Open Thread: Return of the Cruz-ifiction Candidate

With the Democrats openly rebelling against the NRA (and the GOP candidate flailing on all fronts), a call went out in search of a New Hope. And guess who happened to be waiting by the phone…

From the Hill, yesterday:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) attended a confidential dinner with more than 20 top conservatives on Tuesday night to plan his comeback as a movement leader in the mold of Ronald Reagan.

The dinner was at the Virginia home of conservative activist Brent Bozell, and the agenda was to plot Cruz’s future and the future of the conservative movement.

The undertone of the dinner was about how to position Cruz for a future tilt at the presidency and to spearhead the conservative movement from his seat in the Senate, those in attendance said.

Dining with Cruz and his chief of staff, Paul Teller, were some of the most powerful figures in the conservative movement.

The spectrum of economic, national security and social conservatives seated at the table included Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, Club for Growth President David McIntosh, direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie, National Rifle Association board member and former Cincinnati Mayor Ken Blackwell, and Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, sources confirmed…

Many of the leaders at the dinner want Cruz to run for president again, and they are viewing Cruz’s unsuccessful 2016 run as similar to Reagan’s failed attempt in 1976 to unseat the incumbent Republican president, Gerald Ford…

Reagan gave the grifting bigots of the “Moral Majority” a comfy seat at the top table, back in the day when AIDS was still a mysterious new “gay plague”. And as far as these good Christianists are concerned, it’s not as though the Orlando massacre involved, you know, actual American people — just pawns of the devil
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NC GOP “Bathroom Bill” Is A Steaming Load Of Crap

So North Carolina state Republican lawmakers called a special session of the General Assembly yesterday to stop Charlotte’s LGBTQ anti-discrimination law from going into effect on April 1, and it turns out it’s not just Charlotte’s ordinance they want to outlaw, but any real progressive change sought by cities and counties in the Tarheel State.

WBTV obtained a copy of the proposed bill, entitled “An Act to Provide for Single Sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodations,” Tuesday night.

The legislation requires that multi-occupancy bathrooms be limited to just one gender, using anatomy and birth certificates as a guide and applies to executive branch agencies controlled by the Governor as well as Council of State members and the UNC System.

A provision in the five-page bill allows school districts to use single occupancy bathrooms to make accommodations for students in special circumstances.

DOCUMENT: Click here to read the full bill

In addition to the provisions of the bill seeking to repeal the bathroom-related portions of Charlotte’s non discrimination ordinance, the bill also addresses several workplace issues.

The second part of the bill is referred to as the Wage and Hour Act. Under the act, local governments would be prohibited from setting their own local minimum wage.

The next section of the bill seeks to declare that the regulation of discriminatory practices in employment is an issue of statewide concern and, as such, must be left to the General Assembly.

Finally, the last section of the bill is referred to as the Equal Access to Public Accommodations Act, which places issues of public accommodation in the jurisdiction of the General Assembly.

So in addition to killing Charlotte’s anti-discrimination law, with this stupid bigoted bathroom bill, the NC GOP is looking to undo all local anti-discrimination, minimum wage, labor protection and equal physical access laws. because smaller, more responsive government, right?

Which just proves again that Republicans don’t care about government that works, they care about government that punishes those people whenever possible so that they become somebody else’s problem.  The best part?  It’s a combination of “bathroom bill”, home rule elimination, and “workplace protection” bill all rolled into one steaming pile of toxic GOP diarrhea.

By the way, the bill passed the NC General Assembly overwhelmingly, 83-24, the NC Senate 32-0 (as all NC Senate Democrats walked out) and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory signed this travesty into law last night.  Total time on this legislation from start to finish: about 10 hours.

They had this ready to go, in order to steamroll any opposition to it and to prevent the kind of boycott backlash from building that Georgia is facing now over similar legislation.  Blindside the opposition and dare them to react.

It’ll be up to the courts now to get the ball rolling on this.

One big hurdle, which reportedly killed South Dakota’s bathroom bill: Banning trans students from using the school bathroom that comports to their gender identity could violate federal law, particularly Title IX. The Justice Department and Department of Education interpret the law not just to ban sex discrimination in federally funded schools, but also ban anti-trans discrimination. So by passing an anti-trans bathroom law, North Carolina could risk big federal funds for public schools.

And my home state is well on its way to a complete disaster.

Open Thread: Ted Cruz Is A Nasty Piece of Work

It’s written all over his face, according to a neurologist quoted in NYMag:

… Cytowic, who declares himself “not a Democrat,” argues that Cruz’s face sends subtle facial cues that go against what he’s saying, which complicates the very thing we are trained to do from birth: figure people out…

… [I]n Cruz’s case, Cytowic writes, his facial downfall comes in the form of his smile, or lack thereof. In a typical smile, the corners of the mouth turn up; this causes a chain reaction that makes the corners of the eyes contract, creating crow’s feet. But Cruz’s face doesn’t seem to do that, according to Cytowic: The smile doesn’t quite reach his eyes, which can be perceived as insincerity.

