Newt Gingrich

Sunday Talk: The year of living dangerously

Daily Kos

On October 1, 2013, in a last-ditch effort to prevent millions of Americans from getting affordable health care coverage,House Republicans loyal to Sen. TedCruz forced a government shutdown for the first time since Bill Clinton hurt Newt Gingrich’s fee-fees in 1995.Or at least that’s what President Obamaand his fellow travelers would have you believe.

Unfortunately for them, the facts do not bear this out.

Really, those brave patriots in the shutdown caucus were fighting for our freedom; and, in the year since then, all of their dire predictions about Obamacare have proven accurate.

But you’d never know that—because themedia has been too busy carrying water for Obama to say so.

Morning lineup:

Meet The Press: Senior White House Adviser Dan Pfeiffer; RNC Chairman Reince Priebus; Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA); Dr. Nancy Snyderman (NBC News); Others TBD.Face The Nation: Director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIHDr. Anthony Fauci; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; House Majority LeaderKevin McCarthy (R-CA); Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD); Roundtable: Anthony Salvanto (CBS News), Jonathan Martin (New York Times), Nancy Cordes (CBS News) and John Dickerson (CBS News).

This Week: CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden; Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; Roundtable:Van Jones (CNN), Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal), Mark Halperin (Bloomberg Politics) and John Heilemann (Bloomberg Politics).

Fox News Sunday: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH); Former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino; Roundtable: Brit Hume (Fox News), Julie Pace (Associated Press), George Will (Washington Post) and Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden; Dr. William Frohna ( MedStar Washington Hospital Center); Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI);Roundtable: Former White House Chiefs of Staff Bill Daley, Andrew Card, Mack McLarty and Ken Duberstein.

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: an interview with FBI Director James Comey (preview); and, a report on the “smartest dog in the world” (preview).

Sorry, Republicans: We know exactly ‘what Reagan would do’ about ISIS

This should cause the right-wing noise machine’s collective heads to explode. This concerns how Reagan handled the “Iran-Contra Affair”

Daily Kos

American hostages have been brutally murdered by terrorists in the Middle East. Other Western captives may suffer the same fate at the hands of the Islamic State. In response, President Obama’s opponents are doing what they always do when the going gets tough for the United States: ask WWRD? In “What Would Reagan Do,” CNN Crossfire host Newt Gingrich penned an imaginary speech that a mythical version of the Gipper would deliver to the nation about the threat from ISIS. Over at the Washington Times, Gayle Trotter used the same gambit, inventing a Reaganesque address announcing military strikes to make the point that “Americans expect their president to vindicate the victims of terrorism.” Meanwhile, Breitbart News even interviewed President Reagan’s former National Security Adviser Robert “Bud” McFarlane to provide a lecture about “peace through strength.”

Unfortunately for the Gipper’s hagiographers, we know exactly what Reagan would do about terrorists with American blood on their hands. President Reagan would send them a cake, a Bible and American weapons. And the Oval Office address he would deliver to the nation would start something like the one he gave on March 4, 1987:

“A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages.”

Iran-Contra, as you’ll recall, almost laid waste to the Reagan presidency. Desperate to free U.S. hostages held by Iranian proxies in Lebanon, President Reagan provided weapons Tehran badly needed in its long war with Saddam Hussein (who, of course, was backed by the United States). In a clumsy and illegal attempt to skirt U.S. law, the proceeds of those sales were then funneled to the contras fighting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. And as the New York Timesrecalled, Reagan’s fiasco started with an emissary bearing gifts from the Gipper himself:

A retired Central Intelligence Agency official has confirmed to the Senate Intelligence Committee that on the secret mission to Teheran last May, Robert C.McFarlane and his party carried a Bible with a handwritten verse from President Reagan for Iranian leaders.According to a person who has read the committee’s draft report, the retired C.I.A. official, George W. Cave, an Iran expert who was part of the mission, said the group had 10 falsified passports, believed to be Irish, and a key-shaped cake to symbolize the anticipated ”opening” to Iran.

Please read below the fold HERE for more on this story.

Diagnosing Paul Ryan’s psychopathy: Arrogant, manipulative, deceitful, remorseless

Diagnosing Paul Ryan's psychopathy: Arrogant, manipulative, deceitful, remorseless

Paul Ryan (Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Salon

Paul Krugman revealed Ryan’s big con years ago. It’s gotten worse. Why does anyone take him seriously on policy?

