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Today in Republican Governance

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There’s no question that Trump/Bannon is a unique type of horror when it comes to international relations. There’s also no question that on most issues, the real terror Americans face is not from Trump/Bannon per se but from the bog standard Republican Party. Example A:

Moving to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s legacy on the environment and other issues, House Republicans approved a measure Wednesday that scuttles a regulation aimed at preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams.

Lawmakers also voted to rescind a separate rule requiring companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments relating to mining and drilling.

Republicans said the votes were first in a series of actions to reverse years of what they see as excessive government regulation during Obama’s presidency. Rules on fracking, guns and federal contracting also are in the cross-hairs as the GOP moves to void a host of regulations finalized during Obama’s last months in office.

What’s more, the law prevents the executive branch from imposing substantially similar regulations in the future.

It is that aspect of the law that frightens environmental groups that have fought for years for the coal-mining rule and another rule to restrict energy companies from burning off natural gas during drilling operations on public lands.

Using the review act to overturn a federal regulation “is like burning down your house because you don’t like the paint color,” said Jenifer Collins, a clean water advocate for the environmental group Earthjustice.

Collins calls the review act “an extreme and blunt instrument” that essentially prevents federal rule-makers from addressing a topic once Congress has acted.

Example B:

The Republican-led House voted Thursday to repeal an Obama-era Social Security Administration regulation to keep people with severe mental illnesses from buying guns.

The vote was 235-180.

“The Social Security Administration not only overstepped its mission with this regulation, it discriminated against certain Americans with disabilities who receive Social Security benefits. The agency should be focused on serving all of its beneficiaries, not picking and choosing whose Second Amendment rights to deny,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee.

Democrats complained that repealing the rule, which was adopted in the waning days of the Obama administration, would lead to more gun violence.

“The American people and the families that are being hurt day after day by gun violence — they deserve some due process too,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas.

Meanwhile we need to keep Iranian PhD students and Syrian grandmothers out of the country to keep us safe. Guns? No safety issue at all!

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  • BiloSagdiyev

    Pardon me for unoriginality, but I’d like to say:

    a) Water is life.

    2) We’re an armed madhouse.

    • Nobdy

      To paraphrase Mitt Romney, coal companies are people too, and they need the additional profits from dumping industrial waste in your water supply to survive just as much as a bioperson needs clean water.

      Why should we prioritize biopeople over corporate folks? Sounds like you’re prejudiced against legal persons without corporeal bodies.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Yep. I’m a bigot.

        Let me now paraphrase some nasty person on the right and say that the GOP is objectively pro-poisoning us all.

        • rea

          the GOP is objectively pro-poisoning us all.

          That’s an uncharitable spin–say rather they are focused on ending water pollution, but just take a long term view of the matter.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            Sure! Our kidneys and livers are a long-term solution….

          • Rob in CT

            The Solution To Pollution Is Dillution!

            *glug glug glug, hic*

      • Warren Terra

        I think we can repurpose some abortion arguments here. You may say that a corporation isn’t really a person, but under the law it is, and it has rights. You may say that this legal person is damaging others by polluting or releasing defective products, but much as a blastocyst has a right to grow within a woman, causing her physical distress, a corporate person should have a right to pollute and maim as needed to ensure its fiscal health, even though some of its hosts may cavil.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Eureka! We need to fund studies showing that coal ash spills are bad for fetuses. Rural fetuses.

          • rm

            They don’t care about hillbilly fetuses. Or studies. Let’s not confuse what they pretend to believe in with their actual priorities.

          • Ahuitzotl

            Rural suburban fetuses.

  • Nobdy

    Normally I am against the mentally ill being armed, but in the post apocalyptic hellscape we are headed towards it seems cruel to leave them unarmed. Surely the risk of them shooting an innocent person are lessened in a country inhabited primarily by War Boys and C.H.U.D.S., and the need for self defense much greater.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      I’ve been saying this for a few years now: for all of the right’s sermons about how private charity is the solution to problems, and all of their concerns about how little old ladies in horrible neighbhorhoods need cheap handguns to defend themselves, I haven’t heard of them setting up any charities to arm the poor or the homeless yet.

      Teach a man to shoot a tight grouping at 100 yards, and he eats the rich for the rest of his life…

      • Davis X. Machina

        + 7.62x39mm

        • Linnaeus

          Because, of course, we can’t use the 7.62mm NATO round anymore. It’s Putin’s world.

          • Davis X. Machina

            These are the homeless. Do they deserve anything better than cheap, foreign, steel cased ex-Warsaw Pact stuff.

            I mean, were Obamaphones iPhones?

            • Linnaeus

              You have a point there, good sir.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              Now now, which rifle puts up with abuse, neglect, and lack of lubrication? With dust and dirt and mud? I say it’s an appropriate, and affordable technology. For just $199 per year, you, too can help the underpriviliged water the tree of liberty with the blood of tryants, or at least meter maids and random pedestrians.

              • creature

                A Kalashnikov in every hand, and a corpse on every sidewalk!

