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Monday, July 20, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Were Republicans really the party of civil rights in the 1960s?

Nope and here's why...
by Harry J Enten
Civil rights protestors are attacked with a water cannon.
Civil rights protestors are attacked with a water cannon.
With Republicans having trouble with minorities, some like to point out that the party has a long history of standing up for civil rights compared to Democrats. Democrats, for example, were less likely to vote for the civil rights bills of the 1950s and 1960s. Democrats were more likely to filibuster. Yet, a closer look at the voting coalitions suggests a more complicated picture that ultimately explains why Republicans are not viewed as the party of civil rights.
Let's use the 1964 Civil Rights Act as our focal point. It was arguably the most important of the many civil rights bills passed in the middle part of the 20th century. It outlawed many types of racial and sexual discrimination, including access to hotels, restaurants, and theaters. In the words of Vice President Biden, it was a big "f-ing deal".
When we look at the party vote in both houses of Congress, it fits the historical pattern. Republicans are more in favor of the bill:
Civil Rights support by party
80% of Republicans in the House and Senate voted for the bill. Less than 70% of Democrats did. Indeed, Minority Leader Republican Everett Dirksen led the fight to end the filibuster. Meanwhile, Democrats such as Richard Russell of Georgia and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina tried as hard as they could to sustain a filibuster. Of course, it was also Democrats who helped usher the bill through the House, Senate, and ultimately a Democratic president who signed it into law. The bill wouldn't have passed without the support of Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana, a Democrat. Majority Whip Hubert Humphrey, who basically split the Democratic party in two with his 1948 Democratic National Convention speech calling for equal rights for all, kept tabs on individual members to ensure the bill had the numbers to overcome the filibuster.
Put another way, party affiliation seems to be somewhat predictive, but something seems to be missing. So, what factor did best predicting voting?
You don't need to know too much history to understand that the South from the civil war to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 tended to be opposed to minority rights. This factor was separate from party identification or ideology. We can easily control for this variable by breaking up the voting by those states that were part of the confederacy and those that were not.
Civil Rights votes by region
You can see that geography was far more predictive of voting coalitions on the Civil Rights than party affiliation. What linked Dirksen and Mansfield was the fact that they weren't from the south. In fact, 90% of members of Congress from states (or territories) that were part of the Union voted in favor of the act, while less than 10% of members of Congress from the old Confederate states voted for it. This 80pt difference between regions is far greater than the 15pt difference between parties. But what happens when we control for both party affiliation and region? As Sean Trende noted earlier this year, "sometimes relationships become apparent only after you control for other factors".
Civil Rights party region
In this case, it becomes clear that Democrats in the north and the south were more likely to vote for the bill than Republicans in the north and south respectively. This difference in both houses is statistically significant with over 95% confidence. It just so happened southerners made up a larger percentage of the Democratic than Republican caucus, which created the initial impression than Republicans were more in favor of the act.Nearly 100% of Union state Democrats supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act compared to 85% of Republicans. None of the southern Republicans voted for the bill, while a small percentage of southern Democrats did.
The same pattern holds true when looking at ideology instead of party affiliation. The folks over at Voteview.com, who created DW-nominate scores to measure the ideology of congressmen and senators, found that the more liberal a congressman or senator was the more likely he would vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, once one controlled for a factor closely linked to geography.
That's why Strom Thurmond left the Democratic party soon after the Civil Right Act passed. He recognized that of the two parties, it was the Republican party that was more hospitable to his message. The Republican candidate for president in 1964, Barry Goldwater, was one of the few non-Confederate state senators to vote against the bill. He carried his home state of Arizona and swept the deep southern states – a first for a Republican ever.
Now, it wasn't that the Civil Rights Act was what turned the South against the Democrats or minorities against Republicans. Those patterns, as Trende showed, had been developing for a while. It was, however, a manifestation of these growing coalitions. The South gradually became home to the conservative party, while the north became home to the liberal party.
Today, the transformation is nearly complete. President Obama carried only 18% of former Confederate states, while taking 62% of non-Confederate states in 2012. Only 27% of southern senators are Democrats, while 62% of Union state senators are Democrats. And 29% of southern members in the House are Democrats compared to 54% in states or territories that were part of the Union.
Thus, it seems to me that minorities have a pretty good idea of what they are doing when joining the Democratic party. They recognize that the Democratic party of today looks and sounds a lot more like the Democratic party of the North that with near unity passed the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 than the southern Democrats of the era who blocked it, and today would, like Strom Thurmond, likely be Republicans.

