It did not generate the outrage that his offensive statements often do, probably just because it happened the day before July 4, but last Tuesday Rush Limbaugh made an inadvertently revealing statement. “When women got the right to vote is when it all went downhill because that’s when votes started being cast with emotion and maternal instincts that government ought to reflect,” said Limbaugh.
Limbaugh was not summarizing some serious new political science research. He was merely making assertions based on his own sexist stereotypes and the fact that women vote more Democratic than men.
The notion that women are less capable of controlling their biological weaknesses for the good of their country is often heard from right wing men. Newt Gingrich, who never served in the military, once said that women could not serve in combat because they would “get infections,” from living in ditches.
Limbaugh’s comment is also a reflection of Republican attitudes toward voting, and why they are so eager to trample voting rights. For another example, recall that Ann Coulter told the New York Observer in 2007, “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine.”
Limbaugh’s defense is that he was joking. But you never hear liberals joke that the world would be better if men or white people were not allowed to vote.
Republicans like Coulter and Limbaugh believe that groups who vote Democratic shouldn’t have the right to vote. The available mechanisms they are using, such as voter ID laws, target Democratic-leaning groups such as African-Americans, young people, city dwellers, and poor people. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “More than 758,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania do not have photo identification cards from the state Transportation Department, putting their voting rights at risk in the November election.” That’s 9.2 percent of Pennsylvania’s 8.2 million voters.
If there were a mechanism for disenfranchising women, the GOP would be pushing it.
By Ben Adler, The Nation, July 8, 2012
In an address to the National Council of La Raza convention in Las Vegas on Saturday, Attorney General Eric Holder told the Hispanic advocacy group that the gains of the Civil Rights era were coming “under renewed threat,” and touted the administration’s efforts in protecting the rights of minority groups and immigrants.
“Many of you know this firsthand – and have felt the impact of division, and even discrimination, in your own lives,” said Holder in his address, according to prepared remarks released by the Justice Department.”
The attorney general pledged that the civil rights advocacy group would “never have a more committed partner than the United States Department of Justice” and touted the administration’s record on those issues.
In particular, Holder highlighted the Supreme Court’s ruling last week striking down much of Arizona’s law targeting illegal immigration.
In a 5-3 ruling, the court rejected most provisions of the law, but let stand a key measure allowing police to check the legal status of those stopped on suspicion of committing unrelated offenses.
Holder said with the decision, the justices were “confirming the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate with regard to immigration issues.”
But Holder, expressed concerns over the provision left standing. “We’ll work to ensure – as the Court affirmed – that such laws cannot be seen as a license to engage in racial profiling. And we’ll continue to enforce federal prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination, in order – as President Obama has promised – to “uphold our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants,” he said.
The attorney general also touted the administration’s decision to halt the deportation of some young illegal immigrants, a move popular within the Hispanic community, calling it “a significant – and long-overdue – improvement to our nation’s immigration policy.”
Holder said the next step was for lawmakers to push through more comprehensive immigration reform and he said the administration would “keep working with Congressional leaders – from both parties – to advance the passage of critical legislation like the DREAM Act.”
Holder’s address to the prominent Hispanic organization comes as both President Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s campaigns boost their efforts to win over voters from the key demographic. Hispanics hold sway in many pivotal battleground states, adding to their importance this election cycle.
Polls, however, show Hispanics overwhelmingly backing Obama, bolstered in part by the decision to change deportation rules.
Holder told the civil rights group that the DOJ would remain vigilant to protect the rights of all Americans.
“Over the past three years, our Civil Rights Division has filed more criminal civil rights cases than during any other period in its history – including record numbers of human trafficking, hate crimes, and police misconduct cases,” said Holder, pledging that such efforts would remain a “top priority” for the department.
The Obama administration is also sending Vice President Biden to the convention. He is scheduled to speak on Tuesday.
Romney, however, will not be attending, and chose instead to send a surrogate, former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Gutierrez was not given a speaking role and instead met with attendees at the conference.
By: Meghashyam Mali, The Hill, July 7, 2012
As protesters assembled on a beach in advance of Mitt Romney‘s evening event at the home of conservative billionaire David Koch, the candidate slipped to East Hampton for his first of three fundraisers on this tony stretch of Long Island.
