Archive for Senate – Page 2

GOP Plays Confusion Card On Adegbile To Suppress Vote

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Adegbile

This past week, the senate voted down President Obama's nominee to head up the Department of Justice's civil rights department. This nominee was Debo P. Adegbile. His proposed appointment drew the ire and nay votes of every Republican in the upper chamber. And to be fair, 7 Democrats joined them if bringing down this lawyer. The most popular reason given was that Adegbile had defended an accused cop killer in Philadelphia. That man's name is Mumia Abu-Jamal. Forget that these are not common or easy names to remember, just keep this in mind: Adegbile is a lawyer and Abu-Jamal is the convicted killer.

Now to get back to the nomination of Adegbile. Once again the Republicans got the facts all wrong - intentionally this time. Adegbile was not, as the GOP says, the lawyer for the cop killer, Abu-Jamal. Adegbile was only 7 years old at the time of the trial. Years later, Adegbile did became litigation director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. They represented Abu-Jamal on an appeal of his death sentence based on questionable instructions given to the jury. As it turned out, Mr. Adegbile was not on the legal team which DID PREVAIL. He merely headed the fund. The ultimate ruling didn't set aside the conviction, only the sentence. Instead of the death penalty, Abu-Jamal received life in prison without chance of parole. He didn't walk. This is outrageous.

So no innocent person went free nor did Adegbile have anything to do with the actual trial. Now Chief Justice Roberts and former President John Adams did actually defend murderers and prevailed. They weren't refused a fair chance to hold their offices for doing their jobs. Why should this happen to Adegbile? The answer is that it had nothing to do with this cop killer case. That's just the smoke screen. It's much bigger than that.

Chris Hayes on All In did a great job of explaining what is really behind this campaign of misinformation. It's about voter rights.

How do you make the connection between voting rights, a lawyer just doing his job and a nominee to head the civil rights division of the Department of Justice? Hayes adroitly connects the dots. Bottom line, this is a coordinated Republican effort to stifle minority voting, senior voting, and young/new voters. It's a choreographed effort by Republicans to hold onto or trample over voter rights.

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McConnell Gets Taste Of His Own Medicine

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turnabout is fair play

You know that old bromide, "Turn about is fair play?" Well, Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R - Kentucky) just got a double dose of it.

How's that feel, Mitch? How's it feel to be responsible for same-sex marriage in your conservative state? Or partial birth abortions?

Seems when you're down (as he is to Alison Lundergen Grimes (D - Kentucky) in the 2014 senate race) the rats come out of the woodwork to bite you. The rat's name is Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin. He doesn't stand a chance to defeat McConnell in the primary, but he can sure fuel the fires to vote Democratic, or just stay home in the general election.

Bevin's attack ad, as amazing as it is funny, teaches you that if you play with fire, you might get burned. You get what you give. You've made unfounded attacks on Obama. Well here you go. A taste of your own medicine, only this time from your own party. Ever get the feeling even your own family doesn't like you? Mr. Minority Leader, put on your thick skin and don your laughing shoes:

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Today's Letter From Elizabeth Warren

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Elizabeth Warren

I received this today from Senator Warren's office -- yes, it's a fundraising letter, but the body of this is something we all should keep in mind:

U.S. Senate letterhead ELIZABETH WARREN

 David,

Sometimes I want to ask the extremist Republicans in the House: "What planet are you living on?"While our country still struggles to recover from its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, why in the world do House Republicans spend so much time on votes to undermine a woman's right to choose?While our nation's seniors are facing a real and growing retirement crisis and 14 million of them rely on Social Security to stay out of poverty, why in the world are House Republicans so determined to slash our seniors' safety net?  While our kids and grandkids are getting crushed with ever-increasing levels of student loan debt and our commitments to higher education continue to shrink, why in the world are House Republicans prioritizing tax loopholes for our largest corporations?  The mixed-up, backwards, and flat-out offensive priorities of the House Republicans already have too much representation in Washington. But now three House Republicans from Montana, Colorado and West Virginia are running for the Senate this November and working to bring their radical agenda with them.  Our friends Mark Udall, John Walsh, and Natalie Tennant need your help to fight back against their House Republican opponents – and the millions of dollars in attack ads coming their way from shadowy special interests. Make a donation to Mark, John, and Natalie's campaigns right now.There is a long list of terrifying things that these three House Republicans believe in, but let me just name a few:

  • Colorado Senator Mark Udall's opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, cosponsored a bill with Todd Akin – yes, that Todd Akin – to redefine rape and make it more difficult for victims to get an abortion. (Yes, I know, it is 2014 and not 1954, but apparently Cory Gardner doesn't.)
  • Montana Senator John Walsh's opponent, Rep. Steve Daines, made a name for himself even among the Anarchy Gang in the House as one of the first Congressmen to push for the reckless government shutdown. (I would have thought wasting billions of dollars for no reason and to no productive end would be a claim to infamy and not fame, but apparently not in the Republican caucus.)
  • Natalie Tennant's opponent in the open West Virginia race, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, has received more than $3 million from the big banks and financial institutions during her time in the House -- and time and again has worked to unravel critical consumer protections. Just last week, Rep. Capito led the charge on a new bill to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (As you know, this one is particularly close to my heart.)

I know these policies sound crazy to you and me. But Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers, and their powerful allies will spend zillions of dollars in the next eight months to tear down our candidates and bring the House Republicans' agenda to the Senate. Like you, I'm frustrated about the status quo, but I'm deeply concerned it can get even worse.

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Who's leaving the US Senate, in one handy chart

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US Senate letterheadbuh bye by Kelly Kincaid

The US Senate will be missing a few overpaid members in the near future. Recently, I posted Who's leaving the US House of Representatives, in one handy chart. Now it's time to fill you in on who's spending more time with their family running away from leaving the upper chamber.

So here you go, a sequel to Chart One. Meet Congressional Exodus, Version 2.0. This time you're getting a handy dandy at-a-glance opportunity to see which members of the US Senate are waving bye-bye.

members leaving the US Senate(Sorry, no link, subscription only, but attribution is on the image)

As annoying and frustrating as some of the departing Dems have been, at least they were Dems. Sort of. The next big challenge will be getting enough people to the polls (thanks for nothing, voter-suppressing Republicans) to maintain our majority.

This is where all of you come in. All kidding aside, this is of ultimate importance: Come November, your biggest priority should be to Get Out the Vote, and of course, getting yourselves to the ballot box. Let's avoid a 2010 redux, mmkay?

I'm repeating myself here, but for once I agree with every one of those who are exiting, even the ones I never see eye to eye with on anything ever. After all, who in their right mind would want to be a part of such a combative, obstructionist-filled, filibustery, when-the-hell-will-the-United-States-House-of-Representatives-pass-one-of-our-bills group of Citizens United progeny?

I don't want to belong to club Groucho Marx

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Clay Aiken For Congress? Really? Yes, Really And Hopefully

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ClayAikenw258h344

When I first heard about the possibility that Clay Aiken might run for Congress, I was a bit dubious -- nah, can that. I thought it was a joke. I let the little funny drift off until yesterday. That's when he officially announced his campaign. Later in the day on Lawrence O'Donnell's show, he had a segment on the young crooner whose previous claim to fame was runner up on American Idol and a long run on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice.

Turns out there's a bit more to this teen icon or heartthrob or whatever your preconceived notions of this man might be. According to The Daily Beast:

 [Aiken] shares a bit about his not-so-idyllic pre-Idol days (dad was an abusive drunk; young Clay and his mom slept on a neighbor’s living room floor for eight months) by way of explaining why he now feels moved to challenge Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers. (In a nutshell: She screwed struggling North Carolinians by backing sequestration and the shutdown.)

Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell showed a portion of the biographical film of the singer's background and why he wants to be a representative from his district in North Carolina. I have to say it's more than just impressive; it's moving, it's honest and genuine. He speaks clearly and precisely and spells out what he sees is wrong in Washington politics and what he'd do differently.

Celebrities have a difficult time with being taken seriously. Yet some have been able to overcome that challenge. One quickly comes to mind -- Ronnie Reagan.

