At Miscellany Blue of New Hampshire, William Tucker writes—Former state Rep. Alciere: ‘Nominate libertarian extremists — or we sink the Republican Party’:Last night was Primary Night in Minnesota, and far-right extremist Sheila Kihne lost her challenge to unseat an incumbent Republican State Representative. Ms. Kihne more than just derailed her Tea Party Express candidacy; she got trounced by 20 points. Yes, TWENTY POINTS.
In a last minute surprise for the B side of the Mn Senate District 48 Republican Convention, Kihne announced her challenge to incumbent State Rep Jenifer Loon on convention day last March. Kihne led in each and every round of endorsement balloting. After the fifth and final round, Kihne led 54% to 40% but did not reach the 60% threshold for endorsement.
That such a deeply flawed candidate could not only deny endorsement but almost win it herself at that Convention only shows how far right the Republican activists in Eden Prairie are. Much has been written on Kihne’s flaws. There’s no point in rehashing them here, or going into new ones that would have been brought up had won Kihne won. Sheila, as they say in the political world, is an opposition researcher’s dream come true.
Republican House candidates report receiving a letter from former state Rep. Tom Alciere (R-Nashua) threatening to “sink the Republican Party” if the party fails to nominate “extreme libertarians.”More excerpts from progressive state blogs can be found beneath the orange gerrymander.
"Ron Paul Revolutionaries have proven that we can and will sink the Republican Party if our demand is not met," the letter read. "Nominate libertarian extremists, — or else!"
"To defeat the Democrats, the Republican Party must stand united, and Ron Paul Revolutionaries will never unite behind enemies of liberty," wrote Alciere. "You must unite behind libertarian extremists. Delay and denial will get you nowhere."
Alciere, you may remember, was forced to resign from the House in 2001 when his incendiary rhetoric advocating cop killings was made public. “There is nothing wrong with slaughtering a cop,” one of his messages read. “Just throw the carcass into the Dumpster with the rest of the garbage. Cops are nothing but vicious brutal thugs anyway.”
At Mississippi Economic Policy Center, a member of the MEPC staff writes—Mississippi Uninsured Rate Continues to Remain High While Other States Fall:
At Michigan Liberal, Grebner writes—Absentee Voting Data From the Primary:A new survey is showing that the rate of Mississippians without insurance has declined slightly, while other states are seeing their rate fall by as much as half. The difference is to what level each state accepted the health care form law. The effects of the federal health care reform law are beginning to be measured. According to the survey by Gallup, Mississippi has the second highest rate of uninsured residents with 1 in 5 people lacking health insurance. However, other states like Arkansas, that fully embraced the federal health care reform law, have seen dramatic declines in the uninsured rate since the law took full effect this year. Dan Witters with Gallup says the ten states with the largest declines in the uninsured rate all choose to run their own insurance exchange and expand their Medicaid program…two options Mississippi rejected. “What you see is a rate that is less than half the decline that is seen national. So there are a lot of states that are seeing real movement in their uninsurance rate that Mississippi is not seeing thus far,” Witters said.
At Blue Mass Group, Wharwood writes—The "Dirty Denier" of the Day: Scott Brown:I've put together a set of charts showing how quickly absentee ballots were returned, along with an examination of the characteristics of people who failed to return their ballot at all.
1) Convincing everybody that people do not generally return their absentee ballots right away - the supposed rule of thumb that half the ballots are returned in the first week is completely bogus. And
2) A very important and overlooked GOTV target should be voters who request a ballot but never actually return it. Among some groups of voters, 15% or even 25% of their votes are lost, because campaigns fail to understand that the battle for votes isn't over when the ballot is requested, but only when it's filled out and returned.
Updated August 12, showing when ballots were returned according to when they were sent.
Chart #1 shows that people who fail to return their ballots tend to be political independents / ticket-splitters. The strong partisans are driven by their clear opinions to make sure their voices are heard. The conflicted middle of the spectrum includes a larger number of ditherers. [...]
Chart #2 shows that failing to return their ballot is mainly a problem among people who don't have much experience with absentee voting, especially people who have NEVER previously voted absentee. This ought to be especially noted by the MDP which is constantly trying to convert Michigan's "absentee voting" laws into "early voting", by soliciting people who aren't traditional absentee voters to apply. Even if they succeed, they ought to keep the pressure on, or else much of their effort will prove to be in vain.
