Top Republican Admits House Benghazi Committee Designed To Attack Hillary Clinton’s Poll Numbers (VIDEO)

by OLIVER WILLIS – The House of Representatives Select Committee on the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi is all about attacking Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers, admits a senior Republican. Current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Fox News host Sean Hannity during an interview on Monday night that the Select Committee, chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) that Clinton’s dropping poll numbers are evidence of the effectiveness of the committee. McCarthy, who is reportedly running to take over for recently deposed House Speaker John Boehner, told Hannity: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi Special Committee — a Select Committee — what are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.” It is a tacit admission by the second most powerful Republican in the House that the Committee’s true goal is taking out Secretary Clinton as a presidential candidate. Republicans have tried...

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What John Boehner’s Surprise Resignation Means For Immigration Reform

by ESTHER YU-HSI LEE – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the favorite to succeed John Boehner (R-OH) after his surprise resignation as the House Speaker last week. The appointment of McCarthy, who represents a heavily Latino district, to preside over a more radically conservative Republican caucus could have implications for immigration reform. McCarthy’s district encompasses the agriculture powerhouses of Kern and Tulare counties, which produced $3 billion annually in crops like “cotton, citrus, grapes, stone fruits, pistachios, wine grapes, almonds, olives, tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, alfalfa, cattle and sheep,” according to his website. His district is also about 35 percent Latino, and employs a massive number of farmworkers. Grower and labor union statistics suggest it’s possible that upwards of 70 percent of all farmworkers in the country are undocumented. Yet McCarthy has so far maintained a strict opposition to immigration reform. As the highest-ranking House member, McCarthy’s immigration-restrictionist...

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): I Pulled These Numbers Directly Out Of My Ass

by LaFeminista – Ah the lie fest continues “I pulled those numbers directly out of my ass,” Chaffetz said. That would have been a truthful statement, he didn’t quite say that though. . “Excuse me,” Richards said. “My lawyers have informed me that the source of this is Americans United for Life which is an anti-abortion group so I would check your source.” After so many years of the House Republicans making a mockery of Congress  the Planned Parenthood debacle must be the pinnacle of their nefarious mismanagement. Using doctored video as evidence, using graphs from their imagination as if drawing on a piece of paper makes their lying somehow factual. At the hearing, Democratic supporters of Planned Parenthood accused their Republican colleagues of being misogynistic and more interested in political hits than an actual investigation. Richards argued the videos — produced by conservative activists at the Center for Medical Progress...

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France Launches First Airstrikes Against ISIL in Syria

Announcement comes after Hollande unveiled change of strategy due to growing concern over Syrian refugee crisis France has carried out its first air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. The announcement from President Francois Hollande’s office on Sunday came after a year of hesitation. Hollande had resisted the raids in Syria, saying he did not want to strengthen Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, who is the target of ISIL fighters. Hollande announced a change in strategy earlier this month because of growing concern about the Syrian refugee crisis that is putting pressure on Europe – the preferred destination for the asylum seekers. In Iraq, France has been carrying out the air raids since last year as part of the US-led coalition. Hollande, heading to the UN General Assembly on Sunday where Syrian crisis was expected to be the key subject of debate,...

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The Pope, The UN, And My Takeaway

by Maria Ramos, Guest Contributor, All-len-All – Pope Francis recently concluded a trip to the United States. The Bishop of Rome made remarks throughout his journey that were in line with his views as expressed in the encyclical “Laudato Si,” published earlier this year. In short, he argued for the reality of anthropogenic climate change and called upon Americans and people around the globe to take action. President Obama was among the well-wishers who lauded the Pope’s message on climate change after welcoming him to the White House on Wednesday. In his first speech on U.S. soil, Francis emphasized that this environmental problem cannot “be left to a future generation.” The next day, while addressing a joint session of Congress, His Holiness continued speaking on the same theme. He called upon leaders in business and government to promote sustainable practices and to put technology to good use in conserving...

