A California couple has been arrested after driving a stolen car to a courthouse, police said.
A car dealership in Redding, Calif., called police to report a missing car on Friday. The dealership told police the car’s GPS showed it was parked in front of a courthouse in Sonora, Calif., according to a press release from the Sonora Police Department.
Police officers found the car near the courthouse with different license plates on it. A woman who police identified as Teresa Castillo, 45, approached the car and told officers her husband had purchased the vehicle earlier that day for $200 so he could make a court appearance for a possession of a controlled substance charge, police said.
The woman’s husband, James Manning, 49, initially denied knowing the car was stolen, but later admitted it was a stolen vehicle, police said.
Manning and Castillo were arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance.
In a bombshell article, the New York Times reported earlier today that the U.S. Census Bureau planned to radically alter its method of calculating the number of people without health insurance in the U.S. The result? The changes will be so radical that “it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.”
From the NYT:
The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.
The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said.
An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument.
You know what else is due this fall? A big election in which the effects of Obamacare are sure to weigh on voters’ minds.
Don’t worry, though. Census officials said the timing of the change was “coincidental” and “unfortunate.” The latter is most certainly the case, but unfortunate for whom? Certainly not the White House, which mere days ago was bragging, Mission Accomplished-style, about how amazing the Obama implementation was going. Does anyone actually believe this White House would want to change and obscure favorable numbers in the weeks and months ahead of an election?
It turns out the suspiciously timed changes aren’t the only remarkable aspect of that NYT story. Apparently the government’s statisticians knew for some time that the old method of collecting data on the uninsured significantly overstated their numbers:
Census officials and researchers have long expressed concerns about the old version of insurance questions in the Current Population Survey.
The questionnaire traditionally used by the Census Bureau provides an “inflated estimate of the uninsured” and is prone to “measurement errors,” said a working paper by statisticians and demographers at the agency.
So not only will the new numbers be close to useless when it comes to using them to figure out if Obamacare has had its intended effect, it turns out the old numbers – which the White House used to cram the law down America’s throat – were bogus as well. Heads they win, tails you lose. But remember: all of this is totally coincidental and really unfortunate.
Unrelated: remember that time the Obama administration tried to force the head of the Census Bureau to report directly to the White House, rather than to the Secretary of Commerce, as required by law?
President Obama has decided to have the director of the U.S. Census Bureau work directly with the White House, the administration said today, a move that comes as the Census Bureau prepares to conduct the 2010 census that will determine redistricting of congressional seats.
We’re sure that was just a coincidence, too.
As reported yesterday, hundreds of federal agents are still at the Bundy Ranch and the area continues its status as a no-fly zone. Despite major media reports that the Nevada Bureau of Land Management is retreating, the remaining activity that still surrounds the ranch illustrates a different scenario.
Not only is the BLM not actually backing off of Cliven Bundy, Sheriff Richard Mack of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association has revealed stunning information: on Ben Swann’s radio program, Mack said that he has received intelligence from multiple, credible sources inside the BLM and the Las Vegas Metro that there is “no question” that the federal government is planning a raid on the Bundy home and the homes of their children who live on the property.
According to Mack, the so-called retreat was nothing more than theatrics. “It was a ploy to get people to back off, to get people out of the way. They weren’t expecting us to get this amount of people here. They were surprised by the numbers and so they wanted a way to get us out of here. This was a ploy to get us out of here and then they’re going after the Bundys.” Mack said that when he was at the Bundy ranch on Saturday there were an estimated 600 to 800 protesters present when federal agents were releasing the cattle.
“If they do that kind of raid, I don’t believe there’s any way that could happen without bloodshed,” Mack told Swann.
Mack spoke about the tactic that protesters could use by putting women at the front of the line facing the federal agents to make them think carefully before opening fire.
“I would’ve gone next. I would’ve been the next one to be killed. I’m not afraid to die here. I’m willing to die here,” said Mack.
Mack said that he had been told by Bundy that the federal government is actively shutting down the ranching industry, specifically in Clark County. He also revealed that there used to be 53 ranches in Clark County. All of those ranchers have been put out of business, except for Bundy who is still trying to hold on. “Every American should be outraged by it,” said Mack. The ranch has been in Bundy’s family since 1877.
Mack decried Nevada governor Brian Sandoval for declaring this situation unconstutional while doing nothing to stop it. “He could have called in the state’s national guard, could have called in the sheriff’s office, could have called in highway patrol, and he’s done nothing except assail what’s going on. That’s easy, that’s cowardly.”
Sheriff Mack also called out media including radio host Glenn Beck who he says is siding with the BLM on this issue.
“I can’t believe that there are some Americans, and some media like Glenn Beck, that are supporting the BLM in this and it’s absolutely disgraceful.”
Local rancher Cliven Bundy may have his cattle back, but his supporters say they are still preparing for an imminent threat.
Militia groups from all over the country say they are flocking to the Bundy ranch to protect the family from a feared federal government raid.
The Bureau of Land Management allowed Bundy to release his cattle Saturday, after they felt threatened.
Bundy now has a whole contingent of armed guards surrounding him 24 hours a day.
“They’re just there, trying to make sure something crazy doesn’t happen to him,” Bundy’s son Ammon Bundy said.
His security detail and family feel he is someone to be protected because of what the federal government could do.
“There were snipers on the hills and armed guards and you know, military forces with cameras all over.” Ammon Bundy said.
Cliven Bundy fears that the government could gather up again because they never reached a formal deal.
He is also trying to determine whether federal agents damaged any of his cattle before they released them.
The BLM only allowed the family to open up the gate of the pen where the animals were being held because officers were afraid of violence. As of now, no one has cleared him to take back his cattle for good.
Taking the stage to address supporters Monday, Bundy was quickly obscured behind his guards. The detail told 8 News NOW they are now patrolling the area 24 hours a day looking for federal snipers.
“You never know, you never know,” Ammon Bundy said.
According to the BLM, Bundy has allowed his cattle to graze public land illegally for the past 20 years. Following two court orders, the feds started rounding up the cattle last week.
The agency also says Bundy owes more than $1 million in grazing fees for trespassing on federal lands since the 1990s.
Saturday, the BLM agreed to pull out of the area but hundreds of protesters flooded a BLM holding station, aiming to release hundreds of Bundy’s cattle.
