Monday, December 22, 2014

Last Call For No Longer Whistling Past Dixie

Looks like the GOP's southern state base wants the deciding word on who will be the Republican nominee in 2016, and they're changing the primary game in order to do it.

Officials in five Southern states — Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas — are coordinating to hold their primary on March 1, 2016. Texas and Florida are considering also holding a primary the same day but may wait until later in the month. Either way, March 1 would be a Southern Super Tuesday, voting en masse on the heels of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

The joint primary, which appears increasingly likely to happen, would present a crucial early test for Republican White House hopefuls among the party’s most conservative voters. It could, in theory, boost a conservative alternative to a Republican who has emerged as the establishment favorite from the four states that kick off the nominating process. But one risk is that the deep-red complexion of the Southern states’ primary electorates would empower a candidate who can’t win in general election battlegrounds like Ohio and Colorado. 
Republicans from the South say their states make up the heart of the GOP and that it’s only fitting the region should have commensurate say over whom the party puts forward to compete for the White House. Proponents are already dubbing March 1 the “SEC primary,” after the NCAA’s powerhouse Southeastern Conference.

Especially if Texas and Florida join this little party, it's entirely possible that the GOP will have a presumptive nominee by St. Patrick's Day in 2016.  That makes me think more than ever that we'll get a far-right Tea Party nutter out of the GOP in sixteen months, although it could mean Jeb Bush's Florida and Texas connections could vault him into the lead.

Either way, it looks like the Republicans aren't going to repeat their mistake of too many debates and late primaries.  They want a nominee early so they can stop fighting amongst themselves and start attacking Hillary.

Time For Torture Trials

The NY Times on Sunday called for the investigation and if necessary, prosecution of former Vice President Dick Cheney and his crew of merry inquisitors over the CIA's torture program.

The question everyone will want answered, of course, is: Who should be held accountable? That will depend on what an investigation finds, and as hard as it is to imagine Mr. Obama having the political courage to order a new investigation, it is harder to imagine a criminal probe of the actions of a former president.

But any credible investigation should include former Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; the former C.I.A. director George Tenet; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who drafted what became known as the torture memos. There are many more names that could be considered, including Jose Rodriguez Jr., the C.I.A. official who ordered the destruction of the videotapes; the psychologists who devised the torture regimen; and the C.I.A. employees who carried out that regimen.

One would expect Republicans who have gone hoarse braying about Mr. Obama’s executive overreach to be the first to demand accountability, but with one notable exception, Senator John McCain, they have either fallen silent or actively defended the indefensible. They cannot even point to any results: Contrary to repeated claims by the C.I.A., the report concluded that “at no time” did any of these techniques yield intelligence that averted a terror attack. And at least 26 detainees were later determined to have been “wrongfully held.”

Starting a criminal investigation is not about payback; it is about ensuring that this never happens again and regaining the moral credibility to rebuke torture by other governments. Because of the Senate’s report, we now know the distance officials in the executive branch went to rationalize, and conceal, the crimes they wanted to commit. The question is whether the nation will stand by and allow the perpetrators of torture to have perpetual immunity for their actions.

Sadly, the American people are perfectly fine with torture and see it as an American value.  Hell, a majority of Americans say the torture report should have never seen the light of day.  And no, nobody will ever be held accountable for this.  As long as the CIA can bleat "We saved American lives" then we don't care and we don't want to know what Cheney and his ghouls did in order to "get actionable intelligence".

The Times is shouting into a hurricane.

Like A Kansas Tornado, Con't

Meanwhile, the noxious dumpster fire that is the Kansas economy continues to burn with no end in sight as GOP Gov. Sam Brownback's awesome austerity plan is now killing thousands of jobs a month.

The new Kansas jobs numbers were released Friday morning, bringing horrible news to state taxpayers and Gov. Sam Brownback.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the total number of nonfarm jobs in Kansas fell by 4,100 in November.

Kansas’ disturbing experience was at odds with how much of the rest of the country did. A total of 37 other states gained in employment in November, while only 13 others, including Kansas, dropped.

Missouri boosted employment by 4,500 in November, for instance, while Oklahoma gained 3,400 jobs. Two other neighbors, Nebraska and Colorado, were among the job losers, though not close to the number shredded in Kansas.

What’s this all mean?

The figures show it’s going to be even tougher for Brownback — after pushing through excessive income tax cuts — to make up for the hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax revenues from those reductions. They took effect in 2013.

Brownback has promised 2,000 new private sector jobs a month.  So far in 2014 he's at less than half that, and things are only getting worse.

Read more here:

By the way, Kentucky gained 5,300 jobs last month and 37,700 jobs in the last 12 months, a 2.1% gain for the year.  You know, job-killing Obamacare and stuff.  Go figure.


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