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Affordable health care? The Employment Non-Discrimination Act? If it's good policy, you can pretty much bet today's Republican Party will be against it.

We kick off today's roundup with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. USA Today points out that ending workplace discrimination is a no-brainer:

The Senate is poised to pass the bill by the end of the week, but even if that happens, it's just half the battle. The legislation's prospects in the Republican-dominated House are poor. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, opposes the bill because it would "increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small-business jobs," a spokesman reaffirmed Monday.

Boehner's objections might be more convincing if "jobs" weren't the same all-purpose complaint House Republicans aimed at anything they didn't like. In fact, even some of the bill's opponents admit the bill is unlikely to touch off the sort of lawsuits Boehner implies will cause employers to be fearful of hiring.[...]

Just as with earlier efforts to bar discrimination against women and minorities, the push to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation will some day seem like an obvious step toward ensuring that every American has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The New York Times editorial board:
The measure is urgently needed. Currently, just 17 states have laws barring employers from refusing to hire or promote people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and another four states have workplace nondiscrimination laws that cover gay men, lesbians and bisexuals but not transgender people.
Benjy Sarlin at MSNBC looks at the political fallout from the GOP's opposition to the measure:
The segment of socially conservative Republicans strongly opposed to these measures can’t hold back these floodwaters for much longer. But what they can control is how much political damage the party suffers after the dam bursts and LGBT rights are an unremarkable assumption of American life.

Republican strategists have been warning for years that gay rights are one of the most critical tests the party faces in the next few election cycles. That’s because they’re strongly associated with Millennial voters, the generation that’s by far the most broadly accepting of gay marriage and LGBT rights in general. Many Republicans are worried the issue has become one of the key litmus tests these voters  – who went strongly for Obama in 2008 and 2012 – apply to candidates to determine their vote.

Andrew Rosenthal at The New York Times:
As President Obama put it in a blog item (!) for The Huffington Post: “It’s offensive. It’s wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense.”

Tell that to Senator Marco Rubio, who comes from Florida, where there is broad public support in polls for ending workplace discrimination, but who is going to vote against this bill because he wants the Tea Party crazies to support him for president. And tell that to House Speaker John Boehner, who long ago decided he was going to speak only for a narrow slice of his party. “The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,” said his spokesman, Michael Steel.

It’s only a “frivolous” issue if you consider gay men, lesbians and transsexuals to be less than full Americans.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Capehart at The Washington Post looks at the continuing GOP sabotage of the Affordable Care Act:
[T]he federal exchange that Republicans said wouldn’t work ended up not working because it was starved of the money needed to help make it work. [...] The federal exchange that Republicans said wouldn’t work [also] ended up not working because the GOP pressured Republican governors to not form their own state exchanges. This made the federal task more complex and difficult, thus ensuring its failure.
More on the day's top stories below the fold.

The editors at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlight voter disenfranchisement and its disproportionate effect on women:
Women who are married or divorced will find it more difficult to cast a ballot in upcoming elections in Texas and nine other states: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin. These states require specific types of government-issued photo identification that women, in particular, may find difficult to obtain.

The reason is that nearly 90 percent of women change their names when they get married or divorced and frequently wind up with discrepancies between their names on various pieces of identification necessary to get a government-issued voter photo ID.

A 2006 survey, the most recent available, by the Brennan Center for Justice shows that 34 percent of voting-age women do not possess a proof-of-citizenship document that reflects their legal name. Add to this a divorce rate of 40 percent to 50 percent, and it’s easy to see that a lot of women could have a problem at the polls.

Finally, on the under-reported issue of poverty in America, Greg Kauffman at The Nation examines whether it's possible to cut poverty in a decade:
[The Half in Ten campaign] proposes that indeed people are worth investing in so that they can succeed and contribute to society; and that our country has the wealth to ensure that those who can’t work, or can’t find work with decent wages, can obtain the services needed to escape poverty.

The report focuses not only on the 46.5 million people living in poverty, but also on the more than one in three Americans—106 million of us—who live below twice the poverty line, on less than $36,600 annually for a family of three. While these families and individuals might not officially be in poverty, they are struggling to afford the basics—food, housing, healthcare, education—and are just a single hardship away from poverty.

The report suggests that the biggest obstacles to the kind of “shared prosperity” we had in the three decades following World War II—where all incomes were lifted by an expanding economy—are slow and inequitable economic growth and a proliferation of low-wage work, all exacerbated by the sequester and austerity policies.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Another case of Blowback and along with all (10+ / 0-)

    the idiocy on display to the world in our politics, our inability to cope with modern problems, our counter factual/science/logic rump that is controlling what we can do now I think the cumulative damage is getting severe.

