Gun violence is so boring. Now, about Hillary’s emails …

President Barack Obama speaks with reporter Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes

President Obama has been making pointed comments of late as to America’s need to maybe, someday, possibly do something about our nation’s constant background noise of Unstable Person Buys Gun, Unstable Person Starts Killing People. He was asked about this in his 60 Minutes interview this week, but doing something about mass murders was deemed too boring to make for good television.

During the interview that aired Sunday night, Kroft pressed Obama six times about Clinton’s emails.
No questions about gun violence made it into the portions of the interview CBS aired. But it turns out Kroft actually did actually raise the topic of gun violence with Obama during the Q&A, but 60 Minutes editors cut that portion out of the final TV interview. (Viewers can only see Obama and Kroft’s exchange about gun violence online.)

That’s right. What America wants to hear about, the week after pretty much

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GOP Senate gets mad, mad, mad and stops confirming Obama’s nominees

Congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Let’s just say it: Tom Cotton appears to have anger management issues.

Tom Cotton was livid that top Secret Service officials had leaked unflattering information about a GOP congressman who had become one of the embattled agency’s highest-profile critics.
So the freshman Republican senator from Arkansas quickly settled on his payback: He would indefinitely stall ambassadorial nominees to Sweden, Norway and the Bahamas — a former White House counsel, plus two Obama campaign bundlers — until the administration investigated the Secret Service’s misconduct.

It’s not just Cotton holding up nominations. Republican senators such as Ted Cruz, John McCain and Chuck Grassley are deploying the tactic at an unprecedented level in their ongoing war with the White House. Right now, eight ambassadorial nominees are waiting on the Senate floor to be confirmed, and more than 100 other nominations are languishing in committee.

Of course, Republicans say this is all fair game

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Donald Trump puts the Secret Service ‘on notice’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Dallas, Texas September 14, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Stone - RTS140B

Barack Obama had Secret Service protection in 2007, so Donald Trump thinks he deserves it in 2015.

“I want to put them on notice because they should have a liability,” he said. “Personally, I think if Obama were doing as well as me he would’ve had Secret Service [earlier]. I have by far the biggest crowds.”

And as we know, the American record of billionaire blowhards being assassinated is on par with the American record of historic black political figures being assassinated, so it’s a no-brainer that the Secret Service should be on it.
Trump jokingly suggested that his lack of Secret Service protection is partisan, but it seems like there’s another explanation:

“Of course I don’t think they’d want anything to happen. But I would think they should be very proactive and want protection for somebody like me that has 20,000 people at any time,” Trump said. “You

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Senate Republicans decide on their debt ceiling hostages: Social Security and Medicare

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) holds a news conference after the weekly party caucus policy luncheons at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, March 10, 2015.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT) - RTR4STHJ

Mitch McConnell is drawing up the list of hostages he plans to take as part of debt ceiling negotiations. With the debt ceiling approaching on November 5, the Senate majority leader is ready to make some serious demands in exchange for Republicans not forcing the United States to default on its debts:

McConnell is seeking a reduction in cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security recipients and new restrictions on Medicare, including limiting benefits to the rich and raising the eligibility age, several sources said. In addition, the Kentucky Republican is eager to see new policy riders enacted, including reining in the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean water regulations.

And, of course, if President Obama gives in to McConnell’s demands on Social Security and Medicare, Republicans will spend the next year blanketing the airwaves with ads blaming Democrats for cutting Social Security and Medicare. However, according to a White House spokeswoman, “Proposals such

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Between Holocaust and slavery analogies, Republicans choose both

Former neurosurgeon-turned-2016 GOP White House hopeful Ben Carson raised some eyebrows last week with his declaration that gun control enabled the rise of Adolf Hitler and the annihilation of European Jewry in the Holocaust. But no one who has followed “the biggest fan of Nazi metaphors in politics” should have been surprised by Carson’s grotesque talking point. Besides, Dr. Carson has plenty of company among conservatives playing the Holocaust card against gun control, the national debt, Obamacare, taxing the wealthy, marriage equality and just about every other public policy and societal trend they detest.
But the incendiary all-Auschwitz, all-the-time rhetoric of the right isn’t just a disgusting assault on decency and the truth. As it turns out, many of the same Republican sound bite regurgitators have already vomited up American slavery as their go-to slander for all they hate about the Age of Obama.

