Posts Tagged ‘cliff



28
Dec
12

Heads Up: Statement from the President at 5:45 ET

The President will deliver a statement at 5:45 in the press briefing room at the White House

White House live

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22
Dec
12

Rise and Shine

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Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, December 22, Honolulu, Hawaii (Photos: Pool/Getty)

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Anyone worried that Bo got left behind ….. 0:38 …. :cool:

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NYT Editorial: Wayne LaPierre would have been better advised to remain wherever he had been hiding after the Newtown, Conn., massacre, rather than appear at a news conference on Friday. No one seriously believed the N.R.A. when it said it would contribute something “meaningful” to the discussion about gun violence. The organization’s very existence is predicated on the nation being torn in half over guns. Still, we were stunned by Mr. LaPierre’s mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant.

Mr. LaPierre looked wild-eyed at times as he said the killing was the fault of the media, songwriters and singers and the people who listen to them, movie and TV scriptwriters and the people who watch their work, advocates of gun control, video game makers and video game players.

Full editorial here

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Arend Van Dam

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Charles Blow: Seriously, what was the National Rifle Association performing on Friday? I thought it was going to be a press conference. It wasn’t. I really don’t know how to describe it. A soliloquy of propaganda? A carnival of canards? A herding of scapegoats?

Wayne LaPierre, the N.R.A.’s executive vice president, blamed gun violence in general, and mass shootings in schools in particular, on everything except for the proliferation of brutally efficient, high-capacity guns and his organization’s efforts to resist virtually any restriction on people’s access to those weapons.

It was an appalling display of deflection and deception. So much smoke and so many mirrors.

Full article here

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Bob Englehart

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Eugene Robinson: Absurd, unbelievable, tragic, obscene — I grope for words to describe the National Rifle Association’s proposal for how the nation should respond to last week’s slaughter in Newtown: More guns in the schools.

The idea is so insane that as far as I’m concerned — and, I hope, as far as a still-grieving nation is concerned — the NRA has forfeited the right to be taken seriously on matters of public policy. Newtown is still burying six-year-olds and Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s chief, wants more freaking guns in the schools. Wow.

More here

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RJ Matson

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Gail Collins:  Well, the Mayans were sort of right.

The world didn’t implode when their calendar stopped on Dec. 21. But the National Rifle Association did call for putting guns in every American school in a press conference that had a sort of civilization-hits-a-dead-end feel to it.

And we learned that negotiations on averting a major economic crisis had come to a screeching halt because Speaker John Boehner lost the support of the far-right contingent of his already-pretty-damned-conservative caucus. We have seen the future, and everything involves negotiating with loony people.

Full article here

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Washington Post: The main thing that has held Republicans together philosophically is the belief in holding down taxes. Not one of them in Congress has voted for a significant increase in more than two decades.

Now that very issue is tearing the GOP apart and making it an all-but-ungovernable majority for Speaker John Boehner to lead in the House.

Disarray is a word much overused in politics. But it barely begins to describe the current state of chaos and incoherence as Republicans come to terms with electoral defeat and try to regroup against a year-end deadline to avert a fiscal crisis.

The presidential election was fought in large measure over the question of whether some Americans should pay more in taxes. Republicans lost that argument with the voters, who polls show are strongly in favor of raising rates for the wealthy. But a sizable contingent within the GOP doesn’t see it that way and is unwilling to declare defeat on a tenet that so defines them.

Full article here

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MoooOOoooOoooOooorning everyone.

21
Dec
12

What a day

President Barack Obama pauses during a meeting to observe a moment of silence in the Oval Office at 9:30 a.m. in remembrance of the 20 children and six adults killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown. Joining the President, from left, are: Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett; Chief of Staff Jack Lew; and Pete Rouse, Counselor to the President. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Mother Jones (painful to read, but powerful reporting)

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Charles Pierce: The National Rifle Association held a press conference today at which it was determined that there would be no questions asked or answered, but the organization made it quite clear that they would be open to media questions next week, between Christmas and New Year’s. Then they trotted out Wayne LaPierre, who had bats flying out of both ears.

