Posts Tagged ‘tomasky



25
Nov
12

This and That

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Monday: President Obama attends meetings at the White House

Tuesday: Hosts President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico at the White House

Wednesday: Holds a Cabinet Meeting at the White House

Thursday: Meets with the 2012 Nobel Prize winners in the Oval Office

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In case you missed these articles/posts:

Washington Post: When Barack Obama published his autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” about racial identity in 1995, he talked with his neighborhood newspaper in Illinois, the Hyde Park Citizen, about the economic disparities he had seen while exploring the world as a child and young adult.

…. That sensitivity to inequality has stuck with Obama throughout his rise in politics, from Chicago’s South Side all the way to the White House. He remains largely a pragmatist in his approach to governing. But beneath his tactical maneuvering lies a consistent and unifying principle: to use the powers of his office to shrink the growing gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else…..

Full article here

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Washington Post: Late on election night, a small melee erupted at the University of Mississippi when a group of white students frustrated by the reelection of President Obama marched outside and began shouting racial slurs at African American students. Several hundred people gathered to watch as two white students were arrested.

…. Yet even as that incident evoked ugly memories of an earlier era, Election Day in the South told a newer and more surprising story: The nation’s first black president finished more strongly in the region than any other Democratic nominee in three decades, underscoring a fresh challenge for Republicans who rely on Southern whites as their base of national support.

Obama won Virginia and Florida and narrowly missed victory in North Carolina. But he also polled as well in Georgia as any Democrat since Jimmy Carter, grabbed 44 percent of the vote in deep-red South Carolina and just under that in Mississippi — despite doing no substantive campaigning in any of those states.

Full article here

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Michael Tomasky: A new report appears to exonerate Susan Rice for public statements following the Benghazi attack. Will John McCain apologize for his reckless crusade against her? Don’t bet on it.

We don’t yet really know as a society what a person has to do to completely and utterly cancel out a record of war heroism, but we may be about to find out. If this CBS News report is even close to accurate, John McCain’s arguments of the last few weeks about Susan Rice are thrashingly demolished. He has, or should have, zero credibility now on this issue.

…. Will he stand down now from this embarrassing crusade? …. Once you’ve hopped on the Crooked Talk Express, detraining isn’t easy.

Full post here

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Campaign photos by Callie Shell:

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18
Sep
12

Rise and Shine

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Michael Tomasky: Mitt Tells Voters in Video to Drop Dead …. Sure it was a dumb move for Romney to denounce half of America. But he was just channeling today’s GOP.

…. Can he really believe this? It’s incomprehensible. And yet it’s not. This is the story conservatives have been telling themselves over and over in the Tea Party age … An inevitable consequence, I suppose, of campaigning among these people for all these years. You marinate a cherry in cheap whiskey long enough, the stink attaches.

…. It’s hard to judge the impact of this comment just yet ….. I would expect we’ll see “Obama voter — and I’m not a victim” and “I pay a higher tax rate than you, Governor!” signs at rallies by tomorrow. Indeed, the average person pays more in mere payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare (15.3 percent) than Romney paid in total taxes for the year he released his returns (13.9 percent).

I suspect an impact that’s fairly big. People on the right will blame the media. But the real culprit is the words themselves. They slander millions of hard-working Americans ….. When Romney is licking his wounds on Nov. 7, that party and movement will fire all its arrows at him. He’ll deserve a lot of them. But they will have buried him with the ignorance and rage they demanded he adopt. His chief crime will have been his weakness in failing to confront them.

More here

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@BarackObama

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Paul Krugman: The Real Romney

Oh, my. Mother Jones has what it says is a video of Mitt Romney talking to donors; it sure looks and sounds real. And it reveals a candidate who despises half the country….

….. Actually, if you look at the facts, you learn that the great bulk of those who pay no income tax pay other taxes; also, many of the people in the no-income-tax category are (a) elderly (b) students or (c) having a bad year, having lost a job — that is, they’re people who have paid income taxes in the past and/or will pay income taxes in the future. The idea that half of Americans are just grifters is grotesque.

If this is real, it’s very, very ugly.

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NY Mag

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Jonathan Capehart: Back in February, Mitt Romney stuck his ample silver foot in his mouth when he told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” He went on to say, “We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling, and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation.”

….. That one-minute-seven-second clip lays waste to Romney’s concern “about the very heart of America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.” Worse, it reveals it to be a lie. He couldn’t care less about them, it seems. That condescending clip shows a contempt for half the country that demands an explanation from Romney.

More here

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NYT: …. Mr. Romney is absolutely correct that about half of American households do not pay federal income tax. (He is also tapping into a now long-running vein of conservative anger at those households.) But he is missing some crucial context on why they do not pay federal income tax.

The nonpartisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center derived the 47 percent number and published an excellent analysis of it last summer.

It found that about half of the households that do not pay federal income tax do not pay it because they are simply too poor…. The other half consists of households taking advantage of tax credits and other provisions, mostly support for senior citizens and low-income working families.

