CW: Pardon my ignorance. Yesterday I mentioned coming across Websites that claimed homosexuality was the cause of the fall of the Roman empire. (Akhilleus wrote a great rebuttal to that particular "historical theory" in yesterday's Comments.) I thought this was a novel -- and ludicrous, anti-historical -- theory, but it turns out not to be so novel:
The point that I make is that goddamit, I do not think that you glorify, on public television, homosexuality! You ever see what happened, you know what happened to the Greeks? Homosexuality destroyed them. Aristotle was a homo, we all know that. So was Socrates.... The last six Roman emperors were fags. You see, homosexuality, immorality in general, these are the enemies of strong societies. That's why the communists and the left-wingers are pushing it. They're trying to destroy us. -- President Richard Nixon, early 1970s, discussing the television show "All in the Family"
Peter Kasperowicz of the Hill: "The House voted Friday to prevent the IRS from enforcing any aspect of ObamaCare, a bill meant to exact revenge against an agency that Republicans say is incapable of neutral enforcement of the law. Members approved the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act in a 232-185 vote. Four Democrats supported the bill along with every Republican.... Friday's vote was the 40th time the House has tried to fully or partially repeal ObamaCare. But it was also a chance to slam the IRS, which Republicans say has shown itself unworthy of neutrally enforcing the controversial law." ...
... Gail Collins: after doing nothing (well except for the Biblically symbolic 40th attempt to deny health insurance to millions of Americans), Congress has taken the month off. Too bad it isn't run by women, who can get something done & be polite about it.
** Dana Milbank: "Republican lawmakers seem to think that Americans have short memories and lack Internet connections, for their latest line of attack -- that Obama's health-care and tax policies favor the corporate elite -- directly contradicts their previous allegation that Obama was waging 'class warfare' with 'socialist' policies attacking these very same corporate elites.... Republicans need to make up their minds: Is President Obama a socialist or a corporate stooge?" Milbank's examples of GOP inconsistency are rich.
David Freedlander of the Daily Beast interviews Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.). "House Republicans? Have done more damage to American competitiveness than al Qaeda ever could. 'What is happening is sabotage. Terrorists couldn't do a better job than the Republicans are doing.' The Tea Party? Defeat them the same way segregation was beaten. 'It is the same group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police. They didn't care about how they looked. It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused America to say enough is enough."
Speaking of White Crackers.... Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post: the Tea party astroturf organization "FreedomWorks believes it has identified a core weakness of Obamacare: the young adults who are crucial to keeping premiums in the Affordable Care Act's new coverage programs low, the same demographic the White House sees as crucial to the health law's success. Young adults tend to have lower medical bills, which would hold down premiums for the entire insurance market. If only the sick and elderly sign up, health costs would skyrocket. FreedomWorks wants to make that happen and, in so doing, doom the law." An associated astroturf group, Americans for Prosperity, founded & funded by the Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity, "has spent more advertising against the health law since President Obama signed it than they did during the legislative battle." ...
... Joan McCarter of Daily Kos: "... there's a flaw in the [FreedomWorks] plan. The money [the veep of FreedomWorks] is telling people to pay in fines will just go back into funding Obamacare for the not really stupid people who do get health insurance. But hey gang, knock yourselves out. Because nothing says Freedom! like spending hours in the emergency room waiting to see a doctor for the burn you got from torching a fake Obamacare card." ...
... Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic outlines six reasons young people will probably enroll in Obamacare insurance plans. ...
... Lori Robinson & Justin Cohen of FactCheck.org on some of the untrue claims the Republican National Committee & leading Republicans claim about healthcare & insurance costs under ObamaCare.
Niels Lesniewski of Roll Call: "Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy says Democrats should bring back the idea of changing the [Senate] rules with a simple majority if Republicans block nominees to a federal appeals court. 'I think that the rules change will come back on the table if it's filibustered because it is one thing if you had somebody who is not qualified. These people are extraordinarily well-qualified,' the Vermont Democrat said of three nominees pending to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in an interview that will air Sundayon C-SPAN's 'Newsmakers.' Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said last month that his plan to change the Senate's procedures with a simple majority vote (the 'nuclear option') would have applied only to executive branch nominees, not judges."
