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Sunday, July 5, 2015

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President Obama Makes History With A Deal To Reopen The U.S. Embassy in Cuba

obama us embassy cuba
President Obama added another piece of history to his already historic week by announcing a deal to reopen the U.S. embassy in Cuba.
The President said:
More than 54 years ago, at the height of the Cold War, the United States closed its embassy in Havana. Today, I can announce that the United States has agreed to formally re-establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba, and re-open embassies in our respective countries. This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people, and begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas.

When the United States shuttered our embassy in 1961, I don’t think anyone expected that it would be more than half a century before it re-opened. After all, our nations are separated by only 90 miles, and there are deep bonds of family and friendship between our people. But there have been very real, profound differences between our governments, and sometimes we allow ourselves to be trapped by a certain way of doing things.

For the United States, that meant clinging to a policy that was not working. Instead of supporting democracy and opportunity for the Cuban people, our efforts to isolate Cuba despite good intentions increasingly had the opposite effect — cementing the status quo and isolating the United States from our neighbors in this hemisphere. The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past. When something isn’t working, we can — and will — change.

Last December, I announced that the United States and Cuba had decided to take steps to normalize our relationship. As part of that effort, President Raul Castro and I directed our teams to negotiate the re-establishment of embassies. Since then, our State Department has worked hard with their Cuban counterparts to achieve that goal. And later this summer, Secretary Kerry will travel to Havana formally to proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more.
This is not merely symbolic. With this change, we will be able to substantially increase our contacts with the Cuban people. We’ll have more personnel at our embassy. And our diplomats will have the ability to engage more broadly across the island. That will include the Cuban government, civil society, and ordinary Cubans who are reaching for a better life.
The President could have been talking about the positions of the Republican cabal on almost every issue. Republicans are outraged by Obama’s step to relegate another Cold War policy relic to the history books, but the facts are on his side. The Republican policy of isolating the regimes in North Korea and Cuba resulted in a strengthening of governments that impoverish and oppress their own people.
President Obama has had a historic week, and he has made history again by moving U.S./Cuba relations into the 21st Century, and he is sending the message that Democratic Party is nation’s only forward thinking party of progress.

Americans Approve Of Obama’s Handling Of Race Relations And The Economy

A majority of Americans approve of the president's handling of race relations and his handling of the economy.…
Obama cleveland
A CNN/ORC poll released on June 30, 2015 shows that Barack Obama’s popularity has surged to its highest level in over two years. The poll, drawn from a random sample of 1,017 Americans, found that 50 percent of Americans approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president, with 47 percent disapproving of the president’s performance. Those are his highest marks since May of 2013.
More importantly, the survey found that most Americans approve of Barack Obama’s handling of race relations and of his handling of the economy. While conservative media has relentlessly attacked the president as a “race baiter”, the American people disagree with that characterization of Obama. 55 percent of Americans approve of President Obama’s handling of race relations, compared to only 42 percent who disapprove.
Black Americans are especially supportive of the president’s handling of race relations, with 84 percent approving, to just 14 percent disapproving of his approach to dealing with racial issues. However, even a plurality of white Americans approve of Obama’s handling of race relations. 48 percent say he is doing well on racial issues, compared to 47 percent who have an unfavorable opinion of the president’s handling of race relations.
Americans also broadly support President Obama’s handling of the economy. 52 percent of Americans approve of the president’s job performance on dealing with the economy, compared to 47 percent who disapprove. Its hard to argue with 63 consecutive months of job growth and a 5.5 percent unemployment rate, especially considering the economic mess President Obama inherited from his predecessor, George W. Bush.
Despite his party taking a shellacking in the 2014 midterm elections, President Obama appears determined to continue to lead the nation with forward thinking actions. His efforts are paying off.
After a week where the Supreme Court expanded marriage equality to all 50 states and upheld federal subsidies for Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation –the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — Americans have reason to support their president’s visionary leadership. Not surprisingly, the latest poll shows they do.

Bernie Sanders Rips Presidential Candidates For Disgraceful Citizens United Money Grubbing

