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Republicans Twist White Nationalism Hearing Into Islamophobic Forum

A long overdue congressional hearing on white nationalism and technological platforms on Tuesday turned into an ugly forum for Islamophobia and right-wing denialism of...

Republicans, Trump lead counter-attack on ‘McCarthyist’ Russiagate diehard Schiff — RT USA News

The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday turned into a judgment day for the Democrats’ chief Russiagate...

Republicans outraged after Trump claims he approved McCain’s funeral — RT USA News

Donald Trump is facing fresh criticism, including from people within his own party, for complaining that...

Republicans outraged after Trump claims he approved McCain’s funeral — RT USA News

Donald Trump is facing fresh criticism, including from people within his own party, for complaining that...

Republicans outraged after Trump claims he approved McCain’s funeral — RT USA News

Donald Trump is facing fresh criticism, including from people within his own party, for complaining that...

Illinois votes to teach ‘LGBT history’ to schoolchildren, Republicans furious — RT USA News

The Illinois House of representatives has voted to require the teaching of ‘LGBT history’ to elementary...

Republicans don pearls for gun control debate, sparking backlash on Twitter — RT USA...

The sight of Republican representatives wearing pearl necklaces at a gun control debate in New Hampshire...

Why the Republicans' New "Red Scare" Tactics Ring False

Harold MeyersonThe annual Conservative Political Action Conference—a reliable index of far-right apprehensions—rolled into Washington last week, proclaiming long and loud the new Republican mantra:...

Bernie Sanders is Hitler? Republicans under fire for Facebook post — RT USA News

A Republican Party group has been forced to apologize after its comparison of Bernie Sanders and...

Senate Republicans block vote on bill to stop funding war in Yemen, citing poison...

Senate Republicans have dodged another effort to end US support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen,...

Republicans Are Using Shameless Tactics to Split Democrats Over BDS

With the Senate’s imminent passage of the grandiosely titled Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, it’s now official: Israel/Palestine will...

Socialism-bashing Texas Republicans blame ‘Leftism’ for Holocaust — RT USA News

Texas Republicans took Holocaust Remembrance Day as an opportunity to blame their political enemies for the...

Lynchings targeted ‘Republicans,’ not black people, Colorado Rep. insists after MLK day controversy —...

Republicans were the ‘true targets’ of Reconstruction era lynchings: that’s not a conspiracy theory, but a...

Democrats & Republicans play blame game as Christmas shutdown looms — RT USA News

With Democrats determined to vote against any funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall proposal and...

Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count

Wisconsin Republicans have made the news again. After losing the governor’s race (but maintaining control of the state legislature, thanks to gerrymandering), Republicans have...

Republicans After Briefing With CIA Chief: Yeah, Saudi Crown Prince Definitely Had Jamal Khashoggi...

Jake Johnson, staff writerReasonable observers and analysts concluded weeks ago that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the gruesome killing of Washington Post...

‘Republicans Just Don’t Want All the Votes to Count’ – CounterSpin interview with Ari...

Janine Jackson interviewed Ari Berman about 2018 voter suppression for the November 16, 2018, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. ...

Republicans subpoena former FBI Director Comey and AG Lynch — RT US News

Former FBI Director James Comey has received an unwanted thanksgiving gift from House Republicans: a subpoena...

Democrats and Republicans are both starting to get sick of social media – study...

There are few things these days which unite liberals and conservatives, but according to a new...

Tommy Robinson refused entry into US to attend Republicans’ event on Islam – reports...

Far-right activist Tommy Robinson has been refused a US visa, denying him entry into the...

Florida judge orders voter records inspection, siding with Republicans as recount looms — RT...

A Florida judge ruled the Broward County elections supervisor must allow inspection of voter records in...
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Video: Split govt: Republicans projected to keep Senate, Democrats regain House

Americans have cast their ballots in crucial midterm elections - amid deep divisions in the country... READ MORE: ... Via Youtube
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Video: Split govt: Republicans projected to keep Senate, Democrats regain House

Americans have cast their ballots in crucial midterm elections - amid deep divisions in the country... READ MORE: ... Via Youtube
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Video: Republicans: Let’s not allow US to become a British village?

An English seaside village has found itself getting some unwanted attention in the US midterm election campaign. Jaywick Sands is known locally as one...

Only Republicans Don’t Want a Third Major Political Party in America, Finds Gallup.

The National and International Implications of this American Political Finding. Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org A majority of Democrats want a third major political party...

Fat chance! Democrats & Republicans ask to ‘stop politicizing’ bomb scare & shooting as...

Bipartisan calls for national unity in the face of two recent incidents are likely to fall...

Republicans using immigration to scare US voters to the polls: Data

The US Republican Party is attempting to maintain control of Congress by turning to rhetoric about immigrants as a tactic to scare voters, new...

Republicans using immigration to scare US voters to the polls: Data

The US Republican Party is attempting to maintain control of Congress by turning to rhetoric about immigrants as a tactic to scare voters, new...
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Video: Ari Berman: Republicans in North Dakota Are Attempting to Disenfranchise Thousands of Native...

https://democracynow.org - The Supreme Court has ruled it will allow the state of North Dakota to enforce a new voter ID requirement that will...

North Dakota Republicans Want to Disenfranchise Thousands of Native Voters

The Supreme Court has ruled it will allow the state of North Dakota to enforce a new voter ID requirement that will make it...

Google ‘design lead’ wishes for Republicans to burn in hell in Twitter outburst —...

An apparent senior Google employee went on an expletive-laden rant against GOP lawmakers who’d voted to...
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Video: Midterm election: 80% of Democrats & Republicans see 2018 midterms ‘very important’

According to a recent poll, Republican supporters now see the vote as 'very important'. A significant increase, now almost equaling the view Democrats have...

ThinkProgress editor under fire after calling to ‘confront Republicans where they sleep’ — RT...

The justice editor for left-wing opinion site ThinkProgress has tweeted out a call to confront GOP...

US Republicans under fire over ‘offensive’ ad using Hindu Ganesha to ‘woo voters’ —...

Texas Republicans have been slammed with a string of stinging accusations – from being “racist” to...
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Video: Democrats vs Republicans: Kavanaugh’s nomination exposes America’s deepest divisions

The Senate confirmation hearing for Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee has been postponed amid sexual assault allegations. Brett Kavanaugh denies the ... Via Youtube

Poll’s ‘insane’ data shows 64% of Republicans think a ‘good president’ may still use...

A new Economist/YouGov poll found 64 percent of Republicans think it is “possible that a person...

Fury after Gingrich encourages Republicans to politicize woman murdered by illegal immigrant — RT...

The Republican Party could score big in the midterms if Mollie Tibbetts, a woman thought to...

Pity the Democrats and Republicans

It is a rare occasion when one can only pity both the Republican and Democratic Parties. The GOP (Generally Opposed to Progress) has hitched...

Almost half of Republicans say Trump should be allowed to close media outlets —...

President Trump’s attacks on the media, whom he dubbed “enemies of the people,” have struck a...

Almost half of Republicans say Trump should be allowed to close media outlets —...

President Trump’s attacks on the media, whom he dubbed “enemies of the people,” have struck a...

Almost half of Republicans say Trump should be allowed to close media outlets —...

President Trump’s attacks on the media, whom he dubbed “enemies of the people,” have struck a...

Almost half of Republicans say Trump should be allowed to close media outlets —...

President Trump’s attacks on the media, whom he dubbed “enemies of the people,” have struck a...

Almost half of Republicans say Trump should be allowed to close media outlets —...

President Trump’s attacks on the media, whom he dubbed “enemies of the people,” have struck a...

House majority leader calls for Twitter CEO to be grilled over ‘shadow banning’ of...

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has requested a public hearing that would see Twitter CEO Jack...

Donald Trump Vows Investigation of Twitter ‘Shadow Banning’ Republicans

President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to investigate Twitter for their practice of “shadow banning” Republicans and conservatives. “Not good. We will look...
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Video: Midterms: Whether Republicans or Democrats lose, they already know who to blame…take a...

Midterm elections are widely seen as a 'vote of confidence' in the sitting president and his party. But as RT's Caleb Maupin explains, whether...

Republicans Move to Impeach Rod Rosenstein

In what progressive advocacy groups and House Democrats immediately decried as a “shameless political ploy” aimed at shielding President Donald Trump from Special Counsel...

Prominent Republicans missing from Twitter search — RT US News

Searching Twitter for the accounts of several prominent Republican lawmakers, and even the chairwoman of the...

Trump’s support among Republicans hits record high despite media scorn — RT US News

US President Donald Trump’s approval rating among fellow GOP voters has soared through the roof, reaching...

Republicans Are Shaken After Helsinki, but Still Fear Trump’s Voters

In the wake of his historically disastrous summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump is bouncing back and forth like a ping-pong ball,...

Democrats, Republicans dump on Trump after Putin meeting — RT US News

Following President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump’s opponents at home blasted his handling...

Republicans Finally Turn on Trump’s Trade War, but Will They Confront Him?

When it comes to the Republican Party, Donald Trump can do no wrong. Sure, he’s ignorant and undisciplined and has taken a wrecking ball...

Kim Jong-un is more popular than Nancy Pelosi among Republicans – poll — RT...

Despite once threatening to nuke the US, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has a higher favorability...
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Video: Michael Eric Dyson: “Many Republicans Have Normalized [Trump’s] Vicious and Pathological Behavior”

https://democracynow.org - Extended discussion with Michael Eric Dyson, author of the new book, “What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, ... Via Youtube

Democrats are From Hell; Republicans are From Hell’s Lowest Circle, and Trump is From...

Photo by Mike Maguire | CC BY 2.0 For nearly three decades, the right has been going after the Clintons – first mainly Bill, then...

Google lists California Republicans as ‘Nazis,’ blames Wikipedia ‘vandals’ — RT US News

Google admitted to an over-reliance on public sources to shield itself from accusations of political bias,...

Republicans challenge Facebook & Twitter on anti-conservative bias — RT US News

The GOP and Trump 2020 campaign have called on social media giants to prove that their...

