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Member since: Tue May 13, 2008, 03:07 AM
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Mike Pence STILL ISN'T Telling the TRUTH

"...Mike Pence announced today he’s finally fixing Indiana’s anti-gay RFRA law, but took the time to rail against “reckless reporting.” The reporting is not the problem. Here's the truth: Only one other state has a law like this..."

Why Indiana?

With the backlash in full effect—with cancellations of gamer conventions, Wilco concerts, office expansions—even Indiana Governor Mike Pence backtracked today, saying that he will accept the kind of legislative “fix” he had earlier rejected. To hear Gov. Pence tell it, his state is being unfairly singled out. In fact, he protested today, his Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is no different from the ones President Clinton and then-State-Senator Obama supported in the past. He reiterated that today in his press conference, saying it was no different than the federal bill the ACLU applauded “when President Clinton signed it in 1993.” That is incorrect—and Gov. Pence knows it. Pence either doesn’t know the law—which is unlikely—or he is purposefully not telling the truth about it. And he kept up that lie today. In fact, Indiana is different, for four specific reasons: Hobby Lobby, antidiscrimination, business, and the far-right echo chamber.

1. Hobby Lobby

First and most importantly, Gov. Pence is being knowingly disingenuous when he compares Indiana’s RFRA to others. When Bill Clinton signed the federal RFRA in 1993, it passed Congress nearly unanimously. That’s because it was meant as a shield protecting minority religions from government interference. The typical cases were Native Americans using peyote, or churches seeking zoning variances—religious acts that didn’t really affect anyone else.

Hobby Lobby changed that. Last year, for the first time, the Supreme Court said RFRA was a sword, as well as a shield, enabling a corporation to deny insurance coverage to its employees. Social conservatives cheered.

Since Hobby Lobby, the only states that have passed RFRAs are Mississippi—not exactly a bastion of tolerance, commerce, and industry—and Indiana. Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, you may recall, vetoed her state’s RFRA after the NFL, among others, rebelled. Georgia and Oklahoma have shelved theirs, and Texas is likely to follow.

Pence’s RFRA is not Clinton’s RFRA. Hobby Lobby changed the game.

Now, does Gov. Pence know this? Of course he does. The law’s own supporters have used the same examples for years: the baker who shouldn’t have to bake a cake for a gay wedding, the photographer, the florist. To most of us, that looks like discrimination—putting a “No Gays Allowed” sign up on your storefront window.

And those are the best cases. RFRAs allow hospitals not to honor same-sex visitation rights, and doctors not to treat the children of lesbians. These are actual cases.

Is Pence just lying, then? Well, not quite, because of ….

2. The Right-Wing Echo Chamber

No matter how many times Gov. Pence says this isn’t about gays and isn’t about discrimination, the people standing behind him when he signed it are a who’s-who of anti-gay social conservatives. (This meme makes it pretty clear.)

Within that far-right echo chamber, RFRA really is about religious freedom. When I started working on this issue two years ago, I thought the “religious freedom” line was just rhetoric to disguise the culture war.

Since then, though, I’ve met and debated these people, and I’ve watched their propaganda. They appear to sincerely believe that Christians are being persecuted, and that LGBT people owe them an “olive branch” in the form of religious exemptions.

That echo chamber has been so well-funded, and is so insular, that it’s lost sight of the American mainstream, which sees discrimination as discrimination, even if there’s a religious reason for it. That’s left Republicans across the country exposed. Their base is telling them RFRAs are about religious freedom, and then they’re shocked when the mainstream sees it differently. Several have privately expressed a sense of betrayal.

The fact is, the echo chamber is far from the mainstream. And when RFRAs are out in the open, they’re failing. And the reason for that is—




Gasparino: Citigroup Is SPYING On Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Fox Business Senior Correspondent Charlie Gasparino on why Citigroup is spying on Sen. Warren

WallStreet’s POLITICAL SHAKEDOWN:We’ll Stop Funding Dems if Elizabeth Warren won’t SIT DOWN & SHUTUP

"...Top banks consider cutting off Dems if the party won't rein in party progressives.."

