Jim Messina (Op-ed at CNN) You can’t change Washington from the inside. President Obama was criticized for stating that simple truth during the campaign, but without Americans organizing in support of the issues they believe in, lobbyists and special interests will drive the agenda in Washington.
At this crossroads for our economy, we can’t afford business as usual. That’s why we’ve formed Organizing for Action, to ensure that the voices of the majority of Americans who voted for policies that will strengthen the middle class will be heard.
As we worked for change during the president’s first term, we saw special interests spend unprecedented amounts in an attempt to persuade Congress to vote against policies the American people voted for.
Jamelle Bouie: Over at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza chides President Obama for “crying wolf” on sequestration…. There’s no doubt the White House indulged in hyperbole during the debate over sequestration. But Cillizza is exaggerating the degree to which Obama’s rhetoric was overheated or overhyped…..
…. Sequester furloughs have already begun for some federal workers, and communities that rely on military bases and federal spending will see real hardship. Over time, if sequestration is allowed to run its course, more and more Americans will feel the consequences of sudden austerity.
Private forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers estimates “sequestration would cost roughly 700,000 jobs …. Did Obama cry wolf on the sequester? No. And besides, it’s only been five days. We’ll see the effects of sequestration as time passes, and they won’t be good.
NYT Editorial: Unable to stop the sequester’s job-killing spending cuts, President Obama now says he wants to move past the endless wars of budget attrition. Though he still wants a long-term deficit deal, he said last week, it is time to turn to immigration, gun control, universal preschool, a higher minimum wage and voting reform.
But Republicans are not going to allow that pivot. Most are unalterably opposed to all of those initiatives, and want to keep their focus on cutting domestic programs and fighting off tax increases…. Paul Ryan will soon unveil his caucus’s 2014 budget, which will start to make good on the party’s ruinous plan to balance the budget in 10 years…..
Republicans are hoping to wear down their opposition with these eternal battles. But their proposals are too dangerous to allow that to happen.
Steve Benen: Maybe you agree with Sen. Rand Paul’s civil liberties arguments; maybe you don’t. Perhaps you see him as an ideal messenger for his message; perhaps you notice that he’s a strange conspiracy theorist who talks a little too often about Hitler and believes civil liberties end when a woman wants control of her own reproductive freedoms.
….. as Paul’s allies grew throughout the day, it was hard not to wonder whether at least some of his new-found friends endorsed him on the substance or whether “Stand with Rand” had become a temporary fad on the right, driven by Republicans who were simply happy to see President Obama’s national security agenda facing criticism, even if they happen to agree with President Obama’s national security agenda.
…. There’s room for a real debate about the balance between civil liberties and national security, and if Paul helps spark that conversation, I’d be delighted. But I’ll be eager to know just how much yesterday’s spectacle changed minds and how much of it was about putting on a show.
Will Femia (Maddow Blog): While Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s remarks during oral arguments in the Voting Rights Act case left some of us scratching our heads about where he came up with the “perpetuation of racial entitlement” argument, Chad Flanders, an assistant professor of law at Saint Louis University School of Law, has an idea, tracing the phrase to a 1979 paper by then-professor Scalia…..
ThinkProgress: Meet 34 Corporations That Help Inflate The NRA’s Membership
….. A recent NRA promotion invited people to join at a discounted $25 rate. In addition to receiving an official membership card, a subscription to an association magazine, and free gun insurance, new members received a $25 gift card for Bass Pro Shops, making the membership essentially free.
In addition to those incentives, members of the NRA and its business alliance receive a bevy of other discounts courtesy of the Association’s corporate affiliates. National and local companies provide discounts on everything from car rentals to identity theft protection. The companies get listed on the NRA’s site as corporate partners and can promote themselves as “NRA endorsed.” And, in some cases, the NRA gets a percentage of the profits.
ThinkProgress: As the 10th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq approaches, the body charged with overseeing Iraq’s reconstruction has issued its final report, capping a tale of spending far too much money for very little results.
