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“We’re better than that!” Thank you Rep. Elijah Cummings

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There are many moments that will stand out for me, from the 10 hour abusive bullying “Benghazi hearing” circus conducted by Republicans which attempted to break former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and failed.

Of course there is Mrs. Clinton herself.

Brava Hillary!

I will never forget Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who came powerfully to her defense, and to the defense of what democracy is supposed to look like, and not the 10 hour travesty we witnessed.

“We’re better than that!”

Elijah Cummings Offers Passionate Defense of Hillary Clinton

Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Benghazi committee, offered a full-throated defense of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s honor, apologizing to her for his colleagues who suggested that she did not care for the people who died on her watch.

“I don’t know what we want from you,” Mr. Cummings said, accusing Republicans of using taxpayer dollars to try to destroy Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign. “Do we want to badger you over and over again until you do get so tired so we get the gotcha moment?”

Clearly touched by his words, Mrs. Clinton thanked Mr. Cummings and said that she had done all that she could to answer more than ten hours of questions. She then expressed hope that, somehow, statesmanship could overcome partisanship.

“It is deeply unfortunate that something as serious as what happened in Benghazi could ever be used for partisan political purposes,” she said. “I’m hoping that we can move forward together.”

Emailghazipalooza starring Trey Gowdy, Partisan Hack

Today, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, or as it is called internally, the House Permanent Committee to Find Stuff That Will Make Hillary Clinton’s Poll Numbers Go Down.

CSPAN3 will be carrying the inquisition live at this link:

Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which is investigating the events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate there, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others died.

Airing LIVE Thursday, Oct 22 10:00am EDT on C-SPAN3

UPDATE: The Clinton campaign will be Tweeting here: The Briefing 2016

From the Clinton campaign: Hillary Clinton is testifying on Capitol Hill today. Here’s what you need to know.

The Benghazi Committee, explained.

Hillary is on Capitol Hill today, testifying in front of the House Select Benghazi Committee. Here’s what it’s all about.

What happened in Benghazi

On September 11, 2012, a group of Islamic militia members attacked a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed in the terrorist attack: U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glenn Doherty, and Tyrone Woods.

For Hillary, who was serving as secretary of state at the time, the tragedy is personal. She was the one who had asked the late Chris Stevens to serve as ambassador to Libya. She was with President Obama at Andrews Air Force Base when Marines brought home the caskets of the four Americans. Anyone who knows Hillary knows she isn’t the kind of person to stand around wringing her hands after a tragedy—she leapt into action immediately to prevent anything like this from ever happening again. […]

What you’ll hear today

“No one wants to find out what happened more than I do.”

Hillary, October 24, 2012

Hillary’s first priority is to get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi. That’s the right thing to do—and the way to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That’s why she has already testified on Capitol Hill about the tragedy (twice, in fact), and she has been asking to testify before the this committee for more than a year so that the public can hear her answers.

Republicans, on the other hand, are going to exploit whatever they can to mislead voters about Hillary’s record. They’ll grill her about emails and anything else they can think of to discredit her.

But here’s what Hillary is going to do: stay focused, clarify the facts, and offer some lessons that we can learn to protect Americans going forward. The men and women who serve our country deserve nothing less.

I think she will be ready:

“The Republicans finally admit it” …

McCarthy: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. What are her numbers today?”

“The Republicans have spent millions attacking Hillary because she’s fighting for everything they oppose, from affordable health care to equal pay, she’ll never stop fighting for you and the Republicans know it,”

More analysis and commentary below the fold …

Oh, Canada!!

In a stunning upset, Liberals gained 150 seats in Parliament and will form a Liberal government. The conservative government of Stephen Harper lost their majority of 166 seats to end up with 99 after the voting was done.


(Your party on demagoguery: sooner or later those Canadian geese will come home to roost.)

Canadians not only rejected the hatemongering of Prime Minister Stephen Harper but austerity and the anti-government rhetoric of the Conservatives.

