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Conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Friday said there was "inconsistency" because President Barack Obama has been forced to renounce a Democratic cable pundit's comments about Ann Romney but Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has not apologized after Rep. Allen West (R-FL) accused 81 House Democrats of belonging to the Communist Party.
In the past 24 hours, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats have all spoken out in defense of Ann Romney after Democratic CNN contributor Hilary Rosen asserted that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life."
But as Scarborough noted on Friday, no Republican -- including Romney -- has disputed West's recent claim that up to 81 House Democrats were secretly members of the Communist Party.
"When are we going to get the apology from Mitt Romney for Allen West, a congressman who compares -- or says 80 Democrats are Communists?" the MSNBC host asked Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan. "I'm not carrying the Democratic card right now, I'm just saying this seems a bit overblown."
"You've got the gender wars that have been going on for the past few weeks," Noonan explained. "And I wouldn't say it was the Republicans who started the gender wars, who started the whole trope of the war against women."
Scarborough then posed the question to former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele: "Shouldn't Mitt Romney distance himself from a sitting United States congressman who is connected to the Republican Party, who is connected to Mitt Romney, who is connected to the Washington establishment -- an elected member of Congress who said 78 to 81 Democrats are Communists?"
"I don't know," Steele stuttered. "I don't know because I don't think it's worth it!"
"You don't know if Mitt Romney should condemn a sitting congressman that says 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives are Communists?" Scarborough pressed.
"Well, I mean, why should he condemn them?" Steele replied.
"Why should he condemn them!" Scarborough exclaimed. "He's comparing 78 to 81 public servants in the Unites States House of Representatives -- are saying are part of a movement that were responsible for the death of over a 100 million people in the 20th century."
"The Hillary Rosen thing and the Allen West thing, they are two separate things," Noonan insisted. "I think it odd that you are connecting them."
"Here we have a cable news pundit that has shut down the political discourse over the past 24 hours, when a sitting United States congressman says something deeply, deeply offensive and no Republican has spoken out against that," Scarborough shouted. "Does nobody see there is a little bit on inconsistency here, Peggy? Do you distance yourself from Allen West's comments?"
"I don't have to distance myself, Joe," Noonan shot back. "You are being mischievous. ... [I]t did hearken back to an unfortunate time in our history when a senator from Wisconsin stood up and I believe there were 200 to 205 Communists in the State Department. It's silly. It's way past 50 years ago."
"I forget where we are," she added. "Look, the Democrats opened a front. They opened it mischievously about a month ago. They just got nailed for fighting in part of the front. Fine. Let it go."
Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Humor, wisdom / common sense, and some encouragement. That?s what I hear in the first-person account from one of the two people Occupying Mancos, Colorado. Read Occupy Mancos, CO: The Importance of Small Occupies, by Wendy Davis. Below are some excerpts. I hope they get you to click over to the whole article.
We?ve been Occupying this tiny town in the Four Corners area since last October to beneficial effect, imo. I introduced readers to our wee Occupation here back in January (includes very funky and cool photos), and this past Saturday it occurred to me to share our recent experiences and small victories with you in hopes that you may be inspired to engage in similar efforts.
The ?we? mentioned are Wendy Davis, and ?Mr. wendydavis.? Mancos, population 1334, is in Montezuma County, which, ?by and large (is) a pretty red county,? with some ?wonderful and kind residents.? Mancos has a fairly new ?artiste community,? Wendy says, ?so we?re now a mix of salty ranchers, farmers, latte liberals and small-time entrepreneurs.? Wendy and ?Mr. wendy?
Occupy a corner at the intersection of the only two paved streets in town on Saturdays for an hour at about one o?clock. …
We?ve become a fixture during that time slot … . One very cool thing is that support has been increasing all the time, which to me means a couple things: folks are increasingly aware of the meanings of ?the 99%? and ?Occupy Wall Street? which our signs display, and that they may be figuring out which side they?re on.
