|—||Putting Faith in the Conservative Creed - As conservatives lose battle after battle, believing in untruths is becoming an essential part of their identity.|
No organization did more to shape our federal judiciary than the conservative Federalist Society. President George W. Bush raided their membership to identify his nominees to the federal bench. Their annual lawyers’ convention this week features 18 federal judges — plus Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito. In the same year that President Bush headlined their convention, four sitting Supreme Court justices also delivered remarks.
And the Federalists are not simply the breeding ground for new Republican judges, they are also the incubator of the conservative movement’s plans to rewrite the Constitution in the GOP’s image. In 2009 the Federalists published a white paper attacking the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act that was largely ignored by reputable scholars because it’s arguments were terrible. Three years later, the Supreme Court came within a hair of taking health care away from tens of millions of Americans using reasoning similar to the Federalist Society’s paper.
So when a legal argument — even a bad one — is featured in a Society publication or at their national convention, the whole country should take heed. The misreading of the Constitution floated by the Federalists today is likely to wind up in an opinion by Justice Scalia tomorrow.
The Federalists picked an inauspicious moment for their annual lawyers’ convention this year — barely a week after President Obama vanquished a man who would have passed out even more black robes to their membership. So there was no lack of bitterness at their meeting this week. When one of the liberal speakers the Federalists invite as sparring partners for their conservative Illuminati suggested that state lawmakers should work with the federal government to provide health care for the least fortunate, an audience member audibly called out “she’s a fascist.”
The biggest loser in last week’s election was probably the religious right, however, which not only saw their hated president reelected but also witnessed what is likely the beginning of the end of anti-gay discrimination by American governments. So the convention’s panel yesterday morning on “The Future of Religious Liberty” opened with a barbaric yawp at social conservatives’ recent defeat. George Mason law Professor Helen Alvaré, a speaker who literally travels the globe speaking out against the dangers of “sexual expression by empowered women,” opened the panel by complaining about how President Obama’s reelection campaign convinced the nation that the religious right’s priorities are anti-woman — “women were invited to vote as if their ladyparts depended on it, but the last time I checked … Christians are not looking to excise those.”
Yet sitting just a few feet away from Alvaré was conservative scholar Michael Uhlmann, who suggested during the panel that current law, which exempts religious employers from parts of federal anti-discrimination law, should go much farther and exempt many for-profit companies as well. After the panel, ThinkProgress spoke with Uhlmann to give him a chance to clarify what he meant by his claim that far more companies should be able to ignore laws banning discrimination in the workplace. His response did far more to justify fears that conservatives desire a war on women than anything President Obama said during the campaign:
MILLHISER: The Catholic Church has a First Amendment right to say “we will not hire women for certain positions.” If I start an HVAC company, I do not have a right to say I will not hire a woman.
UHLMANN: Maybe not. Maybe, maybe not.
MILLHISER: Do you think I should [have the right to not hire a woman]?
UHLMANN: Presumptively, yeah. Why not? If, in fact, as it appears to be in the case of Hercules or Hobby Lobby, these are in fact rather religiously-devoted people that are running these enterprises.
To be fair to Uhlmann, he was unwilling to say that employers absolutely have a right to refuse to hire women — only that they “presumptively” have that right — but his proposed rule would, at the very least, require women unjustly fired for being women to jump over some very high legal hurdles before they could get their job back.
If the Federalist Society does not want people to think conservatives are anti-women, they should stop promoting speakers and policies that are anti-women. A good start would be disavowing the idea that companies have a constitutional right to fire someone for having a vagina.
Add Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Maine Gov. Paul LePage, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to the list of Republican governors who are continuing to protest Obamacare by refusing to establish health insurance exchanges, in the process forcing the federal government to step in and create the exchanges itself. Starting in Oct. 2013, the exchanges will be the marketplace for individuals to obtain insurance if they do not have coverage through their employer, Medicare, or Medicaid. Beginning Jan. 2014, the new insurance plans will take effect, giving nearly every American citizen health care coverage.
I may be wrong, but it seems to me that these Governors are essentially helping create the “public option” the Republicans in Congress fought so hard against.
Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais testified during divorce proceedings that he and his former wife made a mutual decision for her to have two abortions, according to divorce transcripts released Thursday.
DesJarlais, who practiced medicine before going to Congress, easily won a second term in Tennessee’s conservative 4th District despite previous revelations that he once urged a patient with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion.
On his campaign website, DesJarlais espoused an anti-abortion position, saying: “All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life.”
DesJarlais in the court proceedings acknowledged having sex with at least two patients and he said he prescribed painkillers for at least one of them.
"Yes, she is a patient and I wrote her prescriptions," DesJarlais said.
He urged one of those patients to get an abortion during a phone conversation that he recorded. The congressman denied during the campaign that he had recorded the call, but in his 2001 testimony he acknowledged that he did. DesJarlais said he was only trying to get her to admit she wasn’t pregnant.
The transcripts show that woman testified under oath that she had been pregnant. She declined to answer whether she had an abortion but said she didn’t have a child by DesJarlais.