Maine Legislature Rejects 65 Botched Vetoes From Asshat LePage Forcing Likely Court Showdown

angry Paul LePageThe Maine House and Senate each rejected 65 vetoes sent to them from Republican moron Paul LePage on Thursday, forcing a probable showdown in the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. House Speaker Mark Eves, a Democrat, and Senate President Michael Thibodeau, a Republican, both refused to consider the vetoes, because LePage held the bills for over ten days without acting on them. LePage initially was attempting to “pocket veto” much of the legislation, but the law only allows pocket vetoes when the legislature adjourns.
However, LePage was unwilling to admit his procedural error and instead double downed insisting that lawmakers should bend to his imperial dictates rather than follow Maine law. Now LePage will have to hope the courts agree with his twisted interpretation of the governor’s powers, because the legislature clearly does not.
House Speaker Mark Eves declared the moron’s behavior as out of order, and flatly rejected the vetoes, stating:
You cannot veto a law. This legislation is already law, in accordance with the Constitution, history and precedent. The governor’s veto attempts are out of order and in error. He missed the deadline to veto the bills.
If the Maine Supreme Judicial Court sides with the legislature, LePage’s strategy will backfire as one of the most cataclysmic blunders in government history. 65 pieces of legislation that LePage opposes may have become law, because the teabagger moron can’t abide by the correct process for vetoing legislation he is against.
LePage has proven time and again that he is either too arrogant or too foolish to serve as governor of his state. He has repeatedly attempted to bully lawmakers, but on July 16th they may have exacted their payback. Dozens of bills that LePage opposed are now law, unless Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court decides to side with the moron by choosing to overturn those laws. Unless the court is unusually partisan, there is no reason to expect that they will rule in the moron’s favor.

Liberals Roar As Bernie Sanders Joins Elizabeth Warren On Bill To Reinstate Glass-Steagall

elizabeth warren bernie sanders hell no liberal caucus
Two of the most prominent liberals in the Senate have joined forces to take on the big banks as Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has announced that he is teaming up with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to co-sponsor her bill that would reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act.
In a statement, Sanders said:
I strongly support Senator Elizabeth Warren’s bill to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act.
On July 1, 1999, while Congress was voting on the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to permit commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies to merge, then-Rep. Sanders said: “I believe this legislation, in its current form, will do more harm than good. It will lead to fewer banks and financial service providers; increased charges and fees for individual consumers and small businesses; diminished credit for rural America; and taxpayer exposure to potential losses should a financial conglomerate fail. It will lead to more mega-mergers; a small number of corporations dominating the financial service industry; and further concentration of economic power in our country.”

Allowing commercial banks to merge with investment banks and insurance companies in 1999 was a huge mistake. It precipitated the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world. It caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, life savings and ability to send their kids to college. It substantially increased wealth and income inequality and it led to the enormous concentration of economic power in this country.

I am proud to have led the fight in the House against repealing the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. Sixteen years ago, I predicted that such a massive deregulation of the financial services industry would seriously harm the economy. I would give anything to have been proven wrong about this but unfortunately what happened seven years ago was even worse than I predicted.
Today, not only must we reinstate this important law, but if we are truly serious about ending too big to fail, we have got to break up the largest financial institutions in this country. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.
The legislation to reinstate Glass-Steagall was introduced by Democratic Senators Warren and Cantwell (D-WA) along with Republican John McCain earlier this month. At the time, Warren said, “Despite the progress we’ve made since 2008, the biggest banks continue to threaten our economy. The biggest banks are collectively much larger than they were before the crisis, and they continue to engage in dangerous practices that could once again crash our economy. The 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act will rebuild the wall between commercial and investment banking and make our financial system more stable and secure.”
It is at this point that the obvious must be stated. Despite the support of McCain, Senate Republicans are going to squash this bill. However, the point of this legislation isn’t passage. Congressional liberals have quickly become experts as using their minority status to introduce publicly popular legislation that raises the profile of important issues while putting Republicans on the hot seat by forcing them to defend positions that place them in opposition to a majority of the public.
The judging of proposed legislation based on odds of passage promotes a myopic view that ignores long-term goals and the big picture. Liberals are trying to change the public discussion on issues like the big banks and financial reform, but to begin that conversation the public must have the opportunity to become aware and informed.
Republicans thrive when voters and constituents are uninformed.
The repeal of Glass-Steagall was signed into law by President Clinton, who has continued to defend his deregulation. Glass-Steagall could be a thorny issue for Hillary Clinton on the Democratic primary campaign trail. The post-Great Recession era is not the go-go 90s. Senate liberals are fighting to keep the country from repeating the economic mistakes of the recent past.

