Where’s Marco? Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Missed ISIS Briefing to Attend Fundraiser
So Much for Republicans' Foreign Policy Candidate

WhattheheckrubioIt was more important to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to attend a fundraiser on the “left coast,” as conservatives call it, than a high-level briefing on the recent terrorist attack on Paris.

That left the Republicans’ self-styled foreign policy candidate out of the loop on the biggest story in global news.

Rubio said that he gets regular briefings from staff and sends surrogates to meetings he cannot attend. That worked out great for George W. Bush.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee went behind closed doors for a briefing titled, “The Aftermath of Paris: America’s Role.” But Sen. Marco Rubio was not there…

The absence illustrates how Rubio is not just missing floor votes but also key hearings on national security and foreign policy — issues he has presented as chief credentials of his presidential campaign. He’s also skipping a Paris briefing this afternoon for all senators. His office said he attended an Intelligence Committee meeting on Paris held Tuesday.

Paul Ryan’s First Big Lie As Speaker

screenshot-ryan-abc-immigration-lie

Earlier this week, Paul Ryan marked the occasion of his first appearance on the Sunday shows as speaker of the House by telling a whopper. In an interview by Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week,” Ryan took immigration reform off the table because, he said, Pres. Obama had been “proven untrustworthy on this issue.”

That’s rich, since it was Ryan who became immigration reform’s biggest advocate in 2013 — only to pull his support and help collapse passage in the House after a bipartisan bill proposed by the “Gang of Eight” had passed in the Senate with more than 80 votes.

It’s also rich because the real reason Speaker Ryan won’t pursue immigration reform now is because he struck a backroom deal with the fire-eating tea baggers in the House who drove his predecessor, John Boehner, out of office. Ryan traded killing immigration reform for their votes for him as speaker.

Sign the Petition: Tell NBC to Dump Trump on ‘Saturday Night Live’

From Moveon.org: “No Room For Hate On Saturday Night Live: Tell NBC To Dump Donald Trump As Host.”

GOP Leader’s Gaffe Confirms That the Mission of the House Benghazi Hearings Is to Make Clinton’s Poll Numbers Drop
On Fox, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted that the purpose of the GOP's eighth Benghazi investigation is to bring down Hillary Clinton's poll numbers

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Fox this week

“A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”
— Michael Kinsley

In an interview on Fox earlier this week, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the current House majority leader and presumptive next speaker, tacitly admitted that the true mission of the current (and eighth or ninth) Benghazi investigation is to bring down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.

Pope Endorses Anti-Gay Bigot, Ends U.S. Visit on Sour Note
Kim Davis, left, and Pope Francis

Kim Davis, left, and Pope Francis

New pope, same as the old pope.

Why the Silence about Donald Trump’s Mob Ties?
The company he keeps - from left: Paul "Big Paul" Castellano, Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno, Roy Cohn, and Trump

The company he keeps – from left: Paul “Big Paul” Castellano, Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, Roy Cohn, and Trump

It is the most under-reported story of the summer, and the mystery is why. Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner is well known to have had ties to notorious crime figures like Paul “Big Paul” Castellano, head of the Gambino crime family, Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, boss of the Genovese mob, and other crime figures in New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey.

Ted Rall Laments America’s ‘Moronitude’

serveimageAccording to this op-ed piece by cartoon satirist Ted Rall, American exceptionalism is indeed anti-intellectualism.

Americans are dumb.

That’s what people say. Especially foreigner non-American people.

But lots of Americans think that Americans are stupid. Not them, of course. They think other Americans are stupid.

It will not, even if you’re an idiot, come as a shock when I admit that one of the Americans who think Americans are intellectually challenged is me.

Moronitude exists everywhere, of course. What makes stupidity in America stand out is that most Americans — the dumb ones — don’t think it’s bad to be dumb. Far from being ashamed, they’re dumb and proud. The dumb ones make fun of the small-and-constantly-shrinking population of intelligent ones, the “nerds.”

The GOP Frontrunner Is a Notorious Adulterer Whose Current Wife Posed Nude – Is This the End of GOP ‘Family Values?’
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Future First Lady Melania Trump posing in 2000 for a photo spread in British GQ

Now that we have a Republican frontrunner who is an infamous serial adulterer and whose current wife once posed nude for a magazine in his private jet, can we say that the GOP’s 35-year masquerade as the party of “family values” is officially over?

Imagine for a moment that photos had emerged of a wife of a past Republican frontrunner — Ann Romney or Cindy McCain, for example — supine on a fur rug in the altogether. Their husbands’ campaigns would have been over faster than Rick Perry could say “Oops.” But this is Teflon Don, so even evangelicals are apparently okay with what they’d otherwise consider a sinful display.

And then there is the candidate himself. Just 14 years after impeaching Pres. Clinton over a sex lie in civil lawsuit, the Republicans are now giving majority support to a notorious philanderer who openly carried on an affair with wife number two while still married to wife number one, and may have started seeing number three (the one who posed nude) while still married to number two.

Google Search Is Gaming the 2016 Election
'The best place to hide a dead body is Page 2 of Google results.' — Anonymous

the_wikileaks_china_google_connection

And you thought it was the Koch brothers and super PACs that were calling the 2016 election. A new study reveals that Google’s search algorithms have the potential to sway undecided voters merely on the power of results rankings in Google search.

