Michael Tomasky: How the credulousness of mainstream media figures like Bob Woodward and Ron Fournier enables Republican extremism …. On Saturday, I wrote about what I called the conservative Republican “rage machine” and its poisonous impact on our politics. I argued that a number of prominent conservative thinkers and pundits …. were and are partly responsible for this problem as long as they sit there pretending it doesn’t exist.
But there’s another responsible group here, too: Just as today’s Republican extremists benefit from the silence of conservative pundits, they also gain from the credulousness of mainstream figures who keep pretending that today’s GOP is a responsible party …. So that when the GOP takes a radical position on the sequester and Barack Obama a reasonable one, both are accorded equal seriousness, even when facts have to be ignored to do so.
Bob Cesca: …. the sequestration issue has been one of those rare items that frustrate me to the point of being incapable of spending time on it. When I read about sequestration, my brain seizes. The stupidity of it all simply confounds me to the point of being speechless. For me, this is a shocking and rare predicament.
It’s not even the chronic brinksmanship — the reoccurring doomsday countdowns and the Republican-manifested economic sabotage that’s behind it all. It’s not the Keynesian in me who opposes the very notion of deficit reduction during a sluggish recovery. Granted, these are both points of irritation, but the characteristic of the sequester that ought to force us all into complete apoplexy and subsequent outrage-induced catatonia is the epidemic of ignorance regarding the status of the federal budget deficit.
Charles Pierce: The administration made a sharp play, releasing a list of how the upcoming Sequester Plague is going to affect each individual state. (You will note the predominance of red states with Republican governors in the Top 20. Here’s Kansas, the most enthusiastic lab rat in the Republican experiment, and it will lose $5.5 million in school funding and have around 8000 defense-related employees furloughed….) There’s some not unexpected bleating coming from John Boehner’s office, as they duck phone calls from the district and hide behind either the curtains, or behind Bob Woodward’s reputation, whatever’s handiest.
…..You wanted the White House to play tough. This is Ronnie Lott stuff right here.
Jonathan Bernstein: House Republicans held a quick session with the press to mainly make one point: They have no responsibility for sequestration….
…. This standoff isn’t going to be resolved by rhetoric. But it’s worth noting the extent to which Republican spin simply ignores that there was an election in November.
….. whether Boehner and the Republicans like it or not, Barack Obama was in fact re-elected on a platform of “balanced” deficit reduction — that is, new revenue and new spending cuts. Republicans have of course every right to oppose that, but it’s a little strange hearing them talk as if that campaign and election never happened.
Steve Benen: Did you happen to catch yesterday’s Capitol Hill press conference with the entirety of the House Republican leadership? House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and House Republican Conference Cathy McMorris Rodgers wanted to talk about this week’s sequestration cuts, but in the process, they offered a case study in how to insult Americans’ intelligence.
Dana Milbank: …. With just four days left to stop automatic spending cuts House Republicans had but one item on their agenda Monday: renaming a NASA facility in California.
You’d have to be on another planet to think that renaming NASA operations is Congress’s most pressing order of business this week. But for Republicans …. the naming proposal was taken up at a time when House Republicans are pursuing a considered strategy of deliberate idleness.
After months of fretting over the harmful effects of sequestration, as the automatic cuts are called, House Republicans have belatedly embraced the realization that if they do nothing at all, they will be rewarded on Friday with a 2.5 percent cut in all federal spending without coughing up a single dollar in tax increases. They have learned to stop worrying and love the sequester.
Washington Post: The White House says a more aggressive effort to nab deceptive government contractors and deceitful Medicare recipients is paying off – to the tune of billions of dollars.
The Obama administration plans to announce Tuesday that the Justice Department recovered more than $5.6 billion in fraud committed against the government in fiscal 2011. Almost $3.4 billion of the funds came in civil fraud recoveries, with more than $2.2 billion tied to criminal fraud, according to administration officials familiar with the announcement who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The announcement is tied to a Cabinet-level meeting to be held Tuesday regarding plans to cut wasteful government spending across federal agencies and departments.
Bloomberg: U.S. economic data are outperforming expectations by the most in nine months, a trend Federal Reserve officials may incorporate into their policy statement tomorrow.
The Citigroup Economic Surprise Index, a daily measure of whether economic data is better or worse than economists’ projections, improved to 85.7 on Dec. 2, the highest since March 9, after the Labor Department reported an unexpected drop in the jobless rate….
“Most of the economists are missing the underlying strength” in the world’s largest economy, said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors. The Fed will “modestly upgrade the economic outlook but change little else.”
November unemployment at the lowest level in more than two years and manufacturing running at the fastest pace in five months are among data that may dissuade Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and fellow central bankers from pursuing a third-round of large scale asset purchases. At the same time, the Fed may still see “significant downside risks” for the economy as Europe’s financial crisis evolves.
Business Insider: It didn’t get much attention, but this morning the latest NFIB small business optimism survey came in stronger than expected, as more and more corporations see good sales and decent business conditions on the way.
This is important, in part, since small businesses have been rather negative on the economy, even while large companies have reported record earnings.
