Noooo, Joe Biden Didn’t Say That The Senate Should Block Supreme Court Nominees During An Election Year

by IGOR VOLSKY – On Monday, C-SPAN posted a two-minute clip of then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) urging President George H.W. Bush not to nominate a Supreme Court Justice during the 1992 election, should a seat on the court become vacant. Biden, then the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urged Bush “not name a nominee until after the November election is completed,” noting that if he did, “the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.” Conservatives quickly pounced on the clip and used it as evidence to argue that Congressional Republicans are following long-standing precedent in refusing to consider President Obama’s nomination to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia until a new president takes the oath in January of 2017. But Biden’s full speech undermines their claim. Rather than urging his colleagues to deny Bush’s...

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Jewish Rabbi Battles Islamophobia in the US

by Ryan Rifai – Jonah Pesner, one of the most influential rabbis in US, talks about “religious duty” to combat anti-Muslim hate crimes The West has seen an increase in Islamophobia and hate crimes against Muslims following attacks in Europe and the US that have been blamed on supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. But, in response, some non-Muslim political and religious leaders have stepped up efforts to tackle discriminatory treatment and violence. In a recent example, Bernie Sanders, a popular US presidential candidate who is Jewish, launched a campaign known as #AmericaTogether, in which he posted a tweet in Arabic saying: “America becomes a greater nation when we stand together and say no to racism, hatred and bigotry.”    ✔‎@BernieSanders أمريكا يصبح أحسن وطن عندما نحن نقف معاً ونقول لا الى العنصرية والكراهية والتعصب الأعمى #AmericaTogether 2:28 PM – 19 Feb 2016 Jonah Dov Pesner, the director...

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No Comfort In Trump Foreign Policy

by Sheldon Richman – Trump’s shameful wimping out under firm questioning about Iraq may reflect troubles in the polls Alas, Donald Trump has backed off from his charge that the Bush administration lied the country into war against Iraq, telling a CNN town-hall broadcast Thursday night that he doesn’t know why Bush invaded. “I’m not talking about lying. I’m not talking about not lying,” he said. “No one knows why we went into Iraq.” But Trump restated the obvious: that Saddam Hussein and Iraq did not fly planes into the World Trade Center. And he again, to his credit, said the war “may have been the worst decision any president has made in the history of this country…. Whether lied or not, it was a horrible decision.” (See video.) Trump’s shameful wimping out under firm questioning from a voter may reflect troubles in the polls—he was campaigning in South...

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Meet The Conservatives Who Would Leave Trump’s Party

by Bill Scher – A Donald Trump nomination means several elements of the Republican Party will sit out the election, vote third-party or even vote Democrat. The seams of the GOP coalition are tearing apart in front of our eyes. After Donald Trump’s South Carolina victory, conservative movement leader Erick Erickson declared he would never vote for Trump even in November. “I have become convinced that Donald Trump’s pro-life conversion is a conversion of convenience. Life is the foremost cause in how I vote. Therefore I will not be voting for Donald Trump at all. Ever.” The Washington Examiner’s Timothy Carney goes deep on the abortion question, concluding, “Conscience forbids us to cross some lines … If Trump is the nominee, pro-lifers will have no candidate.” The following day, top Republican political consultant Rick Wilson made a similar declaration: “I will never vote for Donald Trump because he’s a pro-gun control,...

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After Court Ruling Louisiana Left With Just One Abortion Clinic

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – Women living in Louisiana will now have just one abortion clinic available to them in the entire state, thanks to a U.S. appeals court decision handed down on Wednesday evening. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is allowing Louisiana to implement a harsh law that was first approved in 2014 and that has been tied up in court proceedings since then. Under that law, clinics are required to enter into business relationships — called “admitting privileges” — with hospitals within a 30 mile radius. Four of the state’s five abortion clinics say they will not be able to meet that standard and will therefore be forced to close. Reproductive rights proponents say these requirements fit into what’s known as the “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers,” or TRAP, which refers to a nationwide strategy to limit access to reproductive health care by imposing burdensome...

