Great article on Fox’s selective terror news coverage

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Eric Boehlert’s Article “Fox News’ Ugly, Selective War on Terror”

Eric Boehlert, a senior fellow at media matters wrote a great article on the Fox News’ insistence to blame every Muslim for every act of Islamic extremism, while claiming, if they even broadcast acts of right wing extremism as isolated incidents..

US Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), co-sponsor of DOMA reverses stance on Marriage Equality

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Ohio Conservative US Senator reverses stance on Marriage Equality

Can’t help to wonder if Ohio Sen Rob Portman can survive a 2016 primary in the Anti-Obama Party…took balls to stand up for something you believe in when it’s a political death issue for your base…I might disagree with much Sen Portman believes but what he did took character. And it’s refreshing to see that kind of character still exist in Washington.

The one question I would like to see Paul Ryan asked

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Very simple question in my opinion, maybe not, but I’ll let you decide.

If America is a nation created on Christian values, what Christian value is represented in telling the least of us that you are on your own?

I understand that the term “least” or “poor” has been renamed “looters” by Ayn Rand or “takers” by Paul Ryan but I seriously want to know how his #budget represents the Christian values he says this nation was founded on?

If the American people wanted ObamaCares repealed Paul Ryan would be VP

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GOP House Budget assumes repeal of ObamaCares

Apparently House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) didn’t get the memo last November. If the American People wanted ObamaCares repealed you would be the VP. How many speeches did Romney, Ryan and other GOP hopefuls make behind a big sign that said “Repeal and Replace ObamaCare”. I believe repealing the Affordable Care Act was Romney’s day one task.

I mean seriously, assuming that you can still repeal Obama Cares and making that assumption a part of the House Budget is not just a non starter for common ground, it’s a non starter for intelligent debate. I honestly believe Paul Ryan would have an easier time convincing the Catholic Bishops, like he has somehow convinced himself that Ayn Rand objectivism melds with the Gospel of Jesus than convincing Democrats in the House or Senate to repeal ObamaCares.

I fully understand that the Tea Party base considers the repeal of ObamaCares their reason d’être, but how about we find a way to work together. This is what happens when primaries become more important than the general elections. And when democratic voters stay home during a midterm.

Why are House Republicans so hell bent on removing Native American Provision from VAWA

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I’m not going to lie, but the House Republican leadership has just left me baffled with their handling of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). I mean seriously, preventing violence against women, who in their right mind could be against that.

I keep hearing about this Native American provision. I mean what about this one provision could be holding up the entire bill. An act that:

Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been an essential tool in helping to protect victims of domestic and sexual violence. Since the passage of the Act, annual incidents of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent

When I look further into the provision, I ask myself the question I always ask when reading legislation: who is helped by this law, who hurt by this law and what injustice is the provision aiming to correct.

Unbeknownst to me, domestic violence on Tribal reservations are not only on the rise, but are difficult to prosecute. According to Greg Kaufmann of the Nation Magazine:

. No one needs this bill passed more desperately than Native women: one in three will be raped in their lifetimes; two in five are victims of domestic violence; six in ten will be physically assaulted; and on some reservations, the murder rate of Native women is ten times the national average.

The ability to combat the rise on domestic violence on tribal lands is severally hampered by two problems. One, the fact that law enforcement is scarce. As Sarah Childress of PBS Frontline states in her article, Will the Violence Against Women Act Close a Tribal Justice “Loophole”? :

Law enforcement officers are few and far between in Indian country. Tribal lands have fewer than half the number of officers than in other American communities, about only 1.3 officers per 1,000 people, according to the National Congress of American Indians. Scarce access to resources means a woman may not receive medical treatment after a rape or beating, and if she does, staff may not be trained to collect forensic evidence.

The second problem that this bill tries to remedy is to give tribal courts the ability to prosecute domestic violence cases when the domestic violence is committed by a non-Native. In a letter to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the National Congress of American Indians advocates for the chance to empower their courts to address the issue:

Tribes are dealing with felony violence in domestic situations – such as beatings and rapes of young native women by non-Native boyfriends, some of whom are engaged in drug trafficking and understand that they are untouchable under the current system of law on Indian lands. The draft requires referral to the U.S. Attorney. U.S. Attorneys currently decline 67% of sexual abuse and related cases. If a case is declined at the federal level the felony crime would go back to tribal court as a misdemeanor – where the defendant can immediately remove the case back for the U.S. Attorney for a dismissal.

In order to combat this trend of non-Native abusers and the lack of US Attorneys diligently prosecuting these cases, the US Senate passed the reauthorization of the VAWA with the added provision that would extend tribal courts the ability to prosecute non-Natives in certain cases:

The new provision is narrow. It would only apply in crimes of domestic or dating violence in Indian country, where the perpetrator is an “established intimate partner” of a Native American. The offender also must live on the reservation, be employed by that tribe or in a relationship with a member of that tribe.
(http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/biographies/kind-hearted-woman/will-the-violence-against-women-act-close-a-tribal-justice-loophole/)

Not all House Republicans oppose the extension of legal protection for Native women from non-Native abuse. Rep. Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Cole (R-OK) worked out a compromise that seemed promising. As a Chickasaw Native American, Tom Cole is doing his best to overcome a party that wouldn’t even let his compromise get out of committee.

