The August 24th National Action To Realize The Dream March Led By Rev. Al Sharpton & Martin Luther King, III To Include Brief Remarks By Attorney General Eric Holder, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Steny Hoyer, Newark Mayor Corey Booker, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Bernice King, The Families of Emmett Till & Trayvon Martin & Many Others From Civil Rights, Labor & The Church
Main Speakers (from 11:0 AM EDT):
Nancy Pelosi * Bernice King * Steny Hoyer * Myrlie Evers-Williams * Attorney General Eric Holder * Martin Luther King, III * Rev. Al Sharpton * Trayvon Martin family * Emmett Till family
March down Independence Avenue, passing the King Memorial to the Washington Monument
Bloomberg: Americans With Best Credit in Decades Drive U.S. Economy
Americans have made progress putting their finances in order and are ready to borrow again – giving the world’s largest economy another driver of spending and growth.
Household net worth soared to a record high in the first quarter, Federal Reserve data show, and the financial-obligations ratio relating consumer debt to income matched the lowest in 33 years. Consumer loans are rising, and the American Bankers Association reports the share of delinquencies on bank cards is the smallest since 1990.
“Household finances are in the best shape in decades,” said Joseph Carson, director of global economic research at AllianceBernstein … “We now have a creditworthy borrower. It’s a powerful ingredient” ….
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) appeared on Fox News on Sunday, and when the discussion turned to a possible self-imposed budget crisis, the Virginia Republican said lawmakers should be “focused on trying to deal with the ultimate problem, which is this growing deficit.”
What Cantor said was the opposite of the truth – he said the nation has a “growing deficit,” when in reality, we have a shrinking deficit. We can have a discussion about whether the House Majority Leader was deliberately trying to deceive the public – Republicans have an incentive to convince the public that U.S. finances are in worse shape than they really are – or whether Cantor simply doesn’t know the basics of current events. But I’m afraid it’s either one or the other.
Former baseball players in the Negro League, from left to right, Pedro Sierra, Minnie Minoso, and Ron Teasley, talk outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington following their meeting with President Obama.
A new survey from the robo-firm Public Policy Polling finds that Democrat Michelle Nunn is locked in a close battle for the Georgia Senate seat with several of the main potential GOP challengers. This — combined with the fact that the GOP primary is a crowded affair — has Dems looking at this race as a potential firewall: If Dems can somehow win in Georgia (or even Kentucky), Republicans will have to sweep four Dem incumbents out of office to take the Senate.
When the House Judiciary Committee passed a late-term abortion ban in June, Republican leaders scrambled to find a female, media-savvy legislator to bring the legislation to the floor. Their biggest problem: Not a single Republican woman was represented among the committee’s 23 Republican members. They eventually settled on Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who isn’t on the Judiciary Committee.
The episode underscored a growing problem that is worrying Republicans: Women are badly underrepresented within their party in the Congress. Only eight percent of House Republicans are women, and there are only four female Republican senators. Of the long list of potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders, there’s not a single woman.
President Obama visits with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in the Blue Room of the White House, prior to Kagan’s confirmation reception in the East Room, Aug. 6, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Aug. 6, 2010: The President walks newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan into the Oval Office (Photo by Pete Souza)
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters yesterday that President Obama and congressional Democrats are “in denial.” Yeah, denial’s just awful, isn’t it? Capping a legislative work period more noted for what it failed to pass than for what it completed, the House voted for the 40th time on Friday to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform law before heading home for a five week recess.
The GOP-controlled House voted to approve a measure to prevent the IRS from enforcing “Obamacare” in a 232-185 vote. The legislation faces virtually no chance of advancing in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. How many House Republicans voted for repeal? All of them who were on the Hill this morning. If we include the Senate, the total number of votes held by congressional Republicans to repeal all or part of the federal health care law is 68. We’re talking about a group of folks who are very slow learners.