Think about that a moment, because it says something about the power of what a person or two can do, and something about persistence and patience, and ? quite literally ? meeting people on common ground.
Measuring support is hard, … but in general I?d guess at least 60% of the cars going by either bring honks, waves, twinkles, or thumbs-ups, with here and there some encouraging calls out the windows. We?ve had very few strong negative reactions; a couple emphatic negative head-shakes ?NO?, a couple thumbs-down. …
Wendy acknowledges the ?Binary Occupation? is in part a choice.
… I?ll admit that one reason is that we can make a little sport of guessing by faces and ?ponies? (a reference to an earlier use of that word to describe ?pickup trucks and cars?) what might be going on in the heads of folks who look away from us lest they meet our eyes or scowl a bit; Mr. wendydavis says I?ve developed a particularly comical and demonic form of low-pitched laughter that bubbles out of me to go along with the slightly disparaging brief narratives I?m wont to utter. …
The other reason we like it is this: as two, we are not intimidating as a big group would be. Plus we dress up a bit so as not to be targets for ?get a job ya dirty hippies? catcalls, but really, so we look approachable, meaning that sometimes people stop their cars to come and talk to us, or pedestrians cross the street to ask us what the hell we?re doing; in the kindest possible way, of course. ;o)
Advocacy comes in all kinds of shapes and forms, from massive crowds to one or two people on a corner, engaging in conversations with people who approach them. And being ?approachable? sounds like something Wendy and ?Mr. wendy? do very well.
… we explain what the democracy movement is about… : the fact that increasingly the corporations own not only our government in terms of contributions to candidates, but that they essentially write the tax code and anti-regulatory laws that ensure their maximum profit and endless bailouts for which taxpayers foot the bill. …
We explain that the old labels of Left and Right, Democrat and Republican don?t matter any longer: it?s a top/bottom wealth division that is at the core of it. We listen to our visitors, and try to answer their questions in ways that make them see more clearly that electoral politics are pretty much beside the point now except for a few possible social issues … and that SCOTUS is no longer a hallmark of higher Constitutional deliberation, but an increasingly politically partisan institution. …
Depending on our visitors and their questions and concerns, we might speak of Endless War based on chimerical ?terrorist? excuses, police state issues, the death of first amendment freedoms, the military budget, dying national infrastructure, etc. But always, always coming back to what the democracy movement is trying to accomplish: wresting our nation back from the Plutocracy that will soon own us lock, stock and barrel, and that with the recent laws and executive orders in place, any one of us can be … held without charges … . The new SCOTUS strip-searching decision the Obama administration worked hard to support will be a good story in future conversations.
Approachable, and knowledgeable. That?s a powerful combination.
It continues to amaze me how many of visitors end up in accord with us … .
… I love it like all giddyup! And when the odd person calls out, ?The only cure now is revolution?, I practically swoon, and laugh with utter abandon and glee, reminding myself that folks are saying that in Mancos, Colorado.
… So if you want to make a difference, albeit a small one (but think of the power of millions of ?em), grab a friend … , make some signs, and Occupy a Corner. Talk to folks; they need to hear what?s really going on in our country. …
Occupy Everywhere! Rock and Roll The Democracy Movement! Make it fun!
Thanks Wendy, and Mr. wendy. Like Leah Bolger, you give me hope and encouragement.
(Mancos,CO photo via OpEdNews)
The Gold Report: This is an election year and everybody is waiting to see what happens with the economy between now and November. The Federal Reserve just signaled that it may be less willing to provide more stimulus. What’s your reading on that?