"....For Democratic neoliberals who have proven all too eager to forge an unholy alliance with the malefactors of great wealth, this Wall Street shakedown will only redouble their commitment to keep the financial powers-that-be placated..."

If ever you doubted that our obscene campaign finance regime constitutes a form of legalized bribery, consider this: Reuters reports today that officials at top Wall Street banks recently convened to discuss how they could convince Democrats “to soften their party’s tone” toward the financial industry, and among the options now under consideration is halting campaign donations to Senate Democrats unless they rein in progressive populists like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The banks represented at the Washington meeting included Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, according to the report, and though the idea of withholding campaign contributions did not arise at that gathering, it has since been floated in conversations among representatives from the banks. While the action would only be taken against Senate Democrats, the report states that Democrats are fretting about larger repercussions:

The amount of money at stake, a maximum of $15,000 per bank, means the gesture is symbolic rather than material

Moreover, banks’ hostility toward Warren, who is not a presidential candidate, will not have a direct impact on the presumed Democratic front runner in the White House race, Hillary Clinton. That’s because their fund-raising groups focus on congressional races rather than the presidential election

Still, political strategists say Clinton could struggle to raise money among Wall Street financiers who worry that Democrats are becoming less business friendl


Citigroup, Reuters notes, has already chosen not to contribute to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee “over concerns that Senate Democrats could give Warren and lawmakers who share her views more power,” while JPMorgan has pared back its donations. Goldman Sachs already sent the DSCC its $15,000 check, while Bank of America has yet to donate. There are two salient points to be made here: First, while only the most naive mind could consider it surprising, that Democrats are clutching their pearls over a possible drought of Wall Street funds underscores how poisoned our campaign finance system has become, and it speaks volumes about the plutocratic capture of American politics. Moreover, the report further puts the lie to Chief Justice John Roberts’ apparently straight-faced assertion, writing his opinion in the Citizens United case, that campaign contributions are not intended to influence lawmakers’ official duties.

“Spending large sums of money in connection with elections, but not in connection with an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder’s official duties, does not give rise to such quid pro quo corruption,” Roberts wrote. “Nor does the possibility that an individual who spends large sums may garner ‘influence over or access to’ elected officials or political parties.”


Yet here we have an industry that may well cut off a political party if it does not jettison proposals like breaking up “Too Big To Fail” institutions, reinstating the Glass-Steagall law separating commercial and investment banking, and reining in unscrupulous speculation. These proposals have galvanized the Warren wing of the Democratic Party, which may be emboldened but is far from dominant. Look no further than Wall Street’s affinity for the party’s likely presidential nominee, or the identity of the Democrats’ potential next leader in the Senate, a top recipient of financial industry contributions.



Democrats NEED Elizabeth Warren

"...Elizabeth Warren, not Hillary Clinton, personifies the true value system of most Democrats. Hillary might be ahead in certain polls, but Warren is rising and already has a major newspaper championing her as one of the best Democratic candidates in 2016. Elizabeth Warren should make a run for the White House since America, and the Democratic Party, will thank her for doing so...."

In two years, America might have its first female president. However, Democrats around the country should jettison conventional wisdom and look beyond Hillary Clinton. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) is by far the most compelling Democratic candidate and The Boston Globe is absolutely right; she should “run for the White House.” Warren represents the best that Democrats have to offer in 2016, in addition to the fact that she can type an email without it causing a nationwide scandal. First, some polls have the Massachusetts senator ahead of the former secretary of State. Warren ranked ahead of Clinton and GOP competition in a 2014 Quinnipiac poll centered on a “heat index” that measures favorability:

Elizabeth Warren Generates Most Heat…

Number one today is U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, at 48.6 degrees…