Chicago Sun Times: President Barack Obama’s top strategist, David Axelrod, predicted much more scrutiny of GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich, citing the “homespun wisdom” of Ald. Dick Mell (33rd) as he compared Gingrich to a monkey on a pole exposing his butt.
“…. Last week you all left him for dead at the checkout counter at Tiffany’s and now he’s back, a lion in winter,” Axelrod quipped. “That’s L-I-O-N by the way, I don’t want to stir up any trouble here.”
…. “In certain ways [Gingrich] fits the role for this, because as we pointed out earlier in the week he is the original tea partier. You know, he brought that kind of politics to Congress in the early 90s, he led three government shut downs in order to try and roll back environmental protection…roll back the Department of Education and education programs, he wanted to cut Medicare, he wanted to give more tax cuts to the wealthy. He was really a forerunner of what we see today.”
“I told my colleagues yesterday a bit of homespun wisdom that I got from an alderman in Chicago some years ago when one of his …colleagues wanted to run for higher office and he was really dubious. He said:
“Just remember the higher a monkey climbs on a pole, the more you can see his butt.”
So, you know, the Speaker is very high on the pole right now and we’ll see how people like the view.”
President Obama arrives to speak at a campaign event in Washington, Dec. 13
“If you stay steady, we’re going to win this thing …. This is going to be tough. But, I just want to remind all of you that you didn’t decide to support Barack Hussein Obama because it would be easy.”
Washington Jewish Week: When flames swept through Israel’s Carmel Forest last year, destroying dozens of homes and lives, President Barack Obama didn’t hesitate to help, said Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S….
…. Netanyahu directed his ambassador to, “Quick, go ask President Obama for help.”
That’s when Oren entered the White House and asked to see the president. “I told him the situation and without hesitation, President Obama turned to one of his aides and said, ‘get Israel whatever it needs. Now,’” Oren recalled.
….”America has 11 fire-fighting planes; the next morning, 8 of them took off for Israel, along with a team of fire-fighting commandos.” “Later that night,” Oren continued, “I learned, that the President left the Hanukkah reception and flew secretly to Afghanistan. Upon arriving, he called Washington and the first question he asked, ‘Has Israel gotten its planes?’”…..
This would probably be HuffPo’s version of the photo:
People wait in line for tickets to President Barack Obama’s speech on jobs at Asheville Regional Airport. Citizen Times – thank you Jovie
This news is kind of embarrassing for the Firebaggers …. if the President is so kind to Wall Street, why are they not supporting him?
NYT: It is no secret that the relationship between President Obama and Wall Street has chilled. A striking measure of that is the latest campaign finance reports.
Mitt Romney has raised far more money than Mr. Obama this year from the firms that have been among Wall Street’s top sources of donations for the two candidates ….. The imbalance exists at large investment banks and hedge funds, private equity firms and commercial banks ….
…. “There’s no doubt that Governor Romney has raised money off of his belief that Wall Street should be allowed to write its own rules again by repealing Wall Street reform,” said Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesman. “The president put in place protections to ensure that the financial crisis is not repeated and that unacceptable risks aren’t taken with Americans’ life savings.”
…. But anger at big banks – manifested by the growing Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City and elsewhere – is palpable enough that Mr. Romney must avoid being seen as a friend of an industry that many Americans blame for onerous bank fees and underwater mortgages….
CBS News Senior Business Correspondent Anthony Mason sat down with President Barack Obama in his home state of Illinois for an interview that is scheduled to broadcast on “CBS Sunday Morning” this Sunday, August 21 at 9:00 a.m. ET.
Here you go. I’m just copying my tweets here. You can either just RT (I’m @metaquest) or just copy the links for your own tweet:
I know, it’s pure stupidity to give this Halperin scumbag hits on his Time site anymore. My only excuse: I was curious to see if he’d tone down his anti-President Obama venom in light of what happened this morning.
Just look at the nasty, aggressive tone this guy uses:
“In His Face.”
“His” face being that of the democratically elected President of the United States of America.
“Obama” would be, well, President Barack Obama – although it was a refreshing break from Halperin calling him “Bam”.
No mention, needless to say, of Romney’s latest comical flip-flop (see here)
Just to quote again the endlessly brilliant Steve Benen:
“Halperin’s credibility as an objective observer of political events has long been dubious, at best, but this morning’s little stunt should remove all doubt. In candor, I don’t much care that Halperin sides with the right over the left, and takes cheap shots at Democrats. I care that Halperin is presented to the public as a neutral, even-handed expert, when that’s plainly not the case. To this extent, the “dick” comment only helps bring an end to a thin pretense.”
What are the bets Halperin will become a regular Fox contributor any time soon?
A post from May:
Are the Teabaggers designing Halperin’s graphics now? Real classy. :roll:
Update: Interesting – the graphic has now been removed from the site. The new headline story? Yep, you guessed it, it’s about the half-termer meeting the Chump.
Another post from May:
Mark Halperin’s obsession with the Alaskan half-termer is …. well …. bizarre. He must be the last man alive who takes this creature seriously.
