When President Obama appointed Tom Wheeler (a former top telecom lobbyist) as chairman of the FCC, he got a lot of grief for selling out his '07 pledge to protect Net Neutrality -- the founding principle long prized by open web activists that ISPs cannot privilege certain data over others, without which dire visions of a tiered and pay-for-play internet loomed. Earlier, weaker attempts at net neutrality had failed in court, and the new chairman looked set to fold. But after an unprecedented outcry following last year's trial balloon for ISP "fast lanes" -- including a viral appeal by John Oliver, a public urging by the president, and perhaps Wheeler's own history with the pre-web NABU Network -- the FCC yesterday voted along party lines to enact the toughest net neutrality rules in history, classifying ISPs as common carriers and clearing the way for municipal broadband. ISPs reacted with (Morse) venom, while congressional Republicans are divided over what they called "Obamacare for the internet."
He has succeeded in the sort of environment least conducive to producing a candidate capable of winning a national majority. Over the past few decades, Walker's home turf of metropolitan Milwaukee has developed into the most bitterly divided political ground in the country—"the most polarized part of a polarized state in a polarized nation," as a recent series by Craig Gilbert in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it.Wisconsin's governor will be announcing his intention to run for President of the United States in any... day... now. Last summer, TNR published a lengthy profile of his politics and persona: The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker. [more inside]
Thanks to a quirk of twentieth-century history, the region encompasses a heavily Democratic and African American urban center, and suburbs that are far more uniformly white and Republican than those in any other Northern city, with a moat of resentment running between the two zones. As a result, the area has given rise to some of the most worrisome trends in American political life in supercharged form: profound racial inequality, extreme political segregation, a parallel-universe news media. These trends predate Walker, but they have enabled his ascent, and his tenure in government has only served to intensify them. Anyone who believes that he is the Republican to save his party—let alone win a presidential election—needs to understand the toxic and ruptured landscape he will leave behind.
Frank Schaeffer: "You can’t understand why the GOP was so successful in winning back both houses of Congress in 2014, and wrecking most of what Obama has tried to do, unless you understand what we did back then." [more inside]
(until wednesday). Yes, it's election day in the USA on Tuesday 4th November, with a projected cost of $3.67 billion. "During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races." The betting markets currently have the Republicans significant favorites to take the Senate and overwhelming favorites to take the House. FiveThirtyEight indicates the same, but with many close Gubernatorial races. Electoral-vote.com currently project the senate at Dem 48, Ties 1, GOP 51. [more inside]
The Republican Party began selling new web domains ending in .gop today at www.join.gop. Public interest has definitely been sparked, but perhaps not for the reasons Republicans have hoped. [more inside]
The GOP's new target for voter disenfranchisement: women. As of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name. Only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo ID of this nature, as many women have not updated their photo IDs with either their married names or their name after a divorce. This disenfranchises 34% of women voters, while 99% of men are home free. Similar laws now exist or are in the process of being passed in numerous other states.
A middle-aged man in a red golf shirt shuffles up to a small folding table with gold trim, in a booth adorned with a flotilla of helium balloons, where government workers at the Kentucky State Fair are hawking the virtues of Kynect, the state’s health benefit exchange established by Obamacare. The man is impressed. "This beats Obamacare I hope," he mutters to one of the workers. “Do I burst his bubble?” wonders Reina Diaz-Dempsey, overseeing the operation. She doesn't. If he signs up, it's a win-win, whether he knows he's been ensnared by Obamacare or not.
"This is all out of Lord of the Flies and Karl Rove is Piggy and we’re supposed to all chase him around with spikes and throw him on a fire?" An assortment of popular conservative pundits are trapped on a luxury cruise with well-heeled members of their audience, right after losing the election. One question hangs in the air: who is responsible for this loss?! Hilarity ensues.
Paul Ryan. Seven-term congressman for Wisconsin's 1st District. Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. Architect of the controversial Ryan Budget -- a "Path to Prosperity" [PDF - video - CBO] that would slash trillions from the federal budget, sharply curtail taxes on the wealthy, and transform Medicare into a private voucher system. Proponent (vid) -- and renouncer -- of Ayn Rand 's Objectivism. Social Security beneficiary. Hunter. Weinermobile driver. And as of this morning, the 2012 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States of America. [more inside]
Presenting for your perusal: "The Conservative Teen", a new magazine designed to instill the right values in today's youth.
