October 29, 2015


Good news for GOP elites: Trump's not winning Iowa anymore. Bad news: Ben Carson is. --Andrew Prokop 10/24/15

“What’s the difference between the House Benghazi committee and a circus? A circus doesn’t pretend to have any high-minded purpose, but instead presents itself as only what it is: a show. And a circus is sometimes entertaining. Oh, and a circus isn’t potentially infinite.” -- MassLive.com Editorial

“Hillary Clinton is never more alluring than when a bunch of pasty-faced, nasty-tongued white men bully her. .... Trey Gowdy and his blithering band of tea-partiers went on a fishing expedition, but they forgot to bring their rods — or any fresh facts.” -- Maureen Dowd 10/24/15

“I think that’s a matchup that works very well for us, because she’s out listening to the American people offering real solutions, talking about the fight she’ll fight for them, and he’s out, you know, hurling insults.”
Clinton campaign Chair John Podesta on Donald Trump as the GOP nominee.

“I’ve got a lot of really cool things I could do other than sit around, be miserable, listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.” -- Jeb Bush sounding like he’s getting frustrated with running for president.

"I promise you tonight as your president I will govern based on principle not poll numbers." -- Bernie Sanders, sharpening the contrast with Hillary Clinton on a bevy of liberal causes at the Iowa JJ Dinner.

“On our side, you’ve got the No. 2 guy (Ben Carson) tried to kill someone at 14 and the No. 1 (Donald Trump) is high energy and crazy as hell.  How am I losing to these people?”— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 10/26/15

Clinton’s performance at the Benghazi hearing made her right-wing—and mostly male—interrogators look pretty stupid by comparison. If you think the right’s rabid response to her first presidential candidacy, or to the presidency of Barack Obama, was over the top, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Because there’s nothing so threatening to patriarchy than a smart woman—especially one who is playing to win. -- Adele M. Stan in The American Prospect 10/23/15

It wasn’t just that Hillary Clinton performed well at the hearing.  It was that the Republican Members of Congress were an embarrassment. They were unfocused, partisan, condescending and angry. This all fed into the belief by many Americans that the hearing existed not as a truth-finding expedition, but as an effort to tarnish the likely Democratic presidential nominee. The Clinton campaign themselves couldn’t have scripted it better.” -- Kirsten Powers in USA Today 10/25/15




1. Poll: Iowa Republicans Like Ben Carson's Comments On Hitler
2. Andy Borowitz: Cruz, Carson Differ Sharply Over Timetable for End of World
3. Three Years Of The Benghazi Hoax In Five Minutes
4. Rubio Opens Wide Lead in Prediction Market
6. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
7. Late Night Jokes for Dems
8. "Nightly Show" host Larry Wilmore
9. Daily Show withTrevor Noah: Benghazi, the never ending scandal
10. The GOP Benghazi Train Wreck


1. Paul Waldman: What Hillary's Benghazi hearing revealed about life inside the Republican bubble
2. Michael Tomasky: What Ben Carson’s Rise Says About America
3. Amy Davidson: The Hillary Hearing
4. Dana Milbank: The Benghazi committee stumbles into irrelevance
5. Eugene Robinson: Paul Ryan Is Doomed, Too
6. Ronald Brownstein: A Bottom-Up House
7. William Greider: Why Today’s GOP Crackup Is the Final Unraveling of Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy’
8. Matt Taibbi: Trey Gowdy Just Elected Hillary Clinton President
9. Sun Sentinel Editorial Board : Marco Rubio should resign, not rip us off
10. Bill Press: Carson: Smart, but wrong


1. Poll: Iowa Republicans Like Ben Carson's Comments On Hitler

According to the survey of likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers, 81 percent approved of Carson's comment that Obamacare is the "worst thing that's happened in this nation since slavery;" 77 percent said they liked his statement that Hitler's rise could have been stopped if German citizens had had guns; and 73 percent liked his concerns about a Muslim becoming president.

