Ted Cruz. (photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)
Charles Pierce | Esquire | Reader Supported News | July 5, 2015
In which conservatives continue to defend Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, endlessly perplexing Jonathan Chait.
he symptoms of the prion disease are beginning to become so obvious that even some of our more prominent pundits are beginning to notice them. For example, even former Karl Rove life-coach Ron Fournier has noticed the severe lack of Abraham Lincolns in the current GOP presidential candidates. And noted climate-denialist and baseball drone George Effing Will has staked out the bold position that many of these candidates have gone so far around the bend that they’ve crossed some kind of termination barrier.
It is, therefore, especially disheartening that Cruz, who clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist and who is better equipped by education and experience to think clearly about courts, proposes curing what he considers this court’s political behavior by turning the court into a third political branch.
The problem, of course, is that, for all his expensive education and lengthy experience, Ted Cruz is a nut. And the larger problem is that the institutions of the conservative movement that has cosseted George Effing Will for his entire adult life, and from which he derives his endlessly mysterious influence as a “thinker,” were the places where Republicans first ate the monkeybrains containing the prion disease in the first place.
The Episcopalian Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA) both affirmed their support for marriage equality this year. (illustration: Dair Massey/The Daily Beast)
Most Christians are going to adapt to the new America just fine.
ince the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized marriage equality in America, some conservative Christians have been downright apoplectic. In a ridiculously offensive analogy, right wing anti-equality zealot Bryan Fischer tweeted:
From a moral standpoint, 6/26 is now our 9/11.
Channeling a similar anger, though in a more commonly heard form, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes tweeted:
If you thought the cultural purge over the Confederate flag was breathtaking — wait until you see what LGBT activists do with Christians.
Meanwhile, Rod Dreher of the American Conservative has, in his own words, a more sober analysis of the decision on Time’s website:
“[W]e have to accept that we really are living in a culturally post-Christian nation. The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist. To be frank, the court majority may impose on the rest of the nation a view widely shared by elites, but it is also a view shared by a majority of Americans. There will be no widespread popular resistance to Obergefell. This is the new normal.”
To which the vast majority of Americans say, “Hallelujah!” Dreher is correct—the idea of equal treatment for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans (if not its full realization yet) is indeed the new normal in America. Even before the court’s decision, 6 in 10 Americans supported the right of same-sex couples to marry—and over half of Americans said they would be less likely to support any 2016 presidential candidate who opposed marriage equality.
Robert Reich. (photo: Richard Morgenstein)
Robert Reich | Robert Reich’s Blog | Reader Supported News | July 5, 2015
resident Obama is said to be considering an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending. He should sign it immediately.
But he should go further and ban all political spending by federal contractors that receive more than half their revenues from government.
Ever since the Supreme Court’s shameful Citizens United decision, big corporations have been funneling large amounts of cash into American politics, often secretly.
Bad enough. But when big government contractors do the funneling, American taxpayers foot the bill twice over: We pay their lobbying and campaign expenses. And when those efforts nab another contract, we pay for stuff we often don’t need.
Lauren Gambino, Ben Jacobs | The Guardian | AlterNet | July 3, 2015
What began as a progressive pipe dream – that a rabble-rousing senator from the nation’s second least populous state could wrest the Democratic presidential nomination from one of the most well-known politicians in recent history – is starting to seem plausible.
By way of massive rallies, grassroots politicking and a record-setting number small donations, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is winning over progressive voters, convincing them that his underdog campaign has a fighting chance against Hillary Clinton’s well-oiled – and extraordinarily well-funded – political machine.
On Thursday, the Sanders campaign announced it raised $15m since 30 April from 250,000 donors, many of whom have made small contributions online. In contrast, Barack Obama attracted only 180,000 donors during the first quarter of his presidential campaign in 2007, which has been considered the benchmark for online fundraising by an insurgent candidate in modern presidential politics.
