Reporting that House Republicans are investigating whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress during his recent testimony about Justice Department seizures of communications records in connection with a national security leak investigation, CNN’s Dana Bash misstated key facts of the controversy. In so doing, CNN helped bolster the hollow claims of Republicans – wildly hyped by Fox News – that Holder may have perjured himself….
Greg Sargent: A new Quinnipiac poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Americans – 73-22 – thinks we should be placing a higher priority on the economy and unemployment than on the “scandals” gripping Washington. That includes 72 percent of independents, who are critical in midterm elections. At the same time, a variety of indicators, from rising home prices to buoyed consumer confidence to falling gas prices, suggest that the economy is improving at a stronger clip than previously anticipated.
If the recovery is strong next year, it could help Dems hold the Senate….
TPM: The White House has received more than 120 applications from health insurance plans looking to sell on the new federal health care exchange …. The success of the Affordable Care Act partially hinges on competition in order to keep premiums low, and, according to the memo, “the early signs are promising and demonstrate a significant increase in competition and an array of options for consumers everywhere.”
One out of four insurers that have applied to sell insurance in the marketplace is new to the individual insurance market and at least one new provider has been added in 75 percent of states with a federally run marketplace…..
Jonathan Chait: Pete Wehner, former Minister of Propaganda for the Bush administration, sees the excitement of the Obama scandals receding, and he knows just how to explain this. Not a lack of evidence to date that anybody in the administration has done anything wrong. It’s media bias ….. Yeah, that sounds right….
USA Today: The pro-Obama group Organizing for Action will hold 39 “founders events” across the country this weekend as part of an effort to build separate state chapters.
“OFA supporters, volunteers, campaign alumni and donors will come together to discuss what OFA has already accomplished as well as our goals and the path forward,” said an announcement from the group….
The Illinois State Founders Summit will be held Friday and Saturday in Obama’s hometown of Chicago, and will feature remarks by OFA Chairman Jim Messina and Executive Director Jon Carson.
They plan to discuss “how OFA plans how to continue to ensure the American people’s voices are heard by lawmakers as we fight to tip the scales of power back to the American people and away from the special interests to advance the issues the American people voted for in November,” said the statement.
Charles Pierce: Just as Darrell Issa and his merry men are ready to engage in another round of Outrage Kabuki on the subject of Benghazi, BENGHAZI!, BENGHAZI!!, some of the air is going out of the balloon already, and the high-pitched whistling seems to have reached a frequency that can be heard at the dog’s breakfast known as Fox And Friends.
And when you’ve lost a human tack-hammer like Brian Kilmeade, it’s going to be tough to sell anyone smarter, which is, you know, like, everybody.
Jonathan Bernstein: If you’re not inside the conservative information feedback loop, you might not be aware that within that loop the Benghazi “scandal” is still going at 100 percent strength. Months after the actual incident, which was back in September. Even though no one has ever made clear exactly what terrible secret was the subject of the supposed cover-up; even though a succession of “revelations” have all turned out to be nonsense (here’s one from just last week). Doesn’t matter; discredited accusations are just forgotten and new ones are substituted.
Dan Rather: “All of these things we’ve said about what the president could do, should do, might have, could have, but the central thing to keep in mind is his opponents — you talk about taking them out to dinner, making nice with them — these people, politically, want to cut his heart out and throw his liver to the dogs.”
Heritage vs. Heritage: Major immigration report released today directly contradicts its 2006 study thkpr.gs/107cMgE
Washington Post: President Obama recently said he would love to hire a top executive into his administration. But for the job of Treasury secretary, he didn’t pick a corporate executive, a famous economist or a former politician – he has decided to tap a trusted adviser, White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew, an expert on the nation’s ongoing budget wars.
Obama on Thursday plans to nominate Lew to take over from Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, the president’s longest-serving economic adviser, a White House official said. The selection, to be announced at 1:30 p.m., signals that Obama’s second term will not initially focus on big new ideas to create jobs or expand government investment in the economy. Rather, it will involve a sustained conflict with congressional Republicans over the nation’s finances….
NY Mag: Jack Lew, President Obama’s reported pick to replace outgoing Treasury secretary Tim Geithner, is known as a no-nonsense backroom negotiator with wonkish tendencies, who is admired on the left and grumbled about on the right.
