Rage. Probably political rage. Maybe just personal rage. Lots of sarcasm and cynicism. Also pretty pictures.
(Media Matters) - Fox Nation and Fox News Latino are once again selling different versions of the same story to pander to conservative audiences while simultaneously attempting to court Latino readers.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the Obama administration announced Wednesday that it would create an easier process for undocumented immigrants who are relatives of American citizens to apply for permanent residency in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, which issued the new rule, hopes to reduce the amount of time families spend apart while relatives seek to obtain legal status. The change is set to take effect March 4, and approved applicants will be required to return to their native country to retrieve their visas.
Fox News Latino reported the story with the headline, “US Eases Path to Legalization for Some Immigrants, Keeps Families Together,” accompanied by a photo of individuals at a rally for immigration reform (top photo).
If the photo looks familiar, it’s because Fox Nation used the same one in a June story attacking the Obama administration’s decision to halt deportations of undocumented children.
Fox News Latino has received sharp criticism from Latino leaders who argue that the site lacks credibility, given that it seeks to attract and profit from Latino readers while its parent network and partner websites demonize immigrants.
This dichotomy persists even as Fox News hosts abruptly softened their anti-immigrant positions after the November 6 election, in which Latino voters heavily favored President Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
House Speaker John Boehner yanked the bill to provide $60 billion in emergency aid to states ravaged by Hurricane Sandy to get back at a top lieutenant who defied him over the Fiscal Cliff fix, Congressional sources said Wednesday.
Boehner was angry, the sources said, when Majority Leader Eric Cantor led the revolt Tuesday by conservative House Republicans against the Fiscal Cliff compromise that wound up being passed later in the day, the sources said.
So rather than let Cantor bring the Sandy aid bill he had hammered out with New York and New Jersey lawmakers to the floor for a vote, Boehner (R-Ohio) pulled rank and tabled it - likely killing the aid package for the current session of Congress, which ends Thursday.
Boehner’s decision to pull the bill triggered outrage Wednesday from both Republicans and Democrats in New York and other states devastated by Sandy. They said his decision forces tens of thousands of storm victims to wait even longer for help.
His voice shaking, Rep. Pete King, a Long Island Republican, took to the floor of the House Wednesday morning to launch an extrordinary attack against Boehner, his own political leader.
King called it a “cruel knife in the back” to New York and New Jersey.
Gov. Cuomo, a Democrat, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, issued a joint statement calling the House’s inaction a “dereliction of duty.”
And at a Manhattan press conference, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “Speaker Boehner pulled out the rug from us at the last minute.” He added, “This failure to get relief now could be called the Boehner betrayal.”
The New York Daily News, “Sources: House Speaker Yanked $60 Billion In Sandy Aid Out of Spite.”
Last night, the House of Representatives failed that most basic test of public service, and they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state. If you want an example of how non-partisan this issue should have been, I offer this for your consideration: near midnight last night, conservative Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California both spoke on the floor in concert with each other in support of (the Hurricane Sandy) aid package. It’s one for the record books, I suspect.
On the equities, this one should be a no-brainer for the House Republicans, as well. Both New York and New Jersey used the international firm of McKinsey & Co. to assess and quantify the damage to our states. Our professional staffs have spent countless hours with Congressional staff providing leadership and backup documentation for ALL of the damage claims. Governor Cuomo and I have spent hours and hours speaking to individual members of the House and Senate to answer their questions. We worked with President Obama and his administration to satisfy them of the urgent need of this $60 billion aid package.
This was good enough for 62 United States Senators — of both parties — to vote for this package. This was good enough for a majority of the House of Representatives. It overcame all the factual challenges. It just could not overcome the toxic, internal politics of the House majority.
Finally, New Jersey and New York are perenially among the most generous states in the nation to our fellow states. We vote for disaster relief for other states in need; we are donor states sending much more to Washington D.C. than we ever get back in federal spending. Despite this history of unbridled generosity, in our hour of desperate need, we’ve been left waiting for help six times longer than the victims of Katrina with no end in sight.
Americans are tired of the palace intrigue and political partisanship of this Congress which places one-upsmanship ahead of the lives of the citizens who sent these people to Washington D.C. in the first place.