At Show Me Progress of Missouri, WillyK writes—A rose by any other name ... or maybe not:In 2012, Massachusetts voters decided they didn’t like Senator Scott Brown’s loyalty to Big Oil and they voted him out of the Senate. This year, he’s back, but in New Hampshire, where he is trying to unseat Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
In May 2011, Senator Brown voted to protect billions in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies even though they were enjoying record profits. It was later revealed through FEC records that just two weeks before the vote, he had accepted contributions from Exxon, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. In March 2012, Senator Brown again voted against ending the subsidies. Over his career, he has accepted $454,000 from the Oil and Gas industry. To put that in perspective, in 2012, Senator Brown received more money from the Oil and Gas industry than all but five other members of Congress (and more than all but two other Senators).
Not only did Senator Brown vote in May 2011 to keep giving billions of dollars to oil companies instead of using that money to reduce the deficit or invest in renewable energy, he also voted to weaken the oversight standards of offshore drilling operations. This was after the tragic 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and would have weakened oversight even beyond what was in place during that catastrophe.
When Senator Brown tried to explain away these unpopular pro-oil votes, he claimed (incorrectly) that “oil companies don’t get subsidies.” Our friends at the League of Conservation Voters explained why that is completely false.
At Intelligent Discontent of Montana, Don Pogreba writes—The Democratic Dilemma in the Senate Race: An Overview of the Field:I just read about a tiny town in France called "La Mort aux Juifs," which translates to "Death to Jews" (h/t DailyKos). And the mayor is firm that the name won't be changed despite demands by the Simon Wisenthal Center: "Why change a name that goes back to the Middle Ages or even further? We should respect these old names." He also claim that "no one has anything against the Jews," evidently missing the actual point?
Does this situation sound familiar? Remember the Washington Redskins? Responding to suggestions that they change the team's name, the team's owner poohpoohed the hurt feelings or embarrassment it might engender, appealing to tradition to explain why he will "never" change the teams name:After 81 years, the team name 'Redskins' continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come [...]It's hard to fault such cluelessness. What, indeed, does the name mean, especially to those it designates? What, in the larger picture, does it say about where we as Americans come from? It might just be those very considerations that prompted calls for the name to be changed.
I respect the feelings of those who are offended by the team name. But I hope such individuals also try to respect what the name means, not only for all of us in the extended Washington Redskins family, but among Native Americans too,"...
In Wildwood here in Missouri, the justification for retaining a disturbing street name, 'Old Slave Road,' was, you guessed it, history. In spite of proposals to rename the street after a former slave born on the plantation that had occupied the site of Old Slave Road, and who later, as a free man, fought in the Union Army's Colored Infantry during the Civil War, locals and "outsiders" were not satisfied, and felt that they would be sacrificing "historical significance."
All of this deference to history and tradition sounds nice, but begs the question about why these particular, rather nasty historical precedents and traditions need to be preserved in ways that suggest that they are now neutral. Nor does changing these names in any way whitewash the historical record; it would simply signal that there has actually been a change in human sensibilities and that it's possible for us to rectify past errors and behave with sensitivity and civility in the public sphere.
At Nevada Progressive, atdnext writes—The Iraq Question:I’ve got some thoughts about who I’d be most inclined to support for the Democratic Senate nomination—and I’d love to hear some comments here or privately suggesting who I should support—but I think the person the Democratic Party selects may end up being less important than the manner in which she is chosen and the response of those who support candidates for the job. That being said, here’s a little (sort of) review of the field.
Love him or not, Schweitzer was the candidate who gave the Democrats the best chance to pull this race off. I would have loved to see Denise Juneau run, as long as she kept her position at OPI while she did it, but I understand the reasons for not running. I think you’ll see this list grow as the reality of the demands of this race become more clear.
There is no scenario under which the Democratic Party will select John Bohlinger, his late road to Missoula conversion notwithstanding. His incredibly negative campaign in the Senate primary and his demand for $10 million dollars and an army of volunteers are absurd on face, but especially for a candidate who was, four months ago, railing about the corrupting influence of money in politics to justify his inability to raise any money for his bid.
[Followed by: The Wonks; The Launchpad Candidates; The Idealists; The Dude; The Worst Case.]
At Ohio Daily, Derek K writes—Being locked out of the Statehouse ...:At one point, it seemed like it was beginning to fade from our memory. It was becoming 'ancient history.' And with so much to worry about at home, why must we think about it again?
But now, Iraq is back in the news. Isis (or 'Islamic State') is on the move in Northern Iraq, and it may now have sights on Syria and Turkey as well. And now, fears are growing of a possible genocide in the region.
The US is moving back towards military engagement in Iraq. But before we debate what we should do there next, we must remember how we fell into this hot mess in the first place.
In October 2002, Congress voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq to combat the alleged stockpiling of "weapons of mass destruction" by then Iraqi Prime Minister Saddam Hussein. Before the vote, the Bush Administration made claims that Saddam Hussein was somehow involved in the September 11, 2001, (9/11) terrorist attack. There was never a formal declaration of war when the US led invasion began in March 2003. And after the invasion, it became painfully clear that there were no "weapons of mass destruction" prepared to be used against us ... And that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11.
