Donald Trump Endorses Mitch McConnell for the Wrong Job – The Wire

Billionaire, reality star, and perennial possible candidate for a series of political jobs Donald J. Trump isn’t quite sure how congressional leadership works, but he definitely thinks Sen. Mitch McConnell should be in charge of something.

Trump dipped his toes into the close Senate race in Kentucky between incumbent McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. The problem is, he nominated McConnell for a job he probably doesn’t want — speaker of the House:

Continue reading via Donald Trump Endorses Mitch McConnell for the Wrong Job – The Wire.

How the GOP stopped caring about you – The Washington Post

In 1862 , in the midst of the Civil War, Republican Justin Smith Morrillstood in Congress to defend his party’s invention: an income tax . The government had the right to demand 99 percent of a man’s property, the Vermont representative thundered. If the nation needs it, “the property of the people . . . belongs to the government .” The Republican Congresspassed the income tax — as well as a spate of other taxes — and went on to create a strong national government. By the time the war ended, the GOP had invented national banking , currency and taxation ; had provided schools and homes for poor Americans; and had freed the country’s 4 million slaves.

A half-century later, when corporations dominated the economy and their owners threw their weight into political contests, Theodore Roosevelt fulminated against that “small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power.” Insisting that America must return to “an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him,” the Republican president called for government to regulate business, prohibit corporate funding of political campaigns, and impose income and inheritance taxes.

In the mid-20th century, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower recoiled from using American resources to build weapons alone, warning, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” He called for government funding for schools, power plants, roads and hospitals.

At these crucial moments, Republican leaders argued that economic opportunity is central to the American ideal and that government must enable all to rise. But each time the party has taken this stand, it has sparked a backlash from within, prompting the GOP to throw its support behind America’s wealthiest people and to blame those who fall behind for their own poverty.

How did the progressive Republican Party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower become the reactionary party of Ronald Reagan, the tea party and Paul Ryan?

Continue reading: How the GOP stopped caring about you – The Washington Post.

Dick Cheney Was Right About Iraq All Along « The Dish

This Bush prophecy business is b.s. through and through. It’s important to say that now, because Dick Cheney, one of the principal architects of one of the worst disasters in US foreign policy and military history, is now making an “I Told You So” tour, back in Washington a standing ovation at AEI! spreading his wisdom to appreciative conservative audiences. It’s like they let Bernie Madoff work on Wall Street again, or returned the FEMA portfolio to Brownie.

Continue reading: via Dick Cheney Was Right About Iraq All Along « The Dish.

Tom Toles: Political Cartoons from Tom Toles – The Washington Post

Tom Toles: Political Cartoons from Tom Toles – The Washington Post.

Decades Of Drought

Originally posted on The Dish:

by Dish Staff

Drought Map

The Southwest faces a surprisingly high risk of it:

A new study published as a joint effort by scientists at Cornell University, the University of Arizona, and the U.S. Geological Survey finds that the chances of the Southwest facing a “megadrought” are much higher than previously suspected. According to the new study, “the chances of the southwestern United States experiencing a decade-long drought is at least 50 percent, and the chances of a ‘megadrought’ – one that lasts up to 35 years – ranges from 20 to 50 percent over the next century.”  …  [Columbia climate scientist Richard] Seager says that the region hasn’t had a megadrought in several centuries; the Dust Bowl drought of The Grapes of Wrath, though incredibly severe, was not long enough to qualify.

Scott K. Johnson offers a sense of scale:

In the 1150s, for example, reconstructions tell us that the Southwest…

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Reproductive Rights, Texas Style

Originally posted on The Dish:

by Dish Staff

Emily Bazelon analyzes a recent abortion ruling in Texas:

Judge Lee Yeakel struck down the state’s “brutally effective system of abortion regulation,” as he put it, saying it was not likely to improve women’s health, would impact poor women the most, and “would operate for a significant number of women in Texas just as drastically as a complete ban on abortion.” The judge was clear and convincing on these essential points. But his ruling, as well as another one over the weekend that’s keeping clinics open in Louisiana, may well be in danger on appeal.

The case centers on a 2013 Texas law that “required all clinics to be outfitted as ambulatory surgical centers,” one example of the “far-reaching regulations that are enacted in the name of protecting women’s health and result in shutting down clinics”:

[T]he underlying legal question—how far a state can go to restrict access…

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The Dying Russians by Masha Gessen | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

Sometime in 1993, after several trips to Russia, I noticed something bizarre and disturbing: people kept dying. I was used to losing friends to AIDS in the United States, but this was different. People in Russia were dying suddenly and violently, and their own friends and colleagues did not find these deaths shocking. Upon arriving in Moscow I called a friend with whom I had become close over the course of a year. “Vadim is no more,” said his father, who picked up the phone. “He drowned.” I showed up for a meeting with a newspaper reporter to have the receptionist say, “But he is dead, don’t you know?” I didn’t. I’d seen the man a week earlier; he was thirty and apparently healthy. The receptionist seemed to think I was being dense. “A helicopter accident,” she finally said, in a tone that seemed to indicate I had no business being surprised.

The deaths kept piling up. People—men and women—were falling, or perhaps jumping, off trains and out of windows; asphyxiating in country houses with faulty wood stoves or in apartments with jammed front-door locks; getting hit by cars that sped through quiet courtyards or plowed down groups of people on a sidewalk; drowning as a result of diving drunk into a lake or ignoring sea-storm warnings or for no apparent reason; poisoning themselves with too much alcohol, counterfeit alcohol, alcohol substitutes, or drugs; and, finally, dropping dead at absurdly early ages from heart attacks and strokes.

Back in the United States after a trip to Russia, I cried on a friend’s shoulder. I was finding all this death not simply painful but impossible to process. “It’s not like there is a war on,” I said.

“But there is,” said my friend, a somewhat older and much wiser reporter than I. “This is what civil war actually looks like. “It’s not when everybody starts running around with guns. It’s when everybody starts dying.”

My friend’s framing stood me in good stead for years. I realized the magazine stories I was writing then were the stories of destruction, casualties, survival, restoration, and the longing for peace. But useful as that way of thinking might be for a journalist, it cannot be employed by social scientists, who are still struggling to answer the question, Why are Russians dying in numbers, and at ages, and of causes never seen in any other country that is not, by any standard definition, at war?

In the seventeen years between 1992 and 2009, the Russian population declined by almost seven million people, or nearly 5 percent—a rate of loss unheard of in Europe since World War II. Moreover, much of this appears to be caused by rising mortality. By the mid-1990s, the average St. Petersburg man lived for seven fewer years than he did at the end of the Communist period; in Moscow, the dip was even greater, with death coming nearly eight years sooner.

Continue reading: The Dying Russians by Masha Gessen | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books.