    In "The United States loses when sidelined in the United Nations" George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs professor Esther Brimmer notes how an effort to "punish" a United Nations agency that allows full membership for Palestinians blows back so that the United States becomes voiceless in that agency.

    Under two laws dating to 1990 and 1994, the United States must automatically stop providing treaty-obligated funding to a United Nations agency if Palestinians gain full membership. In 2011, a majority of member countries voted to admit the Palestinians into the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Washington was then compelled to halt funding for an organization that can advance U.S. interests, thereby leaving space for others with very different political agendas. These laws are relics that inhibit U.S. ability to advance its interests internationally. They punish pro-U.S. United Nations agencies that have no control over Palestinians; moreover, other countries, by ostensibly being supporters of Palestinian statehood, can strategize to reduce American influence internationally.

    After three years of non-payment, a delinquent country loses its vote. Although it wants active U.S. participation, the UNESCO General Conference is obligated this week to suspend the U.S. vote until the United States’ dues are paid.

    So, with those laws taking effect to have us leave UNESCO again:
    Our decades-old laws may have been an effort to stand with Israel, but Israel will be hurt by the U.S. absence at UNESCO. U.S. officials have worked hard to help forestall or mitigate anti-Israeli actions in international bodies. When controversial Holy Land heritage issues are discussed at UNESCO next year, a non-voting United States will be less able to help its ally. Meanwhile, the UNESCO worldwide Holocaust and anti-genocide education programs will wither without U.S. support. Israelis should welcome an updated approach that restores the U.S. vote and strong voice in international organizations.
    Simple one would think. When you walk out of a forum you lose your voice and influence. Remember Korea anyone? At one time, in the decades after World War II when the U.S. alone had the economy and industrial clout to be the power, even if the Soviet Union was a rival, this comment to the article "Who needs whom? Seems to me UNESCO needs us more than we need it." might make more sense. The "We're number one!" mentality now is a lot more problematic, but then the comments in the article, as with many, have the usual mindless chatter bordering on Obama hates Israel and U.N. bashing.

    Worth considering for some thoughtful corrective action before we do become like the tottering old Soviet Union. With our industrial might outsourced to China, our NSA activities revealed to an increasingly pissed off world (in my opinion somewhat hypocritical), and to an increasing extent our claim of "superpower" status more and more being—like that old Soviet Union of Russia House description—being based on having military power in the form of nuclear weapons we need to think carefully before abandoning organizations that we may not be able to control any longer but might influence.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 04:40:47 AM PST

  •  Keep digging your hole, GOPers (9+ / 0-)

    keep disenfranchising voters, keep up your discriminatory viewpoints, we all want to see how low your approval rating will go!

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 04:44:11 AM PST

  •  And in TV punditry (17+ / 0-)

    nothing says WTF like listening to Steve Schmidt complain about the crazy that has infiltrated the Republican party - dude, you built that. I thought picking Sarah Palin was the end, it turned out to be the beginning.

    •  How much did he, personally, have to do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hulibow

      with picking Palin?  Or did you mean he as in the Republican Party?

      •  Both I guess (7+ / 0-)

        Scarborough & Schmidt are the same as all Republicans, who were giddy in 2010 and are now dealing with the aftermath, and pretending they had nothing to do with this clusterfuck. But Steve Schmidt specifically, who did play a major part in championing Sarah Palin - in my opinion, she was the beginning of the ignorance campaign that led to the "grassroots" tea party movement.

        “When a result happens that puts someone who is not prepared to be president on the ticket, that’s a bad result,” Schmidt added. “I think the notion of Sarah Palin being President of the United States is something that frightens me, frankly. And I played a part in that. And played a part in that because we were fueled by ambition to win.
  •  Interesting - where the GOP suicide caucus lives (11+ / 0-)

    from this New Yorker article from last September:

    [note: the suicide caucus refers to the 80 Teapublican led group set on defunding Obamacare by any means possible including a government shutdown]

    The members of the suicide caucus live in a different America from the one that most political commentators describe when talking about how the country is transforming. The average suicide-caucus district is seventy-five per cent white, while the average House district is sixty-three per cent white. Latinos make up an average of nine per cent of suicide-district residents, while the over-all average is seventeen per cent. The districts also have slightly lower levels of education (twenty-five per cent of the population in suicide districts have college degrees, while that number is twenty-nine per cent for the average district).

    The members themselves represent this lack of diversity. Seventy-six of the members who signed the Meadows letter are male. Seventy-nine of them are white.

    As with Meadows, the other suicide-caucus members live in places where the national election results seem like an anomaly. Obama defeated Romney by four points nationally. But in the eighty suicide-caucus districts, Obama lost to Romney by an average of twenty-three points. The Republican members themselves did even better. In these eighty districts, the average margin of victory for the Republican candidate was thirty-four points.