Put bluntly, these are not households shirking their tax liabilities. The pool consists mostly of the poor, of relatively low-income working families and of old people.

More here

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Mediaite: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held a surprise late-night press availability to address the maelstrom surrounding hidden camera video that surfaced …

Romney offered no apology, other than to concede that his point was “not elegantly stated,” and drew a distinction between a “political process” and what he says in front of people he knows can hear him.

Nothing Romney said at the ultra-brief presser was nearly as newsworthy as the very fact that he held it, a sign of the seismic panic this clip has caused. The campaign was already reeling from a Politico story about campaign disarray that had already dominated much of today’s news cycle. The hidden camera video, taken at a May 17 fundraiser at the home of hedge fund manager Marc Leder, is only the tip  of the iceberg. Mother Jones’ David Corn has over an hour of footage from the event, which he says he will begin rolling out “soon.”

….. The decision to hold a surprise press conference at 10 pm eastern time (Romney was speaking from California) underscores the type of damage the Romney campaign fears from this tape, but it would have helped if Romney had said something that… helped….

More here

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Cagle

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Today: The President will welcome WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx to the White House to honor the team and their 2011 WNBA Finals victory. In the afternoon, the President will travel to New York City for campaign events. While in New York City, the President will tape an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. The President will return to the White House in the evening:

11:15: Jay Carney briefs reporters at the White House.

11:30: VP Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, IA.

1:10: President welcomes the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx to the White House.

3:00: VP Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event at Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA.

4:40: President Obama tapes an interview for the “Late Show with David Letterman” at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, NY.

7:40: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, NY.

9:45: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at the 40/40 Club in New York, NY.

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Morning everyone ;-)

17
Sep
12

Rise and Shine

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Today (all times ET):

9:45: President Obama departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews

10:0: Departs Joint Base Andrews en route Cincinnati, Ohio

11:30: Arrives in Cincinnati

12:25: PBO delivers remarks at Eden Park’s Seasongood Pavilion, Cincinnati

2:25: Departs Cincinnati en route Columbus, Ohio

3:00: Arrives in Columbus

3:0 First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the University of Florida in Gainesville

3:15: VP Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Port of Burlington

4:20: PBO delivers remarks at Schiller Park, Columbus

6:40: Departs Columbus en route Joint Base Andrew

6:55: First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center

8:05: PBO arrives at the White House

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NYT

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MoveOn

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27
Aug
12

‘Racial air-raid sirens’

Charles Pierce: …. Chris Matthews got all up in the slick, smug little grill of obvious anagram Reince Priebus this morning on Morning Joe’s Playhouse over the obvious racial air-raid sirens that have echoed through Republican politics only since about half-past 1964, and which have grown especially loud these past few weeks as Willard Romney made his little fun-fun about birth certificates last week, and his campaign released an ad falsely accusing the president of “gutting welfare reform” …

If you can tear yourself away from the attempts of the hosts to tut-tut-my-good-man the whole thing to death – and poor Tom Brokaw, who freaking covered the civil-rights movement and knows good and well which party latched on to the wrong side of those events and rode them to glory, looks as though he might have a stroke – listen carefully to what Matthews says. He links the birther joke to the welfare commercials, which any thinking analyst would do, since they came hard, one upon the other….

…. What we have in this campaign is a joining of old Republican money with the modern American financial universe, and its power applied to advance ideas straight out of the swamps of the Wallace campaign 50 years ago. It is an unholy mess, and it is precisely the unholy mess over which Reince Priebus wants to preside, and if Mika wants the tone to change, maybe she should start there.

I predict Matthews will be disciplined. I, for one, am willing to go his bail on this one.

Full post here

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Michael Tomasky: …. Tom Edsall said it without quite saying it this morning in the Times (link), that this Romney-Ryan campaign is becoming among the most racist we’ve ever seen. The two key lies so far are totally about race – that Obama is soft on welfare recipients, and that he’s “robbing” $716 billion from Medicare (77 percent of recipients are white) to “pay for Obamacare” (that is, to extend health care to black and brown people who don’t deserve it, haven’t earned it, etc.).

… We’re going to be hearing a lot of those lies this week, and a lot of quasi-racist dog-whistling about how Obama doesn’t feel the same way about America as “we” do. So no – still not sure what I should find non-loathsome about that.

Full post here

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Read Thomas Edsall’s ‘Making the Election About Race’ piece here

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Ed Kilgore: … It’s clear by now that the Romney campaign is going to shrug off the almost universal denunciation of his welfare ads (and to only a lesser extent, his Medicare ads that show a white senior frowning as the narrator says ObamaCare is “not for you”) as a pack of despicable, race-baiting lies ….

