Dec 11 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #865

ON THE RECORD ….

“Can’t Ebola just take one for the team and take out Obama?” — Angela Box, a third-grade teacher in west Houston was hopeful President Obama would catch Ebola. 12/05/14

President Obama “has long since concluded that pursuing dreams of reconciliation in his final two years in office is a fool’s chase. So he is offering an alternative model for 21st-century presidential success. It does not hinge on job approval ratings… His current approach does not depend on bipartisan deal making or good cheer… It does not even turn on protecting the political interests of his party… It turns, instead, on advancing the major policy goals that Mr. Obama embraced as a candidate. Through that prism, he continues to make progress.”– Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire 12/07/14

“The presentation also noted that the President of the United States had directed that he not be informed of the locations of the CIA detention facilities to ensure that he would not accidentally disclose the information.” —A curious note in the Senate’s report on torture pertaining to President George W. Bush.12/09/14

torture4“The United States of America is awesome, we are awesome. We’ve closed the book on it (torture), and we’ve stopped doing it. And the reason they want to have this discussion is not to show how awesome we are. This administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we’re not awesome.” — Fox New’s Andrea Tantaros, concluding that the Obama administration are “fools.” 12/09/14

“As far as I can tell, we are here today to beat up on Jonathan Gruber for his stupid — and I mean absolutely stupid — comments. But worst of all, Dr. Gruber’s statements gave Republicans a public relations gift in their relentless political campaign to tear down the ACA.” — Rep. Eliha Cummings (D-MD) at the House Oversight Committee meeting. 12/09/14

‘Grubergate also reminds us, once again, of the sad state of political debate in America today. The Gruber video snippets were dug up by opposition researchers who pushed them to cable TV producers, who would rather smear the Affordable Care Act than report on how the law has provided secure, affordable coverage to more than 15 million Americans and significantly reduced the rate of increase in premiums and healthcare costs.” — Theda Skocpol in the LA Times12/10/14

“The refusal to provide the full Panetta Review and the refusal to acknowledge facts detailed in both the committee study and the Panetta Review lead to one disturbing finding: Director Brennan and the CIA today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture.” — Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), calling for the current CIA director’s resignation. 12/10/14

“We don’t grapple with that here.” — Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) dismissing income inequality as a non-issue for Texans. 12/10/14

“She is one of the most conscientious and competent people I have ever met. She has an enormous capacity to analyze and solve problems. She has a work ethic that drives her to persist until the job is done and done right. And she has a record in the Senate of successfully working with both sides of our very combative political spectrum in order to accomplish goals that improve the lives of ordinary Americans … If I have the opportunity, I will cast my vote for Hillary Clinton for President.” — Howard Dean 12/10/14 

“In 2003, a public statement by the White House that prisoners in US custody are treated ‘humanely’ caused the CIA to question whether there was continued policy support for the program and seek reauthorization from the White House. When it heard the word “humanely,” in other words, the Agency was not sure it knew what the President was talking about. It may no longer have recognized itself. — Amy Davidson in the New Yorker 12/09/14

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. 20 key findings about CIA interrogations

2. Stephen Colbert: President Barack Obama – to health in a handbasket

3. The DAILY GRILL

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

5. Late Night Jokes for Dems

6. The Borowitz Report: Cheney Calls for International Ban on Torture Reports

7. Politics Nation Cold Open – Saturday Night Live

8. Public Perception Wrong About Key Obama Issue

9. Fox News vs Healthy School Lunches

10. Hispanic approval of President Obama surges following immigration announcement

11. SNL Cold Open: A Drink at the White House

12. CIA contracted with torture instructors for $180 million and paid them $81 million

13. We Are the Most Unequal Society in the Developed World… And We Don’t Know It

OPINION

1. Dianne Feinstein: Torture occurred, and we must own up to our actions

2. Doyle McManus: Torture remains a political football

3. LA Times Editorial: Torture report: Our post-9/11 shame, in stomach-turning detail

4. David Cole: Taking Responsibility for Torture

5. Mark Fallon: Dick Cheney Was Lying About Torture

6. Paul Rosenberg: Now they’re trying to steal 2016: The demented GOP schemes to rewire the Electoral College and elect a Tea Party president

7. Laura Kipnis: A Deformed Woman: Hillary Clinton and the Men Who Hate Her

8. Ed Kilgore: It’s Time For Democrats To Stop Agonizing Over The South

1. 20 key findings about CIA interrogations

Almost 13 years after the CIA established secret prisons to hold and interrogate detainees, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the CIA’s programs listing 20 key findings. For a summary of the findings go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/cia-interrogation-report/key-findings/

2. Stephen Colbert: President Barack Obama – to health in a handbasket

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/88p9oh/the-word—president-barack-obama—to-health-in-a-handbasket

3. The DAILY GRILL

“Those who served us in aftermath of 9/11 deserve our thanks, not a one sided partisan Senate report that now places American lives in danger. — Marco Rubio @marcorubio 12/09/14

VERSUS

“Our enemies act without conscience. We must not. This executive summary of the Committee’s report makes clear that acting without conscience isn’t necessary, it isn’t even helpful, in winning this strange and long war we’re fighting. We should be grateful to have that truth affirmed.” — Sen. John McCain’s floor statement about the newly released CIA torture report 12/09/14

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

Conservative Media’s Celebration Of Torture http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/12/09/conservative-medias-celebration-of-torture/201805

Rush Limbaugh Asks If President Obama, Not Torture, Is “A Stain On Our Nation’s Honor” http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/09/rush-limbaugh-asks-if-president-obama-not-tortu/201814

Fox Hosts: Torture Report Was Released To Distract From Obamacare http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/09/fox-hosts-torture-report-was-released-to-distra/201811

Limbaugh: Torture Report Released Today “By Design” To “Dwarf” Gruber’s Obamacare Testimony http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/09/limbaugh-torture-report-released-today-by-desig/201817

Sean Hannity Finds A Way To Make Eric Garner’s Death About Benghazi http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/05/sean-hannity-finds-a-way-to-make-eric-garners-d/201783

Fox’s Tantaros Blames NYC Mayor For Eric Garner’s Death: “What’s Next, Chokeholds For Big Gulps?” http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/04/foxs-tantaros-blames-nyc-mayor-for-eric-garners/201774

Right-Wing Media Parrot Rand Paul’s Absurd Assertion That Cigarette Taxes Are To Blame For Eric Garner’s Death http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/12/05/right-wing-media-parrot-rand-pauls-absurd-asser/201775

Fox Resurrects ACA “Death Panels” Myth http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/04/fox-resurrects-aca-death-panels-myth/201773

5. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“There are reports that President Obama has finally found a nominee to replace Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. His nominee is named Ashton Carter. Which sounds less like a defense secretary and more like the member of a boy band.” –Jimmy Fallon

“The rain is giving much needed relief to California’s crops. By that I mean ‘marijuana.'” -Craig Ferguson

“In Washington, the U.S. House passed a bill unanimously. Every single member of both parties voted for it. What was it? To deny Social Security benefits to Nazis. So from now on, no SS for the SS.” –Craig Ferguson

“The acting director of the Secret Service, Joseph Clancy, said they may make the fence around the White House taller because of the recent security failures. When asked if he had any other ideas, he said, ‘Uh, make the sidewalk lower?'” –Jimmy Fallon

6. The Borowitz Report: Cheney Calls for International Ban on Torture Reports

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney on Tuesday called upon the nations of the world to “once and for all ban the despicable and heinous practice of publishing torture reports.”

“Like many Americans, I was shocked and disgusted by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s publication of a torture report today,” Cheney said in a prepared statement.

“The transparency and honesty found in this report represent a gross violation of our nation’s values.”

“The publication of torture reports is a crime against all of us,” he added. “Not just those of us who have tortured in the past, but every one of us who might want to torture in the future.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/cheney-calls-international-ban-torture-reports

7. Politics Nation Cold Open – Saturday Night Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUQ5iZcPMgM

8. Public Perception Wrong About Key Obama Issue

“By 73 percent to 21 percent, the public says the federal budget deficit has gotten bigger during the Obama presidency. Here are the facts: In fiscal 2009, during the first year of Obama’s presidency, the deficit was $1.413 trillion. In the current fiscal year, the congressional budget office projects the deficit will be $469 billion, down from $483 billion in the budget year that ended Sept. 30. The deficit has been cut by two-thirds during Obama’s six years.” — Bloomberg Politics Poll 12/09/14 Read more at http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2014-12-09/perceptions-blur-reality-when-it-comes-to-obamas-key-issues

9. Fox News vs Healthy School Lunches

Fox reported that school nutrition standards mean “the lunch lady is now a health czar.”

Fox host Sean Hannity predicted that the healthy school lunch program will lead to a nanny state, asking if “every American family need[ed] a dietitian appointed by the government.” 

Rush Limbaugh claimed government will monitor citizens as part of the “obesity problem.” 

Fox’s John Stossel argued that nutrition standards will allow the government to “dictate” who citizens are allowed to marry. 

The Daily Signal, an online publication of the Heritage Foundation, attacked Obama’s initiative as an attempt to “co-parent to your children” and described the first lady as “the self-appointed First Parent of the United States.” 12/09/14 Read more at http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/12/09/how-conservative-medias-attacks-on-michelle-oba/201820

10. Hispanic approval of President Obama surges following immigration announcement

Emory University political science Prof. Alan Abramowitz noticed something in Gallup’s weekly assessment of President Obama’s approval numbers: His approval among Hispanics has shot up by 14 points over the past two weeks. It’s now at 68 percent — the highest it has been this year, and at a level last seen in early 2013. 12/01/14 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/12/01/hispanic-approval-of-president-obama-surges-following-immigration-announcement/

11. SNL Cold Open: A Drink at the White House

http://www.hulu.com/watch/714481

12. CIA contracted with torture instructors for $180 million and paid them $81 million

The agency contracted with two psychologists “to develop, operate, and assess its interrogation operations” for a $180 million fee in 2006; they were paid $81 million when the contract was terminated in 2009. Neither “had any experience as an interrogator, nor did either have specialized knowledge of al-Qa’ida, a background in counterterrorism, or any relevant cultural or linguistic expertise.” 12/10/14 Read morre at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/fivepoints/cia-torture-report-more-revelations

“The manager of Cobalt was recommended by the CIA Station in Afghanistan for $2,500 as a “cash award” for his “consistently superior work” four months after a terror suspect, Gul Rahman, died at the facility after being shackled to a cold cement wall.” — Forbes 12/09/14 Read more at http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2014/12/09/the-money-behind-the-cias-torture-program/

13. We Are the Most Unequal Society in the Developed World… And We Don’t Know It

When it comes to our ignorance of the pay gap, there are no blue states, no red states — only misinformed states of mind. We’re the Know-Nothings of inequality.

Most of us have no idea that our golden land of opportunity is the runaway leader among developed nations when it comes to inequality where, for every dollar earned by the average American worker, CEOs earned 354 dollars. This dubious distinction runs counter to American Dream that we’ve been indoctrinated with since birth. As a result, we reflexively think that America is epitome of democracy — the fairest most just and most upwardly mobile country in history. That makes it hard for us to account for why we are more unequal than all the other developed countries. 11/25/14 Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/les-leopold/we-are-the-most-unequal-s_b_6171230.html

1. Dianne Feinstein: Torture occurred, and we must own up to our actions

There has been a suggestion in recent days that now is not a good time to release a review prepared by the Senate Intelligence Committee of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. But is there ever a good time to admit our country tortured people?

In the wake of 9/11, we were desperate to bring those responsible for the brutal attacks to justice. But even that urgency did not justify torture. The United States must be held to a higher standard than our enemies, yet some of our actions did not clear that bar. It is time to publicly examine how that happened.

The administration has known for months that this document would become public and has been making every effort to safeguard U.S. personnel and interests abroad. But the bottom line is, torture occurred, and we must own up to our actions and move forward.

We’re not perfect and there are some dark patches in our past, but what makes us special is that we recognize these evils, we come to grips with them and we fix them.

President Obama took important steps by prohibiting secret CIA detention and torture in his first days in office, and he has declassified important details about this program.

This report is the next step toward enacting major reforms to ensure something like this never happens again. 12/10/14 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-feinstein-torture-report-20141209-story.html#page=1

torture62. Doyle McManus: Torture remains a political football

The catalog of horrors contained in Tuesday’s report from the Senate Intelligence Committee ought to settle one argument for good: Yes, the CIA did use torture on suspected terrorists in its secret detention program a decade ago.

Not convinced waterboarding is torture, even though the U.S. military considers it that? Then try sleep deprivation, which the State Department calls torture when it’s used by other countries. The CIA kept some detainees awake for 180 hours, the report notes, “at times with their hands shackled above their heads.” Still not enough? Try “rectal feeding,” which has little to do with nutrition. And then there’s the case of Gul Rahman, the Afghan detainee who was stripped naked from the waist down and shackled to the floor of an unheated dungeon; he froze to death in the winter of 2002.

But Tuesday’s report won’t settle that argument for everyone, alas, because — like so much else in American politics — it has become a partisan football. Five years ago, most of the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee decided that the investigation of CIA misconduct was a veiled attack on the administration of President George W. Bush, and stopped cooperating with the committee’s Democratic majority on it. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the report as “ideologically motivated and distorted.”

There were a few exceptions to the partisan divide on Tuesday. One of them, Sen. John S. McCain (R-Ariz.), was a victim of torture himself, as a prisoner in Vietnam. He made an important point: Whether “enhanced interrogation” ever works is not the most important question.

“Torture’s failure to serve its intended purpose isn’t the main reason to oppose its use,” McCain said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. “This question isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. It’s about how we represent ourselves to the world.

“We have made our way in this often dangerous and cruel world, not by just strictly pursuing our geopolitical interests, but by exemplifying our political values, and influencing other nations to embrace them,” he said. “How much safer the world would be if all nations believed the same. How much more dangerous it can become when we forget it ourselves, even momentarily.

“Our enemies act without conscience,” McCain said. “We must not.” 12/10/12 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mcmanus-torture-report-20141210-column.html

torture33. LA Times Editorial: Torture report: Our post-9/11 shame, in stomach-turning detail

Americans have long known that, in the aftermath of Sept. 11, the CIA subjected suspected terrorists to inhuman and degrading treatment that amounted to nothing less than torture. A Senate Intelligence Committee report released Tuesday documented that outrageous conduct in stomach-turning detail but also described new offenses to human dignity that border on the pornographic.

The document released Tuesday amounts to an indictment of the CIA and its political enablers that is no less shocking because many of the events it describes happened during the administration of President George W. Bush and would no longer be permitted. No doubt some of the committee’s findings about particular circumstances are open to debate. But defenders of the agency will have a hard time refuting its central conclusions, which are based on analysis of millions of pages of internal cables, emails and other communications, along with interviews conducted by the CIA’s inspector general.

The CIA detention and interrogation program was immoral, illegal, out of control and (the committee persuasively argues) unnecessary. President Obama’s admission this summer that “we tortured some folks” doesn’t begin to convey the appalling violations of human rights and international law cataloged by the Intelligence Committee. The officials who carried out these acts shamed themselves and their country.

In reacting to the release of the report, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said that it “marks a coda to a chapter in our history” and noted that Obama “turned the page on these policies when he took office.” But there will be other presidents and other crises that might tempt them to look the other way while human rights are violated in the name of national security. For them, and for us, this report is wrenching but required reading. 12/10/14 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-torture-20141210-story.html

torture74. David Cole: Taking Responsibility for Torture

More than twelve years after the C.I.A. began torturing Al Qaeda suspects in secret prisons overseas, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today made public the executive summary of its sixty-seven-hundred-page report on the agency’s coercive interrogation program. The report has prompted loud objections from Michael Hayden, the former head of the C.I.A., and Dick Cheney, with good reason: it is a damning indictment of the Bush Administration’s approach to interrogation in the war on terror. The committee, which reviewed over six million C.I.A. records, based its report entirely on the agency’s own documentation of what transpired. The records depict a program founded on false premises, maintained for five years despite the absence of any evidence that it worked, and covered up by repeated falsehoods to the White House, Congress, and the American public.

The report’s central lesson is that when government officials abandon the obligation to treat human beings with dignity, that decision will corrode all that follows. Jeremy Waldron, a professor at N.Y.U. Law School, has argued that the prohibition on torture is absolute because it is central to the idea of the rule of law. The Senate report is a vivid confirmation of that insight. The C.I.A.’s decision to use torture tainted everything it did in connection with the program. What began as an effort to find out the truth about terrorist threats led to the C.I.A. repeatedly lying to cover up its own wrongs.

In one crucial respect, however, the Senate report falls short. By putting the blame for the program exclusively on the C.I.A., it fails to acknowledge that responsibility for it does not stop there. President George W. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, Attorney General John Ashcroft, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, among others, all signed off on the authorization to use enhanced interrogation techniques—tactics that, as President Obama and many others have said, any reasonable person would recognize amount to torture. The Justice Department lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee share in the responsibility, for writing legal memos that gave the C.I.A. a green light to engage in patently illegal conduct. And while the Senate Intelligence Committee was undoubtedly misled about the details of the program, it failed to take action to halt it, even though it was fully aware that detainees were being illegally disappeared and waterboarded.

Nor does accountability end there. We reëlected George Bush knowing that he had approved of waterboarding and torture. We have accepted President Obama’s contention that we should look forward, not backward, thereby absolving those who committed war crimes of any accountability. Criminal prosecutions are both unlikely and unnecessary, but some form of official accountability is essential. This report is a start, but as a polity we have not lived up to our own responsibility, to demand accountability for the wrongs done in our name. 12/09/1/4 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/taking-responsibility-torture

torture25. Mark Fallon: Dick Cheney Was Lying About Torture

It’s official: torture doesn’t work. Waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, did not in fact “produce the intelligence that allowed us to get Osama bin Laden,” as former Vice President Dick Cheney asserted in 2011. Those are among the central findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation and detention after 9/11.

After reviewing thousands of the CIA’s own documents, the committee has concluded that torture was ineffective as an intelligence-gathering technique. Torture produced little information of value, and what little it did produce could’ve been gained through humane, legal methods that uphold American ideals.

I had long since come to that conclusion myself. As special agent in charge of the criminal investigation task force with investigators and intelligence personnel at Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, and Iraq, I was privy to the information provided by Khalid Sheik Mohammed. I was aware of no valuable information that came from waterboarding. And the Senate Intelligence Committee—which had access to all CIA documents related to the “enhanced interrogation” program—has concluded that abusive techniques didn’t help the hunt for Bin Laden. Cheney’s claim that the frequent waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “produced phenomenal results for us” is simply false.

The self-defeating stupidity of torture might come as news to Americans who’ve heard again and again from Cheney and other political leaders that torture “worked.” Professional interrogators, however, couldn’t be less surprised. We know that legal, rapport-building interrogation techniques are the best way to obtain intelligence, and that torture tends to solicit unreliable information that sets back investigations.

Yes, torture makes people talk—but what they say is often untrue. Seeking to stop the pain, people subjected to torture tend to say what they believe their interrogators want to hear. 12/08/14 Read more at  http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/12/torture-report-dick-cheney-110306.html#.VId4wIuzrxc

cheney-torture6. Paul Rosenberg: Now they’re trying to steal 2016: The demented GOP schemes to rewire the Electoral College and elect a Tea Party president

Republicans have only won the popular vote for president once in the last 25 years, a steep decline in their fortunes from the period from 1972 to 1988, when they won the popular vote every time but one–1976, the aftermath of Watergate. Add to that massive policy failures and demographic trends against them, and the motivations to cheat are overwhelming.

Republicans have been fiddling with various Electoral College schemes since at least 2011 (in Michigan and Pennsylvania), with an upsurge of interest in early 2013, following Romney’s disappointing loss. “How Romney Could Have Won: A changed system would mean changed results” was the title of a January 2013 National Review story, capturing the mood at the time. Romney needn’t have won a single additional popular vote, you see. Just divvy up Electoral College votes by congressional district, and voilà! President, President Romney, Mr. 47 Percent! “[F]or those frustrated over 2012’s results,” the story concluded, “it might be worth thinking about whether it’s time to overhaul the system itself.”

The buzz faded rather quickly, but now, post-midterm elections, it seems to be staging a modest comeback—and the GOP’s sheer desperation means it would be foolish to ignore this ongoing threat to our democracy. Renewed talk of rewrite schemes actually began even before the midterm election, according to a late-October story by Michigan political columnist Susan J. Demas, and a watered-down scheme emerged after the election, she reported, which would give most of the electoral votes to the statewide winner, but give some to the loser as well. “It’s like a participation trophy in pre-school tee-ball,” Demas wrote, “only Michigan is trying to build up the self-esteem of Republican wannabe leaders of the free world.”

Today we are headed for complete destruction of our constitutional order, driven by people who claim a unique relationship with the Constitution, unwilling and unable to change in light of the fact that they cannot win national elections anymore—and therefore determined to destroy national elections, one way or another. Will they try to steal the 2016 election? They’re already working on it. But that’s only the symptom, not the disease.

It’s not constitutional hardball, actually. It’s constitutional beanball. Batter up? 12/06/14 Read more at http://www.salon.com/
2014/12/06/now_theyre_trying_to_steal_2016_the_demented_gop_schemes_to_rewire_the_electoral_college
_and_elect_a_tea_party_president

7. Laura Kipnis: A Deformed Woman: Hillary Clinton and the Men Who Hate Her

Here’s what happened the last time Hillary Clinton ran for president: she drove men wild. Well, certain men. Especially certain men on the right. You could recognize them by the flecks of foam in the corners of their mouths when the subject of her candidacy arose. And they’re already girding themselves for the next time around, because there’s something about Hillary that just gets them all worked up.

But what exactly? Despise her they do, yet they’re also strangely drawn to her, in some inexplicably intimate way. She occupies their attention. They spend a lot of time thinking about her—enumerating her character flaws, dissecting her motives, analyzing her physical shortcomings with a penetrating, clinical eye: those thick ankles and dumpy hips, the ever-changing hairdos. You’d think they were talking about their first wives. There’s the same over-invested quality, an edge of spite, some ancient wound not yet repaired. And how they love conjecturing upon her sexuality! Or lack of, heh heh. Is she frigid, is she gay? Heh heh. Yes, they have many theories about her, complete with detailed forensic analyses of her marriage, probably more detailed than their thoughts about their own.

My point is that you can tell a lot about a man by what he thinks about Hillary, maybe even everything. She’s not just another presidential candidate, she’s a sophisticated diagnostic instrument for calibrating male anxiety, which is running high.