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is second with 47.8 degrees and only 1 percent don't know enough about her…


It’s important to note that this data was taken last year, before Clinton’s email scandal cost her support in recent surveys and before Warren’s ascent within the Democratic Party. It’s also important to note that the 2014 Quinnipiac “favorability” poll is different from the recent 2015 poll that states Hillary “wipes everyone out.” This latest poll doesn’t mention the “heat index” and focuses primarily on New York voters. While Clinton has the name recognition today, Warren has two years to build on her reputation as a champion of the middle class. Second, The Boston Globe has recently urged Warren to run and stated that Democrats would be making a “big mistake” to simply ignore potential challengers to Hillary Clinton:

DEMOCRATS WOULD be making a big mistake if they let Hillary Clinton coast to the presidential nomination without real opposition, and, as a national leader, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren can make sure that doesn’t happen...

Indeed, the big-picture debate on financial regulation and income inequality is what’s most at peril if the Democratic primaries come and go without top-notch opponents for Clinton…

She should not shrink from the chance to set the course for the Democratic Party or cede that task to Hillary Clinton without a fight.


When a major newspaper urges a potential candidate to run, out of fear that Hillary Clinton will remain unopposed, this speaks volumes about the need for a paradigm shift within the Democratic Party. Part of the reason The Boston Globe and other would want Warren to serve as a counterbalance to Clinton is because the Massachusetts senator offers a real alternative to the GOP. As stated on Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Calif.) website, Warren proved to be a formidable opponent of Paul Ryan’s conservative views on the economy:

Warren continued: ‘Paul Ryan says don’t blame Wall Street: the guys who made billions of dollars cheating American families. Don’t blame decades of deregulation that took the cops off the beat while the big banks looted the American economy…’

And to a standing ovation, Warren declared: ‘That may be Paul Ryan’s vision of how America works, but that is not our vision of this great country.’




Israel's Shield NO MORE?

Officials say they are revisiting the U.S. stance in light of Netanyahu rolling back his support of a Palestinian state.

In the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisive re-election, the Obama administration is revisiting longtime assumptions about America’s role as a shield for Israel against international pressure. Angered by Netanyahu’s hard-line platform towards the Palestinians, top Obama officials would not rule out the possibility of a change in American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has historically fended off resolutions hostile to Israel. And despite signals from Israel suggesting that Netanyahu might walk back his rejection, late in the campaign, of a Palestinian state under his watch, Obama officials say they are taking him at his word. “The positions taken by the prime minister in the last days of the campaign have raised very significant substantive questions that go far beyond just optics,” said a senior administration official, adding that recent Israeli government actions were in keeping with Netanyahu’s rhetoric.

While saying it was “premature” to discuss Washington’s policy response, the official wouldn’t rule out a modified American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has long fended off resolutions critical of Israeli settlement activity and demanding its withdrawal from Palestinian territories. “We are signaling that if the Israeli government’s position is no longer to pursue a Palestinian state, we’re going to have to broaden the spectrum of options we pursue going forward,” the official said. There is no virtually no chance that the U.S. will trim its financial or military support for Israel. But some analysts believe that going forward, Netanyahu may be vulnerable in international forums where the U.S. has long been a bulwark against criticism of Israel and its presence in Palestinian territories. “I do think the administration is going to look very closely at the possibility of either joining, or at least not blocking an internationally backed move at the U.N. to restate the parameters for ending the conflict,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the left-leaning pro-Israel group J Street.

Netanyahu’s campaign statements “make it a lot easier for the administration to justify going down a more international route,” Ben-Ami added. The chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel, Saeb Erakat, told Agence France-Press that the Palestinians will “accelerate, continue and intensify” their diplomatic efforts to pressure Israel.
The U.S. has run critical interference for Israel on such measures in the past. Last November, the U.N. Security Council considered a draft resolution, pushed by the Palestinians and Arab countries, demanding an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank within three years. The U.S. quietly quashed the effort. In February 2011, Obama exercised his first Security Council veto to strike down a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity in Palestinian territory. Every other one of the Security Council’s 15 members supported the resolution.