‘Republicans & Dems are ripping themselves apart amid Russiagate distraction’ — RT US News

If there's no evidence Russia interfered in 2016 US election, then the FBI was not protecting...
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Video: Republicans win midterms support – despite or because of Trump’s hawk cabinet?

The US Democrats are losing support ahead of November's midterms, according to a recent poll. Check out http://rt.com RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air Subscribe to ... Via...

Trump takes heat from Dems & Republicans for quitting Iran deal — RT US...

President Donald Trump has come under fire from both his political opponents and fellow Republicans for...

Republicans vindicated, Dems still screaming ‘Russia!’ — RT US News

After a year-long investigation, the US House Intelligence Committee released a report Friday officially confirming there...

Striking Teachers Offer Real Resistance to Incoherent Republicans and Gutted Democrats

In the continuing teachers' rebellion sweeping the US, dozens of Oklahoma teachers have completed a 7-day, 110-mile march from Tulsa to the state capital...
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Video: Corey Robin: Striking Teachers Are “Real Resistance” to “Incoherent” Republicans and “Gutted” Dems

https://democracynow.org - In the continuing teachers' rebellion sweeping the U.S., dozens of Oklahoma teachers have completed a 7-day, 110-mile march from Tulsa to the...

Virginia Republicans slam gun-control hoaxers who used photo of children’s shoes at Auschwitz —...

Republican politicians in Virginia Beach scrambled to assure their Facebook followers that a post by an...

New Poll Shows Republicans Losing Voter-Base

Eric Zuesse The Morning Consult poll released on March 30th headlines "Republicans Drive Biggest Decline in Voter Optimism Since Trump Took Office: Record drop isn't...

Republicans Want to Look at Gun Violence in Movies? OK, Let’s Look

On February 22, President Donald Trump suggested that violent movies and video games are the real cause of mass shootings: I’m hearing more and...

One Thing Democrats and Republicans Apparently Agree On: Deregulating Wall Street

Next week marks the 10th anniversary of the run on Bear Stearns, the investment bank that collapsed under the weight of toxic subprime mortgages....

Republicans Are Wrong on Immigration

By Paul Gottfried American Thinker March 2, 2018 ...

Don’t Tell Us Republicans Care About Deficits

President Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence arrive to speak about newly passed tax reform legislation during...
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Video: Probably carcinogenic: Republicans threaten to cut WHO funding for research on Monsanto’s weedkiller

Republican lawmakers in the U.S. are threatening to cut funding to the World Health Organisation's cancer research programme. That's after the International agency for...

Warren Slams Sessions’ DOJ Record a Year After Being Silenced on Senate Floor By...

A year after Republicans silenced her objections to Jeff Sessions' Attorney General nomination, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took the floor on Wednesday to list...

Republicans embrace idea of ‘Russia collusion’… with Hillary Clinton — RT US News

Efforts to topple President Donald Trump by accusing him of collusion with Russia may have backfired...

After Years of Sleazy Partisan Attacks, Suddenly Republicans Are Outraged

Rep. Devin Nunes attends a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republican tax plan, on Capitol Hill November 9, 2017, in...

As Republicans vote to release the memo, Democrats bring up ‘2nd dossier’ — RT...

After Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to publish a memo reportedly revealing FBI abuses...

Republicans Have Four Easy Ways to #ReleasetheMemo — and the Evidence For it. Not...

One of the gravest and most damaging abuses of state power is to misuse surveillance authorities for political purposes. For that reason, the Intercept, from...
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Video: ‘We’re losing our minds’: Viewer of political show sent death threats to 2...

It's been revealed that death threats were sent to two senior US Republicans by a viewer of a popular political TV programme back in...

Republicans, Martin Luther, and Machiavelli

“Here I stand!” Martin Luther risked his life to defy a church establishment that wanted no challenge to papal authority. Five centuries later, Republicans...

Republicans Push Bill to Strip Migrant Workers of Their Few Rights, Undercut US Workers

Migrant laborers work in California's strawberry fields outside of Salinas in Monterey County on July 30, 1997. (Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty...

John McCain Will Miss Tax Vote, but Senate Republicans Still Have Enough in Favor

As the Republican tax reform bill winds its way through Congress, two new developments have taken center stage: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) won't be...

Three Myths About the Poor That Republicans Are Using to Support Slashing the US...

Republicans continue to use long-debunked myths about the poor as they defend lower taxes for the rich and deep cuts to the social safety net to pay for...
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Video: Republicans Agree on Tax Bill “Of, By and For the Political Donor Class”...

https://democracynow.org - Republicans in Congress say they have reached a deal on final tax legislation that will overhaul the U.S. tax code, dramatically impacting...

Trump Pressured Top Republicans to End Senate Intel Committee Russia Probe

Donald Trump speaks about the Republican tax plan at the St. Charles, Missouri, Convention Center on November 29, 2017. (Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP...

Trump’s support for Roy Moore, Senate candidate accused of sexual misconduct, slammed by Republicans...

Published time: 26 Nov, 2017 22:46 Donald Trump launched a scathing attack on Roy Moore’s opponent...

Republicans Want to Pay for Tax Cuts by Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife...

Activists attend a news conference on Republican-sponsored legislation that would open the Alaskan wilderness to oil drilling outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC....

Democrats, Republicans and Business as Usual

Photo by woodleywonderworks | CC BY 2.0 Hot on the heels of Donna Brazile’s ‘shocking’ new book Hacks, that alleges that the Democratic Party, which...

As Voters Reject Republicans, Progressives Point to Democratic Party’s Own Crisis

As voters on Tuesday turned against the Republican Party one year after Donald Trump was elected president, a new report, "Autopsy: The Democratic Party...

After Mass Murder in Texas, Republicans and Democrats Echo Familiar Refrains

Law enforcement officials continue their investigation at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs during the early morning hours of November 6, 2017, in Sutherland...
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Video: Republicans Dealt Another Embarrassing Defeat in Obamacare Repeal

Dentist and activist Dr. Javad Aghaloo says the best way to fix Obamacare is by adopting a single-payer, universal healthcare system Visit ... Via Youtube
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Video: Reds get the Blues with anti-Trump Republicans sounding democratic

In the US more than a few Republican senators are vocally turning against their own president, and it's getting tougher. RT's Caleb Maupin took...

House Republicans open investigation into Russia uranium deal — RT US News

Two US House committees will conduct a formal investigation into a 2010 deal that saw 20...

The Republicans Are Still Coming for Your Health Care. Here’s How to Stop Them

President Donald Trump hands a pen that he used to sign an executive order on health care to Sen. Rand Paul in the Roosevelt...

With Gerrymandering, Republicans Have a Starting-Line Advantage of 10 Percent

Janine Jackson: We are definitely in challenging times, but it's useful to remember that it isn't that Americans per se are opposed to gun control, human...

Studies Show Republicans Don’t Understand What Produces Wealth in America

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org A Pew poll published on May 2nd was headlined "Why people are rich and poor: Republicans and Democrats have...

‘Republicans Have a Starting-Line Advantage of 10 Percent’

Janine Jackson interviewed Steven Rosenfeld about gerrymandering and the Supreme Court for the October 6, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited...
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Video: Facing Public Outrage, House Republicans Back Down on Gutting Ethics Watchdog

Public Citizen's Lisa Gilbert says the Office of Congressional Ethics was targeted because it is an effective check on Congressional misconduct Help support The...
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Video: After Las Vegas Massacre, Republicans in Congress Push Bills That Could Make Mass...

https://democracynow.org - As details emerge about the massacre in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, Republican leaders called ... Via Youtube

The Republicans' Tax Plan Will Impede Growth

Donald Trump delivers remarks on tax reform to the National Association of Manufacturers at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel September 29, 2017, in Washington, DC....
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Video: Senate Republicans Scramble to Secure Votes for Last-Ditch Effort to Repeal Affordable Care...

https://democracynow.org - Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill lobbying Republican senators to ... Via Youtube

Senate Republicans Scramble to Secure Votes for Last-Ditch Effort to Repeal Affordable Care Act

Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill lobbying Republican senators to support the latest healthcare plan, known...

Gallup: Only Republicans’ Trust in Newsmedia Plunged After 2003

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org On August 25th, Gallup headlined "Republicans', Democrats' Views of Media Accuracy Diverge”, and reported that ever since America's newsmedia...

Who's Behind Fossil Fuel Extraction? It's Not Just Republicans

Though many see the Paris Accord as President Obama's shining moment for the environment, the plan to speed the construction of fossil fuel infrastructures...
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Video: Texas Republicans Pushed to Kill Safety Regulations for Arkema Chemical Plant Before Explosion

https://democracynow.org - The flooded Arkema chemical plant in the town of Crosby, Texas, that saw two explosions on Thursday, could see as many as...

After Charlottesville, Republicans Defend Bills to Protect Drivers Who Hit Protesters

Following Heather Heyer death on Saturday—killed when a suspected Nazi sympathizer allegedly drove his car into a crowd of people counter-protesting violent white supremacist...

Republicans Consider Relaxing Constraints on Telecom Giants

Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai (2nd right) prepares to deliver remarks and participate in a discussion at The American Enterprise Institute for Public...

"We Can't Let Our Guard Down": Republicans Could Use Budget as Cudgel Against Medicaid

People protest against the Senate health care bill on June 28, 2017, in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Since election night...

W. Virginia governor switches parties, Republicans now control majority of states

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is now a Republican, he officially announced at a rally for...

Ron Paul on Real Bipartisanship: Republicans and Democrats Unite for New Cold War

Donald Trump claimed that he wanted a different foreign policy, but then he went and hired neocons for the State...

War on weed: Veterans’ access to medical marijuana blocked by Republicans

Veterans hoping to use medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder have had their hopes extinguished...

House Republicans call for 2nd counsel to probe Obama officials, Clinton

US House Judiciary Committee Republicans have called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to set up a...
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Video: In “Dangerous” Move, Republicans Push to Strip Healthcare From Millions Without Holding Any...

https://democracynow.org - As protesters shouted "Kill the bill! Kill the bill!" Senate Republicans voted Tuesday, by the narrowest of margins, to open debate on...

