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Watch: President Obama Announces Normalization With Cuba

A new chapter
Politics • Views: 25,888

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Today President Obama announced historic changes in the relationship between the United States and Cuba, and the US right wing is already in panicked freak-out mode.

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And Now, Jeb Bush

Very predictable
Politics • Views: 26,993

To no one’s surprise, Jeb Bush is making noises like he intends to run for President.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said Tuesday he’s taking a major step toward running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, a move that could put pressure on other candidates to make their intentions known sooner than expected.

“I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States,” Bush, 61, wrote in a Facebook post to which he linked from his verified Twitter account. “In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.”

If America elects a third Bush to the presidency, we’ll deserve whatever we get.

Congress Loads Spending Bill With Right Wing “Riders”

Business as usual
Politics • Views: 24,240
Image via Shutterstock

Well, the giant spending bill that will keep the government open until September has been assembled, and would it surprise you to learn that Republicans have crammed it full of “riders” to do things like allow wealthy donors to give more to campaigns, block the adoption of energy-efficient light bulbs, give farmers an exemption from clean water rules, prevent transferring prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to US prisons, and allow huge banks to use their customers’ money in risky investment practices?

Here’s What’s Tucked in the Spending Bill.

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Nominee for Next Defense Secretary: Physicist Ashton Carter

Cue right wing freak-out
Politics • Views: 25,756
Ashton Carter

It hasn’t been officially announced yet, but numerous sources report that President Obama’s nominee for the next Secretary of Defense will be Ashton Carter, a physicist with many years of experience in national security and defense.

“Great, very highly qualified,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), who will replace Levin as chairman next month, called Carter a “noncontroversial” choice. Both senators said they had yet to receive formal notification from the White House of Carter’s selection.

Carter, 60, is little known outside Washington but is renowned for his intellect. A Rhodes scholar, he earned a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University and holds degrees in physics and medieval history from Yale. A longtime faculty member at Harvard, he began lecturing at Stanford this fall.

John McCain may think Carter’s a “noncontroversial” pick, but just watch: the right wing universe is already starting a massive freak-out because he was not a fan of Reagan’s “star wars” boondoggle.

Nevada Speaker-Elect Ira Hansen Steps Down After His Extremism Is Exposed

Hansen keeps a Confederate battle flag on the wall where he writes
Politics • Views: 21,680

The incoming Republican speaker of the Nevada State Assembly, Ira Hansen, is stepping down from the post after the Reno News & Review brought to light his history of amazingly overt racism and bigotry.

“Politics of personal destruction win. I need to step down,” Hansen wrote in the email. “I hope that you all know that the Ira that you have known through these years and weeks is the real Ira and not what the media is painting me to be.”

“You are a great group that can hopefully do great things and my staying will harm the caucus,” he added. “I wish you all the best. Thanks for hanging tough through these difficult past days. If this were just about ‘me’ I would fight this out to the bitter end, but it is going to harm all of you.”

And of course, Hansen maintains that he’s the victim of a smear campaign and his words were distorted.

For the greater good of the State of Nevada and the cause I support it is necessary for me to withdraw as Speaker Designee. The tens of thousands of people who both read my columns and listened to my radio shows through two decades in the media know this has been a carefully orchestrated attack to remove a conservative Republican from a major leadership role in State government. The deliberate character assassination and the politics of personal destruction have totally distorted my views and record. Ultimately, this whole attack has very little to do with my views. The powers that be are planning a massive, more than one billion dollar, tax increase and I stood in the way as Speaker. I have already served two terms as an Assemblyman without any of these vicious attacks. It was only when I had risen to leadership that this smear campaign occurred. That is the real reason for this and it is vital the public understands that.

It’s a little hard to “distort” views like these, however:

Hansen has said he keeps a Confederate battle flag on the wall where he writes his columns. “I fly it proudly in honor and in memory of a great cause and my brave ancestors who fought for that cause,” he wrote.

Hansen tends to use the term “Negro” and often does not capitalize it. In one column, he described Washoe Republican Sen. Maurice Washington (whom he supported) as black but in the same column called President Obama (whom he opposes) a “negro”—lower case.

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House Intel Panel Benghazi Report: No There There

Last call for the Benghazi Disco
Politics • Views: 25,263

In today’s episode of the Great Republican Benghazi Boogaloo, the House Intelligence Committee told the right wing noise machine to stop. Just stop it already. House Intel Panel Debunks Many Benghazi Theories.

Not that they will.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people.

The House Intelligence Committee report was released with little fanfare on the Friday before Thanksgiving week. Many of its findings echo those of six previous investigations by various congressional committees and a State Department panel. The eighth Benghazi investigation is being carried out by a House Select Committee appointed in May.

Watch Live: President Obama Announces Executive Action on Immigration

New programs will affect more than 4 million people
Politics • Views: 23,207

YouTube

President Obama Announces Immigration Reform Speech on Facebook

Social
Politics • Views: 24,352

Certain to be the cause of a major eruption of right wing craziness, the President announced his speech on immigration reform tonight on Facebook, and with a post at the White House blog by Josh Earnest: Tune In: The President Addresses the Nation on Immigration Reform | the White House.

Our immigration system has been broken for decades — and every minute we fail to act, millions of people who live in the shadows but want to play by the rules and pay taxes have no way to live right by the law and contribute to our country.

So tomorrow night, President Obama will address the nation to lay out the executive actions he’s taking to fix our broken immigration system. You can watch the President live tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET at whitehouse.gov.

This is a step forward in the President’s plan to work with Congress on passing common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform. He laid out his principles for that reform two years ago in Del Sol High School in Las Vegas — and that’s where he’ll return on Friday to discuss why he is using his executive authority now, and why Republicans in Congress must act to pass a long-term solution to immigration reform.

We’ll be there with a live video thread, of course.

Keystone XL Pipeline Bill Stalls in Senate

Landrieu is political loser of the week
Politics • Views: 27,468

Our government news of the day is a shocking act of Democratic obstructionism in the Senate, where the bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was narrowly defeated today.

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Tuesday defeated a bill, 59 to 41, that would have approved the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, rebuffing a Democratic colleague, Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, who had hoped to muscle the legislation through in advance of her uphill runoff election fight back home.

Forty Democrats and Angus King, independent of Maine, voted against the bill, with just 14 Democrats joining all 45 Republicans in support of the oil pipeline.

The battle over approving the pipeline, which will carry petroleum from the oil sands of Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas, ultimately became a proxy war for the Louisiana Senate seat, where Ms. Landrieu and Representative Bill Cassidy, a Republican, are locked in fight for votes in their oil-rich state ahead of a Dec. 6 runoff election.

The bill is sure to come up again in the new Senate, but it would still be unlikely to get the 67 votes needed to override a Presidential veto. The real loser in this vote is Mary Landrieu, who fought hard to get Democrats to support it and lost — and now may lose her Senate seat.

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 Frank says:

My music makes the mind think -- Time magazine Dec.20/93, page 73