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Justice Served in the Senate

Alex Wong/Getty

Republicans and the seven Democrats who joined them to oppose a convicted cop-killer’s defense attorney joining the Justice Department voted with their conscience, not racism.

Wednesday afternoon, the Senate rejected the nomination of Debo Adegbile to become the next assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.  This marks the first defeat for President Obama under the new simple majority vote structure Democrats rammed through on a party line vote last year to consider presidential appointments.Obama was quick to lash out at those who opposed Adegbile’s nomination.  Shortly after his nominee failed to receive a majority of the vote, the president asserted:The Senate’s failure to confirm Debo Adegbile to lead the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice is a travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant… As a lawyer, Mr.

WHOA

SCOTUS Wife: Obama Aids Terror?

Charles Dharapak/AP

Ginni Thomas wants to know if the White House committed any crimes at a panel on “Benghazigate.”

The wife of a sitting Supreme Court Justice wants to know if the Obama administration has provided material support to terrorists.At a panel on “Benghazigate: The Ugly Truth and Coverup” held by a rival conservative conference to CPAC, Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, asked a panel that included controversial retired General Jerry Boykin if the Obama administration had committed any crimes, in particular, providing material support to terrorists.

TEA PARTIED OUT

Tea Party Eats Their Own

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

New GOP primary challengers are looking to serve their Tea Party challengers a scalding hot cuppa change. Their goal? To oppose!

They arrived in January of 2011, unfamiliar with the ways of Washington, and promising never to adapt. The Republican freshman of the 112th Congress had helped take back the House, riding a Tea Party-infused, throw-the-bums-out wave of conservative disgust with career politicians.But after three years in office and an election season looming, a number of GOP Congressmen find themselves facing scrappy challengers who say that they are now the ones with a serious case of Potomac Fever.

Get Real

The Dems’ Dumb Koch Strategy

Eric Thayer/The New York Times, via Redux

Why Harry Reid and his friends’ demonization of the right-wing brothers won’t change anyone’s vote.

George Soros may lend his personal fortune to a number of causes with which I disagree, but I do have to thank him for one thing: letting me see Dave Matthews Band live in concert for free.In 2004, musical acts fanned out across the country, playing free shows on the “Vote for Change” tour, presented by America Coming Together (ACT), a 527 group funded by Soros and a variety of “1 percent” liberal donors. Gainesville, Florida was visited by Dave Matthews Band, and despite my budding love for limited government, I was not prohibited from attending.

Read the Pentagon ‘Black Budget’

The Daily Beast

The U.S. military has billions of dollars’ worth of secret projects it doesn’t want you to know about. Too bad—here they are.

President Obama proposed a $495.6 billion defense budget yesterday, almost half a billion dollars leaner than the previous year’s. But there’s still one category where the Department of Defense is not scaling back: its secret projects.According to the budget documents, the DoD plans to spend around $58.7 billion on classified programs (fondly known as its “black budget”) in fiscal year 2015, a 1.5 percent increase from the previous year.But what exactly is the “black budget?”The term is an unofficial one, as shadowy as the thing that it seeks to describe.

Is Iran Still Backing Terrorists?

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The Israeli military seized a boatload of advanced Iranian weapons—and then launched a sophisticated PR campaign to tell the world why they shouldn’t trust Tehran.

On Wednesday morning, the Israeli Navy announced that it had stopped an Iranian cargo vessel with advanced weapons destined for fighters in Gaza. By Wednesday afternoon, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz was telling members of the U.S. Congress that the interception of the sophisticated rockets revealed the “real nature of Iran”—never mind the recent thaw in relations between Washington and Tehran.The timing of the Steinitz’s briefing to the House Foreign Affairs Committee was fortuitous.

Hit the Road, Vlad

RT Anchor: Here’s Why I Quit

RT

Liz Wahl wasn’t just disgusted by the Kremlin-funded TV network’s handling of Ukraine, she says in an exclusive interview. RT’s coverage of the entire world “made me feel sick.”

American journalist Liz Wahl just made Vladimir Putin’s enemies list.Wahl, an American anchor for RT-America, a cable news network funded by the Russian government, stunned viewers Wednesday, when, at the end of her 5 PM broadcast, she announced her resignation from the channel.The announcement was stunning. But Wahl’s decision to quit the network was a long time coming. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, she says that, “When I came on board from the beginning I knew what I was getting into, but I think I was more cautious and tried to stay as objective as I could.

The Return of ‘Willie Horton’

Alex Wong/Getty

To stop the president's nominee for the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department, the right-wing borrowed from an old playbook.

As governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis presided over a prison “furlough” program that gave convicts a chance to return their communities for short periods. Like all programs, it wasn’t without its problems, but state officials considered it success: Few inmates escaped, and those who participated had a lower recidivism rate, as they were better able to reintegrate into society.Unfortunately for Dukakis, one of the escaped prisoners was Willie Horton, a convicted murderer who never returned from furlough, and went on to assault a young couple, raping the woman and knifing her husband.