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington last month filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Health arguing that DesJarlais conducted an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient. DesJarlais said at the time that he doesn’t expect anything to come out of the complaint.
While on the stand, DesJarlais testified that he had sexual affairs with eight different women during 1999 and 2000 while his divorce was pending. For some of the time, he was attempting to reconcile with his estranged wife, who also admitted to having sexual relations with multiple men during the same time.
Warren Buffett On Fiscal Cliff: GOP Needs To Put ‘Country Over Party’
Rest assured. Despite the fiscal cliff hysteria currently gripping the nation, an Oracle has spoken, and he says there’s nothing to fear.
Billionaire philanthropist and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, nicknamed the Oracle of Omaha for his investing prowess, says that no matter what happens in the fiscal cliff debate, the Americans won’t “permanently cripple ourselves.” That being said, we’d be a lot better off if Congress united, especially Republican representatives, he told CNNMoney.
“If 25 Republicans put country before party we won’t go over the fiscal cliff,” he said during an interview with CNNMoney.
But even if lawmakers succumb to gridlock, it probably won’t last long or do much damage, Buffett added.
“[If Congress] can’t get along for the month of January, it’s not going to torpedo the economy.”
MSNBC has obtained a copy of a presentation RNC Chairman Reince Priebus made to a group of Republican senators Wednesday outlining where the party missed opportunities.
Among the slides titled “What Happened?” are several devoted to turnout demographics. They note that the GOP made gains among independent voters but that Mitt Romney captured a very small share of young, black and Hispanic voters, while white voters made up a smaller portion of the electorate.
The presentation, based on exit polling data, also points out that most late-deciding voters chose Obama over Romney, and 42 percent of those late deciders attributed their decision to Obama’s handling of Superstorm Sandy.
The polling data also found that more voters blame President George W. Bush for the struggling economy than blame Obama, and more said Obama’s policies favored the middle class.
The final slide indicated that the RNC is doing a “deep dive” into all the areas where it may have fallen short, including ground game, data collection, messaging and outreach to third-party groups.
BREAKING: The Ohio House Health Committee votes to DEFUND Planned Parenthood, 11-9. #HearUsOH
So many people are gonna suffer because of this.
Conservatives, eat shit and die.
John Metz said he will add a 5 percent surcharge to customers’ bills to offset what he said are the increased costs of Obamacare, along with reducing his employees’ hours.
"If I leave the prices the same, but say on the menu that there is a 5 percent surcharge for Obamacare, customers have two choices. They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server, who is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare," Metz told The Huffington Post. "Although it may sound terrible that I’m doing this, it’s the only alternative. I’ve got to pass the cost on to the consumer."
Metz is the franchisor of Hurricane Grill & Wings, which has 48 locations, five of which are corporate owned, and president and owner of RREMC Restaurants, which runs approximately 40 Denny’s and several Dairy Queen locations. He planned to use the 5 percent surcharge tactic in all his restaurants starting in January 2014, when Obamacare is fully implemented.
Metz said he will hold meetings at all his restaurants starting in December to discuss the surcharge and to tell employees “that because of Obamacare, we are going to be cutting front-of-the-house employees to under 30 hours, effective immediately.”
Metz said he hopes the post-election meetings will inspire employees rather than alienate them. “What we’re going to ask them to do is to speak to their elected officials, to try to convey what this means in terms of their jobs and their livelihoods,” Metz said.
Metz said he understands the problems that will create not just for his scheduling but for his employees. “I think it’s a terrible thing. It’s ridiculous that the maximum hours we can give people is 28 hours a week instead of 40,” Metz said. “It’s going to force my employees to go out and get a second job.”
The call, emailed to The Huffington Post by Shaun Dakin of StopPoliticalCalls.org, reads in part as follows:Our only recourse now is to move forward with the full impeachment of President Obama. We suspect that Obama is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and that there may be grounds for impeachment as is laid out in the constitution. Further, he may not even be a U.S. citizen because nobody, I mean no one, has seen an actual physical copy of his birth certificate. Impeachment is our only option. And Republicans are already considering Obama investigations. As the nation’s most effective conservative group we are launching the official impeach Obama campaign.
Conservative Majority Fund is on the fringe of the conservative fringe. And their outlandish drives are often done with an eye towards exploiting people’s dark political fears as a way to raise money. So it’s not terribly surprising that they moved this quickly to start the drumbeats for the president’s impeachment.
Among the “misdemeanors” they cite are the president’s proposals to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay — an idea supported by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — and to give “full amnesty” to undocumented immigrants. Indeed, a pathway to citizenship has, in recent days, been endorsed by McCain and other Republicans.
The group is casting a wide net with the calls. According to Dakin, people in Washington, Colorado, New Jersey and Virginia have so far reported receiving the call.
Seriously. After the woman who ran over her husband because he didn’t vote, the guy who committed suicide, the restaurant guys all going nuts and the whole of Ohio republicans digging deeper on abortion and redistricting since the elections, I was pretty convinced the party was going over the edge. With this one, I am now fairly positive. They need better meds:
President Obama is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as “Delphi” to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship in which suburbanites will be forcibly relocated to cities. That’s according to a four-hour briefing delivered to Republican state senators at the Georgia state Capitol last month.
