Boehner Encourages Obama To Take Executive Action, One Day After Voting To Sue Obama Over Executive Action

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) | CREDIT: AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE

“Blame it on the alcohol”?

Think Progress

Hours before Congress broke for the August recess, House Republicans claimed that the President could use executive action to fix the border situation with unaccompanied childrenfleeing violence in the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. In a press statement released Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other House Republican leaders indicated that President Obama could address the crisis “without the need for congressional action,” a statement tinged with some irony given that just the day before, House Republicans had slammed the President with a lawsuit claiming executive overreach.

“This situation shows the intense concern within our conference – and among the American people – about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws,” the House Republican leadership press release stated. “There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries.”

Boehner made the statement even though the House still had time Thursday before it broke for the August recess to vote through a $659 million supplemental emergency bill to deal with the child arrivals at the border. The House could still potentially offer up a fix to the border situation when the GOP holds an emergency meeting on Friday morning. Still, Republican leaders are struggling to reach the necessary 218 vote threshold, with some calling on a vote for a separate measure that would defund a 2012 presidential initiative that grants temporary deportation reprieve and work authorization for some undocumented immigrants.

At odds with Boehner’s statement is a lawsuit that House Republicans had authorized Wednesday, which criticizes the President over claims that he had unlawfully overused executive orders. The lawsuit enumerates a number of areas in which they allege Obama had employed executive overreach, but they especially targeted the President for not fully implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Their lawsuit does not specifically mention immigration. Republicans often cite a 2012 executive order known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as a prime example of executive overreach.

Republicans have claimed that the DACA program was responsible for the surge of child arrivals at the southern border since the beginning of the 2014 fiscal year, as well as the reason why they could never pass immigration reform. It seems that the executive action that House Republican leaders have expressed the most interest in since last year has been to dismantle the DACA program, voting three times to dissolve the DACA program, an issue that researchers found has little to do with the current border crisis (eligible DACA applicants must have entered and continuously lived in the United States before June 2007).

UPDATE

During an interview with MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, two Republican members of Congress conceded the conflict between the lawsuit and Boehner’s call for executive action. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) agreed that it didn’t make sense to sue the President, saying, “Look, you can’t say on the one hand that the president is overreaching by acting without legislative authority and direction and then refuse to give him legislative authority and direction in another area.” Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) also agreed, saying, “We can’t go home until we pass a bill. That’s why we’re staying here, that’s why we’re going to get the job done.”

 

Cantor: You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit!

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

There’s always a method to their madness…

Liberaland

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is quitting Congress ahead of his previously-scheduled departure.  Maybe he got himself a higher-paying gig.

Cantor said he has asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to call a special election for his district that coincides with the general election on Nov. 4.

By having a special election in November, the winner would take office immediately, rather than in January with the next Congress.

“That way he will also have seniority, and that will help the interests of my constituents (because) he can be there in that consequential lame-duck session,” Cantor said.

10 things you need to know today: August 1, 2014

Palestinians walk through their heavily-bombed town.

Palestinians walk through their heavily-bombed town |AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

The Week

Violence shatters Gaza cease-fire, Tea Partiers block a House border security bill, and more

1. Violence shatters Gaza cease-fire hours after taking effect
Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire starting Friday, but the kidnapping of an Israeli solider and heavy exchanges of fire two hours after the truce took effect unraveled it. According to Israel, a unit clearing a Hamas tunnel was set upon by militants, who made off with one of the soldiers. “The cease-fire is over,” said an Israeli spokesperson, as Israel launched “extensive operations on the ground” to find the missing soldier. [The New York Times]

………………………………………………………………………………

2. GOP division blocks House immigration bill
House GOP leaders abandoned an effort to pass a bill to fund border security on Thursday, after a Tea Party revolt. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) lobbied against the bill because it didn’t reverse President Obama’s policy of suspending deportations of undocumented immigrants brought in as children by their parents. Republicans and some Democrats also blocked a Democratic border bill in the Senate. [Reuters, Politico]

………………………………………………………………………………

3. Brennan apologizes for CIA searches of Senate computers
An internal investigation found that CIA employees searched computers used by Senate staff members as they prepared a report on the CIA’s harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects. A summary of the CIA findings, released Thursday, said that 10 agency workers, including two lawyers, improperly searched Senate files and emails. CIA Director John Brennan apologized to lawmakers, but at least two Senate Democrats said he should resign. [The Washington Post]

