1. says

    Rand Paul spoke at Drake University last night. Among other things, he said some stupid stuff about LBGT rights. An audience member asked Rand Paul, “Do you think an employer should be able to fire an LGBT employee because that person is LGBT?”

    Here is Paul’s answer:

    I think, really, the things you do in your house, just leave those in your house and they wouldn’t have to be a part of the workplace, to tell you the truth. These are very difficult decisions, on what you decide will be employers’ decisions and not. And it really isn’t so much about that question as it is about that it sets a classification, or a class of people, who can now sue. I think society is rapidly changing, and if you are gay, there are plenty of places that will hire you.

  2. blf says

    Are we supposed to be able to tell the difference between Carson’s presidential campaign and his book tour?

    Should be easy: On his book tour, he will be spouting nonsense, falsehoods, bigotry, incomprehension, and lack of compassion primarily in, presumably, bookshops. On his presidential campaign he will be spouting nonsense, falsehoods, bigotry, incomprehension, and lack of compassion in other places as well.

  3. blf says

    USAnnihilate!annihilate!annihilate!’s mass murder lobby is at it again, Bills to expand gun access on university campuses proposed in two US states:

    Michigan and Wisconsin legislatures looking at bills that would allow concealed weapons onto campuses, less than two weeks after Roseburg shooting


    On Monday, two Republican legislators in Wisconsin, Jesse Kremer and Devin LeMahieu, introduced a bill that would allow concealed weapons inside university buildings such as classrooms.


    “Crime is on the rise around the campus, and there is nothing stopping {criminals} because these students walking to campus are disarmed. This will allow students the right to protect themselves,” he said.

    “It’s hard to think of a policy that would make me feel less safe at work,” Don Moynihan, a professor of public affairs in Madison, wrote on Twitter.


    In Michigan, a Senate panel on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow concealed-carry license holders to bring guns into zones currently designated as “no carry zones”, as well as schools and college classrooms.


    John Lott Jr, a Virginia economist and Fox News commentator [who babbled incoherently for 20 minutes] opposed creating outright gun-free zones.

    “If you go to create a gun-free zone, the people who obey these rules are the law-abiding citizens, not the criminals,” he said.

    The proposed legislation advanced to the full Senate over the protest of many college and school officials.

    “Please do not have our school campus compromised,” said Dr Jeanice Smith, superintendent of the Ann Arbor school district. “We recognize that it’s a difficult topic that you face here and you must wrestle with these complicated issues. However, as a school superintendent {…} please do not see concealed carry as the solution.”


    Michigan State University also vocally opposed the bill.

    “We’re opposed to any legislation allowing concealed carriers in what are currently pistol-free zones,” university spokesman Jason Cody told the Lansing State Journal.

    The University of Texas is currently mulling how to implement Texas’s new campus carry law, which goes into effect in August 2016 and will allow concealed weapon licence holders […] to bring handguns into buildings on public campuses. […]

    About 50 professors signed a statement on Sunday arguing “there is no empirical evidence whatsoever that the presence of concealed guns on campus will promote student safety, and ample reason to believe that it will lead to harm”.

    “Shootings give rise to situations marked by panic, confusion and terror, conditions under which judgment, especially among individuals who are untrained and inexperienced in such situations, is impaired. [… W]e strenuously object to this law and to the presence of concealed guns in campus buildings.”

    How many state legislatures allow firearms (excluding policegoons) into their chambers or capitol buildings?

  4. blf says

    An amusing protest is in the planning against the mass murder lobby’s plans to shoot up colleges and universities in Texas (mentioned in @2), ‘Campus (Dildo) Carry’: sex toy ban spurs protest over Texas gun laws:

    University students plan protest over law that will allow concealed weapons on campus where display of sex aids can lead to a $500 fine for obscenity

    From 1 August 2016, licensed Texans will be allowed to carry concealed weapons on the campuses of public universities. In the wake of a spate of campus shootings, a group of students have decided to protest the incoming law by entering classrooms carrying different accessories: dildos.

    In an event organized by Jessica Jin, a 24-year-old alumnus of the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, under the banner of Campus (Dildo) Carry, on 24 August 2016 students and others who want to participate will enter the UT campus with sex aids strapped to their backpacks.

    [… She said] dildos point to deeper issues regarding the carrying of guns and the way society talks about obscenity. Carrying dildos around campus will “spotlight the masturbatory nature of the power which people derive from gun ownership”, Jin said.

    “Additionally, the dildo has proven itself to be interesting fodder for commentary on what our society does and does not consider ‘obscene’,” she said. “The narratives surrounding sexuality (or just dildos, in this case) and guns are more intertwined than one would expect, and more similarities seem to unfold every minute.”


    Dildos are “just about as effective as {guns in} protecting us from sociopathic shooters, but much safer for recreational play”, Jin wrote in her event description.

    According to the Texas Penal Code, which deems them “obscene”, dildos — unlike, from August 2016, guns — are prohibited from classrooms at UT.

    Those who carry dildos on to campus risk a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. […]

    Gary Susswein, spokesman for UT Austin, said in an email to the Guardian: “Students are free to express themselves peacefully on all issues and this appears to be an example of protected political speech.


    More than 380 academics have signed a petition saying they will refuse guns in their classrooms, while the police and chancellor William McRaven, a former navy admiral who planned the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, have said the law will make colleges less safe.

    Despite the fact that thousands plan to participate in the “strap-in”, Jin has received significant negative feedback, including death threats posted to the event’s Facebook page.

    “People want me dead for a dildo,” she said.

  5. says

    blf @2, Ha! Great explanation, thanks for that. Link to previous post about Carson’s book tour.


    In other news, one of Fox News’s bogus “experts” has been arrested.

    A frequent guest on Fox News claimed he worked 27 years for the CIA but in fact never worked for the agency, according to a federal indictment announced Thursday.

    Wayne Shelby Simmons was arrested following his indictment by a federal grand jury for fraud […] Simmons was often a guest on Fox News and touted as a national security analyst. [..]

    “He’s not affiliated with the network,” Fox News spokesperson Carly Shanahan told TPM following the announcement, either as a paid pundit or contributor. [cough, bullshit]

    Simmons was often described as a former CIA “operative” or “analyst” when he appeared on Fox News. He was also known to make outlandish-sounding claims, like that there are “at least 19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States,” as he said in January. […]

    Well, now we know the origin of the bogus claim that there are Muslim terrorist training facilities in the USA. Donald Trump once let an audience member at one of his Town Hall events get away with a similar claim. Trump probably nurtured his gullibility on that topic by watching Faux News.

  6. says

    Mike Huckabee thinks that we could improve our justice system by selling poor people into slavery if they are caught stealing. This might be a good addition to “mean Christian” category.

    Link to discussion of mean christians in the previous chapter of this thread.

    Huckabee doesn’t favor beating people to death, just enslaving them:

    […] Host Jan Mickelson began by bemoaning that the “criminal justice system has been taken over by progressives.” In order to fight back, he argued, conservatives should look to the biblical Book of Exodus. “It says, if a person steals, they have to pay it back two-fold, four-fold,” Mickelson explained. “If they don’t have anything, we’re supposed to take them down and sell them.”

    Mickelson went on to argue why jails, which he claimed are a “pagan invention,” are inferior to slavery: “We indenture them and they have to spend their time not sitting on their stump in a jail cell, they’re supposed to be working off the debt.”

    “Wouldn’t that be a better choice?” the host asked.

    “Well, it really would be,” Huckabee replied without missing a beat. “Sometimes the best way to deal with a nonviolent criminal behavior is what you just suggested.” […]

    Think Progress link

  7. says

    I haven’t been keeping up with this thread as much as I had been in the past, so apologies if this has already been posted (I did do a control-F search of this page and the last, and didn’t turn up any posts with ‘Intercept’ or ‘drone’ in them, so maybe this story hasn’t been posted yet).

    The Assassination Complex.
    From Jeremy Scahill at The Intercept.

    The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret slides that provides a window into the inner workings of the U.S. military’s kill/capture operations at a key time in the evolution of the drone wars — between 2011 and 2013. The documents, which also outline the internal views of special operations forces on the shortcomings and flaws of the drone program, were provided by a source within the intelligence community who worked on the types of operations and programs described in the slides. The Intercept granted the source’s request for anonymity because the materials are classified and because the U.S. government has engaged in aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers. The stories in this series will refer to the source as “the source.”

    The source said he decided to provide these documents to The Intercept because he believes the public has a right to understand the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government. “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the source said.

    This is only an excerpt from a much longer read.

  8. says

    From Lynna’s @6:

    “criminal justice system has been taken over by progressives.”

    If progressives had control over the criminal justice system, I’m almost 100% certain this country would be in a much, much better place.

  9. says

    Lawsuit filed against psychologists who orchestrated US torture program:

    After years of silence and absolutely zero accountability from government officials, two men who played a vital role in the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program might actually face justice.
    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, as well as a representative of the estate of Gul Rahman — who froze to death in a CIA black site in Afghanistan — in a lawsuit against psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. Both men are former U.S. military psychologists who are seen as the “architects” of the CIA’s torture program. The lawsuit accuses Jessen and Mitchell of operating a “joint criminal enterprise” and seeks compensatory damages of at least $75,000.
    The Senate report on CIA torture, released in December 2014, found that “Neither psychologist had experience as an interrogator, nor did either have specialized knowledge of al-Qa’ida, a background in terrorism, or any relevant regional, cultural, or linguistic expertise.”
    The two men served in the U.S. military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape program (SERE), teaching U.S. troops how to resist and survive torture in the event of capture by foreign nations. SERE was supposed to help troops understand torture techniques while Jessen and Mitchell supervised their mental state. After 9/11, the psychologists were tasked with designing and developing the CIA’s detention, rendition, and interrogation operations. Using their knowledge of how to resist torture, the two reverse-engineered the SERE program to create a new program that would break detainees’ mental state in the hopes of creating a loose-lipped zombie.
    The ACLU writes, “Integral to the program was the idea that once a detainee had been psychologically destroyed through torture, he would become compliant and cooperate with interrogators’ demands. The theory behind the goal had never been scientifically tested because such trials would violate human experimentation bans established after Nazi experiments and atrocities during World War II.”
    Although neither Mitchell and Jessen were present for the torture, the lawsuit says the men are responsible because the CIA employed techniques provided to them by the psychologists. In August, the American Psychological Association’s Council of Representatives voted to adopt a new policy that bars psychologists from participating in national security interrogations. This decision reversed the APA’s decade old policy of allowing psychologists to participate in torture sessions.

    Fucking good. Of course these two men shouldn’t be the only ones charged.

  10. opus says

    Lynna @5: “Trump probably nurtured his gullibility on that topic by watching Faux News.”

    In fact, that would be a perfect motto for Faux News: “Nurturing Gullibility Since 1985”. Not fully accurate though since it omits the creation of fear. . .

  11. says

    Tony @7, thanks for the info on the leaks showing how ineffective (or should I say “inaccurate) the drone strike program has been. No, I hadn’t posted about that yet. And I do miss political stories, so I need all the help I can get.

    Regarding the drone strikes:

    […] nearly 90 percent of people killed in recent drone strikes in Afghanistan “were not the intended targets” of the attacks.

    That’s enough for me to condemn the program.

  12. says

    The Trump phenomenon has gotten so bad that conservatives have resorted to their favorite tactic … they are blaming President Obama.

    […] The only thing I feel certain of is how we got here [Trump at the top of GOP polls]. There are many reasons we’re at this moment, but the essential political one is this: Mr. Obama lowered the bar. He was a literal unknown, an obscure former state legislator who hadn’t completed his single term as U.S. senator, but he was charismatic, canny, compelling. He came from nowhere and won it all twice. All previously prevailing standards, all usual expectations, were thrown out the window.

    Anyone can run for president now. […]

    Wall Street Journal link

  13. says

    Ted Cruz admits that he didn’t watch the Democratic Debate, but that didn’t stop him from making some absolutely ridiculous comments, including a Nazi reference:

    It was more socialism, more pacifism, more weakness and less Constitution. It was a recipe to destroy a country. […]

    We’re seeing our freedoms taken away every day and last night was an audition for who would wear the jackboot most vigorously. […]

    Cruz made the speech to a conservative crowd in Iowa.

    Cruz also sent out an email to supporters that read, in part:

    The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution isn’t for just protecting hunting rights, and it’s not only to safeguard your right to target practice. It is a Constitutional right to protect your children, your family, your home, our lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny – for the protection of liberty […]

    Yeah, Cruz is pushing the “tyrants,” “jackboots,” “destroy the country” rhetoric really hard. I don’t know how that is supposed to square with the idea that President Obama is weak, but there you have it. Cruz is also the same guy that criticized Black Lives Matter activists for using “rabid rhetoric.”

  14. quotetheunquote says

    Anyone can run for president now.

    Okay, on the face of it, that’s a ludicrous statement.

    Maybe if they’d said, “Anyone with a bunch of rich backers, or a couple of hundred million bucks of their own to spare, can run for president now”, I might think they have a point.

    But anyway – isn’t that the American dream we’re talking about here? Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and all that?

  15. says

    This is a followup of sorts to an earlier comment about Martin Shkreli, aka Drug Asshole.

    […] Shkreli confirmed that he’d donated $2,700 to the Sanders campaign — the maximum individual contribution — on Sept. 28.

    At the time, the campaign sent the Turing CEO a form email full of populist fervor: “Our political system is corrupt. Big Money controls much of what happens. Together, you and I are changing that. Thank you again for your support. Best, Bernie.”

    On Thursday, however, campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said Sanders won’t keep the money. Instead, the campaign will make a $2,700 donation to the Whitman-Walker health clinic in Washington.

    “We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed,” Briggs said. […]

    Shkreli made the contribution, he said, partly because he actually supports some of Sanders’ other proposals — just not the ones about drug prices. But mainly, he said, he donated to get the senator’s attention in the hopes that he could get a private meeting to explain why drug companies set prices the way they do.

    Boston Globe link

  16. says

    Texas lawmakers have tried to pass a lot of anti LGBT bills, but most of those bills have failed. The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton (a Republican), is preparing a new push to pass discriminatory laws.

    Here are some excerpts from his proposal:

    Religious organizations should not be forced to compromise their religious beliefs when making staffing and housing decisions. […]

    Faith-based adoption and foster care agencies should be free from discrimination based on their religious beliefs, as has occurred in other jurisdictions. […]

    The accreditation of religious schools should not be revoked due to the school’s sincerely-held religious beliefs. […]

    Tax assessors should not revoke religious tax accommodations based on religious beliefs. […]

    Religious beliefs when providing counseling should be protected. […] [This includes reparative therapy or cure-the-gay crap.]

    Small businesses and closely held corporations should not be required to provide goods or services for weddings that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. […]

    Judges and other officiants should not be forced to perform weddings that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. […] The State does not, in the process of complying with the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, needlessly trample the religious liberties of State and local government employees. […]

    Public school, college, or university students’ retain their constitutional freedom to speak their religious beliefs, to associate with others of similar religious beliefs, and to not be compelled to participate in religious practices contrary to their religious beliefs. […]

    Discrimination laws and ordinances should be uniform across the State. […]

  17. says

    Trump is inspiring his supporters to act on his extremist views about immigrants.

    […] A man spat in an immigrant activist’s face during a campaign rally for the Republican presidential candidate in Richmond, Virginia on Wednesday night. The incident occurred soon after immigrant activists briefly interrupted the Republican presidential candidate as Trump launched into an anti-immigrant tirade about giving “free stuff” to “illegal immigrants.”

    […] incidents like this at Trump rallies are becoming routine. In fact, his supporters have spit on immigrant activists in the past.

    Trump supporters have told immigrant activists to “clean my hotel room, bitch;” shouted “if it ain’t white, it ain’t right” while ripping up posters; told Latino U.S. citizens to “go home” while grabbing their hair and spitting on them; told prominent journalist and U.S. citizen Jorge Ramos to “get out of my country;” joked “you can shoot all the people you want that cross illegally;” and beat up and urinated on the homeless. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of incidents against Latinos.

    There’s some evidence to back up this phenomenon. A slew of behavioral psychology studies have found that xenophobic rhetoric can and will embolden supporters to normalize racism.

    A 1980 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study found that when participants were given favorable and unfavorable information about in-group and out-group members, they were more likely to remember the unfavorable information about the out-group members. A 2001 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study found that when people consider others as part of a general group, rather than as individuals, they may have greater feelings of fear and lower levels of trust in their interactions with them. And a 2004 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study found that exposure to “disparagement humor” that denigrates, belittles, or maligns an individual or social group “increases tolerance of discriminatory events for people high in prejudice toward the disparaged group.” The study also found that it “expands the bounds of appropriate conduct, creating a norm of tolerance of discrimination.” […]

  18. says

    President Obama is taking another action to lower greenhouse gases.

    The Obama administration has announced new efforts to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases that are used in refrigerators, air conditioners, aerosols, and foam products.

    […] It also includes commitments from the government, such as plans from the Department of Defense to equip its new class destroyers and amphibious transport dock ships with low-emissions refrigeration and air conditioning. The DoD also announced that it would provide $3 million for research into HFC alternatives that won’t contribute so much to climate change.

    The White House estimates that, over the next 10 years, the commitments from companies and government agencies will cut HFC emissions by the equivalent of 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. The’s equal, according to the White House, to removing 210 million cars from the road for one year.

    HFCs are a type of fluoridated gas that became common in certain industries after chlorofluorocarbons, which were once used in refrigerators and air conditioning […], were banned. […]

  19. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @13:

    conservatives have resorted to their favorite tactic … they are blaming President Obama.

    Naturally they blame Obama for something _everyone_else_ did (ie electing him POTUS).
    Of course they can’t blame he people, as in, “Look what you did, by electing thiat unknown person Obama as POTUS, you’ve brought Trump forward to try running for POTUS. shame on you. (elect me, to prove me wrong, whydontcha).” because of the backlash that would cause. So blame their fvorite scapegoat Obama, with no racist overtones at all…

  20. says

    The “Democratic Socialism” promoted by Bernie Sanders is nothing like the socialism of communist dictatorships, but that didn’t stop Rand Paul from saying stupid stuff. Apparently Paul thinks electing Sanders would lead to genocide.

    […] The Republican presidential candidate linked Sen. Bernie Sanders […] to the murderous communist regimes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, saying that “most of the times when socialism has been tried” there “has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it.”

    “It amazes me and it actually kind of scares me,” Paul said. “I’ve been spending more time going after Bernie and socialism because I don’t want America to succumb to the notion that there’s anything good about socialism. I think it’s not an accident of history that most of the times when socialism has been tried that attendant with that has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it. Stalin killed tens of millions of people. Mao killed tens of millions of people. Pol Pot killed tens of millions of people. When you have a command economy, when everything is dictated from one authority, that’s socialism, but it doesn’t come easily to those who resist it.” […]


  21. says

    Here’s Karl Rove’s take on the Democratic Debate:

    Well look, first of all, the debate reminded us of two things. One is [Hillary Clinton] is a pretty good debater. […] The other thing that it reminded us is the rest of the field are really weak. Really really weak. I mean, I called Bernie Sanders an elderly dyspeptic Bilbo Baggins appearing like he was at the British Labour Party meeting. So, I mean, this is just ridiculous.

    You have a way with words, Karl, but you are still wrong, and you are still irrelevant. Remember that time you were sure Mitt Romney would win? That time you even questioned the Fox News polls?

  22. says

    So, this guy Ed Klein wrote a book. The book is a piece of trash on all levels. However, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee like the book and have been quoting from it, referencing it in their speeches. Another case of garbage in, garbage out. Why can’t republicans learn to vet their sources?

    Klein’s New Book Unlikeable Features Implausible Dialogue And A Fake Quote. Ed Klein recently released the book Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary. The book features supposedly insider accounts regarding Hillary Clinton and other powerful politicians. Like his other output, Unlikeable is undermined by dubious sourcing, sloppy research, and implausible dialogue. [Media Matters, 10/1/15]

    Dozens Of Reporters — Including Many Conservatives — Have Said Klein Has No Credibility. Numerous reporters from a diverse range of outlets have called out Klein’s reporting for a wide variety of problems. They have called Klein’s work “junk journalism,” “devoid of credibility,” “suspect,” “fan fiction,” “lazy, cut-and-paste recycling,” “strewn with serious factual errors, truncated and distorted quotes,” “thoroughly discredited,” “smut,” “sordid,” “poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced,” and “bullshit.” [Media Matters, 9/23/15]


    Yes, Klein has been properly pegged as a hack in the past. There’s no excuse for using him as a source.

    A few examples of how the utter Klein garbage that is being taken seriously by others:
    – Klein’s book claims that Bill Clinton headed an effort by Democrats to take out Marco Rubio. (Rubio is fundraising off of this shit.)
    – Donald Trump blurbed a Klein book: “The Amateur is the best book I’ve read on how Barack Obama is wrecking our country. […]”
    – Dinesh D’Souza loves Klein’s books: “[…] a necessary antidote to Obama worship […]”

  23. Al Dente says

    Lynna, OM @23

    Dinesh D’Souza loves Klein’s books

    That’s enough evidence to tell me Klein isn’t worth reading.

  24. says

    This is a followup to comment 5.

    The arrest and investigation of Wayne Simmons is making Fox News look worse and worse by the day, by the hour.

    […] One of Fox News’ most popular so-called “terror analysts” was actually a con man.

    Con artist Wayne Simmons created an elaborate life story. It is fake. He identified as a CIA outside paramilitary special operations officer. He wasn’t. He wrote a book claiming he worked in the CIA for 27 years. He didn’t.

    Fox News took him at his word. […] A federal grand jury indicted him on numerous counts of fraud and making false statements.

    […] what is even more disturbing […] is the fact that Simmons used his faux-authority to spread ludicrous and jingoist right-wing propaganda.

    For 13 years, Simmons ceaselessly spewed unsubstantiated opinions on Fox News […]

    In 2011, Simmons insisted on Fox News that the U.S. government should racially profile people from Muslim-majority countries. Calling himself a “pro-profiler,” […]

    Simmons claimed on Fox News in early 2015 that there are “at least 19 paramilitary Muslim training facilities in the United States,” where Muslims are being trained to carry out terrorist attacks on Americans. As a source, he cited Islamophobic right-wing propaganda outlet the Clarion Project.

    […] spreading flagrantly false rumors about supposed “no-go zones” in Europe in which non-Muslims are not allowed to enter […]

    Simmons called for the U.S. government to assassinate democratically elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in 2005. […] Simmons even went so far, at the nudging of Hannity and Colmes [Faux News hosts], to compare the Venezuelan president to Hitler. […]

    On Fox News in 2005, he asserted that American “traitors” should be executed by “firing squad.” […]

    On Fox’s Freedom Watch in 2010, Simmons called whistleblowing journalism organization WikiLeaks “a terrorist organization.” […]

    When weapons of mass destruction weren’t found in Iraq, Simmons happily went on Fox in 2007 to claim they could have been hidden in other Middle Eastern countries, namely in Syria or Lebanon. […]

    In 2005, on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, Simmons claimed that if “the Democrats come into power in the United States and re-employ their vision of defense for this country, we will have 9/11s unabated.” […]

    “The terrorists know that they have the press and they have the ACLU in their pocket” Simmons stated on Fox News in 2005. He maintained that news outlets like The New York Times and The LA Times, along with NGOs like the ACLU, were helping terrorist groups by reporting on or criticizing the U.S. government’s illegal torture program. […]

    Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald has pointed out that there are essentially no official standards in the U.S. media by which “counter-terrorism” pundits’ purported “expertise” is measured; they must simply ignore facts, blame Muslims, and trumpet U.S. propaganda. […]


    How many Fox News “experts” are really con men?

  25. Anton Mates says

    Really really weak. I mean, I called Bernie Sanders an elderly dyspeptic Bilbo Baggins appearing like he was at the British Labour Party meeting. So, I mean, this is just ridiculous.

    So the non-Clinton Democratic candidates are “weak” because they caused Karl Rove to start shouting insults at his TV? That sounds like a definite strong point to me.

  26. says

    This is kind of a novel take on the immigrants-are-rapists claim from rightwing conservatives, and this approach finds a way to blame feminists:

    Conservative columnist Diana West claimed in an interview with the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney this week that feminism helps lead to sexual violence because it means that women are no longer “prized and defended.”

    Apparently referring to a horrific case in Rotherham, England, where authorities turned a blind eye for years to a sexual exploitation network run by five men of Pakistani heritage, West warned of “Muslim rape gangs in the United Kingdom” and immigrant “street crime” in rest of Europe, which she naturally blamed partly on feminism.

    “If young girls, if young women are not prized and defended by a civilization, there is no civilization,” she said. “And it’s one of those things that we can say has come under attrition through feminism, through all manner of desensitization, through pornification —” […]

    “When Donald Trump talks about cherishing women, I think that’s a beautiful phrase,” West added. […]


  27. Nick Gotts says

    a private meeting to explain why drug companies set prices the way they do Lynna, OM@17

    Should be a short meeting. “They maximise expected profits.” is a complete explanation.

  28. Nick Gotts says

    How many Fox News “experts” are really con men?- Lynna, OM@26

    Oo! Oo! I know this one! It’s “All of them.”

  29. says

    Okay, this is more dark humor from the separation-of-church-and-state category.

    The United House of Prayer in D.C. is fighting a planned bike lane addition to a street near its facility, on the grounds that the bike lane would infringe on “its constitutionally protected rights of religious freedom and equal protection of the laws.”

    Apparently, christians don’t ride bikes, and they want to park their cars in the proposed bike lane.

    […] The parking loss would place an unconstitutionally undue burden on people who want to pray, the church argues, noting that other churches already have fled to the suburbs because of onerous parking restrictions. […]

    Bike riders in the neighborhood disagree.

    The church’s lawyer also called the United House of Prayer, “God’s White House.”

    In response to past bike lane proposals, other churches in D.C. have complained. Loss of parking for prayer is the universal complaint.

    […] after a much-heated back-and-forth between the church, city and cycling advocates, the city agreed to make the bike lane unprotected in front of the church. The church was happy with the outcome, but cycling advocates warned that it could set a dangerous precedent for other churches and businesses that don’t want a bike lane in front of their establishments.


    But, but … bikes represent a reduction a green-house-gas-emitting vehicles, so God should love them because they are protecting the planet he gave to humans. Right?

    Maybe the church could bus its congregants to prayer services in a mini fleet of mini vans?

  30. says

    Nick Gotts @31, Correct! You win a USB-delivered celebratory cocktail of your choice.

    To back up Nick’s answer, here’s another con man on whom Fox News relies, David Barton. Barton is a quack and a faux historian.

    Barton is also the go-to historian for Glenn Beck. And Barton is a Tea Party favorite. He’s their kind of “intellectual.”

    […] Many professional historians dismiss Mr. Barton, whose academic degree is in Christian education from Oral Roberts University, as a biased amateur who cherry-picks quotes from history and the Bible.

    “The problem with David Barton is that there’s a lot of truth in what he says,” said Derek H. Davis, director of church-state studies at Baylor University, a Baptist institution in Waco, Tex. “But the end product is a lot of distortions, half-truths and twisted history.”[…]

    Even Barton’s fellow christians find the guy faux, faux, faux.

  31. says

    Donald Trump blamed George W. Bush for 9/11. Establishment Republicans are up in arms. (When did we start having “establishment” Republicans. Weird.)

    Rachel Maddow covered this minor Trumpian earthquake, along with other updates on Republican races. The video is 15:41 minutes long.

  32. says

    Pretty damned good news. Yesterday, President Obama took a number of actions to restrict offshore drilling in the arctic.

    […] The Interior Department is canceling two lease sales it had planned over the next year and a half for Arctic drilling rights and denying two oil companies’ requests to extend the time on leases that they currently hold.

    The decision comes weeks after Royal Dutch Shell pulled out of the Arctic for the foreseeable future, saying the little oil it found in this summer’s drilling is not worth the cost. […]

    “In light of Shell’s announcement, the amount of acreage already under lease and current market conditions, it does not make sense to prepare for lease sales in the Arctic in the next year and a half,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement, complimenting her staff’s work overseeing the safety and environmental standards of Shell’s drilling in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles northwest of Alaska’s coast. […]

    The decisions were praised by environmentalists who have long called for Obama to block drilling in the Arctic due to its potential environmental and climate impacts. […]

  33. says

    Papa John’s Pizza outlets in the state of New York have been failing to pay overtime to workers. The managers have also made people work off the clock, forced workers to work for less than minimum wage by claiming that they do tipped-work, etc.

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman saw a pattern of illegality and he cracked down. Papa John’s will have to pay. A settlement of nearly $500,000 will be shared by about 250 workers.

    Yes, we do need regulations and enforcement in order to keep businesses from cheating their workers.

  34. says

    Some of the best descriptions of the Republican Party (and of the current crop of Republican candidates for president):

    The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. —Mann and Ornstein
    There’s nothing partisan or biased about saying that one of the two major political parties in the country is broken, unable to work within its main governing institution, liable to inflict severe economic damage on the country. —Brian Beutler
    When you see a political party that openly flaunts these attacks on the American constitutional balance and the country’s credit for purely partisan reasons, you begin to see how deep the rot has gone. This is not a party worthy of any role in government. It’s a destructive, self-interested faction, threatening the stability of this country’s constitution and economy. . . . This anti-conservative radicalism is anti-American, uncivil and unpatriotic. It must not be appeased. It has to be ended. —Andrew Sullivan
    It has long been obvious that the conventions of political reporting and political commentary make it almost impossible to say the obvious — namely, that one of our two major parties has gone off the deep end. Or as the political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein put it in their book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,” the G.O.P. has become an “insurgent outlier … unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science.” It’s a party that has no room for rational positions on many major issues.

    Or to put it another way, modern Republican politicians can’t be serious — not if they want to win primaries and have any future within the party. Crank economics, crank science, crank foreign policy are all necessary parts of a candidate’s resume. —Paul Krugman
    The GOP is, effectively, the party of willfully unlettered Utopians. It is the party of choice for those who believe global warming is a hoax, that humans roamed the earth with dinosaurs, and that homosexuals should work harder at not being gay. . . . .

    This is who they are–the proud and ignorant. If you believe that if we still had segregation we wouldn’t “have had all these problems,” this is the movement for you. If you believe that your president is a Muslim sleeper agent, this is the movement for you. If you honor a flag raised explicitly to destroy this country then this is the movement for you. If you flirt with secession, even now, then this movement is for you. If you are a “Real American” with no demonstrable interest in “Real America” then, by God, this movement of alchemists and creationists, of anti-science and hair tonic, is for you. —Ta-Nehisi Coates

    More here: Daily Kos link

  35. says

    Florida revised its “Stand Your Ground” law. The effect is to pay a shooter (like the guy who killed Trayvon Martin) $200,000. The new bill was backed by the NRA.

    The $200,000 amount refers directly to George Zimmerman. It is the amount Zimmerman asked the State of Florida to reimburse him for “”expert witnesses, travel expenses, and transcripts.”

    Another result of the new bill is that the burden of proof will be on the victim to prove that the shooting was not self-defense … assuming the victim survives.

  36. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @38:
    shift the burden of proof to the victim. prove you were NOT attacking the shooter, when he shot you while you were kneeling and begging for mercy”
    *speechless* ][ restraining anger at such <expletive> legislation.

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    @38, well, they finally get to the purpose of carry/stand your ground laws. Forcing other people to back down, no matter what. meaning people of color, etc. You hold the gun, you are the boss.

  38. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 38:
    oops, briefly overlooked the NRA aspect of that story. motivation for highlighting it here.
    Why am I not surprised at their involvement is this <expletives>

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    @38, couldn’t access the Orlando paper columnist, the paper demanded I register.
    The Daily Kos article didn’t explain what would happen when the person shot was a local/county/state policeman, or a federal agent of some sort, during the performance of their duties.