Chris Marchese: The Fed meeting minutes signaled that the members are willing to be very accommodating if gross domestic product (GDP) slows down, if it doesn’t maintain a 2% inflation rate and/or unemployment starts to creep back up. Then they tried to play the metals down; they don’t like high gold or silver prices because they delegitimize the dollar. I think they are doing that in preparation for the next round of quantitative easing, which in . . . → Read More: Silver Miners Building for Breakout: Chris Marchese
Read The Full Article:
Friend Sylvia put this note from the ProJO up on Facebook–
Join Mayor Taveras, House Speaker Gordon Fox and Councilman Kevin Jackson on Saturday, April 21 for a free block party and concert to dedicate Olney Street in Providence’s Mount Hope neighborhood as ‘Jeffrey Osborne Way,’ in honor of Jeffrey Osborne, who grew up in Providence and went on to become a superstar pop and R&B recording artist.
Performances by Jeffrey Osborne, MusicOne at the Met, the Boys & Girls Club of Providence, and the RIPO Music School. The dedication will occur in front of Mr. Osborne’s childhood home at the corner of Olney Street and Pratt Street, where Mayor Taveras will unveil a plaque in his honor.
Let’s hope the weather will cooperate– it sounds like a great chance to hear some music.
And speaking of music, I went to buy some coffee at Hope Artiste Village and encountered the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame. Since this March they are off to a great start, and have already put up some great wall art there.
I'm guessing that most people interested in this kind of thing have already read the NY Times story by Jackie Calmes, Obama Won't Order Ban On Gay Bias By Employers... or at least some good commentary on it.
President Obama disappointed and vexed gay supporters on Wednesday with his decision, conveyed to activists by a senior adviser, not to sign an executive order banning discrimination by employers with federal contracts.
The executive order, which activists said had support from the Labor and Justice Departments, would have applied to gay, bisexual and transgender people working for or seeking employment from federal contractors. Current law does not protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and legislation to do so, which Mr. Obama endorses, lacks sufficient votes in Congress.
?While it is not our usual practice to discuss executive orders that may or may not be under consideration, we do not expect that an executive order on L.G.B.T. nondiscrimination for federal contractors will be issued at this time,? said an administration official who would speak about the controversy only if provided anonymity. ?We support legislation that has been introduced and we will continue to work with Congressional sponsors to build support for it.?
That stance departs from the White House?s prominent ?we can?t wait? campaign: Since last fall, Mr. Obama has signed executive orders on a variety of issues, arguing that ?we can?t wait? for legislation that Republicans in Congress refuse to let pass.
By not acting on the employment nondiscrimination order, Mr. Obama has newly angered a gay constituency that has been a source of campaign cash and that had been willing to overlook his failure so far to endorse same-sex marriage, given his actions on its other priorities, like repeal of the military?s ?don?t ask, don?t tell? policy against openly gay service members.
Joe Solmonese, the president of the Human Rights Campaign and one of the gay-rights activists who attended a White House meeting on Wednesday called by Valerie Jarrett, one of Mr. Obama?s closest advisers, said afterward: ?We are extremely disappointed with this decision and will continue to advocate for an executive order from the president. The unfortunate truth is that hard-working Americans can be fired simply for being gay or transgender.?
?I am a Christian, and my family and I attend Little Brasstown Baptist Church,? he said. ?My faith is very important to me, and the values it has taught me inform the decisions I make. I do firmly believe in the freedom of religion and the right of all Americans to worship in a manner of their own choosing.?
Rogers said he is against abortion and supports Amendment One.
After one of the most memorably ridiculous weeks in politics, whether it’s the state senator who declared that ladies just don’t care about money that much in comparison to gentlemen, or the Fox outlet that referred to a group of Florida neo-Nazis as “a civil rights group,” I was perfectly primed for this observation from Carina Chocano’s exceedingly fun profile of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who is playing Vice President Selina Meyer in HBO’s upcoming political comedy Veep:
Every decade gets the political show it deserves, or thinks it deserves, though some decades are pretty disingenuous. ?The West Wing? gave us an idealized account of the Clinton era, with a saintly president and high-minded pols. In the ?00s, ?24? offered an ultraparanoid version of the Bush era that legitimized torture as the primary means of dealing with a world in a constant state of crisis.