Google Search is having a detrimental affect on democracy by swaying undecided voters through its rankings, according to new research. A study by the American Institute for Behavioural Research and Technology found that Google has the power to shift voting preferences in the upcoming 2016 US elections by 20% or more through the results brought up by its secretive search algorithms, with Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton the most likely to benefit.

Through five experiments carried out in two countries, the study found that the search engine manipulation effect (SEME) could even be used to determine an election outcome if the proportion of undecided voters is calculated first. SEME is described as a “virtually invisible” form of social influence that is currently not subject to any specific regulations anywhere in the world.

“What the research shows is that when a candidate is ranked higher on Google, that shifts the votes of undecided voters towards that candidate because we’ve all learned they have such incredible trust in those rankings,” Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behaviour Research and Technology and co-author of the study, told WhoWhatWhy. “Some 50% of all of our clicks go to the top two [search results] and [more than] 90% of all clicks go on the first page.

“Because moderate Republicans are so vulnerable to SEME, this makes Hillary Clinton virtually a shoo-in if the next election is close. If she has Google’s support, no one is going to be able to mess with her and it means Google will be able to shift all kinds of people in her direction – even a big chunk, possibly, of moderate Republicans.”

Former Pres. Jimmy Carter Had Some Bad-Ass Friends

Like former Pres. Jimmy Carter himself, his friends seem pretty bad-ass. They put up 500 signs around Plains, Ga., where Carter lives, that said, “Jimmy Carter for Cancer Survivor.

Of course, the 90-year-old won’t live forever but it’s hard to make the case that he left anything on the field, as the saying goes, and it would be nice if he could.

Carter’s recent press conference announcing that he has metastatic cancer included two wishes for the rest of his time:

  • That the last guinea worm, which causes a painful and horrifying disease and which Carter has worked to eradicate, precede him in death.
  • That peace is achieved in the Middle East.

Neither outcome is likely, but the wish Carter didn’t make, for a long and happy life, is a done deal.

Enumerati

  • 58% to 38%

    >Bernie Sanders’ big lead over Hillary Clinton, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. A new American Research Group poll finds Sanders leading Clinton, 54% to 38%.

  • 9 points

    Percentage Donald Trump is down since the last survey while Marco Rubio is up 8 points and Ted Cruz is up 3 points, according to a new Public Policy Polling national survey. Trump still leads the GOP presidential field with 25%, followed by Cruz and Rubio, both at 21% and Ben Carson at 11%.

  • $21.4 million

    Amount Hillary Clinton’s campaign has taken from donors at hedge funds, banks, insurance companies and other financial-services firms through the end of December — “a sign of her deep and lasting relationships with banking and investment titans.” That comes out to be more than one of every 10 dollars of the $157.8 million contributed to back her bid, the Washington Post reports.

  • 11

    Governors (past or present) sought a major party presidential nomination for the 2016 election, but eight of them have either dropped out or stopped trying to get on presidential primary ballots, according to Ballot Access News. In contrast, seven U.S. Senators (past or present) sought a major party presidential nomination, and only two have dropped out. Four Senators (past or present) are doing very well.

  • $3 million

    Amount Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign raised in the 24 hours following his narrow loss in the Iowa caucuses, the Washington Post reports. Most interesting: 40% of those donors had not given to Sanders previously.

Poetic Justice

Rick dropped out and said of Marco, “I’m for him.”
But when asked for Rubio’s accomplishments, he couldn’t list ’em.
So when’s an endorsement
Mostly an impediment?
When it comes from a washed-up has-been like Rick Santorum.

Verbatim

  • My prediction for Bernie: populist hero forever but hard to imagine him still being there at the convention.

    — Rachel Maddow, telling Playboy she doesn’t think Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic nomination.

  • I do not know any progressive that has a super PAC and takes $15 million from Wall Street. That’s just not progressive.

    — Sen. Bernie Sanders, continuing to question Hillary Clinton’s progressive credentials, the Washington Post reports.

  • I think I would choose Trump, which may surprise some of you. The reason is, Trump has proven already he’s completely malleable. I don’t think he has any fixed positions he’d go the White House and fight for. On the other hand, Ted Cruz is not malleable. He has far-right wing policies he’d pursue if he became president.

    — Former President Jimmy Carter, saying he would pick Donald Trump over Ted Cruz for president, Politico reports.

  • If Rubio beats him badly in New Hampshire, Jeb is toast.

    — Sen. Lindsey Graham, quoted by the New York Times.

  • Trump’s second-place finish in Iowa exposed an array of weaknesses in his campaign: His flashiness has started to grate on supporters like Goacher. He’s proved vulnerable to attacks on his ideological purity. And he failed to put together an effective ground operation. … All this raises questions about the novice candidate’s wherewithal to command the kind of sprawling and complex enterprise required to win the presidency. The skills that enabled Trump to build his business empire are not entirely the same as the ones he needs to win the world’s most powerful job.

    Los Angeles Times

Infografix

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Gowdy, McConnel and Cruz – Big Government Big Spenders

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