Posts tagged "John McCain"


The Arizona Republican Party has formally censured Sen. John McCain, citing a voting record that they say is insufficiently conservative.

from CBS 5 Phoenix - CBS 5 Newstream. To read the rest of the article Click Here

Posted by Apache Junction News and @NewsApache

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H/T: TPM LiveWire

A six-part series by New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick destroyed several myths about the September 11, 2012, attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, myths often propagated by conservative media and their allies in Congress to politicize the attack against the Obama administration.

Since the September 2012 attacks, right-wing media have seized upon various inaccurate, misleading, or just plain wrong talking points about Benghazi. Some of those talking points made their way into the mainstream, most notably onto CBS’ 60 Minutesearning the network the Media Matters' 2013 "Misinformer of the Year" title for its botched report.

Kirkpatrick’s series, titled "A Deadly Mix In Benghazi," debunks a number of these right-wing talking points based on “months of investigation” and “extensive interviews” with those who had “direct knowledge of the attack.” Among other points, Kirkpatrick deflates the claims that an anti-Islamic YouTube video played no role in motivating the attacks and that Al Qaeda was involved in the attack: 

Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.

Fox News, scores of Republican pundits, and Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), among others, dragged then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice through the mud for citing talking points that mentioned an anti-Islamic YouTube video on Sunday morning news programs following the attacks. Despite right-wing media claims to the contrary, however, Kirkpatrick stated that the attack on the Benghazi compoundwas in “large part” “fueled” by the anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube. He wrote (emphasis added):

The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.


There is no doubt that anger over the video motivated many attackers. A Libyan journalist working for The New York Times was blocked from entering by the sentries outside, and he learned of the film from the fighters who stopped him. Other Libyan witnesses, too, said they received lectures from the attackers about the evil of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet.

Another talking point that right-wing media used to accuse the Obama administration of a political cover-up was the removal of Al Qaeda from Rice’s morning show talking points. Kirkpatrick, however, affirmed in his NYTimes report that Al Qaeda was not involved in the attack in Benghazi (emphasis added):

But the Republican arguments appear to conflate purely local extremist organizations like Ansar al-Shariah with Al Qaeda’s international terrorist network. The only intelligence connecting Al Qaeda to the attack was an intercepted phone call that night from a participant in the first wave of the attack to a friend in another African country who had ties to members of Al Qaeda, according to several officials briefed on the call. But when the friend heard the attacker’s boasts, he sounded astonished, the officials said, suggesting he had no prior knowledge of the assault.

Kirkpatrick also dispelled the notion that the attack on the compound was carefully planned, writing that “the attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.” 

h/t: MMFA

The NYT investigation on the Benghazi story is yet more proof that the right-wing was using scaremongering tactics about what happened there as a tool to attempt to get Romney elected President in 2012, smear President Obama (and Democrats by extension) with impunity, and to deliberately harm Hillary’s reputation for the 2016 elections.

One year ago today, on September 11, 2012, a U.S. diplomatic outpost and Central Intelligence Agency annex were attacked by extremists in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, U.S. foreign service officer Sean Smith, and two security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALS.

While the Obama administration had been successful in degrading the capabilities of core-al Qaeda — or the terror organization’s centralized version that was responsible for the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington — the tragedy reminded Americans and U.S. allies that the threat from like-minded extremists was still alive and well.

Instead of joining to unite the country in the face of this terrible tragedy, Republicans, at first led by then-GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and later Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), turned the Benghazi attacks into a political fiasco, searching far and near for a way to hang the blame on President Obama and with the aim of damaging his political stature at the least, or at most, bringing down members of his national security team or even ultimately his presidency.

But the long, drawn-out campaign to bring down Obama turned up nothing. Everything conservatives and Republicans held up as evidence of malfeasance on the part of the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi and its aftermath was later discredited by either facts or logic. The right’s biggest achievement throughout this whole Benghazi mess was keeping Susan Rice, who was U.S. ambassador to the U.N. at the time of the attacks, from being nominated as Secretary of State. But even that campaign — led by McCain — seemed to backfire as Rice is now Obama’s National Security Adviser, a position with arguably more influence on the President’s foreign policy thinking.