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Maybe It IS a Single-Issue Election

by Michael Winship – Maybe it’s that 50,000-year-old, Neanderthal DNA scientists say a lot of us possess, but this feels like the most brutal, vicious and mendacious political year since the days when politicians traded jugs of corn whiskey for votes, fought duels, and flagellated opponents to near death with canes. In last Saturday night’s Republican debate, the words “lie,” “lying” and “liar” were fired off by the candidates against each other like volleys in a paintball tournament. “Until the door is slammed shut on money in politics and until the banks are pummeled into line, most of our other problems aren’t going away any time soon.” On the other hand, statements that were, in fact, true were greeted with booing. Booing. In one of his rare, stopped-watch-is-right-twice-a-day moments, Donald Trump said, “Obviously the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake, all right? George Bush made a mistake, we can...

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‘Christian’ Website Offers Tips On ‘How To Help Women Learn Their Place’

by John Prager – Our society has a problem. No, we’re not talking about poverty, inequality, racism, a possible Trump presidency, or anything like that. According to Christian website Biblical Gender Roles, women just don’t know their place anymore. This website regularly gives Christians helpful information, like that marital rape doesn’t exist because it’s impossible to rape a woman, and a helpful guide on how to punish a woman if she refuses to submit sexually to her husband whenever he wishes. Now, the anonymous author of the popular Christian marital blog wants you to know “how to help women learn their place.” In his latest example of patriarchial Christofascist ramblings, the author complains that “Women do not know or accept their place in God’s creation anymore.” While most would view a society approaching gender equality as a positive thing, “BGR” — like Arizona pastor Stephen Anderson — yearns for a time...

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The War Against Planned Parenthood Is Advancing

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – Despite a complete lack of evidence that Planned Parenthood is breaking any laws, Republican lawmakers are pressing ahead with their relentless crusade against the national women’s health organization. A series of heavily edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of selling aborted baby parts continues to influence the national debate, even though it’s become clear those claims aren’t based in fact. Last month, a Houston grand jury concluded that Planned Parenthood hasn’t done anything wrong. Every state-level investigation into the group has come up empty. But that’s made no difference to the GOP politicians who are insistent on using this discredited information to attack Planned Parenthood. It’s working. In several states this week, Republican leaders successfully advanced their efforts to undermine the organization’s work. Ohio Earlier this month, the Ohio legislature approved a bill to strip funding from Planned Parenthood, and Gov. John Kasich (R) announced that he’s...

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How Bernie Sanders Lost Me … and Hillary Clinton Won Me Over

by Laura Clawson – The first presidential election I voted in was in 1996. I voted for a third-party candidate—I don’t remember more than that it was the one with “socialist” in the party name—because after welfare reform, I was not voting for Bill Clinton. The first time I voted for a Democrat in a presidential election was John Kerry in 2004—I had voted against him in the 2002 Massachusetts Senate election, voting for write-in candidate Randall Forsberg in protest over Iraq. I’m not a natural Hillary Clinton supporter, is what I’m saying. When she looked like the only meaningful Democratic candidate in the 2016 presidential election, I was fine with that, committed to a Democratic win but also committed to the work of pushing from her left whenever and wherever possible. When Bernie Sanders got into the race, I was pleased to be able to support a candidate on Clinton’s left....

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Hurdles Ahead as Obama Bids to Shut Guantanamo Prison

by Jenifer Fenton – The US president acknowledges tough task but says he is committed to closing detention facility despite opposition US President Barack Obama is once again promising to fulfill his years-late pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, saying he is “very clear-eyed about the hurdles” involved. The politics are tough, Obama acknowledged on Tuesday as he presented his proposal. “If it were easy, it would have happened years ago,” he added. The plan to “close Guantanamo” – which the Department of Defence calls a “national security imperative” – has four main points.  Witness – Guantanamo’s Child – Omar Khadr First, men who are eligible to be released – 35 to date – are expected to be transferred out in the coming months. Second, the parole style hearings will continue for prisoners who have not been cleared but who have also not been charged with a crime. Third, the...

