Rubio uses Senate perch to further big donor’s financial gains

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). REUTERS/Jason Reed

I’m no choir boy.

Perhaps this is just business as usual on Capitol Hill, but to regular Americans, it stinks. Sen. Marco Rubio has been using his influence on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to further the financial ambitions of one of his biggest donors, Paul Singer, who just endorsed Rubio for president.
Singer makes a lot of his money by buying up foreign debt and then suing countries for the full amount if they default on it. That’s exactly what happened in Argentina and Rubio’s done everything in his power to make Argentina pay up, reports International Business Times.

Bloomberg reports that Singer’s firm, Elliott Management — through a subsidiary called NML Capital — invested in the country’s bonds, and after the country defaulted on its debts in 2001, Singer’s firm was one of a few creditors to decline Argentina’s request to reduce its repayments by 65 percent. Instead,

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Cartoon: The real Republican debate

When it comes to Republican presidential candidate silliness, it doesn’t get any better than this. (Oh wait, unless you’re talking about this.) After the recent on-stage mayhem, the GOP presidential candidates are trying to get control of the debate formats. Now multiple campaigns are getting into details like the temperature of the venue— which shall henceforth be a crisp sixty-seven degrees Fahrenheit.

Besides appropriate temperatures, the definition of a “gotcha” question seems to be expanding to include questions about policy and foreign affairs. (You know, things a president should kinda’ sorta know some things about.) I agree that the candidates shouldn’t be hit with unfair questions by the moderators, but in their quest to eliminate the liberal “mainstream media,” they want a campaign event, not a debate.  

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush would be happy if he could just talk about his fantasy football league for an hour or so.

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Are Republicans afraid of confronting Black Lives Matter on the campaign trail?

Republican U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks as U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (L) and Dr. Ben Carson (R) listen at the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate held by CNBC in Boulder, Colorado, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Ri

Is it true? Could it be that the 2016 presidential hopefuls are afraid of running up against the burgeoning movement against police brutality out on the campaign trail?
Except for Donald Trump of course. Trump said back in August that he would fight activists associated with Black Lives Matter if they tried to disrupt one of his speaking engagements.

Physically fight them.

But what of the other Republican presidential candidates? Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Rand Paul appear to have declined a sip of the Hater-Ade that is being passed around to the other presidential hopefuls.  

Most recently, Rubio in particular appears to be making an effort to be thoughtful and sincere in his remarks.  He stated that many of the recent killings of unarmed black men by police “raised strong questions” about whether or not the cops were in the right.

Rubio and Carson have been approached

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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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Cartoon: Pope Francis after one week in the USA

Pope Francis is the “Pope of the People” and arrived this week to his first ever visit to the USA. I hope he had a good time, and I’m sure he adapted well to American culture. This is how I see El Papa after five long days in our fabulous country.

White House all but called the entire Republican Party racist

The White House no longer minces words. President Obama’s administration is using the freedom that comes with not having to run for another election to maximal effect.
The White House called out Donald Trump specifically and the GOP generally for their support of prejudice and intolerance in their policies and actions. This was triggered by Trump’s silence after a supporter made offensive remarks towards Muslims and the president.

The White House was specific. And it had prescient advice for the GOP that it should heed.

“People who hold these offensive views are part of Mr. Trump’s base,” said Josh Earnest. “Mr. Trump himself would be the first to tell you that he’s got the biggest base of any Republican politician these days. Now it is too bad that he wasn’t able to summon the same kind of patriotism that we saw from Senator McCain, who responded much more effectively and directly when one of

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Cartoon: Your Trump tonight

Now that the media sun revolves around the Trump, we all must become accustomed to seeing everything as it relates to The Donald. People, particularly cable news, just can’t avoid the delicious catnip that is Donald Trump. He’s a ratings bonanza in the form of a strange, entertaining billionaire demagogue. But, hey, he makes for good teevee—although he doesn’t make for good Democracy, but who cares, this is about ratings and fun!

Methinks this is what happens when the two predetermined “frontrunners” are from rehashed old political dynasties. People want new and different fun, entertainment, and off-the-cuff jokes and jabs. Now if only we could find someone who had all that AND good solid policy positions on foreign policy, the economy and global warming.  

Mostly missed while we watch the Trump spectacle are things like Bernie Sanders twenty-two (22!) points lead over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.

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Cartoon: Christie to track immigrants like FedEx

Flailing GOP candidate NJ Governor Chris Christie is trying to out-Trump Trump, and so has proposed tracking immigrants like FedEx packages. Christie even fantasized that if elected (yeah, right) he would bring in the head of FedEx Frederick Smith to help him with this problem. Presumably the unobtrusive Big Federal Government of Republican Chris Christie would insert microchips into immigrants so that they don’t overstay their visas. Or there’s another option, a guy named Adolph something tried it in the 1930s and 40s in Germany to keep track of certain people… “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” And be big fat jerks.

Cartoon: Trumpacabra

There is a frightening creature roaming around your animal pen… It’s the legendary bloody goatsucker Donald Trump! He attacks Latino voters constantly, but his diet includes women, immigrants, newscasters and prisoners of war. And he takes no prisoners! Beware, because the Trumpacabra is coming for YOU next!

Cartoon: Trumpacabra

There is a frightening creature roaming around your animal pen… It’s the legendary bloody goatsucker Donald Trump! He attacks Latino voters constantly, but his diet includes women, immigrants, newscasters and prisoners of war. And he takes no prisoners! Beware, because the Trumpacabra is coming for YOU next!