Monday, Bundy says he never told his supporters to flood a federal cattle pen, using weapons. Members of Bundy’s security details say more militia groups are on their way and will be there for weeks to come.
Ammon Bundy says he was awake last night fearful the feds were going to come in and arrest his family.
No law enforcement have talked about arresting anyone in this dispute, and there is still no clear resolution to the fact that Bundy is grazing cattle on federal land without paying fees.
Clive Bundy may have prevailed over the weekend in his standoff with the Bureau of Land Management regarding his Nevada ranch and disputed ranch, but that’s just the first phase, according to Harry Reid.
“Well, it’s not over,” he told Reno’s KRNV. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and just walk away from it, so it’s not over.”
Last week, the BLM began rounding up Bundy’s cattle amid controversy over whether he owed the federal government millions in grazing fees for his cattle being on their land. Bundy and his supporters, who gathered in Bunkerville, Nev., say that the rancher and his family have had rights to the land for over a century.
With tensions high, the BLM and federal agents backed off on Sunday, prompting some to think Bundy had prevailed. Reid’s comments may mean the government’s withdrawal was temporary, or that it will take a different approach to addressing the situation.
Since taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama has formally proposed a total of 442 tax increases, according to an Americans for Tax Reform analysis of Obama administration budgets for fiscal years 2010 through 2015.
The 442 total proposed tax increases does not include the 20 tax increases Obama signed into law as part of Obamacare.
“History tells us what Obama was able to do. This list reminds us of what Obama wanted to do,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
The number of proposed tax increases per year is as follows:
-79 tax increases for FY 2010
-52 tax increases for FY 2011
-47 tax increases for FY 2012
-34 tax increases for FY 2013
-137 tax increases for FY 2014
-93 tax increases for FY 2015
Perhaps not coincidentally, the Obama budget with the lowest number of proposed tax increases was released during an election year: In February 2012, Obama released his FY 2013 budget, with “only” 34 proposed tax increases. Once safely re-elected, Obama came back with a vengeance, proposing 137 tax increases, a personal record high for the 44th President.
In addition to the 442 tax increases in his annual budget proposals, the 20 signed into law as part of Obamacare, and the massive tobacco tax hike signed into law on the sixteenth day of his presidency, Obama has made it clear he is open to other broad-based tax increases.
During an interview with Men’s Health in 2009, when asked about the idea of national tax on soda and sugary drinks, the President said, “I actually think it’s an idea that we should be exploring.”
During an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood in 2010, Obama said a European-style Value-Added-Tax was “something that would be novel for the United States.”
Obama’s statement was consistent with a pattern of remarks made by Obama White House officials refusing to rule out a VAT.
“Presidents are judged by history based on what they did in power. But presidents can only enact laws when the Congress agrees,” said Norquist. “Thus a record forged by such compromise tells you what a president – limited by congress – did rather than what he wanted to do.”
If a government passes a law, and nobody obeys, what is that government to do?
When Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed the “toughest assault weapons legislation in the nation” last year, his administration estimated between 372,000 and 400,000 firearms would be registered and about 2 million magazines that hold more than ten rounds.
The registration requirement kicked in on Jan. 1 – more than four months ago.
To date, about 50,000 “assault weapons” have been registered – less than 15 percent – and only 38,000 “high-capacity” magazines have been registered – or about 2 percent.
This has liberals – led by the leftist Hartford Courant – in a rage. In a Valentine’s Day editorial, the newspaper said state police should comb the state and federal background check databases to find those millions of scofflaws and… well, arrest them.
The Courant doesn’t say this outright, they argue that the state should find these people, but since violating the new law is a felony, and “felonies cannot go unenforced.”
“A Class D felony calls for a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Even much lesser penalties or probation would mar a heretofore clean record and could adversely affect, say, the ability to have a pistol permit,” they write. “if you want to disobey the law, you should be prepared to face the consequences.
What the newspaper is afraid to call for outright is the imprisonment of tens of thousands of gun and high-capacity magazine owners in the state. Throw them in prison for merely owning a weapon or magazine.
Luckily, Gov. Malloy is a little brighter than the good people at the Courant. Sending state troopers descending on thousands of gun owners can not end well. Some folks – even folks in Connecticut – are inclined to believe their Second Amendment Right is inalienable and would react rather negatively if somebody attempted to disarm them.
So that’s out. What about threatening them with criminal charges? That’s out too. The new law already classifies them as felons and they don’t seem to mind.
So what is Malloy likely to do? Nothing. Pretend the law doesn’t even exist and try to move on. Of course, this just proves what we’ve already known: tyrants are toothless against an armed and educated populace.
From Denver, Colorado’s NBC affiliate, KUSA:
DPS to hire previously undocumented immigrants
Nelson Garcia | April 10, 2014
DENVER – Long before Alejandro Fuentes Mena became a fifth grade teacher, he was an undocumented immigrant from Chile. “I came to the United States when I was four years old,” Fuentes Mena said.
And we believe him.
In August, he started at the Denver Center for International Studies at Ford Elementary School as part of effort by Denver Public Schools administrators to be the first school district in the nation to actively seek out teachers people who were initially brought to the United States illegally.
What a great idea. Who better to instill in students the importance of abiding by the law?
DPS is working with Teach for America to bring in people with an official status of “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” as determined by the federal government. Part of the requirements for DACA status is that a person must have been brought to the United States under the age of 16 and have a clean criminal record.
They probably even make them swear that they are telling the truth.
Even with DACA status, they are still not recognized as legal citizens, but they are allowed to work…
And join the teachers union, of course. Which is the important thing here.
[Tom Boasberg, the superintendent of the Denver Public Schools] estimates that the 10-to-20 percent of the school’s district’s population are undocumented…
And just like how only women can teach women, and only blacks can teach blacks – only illegal aliens can teach illegal aliens.
Teach for America is a program which brings people of different backgrounds and experiences into the classroom to enhance learning. They are not licensed teachers but were issued an alternative license from the State of Colorado to teach. These teachers are currently enrolled in classes to attain their traditional teaching license after one year.
By the way, teachers in ‘Teach For America’ not only receive the normal school district salary and benefits, they also get an AmeriCorps “education voucher,” which can be used to pay for credentialing courses, or to pay student loans or fund further education. Isn’t that great?
The Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform has serious concerns regarding DPS’s decision to hire DACA individuals. The group said in a statement that it believes the majority of people with DACA status are not properly trained or certified to become teachers:
It is unlikely that most of the illegal aliens with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status are trained, qualified, and certified as educators. Indeed, DACA status requires attainment of only a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Using unqualified individuals as “educators” does a tremendous disservice not only to students of all races and nationalities, but to our entire educational system.
What racists! The value of having illegal aliens taught by illegal aliens is incalculable. (Literally.) It doesn’t matter if they don’t know how to teach or if they don’t know their subjects. They are down for the struggle.
The group also said that this decision is unfair to the millions of Americans seeking a full time teacher position:
There are at least 20 million Americans who either do not have a full-time job or are underemployed. This includes teachers. It is neither fair nor appropriate to hire unqualified foreign nationals to replace qualified and experienced American teachers…
More nonsense. There is no way illegal aliens are taking jobs away from American citizens. (Or we would have a high unemployment rate.) Illegal aliens are just doing the jobs that Americans won’t do.
Members of the Walton family, the founders of Wal-Mart, made a large private donation to help pay for teachers with deferred action status to go through the Teach for America program.
“I am very, very grateful to the generosity of Ben and Lucy Ana Walton for their philanthropy in helping support these teachers in our schools,” Boasberg said…
Those racists at Wal-Mart are helping to fund this? Where is the outrage?
Evelyn Hamilton, a 37-year-old Texas woman, was jailed Monday after she allegedly called police to report the bad customer service she received during a recent marijuana purchase.
According to police, officers were dispatched to Hamilton’s residence after she called them to complain that she didn’t receive a refund on her marijuana purchase when she objected to its substandard quality.
Investigators say Hamilton pulled a small amount of marijuana from her bra when the officer asked if she still had it. The woman told the officer that she spent $40 on a bag of “seeds and residue” and didn’t get any satisfaction when she contacted the dealer’s family and asked for a refund.
Hamilton was booked into jail and charged with marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Police say no charges are currently being pursued against the dealer since no direct evidence links the marijuana to a third party.
Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has a big problem. Or an infatuation, depending on how you look at it.
The Senate Majority Leader has gone to incredible lengths to demonize a pair of anti-cancer philanthropist brothers named Charles and David Koch, to the extent that he’s mentioned them 134 times in a series of strange diatribes on the Senate floor.
Nearly all of those mentions have occurred since Feb. 26, when he first went off on the Kochs as an unsubtle means of rallying support for the flailing Democratic Party’s hopes to retain a majority.
Strange then, that Reid once accepted money from a Koch lobbyist, if he’s so convinced of their plans to destroy the nation he loves.
Strange then, in spite of his insistence that the Kochs are out of the mainstream, that Charles and David poll better than Reid does with the American public.
Strange then, that he risks getting into trouble with the law due to his unrelenting smear campaign, as it’s possible he violated Senate rules by using his taxpayer-funded website to bash the Kochs.
Then again, Harry Reid is a strange senator.
Washingtonian MOM magazine’s spring issue has a profile of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s wife, by ABC News contributor Claire Shipman, that features a picture taken inside their home. In the background of the photo, you can see two framed Soviet-era propaganda posters.
One of Carney’s posters is a version of this iconic design by artist Dmitry Moor with a soldier pointing his finger alongside text that says “Have YOU Enlisted?” in Russian.
The other poster features a female factory worker. According to this eBay seller, who is offering one for $1,660, the poster was printed on June 26, 1941, days after Russia began fighting the Axis powers in World War II. It encourages women take jobs vacated by men who have gone to fight. The woman in the poster is switching out a tag with a man’s name to one with hers and the text says: “Women! Learn production, replace workers who went to the front! The stronger the hinterland – the stronger the front!”
It’s interesting that a propagandist for the most radical, collectivist, left-wing President in history has radical, collectivist, left-wing propaganda from another period proudly displayed on his living room for all to see and “admire.” Can you imagine a prominent member of the Bush administration being caught with Goebbels approved Nazi recruitment posters on his living room wall and the howling firestorm of outrage and media circus that would have erupted immediately? Yet where is the outrage here? The double standard is glaring and at minimum such questionable home decorating tastes should raise a few eyebrows. And it’s not like these were displayed in an office or den somewhere surrounded by all types of historical memorabilia. That I could understand. But this, I’m not so sure about. Kind of creepy if you ask me.
If you believe these are acceptable wall hangings in the living room of a well known member of the white house staff, how would feel if they were prominently displaying the following? Would that be ‘no big deal’ as well? What do you think, Comrade?
Considering the fact that the Soviet Empire murdered millions upon millions of people, was routinely brutal and oppressive towards free expression, brought the world to the brink of nuclear war and serves as a black mark on the history of human civilization, it seems inappropriate to adorn one’s home with vestiges of totalitarian brutality.
Another mind-numbing example has surfaced of the left’s fight to ban all guns, things that resemble guns, things that might make you think of guns and people who utter the world gun. This time though, a good teacher has been removed from the classroom and consequently, students are suffering.
Greg Schiller is a well-respected science teacher at Grand Arts High School in Los Angeles. As his class was preparing for the annual science fair, two students’ projects were brought to the attention of administrators which caused a ridiculous amount of concern over nothing.
The two students were working on projects which the school staff apparently deemed to be gun-related and now Mr. Schiller has been accused of placing his students in an unsafe environment. He was immediately placed in ‘teacher jail’, which is basically his removal from the classroom with pay.
One of the gun-like science projects was an air cannon similar to the one which was featured in a White House science fair back in 2012. Obama was captured on tape firing marshmallows out of it along with the student who built it. You would think that if the Secret Service deems it safe enough to be fired in the presence of the President, there’s really not much to worry about – unless flying marshmallows haunt your dreams.
The other project was an electromagnetic battery powered coil gun.
Mr. Schiller never had the opportunity to see either one of the projects and both students have been disqualified from the science fair.
That, however, is perhaps not even the worst of it. While Mr. Schiller is banned from his classroom, his students have been forced to prepare for their Advanced Placement exams without the help of his expertise. Of course, their substitute has not been of much help, being that they have no background in science, and serves primarily as a glorified babysitter.