Andrew Cray: New Federal Legislation Introduced To Protect Homeless LGBT Youth
Although they comprise only 5 to 7 percent of all youth in America, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth make up an average of 40 percent of all homeless youth in cities across the United States. These youth face a high risk of rejection and abuse in their homes, in their schools, and on the streets. For LGBT children and young adults left without safe homes, life on the street is dangerous, and the future may seem bleak.
But Thursday, Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced legislation that would offer hope for LGBT youth and the providers charged with serving them. If passed, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Inclusion Act would amend the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to prohibit discrimination against homeless youth based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the programs intended to offer them stability and shelter, and would promote data collection processes to help policymakers better understand LGBT youth homelessness.
The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) supports federally-funded programs for homeless youth, including street outreach, shelters and drop-in centers, and transitional living programs.
Igor Volsky: New ObamaCare Rule Throws Lifeline To Federal Employees
Congressional lawmakers and their staff will be able to afford health care coverage this fall when they begin enrolling in the exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is expected to rule that the federal government can continue contributing to the cost of health care plans purchased through an exchange, putting to end months of intense behind-the-scenes lobbying from members of both parties which culminated in President Obama assuring Democrats that he is personally involved in the issue.
Leading Republicans appear to be nerving themselves up for another round of attempted fiscal blackmail. With the end of the fiscal year looming, they aren’t offering the kinds of compromises that might produce a deal and avoid a government shutdown …. they’re threatening, once again, to block any rise in the debt ceiling, a move that would damage the U.S. economy and possibly provoke a world financial crisis.
Yet even as Republican politicians seem ready to go on the offensive, there’s a palpable sense of anxiety, even despair, among conservative pundits and analysts. Better-informed people on the right seem, finally, to be facing up to a horrible truth: Health care reform, President Obama’s signature policy achievement, is probably going to work.
And the good news about Obamacare is, I’d argue, what’s driving the Republican Party’s intensified extremism. Successful health reform wouldn’t just be a victory for a president conservatives loathe, it would be an object demonstration of the falseness of right-wing ideology. So Republicans are being driven into a last, desperate effort to head this thing off at the pass……
Greg Sargent: Even Republicans are openly worried about GOP’s sabotage governing
The notion that GOP sabotage governing tactics could ultimately prove counter-productive and self defeating for the Republican Party is now being increasingly voiced by Republicans themselves.
….. with Republicans hurtling towards another set of crises over the debt limit and funding the government they are openly nervous about the GOP’s continued embrace of its intransigent scorched earth governing posture…
…. More public disunity from Republicans about their tactics – even as Dems remain relatively united behind their insistence that they won’t negotiate over the debt limit and will continue to demand new revenues as part of any budget deal – will only encourage the White House to hold a harder line.
And see Steve Benen: Senate GOPer calls shutdown threat ‘the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard’
Washington Post: White House hardens stance on budget cuts ahead of showdown with Republicans
Senior White House officials are discussing a budget strategy that could lead to a government shutdown if Republicans continue to demand deeper spending cuts, lawmakers and Democrats familiar with the administration’s thinking said Thursday.
The posture represents a more confrontational approach than that of this spring, when President Obama decided not to escalate a fight over across-the-board reductions known as sequestration in an earlier budget battle with Republicans.
The change in tone has been evident in repeated and little-noticed veto threats over the past few weeks by Obama, who has rarely issued the warnings with such frequency. He has made it clear that he will not sign into law Republican spending bills that slash domestic programs even more deeply than sequestration.
Steve Benen: Either job creation is the top priority or it isn’t
…. In addition to the voluminous list of documented problems, just over the last few days we’ve gotten a better sense of the ways in which [sequestration cuts are] hurting the military, public schools, parks, and the justice system. The poor and minorities are disproportionately suffering.
Did the political world care about these stories? Not really…. So what made yesterday different? This did:
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Thursday estimated that keeping the spending cuts from sequestration in place through fiscal 2014 would cost up to 1.6 million jobs …. Canceling the cuts, on the other hand, would yield between 300,000 to 1.6 million new jobs, with the most likely outcome being the addition of 900,000, the CBO said.
