One year ago, Republicans shut down the government to stop Obamacare

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2014-05-2008

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House Speaker John Boehner on Sep. 30, 2013, ruling out a clean bill to prevent a shutdown

Exactly one year ago, House Republicans did what should have been unthinkable: They shut down the federal government when John Boehner refused to hold a simple vote on keeping the government running at existing levels. Their goal: To force President Obama to defund and effectively repeal Obamacare.

A little more than two weeks later, they finally backed down and allowed House Democrats to end the shutdown. In the end, they got nothing but blame for their temper tantrum: Obamacare is still here today, and thanks to it millions of people around the country have health insurance that they otherwise would not have had.

Politically speaking, the only thing that allowed Republicans to escape a long fall and winter of stories about the shutdown was the fact that the initial Obamacare rollout was rocky. But that doesn’t change the fact they failed to accomplish a single thing with their shutdown, and while it might make it harder to remind Americans that the GOP won’t hesitate to do the same thing next year, there’s no reason to believe they won’t.

But even if the political impact of the shutdown has been overshadowed by other issues, the fact that President Obama and Democrats refused to be bullied by Ted Cruz tactics and that the GOP ultimately backed down is a lesson Washington Democrats should never forget. Even though they won that political battle, the biggest winners are the public they were elected to serve, because Obamacare is here to stay and millions of Americans are better off as a result. And when the November 15 open enrollment period begins, those numbers will grow even larger.

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Republican judge in Oklahoma rules against Obamacare tax subsidies

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2014-05-2008

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Protesters outside the Supreme Court during oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act.

Judge Ronald A. White, an Oklahoma federal judge appointed to the bench by George W. Bush has just ruled that the subsidies cannot go to residents of states that are using the federal insurance exchanges. The case, Pruitt v. Burwell, mirrors Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell in that it says a sloppy bit of wording in the law—which is contradicted by the legislative history, as well as intent of the law—means that only people residing in states that set up their own exchanges can receive subsidies.

Ian Millhiser has read White’s decision, and is not impressed.

One thing that immediately stands out in White’s opinion is just how thin his legal reasoning is. Despite the fact that this case concerns a matter of life and death for the millions of Americans he orders uninsured, his actual discussion of the merits of this case comprises less than 7 double-spaced pages of his opinion. In that brief analysis he quotes the two other Republican judges who ordered Obamacare defunded, claiming that “the government offers no textual basis” in the Affordable Care Act itself for treating federally-run exchanges the same as those run by states. In fact, the government has identified numerous provisions of the law which cut against the argument that only some exchanges should provide subsidies.

Even more significantly, White’s opinion does not at any point acknowledge the legal standard that applies when a statute contains language that is at odds with other provisions of the law. As the Supreme Court explained in 2007, “a reviewing court should not confine itself to examining a particular statutory provision in isolation” as the “meaning—or ambiguity—of certain words or phrases may only become evident when placed in context.” White, by contrast, relies entirely a passage that supports the plaintiffs’ arguments while ignoring the much more prevalent statutory language that supports the government’s argument. […]

So White’s opinion is poorly reasoned. It ignores binding Supreme Court precedent. And it engages in selective quotation to support his conclusion. If it is reviewed by a panel of judges interested in neutrally applying the law, White will be reversed.

The Tenth Circuit, which would hear an appeal, probably would reverse White. It has seven judges appointed by Democrats, including five Obama appointees, and five by Republicans. So far, the challenge has been considered by nine federal judges in three separate challenges. The only three to strike down the subsidies on the federal exchange are Republicans. There are a lot of moving parts with these challenges. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the law in King, and the D.C. Circuit recently set aside a Halbig ruling by a three-judge panel to consider the case with the full court. Plaintiffs in King have appealed to the Supreme Court, which appears to be waiting to see what the DC Circuit is going to do with Halbig. There’s also a fourth case in Indiana. A federal judge will hear those arguments next month.

Where this ends isn’t immediately clear. In a normal world, the Supreme Court would be waiting for the D.C. Circuit to throw out the case, and then would decide not to hear the King or Halbig appeals because the circuit courts would be in agreement. If that happened, the other two would end. But the Supreme Court isn’t functioning particularly normally anymore. But the key thing that would be weighing in Chief Justice John Roberts’ mind right now is the fact that hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people would lose their health insurance if the subsidies are struck down. Taking that away wouldn’t be a much of a legacy.

