Thursday Open Thread

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Good Morning!!

I have an emergency here, and I’m not going to be able to write a normal post. My water heater died and leaked all over my basement. On top of that, I’m having some strange computer problems. I have to clean up the mess in the basement and also figure out what I’m going to do next; so I’m just going to give you some links to check out for now. Sorry to have to do this on such an important news day!

 

Breaking SCOTUS News

New York Times: Supreme Court Deadlocks on Obama Immigration Plan. It Remains Blocked.

Washington Post: Supreme Court upholds University of Texas affirmative action admissions.

 

On the House Sit Down Protest

Raw Story: Democrats wind down gun violence ‘sit in’ after occupying House.

New York Times: House Democrats Gun Gun-Control Sit Down Turns into Chaotic Showdown with Republicans.

LA Times: ‘No bill, no break’: House Democrats continue sit-in protest into early morning.

Buzzfeed: ACLU Opposes Latest Effort To Bar Those On Terrorism Watch Lists From Buying Guns.

Boston Globe: Paul Ryan, what are you afraid of?

Vox: Democrats took over the House floor to demand a vote on guns. They even shouted down Paul Ryan.

CNN: GOP fails to stop Democrats’ gun control sit in on House floor.

 

Donald Trump

Despite Campaign Woes, Trump Flies to Scotland to Tend to Business Interests.

I didn’t see Trump’s speech yesterday, but Michelle Goldberg thinks it was effective even though it was a pack of lies. She says the problem is that debunking the lies is requires complex explanations. Goldberg is quite liberal and she is feminist who wrote a book about women’s reproductive rights.

Washington Post: Trump’s top example of foreign experience: A Scottish golf course losing millions.

 

Presidential Politics

This story from Politico is really worrying to me: Kaine rises to the top of Clinton’s veep list.

Cincinnati.com: Hillary Clinton coming to Cincinnati Monday with Elizabeth Warren.

Politico: Hillary Clinton racks up business endorsements.

Washington Post op ed by Bernie Sanders: Here’s What We Want. I’d be willing to bet that 80% of the country wishes Bernie would quit whining and go away.

Boston Globe: Where does Bernie Sanders go from here? He’s giving a speech tonight. Isn’t that wonderful? Ugh!

 

Have great day!


Historic Hillary Open Thread

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Good Morning Sky Dancers!!

What a wonderful day! No negative media spin or Bernie bro nastiness can wipe the smile off my face this morning. She did it! She ran the table–Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri went for Hillary last night. That glass ceiling has a hell of a lot more cracks in it this morning.

Here’s a fresh thread for you until we hear from JJ a bit later on.

Just a few headlines and I’ll turn it over to you.

Nate Cohn at the NYT: Hillary Clinton’s Excellent Night and a Peek Ahead to the Fall.

Ezra Klein at Vox: Hillary Clinton had an amazing night — and not just because of her victories.

Glenn Thrush at Politico: 5 takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries. Clinton cements it and Rubio turns prophet as the GOP marches toward a messy convention.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Recounts possible in both of Missouri’s presidential primaries.

The Hill: Trump risks falling short of delegate count for nomination.

NBC News: Obama Nominates Federal Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

We are watching history being made. Let’s enjoy every minute of it right up until Hillary takes the oath of office next January. Have a wonderful day everyone!

 


Live Blog/Open Thread: New Hampshire Primary Results

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Here we Go!

New Hampshire is still voting, but the results will be coming in soon. As promised, here’s a fresh thread to discuss the outcomes on both sides, but feel free to discuss anything you wish. This is an open thread. Information is coming in from exit polls.

According to CNN, half of NH voters decided on a candidate in the past couple few days, just as I have been saying all along. CNN reports: Early exit polls: N.H. voters concerned with economy, government.

The early results of the New Hampshire exit polls find a Republican race centered on discontent with both the federal government and the Republican Party, where voters’ preferences remained unsettled until the final days of the contest.