All biography is ultimately fiction,” Bernard Malamud wrote in Dubin’s Lives, his novel about a biographer. What would he have said about this motley collection of writers: all biography is ultimately a Rorschach test? The various Hillaries that emerge are fictive enough, yet clearly they have an inner truth for their creators. Each invents his own personal Hillary—from baroque sexual fantasies straight out of The Honeymoon Killers and girl-girl sexcapades, to big sis—then has to slay his creation, while paying tribute to her power with these displays of antagonism and ambivalence. They’re caught in her grip, but they don’t know why; they spin tales about her treachery and perversity, as if that explains it. Except that the harder they try to knock her off her perch, the more shrill and unmanned they seem. 12/06/14 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/ts/men-who-hate-hillary-clinton

dorothy-hillary8. Ed Kilgore: It’s Time For Democrats To Stop Agonizing Over The South

it is clear there was nothing the national party might have done to reverse the results in Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia or North Carolina this year. Just as importantly, unless you buy the dubious argument that the brief delay in the president’s executive action on immigration was purely a pander to “the South,” the national party did not really undertake any “concessions” to the South. So there’s no reason to swear off the South as an evil conservative seductress tempting Democrats to stray from the paths of righteousness.

Treating the South like the rest of the country makes the most sense for Democrats going forward. A return to presidential cycle turnout patterns should, in any close election, again make Florida, North Carolina and Virginia winnable for Democrats. The demographics of Georgia are making that state more “purple” every day, especially in presidential elections.

At the state level, much is rightly being made of region-wide Republican hegemony in governorships and state legislative chambers. Some of this is cyclical; Republicans have won repeated state-level “breakthroughs” since the 1960s across the South, only to see the tide recede after Democratic adjustments and/or their own malfeasance. But in general, what we are seeing is the consequence of the long-playing realignment of older southern white small-town and rural voters towards the GOP, buttressed in some states by traditional “mountain” Republicans; in others by wealthy tax-averse retirees; and everywhere by politically mobilized conservative evangelicals.

It’s math, not diabolical magic, and Democratic prospects will reach a tipping point whenever and wherever a majority can be put together from the building blocks of nonwhite, younger and professional white, “knowledge sector,” and pro-public-education voters. That already exists in a few states, could exist soon in a couple of others, and probably will never exist in some. Seeing “the South” as a set of discrete political opportunities requiring skill, good candidate recruitment, the kind of ideological “flexibility” accorded to any other region, and resources calibrated to the risk and reward, is the best approach for Democrats. All the regional mythology should be treated as gone with the wind. 12/10/14 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/myth-southern-democrats-stop-agonizing

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Nov 20, 27 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #863

ON THE RECORD ….

“It’s a big test for the leadership. We cannot listen to the loudest, shrillest voices in our party. At some point we have to fund the government, and we should not fight to attach some demand. I don’t want to stand by and watch as our party gets driven into a ditch.” —  Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) on how Republicans should respond to President Obama’s expected moves to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. 11/14/14

“We don’t control that. That’s the president. Is the president going to shut down the government over a failure to fund an amnesty proposal? I think the House will stand up, and perhaps even the Senate, and say, ‘No funding for amnesty.’ Then would the president shut the government down? The House pretty clearly isn’t going to fund amnesty.” — Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), an influential member of the tea party caucus emboldenrf by the election to face off with Obama. 11/14/14

“Look, I believe it is an impeachable offense.” — Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer on Obama’s forthcoming executive action on immigration. 11/14/14 http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/charles-krauthammer-obama-executive-action-impeachable-offense

“I get a big kick out of them using the word ‘progressive. My gosh, they’re just straight old dumb-ass liberals anyway.” — Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) who said he’d prefer to have the Senate keep the new filibuster rules that were passed by Democrats last year to “teach those blunderheads that they made a big mistake.” 11/14/14

“Here’s a hypothetical for you: First, the Supreme Court issues a ruling that installs a conservative president. Then, he appoints two conservative Supreme Court justices who then join with three of their colleagues to make mincemeat of the greatest achievement of a progressive president elected by a clear majority. If such a thing happened in any other country, would we still call it a democratic republic?” —E.J. Dionne on the prospects of the Supreme Court will end important provisions of the ACA. 11/13/14

“The president should come out strongly in support of breathing. Conservatives would hold their breath in reflexive opposition. And that would rid us of most of this country’s problems.” —
kos in the Daily Kos. 11/15/14

“I would just advise every press outlet here: Pull up every clip and every story. I think it’s fair to say there was not a provision in the health care law that was not extensively debated and was fully transparent.” — President Obama on remarks by MIT professor Jonathan Gruber that suggested taxpayers were intentionally misled on health care taxes. 11/16/14

“He has it completely wrong and he just doesn’t understand what this issue is,” — Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) on Sunday refuting Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) description of net neutrality as “Obamacare for the Internet.” 11/16/14

“Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus. Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast.” — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even though no Islamic structures have been unearthed that pre-date Columbus 11/16/ 14

As one who worked hard to make ACA and its benefits clear, let me say: if you looked up “stupid” in dictionary, you’d find Gruber’s picture. — David Axelrod ✔@davidaxelrod 11/16/14

Happy 65th Birthday, @SpeakerBoehner! Welcome to Medicare and Social Security! — Nancy Pelosi ✔@NancyPelosi 11/17/14

“66 percent of Republicans want leaders to “stand up” to Obama, “even if less gets done in Washington”; just 32 percent said the party should “work with Obama” even if it disappoints some GOP supporters.“ — A Pew poll helps explain why Republicans are so eager to confront the president. 11/11/14

“When it comes to the prospect of a new, more liberal immigration regime, Republicans have themselves to blame. With a few concessions, they could have gotten more enforcement and tighter security. Instead, we’ll have legal status for millions of immigrants, with few Republican fingerprints.” — Jamelle Bouie in Slate 11/17/14

“Jonathan Gruber mentions on TV: Fox News 779, MSNBC 79.” — Aaron Sharockman in PolitiFact. 11/18/14

“After decades of ignoring a glaring market failure—the failure of the richest economy in the world to provide health-care coverage to many of its less-well-off citizens—the federal government finally stepped in and introduced a remedy. Because of the way Washington works, it wasn’t a straightforward, elegant, or inexpensive remedy. But it needed to be put in place, and it’s working out much as its knowledgeable proponents, Gruber included, said it would. That’s the real story, which the Republicans in Congress and their addled supporters are busy trying to obfuscate.” — John Cassidy in The New Yorker. 11/19/14

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI 

1. The Colbert Report: Reforming Healthcare Reform
2. Newly Insured Through Exchanges Give Coverage Good Marks
3. Obama vs. the Republicans on environmental issues: How the public views them
4. Just in time for Christmas: “Ted Cruz to the Future – Saves America Right-Wing Coloring Book”
5. The DAILY GRILL
6. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
7. Late Night Jokes for Dems
8. The Borowitz Report: G.O.P. Unveils Immigration Plan: “We Must Make America Somewhere No One Wants to Live”
9. Luck Health Plan: You’ll be okay. Probably
10. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The Screw You Strategy
11. The Party of Nonvoters
12. Jon Stewart: Guardian of the amnesty
13. SNL Cold Open: A Drink at the White House

OPINION

1. Peter Beinart: The Republican Obsession With ‘Restoring’ America
2. Goldie Taylor: Reality Check: There Are No Swing Voters
3. Boston Globe Editorial: In plan to cut deportations, Obama makes the right move
4. Marc Solomon: Now, Gay Marriage Is a GOP Problem
5. E.J. Dionne: Obamacare vs. Scaliacare
6. Mark Hertsgaard: Will Republican Know-Nothings Torpedo Climate Progress?
7. Baltimore Sun Editorial: No lame duck president
8. Erwin Chemerinsky and Samuel Kleiner: Obama Has the Law—and Reagan—on His Side on Immigration
9. Nancy Kaffer: GOP States’ Hitlist: Abortion, Unions & Hillary
10. Eugene Robinson: Boehner’s Stall on Immigration
11. James Surowiecki: On Obamacare, the G.O.P. Lays a Trap for Itself
12. Kurt Eichenwald: The Great Dictator Debate

1. The Colbert Report: Reforming Healthcare Reform

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/jtbvle/reforming-health-care-reform

2. Newly Insured Through Exchanges Give Coverage Good Marks

Over seven in 10 Americans who bought new health insurance policies through the government exchanges earlier this year rate the quality of their healthcare and their healthcare coverage as “excellent” or “good.” These positive evaluations are generally similar to the reviews that all insured Americans give to their health insurance. 11/16/14 Read more at http://www.gallup.com/poll/179396/newly-insured-exchanges-give-coverage-good-marks.aspx

3. Obama vs. the Republicans on environmental issues: How the public views them

Broadly speaking, Obama has an advantage over Republicans when it comes to environmental matters. The environment is the only one of nine issues tested in a post-election poll where Obama enjoys a clear edge, with Americans favoring his approach to the subject over that of the Republicans by a 35% to 20% margin. About four-in-ten (41%) see no difference between the two.

Republicans have talked of forcing a decision on the Keystone pipeline – a decision that Obama has delayed – by approving legislation requiring the president to approve it. About six-in-ten Americans (59%) favor building the pipeline to transport oil from Canada to Gulf Coast ports, while 31% oppose it. However, overall support for the pipeline has slipped seven points since last year, a trend driven largely by declines among Democrats and independents. Democrats are internally divided on the issue, with 45% opposing it and 43% favoring it.

Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose home state of Kentucky is one of the nation’s top coal producers, has made clear that the coal plant emissions limit will be a major target. However, the emission rules have substantial support among Americans with 64% favoring stricter limits in order to address climate change. Republicans are evenly divided on the issue, with 47% each favoring stricter limits and opposing them. 11/13, 2014  http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/11/13/obama-vs-the-republicans-on-environmental-issues-how-the-public-views-them/

4. Just in time for Christmas: “Ted Cruz to the Future – Saves America Right-Wing Coloring Book”

http://www.coloringbook.com/ted-cruz-saves-america-coloring-book.aspx

5. The DAILY GRILL

— “Well impeachment is indicting in the House and that’s a possibility. But you still have to convict in the Senate and that takes a two-thirds vote. But impeachment would be a consideration, yes sir.” — Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). 12/10/14

— “Well Charles Krauthammer was asked that same question and I think, just recently on one of the news programs and I have to agree with him of course it would be. — Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) agreeing that President Obama’s executive actions on immigration would be an impeachable offense.

— “The audacity of this president to think he can completely destroy the rule of law with the stroke of a pen is unfathomable to me. It is unconstitutional, it is cynical, and it violates the will of the American people.” —  Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

VERSUS

“President Barack Obama’s anticipated order that would shield millions of immigrants now living illegally in the U.S. from deportation is not without precedent. Two of the last three Republican presidents — Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — did the same thing in extending amnesty to family members who were not covered by the last major overhaul of immigration law in 1986. There was no political explosion then comparable to the one Republicans are threatening now.” —Andrew Taylor in the Huffington Post. 11/15/14

 

Fox’s The Five co-hosts agreed that Gruber’s comments were proof that the ACA was passed through fraud. Co-host Jesse Watters said, “what this proves is that President Obama is a con artist. This is not about Gruber, the president is complicit in the fraud.” Co-host Dana Perino added that the Democrats got what they wanted and it “doesn’t matter [to them] that they perpetrated a fraud” to get it passed. – Fox News’ The Five 11/12/14

VERSUS

Conservatives have always said the health care law wasn’t debated, that it was rammed through, nobody read it, etc, etc. But it actually stands out for how much it was debated, and, for the most part, how transparent that debate was. Which in turn explains how difficult it was to pass. — The New Republic 11/12/14

 

“Keystone XL will create “tens of thousands of jobs.” —  Fox News, Fox & Friends, co-host Anna Kooiman highlighted a Wall Street Journal op-ed penned by Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and applauded their plan to “approve the Keystone XL pipeline,” because it “would bring about tens of thousands of jobs.” 11/6/14

VERSUS

PolitiFact fact-checked Fox’s claims that the Keystone XL pipeline would create “tens of thousands of jobs,” and rated the claims mostly false. Pointing out that although the State Department reported the pipeline could support 42,100 jobs, PolitiFact noted it would not necessarily create that many and that “more than 99 percent are temporary” jobs. PolitiFact also noted that the State Department’s estimates show the pipeline would “only create 35 permanent, full-time jobs and 15 temporary contractors.” — PunditFact 11/11/14

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

O’Reilly Blames “The First Salvo This Season In The Ongoing War On Christmas” On Muslims For Requesting School Holidays http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/11/12/oreilly-blames-the-first-salvo-this-season-in-t/201547

O’Reilly: Obama “Has Decided To Tear The Country Apart Politically” By Pursuing Executive Action On Immigration http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/11/13/oreilly-obama-has-decided-to-tear-the-country-a/201562

On Fox, J. Christian Adams Attacks Attorney General Nominee’s “Racial Views” On Voter ID http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/11/14/on-fox-j-christian-adams-attacks-attorney-gener/201586

Gun Extremist Larry Pratt: Obama Is Anti-Gun Because “We Might Just Want To Use Them To Keep People Like Him From Becoming Tyrants” http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/11/17/gun-extremist-larry-pratt-obama-is-anti-gun-bec/201598

On Fox, Pundit From Oil-Funded Group Says Climate Scientists Are The Profiteers http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/11/18/on-fox-pundit-from-oil-funded-group-says-climat/201624

O’Reilly Asks If Obama’s Immigration Executive Action Is “A Trap” To “Bait” GOP Into Impeachment http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/11/18/oreilly-asks-if-obamas-immigration-executive-ac/201621

Fox News’ Erickson Tells Republicans To Shut Down The Government http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/11/18/fox-news-erickson-tells-republicans-to-shut-dow/201608

On Fox, Pundit From Oil-Funded Group Says Climate Scientists Are The Profiteers http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/11/18/on-fox-pundit-from-oil-funded-group-says-climat/201624

On Fox, J. Christian Adams Attacks Attorney General Nominee’s “Racial Views” On Voter ID. http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/11/14/on-fox-j-christian-adams-attacks-attorney-gener/201586

7. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“This week Bill Clinton tweeted a photo of himself reading George W. Bush’s new book ’41.’ Then George W. Bush responded to that post on Instagram. Then John McCain said ‘You two are hilarious’ by telegraph.” –Jimmy Fallon

“It’s rumored that President Obama is planning to announce a new 10-part immigration plan before Thanksgiving. And you thought your family wouldn’t have anything to argue about this year.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Yesterday the Supreme Court lifted the ban on same-sex marriage in Kansas. They didn’t give a reason for the ruling, but then again when a state is famous for a Judy Garland musical about a rainbow and a wizard who comes out of a closet, do you really need an excuse?” –Jimmy Fallon

“Stocks are at an all-time high today. I don’t have any money in the stock market. I don’t have the stomach for the ups and downs. So about 20 years ago I put all of my money and liquid assets into videotape rewind machines.” –David Letterman

“Child labor, not a problem. Censorship, not a problem. Torture, not a problem. Chewing gum in China — oh, my God! You better not be over here chewing gum.” –David Letterman

“Here in New York City you can now walk around smoking weed and all they will do if they see you is write you a ticket. Unfortunately, the ticket will be to a Jets game.” –David Letterman

“You’ve got to be careful smoking weed. It causes memory loss. And also, it causes memory loss.” –David Letterman

“President Obama is in China. Also in China is evil Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. They’re both in China at the same time. It’s like running into your ex-girlfriend on vacation.” –David Letterman

“Former President George W. Bush said there’s a 50 percent chance his brother Jeb will run for president in 2016. Then he said, ‘But there’s an 80 percent chance he won’t.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama and Vladimir Putin are both in China attending the same economic summit. Obama saw Putin and said, ‘After those midterms, it’s nice to finally see a friendly face.'” –Conan O’Brien

“This weekend George W. Bush said it’s a toss-up whether his brother Jeb will run for president in 2016. Bush said there’s a 40-40 chance.” –Seth Meyers

“Pepsi has a new Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew. No, we don’t have an Ebola vaccine, but we do have the Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew.” –David Letterman

“Director Oliver Stone says he’s going to make a movie about Vladimir Putin. I can’t believe anyone would want to work with that insane communist. And Putin is a little crazy as well.” –Craig Ferguson

“On Tuesday, Utah Candidate Mia Love became the first black Republican woman elected to Congress. She’s also a Mormon. Yeah, a black female Republican Mormon. Even unicorns are saying, ‘Not buyin’ it.'” –Jimmy Fallon

8. The Borowitz Report: G.O.P. Unveils Immigration Plan: “We Must Make America Somewhere No One Wants to Live”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled his party’s long-awaited plan on immigration on Wednesday, telling reporters, “We must make America somewhere no one wants to live.”

Appearing with House Speaker John Boehner, McConnell said that, in contrast to President Obama’s “Band-Aid fixes,” the Republican plan would address “the root cause of immigration, which is that the United States is, for the most part, habitable.”

“For years, immigrants have looked to America as a place where their standard of living was bound to improve,” McConnell said. “We’re going to change that.”

Boehner said that the Republicans’ plan would reduce or eliminate “immigration magnets,” such as the social safety net, public education, clean air, and drinkable water.

The Speaker added that the plan would also include the repeal of Obamacare, calling healthcare “catnip for immigrants.”

Attempting, perhaps, to tamp down excitement about the plan, McConnell warned that turning America into a dystopian hellhole that repels immigrants “won’t happen overnight.”

“Our crumbling infrastructure and soaring gun violence are a good start, but much work still needs to be done,” he said. “When Americans start leaving the country, we’ll know that we’re on the right track.”

In closing, the two congressional leaders expressed pride in the immigration plan, noting that Republicans had been working to make it possible for the past thirty years.

EARLIER: The election of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) as the Senate Majority Leader was announced on Thursday by a puff of toxic black coal smoke rising from the United States Capitol.

Outside the Capitol, McConnell supporters who had been waiting for the symbolic puff of black smoke let out an exuberant cheer, before rubbing their irritated eyes and choking. Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

9. Luck Health Plan: You’ll be okay. Probably

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3RluUsZEOk

10. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The Screw You Strategy

https://www.markfiore.com/mark-fiore-blog/cartoons/the-screw-you-strategy.html

11. The Party of Nonvoters

As in past elections, nonvoters – those who are either not registered to vote or are considered unlikely to vote in the upcoming midterms – are very different demographically from likely voters:

They’re younger. Roughly a third (34%) of nonvoters are younger than 30 and most (70%) are under 50; among likely voters, just 10% are younger than 30 and only 39% are under 50.

They’re more racially and ethnically diverse. Fully 43% of those who are not likely to cast ballots Tuesday are Hispanic, African American or other racial and ethnic minorities, roughly double the percentage among likely voters (22%).

They’re less affluent and less educated. Nearly half of nonvoters (46%) have family incomes less than $30,000, compared with 19% of likely voters. Most nonvoters (54%) have not attended college; 72% of likely voters have completed at least some college. 10/31/14 Read more at  http://www.people-press.org/2014/10/31/the-party-of-nonvoters-2/

12. Jon Stewart: Guardian of the amnesty

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/j79pdc/guardian-of-the-amnesty

13. SNL Cold Open: A Drink at the White House

http://www.hulu.com/watch/714481

1. Peter Beinart: The Republican Obsession With ‘Restoring’ America

Next January, just in time for a potential presidential bid, Marco Rubio will publish a book. It’s called American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone.

Call me a killjoy, but I don’t think Senator Rubio can make good on his subtitle. Creating “economic opportunity for everyone” is hard enough in a country of 316 million. Restoring it is a metaphysical impossibility. To restore something, it must have existed before. And never in its history has America offered “economic opportunity for everyone,” not even in the Edenic days of President Reagan.

Why would Rubio make such an absurd promise? Because conservatives love the word “restore.” In 2007, when he was planning his own presidential bid, Mike Huckabee wrote a book subtitled 12 Steps to Restoring America’s Greatness. (It’s available for one cent on Amazon.) In 2010, Glenn Beck organized a rally on the National Mall entitled “Restoring Honor.” In 2012, Mitt Romney’s supporters established a Super PAC called, paradoxically, “Restore Our Future.” Later that year, the Republican platform promised the “Restoring of the American Dream” and the “Restoration of Constitutional Government.” This June, Ted Cruz pledged to “Restore the Great Confident Roar of America.”

Here’s the problem. Unlike Reagan, today’s Republicans are generally shrewd enough to avoid identifying exactly which previous age they wish to restore. But for African Americans, Latinos, women, and gays and lesbians, idealizing any previous age means idealizing one in which they enjoyed fewer rights and opportunities than they do today. Pledging to “restore” America appeals to many older, straight, Anglo, white, and male voters, because it’s a subtle way of saying Republicans will bring back the good old days. The GOP’s problem is that to win back the White House, it must make inroads among Americans who know the good old days weren’t all that good. 11.13.14 http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/11/the-republican-obsession-with-restoring-america/382689/

2. Goldie Taylor: Reality Check: There Are No Swing Voters

Okay, not quite “none.” But the idea of the swing voter is way oversold by the media. Why? Because we are a nation of liars.

You would not know it by listening to cable news pundits, and no politician will ever admit it. And unless you are a mind reader, you will find almost no evidence of it in your local coffee shop.

But here it is: The American center is dead.

It should be said that it isn’t a torrent of political scandals driving voters from the polls. It isn’t apathy, nor is it the very real notion that Washington isn’t getting anything done. We don’t want “anything” done. We want what we want done. And by “we,” I mean you and me—the supposed independents who tow the party line if and when we decide that going to vote is more relevant than, say, playing another round of mini-golf. We are not a lazy electorate and we’re not unconcerned. We simply don’t believe they’ll do what we want, so we don’t vote.

We have no one to blame for the gridlock but ourselves. We are responsible for the legions of extremists who populate our statehouses and our Congress. So, contrary to Obama’s famous line, we are not the ones we have been waiting for. America is in dire need of a better “us.” We are a pessimistic, cynical nation and we don’t mind lying about it. 11.13.14 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/13/reality-check-there-are-no-swing-voters.html

3. Boston Globe Editorial: In plan to cut deportations, Obama makes the right move

Every president since Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration in one form or another. President Reagan, for instance, deferred deportation of 200,000 Nicaraguans. The White House’s plan reportedly includes allowing parents of children who are citizens or legal residents to get work permits and protection from deportation, an action that would help millions of undocumented immigrants. It also will address the shortage of opportunities for high-skilled immigrants, allocate extra resources to enforce the border, and thoroughly review Secure Communities, the overreaching immigration enforcement program believed to be responsible for the record number of deportations during Obama’s tenure.

The best case against the president taking action independent of Congress relies on the premise that Republicans do plan to pass immigration reform eventually, and that easing up on deportations now would somehow undermine that plan. But, even with executive action, Republican leadership can and should still tackle immigration reform legislation. In an interview with CBS News last week, Obama said Congress still has time to pass a bill, adding that legislation would supersede any administrative orders he might issue. The problem is that neither Speaker John Boehner nor likely Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have listed immigration reform as a priority. Any threatening talk coming from Republicans — McConnell cautioned that executive action would be like “waving a red flag in front of a bull,” while Boehner said that “when you play with matches, then you take the risk of burning yourself” — lacks credibility in the absence of a real intention to solve the immigration reform puzzle themselves.