Among the respondents, 96 percent said they find Carson's "common sense" attractive, and 89 percent said they like that he is guided by his faith, according to the poll. Only 32 percent of those surveyed believe Trump is a committed Christian. 10/23/15 http://talkingpointsmemo.com/polltracker/iowa-republican-ben-carson-hitler

2. Andy Borowitz: Cruz, Carson Differ Sharply Over Timetable for End of World

There were fireworks at Wednesday night’s Republican Presidential debate as the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Texas Senator Ted Cruz sparred over their differing timetables for hastening the end of the world.

While both Carson and Cruz stressed their commitment to accelerating the end times as described in the Book of Revelation, they offered starkly different visions of how they would bring them about.

Although the two traded barbs about the apocalypse for several minutes, the biggest applause line on the subject belonged to the former Hewlett-Packard C.E.O. Carly Fiorina. “These two gentlemen talk a good game about Armageddon, but I’ve made it happen,” she said, to a standing ovation.

Earlier, in an official statement, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton thanked the House Select Committee on Benghazi for what she called an “invaluable service to my Presidential campaign.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

3. Three Years Of The Benghazi Hoax In Five Minutes

For more than three years, Media Matters has meticulously chronicled the right-wing lies behind the politicization of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Ignoring the facts, right-wing media have continued to push this hoax: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/10/22/three-years-of-the-benghazi-hoax-in-five-minute/206272

4. Rubio Opens Wide Lead in Prediction Market

Marco Rubio now has a 2 to 1 lead over both Jeb Bush and Donald Trump in the Predictwise prediction market of who will likely be the Republican presidential nominee. http://www.predictwise.com/politics/2016RepNomination


“Donald Trump has argued then-CIA director George Tenet did warn the older Bush brother of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.“ -- Megyn Kelly. 10/23/15 http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jeb-bush-megyn-kelly-911


“Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Trump doesn’t know what he is talking about. He doesn’t know anything about this. And he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” -- Jeb Bush responding to Megyn Kelly.10/23/15 http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jeb-bush-megyn-kelly-911

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

Limbaugh Describes Clinton's Benghazi Testimony: "It's Like Somebody Took Her Off The Meds" http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/22/limbaugh-describes-clintons-benghazi-testimony/206361

Rep. Jim Jordan Obsesses Over Long-Debunked Right Wing Media Attacks Over YouTube Video's Link To Benghazi Attacks http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/22/rep-jim-jordan-obsesses-over-long-debunked-righ/206357

We Counted Every Question: The Benghazi Hearing Was Dominated By Debunked Media Myths And Things Clinton Already Answered http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/10/23/we-counted-every-question-the-benghazi-hearing/206399

Fox Guest: Black Lives Matter Is A "Terrorist Group"http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/23/fox-guest-black-lives-matter-is-a-terrorist-gro/206385

Bill O'Reilly Laments That Benghazi Committee Failed To Hurt Clinton Because They Did Not Listen To Him http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/23/bill-oreilly-laments-that-benghazi-committee-fa/206404

Fox's Kilmeade Blames Student Thrown To The Ground By Officer: "Have Some Respect For Your Teachers" http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/28/foxs-kilmeade-blames-student-thrown-to-the-grou/206468

7. Late Night Jokes for Dems

"Joe Biden announced he is not running for president. And so, as promised, Hillary Clinton immediately released his dog." –Conan O'Brien

"After a lot of speculation, Vice President Joe Biden today announced that he is not running for president of the United States. He made the announcement this afternoon from the Rose Garden at the White House. It's weird to hold a press conference to say you're not doing something, right? Like announcing to your girlfriend that you won't be proposing." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Donald Trump is now trying to appeal to Southerners. Yeah, he's been touring the South and pointing to his hair, saying 'How y'all like my critter?'" –Conan OBrien

"Canada's new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, once put on a striptease show for charity. In Canada, a strip tease just means unzipping your outer layer of fleece." –Conan O'Brien