Nearly half of GOP voters interviewed as they left their polling places around New Hampshire Tuesday said they didn’t make a final decision about whom to support until the last few days, and about two-thirds said recent debates were important to their choice.

Republican voters expressed deep worries about both the economy (three-quarters were very worried) and the threat of terrorism (6-in-10 very worried). About 9-in-10 said they were dissatisfied with the federal government, including about 4-in-10 who were angry about the way it was working. And for many, the dissatisfaction extends to the GOP itself. Half said they felt betrayed by politicians from the Republican Party, and about the same share said they wanted the next president to be from outside the political establishment.

Though Democrats voting on Tuesday were less apt to say they felt betrayed by their party or to express anger with the federal government, about three-quarters said they were worried about the economy. About 4-in-10 said they thought life for the next generation of Americans would be worse than life today, and 9-in-10 said they thought the nation’s economy favored the wealthy.

Still, Democrats who went to the polls Tuesday — to vote in a race featuring two seasoned politicians — were more apt than Republicans to say they wanted the next president to have experience in politics, only about one-quarter said they preferred a president from outside the political establishment.

Only about one-quarter of Democrats said they made up their minds in the final days of the contest, well below the share of Republicans deciding late.

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It also appears that independents have tended to vote Republican, which makes sense. It is more of a horse race than the Democratic side where Sanders has for some time been predicted to win handily.

NBC News: New Hampshire Exit Poll Results: Independent Voter Participation.

Early exit poll results show that 42 percent of Republican primary voters in this year’s race consider themselves to be political independents, and a similar 39 percent of voters in the Democratic primary think of themselves as independents.

In 2008, the last time both parties had an open nomination contest, slightly more voters in the Democratic primary (44 percent) identified themselves as independents than did voters in the Republican primary (37 percent).

In 2000, the share of independents in each primary was fairly comparable, just like this year — 40 percent in the Democratic primary and 41 percent in the Republican race.

woman exists voting booth, Laonia, NH

The LA Times has a different take: The independent, all-knowing New Hampshire voter and other election myths.

While voters in other states are accustomed to receiving a certain level of puffery, the New Hampshire voter is put on a pedestal that would make a Nobel laureate jealous….

“While there is a kernel of truth to many aspects of this caricature, it is primarily a myth,” write David Moore and Andrew E. Smith, a pair of University of New Hampshire professors who may not be invited to many more faculty teas.

Moore, a former senior editor of Gallup Poll and founder of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, and Smith, a pollster who directs the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, lay out their case in a chapter of “The First Primary: New Hampshire’s Outsize Role in Presidential Politics,” released late last year, just in time to take all the joy from the primary season.

Their biggest beef is with the so-called independence of the New Hampshire voter. Though about 44% of the state’s residents are registered “undeclared,” only 15% actually call themselves independent in polls. They blame journalists for confusing the term “independent” with “undeclared,” a status many voters take either to avoid being identified publicly as a partisan or so they can vote in whichever party’s primary is most competitive.

But these undeclared voters may not have the impact they are credited with because they tend to show up at the polls less often than registered partisans.

The idea that independent voters can swing a primary election is also overstated, the authors conclude. Exit polls consistently show that candidates never win the top spot in their primaries without garnering the most support from registered members of their own parties.

And there is little evidence supporting the theory that undeclared voters use the open primary system to cause mischief by supporting a dolt in the party they most dislike.

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Mediaite has suggestions for live-streamng the results: How to Watch the New Hampshire Primary Results Live Stream Online.

I guess I’ll watch MSNBC unless it gets too unbearable. How do you plan to follow the results?

Again, use the comment thread to discuss the NH primary or any other topic that interests you. Frankly, I’ll be glad when we move on to Nevada and South Carolina.

Have fun!


Iowa Caucus Morning After Live Blog/Open Thread

Matisse-Woman-Reading-with-Tea1

Good Morning!!