Artist Bas Van Oerle presents a series of propaganda posters for the 2012 Republican presidential contenders. Ron Paul For The Youth Vote. Fields of Santorum. Love Me Romney. Join The Cosmonewts.
Historian Michael Kazin says that we are witnessing the end of the Religious Right's influence in American politics. Peter Montgomery of Alternet says not to declare the Christian Right dead quite yet.
The rise and fall (...and rise and fall) of Newt Gingrich. With just two days to go before the all-important South Carolina Republican primary, Newt Gingrich seems to have shaken off the spectre of past failures, is leading Mitt Romney in the most recent polls, and is on the verge of an amazing political comeback... assuming you overlook his ex-wife's new claims, set to air today, of Gingrich wanting -- and potentially having -- an open marriage.
After interminable months of campaigning, debates, and roller-coaster polling, the first official vote of the 2012 presidential race is in -- and boy, is it a doozy. Ames straw poll winner Michele Bachmann placed second-to-last, while former juggernaut Rick Perry performed so badly he's canceled upcoming events and is said to be on the verge of dropping out. Meanwhile, perennial laughingstock Rick Santorum, consolidating the support hemorrhaging from Perry, Bachmann, and an ad-blitzed Newt Gingrich, rocketed past the youth- and independent-backed Ron Paul and, with 99% of the vote counted, is separated from Mitt Romney by four votes out of ~120,000 -- by far the closest result in caucus history. As the shaken field contemplates the path ahead through Romney firewall New Hampshire, conservative South Carolina, Florida, Super Tuesday, and beyond, President Obama staged a quiet redux of his own dramatic caucus win four years ago, a dry run for the looming general election. And as for powerhouse Buddy Roemer? Don't worry -- his team is ready to do battle with evil.
Santorum surges from behind in Iowa. With the countdown to the Iowa Caucuses entering its final hours the GOP race remains in a dead heat. Polls show the unlikely campaigns of social conservative Senator Rick Santorum and libertarian leaning Representative Ron Paul in surprisingly strong positions to challenge Governor Mitt Romney for the opening victory in the Republican primary season. Both Paul and Santorum have focused heavily on traditional retail politics in the Hawkeye State.
Shockingly, Newt Gingrich does not own newtgingrich.com. Instead, a group of pranksters called American Bridge 21st Century have used the domain to redirect visitors to various sites and stories that cast him in a negative light. For maximum entertainment, copy and paste the URL into your address bar. Lather, rinse, repeat. [more inside]
Is Newt really going to be the nominee? As Romney collapses and Newt surges in the polls, the party establishment is worried. Libertarians are panicking. Can the establishment stop him? What about Ron Paul? Can Huntsman save the party from catastrophe?
Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is booked on all the major morning shows tomorrow, and with good reason. After two months of gaffes, impolitic stands, and bizarre speeches that quickly waned his once-strong odds of winning the Republican nomination, Perry went into Wednesday's CNBC debate sorely needing a win... only to deliver a tortuous, cringingly forgetful attempt [video] to recall just which three cabinet departments he'd vowed to abolish, a stunning failure political scientist Larry Sabato deemed "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate" in his memory. While Perry's slow-motion flameout has boosted the fortunes of dark horse candidate Herman Cain, the unlikely challenger is facing troubles of his own in a volley of sexual harassment claims -- an oddly ineffective scandal Cain is doing his best to (somewhat dubiously) disavow. If Cain collapses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may reap the benefits, but his moribund campaign has issues of its own. Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, Cain, Gingrich... the base is loathe to rally round him, but after so many failed, flawed, or forfeited challenges, can anyone topple Mitt Romney?
Effect of Herman Cain's proposed "9-9-9" tax reform plan on average household tax liability. Cain is leading the field of GOP Presidential candidates in polls of Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. Previously 1 2
In a widely discussed tweet last week, Jon Huntsman broke with the stated opinion of every other major Republican presidential candidate†:
@JonHuntsman "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."Is Huntsman's announcement a shrewd move to establish his campaign as "the only moderate" candidacy in the crowded G.O.P. field, or is it evidence of a man sticking by his principles and "having a little fun" in a primary he knows he cannot win? [more inside]
Gawker's John Cook yesterday published an exclusive report on a trove of documents from the Nixon Presidential Library tracing the development of Fox News to a 1970 internal memo annotated by then-consultant Roger Ailes. Part of a 318-page cache of similar documents, the memo -- "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" -- called for the creation of a strongly pro-Nixon news outlet operated from the White House which would disseminate partisan news packages free of charge to local affiliates across the country. By coordinating release of these targeted reports with allied politicians and duping opponents into hostile interviews, Ailes hoped to bypass the "prejudices of network news" -- a desire which led him to advocate for some unexpected political policies at the time, from campaign finance reform to anti-poverty efforts. The report comes as Fox is waging an aggressive two-front PR war with perceived ideological enemies -- calling on viewers to file IRS complaints against Media Matters' tax-exempt status for their dogged fact-checking of the network, while on-air hosts launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods following a critical interview with Chris Wallace (previously).
