Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Last Call For Can't Get Work Done

It turns out that Paul Ryan is an even worse Speaker of the House than John Boehner was, if you can imagine that.  Ryan is so bad that he can't get House Republicans, with the largest margin of control they've had since Herbert Hoover, to even pass their own budget on time.

Under the government's arcane budget law, the House is supposed to produce a budget by this Friday, April 15. But a tea party revolt over Ryan's embrace of last year's bipartisan deal with President Barack Obama to increase spending has left him well short of the votes he needs.

"It would appear that we're not going to have a budget," the No. 2 House Democrat, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, told reporters Tuesday. "They made it a big deal. Hypocrisy is part of it," he added. "They're in deep disarray."

House Republicans met the budget deadline each of the five years they controlled the House under the leadership of John Boehner, who was ousted as speaker last fall under conservative pressure. Ryan himself, his party's 2012 vice presidential nominee, chaired the House Budget Committee for much of that time and guided the "Ryan Budget" that slashed entitlement spending. But he also cut a deal with Senate Democrats and the White House that enhanced his profile as a charismatic, policy-focused conservative.

The Wisconsin Republican has repeatedly lambasted Democrats when they didn't get budgets done while in congressional control, even backing a law that would have cut off the paychecks of lawmakers if they failed to pass a budget.

Ryan's own inability to deliver now that he's speaker raises questions about his stewardship of the House, and whether his repeated promises to return power to rank-and-file lawmakers can produce results, given how unwilling some of them are to compromise. And amid an angry GOP presidential campaign that's exposed deep divisions in the party, Ryan's honeymoon in the House may be coming to an end if he's unable to bridge the same divide between hard-core conservatives and more pragmatic-minded lawmakers that defeated his predecessor.

"There was a lot of excitement last fall when newly elected Speaker Ryan was talking about 2016 being a year of policy and passing a robust policy agenda," said Dan Holler, spokesman at Heritage Action for America. "It's been pretty underwhelming."

If I were a betting man, I'd say that Ryan is dragging his feet for a reason.  The "Ryan Budgets" with their trillions in austerity cuts absolutely helped to sink Mitt Romney four years ago.  Now Paul Ryan would have to take total ownership of a House Republican austerity budget as a presidential candidate.  That's a recipe for a loss nearly as bad as what a Trump candidacy would bring and he knows it, and he's looking past 2016.

So no, don't look for a budget from Republicans anytime soon, especially in an election year.  Actually putting down on paper what they would cut for Democrats to run against is the last thing the GOP wants to do.

A Mess Of Carolina BBQ, Con't

North Carolina's awful omnibus bad bill continues to have serious financial repercussions for the state as Republicans find out that enshrining bigotry into law is really a bad idea if you want to sell the state as a destination to people everywhere else.  First, Wake County where state capital Raleigh is could lose millions in tourism dollars and that's just the beginning.

A report released by Wake County’s leading tourism agency on Monday says that the county has lost more than $700,000 in response to the controversial House Bill 2 – and could lose millions more.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that four groups have canceled plans to hold events in Wake because of HB2, which some say discriminates against the transgender community, gays and lesbians.

The International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators, Johnstone Supply, the Matria Tech Leadership Conference and the N.C. State Library Conference cited HB2 in canceling their events, which were mostly scheduled at hotels in downtown Raleigh. In addition, the GIS-T Symposium, a gathering of state transportation officials, cut the number of attendees expected at its conference because of HB2. Combined, the bureau reports that Wake has lost out on an estimated $732,000 in economic benefits.

“We just felt that it’s not in the best interest of our membership to go someplace that’s not inclusive,” said Janet Tipton, spokeswoman for Oregon-based Johnstone Supply, which considered bringing 300 people.

The visitors bureau reported that 16 other groups, the names of which it didn’t disclose, also are reconsidering plans to hold events in Wake County. The groups would bring a combined 73,500 people to the area and infuse an estimated $24 million into the local economy, the report says.

Oh well.  But hey, bathroom cops, so.  And speaking of events that will bring in tens of millions...

A team of bipartisan senators on Tuesday urged the NBA to take their All Star game business out of North Carolina in a stand against the state's sweeping anti-LGBT law.

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Cory Booker, (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) all signed onto the letter by asking NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to "take a stand against this latest form discrimination and move the 2017 NBA All Star Game away from Charlotte, N.C."

Kirk was the only Republican who signed onto the letter and is running for re-election in 2016 in Illinois.

The letter, which was first reported by Politico, is the latest in an effort to force North Carolina to reconsider its law, which forces individuals to use restrooms that may violate their gender identity and bars local communities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances.

"We hold no ill-will toward the people of Charlotte, who passed an anti-discrimination measure that HB2 overturned or towards the people of North Carolina," Senators wrote. "However, we cannot condone nor stand idly by as North Carolina moves to legalize and institutionalize discrimination against the LGBT community."

Actions have consequences, NC GOP.  Gov. Pat McCrory, sensing he just lose re-election in November over this, is trying to put a band-aid on a sucking chest wound.