This morning I learned on NPR that Hillary Clinton has been declared the winner of the Iowa Caucus, but I can barely find anything on Google news about it. This is what we will face over the next few months if she continues to win primaries in more diverse states than Iowa and New Hampshire. The media will work hard to diminish or ignore any positive news for Hillary.

Bernie bros at Sanders headquarters were all class/s as they booed and yelled “you’re a liar!” during Hillary’s speech last night. Neither Clinton nor Sanders claimed victory in their speeches, but Rachel Maddow of MSNBC (in her new role as unofficial (official?) spokesperson for the Sanders campaign) claimed that Hillary had done so.

The media and Bernie bros seem to have completely forgotten that Iowa is far from representative of the rest of the country.

Michael Cohen of The Boston Globe with a twitter rant:

 

Still, I have to admit that I’m disappointed that Hillary didn’t win decisively. So it’s on to New Hampshire with a debate and a town hall forum before the primary next Tuesday.

Politico: Clinton ekes out win in Iowa against Sanders.

Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, according to results announced by the state Democratic Party early Tuesday morning — a dramatic finish to a race so close that the Associated Press declined to call it even after all precincts except one had reported results.

Clinton was awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents, versus 695.49 for Sanders, Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire said in a statement. The results were the closest in state Democratic caucus history, and 171,109 Democratic voters turned out to caucus.

With 99.9 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton had 49.9 percent of delegates and Sanders had 49.5 percent, according to the Associated Press. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley received less than 1 percent then suspended his campaign. A single precinct had yet to report as of 5 a.m. Eastern time; that precinct, in Des Moines, is worth 2.28 state delegate equivalents.

Here are some more links to peruse this morning.

WaPo: Groundhog Day 2016: Punxsutawney Phil sees no shadow, predicts early spring.

LA Times Analysis: A dramatically reshaped presidential race drives into New Hampshire.

ABC News: Ted Cruz Credits Attack on Donald Trump’s ‘New York Values’ in Iowa Win.

Nate Cohn at NYT: Why a ‘Virtual Tie’ in Iowa is Better for Clinton than Sanders.

WaPo: Candidates arrive in New Hampshire, pitching a different set of voters.

Please post your links in the comment thread. 

 


Open Thread: President Obama All But Endorses Hillary Clinton

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Dakinikat will have a post up later, but I just had to share this amazing interview that President Obama did with Glen Thrush of Politico. As Thrush noted in an article summing up his reactions:

Barack Obama, that prematurely gray elder statesman, is laboring mightily to remain neutral during Hillary Clinton’s battle with Bernie Sanders in Iowa, the state that cemented his political legend and secured his path to the presidency.

But in a candid 40-minute interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast as the first flakes of the blizzard fell outside the Oval Office, he couldn’t hide his obvious affection for Clinton or his implicit feeling that she, not Sanders, best understands the unpalatably pragmatic demands of a presidency he likens to the world’s most challenging walk-and-chew-gum exercise.

“[The] one thing everybody understands is that this job right here, you don’t have the luxury of just focusing on one thing,” a relaxed and reflective Obama told me in his most expansive discussion of the 2016 race to date.

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Here are some of my own takeaways from the interview transcript. First, there can be no doubt that Obama wants Hillary to win the nomination and the presidency. He damns Sanders with faint praise.

GLENN THRUSH: I mean, when you watch this, what do you — do you see any elements of what you were able to accomplish in what Sanders is doing?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, there’s no doubt that Bernie has tapped into a running thread in Democratic politics that says: Why are we still constrained by the terms of the debate that were set by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago? You know, why is it that we should be scared to challenge conventional wisdom and talk bluntly about inequality and, you know, be full-throated in our progressivism? And, you know, that has an appeal and I understand that.