CNN: Organizing for Action, the political advocacy group aligned with President Barack Obama, has turned the hour-long speech the president delivered in Illinois on Wednesday into a 60-second television spot that will air on national cable.
Clips of the president are spliced together with photographs of construction workers, manufacturers, students, and families, all designed to promote the economic message the White House says will be their focus on the coming months.
Kurt Eichenwald: Zimmerman, Abortion, and Obamacare: 25 Contemplations on Current Events
…. It makes no sense to argue that you support Stand Your Ground and then condemn Trayvon Martin for confronting a guy who was following him. You can’t pick and choose who gets to stand their ground based on a perception of threat. Which is why that law is so obscene.
….. All anti-abortion protesters should be presented, on the spot, with an application to sign up as foster parents. They should also be given the names of children in their area in need of adoptive parents. And if they won’t sign or volunteer, they should shut up.
…. If Obamacare is so awful, why do conservatives have to lie so much about what it really does? (See death panels, government takeover of health care, preventing folks from choosing their own doctors, and pretty much anything any Republican has said about the program over the last few years.)
…. The fact that some folks learned something in school does not make them elitist. It makes them educated.
Steve Benen: What ‘conservatives gone wild’ looks like in North Carolina
….. [In North Carolina} …. the most sweeping voter-suppression efforts seen anywhere in the United States in generations ….. the proposal is remarkable in its scope, including a needlessly discriminatory voter-ID provision, new limits on early voting, blocks on voter-registration drive, restrictions on extended voting times to ease long lines, an end to same-day registration, new efforts to discourage youth voting, and expanded opportunities for “vigilante poll-watchers to challenge eligible voters.”
How many North Carolina Republican lawmakers supported these suppression tactics for no apparent reason? Each and every one of them…..
Salon’s arc of fail last week began with David Sirota’s meditation that “we are all targets now,” which spawned a minor revolution on social media and inspired TWiB Prime to break its hiatus for the “This Motherfucker Right Here Hour.” Now, Cornel West, among many others, has repeated the parallel, alleging that Obama is a “global George Zimmerman” because the Administration has sanctioned the use of drones for targeted killing in Yemen and elsewhere.
The strange essence of the critique is that Obama is a hypocrite for publicly, personally identifying with one murdered Black boy while the Administration’s foreign policy justifies the murders of innocent brown people abroad. This inappropriate parallel between Obama and Zimmerman erases the suffering of Black people and other marginalized groups in America, allows white men to co-opt the conversation while claiming that they are anti-racist, ignores crucial differences between vigilante justice and foreign policy, and requires Obama to be superhuman to maintain authority.
There are several incidents of privilege-blindness among the mostly white male drone-obsessed elite….
Dallas News: In Washington, Wendy Davis represents a progressive Texas
It was her stance on abortions that carried Texas Sen. Wendy Davis into the national spotlight, but it wasn’t the reason behind Thursday’s trip to Washington.
A more progressive Texas, not abortion, was the focus of Davis’s trip, which included two fundraisers and multiple meetings with members of Congress and local groups,
“People all across Texas are starting to stand and see that basic Texas values are being abused and abandoned by state leaders,” she told a group of 400, who paid between $25 and $250 to crowd into a bar on Thursday evening to hear Davis speak.
“Those weren’t just Democrats assembled to complain about Republicans,” she said referring to the hundreds who flooded the Texas capitol building last month during her filibuster. “They were Texans.”
One welcome surprise in gun safety occurred this year in Colorado, where the Democratic-led Legislature dared to defy the gun lobby and mandated universal background checks on firearm sales and 15-round limits on ammunition magazines.
The ink was barely dry, however, before the National Rifle Association was vindictively pressing for recall votes against two supporters of the stronger law….