For some reason, the Republican Party would like to keep a loophole open the makes it easier for an abuser to escape prosecution due to ethnicity. Now I know how some might find that charge unfair, however, the loophole Republicans refuse to close allows someone to escape justice due to ethnic background. And that is definitely not a current American value.

Tom Corbett covers his far Right Flank with 2013 Budget

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Tom Corbett’s budget reflects the need to sure up his Right Flank against potential 2014 primary. It’s a shame to see the least of us are the least of his concern. His rejection of Medicaid expansion will not only leave 700,000 Pennsylvanians the health care they would otherwise have, but will deprive our hospitals over a half billion dollars…

Corporate tax rates will go down, fossil fuel subsidies continue and as long as Corbett is allowed to sell off the liquor store education sees a billion dollars more funding.

Did I fail to mention that the Governor has decided to cut pension contribution to his state employees. A choice that will help drive the pension debt up. Well I guess I have to help pay for his tax breaks with my future retirement, I mean it’s only fair to the special interest contribution he will have his hand out for yet again.

Governor Corbett’s budget could be worse and I’m sure my stomach will continue to turn as I read more of it. However, in a state that President Obama won with little difficulty and had a trouncing of a Tea Party candidate for US Senate things might be looking up for the 2014 Governors race.

The fear that caused the Governor to sure up his right flank should make it hard for him to claim he’s a moderate for the independent voters and the middle. Leaving me to hope that the Democrats will be able to regain the Governorship in 2014. And as the last statewide election went, my hope is seeming quite realistic

Ye of little faith in American Democracy

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Thump your chest, praise your love for liberty, proclaim your faith in Christ and shake hands with the serpent to delay the inevitable; the waning power of the Republican Party. Do not be deceived, the Republican Party’s plan to change the way Electoral College votes go to Presidential candidates has nothing to do with Democracy.

The Republican Party’s plan to go around popular votes, majority rule and the principle of one man, one vote should not shock many Americans. This plan has nothing to do with any sense of reasonable governance, it is a tactic taken out of some of the darkest times in the history of our Republic. Gerrymandered Congressional districts and Political gamesmanship have nothing to do with majority rule, they are tools to prevent it.

If you notice it doesn’t seem that Red State Republicans are too eager to give Red State electoral college votes to Democrats. There is no outcry from Republicans in Mississippi to ensure the Democratic packed 2nd Congressional district goes to the Democrat, nor in Texas to ensure the 12 congressional districts that Democrats won went to Obama. Why is there no outcry from Republicans in these states worried that these Democratic voters aren’t represented in the electoral college.

The House of Representatives does not represent an equal one man, one vote on a popular vote basis and therefore Republicans are attempting to use what little advantage they have. One only has to look at the overall popular vote total in Congressional Races to see what Republicans are up to.

Democrats got 54,301,095 votes while Republicans got 53,822,442. That’s a close election — 48.8%-48.5% –but it’s still a popular vote win for the Democrats. (http://www.masson.us/blog/?p=8978)

If Republicans losing the overall popular vote and keeping a 33 seat majority in the House is representative democracy, then why shouldn’t Republicans also get the White House when they lose by more than 5 million votes.

Could you imagine the reaction of the American people if they saw a President losing by 5 million votes winning the Presidency? It appears to me the Republican Party no longer cares for the ideal of majority rule, or democracy.

The Republican Party is making their last stand to retain power in the changing political climate of America. Instead of appealing to the American people, Republicans will remain dedicated ideologues and try to gain their power over the American people through deceit, since they can no longer trust to respect the power of the people under a majority rule ideal.

PA Senate Majority Leader Pileggi’s Electoral Reform is the last stand of a desperate party

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If Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi believes assigning Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes according to our gerrymandered congressional districts would “
more accurately reflect the will of the voters in our state
” then the Delaware County Republican must be smoking something Senator. Daylin Leach is trying to legalize. I always thought a popular vote represents then will of the people, but I guess when the people’s will is against you, you have to resort to any tactics that are available.

I know math, reason or logic aren’t the strong suits of our friends on the Right, however I will try to help Mr. Pillegi understand how simple this is. According to George Mason Universities “United States Election Project” Pennsylvania had a 59.4% voter turnout and 5,742,040 Pennsylvanians casted votes for President. President Barack Obama received 52% of that vote to Governor Romney’s 47%. Apparently more Pennsylvanians voted for President Obama and because of that President Obama won Pennsylvania.