I think that what Hillary presents is a recognition that translating values into governance and delivering the goods is ultimately the job of politics, making a real-life difference to people in their day-to-day lives. I don’t want to exaggerate those differences, though, because Hillary is really idealistic and progressive. You’d have to be to be in, you know, the position she’s in now, having fought all the battles she’s fought and, you know, taken so many, you know, slings and arrows from the other side. And Bernie, you know, is somebody who was a senator and served on the Veterans’ Committee and got bills done.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton congratulates President Barack Obama on the House vote to pass health care reform, prior to a meeting in the Situation Room of the White House, March 22, 2010.Ê (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton congratulates President Barack Obama on the House vote to pass health care reform, prior to a meeting in the Situation Room of the White House, March 22, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

On the contrasts the media is drawing between Hillary and Bernie  (i.e. he has the enthusiasm, she’s just a boring policy wonk):

I don’t think that’s true. I think that what is — you know, if you look at both of them, I think they’re both passionate about giving everybody a shot. I think they’re both passionate about kids having a great education. I think they want to make sure everybody has health care. I think that they both believe in a tax system that is fair and not tilted towards, you know, the folks at the very top. But, you know, they — I think Bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete longshot and just letting loose.

I think Hillary came in with the — both privilege and burden of being perceived as the frontrunner. And, as a consequence, you know, where they stood at the beginning probably helps to explain why the language sometimes is different.

On the media coverage of Hillary and the failure so far of the media to vet Bernie:

GLENN THRUSH: …Do you feel like it’s a little bit unfair to her, to some extent, the way this has been stacked?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah – well, yes. But I think that Hillary is tough and she has been through this before and she could anticipate it. If you are a frontrunner, then you are under more scrutiny and everybody is going to pick you apart….

GLENNTHRUSH: …and Bernie, of course, is an untested 74-year-old kid, right?

PRESIDENTOBAMA: Yeah, yeah.

GLENNTHRUSH: So, to what extent do you think it’s appropriate for that process to be aimed at him right now?

PRESIDENTOBAMA: Well, he hasn’t won anything yet.

GLENNTHRUSH: Right.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think that there’s always just a rhythm to this thing. I think that if Bernie won Iowa or won New Hampshire, then you guys are going to do your jobs and, you know, you’re going to dig into his proposals and how much they cost and what does it mean, and, you know, how does his tax policy work and he’s subjected, then, to a rigor that hasn’t happened yet, but that Hillary is very well familiar with.

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On the way the Obama campaign reacted to criticism from Hillary Clinton in 2008:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, here’s my view: that whoever the nominee is is going to need the other person’s supporters. And I think it is entirely legitimate to draw sharp contrasts where there are contrasts and it is important, however, to maintain a tone in which people feel as if you’re playing fair. And I think Hillary has done that so far, and I think that the truth is in 2007 and 2008, sometimes my supporters and my staff, I think, got too huffy about what were legitimate questions she was raising. And, you know, there were times where I think the media probably was a little unfair to her and tilted a little my way in the — in calling her out when she was tough and not calling some of our folks out as much when we were tough in ads….

I think — look, I’ve gotten to know Hillary really well, and she is a good, smart, tough person who cares deeply about this country, and she has been in the public eye for a long time and in a culture in which new is always better. And, you know, you’re always looking at the bright, shiny object that people don’t, haven’t seen before. That’s a disadvantage to her. Bernie is somebody who —although I don’t know as well because he wasn’t, obviously, in my administration, has the virtue of saying exactly what he believes, and great authenticity, great passion, and is fearless. His attitude is, “I got nothing to lose.”

