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Hank Aaron compares Republicans and other Obama opponents to KKK

Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, asked about race relations in 2014, says the only thing that’s changed since his days as a player is ‘back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.’

Hank Aaron compares Republicans and other Obama opponents to KKK 

BY Andy Clayton

The baseball Hall of Famer, who was honored at the Braves' home opener on Tuesday night, said the only difference between the type of racism he faced as a player and the kind that exists today is 'now they have neckties and starched shirts.'

Erick Erickson: ‘Jeb Bush’s time to run is over’

Alex Pappas

Jeb Bush

'Bush running in 2016 would be a distraction'

“Jeb Bush is a great guy and I appreciate his contributions to the party over the years,” Erickson wrote. “But we have a solid bench to choose from in 2016. This flirtation both undermines the newer governors Jeb Bush helped elect and gives a new wedge for the media to put between the party leadership and its base headed into 2016.”

Issa: IRS coordinated with Dems to attack tea party group

**FILE** House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (right), California Republican, with the committee's ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat, continues his probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service as the panel questions IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on March 26, 2014, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press)

Issa: IRS coordinated with Dems to attack tea party group

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa on Wednesday accused his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, of coordinating with the IRS to attack one of the tea party groups that was targeted by the tax agency for intrusive scrutiny and long delays.

Mr. Issa and five other top Republicans said they have just last week been given emails showing Mr. Cummings sought information from the IRS about True the Vote, a conservative tax-exempt organization that drew the ire of liberals for pushing states to eliminate potentially bogus names from their voter rolls.

Can Clever Campaigns Save the Democrats in 2014?

Can Clever Campaigns Save the Democrats in 2014?

Molly Ball

The party's only hope to save the midterms is a tactical silver bullet—the underlying forces are arrayed against them.

 But for Democrats, the emphasis on magic tricks is a symptom of something else as well: the difficult landscape the party confronts in 2014. The underlying factors the political scientists look at to make their predictions—a middling economy, an unpopular Democratic president—are stacked against them. Redistricting tilts the House against them, while their Senate incumbents were last elected in 2008, when the heady Obama coattails helped power them to victory in normally red states. The demographic groups from which the party drew its strength in 2012 and 2008—minorities, young people, single women—have been less inclined to vote in non-presidential elections in recent years. And so, to stave off disaster, Democrats need to get more of those people to vote. All the tools in their arsenal—as well as a stable of “election protection” efforts targeting alleged vote suppression—are aimed at finding those latent Democratic voters and shaking them out of their houses.

Dick Cheney, Rand Paul, and the Possibility of Malign Leaders

Dick Cheney, Rand Paul, and the Possibility of Malign Leaders

Conor Friedersdorf

The Kentucky senator twice suggested that Halliburton's relationship with Dick Cheney influenced Iraq policy. Is that so crazy?

Paul believes the many millions of dollars that Cheney had earned from Halliburton left the vice president with divided loyalties; that his time there affected his judgment in all the complicated ways one worries about whenever huge conflicts of interest are at play; and that Halliburton was one factor, though far from the only one, in pushing America to war. 

Who’s Afraid of an Active President?


Who’s Afraid of an Active President?

 by Jeff Shesol

As the Times reported last week, the “imperial Presidency” is, for Republicans, a new “rallying cry,” a midterm-year mantra that captures their loathing of Obama, of government, and of Obama’s government. The slogan is shouted from the stump and, in a more sober, sorrowful tone, in op-eds by Senators Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Roger Wicker, of Mississippi. To listen to these charges is to get the impression that the American Presidency was intended by the Founders as little more than a ceremonial role—like, say, the Presidency of Singapore—charged with the solemn duty of assenting to bills passed by Congress and throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day. Anything more is “overreach.” Obama’s statement, earlier this year, that “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone”—as tepid an assertion of Presidential power as one hears outside a concession speech—is cited by Republicans as proof positive of dictatorial intent, as if the President had said “I’ve got a hammer, and I’ve got a sickle.”

IRS under fire: Vote for Obama stickers, campaign cheerleading commonplace

President Barack Obama is given an "I'm an Obamanaut" bumper sticker at NASA operations at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., April 15, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

IRS under fire: Vote for Obama stickers, campaign cheerleading commonplace

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times

Even as the IRS faces growing heat over Lois G. Lerner and the tea party targeting scandal, a government watchdog said Wednesday it’s pursuing cases against three other tax agency employees and offices suspected of illegal political activity in support of President Obama and fellow Democrats.