Consider, for example, how

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Nobody is going to take your precious guns!

guns

The United Guns of America

After every mass shooting, we hear the same cries from the most fervent gun rights supporters. This shooting will be the one that Obama and the “libs” will use to take away their guns. There is no remorse or sympathy for the victims’ families. There is, however, blame and contempt toward the victims for not carrying a firearm, and an unfounded fear that the government is going to take their guns.
These are the same people who claim that government cannot do anything right. Let that sink in for a minute: The government that is so incompetent that it cannot be trusted to provide even the most basic services is somehow going to come and take away their guns. The sheer ridiculousness of this argument is, well, insane.

As of 2007, there were an estimated 270 million privately owned firearms in this country. That number

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Obama talks up TPP in weekly address in a sales pitch to American people


There’s a reason this Trans-Pacific Partnership took five years to negotiate. I wanted to get the best possible deal for American workers. And that is what we’ve done. Here’s why it matters.

President Obama explained and promoted the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in this morning’s weekly address, claiming the agreement’s export provisions will make it a job creator here in the United States.

Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders — 95 percent. They want to buy American products. They want our cars; our music; our food. And if American businesses can sell more of their products in those markets, they can expand and support good jobs here at home.

Exports “support” about 12 million American jobs, the president told listeners, and helped the country recover from the recent recession. Still, TPP addresses problems he sees that put the United States at a disadvantage: high taxes

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Obama weighs expanding background checks on guns with new executive order

Barack Obama, seated in chair, leaning back, right profile.

As President Obama headed to Oregon Friday to meet with the families of the Umpqua Community College shooting victims, his aides were revisiting an executive order that would require more gun dealers to conduct background checks on buyers. Juliet Eilperin reports:

The proposed executive action aims to impose background checks on individuals who buy from dealers who sell a significant number of guns each year. The current federal statute dictates that those who are “engaged in the business” of dealing firearms need to obtain a federal license — and, therefore, conduct background checks — but exempts anyone “who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms.”
White House officials drafted the proposal in late 2013 to apply to those dealers who sell at least 50

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Hostage-taking Republicans say White House is playing politics with debt ceiling

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks to reporters during the 14th day of the partial government shut down in Washington on October 14, 2013. U.S. senators said they were closing in on a deal Monday that would reopen the government and push back a possible

Really, Susan Collins? Really?

The financial press is getting increasingly jittery about the prospects of not having a debt ceiling hike at the beginning of November. This week’s bedlam in the House has only heightened those fears, on Wall Street and among anyone who is paying attention. Because the U.S. defaulting on its debt is kind of a big deal. A big unprecedented deal.
Note that, as the Fiscal Times reports the “current debt ceiling suspension expired in March, and since then officials have had to rely on cash reserves, shuffling money back and forth, and accounting gimmicks, known as ‘extraordinary measures.'” Extraordinary measures are expiring, and by November 5, the government will have less than $30 billion in cash. But because Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew—and President Obama—have drawn the line at negotiating with the Republican terrorists who would take the debt ceiling hostage, Senate Republicans are insisting

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Rupert Murdoch is sorry about that whole ‘real black president’ comment

Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, arrives at New York State Supreme Court with his lawyers in New York, November 20, 2013. Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, and his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng a

Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News—and a whole host of other right-wing propaganda sites—is really sorry for sending out this obnoxious, racist tweet about President Obama on Wednesday night:


It took about 12 hours and a boatload of outrage for Murdoch to clarify:

Well, okay then. That’s mighty white of you Rupert. Carry on.