If the students cannot pass their exams without the help of Mr. Schiller, they risk rejection from better colleges in the near future. It all seems like undue consequences over a couple crafty science fair projects.
Students have organized a protest in support of their well-liked teacher. They plan to wear duct tape covering their mouths in a vow not to speak until Mr. Schiller is released from ‘teacher jail’. Their effort is commendable, but it probably will not do much to sway the views of disillusioned gun-grabbers.
Let us know how this most recent report of anti-gun shenanigans makes you feel in the comments section!
The North Carolina Board of Elections discovered THOUSANDS of residents who voted in both North Carolina and another state in the 2012 elections.
The investigation also found 81 deceased voters that had voter activity since they died.
But you wouldn’t know this from Barack Obama’s speech on Friday.
Obama decried “bogus” accusations of voter fraud in his speech Friday to the Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
The Hill reported:
President Obama labeled complaints about voter fraud “bogus” and accused Republicans of cynically trying to prevent Americans from accessing the polls in a fiery speech Friday at a civil rights forum hosted by Al Sharpton.
Obama argued that attempts in some states to impose new voter identification restrictions were actually efforts by Republicans to make “it harder, not easier to vote.” And the president said that while voter fraud should be prevented, it rarely occurred.
“So let’s be clear, the real voter fraud is the people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud,” Obama said.
Obama sad that the efforts betrayed a weakness within the Republican Party, saying his opposition needed to restrict poll access to remain competitive.
“If your strategy depends on fewer people showing up to vote, that’s not a sign of strength, it’s a sign of weakness,” Obama said.
“What kind of political platform is that?” he added. “Why would you make that part of your agenda, preventing people from voting?”
When I say “debts,” I don’t mean loans that the parents willingly sought from SSA. It would be bad enough to hold a kid responsible for that (since when are children responsible for their parents’ obligations?), but at least it would have been voluntarily incurred by mom/dad. The “debts” here are overpayments of Social Security benefits, the product of SSA’s own errors. The parents who received them might not have even realized they were getting money they weren’t supposed to have. And now, somehow, it’s junior’s problem.
But wait. It gets worse.
When [Mary] Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.
Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family – it’s not sure who – in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery…
“It was a shock,” said Grice, 58. “What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.”…
Social Security officials told Grice that six people – Grice, her four siblings and her father’s first wife, whom she never knew – had received benefits under her father’s account. The government doesn’t look into exactly who got the overpayment; the policy is to seek compensation from the oldest sibling and work down through the family until the debt is paid.
SSA insists that they did send notice – to a P.O. Box that Grice hasn’t owned for 35 years, even though they have her current address.
How can they demand restitution for a mistaken payment made in the late 1970s, let alone from someone who didn’t even receive it? Because: The farm bill that passed in 2011 lifted the 10-year statute of limitations on debts owed to the feds. Treasury has collected more than $400 million since then on very old obligations, many of them below the radar of public scrutiny because the amounts are often small enough, i.e. a few hundred dollars, that the targets find it’s cheaper to pay up than to fight. It’s a shakedown, based on the flawed assumption that a child not only must have benefited from the overpayment to his parent but that he/she received the entirety of the benefit, with little proof offered that the debt even exists. (One man who was forced to pay demanded a receipt from SSA affirming that his balance was now zero. The SSA clerk told him he’d put in the request but that the man shouldn’t expect to receive anything.) The only reason you’re hearing about Grice’s case, I think, is because they went after her for thousands, not hundreds, of dollars, which was enough of a hit to make her get a lawyer. Turns out that the feds had seized and then continued to hold her federal and state refunds, an amount greater than $4,400 – even though they were only demanding $2,996 from her to pay off her father’s debt. Lo and behold, once WaPo found out and started asking questions, the $1,400 excess was promptly returned to her. Amazing how fast bureaucracy can move when someone looks behind the curtain.
The whole thing is Kafkaesque – opaque, oppressive, arbitrary, and sinister in its indifference to making sure the right person pays so long as someone does. After reading the story, it’s not obvious to me what’s stopping Treasury from demanding a payment from every taxpayer whose parents are dead. If the chief witnesses are gone and the feds don’t have to prove that a child actually received any benefits from overpayment, the only “check” on this process is SSA’s willingness to tell the truth about who owes them money and how much. You trust them, don’t you?
Exit question from Karl: Isn’t holding children responsible for their parents’ retirement debts the governing model of the Democratic Party?
Two federal judges on the U.S. Sentencing Commission said Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder stepped “outside the legal system” and exceeded the authority of the executive branch by sending “improper instruction” to federal prosecutors to reduce drug sentences before they were officially approved by either the commission or Congress.
“I have been surprised at the attorney general’s steps taken to proceed with this reduction outside of the legal system set up and established by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984,” Judge Ricardo Hinojosa, the commission’s vice chair, said during a public hearing in the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in Washington.
“As you all know, the commission in the act is given the authority to promulgate and amend guidelines on a yearly basis. And in the act itself, Congress has preserved its right to reject any potential promulgation of, or amendment to, any guidelines made by the commission itself after the commission has acted.
“Meaning that if Congress does not reject a guideline amendment, it will not go into effect until November 1st of this year if we vote in favor of this amendment.,” said Hinojosa, who is also the chief judge of the Southern District of Texas.
“When the attorney general testified before us, he failed to mention that the night before, at around 11 pm, the department had ordered all of the assistant U.S. attorneys across the country to (and it’s not clear to me whether it was supposed to be not oppose or to argue for, in fact the U.S. attorneys in front of my court have said they’ve been asked to argue for) the two-level reduction in all drug trafficking cases before the commission has acted and before Congress has had the opportunity to vote its disapproval of the commission’s actions, if Congress is so inclined, which is certainly the right that they have preserved for themselves in the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984,” Hinojosa said.
“It would have been nice for us to have known and been told beforehand that this action had been taken, so any of us who would have liked to have asked the attorney general under what basis under Title 18… the courts were being asked by the Justice Department to follow this request.
“If it was because the attorney general had spoken in favor of this proposal ,that is a dangerous precedent because attorney generals in the past have consistently expressed opinions to the commission on guideline promulgation and amendments, many times for an increase, and sometimes for a lowering of the penalties.
