A Montana state senator running for Congress speaks with a very distinctive regional accent.
A Montana rancher running for Congress may have left his roots behind but not his heavy Maryland accent.
Matt Rosendale is a Republican state senator from Glendive, Montana who recently announced his candidacy for the state's at-large House seat. In a campaign video released today, Rosendale discusses individual liberty and freedom as images of the Montana landscape flicker across the screen. It all seems familiar for a Republican from the Mountain West, save for his voice. The images and rhetoric may be Montana but the accent is all Maryland.
Rosendale was born in Baltimore and raised on Maryland's Eastern Shore and it shows in every syllable he utters, particularly those which use the letter O. The result is somewhat jarring. After all, he may look like a Montana Republican, talk like a Montana Republican but he sounds like someone from "Balmer, Merlin." One almost expects him to start addressing voters as "hon" or announce that his favorite beer is Natty Boh. Although Rosendale has been successful running for local office, his distinctive accent may not be as endearing statewide. After all, Maryland is a long way from Montana.
Do you want to see Dirty Wars, the movie exposing and criticizing U.S. drone policy and secret military operations around the world? If so, the American Embassy in Australia has got you covered with some free tickets.
“We're so excited for this weekend! Join us for a whole raft of critically acclaimed American films at the Canberra International Film Festival! We have double passes to Our Nixon, Dirty Wars, Kill Your Darlings, Blackfish (pictured), John Dies At The End and Any Day Now,” the embassy’s Facebook page announced on October 28.
The next day the embassy’s Twitter feed announced “Would you like FREE tickets to Blackfish or Dirty Wars at the @CIFF_Canberra this weekend? Get in touch!,” Dirty Wars is currently scheduled for a November. 3 screening at the Canberra International Film Festival (CIFF).
Ted Cruz advocated overturning nearly 100 years of Supreme Court precedent on Wednesday.
In a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C, the Texas senator advocated overturning the high court’s 1920 decision in Missouri v. Holland. In that case, the Court upheld as constitutional a treaty that required the federal government to enact laws regulating migratory birds after a previous statute on the subject was found unconstitutional in a lower court. In its opinion, written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, the Supreme Court suggested that the treaty power is broader than the Congress’s normal lawmaking power.
Cruz made the statement while discussing a case called Bond v. United States which also deals with the scope of the treaty power and will be heard by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The Texas senator said “Missouri v. Holland, it may be possible for the court to distinguish that case. There are grounds on which you could distinguish it. But, if you can’t distinguish it, then Missouri v. Holland should be overruled.”
However, Missouri v. Holland is considered a major case, not just for its implications for the treaty clause, but because a critical passage in the court’s decision embodies the judicial philosophy of “a living Constitution.” Holmes wrote in his opinion “The case before us must be considered in the light of our whole experience and not merely in that of what was said a hundred years ago.” As a result, overturning Missouri v. Holland would be an important blow for conservatives in the broader legal wars over how to interpret the Constitution.
The State Department has no intention of providing Congress more witnesses to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, despite Sen. Lindsey Graham’s threat to hold up all nominations until he gets satisfaction on the issue.
The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya is seen in flames following an attack on September 11, 2012. (Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters, via Landov)
Graham’s Monday morning demand came after a new CBS 60 Minutes expose that featured an interview with a British security contractor who was on the ground and fought on the State Department compound and at the CIA annex during the attacks that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The contractor, calling himself Morgan Jones, claimed that he had repeatedly warned officials about the vulnerability of the facility.
The expose also featured Stevens’ deputy Greg Hicks, who said he was preparing a third request for more security in Benghazi at the time of the attack, and Lt. Col. Andy Wood, one of the top security officials in Libya at the time, who said he had repeatedly warned the State Department that the Benghazi mission was going to be attacked by Al Qaeda.
Grilling contractors over the failures of the Obamacare website, members of Congress from both parties sharpened their knives for next week, when the HHS secretary will face the music.
