Hillary Clinton

WORLD LEADERS NOMINATED TO TAKE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

No attribution

When the entire world latches on to a cause via social media…anything is possible.

The Huffington Post

All across social media, celebrities and regular citizens seem to be dumping ice water on their heads to raise money for and awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In fact, the vast majority of Americans have avoided the ice bucket challenge so far, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows, though they’re willing to suggest other individuals get wet.

Sixty percent of Americans said they had “heard a lot” about the challenge. Far fewer said they had actually participated: Just 4 percent said they had donated money, and a mere 3 percent said they had dumped ice water on their heads. Another 2 percent said they’d done both.

Knowledge about ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, remains limited as well. Only 21 percent of Americans said they are “very familiar” with ALS, while another 49 percent said they’re “somewhat familiar.” Twenty percent were “not very familiar” with the disease, and 10 percent were “not at all familiar.”

According to the ALS Association, as many as 30,000 Americans have the progressive neurodegenerative disease at any given time. New cases are diagnosed at a rate of about 15 a day.

Recently, the ice bucket challenge has been criticized by some observers as frivolous if the real point is to raise money for research. After all, by the terms of the challenge, dumping cold water on your head is a way out of donating.

But the survey shows most Americans aren’t buying the bad rap. Sixty-one percent said the ice bucket challenge is “a fun and effective way to raise money and awareness of ALS,” while only 28 percent said that “it’s silly and it would be better if people just donated money.”

Many public figures have posted videos of their cold showers already. Others face limits on their participation. Members of the House of Representatives and the military have been warned that government rules prohibit the use of official resources to promote or references to current military service in ice bucket videos. High-profile State Department diplomats have been barred from participating.

Those rules don’t bar us, however, from asking Americans which politicians they’d most like to see doused with ice cold water.

Asked to pick from a list of potential 2016 presidential candidates who they’d most like to see take the ice bucket challenge, Americans made former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the runaway winner, with 51 percent choosing her. Sixteen percent opted for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), 15 percent for Vice President Joe Biden, 8 percent for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), 6 percent for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), and 5 percent for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Support for Clinton didn’t vary much along party lines, though the motives may have differed widely. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 46 percent of Democrats chose Clinton as the potential candidate they’d most like to see dump freezing water over her head.

Asked separately to pick a world leader for an international edition of the challenge, a 35 percent plurality of Americans rallied behind President Barack Obama, including 34 percent of both Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately for them, Obama hasalready declined to dump ice water on his head, opting instead to give money.

Second and third place went to the leaders of countries with which the U.S. already suffers icy relations: North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, with 24 percent, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, with 19 percent. Queen Elizabeth II was fourth with 17 percent, narrowly missing a challenge from America, since three nominations are the usual limit. (Both Putin and the queen have been challenged by others, though neither has responded.)

Germany’s Angela Merkel and Cuba’s Raul Castro took just 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively, in the HuffPost poll.

10 things you need to know today: August 17, 2014

A man throws a gas cannister back at police in Ferguson, Mo.

A man throws a gas cannister back at police in Ferguson, Mo. Joe Raedie / Getty Images

The Week

Unrest returns to Ferguson, pro-Russian rebels down a Ukrainian jet, and more.

1. One shot, seven arrested in Ferguson, Mo.
One man was left in critical condition Sunday after being shot in Ferguson, Missouri, as protests continued over the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. In addition, seven people were arrested for failing to comply with a new midnight-to-five a.m. curfew intended to quell the unrest that has percolated since an officer shot to death Brown last Saturday. After a brief period of relative calm settled in following a few days of clashes between police and protesters, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) declared a state of emergency, and police late Saturday again fired waves of tear gas and smoke canisters to clear the streets. [Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal]

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2. Pro-Russian rebels shoot down Ukrainian fighter jet
Separatist forces on Sunday downed a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet as clashes continued in a rebel-controlled part of eastern Ukraine. The plane was carrying out a mission against the entrenched pro-Russian rebels when it was shot down, according to Kiev. Also Sunday, Ukraine said it made significant progress toward reclaiming control of Luhansk, an eastern city that has for weeks been under rebel control. [AFP, Associated Press]

