Category: Politics

Another reminder of how the email story is out of Hillary’s control

Our Clowns Our Circus..

Another reminder of how the email story is out of Hillary’s control

Last night’s news that a former Clinton IT staffer who helped set up Hillary Clinton’s private server is invoking the Fifth Amendment and refusing to testify before the House Benghazi committee is yet another reminder how this email story is out of her control. After all, what’s in the best interests of the campaign (Team Clinton released a statement that they wanted the former aide, Bryan Pagliano, to testify) isn’t necessarily in the best interests of everyone involved (Pagliano’s lawyer certainly thought otherwise). And when that dynamic is at play, things are no longer in your hands. The other (and maybe more important) reminder about how this entire story is no longer in Hillary Clinton’s control is the current FBI investigation into whether classified information was mishandled. That FBI investigation could potentially end tomorrow. Or it could end a year from now — which would be politically problematic for the Clinton campaign. Bottom line: In sheer political terms, you have to hand it to House Republicans: They created a fishing expedition with their Benghazi committee. And maybe this email story doesn’t turn out to be a marlin, but it’s sure a nice grouper.

The Clinton campaign responds

Here’s the response from the Clinton campaign on Pagliano invoking the Fifth, per NBC’s Kristen Welker: “We have been confident from the beginning that Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email was allowed and that she did not send or receive anything marked classified, facts confirmed by the State Department and the Inspector General,” the campaign said. “She has made every effort to answer questions and be as helpful as possible, and has encouraged her aides, current and former, to do the same, including Bryan Pagliano.” More: “Bryan is an utter professional and a wonderful young man who does not live in the public eye and understandably may not wish to be drawn into a political spectacle. So his decision is both understandable and yet also disappointing to us, because we believe he has every reason to be transparent about his IT assistance.” Indeed, it is worth noting that former top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills is testifying before the Benghazi committee today (behind closed doors), as NBC’s Alex Moe reports.

Does Biden truly have the stomach to take on Hillary?

Does this invoking-the-Fifth story make Hillary more vulnerable to a Democratic challenge? You bet. But the question that Vice President Joe Biden faces is this: Does he have the stomach to take Clinton on and use this kind of story against her? Remember, a gutsy Barack Obama crafted an entire primary message of “turning the page” and “change” against Clinton in 2007-2008. Is Biden as gutsy? We’re about to find out. By the way, this Labor Day weekend will be fascinating for Biden, who is in Florida and Georgia today selling the Iran deal. Do we get any clues from his Labor Day event in Pittsburgh?

Trump meets with the RNC’s Priebus amid “pledge” talk

Meanwhile, “Donald Trump is set to meet with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus Thursday in New York City, NBC News has confirmed. The meeting comes amid reports that the RNC has asked the GOP candidates to ‘pledge’ not to run as a third-party candidate if unsuccessful at clinching the nomination. Trump’s campaign did not comment on whether the RNC’s pledge is on the meeting’s agenda. After the Priebus meeting, Trump is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2 p.m. ET at Trump Tower in Manhattan.” Our take: It certainly looks like Trump will pledge not to run as a third-party candidate — what he has been hinting at in the past week or so — in return for another media platform (i.e., a news conference in New York).

Jeb acknowledges he needs to “turn it around

On ABC this morning, Jeb Bush was asked how he turns around his campaign. He answered, per NBC’s Jordan: “Turn it around by recognizing it is a long road. I have a well-funded campaign,” he said, adding that he will unveil his tax plan next week. Bush also said in the interview that Trump is “trying to insult his way to the presidency” with comments like suggesting that Bush should speak English.

Walker: “In the last six years under President Obama, we’ve seen a rise in anti-police rhetoric”

Talk about Scott Walker turning up the volume here. “In the last six years under President Obama, we’ve seen a rise in anti-police rhetoric. Instead of hope and change, we’ve seen racial tensions worsen and a tendency to use law enforcement as a scapegoat,” he said in a piece for the conservative site Hot Air. “This kind of attitude has created a culture in which we all too often see demonstrations and chants where people describe police as “pigs” and call for them to be “fried like bacon.” This inflammatory and disgusting rhetoric has real consequences for the safety of officers who put their lives on the line for us and hampers their ability to serve the communities that need their help.” By the way, Unintimidated PAC, the Super PAC supporting Scott Walker, says it will spend $9.25 million in South Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada leading up to those contests — with $8 million alone going to South Carolina. This is on top of the $7 million campaign that the Super PAC has already reserved time for. The Wall Street Journal first reported the story.