On the deadline day for quarterly presidential fundraising, Bernie Sanders ripped presidential candidates in both parties while calling for the overturning of Citizens United.
In a statement, Sanders said:
bernie sanders 2016 koch brothersIt is a national disgrace that billionaires and other extremely wealthy people are able to heavily influence the political process by making huge contributions. The Koch brothers alone will spend more than the Democratic and Republican parties to influence the outcome of next year’s elections. That’s not democracy, that’s oligarchy’
Elections should be determined by who has the best ideas, not who can hustle the most money from the rich and powerful. Unless we end this disastrous campaign finance system, our government will continue to represent the interests of the few at the expense of the many.
Bernie Sanders has raised more money from individuals than all of the Republican pretender candidates, but the truth is that the $8.3 million he has raised will be dwarfed by what the super PACs pull in. The odds are that few people reading this article will have donated to a super PAC, which is the entire problem with Citizens United.
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision created a funding mechanism that has allowed billionaires and special interests to hijack the electoral process. Democrats are opposed to Citizens United, but they have to play along on this landscape or they will have no hope of ever being able to overturn the law.
Sanders is correct. What is happening to our electoral system is a national disgrace. The dysfunction in Congress was largely created by the fact that incumbents represent the interests of their big donors instead of their constituents. Parties have little control over their members because incumbents don’t need the party to win. All a candidate needs is a billionaire who is willing to write the checks.
The campaign finance system is a national embarrassment, and Bernie Sanders is fighting a David versus Goliath battle to wake voters up to the peril that their country is facing.

Elizabeth Warren Is Becoming A Bernie Sanders Fan

Elizabeth Warren Is Becoming A Bernie Sanders Fan
Warren stumping for Sanders would make perfect sense.
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Neil deGrasse Tyson Defends Pope And Destroys Religious Climate Denial In One Tweet

Neil deGrasse Tyson Defends Pope And Destroys Religious Climate Denial In One Tweet
It’s really just this simple…
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The Coming Of The GOPocalypse

The End Of Republicans 
The Coming Of The GOPocalypse – The End Of Republicans As We Know ThemThe Republican cabal is imploding in on itself over same-sex marriage, confederate flags, Obamacare and more. The GOPocalypse is happening, and not a moment too soon.

Business Leaders Turn On Republicans And Blast Them For Having No Idea What They’re Doing

A business leader enraged by House Republicans letting the Ex-Im bank charter expire for the first time in 81 years said, "They really don't have a clue what…

The Rise Of Anti-Union Rhetoric In The 2016 Race

Donald Trump has some enthusiastic new admirers: White supremacists

“The Donald” may have lost millions in high profile contracts after major television networks cut ties with him over racist remarks about Mexicans. But he gained some new fans: the Nazis and other racists.

Donald Trump In Free Fall As Macy’s Dumps All Trump Merchandise

Donald Trump tantrumMacy’s has reacted to Donald Trump’s racist comments about Mexicans and Latinos by dropping all Trump merchandise from their stores.
Macy’s explained their decision in a statement, “Macy’s is a company that stands for diversity and inclusion,” the retailer said in a statement Wednesday. “We have no tolerance for discrimination in any form. We welcome all customers, and respect for the dignity of all people is a cornerstone of our culture. We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico. We do not believe the disparaging characterizations portray an accurate picture of the many Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Latinos who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation. In light of statements made by Donald Trump, which are inconsistent with Macy’s values, we have decided to discontinue our business relationship with Mr. Trump and will phase-out the Trump men’s wear collection, which has been sold at Macy’s since 2004.”
Donald Trump has been dumped by NBC and has seen NBC and Univision cancel their contracts to televise the Trump owned beauty pageants. Trump is in second place in the Republican presidential polls, but the latest CNN/ORC poll shows Jeb Bush opening up a seven-point lead on the blowhard billionaire.
Trump is threatening to sue everyone in sight because he is losing big money, but it looks like his racism is finally catching up to him. It would be difficult for NBC and Macy’s ever to go back into business with Trump without creating an epic public firestorm.
Donald Trump has been throwing racists bombs from the sidelines for years, but he made the mistake of running for president. When Trump became a presidential candidate the media started to take his racist ramblings seriously. It was one thing for Trump the racist to demand Obama’s birth certificate while drumming up attention for his reality TV show, but the stakes went up exponentially when Donald Trump announced that he was a candidate for president.
His racist rhetoric is the same, but now there is a price to be paid for his behavior.
The TV billionaire is toxic, and what we are witnessing is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump Is Suing Univision And Blaming The Whole Thing On Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump Is Suing Univision And Blaming The Whole Thing On Hillary Clinton
Trump has never been more delirious.
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Police Murders

US police killings headed for 1,100 this year -- with black Americans twice as likely to die

Jimmy Kimmel Asks Kids About Gay Marriage And Their Answers Will Make Republicans Scream

Jimmy Kimmel Asks Kids About Gay Marriage And Their Answers Will Make Republicans Scream (VIDEO)This proves that America’s 6-year-olds are better people than Republicans.

