On MSNBC’s Morning Joe Thursday morning, panelist John Heilemann got into a heated argument with GOP Chairman Reince Priebus over President Obama’s role in the targeting of conservative groups applying for 501(c)4 status. Priebus offered a series of comments trying to tie Obama to the scandal — which Republicans haveattempted to frame the IRS scandal as Obama’s ‘Watergate’ moment — leading Heilemann to shout “that’s an assertion that’s not actually borne out by any of the facts”:
HEILEMANN: Okay. You used two phrases just now saying we have to wait for the facts but I’m entitled to my opinion and before we have the facts just wait. You then said it’s lawlessness and guerrilla warfare and Obama is in the middle of. You say we need to have all of the facts before we can determine whether President Obama is in the middle of it and now you’re asserting the fact he’s in the middle of it. That is your public tweet.
PRIEBUS: I would say it is consistent. When I start out an investigation and say it’s low level employees in Cincinnati and then you find out there are senior level people in Washington. Then Pfeiffer goes on five Sunday morning shows and says the White House didn’t know anything about this and two days later you figure out that the chief of staff actually knew about it. You have a hundred and, what? 15 visits from Shulman to the White House and 132 Democratic senators pleading with the IRS to investigate this. And the Chief of Staff of the White House is now involved or at least knew about it when — two days earlier Pfeiffer said they didn’t know about it.
HEILEMANN: I thought you said you have the facts you need. If you don’t have the facts you need why are you saying he’s in the middle of it?
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has also tried to tie Obama’s name to the IRS scandal, though unsuccessfully. An Investigator General’s report on the case found no indication that the targeting of certain 501(c)4 groups was part of a larger political strategy.
Truly one of Bill Maher’s best “New Rules” segments…
Bill Maher summed up the difference between the bogus Obama scandals that are being pushed and the real scandal of conservative climate change denial, ‘The Obama administration isn’t dirty. The air is dirty.’
Here’s the video:
Please don’t tell me that freedom died because Susan Rice broke the sacred bond between citizens and talk shows. In a poll this week, four in ten Republicans said Benghazi is the worst scandal in history. Second worst, Kanye West snatching the mic from Taylor Swift.
If you think Benghazi is worse than slavery, the Trail of Tears, Japanese internment, Tuskegee, purposefully injecting Guatemalan mental patients with syphilis, WMDs, and the fact that banks today are still foreclosing on mortgages that they don’t own, then your hard on for Obama has lasted for more four hours, and you need to call a doctor.
And while the press has been occupied with scandal, the biggest scandal, and the most important story of the century so far happened last week. Scientists reported that the level of carbon dixoide in the atmosphere has passed the long feared milestone of 400 parts per million, and unless you’re a chimney sweep, that’s bad news. Because humans have never lived through it.
You think Susan Rice gave bogus talking points about Benghazi? What about the bulls**t talking points the entire Republican Party has been spewing on climate change since the 90s? I wanna see the emails to find who came up with the talking points that global warming is just a theory, and that it needs more study, and that climate change is hoax.
The Obama administration isn’t dirty. The air is.
The fact that Republicans are more interested in chasing imaginary Obama scandals than doing something about climate change isn’t a coincidence. The right’s talking points on climate change came directly from the fossil fuels industry. In 1991, The New York Times reported, “Coal-burning utility companies and coal producers, disturbed by public acceptance of the idea that burning fossil fuels will change the climate, are deciding whether to go national this fall with an ad campaign they tried in three markets earlier this year…The goal of the campaign, according to one planning document, is to “reposition global warming as theory” and not fact.”
The debate over climate change isn’t really about science. For Republicans, and the special interests who fund them, the climate change issue is all about money, and maintaining our dependence on fossil fuels. From 2002-2010, conservative billionaires spent $120 million to fund a network of more than 100 climate change denial organizations. The purpose of the effort is to deny the human role in climate change, and to oppose environmental regulations.
The air is dirty because Republicans are taking dirty (dark) money. Until people connect the dots, and demand that special interest money be removed from our politics, our planet will continue to die. The Obama scandals are a smokescreen to cover up the fact that Republicans would rather destroy the planet to enrich the few.
The air is definitely dirty, and Republican greed is the reason why.
