Monday, November 21, 2016

Last Call For Trumpsgiving, Trumpmas, And A Trumpy New Year

House Republicans are acting like kids in a candy store these days with you know, total Republican dominance of the country.  Actually, they're acting more like "kids in a candy store with a flamethrower making sure the candy for other kids besides themselves gets burned to ashes."  So if you voted for Republicans and were expecting them to give a damn about you and your family being a working American and such, well, here's your latest Thanksgiving turkey.

Weeks before the 115th Congress even begins, House Republicans are laying the groundwork for a major push to repeal President Barack Obama’s most recent regulations, using the Congressional Review Act. The 1996 law allows the House to reverse regulations enacted within the previous 60 legislative days — and the Senate to pass a repeal by simple majority instead of the upper chamber’s typical 60-vote threshold.

While Obama is still president, the Republican controlled-Congress has no chance of repealing his regulations. But once Trump is inaugurated, that all changes.

Another boon for the right: The 1996 law is written such that the 60-legislative-day clock resets at the beginning of each Congress for all rules enacted in the 60 legislative days prior to the final day of congressional adjournment. That will give Congress months longer to tear up regulations issued late this year.

That’s why leaders are already seeking to leave town early in December, essentially stopping the clock and enabling themselves to repeal as many 2016 rules and regulations as possible. Many believe the chamber will be gone no later than Dec. 9.

House Republicans are currently in the process of making lists of regulations that fall within their time frame and could potentially be repealed early next year. One of the major ones they’re eyeing is Obama’s overtime rule that requires companies to pay time-and-a-half to employees who make under roughly $47,000.

The rule is set to go into effect Dec. 1 and will be a top priority for Republicans to reverse
, multiple sources said.

Oh, so you were one of the millions of hard-working Americans slated to finally start getting overtime pay when your boss makes you work 60 hours a week?  Too bad, you voted Republican.  That's going away and you're back to being screwed out of pay.

But hey, you'll get it for a couple of weeks, right?  Merry Christmas!

The Siege Of Standing Rock

I haven't really gone into too much detail about the ongoing battle at Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota over the Dakota Access oil pipeline because of the election, but this is a major civil rights battle that is happening right now in America that has been going on for weeks.

Tensions over the Dakota Access oil pipeline flared again Sunday when North Dakota law enforcement used water cannons to disperse a group of about 400 protesters trying to move past a barricaded bridge toward construction sites for the controversial project.

As temperatures in Cannon Ball, N.D., dropped into the 20s, police in riot gear sprayed anti-pipeline activists with a hose mounted on top of an armored vehicle and formed a line to prevent them from advancing up the road, according to the Bismarck Tribune. Protesters also reported being pelted with rubber bullets, tear gas and concussion grenades during the standoff, which lasted until late Sunday night.

A grainy Facebook Live video from the scene shows throngs of people gathered around the Backwater Bridge on Highway 1806, with flood lights shining down on the grass and road below, and a haze of smoke and water vapor rising near police vehicles.

The clashes began around 6 p.m., when protesters attempted to remove burned out trucks that had been blocking the bridge since authorities and activists faced off there in late October. Police have since set up wire and concrete barriers on the bridge, which is about a mile south of where the pipeline developer plans to drill.

Protesters, who call themselves “water protectors,” have argued that the barricade prevents emergency services from reaching the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and a nearby camp they have used as a staging ground for demonstrations.

Authorities responded after protesters moved one of the trucks blocking the roadway. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said that by 8:30 p.m. an estimated 400 people had arrived to try to “breach” the bridge and had set dozens of fires in the area. The department called the situation an “ongoing riot,” saying protesters were “very aggressive” and had attempted to “flank and attack the law enforcement line.” At least one person was arrested, the department said.

One of the protest organizers, Dallas Goldtooth, said protesters started small fires in the area to help warm people who had been sprayed with water in the freezing cold. He told the Tribune that some activists tried to remove the burned out trucks to expose the heavily-armed authorities behind them.