  40. says

    This is a followup to comment 34.

    First Donald Trump reminded everyone today that the president on September 11 was one George W. Bush.

    “When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump told Bloomberg TV. “He was president, OK? … Blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.”

    Then Jeb! took to Twitter, to call Trump’s remarks “pathetic.”

    “We were attacked & my brother kept us safe,” he said. […]

    Both Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes pointed out that the first part of Jeb Bush’s tweet, “We were attacked & my brother kept us safe,” is true. However, it is hard to marry the second half of that sentence with the first. Jeb Bush is really bad at campaigning for president.


  41. says

    @42, Yeah. Nerd, I had the same trouble with the Orlando newspaper site. I usually register on local or regional newspaper sites because I use them frequently, but it is a nuisance. I’m hoping that the Daily Kos (or other media outlets) have a followup on this story. There are consequences, and details, missing.

    All in all, it is bad news for anyone who is not a George Zimmerman.

    This may help:

  42. says

    The USA’s deficit has shrunk by $1 trillion during President Obama’s administration. That’s “trillion,” not billion, not million.

    However, all of the Republican candidates for President are still bemoaning the terrible “growing” deficit. Most of them don’t know the difference between the annual debt and the deficit. Most of them don’t care. Most media outlets, even so-called mainstream media, has not reported correctly on the reduction in the deficit.

    At the very least, we should start with correct facts when discussing the economy and financial policy.

    Look at the chart, here.

    […[ As a percentage of the economy, the deficit is now down to just 2.5%, which is below the average of the past half-century, and down from 9.8% when the president took office. […]

    The vast majority of Americans are absolutely certain – thanks to deceptive Republican rhetoric and unfortunate news coverage – that the deficit has soared in the Obama era. Late last year, a Bloomberg Politics Poll found that 73% of the public believes the deficit has gotten bigger over the last six years.[…]

    If Americans believe, incorrectly, that the deficit is getting bigger, these same voters may be inclined to vote for candidates who’ll slash public investments and undermine social-insurance programs – which would have real-world consequences.

    Postscript: To reiterate a point that bears repeating, I don’t necessarily consider this sharp reduction in the deficit to be good news. If it were up to me, federal officials would be borrowing more, not less, taking advantage of low interest rates, investing heavily in infrastructure and economic development, creating millions of jobs, and leaving deficit reduction for another day. […]

  43. microraptor says

    Trump triples-down on attack against George W Bush over 9/11

    Donald Trump says he doesn’t flat out blame former president George W. Bush that the Sept. 11 terror attacks happened on his watch. But he can think of three reasons why one could hold Bush responsible.

    And, he might add, they are three things a President Trump would do very differently.

    “You always have to look to the person at the top,” Trump said Saturday in a telephone interview. “Do I blame George Bush? I only say that he was the president at the time, and you know, you could say the buck stops here.”

    So why might one consider Bush responsible?

    No. 1: Bush’s immigration policy. “We had very weak immigration laws,” Trump said, adding that perhaps if Bush had had a Trump-style immigration policy, replete with “the strong laws that I’m wanting, these terrorists wouldn’t have been in the country.”

    No. 2: People knew that the FBI, the National Security Council, and the CIA weren’t sharing information about potential threats. “They were not talking to each other,” Trump said. “If I’m president, I want to have my three most important agencies talking to each other and coordinating with each other.”

    And No. 3: George Tenet, Bush’s director of central intelligence, “knew in advance that there would be an attack, and he said that.”

    You know, I have to wonder if this might end up being the attack that derails his run. Republicans have, after all, been very careful to avoid criticizing W over 9/11.

  44. says

    Why do right-wingers love Ben Carson? An interview with white conservative voters from South Carolina may provide some answers:

    When Jenée Desmond-Harris interviewed some conservative white Ben Carson superfans in South Carolina in January, she found they were most enthusiastic about what she called the “made-for-Hollywood narrative arc of his life.” Carson grew up poor in Detroit, but after working and studying hard, he became a successful and famous neurosurgeon.

    “It goes to show that if you have a dream and fulfill that dream, it can be done,” 71-year-old Martin Kolar of Myrtle Beach told her. Others praised Carson’s faith and character — key selling points to evangelical voters, who preferred Carson to Trump in a recent poll of Iowa Republicans.

    Sometimes, however, these citations of Carson’s biography can have an implicit — or not so implicit — racial undertone. “He would be a wonderful role model for everyone, especially for the black people,” 72-year-old Peggy Kemmerly of Elongee said. “You know, to get them off entitlements. He could open doors. Well, doors have been opened for them, but unfortunately they haven’t accessed them.” And Kolar said that he hoped Carson “removes the hyphen” in African-American to identify as “just American, to heal the racial divide we’ve been forced into.”

    Uh huh. That’s what I thought.

  45. says

    Ben Carson complains about the “welfare state” all the time. And he repeats the “personal responsibility” line that conservatives love. The “personal responsibility” line is a dog whistle telling conservatives that he agrees with them that dependence on help from government programs stifles the initiative of poor people. And, oh yeah, what a great excuse for cutting funding to so-called “entitlement” programs. Carson’s own background tells a different story:

    […] Carson, in his book, tells how his grades improved tremendously when a government program provided him with free eyeglasses because he could barely see. Not only that, in “Gifted Hands” we read this nugget: “By the time I reached ninth grade, mother had made such strides that she received nothing but food stamps. She couldn’t have provided for us and kept up the house without that subsidy.” He writes elsewhere, “As I’ve said, we received food stamps and couldn’t have made it without them.” […]

  46. says

    Chauncey DeVega was fairly harsh when he recently explained the existence of black Republicans like Ben Carson:

    […] Black conservatives are highly prized by Republicans. As such, they are well compensated on the lecture circuit, by the right-wing media machine, and are coddled and protected by a network of well-funded conservative think tanks and public relations firms. Their designated role as the “best black friend” for Republicans, the “special” and “good one,” is ego gratifying. […]

    That rings true to me. We have a Republican Party whose candidates often run openly on a racist platform, and on a platform that reflects white resentment about whites no longer being unassailably special. So why would black voters and candidates chose to go along? Few do go along. Those who do have a host of explanations for their choice.

    […] there is the curious case of Ben Carson, who recently said that black people who support the Democrats are essentially stupid, unsophisticated, hyper-emotional, irrational, and incapable of thinking for themselves. In Carson’s delusional alternate reality, Republicans do not “see race,” and, unlike the Democrats, are the real advocates for racial justice and positive change along the color line in the United States.

    Ben Carson is not alone in his twisted fantasy land. He is joined by other black conservatives — a select group of racial mercenaries who are routinely trotted out on Fox News and elsewhere — who, to great approval from white conservatives, also repeat the same anti-black propaganda. […]

    1) Black people are on a Democratic or Liberal “Plantation” […]
    3) Black Americans vote Democrat because they want “free things” […]
    4) Black Americans are low-information voters who are ill-informed […]

  47. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @47:

    71-year-old Martin Kolar of Myrtle Beach told her. […]
    Sometimes, however, these citations of Carson’s biography can have an implicit — or not so implicit — racial undertone. “[…]” 72-year-old …

    ageist me sees only the ages (I embolded). Are they being quoted, including their age to lend some sort of authority, or to denigrate their opinion is “from an old person”? Undecided, but just had to point out out my thinking pattern.

  48. says

    Republican doofus Trey Gowdy fabricated redactions to Hillary Clinton’s emails in order to make it look like she had leaked classified information. Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings provided the proof. Here is the text of Cummings’s charge against Gowdy:

    To further inflate your claim, you placed your own redactions over the name of the individual with the words, “redacted due to sources and methods.” To be clear, these redactions were not made, and these words were not added, by any agency of the federal government responsible for enforcing classification guidelines.

    Predictably, commentators began repeating your accusations in even more extreme terms, suggesting in headlines for example that “Clinton Burns CIA Libya Contact.”

    Contrary to your claims, the CIA yesterday informed both the Republican and Democratic staffs of the Select Committee that they do not consider the information you highlighted in your letter to be classified. Specifically, the CIA confirmed that “the State Department consulted with the CIA on this production, the CIA reviewed these documents, and the CIA made no redactions to protect classified information.”

    Unfortunately, you sent your letter on October 7 without checking first with the CIA. […]

    As a result of your actions, the State Department yesterday asked the Select Committee not to reveal the individual’s name publicly, not for classification reasons, but to protect the individual’s privacy and avoid bringing additional undue attention to this person.

    Unfortunately, the standard operating procedure of this Select Committee has become to put out information publicly that is inaccurate and out of context in order to attack Secretary Clinton for political reasons. These repeated actions bring discredit on this investigation and undermine the integrity of the Select Committee and the House of Representatives.

    So, Gowdy altered documents and then used those altered documents to make false allegations against Clinton. A huge number of rightwing media sources have repeated Gowdy’s claims as if they were legitimate.

    Gowdy responded to the accusations from Cummings, and in doing so Gowdy actually confessed to redacting documents as he pleased.

    […] Our Committee has access to career civil servants, former federal prosecutors, former intelligence experts as well as military experts who are uniquely well suited to gauge intelligence information and how it should be handled. Although the Executive Branch is ultimately responsible for classification, we remain concerned with the naming of sources and methods and will continue to protect that information now and going forward where it is readily apparent to us. As such, we will continue to redact certain information to protect sensitive information regardless of how others treat that information […]

    Gowdy appointed himself arbiter of what should be classified, then he did his best to alter a document so that he could falsely accuse Hilary Clinton. Gowdy’s response does not address that main, important issue.

  49. says

    Mitt Romney appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and said that he didn’t think Donald Trump would end up being the Republican nominee.

    Trump replied via Twitter:

    Does everyone remember @MittRomney and his famous remarks about “self-deportation” and “47%”. He was done. I don’t need his angry advice!

    Whoa! Lack of self-awareness, Donald.

  50. says

    The East Bay Municipal Utility District in California released a partial list of customers whose properties are guzzling water at a rate considered to be excessive. The guzzlers are apparently ignoring the drought in California.

    1. George Kirkland, former vice chairman of Chevron
    Daily water use: 12,579 gallons
    Location: Danville, California
    Property value: $3.5 million
    Mitigating factor: Kirkland told the San Jose Mercury News that there was a leak in a water line to the two acres of vineyards on his four-acre lot.

    2. Mark Pine, venture capitalist
    Daily water use: 8,091 gallons
    Location: Alamo, California
    Property value: $6.9 million

    3. Billy Beane, vice president of baseball operations and minority owner of the Oakland A’s
    Daily water use: 5,996 gallons
    Location: Danville, California
    Property value: $4.8 million

    4. Dane Bigham, software executive
    Daily water use: 5,747 gallons
    Location: Walnut Creek, California
    Property value: $891,000 […]

    The average residential water use in the area is 250 gallons per day.

  51. says

    Speaking of water use and other environmental issues, the mormon church already owns an enormous chunk of Florida. Mostly, they’ve been grazing cattle there. Now they plan to build houses. Salt Lake Tribune link

    Under one of the biggest land development plans ever proposed in Florida, a tract more than six times the size of Manhattan could be transformed from a home for cows and alligators into new housing developments for half a million people.

    Over the next six decades, the plan being developed by the Mormon church-owned Deseret Ranch promises to convert the largest undeveloped section of metro Orlando into more than a dozen bustling neighborhoods. […]

    Opponents say the plan to convert cattle pastures to cul-de-sacs could destroy tens of thousands of acres of important habitat near the headwaters of the St. Johns River flowing north and the Kissimmee River flowing south. […]

    “There are no checks and balances happening,” said Karina Veaudry, a landscape architect, who is with the Florida Native Plants Society. “The county has been bending over backward pretty much to do whatever they say.”

    […] The plan looks ahead six decades for property that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began purchasing more than six decades ago. The church began acquiring ranchlands in 1950 to have resources for food production in times of need.

    That “to have resources for food production in times of need” is mormon code for preparing to survive armageddon. The ides is that mormons will survive while others don’t.

    […] The county, one of the nation’s fastest-growing, currently has a population of 310,000, expanding by 15 percent since 2010.

    […] the 133,000 acres of pastures, citrus groves, and woodlands slotted for development make up less than half of the ranch’s nearly 300,000 acres. […]

    An independent environmental review commissioned by Osceola County recommended setting aside 19,000 acres more land for conservation on top of the current 56,000 acres planned for conservation and agriculture. But the final written plan doesn’t include it, to the dismay of Veaudry.

    […] A proposal to allow two creeks to be dammed to build a second reservoir on the property now requires approval from state and federal regulators.

    Veaudry isn’t buying the compromises, especially the proposal of a second reservoir.

    “Why do they need another reservoir?” she said. “They’re trying to get future water rights.”

    Oh, yes, they are doing that for sure. That’s been standard operating procedure for mormons throughout the western states, and that is what they are doing in Florida.

    Deseret already is in a six-year legal battle with state regulators over whether it can charge public utilities in central Florida to use the water from a reservoir on its property. […]

    From the comments section associated with the article:

    buy the prime land at forestry prices with the LIE to preserve it, wait a couple of year, develop it for a huge profit.
    Mormon Jesus sold the water for a huge mark-up!

  52. says

    Here’s an account of an interview in which Ben Carson is terrifyingly incompetent.

    Carson seems to think that even Middle Eastern governments that kicked Osama Bin Laden out their country were loyal to Bin Laden, and that they would have turned the al Qaeda leader over to the USA if the the USA has threatened the middle east with petroleum independence.

    And then Carson went on to talk about Iraq, and invading Iraq while seeming to confuse Afghanistan and Iraq. It was all gibberish.

  53. says

    Jeb Bush blusters around in a flustered way and ultimately makes no sense:

    CNN’s Jake Tapper pushed back, asking Bush about the Republican Party’s double standard.

    “Obviously Al-Qaeda was responsible for the terrorist attack of 9/11,” Tapper said. “But how do you respond to critics who ask if your brother and his administration bear no responsibility at all, how do you then make the jump that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are responsible for what happened at Benghazi?”

    The younger Bush had no coherent answer.

    “Well I, it’s the question on Benghazi which is hopefully will now finally get the truth to it, is: was that, was the place secure?” he said, clearly flustered. […]

  54. says

    This is a followup to comment 17.

    After PharmaDudeBro, Martin Shkreli donated to Bernie Sanders’s campaign … and was quickly rejected, Shkreli took to Twitter to complain.

    First, he tweeted that he was so mad that “I COULD PUNCH A WALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Then he claimed to have punched a wall so hard that he had fractured his wrist. He posted and X-ray of a fractured wrist … but, that’s not his wrist. It’s a stock photo of a fractured wrist. When he was caught in the fraud by other Twitter users, who used reverse image search to find the stock image, Shkreli later, stupidly, posted a video of himself playing the guitar.

    Conclusion, rich grown man with no ethical core whines like a baby and makes a play for attention that goes all wrong.

    Also, in case you want to know, Shkreli tells his Twitter followers that he is bored.

  55. says

    Donald Trump has completely solved the problem of Health Care in the USA. No, really.

    Republican frontrunner Donald Trump […] is working on a healthcare plan to replace Obamacare and it’s the most beautiful, wonderful healthcare plan ever, because it is Donald Trump’s. It just is. Believe him. It’s a “great plan.” He was discussing this proposal in his usual vague, word-salady way this week with talk radio host Simon Conway, saying he would cut “great deals” with healthcare providers, because that is what he does. He cuts great deals.

    The Donald, as the great president he so clearly is going to be, would cut such great deals that everyone would want to choose private insurance. And the rest would go to hospitals “because you make a deal with these hospitals so that they can’t rip off the country.”

    So, that’s his fix. And by the way, this universal healthcare system is in no way socialism, “it’s just not,” he said, because he, the Great One, does not “put a label on it.”

  56. says

    I don’t usually follow the polls when it comes to the presidential race. I think it is too early for polls to make a lot of sense, or to be predictive. But here’s an update in case you want one.

    On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads nationally, with 45%. Bernie Sanders has 29%. But Bernie is still leading in New Hampshire.

    Donald Trump is still leading the Republican pack, with Ben Carson second in national polls.

    In other news, we can always make a few assumptions based on the company Republicans keep. On Sunday a bunch of presidential hopefuls left the Iowa and New Hampshire areas to campaign in Texas. They are relying on fundamentalist christians in the Republican Party to keep them in the running.

    Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, and Rick Santorum spent some time at Prestonwood Baptist Church. The megachurch has 40,000 members. Its campus includes an elementary, middle and high school.

    Lots of church members seemed to think that Cruz was God’s chosen one:

    […] Cruz, the hometown senator, was a crowd favorite at Prestonwood, earning repeated standing ovations for his unbending stances and unequivocal declaration that “Religious liberty is under threat as never before in this country.” They cheered when he vowed he would “not surrender” on gay marriage and listened intently as he recounted his legal fights over religion as Texas solicitor general.

    “My goodness, you know how to fire people up,” remarked Jack Graham, Prestonwood’s influential pastor, after Cruz was finished. “You could be a preacher.”

    “It’s even worse, I’m a PK,” Cruz replied.

    “A preacher’s kid,” Graham said knowingly, adding, “The Lord seems to be elevating you and giving you favor with people and you’re certainly, here in Texas, you’re back home and we’re really glad that you are. […]”

    Politico link

    The Texas primary is on March 1, and the outcome is important to evangelical conservatives. Carson played to the audience with comments like, ““It’s time for us to bring God back to our country.”

    Fiorina played the same game: “People of faith make better leaders.” And, “I have battled breast cancer. I have buried a child. And through it all the love of my family and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ has seen me through,”

    All around con man, Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, summed up, “What you see on stage today is the fruit of a harvest of decades of prayer and work asking God to give Christians a greater role in government.”

    More Carson blather: “God, you be the neurosurgeon; I’ll be the hands.” And about abortion, Carson said, “There’s no way anybody’s ever going to convince me that’s a mass of cells that isn’t a human being,”

  57. says

    Donald Trump is chilly. Parts of the Northeastern USA are experiencing a winter-like blast of weather, so the Trumpster is complaining: “It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!”

    Oh, Donald, you are so predictable, so ill-informed about global warming. So ho-hum awful.

    Here’s one of the Trumpster’s tweets from 2013: “Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee – I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!”

    I’m sorry we all have to be subjected to this bombastic fool.

  58. says

    This is a followup to comment 60.

    Speaking of polls, President Obama’s approval rating is now 51%. Slightly more than half of those polled approve of his job performance. On the other hand, the same poll found that 71% disapproved of the Republicans in Congress.

    Congressional Republicans, who are pretty much universally despised, have been telling us over and over again that most Americans are furious with President Obama. Nope.
    ABC News link

  59. says

    The Democrats on the Benghazi Committee issued a 124-page report detailing just how and when Republicans used the committee to hassle and then falsely accuse Hillary Clinton. The committee is a taxpayer funded abomination.

    Link to PDF version of the report.

    Excerpts below:

    […] The report concludes that none of the witnesses substantiated repeated claims that Republican Members of Congress and presidential candidates have been making about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the past three years relating to the attacks in Benghazi.

    The report also releases key excerpts from unclassified interviews conducted by the Select Committee and calls on Chairman Trey Gowdy to release the full transcripts of all interviews and depositions conducted to date, consistent with classification guidelines.

    Finally, the report provides additional information about Secretary Clinton’s actions during and after the attacks. […]

     Of the 70,000 pages of documents obtained by the Select Committee, the only documents Chairman Gowdy has chosen to release publicly are Secretary Clinton’s emails with Sidney Blumenthal. His actions contradict his own claim that “serious investigations” do not “make selective releases of information without full and proper context.”

     At the same time, Chairman Gowdy has blocked the public release of Mr. Blumenthal’s deposition transcript, which would reveal the questions Republicans asked about issues related to Secretary Clinton that have nothing to do with Benghazi, as well as Mr. Blumenthal’s answers to questions about the emails that Chairman Gowdy released.

     The Select Committee has been engaged in an aggressive press campaign focused almost entirely on Secretary Clinton, issuing 27 press releases related to Secretary Clinton since March, but only 5 on all other topics combined. Chairman Gowdy has referenced Secretary Clinton more than 50 times in nationally televised interviews since March. […]

  60. says

    Our neighbor to the north looks set to end a decade of conservative rule. The Liberal Party candidate is doing well.

    […] Canada’s historically centrist Liberal Party has jumped out to a substantial edge over the governing Conservatives, leading them, on average, by a 37 to 31 margin in the polls ahead of tonight’s election. It’s been a remarkable surge: Just a few weeks ago, the parties were tied, and over much of the summer, the Liberals were actually in third place as the left-wing New Democratic Party led the pack.

    […] the Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, have seen their fortunes rise in dramatic fashion as support for the NDP has collapsed—very possibly due to voters strategically opting for the party best-positioned to oust Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who’s been in power for nearly a decade.

    […] we don’t know if the Liberals will win enough seats in Canada’s 338-member Parliament for an outright majority, or if they’d have to form some sort of governing coalition with the NDP. […] the CBC predicts the Liberals will win between 124 and 161 seats, with 146 the likeliest end result […] This is a good reminder that polling three-way races can be very tricky, and that it’s also hard to project results for individual seats based on national polling. […]


  61. says

    This is a followup to comment 62, a little taste of how Republicans misread the American public when it comes to attitudes toward President Obama, which they blithely extend to Hillary Clinton.

    If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) wants to impeach her on day one. […]

    Brooks told Murphy that he thought Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email account as secretary of state violated “all rules of law that are designed to protect America’s top-secret and classified information from falling into the hands of our geopolitical foes who then might use that information to result in the deaths of Americans.”

    “[…] the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.” […]

    You will note that this preemptory call to impeach Hillary Clinton is based on bogus results from the now-discredited Benghazi Committee.


  62. says

    This falls into our category of “the company they keep.”

    Ted Cruz has buddied up with Sandy Rios. Cruz proudly announced that Rios has endorsed him for president.

    “I am thrilled to have the support of three of the conservative movement’s strongest voices for families, religious liberty and the unborn,” said Sen. Cruz. […]

    Sandy Rios is the Director of Governmental Affairs for the American Family Association, one of America’s largest, pro-family grassroots organizations, and host of “Sandy Rios in the Morning on AFR Talk” which can be heard on nearly 200 stations through the American Family Radio Network.


    A closer look at Sandy Rios reveals her to be a person who hates gays, Muslims and Jews. She attacks them constantly. She also frequently predicts divine punishment for our acceptance of same-sex marriage. She blamed an Amtrak crash on homosexuality in the USA. She claimed that homosexual advocates sexually abuse children in public schools.

  63. says

    “The only problem with the Democrats’ anti-Second Amendment strategy is that the vast majority of Americans disagree with them on this issue,” said NRA spokesperson Andrew Arulanandam.

    Nope. Not true.

    Fifty-five percent of Americans say they want laws covering the sale of firearms to be stricter than they are now, a distinct rise of eight percentage points from 2014. Fewer Americans than last year want the laws to be less strict, and the proportion who want the laws to stay the same has also declined slightly.

  64. tbtabby says

    Martin O’Malley was the guest on tonight’s Daily Show. It was nice seeing him get a chance to speak his views, since he’s the only one of the Overshadowed Three I’d give the time of day to. He got huge reactions from the audience when he spoke about gun control and Wall Street. Perhaps the Democratic primary isn’t a two-candidate race after all.

  65. says

    chigau @69, Congratulations to Canadians for dumping Harper!

    In USA politics, Jim Webb is dropping out of the Democratic Party race. He always did think the Dems were a poor fit for him. He may run as an independent, but we don’t know yet.

  66. says

    Republicans have found a way around the reemergence of the fact that George Bush was president when the 9/11 attack arrived: they are blaming Bill Clinton. Their propaganda outlet, Fox News, is hotly pursuing this approach to blame.

    […] Fox’s Brian Kilmeade said any criticisms over the 9/11 attacks should be directed at Bill Clinton “for not taking a legitimate shot” at Osama bin Laden in the 1990s. Kilmeade added that the Clinton administration did not fully prepare the Bush administration for the terrorist threat. […]

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was also on Fox, arguing that “it was an intelligence failure” that led to the 9/11 attacks, and those failures “predate George W. Bush’s presidency.”

    Jeb Bush, under fire from Republican rival Donald Trump over his brother’s anti-terror policies, launched an attack on the same subject against Bill Clinton Monday night, charging that the 42nd president’s administration did not pursue Osama bin Laden aggressively enough. […]

    “I think the Clinton administration made a mistake of thinking bin Laden had to be viewed from a law enforcement perspective. Similarly, the – President Obama’s policies seem to be focused on that, as well.”

    Washington Post link

    Uh, Jeb, you may have noticed that President Obama was successful in eliminating Osama Bin Laden.

    As for the Bill Clinton administration:

    When the Clinton administration received word of a potential attack in December 1999, he notes, President Clinton ordered his national-security adviser to “hold daily meetings with the attorney-general, the CIA, FBI.” As a result, the leaders of those agencies instructed their “field offices to find out everything they can find. It becomes the number one priority of those agencies.” This vigilance, [Richard] Clarke suggests, contributed to the arrest on December 14 of an Algerian named Ahmed Ressam, who was arriving from Canada with the aim of detonating a bomb at Los Angeles International Airport.

    The Bush administration could have done similar in 2001.

    The Atlantic link

    I really don’t think the blame-Clinton approach is going to work well for Jeb Bush, nor for Fox News. It is too blatantly partisan.

  67. microraptor says

    Lynna @ 70

    In USA politics, Jim Webb is dropping out of the Democratic Party race. He always did think the Dems were a poor fit for him. He may run as an independent, but we don’t know yet.

    I felt a mild disturbance. As if a bunch of liberals suddenly shrugged their shoulders and said “who?”

  68. says

    As a Republican candidate for president, Marco Rubio is different. He is not old. However, he talks about “the future” a lot while proposing policies that are retrograde. He thinks like an old, conservative guy with a very narrow perspective.

    Marco Rubio sidestepped the challenges posed by climate change as he laid out his campaign’s energy policy Friday afternoon at a manufacturing plant in Salem, Ohio. Instead, the Florida senator and GOP presidential hopeful called for expanding oil and gas development, weakening environmental protections, and rolling back President Barack Obama’s efforts to combat climate change, which Rubio characterized as an illegal intrusion into the market by overreaching government agencies.

    Rubio’s proposals amounted to a conservative policy wish list. He’d dismantle Obama’s carbon pollution rules for existing power plants, change Department of Energy grants for new energy research, and make it harder for environmental groups to sue the government.

    On energy, and many other issues, Rubio’s policy vision – like that of his fellow Republicans – is to overturn Obama-era reforms and restore Bush-era policy priorities. Given the unpopularity of the Bush administration, this approach has a natural political drawback. Rubio’s solution to the dilemma is to use his youth as a framing device that allows him to present his Bush-era policies as “new” and Clinton’s Obama-era policies as “old.” […]

    It seems bizarre to frame Rubio’s plan to reject the scientific consensus and redouble American reliance on fossil fuels as “new,” and to mock a plan to transition to emerging green energy sources as “old.” But the entire premise of Rubio’s candidacy is that the only thing standing between the Republican Party and a restoration of its long-standing policy agenda is a young face that calls its ideas new.

  69. says

    This is a followup to comments 51 and 63.

    It would be funny if it were not also a serious matter. Republican doofus and chairman of the Benghazi Committee, Trey Gowdy, exposed the name of a CIA source to public view. He did that while trying to blame Hillary Clinton for revealing CIA sources. (She did not. He did.)

    House Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy appears to have accidentally released the name of a CIA source in the midst of a back-and-forth with Democrats about how sensitive the information was and whether its presence in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account constituted a security breach.

    Gowdy posted the email with the CIA source’s name on the committee’s open-to-the-public website.

  70. says

    microraptor @72: yeah, even after he appeared on the debate stage with Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley, nobody knew who Jim Webb was. He’ll kill you if you come at him with a grenade, we remember that much.

    When it comes to the other Democratic candidates, Jim Webb differs on climate change, LGBT rights, gun control, fossil fuels, abortion, and women’s rights in general. In other words, he is more like a Republican. But, Republicans are now so rabidly rightwing and illogical that Webb probably feels that he has to run as an independent. His failure to be a true Republican includes his concern for lower and middle class workers.

    Webb does love Ronald Reagan and he even supported flying the Confederate flag in South Carolina.

    Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, and Hillary Clinton do a better job of addressing fairness for lower and middle class citizens. There’s no place for Webb. I think he’s done.

  71. says

    Oh, boy, is this ever important. You know it is because Donald Trump said it. (sarcasm)

    Donald Trump is thinking about not talking to “Playboy” again because the magazine decided to dispense with pictures of nude women. (Scantily clad women will still be featured.)

    Trump said that if he was approached for an interview, or for an article, “Maybe I’ll pass.” [snip bit where Trump brags about his March 1990 appearance on a Playboy cover.] “It’s not the same Playboy. In those days, that was the hottest thing you can do.”

  72. says

    Let’s take a closer look at the World Congress of Families. This group is holding an event in Salt Lake City, Utah next week. They intend to piggyback off all the mormons who support their anti LGBT and anti-women’s-rights agenda.

    The governor of Utah (also a mormon), and Ted Cruz’s father plan to attend.

    […] This is the first time the Congress has been held in the U.S. […] The event is set to honor activists who advocated for laws criminalizing homosexuality […], and criminalizing free speech in favor of gay rights and abortion.

    The vision of the “natural family” promoted by WCF is one that excludes LGBT people and precludes reproductive rights. In 2005, […] the Sutherland Institute’s Paul Mero [über mormon] released “The Natural Family: A Manifesto,” a call to arms […]

    In […] Mero’s “natural family” dream, they “envision young women growing into wives, homemakers, and mothers; and we see young men growing into husbands, homebuilders, and fathers.” For women, this involves rejecting what they call the “contraceptive mentality” and opening their homes to “a full quiver of children” — […] They insist that “culture, law, and policy” should take into account that “women and men are equal in dignity and innate human rights, but different in function” — a separate-but-equal ideology that drives women out of public and economic life and rejects the rights of those who do not fit into this narrow view of gender roles. […]

    Hosting the World Congress of Families gathering in Salt Lake City is the Sutherland Institute, which describes itself as “a conservative public policy think tank” whose mission is “to shape Utah law and policy based on a core set of governing principles.”

    The Sutherland Institute […] is not formally affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the LDS or Mormon Church), [but] it promotes conservative views influenced by LDS theology […] The Institute is named for George Sutherland, a U.S. Supreme Court justice from Utah who joined other conservative justices to overturn progressive legislation in the 1920s and led a group known as “The Four Horsemen” who struck down FDR’s New Deal for several years. […]

    The Institute brags about its work to weaken unions and calls for the abolition of the state income tax on corporations. […] the Institute promotes both the Tea Party’s hostility to government regulation and the Religious Right’s desire to use government to promote “traditional” views of family, parenting, and marriage. […]

    President Paul Mero, argued that freedom is incompatible with gay rights, because “bad behavior is the enemy of freedom.” Sutherland supports Sen. Mike Lee’s First Amendment Defense Act, which would allow broad anti-gay discrimination in the name of religious liberty. […]

    In 2014 the Institute produced a 10-page defense of a Utah law requiring restaurants to erect a “Zion Curtain” or “Zion Wall” to prevent restaurant-goers from being able to witness the preparation of alcoholic beverages. […]

    Right Wing Watch link

  73. says

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. Donald Trump said some really stupid stuff about guns, and this is so awful that it may incite people like Oath Keepers members to take violent action.

    Donald Trump on Monday served up a fresh platter of red meat to a crowd of 5,600 supporters in this deep red part of South Carolina, including suggesting that President Barack Obama is planning to sign an executive order to “take your guns away.”

