GOP’s Dangerous Arrogance


GOP’s Dangerous Arrogance

An American default – or deliberate descent into another economic crisis – is unthinkable to most of global civil society. What great nation would do this to itself – or everyone else?

JUNE 2, 2011 Robert Shrum -TheWeek (Excerpts)

“The GOP, driven by invincible ignorance or cynical design – and perhaps both – is working overtime to trash the recovery with budget cuts that would drain demand from the economy – or a debt ceiling vote that could trigger a financial collapse equal to 2008, or perhaps unpredictably graver. For proof, all you had to do was listen to Mitt Romney’s announcement speech today. In it, he made a smarmy attempt to blame Barack Obama for the economic pain actually caused by the dereliction of duty by George W. Bush & Co., pain that was then prolonged by the obstruction of congressional Republicans.”

“Republican hardliners, and they’re indisputably the Republican Party now, repeatedly assail the president for “kowtowing” to foreigners simply because he’s renewed America’s standing by listening as well as leading. Supposedly this is soft; just ask Dick Cheney. But to the discomfort of the unilateralists, it was Obama not Bush who got Osama bin Laden.”

“Within our own borders, the Republicans’ strategy on the budget and the debt ceiling can be seen, accurately, as rolling the dice with the American economy, gambling that it will crap out to their political advantage. As I’ve argued before, this strategy could backfire. But beyond any calculations about 2012, at risk are not just American jobs and homes, but around the world the very ideals of justice, equal rights, and opportunity that are this country’s defining gift to others.

The Republicans may preach it – but today, in Washington, the “loyal opposition” appears anything but loyal to American exceptionalism.

Entire article:


David Letterman – Rachel Maddow Talks FOX News

Uploaded by CBS on Dec 15, 2010

Which has more accurate news reporting, MSNBC or FOX News? Rachel Maddow weighs in.


149 thoughts on “GOP’s Dangerous Arrogance

  1. WH

    Friday, June 3, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    First Lady Michelle Obama to Address 2011 Graduating Seniors of Quantico Middle High School

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  2. GOP WRONG WAY The GOP’s dangerous arrogance

    An American default – or deliberate descent into another economic crisis – is unthinkable to most of global civil society. What great nation would do this to itself – or everyone else?

    JUNE 2, 2011 Robert Shrum _ TheWeek


    Nationally and globally, the economy is at a tipping point. The GOP, driven by invincible ignorance or cynical design – and perhaps both – is working overtime to trash the recovery with budget cuts that would drain demand from the economy – or a debt ceiling vote that could trigger a financial collapse equal to 2008, or perhaps unpredictably graver. For proof, all you had to do was listen to Mitt Romney’s announcement speech today. In it, he made a smarmy attempt to blame Barack Obama for the economic pain actually caused by the dereliction of duty by George W. Bush & Co., pain that was then prolonged by the obstruction of congressional Republicans. Those legislators contrived successfully to limit the stimulus package, block a second one, and forthwith blame the stimulus that saved us from another Great Depression for the slow climb out of the Great Recession. Never, of course, did they mention that the America’s deep deficits were generated by the fraudulent Bush war in Iraq and the unfair Bush tax cuts, which were founded on the false premise that they would pay for themselves….

    Republican hardliners, and they’re indisputably the Republican Party now, repeatedly assail the president for “kowtowing” to foreigners simply because he’s renewed America’s standing by listening as well as leading. Supposedly this is soft; just ask Dick Cheney. But to the discomfort of the unilateralists, it was Obama not Bush who got Osama bin Laden.

    This president understands that going it alone is for exceptional moments, not the order of every policy and every day.

    American exceptionalism required another dimension 50 years and more ago – a dimension profoundly implicated in the economic and budget choices that face Washington this summer. To stall or reverse the recovery would impose new pain on tens of millions at home. But this is not just a domestic issue. The decisions shortly to be made in that short span from the White House to Capitol Hill won’t ripple, but roll across the world, with vast consequences for people on every continent. The decisions will also reassert or subvert this country’s unique place and influence in the global economy…

    This may seem far from the spectacle of partisan maneuver currently playing out in Washington. I suspect that House Speaker John Boehner and his cohorts have given even less thought to such challenges than they have to the unemployed in their own districts, for whom they have yet to offer a single actual jobs bill. Those who have formed the La Pietra Coalition assume that progress is possible, that their voices can make a difference, that the G20 can be brought to respond – and that America can and will lead.

    None of that will happen if instead we are misled or blunder on economic policy. Then the G20 won’t be discussing how to make progress, but how to climb out of a catastrophe of America’s making. Women, and so many others, will be left behind. America’s word will be less heeded, and perhaps it will actually mark a starting point for America’s decline.

    Within our own borders, the Republicans’ strategy on the budget and the debt ceiling can be seen, accurately, as rolling the dice with the American economy, gambling that it will crap out to their political advantage. As I’ve argued before, this strategy could backfire. But beyond any calculations about 2012, at risk are not just American jobs and homes, but around the world the very ideals of justice, equal rights, and opportunity that are this country’s defining gift to others.

    The Republicans may preach it – but today, in Washington, the “loyal opposition” appears anything but loyal to American exceptionalism.

    For the entire article:

    • The Tax Cut Cult The GOP is Deliberately Trying To Bring Down The Economy

      Uploaded by politicalarticles on Jul 5, 2011

    • GOP WRONG WAY Tea party bulling its way into 2012 GOP race

      9/4/11 By MICHAEL R. BLOOD – Associated Press,STEVE PEOPLES – Associated Press | AP

      BERLIN, N.H. (AP) — Bulling its way into 2012, the tea party is shaping the race for the GOP presidential nomination as candidates parrot the movement’s language and promote its agenda while jostling to win its favor.

      That’s much to the delight of Democrats who are working to paint the tea party and the eventual Republican nominee as extreme.

      “The tea party isn’t a diversion from mainstream Republican thought. It is within mainstream Republican thought,” Mitt Romney told a New Hampshire newspaper recently, defending the activists he’s done little to woo, until now.

      The former Massachusetts governor is starting to court them more aggressively as polls suggest he’s being hurt by weak support within the movement, whose members generally favor rivals such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

      Romney’s shift is the latest evidence of the big imprint the tea party is leaving on the race.

      Such overtures come with risks, given that more Americans are cooling to the tea party’s unyielding tactics and bare-bones vision of the federal government.

      After Washington’s debt showdown this summer, an Associated Press-GfK poll found that 46 percent of adults had an unfavorable view of the tea party, compared with 36 percent just after last November’s election.

      It could give President Barack Obama and his Democrats an opening should the Republican nominee be closely aligned with the tea party.

      Yet even as the public begins to sour on the movement, Romney and other GOP candidates are shrugging off past tea party disagreements to avoid upsetting activists.

      That includes Perry, who faced a tea party challenger in his most recent election for governor and who has irked some tea partyers so much that they are openly trying to undercut his candidacy. Instead of fighting back, Perry often praises the tea party.

      In his book “Fed Up!” Perry wrote: “We are seeing an energetic and important push by the American people — led in part by the tea party movement — to give the boot to the old-guard Washington establishment who no longer represent us.”

      There’s a reason for the coziness. Voters who will choose the GOP nominee identify closely with the movement.

      For the entire article:


        GOP candidates (Bachmann, Perry and Romney) in SC vow to carry tea-party banner

        9/5/11 By PHILIP ELLIOTT – Associated Press | AP – 3 hrs ago

        COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Pledging fidelity to the Constitution and vowing to carry the tea party’s priorities to the White House, the Republicans chasing the GOP’s presidential nomination pitched themselves Monday to their party’s libertarian activists as the strongest candidates to roll back four years of President Barack Obama’s tenure.



        DNC Statement on Mitt Romney Saying He Would Veto the DREAM Act If President

        Posted by DNC Press on Saturday, December 31, 2011

        After Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said today at a campaign stop in Iowa that he would veto the DREAM Act if it passed and he were president, the DNC’s Senior Advisor for Hispanic Affairs, Juan Sepúlveda, released the following statement:

        “If there had been doubt in anyone’s mind—least of all, Hispanics in America, that Mitt Romney’s far-right views on immigration would make him the most extreme presidential nominee in recent memory, his statement today that he would veto the DREAM Act if he were president is appalling. This piece of legislation has been supported by members of both parties. It is something that Americans can get behind, and it is in line with the spirit of inclusion and diversity of our country that has made our nation great. But Mitt Romney has shown once again that he is out of touch and far to the right of even members of his own party, and that he would not represent the best interest of middle class Americans, those still trying to reach the middle class, and Hispanics in the country. This is in direct contrast to President Obama who strongly supports opening the American Dream for hard-working, patriotic young people who are leaders in their communities today and who are looking for an opportunity to attend college or serve our country in the military, but who can’t, through no fault of their own.”


        • Apoyando Nuestros Suenos

          Uploaded by BarackObamadotcom on Feb 23, 2012

          Únete a la lucha:

          El Presidente cree firmemente en la noción que, en Estados Unidos, si trabajas duro debes de poder salir adelante. Pero muchos de nuestros jóvenes no tienen esa oportunidad.

          Mitt Romney promete vetar la Ley DREAM y la califica como “limosna,” pero los miles de estudiantes indocumentados que podrían ganarse la ciudadanía gracias a la Ley DREAM no buscan cosas gratuitas, sólo quieren una oportunidad para contribuir al único hogar que conocen.

          El Presidente Obama sabe que en este país, el trabajo se debe de premiar. El respalda plenamente la ley DREAM, y luchará hasta que se apruebe. Únete a la lucha:

    • Republicans 4 Millionaire's Rights

      Republican candidates seek Trump stamp of approval

      9/27/11 By BETH FOUHY – Associated Press | AP – 16 hrs ago

      NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump has become a must-stop for GOP candidates looking for advice or hoping to bask in the celebrity real estate mogul’s star power.

      All the major Republican presidential hopefuls have sought an audience with Trump, just months after President Barack Obama dismissed the TV reality show personality as a “carnival barker” for raising debunked questions about Obama’s citizenship.

      Trump’s money and fame as host of “Celebrity Apprentice” are part of the draw for GOP candidates. But Republican strategists say candidates could also learn a lot politically from Trump, whose aggressive criticism of Obama and blunt portrait of the U.S. as a nation in decline have resonated with conservative voters looking for an in-your-face challenge to the president.

      “Trump created a position of playing offense and took it right to President Obama and his policies,” said John McLaughlin, a GOP pollster who has worked with Trump, who flirted with a presidential bid. “He speaks in plain language about jobs lost at home, and our loss of prestige overseas. He’s been forthright and willing to put in a sentence what the average person feels.”

      Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made the pilgrimage Monday, meeting with Trump for 45 minutes at his office. Texas Gov. Rick Perry dined with Trump earlier this month at a fancy Manhattan restaurant. Sarah Palin, still toying with a potential presidential bid, shared pizza with Trump and his wife, Melania, in Times Square last spring. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann visited Trump’s penthouse atop the Trump Tower in July.

      Another contender, Godfather’s Pizza founder Herman Cain, is scheduled to meet with Trump next Monday.

      Thump even sent a videotaped message to the Faith and Freedom Coalition forum in Florida where all the major GOP contenders spoke last week.

      “It’s very important that we pick the right person. If we pick the wrong person we’re going to have four more years of this nonsense in Washington. Obama must be defeated,” Trump told the gathering.

      For the entire article:


      Republicans: On the side of Wall Street, not consumers

      October 06, 2011 Posted by Elizabeth Chan –

      Three years ago, Wall Street risk taking almost destroyed our economy. But last summer, Presient Obama signed a bill to prevent that from ever happening again. Now, while GOP presidential candidates are vowing to repeal Wall Street reform, Senate Republicans are trying to undermine the law.

      It’s up to us to tell Republicans to leave Wall Street reform alone and put consumers first—and that means confirming Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

      • GOP Job plan

        Herman Cain called the (Occupy Wall Street) activists “un-American” Wednesday at a book signing in Florida.

        On Tuesday, CBS reported that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney called the (Occupy Wall Street) protest “class warfare” at an appearance at a Florida retirement community.


        Cain said (of the Occupy Wall Street) “Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”


        Bachmann calling the (Occupy Wall Street) activity “tremendously counterproductive,” the Republican presidential hopeful noted with disgust… “At least the Tea Party picks up their own trash.”



        Lawyer: Cain May Have Violated Confidentiality Of Harassment Settlement

        11/1/11 by LIZ HALLORAN – NPR

        The lawyer for a woman who settled a sexual harassment complaint against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in the late 1990s says that Cain may have violated the confidentiality terms of the agreement by commenting on its specifics over the past 24 hours.

        “Herman Cain and others have already disclosed that there was a confidential settlement,” says Joel P. Bennett, a Washington-based attorney specializing in employment law, who also represented the woman when she negotiated her settlement.

        Two women, including Bennett’s client, settled sexual harassment complaints against Cain when they worked for him during his late-1990s tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association.

        The revelations were first contained in a story in Politico; Bennett declined to confirm the identity of his client.

        “I don’t know if she’ll ever go public,” he said Tuesday.

        Cain may have waived the confidentiality requirements by talking publicly about the settlement, including disclosing details of the agreement, Bennett told NPR. That could potentially free up his client, as well as a second woman who settled a similar complaint, to speak publicly.

        Cain, in television interviews Monday and during a speaking engagement, first denied knowledge of any settlements. Later in the day, he acknowledged the existence of the agreements, suggested one may have included two or three months pay, and also disparaged the work performance of one of the claimants as “not up to par.”

