This Thanksgiving, I reflect on our nation. There is reason to despair, or course. Some dire work is still undone. For example, nearly a year after the Sandy Hook horror, we still have no coherent national plan of action to restrict gun ownership. Also, our Congress is still embarrassingly dysfunctional, as the Republicans recently shut down the government in protest of millions of Americans getting access to health insurance. There is also a lack of meaningful citizen action on climate change, which could be the nullifying factor for all human endeavor a few generations out. Read more
Politics today is all about messaging. So I took a quick look at the Twitter account for Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. What I found will not surprise you. Republicans are focused on the ACA rollout and the report that people are being drop from their insufficient healthcare plans. While Democrats are focused on everything from Women's Rights to debt reduction.
While the President mentions healthcare in his tweet today. He also mention's how low the debt is currently vs. 2009. The Democrats are currently searching for a winning message, while the Republicans think they have found one.
Is our media that naive to think that Germany, England, Israel and other "friendly nations" aren't spying on there great ally the United States? Of course they are and they should be. Spying isn't always about hurting your enemy. It's also about understanding what other governments know so your government can make better policy decisions. And by the way Republicans, this program was started in 2002. So if you want to have a congressional investigation. Go ahead!!
But like I was saying. When governments talk to each-other about a specific issue it's vital to have an understanding of where that other government stands on that issue. And i'm not just talking about there public stance. You need to understand there private stance. The only way you will find out the difference between a governments public and private stance is by, you guessed it. Spying! Read more
President Obama, Senator Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi pulled off an epic victory for the American people this week when they held strong against the Tea Party’s best efforts to sabotage our government. After fifteen long days of the government shutdown, it was the strong-minded determination of our Democratic leadership that caused House Republicans to blink. The take-away is simple: good wins out in the end.
Undoubtedly, the Tea party will try to regroup and spin the narrative in their favor, but when the January and February due dates approach to revisit the budget and debt ceiling my bet is on bipartisan communication averting anymore drama. Polling indicates most American voters hate what the Tea Party did. Career politicians like GOP Rep. Herrera Beutler are finding their way to the middle, and hard core Tea Party leaders will be booking tickets home in 2014. When the American people make up their minds on something, it takes decades to change it, and they have now decided good governance makes their lives better. Read more
The nation lost billions of dollars, the GOP lost national respect & the government lost more of the public's faith while Ted Cruz grew his email list.
The global economy held its breath, the American people threw up their hands & even Republicans of good faith rolled their eyes while we learned Boehner can't run his House.
Now the government can serve the people again, the President showed he can be resolute & the US avoided national default -- with no guarantee this won't happen again.
In the meantime, Congress is back on the job of not passing bills for jobs, immigration, climate change, food stamps or gun control while wiretapping & drones continue unimpeded.
We may have maintained our full faith and credit & seen the Tea Party's fool's faith discredited. But to win the full faith of the American public, it will take real work before DC gets any credit.
Come for a night of good faith and good company as we debate, discuss & drink to recent events at your local progressive social club.
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It has become apparent that House Speaker John Boehner has lost control of House Republicans. So the question becomes what should he do? From my estimation the speaker has two options. One, he can continue to be rebuffed by his own party for another year until he loses his speakership in 2014.
Or he can take option two and create an alliance with a few republicans (20 or so) and all the Democrats to pass a long term debt "fix" bill that will balance our budget over the next decade. This is assuming he can get a short term debt limit increase passed. I know that's a big assumption. This alliance will give John Boehner a place in American political history that will outlast any of his current opponents. Just look at newt Gingrich the "Historian".
Now it is true that both option have a bad immediate outcome for the Speaker. He will no doubt lose his speakership no matter what he does. But option number two leaves him a career bigger then being a contributor to FOX News.
Want to know where the recent flurry of House Republican bat shit is coming from?
Look no further than right wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Recall that immediately after firing the opening salvo with a 21 hour speech on White Castle burgers and Duck Dynasty, Ted Cruz couldn't wait to join Limbaugh for some mutual back slapping.
Now new audio captured by a Flush Rush activist shows that, although Limbaugh has been marginalized over the past few years, his skill at pulling the puppet strings on large numbers of vocal if misled voters is still alive and well.
Using the overwhelming aversion of Tea Party conservatives to feminists and environmentalists, Limbaugh inserts audio of himself railing against these depraved leftists into news breaks, then follows it up with a deft bait-and-switch call to action, encouraging listeners to use an antiquated device called a telephone to contact their Congressperson and urge they stand firm on the government shutdown. Read more
Now that the government shutdown is a reality, I want to take this opportunity to register my disgust at how this played out. I try and take a reasonable approach to the issue of who is responsible for government problems, and have a rather evenhanded focus, but in this, I am rather upset at the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Read more
The Far Right Republican Tea Party has overplayed its hand. The House of Representatives, its stronghold on the federal level, is consistently unpopular, having a 10-19% approval rating this year according to the Gallop poll. And now the Tea Party is threatening to shut down the government, and put thousands of employees on furlough, to try to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. How do they think this latest ploy will shake out for them?