    “You know, the President is thinking about signing an executive order where he wants to take your guns away. You hear about this?”

    No, and no again. The president is not considering an executive order to take guns away — not possible for one thing. Hillary Clinton is talking about the effectiveness of gun-buy-back programs in some communities. She is also not talking about taking people’s guns away. Donald Trump is dangerous.


  74. says

    Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have both made strong statements deploring voter-suppression tactics employed by Republicans.

    In the Moments of Political Madness thread we’ve already discussed the way Alabama legislators just happened to close driver’s license offices in all of the counties where at least 75% of the population is black. Those offices were the main source for potential voters to get an I.D. required by Alabama’s Voter I.D. law. Of course, that’s just one example.

    Here’s what some of our Democratic presidential candidates have said in response:

    Republican cowards all across the country, including Alabama, are very clearly trying to win elections by suppressing the vote and making it harder for low-income people, minorities, young people and seniors to vote. That has to change. Anyone 18 years of age or older should be automatically registered to vote.” —Bernie Sanders
    Clinton slammed Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) for closing 31 driver-licensing offices […]

    “This is wrong,” Clinton said. “Fifty years after Rosa Parks sat and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched and John Lewis bled, it is hard to believe that we are back having this same debate” about voting rights for black Americans.”
    Anybody who is suppressing the vote, anybody who is intentionally trying to keep people from voting because the candidate knows that those people would vote against him or her, that person is a political coward. If you don’t have the guts to run for office on your ideas, then you shouldn’t run for office at all. —Bernie Sanders

    Washington Post link

    Alabama Journal link

  75. says

    I’m sure this is going to win Republicans a lot of friends in the press: the Republican National Committee is going to charge the press a fee to cover their 2016 convention.

    Representatives for news organizations who plan to cover next summer’s convention are protesting a move by the Republican National Committee to charge news media organizations a $150 access fee for seats on the press stand.

    PBS link

  76. says

    This move by Utah should have the parents of school-age children wide-eyed in disbelief.

    During the Utah Education Association break Friday, the Utah Shooting Sports Council offered a free concealed weapons class structured specifically for teachers and others working within schools. The class involved discussion, demonstration and practice scenarios in safe gun use in school environments.

    After the instruction, participants could pay a $49 fee and submit an application for a concealed carry permit to the Department of Public Safety.

    KSL website link. Reassuring (NOT!) photos and video available at the link.

    See? That’s all it takes to train teachers to carry concealed weapons and to use them safely. One short class, followed by even shorter paperwork.

    Furthermore, the teachers can come to school packing heat, but parents are not allowed to know which teachers are carrying.

    “The state office has indicated that, frankly, under the interpretation of the law we can’t ask,” said Horsely. The State Office of Education confirmed: districts are not allowed to ask teachers whether they have a concealed weapons permit and whether they are carrying a weapon.

  77. says

    In Utah, some football coaches failed when it came to separation of church and state.

    The University of Utah received a letter from a Washington, D.C. group that calls on it to stop a voluntary LDS [mormon] Institute lesson reportedly taught weekly by U. football coaches Morgan Scalley and Sione Pouha.

    Americans United for Separation of Church and State […] writes that the instruction violates the First Amendment, and that the “need for religious neutrality is, moreover, especially strong when it comes to the coaches and staff of the college football team: student athletes rely on their coaches for playing time, scholarships, and the potential opportunity to become a professional athlete, making them particularly susceptible to pressure from their coaches to participate in religious activities.” […]

    The group wrote that the letter came in response to a complaint, declining to provide The Tribune with information about the complainant.

    Associate legal director Alex Luchenitser wrote in an email that even if the coaches instructed the players on their own time, as volunteers, “it would not make these religious classes constitutional.”

    “The classes are being taught by a member of the coaching staff, on the practice field or in team meeting rooms, often immediately after practice,” Luchenitser wrote. “That communicates to players that the classes are sponsored and endorsed by the University of Utah. The religious classes thus place the University’s stamp of approval on a particular religious faith.”

    He later continued: “When a coach teaches a religious class on school property in conjunction with practice, team members will naturally think that taking part in the class will make the coach think more favorably of them and will feel pressure to join the instruction.” […]

    Salt Lake Tribune link

    Yes. Americans United for Separation of Church and State are right.

    Not all of the readers commenting on the article agree with me.

    Ridiculous. What these atheists are saying is that no employee of the government can even teach Sunday School. There is clearly no intent in the Constitution for banning free speech or association. The Constitution does protect freedom of religion. It is a great stretch of reason to say this establishes a state religion.
    Stop trying to prohibit the free exercise of religion, if people choose to teach or attend voluntarily why do busybodies insist on trying to interfere?
    Anti-religion extremists sticking their noses in everyone else’s business, on the other hand, prevents already-religious people from freely exercising their religion, in direct contravention of a central purpose of the 1st amendment.
    This strikes me as absolutely stupid. I can’t believe this group puts their time into chasing this. Nobody is hurting anybody else and it is a voluntary class – let’s put time into things that actually matter like getting health care for the poor or fixing the tax code or rehabilitating those in incarceration or a million other things.

  78. Saad says

    So far this year, 43 children aged three-years or younger have shot someone in the U.S.

    This week a 2-year-old in South Carolina found a gun in the back seat of the car he was riding in and accidentally shot his grandmother, who was sitting in the passenger seat. This type of thing happens from time to time: A little kid finds a gun, fires it, and hurts or kills himself or someone else. These cases rarely bubble up to the national level except when someone, like a parent, ends up dead.

    But cases like this happen a lot more frequently than you might think. After spending a few hours sifting through news reports, I’ve found at least 43 instances this year of somebody being shot by a toddler 3 or younger. In 31 of those 43 cases, a toddler found a gun and shot himself or herself.

    In August, for instance, a 21-month-old in the St. Louis area found a loaded handgun at his grandmother’s house and shot himself in the torso. His mother took him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Earlier in the year a Michigan 3-year-old found a loaded .40-caliber handgun in a closet while his dad and brother were outside. He shot himself in the head and died before rescue workers arrived.

    The stories go on and on like this: Roughly once a week this year, on average, a small child has found a gun, pointed it at himself or someone else, and pulled the trigger. Boys are disproportionately likely to do this: I could find only three cases where a girl under the age of 4 wounded someone with a gun. In 13 of the 43 total incidents, a child’s self-inflicted injuries were fatal. In two other cases, another person died after being shot by a toddler: a father in Alabama, and a 1-year-old in Ohio.

    In one instance, a 3-year-old managed to wound both of his parents with a single gunshot at an Albuquerque motel.

    [. . .]

    Depending on where you stand on gun policy, you may feel that 13 dead toddlers in 10 months is too many. Or, you might reason that stuff happens, and that this is part of the price we must pay to protect our gun rights.

  79. says

    As a result of some odd backstage maneuvering, House Republicans may finally have a new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. Maybe.

    We might know by Friday, which is Ryan’s imposed deadline. But über conservative rightwing legislators are already making noises about being muscled into a decision. Here’s a summary from Steve Benen about the deal Ryan wants to make:

    […] Ryan wants the House to scrap its “vacate the chair” rule that makes it possible for House members to effectively fire Speakers they don’t like. He also wants the major House GOP factions — the far-right Republican Study Committee, the even-further-right House Freedom Caucus, and the more moderate Tuesday Group — to formally endorse his run for Speaker by Friday.

    Ryan also expects the Republican conference to respect his need for family time on weekends.

    If his GOP colleagues accept these terms, Ryan will, in exchange, give them the benefit of his leadership — and a promise to kill immigration reform for the remainder of this Congress. […]

  80. says

    Joe Biden just announced that he will NOT run for president. Good decision, I think.

    Biden made some good points about the achievements of the Obama administration (which are his achievements too), and advised Democratic candidates to run on those achievements.

    Biden also promoted some Democratic Party policy goals:
    – 16 years of free education
    – policies that reduce the gap between poor and rich
    – an argument for diplomacy and against war
    – recovery from the Bush/Cheney caused recession
    – funding for research and development in science and medicine

    There’s more, and I’ll cover this later.

  81. says

    This is a followup to comments 56, 63, 65, and 74.

    A good idea from Senate Democrats: the Republican members of the Benghazi committee should reimburse taxpayers $5.4 million for an “investigation” that turned out to be a concerted effort to cast shade on Hillary Clinton.

    Lying, leaking deceptively-edited documents, failing to interview Benghazi-appropriate witnesses, etc: that committee did not serve a good purpose. Some Republicans admitted publicly that the committee’s main goal was to hurt Hillary Clinton in a way that would prevent her from becoming the Democratic nominee for president.

    I’m glad this fiasco is melting in the sunlight.

    The senators, including Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), accused the GOP Wednesday of “operating a political opposition machine against Secretary Clinton,” and called the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s use of taxpayer funds “wholly inappropriate.”

    “Over the past several weeks, several House Republicans have made clear what many observers have suspected all along: that the Select Committee has conducted a political inquisition aimed at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” the senators wrote in a letter to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.

    “We firmly believe the Committee should be disbanded, and that every penny of taxpayer money that has financed this purely political committee ought to be repaid,” the letter continued.


  82. says

    This is a followup to Saad’s informative comment #83.

    Larry Wilmore produced a segment on his Nightly Show about guns and gun control. He included the information about toddlers shooting themselves or others.


    Scroll down for video.

  83. says

    Donald Trump said some more dangerous and stupid stuff:

    Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said Tuesday that he’d “absolutely” close mosques and withdraw some people’s passports to combat the Islamic State terror group here at home. […]

    “It depends on if the mosque is, you know, loaded for bear, I don’t know. You’re going to have to certainly look at it.”

    The real estate mogul reiterated that under a Trump presidency, no one who left the U.S. to fight for the terror group would be allowed back in.

  84. says

    Cross-posted from the “No Biden” thread.

    Ha, and Oh! This is hilarious. When Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus says it is a disaster for Democrats that Biden withdrew from the campaign, you know that Biden’s decision is good for the Democratic Party. Thanks for the comedic moment, Reince.

    The Vice President’s decision not to enter the 2016 race is a major blow for Democrats, who now will almost certainly be saddled with their unpopular and scandal plagued front-runner Hillary Clinton,” said Chairman Priebus.

    “Vice President Biden was the most formidable general election candidate the Democrat Party could have fielded, and his decision not to challenge Hillary Clinton greatly improves our chances of taking back the White House. With each revelation about her growing email scandal or conflicts of interest at her State Department, Hillary Clinton is getting more beatable by the day.”

  85. says

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. Just like comments from Reince Priebus (see comment 90), this is funny in a way. But then again, it’s yet another FFS moment brought to you by Fox News. It seems Faux News is spinning Biden’s withdrawal as an attempt by the Obama administration to cover up or to distract from an “administration wide scandal.”

    [Fox News host Andrea Tantaros said:] […] when you look at the two scandals that we’re facing, that all eyes are going to be on tomorrow, Benghazi, and the email scandal — these are administration-wide scandals. All three of them, President Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton were there that night, this is their scandal as well. This email scandal is their email scandal as well.

    There is no way, there is no chance, that Joe Biden, and President Obama, and their national security team did not know that she was using a private server, breaking the law. There is no way, this is why this is an administration-wide scandal that they are covering up, they are all in on this, and they are circling the wagons, I cannot stress this enough. This goes all the way to the west wing, both Benghazi, and both the email scandal, and you’re watching it play out exactly today. The timing is not a coincidence!

    Media Matters link

  86. says

    Bernie Sanders is a sign of The End Times according to some rightwing doofuses of questionable intelligence, but unquestionably large audiences.

    Rick Wiles invited […] Cliff Harris on his “TruNews” program last week to talk about the climate change debate, which they agreed was a “hoax” being used to grow the size of government.

    Wiles warned that leaders like Pope Francis, Al Gore and Bernie Sanders are part of a plan to “use global warming to impose global socialism” during which they will “take control of property, eliminate private property rights take control of natural resources.” Wiles said the pupose of this plan is to impose “a centralized global government controlling the activities of every human being on the planet. […]

    Wiles also proposed that this is a sign of the second coming of Christ, “this is evidence of Jesus Christ coming back.” Harris offered that mass support for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is also evidence that the second coming is imminent.

    Harris warned that a leader like Sanders would be disastrous because he would allow ISIS to infiltrate the United States “in a big wave” with Syrian refugees. “If we do not elect, in this country, in 2016, elect somebody that’s strong, somebody that’s godly… I believe we are in for a horrendous time in this country,” Harris said. […]


    I didn’t realize that Al Gore was still so relevant, still so much a part of the great Evil to rightwing dunderheads. Gore should be pleased. He’s still a thorn in their side.

    The idea of Bernie as a harbinger of The End Times cracks me up.

  87. says

    Ben Carson has often hinted that God backs him for president. His latest statement in this vein is:

    […] Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson lashed out at critics who said that he would never have a chance to win the presidency.

    He said that instead of retiring, God opened the door for him to enter the presidential race “much to the consternation of all the professional class and all the pundits” who said it was “impossible” for a “political neophyte” like him to build a national campaign.

    “And yet, you see, it’s happening,” Carson said. “They don’t understand the power of God.”


  88. Al Dente says

    Lynna, OM @93

    According to Salon, God told Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee, as well as Carson, to run for president in this election cycle. It’s proof that Spider Robinson was right when he said:

    If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron.

  89. says

    Oh, Ben Carson, must you be so obnoxious so many times per day? Rhetorical question.

    Carson’s latest foray into stupid land:

    During an interview, Glenn Beck asked Carson if he would shut down the Education Department as president.

    “I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do,” Carson responded. “It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.”

    Uh, wait. This is the same Carson that made such a big deal out of not bowing to “political correctness” pressure when he talks in public, right?

    Yes, Carson said, “It’s time for people to stand up and proclaim for what they believe and stop being bullied.”


  90. says

    Yikes. The whole idea of “patient dumping” makes my skin crawl. San Francisco sued Nevada for it. Nevada now has to pay up. The whole thing is an indictment of our mental healthcare system in the USA.

    The state of Nevada and its primary psychiatric hospital “intentionally and wrongfully” foisted the cost of caring for indigent mentally ill people onto California cities and counties by issuing patients bus tickets out of town without making proper arrangements for their care, a lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Francisco charges.

    San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed the class-action lawsuit against Nevada, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas and state mental health administrators, seeking reimbursement for the care of indigent patients he said the system “dumped” onto California in an effort to save money.

    The practice, now discontinued, was exposed by the Sacramento Bee, which reported that Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada’s primary state mental health facility, had sent a 48-year-old patient on a 15-hour bus ride to Sacramento, where he arrived disoriented with no family, friends, or arrangements for housing or care. The hospital had allegedly told him to call 911 when he arrived. […]

    Sacramento Bee link

    San Francisco will be paid about $500,000. Good for them, but that does not address the fact that Nevada has been dumping patients all over the country for years.

    Since July 2008, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas has transported more than 1,500 patients to other cities via Greyhound bus, sending at least one person to every state in the continental United States, according to a Bee review of bus receipts kept by Nevada’s mental health division.


    Like a lot of other states in which Republicans control the legislature and the governorship, state funding for mental services in Nevada was slashed several times. Meanwhile Governor Brian Sandoval (Republican doofus) claimed credit for healthcare funding the state received from the Federal Government. That was Obamacare, you doofus, a fact you conveniently failed to mention.

  91. says

    Yes, Hillary Clinton is testifying before the Benghazi Committee. Chairman Trey Gowdy spent most of his opening statement trying to justify his existence and the existence of the Committee.

    Democratic member, Elijah Cummings cut Trey Gowdy down.

    Hillary Clinton provided historical context, foreign policy context, and details about the Americans that were killed.

    Representative Susan Brooks (R.) compared stacks of emails and concluded that Hillary Clinton was disinterested in Benghazi and/or unaware that we still had a presence in Benghazi before the attacks. Clinton shut her down with facts. Brooks refused to believe Clinton.

    Representative Peter Roskam (R.) made fun of Clinton for receiving and reading notes from her staff. Clinton shut him down. He did the same thing again a few minutes later anyway.

    Chairman Gowdy (R.) made a point of telling Clinton that he is super cool because he did not interrupt her while she made her opening statements. (She didn’t interrupt him either, but she didn’t feel the need to point out her superhuman restraint.)

    There will be hours and hours of this stuff today. The hearing could go on until 8:00 PM. I’m not going to cover it much now, but I will summarize tomorrow.

    Oh, yes, one more important note: Chairman Gowdy informed Clinton that she could have a break anytime she wanted, even if she needed a break that was not scheduled. See how nice he is?

    If you want to follow the hearing more closely, here are some links:

  92. says

    Here’s a good example of how government regulation can work very well. The Federal Communications Agency voted to drastically lower prison phone rates.


    Twelve-year-old Kevin Reese III is one of the 2.7 million children in the U.S. with a parent in prison. On Thursday, he traveled across the country to see the Federal Communications Commission vote on a new rule that would make it much more affordable for him to call his father, who has been locked up in the Lino Lakes Correctional Facility in Minnesota since he was an infant.

    “The only way I know my dad is over the phone,” he told ThinkProgress. “We talk about sports, music, school, girls — things me and my mom can’t talk about. It doesn’t feel good when he can’t call.”

    […] the Commission voted on the new rules — which would lower the price of phone calls to prisons and jails to between 11 and 22 cents per minute […]

    […], after agreeing with Clyburn and calling the current phone rates “absurdly usurious,” FCC Chair Tom Wheeler called for a vote, which came down 2 to 3. Cheers erupted in the room […]

    Now, under the new rules, a 15-minute prison phone call that used to cost up to $17 dollars will be just $1.65.

    That change will be life-altering for mothers like Virginia resident Lillie Branch-Kennedy, whose son Donald was arrested in his junior year of high school for accessory to a robbery and sentences to more than 100 years in prison. “I have spent close to $25,000 dollars, maybe closer to 30,000 over the past 14 years, just trying to stay in touch with my son,” she told ThinkProgress. “There is no reason prison agencies and phone companies should be […] forcing us to choose between putting food on the table and keeping in touch.”

    Damn straight. The usurious charges for phone calls are part of the for-profit justice system that is negatively affecting the USA.

    […] more than one in three families with a member in prison go into debt due to the cost of phone calls and visits.

    But Global Tel Link, Securus, and other prison phone companies are threatening to sue over the new rules, saying their businesses will suffer “irreparable, immediate harm.” One major sticking point is a provision discouraging companies from giving commissions — or kickbacks — to the jails that give them exclusive contracts, a cost that is passed on to the prisoners and their families in the price of the phone call while the phone companies make hundreds of millions of dollars every year. […]

  93. says

    This is a followup to comment #77.

    One scheduled WCF [World Congress of Families] speaker, Evan Lenow of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, explained it clearly […] Lenow laid out the argument that the Bible prescribes separate but equal roles for men and women in marriage, with women required to “submit themselves to the leadership of their husbands, just as the church submits to Christ.” Same-sex marriages, where gender roles are by necessity “egalitarian,” he said, “subvert” this biblically ordained relationship. […]


    The WCF is holding a conference in Salt Lake City. With WCF speakers mixing with a slate of conservative mormon leaders, we have a thick stew of animus directed toward LGBT people, and toward women.

  94. says

    FACT: There Is No Evidence That Clinton Personally Signed Off On A Cable Reducing Security In Benghazi

    FACT: The State Department Did Not Watch The Benghazi Attacks Unfold In Real Time

    FACT: Clinton’s “What Difference, At This Point, Does It Make” Comment Was Referring To The Administration’s Post-Attack Talking Points, Not Tragic Consequences Of Attack

    FACT: There Is No Proof Clinton’s State Department Scrubbed, Altered, Or Covered Up Any Benghazi Documents

    FACT: Clinton’s Use Of A Personal Email Account Was Legal And Did Not Violate State Department Policy

    FACT: Clinton Is Not The Subject Of A Criminal Investigation Over Her Emails

    FACT: Conservative Comparisons Of Clinton To Petraeus Ignore The Fact That Unlike Petraeus, There’s No Evidence Clinton Knowingly Emailed Classified Information

    FACT: CIA Says Clinton Did Not Expose Classified Information About Libyan Intelligence Source With Email Contrary To Conservative Claims

    More at the link.

  95. Saad says

    Donald Trump thinks he can make retailers say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays

    “I’m a good Christian,” the Republican presidential front-runner said. “If I become president, we’re gonna be saying Merry Christmas at every store … You can leave happy holidays at the corner.”

    First Ben Carson’s schizophrenia comment and now Trump thinking the federal governement decides private retailers’ greetings. Is this a Republican thing? To be laughably wrong about something that has to do with your own field?

    Also, bullshit on his claim that he’s religious and actually gives a damn about the whole “Merry Christmas” vs “Happy Holidays” non-issue.

  96. says

    During the Benghazi hearing, GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo demonstrated a lot of disrespect for Clinton. At one point, Pompeo said he wished Clinton would listen to him. She was obviously listening and answering his questions. He just didn’t like the fact that she didn’t agree with him. Pompeo was a bully.

    GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo thinks he has Clinton cornered, suggesting that members of Clinton’s “team” had met with Al Qaeda operatives in Benghazi shortly before the attacks. Clinton says she was aware of no such meetings. Pompeo calls it “deeply disturbing.” Clinton says, “I’m sorry, which ‘team’ is this?” Pompeo: “We don’t know exactly who… I don’t know which one.” Basically Pompeo’s got nothing. Clinton, unfazed, says she has no idea to whom he’s referring. Pompeo yields back his time, after getting quite possibly the biggest slap down yet.

  97. says

    Maine Governor Paul LePage enjoys being stuck in the 1950s.

    At a town hall meeting in Auburn on Wednesday night, Governor Paul LePage once again lashed out against Question 1, a citizen initiative to increase election transparency and strengthen Maine’s Clean Elections Act.

    “That’s like giving my wife my checkbook. I’m telling you, it’s giving your wife your checkbook,” said LePage.

    He should move to Utah and convert to mormonism. That would suit him.

    Some women’s groups in Maine are fighting back.

    “The governor’s attitude toward women, toward relationships and toward money are so dated as to be bizarre,” said Eliza Townsend, executive director of the Maine Women’s Lobby in response to the comment. “The Maine Women’s Lobby supports Question 1 because we know that a legislature made up of Mainers with a variety of backgrounds and experiences will make better decisions for all of us.”

    Clean Elections has been particularly beneficial to women candidates. The number of women running and winning election[s] increased significantly after passage of the original Clean Elections Act and a 2003 survey of candidates by the Maine Citizen Leadership Fund found that women were more likely than men to say that access to the public financing option was very important in their decision to run for office.

  98. says

    Saad @102, I agree that Trump’s claims to religiosity are bullshit. His courting of evangelicals is, on the other hand, serious.

    I see that Big Government is okay if it is used to force retailers to use “Merry Christmas” instead of other holiday greetings.

    I see that Big Government is okay if Ben Carson uses the Department of Education to monitor speech and political opinions on college campuses.

    Trump has succeeded in one of his oft-repeated goals. He has made my head spin. Carson is just depressing. And, lo, Carson is now leading Trump in Iowa polls. Must be that “Power of God” thing.

    1. Ben Carson: 28% (up seven points from early September)
    2. Donald Trump: 20% (down seven points)
    3. Marco Rubio: 13% (up eight points)
    4. Ted Cruz 10% (up one point)
    5. Rand Paul: 6% (up two points)
    6. Jeb Bush: 5% (down one point)
    6. Carly Fiorina: 5% (unchanged)

  99. says

    Paul Ryan IS going to run for Speaker.

    Rep. Paul Ryan announced Thursday that he will seek to replace Rep. John Boehner as speaker of the House.

    The 2012 Republican nominee for vice president reversed his previous position that he wasn’t interested in the job after intense public pressure from the Republican caucus, which deemed him the lone consensus candidate for the role. After repeatedly saying he didn’t want the the job, which is third in line to the presidency, the Wisconsin lawmaker appeared to hedge this week, presenting a series of conditions under which he would run with an emphasis on party unity.

    “We have an opportunity to turn the page, to start with a clean slate, and to rebuild what has been lost. We can make the House a more open and inclusive body—one where every member can contribute to the legislative process. We can rally House Republicans around a bold agenda that will tackle the country’s problems head on. And we can show the country what a commonsense conservative agenda looks like,” Ryan wrote to a letter to members of the House Republican conference on Thursday.

    From Saad’s @102:

    “I’m a good Christian,” the Republican presidential front-runner said. “If I become president, we’re gonna be saying Merry Christmas at every store … You can leave happy holidays at the corner.”

    I wish Republicans would make up their minds. You’re ok with requiring stores to say ‘Merry Christmas’ but you’re not ok with stores being required to adhere to anti-discrimination laws (where applicable). How is it possible to talk out of both sides of your asshole when spewing shit?

  100. microraptor says

    Tony @ 106

    How is it possible to talk out of both sides of your asshole when spewing shit?


  101. says

    Rachel Maddow covered the “remarkable display of endurance” by Hillary Clinton today. She testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi for more than 11 hours. The twelve committee members took turns questioning her. The members got some breaks thanks to the fact that there were 12 of them, but Clinton was the only witness.

    Maddow also covered the partisanship of the committee hearing, and she covered the “unprecedented mockery” of Clinton.

    Democrats on the Benghazi Committee played an interesting role during the hearing — mostly they outed the underhanded tactics of the Republicans.

    Tomorrow, Clinton will be the featured interview on Rachel Maddow’s show. Friday, 9pm ET. It will be interesting to hear her view of the hearing.

  102. says

    I don’t think this directly involves US politics (yet), but I hope it will down the line-
    CEOs panic: Europe rules corporate tax loopholes ‘illegal’:

    Thanks to a new ruling from the European Commission, Starbucks and Fiat are now finally being forced to pay their fair share of taxes, as tax loopholes benefiting multinational corporations with accounts in European countries known for their tax haven status have been ruled illegal.

    After 5 years of direct action and organizing from the grassroots, anti-austerity movement UK Uncut, which ties corporate tax avoidance to public service cuts, the movement can claim another major victory — particularly in regards to Starbucks, as UK Uncut has targeted the company for years due to its reputation as a notorious corporate tax avoider.

    On Wednesday, the commission ruled that that those companies must now pay back the $34 million USD they each avoided thanks to tax loopholes in Luxembourg and the Netherlands. And from the looks of it, more retribution is in the cards.

    “The Commission continues to pursue its inquiry into tax rulings practices in all EU Member States,” the commission statement read. “Its existing formal investigations into tax rulings in Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg are ongoing.”

    Here is the European Commission’s press release.

  103. dianne says

    Saad@102: I don’t know whether to be disappointed or relieved that no one appears to have asked him how he intends to enforce that.

  104. says

    Cross-posted from the “Benghazi is a conspiracy … ” thread.

    I loved the bit where one Republican member of the committee tried very hard to make Clinton look uncaring because she worked from her home on the night following the Benghazi attack. She had a SCIF, and she stayed up all night, but Republicans weren’t having it. They asked, by name, if so-and-so was still in the State Department office when she went home. A long list of names. Ridiculous. A Democratic member of the committee finally pointed out that General Petraeus also worked from home that night, with a SCIF.

    A SCIF is a Secure Classified Information Facility, or Secure Compartmentalized Information Facility.

  105. says

    Cross-posted from the “Democrats in disarray …” thread.

    Jeb Bush’s campaign really is in disarray. He should follow Chafee’s example and just quit.

    But then, most of the Republican scrum is always in some sort of disarray. Most of them will stumble toward defeat tripping over their own feet.

    The flagging GOP presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is cutting staff at its Miami headquarters to save more than $1 million per month and slash payroll by 40 percent this week, according to reports on Friday. […]

    Donald Trump has plenty of his own money to spend, or so he keeps bragging, so something else will have to take him out. Carson is now leading Trump by 10 points in Iowa. Carson is effing awful, but it is nice to see The Donald looking sour.

    From Chafee’s exit speech:

    […] As you know I have been campaigning on a platform of Prosperity Through Peace. But after much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today. I would like to take this opportunity one last time to advocate for a chance be given to peace.

    During his remarks, Chafee lambasted Republicans for lacking knowledge about the Middle East.

    “Ladies and gentleman, from what I’ve heard none of the Republicans running for president want to understand anything about the Middle East and North Africa. Instead they prefer to espouse more bellicosity, more saber rattling and more blind macho posturing,” he said. […]

    “Do we want to be remembered as a bomber of weddings and hospitals? Or do we want to be remembered as peacemakers, as pioneers of a more harmonious world?”

  106. says

    Rand Paul said some more stupid stuff about Bernie Sanders.

    Rand Paul repeated his mantra that Bernie Sanders could turn into a murderous dictator if elected president, this time in an interview yesterday on the conservative network Newsmax.

    While speaking with host Ed Berliner, Paul said that he “spends quite a bit of time on Bernie” during appearances at college campuses to let students know that “there’s nothing sexy or cool about socialism.”

    The Kentucky senator said that “socialism is anti-choice” and deadly. “If you choose to challenge the state,” he said, “they have to get rid of you, they have to arrest you or they have to eliminate you.”


  107. says

    microraptor @115, I agree. You can smell the desperation. Also, I think Rand Paul fantasizes about the Big Bad Government coming to eliminate him.

    Cross-posted from the “Benghazi is a conspiracy …” thread: Here’s another example of Republicans using one of their pet conspiracy theories to question Hillary Clinton. The theory was that Clinton knew about, and perhaps nurtured, a gun-running operation out of Libya.

    There were two types of questions that House Republicans posed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at yesterday’s hearing of the Benghazi Special Committee: 1) questions that had nothing to do with Benghazi (see Blumenthal, Sidney), and 2) questions that were already thoroughly assessed and answered in the seven previous investigations into the 2012 attack.

    As an example of one question of the latter sort, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., asked Clinton whether the targeted U.S. facilities were being used to send weapons to armed Syrian groups.

    This theory, popular among conservative activists and pundits, goes that the Obama administration used the American annex in Benghazi to arm Al Qaeda, ISIS and other radical Islamists…who then attacked the Americans, for some reason.

    The Benghazi gun-running conspiracy theory has already been evaluated and debunked — much like the mythical “stand down order” — by a Republican-led congressional investigation. But Pompeo decided to ask Clinton about the long-discredited claim anyway.


    Video at the link.

  108. says

    This is a followup to comment 95, in which we first noted that Ben Carson wants to monitor speech on college campuses. He plans to task the Education Department with the monitoring job, as opposed to just deleting the Education Department entirely, which is what many other Republicans have suggested.

    Now Carson wants to reassure you that his Education Department will only target liberal speech for monitoring.

    […] “What I would do is I would solicit examples of extreme bias and I would use those as the basis for helping to determine which places need to have their federal funding cut,” he said.

    As an the example, Carson cited the story of a Florida college professor who supposedly told students to “stomp on” a piece of paper with the word “Jesus” written on it — a story unsurprisingly manufactured by Fox News’ Todd Starnes. […]

    “I think we would have to put in very strict guidelines for the way that that was done,” Carson explained. “And that’s why I used the word ‘extreme.’ I didn’t just say ‘political bias,’ I said ‘extreme political biases.’”


    Translation: Carson’s “very strict guidelines” would ensure that conservatives were not censored.

  109. says

    Oh, FFS, more concealed weapon “accidents” that result in someone being shot. I hope both Clinton and Sanders beef up their gun-control policies.

    […] a woman was in the waiting room of a medical office. When she reached into her purse to pull out some paperwork, a gun fell out of her purse causing it to discharge. The round went through a wall and hit another patient in the hip.

    Bobby Pressley was in the waiting room when it happened.

    “Everyone was sitting in the waiting room and there was a gun shot. A woman dropped her purse down on the counter and it shot through the wall and shot another lady,” said Pressley.