        For the entire article:

        • Accuser attorney: Settlement dated 9/99, Kilgore signed

          11/4/11 By JONATHAN MARTIN – POLITICO

          Joel Bennett, the attorney for one of the women who complained about Herman Cain at the National Restaurant Association said Friday that his client’s settlement was dated in September of 1999 and signed by the trade group’s general counsel but not Cain.

          Cain had already left the organization by then, before his three-year term was up, as my colleagues reported last night.

          That the settlement was signed by the restaurant association’s counsel, Peter Kilgore, illustrates just how central he is in the allegations against Cain. As Vogel, Haberman and Burns reported last night, Kilgore was made aware by an association board member about the claim by a second woman that Cain made a sexual overture to her. Kilgore, according to sources, also looked into the charges of this woman. Citing a policy about not discussing personnel, Kilgore has remained mum since POLITICO broke the story on Sunday night.

          Bennett has requested that the association free his client, the first woman, from her non-disclosure agreement and let her speak. Bennett suggested that his client would not delve deeply into details, but would push back against the claims by Cain in recent days that her charges were “baseless.” The attorney has requested an answer by this afternoon from the association about whether his client will be allowed to issue a statement.

          POLITICO reported yesterday that Bennett’s client received a payout of about $45,000 in signing the settlement.

    • GOP Wrong Way

      Boehner threatens to withhold funds from Justice to force DOMA enforcement

      10/07/11 By Josh Lederman – TheHill

      House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) threatened Friday to withhold funding from the Justice Department unless it agrees to defend a ban on the federal government recognizing same-sex marriages.

      “We’re going to take the money away from the Justice Department, who’s supposed to enforce it, and we’ll use it to enforce the law,” Boehner told the conservative Value Voters Summit.

      Boehner is engaged in an ongoing dispute with Attorney General Eric Holder over his refusal to defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act. President Obama has taken the stance that the law is unconstitutional. While the Justice Department usually defends laws passed by Congress against legal challenges, the Obama administration has stopped defending DOMA while Democrats work to repeal the law.

      In March, Boehner announced that if Obama wouldn’t defend DOMA, he would, hiring a private law firm to defend it on behalf of the House.

      “As the Speaker of the House, I have a constitutional responsibility. I’ve raised my hand to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and the laws of our country,” Boehner said Friday.

      Boehner’s remarks came before the socially conservative Value Voters Summit, where members of Congress, presidential candidates and other politicians worked to highlight their stances on same-sex marriage, abortion and the role of religion.

      “We will continue and stand up for the Defense of Marriage Act as we fight for victory in the Supreme Court this term,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said.

      • BREAKING: Boehner appeals DOMA cases to Supreme Court

        June 29, 2012 washingtonblade

        House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) attorneys on Friday formally appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court an appeals court decision determining the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.

        Drew Hammill, spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), told the Washington Blade on Friday afternoon Republicans had notified Democratic leadership that House counsel filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.

        The court ruling that was appealed was the First Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the cases of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, which was filed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health & Human Services. On May 31, the appellate court issued a decision that Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional as a result of both cases.

        In a statement, Pelosi slammed Boehner for continuing to assert the constitutionality of DOMA, saying the appeal is a decision that will “waste more taxpayer funds to advance a position rejected by four different courts and to defend discrimination and inequality before the highest court in the land.”

        “Democrats have rejected the Republican assault on equal rights, in the courts and in Congress,” Pelosi said. “We believe there is no federal interest in denying LGBT couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to all couples married under state law. And we are confident that the Supreme Court, if it considers the case, will declare DOMA unconstitutional and relegate it to the dustbin of history once and for all.”

        Boehner’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment on the appeal.

        In the filing, Boehner’s attorneys present two questions to the Supreme Court: (1) Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act violates the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment; and (2) Whether the court below erred by inventing and applying to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act a previously unknown standard of equal protection review.

        “As the First Circuit recognized, this case calls out for this Court’s review,” the filing states. “The court of appeals has invalidated a duly-enacted Act of Congress and done so even though it acknowledged both that DOMA satisfies ordinary rational basis review and does not implicate heightened scrutiny. In the established world of equal protection law that result should have been impossible.”

        The filing also cites a separation of powers issue as the result of the Obama administration no longer defending DOMA in court as it continues to enforce it and leaves the House to defend the law.

        “Only this Court can settle this matter definitively,” the filing states. “Unless and until this Court decides the question, the executive branch will continue to attack DOMA in the courts, while continuing to enforce it, thus creating more potential litigation for the House to defend. This Court and this Court alone has the power to settle this question and redirect controversy over this important national question to the democratic process.”

        For more:



      This afternoon, Republican Leader Eric Cantor’s office announced an upcoming speech on the widening gap between the ultra wealthy and everyone else.

      From the POLITICO story about the speech…

      SHOT: “The Virginia congressman [Eric Cantor] […] is heading to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to talk about income disparity and how Republicans believe the government could help fix it.” [Politico, 10/17/11]

      CHASER: “The speech will zero in on how Washington could […] make sure the people at the top stay there,” the aide said.” [Politico, 10/17/11]


      GOP candidates would cut federal judges’ power

      10/24/11 By MARK SHERMAN – Associated Press | AP – 20 hrs ago

      WASHINGTON (AP) — Most of the Republican presidential candidates want to wipe away lifetime tenure for federal judges, cut the budgets of courts that displease them or allow Congress to override Supreme Court rulings on constitutional issues.

      Any one of those proposals would significantly undercut the independence and authority of federal judges. Many of the ideas have been advanced before in campaigns to court conservative voters.

      This time, though, six of the eight GOP candidates are backing some or all of those limits on judges, even though judges appointed by Republican presidents hold a majority on the Supreme Court and throughout the federal system.

      A group that works for judicial independence says the proposals would make judges “accountable to politicians, not the Constitution.”

      Bert Brandenburg, executive director of the Justice at Stake Campaign, said, “Debates like these could threaten to lead to a new cycle of attempts to politicize the courts.”

      Only the former governors in the race, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Jon Huntsman of Utah, have not attacked federal judges in their campaigns.

      Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been the most outspoken critic of the courts. He would summon judges before Congress to explain their decisions and consider impeaching judges over their rulings.

      Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in his book “Fed Up,” has called for an end to lifetime tenure for federal judges and referred to the high court as “nine oligarchs in robes.”

      Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, in criticizing Iowa judges who ruled same-sex marriage legal in the state, described judges as “black-robed masters.” Bachmann said Congress should prevent the courts from getting involved in the fight over same-sex marriage, among other high-profile social issues.

      Texas Rep. Ron Paul has advocated cutting the jurisdiction of federal courts and has introduced a bill to that effect in the House. A judge’s violation of Paul’s proposed “We the People Act” would be “an impeachable offense.”

      Paul told Iowans in March that the country ought to come up with a way for voters to remove federal judges from office, much like several states that have retention elections for state judges.

      At a Tea Party forum in South Carolina in September, Republican candidate Herman Cain joined Bachmann and Gingrich in endorsing legislation that would overturn the high court’s rulings declaring that women have a constitutional right to abortion. The proposal challenges the widely held view that Congress can’t overrule the court’s constitutional holdings.

      For the entire article:



      “Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process.Let it run its course and hit the bottom.”


      Don’t worry about fuel emissions—investors will pitch in to buy a new planet when the time comes. #romneyplan

      If we’re talking about creating jobs, I guess I could double up on staff at the vacation home. #romneyplan

      Our schools already have plenty of funding—I know a luxury jet, on the other hand, that could really use a facelift… #romneyplan

      Tweet Your #romneyplan


      GOP backs tax hike — for the poor

      10/24/11 By ROBERT L. BOROSAGE – POLITICO44

      Texas Gov. Rick Perry this week will try to revive his flagging presidential campaign by embracing an old conservative fancy — the flat tax, while calling for “scrapping the 3 million words of the current Tax Code.” Embracing the flat tax trumps the “9-9-9” tax proposal that levitated Herman Cain’s candidacy. And it puts Perry at the head of what has become a bizarre GOP fixation — the need to tax the poor.

      Taxing the poor has become a badge of honor among conservatives. When Occupy Wall Street protesters launched their cry of “We are the 99 percent,” the right-wing blogosphere responded, “We are the 53 percent,” meaning the 53 percent of American households that they say pay federal income taxes.

      Conservatives have become fixated on the notion that largely because of the Earned Income Tax Credit — passed under Ronald Reagan and expanded under Bill Clinton — almost half of all Americans pay no income taxes.

      Perry launched his presidential campaign expressing dismay at the “injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax.” And he was not alone. Every (GOP) major candidate — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Mitt Romney and Cain — has suggested that too many of the working poor aren’t paying income taxes, a position The Wall Street Journal describes as “GOP doctrine.”

      “We don’t have enough people paying taxes in this country,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a GOP vice presidential hopeful, who trumpets conservative gospel. “We need to broaden the base so that everybody pays something,” said Bachmann. Only Ron Paul dissents — saying he doesn’t want to raise taxes on anyone.

      The argument is disingenuous. Working poor people do pay taxes. They pay a larger portion of their incomes in payroll taxes and sales taxes than the wealthy. And they pay property taxes indirectly in their rental costs. Poor workers pay about one-eighth of their incomes in taxes, on average.

      For the entire article:

      • Cain’s ‘9-9-9’ tax plan hits poor, helps wealthy, experts say

        10/14/11 By Michael A. Fletcher – washingtonpost

        The “9-9-9” plan that has helped propel businessman Herman Cain to the front of the GOP presidential field would stick many poor and middle-class people with a hefty tax increase while cutting taxes for those at the top, tax analysts say.

        The plan would do away with much of the current tax code and impose a 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent business tax and a 9 percent national sales tax, which tax experts say would mean that low- and middle-income Americans would pay more.

        “Right now, we have a strongly progressive income tax. High-income people are paying a higher share of income in taxes than lower-income people,” said Alan D. Viard, a former Federal Reserve Bank economist and a resident scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. “That is a pattern that would be disrupted by adoption of the Cain plan.”

        The 9-9-9 plan has helped define Cain’s candidacy. Coupled with his buoyant, plain-spoken style, it has helped transform the former long shot into a front-runner. Cain has touted the proposal’s apparent simplicity and fairness, but he rarely delves into details. His campaign Web site shows that the plan is only a step toward achieving his ultimate goal: to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service after replacing all federal taxes with a national sales tax.

        Meanwhile, analysts said the 9-9-9 part of Cain’s vision would place a further burden on those hit hardest by the nation’s economic problems.

        Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, is working on an analysis of Cain’s signature policy proposal. Although the plan’s details remain sketchy, Williams said that it would increase taxes for the poor and middle class, despite Cain’s statements to the contrary.

        For the entire article:

      • Rick Perry’s Tax Plan Is Another Campaign Blunder

        Oct. 24, 2011 Michael Brendan Dougherty – businessinsider

        Like the current tax code? Rick Perry says you can keep it. Want to daydream about being rich enough to pay a much lower flat-tax? Rick Perry has another tax-code he’d like to create just for that purpose.

        Rick Perry has just unveiled his tax-plan. It institutes a 20 percent flat tax that maintains the charitable and mortgage interest deductions. But Perry doesn’t have all that much faith in his scheme, as he would allow anyone who wants to file under the current code the option to do so.

        This is an admission that for many Americans the status quo is actually better than anything Rick Perry’s team can devise.
        Perry’s tax plan would preserve all the confusion, waste, and market distortions in the current code, and add another layer. The politicians who manage that would get a new tax code to fiddle with as a bonus — one that has little substance beyond massively cutting taxes for the wealthy. Perry is selling simplicity to the GOP’s base voters — that’s the most appealing thing about a flat-tax — but most of these voters would actually pay less under the current more confusing code.

        Perry claims that tax filers could fill out their taxes on a post-card. That’s true, but most taxpayers would have to at least calculate what their tax bill will be under both plans. Perry’s GOP rivals should feast on him for making Americans calculate two bills for themselves.

        Perry’s plan also calls for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Many Republicans claim that this kind of Constitutional solution works on the state level. But states don’t have central banks or their own Treasury Department. A Balanced Budget Amendment is an invitation to make federal finances more opaque, or to encourage outright fraud — especially when you add Perry’s idea to cap federal government spending at 18 percent of GDP.

        Perry’s plan is not as simple as Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan or even Jon Huntsman’s more progressive tax-simplification plan. Perry has managed to release a tax plan that is bad politics on top of bad policy.

        For the entire article and video:

      • Romney, Once a Critic, Hedges on Flat-Tax Plans

        10/23/11 By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and ASHLEY PARKER – nytimes

        As several leading Republican presidential candidates embrace a flat tax as a core campaign position, one contender stands out in not doing so: Mitt Romney, who has a long record of criticizing such plans and famously derided Steve Forbes’s 1996 proposal as a “tax cut for fat cats.”

        Lately, though, his tone has been more positive. “I love a flat tax,” he said in August.

        Flat-tax plans have come and gone before, and analysts note that they have tended to lose support once they come under scrutiny. But Mr. Romney’s support of the concept of a flat tax underscores the tightrope he is walking as taxes become a larger focus of the Republican presidential race and he faces rivals’ accusations of inconsistency on the issues.

        That is because Mr. Romney also is always careful to emphasize — as he did in his comments two months ago — that he would never support any plan that hurts the middle class and helps the wealthy. But by replacing the graduated income tax with one single rate everyone pays, that is precisely what flat tax plans generally do, at least those that try to generate anywhere near the same tax revenue.

