President Barack Obama announces his decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline proposal. President Obama cited concerns about the impact on the environment, saying it would not serve the interests of the United States
President Obama on Tuesday vetoed a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, rejecting an effort by Republicans and some Democrats to force his administration to let the highly contested energy project move forward. By saying no to the legislation, Mr. Obama retains the authority to make a final judgment on the pipeline on his own timeline. The White House has said the president would decide whether to allow the pipeline when all of the environmental and regulatory reviews are complete. But the veto — his first rejection of major legislation as president — is also a demonstration of political strength directed at Republicans who now control both chambers of Congress.
Mr. Obama is signaling that he will fight back against their agenda. The Obama administration must decide whether to approve infrastructure projects like the Keystone pipeline, which cross a border with another country. In his veto message to Congress, delivered with no fanfare on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Obama wrote that the legislation “attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest.” Mr. Obama added that “because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”
Steve Benen: The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last two months has been largely encouraging, though there have been setbacks. Last week, for example, was a step in the wrong direction. This week’s report, however, was a very pleasant surprise. Initial claims not only dropped sharply, they fell to a level unseen in nearly four years.
Charles Pierce: ….. The decision by the Obama administration to scuttle (for the moment) the Keystone XL pipeline for good already has been responsible for the birthing of many public cows among the president’s Republican opponents……
This was an act of authentic political courage. The Republicans have turned the pipeline into an idiotic campaign litmus test and hung a ridiculously short deadline on the approval process, a deadline that nobody directly affected by the project thought was in any way adequate….
Sun Times: President Obama’s top strategist, David Axelrod, is launching an Institute of Politics at his alma mater, the University of Chicago, to create bipartisan programs bringing big names in politics to campus and internships for students.
“If years from now I run across young people who have participated in this Institute who are now writers and staffers and yes, candidates, we’ll have done our job well,” Axelrod said in a conference call on Wednesday.
The U. of C. institute will be largely modeled on Harvard University’s Institute of Politics….
Steve Benen: With Mitt Romney still refusing to release his tax returns, we can only speculate as to why he’s so afraid of disclosure. The widely held assumption has been that the Republican frontrunner is embarrassed by his “15% problem” …. But that’s not the only thing Romney’s returns might show. Reuters’ Sam Youngman reported on a related issue:
His vast fortune is invested in dozens of funds linked to Bain Capital ….. Several Bain funds have offshore connections and take advantage of tax breaks used only by the U.S. financial elite…..
It’s worth clarifying that no one has accused Romney of doing anything illegal … But it doesn’t exactly help paint a picture of Romney as a “man of the people”…..
TPM: Turns out Mitt Romney wasn’t the first GOP candidate in 35 years to take Iowa and New Hampshire. In fact, the certification of Iowa caucus votes conducted by the state GOP shows Rick Santorum likely won – by 34 votes, though officials are officially calling it a “split decision.”
January 17, 2012. President Barack Obama unexpectedly runs into Michelle on her birthday in the basement of the White House.
Though official duties filled much of the day, Tuesday was also Michelle Obama’s 48th birthday. As the president returned to the West Wing in the evening, he unexpectedly met the First Lady. “Obama gave her several kisses and wished her a happy birthday then walked off,” Morris says. “It was the highlight of the day for me—something you can’t plan for as a photographer. It was the most interesting photograph for me of the day by far.”
Bob Cesca: As predicted, the Keystone XL pipeline has now been officially rejected by the Obama Administration after the Republicans chose to hasten the timeline for approval with a rider inserted into legislation that extended payroll tax-cuts and unemployment benefits for 2 months.
….. [when] Speaker Boehner whines about this today … you should keep this in mind:
Environmentalists note that in December 2010, according to Boehner’s financial disclosure forms, he invested $10,000 to $50,000 each in seven firms that had a stake in Canada’s oil sands, the region that produces the oil the pipeline would transport….
