An Arizona congressional candidate called on Congress this week to consider impeaching Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Andrei Cherny, former CAP Senior Fellow and Democratic candidate for Arizona’s ninth congressional district, said that Thomas should have recused himself from hearing the Affordable Care Act case. Before the case went to the court, 74 members of Congress did call for Thomas to recuse himself. Cherny cited the fact that Thomas’s “household has gotten $1.5 million from the opponents of this health care plan.” Watch it:
It hasn't exactly been the greatest year for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure. Once lauded as the premier advocacy organization fighting breast cancer, its ideologically motivated effort to cut off grants to Planned Parenthood struck a nerve across the nation, tarnished the foundation's reputation and hurt the fund-raising efforts of it and some of its affiliates. Now, after the resignation of the vice president who engineered the grant chopping proposal and fierce excoriation from a broad array of advocacy organizations, the foundation reports that it will be awarding grants to the nearly the same number of local Planned Parenthood operations as it did in 2011:
At least 17 Planned Parenthood affiliates will be funded this year, about the same number that received grants in 2011, according to a tally provided by Komen. The total amount of the grants, which are for breast-cancer screening and other breast-health services, is still being worked out. Most recipients this year also received funds last year. [...]Nineteen local affiliates were funded in 2011. Komen says more than 17 may be funded this year because not all its affiliates use April 1 as their fiscal year.
Planned Parenthood officials said they do not believe politics played a role in grant awards this year. In some locations, the controversy has deepened the relationship, they said.
Koman spokeswoman Leslie Aun said: "People need to know that we have not and never will walk away from women in need. There is no one filling the gap in services the way that Komen is.?
That is good to know. Too bad that it took several weeks in the glare of the national spotlight to get there. Too bad some local affiliates who opposed the national's approach got caught in blowback.
A number of Komen affiliates, notably those in Colorado and New York, have awarded large grants to Planned Parenthood in 2012. Their leaders had objected strongly when the news came to light about the national organization's plans to cut off grants to Planned Parenthood. The controversy forced the Nassau County New York affiliate to cancel two fund-raising events. An affiliate in southern Arizona fell far short of its membership recruiting goal and its fund-raising target.
This is what happens?exactly what ought to happen?when an organization supposedly devoted to women's health decides to join right-wing crusaders for whom women's well-being is dependent on their submission to the womb police. It will be a long time?never in many cases?before some people contribute to Komen again.
So I hear that Richard Trumka is personally outraged by the JOBS Act, and the larger idea that "this administration thinks that it?s going to be good for the country to re-inflate a stock market bubble." This didn't deter Trumka's AFL-CIO from endorsing[...]
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The White House said Friday that President Obama has a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.Meanwhile, Mitt Romney pays an even lower tax rate than President Obama. So Romney earns $20 million and pays 15 percent. Obama earns nearly one million and pays just over 20 percent. And his secretary earns less than $100,000 and pays more than either of them. (It even turns out Joe Biden pays a higher tax rate despite earning less.)
"The president's secretary pays a slightly higher rate this year than the president on her substantially lower income," White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage told CNNMoney.
The president's secretary is Anita J. Breckenridge, and according to White House disclosure forms, the "personal aide to the president" earns $95,000 a year.
Brundage declined to say exactly what tax rate Breckenridge paid. Earlier Friday, the White House released Obama's 2011 tax returns, which showed an adjusted gross income of $789,674 for the first family, and an effective federal income tax rate of 20.5%.
That's totally screwed up. It needs to change. And as much as I'm sure conservatives would love to attack Obama for this, the reality is that he's the one fighting for fairness, even though he'd end up paying more. And that's a big difference between him and Mitt Romney.
Our regular featured content-On This Day In History April 13 by TheMomCatPunting the Pundits by TheMomCatAnd these featured articles-Different from a Republican how? Part 6 by: ek hornbeckDifferent from a Republican how? Part 4 by: ek hornbeckDifferent[...]