        Politically, Mr. Romney’s favorable comments about flat taxes speak to the deep frustration many Republican voters share about the current system. While Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” tax overhaul proposal has been criticized by his rivals because it includes a new national sales tax in addition to a flat income tax, the catchy plan has nonetheless helped vault the relatively unknown businessman to the fore of the party’s field. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is now trying to channel that same energy to rescue his campaign, and this week he is expected to unveil a flat-tax proposal resembling the one put forward 15 years ago by Mr. Forbes, who is advising him.

        But flat taxes, despite Mr. Romney’s favorable comments, are not part of his campaign plan, which calls for extending Bush tax cuts and lowering corporate tax rates. Some conservative tax activists say his murky flat-tax stance highlights a broader complaint: his lack of consistency on conservatives’ core issues, like abortion.

        “His problem is that people don’t have confidence that they know what he believes in, and I think there is a pretty good reason for that,” said Chris Chocola, a Republican former congressman from Indiana who is president of the Club for Growth.

        For the entire article:

      • Why 2012 is about tax cuts for the wealthy

        11/2/11 By Suzy Khimm – washingtonpost

        Now that we’ve heard from the number-crunchers on Rick Perry’s tax plan, how does it stack up against Herman Cain’s? As expected, Perry’s plan leaves the poor and middle-class with more after-tax income, while Cain’s plan is significantly more regressive—it leaves everyone earning under $100,000 with less after-tax income, according to the Tax Policy Center. But both plans would leave wealthy Americans—particularly those earning $500,000 or more—with a lot more after-tax income income, with rich Americans benefiting slightly more under Perry than Cain.

        Here’s a chart showing how much income Americans in different economic classes would have after taxes, if the Perry and Cain plans were enacted:

        Cain vs Perry vs Obama tax cuts

        The graph above also includes Tax Policy Center’s analysis of how President Obama’s American Jobs Act would impact U.S. households, which incorporates both the sweeping payroll tax cuts and the tax increases on the wealthy that are used to pay for them. It’s not Obama’s full tax reform plan, so it’s not meant to be an apples-to-apples comparison. But it’s one indication of the stark differences between Republicans and Democrats in terms of tax policy.

        For the entire article:

      • Study: Gingrich tax plan would worsen deficit

        12/12/11 By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER | AP – 4 hrs ago

        WASHINGTON (AP) — The tax plan by GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich would provide big tax breaks to the rich and blow a huge hole in the federal budget deficit, according to an independent study released Monday.

        The analysis by the Tax Policy Center says households making more than $1 million a year would see their taxes drop by an average of 62 percent. Overall, federal tax revenues would drop by an estimated $850 billion in 2015, a figure that would dramatically worsen the budget deficit unless it is offset by unprecedented spending cuts, the study said.

        “The revenue losses are enormous,” said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

        Gingrich proposes an optional 15 percent flat tax on income. Under the plan, taxpayers could stay in the current system, which has a top tax rate of 35 percent on taxable income above $379,150, or switch to the new 15 percent tax. The new tax would apply to income at all levels, but there would be a variety of tax deductions and credits.

        Gingrich would eliminate taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest, and reduce the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 12.5 percent. The plan would provide a personal deduction of $12,000 for every American, while maintaining the $1,000 per-child tax credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, which benefits low-income people. Deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations would also be maintained.

        Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond disputed the projections on the budget deficit, saying the study doesn’t account for the economic and job growth that such a tax system would generate.

        The campaign’s website says a new flat tax would make it easy for families to file their returns while eliminating taxes that discourage investment.

        “An optional flat tax reform will be simple: Tax returns can be done on one sheet of paper,” the website says. “Subtract from income a standard deduction and deductions for charity and home ownership, multiply the result by the fixed, single rate of taxation of at most 15 percent, and the process is over.”

        The analysis comes as the former House speaker has surged to the top of the polls in the race for the Republican nomination for president. Several other candidates have offered variations of the flat tax, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Gingrich’s chief rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, has proposed changes to the tax system that are less sweeping.

        Gingrich’s plan, however, would make it even more difficult for Congress to reduce the federal budget deficit, which was $1.3 trillion in the budget year that ended in September, according to the study. The issue consumed Capitol Hill for several months in the summer and fall, leading to a deficit reduction plan that both Democrats and Republicans dislike.

        For the entire article:

    • Rick Perry’s ‘truly bizarre’ speech: Was he drunk?

      Oct 31, 2011 By The Week’s Editorial Staff – The Week

      A Friday speech that is charitably being called “passionate” raises new doubts about the Texas governor’s presidential viability

      The video: Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised some eyebrows — and questions about his sobriety — with an unusually expressive speech to a conservative group in Manchester, N.H., on Friday. In the speech, Perry ditched his typically reserved style and instead employed “the sort of tics, facial contortions, mimes, and muggings that one would expect from a comic performer,” says Thomas Lane at Talking Points Memo. The media scuttlebutt is largely based on an anonymously posted YouTube compilation of “highlights” from the speech (watch the clip below), but even some in attendance were perplexed. “It was different,” Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas told The Huffington Post. Another GOP operative said it reminded him of Democrat Howard Dean’s race-ending “scream” in 2004. Perry’s campaign’s response? The speech simply proves that Perry is “passionate about the issues he talks about.”

      The reaction: Perry’s performance was “truly bizarre,” says Libby Spencer at The Impolitic. “He comes off as pretty well drunk. Or drugged.” Yes, and though it’s not a crime to be “pretty publicly lit,” it’s almost certainly bad politics for a presidential hopeful, says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. Well, I doubt he’s drunk, says Josh Feldman at Mediaite. But his exuberance is “fun to watch.” I bet “Alec Baldwin will appreciate the material for his next Perry impersonation. Look, “we’re not saying that he’s definitely drunk,” says Max Read at Gawker, “we’re just saying, watch the whole thing” and judge for yourself.


      Is Rick Perry drunk??? Full Cornerstone speech

      Uploaded by LoopyRick420 on Oct 29, 2011

      Rick Perry speaks at Cornerstone Action’s Annual Fundraising Dinner and Awards Gala in Manchester, New Hampshire, on October 28, 2011.


      2012 GOP race: 6 biggest foreign policy gaffes

      By The Week’s Editorial Staff | The Week – 8 hrs ago

      GOP presidential hopefuls have said little so far about foreign policy. And judging by their goof-ups, maybe they’re wise to avoid the subject

      With all the emphasis on America’s economic woes, foreign policy has not been a big focus of the GOP race for the presidential nomination. The few times it has come up, candidates have made headlines for their errors not their insights. Here, six (but certainly not all) of the glaring foreign policy gaffes from the race so far:

      1. Herman Cain implies China doesn’t have nukes

      Gaffe: “My China strategy is quite simply outgrow China. … Yes, they’re a military threat. They’ve indicated that they’re trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have. So yes, we have to consider them a military threat.” (PBS interview, Oct. 31)

      Reaction: “Cain is apparently unaware that China conducted its first test of a nuclear device on October 16th… 1964,” says Joel Herrick at Shanghaiist. In fact, “China is estimated to have around 400 nuclear weapons stockpiled, including around 20 intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of targeting the United States.” Maybe he meant North Korea? “I mean, it’s just so easy to forget who America is supposed to hate these days!”

      2. Rick Perry suggests invading Mexico

      Gaffe: “It may require our military, in Mexico, working in concert with them, to kill these drug cartels and to keep them off our border and to destroy their networks.” (New Hampshire campaign stop, Oct. 1)

      Reaction: “Mexico has its own military,” rival Mitt Romney said. “And it think it’s a bad idea to send American troops into Mexico. I think Mexico would consider it a bad idea. I consider it a bad idea.” Bad? It’s “Perry’s worst idea yet,” says Steven Taylor at Outside the Beltway. First, the drug cartels might beat us in a guerrilla war. And second, the “historical tone deafness” is astounding for a Texan. Mexicans certainly haven’t “forgotten about the Mexican-American War, not to mention numerous incursions by U.S. troops into Mexican territory in the mid-to-late 1800s and the early 1900s.”

      3. Rick Santorum hopes for war with China

      Gaffe: “You know, Mitt, I don’t want to go to a trade war, I want to beat China. I want to go to war with China and make America the most attractive place in the world to do business.” (GOP debate, Oct. 11)

      Reaction: Um, “what kind of war, exactly? says Max Fisher at The Atlantic. China is the world’s most populous nation and one of the closest U.S. trade partners. Santorum “explicitly said it would not be a trade war,” but let’s “assume that he was speaking figuratively,” and not proposing military action. Still, not very presidential.

      4. Herman Cain mocks a key American ally

      Gaffe: “I’m ready for the ‘gotcha’ questions and they’re already starting to come. And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I’m going to say, you know, I don’t know. Do you know? And then I’m going to say how’s that going to create one job?” (Christian Broadcasting Network, Oct. 7)

      Reaction: “Cain was almost certainly kidding when he mangled the name of Uzbekistan,” says The Atlantic’s Fisher. But he chose an unfortunate example of an “insignificant” country. What to do about Uzbekistan is a hot topic in foreign policy circles: Uzbek leader Islam Karimov has an “awful human rights record,” but as America’s relationship with Pakistan sours, we need passage through his country to supply our forces in Afghanistan. In other words, the question of which is better — “reliable-but-brutal Uzbekistan” or prickly, unreliable Pakistan — is hardly “gotcha” territory.

      5. Michele Bachmann forgets which continent Libya is on

      Gaffe: “Now with the president, he put us in Libya. He is now putting us in Africa. We already were stretched too thin, and he put our special operations forces in Africa.” (GOP debate, Oct. 18)

      Reaction: There are two possibilities here, says Tracy Bloom at Neon Tommy. Either “Bachmann misspoke or she really does not know that Libya is in Africa.” She totally didn’t know, says Alex Moore at Death and Taxes. I mean, Bachmann has already admitted that “geography is not her strong suit.” Still, “if you’re running for president, an acceptable threshold of being bad at geography means sometimes forgetting whether Paraguay or Uruguay is the one that’s further north. But not knowing that Libya is in Africa?” Deal-breaker.

      6. Herman Cain blanks on Mideast peace

      Gaffe: Discussing Israel with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Cain drew a blank on the question of Palestinians’ “right of return” to Israeli territory. “Right of return?” Cain said. “Right of return?” Wallace then defined the term, and Cain offered this: “Yes, but under — but not under — Palestinian conditions. Yes. They should have a right to come back if that is a decision that Israel wants to make…. I don’t think they have a big problem with people returning.” (Fox News, May 22)

      Reaction: “Where does one begin to address the level of ignorance in this statement?” asks Lauri B. Regan at American Thinker. Cain claims to be an “ardent supporter of Israel,” so how can he be so clueless about Israel’s position on such a central matter regarding relations with the Palestinians. Add this to his other “shocking” foreign policy blunders, and “a President Cain is a scary prospect to anyone serious about the country’s national security.”


      What Romney would cut

      11/04/2011 Posted by Suzy Khimm – TheHill

      Mitt Romney is making a big push today to cast himself as a budget-slashing fiscal conservative who isn’t afraid to wield a hatchet when it comes to government spending. But what specific cuts would he actually push for? The same ones that House Republicans were demanding earlier this year. And it’s worth remembering exactly what those were.

      According to Romney’s budget proposal, he’d “send a bill to Congress on Day One” with a 5 percent, across-the-board cut to non-security discretionary spending. On top of that, he’d also pass the House Republican version of the 2011 budget, which capped spending at below 2008 levels, before Obama took office. Compared to the 2010 budget, it would have cut spending by about $86 billion. But in the process, it went after some programs far more aggressively than others.

      The GOP budget plan that Romney wants to adopt would make steeper cuts to Head Start, Pell Grants and workforce training than to other programs. Romney would completely eliminate funding for a program backing remedial literacy in low-income schools, as well as federal assistance that helps low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. Ultimately, as a result of such cuts — combined with the budget reductions passed on Obama’s watch — “157,000 at-risk children up to age 5 could lose education, health, nutrition, and other services under Head Start, while funds for Pell Grants that help students go to college would fall by nearly 25 percent,” according to a CBPP analysis of the House GOP proposal.

      And that’s just the beginning. Romney’s first two steps to cut the budget would reduce spending by about 8 to 9.4 percent compared to 2012, though that’s setting aside whatever happens with the debt “supercommittee.” However, that’s outside of the entitlement reforms that he wants to pass, which would block-grant Medicaid and offer a private alternative to Medicare. Romney is also pushing additional budget-cutting measures that would reduce the size of the federal workforce and its salaries. All this would build toward $500 billion in spending cuts per year, which Romney promises to reach in 2016.

      Romney, however, is selective when it comes to the specific discretionary spending cuts that he’s campaigning on. Though he’s endorsed the House GOP budget for 2011 upfront, he’s singled out just a few programs for item-line reductions: slashing money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and Title X family planning funding, for instance. Those kinds of cuts wouldn’t save much money, relatively speaking, but they are more appealing to ideological social conservatives who are a key voting block in the primary. But it will be interesting to see whether and when Romney defends the rest of the budget-slashing demands that House Republicans have made this year.


