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“Trump Flunks Supreme Court Arithmetic”: Counting To Five Should Be Pretty Easy, Unless You’re Donald Trump

For the typical adult, counting to five should be pretty easy. It makes Donald Trump’s trouble with Supreme Court arithmetic that much more puzzling.

On Monday, the Supreme Court handed down arguably the most important abortion-rights ruling in a generation, prompting the Republican presidential hopeful to say … literally nothing. To the consternation of some of his social-conservative allies, Trump acted as if the court’s decision didn’t exist, offering no response in speeches, interviews, or social media.

It took a few days, but this morning the presumptive GOP nominee broke his unexpected silence in an interview with conservative radio host Mike Gallagher.

“Now if we had Scalia was living, or if Scalia was replaced by me, you wouldn’t have had that, OK? It would’ve been the opposite.”

Actually, no, it wouldn’t have. This week’s ruling was actually a 5-3 decision. Yes, Antonin Scalia’s passing meant the Supreme Court was down one justice, but it doesn’t take a mathematician to know 3 +1 does not equal 5.

Remember, the decision was on Monday, and today’s Thursday. Trump and his team had three days to come up with the candidate’s response to a major court ruling, and this is what they came up with.

In the same interview, the New York Republican complained about Chief Justice John Roberts, telling the host, “He could’ve killed [the Affordable Care Act] twice and he didn’t. That was terrible. And that was a Bush appointment. That was so bad, what happened. And you know, to me, you know, almost not recoverable from his standpoint. Very, very sad situation.”

Actually, the second time the justices considered the constitutionality of “Obamacare,” the law was upheld in a 6-3 ruling. When Trump said today Roberts “could’ve killed” the ACA, his math is still wrong – because 6 – 1 does not equal four.

Do you ever get the impression that Trump hasn’t really thought this issue through? Ever wonder if there’s an issue he has thought through?

Postscript: Trump’s math troubles notwithstanding, the GOP candidate, who used to describe himself as pro-choice, continues to talk about how eager he is to restrict reproductive rights. In this morning’s interview, the host added, “So just to confirm, under a Donald, a President Donald Trump-appointed Supreme Court, you wouldn’t see a majority ruling like the one we had with the Texas abortion law this week.”

The candidate replied, “No, you wouldn’t see that.”


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, June 30, 2016

July 5, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, John Roberts, Reproductive Choice, U. S. Supreme Court | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Extremely Deceptive”: Scott Brown Is Lying About His Reproductive Rights Record

Running for Senate in a deep-blue state—where support for abortion rights has been measured at nearly 70 percent—Republican Scott Brown needs to make it clear that he supports reproductive rights. That’s why he’s telling reporters that he “promise[s]” never to vote in the Senate to curb reproductive rights, and why he has a new ad airing statewide today with this script:

NARRATOR: Scott Brown is pro choice, and he supports a woman’s right to choose.

WOMEN: I like that Scott Brown is independent, he really thinks for himself. His record shows that he supports women, he supports families. When my daughters grow up, I want to make sure that they have good jobs with equal pay, and I know Scott Brown will fight for that. I support Scott Brown because I know he wants to get our economy moving forward again. I’m a mom, I have a family, and I know that Scott Brown will fight hard for families.

BROWN: I’m Scott Brown and I approve this message.

Sounds nice. And it’s true Brown did object to the GOP platform language on abortion. But his actual record—touted in the ad—directly contradicts the new message.


Brown was a co-sponsor of the Blunt Amendment earlier this year, which would have allowed employers to deny women preventive care options under the company plan—including contraception, mammograms, pre-natal screenings, cervical cancer screenings. (It was written broadly enough to allow any employer to do this, not just religious ones). This would have jeopardized the preventive health services of 20.4 million women nationwide, and 517,000 in Massachusetts alone.

Brown voted to defund Planned Parenthood last year when he supported House Resolution 1, the Republican spending plan that was ultimately defeated in the Senate. It would also have removed funding under Title X for health centers for low-income women. 

Brown may have supported the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the Affordable Care Act, which would have stripped any funding for abortions by any health insurance product subsidized by the government. It wasn’t included in the Senate version that Brown voted on. But his staff told the Associated Press in November 2009 that Brown would have supported it—though he told Boston’s WBUR that same month that he would have opposed it.

