasting their time. The voters have given the GOP a chance, just two-and-four short years after giving Republicans two major electoral bitch-slaps, and the lesson is clear: the voters’ patience is not high, and if the Republicans don’t do the jobs that the voters elected them to do, they’ll be out on their butts again. Time wasted on stuff that they can’t do is time taken away from what they can do. The Republicans can keep the Democrats from passing any new social legislation, but until they win the Senate and the White House, don’t have the power to reverse the bovine feces that has already been passed. And if they don’t do what they can do, there’s little chance that the 2012 elections will give them the Senate and the White House.

Now, four years later, the Republicans have even more power to do what has been suggested, but having more power does not mean that it will be wisely used. There will be a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act attempted, and perhaps the Democrats in the Senate won’t even filibuster it, but it doesn’t matter; President Obama will veto that, and the Republicans have nowhere close to the number of votes to override a veto. It has to be attempted, because conservative voters demand it, but the GOP should not waste more time on it than necessary. Instead, what parts of it can be defunded should be defunded, because that is something within their power. An obvious and strong step: simply decline to appropriate any money to pay those Department of Health and Human Services bureaucrats who are tasked with overseeing and writing regulations for the wholly-misnamed Affordable Care Act.

But that cannot be done in the context of the huge, Department-wide appropriations bills that are used today; that gives the President the power to shut down whole sections of the government by vetoing one bill. That’s what President Clinton did in 1995, and he was a masterful enough politician to blame his vetoes of Republican-passed appropriations bills, and the subsequent government shutdowns, on the Republicans, and have the public believe him. Even though politically wounded, Republicans should never forget that President Obama is also a masterful politician — a far better politician than President! — and he could do the same thing to the GOP in 2015 as President Clinton did twenty years previously. Far more numerous, and much smaller, appropriations bills take that weapon away from the President.

With control of the Senate now, the Republicans can decline to confirm the worst of President Obama’s nominees, and should do so, but most of his nominees have not been particularly controversial. The President will probably eschew the more controversial nominees now anyway, not wanting to waste time and effort on people who cannot be confirmed, but I’d point out the qualifier I used: probably. With Barack Obama, you just never can be certain.

Big new programs or outright repeal of older ones favored by the Democrats? Those won’t happen, because the Republicans and the President will never agree on them. But, as one of our greatest Presidents noted, it is far more important to refuse to pass bad legislation than it is to pass good things.

The Republicans can get things done, as long as they carefully consider what they reasonably can do. Their greatest weapon is the power of the purse; it should be used strongly and wisely, and, if it is, the GOP stands a decent chance of retaining control of Congress in the next elections, and electing a Republican as our next President.

  1. There is only one constitutional restriction in this, the provision in Article I, Section 8, which says that the Congress has the power “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years.” Such restriction implies that the Framers believed that Congress could appropriate for other things for periods longer than two years.
  2. The Republicans in the state legislatures could stand to do this as well.
  3. Footnote from 2014: Thanks to redistricting, and the heavy reliance of the Democrats on densely-populated urban districts, the Republican Party can be fairly certain that they will retain control of the House of Representatives through the 2020 elections, but the Senate is another matter entirely. The math of 2014 favored the Republicans, as the Democrats had more Senate seats to defend, many in areas which normally would have been expected to elect Republicans. In 2016, Republicans will have to defend the gains from the 2010 election.

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Election open thread

When I went to bed last night, it was looking iffy; I awoke this morning to a great election result!

The talking heads were telling us that Kay Hagan, even though she was behind, was in a decent position because votes from traditionally Democratic areas hadn’t been reported yet; she lost. When I went to bed, the Democrat was ahead in Iowa; Jodi Ernst won big. When I went to bed, Georgia was still undecided; David Perdue won by a surprisingly large margin. When I went to bed, Pat Roberts was leading in Kansas, but no one would call the race; he won by 6½%.