"Jeb Bush's campaign has a contest now where someone will be flown to Houston to meet him, his dad, and his brother. No word on what the winner gets." –Conan O'Brien

"Donald Trump is now saying that his immigration policies would have prevented 9/11. Trump is also claiming his hair would have kept the Titanic afloat." –Conan O'Brien

"A high school student hacked the AOL email account of John Brennan, the director of the CIA. In other words, the student correctly guessed that the password of anyone still using AOL is 'password.'" –Conan O'Brien

'Donald Trump went on a rant about how horrible socialism is. But you know what, isn't Trump's hair socialism? It's the richer hair covering the poorer hair for the good of the head.'–Bill Maher

"Actually, I saw that Jeb Bush's campaign has been staying at cheaper hotels to save money. Which would make Jeb the first politician ever to book a room at a cheap motel just to sleep." –Jimmy Fallon

9. Daily Show withTrevor Noah: Benghazi, the never ending scandal


10. The GOP Benghazi Train Wreck

Question: What’s the difference between the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s hearings last week and a train wreck?

Answer: Once a train is coming off the rails, the passengers know it.

When members of the select committee put Hillary Clinton in the pillory last week, they seemed blissfully unaware that they looked like fools. The irony is that opinion polls show that a majority of Americans believe she has been less than truthful and yet still think that these hearings are all about partisanship. No wonder. What came through in the long-anticipated confrontation was that these hearings are less about the murders of four Americans in Libya and more about taking Clinton down, just as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy pretty much conceded a month ago. Charlie Cook 10/27/15 http://www.nationaljournal.com/s/91438/republicans-obsessed



1. Paul Waldman: What Hillary's Benghazi hearing revealed about life inside the Republican bubble

You'll be forgiven for not knowing who Sidney Blumenthal is. If you don't, and you tuned in midway through Hillary Clinton's testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, you might have concluded that Blumenthal is either a high-ranking al Qaeda leader, a Soviet spy, or some combination of Bernie Madoff and Ted Bundy. In any case, you might have concluded that he's a world-historical figure whose actions must be understood if America is to move forward into the future.

The ridiculously lengthy discussion about Blumenthal illustrates the problem Republicans have had with this entire investigation: They're stuck in their own bubble, unable to see what things might look like from outside it.

Many conservatives watching the hearing no doubt concluded that it reinforced everything they think about Clinton: that she's dishonest and untrustworthy, that she's surrounded by unsavory characters, and that she is utterly at fault for the deaths of those four Americans in Benghazi. They also probably thought the Republicans on the committee were heroic in their efforts to pin her down.

But it's hard to imagine lots of Americans who would agree, unless they are already committed Republicans. It wouldn't be the first time Republicans thought they were doing great, while the rest of America saw the situation a little differently. http://theweek.com/articles/584761/what-hillarys-benghazi-hearing-revealed-about-life-inside-republican-bubble


2. Michael Tomasky: What Ben Carson’s Rise Says About America

How does a man who is (presumably, anyway) in his chosen realm a man of science and empirical knowledge and testing of hypotheses enter this other realm and become someone who just spends his time scouring the most lunatic right-wing websites there are and repeating back everything he reads there as if it’s true? That’s where that madness about how armed Jews could have prevented the Holocaust comes from—it started about 20 years ago, and there is nothing about it that’s true. But the notion lives a healthy life on right-wing and pro-gun websites and chat boards. Great weight is given in those circles to a supposed quote from Hitler extolling gun control. But as Alex Seitz-Wald showed in this Salon piece in which he quotes leading scholars, Hitler almost certainly never said it.

Now, none of this is shocking to you, if you follow these things at all. There are all kinds of matters on which conservatives have their own version of reality. I remember being astonished back when we were all first getting to know a certain half-term Alaska governor to learn, via some dodgy and weird creationistic answer she gave to some question, that there’s this excavation site in, predictably enough, Texas, called the Taylor Trail, where there exists “evidence” that man and dinosaur walked together. So this kind of thing goes on all the time out there in this big country of ours.