It’s extremely deceptive, then, for Brown to pretend he supports a woman’s right to choose, as the ad claims. Or in the words of said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List: “Scott Brown is straight-up lying to Massachusetts voters with his latest ad. Brown does not support a woman’s right to choose – his anti-choice voting record has earned him the support of an anti-choice organization in this very campaign.”

Indeed, Massachusetts Citizens for Life has endorsed Brown in his race against Elizabeth Warren. “We consider him a senator who votes prolife,” Anne Fox, the president of that group, told the Boston Globe last month. (Though Republican Majority For Choice has also backed him).

Brown is also misleading about his record on women’s issues elsewhere in the ad. For example, a woman featured says that “I want to make sure [my daughters] have good jobs with equal pay, and I know Scott Brown will fight for that.” But in November 2010, Brown supported a Republican filibuster of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have required employers to prove that any gender disparities in pay were directly related to job performance. That bill was passed by the House two years ago, but has never cleared a Senate filibuster.

BY: George Zornick, The Nation, September 14, 2012

September 16, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Operating On The Fringe”: Are Conservatives Getting Crazier?

Every four years, presidential candidates from both parties say, “This is the most important election of our lifetimes.” Reporters predict that this will be the most negative campaign in history. Partisans say that if their side loses, the disaster will echo through decades, and we believe that our opponents are more dastardly than they’ve ever been. And over the last couple of years, we liberals have looked at conservatives and thought that they have reached levels of craziness unseen before.

So historian/author/smart guy Rick Perlstein, who knows more about the conservative movement of the last half-century than pretty much anyone, warns us that what we’re seeing now is really nothing new:

Over fifteen years of studying the American right professionally — especially in their communications with each other, in their own memos and media since the 1950s — I have yet to find a truly novel development, a real innovation, in far-right “thought.” Right-wing radio hosts fingering liberal billionaires like George Soros, who use their gigantic fortunes – built by virtue of private enterprise under the Constitution – out to “socialize” the United States? 1954: Here’s a right-wing radio host fingering “gigantic fortunes, built by virtue of private enterprise under the Constitution … being used to ‘socialize’ the United States.” Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, “fed up with elitist judges” arrogantly imposing their “radically un-American views” — including judges on the Supreme Court, whose rulings he’s pledged to defy? 1958: Nine Men Against America: The Supreme Court and its Attack on American Liberties, still on sale at

Although Perlstein acknowledges that “What’s changed is that loony conservatives are now the Republican mainstream, the dominant force in the GOP,” this is what makes all the difference. You can still make the case that conservatives are crazier now, because the key factor isn’t the craziness of the craziest idea circulating among them—say, that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and successfully engineered a massive conspiracy to cover it up, as opposed to the idea that Dwight Eisenhower was a communist agent—it’s how widely those ideas are held, and by whom. The conspiracy theories and hate-driven beliefs find purchase not just on the fringe, but among elected lawmakers, influential media figures, and in many cases, a majority of Republican voters.

So when they gain power, real people’s lives are affected. For example, many conservatives never stopped believing that women who make their own sexual decisions are dirty sluts, but since so many Republicans won office in 2010, that belief translated into a torrent of legislation. In 2011, a record 92 pieces of state legislation restricting abortion rights were enacted, along with measures to restrict access to contraception and renew the failure that is abstinence-only sex education.

And in the Republican party of today, looniness practically operates on a ratchet, moving only in one direction. That’s because there are almost no moderates left in the party to push back. In order for a party to undergo an ideological shift, it needs an internal force willing to champion that shift. Let’s say the GOP suffers a big defeat in this year’s elections. Who is going to successfully argue that the party needs to turn its back on its nuttiest elements? All the moderates who have retired in disgust or been purged in primaries? They’re gone, and the Republicans who are left couldn’t care less what they have to say. No, if the Republicans lose, everyone in the party will agree that they only lost because they weren’t conservative enough, that they didn’t take on the hated Barack Obama with sufficient venom and fury. And the center of gravity within the party will move even farther to the fringe.