In Dangerous Move, Republicans Push to Strip Health Care From Millions Without Holding Any...

Sen. John McCain arrives in Washington, DC, to deliver a vote to proceed to debate on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act on...

For Republicans, Fear and Loathing is a Winning Message

Leonard Pitts Jr.A little context is critical here. It would be too easy to dismiss Donald Trump’s Commission on Electoral Integrity as superfluous evidence of...

Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon

Photo by Mark Taylor | CC BY 2.0 As Donald Trump’s approval ratings fall and calls for his impeachment increase, Democrats seem not yet to...

Republicans are Right: Going to College Hurts

Going to college is a good thing, right? That’s at least what I was told as a kid, and what led me to get...

Trump White House Ridiculously Blames Democrats for Republicans' Repeal Failure

Julia Conley, staff writerAt the latest off-camera press briefing Tuesday, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made clear the official White House...

Republicans Push Bill to Delay Reducing Ground Level Ozone

WASHINGTON - A Republican bill to delay, until 2025, the reduction of dangerous ground level ozone is up for a vote this week in...

McCain illness forces Republicans to delay vote on troubled health care bill

Published time: 16 Jul, 2017 16:46 Edited time: 16 Jul, 2017 16:49 Senate Republicans have delayed...

Republicans Set to Lose a Vote, if Mississippi Union Dispute Goes Before NLRB

If workers at a Nissan plant in Mississippi vote to be represented by the United Auto Workers, it will create a bargaining unit of...
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Video: ‘Connect the dots’: Republicans demand probe into alleged activist funding from Russia

Several top US Republicans are calling on the Trump administration to investigate alleged Russia funding of environmental activists in order to undermine the ... Via...

House Republicans Attack Clean Air, Climate in Budget Bill

WASHINGTON - Legislation funding the Environmental Protection Agency contains multiple policy provisions that would delay Clean Air Act safeguards and cripple the Environmental Protection...

As Republicans Hide From Voters, Sanders Rallies Trumpcare Resistance

As the congressional recess—usually a time for lawmakers to interact with their constituents—is set to end on Monday, many Republicans are working extremely hard...

Trump v CNN: Republicans & Democrats at odds when it comes to trustworthiness –...

The vast majority of Republicans believe Donald Trump is more trustworthy than CNN while almost all...
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Video: Assange feels threatened by both Republicans & Democrats following Clinton email leaks–Annie Machon

The 'tolerant liberals' of the Democratic Party believe the WikiLeaks founder damaged the electoral chances of Hillary Clinton last year and now are attacking...
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Video: Republicans Have Trifecta Control of 25 States & Need 6 More to Call...

https://democracynow.org - Historian Nancy MacLean says much of the radical right's agenda is being pursued at the state level. Republicans already have ... Via Youtube

Republicans Still Pushing False Flags in Syria and Cold War With Russia

Seymour Hersh’s shocking new investigative report shows that US intelligence knew there was no Assad chemical attack in April, but...
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Video: By Defunding Planned Parenthood, Republicans Would Reduce Services That Make Abortion Unnecessary

https://democracynow.org - The healthcare bill proposed by Senate Republicans would reduce key benefits for millions of Americans and defund Planned ... Via Youtube

By Defunding Planned Parenthood, Republicans Would Cut Services That Reduce Abortions

The health care bill proposed by Senate Republicans would reduce key benefits for millions of Americans and defund Planned Parenthood for a year, making...

Senate Republicans release draft of Obamacare overhaul

Published time: 22 Jun, 2017 14:43 Edited time: 22 Jun, 2017 15:26 Senate Republicans released their...

Prince Harry says nobody wants to be king, republicans tell him he’s ‘free to...

Published time: 22 Jun, 2017 12:26 Prince Harry says nobody in the royal household wants...

MoveOn Criticizes Senate Democrats, Republicans for Passage of New Iran Sanctions Bill

WASHINGTON -  Last week, the United States Senate voted in favor of passing new economic sanctions on Iran with overwhelming support, with the exception...

Republicans Keep Missing the Point About Gun Violence—Even When They’re the Targets

Gun rights activists for years have fought for the free proliferation of firearms throughout the U.S., perhaps subconsciously imagining they were only arming themselves....

Amid Trump Chaos, Republicans Keep Their Eyes on the Big Prize: The Courts

While the Trump administration remains embroiled in scandals of its own making and continues to blunder forward seemingly without direction, Republicans have their collective...

Media Help Republicans Gut Obamacare Behind Closed Doors

“We’re not stupid,” a Senate aide told Axios‘ Caitlin Owens (6/12/17) to explain why the GOP would not release a draft healthcare bill. Senate Republicans...

Republicans Set A Standard For Impeachment — And Trump Has Met It

Former FBI Director James Comey’s explosive testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee began with an unambiguous declaration that the president of the United States...

House Republicans vote to roll back major Wall Street regulations enacted after ‘08 crash

Against a unified Democratic Party in the US House, Republicans have passed a bill to undo...

233 House Republicans Just Set Course for Next Financial Collapse

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act on Thursday afternoon in a move critics—who call it the #WrongChoiceAct—say puts the U.S....

You've Been Duped. The Affordable Care Act Isn't Raising Your Premiums. Republicans Are.

As I watch the debate unfold over repeal of the Affordable Care Act, I keep thinking about the Hans Christian Anderson story "The Emperor's...

NC Republicans illegally used race during redistricting, US Supreme Court rules

North Carolina’s GOP-led legislature illegally used race to redraw congressional districts, the Supreme Court has ruled....

Many More People Will Die If Republicans Are Successful in Dismantling Obamacare

Janine Jackson: The US healthcare conversation has come to an odd pass. We have an elected representative who maintains that, because you can go...

‘Many More People Would Die if Republicans Are Successful’

Janine Jackson interviewed Margarida Jorge about the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut funding for Medicaid for the May 12,...

Are There 22 Patriotic House Republicans?

Robert ReichTrump warning to former FBI Director James Comey against leaking anything negative about him—tweeting "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes'...

How We Can Make House Republicans Pay for Their Health Care Vote

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) walks to the House floor for a vote at the Capitol in Washington, May 4, 2017. (Photo: Gabriella Demczuk...
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Video: Protests Erupt After House Republicans Pass Healthcare Bill That Could Hike Premiums for...

http://democracynow.org - Republicans have moved one step closer to repealing Obamacare after the House narrowly approved legislation Thursday that would ... Via Youtube

Net Neutrality Redux: Why Republicans Shouldn't Mess With the Internet

(Photo: Pexels) The internet is quite popular these days, but companies such as AT&T and Comcast that provide internet service are not. That's one reason...

Kansas special election puts Trump, Republicans to test

President Donald Trump himself is getting involved in a special election in Kansas, as Republicans face...

Report: Republicans to Cut Border Wall Funding

Federal funding for one of President Donald Trump’s premier policy proposals may be excluded from the House GOP’s budget for Fiscal Year...

Senate Republicans Change the Rules to Confirm Trump’s Judicial Nominee

Sierra ClubToday, one day after the Senate rejected Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court and Senate Republicans used the nuclear option to...

Senate Republicans 'go nuclear' to approve Gorsuch for US Supreme Court

Republicans in the US Senate have extended the so-called nuclear option to the confirmation process for...
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Video: As Trump Complains About Alleged Surveillance, Republicans Gut Internet Privacy Rules

http://democracynow.org - On Tuesday, the House narrowly voted to allow internet providers to sell your web browsing history and other personal information. Via Youtube

As Trump Complains About Alleged Surveillance, Republicans Gut Internet Privacy Rules

On Tuesday, the House narrowly voted to allow internet providers to sell your web browsing history and other personal information. The vote will give...

'Just don't have consensus': Republicans pull healthcare bill ahead of House vote

President Donald Trump has reportedly asked the House GOP leadership to pull a bill eliminating major...

‘Obamacare will explode’ warns Trump after Republicans pull healthcare bill

Published time: 25 Mar, 2017 17:10 US President Donald Trump is recruiting the entire population of the...
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Video: Will House Republicans “Jump Off the Cliff” and Cut Healthcare for 24 Million...

http://democracynow.org - As President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan face a showdown with Republicans, both moderate and conservative, on whether ... Via Youtube

Grassroots Resistance Credited as Republicans Forced to Postpone AHCA Vote

Republican lawmakers on Thursday were met with a deluge of outrage and calls to stand against the American Health Care Act (ACHA) while the...

Republicans introduce bills authorizing new military force against ISIS

A new House bill was introduced that would create a new Authorization for Use of Military...

‘A priority for us all’: 17 Republicans introduce legislation to combat climate change

Breaking ranks with their own party, more than a dozen House Republicans have put forward legislation...

 Republicans Keep Showing Us Who They Are

Amid the mayhem of Trump’s first days in office, the Congressional Budget Office’s crushing report on the impact of the Republican health-care plan offers...

The Lives of Millions of People Jeopardized by Republicans’ Ruthless Health Care Repeal...

A few salient points on the well-deserved uproar greeting Steve King's "We can't restore our civilization...

House Republicans Unveil Bill to Repeal Obamacare

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled long-awaited legislation on Monday to repeal much of the Obamacare healthcare law, including its...

‘Unprecedented freedom’: Republicans present Obamacare replacement

The GOP-proposed American Health Care Act would return power to the states and offer greater choice,...

You're On Your Own: Republicans Plan Attack on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout; Adapted: Tom Harris) Several years ago, 62-year-old Michael Kaufman, a disabled resident of Bovina, New York, accidently drilled through one...

Amid Republicans' ACA Subterfuge, Resistance Urges "No Score No Vote"

House Republicans are under fire for keeping their Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replacement bill secret (from the public and other lawmakers) and...

Republicans, Where’s the Backbone?

Bill Moyers, Michael WinshipCongressional Republicans, we watched you at the White House Thursday. Just before Donald Trump’s rambling, manic, often snarky press conference —...

