This is actually quite scary.
Between this and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal suggesting Congress should amend the Constitution if the Supreme Court strikes down gay marriage ban, the assault on civil and individual rights from Republicans is facing a more ominous turn than anyone could have imagined…
Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) office confirmed to the Huffington Post that Republicans removed “Civil Rights and Human Rights” from the subcommittee name.
“We changed the name because the Constitution covers our most basic rights, including civil and human rights,” Cornyn spokeswoman Megan Mitchell told the Huffington Post. “We will focus on these rights, along with other issues that fall under the broader umbrella of the Constitution.”
Cornyn, the Senate Majority Whip, will chair the subcommittee.
“Senators swear an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution, and I take that sacred responsibility seriously,” Cornyn said in a statement. “The Constitution is the foundation of the freedoms and values we hold dear, yet for six years President Obama has treated it as an afterthought. It is the highest of laws and must be defended as such.”
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein had a rather testy exchange Friday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“I just want to nail down what it means to have it won,” Stein told the senator at the start of his question. “When we were debating the war [in Iraq], I thought the idea was that we would put up an Iraqi government that would be self-sufficient and an Iraqi military that could protect. We spent $25 billion propping up the military, and it folds, even despite having much greater numbers than ISIS.
“So I’m curious: What is the definition of victory? What is the definition of winning? Does it mean having a residual force basically without end date? I’m just a little bit confused. I want to know what victory is to you.”
The senator wasted no time snapping back, hammering Stein for his “confusion”:
I think you are confused because you didn’t know what happened with the surge where we basically had the country pacified. We had a stable government in Baghdad, and we had the conflict basically — for all intents and purposes — won. We still got troops in Bosnia, a residual force would have stabilized the country. Most military experts will tell you that. So I’m sorry about your confusion, but the facts on the ground were that al Qaeda had been defeated almost completely and with the residual American force and at that time, a strong Iraq. Now, [Iraqi PM Nouri] al-Maliki is very weak. Maliki got worse after we left. And again, I knew this was going to happen, because we didn’t leave that force behind. And so I’m sorry about your confusion, but anybody who was there will tell you we had the conflict won.
“I guess I shouldn’t myself confused, because it would be used against me,” Stein remarked. He then pressed once more: “What is the end date for our forces in Iraq? Is it open-ended? And if that’s the case, because we need to have a residual force there to prop up the Iraq government indefinitely, is that how you see it?”
In return, McCain cited residual American troops stationed in Germany, Japan, Korea, and Bosnia as having successfully stabilized regions American forces have previously occupied.
Watch the exchange below, via Mediaite:
The essay is compelling and thought-provoking yet may be uncomfortable for some…
I’ve watched liberal and right-wing commentators alike blame the president for being lynched. They say “he’s not reaching out enough” or “he’s too cold.” It’s the equivalent of assuming that the black man being beaten by a couple of thug cops must have “done something.”
I am a white privileged well off sixty-one-year-old former Republican religious right-wing activist who changed his mind about religion and politics long ago. The New York Times profiled my change of heart saying that to my former friends I’m considered a “traitorous prince” since my religious right family was once thought of as “evangelical royalty.”
I’ve just spent the last 7 years writing over 200,000 words in blogs and articles in support of President Obama. My blogs on the Huffington Post alone would add up to a book in support of the President of over 300 pages. Weirdly, I just realized that through all my writing, this has been the first time in my life I’ve personally gone to bat for a black man. It just happens that he’s a president. But my emotional stake in his life is now personal.
So I’ve changed from a white guy who used to read news about some black man getting shot or beaten by cops or stand-you-ground types who assumed that the black man must have “done something,” to a white guy who figures that the black man was probably getting lynched. I’ve changed ideology but I’ve also changed my gut intuitive reactions.
I’ve changed because if this country will lynch a brilliant, civil, kind, humble, compassionate, moderate, articulate, black intellectual we’re lucky enough to have in the White house, we’ll lynch anyone. What chance does an anonymous black man pulled over in a traffic stop have of fair treatment when the former editor of the Harvard Law review is being lynched?
One famous liberal commentator wrote a book on how Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil could disagree and still be friends. Why, he asked on many a TV show promoting his book, couldn’t President Obama be like that? Because, I yelled at the screen, those two men were white Irish Americans and part of a ruling white oligarchy.
Because, I yelled, you might as well ask why Nelson Mandela didn’t talk his jailers in South Africa into seeing reason.
Because, I yelled, the president is black and anytime he’s reached out he’s pulled back a bloody stump.
Because, I yelled, liberal white commentators have been as bothered by a black man in the White House, who’s smarter than they are as much as right-wing bigots have been bothered.
Because, I yelled, President Obama has been lied about, attacked, vilified, and disrespected since Day One.
