Tag Archives: Richard Burr

Monday’s looking ugly—

And so are the stories behind these links.

Rep. Matt Gaetz continues embracing Trumpism with both arms. Of course, he’s just following established Republican precedent.

Republicans claim impeachment is a witch-hunt but they’re the ones obsessing about witchcraft. Or thinking that witch hunts were led by witches.

If the NCAA allows college athletes to benefit from endorsements, NC’s worthless Senator Richard Burr has a dumb-ass response: tax athletic scholarships.

So a New Jersey public school system banned kids from prom if they hadn’t paid off their lunch bills. A good Samaritan offered to wipe out the debt; the school district said no.

Right-wing bullshit artist David Barton insists quite untruthfully that human beings can’t damage the Earth’s climate.

Republicans don’t support veterans, not when the veterans don’t toe the party line. Or when they’re immigrants.

Ultraconservative forced-birth attorneys are getting judicial appointments. This kind of strategy is paying off: Brett Kavanaugh and Sam Alito met with the leader of an anti-gay hate group.

Climate change is going to hammer our power grid, infrastructure and military unless we do something. And it’s pretty obvious we won’t.

I remember when handwriting analysts would brag about how they could identify the right candidate for companies to hire. I have the same skepticism that AI analyzing facial expressions in interviews is any more reliable, but it’s seeing use anyway.

The power of the Internet to fill kids’ minds with racist, sexist garbage.

Republicans and propagandists keep insisting impeachment is falling apart. No More Mr. Nice Blog looks at why they may not care their lies are so debunkable.

“What leader worth voting for would negotiate with Mitch McConnell or Kevin McCarthy and believe either will keep his word; what sane president would turn over sensitive documents to Republican-led committees; what Democratic president would simply accept that the federal courts are now the property of the opposition, and submit issues of national policy to them, in the confidence of receiving a fair shake? ” — from a discussion of where liberals and America go after the Trump era (assuming there is an after).

The first Republican tax cut didn’t do much for the economy. So they’re going to try it again. Not really that surprising — from the view of the 1 percent, I suspect the issue is less jump-starting the economy than “give us more money!”

Cover art is uncredited, all rights remain with current holder.

 

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Right-wing defense: telling women of color to go “back where they came from” isn’t at all racist

Yeah right. Even if some in the media don’t want to say so.

As you’ve doubtless heard, Trump blasted four women of color in Congress, including Ihlan Omar, and said they should go back where they came from (and that they call Jews evil, which is a lie). Never mind that they’re all US citizens and three of them are born here. As Adam Serwer says, Trump’s harking back to the old days when it was accepted by white America that nonwhites couldn’t be real Americans: “Trump’s demand is less a factual assertion than a moral one, an affirmation of the president’s belief that American citizenship is conditional for people of color, who should be grateful we are even allowed to be here.”

This is far from the only horrible thing Trump is doing. For example, the Justice Department has redefined spousal abuse and sexual assault and not for the better (though this doesn’t actually change state laws). Abuse is only abuse if it involves physical harm rather than mental abuse or coercive control. Assault is now non-consensual acts banned by law (including assault of unconscious victims) whereas the previous definition was broader (““Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behaviour that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.”).

But as Serwer says, the president’s attack on “the Squad” is still horrific. And unsurprisingly his worshippers have picked up on it, chanting “send her back” at an NC rally, the way they chanted “lock her up” about Clinton.

But not to worry! Trump bootlicker and NC Senator Thom Tillis assures us the chants weren’t Trump’s fault, telling reporters “any one of y’all that have been to a rock concert or other venues, somebody starts up, somebody else thinks . . . I mean, to be fair to the audience, they’re in a mode where they’re energized.” Right, senator. Trump says we banish a US citizen, the crowd takes his side, total coincidence. Tillis, I should add, is all-in on Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda despite occasional hand-wringing. To his credit, he did co-sponsor a bill to end family separation at the border but his latest newsletter announced his current goal is a bill to ban sanctuary cities from not cooperating with ICE. Because you know, he’s totally concerned with breaking the law ! Our other senator, Richard Burr, is even worse.

No surprise Tillis considers North Carolina’s traditional population to exclude blacks and Hispanics.