………………………………………………………………………………

4. U.S. Ebola patients expected to return to the U.S. for treatment
Two American missionaries stricken with Ebola in Liberia are expected to be flown back to the U.S. Both patients — Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol — are in stable but grave condition. One will be treated at Emory University near the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. They would be the first Ebola patients in the U.S.; CDC officials said the outbreak could worsen in West Africa but is unlikely to threaten the U.S. [CNN, U.S. News & World Report]

………………………………………………………………………………

5. Stock indexes lose all of their July gains in one terrible day
U.S. stocks took their worst plunge in months on Thursday as rising labor costs triggered fear that the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates faster than many hoped. Argentina’s default on its debt a day earlier spooked investors further. The S&P 500 index lost all of its July gains, resulting in its first monthly decline since January. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 317 points, or 1.88 percent, erasing its 2014 gains. [The Washington Post]

………………………………………………………………………………

6. Investigation team finally gets to see Ukraine crash site
Investigators on Thursday reached the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet shot down in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine. It was their first look at the July 17 crash site. Earlier attempts to survey the wreckage were blocked by pro-Russian separatists. The team — from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe — will do “initial reconnaissance,” searching for evidence and human remains not yet moved from the site. [Voice of America]

………………………………………………………………………………

7. Californians face just a 4.2 percent increase in ObamaCare premiums
California announced Thursday that the 1.2 million Californians insured through the state-run ObamaCare exchange will face just a 4.2 percent premium increase next year. Officials at Covered California, which negotiated the rates, said the deal will break the trend of double-digit rate hikes. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said this is “merely a pause” in the big annual premium increases. [Los Angeles Times]

………………………………………………………………………………

8. Colorado prepares tighter rules on edible pot
Colorado regulators are putting together emergency rules requiring makers of edible marijuana products to make it clear to buyers just how much pot they will be consuming. The new policy, which is aimed at reducing complaints of nausea and other bad experiences, will mandate that edible marijuana be sold in 10-milligram “servings” of THC, pot’s intoxicating ingredient. The result will be weaker pot brownies and cookies. [The Associated Press]

………………………………………………………………………………

9. Court upholds controversial Wisconsin union law
Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a controversial 2011 law that limited collective bargaining for public workers. The law sparked massive protests, and a failed 2012 effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R). Walker, who is seeking reelection, called the decision vindication for a law that has saved taxpayers $3 billion. A Madison teachers union that challenged the law called the ruling “morally bankrupt.” [USA Today]

………………………………………………………………………………

10. Cantor announces he will resign early
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday that he would resign his seat on Aug. 18 so his district would “have a clear and strong voice during the consequential lame-duck session of Congress.” Cantor stepped down as House majority leader, effective Thursday, after suffering a stunning defeat to Tea Party-backed challenger David Brat. He announced his unexpected decision to give up the seat early in a Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed article. [The New York Times, Richmond Times-Dispatch]

CNN Anchor Lashes Out At Fox: ‘You Willfully Ignorant F**ksticks’

Fhx324cnrtvnvddoxx3s

CNN anchor Bill Weir | Sipa USA / Patrick McMullan Co

From what I hear CNN has been emulating Fox News on much of their programming.  CNN used to be my go to network for news.  That stopped about eight years ago…

TPM Livewire

The blog Fox Nation tweeted out an article on Wednesday night with the headline “Climate Doesn’t Cooperate With Al Gore’s Group’s Visit to Denver EPA Hearings.” The article, which was aggregated from The Washington Times, detailed Climate Reality Project’s recent trip to Denver.

The climate group, which was founded by former Vice President Al Gore, recently launched an “I’m Too Hot” campaign and was seen passing out free ice cream at the Environmental Protection Agency’s hearings in Denver this week, according to the article.

“The plan was to tout the EPA’s emissions proposal as a solution for hot weather brought on by global warming, but when the hearings began at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Denver, the temperature was a chilly 58 degrees. Plus, it was raining,” Washington Times’ staff writer Valerie Richardson wrote.

Apparently bothered by the Fox Nation tweet, Weir responded minutes later, tweeting “weather is not climate, you willfully ignorant f**ksticks.”

Here was the original Fox Nation tweet:

On Thursday afternoon, Weir apologized on Twitter for his “dumb move.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: My male colleagues didn’t really understand the Hobby Lobby case

ruth bader ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg | Screenshot

Bingo!

The Raw Story

Speaking with Katie Couric on Yahoo Global News, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that five of her male counterparts on the court have “a blind spot” when it comes to women’s issues.

