Forget Trump: The GOP-Controlled House Is America’s Biggest Problem
Most of our political problems can be traced back to this absurdly disproportionate influence that the Republican Party wields in Congress, despite the nation’s contemporary aversion to the i…

Voter Apathy is the reason! Get up the will and vote their lame asses out! Get rid of gridlock! They(Republicans) must be voted out because their ideas and the majority of American’s ideas are at odds. Nothing will change as long as these usurpers(Republican right-wing extremists)are voted out.

America is an electoral mess. Though it is still possible (somehow, and at the expense of America’s intellectual rigor) that Donald Trump can win and become president, Hillary Clinton has an electoral landslide within her grasp… if her penchant for thinly disguised political opportunism does not reveal some epic, quid pro quo Clinton Foundation scandals; if her infamous email catalogue does not continue to sink her honesty numbers; if her—well you get the point.

But a third, consecutive Democratic presidential term is likely to be greeted by a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and this is the real problem of American politics: our legislative branch is a stranger to democratic, and often Democratic, representation.

If Clinton wins the popular vote, it will be the sixth popular vote victory for Democrats in seven elections. It is increasingly impossible for Republicans to win presidential elections, largely because they do not follow their own RNC ideas for making the GOP less exclusively a party for elderly, white males. Please, pass that link on to any Republican friends and family you have, I suppose they really need to read it again.

But despite the GOP’s national electoral woes, the House of Representatives currently has the biggest Republican majority in nearly a century. The Senate also has a Republican majority, though because only one-third of Americans vote in midterm elections. Republicans have realized the minority party-electoral advantage in a small voting base, which is why they have worked tirelessly to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters under the partisan illusion that they are trying to prevent voter fraud—a disproportionate reaction to a problem that rarely affects a double-digit number of votes. Justin Levitt, a professor at the Loyola Law School in LA who researches voter fraud, compiled a list of 31 credible instances of fraud throughout the country between 2000 and 2014 for the Washington Post. Out of more than a billion votes cast over fourteen years, 31 instances of credible voter fraud have been found.

This averages about eight cases of fraud every presidential election. But Republicans risk disenfranchising, literally, hundreds of thousands of voters—poor people, made up disproportionately of ethnic minorities, who cannot take off work to drive across the state to get a voter ID; the elderly who aren’t mobile enough to get an ID; married women and others who have recently changed their names or do not have proper birth records—to stop single-digit instances of voter fraud. That’s some Orwellian problem-solving: Democracy Through Disenfranchisement.

This is the tip of the iceberg, though. Gerrymanders have long infested America’s congressional districts, but Republicans have historically disproportionate, national representation because of them. The swing states of past elections tend to have some of the worst gerrymandering in the nation, and it’s not surprising that Republicans have gotten caught in Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia drawing racially-focused congressional maps. This is why some states that routinely vote blue have impressive, state-wide Republican majorities: Republicans are cheaters!

Some legal efforts have been successful in combatting Republican’s chicanery, and another swing state, Florida, is one such positive story. A few years ago Florida mandated computer-generated districting maps that don’t base themselves on the racial makeup of Florida’s communities, and Democrats are likely to pick up a handful of extra Congressional seats because of it.

Of course, Democrats have been guilty of gerrymandering as well, but look at the Congressional scoreboard. In 2012 Democrats handily won more House votes than Republicans, but the GOP kept its massive House majority; Ohio voted for Obama twice, yet has twelve Republican Congressional Representatives compared to only four Democrats; Pennsylvania has voted blue since 1992, but somehow also has only four Democratic Congressional Representatives compared to 13 Republicans. Just look at North Carolina’s Congressional map. It’s hilariously undemocratic (and subsequently unDemocratic).

The Republican Party took advantage of the nation’s mid-term apathy amidst the 2000 and 2010 Census updates, which effectively allowed them to pick their own constituencies. It’s not surprising that hyper-conservative districts have elected hyper-conservative representatives. Does it make sense that Minnesota, a state that has voted Democratic since 1972 (Minnesota was the single blue state alongside Washington D.C. in Reagan’s 1984 landslide) would have ever elected Michele Bachmann, a Christian fundamentalist who interprets God’s punishment in most negative occurrences around the world and attributes it to America’s liberalism? It doesn’t until you see how purposefully uncompetitive the district she represented has been drawn.

