President Barack Obama signs a Presidential Memorandum directing Labor Secretary Tom Perez to modernize overtime protections. He is bypassing Congress and ordering changes in overtime rules so employers would required to pay millions more for extra time they put in on the job.
9:45 AM: President Obama and VP Biden meet with members of Congress
8:30 PM: President Obama departs the White House en route Stockholm, Swede
Wednesday: The President will arrive in Stockholm. While there, he will hold a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Reinfeldt. He will then participate in an event honoring Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue in Stockholm and tour an expo featuring clean energy innovations at the Royal Institute of Technology. In the evening, he will take part in a dinner with Nordic Leaders.
Thursday: The President will hold a bilateral meeting with the King and Queen of Sweden. He will then depart Stockholm en route Saint Petersburg, Russia where he will attend the G-20 Summit.
Friday: Attends the G-20 Summit. Returns to Washington, DC on Friday evening.
ABC: Obama to Include LGBT Activists in Russia Meetings
President Obama will include members of Russian LGBT groups among the NGO leaders, democracy activists and human rights advocates he meets later this week when he is in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the G-20 summit, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News.
It’s typical for visiting U.S. officials, including the president, to meet with civil society members here in Russia, something that always irks the Kremlin. But this appears to be the first time LGBT groups have been included in a presidential-level meeting.
…. It comes after a summer of international outrage over Russia’s new gay “propaganda” law, which outlaws even discussing homosexuality around minors. Violators could be fined and jailed. Foreigners face similar penalties plus deportation.
During an appearance on Jay Leno’s show last month, Obama was asked about the law and said he has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”
Rick Ungar (Forbes): Media Outlets Spitting Mad At Obama For Spoiling Their Plans To Cash In On War
Following the President’ surprise announcement that he would seek the advice and consent of Congress before launching an attack on Syria, it seemed that no matter where you landed on the cable news dial everyone was in a state of upset.
With visions of TV screens filled with ‘shock and awe’ dancing in their heads along with the blessed promise of the ratings that follow the hysteria of war—not to mention a sublime ending to the slow news agony of August that dogs all news show production staffs, writers and broadcasters (trust me,I know)—Obama had held out the football for Charlie Brown to kick and then pulled it away at the last minute.
And the media was pissed.
…. And then there were the pundits appearing on networks representing all sides of the political spectrum — including those who claim to play it ‘down the middle’ — who took to the airwaves to angrily argue that the President’s backing off an attack pending Congressional approval would weaken America in the eyes of the world.
Let me be more precise. Just shut your fking piehole. Forever. You useless walking, bloodstained pile of casual death.
…. Let us be clear. There is no blazing, murderous maw into which Joe Lieberman would not be willing to feed someone else’s child ….. The man could care less about the dead. He’d feed on them himself, if he could.
…. The working folk of America needed a champion – we needed a fierce advocate, if you will. And we elected one in 2008. If by some miracle of happenstance, President Obama didn’t have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition, even from “liberals” in the media, it would be patently obvious to everyone that the man presently occupying the Oval Office is the most worker-friendly president since Franklin Roosevelt. Barack Obama is a president who has more than kept his word to always make the best decision for people who work for a living.
…. a look at basically all of the president’s domestic policy – from bills that became law to bills that were blocked by Republicans, from legislation to administrative rulemaking – has been focused on one thing and one thing alone: helping America’s workers regain a footing in this economy. His job has not been easy, to put a severely mild point on it. But if on this labor day, we’re looking for a best friend of the American worker in government, the man behind the presidential seal is a pretty good pick.
President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday discussed the purported chemical weapons attack in Syria.
According to a White House readout of the phone call, both leaders “agreed that the use of chemical weapons is a serious violation of international norms and cannot be tolerated” while pledging to stay in close consultation on a potential response against the Assad regime in Syria.
Think Progress: Eleven Other Things American Workers Deserve (Besides A Day Off)
Labor Day is meant to celebrate the accomplishments of the American worker, who spends most days on an oil rig or in an office, on the assembly line or on the docks, making the American economy run. The holiday originated in 1894, after two dozen people were killed during the Pullman Strike, a railway workers’ boycott of low wages and high rent. From there, it became an American tradition, meant to honor the accomplishments of the people who make this nation run.
