President Barack Obama had plenty of obstacles when he took over from the Bush administration. The country faced a recession not seen since the Great Depression and the U.S. was embroiled in the Iraq war which left hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis along with thousands of American soldiers in what has turned out to be one of the most catastrophic American foreign policy blunders in history. One would think that the Republicans would help the young president fix what they had broken. Unfortunately, since Obama took office, the Republicans have done nothing but try to stifle him, even at the cost of shutting down the government.
Fast forward more than seven years and we still see an unbroken theme with the Republicans — continued obstructionism that has prevented the government from functioning properly and has kept vital decisions from being made. In the latest round, the Republicans in the United States Senate refused to give Chief Judge Merrick Garland a fair hearing and a vote despite the fact that it’s been 45 days since the president nominated him for the United States Supreme Court. In his address,the president made it clear that the U.S. Supreme Court must remain above partisan politics and the senate must do its job.
Unfortunately, as they’ve done in the previous seven years, the Republicans are unlikely to heed the president’s advice and suggestions. In the end, it’s the American system and ultimately the American people who suffer from the partisan politics which have become so dysfunctional.
Watch the video here:
Author: Marcus Aurelius
What are they so scared of…?
According to a report by Phoenix, Arizona’s NBC affiliate, Rep. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) U.S. Senate campaign called Democratic voters telling them to vote in the wrong precinct — in some cases as much as 11 miles away from their actual polling place. After telling the Democratic voters to vote in the wrong place, the calls also encourage the voter to “vote Flake for U.S. Senate.” Watch the report:
It’s unclear whether these calls were made accidentally or as part of an intentional strategy to depress the Democratic vote.
Rep. Todd Akin, the right-wing U.S. Senate candidate in Missouri, made matters worse for himself last week when he complained about Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D) capacity to be “ladylike.” It led the usually understated Chris Cillizza to marvel at Akin’s “devastatingly bad candidacy.”
It can, however, get worse.
In this undated clip, we see Akin fielding a question from a voter who asked about the congressman’s vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. “Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?” the audience member asked.
Ordinarily, the standard line from far-right officials is that women aren’t paid less than men, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Akin, however, seemed to suggest wage discrimination simply isn’t a problem for government to address.
“I believe in free enterprise,” Akin said. “I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom. If someone wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.”
In other words, we don’t need anti-discrimination laws at all. As far as this U.S. Senate candidate is concerned, if a woman takes a job and gets paid less than men doing the same work, it’s her fault — laws just aren’t necessary.
Unless Missouri Republicans have a plan to disenfranchise women between now and Election Day, I suspect there will be quite a gender gap in this race.
Incidentally, an Akin campaign consultant last week also compared Akin to cult leader David Koresh. It was apparently intended to be complimentary.
Update: How tarnished is Akin’s reputation at this point? Democrats have begun using him against other Republicans as far away from Missouri as New York.
I predict Rep. Todd Akin will resign by the end of the week.
The RNC has pulled their funding, Karl Rove has pulled his funding and big money donors are leaving in droves. Time to say “goodbye” Rep. Akin…
Todd Akin’s bad week keeps getting worse.
The six-term Missouri GOP congressman, a candidate for U.S. Senate, apparently bailed on a planned interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, leaving the host to berate him as a “gutless little twerp” Monday evening.
Akin’s troubles began Sunday when he suggested during a television interview that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” are biologically unlikely to become pregnant — attributing the dubious science to “doctors.” Numerous Republicans have called on the congressman to withdraw from his challenge against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Akin has apologized for his remarks, and insisted he’ll stay in the race. However, the media firestorm shows little sign of abating after two days.
Staring at the empty chair, a nonplussed Morgan issued this challenge to Akin: “Congressman, you have an open invitation to join me in that chair whenever you feel up to it, because if you don’t keep your promise to be on the show, then you are what we would call in Britain a gutless little twerp.”
MSNBC’s “Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell faced similar circumstances earlier this year, when Craig Sonner, then-lawyer for Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, fled the scene of a planned interview moments before it was set to begin. O’Donnell proceeded to lambaste Sonner while sharing the screen with a live feed of the attorney’s conspicuously empty chair.
We live in an advancing technological age. Sadly, it seems that internet privacy may truly be a thing of the past.
The irony is that the U.S. Government doesn’t believe in privacy for its citizens (due to the war on terror) but reacts quite defensively when exposed for its hypocrisy through breaches of its security apparatus.
The U.S. Senate website was the latest target in a string of cyberattacks from Lulz Security, the hacker group that had previously compromised PBS and some Sony sites.
The hackers got into the servers’ public side but were not able to penetrate the firewall to reach private information, such as senators’ contact information.
“We don’t like the U.S. government very much,” Lulz Security said in its release of the information it obtained. “This is a small, just-for-kicks release of some internal data from Senate.gov—is this an act of war, gentlemen? Problem?”
The reference is to a report that the U.S. government may consider cyberattacks acts of war; however, the report referred specifically to attacks from foreign governments, not loose-knit hacking groups like Lulz Security.
Read it at Reuters
Digby and Think Progress actually get what Rand Paul is really about…
Hullabaloo – byDigby
Why am I not surprised that the alleged libertarian Rand Paul is just a tad uhm … incoherent?
PAUL: I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.
Think Progress goes on to note all the praise Paul has been receiving from libertarians and liberals alike for his courageous support for constitution principles. And they also note how many of those constitutional principles he has ignored. What explains this?
