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Archive for November 6th, 2014

Last White, Deep South Democrat in Congress Loses

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Last White, Deep South Democrat in Congress Loses
Cristina Marcos, The Hill: Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) lost reelection Tuesday night, marking the end of an era as the last white House Democrat representing the Deep South. Barrow’s loss also reflects the diminishing presence of political centrists in Congress and was a blow to the remaining Blue Dog Democrats. The fifth-term incumbent lost to GOP businessman Rick Allen, 53 percent to 46 percent with 91 percent of precincts reporting.

Voters in 3 States Approve Minimum Wage Increases
Voters in Arkansas, Nebraska and Illinois approved ballot measures on Tuesday to raise their states’ minimum wages, adding fuel to the ongoing debate about the federal standard. “The polling on minimum wage is very clear: It is something that three quarters of the country supports,” said Michael Strain, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who specializes in labor market and federal budget policy.


US stocks gain as the price of crude oil rebounds

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

US stocks gain as the price of crude oil rebounds
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets mostly fell Wednesday as oil’s fall to a three-year low weighed on energy companies and weaker European growth forecasts dampened sentiment.


Obama: “I will not sign” a bill repealing Obamacare

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Obama: “I will not sign” a bill repealing Obamacare
Faced with an incoming Republican-controlled Senate, President Obama draws a line in the sand on his health care reform law.


CNN’s Legal View Ignores McConnell’s History Of Obstruction To Buy Into New “Conciliatory” Tone

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

CNN’s Legal View Ignores McConnell’s History Of Obstruction To Buy Into New “Conciliatory” Tone

CNN’s Legal View with Ashley Banfield glossed over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) history of obstructionism after he promised to work with Democrats in the Senate following his reelection, choosing instead to paint him as a “conciliatory” lawmaker.

Sen. McConnell Wins Reelection, Says He Wants To Compromise With Democrats

In Time Interview, McConnell Says He Wants To Find Common Ground With Democrats. In an interview following his reelection, Time described McConnell as striking a “conciliatory tone, saying he hopes to work with President Obama and Senate Democrats.” McConnell asserted that Senate Republicans were “going to want to see what kind of things we might be able to agree on with the President. After all, he’s going to be there for two more years.” [Time, 11/5/14]

CNN Figures Buy Into McConnell’s Promise To Work With Democrats

Host Ashley Banfield: McConnell “Does The Conciliatory Stuff,” “Makes Concessions.” Legal View host Ashley Banfield said on the November 5 edition of the show that McConnell is a rare breed of politician who “does the backroom dealing, who does the conciliatory stuff, he works behind the scenes and makes concessions.” Her guest, Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift, agreed that “he’s someone the White House could do business with.”

BANFIELD: I love the fact that Mitch McConnell is one of those breeds that we don’t see as often anymore. He’s the old school guy who does the backroom dealing, who does the conciliatory stuff, he works behind the scenes and makes concessions. That’s not so much the new order these days it seems, as more folks come in on the Hill, less of that seems to happen. But does it work anymore?

CLIFT: Oh, I think it worked a couple of times during the Obama administration where he really saved us from a longer government shutdown, a debt ceiling crisis, he stepped in quietly, did his negotiating mostly with Vice President Biden. [CNN, Legal View with Ashley Banfield, 11/5/14]

CNN Contributor: “Let’s Be Charitable” And Take McConnell “At His Word” That He Will End Gridlock. CNN contributor and Daily Beast editor in chief John Avlon said “you heard Mitch McConnell, he promised that if the Republicans were elected it would mean an end to gridlock. So let’s be charitable and take him at his word.” [CNN, Legal View with Ashley Banfield, 11/5/14]

But CNN Ignored McConnell’s History Of Obstruction

In 2010, McConnell Repeatedly Declared Main GOP Goal Is To Make Obama A “One-Term President.” McConnell said in an interview with the National Journal that “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” In remarks at the Heritage Foundation after the midterm elections of 2010, McConnell reaffirmed that the GOP’s “top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office.” [Think Progress, 10/25/10; Politico, 11/3/10]

McConnell-Led Senate Republicans Planned To Obstruct Almost All Democratic Legislation. The Associated Press reported in December 2010 that Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, “intend to block action on virtually all Democratic-backed legislation unrelated to tax cuts and government spending in the current postelection session of Congress.” [Associated Press, 12/1/10]