        Opinion: The radical dangers of Mitt Romney’s America

        As president, the shape-shifting Republican would bow to the far Right — and sacrifice many of the programs and ideals that make this nation great

        Dec 2, 2011 By Robert Shrum | The Week

        One of the nation’s most prominent columnists told me in the past few days that he had almost written that Mitt Romney was the inevitable Republican nominee, but at the last minute, pulled back and hedged his prediction with a formulaic qualifier. Not me. For months, I’ve been boldly stating that it’s Romney. After all, I asked, who the hell else have they got?

        Well, right now, Newt Gingrich — ahead in Iowa, closing in New Hampshire, pulling away in South Carolina, beating Romney by the astounding margin of 47 percent to 17 percent in the probable rubber-match state of Florida. Can it last? Is the year so weird that the traditional metrics — money, organization, a long-term strategic plan — don’t matter, or won’t make enough of a difference? I still believe, logically, perhaps stubbornly, that in the end, the unpalatable Romney is likely to prevail over the improbable Gingrich or some last hour, unthinkable incarnation of yet another non-Mitt.

        The resistance to the obvious nominee reflects the nagging instinct of the GOP’s dominant right wing that, whatever his peccadilloes and his pyrotechnic deviations from orthodoxy, Newt is at heart a conservative, and that Mitt is at heart a con man.

        Both propositions are amply justified on the public record, but for conservatives, the judgment about Romney should be irrelevant. The Right shouldn’t be afraid of him; it’s the rest of us who should. If elected, Romney would be imprisoned in his presidency by wary Republicans who would watch his every move and threaten his renomination if he ever dared to be pragmatic. Whether he means what he says, doing it would be his only politically viable choice in the White House.

        Romney often invokes Ronald Reagan, the man he blithely disclaimed during his 1994 Senate race in Massachusetts. But Romney is no Reagan, who so embodied the conservative principles to which he did genuinely subscribe that he was free to transcend them — to compromise and event to commit moderation — when he decided that was the sensible course, or even essential to the national interest.

        Thus, Reagan raised taxes after cutting them. He worked with Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill to save Social Security despite his earlier view that it “should be made voluntary.” Then he worked with Ted Kennedy to pass sweeping immigration reform that provided for amnesty. He denounced “the evil empire” and then made peace with Mikhail Gorbachev. This was, to certain conservative elites, the most unthinkable transgression of all. William F. Buckley Jr. called Reagan’s nuclear arms control treaty a “suicide pact.” Rep. Dick Cheney rebuked the president, who in turn said of his critics: They “have accepted that war is inevitable.”

        And long before his second-term treaty-making with the Soviets, Reagan’s pragmatism had riled the self-appointed keepers of the right-wing flame. For permitting grain sales to the Soviet Union, columnist George Will attacked the administration “for lov[ing] commerce more than it loathes communism.” William Safire delivered his harsh verdict on the president’s move toward the middle on Social Security and taxes, including his move away from the flat tax. All this, he wrote, was “Reagan’s white flag” — which “invited… grinning contempt.”

        Yet none of this noise mattered, and no one inside his own party seriously thought to challenge the president in 1984. He was simply, unassailably “Mr. Conservative” — and he could bend or change the rules, holding his base in the country while inside-the-Beltway critics spoke mostly to themselves. As the Moral Majority’s Ron Godwin conceded in a 1982 Washington Post piece (subscription required) reporting on complaints about Reagan’s “liberal” and “moderate” advisers, the president had a bond of trust with GOP voters: “They like him and are pleased with them.”

        In contrast, Romney is seeking — and at best, will have to settle for — grudging acceptance from skeptical Republicans. As president, he would be on permanent probation because he lacks fundamental strength with a GOP base that is decidedly more hard-line than it was during the Reagan era. Romney more closely resembles the first George Bush, who, after courageously recognizing the fiscal folly of his famous pledge of “no new taxes,” was harried and wounded by Pat Buchanan in the 1992 Republican primaries. Bush had been Reagan’s vice president, his natural successor, but like Romney now, Bush senior faced a wall of conservative skepticism, both when he lost the nomination in 1980 and when he finally won it in 1988. Then he violated his parole by agreeing to a tax increase. Romney knows this history, and would not choose to repeat it. As president, he would not be that Bush. He would have to be the anti-Reagan — because he would not be less right wing, but more reliably and inflexibly just that, incapable of dispensing with his party’s dogma where and when it was wrong.

        For the entire article:–the-radical-dangers-of-mitt-romney-s-america-.html



      On ABC This Week today, House Speaker John Boehner falsely claimed he believed “we can create revenue by fixing our tax codes and bring that revenue to the table.”

      In reality, House Republicans have consistently voted against tax reform to close loopholes for Big Oil companies and the ultra wealthy in order to pay down the debt and create jobs. In fact, 236 House Republicans signed the American’s for Tax Reform pledge to oppose such a measure and, earlier this year, Speaker Boehner walked away from negotiations with President Obama over his opposition.


      236 House Republicans Signed Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform Pledge To Oppose Closing Tax Loopholes for Big Oil Companies or Tax Breaks for Millionaires and Billionaires. [Americans for Tax Reform Pledge Signers, accessed 11/03/11]

      House Republicans Voted For the Republican Budget. On April 15, 2011, House Republicans voted for the FY12 Republican budget. [H Con Res 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11]

      Republican Budget Would Lower Taxes on the Rich. In April, Jonathan Chait showed in an article titled “Yes, Paul Ryan Does Cut Taxes for the Rich,” that by lowering the nation’s top tax rate from 35% to 25%, the rich would see their taxes cut. [The New Republic, 4/20/11]

      Millionaires Would Receive Tax Cut of $125,000 per Year. In April, Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote that people with incomes over $1 million would receive an average tax cuts of $125,000 a year under the House Republican budget. [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/20/11]

      Continued Big Oil Companies’ Special Tax Breaks in House Republican Budget. In April, Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote that it was noteworthy that Republican budget secured no deficit-reduction contribution at all from closing special interest tax breaks, such as breaks for big oil companies. [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/20/11]

      John Boehner Walks Away From Debt Talks Over Revenue. “House Speaker John Boehner has walked away from negotiations with President Obama over a deal to raise the debt limit. Boehner and the president have been seeking a ‘grand bargain’ of perhaps $4 trillion in deficit reduction, but have faced stiff resistance from lawmakers in both parties. Most Republicans say they will not accept revenue increases in the deal, while most Democrats say any deal must include revenue increases as well as spending cuts. Democrats have also chafed at reports that the deal could include significant cuts to entitlement programs.” [CBS News, 7/22/11]

      Speaker John Boehner’s Office Opposed Taxing Millionaires. House Speaker John Boehner’s office has called a 5 percent surtax on millionaires a “desperate tax hike” gimmick. [Fox News, 10/5/11]
      Millionaire’s Tax Would Raise $452.7 Billion Over Ten Years. According to the Congressional Budget Office, instituting a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires would raise $452 billion over the next ten years. The proposed of 5.6 percent surtax would take effect in 2013 and apply to a taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income in excess of $1 million or $500,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return. It would also be indexed for inflation. [Congressional Budget Office, 10/7/11]

      House Republicans Prioritized Subsidies for Big Oil Over Education. On July 29, 2011, House Republicans voted against directing a bipartisan committee tasked with reducing $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction created under Speaker Boehner’s debt ceiling plan to prioritize cutting subsidies for major oil and gas companies and corporate aircraft before cutting funding for education. [S 627, Vote #676, 7/29/11; Congressional Record, H5764, 7/29/11]

      House Republicans Voted to Protect Taxpayer Subsidies to Big Oil. On March 1, 2011, House Republicans voted against a motion to prohibit any major integrated oil company from being eligible for any tax benefit or relief under related provisions of the tax code. [HJ Res 44, Vote #153, 3/1/11; Congressional Record, H1426, 3/1/11; 26 U.S.C. § 167(h)(5)(B)]

      House Republicans Voted to Protect Taxpayer Subsidies for Big Oil. On May 5, 2011, House Republicans voted to bypass consideration of the Big Oil Welfare Repeal Act of 2011 (H.R. 1689) which would repeal key taxpayer funded subsidies for oil and gas companies. [H Res 245, Vote #293, 5/5/11; The Hill, 5/4/11; CBS News, 5/4/11; Congressional Record, H3076, 5/5/11]



      NOV 06, 2011

      On ABC This Week, House Speaker John Boehner falsely claimed that asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share in taxes “won’t even put a dent in our current budget deficit.” Boehner went on to defend tax breaks for the ultra wealthy saying “Oh, come on! The top 1% pay 38% of the income taxes in America. How much more do you want them to pay?!”

      In reality, the Washington Post found that tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires were one of the “biggest culprit[s], by far” in ballooning America’s debt and a surtax on millionaires would raise nearly $500 billion over the next ten years to pay down the deficit. In fact, 1,500 millionaires paid no income taxes in 2009 according to the IRS and hundreds of top companies paid less than half of their official taxes according to a recent study by Citizens for Tax Justice.


      Millionaire’s Tax Would Raise $452.7 Billion Over Ten Years. According to the Congressional Budget Office, instituting a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires would raise $452 billion over the next ten years. The proposed of 5.6 percent surtax would take effect in 2013 and apply to a taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income in excess of $1 million or $500,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return. It would also be indexed for inflation. [Congressional Budget Office, 10/7/11]

      1,500 Millionaires Paid No Income Taxes In 2009. “At a time when America is borrowing about 40 cents of every dollar it spends because tax revenues cannot keep up with government spending, hundreds of America’s wealthiest households are paying no income tax at all. According to a recently released IRS report, almost 1,500 of America’s 230,000 millionaires avoided paying any federal income tax in 2009.” Most of the money went through tax “expenditures,” which are deductions, write-offs, subsidies and loopholes. [ABC News, 8/6/11; USA Today, 8/8/11; see also: IRS Publication 1304]

      Biggest Public Firms Paid Little U.S. Tax, Study Says. “A comprehensive study released on Thursday found that 280 of the biggest publicly traded American companies faced federal income tax bills equal to 18.5 percent of their profits during the last three years — little more than half the official corporate rate of 35 percent and lower than their competitors in many industrialized countries.” [New York Times, 11/3/11]

      More Debt from Bush-era tax policies. “All told, Obama-era choices account for about $1.7 trillion in new debt, according to a separate Washington Post analysis of CBO data over the past decade. Bush-era policies, meanwhile, account for more than $7 trillion and are a major contributor to the trillion-dollar annual budget deficits that are dominating the political debate. […] The biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts. Together, the economy and the tax bills enacted under former president George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent by President Obama, wiped out $6.3 trillion in anticipated revenue.” [Washington Post, 4/30/11]

      Even as 40 House Republicans now Urge Revenue To Be Considered. “Breaking with party orthodoxy, 40 House Republicans urged Congress’ supercommittee on Wednesday to consider all options for raising revenue as they hunt for ways to trim the gargantuan $14.8 trillion national debt. Though in a letter to the special debt-reduction panel the GOP lawmakers studiously avoided specific proposals that the signees admitted could shatter the group’s unanimity, it seemed to at least crack the door open to the potential consideration of tax increases. That seemed to separate the 40 Republicans from many of their GOP colleagues, who have said they would only consider new revenue generated by a stronger economy.” [Associated Press, 11/2/11]


      Former GOP Congressman Says Gingrich ‘Evil’ and a Liar
      N.Y. Congressman Guy Molinari Worked with Newt Gingrich in the 90s and Says He’s an Evil Person

      Dec 2, 2011 By Saul Relative – Yahoo! Contributor Network

      COMMENTARY | Former New York congressman Guy Molinari has a few things to say about former Speaker of the House and current presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich — none of them nice. He speaks from experience, having worked with the presidential candidate in the 80s, a few years prior to the Gingrich becoming Speaker of the House. And Molinari bluntly states that Gingrich is “evil” and a liar, according to CNN.

      “Evil is a tough word, but frankly I can’t think of a better word that describes what he is all about,” said Molinari, who now works as an adviser to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign. “He is an evil person. That’s the way he is. He’ll lie; he’ll do anything to get his way.”

      And there is definitely some truth to that. Take, for instance, Gingrich’s complete twisting of the truth to brand the Obama administration as reckless with taxpayer dollars just so he can become the Republican nominee for president. Politifact published a piece on Dec. 1 that parsed a Gingrich claim that not only was President Obama the “best food stamp president in history” but that food stamps could now be used for anything, like trips to Hawaii. Even millionaires were getting food stamps, according to the former Speaker. Politifact labeled Gingrich’s claims “Pants On Fire,” their worst branding for lies and misleading statements.

      And what about his lobbying his fellow Republicans after leaving Congress? He says he wasn’t a lobbyist — because he was never registered as a lobbyist — but currying favor for corporations and financial institutions like Freddie Mac certainly seems like lobbying by another name.

      No one has profited more from being a congressman says the 83-year-old Molinari. ” You look at the stories about how much money he’s made, lobbying really, he says it wasn’t. It sure as hell was lobbying.”

      For the entire article:

      • Shields, Brooks on Gingrich’s ‘Skeletons,’ Bill Clinton’s ‘Second Act,’ Tax Cuts

        12/2/11 pbs

        Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks discuss the week’s top political news, including the likelihood of Newt Gingrich being elected president, Bill Clinton’s post-presidential work, lawmakers’ struggles over the payroll tax cut extension and Rep. Barney Frank’s legacy.


        MARK SHIELDS: But Newt Gingrich’s two greatest failures in his speakership involved, directly, Bill Clinton. The first was his pout, if you will recall, coming back from Prime Minister Rabin’s funeral, and for not being able to get off the front stairs of Air Force One, and not being treated as respectfully as he wanted to be, and almost petulant.

