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Politics Roundup

August 4th, 2006

In the last days before Congress wraps things up before the break, it looks like two major pieces of Republican graft will not pass:

The GOP’s fake minimum-wage political ploy has failed to pass the Senate due to Democratic opposition. In short: the GOP proposed the hike laden with poison pills knowing the Democrats would reject it so they could claim that they were champions of the minimum wage hike and the nasty Democrats blocked benefits for working stiffs. The poison was the GOP’s long-sought estate tax cut, indexing the estate tax to inflation while not doing the same for the minimum wage, and slashing tip earner’s minimum wage in some states (which mostly happen to be blue states).

Meanwhile, Kos has the details on Loony Alaska Senator “It’s Not a Dump Truck” Stevens’ graft-laden Net Neutrality bill: in short, it’s not passing–yet. If you’ll recall, if the bill passes, then the telecoms win and you lose, big time. The telecoms will win the ability to charge even more for select web sites to hog the fastest bandwidth while free sites suffer; in the end, you’ll be paying the bills. The telecoms will win the ability to control what programs you can and cannot use, blocking competitor’s software and controlling your options for home networking. And if they please, the telecoms will have the power to slow down or effectively shut down any site they don’t like–but don’t worry, they’ve promised not to abuse that power. Just like they promised to use the zillions they’ll make from this to give you broadband–a promise they made before and welched on. The benefits to you: none. Zilch. You pay more for worse service while the telecoms make out like bandits and gain control over a huge chunk of the Internet. That’s the essence of the bill.

This latest failure of the bill to pass cloture is not a victory for us, it’s only a setback for them. The bill wasn’t voted down, it just didn’t get the 60 votes to pass filibuster and come up for a vote. But if we let the issue fade out of our consciousness, it will simply resurface in a few months and the telecoms may then have the influence to pass it through while we’re not looking. So be vigilant and let your representatives know that you oppose this!

Tom Delay’s and the GOP’s slick political attempt to move Tom DeLay out of Texas and therefore off the ballot they put him on in the first place has failed, not just with the original judge, but now with the highly conservative Fifth Circuit federal appeals court, TPM Muckraker reports. DeLay and the GOP plan to take it all the way to the Supreme Court. However, it seems likely that DeLay will stay on the ballot, which he never should have gotten on in the first place–his last act of vanity and defiance, now one he’s desperately trying to void with his last act of political manipulation. If DeLay stays on the ballot, it is almost certain that a Democrat will take over the seat. If so, DeLay will at least in part be gored by his own ox: his infamous redistricting plan changed his own district from safely Republican to only marginally Republican, so those right-wing votes could be used to grab adjacent Democratic districts.

You may have heard something of Lieberman and Lamont in Connecticut. I haven’t blogged on it before because it seems pretty evident. The idea in short: Lieberman is simply a retirement away from becoming a new Zell Miller, voting with Republicans and defending them against the interests of his own party. So at the risk of losing a Senate seat, Democrats are choosing to dump Lieberman in favor of a true Democrat, Ned Lamont. Lieberman, whilst claiming to be a loyal Democrat, at the same time defiantly says that if Democrats vote for Lamont and not him, he’ll run as an independent, effectively stating that he won’t follow the party where it leads. It’ll be an uphill battle for Lamont, first having to beat Lieberman among Democrats–the easier task–and then in a general election, where Lieberman will not just have a minority of Democrats behind him (a recent poll put Lamont ahead of Lieberman 54 to 41 among Democratic voters), but a majority of Republicans as well. Lieberman has a good chance of winning either way, which is bad for the Democratic Party. It may mean an extra Senate seat, but it also means that seat will vote with Republicans and will give the GOP and conservative news media a fake Democrat they can use to their advantage (even Tom DeLay endorsed Lieberman recently). Meanwhile, Lieberman’s election tactics grow ever more Republican in nature.

And by the way, Lieberman is waffling on Net Neutrality, a signal that he’s trying to look Democratic but will again vote Republican. And although he’s made statements before that he’s against the estate tax, he is mum on the issue on his web site, and he curiously missed voting on the issue the other day. Perhaps he’s just trying not to offend Republicans when he may need them in November, but it does show that he values politics over doing the right thing.