I am particularly happy that Mitch McConnell won, and by such a large margin. Now is the time for Kentucky Republicans to look for a good GOP candidate for 2020, when Senator McConnell will be 78 years old and (hopefully) won’t run again. By then, I’ll be a Kentucky voter again!

I’m pretty busy this morning, too busy to write much now, so consider this an election open thread. But am I the only one who noticed; it seems that the Republicans outperformed the polls.

The honesty of the Delaware Liberal

Jason Scott, the owner and primary blogger on the Delaware Liberal, posted:

I’ve still got $50.00 that says Republican economics are full of shit… any takers?
Filed in National by  on October 31, 2014 • 30 Comments

With all the recent talk about how the Republicans want to “fix” the economy by cutting taxes, I feel the need to reintroduce everyone with my standing bet.

Granted, the line between “Republican economics” and “generally accepted economics” has been blurred by crappy Democrats like Tom Carper and John Carney. Never-the-less, the GOP continues to associate itself with utterly failed policies of tax cuts for the wealthiest and service cuts for everyone else. Furthermore, they continue to claim that this combination can “fix” the economy. If by “fix” they mean to “destroy” I guess they have a point.

This is what I wrote about this a year or so ago.

I’m pretty sick of Republicans spouting economic bullshit and being taken seriously. Again today, the clownish head of the DE GOP, for example, said the path to economic growth is, “…keeping regulation and taxes low.” Really? When has that actually worked?

He also brazenly asserts that the utterly failed trickle down policies “of small government and low regulation” are “tried and true” ways to grow the economy. To that I say – enough already with the bullshit. Where is the evidence?

The fact is – Republicans like Sigler and Laffer are full of shit. The GOP’s economic policies are entirely faith-based, and I am at zero risk of losing my $50.00. But here is the official bet in case any wingnut wants to try and man up:

If anyone can present any evidence that the “tried and true policies of small government and low regulation” actually created any broad based, long term, durable economic growth …ever – I will give the person providing the evidence a crisp new $50.00 bill.

This bet is open to any GOPer who believes the nonsense at the heart of your philosophy, and any Democratic officer holder who has succumbed to the siren song of this absolute, totally discredited bullshit.

That is the entire post. I have slightly changed the formatting — basically, the positioning of the $50 bill image — but have made no changes to the text.

I ignored this post the first time I saw it, but had some spare time earlier this afternoon, and I posted three comments:

Dana says:
November 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm

California and Texas, our first and second largest states by population, and third and second by land area, both with long coastlines, and both with significant minority populations, primarily Hispanic. Both have significant, though dissimilar, natural resources. One is one of our “bluest” states, completely controlled by the Democrats, with a slight pause for a moderate Republican governor, while the other has been run by conservative Republicans, with some influence by conservative Democrats in the state legislature, for twenty years.

California has, by far, the nation’s highest level of poverty under an alternative method devised by the Census Bureau that takes into account both broader measures of income and the cost of living.

When it comes to taxes, WalletHub ranked the fifty states and the District of Columbia, and the Pyrite State, with an average annual state and local tax burden of $9,509, 36% above the national average, was number 50, with only New York’s $9,718 rate being worse. Major companies are fleeing California, with not a few of them winding up in Texas, taking good jobs with them.

I’ll do this in three comments, because of the large number of hyperlinks.

The second comment:

Dana says:
November 2, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Texas, home to the former President that the left blame for everything, and home to a conservative economic approach of lower taxes and fewer regulations, has not only been leading the nation in job growth, but the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported that the Lone Star State has been leading the nation in job creation at all pay levels.

And the third:

Dana says:
November 2, 2014 at 2:59 pm

As for “liberal” economics, states that emphasize redistribution above growth have a wider gap between lower and higher incomes.

Of course, both Texas and California are under the federal government, and both are impacted by the economic policies of the Obama Administration, but at least as far as they are able to have different economic rules, they have had rather different economic results. At least as far as Texas is concerned, it appears that what the Republican economics are full of is prosperity.

