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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Study: Republicans are “the less credible party”


Study: Republicans are “the less credible party”


PolitiFact rules GOP "false" far more often than Democrats, with Bachmann one of the worst, a new report reveals

Study: Republicans are (Credit: Jeff Malet, maletphoto.com)

Many politicians stretch the truth or obfuscate to some degree or another —  but does one party do it more than the other? According to a new study from the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University the answer is an unequivocal yes. Parsing 100 statements evaluated by the fact-checking website PolitiFact between Obama’s second inauguration and this month, the researchers found that claims from Republican officials were labeled as “false” or “pants on fire” by a 3-to-1 margin, compared to claims from Democratic officials. Conversely, half as many Republican claims were labeled “entirely true.”

“While Republicans see a credibility gap in the Obama administration, PolitiFact rates Republicans as the less credible party,” said CMPA president  Robert Lichter in a press release. An earlier study from the CMPA found the website rated the Romney campaign worse than the Obama campaign during the 2012 election. Not surprisingly, Michele Bachmann is one of the most poorly rated politicians on PolitiFact.

Undoubtably, Republicans would blame this on “bias,” accusing the fact checkers of operating as little more than Democratic Party shills. “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse famously declared last summer after the campaign got whacked for running nakedly false ads.

That’s obviously baloney, but there could be some real sampling error here in what claims PolitiFact chooses to score and other problems with its relatively small sample size — 100 claims over just four months. And there are plenty of legitimate problems with the rise of dedicated fact-checking outfits.

Still, PolitiFact does a pretty good job, and the numbers in the CMPA study are so overwhelming that a pattern is not hard to discern.

Alex Seitz-Wald Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Senate Republicans Attempt to Sink the Economy by Blocking Their Own Appointees

more from Rmuse

Capital sinking

Any business understands that sound economic policy is crucial to success, and few business owners would put a child in charge of a company’s finances. America is different in that when a Republican is in the White House and the GOP holds majorities in both houses of Congress, their childish economic policy generally leaves a fiscal mess Democrats have to clean up when they are in power. Republicans have complained that the Senate has not passed a budget for four years, and now that they finally acted, several senate teabaggers are blocking progress on the federal budget and creating a minor rebellion in the Senate between old-guard Republicans and idiots representing the tea party.

In normal times, the Senate appoints members to serve on a conference committee to negotiate with the House to work out the differences between the two budgets each side has passed, but teabaggers Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee are blocking appointees to a conference committee and efforts to craft a federal budget unless the Senate meets demand that prospective conference members refuse to engage in any negotiations that might raise the federal debt limit. Senators John McCain and Susan Collins, both Republicans,  lambasted the teabaggers this past week for their unprecedented demands with McCain accusing the teabaggers of not understanding “how business has been done” in Congress, and asserted that most GOP senators agree it is time to stop stalling and go to conference. McCain’s warmonger buddy, Senator Lindsey Graham, backed up the Arizona senator’s claim and said, “I think it’s a good idea to get a commitment not to raise the debt limit, but I trust the normal course of business — that we’re not going to use reconciliation to raise the debt limit, we can have a motion to instruct our conferees not to raise the debt limit so I’m fine with going to conference.”

Inter-party bickering aside, it is Graham, and most Republicans’ comment that a commitment to “not raising the debt limit” informs Republicans are Hell bent on economic terrorism as well as shunning their duty to support the U.S. Constitution. Graham is not a freshman teabagger, and he knows full well that demanding that America defaults on its debts is a violation of Article 4 of the 14th Amendment that clearly says, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, shall not be questioned.” When Bush and Republicans were piling up debt for two unfunded wars, tax cuts for the rich, and an unfunded Medicare prescription plan to enrich the pharmaceutical industry, Republicans never questioned the debt and raised the limit 19 times to cover their wild spending. Those debts are still adding to the national deficit and did not stop when Barack Obama was sworn in as President because except for the Bush tax cuts for the rich that ended in the waning days of 2012, the wars’ costs and prescription plan are still adding to the deficit.