Obama officials must now decide whether more international pressure on Israel can help bring a conservative Netanyahu-led government back to the negotiating table with the Palestinians — or whether such pressure would simply provoke a defiant reaction, as some fear. Obama has other diplomatic options. He could expend less political capital to oppose growing momentum within the European Union to impose sanctions on Israel for its settlement activity. More provocative to Israel, Obama could soften his opposition to recent Palestinian efforts to join the International Criminal Court and press for war crimes charges against Israeli leaders and generals at the Hague.



IRAN PAUL To Announce Presidential Bid April 7

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will announce he is running for president during a rally on April 7 at the Galt House in Louisville. Sources close to Paul, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Paul's campaign apparatus has begun making phone calls to supporters in Kentucky and around the country to invite them to the event. One source said that while Paul could change his mind and announce on that day that he would not seek the Republican nomination, "you could knock me over with a feather if that's what he does."

"That is the day of his announcement," the source said. Paul, who has traveled numerous times to early caucus and primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, has said that he plans to make his decision next month and that he would make the announcement in Louisville. "That puts two and two together for us," said Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Nate Haney, who said he assumes Paul will talk about his presidential aspirations that day."I have gotten a phone call on it and I was told that there was going to be some type of announcement or event," he said. "I have my suspicions that he's going to announce his run for president."

Doug Stafford, who heads up RANDPAC, Paul's political action committee, didn't immediately return an email or a phone call to his cell phone seeking comment. The exact time of the event is in flux, one source said. "He's on an awfully tight schedule because he's going to do a nationwide fly-around to early primary states." Another source said that Paul would make stops over the next five days in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — four states that will choose their presidential nominees by the end of February.




Tom Cotton's Open LETTER TO IRAN Hounds The GOP's Most Vulnerable Senators Back Home

Four of the Republican's most vulnerable senators who decided to follow Sen. Tom Cotton into battle against the White House by addressing a letter to Iran's leaders are likely regretting that move. Among Cotton's 26 co-signers were Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mark Kirk of Illinois, and Rob Portman of Ohio. The letter, which was an effort to scuttle the Obama administration's diplomatic efforts to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, is also having a nuclear effect back home. In New Hampshire: A hometown editorial read, "Ayotte signs up for a dangerous political game."

"When Ayotte signed her name on that piece of paper, she cast her lot with a thoughtless brand of politics splintered from the thread of American diplomatic history. Time and future negotiations will reveal the damage done." --The Concord Monitor


In Wisconsin: A new poll found Ron Johnson sucking wind against for Sen. Russ Feingold.

Johnson, who rode the Republican tidal wave of 2010 to victory over longtime incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold, comes in at just 32% approval, making him one of the least popular senators in the country.

Feingold, meanwhile, is the most popular Wisconsin politician included in this poll with 46/35 favorability. He holds a healthy nine-point lead over Johnson in a hypothetical re- match of their 2010 race, 50/41.


Johnson tried to deflect criticism of the letter by saying they had simply made a minor error in addressing the letter.

“I suppose the only regret is who it’s addressed to,” Johnson said during a Friday breakfast with Bloomberg staff. “But the content of the letter, the fact that it was an open letter, none whatsoever.”




The Huckster''s Con: Mike Huckabee PEDDLES 'CURES' For Diabetes, Cancer

The New York Times reports on 2016 presidential hopeful and (sigh) talk radio host Mike Huckabee's "unconventional" fundraising efforts. But they're the same scams and apocalypse-fodder that the whole rest of the conservative movement sends out, so perhaps what they mean to say is that they are in fact very conventional fundraising efforts.

“I’m Mike Huckabee,” he says with all the folksy charm that propelled a career as a preacher, politician and broadcaster.