New York Times: McConnell Devised Obstructionist Strategy Before Obama Even Took Office. A March 2010 New York Times story reported that the Republican minority leader’s strategy, devised before President Obama took office, was to “use his extensive knowledge of Senate procedure to slow things down, take advantage of the difficulties Democrats would have in governing and deny Democrats any Republican support on big legislation.” [The New York Times3/16/10]


Senate Gains Give McConnell a Double Win

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Senate Gains Give McConnell a Double Win
Caitlin Huey-Burns, RealClearPolitics
With victories ranging from the now solidly Republican state of Arkansas to heavily Democratic Colorado, the Republican Party last night secured the majority in the U.S. Senate that has eluded it in recent elections. The GOP’s quality of candidates and its expansion of already favorable terrain — combined with a president who proved a liability to his fellow Democrats — flipped the electoral map. Republicans gained eight Senate seats Tuesday night (though Democratic incumbent Mark Begich has yet to concede, despite trailing, in Alaska, and a December runoff is scheduled in Louisiana),…

Brittany Maynard’s Storybook Ending
Debra Saunders, RealClearPolitics
“Brittany Maynard died with dignity from brain cancer,” read the headline of a press release issued by the organization Compassion & Choices. Suffering from a vicious form of brain cancer and near the end, the 29-year-old died Saturday surrounded by family and friends in an Oregon home to which she moved so that she could take advantage of Oregon’s assisted-suicide law. May she rest in peace. If Maynard died with dignity, then does that mean that others who do not choose to choreograph their death lack dignity? There’s no getting around the language advocates have chosen; “death with dignity”…

Senate Control, and the Strategy to Secure It, at Stake Today
Caitlin Huey-Burns, RealClearPolitics
With a slew of polls trending in their favor, Republicans believe they are on the brink of victory. The U.S. Senate majority that has eluded the GOP over the past several cycles is now within reach, but several races still remain within the margin of error, opening the door for some election night nail-biters. Republicans have had several built-in advantages on their side this year, most notably a favorable map and the president’s sinking job approval rating. But the party can also be credited with having learned lessons from past failed campaigns. Party leaders focused heavily on…


EU budget audit: 7bn euros misspent

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

EU budget audit: 7bn euros misspent
European Union auditors say the EU misspent about €7bn (£5.5bn) last year – that is, 4.7% of its annual budget.

Clooney should play Nick – Mrs Clegg
Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam says she would like George Clooney to play her husband in a TV movie about him.

1,100 NI student places ‘to be cut’
Queen’s University Belfast and the Ulster University warn that they will have to cut 1,100 student places in Northern Ireland .


‘No Mercy’ for Killers of Couple in Pakistan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

‘No Mercy’ for Killers of Couple in Pakistan
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the authorities to “show no mercy” in bringing to justice those involved in the killing of a Christian couple who were accused of blasphemy.



World Briefing: Switzerland: Next Director Is Named for CERN Nuclear Laboratory
Fabiola Gianotti, who led one of the two teams of physicists that discovered the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle that imbues other particles with mass, has been named the next director general of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.



Ukraine to Freeze Payments in Separatist Areas
The prime minister said payments totaling $2.6 billion, mostly for public sector wages and pensions, would be withheld, putting a burden on Russia.



2 Drivers Plow Into Israelis, Fueling Fears of New Palestinian Uprising
The episodes, in Jerusalem and the West Bank, have added to fears that a third uprising is taking shape as the latest crisis continues to reverberate beyond Israel’s borders.



Treating Those Treating Ebola in Liberia
A dedicated Ebola field hospital for health workers is scheduled to open Friday in Monrovia, Liberia, as part of an effort to ease the worries of would-be volunteers.




Midterm Calculus: Turnout, a Scapegoat, Wasn’t Always the Difference This Time

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Midterm Calculus: Turnout, a Scapegoat, Wasn’t Always the Difference This Time
Many Democrats would have won if turnout had resembled a presidential election year. But Democrats also lost in states where turnout surpassed that of 2010.




Here Is What The GOP Promises To Do With Its New Senate Majority

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

Here Is What The GOP Promises To Do With Its New Senate Majority

Will Republicans compromise with Obama?

