Sep 11 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #853

ON THE RECORD ….

“As thousands of commuters were stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge during lane closures apparently ordered by  Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) aides as political payback, Lt. Thomas Michaels, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police lieutenant with ties to Christie was eating breakfast with David Wildstein, the executive who ordered the closures.” — AP. 9/04/14

“Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand. I know that is stark. I know that is direct. But that is reality. What Republican Tea Party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back. It is not going to happen on our watch.” — DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz comparing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) policies to acts of domestic violence against women. 9/03/14

“The Kentucky senator is trying to tell us he’s not an isolationist. That dog won’t hunt.” — Rick Santorum mocking Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as a flip-flopper on U.S. military action against ISIS. 9/05/14

“That’s too idiotic for a response.” — James Carville about Fox News host and pundit Andrea Tantaros who said she thinks President Obama may be going easy on the terror group ISIS because he has “anti-American” views. 9/05/14

“It is extremely likely [defined as 95-100% certainty] that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic [human-caused] increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.” —Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report 9/04/14

“Taking advice from Dick Cheney on foreign policy? That’s a terrifying prospect. We should be learning from our past mistakes, not repeating them.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, reflecting the view of most Americans who now see the invasion of Iraq as a virtually unprecedented blunder, rivaled only by the extraordinary mistake of trying to seize control of Canada in 1812. 9/10/14

FROM THE RIGHT …..

“If we can’t build a fence high enough… we ought to go to China and see how they built a wall.” —Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) on illegal immigration. 9/07/14

“You need to respect the autonomy of somebody running their business. It’s like smoking bans. Do you ban smoking or do people have the right to private property? I think people have the right to private property. In public spaces, absolutely, we can have smoking bans. But we don’t want to micromanage people’s lives and businesses. If you have a business, do you want the government to come in and tell you you need to hire somebody? Why should government be there to impose on the freedoms we enjoy?” — NC House Republican Robert Pittenger comparing the right to fire LGBT workers to the right to smoke cigarettes on private property. 9/08/14

” Don’t believe this stuff. Distortions are how some people make a living. Stewart’s going for the laugh. He doesn’t really care if it’s true or not.” — Bill O’Reilly unintentionally describing Fox News and The O’Reilly Factor. 9/04/14

“The statements and actions of Obama and his cohorts suggest the likelihood that, in the strategy he is pursuing, the enemy is not ISIS, but the life and liberty of the people of the United States.”–Alan Keyes. 9/05/14

“As uncomfortable for them as it may be, they must come to grips with the fact that Obama is a well-placed saboteur representing malignant interests, enemies both foreign and domestic, that have been strategizing the downfall of the United States for decades.” — Eric Rush in World News Daily. 9/04/14

“ISIS could cut off the heads of journalists once a month for the next five years and that’s not going to destroy America, but Obama’s pumping of illegal immigrants into the country will,” — William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) 9/09/14

 

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. Andy Borowitz: Growing Pressure on Obama to Do Something Stupid
2. The DAILY GRILL
3. 50 Richest Members of Congress
4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
5. Late Night Jokes for Dems
6. The Daily Show: No Country For Little Kids
7. Obama Outperforms Reagan On Jobs, Growth And Investing
8. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The Presidential Painsuit
9. What Could Go Wrong? This.
10. Stephen Colbert: Gays In The St Patrick’s Day Parade
11. Congress Approval At 14% Two Months Before Elections

OPINION

1. Jonathan Chait: Ted Cruz’s Obamacare Nightmare Comes to Life
2. Nico Hines: Did Vladimir Putin Just Save NATO?
3. Jeffrey Goldberg: Obama’s Stronger on Terror Than He Sounds
4. E.J. Dionne: Obama Beyond the Sound Bite
5. David Remnick: World-Weary
6. Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Bernie Sanders: The Threat to American Democracy
7. Sahil Kapur: GOP’s Obamacare Nightmare Is Coming True: It’s Working
8. The Nation Editors: Mitch McConnell’s 47% Moment
9. James Carville: GOP’s Benghazi meter does not read victory

 

1. Andy Borowitz: Growing Pressure on Obama to Do Something Stupid

Arguing that his motto “Don’t do stupid stuff” is not a coherent foreign policy, critics of President Obama are pressuring him to do something stupid without further delay.

“Instead of reacting to events with the haste and recklessness they deserve, the President has chosen to waste valuable time thinking,” McCain said. “This goes against the most fundamental principles of American foreign policy.”