350.org founder and Keystone XL protest leader, Bill McKibben, had the following reaction the news that the State Department is expected to reject the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline later this afternoon:
“Assuming that what we’re hearing is true, this isn’t just the right call, it’s the brave call. The knock on Barack Obama from many quarters has been that he’s too conciliatory. But here, in the face of a naked political threat from Big Oil to exact ‘huge political consequences,’ he’s stood up strong. This is a victory for Americans who testified in record numbers, and who demanded that science get the hearing usually reserved for big money.
Mediaite: In a preview of Wednesday’s Piers Morgan Tonight, former President Jimmy Carter surprised host Morgan with his somewhat blunt (by mainstream media standards) assessment of Newt Gingrich. Speaking of his standing ovation moment at Monday night’s debate, President Carter told Morgan “I think (Gingrich) has that subtlety of racism that I know quite well, that Gingrich knows quite well, that appeals to some people in Georgia.”
“Really?” Morgan exclaimed as Carter spoke, later adding, “That’s a pretty serious charge to level at Newt Gingrich, that he’s being racist.”
“I’m not saying he’s racist, but he knows the subtle words to use to appeal to a racist group,” Carter responded.
NYT Editorial: Preaching Division in South Carolina. By mixing falsehoods with racial condescension, Newt Gingrich brought a raucous presidential debate crowd to its feet on Monday night in South Carolina, further cheapening his reputation and that of the state Republican Party.
For months, Mr. Gingrich has made racial resentment an integral part of his platform as a conservative challenger to Mitt Romney. He has traversed the country calling President Obama “the greatest food-stamp president in American history” and presenting African-Americans with the great revelation that they should prefer paychecks to federal handouts….
The fact is that Mr. Obama has “put” no one on food stamps. People apply for food assistance, known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, because they’re poor or out of work and their families are hungry. The number of people using the program, which is now at a peak, began rising with the recession, in 2007, and continued through four of the toughest years ever faced by the poor and near-poor in modern history. Mr. Obama eased the eligibility requirements as part of his stimulus program, a desperately needed measure that helped struggling families and the economy…..
Chris Weigant: The Huffington Post ran an article today titled “Gov. Martin O’Malley Urges Dems To Focus More On Romney’s Governing Record, Less On Bain.” In it, the governor of Maryland makes the following case:
“I think a point that needs to be emphasized was that in easier times when he [Romney] was governor of a pretty innovative state, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 [in job creation],” he said. “You contrast that to the tougher times we have now, under Governor Deval Patrick’s leadership, Massachusetts is 5th in the nation.”
O’Malley makes a good point. President Obama’s re-election team should heed it …. the real issue to put before the voters is what Mitt Romney did after he left the private sector for politics.
USA Today: Nuclear weapons are very much on the mind of the Obama administration today as they monitor events in North Korea following the death of dictator Kim Jung Il.
Obama spoke with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak shortly after North Korea announced Kim’s death overnight.
On the domestic front today, Obama aides will wait and see if House Republicans vote down a Senate plan to extend the payroll tax cut for two months. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says the extension should be for a year, as reported by USA TODAY’s Aamer Madhani.
If the House does reject the Senate plan, lawmakers will resume negotiations — as Obama stresses, the payroll tax cut expires at the end of the year.
Steve Benen: The pieces were in place. Senate leads from both parties agreed to a temporary compromise that looked pretty sensible: Dems would get a two-month extension of the payroll tax break and a clean extension of unemployment benefits, while GOP lawmakers would get an expedited decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. It was quickly approved with overwhelming, bipartisan support, 89 to 10.
…. But Boehner then took this victory to his caucus … the Speaker quickly realized his job is to take, not give, orders from his right-wing members: “It’s pretty clear that I and our members oppose the Senate bill.”
…. Why is it, exactly, that Boehner called the compromise a “good deal” and a “victory” on Saturday, only to say he opposes the deal on Sunday?…
Indeed, the House will likely take up the Senate deal later today, simply to prove it can’t pass the lower chamber. In the bigger picture, it’s pretty amazing: House Republicans are going to kill a bipartisan compromise on a middle-class tax cut, which just passed the Senate 89 to 10, the week before Christmas.