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After today?s speech to the National Rifle Association, there should be no speculation about Mitt Romney?s ideological positioning in the general election. More than running as a conservative, Romney has positioned himself as an absolutely stalwart defender of conservative values, and his rhetoric leaves room for an abrupt move to the center. As John Whitehouse joked on Twitter, the former Massachusetts governor ?appears to be running for the Continental Congress.?
On the question of economic freedom, he believes that the American people have been the ?victim[s] of unbounded government appetite ? and so is economic growth, job growth, and wage growth.? The only way to improve the economy, according to Romney, is to drastically reduce the size of government.
On the question of religious freedom, Romney portrays the Obama administration as a crew of secular sectarians out to quash the freedom of believers (read: conservative Christians) to worship as they please:
In all of America, there is no larger private provider of healthcare for women and their babies than the Catholic Church. But that?s not enough for the Obamacare bureaucrats. No, they want Catholics to fall in line and violate the tenets of their faith.
Beyond this, says Romney, the Obama administration has gone as far as to conduct an attack on the Second Amendment rights of Americans:
This administration?s attack on freedom extends even to rights explicitly guaranteed by our Constitution. The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they?ve been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it.
This has no basis in fact?gun control has been off of the Democratic agenda for years, and President Obama has been the most gun-friendly Democrat in decades. But Romney knows that his audience believes fervently in a liberal war against firearms, and he?s happy to encourage it. Besides, at this point?with his constant (and false) claim that Obama has ?apologized for America??we should expect a mendacious disregard for truth from the former Massachusetts governor.
If there?s one thing in this speech that should stick out to liberals, it?s Romney?s clear devotion to the conservative judicial agenda. Romney knows the stakes of this election; if he wins, he can solidify the Right?s hold on the Supreme Court for a generation. By contrast, if Obama serves another term?and can further shape the Court?then the conservative push to rollback the welfare state hits a huge stumbling block:
In his first term, we?ve seen the president try to browbeat the Supreme Court. In a second term, he would remake it. Our freedoms would be in the hands of an Obama Court, not just for four years, but for the next 40. That must not happen.
At the beginning of this speech, Romney declared that he would offer a clear choice of direction to the American people. He has. His rhetoric is conservative, his policies are conservative, and his allies are strongly wedded to the right-wing of the Republican Party. There is no secret centrism or hidden core of moderation; this is the real Mitt Romney. He has claimed the conservative standard, and he intends to run with it.Breaking Headline: Bouie: Believe Romney When He Says He's Conservative
I haven?t seen such complete #FAIL at the podium for the White House Press Secretary since Robert Gibbs was up there bobbing and weaving over ?Don?t Ask Don?t Tell? questions from Kerry Eleveld, formerly of The Advocate. Now it was Jay Carney?s turn to[...]
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???????From PolitiScoop - There came to the Milwaukee County Executive?s office a man who did not know.
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I originally wrote this post in August, 2011 on the heels of the debt ceiling debacle, but given the recent attention focused on the Supreme Court as they write their opinion on the constitutionality of The Patient Protection Act, and the above "Up with Chris Hayes" segment, I decided to dust it off as a reminder of just how critical every district across this entire country is in this election. With a few additions in [brackets] to bring it up to date, I give you ...
The Supreme Court Is More Important Than Us
2010 was a devastating election for Democrats. We've been witness to that over the past [seventeen] months, with horrendous policy changes taking place all across this nation. And at no time have we felt it harder than [last summer during the] pit-bull style fighting that the tea party wing of the Republican Party engaged in over what should have been nothing more than a procedural vote to raise the Debt Ceiling of the United States.
The day following President Barack Obama's announcement that a "compromise deal" had been hammered out between all the parties was fraught with outrage by the more liberal members of the Democratic Party. And it was an all-too-familiar image of the anger felt by those same liberal Democrats that gave us the results of the 2010 election. ...
