Sunday, March 22, 2015

Last Call For Cruz, In (For A Brusin')

Sen. Ted Cruz officially opens the GOP 2016 clown car for business, and that business is wrecking America.

Sen. Ted Cruz plans to announce Monday that he will run for president of the United States, accelerating his already rapid three-year rise from a tea party insurgent in Texas into a divisive political force in Washington.

Cruz will launch a presidential bid outright rather than form an exploratory committee, said senior advisers with direct knowledge of his plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made yet. They say he is done exploring and is now ready to become the first Republican presidential candidate.

The senator is scheduled to speak Monday at a convocation ceremony at Liberty University in Virginia, where he is expected to declare his campaign for the presidency.

Over the course of the primary campaign, Cruz will aim to raise between $40 million and $50 million, according to advisers, and dominate with the same tea party voters who supported his underdog Senate campaign in 2012. But the key to victory, Cruz advisers believe, is to be the second choice of enough voters in the party's libertarian and social conservative wings to cobble together a coalition to defeat the chosen candidate of the Republican establishment.

In other words, he's jumping in now to try to bury Sen. Rand Paul early so he can come at Jeb Bush.  Will it work? Who knows?

But it'll be damn amusing to watch with Cruz's record, and I'm sure Republicans across the country want to be reminded of how Cruz shut down the same government as a Senator that he now apparently wants to lead as President.

This should be fun, especially with 19 other people possibly running.

Also, Monday's date is no accident: it's the 5th anniversary of the day the Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama, and Cruz is still lying to everyone when he says the bill has somehow cost millions of American jobs and cost millions their health care.  Expect his announcement (and his campaign) to be full of blatant falsehoods, lies, and stupidity.

A Teachable Moment For State Legislatures

A fourth-grade class in New Hampshire went to the State Capitol in Concord to learn about the process of state government by proposing a bill.  Normally I'd say this was a great idea to see how laws are made, and how ordinary Americans can participate in the process.  But New Hampshire's House is overwhelmingly controlled by the GOP (something close to a 60-40% margin), and what these kids learned is a hard lesson on how politics at the state level work in the age of the Tea Party Maniac.

In the spirit of learning by doing, students drafted a bill to learn the process of how a bill becomes law. They proposed House Bill 373, an act establishing the Red Tail Hawk as the New Hampshire State Raptor. Even though it passed through the Environment and Agriculture committee with a majority vote, some representatives were far from receptive.

Rep. Warren Groen, a Republican from Rochester said, "It grasps them with its talons then uses its razor sharp beak to basically tear it apart limb by limb, and I guess the shame about making this a state bird is it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood."

NH1 spoke with Groen over the phone on Thursday afternoon. Click here to listen to the interview with Groen.

That comment, considered offensive by many, was made while the fourth graders sat, watched and listened. The tough lesson didn't end there.

Rep. John Burt, a Republican from Goffstown said, "Bottom line, if we keep bringing more of these bills, and bills, and bills forward that really I think we shouldn't have in front of us, we'll be picking a state hot dog next."

In a 133-to-160 vote lawmakers killed the bill and perhaps the civic enthusiasm of some 9-and-10-year-olds.

You think?  By the way, New Hampshire's House has 400 members, it's one of the largest state Houses in the country by number of members.  Less than 75% of them even bothered to vote on the bill.   The bill died screaming, the kids found out they were going to be used as pawns to rail against abortion, and the best part was Rep. Burt telling these kids that they basically wasted the House's time with a stupid piece of legislation that had no chance.

What, did you think any story involving a GOP legislature in 2015 would have a happy ending?  You clearly haven't been paying attention.

Israeli Serious, You Guys

President Barack Obama is operating under the assumption that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not support the creation of a Palestinian state, despite the Israeli leader's post-election efforts to recast himself as amenable to a two-state solution.

"We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn't happen during his prime ministership, and so that's why we've got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic situation in the region," the president said in an interview with The Huffington Post on Friday.

Though he pledged to keep working with the Israeli government on military and intelligence operations, Obama declined to say whether the United States would continue to block Palestinian efforts to secure statehood through the United Nations. In a phone conversation the two had on Thursday, he said he indicated to Netanyahu that "it is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing that negotiations are possible."

In his first public comments on Tuesday's elections in Israel, Obama's deepest discomfort was saved for Netanyahu's Election Day warning about Arab Israeli voters going to the polls "in droves."

"We indicated that that kind of rhetoric was contrary to what is the best of Israel's traditions. That although Israel was founded based on the historic Jewish homeland and the need to have a Jewish homeland, Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly," said Obama. "And I think that that is what's best about Israeli democracy. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don't believe in a Jewish state, but it also I think starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country."

I understand the relationship between Israel and the US is complex and messy at times, but nobody can seriously call this an equal partnership (because it's not, as much as the AIPAC hard liners want it to be.)  Israel is a client state of the US, taking military aid from us, and Israel needs the US far more than the US needs them.

Bibi knows this, hence the moderation of his comments.  But President Obama has clearly run out of patience with the man, and if possible the relation between our two countries is only going to get worse.  And a lot of that is on Bibi's head, if not all of it.

The entire transcript of Sam Stein's interview with President Obama is here.
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