By: Paul Waldman, The American Prospect, March 19, 2012

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Effect Real Change: Retake State Legislatures

As we ponder whether Obama’s offering to cut Social Security represents a betrayal of Democratic values, whether it’s an as-of-yet-unexplored opening in yet another 11th-dimensional chess match, whether a decrease of an increase is really a cut or not  or whether, in the words of Paul Krugman, the president is executing an “anti-Corleone” by making the Republicans an offer they can’t accept, Democratic values are being systematically destroyed. But the source of the destruction isn’t coming from Washington; instead, it is happening state by state.

The lion’s share of coverage has appropriately focused on the unrelenting extremism of Speaker Boehner’s House majority, but the gains Republicans made in our nation’s statehouses have been no less devastating. In 2010, the GOP made historic gains rivaled only by the wave in 1994. There are now 26 states where Republicans control both legislative chambers; Republicans also occupy the governor’s mansion in 21 of those, compared to 15 and 11 respectively for Democrats. Not coincidentally, 26 states enacted further restrictions on abortion rights. Some of them are particularly odious, such as Louisiana’s measure that would deny malpractice insurance coverage to doctors performing abortions, or a now-blocked law in Kansas that would impose a series of unnecessary licensing restrictions that would have resulted in the closure of two of the three clinics in the state.

At an economic level, the Republican legislators of Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan are proceeding toward accomplishing at a state level longstanding objectives that they could never realistically accomplish at a federal one: specifically, achieving unilateral political disarmament by hamstringing a key funding source of Democratic campaign funding, or selling off public assets without any bidding process to whichever crony they deem appropriate. In Minnesota, Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives, and won control of the State Senate for the first time in history. The result? A government shutdown that is costing the state and its hardworking public employees just so the richest two percent of Minnesotans don’t have to contribute their fair share to help the state function.

Not that states with Republican-dominated legislatures are the only ones with problems. In California, Republicans dominate the budgetary aspects of the legislature despite having only about 35 percent of the seats in either chamber because of Proposition 13, the absurd rule that a two-thirds vote in each chamber must be required to raise revenues. Because it is as impossible to secure a sane legislative Republican in Sacramento as it is in Washington, California’s budget has been consigned for many years to be a series of ever-deeper cuts to the social safety net, public education, and the state park system.

This is a redistricting cycle, and the change in state lines could change some of these equations, but right now, the number of victories required to stop the damage, if not reverse it, is comparatively small. In California, a takeover of two seats in Assembly and Senate would be enough to prevent the Republican minority from continuing to hold the state hostage during every budget negotiation. In Wisconsin, a net gain of three Senate seats from the nine recall elections on Aug. 9 would stop Gov. Scott Walker from destroying Wisconsin any more than he already has. Retaking the lower chambers in Michigan and Ohio would be a slightly more difficult task, but no less achievable given previous history.

A child in an overcrowded classroom in Los Angeles. A Madison teacher fighting for her economic rights. A maintenance worker in Detroit. A scared, pregnant teenager in Orlando who will soon be required to notify her parents if she wants to exercise her rights. They are all being affected far more by what their state governments are trying to do to them, or cannot do for them, than by anything that Speaker Boehner has done since January.

This isn’t to say that retaking the House, re-electing Barack Obama and holding onto our Senate majority is not important. It most certainly is. But a Democratic Congress would not have stopped these state-level Republicans from attempting to enact their sweeping, destructive agenda. The only way to stop them is to raise enough money and awareness so as to defeat them and undo the massive damage that they have managed to accomplish in only six months of governance. Retaking the Wisconsin Senate on Aug. 9 will be a significant victory, but it must be viewed not as an endgame, but as an important first step in a much larger campaign.

By: Dante Atkins, Daily Kos, July 10, 2011

July 11, 2011 Posted by | Anti-Choice, Class Warfare, Conservatives, Democracy, Democrats, Economy, Elections, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Governors, Ideologues, Ideology, Lawmakers, Middle Class, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Voters, Women, Womens Rights | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mitt Romney The Weathervane: What Our Most Changeable Politician Can Tell Us About The Modern GOP

As Mitt Romney enters the Republican presidential race this week, there will be plenty of attention on his shifting political views. But Romney’s changing positions are not just the tragicomic tale of a man so desperate for the presidency he’ll say anything to get there: they’re also a valuable measure of what it takes to make it in the modern GOP.

