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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Amherst. MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 13,840

Journal Archives

Indiana’s Mike Pence is starting to look like Lester Maddox — without the spine - By Joan Walsh

Once a symbol of the GOP’s “deep bench” of 2016 contenders, Pence is now a national symbol of intolerance


It’s hard to keep up with the rapid devaluation of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s national political stock. As recently as last month, he was showing up in hot takes on the GOP’s “deep bench” of 2016 presidential contenders. Of course, I’ve already written about how that bench is in splinters, even before Pence began to look like a 21st century Lester Maddox — without the spine.

On Sunday Pence hemmed and hawed but ultimately refused to tell ABC’s George Stephanopoulos whether Indiana’s horrible “religious freedom” law permits discrimination against LGBT Americans. “It’s a yes or no question!” the normally affable host challenged him. The Indiana governor repeatedly ducked the question while insisting “we’re not going to change the law.”

-snip- (video of Pence's interview on ABC, yesterday)

Then Pence told the Indianapolis Star that in the face of a nationwide backlash, he would support legislation to “clarify” the law. “I just can’t account for the hostility that’s been directed at our state,” Pence complained. “I’ve been taken aback by the mischaracterizations from outside the state of Indiana about what is in this bill.”

Apparently nervous Indiana Republicans are considering some sort of cleanup legislation that would leave the law intact, but “clarify” that it is intended to promote “religious freedom,” not sanction “discrimination.” That’s a specious distinction. The law will permit discrimination – whether or not it’s given the cover of “religious” sanction.

Bigots have often claimed lofty reasons for their bigotry, of course – this post by Ian Millhiser examined the history of pro-slavery and anti-integration racists using the Bible to justify their racism, often in terms eerily similar to those used to defend “religious freedom” laws today.


GOP Ex-Gov: Obama's 'Inciting' Birthers By Planning Trip To Kenya

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R) said on Monday during an appearance on Fox News that President Obama is "inciting" birther conspiracy theorists by planning a trip to Kenya this summer.

“I think his trip back to Kenya is going to create a lot of chatter and commentary amongst some of the hard right, who still don’t see him as having been born in the U.S.," Sununu said on the show "America's Newsroom."

"I personally think he’s just inciting some chatter on an issue that should have been a dead issue a long time ago,” he said.

Obama announced Monday morning that he plans to travel to Kenya in July to attend the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Conspiracy theorists have long claimed Obama, who was born in Hawaii, was secretly born in Kenya and therefore is not legally qualified to be President.

Article + video of Sununu:

Ohio attorney general: Gays already have too much power — that’s why they can’t get married

Source: RawStory

In a legal brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, Ohio’s attorney general defended the state’s ban on same-sex marriages by claiming that LGBT people don’t deserve to be a protected class. Voters in Ohio approved an amendment to the state constitution in 2004, excluding same-sex couples from marriage or claiming any legal status similar to marriage.

As reported by Think Progress, the brief submitted to the Supreme Court by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, states that the 14th Amendment defers such decisions to “vigorous democratic debates in each state community.”

“Heightened scrutiny does not apply because there is no fundamental right to the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. Such a right would conflict with our Nation’s traditions in two ways,” the brief states. “All States denied the asserted right to same-sex marriage until recently. And a right to ‘protection and recognition’ falls outside the general right to privacy within which the specific marriage right sits. Nor has a new consensus emerged for a new right. Even today, a majority of States would adhere to marriage‟s traditional definition absent federal judicial mandates. And an international perspective does not change the analysis.”

According to DeWine, massive governmental support for same-sex marriage is proof that gays, as a group, have not been “relegated to such a position of political powerlessness,” as the Supreme Court has previously ruled in cases where heightened protection may be required.


Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/03/ohio-attorney-general-gays-already-have-too-much-power-thats-why-they-cant-get-married/

WATCH: Indiana GOP leader admits ‘No Gays Allowed’ sign would be legal in most of the state

Source: RawStory


But during the press conference, a reporter noted that Indiana does not have a state law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“You guys have said repeatedly that we shouldn’t be able to discriminate against anyone, but if you just ignore the existence of this law, can’t we already do that now? Can’t so-and-so in Richmond put a sign up and say ‘No Gays Allowed?’” she asked. “That’s not against the law, correct?”

“It would depend,” Bosma replied. “If you were in a community that had a human rights ordinance that wouldn’t be the case.”

“But most of the state does not have that, correct?” the reporter pressed.

“That’s correct,” Bosma admitted.


Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/03/watch-indiana-gop-leader-admits-no-gays-allowed-sign-would-be-legal-in-most-of-the-state/

Emanuel Trying To Raid Indiana Firms Over Religious Freedom Law

Source: TPM

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) is looking to capitalize on the outrage over Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signing a controversial religious freedom law and raid some jobs for his city and state.

Emanuel sent letters to a dozen Indiana based companies criticizing the law and urging them to move their headquarters to Illinois and Chicago in particular, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

In the letter Emanuel writes that Pence's move is "wrong for the people of Indiana, wrong for the individuals who face new discrimination, and wrong for a state seeking to grow its economy."

"I am writing to urge you to consider Chicago as a place to move and grow your business," Emanuel continued. "Our great city's work force, infrastructure and customer base are unparalleled, which is why the Chicago region is home to more than 30 Fortune 500 companies and the city has been ranked the number one city for corporate relocations for two years running."


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/rahm-emanuel-mike-pence-religious-freedom

Indiana's Top Lawmakers Looking To Clarify Religious Freedom Law

Source: TPM


At a press conference early on Monday, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (pictured, left) and Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore David Long said that they would "encourage our colleagues to adopt a clarifying measure of some sort to remove this misconception about the bill." Long said this was a reaction to an "obvious misconception" about what the new law does.

Bosma and Long stressed that they hadn't anticipated the backlash of the law. Asked about both proponents of the law and opponents who said the law effectively discriminated against same-sex individuals. Long said that there was just a "small tribe" of people saying that.

"The fact is that it doesn't do that, it doesn't discriminate and anyone on either side of this issue suggesting otherwise is just plain flat wrong," Long said. Throughout the press conference, both lawmakers said repeatedly the legislation does not directly discriminate against anyone.


Indiana Democrats quickly responded to the press conference saying that they wouldn't be satisfied with anything less than a full repeal of the law.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/brian-bosma-david-long-indiana-religious-freedom

Conn. Gov. Will Sign Executive Order On Travel In Protest Of Indiana Law

Source: TPM

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) on Monday announced he plans to sign an executive order on state-funded travel in response to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signing a controversial bill into law that could allow businesses to discriminate against gay people.

Governor Dan Malloy ✔ @GovMalloyOffice

Because of Indiana's new law, later today I will sign an Executive Order regarding state-funded travel. -DM

10:44 AM - 30 Mar 2015

Governor Dan Malloy ✔ @GovMalloyOffice

When new laws turn back the clock on progress, we can’t sit idly by. We are sending a message that discrimination won’t be tolerated. -DM

10:45 AM - 30 Mar 2015

Malloy's announcement is the latest move by a top elected official from another state in protest of Pence signing the law. San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee (D) last week banned state-funded travel to Indiana last week as a statement against the law. It wasn't immediately clear from Malloy's tweets if the executive editor was exactly the same as Lee's move, although it's expected to be similar.


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/dannel-malloy-executive-order-mike-pence

Hopefully, Massachusetts two Democratic U.S. Senators will be able to convince our GOP Governor to order the same type action.

Obama to make first visit to Kenya as president


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will make his first trip as president to Kenya, the country of his father’s birth.

The White House says Obama will visit Kenya in July for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which brings together business leaders, international organizations and governments. This will be the first time the summit takes place in sub-Saharan Africa.

Obama visited Kenya as a U.S. senator, but never as president. During a trip to other African countries last year, he said he was likely to visit Kenya before leaving the White House.