Another facial-oddity characteristic Cytowic points out is just north of the missing crow’s feet on Cruz’s face: the downward bend of the outside of his eyebrows… “Downturned expressions usually signal disagreeableness or disgust,” Cytowic writes. In other words, Cruz could accidentally be sending cues at rallies that he’s not a fan of his voters, which isn’t exactly the message he wants to convey…

One might suspect that Ted Cruz just isn’t a fan of humans, us stupid ill-educated beasts with our messy emotions and insufficient appreciation for God-King candidate Cruz…

Good to know, Mr. DoubtThat!

Little Marco, Sharing His Elders’ Behind-Closed-Doors Ugliness

rubio is gop trainable ohman

(Jack Ohman via

Marco Rubio is a young (-enough-for-Repub-purposes) man in a hurry. His youth was supposed to be his big selling point — a shiny new face, not like that old Hillary harridan! Only problem with fresh-faced youngsters, even the quick studies, is that sometimes they repeat nasty stuff the Wise Old Heads would’ve preferred to keep a little more private. His much-mocked talking point was not just the result of a callow lad missing his mark after cramming for the Big Test — it was a code phrase for the Far Right fringes. Mr. Charles P. Pierce, reporting for Esquire:

Now, it is a sad truth that, while traveling with a campaign, you will hear a candidate say the same thing three or four times a day in three or four different cornfields. But I have been to the rodeo more than once and I can tell you that I never have seen a candidate say the same thing three times within five minutes. The transcript doesn’t really do it justice, but it should be preserved for posterity nonetheless. The next time they put him up on the stage, Rubio’s handlers are going to have to nail his shoes to the floor lest he waft up into the rafters.

The general hilarity has tended to obscure what Rubio actually was saying. (And saying, and saying, and saying…) He was accusing the president of monumental and deliberate acts of subversion in office. This is a stunning charge, especially from a one-term pipsqueak whose memory banks jam whenever he steps an inch beyond his actual depth. There already was some evidence mounting here that Rubio’s momentum coming out of his glorious third-place finish in Iowa had dissipated somewhat. His numbers rose at first, but now they seem to have stalled out. And the way to regain that momentum is certainly not to embody perfectly the caricature that your rivals have created out of you. This should be his defining moment. If it isn’t, then the entire political world owes apologies to both Howard Dean and Edmund Muskie…

Today, Paul Waldman at the Washington Post:

… [T]o understand what Rubio was trying to communicate, you have to see it on two levels. On the surface, Rubio’s claim about Obama is a defense of his own youth and limited résumé. Some Republicans have said of Rubio that he’s too inexperienced to be president, just like Barack Obama was. So Rubio can counter that argument by saying that despite his short time in prior office Obama has actually been a brutally effective president, skillfully carrying out his nefarious schemes, and therefore experience isn’t all that important. But the real message goes deeper, into the dark heart of the conspiracy theories and twisted loathing of Obama that has persisted on the right for the last seven years…

Just to be clear, when a Republican talks about “the rest of the world,” he doesn’t mean it in a good way. So when Rubio says Obama “wants America to become more like the rest of the world,” he’s saying that Obama is trying to harm America, to bring it down, to weaken it, to punish it, to make it less than it has been and should be. Read more

Open Thread: “Cowboy Socialism”

I prefer “welfare ranchers”, but that’s because as a citified coastal elitist I have no allergy to the word socialism. Excellent read — even if you know all this already, it’s nice to have all the links in one place. Ryan Cooper, at The Week, on “The secret history of cowboy socialism”:

Bundy’s ideas are nonsense — but they’re no more wrong than the entire creation myth of the American West. Though there have been Americans who could survive completely unaided in the West — men like Kit Carson and Jim Bridger — there were only a handful of them, and most were at least half-crazed. No society on Earth has ever functioned wholly on self-interested individualism — and that holds doubly true for the West. From the very start to the present day, Big Government has been the very bedrock of the settlement of the American frontier.

Before the West could be won, it first had to be stolen. Mexico still claimed sovereignty over most of the territory, so U.S. President James Polk ginned up a quick war to steal half of the unlucky country. Even afterwards, there were still tons of Indians living in the conquered territory, so U.S. authorities had to undertake a general program of ethnic cleansing to make way for white settlers. Smallpox had done the bulk of the heavy lifting there, but extensive white settlement still required the first major domestic government program in the West: the Indian Wars

Once the Indians had been driven out (save for a few pitiful reservations composed of the most unproductive land in the region), white settlement was stoked with the first example of genuinely socialist policy: free land. A long series of laws gave sizable chunks of land (classically a quarter-section, or 160 acres) to individuals subject to proof that they were putting it into agricultural production. Railroads also got vast chunks as a way to fund new transportation, and mining companies could claim smaller bits with mineral reserves.