Republicans Hustle to Shield Trump as Demands for Russia Inquiry Grow

Republicans are dismissing the mounting call to thoroughly investigate the Trump campaign's connection with Russian intelligence, and party leadership is seemingly pushing for members...

Republicans ask DOJ to probe illegal leaks of classified Flynn info

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz has requested that the Department of Justice launch a formal investigation...

Republicans Want to Let Fossil Fuel Companies Waste Taxpayers' Natural Gas

(Photo: Ervins Strauhmanis; Edited: LW / TO) With all the gutting of regulations going on in Congress these days, it can be hard to keep...

'Leftist Fight Club' Trains UCF Students to Fight Republicans

The “Knights for Socialism” group at the University of Central Florida (UCF) held a workshop Sunday to teach left-wing students how to...

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Republicans Have Done Real Damage to the Economy

Republicans believe that a bad economy works for them at election time. The thinking is that the public will turn on Democrats for not making things better. So they do what they can to make the economy bad. But maybe they went too far this time. This hostage-taking episode has done real, serious, lasting damage to the economy on top of the ongoing damage Republicans have been doing. Will the public still blame Democrats, or will they finally see what is going on here?

The Damage Last Time

Look what happened the last time (2011) Republicans threatened to force the country to default on its debts.

The 2011 hostage-taking hit jobs. In Debt-Ceiling Deja Vu Could Sink Economy Bloomberg reported that, "Growth in nonfarm payrolls decelerated to an average 88,000 a month during the three months of the debt-ceiling impasse, compared with an average of 176,000 in the first five months of 2011." Consumer confidence plunged to a 31-year low. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell from 59.2 to 44.5.

In November, 2012, the Bipartisan Policy Center released a "Debt Limit Analysis" estimating the costs of the 2011 hostage-taking:

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report detailing additional costs to taxpayers as a result of the 2011 debt limit increase

  • A substantial cost to taxpayers stemmed from elevated interest rates on U.S. securities issued in 2011 prior to when the debt limit was increased in August
  • GAO conducted an economic analysis to estimate the resulting change in interest rates
  • For Fiscal Year 2011, GAO estimated additional interest costs to taxpayers of $1.3 billion

The cost of the event to the federal government, however, continues to accrue because many of the bonds issued during that period remain outstanding

  • BPC extended GAO's methodology to analyze the long-term cost to taxpayers stemming from the elevated interest rates
  • Estimate of the ten-year cost to taxpayers of the 2011 debt limit standoff = $18.9 billion
  • To put this in perspective, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the "Doc Fix" to prevent the scheduled 27% cut to Medicare physician payments for 2012 cost $18 billion over ten years

That is serious damage. And, of course, the 2011 fight resulted in a downgrading of the US credit rating.

(See also: Think Progress, CHARTS: How The Debt Ceiling Debacle Hurt The Economy)

The Damage This Time

In this hostage fight the immediate damage is much worse than 2011. Consumer confidence, for example, has plunged even more dramatically than during the last debt-ceiling hostage-taking. But these measurements were taken only a week into the fight.

Standard & Poor's ratings agency has done some early calculations of the damage and says, "the shutdown has shaved at least 0.6% off of annualized fourth-quarter 2013 GDP growth, or taken $24 billion out of the economy." Note the words "at least." This is an early estimate and does not count direct costs to government and costs to government contractors.

The NY Times today summarizes some of the damage from this hostage-taking, in Gridlock Has Cost U.S. Billions, and the Meter Is Still Running,

Containers of goods idling at ports. Reduced sales at sandwich shops in downtown Washington. Canceled vacations to national parks and to destinations abroad. Reduced corporate earnings forecasts. Higher interest payments on short-term debt.

Even with the shutdown of the United States government and the threat of a default coming to an end, the cost of Congress's gridlock has already run well into the billions, economists estimate. And the total will continue to grow even after the shutdown ends, partly because of uncertainty about whether lawmakers might reach another deadlock early next year.

One example of the damage from this fight – just one,

Residential real estate, which has been one of the brightest points of the recovery, suffered. An index of sentiment among home builders fell in October from a month earlier, according to data released on Wednesday from the National Association of Home Builders. The decline was greater than analysts had expected. One cause for the decline is that the approval process for government-backed mortgages has slowed with the shutdown.

The Damage From Cutting Instead Of Investing

Republicans have forced the country into an austerity mode, instead of an invest and job-creation mode. Everything is being cut, so that the billionaires and their giant corporations can have lower taxes. Aside from the sequester cuts there have been trillions in other cuts.

Paul Krugman writes about this ongoing damage today in a blog post, What A Drag, estimating that just two of the cuts we have experienced (not counting other cuts and the sequester) have cut "about $200 billion of fiscal contraction at an annual rate, or 1.25 percent of GDP, probably with a significant multiplier effect."

That's just those two pieces of Republican damage to our economy. Looking at the overall effect of austerity on our economy,

"Add this to the effects of sharp cuts in discretionary spending and the effects of economic uncertainty, however measured, and I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that extortion tactics may have shaved as much as 4 percent off GDP and added 2 points to the unemployment rate."

Damage: 4% off GDP and 2% added to unemployment.

The Sequester Damage

Then there is the ongoing economic damage done by the sequester cuts. Republicans hail the sequester's cuts as a great victory, an accomplishment in their ongoing fight to destroy government, but in reality the cuts are costing jobs and hitting the economy.

The 2013 job-loss from the sequester cuts is estimated at only 800,000 jobs, but the 2014 job loss is estimated to be 1.6 million.

These job-loss and slow-growth numbers do not include the ripple effect into the larger economy, nor the longer-term cost to our economy from the cuts to scientific research, education, child nutrition and other cuts.

And these cuts don't even save the government money! One example of the costs of the sequester cuts comes from the effect of cuts in the Meals On Wheels program. Because of the cuts, many elderly end up in hospitals with malnutrition-related problems, and/or are forced into nursing homes because they can no longer live at home. Aside from the cruelty and resulting human suffering (not considered a "cost") this costs money from government services including Medicare and Medicaid.

The Ongoing Damage From Obstruction

Republicans have been obstructing ... everything. The ongoing economic damage has been just incredible but because it gradually worsens things the public is not as aware as they should be. There are two obstructions taking place. In the Senate Republicans have been filibustering every bill, every nominee ... everything. In the House the "Hastert Rule" prevents the majority of the Congress from being able to vote. By preventing bills from coming up for a vote if they might be passed by a majority that includes Democrats and some "RINO" Republicans, anything that could help the country and economy is blocked.

So along with the series of manufactured crises there is a constant, ongoing drag because people have come to believe government will generally continue to hamper rather than boost economic progress. They see no jobs programs coning down the pike, see the infrastructure crumbling, and see the corporate/billionaire-favoring trade deals killing jobs.

Krugman again, from his blog post, What A Drag,

The now widely-cited Macroeconomic Advisers report estimated the cost of crisis-driven fiscal policy at 1 percentage point off the growth rate for three years, or roughly 3 percent now. More than half of this estimated cost comes from the "fiscal drag" of falling discretionary spending, with the rest coming from a (shaky) estimate of the impacts of fiscal uncertainty on borrowing costs.

The Damage Next Time

So what will the damage be next time, and how can we fight it? Yesterday's "deal" only puts off the fight for a few months. With more of this on the horizon companies will be hesitant to hire or invest. Consumers will remain wary and distrustful.

Republicans still have one power: the power to destroy. And they will use that power until we take it away from them.

Rachel Maddow On Federal Shutdown: Republicans Got NOTHING

October 18, 2013  |  

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With the federal government standstill finally coming to an end, Rachel Maddow explained on Thursday night’s show just what exactly the Republicans got out of it: Zero!

Maddow went through the long list of Republican demands, from changing federal employee pensions to denying birth control pension, in exchange for re-opening the government, only to conclude that from that entire list, the GOP came up completely empty.

"Through this process, Republicans said they would shut down the government, or, once it was shut down, they would refuse to open the government unless they got each one of these things. Of all of these things that they demanded, they got none of them! None...these have been sixteen bad days for the country and the economy,” she said. 

She added, “It may be true that nobody won, but someone definitely lost here.” 

Watch the video:

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.

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Republicans Fulfill Their Cruel Ayn Rand Obsession With the Sequester

The cruel reality is that those who can least afford it will bear the brunt of the impending social experiment.

March 4, 2013  |  

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The following article first appeared in ColorLines.

The chaos set to be unleashed over the next month through the implementation of sequestration budget cuts is not an accident. For a large part of the Republican Party and the secretive billionaires that fund them, the disruptive shockwave that will be caused by investing less in historically marginalized communities is the point.

Since the 1970s—through ideas which can only be thought of as flawed and eccentric—an ideological band has championed an end to the education, health, transportation and housing programs that have made America more economically fair.

Now at the heart of the GOP, this group argues that these very economic justice initiatives have instead created a “culture of dependency” which they want to dissolve by using sequestration.

In point of fact, sequestration is just an extension of a broader strategy which they call “starve the beast.” The aim of “starve the beast”—a rather unfortunate metaphor given racial stereotypes from the worst of America’s past—is to deny the federal government capital in order to bring about its collapse. So to fully evaluate where we are and what comes next, it’s sadly necessary to spend time considering this off-beat philosophy—and the bizarre way it’s come to rule our lives.

Making and Taking

Adherents to “starve the beast”—which include House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan—believe that America is divided between “makers” and “takers.”

In their world view, the “makers” are the drivers of the nation’s economic growth. But they’re being held back by the “takers”—increasingly black and brown—who’ve misused the democratic process to hijack the government and funnel money away from the “makers” through taxes. Cantor himself echoed this very point during the fight over the debt ceiling in 2011.

This may sound strange to the rest of us, but to them it’s the truth.

“Starve the beast” followers argue that the economic interests of the country and of the “makers” are one in the same. They want the government to fall back and they want the “takers” put in their place. Only then will America truly prosper, or so the thinking goes.

In order to reach this anti-democratic future, their plans call for the federal government to return to its basic core functions, similar to those at the time of nation’s birth in 1776. Sticking to the areas of defense and foreign affairs, 80 percent of the federal government would disappear.

