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Republican response to Islamic State? Playing politics, what else?

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 09:00
President Barack Obama meets with advisors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) As November approaches, Republicans are seizing on the Middle East as a valuable opportunity for some fear campaigning:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a new TV commercial that opens with a brief clip of an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militant firing a weapon, with the narrator intoning that “these are serious times.” In New Hampshire, Senate candidate Scott Brown is out with a Web ad that plays President Barack Obama’s ill-spoken “We don’t have a strategy yet” line and brands the president a foreign policy “failure.” And last weekend, Iowa Senate hopeful Joni Ernst, in a speech to fellow veterans, bemoaned “the president’s inability or unwillingness to present a strategy aimed at eradicating the growing threat” of ISIL. While Republicans are falling over themselves to attack the president, though, one thing you won't hear much of is actual, concrete ideas from them, ideas that they'll go so far as bringing up for a vote. Rep. Jack Kingston recently offered this plain, honest explanation for why that is:
“It’s an election year. A lot of Democrats don’t know how it would play in their party, and Republicans don’t want to change anything. We like the path we’re on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long.” But you don't need to have a plan, let alone one that Americans would embrace, to run an ad attacking Obama, so ... yay! Republicans across the nation, rejoice. And play on the fears of Americans who've watched a beheading video, and imply that there's a simple answer that won't lead to more years of war. You know, the Republican playbook.

Obama is speaking on his ISIL/ISIS plans Wednesday evening at 9 PM EDT; Daily Kos will be liveblogging the speech.

Cartoon: The nude selfie sage

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 08:50

Ted Cruz: Citizens United amendment would end 'Saturday Night Live'

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 08:42
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (C) departs the Senate floor after a late-night vote rejected budget legislation from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 30, 2013. The U.S. government was on the edg Is there anyone on the Saturday Night Live crew that is oily enough to impersonate this gasbag?
Sen. Ted Cruz says the comedy of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” is at risk and creator Lorne Michaels could be thrown in jail if a proposed Constitutional amendment on campaign finance is passed.

“Congress would have the power to make it a criminal offense, Lorne Michaels could be put in jail under this amendment for making fun of any politician. That is extraordinary. It is breathtaking and it is dangerous,” the Texas Republican argued on the Senate floor on Tuesday, with a board of stills from the late-night sketch show displayed behind him.

His argument is based on the fact that "NBC which airs Saturday Night Live, is a corporation." So because it's a corporation, Cruz asserts, its political speech would be subject to the law. Which is, of course, bullshit. What SNL does to lampoon politicians is actual political speech. What the Kochs, for example, do is undermine democracy by throwing unlimited amounts of money into campaigns to buy lawmakers who will do their bidding.

What this amendment would do is allow Congress to regulate the raising and spending of money. Contra the Supreme Court and Cruz, making fun of a politician on national TV and spending unlimited amounts of money without disclosure is not the same thing.

The Senate continues debate on this amendment Wednesday and will have a voice vote to move the bill forward to a final vote, which is expected Thursday.

Please send a personalized email to your senators, asking them to vote yes on repealing Citizens United.

The Daily Show: Thoroughly Modern Militants

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 08:21
Jon Stewart discussing "thoroughly modern militants" After learning from Fox News that the United States was back at war, Jon Stewart slapped on his war lapel pin and dissected the latest threat–thoroughly modern militants.
What is wrong with these people? They just storm into a country like Iraq, uninvited, and destroy the place? These people aren't just terrorists, they are plagiarists. Jump below the fold to see the segment:

Stephen Colbert absolutely destroys Scott Brown

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 07:34
Stephen Colbert absolutely destroyed "understudy in the Mitt Romney musical" Scott Brown last night, blasting away at his carpetbagging, bumbling campaign, and lame attempts to win over women voters. This one is a must see. Full video after the jump.

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9am ET!

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 07:30
A-ha! You're busted, bear! I KNEW that was you! Disgusting! You're not the only one in these woods, you know. Totally random photo today. I just look to see what's been uploaded to the Daily Kos Image Library lately, and take whatever's there.

It's a nice photo, though! Uploaded by Diogenes2008, so I'll guess it's hers. Does that count as attribution? Probably not how it was meant to be used, though. But it does lend a quiet dignity to the poop joke.

Anyway, it's Wednesday, and that means it's Joan McCarter day!

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Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 07:17
C&J Banner


Today's Boring Correction

In calling for a boycott of the Target chain of stores because the company now supports marriage rights for same-sex couples, the American Family Association writes:

[E]very Christian in this nation should let Target know it is out of step with the majority of Americans who support natural marriage. Let's check some 2014 poll results and see what percent of Americans are for marriage equality and against it:
Gallup: 55% For vs. 42% Against. Money quote: Same-Sex Marriage Support Reaches New High.

McClatchy-Marist: 54% For vs. 38% Against. Money quote: A solid majority support same-sex marriage, confirming the fast-turning tide that’s started appearing over the last three years.

CBS News: 54% For vs. 39% Against. Money quote: Hispanics are more in step with a majority of Americans on the issue of same sex marriage. More Hispanics think same-sex marriage should be legal (50 percent) than not legal (44 percent).

ABC News-Washington Post: 56% For vs. 38% Against. Money quote: [A] solid majority  supports it, and half go so far as to say that it is a right protected by the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause…

Bloomberg National: 55% For vs. 36% Against. Money quote: Only 18 percent of Americans say they’d like to live in a state that makes it tougher on gays to marry.

In fact, it is the American Family Association that is out of step with the majority of Americans. Being such sticklers for not bearing false witness against their neighbors, we're sure they regret the error.