The battle is not yet won. Unions are on the decline, while income inequality is on the rise. Women still aren’t earning what men make. And many employees still aren’t free from discrimination at their jobs. Here are just eleven of the fights we’re still fighting for the American worker
Actor Robert De Niro defends President Barack Obama as a “good person” who’s “trying his best” for the country in the in the fall issue of Du Jour magazine:
Working as an actor his entire life means that De Niro sees everything through that lens. In describing his steadfast support for Barack Obama, he compares the president’s challenges to a filmmaker’s. “He’s a good person, period,” he says. “He’s trying his best. He’s going to do things that people feel are not right or violating one right or another. But at the end of the day, he represents, I think, the best of the type of people that I would like to see running the government. He has to play that game, the political game. They all do. They make statements they can’t honor because they’re impossible to honor. Once you get into that Washington machinery, you’ve just got to figure it out and swim against the current and grab onto this rock and that, and just try to maintain your course.”
“You know, it’s one thing to be a critic,” he continues. “It’s another thing to be directly involved. It’s like directing a movie and you edit the film and then someone will give you a suggestion: ‘You could do this, you could do that.’ You look and you say, ‘Yeah, but the reason I can’t do that is because I don’t have that shot, and if I use this shot that’s better here, it impacts on this one and it’s a story point.’ In other words, it can’t be done. You have to make these choices with the government, and you’re going to be criticized. If you took the time to explain it all to the public, they’d say, ‘OK, I get it.’ Can you explain to everybody? No. You just have to say, ‘I made this choice because I felt it was the right choice.’”
12:0: VP Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event at Century Village in Boca Raton, Fla (CNN)
1:0: Michelle Obama speaks at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls
3:05: VP Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event at Kings Point in Tamarac, Fla (CNN)
3:45: Michelle Obama speaks at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin (C-Span)
4:20: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. (CBS and CNN)
6:05: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at a private residence (Print Pool for Remarks Only)
8:25: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. (Print Pool for Remarks Only)
Need to double-check some of these times, and will look for more links
Michael Tomasky: Fascinating series of tweets from the economist Justin Wolfers … the Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its annual revisions of the jobs numbers … Result? They were only off by 386,000 jobs.
….. That, says Wolfers, equals 32,000 more jobs every month – every month, friends – than we knew. So the economy that year was adding an average of 194,000 jobs per month, not 162,000 ….. “The BLS benchmark revisions means that there has been a net jobs gain since Jan ’09. Romney can no longer talk about job losses under Obama.”
I would say this is rather big news. Meshes pretty nicely with this recent development that people are apparently feeling a little better about the economy, and becomes, I should think, a pretty good applause line for Obama to add into his speeches.
Washington Post: Voters in three critical swing states broadly oppose the far-reaching changes to Medicare associated with the Republican presidential ticket and, by big margins, prefer President Obama to handle the issue, according to new state polls by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
For seniors in Florida, Ohio and Virginia, Medicare rivals the economy as a top voting issue. And by majorities topping 70 percent, seniors say they prefer to keep Medicare as a program with guaranteed benefits, rather than moving to a system in which the government gives recipients fixed payments to buy coverage from private insurers or traditional Medicare, as Romney advocates.
… Generally, the more voters focus on Medicare, the more likely they are to support Obama’s bid for reelection.
The future of Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled, has become a flash point in the campaign since Romney’s selection last month of Rep. Paul Ryan…. Now, the challenges for Romney in the aftermath of the Ryan selection are becoming clear.
Michael Tomasky: On the Hardball set last night, Matthews told me that George W. Bush, on November 1, i.e. five days before the election, is giving a speech in…the Cayman Islands! It’s true.
What is he thinking? I guess he’s thinking first and foremost that he’s going to pocket $2 million or whatever it is they’re paying him (it’s an investment summit of some kind). But hasn’t he sort of noticed that overseas tax shelters in general and the Cayman Islands specifically have become campaign issues, and liabilities for the standard-bearer of his party?