Jim Mowrer within three points of toppling House anti-immigration leader Steve King

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2014-05-2008

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Democratic candidate for IA-04, Jim Mowrer

Afghanistan and Iraq War vet Jim Mowrer

Could it be happening? Could Iowans be tiring of the antics of official House ranter-against-the-immigrants Steve King?

And if the election was held today for U.S. House, for whom would you vote, Jim Mowrer the Democrat or Steve King the Republican? (very likely/certain to vote; N=375, MoE +5.1%pts)

    Jim Mowrer ………………………………………………………………………….. 43%
    Steve King ……………………………………………………………………………. 46
    (VOL) Unsure ……………………………………………………………………….. 11

Goal Thermometer

So Steve King has only a three point lead over Daily Kos endorsed Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer, within the margin of error—and this is a district Romney won by eight points in 2012. There’s no way any non-crackpot Republican should be struggling this much.

[H]ere’s something else to consider: Republican Joni Ernst is leading Democrat Bruce Braley 48-38 in the 4th. With statewide polls showing the Senate race a tossup, this result is pretty plausible, given Romney’s performance. That in turn makes the House numbers more believable, too, particularly because the only other poll of the race, from Loras College, had King at a similar 47 percent. Mowrer was further back at 36, but the key point is that King is a few points under 50, despite holding down a district that should be a gimme for any normal Republican.

To add insult to that injury Mowrer, who has deep roots in the district himself, has even outraised King.

The catch is going to be getting those anti-King voters into the voting booths come election day, given the historically dismal performance of our voters compared to the sort of hard-righties that still think Steve King is doing a fine and upstanding job. But the poll above is of self-described “very likely” voters, so it’s possible. It’s especially possible if Steve King continues his pattern of being Steve King between now and November. (Mowrer has risen seven points from the previous district poll to this one, so it’s clear his campaign is getting his own message out.)

Be still my heart, there is actually a chance that one of the meanest anti-immigrant, anti-everything-else voices in Congress could get shown the door. That would be worth, at minimum, a celebratory cake.

Click here to chip in $3 to help Jim Mowrer topple the anti-immigrant Steve King. Do it! Do it now!

If you want to win in November, give today!

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2014-05-2008

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Lucy Flores poses with children.

Nevada Lt. Governor candidate Lucy Flores, just one of our great endorsed candidates. Pick one, or two, or three, and donate!

Two key mantras for this November’s elections:

1) There are more of us than there are of them. Objectively. If we turn out, we win.

2) It’s an off-year election, so we don’t turn out.

That’s the reality we’re operating under. All things being equal, with both parties’ bases turning out, we’d come out in November with minimal damage. The Senate map and congressional gerrymandering make things tough on us at the federal level, but there’d be no worries about holding the Senate. And with full base turnout, we’d have no problem making major pickups at the governor and statewide level (like secretary of states).

But all things aren’t equal. So we have to engage as hard as we can to get our people to vote. That requires either on the ground volunteering, or contributing money to those doing the hard work of winning elections.

I want you all to do me a big favor. Pick one of our ActBlue pages below and chip in $3. Seriously. You’re probably thinking “$3 ain’t shit,” and it’s true, on its own it isn’t going to win much.

But this month we’ve had over seven million unique visitors to Daily Kos. Our email action list just crossed 1.7 million strong. We have another 600,000+ people following us on Facebook. Do some simple math, and you can suddenly see how $3 can have an impact. It’s why we have so much power as a community, working together for an America we all believe in.

So $3. It really can make a difference. So now think about who could use those $3. Don’t forget your local candidates. But if you’re still looking for places to give, we’ve got plenty of options:

There’s someone in all those candidate lists that will get you excited, I promise you!

Three dollars. It will make a difference, collectively, so we can help get some really great people elected.

Midday open thread: Secret Service fail, birth control for teens, and disappearing wildlife

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2014-05-2008

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  • Today’s comic by Jen Sorensen is March of Doom:
    Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - March of doom
  • The Secret Service’s image is taking a serious hit, and rightly so:

    The man who jumped the White House fence this month and sprinted through the front door made it much farther into the building than previously known, overpowering one Secret Service officer and running through much of the main floor, according to three people familiar with the incident.