On Hillary’s strengths as a candidate:

…like any candidate, her strengths can be her weaknesses. Her strengths, which are the fact that she’s extraordinarily experienced – and, you know, wicked smart and knows every policy inside and out – sometimes could make her more cautious and her campaign more prose than poetry, but those are also her strengths. It means that she can govern and she can start here, [on] day one, more experienced than any non-vice president has ever been who aspires to this office. Her strengths, in terms of the ability to debate, the ability to, I think, project genuine concern in smaller groups and to interact with people, where folks realize she’s really warm and funny and engaging— ….

the other thing that I’ll always remember is the sheer strength, determination, endurance, stick-to-it-ness, never-give-up attitude that Hillary had during those primaries. I mean, we had as competitive and lengthy and expensive and tough primary fight as there has been in modern American politics, and she had to do everything that I had to do, except, like Ginger Rogers, backwards in heels. She had to wake up earlier than I did because she had to get her hair done. She had to, you know, handle all the expectations that were placed on her. She had a tougher job throughout that primary than I did and, you know, she was right there the entire time and, had things gone a little bit different in some states or if the sequence of primaries and caucuses been a little different, she could have easily won.

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Finally, on the notion of a woman president:

…my No. 1 priority is having a Democratic president succeed me, and I think there’s no doubt that, given our history, I want more women in politics generally, and I want my daughters to feel that there’s nothing that they can’t do. I don’t think that Democrats are going to vote for Hillary just because she’s a woman any more than they’re going to vote for Bernie just because they agree with him on one particular issue. I think, you know, voters are pretty sophisticated. They’re going to take all these things into account. I am proud of the fact that the Democratic Party represents today the breaking down of all sorts of barriers and a belief that you judge people on what they bring to the table and not what they look like or who they love or their last name.

I’ve quoted a lot, but I still hope you’ll go read the whole interview. I wonder if Obama agreed to do this in order to boost Hillary’s chances? His comments are certainly extraordinary, and they are going to be very disconcerting to the media and to Bernie’s supporters.

What do you think?


Live Blog: Third Republican Debate

On the left: Donald Trump’s greenroom; on the right: Rand Paul’s. | Chris LaCivita via @LaCivitaC

On the left: Donald Trump’s greenroom; on the right: Rand Paul’s. | Chris LaCivita via @LaCivitaC

 

Get the popcorn ready folks. There’s another Republican horror show tonight.

I got the photo above at Politico. What a riot! Even before the debate gets going, there’s a fight over the size of the candidates’ green rooms.

DENVER, Colo. — Just hours before GOP candidates take the stage here Wednesday night, tensions over the Republican National Committee’s handling of the debates are flaring anew.
At issue this time: greenrooms.

During a tense 30-minute meeting at the Coors Event Center, which was described by three sources present, several lower-polling campaigns lashed out at the RNC. They accused the committee of allotting them less-than-hospitable greenroom spaces while unfairly giving lavish ones to higher-polling candidates, such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

The drama began Tuesday afternoon as RNC officials led campaigns on a walk-through of the debate site. After touring the stage, candidates got a peek at what their greenrooms looked like.

Trump was granted a spacious room, complete with plush chairs and a flat-screen TV. Marco Rubio got a theater-type room, packed with leather seats for him and his team of aides. Carly Fiorina’s room had a Jacuzzi.

Then there was Chris Christie, whose small space was dominated by a toilet. So was Rand Paul’s.

Bwaaaahahahahahaha!!

Here are some links for you to peruse before the debate begins at 8PM or if you just can’t stand to watch.

Politico: Donald Trump: CNBC debate will be ‘unfair.’

CNN: Lindsey Graham says why the kid’s table “sucks.”

Mother Jones: This Commercial Might Be One of the Only Factual Things to Air During Tonight’s GOP Debate.

The Daily Beast: Ben Carson’s Money Men Co-Sponsored Anti-Gay Conference.

The Daily Beast: Lindsey Graham Steals the Show at CNBC’s Undercard Debate.

Politico: Billionaire to Rubio: Time to step it up.

If you are listening and/or watching, please document the atrocities in the comment thread below.


Thursday Reads: Benghazi and Violence in Israel

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Good Morning!!