After noting that all three female justices were in the minority in the recent Hobby Lobby decision, Couric asked Ginsburg whether she “believed the five male justices truly understood the ramifications of their decision.”

Following a long pause, Ginsburg said, “I would have to say, ‘No.’”

“But,” she added, “justices continue to think, and can change. So I’m ever hopeful that if the Court has a blind spot today, its eyes can be opened tomorrow.”

“But you do, in fact, feel that these five justices had a bit of a ‘blind spot’?” Couric asked.

“In Hobby Lobby?” Ginsburg replied. “Yes.”

“Because they couldn’t understand what it is like to be a woman?” Couric asked.

“They all have wives. They have daughters. By the way, I think daughters can change the perception of their fathers.”

Ginsburg went on to note that her opinions on these matters are contained in her dissents, and that there is a tradition of dissents becoming “unquestionably, the law of the land.”

In her scathing dissent in the Hobby Lobby case, Ginsburg noted that the majority’s willful misreading of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act would have unintended consequences.

“Little doubt that RFRA claims will proliferate, for the Court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood – combined with its other errors in construing RFRA – invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faith,” she wrote.

Earlier this week, in fact, the Satanic Temple declared that it would use the majority’s interpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act just as Ginsburg predicted groups would.

 

Watch the entire interview with Ginsburg via Yahoo Global News here.

 

Texas Republican Uses Ethnic Slur To Describe Child Victims Of Hurricane Katrina

 

Texas state Rep. Dennis Bonnen | (Harry Cabluck/AP)

Liberaland

A Texas state legislator used the term “coonass” in reference to Louisiana children who had to attended school in the Lone Star state after Hurricane Katrina hit.

Video footage was released of Texas state Rep. Dennis Bonnen making the comment during a state government hearing, while comparing the cost of educating children from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina to the cost of educating children from Central America arriving on the United States border, The Times Picayune reports.

“I want to be clear — a Katrina child is far different. We can make jokes and pick on Louisiana and it’s fun and all that, but it’s a hell of a lot different bringing a kid over from Louisiana than a child who’s just made a treacherous journey,” Bonnen said, according to a video from Progress Texas.

Bonnen went on to say, “There’s a significant difference. We had to have a teacher who could do coonass in English, but here we have to do Spanish and English, maybe, and there’s a higher marker.” (KS: Emphasis are mine)

“When you make a deliberate comment like that, how can I not get offended as a Acadiana American?” State Sen. Norbert Chabert said, who represents the Houma area.”It’s insulting to our accent. It’s insulting to be called that by someone from out of state.”

Barry Ancelet, a professor of Francophone Studies at the University of Louisiana said,  “coonass” is never appropriate to use.

“Whoever said this ought to be derided as the racist that he is,” Ancelet said. “If he had any sense of decency, he would apologize.”

Watch:

Think Progress reports:

The term “coonass” refers to people of Cajun descent. It is considered an offensive slur by many Cajuns, and Dictionary.com describes it as a “vulgar slang term” that is “used with disparaging intent and is perceived as insulting.” The Louisiana Legislature formally condemned the use of the word in 1981. In 2007, University of Alabama football head coach Nick Saban used the word while telling an anecdote, and prompted national news coverage that led to a public apology.

On an aside: When Katrina hit, my family fled New Orleans with most of them ending up in Lafayette until it was safe to return. The people there rallied around and helped others who were escaping the devastation. The people he refers to as “coonasses” had more compassion for others than this jerk. God bless Lafayette.

 

Now read this:

Hannity Fires Back at Russell Brand: ‘You’re Kind of Dumb and Ignorant’

Russell Brand and Sean Hannity

It’s unfortunate that people mostly see Russell Brand as a drug induced menace but after watching him interact with Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe last year, I sort of did a double take and realized he’s not necessarily a spaced out druggie.  He actually appeared to have some workable grey matter in that skull of his.

Mediaite

Sean Hannity fired back tonight against Russell Brand, who mocked his Israel coverage and remarked that Hannity sounds like a terrorist. Hannity dismissively called Brand “ignorant” and his comments “not funny.”

He charged that Brand completely mangled his history on Israel and Gaza, telling Brand, “I need to educate you, ’cause you’re kind of dumb and ignorant.” He refuted Brand’s arguments about Palestine and was amazed how “Russell can’t get it through his thick head” that he’s blaming the wrong people.

Bernard McGuirk and Dagen McDowell joined Hannity to continue the pile-on. McGuirk said Brand has a “skanky look” to him, while McDowell wondered why Brand doesn’t have any words of scorn for the actual terrorist group inflicting suffering upon Israelis.