But what doesn’t go on all the time is that a man who gets his ideas about the world from conspiracy-theory websites is a leading presidential candidate—or that his idiot comments not only don’t hurt him but help him. I’d reckon some of you saw that poll last week asking Iowa Republicans whether X statement about Carson raised or lowered their esteem of him. His comparison of Obamacare to slavery was considered “attractive” by 81 percent of those polled, and gave just 16 percent the willies.

It’s one of the great cons of the year that Carson gets to be called “mild-mannered.” How many people who think that getting health insurance is worse than being held in bondage get to be called mild-mannered? And how arrogant a man must Carson be—what made him think he should be the president of the United States in the first place?10.27.15 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/27/what-ben-carson-s-rise-says-about-america.html

3. Amy Davidson: The Hillary Hearing

The moment Hillary Clinton seemed to realize that her testimony Thursday before the House Select Committee on Benghazi was not going to be a big problem for her or for her campaign came about forty-five minutes in. When the hearing opened, she had regarded the chairman, Trey Gowdy, of South Carolina, with irritated skepticism. She looked as if she might say something rash, if not throw something, and perhaps she might have. Nearly three years ago, in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Benghazi, she lashed out after having been asked many times about U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s comments on the Sunday talk shows about what had instigated the attack, on September 11, 2012, in which four Americans, including Chris Stevens, the Ambassador to Libya, died. “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Clinton demanded. Out of context, she sounded unmoved by the men’s deaths. Now, in the House hearing, it seemed to dawn on her that the proper response to her Republican interrogators was not outrage but pity.

Clinton has been immersed in politics for decades, and yet the panel managed to make the contrast between her manner and the ways of Washington look stark. She appeared to be a sensible outsider. At 7:15 P.M., nine hours after the hearings began, Martha Roby, of Alabama, asked Clinton about her movements when she went home on the night of the attack. “Were you alone?” she asked. Yes, Clinton said. “The whole night?” Clinton started to laugh once more. “I don’t see why that’s funny,” Roby said. Not funny, perhaps, but, like the Benghazi committee itself, absurd.  11/02/15 ISSUE http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/02/hillarys-moment-at-the-benghazi-hearing

4. Dana Milbank: The Benghazi committee stumbles into irrelevance

The House Select Committee on Blumenthal, as some are now calling it, came to order at 10 a.m. Lawmakers didn’t finish questioning Hillary Clinton until 11 hours later — just after the Democratic presidential candidate succumbed to a coughing fit.

In that period of time, the name of Sidney Blumenthal was invoked more than 75 times, and scores of questions were asked about the longtime Clinton friend. By lunchtime, Blumenthal had been invoked 49 times — exactly the number of mentions of Chris Stevens, the ambassador to Libya whose death in Benghazi is the supposed subject of the congressional probe. The other three Americans slain in Benghazi — Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods — got seven or eight mentions apiece, while CIA director David Petraeus and Defense Secretary Robert Gates each got two.

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), a Democrat, observed that for all the time the panel has spent on Blumenthal, you’d think “that he was in Benghazi on the night, manning the barricades.” During private testimony from Blumenthal, to which he was summoned by federal marshals, Republicans asked more than 160 questions about Blumenthal’s associations with the Clintons but fewer than 20 about the Benghazi attacks.

Schiff and Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the ranking Democrat, proposed that Republicans, rather than selectively releasing Blumenthal’s e-mails, come clean about their interest in him and make public the entire transcript of his testimony. Gowdy, after a shouting match with Cummings, refused.10/23/15 https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-benghazi-committee-stumbles-into-irrelevance/2015/10/23/f76887f8-792d-11e5-a958-d889faf561dc_story.html

5. Eugene Robinson: Paul Ryan Is Doomed, Too

GOP victories in the 2010 midterm election had swept into office a group of nihilistic renegades who believe the way to change Washington is to blow it up.