The president’s father came to the United States from Kenya for school and returned to his home country after his son’s birth. The elder Obama died more than 30 years ago, though the president has other family still living in Kenya.


Read more: http://www.salon.com/2015/03/30/obama_to_make_first_visit_to_kenya_as_president/

Conservatives’ history problem: Why they’re doomed by their own “Golden Age” - By Michael Lind

Compare the heydays of progressives and conservatives -- and it's clear which one fared better for Americans


“He who controls the past, controls the future,” George Orwell wrote in 1984. One of the greatest weapons in the arsenal of a political movement is what the literary critic Van Wyck Brooks called “a usable past” and what the historian William McNeill calls “mythistory.” The most potent political narrative in any country on earth goes something like this: “The past was a glorious Golden Age, and the present is dismal. Follow us, and we will create a future as glorious as the Golden Age in the past!”

Until recently, neither the center-left nor the center-right in American politics had agreed-upon historical narratives. But recently each movement has moved toward a greater consensus in its view of America’s past, present and future.

The center-left consensus today holds that the New Deal era of the 1930s through the 1970s, and perhaps its Progressive Era prelude, constituted the Golden Age. The present dismal Bronze or Iron Age began with Ronald Reagan in 1980–or, more accurately, in 1976 with Jimmy Carter elected as the first of three weak, center-right Democratic presidents—Carter, Clinton and Obama–who have followed the last liberal president, Lyndon Johnson. The Glorious Future, according to the emergent progressive consensus, will take the form of a “new New Deal” which, by some combination of policies, will check or reverse growing inequality and plutocracy, in the spirit of the New Deal and its echo, the Great Society.

This new center-left historical consensus marks the defeat of the alternate historical visions of both New Left radicals and New Democrat neoliberals.

New Left historians like the late Martin J. Sklar denounced the Progressive-Liberal tradition of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson as “corporate liberalism”—a diversion and a substitute from what America really needed, some vague kind of democratic socialism. You don’t hear many progressives, outside of cloistered campuses, denouncing FDR and LBJ nowadays as pawns of the capitalist class. After a generation of corporate conservatism, the supposed “corporate liberal” era looks relatively good in hindsight.


Destroying democracy is the GOP’s goal: Obstruction, dysfunction and the sneaky, decades-long plan t

Destroying democracy is the GOP’s goal: Obstruction, dysfunction and the sneaky, decades-long plan to steal your vote

It's not hyperbole: There's a dangerous plan behind GOP hardball in Congress & disenfranchisement efforts in states


In early March, Matt Yglesias wrote a Vox article warning “American democracy is doomed,” not right away, perhaps, but eventually. The main reason, he argued, was the essential instability of our presidential system, in which both the president and Congress—especially the House—can plausibly claim popular legitimacy while opposing one another—a theory advanced by the late Yale professor Juan Linz back in 1990:

Since both the president and the Congress are directly elected by the people, they can both claim to speak for the people. When they have a serious disagreement, according to Linz, “there is no democratic principle on the basis of which it can be resolved.” The constitution offers no help in these cases, he wrote: “the mechanisms the constitution might provide are likely to prove too complicated and aridly legalistic to be of much force in the eyes of the electorate.”

There’s obviously something to be said for this idea, starkly contrasting potentially brittle and conflictual presidential systems with more fluid parliamentary ones. But as a systemic explanation, it tends to absolve individuals and groups of bad actors of any blame, and there very clearly are some bad actors involved in our politics. Both sides are not just doing the same thing.

There are pragmatic asymmetries as well: The kinds of policies advocated by each side are not equally suited to actual governing challenges. Denying the existence of climate change is not comparable to a preparing a response involving international emission-reduction agreements, domestic renewable energy policies and local planning. Finally, the presidential system explanation doesn’t tell us why this should become such a problem now. It’s not that America hasn’t faced serious systemic problems before—we had an extremely bloody Civil War, remember? But the presidential system wasn’t the problem. For a clearer picture of the dangers facing our democracy, we need to consider two other factors.

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