Benghazi, part 2,967…

Hillary, Benghazi, etc.: Want to know how much of a BFD the Benghazi hearings are? There’s a snapchat filter for them. Now, I have no idea what that means and I don’t care. Regardless, here’s the transcript from the hearings. Expect the results from this hearing to be something along the lines of “we’re still trying to get at the truth, and to do that we’ll need another 150,000 hearings”.

CNBC GOP debate next week: Here’s the lineup. For some reason, we continued to be tortured by the kids table debate. Not surprisingly, Jim Gilmore was officially not invited to either debate. Surprisingly, Jim Gilmore is still running for president.

Trump isn’t necessarily inevitable: For the establishment types like myself, here is presidential historian Mark Updegrove cooling our fears about the likelihood of Trump actually being nominated.

On the other hand: Trump is ahead of the GOP pack with 32% according to the latest ABC News poll. Interestingly, there is a new poll showing that in the first GOP Primary state of Iowa, Carson’s momentum may perhaps be for real. According to Quinnipiac, he’s ahead of Trump 28-20%. We’ll see if that continues after next week’s debate.

Speaking of polls: In New Hampshire, it appears Bernie Sanders has lost his lead over Clinton. Thus far, this has been Bernie Sanders best shot at winning a primary. If he can’t get a victory over Clinton in 3.5 months in New Hampshire, then we’ll lose our best shot at seeing more Larry David impersonations of Bernie Sanders. In other good news for Clinton, Harry Enten at 538 tells us that she is currently at the strongest position since she declared her candidacy to win the Democratic nomination. Did I say that Clinton would get a bounce after the first debate? Yes. Does this prove my theory that summer sucks? I’d like to think so. Is there another B.S. scandal brewing to try to derail Clinton’s presidential ambitions? Probably.

Makes me very sad: Apparently according to Gallup, 58% of Americans views the NRA favorably. Gross. As a close friend and very cool person told me yesterday, “Trump is not the President we need, yet he is the President we deserve.” Thanks again for the selfie-stick gift.

This thing still exists…

Yeah, I’m still here. Let’s do some recaps.

Jim Webb is out: Okay, we all know the guy never had a chance to begin with. But I would argue that of all the candidates on the Democratic side not named Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, Webb by far had the best chance. Frankly, he also had the best platform as well. As much as I am happy with the Democratic Party embracing the incoming demographic changes of the country (i.e. less white folks), there is a good argument to also try to make the platforms in the party palatable to rural white voters. First and foremost, because there are plenty of rural areas in swing states such as Virginia, Colorado and Ohio where someone like Webb could have taken away votes from the Republican nominee. But also because poverty is something that affects people of all nationalities and people in all areas of America. Democrats should remember that going forward and not hesitate to embrace trying to use government to improve the lives of all Americans. That doesn’t mean we abandon our support for a path for undocumented immigrants to become citizens, affirmative action, gun control, and using government intervention to attempt to reduce income inequality through social programs and other avenues.

All that being said, Webb clearly faced an uphill battle because of his poor debate performance. Instead of using the debate as an opportunity to establish himself as a credible alternative with a ton of valuable public sector experience, he whined and complained the whole time (ala Rand Paul) and came off as entitled and bitter. Furthermore, Webb did not want to do anything outside the box in terms of campaigning and which made him look stale to many Democratic voters (i.e. young folks). Webb also faced a ton of unfair criticism from liberals who treated him as if he were a Republican because of his reticence to embrace strict gun control and affirmative action (for non-Black Americans). So anyway, the debate confirmed what we already know: this is a horse race between Sanders and Clinton. Expect Webb to get a position in Hillary’s administration (maybe running the VA?).

Do they really want to repeal Obamacare?: So apparently there’s an upcoming vote in the House to do a full repeal of Obamacare. But Heritage Action, otherwise known as the most awful group in America, says that if any member of the GOP House vote for it, they will primary them. Here’s further information from Tierney Sneed at TPM:

“The repeal legislation, Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Ac, is being brought through a legislative procedure known as budget reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority to advance in the Senate and thus could overcome Democratic opposition to land on President Obama’s desk. However, the maneuver is only workable, under parliamentary rules, if it reduces the deficit and a full-on Obamacare repeal would add $353 billion to the deficit, the Congressional Budget Office has found. So Republicans are targeting only certain aspects of the law — such as the individual and employer mandates — that, if repealed, would reduce the deficit. It would also almost certainly be vetoed by the president.”