The idea of not raising the debt limit implies that Republicans want America to default on its debt and go bankrupt, and that is precisely what Boehner and Republicans proposed nearly three weeks ago with an insane debt prioritization bill.  The bill was sold as a means of avoiding an American default, but by prioritizing paying certain debt obligations held by the public as well as Social Security benefits and defaulting on the rest is the definition of a bankruptcy sans a bankruptcy court judge.  President Obama railed on the Republican plan and said, “No one should threaten the default of the United States for any reason, no one should use the default of the United States as a budget path or negotiating tool, American families do not get to choose which bills to pass and which ones not to pay, and the United States Congress cannot either without putting the Nation into default for the first time in its history.” The President also reminded Republicans that “This bill would threaten the full faith and credit of the United States and do damage to the economy. This legislation is unwise, unworkable and unacceptably risky.” It is also childish and economic treason, and yet Republicans are “committed to not raising the debt limit.”
The debt Republicans want to default on is nearly all due to their economic malfeasance including the wars, tax cuts, prescription plan, the stimulus, bank bailouts, and added safety net costs as a result of crashing the economy during the Bush years. If Republicans had not deregulated the banking industry that precipitated the Great Recession, the numerous bailouts and President Obama’s stimulus would have been unnecessary, and the economy would be healthy.  The Republican leadership in both houses of Congress have promised to repeat their 2011 debt limit fiasco, and it portends that the GOP will  follow through on their threat despite President Obama’s warning he will not negotiate the debt ceiling increase again. In 2011 Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Republicans that “as a negotiating strategy you say: ‘If you don’t do things my way, I’m going to force the United States to default–not pay the legacy of bills accumulated by my predecessors in Congress.’ It’s not a credible negotiating strategy, and it’s not going to happen.” However, it did happen and Republicans are prepared to do it again based on their assertion that budget negotiations are predicated on a “commitment not to raise the debt limit.”

For eight years Bush Republicans’ economic malfeasance decimated the economy and racked up debt that continues to this day, and they have spent the past four years attempting to finish what they started. For four years they made the American people pay the price with Draconian budget cuts, and despite their efforts, President Obama managed to mastermind a tepid recovery and get Americans back to work. It appears that absent success at completely destroying the economy by obstruction, they intend on causing a default they failed to achieve in 2011, and new Senate and House debt limit threats expose their plan to default on the nation’s debts regardless the consequences to the country’s fiscal health. It is important to remember that just holding the debt limit hostage in 2011 caused a credit downgrade, slowed recovery, and created more economic hardship for Americans, and if they intend on entering budget negotiations with default as condition for a deal, there will be no good outcome for the economy. However, that is the result of economic terrorists intent on violating the Constitution’s directive that “The validity of the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned” because it is Republican debt and a Democrat is President.

Image: Bloomberg

Senate Republicans Attempt to Sink the Economy by Blocking Their Own Appointees was written by Rmuse for PoliticusUSA.
© PoliticusUSA, May. 25th, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Just Who Was Rand Paul's Apology For?

OpenSecrets Blog

Just Who Was Rand Paul's Apology For?

Yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered a blunt apology to Apple CEO Tim Cook, scolding his fellow senators for criticizing Cook and his company for using offshore havens to avoid billions in tax bills. 

apple.logo.jpg"I frankly think the committee should apologize to Apple," Paul said at a hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which had just released a report finding Apple had avoided paying billions in taxes by setting up shell companies in other countries, such as Ireland. "I'm offended by the spectacle of dragging in executives from an American company that is not doing anything illegal."

Apple doesn't have a PAC, so it can't reward Paul for his outrage on the company's behalf, but Paul is planning a trip to Silicon Valley next week, where he'll be meeting with top tech execs, according to media reports

Paul doesn't historically have a close connection with any Silicon Valley companies, but he has had some luck in the region -- and with high-tech execs -- and his Apple-friendly attitude might help his fundraising next week. According to CRP data, 94019 is one of Paul's top 10 zip codes for fundraising. That would be Half Moon Bay, Calif., the ritzy seaside home to tech millionaires like Scott Banister, an early investor in PayPal, who along with his wife Cyan, has given more than $100,000 to Paul's campaign or committees and super PACs backing him or his father, Ron. 

