Scorn spreads over right-wing religious rights law

The heat over Indiana’s new religious objections law spread Friday across social media and to the White House as many local officials and business groups around the state tried to jump in and stem the fallout. Use of the hashtag #boycottindiana spread across Twitter, spurred on by activists such as “Star Trek” actor George Takei, who argued that the measure opens the door to legalized discrimination against gay people. Apple CEO Tim Cook also tweeted his objections, saying he was “deeply disappointed” in the Indiana law. Supporters of the bill that Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed Thursday say discrimination claims
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GOP candidates get squishy on immigration

It’s become even clearer thanks to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Immigration is the banana peel of 2016 Republican presidential politics. Just ask Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. He stepped up as a Senate leader on immigration only to slip and fall in a tea party ruckus over the issue. In a moment of candor, Rubio remembered the months of trying to get back up as “a real trial for me.” Others, too, have shifted on the matter. Now it’s oops for Walker. In 2013, Walker said offering immigrants in the country a way to become citizens “makes sense.” Early this month,
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Pelosi’s role in Medicare bill upsets some Dems

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi bruised some longtime liberal allies when she worked with Speaker John Boehner to craft a rare bipartisan accord on Medicare. But lawmakers say it will enhance her stature as a dealmaker, and may help her party avoid being sidelined by majority Republicans over the next two years. Pelosi and her fellow Democrats disappointed friends in the abortion-rights lobby by backing a bill to avoid future cuts in Medicare physician payments. As Thursday’s 392-37 House vote suggests, the bill was a compromise, with appeal to both parties. Democrats boasted it would extend the Children’s Health Insurance
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GOP balanced budget plan passes Senate

Republicans muscled a balanced-budget plan through the Senate early Friday, positioning Congress for months of battling President Barack Obama over the GOP’s goals of slicing spending and dismantling his health care law. Working into Friday’s pre-dawn hours, senators approved the blueprint by a near party-line 52-46 vote, endorsing a measure that closely follows one the House passed Wednesday. Both budgets embody a conservative vision of shrinking projected federal deficits by more than $5 trillion over the coming decade, mostly by cutting health care and other benefit programs and without raising taxes. The Senate was beginning a spring recess after approving
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Bureaucrats play havoc with special operations unit

Military bureaucrats have been trying to force an unpopular government-built intelligence system on special operations units deploying to war zones while blocking soldiers from using the commercial alternative they say they need, according to government records and interviews. Over the last four months, six Army special operations units about to be deployed into Afghanistan, Iraq and other hostile environments have requested software made by Palantir, a Silicon Valley company that has synthesized data for the CIA, the Navy SEALs and the country’s largest banks, among other government and private entities. But the Army has approved just two of the requests
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Desertion charge renews debate over Bergdahl

Charges that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deserted and endangered his post in Afghanistan intensify the debate over his politically wrought release: Should he spend years in prison as punishment for endangering soldiers who risked their lives to find him? Or was five years as a Taliban captive, where he was so isolated officials suggested it had affected his ability to speak English upon his return to the U.S., punishment enough? Bergdahl, 28, won’t face a death sentence, although the punishment is an option for prosecutors to pursue against deserters in wartime. But his case does raise the question of whether
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House ready to pass Medicare fee bill

Fueled by a rare alliance between party leaders, a $214 billion measure permanently blocking deep cuts in doctors’ Medicare fees is ready to sail through the House. The bill’s Senate prospects are brightening but remain murky. The House seemed set to approve the legislation Thursday, a package bearing victories for Republicans and Democrats alike. That would shift the focus to the Senate, where Democratic complaints were waning about the bill’s abortion restrictions and added money for children that they want to increase further. Time was a factor. Congress planned to leave town by week’s end for a spring break, and
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A past in politics best left forgotten

Politics is a sideshow, a carnival extravaganza with all its sleaze, mimicry and illusion.  I worked inside that world for half of the 23 years we spent in Washington, electing some candidates for the House, Senate and President; destroying others; selling snake oil to a willing populace and exercising far more control and influence in ways that never served the needs of the people but did serve those who paid handsomely for my services. As a political operative, I lied as a matter of course.  I destroyed careers and reputations.  I used hyperbole and propaganda to promote candidates who did
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Which Republican failure for President?

With Ted Cruz first out of the gate to formally announce a run for the GOP Presidential nomination of 2016, many Republicans are now wondering just who — if anyone — the party can actually nominate who might stand a chance of winning. Jeb Bush?  His negatives are increasing as revelations emerge about his questionable business dealings and his wife’s fondness for expensive Rolexes and high-priced jewelry. Scott Walker?  The din of laughter up in Wisconsin is not from any of Walker’s jokes, although many see the governor there as a joke. Chris Christie?  That star faded quickly as reality
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Cruz & Liberty U: Monuments to mediocrity

Perhaps it is fitting that two extremes — religion and politics — came together at Liberty University Monday to allow a Republican troglodyte like Ted Cruz to announce his laughable run for President in 2016. In Virginia, the right-wingers flock to Liberty like buzzards looking for something already dead to devour whenever they team religious fanatics who often misquote God and pathetic politicians together to stage another pantheon to failed principle. The late Jerry Falwell’s monument to his monstrous ego provided the perfect setting for Cruz’s attempts to appear relevant in a society that no longer listens to him and
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