In one case the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates federal employees who conduct politics on government time, said it was “commonplace” in a Dallas IRS office for employees to have pro-Obama screensavers on their computers, and to have campaign-style buttons and stickers at their office.

The Utter Smugness of Donald Rumsfeld

The Utter Smugness of Donald Rumsfeld

Peter Osnos 

Errol Morris's new documentary, The Unknown Known, explores the hubris that led to Iraq.

With Robert McNamara in The Fog of War, the filmmaker captured a painful redemption bid. But the star of The Unknown Known doesn't think he needs redemption at all.
Rumsfeld’s jousts with Morris are built around his stream of memos—he estimates there were 20,000 in his years at the Pentagon—and linguistic formulations, the most famous of February 4, 2002, in which he wrote, “There are knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. ... There are also unknown knowns: things you think you know that it turns out you did not.” Whereas McNamara is a man grappling with the consequences of his actions, Rumsfeld, as characterized by Morris, “is a man using language to obscure the world from himself as well as from others.”
Special Ops’ Weapons Wish List

By Michael Peck

America’s special operators are already some of the best-equipped troops in the world. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use a laser blaster or two.

Tactical biometrics. It's not fun to conduct a hazardous snatch of an insurgent leader, only to find you grabbed the wrong guy. Commandos currently can't collect and identify a suspect's DNA records on the spot. USASOC is looking for an instant biometric system, possibly on a smartphone, that can be used in covert operations. 

For Obama Presidency, Lyndon Johnson Looms Large

For Obama Presidency, Lyndon Johnson Looms Large

For better or worse, Johnson represented the high-water mark for American presidents pushing through sweeping legislation — not just the Civil Rights Act, but the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, the Fair Housing Act and major measures on immigration, education, gun control and clean air and water. No president since has approached that level of legislative success, although there are people who argue that is a good thing because government should not be so intrusive.

But Mr. Obama and many Democrats are not among them. At this stage of his presidency, Mr. Obama has become a symbol of liberal frustration over his inability to use government to bring about change. Republicans publicly, and some Democrats privately, blame Mr. Obama for not doing more to work across the aisle. The White House and many Democrats scoff at that, laying stalemate at the feet of what they call an obstructionist Republican Party.

GOP, say bye to votes from women

GOP, say bye to votes from women

GOP, say bye to votes from women

Dana Milbank

Republicans make their ‘war on women’ worse.

This was not the way Republican leaders had planned to observe Equal Pay Day.

On the eve of Tuesday’s commemoration — the day symbolizing how far into 2014 women must work to catch up to the wages men earned in 2013 — a small newspaper in Louisiana, the Ouachita Citizen, reported that its congressman, Republican Rep. Vance McAllister, had been videotaped making out with a low-paid staffer.

McAllister, called the “Duck Dynasty” congressman because of his defense of the Robertson family’s Christian values, issued a statement asking for forgiveness from God, his family, his staff and constituents, and he declared that he still plans to run for reelection. And the woman, a part-timer paid less than $22,000 a year who also received $300 from McAllister to clean out his campaign office? She was terminated as the story broke, the congressman’s chief of staff told another Louisiana paper.

It takes chutzpah to observe Equal Pay Day by sacking the low-wage employee you’ve been snogging.

U.S. Won’t Share Invasion Intel With Ukraine


U.S. Won’t Share Invasion Intel With Ukraine

American spies have spotted all the signs of an all-out Russian invasion of Ukraine. Why won’t they tell the Ukrainians about the forces on their border?

U.S. intelligence agencies now have detailed information that Russia has amassed the kind of forces needed for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. But the Obama administration hasn’t shared with Ukraine the imagery, intercepts, and analysis that pinpont the location of the Russian troops ready to seize more Ukrainian land, The Daily Beast has learned.

President Obama has repeatedly and publicly expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people—and warned Russian leader Vladimir Putin that there will be consequences if he takes over any more Ukrainian territory. Yet Obama’s administration has so far been reluctant to hand over the kind of intelligence the Ukrainians could use to defend themselves. U.S. officials and members of Congress briefed on the crisis in Ukraine tell The Daily Beast that senior U.S. military officers have been instructed to refrain from briefing their Ukrainian counterparts in detail about what the United States knows about the Russians troops amassing on the border.