Mitch McConnell plays stupid political tricks while budget crisis looms

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) holds a news conference after the weekly party caucus policy luncheons at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, March 10, 2015.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT) - RTR4STHJ

Last week, news broke that Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner were meeting with President Obama on negotiating a two-year budget. Turns out, that information came from McConnell and was another move to screw over Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, even if just a little, and to make the process of negotiating a budget that much harder.

Reid and House Minority Nancy Pelosi thought they had an agreement with Republicans that a private conversation between GOP leaders and President Barack Obama about the budget would not be publicly disclosed—an effort to protect the early talks from political attacks.
But on Tuesday, with a little prompting from a reporter, Senate Majority Leader McConnell divulged that he’d been talking to the president along with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The Kentucky Republican conveniently didn’t mention Senate Minority Leader Reid or Pelosi, who will both ultimately be integral to the talks despite

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View from the left—How progressive change happens and doesn’t

Climate activists

The climate change community had two big weeks in a row starting with Hillary Clinton finally coming out against the Keystone XL pipeline and then Shell Oil announcing that it would cease and desist drilling in the Arctic. They were both hard-fought wins. One proved that the pounding paddles of hundreds of “kayaktivists” can actually make a hundred-billion-dollar company blink and the other was yet another reminder that Democratic politicians often have to be backed into a corner before they do the right thing.
Hillary’s Keystone pronouncement came after she was asked a simple “yes” or “no” question by Drake University student Clio Cullison: Did she support construction of Keystone XL? Clinton responded in kind. “I oppose it,” she said, adding that she now felt she had a “responsibility” to tell voters. But it was a long time in coming, starting five years ago this month

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View from the left—How progressive change happens and doesn’t

Climate activists

The climate change community had two big weeks in a row starting with Hillary Clinton finally coming out against the Keystone XL pipeline and then Shell Oil announcing that it would cease and desist drilling in the Arctic. They were both hard-fought wins. One proved that the pounding paddles of hundreds of “kayaktivists” can actually make a hundred-billion-dollar company blink and the other was yet another reminder that Democratic politicians often have to be backed into a corner before they do the right thing.
Hillary’s Keystone pronouncement came after she was asked a simple “yes” or “no” question by Drake University student Clio Cullison: Did she support construction of Keystone XL? Clinton responded in kind. “I oppose it,” she said, adding that she now felt she had a “responsibility” to tell voters. But it was a long time in coming, starting five years ago this month

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Obama to Congress: Do your job and pass a budget

Now, on Wednesday, more than half of Republicans in Congress voted to shut down the government for the second time in two years. Fortunately, there were enough votes in both parties to pass a last-minute bill to keep the government open for another ten weeks. Unfortunately, that gimmick only sets up another shutdown threat two weeks before Christmas.

For the umpteenth time, President Obama has had to use his weekly address to remind Congress to … you know, govern. And he had a short, sweet, and explicit message to legislators:

…  I will not sign another shortsighted, short-term spending bill like the one Congress sent me this week.

After criticizing the short-sighted sequester, the president used the example of not investing in education as a perfect case of fiscal stupidity, bound to undermine the country in the long run.
The whole message of the address is pretty clear:

Congress should do its

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Republicans want prayer, Democrats want change in response to latest mass shooting

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about the shootings in Oregon from the White House in Washington October 1,  2015. Obama on Thursday angrily repeated that gun laws needed to be changed after the latest mass murder in Oregon and took aim at the powerful gun lobby for blocking reform.   REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  - RTS2O4I

The presidential candidates responded to Thursday’s mass shooting at Umpqua Community College with prayers, talk of mental illness, and calls for stronger gun laws. Can you guess which party each of those responses came from?
Jeb Bush, George Pataki, and Mike Huckabee offered prayers. John Kasich offered “thoughts and prayers.” Donald Trump and Ben Carson were on Team Blame Mental Illness, with no explanation of why mental illness in the United States seems to lead to so much more gun violence than in other countries.