Hillary Clinton will testify before Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi “special committee” today, beginning at 10AM. I’m going to watch as much of the testimony as I can. If you’re watching too, please post your reactions in the comment thread. Unfortunately for Gowdy and the other GOP mutants on the joke of a committee, even the corporate media isn’t taking them seriously anymore.

From US News and World Report: The Gowdy Doody Show. Hillary Clinton’s appearance before the Benghazi Committee recalls less Watergate than Whitewater, by James Warren.

Yes, boy[s] and girls, it’s Gowdy Doody Time.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, on Thursday gavels to likely disorder the long awaited House select committee hearing on Benghazi, the latest in the rich tradition of congressional spectacles that often go nowhere.

Indeed, America had far more positive anticipation when “Buffalo Bob” Smith led a cheering throng of kids in the theme song of “Howdy Doody,” a 1950s mega-TV hit named after a puppet with 48 freckles (yes, civics mavens, this was before Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union)….

The investigation started as a dissection of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks by Islamic militants on two U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died.

We’ve paid for nine different congressional and internal probes and Gowdy’s has morphed into a look at Clinton’s emails and her use of a private email server while secretary of state. Its work alone has cost about $4.6 million – if only such GOP ardor was exhibited in pursuing President George W. Bush’s weapons of mass destruction claims against Saddam Hussein – even though it hasn’t even interviewed most of the defense, intelligence and White House officials it promised.

Instead, it is primed to take testimony from a small army that includes Clinton, speechwriters and the guy who oversaw the server.

Gowdy and his Hillary-suspicious Republicans are so sensitive to the claim of political pandering that they have strategized privately about their own decorum and presenting themselves as sober legislators. It’s like my 6-year-old prior to his first-grade class going to a suburban Chicago pumpkin patch Monday: Everybody promised to be on their best behavior on the bus.

More at US News.

House Select Committee on Benghazi chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

House Select Committee on Benghazi chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Yesterday commenter Sara posted a link to an excellent Newsweek opinion piece by Kurt Eichenwald: Benghazi Biopsy: A Comprehensive Guide to One of America’s Worst Political Outrages.

Moussa Koussa.

That is the name of the “classified source” in an old email from Hillary Clinton released last week by Republicans purportedly investigating the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Under the instructions of the Benghazi committee’s chairman, Republican Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, Koussa’s name was blacked-out on the publicly issued email, as Republicans proclaimed revealing his identity would compromise national security. The media ran with it, saying Clinton had sent classified information through her personal email account.

But the CIA never said the name was secret. Nor did the Defense Intelligence Agency or the FBI. No, Koussa’s role as an intelligence source is about as classified as this column. He is the former intelligence chief and foreign minister of Libya. In 2011, he fled that country for Great Britain, where he provided boodles of information to MI6 and the CIA. Documents released long ago show Koussa’s cooperation. Government officials have openly discussed it. His name appears in newspapers with casual discussions about his assistance. Sanctions by the British and the Americans against Koussa were lifted because of his help, and he moved to Qatar. All of that is publicly known.

But, as they have time and again, the Republicans on the Benghazi committee released deceitful information for what was undoubtedly part of a campaign—as Kevin McCarthy of the House Republican leadership has admitted—to drive down Clinton’s poll numbers. Republicans have implied—and some journalists have flatly stated—that Clinton was reckless and may have broken the law by sending an email that included thirdhand hearsay mentioning Koussa’s name. The reality is that the Republicans continue to be reckless with the truth.

Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa

Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa

And why is this such an outrage?