….. For all the hopeful rhetoric expended over the past week about how this might actually be a “tipping point” for the NRA, the organization is as dead set against rational gun laws as it was a week ago Friday.

… They have their plan, and its about more guns, period … Now we know where everybody stands. Clarity is a wonderful thing … [they] made it implicitly clear that they will fight any legislation that comes before the Congress as regards gun control, and that it will work (as always) to undermine the enforcement of that legislation should it become law. The country should realize all of that and move on ahead without them.

Full post here

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Alec MacGillis (TNR): For two decades now, the legend of the National Rifle Association has grown in Washington. They were the most feared lobby of all, as influential and professionally run as the AARP or AIPAC but with the literal firepower behind them to enhance the aura of intimidation. They could get just about everything they wanted…..

But this cloak of power was stripped away today at NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre’s press conference on the Newtown shootings, revealing the NRA as a lobby with no clothes, or at least nothing but a holster strapped to the ankle …. this was the first time many in Washington and across the country had actually focused squarely on him and his organization in a long time, and this newfound focus, combined with the post-Newtown context in which LaPierre was speaking, was enough to make the NRA seem utterly, surreally amateurish and out of touch. You could all but hear the question rising around Washington: We’ve been letting ourselves be led around by these guys?

Full post here

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Adam Serwer (Mother Jones): ….. LaPierre did not note that Columbine High School had an armed guard when two students went on a murderous shooting rampage there in 1999, and that Virginia Tech had an armed police force with its own SWAT team equivalent when one of its students killed 33 people in 2007.

Full post here

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In an open letter to parents, First Lady Michelle Obama offers some ideas for discussing the tragedy in Newtown with children and young people:

Dear parents,

Like every American, Barack and I are absolutely heartbroken about the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, Connecticut.  And like so many of you, our first reactions were not as a President and First Lady, but as a Mom and Dad.  We were asking ourselves, what if this had been our town, or our school, or our girls?

And we know that all across the country, it’s not just adults who are asking questions right now – our children are looking for answers as well.  Like us, they want to know, why did this happen?

Could it happen again?  And as parents, all of us can take the time to hold our kids close and talk with them about the things that truly matter: our love for them, the importance of extending that love to those affected by this tragedy, and how that love truly defines our great American community.

Read the rest of the letter here

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Charles Pierce: … Kerry is a good, safe choice for the job. He has made an entire Senate career out of taking on foreign-policy issues that nobody else – except Gary Hart – ever wanted to touch …. Here’s a bit on that from a profile I did back in 2004 (see post)…..

….. This is a man who knows where the bodies have been buried for the past 30 years ….  if you’re casting about for a Democratic Secretary Of State from his generation of Democratic politicians, Kerry is the natural choice, even if you find the way he came to be nominated, through the slandering of Susan Rice, distasteful, as I do.

…. the key is the Swift Boats. If some senator brings it up and if the courtier press doesn’t emphasize at every moment that everything that was said about John Kerry and Vietnam in the 2004 presidential campaign was a lie and an embarrassment to American politics and the American media, then we have on our hands yet another case of journalistic malpractice, and we have had enough of those, thank you.

Full post here

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Text of the President’s remarks

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Meanwhile…..

Steve Benen: There’s been quite a bit of economic news this week, and nearly all of it is quite good. Today, for example, we saw very encouraging news on consumer spending, personal income, orders of durable goods, and national jobless rates. The news comes on the heels of revised GDP data, which was also heartening.

In each case, the numbers aren’t just good, they’re better than nearly anyone expected…..

Full post here

21
Dec
12

The President’s statement on the ‘fiscal cliff’

19
Dec
12

President Obama’s press conference

18
Dec
12

Rise and Shine

Good news, for a change:

ABC: Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent at NBC News, and his production team have been released amid gunfire at a Syria checkpoint after they were taken prisoner in the civil war-torn country.