A lesser-known but extremely pertinent fact about Lew is that he has the world’s worst signature. And pretty soon, that signature could be on every single one of your dollar bills.
Charles Blow: This time, nearly a month after the horrible mass shooting in Newtown, the public attention hasn’t ricocheted to the next story. On the contrary, sorrow has hardened into resolve.
This time, something can and must be done. And it looks as if something will….. as we move into this season of change on gun policy, let’s take a moment to better frame the debate.
First, let’s fix some of the terminology: stop calling groups like the National Rifle Association a “gun rights” group. These are anti-regulation, pro-proliferation groups. They prey on public fears … while helping gun makers line their pockets.
(Sturm, Ruger & Company’s stock has gone up more than 500 percent since President Obama was first elected, and Smith & Wesson’s stock is up more than 200 percent.)
…..Groups like the N.R.A. aren’t as much about rights as wrongs. The money being churned is soaked in blood and marked by madness…..
NYT: One of America’s largest pension funds began on Wednesday to divest itself of firearms holdings, a response to the schoolhouse shooting in Newtown, Conn., that other pension funds could follow.
The California State Teachers Retirement System, known as Calstrs, voted unanimously to begin its formal divestment process. The vote occurred at a public meeting where teachers said they did not want their retirement nest eggs placed with companies like the Freedom Group, the maker of the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle that authorities say Adam Lanza used to kill 20 first graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook elementary school on Dec. 14.
TPM: Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D) on Thursday offered a vote of confidence in Vice President Joe Biden’s efforts to institute new national gun laws. Malloy said he had a “great conversation” with Biden on Wednesday, adding that the vice president “understands what we need to do” to curb gun violence.
“I had a great conversation yesterday with Vice President Biden and I know he is preparing his recommendations to the president,” Malloy said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I don’t want to get into the details of the discussion but he’s got this down pretty well. He understands what we need to do to make it less likely that these things are going to happen in our cities and towns, and these mass murders could be limited at least going into the future if some common sense things are taken.”
TPM: Advocates on both sides of the gun control debate are prepared to make a lot of noise about the future of gun regulations in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. shooting. That’s the message from the first of House Democratic gun violence pointman Mike Thompson’s violence-focused town halls this week.
On Tuesday night, Thompson hosted the first of three gun violence town halls in his northern California district. As they vowed to do, gun control opponents showed up in force to make their case against new regulations. But, according to local reports of the meeting, they were met with equally impassioned gun control proponents. It’s a preview of what might happen after the White House and Thompson reveal their post-Newtown legislative proposals: opposition to gun control is likely to be met by vocal support for new gun regulations that is just as loud.
John Kerry, left, in 1969 and Chuck Hagel in 1968 during their service in the Vietnam War
NYT: With the selection of a new national security team deeply suspicious of the wisdom of American military interventions around the world, President Obama appears to have ended, at least for the moment, many of the internal administration debates that played out in the Situation Room over the past four years.
He has sided, without quite saying so, with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s view – argued, for the most part, in the confines of the White House — that caution, covert action and a modest American military footprint around the world fit the geopolitical moment….
Gone for the second term are the powerful personalities, and more hawkish voices, that pressed Mr. Obama to pursue the surge in Afghanistan in 2009… The new team will include two Vietnam veterans, Senator John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, who bear the scars of a war that ended when the president was a teenager…..
MSNBC: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will not return in President Barack Obama’s second term, the White House confirmed Wednesday.
Solis, formerly a California congresswoman, said she made the decision to step down from her role over the holiday season.
…. In a statement, Obama called Solis “a tireless champion for working families”. “Over the last four years, Secretary Solis has been a critical member of my economic team as we have worked to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and strengthen the economy for the middle class,” he said. “Her efforts have helped train workers for the jobs of the future, protect workers’ health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work.”
Bloomberg: The U.S. auto industry is seeing demand recover faster than anticipated, with carmakers headed toward their best annual performance in three years at sales of 12.8 million vehicles.
Consumers entered this year’s final month demanding models ranging from big pickups to luxury sedans to fuel-sipping hybrids after pushing November’s sales to the fastest monthly pace since the government’s “cash for clunkers” trade-in program in August 2009….
…. Consumer confidence surged in November by the most in more than eight years, and the portion of consumers planning to buy a new vehicle within six months climbed to the highest since April, data from The Conference Board showed Nov. 29.