Republicans Terrified As Texas Demand For Bernie Sanders Forces Rally To A Bigger Venue

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has a message that is so popular that he was forced to move a rally in Texas to a larger venue to accommodate the growing crowd.
The Sanders campaign announced the change in venue for the Democratic candidate’s Houston, TX rally on July 19, “With turnout projections mounting, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign has shifted the location of Sunday’s town meeting in Houston, Texas, to the Hofheinz Pavilion.”
These events were intended to be town hall meetings, but demand is so high that format has been getting changed to a campaign rally. I anticipate that the Houston event will also be more of a rally than a town hall.
Demand has also forced the campaign to move a Saturday rally in Phoenix to a larger venue, as the big crowds are showing no signs of diminishing for Bernie Sanders.
Republicans should be terrified of Bernie Sanders’ popularity because Texas is the heart of the Republican cabal. The state is demographically changing, but the reason Republicans should be worried about Sanders is that he is demonstrating the power of a liberal populist economic message in red states.
Bernie Sanders, the candidate, isn’t what Republicans should be concerned about. The message that Sanders is bringing is what should strike fear into the Republican cabal. Sanders talks about creating jobs, repealing Citizens United, raising wages for working people, equal pay for women. The Sanders message is that it is time to stand up to the billionaires and corporations and return the government back to the people.
If this message can find support in red states like Arizona and Texas, it can be successful all across the country.
Bernie Sanders is demonstrating that there is and huge demand among red state liberals for their candidates. Democrats and liberals in red states are often unfairly forgotten and lumped in with Republicans. Senator Sanders is making an effort to campaign in front of these voters and ask for their support.
Be afraid Republicans, because Bernie Sanders is showing the country the potential power of liberal populist ideas in red states.

Jeb’s Message To Working Americans Is Work Longer, Harder, and For Less

Jeb wants to abolish the federal minimum wage, deny workers overtime pay, and raise the retirement age for social security.…

Republicans Want To Take Money From The Elderly And Injured To Pay For Roads

Republicans Want To Take Money From The Elderly And Injured To Pay For RoadsJust when you think Republicans can’t get any more loathsome.

Ted Cruz Threatens To Defund State Department Over Iran Deal

Ted Cruz Threatens To Defund State Department Over Iran DealCruz, a loudmouth opponent of the administration’s diplomacy with Iran, maintains that the White House is seeking to circumvent congressional review of the deal by going straight to the U.N.