I don’t know what the point of all this is. Even if this made it past reconciliation (i.e. the “nuclear option” where you only need a simple majority to pass it) , President Obama would veto it and then what? The public still doesn’t want to see the law repealed and you end up right back where you started. As for Heritage, the chances of the law being repealed in 2017 aren’t good either considering that the Democratic debate last Tuesday showed everyone that there’s only one political party in this country that’s actually serious about governing (or even semi-capable of it). Dream on, morons.

The return of Trudeau: Canada, our neighbor in the Great White North, had an election last night. Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Canada Liberal Party (sort of a middle-ground between the Conservative Party and the social-democracy leaning New Democratic Party) gained enough seats to form a majority in their parliamentary government. In case anyone is unfamiliar with the name Truedeau, Justin’s father Pierre was the 15th Prime Minister of the country who served in the early 80’s. So anyway, while Stephen Harper (the Prime Minister of Canada until last night) tried to get the country to continue to embrace an economic platform centered around oil production in the Province of Alberta, Truedeau campaigned on running a budget deficit of  $10,000,000,000 for three years to invest in infrastructure. Now, while I consider myself a Canadianphile, I have to confess that I have no idea why Canada voted for Truedeau. I do know that Truedeau beat expectations in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada (Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland), where the Liberal Party tends to not do as well as they do in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario. I’m guessing the Country was just sick of Harper. Harper, the previous Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, had been Prime Minister since 2011. I’m guessing it was time for a change.

Trump still ahead: Latest polls (CNN/ORC as well as NBC) still show Trump ahead. Just a reminder folks, it’s only October. We have two months until we should start seriosuly pondering the implications of a Trump administration. According to the polls, Trump is ahead with every faction of the GOP with the exception of the Very Conservative voters (Carson wins that group). The next GOP debate is on the 28th, and it’s in Boulder, CO hosted by CNBC.

It’s not like we didn’t know it already…

New Speaker, same witch-hunts: So everyone is making a big deal out of the admission (see video below) from soon-to-be Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA):

Basically, Congressman Mccarthy admitted the whole Benghazi Committee is a Hilary Clinton campaign takedown clown show. I mean, we already had our suspicions this was the case, but it’s nice to hear it straight from the Speaker’s mouth. As usual with these gaffes, Democrats are using this as proof that this is all about disparaging Clinton while conservatives are defending the existence of the Committee, even if they think what McCarthy said was “ill-considered“. As for me, keep the Committee open and let the mud keep flying. Remember, conservatives were so sure that the Benghazi incident would make PResident Obama lose his chance at re-election in 2012. As we know by now, the were wrong. So if the GOP thinks Benghazi is the key to keeping Hillary out of the White House (and clearly that’s what they believe), let them. We all know that if this is the best they can do to try to damage Hillary, they’re goners next November.

Shutdown averted until December: The House and Senate passed a two-month Spending bill to avert another government shutdown that would have occurred at midnight. Now of course, this means the shutdown scenario could be a possibility in December. Expect Ted Cruz to play the role of Santa Claus, delivering all us Democrats another opportunity to roll our eyes at his non-stop grandstanding (i.e. “standing for principles”). I don’t know what leverage he thinks he’s going to have in December that he didn’t have now. Yes there will be a new Speaker (see above), but the Freedom Caucus (the House Republican Caucus who wanted a shutdown over Planned Parenthood) still won’t have any popularity or significant backing. If they really want to test a President’s patience who’s not up for re-election, by all means challenge him over the debt ceiling. And if Boehner takes that issue off the table before he leaves (which many suspect he will), then what will the fight be over? Will anybody still be talking about the Planned Parenthood videos? And if not, what excuse will the House GOP use to shut down the government?