…. If Americans find all of this ridiculous, they should have been a little more careful before the 2010 midterms.
ThinkProgress: The Florida Family Association has managed to do a lot of damage with its All-American Muslim boycott over the last week and a half, whether by convincing companies like Lowe’s and Kayak to absolutely humiliate themselves, or by stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment against the cast of a touching and totally uncontroversial reality show.
But fortunately one thing sanctimonious moralizers do well is make lists, and they’ve kept track of advertisers who stuck to their guns and either continued to advertise on the show after the FFA started its campaign.
So if you’re withdrawing your business from Lowe’s and Kayak and, during the holiday season, looking for new places to spend some money, you can use their list against them. Those advertisers include:
– Big Lots
– Conagra’s Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes
– Discover Card
– Disney for The Muppets
– GeicoHonda North America, for the Accord and Odyssey
– HTC Phones
– Resolve Clean
– Scrubbing Bubbles
– Kay Jewelers
NYT: Almost 13 years ago, Mitt Romney left Bain Capital, the successful private equity firm he had helped start, and moved to Utah to rescue the Salt Lake City Olympic Games and begin a second career in public life.
Yet when it came to his considerable personal wealth, Mr. Romney never really left Bain.
In what would be the final deal of his private equity career, he negotiated a retirement agreement with his former partners that has paid him a share of Bain’s profits ever since, bringing the Romney family millions of dollars in income each year and bolstering the fortune that has helped finance Mr. Romney’s political aspirations.
March 2010: A 100-square-meter brick art tribute to U.S. President Barack Obama is unveiled in Sydney, Australia. The tribute wall was erected as a lead-up to Obama’s scheduled visit to Australia which was later cancelled
Tomorrow: The President leaves for Hawaii, stopping en route in San Diego.
Saturday: Hosts a meeting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; attends the APEC CEO Business Summit; holds bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Nodo of Japan, President Medvedev of Russia and President Hu Jintao of China. In the evening, hosts a dinner and a cultural program for the APEC leaders in Honolulu, makes remarks. First Lady Michelle Obama will hold a farm-to-table agricultural education event at MA‘O Organic Farms in Waianae.
Sunday: Makes opening comments at the APEC Summit and attends sessions through the day; holds a press conference to wrap up the summit. In the evening meets with the Mexican President and the Canadian Prime Minister at the North American Leaders Summit. The First Lady hosts a luncheon with APEC leaders’ spouses at Kualoa Ranch.
Monday: Holds a fundraiser in the morning. That will be his only event for the day before he leaves on Tuesday morning for Canberra, Australia.
Ben Rhodes (Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications): “Now, because of the wonders of the world, the flight to Australia takes us forward a day on the clock. So we now move to Wednesday, November 16th, in terms of the schedule here. And this is Australia time.”
Check here for the transcript of Rhodes trying to talk time zones with the press, the confusion was hilarious – and I’m hopelessly confused too 😳
Wednesday: 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.
If only Huntsman took on Romney in debates half as well as his ad people take him on in videos:
Univision: President Obama says he is confident in his ability to win over Latino voters before next year’s elections, thanks to some added help from his Republican opponents.
…. “I don’t think it requires us to go negative in the sense of us running a bunch of ads that are false, or character assassinations,” Obama told Univision News. “It will be based on facts … We may just run clips of the Republican debates verbatim. We won’t even comment on them, we’ll just run those in a loop on Univision and Telemundo, and people can make up their own minds.”
That’s one of the strongest rebukes thus far from Obama against Republicans when it comes to their desire to chip away at his base of Latino support. And it underscores the president’s eagerness to go toe-to-toe with his GOP opponents although the beginning of the general election campaign is still months away.
…. “That’s not to say the Latino community is going to think my administration is perfect. But I think they know where my heart is and they know the kind of America that I want to see for all of our children,” he said. “The values and the vision I have is going to match up much more closely with where the Latino community wants to see the country going.”