Overall, the computer and Internet industry has not been hugely supportive of Paul. According to CRP records, it is his 18th largest source of support, having given him a little more than $50,000. Almost all of that came from individuals, not corporate PACs. But the industry has been a source of campaign cash for Paul's father' and the various outside spending groups that sprouted up to support libertarian causes.

The ninth largest donor to outside spending groups in the 2012 election was Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, who donated $4.7 million to conservative groups. They included Revolution PAC, a general pro-libertarian super PAC, and Endorse Liberty, a super PAC that supported Ron Paul's presidential run. Both organizations were heavily supported by the computer and Internet industry -- in fact, the industry was the second largest source of cash for Endorse Liberty. 

Overall, it gave about $14.1 million to outside spending groups, of which more than half ($7.8 million) went to Republicans. In terms of its $64.3 million in overall donations -- to candidates, parties and other committees -- only 32 percent went to Republicans. Democrats picked up 47 percent of the total, and the rest went to groups not affiliated directly with either party.

The fact that the industry is not particularly partisan, and may share some natural affinities with the libertarian cause -- like the industry's longstanding argument that fewer taxes and immigration regulations would let loose a flood of cash and investment in innovation and growth for Silicon Valley -- is likely not lost on Paul. And his defense of Apple's business tactics might unleash a flood of Silicon Valley cash for his own cause next week.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Today's GOP: Worst Political Party Since the Civil War

News & Politics  

The last time things got this bad was about 150 years ago -- and we needed a Civil War to resolve it.

Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein recently wrote a column for the Washington Post with a provocative headline: “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.” Their thesis was that they had never, in 40 years of observing Congress, seen the institution behave in such a dysfunctional manner. They wrote that while they had long found reasons to be critical of both Democrats and Republicans, things have changed and our current crisis is solely the fault of a Republican Party that "has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."

The article went on to present extensive evidence to back their case. Nothing has signified these extreme tendencies more clearly than last summer's debt ceiling fiasco, where the Republicans acted so irresponsibly that Standard & Poor's felt compelled to downgrade America's hitherto gold-plated credit rating. In their press release, the ratings agency implicitly accused the Republicans of "brinksmanship" and said they had caused American governance and policymaking to become "less stable, less effective, and less predictable that we previously believed." They were particularly alarmed that the statutory debt ceiling had become a bargaining chip over fiscal policy.

Looking back at that debacle, Steve Benen recently wrote, "It was, to my mind, the worst thing an American major party has done, at least in domestic politics, since the Civil War."

When I first read that, it struck me as a preposterous statement. What about the Jim Crow laws, or the Palmer raids, or the Japanese internment camps, or McCarthyism, or the Vietnam and Iraq wars? But when I started to think about it, I realized that many of the big mistakes our country has made since the Civil War were not really the result of one political party's actions. The Jim Crow laws are, of course, associated with the Democratic Party. But only the Southern half of the Democratic Party. Wartime measures, like the Palmer Raids during World War I, the internment camps of World War II, COINTELPRO during Vietnam, or illegal surveillance and detainee abuse during the current War on Terror, have been instigated less by political parties than by particular administrations, or they have had significant bipartisan support. The same can be said for our country's decisions to fight in Vietnam and Iraq. In these cases, the blame is both too narrow in one sense, and too broad in another, to lay all the blame on a single party. Even McCarthyism can't be laid squarely on the GOP, since much of the Republican establishment, including the Eisenhower administration, wasn't too pleased with it. The debt ceiling fiasco was different. Here's how Benen described it:
It was a move without parallel. The entirety of a party threatened to deliberately hurt the country unless their rivals paid a hefty ransom -- in this case, debt reduction. It didn't matter that Republicans were largely responsible for the debt in the first place, and it didn't matter that Republicans routinely raised the debt ceiling dozens of times over the last several decades. 