… If nothing else, his wizards probably figured out some time ago that the “welfare” crap offered a rare opportunity to hit notes equally effective with “the base” and the non-college educated white voters who make up a high percentage of this election’s “swing”. Add in the thick armor conservatives have built for themselves against any accusations of racism — now, almost by definition, they believe only liberals are racists, and only white people are targets of racism – and it was probably an easy call for Team Mitt, particularly since truthfulness is not a factor at all.

…. Romney’s not going to be shamed out of his unsavory tactics. But on the other hand, if his gambit fails, not only will his presidential ambitions perish once and for all, but just maybe the kind of politics he has come to exemplify – rich people encouraging the middle class to “kick down” at “those people” – will take a hit as well.

Full post here

21
Aug
12

This and That

@SaraLang

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Coming up:

6:15: VP Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Olmstead County Fairgrounds, Rochester, Minn.

8:00: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno

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Michael Tomasky: The addition of Paul Ryan was supposed to infuse the Romney campaign with big ideas that would be argued in big debates with the Democrats, but so far all the GOP campaign has done is grossly distort the truth.

….they muddy the waters as much as possible and lie as much as possible, and hope the press doesn’t call them on it and hope voters buy it.

…. they know that the truth would crush them electorally. And so it follows that they know they must lie. They must lie about their Medicare plans. They must lie about the effects of their tax plans on average people and rich people. And they must tell a number of lies about Obama, all the better if they involve race, as the welfare lie does.

…. the Obama campaign and the Democrats generally have to nail these guys to the wall on what their actual positions are and what the impacts of their policies will be. Romney and Ryan are terrified of a real Big Debate. Obama and Biden need to drag them into one.

Full post here

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OFA

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Nick Anderson

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President Obama poses for a photos with students inside Sloopy’s diner in the Ohio State Student Union in Columbus, Ohio

20
Aug
12

Rise and Shine

2:25 President Obama is interviewed by regional television (from Jacksonville, Fla., Norfolk, Va. and San Diego, Cal.) and a newspaper (the Virginia-Pilot, which covers the Norfolk and Hampton Roads areas)

6:15: The President and First Lady have dinner with winners of a campaign contest

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White House live

CNN streaming

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Eclectablog

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Daily Beast (August 11): Paul Ryan’s Extreme Abortion Views …. on abortion and women’s health care, there isn’t much daylight between Ryan and, say, Michele Bachmann ….. He believes ending a pregnancy should be illegal even when it results from rape or incest, or endangers a woman’s health….. More here

TPM (August 19): Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign : “Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement. A Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape”

NYT

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JSOnline: Odious remarks by GOP Missouri Senate candidate Cong. Todd Akin about how few pregnancies result from “legitimate rape” have done more than outrage people across the country and doom Akin’s bid to move up from the House.

It motivated the Romney campaign – already trailing among women voters in recent polls – to distance itself from Akin by assuring voters that Romney and Paul Ryan should they win in November, would not oppose raped women’s access to abortion.

“Governor Romney and Congressman (Paul) Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.

You’d probably say that sounds reasonable and humane – except it was just three days ago that PolitiFact devoted a lot of space to this issue and found that while Romney backed abortions in cases of incest and rape, Ryan did not.

…. I think this will be a huge issue in the campaign. I don’t see how Romney and Ryan can sell this to the base, which will see it as a Ryan sellout or forced surrender ordered by Romney – a former moderate whom the base has never embraced.

…. Ryan’s roll out – embarrassed and side-tracked last week over his duplicity in blasting the Obama stimulus while soliciting its funds, then conceding his denials about the funding solicitations were indeed inaccurate – is unraveling more quickly than Sarah Palin’s.

Full post here

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Michael Tomasky: Todd Akin did not come up with this idea of “legitimate rape” on his own …. it’s been floating around in the mite-infested right-wing air since the 1980s….

…. If you’ve been reading about this since yesterday, you’ve probably come across the figure of 32,000 pregnancies per year in the United States that result from rape….

I have to say that number astonished and sickened me …. I read elsewhere that 1,870 women are raped every day in the land of the free. Do the math. The numbers check out. Holy crap. That’s like war. We’re living amidst a war. And what does Akin propose to do about it – and, for that matter, Paul Ryan?

…. Michelle Goldberg was on this case in January 2011, writing about HR 3, the bill that sought to make a distinction between “forcible rape” and “statutory rape” …. Two of the original cosponsors? Akin and Ryan.

Will this remark put Ryan on the spot? It damn well better. How many of those 1,870 women raped every day does he think weren’t really raped?

Full post here

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Washington Post editorial: …. Mitt Romney promises to lower everyone’s income tax rate without reducing revenue. This sounds terrific. Why didn’t we think of it sooner?

Mr. Romney says that he can achieve this seemingly magical result by “broadening the base” for income tax collection. This, too, sounds great. In principle, everyone favors “broadening the base,” also known as closing loopholes. But everyone favors closing someone else’s loopholes: those of oil companies, say, or of plutocrats who park their money in the Cayman Islands.