"Bachmann's entire political career has followed this exact same pattern of God-speaks-directly-to-me fundamentalism mixed with pathological, relentless, conscienceless lying. She's not a liar in the traditional way of politicians, who tend to lie dully, usefully and (they hope) believably, often with the aim of courting competing demographics at the same time. That's not what Bachmann's thing is."- Michele Bachmann's Holy War - Matt Tabbi - Rolling Stone
Republican Leadership Conference hires an Obama impersonator. Hilarity does not ensue. [more inside]
In CA-36, Democrat Calls For Blanket Condemnation Of Stunning New Web Ad. Initially, businessman Craig Huey, a tea party Republican, did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did the Los Angeles County GOP. Eventually, Huey's campaign manager stated, "If I could wave a magic wand and take it down, I would. The video was created by Turn Right USA PAC.
"House Republicans...fell seven votes short of extending provisions of the Patriot Act, a vote that served as the first small uprising of the party's tea-party bloc." This vote also defies the intention of the Obama administration to extend portions of the USA PATRIOT Act to the year 2013. (Previously) [more inside]
Former president Jimmy Carter speaks about the similarities and differences between the political climate in the mid 1970's and the present rise of the Tea Party.
Lately, the organizations that make up the American Republican Party/GOP have been experimenting with going online. The House Republicans have created America Speaking Out, a website for the people to give their ideas to "an arrogant congress." There, visitors can upload ideas they would like the government to carry out.
This f*cking election. A babble tower.
Palin for 2012? She's popular with conservatives, and even before any potential makeover 6 out of 10 evangelicals think she is experienced enough to be president. She'd potentially get the Huckabee evangelical vote in the primaries *and* the talk radio wing. If Obama succeeds in taking moderates, the evangelical and talk radio wings will only be stronger. And the GOP would appear to already be talking about it.
The Chicago Tribune has been a bastion of Republican endorsements, having consistently endorsed every single Republican presidential nominee since it was founded in 1847. One of its earliest managing editors, Joseph Medill, was a founder of the Republican Party. Today, it endorsed its first Democratic presidential candidate in its 161-year history. And it certainly did not do so halfheartedly. [more inside]
Tom Davis Gives Up (SLNYT). “Tell them about the important work we’re doing while Rome burns,” he said. A candid accounting of American politics from a member of the GOP disillusioned with both sides of the aisle and an overview of how he became that way.
Cross another item off of President Bush's to-do list before he leaves the White House: hobbling the Endangered Species Act and allowing federal agencies to gauge the environmental impact of their projects for themselves. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said the changes were needed to ensure that the ESA would not be used as a "back door" to regulate greenhouse gases.
This little news story might be slightly damaging to John McCain's campaign. You know how the press lets stuff like this slide. uno dos tres cuatro cinco sex?
McHenry and his "roommates" -- GOP Rep Patrick McHenry (NC), co-owner of a DC home with Scott G. Stewart, former chair of the College Republican Nat'l Cttee (and bilker of many senior citizens), received a DC home-ownership reduction improperly. McHenry's actual home in North Carolina was apparently also home to quite a collection of young men: (convicted fraudulent voter) Michael Aaron Lay, Neil Everett Capano, Matthew Allen Hamilton, and (multiple violations, including "death by vehicle") Jason Jent Deans. Also, McHenry's 04 consultant Ralph Gonzales was one of the men involved in a recent FL murder/suicide, and links to Robert Drake, the killer (political work in NC and escort service connections), are still being documented. Stay tuned! [more inside]
GOP Senator Larry Craig arrested in 'bathroom incident' --and pleads guilty. ... At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?” ... He's denied similar stories in the past.