See? Lying your ass off works.

Pat Robertson now believes in global warming. I’d say that this was one of the signs of the coming of the apocalypse, but then, Robertson is such a nutcase that nothing he says really surprises me too much. If you recall, he took credit for leading prayer vigils that, according to Robertson, convinced God to divert hurricanes Gloria and Felix away from Robertson’s location. Both hurricanes hit other parts of the U.S., killing eight people each, including a six-year-old girl in Connecticut. I never heard Robertson explain why he didn’t pray for the hurricanes to dissipate instead of veering off and killing other people. I guess that little girl had it coming.

Speaking of global warming, keep in mind that although current heat waves are linked to this, it’s not really a local phenomenon. A better name for it is “global climate change.” Remember that if someone tries to bring up a freak cold snap in South Africa as evidence that global “warming” is bunk. In short: the warming trend is averaged worldwide, and overall leads to disruption of weather patterns, meaning that it gets hotter in some places and colder in others, but hotter overall.

Meanwhile, the naysayers claim that scientists “disagree” on the issue, though in truth, only a very small number disagree and the vast majority of scientists consider this a lock. Not that you’ll hear it from the government, where Bush & Co. continue to censor, muzzle, and edit what scientists are trying to say on the issue.

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  1. West Michigan Resident
    August 5th, 2006 at 06:12 | #1

    You want lying your ass off… Dick “Mr. Amway” Devos (and his supporters), in his campaign for Governor of Michigan has run some ads that are complete bull. One ad claims that the incumbent, Democrat Jennifer Granholm, is unfairly attacking him with baseless accusations and that she is willing to do anything to get re-elected. The ad never once says what the charges are it just consists largely of quotes from uber-conservative columnists at the uber-conservative Grand Rapids Press that are subtly being passed of as ‘news’ because they are in a ‘news paper’.

  2. Luis
    August 5th, 2006 at 08:02 | #2

    One ad claims that the incumbent, Democrat Jennifer Granholm, is unfairly attacking him with baseless accusations and that she is willing to do anything to get re-elected. The ad never once says what the charges are…Much more off the topic yet related by kind, the school where I’m working has a union thing going on right now. Only about 2 or 3 of the teachers are in it, but they have the backing of a large national worker’s union which is happy to have the “school union” as a front for them to present a national agenda. When they talk about what the school is doing, they use the exact same tactic you just mentioned–make baseless accusations of illegal behavior, but never specify any supporting evidence to back it up, and word it just right to push it to the edge of libel without actually going over the edge. That very lack of specificity is in itself proof of BS: if they had specifics, they’d be shouting it from the rooftops. So instead they imply, suggest, and insinuate, knowing that a lot of people will believe it as being equivalent to stating an actual fact.

  3. Me
    August 5th, 2006 at 11:42 | #3

    I have to disagree with your assessment on the Lamont/Lieberman race. Granted, I’m not yet counting any chickens about the primary — the ’04 exit polls fiasco has made me cautious till final results are in. But I think if Lamont does win by the kind of margin now suggested, Lieberman will acquire a loser’s stench. Then, most his party support slip away overnight. The Clintons have already made clear they’re supporting the primary winner. In fact, it’s been suggested that Bill’s appearance campaigning for Joe makes him the perfect messenger to tell Joe it’s time to give up. I also think Lieberman relying on GOP votes will be a problem. The more he does that, the more he alienates independents, who dispise Bush by a wide margin. I think Lamont will very much win this election.

    Initially, I was not very impressed with Lamont when I watched the Lieberman/Lamont debate. But on The Colbert Report last week, he looked more like a heavyweight. He came off much better (and less geeky). He’s a perfectly reasonable alternative to a senator that repeatedly knocks his own party on Fox News.

  4. Luis
    August 7th, 2006 at 13:15 | #4

    Me: I dunno, maybe–I hope you’re right, in any case. But something tells me that Lieberman is not just going to up and quit such a long career and established position, not without taking every opportunity he’s got.

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