In his most withering criticism, McCain called Obama’s “stubborn refusal to do stupid stuff” a failure of leadership. “If I were President, you can bet your bottom dollar I would have done plenty of stupid stuff by now,” he said.

ELSEWHERE: Cheney Says Iraq Would Be Stable If He Were Still President

Harshly criticizing the current occupant of the White House, Dick Cheney told reporters on Wednesday, “Iraq would be stable today if I were still President.”

“ISIS is a problem that President Obama has made possible,” Cheney said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. “I never would have let that happen when I was Commander-in-Chief.”

Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

2. The DAILY GRILL

“I said, as a matter of fact, ‘Did you know that Civil Rights legislation was passed by Republicans? It was passed by a Republican Senate under the threat of a filibuster by the Democrats. Oh, I didn’t know that.’ And then I said, ‘Did you know that every member of the Ku Klux Klan were Democrats from the South?’ ‘Oh I didn’t know that.’ You know, they need to be educated.” — Raphael Cruz, father of Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. 9/03/14

VERSUS

“What is almost laughable is that this ignorant old man stood up in front of an audience who, no doubt, knew full well that he was the one who is ignorant of what really happened in the south… the exodus of the racist Democrats out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party over a decade, after they realized that their Democratic Party was showing strong signs of NOT being racist anymore like they were.” — Lucinda in the Topeka Capital-Journal 9/03/14

 

In “13 Hours,” the commandos, who were guarding the CIA annex in Benghazi, claim that the base chief told them to “stand down” and refrain from rescuing Ambassador Stevens despite a call for help from a diplomatic mission security officer. — TPM 9/09/14

VERSUS

The Intelligence Committee found that nobody gave a “stand down” order – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee reiterated on Fox News that the commander merely paused to gain better knowledge of the situation. The congressman suggested that the lawyers for the five commandos who wrote the new account of the Benghazi attack were just trying to make money off of the scandal. — TPM 9/09/14

3. 50 Richest Members of Congress

Although Republicans took the top two spots this year, Democrats filled out the rest of the top 10. Fifteen were senators, 35 are representatives. And the list is dominated by veteran members such as seven-term Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the wealthiest lawmaker, whose car-alarm fortune and high-yield bonds drove his net worth to more than $357 million and earned him the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile, the median household net worth in the United States stood at $68,828 in 2011, with 69 percent of households holding some form of debt, according to the most recent U.S. Census statistics. 9/07/14 Read more at http://blogs.rollcall.com/hill-blotter/richest-members-of-congress-2014/

For a list of the wealthiest lawmakers with breakdowns of their assets and liabilities see http://media.cq.com/50Richest/

4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

NRA’s Ted Nugent: Fire “Two To The Head” Against “Allahpuke Zombies” Who Will Attack On 9/11 Anniversaryhttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/04/nras-ted-nugent-fire-two-to-the-head-against-al/200649

Limbaugh Guest Host Erick Erickson: Minimum Wage Workers Are “Mostly People Who Failed At Life”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/04/limbaugh-guest-host-erick-erickson-minimum-wage/200647

Fox Host Says Obama Is “Tipping His Hat” To ISIS By Calling Them ISILhttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/04/fox-host-says-obama-is-tipping-his-hat-to-isis/200644

Bill O’Reilly Continues To Insist White Privilege Doesn’t Exist Because Asian-Americans Are Successfulhttp://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/03/bill-oreilly-continues-to-insist-white-privileg/200639

Laura Ingraham Tells Radio Listeners That Obama Considers Them, Not Islamic State, The “True Enemy”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/08/29/laura-ingraham-tells-radio-listeners-that-obama/200596

Fox News Provides Rand Paul A Platform To Fabricate Quotes From Hillary Clintonhttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/05/fox-news-provides-rand-paul-a-platform-to-fabri/200664

Conservative Media Echo Spurious Report On Threat Of Islamic State Terrorists Crossing U.S.-Mexico Borderhttp://mediamatters.org/research/2014/09/05/conservative-media-echo-spurious-report-on-thre/200660

Fox’s Erick Erickson: Obama Wants To Put “Pregnant Female Soldiers On The Front Lines”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/05/foxs-erick-erickson-obama-wants-to-put-pregnant/200658

Bill O’Reilly Revives Myth That “You Can Make More Money … Going On The Dole Than You Can By Working”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/05/bill-oreilly-revives-myth-that-you-can-make-mor/200668