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3. Germany spied on John Kerry, Hillary Clinton
Germany’s intelligence agency eavesdropped on Secretary of State John Kerry’s and his predecessor, Hillary Clinton’s, private phone calls, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel. The agency allegedly collected conversations in 2012 and 2013, but did so “accidentally” while snooping for terror suspects. The revelation could further strain relations between Germany and the U.S. that have already been tested amid allegations that Washington spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. [Associated Press]

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4. Montana Democrats pick new Senate nominee
In the wake of a plagiarism scandal that upended the Montana Senate race, Democrats on Saturday nominated state lawmaker Amanda Curtis as their new nominee. The little-known 34-year-old replaces incumbent Sen. John Walsh, who ended his campaign after The New York Times revealed he’d widely plagiarized material for a college paper. Republicans were already heavily favored to win the seat before Walsh’s scandal, and the race now seems like a surefire GOP pickup. [The New York Times]

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5. Rick Perry rejects indictment as ‘outrageous’
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Saturday shrugged off the criminal charges filed against him for alleged abuse of power, calling the claims “outrageous.” A grand jury on Friday indicted Perry — the outgoing governor and potential 2016 candidate — for making good on a threat to veto funding for a state oversight agency following a district attorney’s arrest for drunk driving. “We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this country,” Perry said. [Associated Press]

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6. One dead, dozens found hidden in shipping container
Authorities found 35 people, one of them dead, trapped inside a shipping container that arrived in England on Saturday. Police said the immigrants are suspected to have come from the Indian subcontinent, and that the lone death is being investigated as a homicide. Workers unloading the ship found the trapped people when they heard “screaming and banging” coming from inside the container. [BBC, The Guardian]

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7. Liberia establishes ‘plague villages’ to contain Ebola
Faced with the worst Ebola outbreak in history, Liberia has closed off some villages believed to be at the center of the crisis, drawing comparisons to medieval “plague villages.” To contain the outbreak, the country has imposed medical roadblocks and deployed troops to keep infected people from fleeing and coming into contact with uninfected areas. As of Friday, the death toll from the outbreak had risen to 1,145, according to the World Health Organization. [Reuters]

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8. 15 missing after Indonesian tourist boat sinks
An Indonesian boat carrying a small group of tourists sank Saturday, leaving 15 people missing. Amid bad weather, the boat reportedly struck a reef shortly after midnight. Ten people were pulled from the water Saturday, according to rescue workers, and at least four boats were searching for the remaining passengers and crew. [Associated Press, BBC]

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9. Dozens overdose on synthetic marijuana in New Hampshire
At least 44 people in New Hampshire have accidentally overdosed on synthetic marijuana in the past week, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency. Twenty victims have been hospitalized though no one has died after ingesting the pseudo-pot, which is cleverly — and legally — sold as “incense.” By declaring a state of emergency, New Hampshire authorities were able to quarantine the alleged culprit: The “Bubblegum Flavor” of “Smacked!” [Boston Globe, New York Daily News]

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10. 99-year-old claims to set sprint record
A 99-year-old great-great-grandmother last week clocked what she believes is the fastest ever 100-meter time for anyone her age. Ida Keeling ran the race in 59.8 seconds at the Gay Games in Akron, Ohio, last week, with her daughter hailing it as the fastest time for a near-centenarian in an internationally-certified event. “I’m running from old age and arthritis,” Keeling joked. [Akron Beacon Journal, The Independent]

GOP’s ’16 consolation vanishes: Suddenly, Democrats have the deep bench!

GOP's '16 consolation vanishes: Suddenly, Democrats have the deep bench!

Elizabeth Warren, Ted Cruz (Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts/AP)

Salon

After Romney’s 2012 loss, pundits raved about the GOP’s new leaders. But two years later, Democrats have the edge

In the wake of President Obama’s re-election in 2012, reporters found one soothing source of solace for the GOP. “One race the Republicans appear to be winning is the one for the deepest bench of rising stars,” wrote the Washington Post, and plenty of folks followed up. Democrats, meanwhile, had nobody on the bench but Hillary Clinton – a formidable candidate if she were to run, but that wasn’t even certain.

Beyond Clinton, there seemed to be a wasteland populated by ambitious governors no one had ever heard of (Martin O’Malley), some who were well known but not widely liked (Andrew Cuomo). Oh, and Brian Schweitzer.