“Folks have a right to be on a public road,” Goldtooth said. “It’s absurd that people who’ve been trying to take down the barricade now have their lives at risk.”

Another organizer, Tara Houska, told the Tribune that more than 200 people had been hit with tear gas, pepper spray or water from the hose.

“They’re using everything and anything,” she said. “This has been weeks and weeks of those vehicles on the road for no apparent reason, and it’s a huge public safety risk. It’s putting enormous pressure on the Standing Rock Sioux community and people who live and work in the area

The water protectors of Standing Rock have been blocking pipeline construction for weeks now in order to save the reservation's water supply from the oil companies.  I talk about Black Lives Matter a lot, but it's very easy to forget there are many marginalized groups in America and tribal groups are definitely fighting for basic human rights in this country on a daily basis.  They are shot and killed and beaten by law enforcement as well.

Imagine if Flint's water crisis was made worse by dropping a pipeline through the middle of town and bulldozing houses and buildings around it while still doing nothing about the water supply, and you're starting to get the picture of what's going on in Standing Rock.

This is something President Obama needs to intervene in.

It's Always Those People Who Are At Fault

Understand that if the Democratic party actually takes the advice of Columbia professor Mark Lilla here, they are done and the party of Trump will rule for a generation.

One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals.

The moral energy surrounding identity has, of course, had many good effects. Affirmative action has reshaped and improved corporate life. Black Lives Matter has delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience. Hollywood’s efforts to normalize homosexuality in our popular culture helped to normalize it in American families and public life. 
But the fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life. At a very young age our children are being encouraged to talk about their individual identities, even before they have them. By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good. In large part this is because of high school history curriculums, which anachronistically project the identity politics of today back onto the past, creating a distorted picture of the major forces and individuals that shaped our country. (The achievements of women’s rights movements, for instance, were real and important, but you cannot understand them if you do not first understand the founding fathers’ achievement in establishing a system of government based on the guarantee of rights.)


The very "identity groups" that Lilla is denigrating here are the voters that turned out for Hillary Clinton by the largest margin.  Abandon them at your own peril, Democrats.  And while Democrats are busy eating their own and people like Lilla are complaining about the state of education in America, Republicans are busy doing things like this.

Despite concern from LGBTQ activists, a Texas state senator's office says a bill addressing parents' right to full disclosure of school information would not force schools to "out" students who identify as sexual minorities, her chief of staff said.

Sen. Konni Burton, R-Fort Worth, filed Senate Bill 242 on Thursday for the 2017 Texas Legislative session that begins Jan. 10 in Austin.

The two-page bill states that a parent is entitled to all of a school district's written records about their child's "general physical, psychological or emotional well-being (except information related to child abuse). An attempt by a school employee to conceal or encourage a child to withhold information is grounds for discipline, the bill states.

Equality Texas, a nonprofit organization that works to secure equal rights for sexual minorities through legislation and education, on Friday issued a statement opposing Burton's bill.

"Until kids are not kicked out of their house for being gay or transgender, and until kids are not being beaten by parents for being gay or transgender, we owe it to kids to protect them," said the statement from Steven M. Rudman, Equality Texas board chairman. "We believe Sen. Burton's legislation would essentially destroy protected communications between a student and an educator...."

Some also worry that the bill would also put lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) Texas youth at risk of being placed in so-called "reparative therapy," which is based upon the premise that homosexuality is a mental health problem, according to the progressive website

"That is an unfortunate interpretation," said Elliott Griffin, the senator's chief of staff, on Friday.

Nothing in the bill should be construed to mean that a child could be forced into reparative therapy, he said. "I have no idea why they would draw that conclusion."

And let's remember the next vice-president is a big fan of "reparative therapy" and thinks all LGBTQ folks need to be "fixed".   Making common cause with the Trump administration and the people who voted them into power will come at the expense of the most vulnerable in our society.  And I refuse to do it.


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