How could this come about? Through huge tax cuts and massive debt.

“Starve the beast” adherents contend that tax cuts would deprive the government of revenue, and gradually shift resources to the “makers.” With less income over time, the government would rack up enormous debts. The combination of tax cuts and a pile of IOUs would eventually force the government to eliminate most of its activities.

This may sound like a zany economic manifesto from a fake political novel, but it’s in fact from a real one. Shockingly, that novel, Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” plays a pivotal role in the argument over sequestration, and we’re playing out her quirky theories in real time.

Weird and Powerful

Ayn Rand, whose white supremacist views were woven throughout her writing, attracted a band of towering intellectuals in the 1950s and 1960s who felt increasingly out of touch with an America that was diversifying in every single way.

One of Rand’s most devoted and successful proteges was Alan Greenspan. Greenspan—part of Rand’s intellectual circle called the “Collective”—would go on to be chair of the Federal Reserve under four presidents.

Kathleen Parker: Republicans Can’t Give on Taxes Because It Would Damage Their Brand

Republicans have done a whole lot of things to damage their "brand" and still haven't figured out what to do to quit being the "stupid party" after their losses in the last election, but note to Kathleen Parker -- refusing to raise taxes in order to lower the budget deficit is not one of them. The majority of their own constituents don't agree with them on this issue, but that didn't stop Parker from pretending it would damage them on this Sunday's Meet the Press:

GREGORY: What's striking to me is that these issues are still so hard and that the elections didn't seem to solve them completely enough. […] Is that true? I mean, why didn't it?

PARKER: Why didn't it? Because, look, the Republicans cannot give on taxes. They simply can't. It would damage their brand permanently and the President is unwilling... he is insisting on raising revenue through taxes. There's no way for them to have a meeting of the minds when those differences exist and that's not going to change.

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On the News With Thom Hartmann: 131 Republicans and 60 Corporations Submitted Friend-of-the-Court Briefs...

In today's On the News segment: This week, 131 prominent Republicans and 60 major corporations submitted friend-of-the-court briefs in favor of gay marriage to the Supreme Court; Arkansas lawmakers passed legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and then immediately backed a separate measure which would prevent abortion after just 12 weeks; the Violence Against Women Act will soon head to President Obama; and more.

TRANSCRIPT:

Thom Hartmann here – on the news...

You need to know this. After two failed attempts on Thursday to prevent the sequester, Congress gave up on their efforts to stop the austerity measures, and headed out of town for the weekend. One day before the deadline, two rival bills to prevent the $85 billion in spending cuts failed to get the 60 votes needed to end debate and proceed to an up-or-down vote. The Republicans only got 38 votes on their bill, which would have forced President Obama to manage the spending cuts. The Democratic bill, which would have replaced the sequester with $55 billion in spending cuts and $55 billion in new revenues, received 51 votes. Unfortunately, the Progressive Causus's Balancing Act approach wasn't even considered, despite a recent Business Insider poll that showed bipartisan voter support for the plan. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said there won't be an agreement without additional tax revenues, and he believes the Republicans want the Sequester to happen. He said, "we cannot solve the problems of this country with cuts, cuts, cuts. We've cut $2.6 trillion. We need to do more, but we're going to do it in a balanced approach." But Republicans refuse to accept any plan that includes new revenues. So for now, our country must brace for drastic cuts, which will wreak havoc on our economy. Democrats will attempt to undo the sequester during the budget debate coming at the end of this month, but by then many of the Republican austerity measures will have already begun. If Republicans don't back down on tax increases, there's little chance a replacement plan will be accepted. Now it's up to us to let Congress know that we won't stand by while Republicans use our economy to play political blame games against the President. Call Congress today and tell them to stop these insane austerity measures now!

In screwed news... Arkansas's Democratic Governor Mike Beebe tried to block a sweeping abortion ban in his state, but the Republican-led State Senate managed to override his veto. On Thursday, Arkansas lawmakers passed legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and then immediately backed a separate measure which would prevent abortion after just 12 weeks. Governor Beebe vetoed the so-called "fetal pain bill", saying he believed the law violates Roe v. Wade. He hasn't said yet if he will try to veto the more extreme anti-abortion measure, but he told reporters that "it's on even shakier legal ground than the 20-week ban." Arkansas joins seven other states with similar 20-week restrictions, and may soon have one of the most extreme anti-abortion laws in our nation. The Arkansas ACLU's executive director, Rita Sklar, said, "We are going to do everything within our power to protect the health and reproductive decision-making abilities of women." Obviously Republicans didn't learn anything from the last election. They're not just moving forward with their war on women, they're pushing full-steam-ahead.

In the best of the rest of the news...

Just this week, 131 prominent Republicans and 60 major corporations submitted friend-of-the-court briefs in favor of gay marriage to the Supreme Court. And, the Obama Administration made history yesterday with it's own amicus brief in favor of LGBT equality. President Obama is the first president in U.S. history to push the high court to expand marriage rights to people of all sexual orientations. Two major LGBT equal rights cases will come before the Supreme Court later this month – California's Prop 8 case and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. If they're overturned, the Supreme Court rulings could pave the way for the recognition of same-sex marriages in every state in our nation. The new brief from the Administration says LGBT families "establish homes and lives together, support each other financially, share the joys and burdens of raising children, and provide care through illness and comfort at the moment of death." Marriage equality advocates, like Chad Griffin of The Human Rights Campaign, praised the President's legal position, saying, "President Obama and the solicitor general have taken another historic step forward consistent with the great civil rights battles of our nation's history." Let's hope the Supreme Court takes the next step towards equality, and overturns Prop 8 and DOMA.

After almost one year of delay, the House passed the Violence Against Women Act yesterday by a vote of 286 to 138. The bill, which received support from 199 Democrats and 87 Republicans in the House, was held up by GOP House members who opposed additional protections for Native American, LGBT, and undocumented victims of domestic abuse. All of yesterday's 138 "No" votes were Republicans. The bill will soon head to President Obama, who said, "Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk." The re-authorization of this historic law is a big victory against the Republican war on women, but the on-going attack on reproductive rights shows we have a long fight ahead!

And finally... Zookeepers in Scotland want to get their pandas in the mood for love. It's difficult to get pandas to reproduce in captivity, as females are only fertile for about two days each year, so employees at Edinburgh Zoo turned on romantic music to set the mood. Tian Tian, the zoo's female panda, will soon enter her fertile phase, so her caretakers have switched off her normal radio station, and switched on an easy listening station to help set the mood. The station they selected was so excited to be part of the process, they started to take song requests from the zoo staff. What song did zookeepers pick for their special lady? Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On." A spokeswoman for the Edinburgh Zoo said it's impossible to know what panda's are thinking, but the music appears to sooth their male panda Yang Guang. Not sure what song zookeepers will pick next, but "You Sexy Thing" by Hot Chocolate is a top suggestion among panda-fans.

And that's the way it is today – Friday, March 1, 2013. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.

Senate Republicans Take a Stand Against the Public Interest

It is bizarre that Chuck Hagel, a war hero with a long record of sensible views on the deployment of military power, gets blocked as the president’s nominee to run the Pentagon, while Jack Lew, steeped in Wall Street greed, sails through as Treasury secretary. Chuck Hagel, a former two-term GOP senator from Nebraska and President Obama’s choice for Defense Secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. A Senate panel on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, abruptly postponed a vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be defense secretary. (Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

There is, of course, nothing new about a Treasury secretary having profited from high-level Wall Street connections. After all, Robert Rubin and Hank Paulson, two former honchos at Goldman Sachs, headed the Treasury in the Clinton and Bush administrations, respectively. And Timothy Geithner, whom Lew would be replacing, was head of the New York Federal Reserve when it acted to bail out the too-big-to-fail financial hustlers led by AIG and Citigroup. The revolving door between Wall Street and the Treasury is the key cause of the Great Recession.

So, what’s the big deal that Lew ran two divisions at Citigroup for three years when homeowners were swindled out of their life savings? What’s a $2 million payout to Lew compared with the well over $100 million that Rubin got at that same bank during the years he helped steer it to disaster? In Lew’s case there was also the matter of his investing in one of Citigroup’s offshore schemes on the Cayman Islands that President Obama had roundly condemned, but the few Republicans who brought it up at the nominee’s confirmation hearing this week offered only a mild rebuke for such chicanery.

The big deal, ignored by Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee and underplayed by the Republican critics, is that the Treasury Department, under two presidents during this financial crisis, has bailed out the banksters while doing next to nothing to help the victims of those institutions. Even now, in the third stage of a “quantitative easing” that will leave $4 trillion in taxpayer debt, the Federal Reserve, with the Treasury’s blessing, continues to bail out the banks by taking toxic assets off their books while the banks refuse to undertake any serious mortgage readjustments. 

The appointment of Lew might make sense if he had learned from his Wall Street experience that the era of unfettered greed ushered in by the deregulation mania of the Clinton and Bush years has proved a disaster. But Lew is anything but a Wall Street turncoat and continues to feign ignorance as to the causes of the banking disaster. Even though he profited mightily from his years at Citigroup—whose merger between investment and commercial banking was made legal only by the reversal of Glass-Steagall—he denies that deregulation had anything to do with that bank’s ruinous practices.

Asked at a previous confirmation hearing by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., whether deregulation had contributed to the crisis, Lew responded: “I don’t personally know the extent to which deregulation drove it, but I don’t think deregulation was the proximate cause.” Yet Obama now inexplicably turns to Lew to help reregulate the system. Why look to a perp rather than a victim to redress the crime?

The irony in the simultaneous rejection of Hagel by some senators is that he has been a victim of the irrational application of military power. Hagel, severely wounded during the Vietnam War that few today would argue ever made any national security sense, has long urged caution in foreign military involvement. Hawks complain that he opposed the surge in the U.S. presence in Iraq after having at first gone along with the war. Hagel should be admired for having honored the “fool me once” maxim in not wanting to escalate an invasion justified by blatant lies, but instead his prudence has been scorned.

