Archive for May 30th, 2013

30
May
13

This and That

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Media Matters: CNN Botches Key Facts In Holder Story

Reporting that House Republicans are investigating whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress during his recent testimony about Justice Department seizures of communications records in connection with a national security leak investigation, CNN’s Dana Bash misstated key facts of the controversy. In so doing, CNN helped bolster the hollow claims of Republicans – wildly hyped by Fox News – that Holder may have perjured himself….

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Greg Sargent: A new Quinnipiac poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Americans – 73-22 – thinks we should be placing a higher priority on the economy and unemployment than on the “scandals” gripping Washington. That includes 72 percent of independents, who are critical in midterm elections. At the same time, a variety of indicators, from rising home prices to buoyed consumer confidence to falling gas prices, suggest that the economy is improving at a stronger clip than previously anticipated.

If the recovery is strong next year, it could help Dems hold the Senate….

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TPM: The White House has received more than 120 applications from health insurance plans looking to sell on the new federal health care exchange …. The success of the Affordable Care Act partially hinges on competition in order to keep premiums low, and, according to the memo, “the early signs are promising and demonstrate a significant increase in competition and an array of options for consumers everywhere.”

One out of four insurers that have applied to sell insurance in the marketplace is new to the individual insurance market and at least one new provider has been added in 75 percent of states with a federally run marketplace…..

More here

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Quote of the week? Century?

“What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?”

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson at the oil giant’s annual meeting, Wednesday.

See Steve Benen

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Jonathan Chait: Pete Wehner, former Minister of Propaganda for the Bush administration, sees the excitement of the Obama scandals receding, and he knows just how to explain this. Not a lack of evidence to date that anybody in the administration has done anything wrong. It’s media bias ….. Yeah, that sounds right….

Full post here

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USA Today: The pro-Obama group Organizing for Action will hold 39 “founders events” across the country this weekend as part of an effort to build separate state chapters.

“OFA supporters, volunteers, campaign alumni and donors will come together to discuss what OFA has already accomplished as well as our goals and the path forward,” said an announcement from the group….

The Illinois State Founders Summit will be held Friday and Saturday in Obama’s hometown of Chicago, and will feature remarks by OFA Chairman Jim Messina and Executive Director Jon Carson.

They plan to discuss “how OFA plans how to continue to ensure the American people’s voices are heard by lawmakers as we fight to tip the scales of power back to the American people and away from the special interests to advance the issues the American people voted for in November,” said the statement.

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Oh dear:

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30
May
13

The Mask Slips

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30
May
13

Newsflash Media! You Are The Problem

Main Stream Media LIES

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SmartyPants: It’s obvious that with the advent of the internet as well as other technologies, both the printed press and television news are struggling to find a fiscal model that works. Surely everyone knows that it won’t be long before the paper media is dead. And finding a way to make money off of internet publications via advertising and subscriptions has proven to be a challenge. The major networks still run evening news shows, but I’m not sure anyone is watching. And their morning installments are more gossip tabloids than anything resembling real news.

Cable networks are struggling too. Fox seems to have found a stable “geezer crowd” that is loyal. But its hard to imagine how they continue that business model into the future. And we’re learning that CNN and MSNBC are struggling to find their footing recently. In often hair-brained attempts to deal with all that, the media has faltered with everything from exploitative reporting following the Boston marathon bombing to the hysteria of being taken in by the lies of Jonathan Karl and ABC News.

The only group in politics that the American public thinks less of than Republicans these days is the media.

More of this fabulous commentary here

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Gene Lyons: Judging by the caterwauling of many in the national media, you’d think Orwell’s Big Brother had taken over the White House. The Justice Department’s issuance of subpoenas to press organizations to find out who in the government had leaked classified information to the Associated Press and to Fox News reporter James Rosen has First Amendment purists in an uproar. The way some of them carry on, you’d think the light of freedom had been extinguished.

Over on Fox News, they’re accusing Attorney General Eric Holder of perjury because he told Congress the DOJ wouldn’t prosecute journalists for publishing information, but did sign off on a subpoena arguing that Rosen might have violated the Espionage Act. Earth to Fox News: as anybody who’s read two John Le Carre novels understands, journalists (or people posing as journalists) have worked as spies and agents provocateur since the invention of newspapers. A press ID isn’t a universal “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Besides, Rosen’s not being prosecuted. The DOJ is using his emails urging a State Department source to “expose muddle-headed foreign policy” by turning over classified intelligence about North Korea’s Stalinist dictatorship to prosecute the alleged leaker.

