Media Ignores Jeb’s Meeting with Top Polish Official Who Was Fired Because He Criticized America
Jeb Bush, left, with Radoslaw Sikorksi, one day after Sikorski resigned as speaker of the parliament because he'd criticized the United States

Jeb Bush, left, meeting with Radoslaw Sikorksi, one day after Sikorski was fired as speaker of Poland’s parliament because he’d criticized the United States

Imagine for a moment the fusillades of criticism that would be barraging Hillary Clinton right now if she’d gone overseas and met this week with a top foreign official one day after he’d been fired because he’d been caught on tape referring to his country’s longstanding alliance with the United States as “worthless” and “bullshit,” and describing the asymmetrical relationship between the two countries as being analogous to his country giving America a “blowjob.”

Now imagine what the Beltway media elite and their right-wing imitators at Fox and elsewhere would say if, instead of Clinton, the presidential candidate who’d met with this scandal-plagued, America-hating foreign leader was Jeb Bush.

Jeb ‘Looks Weaker And Weaker’
He's accused of funding violations and could face email and foundation scandals - but, not to worry, the D.C. media elites always have the Bushes' backs

photo-jeb-tanking

The Cook Political Report represents the gold standard in political polling and prognosticating. When Charlie Cook or his lieutenants cite a trend, you can take it to the bank. This week one of Cook’s top experts, Amy Walters, published an analysis of Jeb Bush’s all-but-announced presidential campaign that is likely sounding alarms throughout the Republican Party’s establishment wing. The headline, written in neutral Cookspeak, says it all: “Jeb Goes from Fragile Frontrunner to Underdog.”

Bet Chris Christie Wishes He’d Never Suited Up for That Game
Somewhere near Fort Lee, whoever advised him to do this is packing up their desk

ChristieBall

Enjoy this awesome pic of the awesome governor of New Jersey, who appears ready to play ball. Yes, just the one ball.

Worse Than Benghazi: After Reagan Ignored Warnings, 220 Marines Were Killed by a Terrorist in Beirut
But Democrats led By Speaker Tip O'Neill blamed the terrorists, not the president, for the murders
Left: The U.S. peacekeepers' command center and barracks before the explosion; right: Service members pick through the rubble following the Beirut bombing Oct. 23, 1983. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the bombing that resulted in 220 Marine deaths. (U.S. Marine Corps photo courtesy of the United States Marine Corps History Division)

Left: The U.S. peacekeepers’ command center and barracks before the explosion; right: Service members pick through the rubble following the Beirut bombing Oct. 23, 1983. (Photo from the United States Marine Corps History Division)

In 1982, seven years into the Lebanese Civil War, Pres. Ronald Reagan ordered 2,400 Marines into Beirut as part of an international peacekeeping mission. As peacekeepers, the Marines operated under rules of engagement that prohibited them from firing their weapons unless they’d been fired upon first — and even then they could only respond with the same type of weapon that had been fired at them.

There were other restrictions. Violence in the city was so bad that they were confined to their base at the Beirut airport. Eventually, the entire American force, which also included Army and Navy personnel, moved into a large, modern office building that had been repurposed to house their command center as well as living quarters. (The building is referred to in many accounts as the “Marine barracks.”) And yet the gates to the facility were ordered to remain open at all times, and the sentries who manned the gates were to be unarmed.

In Washington, Reagan ignored warnings from his senior advisers that he’d put American troops in harm’s way.

How Much Does Obama Hate Israel? 1.9 Billion Times
Bunker busters

Bunker busters

One of the many persistent right-wing lies about Pres. Obama is that he hates Israel. It may be true that he’s not fond of the country’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, a despicable figure who is closely aligned with Republicans in the U.S. Congress, a cabal that makes no secret of its contempt for the president. But there’s no evidence that Obama loves or hates Israel any more than he likes or dislikes any of America’s allies.

Writing in the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf summed up this particular right-wing myth about the president last summer:

Bush’s CIA Briefer: Cheney and Bush Lied about Iraq Nukes
Republicans insist that the Bush-Cheney administration relied on faulty intel instead - because incompetence may be excusable but starting a war based on lies is a war crime
Mike Morell, the CIA officer who briefed George W. Bush on  intelligence, during his appearance on MSNBC's "Hardball"

Mike Morell, the CIA officer who briefed George W. Bush on intelligence, during his appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball”

Why did George Bush and Dick Cheney invade Iraq? Their foundational rationale for the invasion was to prevent Saddam Hussein from using nuclear weapons they claimed he had. Based on what we know now, of course, those claims were either lies or they were based on faulty intelligence. Republicans are desperate to assert it was the latter — that Bush and Cheney were merely incompetent and relied on bad data — because if the former were true, if Bush and Cheney knowing lied about their rationale for taking the country to war, they were guilty of a massive war crime and, by all rights, should be sitting the Hague today.

Earlier this week, Mike Morell, the CIA officer who served as George Bush’s chief intelligence briefer, confirmed that the claims by Bush, Cheney and others that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons were lies.

Video and transcript follow…

Rubio & Braman — By the Numbers

Marco & Norman

Marco & Norman

Tampa Bay Times has some interesting insights into the relationship between presidential candidate Marco Rubio and his Miami billionaire patron Norman Braman. Recently, Braman announced he was giving Rubio $10 million to help finance his campaign.

It appears Rubio is accustomed to feeding at the Braman trough. Here are some numbers that illuminate their relationship:

Republicans, a Rock, a Hard Place and Obamacare

screenshot-obamacare-free-birth-control

The Republican gambit of demonizing Obamacare is starting to backfire — as well it should. The strategy is based on a lie.