Meanwhile, in Texas, if Louie Gohmert’s district wasn’t designed to help carve up liberal areas into multiple conservative districts, does it make sense that Louie Gohmert would be in elected office? Google the keywords “Louie Gohmert + dumb” and marvel at the televised meltdowns that show up. He still believes that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons, only that they were given to Syria before the US invasion! Louie Gohmert is truly a national treasure as someone who both looks and sounds like someone named “Louie Gohmert.”

Most of our political problems can be traced back to this absurdly disproportionate influence that the Republican Party wields in Congress, despite the nation’s contemporary aversion to the idea of a Republican president. The number of GOP House seats is simply unrelated to America’s actual democratic and Democratic makeup, and it’s a stain on America’s history that Christian fundamentalist Representatives like Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert can be successful Republican politicians (Bachmann herself was a former, Republican presidential primary frontrunner, and Gohmert once earned three votes in an attempt to be elected Speaker of the House), even amidst the disappointing number of Tea Party Republicans in Congress who erroneously believe that President Obama is a Muslim America-hater. Is racism a motivation for the POTUS smear? Apparently it is politically incorrect for me to call Republicans racist, but certainly the white-nationalist sympathies of the GOP primary voting base helped Trump outflank a pool of Republican presidential candidates who somewhat unitedly agreed that Trump’s nativist vision did not accurately represent America’s value of diversity.

This hyper-conservatism is further amplified in state legislative bodies, but the federal Congress has caused bigger problems for much more people than any individual state legislature. For instance, state legislatures have not shut down their state governments because Democratic governors were elected, while Republicans are two-for-two in shutting down the federal government during Democratic presidencies.

Democrats can continue getting elected to the presidency, but the Congressional dysfunction that has plagued the last two Democratic presidents will continue until Republicans stop having such an outsized, illegitimate majority in Congress. Florida serves as a quality example on how to fight the racially-biased districting of which Republicans are so fond. North Carolina is the example of how not to draw a state’s congressional districts. Seriously, study NC: it’s 12th district is a particularly offensive example of bullshit politics, though literally none of the state’s districts aren’t bullshit.

When the GOP-controlled House is so willfully undemocratic, is it any surprise that Republican politics would beeline over the rubicons of civil decency and responsibility that would ordinarily stop someone like Donald Trump from winning the GOP presidential nomination? Trump is likely to lose Election 2016, but Republicans are likely to keep their House majority and stonewall Hillary Clinton because she’s a female Democratic President who beat their preposterously unqualified and terrible nominee. It’s uncertain which of those Clinton characteristics makes Republicans angriest, but the GOP’s inflated House majority of Tea Party hotheads is America’s eternal problem.

We have not seen this in the past. That a budget is contingent on us eliminating a program that was voted on, passed by both chambers of Congress, ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, is two weeks from being implemented, and helps 30 million get health-care coverage.
—  President Obama • Pushing back against a variety of House Republicans’ demands, after Speaker Boehner announced intentions to attach yet another attempt at defunding the Affordable Care Act to a bill seeking to avert a possible government shutdown on September 30. The President also said that he won’t “create a habit, a pattern, whereby the full faith and credit of the United States ends up being a bargaining chip to set policy.” source
House Republicans Are Going After The Exxon Investigation
"It is remarkable that a do-nothing Congress that has refused to take any action on climate change is now attempting to disrupt this important investigation into potential corporate malfeasance."

Not content to let the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology’s reputation for hating science rest for even a moment, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has now subpoenaed the New York attorney general over his investigation into Exxon’s role in sowing climate denial.

House GOP Drops Vote on 20-Week Ban; Votes on Redundant Anti-Abortion-Funding Bill

In a surprising turn of events Wednesday night, House Republican leadership decided to cancel their Thursday vote on a 20-week abortion ban. The decision was largely driven by GOP Congresswomen who felt that the details of the ban were too harsh and would further alienate their party from young and female voters in 2016. The bill, which made the usual exemptions for rape, incest, and the life of the parent, did so in a more restrictive way than is usually attempted. The rape exemption only applies to survivors who have already reported their assault to the police (something that happens in only an estimated 35% of rape cases), and the incest exemption also requires prior reporting, but is only available to survivors who are 17 years old or younger.

During an interview, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers of South Carolina described her hesitation on the restriction of the rape exemption. “The issue becomes,” she said, “we’re questioning the woman’s word. We have to be compassionate to women when they’re in a crisis situation.”