How shall I put this delicately? The man isn’t playing with a full deck. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. He’s a few tacos short of a fiesta platter. His jogging trail doesn’t go all the way round the lake…He’s an idiot. The fact that we have to count on him to be the guardian of the constitution in the US Senate says everything you need to know about the state of civil liberties in this country.
Continue reading here…
Barefoot and Progressive’s Joe Sonka notes that by Paul’s own logic, he should be put in jail, as he himself has flirted with rhetoric about violently overthrowing the government.
This Think Progress post is a couple of days old, but former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold’s message is refreshing and unique!
In fact, when Feingold comes back to the senate (…and he will), I expect him to lead the charge…
As a part of the Republican victory in Congress following November’s election, a number of long-time Democratic Party lawmakers lost their seats, the victims of a national wave of discontent fed by a struggling economy. One of those who lost was Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), who served four terms in the U.S. Senate before losing to Oshkosh businessman Ron Johnson.
Feingold, who will teaching law at Wisconsin’s Marquette University this Spring, sat down with The Nation’s John Nichols for a wide-ranging interview that covered the former senator’s thoughts on his time in the Senate and what he plans to do in the future. At one point, Feingold told Nichols that, while he lost his recent election, the “broader struggle” for social justice has to continue. Nichols followed up by asking Feingold what he meant by the “broader struggle” and what progressives should do now. The senator replied that progressives must confront the fact that “this entire society is being dominated by corporate power” and that progressive must mobilize against what he calls “the Gilded Age on steroids”:
NICHOLS: What do you mean when you refer to “the broader struggle”? What should progressives do now?
FEINGOLD: I don’t know how it could be more stark or clear: this entire society is being dominated by corporate power in a way that may exceed what happened in the late nineteenth century, early twentieth century. The incredible power these institutions now have over the average person is just overwhelming: the way they can make these trade deals to ship people’s jobs overseas, the way consumers are just brutalized and consumer protection laws are marginalized, the way this town here—Washington—has become a corporate playground. Since I’ve been here, this place has gone from a government town to a giant corporate headquarters. To me, the whole face of the country—whether it be the government, the media, agriculture, what happens on Main Street—has become so corporatized that the progressive movement is as relevant as it was one hundred years ago, maybe more so. It’s the same issues. It’s just that [corporate] power, because of money, international arrangements and communications, is so overwhelming that the average person is nearly helpless unless we develop a movement that can counter that power. I know we’ve all tried over the years, but this is a critical moment. We need to regenerate progressivism and make it relevant to what’s happening right now. But there’s no lack of historical comparison to a hundred years ago. It’s so similar; the only real difference is that corporate power is even more extended. It’s the Gilded Age on steroids.
Joe Miller is the epitome of arrogance.
Alaska Republican Joe Miller made clear on Thursday that he has no intention of conceding in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race despite rival candidate incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski being declared the winner of the drawn-out election earlier this week and calls mounting for the embattled contender to admit defeat.
The AP reports that a lawyer for Miller’s campaign is seeking an injunction from a federal judge to stop election officials in the Last Frontier from certifying Murkowski’s victory. The challenge comes as the latest in a string of legal challenges the the senator’s team has made against the validity of write-in ballots cast for Murkowski, whom he defeated earlier this year in the state’s GOP primary.
Miller’s lawsuit claims Alaska law requires voters to write in a candidate’s name as it appears on a declaration of candidacy, or the last name of the candidate, to cast valid ballots. His campaign filed the lawsuit last week as hand counting of write-in ballots began. … Anchorage U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline denied his request to immediately stop the state Division of Elections from counting write-in ballots that strayed from the exact spelling of a candidate’s name.On Monday, state officials filed a formal brief in opposition to the lawsuit. Thursday was the deadline for Miller to reply.
Attorney Tom Van Flein said in his filing Thursday that Miller was revising his injunction request because the Division of Elections has nearly finished its vote count.
He asked the court to stop elections officials from accepting as valid any write-in votes in which a candidate’s name was misspelled or was not written on the ballot as it appeared on the candidate’s write-in declaration of candidacy.
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Crooks & Liars
Citizens United has only endorsed one nominee for the midterm elections thus far: Sharron Angle.
Via the Las Vegas Tribune:
Citizens United Political Victory Fund says their mission is to assist a conservative candidate who shares Ronald Reagan’s vision of reducing the size of government, lowering taxes, cutting spending, promoting traditional family values, and keeping America safe. Their goal for the 2010 election cycle is to elect a candidate who will fight for conservative principles and challenge the agenda of the Obama Administration.
David N. Bossie, President of Citizens United said, “this is a critical race, and that is why it is so important to nominate a true Conservative with the credibility to stand up to Senator Reid’s out-of-control spending and big-government ways. Sharron Angle is a strong candidate with impeccable Conservative credentials, and I am proud to endorse her for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.”
That ad at the top, by the way, isn’t one Ronald Reagan would endorse at all. Reagan was good buddies with Iran’s religious oligarchs — such good buddies he and his pal Bill Casey swapped some weapons for hostages back in the day.
But then, it’s very much in style to twist around what Reagan was about to serve the conservative message. Truth matters less than impression, and so we have Reagan, DemiGod of the teabaggers, overseeing their efforts. Never mind that he gave amnesty to illegal aliens, ignored the Constitution when it didn’t fit with his plans, and systematically dismantled Main Street in favor of Wall Street. Forget all that for a minute. Continue reading…