Texas isn’t perfect, by any means; no place is. But unless you wish to argue that government policies have no impact at all on economic results, then you would have to concede that Texas’ Republican economic policies have had better results for their people than California’s Democratic ones.

Mr Scott then replied:

Jason330 says:
November 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Do you know who owns the Wall Street Journal? Probably not. You are an idiot. I’ll probably ban your ass for stupidity again pretty soon.

Enjoy talking to yoursf here in the meantime.

So I left the following:

Dana says:
November 2, 2014 at 6:41 pm

The links I provided were to the Dallas News, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Sacramento Bee, Wallet Hub, and The Wall Street Journal. Rather than discuss statistics which dispute your belief, you attack the ownership of one (very well-respected) source, and threaten to ban me (again.)

How, I wonder, is your $50 bet supposed to be taken seriously if you won’t discuss the actual numbers?

I figured that I’d better save the comments now, because they are likely to disappear; as the site owner, Mr Scott certainly has the right to decline to publish any comment he chooses.

But it indicates the honesty of liberals, or at least one liberal in particular, who, upon making an open challenge to “any GOPer,” to “any wingnut wants to try and man up,” won’t discuss the actual statistics, and states that he’ll “probably ban” the “GOPer,” the “wingnut” who actually took up his challenge, with actual numbers.

Admittedly, this didn’t take a lot of new research on my part; I had published it before, on the 19th of October.

Count on President Obama to claim the credit for this

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Marine veteran freed from Mexican jail
By Sandra Dibble | 4:55 P.M.OCT. 31, 2014 | Updated 10:38 P.M.

Former Marine Andrew Tahmooressi waves as he boards a private jet at Brown Field in San Diego on Friday night after being released from prison in Tijuana, Mexico. — Hayne Palmour IV / U-T San Diego

TIJUANA — A Mexican federal district judge in Tijuana on Friday ordered the immediate release of a U.S. Marine veteran being held in Baja California on federal weapons charges.

Andrew Tahmooressi, who was on trial for crossing the border with ammunition and three loaded weapons on March 31, returned to the United States Friday night and flew to his family’s home in Florida.

The decision by the Mexican Attorney General’s Office to cease its prosecution of Tahmooressi brings to a close a high-profile case that has resounded far beyond the border.

In the United States, it prompted calls for Tahmooressi’s release from politicians, veterans groups and conservative talk show hosts. But for months there had been an impasse, as Mexican federal prosecutors insisted that the case be resolved through the courts — not through diplomatic or political pressure.

Tahmooressi, 25, claims he drove into Tijuana by mistake on a Monday night after taking a wrong turn near the Mexican border in San Ysidro. He had recently moved to San Diego from Florida, and says that he was driving out of a parking lot, intending to head north. But instead he drove into the El Chaparral Port of Entry, where Mexican customs inspectors examined his pickup truck and found more 400 rounds of ammunition and three loaded firearms: a .45-caliber pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun and a 5.56 mm assault rifle.

His release was ordered by Judge Victor Octavio Luna Escobedo of the Sixth Federal District Court in Tijuana. Had Tahmooressi been convicted, he would have faced seven to 21 years behind bars.

Luna Escobedo declined to comment. A statement from Mexico’s Federal Judicial Council said the judge ordered dismissal of the case after federal prosecutors withdrew their accusation in closing arguments. The judge ordered Tahmooressi’s “immediate and absolute liberty.”

There’s more at the link. But let me be clear about his: the Obama Administration didn’t care about Sgt Tahmooressi being jailed in Mexico because they think that is exactly what ought to happen to American citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights. Oh, I can’t prove that, they’ll never say that, and I’m almost certain that they will claim the credit for his release, citing “confidential, quiet diplomacy,” but you can count on it: I’m dead-on right about this.1

Just one word from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto would have been enough to get prosecutors to have dropped the charges months ago, and all that President Obama would have had to have done was asked him.