Note that she does not identify any cases of fraud by Democrats while we have news reports of Republicans who were arrested for attempting voter fraud and filling in ballots.
The Nation has obtained audio of Lee Atwater’s infamous 1981 interview on the GOP’s southern strategy. The legendarily brutal campaign consultant explains how Republicans can win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites…. “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
Now, the same indefatigable researcher who brought us Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks, James Carter IV, has dug up the entire forty-two minute interview from which that quote derives.
Hear the rest of the interview here.
GOP Crazies Tell GOP Crazies to Stop Being So Crazy.
It’s a case of the message being correct, but delivered by a perfectly inappropriate messenger. As Republicans sort through the rubble left behind by the 2012 election cycle, they’re beginning to divide into two camps: “we’ve got to stop being so danged crazy!” and “we weren’t even close to crazy enough.” It’s pretty clear who’s right here. After all, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Allen West didn’t lose their races because everyone thought they were big ol’ flaming liberals. They lost because their electorates were obviously tired of rightwing frootloops.
The problem with this intra-party division is that one group bleeds over into the other. Crazy people are demanding other crazy people stop being so darned crazy.Politico:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday called on Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” and make a concerted effort to reach a broader swath of voters with an inclusive economic message that pre-empts efforts to caricature the GOP as the party of the rich.
In his first interview since his party’s electoral thumping last week, Jindal urged Republicans to both reject anti-intellectualism and embrace a populist-tinged reform approach that he said would mitigate what exit polls show was one of President Barack Obama’s most effective lines of attack against Mitt Romney.
“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”
“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”
Pretty on the money. Only one problem: Bobby Jindal is the stereotypical Republican whackjob. After all, it was Jindal who bizarrely criticized volcano monitoring as a waste of money. Ironically, Jindal later blew $200 million on a scheme to protect Louisiana from the Deepwater Horizon oil slick — after being warned by scientists that it wouldn’t work. For the record, Louisiana’s not a wealthy state with hundreds of millions of dollars they can flush down the toilet whenever the governor thinks he’s an engineering genius.
If Bobby Jindal represents any wing of the Republican Party, it’s the crazy anti-science and anti-fact wing. This is a man who participated in an exorcism in college and signed what is most likely the most backwards piece of education legislation into law. Among the “facts” kids in Louisiana are now allowed to learn are that dinosaurs and humans lived side by side, that “God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ,” and that slavery and the Great Depression are being misrepresented as bad things.
This is the guy who’s telling other Republicans to stop being so crazy.
But my point isn’t to single out Jindal. The point is that Jindal represents a real problem for the GOP — namely, that crazy people don’t know that they’re crazy. He’s absolutely correct that the GOP needs to stop being the party of morons and lunatics, but he has absolutely no idea that he’s one of those morons and lunatics. He wants to see Republicans stop promoting every brand of conservative craziness but the science-denialism that embraces creationism and believes global warming is a hoax perpetrated by socialist scientists. Republicans have to reject every form of insanity and idiocy except his particular brand, because his isn’t crazy or stupid.
And that’s the entire GOP’s problem in a nutshell. They all need to stop being nutjobs, but they all think the other sort of nutjob is the problem. So the anti-science nuts blame the anti-abortion nuts, who in turn blame the economic flatearthers, who point their fingers at the next group of crazies down the line. You can see how well that’ll pan out for them.
No, what Republicans need is not for one group of lunatics to start listening to another group of lunatics. What the Republican Party needs is new Republicans. And the old Republicans aren’t exactly willing to be replaced by a saner brand. Nor are Republican voters eager to replace them.
So they’re left with Bobby Jindal as a prime example of their dilemma; he both put his finger directly on his party’s problem and totally misunderstood it at the same time. And so, it’s unlikely that the problem will be solved anytime soon.
Americans already blame GOP for driving off the fiscal cliff.
Americans are prepared to blame Congressional Republicans any failure to avert the fiscal cliff, according to a poll on Tuesday.
While 51 percent of Americans don’t expect a deal, Democrats have substantially more faith than Republicans in the ability of President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans to compromise, according to the Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll. Two-thirds of Republicans aren’t anticipating a deal, and only a quarter expect one. But a plurality of Democrats — 47 percent to 40 percent — expect Obama and the GOP to reach an agreement.
Congressional Republicans are likely to face the blame for any impact: 53 percent of Americans said the GOP would be at fault, compared with 29 percent who said the same of the president. Ten percent said both would be to blame. The gap is even bigger among independent voters, only 23 percent of whom would blame the president.
Consider that math: 51% believe we’ll sail off the fiscal cliff and 53% blame Republicans — before any failure at all. Nothing has happened yet and already people are blaming Republicans. If Republicans were hoping people haven’t been paying attention, they’re going to be disappointed. Republican obstructionism has become so ingrained in people’s minds that they expect it.
Republicans are going to have to spend a lot of time on image repair. They’ve dinged their reputation much worse than they’d probably imagined.