Tuesday, February 7, 2017

We Don't Need No Education, Con't

And as expected, VP Mike Pence broke the tie today on the confirmation of GOP megadonor Betsy DeVos's bid to buy a cabinet seat, and she will be Education Secretary.

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education by the slimmest of margins, capping off a rocky, high-stakes fight for President Trump's pick. 
Vice President Pence cast the rare deciding vote on DeVos, breaking a 50-50 tie after Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski(Alaska) became the first senators to oppose a Trump Cabinet pick, joining all Democrats. 
Pence is the first vice president ever to cast a decisive vote on a Cabinet nominee. The last time a VP broke a tie in the Senate was 2008, when then-Vice President Dick Cheney voted on a tax adjustment plan. 
Pence arrived at the Capitol around approximately 11:30 a.m., but waited in the wings until the vote was tied at 50-50 to take over the presiding chair and cast the deciding vote. 
The vice president — and former lawmaker — chatted with GOP senators on the floor after the vote, and shook hands with Sen. Ted Cruz
Pence is expected to meet with Senate Republicans during their closed-door weekly policy lunch on Tuesday afternoon. 
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) made a failed 11th-hour plea Tuesday morning for a third Republican to buck the party and sink DeVos's nomination. 
“It’s the Republican side demanding a vote for an unqualified candidate,” the Senate’s top Democrat said. “I hope against hope that another Republican will have the courage … [to] join us.” 
Schumer suggested Republicans are privately saying they wish Trump picked someone else, calling DeVos a “negative trifecta.”

But good news everyone, my own Congressman Thomas Massie has a solution to DeVos!

Won't that be fun?

Zee Germans Are Here

Der Spiegel's Klaus Brinkbaumer declares the Trump regime to be such an existential threat that he believes Germany and the EU must band together to take on America.

Donald Trump and his fire-starter Stephen Bannon discriminate against certain people by decree, but not against those from countries in which Trump does business. The contempt the president of the United States and his most important adviser have for science and education is so blatant that it's almost difficult to write. But their disdain for climate and environmental policies has to be stated, because four or eight years of it could become a serious threat.

Among the things that counted as true progress during the 20th century were multilateralism and free trade. The world has become so complex that no single country can solve the major problems on its own -- that was our recognition. Organizations like the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, NATO and the EU were all created for this reason. None of these organizations is perfect, but they are what we launched -- and we do need them. Bannon now wants to wipe them away, and either Trump is executing Bannon's intentions or he shares them.

That's why under President Trump, both the justified and the contemptible will be melded. Injustice is a major issue of our times, as are fears of digitalization and globalization -- and rightfully so given that the division of society and the speed of modern life is, in fact, extreme. Trump fuses these worries of his voters with nationalism and xenophobia. That's how demagogues work and it is how they become effective. The fact that the United States, a nuclear superpower that has dominated the world economically, militarily and culturally for decades, is now presenting itself as the victim, calling in all seriousness for "America first" and trying to force the rest of the world into humiliating concessions is absurd. But precisely because this nonsense is coming from the world's most powerful man, it is getting trapped by him.

This is not a threat that will somehow resolve itself. The German economy has become the target of American trade policy and German democracy is ideologically antithetical to Trump's vision. But even here, in the middle of Germany, right-wing extremists are trying to give him a helping hand. It is high time that we stand up for what is important: democracy, freedom, the West and its alliances.

This does not mean escalation or that we must abandon our contacts with America and all the working groups between our governments. What is does mean, though, is that Europe must grow stronger and start planning its political and economic defenses. Against America's dangerous president.

As I keep saying, when the Germans recognize that your country is falling into fascism, it's time for some serious introspection.

And remember, it's been just two weeks at this point.

NC Goes Down The Crapper, Con't

The NCAA is warming up the big guns to hurt North Carolina where it hurts if HB2 isn't repealed: right in the March Madness.

The NCAA could soon pull championship events from North Carolina through 2022 if House Bill 2 is not repealed, according to a letter sent to state legislators Monday by the N.C. Sports Association. 
“Our contacts at the NCAA tell us that, due to their stance on HB2, all North Carolina bids will be pulled from the review process and removed from consideration,” Scott Dupree of the N.C. Sports Association and Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance wrote. “That process will begin in the various sports committees starting in 7 to 10 days and continuing through February. At that point, we will be faced with a six-year drought of NCAA championships in North Carolina.” 
The NCAA has already moved championship events for the current academic year to other states due to concerns that the law is discriminatory. HB2 struck down local nondiscrimination ordinances and requires transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate while visiting government facilities. 
Dupree wrote that his “letter is not intended to be political in any way, but rather objective and fact-based, so that all interested parties will have a clear understanding of what’s at stake.” 
“In a matter of days, our state’s sports tourism industry will suffer crushing, long-term losses and will essentially close its doors to NCAA business,” the letter continues. “Our window to act is closing rapidly.” 
Dupree says other sports leagues could join the NCAA in bypassing North Carolina
“When the NCAA decides it will no longer conduct events in North Carolina, the Atlantic Coast Conference and many other sports organizations will surely follow,” he wrote. “When compounding the effect of losing these additional sporting events, including hundreds of youth and amateur events, plus the NBA All-Star Game, we believe North Carolina could lose upwards of a half-billion dollars in economic impact.”

Again, NC already lost all NCAA tournament events for this year.  Losing them for another five on top of that would be devastating to the state's economy, but maybe by then my home state will have kicked out the Republican bigots that ran the place into the ground under Gov. Pat McCrory.

Ball's in your court, NC GOP.  That's a lot of money you're going to be losing.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article130994139.html#storylink=cpy


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