“But none have ever then asked the courts to proceed with increases or decreases simply because the attorney general has spoken in support of them before the commission has acted and before the Congress has exercised its statutory right not to act,” the vice-chairman said.
Judge William Pryor, who sits on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, also rebuked Holder for preempting the commission.
“Like Judge Hinojosa, I regret that, before we voted on the amendment, the attorney general instructed assistant United States attorneys across the nation not to object to defense requests to apply the proposed amendment in sentencing proceedings going forward,” Pryor said.
“That unprecedented instruction disrespected our statutory role ‘as an independent commission in the judicial branch’ to establish sentencing policies and practices under the Sentencing Reform Act and the role of Congress, as the legislative branch, to decide whether to revise, modify, or disapprove our proposed amendment.
“We do not discharge our statutory duty until we vote on a proposed amendment, and Congress, by law, has until November 1st to decide whether our proposed amendment should become effective. The law provides the executive no authority to establish national sentencing policies based on speculation about how we and Congress might vote on a proposed amendment.
“I appreciate the attorney general’s personal appearance before the commission last month, and his helpful comments in support of this amendment,” Pryor added. “But I hope that we can avoid int the future the kind of improper instruction that he sent federal prosecutors before we voted on the amendment.”
Pryor also pointed out that a previous amendment to the Fair Sentencing Act included a “safety valve” that allows low-level offenders to plead guilty and receive reduced sentences. The Justice Department estimates that lowering sentences will reduce the federal prison population by 6,500 inmates over the next five years.
The commission had been deliberating since last summer on recommendations to amend federal sentencing guidelines in an effort “to reduce the costs of incarceration, and reduce prison populations without endangering public safety.”
Commissioners voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend the reduced sentences the Justice Department supported, which would shave an average of 11 months off the prison terms of some drug offenders. Both Hinojosa and Pryor voted for the amendment, which Pryor pointed out “maintains all statutorily mandated minimum sentences” and “respects the primary role of Congress in establishing the boundaries for sentencing drug offenders.”
Several other amendments, which were published in the Federal Register on Jan. 17, 2014, were also passed, but the one reducing sentences for drug offenders, who make up nearly half of the federal prison population, elicited more than 20,000 responses from the public, commissioners said.
Holder testified at the commission’s previous hearing on March 13th, telling commissioners that low-level, non-violent offenders should “face sentences appropriate to their individual conduct, rather than strict mandatory minimums.” (See sentencing cmsn.pdf)
“The system was not perfect as it existed before, and it is not perfect as it exists now and under the reforms that I have implemented,” Holder testified. “But what we want to do is to work with the commission,” he said a day after sending his sentencing memo to federal prosecutors.
“For those committed to the rule of law, the question now goes beyond whether reducing sentences for dealers in dangerous drugs is wise. It’s whether the Attorney General, the chief law enforcement officer in the United States, is committed to following the law as it exists, or, instead, as he wants and speculates it might become,” said William Otis, adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.
Under federal law, Congress, has six months to vote the amendments down. In the absence of congressional action, they will become law on November 1st.
Remember all those promises that were made to sell Obamacare? Like lowering premiums for a family of 4 by $2,500 a year, allowing people to keep their plans and their doctors, not adding a dime to the deficit, and all of that?
Well, let’s just see how much of a striking success “Obamacare” is based on the numbers so far. The Heritage Foundation created these charts based on the HHS’ own numbers, the CBO’s, and the Kaiser Family Foundation’s.
If you’re a young person, you’re pretty much screwed. Not only will you be paying higher premiums to subsidize your elders, you will be paying more taxes over your lifetime to pay back the loans we’re accruing just to pay for this boondoggle. You’re welcome, right?
So… Mr. Smooth was going to save a family of four $2,500 a year in premiums, as promised so many times it’s laughable. About that… a family of four is likely to get an increase in premiums, and in addition, basically anyone who wants to work and live the American Dream will be penalized with higher taxes.
Speaking of taxes, check out these bad boys. Not just one, but 18 new taxes lumped into one giant bill that should be called “Obamatax.” Hey, it’s not a tax! Oh yeah, well, now it is.
You would think from all the hysteria nowadays about Medicaid expansion to the states that this was the main purpose of Obamacare – to spread a huge soviet-style welfare program to as many homes as possible (and let those who are on it tell ya about the amazin’ service while they’re at it!) Anyway, let’s frame some of that left-wing hypocrisy by pointing out Obamacare’s massive cuts to another government program – Medicare.
Now, show him the deductibles, Bob! Average deductibles on the “Catastrophic,” “Bronze,” and “Silver” plans are going through the roof. (No worries if you live in Colorado or Washington, just light up a joint and forget you read this.)
Now here comes the biggie – cost. If you were one of the supporters of this law who thought it wouldn’t “add a dime” to the deficit, I want you to turn to your (theoretical) children and grandchildren and apologize. We’ll wait.
No, tell them the part how you’ll be sticking your kids with your generation’s bills, and how debt is the unpaid portion of the federal budget that gets passed on to someone else.
Still don’t feel guilty? How about realizing that all those taxes coming out of the private sector to pay for this disaster will limit your children’s future, as being evidenced in part by the half of college graduates who can’t find jobs in their fields? Oh, now you feel guilty.
And lo and behold, this healthcare “reform” boondoggle passed through procedural gimmickry with no bipartisan support whatsoever loaded with nonsense and unread in full by most of the nation’s “representation” in Washington still has very little support – beyond those Democrats who would support anything the party told them to.
A Fitting End to a Disastrous Reign -
Today outside the White House Kathleen Sebelius bid farewell to the president, officials and guests after resigning as head of Health and Human Services. And, as she bid farewell, she looked down at her notes and told the audience,
“Unfortunately, a page is missing.”
And with that she departed the Rose Garden for the last time.
Farewell, Kathleen Sebelius. Better luck in your next endeavor.
Last month, Alabama State Rep. Alvin Holmes (D) made some controversial and racially-charged statements that could cost him $100,000 if he is willing to put his money where his mouth is
During a legislative session discussion on abortion rights, Holmes speculated that members of the GOP would be supportive of abortion if their daughters were impregnated by black men. The elected official, who has served in the state house since 1974, then offered to pay $100,000 cash to anyone who could show him a “bunch of whites” who have adopted black children in Alabama.