?Veep,? by contrast, comes not to justify Caesar but to goose him. It captures our post-Reagan, post-Clinton, post-Bush, 24-hour tabloid news and Internet-haterade dystopia, and reflects our collective queasy ambivalence toward a political system that we fear simply reflects our own shallowness back at us. If ?The West Wing? was a fantasy of hyper-competence, ?Veep? is its opposite: a black-humor vision of politics at its bleakest, in which both sides have been co-opted by money and special interests and are reduced to posturing, subterfuge, grandstanding and photo ops. Naturally, it?s hilarious.
This is true?I’ve seen the pilot for Veep?and it’s uproarious. But it’s not the only show that gets this, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Last night’s Scandal ended with an uproarious parody of the idea that if we got lawmakers of both parties in the room and talked things over sensibly, that Reason Would Prevail and everything would be all right. Faced with a Supreme Court nominee who was facing a prostitution scandal (the hooker he’s patronized turned out to be his wife), gladiator-in-a-suit crisis fixer Olivia Pope combed a DC madam’s records, figured out which Senators had also been her clients, had her minions seek out said men and drop the code words for the sex acts they’d been ordering up all those years, and blackmailed them into keeping their traps shut. It’s an utterly nonsensical scenario, but not actually more nonsensical than the idea that our politicians are people of good will we can just pull together and everything will be all right.
It remains to be seen if USA’s Political Animals, about a First Lady-turned-Secretary of State and her dysfunctional family, and NBC’s 1600 Penn, which will be out this fall, take the same tack. And it’s true that we don’t lack a serious show in the vein of 24, though Homeland‘s paranoia’s aimed more at the national security bureaucracy than at proving we should have all means at our disposal to wring information out of terrorists. But is interesting that a truly idealistic show hasn’t thrived in the age of Obama. Maybe it’s the the ridiculousness of our politics has consequences bigger than the President’s sex life this time around, and idealism would actually be kind of a downer.
Sixty percent of Americans support President Obama’s proposed “Buffett Rule,” a new Gallup poll shows. The rule would implement a minimum tax rate for millionaires of 30 percent. Just 37 percent of those polled opposed the rule. Favorability of the Buffett Rule was highest among Democrats at 74 percent, while Independents and Republicans reported favorability at 63 percent and 43 percent respectively.
Speaking at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual conference today, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich advocated for extending the rights of the second amendment — which refer to the “right to bear arms” — beyond U.S. borders and, indeed, to the population of the entire world.
The former Speaker of the House offered some friendly criticism to the NRA’s leadership, accusing them of being “too timid,” before launching into a proposal for a new U.N. treaty guaranteeing a universal right to gun ownership, he explained:
A Gingrich presidency will submit to the United Nations a treaty that extends the right to bear arms as a human right for every person on the planet because every person on the planet deserves the right to defend themselves from those who would oppress them, those would exploit them, rape them or kill them.
Gingrich, who finds himself in a distant second place in the Republican primary contest, went on to attack the U.N. “small arms treaty” — which has neither been signed nor, as frequently misreported, infringes on the Second Amendment — as keeping us “psychologically on defense.” Gingrich argued that mass gun ownership could be used to empower populist revolts against global injustices:
Far fewer women would be raped, far fewer children would be killed, far fewer towns would be destroyed, if people everywhere on the planet had the right to bear arms. And far fewer dictators would survive if people had the right to bear arms everywhere on the planet.
But Gingrich wasn’t just satisfied to explain that world peace that would ensue if the number of guns in circulation — including, presumably, in war zones — were to increase. He also floated a sinister theory about the motivations behind those who advocate for global arms reduction:
Let’s take the George Soroses and the Hillary Clintons head on. They represent a world in which elites disarm the rest of us so we are then helpless when elites turn sour and when evil reappears.
Gingrich’s campaign has frequently fallen back on fear mongering and demonizing of political opponents and religious minority groups. But as his campaign runs low on funds and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney surges toward securing the nomination, Gingrich appears to be falling back on conspiracy theories and increasingly radical policy positions to keep his candidacy alive.