McCain, Kerry trade personal shots during heated Senate exchange

Seen here at a Senate hearing in December 1992 long before either ran for president, Sen. John Kerry (left) listens to Sen. John McCain. Mr. Kerry offered Mr. McCain the No. 2 spot on his ticket in 2004, but now says he is not fit for the White House.

Pals no more: McCain, Kerry trade personal shots during heated Senate exchange

By Guy Taylor and Ashish Kumar Sen - The Washington Times

“My hero, Teddy Roosevelt, used to say, talk softly but carry a big stick. What you’re doing is talking strongly and carrying a very small stick — in fact, a twig,” McCain said to Kerry.

“I think you’re about to hit the trifecta,” said Mr. McCain, who asserted that peace talks Mr. Kerry has pursued for Syria are in “total collapse,” and that nuclear negotiations with Iran, as well as talks between Israel and Palestine are “finished.”

With an Eye to Detroit’s Woes, Illinois Moves to Ease Chicago’s Pension Problems

With an Eye to Detroit’s Woes, Illinois Moves to Ease Chicago’s Pension Problems

 The Illinois legislature on Tuesday approved a plan to start easing Chicago’s crippling pension problems by requiring some city workers to pay more for their retirement benefits and by granting smaller increases in those benefits.

The move is part of an effort put forth by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to shore up the pension system and presumably would include a proposed property tax increase for Chicago residents, a tax subject to City Council approval.

The experience of Detroit’s bankruptcy seemed to loom over the Illinois legislative negotiations.

Eric Holder explodes at GOP rep: 'You don't want to go there, buddy!'

 Caroline May

United States Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during the Human Rights Campaign's 13th annual Greater New York Gala

Holder unloads after congressman mentions contempt

“I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight,” Gohmert said.

“You don’t want to go there, buddy! You don’t want to go there, okay,” Holder shot back.

“I don’t want to go there?” the Texas Republican responded.

“No,” Holder said, leaning forward in his seat.

Why Women Don’t Vote for Women

Despite generations of women striving for better representation in politics, female candidates do not necessarily get a bump from women voters.

“Party trumps gender. Overwhelmingly, people usually vote their parties,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who frequently polls female voters. “With that said, gender is important for independent voters—the gender of the candidate and the gender of voters. In a general election— it’s usually independent women voters that you fight for at the end.”

Elizabeth Warren, Kingmaker?

Elizabeth Warren, Kingmaker?

By Erika Eichelberger

Inside the Massachusetts senator's fight to keep the Senate blue in 2014.

Democrats' chances of keeping control of the Senate in 2014 don't look great. FiveThirtyEight polling guru Nate Silver recently predicted that "Republicans are now slight favorites to win at least six seats and capture the chamber," and the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog gives the GOP an 80 percent chance of taking the Senate in 2014. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) isn't up for election this year. But the liberal darling is throwing her name—and her fundraising mojo—behind an effort to preserve the Dems' majority.

Warren has already raised $1.2 million this election season for 22 Senate candidates, including Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), according to Warren's political operation. That's a lot of dough. "Most members of Congress are not capable of raising that much for their colleagues…She's a rock star," says Viveca Novak, the editorial director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks the influence of money on politics. And in late March, the Massachusetts senator expanded her 2014 efforts even further, joining up with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), a liberal PAC, to endorse two lucky Senate candidates: Rick Weiland, who is running to replace outgoing Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, and Rep. Bruce Braley, who is vying to take the place of retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

China named ‘most powerful nation’ by economic group

In this file photo taken on Nov. 17, 2009, a bank clerk stacks up renminbi banknotes at a bank in Hefei in central China's Anhui province. China on Friday, Nov. 19, 2010, criticized a U.S. congressional report that called on Washington to do more to force Beijing to increase the value of its currency. (AP Photo)

China named ‘most powerful nation’ by economic group

By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

When it comes to competing on the world market, China is tops, finds a group that tracks nations’ abilities on the economic front.

Tea Party to Jeb Bush: Don’t Tread On Us

Tea Party: We’ve Had Enough Bush

The former Florida governor’s ‘act of love’ immigration comments and support for Obama’s Common Core haven’t endeared him to the grass roots. But it’s his name they really can’t stand.