…. Recently the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center showed that Mr. Romney’s plan would by necessity help the rich and hurt the middle class …. Romney took strong issue with this conclusion. “They made garbage assumptions and they reached a garbage conclusion,” he said….

…. If these are “garbage assumptions,” why doesn’t Mr. Romney let us in on his own?….

In reality, his principles are mutually exclusive: You can’t simultaneously lower tax rates, take in as much money as before and protect the middle class …. It’s reasonable to assume that his cuts would, as did President Bush’s, worsen the nation’s deficit.

Until he’s willing to explain how he would avoid such a result, he has little standing to criticize Mr. Obama’s fiscal shortcomings.

Full editorial here

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Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate led to a wave of pundit accolades. Now, declared writer after writer, we’re going to have a real debate about the nation’s fiscal future. This was predictable: never mind the Tea Party, Mr. Ryan’s true constituency is the commentariat, which years ago decided that he was the Honest, Serious Conservative, whose proposals deserve respect even if you don’t like him.

But he isn’t and they don’t. Ryanomics is and always has been a con game, although to be fair, it has become even more of a con since Mr. Ryan joined the ticket.

…. The question now is whether Mr. Ryan’s undeserved reputation for honesty and fiscal responsibility can survive his participation in a deeply dishonest and irresponsible presidential campaign.

…. So will the choice of Mr. Ryan mean a serious campaign? No, because Mr. Ryan isn’t a serious man — he just plays one on TV.

Full article here

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Morning everyone ;-)

25
Jun
12

Rise and Shine

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12:05: President Obama departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews

12:20: Departs Joint Base Andrews en route Portsmouth, New Hampshire

1:35: Arrives in Portsmouth

2:05: Delivers remarks at a campaign event at Oyster River High School (live coverage)

4:05: Departs Portsmouth en route Boston, Massachusetts

4:30: Arrives in Boston

5:10: Attends a campaign event (closed press)

7:35: Delivers remarks at a campaign event (live coverage)

9:25: Delivers remarks at a campaign event (private residence)

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Tuesday: The President will travel to Atlanta and Miami to attend campaign events. He will return to Washington in the evening.

Wednesday: Will meet with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed. In the evening, the President and First Lady will host a picnic for Members of Congress at the White House.

Thursday and Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.

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Peter Cohan (Telegram): When he was running for President in 2008, Barack Obama struck me as a gifted orator. But now that he’s running for re-election, it feels to me that the messaging power of his political opponents is like Hurricane Katrina blowing against a chipmunk’s squeal.

So I am confident that a piece of excellent news for drivers resulting from a little-noticed policy from Mr. Obama will get no attention at all from the media.

In April, I predicted that President Obama’s $52 million plan to increase the margin requirements and otherwise tighten the screws on oil speculators — who borrow huge sums to bet on the direction of oil without taking delivery — would cut oil prices by 10 percent. He’s beaten that prediction, and the lowered price of gasoline has added $78.4 billion to its consumers’ spending power.

More here

Thanks Jovie

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Michael Tomasky: Democrats Should Come Out Swinging Against the Court – If the Supreme Court overturns the health-care law, Democrats will be tempted to sulk and feel sorry for themselves. But that’s the last thing they should do.

I expect, as I think most of us do, an unfriendly decision (from the Democratic point of view) on the health-care law. Can’t yet say how unfriendly; at the very least, an overturning of the individual mandate, and maybe more. Assuming that’s correct, the question immediately becomes how the president and the Democrats should respond. There’s very little they can do legislatively. But I’ll be watching for rhetoric, tone, even body language. And on those counts, they had damn well better dispense with the usual liberal woe-is-me hand-wringing and shoulder slumping and come out swinging.

They had better communicate to their base that they stand for something, it’s important to them, and they’re pissed. And if they do it the right way, they can make the Supreme Court an issue this fall in a way that might even persuade some swing voters that the court overstepped its bounds. I’d go so far as to say that an aggressive response can reset and reframe the whole health-care debate, once Americans have had their minds focused on this by a blatantly partisan court.

More here

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Cagle

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Jonathan Cohn: Do you care how the Supreme Court rules on health care reform this week? I don’t mean in the political sense. I mean in the personal sense — because the law’s fate is a very personal matter for many millions of Americans.

They’re the Americans who have diabetes and Crohn’s disease, cancer and hay fever. They’re the Americans who don’t have access to health benefits and the Americans who have access to health benefits but can’t afford to pay for them…..

The Affordable Care Act won’t help all of these people. But it will help an awful lot of them. In fact, it’s already starting to make a difference….

….. by and large, the Affordable Care Act seems to be working …. Will the Supreme Court stop this progress? … a decision to strike down even part of the law would have grave consequences — for the court’s legitimacy and, perhaps, the norms that make our constitutional system function. It’d also have grave consequences for the people whose employment, financial, or medical status renders them vulnerable — a group that may someday include you, if it doesn’t already.