Because, I yelled, this country may have passed laws so blacks can vote and eat in a white man’s world, but in our hearts are stuck in a place more like 1952 than 2013.
We’ve been watching a slow motion lynching of a moderate brilliant family man, a father, and faithful loving husband. The Republicans in Congress are so dedicated to lynching the President they’ve been willing to shut down our government and risk the future of our economy.
Evangelical “Christians” have been so stuck on putting a rope around this black man’s neck they have denied their faith and been the backbone of the lying Tea Party who spawned the so-called “birthers” and the rest of the white trash driving our news cycle.
Roman Catholic bishops have denied their tradition of helping the poor and been so eager to destroy this president they aligned themselves with white Evangelical bigots and tried to stop health care reform, all because the President wants to give women a fair shake. The bishops even called him “anti-religious” because the president wants insurers to pay for contraception.
This is a slow motion lynching of a black man who is so moderate and centrist that he favored Wall Street enough so that the Left is all over his case. He’s so “radical” and “leftist” and “hates America” so much, and “coddles our enemies” so much, that he killed bin Laden and used drones to kill our enemies. He’s such a “socialist” that he presided over the revival of our economy from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and led us to the present day stock market boom. President Obama is such a “Marxist” that he tried to give insurance – not socialized medicine – to all Americans.
President Obama never answered back to the disgusting southern right-wing rubes from the former slave states that have tried to belittle, mock and stymie his presidency shouting “You lie” in a million ways, while actually meaning “You lie, nigger!”
And did the “enlightened” Left have President Obama’s back? No. They carp about his “failure” because a website was slow to get running! The white privileged “progressive” few were too busy blaming him for getting lynched and telling him how to craft policy while a rope was put around his neck again and again and tightened with each filibuster, each lie told on the radio, each self-defeating scorched earth action to stop him from succeeding, even if it meant taking us all down too.
We don’t like to admit who we really are. So we make excuses and blame the victim. I’m ashamed for our country, a country my Marine son fought for in two stupid wars this president has been working to end. And I’m still rooting for the best, smartest and most decent man who has been president in my lifetime. I pray for his health care reform to succeed. I pray for his immigration reform to succeed. I’m amazed he’s gotten anything done, but he has, even while the lynch mob gathers again and again to laugh, lie and spit and claim he’s “failed” while “liberal” commentators nod sagely and talk about his “mistakes” as if President Obama has been playing on a level playing field.
We have a lot to do to heal this country of the damage done by the right-wing Obama-haters and the Left wing know-it-all pundits who did not have his back because they don’t have the honesty to admit that we still live in a backward racist swamp of prejudice. Maybe in 50 years our country will be worthy of someone of President Obama’s forbearance again. For now we can just hope that the hatred of the Republican Party for our first black president doesn’t drive us to the brink of ruin again as they strip food from the mouths of the poor, and try to get people to not sign up for health care, just to get even with the black man they swore to destroy from the day that “uppity” black who is smarter than all of them put together took the oath of office.
God bless you Mr. President. I’m praying for you. I am so very sorry. But take heart, in the long reach of history the door you opened will stay open for the millions of Americans of all colors, genders and beliefs who will follow you. They will bless your name. So will history.
I love this guy…
You know it’s a slow news week when a significant portion of Monday’s news coverage centered around President Obama’s handshake with Cuban president Raul Castro.
Jon Stewart could barely wrap his head around the media’s subsequent fascination with said handshake, as he outline on last night’s “Daily Show.”
“Barack Obama [was] at a funeral celebrating Nelson Mandela, a man whose legacy is that he forgave and embraced his foes and tormentors, and thus inspired his country to a national and democratic rebirth,” Stewart said. “Attending that, Obama had the audacity to greet another world leader with a gesture so meaningless you can train a basset hound to do it.”
He continued: “What the f*ck is wrong with us?”
Plus, some of Stewart’s critics, like Sen. John McCain, have not exactly been without sin when it comes to shaking hands with our past and future enemies.
Check out the clip above for Stewart’s full missive.
Never in my almost seven decades of life have I labeled a Pope “awesome”. Now, with Pope Francis at the Vatican helm, I can finally say it. This Pope is awesome.
How can one tell just how great Pope Francis really is? Just look at all the right-wing talking points against the Pope…
A recent interview with Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the “Almoner of His Holiness,” raised speculation that the Pope joins him on his nightly trips into Rome to give alms to the poor, and it turns out that the rumors are probably true.
A knowledgable source in Rome told The Huffington Post that “Swiss guards confirmed that the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to meet with homeless men and women.”
Krajewski earlier said, “When I say to him ‘I’m going out into the city this evening’, there’s the constant risk that he will come with me,” and he merely smiled and ducked the question when reporters asked him point-blank whether the Pope accompanied him into the city.