        And the second was the impeachment of Bill Clinton, in which Newt Gingrich played a major part and was exposed as a total hypocrite to be carrying — at the same time to have been carrying on an illicit affair, extramarital affair with a staffer.

        But I think that there’s no question Gingrich has emerged from the dust.

        JIM LEHRER: But why? Why? What has caused this?

        MARK SHIELDS: Why has he done it? He’s done it for a couple of reasons.

        First of all, he has used the vehicle available to him, which has been a vehicle in this campaign almost unique, and that’s been the debates. The Republican Party wants to defeat Barack Obama. But they understand — Republican voters I have talked to and listened to, they understand they need somebody who can go toe to toe with Obama on the debate forum, and that Newt Gingrich, whether it’s deserved or undeserved, has become the intellectual heft of the Republican Party.

        And they see him. They like him in that sense. He has also played it very well by being — practicing Ronald Reagan’s 11th rule, which is — 11th commandment, which is you never say anything negative about other Republicans. He has smiled all the way up. His focus has been on the press and on Obama.

        And I just think, in this field, he’s looked good. He’s never been scrutinized. He’s never been engaged. Now, of course, that he’s the front-runner, he will be.

        JIM LEHRER: Yes.

        What’s your explanation for…

        DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I would take that. I would add one other thing, which is white high school-educated voters. That’s who the Republican Party is. They’re a white working class electorate.

        And we have got two prominent politicians in this country who have very little pull with those voters, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. And so, if you look at who wins the white working class, decade after decade, election after election, it’s the Republicans by 25 percentage points. And so that’s the core of the party.

        They don’t particularly like Mitt Romney. They just don’t relate to him. And Newt Gingrich comes in with a little edge, a little forcefulness. And he’s not your typical white working class guy either. He’s a college professor who doesn’t let you forget how much he knows.

        But he happens to be doing a lot better with those people. And so they’re looking for a home, and they’re just unhappy with Romney. I still think at the end of the day, it’s going to be Romney. I still think that is much more likely. I would have said 95 percent likely two weeks ago. Now I say 80 percent. So I’m downgrading a little.

        Nonetheless, I think it’s characterological. The thing with Newt Gingrich is, each successive moment is untied to the last moment or the next moment. And what he says in one moment doesn’t necessarily govern what he’s going to do the next. And so I think he’s going to be — he’s going to be unpredictable. Let’s put it that way….

        MARK SHIELDS: Because it will be all about Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich — Newt Gingrich is such a flawed vessel and such a flawed candidate.

        He has more skeletons than the Harvard Medical School lab does. And I’m telling you, it’s — it would be bad for the country.

        JIM LEHRER: That’s tough stuff.

        You agree with that, David?

        DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I completely agree with it.

        I mean, people have forgotten a lot of things that have gone on in Newt Gingrich’s life. I think he’s enjoyable to be around. I cherish his presence in our stage. But you look at his second marriage, let alone his first marriage. You look at the interview that his second wife gave to GQ magazine.

        These are scathing characterological assassinations. You look at the lobbying he’s done. You look at, as I say, how he managed the speakership. I think he’s a great presence. I love listening to the guy. But the constancy one needs — and the fact that he has no organization is no accident.

        It’s the same issue. And so I agree with Mark. And the question is, will Republicans say, I sort of love listening to that guy, no way he can win? And I think, at the end of the day, they will make that determination.

        For the entire article and audio interview:

        • GOP WRONG WAY

          Newt Gingrich’s Skeleton Closet

          Adultery: Callista Bisek. Anne Manning. The unnamed “young volunteer”. Are we missing anyone?

          Draft dodger

          Dead-Beat Dad

          Family Values? Pressing Wife for Divorce in the Hospital

          House Banking Scandal: Newt Bounced 22 Checks

          Book Deals: Murdoch’s $4.5 Million wasn’t the first

          GOPAC sleaze: Taxpayer subsidies for his partisan campaign course.

          Corporate reward: $2,500/month to Newt’s wife

          Who Owns Him?

          For the entire article:

        • GOP WRONG WAY

          Revisiting Newt Gingrich’s 1997 Ethics Investigation

          December 8, 2011 by PETER OVERBY – NPR

          Even as Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich is riding high in the polls this week, he’s been dragged back into a debate over a problematic part of his past. In 1997, he was the first speaker of the House, ever, to be punished by the House for ethics violations.

          With “Renewing American Civilization,” history-professor-turned-politician Newt Gingrich had a college course — a program that was supposed to be insulated from partisan politics and campaign cash.

          The litany he used in the classroom sounds much like one he uses today.

          “American civilization cannot survive with 12-year-olds having babies, 15-year-olds shooting one another, 17-year-olds dying of AIDS, and 18-year-olds graduating with diplomas they cannot read,” Gingrich lectured.

          But then as now, Gingrich had several overlapping projects going on. And Democrats alleged that Gingrich used the college course to promote a political agenda.

          In one instance, a restaurant-industry advocacy group gave Gingrich’s college course $25,000. One of Gingrich’s political fundraisers solicited the money and said in a memo that the group might contribute if Gingrich would teach ideas that it favored.

          The chairman of the group was chain-restaurant owner Norman Brinker. Brinker was later featured in a flattering video used by Gingrich in his course to talk about business innovation: “Whether it’s his beloved game of polo or his magical success in business, Norman Brinker simply does not know how to lose.”

          For nearly two years, the House ethics committee investigated this and other Democratic allegations.

          In the end, the House voted overwhelmingly, 395 to 28, to reprimand Gingrich and to fine him $300,000.

          “Today we conclude this case by imposing a heavy penalty on the leader of this House. It is a tough penalty, unprecedented and appropriate,” Republican Rep. Nancy Johnson, who chaired the ethics committee, said at the time on the House floor.

          For the entire article and audio interview:


        How and What Newt Told Marianne

        August 14, 1999 By Beth Berselli and Paul Farhi – Washington Post Staff Writers

        Marianne and Newt Gingrich have acknowledged pain in their marriage before. But the apparent end of their 18-year union came as a series of shocks nonetheless to the woman who had stood by her man during his stormy tenure as speaker of the House of Representatives.

        Marianne Ginther Gingrich was visiting her childhood home in Ohio in early May to celebrate her mother’s 84th birthday when her husband phoned. After offering birthday wishes to his mother-in-law, Gingrich asked to speak to his wife. Virginia Ginther soon found her daughter in tears.

        “I said, ‘Marianne, what’s wrong?’‚” Ginther recalled yesterday. She said Marianne replied: “He doesn’t want me as his wife anymore.”

        There was a second jolt soon after. Newt Gingrich, now 56, informed his wife that he was having an affair with a congressional aide, a woman 23 years his junior, Ginther said.

        “I was totally shocked,” Marianne Gingrich, 48, said yesterday in an interview from her home in Marietta, Ga. “I had no idea.”

        This week, a judge in Georgia gave Marianne’s divorce attorneys permission to question Gingrich and Callista Bisek, of Arlington, about their relationship.

        For the entire article:

      • 21 reasons Newt Gingrich won’t be the Republican nominee for president

        12/09/2011 Posted by Ezra Klein – washingtonpost

        (Winslow Townson – AP) Perhaps I should say a bit more about why I’m so certain Newt Gingrich will not be the Republican nominee for president. Let’s put it this way: To believe Republicans will choose Gingrich, you have to believe they will choose someone who:

        – previously supported a cap-and-trade plan to reduce carbon emissions, and even filmed a commercial alongside Nancy Pelosi to that effect;

        – previously supported a health-care plan with an individual mandate;

        – proposed blasting North Korea with — wait for it — lasers;

        – took $1.6 million from Freddie Mac;

        – began the campaign with six figures in debt to Tiffany’s;

        – carried on an extramarital affair with a House staffer 20-years his junior during the Clinton impeachment trial (they’re now married);

        – tried to explain away said extramarital affair by saying, “There’s no question at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate”;

        – scribbled a note describing himself as an “Advocate of civilization, defender of civilization, teacher of the rules of civilization, arouser of those who form civilization, organizer of the pro-civilization activists, and leader ‘possibly’ of the civilizing forces”;

        – worked for ethanol and pharmaceutical interests;

        – supported the TARP bailout;

        – is loathed by almost every conservative thought leader writing today;

        – and by most every member of the Republican and libertarian/conservative political establishments;

        – called Paul Ryan’s budget “right-wing social engineering” and then, two days later, said, “The budget vote is one that I’m happy to say I would have voted for…So, let me say on the record: Any ad which quotes what I said Sunday is a falsehood”;

        – called for “a massive new program to build a permanent lunar colony to exploit the Moon’s resources”;

        – called child labor laws “truly stupid”;

        – suggested that “a mirror system in space could provide the light equivalent of many full moons so that there would be no need for nighttime lighting of the highways”;

        – said that “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama” is that “[Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]”;

        – was fined $300,000 by the House Ethics Committee for offering “incomplete, unreliable, and inaccurate” information during an investigation of a for-profit college course he developed while serving in Congress;

        – helped the GOP lose the 1995 government-shutdown showdown by saying that “part of why you ended up with us sending down a tougher continuing resolution” was that he didn’t get good enough seats on Air Force One;

        – was a dues-paying member of the Sierra Club;

        – supported the 1989 Global Warming Prevention Act, which included a provision encouraging the U.N. to work to control population growth through, among other methods, family-planning services;

        And I don’t believe Republicans will choose someone like that.

        For the entire article:

        • GOP WRONG WAY

          Exclusive: Gingrich Lacks Moral Character to Be President, Ex-Wife Says

          1/19/12 By BRIAN ROSS and RHONDA SCHWARTZ | ABC News – 9 mins ago

          Newt Gingrich lacks the moral character to serve as President, his second ex-wife Marianne told ABC News, saying his campaign positions on the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family values do not square with what she saw during their 18 years of marriage.

          In her first television interview since the 1999 divorce, to be broadcast tonight on Nightline, Marianne Gingrich, a self-described conservative Republican, said she is coming forward now so voters can know what she knows about Gingrich.

          In her most provocative comments, the ex-Mrs. Gingrich said Newt sought an “open marriage” arrangement so he could have a mistress and a wife.

          She said when Gingrich admitted to a six-year affair with a Congressional aide, he asked her if she would share him with the other woman, Callista, who is now married to Gingrich.

          “And I just stared at him and he said, ‘Callista doesn’t care what I do,'” Marianne Gingrich told ABC News. “He wanted an open marriage and I refused.”

          Marianne described her “shock” at Gingrich’s behavior, including how she says she learned he conducted his affair with Callista “in my bedroom in our apartment in Washington.”

          “He always called me at night,” she recalled, “and always ended with ‘I love you.’ Well, she was listening.”

          All this happened, she said, during the same time Gingrich condemned President Bill Clinton for his lack of moral leadership.

          She said Newt moved for the divorce just months after she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, with her then-husband present.

          “He also was advised by the doctor when I was sitting there that I was not to be under stress. He knew,” she said.

          Gingrich divorced his first wife, Jackie, as she was being treated for cancer. His relationship with Marianne began while he was still married to Jackie but in divorce proceedings, Marianne said.

          There was no immediate comment from Gingrich on his ex-wife’s allegations. Gingrich has said during the campaign he has “no relationship” with Marianne.

          While she had been quoted earlier as saying she could end his career, Marianne Gingrich defended Newt’s ethics while he served in Congress and came under several ethics investigations.

          “At the time, I believed him to be ethical,” she said in the interview.

          The former Mrs. Gingrich says Newt began to plan a run for President at the time of the divorce and told her that Callista “was going to help him become President.”

          In a statement to ABC News provided by the campaign, Gingrich’s two daughters from his first marriage said, “The failure of a marriage is a terrible and emotional experience for everyone involved.”

          The daughters, Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman said they would not say anything negative about Marianne and said their father “regrets any pain he may have caused in the past to people he loves.”

          Marianne Gingrich said Newt has never expressed any such regrets or apologized to her.

          Full interview tonight on ABC News’ Nightline at 11:35 p.m. ET.

      • “The Republican Party should not mistake his [Gingrich’s] communication skills with evidence of real knowledge, or even of good reasoning. Gingrich may be a master of academic exercises—his ability to make bookish references and formulate long sentences demonstrate as much—but that does not mean he knows what he is talking about.

        Gingrich’s patterns of speech are largely analytically acute, and sometimes aesthetically interesting, but substantively, they are very often lacking. Language is supposed to be a package that carries substance, but Gingrich is sometimes so pleased with his uninterrupted stream of words, that he mistakes it for an actual flow of ideas. This, sadly, is an affliction endemic in academia, where too many spend too long trying to score points in petty intellectual fights; the further the substance of the debate recedes, the faster the self-satisfaction of the participants grows.”

        Source: Words, Mere Words: Newt Gingrich Speaks Well. But Is He Smart?

GOP fakes trying


      OCT 16, 2011

      On Fox News Sunday this morning, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor repeatedly claimed he wanted to work with Democrats to find common ground to create jobs and improve the economy. Cantor claimed he wanted to “work together” and “set aside” differences.