There was finally bipartisan agreement over one aspect of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, when lawmakers from both parties on the House Energy and Commerce Committee attacked two executives from the contractors responsible for building healthcare.gov over the website’s snafus. In a political ritual almost as old as and deeply reminiscent of the human sacrifices practiced by the Maya, Cheryl Campbell, a senior vice president at CGI Federal, which was the lead contractor on federal health exchange and its website as well as Andrew Slavitt of Quality Software Services Inc, a subdivision of United Healthcare, were berated by lawmakers from both parties.
Congressmen didn’t just berate the contractors for incompetence, they also used them to score political points. When Democrats like Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes asked if the website failures had any connection to the underlying law, the contractors said no. Several Republican congressmen pressed the contractors on whether, if they were President Obama, they would have let healthcare.gov launch. Needless to say, the executives under question declined to put themselves in the President’s shoes.
There were plenty of partisan fireworks, too. After Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) claimed that part of the source code in the website violated federal health privacy laws under HIPAA, he provoked the ire of Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ). Pallone thought that Barton’s question turned it into “monkey court,” arguing that since health information isn’t needed to enroll—as pre-existing conditions are irrelevant under Obamacare—HIPAA doesn’t apply.
Jofi Joseph, an official in the National Security Staff at the White House, was fired last week after being caught as the tweeter behind @natsecwonk, a feed that’s been leaking internal information since 2011. Josh Rogin reports.
A White House national security official was fired last week after being caught as the mystery Tweeter who has been tormenting the foreign policy community with insulting comments and revealing internal Obama administration information for over two years.
Jofi Joseph, a director in the non-proliferation section of the National Security Staff at the White House, has been surreptitiously tweeting under the moniker @natsecwonk, a Twitter feed famous inside Washington policy circles since it began in February, 2011 until it was shut down last week. Two administration officials confirmed that the mystery tweeter was Joseph, who has also worked at the State Department and on Capitol Hill for Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Joe Biden. Until recently, he was part of the administration's team working on negotiations with Iran.
During his time tweeting under the @natsecwonk name, Joseph openly criticized the policies of his White House bosses and often insulted their intellect and appearance. At different times, he insulted or criticized several top White House and State Department officials, including former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, Secretary of State John Kerry, and many many others.
Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee and chair of the House Budget Committee, called on Kathleen Sebelius to resign as Secretary of Health and Human Services Tuesday afternoon over the issues with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
On a conference call to support the gubernatorial campaign of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Ryan stated that he thought that Sebelius should lose her job over tech issues involved in the launch of healthcare.gov.
Ryan, a longtime opponent of Obamacare, said, "I think this rollout has been a fiasco, not just because they have bad tech but because the law itself is so fundamentally flawed. We gave the administration every chance to delay the law and delay the mandate." The Wisconsin congressman recalled testimony from Sebelius before the House Ways and Means Committee, where she gave "the impression that [the launch of the federal health exchange] would be almost flawless."
Former Washington Post writer Laura Blumenfeld on Monday became the latest in a long list of journalists who have joined the Obama administration when she took up an appointment in the State Department’s Middle East office.
A speaker of Arabic and Hebrew, Blumenfeld will now be in charge of strategic communications in the State Department’s office handling negotiations for Secretary of State John Kerry’s Middle East Peace Process. Kerry has tapped former Ambassador to Israel and Brookings Institution scholar Martin Indyk to lead that effort inside the Obama administration.
“Laura Blumenfeld started today in Martin Indyk’s office,” an Obama administration official told The Daily Beast. “Her job will be to coordinate all outreach – press, Hill, think tank, and people to people. Laura brings decades of journalism experience to her new job and will be an integral part of our effort to achieve Middle East peace.”
After Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called Tea Party stalwart Rep. Louie Gohmert “a person of no intelligence” in an interview on NBC Nightly News on Wednesday, the back and forth between the two continued Thursday with Gohmert suggesting that McCain “would be better off with 'no intelligence.'”