This was socialist both in the “free stuff from the government” sense and the Soviet sense, in that the land programs were conceptually unworkable, catastrophically mismanaged, and riddled with fraud…

As Marc Reisner details in his history Cadillac Desert, this is the basic problem with Western politics, even up to the present day. It has been from the very start handicapped by the reality that only extensive federal government projects could possibly facilitate the settlement and development of the region, but it has been too wedded to the cowboy mythology to admit it…

Read the whole thing, it’s not long but it’s very nutritious!
Apart from mocking the Scrubland Revolutionaries, or whatever they’re calling this round of gun-fondling cosplay, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?

Terrifying Team Trump Tales

CNN decides to take a look at people who support The Donald and discovers that the people who support The Donald are pretty much exactly who you’d suspect of supporting aforementioned Donald.

They are showing up in droves to see Donald Trump: Men and women, overwhelmingly white, frustrated with the country’s first black president, fearful that they are being displaced by minorities and immigrants, and nostalgic for the way America used to be.

And Trump is thriving, tapping into the fears and anxieties that have erupted into the open in an extraordinary presidential campaign.

The voters pledging their allegiance to the Republican front-runner hail from all corners of the country. They work on farms, in nursing homes and run small businesses; they’ve voted for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and participated in the tea party movement; they are high school students who will vote for the first time this November and retirees and veterans who came of age during World War II.

In Trump, these people see the next president of the United States.

His attitude, one voter said, is that he “seems to just not give a f—.” Trump’s nativist rhetoric and hardline immigration stance is a relief for those who see a segment of the population “getting away” with breaking the law. Post-San Bernardino, the candidate’s promise to “bomb the sh– out of ISIS” exudes an uncomplicated confidence rare in other politicians. His accomplishments in the business world offer reassurance that he’ll “put the economy back where it belongs.”

Perhaps most important is Trump’s imperviousness to the typical boundaries around race. He has made provocative remarks on the subject since the earliest days of his campaign — and his supporters are listening. They are rowdy, and at times, even violent. On more than one occasion, they’ve accosted protesters, lobbing racial slurs and physical abuse.

There is a significant bloc of voters who want payback, folks, for slights real or perceived over the last 8 years, folks who want to punish Obama supporters relentlessly and leave them crushed, broken, and forever powerless, never to dare challenge them.

They want someone to put them back on top to “make American great again.”

They’ve found their guy who they think will do it and to hell with everyone else. The mob is coming and they are pissed.

“I got mine, fuck the rest of you” as a worldview?  Really is that simple.

And they’ll vote.

The Full Weight Of History

Ta-Nehisi Coates eloquently explains his position on the Democrats in 2016 as Hillary Clinton mentions that Lincoln was her favorite president due to his willingness to “reconcile and forgive” the Lost Cause of the South.

Yet until relatively recently, this self-serving version of history was dominant. It is almost certainly the version fed to Hillary Clinton during her school years, and possibly even as a college student. Hillary Clinton is no longer a college student. And the fact that a presidential candidate would imply that Jim Crow and Reconstruction were equal, that the era of lynching and white supremacist violence would have been prevented had that same violence not killed Lincoln, and that the violence was simply the result of rancor, the absence of a forgiving spirit, and an understandably “discouraged” South is chilling.

I have spent the past two years somewhat concerned about the effects of national amnesia, largely because I believe that a problem can not be effectively treated without being effectively diagnosed. I don’t know how you diagnose the problem of racism in America without understanding the actual history. In the Democratic Party, there is, on the one hand, a candidate who seems comfortable doling out the kind of myths that undergirded racist violence. And on the other is a candidate who seems uncomfortable asking whether the history of racist violence, in and of itself, is worthy of confrontation.

These are options for a party of amnesiacs, for people whose politics are premised on forgetting. This is not a brief for staying home, because such a thing doesn’t actually exist. In the American system of government, refusing to vote for the less-than-ideal is a vote for something much worse. Even when you don’t choose, you choose. But you can choose with your skepticism fully intact. You can choose in full awareness of the insufficiency of your options, without elevating those who would have us forget into prophets. You can choose and still push, demanding more. It really isn’t too much to say, if you’re going to govern a country, you should know its history.

Not only could I not have said it better myself, I don’t think I could have said it on my best day.

And yes, it’s entirely possible to choose a primary candidate, and then say “Hey, we would like you to take a look at this issue.”  Now I’m aware of how that line of thought started out in 2008, and it morphed into something far uglier, but the fact remains that is it possible to do.

As TNC says, “You can choose and still push, demanding more.”