He’s not the only Pope known for nocturnal wanderings. There are stories of Pope John XIII sneaking out to enjoy the beauty of Rome in the evenings, and reports tell of Pope Pius XII dressing as a Franciscan during WWII to help smuggle Rome’s Jewish population to safety. More recently, Pope Benedict XVI popped out unannounced to visit an art exhibit.
When Pope Francis was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, he was known to sneak out at night to break bread with the homeless, sitting with them on the street and eating with them to show that they were loved.
And we love him for doing it now.
The Republican National Committee is woefully out of touch…
On Sunday, the Republican National Committee tweeted out an ill-advised tribute to civil rights icon Rosa Parks, praising the late activist for “her role in ending racism.”
Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism. pic.twitter.com/uxIj1QmtkU
— RNC (@GOP) December 1, 2013
The message was widely mocked by Twitter users who pointed out that the end of racism was news to them:
TFC Editor Note: So the RNC’s amended tweet makes everything ok? It basically says the same thing as the original tweet. “Helping to end racism”…I think not. It STILL exists.
BREAKING: GOP says racism is over. In related news: “We were joking about that Kenyan-Muslim-socialist-dictator-Madrassa-foodstamp thing.”
— Goldie Taylor (@goldietaylor) December 1, 2013
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) December 1, 2013
.@GOP Why is this upsetting people? Racism IS over; I’ve never suffered from it in my life.
— rob delaney (@robdelaney) December 1, 2013
#RacismEndedWhen The Jeffersons “moved on up.”
— Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) December 1, 2013
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) December 1, 2013
Previous tweet should have read “Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in fighting to end racism.”
— RNC (@GOP) December 1, 2013
Working during the holidays sucks. Luckily for members of the U.S. House of Representatives, they don’t have that much of it before the new year begins.
The House had 239 days off scheduled during 2013, and they have even more off days scheduled for next year.
The 2014 calendar for the House, released in October by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), shows members will only work only 113 days. That’s down from 2013, when House lawmakers were scheduled to meet for 126 days. Only 107 days were scheduled in 2012.
“We should not be judged on how many new laws we create,” Boehner told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer in July. “We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal. We’ve got more laws than the administration could ever enforce.”
This must be done soon. Preferably, today. Enough is enough from the Teapublican filibusters in the senate.
Filibuster reform might actually happen this time. In fact, it might happen today.
Harry Reid is poised to end the filibuster against executive-branch appointments and judicial nominations. Could Democrats back out at the last minute, as they have so many times before? Absolutely. But there’ve been three big changes in Senate Democrats’ outlook since the last time filibuster reform failed.
1. Filibuster reform is just another word for nothing left to lose. Back in January, the best arguments against filibuster reform had nothing to do with filibuster reform. They had to do with the rest of the Democrats’ agenda.
“Speaker John Boehner said the House wouldn’t consider legislation from a post-filibuster reform Senate. It’s very likely that a real filibuster reform fight would’ve destroyed the Democrats’ agenda in the coming months — think immigration and gun control.”
But gun control died in the Senate. And it turned out that Boehner refused to consider the Senate’s immigration legislation regardless of the filibuster’s status. Now, with President Obama’s political capital at a nadir, it’s clear that there’s no second-term agenda to protect in the near future, and they’re may not even be a Democratic Senate majority after 2014.
So in pure “getting-things-done” terms, Democrats are faced with a choice: keep the filibuster and get nothing done. Change the filibuster and get nothing done aside from staffing the federal government and filling a huge number of judicial vacancies with lifetime appointments.
2. Democrats believe Republicans will shred the filibuster as soon as they get a chance. The main reason filibuster reform typically fails is that the majority party is scared of what will happen when the minority party gets into power. But Senate Democrats just watched Republicans mount a suicide mission to shut down the government. Their confidence that Republicans will treat the upper chamber’s rules with reverence is low, to say the least.
This has led to some fatalistic thinking about filibuster reform: If Republicans are going to blow the filibuster up anyway, Democrats might as well take the first step and get some judges out of the deal.
3. Senate Democrats feel betrayed by Republicans. It’s hard to overstate the pride senior Senate Democrats took in cutting their January deal with Senate Republicans. That kind of good-faith dealmaking, they said, was exactly how the Senate is supposed to work. Some even argued it was a sign that immigration reform, gun control, and other top Democratic initiatives might pass.
But then Republicans filibustered more judges and executive-branch nominees. And the pride top Democrats took in their deal to avert filibuster reform has turned to anger that Republicans made them look like trusting fools. “Just talked to at least 10 Senate Dems about filibuster reform, including some who previously opposed it,” tweets the Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery. “Just one opposes now.”