The recall vote, set for Sept. 10, could hardly be more important as a barometer of whether the public, which repeatedly registers support for tougher gun controls in surveys, will show up at the ballot to defend politicians who bucked the gun lobby.
An intense, behind-the-scenes battle is going on for one of the world’s most powerful jobs: Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Backers of two major candidates – current Fed member Janet Yellen and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers – are busy lobbying the only voter who counts in this type of campaign: President Obama.
Yellen is the Fed’s vice chair and has helped develop the policies of current chairman Ben Bernanke – a point made by both supporters and critics. Bernanke is expected to retire when his term expires in January.
Senate Democrats are circulating a petition in support of Yellen, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi endorsed her in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
OFA fellows are fired up and ready for you to join them
Organizing for Action is looking for passionate new leaders who are interested in tackling our country’s big issues for our OFA Fall Fellowship program. This three-month volunteer program is explicitly designed to train the next generation of OFA leaders – if that sounds like you, you can apply today.
Fall Fellows will be working on important issues affecting our country—from protecting Obamacare, to combating climate change, to passing comprehensive immigration reform, Fellows do work that matters every single day.
President Obama laughs with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius following the official Cabinet group photo in the Grand Foyer of the White House, July 26, 2012. Pictured, from left, are: Energy Secretary Steven Chu; Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; Education Secretary Arne Duncan; and Attorney General Eric Holder (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama with Vice President Joe Biden and Chief of Staff Jack Lew in the Oval Office, July 26, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
USA Today: President Obama has added events to his Monday schedule, a Cabinet meeting and a statement on his “management agenda” for “smarter government.” …. the White House said Obama will discuss progress in three key areas: “Delivering government services better, smarter and faster … finding ways to reduce waste and save taxpayers money; and … opening up huge amounts of government data to give entrepreneurs and businesses the ability to create jobs and solve problems.” … he “will direct his Cabinet and key members of his Administration to build on the progress made over the first term, and challenge them to go even further.”
With several controversies fading and a period of intense foreign travel over, President Obama is narrowing his focus this summer to two issues, immigration and the economy….
On immigration, Obama is devising a new, more public strategy that will include events in states with large Latino populations, advisers say — part of an aggressive effort to pressure House Republicans who remain skeptical of proposed changes…..
The president also plans a series of summertime events focused on steps the government can take to drive economic growth, aides said. Many in the White House see a Sept. 30 deadline to renew government funding as probably the last opportunity for Obama to scale back the deep domestic spending cuts known as sequestration before the 2014 midterm elections.
…. His aides say the president is buoyed by the Senate’s passage of an immigration bill and by a steady stream of positive economic news, including a report Friday showing robust job growth.
“When you’re toiling in the vineyard through a tumultuous spring, it can be hard to see it all coming together,” said Jennifer Palmieri, the White House communications director. But now, she said, “you can see it coming together.”
Steve Benen: The Voting Rights Act was gutted, but it’s not yet dead
With lightning speed, state Republican policymakers responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act by moving on a series of new voting restrictions, primarily targeting minority groups, students, and the poor. Before two weeks ago, many states would have needed Justice Department approval for these changes – approval they would not have received – but it is now “open season” on Americans’ access to their own democracy.
There is, however, a possible hurdle for those waging the “war on voting.” The Supreme Court undermined the Voting Rights Act by targeting Section 5 of the law – the provision related to pre-clearance – ordering Congress to come up with new standards and leaving this area of the law unenforceable. But Section 2 of the VRA – described by Chief Justice John Roberts in his ruling as “permanent” and applicable “nationwide” – remains intact…..
Michael Tomasky: Starting today, Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ propaganda arm, will run an ad, the first of several that are planned, to attack Obamacare. This marks the official opening salvo of the 2014 election campaign. Republicans — with no accomplishments, no remotely popular vision of the country, on the cusp of possibly killing immigration reform, and perhaps admitting (at least to themselves) that Benghazi and the IRS are not going to be Barack Obama’s undoing after all — have been reduced to grasping at their final straw: frightening people about health-care reform…..