The Administration has already claimed that they have been working hard on the case:

“Quite frankly, Mr. Tahmooressi’s case has gotten a tremendous amount of attention from the State Department,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State John D. Feeley, the No. 2 official in the department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and former Marine Corps officer. “This is a case we have raised repeatedly and at high levels with the Mexicans. Secretary [John F.] Kerry did it in May. I have raised the case with the Mexican ambassador in Washington, our ambassador in Mexico has raised it with the [Mexican] foreign secretary and we have had excellent cooperation in that we have had access to him on a regular basis.”

But this Administration lies through its collective scummy teeth;2 if they had really been concerned, President Obama would have raised the issue directly with President Peña Nieto; he never did, despite a summit meeting which occurred during Sgt Tahmooressi’s incarceration. That would have resulted in Sgt Tahmooressi’s release months ago, because it really didn’t gain Mexico anything to continue to hold him. Instead, our good and noble President gives a free pass to illegal immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico, but remained wholly unconcerned about the imprisonment of an American Marine Corps veteran, who had honorably served two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

President Obama and his Administration went all out to ransom captured soldier Bowe Bergdahl, a probable deserter, releasing five top Taliban leaders, even though the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff admitted, just a few days ago, that some of the released Guantanamo detainees have returned to the battlefield, but didn’t seem to be willing to do much of anything to get Sgt Tahmooressi out of jail.3 So much for not leaving any soldier behind!

Well, we’re stuck with our utter disgrace of a President for another 810 days. After that, perhaps our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will have someone with actual honor as their Commander-in-Chief.

  1. I’d guess that it won’t be long before there are efforts to strip Sgt Tahmooressi of his Second Amendment rights, since his release was based on a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
  2. President Obama has accomplished the seemingly impossible; he has made Richard Nixon look like an honest man!
  3. SGT Bergdahl was, and remains, on active duty, while Sgt Tahmooressi was a reservist prior to his mistaken border crossing into Mexico.

Rule 5 Blogging: the Kurdish Yekîneyên Parastina Jinê

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Megan Fox in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week, we get really serious, featuring the soldiers of the Kurdish Yekîneyên Parastina Jinê, or YPJ, or People’s Protection Units, women’s brigade. The YPG and YPJ are offshoots of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Turkish-Kurdish guerrilla group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union because of its three-decade insurgency against NATO ally Turkey, but the Kurds are fighting for their own independence, from Turkey, Syria and Iraq, and are now fighting the Islamist ISIS forces; these women are actually in combat, and some have given their lives.

Kurdish YPG Fighters. Click to enlarge. Story from The New Republic.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: the Kurdish Yekîneyên Parastina Jinê’ »

From Around the Blogroll

From the Delaware Liberal:

Filed in National by  on October 31, 2014 •

“Democratic efforts to turn out the young and nonwhite voters who sat out the 2010 midterm elections appear to be paying off in several Senate battleground states. More than 20 percent of the nearly three million votes already tabulated in Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa have come from people who did not vote in the last midterm election,” according to an analysis of early-voting data by The Upshot.

I have felt all along that this election was not going to play out according to the normal media’s Republican Landslide/Obama/Democrats Repudiated narrative. The reason why is 1) the Democrats were going to do a presidential level GOTV operation to make up for the embarrassing loss in 2010, and 2) like in 1998, I felt like there was going to be GOP overreach and a pushback from the public. In 1998, the result of that was the Dems breaking even in the Senate and winning 5 seats in the House. In 2014, it will be the Dems holding onto the Senate. I will be releasing my full predictions of how the Dems will do that on Monday.

I am optimistic, cautiously optimistic, that the Republicans will do well in next Tuesday’s election, well enough to take control of the Senate, but it doesn’t matter what the opinion polls say; the only poll that actually counts for anything happens on Tuesday, and not before. I am worried that a few too many people are counting as-yet-unhatched chickens.

If the Democrats lose only five Senate seats, they’ll call it a great victory, and the professional media will cheer them on.

And now, on to the blogroll!

  1. 31.14
  2. 31.14