Dems: Wait for Europe to Hit Putin

AFP/Getty

The Senate is trying to put together a tough bill to punish Russia for invading Ukraine, but Democrats don’t want to act until they know whether or not Europe is on board.

Senators are talking tough about a new bill to put economic pressure on Russia and speed aid to the new leaders in Ukraine. But behind the scenes there is an effort by Democrats to give President Obama time and space to negotiate with Europe on the sanctions, delaying quick action against Vladimir Putin.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that Congress should let the events in Ukraine play out for a while to see if Europe can be brought on board with the tough economic measures  that many Senators in both parties are pushing.

Factionalized

CPAC Schedule Shows GOP Divide

Getty (4)

The list of speakers at 2014’s CPAC conference shows an increasingly fractured conservative movement with Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz headlining while John Boehner is blackballed.

The guest list at this year’s CPAC conference, which runs Thursday through Saturday outside of Washington, tells the soul-searching story of the conservative movement in America today.On the list is Jenny Beth Martin, head of the Tea Party Patriots.  Off the list is House Speaker John Boehner, the highest-ranking Republican in Washington who has run afoul of the far right flank of the GOP again and again over the last year.On the list is New Jersey Gov.

Too Far

Church to State: Get Off My Lawn!

Ross D. Franklin/AP

The misuse of conscience exemptions is threatening our hard-won plurality. Can’t Americans learn to live together in our increasing diversity?

It’s not clear that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer looked much beyond the vociferous objections of the business community when she vetoed a law that would have permitted commercial enterprises to scorn gay and lesbian customers on the basis of their owners’ professed religious convictions. It was a prudent veto, endorsed by the state’s Republican establishment—by Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, and even by several legislators who suddenly urged Brewer to block the very law they had just voted for.

Future

Rand Paul’s Extreme GOP Makeover

Doug Mills/The New York Times, via Redux

Libertarian, conservative, neither? The only thing clear about the senator is that he has the potential to revolutionize the backward-looking Republican Party if he runs for president.

When Rand Paul spoke to a packed ballroom of conservative activists at CPAC last year, he tagged the Obama administration as “completely out of control.” But he saved some of his harshest criticism for his own party, calling the GOP of old “stale and moss covered,” and insisting that the Republican Party has to change.One year later, Paul is again speaking to CPAC, but this time he’s more than the “Stand with Rand” senator who had just filibustered an Obama nominee for 13 hours to protest drone policy.

Decision Point

60 Votes to Stop Sexual Assaults?

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

The Gillibrand and McCaskill bills both would alter how the military approaches sex crimes. As each faces a vote, the bigger question is how far the Senate is willing to go.

Two powerful women senators, Claire McCaskill and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, took the lead on one of the most vexing problems facing the military: How to combat sexual assault and reform the system so perpetrators get punished, and victims are protected.Each has worked aggressively for many months to win support from their colleagues, and they disagree on one key provision. Their bills will be tested next week in side-by-side votes that will allow either or both measures to proceed if they muster the 60 votes required to overcome a filibuster.

Reds

Why Neocons Love the Strongman

Larry Downing/Reuters

This is just the crisis to make themselves seem relevant again within the GOP—even if they’re undermining the commander in chief at a pivotal moment.

Say this for Rudy Giuliani: He gave away the game with his now-infamous admiring comments on Fox News two days ago about Vladimir Putin. “He makes a decision and he executes it, quickly,” the former mayor said. “Then everybody reacts. That’s what you call a leader. President Obama, he’s got to think about it. He’s got to go over it again. He’s got to talk to more people about it.”
Giuliani, once a genuinely moderate Republican (go look up his mayoral immigration record) and a man whom aides used to describe a long time ago as the one figure capable of pulling the national GOP back toward the center (I swear, I had those conversations), has served for some time now as little more than a right-wing standup comic—and a staggeringly hypocritical one at that.

Sssh

The Coming Progressive Backlash

Andrew Burton/Getty

Recent victories from New York to Arizona won’t mean a thing if they fire up conservatives and get them to turn out in November.

The last few months will likely be remembered as one of the most successful in recent history for progressive causes, candidates, and the people who love them.In November, New Yorkers elected a bona-fide liberal to take charge of a city that hasn’t had a Democratic mayor in 20 years. Last month, Bill Nye, known forever to a generation of millenials as “the Science Guy” seemed to put a final nail in the coffin of creationists by debating its staunchest defenders and seeming to crush them with a combination of common sense and scientific fact.

'Clinton Vs. Bush? Count Me In'

A Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush presidential faceoff would be great for America. So says Daily Beast contributor Mark McKinnon, who joined 'Morning Joe' to explain why the U.S. needs this.

  1. President Obama, Guided by Faith Play

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    Behind the Benghazi Witchhunt

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