TPM Cafe: Opinion

The collision between the Obama Administration and the courts continues, even though the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell rejected the attempt to gut Obamacare. Next up: the lawsuit to invalidate the president’s executive action on immigration.

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Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled 11-0 that a ban on federal campaign contributions by individuals who contract with the government is constitutional. After a wave of controversial decisions by Supreme Court that have unleashed a flood of big money into politics, this appeals court decision sends a clear message: Sometimes, more money in politics can be a very bad thing.

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As Bernie Sanders’ crowd sizes and early-state poll standings rapidly rise, a lot of pundits who are seeing the veteran senator in a new light are undoubtedly beginning to ask the question: Who is this guy, really? And the answer the pundits crave cannot be found in his biography or his campaign message, but involves the precedent we can use to understand what he represents. What iconic—or for that matter, completely forgotten—presidential candidate of the past does he most resemble?

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In recent days, despite substantial business and financial losses, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has doubled down on his anti-Mexican rhetoric. Along with repeating his claims about rapists and criminals, Trump added the argument that “tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border,” among other extreme assertions. While many of Trump’s fellow GOP presidential hopefuls have worked to distance themselves from his xenophobia, Senator Ted Cruz has supported Trump. And prominent right-wing media leaders have likewise expressed their agreement, from Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity to Ann Coulter, whose most recent book, Adios America!, is an extended, xenophobic diatribe against Mexican-American immigrants and culture.

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There’s a key element missing from this year’s remake of the classic Tobe Hooper-directed, Spielberg-written film Poltergeist. Like many remakes, it has a cargo-cult feel to it, ritualistically going through the motions of reenacting scenes or mimicking tropes without quite understanding the significance of the 1982 film it’s trying to replicate. What the remake fails to understand is that Poltergeist is much more than just a story about a haunted house. It’s also a scathing critique of suburbia—a scathing conservative critique.

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It’s hard to believe that there could be new developments in the Bill Cosby story, considering that the alleged rapes happened years, often decades ago, but here we are: The Associated Press managed to get a court to release documents, despite Cosby’s lawyers fighting them tooth and nail, that reveal that Cosby admitted to premeditated drugging of women for sex. The documents, from a 2005 lawsuit from one of his alleged victims, show that Cosby admitted to buying Quaaludes for this purpose in the past and to drugging at least one woman with three half-pills of Benadryl.

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It’s been a wild couple of weeks at the Supreme Court, as a notoriously conservative court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, upheld the Fair Housing Act, and preserved Obamacare subsidies for millions of Americans. Progressives were stunned and delighted at the Supreme Court’s seemingly leftward tilt, cheering Justice Anthony Kennedy for his decisive vote for marriage equality and commending Chief Justice John Roberts for strengthening Obamacare’s judicial footing.

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As with so many debates in our 21st century moment, the question of race and the Declaration of Independence has become a divided and often overtly partisan one. Those working to highlight and challenge injustice will note that Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration and its “All men are created equal” sentiment, was like many of his fellow founders a slave-owner, and moreover one who might well have fathered illegitimate children with one of his slaves. In responses, those looking to defend Jefferson and the nation’s founding ideals will push back on these histories as anachronistic, overly simplistic, exemplifying the worst form of “revisionist history.”

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When President Barack Obama signed the Trade Promotion Authority bill last week, he set a precedent. The bill included a provision that “requires the U.S. Trade Representative to discourage European Union countries from boycotting ‘Israel or persons doing business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories’ during free-trade negotiations between the U.S. and the EU.”

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Want to contribute to TPM Cafe? Email ideas for your pieces to us at talk@talkingpointsmemo.com

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