    10:08 AM PT: Update: Two people in Alabama are being treated after they were shot in a grocery store this morning when one of them dropped a concealed gun and it went off.


  110. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    Speaking of Maine and their governor: America’s Dumbest Governor Appoints Creationist as Education Commissioner.

    When both men ran for governor in 2011, this was a scene that actually unfolded at a debate.

    Asked “Do you believe in creationism, and do you think it should be taught in Maine public schools?,” LePage impressively backed up his creationist belief: “I would say intelligence, uh, the more education you have the more knowledge you have the better person you are and I believe yes and yes.”

    Beardsley simply replied: “I would teach creationism.”

    The concerned parents and citizens of Maine should probably ask themselves: do they really want a man who denied scientific proof of global warming while serving as LePage’s conservation commissioner to be responsible for shaping their children’s minds?

  111. says

    You can help Mother Jones recover from fighting a lawsuit brought by billionaire, anti-gay, mormon, Republican doofus, Frank VanderSloot. VanderSloot was, basically, trying to shut Mother Jones up. He didn’t like what they were saying about Mitt Romney, nor about Frank himself. VanderSloot has proven in the past that he does not believe in a free press. He was particularly exercised over the coverage of Romney’s “47%” speech, arguably the speech that brought Romney down.

    Read about it here, or here.

  112. says

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced Friday the appointment of eight Republicans (four women and four men) to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Select Investigative Panel focused on “big abortion providers” — namely Planned Parenthood. […]

    I guess Republicans did not learn from their experience with the Benghazi Select Investigative Committee.

  113. says

    What a Maroon @119, the governor of Maine reminds me that if you are willing to believe one or two really stupid things, it is likely that you are living in LaLa Land regarding a whole host of subjects.

    LePage the creationist is Lepage the misogynist (comment 104), the anti-gay dude, the anti-union guy, and the patriarchal tyrant. Extra points for being stupid about economics as well.

    Speaking of dumb stuff and of prejudiced people, the people of Utah have yet another study showing that the gender wage gap in their state is due to … discrimination against women.

    Utah’s working women are paid less than men simply because they are women, a new study has found.

    And they also are less likely to graduate from college — a divide that has actually widened over the course of a generation, breaking from the national trend.

    […] the state has the nation’s fourth-worst wage gap, and it’s driven mostly by a negative bias toward female employees. […]

    The new analysis from the organization follows up on a January report that showed it could take a lifetime — 72 years, to be exact — for Utah’s pay gap to close.[…]

    American women now earn degrees at a higher rate than men, but Utah has gone in the opposite direction, Miller’s analysis shows. […]

    “‘You can be a secretary or you can be a teacher,’ then you’re destined, as a woman, to be in a lower earning occupation.” […]

    From the readers’ comments:

    The reason Utah teachers are paid so little? 80% of them are women. The reason Utah’s legislature doesn’t care? 80% of them are men. Sexism thrives here […]
    This is not surprising. In Utah, women are taught to find a nice RM [Returned Missionary], get hitched and pump out kids. Education is not needed for that. Women are just breeding stock for the local religion so they can perpetuate the membership. […] The women are taught not to question men or their “lot in life.” Just pay, pray and obey and keep the man on a pedestal.
    Common sense says that misogyny demeans women if not wives and mothers as decreed by deity. Reality shows most women work and are paid less. A patriarchal culture results in male dominance on Sundays, and everywhere else.

  114. says

    Regarding that shooting on a campus in Tennessee, (Nerd @111), I just have one question: People in Tennessee bring loaded weapons to dice games?

  115. says

    Good news for the people of New Jersey, bad news for Chris Christie.

    The New Jersey Senate voted on Thursday to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a gun control bill, the first time state lawmakers had mustered enough votes in more than 50 attempts at undoing one of his vetoes.

    An override, which still must pass the State Assembly, would dilute one of the claims Mr. Christie has repeatedly made while campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination — that he has managed without fail to hold his party together in the State House. Democrats control both branches of the Legislature, but they need help from Republicans to override one of Mr. Christie’s vetoes.

    The governor said in a debate with other Republicans running for president that he had “vetoed 400 bills from a crazy liberal Democratic Legislature” and pointed with pride to the failure of every challenge. But his string of successes at thwarting lawmakers came to an end on Thursday when three Republican sponsors of the bill joined the Democrats in voting to override. […]

    One legislator noted that “the only person that objected to this bill was the governor.” Christie has been losing popularity in his state for some time, and now he’s losing power. It’s going to be strange to see him still on the main Republican debate stage.

  116. says

    Elijah Cummings emerges as new Democratic party hero:

    Though he was largely unknown on the national level before today to anyone who doesn’t closely follow politics, Elijah Cummings is far from a new face. He’s been serving as a congressman from the Baltimore area for nineteen years and is regularly reelected by double digit margins. He appeared to find no joy in being a part of the Benghazi hearings today, and instead served the role of fact checker, as Gowdy and the republicans made one false and misleading statement after another. But his role in the investigation has been far more than that of attack dog.

    It was Cummings who asked the CIA to declassify the partially redacted government documents which the republicans were being used against Clinton, only to learn that none of it had been classified to begin with. That forced Gowdy to admit that he himself had blacked out portions of the documents arbitrarily and allowed everyone to falsely believe that information was classified. But Cummings saved perhaps his best moment for last.

    At one point Elijah Cummings was screaming “release the transcripts” to highlight Gowdy’s attempt at censoring which testimony the public had access to. He kept repeating it to the point that one almost expected Gowdy to yell back “You can’t handle the transcripts!” But it was Cummings’ closing shot which may have hit home the most. He rattled off the tens of millions of dollars which the republicans have spent pretending to investigate Benghazi, and asked if that money could have been better spent on increasing embassy security.

    The GOP is only conservative on nights of the full moon or when they’re engaged in a partisan witch hunt.

  117. says

    And … another Republican conspiracy theory bites the dust.

    The Justice Department notified members of Congress on Friday that it is closing its two-year investigation into whether the IRS improperly targeted the tea party and other conservative groups.

    There will be no charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner or anyone else at the agency, the Justice Department said in a letter.

    The probe found “substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia leading to the belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted them based on their political viewpoints. But poor management is not a crime,” Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik said in the letter.

    “We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution,” Kadzik said. “We also found no evidence that any official involved in the handling of tax-exempt applications or IRS leadership attempted to obstruct justice. Based on the evidence developed in this investigation and the recommendation of experienced career prosecutors and supervising attorneys at the department, we are closing our investigation and will not seek any criminal charges.”

  118. says

    Democrats made an announcement today about their continued participation on the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

    After yesterday’s 11-hour hearing, there can be no remaining doubt that the Benghazi Select Committee is a taxpayer-funded fishing expedition to derail Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign,” the committee’s Democrats said in a statement. “After meeting with Leader Pelosi today, we are calling on Speaker Boehner to immediately shut down this abusive, wasteful, and obviously partisan effort. If the Speaker rejects our request, Democrats will continue to participate at this point in order to make sure the facts are known and the conspiracy theories are debunked.

  119. says

    President Obama performed a Grumpy Cat impersonation during his speech at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum:

    “Overall, we’re making enormous progress,” Obama said. “And it does make you wonder, why is it that Republican politicians are so down on America? Have you noticed that? I mean, they are gloomy. They’re like grumpy cat.”

    “Everything is terrible, according to them,” the President continued. “We’re doomed. I mean, I know it’s political season, but you listen to them and they’ve constructed this entire separate reality, like the twilight zone. And according to their story, their narrative, everything was terrific back in 2008.”

    Scroll down for video.

  120. says

    Mike Huckabee said some stupid and dangerous stuff:

    After calling on public officials to defy the Supreme Court on marriage equality, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is now urging gun dealers to flout a potential executive action that would reportedly “impose background checks on individuals who buy from dealers who sell a significant number of guns each year.”

    While Huckabee dodged Newsmax host Steve Malzberg’s question as to whether Congress should launch impeachment proceedings against President Obama if takes such a step, saying that “that should be up to Congress,” he called for an “absolute, unapologetic, just complete ignoring of such an order by those gun shop owners.”

    “We have to stand up and say, ‘no, we’re not going to do it,’” he said. […]


  121. says

    Kentucky has open record laws which the Associated Press used to obtain emails Kim Davis sent before she was jailed for contempt of court. Here’s an example from the emails:

    The battle has just begun…It has truly been a firestorm here and the days are pretty much a blur, but I am confident that God is in control of all of this!! I desire your prayers, I will need strength that only God can supply and I need a backbone like a saw log!!…They are going to try and make a whipping post out of me!! I know it, but God is still alive and on the throne!!! He IS in control and knows exactly where I am!!…September 1 will be the day to prepare for, if the Lord doesn’t return before then. I have weighted the cost, and will stay the course.

    Salon link

    Talking Points Memo link

    Slate link

  122. says

    President Obama used his weekly address to talk about climate change. Here’s an excerpt:

    This month, even as Republicans in Congress barely managed to keep our government open, they shut down something called the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For more than half a century, this fund has protected more than 5 million acres of land – from playgrounds to parks to priceless landscapes – all without costing taxpayers a dime. Nearly every single county in America has benefited from this program. It has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Republicans in Congress should reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund without delay.

  123. says–550909507923
    Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Democratic candidate for president, talks with Rachel Maddow about whether Syria runs the risk of following the chaotic model of Libya if Bashar al-Assad is deposed.
    The video is about 4 and a half minutes long, and it includes a more thorough discussion of the current situation in Libya.
    Hillary Clinton, Democratic front-runner, talks with Rachel Maddow about the importance of Democrats winning down-ballot to counter the power Republicans have amassed in state legislatures and governorships.
    The video is about three minutes long.
    Rachel Maddow questions Hillary Clinton about civil rights issues like “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” the Defense of Marriage Act, and mass incarceration that have their roots in her husband’s administration and were reversed under President Obama.
    The video is about 5 minutes long. The link is self explanatory.

  124. says
    Hillary Clinton, Democratic candidate for president, talks with Rachel Maddow about the challenges of making new friends as a public figure, particularly a powerful public figure and whether old friends can bring baggage that makes it hard to move forward.
    Sidney effing Blumenthal! The video is about 11 minutes long.–some–investigations-550961731995
    Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton talks with Rachel Maddow about the importance of investigations into attacks on U.S. installations abroad, both to honor those lost in the attacks and to learn how to avoid future attacks, but laments that the current House Select Committee on Benghazi is not serving that goal.
    How to relax after 11 hours of verbal torture? Eat Indian food and drink beer and wine. The video is about 2 minutes long.
    Hillary Clinton, Democratic candidate for president, talks with Rachel Maddow about the need for improvement in the bureaucracy of veterans’ health care, and calls out Republicans for trying to undermine the VA to justify privatizing it.
    The video is about 4 minutes long.
    Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and Democratic candidate for president, explains why she thinks a no-fly zone over Syria is a good idea and whether she would shoot down a Russian jet if it violated such a rule.
    Yes, she does have foreign policy chops. This is good. The video is about 2 and a half minutes long.

  125. says

    As the debt ceiling crisis looms (November 3 deadline), Republicans in the House of Congress are stymied once again by the rabid right-wingers in the “Freedom Caucus.” And now more “moderate” Republicans are joining in the toddlers-throwing-tantrums exercise.

    Congressional Republicans say they are short of the necessary votes for raising the debt limit and avoiding a first-ever government default. With barely a week before deadline, there’s no plan on what to do. […]

    GOP leaders promised Friday that the House will act next week — just days from a Nov. 3 deadline. Increasing the government’s $18.1 trillion borrowing cap so that it can continue to pay its bills in full and on time would prevent a potential meltdown in the financial markets […]

    Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has warned lawmakers that the government’s ability to use accounting steps to pay its bills for veterans, Social Security recipients, federal employees and others will run out early next month. […]

    House GOP leaders warn that they can’t summon even minimal support for the kind of debt limit increase demanded by President Barack Obama — one that’s free of any concessions to hardline conservatives. […]

    Congress passed a debt-limit increase just last year without add-ons. And all but two of 188 House Democrats have promised to vote for the measure, which means it would only take just 32 out of 247 Republicans to produce a winning vote of the full House. […]

    “Then they ought to all be fired,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat. “It is inconceivable to me that there aren’t 30-plus Republicans to vote to make sure their country is solvent.”

    The White House on Friday reiterated that Obama will not negotiate with the GOP on the debt limit. “This is asking the Congress to pay bills that it’s already incurred,” said spokesman Eric Schultz.

    […] [For decades] The debt limit was often added to other legislation but was not taken hostage in hopes of extracting concessions from an opposition president.

    But after tea-party conservatives came to dominate the House in 2011, Boehner, R-Ohio, demanded and won $2.1 trillion in spending cuts in exchange for a comparable increase in the debt cap.[…]

  126. says

    Donald Trump is in Florida, holding his first rallies in that state. His supporters dragged, kicked and other wise assaulted protestors who were there to protest Trump’s immigration policy.

    Video at the link. Think Progress link

    […] In the video, an unidentified white man wearing a red polo shirt is seen pulling another man identified as a protester by the back of his shirt. When the protester falls to the ground, the man in the polo shirt then drags him along the floor towards the room’s exit. Towards the end of the video, the polo-shirted man appears to kick the protester while the protester is still lying on the ground.

    As this protester is being dragged out of the room, the crowd around him loudly chants “U-S-A! U-S-A!”

    The Trump campaign previously barred the Spanish-language station Univision from covering its event in Florida.

    Trump was reportedly interrupted several times by protesters during his appearance at the Trump National Doral Miami resort. At one point, he appeared to endorse the use of violent tactics against these protesters. “See the first group, I was nice. Oh, take your time,” Trump said of the protesters. “The second group, I was pretty nice. The third group, I’ll be a little more violent. And the fourth group, I’ll say get the hell out of here!”

    You just endorsed physical violence, Mr. Trump.

  127. says

    Why is Ben Carson leading in Iowa? The answer is so depressing. Iowans who vote in the primary agree with Ben Carson. They really do. They agree most when Carson says something really stupid and/or anti-Muslim. They agree most when Carson reveals himself to be worse than Donald Trump.

    […] Two years ago, at the Values Voter Summit, Carson said that the Affordable Care Act—designed to increase health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans—was the “worst thing that has happened in this country since slavery,” which trapped millions of people in brutal hereditary bondage for more than two centuries. American slavery was a disgraceful chapter in our history that still shapes the structure of our society. Obamacare, by contrast, has delivered insurance and health services to 17.6 million people.

    What do Iowa Republicans think? Eighty-one percent say this makes him a “mostly” or “very” attractive candidate.

    Last month, Carson voiced opposition to a hypothetical Muslim president. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” he said. This, despite the Constitution’s clear dictate on religious tests—they’re verboten. What do Iowa Republicans think? Seventy-seven percent say this makes him a “mostly” or “very” attractive candidate.

    Two weeks ago, Carson said that guns—in the hands of German Jews—could have slowed Adolf Hitler and even stopped the Holocaust. […]

    What do Iowa Republicans think? A whopping 77 percent say that Carson’s statement makes him “very” or “mostly” attractive.[…]

    Carson speaks the language of Iowa Republicans. They like his rhetoric, whether it’s absurd, ignorant, or genuinely offensive. […]

    Slate link

  128. says

    Cross-posted from the racism thread:
    Hillary Clinton stops accepting contributions from private prison:

    Hillary Clinton has agreed to stop accepting contributions from federally registered lobbyists and PACs for private prison companies, her campaign staff confirmed with Fusion early Friday morning.

    The campaign has promised to donate any previous direct contributions from private prison lobbyists to charity.

    “It’s an encouraging step forward,” said Rashad Robinson, executive director of the online civil rights group ColorOfChange.

    Robinson said the Clinton campaign agreed to stop taking contributions from private prison lobbyists after a lot of “substantive and open conversations.” He noted other civil rights and immigrant rights groups pressured Clinton, including Black Lives Matter, Get Equal, Presente, and United We Dream.

    The Clinton campaign announcement comes three months after The Intercept reported “lobbyists for two major prison companies are serving as top fundraisers for Hillary Clinton.” Earlier this month Juan Carlos Ramos, 22, an activist with United We Dream, interrupted Clinton while she delivered a speech at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s gala. Ramos said he was urging Clinton to stop accepting “prison money.”

  129. says

    Scott Walker signs bill restricting ‘John Doe’ probes in political investigations

    Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker on Friday signed a bill into law that prohibits prosecutors from using the state’s secret investigation law to probe political crimes — a measure used to convict four of his aides and investigate his campaign.

    In Wisconsin, prosecutors can use a so called “John Doe” proceeding law to call witnesses, request search warrants and offer immunity without probable cause that a crime has been committed.

    Under the legislation Walker signed, prosecutors can no longer use the law to investigate cases of bribery or political misconduct. Instead, the law is limited to the investigation of certain crimes, such as ones involving violent felonies.

  130. says

    Caine @139, I don’t how Scott Walker gets away with being Scott Walker. He’s so freakin’ obvious when it comes to supporting corruption within his administration. Naturally, his aides were the ones that took all the heat, not Walker.

    I guess that’s the way Scott Walker’s mind works: you plan to do a bunch of illegal stuff, and you work to make it impossible to prosecute anyone for doing illegal stuff — that way, you can do more illegal stuff in the future.

    In other news, Bernie Sanders delivered a fiery speech at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Here’s an excerpt:

    Sanders took to the stage to remind the crowd that so-called fiscally conservative Republicans ran up the deficit, and that before President Obama took office, the global financial system was “on the verge of collapse” and hundreds of thousands of people were losing their jobs each month.

    “They suffer from amnesia,” Sanders said. “They forgot what the world looked like seven years ago. They forgot that 800,000 people a month were losing their jobs. They forgot that the world’s financial system was on the verge of collapse. And they just forgot that we ran up the largest deficit in the history of the United States in the last year of George Bush.”

    ABC News link

  131. says

    In 2015, according to a survey by the Kaiser Foundation, spending by states that refused to expand Medicaid grew by 6.9 percent. That’s pretty close to the historical average. However, spending by states that accepted Medicaid expansion grew by only 3.4 percent.

    So, Republican governors and state legislators, why are you still rejecting the Medicaid expansion? Could it be that screwing the poor people in your state out of healthcare is of no consequence to you? Could it be that rising costs in your state fit nicely into your “fiscally conservative, but not when we are flexing our to-hell-with-Obama muscles” politics?

    In other words, the states that have refused the expansion are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. They’re actually willing to shell out money just to demonstrate their implacable hatred of Obamacare. How much money? Well, the expansion-refusing states spent $61 billion of their own money on Medicaid in 2014. If that had grown at 3.4 percent instead of 6.9 percent, they would have saved about $2 billion this year.


    Republicans are proud of their anti-Obamacare stance. They think it makes them look strong.

    The financial disaster that anti-Obamacare politicians have foisted on their states includes the closure of many rural hospitals, and even more money thrown down the drain than the $2 billion noted above. Residents of every state pay to fund Obamacare (it’s part of the tax code). All of those states whose dunderheaded leaders have refused to expand Medicaid are, taken together, paying nearly $50 billion into the Obamacare coffers, of which about $20 billion pays for the Medicare expansion. They pay it in, and they take none of it back, even though they could take it back if they were less rabidly anti-Obamacare.

  132. says

    Now that Ben Carson is leading Donald Trump in Iowa polls, Trump has started the process of dissing Carson. Here’s what Trump had to say:

    I like Ben, but he cannot do with trade like I do with trade. He can’t do with a lot of things like I do. So we’ll have to see what happens.

    He’s very, very weak on immigration. And I’m very strong on immigration. He believes in amnesty strongly. He believes on citizenship. I mean he’s going to give citizenship to people that are here illegally. You can’t do that. And, you know, we disagree on other things, also.

    I think Ben Carson is a low energy person. I think Ben Carson is lower energy than Jeb if you want to know the truth.

    Mostly bluster, little substance. Carson has said lots of things to which a person could legitimately object, in detail, but that’s not how Trump rolls. Trump also fails when it comes to speaking English. Maybe he should object to candidates that are more articulate than he is on the grounds of “not fair!”

  133. says

    Trump also explained why he is being divisive, and why he is great:

    I’m against — I was against 16 other candidates and, you know, I’m being divisive right now because I want to win. I know how to win. That’s what I have to do.

    Ultimately if I do win, I’m going to be a great unifier. I will be a great unifier for the country. The country right now is terribly divided by a President that doesn’t know how to lead, and he’s a very divisive person. I will be a great unifier. You will be surprised to see that but you will see that.

    The quotes were excerpted from an ABC interview of Trump on “This Week” which aired this morning.

  134. says

    Ah, the Sunday morning shows delivered a lot of drivel from Republican presidential candidates today. This drivel comes from Chris Christie:

    […] After noting that murder rates have gone up in cities like Chicago and New York, Christie said that “the problem is this — there is lawlessness in this country.”

    “The president encourages this lawlessness,” Christie added. “He encourages it.” […]

    “He does not support the police, doesn’t back up the police, he justifies Black Lives Matter,” Christie said.[…]

    “I don’t believe that that movement should be justified when they’re calling for the murder of police officers, no,” Christie said.

    Dickerson countered that the Black Lives Movement is not actually calling for the murder of police officers, but Christie doubled-down on his statement, claiming that the movement has been calling for violence against law enforcement.

    “They’ve been chanting in the streets for the murder of police officers,” Christie said.

    When Dickerson pointed out that single individuals might make such comments but the movement does not support that rhetoric, Christie still did not back down.

    “That’s what the movement is creating,” Christie said. “And the president of the United States is justifying that.” […]


  135. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A AP-GfK poll shows why Trump and Carson are leading in the race for the nomination:

    By an overwhelming 77 percent to 22 percent margin, Republican registered voters say they prefer an outsider candidate who will change how things are done, rather than someone with experience in Washington who can get things done.

    Sounds like they want gridlock.

  136. says

    Nerd, @145, I think you are right. They already have mostly gridlock. They want more gridlock. Also, more than 80% of Iowa Republican voters like it when Carson says Obamacare is worse than slavery (see comment 137).

  137. says

    Oh, FFS. Ben Carson said some more stupid stuff about slavery. This time he compared women who have abortions to slaveowners.

    […] Ben Carson compared women who decided to have abortions to slaveowners who “thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave.”

    The discussion came after host Chuck Todd asked if life began at conception, to which Carson answered “I believe it does.” Todd asked whose right should be superseded — the mother or the child.

    “In the ideal situation, the mother should not believe that the baby is her enemy, and should not be looking to terminate her baby,” Carson said. “Things are set up in such a way that the person in the world who has the greatest interest in protecting her baby is the mother.”

    Carson said “purveyors of a vision” have been allowed to “make mothers believe that baby is her enemy and that they have a right to kill it. Can you see how perverted that line of thinking is?

    Todd asked what happens if someone has an unwanted pregnancy — should they have a right to terminate it?

    No. Think about this. During slavery — and I know that’s one of those words you’re not supposed to say, but I’m saying it. During slavery, a lot of the slaveowners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave. Anything that they chose to do. And, you know, what if the abolitionists had said “I don’t believe in slavery, I think it’s wrong, but you guys do whatever you want to do.” Where would we be? […]


  138. says

    Another quote from Ben Carson: “As people get to know me, they know that I’m not a hateful, pathological person like some people try to make me out to be.”

    Uh, no. This statement comes after Carson compares women who have abortions to slaveowners, compares Obamacare to slavery, said he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, and revived the conspiracy theory that Planned Parenthood is an effort to control the population (especially in black neighborhoods, Carson said). Yeah, that’s pathological.

  139. Al Dente says

    If he becomes CEO of the country The Donald would force people to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.”

    “I’m a good Christian,” the Republican presidential front-runner said. “If I become president, we’re gonna be saying Merry Christmas at every store … You can leave happy holidays at the corner.”

    How does he intend to enforce this? Or, more likely, he’s playing to the hopes and fears of the religious right making up a large percentage of the GOP.

  140. says

    Legislators in Florida are working on a new anti-gay bill. Not surprisingly, they are calling it a “religious freedom” bill.

    Florida’s new “religious freedom” bill, just introduced but already gaining traction, begins with an Indiana-esque guarantee that most businesses and corporations may legally turn away gay couples if doing so “would be contrary to [their] religious or moral convictions.”

    […] the bill allows private adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples if such placement goes against “the religious or moral convictions or policies of the agency.” […]

    So far, so familiar. But here’s where things get odd—and grim for the women of Florida. The bill states that “a health care facility,” “an ambulatory surgery center,” “a nursing home,” “an assisted living facility,” “a hospice … operated by a religious institution,” and any “health care provider” can refuse to treat a patient or administer a medication if doing so would be contrary to its “religious or moral convictions or policies.” […] Pharmacists could refuse to provide birth control or Plan B; doctors could refuse to place IUDs; nurses could refuse to assist in medically necessary abortions.

    For LGBTQ people, this provision of the bill should be equally chilling. Despite the fact that gay and trans people face unique health challenges, LGBTQ-friendly health care is terribly deficient. The Florida bill would compound this problem by permitting doctors to turn away LGBTQ patients if treating them […] would violate their “convictions.” […]

    Cleverly, the bill doesn’t just shield doctors from liability suits from would-be patients: It also shields them from disciplinary actions by their hospital or medical association. […]

    Slate link

  141. says

    Al Dente @149, have you no faith? The Donald can do anything, and he would be great at it. He would probably also look “so handsome” while doing it. Or, maybe he will outsource enforcement to his daughter.

    In other news, legislators in Mississippi have so blatantly redistricted the state that Republicans will always win. No one watches election results in that state anymore. We all know how it will go. To see the map and the stats, read Steve Singiser’s article.

    […] if you pack a dozen districts to the brim with Democratic-leaning black voters, you ensure that most (if not all) of the other districts are predominantly white, even in a state where over a third of the population is black.

  142. emergence says

    You know that claim that some creationists make about evolution being dead and scientists abandoning it? From my personal experience that doesn’t seem to be the case, but I’d still appreciate it if someone could provide some solid statistical evidence that could be used to counter this claim. Does anyone have anything like a survey that’s been done on acceptance of evolution among biologists? Maybe two of them, just to see if it’s gone up or down in the past few years? I’d really appreciate it if someone could find something.

  143. says

    Ben Carson does not write all of his own stupid stuff, though he claims to. No, he plagiarizes some of it.

    Several sections of […] Dr. Ben Carson’s 2012 book “America the Beautiful” were plagiarized from various sources […]

    In many cases Carson cites the works that he plagiarizes in endnotes, though he makes no effort to indicate that not just the source, but the words themselves, had been taken from different authors. […]

    In one instance, Carson cites wholesale from an old website that has been online since at least 2002,

    In another example, he plagiarizes from two authors whose works he mentions in passing at earlier points in the book: Cleon Skousen, a conservative historian who died in 2006, and Bill Federer, another conservative historian […]

    Other sources taken nearly verbatim include a CBS News article, a Liberty Institute press release, a local newspaper article, and various internet sites.

    In Carson’s book, he writes about being caught plagiarizing in college and being given the chance to rewrite the paper after it was discovered. […]

    And here’s an example of some of the text Carson plagiarized:

    Anytime you give to government the responsibility and authority to provide government-made jobs, old-age financial security, “free” health care, and “free” education and indoctrination of children, it will control the lives of the people who live under its jurisdiction, and individual liberty and freedom of choice are sacrificed. […]

    Socialism is the ultimate exploitative monopoly. […]

    If government could give you everything you want, it must have the power to take everything you’ve got. This is the real agenda of socialism. It is the confiscation of property in the name of a “fairer” distribution of it. It is the total political institutionalization of violence and exploitation in the name of abolishing exploitation. […]

  144. says

    Yeah, yeah. Blah, blah, blah … Republicans threaten to impeach President Obama again.

    Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) said Friday that Congress should impeach President Barack Obama if he uses executive action to expand background checks to more gun purchases. […]

    “The very fact that you might bring it before the Judiciary Committee and investigate it and determine whether it’s an impeachable offense is a very healthy thing to do,” he added. “The House needs to use its power of hearings to start letting the American people know that this is a lawless President. We have a lawless Supreme Court. The judiciary needs to step up and show the American people what this President is doing, which will support any other efforts to defund the President.”

    Sheesh. I guess Republicans haven’t had enough yet of having their asses handed to them when they proceed with bogus hearings.

  145. says

    A Republican from Oklahoma, Senator Jim Inhofe, is talking about going to Paris in December to fight a global climate deal. Yeah, that’ll confirm international opinion about the whacko politicians that seem to be a specialty of the USA.

    Inhofe, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, openly rejects mainstream climate science. He told The Hill that he may “go over and be the bad guy, the one-man truth squad, and tell the truth, that they’re going to be lied to by the Obama administration.”

    Sounds like Inhofe’s main objective is to make President Obama look bad, or to at least try to scuttle an international agreement on a plan to address global climate change.

    Inhofe is the doofus who brought a snowball into the Senate chamber to prove that global warming is the “The Greatest Hoax,” (also the title of a book he wrote).

    A few other Republicans are on this bandwagon, including Representative Ed Whitfield of Kentucky and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

  146. says

    Uh, no, Donald. You are wrong. Again.

    Donald Trump took a victory lap Sunday on Twitter, claiming that his fiery stump speeches convinced Ford Motor Company to move one of its plants from Mexico to the U.S.

    But Ford burst that bubble in a statement Monday.

    “Ford has not spoken with Mr. Trump, nor have we made any changes to our plans,” the company said […] “We decided to move the F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks to Ohio Assembly in 2011, long before any candidates announced their intention to run for U.S. president.” […]


    The Donald needs to stick to one basic rule: when he brags about an accomplishment there should be some basis in truth for the brag.

  147. says

    This is a followup to comments 77 and 100.

    Religious rightwing activists and politicians in the USA are backing anti-LGBT, anti-contraception, and anti-choice legislation all over the world. These dunderheads are currently gathering for a meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Here’s what the European activists (or followers of the religious right in the USA) have come up with:

    It therefore appears adequate and reasonable to provide a specific legal status with specific protections to the union between a man and a woman; It appears equally adequate and reasonable that an equal status and equal protections should not be provided to other life forms that are different in fact and purpose from marriage. […]


    […] The proposal would allow member states to have more inclusive definitions of marriage within their borders, but they would not be recognized under European Union law […]

    More specifically, the Mum, Dad & Kids proposal would eliminate Article 2 (2) of a 2004 European Union directive on freedom of movement within member states, which includes as part of its definition of family member a person in a registered partnership relationship that one of the member states treats as the equivalent of marriage. […]

    The Citizens’ Committee proposing the Mum, Dad & Kids initiative includes people connected to the World Congress of Families and American Religious Right groups. […]


    My summary of the members of the committee is below:

    The Secretary General of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations, Maria Hildingsson

    Grégor Puppinck from the European Centre for Law and Justice, an arm of Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice

    Roger Kiska, currently the senior council in Vienna for Alliance Defending Freedom

    Ludovine de La Rochère, president of La Manif Pour Tous, which has connections to the USA’s National Organization for Marriage

    Edit Frivaldszky, head of the Human Dignity center (Hungary)

    Željka Markić, from Croatia, another Catholic, reportedly involved in Opus Dei.

  148. says

    Cross-posted from the “Ben Carson is simply a horrible person” thread.

    Ben Carson is currently on a book tour. He is using his status as a presidential candidate to sell books.

    The All-In show, hosted by Chris Hayes, had a brilliant idea: hire someone else to read books written by candidates and then produce a review of the book. They started with Ben Carson’s new book, A More Perfect Union. Jeb Lund, columnist for the Guardian and Rolling Stone, produced the review. This is hilarious.