As soon as Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed a harmful immigration bill into law last year, farmers saw an immediate exodus of thousands of skilled immigrant farm workers. Without enough workers, millions of dollars in crops rotted in the fields because there was no one to harvest them. Officials suggested that farmers could turn to the H2A guest worker program to hire temporary pickers, but that has not worked out for many farmers.
Now, as Vidalia onion farmers begin to harvest their crops, they face the same concerns again this year about not having enough workers to harvest their crops:
For years, Stanley had depended on mostly Hispanic migrant workers to harvest onions. Last year, Stanley says, many of those workers left Georgia following the state’s passage of a tough new immigration law. This is the first harvest since that law took effect.
This year, Stanley and other onion farmers began using a federal guest worker program called H2A. It basically imports workers from countries like Mexico, and then sends them back when the work is finished.
“I had ordered 60 people (via H2A) with the paperwork and everything,” Stanley said. But he said the government botched that request.
“And now I’ve only got 17 people when I’m supposed to have 60. The excuse they gave me was, they lost my paperwork,” Stanley said.
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black (R) suggested the H2A program last year could be a way to replace lost workers, but told a congressional subcommittee that improving the program to reduce the red tape would help farmers. And the Georgia Senate unanimously passed a resolution asking Congress to expand the guest worker program so that farmers could hire more workers.
Reforming the guest worker program would not be an immediate panacea for the nation’s broken immigration system, but it could help offer farmers a stable, legal workforce while protecting these foreign workers from exploitation.
But if Deal and Georgia Republicans had stopped to consider how the state’s anti-immigrant law would affect workers and employers before they approved it, then the state could have avoided more than $800 million in estimated farm losses last year. So far, it looks as if Georgia’s farmers could lose just as much this year.
After the GOP-legislature gerrymandered the North Carolina map to make Rep. Brad Miller’s (D) 13th Congressional District solidly Republican territory, he decided not to seek re-election. The open seat has drawn several Republican candidates including former U.S. Attorney George Holding and Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Paul Coble. Coble, a former mayor of Raleigh, is the nephew of the late Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) and his campaign YouTube account features a video of the late Senator’s widow telling voters that if they want somebody like her late husband in Congress, they should vote for Coble — who is “just like Jesse.”
While the race is between two far-right, anti-gay extremist candidates, their primary fight has already become quite nasty. Coble’s campaign has launched a “George Holding Exposed” website and Holding’s has created a “Paul Coble Exposed” site. Each accused the other of being secretly not as reactionary as he claims to be.
What makes this race noteworthy is that it is one of the first House races to feature an active Super PAC backing one of the candidates. On February 28, the American Foundations Committee, Inc. filed its statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission. Like all Super PACs, it included a statement announcing that it intended to raise unlimited contributions and would not donate to or coordinate its communications with any federal candidate or committee. Though the group’s website makes no mention of either candidate, all $366,715 of its reported expenditures to date have been in support of Holding and against Coble.
That total is larger than either the Holding or Coble campaigns have expended. And excluding groups aligned with presidential candidates, the American Foundations Committee ranks among top ten highest-spending Super PACs of this campaign cycle.
The Coble campaign, unsurprisingly, has bashed the pro-Holding Super PAC, calling it “a shadowy group” with “dirty money,” from “special interest” “trial lawyers.”
Holding’s dismisses the criticisms, noting that the Super PAC discloses its donors, most of whom are Holding relatives and close friends. Indeed, of the fourteen donors listed on the American Foundations Committee website, six are Holdings and three are Bells (members of his mother’s family). The average contribution, to date, is more than $26,000.
Much like with presidential Super PACs — which allow the richest supporters of candidates to completely evade federal contribution limits and potentially earn special access and influence — the post-Citizens United and SpeechNow.org campaign finance world will undoubtedly mean a lot more House and Senate Super PACs like this one.
Voters around the country, already fed up with Super PACs, should expect to see a lot more of them in the coming months.