This wasn't just another partisan dispute; it was a scandal for the ages. This one radical scheme helped lead to the first-ever downgrade of U.S. debt; it riled financial markets and generated widespread uncertainty about the stability of the American system; and it severely undermined American credibility on the global stage. Indeed, in many parts of the world, observers didn't just lose respect for us, they were actually laughing at us.

It's the kind of thing that should have scarred the Republican Party for a generation. Not only did that never happen, the Republican hostage-takers are already vowing to create this identical crisis all over again, on purpose.
Benen is right. It's not easy to identify other examples where an American political party acted with such reckless disregard for the good of the country. But when I really think about it, the Debt Ceiling Fiasco isn't a stand-alone thing. It's part of a continuum. You can't just cherry-pick the Debt Ceiling Fiasco and forget about the politicization of the Department of Justice, or putting an Arabian horse trader in charge of New Orleans' safety, or blowing off any planning and just declaring, "Fuck Saddam, we're taking him out." What's the worst thing the GOP has done in the 17 years since they first took control of Congress? The Gingrich shutdowns of the federal government? Impeaching President Clinton? Using their majority on the Supreme Court to steal the 2000 election? Standing around like mute apes while the housing bubble inflated?
It's not that the Debt Ceiling Fiasco was the worst or stupidest thing that any political party has imposed on America in 150 years. It's that the Republican Party is the worst party we've had in 150 years. You might argue that they don't have much competition. "So, they're worse than the Democrats, big deal." But parties don't remain the same over time. In one sense, they change every two years following each federal election cycle. It's best to think of iterations of our political parties.

For the GOP, there's the abolitionist Lincoln iteration, the Reconstruction iteration, the McKinley/Taft iteration, the Teddy Roosevelt Era, the Roaring '20s iteration, the FDR oppositional phase, the Eisenhower era, the Nixon/Ford iteration, the Reagan Revolution, the Gingrich Revolution, the Bush era, and finally the post-Bush era. And there's no need to box things into tight little categories. It makes sense to talk about the post-Bush Republican Party, but we can also talk about the post-Nixon party or consider the contemporary GOP on a timeline beginning with its 1994 takeover of Congress.

I think it's fair to say that the GOP that exists today, as expressed by both its behavior in Congress and its recent display in the presidential primaries, is worse than it has ever been. The Republicans of the 113th Congress are worse than the Republicans of the 112th, who were worse than the 111th, and so on.
There's a scene in the movie Office Space in which the main character is talking to a psychologist. He complains that every day seems worse than the last. The psychologist says, "That means that every day is the worst day of your life." The protagonist agrees, which leads the psychologist to observe impassively, "That's messed up." That's a great metaphor for the modern Republican Party. The Debt Ceiling Fiasco, which is now set to be repeated, was merely a temporary nadir on an otherwise constant 45ยบ downward slope.

A blogger who goes by the nom de guerre driftglass recently wrote about New York Times columnist David Brooks' tendency to "waddle into the threshing blades." I like that imagery. That's what the Republicans have been doing to the country for a while now. Under Gingrich, they shut down the government and impeached the president after hounding him for six years with specious investigations. Then they disgraced the Supreme Court and stole the election away from its rightful winners. Then they dropped the ball on al-Qaeda. Next we wound up in Iraq with no plan.

From there it was on to Terri Schiavo and a drowned New Orleans and a failed attempt to privatize Social Security and a wrecked Department of Justice, and the Abramoff scandal. There was Guantanamo and black prisons and torture and murder and disaster in Afghanistan. When the stock market collapsed in September 2008, it might have seemed like the final culmination of a disastrous path embarked upon…when, exactly? 1964? 1980? 1994?

