Top of the Ticket
Political commentary from David Horsey
We should be humble and grateful we were born inside U.S. borders

President Obama and Texas Gov. Rick Perry came face-to-face to talk about the flood of Central American children coming across the U.S. border with Mexico and, despite their stark political differences, managed to be cordial and constructive. They set a good example for Congress and the rest of the country.

Since October, 57,000 kids from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have come into the U.S. illegally, overwhelming processing facilities and immigration courts. On Wednesday, Obama and Perry met with local officials in Dallas to discuss what to do about the crisis.

One attendee at the gathering, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, told a Los Angeles Times reporter that partisan positions were left at the door. “For Texas politics, it was not a particularly tense meeting,” he said.

Jenkins has reportedly gotten some heat for pushing a plan to open three new shelters in the Dallas area to house 2,000 of the apprehended kids. Despite the complaints, after seeing the overcrowded “drunk...

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Right-wing comic Victoria Jackson falls for wild fibs about Obama

Given the penchant of many of my fellow Americans to believe any preposterous spoof, spin or allegation that pops up on their computer screens – I’m talking to you, Victoria Jackson! – I want to make it perfectly clear that every statement in the next paragraph is false, no matter how much you may want to believe it’s true.

President Obama visited a mosque and hosted Muslim leaders at the White House on the Fourth of July. Obama also plans to host a Mulsim gay marriage ceremony for St. Louis Rams football star Michael Sam and his boyfriend. Meanwhile, the Obamas' own marriage is on the rocks after Michelle caught Barack drunkenly flirting with actress Halle Berry at a White House event. In fact, the president and first lady have been secretly divorced for more than a year and reports say there is a sex tape of the president engaged in a threesome with Berry and singing superstar Beyonce.

This is all mighty big news and it comes to us from National Report, the media organization that...

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Murrieta protesters oversimplify a complex immigration crisis

The unwillingness of the House of Representatives to discuss immigration reform — let alone actually pass a bill — has left the debate in the hands of a crowd of screaming hotheads in Murrieta, Calif., who show no inclination to let facts get in the way of their paranoia about brown-skinned hordes subverting the America they revere.

Not that the United States does not have a genuine problem along the southern border. Just when rates of illegal crossings from Mexico had dropped precipitously due to the dearth of jobs for adult migrants, a flood of thousands of children from Central America has overwhelmed the resources of the Border Patrol and capacity of immigration courts.

The protesters in Murrieta say there’s a simple solution: Send them back! They neither understand the law nor the complexity of the situation. Unsurprisingly, they are being fed their facts by Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing ranters on talk radio and Fox News who portray the whole thing as part of the liberal...

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Unsung civil rights heroes fought and died for our freedom

On the Fourth of July, as on all national holidays, we are encouraged to think about the men and women who have fought and died for our freedoms; the likes of Washington, Lincoln and all the soldiers who have fought in our wars. This standard roster of heroes is venerable, but it is far from complete.

It is not just the Founding Fathers, a few great presidents and those in the military who have established and maintained our liberties. It is also outsiders and dissenters who demanded that America live up to the promises in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – the abolitionists, the suffragettes, the labor organizers, the muckraking journalists, the crusading lawyers, the advocates for women’s rights and more. It is they who challenged slavery, who won the right to vote for women, who fought for fair wages and humane working hours, who used the law to expand the scope of free thought and action, who turned promises into reality.

For the last few years, our country has...

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Muslims have deeper problems than Bill Maher's caustic critique

If Allah exists, can he possibly approve of the savagery exhibited by the militant Sunni army that has swept down from Syria to capture a third of Iraq? Can he be OK with Boko Haram, the Muslim rebel group in Nigeria that kidnapped hundreds of teenage girls and threatens to sell them into slavery? Could he be approving of the Taliban burning schools in Afghanistan and forcing women back into cultural captivity?

And another question: Can Americans talk about the wickedness of some of those who claim to be doing the will of Allah without slipping into a condemnation of all Muslims or, conversely, shying away from any critique of the dark side of Islamic culture for fear of appearing politically incorrect?

That last question is at the heart of the current media kerfuffle over comedian Bill Maher’s unrestrained criticism of Islam. An ardent atheist, the host of HBO’s “Real Time” slams Islam as the worst belief system of them all. A staunch liberal himself, he scoffs at fellow liberals who...

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Snarky Ann Coulter riles up commie-liberal soccer lovers

Ann Coulter has, once again, done what she does best: poke a stick in the cages of the liberal menagerie to rile up the beasts. This time she has done it with an all-out assault on soccer.

Right in the middle of a World Cup in which the American team has done well enough to attract the attention of people who aren’t sure of the difference between futbol and football, Coulter has gone and pooped on the pitch by writing, “Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay.” 

This is classic Coulter hyperbole and not to be taken too seriously. If her right-wing sister-in-arms, Michelle Malkin, wrote something like that, you’d know she actually meant it. Malkin is the grimly earnest student in the front of the class who has read too much Ayn Rand and wants to prove how much smarter she is than the Howard Zinn-quoting professor up at the lectern. Coulter, on the other hand, is the sarcastic girl in the back row sneaking shots of Fireball with the frat boys and...