New rules coming to next GOP debate: The next Republican presidential primary debate will take place on October 28th, and will be hosted by CNBC, otherwise known as Fox News without the christianity. However, as Josh Feldman at Mediaite points out, there is some interesting criteria for the next debate:

“Any candidate who wants to be in the primetime 8 pm debate has to be polling at least 3 percent (they’ll average up any candidate between 2.5 and 3), and anyone who wants to be in the 6 pm debate has to be polling at least 1 percent.”

If you follow CNBC’s requirements literally, that would mean that based on the Real Clear Politics polling averages, it would only be Rand Paul at the kids table debate. Also, why the hell is there yet another kids table debate? Does anybody really expect Lindsey Graham or Bobby Jindal to win the nomination (let alone George Pataki or Rand Paul)? Regardless, this is certainly going to ruffle some feathers in the GOP camp. As much as I loathe CNBC, if John Harwood is present then it may end up being a good night of entertainment. Hell, it couldn’t be worse than the last CNN debate, which was mostly awful. If you don’t know who John Harwood is, this video of him positing a question to Rick Perry in 2011 might ring a bell.

The hit pieces on Biden begin: Even though it appears that Vice President Joe Biden will not appear in the first Democratic debate on the 13th, that hasn’t stopped Bernie Sanders outlets from digging up dirt on him. The first of many hit pieces to come is from Ryan Grim at HuffPo (I just want to say that I like Grim, but let’s call a spade a spade here), and it’s about what Joe Biden thought about abortion and immigration back in the 1970’s (source: Washingtonian magazine). This is the passage that everyone (mostly progressives) may begin to raise hell about:

“When it comes to civil rights and civil liberties, I’m a liberal but that’s it. I’m really quite conservative on most other issues. My wife said I was the most socially conservative man she had ever known. I’m a screaming liberal when it comes to senior citizens because I really think they are getting screwed. I’m a liberal on health care because I believe it is a birth right of every human being — not just some damn privilege to be meted out to a few people. But when it comes to issues like abortion, amnesty, and acid, I’m about as liberal as your grandmother. I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.” (Grim highlighted the prior text in his article, not me)

Biden goes on to say that he supports “limited” amnesty and does not support legalizing weed. Before we all start haranguing Biden for these comments, we have to remember this was back in 1974. Rove vs. Wade was only a year old by that time. Also, the Democratic Party was far more conservative back then then it is now. Gay marriage, abortion and immigration were all contentious issues back then (as they are now), and the country wasn’t nearly as open-minded on those issues as we are now. So before we start going back to Biden’s political viewpoints back in the day, let’s all take a minute to breathe and remember the guy is going to be 73 in November. If Biden really wants a shot at the presidency, let’s give him a chance and see what the guy has to say. Vice President Biden hasn’t even announced yet and already there are some very positive polls out there for his candidacy.

Russia, Syria and doing things we don’t want to do: By “we”, of course I mean the U.S. By now everyone has already heard that Russia has started bombing areas near Homs (Central-Eastern Syria). For anyone that doesn’t already know why this is happening, Russia has an ally in Bashar al-Assad (President of Syria), who is currently engaged on one side of the Syrian Civil War. On the other side are a variety of Sunni Islamist militant factions, some of whom the U.S. has tried to form an alliance with in order to train them to fight ISIS (that hasn’t ended up going so well). Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted that Russia is only bombing areas where ISIS is present, but U.S. intelligence is saying otherwise.

The reason I bring all of this up is to bring an article to everyone’s attention written by Fred Kaplan at Slate. Kaplan asserts that we need to form a military partnership with Iran, Russia and Syria to defeat ISIS. I think it’s a pretty good idea, and the article is interesting to say the least. I mean, it’s either this strategy or we can nominate Lindsey Graham for President, who has vowed to send 10,000 troops to Syria and 20,000 to Iraq. Anyway, here’s the money paragraphs from Kaplan’s article:

“The United Stares has no vital interest in Syria, and Obama has no desire to get bogged down in a messy civil war. And yet the war is spreading; its disorder threatens allies in the region, and it has unleashed the most calamitous refugee crisis the world has seen in decades. When Obama first realized he had to act, he tried to build a coalition based on Sunni nations—Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, the Gulf states—and a new government in Iraq that pledged to be more inclusive toward Sunni militias and tribal leaders. But the Sunni nations proved less forceful—and the new Iraq less inclusive—than he hoped; the most promising coalition partner, Turkey, seemed more interested in pounding Kurds than jihadists.

