US Politics

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US Politics

Post by Admin on Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:44 pm


It’s time once again for our favorite form of legitimate theater: American Political Theater - March 2015!



The 114th United States Congress is now well underway, and while February was not quite the wild ride January was (a President’s Day recess helped), there’s still plenty of news to report, what with Republicans continuing to lunge from crisis to crisis...






The Obama Update

While Obama hasn’t been quite as aggressive about it as he was in January, his alter-ego Trollbama has still been out in full force.


  • Soon after I posted last month’s OP, Obama added a 14% tax on untaxed foreign earnings by US companies to his budget, which he presented later in the month.
  • At the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama decided to mention that Christians were to blame for the Crusades.  Naturally, Republicans jumped on him for having the audacity to say an objectively correct statement that conflicts with their world view that Christians are the best, most moral, people in the world.
  • Oh, and mumbling about how Obama is such a pansy that he won’t say anything about ”Islamic terrorists” but instead wants to pass a jobs plan for ISIS.
  • As for ISIS, Obama requested an AUMF to authorize attacking them, which means that Republicans are stuck between being their usual hawkish selves and opposing Obama.
  • Perhaps in Obama’s biggest loss of the month, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued an injunction, blocking his plans for executive amnesty two days before they were to go into effect.  Obama is seeking to appeal, but the outcome is still uncertain.







114th Congress Bingo Card

Now that we’re deeper into the Congressional session (with fewer days this month to boot) less has changed with respect to the predictions I laid out in January.  Still, the beginning of a month is as good a time to take stock as any.


  • Small Government! The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act passed the House.
  • Nominations: Ashton Carter was easily confirmed as Secretary of Defense.  Loretta Lynch, on the other hand, appears to have been slow-boated, only receiving approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee late in the month. This makes her nomination process one of the slowest in three decades.  Meanwhile, Republican opposition continues to grow.
  • Obamacare: The bill to repeal Obamacare mentioned in last month’s OP passed the House (unsurprisingly), but its filibuster-less passage in the Senate using an arcane rule is unlikely.
  • Fiscal Cliff: After four attempts in the Senate to pass a DHS funding bill, DHS’s funding future remains in doubt (more on that later). In related news, the end of the debt ceiling moratorium is still due March 15, but no one in Congress has said a word about that with the debate about DHS funding taking precedent (It might not be an issue until October though.). Expect that to take the headlines soon. As for the FY2016 budget, Obama has presented his budget to Congress, where it was promptly declared DOA. Discussion on that front should continue next month, when Rep. Tom Price’s (R-GA) House Budget Committee announces and votes on their counter-proposal. There are, however, hints that the DHS funding battle is just a warmup. Oh, and Republicans have appointed a senior fellow from a Koch thinktank to help their new “dynamic scoring” of legislation at the CBO.
  • Copyright and Intellectual Property: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has reintroduced the Innovation Act, designed to restrict patent trolls.  It’s unclear whether it will pass Congress this time.
  • Cybersecurity and Telecommunications: On Thursday, the FCC voted to enact net neutrality through the use of Title II and to overturn state laws banning municipal internet services. Republicans are not happy. As for CISPA, not much movement has occurred, though a breach at health insurer Anthem and a White House Cyber-security Summit at Stanford signal continued pushes in that direction.
  • Gun Control: The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act was reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). The NRA (unsurprisingly) approves. It is very likely to pass.
  • Environment: Obama vetoed Keystone XL, but McConnell signaled his intent to fight the EPA by taking a post on its appropriations panel in the Senate.  Still, it's unlikely that the GOP will fight the EPA before they issue power plant regulations this summer.
  • Immigration: As mentioned above, Republicans failed to pass the House’s DHS funding bill with a rider killing Obama’s executive action, due to a Democratic filibuster. After some concern that DHS would be forced to shut down, McConnell introduced a bill to fund the DHS without the rider, with a separate bill to express disapproval of Obama’s executive action without holding DHS hostage. This, however, was unable to pass the House, resulting in a conference committee and, after failing to pass a 3-week stopgap spending bill, a 1-week stopgap continuing resolution was passed. As a result, DHS funding remains in limbo into March.
  • War on Terror: Obama has requested an Authorization for Use of Military Force on ISIS. Democrats don’t like sending men back to Iraq. Republicans are unhappy because it’s Obama doing a thing.
  • The Torture Report and the NSA: The Justice Department has claimed it will not return copies of the torture report to Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) while a FOIA lawsuit filed by the ACLU is pending. Meanwhile, NSA Director Michael Rogers has said that the government should require backdoors in order to decrypt all encrypted devices.
  • Foreign Policy: Netanyahu still intends to speak to Congress next week, and rejected an invitation by Senate Democrats to a closed-door meeting, claiming it would show “partisanship”. Expect Netanyahu to slam Obama’s ongoing negotiations with Iran, and trot out a new claim from the dissident group who first leaked Iran’s nuclear ambitions that the Iranians are still working on nuclear weapons. (Even though recent leaks claim that Netanyahu’s claims are contradicted by Mossad.)