“After being kidnapped and held for five days inside Syria by an unknown group, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his production crew members have been freed unharmed. We are pleased to report they are safely out of the country,” NBC said in a statement.

Engel, 39, and his crew vanished Thursday after crossing into northwest Syria from Turkey, the network said, adding that there had been no contact between the Engel and NBC since last week

More here

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Today:

10:15: President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

4:35: President Obama meets with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

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Steve Benen: As fiscal talks in Washington continue, it’s generally wise not to react too strongly, one way or the other, to various offers and counteroffers …. Two weeks ago, for example, a lot of folks seemed convinced that President Obama was poised to accept an increase in the Medicare eligibility age, and now that idea is apparently “a line White House is unwilling to cross.”

… [but] there is ample evidence that Obama and Boehner are inching closer to a deal…..  it’s worth paying close attention to its most glaring flaws … From a progressive perspective, “chaining” the CPI is obviously the most problematic element. For many Democrats in Washington, there seems to be a sense that some kind of entitlement cut will invariably be part of any bipartisan deal, and that the CPI measure is arguably the least offensive of bad options, but that’s not much of a defense.

…. For what it’s worth, the NYT noted that Obama is “insisting on some protections for what he has called the ‘most vulnerable populations,'” as part of this CPI provision, but it’s unclear at this point what those protections might be …. we should know more fairly soon, including whether the entire process will completely fall apart.

Full post here

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Greg Sargent: …… The big picture: With this deal Obama will have broken the GOP’s fundamentalist opposition to raising tax rates on the rich (albeit only on income over $400,000) something that would have been deemed very unlikely a year ago. He will have held the line against the GOP demand for two years of Medicare — a victory. Debt ceiling hostage taking will have been deferred for two years, meaning it won’t get tied up in the next elections. He will have obtained stimulus spending — on infrastructure, and in the form of an extension of unemployment benefits — and as Paul Krugman notes, that wouldn’t happen if we go over the cliff. (I’m told the talks have not focused on the exact sum of stimulus spending the White House wants.) The price: The expiration of the payroll tax cut and the cut in Social Security benefits. That’s bad, but the damage could be limited, if the White House insists on it.

Full post here

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Washington Post: President Obama on Monday began the first serious push of his administration to attempt to reduce gun violence, directing Cabinet members to formulate a set of proposals that could include reinstating a ban on assault rifles.

The effort will be led by Vice President Biden …. The tentative steps ended a paralyzing debate within the administration over how hard to pursue gun-control legislation, which has been a politically perilous issue for many Democrats. There were signs Monday, however, that such fear was abating on the Democratic side of the aisle.

Democratic Sens. Harry Reid, Joe Manchin and Mark R. Warner made clear that Congress should consider a range of options to address the issue; all three have been strong supporters of gun rights. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she would introduce legislation that would reimpose the assault-rifle ban that lapsed in 2004.

More here

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Morning everyone, a very slow start today, will catch up with more news soon-ish.

17
Dec
12

Catching Up

Daniel Inouye 1924 – 2012

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Statement by the President on the Passing of Senator Daniel Inouye

Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero with the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye.  The second-longest serving Senator in the history of the chamber, Danny represented the people of Hawaii in Congress from the moment they joined the Union.  In Washington, he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus, and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve.  But it was his incredible bravery during World War II – including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor – that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Inouye family.

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Ezra Klein: …. a “fiscal cliff” deal seems to be coming together … Boehner offered to let tax rates rise for income over $1 million. The White House wanted to let tax rates rise for income over $250,000. The compromise will likely be somewhere in between….

On the spending side, the Democrats’ headline concession will be accepting chained-CPI (see here), which is to say, accepting a cut to Social Security benefits…..