  149. says

    Thomas Karl, the guy that heads the National Centers for Environmental Information for NOAA, wrote a paper refuting the idea that global warming trends have “paused” over the past decade or so. The paper was published in Science.

    The supposed “pause” is a concept I’ve seen touted in a lot of rightwing media. It is also a favorite climate-change-denial comfort-blankie of Representative Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas who is also chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

    That committee is stocked with rightwing whackos, including Paul Broun (R-Georgia) who once described evolutionary biology and the big bang theory as “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

    Thomas Karl’s paper was more than the whackos could take. They have issued subpoenas for emails and records from U.S. scientists who participated in the study debunking the “pause.” Chairman Lamar Smith is flooding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with requests for documents.

    [Ranking member Bernice Johnson, a Democrat, explained] that Smith made three written requests for information about Karl’s study, all of which NOAA responded to in writing and in personal briefings. “Moreover,” she writes, “NOAA attempted to explain certain aspects of the methodology about which the Majority was apparently confused.” (Imagine how that meeting went.)

    Among Smith’s repeated demands: access to the data and methods behind NOAA’s work on climate. Except, as NOAA and Democratic members of the committee kept trying to explain, those data and methods are posted on the internet. Anyone can access them. Yet Republicans kept demanding them.

    Unsatisfied with the total cooperation and untrammeled access his committee received, Smith issued a subpoena…. Smith has not alleged any corruption, wrongdoing, or even bad science. He hasn’t alleged anything. Nor has he offered any justification for why he needs access to NOAA internal communications.

    Lamar Smith got his sweeping subpoena powers from his fellow House Republicans just in the last year. According to the new rules, Smith does not have to justify the subpoenas. He can do whatever his tiny, shriveled, anti-science heart desires.

    This is congressional oversight run amok.

  150. says

    It looks like John Boehner really did “clean the barn up” prior to his departure as Speaker of the House.

    Congressional leaders have reached a breakthrough tentative budget deal with the White House that would set government funding levels for the next two years and extend the nation’s debt limit through 2017, avoiding routine talks of a government shutdown. […]

    If approved, the agreement would be a milestone after years of gridlock and annual threats of government shutdowns.


    There is some bad news, as there always is with a Republican-led deal:

    […] Republicans demanded concessions that are a key part of the package. In this case, increases in the sequester spending caps, the New York Times reported, “would be offset by cuts in spending on Medicare and Social Security disability benefits, as well as savings or revenue from an array of other programs, including selling oil from the nation’s strategic petroleum reserves. The Medicare savings would come from cuts in payments to doctors and other health care providers.” […]


    The far rightwing lawmakers in the House and Senate are not happy. In fact, they are hopping mad because Boehner made a deal when they thought they could get so many more draconian and damaging cuts if they refused to raise the debt ceiling.

    Now we’ll see if Republicans and Democrats can pass the compromise legislation and send it to Obama for his signature.

  151. says

    Dear Hobby Lobby founders, you so richly deserve to be investigated.

    The Christian family behind the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby has been under federal investigation for years on suspicion of trying to import potentially illicit cultural artifacts from Iraq […]

    The investigation was triggered by a shipment of 200-300 clay tablets that U.S. customs agents seized in 2011 en route from Israel to Oklahoma City, according to the report. […]

    Those tablets were bound for the Greens’ non-profit Museum of the Bible, which is scheduled to open in Washington, D.C. in 2017, according to the report. […]

  152. says

    Donald Trump has been starting most of his speeches with a self-congratulatory summary of the latest polls showing him on top. He thinks that being first in the polls is a virtue in and of itself, and that his poll numbers justify anything he says. If questioned, he would say, “Look at the polls!”

    Now, oh horrors, Trump is number two in some polls. So what approach does he take now? The polls are not right. The polls are “not very scientific” and so forth.

  153. says

    This is a followup to comment 161.

    The trouble from the rightwing has started. They don’t want no stinkin’ budget deal.

    One of the members of the House Freedom Caucus on Tuesday called on all candidates for speaker to oppose the, in his words, “monstrosity of a budget deal” that would stave off a government shutdown.

    Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) blasted the bipartisan deal that was being pushed by outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

    “Leadership’s determination to ram through this legislation days before we reach the debt limit, with zero input from rank and file Members of Congress, demonstrates precisely what is wrong with Washington, D.C.,” Meadows said in a statement. […]

    What Meadows doesn’t say is that behind-closed-doors negotiations for budget deals are the norm. Wrangling may begin after the deal is outlined, but there would be no deal to serve as a foundation for herding right-wingers into the corral if they were all in on the initial negotiations.

  154. says

    And … fuck. The House Freedom Caucus (made up of about 40 or so ultra rightwing whackos who can’t think straight) has scored another point against immigration reform.

    Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, has received a pledge from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) that if he is elected speaker, he will not pass immigration reform while President Obama is in office or without majority support from House Republicans. […]

    Brooks will enter the letter into the Congressional Record on Tuesday, his office confirmed. […]

    The full text of the whacko letter can be read at the link.

  155. says

    Another Republican debate is scheduled for Wednesday. The location is the University of Colorado Boulder, in the 11,000-seat Coors Event Center.

    Most University students will be barred from attending. The Republican National Committee made only 50 tickets available for faculty, university board members, and a few students. Under pressure, the RNC raised that to 150 tickets.

    […] to Estevez-Miller and his group, Student Voices Count, school officials are using the debate as a marketing opportunity.

    “They’re sacrificing young people’s political experiences to the arbitrarily defined benefit of media value and exposure,” he said. “People here are voting in their first presidential election — it’s important that they have a meaningful experience with American democracy, and [the college] is not leaving that impression on young people.”

    […] progressive politicians and groups have joined the call for more student participation. ProgressNow Colorado is calling for at least half of the seats to be made available for students, and while it doesn’t say it outright, its recent press release seems to accuse the Republican candidates of being scared of the progressive student body. […]

  156. says

    The Department of Labor proposed a change back in April that would require retirement advisors, including brokers, insurance agents, etc. to adhere to a fiduciary standard. This just means that they would have to act in the best interest of their clients. The advisors also could not accept payment for recommending specific products — no conflicts of interest would be allowed.

    Pretty basic, right? And yet, brokers are not bound by such a rule now. They can, for example, advise senior citizens to make investments that may benefit the broker and a maker of a specific product, advice that would be bad for the senior citizen.

    Hillary Clinton just came out in support of the new rule.

    On Monday evening, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took a new stance by backing the Obama administration’s proposed rule to force financial advisers to act in their clients’ best interests, a standard many brokers today don’t have to meet. […]

    The estimated cost of NOT enforcing such a rule is $17 billion per year — mostly in retirement savings that are lost.

  157. says

    Tallying the Clinton endorsements from elected Democrats:
    – 34 of the 44 Dems in the Senate
    – 120 of the 188 Dems in the House
    – 10 of the 18 Dems who are state governors

    She recently added Sherrod Brown of Ohio (the 34th Senator) to her tally.

  158. says

    Super duper wackiness from rightwing talk radio:

    Conservative talk radio host Michael Savage, who last week compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler, suggested today that Black Lives Matter supporters “are Obama’s shock troops, they’re the Brownshirts that Hitler had in Germany.”

    In an interview with Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg, Savage said that “the secret private army that Barack Hussein Obama has been talking about, that’s what they’re building.”

    He has previously claimed that Obama will arm Crips and Bloods gang members to create a personal army. […]

    Right Wing Watch link

    How many conservatives listen to Michael Savage? He had an average of 8 to 10 million listeners for “The Savage Nation” in 2009. As of 2014, Talkers Magazine estimated his audience at 5 million. Still too many.

  159. says

    Remember when the immigration reform bill failed simply because John Boehner refused to bring it to the floor for a vote? There were enough bipartisan votes to pass it, but Boehner wouldn’t allow a vote. That’s how it works in the House. Leadership has control over which bills are voted on … most of the time.

    Holy crap, there’s been an exception. Let’s hope this augurs well for more stuff getting done in the future.

    House GOP leaders strongly opposed the Export-Import Bank – […] (“Ex-Im”) – […] but rank-and-file Republicans joined with Democrats on something called a “discharge petition.” […]

    […] the majority can get together, circumvent chamber leaders, and force a bill onto the floor by signing a discharge petition. If they get 218 signatures, their legislation heads to the floor for a vote whether the House leadership likes it or not.

    But this almost never happens. How rare is it? According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, in the last 84 years, literally only two bills have become law by way of discharge petitions. […] party leaders have made it clear to members that signing a discharge petition is seen as an ugly act of betrayal that the leadership will not appreciate, so the tool is very rarely used.

    But in the case of Ex-Im Bank, members did it anyway. Indeed, it wasn’t close: yesterday’s vote was 313 to 118, with most Republicans and most Democrats voting to restore the agency that loans money to foreign entities to buy American-made products.

    And while it may not seem too surprising that House GOP leaders were ignored, the chamber also thumbed its nose at the Kochs’ political operation. Less than a month ago, when the discharge-petition process began, Americans for Prosperity CEO Luke Hilgemann declared, “We don’t take this casually. We’ll be watching how members vote on this, and there absolutely will be consequences.” […]


    Well, well, well. There’s change in the wind. Thumbing one’s nose at the Koch brothers (and at their money which can be used to defeat you in the next election), that’s big. Also, thumbing one’s nose at Republican leadership, that’s big — not new, but significant.

    There are more cracks in the conservative walls.

  160. says

    Rand Paul weathered plagiarism scandals in the past. Now his problem is making up fake quotes.

    Journalists Andrew Kaczynski and Megan Apper sent Paul a letter pointing out the many times that Paul used quotes that are “fake, misquoted, or taken entirely out of context.” The journalists asked Paul to “Stop using fake Founding Fathers quotes.”

    Rand Paul misquoted, among others, George Washington, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson.

    Rand Paul doesn’t care. His reply: “That guy,” Paul said dismissively, referring to Kaczynski. “The only criticisms have come from some guy who’s a partisan. We discount partisans.”

  161. says

    Marco Rubio is running for president. He seems to like that. He doesn’t like his current day job: Senator from Florida. So he just skips out on the day job.

    [Rubio} just doesn’t show up for work much anymore. After five years in Congress, Rubio doesn’t even like his job, and he makes no real effort to do it effectively — choosing instead to routinely skip votes, briefings, hearings, and practically all day-to-day tasks.

    The senator has even begun fudging relevant details, insisting over the weekend, “We do all the intelligence briefings.” The claim was untrue — Rubio doesn’t attend all the intelligence briefings, and even if he dispatches aides to appear in his place, there are some classified briefings that staffers are not allowed into.

    […] Rubio has skipped briefings to attend fundraisers.

    It’s against this backdrop that the editorial board of the Sun-Sentinel, one of Florida’s largest newspapers, is urging Rubio to resign.

    Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job. We’ve got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.

    If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it. Let us elect someone who wants to be there and earn an honest dollar for an honest day’s work. Don’t leave us without one of our two representatives in the Senate for the next 15 months or so.

    You are paid $174,000 per year to represent us, to fight for us, to solve our problems…. You are ripping us off, senator.

    The Sun-Sentinel endorsed Rubio in 2010, so this is not a swipe from the left, it’s a punch from his previous supporters.

    A lot of presidential candidates miss some day-job work, but Rubio is in a class of his own. He was notorious for not showing up even before the presidential race began. And now I think Floridians should send a cardboard cutout of him to the Senate floor … and the taxpayers should stop paying for his salary and his healthcare insurance.

    Maddow Blog link

    Sun Sentinel link

  162. says

    Ben Carson said some stupid stuff, more stupid stuff. He doesn’t understand.

    “I will make it very, very clear that there will not be any budget signed that increases our debt ceiling. It will have to be done.”

    In the USA, we have a $400 billion deficit. At the end of Ben Carson’s first fantasy year as President, that deficit will not be $0. The deficit has shrunk during Obama’s administration, but it is not gone.

    Carson made the same mistake a couple of weeks ago. He hasn’t learned anything since. He wants to be president, but he doesn’t know what the debt ceiling is. He made more comments, about school funding this time, that showed he does not know how public education is funded in the USA.

  163. says

    Republicans in the House of Congress are always itching to impeach somebody. Usually, they want to impeach President Obama, but in the past they’ve also called for the impeachment of the Attorney General, EPA administrators, Homeland Security Secretary, and Hillary Clinton (preemptory impeachment?). Now they want to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

    House Republicans filed papers Tuesday to begin impeachment proceedings against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over the agency’s alleged campaign to revoke the tax-exempt status of tea party-affiliated groups.

    The resolution — filed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and 18 other members of the committee — accuses Koskinen of lying to Congress about agency emails that were found to be missing.


    Their timing is bad for this impeachment push. We just got the report saying that no malfeasance (other than poor management or lack of good communication) had been committed by the IRS. No laws were broken, no charges will be filed.

    This ridiculous resolution will demonstrate nothing but the Republican obsession with diving into investigative rabbit holes that waste tens of millions of taxpayer dollars while having absolutely no positive impact on a single American. Calling this resolution a ‘stunt’ or a ‘joke’ would be insulting to stunts and jokes. [quoting Representative Elijah Cummings, Democrat from Maryland]

    The Benghazi Committee investigation was a spectacular failure for Republicans. A spectacular boost for Hillary Clinton. Republicans are feeling the void at the center of LaLa Land. They have to fill it with something.

  164. says

    John Kasich, the Republican presidential candidate from whom we seldom hear anything, blew up at his own party.

    Do you know how crazy this election is? Let me tell you something. I’ve about had it with these people. Let me tell you why. We got one candidate that says we ought to abolish Medicaid and Medicare. You ever heard anything so crazy as that, telling our people in this country who are seniors or about to be seniors that we’re going to abolish Medicaid and Medicare. [That’s a reference to Ben Carson.]

    We got one person saying we ought to have a 10% flat tax. That would drive up the deficit in this country by trillions of dollars that my daughters would spend the rest of their lives having to pay off. You know what I say to them. Why don’t we have no taxes? Just get rid of them all. And then a chicken in every pot on top of it. [That’s a reference to Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and to Ben Carson’s bible-based tax system.]

    We got one guy that says we ought to take 10 or 11 million people and pick them up, where the—I don’t know where, we’re going to go in their homes, their apartments. We’re going to pick them up and we’re going to take them to the border and scream at them to get out of our country. Well that’s just crazy. That is just crazy. [A reference to Donald Trump.]

    We got people proposing healthcare reform that is going to leave, I believe, millions of people without adequate health insurance. What has happened to our party? What has happened to the conservative movement?

  165. says

    “Do we really want these slow learners voting?” That’s what Angela De Rocha of the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services said. The quote refers to college students, not to disabled people (whom she has also dissed).

    Angela De Rocha, current spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services took time out of her schedule to pan the idea of voter education promoted by League of Women Voters in a facebook post on Monday.

    The League of Women Voters, along with other advocates, have argued for a basic one-day course offered to college students aimed at teaching them how to register to vote, where to vote and the mechanics within Kansas. Citing issues of the complex form in Kansas, as well as many students being unaware if they were registered in their home county or the county of their university, the League put the idea out for consideration.

    About a college course on vorting, De Rocha said,

    So it takes an entire semester to learn how to register to vote. Really? Do we want these slow learners voting? Or is this a stealth course paid for by taxpayers to train left-wing “community organizers” like the League of Women Voters on how to agitate?

    De Rocha is a piece of work. She also evinces a lot of disrespect toward people she is supposed to be serving. In 2013 she gave an interview that referred to cuts in services for disabled people in Kansas:

    In an earlier interview, de Rocha offered an analogy for Medicaid recipients upset by KanCare’s reduction in services. She says it’s as if she had been giving someone a new car every year and then suddenly stopped.
    “Your natural response to that is going to be, ‘Why is she being so mean to me?'” de Rocha tells The Pitch. “That’s just human nature. It’s very difficult to take away something once you get it. People get used to it. They think that’s what you need.”


  166. says

    The $2.7 billion blimp that came loose from its moorings is now only about 1/2 inflated and is drifting over Pennsylvania. It is dragging a huge cable that is taking out power lines, trees and some infrastructure.

    This blimp was being used by the military for surveillance, but the equipment is provided by a private company, Raytheon. The blimp is not actually classified as a blimp. It is a “aerostat” in the JLENS program.

  167. says

    As expected, Paul Ryan has been elected as the next Republican Speaker of the House.

    Not sure how Ryan’s tenure will play out. We’ll see.

    Here’s good news: all kinds of people from immigrant families, or who know immigrant families, are registering to vote. Latinos especially are ramping up to vote the likes of Trump into oblivion.
    Think Progress link

    “Donald Trump is spurring youth voter mobilization like I have never seen,” Gutiérrez said on the House floor on Tuesday. “Nationally, we know that 93 percent of Latinos under age 18 are citizens and that every 30 seconds a Latino citizen turns 18. That’s about one million per year for the next decade or more. If they are half as motivated as the young people I am talking to in Chicago, Donald Trump could have a tremendous impact on the youth vote in this country.”

  168. says

    Paul Ryan only got 200 of the 218 votes he needs to sail from nomination to coronation. 43 members of the Freedom Caucus voted against Ryan. Troubled waters ahead.

  169. says

    Bernie Sanders is scheduled to make a policy statement today on drugs, specifically, on marijuana.

    Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will announce his support Wednesday for removing marijuana from a list of the most dangerous drugs outlawed by the federal government — a move that would free states to legalize it without impediments from Washington.

    Sanders’s plan would not automatically make marijuana legal nationwide, but states would be allowed to regulate the drug in the same way that state and local laws now govern sales of alcohol and tobacco. And people who use marijuana in states that legalize it would no longer be at risk of federal prosecution.

    His plan would also allow marijuana businesses currently operating in states that have legalized it to use banking services and apply for tax deductions that are currently unavailable to them under federal law.

    Washington Post link

  170. says

    This is a followup to comments 77, 100, and 158.

    Yes, Ted Cruz’s father did show up at the World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City. And, yes, he said some really stupid stuff.

    Ted Cruz’s father and campaign surrogate Rafael Cruz addressed today’s convening of the anti-LGBT World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, where he told one attendee following his remarks that one of the goals of the LGBT community is to legalize pedophilia.

    The elder Cruz, who has previously claimed that gay members of the Boy Scouts are “potential sexual predators” and criticized gay rights as a demonic, dangerous and anti-American agenda, said in a video posted by Political Research Associates that “the thing that they’re going to push is to try to legalize pedophilia.” He made the comments while speaking to J. Lester Feder of BuzzFeed News, who asked him about similar statements he had made linking the gay rights movement to pedophilia earlier that day. […]


  171. says

    About last night’s Republican debate — I’ll cross-post a few things from the “Did you watch …” thread.

    I think the moderators needed Officer Slam to take down any debater whose time was up, but who wouldn’t shut up. Officer Slam is out of job since he plied his skills against a 16 year old high school student. This could be a jobs program for police officers who are out of work. We have lots of Republicans on the stage, and many more debates to suffer through. /sarcasm

    The idea that you don’t have to answer the question you are asked ruined the whole debate. That and the idea that you can speak whenever you like and at whatever length pleases you.

    Mike Huckabee thinks that if we cure diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimers we will see a huge boost to the economy, and we won’t have to cut benefits to sick and/or old people. Okay, doofus, but how are going to do that? Wait, don’t tell me. It’s God, right? God and prayer?

    Carly Fiorina thinks the minimum wage is unconstitutional. She also spewed falsehoods at such a rate that no one could fact-check her in real time:

    – “92 percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women.”

    – “We now have a 73,000-page tax code.” (It’s more like 2,500 to 3,000 depending on which explanatory supplements you want to include.)

    – “There is no constitutional role for the federal government in setting up retirement plans. There is no constitutional role for the federal government to be setting minimum wages. The more the government gets engaged in the economy, the slower the economy becomes.”

  172. says


    More lies and tap dancing than I’ve seen in awhile. Even when the moderators had their facts 100% correct, the candidates danced around them and then engaged in a toddler-like “No!”

    CNBC’s Becky Quick: Senator Rubio, you yourself have said that you’ve had issues. You have a lack of bookkeeping skills. You accidentally inter-mingled campaign money with your personal money. You faced foreclosure on a second home that you bought. And just last year, you liquidated a $68,000 retirement fund. That’s something that cost you thousands of dollars in taxes and penalties. In terms of all of that, it raises the question whether you have the maturity and wisdom to lead this $17 trillion economy. What do you say?

    Senator Rubio: Well, you just – you just listed a litany of discredited attacks from Democrats and my political opponents, and I’m not gonna waste 60 seconds detailing them all.

    Rubio stumbled on a bit in order to blame his wife and then he just gave up.

    CNBC’s Harwood: The Tax Foundation, which was alluded to earlier, scored your tax plan and concluded that you give nearly twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1 percent as to people in the middle of the income scale. Since you’re the champion of Americans living paycheck-to- paycheck, don’t you have that backward?

    Senator Rubio: No, that’s – you’re wrong.

    Rubio stumbled on after that to concede that Harwood was “numerically” correct … but that Harwood was somehow still wrong. WTF?

    Rubio did deliver his memorized talking points more forcefully than other candidates, so he was declared a winner. It was all crap.

  173. says

    How to dance around a debate question and get the loudest cheers from the audience:

    CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla: Senator Cruz. Congressional Republicans, Democrats and the White House are about to strike a compromise that would raise the debt limit, prevent a government shutdown and calm financial markets that fear of — another Washington-created crisis is on the way. Does your opposition to it show that you’re not the kind of problem-solver American voters want?

    Senator Cruz: You know, let me say something at the outset. The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage match. And, you look at the questions — “Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?” “Ben Carson, can you do math?” “John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?” “Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?” “Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?”

    How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?

    Hey, Cruz, I really did want to hear about the debt limit.

  174. says

    The enemy, according to Republicans, by the numbers:
    – Hillary Clinton, mentioned 21 times
    – President Obama, mentioned 16 times
    – The media, mentioned 15 times.

    The numbers come from Steve Benen of the The Maddow Blog, who watched and counted.

    BTW, even the rightwing National Review agrees that Ben Carson was lying when he said he had no relationship with the nutritional supplement company Mannatech:

    Carson’s claim tonight that he has no relationship with the company is disingenuous horsepuckey.


  175. says

    Many rightwing media sources, and the candidates themselves, are blaming the moderators for anything less-than-great during the debate.

    Donald Trump used Twitter to call Harwood a “dipshit.”

    The Drudge Report called the moderators the “shame of the nation.”

    During the debate, the audience actually booed the moderators. One round of booing came when Carson was being questioned, fairly and correctly, about his support for Mannatech.

    Ted Cruz actually criticized the moderators for not asking substantive questions instead of answering the substantive question he was just asked.

    Ben Carson is already making news by complaining about “gotcha questions.”

    I don’t see a way for moderators of Republican debates to really succeed. They are wrangling a clown show.

    BTW, without knowing he had done so, Mike Huckabee praised research that relied on fetal tissue. “You know how much money we spent on polio last year in America? We didn’t spend any. We’ve saved billions of dollars.” We have a polio vaccine thanks to fetal tissue research. Mr. Huckabee, that was also a pro-vaccination statement. Some of your supporters are anti-vaxxers.

    Huckabee is the same guy who proposed earlier that the National Guard would be used to raid abortion clinics under a Huckabee presidency. Huckabee also proposed outlawing abortion via an executive order (not possible, btw).

    From a CNN report:

    One of the earliest advances with fetal tissue was to use fetal kidney cells to create the first poliovirus vaccines, which are now estimated to save 550,000 lives worldwide every year.

    In the early days of making the vaccine, researchers infected fetal kidney cells in Petri dishes to produce a large amount of virus that they could then harvest, purify and use to vaccinate people. (The virus evolves to become less deadly when it infects cells out of the body, and thus could safely be given to people to prime their immune system for the real thing.)

    Today manufacturers of the polio vaccine use other types of human cells, which weren’t available in the mid-1900s. They also use monkey cells, which they originally avoided for fear that making the vaccine in animal cells could put people at risk of diseases from other species. Many of our other common vaccines, such as chicken pox, rubella and shingles, have been produced in tissue derived from fetuses, particularly two electively terminated pregnancies from the 1960s.

  176. says

    Ted Cruz said some stupid stuff about money and about monetary policy:

    We need sound money, and I think the Fed should get out of the business of trying to juice our economy and simply be focused on sound money and monetary stability, ideally tied to gold.

    Gold?! Going for the Libertarian vote, I guess.

    American money hasn’t been based on the price of gold since the early months of Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency. Returning to a “gold standard,” as the policy was known, would send the broader economy into the kind of jittery and deadly tremors usually seen only in lab mice who’ve been fed cocaine.

    The idea of “sound money,” as the libertarian crowd that worships the gold standard prefers to call it, is that it takes away the Fed’s ability to manage the value of a dollar. The supposed benefit of this is that your money’s worth is more real because it is pegged to a shiny, rare metal.

    But when you let the market for gold determine the value of every piece of paper money in every person’s pocket on any given day, you leave your entire economy exposed to catastrophe. The gold standard forced governments around the world to restrict monetary policy just as markets crashed in the late 1920s, which helped turn a crash into the Great Depression. […]


  177. says

    During the Republican debate, Hillary Clinton’s campaign ran four news ads.

    The ads focused on equal pay for women, and for college affordability. Excerpts from the narration, by Clinton:

    […] it will take her 25 years to pay off her student loans.
    On average women need to work an extra two hours each day to earn the same paycheck as their male coworkers.

  178. says

    A broader discussion of the false assumptions on which Republican candidates relied during the debate:

    […] Candidate after candidate argued we need to get rid of government.

    When asked whether government should prevent profiteering pharmaceutical companies, Dr. Ben Carson admitted some companies are not considering patients, but went on to argue that costs come not from greed, but from regulations: “Every single regulation costs in terms of goods and services,” which hurts real people he argued, more than companies who rip off customers.

    Government employee Rand Paul said “I want government so small I can barely see it,” […]

    Two candidates even argued that government caused consolidation in private companies. In the Kiddie Table debate earlier in the evening, Rick Santorum claimed ObamaCare caused insurance companies to consolidate. While he’s right that the insurance market is dominated by a few players, that was true long before ObamaCare.

    Santorum claimed to be a lot less worried about consolidation in the watery beer market because, “There’s no town in American anymore that doesn’t have a brewery.” Given that alcohol is one of the most regulated markets, it’s odd that government involvement hasn’t created dangerous consolidation in bad beer.

    Meanwhile, Carly Fiorina claimed that banks consolidate because they are afraid of government. Given that Fiorina herself contributed to the consolidation of the computer industry — but has always given market-based reasons, and not fear of the federal government, for her decision to merge HP with Compaq — that claim is particularly incredible.

    Chris Christie, for his part, was outraged that various governments, mostly states, were considering regulating fantasy football companies Fan Duel and DraftKings, and that moderators might ask about regulating it. Christie, the governor of a state with a shrinking gambling industry, made the claim shortly after Jeb Bush bragged about being 7-0 in his fantasy football league, which was probably Bush’s most successful moment of the night. […]

    Salon link

  179. blf says

    The blimp ran away in an attempt to restart its presidential campaign and provide a practical demonstration what it can do. It’s motto: “A Bigger Gasbag”.

  180. says

    Ben Carson sent out some tweets today. He answered critics who say he does not have the experience to be president:

    It is important to remember that amateurs built the Ark and it was the professionals that built the Titanic.

    I am not reassured.

  181. says

    If Hillary Clinton is elected President, would you support or oppose impeaching her the day she takes office?

    * Support impeaching Hillary Clinton the day she takes office: 66%
    * Oppose impeaching Hillary Clinton the day she takes office: 24%
    * Not sure: 10%

    Oh, FFS. Too much crazy for me to deal with today. The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling, and North Carolina Republicans were questioned.

    It is important to note that Clinton has not been charged with breaking any laws. She has not even been accused of breaking any laws. No charges have been filed. Only doofuses like Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama have accused Clinton of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

  182. says

    More on Ben Carson’s lies during the Republican debate.

    For a refresher, here is the question and answer that prompted research into Carson’s lies:

    QUINTANILLA: This is a company called Mannatech, a maker of nutritional supplements, with which you had a 10-year relationship. They offered claims that they could cure autism, cancer, they paid $7 million to settle a deceptive marketing lawsuit in Texas, and yet you’re involvement continued. Why?

    CARSON: Well, that’s easy to answer. I didn’t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda, and this is what happens in our society. Total propaganda.

    And here is the analysis from Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog:

    National Review, one of the most influential outlets in conservative media, described the Republican’s rhetoric as “bald-faced lies” […]

    I think there are three basic angles to the story. The first is reality: Carson had a “long and personal involvement with Mannatech,” which he maintained over several years. As MSNBC’s Jane C. Timm reported yesterday, “Carson appears in video after video speaking positively about Mannatech and how it helped him fight cancer – so much so he even considered forgoing surgery – and continued working with Mannatech even after they paid $7 million to settle charges of ‘illegal’ and ‘deceptive’ advertising brought by Texas’ attorney general’s office in 2009.”

    The second angle is a look at Carson’s judgment. For all of his alleged expertise as a medical professional, the Republican neurosurgeon has endorsed some extraordinarily unusual beliefs. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month:

    Faced with a prostate-cancer diagnosis more than a decade ago, Ben Carson, the Republican presidential hopeful and retired surgeon, consulted an unusual source: the medical director of a Texas company that sells nutritional supplements made of substances such as larch-tree bark and aloe vera extract.

    The company doctor “prescribed a regimen” of supplements, Mr. Carson told its sales associates in a 2004 speech. “Within about three weeks my symptoms went away, and I was really quite amazed,” he said to loud applause, according to a YouTube video of the event.

    Even at this week’s debate, as part of his answer, Carson added, “Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product.” […]

    Maddow Blog link

    Wall Street Journal link

  183. blf says

    Gun nutter ahoy! Prosecutor suspended for threatening to shoot office spider decorations:

    Chris White told co-workers in West Virginia he was ‘deathly afraid of spiders’ before pulling gun and threatening to shoot fake spiders in office for Halloween


    The spider decorations have been removed, and [Prosecuting attorney John] Bennett has barred anyone other than the agency’s investigator from carrying guns in the office.

    Ok, so you’re not keen on spiders. So unkeen on them that the “solution” is to shoot some decorations? Uh, no. Just no. As in not even wrong.

    I would not want to be anywhere neat this gun fetishist when he spots a real spider… or something that he thinks is a spider (such as a shadow on the wall).

  184. blf says

    This Grauniad article is a bit superficial, it doesn’t really discuss the long history of USA!USA!USA! nutters using France as a diversionary tactic complete with outright lies and insensitivity, French people are tired of US politicians bashing France on the campaign trail:

    Jeb Bush, they’re looking at you. After the Republican debate’s mention of the ‘French work week’ to denote a slacker, the French are setting the record straight

    Sacré bleu, Jeb Bush is having a bad week! Not only did the presidential candidate have a disappointing showing in Wednesday’s Republican debate, he has also managed to upset people who cannot even vote for him&nbspl;— the French.


    “You [Marco Rubio] should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French work week? You get like three days where you have to show up? […]” he said.


    The campaign also promoted the soundbite on Twitter, sharing a short video footage of the exchange and tweeting: “French Work Week vs Real Accomplishments”.

    The French were not impressed.

    Gérard Araud, French ambassador to the US, pushed back on Twitter. “The French work an average of 39.6…hours a week compared to 39.2…for the Germans,” he said.

    Or, as The Economist put it recently: “The French could take Friday off and still produce more than Britons do in a week.”

    “A French work week of 3 days? No, but a pregnancy paid leave of 16 weeks yes! And proud of it,” he tweeted later.


    When Laura Haim, reporter for French TV channel Canal+, asked the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, what the president thought of the comment, Earnest joked: “I hope you didn’t take that personally, Laura. I can vouch for the fact that you certainly work more than most members of Congress.”