What was the GOP hoping to achieve by over-blowing the current Benghazi scandal and other “scandals” promoted by them?
Only one day after the White House released 100 pages of Benghazi e-mails, CBS news is reporting that the original e-mails released only one week ago were edited by Republicans. The two main points that were focused on in the CBS report were from National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes and State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
The statement by Rhodes in the official White House e-mail differs from the edited Republicans version. Below are the two statement were the difference is clearly shown.
Republican edited e-mail:
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation.”
Offical White House email:
“We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.”
State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland’s comments were also altered, as CBS news points out the conflicting statements.
Republican edited e-mail: :
“The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda’s presence and activities of al-Qaeda.”
Official White House email:
“The penultimate point could be abused by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings.”
After congressional Republicans accused the Obama administration of watering down vital information regarding the attacks in Benghazi, they released e-mails that were supposed to be damaging to the White House. If the CBS report holds water, the Republican conspiracy against the Obama administration could lose traction.
President Obama called the alleged scandal a “sideshow,” and a new poll shows that more people trust former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton over congressional Republicans on the situation in Benghazi. While Republicans have compared the alleged “Benghazi cover up” to President Nixon’s Watergate scandal, many from the political center to the left are laughing it off as another conservative attempt at playing politics.
The irony seems to escape the GOP and their sycophants in Congress. They’ve implemented “sequestration” to curb superfluous spending yet waste $55 million dollars on trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act thirty-seven times…
For the 37th time since 2011, House Republicans will hold a vote to repeal Obamacare on Thursday, bringing the total cost of all of their failed repeal votes to roughly $55 million in taxpayer money, according to one estimate.
Last year, CBS News calculated that the number of hours spent on 33 repeal votes — then roughly 80 hours, or two full work weeks — cost taxpayers an estimated $48 million. Since then, Republicans have held three more votes (another $4.5 million) and will add another $1.5 million with their latest.
At a time when lawmakers have implemented $85 billion in across-the-board cuts on top of$1.5 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade, no dollar can be spared. And the country has serious health-related needs that could use funding. Here are some better health care uses for the more than $50 million these symbolic votes against the Affordable Care Act have wasted:
1. Restore cuts from sequestration to Title X family planning programs and Title V maternal and child health services. The National Women’s Law Center calculates that a 5 percent cut to the budgets of each program will reduce them by $15 million and $32.5 million, respectively. Rather than voting to repeal a bill that expands women’s access to preventative services, the House could use the money to expand them.
2. Double the Department of Justice’s budget for sexual assault services, which has currently been authorized a $50 million budget. The program gives money to states so that they can support rape crisis centers and other nongovernmental organizations that provide direct intervention, core services, and other assistance to the victims of sexual assault. Current funding is inadequate, as some states receive less than $300,000 and many programs lack the resources to meet victims’ needs.
3. Grant a request for $50 million to train 5,000 new mental health professionals as part of a new initiative to expand mental health treatment and prevention services. This proposal came in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting to address gaps in the mental health system.
4. Help states implement paid leave policies. President Obama included a $50 million State Paid Leave Fund in his 2011 budget to provide start-up support for states that want to enact paid leave for workers. More than 40 percent of workers don’t have access to paid sick leave, heading to work when they or their family members experience an illness, but this funding could help give them a better option.
The current Congress is on track to be the most unproductive since the 1940s, but still has time to hold votes that won’t result in actual legislative change. There are many other priorities lawmakers could focus on instead and better ways to spend taxpayer dollars.
It can be debated as to whether the filibuster came about as a political accident or was created to give minority parties a stronger say in opposing specific legislation they deeply opposed. Whatever the case, in the hands of Republicans, the filibuster has now become a destructive force being used with the single intent of bringing the Obama agenda (and with it normal governance) to a grinding halt.
Want a real Washington scandal — one worse than the (phony) Benghazi scandal and the (apparently real, but apparently limited) IRS scandals combined? Try the continuing, and possibly accelerating, obstruction of executive branch nominees by Senate Republicans.
Don’t think it’s a scandal? It’s pretty basic: Republicans, by abusing their Constitutional powers, are — deliberately, in several cases — preventing the government from carrying out duly passed laws.
