Friday, May 20, 2016

Last Call For Where The Hate Come Sweeping Down The Plain

Oklahoma Republicans have been really busy this week, and that really shouldn't be considered a good thing most of the time. First of all, they've decided that women shouldn't be getting those abortion things anymore, and they'll send doctors to jail if they perform them.

Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a bill that makes performing an abortion a felony. 
NPR's Jennifer Ludden told our Newscast unit that the bill is the first of its kind, and an pro-abortion rights group plans to sue if the governor signs the bill into law. Gov. Mary Fallin has not yet indicated what she plans to do. Here's more from Jennifer:

"Under the bill, doctors who perform an abortion could face three years in prison, and lose their medical license. There are no exceptions for rape or incest — only the mother's life. Oklahoma lawmakers passed the measure with no debate. The only doctor in the Senate — a Republican — voted no, calling it 'insane.' " 
That doctor, Sen. Ervin Yen, predicted it would be "declared null and void" should it be signed into law, The Oklahoman reported
As Jennifer reported, "Abortion rights groups say the bill is unconstitutional, a direct violation of Roe v. Wade," the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. 
According to The Associated Press, State Sen. Nathan Dahm, one of the bill's authors, is hoping the law will be a step toward overturning Roe v. Wade. 
"Since I believe life begins at conception, it should be protected, and I believe it's a core function of state government to defend that life from the beginning of conception," Dahm told the wire service.

That was yesterday.

But today, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin actually ended up vetoing the bill because it was wildly unconstitutional., but not after these same idiots decided that anyone even tangentially involved with President Obama's advisory letter on treating transgender kids as human beings needs to be removed from office.

Oklahoma's Republican-dominated legislature has filed a measure calling for President Barack Obama's impeachment over his administration's recommendations on accommodating transgender students, saying he overstepped his constitutional authority. 
Lawmakers in the socially conservative state are also expected to take up a measure as early as Friday that would allow students to claim a religious right to have separate but equal bathrooms and changing facilities to segregate them from transgender students. 
The bill introduced on Thursday night could force schools into costly construction, which would be difficult for them to complete after lawmakers significantly cut education funding to plug a $1.3 billion state budget shortfall.

The impeachment resolution also introduced on Thursday night calls on the Oklahoma members of the U.S. House of Representatives to file articles of impeachment against Obama, the U.S. attorney general, the U.S. secretary of education and others over the letter.

I'm not sure where the "costly construction" nonsense is coming from, considering how many schools are already falling apart thanks to austerity budgets across the country.   But it seems to me that Oklahoma Republicans really need to calm down before they all have strokes or something.

Relax, the guy's going to be gone in January.

Of course, they probably won't like his replacement.

Paying The Price So Bernie Plays Nice

With Hillary Clinton basically guaranteed to win the Democratic nomination for president at this point, the DNC is now shifting to dealing with Bernie Sanders in the approaching convention endgame in Philly, now just two months out.

Allies of both Clinton and Sanders have urged Democratic leaders to meet some of Sanders’s more mundane demands for greater inclusion at the Philadelphia convention. Their decision to do so is expected to be finalized by the end of the week, according to two people familiar with the discussions. But growing mistrust between Sanders supporters and party leaders have threatened to undermine that effort.
Even with the committee assignments, Sanders plans an aggressive effort to extract platform concessions on key policies that could prompt divisive battles at a moment when front-runner Hillary Clinton will be trying to unify the party. Among other issues, he plans to push for a $15 national minimum wage and argue that the party needs a more balanced position regarding Israel and Palestinians, according to a Sanders campaign aide who requested anonymity to speak candidly. 
Much like their view that the economy has been “rigged” to benefit the wealthy more than the middle and working classes, Sanders supporters have become increasingly convinced that national Democrats have stacked the political deck with rules that have made it difficult for Sanders to win enough delegates to threaten Clinton’s nomination. 
Party leaders, meanwhile, have grown more frustrated with Sanders, who they say has unfairly fueled that perception.

I don’t think they’ve handled it very well and I think they’ve lost the moral high ground on this,” said Ken Martin, chairman of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer Labor Party. “It’s very clear now that the longer they stay in this race the more damage they’re doing.”

Neither side is happy, and I understand that Sanders was in it to win it.  But he's not going to win it, so he needs to pack it in,  The notion that 95% of Clinton's superdelegates are going to go to the Sanders camp at this point is insanity, and anyone who believes otherwise is delusional.

So yes, the story now becomes what Bernie's price will be to endorse Hillary, tie up the loose ends, and go forward to crush Trump.  That has been the known outcome since Super Tuesday back in March, and the rest has been posturing.

Time to face reality,

The Return Of The Slouchy Beast

It's starting to look a lot like eighty years ago in Europe and the US, as NY Times columnist Sylvie Kauffmann grimly points out the parallels between 2016 and 1936 as Austrians go to the polls this weekend with a far-right candidate leading for president.

Far-right populist movements have joined governing coalitions in Finland and Norway. They influence the political agenda in Denmark and the Netherlands. In Germany, which seemed immune from that disease, the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany recently scored 12 percent to 24 percent of the vote in three state elections. In Croatia, the minister of culture is trying to rehabilitate the fascist ideas of the Ustashe. 
Those developments have generally been seen as negative but marginal — the center was still holding. Then the “illiberal wave” swept Central Europe, following the model of the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban. Poland and Slovakia are now also ruled by populist, anti-immigration, euroskeptic parties. The election of a far-right Austrian president would add a new dimension, extending the phenomenon beyond the post-Communist space where populist governments could be seen as a transitional stage for young democracies. Austria is not new Europe. It is old Europe. 
We struggle to explain the rise of the far right in its various guises. Immigration is important, but the dynamics predated the refugee crisis. The euro crisis has not helped. High unemployment is crucial in France and Austria, but not an issue in Britain. Chaos in the Arab world, following the fiasco of the American-led invasion of Iraq, fuels new Middle East wars and terrorist attacks in Europe, adding to feelings of insecurity. Globalization, the loss of middle-class jobs, the rise of inequality and anxiety over the European social model have left immense frustration. Everywhere, anger toward ruling elites and mainstream institutions is patent. 
Sound familiar? Yes, this is a trans-Atlantic phenomenon. Here and there, surfing on this anger, Donald Trump, Boris Johnson or Marine Le Pen utter statements that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. By accepting daily verbal assaults on immigrants (“They bring disease”), the European Union (“like Hitler,” it wants to impose one authority over Europe), Islam (not part of Europe; Muslims should not be allowed into the United States), torture (bring it back), we are legitimizing a public discourse that may, one day, translate into political decisions
Like most European center-right or center-left leaders, President Obama understands this. On the day after the first round of Austria’s election, he warned in a speech in Hanover, Germany, against “the creeping emergence of the kind of politics that the European project was founded to reject: an us-versus-them mentality that tries to blame our problems on the other.” 
“Our progress,” he pointed out, “is not inevitable.”

And yet, we seem to be losing to precisely that mindset once again.  We've had a relatively decent period of peace in the Western World at least, the Middle East and North Africa have not been anywhere close to "peaceful" and the blowback to that is absolutely fueling this movement here.

There are some real problems ahead for liberalism in general, and it will get far worse before it gets better.


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