    Haim pressed on, pointing to Ambassador Araud’s comments and asking what Obama thought of the French quality of life.

    […] Later, he added: “It certainly seems to be a quality of life that many French people have warmly embraced, as they should.”

    The New York Times article on the reaction here in France is rather better, Bush’s Jab at France Keeps Up a Tradition in G.O.P. Politics:

    Bashing the country of Voltaire has long been a favorite pastime in American Republican politics.

    The French were mocked as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” in 2003 for opposing the Iraq war, and French fries were renamed “freedom fries.”

    John Kerry, when he was the Democratic nominee competing with George W. Bush for the presidency, was rebuked for looking — Mon Dieu! — French.

    And in the 2012 Republican presidential primary, Mitt Romney was pilloried in an attack ad, titled “T he [sic] French Connection,” by his rival Newt Gingrich, for the sin of speaking French.

    So it was perhaps no surprise in the Republican presidential debate Wednesday that Jeb Bush, seeking to revive his flagging candidacy, chided his rival and onetime protégé Marco Rubio for his attendance record in the Senate by comparing his work ethic to the French.


    The comments, predictably, did not go over well in France, where they were criticized for playing to a stereotype that, economists say and statistics show, is grossly exaggerated.

    If the United States had a three-day workweek, “it would have left four days a week for Jeb Bush to educate himself,” one person wrote on the website of the right-leaning newspaper Le Figaro, “And educating oneself is a good way to avoid saying too much nonsense.”


    Gallic sensibilities notwithstanding, the French can take comfort that so far the French-baiting of 2004 has been largely absent from this American presidential campaign. Back then, Tom DeLay, the Republican House majority leader at the time, would open speeches to supporters with an occasional routine. He would say hi, before adding: “Or, as John Kerry might say, ‘Bonjour.’ ”

    Bush I!I was not-incorrect in his point about Robyoumoarido, who has an exceptionally bad attendance record.

  185. says

    Carly Fiorina continues to have trouble with facts, with interpretation of facts, and with truth in general.

    She wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. She based the whole thing on the idea that under President Obama, the economy of the U.S. is terrible, horrible, no good.

    Her reasons for this conclusion?

    – national debt (Dear Carly, the national debt has been going down during the Obama tenure, and the national debt does NOT equal the economy)

    – the bloated tax code (Fiorina is still sticking to her inaccurate “73,000 pages” to describe the tax code, and still confusing the tax code with the economy)

    – 92% of jobs lost during Obama’s first term belonged to women (nope, that’s wrong, and worse yet, it was a Romney talking point that had long been debunked) Link to fact check

    – according to Fiorina, the economy does not do better when we have a Democrat in the White House (she is wrong again)

    […]Since 1945, American voters have swung back and forth between both parties: seven Democratic presidents and nine Republican ones. Economic growth in real terms (in other words, adjusted for inflation) averaged 2.54% per year under Republican presidents, but 4.35% per year under Democratic ones…. Adding more fuel to the argument, The Economist notes that better job creation and stock market performance also coincide more with Democratic presidents than Republican ones.

  186. blf says

    Bush I!I has taken to insulting voters, Leaked Jeb Bush campaign documents map out strategy to attack Marco Rubio (my added boldfacing):

    Republican presidential hopeful’s campaign calls rival ‘a GOP Obama’ and suggest today’s poll numbers are likely to change: ‘Voters have ADD

    A leaked campaign playbook for Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush has revealed a strategy that counts on denigrating rival Marco Rubio and calming donors about their beleaguered candidate’s weak performance on the trail.

    “Marco is a GOP Obama” and the “press obsession” with the debates does not matter, Bush donors were told by the campaign in a PowerPoint presentation leaked to some outlets and a 112-page file acquired in full by the website US News and World Report.


    Bush’s aides even suggested that voters flit between choices because they suffer from attention deficit disorder, writing that the “race will remain fluid for some time because … voters have ADD”.

    Backlash to a similarly belittling comment posted to Trump’s Twitter account forced the billionaire to make the approximation of an apology. He blamed a “young intern” for the tweet, which suggested Iowa voters have “issues in the brain”.


    Bush apparently also intends to woo young people and minority groups, typically not conservative voters. The presentation includes […] a “Jeb TV” audio segment titled “#JebNoFilter: Sharknado 3”, a reference to the comedy-horror film franchise about sharks cast flying on to land by strong winds.

    Teh Bush I!I’s inane attempts to appear anything other than an honesty-challenged incompassionate tool of Faux & Kochroach Bros., Unlimited would be better served if his audio was entitled “Bush! Bush!! Bush!!! So good the first two times its coming up again”.

  187. says

    This is a followup to comments 77, 100, 158, and 186.

    The World Congress of Families conference in Salt Lake City is still pumping out a lot of stupid stuff. Today, the founder, Allan Carlson, spoke.

    […] Carlson also reflected with surprise that Russia […] “has become a very strong pro-family voice at the United Nations.”

    “That’s an astonishing development,” he said. “And one of the reasons the Obama administration is so hostile to Russia today, I’m quite sure, it’s not just the Crimea, it’s also the fact that Russia has become a proponent — at least at the official level — of pro-family sentiments.” […]


    Sure, that’s why there is some frostiness between Obama and Putin. It’s because Putin is pro-family and Obama is pro-gay. /sarcasm

    For the record, Vladimir Putin is infamous for cracking down on LGBT people. Putin opposes any laws that would offer protection for LGBT people … and for good measure Putin fights against women’s reproductive rights.

  188. says

    This is a followup to comment 160, in which we see Representative Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas who is also chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, harassing NOAA.

    NOAA is fighting back. Good for them. Not only did NOAA standing up for science anger Lamar Smith, it also prompted him to go even more wildly crazy.

    Smith released a statement that revealed just how much his conspiracy-theory addled brain is malfunctioning:

    It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades. The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get the politically correct results they want and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made. NOAA needs to come clean about why they altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda. The agency has yet to identify any legal basis for withholding these documents. The Committee intends to use all tools at its disposal to undertake its Constitutionally-mandated oversight responsibilities.

    ars technica link

    Um, dear whacko dude in the House of Congress, NOAA does not alter data. NOAA is not a branch of Present Obama’s political machine, nor does NOAA support an “extreme climate change agenda.” They support science. They do research. They collate data. They publish data.

    BTW, Lamar, most of the documents you insisted be placed in your hands are available online because NOAA is very good at publishing data.

  189. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    “pro-family” = euphemism for either (“anti-LGBTQ” , “anti-choice”), according to Putin’s actions.

  190. says

    Lynna @196:
    re-Carson’s Tweet about the Ark and Titanic.
    A friend on FB pointed out that even if the Ark were real, Noah and his family had divine help. Hardly the work of “amateurs”.

  191. says

    This sounds like carefully parsing words to me:

    […] President Barack Obama has authorized a contingent of less than 50 commandos to deploy into northern Syria and work with moderate opposition forces who are fighting the militants.

    While the White House has consistently said it would not put U.S. boots on the ground, spokesman Josh Earnest insisted that they will be there in a “train, advise and assist mission” — and not in a combat role. […]


    To combat or not to combat?

    And where is Congress is all this? Most of them are hiding, being careful not to commit themselves one way or the other. Congress critters don’t want to make a decision. They don’t want the responsibility. They are, in the meantime, happy to criticize President Obama.

  192. says

    Reince Priebus is going to take his toy candidates and go home. He thinks CNBC was too mean to the Republican candidates, did not give his candidates any tongue baths, and failed entirely to pass out candy … or something like that.

    While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates’ visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC’s moderators engaged in a series of “gotcha” questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates. What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates’ policies and ideas. […]

    While we are suspending our partnership with NBC News and its properties, we still fully intend to have a debate on that day, and will ensure that National Review remains part of it.

    GOP letter link

    Wait a minute Reince, all of those so-called gotcha questions were the good, accurate and probing questions:
    – the bogus nutritional supplement company Carson supported, why?
    – the tax plan that even conservative analysts think will not work (Marco Rubio is fundraising off the idea that this question was mean)
    – business and other economic failures
    – a question about the debt ceiling

    You know, questions with some substance

  193. says

    Tony @208, good point … or are they trying to say that God was still an inexperienced amateur at that point? He does seem to lack some management skills.

    Regarding that bogus nutritional supplement company, and Carson claiming that media saying he had a relationship with said bogusity was “total propaganda,” well it turns out that Carson actually had a contract with Mannatech at one time. Yeah, a contract. That’s a relationship.

  194. says

    Benedict Cumberbatch had something to say about Syrian refugees.

    “He stayed at the front and gestured for silence,” said Charlotte Fletcher, a 25-year-old public relations worker who was in the audience on Tuesday. “He burst into this magnificent monologue about Syrian refugees, about how they are all fathers, mothers, daughters and sons, just like us.”

    “Then he just shouted, ‘F*** the politicians!'” Fletcher told NBC News. “It was a wonderful moment. It was very impassioned and from the heart. It was amazing to see an actor just being so impassioned and raw.”

    Cumberbatch has been making similar speeches during curtain calls for “Hamlet,” in which he has the starring role.

    NBC News link

  195. says

    Nerd @207, I like that article. Thanks for the link.

    It talks about cooperation between Russia and other nations. Cooperation! Wow, a rare bird.

    It is scary to contemplate the melting ice cap, but in this case, people are actually taking actions based on reality.

  196. says

    Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is infamous for his obsession with voter fraud. The Brennan Center for Justice did the hard work of proving that voter fraud in the USA is not a problem, and that it is not a problem in Kansas. This fact-based report had no effect on Kobach.

    To more happily indulge in his fact-free obsession, Kobach went after and got prosecutorial power from the State of Kansas last year. He is now the only election official in the USA with prosecutorial power. Now, no one can dissuade him from bringing to court questionable cases.

    Voter fraud is such a non-issue that even Kobach had trouble finding some cases to prosecute. Here are the three desperadoes, the serious criminals, that Kobach found.

    […] Steven Gaedtke, 60, and Betty Gaedtke, 61 have been charged with misdemeanors for allegedly voting in both Kansas and Arkansas during the 2010 general election. Steven, a Vietnam veteran, and Betty, a volunteer domestic violence educator, built a cabin in Arkansas when they retired. In 2010, the couple applied for advance ballots in Kansas and submitted them. But at the time, they were traveling back and forth between Kansas and their new cabin in Arkansas, and they also voted in person in Arkansas. Because 2010 was not a presidential election year, the Gaedtkes did not understand that they were doing anything wrong because they weren’t voting for the same candidates twice. […]

    The felony complaint filed against 64-year-old Lincoln L. Wilson alleges that he voted in 2010, 2012, and 2014 in Kansas despite not being lawfully registered, according to the Wichita Eagle. Wilson, who lives part time in both Kansas and Colorado, admitted to voting in both states.

    “But I know for a fact that I only voted for one president,” Wilson told the Eagle. “The issues in Kansas that I vote for would’ve been for that general election, such as property tax … and if I voted for a senator or a representative in the state of Kansas, that would have nothing to do with a senator or a representative in the state of Colorado.” […]

    Kobach, who spearheaded many draconian anti-immigrant laws including Arizona’s SB 1070 […]

    That was the “driving while brown” law.

    [Kobach] enacted a law in 2013 requiring people to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote and created a list of roughly 12,000 suspended voter registration forms in the first few months. But after a year, he admitted that more than one-third of the 20,000 voters whose registrations were suspended were actually eligible voters. […]


    Oh boy, three almost-senior citizens committed the crime of being confused. Kobach is seriously taking them to court. What a flea-brained fool.

  197. says

    Four Republican Senators have broken from the pack when it comes to climate change. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have set up a working group to, as Ayotte announced: “focus on ways we can protect our environment and climate while also bolstering clean energy innovation that helps drive job creation.”

    Well, that’s a good sign. There’s only four of them, but that’s a start.

    Ayotte also backs Obama’s Clean Power Plan. I hope voters in New Hampshire reward her for being reasonable. She wasn’t always so reasonable, but she has learned a few things and is now applying facts to her decisions.

    Senator Graham said recently: “I’m not a scientist, and I’ve got the grades to prove it. But I’ve talked to the climatologists of the world, and 90 percent of them are telling me that the greenhouse gas effect is real. That we’re heating up the planet.” Graham said that at the “kiddie table” during the Republican Debate for those candidates with low poll numbers.

    A few rich conservatives from the corporate world are putting some money behind the effort to get Republican politicians to talk about climate change and clean energy. Jay Faison is one. He has pledged $175 million. That should perk up some Republican ears.

    Most of the facts above come from Ayotte’s website, to which I am not linking because the site tries to push notifications that I don’t want to receive.

  198. says

    This is a followup to comment 214.

    Kris Kobach had a really sweet good time giving a speech to a bunch of white nationalists in Washington D.C. Kobach was all smiles as he posed with white nationalists.

    Kobach is the Kansas Secretary of State, but he doesn’t let that public, taxpayer-funded position keep him from pumping up all kinds of anti-immigrant hysteria across the nation.

    Kris Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas, took time away from his busy schedule to go speak to the The Social Contract Press. The group, which has been listed the Southern Poverty Law Center has a hate organization.

    Kobach appeared this weekend to speak at a writers workshop for The Social Contract Press, who are of course encouraging their next round of anti-immigration material. […]

    Kris Kobach’s status among white-nationalist groups like The Social Contract Press is not surprising, considering his efforts as the author of Arizona’s SB1070, Alabama’s immigration laws, Hazelton, Pennsylvania, where his law was later overturned at theexpense of the city.

    Still, it is somewhat unusual to have a Secretary of State speak openly at an event described by many as hosted by white nationalists.

    Secretary of State Kobach went to DC to meet with FAIR, the Anti-Immigration organization currently working on the NumbersUSA project as well as a new round of anti-immigration legislation around the US. He’s pictured above attending that meeting with the board of directors next to some of their newest fear-pieces. […]


  199. says

    John Oliver took on the issue of the Medicaid Gap. Scroll down for video.

    […] Put simply, the Medicaid Gap, according to Oliver, is when citizens make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford healthcare costs.

    “So, on Tuesday, even if you don’t live in a state holding an election, spare a thought for the people who do because the results may ultimately affect the health of half a million people,” Oliver said. “And of course, one ridiculous looking animal.” […]

    Oliver makes the point that some states have elections tomorrow that will affect the decisions made by state governors and legislators.

    “There are American lives at stake here,” Oliver said. “Because a number of these elections could determine whether hundreds of thousands of people remain in or even fall into what’s known as the Medicaid Gap. […]

    Oliver showed clips of governors saying stupid stuff about expanding Medicaid. He also interviewed people who are in the position of not being able to pay for life saving care.

  200. says

    Nicholas Mattiello is a Democrat. He is the speaker of the House in the Rhode Island state legislature. And he is a doofus.

    Mattiello was invited to discuss racial issues with a panel from The Providence Journal, which is producing an extensive series on race in Rhode Island. He told the panel that, before he was asked that question, he had never thought of the phrase “white privilege.”

    Mattiello was responding to an op-ed […] by David R. Carlin, the former Democratic Senate Majority Leader, which argued that racial disparities were the result of “appallingly dysfunctional subculture that is pervasive among the black lower classes.”

    This subculture fosters attitudes that lead to astronomical rates of out-of-wedlock births, millions of fathers who give little or no support to their children, high rates of crime and violence, high levels of drug abuse, a poor work ethic and very poor academic achievement. Unless this subculture is eradicated, we may expect that great numbers of blacks will live in misery.

    Mattiello said he wasn’t sure about the phrase “subculture,” but seemed to agree with the overall point — namely, that “white privilege” doesn’t exist and that there is a “breakdown” within minority communities that explains racial disparities.

    “You have to find ways to get the community to access and to take advantage of [opportunity]. Some people do, but not enough do. […]” Mattiello said.

    Mattiello said that education was “the great equalizer” but dismissed criticisms that Rhode Island schools were effectively segregated. […]

    “I don’t see racism because that’s not how I live my life… […] And I’ve never been the victim of it,” Mattiello added. […]

    Think Progress link

    Uh, yeah. The guy exhibits white privilege like he had a neon sign flashing “clueless white guy” on this forehead.

    Mattiello is the same guy that voted for voter ID legislation in Rhode Island. The state’s new voter ID laws disproportionately affect minority voters.

  201. says

    Stephen Colbert produced a segment that made fun of Donald Trump’s “small” $1 million loan from Trump’s dad. Excellent stuff. The video is about 3.5 minutes long. Trump explains that he has always been an underdog, that life has not been easy for him. Trump also said that $1 million is not very much and that he did have to pay the loan back.

    […] On Wednesday, Stephen Colbert took Trump’s humble roots to task by daring him to pay it forward to the kids at Harlem’s Children Zone, a charity organization that helps disadvantaged youth in New York.

    “Who knows, the kids you help might one day be so rich that they can blow their cash on a presidential campaign,” the Late Show host said. […]

    “The classic story of rich to richer.”

  202. says

    Donald Trump thinks building an ice rink in New York City’s Central Park is just like conducting foreign policy for a nation, and like successfully concluding (or starting, I presume) wars.

    Ice rinks = wars. I don’t think so.

    HALPERIN: So people who say, “Trump’s got no government experience, he can’t possibly be president because that’s not what being president is being about,” this [ice-skating rink] was a government problem. The city couldn’t get this thing built. What are examples of things now that aren’t getting done that you think you could bring the same skills to if you were president, just like you got this thing built.

    TRUMP: I’ll give you one example: wars. Wars aren’t getting done. It’s the same thing. […]

    HALPERIN: Your critics would say, you’ve just compared building an ice-skating rink to stopping wars, and that is–

    TRUMP: It’s all the same.

    HALPERIN: Explain–

    TRUMP: It has to do with efficiency, it has to do with common sense, it has to do with knowledge.

  203. says

    Ha! This is funny. President Obama spoke at a Democratic fundraiser in Manhattan yesterday:

    “Have you noticed that every one of these candidates says, ‘Obama’s weak. Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out’?” Mr. Obama asked a crowd of Democratic donors in New York, referring to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

    “And then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at a debate,” he added to huge applause from his partisan audience. “I mean, let me tell you,” he added with gleeful scorn, “if you can’t handle those guys, you know, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.”

  204. says

    Dear Trey Gowdy, Chairman of the Benghazi Special Committee, we are sending you flowers and candy (and whiskey if you want it). You did what no one thought possible, you increased Hillary Clinton’s satisfaction (believability? trustworthiness?) rating by 44% among swing voters.

    Among Democratic primary voters, 72% said they were now satisfied with Clinton’s responses to questions about how she handled the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. That’s up from 58% before her testimony. […]

    Clinton made progress as well among swing voters, the survey found. Before her testimony, 84% of swing voters had said they were not satisfied with her responses to questions about Benghazi. In the latest survey, only 40% said so.

    Wow. Talk about a major swing in the polls!.

    There’s a difference between saying that one is no longer dissatisfied with Clinton’s answers to questions about Benghazi and saying that one is affirmatively pleased with Clinton, but that is still a significant swing in opinion among voters.

  205. says

    Ha! It looks like the Dems are going to take full advantage of the Republican candidates throwing a hissy fit after their latest debate.

    […] The Spanish-language network Telemundo is in talks with the Democratic National Committee about possibly scheduling a new candidate forum with the Dem presidential candidates, after the Republican National Committee canceled its debate on NBC News and the NBC-owned Telemundo to protest CNBC’s handling of last week’s gathering, sources familiar with ongoing discussions tell me.

    If this comes to fruition, Democrats would effectively be moving into the breach created by the RNC’s decision. It would mean Democrats end up holding two debate-style events on Spanish-language networks, since they are already set to hold a Univision debate in March […]

    Washington Post link

  206. says

    Paul Ryan is the new Republican Speaker of the House. He is rolling as expected. He doubled down on blocking immigration reform … he might address the issue after President Obama is out of office. He also hired new spin meisters and “messaging” staff, but no new policy-development staff.

    Speaker Paul Ryan has hired eight communications staffers as he builds what he promises will be a large-scale press shop to lead the GOP messaging operation.

    Ryan (R-Wis.) has said he’ll spend a lot of time on television communicating the party’s message. He plans to hire upward of a dozen communications hands.

    Sigh. We can expect more blather and spin, along with less substance. Cotton candy politics.

  207. says

    Obamacare still gets a bad rap among most Republicans, but, quietly, behind the scenes, the program is helping more and more people. This is especially true in red states where the Medicaid expansion part of Obamacare is being implemented.

    Montana will become the 30th state to expand its Medicaid program after federal health officials on Monday approved provisions that include requiring beneficiaries to pay premiums that amount to 2 percent of their income.

    Gov. Steve Bullock announced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ approval of the federal waiver needed for state officials to start enrollment immediately and begin coverage on Jan. 1.

    Billings Gazette link

    Bernie Sanders continues to make the good point that Universal Healthcare is the way to go. Obamacare still leaves some people shut out of healthcare, and Republicans have made the point that in some states Obamacare premiums are going up.

    Meanwhile, the situation in Montana is improving.

    Delivering remarks to a large crowd of supporters at the Montana Capitol yesterday, the Democratic governor declared, “I am pleased to stand before you today to say that for over 70,000 Montanans, the wait is finally over.”

    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest added in a statement, “Montana has chosen to put people over politics, and we hope that the remaining states will join Montana and the other 29 states that have designed programs to meet the needs of their residents who need health care.”

    Note that, in this red state, it took a Democratic governor to get the job done.

  208. says

    About that shooting in Colorado on Sunday, it seems that Colorado’s “Open Carry” law slowed police response.

    Witnesses watched in horror as Harpham picked his victims off. One of them, the bicyclist, pleaded for his life before being killed.

    “I heard the (young man) say, ‘Don’t shoot me! Don’t shoot me!’ ” Naomi Bettis, a neighbor who witnessed the killing, said Monday.

    Bettis said she recognized the gunman as her neighbor—whom she didn’t know by name—and that before the initial slaying she saw him roaming outside with a rifle. She called 911 to report the man, but a dispatcher explained that Colorado has an open carry law that allows public handling of firearms.

    “He did have a distraught look on his face,” Bettis said. “It looked like he had a rough couple days or so.”

    Denver Post link

    In this case an Open Carry law did not make citizens safer, as the NRA claims. It insured that the shooter had time to kill three people.

  209. says

    This falls under our “the company they keep” category. Republican presidential candidates plan to hang out with yet another extremist who wants to kill gay people.

    This weekend, three Republican presidential candidates are slated to appear at a conference in Iowa hosted by homeschooling activist and conservative radio host Kevin Swanson, who […] has a variety of radical views ranging from defending the death penalty for homosexuality to thinking that Girl Scout cookies and the movie “Frozen” turn girls into lesbians to having a troubling grasp on the science of birth control. […]

    In the May, 2013, program, Swanson read from a letter from a pro-gay-rights Christian listener, calling the letter “outrageous,” “perverted” and “as bad as it gets” and comparing the letter-writer to the Pharisees.

    “He’s in support of a death penalty crime from the word of God, he’s in support of homosexual marriage,” Swanson said. “Amazing.” […]

    Swanson’s cohost, Dave Buehner [said], “Let’s grant him his point. A man can marry a man or a man can marry a giraffe and then at the ceremony, you stone them.” […]

    Right Wing Watch link

    Meanwhile, Republican Representative Louie Gohmert has an idea. He wants to conduct an experiment: put gay and straight couples on an island and see “which one nature favors.”

    “Let’s just take a totally secular approach to this,” he said. “Congress is good about having studies; how about if we take four heterosexual couples and put them on an island where they have everything they need to live and exist and we take four couples of just men and put them on an island where they have all they need to survive and then let’s take four couples of just women and put them on an island and then lets come back in 100 years and see which one nature favors.”

    He thinks that is a “totally secular” approach?

  210. says

    Charles Koch was interviewed on the MSNBC program “Morning Joe.” Koch explained how and why he sees no problem with spending billions of dollars to buy the kind of government he wants.

    Salon link

    If it’s to get policies that will create, open up opportunities for people and get rid of all this corporatism and corporate welfare wherein, what, seven out of the richest counties in the country are around Washington, DC? … that just isn’t random, it’s because the government is picking winners and losers. And you want to be a winner more than you do a loser so you give to slant it your way.

  211. blf says

    The Grauniad is snarking again, Your choices for president: an android, a creationist neurosurgeon or a postcoital cat:

    The absurdly long run-up to the US election has begun. This will be the first election fought under new rules where there are no limits to campaign donations: a change brought in on the grounds of “free speech”, when the supreme court decided that the Koch brothers not being able to say, “We own the president,” infringed their rights under the first amendment. Personally, I think Obama will be quite lonely once it’s all over, not least because he has allowed the police to kill most of the other black people.

    Differences between the candidates are usually so slight that what the Democratic frontrunner thinks is pretty much just what the Republican frontrunner thinks on the days that he remembers to take his meds. But in something of a format twist, Bernie Sanders […] has crowdfunded himself into a credible position for the Democratic nomination. I sincerely hope he wins, if only so that we see the first inauguration speech made from inside a giant, bulletproof hamster ball. The Democratic frontrunner is Hillary Clinton […] has never quite learned to introduce humour or compassion into her speaking voice and on a good day sounds like an android trying to trick the last human out of a bunker.

    At last week’s Republican debate, the candidates accused CNBC of displaying liberal bias. One reading would be that the GOP candidates are now so rightwing that they make a giant media conglomerate look liberal. Let’s not forget that the essential message of a Republican candidate is a tricky sell. That you love America, but hate all the groups that make up America. [… Trump] is lacking in charm or wit and is almost ferociously inarticulate. The US public has identified with him strongly. It seems that the electorate, possibly bored with rational thought, is toying with the idea of cutting out the middleman and just electing one of the business class through sheer force of Stockholm syndrome.

    […] His plans to build a giant wall sealing the US border with Mexico are entertaining, not least because it would be interesting to see a nation as heavily armed as America go into cocaine withdrawal. Somehow, I always imagine that Trump spends the evenings with his forehead pressed against the cold glass of an aquarium, talking telepathically to the tormented albino squid in which he has hidden his soul.

    Indeed, the whole Republican field offers a bracing challenge to conventional notions of sanity. The current poll leader is Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who happens to be a Seventh Day Adventist and creationist. Creationists have often made me doubt evolution, but probably not in the way they think. His taxation policy is based on Biblical tithing, taking economic pointers from people who had a GDP of one golden calf.

    [… T]hey put a few lunatics in the early rounds to lure us into something we promised we’d never engage with again. By the end we’ll be back to two corporate glove puppets belting out the same tired standards. And no matter how bad the choice is, we’ll always have a preference. Clinton will be offering an expanded kill list of official enemies, secret corporate courts, and her first speech about Palestine will sound like it was written by the Hulk. A lot of otherwise rational minds will be praying for her to win.

  212. blf says

    More snark in The Grauniad, What the Republican candidates really wanted to demand for the next debate:

    If you followed the first three debates at all, you’ll know this collective would like far more praise and flattery, a ‘phone-a-friend’ option — and perhaps a few walls

    Following the last, highly contentious Republican presidential debate, the candidates have released a list of demands to networks. Here is a sampling of what the candidates are requesting:

     ● Governor Jeb Bush has requested that following the debate the moderators sign a certificate verifying that he tried his best and did a good job that he can take home for his father and mother to hang on the refrigerator.

     ● The candidates have agreed to ask that moderators at future debates refrain from identifying any lies, fabrications or half-truths that may come up in the course of answering a question, asking instead that the moderators respond to such answers by praising the candidates for their vibrant imaginations.

     ● The candidates have also asked that each be granted a one-time “phone-a-friend” option that would allow them to call their donors for help answering difficult questions.


     ● Donald Trump wants a solid wall, the height of which must be no less than 7ft, erected between him and the other candidates during the debate.

     ● All other candidates have independently requested this as well.


     ● In accordance with his fundamentalist beliefs, Mike Huckabee has asked that anyone wearing mixed fabrics be banned from attending the event.

     ● The male candidates have asked for verification that Carly Fiorina has received her cootie shots prior to sharing the stage with her.

     ● For the duration of the debate, the candidates would like it if the moderators and audience pretended that homosexuality does not exist.


  213. says

    This will likely make people happy (x-posted from the Interesting Stuff thread)-
    I’m sure this will make many people happy-
    Jon Stewart inks comedy deal with HBO just in time to take part in 2016 election craziness:

    Stewart has signed on with HBO to produce short-form digital content, the cable station announced Tuesday, and the project is expected to go live early next year. HBO will also have first dibs on any television or film projects Stewart embarks on.

    HBO boasts another successful spoof news show, Daily Show alum John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight.

    Stewart retired from hosting the Daily Show on Comedy Central in August and has been replaced by South African comedian Trevor Noah.

    He was tight-lipped about the deal with HBO, saying in a statement,”Appearing on television 22 minutes a night clearly broke me. I’m pretty sure I can produce a few minutes of content every now and again.”

    Given how often Stewart skewered politicians, I’d say this story fits here.

  214. says

    Re comment 230: Thanks, blf, for those excerpts. Some of my favorites:

    ” when the supreme court decided that the Koch brothers not being able to say, “We own the president,” Yes, that’s an excellent summary.

    “the essential message of a Republican candidate is a tricky sell. That you love America, but hate all the groups that make up America.” Yes, another great summary.

    This, however, is just not even close to true: “Differences between the candidates are usually so slight that what the Democratic frontrunner thinks is pretty much just what the Republican frontrunner thinks on the days that he remembers to take his meds.” Even if Donald Trump and Ben Carson take their meds, they do not sound anything like Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

  215. says

    Tony @232, so glad to hear that Jon Stewart is returning to TV. It will be a less time-consuming gig for him, so I hope he is happy with that. Now we get to see if Stewart keeps the beard. His facial hair is almost all gray. He looks venerable.

    In other news, the Republican presidential candidates are running into all kinds of trouble with their attempt to take over debate planning, debate formats, venues and every other damned thing they would like to control.

    After yesterday’s joint agreement among Republican presidential candidates to negotiate the terms of future debates with right-wing cable networks, it seemed like the biggest breakthrough for collective bargaining in the GOP in half a century. But now it looks like the whole effort is breaking down. First, Trump, striver, says he’ll negotiate directly with the networks. Now Fiorina, Kasich, and Christie each say they won’t sign either. […]

  216. says

    Related to Lynna’s @216-
    From the SPLC’s Hatewatch, here’s more on the white nationalist group that Kris Kobach spoke to:

    The Social Contract Press is a Michigan-based publishing house that routinely puts out race-baiting articles penned by well known white nationalists. The press is a program of U.S., Inc., the foundation created by John Tanton, the racist founder and principal ideologue of the modern nativist movement and TSCP’s publisher. Tanton has assiduously cultivated relationships with Holocaust deniers, eugenicists and various other extremists over the years. And he’s clear about his racism: “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”

    Given TSCP’s publisher, it’s not surprising that articles from their eponymous journal The Social Contract have propagated the myth that Latino activists want to occupy and “reclaim” the American Southwest, argued that no Muslim immigrants should be allowed into the United States and claimed that multiculturalists are trying to replace “successful Euro-American culture” with “dysfunctional Third World cultures.”

    Once you strip away the shit stolen by colonialism and forced integration of other cultures and cultural appropriation, what exactly is “Euro-American culture”?

  217. says

    Representative Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, has decided to pump his hatred/racism toward immigrants up a notch:

    If Rep. Steve King has his way, undocumented immigrants could be deported for protesting in congressional buildings in Washington, D.C. His office is circulating a bill titled “Ending the Sanctuary Capitol Policy Act of 2015,” which would authorize the Capitol Police to turn over undocumented immigrants protesting or rallying on Capitol Hill grounds for potential deportation proceedings, […]

    Well, that’s quite nasty. King is an awful person. He’s the doofus that once said we could identify immigrants by the size of their calves, “the size of cantaloupes,” which were bulked up from carrying drugs over the border. He does not like having ethnic-looking or otherwise non-white people coming to capitol hill to lobby him. He does not want undocumented immigrants to be in places where he might see or hear them.