New Jerseyans and New Yorkers are tired of being treated like second-class citizens. New York deserves better than the selfishness that we saw displayed last night; New Jersey deserves better than the duplicity we saw on display last night. America deserves better than just another example of the government that has forgotten who they’re there to serve, and why.
66 days and counting. Shame on you; shame on Congress.
Christie would later make his anger crystal clear: “All I can tell you is this was the Speaker’s decision. His alone.”
AUSTIN, Texas (Daily News) — Texas can cut off funding to Planned Parenthood’s family planning programs for poor women, a state judge ruled Monday, requiring thousands to find new state-approved doctors for their annual exams, cancer screenings and birth control.
Judge Gary Harger said that Texas may exclude otherwise qualified doctors and clinics from receiving state funding if they advocate for abortion rights.
Texas has long banned the use of state funds for abortion, but had continued to reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics for providing basic health care to poor women through the state’s Women’s Health Program. The program provides preventive care to 110,000 poor women a year, and Planned Parenthood clinics were treating 48,000 of them.
Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit to stop the rule will still go forward, but the judge decided Monday that the ban may go into effect for now. In seeking a temporary restraining order, Planned Parenthood wanted its patients to be able to see their current doctors until a final decision was made.
“We are pleased the court rejected Planned Parenthood’s latest attempt to skirt state law,” attorney general spokeswoman Lauren Bean said. “The Texas Attorney General’s office will continue to defend the Texas Legislature’s decision to prohibit abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving taxpayer dollars through the Women’s Health Program.”
All I can do right now is facepalm.
(Mother Jones) - John Boehner gave up on fiscal cliff negotiations after he was unable to get House Republicans to agree to any proposal at all, even one that he himself had crafted. The fate of the Republic, he said, was now in the Senate’s hands. So how is Mitch McConnell handling things?
An aide said Wednesday that McConnell had not been in contact with any top Democrats, including Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader, during the holiday break….Always cautious, McConnell has kept a decidedly low profile during the last few weeks of political theater in the Capitol….Behind the scenes, he  helped devise Boehner’s Plan B maneuver, which failed to gain enough Republican votes to be brought up in the House. In the aftermath of that defeat, however, McConnell may be unwilling to take on the job of deal-maker. The reasons reflect the pressures that have buffeted his fellow Republicans.
“I cannot emphasize how little a constructive role he will play in this,” Democratic strategist Jim Manley, a former top Reid aide, said of McConnell. “He’s going to be very reluctant to get involved, and to the extent he does get involved, he’s going to move very slowly.”
No Republican dares to be associated with a tax increase, including McConnell. Grover Norquist and his blood pledge still control them all. Will this change after January 1, when the conversation is no longer about raising taxes, but about lowering them? That would make sense, but sense is in short supply these days in the GOP caucus. Here’s the best quote in the entire story:
“The president made a strategic miscalculation and overreached,” said one GOP aide granted anonymity to discuss party strategy. “He could have worked to reach a fair agreement, but instead he picked a fight, poisoned the well, and now we are likely to have a rather unproductive next four years. The decision he made only hurts himself.”
The president overreached! He spent an entire year campaigning on letting tax rates go up modestly on the rich, and then, after winning a convincing victory in November he insisted on … letting tax rates go up modestly on the rich. In GOP-land, that constitutes “poisoning the well,” and it will now become the official excuse for another four years of bitter obstruction and spittle-flecked conspiracy theories. The whole process took less than two months from start to finish. Happy New Year, everyone.
Two Years Ago, John Boehner promised to be “Laser Focused on Jobs and the Economy” So what has the GOP House been up to?
House Bills passed:
46 Bills on Abortion
113 Bills on Religion
73 Bills on Family Relationships
36 Bills on Marriage
72 Bills on Firearms
604 Bills on Taxation
437 Bills on Govt Investigations
Bills attempted and failed to be passed even by the GOP:
33 attempts to Defund Obamacare…..Failed
15 attempts to Cut Funding for Planned Parenthood……Failed
3 Attempts to Cut Funding for VA Hospitals…….Failed.
GOP blocked bills:
Blocked bill to aid Small Business
Blocked Unemployment extension
Blocked Bank Reform Bills
Blocked Campaign Finance Reform and open Contributions Law
Blocked MULTIPLE Jobs Bills
Blocked Infrastructure Bill
Blocked Ending Tax Breaks for companies that Outsource Jobs
Blocked Wall Street Reform
Blocked Energy Legislation
Blocked Mine Safety Bill
Blocked Oil Spill Liability Cap increase
Blocked Bill to lower Oil Company Tax Breaks
Blocked Bill to impose charging American Oil Companies on Oil achieved in the Gulf
Number of TRUE Jobs Bills even allowed to come to a vote in the House….NONE.
