Jefferson KeelA million American Indians aren't registered to vote. A million! American Indians who are registered have the worst turn-out at the polls of any ethnic group. This is simultaneously sad and infuriating. It's also problematic for progressives because the Indian vote can make the difference, has made the difference in some cases, on who sits on county commissions, in state legislatures and, occasionally, in Congress. Indians overwhelmingly vote Democratic.
Jefferson Keel (Chickasaw), the president of the National Congress of American Indians, is pushing voter registration for American Indians in a way never seen before. He wants the largest-ever Native turnout this year at the polls and has joined with Rock the Vote to make that happen. One key element of the campaign is to get the federal government to establish voter registration at Indian Health Service facilities under the provisions of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. Among other things, the act requires state governments to allow people to register to vote when they renew their driver's licenses or apply for social services.
On reservations and in urban centers, the IHS provides members of federally recognized tribes health care and advocacy. It runs 142 hospitals, health centers and 50 health stations on reservations and about 30 urban Indian health projects where voter registration could be handled. Although the IHS runs under the supervision of Dr. Yvette Roubideaux (Sicangu Lakota-Rosebud), it is an operating division of the Department of Health and Human Services led by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. You can contact her and urge her to make IHS facilities available for voter registration. Not only to make it a possibility, but to make it a reality by providing the modest amount of funding required. That amounts to a modest half-million dollars.
In addition to directly lobbying in Washington, D.C., Keel is sending a letter in support of the registration idea directly to each of the dozens of IHS facilities, along with a copy of a report on the Indian vote from the research and advocacy organization, D?mos.
Keel writes: ?The Indian Health Service is a key agency in delivering on the federal government?s trust responsibility to tribes. As outlined in the report, IHS facilities, conveniently and centrally located in many tribal communities, are ideal voter registration sites. Joining other federal and state agencies in offering this service to clients will make a large impact in tribal communities, in the national Native Vote and in furthering the fulfillment of the federal trust responsibility."
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At a rally in France last Sunday, former Republican presidential candidate and House Speaker Newt Gingrich expressed his support for the MEK, an Iranian opposition group considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
"...This is a massive, world-wide movement for liberty in Iran," Gingrich said, in a short speech posted on YouTube. "And not anything like the State Department's descriptions. And I think what you did yesterday was historic and extraordinary, and needs to be driven home, so that everybody who makes foreign policy decisions in the United States understands just how big this movement is getting, how wide-spread it is, and how bipartisan the American support for it is."
Gingrich delivered his remarks while Maryam Rajavi, the MEK's France-based leader, stood beside him. Among other things, Gingrich's speech included a reference to George Washington crossing the Delaware when the American revolution was "hanging on a thread." (As The Atlantic's Max Fisher points out, Gingrich also mentioned Mark Bowden's book "Guests of the Ayatollah," a study of the Iran hostage crisis, an event the State Department says the MEK participated in. The group denies it played a role in the embassy takeover.)
Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that it will order the MEK off the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations if the Department doesn't makes a decision to keep or remove the terrorist designation within the next four months. MEK supporters in the U.S. have for years called for the group to be delisted, and have been very successful recruiting high-level former government officials from both parties to their cause. Earlier this year, the Treasury Department sent subpoenas to speaking firms that represent several of the MEK's big backers. Many of these former officials have received tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for their appearances at pro-MEK events, and an Obama administration official told NBC in March that the probe "is about finding out where the money is coming from."
The MEK's opponents say the group has little support inside Iran itself, where people remember that the group sided with Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
Gingrich and his wife Callista were apparently in Italy late last week. A Newsmax article published Thursday on the Supreme Court's health care law ruling quoted Gingrich "speaking from Italy," and Callista Gingrich has been using Instagram in recent days to document her views of the countryside.
Watch Gingrich's speech in France:
Newt travels to France to speak at a rally on behalf of the MEK, a cult-like group the State Department calls a terrorist organization. [...]
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It's a sign of the changing times that Anderson Cooper may get more grief for not coming out of the closet sooner than for being gay. [...]
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You read the headline correctly. Trevor Thomas, real progressive and candidate for western Michigan's 3th-district House seat, may easily have a substantial lead of anti-woman Dem candidate Steve Pestka. (Yes, in this year of Dem fundraising on the "War Against Woman" theme, Pestka is blatantly anti-woman ? click to see why.)Mlive.com has the Trevor?Pestka polls story (h/t Towleroad):A...
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Yes, yes, you've all heard all the Republicans whine about how they're going to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act. You've heard them all shake their fists about this awful government-run plan, and how they're going to act posthaste to repeal it. You've even heard Willard himself say it.
But you know, there's a problem, and that problem is Mitt Romney himself. Spend the three minutes to listen to him talk in that 2007 video before the Iowa caucuses in January, 2008. The content is certainly interesting, but what's more interesting is Romney's demeanor. In that three-minute video, he makes the argument for why the Affordable Care Act works. Of course, the Affordable Care Act was just drafted legislation in some House Democrats' dreams at the time, but the 2008 Democratic platform centered on making sure all Americans had access to affordable health care, just like Romney centered on making that access a 'market-based solution.'
In this video, a relaxed and frank Mitt Romney talks confidently about his solution for Massachusetts and how he handled 'free riders.' I'm guessing his reference to constraints on insurers probably centered around pre-existing conditions, since that's always the central issue in these debates despite what everyone says.