…. On stimulus, unemployment insurance will be extended, as will the refundable tax credits. Some amount of infrastructure spending is likely. Perversely, the payroll tax cut, one of the most stimulative policies in the fiscal cliff, will likely be allowed to lapse, which will deal a big blow to the economy…..

….. As is always the case, the negotiations could fall apart, or the deal could change. But right now, the participants sound upbeat….

More here

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Paul Krugman: It sounds as if Ezra Klein is hearing more or less the same things I’m hearing: Republicans willing to give up a lot more on tax rates, although not fully undoing the Bush tax cuts in the 250-400 range; additional tax hikes via deduction limits in a form that hits the wealthy, not the upper middle class; unemployment extension and infrastructure spending; but “chained CPI” for Social Security, which is a benefit cut.

… this contains stuff that Obama can’t get just by letting us go over the cliff: more revenue than he could get just from tax-cut expiration, unemployment and infrastructure too. But it has a cost, those benefit cuts.

Those cuts are a very bad thing, although there will supposedly be some protection for low-income seniors. But the cuts are not nearly as bad as raising the Medicare age….

…. we shouldn’t be doing benefit cuts at all; but if benefit cuts are the price of a deal that is better than no deal, much better that they involve the CPI adjustment than the retirement age….

Full post here

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President Barack Obama works with senior advisors in the Oval Office, Dec. 17. Standing, from left, are: Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Jeffrey Zients, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and Chief of Staff Jack Lew. (Photo by Pete Souza)

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National Journal: Republicans alarmed at the apparent challenges they face in winning the White House are preparing an all-out assault on the Electoral College system in critical states, an initiative that would significantly ease the party’s path to the Oval Office.

Senior Republicans say they will try to leverage their party’s majorities in Democratic-leaning states in an effort to end the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Instead, bills that will be introduced in several Democratic states would award electoral votes on a proportional basis.

….. if more reliably blue states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were to award their electoral votes proportionally, Republicans would be able to eat into what has become a deep Democratic advantage.

All three states have given the Democratic nominee their electoral votes in each of the last six presidential elections. Now, senior Republicans in Washington are overseeing legislation in all three states to end the winner-take-all system.

More here

Charles Pierce: There is no longer any reason to believe that the Republican party has any intention of changing itself to adapt to a changing America. Every story you read to that effect is a lie. Every apparent attempt by the party to convince you that it is planning to do it is a fake. They are not planning on adapting to a changing country. What they’re planning is to change the system of presidential elections so that they never have to do so. I’m not sure it will work, but that hasn’t stopped them recently….

More here

Jonathan Bernstein: There was a lot of chatter today about National Journal’s report that national Republicans are pushing a plan to…well, there’s no other way to say it: they’re pushing a plan to rig presidential elections.

…. Fortunately, it’s unlikely that it will happen. As I’ve argued, unlike the cases in which state Republican parties have tried to strip unions of resources or engaged in gerrymanders, the incentives on this one are at cross-purposes. What’s good for the national GOP would be quite bad for Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, and probably even worse for Republican legislators and governors in those states.

More here

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E.J. Dionne: …. There was a different quality to President Obama’s response to this mass shooting, both initially and during his Sunday pilgrimage to offer comfort to the families of victims. I think I know why. It is not just that 20 young children were killed, although that would be enough.

For some months now, there have been rumblings from the administration that Obama has been unhappy with his own policy passivity in responding to the earlier mass shootings and was prepared in his second term to propose tough steps to deal with our national madness on firearms.

He spoke in Newtown in solidarity with the suffering, but pointed toward action. No, he said, we are not “doing enough to keep our children, all our children, safe.” He added: “We will have to change.”

More here

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Cagle

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Charles Pierce: ….. Too many people make too much money on guns and ammo …. Profit is what gives the NRA its real power; it lobbies less for the rights of its membership than for the right of weapons manufacturers to make a pile….

…. You want to eliminate the guns? Take the profit out of them. Take the fight to the people who make the weapons, not to the people who sell them or the people who buy the politicians so that selling them will be easier….