In a statement to The Daily Beast, Gohmert said:
"Obviously, Senator McCain would be better off with ‘no intelligence’ since he does not know the Syrian opposition he met with is infested with al Qaeda and terrorist kidnappers. His ‘intelligence’ even caused him to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt that burned churches and killed Christians, as the senator stood against the will of the massive majority of Egyptians including moderate Muslims, Christians, and secularists who demanded the Muslim Brotherhood extremist persecutions must end."
The spat started when Gohmert accused McCain of supporting al Qaeda at the Values Voter Summit, a gathering of evangelical activists on Friday. McCain’s office initially “declined to dignify Gohmert’s comment with a response.” However, when asked about it during an interview with NBC Nightly News about the debt deal on Wednesday, McCain dismissed Gohmert’s comments, saying, "Sometimes those are, comments like that are made out of malice, but if someone has no intelligence, I don't view it as being a malicious statement. You can't respond to that kind of thing."
A House staff member started yelling about the Freemasons in the midst of a crucial vote in Congress, Ben Jacobs reports.
A stenographer climbed the dais of the House of Representatives and started ranting in the last minutes of the House vote to end the government shutdown.
The House stenographer, who has been identified by other outlets as Dianne Reidy, “had kind of a crazed look” in her eyes according to Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) when she ascended the dais---just below Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) who was presiding over the House at the time---as the minutes ticked down in the crucial vote. The microphones in the chamber were off so that what she was saying was unintelligible on the floor and to viewers on C-SPAN.
After Reidy was escorted out of the House chamber by several staffers from the House Sergeant at Arms office, she shouted “He will not be mocked” referring, presumably to God. She went on to proclaim that the United States “was not one nation under God, had it been, the Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God. Lord Jesus Christ.” Her outburst visibly disturbed a number of members and staffers, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), both of whom ran out of the chamber after her. Reidy was eventually hustled into an elevator by staffers.
The Arizona senator described a provision inserted into the debt deal appropriating $2 billion for a Kentucky dam as "disgusting."
The final Reid-McConnell deal to end the government shutdown and avoid hitting the debt ceiling includes a few other provisions. One is mandating a budget conference, another sets new rules for income verification on Obamacare, and the third authorizes almost $2 billion in additional funding for a dam in Kentucky, the home state of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. And John McCain is not a fan of that one.
McCain trashed the provision to The Daily Beast: “These people are like alcoholics. They can’t resist taking a drink. It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous. It should have gone through the normal legislative process. Its their legislative reputation even more and makes it even more difficult for me to vote for the overall bill—which I will. It shows that there are people in this body who are willing to use any occasion to get an outrageous pork-barrel project done at the cost of millions and millions of dollars. It’s disgusting.”
The Olmsted Lock and Dam project would enable additional barge traffic on the Ohio River and would have a major impact on the regional economy. The Washington Post has reported that the bill is a longtime priority of the Kentucky delegation to Congress and has the support of President Obama. McConnell has long supported it as well and, in a 2011 statement to the Louisville Courier Journal, a McConnell spokesman emphasized “the importance of the Olmsted Locks and Dam project, not only to Kentucky’s economy, but the nation’s.”
In a statement after the Senate passed the Reid-McConnell deal by a vote of 81-18, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insisted that the funding for the dam “was not an earmark” and essential to saving $80 million in taxpayer money on the project.
After a brief meeting, House Republicans were resigned to accepting the Senate deal on Thursday, ending the government shutdown and avoiding possible default.
“We’ll live to fight another day” was the message that Speaker John Boehner shared with House Republicans this afternoon.