…with virtually all nominees required to have 60 votes, one can accurately say that Republicans are filibustering every nomination…the worst are the “nullification” filibusters, in which Republicans simply refuse to approve any nominee at all for some positions — the National Labor Relations Board, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — because they don’t want those agencies to carry out their statutory obligations.In doing so, Republicans are not breaking the rules of the Senate. They are, however, breaking the Senate itself, and harming the government.
From the beginning, Republicans were clear in their intent to obstruct Obama and Democrats by every legislative means at their disposal. Mitch McConnell speaking two weeks before the 2010 midterm election:
“[W]e need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government. We need to say to everyone on Election Day, ‘Those of you who helped make this a good day, you need to go out and help us finish the job.’ [...]
The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president…. Our single biggest political goal is to give our nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful.”
That’s as clear an admission of guilt as you’re likely to find. Writing the day after McConnell’s 2010 statement, Steve Benen peeked into the future with what turns out to be astonishing foresight.
The obvious takeaway here is that GOP leaders have literally no interest in actually solving problems or passing legislation. None. But the larger truth is that President Obama, who’s spoken a bit lately about the need for “humility,” needs to realize that Republican obstinacy and extremist tactics aren’t going to get better after the midterms; they’re going to get worse.
McConnell and his cohorts have made abundantly clear that Americans’ welfare and the nation’s future pale in comparison to the Republican quest for power. The president stands in the way. If he’s not prepared for what they intend to bring, the showdown isn’t going to go well.
I’ve noticed over the years, there are some fundamental differences in the way Republican and Democratic politicians think. Here are just 15 examples.
Republicans fear that the government has too much control over corporations.
Democrats fear that corporations have too much control over our government.
Democrats believe it benefits all of us to help the weakest and the poorest among us.
Republicans believe it benefits all of us to help the wealthiest and most powerful among us.
Democrats believe it benefits all of us to help the weakest and the poorest among us.
Republicans believe it benefits all of us to help the wealthiest and most powerful among us.
Republicans believe large corporations will always do what is best for the American people if the government stays out of the way.
Democrats believe large corporations would disembowel you and sell your organs to the highest bidder if the government didn’t stop them.
Democrats believe everyone is entitled to health care regardless of their ability to pay.
Republicans believe everyone is entitled to jack squat if they can’t pay for health care.
Democrats believe too much of our money goes to crooked corporate executives who take government subsidies and pay themselves $80 million salaries.
Republicansbelieve too much of our money goes to teachers who make $30,000 a year.
Democrats believe anything that helps the American people during a recession or a time of crisis is the true essence of patriotism.
Republicans believe anything that helps the American people during a recession or a time of crisis is the true essence of communism.
Democrats believe that we need to set high standards for clean air and drinking water.
Republicans believe that standards for clean air and water are burdensome over-regulation.
Democrats believe the President and Congress need to work together to create jobs during a weak economy.
Republicans believe that Congress should do nothing to create jobs and then blame the President.
Democrats believe that corporate polluters should be made to pay for the cleanup of their pollution.
Republicans believe that making corporations clean up their pollution is burdensome over-regulation.
Democrats believe our health care system exists solely for the purpose of making people healthy.
Republicans believe our health care system exists solely for the purpose of making a healthy profit.
Democrats believe Congress should be of the people, by the people and for the people.
Republicans believe corporations are the people.
Democrats believe that corporations have too much influence over Congress due to their lobbyists and huge campaign contributions.
Republicans believe the middle class has too much influence over Congress due to their voting and paying taxes.
Democrats believe we need to protect victims of corporate negligence by allowing Americans to file lawsuits against corporations.
Republicans believe we need to protect large corporations from lawsuits by Americans who’ve been victimized by them.
Democrats believe that the rich should be taxed more than the poor and middle class.
Republicans believe that the rich should be allowed to keep all their wealth, except for the millions in campaign contributions they give to politicians.
Democrats believe that too much money in politics produces corruption and destroys the American way of life.
Republicans believe that money and corruption in politics arethe American way of life.
These are just my observations from a lifetime of watching Democratic and Republican politicians. I’m sure some Republican will come up with their own clever list.
