Morning Reads

As we continue our effort to keep you up-to-date on how money corrupts American government and politics, as well as other news of the day, we’re pleased to publish this daily digest compiled by’s Michael Winship.

No shutdown… for now –> Agence France-Presse (via Raw Story): “The stopgap measure only runs until December 11, setting up a new potential fiscal clash just 10 weeks from now. But it avoids a repeat of 2013, when bickering lawmakers failed to reach a deal on spending and the government skidded into a damaging 16-day shutdown. Obama, speaking to Democratic state lawmakers at the White House, hailed the congressional action. ‘It looks like the Republicans will just barely avoid shutting down the government for the second time in two years,’ he said.”

But they actually didn’t bomb ISIS –> Russia began airstrikes in Syria yesterday and although Russia said they were targeting the Islamic State, Syrian rebel groups in the area are telling reporters that “the strikes hit other groups, including some rebels believed to have participated in a CIA-supported training program. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter noted that the strikes, which occurred in western Syria, were in locations ‘where there probably were not ISIL forces.'”

ThinkProgress’s Justin Salhani notes that “many believe there’s a possibility [Russia] won’t target them in future airstrikes either. Assad’s forces have been accused of aiding ISIS in the past as well as contributing to their formation by releasing radicals from prison during the uprising’s earlier days. The idea goes that Assad wants the U.S. and other states to back his fight against the opposition by painting them as a cohesive unit of radicals.”

ALSO, Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall. AND, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad at the London Review of Books on the refugee crisis, “Some Tips for the Long-Distance Traveller.”

BENGHAZI!! –> We haven’t used that headline in a while, but Julian Hattem of The Hill reports, “The House’s committee investigating the 2012 terror attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, has been running longer than any other special congressional inquiry in the nation’s history. As of Monday, the committee has been in existence for a total of 72 weeks, surpassing the 1970s effort to investigate the Watergate scandal — the previous longest special investigatory committee, which ran for just less than one year and five months.” (h/t Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly.)

Meanwhile, in the GOP Land of Gaffe, Speaker of the House-heir apparent and Republican majority leader Kevin McCarthy admitted that the hearings have just been about destroying Hillary Clinton’s reputation and poll numbers. He crowed on Fox News Tuesday night, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.”

This set off a chain reaction among Democratic members of the committee who demanded an end to the investigation. Illinois’ Tammy Duckworth: “The Majority Leader’s… partisan disclosure breaks the promise we made to the victims’ families to make sure a tragedy of this magnitude never happens again. The decent thing to do is to wrap up the Committee’s work as soon as possible.”And Washington State’s Adam Smith: “Taxpayer dollars should be spent to improve the quality of life for the American people, not to fuel a naked political attack.”

ALSO, important read at Digby’s Hullabaloo: “Even if you loathe Clinton with every fiber of your being you should be concerned about this. They’ll use these methods against anyone, just ask John Kerry or Al Gore. If you like Bernie or Biden don’t think they won’t find a way to get them with this stuff or that the press won’t eagerly swallow every tid-bit they give them if they sense blood in the water. The desire to get Clinton is even stronger among both the Republicans and the press, of course, because she and her husband survived the earlier attempt to destroy them and they are frustrated. But don’t think it can’t happen to any Democrat if the media decides to join in. Character assassination by a thousand cuts is their MO and it’s very powerful. Oh, and by the way, their 9th witchhunt committee has spent 4 million dollars and counting. And that’s on top of all the money they spent on the previous 8 investigations.” ALSO, Joe Conason at The National Memo.

This is just weird –> Mother Jones’ David Corn reports that, “Dr. Ben Carson has provided one important clue as to his fundamental political worldview, by repeatedly endorsing a far-right conspiracy theorist named W. Cleon Skousen, who was characterized in 2007 by the conservative National Review as an ‘all-around nut job.’ Skousen came to prominence in the 1950s as a virulent anti-Communist crusader; he later claimed that a global cabal of bankers controlled the world from behind the scenes, and he once wrote a book that referred to the ‘blessings of slavery.'”

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