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GOP Congressman Enraged By Tea Party Nut Jobs: ‘The Crazies Have Taken Over The Party’ (VIDEO)

by CHARLES TOPHER – When Speaker Boehner announced he was leaving, not only the third most powerful seat in the country, but Congress altogether, emotions were mixed on both sides of the aisle. Before his press conference, pundits across the country speculated about his reasoning, debated his replacement and discussed what happens next. Democrats couldn’t help but applaud the departure of the Speaker; it represents not only the end to an obstructionist conservative, but the implosion of his party. After some consideration, the idea that John Boehner may have been a more reasonable choice than whoever may replace him became apparent. Who would be next in line to bow to the Tea Party? Would Kevin McCarthy step up? How about Paul Ryan? What if they decide to give in to the extremists and put a Trey Gowdy or Louie Gohmert up there? Suddenly John Boehner didn’t look so horrible. On...

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Russia Launches Airstrikes Against ISIS Inside Syria: Reports

by Jon Queally – After receiving authorization from Parliament, and just days after UN speech by Vladimir Putin, news outlets report that Russia’s air campaign inside Syria has begun Just hours after the Upper House of the Russian Parliament on Wednesday gave President Vladimir Putin the permission he sought to use the nation’s air force to conduct missions against the Islamic State targets inside Syria, news outlets are reporting that the first Russian airstrikes inside Syria may have now taken place. Both the New York Times and CNN, citing anonymous U.S. officials who were not authorized to speak with the press, report that strikes have been carried out. The Times reports Russian warplanes dropped bombs near the central city of Hom, though further details were not provided. Wednesday’s vote authorizing the strikes came just two days after Putin spoke to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City where...

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Climate Catches ‘Huge Break’ as Shell Calls It Quits in the Arctic

by Jon Queally – At least for the “foreseeable future,” the oil giant will put a hold on its offshore drilling in Alaska after finding insufficient deposits In what environmental campaigners are calling “a huge break” for the Arctic region and by extension the world’s climate, the Royal Dutch Shell oil company announced on Monday it would end its exploratory drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea after disappointing results from its controversial operations in the Alaskan waters that took place this summer. In a corporate press statement released Monday, the company said that its drilling vessel—located approximately 150 miles offshore and in about 150 feet of water—had “successfully” drilled an exploratory well to the depth of 6800 feet. Though the company claimed it “found indications of oil and gas,” it said the amount was “insufficient to warrant further exploration” and said the prospected site will now be “sealed and abandoned.” Further,...

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Cameron Called Out for ‘Cynically’ Exploiting Refugee Plight to Escalate War

by Sarah Lazare – Celebrities and politicians release open letter blasting UK prime minister for pressing to extend military action—not aid Celebrities and members of Parliament released an open letter Saturday demanding that UK Prime Minister David Cameron stop exploiting the refugee crisis to drive the country into more disastrous war. “Already we have seen the killing of civilians and the exacerbation of a refugee crisis which is largely the product of wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan,” reads the missive, whose signatories include actor Mark Rylance and musicians Brian Eno, John Williams, and Charlotte Church. “Cameron is cynically using the refugee crisis to urge more war,” the letter continues. “He should not be allowed to.” Earlier this month, Cameron responded to the humanitarian crisis of mass displacement with a call for a “hard military force” to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad and combat ISIS in Syria. The prime...

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Will TTIP Get Terminated? Negotiations Falter as Europe Balks

by Deirdre Fulton – As EU-US trade talks flounder, France doesn’t rule out ‘an outright termination of negotiations’ While public opposition to the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—the massive proposed “trade” deal between the European Union and the United States—has grown steadily since negotiations started two years ago, new signs suggest that official government backing is also faltering across Europe. In an interview with French regional newspaper Sud Ouest published Monday, Junior Trade Minister Matthias Fekl said TTIP negotiations were favoring American interests and “either weren’t advancing or were progressing in the wrong direction.” “If nothing changes, it will show that there isn’t the will to achieve mutually beneficial negotiations,” he said, before adding: “France is considering all options including an outright termination of negotiations.” Meanwhile, a group of more than 55 UK members of parliament (MPs) has signed onto a motion expressing major concerns about the mammoth trade pact,...