Other News


  • The jockeying for 2016 on the Republican side of the aisle continues. Scott Walker remains ascendant, trying to become the new Ronald Reagan by comparing battling ISIS to battling unions just like his hero Reagan and by slamming the media for “gotcha” questions, while Chris Christie suffers from them over the measles epidemic, on top of another criminal investigation. While discussions about such news in the USPol thread is inevitable, please remember that we do have a 2016 Presidential Primary thread and a 2016 Senate elections thread, too.
  • Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) thinks that restaurants should have the right to not force food workers to wash their hands.
  • It turns out that the Chicago Police Department operates black sites.
  • Oh, and Hispanic Lives Matter, too.
  • Everyone’s favorite Alabama judge, Chief Justice Roy Moore, really hates gay weddings.
  • The FBI is investigating terrorism.  Eco-terrorism. Environmentalists who have been subject to interrogation, including one woman who was effectively denied her right to counsel, claim they are being intimidated for opposing Keystone XL and other tar sands projects.
  • Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R) may be the new darling of anti-union Republicans, as he bans fair share fees for public employees and has retained the services of constitutional lawyers to make a First Amendment case in court.
  • Not to be outdone, Republicans in Wisconsin are fast-tracking a bill to turn Wisconsin into a Right-to-Work state.  This, as recent reports show Wisconsin public union membership dropping precipitously following Walker’s anti-union law in 2011.
  • The Snowden documentary Citizenfour won an Oscar. Watch it.


Talk to other goons (why would you want to do that?)
Remember that we have an IRC channel at synirc in #poligoon for livesteaming stuff.  



Goon Recommendations
Documentaries
Slavery by Another Name

Talks

Long pieces

  • The Atlantic

    • "The Case for Reparations" by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • "The Tragedy of the American Military" by James Fallows




Books

  • Punishment and Inequality in America by Bruce Western
  • The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America by Naomi Murakawa
  • The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Matt Taibbi's

    • The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap and
    • Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History


  • Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow
  • Rick Perlstein's trilogy on the history of the modern conservative movement:

    • Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus
    • Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America
    • The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan


  • Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party by Geoffrey Kabaservice


Twitter feeds


  • @costareports (Robert Costa, Washington Post, formerly National Review): Conservative-leaning journalist to whom Republican sources often leak backroom stories (Republican retreats, Presidential campaigns, etc.)
  • @daveweigel (Dave Weigel, Bloomberg Politics, formerly Slate): "Idiosyncratic libertarian" journalist who is second only to Robert Costa in connections/interviews with Republican officials.  Contrary to popular belief, not D&D superstar Joementum.
  • @BruceBartlett (Bruce Bartlett, ex-Reagan/Bush official): "Lifelong conservative who now thinks the GOP panders to fools, whom he calls wankers. My tweets should not always be taken seriously."
  • The following are semi-random selections from a list offered by Rygar201 and may be good or bad.