Watch the video below, via Fox News:

 

And you can watch Russell Brand’s original comments here:

10 things you need to know today: July 31, 2014

Health workers treat an Ebola patient.

Health workers treat an Ebola patient. (AP Photo/Samaritan’s Purse)

The Week

House Republicans vote to sue Obama, the Peace Corps leaves West Africa over Ebola outbreak, and more

1. House GOP approves lawsuit against Obama
House Republicans voted Wednesday to authorize Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to file a lawsuitagainst President Obama for allegedly abusing his power with executive actions, including delaying parts of his signature health-care law. “This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats, it’s about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold,” Boehner said. Obama called the move a “political stunt.” [The Washington Post]

………………………………………………………………………………

2. Peace Corps volunteers leave West Africa as Ebola spreads
The Peace Corps announced Wednesday that it was pulling its 340 volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea because of an Ebola outbreak that has killed 456 people in West Africa. The World Health Organization has confirmed more than 800 cases, although there could be as many as 1,200. “This epidemic is without precedent,” said Bart Janssens, director of operations for Doctors Without Borders. [CNN]

………………………………………………………………………………

3. Second quarter economic growth jumps to four percent
The economy grew by an unexpectedly strong four percent annual rate this spring, according to government data released Wednesday. The rebound was fueled by robust spending by consumers and businesses rebuilding their inventories. The numbers marked a stark contrast with the first quarter, when harsh winter weather weighed on growth. [The Washington Post]

………………………………………………………………………………

4. Russia scoffs at new U.S. and European Union sanctions
Russia reacted defiantly on Wednesday to harsher new economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe over its support for Ukrainian separatists, saying the measures would only push it to strengthen its economy while worsening its relations with the West. Ukraine welcomed the measures and vowed to continue an offensive against the pro-Russian rebels. [The New York Times]

………………………………………………………………………………

5. Bank of American fined $1.3 billion over Countrywide loan program
A federal judge in New York on Wednesday ordered Bank of America to pay $1.3 billion in penalties over a mortgage program that Countrywide Financial ran. Insiders referred to the program as “the hustle.” It involved the fast-tracking of mortgage applications from August 2007 through May 2008, ending shortly before Bank of America bought Countrywide, so the parent bank is paying for mistakes made before it took over. [Los Angeles Times]

………………………………………………………………………………

6. Ex-IRS official said some conservatives were “crazies”
Former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner referred to conservative talk radio hosts as “crazies” and “a**holes” in emails released Wednesday by House Republicans. The messages were part of a collection of evidence delivered to the Justice Department by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to support a GOP call for a special counsel to investigate the IRS’ Tea Party-targeting scandal. [Politico]

………………………………………………………………………………

7. Argentina misses a debt-payment deadline
Argentina defaulted on its debt when it missed a deadline for paying interest on $13 billion of restructured bonds on Wednesday after talks with bondholders failed. It was the second default in 13 years for the South American nation, which has $200 billion in foreign-currency debt, including $30 billion in restructured bonds. The court-appointed mediator in New York said the consequences were uncertain, “but they certainly are not positive.” [Bloomberg News]

………………………………………………………………………………

8. Economy gains 218,000 private-sector jobs
American companies hired 218,000 workers in July, falling slightly short of projections and the figure for June, according to a survey released Wednesday by private payroll firm ADP. It was the fourth straight month in which the U.S. gained more than 200,000 private jobs. Economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics said the figures indicated “a steadily improving job market” on target to “return to full employment by late 2016.” [Reuters]

………………………………………………………………………………

9. Netanyahu says Israel will destroy Hamas tunnels, even with a truce
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel would destroy all of the tunnels Hamas militants have used to launch attacks in Israel, “with or without a ceasefire.” Israel, which just called up another 16,000 reserves, has dismantled most of the 32 tunnels it has uncovered, and expects to demolish the rest within a few days. Neighboring Arab states, wary of Islamist groups like Hamas, are quietly siding with Israel over the Palestinians. [CBS News, The New York Times]

………………………………………………………………………………

10. George W. Bush writes his father’s biography
Former president George W. Bush is writing a biography of his father, former president George H.W. Bush, that will be released in November, Crown Publishers told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The book, which does not have a title yet, will cover the elder Bush’s life and influence on his son, from their earliest campaign trips together to the younger Bush’s own two-term presidency. [The Associated Press]

Surprise: New Study Pinpoints The Root Of Right Wing Ideology

republican_fear

 

Addicting Info

In spite of all their talk about God and faith, it seems that republicans are actually living in fear most of the time. That seems contrary to their constant rhetoric about an almighty and all powerful God who is supposedly their protector and benefactor.

