In Paris attack, Republicans draw first blood

Second Life commemorates the Paris attacks the next day

Second Life commemorates the Paris attacks the next day

The terrorist attack perpetrated in Paris on Friday night was shocking. Also shocking, however, was the speed in which Republicans and conservatives made ugly public statements to score political points. For example, a number of the Republican presidential candidates, not surprisingly, blamed President Obama. Donald Trump, doubling down on a statement he made last January after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, said the problem was too many gun laws in France. Ann Coulter tweeted that “Donald Trump was elected tonight.” Coulter explained in other tweets that Trump’s anti-immigration policies for America somehow would prevent the type of terrorist attack that occurred in Paris. Newt Gingrich, like Trump, suggested that the Paris attacks could have been thwarted by “10 to 15 citizens with concealed carry permits.” And conservative writer Judith Miller (who is infamous for cheerleading George W. Bush‘s Iraq War in the New York Times) almost incoherently tried to use the Paris attack to argue why black American college students should have no problem with racial discrimination against them.

Democratic vs. Republican Presidents Part 4: Choosing Federal Judges

The U.S. Supreme Court's conservative Republican majority

The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative Republican majority

(This is the fourth installment in a series about differences between Democratic and Republican presidents in areas where they have direct control. See our Democratic vs. Republican Presidents category for the rest.)

For some voters, the president’s constitutional power to nominate U.S. Supreme Court Justices when vacancies occur is reason enough to vote for one political party or the other. But it goes much deeper than that. The president’s power to nominate all federal judges when vacancies occur is crucial to the direction of the country on nearly every issue, including marriage equality, guns, crime, civil rights, taxes, the environment, etc.

Democratic vs. Republican Presidents Part 3: Disaster Relief

"Where Is FEMA?" t-shirt sold in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

“Where Is FEMA?” t-shirt sold in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

(This is the third installment in a series about differences between Democratic and Republican Presidents in areas where they have direct control. See our Democratic vs. Republican Presidents category for the rest.)

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan famously said: “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” Reagan’s statement epitomizes the conservative anti-government philosophy that has taken hold among Republican presidents and presidential candidates. This is a huge difference between Republicans and Democrats, and this difference is especially apparent when it comes to disaster relief.

Democratic vs. Republican Presidents Part 2: Energy Policy

Ivanpah solar energy facility, California

Ivanpah solar energy facility, California

(This is the second installment in a series about differences between Democratic and Republican Presidents in areas where they have direct control. See our Democratic vs. Republican Presidents category for the rest.)

In June 1979, Democratic U.S. President Jimmy Carter had 32 solar panels installed on the roof of the White House, for water heating. By 1986, Republican President Ronald Reagan had the panels removed, and also:

gutted the research and development budgets for renewable energy at the then-fledgling U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) and eliminated tax breaks for the deployment of wind turbines and solar technologies—recommitting the nation to reliance on cheap but polluting fossil fuels, often from foreign suppliers.

This see-sawing between Republican and Democratic presidents on energy policy continues today. It’s fair to say that Republican presidents never saw a fossil fuel they didn’t like, while Democratic presidents have made efforts toward conservation and the development and use of clean, renewable energy.

Glimpsing the future of politics at Politicon Los Angeles

James Carville meets Trevor Noah at Politicon 2015

James Carville meets Trevor Noah at Politicon 2015

Los Angeles is one of the finalists to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, but L.A. had its own early Summer Olympics this this past Friday and Saturday, at the first L.A. Politicon convention. The stadium was the L.A. Convention Center, and the athletes were the stars of the political and entertainment worlds who joined together to demonstrate what has become obvious: that politics and entertainment have merged.

Democratic vs. Republican Presidents Part 1: Communications Policy

Janet Jackson's FCC "Nipplegate" moment

Janet Jackson’s FCC “Nipplegate” moment

Under the U.S. Constitution, presidents have certain limited powers, but in the 21st Century, the president also controls a huge machinery of government. It’s almost impossible to come up with an exhaustive list of all the things presidents exercise authority over, but we’ve started such a list. We’ll be doing a series, with each post describing one or more categories where presidents are heavily involved. Please take a look at the series, and you will see the difference between having a Republican and a Democrat in the White House, and why the 2016 elections are therefore so crucial:

Chuck Todd and colleagues enabled Boehner

John Boehner at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference

John Boehner at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference

After announcing his resignation from Congress, Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner told John Dickerson of CBS“Face the Nation” that we should “beware of false prophets” from the Republican Party who promise things that they know can’t happen in our current government, such as repealing the Affordable Care Act. Most people think that Boehner was referring to Republican U.S. Senator Rafael “Ted” Cruz, among others. However, the corporate mainstream media are giving John Boehner a pass by portraying Boehner as the adult in the room who was unable to manage an unruly Republican right wing, when in fact Boehner was part of the GOP’s anti-government anarchy. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said upon hearing the news of Boehner’s resignation, the Republican Party is “a political party at war with its own government.”

Pope Francis vs. the Republicans

Pope Francis t-shirt vendors

Pope Francis t-shirt vendors

“The Catholic Church is now more progressive on both science and social issues than the GOP.” That’s the message coming from the humorous meme site lolworthy.com, accompanied by a photo of an astronaut on a spacewalk. Once again, the humorists have it right. The visit of Pope Francis to the United States is most noteworthy in the contrast between the Pope’s hopeful, humanistic message and the negative reaction from many in the Republican party.

Speaking before a joint session of Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis said some things that appeared to go against current Republican dogma:

The mainstream media are reverse engineering the 2016 election

Republican Presidential Primary debate, September 16, 2015

Republican Presidential Primary debate, September 16, 2015

If you are trying to decode the rather bizarre mainstream media coverage of the 2016 election, it’s pretty simple: The corporate mainstream media are reverse engineering the election to suit their profit motives, and maybe their political biases as well. Take a look at what they’re doing, after the jump:

Yosemite National Park: the best of good government

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

We have previously touted the benefits of “good government,” from Social Security to Superstorm Sandy relief. But perhaps no result of good government is more beloved than America’s fabulous national parks. And the first park land set aside in America by the federal government for public use — by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 — was the land that is now Yosemite National Park.