Monthly Archives: November 2013

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Who would benefit if America were more democratic?

A conservative commenter on my previous post wrote that he’s glad that America isn’t a democracy (assuming a democracy is a form of government or civil society where the majority truly rules).

He should be.

If this country were a true democracy, we’d have a sweeping wave of new gun regulations including limits on the number of bullets that a magazine can hold and universal background checks, the latter of which has the support of 90% of the citiznry yet was blocked by Republicans in the Senate.

Same-sex marriage would be legal across the nation and we’d be spending more money on education and less on defense. Obamacare would be expanded, taxes on the wealthy increased, defense spending cut, the minimum wage increased, social safety net programs like Social Security would be forever protected from benefit cuts and program-ending privatization, and we’d see new spending on a jobs bill.

Polls consistently show majority public support for all of that.

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“Don’t blame radical right Senators for nuclear option. Blame moderate GOPers, who, over and over again, voted to filibuster.”

Harry ReidI should be working instead of doing this, but I want to expand just a little bit on what I said on Twitter this afternoon.

There’s nothing “nuclear” about what Democrats just did in the Senate, revising the rules in the middle of a session on a majority vote which the rules wouldn’t normally allow. The argument for this change is that Senate rules are superseded by the Constitution, which says that votes in the Senate are subject to a simple majority.

That’s why everyone agrees that it only takes 51 votes to set the rules at the beginning of a new session of Congress. Nobody argues otherwise. If the Constitution dictates that it only takes 51 votes to set the rules — regardless of when — then no rule or federal law can change that.

Similarly, that line of thought would make the filibuster rule itself unconstitutional anyway.

What today’s action does is return the Senate to the way it was envisioned to function by the founders and the way it is supposed to function according to the Constitution. That was a good start, but the work isn’t done. There are other ways to keep extremist judges off the bench, the best of them is probably to eliminate lifetime appointments.

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CBS News apologizes for misleading Benghazi story; book publisher yanks book at center of controversy

BenghaziSimon & Schuster imprint Threshold Editions is yanking the book at the center of the CBS News/’60 Minutes’ Benghazi scandal, after CBS apologized for publishing falsehoods.

It’s good to finally see some accountability in the media for misleading the public about important issues, but this isn’t enough. The real scandal involving Benghazi has been the circus that Republicans have put on in the House of Representatives wasting time on frivolous investigative hearings. More money and time has been spent by the GOP trying put more of the blame for the attacks on the Obama administration than the terrorists who committed it.

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’60 Minutes’ Benghazi report completely implodes

Dylan DaviesCBS News issued a statement a little over an hour ago announcing that they were reviewing their “60 Minutes” report on the attack against the United States Special Mission in Benghazi last year.

The statement ran just 52 words:

60 Minutes has learned of new information that undercuts the account told to us by Morgan Jones of his actions on the night of the attack on the Benghazi compound.

We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction.

CBS News is in panic mode right now. All video and clips from the special have been pulled offline.

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Rand Paul’s big problem

Rand PaulAnother day and another example of Rand Paul stealing work from other people for profit. Doing it in political speeches and even newspaper op-eds is one thing, that’s the plagiarism part. But doing it in a for-profit book changes the offense to copyright infringement and demonstrates a clear lack of respect for the intellectual property rights of other people.

It puts to rest any notion that Rand Paul can be taken seriously when repeating the cute little stories that Republicans love to tell during campaigns about how people should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and be self-reliant instead of relying on government to help them.

Remember how Mitt Romney’s solution for young adults who can’t afford to go to college is to magically have a brand new set of rich parents to pay for it on their behalf? I guess Rand Paul’s version of that is if you can’t be troubled to do research of your own, just take it.

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When getting kicked in the balls counts as a win

Ken CuccinelliWho does this remind you of?

Republican Governors Association executive director Phil Cox, whose group has spent nearly $8 million boosting Cuccinelli, firmly rejected the idea that the Virginia race reflected any limitations of conservative ideas. But he allowed that there may be lessons to learn about how you go about delivering a conservative message.

Cox sounds like nearly every Republican in America I heard speak the day after the 2012 election. What people like Cox don’t understand is that there’s a difference between accepting the limits of ideology, and surrendering on everything you believe in and completely caving to the opposition.

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Poll details continue to show most Americans support Obamacare

Detailed non-entertainment polls continue to show the same results as they have every year since 2010, that most Americans actually support the Affordable Care Act if you dig down further than simplistic support/oppose questions.

If you only ask the topline question, you’ll keep finding the same thing: most people “oppose” the ACA. But if you ask what people want done with it, most want it either left alone (25%), or expanded (22%). The repeal and replace (13%) crowd is small, probably because the Republican Party hasn’t said what they would replace the ACA with. Only 24% want it repealed with no replacement.

Even 18% of Republicans want Obamacare left alone or expanded, more than the 11% of Democrats that want it repealed and/or replaced (the latter with single payer, which could easily fall under “expand”).

Add it up: 47% want the law left alone or expanded, 37% want it gone and/or replaced. Obamacare is not a train wreck or a disaster and it’s a law that most Americans favor.

There’s lots to be said about what’s going on, what we should take away from all of this, and then what should be done about it. Republicans are hammering the exchange roll out failure but they’re essentially shooting at themselves.

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