On the other hand, a large compilation of research indicates that conservatives could probably really benefit from intensive counselling services, which could help them learn to cope with the underlying cause of their extreme ideology, fear. Of course they probably distrust counselors and think they will try to fill their heads with ‘liberal ideas’, so the odds of any of them getting help are pretty slim. For those of us who are not conservative, maybe understanding how the right wing thinks can help us figure out how to relate to them better.

Almost everyone has a negativity bias. It’s a phenomenon which makes people more receptive to recalling negative events, as opposed to recalling positive ones. As it turns out, conservatives have a greater negativity bias than other people, according to new research from John R. Hibbing, a political scientist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Hibbing works with a team of researchers at the University Of Nebraska’s Political Physiology Lab, the only lab of its kind in the United States, to date. His latest paper was published in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences journal, in a paper titled”Differences In Negativity Bias Underlie Variations In Political Ideology.

While Hibbings points out that conservatives are more tuned in to  ‘perceived threats,’ his work reveals much of what we already knew about right wing ideology being entirely fear based.

In an earlier study by Hibbings group, both liberal and conservative participants were shown a group of images which included three that were ‘threatening,’ mixed in with 30 which were neutral. That study revealed that conservatives had a much stronger physiological reaction to the negative images.

Hibbings latest paper summarizes results from a broad range of studies, including those that involved self assessment and reporting by liberal and conservative research participants, a wide range of research into differences in physiological reactions and those that measured psychological responses. Finally, Hibbings relates the compiled research to the underlying negativity bias that drives conservative ideology. Using 26 separate studies to support his conclusions, Hibbings work has been well received by the overwhelming majority of scientists whose work was cited in his most recent paper.

As Hibbings paper illustrates, there really has been a great deal of research into the psychology of political positions in recent years. The research gives us a greater understanding of what motivates people to think and act the way they do.

We know that conservatives respond strongly to negative stimuli. We know that they are motivated by fear, or what researchers describe as ‘perceived threats’. We know that conservatives are often deeply insecure. Hibbings research also suggests that conservatives view themselves as part of a small group, and that they perceive those outside of the group as a threat to the well being of the group itself. That knowledge goes a long way toward explaining conservatives attitudes toward immigration as well as their hatred of minorities, non Christians and others who fall outside of their elite circle. Going one step further, it seems that there is a belief that everyone outside of the group is a threat to the group itself.

One thing we still don’t know is whether conservatives are born with these tendencies or whether they learn them throughout life. Is it nature or nurture? One thing is for sure, those at the top of the right wing food chain know very well how to exploit their base through fear and negativity. The extreme right wing operates very much like a religious cult. The main job of the cult leaders is to keep the members fearful and distrusting of everyone outside of the group, thus ensuring that they can continue to control the message.

I tend to believe that the right wing media is the cause of the underlying psychology that researchers observe in conservative personalities. Logically speaking, how many people would be afraid of absurd conspiracy theories likeAgenda 21 or Obamacare death panels or FEMA camps, if the right wing media didn’t disseminate so many lies? The same goes for just about any of things that conservatives fear, from immigrant children to any form of sane gun control, the conservative media keeps these people afraid at all times.

It may be true that certain people are more disposed to tuning into fear mongering right wing media outlets than others, but nearly everyone has seen a ‘normal’ friend or family member get sucked in by the exploitative tactics of the right wing. Filmmaker Jen Senko has a new documentary coming out this fall called “The Brainwashing of My Dad.” The film details how her very normal father, who she describes as a Kennedy democrat, got pulled in by the hate and fear mongering of right wing radio. Over time the constant exposure changed her father, as it has many other people who held entirely different views prior to being exposed to round the clock right wing propaganda.

It’s easy to think of republicans as political adversaries or even as enemies. Research like this serves to remind us that there are a great number of people in the US who are living in constant fear. There is also a small number of unscrupulous people who have infiltrated US politics and media. Those people are more than happy to exploit others, feeding their fears and whipping them into a propaganda induced panic attack daily, for personal and political gain.

Hibbings paper shines a new light on the political divide. The average conservative voter is a victim of right wing manipulation and exploitation. Instead of viewing conservatives as our enemies, we need to look for new ways to reach out to them. As hard as it may seem to do, we have to acknowledge their fears and be open to discussing them, before we can hope to gain any new ground.