Media Matters has a run-down of the some of the top Benghazi myths. And throughout the GOP’s Benghazi witch-hunt, ThinkProgress has been compiling a timeline of the key events — from Romney’s first baseless attacks on Obama, the faux-scandal surrounding the infamous “talking points” delivered by then-U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, McCain’s smear campaign, and highlights of how all the GOP-led attacks on Obama were eventually fully debunked. On January 23, during a Senate hearing on Benghazi, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scolded Republicans for politicizing Benghazi, and in this instance, for focusing on whether a protest over an anti-Muslim video sparked the attacks:

CLINTON: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans! Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans?! What difference at this point does it make?! It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.

We have updated the timeline which can be viewed here.

Conservatives aren’t done with Benghazi. Fox News, Tea Party types and a dwindling number of Republican hangers on in Congress keep trying to pin Obama down with something. But they’ll never find anything nefarious. Benghazi is not the next Watergate. Nor will President Obama be impeached over the matter. “The whole thing defies logic,” an exacerbated Obama said in May. “And the fact that this keeps on getting churned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations.

“We dishonor [the four Americans killed in Benghazi] when we turn things like this into a political circus,” Obama added. “What happened was tragic. It was carried out by extremists inside of Libya. We are out there trying to hunt down the folks who carried this out, and we are trying to make sure that we fix the system so that it doesn’t happen again.”

h/t: Ben Armbruster at Think Progress Security

Erick Stakelbeck of the Christian Broadcasting Network joined fellow conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles yesterday, where they wondered why John McCain and Lindsey Graham have “sided” with the Muslim Brotherhood. Wiles said that they are “carrying out the instructions of their master,” and like President Obama, “are in the pockets of radical Muslims.”

“This country is being converted while we watch into an Islamic bastion,” the TruNews host warned, “it’s frightening.”

From the 08.15.2013 edition of TruNews:

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

The great Republican myth that Obama is socialist started when then presidential candidate Obama told Joe the non-Plumber in 2008 that we need to spread the wealth around a little. John McCain responded by saying that, “sounded a lot like socialism,” and a wing nut talking point was born. (McCain not only gave us Sarah Palin, but also the bogus idea that Obama is a socialist.) Since the moment McCain uttered those fateful words, everything that Obama has even thought of doing has been met with Republican cries of socialism.

The auto bailout, which was a loan that was paid back, was considered socialism. Obamacare, which actually inserts more consumers into the free market, is also considered socialism by the right. Crazed Republicans love to talk about how Obama is planning to nationalize this industry or that one, when President Obama doesn’t intend to nationalize any industries.

In fact, Barack Obama has been a consistent champion of the free market. Getting rid of Fannie and Freddie is capitalism. Encouraging people to buy health insurance in the free market is capitalism. Obama is so capitalistic that even his ideas for education reform are centered around the notion that students have to have the skills required to compete in today’s job market.

None of this matters to Republicans who will go to their graves believing that Obama is secretly plotting to turn the United States into a socialist paradise. The right’s inability to shake their deep seeded delusions is the reason why Obama is still having to debunk their cries of socialism.

For five years, President Obama has been explaining to the right that he isn’t a socialist. Their obsession with Obama’s socialism is one of the many reasons that the Republican Party has become a punchline.

The whole thing would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

On Tuesday, the Tea Party website ‘Tea Party Nation’ put out an article that labeled Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) an “illegal immigrant” because he had sneaked into Syria to visit rebels fighting against the Bashar al-Assad regime. Although the White House was aware of McCain’s Syrian visit, the article indicated that his visit was virtually the same as undocumented immigration. It also noted that McCain’s humanitarian support for rebels could be attributed to his lack of intelligence, and Democratic turnout for his unsurprising win in the Arizona Senate race.

The characterization of McCain is just one incident in a long series of efforts by the group to unjustifiably incite hatred against undocumented immigrants. While the Tea Party is ostensibly meant to represent true American virtues, it’s better known for its outlandish values that border on racism, particularly when it comes to immigration. Tea Partiers have deemed pejorative phrase “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien” a “fair” phrase, even when it is not applicable in many instances. For example, in the latest gubernatorial race in Virginia, Terry McAuliffe was portrayed as an “undocumented Virginian” even though he had lived twenty years in the state.