“I like the gentleman, but I think his comments on immigration are a little screwy,” said Mark Skoda, a Memphis-based talk radio host and the co-founder of the National Tea Party Federation. “It is this notion that the rule of law no longer applies because it is somehow not compassionate. We don’t need ‘compassionate conservatism.’ Conservatism is compassionate because it is about freedom and restoring individual liberty.”

Rand Paul’s Michael Moore Moment

 Dick Cheney may be sniping at the 2016 hopeful now, but Paul once hit even harder—accusing the ex-veep of going into Iraq to help Halliburton. And there’s more where that came from.

Wow. Forget “No blood for oil.” For Paul, America’s Iraq debacle was a mercenary swap of blood for several billion dollars in federal contracts to Cheney’s former company to do everything from put out oil field fires to provide housing for soldiers. That is some serious military-industrial complex paranoia.

Ukraine crisis: US warns Russia of more sanctions over 'saboteurs' in east

Alexander Ermochenko/AP

The US and Russia said their top diplomats would meet soon to seek a way out of the Ukraine crisis, but their starkly opposed interpretations of the turmoil in the east offer little prospect of common ground.

“What’s clear is that this [weekend unrest] is a result of increased Russian pressure on Ukraine,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “We see it in the troops that have massed on the border.” The US suspects Russia is sending paid outsiders into Donetsk and other cities to feed anti-Ukraine sentiment – a suspicion the White House aired with reporters.

Russia’s Ace in the Hole: a Super-Missile It Can Sell to Iran


Russia’s Ace in the Hole: a Super-Missile It Can Sell to Iran

It’s Washington’s nightmare scenario: an aggressive Moscow deciding it’s time to arm Tehran with sophisticated weapons. And it may be closer to reality than you think.

The trade between Moscow and Tehran would alleviate the economic pressure on Iran that the White House has said helped bring the Islamic Republic to the bargaining table. It may even sink the talks President Obama is hoping will persuade Iran to defang its nuclear program.

If those talks fail, then Russia has the leverage to equip Iran with the missile that could defend its centrifuges and reactors from allied air strikes, the S-300.

“I could see as part of this deal [between Tehran and Moscow] that they would agree to transfer advanced missiles to Iran,” said Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the hawkish Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and an expert in the Iran sanctions. “If [Russian president Vladimir] Putin became angry enough over the West’s financial punishment of Russia, he could put in play the S-300 deal.”

The S-300 has long been Moscow’s top-of-the-line air defense system. The current model is comparable to U.S. Patriot missile batteries. The S-300 deploys sophisticated radars, launch vehicles and missiles to shoot aircraft and even ballistic missiles out of the sky. Russia has also threatened to sell the system to Syria, whose hapless air force was hacked by Israel in 2007, rendering its anti-aircraft defenses useless when Israel bombed the al-Kibar nuclear facility.

The Culture of Shut Up

The Culture of Shut Up

Jon Lovett

Too many debates about important issues degenerate into manufactured and misplaced outrage—and it's chilling free speech.

The right to free speech begins and ends with the First Amendment, but there is a vast middle where our freedom of speech is protected by our capacity to listen and accept that people disagree.
Meet Al Sharpton: FBI informant

 Jim Treacher

Rev. Al Sharpton speaks to the media outside Macy's after meeting with company officials in New York

We all know the Rev. Al is a fashion plate, but have you seen his snitch jacket? The Smoking Gun:

Beginning in the mid-1980s and spanning several years, Sharpton’s cooperation was fraught with danger since the FBI’s principal targets were leaders of the Genovese crime family, the country’s largest and most feared Mafia outfit. In addition to aiding the FBI/NYPD task force, which was known as the “Genovese squad,” Sharpton’s cooperation extended to several other investigative agencies.

TSG’s account of Sharpton’s secret life as “CI-7” is based on hundreds of pages of confidential FBI affidavits, documents released by the bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records, and extensive interviews with six members of the Genovese squad, as well as other law enforcement officials to whom the activist provided assistance…

Do Liberal Policies Make People Happier?

Do Liberal Policies Make People Happier?

By Alex Lickerman, M.D.

Though I'm loathe to wade into any discussion of politics in a public forum—and at the risk of earning the ire of conservatives—I want to explore in this post an argument put forth by Professor Benjamin Radcliff in his new book The Political Economy of Human Happiness that policies typically associated with the political left lead to greater happiness for citizens

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