I understand the reflexive establishment posture, which suggests partisan observations are necessarily wrong, but consider recent events: the fiscal talks have broken down because Republicans won’t compromise and accept meaningful concessions; the farm bill and the Violence Against Women Act are stuck because Republicans won’t vote on them; efforts to reduce gun violence face extremely long odds because Republicans are beholden to the NRA; a U.N. treaty on disabilities was killed because Republicans believed extremist conspiracy theories; the process of filling President Obama’s second term cabinet is stalled because of Republican smear campaigns; and another debt-ceiling crisis is underway because Republicans are threatening to hurt Americans on purpose unless Democrats pay a steep ransom.
It’s not “both their fault.” One side is being reasonable; the other side is being nihilistic. One need not be partisan or biased to see what is plainly true.
It was the centerpiece of the President’s reelection campaign. Every time Republicans complained about trillion-dollar deficits, he and other Democrats would talk jobs.
That’s what Americans care about — jobs with good wages.
And that’s part of why Obama and the Democrats were victorious on Election Day.
It seems forever ago, but it’s worth recalling that President Obama won reelection by more than 4 million votes, a million more than George W. Bush when he was reelected — and an electoral college majority of 332 to Romney’s 206, again larger than Bush’s electoral majority over Kerry in 2004 (286 to 251). The Democratic caucus in the Senate now has 55 members (up from 53 before Election Day), and Republicans have 8 fewer seats in the House than before.
So why, exactly, is Washington back to obsessing about budget deficits? Why is almost all the news coming out of our nation’s capital about whether the Democrats or Republicans have the best plan to reduce the budget deficit? Why are we back to showdowns over the deficit?
It makes no sense economically. Cutting the budget deficit — either by reducing public spending or raising taxes on the middle class, or both — will slow the economy and increase unemployment. That’s why the so-called “fiscal cliff” is so dangerous.
In the foreseeable future our government has to spend more rather than less. Businesses won’t hire because they still don’t have enough consumers to justify additional hires. So to get jobs back at the rate and scale needed, government has to be the spender of last resort.
The job situation is still horrendous. Twenty-three million Americans can’t find full-time work. Less than 59 percent of the working-age population of the nation is employed, almost the lowest percent in three decades. 4.8 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months. The 40-week average spell of joblessness is almost three times the post-1948 average.
And even those who have jobs are finding it harder to make ends meet. Jobs created since the trough of the recession pay less than jobs that were lost. The median wage is 8 percent below what it was in 2000, adjusted for inflation. And wages are still heading downward: Average hourly earnings in October were 3.1 percent below what they were in October, 2010.
This isn’t just an ongoing tragedy for 23 million Americans and their families. It also robs all of us of what these people would produce if they were fully employed – roughly $2 trillion worth of goods and services that won’t be created this year.
These folks would also be paying taxes — and they’d require less unemployment insurance, fewer food stamps, and less public assistance than they do now. According to estimates by Bloomberg News, the total cost of those lost tax revenues and the extra social spending is more than twice what taxpayers will shell out this year to pay interest on the federal debt.
In other words, unemployment is hugely expensive. Debt, by contrast, is relatively cheap. The yield on the 10-year Treasury is only about 1.7 percent. Creditors worldwide are willing to lend America money that won’t be repaid for a decade at the lowest rate in living memory.
So why are we debating how to cut the deficit when we should be debating how best to use the cheap money we can borrow from the rest of the world to put more Americans to work?
Because too many Democrats inside and outside the Beltway have ingested the deficit cool-aide that the “serious people” on Wall Street have serving for two decades.
And the President has been all too willing to legitimize their deficit obsession by freezing federal salaries, appointing a deficit commission, and, now that the election is over, going back to deficit-speak.