After receiving a spontaneous standing ovation when stepping to the microphone in a meeting to discuss the Reid-McConnell deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, Boehner told members to “go out and vote for [the deal]” and said all of leadership would be voting together in favor of it. Although only members of the leadership spoke, there still was a note of defiance in the room as Majority Leader Eric Cantor reminded the room that everyone in it had campaigned against Obamacare.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, addresses reporters at a news conference in the U.S. Capitol about the deal to reopen the government and avert the debt ceiling crisis on October 15, 2013. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call, via Getty )
Both moderates and Tea Partiers took very different lessons from the conflict that led to a 16-day government shutdown. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who led the much ballyhooed moderate revolt that petered out before the shutdown, savaged Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). King said Cruz was the mastermind of the strategy eventually adopted by the GOP and had gotten nothing out of the shutdown, save “probably some campaign contributions.” In the New York congressman’s opinion, the fight was always hopeless; he condemned the opinions of those who thought Republicans simply needed to stick together more closely as "baloney." When asked if he thought conservatives in the House caucus had learned a lesson from this, all King said was “hope springs eternal.”
The deal reached Wednesday to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government is now expected to proceed smoothly through both houses of Congress after Sen. Ted Cruz announced that he would not do anything to delay it.
Cruz, the first-term Texas Republican who has been spearheading conservative strategy in the government shutdown fight and gained national attention with his 21-hour speech on the Senate floor in late September, emerged from a meeting of the Senate Republican conference Wednesday saying that he would not delay a vote. Cruz told assembled reporters that while he opposed the bill, "There is nothing to be benefited by delaying this vote a couple of days versus having it today." In the senator's opinion, "the timing of the vote will make no difference in the outcome so I don't intend to delay the timing of the vote."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R-UT), who first elected to the Senate in 1976, was also ready to end the standoff which started in an attempt to defund Obamacare. "It's time to act like adults," Hatch said. "Sooner or later the adults have to come forward and do what's best under the circumstances and that's what we're doing." Hatch bemoaned the new pattern of government by crisis in Washington, saying, "It's a crazy way to govern and not the best way to govern and I think it hurts this country."
Start buying gold, stockpiling guns and getting acquainted with the taste of human flesh—the United States may hit the debt ceiling.
After Tuesday started with a potential deal negotiated by Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell in the Senate, Speaker John Boehner tried to counter with his own proposal out of the House. Boehner's bill would have raised the debt ceiling through early February and reopened the government through December 14. In return, it would prevent the Treasury form taking any "extraordinary measures" to avoid default, implement the Vitter Amendment to prevent congressional staff from getting employer subsdized health care and set the stage for a Christmas fight over contraception.
The bill seemed to be derailed once Heritage Action, the powerful right wing organization headed by former Senator Jim DeMint announced it would oppose the bill. Within 15 minutes of that news, a planned meeting of the House Rules Committee to set the terms of the debate was cancelled. Just as it was set to start, Pete Sessions, the chair of the Rules Committee announced the delay, saying members needed more time to call their constitutents to avoid "misunderstanding." Within two hours, Republicans announced they were going home for the day and would try again tomorrow.
Even if the government reopens this week, it may shut down in less than two months in a fight over contraception.
Congressman Steve Womack (R-AR) told reporters Tuesday that the new House bill to end the government shutdown and prevent a default intentionally funds the federal government only through mid-December—an attempt to wage another fight over the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The debt limit would be extended into early Feburary.
Womack, a second term representative from Northwest Arkansas, said risking another government shutdown 10 days before Christmas "boils to conscience protections that basically become compromised on the first of Janauary." He said that "a provision goes into effect [on January 1] that is violation of conscious beliefs of members of our party." He was specifically referring to the contraception mandate that requires almost all employers, save churches and houses of worship, health insurance which covers contraception. Womack did express his hope that Congress would come to a budget deal before that deadline and return to "regular order."
This provision of Obamacare has been deeply controversial and has been met objections from religious institutions not directly affiliated with a church as well as businesses whose owners have moral objections to providing contraceptive coverage. Many Republicans have derided the contraception mandate as an attack on religious freedom.
After President Obama announced a shift in approach to the conflict in Syria, Josh Rogin joins ‘The Daily Rundown’ on MSNBC to offer his take on whether the move was too little, too late.