Political MoJo

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for April 21, 2014

Mon Apr. 21, 2014 6:58 AM PDT

FORT CARSON, Colo. - A fireball engulfs a mortar round, March 19, 2014, during a mortar live-fire exercise. Soldiers of the 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, conducted mortar training as part of gunnery training and certifications executed by units across 3rd ABCT. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Grady Jones, 3rd ABCT Public Affairs, 4th Inf. Div.)

Advertise on MotherJones.com

GOP Senate Candidate Endorses a 9/11 Truther's Questions: "Things Like This Have to Be Asked"

| Mon Apr. 21, 2014 3:00 AM PDT

In 2012, Greg Brannon, who is now a North Carolina Republican Senate candidate, wouldn't say whether he thought the attacks on September 11, 2001, were an inside job—but, he said, "Things like this have to be asked."

Brannon, an OB-GYN endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and a leading contender in the GOP primary to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), made that comment as a guest on a local conservative talk show. At the time, Brannon was running Founder's Truth, a North Carolina tea party organization. A caller offered up a conspiracy theory about September 11, and as the host, Bill LuMaye, tried to redirect the conversation, Brannon answered:

John, caller: I'm a 9/11 truther. And I had a friend of mine…tell me, look on the internet, Google "the Pentagon" and show me where the plane hit the Pentagon. Where is the plane? There's all kinds of pictures of that building smoldering, and fire trucks everywhere. There's no plane. So I did research on the size of planes, of the engines that ran this plane. These things are 12,000 pounds, these engines that would have flown off—that's six tons—and put a hole in something. There's nothing there.

Bill LuMaye: Well, without getting into—

John: There's a hole in the building and there's no broken glass.

LuMaye: Well, I'd rather not get into a discussion on whether 9/11 was an inside job or not. I really, I mean, we can save that for another day, I have no problem with that, it's just—

Greg Brannon: These questions, again, actually, that's what [9/11 commission vice-chair] Lee Hamilton said. And he just said, there's other questions that need answering. The guy who got all the information…a Democrat and a Republican, were the co-chairmen of the 9/11 commission, and when they got done, they did not put their stamp of approval on the commission. They said, 'There's data that we did not put in there.' So things like this have to be asked.

LuMaye: Well, I appreciate your call, John.

Brannon: Thanks, John.

It's true that Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 commission, said that the commission's investigation of the September 11 plot was incomplete. But their complaint was that government agencies blocked the commission from assessing how badly prepared the United States was for the attacks, and which US agencies were responsible for failing to prevent the attacks—not that the US was hiding its own involvement.

Newly Released Clinton Doc: White House Aide Blasts Bill Clinton and Al Gore for "F***ing Stupid" Move

| Fri Apr. 18, 2014 11:58 AM PDT

Among the trove of Clinton-era documents released Friday afternoon by the former president's library is an email from an angry White House aide who blasts President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore for not attending the funeral of Oklahoma Democrat Carl Albert. Known as the "Little Giant from Little Dixie," Albert, who stood five feet four-and-a-half inches tall, served as speaker of the House of Representatives from 1971 to 1976.

Albert died on February 4, 2000, and many Democratic politicians attended his funeral five days later. But Clinton and Gore skipped the event. In an email, Tim Emrich, who worked on the White House's scheduling team, said "it's fucking stupid" that Clinton and Gore didn't attend. Emrich elaborated: "It's stupid that neither BC nor AG is attending this funeral. ESPECIALLY AG, it's such an easy home run in the largest democratic part of the state."

Here's the email:

READ: The Clinton Administration's Internal Memo on the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy"

| Fri Apr. 18, 2014 11:43 AM PDT

In a 1995 internal memo, President Bill Clinton's White House Counsel's Office offered an in-depth analysis of the right-wing media mill that Hillary Clinton had dubbed the "vast right-wing conspiracy." Portions of the report, which was reported on by the Wall Street Journal and other outlets at the time, were included in a new trove of documents released to the public by the Clinton presidential library on Friday.

The report traced the evolution of various Clinton scandals, such as Whitewater and the Gennifer Flowers affair allegations, from their origins at conservative think tanks or in British tabloids, until the point in which they entered the mainstream news ecosystem. Making matters even more complicated was new technology, the report explained: "[E]vidence exists that Republican staffers surf the internet, interacting with extremists in order to exchange the ideas and information." The administration even had a name for the process: "The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce."

Per the document:

The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce refers to the mode of communication employed by the right wing to convey their fringe stories into legitimate subjects of coverage by the mainstream media. This is how the stream works. Well funded right wing think tanks and individuals underwrite conservative newsletters and newspapers such as the Western Journalism Center, the American Spectator and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Next, the stories are re-printed on the internet where they are bounced all over the world. From the internet, the stories are bounced into the mainstream media through one of two ways: 1) The story will be picked up by the British tabloids and covered as a major story, from which the American right-of-center mainstream media (i.e. the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times and New York Post) will then pick the story up; or 2) The story will be bounced directly from the internet to the right-of-center mainstream American media. After the mainstream right-of-center media covers the story, Congressional committees will look into the story. After Congress looks into the story, the story now has the legitimacy to be covered by the remainder of the American mainstream press as a "real" story.