More here

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Cagle

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E.J. Dionne: Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court may make possible something that has yet to happen: an honest and complete discussion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

And if it throws out all or part of the law now popularly known as “Obamacare,” we will need a fearless conversation about how a conservative majority of the court has become a cog in a larger right-wing project to make progressive political and legislative victories impossible.

… Maybe now, supporters of the ACA will find their voices and point to the 30 million people the law would help to buy health insurance, how much assistance it gives businesses, how it creates a more rational health insurance market, how it helps those 26 and under stay on their parents’ health plans, how it protects those with pre-existing conditions. “Obamacare” isn’t about President Obama. It’s about beginning to bring an end to the scandal of a very rich nation leaving so many of its citizens without basic health coverage…..

…. Were the health-care law to be eviscerated, those who battled so hard on its behalf might draw at least bittersweet comfort from what could be called the Joni Mitchell Rule, named after the folk singer who instructed us that “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

More here

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Cagle

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Bloomberg: The U.S. Supreme Court should uphold a law requiring most Americans to have health insurance if the justices follow legal precedent, according to 19 of 21 constitutional law professors who ventured an opinion on the most-anticipated ruling in years.

Only eight of them predicted the court would do so.

“The precedent makes this a very easy case,” said Christina Whitman, a University of Michigan law professor. “But the oral argument indicated that the more conservative justices are striving to find a way to strike down the mandate.”

…. There was broad agreement that the ruling, barely four months before November’s presidential election, has the potential to hurt the Supreme Court’s reputation as an impartial institution.

Eighteen of the 21 professors said the court’s credibility will be damaged if the insurance requirement – which passed Congress without a single Republican vote – is ruled unconstitutional by a 5-4 majority of justices appointed by Republican presidents.

More here

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McClatchy

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Steve Benen: Earlier this year, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry was still a presidential candidate, he took aim at Mitt Romney’s controversial private-sector background. Perry told voters, “There is something inherently wrong when getting rich off failure and sticking it to someone else is how you do your business.”

…. In several instances, even when Romney’s firm drove companies into bankruptcy, and even when Bain’s own investors lost, Romney made millions, thanks to fees he charged the companies has they spiraled towards collapse. Taking risks may be a key element to successful capitalism, but this Republican created a system in which risk taking wasn’t necessary.

As far as the election is concerned, Romney is telling voters this background helps prove his qualifications for the presidency. I still haven’t the foggiest idea why.

Full post here

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Cagle

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Thanks Pamela

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Morning everyone

01
May
12

‘The Bin Laden Freakout’

Andrew Sullivan: I can see no problem with the ad run by Obama on his extraordinarily ballsy decision to choose the riskiest path to get bin Laden and all the intelligence his compound contained ….. If Bush had done it, he would have jumped out of a helicopter in a jump-suit with fireworks. And it is simply true that both George W. Bush and Mitt Romney downplayed the importance of finding and bringing Osama bin Laden to justice….

….. And this was a key issue in the 2008 election …. this was a hugely successful policy opposed by McCain, opposed by Bush and opposed by Romney. No wonder they’re so upset at reality. It’s the same reaction they have when it becomes clear that Osama bin Laden was captured and killed by a president smart enough not to deploy torture, years after a bunch of thugs took over US intelligence on the orders of the panicked incompetent, Dick Cheney.

And one thing about John McCain. He actually said: “And, you know the thing about heroes, they don’t brag.” For his entire political career, McCain has done nothing but brag about his own military service, milking every last, disgusting drop for his own interests, making it the center-piece of his campaign. And he didn’t kill anyone – just crashed his plane…..

More here

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Jon Meacham: Republicans are – forgive the cliché – shocked, shocked to discover that a presidential contender is “politicizing” an important national event. In this sense, “politicizing” might be best translated as “beating us up and we don’t have anything much to say to stop it.” The ad itself raises intriguing, substantive, legitimate questions – and the ferocious, sputtering Republican reaction is proof positive that they know it, or at least suspect it.

More here

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Michael Tomasky: It couldn’t be more hilarious, watching these Republicans rend their garments over the Obama administration’s bin Laden video. Imaging the paroxysms we’d have been forced to endure if George W. Bush had iced the dreaded one is all we need to do to understand how hypocritical it all is. But what obviously gets under Republicans’ skin is not the fact of this video’s existence, but the fact that Barack Obama got him and they didn’t, which destroys their assumption of the past decade that they are “the 9/11 party.” And more than that – and this is the real story here – it’s the fact that the Democrats don’t appear to be afraid of the Republicans anymore. That, to Republicans, is what’s truly unacceptable.

More here

26
Apr
12

evening all

Human warmth ….. watch and learn, Romney

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TPM: A lesser-known but important provision in “Obamacare” that regulates how health insurance companies spend their money is yielding benefits for consumers, a new study finds.