The political fallout on immigration will be volatile. But the human cost of inaction — the families upended, the lives disrupted — is much greater. 11/13/14 Read more at  http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2014/11/13/obama-making-right-move-immigration/2nYE0NjLRP55bgLgZofkSI/story.html

4. Marc Solomon: Now, Gay Marriage Is a GOP Problem

What a difference a decade makes. That’s when Karl Rove weaponized the issue during his boss’s 2004 presidential campaign, shamefully putting marriage discrimination on state ballots in an effort to turn out base support. Countless Republican candidates in federal and state elections followed that blueprint in the next three cycles, using opposition as red meat to try to draw out base voters.

But times have changed. Today two thirds of the country- or 221 million Americans—will soon be living in a state with the freedom to marry. A rock-solid majority of Americans—which includes significant numbers of Republicans, Independents, and young evangelicals—believe in the basic dignity and individual freedom of gay couples marrying. Even in these off-year elections, when voters skew considerably older than in presidential years, exit polls showed a plurality support the freedom to marry. And while there’s crucial work left to do—particularly in the Deep South, where same-sex couples have in the main been left behind—no other social movement has seen such broad success in changing hearts, minds, and even laws in a single decade.

Whoever seeks the Democratic nomination will embrace the freedom to marry. Support is now part of the party’s DNA (which, by the way, was not the case in the last primary). And new evidence shows the cause is a turnout motivator for Democratic base voters.

The Republican approach will be more interesting. Candidates will be figuring out whether to use the old formula and appeal to a dwindling base of older social conservatives who turn out disproportionately in primaries. Alternatively, they could choose a different course, trying to skirt the issue through the primaries while maintaining an appeal to general election swing voters, a great majority of whom back marriage for gay couples and find discrimination objectionable. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/15/now-gay-marriage-is-a-gop-problem.html

5. E.J. Dionne: Obamacare vs. Scaliacare

In a rational republic, both parties might try to figure out how to improve the ACA. Why wreck it? But elections have consequences. So if Republicans invest a lot of energy in attempting to kill the thing — well, this is exactly what they told the voters they’d do.

It’s something else again if another part of the conservative power structure does a lot of the dirty work in undermining the law before Congress has to. I refer here to the hyper-activist conservative justices on our Supreme Court.

To the shock of many neutral legal analysts, four justices decided to take up an absurd legal challenge to the ACA even before a lower court can rehear the case and before there is a conflict that typically triggers the high court’s involvement.

At issue is one phrase in the law that, in the worst possible construction, is a drafting error. It declares that subsidies to help people buy insurance will be available to those who were enrolled “through an exchange established by the State under [section] 1311.”

Conservative legal beagles, ignoring every other word in the statute, claim that those words “by the State” mean that any state that chose not to establish a health insurance exchange deprives its citizens of the federal subsidies they’re entitled to under the ACA. Since 37 states are expected to rely this year on the federal exchange envisioned by the law rather than establish their own, a ruling of this sort could deprive millions of their subsidies — and make a mess of the law.

Now let’s be clear: Not even the most conservative Supreme Court justices seemed to think this language was a problem before the conservative lawyers went to work. 11/13/14 Read more at Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/11/13/obamacare_vs_scaliacare_124648.html

6. Mark Hertsgaard: Will Republican Know-Nothings Torpedo Climate Progress?

The first order of business for the new GOP majorities in both houses of Congress is to dismantle as much of President Obama’s agenda as possible—starting with climate change. This is not mere speculation: the first two items prospective Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell cited to reporters the day after the elections were authorization of the Keystone XL pipeline and rollback of the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently announced but not yet implemented rules on carbon dioxide emissions. Then, reacting to Obama’s November 11 announcement of a genuinely historic climate accord with China—for the first time, China agreed to an absolute limit on its emissions (by 2030), while the United States pledged to accelerate its own reductions through 2025—McConnell attacked the deal as an “unrealistic” job killer.

Such polluter-friendly priorities come as no surprise from a party swept into power on a wave of oil and coal industry campaign money, including Koch brothers cash—much of it “dark money” and thus untraceable. Now, the GOP’s Senate victory will hand the reins of the Environment and Public Works Committee to Capitol Hill’s leading climate denier, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. The absurdity might be laughable if the future of the planet weren’t at stake.

To defeat the Republican onslaught, the coming fights over climate policy must be made as public as possible. American voters generally don’t like it when politicians attack clean air, and the 2016 elections are already on the minds of every politician in Washington. “Twenty-four Republican [Senate candidates] will have to face the voters in 2016, many of them in states like Florida, Illinois and Iowa where there are big Democratic electorates and strong bipartisan support for clean energy,” says Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “It’s going to be hard for senators in those states to take votes to cut EPA authority. And we’re going to make it hard.” 12/1 to 8/14 Read more at  http://www.thenation.com/article/190465/will-republican-know-nothings-torpedo-climate-progress

 

7. Baltimore Sun Editorial: No lame duck president

For those who expected President Barack Obama to spend his final two years in office curled up in the fetal position after the thunderclap of Republican victories in the midterm election, better brace yourselves. Returning from his diplomatic trip to Asia — historic agreement with China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in hand — he’s expected to soon announce a sweeping change in immigration policy that could spare millions from deportation.

And that’s after Mr. Obama made clear last week his support for treating broadband as a common carrier and thus ensuring net neutrality. Such a position puts him at odds with Comcast and certain other Internet providers who would like to charge higher rates for faster access to certain content. But it’s also a position entirely consistent with what Mr. Obama promised as early as 2008.

Indeed, what do all these policy efforts have in common? They represent the issues upon which the president campaigned and was twice elected to the nation’s highest office. Mr. Obama promised immigration reform, he promised a broad-based effort to address climate change, and he promised net neutrality. If the election taught Democrats anything, it should be that you can’t run and hide from your political viewpoint — as so many weak-kneed Democratic candidates did to no avail in the weeks leading up to Nov. 4.

We expect this week’s announcement on immigration, a plan likely to involve redirecting the efforts of immigration agents to secure the southern border and go after criminals rather than deport those who have lived in this country productively for years, to raise howls from GOP leadership. That’s their choice, just as it’s Mr. Obama’s decision not to turn his back on the job voters across America elected him to do — twice. 11/16/14 Read more at  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-obama-20141116-story.html

8. Erwin Chemerinsky and Samuel Kleiner: Obama Has the Law—and Reagan—on His Side on Immigration

President Obama is soon expected to take a step toward fixing our broken immigration system by issuing an executive order to halt deportations of undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens. Republicans, including Speaker of the House John Boehner and new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have threatened reprisals against such an order. But one thing is clear: The president has the constitutional authority to decide to not proceed with deportations. It has always been within the president’s discretion to decide whether to have the Department of Justice enforce a particular law. As the Supreme Court declared in United States v. Nixon, “the Executive Branch has exclusive authority and absolute discretion to decide whether to prosecute a case.”

A president may choose to not enforce particular laws when deciding how to allocate scarce resources or based on his view of the best public policy. Few object, for example, when the Department of Justice does not prosecute those who possess small amounts of marijuana, even though they violated the federal Controlled Substance Act. There are countless federal laws that go unenforced. In 1800, then congressman and later Chief Justice John Marshall stated, the president may “direct that the criminal be prosecuted no further” because it is “the exercise of an indubitable and constitutional power.”

The president clearly has the power to limit deportation of an individual or a group of individuals, even a large group. Such action does not grant citizenship to the undocumented; it merely is a temporary measure that halts deportations. It is not a permanent fix to the intractable challenge of how to deal with undocumented immigration, but it is increasingly looking like the only solution that the president has in facing an intransigent Congress that is unwilling to act. 11/18/14 Read more at http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120328/obama-immigration-executive-action-why-it-will-be-legal

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9. Nancy Kaffer: GOP States’ Hitlist: Abortion, Unions & Hillary

In an unprecedented sweep for the GOP at the state level, and in a year that saw nearly across-the-board Republican wins, it’s a breathtaking expansion of largely unchecked lawmaking power.

There’s a story here about gerrymandering, and the successful tactics employed by right-wing activists to build a robust candidate farm team and push primary turnout. But what it means is this: As the country continues to tilt leftward, the laws that most directly impact Americans’ lives will be passed by legislators from the opposite end of the political spectrum.

If you want to know what’s on deck for GOP-controlled states, look no further than Michigan, a reliably blue state in presidential elections with a Republican governor and legislature. Two years ago, lawmakers in this staunch pro-labor stronghold passed anti-union right-to-work laws. They also passed a slew of legislation limiting women’s reproductive rights.

Oh, and about that “blue state” thing? Last week, a Republican state lawmaker introduced a bill that would change the way the state awards its 16 electoral votes. Instead of winner-take-all, an arrangement that clearly benefits Democrats in states like Michigan, the winner of the state’s popular vote would get half of Michigan’s electoral votes, with an additional electoral vote awarded for every 1.5 percent of the vote received above 50 percent. The second-place major party candidate would get the remainder.

It’s worth noting that in Michigan, right-to-work bills mirrored model legislation drafted by ALEC, a group funded by billionaire Tea Party magnates David and Charles Koch, almost word for word. Another Koch-funded group, Americans for Prosperity, hailed Michigan’s 2012 adoption of right-to-work laws as “the shot heard round the world” in the fight against unions. 11/18/14 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/18/gop-states-hitlist-abortion-unions-hillary.html

10. Eugene Robinson: Boehner’s Stall on Immigration

Oh, please. All the melodramatic Republican outrage isn’t fooling anybody. The only reason President Obama has to act on immigration reform is that House Speaker John Boehner won’t.

I repeat: That’s the only reason. The issue could have been settled a year ago. It could be settled in an afternoon. The problem is that Boehner refuses to do his job, preferring instead to spend his time huffing and puffing in simulated indignation.

On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill by a 68-32 vote. Boehner refuses to bring it to the House floor, even though he knows it likely would pass.

Make that because he knows it likely would pass. Most House Republicans vehemently oppose the Senate measure — though it’s hard to understand why — which means the votes to approve it would come from Democrats and the few remaining GOP moderates. By doing the right thing, Boehner would incur the wrath of his own caucus. That’s his problem, not Obama’s.

The president has not just the right but the obligation to “use all the lawful authority that I possess,” as he promised last week in a long-deferred effort to repair an immigration system that both parties agree is broken. Law and precedent give Obama wide latitude, and at this point he can hardly be accused of acting rashly.

Instead of debating what kind of hissy fit they want to pitch, Boehner and his flock ought to be reading the Senate bill.

They would find much to like. 11/18/14 http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/11/18/boehners_stall_on_immigration_124686.html

11. James Surowiecki: On Obamacare, the G.O.P. Lays a Trap for Itself

A few days after the midterm elections, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear King v. Burwell, a challenge to the Affordable Care Act in which the plaintiffs are arguing that people who live in states which have not set up their own health-insurance exchanges—and who therefore find their insurance through the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov—are not eligible for tax credits that the law provides. These people are currently receiving subsidies, but if the plaintiffs win those subsidies will disappear. While victory for the plaintiffs once seemed utterly improbable—it was generally accepted that Congress intended for the subsidies to be available, and the entire suit is based on a phrase that’s often described as a typo—getting a hearing before the Court suggests that, at the very least, they now have a chance. Republican politicians are, as of now, gleeful at the prospect of the Court delivering a blow to Obamacare. But, once the economic and political consequences of those disappearing subsidies kick in, Republicans could well end up wishing King v. Burwell had never seen the light of day.

The Republican hatred of Obamacare is so powerful, and Republican politicians’ fear of being challenged from the right is so strong, that there will undoubtedly be states where governors and legislatures hold firm and basically tell citizens that they can’t have, and shouldn’t want, the free money that the federal government is offering them. (Something like this already happened, after all, when some states opted out of Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid, even though the federal government was going to pay almost all the costs.)  But, given that this will wreck the individual market for health insurance in these states, that it will (unlike Medicaid) affect plenty of middle-class voters, and that Democrats will be able to point to states where the subsidies are still intact as obvious success stories, staying true to conservative principles is going to be a very hard political sell—even in truly red states. Republican politicians have been able to reap the political rewards of inveighing against Obamacare without actually having to strip benefits from anyone. Now they’re going to have to put up or shut up. Obamacare’s opponents may win when the Supreme Court finally decides King, sometime next year. But it could turn out to be a fight they’d have been better off losing. 11/18/14 Read more at  http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/obamacare-g-o-p-lays-trap

12. Kurt Eichenwald: The Great Dictator Debate

Of all the outrageously uninformed accusations hurled by the Republican Party since the election of Barack Obama, the most absurd is the incessant screaming that the president acts like a dictator.

So Reagan did what it appears Obama will do: He declared he would not allow the policies of the United States to split up families. He used his authority as president to declare that the minor children of parents who had qualified under amnesty would not be deported.

Look at the similarities here. Reagan declared children of legal parents would not be deported; Obama is prepared to declare that parents of legal children will not be deported. Why is one a lawful act performed by the patron saint of the Republican Party, while the other is an impeachable offense?

And guess what? George H.W. Bush did the same thing. The Senate passed an immigration reform bill that the House refused to take up. (Just what has happened during the Obama administration.) So in 1989 Bush ordered that the Senate bill be adopted as policy, broadening the legal status of families and protecting almost half of the undocumented workers in the country from deportation.

Setting up new criminal justice systems, locking people up, stopping deportations, sealing presidential papers from outside examination and on and on—presidents have done all of it by executive order. So why is it that the people who know better keep lying to their base and pretending something exceptional and illegal is going on with Obama?. 11/18/14 Read more at http://www.newsweek.com/opinion-great-dictator-debate-285179

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Nov 6 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #861

ON THE RECORD ….

‘We need to learn from history. We need to look to history to find out what works and what doesn’t, and the one thing that is clear is that if Republicans run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole, or a John McCain, or a Mitt Romney […] we will end up with the same result, which is that millions of people will stay home on election day which is what happened for all three of them. And if we run another candidate like that Hillary Clinton will be the next president.” — Sen. Ted “Calgary” Cruz on why former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is too liberal to run for the GOP nomination. 10/30/14

“I’d be more than happy to have a debate with you any time you like, guy, because somebody like you doesn’t know a damn thing about what you’re talking about except to stand up and show off while the cameras are here. “I’ve been here when the cameras aren’t here, buddy, and done the work. So, I’m glad you had your day to show off, but we’re the ones who were actually here to do the work. …. Now sit down and shut up” —  Gov. Chris Christie to Democrat and former Asbury Park city councilman, James Keady. 10/30/14

“I’ll be very, very honest with you: The South has not always been the friendliest place for African Americans. It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.” — Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), in an interview with NBC News.

“Obama will continue to be both a foil and an excuse for Republicans’ inability to return the nation to a glorious past. …. But starting Nov. 5, Republicans will gradually begin transferring the fear and loathing they lavish on the president to a new target: Hillary Clinton. It should be a very inspiring two years. —Francis Wilkinson in Bloomberg View. 10/30/14

“Republicans, with their diversions and their relentless vilification of President Obama, are probably being smart. In 2012, when they laid out their own wares in full for the country to inspect, they got soundly defeated. But political cynicism exacts a price. With many Democrats also reluctant to focus on the substance rather than on the caricature of the Obama agenda, we have an election with no clear theme, no overriding trend, and, inevitably, no clear mandate.” —John Cassidy 10/30/14

“In simplest terms, the basic story of the modern standoff between the parties is that Democrats cannot attract enough whites to consistently control Congress, and Republicans cannot attract enough nonwhites to consistently win the White House. Nothing that happens this week is likely to displace that truth.”– Ronald Brownstein 11/03/14

“The Republicans, McConnell’s pretty speech to the contrary, won’t want to work with Obama on anything. Their interest, as ever, is in pushing the perception that Washington is dysfunctional. It works for them. It worked Tuesday night. It worked in 2010. They want Americans to perceive Washington as broken, especially heading into 2016. There’s no better simplistic argument for “change.” Obstruction has just been rewarded, in a huge way. You expect them to change?” — Michael Tomasky in The Daily Beast 11.05.14

“Despite All the Bad News for Democrats Tonight, Midterms Are Rarely Predictive of Presidential Year Outcomes: Republicans swept into power in 1994, only to see Bob Dole get crushed by President Clinton in 1996. Democrats had a great night in 1998, but lost the White House two years later. Two years after a drubbing at the polls in 2010, President Obama won re-election handily.” — Cook Political Report 11/05/14

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Oct 30 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #860

ON THE RECORD ….

“I’ve had people say, ‘Hey, you know, there’s nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks.’ Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it’s a different kind of fighting, it’s a different kind of war and if you’re sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into the big, planned battle, then you’re not going to last very long.” — Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)10/24/14

“I will do everything it takes to do something about what’s going on here, because this is crazy. I’m 62 years old. I’ve been voting for a long time, and this is just bullshit.” — Lynne Messinger, a Texas woman, said she was threatened with jail time for having an out-of-state driver’s license when she went to apply for a voter identification card so she could vote under the state’s controversial ID law. 10/24/14

“Their dead-ender defenders need to accept that if you’re a public figure, a recent candidate for national office, and you crash a party drunk and the fists start flying and the police have to show up to sort everything out, people may end up hovering over the details and getting a chuckle out of it. That’s life.” — Josh Marshall about the Palins. 10/24/14

“We have to be guided by the science—we have to be guided by the facts, not fear. Yesterday, New Yorkers showed us the way. They did what they do every day—jumping on buses, riding the subway, crowding into elevators, heading into work, gathering in parks. That spirit—that determination to carry on—is part of what makes New York one of the great cities in the world. And that’s the spirit all of us can draw upon, as Americans, as we meet this challenge together.” — President Obama about defeating Ebola. 10/26/14

“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public.” […] — Nurse Kaci Hickox, on her forced quarantine in Maine. 10/29/14

“Before Ted Cruz was born there had never been a single case of Aids on the planet. And before Ted Cruz entered the Senate there had never been a confirmed case of ebola in America either. The signs are all there, Ted Cruz is the anti-Christ.” — Hillary Kelly responding to a tweet by Nick Muzin, Senior Advisor and the Deputy Chief of Staff for Senator Ted Cruz, who asserted that “Before Obamacare, there had never been a confirmed case of Ebola in the US.” 10/24/14

“Unless voters can be convinced that they — more than wealthy special interests and self-interested politicians and campaign consultants and the media — are responsible for the ways elections are contested and the nation is governed, nothing much will change. Until voters actually decide to do more something more useful than complain to pollsters about their anger and frustration, politics and government will remain as irritating and unsatisfactory as ever.” — Mark Salter in Real Clear Politics. 10/29/14

 

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Oct 23 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #859

ON THE RECORD ….

“Are we really going to debate about a fan? Or are we going to talk about education and the environment and the future of our state? I mean, really.” — Democrat Charlie Crist at the start of a gubernatorial debate in response to Florida Gov. Rick Scott who initially refused to take the stage because Crist insisted on using a fan to keep him cool.10/16/2014

“He’s opposed to amnesty, secure the border, which is another one that’s like a no-brainer that I don’t understand, there are certain things you don’t even understand how the other side can fight it and yet there are people out there, believe it or not, that don’t want to secure our border. Now especially with Ebola, how about when that starts happening down in that area and people just walk into the country.” – Donald Trump, after lashing out at President Obama’s fondness for golf, claiming that the president shows “a level of arrogance that’s absolutely disgusting” Trump said that he was attracted to Rep. Steve King’s hardline anti-immigrant stance.

“They hate each other.” — Meghan McCain when asked what her father thinks of Rand Paul, the Tea Party favorite. 10/15/14,

Ya know it’s a shame that the CDC head, Frieden, and apparently is the new commander of the Democrats’ war on woman nurses because they set up them up and then they throw them under the bus.” — Rep. Louie Gohmert on Glenn Beck’s radio program.10/16/14

“I think that we became psychologically mired in a form of national Stockholm Syndrome. We said to ourselves, and the world, ‘Look at this guy. We’re going to elect this guy president. Why would you attack us? We’re not even voting for somebody who likes us. This guy, who has names very similar to two of our archenemies, Osama, well, Obama. And Hussein. Hussein. Surely you won’t attack us now because we’ve got a shield here of a guy who, as the leader of our country says we’re bad.” — Dr. Keith Ablow, a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, suggesting that Obama won’t keep ebola from U.S. because ‘his affinities’ are with Africa 10/15/14

“The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.” — From Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent to the Supreme Court’s ruling that Texas can use its controversial new voter identification law for the November election. 10/18/14

“The fear that is gripping America threatens to forestall that very necessary aid (to Africa) that could save tens of thousands of lives. The dreams of the end of the world will prevent us from actually dealing with the real threats.” — Stephen Marche 10/17/14

“The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).10/18/14

“This is an exciting time for Christians. God is speaking to us from the most unlikely voice, (Duck Dynasty” TV star) Phil Robertson, about God’s Word. God is using pop culture and a highly successful cable TV show to remind us about His teaching.” — Texas State Senator Dan Patrick (R), who is leading in the polls in the race for Lt. Governor. 10/21/14

 

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Oct 16 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #858

ON THE RECORD ….

“[I]f the Republicans wanna lose guys like me, and a whole bunch of still God-fearing Bible-believing people, go ahead and just abdicate on this issue (gay marriage), and go ahead and say abortion doesn’t matter either.” — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in an interview with the American Family Association’s radio show. 10/09/14

“You’re twice as young as I am. You’re a punk. You’re a coward. And my name is Bob Beckel. I would like you to call you any time, any place, and let’s let you and I discuss it ’cause you’re a coward, you’re a punk, you pick on people and you deserve to have your ass kicked. And I wanna do it, so get in touch with me. … And bring a knife, punk.“ — Bob Beckel in an on-air message directed at Conservative author Jason Mattera who chased IRS official Lois Lerner around a suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood as she walked her dogs.

“I stopped him once from trying to send a Gitmo terrorist to Leavenworth. I shall do it again, I shall do it again and if he tries it again I will shut down the Senate,” — Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) vowing to block all legislation in the Senate with a prolonged filibuster if President Obama tries to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States.10/10/14

“It doesn’t matter if there’s one, 100, or 1,000. Amongst us, who would be that one person who would like to have our vote canceled out by a vote that was cast illegally?” — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) defending his state’s voter ID law during a gubernatorial debate against Democratic nominee Mary Burke, saying that the number of would-be fraudulent voters the law stops doesn’t matter. In response Burke cited studies that found hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites don’t have the proper identification to vote under the voter ID law but those Wisconsin residents still aren’t trying to commit voter fraud. Burke pointed out that the majority of the people in question are minorities. 10/11/14

“Less than 24 hours after GOP congressional candidate Mark Greenberg said he favored universal FBI background checks for those seeking to purchase firearms, the National Rifle Association dropped his rating from an ‘A’ to an ‘F.'” — The CT Mirror 10/10/14

“Could we have a worldwide pandemic? The Spanish flu in 1918 killed 21 million people, the plague in the 14th century killed 25 million people; I’m not saying that’s going to happen, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I think we should have travel restrictions at this point in time coming from Africa,” — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), despite every reasonable and responsible fact to the contrary, implying a mass pandemic might happen, encouraging the American people to panic. 10/03/14

“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here. Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready. … We would have been a year or two ahead of where we are, which would have made all the difference.” — Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health suggesting that a vaccine likely would have already been discovered were it not for budget cuts. 10/12/14

“Done. Completely. Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done. Done. Done. Done.” — Ann Romney on a potential 3rd presidential campaign by her husband. 10/14/14

“Kentucky Kynect is a website. It was paid for by a $200 million some odd grant from the federal government. The website can continue. But my view the best interest of the country would be achieved by pulling out Obamacare root and branch.” — Senator Mitch McConnell(R-KY) promoting the idea of an empty website selling nothing. 10/14/14

McConnell is suggesting that Kentuckians replace a valuable, paid-for federal benefit with one that would impose steep new burdens on the people of the state alone, knowing it’ll never happen.
Once you grasp it all, then it becomes obvious why McConnell’s contradiction is theoretically so dangerous. He isn’t just painting a shiny gloss on a controversial position. He’s exploiting the public’s confusion over it, playing voters for fools by peddling absurdities. — Brian Beutler in The New Republic. 10/14/14

 

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI 

1. Voter ID Laws Accomplish Their Objective: Reducing Turnout of Blacks, Young People
2. Andy Borowitz: CNN Defends New Slogan
3. The Daily Show: Democalypse 2014: Winning The Lady Vote
4. The DAILY GRILL
5. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Shell’s deadliest crude
6. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
7. Late Night Jokes for Dems
8. Courts Strike Down Voter ID Laws in Texas and Wisconsin
9. Sen. Roberts vows to ‘shut down the Senate’ if Obama empties Gitmo
10. Republican senator blocks funds to combat Ebola
11. Colbert Report: Republicans Are People Too
12. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’14
13. Carl DeMaio accused of sexual harassment
14. Fox Follies – The Ebola Edition
15. The Planet Just Had Its Hottest September On Record
16. The GOP Faces a Disaster If They Don’t Take the Senate
17. Scathing Quotes From Judge Posner’s Dissent Against WI Voter ID

OPINION

1. Abby Haglage: Ebola Panic Is Worse Than the Disease
2. Michael Hirsh: Panetta Is Trying to Rewrite History
3. Sally Kohn: GOP strategy won’t fool women
4. John Kerry : The Gathering Storm
5. NY Times Editorial: The Big Lie Behind Voter ID Laws
6. Kristen Doerer: Will the Right’s Relentless War on Women Prove a Boon to Dems in the Midterms?
7. Albert R. Hunt: Midterm Voters Drown in Dark Money
8. Juan Williams: Even a Senate victory won’t heal GOP divisions
9. Sally Kohn: Ebola Scare-Mongerer Rand Paul Wants You to Think You’re Going to Die

1. Voter ID Laws Accomplish Their Objective: Reducing Turnout of Blacks, Young People

Hey, guess what? If you pass a photo ID law, you reduce voter turnout. The nonpartisan GAO studied the effect of photo ID laws and, after applying all the usual demographic controls, came up with compared Kansas and Tennessee to similar states without photo ID laws:

Voter turnout was reduced by 2-3 percentage points in both states. But of course there’s more to the story. Some groups were more strongly affected than others. Here are the results for Kansas:

Turnout effect among registrants who were 18 years old in 2008 was 7.1 percentage points larger in size than the turnout effect among registrants between the ages of 44 and 53.

Turnout was reduced among African-American registrants by 3.7 percentage points more than among Whites in Kansas.

The reduction in turnout for people registered to vote within 1 year prior to Election Day 2008 was 5.2 percentage points larger in size than for people registered to vote for 20 years or longer prior to Election Day 2008.

Victory! Turnout plummeted among blacks, young people, and college students. What more could an enterprising Republican legislature want? 10/09/14 Read more at  http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/10/chart-day-kansas-successfully-reduces-voting-rate-blacks-young-people

2. Andy Borowitz: CNN Defends New Slogan

The president of CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker, attempted on Wednesday to defuse the brewing controversy over his decision to change the network’s official slogan from “The Most Trusted Name in News” to “Holy Crap, We’re All Gonna Die.”

“This exciting new slogan is just one piece of our over-all rebranding strategy,” Zucker said. “Going forward, we want CNN to be synonymous with the threat of imminent death.”

He added that the network expected to see strong ratings growth as a result of having the words “Holy Crap, We’re All Gonna Die” on-screen twenty-four hours a day.

Part of Zucker’s new strategy was on display during Tuesday’s edition of the network’s signature program, “The Situation Room,” in which a visibly ill-at-ease Wolf Blitzer appeared dressed as The Grim Reaper. More at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

3. The Daily Show: Democalypse 2014: Winning The Lady Vote

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/13azji/democalypse-2014—winning-the-lady-vote

4. The DAILY GRILL

Islamic terrorists have entered the United States through the Mexican border and Homeland Security sources tell Judicial Watch that four have been apprehended in the last 36 hours by federal authorities and the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr. —  Judicial Watch 10/08/14  Note: In late August JW reported that Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED).

VERSUS

“Categorically False.” — Department of Homeland Security Debunks Right-Wing Fiction That ISIS Attempted To Cross The U.S.- Mexico Border 10/08/14

 

“I’d like to know who’s in charge.” — Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) calling for President Obama to nominate an “Ebola czar” to coordinate the administration’s response to the deadly virus. 10/12/14

VERSUS

“Thanks to NRA power and Senate cowardice, we are left with no surgeon general during a time when, we not only have Ebola arriving on our shores, but are also dealing with the mysterious Enterovirus, which is infecting and contributing to the deaths of children in the U.S.” — Krystal Ball and Anne Thompson 10/08/14

5. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Shell’s deadliest crude

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6azeWZ2ra54

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

Fox Analyst: Obama Believes Military Should Be Fighting Ebola, Not Defending Our Country http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/10/09/fox-analyst-obama-believes-military-should-be-f/201094

NRA’s Ted Nugent: “We The People … Don’t Believe That Our President Is A Christian” http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/09/nras-ted-nugent-we-the-people-dont-believe-that/201091

Fox Bristles At Court Rulings That Shut Down Restrictive Voter ID Laws http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/10/fox-bristles-at-court-rulings-that-shut-down-re/201116

Laura Ingraham Worries Anti-Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Will Face Discrimination http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/10/10/laura-ingraham-worries-anti-same-sex-marriage-a/201114

Challenged On Absurdity Of Southern Border Fence, Hannity Says He’d Put A Fence On Canadian Border Too http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/10/10/challenged-on-absurdity-of-southern-border-fenc/201123

GOP Civil War: Huckabee Demands Republicans “Grow A Spine” And Oppose Marriage Equality http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/12/gop-civil-war-huckabee-demands-republicans-grow/201128

Chuck Todd Calls Out Media For Helping GOP Irresponsibly Push Ebola Fears To Win Votes http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/10/12/chuck-todd-calls-out-media-for-helping-gop-irre/201125

NRA Radio Show Guest Says “Shrill” Gun Safety Leader Emasculates Her Husband http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/13/nra-radio-show-guest-says-shrill-gun-safety-lea/201130

Limbaugh: Highest Levels Of Our Government And Media Think Americans Deserve To Get Ebola http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/10/14/limbaugh-highest-levels-of-our-government-and-m/201151

Deranged Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory: Obama Intentionally Wants “To Infect The Nation With Ebola”http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/14/deranged-right-wing-conspiracy-theory-obama-int/201148

After Smearing Surgeon General Nominee, Fox Wonders Why There Isn’t A Surgeon General To Deal With Ebola http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/10/14/after-smearing-surgeon-general-nominee-fox-wond/201147

7. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“Obama was actually in his office yesterday. He met with his Secret Service director to talk about the recent White House security breaches. First they had to address the elephant in the room. Not metaphorically — an actual elephant wandered into the room. Security’s just awful.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A new study estimates that only 3.4 percent of Americans will vote in the midterm elections next month. But on the bright side, 100 percent will still complain about the results.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Kim Jong Un is missing. Nobody’s seen evil North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for about a month now. And his daughter, Kim Kardashi Un, is worried sick.” –David Letterman

“This weekend a man in Oregon who is an advocate for the open carry of firearms was robbed at gunpoint. The thief apparently made off with the man’s entire argument.” –Seth Meyers

“Vladimir Putin turned 62 years old today. It must be tough buying him a gift. What do you get for the man who has everywhere?” –Jimmy Fallon

“Today is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s birthday, as those of you who are friends with him on Facebook know.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“It’s interesting that in spite of all of Russia’s troubles, Putin has an 80 percent approval rating, which I guess is something that happens when your pollsters carry machine guns.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Today is Vladimir Putin’s 62nd birthday. When he got his presents he said, ‘You didn’t have to get me anything. I could have just taken it.'” –Seth Meyers

“Archaeologists in Arizona have discovered the remains of a 1,300-year-old village. They found dwellings, stone tools, and hundreds of ballots cast for Senator John McCain.” –Seth Meyers

“A group in Russia has nominated Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize. When Putin heard this he said, ‘I’m all about achieving piece — piece of Ukraine, piece of Poland. I hope to win many more pieces.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Evil Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He will not be able to attend the ceremony. That week he will be invading Poland. ” –David Letterman

“The Obamas celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary. It was a quiet late-night supper. It was just the Obamas and a couple of White House fence jumpers.” –David Letterman

“They’re doing everything they can to tighten security at the White House. Today, on the roof of the White House, they added one of those fake owls.” –David Letterman

“Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has resigned, and in her closing statement she said, ‘I’m leaving, not because of the breaches in security, but I don’t think I can take the pressure of the upcoming trick-or-treaters.'” –David Letterman

“We also learned the new head of the Secret Service used to work for cable company Comcast. So now intruders can only sneak into the White House between the hours of 10:00 and 2:00.” –Conan O’Brien

“After a photographer was accused of harassing the royal baby Prince George, lawyers for Prince William and Kate Middleton said that their son ‘must be permitted to lead as ordinary a life as possible.’ They then added, ‘Now get away from our castle!'” –Seth Meyers

A group in Russia has nominated Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize. When Putin heard this he said, “I’m all about achieving piece — piece of Ukraine, piece of Poland. I hope to win many more pieces.”– Jimmy Fallon

Today President Obama gave a speech in California to motivate young voters by discussing his commitment to new technology. Ironically, nobody heard him because they were all staring at their phones. — Jimmy Fallon

New York state is spending $750 million to open a solar plant in Buffalo, which will create thousands of jobs. Most of those jobs will be shoveling the snow off the solar equipment. — Jimmy Fallon

Nobody had seen North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for a week, then a month, and now six weeks have gone by and nobody’s seen him. They really started to get worried when he didn’t show up at the Clooney wedding. — David Letterman

Over 200 airplane cabin cleaners at LaGuardia Airport in New York have gone on strike over fears about the spread of Ebola. But then they saw LaGuardia Airport and decided to take their chances with Ebola. — Seth Meyers

The White House has re-evaluated its security and today they announced they’ll start locking the front door. They’re also going to start asking who’s there when someone knocks. – Conan O’Brien

8. Courts Strike Down Voter ID Laws in Texas and Wisconsin

The Supreme Court on Thursday evening stopped officials in Wisconsin from requiring voters there to provide photo identification before casting their ballots in the coming election.”

“The Supreme Court’s action was seen as a setback for Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who, along with a Republican-controlled Legislature, approved the law in 2011. He faces a re-election challenge from Mary Burke, a Democrat.”

“Around the same time, a federal trial court in Texas struck down that state’s ID law, saying it put a disproportionate burden on minority voters.”

“Thursday’s ruling from Texas, issued after a two-week trial in Corpus Christi, found that the state’s voter ID law ‘creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose,’ Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos wrote.” 10/10/14 http://wonkwire.rollcall.com/2014/10/10/courts-strike-voter-id-laws-texas-wisconsin/

9. Sen. Roberts vows to ‘shut down the Senate’ if Obama empties Gitmo

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) on Friday vowed to block all legislation in the Senate with a prolonged filibuster if President Obama tries to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States.  http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/220390-roberts-threatens-to-shut-down-the-senate-if-obama-tries-to-empty

10. Republican senator blocks funds to combat Ebola

“James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has withheld approval of the $750 million to bolster Ebola response efforts saying that it would add demands on a defense budget already stretched thin.

A spokeswoman for Inhofe said Thursday that there is no change in his decision after approval from the other committees.

Staff members of the Senate panel are hoping Inhofe will change his mind. 10/09/14 http://thehill.com/policy/defense/220288-house-approves-750m-in-ebola-funding-still-held-up-in-senate

11. Colbert Report: Republicans Are People Too

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/xfjyum/republicans-are-people–too

12. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’14

Forget the federal health-care law or the state of the economy. Less than a month out before November’s midterm elections, the Republican Party has had a simple message on the campaign trail and in TV ads: fear. “Republicans have made questions of how safe we are — from disease, terrorism or something unspoken and perhaps more ominous — central in their attacks against Democrats.

Their message is decidedly grim: President Obama and the Democratic Party run a government that is so fundamentally broken it cannot offer its people the most basic protection from harm,” as the New York Times puts it. We’ve written over the last couple of weeks that the Secret Service and Ebola stories touch on the loss of faith in institutions (to protect the president, to keep scary diseases from our shores). But the advertisements we’re seeing go well beyond faith in institutions or government competence. They’re about fear. And frankly, they come when there’s no evidence of ISIS coming across the border and when (remarkably) there’s still been just one confirmed case of Ebola in the United States. Now we understand why Republicans are picking up this theme — but some of these candidates are walking a fine line; there is a Chicken Little aspect here regarding Ebola and it can border on the irresponsible.  http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/fear-loathing-campaign-trail-14-n222911

13. Carl DeMaio accused of sexual harassment

Charges of sexual misconduct, plagiarism and burglary have pitted a former staffer against a high-profile congressional candidate just weeks before the midterm elections. CNN video 10/10/14 Read more at  http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/10/politics/carl-demaio-sexul-harrassment-allegations/index.html

14. Fox Follies – The Ebola Edition

Fox “News” fights so many battles simultaneously: The War Against the IRS, Benghazi, Christmas, Fast and Furious, Affordable Care Act, Nutrition, and Illegal Immigrants, to name a few. Boiled down, it’s a never-ending War Against POTUS.

This week the Fox “News” Fear-Mongering Industrial Complex launched The War Against The War Against Ebola. Eighteen years of a steady the-government-is-not-to-be-trusted drumbeat is now paying dividends, because it no longer seems crazy when Fox’s Chris Wallace Fear Mongers About Ebola Being Spread By Illegal Immigrants; or when avuncular Peter Johnson, Jr., Fox Analyst Suggests The Federal Government Is Holding Back Ebola Treatments. Even Loofah Lad went the full Ebola: O’Reilly Suggests Obama Won’t Protect U.S. From Ebola Because He’s Too Partial To Africans.” 10/10/14 Read more at http://www.politicususa.com/2014/10/10/friday-fox-follies-obamas-ebola-edition.html

15. The Planet Just Had Its Hottest September On Record

Last month was the warmest September globally since records began being kept in 1880, NASA reported Sunday. January through September data have 2014 already at the third warmest on record. Projections by NOAA make clear 2014 is taking aim at hottest year on record. 10/13/14 Read more at  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/13/3579242/nasa-hottest-september-on-record/

16. The GOP Faces a Disaster If They Don’t Take the Senate

If next month produces a big Republican year, with the GOP gaining control of the Senate and expanding its majority in the House, it will say little or nothing about 2016, when a presidential electorate and a very different Senate class combine to create the makings of a substantially good Democratic year.

But if the GOP fails to capture the Senate this year, 2016 could turn into an unmitigated disaster for the party. And for that reason, Republicans are under extremely heavy pressure to take back the Senate in November. — Stuart Rothenberg 10/14/14 Read more at  http://blogs.rollcall.com/rothenblog/author/srpoliticsaol-com/

17. Scathing Quotes From Judge Posner’s Dissent Against WI Voter ID

—”Some of the ‘evidence’ of voter-impersonation fraud is downright goofy, if not paranoid, such as the nonexistent buses that according to the ‘True the Vote’ movement transport foreigners and reservation Indians to polling places.”

—”Even Fox News, whose passion for conservative causes has never been questioned, acknowledges that ‘Voter ID Laws Target Rarely Occurring Voter Fraud.'” [Link included in the original.]

—”As there is no evidence that voter-impersonation fraud is a problem, how can the fact that a legislature says it’s a problem turn it into one? If the Wisconsin legislature says witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials?”

—”There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.” 10/14/14 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/richard-posner-dissent-voter-id

1. Abby Haglage: Ebola Panic Is Worse Than the Disease

Over the course of a decade, funding for our hospital preparedness program has been virtually cut in half, from its peak of $500 million in 2003 to around $250 million in 2014. Insufficient training, technology, and equipment to handle an Ebola epidemic, says Redlener, are byproducts of these cuts. “We have lost the surge capacity that we once had and that we once aspired to.”

Rather than convince other Americans that they too have Ebola, Dr. Irwin Redlener the Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, thinks the case should motivate the nation to refocus on disaster preparedness. The Ebola epidemic, he’s quick to clarify, is not the disaster itself. “I can understand why people are frightened by this it’s in a category of violent illnesses that end very badly,” he says. But feeling anxious and unsettled about an epidemic that your own nation seems underequipped to handle isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “People look at Ebola in America, they are looking at what’s going on in Africa and are probably rightly distressed about the problem,” says Redlener. “It may not be rational but I don’t think it’s going to harm the country.”

Whether our individual panic over Ebola is justified or not remains to be seen. But with no sign of an epidemic in the U.S. it seems, at the very least, irrational. Norman agrees. “In our mind’s eye we see very graphic images of people going crazy; dying in the streets,” he says. “Indeed dying in the streets is happening—but it’s happening in Africa.” 10/09/14 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/09/ebola-panic-is-worse-than-the-disease.html

2. Michael Hirsh: Panetta Is Trying to Rewrite History

According to a senior administration official who has worked with Panetta in the past, the level of anger at him goes well beyond Vice President Joe Biden’s mild criticism of Panetta’s book as “inappropriate.” Officials were incredulous when the former Pentagon head sought to justify his suddenly public slaps at Obama as evidence of his loyalty, telling “CBS This Morning” host Charlie Rose on Wednesday: “It’s exactly because I am very loyal to this president and because I want him to succeed that I think it’s important to raise these issues now … So that hopefully in 2½ years, you know, we can make sure that he really does have the kind of legacy that I think he deserves as president.”

On Tuesday, Panetta told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that had the administration armed the fractious Free Syrian Army, as he’d advocated, then “we would at least be in a better position to have in the rebel operation a group that we would have worked with, known, helped arm. And frankly what it would have done is would have given us better eyes on the ground to see what was happening with regards to al Qaeda and [ISIL].” But several administration officials remember that Panetta was as concerned about arms falling into the hands of radical Islamists as the president was.

Asked by email Wednesday morning what he thought about the severe criticisms of Obama’s leadership in the book, along with statements the former Pentagon chief has made in a slew of recent media interviews, another senior administration official swiftly responded by sending a long list of statements – with key points neatly highlighted in yellow – that Panetta has made about Iraq, Syria and other issues going back to 2006, when Panetta served on George W. Bush’s Iraq Study Group and recommended an early drawdown. 10/08/14 Read more at  http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/10/panetta-is-trying-to-rewrite-history-111719.html

3. Sally Kohn: GOP strategy won’t fool women

If they’re going to pull out a victory in the midterm elections, Republicans need to win over women. But they’re doing everything in their power to alienate them, from pushing extreme anti-abortion measures that even most Republican voters oppose to blocking equal-pay legislation to, well, just opening their mouths. A leading Republican congressional candidate in Georgia recently said, sure, a woman can run for office if she is “within the authority of her husband.”

A report actually commissioned by Republican groups and reported in Politico found that women view the party as “intolerant” and “stuck in the past.” The report found that women are “barely receptive” to GOP policies.

In other words, Republicans are losing female voters faster than their anti-contraception policies can produce them.

The Republican Party has do more than just talk about domestic violence and women’s opportunity and actually support the real policies that support women’s freedom and choices — or otherwise, women will keep choosing to vote for Democrats. 10/9/14 Read more at  http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/09/opinion/kohn-republicans-women/index.html

4. John Kerry: The Gathering Storm

The science is clear, the threat is present, and the impacts will be felt in every corner of the globe.

The good news is that, science hasn’t just given us ample warning on climate change; modern technology and innovation on both sides of the Atlantic have also provided us with the solution. Unlike many of the other global challenges we face, we know exactly how to address climate change. The answer is clean energy. It’s as simple as that. The technology is out there. The policies aren’t complicated.

But there’s one thing that’s standing in our way — all over the world — and that’s the political will globally to make the tough choices that will bring about the clean-energy future we need.

At the State Department, we’ll make sure climate change is front and center the broader context of international diplomacy, including by doing all we can to ensure that the world comes together around a global agreement at the Climate Conference in Paris next year. A good global agreement will not single-handedly eliminate the threat of climate change — but the fact is, it’s sure as hell hard to solve this problem without one.

Whether we’re able to address this threat will be a real test of global cooperation — and global leadership. But we couldn’t have a stronger stake in the outcome. If we put the future of the planet that unites us ahead of the issues that divide us, we can meet this challenge, and leave future generations the healthy, sustainable planet they deserve. Onwards. 10/09/14 Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johnkerry/the-gathering-storm_b_5962026.html

5. NY Times Editorial: The Big Lie Behind Voter ID Laws

Voter ID laws, as their supporters know, do only one thing very well: They keep otherwise eligible voters away from the polls. In most cases, this means voters who are poor, often minorities, and who don’t have the necessary documents or the money or time to get photo IDs.

In her remarkable 143-page opinion in the Texas case, Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos found that the law violated both the Equal Protection Clause and the Voting Rights Act, and that by forcing registered voters to track down and pay for qualifying documents, it functioned as an “unconstitutional poll tax.”

Most striking of all, Judge Ramos found that the rapid growth of Texas’s Latino and black population, and the state’s “uncontroverted and shameful history” of discriminatory voting practices — including whites-only primaries, literacy restrictions and actual poll taxes — led to a clear conclusion: Republican lawmakers knew the law would drive down turnout among minority voters, who lean Democratic, and they passed it at least in part for that reason. Judge Ramos’s finding of intentional discrimination is important because it could force Texas back under federal voting supervision, meaning changes to state voting practices would have to be preapproved by the federal government. (Texas appealed the ruling; a federal appeals court is now considering whether to put it on hold until after the election.)