Regarding the 2014 mid-term elections, can anyone say “landslide.” Any Democrat with a pulse will be able to make a serious bid on an incumbent Republican-held office this next cycle. Embarrassingly out-of-touch the GOP has become, and American voters are likely to show them the door at the next opportunity.
Here is the problem with the Far Right: they think their positions are popular because they listen to the people in their districts that show up to town hall meetings and send emails. The constituents who are taking the time to complain are the radicalized Far Right who listen to Fox News and other Right Wing media. Read more
Dear Gov. McCrory,
Though I’m fortunate enough to hail from Ohio, the greatest state in our union, I still keep abreast of what’s going on in North Carolina—my second, wonderful home state. As a Republican, Duke student and political science major, I was disappointed to listen to the radio interview you gave a couple of weeks ago, during which you expressed an interest in defunding certain areas of study at North Carolina public universities. The sound bite the media grappled on to was your declaration, “If you want to take gender studies that’s fine. Go to a private school, and take it.”
I listened to the interview in its entirety, rather than just picking and choosing the choicest bits. I am guessing (hoping) this comment doesn’t express a malevolent view of the academic field of gender studies. Rather, I think it is a poor phrasing of your larger belief that public tax dollars should only fund areas of study that produce jobs for students. I’d like to respond to this larger sentiment and the potentiality of defunding certain academic disciplines, rather than the specific gender studies statement itself. Read more
Oftentimes I feel as though the views of the Republican Party are not properly characterized in campus discourse. Today I’d like to briefly summarize four oft-ignored perspectives on the Republican economic agenda, which isn’t as scary as it is usually portrayed in campus debate.
First and foremost, the Republican Party is not a party that only cares about rich people. Republicans want everyone to have a good-paying job that provides for his or her family. Many Republicans come from humble beginnings and humble backgrounds. Many were immigrants who came to this country with nothing but a dream. They know what it is to face hard times, and are not callous to the difficult circumstances in which many impoverished people find themselves.
In short, Republicans do not differ with Democrats at all in terms of empathy. Rather, they differ in their beliefs regarding the means by which to help the poorest among us. I think it’s safe to say Republicans have more faith in the power of free markets than the Democratic Party. Republicans would argue that free markets, unencumbered by unnecessary government regulation, allow for the greatest growth in prosperity for all. Read more
My AP English teacher once told me that I would get beaten up at least once in college for telling people I was a Republican. She made the comment in the middle of class, laughing as she said it. I don’t think it was necessarily meant as an insult, but the memory has stuck with me ever since.
It’s a bit funny to think about now. Not only have I never gotten into a brawl surrounding politics (that would be a low point in anyone’s life I think), but a majority of my good friends at Duke University are of the opposite political persuasion.
In fact, I haven’t just peacefully coexisted and debated the other side—I’ve actually experienced it. This past summer I worked for two organizations simultaneously. The first organization was the Romney campaign, where I acted as the student overseeing all of the Young Americans for Romney campus groups in North Carolina. The second organization, Friends of the Earth, I interned with for a short period of time in London. It’s as liberal as the name might lead you to believe. It was quite a dichotomous pairing. Read more
If you read at an average pace, it will take you four minutes to finish this column. By the time you’re done, approximately nine U.S. students will have dropped out of high school. That’s 1.2 million dropouts a year—dropouts who are qualified for only 10 percent of new jobs, are eight times more likely to be incarcerated and are 50 percent less likely to vote. When Texas projects how many prisons it will need 10 years from today, one of the data points it considers is the percentage of literate Texas fourth graders. The correlation is strong—six out of 10 American prison inmates are illiterate.
America’s educational problems permeate all aspects of our society—from economic growth to crime to national security. And that’s not a new, tantalizingly fresh concept I’ve just written. In preparing to write this column, I found so many websites with educational crisis statistics that my Google Chrome froze from an overload of tabs. Read more
Sen. Ted Cruz
Right around 12 pm EST today, Party of One Ted Cruz wrapped up his pointless nonfilibuster so he could appear on the Rush Limbaugh Show.
The right wing talk show host is the poster boy for limp noodles, having been detained for having someone else's name on his Viagra prescription and running loads of ads for pecker pills on his floundering radio program.
But not today.
Limbaugh was audibly aroused as he waited for the Texas senator to join him: Read more
Many commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington protest, one of the defining moments of the civil rights movement. The hopes, dreams and aspirations of Martin Luther King Jr. and many others striving for equality were celebrated. Some might argue that much progress has been made, and civil rights are no longer a partisan issue. However, this may not be the case. Frank James pointed out that “The parties have seldom seemed so far apart as they did Wednesday, on the 50th anniversary of King's speech and the March on Washington. Not a single Republican elected official spoke at the ‘Let Freedom Ring’ event at the Lincoln Memorial, site of King's 1963 speech, though some were invited.” http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/08/28/216580613/something-w...
This could be due to mere coincidence, yet there is some reason to believe otherwise. Read more