The historical significance of this moment can hardly be overstated, and it seems many Republicans, Democrats and members of the media don’t fully understand the magnitude of what is taking place. The awesome power of government—one that allows officials to pore through almost anything they demand and compel anyone to talk or suffer the shame of taking the Fifth Amendment—has been unleashed for purely political purposes. It is impossible to review what the Benghazi committee has done as anything other than taxpayer-funded political research of the opposing party’s leading candidate for president. Comparisons from America’s past are rare. Richard Nixon’s attempts to use the IRS to investigate his perceived enemies come to mind. So does Senator Joseph McCarthy’s red-baiting during the 1950s, with reckless accusations of treason leveled at members of the State Department, military generals and even the secretary of the Army. But the modern McCarthys of the Benghazi committee cannot perform this political theater on their own—they depend on reporters to aid in the attempts to use government for the purpose of destroying others with bogus “scoops” ladled out by members of Congress and their staffs. These journalists will almost certainly join the legions of shamed reporters of the McCarthy era as it becomes increasingly clear they are enablers of an obscene attempt to undermine the electoral process.

The consequences, however, are worse than the manipulation of the electoral process. By using Benghazi for political advantage, the Republicans have communicated to global militants that, through even limited attacks involving relatively few casualties, they can potentially influence the direction of American elections. The Republicans sent that same message after the Boston Marathon bombing, where they condemned Obama for failing to—illegally—send the American perpetrators to Guantánamo, among other things. They slammed the president because federal law enforcement agents read the failed underwear bomber his rights after they arrested him in 2009. Never mind that federal agents did the exact same thing under President George W. Bush when they arrested the failed shoe bomber years earlier. Republicans even lambasted Obama when he spoke about ISIS decapitating journalists, saying the president did not sound angry enough.

Please read the rest at Newsweek.

J.J. wanted me to call attention to another outrageous story that has been somewhat overshadowed by the political goings on in the U.S. this week.

1414097812uWashington Post: Netanyahu says a Palestinian gave Hitler the idea for the Holocaust.

Jerusalem – In a speech here Tuesday evening, Netanyahu sought to explain the surge in violence in Israel and the West Bank by reaching for historical antecedents. He said that Jews living in what was then British Palestine faced many attacks in 1920, 1921 and 1929 — all instigated by the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who allied himself with the Nazis during World War II.

Then Netanyahu dropped his bombshell. He said: “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time; he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here.’ ‘So what should I do with them?’ he asked. He said, ‘Burn them.’ ”

Netanyahu, the son of a historian, said the mufti played “a central role in fomenting the Final Solution,” as the Nazis termed their plan to exterminate the Jews.

The remarks were made in a speech to the World Zionist Congress about “the 10 big lies” told by Palestinians and their backers.

As supporters of the Israeli leader wondered what he was doing, his critics said that his claims were outrageous enough to give cover to Holocaust deniers.

The speech came on the eve of Netanyahu’s visit to Germany. After Netanyahu’s outrageous claim, Angela Merkel chided him, saying that Germans know that the “final solution” was a German plan. Time Magazine reports:

“All Germans know the history of the murderous race mania of the Nazis that led to the break with civilization that was the Holocaust,” said Steffen Seibert, spokesman for German Chancellor, according to the Independent. “This is taught in German schools for good reason, it must never be forgotten and I see no reason to change our view of history in any way.”

Merkel

From The Daily Beast: What Benjamin Netanyahu’s Insane Holocaust Claim Really Means.

It was factually wrong and morally outrageous for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say that a Palestinian mufti gave Hitler the idea for the Holocaust. Almost the entire mainstream of historians, scholars, and politicians has now said so.

The question, though, is why he did it—and the answer is that it was an unintentional, Romney-47%-moment at which a commonplace partisan lie is suddenly revealed to the world. In Romney’s case, it was the Republican talking point that half of America depends on government welfare. In Netanyahu’s, it’s that the Israel/Palestine conflict is actually a result of Arab anti-Semitism.

Why did Netanyahu do it?

First, Netanyahu’s remarks were off the cuff. The transcript of his speech at the 37th Zionist Congress makes that clear. The entire speech was conversational in tone, with corrections and colloquialisms, and the particular reference to al-Husseini was an aside.