The line of Range Rovers, BMWs, Porsche roadsters and one gleaming cherry red Ferrari began queuing outside of Revlon Chairman Ronald Perelman’s estate off Montauk Highway long before Romney arrived, as campaign aides and staffers in white polo shirts emblazoned with the logo of Perelman’s property — the Creeks — checked off names under tight security.
They came with high hopes for the presumed Republican nominee, who is locked in a tight race with President Obama. And some were eager to give the candidate some advice about the next four months.
A money manager in a green Jeep said it was time for Romney to “up his game and be more reactive.” So far, said the donor (who would not give his name because he said it would hurt his business), Romney has had a “very timid offense.”
A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. “I don’t think the common person is getting it,” she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. “Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.
“We’ve got the message,” she added. “But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”
Among Perelman’s guests at the buffet lunch, which was topped off with chocolate mint cupcakes, were the Zambrellis of New York City, independent voters who attended a fundraiser for Obama four years ago.
Sharon Zambrelli voted for Obama in 2008 but has been disappointed with his handling of the economy and leadership style. “I was very disenchanted with the political process and he gave me hope,” she said, but ultimately: “He’s just a politician,” she said, an “emperor with no clothes.”
The Zambrellis scoffed at attempts by the Democrats — who mocked Romney in an ad Sunday as “great for oil billionaires, bad for the middle class” — to wage class warfare. “Would you like to hear about the fundraisers I went to for him?” Sharon Zambrelli said of Obama. “Do you have an hour? … All the ones in the city — it was all of Wall Street.”
“It’s not helping the economy to pit the people who are the engine of the economy against the people who rely on that engine,” Michael Zambrelli said as the couple waited in their SUV for clearance into the Creeks shortly after the candidate’s motorcade flew by and entered the pine-tree lined estate. “He’s basically been biting the hand that fed him in ’08. … I would bet 25% of the people here were supporters of Obama in ’08. And they’re here now.”
As traffic snarled along Montauk Highway in both directions, a Ron Paul supporter who said his name was Jim continually circled in his pickup truck that bore large signs for his candidate. “I’ve gotten a few thumbs up,” he said when asked whether his presence was having any effect. “He’s the man.”
The price to hobnob with Mitt Romney in the Hamptons was steep. At Romney’s luncheon with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the Creeks, supporters were asked to contribute or raise $25,000 per person for a VIP photo reception. (Among the co-hosts were lobbyist Wayne Berman, a former bundler for George W. Bush, as well as financiers Lew Eisenberg and Daniel Loeb).
At the evening fundraiser at the estate of Julia and David Koch on Meadow Lane in Southampton, the suggested contribution was $75,000 per couple — with funds going to Romney’s campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
By: Maeve Reston, The Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2012
New numbers released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the economy added a mere 80,000 jobs in June. That’s down from an average of 150,000 jobs a month for the first part of the year, and far too little to keep up with population growth.
Republican intransigence on economic policy has been a key contributor to the sluggish recovery. As early as 2009, Republican fear-mongering over spending and their readiness to filibuster in the Senate helped convince the White House economic team that an $800 billion stimulus was the most they could hope to get through Congress. Reporting has since revealed that the team thought the country actually needed a stimulus on the order of $1.2 to $1.8 trillion. The economy’s path over the next three years proved them right. Here are the top five ways the Republicans have sabotaged the economic recovery since:
1. Filibustering the American Jobs Act. Last October, Senate Republicans killed a jobs bill proposed by President Obama that would have pumped $447 billion into the economy. Multiple economic analysts predicted the bill would add around two million jobs and hailed it as defense against a double-dip recession. The Congressional Budget Office also scored it as a net deficit reducer over ten years, and the American public supported the bill.
2. Stonewalling monetary stimulus. The Federal Reserve can do enormous good for a depressed economy through more aggressive monetary stimulus, and by tolerating a temporarily higher level of inflation. But with everything from Ron Paul’s anti-inflationary crusade to Rick Perry threatening to lynch Chairman Ben Bernanke, Republicans have browbeaten the Fed into not going down this path. Most damagingly, the GOP repeatedly held up President Obama’s nominations to the Federal Reserve Board during the critical months of the recession, leaving the board without the institutional clout it needed to help the economy.