A month after the election Obama was on Bloomberg Television saying business leaders need “a deal on long-term deficit reduction” before they’ll increase hiring.
That’s just not true. Before they’ll increase hiring they need customers.
This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
- Gaza is celebrating after the end of an eight day conflict between Hamas and Israel, which resulted in 162 Palestinian deaths and 3 Israeli deaths, but the first post-ceasefire violence already claimed a life this morning. Israeli troops shot dead one Palestinian man and wounded nine others along Gaza’s border fence. The reports say the incident looks unlikely to jeopardize the ceasefire.
- A set of photos by Mosa’ab Elshamy from inside Gaza during the siege.
- Al Jazeera looks at the social media war between Hamas and Israel.
- Related #longreads piece at Boston Review: Colin Dayan, “How Not to Talk About Gaza.”
- Nadim Baba, Al Jazeera English’s Gaza correspondent, answered questions in a Reddit AMA.
- Assad’s government says that aid to rebels is aid to terrorists, angry at the foreign governments who have acknowledged the opposition.
- The Atlantic on the powerful role children have played in the Syrian revolution.
- Jordan has charged 89 activists with inciting violent revolt.
- A review of two books on extremism in Yemen at the New York Review of Books.
- Protests erupted in Cairo on the anniversary of the fatal protests against SCAF on Mohammed Mahmoud Street.
- After three days of protests, some demonstrators fire-bombed one of Al Jazeera’s offices.
- Egyptian president Morsy has assumed new powers, declaring that judiciary system cannot block any of his orders, and ordering the retrial of Mubarak and his top aides for the killing of revolutionary protesters and created a specific new “protection of the revolution” judiciary body to carry out these trials.
- Benghazi police chief Faraj al-Deirsy was killed in front of his home.
- M23 rebels in the Congo have taken the city of Goma, the country’s largest and most strategic city. They now vow to take the capital of Kinshasa. The Security Council has backed a resolution calling for sanctions against the M23 rebels and cessation of foreign aid to them.
- Former Sudanese intelligence chief Salah Gosh and a number of top army officers have been arrested over a plot which ”targeted the stability of the state and some leaders of the state.”
- Simon Allison visits Yida refugee camp in South Sudan, labeled the most difficult refugee camp in the world.
- The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo, the wife of former Côte d’Ivoire president Laurent Gbagbo, who is already awaiting trial in the Hague. Simone Gbagbo, who was an active campaigner for her husband, is wanted for crimes against humanity following the 2010 elections. [pdf of the actual ICC warrant]
- Amnesty International has released a report condemning the failure of Bahrain to reform, instead ratcheting up the repression of political dissent.
- The death of Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti in custody raises serious questions about the powers granted to Iran’s cyber police.
- Iranian opposition leaders Musavi and Karrubi are both in poor health.
- Karzai ordered the takeover of Bagram Prison, accusing Americans of having failed to carry out the agreed-upon transfer of the prison to Afghan control.
- For the Afghan war, five generals in five years (nearly two dozen since late 2001).
- Russia eyes opportunities for cultural outreach in Afghanistan.
- France officially ended its combat operations in Afghanistan on Tuesday when it pulled hundreds of troops from volatile Kapisa province.
- The UN drug agency released a report finding that more land in Afghanistan is being cultivated for poppy growth than last year, the second year of poppy growth expansion. Despite efforts by the Afghan government, the land area devoted to poppies grew by nearly a fifth. [pdf]
- Former US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, speaks out about his battles with the CIA with regards to the drone program.
- The lone surviving gunman of the 2008 Mumbai attack which killed more than 160 people, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, was executed in an Indian prison. Kasab was one of ten members of Pakistani group Lashkar e-Taiba who attacked Mumbai’s main railway station.
- Colombia’s main rebel group, FARC, have announced a Christmas ceasefire that will last until January 20th as part of ongoing peace talks in Cuba.
- Four Southern California men have been arrested in a terror plot.
- The UN Committee Against Torture has adopted General Comment No. 3 which is an authoritative interpretation of the right to redress, and is the first such clarification of this area of international law by a UN body [pdf].
- According to a new report, 70 percent of retired three and four star generals took jobs with defense contractors or consultants.