My own experience of Washington journalism has persuaded me that the actual practices of news organizations bear little relationship to the high-minded rhetoric they employ whenever their prerogatives are threatened. Forced to choose, I’d sooner trust my rights and freedoms to an independent judiciary.

More here

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30
May
13

Tyler Perry recalls President Obama’s words

Chat away, will catch up with today’s newsie stuff later – thank you again to the miiiIIIIIIIiiighty UT and LovelyPlains for today’s mega posts!

30
May
13

James B. Comey….a man of integrity

President Obama is planning to nominate for Dept. A.G. Comey to become FBI director

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WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to nominate James B. Comey, a former hedge fund executive who served as a senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, to replace Robert S. Mueller III as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to two people with knowledge of theBy choosing Mr. Comey, a Republican, Mr. Obama made a strong statement about bipartisanship at a time when he faces renewed criticism from Republicans in Congress and has had difficulty winning confirmation of some important nominees. At the same time, Mr. Comey’s role in one of the most dramatic episodes of the Bush administration — in which he refused to acquiesce to White House aides and reauthorize a program for eavesdropping without warrants when he was serving as acting attorney general — should make him an acceptable choice to Democrats.

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On the night of March 10, 2004, as Attorney General John D. Ashcroft lay ill in an intensive-care unit, his deputy, James B. Comey, received an urgent call.

White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and President Bush’s chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., were on their way to the hospital to persuade Ashcroft to reauthorize Bush’s domestic surveillance program, which the Justice Department had just determined was illegal.

In vivid testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Comey said he alerted FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and raced, sirens blaring, to join Ashcroft in his hospital room, arriving minutes before Gonzales and Card. Ashcroft, summoning the strength to lift his head and speak, refused to sign the papers they had brought. Gonzales and Card, who had never acknowledged Comey’s presence in the room, turned and left.

The sickbed visit was the start of a dramatic showdown between the White House and the Justice Department in early 2004 that, according to Comey, was resolved only when Bush overruled Gonzales and Card. But that was not before Ashcroft, Comey, Mueller and their aides prepared a mass resignation, Comey said. The domestic spying by the National Security Agency continued for several weeks without Justice approval, he said.

“I was angry,” Comey testified. “I thought I just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me.”

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After that episode  the acting A.G. prepared a resignation letter to be delivered to President Bush:

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30
May
13

Rise and Shine

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President Barack Obama greets Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and ceremony participants backstage before the signing of the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012 in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, May 30, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Tom Kludt: An overwhelming majority of Americans said that the economy and unemployment should take precedence over the Congressional investigations into the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups, the Justice Department’s subpoena of Associated Press phone records and last year’s deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University released Thursday.

The poll found that 73 percent of American voters nationwide believe that dealing with the economy and unemployment should be a higher priority than the investigations. Fewer than a quarter of Americans — 22 percent — believe that the investigations should be the higher priority.

More here

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Washington Post: President Obama plans to nominate James B. Comey, a former senior Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration, to replace Robert S. Mueller III as FBI director, according to two people with knowledge of the selection process. Comey was famously involved in a 2004 hospital-room confrontation with White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and the president’s chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr. The two White House officials were attempting to persuade Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, who was recovering from emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder, to reauthorize a controversial warrantless domestic eavesdropping program.

Comey, who was acting attorney general in Ashcroft’s absence, had refused to agree to extend the program. When he learned that the White House was attempting to go around him and get the ill Ashcroft to sign off on an extension, Comey rushed to George Washington University Medical Center, arriving just before Gonzales and Card. Comey explained to Ashcroft what was happening and, when the White House officials arrived, the attorney general raised himself up and said he never should have authorized the program. He gestured at Comey and said, “There is the attorney general,” according to an account by former Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman.

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James Comey

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Steve Benen: Comey isn’t exactly your typical Republican. We are, after all, talking about a Republican attorney who balked at the legality of the Bush/Cheney warrantless wiretap program, signed a legal brief endorsing marriage equality, believes terrorist suspects should be tried in America’s criminal-justice system, and even endorsed Eric Holder’s Attorney General nomination in 2009. For some of the rabid partisans on Capitol Hill, I suspect Comey will be seen as a RINO (Republican In Name Only).

But there’s one other angle that’s worth thinking about as the process unfolds: if Obama had any reason to worry about ongoing investigations casting the White House in a negative light, the president would not have chosen a Republican with a history of independence to lead the FBI. On the contrary, if Obama were the least bit concerned about the so-called “scandals,” he’d be eager to do the opposite — choosing a Democratic ally for the FBI. With this in mind, by selecting Comey, the president not only sends a bipartisan signal, but also one of great confidence.

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