Now calling themselves the Freedom Caucus, these 40 or so legislative bomb-throwers insisted on fighting battles they had no chance of winning and repeatedly took the country to the brink of calamity.

 They threatened government shutdowns (and achieved one). They tried to block routine increases in the federal debt ceiling. They kept the House from passing spending bills in key areas, such as transportation, where there once was bipartisan agreement. They insisted on more than 50 useless attempts to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act, knowing these measures would fail in the Senate or be vetoed by President Obama.

As presumptive speaker, Ryan can look forward to more of the same.

 If Ryan takes the job, he will likely enjoy a honeymoon period. But the fundamental problem -- no functional GOP majority -- will remain. Ryan believes government should be small. Much of his caucus believes it should be thwarted.

Sounds like doom to me. 10/23/15 http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/10/23/paul_ryan_is_doomed_too_128516.html

6. Ronald Brownstein: A Bottom-Up House

Even if Rep. Paul Ryan’s conditional willingness to accept the speakership ends the extended leadership struggle among House Republicans, the weeks of turmoil mark a turning point in the centralization of power that has transformed Congress.

The uprising among conservative House Republicans, which felled Speaker John Boehner and upended his succession, challenges that dynamic. The conservative insurgents revolving around the so-called Freedom Caucus have sought not only to install an ideologically sympathetic speaker but also to constrain any future speaker’s ability to punish dissent. Even a Ryan ascension wouldn’t permanently dam that current.

This marks a great historical irony. The hard-right Freedom Caucus has pushed to weaken the speakership and to diffuse more power to committees and individual members. Previously, the House’s most ideological elements have always led the drive to centralize power.

If Ryan takes the gavel, his prestige may temporarily suppress the demands from his right. But no House speaker is likely to corral this fractious Republican majority for long. The deference to leadership that produced two decades of historic party discipline has ended—and what comes next may prove even more volatile. http://www.nationaljournal.com/s/91241/bottom-up-house?mref=home

7. William Greider: Why Today’s GOP Crackup Is the Final Unraveling of Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy’

Fresh chatter among Washington insiders is not about whether the Republican Party will win in 2016 but whether it will survive. Donald Trump—the fear that he might actually become the GOP nominee—is the ultimate nightmare. Some gleeful Democrats are rooting (sotto voce) for the Donald, though many expect he will self-destruct.

Nevertheless, Republicans face a larger problem. The GOP finds itself trapped in a marriage that has not only gone bad but is coming apart in full public view. After five decades of shrewd strategy, the Republican coalition Richard Nixon put together in 1968—welcoming the segregationist white South into the Party of Lincoln—is now devouring itself in ugly, spiteful recriminations.

The potential crackup may actually open a brighter path for future politics, because the country is changing, including among white Southerners. The most resonant political moment in 2015 may have been what occurred in South Carolina after the church massacre in Charleston. Many politicians fumbled around, not sure what to say, but GOP Governor Nikki Haley stepped forward and took ownership of the shame. She burned the Confederate battle flag, so to speak, by acknowledging that it is a symbol of hate and calling for its removal from conspicuous display, which the state legislature agreed to do. Other Southern states swiftly followed with similar moves.

This seems like a small symbolic gesture alongside the squalid history of racial oppression. But I think it signals a yearning for greater possibilities—a “New South” wishing it could truly escape the claustrophobic society created by the legacy of racial apartheid and the punishing social edicts imposed by demagogic preachers.

Deep political change cannot reverse history in a single election cycle—it will take many elections—but Democrats have a great opportunity to force the question on the nation in 2016. Instead of playing limp and vague, Dems can launch what Howard Dean called for in 2005: a 50-state strategy that runs on liberating issues. Instead of ignoring GOP bigotry, the Democratic ticket can promise to challenge it on every front and attack reactionary Republicans who try to impose the past on voters. 10/12/15 http://www.thenation.com/article/why-todays-gop-crackup-is-the-final-unraveling-of-nixons-southern-strategy/

8. Matt Taibbi: Trey Gowdy Just Elected Hillary Clinton President

These morons in Gowdy’s committee were so bent on proving that Hillary is an unfeeling, ambition-crazed schemer bent on riding gleefully to the White House on the corpses of Benghazi victims that they ended up making her look like the one thing she really isn’t, at least not very often: a regular person.”