The Republican list, meanwhile, seemed almost infinite: blue and purple state governors like New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich and Virginia’s Bob McConnell, and Tea Party senators like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Romney’s ambitious, “wonky” running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, had his fans, as did former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Even Texas Gov. Rick Perry, recovered from back surgery and sporting hot new glasses, could have another life in 2016.

But in two years, the situation has almost reversed itself. Promising GOP governors – McDonnell, Christie, Walker – find themselves dogged by scandal. The Tea Party trio of Paul, Cruz and Rubio still vies for media attention and right wing adoration, but Rubio’s immigration reform work doomed him on the right. Unbelievably, Paul is widely labeled the frontrunner (but don’t tell that to Cruz), while the party establishment and neocon hawks search for an alternative. Despite all that impressive talent, Mitt Romney leads the pack in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, in what’s widely being reported as trouble for Hillary Clinton, because that’s the narrative the media know best, it turns out there are a bunch of popular and maybe even formidable Democrats. Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren wowed the crowd at Netroots Nation. (Check out this great New Yorker Biden profile if you want to know how the VP is keeping his options open). The Netroots buzz inspired the Washington Post’s Phillip Rucker and Robert Costa to survey the landscape of Democrats who’ve put a toe or more in the water for 2016.

We learned that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is visiting Iowa (it is only one state away), while New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has a book coming out. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is said to be huddling with donors, believing the party could use a dose of red state common sense.

This is all framed as mildly ominous news for Hillary Clinton – the headline is “With liberals pining for a Clinton challenger, ambitious Democrats get in position” — but Klobuchar, Gillibrand and Nixon have all endorsed Clinton, and Warren has encouraged Clinton to run while insisting she won’t do so herself. The only Democrats listed who may still run even if Clinton does too are O’Malley and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.

Regardless of the intent of the framing, the Rucker-Costa story actually pointed up the vitality in the Democratic Party, where lively debates over income inequality and foreign policy have so far fallen short of creating bitter divisions and factions, at least so far. Again, contrast that with the GOP, where Ted Cruz seems to be staking his 2016 hopes on his ability to humiliate every party leader and make sure Republicans will never make inroads with the Latino population. He’s blocking bipartisan emergency legislation to deal with the border crisis, and pushing to reverse President Obama’s deferred action on deportation for young people brought here by their parents.

Meanwhile Warren, the progressive elected the same time as Cruz, is touring the country campaigning for Democratic Senate candidates, even some who are more centrist than she is, like Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes and West Virginia’s Natalie Tennant.  She’s focused on growing the Democratic Party, not cutting down colleagues who are less progressive.

So: the GOP’s right wing firebrand is a loose cannon who is completely out for himself, while the Democrats’ left wing firebrand is working amiably with party leaders and deflecting talk of a primary challenge to Clinton. In the end, the rising number of possible alternatives to Hillary Clinton is a sign of Democratic strength, even if the media tends to bill it as weakness.

Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee. So why is anyone else running?

Television actor and Glee star, Chris Colfer, left, poses for a photo with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a book signing event at Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

One thing is certain, Hillary will be considered the presumptive nominee until she announces whether or not she will run…

The Washington Post – Chris Cillizza

This week’s evidence came in the form of two polls – conducted by NBC and Marist College — of Democratic voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.  In Iowa, Clinton led Vice President Joe Biden 70 percent to 20 percent. In New Hampshire, Clinton led Biden by an even wider 74 percent to 18 percent. (That’s not to pick on Biden; he was the strongest of Clinton’s possible challengers.) Clinton’s approval ratings in those polls are stratospheric; 89 percent of Iowa Democrats have a favorable opinion of her while 94(!) percent of New Hampshire Democrats say the same.

“Hillary Clinton — if she runs — is going to have a cakewalk to the Democratic nomination, no matter how many political observers might want to see a race,” wrote NBC’s Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann. “She’s going to win the Democratic nomination, whether she faces actual primary opposition or not.”

Yup.  And yet, it’s a near certainty that Clinton will face some sort — or sorts — of primary opposition. Which begs the question: Why?

To answer that, it’s important to remember that not everyone runs for president to win. Some run to promote a cause or a set of beliefs. Others run because timing dictates they have to.  Still others run in hopes of improving their chances of either winding up on the ticket alongside Clinton or with a prominent spot in her Administration.