    Steve King’s other target is “sanctuary cities,” cities where law enforcement officers actually give aid to undocumented persons who are victimized by crime. Without that practical arrangement, undocumented people are reluctant to report crimes. And that makes fighting crime in cities like San Francisco very difficult indeed.

  218. says

    From text quoted by Tony in comment 235:

    “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”

    Like Tony, I wondered wtf was meant by “European-American society and culture.” I think that these white nationalist doofuses must mean what they have defined as European-American since Duck Dynasty first appeared on TV in 2012. That’s the extent of their historical context.

  219. says

    This falls into our “the company they keep” category. Marco Rubio has chosen an anti-gay, birther doofus to run his campaign in Alabama.

    [The campaign] in Alabama would be chaired by state Rep. Will Ainsworth and former state Republican Party chairman Bill Armistead […]

    We first encountered Armistead in the lead-up to the 2012 election, when he urged an audience to watch the insane birther film “Dreams From My Real Father,” which posits that President Obama has been hiding the fact that his real father was labor activist Frank Marshall Davis, who groomed him from birth to stage a communist takeover of America. “[…] I’ve seen it. I verified that it is factual, all of it. […]”

    [snipped text about Armistead being sure that Obama is a sociopath]

    Armistead is not a fan of LGBT rights, either, writing on the state party’s website earlier this year that Alabama risked inviting “God’s wrath” if it accepted marriage equality […]


  220. says

    This is from last year, but it may be news to many people (it was to me)-
    My horrible right-wing past: Confessions of a one-time religious right icon.

    It’s a long read, but the gist of it is that this guy-Frank Schaeffer (as well as his father)-played pivotal roles in bringing the Republican Party and evangelicals together, the effects of which of course, continue to play out today.


    I am a white, privileged, well-off, 61-year-old former Republican religious right-wing activist who changed his mind about religion and politics long ago. The New York Times profiled my change of heart saying that to my former friends I’m considered a “traitorous prince” since my religious-right family was once thought of as “evangelical royalty.”

    You see, only in the Mafia, the British Royal family and big time American religion is a nepotistic rise to power seen as normal. And I was good at it. And I hated it while hypocritically profiting from it — until, that is, in the mid-1980s, I quit. These days I describe myself as an atheist who believes in God.

    Ironically I helped my father become famous in the religion sector. In the 1970s I directed and produced two film series featuring Dad with book companions that became evangelical bestsellers: “How Should We Then Live?” and “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” By the time Dad and I completed two nationwide seminar tours launching those projects, I was being invited to speak at the biggest religious gatherings, including the Southern Baptist Convention and the annual meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters.

    The leaders of the new religious right were gleefully betting on American failure. If secular, democratic, diverse and pluralistic America survived, then wouldn’t that prove that we were wrong about God only wanting to bless “Christian America?” If, for instance, crime went down dramatically in New York City, for any other reason than a reformation and revival, wouldn’t that make the prophets of doom look silly? And if the economy was booming without anyone repenting, what did that mean?

    What began to bother me was that so many of our new “friends” on the religious right seemed to be rooting for one form of apocalypse or another. In the crudest form this was part of the evangelical fascination with the so-called end times. The worse things got, the sooner Jesus would come back. But there was another component. The worse everything got, the more it proved that America needed saving, by us! Plus, it was good for fundraising.

    Some 30 years later, what we helped start — I am sorry! — continues. With the Republicans in control of the House and Senate the question arises — again — Where does the American far right find the energy to oppose everything and everyone again and again?

    The short answer is that the American right is not about politics as most people understand it but about religious absolutes. As the New York Times noted on the single-minded desire to subvert President Obama’s overhaul of the broken immigration system, “And in their most audacious plans, Tea Party groups are preparing to recruit challengers to run against high-profile Republicans they accuse of betraying them — as they did when they toppled Eric Cantor, the former House majority leader.”

    This zealous negativity has a long history. I was part of it as the nepotistic sidekick to my religious-right evangelist father. The 1970s Evangelical anti-abortion movement that Dad (Evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer), C. Everett Koop (who would be Ronald Reagan’s surgeon general) and I helped create seduced the Republican Party. We turned it into an extremist far-right party that is fundamentally anti-American. There would have been no Tea Party without the foundation we built.


    Regarding political conspiracy theories, here’s a recent article from the SPLC – New intelligence report focuses on conspiracy theories in the mainstream:

    “Outlandish conspiracy theories may be great for the movies, but they’re highly destructive to our democracy — particularly when mainstream politicians and trusted media figures promote unfounded beliefs that trade knowledge for ignorance and reason for suspicion,” said Mark Potok, editor of the Report.

    Remarkably, several current candidates for president have embraced portions of these theories despite the lack of any evidence to back them up. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for example, has called the Common Core “a dangerous new curriculum,” although it is not a curriculum at all. Similarly, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has claimed that Agenda 21 — which is a completely nonbinding plan with no force of law — will “abolish” golf courses and paved roads, an utter falsehood.

    The new issue of the Report, which is SPLC’s investigative magazine focusing on the radical right, also includes stories on the white nationalist support being given to another presidential candidate, Donald Trump; the right-wing backlash against criticism of the Confederate battle flag that followed the Charleston, S.C., massacre in June; and a bizarre plot by a Klansman to build a deadly X-ray weapon.

  221. says

    This is a followup to the second part of Tony’s comment 239, in which the fact that conspiracy theories are destructive to democracy is discussed.

    […] Granting the perils of the world, it is potentially a very costly indulgence to fear indiscriminately, and to try to stimulate fear in others, just for the excitement of it, or because to do so channels anxiety or loneliness or prejudice or resentment into an emotion that can seem to those who indulge it like shrewdness or courage or patriotism. But no one seems to have an unkind word to say about fear these days, un-Christian as it surely is. […]

    And then you see people running on what seem to be incredibly mean-spirited, tight-fisted assumptions, and you think, this is not us. This is not our way forward. Well, I’m getting all too political, but insulting people that you know will become citizens—however that’s managed—giving them this bitter memory to carry into their participation in the national life. […]

  222. says

    Tony @241, yes, that’s just awful. Bevin also said several bad things about the Medicaid expansion in Kentucky. So, he is anti-LGBT and anti-healthcare and anti-poor-people.

    Bevin won as a Tea Party candidate who ran against the Democratic candidate as if the Dem were Obama. This is a bad sign.

  223. says

    Congress plans to simply skip work during the summer of 2016. I think that this is another ploy by Republican members of the House to make sure that President Obama gets nothing done during the last year of his presidency.

    Congress won’t be here for much of the summer of 2016, according to new legislative calendars released Tuesday by House and Senate leaders.

    The House is set to adjourn on July 15 and not return until Sept. 6, according to the calendar. The House will then be in session until Sept. 30, and adjourn until Nov. 14, after the elections.
    For the entire year, the House is scheduled to be in session for 111 days.

  224. says

    Ben Carson may not really be running for president. He may be running to make money in other ventures.

    […] But now Carson actually is running for president. Or is he? It is hard to tell. Conservative politics are so closely intermingled with a lucrative entertainment complex that it is frequently impossible to distinguish between a political project […] and a money-making venture.

    Declaring yourself a presidential candidate gives you access to millions of dollars’ worth of free media attention that can build a valuable brand. So the mere fact that Carson calls himself a presidential candidate does not prove he is actually running for president rather than taking advantage of the opportunity to build his brand. Indeed, it is possible to be actually leading the polls without seriously trying to win the presidency.

    And the notion that Carson could be president is preposterous. The problem is not only that he has never run for elected office. He has never managed a large organization; he has not worked in and around public policy, and he lacks a competent grasp of issues. His stance on health care, the closest thing to an issue with which his professional experience has brought him into contact, is gibberish. He mostly thrills audiences by scoffing at evolution and insisting Muslims be barred from the presidency, stances he cannot even defend coherently.

    Yeah, hence the book tour.

    Bernie Sanders spends bout 4% of the funds he raises on more fundraising. Ben Carson spends 69% of the funds he raises on raising more funds.

    […] Spending most of your money to raise more money is not a good way to get elected president, but it is a good way to build a massive list of supporters that can later be monetized. […]

  225. says

    This tweet is from Republican strategist Rory Cooper.

    “Under President Obama, Democrats have lost 900+ state legislature seats, 12 governors, 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats. That’s some legacy.”

    I don’t think we get to blame President Obama, but the failure of the Democratic Party to get out the vote for state-level elections is undeniable. Hillary Clinton talked about this during her interview with Rachel Maddow, making the point that it is a major problem she intends to address.

    For context, in yesterday’s elections, Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana are all dark red states. They have not backed Democratic candidates for decades. They did not back President Obama. Republicans have advantages there that are based on longterm cultural trends and on the Republican gerrymandering of voting districts. These were places that Republicans were sure to win.

    More context (from Steve Benen of The Maddow Blog):

    […] in the 109th Congress, a decade ago, Democrats had 45 Senate seats. Ten years later, after five election cycles, Democrats now have … 46 Senate seats. That’s not a collapse; it’s a return to a norm.

    The list of Democratic problems isn’t short. They’ve been hurt by gerrymandering. They’ve been crushed in state legislatures. The party’s voters inexplicably refuse to show up unless it’s a leap year. The Republican “war on voting” adds a wrinkle to any attempt at a comeback. Democratic officials have plans on how to put things right, and no one can say with confidence when – or if – those plans will succeed. […]

  226. blf says

    A follow-up to @201, Bush I!I, or as he now wants to be known, Bush Will Break It v3.0, has apparently apologized, Jeb Bush says sorry to France for ‘French workweek’ jibe during TV debate:

    Republican presidential hopeful is quoted as saying: ‘I now know that the average French workweek is actually greater than the German workweek’

    Jeb Bush’s rebooted campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination included an apology to the French on Tuesday for making a joke about their work ethic.

    “I made the mistake of saying that the Congress operates on a French workweek,” Bush told reporters in a deadpan voice while campaigning in New Hampshire, according to Time magazine. “I really did a disservice to the French.”


    “I now know that the average French workweek is actually greater than the German workweek,” Time quoted Bush as saying. “So, my God, I totally insulted an entire country — our first ally, that helped us become free as a nation. And I apologize. That did a huge disservice to France.”

    As reported by The Grauniad that sounds (to me) sincere; unfortunately, The Grauniad is quoting a source (Time) I generally do not take at face value…

  227. says

    Yay! Government regulation at work in a good way. Pharma
    Bro is being investigated:

    The United States Senate Special Committee on Aging is conducting an investigation into the pricing of off-patent drugs in certain circumstances. We seek your cooperation with this investigation so that the Committee may better understand drug pricing and related regulatory and public policy concerns.

    In particular, the Committee wishes to learn more about Turning Pharmaceuticals’ recent acquisition of the rights to sell Daraprim, a drug used to treat and prevent infections, from Impax Laboratories and Turing’s subsequent decision to increase the price of Daraparim from $13.50 per table to $750.00. […]

  228. says

    This is a followup to comment 246. It’s the victory! story out of Pennsylvania, and how important Democratic victories are when it comes to reversing Republican gerrymandering of voting districts.

    Pennsylvania Democrats scored a massive victory last night when they swept the three open state Supreme Court seats up for election on a statewide partisan ballot. The result is a 5 to 2 majority. Not only is this institution important because of its role as the high court of the state, but retaking it was by far the most important step toward setting Pennsylvania on the path toward progressive legislation in the coming decade. Why? Redistricting.

    In Pennsylvania, a deadlocked bipartisan commission handles legislative redistricting, and for the last couple of decades when the parties failed to compromise, the partisan majority on the state Supreme Court has decided on a tiebreaker. Since Republicans held the court in 2001 and 2011, they picked a Republican who signed off on brutal gerrymanders. These maps were so bad that in 2012 the party kept its majorities despite losing the popular vote. […]


  229. blf says

    Bernie Sanders launches new climate plan to curb US fossil fuel extraction:

    Keep it in the Ground Act would ban all new fossil fuel leases on public lands and waters, something activists view as a big gap in Obama’s climate plan

    Bernie Sanders launched a new climate campaign on Wednesday, aimed at fighting global warming by banning new coal, oil and gas mining on public land.

    The Keep it in the Ground Act co-sponsored by the senator and Democratic presidential candidate aims at plugging one of the big gaps in Barack Obama’s climate change plan: his administration’s continued sanction of fossil fuel extraction on the government’s lands and waters.

    The bill, authored by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon […] says that the US could avoid the vast majority of fossil fuel emissions by stopping any new mining projects.

    The bill seeks to ban new drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans as well as on government lands in the West.


    The International Energy Agency has declared that two-thirds of the world’s coal, oil and gas reserves must stay in the ground to avoid triggering dangerous and irreversible climate change.

    Campaigners estimate up to 450bn tonnes of coal, oil and gas reserves remain in lands and water under US government control. Already, campaigners estimate, up to 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions originate from those fossil fuels mined in US public lands and waters. Extracting and burning those reserves undermine Obama’s efforts to avoid that climate-altered future.


    Wednesday’s initiative has almost no chance of becoming law. But it accomplishes two important goals for environmental campaigners: underscoring Obama’s reluctance to tackle the supply side of climate change; and keeping climate change on the political agenda ahead of next year’s presidential elections.

    Sanders’ support for the bill solidifies the Democratic presidential contender’s reputation as one of the greenest members of the Senate and — once again — puts him out ahead of Clinton in supporting strong action on climate change. Sanders was an early opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline and Arctic drilling, forcing Clinton to shift her positions on both issues in the last few months.


    Democratic party operatives meanwhile exhibit growing confidence that climate change will emerge as an important wedge issue in the 2016 presidential elections, casting their Republican opponents as anti-science and detached from reality because of their refusal to acknowledge the existence of climate change or deal with its consequences.

    It will be amusing to see what the Faux & Kochroach Bros., UnLimited lackys — that is, the thugs — bellow about this…

  230. says

    In Michigan, voters rejected some Republican weirdness.

    The two former Michigan lawmakers involved in a bizarre sex scandal earlier this year were crushed on Tuesday in their special primary bids to regain their seats […]

    Michigan state Rep. Cindy Gamrat (R) and Michigan state Rep. Todd Courser (R) were involved in an extramarital affair that was exposed by the Detroit News in August when Courser reportedly asked one of his aides to leak a fake story that he was spotted with a male prostitute.

    Courser’s fake story was reportedly devised to make the real affair with Gamrat seem “mild by comparison,” […]

    Courser resigned shortly after the committee’s decision was announced and Gamrat was expelled from the legislature.

    Despite all that, both former lawmakers ran in the primary election to fill their empty seats.

    But both were resoundingly defeated in the special primary Tuesday. […]

  231. says

    More on the no-good, terrible results from the election of a new governor in Kentucky:

    In a result that contradicted most polling, Republican Matt Bevin was easily elected the next governor of Kentucky on Tuesday, besting Attorney General Jack Conway (D) by a 52.5 percent to 43.8 percent margin (with about 30 percent voter turnout). In doing so, Bluegrass State voters have elected a Tea Party millionaire who has vowed to dismantle Obamacare’s undeniable success story.

    Bevin […] strongly opposes LGBT rights, warning that same-sex marriage could lead to parents marrying their children. A[…]

    He strongly opposes labor protections and wants to enact a so-called “right to work” law to destroy collective bargaining. He wants to eliminate all prevailing wage requirements for state contracts, making it easier for the state to pay people less. He even has called the federal minimum wage “unconstitutional.”

    He supports creating a system of vouchers to use public money to pay for private schools. […]

    […] he suggested, more people with concealed weapons can stop mass shootings.

    He has a radical view of the 10th Amendment, believing that he as governor can simply disregard the Environmental Protection Agency. […]

    But perhaps Bevin’s most passionate priority in both of his 2014 and 2015 campaigns was to destroy the Affordable Care Act. […] he promised that if elected he would “bring relief from Obamacare to the taxpayers of Kentucky.”

    Though experts called the proposals, “in a word, stupid,” Bevin pledged to use his executive authority to destroy Kentucky’s popular state health insurance exchange, known as Kynect. […]

    Bevin has also promised to cancel Kentucky’s participation in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which would mean hundreds of thousands of Kentucky residents who cannot afford health insurance but wouldn’t otherwise qualify for the Medicaid program will lose their care. […] Gov. Steve Beshear (D) told ThinkProgress […] “There’s over 300,000 [Kentuckians that are on expanded Medicaid], and Matt Bevin is just going to take it from every single one of them — just because he doesn’t like the fact that President Obama was the one that got it passed.”

    Toward the end of the campaign, he appeared to hedge on this promise, saying that while Kentucky cannot afford to pay the state’s portion of the expansion, he will seek a waiver to reconfigure the program so no one is “kicked to the curb.” […]

  232. says

    More crazy ways in which conservatives in general, and politicians in particular, are harassing Planned Parenthood:

    […] although incoming House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) acknowledged this week that it may not be possible to defund the group on the national level, Planned Parenthood critics are hardly giving up. […]

    Dropping Planned Parenthood from government-run charity campaigns.
    In Arizona, people who work for the government will no longer be able to donate to Planned Parenthood through the State Employee Charitable Campaign, thanks to a recent decision from the Gov. Doug Ducey (R) administration. […]

    Making sure Planned Parenthood speakers don’t come to college campuses.
    […] This week, a group of St. Louis University law school students reorganized a previously scheduled event featuring a Planned Parenthood employee so that the discussion will take place off campus. […] Some students are accusing the university of bending to outside pressure.

    Barring Planned Parenthood from teaching abstinence education.
    Planned Parenthood, which has an education arm in addition to the side of the organization that provides direct health care services, is one of the largest sex ed providers in the country. […] In Texas, state officials are going to particularly extreme lengths to cut out the organization, adopting new regulations last month that prohibit Planned Parenthood from participating in the state’s abstinence programs. […] The move is merely symbolic, since the organization doesn’t participate in the abstinence education program anyway.

    Asking Planned Parenthood to build a memorial to aborted fetuses.
    […] During a discussion about how state lawmakers can further tighten restrictions on abortion providers, State Rep. Rick Brattin (R) suggested writing a bill that would require Planned Parenthood to build a “Vietnam Wall type” memorial to honor aborted fetuses. […]

  233. says

    Taking a closer look at one of the lies Marco Rubio told during the last Republican debate:

    “The largest after-tax gains is [sic] for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum under my plan,” the senator from Florida asserted.

    In dollar terms, that is patently not true. The wealthiest Americans would see a much larger windfall under Rubio’s plan than the poor, with the richest 1 percent of the population gaining nearly six times as much as the poorest 20 percent of the population […]

    But Rubio prefers to measure his plan by a different metric: the percentage of income that each demographic group would save. “Five percent of a million is a lot more than five percent of a thousand,” Rubio told debate moderator John Harwood during last week’s debate. “So, yeah, this is going to make more money—numerically, it’s going to be higher, but the greatest gains percentage-wise for people are going to be at the lower end of our plan.” […]

    Whether or not the poor save a higher percentage of their income, it’s clear that the bulk of the taxpayer savings from his plan would go to the wealthiest Americans. According to the Citizens for Tax Justice study, the top 20 percent of filers would receive back 65 percent of all savings under Rubio’s plan—with the bulk of that going to the top 1 percent. The middle 60 percent would get 29 percent of the savings. And the bottom 20 percent would receive just 6 percent.

  234. says

    Judges nominated by President Obama are not being confirmed by the Senate. The blame lies entirely with Republicans. They have failed to confirm so many judges that the justice system is negatively affected. The situation is dire.

    The Senate has confirmed just nine judges nominated by President Obama so far this year. It’s the slowest pace of confirmations in more than half a century […]

    “It’s still like pulling teeth to move nominations,” says a senior Democratic Senate aide. “They’re being held by a number of different Republican senators for every reason under the sun. None of which have anything to do with the actual qualifications of the nominees.” […]

    According to the liberal Alliance for Justice, by this point in 2007, when Democrats controlled the Senate, 34 of President George W. Bush’s judges had been confirmed. […]

    Republicans have been gumming up the works at each step of the process. Judicial nominations are generally put forward by the president only once they’ve been approved by both of the home-state senators. Republicans have been slow to give their consent to any nominee, with 55 judicial vacancies currently lacking a nomination. […] Sen. Marco Rubio, for example, recommended Mary Flores to the White House for a spot on a Florida district court, but has been withholding his so-called “blue slip” approval form, preventing her from moving forward to a hearing before the Judiciary Committee. […]

    Even after a judicial nominee has cleared the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been slow about scheduling votes on the Senate floor […] The delays generally haven’t been due to controversy about the nominees. The last two judges confirmed, for district court seats in New York, were approved by votes of 95-2 and 88-0, respectively.

    This failure to confirm judges is obviously another anti-Obama move.

  235. says

    Tony @256, the turnout in Kentucky was 30% of registered voters. That’s a low number that Democrats could have changed if they had worked at it.

    In other news, Chris Hayes is continuing his series of book reviews of books by presidential candidates. I loved this. Accurate and cool.

    Description: Jeb Lund, columnist for the Guardian and Rolling Stone, reviews Donald Trump’s new book for the latest installment of All In’s candidate book reports. Duration: 3:12

  236. says

    An update on big money is being spent in the race president.

    […] look at the TV ad spending to date: In the GOP race, outside groups (about $42 million) are outspending the campaigns ($2 million) by more than a 20-to-1 ratio. And in the Democratic primary contest, the campaigns ($7.5 million) are outspending the outside groups (about $400,000). […]</blockquote<
    Yes, SuperPacs and other outside groups are outspending candidates by 20 to 1.


  237. says

    Ben Carson said some more stupid stuff on Facebook.

    Are we sure political experience is what we need. Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience.

    No, Mr. Carson, that is not even close to being true. That’s not spin. That’s lying and/or total ignorance. Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were elected officials with political experience.

    Carson also said stupid stuff in an interview. Carson was in Miami recently, where the Miami Herald staff interviewed him.

    […] In the Herald interview, Carson appeared stumped by questions about the so-called wet-foot, dry-foot policy, which allows Cubans who reach U.S. soil to remain here, and about the Cuban Adjustment Act, which allows Cubans who arrive in the U.S. to apply for legal residency after 366 days. […]

    At the same event, the retired right-wing neurosurgeon insisted Medicare and Medicaid fraud is “huge — half a trillion dollars,” which really doesn’t make any sense at all. […]

    In 2015, it appears Carson is pushing the boundaries of post-knowledge politics. It’s not that he’s lying, per se, because it’s quite likely that in Carson’s version of reality, his claims have real merit. This is more a situation in which a presidential hopeful has decided knowledge itself is unimportant. […]

    Regarding that claim that Medicare and Medicaid fraud is “half a trillion dollars,” no, that is not factual. Total spending, that’s TOTAL spending, on Medicare and Medicaid last year was $980 billion. Carson just said that more than half of that spending is fraud. Weirdness.

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reports that improper payments for Medicare equal about $29 billion (not $500 billion); and that Medicaid improper payments equal about $19 billion (not $500 billion). The total of improper payments is between $50 and $60 billion (not $500 billion). Of the Medicare improper payments, government officials recovered about $4.3 billion in 2013 (I couldn’t find a more recent figure). And the figures for “improper payments” include examples of incorrect coding in payment requests (mistakes, not fraud). Yes, fraud is a big problem. Yes, it being addressed.

  238. says

    This fits in our “the company they keep” category.

    When he was governor of Florida, Jeb Bush hired a christian conservative, Jerry Regier, to head the Florida Department of Children and Families. Regier is a believer in harsh corporal punishment.

    It was 2002, Gov. Jeb Bush was up for reelection, and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) was in chaos. News had recently broken that a five-year-old Miami girl in state care had disappeared—and no one had noticed her absence for more than a year. Police had recently found a child welfare worker passed out drunk in her car with a kid in the back seat. A two-year-old boy was beaten to death on the same day a caseworker claimed to have visited him. The department head had quit amid a series of controversies. Bush needed a replacement, one that signaled that he had a plan to restore order to the scandal-plagued agency. […]

    Regier held a range of hardline religious views and supported the use of corporal punishment against children. He was the founding president of Family Research Council, the social conservative group that has denounced homosexuality and defended the rights of parents to physically discipline their children. […]

    “Biblical spanking may cause temporary and superficial bruises or welts that do not constitute child abuse.”

    Regier later claimed to have not written the pamphlet from which the spanking quotes were taken. I think that’s a lie.

    Jay Grimstead, the head of the Coalition on Revival, told the Orlando Sentinel that the controversial paper was one of 17 that the family-life committee, co-chaired by Regier, produced over three years. “Mr. Regier, as far as I know, was one of the editors on this,” Grimstead told the Sentinel.

    Reporters unearthed […] an article in a defunct magazine that, as the Miami Herald reported, encouraged the use of “manly” discipline of kids. “Most men have been so intimidated by theories on child rearing that they discipline tentatively and often only as a last resort,” Regier wrote, according to the Herald. “The Bible is not at all uncertain about the value of discipline ‘Although you smite him with the rod, he will not die.'” […]

    Regier brought his faith-based approach to the child welfare agency. […] He encouraged social workers to counsel people accused of child abuse to get married. […]

    Under Regier, and with support from Jeb Bush, DCF lawyers once asked a judge to appoint a guardian for the fetus of a severely developmentally disabled girl who had been raped while a ward of the state. (The agency was turned down.) And Regier hired an anti-gay activist, whom he had met at a Family Research Council meeting, as an agency lawyer. […]

  239. says

    Elizabeth Warren has a good idea. She wants to make up for the lack of increases in Social Security payments to senior citizens and to people receiving disability insurance.

    […] Warren’s bill, dubbed the SAVE Act (short for Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act), would offer a one-time 3.9 percent increase. Why such a specific percentage? Warren points to a study showing that pay for CEOs at the 350 largest companies increased by 3.9 percent in 2015. Warren’s bill would pay for this one-time benefit hike by eliminating a corporate tax exemption for performance pay packages—which would also extend the solvency of the entire Social Security program. […]


    Social Security payments are supposed to benefit from a cost-of-living adjustment every year, but with lower gas prices and the lack of inflation since the recession, the pegging of cost-of-living adjustments to inflation is not working well. Senior citizens and the disabled may not be the biggest consumers of gasoline, but they are big consumers of healthcare and prescription drugs. Their costs continue to rise yearly, while their benefit payments do not. Many seniors are being forced into poverty (those who are not already there).

  240. says

    Rachel Maddow covered the rather strange developments in the Keystone Pipeline saga.

    […] the State Department has rejected TransCanada’s request to postpone the review of their permit application for the Keystone pipeline, suggesting that President Obama will formally reject the permit rather than leave it to another administration.

    So, TransCanada wants to suspend the review process, probably because the company just wants to wait and see if a Republican president will magically appear in 2016 and then approve the permit.

    Kind of funny, in a way. President is not going along with the TransCanada request.

  241. says

    All right! Here’s a muted “Yay!”, sort of, from me to newly-minted Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.

    He managed to bring to the floor and pass a long-term transportation funding bill. This is the first long-term (6 years) transportation funding bill passed in about a decade. However, this being a Republican circus, there are a few amendments that may be controversial.

    […] The bill is in fact financed with a collection of offsets that many lawmakers find objectionable, such as raising $9 billion by selling oil from the country’s emergency oil reserves. Roughly $2.5 billion comes from requiring the Internal Revenue Service to use private debt collectors, reviving a controversial program opposed by many Democrats, consumer groups and the union that represents agency employees.

    Yeah, that’s right. Republicans are forcing privatization onto one department of the IRS.

    Higher gasoline taxes aren’t in the mix. That source of revenue that was taken off the table after the House Rules Committee, which is controlled by the speaker, blocked any amendment votes related to taxes.

    The House also approved an amendment from Reps. Bill Huizenga (R., Mich.) and Randy Neugebauer (R., Texas) to scrap a plan opposed by banks that would have reduced the dividend the Federal Reserve’s regional banks pay on stock that private-sector banks hold as members of the Fed’s system. Instead, the bill would tap funds from the Fed’s excess reserves. […]

    Morning Star link

    First of all, why the hell not raise gas taxes?

    And next, would you like for me to translate that last part? The IRS will be sending private bill collectors after citizens, but, lo, the holy bankers will get a $17 billion (that’s “billion”) break, or payout, or kickback from politicians, or whatever you want to call it.

    The Senate version did NOT contain the payout to the banks, but lobbyists descended on that bill and covered it with money and promised money and pressure of all kinds until House Republicans knelt in gratitude and gave back to the bankers all of their money and then some.

  242. microraptor says

    Lynna @265

    First of all, why the hell not raise gas taxes?

    Because taxes are evil, of course.

  243. says

    microraptor @266. Silly me. Yes, I see that the only reason the gas tax was not raised was … no reason except that Republicans rejected it out of hand.

    In other news, Marco Rubio wants to expand the military, and the military budget, by leaps and bounds. He plans to be a super macho Commander in Chief if he is elected President. He doesn’t have the background, but I’m sure that little fact does not tamp down his fantasies.

    Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday pitched a vast expansion and update of the U.S. military at all levels […]

    Rubio, a first-term senator elected in 2010 who has never served in the military, asserted that he has “the record of judgment, the breadth of experience and the quality of leadership necessary to restore our strength and our security.”

    He pledged to update the military’s aging warplanes and gear, and to replenish its diminishing capital, both financial and human. And he promised to go further, investing in new technologies to help defend troops in the battlefield as well as the nation’s interests in cyberspace and outer space. […]

    Rubio addressed national defense at Granite State Manufacturing in Manchester, NH, […] GSM is a defense subcontractor that makes parts for ships and submarines. […]

    Rubio, who has been criticized for missing Senate votes, spoke on the same day that the Senate held a procedural vote on appropriations for the Defense Department. […]

    Yes, of course Rubio missed that vote. He has missed more votes than any other presidential candidate who is also an elected official.

  244. says

    Fox Business News is made up its mind as to which Republican presidential candidates will be on the main stage at the next debate, and who will have to suffer at the kiddie table. Worse yet, they used questionable polling averages to kick Senator Lindsey Graham and New York Governor George Pataki out of the debate entirely.

    Christian Ferry, Graham’s campaign manager, said in a statement last night, “It is ironic that the only veteran in the race is going to be denied a voice the day before Veterans Day. In the end, the biggest loser tonight is the American people and the Republican presidential primary process that has been hijacked by news outlets.”


    Yes, the Faux News propaganda machine is flexing its muscles and deciding which candidates will be seen and heard by US voters.

    The main debate will benefit from a reduction to eight candidates, the lowest number so far: Trump, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Jeb Bush, Fiorina, Kasich, and Paul. Christie and Huckabee will be at the kiddie table.

    Rachel Maddow torn into the weirdness of the Republican campaigns and into the unfairness of the debate structure.

  245. says

    The kind of good news that the Republican candidates for president will hate … or, more likely, that they will ignore.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the US economy added 271,000 jobs in October (the estimate was for 181,000, so this is much better). The employment rate is now 5.0%, the lowest since February of 2008.

    The US added 2.8 million jobs over the past 12 months, (2.06 million so far in 2015). This, added to previous gains, makes October 2015 the 61st consecutive month of positive job growth in the private sector. That’s the longest streak of gains ever recorded. Republicans will be cheering President Obama for his success as a job creator, right?


    Obviously, we still have lots of problems when it comes to the minimum wage, full employment instead of part-time employment, not enough manufacturing jobs, etc. But, even with congressional obstructionism at an all time high, the Democratic administration made some gains. The Bush era previous to the Obama administration racked up exactly the opposite results.