If the GOP as a whole has pretty much given up on the whole “rebranding” thing, their 2012 vice presidential nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan, most definitely has not. In fact, rebranding is pretty much his thing, regardless of how credible — or incredible, actually — his efforts may be.

For years, Ryan touted himself as an avid Ayn Rand disciple, until he didn’t in early 2012, even calling it “an urban legend” that he had anything serious to do with Rand at all. He then tried to present the latest iteration of his draconian soak-the-poor/shower the rich budget proposal as grounded in Catholic social teaching, rather than Rand’s fiercely anti-Christian philosophy, a claim that the conservative U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops soundly rejected, writing that his proposed budget failed to meet certain “moral criteria” by disproportionately cutting programs that “serve poor and vulnerable people.”

Now, seeking to put all memory of the “47 percent” campaign behind him, Ryan’s trying to take that reinvention to a whole new level. He’s still touting a budget that dramatically slashes spending on programs that benefit Americans of limited means — 69 percent of all cuts — including $137 billion from food stamps, 24 percent or $732 billion from Medicaid, and $125 billion from Pell Grants, among others — while giving millionaires an average tax cut of at least $200,000. Yet, at the same time, Ryan is trying to reinvent himself as someone who’s serious about fighting poverty, only from a conservative perspective.



Setting the massive contradictions aside for the moment, it’s not an absurd idea in theory. The modern European welfare state was actually invented by conservatives, beginning in Germany, under the first post-unification chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. But this happened in the face of a powerful socialist movement, amidst tremendous dislocations, as well as international pressures that gave German elites powerful reasons to want to make life in Germany much more tolerable for the German people as a whole. In short, when the real-world political incentives are there, history shows that conservatives really can find effective ways to help fight poverty. The only problem is, the solutions they come up are the very thing that cause conservatives today, like Ryan and his Tea Party brethren, to foam at the mouth, and call “socialism!”

And so he came up with his 204-page report, The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later, a con job, as Paul Krugman called it, but that was hardly a surprise. Con jobs are a Ryan’s specialty, More on that later.

What was a surprise, at least to some, was the utter clumsiness of how Ryan’s new focus on poverty got him into trouble on race. He went onto Bill Bennett’s radio show and channelled Newt Gingrich from the 2012 primaries:

We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.

Ryan also cited Charles Murray, white nationalist author of “The Bell Curve.” While many people took him to be speaking in racial code, it was arguably even worse if he was not, as Brian Beutler pointed out:

But if Ryan genuinely stumbled heedless into a racial tinderbox then it suggests he, and most likely many other conservatives, has fully internalized a framing of social politics that wasdeliberately crafted to appeal to white racists without regressing to the uncouth language of explicit racism, and written its origins out of the history.

Of course, something like this has actually happened repeatedly throughout the history of white supremacy in America: True origins are constantly being erased, nefarious intentions hidden, unspeakable injustices naturalized. But what I find fascinating about Ryan is how self-assuredly he switches from all-knowing to naif, without for a moment even thinking this might tarnish his moral authority in any way. He later said his comments had “nothing to do” with race, and the next day issued a statement saying, “After reading the transcript of yesterday morning’s interview, it is clear that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make.” There was no sense of moral responsibility at all, no sense that he owed anyone an apology. (This is all quite typical of a psychopathic personality — as will be touched on below.) But he did have to do something, from a political point of view.

And so he met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus this Wednesday, in order to try to pretend to have a dialogue on poverty. It was not very much of a success. “We didn’t get a whole lot accomplished,” CBC chair Marcia Fudge said to the press afterward, but Ryan found it easy to pretend otherwise. “What is good out of this is that we need to talk about better ideas on getting at the root cause of poverty, to try and break the cycle of poverty.” Ryan also spoke about the need to “improve the tone” in the conversation about poverty — something that he himself might have thought about earlier, no?

Continue reading here…

Crossfire Explodes over AZ Bill: ‘Wrapping Your Homophobia Around the Bible!’

Mediaite

Crossfire got really heated up Tuesday over the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT individuals. Van Jones posed a provocative question to former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli: “What is the difference between a business owner saying no blacks are allowed here versus no gays are allowed here?” Cuccinelli dismissed the comparison, but CNN columnist LZ Granderson insisted the principle is the same because the bill is just “straight-up, plain nothing but discrimination!”

He told Cuccinelli that it’s not a matter of religious principle, it’s always about protecting the Christian faith, and called him and others out for pushing what he deemed institutionalized homophobia.