Governor Bobby Jindal’s poll numbers may be low in Louisiana, but once again he’s giving his fellow Republicans some sage advice. The last time he gave the GOP advice, they were not too happy with his choice of words.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) spoke at a GOP dinner in New Hampshire on Friday, urging his fellow Republicans to “get over” last year’s electoral defeats and instead focus on reassessing party priorities ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
“We lost an election that we probably should have won,” Jindal said at a GOP fundraiser in Manchester, N.H., according to ABC News. “It’s time to get over it. … I think we can win elections by sticking to our principles, but I do think we need to make some changes and I think we need to think seriously about where we go from here.”
He continued, “We spent too much time last year criticizing the other side without saying what we were going to do instead, without saying what we were for.”
The Republican governor made headlines last year when he called on members of his party to end “dumbed-down conservatism” and “stop being the stupid party.” During his New Hampshire speech, Jindal offered an explanation for those remarks.
“What I meant by that was we’ve got to present thoughtful policy solutions to the American people — not just bumper stickers, not just 30-second solutions,” Jindal said, according to the Washington Times. “We have to have the confidence and the courage in our convictions and show them that our ideas will benefit them.”
Jindal has frequently been floated as a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. However, he has brushed off the speculation, insisting that it is too early to wade into the race.
“Anybody on the Republican side even thinking or talking about running for president in 2016, I’ve said, needs to get their head examined,” Jindal said during a February appearance on “Fox and Friends.” “And the reason I say that is, we’ve lost two presidential elections in a row, we need to be winning the debate of ideas– then we’ll win elections.”
Darrell Issa (R-CA) made a fool of himself on “Meet the Press” Sunday as he tried to defend his Benghazi conspiracy. David Gregory (R-TV) pushed back hard, even bringing up the GOP’s defending of security.
Issa even accused General David Petraeus of lying for the administration. As soon as Gregory would call Issa on one thing, he’d say he was investigating something else. Issa accused Tom Pickering of refusing to testify when in fact, Issa had not invited him to speak and Pickering was told that the Republican majority did not want him there. Issa ended up backtracking on that one, too, and it was super awkward when it came out that Issa never asked for him to appear. Turns out, Issa was just making inaccurate, unfounded accusations so as to falsely infuse his Benghazi hearings with nefarious dark secrets, because that is what Issa does for a living.
The worst news for Issa was that Gregory refused to be his usual GOP shill, which is an alarming indication that Republicans have pushed their Benghazi conspiracy one wingnut too far.
Watch here via NBC…
Despicable bullies come to mind when I see how members of Congress will stop at nothing to get their way…
Your big Obamacare story of the day is that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell won’t recommend commissioners to the Independent Payment Advisory Board — a panel designed to contain Medicare spending — as the law asks them to.
This isn’t a huge surprise given how, er, eager Republicans have been to smooth Obamacare implementation in general. But it’s more revealing, and just as ironic, as their other efforts to break or hinder the law before it takes full effect.
It’s not just that Boehner and McConnell hate Obamacare and it’s not just that they’re hypocrites about spending. What they’re saying with their actions is that if they can’t convert Medicare from a single-payer into a private insurance system, they’d rather the whole thing collapse under its own weight. President Obama’s and Paul Ryan’s Medicare plans both envision budget caps for Medicare — the difference is that Ryan wants to let private insurers enforce it while Obama leaves the task to providers, with IPAB as a backstop. The parties are actually in about the same place fiscally with respect to Medicare, but unless reaching a more sustainable trajectory means privatizing the program, Republicans will try to keep it unsustainable.
Unfortunately for them, the story’s not that simple. The GOP can’t straightforwardly nullify or hobble IPAB by withholding or blocking nominees, the way it can and does with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board. The IPAB can seemingly function with fewer than 15 confirmed members, and even if Senate Republicans filibuster all nominees, the ACA includes a backstop that basically allows the Health and Human Services Secretary to act as a one-woman payment board. So just as states’ rights-loving governors are ceding their sovereignty to the federal government instead of setting up insurance exchanges of their own, Boehner and McConnell are effectively handing power to the executive branch in lieu of doing what the law asks them and maintaining influence over the policy.
Now that may not be a power that the Obama administration wants to exercise. And its not one that’ll necessarily remain in Democratic hands forever. So it’s not a perfect alternative to IPAB. But it’s also not a win-win for Boehner and McConnell. The GOP base might appreciate it, but it’s probably counter to their substantive interests.