Vice President Joe Biden has a breakfast meeting at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara
Vice President Joe Biden visits a shop in the Samatya Square neighborhood in Istanbul, Turkey, Dec. 4
Official White House Photos by David Lienemann
Just when it looked like things couldn’t get worse for Willard:
President Barack Obama meets with advisors in the Oval Office, Dec. 5, 2011. Pictured, from left, are: Gene Sperling, National Economic Council Director; Dan Pfeiffer, Director of Communications; Press Secretary Jay Carney; Cody Keenan, Deputy Director of Speechwriting; and Senior Advisor David Plouffe. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
$1,000 in 24 hours? You people are just fantastic – thank you so much ;-)
Pew Research: Rick Perry received the most favorable coverage of any candidate for president during the first five months of the race, but now Herman Cain is enjoying that distinction, according to a new survey which combines traditional research methods and computer algorithmic technology to code the level and tone of news coverage.
…. One man running for president has suffered the most unrelentingly negative treatment of all: Barack Obama. Though covered largely as president rather than a candidate, negative assessments of Obama have outweighed positive by a ratio of almost 4-to-1. The assessments of the president in the media were substantially more negative than positive in every one of the 23 weeks studied. In no week during these five months was more than 10% of the coverage about the President positive in tone.
TPM: With President Obama’s jobs package facing a handful of Democratic defections in the Senate, the White House released a letter from 16 Democratic governors who are standing squarely behind the bill in a last-ditch lobbying blitz before the Tuesday night vote.
… the Democratic governors who signed onto the letter to House and Senate leaders are urging Congress to swiftly pass the American Jobs Act…
…. The signers include: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, California Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr., New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. John P. deJongh, Jr., Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, Washington, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin.
Steve Benen: The Senate will take up the American Jobs Act tonight, and no one needs a crystal ball to know the bill won’t come close to getting 60 votes. But let’s take a moment to mention exactly what will be voted on tonight.
This is not a vote on final passage of the bill. It’s not even a cloture vote to end debate so that there can be a vote on final passage. Tonight, rather, is on the motion to proceed…..
In effect, what the Senate will vote on tonight is whether they can have a debate on the jobs bill. That’s all this is, a vote to allow a discussion. Republicans will, of course, filibuster the motion to proceed….
When members of the Democratic caucus – Ben Nelson, Joe Manchin, and Joe Lieberman – vote with Republicans tonight, they’re not only rejecting a credible jobs bill, they’re also rejecting an opportunity to talk about a credible jobs bill. Republicans and conservative Dems are, as a practical matter, saying that the notion of even debating the American Jobs Act is so offensive, they can’t even allow members to begin the discussion…..
Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): Greg Sargent rounds up reaction to the possibility that “moderate” Senate Democrats will sink Obama’s jobs bill:
Obama has done what skittish Senate Dems and their aides asked him to do – he has waged a public campaign to build support for his proposals. Have we already forgotten that only a few short months ago, the papers were filled with quotes from anonymous Dems complaining that Obama had failed to (a) focus on jobs; and (b) use the bully pulpit to rally public support for job-creation proposals?
By any measure, Obama has addressed those complaints. As ABC News polling director Gary Langer put it the other day, Obama proved that “it’s possible to move the bar” when it comes to public opinion on jobs. And yet, now that Dems have finally made that pivot to jobs and are finally fighting it out on turf favorable to themselves; now that Obama has shown it’s possible to move public opinion in the direction of his proposals, despite his low approval numbers; and now that Obama and Dem leaders are hoping to use GOP opposition to the jobs bill to cast the GOP as the number one enemy of progress on the economy, a handful of moderate Dems are still prepared to help Republicans muddy those waters.
It is truly astonishing. Finally, Democrats have a chance to demonstrate a sharp, clear, popular difference with Republicans, and even then they can’t manage to stand together and look like an actual governing party….
…. Even on a purely symbolic bill (since the House isn’t going to pass it anyway), Democrats can’t manage to get their act together. What a bunch of morons.
President Obama’s statement on the Senate’s vote Tuesday on his proposed American Jobs Act:
“Tonight, a majority of United States Senators voted to advance the American Jobs Act. But even though this bill contains the kind of proposals Republicans have supported in the past, their party obstructed the Senate from moving forward on this jobs bill.