“Where in the Bible does Jesus say no to people? He’s always bringing people in! So are you really using this as––you brought up your religious faith, or are you wrapping your homophobia around the Bible and trying to find scriptures that justify your homophobia?”

Cuccinelli scolded Granderson for resorting to a personal attack, but Granderson stood on that point, telling Cuccinelli that he’s made “several remarks over the years that I would classify as homophobic, so I would say that you personally are probably a homophobe.”

Newt Gingrich asked if Catholic priests should be “coerced” into performing gay marriages. Granderson said no, because there’s a difference between churches doing what they want and a public businesses “that’s actually utilizing taxpayer dollars to help sustain itself” discriminating against people.

Cuccinelli insisted, “They undercut a fundamental precept of this country and that is religious freedom.”

Watch the video below, via CNN:

There was nothing high-minded about the budget deal

Smiles before the debt storm.

Smiles before the debt storm. Photo: (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

The Week – Taegan Goddard

Many recent articles have trumpeted the “bipartisan breakthrough” that led to a federal budget deal. Don’t believe any of them. Partisan warfare is very much alive.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a key broker of the budget deal, signaled that a standoff over the debt ceiling is coming soon.

Said Ryan: “We, as a caucus, along with our Senate counterparts, are going to meet and discuss what it is we want to get out of the debt limit. We don’t want ‘nothing’ out of the debt limit. We’re going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt limit fight.”

The comments show how broken our legislative system has become. Just days ago, Ryan agreed to a budget deal that increases the federal debt — and hailed it in a series of interviews — but now he won’t agree to raise the debt ceiling mandated by the very same budget deal.

In the last fiscal standoff in October, the Obama administration held firm and refused to negotiate over the debt ceiling. Expect the same reaction this time.

Of course, the real reason there was a budget deal is that Republicans felt it was politically advantageous. With the White House on the defensive for nearly two months over the ObamaCare implementation, Republicans don’t want to do anything to distract from their woes.

Newt Gingrich said it best: “I think this is mediocre policy and brilliant politics. It doesn’t get them what they want on policy terms, but it strips away the danger that people will notice anything but ObamaCare. And the longer the country watches ObamaCare, the more likely the Democrats are to lose the Senate.”

He’s right. The budget deal probably is good politics — at least in the very short term.

So as both sides move the country to the edge of the fiscal brink early next year, remember it’s all about politics. But will the politics still be good for either side?

Jon Stewart Schooled Tea Partiers For Racist Reactions To Nelson Mandela’s Death

The Huffington Post

Jon Stewart kicked off this week’s “Daily Show” by shedding light on some truly odd reactions that some folks had about the passing of Nelson Mandela — including at least one prominent Republican.

Newt Gingrich and Ted Cruz, to their credit, offered sincere notes of gratitude for the South African leader’s life work on their respective Facebook pages. What they did not expect, however, were the swift and racist reactions they saw from several of their fans. Example: “This clench-first gorilla [sic] warrior does not deserve respect from informed Americans,” one user wrote on Gingrich’s Facebook.

Stewart was hardly surprised by the outpouring of bile. “Of course, that’s why the Internet was invented,” he said. “To say hateful things with greater efficiency, reach and freedom to keep people from finding out how truly disgusting you are in your home. ‘I would never say those things, it was Dr. Awesomeballs69!'”

Racist Facebook fans are one thing, but Stewart could not let an actual Republican leader off the hook so easily. Rick Santorum, appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor,” somehow equated apartheid, South Africa’s former system of segregation that Mandela helped end, to the Affordable Care Act.

“The systemic subjugation of a race of people is different than the establishment of subsidized insurance exchanges,” Stewart helpfully explained before channeling his inner Julie Andrews with a “Sound of Music” parody: “Obamacaaare is not apartheeeeeid!”

Check out the clip above to see Stewart lay into the reactions to Mandela’s death.

 

Newt Gingrich To Conservatives: ‘What Would You Have Done?’

newt gingrich nelson mandela

I don’t often view Newt Gingrich in a favorable light, but this time is an exception…

The AtlanticTa-Nehisi Coates

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said Sunday he was “very surprised” at people who were critical of his decision to praise Nelson Mandela this week, standing by his admiration for Mandela’s “very long, deep commitment to freedom.”

On Thursday, upon hearing of the former South African president’s death, Gingrich put up a post on Facebook, expressing his condolences.

“President Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime,” he wrote. “When he visited the Congress I was deeply impressed with the charisma and the calmness with which he could dominate a room. It was as if the rest of us grew smaller and he grew stronger and more dominant the longer the meeting continued.”