So why is it that when Democrats get angry they stay home on election day, but when Republicans get angry, they vote?
The "leg up" that the GOP has on Democrats and Liberals in most elections is that they formulate their message in the broader, bigger picture. They get people to care more about the ideology than self. We see evidence of the success of this strategy every time middle-class Republicans go to the polls and vote "against their own self-interest." Democrats, on the other hand, have a habit of seeing everything through the lens of "self." And if they feel personally slighted ("That's not what I elected him to do!"), they don't vote.
I understand why Democrats frame their message more towards the individual. We are a party focused on protecting individual rights and freedoms. We stand for a helping hand when it's needed, equal access to marriage, giving teachers and students the tools and resources they need to learn and grow, for immigrants to feel welcome here and bring needed skills with them, and for more people to be able to vote, not fewer.
I don't suggest for a moment that Democrats abandon those principles, only that we re-frame the way in which we present these ideals, from focusing on the "individual," to focusing on the "collective." And not because the individual isn?t important, but because a) the country on the whole really is more important, and b) because we have enough evidence to show that that strategy works.
And the reason it?s not just important, but critical, that we adopt a messaging strategy that works, is because the future of our nation for generations to come is quite literally at stake.
Continue reading after the jump ...
We will all live and die. Our lives are finite. And while we all want to have laws that make our lives better in the here and now, it matters little if the enjoyment of those laws do not outlive us all, thriving for generations as the country becomes centuries and centuries older. This is what made our Founding Fathers so remarkable. They were visionaries not just for themselves to have better laws than those they were escaping, but for the building of a nation that would far, far outlive themselves.
While modern-day Democrats are focused on wanting to win today's battle (whatever that may be in the moment, [the debt ceiling, NDAA, etc.]), ever since the Reagan years, the GOP has been singularly focused on the long game*. They have not wavered from a core, central determination to dismantle government and turn it over to the Corporations and enrich themselves in the process. The GOP has spent the better part of the last 30 years whittling away at our laws, bit by bit, regulation by regulation, court ruling by court ruling. Make no mistake, Republicans have a Grand Plan for this nation that looks nothing like the America that liberals or Democrats envision. Worse yet, it won't even resemble the one our Forefathers envisioned.
With "fundamental change" as their goal, and decades of experience manipulating the populace under their belt, in 2010 Republicans were once again able to control the debate; this time making it about the deficit. All they had to say was, "Look how HUGE this number is! We?ll never pay it in our lifetimes. Democrats are spending all of your children's children's money and they're going to have to pay our bills." The Republican base ate that up. They didn?t care if it would mean more job losses today.
Democrats, on the other hand, did not frame their message as one that was critical to the nation as a whole, not just for now, but for life. After a grueling year-long battle to get any kind of health care reform passed into law, all the energy they could muster was, "You really are better off with our new Health Care plan?just wait and see when it takes effect!"
Wiped out and angry, Democrats stayed home on election day. Riled up and angry, Republicans showed up in droves.
Democrats have to be smarter in 2012. Not just because we want to win now, but because one very critical aspect of our government will be "up for grabs" during the term of the president who next sits in that office: The Supreme Court.
Most, if not every single "bedrock" issue the Republicans have undertaken to destroy over the past 12 years will probably be heard by the Court that?s presiding from 2013 to 2016: abortion rights, workers? rights, health care rights and voting rights. We already have the Citizens United ruling that gives non-living corporations the same privileges as individuals in campaign spending. Next we'll have challenges to multi-state voter ID laws that disenfranchise the people who most need the government to work for them, challenges to anti-choice laws that are cropping up all over the place, challenges to the Affordable Care Act, and challenges to Union-stripping that has been taking place in state after state after state.
