Broun, a skilled purveyor of a Southern politics of persecution, was an early alarmist, predicting a violently oppressive, explicitly Hitlerian regime just days after President Obama’s election in 2008. Broun’s repeated evocation of Hitler and Stalin would later find its way into the crass iconography of Tea Party protests. The stakes have always been existential to Broun. In an almost mystical ritual, Broun, a born-again Christian, snuck onto the inaugural stage in 2009 to anoint the door through which Obama would pass with holy oil, entreating God to come to the aid of His besieged and cleanse the new president of his tyrannical evil. Broun’s persecution narrative, dismissed by many at the time as hayseed hyperbole, now forms the basis of conservative arguments on nearly every issue. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, likely 2016 presidential candidate whose star is still rising, adopts the “we want our country back” language and eschatological stakes of the Tea Party. Cruz is joined by newcomer Sens. Ron Johnson, Mike Lee and Rand Paul to form a conservative insurgency in a chamber historically governed by staid and statesmanlike members.
There is a problem, though, for the GOP in the 2014 and subsequent elections: Once the Fort Sumter-like salvo of superlatives and hyperbole is launched, it is likely impossible to quiet the fear and anger of the party’s base. Broun’s successor to represent the shamed land of Sherman’s path brings his own scorched earth rhetoric, sounding more 1860 than 2014. The presumptive successor, Rev. Jody Hice, whose primary win makes November’s general little more than a formality in the heavily conservative district, speaks uniformly in the language of persecution and insurrection. Like, actual insurrection. Hice regularly demands that Americans be permitted the full means of war — e.g., rockets, missiles, etc. — in order to prepare for an eventual armed conflict with the “secular,” “socialist” state. Hice, an evangelical pastor, is an unapologetic theocrat whose persecution complex pervades the entirety of his apocalyptic politics. Hice makes Broun look cuddly by comparison.
The GOP suffers through an internecine fight that shows little sign of slowing. The party’s internal conflict reached its latest peak in primary battles in two prominent Confederate locales: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s historic loss in the old capital of the Confederacy and Sen. Thad Cochran’s controversial victory in Jefferson Davis’ Mississippi, a state whose flag still bears the Confederate battle emblem. Cantor’s primary defeat would have been inconceivable just a few years ago, but the very fervor stoked by Cantor for what many saw as an eventual run at the speakership metastasized further into an implacable anti-establishment impulse from which even Cantor was not exempt. Cochran, targeted as an establishment senator, had to resort to DEFCON 1 tactics and openly beseech Mississippi’s black Democrats to lift him over Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel, a move that became something of a right-wing Alamo. In a late primary strategy, Jody Hice went public with the assertion that his opponent, a pro-business, establishment candidate, was courting the enemy in what the Hice campaign called a “Mississippi Strategy.”
The background to this is that Microsoft is facing a disruptive threat from tablet and smartphone computing platforms. These mobile devices have dramatically different user interfaces optimized for taps and gestures rather than keyboards and mice. With Windows 8, Microsoft tried to create an operating system that could be all things to all people. A new generation of Windows 8 applications were supposed to work well with a keyboard and mouse the way PC software always has. And they were also supposed to work well on a new generation of Windows-based tablets.
But the result was a mess. Old users found the new interface confusing. New users found it clunky. No one was as excited about it as people are about iPads and Android phones.
The Republican Party is slowly beginning to accept the existence of gay people among its ranks. As I wrote last month, there are two openly gay GOP candidates running for the US House this year—both with the support and financial backing of the national party (a third prominent openly gay candidate lost in a primary). But the social-conservative groups that have long held sway over the party aren’t taking the change lightly.
Late last week, three anti-gay-rights groups—the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the Family Research Council (FRC), and CitizenLink—sent a letter to national Republican leaders declaring their intention to actively oppose openly gay Republican House candidates Carl DeMaio and Richard Tisei, as well as Oregon Senate candidate Monica Wehby, who has endorsed gay marriage. “This decision was reached,” the groups wrote, “only after having exhausted all attempts to convince the Republican leadership of the grave error it was making in advancing candidates who do not hold core Republican beliefs and, in fact, are working to actively alienate the Republican base.”
The groups sent the letter to John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the leaders of the Senate and House election committees, claiming DeMaio, Tisei, and Wehby are “terrible role models for young people.” The organizations not only criticized the official Republican apparatus from supporting such candidates, but also vowed to launch a “concerted effort” to encourage people to vote against them.
Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine advanced Wednesday on the government-held airport in Donetsk, pressing to seize the key transportation hub even as the two sides bargained over a troop pullout under a much-violated truce.
Fighting for the airport has raged for months as the insurgents have tried to dislodge the government forces using it to shell rebel positions in Donetsk, the largest rebel-held city. At least nine people were killed in the crossfire Wednesday in residential areas near the airport.
Civilian and military casualties have continued to rise in eastern Ukraine despite a cease-fire Sept. 5 and a second agreement Sept. 20 that spelled out how to create a buffer zone. While that helped to enforce the cease-fire in areas where Ukrainians troops and rebels chose to retreat, non-stop fighting has continued at the airport and other strategic locations.