But the nightmare wasn't over. In many ways, it was only starting. Yet to come were the Birthers and the Tea Party and the Tenthers and climate deniers. The party would begin a new Great Purge, sending Arlen Specter scurrying to the Democrats and defeating long-serving politicians like Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah, Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska (who survived on a write-in campaign), Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware, and a couple dozen "Establishment" picks. Those that have survived are now cowering in fear, completely unwilling to compromise with the Democrats or the president on anything, lest they become the next victim. They can't address climate change because, despite the fact that John McCain and Sarah Palin campaigned on a cap-and-trade carbon plan, the party's officeholders are now afraid to admit that climate change is even occurring.

And who could have predicted that the party would go after women's access to contraception?

And what of the new crop of Republican governors. Grifters like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Rick Scott in Florida surely represent a new breed (and a new low) of radical state executives. Governors in Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arizona and elsewhere are competing with each other to craft the most radical and unprecedented legislation. We have not seen a party this dangerous in any of our lifetimes. Not in this country, anyway. The last time things got this bad was about 150 years ago. The last time things got this bad, we needed a Civil War to resolve it.

Martin Longman is the editor of Booman Tribune (www.boomantribune.com), and a consultant for Democracy for America (www.democracyforamerica.com/).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Who is Abusing Power? 10 Examples of Bush and the Republicans Using Government Power to Target Critics

Original Opinion

10 Examples of Bush and the Republicans Using Government Power to Target Critics

By · May 14,2013
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They say two wrongs don’t make a right, but ignoring one of those wrongs while vilifying the other is intellectually dishonest and violently hypocritical, among other things. And certainly that’s the case surrounding news that the IRS targeted tea party groups as a means of determining and verifying their tax-exempt status has resurrected a familiar debate about government overreach and abuse of power.

As of right now, it’s unknown whether the IRS was acting on the behalf of the Obama campaign or the Democratic Party. What we do know, however, is that it’s not the first time something like this has happened. We also know that the Democrats have almost universally condemned the actions of the IRS, as they’ve done when the congressional Republicans and, naturally, the Bush administration used the nearly unlimited might of the government to engage in similar investigations — or worse. And we know that the lock-step party, the Republicans, spent eight years defending, applauding and enabling Bush abuses on this front, while subsequently cheerleading the congressional Republicans as they carry forward the politics of intimidation and government overreach into the Obama era.

Let’s begin there. The congressional Republicans are outraged by the IRS story, but they haven’t been able to scramble to the floor of the House quickly enough to target left-leaning groups.

1. Planned Parenthood. After a hoax video was produced by James O’Keefe and released by a professional clown-wrangler, the late Andrew Breitbart, the Republican Party has engaged in a years-long effort to strip the organization, which offers cancer screenings and other affordable medical services for women, of critical funding from the government. The votes in the House as well as in state legislatures from Arizona to New Jersey to Texas and New Hampshire — to the tune of at least $60 million — are nothing more than assault against a political enemy.

2. ACORN. The government attack on ACORN, traditionally a left-leaning organization, might be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic. As with Planned Parenthood, the Republican inquisition against ACORN was nothing more than a politically-motivated witch hunt based on, once again, a selectively-edited prank video by a scam artist, O’Keefe, who’s been convicted of wiretapping a sitting U.S. Senator and forced in court to pay $100,000 in restitution to a fired ACORN employee. Yet the entire Republican congressional delegation lined up behind Breitbart and O’Keefe and destroyed ACORN, which entirely shut down in 2010. But that hasn’t stopped the Republicans from continuing to vote on at least several occasions to defund the nonexistent group. In fact, last week the chairman House Appropriations Committee Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) introduced a section into a spending bill that reads: “None of the funds made available in this Act may be distributed to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or its subsidiaries or successors.”

3. Voter ID Laws and Voter Purges. Whether it’s Governor Rick Scott of Florida purging voter rolls of minority voters who are likely to vote for Democratic candidates or states like Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee passing restrictive Voter ID laws, the Republicans are making sure that fewer and fewer Democrats will be able to freely cast a ballot — our most sacred right as citizens in a representative democracy.

What about the Bush years?

4. The Bush Justice Department Targeted Democrats for Prosecution. Back in 2007, the House Judiciary Committee investigated charges that attorney general Alberto Gonzales singled out prominent Democrats for prosecution, specifically Pennsylvania Democrats — an assertion that was backed up by Dick Thornburgh, the attorney general under Reagan and Bush 41.