Here comes the damage control. On Tuesday, McCrory announced a new executive order that makes some very small tweaks to the law. Here is what the order does, according to McCrory's office:

Maintains common sense gender-specific restroom and locker room facilities in government buildings and schools

Affirms the private sector's right to establish its own restroom and locker room policies

Affirms the private sector and local governments' right to establish non-discrimination employment policies for its own employees

Expands the state's employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity

Seeks legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination

There are some very modest advancements for LGBTQ rights here, particularly the move to protect LGBTQ state government employees from discrimination. But LGBTQ workers who don't work for the state government remain unprotected from workplace discrimination under state law.

But these changes don't really address the main concerns with North Carolina's law. The law still prohibits — and, in fact, McCrory affirmed that it prohibits — trans people from using the bathroom in schools and government buildings that matches their gender identity. And the law still blocks cities and counties from legally banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations. These provisions remain untouched, regardless of any new protections for state government employees.

It's still a bad law, and hey, in November, North Carolina might want to do something about the Republican lawmakers who created it and stuffed it through the General Assembly, Senate, and McCrory's desk in less than a day.  But if these poll results are correct, that's not going to happen.

Although McCrory's approval rating is down to 43% and half of voters disapprove of the bill, a majority also believe trans people using the bathroom of their choice are a "security risk to women and children".  That's a consistent majority across all age groups and both men and women and includes 42% of Democrats and a third of people who say LGBT rights should be protected.

So no, don't expect HB2 to be repealed without continued devastating pressure from businesses.

Read more here:

Trump Cards, Con't

Yet another "meet your local racist misogynist Islamophobic passionate Trump supporter" piece, this time focusing on Trump's younger proponents, who are -- surprise! -- male, white, and generally obnoxious.

Jack Rowe, an 18-year-old high school student from St. Paul, Minnesota, sat in the front row of a Donald Trump rally in Eau Claire, Wisconsin last weekend, sandwiched between two friends.

He had caucused for Trump in Minnesota for the very first time a few weeks earlier. Freckled and grinning, he sported a red "Make America Great Again" hat and a gray Trump t-shirt.

Rowe had some thoughts on Trump's rhetorical treatment of women, which had been dominating the news lately thanks to the Republican front-runner's comments about punishing women who have abortions. Mainly, Rowe said, it's a non-issue.

"Misogyny was an issue about maybe 60, 80 years ago," said Rowe. "That's not an issue today. There are a lot bigger fish to fry...You know, ISIS is chopping off heads. We've got 19 trillion dollars in debt."

And he's got all kinds of bros eager to vote for the guy who will continue to make sure that nobody will make him or his bros think about their misogyny or racism or Islamophobia and never bother them again over it.  They're white guys, the natural alpha males of America.  Why should they have to share? They want to take the country back for themselves and put the rest of us in our respective places.  You know, like 60, 80 years ago.

David Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports -- the frat-focused sports website where the "Smokeshow of the Day" serves as the ultimate clickbait -- said Trump's appeal to young men speaks to anxiety over a creeping political correctness throughout American society.

"There is a sentiment among frat guys, lacrosse players and middle class affluent white kids that they are kind of getting persecuted lately," Portnoy told CBS News.

"You tell a joke it gets blown out of proportion. You gotta walk on eggshells. There's kind of that feeling, and Trump, he tells a joke and doesn't back down. He says things that would normally been frowned upon. At a school, a kid would get expelled. Not that it's right or wrong, but he's sort of defending a lot of the things they've been attacked for in the last five years or so."

"It's an F-U to society, who is telling us we are a bad guy because we like hooking up with girls on spring break," he added. "And they see Trump sticking up for that."

J. Camm, the managing editor of Bro Bible, another bro-focused site, said Trump's lack of policy details means little to his young supporters.

"Part of the allure of Trump is that people find him to be someone who tells it like it is and honest, although he has no specific policies to back up anything that he's actually saying," Camm said.

Trump's rich, he's famous, he's orange white, and he can do and say pretty much everything he wants to.  Of course he's the Bro Candidate.  And should he not get the nomination that his Bros believe he's entitled to?  It's not the Democrats that are the immediate problem right now.

After expressing reservations about Donald Trump, some of Indiana's delegates to the Republican national convention say they've received threatening messages from a few of the GOP front-runner's supporters.

The emails warn that the delegates are being watched and imply they could be targeted. Some send ominous wishes to delegates' families.

Trump's Indiana campaign called the threats "deplorable."

Craig Dunn, a delegate and Republican chairman of Indiana's 4th Congressional District, was among the Trump critics who received the threatening messages.

"You sorry (expletive)!" one email said. "I hope the worst for you and yours!"

Dunn was stunned by the response.

"Little did I know that in expressing your 1st Amendment rights, that they’d come after you so hard," he said. "It's very disappointing. I probably received 25 to 30 hate emails, phone calls and voice mails, posts on Facebook that I deleted. Now they're hunting down friends of mine and posting that kind of stuff on their Facebook pages."

That kind of treatment is usually reserved for "libtards" and "social justice warriors" who must be purged by the Bros from America.  But the only thing worse are the insufficiently American anti-Trump "cuckservatives" who supposedly enable them.  Trump's violent, racist hatemongers will come for Democrats soon enough.

But first they have to burn their own house down.  Try not to get too gleeful.  We're definitely next.

Make America For Rough Beasts Again.


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