And so, Obama has been forced to join an alliance of powers—Iran, Russia, and (take a deep breath) Assad—that always seemed to have the most potential, because their interests in fighting ISIS were most vital and least ambivalent. Alliances are rarely purebreds. Had Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill resisted allying with Joseph Stalin to fight Adolf Hitler, on the grounds that Soviet Communism was hardly less evil than Nazism, then they would have lost World War II while standing on their moral dudgeon. The war against ISIS isn’t nearly as titanic, but the principle is the same: Sometimes the world presents you with terrible choices, and you have to go with the least terrible—at least for the moment.”

Kaplan ends by saying that only the “serious powers” in the world can quell this ever-growing conflict with the Islamic State. The U.S. will definitely continue to monitor the situation with Russia taking more aggressive military action in Syria, but in all honesty I doubt this will change very much from our perspective. Even a significant amount of Republicans are uneasy about getting into the entanglement with Syria. But we’ve all seen the refugee crisis emanating from Syria, and that is going to force countries to make difficult choices. At the moment, Russia is making the difficult decision to defend Bashar al-Assad and indirectly Iran as well (another moderate ally of Russia).

Lastly, I’m sorry to have to comment on yet another mass shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. RIP to all the victims (the Oregon Attorney General just said there have been 10 people killed and 20+ injured).

Pro-lifers utterly confused why nobody wants to eradicate abortion

Pro-lifers still losing, still surprised they’re losing: This article from Dave Weigel at WaPo is just all kinds of delicious. We’ve seen polling throughout the months that shows that Americans views of Planned Parenthood has largely remained unchanged. That was until this weekend, when Planned Parenthood’s favoribility rating actually increased, and 60 percent of voters do not want to see a shutdown over the funding of Planned Parenthood. Now, pro-lifers have their own set of defenses, namely it’s all the liberal media’s fault because nobody has heard of the scandal (as if we’ve talked about anything else aside from Donald Trump for the last three months). In other related PP news, executive Cecile Richards was grilled this morning by a ton of men who have never had to worry about getting pregnant or breast cancer. Naturally, Richards held her own and defended PP from the outrageous attacks you would expect to hear from House Republicans.

Limbaugh pretty sure that water on Mars = liberal agenda: This… I gotta be honest, I’m not sure what to make of this. I’ve heard Rush make a lot of specious and ridiculous arguments before, but this one just takes the cake. So anyway, some brainy scientists with their smarty-smarts found water on Mars and now Rush Limbaugh thinks that this news is “…somehow going to find its way into a technique to advance the leftist agenda.” First question, was Rush paying attention four years ago when Newt Gingrich was talking about his plans to build a new colony on the moon? Second, is Rush afraid that if there’s water on Mars, that may mean there is possibly life on Mars, and that possible life on Mars is receiving welfare? Or maybe Rush thinks that if there is possibly life on Mars, Democrats will want more social programs for said possible life on Mars and will want to raise his taxes to fund them? Or maybe Rush is afraid that Obama and ACORN will bring the possibly existing life on Mars to the U.S. and register them as Democratic voters? There’s all kinds of fun I can have with this level of stupid, but I’m going to move on.

Somebody else says what I feel about Boehner: Jeffrey Toobin at The New Yorker calls it exactly like I see it. John Boehner, soon to be former Speaker of the House, could have passed immigration reform. Boehner had two years to pass the immigration bill that was passed by the Senate in May of 2013. Boehner was already strongly disliked by the most conservative members of the House of Representatives (i.e. the Freedom Caucus). The Freedom Caucus constantly threatened to usurp his role as Speaker, although they could never find a candidate that would win a majority of the vote for that position (probably because even a majority of Republicans can’t stand them). But no, Boehner capitulated to the “get out of my country” crowd, and still received a complete lack of respect or support from the Freedom Caucus. As Toobin put it, “…the choice for Boehner… was clear: pass a historic bill that would be good for the Republicans and for the republic, or appease the extremist elements in his party in hopes of hanging on to his position as Speaker. Boehner caved, refusing to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, and he suffered the fate of all those who give in to bullies; he was bullied some more.” This is exactly 100 percent right. Boehner not only did not do the right thing by allowing a vote for immigration reform, he allowed the “false prophets” to claim a victory and gain further control of the House (and unfortunately for the rest of us, the GOP). Looks like Rep. Kevin McCarthy, from Southern California, will be the next Speaker. Yikes. But hey, it could have been worse.