The case is the same with Hagel’s courage to dare to suggest that Israel’s outsized influence on U.S. Mideast policy may be counterproductive to efforts to find a way to end almost a half-century of occupation of the Palestinian people. There are plenty of well-informed citizens on the front lines in Israel who would agree, but few in ruling U.S. political circles.   

The Republicans have turned on Hagel because he dared turn on them in the 2008 election when he refused to endorse Sen. John McCain. All other objections to his nomination are just noise, and what is really at issue is the failure to consider the national interest in its most dangerous manifestation: the waging of war. In contrast to their tepid objections to Lew, who will be easily confirmed, the Republicans still seem determined to derail the Hagel nomination. It is clear that their motivation in both confirmation processes is nothing but partisan and that the public interest will once again be ignored.

© 2012 TruthDig.com

Robert Scheer

Robert Scheer is editor of Truthdig.com and a regular columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.

US in jeopardy? Republicans block Hagel’s appointment as Defense Sec

Former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel.(Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

Former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel.(Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

Republican lawmakers have delayed a vote on Chuck Hagel’s candidacy defense secretary, defying President Obama’s nomination. Democrats decried the Republicans as jeopardizing US national security by delaying Hagel’s appointment.

In a near-party-line vote, a majority of Republicans moved to filibuster Hagel’s nomination. The vote tallied 58 in favor to 40 opposed, falling just short of the 60 votes necessary to escape a filibuster and move Hagel’s nomination through the Senate for final approval.

Republicans justified their decision by saying they required the release of further information on the September 2012 attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

The Republican move was met with fury by Democrats, who slammed it as “tragic,” and an attempt to obstruct the political process. It was the first time this political tactic had been used to delay the appointment of a US Defense Secretary.

"Senate Republicans have made it clear they intend to mount a full-scale filibuster, and block the Senate from holding a final passage vote on Senator Hagel's nomination," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said while addressing the Senate after the vote. He stressed that Republicans were embarking on an attempt at “filibustering while submitting extraneous requests that will never be satisfied.”

President Obama echoed the anti-Republican sentiment in a question-and-answer session organized by Google+, in which he expressed regret that the politics of the vote “intrudes at a time when I'm still presiding over a war in Afghanistan.”

"My expectation and hope is that Chuck Hagel, who richly deserves to get a vote on the floor of the Senate, will be confirmed as our defense secretary," Obama said.

Since President Obama announced ex-Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his nominee for Secretary of Defense, the Republican Party has been up in arms over his nomination.

The Vietnam veteran is a known anti-war activist, and had previously clashed with Republican lawmakers over his criticism of the “Jewish lobby” in Washington, and for refusing to push for a strike against Iran.

Additionally, his performance at his confirmation hearing raised doubts over his nomination. Critics said that Hagel reacted poorly under aggressive questioning, and appeared unprepared at times.

Hagel severed his links with the Republican Party over ex-President George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq War, angering many party members.
Despite being known as an anti-war advocate, since his nomination, Hagel has made warmongering remarks such as claiming the US should be prepared for a possible strike on Iran. He also stressed the importance of the US-Israel relationship, contradicting his previous opposition to Washington’s “Jewish lobby.”

This about-face in policy has led to confusion amongst US lawmakers, as well as speculation that he may be pandering to his former Republican colleagues.

Senate Republicans Take a Stand Against the Public Interest

Senate Republicans Take a Stand Against the Public Interest

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share
Posted on Feb 14, 2013
AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Chuck Hagel, a former two-term GOP senator from Nebraska and President Obama’s choice for Defense Secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. A Senate panel on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, abruptly postponed a vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be defense secretary.

By Robert Scheer

It is bizarre that Chuck Hagel, a war hero with a long record of sensible views on the deployment of military power, gets blocked as the president’s nominee to run the Pentagon, while Jack Lew, steeped in Wall Street greed, sails through as Treasury secretary. 

There is, of course, nothing new about a Treasury secretary having profited from high-level Wall Street connections. After all, Robert Rubin and Hank Paulson, two former honchos at Goldman Sachs, headed the Treasury in the Clinton and Bush administrations, respectively. And Timothy Geithner, whom Lew would be replacing, was head of the New York Federal Reserve when it acted to bail out the too-big-to-fail financial hustlers led by AIG and Citigroup. The revolving door between Wall Street and the Treasury is the key cause of the Great Recession.

So, what’s the big deal that Lew ran two divisions at Citigroup for three years when homeowners were swindled out of their life savings? What’s a $2 million payout to Lew compared with the well over $100 million that Rubin got at that same bank during the years he helped steer it to disaster? In Lew’s case there was also the matter of his investing in one of Citigroup’s offshore schemes on the Cayman Islands that President Obama had roundly condemned, but the few Republicans who brought it up at the nominee’s confirmation hearing this week offered only a mild rebuke for such chicanery.

The big deal, ignored by Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee and underplayed by the Republican critics, is that the Treasury Department, under two presidents during this financial crisis, has bailed out the banksters while doing next to nothing to help the victims of those institutions. Even now, in the third stage of a “quantitative easing” that will leave $4 trillion in taxpayer debt, the Federal Reserve, with the Treasury’s blessing, continues to bail out the banks by taking toxic assets off their books while the banks refuse to undertake any serious mortgage readjustments. 

The appointment of Lew might make sense if he had learned from his Wall Street experience that the era of unfettered greed ushered in by the deregulation mania of the Clinton and Bush years has proved a disaster. But Lew is anything but a Wall Street turncoat and continues to feign ignorance as to the causes of the banking disaster. Even though he profited mightily from his years at Citigroup—whose merger between investment and commercial banking was made legal only by the reversal of Glass-Steagall—he denies that deregulation had anything to do with that bank’s ruinous practices.

Asked at a previous confirmation hearing by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., whether deregulation had contributed to the crisis, Lew responded: “I don’t personally know the extent to which deregulation drove it, but I don’t think deregulation was the proximate cause.” Yet Obama now inexplicably turns to Lew to help reregulate the system. Why look to a perp rather than a victim to redress the crime?

The irony in the simultaneous rejection of Hagel by some senators is that he has been a victim of the irrational application of military power. Hagel, severely wounded during the Vietnam War that few today would argue ever made any national security sense, has long urged caution in foreign military involvement. Hawks complain that he opposed the surge in the U.S. presence in Iraq after having at first gone along with the war. Hagel should be admired for having honored the “fool me once” maxim in not wanting to escalate an invasion justified by blatant lies, but instead his prudence has been scorned.

The case is the same with Hagel’s courage to dare to suggest that Israel’s outsized influence on U.S. Mideast policy may be counterproductive to efforts to find a way to end almost a half-century of occupation of the Palestinian people. There are plenty of well-informed citizens on the front lines in Israel who would agree, but few in ruling U.S. political circles.   

The Republicans have turned on Hagel because he dared turn on them in the 2008 election when he refused to endorse Sen. John McCain. All other objections to his nomination are just noise, and what is really at issue is the failure to consider the national interest in its most dangerous manifestation: the waging of war. In contrast to their tepid objections to Lew, who will be easily confirmed, the Republicans still seem determined to derail the Hagel nomination. It is clear that their motivation in both confirmation processes is nothing but partisan and that the public interest will once again be ignored.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s new book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”

Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.

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Did the Republicans Shoot Down the Keystone XL Pipeline?

Think of it as a prospective irony: in a spirit of pure, blind partisanship, the drill-baby-drill folks in the Republican Party may have done themselves in.  After all, their obsession with the Benghazi incident led them to launch a preemptive strike against the president's choice for secretary of state, Susan Rice, for her statements on what happened when the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were murdered there.  They sent her nomination down in flames.  In the process, it’s just possible that they took out something far dearer to them. Susan Rice, once Obama's top pick for Secretary of State, had large financial holdings in international pipeline companies but was forced to withdraw her consideration for the position following a vicious GOP crusade surrounding the assault in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead. (File).

Though it didn’t get much attention during her disastrous nomination moment, we did learn that Rice and her husband had made significant investments in companies connected to the Canadian tar-sands industry and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which is to bring the resulting crude (and carbon-dirty) oil 1,700 miles from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast.  They reportedly had $300,000-$600,000 in stock in TransCanada, the company building the pipeline. 

In addition, “about a third of Rice’s personal net worth is tied up in oil producers, pipeline operators, and related energy industries north of the 49th parallel,” including Enbridge, a company which hopes to build another tar-sands pipeline.  Had she been secretary of state, she might have had one of the great conflicts of interest of our time (or a major divestment problem).

Congress seems desperate to see that pipeline built.  More than half the Senate -- 44 Republicans, including key Rice opponent John McCain, and nine Democrats -- signed a letter to that effect, but it matters little.  Because of the international border Keystone XL crosses, only two people stand between us and its construction, the secretary of state and President Obama, who alone will make the final decision on whether the project should proceed. The president's second choice for secretary of state, who recently swept through the nomination process, is of course former Senator John Kerry, a “climate hawk” who has already said that he will be deeply involved in the State Department's review of the pipeline.  (It’s worth noting that TransCanada, trying to cover all its bases, hired one of Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign staffers as a lobbyist, along with “heavyweights” from past Obama and Hillary Clinton presidential runs, and that Kerry does have to divest himself of holdings in two Canadian energy companies which have supported the pipeline.)

No one, of course, can know what the new secretary of state and the president will decide.  They are, however, already being pushed hard by a growing coalition of environmentally oriented groups, fearful of what it would mean to get all those tar sands out of the ground and (as carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere.  In addition, this coming Sunday, February 17th, an enormous “forward on climate” rally is to take place in Washington.  Originally organized by 350.org and Bill McKibben but now involving dozens of groups, it is expected to draw worried protestors (including this writer) from all over to demonstrate on the National Mall.  The goal is, in part, to push President Obama to make the necessary decision on the Keystone pipeline.  It’s remarkable that one man has the power to shoot this project down.  As energy expert Michael Klare explains in his latest piece, “A Presidential Decision That Could Change the World,” should he do so, the tar-sands industry might never recover.  That would lend a genuine hand to our over-heating planet, which means there has seldom been a situation where demonstrations to pressure a president were more in order.