Its context was Netanyahu talking about the “big lie” that the Israeli government is seeking to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque—which is indeed a big lie spread widely on pro-Palestine social media. In that context, he mentioned that al-Husseini had told a similar lie in the 1920s, and by the way, al-Husseini supported the Holocaust too.

It was an aside within an aside. But precisely because it was off the cuff, it offers a valuable peek behind the curtain of Israeli nationalist ideology.

Like Romney’s comment about the 47%, comments like Netanyahu’s are made all the time on the Israeli Right. They’re meant for domestic consumption, to inspire the nationalist base. The Arabs hate us, anti-Zionism is just anti-Semitism, and most importantly, the Intifada is about Jew-hatred, not resistance to the occupation.

Haptom Zerhom, shot by police and then lynched.

Haptom Zerhom, shot by police and then lynched.

Meanwhile, in Israel hatred of Palestinians is festering. From the World Socialist Website: Israel: Racist mob lynches migrant as violence intensifies.

An angry Jewish mob lynched an unarmed Eritrean migrant worker in the southern city of Beer Sheba after an Israeli security guard repeatedly shot him on Sunday. The crowd cursed and kicked him, chanting, “Death to Arabs!” “Arabs out!” and “Am Israel Hai!” (“The people of Israel still live”).

The murder underscores the noxious atmosphere of xenophobia, racism and fear that Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has stoked up in a bid to deflect rising social discontent among Jewish Israelis, whose living conditions are in many cases only marginally better than those of the Palestinians. At the last elections, Netanyahu urged Jewish Israelis to vote, saying that “swarms of Arabs” were going to the polling stations.

Ultra-nationalist Jewish politicians have encouraged the mobilisation of vigilante groups and fascistic mobs that go on the rampage while the police stand and watch. Settler gangs that murder Palestinians and attack and destroy their property go unpunished. Now, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has openly encouraged Jewish Israelis to arm themselves and take vigilante action.

The Eritrean, 29-year-old Haptom Zerhom, had been working as a gardener in a plant nursery in a village near Beer Sheba for the last three years. He was on his way to collect his renewed work visa when 21-year-old Muhannad al-Okbi, a Bedouin Israeli, shot and killed an Israeli soldier and wounded 10 others, including four police officers, at Beer Sheba’s central bus station.

The police shot al-Okbi and then shot Zerhom, believing him to be al-Okbi’s accomplice. As Yedioth Ahronoth’s headline made clear, Zerhom was shot “Just because of his skin colour.”
As Zerhom came under attack from the mob, a bystander found his visa and held it up, shouting, “He’s Eritrean, he’s not a terrorist.”

No one heard him above the melee and Zerhom died of his injuries.

Shades of the Old South.

Finally, from Black Agenda Report: Black Lives Don’t Matter in Israel.

If you want to observe a racist lynch mob, go to Israel, the “world’s worst apartheid state.” After being shot by police, an innocent Eritrean immigrant was pursued by an Israeli mob that “kicked him, threw chairs and benches at his head and shouted ‘son of a whore,’ ‘break his head’ and more to the point, ‘Kill him!’” But of course, no one will be punished, and the U.S. Black Misleadership Class will say nothing.

The United States does not have a monopoly on the lynch law murder of black people. Israel, both America’s client state and master, is awash in racist state-sponsored violence. Palestinians are usually the intended targets, but Africans are inevitably caught in this terrorism too. The mob murder of Mulu Habtom Zerhom reveals everything that the world needs to know about Israeli apartheid and the settler mentality which it exemplifies.

Zerhom was an Eritrean asylum seeker living in Israel, confined to one of the camps used to hold Africans. He was at a bus station where a Bedouin man shot an Israeli soldier. Zerhom was trying to flee but was himself shot by the police. Video footage shows him lying bleeding and incapacitated as a mob of Israelis kicked him, threw chairs and benches at his head and shouted “son of a whore,” “break his head” and more to the point, “Kill him!”

Unbelievable! Will the U.S. corporate media follow up on this story? Stay tuned.

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