Hopefully after you watch this short piece, you'll follow this contest with greater interest -- and perhaps those who are thinking of running might well be served by what Mr. Clay Aiken has to say.

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Surprise: Newest American Saboteurs are Democratic Senators

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aipac

When you hear names like Charlie Schumer, Mark Warner, Cory Booker, Kay Hagen, Mary Landrieu, Bob Casey and Richard Blumenthal, you usually hear that some Democratically sponsored bill has their support. And usually you're right, give or take one of the above.

Yet recently, led by Senator Bob Menendez, these US elected officials to the upper house have been sold a bill of goods. And it's not a jobs or education bill. Nor is it some health plan or civil rights issue. It's war.

Real war. A potential nuclear war.

Why these guys? This isn't the Republican Party war stalwarts, Lindsay Graham and John McCain. These are normal people -- at least as normal as it gets in the senate.

The truth is these new Hawk senators are on the dole. Not necessarily news there -- all elected officials are influenced by lobbyists. But this time, and I'm going to take heat for this, it's the Jewish Mafia. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It's the most influential Jewish lobby group in the US. And historically they have backed candidates who fight for justice and equality in social issues, and political ones when it comes to Israel.

Now Israel has a special place in my heart. Not just because it's the Jewish homeland and I was born a Jew, but my wife is a Sabra, a native born Israeli. And once you have that in your blood, you're generally a dyed-in -the-wool supporter of anything the Israeli Knesset (parliament) proposes.

This brings us to war and peace. For nearly 30 years we've been in a cold war with Iran. We've had no formal diplomatic talks with them and we've been the world leader in getting other nations to impose austere economic sanctions against them. That was until about four months ago. There was a breakthrough. John Kerry reported back to the US that talks on stopping or at least tightening nuclear safeguards with Iran were possible. But like all negotiations, there's a bit of 'give a little' to 'get a little.' The price for us was to hold off on further economic sanctions while negotiations would take place (a six months moratorium). The price to the Iranians is to allow open international monitoring of the Iranian nuclear program -- full inspections.

This was a great tit for tat -- especially as pressure was building for war between our two countries.  That would ultimately would result in a nuclear conflagration. There's no way around that. Yet here's a potentially peaceful solution at hand. The only ones unhappy in that region are Saudi Arabia (remember where the 911 trainees spent much of their pre-attack time) and Israel -- the other nuclear armed country in the region who doesn't want any competition in weapons superiority. And I can understand that.

Obviously those in the pocket of the neo-cons -- the entire GOP party hierarchy -- were against this. But the Democrats? How could they be against peace -- especially one their President is working so hard to accomplish? And if you're looking at public opinion, over 60% favor a peaceful solution with Iran over war. So how could 16 Democrats come out and favor new sanctions which would lead to Iran pulling away from the negotiating table?

Obama was told in no uncertain words that new sanctions  against Iran would be a line in the sand by the their President. Secretary of State Kerry was told the talks would be DEAD if Congress passed new sanctions by the Iranian Foreign Minister. So until we find a reason not to, why not give peace a chance?

The Republicans want war and they've been able, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. to stir the pot and brainwash the Jewish senate members (or those gentile members who aren't totally anti-semitic) by selling a bill of goods that peace negotiations can't be trusted. Netanyahu along via the dangerous and borderline deranged John McCain (who's totally bonkers) contacted his influential PAC, the AIPAC, and forced them to exert pressure on the weak and vulnerable among the Democratic senators. Face it, backbone is not a prerequisite for being a Democrat.

But don't take my word for it. Here's Chris Hayes:

Finally, some sense of sanity. Obama spoke to the Democratic Senate Caucus last night and evidently they've seen the light of their wayward ways.

UPDATE: Since this airing, according to WAPO:

But editorial boards and commentators have harshly condemned the push for a vote. Many Senate Democrats have continued to remain silent, which could well be a sign of an unwillingness to sign on to the bill. A couple Dem senators have come out against it in the last couple of days, joining 10 Dem committee chairs who have already done the same. At last whip count, this bill will not get past Harry Reid and is now considered dead.

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