Fiorina: CNN “did the right thing” by changing its debate rules

Meanwhile, in an interview with NBC’s Hallie Jackson, Carly Fiorina said CNN “did the right thing” by changing its debate rules; she claimed she’s been a “frontrunner” since Aug. 6; and she added she’ll be focusing on her bio at the next GOP debate, given all the eyeballs Trump has drawn to previous debate. “We know that a lot of people watch these debates. We also know that I went into last debate with the lowest name ID in field. I still have the lowest name ID in the field. So any opportunity to introduce myself to the American people is an opportunity I’m going to take advantage of,” Fiorina told Jackson.

That Kentucky clerk story becomes a hot 2015/2016 topic

“The county official in rural Kentucky who has become the focal point for resistance to the U.S. Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision will appear this morning before a federal judge to explain why she should not be held in contempt of court,” NBC’s Pete Williams reports. And interestingly, it’s become an issue in this year’s Kentucky gubernatorial race, with Republican Matt Bevin supporting clerk Kim Davis’ decision not to give marriage licenses to gay couples, while Democrat Jack Conway opposes. And NBC’s Alex Jaffe writes how it has become an issue in the 2016 GOP race.

$16 million in TV ad spending so far in ’16 vs. $2 million at this point in ’12: $2 million

Finally, according to our look at the 2016 presidential TV ad spending, roughly $16 million has so far been spent on TV ads — by the campaigns and outside groups. By comparison, at this same point in the 2012 race, just $2 million had been spent, according to the data from NBC’s ad-tracking partner SMG Delta.

The top spenders (as of Sept. 1, 2015):

  • Team Kasich: $3.7 million (all in NH)
  • Team Rubio: $2.6 million (all on national cable)
  • Team Clinton: $2.2 million (in IA, NH)
  • Team Jindal: $1.6 million (all in IA)
  • Team Christie: $1.4 million (all in NH)
  • Team Perry: $1.4 million (all in IA)
  • Team Paul: $470K (in IA, NH)
  • Team Pataki: $314K (in NH)
  • Team Carson: $297K (in IA, NH)

On the trail

Bernie Sanders, Bobby Jindal, and Carly Fiorina campaign in Iowa… Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and Lindsey Graham are in New Hampshire… Marco Rubio holds a rally with supporters in Chattanooga, TN… Mike Huckabee stumps in South Carolina… And Ted Cruz holds rallies in Texas.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

With former Port Authority official David Wildstein’s new claim that  “evidence exists” showing Christie knew about the politically motivated lane closings on the George Washington Bridge back in September, several Jersey State politicians are already floating the dreaded “I” word: impeachment.

It wasn’t so long ago that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was a popular Republican in a big blue state with big 2016 dreams. But with the twin scandals of Bridgegate and his handling of Superstorm Sandy recovery money, the real question may now be whether he can even hang onto his current job.

The editorial board of the Star-Ledger is calling for Christie to either step down or be impeached if the new accusations prove true.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak told msnbc that if Wildstein’s allegations prove true, the state Assembly would “have to issue articles of impeachment.” The Democrat said there is “reasonable suspicion that a series of crimes may have been committed by the governor.”

ohn Wisinewski, the head of the New Jersey Assembly panel probing the lane closures, has said it’s “not credible” that Christie was unaware of the plot and that impeachment does become a possibility if it can be proved Christie had direct involvement. He has since softened his rhetoric, telling such talk is premature. New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell calledthe  letter, in which Wildstein’s lawyer claims he has the evidence, “devastating” for Christie.

To read more…

What does the Libya lawsuit mean?

Amar C. Bakshi: A bipartisan group of House members said today they are filing a lawsuit that challenges U.S. participation in the Libya military mission. What does this lawsuit mean?

Matthew Waxman: The War Powers Resolution was enacted in the wake of the Vietnam War to prevent the President from engaging in wars and major military adventures without Congress’s explicit consent. It does so by requiring the President to withdraw U.S. military forces from armed hostilities within 60 days unless Congress expressly approves otherwise.

The following question has since arisen many times: What remedy exists if the President ignores the requirements set out in that resolution? What happens, for example, if 60 days passes and Congress hasn’t authorized the use of force but the President continues to direct military activities abroad?

There are several types of remedies:

The first is litigation: members of Congress or other interested parties could sue the President, arguing that he is acting illegally. They could seek a court judgment ordering the cessation of military operations. That is what’s apparently about to happen now.

The second is that Congress could use its legislative power: it could pass a law prohibiting the military operations or it could use the “power of the purse” to strip funding for military operations. Either way, Congress could legislatively force the President to stop the operations, but this is very hard to pull off politically.