And then we have Rush Limbaugh, who bigotsplains that this totally isn’t about race, it isn’t even about Omar: “Our founding is being stolen. Our way of life is being stolen. Our resources, our middle-class status, middle-class incomes — our goodness, our morality — is being stolen, and it’s being stolen by people like those four women in ‘the squad’ and the Democrat Party at large. So these reactions are totally understandable to me.”

No, Limbaugh, it’s not the Squad or Democrats that are causing the erosion of the middle class. If that was the issue, they’d be targeting Trump and the Republicans, not singling out a Somali Muslim immigrant who’s just one member of Congress. And Trump voters are motivated much more by status anxiety than economic hardship — as many pundits have pointed out, black and Latino working class Americans are just as economically stressed as whites, but they’re not swinging to Trump the same way. Limbaugh, as usual, preaches bullshit.

And if they’re that miserable, why aren’t they going back to the countries their ancestors came from? It’s the same logic Trump’s using on the squad, after all but no — it’s almost like his supporters feel they have more right to be here than Omar or A-OC do. Or that white immigrants have more right than non-whites. Even though, as someone said on FB last week, we probably have at least as much in common with Mexican culture than, say, France.

And we’ve still got a year before Trump’s campaign gets really cutthroat.

 

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Who could have predicted Sen. Thom Tillis would ring his hands and do nothing? Everyone.

Prior to the vote on Trump’s emergency build-a-wall declaration, NC Sen. Thom Tillis declared the declaration was unacceptable and he was going to vote against it. Guess what? He voted for it.

Lance Mannion says GOP donors intimidated Tillis by threatening to fund a primary challenger for him next year. I frankly wonder if Tillis ever meant to go against Trump or if he was simply positioning himself as a Sensible Moderate Conservative in case Trump goes down. Sure, he may have voted for Trump’s emergency powers, but he was forced! He felt really bad about it! Sorry, senator, but as Thomas Jefferson once said, it’s in our actions and not our words that our hearts are read (and Tillis’ words are frequently lies). Sen. Richard Burr, didn’t even go as far as Tilis: he was an enthusiastic Trump supporter, as usual.

Utah approves hate-crime protection for gays, because the bill throws in protection for Trump supporters.

People aren’t poor because they lack intelligence, their intelligence goes down because poverty drains it.

Anti-semitism keeps surfacing on the right: online comic Owen Benjamin claims Hitler didn’t hate Jews, “he hated filth and was trying to clean it up.”

The right continues to demonize Muslims. Fred Clark looks at the general raving paranoia on the right (they’re going to put Christians in concentration camps and concludes people believe it (whether it is a false-flag shooting, a pedophile slave ring because they choose to believe it: “They purport to be fearful and concerned and upset by this news of evil “Momo” messengers preying on children. If that claim was made in good faith, then these folks would be relieved to learn that it’s all a hoax and a lie. “Oh, thank God,” they would say. But they do not say this and they are not relieved, because they preferred to go on pretending that it was true. Confronted with the evidence of the hoax they had chosen to avoid glancing at, they get angry and resentful to have it pointed out to them.”

I suspect the same sort of logic fuels the fantasy attacks like New Zealand’s are false flags by the left.

And, of course, fantasies about the other side being evil lead into calls to kill them first. Or believing that

So what do the Bible verses about obeying the king and rendering unto Caesar mean in the 21st century? A good discussion here.

Last year Florida voters restored voting rights to convicted criminals. Republicans try to prevent them voting anyway.

I’ve written before about Trump cabinet member and former prosecutor Alexander Acosta breaking Florida law to cut a plea bargain deal with accused child molester Jeffrey Epstein. Now it turns out that as Epstein’s guilty plea involved sex with a sixteen year old, he doesn’t have to register as a sexual predator.

Howard Schulz continues fantasizing he’s the Trump-killer candidate. And some Dems fantasize, just like Obama did, that they can win over Republicans.

In the wake of the recent college recruiting scandal, an insider discusses how often they had to admit mediocre rich kids over the talented poor to land that sweet, sweet full tuition payment.

Five years for animal cruelty? I’m good with it.

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If you’re a teenage rapist, senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have your back

Which is to say like every other Republican senator but Murkowski they voted yes, for Brett Kavanaugh, accused rapist, to sit on the Supreme Court. I’m sure they’d default to the FBI investigation finding nothing, ignoring that the investigation was sharply restricted, because (according to one of the White House lawyers) a full investigation “would be potentially disastrous for Judge Kavanaugh’s chances of confirmation to the Supreme Court.” So several people who might have been a problem for Kavanaugh weren’t contacted. Heck, they didn’t even contact the two guys who supposedly told Senate Republicans that they might be Ford’s attacker. Why it’s almost like there’s no proof they even existed!