By this August, insurers are projected to send consumers a total of $1.3 billion in rebates, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis released Thursday – $541 million to large employers, $377 million to small businesses and $426 million to people with their own insurance plans.

The rebates are the result of a rule in the Affordable Care Act that requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent or 85 percent of premium earnings on health care – as opposed to marketing and administrative activities – or otherwise provide rebates to their consumers.

More here

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Steve Benen: Joe Weisenthal published a pretty remarkable chart today noting economic growth in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe over the last nine years….

…. Once President Obama took office and the Recovery Act/stimulus began putting capital back into the economy, the U.S. economy began growing again. In the U.K., the economy started to improve, right up until British officials began implementing an austerity agenda – at which point the national economy stagnated and slipped back into a recession.

Obama rejected austerity, and as a result, American growth, while fragile and insufficient, is easily outpacing Europe’s and UK’s, where austerity measures have ruled the day.

….When David Cameron’s austerity policies began, Republicans were not only certain they would work, they pleaded with American policymakers to follow the Tories’ lead …. The remarkable thing is, Republicans aren’t the least bit chastened by the track record of failure.

More here

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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will visit Fort Stewart Friday …. The event will not be open to the general public according to the White House.

No other details were available except that the president and first lady will “meet with troops, veterans and military families”.

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President Obama has announced 13 new recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

Madeleine Albright, John Doar, Bob Dylan, William Foege, John Glenn, Gordon Hirabayashi, Dolores Huerta, Jan Karski, Juliette Gordon Low, Toni Morrison, Shimon Peres, John Paul Stevens, Pat Summitt.

More here

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ThinkProgress: …. The Romney campaign organized a conference call today with three of Romney’s foreign policy advisers to push back (against VP Biden’s foreign policy speech). During the call, Romney adviser Ambassador Pierre Prosper attacked President Obama for dealing with Russia, albeit using geographical terms from the Cold War era:

PROSPER: ….. The United States abandoned its missile defense sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia….

Aside from the fact that “Czechoslovakia” broke up into the Czech Republic and Slovakia nearly 20 years ago, the Obama administration never “abandoned” missile defense sites because they were never there to begin with….

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Michael Tomasky: It seems clear that the main issue Mitt Romney is going to use to try to reestablish himself as a moderate is immigration …. Can Romney, who staked out an immigration position during the primaries that left him sounding like Pat Buchanan, really pull this off? My bet: He’ll be smooth, he’ll do almost everything right, he’ll say all the right things — and he’ll end up with something very much like the 31 percent of the Latino vote John McCain got, maybe two or three points more, tops. The reason is simple: Romney, like his party, is just too white.

…. There is no signal, at least yet, that Rubio would make a whit of difference. Last weekend, a poll came out in which 1,000-plus Latinos were asked about Obama-Biden matchups against Romney-Rubio, and Romney paired with various other Hispanic Republicans ….. in Florida, Obama did better among Latinos against Romney with Rubio on the ticket, suggesting that maybe to know him isn’t to love him.

More here

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NYT: The group Americans for Prosperity just went up with a $6.1 million ad buy in swing states that accuses the Obama administration of squandering American taxpayer dollars on green energy projects, asserting that some of the money actually went to foreign entities….

In making the general assertion that “billions of taxpayer dollars spent on green energy went to jobs in foreign countries,” the ad cites as evidence $1.2 billion that went “to a solar company that’s building a plant in Mexico.” In fact, the company involved in the plant, SunPower, said that the $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee was for its solar ranch in California….

The ad also says that the Obama administration sent “half a billion to an electric car company that created hundreds of jobs in Finland.” …. Loans under the agency’s alternative vehicle program went to Fisker Automotive, an American electric car company based in California that has facilities in Finland, as well as China and Germany. The agency provided $169 million for engineering and tooling work, all carried out in the United States….

More here

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Six weeks later, I still can’t see this video enough:

Background to the video here

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Twitter

Thanks Dotster

27
Mar
12

afternoon all

Cagle

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TPM: The snap reactions to today’s Supreme Court arguments about the constitutionality of the health care law’s individual mandate gave reform supporters a collective case of heartburn. The conservative justices seemed broadly hostile to the law’s requirement that everyone carry health insurance. President Obama’s Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, was widely panned by experienced court watchers for stumbling at key moments. Jeffery Toobin — a seasoned vet of the high court — called it a “train wreck” for the Obama administration.

Here’s some antacid.

Over the first two days of arguments, two of the Court’s five conservative justices have expressed sympathy for key parts of the administration’s arguments. And the administration probably only needs one of their votes to fully uphold the law.

More here

Thanks LL

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A protester against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act tries to block a supporter of the act outside the Supreme Court, March 27

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Steve Benen: …. I had conversations this afternoon with a few reporters who were in the Supreme Court for the arguments, and they agreed on several key points:

* The mandate has at least four votes (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan).

* Solicitor General Don Verrilli, who argued the case for the government, was not at the top of his game today, and the word “choke” is being bandied about quite a bit.

