MSNBC

HuffPost Reporter Confronts McCain: Does ‘Victory’ in Iraq Mean Endless War?

Mediaite

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein had a rather testy exchange Friday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

“I just want to nail down what it means to have it won,” Stein told the senator at the start of his question. “When we were debating the war [in Iraq], I thought the idea was that we would put up an Iraqi government that would be self-sufficient and an Iraqi military that could protect. We spent $25 billion propping up the military, and it folds, even despite having much greater numbers than ISIS.

“So I’m curious: What is the definition of victory? What is the definition of winning? Does it mean having a residual force basically without end date? I’m just a little bit confused. I want to know what victory is to you.”

The senator wasted no time snapping back, hammering Stein for his “confusion”:

I think you are confused because you didn’t know what happened with the surge where we basically had the country pacified. We had a stable government in Baghdad, and we had the conflict basically — for all intents and purposes — won. We still got troops in Bosnia, a residual force would have stabilized the country. Most military experts will tell you that. So I’m sorry about your confusion, but the facts on the ground were that al Qaeda had been defeated almost completely and with the residual American force and at that time, a strong Iraq. Now, [Iraqi PM Nouri] al-Maliki is very weak. Maliki got worse after we left. And again, I knew this was going to happen, because we didn’t leave that force behind. And so I’m sorry about your confusion, but anybody who was there will tell you we had the conflict won.

“I guess I shouldn’t myself confused, because it would be used against me,” Stein remarked. He then pressed once more: “What is the end date for our forces in Iraq? Is it open-ended? And if that’s the case, because we need to have a residual force there to prop up the Iraq government indefinitely, is that how you see it?”

In return, McCain cited residual American troops stationed in Germany, Japan, Korea, and Bosnia as having successfully stabilized regions American forces have previously occupied.

Watch the exchange below, via Mediaite:

MUST SEE: Krystal Ball brutally eviscerates the GOP & trashes corporate Dems in one amazing segment

Daily Kos

If you watch only one thing today, watch this.

Short version: The GOP is a staggering corpse that is fading into irrelevance and the real future is in the fight between pro-corporate Democrats and pro-worker Democrats.

But you definitely want to see it for yourself . . .

Transcript:

Krystal Ball:     “Who will win the battle for the soul of the GOP? Will it be the establishment or the tea party, the libertarians or the social conservatives? Well after watching all sides battle it out at CPAC I have come to a definitive conclusion. Are you ready? Here is the answer; it doesn’t matter.
That’s right, who wins and who loses in the fight for control of the Republican party is totally irrelevant.
Sure, it is a fun parlor game to look at whose up and whose down in the Ted Cruz/Rand Paul showdown. Wait. No. It’s not. It’s  a terrible parlor game. What is a parlor game?
Anyway, if you care about the future of this country the Republican party machinations are of now consequence. There’s a few reasons. First, look at this graph.

There is an unprecedented gap between the voting preferences of young voters and everyone else. Millennials may not be crazy about self-identifying as Democrats but whatever they call themselves they’re liberal. They are much more likely to vote Democratic than older generations.
So Republicans, do you know why in five of the last six Presidential elections you’ve lost the popular vote? It’s because every year the electorate is becoming browner and more influenced by the millennials who are more liberal than any other modern generation, and sorry GOP, they’re staying that way. To paraphrase Sally Field at her Oscar win, they don’t like you, they really don’t like you.

And who can blame them? The second reason the GOP is irrelevant is because your economic ideology is toast, debunked, discredited. Your intellectual heavy is Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan! You’ve been flailing around in a house that Reagan built for three decades and still haven’t realized it’s just an empty frame with no foundation. Come back to me when you have some actual evidence for your economic ideology, and no, Ayn Rand novels don’t count.

Nope. Republicans and their deck-chair shifting civil war don’t matter. If you are interested in where the country goes from here the action is all on the Democratic side, and while our own internal divide is less noisy than the Republican one it is just as real and waaaay more important.