Gingrich’s statement, however, was met with backlash from many of his followers.

“Newt, I was rooting for you to win the primaries and become the next president; please tell me your joking!! Mandela was a commie murderer!!” read one comment that was popular with other users.

“You’re forgetting Mandela’s extreme racism! There are YouTubes of Mandela singing songs about murdering the white man. I spit on his grave….,” read another.

When asked about the criticism in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Gingrich replied, “I was very surprised by it. [My wife] Callista posted my statement on her Facebook page and was amazed at some of the intensity — some of whom came back three, four and five times repeating how angry they were.”

In response, on Saturday, Gingrich put out a new statement and video to his supporters, challenging critics to put themselves in Mandela’s shoes.

“I was surprised by the hostility and vehemence of some of the people who reacted to me saying a kind word about a unique historic figure,” he said. “So let me say to those conservatives who don’t want to honor Nelson Mandela, what would you have done?”

Responding to conservatives who dismiss Mandela as a communist, Gingrich added, “Actually Mandela was raised in a Methodist school, was a devout Christian, turned to communism in desperation only after South Africa was taken over by anextraordinarily racist government determined to eliminate all rights for blacks.”

As Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic pointed out, Gingrich’s support for Mandela is not new or an attempt to rewrite history.

“Newt Gingrich was among a cadre of conservatives who opposed the mainstream conservative stance on Apartheid and ultimately helped override Reagan’s unconscionable veto of sanctions,” he wrote, adding, “When Gingrich compliments Mandela on his presidency he doesn’t do so within the context of alleged African pathologies, but within the context of countries throughout the world. It’s a textbook lessons in ‘How not to be racist,’ which is to say it is a textbook lesson in how to talk about Nelson Mandela as though he were a human being.”

Watch Gingrich’s video:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also encountered a fair amount of vitriol last week when he honored Mandela in a Facebook post, writing, “Nelson Mandela will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe… Because of his epic fight against injustice, an entire nation is now free.”

When CNN host Candy Crowley asked Gingrich if he believed his and Cruz’s critics were fellow conservatives, the former House speaker said they were people who bought into “a rationale that defined everybody who was in any way in rebellion against the established system in the third world as anti-American.”

 

‘Worse than Watergate’

The Watergate Hotel Washington, D.C., June 11, 2012.

The Watergate Hotel Washington, D.C., June 11, 2012.  JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Steve Benen, a contributor on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC website makes a few salient points about the GOP comparing every perceived left-wing failure to the Nixon Administration’s Watergate scandal.

The Rachel Maddow Show

On his Fox News show yesterday, Howard Kurtz sat down with Bob Woodward and raised a question that caught me a little off guard. “Some of the president’s detractors compare every scandal to Watergate, with which you are famously associated,” Kurtz said. “And so Benghazi is worse than Watergate. IRS was worse than Watergate. Bill Kristol said the other day that Obamacare is worse than Watergate in its impact on the country. What do you make of those comparisons?”

Woodward, who’s had some unfortunate missteps this year, didn’t fully answer, but the question itself gave me pause. Bill Kristol actually said the other day that Obamacare is worse than Watergate?
As it turns out, yes, he really said that.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich this week compared the Affordable Care Act to the Watergate Scandal, but Kristol believes the healthcare law is far worse. “Obamacare, honestly, will do more damage to the country than Watergate ever could’ve done,” he said.
“Watergate was stupid, petty, partisan politics and [President Richard] Nixon did misuse the Oval Office and then did lie to the country about it, probably. But, here, we have a legislative takeover of a huge percentage of the economy and an area that’s so important to everyone’s lives.”
Remember, as far as the Beltway is concerned, Bill Kristol is an establishment figure in good standing. He also thinks Nixon “probably” lied about the criminal conspiracy the disgraced president ran out of the Oval Office.
But it’s the comparison to the Affordable Care Act that’s uniquely incomprehensible. “Obamacare” critics are on safe ground complaining about a dysfunctional website, but to suggest that the law itself – a Republican-friendly reform system, which focuses on private insurers, cost-saving measures, and deficit reduction – is worse than the constitutional crisis posed by the Nixon White House becoming a criminal enterprise is plainly silly , even for contemporary Republicans.
That said, I suppose it’s time to updating a post from last year. Republicans are on record arguing:
* Benghazi is “worse than Watergate.” [Update: this argument comes up quite a bit.]
* The IRS story carries “echoes of Watergate.”
* National security leaks are “worse than Watergate.”
* A job offer for former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* “Fast and Furious” might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* The White House’s relationship with Media Matters might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* NSA surveillance is one of “Obamas Watergates.”
* The James Rosen controverys is “becoming Watergate.”
In May, Peggy Noonan was so overwhelmed by her contempt for the president, she wrote in her column, “We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate,” and then neglected to mention which perceived “scandal” she was even referring to.
If you’re thinking this overheated nonsense is hard to take seriously, you’re not the only one.