Please stop calling Trump a “populist”: So the funny thing is, whenever people talk about Trump and call him a “populist”, they’re usually referring to the fact that he claims he won’t cut social security or Medicare funding. However, the only “populist” part of Trump’s campaign is his immigration plan, which are similar to those found in right-wing parties in Europe (the UKIP, the Christian Democrats in Sweden, and the Fidesz Alliance in Hungary who has been in the news recently for refusing to take Syrian refugees and treating them like dirt). This is further cemented in reality by the release of Trump’s tax plans, which of course are structured to overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy. Furthermore, the tax plan is not even remotely “revenue-neutral”, Trump has no idea which deductions or loopholes (supposedly those used by hedge-fund managers, which would barely affect their incomes as taxes on investments are non-existent in Trump’s plan) he would eliminate, and the idea that this plan would balance the federal budget is about as likely as Trump becoming president of Mexico. Trump pretty much stole the elements of his plan from Jeb Bush, which should give Jeb ammunition for the next debate. I can’t wait to see Trump steal Jeb Bush’s energy plan, too.

No, Hillary Clinton is NOT the original birther (and others)…

Hillary Clinton did not start the birther movement: Hi there. Have you been hearing this talking point recently? Like a lot of us recently, you’ve been led to believe that it was actually Hillary Clinton who started the whole “Obummer was born in Kenya” movement”. Oh, what’s that? You knew it was total B.S. when you first heard it? Join the club. Anyway, so Dave Weigel at WaPo took a look at the history of birtherism and came up with the same answer that we all did. Sure, it’s true that a pollster who worked for Clinton during her 2008 campaign warned Democratic voters how electing someone with Obama’s background (i.e. the whole growing up in Indonesia thing, which was only for a few years of his early life) might have been too far of a reach for Democrats at the time. But this man, Mark Penn, did not say Obama was born in Kenya or deny he’s really a christian. Furthermore, there is absolutely no record of Clinton herself (nor her campaign) endorsing any theory that Obama is not an American citizen whop was born in Honolulu. Unless you can find some proof that Orly Taitz or Larry Klayman work for Hillary Clinton, it’s time to drop this obviously false talking point. As for me, I’ve always maintained that this was purely a story manufactured by the conservative movement who was (and still is) determined to make Obama look unfit for their criteria as to what it means to truly be an American. I have yet to see any evidence that proves me wrong.

Jonah Goldberg, false and “pretty accurate”: The infamous conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg says liberals are right to point out that Carly Fiorina’s Planned Parenthood rant was based on false evidence (because it was), but still believes that Fiorina’s description was “pretty accurate.” Gary Legum at Salon already commented on how this is a conservative editorial strategy to give their supporters rhetorical pats on the heads to reinforce what they are so sure is happening, if only the “liberal media” would cover it properly. After assuring us that the Planned Parenthood videos have not been discussed on the nightly news, even though NBC News has, Goldberg believes that liberals are harping on Fiorina’s inaccuracies as a distraction “…to conceal the fact that late-term abortions offend the conscience when discussed or displayed with anything like journalistic accuracy.” While Goldberg has a point that many Americans are troubled by the videos and late-term abortions, the notion that a majority of Americans want to ban abortion or even defund Planned Parenthood is ludicrous. And in the response I linked to above, Legum states what we all know that only “…about 1.2 percent of all abortions performed yearly are late-term.” I would suggest that it is Goldberg who is creating a distraction to cover Firorina’s behind for stretching the facts while he attempts to prevent the latest Trump challenger from self-destructing (Goldberg, like the rest of the NRO crew, hates Trump).