    In short, these eighty members represent an America where the population is getting whiter, where there are few major cities, where Obama lost the last election in a landslide, and where the Republican Party is becoming more dominant and more popular. Meanwhile, in national politics, each of these trends is actually reversed.

    hum...are they saying that folks living in these areas have no outside news sources?  Clearly, they cannot if they steadfastly refuse to believe the facts that belie their belief that this is still 50's America.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 05:03:40 AM PST

    •  They do come from a different America because (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pelagicray, JaxDem, Remediator, Old Sailor

      They made it that way.

      The evil TGOP selected the most small minded people their people to vote for them.

      Small minded & evil has been winning, ever since Goldwater lost.

      nosotros no somos estúpidos

      by a2nite on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 05:16:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A similar demographic feature was subject of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, Remediator, ybruti, Stude Dude

      a Washington Post article a few days ago. The inability to cope rationally is a topic of my comment on that article.

      Of all the things involved in that man's economic woes, including the opening of a very good and big supermarket as competition, the only cause was Obama, a name he could not even bring himself to speak. I once knew some of those places quite well with family connections in locales that since the Clinton years had become more and more fanatical religious right and, to be blunt, anti American. One characteristic I found not at all amusing was what I mentioned in a follow on comment about "residents of those areas enthusiastically falling for schemes and even victimhood world views" that on their face to my "outsider" view were akin to the gleam in a pigeon drop victim's eye.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 05:39:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, the WaPo article is very good as (6+ / 0-)

        was your comment link.

        I read with some great relief this post: Koch Bros Jump the Shark in Iowa

        which focus is on Coralville, IA, a town of less than 20K residents.  They are not buying into the overreach by Koch Bros funded candidates running for local races there.  [it's a great read]

        Let us hope that  we see and hear more and more of this in the future.  Time for that pendulum to swing in the opposite direction.

        As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

        by JaxDem on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 06:04:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Moral Bankrupcy and Failed Senate Leadership.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Remediator
  •  For republicans: A feature, not a bug. (4+ / 0-)
    This made the federal task more complex and difficult, thus ensuring its failure.

    As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

    by BPARTR on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 05:07:07 AM PST

  •  "Less than full Americans"? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hoghead99, Old Sailor, a2nite

    They consider us less than human.

  •  So would Boehner oppose ENDA if it's purpose (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hoghead99, blw, a2nite, Brooke In Seattle

    was to stop discrimination in the hiring of African Americans? Would the cost to business be too high if a person could sue because they were told they couldn't have a promotion because they're black? Because that's what he's saying: people should put up with discrimination because business wants to be able to discriminate.

    Of course Big Business is supportive of ENDA because it prevents brain drain in states where LGBT workers have no protections.

    •  Yes, probably he would (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pelagicray, TexasTom, Stude Dude

      All those arguments (plus "states rights, no big bad federal government bureaucracy is gonna tell me what to do") were made before the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed. True fact: The bill was amended to add sex discrimination -- originally it was just race -- as a joke in order to try to kill the bill.

      Of course in those days the racist Southerners were Democrats, not Republicans. But the small businessmen all through the rest of the country were Republicans, and they also were very unhappy about it.  

      •  The "states rights" argument is so bizarre to me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude

        We have these people who will agree that discrimination is wrong but insist that it should only be outlawed at the local level. They're trying to split the baby and weasel their way out of actually supporting legislation with the ability to stop discrimination.

  •  I saw yesterday that Tim Cook, (4+ / 0-)

    CEO of Apple, has asked Congress to pass ENDA. The Repubs claim they are for business, but will ignore the CEO of our biggest business? Of course they will.

  •  Another piece of poverty puzzle (7+ / 0-)

    I was listening to several men talking on the bus yesterday morning -- the gist of it was that all of them are completely dependent on "government handouts," mainly because they have criminal records that block them from getting jobs. When manufacturing and farming jobs dominated, I doubt anyone cared whether you had been arrested for assault ten years earlier, as long as you don't cause trouble on the assembly line. But now, people with a criminal record find themselves shut out of the job market. So they either find new illegal ways to get money (i.e. drug dealing, numbers-running, whatever), and/or qualify for "disability" based on mental illness or something, and/or collect food stamps and Section 8 and patronize soup kitchens as the guys on the bus were doing.

    I met a guy on the bus over the weekend who had just completed four months of sobriety, in a half-way house for recovering alcoholics, but he too was barred from employment by a past criminal record (closely related to his alcohol use, he said). So he works out at a gym, but has no way to earn a living. He's 29, and doesn't see how he will ever be able to work.

    They are not unable to work due to physical impairments, but they are unemployable in the current job market given what jobs are available and the current restrictions on employing ex-cons.