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Obama Pens Letter Explaining Exactly Why He’s Doing His Job When The GOP Isn’t

by Sarah – After the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, many have been left wondering who will fill his staunchly conservative shoes. Republicans have made it their mission to prevent any person President Obama appoints from getting anywhere near the Supreme Court, even going so far as to say they won’t remotely consider anyone until a new president is in office. However, President Obama knows that it’s his constitutional responsibility to appoint someone into the role, and it’s a responsibility he takes very seriously. In a post to the prominent SCOTUSblog, President Obama lays down why he’s still going forward and appointing someone, why he’ll be appointing them, the qualities he’s looking for in a Justice, and expects Republicans to follow through with their constitutional duty as well. He writes: “The Constitution vests in the President the power to appoint judges to the Supreme Court. It’s a duty that...

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Donald Trump ‘Loves The Poorly Educated’ For Handing Him Victory In Nevada (VIDEO)

by Kerry-Anne – Donald Trump moved ever closer to securing the Republican nomination for President of the United States this week with victory in the Nevada caucus. There’s no way around it – Trump thrashed his opponents in Nevada. He won a massive 45.9% of the vote, knocking Marco Rubio into 2nd place with just 23.9%, and Cruz in 3rd on 21.4%. It appears that the Trump campaign is unassailable at this point, although a week is a long time in U.S. politics. Perhaps the darkest moment of the night was when Trump actually said these words in his victory speech: “We won with poorly educated! I love the poorly educated!” There were whopping cheers and applause for this comment. Which seemingly bore zero irony. He continued: “We’re the smartest people. We’re the most loyal people.” First things first: Donald Trump is not poorly educated. He attended the Kew Forest School...

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Post Nevada The Rubio Surge Continues

by UncommonSense – Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) flew to Michigan with the wind at his back Tuesday night, continuing his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination following a commanding second-place victory in the Nevada Republican Party Caucuses. Donald Trump claimed a third straight commanding victory in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. A tight race for second between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz offered little evidence that Republicans were ready to coalesce around one strong alternative to the businessman billionaire. Rubio’s win in Nevada continued a streak that began with a third-place triumph in the Iowa Caucuses, a fifth-place finish in the New Hampshire Primary and a second-place win in the South Carolina Primary. The results in Nevada confirm Rubio’s status as the prohibitive favorite for the GOP nomination. Rubio, who has emerged as the Republican establishment’s favorite to derail Trump’s progress, can take some solace in finishing second. But that also has to be...

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Elijah Cummings Made Sure The GOP Is Well Aware They’re Hypocritical A**holes Regarding Flint

by Sarah – There seems to be a definite double standard when it comes to how Republicans in Congress want to go about investigating terrible governors. When it came to investigating former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D), Republicans like Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) were fast and furious with their requests to obtain the information they wanted in regards to a scandal surrounding Oregon’s health insurance exchange. However, when it comes to going after Republican Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan over the horrendous Flint water crisis, those same Republicans so adamant at going after a Democratic governor, failed to send requests to investigate Flint. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is not about to let them get away with this hypocrisy whatsoever. In a letter sent by Cummings to Chaffetz, who is the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Cummings points out the clear double-standard of the committee going after Kitzhaber,...

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Republican Senator Breaks With His Party On Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee

by IAN MILLHISER – Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), a first-term senator facing a tough reelection fight in the blue state of Illinois, broke with his party leadership’s hardline opposition to any nominee President Obama chooses to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In a brief op-ed published by the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday, Kirk writes that he recognizes “the right of the president, be it Republican or Democrat, to place before the Senate a nominee for the Supreme Court and I fully expect and look forward to President Barack Obama advancing a nominee for the Senate to consider.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), by contrast, said almost immediately after news of Scalia’s death broke that “this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.” McConnell’s statement has been echoed, at times word for word, by other Republican leaders. The real question regarding Kirk, however,...