3. Threatening a debt default. Even though the country didn’t actually hit its debt ceiling last summer, the Republican threat to default on the United States’ outstanding obligations was sufficient to spook financial markets and do real damage to the economy.
4. Cutting discretionary spending in the debt ceiling deal. The deal the GOP extracted as the price for avoiding default imposed around $900 billion in cuts over ten years. It included $30.5 billion in discretionary cuts in 2012 alone, costing the country 0.3 percent in economic growth and 323,000 jobs, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute. Starting in 2013, the deal will trigger another $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years.
5. Cutting discretionary spending in the budget deal. While not as cataclysmic as the debt ceiling brinksmanship, Republicans also threatened a shutdown of the government in early 2011 if cuts were not made to that year’s budget. The deal they struck with the White House cut $38 billion from food stamps, health, education, law enforcement, and low-income programs among others, while sparing defense almost entirely.
There have also been a few near-misses, in which the GOP almost prevented help from coming to the economy. The Republicans in the House delayed a transportation bill that saved as many as 1.9 million jobs. House Committees run by the GOP have passed proposals aimed at cutting billions from food stamps, and the party has repeatedly threatened to kill extensions of unemployment insurance and cuts to the payroll tax.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, those policies — the payroll tax cut, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and discretionary spending for low-income Americans — have the highest multipliers, meaning more job boosting potential per dollar.
By: Jeff Spross, Think Progress, July 6, 2012
For multiple days already this summer, the interior of the country has cooked underneath a bowl of hot air. As that heat wave wore on, a freakish storm erupted from Chicago to Washington, D.C., bringing winds that resembled the edge of a hurricane. And in what has become a summer ritual, wildfires are raging not only in the western United States but in parts of the eastern U.S., too.
If global warming is a hoax, it is a strangely powerful one, hoisting global temperatures to record highs, melting the Arctic ice cap, and threatening agriculture and ecosystems across the planet. So how did scientists make that up?
They didn’t, of course, despite the insistence of powerful Republican leaders that your frying lawn is a figment of your imagination. It’s hard not to notice that it’s hotter than it used to be.
This year, indeed, has brought the United States the broad spectrum of weird weather that climate scientists have warned about for years. That includes drought conditions across two-thirds of the country.
“This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level. The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about,” Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona, told The Associated Press.
Still, of all the debates that rage like wildfires across the political landscape — taxes, health care, immigration — climate change gets precious little attention. Now that Republicans such as Mitt Romney have shifted their stances to line up with hard-core climate change skeptics, Democrats have given up. President Obama hasn’t made it a priority for a long time.
Yet climate change is the issue that worries me most when I think about my child’s future. No one can predict with any certainty how a warming planet will affect the global economy, stores of food and water, or even the spread of disease. Certainly, the world can expect even more conflict over scarce resources since scientists predict that the poorest countries will be hardest hit. It sounds as though we are bequeathing to our kids a very troubled planet.
This would be a difficult issue to tackle — both technologically and politically — even if the modern industrialized nations were all in agreement about what needs to be done. Emerging powers such as China are loathe to be lectured to by countries they believe were free to pollute their way to wealth for a century or so. Moreover, many scientists warn that the Earth is heating so rapidly that huge difficulties may be unavoidable.
But even in this country, we are nowhere near agreement that human-caused climate change is real. The Republican Party has become, among other things, an assemblage of flat-earthers, rejecting science, spreading climate illiteracy and bashing environmentalists.
As recently as the administration of George H.W. Bush, the GOP used to take human-caused global warming seriously. The rejection of climate science probably began when an influential constituency, moguls from fossil-fuels-related industries, began to complain about the focus on their plants and products. As several books, including Joseph Romm’s “Hell and High Water,” have pointed out, industry executives started a public relations crusade to persuade voters that the science on climate change is uncertain.
Decades into that campaign, skepticism toward anthropogenic global warming is part and parcel of Republicans’ DNA, expected of its politicians and grafted onto its voters by the right-wing media machine, including Fox News. Recently I watched in disbelief as a young, well-respected GOPer whom I know insisted on a cable news show that climate change is a hoax intended to “make Al Gore rich.”
Somebody please tell my power company, which is sending me huge bills for my air-conditioning use, that this is all a hoax. If Gore will just admit it, perhaps I can have a summer without fear of heat stroke.
By: Cynthia Tucker, The National Memo, July 7, 2012