When it comes to 2016, the largest group of potential challengers to Clinton come from the “cause” category.  Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders seems intent on running, largely to push his belief in the need for serious campaign finance reform. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is circling the race, hoping to provide a liberal alternative — and a more populist perspective — to the contest. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is term limited out as governor at the end of this year and undoubtedly thinks a credible run for president might bolster his chances of a spot in a Clinton Administration. Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer just seems to want back into the political game and, like Dean and Sanders, thinks there is room for a populist messenger to make a little noise in the field. (He’s right.)

Below are my rankings of the 2016 field. Remember that if Clinton runs, she wins.

Tier 1 (The Clinton wing)

* Hillary Clinton: Still think she hasn’t made up her mind about running?  Check out what Clinton told Charlie Rose in an interview this week: “We have to make a campaign about what we would do. You have to run a very specific campaign that talks about the changes you want to make in order to tackle growth, which is the handmaiden of inequality.” Soooo….she is running.

Tier 2 (If she doesn’t run, these are the frontrunners)

* Joe Biden: The Vice President badly wants to run.  Just look at his travel schedule, which this week included a keynote address at Netroots Nation, an annual gathering of liberal online activists. And, his allies insist that his decision on the race has nothing to do with what Clinton decides. But Biden didn’t get this far in politics by being dumb; a race against Clinton is damn close to unwinnable for him — and he knows it. If Clinton for some reason decides not to run, Biden is in the next day.

* Martin O’Malley: The Maryland governor is getting some nice press in early primary states. And he is working those states like no one else on the Democratic field. Because O’Malley can’t really afford to wait four (or eight) years to run, I expect him to be in the race no matter what Clinton does. But, even his most optimistic supporters would have to see that bid as a chance for him to improve his potential as a vice presidential pick for Clinton.

Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts Senator is the only person who could credibly mount a challenge to Clinton. But, she’s not going to do it.  While Warren is on the record saying she will serve out her six year Senate term, which expires in 2018, I am hard-pressed to see how she would pass up a run if Clinton took a pass.

Tier 3 (Maybe running. But not winning)

Howard Dean: Dean has the presidential bug.  In 2004, he looked like he was going to be the Democratic presidential nominee — until people started voting. In 2013, Dean predicted Clinton would have a primary opponent and he may see himself as that person.

Bernie Sanders: Of everyone not named Clinton (or O’Malley) on this list, the Vermont Socialist Senator is doing the most to get ready for a presidential bid. No one — including Sanders — thinks he will win but his fiery style and liberal positions could make things uncomfortable for Clinton.

* Brian Schweitzer: Don’t say I didn’t warn you about Schweitzer’s tendency to stray off message. The former Montana governor proved he isn’t yet ready for primetime in a recent interview with National Journal’s Marin Cogan, making impolitic comments about California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor.  Schweitzer apologized but the damage was done. Schweitzer effectively doused any momentum he had built for a presidential bid.

Tier 4 (The four or eight more years crowd)

Andrew Cuomo: The New York Governor has a presidential bid in him but it’s not going to be in 2016. If anything, he has moved further away from a bid rather than closer to one as 2016 has drawn closer.  In 2020, Cuomo will be 62 — right in the sweet spot when it comes to presidential bids.  In 2024, he would be 68, the same age Hillary Clinton will be if she is elected in 2016.

* Kirsten Gillibrand: Like Cuomo, Gillibrand is an ambitious New Yorker who almost certainly will run for president at some point in the future. At age 47, she has plenty of time to wait and, as she has done over the past few years, use her perch in the Senate to build her liberal resume for an eventual national bid.

Deval Patrick: Patrick raised some eyebrows a few months back whenhe had this to say about Clinton’s coronation as the Democratic nominee: “She’s an enormously capable candidate and leader. But I do worry about the inevitability thing, because I think it’s off-putting to the average…voter.”  It seems very unlikely that the Massachusetts governor will take the plunge against Clinton but his resume in the Bay State could make for an intriguing profile in four or even eight years.

10 things you need to know today: July 16, 2014

A woman cries as Palestinians flee their homes in Gaza.

