“I figured that most Trump supporters probably never met a Muslim so I figured that I’d give them the opportunity to meet one,” she said [the woman ejected from the rally], wearing a shirt that read “Salam, I come in peace.” “I really don’t plan to say anything. I don’t want to be disrespectful but if he says something that I feel needs answering I might — we’ll just see what strikes me.”
An Idaho law that prohibits abortions of fetuses 20 or more weeks after fertilization is unconstitutional, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday.
The ruling, from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, also struck down an Idaho law that required all second-trimester abortions to occur in a hospital.
Bans on abortion after 20 weeks have been passed in 12 U.S. states since 2010, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion rights advocacy group. The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure this month that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks. The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, and Democratic President Barack Obama opposes it.
When the Tea Party wave arrived in 2010, it swept away much of the Republican Party’s existing structure, and instituted a more populist approach. But as waves tend to do, it left some even older debris in its wake. “Nullification,” the theory that states can invalidate federal laws that they deem unconstitutional, had its heyday in the slavery debate that preceded the Civil War, but it has found new currency since 2010.
The theory has never been validated by a federal court, yet some Republican officeholders have suggested states can nullify laws, including Senator Joni Ernst, who gave the GOP rebuttal to the State of the Union. Missouri legislators passed a bill that would have nullified all federal gun laws and prohibited their enforcement. My colleague James Fallows has described efforts by Republicans in Congress to block duly passed laws—refusing to confirm any director of an agency established by an act of Congress, for example—as a new form of nullification.
Now Mike Huckabee seems to be opening up a new front. The Supreme Court last week agreed to hear a case on whether same-sex-marriage bans are unconstitutional. There’s no such thing as a sure bet with the Court, but many watchers on both sides of the issue believe the justices will strike down the bans. Some conservatives seem resigned to the fact that the fight is lost; not Huckabee. Here’s what he told radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday:
Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org
At OnTheIssues.org, you can find out where every U.S. representative and senator stands on every issue, including their voting records (how they have voted on legislation). As voters, it’s incredibly important that we keep an eye on what our politicians are doing and make informed decisions about who to support.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The writing is on the wall for gay marriage bans in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina after federal appeals courts that oversee those states have made clear that keeping gay and lesbian couples from marrying is unconstitutional.
But officials in the three states are refusing to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses without a court order directing them to do so. It could be another month or more before the matter is settled.
Americans want a Government that functions.
Right now, Republicans seem to be doing everything they can to make it stop functioning.
Why are Republicans hurting America?
After watching FOX news for 1 hour, just 1 hour today, I’ve discovered that President Obama ( and it was hinted that he might not even be a ‘real’ citizen) and the Democrats are to blame for everything.
In fact, it has gotten so bad that Speaker of the House Republican John Boehner will be suing the President for issuing Executive Orders thus abusing his powers.
Interestingly enough, Speaker Boehner gave no specifics as to what powers the President was abusing……just that he was abusing them.
But Speaker Boehner was specific earlier in the day when he told the press that there would be no vote in the House on immigration reform this year.
And that’s when the President said he would act…
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Reblogged from The Secular Jurist:
By Robert A. Vella
America’s institutional establishment – those politicians, business leaders, and media pundits who reside in a sanitized and incestuous bubble apart from the lives of ordinary citizens – has once again displayed a self-serving disregard for any realities which cast a negative light upon it.
The Pew Research Center’s report released this week on the nation’s worsening societal polarization provides yet another example of this detachment. The prevailing theme heard across the airwaves Thursday blamed “political partisanship” for the increase in polarization. As John Sides editorialized on The Washington Post:
The Pew report doesn’t get into the origins of these trends. But I think the prevailing view in political science — for example, in Matt Levendusky’s “The Partisan Sort” or this article by Marc Hetherington– is this: political leaders polarized first, and the public has followed.
Sides also trivially equated political partisanship with sports fanaticism as if public policy were of no more importance than athletic entertainment:
The key here is not that people have become more attached to their own party. It’s that they’ve become more hostile to the other party. So polarization in American politics shouldn’t be understood as purely about ideology or issues — although that is certainly a component. It’s also about how people feel about the parties as groups. Partisan politics is increasingly like sports: you not only root for your team, but you really dislike the other. (Think Redskins vs. Cowboys or North Carolina vs. Duke.)