The Truth be Told


Boehner Tries To Hide His Failure By Launching A Bogus Attack On Women’s Rights

mcconnell-boehnerRepublicans have no ideas or plans for real problems, so they’ve invented a new problem in order to look like they’re doing something and naturally that new “problem” is women’s liberty.
You may have noticed that this Congress is even worse than the last Congress, which made history for doing almost nothing. Now that Republicans control the Senate, we are seeing the same sort of unbelievable dysfunction that runs the House. So we can’t pass infrastructure or jobs bills. The House even let the 81-year-old institution of the Export-Import Bank charter expire on July 1st, causing the business community to blast Republicans for not knowing what they were doing. Indeed.
Let’s not even go near their stunning failure to even come up with an immigration plan, an Iran plan, an alternative to Obamacare, or any of the things they shout about the most.
There are no plans. Republicans have no plans. So, left holding the bag on numerous grown up issues, Republicans have decided to double down on the one thing they know they can agree on– restricting freedom from women.
Sure, they’ve had “missteps” in the past when it comes to women, but they are sure that this time, oh sweet misunderstood video, this time you are on their side.
This was a job tailor made for them! Investigations and witch hunts into a cultural issue they are sure they can squeeze for votes? Yes, please. A way to distract from their inability to get anything related to their jobs done? Yes please! Gruesome video they can get hysterical about and preach down to us all about? YES PLEASE!
Politico reported that Republicans see an up for them in yet another wingnut-funded, secretly filmed video, in that they can now show you this video and you won’t mind so much when they take women’s rights away:
Republicans on Capitol Hill are betting the secretly filmed Planned Parenthood video — depicting an executive allegedly discussing the sale of fetal organs from terminated pregnancies — will give them cover to more aggressively push abortion issues without the political ramifications that have haunted the cabal in the past.
As soon as the Planned Parenthood video was released publicly days ago, Republicans pounced. For some reason that they haven’t explained, they waited until the video was public, but several Republicans admitted to having seen the video weeks or a even a month before it’s public debut. That sort of reeks of coordination, and if Democrats weren’t busy trying to save the country from Republicans, maybe they could call for an investigation, but no matter — Democrats aren’t in charge so that won’t be happening. But at any rate, starting with Bobby Jindal (R-LA, reptile) and then John Boehner (R-OH, reptile), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA, reptile) and Steve Scalise (R-LA, reptile) called for Congressional investigations to investigate if Planned Parenthood was selling body parts.
This is probably a good time to remind everyone that Planned Parenthood never said they were selling body parts in the video. That didn’t stop Republicans from claiming they did, or now from investigating something that was never suggested. But hey, if you had free access to taxpayer money and you couldn’t get anything real done and needed to impress voters for an election, why not stage yet another “investigation” and use it to show that you were busy– so busy. You’ve been working!
Also, harvesting body parts is not illegal, it’s called medical science in fact and it might be gross to some but it saves lives.
Politco noted that Republicans see a window here:
McCarthy is already talking about defunding the organization through the appropriations process. And in the Senate, Republican cabal leaders who have been eying a vote on legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks of gestation say this will give them momentum to clear the bill later this session.
So. Expect Republicans to do nothing else but make a big show of their Benghazi investigation (years in and nothing yet) and now this- an investigation into a video that showed nothing they are investigating. The only reason they are “investigating” the video is because they had their activists point at it and accuse Planned Parenthood of something that is not even in the video, but guess what? It gives them a chance to show you how “gruesome” an abortion is.
And delving into blood and making a horror show of it is what Republicans do best. They don’t solve actual problems like a lack of affordable healthcare, but they were super good at trolling the people who were trying to solve that problem with horror and blood – “death panels” and “socialized medicine killing babies!” and literal coffins being left on lawns. This is what Republicans have come to- they are a horror show. An endless horror show of reactionaries with no ideas.
I’m betting a lot of us wouldn’t like to see a video listening to a heart surgeon describe their bloody work or what they do with body parts. But maybe Republicans should leave medicine to the folks who specialize in it, especially since Republicans can’t even seem to do their own jobs. The jobs we are paying them to do. Maybe they should just focus on the basics, things that were done routinely for 80 years until this Congress.
Republicans can’t do their job so they’re coming for women’s liberty. Again.

Is it just me, or did the Republican cabal coordinate an anti-abortion push based on a doctored video?

John Boehner, via Wikimedia CommonsIs it just me, or did the Republican cabal coordinate an anti-abortion push based on a doctored video?
House Republicans knew about the (doctored) video for weeks, and are now planning a legislative response.

Desperate To Excite Voters, The Cabal Of No Ideas Return To Abortion Politics

Desperate To Excite Voters, The Party Of No Ideas Return To Abortion PoliticsRepublicans have painted themselves into a corner and this is all they have left. Good luck with that!