The latest polling: First we have a poll of Florida voters, brought to us by Matt Wilstein at Mediaite. The poll, conducted by Florida Atlantic University, came up with the following results: Donald Trump is at 31.5%, Rubio is at 19.2%, and Jeb Bush is at 11.3%, while Carson and Fiorina follow the top three. Now, the more obvious headline here is that among the “Establishment” vote, Rubio is beating Jeb Bush. Rubio receiving more votes may also be a consequence of Walker dropping out of the race. The more subtle headline is that Carson’s appeal is probably limited to states with a more conservative (and religious) Republican primary voter base. Carson is still second in New Hampshire, but after the second debate it seems his numbers are waning there, too.

On the Democratic side of things, Hillary’s in the lead with 59.5% of the vote in Florida, followed by a recently surging Joe Biden at 15.9%. Bernie Sanders continues to see his normal second-place spot decline, albeit only slightly (15.2%). It should be noted that this poll is only based on Florida voters. A significant amount of Florida Democrats are of Latino descent, and along with Black voters, this is the base that Sanders has struggled with the most. And as I stated a week ago, the only real way that Sanders can seriously challenge Clintion is to perform better in bigger states with more ethnically diverse populations. Based on the evidence from some of Sanders’ Twitter supporters, this may prove difficult. As for Biden, there is no question he would do better than Sanders with Latino and Black voters. But would he do better than Clinton in this area? Too soon to tell.

Second, a new Reuters poll is out and it shows that Trump is still in a commanding lead at 30%, while Carly Fiorina’s numbers have only bumped up to 8%. To be clear, that is an improvement for Fiorina (last time she had 6% in this poll).  But with Carson still at 18% and Bush still at 10%, it’s clear she has a way to go before making a real dent in the race.

Hillary also comes in first with Democratic voters in this poll, standing at 40 percent. Sanders does come in at 30% in this poll, but it’s not clear if Joe Biden was one of the options available for Democratic voters. I’m also of the opinion that these polls will mean more after the first Democratic debate, which takes place on October 13th. Will Joe Biden be in that debate? Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be in the second Democratic debate.

Ann Coulter now trying to piss everyone off (instead of just liberals)…

Coulter v. catholics: Everyone remembers this tweet from Ann Coulter during the last debate, right? Well Coulter had to explain herself that she didn’t really mean that, and she loves jews, but she wants the whole country to be christian and yadda, yadda, yadda. Well interestingly enough, she now desires to piss off catholics, too (you know, since that guy with the funny hat is in town). According to Sophia Tesfaye at Salon, Coulter is now claiming (via the Tweet-machine) that “… our founders (not “immigrants”!) distrusted Catholics & wouldn’t make them citizens.” Coulter also claims that catholics were not accepted into the U.S. unless they swore off their Roman ties (seriously?) and that the pope’s “… philosophy of worshiping the poor, blaming the rich leads to Latin American poverty. American Catholicism leads to success.” See, with Ann Coulter you always have to bring it back to Latinos. If Latinos are involved in the story in any way shape or form, you know Ann Coulter will be there trying to make it seem nefarious. Also, I can’t wait to hear what catholic Sean Hannity thinks of these tweets.

Biden rising?: According to this latest Bloomberg poll, Vice President Joe Biden is now polling ahead of Bernie Sanders by one point (25 percent for Biden, 24 for Bernie). What do you mean I have an evil smile on my face? I have no idea what you’re alluding to, but you better quit it. In no way am I delighted by this latest poll. I mean, come on, I’d have to be some sort of jerk to be smiling ear to ear at the inevitable fall of Bernie Sanders. Come on. Seriously. Anyway, Hillary Clinton leads the poll at 33 percent, and you can read the methodology and questions here. So I have to give the perfunctory disclosures that we still don’t know if this is an accurate trend, we haven’t seen any New Hampshire polls since last week (Sanders’ strongest state by far) and that Hillary Clinton’s e-mail story could get worse since the Fed recovered some of her deleted e-mails yesterday from her server. Also, Biden has to declare an actual candidacy for this to matter, which so far he has not. (H/T Taegan Goddard)