TPM: With Recovery Act funding running out, that old TPM favorite – the anti-stimulus Republican who takes credit for stimulus funding in their district – is becoming somewhat of a rarity. But Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) kicked it old school on Thursday by cutting the ribbon on a new road that received millions from the same spending bill he opposed.
TPM: …. last week a Quinnipiac national poll showed the President’s approval rating rising while he led Romney nationally by five points … Five days later an NBC/WSJ poll showed the same trend, as Obama expanded his lead on the former Mass Gov. from 2 points to 6 in that poll. In both cases none of the other GOP candidates came close to the President.
…. Gallup released new data polling Obama versus a generic Republican, which for the last year has been the only hypothetical contest that Obama has consistently lost. But in this week’s matchup, Obama actually took a one point lead against the faceless Republican, a major change in Gallup’s tracking, which had the generic candidate ahead by eight points just a month ago.
It’s a sign both that Obama’s message on jobs is resonating …. It seems that as the race moves along, and a Romney-Obama matchup becomes more likely, the generic candidate is morphing into Romney. And as that happens, Obama starts to do better.
President Barack Obama meets with senior advisors in the Oval Office, Nov. 10, 2011. Attending, from left, are: Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett; Press Secretary Jay Carney; Senior Advisor David Plouffe; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; and Counselor to the President Pete Rouse. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
A visitor looks at photographs taken during fieldwork in Indonesia by S. Ann Dunham, President Barack Obama’s late mother, during an exhibition at a gallery at the East West Center on the University of Hawaii at Manoa Campus, November 9
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with Irish President Mary McAleese and Dr. Martin McAleese during a courtesy call in the Drawing Room at the President’s residence in Dublin, Ireland, May 23, 2011
Oh, any excuse to take a trip down this memory lane:
Today is President Mary McAleese’s last day in office – she served 14 years (14!) as Irish president.
Sun Times: Today, in her keynote address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Steps Up: Hiring our Heroes event, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that the International Franchise Association (IFA) which represents 1,100 franchises has committed to hiring 80,000 veterans and military spouses by 2014. 5,000 jobs of this commitment are promised to wounded warriors.
Mrs. Obama also announced that the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) – which Dr. Jill Biden helped launch at the Chamber of Commerce last summer and which includes nearly 100 companies and organizations – has committed to employ 20,000 military spouses. These organizations include companies like Microsoft, Home Depot and Citi and franchises like UPS, Guidant Financial and Data Doctors. Together, the commitment by the International Franchise Association and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership represents a commitment to hire 100,000 veterans, wounded warriors and military spouses by 2014.
Statement by the President on the State Department’s Keystone XL Pipeline Announcement
November 10, 2011
I support the State Department’s announcement today regarding the need to seek additional information about the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal. Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood.
The final decision should be guided by an open, transparent process that is informed by the best available science and the voices of the American people. At the same time, my administration will build on the unprecedented progress we’ve made towards strengthening our nation’s energy security, from responsibly expanding domestic oil and gas production to nearly doubling the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks, to continued progress in the development of a clean energy economy.
I am so tired of people supposedly on my side, being as F**KING STUPID as the baggers are.
FACTS FOR EVERYONE WHO CLAIMS THEY’RE A LIBERAL PROGRESSIVE:
– ONLY 6 (SIX) DEMOCRATS VOTED TO FUND THE CLOSING OF GITMO. That means that not only did ALL of the REPUBLICANS in Congress vote against it, but MOST of the DEMOCRATS DID TOO. People who blame President Obama for that are F**KING STUPID.
– THE DEMOCRATS NEVER CONTROLLED CONGRESS. No, not EVER. Stop repeating this lie. You look like an idiot, and you’re not helping. There were NEVER 60 votes – enough for a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Not even for a microsecond. People who blame President Obama for something that is OUR FAULT (for not sending him a Progressive Army, then staying home in a whiny snit) are F**KING STUPID.