Some major newspapers like the New York Times, the LA Times, and the AP have dropped the use of “illegal immigrant” from its coverage of undocumented migration. Immigration advocates view the phrase as offensive, citing that “no human being is ‘illegal,’ drop the I-word.” Yet Tea Party organizations have hardly budged.

The definition that Tea Partiers give for an illegal immigrants is “someone who sneaks into another country… even if they do not stay long.” 

h/t: Esther Yu-Hsi Lee at ThinkProgress Immigration


WASHINGTON, DC – Following months of threats and pressure by some Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced today he is withholding amendments to the immigration bill that would end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) immigrant families. In recent weeks, GOP Senators Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Marco Rubio, and John McCain have sought to scapegoat LGBT families, promising to abandon immigration reform entirely if it was amended to include LGBT protections.

“Despite the leadership of Chairman Leahy, Judiciary Committee Democrats have caved to bullying by their Republican colleagues,” said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality Action Fund. “There should be shame on both sides of the political aisle today for lawmakers who worked to deny LGBT immigrant families a vote. Despite widespread support from business, labor, faith, Latino and Asian-American advocates, Senators abandoned LGBT families without a vote.”

Senator Chuck Schumer, an architect of the immigration bill, had long promised LGBT constituents that the package would include their families.  “From the beginning we told Senator Schumer that it would only get harder to add LGBT families to the bill,” said Tiven.  “We are disappointed that Senator Schumer and his ‘Gang of 8’ colleagues accepted a false choice between LGBT families and immigration reform, when the truth is that including LGBT families from the outset would have strengthened the bill.”

Republican senators looking for a reason to walk away from the bill scapegoated LGBT families. “Republicans came after LGBT families, and Democrats didn’t stand up,” Tiven said. “Who will be in the GOP’s sights next?”

“Senators have lined up in recent months to proclaim their support for marriage equality and LGBT rights,” Tiven added. “Yet, given the first opportunity to put their vote where their talking point is, they failed. Our families need deeds, not words.”

An estimated 36,000 couples who are raising more than 25,000 children within the United States (and countless others already living in exile) are impacted by the inability to sponsor their spouse or partner for residency under current immigration law. Senator Leahy’s proposed amendments would have allowed all of those families an opportunity to remain permanently together in the United States.

As former Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona noted in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, “Including this provision would place virtually no additional burden on our immigration system.  For those families and their children, however, UAFA’s inclusion in the…bill would make all the difference in the world.”

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(via recall-all-republicans)

Senate Republicans today chose to uphold a filibuster against Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel, despite many of them previously pledging that they would be willing to allow him to be confirmed.

Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and John Cornyn (R-TX) all voted against cloture, despite their pleas during the Bush administration that a president’s Cabinet nominees should receive an up-or-down vote.

Four Republicans, Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mike Johanns (R-NE), voted to break the filibuster. The final vote was 58-40, with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) voting present, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) not voting at all, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) voting “no” as a procedural move so that he can bring another vote to the floor at a later date.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had originally scheduled the cloture vote for tomorrow morning, but surprised many by pushing it up to this afternoon. Earlier today, Reid took to the Senate floor to lambaste his Republican colleagues for delaying an up-or-down vote on Hagel, the first filibuster of a Secretary of Defense nominee.

Prior to the roll call’s beginning, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) attempted to explain that the vote that was set to take place was the vote “to confirm Chuck Hagel,” rather than merely being a procedural vote. Inhofe also claimed that a 60-vote margin was common practice, rendering the actions of the Republicans not a filibuster. However, the motion was still filed by Reid as cloture — the ending of debate — rather than the actual confirmation of Hagel, as laid out be Levin before voting. This leaves the door open for Hagel’s nomination to remain on the Senate floor and renders the GOP’s actions a filibuster under the Senate’s rules.