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Donald Trump Wants to Repeal Obamacare, Replace It With Obamacare

by Peter Suderman – Most of the time when Donald Trump talks about policy, the collection of words that he responds with have nothing whatsoever to do with the details of policy. Up until this weekend, for example, he usually answered questions about his preferred Obamacare replacement plan with “something terrific!” That is, of course, not a replacement plan, nor is it any kind of plan at all. It does not even qualify as an allusion to a possible plan, or something that vaguely resembles one. It is just an adjective, and it provides no more information about the actual policy content of his ideal replacement than if he had said, “something blue!” Occasionally, though, Trump emits noises that seem, at least on the surface, to provide at least a little more detail. In an interview this weekend with Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes, Trump was pressed to provide some details...

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Anti-Choicers Embarrassed By Planned Parenthood Hearing, Call It ‘GOP Freak Show’

by JUDD LEGUM – On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards appeared before the House Oversight Committee. The committee is investigating Planned Parenthood in connection with a series of sting videos that allege the group illegally sold fetal body parts. (That allegation is not supported by the videos or other factual evidence.) The hearing today started with a tearful speech by Chairman Jason Chaffetz, in which he appeared to blame his mother’s death on Planned Parenthood. Chaffetz argued that federal money granted to Planned Parenthood should be spent on cancer research instead. When Richards began to testify, she was repeatedly interrupted by Chaffetz and other Republican men on the committee. Here’s a short clip from the Chaffetz Q&A: Richards, as to be expected, dismissed the hearing as another “baseless attack on reproductive health care.” But, even among Planned Parenthood’s fiercest critics, the hearing was not received well. Pro-life conservatives blasted...

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Jeb Bush’s Energy Plan Doesn’t Even Mention Renewables

by SAMANTHA PAGE – Natural gas represents America’s “energy revolution,” and the way to economic growth is to deregulate, according to Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who unveiled his energy plan Tuesday during a speech in Pennsylvania. Bush’s four-point plan would lift restrictions on exports of oil and natural gas; reduce “overregulation,” such as on fracking or coal power plants; allow states and tribes more say over their energy mix; and approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which he says has been “badly politicized.” That is to say, three of the four tenets lift federal regulation in some way or another, while the fourth simply approves a fossil fuel infrastructure project. Regulation “is repressing the ability for us to grow,” Bush said. And, truly, his plan is all in the name of economic growth. Increased fracking will result in more jobs and more growth, he said, citing...

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The Real Target of the Planned Parenthood Attacks

by Kathleen Turner – The leading GOP candidates have aligned themselves with a platform based on endangering women’s health care access In the first two Republican presidential debates, the candidates slugged it out over who hated Planned Parenthood the most. Virtually every hopeful promised to defund the organization. Some of them, including Senator Ted Cruz, are vowing to force the issue — even if it means shutting down the federal government. The impetus for these latest attacks was a series of heavily edited, misleading videos released by a front group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress. Though the videos purported to show Planned Parenthood employees engaging in a range of inappropriate behaviors, every impartial investigation since then has cleared the group of any wrongdoing. Yet right-wing lawmakers across the country are using the doctored videos as a bludgeon against an organization that’s done so much for so many years to...

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Fearing Blow to Corporate Trade Deal, Auto Industry Buried Car Safety Report

by Deirdre Fulton – Observers have pointed out that ‘cars form a big part of the EU’s case for TTIP’ For fear of sabotaging the corporate-friendly TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and European Union, the car industry buried a report showing major discrepancies between the safety records of U.S. and EU vehicles, according to exclusive reporting in The Independent on Wednesday. Citing a leaked version of the analysis (pdf), which has since been “quietly posted on the University of Michigan’s website,” reporter Paul Gallagher wrote: The major study was commissioned by the car industry to show that existing EU and U.S. safety standards were broadly similar. But the research actually established that American models are much less safe when it comes to  front-side collisions, a common cause of accidents that often result in serious injuries. The findings were never submitted – or publicly announced – by the...