Profile in Cowardice. At a town hall meeting, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) encouraged a member of the audience who called President Obama a "foreign-born, America-hating communist despot." Tim Murphy of Mother Jones has the video. ...
... Jed Lewison: "... when contacted by NBC about her answer, Roby's office put out a statement defending the questioner and the audience.... This kind of thing is so commonplace it's hard to get shocked or even outraged by it. But the fact remains that a good chunk of the GOP's activist base is totally and entirely delusional -- and elected Republicans are either too afraid to stand up to it, or are as delusional as their constituents."
Shmucks-in-Arms. CW: Steve Rattner is apparently one of the former Obama officials whom the White House has sent out to do Larry Summers' bidding. In a New York Times op-ed, we learn Larry is really a great guy! despite everything you have heard. As for Rattner himself, the former car czar settled that pension-fund corruption/kickback case for millions of dollars out of his own pocket & some loose change from his corporation. Also, he's a deficit hawk. So his recommendation vis-a-vis managing the national economy is worth a lot. Millions maybe.
The New York Times Editors endorse Newark Mayor Cory Booker among four solid candidates with progressive records for the Democratic nomination in the special U.S. Senate race in New Jersey. CW: isn't that something? -- four excellent primary candidates in New Jersey; Liz Cheney & Mike Enzi in Wyoming.
Tom Hamburger & Ben Pershing of the Washington Post: "An electric-car company co-founded by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D) is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over its conduct in soliciting foreign investors, according to law enforcement documents and company officials. In May, the SEC subpoenaed documents from GreenTech Automotive and bank records from a sister company, Gulf Coast Funds Management of McLean. The investigation is focused, at least in part, on alleged claims that the company 'guarantees returns' to the investors, according to government documents." ...
... Trip Gabriel of the New York Times characterizes the investigation as a cloud over McAuliffe's campaign in the vein of the gifts scandal that has dominated Republican rival Ken Cuccinelli's run.
Alex Dobuzinskis of Reuters: "A federal judge on Friday blocked a portion of a Wisconsin law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital near their practice. U.S. District Judge William Conley last month temporarily stopped the measure, days after Republican Governor Scott Walker signed it into law, and his latest ruling extends that indefinitely while a lawsuit proceeds against the provision. Planned Parenthood, which filed the suit, is challenging the requirement that doctors performing an abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice."
Tom Brown of Reuters: "Florida lawmakers will hold hearings this fall on the state's 'Stand Your Ground' self-defense law, which has become a lightning rod for criticism following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. The announcement on Friday by Will Weatherford, the speaker of Florida's House of Representatives, marked the biggest concession yet by the state's Republican leaders to protesters' demands for a top-to-bottom review of the law, which allows people in fear of serious injury to use deadly force to defend themselves rather than retreat."
Monica Garcia & John Keilman of the Chicago Tribune: "... Gov. Pat Quinn signed the state's medical marijuana bill into law, with Illinois joining 19 other states and the District of Columbia that have legalized cannabis for patient use."
New York Times: "Robert Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since it threw off white rule in 1980, won another term as president after a hotly disputed election held on Wednesday, defeating his main challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, with 61 percent of the vote, the Zimbabwe Election Commission said Saturday."
AP: "Despite warnings from California officials, the nation's highest court is refusing to delay the early release of nearly 10,000 California inmates by year's end to ease overcrowding at 33 adult prisons. In its decision Friday, the Supreme Court dismissed an emergency request by the Gov. Jerry Brown to halt a lower court's directive for the early release."
Reuters: "Employers slowed their pace of hiring in July but the jobless rate fell anyway, a pair of mixed signals that could make the Federal Reserve more cautious about drawing down its huge economic stimulus program.... Gains in employment were enough to push the jobless rate down to 7.4 percent, its lowest level since December 2008."