Shorter Question Everything
• Huge Toronto police raids target gangs, guns and drugs. Toronto police executed search warrants early today at more than 30 addresses, including 320 Dixon Rd., an apartment building linked in published reports to the crack-smoking scandal involving Mayor Rob Ford. The building at 320 Dixon Rd., in the northwest suburb of Etobicoke, is reportedly the location mentioned in reports suggesting drug dealers may have stashed an alleged video showing Ford smoking crack cocaine. The Dixon Road apartment building is steps away from a house on Windsor Road linked to a notorious picture of Ford that appears to show the mayor posing with suspected drug dealers. That photo was shown to journalists by people trying to sell the alleged video. The video has yet to surface, but the allegations have roiled Toronto City Hall since the story first broke in mid-May.
• Who killed Justin Trudeau’s pro-House transparency motions? Following on the heels of last week’s pro-transparency pitch on the parliamentary front lawn, yesterday afternoon Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau attempted to convince his Commons colleagues to give unanimous consent to a series of motions that, if adopted, would have shone a little more light into exactly how MPs spend their — or, to be more accurate, our — money. Not surprisingly, perhaps, his proposals were rebuffed, but at press time, the identities of the Some Honourable Members who blocked his motions remain unknown.
• Don’t need Liberal ‘stunts’ on MP expenses, NDP says. The NDP is defending its decision to nix a series of LIberal motions designed to shed light on MPs’ expenses. Speaking to reporters Wednesday outside the NDP’s caucus room, NDP house leader Nathan Cullen accused the Liberals of “making it up as they go along.” He said Trudeau had not consulted the NDP about his motions, and is “making it up on the fly.” “Let’s not do stunts, let’s work together,” Cullen told reporters later after the party’s caucus meeting. He added, “Because asking somebody to agree with something that they haven’t heard about, on the fly, especially something important, is more of a stunt than it is serious work.” However, Trudeau’s motions were on the order paper for the day, belying the notion that the NDP was taken completely by surprise.
• Records missing from Conservative MP’s campaign file. Questions are being raised about how Elections Canada is handling MPs’ campaign files after the agency refused to allow CBC News to see documents in the campaign file of Conservative MP Eve Adams.
• Why Issa lashed out at Cummings: “Darrell Issa had his hearings and they were very disappointing for Darrell Issa,” said MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on the Rewrite Wednesday, “because his conclusion about the case–a conclusion he reached before hearing a moment of testimony–was not supported by that testimony.”
• Darrell Issa gets nastier: In a three-page insult [PDF] to Elijah Cummings, he flip-flops on releasing committee interview transcripts. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa put on a clinic in rudeness Tuesday, releasing a letter to ranking member Elijah Cummings that’s essentially a three-page insult, calling Cummings “reckless,” “irresponsible” and “obstructionist” for releasing the transcript of an interview in which an IRS manager said there was no evidence the White House was involved in Tea Party targeting, and telling CNN’s Candy Crowley that “the case is solved.” In the letter, Issa goes back on his own promise to Crowley “the whole transcript will be put out.” It’s [the letter] shockingly condescending and disrespectful to the veteran Maryland Democrat, as if Issa was his boss, not his colleague, or a teacher upbraiding an impertinent student.
• That didn’t take long. Rand Paul is exploiting the NSA controversy for fundraising.
• In China, Snowden leaks more info on NSA spying in China. The US may not be at war, cold or otherwise, with China, but they’re not friends either. Frenemies? In any case, Snowden fleeing to China and then dishing China-specific NSA information to the Chinese is a damned serious matter.
• While speaking at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on enduring cybersecurity threats, National Security Agency (NSA) Director Gen. Keith Alexander called claims made by NSA leaker Edward Snowden about his personal wiretapping abilities at the Agency “false.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) asked directly, “I saw an interview in which Mr. Snowden claimed that due to his position at NSA he could tap into virtually any American’s phone call or e-mails. True or false?” Alexander responded unequivocally, “False, I know of no way to do that.”