Late Night Shots is an "invitation-only" social networking site for elite GOP youth of Washington, DC that the late Steve Gilliard mockingly described as "the best and whitest." The Wonkette blog has devoted an entire section to the site that documents Late Night Shots' racism, date rape, anti-Islamic prejudice, and incest with second cousins, at least until Wonkette's editor started getting invited to their parties. The founder of Late Night Shots, Reed Landry, plans to take his networking site to other cities, but even though Wonkette has lost interest, the Washington City Paper has attracted scrutiny to the site again with a juicy new exposé.
... Karl Rove, a handful of the party's most tech-savvy computer gurus and the former Republican Ohio Secretary of State, created, owned and operated the vote-counting system...
Network Hosting Attorney Scandal E-Mails Also Hosted Ohio's 2004 Election Results --...more than ample documentation to show that on Election Night 2004, Ohio's "official" Secretary of State website -- which gave the world the presidential election results -- was redirected from an Ohio government server to a group of servers that contain scores of Republican web sites, including the secret White House e-mail accounts that have emerged in the scandal surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's firing of eight federal prosecutors. ...
"Then my photography started to shift; everything had to be very clean and Republican, straight and perfect... Everything is staged and controlled... It's the complete opposite of war photography."
War photographer Christopher Morris's new exhibit and book: "My America".
War photographer Christopher Morris's new exhibit and book: "My America".
the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history --meet 3 leading GOP candidates for 08. We've already read about Hillary's sexlife (or lack thereof), but will the double standard hold? ...if the top three Democratic presidential hopefuls each had extra-marital affairs in their backgrounds, it stands to reason that Republicans would have something to say about it--and if the past is any guide, those concerns would find their way into the papers. Will the same happen when it's about the "party of family values and morality"?
Hilarious website showing one mans passion for drawing conservative themed art. The real gems are in the archive. My personal favorites include "Team W" and these creepy Reagan ghost ones  . Don't forget his epic comic The Patriot.
Rollback. Media critic Jay Rosen rises above the McClellan/"shake-up" foofaraw to put several pieces of the puzzle together and show how the Bush administration has significantly altered the long-standing relationship of the press to the White House. (More from Rosen here.) Another piece that fits: Donald Rumsfeld's bold, frequent, and rarely-challenged assertions that the American press is being expertly "manipulated" by Al Qaeda "media committees" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Don't worry Mr. President, we have Kansas surrounded." Warrantless searches: they're not just for wiretaps anymore. U.S. News and World Report probes the Bush administration's covert drive to conduct physical searches of American homes without court approval.
Bush administration tries to silence NASA's chief climate expert James Hansen from granting interviews about global warming. Meanwhile, a new study by Australian researchers confirms that global sea levels are rising, and may make island nations like Tuvalu and the Maldives uninhabitable by the end of the century. [via RawStory]
The (Broken) Triangle: Progressive Bloggers in the Wilderness. The Huffington Post's Peter Daou, whose dour forecast of how Bush and lazy media would spin away the NSA scandal proved prescient, on why "netroots activists" can't get traction: "It's slow-motion-car-wreck painful, and most certainly NOT where the left's triangle should be a half decade into the new millennium, as the Bush-propping machine hums and whirrs, poll numbers rise and fall, Iraq bleeds, scandal dissolves into scandal, terror speech blends into terror speech. The landscape is there for everyone to see, to analyze. Enough time has elapsed to make the system transparent. It is dismaying for netroots activists to see the same mistakes repeated..."
Bush in the Bubble. Newsweek's analysis of the man who is possibly "the most isolated president in modern history."
The Nexus of Evil So it seems as though the Chairman of the Colorado College Republicans (Jay Bob Klinkerman, no really, no kidding, that's his name) seems to be the one responsible for the removal of three Democrats from a Bush Social Security Sideshow. For some reason, and possibly it was always the case, all roads in this administration frequently lead to back to the same places, with the same names. What do all of the high profile actors in the current GOP have in common? Some sort of activity or affiliation with either the College Republicans or Young Republicans. If you are wondering about the names - how about Karl Rove, Jack Abramoff, Grover Norquist, Ralph E. Reed, Jr., Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist, Lee Atwater, and the central organizer, Morton Blackwell. College Republicans have been the footsoldiers for the right since the Draft Goldwater campaign, and have been rewarded for their service throughout the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush#41 and#43 . You can also find their fingerprints all over the various thinktanks, the direct-mail industry, and fundraising. I strongly recommend taking some time to read up on the history of the College Republicans (PDF).
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