Those comments sparked the formation of a group of families in Alabama who are easily able to disprove Holmes’ theory.
Faces of Families in Alabama is the name of the Facebook group dedicated to showing Holmes and the world that families – adoptive families – are not as racially divided as he believes. In less than a month, Faces of Families has earned more than 7000 “likes” on the social media outlet and photos are coming into the group daily, showing off the mosaic of families made up of all colors.
On Wednesday, Faces of Families in Alabama gathered on the steps of the State House to demonstrate just how many multi-racial, adoptive families were in the state. By all accounts, the rally was peaceful and positive.
After the group showed up, Holmes doubled down on his comments, telling a local television station, ”The majority of the white people in the state of Alabama are against adopting black children.” The group has asked for an apology from Holmes and some are calling for his resignation.
What about the $100,000 in cash that he offered to anyone who could show him a “bunch of whites” who have adopted black babies in Alabama?
It would appear that Faces of Families in Alabama met his challenge. One adoptive mom, Beverly Owings, who has a 13-year-old bi-racial daughter told the local ABC affiliate, “he should have to put his money where his mouth is.”
We did speak with Beverly Owings on Thursday afternoon and she confirmed that Holmes had been invited to attend the event, but did not appear. Beverly and her husband Jeromy, are parents to four adopted children, one is bi-racial children.
“This was not about money, but about changing Holmes opinion,” she told TheBlaze, “and about getting out the word about how many children are available for adoption in Alabama.”
A few hours after the rally, Holmes reportedly called into a local radio show where the Ownings were slated to be guests for 30 minutes to talk about the event. That appearance reportedly turned into a one-hour show with more call-ins than the station had seen in quite some time. We have requested a copy of the audio and will attach it when it comes available.
TheBlaze has made several calls to the offices and home of the representative. The state legislature is currently not in session and no voice mail messaging options were available on his home or district phone numbers. When we get a response from Holmes we will update this story.
In honor of President Lyndon Johnson and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, President Barack Obama on Thursday honored Johnson, calling him a “master of politics and the legislative process” who paved the way for him to become the first African-American president.
“Because of the Civil Rights movement, because of the laws President Johnson signed, new doors of opportunity and education swung open for everybody,” Obama said. “Not just blacks and whites, but also women and Latinos; and Asians and Native Americans; and gay Americans and Americans with a disability. They swung open for you, and they swung open for me. And that’s why I’m standing here today – because of those efforts, because of that legacy.”
As the president faces a divided Congress and tries to recover from the rocky roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, Obama harkened back to Lyndon Johnson’s passage of significant pieces of legislation like the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act.
“Passing laws was what LBJ knew how to do,” Obama said. “No one knew politics and no one loved legislating more than President Johnson. He was charming when he needed to be, ruthless when required. He could wear you down with logic and argument. He could horse trade, and he could flatter.”
“What President Johnson understood was that equality required more than the absence of oppression,” Obama continued. “It required the presence of economic opportunity. He wouldn’t be as eloquent as Dr. King would be in describing that linkage… but he understood that connection because he had lived it. A decent job, decent wages, health care – those, too, were civil rights worth fighting for.”
Using Johnson’s legislative success as a backdrop, Obama made the case that government has a role to play in addressing economic inequality. “In a time when cynicism is too often passed off as wisdom,” Obama said, “it’s perhaps easy to conclude that there are limits to change; that we are trapped by our own history; and politics is a fool’s errand, and we’d be better off if we roll back big chunks of LBJ’s legacy, or at least if we don’t put too much of our hope, invest too much of our hope in our government.”
“I reject such thinking,” Obama added, emphatically.
This magazine has long specialized in debunking pernicious political myths, and Jonah Goldberg has now provided an illuminating catalogue of tyrannical clichés, but worse than the myth and the cliché is the outright lie, the utter fabrication with malice aforethought, and my nominee for the worst of them is the popular but indefensible belief that the two major U.S. political parties somehow “switched places” vis-à-vis protecting the rights of black Americans, a development believed to be roughly concurrent with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the rise of Richard Nixon. That Republicans have let Democrats get away with this mountebankery is a symptom of their political fecklessness, and in letting them get away with it the GOP has allowed itself to be cut off rhetorically from a pantheon of Republican political heroes, from Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to Susan B. Anthony, who represent an expression of conservative ideals as true and relevant today as it was in the 19th century. Perhaps even worse, the Democrats have been allowed to rhetorically bury their Bull Connors, their longstanding affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan, and their pitiless opposition to practically every major piece of civil-rights legislation for a century. Republicans may not be able to make significant inroads among black voters in the coming elections, but they would do well to demolish this myth nonetheless.
Even if the Republicans’ rise in the South had happened suddenly in the 1960s (it didn’t) and even if there were no competing explanation (there is), racism – or, more precisely, white southern resentment over the political successes of the civil-rights movement – would be an implausible explanation for the dissolution of the Democratic bloc in the old Confederacy and the emergence of a Republican stronghold there. That is because those southerners who defected from the Democratic party in the 1960s and thereafter did so to join a Republican party that was far more enlightened on racial issues than were the Democrats of the era, and had been for a century. There is no radical break in the Republicans’ civil-rights history: From abolition to Reconstruction to the anti-lynching laws, from the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964, there exists a line that is by no means perfectly straight or unwavering but that nonetheless connects the politics of Lincoln with those of Dwight D. Eisenhower. And from slavery and secession to remorseless opposition to everything from Reconstruction to the anti-lynching laws, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, and the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960, there exists a similarly identifiable line connecting John Calhoun and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Supporting civil-rights reform was not a radical turnaround for congressional Republicans in 1964, but it was a radical turnaround for Johnson and the Democrats.