Newt Gingrich Blasts Obama As “Cowardly” For Not Taking Immigration Action He Deemed “Unconstitutional”http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/07/newt-gingrich-blasts-obama-as-cowardly-for-not/200675

Fox Host: Obama’s Reaction To Terrorist Threat Shows That “He’s Got Mental Problems”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/09/fox-host-obamas-reaction-to-terrorist-threat-sh/200698

5. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“Apple plans to launch a mobile wallet to replace credit cards. That’s good because if there’s one company you want to trust with your money, it’s the company that leaked your nude photos.” –Conan O’Brien

“President Obama is back on the job, and he’s visiting Estonia. He said he wanted to be there before Russian tanks rolled in.” –David Letterman

“Vladimir Putin said today he hopes to have a Ukrainian peace deal by Friday. He’s reached out the olive branch. And if there’s no peace deal by Friday, Putin said, ‘I will crush Ukraine like bug under boot.'” –Craig Ferguson

“President Obama shows up at a press conference and he’s wearing a beige suit. Well, this drives the Republicans crazy. It’s nothing but, ‘How could he?’ and ‘What’s he trying to pull?’ Republicans would just rather have a beige President.” –David Letterman]

“Folks, I do not have to tell you that the world out there is spinning out of control. The Middle East is in flames. Russian troops have crossed into Ukraine. But the biggest news this weekend was the shocking invasion of Boob-istan.” –Stephen Colbert on the celebrity nude photo scandal

“Republicans have a video game for the kids. You have an elephant on your video game and it tries to accumulate seats in the Senate. It’s not the first. Remember George w. bush had a video game back in 2000 — Grand Theft Election.” –David Letterman

“Race is there; it exists. You’re tired of hearing about it?… Imagine how f*cking exhausting it is living it.” -Jon Stewart on Fox News’s coverage of Ferguson

6. The Daily Show: No Country For Little Kids

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/r7zfin/no-country-for-little-kids

7. Obama Outperforms Reagan On Jobs, Growth And Investing

Economically, President Obama’s administration has outperformed President Reagan’s in all commonly watched categories.  Simultaneously the current administration has reduced the deficit, which skyrocketed under Reagan.  Additionally, Obama has reduced federal employment, which grew under Reagan (especially when including military personnel,) and truly delivered a “smaller government.”  Additionally, the current administration has kept inflation low, even during extreme international upheaval, failure of foreign economies (Greece) and a dramatic slowdown in the European economy. 9/05/14 Read more athttp://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2014/09/05/obama-outperforms-reagan-on-jobs-growth-and-investing/

8. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The Presidential Painsuit

http://vimeo.com/105209510

9. What Could Go Wrong? This.

There’s a game most of us play. It’s called “What Could Go Wrong?!” You know, like I’m going to hand my nine year old an automatic weapon – “What Could Go Wrong?!” Or, why not go bare-headed and drive a motorcycle really fast? “What Could Go Wrong?!” Then there is the always present, Why don’t we build a giant mine at the headwaters of the largest sockeye salmon fishing run in the entire world? “What Could Go Wrong?”

Many Alaskans have asked this question over the last decade regarding the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. When the state government seemed to answer, “Nothing could go wrong,” tribes, fishermen and environmental groups pleaded with the Environmental Protection Agency to study and report.

I attended the EPA hearing held in Anchorage a few weeks ago. “What could go wrong?” had indeed gone terribly wrong at the Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia just last month. A breach in the dam had dumped millions of cubic feet of toxic waste into a tributary of the Fraser River – a salmon bearing river. In a stroke of irony, the town closest to the impact zone is named Likely. The experts have said the damage done is irreversible. That means it’s a waiting game to see if any fish at all return to, or survive the toxic soup.

Oh, and here’s a real shocker – engineers Knight Piesold are saying it’s not their fault because they aren’t working for that mine anymore. Oops. Sorry about your bad luck. — Shannyn Moore 8/31/14 Read more at http://www.themudflats.net/archives/44233

10. Stephen Colbert: Gays In The St Patrick’s Day Parade

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/lo5wee/gays-in-the-st–patrick-s-day-parade

11. Congress Approval At 14% Two Months Before Elections

With less than two months to go before the midterm congressional elections, 14% of Americans approve of how Congress is handling its job. This rating is one of the lowest Gallup has measured in the fall before a midterm election since 1974. 9/08/14 Read more at http://www.gallup.com/poll/175676/congress-approval-sits-two-months-elections.aspx

 

1. Jonathan Chait: Ted Cruz’s Obamacare Nightmare Comes to Life

In the summer of 2013, with the Affordable Care Act about to begin enrolling its first customers in the new health-care exchanges, Ted Cruz warned Republicans that they were facing one final chance to kill the law. Once Americans had grown accustomed to the sweet comfort of affordable health insurance, Cruz foresaw, they would never give it up: “[Obama’s] strategy is to get as many Americans as possible hooked on the subsidies, addicted to the sugar. If we get to Jan. 1, this thing is here forever.”