“Most of us who watched the fiasco imagined what we would do in her position, facing that same ludicrous barrage of circular questions. Most normal people would have done all of the same things she did: sighing, choking back angry retorts, shaking a head in disbelief at times, even laughing at the absurdity of it all.”

“Actually many people would have lost it early on and grabbed Gowdy by his goofy silver fro-hawk somewhere in hour six or seven, a fact that made Hillary by contrast look patient and presidential, in ways her campaign had been unable to achieve all year.

On a deeper level the Republican committee members were accusing her of not caring about martyred American lives, because, well, "liberals" only care about the victims of torture or police brutality or other special interest groups they can exploit for political gain. In conservative legend, they don't care about "regular" Americans.

Having to face down that absurd accusation will humanize Hillary anew with a Democratic electorate that had begun to wonder what she really stood for. Now she's not an aristocrat who takes money from Goldman and Citi, she's a symbol of a majority demographic that is officially tired of being told it isn't American enough. You can't put a price on the ad the Republicans gave Hillary Thursday. I think they won her the White House.10/23/15 http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/trey-gowdy-just-elected-hillary-clinton-president-20151023

9. Sun Sentinel Editorial Board: Marco Rubio should resign, not rip us off

After five years in the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio does not like his job. A long-time friend told The Washington Post "he hates it." Rubio says hate might be too strong a word, but he sure acts like he hates his job.

Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator this year. His seat is regularly empty for floor votes, committee meetings and intelligence briefings. He says he's MIA from his J-O-B because he finds it frustrating and wants to be president, instead.

"I'm not missing votes because I'm on vacation," he told CNN on Sunday. "I'm running for president so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again."

Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job. We've got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.

If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it.

Let us elect someone who wants to be there and earn an honest dollar for an honest day's work. Don't leave us without one of our two representatives in the Senate for the next 15 months or so.

You are paid $174,000 per year to represent us, to fight for us, to solve our problems. Plus you take a $10,000 federal subsidy — declined by some in the Senate — to participate in one of the Obamacare health plans, though you are a big critic of Obamacare.

You are ripping us off, senator. 10/27/15 http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/editorials/fl-editorial-rubio-bush-gs1028-20151027-story.html

10. Bill Press: Carson: Smart, but wrong

Carson first emerged as a celebrity among the religious right based on the story of how he was saved from flunking chemistry at Yale by an angel who appeared in his dream the night before and revealed to him all the questions that would show up on an exam the next day. 

Whether you believe that fairy tale or not, is that how he promises to govern? “Send ground troops to Syria? Don’t worry. I’ll sleep on it. God will send an angel to tell me what to do.”

Beyond that flight of fiction, Carson brings nothing to the table. He has no previous interest or experience in politics. He has zero foreign policy experience. He has no ideas and no energy. When he speaks, he not only puts you to sleep, he makes you wonder whether he’s awake.

Meanwhile, he says the most outrageous things.

Carson believes that all prisons are homosexual conversion factories: You go in straight, you come out gay. He calls ObamaCare the worst thing to happen to America since slavery. He compares contemporary America to Nazi Germany. He wants to arm kindergarten teachers with guns. And he blames Jews for the Holocaust because they didn’t have guns and didn’t fight back. 

Statements like that make Trump look sane.

A final word on Carson: If you ever needed it, you wouldn’t think about having anybody operate on your brain who didn’t have the right training or experience. That same rule should apply to picking someone to be president of the United States. 10/26/15  http://thehill.com/opinion/bill-press/258146-bill-press-carson-smart-but-wrong