Kos’ Sunday Talk Lineup: Shut Happens

Daily Kos

Thanks to President Obama stubbornly refusing to negotiate with terrorists (his negotiations with Iran notwithstanding),House Republicans were forced to shut down the federal government for the first time since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich was relegated to the back of Air Force One in 1995.

Without a doubt, the most visible and devastating consequence of this latest game of brinkmanship is the closure of America’s national parks—which has enraged a lot of vacationersnewbies and veterans alike.

However, there have also been a number of less conspicuous (and clearly less important) negative consequencessuch as: 800,000 “non-essential” workers being furloughedHead Start programs being suspended; and millions of Americans’ health and safety being endangered.

But that’s not to say it’s been all bad; on the bright side, the shutdown has had a slimming effect on Fox News. 

Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Roundtable: Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Republican Strategist Mike MurphySteve Inskeep (NPR) and Rich Lowry (National Review).Face the Nation: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX); Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuRoundtableGwen Ifill (PBS), Dana Milbank(Washington Post), Jim VandeHei (Politico) and John Dickerson (CBS News).

This Week: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH); Sen.Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC); RoundtableCokie Roberts (ABC News), Paul Gigot (Wall Street Journal), Soledad O’Brien (Starfish Media Group), Former “Car Czar” Steve Rattner and Jonathan Karl (ABC News).

Fox News Sunday: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; Rep. Pete King (R-NY); Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA); RoundtableBrit Hume (Fox News), Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN),Kimberley Strassel (Wall Street Journal) and Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); Roundtable: Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Rep. Steve king (R-IA), Democratic Strategist Stephanie Cutter and Ross Douthat (New York Times).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: a report the alarming state of the federal disability program, which has exploded in size in the last six years and could become the first federal benefits program to run out of money (preview); never-before-seen footage of America’s first battle against al Qaeda 20 years ago (preview); and, a report on the large number of asteroids in space big enough to destroy a city, of which scientists only know where one percent of them are (preview).

Why The Tea Party Really Hates Obamacare

The National MemoGene Lyons

First they lie to you, and then they ask you for money.

That’s the essence of the great Tea Party/Ted Cruz crusade to “defund” Obamacare, a political and constitutional impossibility. The question was settled, probably for good, when President Obama won re-election in 2012 and Democrats kept control of the Senate.

Instead, it’s about TV face-time and harvesting donations from gullible voters misled both about the Affordable Care Act itself and Sen. Cruz’s nonexistent chances of ending it.

Amid all the melodramatic TV chatter, the estimable blogger Digby puts it in terms everybody should understand. She has a friend in the insurance industry whose company has been getting thousands of calls from frightened policyholders who fear that the hullabaloo in Washington could result in their losing health coverage.

“I asked her what calmed people down,” Digby writes “and she says she tells everyone to think about their high school civics class and remember that laws have to be passed by both houses and signed into law by the president. Without proselytizing at all, everyone immediately realizes what an absurd exercise in futility all this nonsense really is.”

A narrow Republican majority in the House can’t void the Affordable Care Act any more than 54 Senate Democrats can force everybody in Oklahoma to eat broccoli. Anybody who tells you differently is a flim-flam artist.

Such as Newt Gingrich. The presiding genius of the 1996 GOP government shutdown went on ABC’s This Week to deliver pseudo-historical profundity: “Under our constitutional system going all the way back to Magna Carta in 1215, the people’s house is allowed to say to the king we ain’t giving you money.”

Actually, the U.S. Constitution of 1789 makes no provision for a king. Neither, as former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich has reminded Gingrich, does it “allow a majority of the House of Representatives to repeal the law of the land by defunding it. If that were the case, no law [would be] safe.”

No federal court could rule otherwise. It’s a separation of powers issue. These principles are so fundamental to American governance that even the Wall Street Journal reminds GOP hotheads that for all the three-ring thrills provided by Sen. Cruz and his allies, “the only real way to repeal the law is to win elections.”

Continue reading on Page 2

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