Cruz may have been completely misguided in his belief that this logic dictated that Republicans instigate a government shutdown, but on the political economy of Obamacare, he was completely right. Indications of Cruz’s prescience are popping up everywhere.

The Republican crusade against Obamacare is not ending; rather, it is shrinking and mutating. The party base will demand a presidential nominee who promises to repeal the hated law, just as it did in 2012. But the next Republican candidate will be running in an environment where repealing the law would create millions and millions of now-identifiable victims. Since the start of the year, Obamacare has gone from a weakness Republicans were salivating at the chance to exploit to an issue they no longer want to talk about. Two years from now, matters could be worse still. 9/09/14 Read more at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/09/ted-cruzs-obamacare-nightmare-comes-to-life.html

2. Nico Hines: Did Vladimir Putin Just Save NATO?

Vladimir Putin is gripped by a deep hatred of NATO, an alliance he believes is hell-bent on belittling Russia. As he sits in the Kremlin plotting its destruction, however, his clumsy foreign policy maneuvers have achieved precisely the opposite effect.

After two decades of dwindling influence, NATO is refreshed and energized by the growing threat on its eastern flank. European member states, who neglected their commitments and watched from the sidelines as the United States kept the alliance on life support, have suddenly rediscovered the value of NATO’s collective strength.

Jeffrey Donaldson, a member of Britain’s Parliamentary Defense Select Committee, said Britain and the United States were urging their European allies to match their newfound enthusiasm for NATO with increases in their military contributions.

“There’s no doubt that people took their eye off the ball in the post-Cold War era and felt that the need for defense spending had diminished,” he said. “The renewed Russian threat in Eastern Europe has given NATO a new focus on ensuring that we have the capacity to deal with military aggression. We need to develop a policy where our security approach matches our political approach.”

The Baltic states have agreed to increase their military spending in line with their NATO commitments, but major economies like Germany have no intention of upping their defense expenditure. Putin may have just guaranteed a new era of NATO relevance, but there is no imminent prospect of Europe picking up its half of the tab. 9/04/14 Read more athttp://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/04/did-vladimir-putin-just-save-nato.html

3. Jeffrey Goldberg: Obama’s Stronger on Terror Than He Sounds

Yes, it is disconcerting to hear a president say that he possesses no strategy against a not entirely new threat, but it would have been more disconcerting to have heard him lie about the existence of a strategy.

The reason I am sympathetic to his predicament has to do with an 11-year-old memo I keep taped to the wall of my office. It is from Donald Rumsfeld, the former secretary of defense, to Douglas Feith, then undersecretary of defense for policy. It is dated April 7, 2003 — shortly before Rumsfeld’s mission in Iraq was so awesomely accomplished. The brief memo’s subject line reads, “Issues w/Various Countries.” It opens, “We need more coercive diplomacy with respect to Syria and Libya, and we need it fast. If they mess up Iraq, it will delay bringing our troops home.” Rumsfeld continues, “We also need to solve the Pakistan problem. And Korea doesn’t seem to be going well. Are you coming up with proposals for me to send around?”

I think it is sufficient to say that policy should not be made by memos written in a Holly Golightly, “Hey, what’s up with Korea, anyway?” style while a war is already underway. I’d rather see a sober, serious and, yes, deliberative, approach to the Islamic State challenge, than to one day read memos like this from inside the Obama administration. Islamic State poses a threat of currently indeterminate seriousness to the U.S. It poses a more urgent threat to moderate Arab states, and also to Europe. The U.S. must build a coalition to combat and neutralize the Islamic State threat — and I believe that Obama knows that this is what must be done — but there is still time to plan, and to think through the consequences of our actions. 9/03/14 Read more athttp://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-09-03/obama-s-stronger-on-terror-than-he-sounds

4. E.J. Dionne: Obama Beyond the Sound Bite

The president’s critics at home should also step back. They should stop pretending that careful, deliberate planning is a grievous sin and acknowledge the high costs of impulsive action. Obama is right to put in the effort to rally Sunni Muslim states to join the fight against the Islamic State. The struggle against brutal extremism will fail if it’s perceived as part of an inter-religious war that pits Sunnis against Shiites.