A woman cries as Palestinians flee their homes in Gaza. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The Week

Israel resumes air strikes after Hamas rejects cease-fire, Buffett gives away a record $2.8 billion, and more

1. Israel launches more air strikes after Hamas rejects truce
Israel resumed its air strikes in Gaza on Tuesday after Hamas, which runs the Palestinian territory, rejected a cease-fire plan proposed by Egypt and approved by Israel’s security cabinet. Israel warned that Hamas “would pay the price,” and urged tens of thousands of Palestinians to leave their homes in northern and eastern Gaza, suggesting their neighborhoods would be targeted next. A fresh barrage of rockets from Gaza killed one Israeli man. [The Dallas Morning News]

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2. Buffett gives his biggest annual charity gifts ever
Investment billionaire Warren Buffett donated a record $2.8 billion in securities to charity this year, according to a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. The contributions, which went to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four Buffett family foundations, brought his contributions to $18.7 billion over the eight years since he pledged to give nearly half of his wealth to the foundations in annual gifts. [Omaha World-Herald]

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3. Typhoon kills 10 in the Philippines
At least 10 people were killed on Tuesday when a powerful typhoon struck the Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun, the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year, knocked down trees, telephone wires, and power lines as it cut across the main island, Luzon, south of Manila on Wednesday. [Reuters]

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4. Officials impose fines for wasting water in California
California authorities approved drastic new water conservation measures on Tuesday to help the state handle historically low levels of rainfall this year. The new rules include fines of up to $500 per day for watering a garden, washing a car, or rinsing a sidewalk. Gov. Jerry Brown had already declared a drought emergency. “People don’t understand the gravity of the drought,” State Water Resources Control Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said. [The New York Times]

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5. Nigeria catches a top Boko Haram commander
Nigerian police said Tuesday they had arrested a top Boko Haram commander, Mohammed Zakari. Police spokesman Frank Mba said Zakari, 30, was wanted in the recent killings of seven people. Nigeria has launched a push to round up members of Boko Haram, which is fighting to establish a state under sharia law. Boko Haram has been blamed for kidnapping hundreds of schoolgirls in recent months. [Xinhua]

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6. Survey finds that 2.3 percent of Americans are gay or bisexual
About 2.3 percent of U.S. adults are gay or bisexual, according to the annual National Health Interview Survey, which was released Tuesday. Gay or bisexual men and women far more likely to suffer anxiety or engage in self-destructive behavior than their straight peers. It was the first time questions about sexual orientation were asked in the annual survey. [Al Jazeera]

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7. Police free hundreds of abused children from group home in Mexico
Mexican police rescued 452 boys and girls from a children’s home where they were allegedly sexually abused and forced to beg in the streets. More than 130 adults were also rescued. The owner of House of the Big Family facility in the state of Michoacan was arrested along with eight employees. “I’m in utter dismay because we weren’t expecting the conditions we found at the group home,” local governor Salvador Jara said. [BBC News]

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8. SpaceX gets approval for private spaceport
The Federal Aviation Administration has granted approval to Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, to build the nation’s first private rocket-launching site, in Cameron County, Texas. SpaceX wants its own launch facility to give it more control so it can meet its ambitious schedule. It plans to send up 12 rockets a year from the site. The company plans to use the site to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical launch vehicles, and other rockets. [Space.com]

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9. Jon Stewart tries to get Hillary to reveal her 2016 plans
Hillary Clinton withstood a grilling by Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, but she avoided shedding any light on whether she had decided to run for president again in 2016. The appearance came as Clinton wrapped up a tour to promote her book, but Stewart joked: “She’s here solely for one reason: to publicly and definitively declare her candidacy for President of the United States.” Clinton did say she wanted an office with “fewer corners.” [CNN]

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10. Jeter helps the American League win his last All-Star game
The American League beat the National League 5-3 in the 85th annual MLB All-Star game on Tuesday night. This year’s game was the last for New York Yankees star shortstop Derek Jeter and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, both of whom are retiring at the end of the season. Jeter got a three-minute ovation when he left the game in the fourth inning after getting two hits. “It was a wonderful moment,” Jeter said. [The Boston Globe]

Bill Clinton: Where Was GOP Outrage About Killed Diplomats Before Benghazi?

Former President Bill Clinton |no attribution

Mediaite

During his wide-ranging interview on Meet the Press today, Bill Clinton briefly addressed Benghazi, which will undoubtedly be a hot button issue for Republicans against Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton wondered why, when diplomats were killed during the Bush administration, Republicans didn’t say a word.

