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  • TheMaven commented on the blog post Obama Tries to Make Every False GOP Attack True

    2013-04-11 07:32:37View | Delete

    The GOP ads for House incumbents running for re-election in 2014 essentially write themselves:

    “When President Obama and his Democrat allies tried to cut Social Security and Medicare, Rep. xxxxx stood up to stop this betrayal of promises that have been made for generations. Support Rep. xxxxx and prevent the Democrats from slashing these vital programs.”

    With slight modifications, the ad’s narration could be flipped around for use by a Republican challenger against virtually any Dem, up to and probably including those who refuse to be strong-armed into voicing even the slightest bit of support for Obama’s budget proposal. To mitigate against it would likely require something on the order of a Joe Manchin-style ad showing the Democrat symbolically destroying Obama’s budget, but even this might not be enough to dampen the negative association.

    We all saw this coming a long way off, but now we’re forced to deal with what the GOP will hypocritically use as a cudgel in multiple election cycles to come. Ugh.

  • And this is all further proof as to why, even before his first election in 2008, there were so many concerns about Obama’s reliance on his personal judgment (and that of his advisers). There is no better example of the importance in the ideal that we are a government of laws, and not of men. Shane’s article presents the efforts as an attempt to “codify” what had otherwise admittedly been ad hoc rules, by their nature subject to alteration by the whim of the man in the Oval Office. But any rulebook drawn up by the Executive Branch is not a codification in any true sense of the word, as it can be revised or tossed out entirely whenever it is deemed convenient to do so. This, indeed, is a feature of tyrannies, even those that outwardly have the trappings of a democracy.

    It is hard to see how we, as a people, will be able to constrain these powers and their misuse at any time in the foreseeable future. And with drones expanding to use by other countries, it’s only a matter of time before we relegate to ourselves and our supposed special rulebook the near-exclusive right to deploy drones anywhere we determine a threat exists. Hello, American exceptionalism, yet again.

  • Just as a quick FYI, the hearing in the EFF case, Jewel v. NSA, has been postponed from Nov. 2 until Dec. 14 (the parties sought an extension to Nov. 9, but the judge moved it back an another five weeks). In the government’s brief filed last month, the DOJ did indeed assert the state secrets privilege, making it very likely indeed that the judge will ultimately dismiss the lawsuit on that basis.

  • Should the initiative pass, it’s also very likely that food manufacturers and packagers would seek to block implementation via the courts, claiming some sort of federal pre-emption doctrine. They might claim that requiring different labels for products shipped to California for sale there would violate the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution and/or the federal regulatory authority of agencies such as the FDA, FTC, etc.

    Resolving this court battle could easily take a couple of years, and given the unrecoverable costs to the manufacturers of having dual labels, it’s pretty likely that the courts would enjoin enforcement of the labeling requirement until the issue is settled.

    Regardless, the initiative is definitely worth supporting, and the court fight would only serve to further raise awareness of the GMO issue (as was the case with Prop 8).

  • TheMaven commented on the diary post Brooks Does the Big Lie on Stimulus (with no shame) by Dean Baker.

    2012-04-27 08:03:32View | Delete

    Ridicule, indeed. I wonder how Brooks proposes the government conduct “randomized” tests or trials with the U.S. macro economy. Last time I checked, it wasn’t exactly something that could easily be divided cleanly into segments or regions that could be sealed off from one another, nor could control groups be easily established. Perhaps, had our [...]

  • Quite true. A half century ago, though, it was the Republican Party elites who made the decision to seek the votes of the most backward-looking and fantasyworld-dwelling Americans. And now, having sown the wind, they’ve reaped the whirlwind as this segment has completely captured the Party.

    Twenty-five years ago, I had a fair number of Republican friends, but I now can’t really think of any; most have abandoned their old party out of distaste/disgust for what has become of it, while the others who’ve stuck with the GOP have become impossible for me to talk with — short discussions inevitably lead to situations where it’s all I can do to refrain from sputtering with rage at their stubborn refusal to incorporate facts that might contradict their pre-established worldview (itself anecdotal support for the study cited in my earlier comment).

    Rational Republicans who are willing to accept evidence from the physical world around them are a dying breed, sadly. The damage done by their successors in the GOP, on environmental issues alone, will affect all of us, in the U.S. and across the globe, for generations to come. It’s a legacy that Douglas and others like him probably won’t be able to stanch.