(See The Reid Report – Barack Obama and the myth of the progressive ‘majorities’)
Norbrook’s Blog: …. other people have examined Accountability Now, which Jane and Glenn Greenwald launched with great fanfare a few years ago. Ostensibly it was to recruit progressive candidates, but it seemed to end up putting money into Jane and Glenn’s pockets:
Accountability Now collected $113,695 in donations during 2009, as it reported to the FEC, and spent $169,992 that year on nine consultants … including Hamsher ($24,000) and PAC cofounder Glenn Greenwald ($24,000)….
But it’s not Jane’s only PAC. Although most of the scrutiny has been on Accountability Now, when you look at FDL Action PAC’s FEC summary, you see something very interesting:
Fire Dog Lake: $90,063 …. Commonsense Media: $9,920
Hmm… it looks like there’s about $100K of “synergy” going on ….
…. recently Jane had a little blow-up, right after OFA announced what the President had raised (“a staggering $47 million in the past three months”)….
FDL Action’s fundraising wasn’t quite as good:
No wonder she’s pissed! Apparently all the previous donors have been thoroughly shorn, and new sheep aren’t lining up….
Norbrook’s post is brilliantly timely in light of Hamsher and Dan Choi’s arrests today outside the White House (along with another 60 or so people who actually do care about the environment – but you won’t hear much about them). They were staging a laudable (in my humble opinion) demonstration urging President Obama to block a proposed pipeline that would bring oil from Canada’s oil sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries (the Keystone XL pipeline).
Choi tweeted this yesterday:
Okay, so now that he can’t attack the President any more on gay rights issues – without looking even sillier than usual – he’s discovered (true, somewhat belatedly) that he really, really cares about the planet. And if caring about it so much sees him end up in jail, thereby getting him some attention again (when, really, most had forgotten he existed), then that’s a cross he’d, um, have to bear. Mission accomplished, well done Dan.
Well, you have to admire her purity on this one. She is so passionate and utterly sincere about the blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline she would never, ever have anything to do with anyone who supported it, right?
…..Hillary Clinton’s State Department is holding up the Canadian-American Keystone XL pipeline … unnecessarily inhibiting billions in economic activity and hundreds of thousands of jobs from being created, the State Department is preventing a much-needed regional stimulus. Click here to tell the State Department to get out of the way of America’s job creators and issue the Keystone XL pipeline building permit!
Americans for Tax Reform
Ah yes, Hamsher’s old buddy, the ‘tax pledge’ guy who makes Rick Perry seems like Mao Tse Tung, the one she collaborated with in opposition to President Obama (and his then Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel).
What? She can partner the lovely Grover on one issue, it doesn’t mean she agrees with him on everything?
Of course! Just like she can team up with President Obama when … oh, never mind.
Any way, those of you who might suggest that this….
…. might have had something to do with Hamsher’s heartfelt concerns about the Keystone XL pipeline – and you can be sure she lies awake at night worrying about it … even though she has a hard-hitting interview with Cenk Uygur the next day (“Jane, you’re, like, soooooooo great!” “I know Cenk – but you are too!”) …. shame on you.
Yes, she has been jailed, and she may well claim she was waterboarded while she was in there, and that will raise her sinking profile, and may even attract a few more dollars to her struggling PAC, but ….. shame on you.
Ooooops, $$$$$ are creating a strain between the Firebaggers.
John Aravosis has started selling these t-shirts on his “I HATE OBAMA SO MUCH I CAN’T EVEN FIND THE WORDS ” blog:
….and that’s made Hamsher’s peeps very, very angry:
Oh noes, the Firebaggers are eating each other alive …. after all, there are only so many $$$$ to go around 😉
A second PS:
Credit must go to Aravosis, having picked only white male models for the t-shirts he’s being trying to sell so far…
….. he chose a ‘non-white’ man for his ‘Proud Firebagger’ offering. Jeez, if he added a woman to the line-up we might even accuse him of being inclusive.
Thank you Tien Le for the link to Norbrook’s post 😉