How to Survive Until the 2016 Election

While we wonky types here at Pensito relish the long, slow slog toward Election Day 2016 … who are we kidding? If it weren’t for The Donald declaring, we would have stopped watching already.

For the rest of you, journalist Patrick Gavin offers a primer on how to deal with the inevitable.

Justice Prevails

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I became a supporter of this movement in the mid-1990s at a time when the odds of success were roughly zero to none. It was personal for me and mine, of course, but there was a larger purpose too. This is our legacy — our generation’s — a hard-won gift to future generations of young people that will enable them to grow up without stigma and go on to lead full and productive lives. Sometimes justice prevails. This is one of those times.

Andrew Sullivan, then affiliated with the GOP, was one of the first advocates of gay marriage. I saw him speak on the topic at an event in West Hollywood in 1996 or so. He’s posted a brief history of those early days here.

Why Aren’t BMW and Adidas Condemning the Rebel Flag?
Now flying over the South Carolina state capitol

Now flying over the South Carolina state capitol

Both BMW and Adidas have plants in South Carolina but neither company has shown any interest in asking state legislators to stop flying the Confederate flag* over government buildings.

When these companies decided to take advantage of the cheaper, mostly non-unionized labor there, they made a decision to identify with the state. So why aren’t they speaking up? After all, it’s their state now.

WTF? Obama Visits Marc Maron’s Garage
He wore a tie?

He wore a tie?

I stay about two years behind in listening to my WTF podcasts. Until today, I never skipped ahead to listen to this or that guest being interviewed by Marc Maron, no matter how big a fan of the person I was, because there is a continuity to the episodes and I prefer to work my way through them the hard way.

That changed today. When I started to sync my iPod before walking the dog this morning, I saw that Marc’s guest for the episode dated 6/22/15 was Pres. Obama. Yes. That Pres. Obama. How could I not listen in real (so to speak, since it’s a podcast) time?

I couldn’t.

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…

Enumerati

  • 5.3%

    The unemployment rate for June — the lowest in seven years, as the U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs last month, Bloomberg reports.

  • $45 million

    Amount Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign raised during its first quarter, her campaign told Bloomberg. “Clinton’s haul from her campaign’s launch in mid-April through June 30 is a record for primary money raised in a candidate’s first quarter. President Barack Obama held the previous record for a campaign’s first quarter, raising $41.9 million after launching his re-election bid.”

  • $462,013

    Amount of profit Jeb Bush received on $441,203 worth of stock in Tenet Healthcare he acquired in May 2011 Bush’s financial endeavors “included serving as a paid director to the hospital company Tenet Healthcare, which backed President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The position invited questions for Mr. Bush, who as a candidate opposes the health care law. … Mr. Bush resigned from the Tenet board in 2014 when he was preparing for his presidential campaign,” according to the New York Times.

  • 19%

    Jeb Bush’s lead in the GOP presidential race nationally, followed by Donald Trump at 12%, Mike Huckabee at 8%, Ben Carson at 7%, Rand Paul at 7%, Marco Rubio at 6% and Scott Walker at 6%, according to a new CNN/ORC poll finds. “The findings suggest Bush is making progress toward being seen as the frontrunner in a field that has long lacked a clear leader. He holds a significant lead over the second-place candidate Trump, is seen as the candidate who could best handle illegal immigration and social issues, and runs about even with Trump and well ahead of the other candidates when Republicans are asked which candidate can best handle the economy.”

  • 18%

    Scott Walker’s lead over the GOP presidential pack in Iowa, followed by Donald Trump at 10%, Ben Carson at 10%, Rand Paul at 9%, Ted Cruz at 9%, Jeb Bush at 8%, Marco Rubio at 7% and Mike Huckabee at 5%, a new Quinnipiac poll in Iowa finds. Said pollster Peter Brown: “Those who thought the Republican race in the Iowa caucuses might begin to clarify itself better think again. As even more candidates toss their hats into the ring, the race has gotten even more muddled.”

Poetic Justice

Bobby Jindal’s stint as governor has been less than steady.
While Louisiana’s budget plunges deeper into the red, he
Thinks he can win,
Based on the color of his skin,
With this idiotic campaign slogan: “Tanned, Rested, Ready.”

Verbatim

  • You rise above it publicly, but quietly, underneath, cut somebody’s legs off.

    — Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R), in an interview on MSNBC, on how he would handle the public feud between New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio (D).

  • It is not politically significant that Donald Trump would claim to be running for president, that he would say something flamboyantly ignorant, or that he would ‘surge’ to ‘second place’ in polls by using his name recognition to get into double digits in a splintered field. What is significant and genuinely disturbing, not to mention poisonous to the Republican Party’s electoral interests, is the fact that conservative thought leaders feel compelled to defend Trump’s nativist ramblings. And not just bottom-feeding outlets like the Daily Caller and Breitbart, either. National Review editor Rich Lowry writes in Politico that Trump ‘has a point.’

    — Jonathan Chait, in New York Magazine.

  • Our country is honestly going to hell. The illegals are pouring into the country. … It’s far worse than anybody knows.

    — Donald Trump, quoted by National Journal.

  • The momentous events of the last week can be interpreted in numerous ways. But one thing has become increasingly clear: The Republican Party needs to change. … Simply put, Republicans are loaded up in a car, racing toward a generational cliff with their eyes focused on the rearview mirror, with many (but notably not all) oblivious to the societal changes taking place all around them and the growing wedge building between their comfort zone and presidential swing voters… Republicans need to do some soul-searching about their future and their relationships with voters of generations to come. Vibrant parties change with the times, adapt themselves to changing conditions and circumstances. Maybe this past week will help the GOP do this.

    — Charlie Cook, National Journal.

  • I would probably comb my hair back. Why? Because this thing is too hard to comb. I wouldn’t have time, because if I were in the White House, I’d be working my ass off.

    — Donald Trump, saying if elected president, “he would have to change his hair style because he wouldn’t have time to maintain it,” the Des Moines Register reports.

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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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