Appointed in Oct. 2004, over a year into War in Iraq, the Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) was charged with being a watchdog over the use of funds provided for rebuilding the Iraqi state after the downfall of Saddam Hussein. Those reconstruction and stabilization efforts wound up costing nearly $60 billion — or about $15 million per day — with up to $10 billion of that amount wasted, according to SIGIR Stuart Bowen.
The examples provided of fraud and abuse of the system are staggering both in number and nature….
President Obama talks with Lt. Gen. Doug Lute, Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for South Asia, left, and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon in the Oval Office, Nov. 13 (Pete Souza)
10:0 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addresses reporters (C-Span)
1:30: President Obama holds a news conference
2:45: President Obama and VP Biden attend a meeting with business leaders
McClatchy: President Obama assured labor unions and liberal organizations Tuesday that he’s firmly committed to letting tax cuts for higher incomes expire as scheduled at the end of the year….
Obama met with the labor and liberal groups for an hour at the White House, his first extended meeting with anyone from outside his administration since he won re-election a week ago. He told them he’s committed to raising taxes on higher incomes as he negotiates with Congress on avoiding the “fiscal cliff” of automatic tax increases when Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of the year and automatic spending cuts negotiated during last year’s debt crisis kick in.
“President Obama today strongly reiterated his steadfast commitment to ensuring that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent finally end Dec. 31 and to protecting the middle class in the process,” said Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org….
Dana Milbank: President Obama’s opponents have unwittingly come up with a brilliant plan to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” They want to secede from the union.
If Obama were serious about being a good steward of the nation’s finances, he’d let them.
…. a large number of patriotic Americans, mostly from states won by Mitt Romney last week, have petitioned the White House to let them secede. They should be careful about what they wish for…..
Red states receive, on average, far more from the federal government in expenditures than they pay in taxes. The balance is the opposite in blue states. The secession petitions, therefore, give the opportunity to create what would be, in a fiscal sense, a far more perfect union.
…. would-be rebels from the red states should keep in mind during the coming budget battle that those who are most ardent about cutting government spending tend to come from parts of the country that most rely on it.
CALL TO ACTION: PLEASE READ THIS PIECE IN ITS ENTIRETY. IT’S IMPORTANT.
(Yes, that means click the link after the snippet.)
I know everyone is frustrated at the level of incompetence, ignorance, and outright stupidity of the American public, and their preference for ALL THINGS LOHAN over things that personally make their lives better like Affordable Healthcare, and actually, I don’t know…VOTING. I get it. Me too. However, I have to say that I for one, am sick to death of hearing, “The White House/President Obama’s messaging on the ACA <or insert your pet topic here> has been horrid…. waaaaaaaaaah…”
Stop. Take a deep breath. Now THINK: Has the Press/Media ever, in your lifetime, so actively ignored and mislead the public on a Presidency and the legislation it’s trying to bring forward? (Of course, it doesn’t help that the Media™® is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the GOP. Forget that fact at the peril of us all.)
- Since when did it become okay to shirk your own personal responsibility to learn and gather information you are lacking? Wasn’t that the Prime Directive you learned in school – if you don’t know something, you know how and where to look it up?
- Since when is the Executive Branch of the US Government in the PRESS/MEDIA business? Where does it say in their job description, they must communicate all details of what is happening to the American public and by-extension, the GLOBE, personally, to every US Citizen? Isn’t that our “Fourth Estate’s JOB”? Isn’t that really, the true job of our “PRESS”? Isn’t that exactly WHY they were given the licenses they were given in the first place? If you’re going to call someone out for lack of communication, shouldn’t it be the PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY?
Comedian Bill Maher announced last night that he will donate one million dollars to President Obama’s re-election campaign. At the end of his groundbreaking comedy special, “CrazyStupidPolitics: Live from Silicon Valley,” which streamed live on Yahoo!, Bill brought out a check, making a personal donation of one million dollars to Obama’s Super PAC, Priorities USA Action. He explained that having a country governed by Barack Obama rather than any of the Republican candidates is “worth a million dollars” and that in his own financial interests, “this is the wisest investment I think I could make.” He also encouraged other wealthy liberals to do the same and give until it hurts.