      In reality, Cantor has been the House Republicans’ chief obstructionist on job creation and deficit reduction since the start of this Congress. Cantor quit bipartisan negotiations with Vice President Biden on reducing the deficit and pushed Speaker John Boehner to break off discussions with President Obama and Democrats for a grand bargain to reduce the deficit and strengthen our economy. Cantor has refused to bring to the floor President Obama’s jobs plan and Republicans have refused to pass a single bill to create jobs. It was Cantor’s brinkmanship that nearly forced the U.S. to default on its credit and helped cause the nation’s credit downgrade. Last month Cantor led the Republican effort to block disaster relief and nearly sent the government to the brink of government shutdown.


      New York Times: Budget Talks Near Collapse as G.O.P. Leader Quits [New York Times, 6/23/11]

      Cantor’s Refusal To Compromise Helped Kill the “Grand Bargain” on Deficit Reduction

      Milbank: What Eric Cantor Wants is Power — and He is Prepared to Risk the Full Faith and Credit of the United States to Get It.

      Washington Post: Young Guns Directly Responsible for Bringing the Nation to the Brink of Default

      National Journal Said Standard & Poor’s Downgrade Explanation was a “Blast at Republicans.”

      For the entire article:

      • Getting at the Facts

        Jay Carney April 06, 2012 01:57 PM EDT

        On Tuesday, the President gave a speech in which he contrasted his vision for our economy – one where everyone pays their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules – with the Republican approach of giving massive tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires paid for by cuts to programs that the middle class and seniors depend on.

        Congressman Ryan and his staff has since taken issue with some of the critiques the President made about the Republican approach. We believe in backing up our facts – so here’s some further explanation of some of the core problems with the Ryan Republican Budget.

        1. The Republican budget enacts a drastic, unspecified 19 percent cut in non-defense discretionary programs that help the middle class and help our economy grow.

        2. The Republican approach would end Medicare as we know it.

        3. The Republican budget would mean 19 million Americans lose the health coverage they are already getting under current Medicaid

        For the entire article:


      Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity, Vol. XIII

      Apr 13, 2012 By Steve Benen – maddowblog

      Mitt Romney recently felt comfortable lecturing journalists about, of all things, “quality control” when sharing the news with the American public.

      As Ed Kilgore joked, “Now I suppose when you have already developed a reputation for towering mendacity on subjects large and small, a medium-sized lie about your views on media accuracy is as easy as changing those jeans and a lot easier than changing your entire political persona on a regular basis. But you might think at some point the man would fear being struck down by a thunderbolt right on the spot if he lectures the media — old or new — about ‘sourcing’ and ‘quality control.'”

      If the presumptive Republican nominee has any such fears, he’s not showing it. Those looking for proof need only consider the 13th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt’s mendacity.

      1. Romney told voters about the cost of the Affordable Care Act, “[W]e’ve just learned from the CBO, it’s not a trillion dollars. It’s more like double that…. Obamacare is massively more expensive than had been originally estimated.”

      That’s not even close to being true.

      2. On the same subject, Romney argued, “Thirty percent of employers said they are going to drop the coverage for their employees when Obamacare is installed.”

      Actually, no, they didn’t say that at all.

      3. He said he would save “about $100 billion a year” eliminating Obamacare.

      That’s not only absurdly untrue, it’s actually backwards — scrapping the entirety of the Affordable Care Act would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the debt.

      4. Romney claimed Obama had created an “unaccountable panel, with the power to prevent Medicare from providing certain treatments.”

      That’s simply not true.

      5. Romney argues in a new fundraising letter that the numbers for unemployment, bankruptcies, and foreclosures are “soaring.”

      Actually, that’s the exact opposite of the truth — unemployment, bankruptcies, and foreclosures are all falling.

      6. Romney claims in the same mailing that Obama stood over “the greatest job loss in modern American history.”

      Not really.

      7. Romney went on to argue, “President Obama has mortgaged our future, increased the budget by more than 20% and allowed our debt to skyrocket.”

      The debt has increased (thanks to Bush-era policies), but the budget hasn’t increased by more than 20%.

      8. Romney told voters in Philadelphia this week, “This president did not cause the recession; he just made it worse and made it longer.”

      There’s no way around the fact that Romney’s simply lying. He knows he’s lying because he’s also said the American economy has improved under Obama.

      9 Romney argued repeatedly this week, “Women account for 92.3 percent of the jobs lost under Obama.”

      You’ve got to be kidding me.

      10 The Romney campaign and its surrogates spent all day Thursday describing Hillary Rosen as an “advisor to the Obama campaign.”

      Hillary Rosen is not an advisor to the Obama campaign.

      11. Romney argued yesterday, “President Obama is the first president in history to openly campaign for reelection on a platform of higher taxes. He has already raised taxes on millions of Americans, but he won’t stop there. He wants to raise taxes on millions more by taxing small businesses and job creators.”

      That’s actually three lies in one paragraph.

      12. On a Romney campaign conference call yesterday, a campaign spokesperson said the Obama administration needs to “stop disrespecting stay-at-home moms.”

      The Obama administration has never disrespected stay-at-home moms, and when pressed for evidence to back up the charge, the Romney campaign couldn’t think of anything.

      Paul Krugman noted this week, “Mitt Romney’s campaign is setting new standards in serial dishonesty. Really. He makes Bush look like a font of truth and accuracy.”

      That’s more than fair, though the question is no longer whether Romney has a problem telling the truth — he clearly does — but rather whether he’ll face any electoral consequences for recklessness.

    • David Letterman – Rachel Maddow Talks FOX News

      Uploaded by CBS on Dec 15, 2010

      Which has more accurate news reporting, MSNBC or FOX News? Rachel Maddow weighs in.

  3. Obama to visit Chrysler plant in Ohio

    June 1, 2011

    WASHINGTON, June 1 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama will visit a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, Friday and tout the success of the auto bailouts, the White House said Wednesday.

    The announcement stated Obama “will hear firsthand from local business owners and residents about the importance of the auto industry resurgence to the community as a whole and the economic devastation it would have faced had Chrysler been allowed to fail.”

    The White House asserted the rescues of General Motors and Chrysler saved 1 million jobs and noted that Chrysler repaid the government more than six years ahead of schedule last week.

    Chrysler’s Toledo operations employ more than 1,700 workers making the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro.

  4. First Lady Michelle Obama to Address 2011 Graduating Seniors

    JUNE 3, 2011 –

    In the coming months, First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver commencement addresses at the University of Northern Iowa, Spelman College and Quantico Middle High School, and speak to graduates and families at West Point. These institutions all share a deep commitment to service, and have students that are actively involved in improving the world around them. From students who are volunteering in underserved communities to dedicated military families and troops who are preparing to protect our Nation, these graduates represent the spirit of service that defines America.

    Mrs. Obama will begin her 2011 commencement addresses in Iowa, making her first visit as First Lady to a state she came to know and love during the 2008 campaign. A week later, Mrs. Obama will travel to Atlanta, Georgia to speak at Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college for women who seek to change the world in meaningful ways. The two final visits underscore Mrs. Obama’s commitment to supporting and highlighting the strength of America’s military and their families. Mrs. Obama will address the class of 2011 at the United States Military Academy’s Graduation Banquet at West Point, N.Y., on the eve of their commissioning as 2nd Lieutenants in the U.S. Army. In her final address, Mrs. Obama will speak to the 27 graduating seniors of the Quantico Middle High School, whose parents serve at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia.

    In 2009, Mrs. Obama spoke to the University of California, Merced’s first full senior class. She also addressed the Washington Math and Science Tech Public Charter High School Graduation in Washington DC. In 2010, Mrs. Obama addressed graduates of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, The George Washington University, and the Anacostia Senior High School.

    Mrs. Obama will speak to graduates of Quantico Middle High School in Quantico, Virginia. This Department of Defense Education Activity school is located on the Marine Corps Base at Quantico and serves military children. Every year, Mrs. Obama encourages Americans to make donations to the Toys for Tots program run by the Marine Corps; in 2009 she visited Quantico’s donation distribution center.

    • Students Will Present Plaque to First Lady


      Quantico, Va. –– First Lady Michelle Obama is coming to speak to the graduating class of Quantico Middle / High School tonight.

      We reported months ago that Mrs. Obama would be the school’s commencement speaker, but when a school administrator gathered the senior class to tell them she was coming they initially thought they had done something wrong.

      “When I was notified that the First Lady had chosen to speak at Quantico Middle/High School’s 2011 commencement ceremony, I called a special meeting of the senior class. They confided in me later that they thought they were in trouble. Once they were all seated I told them that Mrs. Michelle Obama would be their keynote commencement speaker. They all screamed collectively – they were so thrilled,” said Quantico Middle / High School Principal Michael Hollier.

      He doesn’t know why the First Lady chose to be the school’s commencement speaker, but says students there have long supported her causes such as fighting childhood obesity, and the “Joining Forces” initiative to support the family members of U.S. troops.

      The graduating class from Quantico is about 27 students large, and they’ve put together a memento for the First Lady: A special plaque made from old recycled gym floor. On the plaque is a photo of the graduating class in their caps and gowns.

      Quantico is one of the two final stops on the First Lady’s 2011 commencement speech circuit this year.

      In addition scheduled speeches Iowa and Atlanta’s Spellman College, Obama was also scheduled to address graduates of West Point Military Academy.

    • June 03, 2011

      Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama at Quantico Middle High School Commencement

      Quantico Middle High School Commencement Quantico, VA

      As Prepared for Delivery—

      It is such a pleasure and an honor to be here with all of you tonight. I want to thank your principal, Mr. Hollier, for that very kind introduction and for his leadership. I also want to recognize Brannon and Emily for their wonderful remarks and their outstanding achievements. And of course, graduates, let’s take a moment to celebrate all the folks sitting behind you today with the cameras and the big beaming smiles.

      Now, even under the best of circumstances, it’s not easy to raise kids who turn out as well as all of you. But parents, you’ve managed to do this as Marines, carrying out missions across the globe while somehow still finding time for bedtime stories over the phone and advice via video chat. You’ve done it as spouses running your households and juggling your careers all alone through deployment after deployment, PCS after PCS. And I have to tell you that as a mother, as a First Lady, and as an American, I am blown away by your strength. I am inspired by your sacrifice. And I know that our graduates are so grateful for your unwavering love and support. So graduates, let’s give your families a round of applause.

      Finally, to the class of 2011, congratulations, we are all so very proud of you! And I want everyone to know that today’s ceremony doesn’t just include the 27 outstanding members of the Quantico class of 2011. We also have nine graduates from two high schools in Japan who were evacuated after the earthquake and missed having commencement ceremonies of their own. I think it says a great deal about the generosity of spirit here at Quantico that you’ve welcomed these students to be part of your graduation. And I also think it says a great deal about these nine young men and women that they’ve handled this upheaval so well. Though frankly, I’m not surprised.

      I’m not surprised by their strength and their grace or by your kindness and compassion. Because over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of visiting military families and communities across this country. And these are the qualities that I’ve seen in every military kid that I’ve met. That’s why preparing for this commencement was a little bit intimidating. Coming up with a thoughtful message for all of you was no small challenge.

      For the entire article:

      • FLOTUS at Quantico

        From: DODvClips | Jun 6, 2011

        Graduates of Quantico Middle/High School in Quantico, Virginia, had a special commencement speaker over the weekend.

  5. Friday: First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Spring Kitchen Garden Harvest Event

    MAY 31, 2011

    First Lady Michelle Obama will host the annual Spring Harvest of her Kitchen Garden on Friday, June 3rd, in the late afternoon. In honor of last week’s launch of Let’s Move In Indian Country, Mrs. Obama will be joined by American Indian children. The new sub-initiative is designed to encourage American Indian and Native Alaskan communities to combat childhood obesity while using their own cultural traditions, so Mrs. Obama and the kids will also be preparing the Kitchen Garden to grow corn, beans and squash–“the three sisters”– using a Native American planting technique.

    Corn was grown in the Kitchen Garden last summer, as were beans and squash. But the traditional technique creates a “mutually beneficial” situation for the crops. The East Wing notes: “The corn provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles; the beans provide the soil with nitrogen that the other plants use; and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight and preventing weeds.” The internationally famous Kitchen Garden, which Mrs. Obama has credited as an inspiration for the Let’s Move! campaign, marked its two-year anniversary on March 20th.

    For the entire article:

  6. New Data Point To No Quick Fix For Economy

    6/2/11 by JOHN YDSTIE – NPR

    Worries about a loss of momentum in the U.S. economy continued to make stock markets jittery Thursday. Major foreign exchanges experienced sell-offs following the sharp drop of more than 2 percent in U.S. indexes Wednesday. The markets are responding to data that suggest the U.S. recovery will remain a long, hard slog.

    Mark Vitner, senior economist and managing director of Wells Fargo, says the market sell-off was a response to a tide of negative news in the past few days.

    “There’s been a lot of disappointing economic data,” he says.

    For instance, lower auto sales and fewer new jobs in the private sector than expected, a slowdown in manufacturing growth, and another slump in home prices. It’s a reminder that the U.S. recovery is still anemic.

    “People are beginning to realize that there’s no quick fix,” Vitner says.

    Couple that with a minefield created by the Greek debt crisis and the U.S. debt-ceiling battle and it makes for nervous investors, he says.

    “I think a lot of people said, ‘Wow, I’m just not feeling as comfortable with as much money as this in the stock market,’ and we had a big sell-off,” he says.

    After the biggest sell-off in a year Wednesday, U.S. stock bounced around Friday and the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 indexes ended slightly lower.

    But Vintner says he doesn’t think the economy is likely to slide into recession again.

    Diane Swonk, chief economist and senior managing director at Mesirow Financial in Chicago, agrees.