“Tonight’s vote is by no means the end of this fight. Independent economists have said that the American Jobs Act would grow the economy and lead to nearly two million jobs, which is why the majority of the American people support these bipartisan, common-sense proposals. And we will now work with Senator Reid to make sure that the individual proposals in this jobs bill get a vote as soon as possible.
“In the coming days, Members of Congress will have to take a stand on whether they believe we should put teachers, construction workers, police officers and firefighters back on the job. They’ll get a vote on whether they believe we should cut taxes for small business owners and middle-class Americans, or whether we should protect tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.
“With each vote, Members of Congress can either explain to their constituents why they’re against common-sense, bipartisan proposals to create jobs, or they can listen to the overwhelming majority of American people who are crying out for action. Because with so many Americans out of work and so many families struggling, we can’t take “no” for an answer. Ultimately, the American people won’t take “no” for an answer. It’s time for Congress to meet their responsibility, put their party politics aside and take action on jobs right now.”
So, how many articles have we read recently that claimed the President is losing African American support? No, not the support of Maxine Waters, Cornel West and Tavis Smiley – African Americans living in the real world.
I know, too many to count.
Take GOPolitico. For months they’ve promoted the line that the President is disproportionately losing Jewish support, much to the amusement of serious commentators – because the polls repeatedly contradicted their claims. (See here, here and here)
That didn’t work too well, so now they’re pushing the ‘African Americans Desert Obama’ line.
In a piece today they talk about the President’s “relationship with African-Americans (being) complicated from the beginning by questions about whether a mixed-race senator born in Hawaii was “authentically black” enough to win their support”.
Seriously, almost three years after he was elected, GOPolitico is still wondering if he’s black enough. (The author, who has written three similar pieces in the last month, is African American, so that’s okay).
The most critical quotes in the piece are from two ‘sources’ “speaking under condition of anonymity”. GOPolitico really do love their anonymous sources, especially when they give them quotes that neatly match their agenda. Whether they are real people or not, hey, who knows?
But if their thesis is true, that African-Americans are rising up against the President, how come they need to quote people anonymously? Surely if there was that much anger out there they could find someone other than Waters willing to lash out publicly?
The President isn’t losing the support of African Americans living in the real world – in fact, that support is increasing.
GOPolitico and most other outlets – including supposedly ‘progressive’ ones – love quoting Gallup polls when their findings aren’t good for the President.
The latest Gallup poll? They’re not mentioning that much.
Because it shows that African American support for the President is up five points to 87%.
Considering how the struggling economy has impacted on his figures across most groups, and bearing in mind how African Americans suffer disproportionately in terms of unemployment, that 87% figure is remarkable.
But still we’re told that Waters, West, Smiley and Co speak for African Americans. Well, clearly they don’t for 87% of them.
Just like that other media darling, Dan Choi, doesn’t speak for the entire gay community, most of whom appreciate the work this administration has done – and is trying to do – to promote equality.
That GOPolitico produces this kind of dishonesty is, of course, no surprise at all – it’s their area of expertise. But, as we all know, the Firebagger crew – especially at Salon – are relentlessly spreading the lie too. Rather than mentioning that 87%, they persist in claiming that Waters, West and Smiley speak for African Americans.
Of course, Salon’s Joan Walsh doesn’t have much time for that 87%:
After all, only those who oppose the President represent the base, right?
I see Gene Lyons at Salon has described Melissa Harris-Perry as “a left-wing Michele Bachmann, an attractive woman seeking fame and fortune by saying silly things on cable TV”. That was the level of his response to her thoughtful article on white ‘liberal’ racism. “A photo negative of KKK racial thought,” he wrote.
Norbrook’s Blog: …. other people have examined Accountability Now, which Jane and Glenn Greenwald launched with great fanfare a few years ago. Ostensibly it was to recruit progressive candidates, but it seemed to end up putting money into Jane and Glenn’s pockets:
Accountability Now collected $113,695 in donations during 2009, as it reported to the FEC, and spent $169,992 that year on nine consultants … including Hamsher ($24,000) and PAC cofounder Glenn Greenwald ($24,000)….
But it’s not Jane’s only PAC. Although most of the scrutiny has been on Accountability Now, when you look at FDL Action PAC’s FEC summary, you see something very interesting:
Fire Dog Lake: $90,063 …. Commonsense Media: $9,920
Hmm… it looks like there’s about $100K of “synergy” going on ….
…. recently Jane had a little blow-up, right after OFA announced what the President had raised (“a staggering $47 million in the past three months”)….