Romney’s many breathtaking U-turns — on universal health care, on gay rights, on abortion rights — have been extensively documented and parsed, and have become a reliable punchline. The former governor’s willingness to adopt the position that he thinks will get him the most votes in whatever election he happens to be running in does speak to his own character. But Romney’s ease at shifting also makes him a perfect weathervane for measuring the audiences he is trying to appeal to. And the speed with which Romney has been spinning to the right is an alarming sign of the political winds within the Republican Party.

This weekend, Romney will be making an important appearance among a group that has historically mistrusted him: the Religious Right. Speaking at the annual conference of Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Romney can be expected to once again disavow his previously convenient reasonable positions on abortion rights and gay equality. But he is also likely to go a step farther.

At a similar event in 2007, as he tried to shake off his image as a socially moderate Massachusetts Republican in preparation for his first presidential run, Romney spoke at the Values Voter Summit hosted by a coalition of right-wing social issues groups. In his speech, he rattled off Religious Right catchphrases, speaking of the United States’ “Judeo-Christian heritage,” the “breakdown of the family,” and making “out-of-wedlock birth out of fashion again” and passing an anti-gay marriage amendment to “protect marriage from liberal, unelected judges.” He promised a federal “marriage amendment,” funding for vouchers for religious schools and across-the-board anti-choice policies. By earlier that year, he had impressed Ann Coulter enough that she endorsed him in a speech made famous by her use of an anti-gay slur.

At last year’s Values Voter Summit, having done full penance to the Religious Right for his previous statements in favor of gay rights and choice, Romney focused his speech on right-wing economic policies, including an odd tribute comparing Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton to the Founding Fathers. But the company he kept revealed the friends he was hoping to make. The event was sponsored in part by the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, two groups who were soon to be named “hate groups” by the SPLC for their long histories of false anti-gay rhetoric. Romney’s fellow speakers included Religious Right stalwarts Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins, Planned Parenthood scam artist Lila Rose, and the AFA’s Bryan Fischer, who has gained infamy with his vicious rhetoric about gays and lesbians, Muslims, African Americans and progressives. I wrote a letter to Romney warning him about associating himself with Fischer — he didn’t respond.

The Religious Right leaders that Romney is eager to curry favor with aren’t just hostile to gays, Muslims and the social safety net — many have expressed concern or even outright hostility to Romney’s own Mormon faith. Fischer recently confronted Romney’s faith, declaring that there is “a direct contradiction between Mormon theology and the teaching of Jesus Christ.” A writer for a leading Religious Right publication declared, “If Mitt Romney believes what the Mormon Church teaches about the world and how it operates, then he is unfit to serve.” As Romney angles himself into an increasingly extreme GOP, he will have to make nice to those who insult not only his past politics but his core religious beliefs.

At the Faith and Freedom Conference this weekend, Romney will have a similar opportunity to reinforce his social conservative bona fides while tying in his newly adamant anti-gay and anti-choice positions with the Tea Party’s love of pro-corporate anti-tax talk. Ralph Reed, the resurgent mastermind behind the Christian Coalition, will perhaps be the perfect ally in his effort to paint himself as a true Tea Party candidate who wants small government for corporations and big government for individuals. Reed was, after all, partly responsible for bringing the passion of American evangelicals to the Republican anti-regulation agenda and schmoozes equally comfortably with Pat Robertson and Jack Abramoff. He is the perfect power-broker for an age when GOP politicians are supposed to oppose universal health care while supporting IRS involvement in abortions – the niche that Romney is trying to carefully fit himself into.

Romney will try to take advantage of the GOP base’s newfound love of tax breaks for the rich, while continuing to pretend that he never supported choice and gay rights and reasonable environmental and health policies. If he can get away with it, he’ll be the perfect candidate for today’s ultraconservative GOP. But either way, he’s bound to become a powerful symbol of just how far to the Right you have to go to make it in today’s Republican Party.


By: Michael B. Keegan, President, People For The American Way: Posted June 3, 2011 in The Huffington Post.

June 5, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Democracy, Economy, Elections, GOP, Health Care, Ideologues, Ideology, Mitt Romney, Politics, Public Opinion, Religion, Republicans, Right Wing, Tea Party, Voters | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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