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I Am Kalief Browder

by Branden Miles – Every young black kid gets “the talk” about racial profiling The day before I started high school, my father took me up to the park around the corner from our house to have “the talk.” It’s the talk black families had when Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Florida. It’s the talk we had when Michael Brown was shot and killed in Missouri. It’s the talk we had when Tamir Rice was shot and killed in Ohio. And it’s the talk we had when Sandra Bland was found dead in a jail cell following a traffic stop in Texas. If you’re a black teen, it’s a talk about how to survive. My dad made sure I understood that I was going to be profiled — even put in danger of harm or arrest — simply because of the color of my skin. I didn’t have to wait long...

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Incumbent Lessons: What Obama’s Presidency Can Teach Sander’s Revolution

by Peter Bloom – Bernie Sander’s call for political revolution is taking much of the country by storm. Once a fringe candidate, he has surged in the polls to legitimately challenging frontrunner Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination with a resounding win in New Hampshire. More than just taking on Republicans or Centrist Democrats, Sanders is trying to build a popular movement to transform the US political and economic system. This campaign is reminiscent of Barack Obama’s insurgent challenge to the establishment pick of Hillary Clinton in 2008. Despite proclaiming the “audacity of hope,” he has governed as President more from the political center. Not surprisingly, Clinton has sought to build a “firewall” against Sanders by embracing the President. However, an important part of his historical legacy may be in how his failures helped to fuel and guide “Sander’s revolution.” While not officially endorsing a candidate, Obama’s recent remarks are revealing...

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Bolstering Apple Argument, DOJ Wants Data from Dozen Other Phones

by Deirdre Fulton – Suggesting slipper slope already exists, news reports show outcome of Apple-FBI battle could have wide implications for privacy and encryption Contradicting FBI claims that the U.S. government is focused only on a single phone in the landmark privacy case pitting Apple against federal law enforcement, news outlets are reporting Tuesday that the Justice Department is pursuing court orders to force the tech company to help investigators extract data from iPhones in about a dozen undisclosed cases around the country. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news Tuesday morning, citing “people familiar with the matter.” According to the paper: The other phones are at issue in cases where prosecutors have sought, as in the San Bernardino, Calif., terror case, to use an 18th-century law called the All Writs Act to compel the company to help them bypass the passcode security feature of phones that may hold evidence, these...

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‘No Hearing, No Vote’: GOP Vows Obstruction on Supreme Court Pick

by Deirdre Fulton – Critics call move ‘a shameful new low for a majority that has time and time again put party before country’ Drawing outrage from many sides, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee decided in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday afternoon to deny hearings or a vote on a Supreme Court nominee in 2016. “This committee will not hold hearings on any Supreme Court nominee until after our next president is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017,” committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and the other 10 Republican members said in a letter (pdf) Tuesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “That’s the consensus view…No hearing, no vote,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters as he left the meeting that took place in McConnell’s office. Graham told CNN separately “he would not even meet with any nominee, should he or she make courtesy calls” on Capitol Hill. The death of Justice...

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Trump Explodes At Smiling Protester: ‘I’d Like To Punch Him In The Face’ (VIDEO)

by Shannon Argueta – A few weeks ago, Rachel Maddow did a comparison of Donald Trump and notorious racist George Wallace on her show. One of the points she made about the 2016 candidate and the 1968 candidate is how violent they both are. Like George Wallace, Trump is able to get his crowds riled up into such a frenzy that they start attacking protesters. At the beginning of his campaign, The Donald would do it by screeching “GET HIM OUTTA HERE,” but during a recent event, he actually said he’d like to punch a protester in the face. During a campaign event in Nevada on Monday night, Trump flipped out after he was interrupted by some hecklers and said: “You know what I hate? There’s a guy, totally disruptive, throwing punches — we’re not allowed to punch back anymore. In the old days, you know what they used to do...

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