Obama’s comments in Estonia on Wednesday suggested he’s been listening to his critics. He made very clear at a news conference that it “is going to take time for us to be able to form the regional coalition that’s going to be required so that we can reach out to Sunni tribes in some of the areas that ISIS [the Islamic State] has occupied, and make sure that we have allies on the ground in combination with the airstrikes that we’ve already conducted.” He was also clear about the United States taking leadership. “We are organizing the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world along with the international community,” he said, “to isolate this cancer.”

Americans face a test of whether we can have a rational debate about our role in the world that involves more than throwing sound bites in the president’s face. Obama’s own test is to acknowledge the reality that, like it or not, many nations are looking to him — and to us — to offer a coherent path away from this “epidemic of world lawlessness.”

Doing so will be no easier for this president than it was for FDR. 9/04/14 Read more at  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/09/04/obama_beyond_the_sound_bite_123855.html

5. David Remnick: World-Weary

Unchastened by their many past misjudgments, John McCain and Lindsey Graham go on proposing escalations, aggressions, and regime changes. Rand Paul, who will likely run for President as a stay-at-home Republican, went to Guatemala recently and performed eye surgeries as a means of displaying his foreign-policy bona fides. Was Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s ophthalmologist-in-chief, impressed?

Chris Christie insists on the efficacy of big men and tough talk—the Great Jersey Guy theory of history. Recently, he suggested that Vladimir Putin would not dare sponsor the bloody destabilization of Ukraine were Christie in charge. “I don’t believe, given who I am, that he would make the same judgment,” Christie said at a meeting of Republican activists. “Let’s leave it at that.” Christie is trying to bone up on world affairs by reading Kenneth Adelman’s book on Ronald Reagan. Adelman was the cheerful adviser to Donald Rumsfeld who insisted that the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in 2003, would be a “cakewalk.” Rick Perry, another 2016 hopeful, took a more parochial view of the geostrategic crisis when he suggested that Obama had blithely overlooked the “very real possibility” that the black-hooded executioners from the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham had already infiltrated the United States by way of the Mexican border. (According to Michael Barbaro, of the Times, this piece of intelligence elicited “eye rolls” from Pentagon officials.)

Obama’s foreign policy lacks the snarl and the swagger that Obama’s domestic rivals yearn for. But, halfway through this President’s second term, negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have, at last, a realistic chance for success. Russia’s recent aggressions in eastern Ukraine may end in an uneasy truce. The gains have been unshowy and incremental. But when your aim is to conduct a responsive and responsible foreign policy, the avoidance of stupid things is often the avoidance of bloodshed and unforeseen strife. History suggests that it is not a mantra to be derided or dismissed. 9/15/14 Read more athttp://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/15/world-weary

6. Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Bernie Sanders: The Threat to American Democracy

In 2010, the Supreme Court issued a disastrous 5-4 opinion striking down major parts of a 2002 campaign-finance reform law in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This case and subsequent rulings, including McCutcheon v. FEC, have led to the explosion of outside money in elections through so-called super PACs. In the 2012 election, we quickly saw the results — 32 major super PAC donors combined to give more money than the millions of ordinary Americans who donated less than $200 each to Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. More than 60 percent of all super PAC funds came from just 159 donors, each of whom gave more than $1 million.

Even more worrisome is the explosion of “dark money” — dollars spent by groups that do not have to disclose their funding sources. The 2012 election saw almost $300 million in dark money spending, and the 2014 election could potentially see as much as $1 billion.

No single issue is more important to the needs of average Americans. If we cannot control billionaires’ power to buy elections, the people elected to office will be responsive to the needs of the rich and powerful, rather than the needs of everyone else.

When the Supreme Court says, for purposes of the First Amendment, that corporations are people, that writing checks from the company’s bank account is constitutionally protected speech and that attempts to impose reasonable restrictions on campaign ads are unconstitutional, our democracy is in grave danger. 9/07/14 Read more at http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/09/the-threat-to-american-democracy-110683.html

7. Sahil Kapur: GOP’s Obamacare Nightmare Is Coming True: It’s Working

For Republicans, the Obamacare reckoning has arrived sooner than expected.