FDL Action’s fundraising wasn’t quite as good:
No wonder she’s pissed! Apparently all the previous donors have been thoroughly shorn, and new sheep aren’t lining up….
Norbrook’s post is brilliantly timely in light of Hamsher and Dan Choi’s arrests today outside the White House (along with another 60 or so people who actually do care about the environment – but you won’t hear much about them). They were staging a laudable (in my humble opinion) demonstration urging President Obama to block a proposed pipeline that would bring oil from Canada’s oil sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries (the Keystone XL pipeline).
Choi tweeted this yesterday:
Okay, so now that he can’t attack the President any more on gay rights issues – without looking even sillier than usual – he’s discovered (true, somewhat belatedly) that he really, really cares about the planet. And if caring about it so much sees him end up in jail, thereby getting him some attention again (when, really, most had forgotten he existed), then that’s a cross he’d, um, have to bear. Mission accomplished, well done Dan.
Well, you have to admire her purity on this one. She is so passionate and utterly sincere about the blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline she would never, ever have anything to do with anyone who supported it, right?
…..Hillary Clinton’s State Department is holding up the Canadian-American Keystone XL pipeline … unnecessarily inhibiting billions in economic activity and hundreds of thousands of jobs from being created, the State Department is preventing a much-needed regional stimulus. Click here to tell the State Department to get out of the way of America’s job creators and issue the Keystone XL pipeline building permit!
Americans for Tax Reform
Ah yes, Hamsher’s old buddy, the ‘tax pledge’ guy who makes Rick Perry seems like Mao Tse Tung, the one she collaborated with in opposition to President Obama (and his then Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel).
What? She can partner the lovely Grover on one issue, it doesn’t mean she agrees with him on everything?
Of course! Just like she can team up with President Obama when … oh, never mind.
Any way, those of you who might suggest that this….
…. might have had something to do with Hamsher’s heartfelt concerns about the Keystone XL pipeline – and you can be sure she lies awake at night worrying about it … even though she has a hard-hitting interview with Cenk Uygur the next day (“Jane, you’re, like, soooooooo great!” “I know Cenk – but you are too!”) …. shame on you.
Yes, she has been jailed, and she may well claim she was waterboarded while she was in there, and that will raise her sinking profile, and may even attract a few more dollars to her struggling PAC, but ….. shame on you.
Ooooops, $$$$$ are creating a strain between the Firebaggers.
John Aravosis has started selling these t-shirts on his “I HATE OBAMA SO MUCH I CAN’T EVEN FIND THE WORDS ” blog:
….and that’s made Hamsher’s peeps very, very angry:
Oh noes, the Firebaggers are eating each other alive …. after all, there are only so many $$$$ to go around ;-)
A second PS:
Credit must go to Aravosis, having picked only white male models for the t-shirts he’s being trying to sell so far…
….. he chose a ‘non-white’ man for his ‘Proud Firebagger’ offering. Jeez, if he added a woman to the line-up we might even accuse him of being inclusive.
Thank you Tien Le for the link to Norbrook’s post ;-)
President Barack Obama meets with, from left, Senior Advisor David Plouffe, Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer, and Press Secretary Jay Carney in the Oval Office, July 27, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
BroadwayCarl: …. that idea grew to fruition with two tweets by Lt. Dan Choi: “. . . .sad that Barack Obama would have voted no” and “Obama: ‘I have plenty of gay friends. Some of them work for me. I just feel they are inferior to me, and they don’t deserve marriage.’”
That set me off in an ugly old cranky rant on “Tweeter”. I called Lt. Choi a self-made martyr and a media whore….
His crusade became about himself and his rising star on MSNBC, not the greater good. In my opinion, President Obama became the target of “his” movement, and he lost sight of the LGBT movement….
As you know, Lt. Choi, Rachel Maddow, and Michael Moore all have the opinion that Obama would have voted against the gay marriage bill in NY. This is simply, unequivocally false…..
….his positions on issues are not based on his religious beliefs or political scheming but the most pragmatic, quickest way to do the right thing for people of the United States. Thus, he has used and is using his executive powers to make it easier for unions to organize, to implement parts of the DREAM Act, and to obtain civil rights for LGBT’s. If Congress won’t get the job done, then Obama looks for other avenues.
….He is a complex man. And don’t you ever forget it.