  • Well, Mr. Douglas, welcome to the modern Republican Party! He notes that he’s part of a “small, frustrated and endangered minority.” Indeed, as was reported earlier this week, trust in science by so-called conservatives has declined to an all-time low, at around 35%.

    The media generally overlooked what should be one of the most disturbing findings in that sociological study for people like Douglas (and for all rational folks everywhere): the decline has been most marked among conservatives with greater education, which implies that this is a group that “ought” to know better but has made an affirmative decision to ignore the evidence laid out in front of them. The study also found that the declines correlate with the Reagan and George W. Bush presidential terms. No big surprise there.

    The study also posits that to the degree that modern science in areas such as climate change calls for government policies in response to the shifts identified in the scientific results, conservatives now view science itself as hopelessly politicized — and we all know that the likely consequence is tribalization, with one side championing the results and the other rejecting them utterly. Rational discussion and interpretive analysis becomes effectively impossible. This leaves Douglas in an awkward position indeed, as he’s exposed on a daily basis to information that a large majority of his tribe now explicitly rejects. It’s only a matter of time before the other members of that tribe come to view him as a danger in their midst and seek to expel him, to the extent that they haven’t already closed their eyes and ears to his warnings.

  • TheMaven commented on the blog post Ultrasound Mandate Struck Down in Oklahoma

    2012-03-29 10:02:42View | Delete

    And don’t forget that that the Arizona bill that would allow employers and insurance companies to opt out of contraception coverage for “religious” objections was voted down the other day by the State Senate. Seven Republicans joined all nine Democrats in opposing the bill. This is the bill that originally could have required women to provide a justification to their employer/insurer if the company chose not to automatically allow coverage for contraception.

    But anyone who thinks we’ve seen the last of this proposal is hopelessly naïve, as the bill’s supporters, including the Arizona Catholic Conference (surprise!) insist that they’ll be back. Indeed, one of the bill’s biggest backers — not counted among the seven above — switched her vote in order to be able to call for a revote later on (a procedural gimmick we see all the time in the U.S. Senate).

  • TheMaven commented on the blog post Supreme Court Continues Its Assault on the Regulatory State

    2012-03-22 06:29:49View | Delete

    A nitpicky observation regarding the picture accompanying this post (only appearing on the front page of FDL, or linked here):

    The pediment shown in the photo, described as “The Supreme Court”, is not that of the United States Supreme Court building, but rather that of the New York County Courthouse (which houses the civil term of the New York State Supreme Court for NY County). The pediment in Washington, D.C. has the inscription “Equal Justice Under Law”, while the one in New York reads “The True Administration of Justice is the Firmest Pillar of Good Government”, a quotation from George Washington. The courthouse in New York is perhaps more familiar to many Americans, as it’s appeared in innumerable movies and television shows.

  • TheMaven commented on the blog post Revised Ultrasound Bill Passes In Virginia

    2012-02-29 08:53:05View | Delete

    Once again, it seems to be about the Overton Window. The reactionary forces initially propose something truly outrageous, shifting the terms of the debate from whether there ought to be any kind of ultrasound procdedure (and the associated delay) to a particularly intrusive and offensive procedure, knowing full well that this fallback position will likely be treated by our brain-dead political media as the more reasonable compromise. Which, of course, it’s not.

  • TheMaven commented on the blog post Already Going To Hell Just Pumping That Gas

    2012-02-21 07:23:46View | Delete

    Sadly, our media overlords who worship at the altar of perceived “balance” in all their so-called reporting have decided that if anyone outside their inner circle ever discloses uncomfortable truths (see also Michael Hastings, Wikileaks, etc.), should there be the slightest possibility that the evidence was obtained by anything other than “open means”, that evidence itself is to be discredited and maligned.

    Under this logic, of course, one of the high points of journalism in the last century, the publication of the Pentagon Papers, would have quickly been brushed off the front pages in favor of a media-led examination of Daniel Ellsberg’s “criminal behavior” and his mental state. While those definitely came into play at the time, they were not the primary focus, as they almost certainly would be today.

  • TheMaven commented on the blog post DC Circuit Upholds Individual Mandate

    2011-11-08 12:52:48View | Delete

    Keep an eye on the standing argument — the Supreme Court has been in love with that in recent years, and when they take up the PPACA case(s) this term, it potentially gives the Court an easy out without having to address the constitutionality of the mandate head-on. A ruling based on lack of standing would also give the rightward-tilting justices the opportunity to kick the can down the road for another couple of years in the hope that their ranks will be bolstered by another “conservative” on the Court who might allow them to live out their activist desires to throw the whole Act aside.