The politics of the health care law have undergone a sea change since its disastrous rollout last fall, when many conservative operatives were salivating at the prospect of a GOP wave in the midterm elections due to an Obamacare “train wreck.”

But the train never wrecked. The law rebounded, surpassing its signups goal and withstanding a flurry of attacks. The issue seems to have mostly lost its power as a weapon against Democrats, and a growing number of Republican governors — even in conservative states — are warming to a core component of Obamacare, the Medicaid expansion.

Two decades later Obamacare has provided a lifeline by providing coverage to 8 million people on the exchanges, 7 million under Medicaid expansion and 5 million who bought insurance outside the exchanges but benefit from new regulations like the coverage guarantee for individuals with preexisting conditions. Even Republicans in deeply conservative states are suggesting that the popular new benefits cannot be taken away, even if the Obamacare brand still struggles. 9/08/14 Read more athttp://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/obamacare-is-working

8. The Nation Editors: Mitch McConnell’s 47% Moment

Many political bookies have tipped the Republican Party to win the Senate in November. This scenario raises a vexing question: Just what will Mitch McConnell do if, instead of opposing and undermining, he must actually govern? In late August, The Nation and the YouTube channel The Undercurrent released an audiotape of McConnell addressing a private strategy session of millionaire and billionaire Republican donors convened in June by the notorious Koch brothers. His comments there, which some have compared to Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” gaffe, are revealing.

McConnell begins by paying tribute to his patrons, thanking the Kochs “for the important work you’re doing” and for “rallying…to the cause.” What is this cause? Putting Americans to work? Rebuilding the middle class? Unleashing free-market answers to catastrophic climate change?

No, even when faced with the prospect of Senate control, McConnell can’t seem to articulate a positive agenda—he envisions only more obstruction. As majority leader, he promises, “we’re not going to be debating all these gosh-darn proposals….All we do in the Senate [now],” he complains, “is vote on things like raising the minimum wage…extending unemployment…. The student loan package the other day,” he continues, ”that’s just going to make things worse.”

McConnell also tells the mega-donors that with Republicans in the majority, he intends to push back “against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or that.” So what parts of government would McConnell starve? Big Oil? The Pentagon? No, McConnell pledges “to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board.” Remember the difference, McConnell tells the fat cats arrayed before him: “Democrats are the party of government,” and Republicans are “the party of the private sector.” 9/03/14 Read more athttp://www.thenation.com/article/181475/mitch-mcconnells-47-moment

9. James Carville: GOP’s Benghazi meter does not read victory

Team GOP has been gearing up for its biggest game of the season next week, when the House Select Committee on Benghazi will hold its first hearing. But with seconds left on the clock, Team GOP has a full 99 yards to go.

The truth has been revealed over and over again, and all of the questions have been answered. No matter how hard they try, they can’t beat the facts.

Reports from the three investigations that have taken place — the Accountability Review Board, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Oversight Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — have all blocked Team GOP’s goal. Just last month, we heard the results from the fourth bipartisan investigation, from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which reportedly confirmed there was no deliberate wrongdoing there.

All of these reports have debunked the GOP’s favorite play: that Clinton, as secretary of State, issued a “stand-down order” to U.S. military personnel on the night of the attack. Even the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee Report confirmed that Clinton did not issue any such order.

But Team GOP keeps trying this same play. Just this week, with the release of the new book, 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, I have seen countless conservative news sites, politicians, and newsmakers claim victory at last.

This latest book, constructed from firsthand accounts, has all but put a fork in Team GOP’s hopes to defeat Clinton. The book alleges that a “stand-down order” was given … and once again, Hillary Clinton isn’t anywhere near it, deflating the one remaining conspiracy theory Hail Mary they had.

First of all, the secretary of State did not have control over our country’s military assets on that tragic night, or any other for that matter. Second, while Issa said “Secretary Clinton told Leon [Panetta, then secretary of Defense] to stand down,” this paints a different picture. The work of the Accountability Review Board, the Homeland Security and Government Oversight Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence all lead to the simple fact that Clinton did not issue a “stand down order.”

As the final seconds of the Benghazi Bowl tick off the clock, Team GOP has fumbled the ball in its own end zone. 09/09/14 Read more at  http://thehill.com/opinion/james-carville/217201-carville-gops-benghazi-meter-does-not-read-victory

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