Editors’ Choice

Posts selected by Moose editors

President Obama: “This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change”

An Iranian nuclear deal has been reached:

(Final video. Full text of transcript below the fold.)

President Obama:

“The United States, together with our international partners, has reached a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that will keep it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

“As President Kennedy said, ‘Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate’.”

“History shows that America must lead not just with our might, but with our principles”

“This deal is not built on trust. It’s built on verification.”

“There’s a very real incentive for Iran to follow through, and there are very real consequences for a violation”.

“I have made clear to the Iranian people that we will always be open to engagement on the basis of mutual interests and…respect.”

“We give nothing up by testing whether this problem can be solved peacefully.”

“I believe it would be irresponsible to walk away from this deal.”

“I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.”

Vice President Biden, after the speech, whispered “Good job” to the President. (He could have added “This is a Big F-ing Deal”.)

From the White House:

After many months of principled diplomacy, the P5+1 — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany — along with the European Union, have achieved a long-term comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran that will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful going forward.

This deal stands on the foundation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), achieved in November of 2013, and the framework for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), announced in Lausanne on April 2, 2015 that set the requirements for the deal with the P5+ 1 and Iran, alongside the European Union announced today.

Now, with this deal in place, the U.S., our allies, and the international community can know that tough, new requirements will keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon

(Details below)

Behind the scenes. A look at the people of color in the Hillary Clinton campaign

Maya Harris, senior policy senior policy adviser for Hillary Clinton with her sister Kamala Harris, CA Attorney General.

Behind the scenes.  A look at the people of color in the Hillary Clinton campaign

Commentary by Black Kos Editor Denise Oliver-Velez

Though much attention is being focused on the top two candidates running for the Democratic nomination for the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, it behooves us here in Black Kos to examine the actual people who are both adviser’s to the candidates and running their national campaigns, because this is a political blog, and campaigns are one of the key elements on the road to electoral success or failure. I don’t believe that a candidate in 2016 can win—the nomination and the general election—without significant backing and turnout from the large portion of the Democratic base that is comprised of people of color.

The Scott Walker Story: Intimidated, again!

Earlier this year, the Republican dominated Wisconsin legislature did Gov. Scott Walker’s bidding and elided The Wisconsin Idea from the University of Wisconsin system’s mission statement. The Wisconsin Idea had been part of the statutes for well over a century and promised this:

Inherent in this broad mission are methods of instruction, research, extended training and public service designed to educate people and improve the human condition. Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.

You can see why this scared the Walker Administration: education, search for truth, public service. Not welcome in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin! The Walker Way overrides the Wisconsin Way and the Wisconsin Idea.

The outcry was fierce and Walker had to back down … the change was withdrawn (and blamed on a staffer, which is also the Walker Way).

Lesson learned, right? No. It. Was. Not.

On Thursday night, right before the long holiday weekend, Walker’s GOP legislature snuck a provision into the omnibus Budget Bill they were “crafting”, a provision that would essentially repeal the state’s Open Record Law. When this change was exposed by the Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee and questioned by the press, the Republican leaders refused to identify who had asked for the change. But you don’t have to dig deep to realize that the Open Records laws were behind the surprising interest of the normally docile press in Wisconsin, in investigating irregularities in WEDC, an agency set up by Walker to pick winners and losers in the economy with a special focus in including Walker campaign donors in the winners circle.

The outcry was even more fierce this time and came from some surprising places: the teaparty Attorney General and the right-wing talk show radio hosts in Milwaukee who created Scott Walker as an empty vessel to fill with their ideology. There had been signs that the right-wing talkers were realizing they had used Abby Normal’s brain when they built their Frankenstein and this time they Tweeted their dismay and spoke out in editorials, one on the front page of the normally pro-Walker Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Working Towards Our More Perfect Union: The Civil Rights Act of 1964

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat, signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964

The act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin and gave the federal courts jurisdiction over enforcement, taking it out of the state courts where justice was uneven at best.

The Civil Rights Act had political ramifications as well. Its adoption caused a mass exodus of angry racists from the Democratic Party in the old south to the Republican Party. And the politics born of hatred of The Other gave the not-so-Grand Old Party the presidency for 28 out of the next 40 years.

Good Government: Updating Fair Labor Standards – UPDATED with Transcript and Photos

The President will travel to La Crosse Wisconsin this afternoon to officially announce an update to the Fair Labor Standards Act that will go into effect next year.

President Obama: “This week, I’ll head to Wisconsin to discuss my plan to extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million workers in 2016, covering all salaried workers making up to about $50,400 next year. That’s good for workers who want fair pay, and it’s good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve — since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren’t.”

From La Crosse, Thursday afternoon:

(TRANSCRIPT ADDED BELOW THE FOLD)

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez:

On June 25, 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act to, in his words, “end starvation wages and intolerable hours”. In addition to establishing the first-ever national minimum wage (a modest 25 cents per hour), the FLSA enshrined the 44-hour work week, later reduced to 40, mandating time and a half overtime pay for anything beyond.