…. this is all the GOP has. They have tried to beat Obama on every front, from the economy to terrorism to the environment to the recent “scandals” to the question of his very legitimacy as president. They’ve lost most of these fights …. and, of course, they lost the big fight, the world-historical state versus anti-state fight — the one over Obamacare.
They are going to spend the next three-and-a-half years trying to reverse that loss…..
Washington Post: On Wednesday, just before the Fourth of July holiday, North Carolina Republicans added a slew of anti-abortion restrictions at the last minute to a bill otherwise concerned with banning Sharia law (already a questionable endeavor, but never mind that now).
….. In pretending to promote safety, the actual accomplishment of these amendments would be to place an undue burden on women seeking abortions. Fewer clinics means less access to licensed, well-equipped providers. Where is the safety in that? These restrictions are disingenuous attempts to infringe on a woman’s ability to make constitutionally protected decisions in consultation with her doctor.
…. disrespect for process is a disturbing commonality in many of these proposed restrictions and further evidence of their true intent. Any law that will limit women’s access to abortion and to much other health care deserves a public hearing. Honesty about the true motivation of these laws would be welcome, too.
Steve Benen: ….. perhaps now would be a good time to consider why Gov. Rick Perry and his party are preoccupied with reproductive rights, but have done nothing to address exploding fertilizer plants.
Tim Murphy reported on Friday: In the two and a half months since an explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer storage facility left 12 first responders dead and at least 200 people injured, two things have become clear. The disaster could have been avoided if the proper regulations had been in place and enforced — and state and federal agencies don’t appear to be in a hurry to put those regulations in place or enforce them.
…. Lawmakers in Austin have a handy excuse for punting on new fertilizer regulations: That would be intrusive.
…. Got that? When the issue is exploding fertilizer plants, which recently leveled part of a town and killed 15 people, state Republican policymakers are concerned with “overregulation.” When the issue is uteruses, state Republican policymakers believe there is no point at which you can overregulate.
Star Telegram: Despite Democrats’ requests for a series of hearings statewide, Sen. Jane Nelson has scheduled one hearing on the abortion restrictions bill.
The hearing, to begin at 10 a.m. Monday at the Texas Capitol, will be at least the third time this year that testimony will be taken in a Senate committee on the proposal.
…. Gov. Rick Perry called a second special session to deal with the comprehensive abortion bill, as well as transportation funding and sentencing guidelines for 17-year-olds convicted of capital murder.
Spandan C (The People’s View): Republicans Revive Empty Debt Ceiling Threats in Suicide Move
The National Journal is reporting that John Boehner and his unruly herd of Republicans are preparing once again to issue empty threats on the country’s debt ceiling – putting up a brave front and demanding that Medicare be dismantled, or Social Security privatized, or food stamps cut back further for them to give the president a debt ceiling increase. Huh? What debt ceiling increase? Two months ago, we talked about how the president’s policies resulting improving economy (and raising taxes on the rich) made the bottom fall out of the GOP’s debt ceiling square dance, as the president paid down the debt and cut the deficit in half (when measured against the size of the economy).
But fret not, think Boehner and Ryan, maybe the President’s policies took that candy from their petulant hands back in May, but we will reach the debt ceiling again….
Smartypants: President Obama’s foreign policy: Moving from dominance to partnership
During the Cold War, all foreign policy issues for the United States were defined as good vs evil…capitalism vs communism. Of course that kind of binary view of the world had disastrous consequences – not just in Viet Nam in the 60’s, but also in Africa and South/Central America in the 70’s and 80’s as attempts by countries all over the globe to extricate themselves from colonialism got labelled “communist.”