Mitt Romney himself makes the best argument for the Affordable Care Act there is. I dare the Democrats to clip this video, mash it up with Thursday's thin-lipped promise of repeal and make it into a national ad. This should be done not to highlight Romney's agreement, but his lies.
Conservatives' dilemma will come down to whether or not they think Romney was lying then, or lying now. I think the difference in his demeanor will reveal the answer to that question.
Here he is, just minutes after the Supreme Court ruling was made public.
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- About those health care polls..., by DemFromCT
- Are national polls understating President Obama's prospects for victory, by Steve Singiser
- Why Obama? To fight for our progressive Values, by Armando
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The U.S. military on Monday was investigating the crash of an Air Force C-130 airplane in southwestern South Dakota where it was assigned as an airborne tanker fighting a wildfire, the U.S. Air Force said.
The cause of the crash on Sunday evening was not known and the Air Force was not identifying the unit involved or the status of the crew members pending notification of family, Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command, said on Monday.
A federal judge Sunday temporarily blocked enforcement of a Mississippi law that could shut down the only abortion clinic in the state.
U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan in Jackson issued a temporary restraining order the day the new law took effect.
Is the IRS starting to look into political groups set up as 501(c)4s?
A Wall Street Journal article last week reported that the agency was ?taking initial steps to examine whether Crossroads GPS, a pro-Republican group affiliated with Karl Rove, and similar political entities are violating their tax-exempt status by spending too much on partisan activities.? But the IRS told TPM that the plan has been around for a while.
Jonathan Krohn took the political world by storm at 2009?s Conservative Political Action Conference when, at just 13 years old, he delivered an impromptu rallying cry for conservatism that became a viral hit and had some pegging him as a future star of the Republican Party.Methinks CPAC won't be asking him to come back.
Now 17, Krohn ? who went on to write a book, ?Defining Conservatism,? that was blurbed by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Bill Bennett ? still watches that speech from time to time, but it mostly makes him cringe because, well, he?s not a conservative anymore.
Krohn won?t go so far as to say he?s liberal, in part because his move away from conservatism was a move away from ideological boxes in general. [...]
But a quick rundown of his current political stances suggests a serious pendulum swing away from the right.
Gay marriage? In favor. Obamacare? ?It?s a good idea.? Who would he vote for (if he could) in November? ?Probably Barack Obama.? His favorite TV shows? ?The Daily Show? and ?The Colbert Report.? His favorite magazine? The New Yorker. And, perhaps telling of all, Krohn is enrolling this fall at a college not exactly known for its conservatism: New York University.
When 25 couples filed suit against Illinois’ ban on same-sex marriage, it was unclear who would defend against the complain. Neither Cook County Clerk of Courts David Orr (the named defendant) nor state Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) planned to fight the suit. Now, two county clerks from downstate Illinois are seeking to intervene in the case on behalf of an effort by the Catholic-affiliated anti-gay Thomas More Society. They argue that if the case were to advance unopposed, it could legalize same-sex marriage in Cook County, but not the rest of the state.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, Republican governors are considering refusing billions in Medicaid funds which promise to insure millions of lower-income Americans without health care. The Court found that while the Medicaid provision is constitutional, the federal government cannot take away federal funds from states that refuse to open the program to more residents.
A ThinkProgress survey reveals that ten GOP governors have said definitively that they will not accept the funds, while 19 are still considering other options. Sixteen states, all with Democratic governors, have committed to expanding their programs:
Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid, the massively popular program which makes health insurance available for lower-income Americans. For the first three years, the federal government covers 100 percent of the expansion costs. After five years, the federal government finances 90 percent of the expanded population.
Not a single Republican governor has pledged to accept the new Medicaid funds and three Democrats are also considering turning down the money. In total, these states would give up $291.4 billion in federal funds and leave 10,297,221 Americans uninsured.
Christopher Swift, a fellow at the University of Virginia’s Center for National Security Law, traveled to Yemen and found that “the factors driving young men into the insurgency are overwhelmingly economic” and are not a result of blowback from drone strikes. Indeed, according the Yemenis Swift interviewed, the drone strikes were hurting AQAP:
[T]o my astonishment, none of the individuals I interviewed drew a causal relationship between U.S. drone strikes and al Qaeda recruiting. Indeed, of the 40 men in this cohort, only five believed that U.S. drone strikes were helping al Qaeda more than they were hurting it. …
Those living in active conflict zones drew clear distinctions between earlier U.S. operations, such as the Majala bombing, and more recent strikes on senior al Qaeda figures. “Things were very bad in 2009,” a tribal militia commander from Abyan province told me, “but now the drones are seen as helping us.” He explained that Yemenis could “accept [drones] as long as there are no more civilian casualties.”
The striking difference between the Washington Post and Foreign Affairs accounts of the drone campaign may be a consequence of the two stories’ sourcing. While the Post interviewed “tribal leaders, victims? relatives, human rights activists and officials from four provinces in southern Yemen,” Swift met with Yemeni journalists and “tribal leaders, Islamist politicians, Salafist clerics, and other sources” that were “older, more conservative, and more skeptical of U.S. motives.”
But it’s clear that the aftereffects of drone strikes are far from well understood. Drones look to be playing a significant role in bringing al-Qaeda’s defeat “within reach,” but the conflicting reports on the campaign’s consequences serve as reminders of the negative aspects of this nascent counter-terrorism tool. As Swift notes, the strikes in Yemen and Pakistan can kill a number of innocent civilians. The drone program is also unpopular internationally and shrouded in secrecy domestically.