David Gregory brought up Benghazi and how it’s become the one issue Republicans seek to link to Clinton’s wife leading up to 2016. He noted that Republican criticism suggests that Benghazi wasn’t just mismanagement, but so egregious a scandal that it alone disqualifies Clinton to be president.

Clinton responded by calling Republicans hypocrites for one-sided outrage.

“When ten different instances occurred when President Bush was in office where American diplomatic personnel were killed around the world, how many outraged Repulbican members of Congress were there? Zero.”

Watch the video below, via NBC:

‘Obviously blessed’ Hillary Clinton has released 30 years of tax returns. Romney? McCain?

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (L) and former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney | Reuters

Daily Kos

Republicans have their queen of the 1 percent. In the wake of her flip comments about having been “dead broke” and not “truly well off,” the GOP and its conservative echo chamber are portraying Hillary Clinton as the reincarnation of Leona Helmsley. Hoping to provide additional fodder for the right, Bloomberg News suggested estate tax supporter Hillary is a hypocrite because of the ways the Clintons manage their finances to reduce their estate tax exposure. The right-wing research group America Rising notified its email list that Secretary Clinton “might be advised to take a lengthy sabbatical from her $200k per pop speaking tour and private shopping sprees at Bergdorfs to try and reconnect with what’s happening back here on Earth.”

Of course, it is the GOP hoping the American people slept through the last decade here on planet Earth. After all, it was President George W. Bush, then worth $21 million, who described his plan for life after the White House, “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” And as it turns out, the Clintons have released more than 30 years of tax returns, which means their finances—unlike those of the Romneys and McCains—are no secret.

To be sure, Hillary and Bill Clinton are “obviously blessed.” As the New York Times reported during the 2008 presidential primaries, between 2001 and 2008 the Clintons earned a whopping $109 million, almost all of it from speaking fees and book royalties. But because almost all of their earnings are taxed as regular income, the Clintons disproved Leona Helmsley’s motto that “only the little people pay taxes.”

During that time, theClintons paid $33.8 million in federal taxes and claimed deductions for $10.2 million in charitable contributions…In releasing seven years of tax returns, plus a summary of income for last year, the Clinton campaign noted that the couple had disclosed all their income tax records since Mr. Clinton was governor of Arkansas…”The Clintons have now made public 30 years of tax returns, a record matched by few people in public service,” said Jay Carson, a campaign spokesman. “None of Hillary Clinton’s presidential opponents have revealed anything close to this amount of personal financial information.”

Certainly not John McCain or Mitt Romney. And while the details of their finances remained secret, their plans to dramatically slash their own tax bills were quite public, as you’ll see below.

Thanks to the wealth of his beer heiress wife Cindy, John McCain had the luxury to forget how many homes he owns. But with his proposals to cut income tax rates for the wealthy, slash the capital gains tax rate in half and eliminate the estate tax, President McCain would have delivered a massive windfall to his family for years to come.

Then, of course, there was Mitt Romney, the GOP’s once and possibly future White House hopeful. Worth at least a quarter of a billion dollars, the son of an auto company magnate ran on a platform of keeping as much of it away from Uncle Sam as possible.

Thanks to lax campaign laws that tilt the playing field in favor of the rich, Mitt was able to spend $45 million of his own money in his losing effort to secure the GOP nomination in 2008. Hoping to become John McCain’s running mate, he parts with the loss of a fifth of his net worth and over two decades of tax returns. As Brian Williams pointed out during a January 2012 debate, “You said during the McCain vetting process you turned over 23 years which you had at the ready because, to quote you, you`re something of a packrat.” But in 2012, the American people only get two because, as Mitt helpfully explained two years ago:

“I don’t put out which tooth paste I use either. It’s not that I have something to hide.”