Washington Post (Editorial): Run to the extreme in the primary, move to the center in the fall: That’s expected. But moving from the cartoon world the Republican presidential candidates have constructed back into three dimensions might prove more difficult.
In their debate Wednesday night, the remaining candidates seemed to be continuing their drift from reality – the reality of a center-right electorate they propose to woo and govern, and of the complexities of the problems they promise to solve.
…. From his perch of thorough hypocrisy – Paul is a master earmarker who preserves his purity by voting against appropriations bills he knows will pass – the Texas congressman declared: “I don’t accept that form of government.”
And, of Santorum, “He is a fake.” No, what’s fake is the two-dimensional canvas they’re presenting to voters.
TPM: Mitt Romney’s got a problem. Purple Strategies released their “Purple Poll” on Thursday, data from twelve swing states … “His favorable ratings are just atrocious,” Doug Usher, a managing partner at Purple Strategies said. “You can’t be sitting on 27 percent favorability in the general,” the level Romney is at in their new numbers.
“The best thing that Mitt Romney could actually do is actually run a campaign that said something,” Bruce Haynes, one of the founding partners of Purples Strategies and a veteran of GOP campaigns, told TPM. “It’s a Seinfeld campaign. It’s a campaign about nothing….”
Robert Shrum: Mitt Romney is pandering so desperately to the far-right fringe that he’s become all but unelectable in November …. As he demonstrated in this debate, he’s so desperate to pander his way to the nomination that he’s making it increasingly worthless.
This may do for the primary – it may be essential – but it’s a disaster in the making for the fall campaign. Romney’s cynical hope has to be that his shape-shifting will convince voters he doesn’t really mean this stuff. He can pray that his character weakness is his saving grace – that his reputation for lying about his beliefs will pull him back from the edge of a gender gap that will otherwise pose an unbridgeable barrier to the White House. The longer the primaries drag on, and the more he has to profess his hostility to women’s rights, the less likely it is that he can ever convince the majority who are women to take a chance on him.
…. From Oklahoma to Ohio, which both vote on March 6, and then onto Wisconsin and across the Midwest, Romney is well behind Santorum in the polls. He will have to keep pandering – and above all, right now, he has to win Michigan.
In the Arizona debate, he may have staunched his bleeding in the primaries, but he opened his veins for November.
Martin Bashir: “Newt Gingrich said he’s going to take oil prices down to $2 or $2.50 – the only thing that Newt Gingrich is very skilled at doing is taking his underpants down in the form of the number of adulteries that this man commits.”
Steve Rattner (NYT): …. As a presidential aspirant, Mr. Romney evidently hasn’t felt a need to be consistent or specific as to what should have been done to address the collapse of the auto industry starting in late 2008. But the gist is that the government should have stayed on the sidelines and allowed the companies to go through what he calls “managed bankruptcies,” financed by private capital.
That sounds like a wonderfully sensible approach – except that it’s utter fantasy. In late 2008 and early 2009, when G.M. and Chrysler had exhausted their liquidity, every scrap of private capital had fled to the sidelines.
I know this because the administration’s auto task force, for which I was the lead adviser, spoke diligently to all conceivable providers of funds, and not one had the slightest interest in financing those companies on any terms. If Mr. Romney disagrees, he should come forward with specific names of willing investors in place of empty rhetoric. I predict that he won’t be able to, because there aren’t any.
A source tells National Confidential that 26 American cars will be arranged by the United Auto Workers to echo Mitt Romney’s infamous “let Detroit go bankrupt” op-ed when he visits Ford Field on Friday. The cars will be on top of a parking garage right across from Ford Field where Romney will be giving a speech to the Detroit Economic Club.