Perhaps even more troubling was his inference that participation in democracy cannot be civil:
People who are consistently liberal or conservative are much more likely to vote or donate. This may not be surprising. But it speaks to a real tension that is often unacknowledged. On the one hand, many bemoan the fact that so many Americans don’t know facts about politics or don’t vote in elections. On the other hand, many bemoan partisanship and ideology and yearn for moderation and compromise. Well, to put it bluntly, we don’t get to have a politically engaged public and a moderate one.
Considering the profound socioeconomic changes that have transpired in the U.S. over the last 3-4 decades, the hierarchical disconnect between The Establishment and The People exhibited by Mr. Sides seems most egregious. Over that span, inequality in America’s economic, political, and judicial systems have risen to alarming levels which threaten the very stability of the country. Americans are not becoming more polarized merely because of arbitrary politics, but because their deteriorating quality of life is making them more amenable to extreme political views.
Michael Eric Dyson vociferously expressed this populist angst from the political left on The Ed Show Thursday (see: The Nation’s Great Divide). The stunning upset of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor after Tuesday’s Republican primary election in Virginia captures well the populist angst on the political right – albeit for more complex reasons. Right-wing populism in America is further complicated by racial and religious tribalism, although the root economic causes are consistently shared across the political spectrum.
The issue of inequality-triggered populism is raising alarm bells throughout the developed world. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has been trying – along with other notable figures – to convince world leaders to start addressing the problem. Even Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has admitted the “destabilizing” potential of income inequality, as ThinkProgress‘ Bryce Covert detailed on Friday:
Rising income inequality comes with a host of negative consequences: It pushes Americans into more debt, makes them sicker, makes them less safe, and keeps them from moving up the economic ladder. It also hurts economic growth, while addressing it through modestly redistributive policies doesn’t.
And it destabilizes the political system, as Blankfein predicts. Research has found that high inequality leads to a less representative democracy and a higher chance of revolution as the less well off come to believe that the government only serves the rich. And those people would be right, as our current political system is far more responsive to the wealthy — like Blankfein himself — and doesn’t listen to what the middle class and poor want and need.
Unfortunately, these admonitions from within establishment circles seem to be largely falling on deaf ears (see: Someone finally polled the 1% – And it’s not pretty). Apparently, a stubborn commitment to the status quo will be maintained indefinitely by the entrenched power elite. The costs of their intransigence will be eventually realized, though no one can say right now just how painful or destructive it might be.
Meanwhile, increasing economic stress and the widespread availability of firearms has created an epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. (see: Another school shooting, and America is completely ignoring what’s causing it). The European Union is struggling to survive amidst a resurgence of political radicalization. The Middle East is awash in sectarian warfare, South Asia is in turmoil, anarchy rules much of Africa, and the callous machinations of geopolitical imperialism continue to wreck devastation upon unsuspecting peoples all around the globe.
But, in the halls of America’s institutional establishment, the sound of “all is well” chimes loudly.
Further reading on the Pew report: 7 things to know about polarization in America
More fringe views from the American Taliban, this time it’s a Scott Esk, a candidate for Oklahoma’s House District 91, who was responding to voter questions on his Facebook page:
Esk posted some old testament scripture that referred to homosexuality being punished.
Someone asked – “So just to be clear, you think we should execute homosexuals (presumably by stoning)?”
Esk responds – “I think we would be totally in the right to do it. That goes against some parts of libertarianism, I realize, and I’m largely libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.”
Morris spoke with Esk by phone and asked him about the statement.
Esk said, “What I will tell you right now is that was done in the old testament under a law that came directly from God. And in that time, it was totally just, it came directly…
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It might appear that the U-S-of-A has gone bonkers. So let me clear up any confusion that you might have: Yes, it has!
Yet, it hasn’t. More on that in a moment.
First, though — whether looking at the “tea party” congress critters who’ve swerved our nation’s political debate to the hard right, or at the peacocks of Wall Street who continue to preen and profit atop the wreckage they’ve made of our real economy — it’s plain to see that America is suffering a pestilence of nuts and narcissists in high places. These “leaders” are hell bent to enthrone themselves and their ilk as the potentates of our economic, governmental and social systems, and they are aggressively trying to snuff out the light of egalitarianism that historically has been our society’s unifying force.
Bill Moyers, America’s most public-spirited journalist, summarized the…
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