In 2009, Pres. Obama opted to use the individual mandate model as the basis of health-insurance reform — rather than the single-payer, Medicare-for-all approach his supporters preferred — in part because he hoped to strike a deal with Republicans. His quest for bipartisanship seems ridiculous now (as it did then to many people), but it was, in fact, grounded in reality.

Video: ‘Open Carry’ Is Apparently Only Legal When White People Do It
Officer forces African-American legally carrying an assault rifle to lie on the ground

Officer forces African-American legally carrying an assault rifle to lie on the ground

Two men — one white, one black — in jurisdictions where it’s legal to walk around with assault weapons, go out in public with rifles. A policeman questions the white guy and sends him on his way. With the black guy, it’s a different story.

Watch:

The Ten Senate Races Democrats Are Most Likely to Win in 2016

Feingold

Feingold

We’re not yet halfway through 2015 but the 2016 race for control of the U.S. Senate is starting to take shape. This week The Hill ranked the 10 most competitive races — and since then there has been a development in the race The Hill listed as likely to be the easiest pickup for Democrats.

Yesterday former Sen. Russ Feingold, the Democratic incumbent who was unseated by current Sen. Ron Johnson in 2010, announced he was entering the race. Johnson, a tea partyist, won by 5 percentage points in the tea party’s anti-Obamacare wave election after spending millions of his own money. The Hill quotes him as saying he won’t self-fund this year — which only means he’ll rely on his wealthy cronies to spend unlimited money anonymously to fund his campaign. The Hill cited a poll by PPP taken before Feingold’s announcement that found Feingold with 50 percent support against Johnson’s 41 percent. Wisconsin has voted for the Democratic candidate in every presidential cycle since 1984.

Within hours after Feingold’s announcement, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts endorsed him, according to an email sent by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

The Hill’s other nine most-competitive races are:

Enumerati

  • 5 to 4

    Margin by which the Supreme Court ruled that Texas “did not violate the First Amendment when it refused to allow specialty license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag. Such plates, Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for the majority, are the government’s speech and are thus immune from First Amendment attacks,” the New York Times reports. “The court’s other three liberal members joined Justice Breyer’s majority opinion, as did Justice Clarence Thomas.”

  • $400 million

    Amount “the network of pollsters, direct mail specialists, lawyers, consultants, signature gatherers and voting data whizzes were paid … for 85 statewide measures across the country in 2014″ in the 26 states that have citizen-initiated ballot measures, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

  • 126

    Number of pages in “My Story: Lindsey Graham,” an e-book published on the presidential candidate’s website this week, wherein “Graham — best known as a flame-thrower on immigration reform and an outspoken critic of President Obama’s foreign policy — has opened up about his lost loves and a near proposal to a Lufthansa flight attendant,” CNN reports.

  • $50

    Amount his campaign paid actors to cheer at Donald Trump’s presidential announcement Tuesday, according to Hollywood Reporter. “New York-based Extra Mile Casting sent an email last Friday to its client list of background actors, seeking extras to beef up attendance at Trump’s event. … The pay was listed as $50 for fewer than three hours of work. According to the email, Extra Mile was reaching out to potential extras in partnership with Gotham Government Relations and Communications, a New York-Based political consulting group that has worked with Trump in the past.”

  • 1

    Number of the GOP’s 16 declared or likely presidential candidates who attended the 32nd annual convention of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. More than 1,200 Hispanic leaders gathered in Las Vegas “for, among other things, a presidential candidates forum. Yet … only one — retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — bothered to show up,” the Washington Post reports.

Poetic Justice

The news that the Treasury’s putting a woman on the ten-dollar bill
Must have given even the staunchest feminist a thrill.
But in reality,
Given pay inequality,
She should really be gracing the six-dollar-and-thirty-five-cent bill.

Verbatim

  • In South Carolina, the governor does not have legal authority to alter the flag. Only the General Assembly can do that.

    — A spokesman for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), quoted by ABC News, on why only the Confederate flag flying over the state capitol wasn’t at half-mast after the Charleston shootings.

  • This is one of those situations where you just have to take a step back and say we — you know, you talk about the importance of prayer in this time and we’re now seeing assaults on our religious liberty we’ve never seen before. It’s a time for deeper reflection beyond this horrible situation.

    — GOP primary hopeful Rick Santorum, calling the church shooting in Charleston — which left nine people dead — a “crime of hate” and connected the event to a broader “assault on our religious liberty,” the Washington Post reports.

  • The regularity of mass killings breeds familiarity. The rhythms of grief and outrage that accompany them become—for those not directly affected by tragedy—ritualized and then blend into the background noise. That normalization makes it ever less likely that America’s political system will groan into action to take steps to reduce their frequency or deadliness. Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard them the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing. This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.

    The Economist

  • A majority of early-state insiders say that Marco Rubio’s lack of national experience will prove problematic in the GOP primary after seven years of President Barack Obama, who was also a first-term senator when he ran.

    Politico

  • People listen to him and follow him. If he spoke, and it was something that could help people, it would have a huge impact. He’s a powerful man. He would be my first vote.

    — Grammy-winning artist Mary J. Blige, telling Elle magazine that she thinks Jay Z could be president.

PensitoWire

Infografix

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Libertarianism: The misguided belief that trading the yoke of big government for the yoke of big business will make the whip sting less.

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