This divide, the one that counts, is between the pro-corporate democrats and the pro-worker democrats. It’s pretty easy to tell which are which. In their best incarnation the pro-corporate dems do Wall Street and corporate America’s bidding while doing the best they can to shore up the safety net so that when working folks are inevitably abused by big banks and big business at least there is something of a net to catch them.
Pro-worker dems want to stop the abuse in the first place and keep and expand the safety net just in case those protections fail.

When pro-corporate dems get their way, as they have in democratic politics for, oh, the past twenty-two years, inequality rises. And when inequality rises the power of the plutocracy rises. And when plutocrats call the shots like they do now the safety net gets it.

Plutocrats, it turns out, don’t much care for supporting the workers on whose backs they earn their riches. So even though corporate democrats may be well intentioned their policies lead to a toxic brew of money, plutocracy and power that shreds the safety net, strips workers of their right and hollows out the middle class. The plutocracies wish is their command.

Now to be clear, either type of democrat is a million times better than the folks the GOP has to offer, but that is a pretty low bar. Time to expect more. To demand more. Do we want a society that governs for the needs of the many, or the desires of the few? I know which side I’m on, do you?”

Ronan Farrow on Jon Stewart’s Show

So I found myself asking who is Ronan Farrow,  MSNBC’s newest host at the 1:00 pm hour on weekdays?  

The following Jon Stewart clip filled me in a great deal and I’ve decided to share it with those who are just as interested in learning about this extraordinary young person. 

The Daily Show

Ronan Farrow recalls attending college at age 11, being accepted to Yale Law at 16, and getting a show on MSNBC at 26.  (07:00)

Rachel Maddow – Right-wing rejects Mandela’s hero status

Maddown Up All Night via screencap

Rachel Maddow 12-11-2013 (Screencap)

The Raw Story

No matter how bad it seems for Democrats right now, said Rachel Maddow on her show Wednesday night, it’s worse for Republicans. In spite of the fact that the Obamacare roll-out was messy, the Republican Party right now is being roiled in an intense internecine civil war that is keeping the party completely paralyzed.

This week the U.S. Senate is having all-night sessions as the Republicans attempt to slow down voting on a clutch of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees.

“None of them are controversial,” Maddow said. “All of them are likely to be confirmed when their nomination comes up for a vote. But, Republicans have decided they’re going to take a really long time to do that.”

And, she added, the Republicans won’t get anything out of this political stunt that they wouldn’t get if they did nothing at all. The slowdown of voting is purely symbolic.

Senate Republicans are protesting the Democrats’ decision three weeks ago to dispense with the normal two-thirds’ majority needed for presidential nominations. Instead, now they only need a simple majority, action Democrats took in response to constant abuse of the filibuster by the GOP.

At the time of the vote, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell told Democrats, “You’ll regret this.”

Now, payback appears to be coming in the form of Republicans staying up past their bedtime.

“This is Mitch McConnell’s big idea?” Maddow asked.

“This was the Democrats’ whole idea,” she said, “to try to make clear that the Republicans are abusing the filibuster.”

“It’s amazing, it’s like he was hired by Democratic bloggers to illustrate what’s wrong with Republicans in the Senate right now,” she marveled.

But that’s nothing compared to what’s happening in the House of Representatives.

“If there is one thing to take more pleasure in than your opponent’s outraged display of his own impotence in defeat,” Maddow said, “it’s got to be the spectacle of your opponent being driven to his knees by infighting on his own side.”

In the House, “open warfare” has broken out between tea party Republicans and Republican Party stalwarts like Reps. John Boehner (R-OH) and Paul Ryan (R-WI), who are entering into a tentative budget deal with House Democrats.

This has outraged right-wing publications and pundits, who see any deal with Democrats as treachery and a danger to America.