From the CBC:

Justin Trudeau will be Canada’s next prime minister after leading the Liberal Party to a stunning majority government win, dashing the hopes of Stephen Harper, who had been seeking his fourth consecutive mandate, but will now step down as party leader.

This will be the second time for Canada to be led by a Trudeau, as the 43-year-old Liberal leader follows in the footsteps of his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who served as prime minister for almost 16 years before retiring in 1984.

Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau addresses his nation:

From The Guardian

“In Canada better is always possible,” a hoarse but jubilant Trudeau told cheering supporters at Liberal headquarters in Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth hotel.

He added: “This is what positive politics can do. This is what a positive, hopeful, a hopeful vision, and a platform and a team together can make happen.

“Canadians from all across this great country sent a clear message tonight, it’s time for a change in this country, my friends, a real change.” […]

And in an implicit rebuke to Harper – who had attempted to exploit a row over Muslim women’s right to cover their face – he said: “We know in our bones that Canada was built by people from all corners of the world, who worship every faith, who belong to every culture, who speak every language.”

Weekly Address: President Obama – Working for Meaningful Criminal Justice Reform

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President highlighted the problems in our criminal justice system. Our country faces a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration that traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. There are 2.2 million people behind bars in America today, compared to 500,000 just 30 years ago. This topic isn’t new – the President has talked about the unfairness of much of the criminal justice system since his time in the Senate. And while we’ve taken steps to address this issue, members of both parties agree that we can do more. Over the next few weeks, the President will travel the country and meet with Americans who are working to fix the criminal justice system, from law enforcement officials working to lower the crime and incarceration rates, to former prisoners who are earning their second chance. And he promised to continue to work with Congress to pass meaningful criminal justice reform that makes the system cost-effective, fairer, and smarter, while enhancing the ability of law enforcement to keep our communities safe.

THE PRESIDENT: “Justice has never been easy to achieve, but it’s always been worth fighting for.”

Today in History: Martin Luther King, Jr. is Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

October 14, 1964:

In 1964 Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his dynamic leadership of the Civil Rights movement and steadfast commitment to achieving racial justice through nonviolent action. King accepted the award on December 10, 1964 in Oslo, Norway on behalf of the Civil Rights movement and pledged the prize money to the movement’s continued development. At the age of thirty-five, King became the the youngest man, and only the second African American, to receive the prestigious award.

(Martin Luther King Jr. held his acceptance speech in the auditorium of the University of Oslo on 10 December 1964.)

Dr. King:

Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.[…]

I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

Full transcript below.

Democratic Party Primary Debate: October 13, 2015

Tonight, five candidates seeking the Democratic Party presidential nomination will meet in Las Vegas at a debate telecast on CNN (8:30pm Eastern time).

UPDATED with Transcript from WaPo:
The CNN Democratic debate transcript, annotated
(“annotated” means that they have added ‘fact checking’ and additional information in pop up links)

The stage has been set and these are the candidates:

From left to right:
– Jim Webb, former Democratic Senator from Virginia, Secretary of the Navy under Republican president Ronald Reagan
– Bernie Sanders, independent Senator from Vermont
– Hillary Clinton, former Democratic Senator from New York, former Secretary of State under Democratic president Barack Obama.
– Martin O’Malley, former Democratic Governor of Maryland
– Lincoln Chafee, former Republican Senator from Rhode Island, former independent Governor of Rhode Island.

One thing is clear: running against the policies of President Obama is not likely to be a path to success in the Democratic Party primaries. From Pew Polls:

Democrats have remained very loyal to President Barack Obama.
In our September poll, Obama’s overall job rating is 46%, but Democrats are overwhelmingly supportive of the president. Fully 83% of Democrats approve of the way Obama is handling his job, compared with 43% of independents and just 9% of Republicans.

Democratic voters want the next president to continue Obama’s policies.
In our most recent survey, 61% of possible Democratic primary voters said they would be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who offers programs similar to the Obama administration.