…. Too much of our entire national economy is based on violence — physical violence, emotional violence, environmental violence, economic violence — and there is too much profit to be made out of the production of violence. You want the violence to stop, break the people who are getting rich off it. Break their fortunes and you can break their power. The money comes first. It always does.

Full post here

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Cagle

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NY Mag: At 7:58 p.m. on Saturday evening, gun control’s newest advocate took to Twitter to call for stricter firearm legislation. “Nice words from POTUS on shooting tragedy,” wrote News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch, “but how about some bold leadership action?” Around the same time at Fox News, one of Roger Ailes’s deputies was sending a very different message.

According to sources, David Clark, the executive producer in charge of Fox’s weekend coverage, gave producers instructions not to talk about gun-control policy on air. “This network is not going there,” Clark wrote one producer on Saturday night….

More here

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The NRA’s A team:

See more at the Washington Post

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Steve Benen: With gun legislation practically non-existent in recent years, it’s easy to forget that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), before he became his caucus’ leader, voted against the assault weapons ban. But in light of Friday’s violence, Reid is joining his Democratic colleagues in looking anew at possible changes.

More here

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Link

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13
Dec
12

Rise and Shine

President Barack Obama talks with Natoma Canfield, right, and her sister, Connie Anderson, in the Oval Office, Dec. 12. The letter Canfield sent the President in 2010 hangs on the wall in the background. (Photo by Pete Souza)

Politico: The Ohio woman whose name become a rallying cry for President Obama in his fight for health care reform finally came to the White House on Wednesday to see a letter that she wrote, framed and placed on a West Wing wall outside the Oval Office. Natoma Canfield wrote to Obama in 2010 about her battle with cancer and how she could no longer afford to pay insurance premiums. He cited her letter as one of his inspirations while pushing for health care reform, called her after the Supreme Court upheld the law and met her for the first time in July this year. Obama promised at that meeting that Canfield, at right above, could come to the White House and see the letter.

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Today:

7:40: President Obama delivers remarks at the Hanukkah Reception at the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama attends

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ABC: Barack Obama holds a substantial advantage over John Boehner in handling budget negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff: Nearly twice as many Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of the president’s work on the issue so far as favor the speaker’s approach.

More here

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Jonathan Bernstein: In the “elections have consequences” department, add today’s announcement by the Federal Reserve that it will not only tolerate somewhat more inflation, but will do so until unemployment drops below 6.5 percent. It’s a decision that pushes the Fed more and more in the direction of liberal economists who have supported monetary policy designed to encourage economic growth, not fight inflation.

….. the decision is a consequence of an election, but not the one we just had — it’s a consequence of the November 2008 election, which allowed Obama to appoint and a Democratic Senate to confirm members of the Fed Board of Governors; he’s now appointed six of seven, all of whom voted for today’s policy.

More here

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Greg Sargent: Republicans have long derided Elizabeth Warren for describing herself as an intellectual godmother of Occupy Wall Street. Now the intellectual godmother of Occupy Wall Street will occupy the Senate committee that oversees it.

The Senate Democratic leadership is announcing that Warren will be given a seat on the Senate Banking Committee. As Forbes put it recently, Warren’s ascent to the Senate alone was “Wall Street’s worst nightmare.” This could make that nightmare a good deal worse.

More here

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Washington Post: Military officials on Wednesday spilled details of the elaborate plans for President Obama’s second inauguration, rolling out a gym-size map to show how an army of National Guard members and active-duty personnel will contribute to the event’s pomp and manage its backstage nitty-gritty.

Strolling the 40-by-60-foot floor map with what he quipped were “God-like powers,” Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Scott Hinds demonstrated how units will be deployed from staging areas to various command posts along the Mall and the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route.

More here

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This is one of Yahoo’s viral photos of the year – cracks me up every time:

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Morning everyone ;-)




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