            • No, ObamaLifeline ‘phones are absolutely not iPhones, or even Samsung ExplodaPhones.

          • wengler

            7.62mm is the commie round. NATO uses the weak 5.56mm round. Which is why they are terrible and should be destroyed.

      • Domino

        >Teach a man to shoot a tight grouping at 100 yards, and he eats the rich for the rest of his life…

        If you came up with this, +1,000,000,000. Even if you didn’t come up with it, credit to who did.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          (takes a bow)

          Yes, I did it, and all without stimulants. You should have seen me on the internet 15 years ago when I swilled Pepsi!

    • Thank you. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I will again be able to own (legally, as if I care) as many firearms as I can amass. I’ll yet y’all know whether I go w/ Kickstarter or GoFundMe for donations, as my disposable income from S.S.I. isn’t enough to get a .22LR brick, let alone a useful caliber.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Well, the prices will drop now that Obama’s not restricing the ammo production. <– sarcasm font

        I had forgotten that until just now — the endless spiral of hoarding, shortages, and price spikes because of their mania about fictious, theoretical, science fiction future Democratic party tyranny. I was planning on watching everything settle down (on this picayune issue) and see if they even made a peep. (Just kidding, they'll never gain insight that they all did it to themselves.)

  • Darkrose

    The GOP is encouraging suicide.

    We’ll take away your health care so you can’t afford to treat your mental illness but hey–here’s a gun!

    • Nobdy

      And if a gun is too messy we’ve helpfully filled your local aquifer with the industrial byproducts of coal mining, so a locally caught trout or a sip of water from the tap should be just as good as a bullet.

    • alexceres

      There’s good profit to be made this way, especially if they encourage you to buy health insurance that doesn’t cover anything you need and can be yanked out whenever your care gets too expensive

  • Warren Terra

    Meanwhile we need to keep Iranian PhD students and Syrian grandmothers out of the country to keep us safe.

    I feel the temperature on this issue has cooled off a bit, partly because the administration backed down somewhat (though neither completely nor unanimously!) on the abuse of green card holders, of dual citizens, and of former US army interpreters seeking refuge for themselves and their families. So let’s be perfectly clear: most of the executive order remains in place. Iranian PhD students and Syrian grandmothers are still banned. There is not the slightest indication that will change; indeed, there are more signs the ban might be expanded or extended than that it will be abandoned.

    • The Muslim ban presidential decree simply showed that trump is incompetent, surrounds himself with an incompetent clique led by Darth Brenan, and seems to think it’s play acting a tv show.

      Evidently the solution is impeachment. This will require grass roots work to replace a bunch of congressmen, and 15 senators (or get enough republicans to force him out). And this means toning down the left wing excesses. That bs I saw in Berkeley simply has to stop. Nobody is going to vote for a party loaded with radicals who behave like savages.

      • Rob in CT

        Nobody is going to vote for a party loaded with radicals who behave like savages.

        Yeah, that’s a fair description of the Democratic Party. Sure.

        *eyeroll*

        • BiloSagdiyev

          The Oakland anarchists and Nancy Pelosi – who can even begin to tell them apart?

          • Ahuitzotl

            You’re omitting Hiltery ‘Che’ Clinton?

      • Little Chak

        You mean to say a party that is loaded with radicals who get into armed standoffs with the ATF and the FBI over their sovereign rights to ignore any laws they disagree with is not politically viable?

        Color me surprised. I could have sworn they just won a presidential election, and held on to the Senate, giving them what they believe is divine right to ignore the fact that the majority of the country actually disagrees with them.

        Oh, and those violent assholes at Berkeley? They were wearing masks to hide their identities, and they crashed a peaceful student protest. But go right ahead and use them as a cudgel against the protesters, just like the Reich wing wants you to. It’s what you do best.

  • LFC

    Another regulation in imminent danger is the SEC rule requiring oil companies to disclose info about payments they make to foreign govts. (This may be related to the second graph of the 1st blockquote in OP.) I heard Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) inveighing against this on the Senate floor. A completely misleading speech. I think relevant info can be found, among other places, on the site of the ONE Campaign.

    • Davis X. Machina

      requiring oil companies to disclose info about payments they make to foreign govts.

      It’s a Nigerian 419 scam, writ large.

      • Linnaeus

        Wait, that was a scam?

    • efgoldman

      I heard Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) inveighing against this on the Senate floor. A completely misleading speech.

      :::SHOCKED FACE:::

    • rm

      Right. Isn’t that one about multinational corporations needing to make bribes and hire death squads in corrupt countries, free from the tyrannical interference of job-killing regulations? I mean, better to kill some union organizers or civil rights lawyers than to kill jobs.

    • I don’t think it’s an sec rule. It’s part of that law package passed after the 2008 crisis. And it’s redundant, simply adds to paperwork.

      The foreign corrupt practices act is still valid, and that’s what stops companies from paying off corrupt officials. This an area I used to know quite well, because I had to sign documents certifying no bribery was committed under my watch. Lying in those documents made me liable to going to jail, so I was briefed every year by the legal department on this matter.