    An alarm box near the front entrance of the White House designed to alert guards to an intruder had been muted at what officers believed was a request of the usher’s office, said a Secret Service official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Okay, the usher’s office doesn’t look great here, either.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending IUDs or progestin implants as birth control for teens, who currently tend to use condoms.
  • Depressing and frightening:

    About 3,000 species of wildlife around the world have seen their numbers plummet far worse than previously thought, according to a new study by one of the world’s biggest environmental groups.

    The study Tuesday from the Swiss-based WWF largely blamed human threats to nature for a 52 percent decline in wildlife populations between 1970 and 2010.

  • Game of Thrones goes western.
  • Epic meltdown, live-tweeted.
  • Jews are responsible for wall-to-wall carpeting? So says the most repulsive record ever made, apparently.
  • I guess you have to see it to fix it:

    According to polling by the Public Religion Research Institute, the percent of American who say that the criminal justice system treats black people unfairly rose by 9 percentage points in just one year.  In fact, every category of person polled was more likely to think so in 2014 than in 2013, including Republicans, people over 65, and whites.

  • Help elect more and better Democrats this November! Please give $3 to Daily Kos’ endorsed candidates and strike a blow against Republicans.
  • On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: WH intruder updates. Greg Dworkin brings Mike Pence hype, enterovirus news & ISIS polls. AFP back at their voter suppression tricks. Senate Rs threaten nuke option redux. Cops can’t ditch military gear. Guns in restaurants. ATM neutrality!

Mitt 2016!

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2014-05-2008

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Mitt Romney fuels up after his 2012 defeat

Can’t get enough of Cruz 2016? Well how about Mitt 2016?

As we spoke, Romney compared the barrage of 2016-related questions to a scene in the film “Dumb and Dumber.” After Jim Carrey’s character is flatly rejected by Lauren Holly, she tells him that there’s a one-in-a-million chance she would change her mind. “So,” Romney told me, embodying the character, “Jim Carrey says, ‘You’re telling me there’s a chance.’ ”

This was the obvious opening for me to ask if there was a chance. Romney’s response was decidedly meta — “I have nothing to add to the story” — but he then fell into the practiced political parlance of nondenial. “We’ve got a lot of people looking at the race,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

That’s from a Mark Leibovich piece in the upcoming New York Times Magazine titled “Mitt Isn’t Ready to Call It Quits,” which perhaps frames what Romney said about the possibility of a third campaign in 2016 a little too strongly. Still, what Romney said was much more than a non-denial denial or even cracking the door open to the possibility of reconsidering running in 2016. Instead, by leaving the question unsettled (“we’ll see what happens”) he effectively acknowledged that he’s considering a bid and that he has not made his mind up.

This is a big shift from what he’s been saying publicly since losing in 2012 and it comes as former aides and supporters are aggressively mounting a push for Romney 2016. His words will encourage the ones he hasn’t been speaking to and will give the ones who are still in his orbit more credibility when they talk up the possibility for a third bid.

Given all that, it’s crystal clear that Romney wants to run again. That doesn’t guarantee that he will run again, especially because he probably doesn’t want to jeopardize his non-pariah status within the GOP, but if he can launch a bid as the front-runner for the GOP nomination, he will.

But even though Romney is as popular within the GOP as he’s ever been, he’s still the same old candidate who ran in 2012. For example, check out his new explanation for his 47 percent remarks:

Romney told me that the statement came out wrong, because it was an attempt to placate a rambling supporter who was saying that Obama voters were essentially deadbeats.

“My mistake was that I was speaking in a way that reflected back to the man,” Romney said. “If I had been able to see the camera, I would have remembered that I was talking to the whole world, not just the man.”

During the campaign, Romney initially defended his remarks and tried to support his statement. When that didn’t work, he said that his remarks were “completely wrong.” And now he says that he was lying about his beliefs in order to make a supporter feel good.

Moral of the story: Romney is still Romney. He’s still the same guy who can’t keep his story straight. He’s still the same guy who awkwardly refers to purses with “bedazzle beads.” And the best thing he’s got going for him continues to be that the GOP is still the same old GOP: A party that might not have a better candidate to nominate in 2016 than the one who led them to defeat in 2012.

Secret Service Director: White House Door Now Locks Automatically

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2014-05-2008

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Secret Service Director Julia Pierson says the front door to the White House will now lock automatically.



