The Democratic Party of Yes vs. the Republican Party of No

Ku Klux Klan march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL

Ku Klux Klan march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL

Last Saturday’s event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, marking the 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, was a jarring reminder of how the Democratic Party has become the party of “Yes” while the Republican Party stands in the way of progress as the party of “No.”

On issue after issue, including voting rights, marriage equality, affordable healthcare, equal pay for women, diplomacy instead of warmongering with Iran, tackling climate change, comprehensive immigration reform, sensible gun safety laws, high-speed trains, stopping police violence, renewable energy and more, the Democrats are the party of “Yes” while the Republicans define themselves by being against these things, and especially, being against whatever President Obama is for. Republicans now pathologically say “no” to things even if, as is the case with the Affordable Care Act, repairing America’s crumbling roads and bridges, and executive action on immigration, Republicans previously (even recently) supported those very things.

Conference call on vaccines with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

German measles (rubella) vaccination, Nagpur, India

German measles (rubella) vaccination, Nagpur, India

Last Tuesday, MomsRising.org held a conference call featuring U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who spoke about measles vaccines. The call also featured Dr. Bruce Gellen, who is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Amanda Cohen of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

MomsRising.org focuses on children’s and family health issues, including working for common-sense gun safety laws. Thus, the group formed a natural pairing with Gen. Murthy, whose nomination for Surgeon General was delayed for more than a year by pressure from the National Rifle Association, after Murthy stated that “guns are a health care issue.” Indeed, it took an ebola outbreak and the beginning of a measles outbreak traced to Disneyland in California to focus attention on the contradiction between Republican fear-mongering and the lack of a U.S. Surgeon General. The U.S. Senate finally confirmed Murthy, along with other Executive Branch nominees last December, during the lame duck session of Congress, and only as a result of the Democrats having changed Senate rules in November 2013 to prevent filibustering Executive Branch nominees.

Republicans on a losing streak

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

If someone had told you that, in the months after the Republican Party’s historic 2014 Congressional election wins, Republicans would suffer one self-inflicted defeat and embarrassment after another, you might have told that person that he was nuts. But that is exactly what has happened to the Republican Party since last November’s elections. Here are some of the highlights, or more accurately, lowlights:

President Obama’s striking town hall meeting on immigration

Protester at 2010 immigration reform rally

Protester at 2010 immigration reform rally

Yesterday, President Barack Obama participated in a town hall meeting on immigration, hosted by Jose Diaz-Barlart of Telemundo network and held before an audience at Florida International University in Miami. The Obama town hall meeting, broadcast on Telemundo and MSNBC, was striking for several reasons:

First, Diaz-Balart (who was shrill and seemed to be yelling much of the time) and some members of the audience displayed a shocking lack of knowledge about how the United States government works. They need to reread their U.S. Constitution, or at least watch Schoolhouse Rock. For example, Diaz-Balart seemed exasperated at the Obama administration that a federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked Obama’s recent executive action on immigration (which would suspend many deportations in order to keep families together) from taking place. Diaz-Balart asked Obama:

How long will it take?  Because a lot of people are asking.  They said, we were 24 hours away from registering for the expanded DACA and just months from DAPA.  This happens 12 hours before.  What’s going to happen now? How long is it going to take?  And, again, a lot of the questions are, was the President caught by surprise?  And why is it taking so long?  This is what we’re getting, Mr. President.

Anatomy of Rudolph Giuliani’s racist fail

Caricature of authoritarian Rudolph Giuliani

Caricature of authoritarian Rudolph Giuliani

The age of rapid political blowback, helped along by social media sharing, is upon us, and Rudolph Giuliani‘s racist remarks against President Barack Obama are the latest example. Here is a rough timeline of how Giuliani was hoist with his own petard:

Social media and the fall of Brian Williams

Brian Williams as Willi Vanilli

Brian Williams as Willi Vanilli

Chris Cillizza wrote a short Washington Post piece last Friday entitled “Who had the worst week in Washington? NBC’s Brian Williams.” Cillizza’s op-ed described how NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was taken down by social media. In particular, Williams was placed on six months’ unpaid suspension, and may lose his job permanently, as a direct result of a Facebook comment by helicopter flight engineer Lance Reynolds, who disputed Williams’ oft-repeated story about being on a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire during the Iraq War. The social media takedown of Brian Williams was a keen observation by Cillizza, but social media are responsible for much than just Brian Williams’ job status. The Brian Williams debacle might be remembered as the moment where social media, and the Internet itself, overtook  television.

Jeb Bush feels the heat of the campaign kitchen

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush being introduced at World Affairs Council of Philadelphia in 2012

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush being introduced at World Affairs Council of Philadelphia in 2012

Former Florida Governor John E. “Jeb” Bush has not even officially announced that he is running for President yet, but already Bush finds himself under attack. Among the early attacks against Bush are:

Disneyland, measles vaccines and the illusion of choice

Disneyland crowd

Disneyland crowd

“I went to Disneyland and all I got was this t-shirt” is now a good thing, given that Disneyland in Anaheim, California is considered Ground Zero for the current U.S. measles outbreak. This outbreak of measles has now spread to 14 states with 102 reported cases as of January 30, which is double the pace of reported cases from last year. Experts agree that the measles outbreak at Disneyland and across the United States is a result of people who have not been vaccinated. In California alone, scores of parents at some schools have refused to vaccinate their children by signing a “personal belief exemption,” which is also available in a number of other U.S. states. Some of these so-called “anti-vaxxers” unfortunately have fallen prey to thoroughly debunked false information alleging that vaccines cause autism and other scary problems.

Republicans making mischief with Israel PM Netanyahu visit

John Boehner and Republicans at September 2013 rally to shut down federal government

John Boehner and Republicans at September 2013 rally to shut down federal government

Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner‘s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vividly demonstrates that, after winning both houses of Congress in last November’s election, Republicans have no desire to work with President Obama or the Democrats for the common good. Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu is Republican political mischief-making in the extreme.

Interview with Kim Williams of Indie Media Weekly

Kim Williams during her U.S. Air Force days

Kim Williams during her U.S. Air Force days

Indie media mogul. How else to describe Kim Williams, who manages her own online network showcasing a growing roster of progressive and creative talent? Kim has had an amazing, sometimes bumpy, journey from the Reddest of states to the first Iraq War to her current position as curator of online goodness (disclosure: Messaging Matters, as well as the “Turn Up the Night with Kenny Pick” show for which the author is a co-host, are both featured at Kim’s Indie Media Weekly site). We recently caught up with Kim, and we were exhilarated by her accomplishments as well as her views. We think you will be too: