Category: Prime Politics Written by New Pittsburgh Courier
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sweeping aside a century of precedent, Democrats took a chunk out of the Senate’s hallowed filibuster tradition on Thursday and cleared the way for speedy confirmation of controversial appointments made by President Barack Obama and chief executives in the future.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, who orchestrated the change.
Last Updated on Friday, 22 November 2013 06:31
Category: Prime Politics Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
(CNN) - Comments from last year by the father of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, including a desire to send President Barack Obama "back to Kenya," are creating a new controversy Thursday.
A story by the left-leaning news organization Mother Jones highlights a series of newly surfaced videos that also feature Rafael Cruz calling the United States "a Christian nation," urging men to reclaim their place as the "spiritual" head of the household and lambasting the so-called "death panels" that some conservatives claim are in the President’slaw.
The elder Cruz, a successful businessman turned evangelical pastor, and an immigrant from Cuba, along with his son, has become a hero among many tea party activists and social conservatives.
One of the most explosive statements comes from an April 2012 video, as his son was running for the Senate, and as the President was running for re-election.
"We need to send Barack Obama back to Chicago," Cruz urges. "Back to Kenya."
The Mother Jones story was quickly picked up by a number of blogs and websites.
The younger Cruz has long cited his father in speaking engagements, highlighting the elder's story of leaving Cuba in 1957 not knowing a word of English, only to work his way up from busboy, put himself through and raise a family. Rafael Cruz helped his son on the campaign trail and at various conservative events since Ted Cruz won his Senate seat last November. Right after that victory, Ted Cruz praised his father, saying that he “has spent virtually every day the past year crisscrossing this state, telling his story and speaking on his son’s behalf. My dad is my hero, he has been my entire life.”
In the April 2012 video, Rafael Cruz speaks of the need to restore the conservative majority to the Senate in order to block liberal nominees to the Supreme Court. The presidency was an even more crucial vote.
"If we do not take this country back in this election, there's a very strong possibility that this country will be destroyed by Barack Obama in the next four years," he said.
Ted Cruz vaulted to national attention in the run-up to the partial government shutdown, a crisis he helped precipitate by ring leading the push by conservative lawmakers to tie defunding to a government funding bill. That drive by conservative lawmakers, and the pushback by congressional Democrats and the White House, led to the 16-day partial federal government shutdown.
Cruz's new prominence among conservatives and his unapologetic antagonism to Senate moderates in his party, along with numerous visits already this year to Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire, have fueled speculation that the Texas Republican is considering a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
A spokeswoman for Cruz Thursday declined CNN's offer to respond to the controversial comments made by the Senator's father.
Instead Cruz's office pointed to the statement Cruz Communications Director Sean Rushton gave to Mother Jones.
"These selective quotes, taken out of context, mischaracterize the substance of Pastor Cruz's message. Like many Americans, he feels America is on the wrong track," Rushton said.
But Rushton added that, "Pastor Cruz does not speak for the Senator."
Last Updated on Friday, 01 November 2013 15:29
Category: Prime Politics Written by News One
Just days before President Barack Obama stood before tens of thousands of onlookers who arrived in Washington D.C., to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, David Marsters, who sat on several committees and was running for selectman in Sabattus, Maine, took to Facebook and posted this status about the commander-in-chief: “Shoot the N****.”
According to the Bangor Daily News, the Aug. 23 status update first caught the attention of several local residents who admonished Marsters in the Facebook thread for his racist words; the residents then alerted local law enforcement. Marsters initially balked at his critics, asking one if he was a “democrat. He also wrote that Obama “is not a legal president” in response to a comment that “Our 1st Amendment doesn’t give us the right to shoot presidents.”
Marsters’ Facebook ranting did not stop at his threatening status, according to the Daily News. He also said that “(Obama) is not a legal president” and that his birth certificate was a fraud. “They’ve shown us how it’s done,” he said. “It’s all done in layers on computers. How come nobody from his school’s come forward to say, ‘Oh, I know him.’ How come people from his family never say, ‘I know him. I went to his wedding; I was his best man?”