Either Cruz 2016 is for real or this is the most cruel tease in political history

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2014-05-2008

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U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) departs after remarks on the Senate floor as the body prepared to conduct a series of federal budget spending votes at the U.S. Capitol in Washington September 27, 2013. The U.S. government braced on Friday for the possibility

They love him for his charisma

Even as Sen. Ted Cruz was denying a report that he had all but made up his mind to launch a 2016 presidential campaign, The Washington Post profiled his appearance at last weekend’s so-called Values Voters Summit and found overwhelming support for the freshman senator.

While there is not yet a front-runner in the early race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is quickly becoming the favored contender of social conservatives, riding a recent wave of fiery speeches and standing ovations at right-wing conferences.

Until the campaign begins and votes are cast, sweeping statements like that aren’t worth the pixels they’re displayed on, but Cruz does appear to have some real support, winning his second consecutive presidential straw poll of conference attendees. According to The Post, Cruz’s core supporters on the right think he could capture the nomination because the GOP establishment hasn’t been able to settle on a favored candidate like they did in 2012 with Mitt Romney, leaving an opening for Cruz who they see as …

… a charismatic, youthful and unrepentant champion who also holds traditional GOP views on foreign and economic policy.

Yeah, I can see your eyes rolling at the notion of Ted Cruz being charismatic, but the key thing is that Cruz’s social conservative supporters see him as someone who shares their views on cultural and religious issues but is aligned with the GOP establishment on foreign policy and economic issues, which leads them to believe that Cruz could actually build a coalition between the establishment and social conservatives.

Crazy though a Cruz candidacy may sound, that actually seems like a plausible theory—assuming Cruz can convince the GOP’s big money people that he wouldn’t sound like a lunatic on the campaign trail. Hopefully he can, because by taking their most unpopular positions and packaging them into one convenient target for Democratic candidates from Hillary Clinton on down in 2016, a Ted Cruz presidential campaign would be a dream come true.

Help elect more and better Democrats this November! Please give $3 to Daily Kos’ endorsed candidates and strike a blow against Republicans.

Kochs sent hundreds of thousands of fake voter registration mailings in North Carolina

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2014-05-2008

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Screenshot of local news footage showing Jennifer Odum holding fake voter registration from sent to her deceased toddler.

Jennifer Odum with the fake registration form AFP sent to her deceased toddler.

Goal Thermometer
When the North Carolina arm of the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity group tried to register a cat to vote it was amusing. But with more of the story unfolding now, it’s downright infuriating.

It didn’t make any sense. Jennifer Odom’s daughter shouldn’t have gotten anything in the mail, let alone a voter registration form.

“It was disturbing for a couple of reasons,” said Odom. “First, Samantha would only be four-and-a-half years old. So it’s a far cry from the age of voting. Secondly, she passed away two years ago.”

Odom says her daughter died on Sept. 11, 2012.

“That’s right about the time we started getting these notices,” said Odom.

It turns out that AFP has sent hundreds of thousands of these error-ridden, confusing voter registration forms in North Carolina, and both local elections offices and the state board of elections have been swamped with phone calls from confused voters. The forms had numerous bits of misinformation, from filing deadlines to where to send the completed forms to who to contact for more information. The scope of this misinformation is massive, considering it’s gone to hundreds of thousands of voters, and has resulted in an investigation by the state, after the state Democratic Party filed an official complaint. Deliberately misinforming voters is a felony.

But here’s an interesting part to the story. Remember all the pooh-poohing about the Democrats’ strategy of hitting the Kochs? When Republicans and pundits alike were saying that the Koch brothers had no name recognition and it would all backfire? Look at how the local news framed this story: “The group behind the mailing is the sharply conservative, Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity Foundation.” No, nobody ever heard of the Kochs and their anti-democratic activities.

So far, there’s no word whether AFP is trying this in other states with tightly contested Senate races, but as David Ramsey points out in the Arkansas Blog, they’ve got affiliates in a lot of states, and they’re on a mission to misinform “educate” voters and “keep get out the vote” this cycle. So this probably won’t be the last we hear of their phony voter registration drives.

Help fight the Kochs. Please give $3 to Daily Kos’ endorsed candidates for secretary of state and strike a blow against Republicans and their overlords.

Roberts Drops A-Bomb ("Amnesty!") on Orman

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-09-2014-05-2008

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“Amnesty!” is a powerful label that Republican candidates often unleash when their backs are against the wall.