* Paul Clement, the former Solicitor General who argued against the health care, was excellent.

* The two votes to watch are Roberts and Kennedy. Scalia, Thomas, and Alito do not appear to be in play, despite all of Scalia’s previous opinions on Commerce Clause jurisprudence.

* The liberal justices were far more effective than Verrilli in making compelling arguments in defense of the law.

More here

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Richard Mondale yells at a Obama health care supporter during a protest in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building, March 27

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Greg Sargent: As far as I can tell, these are the two most important developments from today’s arguments before the Supreme Court about the individual mandate.

There’s this, from SCOTUS-blog, which suggests that the conservative bloc of Justices is taking a lenient view of the challengers’ argument about the mandate’s implications for individual liberty….

…. This is trouble, because it suggests the conservative justices are buying the “slippery slope” argument….

…. One bright spot for the government: Chief Justice John Roberts appears open to the argument that the health care marketplace is different from that of any other product.

More here

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 Buy the tee here

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TPM: In a little-noticed exchange Monday, conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts may have tipped his hand that he’s entertaining the possibility that the health care law’s individual mandate can be upheld on a constitutional basis that’s different from the one supporters and opponents have made central to their arguments.

…. In an exchange with a plaintiffs attorney, Roberts suggested he’s skeptical that the mandate and its penalties can be treated separately and may have opened the door to finding that Congress’ power to impose the mandate springs from its broad taxing power.

…. That wasn’t what the challengers wanted to hear.

More here

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Cagle

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Michael Tomasky: Conservatives love to say Obama has robbed us of our liberty. But can they name a single freedom that the administration has curtailed?

Behind the challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being heard at the Supreme Court this week is the idea that Barack Obama wants to take away your freedoms ….. I defy anyone to name for me a specific and precise freedom that Obama has taken away from the American people. You can’t. When they’re not just invented out of whole cloth by multi-millionaire propagandists, all such laments are based on ignorance about what freedom actually means and an equal ignorance about how our system of government works.

…. if you’re healthy and 35 and you don’t buy insurance and you get hit by a bus and you need $10,000 in medical care and you can’t and don’t pay for it, that harms me, because I’m an insured taxpayer and I’m helping to pick up your tab. That is freedom: not just the right to be left alone, but also the obligation to take responsibility for the consequences of one’s own actions on the freedom of other members of society. By that definition, the ACA is enhancing freedom, and personal responsibility – which is why conservatives were for the mandate in the first place.

Full post here

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ThinkProgress: Mitt Romney is trying to make hay about a comment President Obama made to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev this week that he needs some “space” on the missile defense issue until after the election this year. Russia “is without question our number one geopolitical foe,” Romney said, calling Obama’s comment “very, very troubling.”

Politico reports that Medvedev shot back at Romney today at a press conference in Seoul, South Korea:

“I always get very cautious when I see a country resort to phrasings such as ‘No. 1 enemy.’ It is very reminiscent of Hollywood in a certain period of history…. My other advice is to check their clocks from time to time. It is 2012, not the mid-1970s. No matter what party a candidate represents, he has to take the current state of affairs into account.”

More here

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Charles Pierce: They’re circling the wagons down in Sanford these days. The defenders of George Zimmerman, the trigger-happy wannabe who clipped Trayvon Martin for the crime of being a black kid in a hoodie with snack foods in the wrong neighborhood, is now being cocooned by his lawyer, by some alleged friends, and by the local police department …. Ask yourself how we suddenly know that the dead kid had been suspended from high school because he got caught with a bag that might once have contained marijuana. Ask yourself why we know that. We know that because this case is Not About Race.

It is Not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Race is the past. Black people can vote. One of them is president. Nothing Is About Race anymore. Just ask Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum – and have I mentioned recently what a colossal dick that guy is? – and they’ll tell you that the president “injected” race into the tragedy. It wasn’t there before the president – who is (shhh!) black, you know – put it there…..

More here

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Cagle

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First lady Michelle Obama and Yoriko Fujisaki, wife of the Ambassador of Japan to the United States, commemorate the centennial anniversary of the 1912 gift of cherry blossom trees from the city of Tokyo to Washington, D.C. by planting a cherry blossom tree near the Tidal Basin in Washington, March 27

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Thanks a million to everyone who has donated to Collegekay’s fundraising challenge – if you can help, you can donate here

13
Mar
12

afternoon all

President Obama meets with the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search finalists in the Eisenhower Building

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Michael Tomasky on GOP Plans to Sink the Economy: Every month brings improved job news – and bleaker prospects for the Republicans in November. Which is why they’re contemplating economic sabotage as their only hope.