Politico quoted Senate Conservatives Fund executive Director Matt Hoskins as saying, “John Boehner has apparently decided to join Mitch McConnell in the war on conservatives. McConnell called us fringe traitors who should be locked in a bar and punched in the nose, and now Boehner is lashing out at us too. Conservatives everywhere need to understand that the party’s leadership has declared war on them. If they don’t fight back, they will always regret it. We’re going to hang together or hang separately.”

All but cackling with delight, Maddow said, “Covering politics doesn’t get any better than this.”

Watch the video, embedded below:

Via MSNBC – The Rachel Maddow Show

 

Joe Scarborough doesn’t get it: How GOP and big banks sabotaged Detroit

Joe Scarborough doesn't get it: How GOP and big banks sabotaged Detroit

Joe Scarborough (Credit: NBC/Today)

Vulture capitalism at it’s worst…

Salon

No, unions didn’t kill the Motor City. “In one sense the banks caused it,” ex-banker Wallace Turbeville explains

The same day that Illinois’ Legislature approved a $160 billion “restructuring” of public workers’ pensions, a federal judge ruled that pension protections in Michigan’s state constitution could be overridden as part of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy. Along with fury from unions, that double blow inspired a new round of “I-told-you-so’s” from pundits — like “Morning Joe’s” Joe Scarborough — who frame Detroit as a morality play about politicians who lack the backbone to force cuts on public employees.

To consider what really ails Detroit, Salon called up former Goldman Sachs investment banker Wallace Turbeville, whose recent report for the progressive think tank Demos suggests the pundits have got it all wrong. A condensed version of our conversation follows.

After this decision came out, Joe Scarborough said to his panel on MSNBC, “The problem came from, you know, unions that, you know, push politicians to overpromise benefits that they couldn’t pay for in exchange for votes and money.” What do you make of that kind of analysis?

Well, it’s just based on preconceived notions and not careful analysis of the circumstances. That isn’t what has transpired over the last five years. Because the data don’t reflect that.

And what do they show?

The data show that the current level of salaries paid out by the city, and benefits that are to be paid out are very moderate … The city over the last five years has tremendously cut its operating expenses, close to 40 percent  – which is mostly salaries — and is now operating at levels of employee per capita that are imprudent. And the benefits, if you look into them carefully, are quite modest …

The time scales that we’re operating in now suggest strongly that this is largely an issue of a devastated tax base and a reduction in state revenue-sharing, exacerbated by some really potentially concerning cash requirements associated with derivatives deals and overly complex and imprudent financial transactions.

Who’s to blame for the devastated tax basis?

Continue reading below the fold…

Someone Needed To Say This…

Not everyone feels bad about the Martin Bashir firing, but everyone should read the following piece.  It goes far beyond one person being fired for saying something negative against right-wingers…

Fox News and other networks have gone farther than anything Bashir has said in terms of insults to and about the POTUS, FLOTUS and even Malia Obama.  Not to mention their disdain for the “other”, period.  The following piece says everything I’m thinking and does so in a cohesive and formidable way:

Steve Marmel

So, Martin Bashir is off MSNBC. Because that’s what we on the left do. We love to pride ourselves on taking the high road.

All the while Fox News, or the militant right, or the gun thugs say and do whatever they want to push for things that damage the country or the people within it. Classless things. Bullying behavior. Below the belt shots. Flat out lies. And here we are, patting ourselves for being “better than that.” It’s time to stop.

Martin Bashir quit yesterday. Or was fired. Or resigned willingly. Or was pressured out. I don’t know the specifics and I don’t care. All I see is a strong, furious voice for the left being taken off the air. All I see is the left being told one more time: Be upset, but don’t get TOO upset. It’s time to stop rolling over whenever some harsh, vicious, shallow half-term grifter cries crocodile tears. Because the next day, she’s going to remain horrible and keep doing and pushing for horrible things, as one more person on the left is silent.