The truncated investigation we got is enough for the right wing to claim vindication, which is all it was meant for.

But I’m with slacktivist Fred Clark: “Kavanaugh’s denials expose the specific shape of what he’s denying like a cloth draped over a statue.”

Multiple prominent Republicans such as Franklin Graham have declared even if Kavanaugh did it, it doesn’t matter. 48 percent of evangelical voters also think it doesn’t matter. Neither does this guy. Not when they have the chance to shut down abortion, inflict pain on gays and funnel more taxpayers’ dollars to religon. If that means telling 17 year olds who rape 15 year olds “bygones! you get a mulligan!” (and we’re not even talking about the other two allegations against Kavanaugh), hey, no big! It’s worth it to get a reliable right-wing judge on the court. And I’ve seen very little blowback from other conservatives insisting that yes, it would matter (there are exceptions).

And Trump has mocked the Dems for being wimpy sissies who dumped Al Franken for a bit of groping.

I’ve had right-wing friends sharing the rape-apologist meme that Christine Ford was too ugly to be raped. They are now blocked.

A Florida Catholic, Donald Sanborn says we should believe Kavanaugh because he’s superior to Ford. Sanborn calls himself a bishop, but he is not, in fact part of the Catholic hierarchy.

Lili Loofbourow points out the absurdity of “the three women were conspiring against him” — what kind of dumb-ass conspirators would report public assaults rather than somewhere nobody else can be a witness for Kavanaugh?  She also suggests the public nature is the point — it’s how Kavanaugh and his bros bonded. Hey, for some guys drinking and brawling is what makes them awesome! For others, including President Shit-Gibbon, the cruelty of humiliating women (or blacks or gays) is just too much fun.

The network of “information terrorists” involved in Gamergate and Pizzagate were also active supporting Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh’s very sexist buddy Mark Judge sided with GamerGate.

Along with “those other two guys attacked Ford” the right-wing has also pushed “Ford was hypnotized” to lie as a defense. Or the classic, claiming other accusers were sluts.

Senator Cory Booker groped a young woman as a teenager, but there are significant differences: he went public of his own volition, acknowledged he was wrong, and says he behaved better after that. Which noted at the link doesn’t make it okay, but it’s not comparable to Kavanaugh.

Some conservatives did object to appointing Kavanaugh.

In other related thoughts:

Women talk about what they’d do at night if men were kept indoors.

Paige Patterson, a Southern Baptist leader who told abused women to stay with their husbands, is teaching a class on ethics.

The religious right talks a lot about how abortion is an American Holocaust, millions dead! But even though reliable contraception reduces abortion rates, they oppose it.

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Senator Richard Burr — anti-immigrant, anti-family bigot or craven coward?

So this past week, I called North Carolina’s Republican senators, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, about the Trump policy on snatching immigrant kids from their families. Since then, Tillis has co-sponsored with a bill to end the practice while “ensuring the integrity of immigration laws.” Which is typical Tillis. As I’ve mentioned before, he loves talking in meaningless political cliches. And given his declaration the Republican tax bill is a gift to hard-working Americans, I’m assuming his immigration bill will be awful.

But to give the senator credit, he has in fact criticized the policy. Burr’s view is that “the president is enforcing the law. You could ignore the law, but I wouldn’t suggest he do that.” (of course, separating families is not the law). So either he’s happy to have the government rip families apart — at least if they’re nonwhite — or he’s afraid crossing Trump will land him in hot water with NC Republicans. Which would fit his pattern — Tillis has responded to my letters (even if it is political boilerplate) but Burr never has. Here’s a reminder of what he’s accepting.

A further reason for lacking faith in Tillis: as NC House Speaker he distinguished between the state’s traditional population and black and Hispanic residents. He claimed he meant “traditional” as in living here for several generations, but I’m pretty sure blacks have been in this state a while.

In other related links:

To justify his anti-immigrant policy, Trump makes bullshit claims about immigrant attacks on Americans.

Andrew Sullivan declares that Democrats are obligated to give Trump his border wall — he ran promising one, now he’s entitled to get one. Which is just another version of the mandate myth — that winning an election bestows some kind of divine right on the victor, as long as you voted for them (e.g., Republicans have claimed Republican candidates have a mandate, but never Obama).