Watch Marsters talk about Obama and his “Shoot the N**ger” comments:
The Secret Service interviewed Marsters and his wife for an hour at his home. They also searched his home for weapons. The couple’s neighbors were also interviewed. Marsters has not been charged with a crime.
After widespread outrage over his status, Marsters has resigned from all boards on which he sits as of 12:30 p.m.
When reporter asked him about his comments, he insisted that they were not threatening. “(The Secret Service) didn’t see no pictures of Obama with bullet holes in his head,” Marsters told the Daily News. “It’s not a threatening statement, in my opinion. People take it out of context as a threat.”
He added, “I didn’t say I was going to shoot the president, or kill — shoot the n*****. Shoot the n***** — that’s what I said.”
No threat was made because he didn’t say he or anyone else was going to do it, Marsters said. He said his remarks were targeted more towards “the system” than anything else. Marsters said that his wife, Mary, has been in and out of the hospital recently and if they lose spousal benefits, something he fears Obama will suspend, his wife will die.
“We’re about to lose our benefits because of this ass****.”
That he called a sitting U.S. President an ass**** during an interview and is running for public office did not add up to poor taste is indeed disturbing. But, Marsters continued lodging his foot further into his mouth by saying that black people call white people n**ger where he comes from inMassachusetts. For example, if someone were to despise former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the slur could apply to him too.
“I would say, ‘Shoot the n*****, because white people are n******, too,” he said.
Last night, an emergency board meeting was called to discuss Marsters’ “extreme radical views” and whether he should be asked to resign from all boards on which he sits. Early this afternoon, he did in fact resign.
His racial views are not all that is “radical” about him. Marsterswanted the town to require, by ordinance, every household to own a gun and ammunition. Selectmen refused to consider such an ordinance.
As outrageous is his Facebook remarks were (which have since been removed from his page), as well as those he made to the news reporter, Marsters still felt he could have won a seat on the Board of Selectmen in his community of Sabattus.
“People of Sabattus, they’re all fond of the gun law and they’re all against Obama,” he said. “Obama’s made many mistakes. Can’t I make a mistake?”
No, Mr. Marsters. The people are against you and that is why you were forced to resign.
Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 01:15
Category: Prime Politics Written by News One
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A former Alabama politician whose daughter died in a racist church bombing in 1963 was released from a prison medical facility Thursday after a judge sided with an Obama administration call to free him.
Chris McNair was released from prison hours after U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith issued her ruling, said Peggy Sanford, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Birmingham.
The U.S. Justice Department had sought the release of the 87-year-old McNair on grounds of compassion.
In her ruling, Smith said McNair, who was incarcerated at a federal prison medical center in Rochester, Minn., should be released as soon as his health allowed and travel arrangements could be made.
McNair was part of the scandal-plagued Jefferson County Commission that made deals resulting in a then-record municipal bankruptcy over more than $4 billion in debts.
The administration’s request for leniency asked a judge to reduce McNair’s five-year sentence to the time he has served since entering pri...
Last Updated on Monday, 02 September 2013 08:53
Category: Prime Politics Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
(CNN) -- Heralding the long fight toward racial equality that many say hasn't ended, President Barack Obama commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech Wednesday on the same steps the civil rights leader spoke from half a century ago.
"His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time," Obama told a diverse crowd that gathered under gray skies and intermittent drizzle to attend the hours-long ceremony.
King, Obama said, "gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions," hailing leaders who braved intimidation and violence in their fight for equal rights.
On that August day in 1963, when King and his fellow marchers attended what he labeled "the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation," few in that crowd could have imagined that half a century later, an African-American president of the United States would mark the occasion with a speech in the same location.
And during his remarks from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Obama cast his own election to the Oval Office as a consequence of persistence and courage from leaders such as King.
"Because they kept marching, America changed," Obama said. "Because they marched, city councils changed and state legislatures changed and Congress changed and, yes, eventually, the White House changed."
While other, negative changes have forestalled the push toward racial harmony, Obama stressed Wednesday that the work of civil rights leaders had permanently changed the discourse between races in America.
"To dismiss the magnitude of this process, to suggest, as some sometimes do, that little has changed, that dishonors the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years," Obama said.