Eventually the issue will be back before the Supreme Court, which last reviewed a voter ID law in 2008, when it upheld an Indiana law because there was no clear evidence showing how it would harm voters. Thanks to the work of voting-rights advocates and the extraordinarily thorough rulings of Judge Ramos and Judge Lynn Adelman, who struck down Wisconsin’s law, the evidence is in.

The next time voter ID laws reach the justices, they should see them for the antidemocratic sham they are. 10/13/14 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/13/opinion/the-big-lie-behind-voter-id-laws.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

6. Kristen Doerer: Will the Right’s Relentless War on Women Prove a Boon to Dems in the Midterms?

On Thursday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider the Texas law that shut down thirteen clinics in the state, leaving only eight abortion clinics open in a state where 5.4 million women are at reproductive age. The Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, and Planned Parenthood challenged the original ruling last Tuesday on the basis of the constitutionality of a provision in the law that abortion doctors must have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the abortion clinic—a measure many doctors claim is unnecessary. The measure effectively closes most abortion clinics in Texas.

This law is just one of the latest attacks on women’s rights in the Republican war on women. But will it, and all of the anti-woman legislation and court decisions leading up to it, amount to a greater voter turn out in the 2014 midterms? Will it encourage more single women—who overwhelmingly favor Democrats—to vote?

The jury is still out on whether the right’s recent attacks on women’s rights will turn out the voters needed to prevent anti-abortion, anti-contraceptive, anti-equal pay Republicans from gaining or keeping office this election season. And in the remaining twenty-four days until Election Day, Democrats need to capitalize on the recent events in order to enlist women’s support.

In the end, the results of the 2014 midterm elections will serve as a test of how much voters, and candidates, really care about women’s rights. 10/10/14 Read more at  http://prospect.org/article/will-rights-relentless-war-women-prove-boon-dems-midterms

7. Albert R. Hunt: Midterm Voters Drown in Dark Money

Already there has been $100 million of dark money spent in the 2014 congressional elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. By Election Day, that number will more than double.

There is a simple rationale for giving dark money rather than making upfront donations to political action committees, including the Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC or Rove’s American Crossroads PAC, which require disclosure. Dark spending provides the influence and access that comes with big money without the accountability or the attention from critics. When the Republican Governors Association inadvertently disclosed the identities of secret dark money contributors, it embarrassed major companies such as Microsoft, Wal-Mart Stores and Aetna, which each gave $250,000, believing their donations were cloaked in anonymity.

When he fought campaign-finance reform years ago, Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell suggested the real antidote was disclosure. Now he says forcing disclosure would run afoul of the First Amendment and would harass groups such as the Humane Society.

The top dark money practitioners are a diverse lot led by the Chamber of Commerce. In addition to the groups affiliated with Reid and Rove, they include the National Rifle Association, the League of Conservation Voters and the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a vehicle for secret money to support McConnell.

One thing is certain: When it counts, the political beneficiaries of those secret donors will be made well aware of their benefactors and their needs. 10/12/14 Read more at  http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-10-12/midterm-voters-drown-in-dark-money

8. Juan Williams: Even a Senate victory won’t heal GOP divisions

If, as seems quite likely, Republicans in the Senate end up with more than 50 seats but fewer than the filibuster-proof figure of 60, the GOP leadership will have trouble maintaining party discipline. On pending issues from immigration reform to rewriting the tax code and increasing energy production, a GOP Senate majority is at risk of a Tea Party versus Establishment implosion.

Just think about being the Republican Majority Leader responsible for keeping Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in line.

That has been the political dynamic in the Republican-majority House. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) controls the agenda but lacks the votes to attend to major legislative issues — such as immigration reform — without being stymied by extreme conservative demands from the unruly Tea Party caucus.

Now the prospective Republican Senate will have to negotiate with that often-divided Republican House. Boehner is hoping to increase his governing majority in the midterms to the point where he can afford to lose the votes of some of the Tea Party crowd and still win passage of a bill.

Absent a major shift in the House, fights among Republicans in the lower chamber will likely stall any legislative agenda from the prospective GOP Senate majority.

Then again, even before making deals with the House, the GOP Senate will have to prove it can keep its own members marching to the beat of the same drum. That is why Graham took an early shot at Rubio. 10/13/14 Read more at http://thehill.com/opinion/juan-williams/220474-juan-williams-even-a-senate-victory-wont-heal-gop-divisions

9. Sally Kohn: Ebola Scare-Mongerer Rand Paul Wants You to Think You’re Going to Die

The former head of the Republican Party in South Carolina recently tweeted that anyone in the United States who has Ebola should be euthanized immediately, adding a lynch mob dimension to the panic

Why? Partly, it’s the “any excuse to criticize anything on Obama’s watch” mindset. But also just as the news media plays to or even inflames such fears to drive ratings, Republicans stoke fear to drive votes. Simply put, when voters fear for their safety, they vote more Republican. Scaring voters, whether about ISIS or Ebola, is good for the GOP.

As fear about ISIS grew among Americans, so did support for Republican leadership on foreign policy. An October 6 poll found that just 11 percent of Americans are “very worried” they will be exposed to Ebola. If Republican panic hyping continues, aided and abetted by media coverage, look for that number to rise—along with the electoral outlook for Republicans next month

And meanwhile, look for Rand Paul to carve out his own corner of this advantage by stoking anti-government sentiment as well—the same October 6 poll found that 42 percent of independent voters are not confident in government’s ability to handle any Ebola outbreak. As that number grows, so does the potential voting block for a anti-government libertarian Rand Paul presidency.

“Could we have a worldwide pandemic?” Rand Paul asked in another interview. “The Spanish flu in 1918 killed 21 million people, the plague in the 14th century killed 25 million people; I’m not saying that’s going to happen, I don’t know what’s going to happen.” Actually, Rand Paul, despite every reasonable and responsible fact to the contrary, you not only implying a mass pandemic might happen but clearly encouraging the American people to panic.

Your own dad said that’s dangerous. Take his advice. 10/12/14 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/12/ebola-scare-mongerer-rand-paul-wants-you-to-think-you-re-going-to-die.html

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Oct 2 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #856

Oct 2 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #856

ON THE RECORD ….

“He’s basically furniture in the Senate, and the people in Kansas know that. You could give the average Kansan 24 hours to come up with something Pat Roberts has done in the Senate, and after 24 hours, even the crickets would be standing there befuddled.” — GOP strategist John Weaver. 9/24/14

“Holder’s real legacy lies in his refusal to be a coward on matters of race, and his courage in using the power and influence of his office to press the arc of our criminal law a little closer toward justice.” —David Cole in the New Yorker 9/25/14

“Holder is up there with the greats—including Bobby Kennedy. I don’t know anyone who has been more diligent and thoughtful on matters of civil rights.” — Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King Jr. 9.25.14

In the 1960s, the typical corporate chieftain in the U.S. earned 20 times as much as the average employee. Today, depending on whose estimate you choose, he makes anywhere from 272 to 354 times as much. According to the AFL-CIO, the average CEO takes home more than $12 million, while the average worker makes about $34,000.” — Jordan Weissmann in Slate 9/26/14

“A lot of us are talking to the generals behind the scenes, saying, ‘Hey, if you disagree with the policy that the White House has given you, let’s have a resignation.’” — Rep. Doug Lamborn, who added that if generals resigned en masse in protest of President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, they would “go out in a blaze of glory.” 9/26/2014

“You women don’t understand — guns are for men what jewelry is for women.” — Rep. Steve King (R-IA). 9/29/14

“So what have we learned? Fox News is a special, almost magical place. It’s a world where jokes about sexism are apologized for but ones about domestic violence are not. It’s a place where minorities are degraded and maligned for fun.  And it’s the highest-rated cable news channel in the nation.” — Dean Obeidallah on the four apologies in one week at Fox News. 10.01.14

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI 

1. The DAILY GRILL
2. The Borowitz Report: Cheney: “No Fair” That Obama Gets to Bomb Syria
3. Obamacare’s First Anniversary Report Card: The Facts
4. Daily Show: The Redskins Name – Catching Racism
5.The Colbert Report: Highlights of the Values Voter Summit
6. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
7. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Blah, Blah, Blah
8. Late Night Jokes for Dems
9. American boots on the ground!
10. John Cleese on (Fox News) stupidity
11. Climate change as urgent as ISIS, Ebola

OPINION

1. Washington Post Editorial: Eric Holder’s legacy: Protecting civil rights
2. Andrew Kohut: It’s Not the Year of the Elephant
3. John F. Kerry: Under US leadership, world will defeat ISIS
4. Eugene Robinson: Bookends of a Presidency
5. Ezra Klein: In conservative media, Obamacare is a disaster. In the real world, it’s working
6. John B. Judis: This Is What’s the Matter With Kansas
7. David Gergen: With ISIS fight, Obama regains confidence
8. Angela J. Davis: Eric Holder Transformed the Attorney General into an Advocate for the Poor
9. Michael Tomasky:: The Religious Right’s Slow-Motion Suicide
10. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: After Shutdown, A Year of GOP Obstruction

1. The DAILY GRILL

“The temperatures on earth before there were humans have both been much higher and much lower than they are now. So the main question is, is there human-caused climate change? That, I do not buy.” — Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA) 9/28/14

VERSUS

I work in neurosurgery, I’m a physician’s assistant, and I have to say if 98 doctors tell you you have a brain tumor and need surgery, you don’t want to listen to the two that say don’t.” — James Kimber, Hunter’s Democratic opponent. 9/28/14

The “modern Democratic Party is an extremist radical party:” — Senator Cruz at the Values Voters Summit. 9/26/14

VERSUS

“If Senator Cruz thinks that fighting for opportunity for all, like paying women as much as men, raising the minimum wage or fixing our broken immigration system is extreme and radical – that’s a debate we’re thrilled to have.” — DNC National Press Secretary Michael Czin. 9/26/14

“Truth which is an endangered species at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.” —Sarah Palin (video) at the 2014 Values Voters Summit. 9/26/14

VERSUS

The White House is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. — TPM 9/26/14

“Would that be considered ‘Boobs On The Ground?’” — Fox’s Bolling referring to a female UAE Pilot who led an airstrike over Syria. 9/24/14

VERSUS

“We are veterans of the United States armed forces, and we are writing to inform you that your remarks about United Arab Emirates Air Force Major Mariam Al Mansouri were unwarranted, offensive, and fundamentally opposed to what the military taught us to stand for.” — From an open letter to Fox News from the Truman Project. 9/27/14

2. The Borowitz Report): Cheney: “No Fair” That Obama Gets to Bomb Syria

ON THURSDAY: In an appearance on the Fox News Channel, former Vice-President Dick Cheney said that it was “no fair” that President Obama gets to bomb Syria.

“I’m envious as hell,” he told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “That was on my bucket list.”

Asked if he had any advice for the President on bombing Syria, Cheney said, “Just enjoy it. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

ON SATURDAY: A Republican Super PAC defended the broadcast, on Saturday morning, of an attack ad highly critical of Hillary Clinton’s newborn granddaughter, Charlotte, who was born on Friday.

“Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky is fair game,” a spokesman for the Americans Concerned About Charlotte Super PAC said. “We have to assume that she is the presumptive Democratic nominee in 2052.”

IN WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has decided to move his family into a full-service doorman building in Washington, D.C., saying that “it just makes more sense right now.”

“It really will work better for us,” Obama said in a press conference Tuesday morning. “In addition to the doorman, there’s a guy at the front desk, and, if anyone comes to see you, the desk guy will call up to your apartment first to make sure it’s O.K.”

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

3. Obamacare’s First Anniversary Report Card: The Facts

Despite “real flaws and shortcomings the available evidence suggests that the Affordable Care Act is working pretty much as its designers envisioned it would with overall health care costs are rising at historically low rates.”

Other facts that point to Obamacare’s overall success include:

1. More people have health insurance.
2. People who are getting health insurance are almost certainly better off.
3. “Winners” probably outnumbered “losers” in the new marketplaces.
4. Premiums in the marketplaces aren’t rising quickly, and more insurers are jumping in to compete.
5. Employer premiums also aren’t rising quickly.

9/30/14 Read more at  http://wonkwire.rollcall.com/2014/09/30/obamacares-first-anniversary-report-card-facts/

4. Daily Show: The Redskins Name – Catching Racism

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/189afv/the-redskins–name—catching-racism

5.The Colbert Report: Highlights of the Values Voter Summit

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/h1yge9/highlights-of-the-values-voter-summit

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

Stalin, The Nazis And A Serial Killer: The Villains Right-Wing Media Compared To Eric Holder http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/25/stalin-the-nazis-and-a-serial-killer-the-villai/200891

Fox Host Calls Eric Holder One Of The “Most Dangerous Men In America”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/25/fox-host-calls-eric-holder-one-of-the-most-dang/200888

Victory Laps And Conspiracies: Conservative Media Respond To Eric Holder’s Resignation Announcement http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/09/25/victory-laps-and-conspiracies-conservative-medi/200887

NRA’s Ted Nugent: Obama Increased National Debt “Like A Crack Whore In An Opium Mall” http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/25/nras-ted-nugent-obama-increased-national-debt-l/200885

Fox’s Gallagher On Undocumented Immigrants In U.S. Military : “Let Them Go Serve In The Mexican Army”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/26/foxs-gallagher-on-undocumented-immigrants-in-us/200917

Ingraham Suggests Obama Is Willing To Expose American Troops To Ebola To Atone For Colonialism http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/26/ingraham-suggests-obama-is-willing-to-expose-am/200913

Conservative Media Revive Death Panel Myth Amid Good Obamacare News http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/26/conservative-media-revive-death-panel-myth-amid/200915

O’Reilly Downplays The Gender Wage Gap: Statistics Don’t Include “The Emotional Difference Between Men And Women”  http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/26/oreilly-downplays-the-gender-wage-gap-statistic/200923

Fox’s Ben Carson: AP History Curriculum Would Make “Most People … Ready To Go Sign Up For ISIS”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/29/foxs-ben-carson-ap-history-curriculum-would-mak/200933

Conservative Media Blames Rise of Islamic State On Long Debunked Claim That Obama “Missed” Intelligence Briefings  http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/30/conservative-media-blames-rise-of-islamic-state/200949

Fox Uses Oklahoma Beheading To Tout Fake Obama “War On The Second Amendment”http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/30/fox-uses-oklahoma-beheading-to-tout-fake-obama/200948

Laura Ingraham Blames Gender Equality And “Political Correctness” For White House Security Breach http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/30/laura-ingraham-blames-gender-equality-and-polit/200944

7. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Blah, Blah, Blah

http://vimeo.com/107112714

8. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“President Obama is facing criticism over an incident yesterday where he was holding a cup of coffee in his hand, and then used that same hand to salute a Marine. Though with all that’s going on in the world, I’m surprised he didn’t salute with a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a cigarette in the other.” –Jimmy Fallon

“The Secret Service is considering several new measures to keep people from trying to get into the White House. The first thing they’re going to do to keep people out is put up a sign that says ‘Blockbuster Video.'” –Conan O’Brien

“There’s a picture of President Obama getting off his helicopter and he’s got a cup of coffee in his hand, and he salutes the Marine guards with the cup of coffee. It’s all part of the new Jerry Seinfeld series, ‘Presidents in Helicopters Getting Coffee.'” –David Letterman

“President Obama addressed the U.N. today. Coincidentally, on the same day Chris Christie addressed the International House of Pancakes.” –David Letterman

“Today an Indian spacecraft reached the orbit of Mars. Not only did India succeed on their first attempt, they did it on a very modest budget — $74 million for the mission. Which happens to be, truly, $26 million less than it cost to make the movie ‘Gravity.'” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Congratulations to India. They were able to keep the mission’s costs down by outsourcing all of the work to themselves. And who knows, if it keeps going, in a few years, maybe we’ll have the first call center on Mars.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“House Speaker John Boehner is facing criticism over a recent speech where he suggested that unemployed people are lazy. Boehner would clarify his statements, but he was on his second two-week break of the month.” –Jimmy Fallon

“This guy gets all the way to the front porch of the White House. So they beefed it up. The security people added to the front door one of the sliding chain things.” –David Letterman

“This guy hopped the fence, ran across the White House lawn, and almost got inside the White House. And the Republicans said, ‘Well, let’s nominate this guy.'” –David Letterman

“According to a new report, Nigeria owes New York City over $500,000 in unpaid parking tickets for its foreign diplomats. Nigeria apologized and said they’ll pay the fines right away if they we send them our bank account number, our PIN, and our mother’s maiden name.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“There were some major security issues at the White House over the weekend. On Friday, a guy got to the front doors of the White House, and on Saturday another guy jumped over the White House fence. Officials are wondering why it’s so easy to get in, while Obama is wondering why it’s so hard to get out.” –Jimmy Fallon

“The White House has re-evaluated its security and today they announced they’ll start locking the front door. They’re also going to start asking who’s there when someone knocks.” –Conan O’Brien

“The Secret Service is under scrutiny after a man jumped a fence and entered the White House. In their defense, when they saw a crazed maniac running down the White House lawn, they assumed it was Biden.” –Craig Ferguson

“The Secret Service is under investigation after two different men made it onto the White House grounds this weekend after jumping the fence. Said President Obama, ‘Jumping the fence, huh? Why didn’t I think of that?'” –Seth Meyers

“A recent report says the majority of Americans cannot name the three branches of government — Judicial, Executive, and Legislative. To make it easier, the government is renaming those branches Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney.” –Conan O’Brien

“The Islamic State is releasing its own ‘Grand Theft Auto’ style of video game. In their version, the worse crime you can commit is letting a woman drive the car.” –Conan O’Brien

9. American boots on the ground!

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday that he would call the House back into session if President Barack Obama asked for war authorization for the military campaign against the Islamic State, also called ISIS.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s going to take more than airstrikes to drive them out of there,” Boehner said Sunday. “At some point, somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.”

Asked if those boots had to be American, Boehner said, “We have no choice.” 09/28/2014 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/28/boehner-obama-war_n_5895742.html

10. John Cleese on (Fox News) stupidity

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvVPdyYeaQU

11. Climate change as urgent as ISIS, Ebola 

Secretary of State John Kerry said the threats posed by climate change should be addressed with as much “immediacy” as confronting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the Ebola outbreak.

During a meeting with foreign ministers on Sunday, Kerry said global warming is creating “climate refugees.”

“We see people fighting over water in some places. There are huge challenges to food security and challenges to the ecosystem, our fisheries and … the acidification of the ocean is a challenge for all of us,” Kerry said.

“And when you accrue all of this, while we are confronting ISIL and we are confronting terrorism and we are confronting Ebola and other things, those are immediate,” he added, using an alternate acronym for the terrorist group.

“This also has an immediacy that people need to come to understand, but it has even greater longer-term consequences that can cost hundreds of billions, trillions of dollars, lives, and the security of the world,” Kerry continued. 09/22/14 Read more at http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/218480-kerry-climate-change-as-urgent-at-isil-ebola

1. Washington Post Editorial: Eric Holder’s legacy: Protecting civil rights

THE REACTION to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s decision to resign after six years in office gives a flavor of the challenges he has faced. Many on the right responded with denunciations centering on the usual litany of phony scandals. Some on the left offered grudging praise before turning to their own denunciations for Mr. Holder’s insufficient devotion to their various causes. Attention quickly wheeled to the next battle, over confirmation of Mr. Holder’s (still unnamed, but never mind that) replacement.

In an era when Republicans at the state level seem unembarrassed to try almost any strategem to deprive minorities and young people — read: Democrats — of the franchise, Mr. Holder has been a fierce champion of the opposite principle: Democracy depends on everyone having unencumbered access to the voting booth. After decades of rising incarceration rates and racial disparity in sentencing, Mr. Holder has been at the forefront of a movement to restore sanity and equity to punishment. He resisted state laws that targeted immigrants or people who police might think look like immigrants. And in refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, and then, after the Supreme Court vindicated that call, in scouring and rewriting the federal rulebook to promote equal treatment of same-sex marriages, he played a key and honorable part in the unfolding movement toward recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans as full citizens. 9/26/14 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eric-holders-legacy-protecting-civil-rights/2014/09/26/a0d1cb36-45a6-11e4-b437-1a7368204804_story.html

2. ANDREW KOHUT: It’s Not the Year of the Elephant

Sure, the GOP has the edge, but it isn’t as strong as everyone thinks.

By this point in the campaign season, the projected outcome of the midterm elections has been hashed and rehashed and even inspired some wonk-on-wonk fights along the way. The conventional wisdom is that 2014 is a Republican year—the GOP will keep the House and may well win the Senate. But surprisingly, as the elections approaches, the latest round of polling suggests that Republicans might not do as well in the popular vote for the House as expected. And that, in turn, means there might not be enough of a GOP tide to give Republicans an edge in the key Senate races they need to win a majority of seats in the upper chamber.

The question mark now, looking toward November, is turnout, not the relative popularity of the two parties. Ever since the debt-ceiling crisis in 2011, the GOP’s favorable ratings have trailed the Democratic Party’s—37 to 46 percent in Pew’s last comparison. It is unlikely that this will change materially in the next month and a half, given that the Pew survey found only a modest number of potential swing voters: Just 3 percent of Republican and 3 percent of Democratic supporters said they were only leaning to the party of their choice and still might change their minds on Election Day.

So can Democrats replicate a late surge in turnout, as they did in 2012, to make House races more competitive and pick up more seats? Pew results from the last two congressional elections suggest probably not. The turnout spreads between the parties changed hardly at all between early September and election time in recent Congressional elections.

Even so, the GOP’s relatively thin 47-44 lead in the current polls also strongly suggests that this is not a tide election—which could affect the heated battle for control of the Senate in a handful of key states. If the GOP is to regain control of the Senate, it will have to be on the strength of its Senate candidates, not on the coattails of a decidedly pro-Republican national mood. 9/26/14 Read more at  http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/09/maybe-2014-wont-be-the-year-of-the-gop-after-all-111265.html

3. John F. Kerry: Under US leadership, world will defeat ISIS

THE UNITED STATES has long faced threats from a lethal brand of terrorism that perverts one of world’s great religions. We have been relentless in targeting Al Qaeda and its affiliates, but the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, now poses a profound and unique threat to the entire world.

What we are confronting is nothing less than a violent extremist enterprise. It has employed violence, intimidation, and genocidal brutality to impose its will across large swaths of Syria and Iraq. The Islamic State controls more territory than Al Qaeda ever has, which means it has access to money on an unprecedented scale to finance its mayhem.

So how do the United States and the more than 60 countries that have joined the effort so far succeed? Military action is a key component of the campaign. The Islamic State rules at the barrel of a gun and the blade of a knife, and that’s the only language its adherents seem to understand. But as the president said, America is not in this fight alone. Iraqi and Kurdish troops are fighting on the ground now, and over the months the moderates in Syria will become a more effective force as we provide training, equipment, and military advice.