© 2013 TomDispatch.com

Tom Engelhardt

Did the Republicans Shoot Down the Keystone XL Pipeline?

Think of it as a prospective irony: in a spirit of pure, blind partisanship, the drill-baby-drill folks in the Republican Party may have done themselves in.  After all, their obsession with the Benghazi incident led them to launch a preemptive strike against the president's choice for secretary of state, Susan Rice, for her statements on what happened when the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were murdered there.  They sent her nomination down in flames.  In the process, it’s just possible that they took out something far dearer to them. Susan Rice, once Obama's top pick for Secretary of State, had large financial holdings in international pipeline companies but was forced to withdraw her consideration for the position following a vicious GOP crusade surrounding the assault in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead. (File).

Though it didn’t get much attention during her disastrous nomination moment, we did learn that Rice and her husband had made significant investments in companies connected to the Canadian tar-sands industry and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which is to bring the resulting crude (and carbon-dirty) oil 1,700 miles from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast.  They reportedly had $300,000-$600,000 in stock in TransCanada, the company building the pipeline. 

In addition, “about a third of Rice’s personal net worth is tied up in oil producers, pipeline operators, and related energy industries north of the 49th parallel,” including Enbridge, a company which hopes to build another tar-sands pipeline.  Had she been secretary of state, she might have had one of the great conflicts of interest of our time (or a major divestment problem).

Congress seems desperate to see that pipeline built.  More than half the Senate -- 44 Republicans, including key Rice opponent John McCain, and nine Democrats -- signed a letter to that effect, but it matters little.  Because of the international border Keystone XL crosses, only two people stand between us and its construction, the secretary of state and President Obama, who alone will make the final decision on whether the project should proceed. The president's second choice for secretary of state, who recently swept through the nomination process, is of course former Senator John Kerry, a “climate hawk” who has already said that he will be deeply involved in the State Department's review of the pipeline.  (It’s worth noting that TransCanada, trying to cover all its bases, hired one of Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign staffers as a lobbyist, along with “heavyweights” from past Obama and Hillary Clinton presidential runs, and that Kerry does have to divest himself of holdings in two Canadian energy companies which have supported the pipeline.)

No one, of course, can know what the new secretary of state and the president will decide.  They are, however, already being pushed hard by a growing coalition of environmentally oriented groups, fearful of what it would mean to get all those tar sands out of the ground and (as carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere.  In addition, this coming Sunday, February 17th, an enormous “forward on climate” rally is to take place in Washington.  Originally organized by 350.org and Bill McKibben but now involving dozens of groups, it is expected to draw worried protestors (including this writer) from all over to demonstrate on the National Mall.  The goal is, in part, to push President Obama to make the necessary decision on the Keystone pipeline.  It’s remarkable that one man has the power to shoot this project down.  As energy expert Michael Klare explains in his latest piece, “A Presidential Decision That Could Change the World,” should he do so, the tar-sands industry might never recover.  That would lend a genuine hand to our over-heating planet, which means there has seldom been a situation where demonstrations to pressure a president were more in order.

© 2013 TomDispatch.com

Tom Engelhardt

Republicans Take Abusers’ Side on VAWA

(Image: Screenshot via TPM media)It’s amazing to me that some Republicans and rightwing groups are intent on holding up the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Doing so shows not only boorish insensitivity but also a startling tone-deafness, since Republicans turned women away in droves last November by their Neanderthal comments on rape.

But that’s not stopping groups like the Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks from taking the side of abusive men right now.

As Talking Points Memo notes, the Heritage Foundation is bemoaning the fact that the reauthorization includes prosecution for “emotional distress,” and says that would lead to an increase in “fraud and false allegations.”

FreedomWorks also took the side of the stalker: “A man that raises his voice at his partner, calls her an offensive name, stalks her, causes her any emotional distress, or simply just annoys her can potentially be prosecuted under the VAWA. Calling your spouse a mean name is not advised or polite, but it isn’t the same thing as violence towards her.”

Wow!

For some Republican legislators, the main sticking point, at the moment, seems to be about Native women, who have been victimized by a ridiculous loophole in our nation’s laws, a loophole that makes it almost impossible to prosecute a white man who rapes a Native woman on tribal land.

I first became aware of this issue when one of our writers for The Progressive, Mary Annette Pember, came to me with a story idea about this jurisdictional nightmare. Pember, who had been the head of the Native American Journalists Association, said Native women were being raped with impunity.

She told me that Native women are raped at a higher rate than any other demographic group, and they often have no legal recourse because of jurisdictional issue. I found that hard to believe, but it’s true.

In her astonishing article, “Silent No More,” Pember reported that “86 percent of rapes reported by Indian women involve a perpetrator outside of their race.” Very few of these rapes are ever prosecuted. She wrote: “For American Indian women, however, these facts are old news—really old news. It has been open season on American Indian women in this country for more than 200 years.”

The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act would empower Native courts to prosecute non-Natives who commit crimes on Indian land.

Native women should no longer be stuck in “no woman’s land.”

That rightwingers are even fighting this is beyond reprehensible.

© 2013 The Progressive

Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

Republicans Take Abusers’ Side on VAWA

(Image: Screenshot via TPM media)It’s amazing to me that some Republicans and rightwing groups are intent on holding up the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Doing so shows not only boorish insensitivity but also a startling tone-deafness, since Republicans turned women away in droves last November by their Neanderthal comments on rape.

But that’s not stopping groups like the Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks from taking the side of abusive men right now.

As Talking Points Memo notes, the Heritage Foundation is bemoaning the fact that the reauthorization includes prosecution for “emotional distress,” and says that would lead to an increase in “fraud and false allegations.”

FreedomWorks also took the side of the stalker: “A man that raises his voice at his partner, calls her an offensive name, stalks her, causes her any emotional distress, or simply just annoys her can potentially be prosecuted under the VAWA. Calling your spouse a mean name is not advised or polite, but it isn’t the same thing as violence towards her.”

Wow!

For some Republican legislators, the main sticking point, at the moment, seems to be about Native women, who have been victimized by a ridiculous loophole in our nation’s laws, a loophole that makes it almost impossible to prosecute a white man who rapes a Native woman on tribal land.

I first became aware of this issue when one of our writers for The Progressive, Mary Annette Pember, came to me with a story idea about this jurisdictional nightmare. Pember, who had been the head of the Native American Journalists Association, said Native women were being raped with impunity.

She told me that Native women are raped at a higher rate than any other demographic group, and they often have no legal recourse because of jurisdictional issue. I found that hard to believe, but it’s true.

In her astonishing article, “Silent No More,” Pember reported that “86 percent of rapes reported by Indian women involve a perpetrator outside of their race.” Very few of these rapes are ever prosecuted. She wrote: “For American Indian women, however, these facts are old news—really old news. It has been open season on American Indian women in this country for more than 200 years.”

The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act would empower Native courts to prosecute non-Natives who commit crimes on Indian land.

Native women should no longer be stuck in “no woman’s land.”

That rightwingers are even fighting this is beyond reprehensible.

© 2013 The Progressive

Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

Kristol: Republicans Should Stop Talking About Rebranding and Stick to Obstructing Obama

Someone needs to explain the definition of insanity to Bloody Bill Kristol. During a discussion on Fox' Special Report With Bret Baier, Kristol was asked about the Republicans and their recent efforts to "rebrand" the party, and it seems Kristol bel...

Republicans: Rebranding vs. Rethinking

Republicans: Rebranding vs. Rethinking

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Posted on Feb 6, 2013
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By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

WASHINGTON—Rebranding is trendy in the Republican Party.

Rep. Eric Cantor gave a major speech on Tuesday to advance the effort. Gov. Bobby Jindal wants the GOP to stop being the “stupid party.” Karl Rove is setting up a PAC (it’s what he does these days) to defeat right-wing crazies who cost the party Senate seats.

But there’s a big difference between rebranding—this implies the product is fine but needs to be sold better—and pursuing a different approach to governing. Here’s an early action report.

The good news: Some Republicans have decided the party moved too far to the right and are backing off long-standing positions on tax increases, guns and immigration. Their new flexibility, combined with President Obama’s new post-election aggressiveness, is producing a quiet revolution in Washington. The place is becoming less dysfunctional.

Congress has already passed a substantial tax increase, Republicans avoided a debt ceiling fight, and the ice is breaking on guns and immigration.

The mixed news: A lot of the rebranding efforts are superficial yet nonetheless reflect an awareness that the party has been asking the wrong questions, talking about the wrong issues and limiting the range of voters it’s been addressing.

This is why Cantor’s speech was more important than the policies he outlined, which were primarily conservative retreads. His intervention proved that Obama and progressives are changing the terms of the debate, much as Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s.

Cantor wasn’t making the case for smaller government or tax cuts for the “job creators.” He was asking what government could do for the middle class—“to provide relief to so many millions of Americans who just want their life to work again.”

No wonder Sen. Charles Schumer, one of the Democrats’ most subtle strategists, jumped at the chance to praise Cantor for taking “the first step towards finding common ground in agreeing on the problem you are trying to solve.” If the debate is about who will be nicer to business or who will cut taxes, Republicans win. What Schumer understands is that if the issue is providing relief for the middle class (and for workers, immigrants and low-income children), Republicans are competing over questions on which progressives have the advantage.

The bad news: In some states where Republicans control all the levers of power, they are rushing ahead with astonishingly right-wing programs to eviscerate government while shifting the tax burden toward the middle class and the poor and away from the wealthy. In trying to build Koch Brothers’ dystopias, they are turning states in laboratories of reaction.

As Neil King Jr. and Mark Peters reported in a Wall Street Journal article on the “Red State model,” Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has slashed both income taxes and spending. This drew fire from moderate and moderately conservative Republican legislators, whom he then helped purge in primaries. Jindal is talking about ending Louisiana’s personal and corporate income taxes and replacing the revenue with sales tax increases—a stunningly naked transfer of resources from the poor and the middle class to the rich.

