On This Day: Sen. Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting at Kaukauna High School June 12, 2008 in Wisconsin
Today (all times Eastern)
10:55: The President meets with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (spare a thought for 99ts at this difficult time)
12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
2:05: The President honors WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, East Room
3:30: The First Lady joins local students and school nutrition directors from across the country to harvest the summer crop from the White House Kitchen Garden (See here)
The Week Ahead
Friday: The President and the First Lady will travel to the Cannonball, North Dakota area to visit the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Following their visit to Indian Country, they will travel to Palm Springs, CA.
Saturday: The President will deliver the commencement address at University of California, Irvine on the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the UC Irvine campus by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The President and the First Lady will return to Washington, D.C on Monday.
So Republicans are really pointing out that with Mitt we could still be in Iraq and not have to endure 10+ million insured Americans.
Steve Benen: Crisis grips Iraq, spurring a familiar U.S. debate
The security crisis gripping Iraq is real and intensifying. Closer to home, however, there’s a familiar domestic political debate starting anew.
In Iraq, militant insurgents, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – an al Qaeda offshoot considered too radical for some in the terrorist network – have seized control of two major cities and may yet launch an attack on Baghdad. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki wants Parliament to declare a state of emergency, while also quietly reaching out to U.S. officials, inviting military intervention.
The White House is “deeply concerned” about the deteriorating conditions, but by all accounts, President Obama is not at all eager to recommit military forces to Iraq, choosing instead to focus on Iraq’s capacity to defend itself.
But elsewhere in Washington, a predictable dynamic is taking shape: the same conservatives who were wrong about the war in Iraq before are not only blaming the U.S. president for Iraq’s current crisis, they’re also suggesting Americans re-enter the fight.
The borders of the modern Middle East are in large part a legacy of World War One. They were established by the colonial powers after the defeat and dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire.
Those borders could now be in peril for two main reasons – the continuing fighting and fragmentation of Syria and the ISIS assault in Iraq Unless the military gains of ISIS can be reversed, the Iraqi state is in peril as never before. The dual crises in Syria and Iraq combine to offer the possibility of a “state” encompassing eastern Syria and western Iraq where the jihadists of ISIS hold sway.
This would have huge implications for the region and beyond. Iraq has to a large extent staggered from crisis to crisis, so what went wrong?
Kevin Drum: No, Staying in Iraq Wouldn’t Have Changed Anything
… I find it fantastical that anyone could read about what’s happening and continue to believe that a small US presence in Iraq could ever have been more than a Band-Aid. I mean, just read the report. Two divisions of Iraqi soldiers turned tail in the face of 800 insurgents. That’s what we got after a decade of American training. How can you possibly believe that another few years would have made more than a paper-thin difference? Like it or not, the plain fact is that Iraq is too fundamentally unstable to be rebuilt by American military force. We could put fingers in the dikes, but not much more.
ThinkProgress: One Chart That Shows Why The Middle East Is Now One Giant Warzone
What started as a crackdown against democratic protests three years ago, has become a region-wide conflict that now has Iraq descending back into chaos. The countries of the region — along with the United States and various non-state actors — all have a hand in creating this moment, as money, fighters, weapons, and a desire to control the Middle East have come together to produce an extremely volatile and terrifying situation.
The uninsured rate in Minnesota has plunged 40 percent, according to a new study
…. The number of people without health insurance fell from about 445,000 to 264,000. That’s roughly a 40 percent decline in the number of uninsured, lowering the state’s overall rate from 8.2 percent to 4.8 percent. That looks a lot like what happened in Massachusetts after similar reforms passed there, and it’s right in line with what Congressional Budget Office has predicted for the country as a whole….
…. a big reason for the decline in Minnesota was the high enrollment in Medicaid, which Minnesota lawmakers enthusiastically agreed to expand. In about half of the country, more conservative lawmakers have blocked their states from undertaking similar changes.
Of course, that’s a pretty powerful demonstration of the benefits that these conservative officials are denying to their citizens.
While we were all being entertained by the slandering of a returning POW, and then by the road company production of Weasel’s End in Virginia, the Supreme Court quietly accepted for review yet another case that involves the franchise, and the rights of minority voters to exercise it. Before we get to what it all might mean for the country that is still in the throes of John Roberts’s Day Of Jubilee, we should pause for a moment and gaze in awe at the glorious legal hypocrisy of the state of Alabama.
Steve Benen: Senate GOP blocks student-loan refinancing
President Obama this week issued an executive order to help millions of young people with student-loan payments, lowering payments based on income and loan duration. The program already existed, but the new White House policy greatly expanded eligibility.
But while making the announcement on this on Monday, Obama also endorsed the next logical step: approval of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) proposal to make it easier for students to refinance their loans.
[Yesterday] morning, Senate Republicans blocked the chamber from voting on the idea.
Politicususa: Elizabeth Warren Declares War on Mitch McConnell After He Blocked Her Student Loan Bill
On MSNBC [last] night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) virtually declared war on Mitch McConnell after he blocked her student loan bill. Warren told viewers to donate money to Alison Lundergan Grimes, and announced that she will be going to Kentucky to campaign for the Democrat.
…. Warren is angry, because Mitch McConnell blocked her student loan reform bill, which would have helped 40 million borrowers cut their interest rate nearly in half. The bill came up just short of passage. McConnell had signaled that he intended to block the bill because it was paid for by raising taxes on millionaires.
ThinkProgress: Could A Democrat Win Eric Cantor’s House District?
After his historic upset of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on Tuesday, economics professor Dave Brat (R) will now face his Randolph-Macon College colleague, sociology professor Jack Trammell (D) in the November general. While the gerrymandered district has a distinct Republican tilt, a few signs suggest that the race could potentially be competitive.