Ben Carson believes crazy things: So I usually try to avoid Buzzfeed, but sometimes even gossip rags have some very juicy and unavoidable details. So apparently Ben Carson once said that the big bang theory is a “fairy [tale]” that was thought up by “highfalutin scientists”, or something. Oh, Carson also said that “personally [believes] that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary…”. Apparently “adversary” is a christian codeword for the devil. I mean, personally, I think this story will only elevate Carson’s rise in the polls. I mean, lets say Buzzfeed is really a part of the “drive-by liberal media” (for all you kids who aren’t familiar with conservative talk radio speak, that’s a Limbaugh quote) and released this story to make Carson look like an uneducated idiot. Well naturally, conservatives would love that because they now get to point to us evolution-believing-elitists with our sodomy and whatnot and say “ha-ha, we have a world renowned neurosurgeon on our side, what do you have to say to THAT, heathens!”. To which I would respond, “sure, but we have the other 99% of scientists who do believe in evolution and the big bang theory… so there’s that”. The only question is will Donald Trump try to apply this strategy to his campaign and start denying gravity.

House conservatives want to oust Boehner, part 38,421: We’ve all heard this story before and it never goes anywhere. So why am I posting about it now? Hell if I know. This is obviously about funding Planned Parenthood and the inevitable government shutdown that’s coming unless Boehner can find enough Democrats to vote for some kind of clean-funding bill. Honestly, even if one of these lunatics did run against Boehner (and they won’t, they’re all talk just like the tea party), it wouldn’t go anywhere. But it is cute to see the most extreme nutcases in Congress throw a temper-tantrum every now and then. They’re the ones who made government dysfunctional to begin with, so it is a nice feeling knowing that they’re unhappy with their own actions just like the rest of us.

Other Hillary news: Hillary just came out against the Keystone XL pipeline. I can’t say I’m surprised, since the left-wing faction of the Democratic Party is forcing her to capitulate to their every demand on every single issue. The funny thing is, I still hear progressives complain and whine about the prospect of Clinton’s candidacy, and they still call her a corporate shrill who is a neocon or whatever. Regardless, Clinton sees the winds of change and is unafraid to embrace them. I do admire her for that, even though I’m also dissapointed that she is unable to show her “centrist” or “moderate” side as long as she is still in the primary. The truth is the Keystone XL pipeline is just not that big of a deal. It’s an issue that the left-wing of the Democratic Party pretends is some scary thing that’s going to destroy the country (see: TPP), but in reality is just a small and insignificant piece of the issue that they’re concerned about. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just spiteful of their activism, much in the same way that I castigate the Tea Party for being too loud and raucous. Speaking of activists, Hillary is also meeting with the Black Lives Matter people soon. So there’s that.

20-week abortion bans, explained: Nathalie Baptiste at The American Prospect goes over the true goal of the 20-week abortion ban legislation; to make poor people’s lives harder. Baptiste explains that “[n]ot only does the bill place an undue burden on women attempting to exercise their constitutional rights, the Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act allows for little exceptions and further victimizes women and children who have been sexually assaulted. The bill does exempt women whose lives are “endangered by a physical disorder, illness or injury” but says nothing about psychological or emotional issues.” A short but sweet explanation of a bill that seems “moderate” but is truly very conservative in its practice.

Donald Trump is boycotting Fox News: As usual with these types of people, it’s a “I quit my job before they could fire me” type of situation. It all started this morning when Donald Trump tweeted that Fox News doesn’t respect him enough. You see, Fox News only talks about Trump every 2.5 seconds, whereas MSNBC and CNN cover him every single second of the day (when CNN isn’t busy covering missing airplanes, of course). (H/T Catherine Thompson at TPM)

Two more weeks until hockey season starts…

Well, then…

Walker’s out, Fiorina’s rising?: In case anyone hasn’t heard by now, Scott Walker’s campaign is finito. Liz Mair, a Republican digital media consultant, made a series of tweets as to why Scott Walker was a good Presidential candidate on paper but a disaster in practice. Mair was fired from Walker’s campaign about five months back because she insulted Republicans in Iowa who accept ethanol subsidies. I have to admit, I got this one plain wrong. See, I saw Walker as the guy who was crazy enough to drug test welfare recipients, but not crazy enough to promulgate birtherism. I thought Walker was the perfect candidate to bridge the divide between the “Republican Establishment” and the blue-collar conservatives/tea party crowd. However, as Trump’s campaign has shown us, there is seemingly no one capable of bridging that divide between Republican primary voters and the center-right establishment vote. Maybe as the focus shifts to Carly Fiorina there will be future attempts to bridge that divide. However, based on several conservative pundits skeptical comments it doesn’t look like Fiorina will be an easy sell to the tea party crowd.