Adopting words from another of King's speeches, Obama declared that "The arc of the moral universe may bend toward justice, but it doesn't bend on its own."
Leaders speaking at Wednesday's anniversary event, including Obama, stressed that income disparity, high unemployment and a shrinking middle class have slashed hopes for attaining equality for millions of Americans, though the president said those facts couldn't erase the forward march of the civil rights movement.
"To secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency," he said, adding later: "We will suffer the occasional setback, but we will win these fights. This country has changed too much."
Other speakers Wednesday marked the great progress toward King's goal of racial accord, though many suggested that the dream was far from realized, specifically citing voter identification laws that critics say prevent African-Americans from casting ballots, and the verdict in the closely watched Trayvon Martin murder trial.
"We have come a great distance in this country in the 50 years. But we still have a great distance to go before we fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.," said U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, adding that progress toward King's goal could be marked by his own election to Congress.
"But there are still invisible signs, barriers in the hearts of humankind that form a gulf between us," said Lewis, the only speaker from the 1963 march who also spoke Wednesday.
Another leader from King's era of the civil rights movement, Myrlie Evers-Williams, said the United States had "certainly taken a turn backwards" in the quest for civil rights.
Two former presidents also delivered remarks Wednesday, each representing a distinct era in the movement for equal rights in America. President Jimmy Carter, speaking ahead of Obama, asserted that recent developments in American policy would have disappointed King.
"I believe we all know how Dr. King would have reacted to the new ID requirements to exclude certain voters, especially African-Americans," said Carter, a Democrat. "I think we all know how Dr. King would have reacted to the Supreme Court striking down a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act just recently passed overwhelmingly by Congress."
And another Democratic president, Bill Clinton, argued during his speech for working together against stalemates and inaction, saying King "did not live and die to hear his heirs whine about political gridlock."
"It is time to stop complaining and put our shoulders against the stubborn gates holding the American people back," Clinton said.
Neither of the living former Republican presidents attended Wednesday's event -- in fact, no elected Republican delivered remarks at the fiftieth anniversary commemoration. George H.W. Bush and his son George W. Bush both opted out, citing health concerns. The latter is recovering from a recent heart procedure.
Before Obama addressed the throngs gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, civil rights leaders past and present remembered the decades-long movement to secure equal treatment and rights for African-Americans.
The daughters of two presidents key to enacting the Civil Rights Act were also present -- Lynda Johnson Robb and Caroline Kennedy, who Obama recently nominated as ambassador to Japan.
Celebrities and entertainers at the event included Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, who star as husband and wife in one of the summer's hottest movies, "Lee Daniels' The Butler," about life in the White House through the eyes of the (mostly black) hired help.
Winfrey declared King had seen injustice and "refused to look the other way."
"We, too, can be courageous by continuing to walk in the footsteps of the path that he forged," Winfrey said.
Two musicians who performed at the 1963 march also sang Wednesday. Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, from the trio Peter, Paul and Mary, sang Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," backed by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, the parents of Trayvon Martin, whose 2012 shooting death sparked a national conversation about race. Mary Travers, the third artist in the group, died in 2009.
Obama's most personal remarks on race ahead of Wednesday's speech came in the aftermath of the July verdict that found Martin's killer not guilty.
In the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial, attendees of the anniversary event used the occasion to remember back to where they were when they first heard King's "I have a Dream" speech.
"I grew up in a segregated environment. I never met a white person till I was a junior in college," said Betty Waller Gray, who traveled to Wednesday's march from Richmond. "It was just so emotional to be here today after knowing where I was in 1963. I was just a kid finishing high school back then."
Gilbert Lyons, an employee of the National Park Service, actually attended the original March on Washington half a decade ago, and heard King utter his famous works in person.
"I went home with it in my head. I even spoke to my wife about it," he said. "It stayed with me. And the more I heard about Martin Luther King, the more things he was doing, I said, 'this man is great.' He is a gentleman that can bring America back to themselves like they're supposed to be. We're not supposed to be this race and that race. We are Americans."
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 August 2013 08:33
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!