We’re just under eight months away from Election Day now, which means that the GOP is starting to run out of time to think up new ways to ruin the economy so that Barack Obama doesn’t get reelected …. There are three fronts – gas prices, jobs, and the budget…

….. By opposing everything Obama wanted with such ferocity; by saying all those thousands of times that he had no clue about the economy; by sending out a parade of presidential candidates, from the semi-serious to the clown posse, all of whose central criticism of Obama is that he killed the economy – in all of these ways the party has more invested in economic failure than any out-party I can remember in my lifetime. Its best hope for now is gas prices, but even they eventually get lower, usually by late summer. Beyond that, all the GOP has to rely on is Mitt Romney’s unstoppable charisma.

Full post here

Thanks Loriah

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Marketwatch: U.S. stocks rose Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index extending an advance into a fifth session, after retail sales climbed the fastest in five months in February.

“The rising sales were pretty impressive in that rising gas prices hasn’t hurt the consumer,” said Nick Raich, director of research at Key Private Bank in Cleveland …. The Commerce Department reported retail sales climbed 1.1% to $407.8 billion in February, while the prior two months were revised higher.

The upward revisions imply first-quarter economic growth could be “a bit stronger” than first estimated, noted Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC in New York.

More here

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National Journal: More Americans trust President Obama than congressional Republicans to make the right decisions to bring down the price of gasoline, according to a new poll, although neither side commands a majority.

What’s more, as prices continue to rise and the specter of $5-per-gallon gas for the summer driving season looms over the political landscape, the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll shows the public slightly more supportive of the energy priorities of the Democrats and the president than those of the GOP.

Forty-four percent of respondents trust Obama more “to make the right decisions to help bring down the price of gasoline,” versus 32 percent for Republicans in Congress….

More here

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Deaniac (The People’s View): After Washington Post/ABC News put out their poll drastically over-representing GOP and Republican leaning voters, New York Times and CBS News have come up with brand new blunders of their own on their poll released late afternoon yesterday, showing the president at an approval rating of “all time low” 41%. This poll has the most glaring, dumbfounding proof that its sample is rigged staring at you in the very front page of the poll’s crosstabs.

More here

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Jeez, I just don’t understand why the media is suddenly ignoring its favorite polling company, it’s a mystery!

Gallup

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Raw Story: The Republican fight against health care rights for women may end up hurting the party on election day, according to a new poll. A Washington Post survey released Monday found that Democrats are perceived as caring more about issues that are important to women by 25 points, 55 percent to 30 percent.

The poll also showed that a large majority of all voters support the idea that businesses should be required to cover the “full cost” of contraception for female employees. Among all voters, 61 percent supported a mandate for birth control coverage, while 35 percent did not.

As MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted, 53 percent of voters were women in 2008 … “The gender gap was pretty enormous four years ago,” Benen wrote. “Don’t be surprised if it’s even bigger in November.”

Full post here

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Steve Benen: In Arizona, Democratic Senate candidate Don Bivens released a new ad yesterday, targeting Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, and hoping to take advantage of the controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh. It’s probably not the last 2012 spot we’ll see highlighting the right-wing radio host.

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Liberal Librarian (The People’s View): According to Rick Santorum, I’m doubly un-American.  I was born in New York City and lived there until I was 16, at which time my family moved to Los Angeles, where I’ve lived ever since.  According to Rick Santorum, I have no values.  I don’t know the worth of an honest day’s work.  I don’t know the benefits of charity (in which he engages very sparingly).  I don’t know the duties of good citizenship.  My vote shouldn’t count, because as both a New Yorker and and Angeleno, I was never exposed to rock-ribbed, middle American values.  I’m an other.  And everyone who lives in my two cities are similarly lacking in American moral fiber.

Let me tell you a bit about my America.

Full post here

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Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): In the upcoming issue of the Washington Monthly, Paul Glastris has a cover story called “The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama,” a headline almost guaranteed to set your teeth on edge….

….. A sidebar to Glastris’ piece lists Obama’s top 50 accomplishments …. Better to pare it down to 10 really top achievements in order to highlight how many truly major accomplishments Obama has been responsible for. So I did. Except I couldn’t get there. I cut it down to 13 and got stuck. Here they are, in the same order as the original Washington Monthly list (see post)

…. These are all big deals. Big fucking deals, to quote our vice president. Unless you’re just bound and determined to sulk in your tent while insisting that health care was a sellout and the stimulus was too small and Dodd-Frank was feeble and the mini stimuli were more like micro stimuli, there’s just no way around the fact that this is a historically colossal set of progressive accomplishments, especially in the face of a historically hostile political environment.

….. Unlike Paul Glastris, I’m not ready to start chiseling Obama’s mug on Mount Rushmore. But unless national security is pretty much your sole obsession, I really have a hard time understanding progressives who are disappointed in him. Obama has gotten more done for the progressive cause than Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, JFK, or Harry Truman – and, on balance, nearly as much as LBJ, since he doesn’t have any epic disasters to weigh down his successes. For an actual, existing human being, that’s pretty damn good.

Full post here

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Chefs Kevin Saiyasak and Jeremy Kapper harvest winter greens from the Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House, March 13




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