  •  good to see you g10! (0+ / 0-)

    ENDA is really going to help us twist the GOoPers in a vise.  They will either have to pass it in the House or alienate even more voters.

    Either way it helps Dems, either by giving us a critical policy victory, or by showing middle of the road voters that the R party is being run by unreconstructed bigots.  Either way it fires up the Blue base for 2014.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 05:38:19 AM PST

  •  Not particularly thrilled (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SueDe, Stude Dude

    with this ENDA bill, honestly for two reasons.

    One, I've read that this bill would also make it illegal to fire someone who expresses opposition to ENDA, or in other words a homophobe.

    If this bill make it so that open homophobic bigots cannot be fired and/or ostracized from society, it isn't a bill worth supporting, IMO.  There are far fewer employers in the future who would fire gays (its bad for business) as compared to those who would get rid of open homophobes.

    I don't consider racists and homophobes to be decent people, and as an owner of a small business, I do not want to be forced to hire such cretins.

    Secondly, it gives too many exemptions to "religious groups".  If a church or a religious group doesn't want to marry gays and lesbians, they should lose their tax exemption.  Period.  I shouldn't have to pay for or fund bigotry in any way shape or form.

    Don't call these racist thugs the tea party, they are *teabaggers*! Please don't insult the original Tea Party as they were patriots. Call them TeaBaggers!

    by TeaBaggersAreRacists on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 05:38:46 AM PST

    •  There'd be quite a small (0+ / 0-)

      group of employed people if you could make it legal to fire homophobes, racists and misogynists.  Asshole shouldn't be the criteria for firing.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 06:00:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Forced to hire cretins"? (4+ / 0-)

      It's been a while since I read this bill, but I don't recall its forcing any business to hire anyone.  I'm not even sure how that could be done.

      I'm with you on religious groups.  I don't think "religious groups" should enjoy tax exemption at all, whether they discriminate or not.  And don't get me started on 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 organizations.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 06:35:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can someone clarify? (0+ / 0-)

    Some of the gay-oriented sites are saying that the ENDA bill contains so many religious exemptions that it actually could make the situation worse.  Can anyone confirm or deny?

    •  I suppose this depends on perspective (0+ / 0-)

      If you live in one of the states that already have strong non-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation, this could well be true.

      But for the majority of us who live in states without such protection, ENDA undeniably makes the situation better.  And since that's a majority of the country, I'd argue that the net result is an overall improvement.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 06:20:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  To some extent, yes (0+ / 0-)

      But the word through the vine coming from the DC bubble Democrats is that they will fix that problem later, that they want a bill passed that can then be fixed by subsequent legislation.  Which fits in perfectly the modern Democratic party strategy. The plan is to never actually fix anything anymore, just make it a little better, because that way they can continue to use the issue to extort more money from their base. See also the Affordable Care Act. "Sure the ACA is a stinking pile of dog sh•t  that isn't single payer, doesn't contain a public option and is a huge handout to corporate insurance, but it is less stinky than what we had before."

      I also believe that one of the ways they plan to close some of the loopholes in the religious exemptions of ENDA is via an executive order, something that President Obama has withheld from the LGBT community for five years despite explicit campaign statements that he supports the executive order. Their excuse has been that they prefer "a legislative solution" despite the incontrovertible fact that no version of ENDA ever introduced does all of what the executive order would do if the EO is properly patterned on the existing EO extending employment protections based on race, sex, ethnicity, and national origin that has existed in its current form since LBJ and dates back originally to FDR. In other words, Obama is being very intellectually dishonest in his answers of why he won't issue the EO in addition to having been dishonest in his campaign statements regarding an EO to protect federal contractors..

      "Lesbian and gay people are a permanent part of the American workforce, who currently have no protection from the arbitrary abuse of their rights on the job." --Coretta Scott King

      by craigkg on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 08:10:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thing about that WaPo Story is this: (0+ / 0-)

    It's been reported that the Healthcare.gov effort started with $92 million and ballooned up to $300 million or more.

    That's well beyond the definition of scrounging for money and is by no means cash-starved for development of a high volume web site.

    This is not some open-ended research project we're talking about.

    There is software and there is hardware and there are tasks we have been doing for years.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 07:15:39 AM PST

  •  A "no-brainer" (0+ / 0-)

    Those ones are the toughest for Speaker Boehner

  •  bird's official green sidekick, always in business (0+ / 0-)

    with all things vote-y.

    stats, data, links, organized and presented for your instant addiction and placement on the top of your stockpile of essential essentials.

    green is wannaful, wannaful, wannaful.

    Addington's perpwalk? TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes. @Hugh: There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.

    by greenbird on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 08:25:35 AM PST

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