Slacktivist points out the problems with Sessions using Romans 13 to justify separations. But Christian evangelicals in the US are often anti-immigrant and see it as biblically justified. Case in point, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

No, critics condemning Trump’s policies are not being uncivil (more here). The NYT profiled one ordinary Republican who thinks it does, neglecting to point out she’s an activist with a save Confederate monuments Republican group (here’s another NYT distortion). Oh, and criticizing Trump court prophets who claim this is a Christian nation isn’t oppression either.

Much like SE Cupp, David Brooks wants us to know that the Trump administration is not conservative. The facts don’t support Brooks (do they ever?).

Trump and Stephen Miller may truly believe Trump’s anti-immigrant policy is a winning strategy.

And for some black humor: Trump administration staffers are very, very upset that their choice of boss hurts them in dating. Some of them just lie about who they work for. And no, it’s not a new story.

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NC Sen. Thom Tillis lies a lot (and more political links)

I’ve mentioned Tillis’s bullshit statements about the Affordable Care Act and how he’s trying to make insurance more affordable by killing ACA. Now he’s explaining his support for the GOP tax bill is because it “will lead to bigger paychecks for hardworking Americans.” Unless he defines hardworking Americans as “rich people, including myself,” he’s lying again. Sen. Richard Burr voted for the tax monstrosity too, so I’m sure he’d lie about it if he ever responded to my letters.

Not that the rest of the Repubs are much better. Rep. Paul Ryan wants us to know it’s a heartbreaking burden to labor on as Speaker of the House, cutting taxes on himself and fighting so he doesn’t have to pay estate tax. He’s a noble soul who just wants to stay in office long enough to gut Social Security and Medicare (sure, he went to college on Social Security Disability, but he doesn’t need it now, does he?), then retire to be with his family. So tragic.

Equally tragic: The media pretending the Republicans really wanted a better bill.

And then there’s the last minute decision that allows people who set up their businesses as limited liability companies take extra deductions if, like President Shit-Gibbon and Bob Corker, they’re in real estate.

A police officer refuses to believe trans people really suffer higher rates of police violence. A female captain tells the man he’s showing his privilege. The captain gets suspended.

Slacktivist looks at the symbolism and problems of Trump declaring Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The belief of some religious conservatives that this is good because it helps advance us toward the Apocalypse strikes me as the worst kind of arrogance, a conviction that if they play their cards right they can make the Second Coming happen on their schedule.

An Oklahoma preacher allegedly used his church’s phone number for a prostitution ring he ran.

How Steve Bannon tried to take down Twitter. And in supporting Roy Moore, Bannon seems to have taken down himself. Although right-wing pundits are desperately trying to blame Moore’s defeat on Mitch McConnell instead (or Christians who got unreasonably freaked out by Roy Moore molesting children) Trump, of course, having endorsed Moore now claims he never had much hope for him. And John Rogers of Leverage explains that no, George Soros couldn’t have bused an extra 20,000 fake voters into Alabama.

Reagan declared we should make it harder to vote, something people have to struggle to achieve. Lance Manion points out that the people who advocate this aren’t exactly crossing trackless jungles to deliver their ballots.

Assessing sexual harassment cases when we don’t know the charges.

Rebecca Traister points out the issue in harassment cases isn’t the assault on women’s virtue but the damage to their ability to earn a living.

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NC Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr vote to give themselves big tax cuts

Sigh. If I’d known the tax bill was coming up early Saturday morning, I’d have called my senators, not that it would have made a difference.

While we don’t know exactly what’s in the bill, we do know it means big tax cuts for the rich. While a lot of press has focused on the donor pressure on Republicans, we should remember they’re rich men themselves: the bill amounts to giving themselves a massive tax cut (both Burr and Tillis are multi-millionaires) and screwing over the rest of us. As a lot of Dem Senators are wealthy too, I’m pleased none of them voted for it (Bob Corker was the lone holdout on the Republican side).

Next up: gutting Social Security and Medicare. Rep. Paul Ryan, who went through college on Social Security disability money his family received is looking forward to making it harder for other people to get the same help.

