Posts Tagged ‘milbank

05
Jan
12

afternoon all

Iowa Democratic Party

Last week at Firebaggerlake:

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USA Today: President Obama announced a new military strategy on Thursday that will cut the Pentagon budget by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

Speaking from the Pentagon, Obama said the plan is “smart, strategic” and sets priorities.

…. The new military strategy includes $487 billion in cuts over the next decade. An additional $500 billion in cuts could be coming if Congress follows through on plans for deeper reductions. The announcement comes weeks after the U.S. officially ended the Iraq War and after a decade of increased defense spending in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

More here

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President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta after the president spoke on the Defense Strategic Review at the Pentagon

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Washington Post

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Dana Milbank: If this is Mitt Romney’s idea of a victory rally, one shudders to think what would have happened if he had lost the Iowa caucuses. The day after his impossibly thin eight-vote victory …. he flew here for a town hall meeting at Manchester Central High School, where he was to bask in the endorsement of his 2008 arch rival, John McCain.

But the senator grimaced when he was introduced, and as Romney delivered his own stump speech, an increasingly impatient McCain pulled up his sleeve and checked his watch. McCain gave his endorsement address without mentioning Romney’s Iowa win until the end. “By the way, we forgot to congratulate him on his landslide victory last night,” he said, laughing. Romney ignored him.

….. Romney continued to wrestle with words when he took the stage … “What a, uh, big night we had last night, or what a big morning we had, uh, last morning, this morning, in, uh, Iowa,” he began…..

Full article here

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Randall Enos

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Ah, the Firebaggers just keep on embarrassing themselves …. from Firebaggerlake:

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Raw Story

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Washington Monthly: What If Obama Loses? … there’s a widespread assumption that extreme positions taken in the (GOP) primaries will fade in the general election as candidates “move to the center,” and will disappear entirely once the serious business of governing begins. Surely President Newt Gingrich would not get rid of child labor laws. Surely President Perry would not seek to eliminate three cabinet departments.

We don’t think that this year, with this GOP, those assumptions are warranted. And so we asked a distinguished group of reporters and scholars to think through the hitherto unthinkable: What if one of these people actually wins?

Full post here

Thanks BWD

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Chart of the Century:

Steve Benen (thanks Meta)

14
Nov
11

rise and shine

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Today: The President departs Honolulu, Hawaii, en route to Canberra, Australia (1:30 ET)

Wednesday (Australian time): Arrives in Australia. Has a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Gillard, the two leaders then holding a joint press conference. Attends a parliamentary dinner at the Australian Parliament House that night where he will make remarks about the U.S.-Australian relationship.

Thursday: Begins his day by laying a wreath at an Australian war memorial; meets with opposition leader Tony Abbott; addresses the Australian Parliament; visits a local primary school with PM Gillard; visits the US embassy. Leaves Canberra for Darwin. Visits a memorial to the USS Peary and lays a wreath. The President and PM Gillard together address Australian troops. That concludes the Australia portion of the visit. The President flies that night to Bali, Indonesia.

Friday: Attends a number of bilateral meetings. Meets with the Prime Minister of India and the leaders of Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia. Meets with the ASEAN nations, the 10 Southeast Asian nations. Meets with President Yudhoyono of Indonesia; attends an East Asia dinner that night.

Saturday: The East Asian Summit takes place through the day. At its conclusion the President returns to the United States.

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Bloomberg: Less than 12 months from the presidential election, the U.S. economy has moved from recovery to expansion, prompting similar shifts in President Barack Obama’s political prospects.

The unemployment rate moved downward last month ….. the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in seven months two weeks ago, a sign the recovery may be encouraging companies to limit cuts in headcount. And a private outplacement company is predicting that jobs losses in the government sector, a drag on U.S. employment, may be leveling off.

Gains in household spending, the biggest part of the economy, last quarter led economists to raise their growth forecasts for the remainder of this year and for 2012 … The services industry and manufacturing both continue to expand….

Full article here

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CNN: The public is divided over the idea of requiring all Americans to have health insurance, according to a new national survey. But a CNN/ORC International Poll also indicates that support for the proposal, a cornerstone of the 2010 health care reform law, has risen since June.

…. According to the poll, 52% of Americans favor mandatory health insurance, up from 44% in June. The survey indicates that 47% oppose the health insurance mandate, down from 54% in early summer.

“The health insurance mandate has gained most support since June among older Americans and among lower-income Americans,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “A majority of independents opposed the measure in June, but 52 percent of them now favor it.”

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LA Times: The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court.

….. The lawyer who will stand before the court and argue that the law should be thrown out is likely to be Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general during the George W. Bush administration.