People who support Planned Parenthood = Nazi’s: This one was brought to my attention by Amanda, who heard it from a friend (Roy Edroso), who heard it from A.D.P. Efferson at The Federalist. Basically, she’s not saying people who support Planned Parenthood are nazi’s, but she is saying that much like how good people watched the nazi’s commit genocide against the jews, good people can also watch the Planned Parenthood videos and still support the women’s health organization. Here’s the kicker quote: “The abortion industry, specifically Planned Parenthood, with a skilled slight of hand, has distracted the general public from being too curious about the mechanics of abortion. They’ve done this brilliantly through mass manipulation, by creating “rights” where there are none (women do not have a right to government-provided birth control and tampons), exploiting women’s fears, viciously pillorying the opposition, and raking in a tidy sum along the way. Most importantly, Planned Parenthood and its ilk have hit upon what murderous regime leaders have known for centuries: normal, good people will believe and justify anything under the right circumstances.” Well, it’s official: I’m a supporter of genocide against babies (and also a supporter of contraception and breast cancer screenings, but whatever).

Republicans and muslims; a marriage made in mecca: Yes, by now we all know about the lunatic who shouted at the top of his lungs at a Trump rally in New Hampshire last week that we need to “get rid of the muslims” and our president is one of them. And yes, for some reason Dr. Ben Carson (it feels so weird calling him Dr. considering what an idiot he continually shows himself to be) said that he would not support a muslim being president of the United States, a view so insane that Ted Cruz disagreed with him. But what is the real relationship between muslims and the conservative base that actually is Islamaphobic? Jonathan Chait explains: “…social conservatives have treated their Muslim-hating contingent just as they treat their anti-same-sex-marriage brethren: as idealists persecuted for their convictions. Rick Santorum, who is not shy about interjecting his opinion into the controversy of the day, hid behind the First Amendment as a reason to abstain from comment on recent outbursts within his party…”. I would add to this that this is about what conservatives see as a threat to their dominant religion. My guess is that they notice that Islam is a growing religion inside the U.S. and that will result in the implementation of sharia law, hence we need to be irrationally skeptical of muslims. Speaking of irrational, Glenn Beck once again exposes his deranged paranoia and claims that while he doesn’t believe Obama is a muslim, he understands why others do; it’s because he views the world “through the lens of an islamist…”. Also there’s some Dinesh D’Souza plagiarism in his rant (i.e. the whole “anti-colonial” B.S.).

The “Hillary is doomed!” movement is temporarily silent: Could it be because of news stemming the latest poll from CNN/ORC? From the article: “Clinton leads Sanders 42-24 percent, according to a CNN/ORC poll released yesterday. That 18-point advantage is an increase over the 10-point lead she held over Sanders only two weeks ago, 37-27 percent.” We’ll see if there has been any changes in New Hampshire, so far Sanders’ strongest state. But I have a different question; if Bernie Sanders momentum is indeed slowing (and to be clear, that’s something we have not seen yet), will there finally be another candidate on the Democratic side who gets some attention from the media? No, I’m not talking about Joe Biden, who still is undecided at the moment. Regardless, I’m excited to see a rational debate take place where I don’t hear “OH MY GOD THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING BOMB THEM DRONE THEM KILL THEM WITH FIRE AHHHHHHHH SO SCARY” every second (October 13th on CNN in Vegas).

RIP Jake Brewer: Brewer, who is a staffer of the Obama Administration and the late husband of conservative opinion columnist Mary Katherine Ham, died in a bike accident over the weekend. I’ve always liked MKH and her columns and hope she gets through this terrible time in her family’s life. My thoughts are with her and her children.