But this is no campaign ad. It is an Internet infomercial for a dubious diabetes treatment, in which Mr. Huckabee, who is contemplating a run for the Republican nomination in 2016, tells viewers to ignore “Big Pharma” and instead points them to a “weird spice, kitchen-cabinet cure,” consisting of dietary supplements.

“Let me tell you, diabetes can be reversed,” Mr. Huckabee says. “I should know because I did it. Today you can, too.”


Except he didn't do it via the cinnamon-based dietary supplement, but by losing weight. He himself never tried the "dietary supplement," possibly because the American Diabetes Association considers it bunk. In a better world this is the sort of thing that would get a fellow invited to a congressional hearing, but in this world this is just the most prominent of Huckabee's many links to dubious and/or outright creepy product peddlers. Members of his mailing list may look forward to all sorts of (literal) miracle cures and whatnot, as you can read beneath the fold.



Top 5 WAYS Netanyahu SABOTAGED US And Israel Interests

Binyamin Netanyahu is fighting the most difficult political battle of his life. His party seems likely to come in smaller than the center-left coalition of Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni– though in parliamentary systems what really matters is who can put together a majority after the election. Netanyahu still has some possibility of succeeding in that regard. On Sunday, in a rare public display of his unhinged paranoia, he opined that foreign governments were sending money into Israel to his rivals, conspiring with “leftists” to unseat him. Famously, Netanyahu’s campaign is the one with the foreign money– that of Sheldon Adelson and other sketchy American billionaires.

But whether he gets another term or not, Netanyahu will be remembered for the damage he did to US interests, and those of Israel itself.

1. Netanyahu scuttled the George Mitchell peace process initiated by President Obama when he first took office in 2009. He pledged a freeze of squatter settlements on Palestinian territory for 6 months in spring of 2009, then just as negotiations with the Palestinians were to begin in earnest, Netanyahu abruptly cancelled the freeze, ensuring that the talks would fail. (There is no reason for the Palestinians to negotiate for their share of the cake if Bibi is going to gobble it up in front of their eyes while they are talking to him.)

2. Netanyahu scuttled the 2013-14 Kerry peace talks. He allowed one of his cabinet members to smear Mr. Kerry as having ‘messianic’ pretensions. He kept announcing increased new squatter settlements in the Palestinian West Bank, aiming to drive the Palestinians away from the negotiating table. Then he started demanding that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish state’ even though over a fifth of Israelis are not Jews (most of them are Palestinian-Israeli).

3. When the peace talks predictably failed as a result of his machinations, Netanyahu launched a brutal assault on the Gaza Strip in which his indiscriminate fire killed nearly 2000, mostly non-combatants, and wiped out entire neighborhoods. Every time the Israeli government does something like that before the cameras of the world press, much of the world starts to hate the United States.

4. Netanyahu involved himself in US domestic politics, campaigning for Mitt Romney in 2012 and giving President Obama unseemly lectures when they were both on camera at the White House..

5. Netanyahu conspired with John Boehner to undermine the president’s negotiations with Iran by giving a speech to Congress only two weeks before his own election. This blatant interference in US foreign policy is not unusual for other countries, but most of them aren’t honorary members of the Republican Party such that they can sabotage as insiders.



The HORRIBLE TRUTH About Today’s Republicans In One Perfect Hashtag: #GOPWANTSWAR

"...So You Want 'Boots-On-The-Ground'?....When Are YOU Or YOUR CHILDREN Signing Up?..."

Share this post.

After 40 long years, the truth about the Republican Party is finally out of the bag, thanks to the 47 traitors and Twitter’s trending #GOPWantsWar hashtag. UniteBlue launched the #GOPWantsWar hashtag on Thursday, it gained momentum over the weekend, and it’s still going strong. In it — as shown in the tweets below — people from all walks of life chimed in on Twitter to share their perspectives on how the Republican Party no longer stands for anything but low wages, corporate supremacy, war, and death.