It’s not even just about Romney; Bush may or may not give a crap about him. But it’s about Bush. This speech is, if the Democrats set it up properly, going to generate maybe two days of negative stories about the GOP and plutocracy that are going to include revisitations of the dismal Bush record. If he were going to make himself an issue in the campaign in such a public way, you’d think he might have decided to go visit veterans in a hospital or something.
Eugene Robinson: Conservative activist circles are abuzz with a new conspiracy theory: Polls showing President Obama with a growing lead over Mitt Romney are deliberately being skewed by the Liberal Mainstream Media so Republicans will be disheartened and stay home on Election Day.
This is denial and self-delusion but not of the harmless kind. It’s a false narrative that encourages the Republican Party to take the wrong lessons from this election, no matter the outcome.
Today Pauline Beck will be at the White House to watch as President Obama announces proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that will affect home healthcare workers like herself. Today’s event has special significance for Pauline, because it was the day then-Senator Obama spent “in her shoes” that informed him of the important work these Americans do and the need to level the playing field so they are fairly compensated for their efforts. Take a minute to watch the video and learn her story..
Steve Benen: There were modest expectations for the new jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and in this case, the economy met them. A net total of 120,000 jobs were created in November, which is just about what economists and analysts said would happen. The same report showed the overall unemployment rate dropping from 9% to 8.6%.
As is always the case, there was a significant gap between the private and public sectors. Businesses added 140,000 jobs last month, while budget cuts forced the public sector to shed 20,000 jobs, which continues to be a major drag on the overall employment picture.
Republican policymakers, it’s worth noting, are eager to force more public-sector layoffs, making the jobs landscape worse on purpose, while Democrats have fought to do the opposite.
President Barack Obama shows military officials the White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room following a meeting, Dec. 1. The 18-foot-6 inch balsam fir is decorated with holiday cards created by military children and ornaments featuring medals, badges, and patches from all of the military branches. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
USA Today: Later this morning, President Obama and former president Bill Clinton will take a tour of a building blocks away from the White House and announce a $4 billion initiative to improve the energy efficiency of government and private-sector buildings. Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks to reporters after the tour.
Steve Benen: The Senate held two votes on extending a payroll tax cut for more than 160 million Americans, most of whom are middle class. As expected, Republicans killed them both. What was unexpected, though, was the vote totals on the proposals.
First up was the Democratic plan, which would have kept the payroll break in place for another year, and pay for it with a slight surtax on millionaires and billionaires. A 51-member Senate majority supported the bill, but that was far short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP filibuster. It’s worth noting that one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine, broke ranks and supported the Dems’ proposal….
…. What was just as interesting was the next vote, when the Senate considered the GOP alternative, which would also keep the payroll break in place, but pay for it largely through a pay freeze on federal workers …. it was rejected 78 to 20, with more than half of Republicans opposed. Yep, most Republican senators opposed their own party’s legislation….
Spiegel: The US Republican race is dominated by ignorance, lies and scandals. The current crop of candidates have shown such a basic lack of knowledge that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein. The Grand Old Party is ruining the entire country’s reputation.
Africa is a country. In Libya, the Taliban reigns. Muslims are terrorists; most immigrants are criminal; all Occupy protesters are dirty. And women who feel sexually harassed – well, they shouldn’t make such a big deal about it.
Welcome to the wonderful world of the US Republicans. Or rather, to the twisted world of what they call their presidential campaigns. For months now, they’ve been traipsing around the country with their traveling circus, from one debate to the next, one scandal to another, putting themselves forward for what’s still the most powerful job in the world.
As it turns out, there are no limits to how far they will stoop.
Sacbee: President Barack Obama, who is a fervent basketball fan, will get his NBA fix next month but his campaign will have to postpone the Obama Classic fundraiser that was to feature more than two dozen professional basketball stars.
The campaign on Thursday notified ticket holders the Dec. 12 event would now be held in the summer.