The third remedy is political, and this is the likely to be the most consequential one in this case: Members of Congress could use the argument that the President is violating the law as a political stick to try to pressure the President in certain ways, extract concessions from him, force him to spend political capital, and gain a greater say in managing or curbing the operation….MORE>

Gulf Oil Leak and Halliburton

Net income increased to $480 million, or 53 cents a share, from $262 million, or 29 cents, a year earlier, Houston-based Halliburton said today

The spill, triggered by an April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which Transocean Ltd. leased to London-based BP. Halliburton provided cementing services on the well BP was drilling. Halliburton Chief Executive Officer David Lesar said in May that the company is fully indemnified from costs related to the spill.

derived of about 13 percent of its North American revenue from the Gulf of Mexico in the first quarter. Last month, Halliburton said it planned to relocate workers and equipment to other markets as appropriate.

Halliburton ended last week at $27.51 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, leaving the shares 17 percent lower than before the rig blast.

BlagojeBurris Drama Continues

Burris, now come on, lets give the benefit of the doubt and say he had nothing to do with the selling of the seat or any other dirty pool being played by Blagojevich. That said, WHO would accept an offer from a man under so much scrutiny? I say a man with no conscience or or desire to further anyone but himself. If he WERE in fact an honest man, which I dont believe for a minute, he would not have gotten involved with the acceptance of that seat. No man would, and from what I saw no man DID.

So NOW, Burris, appointed by a scandal-wracked Blagojevich to fill the rest of President Barack Obama’s Senate term, told reporters in Peoria, Illinois, Monday night that he had three conversations with Robert Blagojevich.

Whoops, senior moment?

IF this man has any honor what so ever he needs to resign and give the seat back to the people and let them decide which criminal – I mean politician they want in that seat.

Now for the movie……………..

Stimulus Cuts

Heres a new list of partial or complete cuts of the constantly revised Stimulus list:

Partially cut:

• $3.5 billion for energy-efficient federal buildings (original bill $7 billion)

• $75 million from Smithsonian (original bill $150 million)

• $200 million from Environmental Protection Agency Superfund (original bill $800 million)

• $100 million from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (original bill $427 million)

• $100 million from law enforcement wireless (original bill $200 million)

• $300 million from federal fleet of hybrid vehicles (original bill $600 million)

• $100 million from FBI construction (original bill $400 million)

Fully eliminated

• $55 million for historic preservation

• $122 million for Coast Guard polar icebreaker/cutters

• $100 million for Farm Service Agency modernization

• $50 million for Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service

• $65 million for watershed rehabilitation

• $100 million for distance learning

• $98 million for school nutrition

• $50 million for aquaculture

• $2 billion for broadband

• $100 million for National Institute of Standards and Technology

• $50 million for detention trustee

• $25 million for Marshalls Construction

• $300 million for federal prisons

• $300 million for BYRNE Formula grant program

• $140 million for BYRNE Competitive grant program

• $10 million state and local law enforcement

• $50 million for NASA

• $50 million for aeronautics

• $50 million for exploration

• $50 million for Cross Agency Support

• $200 million for National Science Foundation

• $100 million for science

• $1 billion for Energy Loan Guarantees

• $4.5 billion for General Services Administration

• $89 million General Services Administration operations

• $50 million from Department of Homeland Security

• $200 million Transportation Security Administration

• $122 million for Coast Guard Cutters, modifies use

• $25 million for Fish and Wildlife

• $55 million for historic preservation

• $20 million for working capital fund

• $165 million for Forest Service capital improvement

• $90 million for State and Private Wildlife Fire Management

• $1 billion for Head Start/Early Start

• $5.8 billion for Health Prevention Activity

• $2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants

• $600 million for Title I (No Child Left Behind)

• $16 billion for school construction

• $3.5 billion for higher education construction

• $1.25 billion for project based rental

• $2.25 billion for Neighborhood Stabilization

• $1.2 billion for retrofitting Project 8 housing

• $40 billion for state fiscal stabilization (includes $7.5 billion of state incentive grants)

• $3.5 billion for energy-efficient federal buildings (original bill $7 billion)

This in laymen’s terms means they want a newer working envirnment! WTF!

Looks to me like the old Republicans are again bending us over! Cutting housing, education, all the people candies for the government sweets!

Stimulus List Outlined

This is the lastest list as of February 6, 2009 of what is actually IN the simulus package.












$13.5 BILLION FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING — This would bring the federal government closer to the promised 40 percent of the national average per pupil expenditure for every child in special education. This will help relieve the increasing burden at the local level to cover the rising costs of special education, and allow districts the flexibility to retain support staff and teachers in the classrooms where they are so desperately needed.

$10.4 BILLION FOR TITLE I– The additional investment in Title I is a critical investment towards children in poverty. As more and more children are classified as poor during this economic downturn, this substantial additional investment will help local school districts ensure that their academic needs are being met.








