Chris Christie, Then and Now

“Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular — to be popular! — to say and do what is easy, and say yes rather than to say no when no is what’s required. I believe we have become paralyzed — paralyzed — by our desire to be loved.”

– Gov. Chris Christie (R), in a speech to the 2012 Republican National Convention.

“I think they love me in Iowa, too. I’ve been there a lot. I think they love me there too, especially because of the way I am.”

– Christie, in an interview yesterday with ABC News.

via Chris Christie, Then and Now.

“The Question That History Has Put on the Agenda”

“The question today is not democracy or dictatorship. The question that history has put on the agenda reads: bourgeois democracy or socialist democracy. For the dictatorship of the proletariat does not mean bombs, putsches, riots, and anarchy, as the agents of capitalist profits deliberately and falsely claim. Rather, it means using all instruments of political power to achieve socialism, to expropriate the capitalist class, through and in accordance with the will of the revolutionary majority of the proletariat.”

-The Spartacist Manifesto of 1918

Even More Young People Tilting Toward Democrats – But polls also show support for ObamaCare is at just 26%

(NEWSER) – Young voters have almost always leaned Democrat, but that trend has intensified drastically since 2006, according to a new Gallup report. From 1993 to 2003, an average of 47% of 18-to-29-year-olds identified as Democrats or independents who leaned Democrat, compared to 42% who identified or leaned Republican; in 1994 and 1995 Republicans even briefly had an edge. But since 2006 that gap has exploded, and is now at 54% to 36%.

via Even More Young People Tilting Toward Democrats – But polls also show support for ObamaCare is at just 26%.

“I’m a Republican, and You Should Get Covered” | The White House

am a staunch Republican, a self-proclaimed Fox News addict, and I didn’t vote for the President. And I’m here to tell you that Obamacare works. I’m living proof.

I’m a chemotherapy patient, and was previously paying $428 a month for my health coverage. I was not thrilled when it was cancelled.

Then I submitted an application at HealthCare.gov. I looked at my options. And I signed up for a plan for $62 a month.

It’s the best health care I have ever had.

So right now, here’s what I want to tell anyone who still needs health insurance, or knows someone who does:

Sign up. Follow the instructions on the website. Apply, and look at your options. You still have time, and take it from me: This is something you want to do.

via "I'm a Republican, and You Should Get Covered" | The White House.

Obama Vs. Reagan Deficits – Business Insider

Why isn’t the economy surging?

Because we’re still running a policy of government austerity.

This chart, via our friend Matt Busigin, shows that at this point in his Presidency, Reagan was running a deficit as a % of GDP that’s higher than what Obama is today.

via Obama Vs. Reagan Deficits – Business Insider.

UN rights expert urges US to end ‘torture’ of prisoner | Al Jazeera America

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture criticized the United States’ use of solitary confinement in prisons Monday.

Special rapporteur Juan E. Mendez called on the U.S. to end the indefinite solitary confinement imposed on Albert Woodfox, who has been in solitary for over 40 years after being convicted of murdering a Louisiana prison guard.

Woodfox and two others were moved to isolation units at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, where they came to be known as the “Angola 3.”

“Keeping Albert Woodfox in solitary confinement for more than four decades clearly amounts to torture, and it should be lifted immediately,” Mendez said.

“The circumstances of the incarceration of the so-called Angola 3 clearly show that the use of solitary confinement in the U.S. penitentiary system goes far beyond what is acceptable under international human rights law,” he added.

Herman Wallace, another member of the Angola 3, died Friday, less than a week after being released after more than 40 years in solitary confinement. Wallace, 71, had been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and stopped receiving treatment.

via UN rights expert urges US to end 'torture' of prisoner | Al Jazeera America.

UN slams US for torture, NSA spying | Al Jazeera America

A wide-ranging United Nations report released Thursday strongly criticizes the United States for a host of human rights concerns — from jailing the homeless and sentencing juveniles to life sentences, to drone warfare and spying by the National Security Agency.

While the U.N. praised some steps the U.S. government has taken, like curbing human trafficking and a 2009 ban on Central Intelligence Agency torture and secret detention, the report’s authors found the U.S. wanting on 25 human rights issues.

“The U.S. is adept at demanding human rights change from other governments, while failing to meet international standards itself,” said Jose Luis Diaz, Amnesty International representative at the United Nations.

Diaz welcomed the U.N.’s recommendations on torture transparency and calls for ending the death penalty nationwide, as well as limiting the use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. 

“It must implement the recommendations of the Human Rights Committee without delay,” said Diaz.

via UN slams US for torture, NSA spying | Al Jazeera America.

Kagan Throws Scalia’s Own Religious Liberty Arguments Back In His Face

During oral arguments Tuesday about the validity of Obamacare’s birth control mandate, Justice Elena Kagan cleverly invoked Justice Antonin Scalia’s past warning that religious-based exceptions to neutral laws could lead to “anarchy.”

“Your understanding of this law, your interpretation of it, would essentially subject the entire U.S. Code to the highest test in constitutional law, to a compelling interest standard,” she told Paul Clement, the lawyer arguing against the mandate for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. “So another employer comes in and that employer says, I have a religious objection to sex discrimination laws; and then another employer comes in, I have a religious objection to minimum wage laws; and then another, family leave; and then another, child labor laws. And all of that is subject to the exact same test which you say is this unbelievably high test, the compelling interest standard with the least restrictive alternative.”

Kagan’s remarks might sound familiar to the legally-trained ear. In a 1990 majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith, Scalia alluded to the same examples of what might happen if religious entities are permitted to claim exemptions from generally applicable laws. He warned that “[a]ny society adopting such a system would be courting anarchy.”

“The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind,” Scalia wrote in the 6-3 opinion, “ranging from compulsory military service, to the payment of taxes, to health and safety regulation such as manslaughter and child neglect laws, compulsory vaccination laws, drug laws, and traffic laws; to social welfare legislation such as minimum wage laws, child labor laws, animal cruelty laws, environmental protection laws, and laws providing for equality of opportunity for the races.”

via Kagan Throws Scalia's Own Religious Liberty Arguments Back In His Face.

10 worst right-wing moments of the week — Rush Limbaugh, standup comedian – Salon.com

While Neil deGrasse Tyson has the creationists all in a tizzy, the right has quietly amped up its war on women, and this week, it seemed Republicans have trotted out some of their women as cover. Michelle, Sarah, watch out. You’ve got some competition.

via 10 worst right-wing moments of the week — Rush Limbaugh, standup comedian – Salon.com.