• New allegations of a State Department cover-up? NBC News has obtained documents tied to ongoing investigations at the State Department involving eight cases of alleged misconduct by state department workers, contractors, and a United States ambassador. The incidents reportedly occurred during Hillary Clinton’s tenure, according to the documents.
• Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell, who took the blame for editing the Obama administration’s Benghazi talking points, announced his retirement Wednesday. Morell, a 33-year CIA veteran, leaves a month after the White House released emails showing he was the one who removed al-Qaeda references from the much-debated talking points, which United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice later delivered on the Sunday talk shows. CIA Director John Brennan said the exit was so Morell could “retire to spend more time with his family and to pursue other professional opportunities.”
Right Wing Loopiness
• Glenn Beck: Promise that he made at the top of his radio broadcast today when he said that within the next twenty four hours, his The Blaze network will break a story that is going to rock the nation and take down the entire power structure. All Beck would say is that there is a whistleblower who has handed over just one document to The Blaze, but “this one document would take down pretty much the whole power structure, pretty much everything.” But this whistleblower is refusing to come forward until he can appear on television in front of Congress out of fear that he will otherwise be killed. “We are going to be greatly divided as a nation,” Beck warned, “in the next ten days and you are going to witness things in American history that have never been witnessed before.
• Scarborough rips NRA for new ad ‘shading’ Obama like O.J. Simpson mug shot. Conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Thursday paused for seven seconds of silence to shame the National Rifle Association (NRA) after he decided that the lobbying group’s new advertisement had unfairly darkened a photo of President Barack Obama the same way that Time magazine “shaded” O.J. Simpson’s mug shot in 1994.
• Texas Rep. Stockman: Obama’s Election a ‘Scam’. In an interview with talk show host Steve Deace yesterday he referred to President Obama’s re-election as a “scam.” When Deace asked him about the Senate immigration reform bill, which he called “Scamnesty,” Stockman thought he was referring to Obama’s election and suggested that the president won due to voter fraud in the uncontested Democratic primary: “Which scam? You mean his election? Is that what you’re talking about? Where you had 120 percent people voting in the primary in just patriotic precincts?”
• Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced legislation Wednesday to withhold pay for members of Congress if the government fails to raise the debt ceiling in time. Modeled on the GOP’s “no budget, no pay” legislation, the funds would be placed into an escrow account and paid to members in full once the debt limit is increased. “Republicans seem to want to hurt America first, by leaving our people unpaid and going ahead and paying China first,” Boxer said, referring to GOP legislation to prioritize payments to creditors and Social Security recipients first if the debt limit is broached. “What country to these guys represent anyway?” She went on to rip into the GOP for “deadbeat behavior” and their “unpatriotic plan.”
• Republican Rep. Trent Franks pushed back against critics of his recent remarks about rape and abortion, claiming his comments were “taken out of context.” “The reality is the bill that we have doesn’t do anything to restrict abortion before the beginning of the sixth month of pregnancy,” Franks told NBC News Wednesday. “And the incidences where pregnancy from rape that result in abortion after the beginning of the sixth month are rare. That’s all I was saying.” Franks had been under attack after saying that “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low” during a committee mark-up hearing on the bill, known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortion performed after 20 weeks, using the argument that a fetus can feel pain beyond that point. The bill was approved by a committee Wednesday, with all 20 yes votes coming from men, and is expected to be taken up by the House for a full vote next week.
• Ohio Republicans Introduce One Of The Nation’s All-Time Worst Abortion Bills. Ohio Republicans are already attempting to hijack the state’s budget process to push for abortion restrictions, advancing a version of Gov. John Kasich’s budget bill that includes amendments to defund Planned Parenthood and shut down abortion clinics. But they’re not stopping there. Now, a group of 35 Republican lawmakers in the House have introduced an omnibus anti-abortion bill that combines some of the worst attacks on women’s reproductive health into a single measure.
• Wisconsin: Republican state senators in Wisconsin on Wednesday silenced Democratic lawmakers while passing a bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound procedure before being able to receive an abortion.
• Turkish PM’s chilling warning: ‘these protests will be over in 24 hours’. ‘We have not responded to punches with punches. From now on security forces will respond differently,’ Erdogan says.