Leading economists have found that targeted aid of this sort will generate increased economic activity of $1.36 for every $1 spent. Moreover, with unemployment up, the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid also rises. Increasing the federal investment in Medicaid will shore up the safety net for those vulnerable families.





$4.4 BILLION FOR SMART GRID to improve the reliability of electricity transmission grid









Shortly before 11:30 p.m., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told his colleagues that debate on the plan would continue on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Reid said a vote could come on Tuesday on the plan, which is championed by President Barack Obama as a tonic for a badly battered economy.

The movement came after days of private meetings between centrist Democrats and Republicans who felt the price tag on the Senate’s nearly $900 billion version of the package was too much.

“There is a winner tonight,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut and one of the moderates whose support was crucial in building support for the plan. “It’s the American people and they deserve it.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration was pleased with the progress.

“On the day when we learned 3.6 million people have lost their jobs since this recession began, we are pleased the process is moving forward and we are closer to getting Americans a plan to create millions of jobs and get people back to work,” Gibbs said.

House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio issued a statement on the deal Friday night, saying, “Ultimately this bill should be judged on whether it works, and 90 percent of a bad idea is still a bad idea.”

Boehner’s criticisms echoed those of the House-passed bill; he said the plan was focused on slow-moving and wasteful spending rather than immediate relief.

“This is not what the American people want; nor is it what the president called for at the start of the process,” he said. “Both of these massively flawed proposals should be scrapped in favor of a truly bipartisan plan that will help our economy preserve and create jobs. The American people want and deserve nothing less.”

Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska and one of the chief negotiators of the plan, said senators had trimmed the plan to $827 billion in tax cuts and spending on infrastructure, housing and other programs that would create or save jobs.

“We trimmed the fat, fried the bacon and milked the sacred cows,” Nelson said as debate began.

According to a senior Democratic aide, items fully eliminated from the plan include $55 million for historic preservation and $122 million for new Coast Guard polar icebreaker/cutters

According to several senators, the revised version of the plan also axed money for school construction and nearly $90 million for fighting pandemic flu.

Remaining in the plan are tax incentives for small businesses, a one-year fix of the unpopular alternative-minimum tax and tax-relief for low- and middle-income families, said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who was the most prominent Republican negotiator in the bipartisan talks.

“Our country faces a grave economic crisis and the American people want us to work together,” she said. “They don’t want to see us dividing along partisan lines on the most serious crisis facing our country.”

While Democrats appeared to believe they had enough Republican support to push the compromise plan through, most GOP members still were speaking against the plan, saying spending is not the answer to cure economic woes.

“This is not bipartisan,” said Sen. John McCain, who lost the 2008 election to Obama. “If this legislation is passed, it’ll be a very bad day for America.”

Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell compared the plan to President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” public works program, which he said did not help the nation out of the Great Depression.

“We’re talking about an extraordinarily large amount of money, and a crushing debt for our grandchildren,” said McConnell of Kentucky. “Now, if most Republicans were convinced that this would work, there might be a greater willingness to support it. But all the historical evidence suggests that it’s highly unlikely to work.”

Earlier Friday, Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich dropped out of the negotiations.

Voinovich concluded that his “philosophical” differences with the approach of Republican negotiators was too great, a Voinovich aide said. The senator said he could no longer support efforts at compromise or the final bill, the aide said.

Voinovich’s departure left four Republican senators involved in the negotiations: Collins, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mel Martinez of Florida and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Democratic leaders will need at least two or three GOP votes to pass the bill.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois confirmed Democrats were in a tough debate over cutting what they saw as core programs. He singled out education as one of the largest areas of cuts — and one of the hardest for Democrats to swallow.

“It’s a painful area for all of us, as Democrats, to make these cuts in education assistance,” he said.

There are “substantial” proposed cuts to a $79 billion fund created to help states deal with the economic crisis by giving them more money for schools, Durbin said.

Putting more pressure on senators was news Friday that employers slashed another 598,000 jobs off U.S. payrolls in January, taking the unemployment rate up to 7.6 percent.

“This is not some abstract debate. It is an urgent and growing crisis,” President Obama said at a White House ceremony unveiling a new economic advisory board. “If we drag our feet and fail to act, this crisis will turn into a catastrophe.”

White House budget director Peter Orszag left a morning meeting in Reid’s office but would not comment on negotiations. Senators who were meeting in their office buildings Thursday were negotiating directly with Reid just outside the chamber doors.
The House passed an $819 billion version of the stimulus plan last week, but no Republican voted in favor of it.

The Senate has 56 Democrats and two independents who usually vote with them. There are 41 Republicans. One Senate seat from Minnesota remains open pending the outcome of an election recount challenge.

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