The evil that the Islamic State represents is not something that Iraq or the region can take on alone. We face a common threat and it requires a common response. Acting together, with clear objectives and strong will, we can protect the innocent, contain the danger, and demonstrate that our ideals are more powerful than those who seek to impose their warped beliefs at the point of a gun. The Islamic State is odious, but it is far from omnipotent — it will be defeated. 9/26/14 Read more at http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2014/09/25/under-leadership/a2kyeND3mQrf5ct5oRj4dK/story.html

4. Eugene Robinson: Bookends of a Presidency

The speech Obama gave in Cairo in 2009 and the address he gave at the United Nations on Wednesday can be seen as bookends. In the heady months after his election, Obama hoped to be remembered as the president who forged a new peace between the Western and Islamic worlds. Now, while not completely abandoning that hope, Obama says there first must be war against jihadist “killers” who understand no language but “the language of force.”

The Cairo speech and this week’s address sounded many of the same themes, but there was a marked difference in tone. Five years ago, Obama invited Muslim political and religious leaders to join him in combating violent extremism. Now he is demanding they do so.

The president would have grounds to argue that if his approach has changed, it is because the world has changed. The Arab Spring revolutions unleashed powerful forces that had long been suppressed by authoritarian regimes. Among these were religious political movements, which rushed to fill the power vacuums that suddenly appeared, and long-buried passions stemming from the Sunni-Shiite sectarian divide.

But Obama has changed, too. In Cairo, he listed the sources of friction between the West and the Muslim world; ranked second, right after violent extremism, was the unresolved conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. On Wednesday, while making clear that the United States still supports a two-state solution, Obama said that “the situation in Iraq and Syria and Libya should cure anybody of the illusion that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the main source of problems in the region.”

Start to finish, it was one of the most important speeches of the Obama presidency. So far, that is.  9/26/14 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/09/26/bookends_of_a_presidency___124106.html

5. Ezra Klein: In conservative media, Obamacare is a disaster. In the real world, it’s working

Obamacare’s competitive insurance marketplaces are actually doing what they promised to do: forcing insurers to compete for customers by cutting costs. The Congressional Budget Office explains that Obamacare’s premiums are cheaper-than-expected because its insurance features “lower payment rates for providers, narrower networks of providers, and tighter management of their subscribers’ use of health care than employment-based plans do.”

That is an extraordinary sentence: Obamacare is forcing insurers to run leaner than employers are. If Obamacare were Romneycare does anyone doubt Ryan — and Republicans more broadly — would be celebrating?

Obamacare isn’t by any means a perfect law and not everything in it is going right. The law powers a different insurance market in every state (plus the District of Columbia), so it is perfectly possible for Obamacare to be a success in California even as there are troubles in Minnesota. And there continue to be operational issues: there have been troubling revelations about web site security, and problems verifying the incomes of some enrollees.

On the whole, though, costs are lower than expected, enrollment is higher than expected, the number of insurers participating in the exchanges is increasing, and more states are joining the Medicaid expansion. Millions of people have insurance who didn’t have it before. The law is working. But a lot of the people who are convinced Obamacare is a disaster will never know that, because the voices they trust will never tell them. 9/24/14 Read more at  http://www.vox.com/2014/9/24/6836181/in-conservative-media-obamacare-is-a-disaster-in-the-real-world-it-s

6. John B. Judis: This Is What’s the Matter With Kansas

The midterm elections of 2010 were good for Republicans nearly everywhere, but amid the national Tea Party insurgency, it was easy to overlook the revolution that was brewing in Kansas. That year, the GOP won every federal and statewide office. Sam Brownback, a genial U.S. senator best known for his ardent social conservatism, captured the governor’s mansion with nearly double the votes of his Democratic opponent. And having conquered Kansas so convincingly, he was determined not to squander the opportunity. His administration, he declared, would be a “real live experiment” that would prove, once and for all, that the way to achieve prosperity was by eliminating government from economic life.

Brownback’s agenda bore the imprint of three decades of right-wing agitation, particularly that of the anti-government radicals Charles and David Koch and their Wichita-based Koch Industries, the single largest contributors to Brownback’s campaigns. Brownback appointed accountant Steve Anderson, who had developed a model budget for the Kochs’ advocacy arm, Americans for Prosperity, as his budget director. Another Koch-linked group, the Kansas Policy Institute, supported his controversial tax proposals. As Brownback later explained to The Wall Street Journal, “My focus is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, ‘See, we’ve got a different way, and it works.’”

Brownback established an Office of the Repealer to take a scythe to regulations on business, he slashed spending on the poor by tightening welfare requirements, he rejected federal Medicaid subsidies and privatized the delivery of Medicaid, and he dissolved four state agencies and eliminated 2,000 state jobs. The heart of his program consisted of drastic tax cuts for the wealthy and eliminating taxes on income from profits for more than 100,000 Kansas businesses. No other state had gone this far. He was advised by the godfather of supply-side economics himself, the Reagan-era economist Arthur Laffer, who described the reforms as “a revolution in a cornfield.”

And Republicans cheered him on. “This is exactly the sort of thing we want to do here, in Washington, but can’t, at least for now,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Brownback. Influential conservatives in Washington even started talking about him as a promising presidential candidate for 2016. It did not occur to them that less than two years later, Brownback would be struggling even to win reelection in a reliably red state, his party in disarray and his conservative castle crumbling. 9/29/14 Read more at http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119574/sam-brownbacks-conservative-utopia-kansas-has-become-hell

7. David Gergen: With ISIS fight, Obama regains confidence

In a series of surprises, the president has risen to the challenges of leadership in ways that have transformed the early stages of this military campaign. The administration had hinted that air attacks against Islamic State, also known as ISIS, in Syria were still weeks — if not months — away. With a reluctant warrior in the White House, who could know for sure whether the attacks would be tough enough. Which allies would go with us?

And then, boom! The United States unleashed a withering barrage of missiles and bombs, apparently catching ISIS by surprise, and best of all, accompanied by forces from five different Sunni nations.

Coming on the eve of nations gathering at the United Nations General Assembly, the attacks suddenly gave muscularity and credibility to Obama. He quickly took advantage of the moment, delivering a speech at the General Assembly that was one of the most forceful of his presidency. Gone was the ambivalence of so many of his military actions — this time he was all in.

He even went where American presidents fear to tread: He called out friendly Arab nations that use oil profits from buyers abroad to secure peace at home. Those funds often go to the religious extremists who export more radical interpretations of the Muslim faith, spreading the seeds of Al Qaeda and ISIS. That was a gutsy move by Obama, and it had the virtue of being the right thing to do.

By the end of the General Assembly, walking amid the UN delegations, one had a distinct sense that Obama had emerged as the dominant figure there. More importantly, other nations seemed to welcome a reassertion of American leadership. (The leaders of China and Russia didn’t help themselves by skipping the meetings this year.)

Obama still has 28 months in his presidency. Like him or not, the United States needs a strong, effective leader who brings clarity and judgment to the tasks ahead. Spirits are stirring in that vasty deep once again. 9/25/14 Read more at http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/09/25/with-isis-fight-obama-regains-confidence/26tzfb3ejYJknU0nKVirdI/story.html

8. Angela J. Davis: Eric Holder Transformed the Attorney General into an Advocate for the Poor

On September 25, Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation. He made history as the nation’s first African American attorney general and will most likely be remembered for his vigorous enforcement of the nation’s civil rights laws. He deserves equal accolades for his leadership in working to reform the nation’s broken criminal justice system. Since his appointment as attorney general, he has consistently criticized the draconian federal sentencing laws that require lengthy mandatory minimum sentences in nonviolent drug cases and has decried the unwarranted racial disparities in the criminal justice system, calling the phenomenon “a civil rights issue … that I’m determined to confront as long as I’m attorney general.” And he certainly kept that promise.

Holder’s most comprehensive criminal justice reform efforts were announced in a speech he gave at the American Bar Association’s Annual meeting in 2013. In these remarks, Holder said, “Too many people go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law-enforcement reason.” He also decried the unwarranted racial disparities, stating that “people of color often face harsher punishments than their peers. … [b]lack male offenders have received sentences nearly 20 percent longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes. This isn’t just unacceptable—it is shameful.” Holder then went on to announce sweeping reforms, including ordering federal prosecutors to refrain from charging low level nonviolent drug offenders with offenses that impose harsh mandatory minimum sentences; a compassionate release program to consider the release of nonviolent, elderly, and/or ill prisoners; the increased use of alternatives to incarceration; and the review and reconsideration of statutes and regulations that impose harsh collateral consequences (such as loss of housing and employment) on people with criminal convictions.

We have yet to witness the positive effects of Holder’s criminal justice legacy, and some may suggest that he didn’t go far enough. But few will disagree that his efforts surpass those of any previous attorney general. Did Holder’s views on criminal justice evolve over time? Or did he always believe that the system was broken and in need of reform? Perhaps both statements are true. What matters is that at the end of the day, when he was in a position to effect meaningful change in our criminal justice system, this former prosecutor became a champion of liberty. And for that, this former public defender will forever be grateful. 0/26/14 Read more at  http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119616/eric-holders-criminial-justice-legacy

9. Michael Tomasky: The Religious Right’s Slow-Motion Suicide

The social conservatives is a group that is losing power, and I think the leaders and even the rank-and-filers know it. Their vehicle, the Republican Party, is going libertarian on them. Rand Paul, whether he wins the 2016 nomination or not, is clearly enough of a force within the party that he is pushing it away from the culture wars. He is joined in this pursuit by the conservative intellectual class, which knows the culture wars are a dead-bang loser for the GOP and which finds the culture warriors more than a little embarrassing, and by the establishment figures, the Karl Rove types, who stroked them back in 2004 but who now see them as a liability, at least at the presidential level. There are still, of course, many states where these voters come in quite handy in that they elect many Republican representatives and senators.

The money people own the party, and the neocons still dominate in Washington and—Rand Paul notwithstanding—will always have a considerable degree of influence in the party. The social conservatives are the only faction within the triad that hasn’t heaped wreckage upon the nation (not for lack of trying), and yet they have far less power in the upper echelons of party than the other two groups. And when they complain, as they occasionally do, that they’ve largely been paid back for all their work in the vineyards with lip service and symbolic little executive order-type things, they have a point. It’s a little like labor in the Democratic Party.

And now, 2016 is going to be a pivotal election for them. Many of them want Ted Cruz, who won the Values Voter straw poll. But of course this is ridiculous. Cruz isn’t going to be the nominee. In fact Cruz’s win, and the fact that Jeb Bush and Chris Christie weren’t even invited to the meeting, is a sign of their retreat from serious politics toward something entirely gestural. Bush, from these people’s perspective, is too squishy on immigration, and Christie last October decided to stop fighting the tide of history on same-sex marriage when a decision by the state’s Supreme Court led Christie to withdraw an appeal his administration had lodged against a pro-same-sex marriage lawsuit.

That’s a childish way to do politics. If somehow they were to get their way with Cruz, then Hillary Clinton will easily be elected president, and she’ll almost certainly have the time and opportunity to flip the Supreme Court back to a liberal majority, and they’ll be finished for the good, the cultural right, and they will have contributed mightily to their own well-deserved demise. 09’29/14 Read more at  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/29/social-conservatives-face-the-precipice.html

10. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: After Shutdown, A Year of GOP Obstruction

Rather than take action that will help middle-class families or expand opportunity for all Americans, many Republicans are more interested in scoring political points. They are following the lead of Ted Cruz, architect of the shutdown strategy, and Rand Paul, who viewed the closing of crucial government services as a public relations fight Republicans could win. What’s more is, Republican candidates for Senate like Bill Cassidy, Joni Ernst, David Perdue and Tom Cotton supported the shutdown and the last thing we need is more of that in Washington.

This is the choice that voters will face next month when they head to the polls — Republicans who are willing to jeopardize our economic well-being when they don’t get their way, or Democrats who will work to fix our nation’s problems.

Voters can see that the Democratic Party shares their priorities. We’re fighting to increase the minimum wage, because no one who works full time should have to raise their family in poverty. Democrats support paycheck fairness, because pay equity is not just a woman’s issue, but a family issue and an economic issue. These are actions that would immediately help families make ends meet, and a far more productive use of Congress’ time than another destructive government shutdown.

There are serious issues facing our nation that we will need to address in the years ahead. We understand that both parties have to work together. But that can’t happen if Republicans decide to take their ball and go home every time things don’t go the way they want.

You can disagree how we should address climate change, or immigration reform, or investing in our children’s’ future. But whether Congress fulfills its most basic functions, or whether our country meets our obligations, should never be up for debate.

Voters will head to the polls in less than five weeks. While Republicans threaten another shutdown, the best way to ensure a government that shares their priorities is to elect Democratic candidates who are willing to stick it out and fight on their behalf. 10/01/14 Read more at  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-debbie-wasserman-schultz/after-shutdown-a-year-of_b_5912540.html

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Sep 25 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #855

Sep 25 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #855

ON THE RECORD ….

“After spending pretty much all of August and the beginning of September on vacation, House Republicans have decided that after 8 days back on the job, they’ve had enough.” — Jed Lewinson in Daily Kos 9/18/14

“So many times, Republicans are seen as this party of, ‘We don’t want black people to vote because they’re voting Democrat, we don’t want Hispanic people to vote because they’re voting Democrat.’ We wonder why the Republican Party is so small. Why don’t we be the party that’s for people voting, for voting rights?” — Sen. Rand Paul criticizing his own party for making it tougher for minorities to vote. 9/18/14

 

“7.3 million Obamacare enrollees had paid their premiums, or more than 90 percent of the 8 million people who President Obama said had enrolled in coverage. “– Top administration official Marilyn Tavenner 9/23/14

“He’s basically furniture in the Senate, and the people in Kansas know that. You could give the average Kansan 24 hours to come up with something Pat Roberts has done in the Senate, and after 24 hours, even the crickets would be standing there befuddled.” — GOP strategist John Weaver. 9/24/14

“There are two reasons why these anti-terror messages from Republicans are beginning to pop up on the campaign trail. The first: It’s embedded in the party’s DNA. Since the beginning of the Cold War, the GOP’s first instinct has always been to assert how it’s tougher and stronger on communism/terrorism than the Democratic Party is. And if you look at polling, the public responds almost as strongly in a positive direction to the GOP on these issues. (That polling and 60-year GOP history, ultimately, will be major problems for Rand Paul if he runs for president, but that’s a subject for another day.) The second reason: Republicans want to keep the midterms a nationalized election. And so when the national conversation turns away from health care and the economy to national security, the GOP’s TV ads and campaign messages will follow. Why do they want it nationalized? Take one look at the right track/wrong track poll numbers coupled with the president’s job rating. The more local this campaign is, the less likely the GOP wins the Senate or adds to their House majority.” — First Read 9/24/14

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI 

1. Colbert Report: Charles Krauthammer On Obama’s Mental State
2. The Dark-Money Apocalypse Is Upon Us
3. Mark Fiore: The Presidential Painsuit
4. Robert Reich – 7 Lies: Killing those zombie lies about the war on poverty
5. Democrat Votes To Kill Gun Reform, NRA Rewards Him By Spending $1.3 Million To Elect His Opponent
6. The DAILY GRILL
7. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
8. Late Night Jokes for Dems
9. The Borowitz Report: Largest Climate-Change March in History Unlikely to Convince Idiots
10. 100 more GunFAILS
11. John Boehner Is Done Being Nice About The Unemployed
12. And Then There Were Four: The Senate Field Narrows
13. Virginia Republicans reject any and all suggestions to expand health coverage
14. Guantánamo Bay Is Crumbling Into Ruins

OPINION

1. Ruben Navarrette: What California Would Look Like Without Illegal Immigrants
2. John McWhorter: Why the Right Thinks Obama’s a Narcissist—and Why They’re Wrong
3. Dana Milbank: Republicans gallop toward ground war in Syria and Iraq
4. Eleanor Clift: Square Deal, New Deal, and Now, From Hillary Clinton, a “Fair Shot”
5. Dean Obeidallah: How Long Can the Republicans Hide The Crazy?
6. Sally Kohn: The GOP’s Latest Attempt to Fool Women Won’t Work
7. Dan Balz: Texas has become epicenter of conservative movement
8. Ricken Patel: Why climate change is an ‘everybody issue’ now
9. Michael Tomasky: Obama’s Iraq Is Not Bush’s Iraq
10. Tim Dickinson: Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire

 

1. Colbert Report: Charles Krauthammer On Obama’s Mental State

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/x58aop/charles-krauthammer-on-obama-s-mental-state

2. The Dark-Money Apocalypse Is Upon Us

“A milestone passed in late August: According to the Center for Responsive Politics, dark-money groups–nonprofits created under the 501(c)(4) and (c)(6) sections of the US tax code–had by then surpassed $50 million on elections. These groups, unlike political action committees and candidates’ campaigns, do not have to disclose their donors. So some of the key players looking to sway election results remain in the shadows. This was a new record and seven times the amount of dark money spent by the same point on House and Senate elections in 2010. And this week, dark-money spending for the 2014 cycle reached $63 million–just shy of the $69 million in dark money spent during the entire 2008 presidential election.”

“Every politician knows that campaign season begins in earnest after Labor Day. If recent history is any guide, there is sure to be an unprecedented last-minute blitz of dark-money spending.” http://time.com/author/sen-rand-paul/

3. Mark Fiore: The Presidential Painsuit

http://vimeo.com/105209510

4. Robert Reich – 7 Lies: Killing those zombie lies about the war on poverty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM5Ep9fS7Z0#t=38

5. Democrat Votes To Kill Gun Reform, NRA Rewards Him By Spending $1.3 Million To Elect His Opponent

Last year, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) voted against a popular proposal to require people who purchase firearms online or at gun shows first complete a background check. On Tuesday, however, the National Rifle Association announced a $1.3 million ad buy in Pryor’s home state of Arkansas supporting Pryor’s Republican opponent Rep. Tom Cotton.

If Pryor thought he could ward off opposition from a well-funded interest group by acting against the wishes of his voters, that notion has now been discredited. Pryor’s apparent reward for voting with the NRA on background checks is seven figures worth of spending seeking to turn Pryor out of office. 9/17/14 Read more at  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/09/17/3568582/democrat-votes-to-kill-gun-reform-nra-rewards-him-by-spending-13-million-to-elect-his-opponent/

6. The DAILY GRILL

I am honored to be named a “Champion of the Worker.” — Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), thanking the Competitive Enterprise Institute for his award. 9/17/14

VERSUS

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) voting record on worker’s issues:

Paycheck Fairness Act: No
Minimum Wage Fairness Act: No
Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act: No
Employment Non-Discrimination Act: No
Just about every nomination President Obama has made in any way pertaining to labor policy: No

 

“Many of those clamoring for military action now are the same people who made every false assumption imaginable about the cost, challenge and purpose of the Iraq war. They have been so wrong for so long. Why should we listen to them again?” — Senator Rand Paul in June

VERSUS

“If I had been in President Obama’s shoes, I would have acted more decisively and strongly against ISIS.” — Senator Rand Paul today 

 

“So you think they shouldn’t be able to vote? Because I think they can.” — Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy (video) convinced that the city of New York’s new municipal ID program is really just a plot to enfranchise New York’s undocumented population. 9/19/14

VERSUS

“Although New York’s municipal ID will give the undocumented easier access to museums and zoos, it will categorically not grant them entry into the voting booth, regardless of what Steve Doocy may believe.” — Think Progress 9/19/14

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

Limbaugh: “The Republican Party Is The Equivalent Of A Battered Wife”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/18/limbaugh-the-republican-party-is-the-equivalent/200810

Conservative Media Cooks Up Outlandish Claim That Obama Admin. Is Racially Profiling Gun Owners http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/18/conservative-media-cooks-up-outlandish-claim-th/200808

Ingraham Suggests Migrant Children May Spread Drug “Resistant Forms Of TB” To “Public School Kids Across This Country”http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/18/ingraham-suggests-migrant-children-may-spread-d/200805

Fox News Leaves Out Key Facts In Report On GA Voter Registration “Scandal”http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/19/fox-news-leaves-out-key-facts-in-report-on-ga-v/200823

Clinton “Fatigue” Syndrome: What The Press Gets Wrong About Hillary’s Popularity http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/19/clinton-fatigue-syndrome-what-the-press-gets-wr/200828

Limbaugh Complains That Sexual Assault Gets Widespread Media Coverage While Attacks On Conservatives Get Little Attention http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/19/limbaugh-complains-that-sexual-assault-gets-wid/200825

O’Reilly: “All The Things That Poor People Have” Proves America Doesn’t “Really Have Any Destitution Anymore” http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/19/oreilly-all-the-things-that-poor-people-have-pr/200835

Clinton “Fatigue” Syndrome: What The Press Gets Wrong About Hillary’s Popularity http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/19/clinton-fatigue-syndrome-what-the-press-gets-wr/200828

A Fox Host Is Now Connecting The White House Fence Jumper To Benghazi http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/22/a-fox-host-is-now-connecting-the-white-house-fe/200840

8. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“Problems for the NFL continue. Last week Nike suspended Ray Rice’s contract and today they suspended Adrian Peterson’s contract. So now Nike is down to Oscar Pistorius and Kim Jong Un.” –Conan O’Brien

“Bill Clinton gave a speech this weekend. He criticized Republicans for spending all their time dissing President Obama. But people from Iowa missed the rest of the speech because they were busy looking up the word ‘dissing.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Hillary Clinton also gave a speech in Iowa. She fueled speculation that she’ll run for president when she admitted that she’s ‘thinking about it.’ And next week, she’ll be ‘thinking about it’ when she’s in New Hampshire before she spends a few days ‘thinking about it’ in Florida.” –Jimmy Fallon

“The U.N. delegates fan out across Manhattan to take advantage of diplomatic immunity. They do dangerous stuff just because they can, like get speeding tickets. They can even take pictures of Alec Baldwin.” –Craig Ferguson

“Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Iowa this week, three days after Hillary Clinton’s high-profile return to the state. He’ll spend two days there – one campaigning and another stuck in a corn maze.” –Jimmy Fallon

“In a recent interview, Texas Governor Rick Perry revealed that he has spent the last 20 months preparing to run for president. Then Hillary said, ‘Call me when you’ve spent 67 years.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Mitt Romney we think is going run again. He says he has no plans to run, but he said if he did run, this time things would turn out differently. Yes they would. This time he would get his ass kicked by a woman.” –Bill Maher

“I always get excited when I come to Washington because I’m that typical tourist; I like to see the sh*t. There’s so many great historical sites: the lobby of The Willard hotel, where we got that name lobbyist, where they used to literally lobby; the tavern where John Adams used to drink; the Capitol where they used to pass laws.” –Bill Maher

“Sarah Palin’s whole family got into a drunken, public fistfight. Something police are calling a tragic case of trash on trash violence.” –Bill Maher

“Apparently it got very gnarly. The Palins, the whole family, showed up in a stretch hummer at this party and saw a guy who had broken up with Willow, and they all wanted to fight him. Bristol threw punches. Willow wailed on this guy. Todd had a bloody nose. Sarah was screaming, ‘Don’t you know who I am?!’ And Track tore off his shirt and was walking down the street giving everyone the finger. I have only one thing to say about this: ‘ISIS, do you really want to mess with this?'” –Bill Maher

“Forty-seven percent of Americans feel less safe than before 9/11. But enough about the NRA.” –Bill Maher

“The president went on TV and explained that our new operation against ISIS is not a war. War is what FOX News does to defend Christmas.” –Bill Maher

“Congress is now criticizing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for not acting swiftly enough. You know you’re slow if you’re being criticized by Congress for not acting swiftly enough.” –David Letterman

9. The Borowitz Report: Largest Climate-Change March in History Unlikely to Convince Idiots

A climate-change march that organizers claim was the largest on record is nevertheless unlikely to change the minds of idiots, a survey of America’s idiots reveals.