Martin Bashir, for all his ham-handedness, was not afraid to throw a forceful punch to make a point. And when he did, it resonated. But because he crossed some imaginary line we make for ourselves – because we have to worry about the feelings of people who accuse the President of “Pallin’ around the terrorists” or using racialist terms like “Blood Libel” – we silence ourselves. Why? Am I supposed to care about the feelings of the Palins, Bachmanns, Goehmerts, Ryans, Pauls and Cruzes of this world? I will not. What they want and what they are doing is far, far worse than anything a Martin Bashir said.Stupid Fox News Quotes

He had every right to be angry. We all do. It’s been five years since the right decided this President didn’t deserve his vision – elected by a landslide TWICE – to be executed. So the right jumped in the mud and started throwing it by the buckets. We have GOT to stop being afraid to be angry. Let our policies be the high road. But let’s stop fighting bad guys with one hand tied behind our back.

You know what’s uglier than what Martin Bashir said?

Cutting SNAP benefits from people who can’t afford it.

Demonizing 47 percent of America as lazy and moochers.

Turning our backs on our veterans and the homeless and the unemployed.

Suppressing votes.

It’s time to accept the inelegant and imperfect messenger in return for a powerful and fierce message that can resonate. We are debating people who – when they scream “You Lie” during the “State of the Union” speech, or point an angry bony finger at the President like he’s some sort of petulant child… they become heroes.

We are debating who – when George Zimmerman shot an unarmed black kid – practically gave him a crown, a cape and a scepter and made him their king.

They should be demonized. Daily. Hourly. Viciously. And we don’t. Why? Because we’re “better than that?”

Stop pretending there’s some advantage to muzzling just how pissed we are, and muzzling just how hard a punch that can be thrown. It’s not just seen as weakness, it is exploited as one. If we don’t want to continue losing ground on issues that matter, we have to stop ceding it.

There will be another Martin Bashir. He will saying something vicious. And some person on the right will boo-hoo about it. And then, that voice of left-wing fury needs to say “Don’t like it? Tough.” And then they need to keep on speaking.

It’s time to stop being afraid to get our hands dirty. It’s time to get angry. Stay Angry. Fight fiercely. And never forget it’s a fight. Because the minute you do… …you’ve lost. - Steve Marmel

Evening Blog Roundup – 12-4-2013

Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC following Palin comment. [MSNBC]

ISO: The best political books of 2013

GOP Rep.: Nuke Iran If War Is Necessary

Newtown 911 calls: Shooting heard in background

Supreme Court dismisses challenge to Obamacare mandate

Martin Bashir Resigns From MSNBC Following Palin Comment

GOP Candidate Spoofs Van Damme’s ‘Epic Split’ in Anti-Obamacare Ad

Texas School Board Opts For Textbooks With Evolution And Climate Change

Conservative group ALEC pushes stealth tax on homeowners who install solar panels

Texas principal bans Hispanic students from speaking Spanish to ‘prevent disruptions’

House Republicans hold hearing to decide how often they can say ‘impeachment’ before looking crazy

 

Melissa Harris-Perry Sends Open Letter To Marissa Alexander’s Prosecuting Attorney

Melissa Harris-Perry Sends Open Letter To Marissa Alexander's Prosecuting Attorney

Liberals Unite

Three days after domestic violence victim, Marissa Alexander was released on bail, after spending ‘over 1,000 days’ in prison, MSNBC’s host, Melissa Harris-Perry, decided to write and open letter to Angela Corey – Marissa’s prosecuting attorney.

Corey helped send Alexander to prison for 20 years – for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband who was coming at her. (Husband, Rico Gray,  admitted his intentions in his sworn deposition, and had admitted abusing her physically and emotionally prior to that incident as well).

Here is Melissa Harris-Perry’s intro followed by her letter to Corey:

There is nothing like being home for the holidays with your loved ones. So I can only imagine that this Thanksgiving is particularly bittersweet for Marissa Alexander, who was granted a special pre-trial release at 10:30 PM on Wednesday – Thanksgiving Eve – after spending more than 1000 days in jail, and barely seeing her youngest child who just recently turned three.

But my letter is not to Marissa. Sis, I am saving that one for when you are finally freed for good. No, my letter this week is to the woman that worked to put you in jail in the first place: Florida State Attorney for the fourth judicial circuit, Angela Corey.