According to the Cook Political Report, Virginia’s 7th Congressional district is an “R+10″ area — meaning that it votes, on average, 10 points more Republican than the nation as a whole. Currently, just 3 of the 199 Democrats in the U.S. House represent districts more Republican leaning than that.
But a victory for Trammell in the 7th would not be unprecedented.
The most revelatory piece about how Dave Brat came to be the likely new congressman from the Seventh Congressional District of the Commonwealth of Virginia ran in Tiger Beat On The Potomac back on April 17. (We noted it at the time.) It also undermines the emerging character of Dave Brat, Ordinary Joe. A lot of the credit for his upset is going (rightly) to various radio hosts who took the payola from wingnut sugar daddies as described by Ken Vogel and MacKenzie Weinger. Mark Levin took almost $800,000 from Americans For Prosperity. Laura Ingraham was on the arm, too. Brat also seems to owe his job to Cato Institute president John Allison.
Ed Kilgore: Congressional Republicans: Nobody Here But Us Christians
Among the many shocking things about Eric Cantor’s defeat yesterday, the one that shocked me most is the realization that he is currently the only publicly-identified non-Christian Republican in Congress. Not just the highest-ranking Jewish Republican, or the highest-ranking non-Christian Republican, but the only non-Christian Republican in either chamber, at least according to a Pew analysis of the religious affiliations of Members of Congress conducted after the 2012 elections. It’s always possible, I suppose, that a non-Christian GOPer can be nominated later this year and elected in November, but for now, the estimated 27% of Americans who don’t identify themselves with some form of the Christian faith will likely have no representation among Republicans House and Senate members come next year.
ThinkProgress: David Brat: Embrace Christian Capitalism, Or Hitler Will Come Back
When David Brat defeated House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) in the Republican primary of Virginia’s 7th Congressional District last night, House Republicans likely lost their only Jewish representative. In his place, they may have gained a radically pro-capitalist Christian theologian.
Christian Tea Party candidates are certainly not unusual, but a trail of writings show that Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon college, has an especially radical theology to support his right-wing politics. Brat’s CV lists him as a graduate of Hope College, a Christian school in Michigan, and Princeton Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian Church U.S.A. seminary in New Jersey. He claims to be a “fairly orthodox Calvinist,” but several of his published writings expose a unsettling core theology that is centered around lifting up unregulated, free-market capitalism as a morally righteous system that churches should embrace—or else.
… GOP’s chief political arsonist House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his own primary in his home district by double digit margins. Everyone agrees that it was a political earthquake the likes of which are essentially without parallel. This upset is most often being hailed as a Tea Party victory, and there is little doubt that it is that. But the most important lesson for Democrats and progressives should be something different: throw away all the polls and get out the vote.
The much-mocked internal poll conducted last month and released last week by Eric Cantor’s campaign that showed their candidate up by 34 points, and even right wing pollsters showed Eric Cantor up by 11 points at the same time. The pendulums swung between 22 and 45 points last night to give Cantor’s xenophobic Tea Party opponent a margin of victory of over 10 points.
How did the pollsters get it so wrong? ….. let’s discuss precisely what they got wrong.
Smartypants: A lazy media once again misses how politics has changed
Today the media pundits are tripping over themselves to tell us what Cantor’s primary defeat means for the future of national politics. But one word of caution about listening to their prognostications: these are the very same people who never saw this one coming. At some point we have to question their predictive capacities. Unless/until they are willing to do a little self-examination to uncover why they were so wrong, we should take their current machinations with one HUGE grain of salt.
I’ve been hesitant to say this outright, but I think one of the biggest reasons they get so much wrong is that too many of these pundits are lazy. Its much easier (and more conducive to lucrative linkbait) to simply run with the latest hysteria craze created by the right wingnuts. Over the last few years we’ve watched them become consumed with everything from presidential birth certificates to literally buying wingnut lies about an American POW before we have the facts. When it comes time for an election, they are quick to point out that American voters STILL say that job creation is their number one concern. And yet they spend all their time running after fake scandals….because its easy.
… Cantor’s loss is part of a process that could well unravel movement conservatism as we know it.
…. it turns out that being a movement conservative apparatchik is no longer a safe career choice. This is a very big deal. Conservatives, as I said, will always be with us. But the structure that shaped them into a cohesive movement is now starting to unravel, at a time when movement progressivism — which is much less cohesive and much less lucrative, but nonetheless now exists in a way it didn’t 15 years ago — is on the rise.
TPM: Five Major Cases The Supreme Court Will Decide This Month
The Supreme Court has already delivered major rulings this year on campaign finance and prayer in public meetings. By the end of June, the Court is expected to hand down several more important decisions that could dramatically alter the law and affect Americans’ lives.
NBC: President Obama: I’m a ‘fun dad who teeters on the edge of being embarrassing’
As Father’s Day approaches, President Obama shared his thoughts about fatherhood and raising kids in the White House during an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Jenna Bush Hager, who knows what it’s like to have a dad who is the commander-in-chief.
Obama said his two daughters, Malia, 15, and Sasha, who turned 13 this week, would describe him as a good, fun dad who “teeters on the edge of being embarrassing sometimes.”
President Obama and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett chat outside the Oval Office in the White House, June 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Saturday, June 12, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
First Lady Michelle Obama signs her new book “American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America” during a book signing at Barnes & Noble on June 12, 2012 in Washington, DC
President Obama greets patrons during an unannounced stop at Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe in Boston, Mass., June 12, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and Congressman Ed Markey wave to the crowd as Obama attends a rally for Markey at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, June 12, 2013