Commentary from news outlets below the fold …

Weekly Address: President Obama – Writing the Rules for a Global Economy

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President spoke to the merits of the high-standards trade agreement reached this past week. The Trans-Pacific Partnership helps level the playing field for American workers and businesses, so we can export more Made-in-America products all over the world, supporting higher-paying American jobs here at home. The President acknowledged that past trade agreements have not always lived up to expectations, but emphasized that this is a good deal, with the strongest commitments on labor and environment of any trade agreement in history. It reflects America’s values and gives our workers the fair shot at success they deserve. The President encouraged everyone to read the agreement, which will be available online well before he signs it, and looked forward to working with lawmakers from both parties as they consider and approve this deal.

Good Government: Preserving and Protecting Our Oceans and Waterways

Yesterday, President Obama announced the designation of two new marine sanctuaries, one in Wisconsin and one in Maryland, as part of his video greeting to the “2015 Our Ocean Conference” in Chile.


(President Obama to the 2015 Our Ocean Conference: Click image to view video)

FACT SHEET:

Today, in a video message to the “Our Ocean” conference participants in Chile, President Obama will announce that the Administration is taking the next steps to create two new marine sanctuaries – one in the tidal waters of Maryland, and one in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan waters. He will also announce new steps to tackle illegal fishing. During the closing of the conference, the State Department will announce additional steps and commitments from the United States and other governments and partners from around the world to protect our oceans.

Across the country, Americans depend on the ocean for food, jobs, and recreation. However, our ocean and marine ecosystems are increasingly threatened. Climate change is causing sea levels and ocean temperatures to rise. Changing temperatures harm coral reefs and force certain species to migrate. In addition, carbon pollution is being absorbed by the oceans, causing them to acidify, which damages coastal shellfish beds and reefs, altering entire marine ecosystems. Currently, the rate of acidification of our oceans is increasing 10 to 100 times faster than any time in the past 55 million years.

This week, Chile is hosting the second “Our Ocean” conference to bring the nations of the world together to address these challenges. The U.S. State Department hosted the first version of the conference in 2014 pledging to promote sustainable fisheries, reduce marine pollution, and stem ocean acidification.

Weekly Address: President Obama – Congress Should Do its Job and Pass a Serious Budget

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President emphasized that we need to do everything we can to strengthen economic growth and job creation. This week, despite the fact that more than half of Republicans in Congress voted to shut down the government for the second time in two years, Congress managed to pass a last-minute bill to keep the government open for another ten weeks. That means that in December, we could face yet another Republican threat to shut down the government. The President emphasized that Congress needs to stop kicking the can down the road and do its job. He stressed that Republicans and Democrats need to work together to pass a budget that fully funds the government and reverses the harmful sequestration cuts, and vowed that he would not sign another shortsighted spending bill like the one Congress sent him this past week.

President Obama: “How can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer?”

From the White House, President Obama spoke of another mass shooting, this time at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon.

[As] I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America — next week, or a couple of months from now. […]

And it’s fair to say that anybody who does this has a sickness in their minds, regardless of what they think their motivations may be. But we are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people. We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.

He calls out the NRA lies:

And what’s become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation. Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out: We need more guns, they’ll argue. Fewer gun safety laws.

Does anybody really believe that? There are scores of responsible gun owners in this country –they know that’s not true. We know because of the polling that says the majority of Americans understand we should be changing these laws — including the majority of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.

There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America. So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer? We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths. So the notion that gun laws don’t work, or just will make it harder for law-abiding citizens and criminals will still get their guns is not borne out by the evidence.

And the cowards in Congress:

We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction. When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives. So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations doesn’t make sense.

So, tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren’t so fortunate, I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up. And that will require a change of politics on this issue. And it will require that the American people, individually, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, when you decide to vote for somebody, are making a determination as to whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people should be a relevant factor in your decision. If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views.

Full transcript below …