    • @owillis (Olivier Willis, research fellow, Media Matters)
    • @mattyglesias (Matt Yglesias, executive editor, Vox)
    • @JuddLegum (Judd Legum, Editor-in-Chief, Think Progress)
    • @dick_nixon "37th President of the United States. Messages from the President are unsigned, others from Ronald Ziegler. "
    • @EricBoehlert (Eric Boehlert, Media Matters)
    • @JamilSmith (Jamil Smith, senior editor, The New Republic)
    • @jonathanchait (Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine)
    • @nielslesniewski (Neils Lesniewski, Senate coverage, Roll Call)
    • @abwhite7 (Abraham White, former comms for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY))
    • @DSenFloor (Senate D Floor Watch): "Live floor updates from the Senate Democrats"
    • @billmon1 (Billmon)
    • @ebruenig (Elizabeth Bruenig, The New Republic)




Related threads
"US Politics" is an incredibly broad topic, as A) the country is freaking huge and B) given our role in international events pretty much everything impacts us.  So there are other subthreads
2016 Presidential Primary
2016 US Senate Elections
SCOTUS thread
Right Wing Media

There are also regional subthreads that are usually pretty slow, but sometimes cross-pollinate with this thread when something important is happening.
Pacific Northwest
Illinois
Texas
California
There was a South thread, too, but it's been dead since last July.

Lifted the rest of the above from FriedChicken.  As before post suggestions for adding to the above and I'll edit them in.

And remember folks, drink chat goes in D&D chat thread.  Drink responsibly.  Your liver will thank you.


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Re: US Politics

Post by Admin on Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:50 pm

Texas
Blocking Local Regulations http://list.forumshome.com/t1-us-politics#4


Last edited by Admin on Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:58 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: US Politics

Post by Admin on Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:57 pm

TOC 2

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Re: US Politics

Post by Admin on Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:57 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/us/govern-yourselves-state-lawmakers-tell-cities-but-not-too-much.html

Republicans love state's rights and they love the constitution and in ANY situation will try to create arguments based off of them to make their points.
You could think this is because they love America and want to uphold ARE PRINCIPLES. they just want everyone to do what they want no matter what and try to come up with any bullshit way of framing it so the public will gulp it down.
Republican states tried to infringe on and revoke the states rights of colorado and washington by suing them for legalizing weed.
They also freaked out and tried to stop gay marriage in any way possible.
Now they are challening our structure of local/state/federal governments by blocking local communities from enacting their own regulations for things. They highlighted one who banned plastic bags and one who banned fracking. This is purely about money.

