Thursday, April 16, 2015

Last Call For Operation Lynch Pinned

Why no, Senate Republicans are not going to allow a vote on Loretta Lynch as Attorney General, nor will they suffer any consequences for continuing to refuse to allow it. Why do you think they keep moving the goalposts?

Republican leaders have tied a vote on Lynch to the passage of an unrelated bill targeting sex trafficking. That bill, which normally would be bipartisan, has stalled for weeks because Republicans tucked an anti-abortion provision into it that Democrats won’t support. As long as the bill doesn’t move, neither does Lynch. 
“The Senate should pass this bipartisan bill right away,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said Tuesday. “And as soon as that happens, we’ll turn to the Loretta Lynch nomination.” 
But it’s not that simple, and there’s no end in sight to the abortion fight. The Senate is voting Thursday to take up an amendment that Republicans say is a way forward on the impasse, but Democrats call it a gimmick and vow to oppose it. 
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the bill’s author, will offer to tweak the bill’s language relating to the Hyde Amendment, the federal provision that bans the use of public funds for abortions except in cases of rape or incest. But the tweak doesn’t address Democrats’ core concern that the bill, for the first time, would expand the Hyde Amendment to apply to non-taxpayer funds. The bill would allow fees collected from human traffickers to be funneled into a new public fund for victims, to which the Hyde Amendment would be applied. 
Democrats say any expansion of the Hyde Amendment is a non-starter for them.
“Senate Republicans are trying to restrict the health choices of women and girls who have been sold into sex slavery,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “The latest proposal from Senator Cornyn does nothing to change that fact. He is still attaching Hyde to non-taxpayer, offender dollars.”

So no, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have made it clear that until the Democrats fold on expanding Hyde to victims of human trafficking, Lynch will never get a vote. For now anyway the Dems are hanging in there, but Loretta Lynch is the one paying the price, and nobody seems to give a damn (certainly not the Villagers.)

But this is the extent that our “smaller government” friends on the other side of the aisle will go to in order to control women’s bodies. Not only do we have to further shame victims of modern slavery, we have to bring them in for judgment from a bunch of wrinkled old white guys too just to try to flip off President Mandingo Reallyfromkenya from even appointing people to his own cabinet.

Compassion, thy name is the Republican Party.

Republican Loyalty Israeli Up For Debate

If you want to know where years of Obama Derangement Syndrome has gotten us, then the latest Bloomberg Politics poll on Israel is a real eye-opener and more than a bit disturbing.

Israel has become a deeply partisan issue for ordinary Americans as well as for politicians in Washington, a shift that may represent a watershed moment in foreign policy and carry implications for domestic politics after decades of general bipartisan consensus.

Republicans by a ratio of more than 2-to-1 say the U.S. should support Israel even when its stances diverge with American interests, a new Bloomberg Politics poll finds. Democrats, by roughly the same ratio, say the opposite is true and that the U.S. must pursue its own interests over Israel's.

Further illustrating how sharply partisan the debate has become, Republicans say they feel more sympathetic to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than to their own president, 67 percent to 16 percent, while Democrats are more sympathetic to President Barack Obama than to Israel's prime minister, 76 percent to 9 percent.

The latter I can understand, with FOX News and talk radio training Americans to openly hate their president on a daily basis.  But the former means two-thirds of Republicans are willing to commit nothing short of treason, and the notion (often repeated by these same Republicans) that we have to "take our country back" means something entirely more sinister in light of this information.

When your Obama Derangement Syndrome manifests in a desire to help a foreign ally undermine the United States government, you have a problem.  Republicans will tell you it's okay because hey, they don't recognize President Obama anyway (and hell they think he's actually the Antichrist.)

Gotta love modern GOP "patriotism".  Towards Israel, over America, because screw Obama.

Bibbidy Bobbidy Bible Belt

Looks like quite the First Amendment battle in Oklahoma as the state's Republican Attorney General is vowing to defend bibles in public schools from those mean ol' nasty separation of church and state people.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has sent a letter to public school superintendents across the state vowing to defend religious freedom amid “veiled legal threats” over the distribution of Bibles on campus. 
“Few things are as sacred and as fundamental to Oklahomans as the constitutional rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion,” Pruitt wrote Tuesday. “It is a challenging time in our country for those who believe in religious liberty. Our religious freedoms are under constant attack from a variety of groups who seek to undermine our constitutional rights and threaten our founding principles.” 
Aaron Cooper, a spokesman, said Pruitt’s office is trying to determine the extent of contact between the Freedom From Religion Foundation and similar groups and Oklahoma school districts. From that information, legal training on the topic of religious freedom will be developed for public school officials, he said. 
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, or FFRF, responded Wednesday, sending Pruitt a letter saying they were "concerned about this misleading if not irresponsible advice." 
"It is obviously far easier for an Oklahoma student to get a bible than literature criticizing the bible, which FFRF will seek to pass out in every public school forum that is opened under your offer. If the goal of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office is to allow public schools to be used to distribute atheist messages, then this is a brilliant idea," wrote foundation attorney Andrew Seidel. "FFRF prefers that public schools focus on education rather than serve as a venue for divisive religious debates. 
"Your letter was either grossly misinformed on both the facts and law—indeed recklessly misinformed given that school districts might heed your advice and open themselves up to serious legal and financial liability—or it was a transparent attempt to pander to people’s religious sensibilities for political gain."

The funny thing about the First Amendment's freedom to worship clause is that whole Establishment Clause thing.  The government cannot interfere in private worship, but neither can it advocate one religion over another.  That's why the whole "American is a Christian country" is nonsense, because the Constitution spells out the fact that we're not.  We have Christians, sure.  But there's no official state religion, nor should there be in a representative democracy.

The state Attorney General wanting to distribute bibles on school campuses and using the power of the state of Oklahoma to do so is unconstitutional on its face.

I welcome this fight, frankly.  Not even Scalia will tolerate this one.


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