Jonathan Chait points out that lots of rich people see themselves as Ayn Rand-style superachievers: They’ve earned their wealth! Taking it away in taxes is like what Hitler did to the Jews (spoiler: no, it’s not). It’s a manifestation of the underlying fear that democracy is bad because it allows the poor to vote themselves welfare on the backs of the rich. Just like health coverage is a giveaway for people who don’t care for themselves.

Of course, we’ve never seen that massive poor-dominated Robin Hood take-from-the-rich thing happen; if anything it’s usually the rich sucking from the rest of us. As in this case.

Even if we assume that it’s unfair to raise taxes on the rich, it should be just as unfair to raise taxes on the middle-class or the poor, but the rich have no problems with that. And the conviction that being rich proves they’ve earned it is fallacious. CEO pay, for example, doesn’t track performance. I’ve read multiple accounts over the years of CEOs whose companies enter bankruptcy or see stock prices plummet; the board’s response is to reward the CEO because they did the best they could in a tough time, or to incentivize them to do their difficult job (apparently millions of dollars in pay is not an incentive in itself). Poor people need to suffer more to make them work, but rich people need more rewards.

Nor do their concerns about persecution translate into an enthusiasm for say, putting the people in Wells Fargo’s corrupt fake-accounts scam in jail or holding them accountable (no, that’s interference with business). Nor do they apply the same standards to people like Curt Schilling, the pitcher who took millions in loans from Rhode Island to launch a company but didn’t pay it all back when the company tanked (he did, however, pull his own money out). Schilling still insists (and perhaps believes) he’s not some welfare queen. Nor are they troubled by Trump evading his debts with multiple bankruptcies. And I doubt they’ll do much about Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold using $84,000 of taxpayer money (though apparently legally) to settle a sexual harassment case.

As for Republican voters, Breitbart has just announced We Win, Tax Cuts For All! Voters who rely on Breitbart, Fox News and Info Wars for the truth will never blame Republicans.

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Perhaps we should call Trumpcare Tillis-care? Burrcare?

In the multiple letters I have written to NC Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr I have said, repeatedly, that if they showed some basic decency and didn’t support the various iterations of Trumpcare, I wouldn’t have to rip into them on social media. But they did, so I am. I will give Tillis credit for actually responding to my letters where Burr has remained utterly silent (like a lot of Repubs they’re avoiding constituents). Unfortunately Tillis doesn’t spew anything but bullshit.

He’s made the same arguments in every answering email: Obamacare is on the brink of collapse. Financially it places a strain on lots of individuals who have to obey the individual mandate and buy insurance. “Even some of Obamacare’s strongest supporters have acknowledged that the law has fundamental flaws that must be addressed …”

And that’s certainly true (of course some of those flaws are the result of Republicans refusing to accept the law’s expanded Medicaid option, which would have made healthcare much more affordable for people at the bottom of the economic pyramid). We need more generous subsidies — one of Obama’s biggest mistakes may have been trying to sensibly budget the law rather than just going ahead and budgeting what was needed. It’s not like Republicans give a flying crap about the deficit (Reagan and W both set records for federal red ink) so there’s no reason to treat them as if they do (it’s not like they could have opposed it more than they did).

But none of the bills passed so far would have done that. None of them would have “improved health care outcomes for hardworking Americans by controlling costs and providing access to affordable care” which is what Tillis claims he wants done. Some versions make discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions easier. Millions of people would lose insurance under them, and the most recent bill backed by Lindsey Graham (who admits his ignorance on the topic)and co-written by Rick Santorum would have been disastrous for women’s health.

Tillis and Burr voted for them anyway. Tillis spoke favorably of the Cassidy-Graham proposal. He seems to think if he keeps telling me “obamacare has failed!” I won’t notice that he’s making things worse.

Oh, and Katy Talento, a former advisor to Tillis is reputedly a prime mover in Trump’s budget cutting funds for birth control in favor of teaching the rhythm method. Because even though abortion rates are down and contraceptive use is part of that, stopping the supposed modern-day holocaust of abortion isn’t as important as stopping women having sexwithout consequences!

Here’s more of Trump continuing the Republican war on women. And a profile of Vice President Mike Pence who probably looks at The Handmaid’s Tale and notes all the cool ideas to implement. As I mentioned last week, if Hilary Clinton had become president and refused to meet alone with members of the opposite sex, the right-wing would have had a shit-fit.

Amazing that at this point in Obama’s presidency, the worst attack Fox News could think of was of his eating habits.

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