His headline story at the moment on The Page is not about the reaction to the President’s speech on the Middle East, it’s not about the President’s meeting today with PM Netanyahu, it’s not about Jon Huntsman’s interview on GMA, it’s about the half-termer telling Fox (who else?) that she has ‘fire in her belly’. I kid you not, that’s his lead story, under the headline ‘Woman of Fire’.
He’s apologizing for letting slip his contempt and disrespect for the President? Right.
Steve Benen: …. If you can watch the video, note how Halperin, ostensibly one of the nation’s most influential pundits, was smiling, with a smug satisfaction. It wasn’t a word he just blurted out in the heat of a larger discussion – Halperin thought about it….
….There are a couple of angles to keep in mind here. The first is that Halperin’s credibility as an objective observer of political events has long been dubious, at best, but this morning’s little stunt should remove all doubt. In candor, I don’t much care that Halperin sides with the right over the left, and takes cheap shots at Democrats. I care that Halperin is presented to the public as a neutral, even-handed expert, when that’s plainly not the case. To this extent, the “dick” comment only helps bring an end to a thin pretense.
… If the president stays cool, he’s an emotionless Mr. Spock. If the president shows some fire in the belly, he’s “a dick.”
What passes for mainstream political punditry in 2011 is too often a national embarrassment.
NYT: MSNBC suspended one of its best-known political analysts, Mark Halperin, on Thursday morning after he directed a slur at President Obama on the channel’s morning show, “Morning Joe.”
….Immediately after the show concluded at 9 a.m., a meeting was convened about the incident, and by 10:30 a.m., Mr. Halperin had been suspended indefinitely from his analyst job at MSNBC.
“Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable,” the channel said in a statement. “We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air.”
In a fresh statement from the channel, Mr. Halperin said he agreed completely “with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark” and added, “I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate.” He said he deeply regretted using the slur.
Mr. Halperin, who is also an editor-at-large for Time magazine, is a paid contributor to MSNBC and a regular guest on “Morning Joe.” Time did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Steve Benen: … The key takeaway, at least for me, is what prompted Halperin’s shot in the first place.
….Yesterday, President Obama held a press conference to urge GOP leaders to accept a compromise — he and other Democrats will accept massive cuts, but the president wants Republicans to agree to some concessions as part of a bipartisan agreement.
I couldn’t care less which four-letter word Halperin uses. I do care that Halperin is presented to news consumers as a neutral observer when he clearly is not. But I really care that he and others in the media establishment look at the debt-ceiling fight and think Obama’s the one who’s a big jerk. And why do they think that? Because the president offered some relatively mild criticism of truly insane tactics.
Let me say this as plainly as I know how: Republicans are threatening to deliberately cause a global recession. The president is willing to strike a deal that leans heavily in the GOP’s direction, and Republicans are refusing. Who, in this scenario, is being dickish?
Halperin’s choice of words pales in comparison to the fact that he’s offended by the president’s mild rebuke of political recklessness the likes of which American hasn’t seen in generations….
ABC: With Father’s Day drawing near, the President opened up about what it was like to become a father for the first time, describing a scene that he says unfolded like the “the classic comical father situation.”
When his wife told him she believed it was time to go to the hospital, he said his reaction was “like out of a sitcom”. “You know, I jump up and I’m looking for the bag. And fumbling for the car keys … .” But, when he saw his daughter for the first time “it was love at first sight,” he said. He chuckled as he recalled being up with her at 2 a.m., “feeding her and burping her. And changing her diapers. And now she’s 5’10”.”
….”I could not ask for better kids. And so, I’m not anticipating complete mayhem for the next four, five years,” he said. He jokingly added: “I should also point out that I have men with guns that surround them often … ,” adding that that security was “a great incentive” for running for re-election.
Any potential future boyfriends might want to take note. “I might invite him over to the Oval Office,” Obama said of any boys who could be in the girls’ future, “ask him for his GPA. Find out what his intentions are, in terms of career.
He added: “Malia, Sasha, if you’re watching this, I’m just joking.”
Steve Benen: Jon Huntsman is no doubt aware of his predicament. He’s running for president, as a Republican, despite having been a member of the Obama administration. He also has to impress a far-right GOP base, despite taking center-left positions on a range of issues – climate, gays, immigration, economic stimulus, health care, the TARP bank bailout – important to his party.
What’s his solution? In effect, Huntsman has two choices. He can (a) run as a moderate statesman, hope centrist Republicans still exist, and watch the rest of the GOP field to knock each other out competing for the same right-wing votes; or (b) Huntsman can abandon his moderation and scurry to the right just as fast as he can.
As of this morning, Huntsman appears to prefer the latter.
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America,” the former U.S. ambassador to China maintained a level-headed tone, but nevertheless moved sharply to the right on a range of domestic issues.
(See the breakdown of the issues in Benen’s post)
….To his credit, Huntsman was less willing to flip on civil unions and immigration, but on everything else, Huntsman was moving to the right so quickly, I’m surprised it didn’t cause whiplash.
For that matter, his willingness to explicitly endorse the Ryan agenda – including Medicare privatization – would prove to be wildly problematic in the general election, should he get that far.