The depth of Johnson’s prior opposition to civil-rights reform must be digested in some detail to be properly appreciated. In the House, he did not represent a particularly segregationist constituency (it “made up for being less intensely segregationist than the rest of the South by being more intensely anti-Communist,” as the New York Times put it), but Johnson was practically antebellum in his views. Never mind civil rights or voting rights: In Congress, Johnson had consistently and repeatedly voted against legislation to protect black Americans from lynching. As a leader in the Senate, Johnson did his best to cripple the Civil Rights Act of 1957; not having votes sufficient to stop it, he managed to reduce it to an act of mere symbolism by excising the enforcement provisions before sending it to the desk of President Eisenhower. Johnson’s Democratic colleague Strom Thurmond nonetheless went to the trouble of staging the longest filibuster in history up to that point, speaking for 24 hours in a futile attempt to block the bill. The reformers came back in 1960 with an act to remedy the deficiencies of the 1957 act, and Johnson’s Senate Democrats again staged a record-setting filibuster. In both cases, the “master of the Senate” petitioned the northeastern Kennedy liberals to credit him for having seen to the law’s passage while at the same time boasting to southern Democrats that he had taken the teeth out of the legislation. Johnson would later explain his thinking thus: “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days, and that’s a problem for us, since they’ve got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this – we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”
Johnson did not spring up from the Democratic soil ex nihilo. Not one Democrat in Congress voted for the Fourteenth Amendment. Not one Democrat in Congress voted for the Fifteenth Amendment. Not one voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Eisenhower as a general began the process of desegregating the military, and Truman as president formalized it, but the main reason either had to act was that President Wilson, the personification of Democratic progressivism, had resegregated previously integrated federal facilities. (“If the colored people made a mistake in voting for me, they ought to correct it,” he declared.) Klansmen from Senator Robert Byrd to Justice Hugo Black held prominent positions in the Democratic party – and President Wilson chose the Klan epic Birth of a Nation to be the first film ever shown at the White House.
Johnson himself denounced an earlier attempt at civil-rights reform as the “nigger bill.” So what happened in 1964 to change Democrats’ minds? In fact, nothing.
President Johnson was nothing if not shrewd, and he knew something that very few popular political commentators appreciate today: The Democrats began losing the “solid South” in the late 1930s – at the same time as they were picking up votes from northern blacks. The Civil War and the sting of Reconstruction had indeed produced a political monopoly for southern Democrats that lasted for decades, but the New Deal had been polarizing. It was very popular in much of the country, including much of the South – Johnson owed his election to the House to his New Deal platform and Roosevelt connections – but there was a conservative backlash against it, and that backlash eventually drove New Deal critics to the Republican party. Likewise, adherents of the isolationist tendency in American politics, which is never very far from the surface, looked askance at what Bob Dole would later famously call “Democrat wars” (a factor that would become especially relevant when the Democrats under Kennedy and Johnson committed the United States to a very divisive war in Vietnam). The tiniest cracks in the Democrats’ southern bloc began to appear with the backlash to FDR’s court-packing scheme and the recession of 1937. Republicans would pick up 81 House seats in the 1938 election, with West Virginia’s all-Democrat delegation ceasing to be so with the acquisition of its first Republican. Kentucky elected a Republican House member in 1934, as did Missouri, while Tennessee’s first Republican House member, elected in 1918, was joined by another in 1932. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the Republican party, though marginal, began to take hold in the South – but not very quickly: Dixie would not send its first Republican to the Senate until 1961, with Texas’s election of John Tower.
At the same time, Republicans went through a long dry spell on civil-rights progress. Many of them believed, wrongly, that the issue had been more or less resolved by the constitutional amendments that had been enacted to ensure the full citizenship of black Americans after the Civil War, and that the enduring marginalization of black citizens, particularly in the Democratic states, was a problem that would be healed by time, economic development, and organic social change rather than through a second political confrontation between North and South. (As late as 1964, the Republican platform argued that “the elimination of any such discrimination is a matter of heart, conscience, and education, as well as of equal rights under law.”) The conventional Republican wisdom of the day held that the South was backward because it was poor rather than poor because it was backward. And their strongest piece of evidence for that belief was that Republican support in the South was not among poor whites or the old elites – the two groups that tended to hold the most retrograde beliefs on race – but among the emerging southern middle class, a fact recently documented by professors Byron Shafer and Richard Johnston in The End of Southern Exceptionalism: Class, Race, and Partisan Change in the Postwar South (Harvard University Press, 2006). Which is to say: The Republican rise in the South was contemporaneous with the decline of race as the most important political question and tracked the rise of middle-class voters moved mainly by economic considerations and anti-Communism.
The South had been in effect a Third World country within the United States, and that changed with the post-war economic boom. As Clay Risen put it in the New York Times: “The South transformed itself from a backward region to an engine of the national economy, giving rise to a sizable new wealthy suburban class. This class, not surprisingly, began to vote for the party that best represented its economic interests: the GOP. Working-class whites, however – and here’s the surprise – even those in areas with large black populations, stayed loyal to the Democrats. This was true until the 90s, when the nation as a whole turned rightward in Congressional voting.” The mythmakers would have you believe that it was the opposite: that your white-hooded hillbilly trailer-dwelling tornado-bait voters jumped ship because LBJ signed a civil-rights bill (passed on the strength of disproportionately Republican support in Congress). The facts suggest otherwise.
There is no question that Republicans in the 1960s and thereafter hoped to pick up the angry populists who had delivered several states to Wallace. That was Patrick J. Buchanan’s portfolio in the Nixon campaign. But in the main they did not do so by appeal to racial resentment, direct or indirect. The conservative ascendency of 1964 saw the nomination of Barry Goldwater, a western libertarian who had never been strongly identified with racial issues one way or the other, but who was a principled critic of the 1964 act and its extension of federal power. Goldwater had supported the 1957 and 1960 acts but believed that Title II and Title VII of the 1964 bill were unconstitutional, based in part on a 75-page brief from Robert Bork. But far from extending a welcoming hand to southern segregationists, he named as his running mate a New York representative, William E. Miller, who had been the co-author of Republican civil-rights legislation in the 1950s. The Republican platform in 1964 was hardly catnip for Klansmen: It spoke of the Johnson administration’s failure to help further the “just aspirations of the minority groups” and blasted the president for his refusal “to apply Republican-initiated retraining programs where most needed, particularly where they could afford new economic opportunities to Negro citizens.” Other planks in the platform included: “improvements of civil rights statutes adequate to changing needs of our times; such additional administrative or legislative actions as may be required to end the denial, for whatever unlawful reason, of the right to vote; continued opposition to discrimination based on race, creed, national origin or sex.” And Goldwater’s fellow Republicans ran on a 1964 platform demanding “full implementation and faithful execution of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and all other civil rights statutes, to assure equal rights and opportunities guaranteed by the Constitution to every citizen.” Some dog whistle.
