Fri, 1 May 2015
The Republican definition of religious freedom recently became the freedom of an employer to decide whether employees could get birth control as part of their insurance package.
Then freedom of religion transmuted into the right of an employer to order an insurance company not to provide birth control on its own.
Now freedom of religion has mutated into the right of any boss to require workers to report to management, and ask permission, if they want to go to their local pharmacy on their own time and pay for birth control themselves.
The Republican vote was unanimous.
Wed, 18 March 2015
Republicans have refused to reveal the details of their budget plans.
They have learned from past experience how media analysts will focus on Social Security and medicare cuts.
But Tom Price, who heads the Budget committee, let his guard down a little at a recent conservative conclave.
He used the usual audience tested euphemisms, but the direction Republicans in Congress are taking was clear.
Get ready for a bumpy ride.
Mon, 16 March 2015
On February 5, 2015, Republicans held a press event. They warned that letting Russia get away with invading the Crimea peninsula would violate a Presidential agreement signed by Bill Clinton in 1994.
America had to keep its word.
"What kind of message are we sending to Iran as they continue their race towards nuclear weapons?" asked Senator Tom Cotton, as others nodded solemnly.
As it turns out, the program of economic sanctions President Obama initiated against Russia has bitten every bit as deep as President Obama predicted. America did keep its word.
Five weeks later, Republicans publicly warned Iran about giving up on nuclear weapons. They instructed Iran not to trust any agreement to be signed by President Obama. America might not keep its word, if that word is given in a Presidential agreement.
"The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen," they said to Iran, "and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time."
Thu, 12 March 2015
A few years ago, documents and recordings were declassified that confirmed the worst rumors. A private citizen of the United States had secretly contacted foreign governments and sabotaged peace talks in Vietnam. That private citizen was Richard Nixon.
It was hard to imagine anything worse, until a group of conservative Senators tried to sabotage negotiations that might stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
The Senators are convinced Iran can't be trusted. So they are trying to convince Iran the United States can't be trusted.
Mon, 23 February 2015
Just a short time ago, Republicans filibustered everything, and Democrats protested.
Now, news outlets can report that Republicans want to end the filibuster, while Democrats are willing to use it. It fits nicely into the new journalistic ethic of balance over documented fact. It also fits the pox-on-all-houses sub-narrative that appeals to a cynical public. Everyone is a hypocrite, and balance is maintained.
Do mainstream outlets have it right this time?
Wed, 28 January 2015
Forget Trickle Down economics.
The Laffer Curve hasn't worked out.
Supply Side has pretty much ruined Kansas.
The newest Republican economic theory comes from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.
It has lifted Mississippi from the worst economy in the nation to ... well ... the second worst.
It is now proposed by former Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Expect to hear it often as Republicans look for a way to explain the new Obama economic boom.
It's the only way conservatives can look at the economic world and remain conservative.
Mon, 26 January 2015
Republicans put into place, as chairman of a Civil Rights subcommittee, a Senator hostile to Civil Rights.
Then they changed the name, and the purpose, of the committee.
It no longer will have anything to do with Civil Rights.
The change is symbolic.
The change is substantive.
The change confirms the new direction of a political party.
Wed, 21 January 2015
There was a time, not that long ago, when the primary conservative smear was that opponents possessed no patriotism.
Now a Republican Congress routinely votes to deny American combat troops ammunition and supplies.
Legislative leaders threaten to close down American security from terrorism.
The idea of pride in America seemed to fade when the image of the nation came to include President Obama.
Wed, 7 January 2015
Over dinner, Arthur Laffer showed off his napkin to Republican leaders.
It became the ultimate free lunch. Cutting taxes would generate more income for government to use on behalf of all of us for bridges, police, natural disasters, and soldiers.
Four decades later, Kansas was the perfect state laboratory in a great experiment that would prove once and for all that Supply Side economics works.
Laffer's napkin had come a long way. Then the economic house tumbled down in Topeka.
Thu, 4 December 2014
Sometimes important lessons from world developments; conflict with Russia, deadly battles with the self-styled Islamic State, the medical threat from Ebola; become clear only in later months or years.
But Republicans have taught us one unifying lesson from all of these issues. That lesson hasn't taken long at all.