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If An Energy Bill Drops In The Senate But Everyone Knows It Won’t Pass, Does It Make A Sound?

by RYAN KORONOWSKI – Last week, Senate Democrats unveiled an energy bill that would attempt to move America to a low-carbon future. But if the bill has zero chance of being passed in a chamber controlled by Republicans, does it matter? “Today’s announcement should send a clear signal that it is a top priority for Senate Democrats to invest in our nation’s energy future and address climate change before it’s too late,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) at a Tuesday press conference. The legislation “is a technology driven pathway to a clean energy future,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) who sponsored the bill, dubbed the “American Energy Innovation Act of 2015.” Though it would not set a price on carbon emissions, like the failed cap-and-trade bill from five years ago, her bill does contain many provisions intended to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon economy, and sets a...

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Elizabeth Warren Just Gave The Speech Black Lives Matter Wanted To Hear (VIDEO)

by SARAH BURRIS – Finally, a politician gets it right on social justice and police reform, and of course it’s Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Sunday afternoon while the Senator spoke at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, she talked about real, meaningful types of reform in policy that we can do in government to help curb the insane and unreasonable attacks by police on people of color. Warren said: “It is a tragedy when any American cannot trust those who have sworn to protect and serve. This pervasive and persistent distrust isn’t based on myths. It is grounded in the reality of unjustified violence.” Warren’s strategy goes beyond body cameras but also includes “de-escalation” training where cops are taught how to not effing shoot people first and ask questions later, but rather take an approach that is more about calming and stabilizing the situation. Genius idea for police who...

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Ted Cruz Throws Tantrum On Senate Floor After Learning He Can’t Shut Down Government Again (VIDEO)

by JAMESON PARKER – Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R) may have had a pretty spotty track record during his time in office, but his last act – resigning in disgrace – may have been the very best thing he did. With Republican leadership suddenly in disarray, the government shutdown that Tea Party conservatives led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had been planning now seems to have gone completely off the rails. Cruz is VERY upset. Cruz had originally planned to introduce an amendment to a government funding bill that would have – follow me here – placed a one-year ban on giving federal funds to Planned Parenthood and block the Iran nuclear deal all in one fell swoop. If those goals seemed quixotic at best, that’s because their very impossibility was the entire point. Cruz, who already has one government shutdown under his belt, planned on getting a second one, just in time for...

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So, How Did Trevor Noah Do On His First Night At ‘The Daily Show’?

by JESSICA GOLDSTEIN – Trevor Noah knows it’s strange for us to see him behind The Daily Show desk. During his debut on Monday night, he spent his opening monologue — a solidly written and gamely performed introduction — assuring us that this experience is even more surreal for him. “Growing up on the dusty streets of South Africa, I never dreamed that I would have, well, two things, really: An indoor toilet, and a job as the host of The Daily Show. And now, I have both. And I’m quite comfortable with one of them.” In a deft, charming start, Noah addressed the behind-the-scenes issues that had been oft-discussed since the announcement not only that Jon Stewart, “our political dad,” was stepping down, but that it would be Noah — not a woman, not an American — replacing him. He acknowledged what is probably an awkward fact for him: That...

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How Trump’s Tax Plan Would Help The Wealthy, Including Trump

by ALICE OLLSTEIN – At a press conference at Trump Towers on Monday unveiling his tax reform plan, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump admitted that he would personally benefit from some of the proposals. “When I do my returns it’ll be much simpler. When I do my returns, they go up to the ceiling and beyond, which is ridiculous,” he said. “You spend millions of dollars at a high level on lawyers and accountants and everything else.” In particular, Trump noted that he will reap benefits from his proposal to offer a tax repatriation holiday for corporations holding profits overseas. This plan — which the U.S. has done before — would allow corporations to pay a tax of just 10 percent instead of the currently required 35 percent. “I have millions of dollars overseas that I can’t get back into this country,” said Trump, whose holdings include at least 16...

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