The American Bear


Key House conservatives back debt-limit plan, win budget concessions | The Hill

Leaders of the most conservative block in the House Republican conference are backing leadership’s plan to increase the debt ceiling for three months, even though the increase has no concrete spending cuts attached to it.

In exchange, conservatives have won assurances that the 2014 House budget will contain deeper spending cuts than the 2013 budget.

They have also been assured that $974 billion over nine years in discretionary cuts accomplished through sequestration and lower budget caps will not be replaced by either mandatory spending cuts or tax increases. These cuts hit defense and non-defense spending, so the most likely outcome will be for the GOP to push defense cuts into the domestic spending category.

Keep kicking the can …

A GOP source told The Huffington Post that, during a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference, lawmakers gave a green light to including language in the 113th Congress rules package that authorizes the House legal team, known as the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), to keep paying outside counsel to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. The proposed House rules package also states that BLAG ‘speaks for the House’ in its defense of DOMA. House Republicans Tie Federal Gay Marriage Ban To House Rules (via kileyrae)

(via randomactsofchaos)

And we say goodbye to the Violence Against Women Act…


VAWA was passed in 1994 and has been easily reauthorized in years since. This year happened to be an exception, with Republicans unwilling to pass an expansion of the bill. Thanks to House Republicans (they’re really winning friends and influencing people all over the place these days), VAWA is no more, despite the fact it was reauthorized by the Senate earlier in 2012 and pushed hard by VP Joe Biden (one of the ‘94 bill’s original authors).

The Maddow Blog quotes Washington Sen. Patty Murphy (who was the Democratic point person on the VAWA reauthorization) as saying:

The House Republican leadership’s failure to take up and pass the Senate’s bipartisan and inclusive VAWA bill is inexcusable. This is a bill that passed with 68 votes in the Senate and that extends the bill’s protections to 30 million more women. But this seems to be how House Republican leadership operates. No matter how broad the bipartisan support, no matter who gets hurt in the process, the politics of the right wing of their party always comes first.

One of the standoffs that ultimately meant that the Violence Against Women Act disappeared after eighteen years of implementation was over Native American tribal rights. Cantor explicitly refused to back a bill that included expanded jurisdiction for Native American tribes in the prosecution of rape cases. One in three Native American women have been raped or experienced an attempted rape and in 86 percent of rape cases, the perpetrator was someone non-Native. Legislation that would have worked to allow tribal governments to exercise greater authority in prosecuting non-Native American alleged rapists was deemed unacceptable by Rep. Cantor. At issue were also matters of undocumented immigration and LGBT rights. 

To better understand the importance of what has been lost, check out this report on VAWA’s impacts and this on the impacts of VAWA on sexual violence public policy.

(via randomactsofchaos)

I’m as thrilled as anyone that the country rejected the GOP’s army of what James Wolcott calls ‘rape philosophers’ and birth-control McCarthyites. But let’s also remember what that means: in the 21st century, one of our two political parties mounted a serious national campaign, and came damn near close to winning, on the basis of a medieval ideology that we thought we had overcome a half-century ago. That we won this battle is good news; that we had to fight it is not. Corey Robin, An Army of Rape Philosophers

Some thoughts on the general election after watching the RNC.


I haven’t even watched Mitt Romney accept his party’s nomination for President of the United States yet, but I don’t think I need to get that far.  I’ve seen enough, and what I’ve seen has made my head spin.  These are some general thoughts on what could possibly be one of the last few election cycles in the American Empire.

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This is quite good.

Now, all a candidate needs to survive as an important player in the Republican party is a decent base of support and a billionaire willing to write the checks. There has been an internal chaos barely below the surface of the entire nominating process this year. I can’t imagine what it would have been like had there not been a billionaire running who could outspend the sugar-daddies funding the rest of the people in the clown car. The presence of Willard Romney and his personal fortune, and his access to people with similar personal fortunes, was the only gravitational force keeping the Republican party from spinning off into its component parts. The only thing that can conceivably be called a Republican “establishment” in 2012 is Willard Romney’s wallet.

Charles Pierce, At Mouth of the Rivers of Power, a New GOP Species

[…] beneath the surface, there are dozens of rivers of pure power, unaccountable to anyone, least of all to the candidate, who has managed to channel enough of them in his direction to become the nominee of a party that, at this point, is something like the Everglades. From a distance, it looks as timeless and unchanging as it ever has. Go deep into the weeds, though, and there are creatures in the muck that never belonged there. The invasive species are the ecosystem now, and, eventually, they will take to devouring each other.

Terence Flynn Quits Labor Board Over Leak |

The National Labor Relations Board announced on Sunday that one of its five members, Terence F. Flynn, had resigned after the board’s inspector general found that Mr. Flynn, a Republican, leaked documents to G.O.P. allies.


The N.L.R.B.’s inspector general, David P. Berry, issued a report in early May that found that Mr. Flynn had committed serious ethical violations by leaking drafts of board decisions and details of internal deliberations to Peter Schaumber, a former labor board chairman who had been co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s labor advisory committee.


Mr. Berry found that Mr. Flynn had leaked information to Mr. Schaumber and to Peter Kirsanow, a former Republican N.L.R.B. member who was serving as outside counsel for the National Association of Manufacturers. The Romney campaign said Mr. Schaumber had stepped down from his advisory position in December, which was after Mr. Berry’s investigation began. The inspector general’s reports did not accuse Mr. Schaumber of using the material he had received from Mr. Flynn to help the Romney campaign.

In one instance, Mr. Berry found that Mr. Flynn had secretly helped Mr. Schaumber write an opinion column that denounced an N.L.R.B. decision that favored labor unions. Mr. Berry called that action by Mr. Flynn “an abuse of his discretion.”

The Flynn case has been referred to the Justice Department for investigation and to the Federal Office of Special Counsel, which is looking into possible violations of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from participating in partisan political activity.

(Source: sarahlee310)

'Barack Obama four years ago referred to this area of Pennsylvania, right here, as a place that clings to their guns and their bibles,' Santorum told supporters in Hollidaysburg, a town in southwestern Pennsylvania known for its social conservatism. 'You’re damn right we do!' he said, to a loud roar of approval.

Santorum: ‘Damn right’ we cling to guns and religion | The Raw Story (via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity)

drawing a blank. nothing. spent.

(via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity-deacti)


“Whenever a Republican tries to claim they aren’t racist, let’s remember this Trayvon Martin incident.

You see, Republicans could have easily taken the stand of defending the Stand Your Ground laws. They could have said they welcomed an investigation and believed that the investigation would show the truth.

But they didn’t do that. Instead, the went after the victim and portrayed him as someone who probably had it coming.

This is all we need to know about Republicans and how they approach matters of race. When given an opportunity, they didn’t hesitate for a second to smear a dead kid.”

A comment on Mediamatters on the article How The Right Deals With A Problem Like Trayvon Martin

(via abaldwin360-deactivated20130708)

I don’t want to use the word ‘patriotism’ too much, but the right likes to use it all the time…It is not patriotic to decide to destroy a new president who was duly elected by an overwhelming margin. It is un-patriotic to resolve to destroy that presidency. If you care about this country, you help him. Russ Feingold