Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Last Call For May Or May Not, Con't

The government of UK Prime Minister Theresa May was just handed a crippling loss on Brexit, and at this point the writing is on the wall for how long May stays in office.

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has been rejected by 230 votes - the largest defeat for a sitting government in history.

MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal, which sets out the terms of Britain's exit from the EU on 29 March.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, which could trigger a general election.

The confidence vote is expected to be held at about 1900 GMT on Wednesday.

The defeat is a huge blow for Mrs May, who has spent more than two years hammering out a deal with the EU.

The plan was aimed at bringing about an orderly departure from the EU on 29 March, and setting up a 21-month transition period to negotiate a free trade deal.

The vote was originally due to take place in December, but Mrs May delayed it to try and win the support of more MPs.

The UK is still on course to leave on 29 March but the defeat throws the manner of that departure - and the timing of it - into further doubt.

MPs who want either a further referendum, a softer version of the Brexit proposed by Mrs May, to stop Brexit altogether or to leave without a deal, will ramp up their efforts to get what they want, as a weakened PM offered to listen to their arguments.

At this point I don't see how May survives the next couple of weeks, let alone the year.  Corbyn's no-confidence vote may very well pass, and then it all goes into the scrap heap.  It's chaos on both sides of the pond right now, and it doesn't look like a solution is coming anytime soon.

Coming To A Con Census

The Trump regime's goal is long-term structural damage to the Obama coalition, and part of that is robbing traditionally large-population blue states of political power.  One method the Trump White House was counting on is by attaching a citizenship question on the 2020 Census for two reasons, one, giving knowingly false information on a census form is a crime, and two, to cause a chilling response by undocumented immigrants and their families, who under current law are still counted by the Census, but would reveal their status to the Trump regime for almost certain targeting by ICE.

The legal fight over this was always headed for the Supreme Court, but along the way we were going to see whether or not the Trump regime would be blocked by lower federal courts in the the meantime as they prepared the 2020 Census questionnaire.  Today we got the first real answer to that question, and it was a resounding yes.

A federal judge has ruled against the Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

In the first major ruling on the controversial question, Judge Jesse M. Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the administration to stop its plans to add the question to the survey “without curing the legal defects” identified in his opinion.
Plaintiffs hailed the decision. “This ruling is a forceful rebuke of the Trump administration’s attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities,” said Dale Ho, director of the Voting Rights Project at the ACLU, which was a plaintiff in the case.

The Trump administration had tried several times to stop the case from going forward, including requests to the Supreme Court; the adminstration is likely to appeal Furman’s decision in the high court.

Plaintiffs in the trial include 18 states and several cities and jurisdictions, along with civil rights groups. The trial addressed two of seven lawsuits that arose from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s March decision to add the question. Two more trials over the questions are underway or about to begin.

Opponents of the question say it will reduce response rates in immigrant communities and make the constitutionally mandated decennial survey more costly and less accurate. The government had said the question was necessary to enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco, said, “We are disappointed and are still reviewing the ruling,” and added that the government is “legally entitled to include the question on the census.”

A key question in the leadup to the trial was where the request for the question had originated. Ross testified before Congress that it came from the Justice Department, but documents released in the case indicated that he had asked the Justice Department to make the request after consulting with White House adviser Steve Bannon and others.

Census experts applauded Furman’s ruling. “The Administration decided to play fast and loose with the census and received a strong, direct rebuke from the federal courts,” said Thomas Wolf, counsel with the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. “Today’s ruling puts the wind at the backs of the challengers, not just in this case, but in all of the cases challenging the citizenship question around the country.”

Those include a trial currently underway in California and another due to begin next Tuesday in Maryland, both of which the administration has sought, unsuccessfully, to stop.

So we'll see where this goes.  Again, this was always headed for the Roberts Court and sooner rather than later, given the import, but it's good to see that the case appears to be headed in the right direction for now.

The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King's overt white supremacy is becoming too much for the rest of the Republican party to pretend to not be the party of, so plenty of kabuki theater happened on Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell became the highest-ranking Republican to speak out against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) following his racially charged comments, saying that there is ‘no place in the Republican Party, the Congress or the country for an ideology of racial supremacy of any kind.”

McConnell made his statement Monday as three House Democrats, including the No. 3 Democratic leader, announced plans to try to sanction King for his statements.

“I have no tolerance for such positions and those who espouse these views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms,” McConnell said in a written statement to The Washington Post. “Rep. King’s statements are unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position. If he doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive, he should find another line of work.”

Three House Democrats said they would introduce measures disapproving of King, an escalation in the response to King’s frequent controversies.

Reps. Bobby L. Rush (Ill.) and Tim Ryan (Ohio) said the House should censure King and separately filed resolutions to do so. Censure is a rarely invoked punishment for conduct bringing dishonor on the House, the most serious punishment that can be levied on one of its members short of expulsion.

And House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) said he would introduce a measure less serious than censure but one that would strongly reproach King.

Clyburn said he was moved to act in part by Tuesday’s 90th anniversary of the birth of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I call this a tale of two Kings,” he said, adding, “We’ve got to break our silence on these kinds of things.”

It's hysterical to see King get treated the way Donald Trump never would be, when Trump has on repeated occasions said and done far worse, but that's how this game is played.  Donald Trump can be as racist as he wants to because he's Donald Trump.  Everyone else in the GOP is supposed to be covering for him, and if Steve King lets the cat out of the bag that the whole party is racist like this, the plan falls apart.

Besides, I'm pretty sure nobody in the GOP actually likes Steve King anyway, he's kind of an asshole.

House Republican leaders removed Representative Steve King of Iowa from the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees on Monday night as the party officials scrambled to appear tough on racism and contain damage from comments Mr. King made to The New York Times questioning why white supremacy is considered offensive.

The punishment came on a day when Mr. King’s own party leadership moved against him, with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, suggesting Mr. King find “another line of work” and Senator Mitt Romney saying he should quit. In an attempt to be proactive, the House Republicans stripped him of his committee seats in the face of multiple Democratic resolutions to censure Mr. King that are being introduced this week.

Those measures will force Republicans to take a stand on whether to go along with the House Democratic majority’s attempt to publicly reprimand one of their own.

Speaking to reporters on Monday night after the congressional Republicans acted, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the party leader in the House, said he was not ruling out supporting a censure or reprimand resolution against Mr. King. He said the Republicans are not removing Mr. King from the G.O.P. House conference itself so he can still attend its party meetings.

“I think voters have that decision to make. But I think we spoke loud and clear that we will not tolerate this in the Republican Party,” said Mr. McCarthy, who conferred privately with Mr. King for an hour on Monday afternoon.

Wait until they find out Donald Trump is a racist, man.


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