With similar concern, Congressman Charles Dent of Pennsylvania voiced his confusion on the logic behind the age limit of the incest exemption. “So the exception would apply to a 16-year-old but not a 19-year-old?” he questioned. "I mean, incest is incest.”

While the bill, titled the (medically inaccurate) Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is off the House floor for now, Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey isn’t ready to give up on it. While speaking to the House Rules Committee, he said, “I would just briefly mention that the pain-capable legislation is only delayed. It’ll be up on the floor, it’ll be up on the floor soon. That bill, I promise you, will be back on the floor very, very shortly.” It’s unclear whether he’ll be able to make this happen given the dissention that has made itself evident within the party as they’re trying to make the GOP more palatable to younger voters before next year’s Presidential election.

Instead, the Republicans decided to vote today on a different anti-abortion bill, one called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act. It passed by 242-179, with only one Republican voting against it and three Democrats voting in favor.

While the bill makes it sound like there is currently federal money being used to fund abortions, that’s just not the case- not entirely. What’s known as the Hyde Amendment has been routinely passed each year for decades and states that no federal funds may be used to assist poor women in accessing abortion services. The amendment does have exemptions for rape, incest, and the life of the parent, but the bill voted on today also allows for those exemptions. The only difference is that today’s bill would make the funding restriction permanent.

In addition, the bill also bans the federal government from subsidizing health insurance plans which offer coverage for one of the most common out-patient medical procedures in the country: abortion. One-third of American women will have an abortion by the time they are 45. Considering how many people of reproductive age are currently getting an affordable, reduced rate on their health insurance plans thanks to ObamaCare, the passage of this bill through the House is a national health concern.

Now that the Senate has a Republican majority as well, pro-choice and pro-abortion activists cannot rely on bills like this being restricted to one chamber of Congress. President Obama promised in Tuesday’s State of the Union address that he would veto any 20-week abortion ban, and while he’s very likely to veto this funding bill should it pass the Senate, reproductive rights in America are far from secure.
The Third Basic Fact That Every Government Shutdown Story Should Include

James Fallows says there are two basic facts required for every government shutdown story. First, if House Speaker John Boehner proposed a "clean" budget bill that didn’t try to defund Obamacare, it would pass today by a wide margin in the House, as it has already passed in the Senate, because all Democrats and enough Republicans would vote for it. Second, Boehner won’t do it.

A reasonable follow-up question is: Why not?

Read more.

House GOP members can't seem to remember that ACORN isn't a thing anymore
  • 2010 The community organizing group known as ACORN disbanded, following a national scandal which began after a video released by James O'Keefe appeared to show organization members giving tax avoidance advice to a young man (rather unbelievably) claiming to be a pimp to a young woman also seen in the video.
  • 2013 House Republicans add an amendment to a bill currently under consideration, which would ban ACORN from receiving government funding of any kind, for the thirteenth time since the organization folded three years ago. source

House Republicans Have Decided to Go Big Rather than Stop a Shutdown

We’re about eight hours from government shutdown, and not only is there little progress toward averting it – things seem to be moving backwards if anything.

Politico reports that House Republicans are considering a bill that would cancel health-insurance subsidies for congressional staffers and, more importantly, delay the individual mandate in Obamacare for a year. This is a slight concession for the right. First, hardliners demanded a total defunding of Obamacare. Then they wanted to delay it for a year. Now they just want to delay the individual mandate for year.

But make no mistake: It’s a proposal that will hasten a shutdown, not forestall it. The problem is that though Republicans are gradually reducing down their demands, they’re doing it far too gradually given the time remaining on the clock. A one-year delay of the individual mandate would have the same effect as delaying the entire law by one year, so there’s still no chance that Democrats will agree to it. Some Republicans seem to think that if they keep trying, Democrats might eventually cave. The problem is that there’s no evidence to suggest the Senate would ever accept such a radical alteration to the law, so voting for this plan this late in the day (it will be no earlier than 6 p.m.) is essentially an endorsement of shutdown.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]
House GOP Try To Sneak Abortion Restrictions, Wall Street Freebies Into Debt Ceiling Bill

Over and over again Republicans continue to play the same kinds of dishonest and underhanded games, in attempts to either sneak legislation past the voters, or worse, to blackmail them into swallowing their extreme religious doctrine, in exchange for doing…