Now the problem is thanks to gerrymandered districts and Democratic voter concentration near urban areas Republicans won 13 of 18 congressional districts and Mr. Pillegi thinks that represents the will of the people. Even though Democrats swept the statewide elections of US Senator, Auditor General, Treasurer and for the first time Attorney General. Majority Leader Pileggi thinking would make early 19th Century Massachusetts Governor Gerry quite happy in his reasoning.

Now Senate Majority Leader Pileggi and Governor Corbett can read the political tea leaves in Pennsylvania and they terrify them. Instead of adjusting their views and policies to attract more votes, they are using their power to limit the ability of Democrats to use the fact that more Pennsylvanians are registered Democrats to win Presidential elections.

The actions of the statewide Republican Leadership is not to represent the will of the people, it is to further the power of a political ideology before they lose anymore strength. It is little more then a delaying action. An attempt to keep power in the face of a changing political landscape. The Pennsylvania GOP is trying to sell their soul to the devil. And as Charlie Daniels once said “When you shake hands with the devil you get burned”.

Reflections of a Freezing Cold History Major right before the Inauguration

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One of the strangest feelings is to know you are about to witness history. It’s one thing to study the history of the United States, but to actually live in the small moments that will be studied is quite a humbling feeling.

When I was in college and sat through American Presidency, US History 1 and 2, American National Government, two sections of the American Historiography and about ten other history classes I never thought I’d be inside one of those little capsules of history. Whether or not you agree with the politics of the one taking the oath of office the atmosphere is amazing. And thankfully I agree with the politics of President Obama, so it makes the ceremony even more important to me.

To know that I am about to witness something that I have only read about is indescribable. I am about to witness President Barack Obama take the same oath of office of as of my favorite American Presidents. The same oath Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Truman, Clinton and every other President of the United States has taken.

In that one, short moment there are no politics, no division and no denying tradition and constitutional duty. Divided Government stops being divided for that split second and history comes alive. And I am so honored and blessed to be able to witness the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

Can you be Fiscally Responsible by threatening not to pay the bills the Government has incurred?

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After listening to President Obama address the nation yesterday, I believe he has realized you cannot negotiate with a part of Congress that even the Republican leadership has no control over. Many members of Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell’s caucus seem to believe that now is the time to question the validity of the public debt of the United States. The debt, which according to the 14th Amendment “shall not be questioned” is now under question by those who claim they must make cuts for the future before they can pay the bills of the past.

Now someone who claims to be fiscally conservative and thinks not paying the bills is sound fiscal policy is difficult to reason with. If the Republicans decide to shut down the Government, because they believe the full, faith and credit of the United States is a bargaining chip and they choose to be derelict to their oath of office, I believe the President should do all that in his power to ensure our derelict Congress pays our bills. Paying the debt of the United States is the job of the House of Representatives and if you are not willing to do your job you shouldn’t take the oath of office.

When the Republicans tried to play this irresponsible hand in the summer of 2011, Forbes Magazine had an article entitled Can Obama Really Use The 14th Amendment To Raise The Debt Limit? Rick Unger wrote:

“Keep in mind that raising the debt ceiling is about allowing for the payment of obligations already authorized by Congress. It’s not about having more money to spend on future government expenditures or programs. Rather, it is permitting the President to borrow enough money to pay the bills created when Congress authorized certain payments, thus requiring the President, by law, to make those payments.”

Paying the debt incurred by previous Congresses has nothing to do with spending cuts. Yes, we need to take a balanced approach to cutting spending in the future. However, the bills we already owe have nothing to do with spending cuts. I can’t say I’m going to cut my spending next month by not paying my American Express bill from last month. You figure fiscal conservatives could figure the basics of how to pay a bill.

Now these same Republicans had no trouble in helping to cause the debt. When Speaker Boehner snuck in an additional 450 million in defense funding in 2011, a majority of that funding that went to defense contractors in his district he saw no problem racking up debt. According to the Huffington Post from 2008-2010, born again fiscal conservative Mitch McConnell added almost one billion in earmark spending before bowing to the pressure of the tea party. However, spending like this is what we are paying for today, not the spending of tomorrow. And neither of these Republicans, nor many of their fellow Conservatives seemed to be concerned when according to Brown University’s cost of war project we spent 3.2 to 4 trillion from 2003-2010 on Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, or when adding 400 billion over ten years to the deficit through Medicare part D.

Mitch McConnell seems to think that the “The president and his allies need to get serious about spending, and the debt-limit debate is the perfect time for it”. The spending debate is a debate that must be had. We need to a balanced, priority based approach for spending in the future. However, getting serious about future spending will do nothing to change the fact that the bills are due. The last time the deficit was zero was 1836 and cutting what we spend tomorrow will not change the fact that we owe from yesterday.

The fiscally responsible thing to do is to raise the debt ceiling and then begin the process of reigning in unnecessary spending. The full faith and credit of the United States is not “leverage” it is a guarantee that we pay the debt we incur. And anyone who has the audacity to believe in American Exceptionalism would recognize there is nothing exceptional with being a dead beat.

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