Clement’s law firm, Bancroft PLLC, was one of almost two dozen firms that helped sponsor the annual dinner of the Federalist Society, a longstanding group dedicated to advocating conservative legal principles …

…. The featured guests at the dinner? Scalia and Thomas.

Full article here

27
Sep
11

‘the birthing of solyndra’

Dana Milbank: ….Solyndra has become a tool for Republicans to discredit most everything the administration seeks to do … this week, the government faced the prospect of a shutdown because House Republicans added a provision to the spending bill to draw more attention to – what else? – Solyndra.

“…. we have all agreed to add emergency funds we didn’t originally plan in this bill, and Republicans have identified a couple of cuts,” explained Mitch McConnell, including “a cut to a loan-guarantee program that gave us the Solyndra scandal.”

…. What McConnell neglected to mention is that Solyndra was cleared to participate in this loan-guarantee program by President George W. Bush’s administration. He also did not mention that the legislation creating the loan-guarantee program, approved by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2005, received yes votes from – wait for it – DeMint, Hatch and McConnell.

…. the Republican paternity of the program that birthed Solyndra suggests some skepticism is in order when many of those same Republicans use Solyndra as an example of all that is wrong with Obama’s governance.

…. DeMint said the Solyndra case exposed the “unintended results when our government tries to pick winners and losers.” That’s a valid criticism, but it would be more valid if DeMint hadn’t been a supporter of the loan-guarantee legislation in 2005.

But that was before Obama’s presidency, and views back then were different. They were more like the March 2008 press release from Bush’s Energy Department, announcing that it was funding research projects on photovoltaic technology: “These projects are integral to President Bush’s Solar America Initiative, which aims to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015.”

Among the winners listed in the press release? Solyndra.

Full article here

13
Sep
11

‘a deep strain of madness’

Steve Benen: …. The candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination are a pretty scary bunch …. the two-hour display on CNN last night was a depressing reminder of what’s become of the GOP in the 21st century. That said, maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to find the audiences for these debates even more disconcerting.

Wolf Blitzer posed a hypothetical scenario to Ron Paul, asking about a young man who makes a good living, but decides to forgo health insurance. Then, tragedy strikes and he needs care. Paul stuck to the libertarian line. “But congressman,” the moderator said, “are you saying that society should just let him die?”

And at that point, some in the audience shouted, “Yeah,” and applauded.

…. note that in last week’s debate, the mere observation that Perry has signed off on the executions of 234 people in Texas, more than any other governor in modern times, was enough to generate applause from a different GOP audience.

…. There’s a deep strain of madness running through Republican politics in 2011, and it appears to be getting worse. Those wondering why the GOP presidential field appears weak, insipid, and shallow need look no further than the voters they were choose to pander to.

Full post here

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Dana Milbank: The applause identified Rick Perry as the crowd favorite when he took the stage in Tampa for Monday night’s Tea Party debate, greeting his lesser rivals as “fellas”. But two hours later, those fellas – and a gal from Minnesota – had made some serious progress toward exposing the broad-shouldered Texas governor as an empty suit.

… The lowest point for the man atop the polls came when Michele Bachmann accused Perry of cronyism, suggesting that he forced girls to receive the HPV anti-cancer vaccine because his former chief of staff was lobbying for the vaccine maker, Merck, which also “gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor”.

Perry answered with his trademark boastfulness: “It was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them. I raise about $30 million. And if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.”

…. On the defensive from beginning to end, Perry resorted to the time honored tradition of making up stuff. When Romney took issue with Perry’s previously-expressed views that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and unconstitutional, Perry had a comeback: “Governor, you’re calling it a criminal — you said if people did it in the private sector if would be called criminal. That’s in your book.”

The crowd cheered this rejoinder, which would have been effective if Romney had indeed written such a thing. An electronic search of Romney’s book, “No Apology,” found no use of the word “criminal” in relation to Social Security. What he wrote was quite the opposite, saying that if bankers raided trusts the way politicians raid the Social Security trust, “they would go to jail.”

Full article here

Thanks Loriah

13
Jul
11

cantor? sit down and shut up. ;-)

Washington Post

Dana Milbank: Eric Cantor has perfected the strategic sneer.

It comes, frequently, when he answers a reporter’s question about something President Obama has said: The House majority leader’s lip curls up on the left side and a look of disgust washes over his face….

Cantor … is answering calls for compromise with contempt. He shook his fist during a news conference Tuesday and said that Obama’s thinking is “unfathomable to me.” To Obama’s complaint that the wealthy are not sharing in the budget sacrifice, he scoffed: “There is plenty of so-called shared sacrifice.” Asked about Obama’s belief that people like him should pay more in taxes, Cantor retorts: “You know what? He can write a check any time he wants.”