Despite bringing attention to a position that is embraced by more than ninety per cent of the world’s scientists, the People’s Climate March, which took place on Sunday in New York City, left a broad majority of the nation’s idiots unconvinced.

“Look, if hundreds of thousands of people want to march about something, it’s a free country,” said Carol Foyler, an idiot from Kenosha, Wisconsin. “But let me ask them something: if the climate is really getting warmer, why was it so cold up here last winter?”

Skepticism about scientists characterized many of the idiots’ remarks, including those of Tracy Klugian, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Those marchers are holding signs that say ‘Scientists this, scientists that,’ ” he said. “Well, how can scientists be sure that the Earth was colder thousands of years ago, when no one had invented a thermometer?”

Klugian said he was confident that, despite the impressive numbers for Sunday’s march, idiots would prevail in the ongoing climate-change debate. “At the end of the day, there are more people like us in Congress,” he said. Read more at  http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

10. 100 more GunFAILS

Since mid-August TSA agents have discovered approximately 182 guns at airports around the country.

Between late July and mid-August 33 people accidentally shot themselves; 26 kids who were accidentally shot; 11 people accidentally shot into their neighbor’s homes or neighboring hotel rooms; eight people accidentally fired weapons they claimed to have been cleaning (which of course means they were still loaded at the time); 14 accidents ended in fatalities; 9 FAILs by law enforcement or security personnel; 15 people accidentally shot family members or significant others; 6 people FAILed with their guns while out shopping, dining or otherwise engaging in everyday business in public; 3 people shot others they mistook for intruders; 2 target shooting accidents, and; 2 people experienced the growing trend of bathroom GunFAIL Details and stories of special note are at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/09/11/1321126/-The-beat-goes-on-100-More-GunFAILS-and-we-re-not-even-caught-up-yet

11. John Boehner Is Done Being Nice About The Unemployed

During a Thursday event to promote his own jobs plan, Boehner let his hair down by lamenting “this idea that has been born, maybe out of the economy over the last couple years, that you know, I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this. I think I’d rather just sit around. This is a very sick idea for our country.” 9/19/2014 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/19/john-boehner-unemployment_n_5849742.html

12. And Then There Were Four: The Senate Field Narrows

If we assume that a candidates with a win probability greater than eighty per cent will probably win his or her election, only four uncertain races remain: Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, and Arkansas. In each of these contests, the candidates are within two percentage points of one another. Power in the Senate will almost certainly depend on what happens in these states. — Sam Wang 9/23/14 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/four-senate-field-narrows

13. Virginia Republicans reject any and all suggestions to expand health coverage

The opposition of Virginia’s GOP lawmakers to any form of Medicaid expansion — under any conditions or timetable or permutation — has assumed its own convoluted logic. They are against using federal funds to insure poor Virginians mainly because the other side — namely, President Obama — is for it. 9/19/14 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/virginia-republicans-reject-any-and-all-suggestions-to-expand-health-coverage/2014/09/19/ef94d21e-3f74-11e4-9587-5dafd96295f0_story.html

14. Guantánamo Bay Is Crumbling Into Ruins

At a cost of $2.8 million per prisoner per year, Guantánamo is the most expensive prison in the world. (The costliest prison in the U.S., the Colorado Supermax, at $78,000 per prisoner per year.) And the costs will continue to rise as facilities that were built to be temporary, like the Camp America Dining Facility, deteriorate. In addition to the dining facility repairs, the 2015 defense budget also calls for $11.8 million to upgrade a medical clinic that was never built to serve an aging population of prisoners. Jessica Schulberg 9/21/14 Read more at  http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119503/guantanamo-bay-costs-mindboggling-expenses-running-prison

 

1. Ruben Navarrette: What California Would Look Like Without Illegal Immigrants

Illegal immigration has become a cash cow for California. A recent report by researchers at the USC, for example, says immigrants who are in California illegally make up nearly 10 percent of the state’s workers and contribute $130 billion annually to its gross domestic product.

Growing up in the rich farmland of Central California, I’ve known for sometime that the agriculture industry had become completely dependent on immigrant labor—some of it from legal immigrants, but much of it from the undocumented. And what an industry it is, producing more than $45 billion a year in revenue and supplying more than half the produce consumed in the United States.

The study found that the estimated 2.6 million immigrants who are living in California illegally account for as much as 38 percent of the agriculture industry. Farming insiders put the figure at over 50 percent. Illegal immigrants also constitute at least 14 percent of the construction industry. You’ll also find them well represented in the hospitality industry, landscaping industry, and just about every other line of work in the state that requires breaking a sweat.

Today, many Californians feel ambivalent about illegal immigration. They’re under no delusions about how dependent they’ve become on a phenomenon they used to decry. They don’t really believe that the kid making lattes at Starbucks, the one with all the body piercings, is going to rush out and pick plums in 100-degree heat. And, on the home front, they’ve probably figured out that—when they come home after dark, and the lawn is perfectly manicured—it’s not the work of elves.

But, as this study makes clear, if the Golden State didn’t have illegal immigrants, it would have to invent them. And if California’s industries suddenly had to rely on a completely legal workforce and couldn’t hire another undocumented person, many of them would be out of business.

\When the conversation turns to illegal immigrants, many Americans don’t want to accept the truth. And Californians are no different. That’s their prerogative. But they should at least be able to recognize it when it is staring them in the face. 9.18.14 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/18/careful-what-you-wish-for-here-s-what-california-would-look-like-without-illegal-immigrants.html

2. John McWhorter: Why the Right Thinks Obama’s a Narcissist—and Why They’re Wrong

Charles Krauthammer has told Fox News that President Obama is a narcissist. And he should know, because once he was a psychologist.

His evidence? Obama apparently says “I” too much. He’s all into himself instead of the country he’s supposed to be running. “Count the number of times he uses ‘I’ in any speech, and compare that to any other president,” limns Doctor Krauthammer. “Remember when he announced the killing of Bin Laden? That speech I believe had 29 references to ‘I’—on my command, I ordered, as Commander-in-Chief I was then told, I this.”

But as linguist Mark Liberman notes at Language Log, the president used the word “I” exactly 10 times in that speech. Meanwhile, when Ronald Reagan made a speech in an analogous situation about Lebanon and Grenada, he used “I” exactly, um, 29 times. Yet to Krauthammer, who coined the term “Reagan Doctrine,” the Gipper was what a president is supposed to be. Why can’t Obama refer to himself as much as Reagan?

Kruathammer isn’t alone in bridling at our president’s referring to himself in public addresses. George Will has complained about this too, and yet the whole notion is complete BS. A useful example: Conservative writer Howard Portnoy claimed Obama was “I”-ing up the place ungraciously during his debates with Mitt Romney. In fact, in the first debate, Romney said “I” 227 times to Obama’s 122; in the second, 260 to Obama’s 176; and in the third, 198 times to Obama’s 108.

Clearly, it isn’t that Obama refers to himself to any notable degree. It’s that these pundits rankle inwardly when they hear the man saying “I”—because they deeply dislike him. Their innards seethe to see him expressing confidence, or otherwise reminding them that he, and not Mitt Romney, is the leader of the country. They want him down. They wish he’d go away. It’s ugly.

A basic fact will remain: The bias, whatever its components, is nauseating. 9/18/14 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/18/why-the-right-thinks-obama-s-a-narcissist-and-why-they-re-wrong.html

3. Dana Milbank: Republicans gallop toward ground war in Syria and Iraq

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), three months ago said: “I don’t think we need boots on the ground. I don’t think that is an option worth consideration.” After Obama announced a no-boots-on-the-ground plan last week that sounded much like what Graham was asking for, Graham revised his view. “This idea we’ll never have any boots on the ground to defeat them in Syria is fantasy,” he said Sunday on TV.

The Republicans were almost unanimous in wanting a broader war than Obama outlined. Sen. Jim Inhofe (Okla.), called it “foolhardy” for Obama to rule out ground troops. “There was a collective sigh of relief at ISIS headquarters in Syria when they heard him say that,” Inhofe alleged, using an acronym for the terrorist group.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) said she didn’t see how the air strikes could work “without the assistance of our trained special operators on the ground.”

Sen. Roger Wicker (Miss.) said he didn’t think “five thousand trained in a year” would be sufficient. “I want us to win.”

And Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.) offered his opinion that Iraqi troops would be “more emboldened and encouraged” if they had U.S. troops embedded with them.

Dempsey suggested that Jordanian or Emirati forces might do that job.

“Well, if we all had horses, we’d take a ride,” snapped Sessions. “We don’t have that.”

Ah, but we do. The Republican Party has quickly assembled a veritable cavalry brigade of warhorses. 9/16/14 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-republicans-gallop-towards-ground-war-in-syria-and-iraq/2014/09/16/ce25d270-3de1-11e4-b03f-de718edeb92f_story.html

4. Eleanor Clift: Square Deal, New Deal, and Now, From Hillary Clinton, a “Fair Shot”

As Hillary Clinton spoke about women’s economic issues at a liberal think tank, you could practically hear her campaign taking shape.

A hush fell over the room as some of the most powerful women in the Democratic Party took their seats on a panel to discuss women’s economic security. Hillary Clinton, presidential candidate in waiting and first among equals, sketched out the challenges. Women hold two-thirds of minimum-wage jobs, she said, and three-quarters of the jobs that rely on tips, like waitresses, bartenders, hairstylists. In many states, the minimum wage for tipped workers is as low as $2.13 an hour.

Although a Census report released this week shows the poverty rate declined for the first time since 2006, Clinton said it also found that more women are likely to be impoverished even if they’re working. She urged a “fair shot” for women, and if you’ve been watching the PBS series on the Roosevelts, FDR’s New Deal, and TR’s Square Deal, you can begin to imagine Clinton’s campaign taking shape.

“We need a broader-based economic platform that is inclusive,” she said, a clunky way of fleshing out the fair shot she envisions for women, and indeed all Americans. She gives President Obama full credit for “stanching the bleeding” from the financial meltdown, but said, “Unless we change our politics, a lot of the benefits are not going to be broadly shared.”

Strong progressive leadership is within reach if women seize it at the ballot box. “What is our strategy?” Pelosi said. “We want women to vote.” That’s what politicians pay attention to, and that’s how to break the logjam in Congress. The measures these women are advocating will pass, Pelosi said. “It’s inevitable to us, [and] inconceivable to them,” referring to House Republicans. “We have to shorten the distance between inevitable and inconceivable.” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/19/square-deal-new-deal-and-now-from-hillary-clinton-a-fair-shot.html

5. Dean Obeidallah: How Long Can the Republicans Hide The Crazy?

I have to give the Republicans credit for one thing in this election cycle. They’ve been able to keep their crazies quiet. But the big question is: Will some GOP crazy talk seep out between now November 4? In the words of Sarah Palin, I’d have to say, “You betcha.”

We’ve recently seen some glimmers of Republican lunacy. Just last week the Arizona State Republican Party’s vice-chair, Russell Pearce, offered this gem: “You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations.” Translation: forced sterilization of poor women to make sure they don’t have more babies. Pearce resigned on Sunday.

I think we are well positioned to see some of these candidates take a journey on the crazy train in the closing weeks of this election cycle. Why? Three reasons. First, the debates are coming up, and as we saw in 2012 with Mourdock, the more these people talk in an unscripted forum, the more likely the guano will ooze out.

So now it’s time sit back and let the games begin. I can almost guarantee you that in the final weeks of this campaign one of the above candidates will make headlines with some outrageous comment. For people like Hice, who is in a safe GOP district, it may not matter. But for those in tight races like Tillis and Ernst, one slip up could allow a Democratic candidate to be the Cinderella story of this year. And a few Akin-esque gaffes could actually help Democrats be bracket busters and retain control of the Senate and pick off a few governorships. 9.20.14 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/20/how-long-can-the-republicans-hide-the-crazy.html

6. Sally Kohn: The GOP’s Latest Attempt to Fool Women Won’t Work

It sounds great—four GOP Senate candidates call for over-the-counter birth control access. But it’s all a stunt, and it won’t succeed.

Suddenly, Republicans like birth control. Or at least that’s the conclusion they would like you to draw based on a recent spate of GOP candidates announcing their support for making birth control pills available over the counter. But the truth is Republicans remain as committed as ever to restricting the reproductive freedom of poor and middle-class women while advancing the freedom of corporations.

There is clearly no upside for low-income and middle-class women in any Republican positions on reproductive health, there is an upside for one group: corporations. After all, if Republicans get oral contraception provided over-the-counter, even the insurance companies that were covering contraceptive costs before the Obamacare mandate will have a new excuse to stop doing so—reducing their bottom line by arguing that contraception is now like aspirin and insurance customarily doesn’t cover either. In turn, always happy to save money, corporate America will no doubt reward Republicans with loads of campaign cash.

Because much as the Hobby Lobby company was happily providing contraception coverage before it decided to object to the Obamacare mandate and file suit, no doubt many other companies have been providing contraceptive coverage for years and have only just recently started to resent it. And if Republicans can’t serve the interests of resentful corporations, well, who can they serve?

In the middle of this are women voters. Well, not exactly in the middle—women voters are decisively on the side of the party that respects their reproductive health, not to mention the party that stands up for equal wages, takes action to end violence against women, helps make college more affordable for families, and more. Women like these things. What we don’t like is condescension (see, ahem, this!) and deceit.

But funny thing, Republicans pull tricks like trying to look supportive of reproductive health care while they’re actually undermining it—because they’re condescending enough to think that women voters won’t know the difference. Yeah. These Republican candidates have taken such unpopular and extreme anti-abortion positions, like supporting fetal “personhood” measures and mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasounds, their only hope of winning over women voters is deception. I would tell you what a pathetic political strategy that is, but I wouldn’t want to be condescending too. 9.17.14 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/17/the-gop-s-latest-attempt-to-fool-women-won-t-work.html

7. Dan Balz: Texas has become epicenter of conservative movement

In November, Texas voters could elect the most conservative ticket of statewide officials in the state’s history. Grass-roots activists are even more conservative, as evidenced by the state GOP platform that was produced earlier this summer.

A look at the party’s changing leadership shows how things have changed. In Washington, Cruz replaced former senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is a moderate conservative more in tune with the Bush wing of the party. Cruz is the darling of tea party and grass-roots conservative activists.

The state’s other senator, John Cornyn, is far from a firebrand in tone and temperament. On many issues, however, he may be as conservative as former Texas senator Phil Gramm. Still, he drew a primary challenge last spring (one he easily brushed off) because he didn’t satisfy the party’s hard-right faction.

In Austin, the biggest changing of the guard in statewide offices in years will take place after November, regardless of how individual races end.

Meanwhile, the question is to what extent the Texas brand of conservatism is exportable in a national election. Perry and Cruz both are both considered possible 2016 candidates. 9/20/14 Read more at  http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/texas-has-become-epicenter-of-conservative-movement/2014/09/20/71678e12-410f-11e4-a430-b82a3e67b762_story.html

8. Ricken Patel: Why climate change is an ‘everybody issue’ now

Scientists are normally a pretty measured bunch. But in recent months, they’ve been resorting to some unusual language to get our attention. One top climatologist recently tweeted: “If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d.” When scientists start swearing in public, it is time for everyone to start worrying.

It’s not just the scientists that are raising the alarm. This Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets around the world in the largest climate mobilization in history. If they weren’t listening before, our leaders should tune in now. The voice of global concern for action on climate change is back, and this time it’s no longer an environmental issue, it’s an everybody issue.

And time is short. The world is rushing towards a series of potentially catastrophic feedback loops and tipping points in the climate system, which could see the support system of life itself irrecoverably disrupted. From the release of gigantic amounts of arctic methane gas, to the rapid carbon acidification of our oceans, to apocalyptic flooding, the continued warming of our planet is the greatest challenge our species has faced.

The stakes seem too gargantuan to grasp, but it’s this leap in consciousness that’s required for our survival. Our civilization is built on a fragile, delicately interdependent, and unsustainable relationship with the natural world. We can’t afford to underestimate the massive footprint that humans have on this planet. One quarter of the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere came from our industries. Our oceans are acidifying 10 times faster than at any point in earth’s history. We are stretching the limits of this world.

In the final analysis, the question is whether we human beings are capable of being wise, farsighted, and unified enough to pass this test of survival. Many civilizations have fallen to the consequences of outstripping their environments. But our civilization is the first truly global one, with the power to end human life. One way or another, we may be the last civilization. For the sake of our children and their children, we must find the hope, wisdom and unity to save it. 9/21/14 Read more at http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/21/opinion/climate-change-march-avaaz/index.html

9. Michael Tomasky: Obama’s Iraq Is Not Bush’s Iraq

The first and most important difference, plainly and simply: Obama didn’t lie us into this war. It’s worth emphasizing this point, I think, during this week when Obama is at the United Nations trying to redouble international support to fight ISIS, and as we think back on Colin Powell’s infamous February 2003 snow job to Security Council. Obama didn’t tell us any nightmarish fairy tales about weapons of mass destruction that had already been destroyed or never existed. He didn’t trot his loyalists out there to tell fantastical stories about smoking guns and mushroom clouds.

The evidence for the nature of the threat posed by the Islamic State is, in contrast, as non-fabricated as evidence can be and was handed right to us by ISIS itself: the beheading videos, and spokesmen’s own statements from recruitment videos about the group’s goal being the establishment of a reactionary fundamentalist state over Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. That’s all quite real.

Difference number two: This war doesn’t involve 140,000 ground troops. That’s not just a debating point. It’s a massive, real-world difference. I know some of you are saying, well, not yet, anyway. Time could prove you right. But if this works more or less as planned, it establishes a new model for fighting terrorism in the Middle East—the United States and Arab nations and fighting forces working together to do battle against terrorism. That’s kind of a huge deal.

Which leads us to difference number three: This coalition, while still in its infancy, could in the end be a far more meaningful coalition than Bush’s. The Bush coalition was an ad hoc assemblage bribed or browbeaten into backing the United States’ immediate geopolitical aims. It was brought together pretty much so Bush could deflect the essentially true unilateralist charge and stand up there and say “41 countries have joined together” blah blah blah.

This war could end up being the disaster critics are predicting. But already, it’s not some other things. It’s not a morally dubious hegemonic enterprise built on a pile of lies. That may or may not give it a better chance of success, but at least it means we don’t have to be ashamed of what our country is doing. 9/24/14 Read more at  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/24/obama-s-iraq-is-not-bush-s-iraq.html

10. Tim Dickinson: Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire

The volume of Koch Industries’ toxic output is staggering. According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, only three companies rank among the top 30 polluters of America’s air, water and climate: ExxonMobil, American Electric Power and Koch Industries. Thanks in part to its 2005 purchase of paper-mill giant Georgia-Pacific, Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation’s waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined. The company ranks 13th in the nation for toxic air pollution. Koch’s climate pollution, meanwhile, outpaces oil giants including Valero, Chevron and Shell. Across its businesses, Koch generates 24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year.

For Koch, this license to pollute amounts to a perverse, hidden subsidy. The cost is borne by communities in cities like Port Arthur, Texas, where a Koch-owned facility produces as much as 2 billion pounds of petrochemicals every year. In March, Koch signed a consent decree with the Department of Justice requiring it to spend more than $40 million to bring this plant into compliance with the Clean Air Act.

Koch has profited precisely by dumping billions of pounds of pollutants into our waters and skies – essentially for free. It racks up enormous profits from speculative trades lacking economic value that drive up costs for consumers and create risks for our economy.

The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet. Now nearing 80 – owning a large chunk of the Alberta tar sands and using his billions to transform the modern Republican Party into a protection racket for Koch Industries’ profits – Charles Koch is not about to see the light. Nor does the CEO of one of America’s most toxic firms have any notion of slowing down. He has made it clear that he has no retirement plans: “I’m going to ride my bicycle till I fall off.” 9/24/14 Read more at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/inside-the-koch-brothers-toxic-empire-20140924

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Sep 18 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #854

Sep 18 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #854

ON THE RECORD ….

“The reliance on air power has all of the attraction of casual sex: It seems to offer gratification but with very little commitment.” — Former CIA Director Michael Hayden on airstrikes against the Islamic State. 9/11/14

“In 2008, that hope and change message really resonated, and we really believed that people could compromise. Then, eight years later, you get far more pragmatic. For me, at least, it’s much less about hope and change and more about, ‘who’s going to get in there and fight the good fight?’” —Chris Diebel, a key Obama supporter in Iowa in 2008. 9/14/14.

“This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who called the commander-in-chief “disingenuous and delusional. 9/14/14.

“They’re trying to get you to check your brain at the door, start foaming at the mouth. The last thing they want you to do is think.” — Bill Clinton on the Republican party. 9/14/14

“If Wang’s prediction of this year’s Senate race turns out to be more accurate than Silver’s, I almost hate to think what might happen. Silver’s head is going to explode or something. In any case, this is far more fun than you normally get from a couple of geeky poll aggregators.” — Kevin Drum 9/17/14

“On any given day, 16 of my members decide they’re going to go this way, and all the sudden I have nothing. You might notice I have a few knuckleheads in my conference.” — Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). 9/16/14

“I think it is shocking and a sad state of affairs that we heard just such angry comments aimed at you, Mr. Secretary, and through you at our president instead of at ISIS. The U.S. is up against “a savage group who decapitated two Americans and have warned that the thirst for more American blood is out there.” — Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) eviscerating Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for attacking the Obama administration instead of ISIS. 9/17/14

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. Senate Republicans defend billionaires by keeping Citizens United alive
2. Jon Stewart: A Nightmare On Graham Street
3. Big Gender Gap Keeps Democrats in the Game
4. The DAILY GRILL
5. GOP’s War Against Women (Cont.}:Missouri Passes 3-Day Abortion Wait
6. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
7. Late Night Jokes for Dems
8. Andy Borowitz: White House Vows to Use Every Synonym for War Against ISIS
9. Senate Polling Update
10. Democrats’ Senate strategist: don’t let Republicans restrict voting rights
11. Study: Fox News Has Aired Nearly 1,100 Benghazi Segment

OPINION

1. Dean Obeidallah: 13 Years After 9/11, Anti-Muslim Bigotry Is Worse Than Ever
2. Juan Williams: GOP right content to attack the president
3. Baltimore Sun Editorial: Too much carbon, too little time
4. David Ignatius: The Advantage of the Reluctant Warrior
5. Lisa Wirthman: GOP’s underhanded push for over-the-counter birth control
6. Nate Cohn: Democrats Are Seeing More Daylight in Path to Senate Control
7. Colbert I. King: Get ready for Congress’s hypocrisy on the Islamic State, Mr. Obama

 

1. Senate Republicans defend billionaires by keeping Citizens United alive

By a straight party-line vote of 54-42, the U.S. Senate defeated a constitutional amendment today that would have overruled the Citizens United decision.