Cartoon: Trump voter wall

That’s right! Donald Trump has a plan for everything, and all his plans are FANTASTIC! Immigration? Build a border wall! Who’s gonna pay for it? Why, Mexico will pay for it! Sure! Even after the fuzzy headed candidate called Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers, and declaring that he will deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants and deny their U.S. citizen children their birthright! All Donald Trump is building a wall that will prevent Latinos from voting for the GOP.

Cartoon: Republican Guns 2016

Sure, it seems like there are a lot of Republicans running for president, but that doesn’t even include the guns who are also trying to get to the Oval Office. As the candidates try to out-tough and out-gun each other, it turns out that the sixteen candidates own at least 40 guns. That’s quite a candidate-to-gun ratio.

Poor Ted Cruz seems to have a weird AR-15 bacon grease fetish as you’ve probably seen by now, and it turns out the candidate named Lindsey has one of the biggest arsenals. (He must be making up for his time as a lawyer in the Air Force who received dubious promotions.) This would all be ridiculously comical if the candidates’ actions, on the campaign trail and in their various day jobs, didn’t actually have an impact on our nation’s gun policy. It would be much funnier if so many people weren’t getting killed

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Cartoon: Great white hunter gets his trophy

The Great White Hunter Donald Trump has bagged his biggest trophy yet- the Republican Party. He hasn’t exactly captured it though, he wants that head on the wall of his future oval-shaped office, no doubt.

Cartoon: Donkey & Elephant support their early favorites

The 2016 Presidential Campaign is already in full swing and the early favorites are starting to gain steam. Why, here’s the Democratic Donkey and the Republican Elephant both proudly displaying their preferred choices for their respective opponents ultimate candidate!

Cartoon: Raising your candidate

In creating this Behavioral Guide for Republicans, my goal is to address a certain rabble-rousing Republican candidate for president whose name rhymes with “rump.” We should be able to talk about the campaign and the issues therein without constantly trumpeting said candidate’s name, right?  

It seems like the GOP, and a good chunk of the media, would be well served by reading a parenting handbook or two. (Any parenting handbook within the last 100 years will do.)  We are feeding the beast, pouring gas on the fire and playing into this vast publicity scheme that will result in higher speaking fees and better reality television deals for the Candidate-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. (At least I hope all that results from this feeding frenzy are better t.v. deals and speaking fees. God save us if the reality show takes place in the Oval Office.)

Let’s hope the cable news

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Cartoon: The hawks begin to circle

Click image to enlarge.

With the Iran agreement in the bag, the hawks are out and on the prowl to tear it down, lest – heaven forbid – words and rational negotiation become recognized as legitimate tools of power. As Winston Churchill said, ‘to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.’ But what did that guy know?

(And a call to arms always sounds so lovely in verse.)

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Follow on Twitter @hendinarts

Cartoon: Burnings and Bushes

Click image for larger view.

Two things this week. First, an image about the self-congratulatory nature of the Confederate flag coming down in South Carolina and moving to the state’s Confederate Relic Room. While a good start (and a massively delayed one – let’s hope the next step doesn’t take another 150 years), this is indeed only the beginning. The flag may be down, but other parts of the Confederacy are alive, well, and have hardly been relegated to relic status.

Secondly, a comic in honor of self-proclaimed serf-herder and wannabe Head-Neocon Bush III (pronounced ay-yi-yi). Now that Jeb! has presciently explained that the path to prosperity is simply paved by the peasants working longer hours, we can all rest easy knowing the solution to America’s economic woes have been so straightforward all along.

Of course, you could opt instead to follow the Ernst Stavro Blofeld-inspired mantra: YOU DO NOT

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Is the GOP-led Congress headed toward a continuing resolution … again?

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speak at a news conference about the U.S. debt ceiling crisis at the U.S. Capitol in Washington July 30, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  

Guess what? CR talk is back! That’s right, the dreaded continuing resolution—the fallback to passing real appropriations bills that are rationally related to the government’s funding needs. Instead, the CR just keeps the government funded at the previous year’s levels. CRs have basically become the norm over the last handful of years, but Republicans were going to fix all that, reports Rachael Bade.

This was supposed to be the year of regular order — the year the new, GOP-controlled Congress would return Capitol Hill to the days when lawmakers actually scrutinized each spending bill, ensuring Uncle Sam was funding top priorities and minimizing government waste.
Instead, Republicans and Democrats say they’re spiraling toward the one thing both sides want to avoid: another continuing resolution that essentially keeps government funding on autopilot from one year to the next.

The main issue roiling lawmakers is that Republicans want to expand the Pentagon’s

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Cartoon: Bush spawn returns

declare his candidacy for president. While he was on his listening-to-the-people tour and considering his candidacy, Jeb was acting as the chief fundraiser for his “independent” super PAC, Right to Rise.
Once you’ve declared yourself a candidate, you can’t be directly involved with a supposedly independent super PAC that can vacuum up unlimited cash. So that’s why Jeb was such a good, long, slow and thorough listener, it gave him ample time to stuff his coffers with $100 million. Sure, other candidates are doing slimy fundraising dances as well, but Jeb is leading the pack right now when it comes to pushing the election law envelope.  

Federal election law says that anyone who raises or spends $5000 while trying to become president must abide by fundraising and disclosure rules. But, if you’re just considering becoming a candidate, well, $100 million can be yours! That’s why there seem to be

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White House briefing room evacuated by Secret Service during televised briefing

The White House daily briefing was cut short Tuesday when reporters were evacuated by the U.S. Secret Service during the question-and-answer session due to security concerns.Reporters present at the event said they were taken out of the basement room at the West Wing at around 2:10 p.m. and led across the street to the South Court auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Press secretary Josh Earnest and his aides went into another section of the building, reporters said.Read full article >>