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Why you shouldn't ignore South Dakota's Senate race

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 07:00
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest banner Want the scoop on hot races around the country? Get the digest emailed to you each weekday morning. Sign up here. Leading Off:

SD-Sen: A new SurveyUSA poll in South Dakota will definitely once again have Democrats wondering if their chances might be better if a prominent candidate dropped out of the race—only this time, it's the independent who's holding the Democrat back and not the other way around. In a four-way race, Republican Mike Rounds has a solid, if unspectacular-looking, 39-28 lead on Democrat Rick Weiland, with centrist independent Larry Pressler nipping at Weiland's heels with 25, and conservative independent Gordon Howie at 3.

But Pressler, a former Republican who's migrated leftward since leaving office 20 years ago and has twice endorsed Barack Obama, is definitely hurting Weiland much more than he is Rounds. Fifty-five percent of his supporters say they'd back Weiland if Pressler were not in the race while just 23 percent would go to the Republican. And indeed, in a three-way matchup without Pressler, Rounds leads Weiland by just a thin 44-42 margin. (Howie's vote share isn't quite clear, since he's lumped in with the undecideds.)

These results suggest that South Dakota could be much more competitive if Pressler fades, or better yet, bails altogether. And no, it's not realistic or even sensible to imagine that Weiland might defer to Pressler. Weiland is running a real campaign and has $450,000 in the bank, compared to $750,000 for Rounds. Pressler barely has a tenth of Weiland's stash and is relying almost entirely on earned media and residual name recognition from his time in the Senate.

In other words, Pressler's the Chad Taylor in this situation, so if he's serious about wanting to defeat Rounds, he should be thinking very hard about bowing out and backing Weiland.

Economics Daily Digest: Could a left-wing Tea Party unite progressives?

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 06:57
Economics Daily Digest by the Roosevelt Institute banner

By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal

Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest.

Why We Need a Left Wing Tea Party (The Daily Beast)

Sally Kohn calls on progressive factions to follow the Tea Party's lead and throw all their weight behind uncompromising candidates who are strong on every progressive issue.

Labor Market Unchanged According to July Job Openings Data (EPI)

Comparing job openings data to unemployment, Elise Gould points out that over half of the unemployed were not going to find work in July no matter what they did, because the jobs don't exist.

Government Debt Isn't the Problem—Private Debt Is (The Atlantic)

Richard Vague writes that financial crises can be tied to too-high and rapidly growing private debt, which means policy solutions need to focus on debt relief for low- and middle-income people.

Were Fast-Food Workers Paid to Strike and Protest? (The Guardian)

The answer is no, writes Jana Kasperkevic. That rumor is a corruption of the union strike fund, a pool set aside to help pay for striking workers' arrest fines and lost wages.

Warren Faults Banking Regulators for Lack of Criminal Prosecutions (WSJ)

While Senator Warren focused on the Federal Reserve, Senator Shelby blamed the DoJ for seeking fines instead of jail time for banking executives, report Ryan Tracy and Victoria McGrane.

Want to Fix the Jobs Crisis? Build a Federally Funded Worker Education Infrastructure (TAP)

Good job training programs – the kind that see both students and employers as clients – can be highly successful, writes Paul Osterman, but they're small and difficult to scale up.

The OECD’s Latest Report is Burdened by Economic Myths (AJAM)

Philip Pilkington says that until economic policymakers stop assuming that economies rebalance themselves and that high government debt is the real problem, good policy change is unlikely.

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Cuomo with mediocre win; Dems brace for November

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 06:30
~90% of gov incumbents get a higher % of vote than Cuomo is getting right now in his primary...
@ForecasterEnten Wow. Cuomo may be cruising statewide, but he can't be happy Zephyr Teachout is winning 19 counties right now. #NYGOV
@Redistrict Stuart Rothenberg: While the current Rothenberg Political Report ratings don’t show it, I am now expecting a substantial Republican Senate wave in November, with a net gain of at least seven seats.

But I wouldn’t be shocked by a larger gain.

Rothenberg Political Report ratings reflect both where a race stands and, more importantly, where it is likely headed on Election Day. Since early polls rarely reflect the eventual November environment, either in terms of the candidates’ name recognition and resources or of the election’s dynamic, there is often a gap between how I categorize each race (my ratings) and what I privately assume will happen in November.

Charlie Cook: The Democrats whom I have talked and emailed with in recent weeks seem increasingly resigned to an ugly midterm election. Of course, it's not likely to be the wipeout that 2010 was—after all, in the House, the best news for Democrats is that you can't lose seats you don't have. After losing 63 seats in 2010 and getting only eight back in 2012, Democrats don't have that many more they can lose.

While the contest for the majority in the Senate has many facets, none is more important than whether Democrats can hold onto any of their six most vulnerable seats: those that are up in states that Mitt Romney carried in 2012. Three of them—the open seats in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia—look pretty hopeless for Democrats. The remaining three incumbents—Mark Begich in Alaska, where Romney won by 14 points; Mark Pryor in Arkansas, which Romney carried by 24 points; and Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, where Romney won by 17 points—all look increasingly problematic for Democrats. And, of course, what happens in states where Obama and Romney were reasonably close—as in Colorado (Mark Udall), North Carolina (Kay Hagan), and the Iowa open seat—is also key. So, too, are the outcomes in GOP-held states and in strong Obama states. If Democrats get wiped out in red states, that could be the whole ball game when it comes to Senate control. They had better knock off a Republican seat somewhere and sweep the purple states.

This election is far from over, but if Democrats return to town after their August break pretty skittish, I wouldn't be surprised.

Democrats can take IA, CO and NC. But they have to win somewhere else, or they'll lose the Senate.

More politics and policy below the fold.