The Justice Department is not expected to bring civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, according to three law enforcement officials, despite allegations that the killing was racially motivated.
The federal investigation of Zimmerman was opened two years ago by the department’s civil rights division, but officials said there is insufficient evidence to bring federal charges. The investigation technically remains open, but it is all but certain the department will close it.
Investigators still want to “dot their i’s and cross their t’s,” said one official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the matter.
With the Republican takeover in the Senate in 1980 for the first time in 26 years, and then with the Gingrich-driven GOP takeover in the House in 1994 for the first time in 40 years, we saw a sea change in politics that amplified the impact of the permanent campaign. From then on, every election has had within it the seeds of a turnover in party control in one chamber or the other, or both. The stakes became much higher—and were made higher yet by the increasing ideological polarization of the parties in both houses. Suddenly, working with those on the other side of the aisle had potentially larger consequences—it might make voters feel better about the other party, and might reward them for popular policies or just for working together.
Now add in two more powerful disincentives to working together for the common good. What drove the huge GOP victory in 1994? The broad sense that Washington wasn’t working—driven by the Gingrich-led Republican unity against any significant initiative from President Clinton. This dragged down approval of both parties in Washington, but for a public that believes presidents drive action and should just make things happen, it worked especially well against the president’s party. A strategy of gridlock, of thwarting ballyhooed White House signing ceremonies while working hard to demonize the president, brought benefits. The same approach, doubled down in 2009-2010 with the twist of delegitimizing any policies enacted by one party, worked even better in the 2010 midterms.
The owners of an Oregon bakery that made national headlines last year after turning away a pair of lesbian brides-to-be are now facing a fine of up to $150,000, which could reportedly leave them bankrupt.
Speaking at the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., Sweet Cakes by Melissa owners Aaron and Melissa Klein told The Daily Signal that such a fine would “definitely” be enough to bankrupt the couple and their five children.
“Ironically, the state was in violation of its own anti-discrimination laws,” Aaron Klein told the publication, pointing to the fact that federal judge didn’t strike down Oregon’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage until May 2014, well after the cake controversy.
He also said he and his wife will appeal after the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries determined that “substantial evidence” proved the Kleins had violated the lesbian couple’s civil rights by refusing to make the cake.
Added Melissa Klein: “It’s definitely impacted us pretty hard financially, and it’s been a little stressful, but…we have the Lord and so He’s been keeping us strong.”
Meanwhile, the Kleins shared a Rick Warren passage on Facebook after C-SPAN footage of Melissa’s emotional appearance at the Value Voters Summit went viral earlier this week.
Meanwhile they’re scraping by, making cakes for homophobic events.
The piece, titled “Something is Rotten in the Secret Service,” was published Tuesday. Author and former Washington Post reporter Ronald Kessler speculated that with the detail charged with protecting the president is such a state of disarray, “Five terrorists could come into the White House with grenades and wipe him out.”
“Agents tell me it’s a miracle an assassination has not already occurred,” Kessler wrote. “Sadly, given Obama’s colossal lack of management judgment, that calamity may be the only catalyst that will reform the Secret Service.”
Politico is absolutely shocked that anyone “misinterpreted” the column and has added the following at the end of the piece:
Editor’s note: Some readers have misinterpreted the original last line of Kessler’s article as somehow suggesting that the president should be held responsible in the event of his own assassination. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and we’re sorry if anyone interpreted Kessler’s meaning in any other way.
The future of meta humans begins. Don’t miss The Flash series premiere Tuesday, October 7 at 8/7c!
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ABOUT THE FLASH
After a particle accelerator causes a freak storm, CSI Investigator Barry Allen is struck by lightning and falls into a coma. Months later he awakens with the power of super speed, granting him the ability to move through Central City like an unseen guardian angel. Though initially excited by his newfound powers, Barry is shocked to discover he is not the only “meta-human” who was created in the wake of the accelerator explosion - and not everyone is using their new powers for good. Barry partners with S.T.A.R. Labs and dedicates his life to protect the innocent. For now, only a few close friends and associates know that Barry is literally the fastest man alive, but it won’t be long before the world learns what Barry Allen has become…The Flash.
The energy picture for the world’s biggest democracy will always be a bit muddy. All in the space of a week, India announced plans for its first offshore wind farm, promised an enormous expansion of solar power and other renewables, seen its new Prime Minister Narendra Modi have supposedly productive talks with President Obama on climate change, and stood defiantly behind plans to also rapidly build up coal-fired power infrastructure. Providing electricity for 1.4 billion people—300 million of whom currently lack any access at all—is more than a bit complicated.
First, the good news: the government of India announced that a memorandum of understanding has been signed toward building the first offshore wind farm in the country, a 100-megawatt “demonstration” project off the coast of the northwestern state of Gujarat. Construction of such a plant is still a ways off, with feasibility studies and other preliminary steps standing in the way. But Piyush Goyal, the Indian minister for power, coal, and new and renewable energy, pointed out that with 12,230 kilometers (7,600 miles) of coastline the opportunities for rapidly scaling up offshore wind are huge.