The post Here Is What The GOP Promises To Do With Its New Senate Majority appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, John Barrasso, John Thune

CREDIT: AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Republicans didn’t offer an overarching agenda or platform to voters during the 2014 midterm elections and party leaders were careful to avoid sweeping policy declarations when they fanned out across the morning T.V. talk shows to celebrate their victory on Wednesday. Instead, they promised to compromise with the president.

“It’s really important that our leaders in the legislature now set-up real achievable goals that are simple, that we can define for the American people,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus explained on MSNBC’s Morning Joe when asked how the party would position itself for the 2016 presidential election. Priebus stressed that Congressional Republicans must focus on “achievable things, work with the president, get those things done, repeat and repeat and repeat.”

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who oversaw the party pick-up as many as nine seats in the Senate to win the majority, was similarly cautious. “I think the mandate is about let’s see some accomplishments and I think that’s what you saw candidates across the country do, roll up our sleeves, let’s see what we can do together, and let’s demonstrate to the American people that we can actually work to accomplish for the good of the country,” he told MSNBC. Even Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the presumptive majority leader of the Senate in January, explained in his victory speech on Tuesday night that divided government “doesn’t mean we have to be in perpetual conflict.”

So what would a more harmonious Congress actually look like?

Republicans have laid out goals that do have bipartisan support and could conceivably be signed into law by President Barack Obama. For instance, both parties have expressed support for tweaking aspects of the Affordable Care Act by repealing the law’s medical device tax, an independent board tasked with controlling health care costs, and modifying or outright eliminating the law’s employer responsibility provision — a measure the administration itself has delayed twice and some prominent progressives have walked away from.

Republicans promised to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline — a project 16 senate Democrats endorsed when the body voted on a non-biding resolution in March of 2013 — and have pledged to pass a budget in both chambers. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) — the likely chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee — has promised to tackle tax reform (a project he told Bloomberg on Tuesday night would ideally attract 60 votes in the Senate) and insisted that Republicans still plan to advance immigration reform — on a step-by-step basis that begins with border security. Obama endorsed such a process last year.

Other issues with bipartisan support include an insistence that the administration submit any deal to stop Iran from developing a nuclear program to Congress and approving fast-track authority for trade deals with the European Union and nations in Asia. Obama has asked the Senate for special authority that would allow Congress an up-or-down vote on the issue, but has been stymied by Democrats who believe it would cost jobs. The administration, and many Republicans, argue that the compacts would create American jobs by expanding U.S. exports.

Of course the promise of compromise is only possible if GOP leadership doesn’t fall victim to the pull of 2016 politics and the wishes of the chamber’s presidential hopefuls — Marco Rubio (FL), Rand Paul (KY), Ted Cruz (TX) — to pursue partisan policies designed to appeal to the party’s conservative base. The party largely ignored its promises to appeal to hispanic voters and African Americans in the days following Obama’s re-election in 2012 and instead shutdown the government and turned its back on immigration reform.

Even before the dust of the election settled on Tuesday night, some Republicans hinted that its talk of compromise was just a brief flirtation. Appearing on CNN just hours after the polls closed, Cruz refused to say whether he would vote for McConnell to become the Senate majority leader, hinting at a campaign for an even more conservative leader. Ryan, a potential presidential contender in his own right, laid out a bipartisan governing agenda before adopting a more confrontational, political tone.

“If there are certain issues we just see so opposite on, then we should define ourselves with our actions by passing bills that he may very well veto,” he told Bloomberg on Tuesday night. “If we just have differences of opinions but we want to show the country what we would do if we could if we had the presidency, what those policies would look like, we should do those too.”

The post Here Is What The GOP Promises To Do With Its New Senate Majority appeared first on ThinkProgress.


To Win White Swing Voters, Democrats Should Stop Trying to Appeal to White Swing Voters

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2014 12:08 am by HL

To Win White Swing Voters, Democrats Should Stop Trying to Appeal to White Swing Voters
From: Dani McClain

Black voters who consistently turnout for Democrats are trying to show the party the way forward, if only it would pay attention.

It Was a Great Night for Gun Reform
From: George Zornick

On a bleak night, advocates of tougher gun laws pretty much ran the table.

Gerrymandering Rigged the 2014 Elections for Republican Advantage
From: Lee Fang

In Pennsylvania, Democrats won almost half the votes, but a far lesser percentage of the House seats.

‘Toward a New Beginning’: Lessons and Parallels From the GOP Rout of 1946
From: Back Issues

“Let us not fool ourselves in this hour of appraisal…”