But the overtime regulations haven’t been meaningfully updated in decades. An exemption from overtime eligibility originally meant for highly-compensated, white-collar employees now applies to workers earning as little as $23,660 a year — below the poverty line for a family of four. In 1975, 62 percent of full-time salaried workers were eligible for overtime pay; but today, only 8 percent of full-time salaried workers fall below the salary threshold and are automatically eligible for overtime pay.

Today, 77 years and five days after FDR signed overtime pay into law, President Obama announced the release of a new proposed rule that, once final, would extend overtime protections to roughly 5 million workers. As proposed, it would set the new salary threshold at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers, projected to be about $970 a week (or $50,440 a year) in 2016, more than double its current level. And by automatically updating the salary threshold to keep pace with inflation or wage growth, the proposal would guard against erosion of overtime pay in the future and provide more certainty for businesses and employees.

(Full Department of Labor blog post below)

President Obama: “We don’t have to be imprisoned by the past”

From the White House: President Obama Delivers a Statement on Cuba

PRESIDENT OBAMA: More than 54 years ago, at the height of the Cold War, the United States closed its embassy in Havana. Today, I can announce that the United States has agreed to formally re-establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba and reopen embassies in our respective countries.

Transcript below.

USA Today:

WASHINGTON — President Obama and Cuban counterpart Raul Castro said Wednesday that embassies in Havana and Washington will reopen later this month.

“This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people,” Obama said in his announcement from the White House Rose Garden.

Castro made a similar announcement in Havana.

A statement from Cuba’s foreign ministry “confirms the decision to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries and open permanent diplomatic missions in their respective capitals, from July 20.”

Obama said Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Havana later this month to formally re-open the U.S. embassy. […]

In his remarks, Obama called on Congress to end the embargo, casting the Cuba question as “a choice between the future and the past.”

A half-century of attempts to isolate Cuba have failed, Obama said, and improving the relationships will benefit people in both countries.

Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve and Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve

This diary may seem a bit disjointed but each part is in fact related and I hope of interest to this group. Each of the components emanates from a beautiful beach and pertains to various environmental and geologic issues currently and historically in play in Whatcom County and Washington State.

2015-06-07 Pt. Whitehorn 021
Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve Beach

Some items can be seen as hopeful, positive, and far sighted like the State’s aquatic reserve program. Others are worrisome and seen by many as looming disasters waiting to happen such as the potential coal export terminal slated to be situated in this area. And finally, I describe some geology of how our beautiful region, including this beach became what it is today.

SCOTUS Watch – Monday, June 29th – UPDATE: AZ redistricting win, Death drug loss, EPA back to drawing board

June is SCOTUS Decision month, when all eyes turn to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this term (before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer). The calendar normally calls for orders and opinions to be released every Monday – 9:30am for orders and 10:00am for opinions. However, history has shown that additional “opinion days” are often added as the month unfolds and this year was no different as over the last two weeks we had Thursday and Friday opinion days. Today should be the last session of the term.

As always, the Moose News Network will cover the SCOTUS events with the help of SCOTUSblog and Twitter.

 
All eyes turn to the court

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for orders and opinions starting at 9:30am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 8:30am Eastern.

These are the cases heard in the current term but not yet decided:
DECIDED: The districts can be set by the commission. Decision (PDF). The “can citizens redistrict?” case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (the Federal District Court upheld the redistricting, legislature appealed directly to Supreme Court)
DECIDED: Oklahoma drugs are not cruel. Decision (PDF). A death penalty case related to the drugs used, Glossip v Gross (Oklahoma wants to change its drug protocol, 10th Circuit ruled against the plaintiffs and for the state)
DECIDED: EPA must redo regulations looking at costs. Decision (PDF). Three suits against the EPA over its regulation of utilities and “failure” to consider costs, listed as Michigan vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (The states are appealing a ruling upholding EPA rule making procedures)

A full list of pending cases (with links) is below the fold.

President Obama: “We must not allow ourselves to slip into comfortable silence again”

From the White House:

President Obama travels to the College of Charleston in South Carolina to deliver a eulogy for Reverend Clement Pinckney and 8 other congregation members of Emanuel AME who were killed on June 17, 2015. June 26, 2015.

President Obama:

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as “hush harbors” where slaves could worship in safety; praise houses where their free descendants could gather and shout hallelujah — rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad; bunkers for the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. They have been, and continue to be, community centers where we organize for jobs and justice; places of scholarship and network; places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harm’s way, and told that they are beautiful and smart — and taught that they matter. That’s what happens in church.

That’s what the black church means. Our beating heart. The place where our dignity as a people is inviolate. When there’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel — a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founder sought to end slavery, only to rise up again, a Phoenix from these ashes.

On the Confederate flag and its removal:

For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now.

Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong — the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong. […]

For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.

On the work ahead:

… it would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again. Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual — that’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society. To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change — that’s how we lose our way again.

Full transcript below …

“The perpetrator has been arrested, but the killer is still at large,” said Rev. William Barber

 photo d79503c0-e485-4385-b6cd-b853737c7f8b_zpsgnc7z67v.jpg

Reverend Doctor William Barber II, President of the North Carolina NAACP and a leader of the Moral Mondays Movement was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, about the massacre of the Charleston 9, and the demands to take down the Confederate flag.

Transcript and clip