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Fracking may be inducing earthquakes where they shouldn't be

The perennial jokes about California being sloughed off into the Pacific when the next big earthquake strikes may soon give way to laugh lines about Oklahoma shaking, quaking and sinking into the earth.

A place once known for rodeos, tornadoes and dust storms where earthquakes used to be rare, Oklahoma now tops all 50 states in the number of tremors per year. This sudden, startling rise in the incidence of earthquakes would seem mystifying if not for the explanation scientists have come up with. The difference between today and the days when the ground shook only on game day at Sooners stadium? Fracking.

Hydraulic fracking is a process being used in many states to extract hard-to-get oil and gas. A watery brew is forced into shale deposits and other deep places where the fossil fuels are hiding and the oil or gas is pushed to the surface. The fuel goes one way and the water goes another -- a huge amount of wastewater that, as production increases, is closing in on a trillion gallons...

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If only Iraq's new invaders had a Dick Cheney to give them advice

President Barack Obama is sending 300 American advisors to Iraq to see if they can help stop an army of Islamic fanatics from undoing everything the United States military accomplished in nearly nine years of warfare. We’ll see how that goes, but it might be even more effective to send just one guy to give advice to the Sunni militants: Dick Cheney.

I’m not suggesting the former vice president would actually wish to advise the vicious horde who call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – he’s too red, white and true blue for that – but if he could steer them in the same self-destructive direction that he steered the USA, he’d finally be doing his country a favor.

As we well know, Cheney was one of the key architects of the Iraq war, along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his assistant Paul Wolfowitz. Those three – backed by a supporting cast of chicken hawks in the media, in the Bush administration and in various right-of-center think tanks -- fulfilled a...

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Brian Schweitzer offends the scolds with kooky, colorful comments

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer seems to have scuttled his already-long-shot hope of being on a national ticket for the Democratic Party by talking a bit too loosely about his own “gaydar” and by comparing California Sen. Dianne Feinstein to a hooker. Various scolds in the media and inside the Beltway claim to be offended.

Call me a contrarian, but I’m more appalled by the daily blather that comes from the mouths of more conventional politicians. It is almost pointless to listen to what most senators or members of Congress have to say because they religiously follow a list of talking points provided by their respective party’s message machines. When they do get too forthright, it is a twisted kind of fun to watch officeholders, Republicans in particular, frantically retract tweets or emails or spontaneous comments that stray from the script. 

That’s never been a problem with Schweitzer. He has no script. He just says whatever pops into his busy brain. Unlike many of the...

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Kevin McCarthy wrangles the tea party alligators in his caucus

Bakersfield Republican Kevin McCarthy, who was a consultant for the Netflix political drama “House of Cards,” is more aware than anyone that the ruthless and homicidal leadership style of the fictional House whip played by Kevin Spacey does not really work anymore. Having just been chosen as the first Californian to be House majority leader, McCarthy is more likely to kill with kindness than literally kill any of his colleagues. 

As marvelously dark and entertaining as “House of Cards” may be, the show’s portrayal of how politics works in Washington is seriously outdated. Spacey’s character harks back to the era when bare-knuckled leaders like Lyndon Johnson could twist arms, call in favors and threaten careers in order to put together a voting majority. That was before earmarks to bills had been eliminated and incumbents were nearly all guaranteed reelection in districts designed to tilt heavily toward one party.

These days, the greatest fear among members of the House Republican...

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GOP criticism of Khattala's capture hits level of pure silliness

There seems to be no good news from the White House that cannot be reinterpreted as bad by conservatives. This anti-Obama negativity among Republican politicians and right-wing media is so predictable and reflexive that it has become comical.

This Obama-can-do-no-right contrarianism has attained a new comedic level following the announcement that one of the suspected leaders of the attack on the American Consulate and CIA station in Benghazi, Libya, has been captured by U.S. Delta Force soldiers and FBI agents. Rather than cheering the news, reaction on the right has been anything but celebratory.

Ahmed Abu Khattala, a local militia leader and Islamic militant, had openly bragged about his role in the mob assault that led to the murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012. He gave interviews to Western media. He did not bother to hide, apparently assuming he was protected by the chaos in Benghazi.

But Khattala was being watched. Late Sunday night,...

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Iraq: U.S. broke it but now someone else needs to own it

Just a few months after America got sideswiped by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, I was in Brussels at a gathering of foreign correspondents where the focus of discussion was our suddenly more dark and dangerous world.

During a cocktail hour, I had the opportunity to chat with Bill Kristol, the neoconservative commentator and editor of the Weekly Standard. We got into a discussion about American imperialism and Kristol quite forthrightly said he considered imperialism a good thing. Someone needed to run the world and shape the future and, in Kristol’s view, because only Americans had the power and principles to do it right, empire was both a necessity and a duty.

At the time, I was not aware of how men who shared Kristol’s view -- specifically, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Rumsfeld’s deputy, Paul Wolfowitz -- were making plans to extend the U.S. imperium by invading Iraq to depose the tyrant Saddam Hussein. It seems likely that Kristol...

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