  246. says

    Daily Kos also covered the strange kiddie table debate structure for Republican candidates, and how the criteria has resulted in increasing unfairness toward the candidates.

    In other news, Ben Carson has been caught lying … again. This time, it looks like he fabricated a story about being admitted to West Point. Is he just recounting for us his dreams?

    Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

    The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years. According to a story told in Carson’s book, “Gifted Hands,” the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by a “full scholarship” to the military academy.

    West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.

  247. blf says

    Follow-up to @264, The Grauniad confirms Obama has rejected the Kochsmog XtraLooney pipeline, Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline in victory for environmental activists:

    Obama turns down controversial proposal to build 1,700-mile pipeline through six states, saying ‘it does not serve the national interests’ of the US

    Barack Obama has rejected a proposal from TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline through the American heartland […]

    The US president made the announcement from the White House flanked by both secretary of state John Kerry and vice-president Joe Biden, declaring that Keystone “would not serve the national interests of the United States”.

    […] Obama said the project was neither “a silver bullet for the economy” nor “an express lane to climate disaster”. It would not meaningfully boost jobs or cut gas prices for US motorists, he said. And in a sweeping statement which became a global call to arms ahead of the UN climate talks starting in Paris later this month, he said it was time to stop using the argument over Keystone as a political cudgel.

    Highlighting US progress in moving away from reliance on fossil fuels, he promised US global leadership in pursuit of an ambitious framework “to protect the one planet we have got while we still can”.

  248. says

    This is a followup to comments 250 and 264.

    President Obama announced his rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The TransCanada company can reapply for a permit next year, but I see this announcement as almost killing the project. Environmentalists are pleased. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are pleased. Republicans are so angry they can’t talk without spitting.
    Scroll down for video of the White House Press Briefing. This was a good briefing. Obama was at the top of his game. He covered more than the Keystone Pipeline.

  249. says

    Steve Benen of The Maddow Blog took a stab at explaining the Republican obsession with the Keystone XL Pipeline. I agree with him.

    […] Let’s again acknowledge what too often goes unsaid: for Republicans, the Keystone XL pipeline stopped being about the Keystone XL pipeline quite a while ago. It’s just one oil project – one that would have no discernible positive effect on anything, except maybe the economy in western Canada (not that I have anything against western Canada’s economy).

    Rather, Keystone has become a totem of sorts. Its actual value has been rendered meaningless, replaced with post-policy symbolic value that overrides every other consideration. Indeed, the more Democrats and environmentalists told Republicans this is a bad idea, the more Republicans convinced themselves this was The Most Important Project In The World, probably because it was ideologically satisfying. […]

    […] an independent State Department study found that the project would create about 35 permanent, full-time American jobs – roughly what we’d see from “opening a new Denny’s franchise.” There would be far more temporary jobs associated with Keystone, but they’d come and go fairly quickly. […]


  250. says

    David Corn tweeted: “A reminder: in his latest email solicitation Carson said candidate’s faith, honesty & character more important than his political experience.”

    Thanks for the laughs, David.

  251. says

    Oh, dear. This is a real WTF moment that involves the mormon church and their clueless leadership.

    In a major policy announcement, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says children living in a same-sex household may not be blessed as babies or baptized.

    The decision, which was released Thursday, takes effect immediately […]

    “A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing,” the policy reads.

    Even adopted babies and children? I guess mormon leaders think they are cracking down on this gay cohabitation trend with the only leverage they have left.

    Natural or adopted children living in a same-sex household will only be allowed to be baptized once they are 18, disavow the practice of same-sex cohabitation or marriage, and stop living within the household, according to the policy. Such baptism would still require the approval of the church’s governing First Presidency. […]

    Disavow your parents! Pol Pot in Utah.

    This comes on the same day the LDS church announced to its leaders that participating in a same-sex marriage falls under the definition of apostasy. […]

    In a way, this is sort of good news. More mormons will come to realize what a crock their religion is, and even more, what a collection of flea-brained dunderheaded their leaders are. This should prompt more people to leave the LDS church.

    On the other hand, lots of people steeped in the culture of mormonism, and living in mostly mormon communities, will find these latest rulings very painful. The “punish babies,” and “punish 8-year-old children” aspect of this latest Moment of Mormon Madness is hard to take.

    Mormons control the political system, the school boards, water allocation systems and every other governing body in the morridor (mormon corridor). Weakening their control is a good thing, but I think the changes are going to be quite painful for a lot of people.

  252. says

    Here are some rightwing responses to President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone Pipeline application:

    [from Bobby Jindal] Thousands of high quality energy sector jobs will be left on the altar of Obama’s environmental extremism.
    [from Paul Ryan] This decision isn’t surprising, but it is sickening. By rejecting this pipeline, the president is rejecting tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. He is rejecting our largest trading partner and energy supplier. He is rejecting the ill of the american people and a bipartisan majority of the Congress. If the president wants to spend the rest of his time in office catering to special interests, that’s his choice to make. But it’s just wrong. In the House, we are going to pursue a bold agenda of growth and opportunity for all.
    [from Marco Rubio] That this administration continues to prioritize the demands of radical environmentalists over America’s energy security.
    [from Jeb Bush] The Obama Admin’s politically motivated rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline is a self-inflicted attack on the U.S. economy and jobs.
    [from Mitch McConnell] Given project’s importance to North American energy indeed, the question still remains not if but when Keystone will be built. Republicans have no intention of giving up on common-sense jobs ideas like Keystone.

    A poll in January on a number of energy issues found only 7% of U.S. voters in favor of allowing Keystone. I wonder how long Republicans are going to push their ball of lies uphill.

  253. says

    The Supreme Court will hear more anti-Obamacare, anti-contraception, pro “religious freedom” arguments today.

    […] conservatives argue that filling out a form so that insurance companies can know about their legal obligations to provide certain coverage is a substantial burden on the exercise of their religion. That strained reasoning is a cynical use of religion to deprive women of needed healthcare, an effort to force women employees to live by their employers’ religious strictures rather than their own. […]

    Right Wing Watch link

  254. says

    Michele Bachmann is still alive and kicking.

    […] former Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who joined Perkins [Family Research Council president Tony Perkins] on the program on Wednesday to share her view that biblical prophecy is being fulfilled all around her and that it was more urgent than ever to convert as many people as possible — including Jews — to Christianity to prepare for the imminent return of Christ. -[…]


  255. says

    Lynna, have you read this?

    Days after tea party republican Matt Bevin shocked the state of Kentucky by winning the election for governor in a landslide despite having been notably behind in every poll, political experts are still trying to figure out what happened. Initially the blame was directed at registered democratics, who appeared to have turned out to vote in historically small numbers. But now numerical evidence is pointing to the possibility that the election may have simply been rigged in favor Bevin.

    That’s not an accusation to be made lightly. While an average of all polls in a race on this level is very rarely wrong, and is literally never off by a double digit margin like this, that alone is far from sufficient evidence to suggest that one party may have done something as dire as tampering with the results. However in the case of the Kentucky governor’s election, the initial belief that democrats didn’t show up to vote has been disproven. Democrats did show up to the polls in large numbers, as evidenced by the votes cast for the democratic candidates running for lesser offices such as Attorney General.

    In U.S. elections there is essentially no such thing as down-ballot candidates of a certain party getting more votes than the candidate at the top of the ballot. In state-level elections, for instance, scores of voters will only show up to cast their vote in the governor’s race and then go home, without bothering to vote in the lesser contests also on the ballot, because they either don’t know or don’t care about those races. But in this week’s Kentucky voting, several democratic candidates for lesser offices got far more votes than democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway.

    That’s essentially impossible, and could only have been explained away if, for instance, Conway had been caught a major last minute scandal which caused die hard democrats to turn out for the down-ballot races while not voting for any candidate for governor – and that didn’t happen here. Couple that with the fact that the polls had Conway winning by three to five points right up until election day, and yet Bevin somehow won by nine points – again, something that just does not happen in state elections – and it makes for easily the most impossible results in a governor’s race in modern American history. Investigations will certainly ensue.

  256. Saad says

    Kim Davis’s appeal rejected

    An appeals court dismissed Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’s request Thursday to delay marriage license issuance to gay couples. Davis made headlines across U.S. earlier this year for refusing marriage licenses to same-sex couples citing religious beliefs.

    The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected Davis’ plea for a reprieve after her attorney argued that a district judge’s mandate told her to issue licenses only to four gay couples, who had sued her for denying marriage licenses, the Associated Press reported. The attorneys said that the mandate ordered Davis to give licenses to the four couples and not all homosexual couples. U.S. District Judge David Bunning, who issued the mandate, had clarified that the order prevailed to all couples, not just the four who sued Davis.

  257. says

    Questions are being raised about more accounts of Ben Carson’s past

    The day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968, Ben Carson’s black classmates unleashed their anger and grief on white students who were a minority at Detroit’s Southwestern High.

    Mr. Carson, then a junior with a key to a biology lab where he worked part time, told The Wall Street Journal last month that he protected a few white students from the attacks by hiding them there.

    It is a dramatic account of courage and kindness, and it couldn’t be confirmed in interviews with a half-dozen of Mr. Carson’s classmates and his high school physics teacher. The students all remembered the riot. None recalled hearing about white students hiding in the biology lab, and Mr. Carson couldn’t remember any names of those he sheltered.

    “It may have happened, but I didn’t see it myself or hear about it,” said Gregory Vartanian, a white classmate of Mr. Carson’s who served in the ROTC with Mr. Carson and is now a retired U.S. Marshal.


    In his 1990 autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” Mr. Carson writes of a Yale psychology professor who told Mr. Carson, then a junior, and the other students in the class—identified by Mr. Carson as Perceptions 301—that their final exam papers had “inadvertently burned,” requiring all 150 students to retake it. The new exam, Mr. Carson recalled in the book, was much tougher. All the students but Mr. Carson walked out.

    “The professor came toward me. With her was a photographer for the Yale Daily News who paused and snapped my picture,” Mr. Carson wrote. “ ‘A hoax,’ the teacher said. ‘We wanted to see who was the most honest student in the class.’ ” Mr. Carson wrote that the professor handed him a $10 bill.

    No photo identifying Mr. Carson as a student ever ran, according to the Yale Daily News archives, and no stories from that era mention a class called Perceptions 301. Yale Librarian Claryn Spies said Friday there was no psychology course by that name or class number during any of Mr. Carson’s years at Yale.

    In books and speeches, Mr. Carson has said he hated living in poverty, vowed to grow rich, and lashed out in anger at others until a religious transformation at age 14.

    When CNN sent reporters to his former neighborhood in Detroit to verify Mr. Carson’s stories of violence, including attempting to stab a boy in the stomach, none who knew Mr. Carson as a youth recalled any such trouble. Instead, most of Mr. Carson’s former friends and neighbors remember him much as he is today: soft-spoken and studious.

    In his 1996 book, “Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence,” Mr. Carson identified the boy as a friend named “Bob.” Mr. Carson told Fox News on Thursday the boy was actually a “close relative.” Mr. Carson said, “I’ve never used the true names of people in books.”

  258. Nick Gotts says

    Mr. Carson said, “I’ve never used the true names of people in books.” – quoted by Tony! @282

    “In fact”, he added, “I’ve been careful to keep any truth at all out of them.”

  259. says

    Tony @280, No I hadn’t read about that yet. I’m going to look into that further.

    Saad @281, Kim Davis is grasping at straws in an effort to grant marriage licenses to as few gay couples as possible. That dunderheaded Kentuckian that Tony mentioned in 280 was one of Kim Davis’ big supporters. Birds of a feather.

    In other news, Rachel Maddow moderated a Democratic forum. She questioned Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton.–561439811752–voting-rights-561420867582

    Many more forum segments are available at any of the links above. If you scroll down from the main video presentation you can see a video menu showing all of the debate segments.

  260. says

    International Business Times posted an article that looks at what their editors considered the best moments from the forum that Rachel Maddow moderated (see comment 284).

    Their analysis is shallow in my opinion, with emphasis on looking for soundbites. It’s better to just watch video of the forum.

    In other news, Ted Cruz said something stupid.

    Have you ever seen Barack Obama sit down and be interviewed by Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity, or Glenn Beck, or Mark Levin? Barack Obama is terrified of questions from real journalists who actually would press him. He likes to be surrounded by his fawning accolades.

    “Real journalists” …. oh, my, [cough]. [Insert raised eyebrows followed by much laughter.]

  261. says

    This is a followup to Tony’s comment 282.

    Ben Carson has told so many whoppers that Twitter users invented #BenCarsonWikipedia
    Daily Kos link

    It’s quite funny. Here are just a few excerpts:

    Some respected scientists believe that aliens built Mount Everest to get closer to heaven.
    Dogs that go into animal shelters straight come out Gay.
    Kangaroos were the first to sink during the great flood because they have pouches that filled up with water.
    Peanut allergies are psychosomatic, but wifi allergies can be factually documented back as far as 1823.
    Possum fur is a natural antibiotic.
    Jesus burned down the Library at Alexandria because libraries are socialist.

    You can pick your own favorites. There’s a lot on offer.

  262. says

    This falls into our “the company they keep” category. It also backs up PZ’s post Minnesota nice, in which he discussed a woman who smashed a beer mug across the face of a woman speaking Swahili. Yes, Trump supporters are virulently anti-muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-anybody-who-is-not-white-like-them.

    We don’t know if the wielder of the beer mug was a Trump supporter, but we do know that Trump supporters have resorted to violence several times. And, as this comment points out, Trump supporters are epically offensive in their online postings.

    An Oklahoma woman who has taken a prominent role with the Donald Trump campaign in the state has posted a variety of anti-Muslim, anti-transgender and other wildly offensive content to her public Facebook page.

    Among the many “hot takes” on Carol Hefner’s Facebook pages: Muslims have infiltrated the Obama administration, Huma Abedin has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood through her brother, and Muslims and blacks were responsible for slavery.

    […] Hefner has also been described as a campaign coordinator and a co-chair of his state campaign in local accounts of Trump’s stops in Oklahoma. […]

    Check out the link for many specific examples of Carol Hefner’s offensive attitudes.
    – anti-Muslim
    – anti-Michele Obama etc.


    Remember when Playboy magazine reportedly offered sarah Palin $4,000,000 to pose nude in an upcoming issue?

    Then Michelle Obama was offered $50 by National Geographic?

    And remember when KFC offered a “Hillary” meal, consisting of two small breasts and two large fat thighs?

    Now KFC is offering the “Obama Cabinet Bucket.”

    It consiststs of nothing but left wings and chicken shit.

    – anti-transgender content

    Being transgender is a mental disorder…

    – “blacks perpetrated and promoted slavery for generations … they were responsible…”

  263. says

    Carly Fiorina joined Donald Trump in being a coward when it comes to correcting voters who say that President Obama is a “Muslim” and a “dictator.”

    Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina failed on Friday to correct a man she was speaking to in a New Hampshire restaurant who called President Obama a “dictator” and a “black Muslim.”

    ABC News posted video of the interaction that took place in Milford, New Hampshire.

    “Anybody other than the dictator we got up there now,” the man told Fiorina. “And I mean that. He is a dictator.”

    The former Hewlett-Packard chief executive shrugged as she went on to talk about the President’s rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

    “He doesn’t want this country to get ahead,” the man said as Fiorina started to turn toward another table. “He doesn’t. He’s a Muslim. He’s a black Muslim.”

    Fiorina turned back toward the man.

    “Well, time to do something different in many ways,” she said.

  264. says

    Mixing religion and politics: when an elected official gives a sermon in a church that aims to change laws and public policies, we have an inexcusable example of someone ignoring the the wall between church and state. Oh, and there’s also a whacko conspiracy theory thrown in.

    Last month, Republican Rep. Randy Forbes preached at his home church in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he warned that there is a massive and terrifying conspiracy at work to completely eliminate religion from public life.

    Forbes was preaching as part of an effort known as Pray USA, which is an initiative of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation that seeks to encourage government officials to lead congregations in prayer and then urge churchgoers to add their names to its “Prayer for America Proclamation.” […]

    Okay, so there’s a whole bunch of Congressional doofuses who are preaching and praying as a means to changing laws governing what they call “religious freedom,” but which is really freedom to discriminate.

    “Let me just tell you one of the myths that’s out there,” he said. “It’s easy for us to somehow just think that all of this just evolved because people on the internet, they’re reading more and they’re getting more intellectual and somehow or the other, it’s like they’ve discovered the world isn’t flat anymore and therefore we don’t believe in God and we don’t believe in faith.”

    “[…] I can show you organization after organization after organization to a network that would frighten you […] organizations that are funded and paid with a systematic approach to killing and destroying faith in America today.”

    “Most people don’t even realize it,” Forbes said, “and let me tell you, the dollars going into that organization is nine times the dollars going into the organizations trying to defend and protect faith in America.”


  265. says

    More mixing of religion and politics in inappropriate ways: Senator Orrin Hatch is a Republican from Utah. He is also a mormon. He criticized the concept of a wall between church and state, and he delivered that criticism on the U.S. Senate Floor:

    “The erroneous wall-of-separation doctrine has narrowed the role of religion in public discourse, fueling the view that religion is a private matter rather than a fundamental precept of American civil society,” Hatch said. “Even members of this esteemed body have fallen prey to the disturbing claim that religious freedom doesn’t extend much further than the church door.”

    Hatch’s speech was the fourth in a series of eight sermonettes he plans to give on religious liberty. […]

    Eight effing sermons on the Senate floor. Arrgghhh! Painful.

    […] The senator from Utah went on to blame the U.S. Supreme Court for what he called the “rigid separation between church and state” and listed some examples in which the high court has allegedly “kept religion out of the public square and fed the idea that religion is a private matter to be practiced within the confines of one’s church or home.”

    Hatch cited “[n]o prayer in school”; “[n]o new Ten Commandments displays – or even Christmas or Hanukkah displays – unless carefully secularized”; “a widespread prejudice” against politicians talking about God; and the fictional “war on Christmas” as evidence that religion has been removed or restricted from public life. […]

    […] Politicians are free to discuss their personal beliefs. Everyone else is free to criticize or praise those ideas. It seems Hatch has a problem with the free exchange of ideas. […]

    Hatch tried to explain that all these modern developments go against the intent of the Founding Fathers, but he did a really bad job of making that case too. […] It is telling that Hatch’s rather lengthy diatribe makes no mention of James Madison, Jefferson’s protégé and primary author of the First Amendment. While Jefferson himself was not directly involved with the creation of the Constitution (he was in France at the time), he was there in spirit thanks to Madison – who put the noble concept of separation into the Bill of Rights.

    Hatch’s remarks reveal his unfamiliarity with American history.[…] he acknowledged in his speech that “as a Mormon, I’m keenly aware both of how the machinery of government can be used to oppress religious minorities,” his words ring hollow.

    Hatch is right when he says a state can easily repress religious minorities, such as Mormons. But what does he think prevents the U.S. government from doing just that? It’s the First Amendment and the idea of church-state separation. It’s especially ironic because Hatch’s own religion likely wouldn’t even exist were it not for church-state separation. […]

  266. blf says

    Well, there’s about nine thugs clowning for president for each dummie running around wanting to be president (or so it seems, make adjustments for who the controllers have ordered to enter or leave the kandidates klown kar this week), so the claim of thug Randy Forbes (@289) there is some mysterious organization out to commit mayhem and destruction clearly means the thugs themselves…

  267. says

    To distract the populace from his own fantasy-enhanced history, Ben Carson recently trotted out every rightwing conspiracy theory related to President Obama:

    “I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama when he was running,” Carson observed. “In fact I remember just the opposite. I remember people saying, ‘Oh we won’t really talk about that. We won’t talk about that relationship. Well, Frank Marshall Davis, well, we don’t want to talk about that. Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, well we don’t really know him. All the things that Jeremiah Wright was saying, oh, not a big problem.”

    Carson then called into question Obama’s educational achievements, repeating a widely debunked theory that Obama’s educational records are being kept secret by some sort of court order.

    “[Obama] goes to Occidental College, doesn’t do all that well, and somehow ends up at Columbia University,” Carson asserted. “Well… his records are sealed. Why is his record sealed? What are you not interested in why his records are sealed? Why are you not interested in that? Let me ask you that. Can someone tell me why, please?” He then demanded to know “how there is equivalency [sic] there” between “something that happened with the words ‘a scholarship was offered’ was a big deal, but the president of the United States, his academic records being sealed, is not.” […]

    Were Carson familiar with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, he would know that federal law protects the privacy of all students’ educational records and that his own educational records would also be protected, only to be released to the public if he opted to do so.

    But Carson has made it clear that he believes knowledge of public policy is not essential to be president. “There are a lot of policies that I lack knowledge on,” he told reporters during a book signing on Thursday. “I’m gaining knowledge. But I don’t by any stretch of the imagination confess to knowing everything. That’s the reason you have advisers. … It’s a false narrative that you have to know everything.”


    Most of the text above is cross-posted from the “falls down laughing” thread about the tour of Carson’s house, a tour that included a painting of Jesus and Carson together. Jesus is wearing a bathrobe and has a sort of Klingon head, as other commenters noted.

  268. says

    Ah, Nevada, you do seem to have more than your share of whacko politicians. Remember outlaw rancher Cliven Bundy, and his cast of supporters that included Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore?

    Well, Fiore is back in the news. After telling fellow legislators to, “sit your ass down and be quiet” when they objected to Fiore’s unconstitutional bill to support Bundy, Fiore went on to to proclaim that racism is over and therefore it was also okay for Nevada to pass voter ID laws.

    She followed that up with proclaiming, “If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, and we can put a pic line into your body and we’re flushing, let’s say, salt water, sodium cardonate [sic], through that line, and flushing out the fungus […]” That was part of her proposal to treat end-of-life patients.

    It is her questionable fungus-flushing ideas, along with other alternative medicine promotions, that have thrust her back in the news. Her home health care business has been terminated by the state Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance.

    It’s been a busy week for Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore (R).

    First, she filed as a Congressional candidate last Friday with the Federal Election Commission for the seat being left vacant by Republican Senate candidate Joe Heck […]

    On Monday, she released a “2016 Walk the Talk Second Amendment Calendar” featuring pictures of herself with large guns. […]

    And on Tuesday, she announced she had terminated her home health care business due to a “never-ending barrage of government red tape and regulations” […] Fiore blamed “the army of regulators, bureaucrats, and inspectors, followed by the ever-increasing array of taxes and fees.” […]

    Fiore, […] was selected Assembly Majority leader last year but was removed over allegations of more than $1 million in tax liens […]


  269. says

    If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

    That’s what Mitt Romney said in November 2008. Many conservatives agreed with him.

    John Boehner said, “Does anyone really believe that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington can successfully steer a multi-national corporation to economic viability?”

    By 2012, some conservatives had changed tack, claiming that credit for the rescue of the auto industry should go to George W. Bush, and to him alone. It is true that Bush approved an emergency bridge loan, but President Obama acted much more aggressively, including a bailout that involved owning 60% of General Motors.

    Obama saved between 2 and 4 million jobs, depending on whose analysis you accept. Cost savings to taxpayers were, in the end, between $40 and $105 billion (Center for Automotive Research figures).

    Some conservatives are still beating a dead horse, even as they run for president. Marco Rubio said:

    I don’t think that was the right way to handle it, but certainly our auto industry is important. Again, it was a problematic approach that the federal government took to doing it. But at the end of the day our industry has to be globally competitive. One of the things that makes them globally competitive … is having a workforce that can do the work and also having tax policies, regulatory policies that ensures that America continues to be a place where all industries thrive including the auto industry.

    Last month, U.S. auto sales posted the largest gains since 2011, and headed for record sales in 2015.

    […] GM said U.S. auto sales are on pace to end 2015 topping the 2000 record of 17.35 million vehicles sold, according to WardsAuto figures.

    At a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, October sales were 18.24 million vehicles, according to Autodata Corp, which is the highest October level since 2001, when automakers offered zero percent financing in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, the company said. […]

    U.S. October auto industry sales rose 13.6 percent from a year ago. […]

    Reuters link

    I think it is time we called the auto industry bailout a success, and it is time we gave President Obama credit. We can also acknowledge that big government acted responsibly, and that there were good reasons for government intervention in a capitalist market.

    GM said its sales rose 16 percent to 262,993 vehicles last month, marking its best October since 2004.

  270. says

    Oh snap. Republicans probably won’t be happy when they hear that Bernie Sanders thinks Hillary Clinton-on her worst day-is better than the GOP candidates running for the Republican nomination.


    Where does the GOP get their “outreach” people? I mean, they *know* they need to reach out to ethnic minorities, the youth crowd, and women, but they keep fucking it up. Recently, the executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum said the oversexualization of girls is one of the causes of male violence against women.

  271. says

    Tony @297. At least the GOP is consistent, consistently clueless. They get everything wrong. When it comes to women, gender and equal rights issues, Republicans get everything spectacularly wrong. When they have an opportunity to get something right, they say to themselves, “No, let’s make sure we retain our record of spectacular fuck ups.” It’s amazing.

    Here’s Jeb Bush responding to economic news that shows the unemployment rate is down to 5%:

    “He’s [Obama’s] saying that things are better. You know, look, it’s just not true. [The president must be “living in an alternative universe.”

    Republican candidates are also still pointing to Saint Ronny Raygun as the ultimate example of economic success. Unemployment did drop during Raygun’s reign, but never below 5.3%. Obama is more saintly, by Republican measures, with the 5% unemployment statistic.

  272. says

    Here’s how Ben Carson tried to prove that one of the fantasies he included in his autobiographical book was real:

    He used an article from 2002 to prove that a course called “Perception” was offered by Yale in the early 1970s.

    He published an excerpt from 1970 Yale Daily News article that discussed a hoax printed in a parody issue of the Yale News. He did this to claim that the hoax was not a hoax. The 1970 article says that “several,” students showed up for a makeup exam — they fell for a parody report, I guess.

    In Carson’s version, 500 students showed up, and the professor was there to give him, the only student who stayed to take the (fake) exam, $10 for being the most honest student. The 1970 article does not say that a professor, or any professors, participated in a hoax.

    If Carson did indeed take a hoax exam, it looks like the parody magazine duped him. And that’s the most charitable interpretation of events.

  273. says

    This is a follow up to comment 299, (and to earlier comments made about Ben Carson’s troubled relationship with reality: 154, 190, 198, 244, 259, 270, 282 from Tony, 286 and 294).

    Some of Carson’s rightwing supporters are so upset about the growing mound of fact-checking that they are pushing hard to find some positive stories that are real, stories that can be backed up with facts. One of the main funders of this effort is a notorious birther who has his own immunity to facts.

    A super PAC led by a prominent birther emailed supporters Sunday looking for positive stories of Ben Carson’s career while the retired neurosurgeon and presidential candidate is under intense scrutiny for false statements about his past.

    The Daily Caller reported on Monday that John Philip Sousa IV, a conservative activist who has promoted the conspiracy theory about President Obama’s birthplace, has been supporting Carson with a PAC called The 2016 Committee. […]

    Sousa’s email subject line was, “Are you a former patient of Dr. Carson?”

    The body of the email asked for previous patients who were willing to appear in a pro-Carson video or ad.

    “The liberal media and powerful political establishment are doing everything they can to undermine Dr. Carson’s integrity,” Sousa wrote, according to the report. “They take innocent comments and misrepresent or misinterpret them; then claim Ben Carson isn’t honest. It’s preposterous. But we’re committed to staying positive and telling America about the ways Dr. Carson has saved lives.”

  274. says

    More rightwing whackos defend Ben Carson:

    Fox News host Todd Starnes called the media scrutiny around the life and memoirs of Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson a “lynching” on Monday.

    “The mainstream media’s political hit job on Dr. Ben Carson is nothing short of a journalistic lynching, strung up with rumors and innuendos and flat-out lies,” Starnes said in a video posted to the Fox News website. “It is further evidence of the mainstream media’s appalling behavior towards black conservatives.” […]

    Dude, I thought you Faux News hosts were adamantly against “playing the race card.”

  275. says

    Thanks to all-around dunderhead, Governor Scott Walker, starting today some Wisconsin residents will be subjected to drug testing when they apply for food stamps, unemployment benefits, job training, and a few other programs.

    Similar testing requirements, like those in Florida, have been shown to be ineffective, wasteful, and demeaning to people in need of welfare programs. In Florida, for example, the number of people who tested positive for drugs was so small you couldn’t see it on a graph. The state ended up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for that boondoggle.

    Gov. Scott Walker (R) paved the way for the drug testing when he signed a budget in July that included a provision requiring it. But the drug testing program is likely to face significant challenges. Seven states currently screen and drug test applicants to their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs, or welfare, because they have wide leeway over how they design and run those programs. The rules for food stamps, on the other hand, are set by the federal government. When other states have tried to drug test applicants for food stamps, the federal government has blocked them.

    To try to get around this issue, Walker’s administration has sued the government, arguing that people on food stamps “are ‘welfare recipients’” and therefore fall under the states’ purview to run welfare programs.

    Another issue could crop up in the way the state screens the applicants. When Walker approved the budget with the drug testing requirement, he removed a provision that would have limited the tests to only those with “reasonable suspicion” of drug use. He said at the time that the administration shouldn’t be limited in who it wants to screen. Without some burden of proving suspicion first, however, the state could run into the constitutional issues that led to the end of Florida’s welfare drug testing law, which blanket tested all applicants. […]

  276. says

    Views from the ragged far edge of the rightwing:

    Vision America’s Rick Scarborough spoke at a “Prayer For Our Warriors Conference” at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Arizona recently, where he reiterated his view that AIDS is God’s judgment for sin and declared that we’d probably be able to find a cure for the disease if this nation would simply repent for tolerating homosexuality. […]


    At this weekend’s National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, which featured GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, conservative radio host Steve Deace revealed that a Republican presidential candidate had dropped out of the summit after learning of the extremism of the conference’s organizer, Kevin Swanson. […]

    […] Swanson’s support for the death penalty for gay people and his blaming of natural disasters in his home state of Colorado on such affronts to God as gay people marrying and feminist women who wear pants. […]


    Not too extreme for Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal.

  277. says

    This is a followup to the second part of comment 303, in which Kevin Swanson was mentioned. Yes, Swanson is an extremist. His speech that closed the conference where Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal spoke included this:

    “America, repent that Dumbledore emerged as a homosexual mentor for Harry Potter, that Hiccup’s mentor in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ emerged as a homosexual himself in order that history might repeat itself one more time, in order that little six- and seven- and eight-year-olds might stumble, in order that tens of millions of parents, it would be better that a millstone be hanged around their neck and they be drowned at the bottom of the sea than that there would be so many people stumbling so many children in public schools, in movie theaters, in homes in which children are raised to be stumbled by the Dumbledores and by the mentors of Hiccup in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’!” […]


  278. says

    Rachel Maddow featured a speech by Chris Christie in which Christie made a lot of sense when talking about treating drug addiction. The Christie bit starts at about the 6:30 mark in this 16-minute video. Christie makes a powerful argument for not incarcerating drug addicts.

    Meanwhile, Rand Paul said this stupid stuff: “People always come up to me and say, ‘We got heroin problems and all these other problems.’ You know what? If you work all day long, you don’t have time to do heroin.”

    Ben Carson said this stupid stuff: “Usually, addictions occur in people who are vulnerable, who are lacking something in their lives. And so we have to really start asking ourselves, what have we taken out of our lives in America? What are some of those values and principles that allowed us to ascend the latter of success so rapidly to the very pinnacle of the world and the highest pinnacle anyone else had ever reached?

    “And why are we in the process of throwing away all of our values and principles for the sake of political correctness?”

    In an interview with Glenn Beck, Carson, when asked if he would continue the war on drugs, said, “Absolutely. I would intensify it.”