Of course, Mitt Romney had a lot to hide. For starters, few Americans would describe themselves as “part of the 80 to 90 percent of us” who are middle class, when just the “not very much” $374,000 he earned in speaking fees in 2011 put him in the top one percent of income earners. As I noted back in 2012:

It’s bad enough that the $250 million man Romney pays less than 15 percent of his income to Uncle Sam each year, a rate well below most middle class families. Worse still, the notorious “carried interest” exemption for private equity managers Romney wants to preserve taxes him not at the ordinary income rate of 35 percent but at the capital gains rate now half of what it was only 15 years ago. (As it turns out, most of Mitt’s millions each year come from his controversial former employer, Bain Capital.) On top of his Cayman Island investments and past Swiss bank accounts, Romney has created a $100 million trust fund for his sons – tax free. Thanks to some (apparently legal) chicanery on the part of his former employer, Mitt has also accumulated an IRA worth a reported $100 million. (The Romney camp even complained about that, worrying that recent tax code changes has “created a tax problem” for the former Massachusetts governor and asking, “Who wants to have $100 million in an IRA?”) And largely unmentioned, Mitt wants to eliminate the estate tax, a change that would not only save his clan over $80 million, but more than pay for the $45 million of his own money he spent on his 2008 campaign.

Neither McCain nor Romney paid anywhere near the Clintons’ 30 percent tax rate from 2001 to 2008. For his part, in 2012 Romney boasted that over the previous decade, “Every year, I’ve paid at least 13 percent, and if you add, in addition, the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above 20 percent.” Of course, if you added the Clintons’ $10 million in contributions to their own and other charities, why the number gets well above 20 percent—times two.As the Washington Post reported, in 2000 the Clintons were in debt to the tune of $10 million. Thanks in part to those stratospheric speaking fees, by 2004 those debts were paid off. Regardless, Hillary Clinton is going to need a better approach to putting her newfound status as “truly well-off” if she wants to succeed her husband in the Oval Office. She might start by borrowing from Bill’s script. As he put it in 2004:

“You might remember that when I was in office, on occasion, the Republicans were kind of mean to me. But soon as I got out and made money, I began part of the most important group in the world to them. It was amazing. I never thought I’d be so well cared for by the president and the Republicans in Congress. I almost sent them a thank-you note for my tax cuts – until I realized that the rest of you were paying for the bill for it, and then I thought better of it.”

Republicans trying to paint any Democratic presidential candidate as “out of touch” with every day Americans should think the better of it, too.

NBC’s David Gregory Falls Silent In The Face Of Debunked Benghazi Myths

David Gregory

Media Matters

NBC’s David Gregory pointed a series of questions about Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2012 Benghazi attacks to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), allowing Paul to attack Clinton with the long-debunked smear that she was aware of the need for additional security forces at the Benghazi compound yet denied the requests.

On the June 22 edition of NBC’s Meet The Press, host David Gregory posed a series of questions on Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2012 attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, but failed to correct Sen. Paul’s false smears that Clinton refused requested security. While discussing the possibility of Clinton running for president in 2016, Gregory asked Sen. Paul about whether “the prosecution of foreign policy,” is “the main argument” against Clinton’s candidacy. In his response, Paul invoked the debunked myth that Hillary Clinton refused “multiple requests for more security” in the months leading up the attacks.

Later in the interview, Gregory asked whether Benghazi is “disqualifying” for Clinton’s potential 2016 candidacy, again allowing Sen. Paul to claim that Clinton “was not responsive to multiple requests for more security.” Paul concluded that the American people “want a commander in chief that will send reinforcements, that will defend the country, and that will provide the adequate security,” implying for a third time that Clinton refused security she knew was necessary to the Benghazi compound:

See video here…

But Sen. Paul’s smear is based on an old, discredited right-wing media attempt to blame Hillary Clinton for the deaths of U.S. personnel in the Benghazi attacks that originated with an April 2013 Republican Report. The report claimed that an April 2012 cable, sent under Clinton’s name, was a “critical cable” that called for reductions in security in response to to the U.S. ambassador’s request for additional security resources. The report’s evidence that the cable came from Clinton was that it bore her signature, though as Media Matters noted at the time, “several news outlets reported that it is routine for outgoing messages from the State Department to be sent under the secretary’s name without the secretary’s direct involvement.”

Sen. Paul’s claims have been discredited for quite some time — Clinton’s signature was standard for every cable, and does not indicate her direct involvement in the cable. As Foreign Policy magazine pointed out:

It’s not clear who in the State Department sent the April 19 response. But as a general rule, “every single cable sent from Washington to the field is sent over the secretary of state’s name,” a former State Department official noted, adding, “Though they are trying to make this new, it’s not. After 30+ hearings and briefings, thousands of pages, this has all been addressed.”