Chief among the White House's frustrations was conservative reaction to the death of Vince Foster, the president's former chief of staff. Right-wing outlets alleged that the Clintons had murdered Foster (or hired someone to do it) and covered it up as a suicide. According to the report:

The controversy surrounding the death of Vince Foster has been, in large part, the product of a well-financed right-wing conspiracy industry operation. The "Wizard of Oz" figure orchestrating the machinations of the conspiracy industry is a little-known recluse, Richard Mellon Scaife. Scaife uses his $800 million dollar inherited Mellon fortune to underwrite the Foster conspiracy industry. Scaife promotes the industry through his ownership of a small Pittsburgh newspaper, the Tribune-Review. Scaife's paper, under the direction of reporter Chris Ruddy, continually publishes stories regarding Foster's death. The stories are then reprinted in major newspapers all over the country in the form of paid advertisements. The Western Journalism Center (WJC), a non-profit conservative think tank, places the ads in these newspapers. The WJC receives much of its financial backing from Scaife.

(Ruddy went on to found Newsmax, a conservative media outlet now promoting the theory that Chelsea Clinton decided to have a baby in order to help her mother's 2016 presidential bid.)

Read the document in all of its glory:

 

 

WATCH: GOP Candidate Whacks Obama Bobblehead in Weird New Ad

| Fri Apr. 18, 2014 8:18 AM PDT

Nebraska state Sen. Beau McCoy (R), who is campaigning for governor by driving around the state in a white pickup truck with a ladder rack, wants GOP primary voters to know that he'll push back against President Barack Obama's administration. In an ad that hit Nebraska airwaves this week, McCoy confronts an Obama bobblehead doll mounted on a fence post—and knocks it to the ground with a swift backhand. "More Obamacare in Nebraska? That's the last thing we need," he says before smacking the bobblehead.

Then he rides off on his steed.

McCoy is a serious underdog in the race to succeed GOP Gov. Dave Heineman. He grabbed just 4.7 percent in a February survey of the field by Harper Polling, well behind attorney general Jon Bruning and former Ameritrade COO Pete Ricketts, the son of big-time Republican super-PAC donor Joe Ricketts.

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for April 18, 2014

Fri Apr. 18, 2014 3:00 AM PDT

A Soldier guides the driver of an Avenger weapon system before they fired the .50-caliber machine gun April 8, 2014 as part of the Avenger Master Gunner Course at Fort Sill, Okla. (Photo by Marie Berberea, Cannoneer staff)

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Corn on Hardball: The GOP's Dangerous Decision to Support and Encourage Cliven Bundy

Thu Apr. 17, 2014 11:11 AM PDT

Washington bureau chief David Corn spoke on MSNBC's "Hardball" about the Right's support of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who has refused to pay standard grazing fees on federal land for the past 20 years. He pointed out the irony of the GOP supporting Bundy's fight for a free ride, as well as the danger of encouraging and validating potentially violent extremists.
 

Rand Paul Really Doesn't Want to Talk About His McConnell Endorsement

| Thu Apr. 17, 2014 8:31 AM PDT
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

A tea party revolutionary four years ago, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has bucked many of his old supporters by backing Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, in McConnell's primary against Matt Bevin, a hedge fund executive backed by the Senate Conservatives Fund. Why would Paul do such a thing? He has been cagey, to say the least. "He asked me when there was nobody else in the race, and I said yes," the junior senator told Glenn Beck in February. Evidently even that was too verbose. Per the Glasgow (Ky.) Daily Times, Paul has now taken his answer off the record:

After addressing about 30 people who turned out to hear him, the senator opened the floor for questions.

One constituent asked him why he came out in support of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville.

Paul declined to answer the question publicly, saying he would speak with her in private and explain his reason for supporting the senior senator.

Paul family political guru Jesse Benton, who is now managing McConnell's re-election campaign, told a tea party activist in a secretly-recorded conversation last year that, "between you and me, I'm sort of holdin' my nose for two years because what we're doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand in '16, so that's my long vision."

One reason Paul might decide to keep his explanation private: His answer sounds a lot like Benton's.

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for April 17, 2014

Thu Apr. 17, 2014 3:00 AM PDT

Marines put out a controlled fire on a mobile aircraft fire training device at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma April 7 during a visit from Girl Scouts. The firefighting display showed how the Marines respond to an emergency situation. The mission of Girl Scouts of America is to build the courage, confidence and character of girls, who can then make the world a better place, according to their website. The Marines are aircraft rescue and firefighting specialists with ARFF, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, MCAS Futenma, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. David N. Hersey/Released)

Federal Court Rules North Dakota's Extreme Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

| Wed Apr. 16, 2014 1:34 PM PDT

On Wednesday, a federal judge blocked a North Dakota law that would have banned all abortions after a heartbeat is detectable in the fetus, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The judge, Daniel Hovland, called the ban—which passed last year and was immediately challenged by the Red River Women's Clinic, the only abortion provider in the state—"invalid and unconstitutional," and said it would impose an "undue burden on women seeking to obtain an abortion."

The North Dakota law is one of the most far-reaching abortion bans in the country. Many women aren't aware that they are pregnant until well after six weeks into a pregnancy. Under the North Dakota law, those women wouldn't be able to seek abortions at all.

North Dakota is one of several states that have pushed laws banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. In March, a federal judge struck down a similar ban Arkansas had passed last year. But losses in the courts haven't stopped these efforts from spreading—the Alabama House passed a fetal heartbeat bill last month, and state legislatures in Wyoming, Mississippi, and Ohio have considered similar legislation in the past year.