Mitch McConnell led the fight to defeat this amendment, and now he’ll have to answer the Kentucky voters, while he gets a little help from his billionaire friends. 9/11/14 Read more at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/09/11/1329053/-Senate-Republicans-defend-billionaires-by-keeping-Citizens-United-alive

2. Jon Stewart: A Nightmare On Graham Street

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/6734gx/a-nightmare-on-graham-street

3. Big Gender Gap Keeps Democrats in the Game

In the latest NBC/WSJ poll, women preferred a Democratic-controlled Congress by seven points, 47%-40%. Although that’s down from NBC/WSJ’s previous polls and although Republicans have an ever bigger lead among men (12 points), do note that our Sept. 2010 NBC/WSJ poll showed Democrats with just a three-point edge among female voters, 46%-43%. Bottom line: Democrats holding on to the Senate will largely come down to whether they win women by double digits in November. 9/10/14 Read more athttp://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/more-war-iraq-not-legacy-obama-wanted-n200901

4. The DAILY GRILL

“We had a hearing, and there was testimony from the counterterrorism people and the Department of Homeland Security. There is Twitter traffic right now and Facebook traffic, where they are urging attacks on the United States of America. And there is a great concern that our southern border and our northern border is porous and that they will be coming across.” — Senator McCain on why we should have left a residual force in Iraq. 9/10/14

VERSUS

“So because some militant fanatics are using Twitter and Facebook to encourage attacks against America, and because McCain believes our border is porous, we should essentially fight the Iraq War all over again? Yeesh. That makes about as much sense as … saying that Sarah Palin is the most-qualified person in America to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.” — Jed Lewison in the Daily Kos 9/11/14

 

“It is true that Islam is not ISIS, but it is also true that ISIS is Islamic, is it not?” — Fox News’ host Megyn Kelly9/12/14

VERSUS

“ISIS is considered Islamic in the same way that the Westboro Baptist Church or xenophobic extremists like Anders Breivik, who massacred 77 people in Norway in 2011, are considered Christian. “The reality is that moderate Christians, Muslims and Jews have a lot more in common with each other than they do with extremists from within their own faith. And actually, extremist Muslims and extremist anti-Muslims have a lot in common. And that is that they both distort the Islamic faith to promote their twisted agenda, which is rejected by the 1.7 billion Muslims of the world.” — Hassan Shibly, the chief executive director of CAIR’s Florida branch. 9/12/14

 

“GOP senators insist they are not “measuring the drapes” after six years in the minority.” —The Hill 9/12/14

VERSUS

Republicans are putting together an agenda for the first 100 days of 2015 in case they win control of the Senate. Authorizing the Keystone XL oil pipeline, approving “fast-track” trade authority, wiping out proposed environmental regulations and repealing the medical device tax top their list.” — Daily Kos 9/12/14

 

“I was also a Holocaust refugee and I’m extremely concerned that Jews don’t do to another people what was done to them.” — Eva Moseley expressing concern about the Israeli offensive in Gaza.
“I think that’s fair.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 9/15/14

VERSUS

“At an event today at Tufts University in Massachusetts, Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren said it was ‘fair’ when an activist compared Israel’s actions in Gaza to the Holocaust.” — Daniel Halper in The Weekly Standard 9/15/14

 

“Here’s the problem. He [McCain] did meet with ISIS, and had his picture taken, and didn’t know it was happening at the time. That really shows you the quandary of determining who are the moderates and who aren’t. If you don’t speak Arabic, and you don’t understand that some people will lie to you—I really think that we don’t have a good handle on who are the moderates and who aren’t, and I think the objective evidence is that the ones doing most of the fighting and most of the battles among the rebels in Syria are the radical Islamists.” — Sen. Rand Paul repeating a thoroughly debunked rumor about John McCain palling around with the Islamic extremist group. 9/17/14

VERSUS

“I can’t believe Rand is still repeating this stuff, which came from a Hezbollah newspaper in Lebanon! He’s getting his information from Hezbollah. It’s outrageous…I don’t know if Rand is dishonest or misinformed…I met with the Northern Storm and Gen. Idriss, who was the head of the Free Syrian Army. Most of the guys in that picture are dead now, killed by ISIS. It’s just ridiculous.” — Senator John McCain’s responce. 9/17/14

5. GOP’s War Against Women (Cont.}:Missouri Passes 3-Day Abortion Wait

Conservative lawmakers in Missouri have increased the state’s required waiting period for getting an abortion to three days. The Republican-controlled legislature overrode a veto from Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2014/09/11/missouri-passes-3-day-abortion-wait.html

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

“How Convenient”: Fox Host Dismisses Democrats’ Concern Over Ray Rice Tape As “War On Women” Ployhttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/11/how-convenient-fox-host-dismisses-democrats-con/200733

Right-Wing Media Scandalize Obama For Distinguishing Islam From Terrorismhttp://mediamatters.org/research/2014/09/11/right-wing-media-scandalize-obama-for-distingui/200731

Fox’s Krauthammer: “I Worry That We Should Entrust Something So Serious” As Fighting Islamic State With Obama http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/10/foxs-krauthammer-i-worry-that-we-should-entrust/200726

Watch Obamacare Misinformer Betsy McCaughey Walk Off Of An Interview With The Daily Showhttp://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/12/watch-obamacare-misinformer-betsy-mccaughey-wal/200741

Rush Responds To NFL’s Domestic Violence Controversy: “If We Keep Chickifying This Game We’re Going To Ruin It” http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/12/rush-responds-to-nfls-domestic-violence-controv/200742

On Second Anniversary Of Benghazi Attack, Fox’s Kelly Pushes Falsehood That Obama Didn’t Call It Terrorismhttp://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/11/on-second-anniversary-of-benghazi-attack-foxs-k/200739

Karl Rove: Obama “Squandered The Peace” That Bush Left Behind http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/09/14/karl-rove-obama-squandered-the-peace-that-bush/200748

Fox News Acknowledges 160 Airstrikes Against Islamic State, Still Claims Obama Hasn’t Taken Actionhttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/15/fox-news-acknowledges-160-airstrikes-against-is/200753

Fox Host Baselessly Escalates Latest Benghazi Conspiracy Theory: Iran-Contra Editionhttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/09/17/fox-host-baselessly-escalates-latest-benghazi-c/200783

7. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“Tonight President Obama will make a prime-time speech about how we’re going to deal with violent extremists and their sickening behavior. And when he’s done talking about the NFL, he’ll talk about ISIS.” –Conan O’Brien

“The NFL is, of course, coming under a lot of fire. Today it came out that law enforcement sent a copy of the Ray Rice video to NFL headquarters back in April. Then the NFL commissioner apologized, saying the video got buried in the stack of other illegal things NFL players are doing.” –Conan O’Brien

“The New York Times had to issue a correction after an article referred to Dick Cheney as president of the United States. The Times apologized to Dick Cheney and changed his title to ‘former president of the United States.'” –Conan O’Brien

“Today The New York Times had to issue a correction after it mistakenly referred to Dick Cheney as a former president. Of course, George W. Bush made that same mistake all the time.” –Seth Meyers

“A federal investigation has found the Department of Homeland Security is ‘ill-prepared’ for a potential disease pandemic. I’m not sure I agree. They did a great job of wiping out Bieber Fever.” –Seth Meyers

“Yesterday Mike Tyson traveled to Toronto and met with Mayor Rob Ford. It was a meeting between one of the most dangerous heavyweights ever and Mike Tyson.” –Seth Meyers

“The president reassured Americans that while we face no immediate threat from ISIS, we’ve got a ton of bombs sitting around so we’re going to use them.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Apple announced the iPhone 6 today, which they say has a more durable screen that won’t crack or scratch as easily. Or as your kids put it, ‘Challenge accepted!’ Apple promised less cracking. Then Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said, ‘Hey, that’s my campaign slogan.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“The Department of Transportation is considering building a new high-speed train that could get people from D.C. to Baltimore in 15 minutes. It gets you out of Washington in 15 minutes — or as President Obama calls that, ‘Still not fast enough.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“AMC is coming out with a spin-off of ‘The Walking Dead’ that will show the apocalypse in other parts of the world. It’s called ‘The News.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Reportedly the identity of Jack the Ripper, who killed five people in London, finally has been revealed. After hearing about it, the commissioner of the NFL suspended him for two games.” –Conan O’Brien

“Also from England, it turns out they have now identified Jack the Ripper. They found the DNA off an old white Ford Bronco. Not only that, but they now know the guy was married to Kelly Ripper.” –David Letterman

“On this date in 1974, Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon. A lot of people think Nixon’s trouble was for Watergate, but it was not. It was for wearing a tan suit.” –David Letterman

“Happy Birthday to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who turns 52 years old tomorrow. The star of TLC’s show ‘Cake Boss’ is actually making the cake for Chris Christie’s birthday party. In fact, I hear he’s even making the cake in the shape of Christie’s favorite thing: cake.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Of course, it’ll get weird when Chris Christie’s family says, ‘No, no, no, you’re supposed to blow the candles out BEFORE you eat it!'” –Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama is getting tough with that Vladimir Putin. Boy, what a bad guy that guy is, that Vladimir Putin. Obama is really getting tough with him. Now he’s wearing a much more aggressive shade of beige.” –David Letterman

“Chris Christie has to brush up on foreign policy, so he went to Mexico. Remember when he was in Africa? He was followed by ivory poachers. Now he’s in Mexico, and he was taunted by a matador.” –David Letterman

8. Andy Borowitz: Obama Unable to Sleep After Learning Limbaugh Liked His Speech

President Obama has had two sleepless nights since learning that Rush Limbaugh praised his speech about Iraq and Syria this week, a White House source confirmed on Saturday.

According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the President has been unable to sleep since Limbaugh complimented him on the air and has been seen pacing back and forth in the Oval Office in a way that aides described as “worrisome.”

“When he heard that [House Speaker John] Boehner and [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell liked his speech, he seemed to take that in stride,” the source said. “But this Limbaugh thing has pushed him over the edge.”

IN OTHER NEWS: Two days after voting against the Paycheck Fairness Act, a law that would help women to obtain equal pay, the four female Republicans in the United States Senate co-sponsored a bill that would slash their salaries to seventy-one per cent of what their male colleagues earn.

“All we are asking for is the same freedom from equal pay that other American women enjoy,” Senator Ayotte said.

Though the bill was just proposed on Wednesday morning, Murkowski said that it already has the unanimous support of male Republicans in the Senate.

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

9. Senate Polling Update

Princeton Professor Sees Democrats Holding Senate: Sam Wang of Princeton finds Democrats have a 78% chance of holding control of the Senate. 9/15/14 Read more at http://election.princeton.edu/todays-senate-seat-count-histogram/

Nate Silver: Democrats Draw Almost Even. Is It The Money? When we officially launched our forecast model two weeks ago, it had Republicans with a 64 percent chance of taking over the Senate after this fall’s elections. Now Republican chances are about 55 percent instead. We’ve never quite settled on the semantics of when to call an election a “tossup.” A sports bettor or poker player would grimace and probably take a 55-45 edge. But this Senate race is pretty darned close. NATE SILVER 9/15/14 Read more at http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/senate-update-democrats-draw-almost-even-is-it-the-money/

Average of the Forecasts Shows a 50-50 Senate: With so many new election forecasts this year, Vox just averages them and finds they predict an evenly divided U.S. Senate. 9/16/14 Read more athttp://www.vox.com/a/election-2014-forecast

10. Democrats’ Senate strategist: don’t let Republicans restrict voting rights

“There is a clear pattern in this country. Where there are Democratic governors and Democratic legislatures, states are working very hard to think about how they can expand access to voting: vote by mail, online voting, early voting, Sunday voting.

“In places where there are Republican governors and legislatures there are moves to restrict access to the voting booth; require only a certain form of identification, limit the number of early vote locations, eliminate Sunday voting.” — Guy Cecil 9/15/14http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/15/democrats-senate-strategist-voting-rights

11. Study: Fox News Has Aired Nearly 1,100 Benghazi Segments

Fox News’ evening lineup ran nearly 1,100 segments on the Benghazi attacks and their aftermath in the first 20 months following the attacks. Nearly 500 segments focused on a set of Obama administration talking points used in September 2012 interviews; more than 100 linked the attacks to a potential Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential run; and dozens of segments compared the attacks and the administration response to the Watergate or Iran-Contra scandals. The network hosted Republican members of Congress to discuss Benghazi nearly 30 times more frequently than Democrats. 9/16/14 http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/09/16/report-foxs-benghazi-obsession-by-the-numbers/200694

 

1. Dean Obeidallah: 13 Years After 9/11, Anti-Muslim Bigotry Is Worse Than Ever

What’s the future for Muslim Americans? Will we see even more hate crimes against Muslims? And Sikhs, whom many misidentify as Muslims? These numbers have spiked in recent years. And just last week my friend Linda Sarsour, a hijab-wearing civil rights activist, was attacked on the streets of New York City by a man who shouted that he wanted to behead her and then chased her into traffic. Thankfully, Linda was not injured and the assailant, a white male, was arrested.

Will we see an even higher number of employment discrimination claims filed by Muslim Americans? Currently over 20 percent of the claims filed with the EEOC are from Muslims, even though we comprise just 2 percent of the country.

I want to be optimistic. I want to be able to say in a few years it will be better. But I don’t know if that’s true.

What I can say with confidence is that American Muslims are not going anywhere. Yes, we will denounce those who commit horrible acts in the name of our faith to make it clear their actions don’t represent us. However, our focus is pursuing our American dream just like every other American. We will become doctors, deli owners, teachers, parents, and maybe even one day, President of the United States.

And what I can also say to the bigots is that we will continue, together with the good people who stand with us, to fight your efforts to demonize and marginalize us simply because of our faith. We won’t do that because it’s demanded of us as Muslims, we will do that because it’s demanded of us as Americans. . 9/11/14 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/11/13-years-after-9-11-anti-muslim-bigotry-is-worse-than-ever.html

2. Juan Williams: GOP right content to attack the president

One of the most often repeated Republican complaints about President Obama is that he has only made political polarization in Washington worse, despite having promised to end it.

The nation “has been bitterly divided by our president,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in May at a GOP fundraiser in New Hampshire. Two years earlier, in South Carolina, he called Obama “the most divisive figure in modern American history.”
But in the last month the Republican hypocrisy in making that charge has revealed itself, even as the refrain has become deafening.

Last week, as the president announced military action against terrorists in the Middle East, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said Republicans have no interest in holding a vote to authorize fighting the people beheading Americans. The reason the GOP favors inaction, Kingston explained, is that it leaves the way clear to pursue the party’s primary political strategy of constantly attacking the president.

Maybe the reason President Obama has been unable to deliver on his promise to end political polarization is that extremists have taken over the GOP. He never had a partner to work with him. 9/15/14 Read more at http://thehill.com/opinion/juan-williams/217672-juan-williams-gop-right-content-to-attack-the-president

3. Baltimore Sun Editorial: Too much carbon, too little time

If increasingly extreme weather events around the world weren’t alarming enough, the latest monitoring by the World Meteorological Organization shows last year was the worst ever for rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Their report released Tuesday demonstrates why efforts to curb climate change deserve to be a top priority for U.S. foreign policy.

Climate change deniers tend to scoff at talk of climate disaster, but each week it seems there are new studies revealing just how devastating the rising temperatures can be — often in unexpected ways. Recently, the National Audubon Society found that more than half of all species of North American birds would be threatened by warming temperatures.

A UN panel has already speculated that global temperatures could rise markedly within the next century. The oceans have become more acidic, and some scientists worry that the chance to lessen these impacts is slipping away as major greenhouse gas producing nations fail to make the needed reductions.

The latest numbers are a reminder that it’s time to stop listening to the climate change deniers and accept that rising levels of greenhouse gases are a serious, man-made threat that must be addressed for the sake of humanity. The cost of delaying action to stem climate change is high — potentially four percentage points in gross domestic product worldwide by 2030, according to a UN report issued earlier this year.

That’s not alarmist, it’s a matter of being prudent. Considering the other positive effects of embracing renewable energy, conservation and other remedies from cleaner air and water to new jobs in the “green energy” economy, the U.S. should be moving farther and faster. According to the WMO, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are now 142 percent higher than they were before the Industrial Revolution while methane is up more than 250 percent. There’s just so much abuse a planet can take before the consequences are disastrous and potentially irreversible. 9/11/14 Read more athttp://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-climate-20140911,0,1540733.story

4. David Ignatius: The Advantage of the Reluctant Warrior

President Obama certainly didn’t go looking for another war in the Middle East. Indeed, he contorted himself almost to the breaking point to avoid one. But as he explained to the country Wednesday night, he had no choice but to respond with “strength and resolve” to the barbarous Islamic State that is ravaging Iraq and Syria.

Obama’s decision to combat the Islamic State offers him a chance to reset American leadership and his own presidency after growing doubt at home and abroad about what, if anything, he was willing to fight for. His innate cautiousness is now actually a reassurance that he’ll fight this war sensibly, partnering with allies in the region, in a way that doesn’t needlessly exacerbate America’s problems with the Muslim world.

Stephen Hadley, who was national security adviser for President George W. Bush, is hardly a cheerleader for Obama. But he gave the president high marks for “a good speech” that explained the threat and what he was going to do about it. Hadley noted that Obama’s stance as a reluctant warrior will help him reassure foreigners and Americans alike that this isn’t a reckless, unilateral U.S. crusade.

For a White House that has often struggled to execute foreign policy cleanly, this week has been a notable exception. The rollout was smooth: An Iraqi unity government was formed last weekend; the president dined Monday night with foreign policy experts; he briefed congressional leaders Tuesday; then he addressed the country. Obama’s team must maintain that momentum. 9/12/14 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/09/12/the_advantage_of_the_reluctant_warrior_123948.html

5. Lisa Wirthman: GOP’s underhanded push for over-the-counter birth control

If Republicans’ newfound enthusiasm for birth control seems suspicious, it’s with good reason. Following the lead of Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner, a handful of Republicans in midterm races across the country are now embracing over-the-counter sales of birth control pills without a prescription.

What happens, however, if birth control pills are sold over the counter? Insurance companies will likely stop covering them. That means women will keep paying health insurance premiums, plus an additional out-of-pocket fee for pills that could cost up to $600 a year.

And free doctor visits to discuss birth-control risks could also be replaced with fee-based pharmacy consults to determine whether women have risk factors like smoking, hypertension or migraines that prevent safe use of the pill, reports the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

That’s hardly a “cheaper and easier” alternative — which is why Politifact rates Gardner’s claim as “mostly false.”

Unfortunately, the new Republican support for contraception is really just an old game — yet another political attempt to weaken contraceptive coverage under the ACA. And they’re counting on women’s low participation in mid-term elections to help it succeed. Colorado women deserve better. 9/11/14 Read more at http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_26515886/gops-underhanded-push-over-counter-birth-control

6. Nate Cohn: Democrats Are Seeing More Daylight in Path to Senate Control

A few months ago, the Democratic path to a Senate majority looked long and arduous. It has started to look easier.

The Democrats started the campaign with a clear advantage in enough races to end up with 45 seats, well short of the 50 needed to retain control of the chamber. To get to 50, the party was going to have to run the table in five battleground states where polls were already showing Republicans with an occasional lead — or replace one of them by holding either Arkansas or Louisiana, two deep-red states with Democratic incumbents in jeopardy. Doing so would have been challenging under any circumstances. It seemed especially daunting this year, given the president’s low approval ratings and the long history of the president’s party suffering a “midterm penalty.”

But today the Democratic path to victory looks as clear as it has at any point this year. That path remains narrow, to be sure. The Democrats will probably still need to sweep those five fairly close races. Yet with just two months to go, the party appears to have an advantage in four of them. And the Democrats have other opportunities that might give them more breathing room.

Over all, the Republicans are still the slightest favorites to retake the chamber. For Democrats to retain their majority, they will have to win at least two states that voted against President Obama in 2008 and 2012. It is possible that this will prove untenable over the final few months of the race, and that Republicans will gradually gain as undecided voters who disapprove of the president’s performance and voted for Mitt Romney make up their minds. But the Democrats now have a lead in enough races to get to 49 seats — and have a few options to reach 50. 9/13/14 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/13/upshot/democrats-are-seeing-more-daylight-in-path-to-senate-control.html?abt=0002&abg=0&_r=0

7. Colbert I. King: Get ready for Congress’s hypocrisy on the Islamic State, Mr. Obama

Waiting for Congress to put up or shut up on proposed military involvement against the Islamic State is tantamount to waiting for darkness to go away. The best Obama will get out of the House and Senate may be a green light to train and equip moderate Syrian forces and conduct airstrikes on Islamic State targets. The administration will still be criticized for not going far enough or acting soon enough, though the critics won’t spell out what that means.

Congress at all times reserves the right to point with pride when things go well and to cast blame and flee at the first sign of trouble.

Now, in fairness, there is a firm basis for some of the congressional wariness about war authorizations. The Iraq war resolutions allowed the Bush administration to take the country to a degree of involvement many Americans never expected or wanted.

In addition to the Iraq experience, there is a more searing reason to approach war resolutions with care: the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Most members of Congress thought they were granting authority for limited, short-term military strikes in response to alleged actions by North Vietnam against U.S. forces . The Johnson administration, however, regarded the resolution as giving the president a free hand to launch a full-scale war that ended up costing thousands of lives and an American fortune. But that history doesn’t excuse Congress from doing its constitutional duty.

All this is to say, President Obama needs to continue his strong resolve to deal with the Islamic State. Hear all the facts, listen to the opinions, consult and collaborate with Congress. But ultimately, Obama, keeping the country’s best interest foremost, must follow his own mind.

Because if he follows Congress, he’ll just end up eating its dust. 9/12/14 Read more athttp://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/colbert-king-get-ready-for-congresss-hypocrisy-on-the-islamic-state-mr-obama/2014/09/12/8cd59e40-39d6-11e4-9c9f-ebb47272e40e_story.html

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