“It sounds like another mental health problem. So many of these people, they’re coming out of the woodwork,” Trump said, the Washington Post reported. “We have to really get to the bottom of it. It’s so hard to even talk about these things, because you see them and it’s such a tragedy.”

Carson got in a double shot, blaming mental

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Obama addresses nation after yet another mass shooting

Reports on the number of casualties continue to vary, but Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin confirmed late today that at least ten people have died.

Majority of House Republicans vote to shut down government over women’s health, and lose

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (C), Representative Jason Smith (R-MO) (2nd R) and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) (R) speak to reporters after a tour of DC Central Kitchen with the organization's CEO Mike Curtin (L) in Washi

Kevin McCarthy, already a sell-out before he’s even Speaker.

Five out of eight Republican House members voted to shut down government over women’s health care on Wednesday. Just 91 of them voted with Democrats and, in the words of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, “[o]ne-hundred and fifty one Republicans decided their obsession with women’s health was more important than the thousands of disabled veterans, disadvantaged children and working families who would pay the price of another government shutdown.” That vote, and how candidates for leadership voted, doesn’t bode well for the future of the Republican conference and a functioning Congress.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who is the favorite to succeed Boehner as speaker, voted for the bill, along with Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who wants to be the majority leader, and Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, who wants to be whip. Rep.

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House passes stop-gap budget, along with toothless Planned Parenthood show vote

Screenshot of final vote numbers in House on continuing resolution, 9/30/2015

The House passed the stop-gap funding bill sent over from the Senate, which passed it this morning, with a 277-151 vote. The 151 were solely Republicans. This bill continues to fund Planned Parenthood and keeps the government’s doors open until December 11.
Because House Republicans are deplorable people, they couldn’t simply pass a clean stop-gap funding bill. They had to attach an enrollment resolution, a “correction” that would defund Planned Parenthood as a separate vote. It was completely a show vote, it won’t pass the Senate—it won’t be taken up by the Senate—and President Obama will get the “clean” continuing resolution on his desk in time to sign it by tonight’s midnight deadline. But enough of the House conservatives were happy to take this meaningless vote that only three of them voted against it, and it passed 241-185. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) voted “present,” according to C-SPAN. Because

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President Obama starting talks with Boehner, McConnell on budget deal

U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a luncheon for bi-partisan Congressional leaders in the Old Family Dining Room at the White House in Washington, November 7, 2014. From L-R are Speaker of the House John Boehner, Obama, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConn

Making the most of House Speaker John Boehner’s last weeks in office, in which he can negotiate without the constraints of a bloc of extremists threatening his job, he has joined in budget talks with President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Boehner apparently wants to have a broader budget deal in place before he leaves, but his successor might not be so keen.

Boehner on Sunday signaled his interest in getting a deal done, saying he wanted to “clean up the barn a little bit before the next guy gets here.”
Yet the talks could be a real problem for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is running for Speaker and could find himself under pressure to object to any negotiations Boehner engages in with McConnell (R-Ky.), the White House and Democrats. […]

McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he and Boehner spoke to Obama

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Obama promotes prescription drug abuse prevention plan in weekly address

Today, September 26th, is “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.”  It’s a day where you can safely, conveniently, and responsibly dispose of expired and unwanted prescription drugs at collection sites in your community.

In a week chock full of news—a papal visit, a joint meeting with the Chinese president, and the announcement of the unexpectedly sudden resignation of House Speaker John Boehner—President Obama chose to focus this morning’s weekly address on … prescription drug abuse.
Perhaps the week was so busy the White House didn’t want to be forced to choose between events?

At any rate, he discussed not just the take-back day, but the administration’s prescription drug abluse prevention plan:

We’ve been partnering with communities to combat overdoses, and we’re seeing some promising results. That’s why the budget I put forward this year would build on those efforts. It would make critical investments in things like drug monitoring programs, equipping

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