Of course there were racists in the Republican party. There were racists in the Democratic party. The case of Johnson is well documented, while Nixon had his fantastical panoply of racial obsessions, touching blacks, Jews, Italians (“Don’t have their heads screwed on”), Irish (“They get mean when they drink”), and the Ivy League WASPs he hated so passionately (“Did one of those dirty bastards ever invite me to his f***ing men’s club or goddamn country club? Not once”). But the legislative record, the evolution of the electorate, the party platforms, the keynote speeches – none of them suggests a party-wide Republican about-face on civil rights.
Neither does the history of the black vote. While Republican affiliation was beginning to grow in the South in the late 1930s, the GOP also lost its lock on black voters in the North, among whom the New Deal was extraordinarily popular. By 1940, Democrats for the first time won a majority of black votes in the North. This development was not lost on Lyndon Johnson, who crafted his Great Society with the goal of exploiting widespread dependency for the benefit of the Democratic party. Unlike the New Deal, a flawed program that at least had the excuse of relying upon ideas that were at the time largely untested and enacted in the face of a worldwide economic emergency, Johnson’s Great Society was pure politics. Johnson’s War on Poverty was declared at a time when poverty had been declining for decades, and the first Job Corps office opened when the unemployment rate was less than 5 percent. Congressional Republicans had long supported a program to assist the indigent elderly, but the Democrats insisted that the program cover all of the elderly – even though they were, then as now, the most affluent demographic, with 85 percent of them in households of above-average wealth. Democrats such as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Anthony J. Celebrezze argued that the Great Society would end “dependency” among the elderly and the poor, but the programs were transparently designed merely to transfer dependency from private and local sources of support to federal agencies created and overseen by Johnson and his political heirs. In the context of the rest of his program, Johnson’s unexpected civil-rights conversion looks less like an attempt to empower blacks and more like an attempt to make clients of them.
If the parties had in some meaningful way flipped on civil rights, one would expect that to show up in the electoral results in the years following the Democrats’ 1964 about-face on the issue. Nothing of the sort happened: Of the 21 Democratic senators who opposed the 1964 act, only one would ever change parties. Nor did the segregationist constituencies that elected these Democrats throw them out in favor of Republicans: The remaining 20 continued to be elected as Democrats or were replaced by Democrats. It was, on average, nearly a quarter of a century before those seats went Republican. If southern rednecks ditched the Democrats because of a civil-rights law passed in 1964, it is strange that they waited until the late 1980s and early 1990s to do so. They say things move slower in the South – but not that slow.
Republicans did begin to win some southern House seats, and in many cases segregationist Democrats were thrown out by southern voters in favor of civil-rights Republicans. One of the loudest Democratic segregationists in the House was Texas’s John Dowdy, a bitter and buffoonish opponent of the 1964 reforms, which he declared “would set up a despot in the attorney general’s office with a large corps of enforcers under him; and his will and his oppressive action would be brought to bear upon citizens, just as Hitler’s minions coerced and subjugated the German people. I would say this – I believe this would be agreed to by most people: that, if we had a Hitler in the United States, the first thing he would want would be a bill of this nature.” (Who says political rhetoric has been debased in the past 40 years?) Dowdy was thrown out in 1966 in favor of a Republican with a very respectable record on civil rights, a little-known figure by the name of George H. W. Bush.
It was in fact not until 1995 that Republicans represented a majority of the southern congressional delegation – and they had hardly spent the Reagan years campaigning on the resurrection of Jim Crow.
It was not the Civil War but the Cold War that shaped midcentury partisan politics. Eisenhower warned the country against the “military-industrial complex,” but in truth Ike’s ascent had represented the decisive victory of the interventionist, hawkish wing of the Republican party over what remained of the America First/Charles Lindbergh/Robert Taft tendency. The Republican party had long been staunchly anti-Communist, but the post-war era saw that anti-Communism energized and looking for monsters to slay, both abroad – in the form of the Soviet Union and its satellites – and at home, in the form of the growing welfare state, the “creeping socialism” conservatives dreaded. By the middle 1960s, the semi-revolutionary Left was the liveliest current in U.S. politics, and Republicans’ unapologetic anti-Communism – especially conservatives’ rhetoric connecting international socialism abroad with the welfare state at home – left the Left with nowhere to go but the Democratic party. Vietnam was Johnson’s war, but by 1968 the Democratic party was not his alone.
The schizophrenic presidential election of that year set the stage for the subsequent transformation of southern politics: Segregationist Democrat George Wallace, running as an independent, made a last stand in the old Confederacy but carried only five states, while Republican Richard Nixon, who had helped shepherd the 1957 Civil Rights Act through Congress, counted a number of Confederate states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee) among the 32 he carried. Democrat Hubert Humphrey was reduced to a northern fringe plus Texas. Mindful of the long-term realignment already under way in the South, Johnson informed Democrats worried about losing it after the 1964 act that “those states may be lost anyway.” Subsequent presidential elections bore him out: Nixon won a 49-state sweep in 1972, and, with the exception of the post-Watergate election of 1976, Republicans in the following presidential elections would more or less occupy the South like Sherman. Bill Clinton would pick up a handful of southern states in his two contests, and Barack Obama had some success in the post-southern South, notably Virginia and Florida.
The Republican ascendancy in Dixie is associated with the rise of the southern middle class, the increasingly trenchant conservative critique of Communism and the welfare state, the Vietnam controversy and the rise of the counterculture, law-and-order concerns rooted in the urban chaos that ran rampant from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, and the incorporation of the radical Left into the Democratic party. Individual events, especially the freak show that was the 1968 Democratic convention, helped solidify conservatives’ affiliation with the Republican party. Democrats might argue that some of these concerns – especially welfare and crime – are “dog whistles” or “code” for race and racism, but this criticism is shallow in light of the evidence and the real saliency of those issues among U.S. voters of all backgrounds and both parties for decades. Indeed, Democrats who argue that the best policies for black Americans are those that are soft on crime and generous with welfare are engaged in much the same sort of cynical racial calculation President Johnson was practicing when he informed skeptical southern governors that his plan for the Great Society was “to have them niggers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years.” Johnson’s crude racism is, happily, largely a relic of the past, but his strategy endures.