  • TheMaven commented on the diary post Only MOTUs and Banksters get TARPs. by dakine01.

    2011-10-18 17:31:42View | Delete

    Good to see Mayor Mike channeling his inner Nixon, as he frets about the silent majority.

    At least he still has the NYT to dutifully report on his tone-deaf, contemptuous musings (from a viewpoint the paper seems to share).

  • Just a note in terms of the likely timing, assuming that no party seeks an extension or files significantly prior to applicable deadline:

    Since the 11th Circuit panel decision came out on August 12, the cert. petition to the Supreme Court would be due on November 10 (90 days after entry of judgment, which occurred on the same day as the opinion). The states’ opposition would be due on December 12, almost certainly putting the petition up for consideration (remembering that it takes four to grant cert.) at the justices’ conference on January 13, 2012. With an accelerated merits briefing schedule, the case could indeed be set for one of the final oral argument sessions in early April and decided in the final week of the Term in late June.

    I’m also presuming here that the states do not wait until their response to the petition is due to file a conditional cross-petition, which would have the effect of pushing initial consideration back by some five weeks (until mid-February), making it very difficult to fit a full determination within the schedule for the current Term.

  • TheMaven commented on the blog post Americans Not Better Off Than They Were 2 1/2 Years Ago

    2011-09-13 15:06:24View | Delete

    Indeed, as the Census report shows, the 95th percentile for household income in 2010 was over $180k, which means that considerably fewer than one household in twenty is even close to the beloved $250k threshold. An argument can be made that this level may not always constitute “rich” (depending on regional cost-of-living variances, number of dependents, etc.), but it surely cannot properly be characterized as “middle class”.

  • TheMaven commented on the blog post Americans Not Better Off Than They Were 2 1/2 Years Ago

    2011-09-13 14:30:23View | Delete

    The median household income figures are incredibly pathetic going all the way back to 1989 — $49,076, compared with $49,445 for 2010. That’s a net gain of 0.75% over a 21-year period, or a whopping 0.037% increase per annum. At an explosive rate like that, why, we’ll all be living on Easy Street soon enough! Thank you, financialized economy!

  • TheMaven commented on the blog post Warren Launches MA-Sen Exploratory Committee

    2011-08-18 15:28:55View | Delete

    Perhaps I’m being even more cynical than usual, but I would fully expect that should she run, it will be used by the GOP and our financial overlords as a key argument in favor of further neutering (or eliminating entirely) the CFPB on the grounds that all along, it was established purely along partisan lines solely as a vehicle to promote Warren’s eventual candidacy.

    That this would turn reality on its head shouldn’t be in the least bit surprising, nor would the likely response of most media outlets to report these phony accusations uncritically, thus tainting her actual legacy and minimizing any long-term impact the CFPB might hope to have.

  • TheMaven commented on the diary post Did the GOP Play Hooky During Third Grade Math? by Scarecrow.

    2011-07-29 17:38:21View | Delete

    The GOP knows they can get away with it because (1) most reporters have also forgotten third-grade math, and similarly can’t comprehend this concept; and (2) everyone knows that it’s not the place of the media to call out an entire political party for a flat-out distortion. In this day and age, the best we [...]

  • TheMaven commented on the blog post Our “Public Debate” about Drones Is a State Secret

    2011-07-04 08:24:48View | Delete

    What else should we have expected from the “most transparent administration in American history”? Somewhere, David Addington is smiling.

    It just needed to be said.

  • So on the one hand, we have the Democratic “leadership” in the Senate calling for stimulus as more important than a deficit-reduction plan, while on the other hand, we have Sen. Conrad, chairman of the Budget Committee, announcing his position that a mere $2 trillion in spending cuts isn’t nearly enough, and that we need to look at a figure at least twice as large (deep). I think this constitutes a classic case of “mixed messaging”, and I’d wager that it’s probably deliberately so.

    Once again we’ll be bargaining with ourselves long before any attempts at further concessions designed to bring some Republicans along (which ultimately almost certainly won’t happen, anyway). Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Senate budget chairman says $2 trillion not enough, Washington Post, June 21, 2011

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