President’s last-ditch Gitmo plan falls flat – By Jordan Fabian and Kristina Wong – 02/23/16 09:14 PM EST

President Obama’s plan to shutter the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, ran into a buzz saw of opposition on Tuesday, underscoring how difficult it will be for him to fulfill a major campaign promise in his final year in office.

Mere minutes after the president sent Congress his blueprint to empty the controversial facility and move detainees to the United States, Republican leaders declared it dead on arrival.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) best summed up the attitudes of his colleagues: He crumpled up the proposal and tossed it in the trash.

“This is what I think of the president’s plan to send terrorists to the United States,” he said in a video posted on Twitter.

Obama’s plan also received a lukewarm reception from Democrats facing reelection in November.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who is running in a tough race, said he supports closing the prison but cautioned that detainees should be moved to military facilities and not civilian prisons in his home state.

Liberal Democrats came out strongly in favor of the plan, but centrists refrained from taking a stance.

“I do think closing Guantánamo would deprive jihadists of a successful recruiting tool,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “But there are serious legal barriers and legitimate security concerns to be dealt with. … In general, I support the closure of Guantánamo, but the details matter.”

Coons said he would decide whether to support the plan once he reviews it.

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Economist: GOP may win 47 states in general election – By Bradford Richardson January 10, 2016, 06:00 am

Supply-side economist Arthur Laffer is predicting Republicans will win the White House in a landslide this year, regardless of the nominee.

“I would be surprised if the Republicans don’t take 45, 46, 47 states out of the 50,” Laffer told host John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable” on New York’s AM-970 on Sunday.

“I mean, I think we’re going to landslide this election.”

Laffer, who served in various positions in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations, said he is bullish on the entire Republican primary field.

“When I look at these candidates, I don’t see one of them who wouldn’t do a great job as president,” he said.

“I think Donald Trump is phenomenal, I think Rand Paul has done a great job, I even like Jeb Bush — I think Jeb Bush is great, he did a wonderful job in Florida,” he added. “Chris Christie – phenomenal.”

He said Democratic primary front-runner Hillary Clinton’s “day is over.”

“She would be defeated handily. I don’t think Hillary’s going to win this election no matter whom she runs against,” he said. “I mean, Hillary’s day is over.

“I think she’s a very impressive person, she’s very articulate, very well educated, got a great resume and all of that, but her policies are not good. And it’s about issues, not about people, and her day has gone,” he added.

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The Best and Worst of 2016 in 2015 By David Catanese Dec. 31, 2015, at 1:35 p.m.

U.S. News scores the race for the White House at its halfway point.


No one’s even cast a ballot yet, but the 2016 presidential campaign is reaching its midpoint – and that calls for midterm grades.

`In the past 12 months, 23 major party candidates have launched bids for the White House. Eight have already quit in that same span.

Hundreds of trips have been taken to the first three nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and almost as many polls have been churned out and chewed on. Tens of millions of dollars have been devoted to advertising, staffing and transportation around the country.

The Democrats have debated three times; the Republicans five.

There are still months to go until an ultimate victor emerges, yet there’s already much to measure.

Here’s U.S. News’ best and worst of the 2016 campaign in 2015.

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This Attorney General Candidate’s “Religious Liberty” Proposal Makes Absolutely No Sense – By Mark Joseph Stern DEC. 28 2015 5:12 PM


Missouri attorney general candidate Josh Hawley. Hawley campaign ad

Josh Hawley, a Republican running for Missouri attorney general, recently came out swinging in favor of state-level religious liberty legislation to ensure that churches and businesses will not be compelled to “participate” in same-sex marriages. Hawley, who is challenging a state senator for the nomination, painted himself as a bold truth-teller, declaring that “my part is to raise this issue and speak out in favor of it and hold [legislators’] feet to the fire.” He also insisted that “this is the way we avoid a cultural war, not prolong it.”

These statements are rather curious, for two reasons. First, and most obviously, churches are shielded by the First Amendment from engaging in any wedding ceremony they disagree with—something that Hawley, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, surely understands. But second, and more important, Missouri does not currently protect gay people from discrimination. Not in the workplace, not in public accommodation, not in housing, not in education. An employer could fire a gay worker because he was gay; a store could eject a gay customer because he was gay; a landlord could evict a gay tenant because he was gay; a school could expel a gay student because he was gay—and none of these homophobes would break a single state law.

To glimpse the impact this lack of protection has on Missourians, just look at the case of James Pittman. A gay man, Pittman alleges that he faced vile homophobic harassment at work: Employees called him a “cocksucker,” asked whether he had AIDS, ridiculed him for having a boyfriend, and mocked him when they broke up. Then he was fired. Pittman sued his employer, alleging anti-gay discrimination. But a state court hesitantly threw out his case, explaining that anti-gay workplace discrimination is perfectly legal under Missouri state law.

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How US negotiators ensured landmark Paris climate deal was Republican-proof | US news | The Guardian

White House officials at COP 21 helped craft a deal congressional Republicans would not be able to stop – and the effort required major political capital

Source: How US negotiators ensured landmark Paris climate deal was Republican-proof | US news | The Guardian