The fundraising all-star game was planned while a lockout put the NBA season in jeopardy, and top players had committed to play. But team owners and players reached an agreement and games are set to begin on Christmas Day.
Washington Post: There’s little doubt President Barack Obama has won high esteem among Native Americans by breaking through a logjam of inaction on issues that matter to them.
The Obama administration this week unveiled sweeping changes to federal tribal-land leasing rules that had not been touched in 50 years. Obama nominated a Native American to the federal bench, signed a law renewing the Indian Health Care Act and settled a tribal royalties lawsuit that had dragged over three administrations.
…. Obama on Friday speaks for the third time with the nation’s 565 tribal leaders in Washington…. Obama has gone beyond lip service, said Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, and “backed up his words with actions that have made a positive impact on the lives of Native people.”
…. Jacqueline Johnson Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians and an Alaska native, said native peoples’ enthusiasm for Obama goes deeper. Obama has embraced Native American tribal sovereignty preserved in the Constitution, court decisions and treaty agreements and made that the foundation for his administration’s dealings with tribes, Pata said.
…. “I think we have made strides under the Obama administration the likes of which tribes have not seen for 30 years,” said Stacy Bohlen, executive director of the National Indian Health Board…..
Jonathan Capehart: …. GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich defended his stance against certain child labor laws during a campaign stop in Iowa Thursday, saying that children born into poverty aren’t accustomed to working unless it involves crime.
“Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday,” Gingrich claimed. “They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal,” he added.
….. Gingrich’s blanket condemnation of “really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods” is unbelievably disgusting. And it’s disrespectful of the overwhelming majority of those children and their families who live their lives with far more integrity and far less cash than Gingrich ever will.
Jamelle Bouie (Prospect): …. If political courage is defined by the willingness to suffer politically for the sake of good public policy, then Affordable Care Act stands as a testament to the president’s political courage.
Which is why I also have no idea what National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar is talking about when he writes the following: “One of President Obama’s political weaknesses in his first term has been that he’s all-too-willing to avoid making tough decisions…..” …. Even if you don’t include the Affordable Care Act – and I don’t see why you wouldn’t – this is demonstrably false….
…. One of the strangest things about the current political moment is the extent to which mainstream pundits routinely act as if crucial moments in the Obama presidency never happened … Chris Matthews demands more ambition from Obama, despite the fact that he ran hard to pass a piece of social legislation that rivals the Great Society programs in size and scope.
It’s one thing for pundits to err in their judgment – it happens to the best of us – it’s something else entirely for them to ignore reality and blame the president for his failure to conform to their magical world.
John Avlon (Daily Beast): Mitt Romney’s Campaign Is Becoming a Sinking Ship – New polls show that Newt Gingrich’s surge is hurting Mitt Romney where it counts. The game isn’t over, but time is running out for Mitt to turn it around.
The horses are getting spooked in the Romney camp. His poll numbers are plummeting in state after state, while Newt Gingrich is soaring across the board.
One reflection of the rising tension was an awkward interview with Bret Baier, in which the normally unflappable Mitt Romney got rattled by fair questions. It revealed the irritability of a man accustomed to being in control who’s watching his plans fall apart in public.
Mitt’s aura of inevitability is fading because his strategy is failing.
Joe Klein (Time): …. Romney’s press office has just put out this statement about the President and Israel: (see post) …. The other inaccuracy is the notion that Obama wants Israel to return to its 1967 borders. He doesn’t. He wants the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed upon land swaps, to be the basis for peace negotiations. Somehow, Romney neglects to mention the land swaps.
The fact is, Obama’s policy toward Israel has been in line with that of every US President since Nixon …. The fact is that US-Israeli military and intelligence cooperation, especially when it comes to sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program, has never been greater.
…. It is very much unprecedented for a candidate for President to side with a foreign leader against the American President. But given their warped disrespect for this particular President, it has become disgracefully common among Republicans this year. One would hope that Romney, as one of the few plausible Republican candidates, would eschew such cheesy behavior … would not misrepresent Obama’s positions on foreign policy so gleefully. But, if this race continues to slip away from him, I suspect that’s exactly what we’ll continue to see.