While Senate Republicans are opposed to voting on Hagel today, they seem to believe that they’ll change their minds after the Senate returns from its President’s Day recess in 10 days. This morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that he expected to be willing to move Hagel forward at that time, “unless there’s some bombshell that he likes blood sucking vampires.” Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and John McCain (R-AZ) said roughly the same thing today, leaving their votes against Hagel today confusing.

h/t: Hayes Brown at Think Progress Security

Senators sent a rare bipartisan — and bilingual — message on Monday, urging the White House and Congress to join them in enacting comprehensive immigration reform that would legalize many of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), one of eight Senators announcing a new legislative framework, confidently set a goal of passing a bill by late spring or early summer.

“We still have a long way to go but this bipartisan blueprint is a major breakthrough,” Schumer said. “We do not want immigration as a wedge issue, we want a bipartisan bill that solves the problem.”

Or as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) put it: “En Espanol: ‘¡Vámonos!’”

No one better embodied the shifting politics on this issue than McCain, who led the 2007 immigration push with the late Ted Kennedy only to follow his party to the right and oppose even a bill granting a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants, the DREAM Act, in 2010. Now he’s on the side of reform once again, and publicly welcoming support from former opponent President Obama, who will deliver his own remarks on immigration reform Tuesday in Nevada.

Asked why he felt he had a better chance of success this time, McCain offered a blunt response.

“Elections,” he said. “Elections. The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic citizens.”

Schumer and McCain were joined by Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (IL) and Robert Menendez (NJ), as well as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the latter of whom is considered a critical ambassador on the right in selling the plan. Menendez and Rubio spoke at significant length in Spanish at the event, directly addressing the many Hispanic media outlets present for their remarks.

“We are dealing with 11 million human beings who are here undocumented, the vast and enormous majority of whom have come here here in pursuit of what all of us would recognize as the American dream,” Rubio said.

Major questions remain as negotiations continue to fill out a fuller bill. There are still limited details as to how easily undocumented immigrants would be able to eventually apply for a green card and then citizenship. Experts warn the existing legal immigration system’s quotas and backlogs would make it impossible to naturalize the undocumented population. Menendez told TPM afterwards that issues like whether to expand the number of green cards available to help move the process along would be left to future negotiations.

h/t: Benjy Sarlin at Talking Points Memo

Filibuster reform is in trouble, proponents warn, at the hands of a scaled-back proposal they say would enhance rather than diminish the Senate minority’s power to obstruct.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) says his proposal to force filibustering senators to occupy the floor and speak ceaselessly could be in jeopardy, thanks to a newbipartisan filibuster package that he and his ally Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) argue would do more harm than good to the cause.

“Normally the majority party has a right to determine the agenda of the Senate. They don’t have the right to pass bills. That’s up to the majority of the Senate,” Udall said on the floor Wednesday. “But then the majority leader should have the right to bring a bill to the floor of the Senate. And that has been denied over and over again by the minority party. That’s wrong.”

The dueling proposal, spearheaded by longtime Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI), would make it somewhat tougher for the minority to block debate on legislation but also guarantee them two amendments on bills — regardless of relevancy — which proponents of a weaker filibuster say defeats the purpose.

“It’s a step backward rather than a step forward,” a Merkley aide said. “It doesn’t attack the core of the matter. It doesn’t include a talking filibuster. And it allows the minority to kill legislation with poison pill amendments. It keeps all the tools minority has to obstruct and then gives them another tool.”

Early in December, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said filibuster reform will happen with or without Republican support, and Merkley-Udall was the plan on the table. But the unveiling of the McCain-Levin late December — and the optics of a partisan versus bipartisan solution — scrambled the game for reformers.

If Reid decides to pursue McCain-Levin instead of the talking filibuster plan, “Senator Merkley will encourage others to vote against the bill,” his aide said. It’s not yet clear that proposal has the super-majority of votes required to pass, but multiple Democratic senators have said there are at least 51 votes for reform.

h/t: Sahil Kapur at TPM

On Tuesday afternoon, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) read a letter from former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) imploring Senate Republicans to ratify a United Nations treaty affirming equal rights for disabled individuals. Dole, who was hospitalized on Tuesday, was a World War II veteran who suffered lasting disabilities after his service.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced Monday that he plans to bring the treaty up for a vote in the Senate — but, despite widespread support for the measure, Republicans seem bent on killing it again this time around after blocking Democrats’ last attempt to ratify the treaty in August.

Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum is leading the charge against the treaty. Santorum, whose daughter was born with a rare genetic disorder, takes issue with protectionsthat allow the state to separate a child from a parent if “such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child,” such as in cases of emotional or physical abuse. At a press conference with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Santorum called this “a direct assault on us and our family.” 

The treaty, which bans discrimination against people with disabilities, was originally signed in 2006 under George W. Bush’s administration and re-signed in 2009 by President Obama. More than 150 nations have signed it and 126 have already ratified it, and it is backed by a range of disabilities and veterans groups as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

In fact, as Dana Milbank points out, the treaty requires other nations to model their laws on the Americans With Disabilities Act, which already forbids discrimination based on disability.

The ADA ensures that Santorum’s daughter, Bella, cannot be blocked from going to school or from receiving the medical treatment and accommodations she needs. In opposing the treaty, Santorum is actually opposing those same protections for other disabled people all around the world.

H/T: Aviva Shen at Think Progress

After two disappointing election cycles, Republican leaders demanded that conservative groups end their war on electable primary candidates or risk handing the Senate to the Democrats in 2014. This week, the groups delivered their reply: “Nuts!”

Activists on the right launched a volley of criticism at 2014’s first major Senate hopeful on Monday, Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV). Capito is considered a strong contender for the seat held by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), especially if he decides to retire, but her conservative detractors are demanding a purer candidate.

It’s all very reminiscent of the kind of primary fight a lot of Republicans are desperate to avoid after 2012’s Senate shellacking. But the groups who helped get candidates like Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin on the ballot this year say they’re ready to fight it out with the establishment again in 2014. West Virginia is just the first battlefield of what could be many.

“Congresswoman Capito has a long record of support of bailouts, pork, and bigger government,” Club For Growth president Chris Chocola wrote in a press release. “She voted to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for massive expansions of government-run health insurance, giveaways to big labor, and repeatedly voted to continue funding for wasteful earmarks like an Exploratorium in San Francisco and an Aquarium in South Carolina. That’s not the formula for GOP success in U.S. Senate races.”

Chocola made clear that he would ignore Republican whining about his previous primary interventions in states like like Indiana, where Club-backed Richard Mourdock defeated incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) only to collapse in the general election. He noted that more mainstream candidates “the Republican establishment cheered” like Denny Rehberg in Montana, Rick Berg in North Dakota, and Heather Wilson in New Mexico, also lost in 2012.

The same day, Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund announced it wouldn’t endorse the “too liberal” Capito. DeMint threw his weight behind a number of candidates in the 2010 primaries that made national GOP strategists uncomfortable. While some, like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, ended up becoming stars, others, like Christine O’Donnell, were embarrassing losers who helped tarnish the party’s national brand.

The West Virginia race is exactly the kind of juicy pickup opportunity that Republicans blew in recent cycles by nominating subpar candidates. Already some in the party are feeling deja vu.

Tea Party Express has a history of upsetting the Republican establishment. The group backedO’Donnell’s Delaware Senate run in 2010 and got behind Mourdock’s primary challenge against Lugar this year. Kremer said it was “way too early to make any decisions on what races we will be involved in during the 2014 cycle,” and declined to weigh in on Capito other than to say she was “aware” Capito had launched her campaign.

Social conservatives say they’re ready to fight Republican attempts to ostracize them after the 2012 cycle as well. Over the weekend, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) became the latest top Republican to express concerns over the social issue debate, saying the GOP should “leave the issue alone” when it comes to abortion rights.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, told TPM her side isn’t going to take talk like McCain’s sitting down. If social conservatives need to fight off the Republican establishment in a brutal primary, so be it. Dannenfelser blames the problems the GOP had with its social message on fear among Republican candidates when it came to talking about abortion and other topics. Had Republicans been more proactive on social issues, they never would have been stuck “on the defensive,” she said. Dannenfelser said her group will go to war with Republicans who try to back candidates unwilling to engage on social issues.

h/t: Benjy Sarlin at TPM