These Horrible Things Have Happened Since Marriage Equality Went Nationwide

These Horrible Things Have Happened Since Marriage Equality Went Nationwide
Wingnuts warned us bad things would happen…
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Mike Huckabee Opposes Hate Crime Laws Unless You’re 'christian'

Wisconsin religio-wingnut Claims Civil War Was Fought to Further a 'christian' Lifestyle

Lincoln said "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong" while the bible says, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling"…

Kansas Issues $840 Million Debt Certificate To Cover Brownback’s Trickle Down Catastrophe

After a record-setting tax hike on the poor and middle class and truly Draconian social service cuts, the state is so broke that Brownback and Republicans had to…
BrownBrokeIt is more than likely that there are very few Americans who still believe that the Republicans’ only economic policy, trickle down, is anything but a raging failure. Obviously, Kansas residents suffering a continued financial catastrophe still believe their governor, Sam “trickle down” Brownback, when he promises that the god-sent trickle down scheme to enrich the wealthy at the expense of the state’s budget, the poor and middle class, education, and social services will make the state the envy of the entire nation. Now, after a record-setting tax hike on the poor and middle class and truly Draconian social service cuts, the state is so broke that Brownback and Republicans had to resort to issuing a certificate of indebtedness to prevent the state from complete financial demise. It is the second year in a row that Brownback’s disastrous trickle down experiment resulted in going in debt to keep the state solvent while the rest of the nation not under Republican control is experiencing economic growth.
A certificate of indebtedness is a form of monetary obligation that is sometimes issued by a public entity or private corporations that are, for all intents and purposes, like a bond; except they are not secured. A certificate of indebtedness is, then, effectively what a normal American would consider an I.O.U., and depending on the person or entity issuing it, likely worthless as far as having any legitimacy for making purchases or paying debts.
One thing is certain; in the real world Republicans perpetually cite, no American family would even consider walking into a grocery store, or schedule their car to be serviced, and expect them to provide a product or service in return for an IOU. In fact, it is highly likely that no American would consider trying to make a purchase or schedule a service without having access to the available funds. Instead, they would seek a means, likely by taking a second job, to bring in enough revenue to pay their bills and buy their groceries.
This week, after yet another year of crushing debt due to severe revenue shortfalls borne of “fiscally-responsible” trickle down tax cuts for the rich and corporations, Kansas Republicans and Governor Sam “fetus” Brownback signed off on the state’s largest tax increase on the poor and middle class and issued a record $840 million certificate of indebtedness for the upcoming fiscal year.
The desperation move came as Kansas’ budget director verified what Sam Brownback, Republicans in the legislature, and most of America have known for three years running; due to Brownback’s failed repeat of shrub-Republicans’ 8-year failed trickle down experiment he said his god overwhelmingly approved, the state government would have insufficient resources to meet its obligated expenditures in the fiscal year starting tomorrow, July 1, 2015.
The new Kansas record for an IOU in lieu of paying its debts eclipsed the previous record that was set during the 2009 fiscal year after shrub-Republicans’ Great Recession crashed the state’s revenue and after deep cuts failed to stem the budget crisis. At the time, the Kansas State Finance Council issued three certificates of indebtedness to borrow a total of $775 million that foreshadowed a 1-cent, three-year increase in the statewide sales tax in 2010 to put the onus on the poor and middle class, again, to make up for another Republican (shrub’s) trickle down failure that contributed to the Great Recession. Just about one year ago the Finance Council approved another indebtedness certificate to the tune of $675 million for the currently-ending fiscal year that trickle down Sam had promised was the last time because he swore that Kansas’ fiscal fortunes would miraculously improve because tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and therefore less tax revenue, was certain to bear trickle down fruit and bring in much more tax revenue.
That is, after all, what Sam Brownback promised throughout his re-election campaign while he held up the fetus card, but when the Republican-led legislature returned for work in January they were confronted with exactly what any sane human being should expect when tax cuts for the rich and corporations produce less tax revenue; another crushing revenue shortfall that required a series of mid-year budget cuts to education, government, and social services. Recently, when even drastic budget cuts failed, as expected, to bring in more tax revenue, Brownback and Republicans passed a record tax increase affecting the poor, middle class, and typical of Republicans, managed care facilities for the elderly and disabled. Still, like any American knows, slashing a budget or cutting expenses does not, and cannot, bring in more revenue.
Instead of even considering rolling back unfunded tax cuts for the rich and corporations, Republicans and their hero Brownback approved $400 million in tax hikes in an attempt to close the certain 2016 fiscal year budget deficit. Those tax hikes affecting the poor and middle class were general sales taxes on necessities like groceries, eliminating middle class citizens’ itemized deductions, and imposing a tax increase on managed care facilities. The tax hikes on the poor and harsh budget cuts were no solution for the Kansas revenue shortfalls and going deeper in debt was Brownback and Republicans solution of choice.
According to Brownback and Republican legislation, instead of ending tax cuts for the rich, the governor had to come up with $50 million in budget cuts and he naturally cut education, healthcare, and social service funding. It never entered Brownback’s mind to rescind even part of the tax cuts for the rich and corporations because he has promised for three years that cutting revenue by giving the wealthy and corporations tax cuts increases state revenue and allows wealth to ‘trickle down’ to the poor and middle class.
On Friday last when Democratic lawmakers gathered at the state capitol for ceremonial final day of the annual legislative session, they expressed exactly the same exasperation they have over the past two years with expansion of the state’s debt that must be repaid by June 30, 2016. Obviously their exasperation is due to increasing the state’s debt obligation after Brownback squandered the budget surplus he was left by his predecessor, but also because they are well aware there is no possible way the state’s revenue is going to increase as long as Brownback’s tax cuts for the rich and corporations stay in place and cut revenue.
The Kansas House Democratic Leader, Tom Burroughs, uttered the obvious and said this record-setting escalation in borrowing “illustrated the precarious financial condition of state government.” Burroughs also noted that the only reason the state budget is in freefall is because of the trickle down decisions in 2012 by Brownback and the Republican-misled legislature that foolishly exempted 330,000 businesses from paying income taxes and slashed individual income tax rates primarily affecting the very rich. Burroughs’ said “This is a direct result of Brownback’s failed fiscal experiment. Until members of the legislature take steps to implement a responsible and sustainable budget, the state will continue to be forced to borrow money to cover expenditures.” The Kansas Senate Minority Leader, Anthony Hensley, was more blunt and said that the state’s budget woes are entirely due to Brownback and Republican legislature’s “incompetence and mismanagement” of the budget. Hensley said that “Governor Brownback and the Republican Legislature are responsible for the largest tax increase in history and, now, the largest certificate of indebtedness in history.”
What neither Hensley nor Burroughs would say out loud is that unless Brownback and the Republican legislature rescind, or at least drastically roll back, tax elimination for corporations and tax cuts for the rich, next year at this time Kansas Financial Council will be forced to issue yet another, record setting, certificate of indebtedness while Brownback and Republicans make more drastic budget cuts, pass another tax hike on the poor and middle class, and then promise yet again that tax cuts for corporations and the rich will create a revenue bonanza the entire nation will marvel at; it is the same promise Brownback has made for the past three years and the results have been, and will continue to be, the same.
It was a mystery why Kansas voters re-elected Sam Brownback and a Republican-misled legislature when everyone of the state’s residents were aware that the state’s financial catastrophe was due to Brownback’s failed trickle down ‘experiment.’ Still, Brownback knew that all he had to do to guarantee he would get four more years to completely decimate the state’s economy was drag out that tired old fetus to bring out the religious right vote. Maybe it will take resident’s seeing their state in bankruptcy, their roads crumbling before their eyes, and schools, hospitals, and law enforcement agencies closing down before they come to their questionable senses.