George Takei. (photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty)
George Takei | MSNBC | Reader Supported News | July 2, 2015
he recent case granting marriage equality across the United States – Obergefell v. Hodges – contains four separate dissents from the conservatives on the court. I was struck in particular by the dissent of Justice Clarence Thomas, who focused his argument on the notion that the Constitution does not grant liberty or dignity, but rather operates to restrain government from abridging it. To him, the role of the government is solely to let its citizens be, for in his view it cannot supply them any more liberty or dignity than that with which they are born.
This position led him to the rather startling conclusion that “human dignity cannot be taken away.” He first made an analogy to slavery, arguing that the government’s allowance of slavery did not strip anyone of their dignity. He then added to that this analogy:
“Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them.”
As one of the survivors of the Japanese American internment, I feel compelled to respond.
I was only a child when soldiers with bayonetted rifles marched up our driveway in Los Angeles, banged on our door, and ordered us out. I remember my mothers’ tears as we gathered what little we could carry, and then were sent to live for many weeks in a single cramped horse stall at the Santa Anita racetracks. Our bank accounts were frozen, our businesses shuttered, and our homes with most of our belongings were left behind, all because we happened to look like the people who had bombed Pearl Harbor.
Bernie Sanders Packed 10,000 supporters into the Veteran’s Memorial Colosseum in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)
Scott Galindez | Reader Supported News | July 2, 2015
n July 1st, as volunteers gathered hours before the start of the massive rally for Bernie Sanders in Madison, Wisconsin, it dawned on me that some candidates would be happy if the crowds at their events were as large as the number of volunteers Bernie has. Hundreds of his volunteers helped facilitate the largest event of the 2016 election cycle to date. I don’t need a qualifier; it was bigger than Steve King’s Freedom Summit, bigger than the GOP’s Lincoln Dinner, in fact bigger than both of those events combined, and you can even throw in Joni Ernst’s pig roast. It’s possible that more people packed the Veterans Memorial Colosseum than have attended the combined events of many of Bernie’s opponents.
The doors opened to the public at 5:30 pm. Around 7:00 pm there were still some sections in the upper level, right behind the stage, that were empty. All of a sudden the crown erupted as people streamed into those sections, meaning that the campaign had achieved its goal of filling a 10,000-seat arena. With the crowd in place, the next eruption came when a local hero took the stage to introduce “one of us.”
According John Nichols, there was no special guest there to speak down to us, Bernie Sanders was one of us. “I am here to welcome you and I am here to welcome one of you” said Nichols, “because Bernie Sanders is not separate from the people in this room.” Nichols went on to say that “this has always been a people’s movement, and when leaders arrive they come from the people, they don’t dictate to the people.” The crowd of over 10,000 remained on its feet throughout Nichols’ introduction of Sanders. Nichols admitted that when Bernie told him he was thinking of running for president, he had his doubts, but then Bernie explained to him that he wasn’t going to run his campaign the way that others do, he was going to run it as a movement. He went on to to compare Bernie to a Wisconsin progressive hero, “Fighting Bob” La Follette. “People demanded a hundred years later that we would get a candidate who would say as forcefully that this fight is not about parties, partisanship, and ideology, that this fight is about all of us against a handful of plutocrats who would take everything we have.”
Phyllis M. Croom | The American Prospect | July 2, 2015
When activists gathered in Baltimore on May 21, 2015, as part of a nationwide rallying cry protesting police violence against black women, it seemed fitting that they should stand in the shadows of famed jazz singer Billie Holiday. Holiday, or rather her towering eight-and-one-half-foot likeness, is erected on the west side of the city, at the corner of Pennsylvania and Lafayette Avenues.
Adorned in a full-length strapless gown and donning what came to be known as her signature gardenia, the darkened bronze monument affectingly dramatizes the musical great in elegant pose, her open-mouthed head tilted ever so slightly to the side and arms subtly positioned as if silently beseeching the attention of an imperceptible audience.
Born in Philadelphia, Holiday (considered one of the most influential female musicians of all time) spent much of her childhood on the streets of Baltimore’s Fells Point—then an impoverished community in the southeastern section of the city, while the west side (where the statue now stands) once thrived as the city’s principal entertainment district.