Darren Hodges, a Tea Party Republican and councilman in the windy West Texas city of Fort Stockton, is a fierce defender of his town’s decision to ban plastic bags. It was a local solution to a local problem and one, he says, city officials had a “God-given right” to make.
But the power of Fort Stockton and other cities to govern themselves is under attack in the state capital, Austin. The new Republican governor, Greg Abbott, has warned that several cities are undermining the business-friendly “Texas model” with a patchwork of ill-conceived regulations. Conservative legislators, already angered by a ban on fracking that was enacted by popular vote in the town of Denton last fall, quickly followed up with a host of bills to curtail local power.
“The truth is, Texas is being California-ized, and you may not even be noticing it,” Mr. Abbott said in a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an influential conservative think tank, just before he took office last month. “Large cities that represent about 75 percent of the population in this state are doing this to us. Unchecked overregulation by cities will turn the Texas miracle into the California nightmare.”
His salvo caught Texas cities by surprise. But pre-empting the power of local governments is becoming a standard part of the legislative playbook in many states where Republicans who control statehouses are looking to block or overturn the actions of leaders, and even voters, in municipalities that are often more liberal.
So-called pre-emption laws, passed in states across the country, have barred cities from regulating landlords, building municipal broadband systems and raising the minimum wage. In the last two years, eight Republican-dominated states, most recently Alabama and Oklahoma, have prevented cities from enacting paid sick leave for workers, and a new law in Arkansas forbids municipalities to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. Already this year, bills introduced in six more states, including Michigan, Missouri and South Carolina, seek to do the same. At least five states have pre-empted local regulation of e-cigarettes. And in New Mexico, the restaurant industry supports a modest increase to the minimum wage only if the state stops cities from mandating higher minimums.
Often these efforts are driven by industry, which finds it easier to wield influence in 50 capitols than in thousands of city halls, said Mark Pertschuk, the director of Grassroots Change, which opposes the pre-emption of public health measures.
The strategy was pioneered by tobacco companies 30 years ago to override local smoking bans. It was perfected by the National Rifle Association, which has succeeded in preventing local gun regulations in almost every state.
More recently, the restaurant industry is leading the fight to block municipalities from increasing the minimum wage or enacting paid sick leave ordinances in more than a dozen states, including Florida, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
“Businesses are operating in an already challenging regulatory environment,” said Scott DeFife, the head of government affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “The state legislature is the best place to determine wage and hour law. This is not the kind of policy that should be determined jurisdiction by jurisdiction.”
This year, a combination of big money in state politics and a large number of first-time state legislators presents an opportunity for industries interested in getting favorable laws on the books, Mr. Pertschuk said. Increasingly, he said, disparate industries are banding together to back the same laws, through either the business-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC, or shared lobbyists. “There is going to be a feeding frenzy all year long in the state legislatures,” he said.
Pre-emption bills are not solely the province of Republicans. In 2008, Democrats in California blocked cities from requiring restaurants to label menus with nutritional information.
With Republicans now in control of a record 69 state legislative chambers, such bills have become more conservative.
Pre-emption invokes a paradox for conservatives, like Mr. Abbott, who have long extolled the virtues of local control in some areas, like education, but now say uniform standards are necessary in others.
“It has seemed hypocritical that the state wants the federal government to give the states more power, yet at the state level, they want to take power away from cities and counties,” Mr. Hodges, the Fort Stockton official, said in a telephone interview.
James Quintero, the director of the Center for Local Governance at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said the pre-emption of city power was “new to the conservative movement here in Texas.” Still, he was ready to counter accusations of hypocrisy: “What we’re arguing is that liberty, not local control, is the overriding principle that state and local policy makers should be using.”
Mayor Betsy Price of Fort Worth, a Republican, bristled at Mr. Abbott’s suggestion that cities were overriding state regulation. Fort Worth has not banned plastic bags and prefers that the state regulate texting while driving.
“I think the less regulation, the better,” she said. “But there are times when we have to pass ordinances for the health and safety of our people. We’re here every day, and they’re in Austin once every two years.”
Some local governments say they pass their own regulations only when the state has failed to act, or when they have a unique situation. Bennett Sandlin, the director of the Texas Municipal League, said that fewer than a dozen cities had passed bag bans, and that many of those had special concerns about wildlife and water systems. Far more cities limit texting while driving. When he was governor, Rick Perry vetoed a statewide ban in 2011.
Texas cities have also tried a novel response to business complaints that varying local laws create a nightmare of bureaucracy. Because the state has failed to pass curbs on payday lenders, whose annual interest rates can top 300 percent, the Texas Municipal League encouraged cities to pass their own matching ordinances, creating what is effectively a statewide standard. By the league’s count, 20 cities have done so.
In Texas, many of the bills before the Legislature aim to prevent more cities from following Denton’s lead in banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Representative Phil King, a Republican representing a district near Denton and the national chairman of ALEC, has sponsored two pre-emption bills. The first bill would require local referendums to be certified by the state as legal, and the other would require an assessment of the cost, in tax revenue, of any local attempt to regulate oil and gas.
Mr. King’s bills are restrained compared with one submitted by a freshman lawmaker, Senator Don Huffines, a real estate developer and Tea Party Republican from the Dallas area. Cities view the bill as an attempt to limit them to powers expressly granted by the Legislature. In a letter, the Texas Municipal League warned that this “super pre-emption” bill would have wide-ranging consequences, such as wiping out restrictions on where sex offenders can live.
Mr. Huffines said the bill was being redrafted to make it easier to hold local governments accountable. “Local control is not a blank check,” he said, adding that local regulations and disregard for private property rights had, in his view, been a drag on the “Texas miracle” of economic growth for years.
“I think there’s really no end to it,” he said. “And that’s the proper role of the State Legislature, to rein them in.”

Correction: February 26, 2015
An article on Tuesday about laws passed by states to limit the regulatory authority of cities misstated the year in which Democrats in California blocked cities from requiring restaurants to label menus with nutritional information. It was 2008, not 2010. (The law was subsequently amended in 2010.)


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