He draws out the vowels in a style that is part southern, part smarty-pants. Had young Cantor spoken like this at his prep school in Richmond, the bigger boys may well have wiped that sneer off his face. Yet even then, Cantor was accustomed to having things his way. According to Cantor’s hometown Richmond Times-Dispatch, the quotation he chose to accompany his yearbook photo was “I want what I want when I want it.”

What Cantor wants now is power – and he is prepared to risk the full faith and credit of the United States to get it. In a primacy struggle with House Speaker John Boehner, he has done a deft job of aligning himself with Tea Party House members in opposition to any meaningful deal to resolve the debt. If the U.S. government defaults, it will have much to do with Cantor…..

Full article here

14
Jun
11

‘a day of awkwardness with mitt romney’

Dana Milbank (Washington Post): Mitt Romney had just finished working the room at Blake’s Creamery when he paused for a photo with the restaurant’s owner and decided to tell her a joke.

“I saw the young man over there with eggs Benedict, with hollandaise sauce,” he said. “And I was going to suggest to you that you serve your eggs with hollandaise sauce in hubcaps. Because there’s no place like chrome for the holidays.” The proprietor laughed weakly…. The hubcap joke must have killed in Michigan in the 1950s, when Romney was a boy. What’s odd is that he’s still making such jokes….

In formal settings Romney is confident and competent. But in casual moments … his weirdness comes through – equal parts Leave-It-to-Beaver corniness and social awkwardness …. He greets a man perusing shelves of a hardware store: “Shopping here today?”

…He talks about the weak economy with the proprietors of a feed shop, then abruptly pivots: “Okay, so what do you do about mosquito control? … This has been a mosquito-infested year with all the moisture. They flew away with my dog.”

….Posing for a photo with his arms around the waitresses, he suddenly jumps forward, pretending somebody pinched his bottom. “Oh my goodness gracious!” he exclaims, then, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.” He later says the gag is “kind of fun to do.”

…. To two older women who just came from the gym: “Are your knees, hips doing okay?” To an old married couple: “You know each other?” Romney seemed to be auditing one man: “What’s happened to your financials the last couple of years?”

He departed Blake’s with a final plea for support in the New Hampshire primary, scheduled for Feb. 14. “Get out and vote,” he encouraged the diners. “It’s a while, though, I think. What is it, November? … It’s not November. It’s January. It’s February!”….

Full article here

15
Mar
11

ah, some balance

Sorry for bringing Dana Milbank here, but it’s so hard to find balanced articles on Bradley Manning – he’s either a martyr or a traitor – it was a relief to find this. I’ve cut out the silly, glib ‘underwear’ stuff by Milbank, but you can read the full article here

Dana Milbank: ….On the left, Bradley Manning is being hailed as a hero and a whistleblower for stealing and then making public thousands of classified government documents. The Pentagon, meanwhile, sees Pfc. Manning as a traitor, and so is holding him in maximum-security confinement. The naked truth is that Manning was neither a hero nor a traitor but a misguided kid flying by the seat of his underpants.

…PJ Crowley … had it exactly right last week …. after his claim that the treatment of Manning was stupid, he added: “Nonetheless, Bradley Manning is in the right place” at Quantico, because “there is sometimes a need for secrets.”

Liberal supporters of WikiLeaks and Manning have a rather elastic interpretation of Crowley’s remarks, embracing the suggestion that Manning had been mistreated but ignoring the contention that he belongs in the brig.

…(they are) trying to lionize Manning as a champion of open and transparent government. The trouble, of course, is that if Manning did what he is accused of doing, he has almost certainly done more harm than good to the cause of government openness.

“I don’t think these qualify as whistleblowing,” said Steven Aftergood, a longtime transparency advocate who runs the Federation of American Scientists’ Government Secrecy Project. Yes, there were important disclosures from WikiLeaks, such as the documentation of civilian casualties in Afghanistan. But the indiscriminate leaks also may have put at risk many lives, including those of hundreds of Afghans who cooperated with the U.S. military.

“The approach of grabbing hundreds of thousands of documents and shoveling them into the public domain,” said Aftergood, “was needlessly provocative.” He added: “It was not exposing misconduct. It was sticking a thumb in the government’s eye.”

The Pentagon, for its part, seems to be acknowledging, implicitly, that it mishandled Manning … Now it’s time for Manning’s fans to accept that he’s not necessarily the champion of freedom they have made him out to be….




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