Dear Angela Corey,

It’s me, Melissa.

Angela, there are few times in life that we get second chances to right our wrongs. Well Angela, this is yours.

You have been called a fierce victim’s advocate, so it is way past time that you start acting like it.

Because a woman who was hospitalized in 2009 after being shoved into a bathtub and hitting her head – she is a victim.

A woman whose estranged husband has admitted to abusing all five mothers of his kids – she is his victim.

And when that woman, that victim, who has just recently given birth, fires a warning shot near the man that has cornered her in her home – she is a victim who feels she has no other recourse.

But that is part of the problem, Angela. You never saw Marissa as a victim. You saw Marissa as the aggressor and even justified why the infamous “Stand Your Ground” law was not applied in Marissa’s case.

Because, as you put it, she was not fleeing from an abuser, even though Rico Gray, her estranged husband, has admitted telling Marissa that he would kill her if she ever cheated on him.

You have said that the shot fired was not consistent with a warning shot because it was at adult head height. Marissa is three inches shorter than Rico Gray.

And according to you she didn’t have to get 20 years in jail. That also was her fault, right Angela? You said to NBC’s the Grio back in May: “She didn’t have to get 20 years, because I took into account their prior domestic history and her lack of a [criminal] record, and we offered her the three year mandatory minimum.”

Marissa is a mother of three. And she is a victim of abuse.
Any mother knows that one day away from her child is 24 hours too long.

And when you are an abuse victim, you have to believe that the courts will finally free you from the cycle of violence instead of criminalizing you for trying to protect yourself.

If nothing else, the last two years should have shown you that an aggressive prosecution is not always the best one.
So while I know Marissa is thankful this holiday to be home with her family while she awaits her new trial on March 31st, 2014, maybe you should spend this holiday being thankful that you have a second chance to right this obvious wrong.

Sincerely,
Melissa

Video 

Also posted on TFC’s Racial Profiling page

 

Has Obama delivered on foreign policy promises?

Chris Matthews nails it with this introduction piece on his 11-25-2013 show…

MSNBC  - Hardball

Howard Fineman and David Corn discuss President Obama’s previously stated foreign policy goals and how far he has come in accomplishing his agenda.

Watch MSNBC link to video 

David Axelrod, Michael Steele Battle Over GOP’s Future: ‘Tea Party Not Going to Go Quietly’

Mediaite

Everybody expected plenty of tea-leaf reading about the future of the GOP on the Wednesday morning after Election Day, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe did not disappoint, with Cokie Roberts’comment that “it was not a good night for the tea party” setting off former RNC Chairman Michael Steele and former Barack Obama advisor David Axelrod.

“There’s only so much money to go around in a 2014 congressional election cycle,” Steele said, referring to the Alabama Republican primary, in which an “establishment” candidate backed by the Chamber of Commerce and wealthy contributor Joe Ricketts beat a tea party challenger. “A special election in Alabama—that’s a very different environment for a Joe Ricketts to play in. I don’t think we should overstep. Next year, we’ve got a whole different dynamic. The tea party is not going to go quietly into that good night, certainly not on the money front.”

“The fact is the business community had made a Faustian bargain with the tea party in 2010 and 2011 and 2012,” Axelrod said. “It all came home to roost in the shutdown, in the flirtation with default, and they realize, this is serious business, and we need serious people. That was reflected in where they put their money in these races.”

Axelrod also cautioned against reading too much into the effect of Obamacare on the Virginia race, and extrapolating from that a winning strategy.

“If Republicans think they can get on this Obamacare kick and win in 2014 on that, I think they’re mistaken,” Axelrod said. “If you look at the polling, even throughout all this Obamacare debacle, their numbers have not moved. They have not gained. So I think it is too facile to say, ‘We’re just going to talk about Obamacare and win this election.’ They’ve got deeper problems than that.”

Watch the full clip via MSNBC…