This deeply anti-majoritarian, anti-populist approach explains the really bad news: Some Republicans show signs of no longer worrying about winning majorities at all. They have already put in place a gerrymander that has created a now-misnamed House of Representatives since it’s unrepresentative of how voters cast their ballots in congressional races last fall. Some are trying to rig the Electoral College in a way that would have let Mitt Romney win the presidency even as he lost by just under 5 million popular votes.

And they are willing to use the Senate’s arcane rules and right-wing courts in tandem to foil the policy wishes of a majority of Congress and the president—witness the precedent-less U.S. Court of Appeals ruling voiding Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The president took this course because intransigent Republican senators blocked the nominations. There should be a greater outcry against such an anti-democratic power play.

What’s the overall balance sheet? Level Republican heads seem to be pushing against the Electoral College rigging effort. The “Red State model” is likely to take hold in only a few states—and may provoke a backlash. The larger lesson may be the one Cantor offered: Republicans are slowly realizing that the nation’s priorities are not the GOP’s traditional priorities. If Republicans really do start asking better questions, they will come up with better—and less extreme—answers. 

E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2013, Washington Post Writers Group

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Republicans lash out at Ron Paul for tweet regarding Navy SEAL’s death

Congressman Ron Paul.(Reuters / Mark Makela)

Congressman Ron Paul.(Reuters / Mark Makela)

Former congressman and presidential contender Ron Paul is coming under attack from his own longtime political party after sending out a controversial tweet regarding the death of an ex-Navy SEAL sniper.

Rep. Paul, who only recently retired from Congress after over 20 years as a Republican representative for Texas, chimed in on Twitter over the weekend to comment on the tragic death of Chris Kyle, a 38-year-old former military marksman considered by the Pentagon to be the most deadly sniper in American military history.

Kyle was credited with 160 confirmed kills while on duty, but on Saturday was executed at the Texas shooting range where he regularly took fellow vets “as a kind of therapy to salve battlefield scars,” friends of the deceased tell the New York Times. Kyle was at the range near Glen Rose, Texas when fellow veteran Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old Marine, opened fire and killed both Kyle and colleague Chad Littlefield with a semiautomatic handgun.

Routh served tours in Iraq and was reportedly brought to the shooting range as a means of treating his post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

“Chad and Chris had taken a veteran out to shoot to try to help him,” a friend of Kyle’s adds to the Times, “And they were killed.”

Rep. Paul, a veteran himself, openly responded to the news on Monday, tweeting that afternoon from his @RonPaul Twitter account.

“Chris Kyle's death seems to confirm that ‘he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.’ Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn't make sense,” he wrote.

Less than two days after the congressman made the remark, Rep. Paul’s comment has been retweeted nearly 1,000 times. Addressing Kyle’s death only hours after the incident occurred, however, the quip caused a backlash of sorts by many, including fellow Republicans, who felt offended by the former lawmaker’s remark.

“Really?” responded conservative talk show host Doc Washburn. “You served in the US Air Force. So by your logic, why are you still around? @RonPaul You're not fit to tie Chris Kyle's shoes.”

“Hey @ronpaul have you lost you mind?” added Afghan War veteran and Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer, 24. “That sword protected your freedom. Guess since I live by it I deserve to get murdered as well? #wow”

In one report regarding the tweet published by the conservative-leaning Daily Caller, nearly 2000 people have posted responses to the congressman’s comment. As the blowback intensified, Paul’s camp clarified the lawmaker’s remarks in a separate post published on his official Facebook page:

“As a veteran, I certainly recognize that this weekend's violence and killing of Chris Kyle were a tragic and sad event. My condolences and prayers go out to Mr. Kyle’s family. Unconstitutional and unnecessary wars have endless unintended consequences. A policy of non-violence, as Christ preached, would have prevented this and similar tragedies,” Rep. Paul wrote.

Rep. Paul’s son, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), made a statement to Breitbart News that reads, “Chris Kyle was a hero like all Americans who don the uniform to defend our country. Our prayers are with his family during this tragic time.”

Republicans and Immigration Pinata

Republicans and Immigration Pinata

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Posted on Feb 4, 2013

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How Republicans Think: ‘Video Games Are A Bigger Problem Than Guns’

Ok, so not all Republicans think like this, but then again not all of them are U.S. Senators from Tennessee like Lamar Alexander. Here's his verbatim quote to Chuck Todd yesterday morning: LAMAR ALEXANDER: "I think video games is a bigger problem t...

Jon Stewart Eviscerates Republicans’ Logic During Gun Violence Hearings

Stewart revisits Wednesday's four-hour carnival of conservative contradictions.

February 1, 2013  |  

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Republicans invoked all kinds of insane logic during the Senate hearing on gun violence Wednesday. For Jon Stewart, the four-hour carnival was a gold mine for conservative contradictions. Wayne LaPierre invoked both governmental "tyranny" and "abandonment" as strong cases for second amendment rights, two scenarios completely at odds with one another. As Stewart put it, our government seems to be on "the verge of both fascism and impotence."

Stewart also took on Gayle Trotter, of the Independent Woman's Forum, who hilariously claimed that "the AR-15 is women's weapon of choice." Trotter used an anecdote about a young women who protected herself from intruders with a gun she kept at home. What she failed to mention was that her weapon, a Remington shotgun, would not be banned under the proposed gun control statute.

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Appointing Senators, Be They Republicans or Democrats, Is Wrong

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has rejected former Congressman Barney Frank’s request that he be appointed to fill the vacancy created by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. (Photo: Rappaport Center via Flickr)Senator John Kerry’s resignation to serve as secretary of state. Despite the fact that progressive groups urged the Frank pick for the temporary slot—arguing that the former congressman could play a critical, perhaps definitional, role in budget fights over cutting Pentagon waste and taxing speculators—the governor instead picked his former chief of staff.

The new senator, William “Mo” Cowan, has long been close to the governor, having formerly served as Patrick’s legal counsel. He’s experienced, capable and politically connected, a well-regarded lawyer who has worked not just with Patrick but also with former Governor Mitt Romney (whom Cowan helped identify judicial picks). He’ll be the state’s second African-American senator, after liberal Republican Ed Brooke, who served in the 1960s and 1970s. As a lawyer, Cowan has been active with the American Constitution Society—joining in the society’s “work  to advance the progressive values and principles of the U.S. Constitution”—which counts for a lot with Americans who seek to challenge right-wing judicial activism.

But, as with his selection of former Democratic National Committee Paul Kirk to fill the interim vacancy created by the death of Senator Edward Kennedy, Patrick has gone with a connected insider rather than someone who is likely to shake things up in the Senate.

Patrick says he’s now got “a valued ally” in the Senate.

And there is no reason to doubt that this is the case.

But, of course, this is the problem with letting governors, be they Republicans or Democrats, appoint US senators. The Massachusetts circumstance is less troublesome than in states such as Hawaii and South Carolina, which will be represented for more than two years by recently appointed senators. A special election in June will replace Cowan with a senator chosen by the voters.

But gubernatorial appointments of senators, be they for a few months, or for a few years, make the United States Senate, never a perfectly representative body, a good deal less representative.

Cowan will join three appointed senators in the chamber during what Barney Frank correctly identified as a particularly critical period in the chamber.

Another new senator, Tim Scott, has been appointed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, rather than elected by the people of that state. The same goes for Brian Schatz, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie’s pick to fill the vacancy created by the death of Senator Dan Inouye.

Cowan, Schatz and Scott come from different parties and different ideological backgrounds. There is every reason to believe they will serve honorably, and ably. Progressives are already excited by some of what Schatz has done, while conservatives are enthusiastic about Scott.

But none of these details change the fact that a trio of unelected senators will be powerful, perhaps even definitional, figures in what is supposed to be a representative body. They will play critical roles in deciding whether to approve or reject cabinet nominees and Supreme Court selections, they will vote on tax policies and budget measures and they will decide whether to crack the “debt ceiling”—or send young men and women off to war. But they will do so without democratic legitimacy.

No member of Congress should serve without having been elected by the people of the district or state they represent.

Unfortunately, the new Senate will have at least three members who serve not as representatives but as mandarins—appointees assigned to positions by governors who have assumed dubious authority.

The point here ought not be to do disparage Cowan, Shatz or Scott.

The point is to raise a concern about the fact that more laws will be proposed, more filibusters will be sustained, more critical votes will be tipped in one direction or another by “senators” who never earned a single vote for the positions they are holding.

Why?

Because of a deliberate misreading of the vague 1913 amendment to the US Constitution that replaced the old system of appointing senators with one that said they were all supposed to be directly elected.

The Seventeenth Amendment sought to end the corrupt, and corrupting, process of appointing senators. But a loophole was included to give governors the authority to make temporary appointments. That meant that, while no one has ever been allowed to serve in the US House of Representatives without having first been elected, dozens of men and women have served in the Senate without having been elected. And those appointed senators often serve for two full years, as will South Carolina’s Scott and Hawaii’s Senator Schatz, both of whom will serve until at least 2015. To the end of the 113th Congress, senators chosen by individual governor in South Carolina and Hawaii will have the same authority as a senator elected by 7,748,994 voters (California Democrat Dianne Feinstein).

Former House Judiciacy Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), rightly points out that this is a fundamental voting-rights issue. It is, as well, a question of “basic consistency in how our Representatives in Congress are elected.” Says Conyers: “The Constitution has always required that House vacancies be filled by election. The Senate should not be subject to a different standard. Americans should always have a direct say in who represents them in Congress—in both Houses, all of the time.”

Conyers was a key House backer of former US Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), when the then-chairman of the Senate Judiciacy Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution tried to amend the Constitution to address the problem.

Feingold’s proposal, which would have required special elections to fill all Senate vacancies, got a little bit of traction when Feingold was still serving in the Senate. In 2009, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution approved Feingold’s proposed amendment to end gubernatorial appointments to vacant Senate seats.

Recalling a series of appointments following the 2008 election, Feingold said: “I applaud my colleagues on the subcommittee for passing the Senate Vacancies Amendment, which will end an anti-democratic process that denies voters the opportunity to determine