In September, House Democrats corrected the Republican report, explaining, “The Committee has now obtained the cable referenced by Chairman Issa, and it includes a pro forma line with former Secretary Clinton’s name, similar to millions of other cables sent from the State Department.”

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, who spent nine years covering the State Department, wrote that “every cable from an embassy bears the ‘signature’ of the ambassador — and every cable from Washington bears the ‘signature’ of the secretary of state,” concluding that “Issa has no basis or evidence to show that Clinton had anything to do with this cable — any more than she personally approved a cable on proper e-mail etiquette. The odds are extremely long that Clinton ever saw or approved this memo.” Additionally, in an interview with Media Matters, a former 27-year foreign service officer and Accountability Review Board member corrected the claims, saying, “Every single cable going out is signed ‘Clinton,’ it is the normal procedure… Millions of cables come into the operation center every year, not thousands, millions. And they are all addressed Hillary Clinton.”

Sunday Talk: Nothing to see here

attribution: Star Wars

 

Daily Kos

President Obama’s second term has largely been defined by his regime’s futile efforts to divert attention from the series of Hurricane Katrina-level scandals engulfing them.During the past month, el presidente has employed various Jedi mindtricks (and the Chewbacca defense), hoping to deflect criticism over the VA and Benghazi scandals.

In the case of the former, Obama broke with longstanding US military policy and did everything possible to return a POW to America.

In the case of the latter, he captured the person responsible for the 2012 attack on our consulate—a rather laughable attempt to make us forget that he’d either been unwilling or unable to capture the terrorist mastermind.

This also had the added goal of boosting Hillary Clinton’s book sales, which I’m fairly certain is an impeachable offense.

Morning lineup:

Meet The Press: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX); Former Undersecretary of Defense Michele FlourneyRoundtableE.J. Dionne (Washington Post), David Brooks (New York Times), Katty Kay (BBC) and Former Congressional Candidate Erika Harold (R-IL).Face The Nation: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA); Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); Former Deputy Director of the CIA Mike MorellRoundtableTavis Smiley (PBS), Robin Wright (Wilson Center), David Ignatius (Washington Post) andJohn Dickerson (CBS News).

This Week: Former Vice President Dick Cheney (R); Supreme Court Justice Sonia SotomayorRoundtableGreta Van Susteren (Fox News), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Terry Moran (ABC News).

Fox News Sunday: House Majority Leader-Elect Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); Tea Party Attorney Cleta Mitchell; Former Democratic House Staffer Julian EpsteinRoundtable:George Will (Washington Post), Judy Woodruff (PBS), Michael Needham (Heritage Action for America) and Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Watergate Journalists Bob Woodward & Carl BernsteinRoundtable: Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, Republican Pollster Kristin Soltis Anderson, Democratic Strategist Penny Leeand S.E. Cupp (CNN).

Evening lineup:
60 Minutes will feature: a report on the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt (preview); a report on the proliferation of small commercial drones equipped with cameras over America (preview); and, an interview with blind virtuoso Marcus Roberts, whose playing has inspired a whole generation of jazz musicians (preview).

Captured Benghazi Mastermind Says Attack Was Revenge For Video

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Stock Photo

The GOP doesn’t want to give the POTUS credit for anything.  So they will declare that this is a planted lie by the Obama administration or say the captive is lying.

Liberals Unite

So one of the things that has been driving Conservatives absolutely nuts is anyone suggesting that Benghazi had anything to do with a video. It seems that the mere mention of the word “video” in a Benghazi discussion sends them right over the edge.

But from the beginning, the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton have been saying that initially they thought that the terrorist attacks in Benghazi could have been fueled, at least in part, to an anti-Islamist online video that was made in the United States. That is why Susan Rice went on to all of those Sunday morning talk shows immediately following the attacks and mentioned it.

Now since then, Republicans have been relentless about insisting that the video had absolutely nothing to do with the Benghazi attacks, and that anyone suggesting otherwise was obviously only trying to contribute to some kind of cover-up.

Well, now there’s someone else talking about the video. And he’s no Liberal. Nope, he’s actually the terrorist mastermind himself, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, who was captured by the U.S. on Sunday.According to the New York Times, Khatallah said that he was motivated by the video and wanted revenge against Americans.

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