  • dbk

    Not to mention that …

    At the annual National Prayer Breakfast today, the President announced he “will totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment (1954). Doing so would permit churches to engage in overt political activity (including, I assume, funding candidates for office) and retain their tax-exempt status.

    Common Dreams had the first analysis I saw:
    commondreams.org/news/2017/02/02/trump-seeks-take-wrecking-ball-division-between-church-and-state

    There’s lots more.

    • Dennis Orphen

      So we start our own churches. I’ve been waiting for this.

    • efgoldman

      the President announced he “will totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment (1954). Doing so would permit churches to engage in overt political activity

      Has any church ever lost its tax exemption under the amendment?
      Didn’t think so.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Is there something Franklin Graham wants to bleat loudly that he hasn’t bleated loudly already?!

        • Ahuitzotl

          It’s a very convenient way of foreign countries setting up their own churches (which dont have to report sources of income) and donating in bulk. Tovarich.

  • I am shocked, shocked to discover that when the GOP said that we should take care of mental health rather than enact new gun control restrictions, they weren’t actually serious about the mental health part.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      They might be serious about a blacklist and discrimination against the mentally ill. (On any other issue than retail gun sales, that is.)

  • Marshall_timbers

    There’s also no question that on most issues, the real terror Americans face is not from Trump/Bannon per se

    Alas labor activism won’t deflect incoming Chinese ICBMs after Chancellor Bannon instigates a full scare war with the PRC.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Did you mean to type “scale”? Because I think it works either way.

      • Marshall_timbers

        Yep it works on both levels!!

  • JohnT

    Although I have visited America many times, and interact with it online daily, I still sometimes cannot fathom it at all. It must be strange to live in a country where a parliament elected by an actual plurality (the GOP got more House votes, I believe?) would actively defend the right of very mentally ill (too ill to manage their own social security benefits) people to buy firearms. Seriously, that is just…unreal.

    I can see why people get cynical – practically the most likely consequences of this are a few more tragic shootings (‘more money for the police!’) and quite a few more suicides (less money for disabled people = more for rich people)

    • msmarjoribanks

      I wonder if the explanation to this is to look at how the Obama admin rule being jettisoned was portrayed by the right. According to right wing sites, Fox News, etc., this was a rule to prevent those on Social Security (healthy old people) from having guns — part of the rollout of the much feared Obama will take your guns plan. Why feared given it wasn’t grounded in reality? Well, that’s the relevant media again and what people want to believe, probably.

      So having spent so much time making up stuff about how this was a horror, the Rs had to get rid of it so they can say they did.

      Maybe it’s just that?

      Or maybe they really have an ideological belief in no gun laws, none whatsoever.

      • JohnT

        The latter must be true, I guess. The weirdness is just an Overton Window thing, I guess. In my country it’s pretty controversial to suggest that ordinary, fully healthy adults should be allowed to own guns in any way, permit or no. The notion that people who are sufficiently mentally ill to require SS Disability money should be allowed to buy a gun would be bizarre. The notion that someone who is not mentally competent to deal with the mental disability benefits he/she receives should be allowed to own firearms (including pistols and semi-automatic assault rifles!) is so far outside the window that I can almost literally not get my mind around the idea. You could only get there if you have a fundamental belief that no one should be prevented from owning firearms unless they have already actively misused them.

  • Let’s make sure we understand a little bit better what’s going on: the law to prohibit reporting on mentally ill social security recipients is intended to give their constitutional right to citizens who need to defend their homes and themselves from attacks by invisible bad guys who pursue them relentlessly.

    Thus far all we have seen is one really bad incident in Newtown, where 20 children and six educators were shot to death when a gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. The gunman had earlier killed his mother inside their home, and he used a gun and ammunition that she had purchased. His mental health problems have been extensively reported since the shooting, so this is one case where indeed a mentally ill person went absolutely nuts. But the guy got his gun from his mom. So it looks like we have a problem. Evidently we can’t fix it now. But when the government changes the measures have to be a bit smarter. I think the key is to have guns which can only be fired by their owner. And this requires some sort of electronic sensor. I think I have a patentable idea, which I need to work on.

    • Rob in CT

      That sort of tech already exists, but my understanding is that it doesn’t work very well and is not that hard to defeat. I would like that to be built upon, but the NRA, et al. will fight it tooth and nail.

      And Adam Lanza’s mom would probably have added Adam as an authorized user to her guns anyway. Sadly, there’s basically nothing that could have prevented Newtown.

      But here’s the thing: Newtown type incidents, horrible as they are, are a tiny tiny fraction of the gun violence in this country. Policy should be designed to get at the much larger steady drumbeat of shootings (including, IMO, suicides).

      A small tweak here, a little better enforcement there… this could be done. Especially in the context of falling violent crime rates, it doesn’t need to be drastic.

      • Little Chak

        People who commit suicide are losers. It has thus been decreed.

        PTSD? Psssh. Orange Julius had bone spurs that were making it hard for him to party at Studio 54 and pick up 16-year-old models during ‘Nam. Now that is suffering. But he’s strong; he can handle it.

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