After the invasion began, the Iraq War transformed from an allegedly "anti-terrorist operation" into some "armed humanitarian liberation of the Iraqi people". All of a sudden, our armed forces were in Iraq to initiate "regime change" and essentially force "democracy" at gunpoint.
At Progress Illinois, Ellyn Fortino writes—Report: High Housing Costs Persist For Millions Of Americans, Renters Hit The Worst:I was one of thousands of Ohioans who was locked out of the Statehouse some three years ago. On a cold March day we came as citizens to urge our elected representatives to kill Senate Bill 5.
As I stood among police officers, fire fighters, teachers, other unions and supporters it was unbelievable to hear that the Statehouse doors were locked for security reasons. We were then told, by Republicans, that the doors were locked, because there were too many people in the Statehouse. None of this was true. The Republicans just didn't want to hear from the people.
Good Democrats opened side doors for many of the protesters. When I finally got a chance to go inside, it was unbelievable how empty the place was. We got to talk to a couple of representatives, but both of the people we talked to immediately shot us down. As the rally progressed we couldn't wait to turn our fire on John Kasich. And we couldn't wait to get to today, to have a fair debate on the issues, and hold John Kasich accountable for all of his lies and deceptions on SB5.
At Better Georgia, Bryan Long writes—Deal, Inc. Still Open for Business:The U.S. housing industry saw some progress in 2013 due in part to increased housing construction as well as rising home prices and sales, according to the annual State of the Nation’s Housing report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.
Despite areas of improvement, however, the report found that homeownership rates are still trending downward, low-income households face persistent challenges finding affordable housing and millions of Americans continue to grapple with high housing costs.
More than a third of U.S. families and individuals, or 40.9 million households, were cost-burdened in 2012, meaning they payed more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Though the number of cost-burdened U.S. households in 2012 fell by 1.7 million from 2011, the figure is still up by more than 9 million since 2002, according to the report.
At Bleeding Heartland of Iowa, desmoinesdem writes—Terry Branstad's misguided view of fighting for Iowa agriculture:“The Office of the Governor.”
Those are the words painted on the door to Gov. Deal’s office at the State Capitol.
But, the sign’s wrong.
It should read: “Nathan Deal, Inc.”
That’s right. From Congress, to the campaign trail, to the governor’s office, Nathan Deal has a shocking track record of using his public offices and positions for personal gain and for passing the cost along to taxpayers—a pattern that has repeatedly drawn the attention of state and federal investigators.
In 2010, Nathan Deal resigned from Congress to avoid further investigation into his use of his Congressional office, including using senior taxpayer-funded staff, to keep a lucrative state contract for his Gainesville junkyard.
The Office of Congressional Ethics released a 159-page report that found “substantial reason to believe” that Deal may have “improperly used his office to pressure Georgia officials.” But the office couldn’t hold Congressman Deal accountable because he had already packed up and left town.
The ink wasn’t dry on Nathan Deal’s resignation from Congress when he launched his 2010 campaign for Governor of Georgia.
He soon faced five ethics complaints, including allegations that campaign funds were funelled to companies owned by Gov. Deal, his top aides and members of his family.
Georgia’s top ethics chief prepared subpoenas to find out if this activity was criminal but she was thrown out of office before the subpoenas were issued.
Speaking to a small crowd at the Iowa State Fair yesterday, Governor Terry Branstad said he was "proud as governor to have stood up for and fought for the interests of agriculture." You can watch the video on the Des Moines Register's website and read highlights in O.Kay Henderson's report for Radio Iowa or Jason Noble's summary for the Register:
He described his defense of Beef Products Inc. and its lean finely textured beef against charges that it was unhealthy "pink slime"; his support for wind energy; his efforts to maintain the current renewable fuel standard for ethanol content in gasoline; and his opposition to California chicken cage standards that could harm Iowa egg producers.Branstad certainly was a vocal advocate for "pink slime," even depicting the product as some kind of superior health food. He's eager to defend one company's use of methods many consumers find repulsive, but I doubt the Terrace Hill chef is serving him many meals containing lean finely-textured beef.
Renewable energy advocates in Iowa would not characterize Branstad as a champion for wind. I've never heard of him lifting a finger to support "distributed generation" policies, which would benefit a much broader group of farmers and landowners than the large wind farms now dotting rural Iowa.
True, the governor has argued strenuously for maintaining the Renewable Fuels Standard, contradicting his usual stance against "big government regulations" and federal mandates. However, it's debatable whether the RFS is as important to Iowa's economy as some interest groups claim.