Republicans Crushed In Oklahoma As Supreme Court Rules 10 Commandments Monument Must Come Down

Previous Oklahoma Ten Commandments Monument that was destroyed when a driver drove through it.In a decisive 7-2 ruling, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that the ten commandments monument erected at the State Capitol must be removed. The monument was a gift from Republican Mike Ritze. However, plaintiffs argued that the monument’s placement at the Capitol involved the use of public property for the benefit of a specific religion. They argued, and the court agreed, that the Oklahoma Constitution clearly prohibits such a display promoting one religion over others.
No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.
In the courts’ opinion, the justices ruled that since the monument operated for the benefit of a specific system of religion, it clearly violated the Oklahoma Constitution.
Brady Henderson, the legal director for the ACLU of Oklahoma praised the ruling, stating:
I think that at the end of the day it is the right decision simply because it acknowledges limits on the government’s power to effectively decide what religious edicts are right and wrong.
Republican Mary Fallin, was predictably upset by the ruling, and she vowed to work with the state’s Attorney General to “evaluate the state’s legal options moving forward”.
While many evangelical 'christians' are sure to express their displeasure with the court’s decision, it is clear that the state’s constitution prohibits such blatant displays privileging a specific religion over all others. Many 'christian' wingnutss believe that they follow the “one true religion” and that all others should be subjected to their belief system. However, in a society that values the separation of cult and state, imposing one’s own religion upon others is against the law. The state’s Supreme Court has made it clear that the law applies even in Oklahoma.

In Oklahoma, Fracking Companies Can Now Be Sued Over Earthquakes

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has rejected efforts by the oil industry to prevent earthquake injury lawsuits from being heard in court.