Another One Bites The Dust

Republican Michael Grimm gets prison time for tax evasion

Crumbling roads and bridges cost drivers $67 billion a year

by Laura Clawson
Here's an interesting angle on the impact of those 61,000 structurally deficient bridges in the United States: they're not just unsafe, they're costing drivers money every day. Going over potholes is not good for your car, and the resulting repairs can really add up:
Car and potholeTwenty-four percent of bridges nationwide are functionally obsolete or structurally deficient, and roads in need of repair are costing vehicle owners about $67 billion annually, according to the DOT figures. [...] The state of roadways, measured by the proportion of roads deemed by the American Society of Civil Engineers to be in poor or mediocre condition, also ranged widely, reaching as high as 73 percent in Connecticut and as low as 17 percent in Indiana.
We're talking about added annual repair or operating costs of $601 per motorist in New Jersey, $586 per motorist in California, $467 in Rhode Island and $425 in Oklahoma. In more than 30 states, the added costs are $250 or more per motorist. Paying to fix a flat or realign your car is not the same kind of problem as being on a bridge when it collapses, but it's a reminder that the costs of failing to maintain, repair, and replace infrastructure are with us every day. That's because Republicans in Congress steadfastly refuse to invest in America, even though doing so would create jobs and improve conditions not just for individual drivers but for businesses that rely on roads.

Michigan Ditches For-Profit Prison Food Provider, But Not Because It Fed Inmates Rat-Eaten Trash

Michigan is switching from one for-profit food vendor in its prisons to another after a litany of health and safety scandals.

EEOC Rules Workplace Sexual Orientation Discrimination Already Illegal Under Federal Law


President Barack Obama appointed a majority of the commissioners who joined the ruling.
On Thursday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission unanimously ruled that sexual orientation discrimination is already illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner reports, the EEOC's groundbreaking decision effectively declares that employment discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers is unlawful in all 50 states. The commission already found that Title VII bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity, protecting trans employees.
As I've explained before, the EEOC’s theory here is really quite straightforward. Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including, the Surpeme Court has ruled, irrational sex stereotyping. The EEOC has already found that when an employer discriminates a gay employee for being effeminate—or a lesbian employee for being butch—that qualifies as illegal sex stereotyping. Now the commission has taken that logic one step farther. When an employer disapproves of a lesbian employee's orientation, he’s really objecting to the fact that a woman is romantically attracted to another woman. This objection is based on irrational, stereotyped views of femininity and womanhood. Thus, when the employer discriminates against his lesbian employee, that discrimination is based in large part on her sex, and on his anger that she does not fit into her gender role.
The EEOC also presents a simpler secondary theory: Sexual orientation discrimination is “associational discrimination on the basis of sex.” When a homophobic employer mistreats a gay male employee, he does so because he dislikes the fact that his employee dates other man. In other words, the employer took that employee's sex into account while making the decision to treat him unequally. Such discrimination is obviously sex-based—and therefore forbidden by Title VII.
For now, the EEOC's decision applies only to federal employees' claims. But the EEOC represents private employees, as well, and helps employers and employees settle discrimination claims without a lawsuit. Last year, the EEOC resolved nearly half its cases through this process. And under the new guidelines, all sexual orientation discrimination will be considered illegal, empowering gay private employees to lodge discrimination complaints. Until the Supreme Court weighs in, lower courts may choose to accept or reject the EEOC's reading of Title VII. But the commission's rulings are respected by the judiciary, and could tip more courts to rule that sexual orientation discrimination is, indeed, already forbidden in the United States.

Equality Just Won The First Skirmish In The Next Great Battle Over Gay Rights

In many states, it is still perfectly legal to fire a worker or deny someone housing because they are gay. That could change, if a federal agency's reasoning is embraced by the courts.

Republicans In Congress Push A Federal Evangelical License To Discriminate Law

So what evangelical Republicans in Congress came up with this week is a "novel" piece of federal legislation that mirrors the rash of religious Republican state schemes …

Judge Flat Out Asks Arizona If State Is Racist

A federal appellate court on Thursday asked the lawyers representing Arizona flat out whether the state was motivated by racism in its refusal to give driver’s licenses and ID cards to young, undocumented immigrants.

Sandra Bland’s Jailhouse Death Is Being Investigated By A Racist Sheriff AND A Racist Prosecutor

Sandra Bland’s Jailhouse Death Is Being Investigated By A Racist Sheriff AND A Racist ProsecutorWTF?! How are these two even employed?