TPM Cafe: Opinion

Tzipi Hotovely might not be a great diplomat, but her blunt communication style can be a great help in clarifying matters. This was certainly the case with her interview with the Times of Israel, which was published on September 27. In it, Hotovely, Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, openly declares that Israel has no intention of handing any of the West Bank over to Palestinian control.

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Here’s a newsflash for liberals who first swooned over Pope Francis’s U.S. visit, only to be stunned and dismayed by reports that he had met with Kim Davis at the Vatican Embassy before departing Washington on Thursday. Francis’s statements and gestures of inclusiveness for immigrants and the homeless, his exhortations to save the environment and address income inequality, his kisses and blessings to disabled children, and his meeting with Davis are all consistent with his role as head of the Catholic Church.

In other words, to use an old cliché, the Pope is still Catholic.

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One of the unifying moments at the last GOP debate was when the candidates agreed that in America, people should speak English, to raucous applause. It came on the heels of Bobby Jindal's declarations in the first debate that "immigration without assimilation is invasion." The Republican candidates were were echoing a sentiment that Americans are largely getting behind, one that reflects the immigration panic increasingly prevalent in America.

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Anti-Muslim sentiments and paranoid fears about sharia law are still taking center stage in our political and social debates. GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson’s concerns about the possibility of a Muslim gaining the presidency and his insistence that such a candidate would need to “renounce Islam” before taking office are, nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas writes, “caution, not bigotry.” The mayor of Irving, Texas—home to 14-year-old engineer Ahmed Mohamed—argues that her anti-sharia and anti-Muslim sentiments are “exactly what the American public is thinking.” And judging by stories such as this one, describing fears of a Muslim takeover of South Carolina in response to the idea of Syrian refugees coming to the U.S., there are indeed many Americans who share these concerns.

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To hear the conventional wisdom in Washington, John Boehner’s surprise resignation announcement last week represented a sort of 21st century secular passion play. The noble Ohioan, we are told, sacrificed his career at the peak of his powers to save his party from self-destructive conflict, and his country from a government shutdown. And indeed, the riches showered on us all by Boehner’s atonement for our sins might well include such Beltway prizes as the salvation of Eximbank, or yea, even a Highway Bill!

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Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) is running as the alternative to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to succeed John Boehner as Speaker of the House. He also has a decades-long affiliation with the Institute in Basic Life Principles, the controversial ministry whose founder, Bill Gothard, resigned last year after more than 30 women accused him of sexual harassment. As TPM reported earlier this month, IBLP subjected young followers to victim-blaming “counseling” for rape, as well as grueling work schedules at its facilities for little or no pay, requiring women to engage in gendered tasks that included scrubbing carpets on their hands and knees.

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The word of the day: “Mammogram.”

Over and over during the farce that was supposed to be a hearing on Planned Parenthood, Republican representatives attacked Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards because her organization does not provide mammograms as part of its core set of services. (They do sometimes pair with organizations for programs that offer them to low-income women.) Over and over again, the fact that Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer mammograms was held out as some kind of proof that the organization doesn’t provide women’s health care. Apparently, Republicans are under the impression that women are Barbie dolls, with big breasts and nothing between our legs but a flat surface.

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We’ve been here before. A frontrunner for the Republican nomination announces a tax plan, which is immediately lauded as “populist” but is actually a massive and unpaid-for tax cut for corporations and the wealthy. Earlier this month, it was Jeb Bush. This week, it is Donald Trump, who seems to have taken Jeb Bush’s plan, given every number a haircut, and submitted it as his own work. So much for being the anti-Establishment candidate.

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The Western is officially back. Although some argue that cinema’s once-dominant genre has been replaced by the superhero movie, there are going to be a lot of cowboys on screen this fall, with films such as The Keeping Room (released on Friday), The Hateful Eight, and The Revenant hitting theaters. It’s not a brand-new trend; these movies follow a rash of Westerns released in the last few years, including The Lone Ranger, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Django Unchained, True Grit, Cowboys and Aliens and The Homesman.

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The future composition of the Supreme Court is the most important civil rights cause of our time. It is more important than racial justice, marriage equality, voting rights, money in politics, abortion rights, gun rights, or managing climate change. It matters more because the ability to move forward in these other civil rights struggles depends first and foremost upon control of the Court. And control for the next generation is about to be up for grabs, likely in the next presidential election, a point many on the right but few on the left seem to have recognized.

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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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Clinton Postpones Trip To Charlotte

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