5. The Attorney Firing Scandal. Of course there was the attorney firing scandal in which the Bush Justice Department fired a slate of U.S. attorneys for strictly partisan reasons, either because the attorneys were prosecuting too many Republicans or because they weren’t prosecuting enough Democrats.

6. The Bush IRS Audited Greenpeace and the NAACP. Not only was the NAACP suspiciously audited during Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, but high profile Republicans like Joe Scarborough had previously supported an audit of the organization even though he’s suddenly shocked by the current IRS audit story. Also in 2004, the Wall Street Journal reported that the IRS audited the hyper-liberal group Greenpeace at the request of Public Interest Watch, a group that’s funded by Exxon-Mobil.

7. The Bush IRS Collected Political Affiliation Data on Taxpayers. In 2006, a contractor hired by the IRS collected party affiliation via a search of voter registration roles in a laundry list of states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. This begs the obvious question: why? Why would the IRS need voter registration and party affiliation information?

8. The Bush FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force Targeted Civil Rights / Anti-war Activists. In 2005, an ACLU investigation revealed that both the FBI and the JTTF surveilled and gathered intelligence about a variety of liberal groups including PETA and the Catholic Workers, along with other groups that it hyperbolically referred to as having “semi-communistic ideology.”

9. The Bush Pentagon Spied on Dozens of Anti-war Meetings. Also in 2005, the Department of Defense tracked 1,500 “suspicious incidents” and spied on four-dozen meetings involving, for example, anti-war Quaker groups and the like. Yes, really. The Bush administration actually kept track of who was attending these meetings down to descriptions of the vehicles used by the attendees, calling to mind the pre-Watergate era when the government investigated 100,000 Americans during the Vietnam War.

10. The Bush FBI Targeted Journalists with the New York Times and the Washington Post. Yesterday, it was learned that a U.S. attorney, Ronald Machen, subpoenaed and confiscated phone records from the Associated Press as part of a leak investigation regarding an article about a CIA operation that took place in Yemen to thwart a terrorist attack on the anniversary of Bin Laden’s death. Well, this story pales in comparison with the Bush administration’s inquisition against the reporters who broke the story about the NSA wiretapping program. In fact, the Justice Department considered invoking the Espionage Act of 1917, the archaic sequel to the John Adams-era Alien and Sedition Acts. The Bush FBI seized phone records — without subpoena — from four American journalists, including Raymond Bonner and Jane Perlez. How do we know this for sure? Former FBI Director Robert Mueller apologized to the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Adding… Bush White House Warns Bill Maher After 9/11. Congressional Republicans Condemn Moveon.org. I’ve coupled these two instances into one simply because they each underscore the Republican penchant for bullying dissenters. Shortly after 9/11, Bill Maher committed the mortal sin of suggesting that terrorists weren’t “cowards” (he was merely agreeing with conservative fire-eater Dinesh D’Souza). White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, speaking from the White House, warned Maher: “people have to watch what they say and watch what they do.” Maher’s show at the time, Politically Incorrect, was cancelled shortly thereafter. Years later, Moveon.org criticized conservative superhero David Petraeus with a full-page ad featuring the awkward play-on-words “General Betray Us.” George W. Bush himself pilloried Moveon and the Senate voted to condemn the ad while lionizing Petraeus (a love affair that came to an end last year).

With the IRS and AP stories, any cursory glimpse at the news will prove that Democrats — even liberal bloggers — have been critical of the Obama administration’s actions, just as they had been with the actions of the Bush White House and the Republican Party. But Republicans? No such fairness or honesty. Of course. And it’s also important to note the distinction between these recent stories and what’s obviously a Republican textbook strategy of employing any means necessary in suppressing its opposition — from the ballot box to the pages of our top-shelf newspapers. This is what they do: they intimidate, bully, prosecute and silence their critics as a matter of routine. And they rarely apologize or accept responsibility for it.