The neocons of the Bush/Cheney administration tried desperately to recreate that good vs evil frame with their Global War on Terror. Playing on the anger/fear after 9/11, they had us going for a while on that one. I suspect that one of President Obama’s greatest legacies will be that the very policies many on the left so vociferously criticize him for will prove to be effective enough to actually end not only that “war,” but also the frame the neocons wanted to reignite.
A Year Ago: First Lady Michelle Obama waits to greet President Barack Obama upon his arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport, June 14, 2012. (Photo by Pete Souza)
11:30: The President hosts a Father’s Day Luncheon
12:30: Press Briefing by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest
2:45: The President welcomes the WNBA Champion Indiana Fever to the White House
The Guardian: Families of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, will mark the six-month anniversary of the tragedy on Friday by launching a nationwide bus tour designed to step up political pressure on the US senators who voted against the bill to toughen America’s gun laws.
Relatives of the 20 young children and six carers who were killed by a lone shooter on 14 December will begin the tour in Newtown under the banner “No More Names”. The campaign, launched by the national coalition to reduce gun violence, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, will last for 100 days and take in 25 states.
BooMan: …. when Bill Clinton compares the situation in Syria to the situation he faced in Kosovo, he’s making one of the stupidest statements that I have ever heard from him.
…. For Clinton to appear with John McCain and make comments like this is a perfect vindication of my total opposition to his wife’s candidacy for president. We cannot afford more leadership from people who think about American power in this way…..
This is what we gained when we won the presidency for Obama. A cool head.
Washington Post (March 2006): Off the Record, Bush Makes Media Inroads …. As he defends his Iraq policy with a public campaign of speeches and a recent news conference, President Bush also has been waging a private campaign that has included off-the-record sessions with White House reporters….
One gathering, which took place Thursday in the White House residence, was an unusual gesture by Bush, who has agreed to comparatively few lengthy exchanges with reporters during his five years in office….
Last week’s session involved reporters from several prominent broadcast and print outlets, including ABC News and The Washington Post. Under the off-the-record ground rules, the journalists were barred from reporting what was discussed. White House officials said they also hoped the meetings’ mere existence would remain under wraps….
Joe Conason (National Memo): …. The notion that Barack Obama is “Nixonian” – or that his administration’s recent troubles bear any resemblance to “Watergate” – is the biggest media lie since the phony “Whitewater scandal” crested during the Clinton presidency.
…. Only in a country afflicted with chronic historical amnesia could they issue such accusations without shame or embarrassment. Only under those circumstances could the Republicans continue their fitful fabrication of a “Democratic Watergate” without fear of being laughed off the stage….
…. But certain liberals in the media have fretted loudly over Obama’s “scandals,” too ….. is it all just trumped-up hysteria? To answer those questions, it helps to remember what Nixon and his gang actually did to America – and why they were driven out of Washington and, in many cases, sent to prison….
Steve Benen: Student loans reclaim center stage ….. President Obama will deliver remarks, flanked by college students, on a subject that too often goes overlooked: student loans. With a looming interest rate hike, the president will reportedly “call on Congress to help keep college affordable for middle-class families and students by preventing student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1.”
…. House Republicans say they’ve already passed a bill on this, which is true. They also say their bill is worthwhile and consistent with White House demands, which is not true…..
Bloomberg: Euro-area unemployment increased to a record in April after the currency bloc’s recession deepened in the first quarter, increasing pressure on its leaders and the European Central Bank to spur economic growth.
The euro-area jobless rate rose to 12.2 percent from 12.1 percent in March…. to 19.38 million in April, up 95,000 from the previous month. Youth unemployment was at 24.4 percent …. Spain had the highest rate at 26.8 percent. No April data were available for Greece, which had a 27 percent rate in February.
SecDef Hagel visits an undisclosed location in SW Asia
SecDef Chuck Hagel walks with U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Michael Corbiun
Evening everyone, hope everyone has been doing well….My dad came home Saturday morning and is recovering well at home. I want to thank everyone for all their well wishes. Hope you have a wonderful week. LovelyPlains!