For years, Republicans have talked about trickle-down economics, the rising tide lifting all boats, and “compassionate conservatism.” But when push comes to shove, that’s just putting lipstick on a bloated, monstrous corporate pig. After 40 years, the disastrous results of the GOP’s policies speak for themselves. Republicans have made it clear they don’t want to spend money on fixing roads, helping American workers through a financial crisis, educating young people, addressing climate chane, or anything else that benefits us as a society. Heck, they don’t even want to pay for stuff Americans have already paid for like Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance. Because, really, the #GOPWantsWar and nothing else.

Back in the mid-20th century, when more reasonable and moderate Republicans and Democrats were running things, America’s prosperous middle class, state-of-the-art infrastructure, excellence in higher education, advanced technology, and thriving business climate were the envy of the world. Now look at us. Republicans no longer even deserves the name “conservative,” because — as right-wing blowhard Pat Buchanan once famously said — we’ve got “nothing left to conserve.” Because, really, the #GOPWantsWar and nothing else. When you’re a hammer, every problem’s a nail. And when it comes to problem-solving, today’s Republicans are all stick and no carrot, with no incentives, only penalties. How do we solve problems at home? Wage a war on drugs. Invade communities with highly militarized police forces, and when people don’t like it, shoot them or throw them in prison. How do we solve problems abroad? Wage a war on terrorism. Invade communities with military forces, and when people don’t like it, shoot them, or throw them into prison camps and illegal detention centers.

What better way to create a slave army for all these giant corporations who would rather give huge, unearned bonuses to their useless, blood-sucking CEOs than pay their workers a living wage. Today’s Republicans claim they’re about being fiscally responsible, balancing the budget, and reducing federal and state deficits. But they always seem able to find money for pointless, destructive, and expensive wars. Because, really, the #GOPWantsWar and nothing else. We’re all shocked about that letter Sen. Tom Cotton and his band of #47Traitors sent to Iran. But really, we shouldn’t be surprised at all. Talk radio host Thom Hartmann once explained Republican policies are so unpalatable that the GOP has never been able to win a presidential election without committing fraud and treason since President Dwight D. Eisenhower left office in 1961. That’s right. The #GOPWantsWar and nothing else… Or at least they’re willing to wage war and murder thousands of people if that’s what they need to do to have their way. And that’s how we wound up with three Republican presidents who nearly managed to destroy our country within the past 40 years.

1. Richard Nixon scuttles Vietnam peace talks. In 1968 GOP presidential candidate Richard Nixon tanked his Democratic rival Hubert Humphrey’s prospects. How? By promising South Vietnam a better peace deal if he won, thereby sabotaging President Lyndon B. Johnson’s attempts to end the deeply unpopular war. Vietnam dropped the Peace talks in Paris and the war dragged on for seven more years until 1975. And let’s not forget how Richard Nixon proved so paranoid, ruthless, and dishonest, he was forced to resign from office before Congress could impeach him after the Watergate Scandal broke.

2. Ronald Reagan’s “October surprise”: In 1980, GOP contender Ronald Reagan pulled a similar maneuver on President Jimmy Carter by scuttling his painstaking negotiations with Iran to end the hostage crisis. In exchange for delaying their release of American hostages until after Election Day, Reagan promised to sell them weapons and “spare parts.” Even though we had an arms embargo against them at the time. Reagan then used the money to illegally fund the Contras in Nicaragua… even though Congress had banned that through the Boland Amendment.

3. George W. Bush “wins” in 2000 and finds fake WMD: And of course, we all know about how George W. Bush stole the election in 2000 with help from his dad’s cronies in the Supreme court; ignored repeated warnings about Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden; and then used the 9/11 attacks to drum up popular support and get carte blanche from Congress to invade Iraq and destroy their non-existent “Weapons of Mass Destruction.”


Here are a few:


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