[As Vice President Joe Biden just reminded us, especially when we're talking about the War on Women that Republicans have been waging all across America, the fight "will intensify" during the next president's term because] the chances are strong that there may be two retiring Justices. That would give whoever is sitting in the White House the power to make 2 choices that will have an impact on the entire nation for generations. Those who are fighting to strip women of the right to autonomous control over their own bodies, are already chomping at the bit over the potential retirement of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg.
Democrats must open their eyes and see, not just the fact that Wisconsin's public employee unions no longer have bargaining power, not just that Kansas has enacted draconian measures that dictate the room size of janitorial closets in clinics that provide abortion services or risk being shut down, but the great landscape of changes that are taking shape in this country. We must start looking beyond our current individual struggles and anger and disappointment. This battle isn't just about you or Michigan or Barack Obama, it's about the United States of America.
We have got to transform ourselves into the kind of visionaries our Founding Fathers were and start defending this country for the long haul.
Even though the debt reduction plan hammered out by President Obama and House & Senate Leaders is not a progressive ideal, and even if you see the steps our president was forced to take in this ugly process as capitulation or "caving," we can't forget that we gave the president this Congress to work with. And we have to be the ones to correct that or our country is in the hands of destroyers. [Whatever issue you may be hanging onto resentment over; be it the extension of the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy, the lack of action against the perpetrators of crimes on Wall Street, the outrageously insufficient settlement with the Big Banks in the foreclosure crisis, NDAA ? you simply must set it aside and consider how deeply in danger the future of our country really is at the hands of these regressive Republicans. There will be a time where we are in a position to unseat Blue Dogs and replace them with true progressives. Some districts may be ready for that change now (we were successful in CA-36 in replacing Blue Dog Jane Harman with Progressive Janice Hahn), but not all of them will be. And sitting this one out because President Obama isn't progressive enough isn't an option if you really care about this country.]
In order to repair the damage that has already been done by the tea party Republicans, and to guarantee the freedom of choice, the freedom to collectively bargain, the freedom to vote, for our children's children's children, it is imperative that we re-elect Barack Obama to the presidency and give him big enough majorities in both houses of congress so that his appointments cannot be successfully blocked. We owe it to every generation that will come after us, to set aside our personal anger and fight for them.
[Whether the Supreme Court elects to uphold The Patient Protection Act or strike it down, you can rest assured that the Republican party will be using it as the bedrock issue they campaign on. They cannot campaign on the economy; it is vastly improved under President Obama. They cannot campaign on jobs; Republican leadership has steadfastly refused to even address jobs. If The Patient Protect Act is upheld, they will incite their followers to the polls to unseat President Obama so they can destroy it in Congress. If it is struck down, they will incite their supporters to the polls to unseat the "grossly incompetent president who gave us an unconstitutional law that stripped us of our individual liberties." Count on it.]
Republicans are very good at their game because they are relentless. They do not give up.
And neither should we.
The Supreme Court is more important than us.
We need them to protect Women's Rights, Worker's Rights, Immigration Rights & Voter's Rights!
Here's what you can do in the fight to take back control of our government:
? Participate in Voter Registration Drives
? Volunteer at the campaign office of your state's Senator if they are running for re-election
? Volunteer at the campaign office of your district's Representative, or the Democratic candidate running against an incumbent Republican in your district
? Canvass your neighborhood
? Call your friends and family to help
? Host a meet & greet for the Representative or candidate running for election at your home ? call their office and talk to the scheduler
? Do phone-banking
? Support Democratic candidates OUTSIDE your own districts, [especially where they are attempting to unseat a Republican]!
[Our children's children's children will thank you when they read about you in their history books.]
*For an outstanding description of what the Republican long game is, how it was formulated and how they managed to make it take root, I recommend you read Two Santa Clauses or How The Republican Party Has Conned America for Thirty Years, by Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, Thom Hartmann
A new and unforgettable video by director and composer, Kenji Williams, compiling views from NASA and other sources of the Bella Gaia, the beautiful Earth.The video was supported by NASA, the Baum Foundation, the Foundation for Global Community, the[...]
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