    She says a number of the negative reports were just temporary speed bumps, particularly those in autos and manufacturing that were caused by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. She says their effect on the markets reveals how fragile confidence is and how difficult it is to recover from a financial crisis.

    “The financial crisis really left the economy hobbling. We’re lucky to be growing after a financial crisis. But we’re not growing enough to recoup the losses that we endured during the recession,” she says.

    For the entire article and audio interview:

  7. Treasury to sell remaining Chrysler stake to Fiat

    6/2/11 By Glenn Somerville – Reuters

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Treasury Department said on Thursday it reached an agreement to sell its remaining 6 percent equity stake in Chrysler to Italy’s Fiat in a deal that will net Washington $560 million.

    The proceeds of the deal include the sale of the government’s interest in a UAW retiree trust, Treasury said in a mid-evening statement.

    The Obama administration invested $12.5 billion in Chrysler under the Troubled Asset Relief Program during the 2007-2009 financial crisis and said that, after the transaction, Chrysler will have returned more than $11.2 billion of that amount.

    “Treasury is unlikely to fully recover the difference of $1.3 billion,” the statement said.

    Fiat agreed to pay Treasury $500 million for Treasury’s 98,461 shares of Chrysler. Treasury also had an option to buy shares held by the UAW retiree trust and Fiat agreed to buy that for $75 million — with Treasury to get $60 million and the government of Canada $15 million.

    The announcement of the deal with Fiat came on the eve of President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, where he is expected to tout the success of the auto bailout that saved American jobs and auto nameplates like Chrysler.

    Treasury said that, once the transaction is completed, it would have fully exited its investment in Chrysler.

    For the entire article:

  8. Update on Treasury’s MBS Wind Down — Taxpayers Recover an Additional $12.9 billion in May

    By: Mary J. Miller 6/1/2011

    Today, Treasury is providing an update on the continued orderly wind down of its agency-guaranteed mortgage-backed securities (MBS) portfolio.

    The report that Treasury is releasing today shows that:

    During the month of May 2011, taxpayers received an additional $12.9 billion in proceeds from this investment through sales by Treasury with a market value of $10.5 billion ($10.0 billion principal value) and principal and interest payments of $2.4 billion.

    Through the end of May 2011, taxpayers have received a cumulative total of $133.8 billion in proceeds from this investment through sales by Treasury ($24.6 billion) and principal and interest payments ($109.2 billion).

    Today, Treasury also published a report on broker-dealer market shares for these MBS sales. We believe that the publication of this scorecard will help both maximize taxpayer returns and provide additional transparency. We plan to update the scorecard on a monthly basis.

    Treasury has now recovered 59 percent ($133.8 billion) of its original $225 billion investment in MBS, which it made during 2008 and 2009 through authority provided to it by Congress under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. These MBS purchases helped stabilize the financial markets and preserve access to mortgage credit during a period of unprecedented market stress.

    The MBS market has improved considerably since Treasury purchased these securities. Based on current market conditions, Treasury expects to make a profit for taxpayers on this investment.

    On March 21, 2011, Treasury announced that it would begin the orderly wind down of its MBS portfolio. Treasury plans to sell up to $10 billion MBS (principal) per month, subject to market conditions. The sale is part of Treasury’s continued efforts to wind down emergency financial crisis response programs that were put in place in 2008 and 2009.

    For the entire article:

  9. Geithner cautions GOP: Raise debt or ‘lights out’

    6/02/11 By Molly K. Hooper and Peter Schroeder –

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Thursday warned skeptical Republican freshmen it would be “lights out” for the economy if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.

    Geithner trekked to Capitol Hill on the same day that Moody’s Investors Services warned that the nation’s perfect credit rating could be at risk if lawmakers do not make progress on a debt deal.

    Leaders of the freshman class struck a diplomatic tone after the session, but there was little evidence that Geithner’s argument won anyone over.
    “Everything that we got in there from him is a step in the right direction,” said Rep. Austin Scott (Ga.), the president of the GOP freshman class.

    For the entire article:

  10. is celebrating it’s one year anniversary as of June 1st:

    138,865 views all-time

    135 subscriptions from the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Bolivia and ?

  11. I have nothing positive to say about Republicans on the Hill. They are playing a dangerous game at the global economy’s expense. Their argument is extremely unpopular but they just do not care. I just do not understand their thinking.

    • Jackie – I believe it’s all wrapped around one thing, as Mitch McConnell would hope: Making sure President Obama is a one-term president – the country be damned.

  12. West Wing Week: 06/02/11 or “One Step at a Time”

    From: whitehouse | Jun 2, 2011

    This week, President Obama traveled to Joplin, Missouri to see the devastation first hand. He finished his week-long trip to Europe in Poland and on Memorial Day, he visited Arlington National Cemetery.

    • White House Council for Community Solutions Meeting: Part 1

      From: whitehouse | Jun 3, 2011

      The White House Council for Community Solutions holds a meeting to discuss building healthy communities and sharing creative approaches already at work. June 3, 2011.

    • White House Council for Community Solutions Meeting: Part 2

      From: whitehouse | Jun 3, 2011

      The White House Council for Community Solutions holds a meeting to discuss building healthy communities and sharing creative approaches already at work. June 3, 2011.

    • White House Council for Community Solutions Meeting: Part 3

      From: whitehouse | Jun 3, 2011

      The White House Council for Community Solutions holds a meeting to discuss building healthy communities and sharing creative approaches already at work. June 3, 2011.

  13. Next Up…

    Department of Defense

    9:00 AM EDT
    Adm. Roughead to Speak at Battle Of Midway Wreath Laying Ceremony
    Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead speaks at the 69th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway Wreath Laying Ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

    • Midway Ceremony

      From: DODvClips | Jun 3, 2011

      Navy officials came together June 3 in Washington, D.C., to remember the Battle of Midway

    • Voices of Midway

      From: DODvClips | Jun 2, 2011

      The Battle of Midway was the turning point in the Pacific Campaign during World War II. Learn about this historic battle from veteran’s first-hand experiences with this one-hour special.

  14. The Employment Situation in May

    Posted by Austan Goolsbee on June 03, 2011

    Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 83,000 in May and the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent. There are always bumps on the road to recovery, but the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years.

    While the private sector has added more than 2.1 million jobs over the past 15 months, the unemployment rate is unacceptably high and faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. The initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – have contributed to solid employment growth overall this year, but this report is a reminder of the challenges that remain. We are focused on promoting exports, reducing regulatory burdens and making the investments in education, research and development, and infrastructure that will grow our economy and create jobs. We will continue to work with Congress to responsibly reduce the deficit and live within our means.

    Overall payroll employment rose by 54,000 in May. Solid employment increases occurred in professional and business services (+44,000) and education and health services (+34,000). Sectors with employment declines included local government (-28,000), retail trade (-8,500), and manufacturing (-5,000). Despite the decline this month, manufacturing has added 238,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010, the best period of manufacturing job growth in over a decade.

    For the entire article:

    May 2011 Private Payroll

  15. Trade group says US service sector grew in May

    6/3/11 By MARTIN CRUTSINGER – AP Economics Writer

    A trade group says the U.S. economy’s service sector grew in May for an 18th straight month, posting slightly faster growth than in April.

    The Institute for Supply Management says its index tracking the health of service companies, which employ 90 percent of the nation’s work force, increased to 54.6 in May compared to 52.8 in April.

    The past three months have had lower readings than in February, when the index hit a five-year high of 59.7. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion.

  16. Gates Cautions Against Ending U.S. Support in Libya

    June 3, 2011 By Jim Garamone -American Forces Press Service

    SINGAPORE– If the United States unilaterally ended support to the NATO mission in Libya, it would have enormous and dangerous long-term consequences, Pentagon officials said here today.

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is concerned over the prospect of Congress voting against continued U.S. support to the NATO mission in Libya, said Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell, who is here with Gates at the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit.

    That would send “an unhelpful message of disunity and uncertainty to our troops, our allies and, most importantly, the Gadhafi regime,” Morrell said, adding that the secretary is particularly concerned about the impact such a move could have on U.S. relations with NATO allies.

    “As a key NATO partner, they have asked us to provide support, just like we have asked them over the years to support difficult operations in Afghanistan,” he said.

    Morrell said the secretary understands the concerns that some in Congress have expressed, and that he welcomes the legitimate policy debate. Still, he wants the debate to proceed in ways that do not undermine the NATO allies and military operations, Morrell added.

    For the entire article:

  17. First Lady Michelle Obama Announces Visit to Africa Focused on Youth Leadership, Education, Health & Wellness

    Posted by Kori Schulman on June 03, 2011

    The First Lady just announced that she will travel to Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa and Gaborone, Botswana during an official visit to Africa later this month. The trip, focused on youth leadership, education, health and wellness, is a continuation of Mrs. Obama’s work to engage young people at home and abroad. Stay tuned for updates on the trip and ways to engage on

    Here’s the full press release:

    Official visit continues the First Lady’s work engaging youth at home and abroad

    First Lady Michelle Obama announced that she will travel to Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa and Gaborone, Botswana during an official visit to Africa from June 21 – 26 focused on youth leadership, education, health and wellness. The trip is a continuation of Mrs. Obama’s work to engage young people at home and abroad, from mentoring students in the United States and encouraging them to gain international experience, to encouraging young people to excel academically, serve, and lead during her visits to Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Accompanying Mrs. Obama on this trip will be her mother, Mrs. Robinson and her daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama.

    For the entire article:

  18. The Revitalization of American Cities with the Resurgence of the Auto Industry

    Posted by David Agnew on June 03, 2011

    This week, the White House released a report highlighting the resurgence of the American auto industry. The report discusses the jobs created in the sector, the turnaround of the companies that are now turning a profit, and how entire communities have been revitalized by a strengthened auto industry.

    In advance of the President’s trip to Chrysler Group’s Toledo Supplier Park in Ohio, we heard from local officials around the country on how the recovery of the American automobile industry has impacted their communities.

    Mayor Greg Goodnight of Kokomo, Indiana told us:

    The comeback Kokomo has experienced due to the resurgence of the auto industry can be seen all around the City of Kokomo. Delphi is building a $25 million new state of art facility, Chrysler is investing over one billion dollars in their Kokomo facilities and our local economy is benefitting. Those who called for liquidation of the American auto industry did not have to look into the eyes of the auto industry employees who depend on these jobs to feed their families and send their children to school. They are my lifelong neighbors and friends; I know the impact these jobs have on our community.

    For the entire article:

    • Infographic: The Resurgence of the American Automotive Industry

      Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on June 03, 2011

      Today, President Obama will travel to Toledo, Ohio where he will visit the Chrysler Group’s Toledo Supplier Park – an operation that employs more than 1,700 workers producing Jeep Wranglers, Jeep Liberties, and Dodge Nitros. Just two years ago, Chrysler was filing for bankruptcy, and President Obama made the tough decision to support the restructuring of the company rather than allow it to fail – costing tens of thousands of American jobs.

      Today, Chrysler is repaying its government loans six years ahead of schedule and posted five consecutive quarters of operating profit. Earlier this week, the National Economic Council released a new report on the resurgence of the American automotive industry. Over the past two years, the auto industry has added 113,000 jobs – the fastest pace of job growth in the auto industry since 1998.

      For the entire article:

  19. Happy Friday CR and all friends, and Happy First Anniversary to!! Long may it/you prosper!


    • June 03, 2011

      Remarks by the President to Chrysler Workers in Toledo, Ohio

      Chrysler Group Toledo Supplier Park Toledo, Ohio

      1:21 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Please have a seat.

      It is good to be back in Toledo. (Applause.) It is good to be with all of you. Now, for those of you who I’ve met up close, I just want you to know that I stopped by Rudy’s — (laughter) — had two hot dogs, two chili dogs with onions. So I’ve been looking for a mint backstage. (Laughter.) It tasted pretty good going down though.

      It is wonderful to see you. We’ve got some outstanding public servants who are here who’ve been working hard on behalf of working Americans their entire careers. One of the finest senators that I know of, Senator Sherrod Brown, is in the house. (Applause.) Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is in the house. (Applause.) Your mayor is in the house. Give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)

      I just took a short tour of the plant and watched some of you putting the finishing touches on the Wrangler. Now, as somebody reminded, I need to call it the “iconic” Wrangler. (Laughter.) And that’s appropriate because when you think about what Wrangler has always symbolized. It symbolized freedom, adventure, hitting the open road, never looking back — which is why Malia and Sasha will never buy one. (Laughter.) Until maybe they’re 35. (Laughter.) I don’t want any adventure for them.

      I want to thank Jill for the kind introduction. Somebody on my staff asked Jill to describe herself in three words or less, and she said “hard working.” Hard working. And her entire family agreed. So she’s with the right team here at this plant because I know there are a lot of hard-working people here. And I am — (applause) — I’m proud of all of you. Jill was born and raised right here in Toledo. Her mother retired from this plant. Her stepfather retired from this plant. Her uncle still works at this plant. She met her husband at this plant. Now they have two children of their own, and her three-year-old wants to work at this plant. (Laughter.)

      For the entire article:

  20. Obama feasts at chili dog joint

    06/03/11 By JULIE MASON – POLITICO

    President Obama stopped by Rudy’s Hot Dogs in Toledo Friday for lunch. He ordered one dog with mustard, onion and chili sauce, with a bowl of chili and fries on the side.

    “These guys, whatever they want, I’m buying,” the president said, gesturing at his entourage.

    Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio came under some mild presidential scorn for ordering hers with ketchup — an act of high treason in hot dog worshipping Chicago.

    “Marcy just wants ketchup,” Obama said. “By the way, as an afficionado of hot dogs, you shouldn’t put ketchup on your hot dog. … I’m trying to teach my girls.”

    Obama deputy chief of staff Nancy-Ann DeParle and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett stood by, apparently not partaking.

    Obama shook hands with about 10 patrons, then begged off to enjoy his dog, “before it gets cold.”

    Harry Dionyssiou, one of the brothers who run the six-store chain, hugged Obama several times, as cooks behind the counter yelled Opaa, Opaa.

    • June 03, 2011

      First Lady and American Indian Children Plant Traditional Crops in the White House Kitchen Garden

      Washington – One week after the launch of Let’s Move! in Indian Country (LMIC), and as part of the regular seasonal harvest, Mrs. Obama and American Indian children began the process of planting the “three sisters”– corn, beans and squash – in the White House kitchen garden. This traditional Native American planting technique grows crops in a mutually beneficial manner: the corn provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles; the beans provide the soil with nitrogen that the other plants use; and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight and preventing weeds. The Cherokee White Eagle corn, Rattlesnake pole beans, and Seminole squash seeds used today come from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

      “Today’s a big day for us in the garden because it’s the first time we’re going to use native seeds of corn, beans and squash in the way they’ve been planted for thousands of years,” Mrs. Obama said. “We’re all pretty excited to continue this tradition. This is another example of a fun, easy way that we all can work together to be healthier. And that’s what we’re trying to accomplish with Let’s Move!”

      Mrs. Obama and the children also harvested crops in the garden, including lettuces, rhubarb, chard, kohlrabi, sugar snap peas, turnips, broccoli and herbs – some of which will be used in Tuesday’s State Dinner in honor of Chancellor Angela Merkel. These crops were originally planted in March by Mrs. Obama and children from Harriet Tubman and Bancroft Elementary Schools.

      For the entire article:

    • June 03, 2011

      First Lady and American Indian Children Plant Traditional Crops in the White House Kitchen Garden

      Washington – One week after the launch of Let’s Move! in Indian Country (LMIC), and as part of the regular seasonal harvest, Mrs. Obama and American Indian children began the process of planting the “three sisters”– corn, beans and squash – in the White House kitchen garden. This traditional Native American planting technique grows crops in a mutually beneficial manner: the corn provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles; the beans provide the soil with nitrogen that the other plants use; and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight and preventing weeds. The Cherokee White Eagle corn, Rattlesnake pole beans, and Seminole squash seeds used today come from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

      “Today’s a big day for us in the garden because it’s the first time we’re going to use native seeds of corn, beans and squash in the way they’ve been planted for thousands of years,” Mrs. Obama said. “We’re all pretty excited to continue this tradition. This is another example of a fun, easy way that we all can work together to be healthier. And that’s what we’re trying to accomplish with Let’s Move!”

      Mrs. Obama and the children also harvested crops in the garden, including lettuces, rhubarb, chard, kohlrabi, sugar snap peas, turnips, broccoli and herbs – some of which will be used in Tuesday’s State Dinner in honor of Chancellor Angela Merkel. These crops were originally planted in March by Mrs. Obama and children from Harriet Tubman and Bancroft Elementary Schools.

      For the entire article:

    • Home / Currents • Health / “Seeds of Native Health” Launched: A Campaign for Indigenous Nutrition


      MINNEAPOLIS — The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and three nationally significant partners today announced Seeds of Native Health, a major philanthropic campaign to improve the nutrition of Native Americans across the country. The SMSC is committing $5 million to launch the campaign and plans to recruit other funding and strategic partners.

      SMSC_Logo_1Nutrition is very poor among many of our fellow Native Americans, which leads to major health problems,” said SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig. “Our Community has a tradition of helping other tribes and Native American people. The SMSC is committed to making a major contribution and bringing others together to help develop permanent solutions to this serious problem.”

      Generations of extreme poverty and the loss of traditional foods have resulted in poor and inadequate diets for many Native Americans, leading to increased obesity, diabetes, and other profound health problems. “Many tribes, nonprofits, public health experts, researchers, and advocates have already been working on solutions,” said SMSC Vice-Chairman Keith Anderson. “We hope this campaign will bring more attention to their work, build on it, bring more resources to the table, and ultimately put Indian Country on the path to develop a comprehensive strategy, which does not exist today.”

      The Seeds of Native Health campaign will include efforts to improve awareness of Native nutrition problems, promote the wider application of proven best practices, and encourage additional work related to food access, education and research.

      For more:

  21. Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest

    Fri Jun 3, 1:06 pm ET -By The Associated Press

    Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is wounded when opposition tribesmen determined to topple him hammer his palace with rockets in a major escalation of nearly two weeks of fighting with government forces. At least six guards are killed and nine others, besides the president, are wounded, an official says.
    The official says Saleh suffered slight injuries to the neck, but later says he was moved to a hospital for treatment. Yemeni state TV quickly airs a statement that Saleh is “in good health,” denying a claim on an opposition TV station that the president was killed in the strike.

    Protesters have been trying since February to oust Saleh with a wave of peaceful protests that has brought out hundreds of thousands daily in the capital, Sanaa, and other cities.

    Syrian security forces open fire during one of the largest anti-government protests so far in the 10-week uprising. Activists say at least 34 people were killed in the city of Hama, where thousands died in a failed 1982 revolt against the regime of President Bashar Assad’s father.

    Authorities also cut Internet service across most of the country, a potentially dire blow for a movement that motivates people with graphic YouTube videos of the crackdown and loosely organizes protests on Facebook pages.

    A witness in Hama reached by The Associated Press says there were around 150,000 demonstrators, an unprecedented number if confirmed. He describes a chaotic scene, with security forces firing tear gas and live ammunition, and snipers shooting from the rooftops as people fled.

    Libyan rebels force government troops from three western towns and break the siege on another, a rebel commander says, and NATO pounds to targets across the country. The heavy bombing and rebel victory, plus the first publicized diplomatic contact between China and the rebel leadership, reflects the continued erosion of Moammar Gadhafi’s power since the eruption in mid-February of uprisings to end his 42-year rule.

    A rebel military leader says local fighters won control of four towns in the western Nafusa mountain range, where government forces have besieged and randomly shelled rebel-held areas for months.

    Also, a U.N. official says the world body’s refugee agency will meet with a Libyan woman who claims she was gang-raped by Gadhafi’s troops. Iman el-Obeidi was deported Thursday from Qatar where she had sought refuge and was flown against her will to Benghazi, the Libyan rebels’ de facto capital.

    Bahraini police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters marching toward the landmark Pearl Square in the country’s capital, two days after authorities lifted emergency rule. The downtown square was the focus of weeks of Shiite-led protests against the Gulf nation’s Sunni rulers earlier this year. There were no reports of casualties among the hundreds of opposition supporters who took their grievances to the streets for the first time since martial law was imposed more than two months ago.
    Formula One’s governing body deems the kingdom safe enough to host the Bahrain Grand Prix in October. The annual F1 race has been Bahrain’s most profitable international event.

    A trial is expected to begin this month for Tunisia’s ousted strongman, who is facing charges in connection with the discovery of caches of millions of euros worth of foreign currency, drugs and arms, the Justice Ministry spokesman says.
    Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia in January and is not expected to attend the proceedings. The longtime president’s wife, Laila Trabelsi, is also to be tried in absentia.

    Pro-reform activists take to the streets across Jordan, stepping up their calls for the prime minister to resign because they say he has failed to fight corruption.
    About 3,000 people, including leftists and members of Jordan’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood, protest in seven cities. The opposition also accuses Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit of stalling on demands for political reforms and new parliamentary elections.

    Close to 500 protesters rally in Cairo’s downtown Tahrir Square, carrying signs and chanting for the speedy trial of former President Hosni Mubarak. Some call for Mubarak, his wife, Suzanne, and other members of his regime to be tried publicly or on TV.

    An Egyptian court said this week that Mubarak would go on trial Aug. 3 on charges of corruption and intentionally killing protesters during the 18-day uprisings that pushed him from power on Feb. 11. His two sons will be tried at the same time on corruption charges.

  22. Making Government Work in the Global Economy

    Posted by Jeffrey Zients on June 03, 2011

    The last time the Federal government was significantly reorganized was in the age of black and white TV – a time when the global economy looked quite different from today. As many of you know, the President announced in his State of the Union Address in January that in order to win the future, we must reform our government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive and innovative America. He tasked me with starting this effort with a focus on trade and exports, noting that a dozen different agencies deal in these areas.

    Today the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency released a new report that underscores the need for this review of the federal government’s structure and how it can be updated to eliminate duplication and fragmentation and better support the nation’s competitiveness a 21st Century global economy.

    Over the last few months, Lisa Brown, the Executive Director of this effort, and I, and our team at OMB, have been hard at work gathering ideas, input, and advice from as many stakeholders as possible, hearing what works and what doesn’t, and where duplication and fragmentation exist, in order to develop informed recommendations for the President.

    For the entire article:

  23. U.S., Chinese Leaders Note Progress on Military Ties

    June 3, 2011 By Jim Garamone – American Forces Press Service

    SINGAPORE– U.S. and Chinese defense leaders are pleased with the progress the countries are making in re-establishing good military-to-military relations.

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie held bilateral talks during the Shangri-La Dialogue here today. This is the first time the Chinese defense minister has participated in the annual Asia security conference sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
    Gates and Liang continued discussions that began in January when the secretary visited Beijing. The Chinese suspended contacts with the U.S. military in 2009 in retaliation for the United States providing defensive weapons to Taiwan.

    President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao call military-to-military contacts between the two nations “an underdeveloped” part of the broader relationship between the United States and China.

    “In recent months, our two countries have made some progress toward rectifying this imbalance by jointly identifying areas of cooperation,” Gates said at the start of the Shangri-La meeting.

    Gates, who will retire as defense secretary at the end of the month, said he believes the U.S.-Chinese military relationship is now on a more positive trajectory. “Going forward, the U.S. and China must do more to work together on issues where we have common strategic interest — piracy, disaster relief and North Korea,” he added.

    For the entire article:

    • Gates Answers Questions for Security Conference Delegates

      June 4, 2011 By Jim Garamone – American Forces Press Service

      SINGAPORE, – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates explained U.S. policy toward China, the future in Afghanistan and the threat posed by cyber attacks and anti-access capabilities during a question-and-answer session at the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit here today.

      The annual conference is sponsored by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, and it brings together defense leaders from around the region.
      The questions from the delegates were direct and pointed, but respectful, and Gates put his answers in context.

      The Chinese often object to U.S. military planes and ships sailing near their coast. A delegate wanted to know why the United States didn’t just stop such provocations. Gates explained that everything the U.S. military does is covered by international law, and the United States respects all international boundaries.

      “But it all comes down to one word: transparency,” the secretary said. “The more transparent nations are in regards to what they are doing, what their intentions are, what their programs are, the less need there is for us unilaterally to figure that out on our own.

      “One of my colleagues long ago in the intelligence business said there are two types on information we seek – secrets and mysteries,” the secretary continued. “Mostly what we are trying to break are the mysteries. Greater transparency of intent, and greater transparency of capabilities – which we are fully prepared to reciprocate – will help us in this arena.”

      For the entire article:

  24. Clinton: FBI to probe China email hacking charges

    5/2/11 By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that Google’s allegations of Chinese hacking of its email system are “very serious” and will be investigated by the FBI.

    Google said the hundreds of accounts affected by the breach included personal email belonging to senior U.S. officials.

    “These allegations are very serious,” Clinton told reporters. “We take them seriously. We are looking into them.”

    She declined to comment further on the matter, referring questions to both Google and “to the FBI which will be conducting the investigation.”

    Google said Wednesday that personal Gmail accounts of several hundred people, including senior U.S. government officials, military personnel and political activists, had been exposed. Google traced the origin of the attacks to Jinan, China, the home city of a military vocational school whose computers were linked to a more sophisticated assault 17 months ago on Google’s systems.

    Clinton said attacks such as the one alleged by Google were a prime reason the State Department has for the first time created a cyber-security coordinator. “We know this is going to be a continuing problem and therefore we want to be as prepared as possible to deal with these matters when they do come to our attention,” she said.

    For the entire article:

  25. Hillary Rodham Clinton -Secretary of State
    Benjamin Franklin Room
    Washington, DC

    June 3, 2011

    SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Tom. And let me join in welcoming all of you here to the Ben Franklin Room on the 8th floor of the State Department where we are privileged to live and make history every single day. And I think this gathering is a very historic one, so I want to express my appreciation to all of our U.S. Government participants from, as Tom said, across the government, all of our American business leaders, and in particular, our friends and partners from Iraq. We are delighted to have all of you here.

    And I want to thank Deputy Secretary Tom Nides, who came to the State Department from a long history in business as well as a deep understanding of the difficult strategic, political choices that confront us in the world today. And Ambassador Jeffrey, it’s very good to see you in Washington. Usually we see you on the other side of a video screen, so we’re delighted you could be here. And Ambassador, thank you for being with us, too, and thank you for all the work you do here in Washington representing your country.

    For the entire article:

  26. Hi, CR and O’family – Just getting back on the blogs after doing “other stuff” for a couple of days! So nice to read all that the administration is doing, especially President and Mrs. Obama.

    Enjoy the remainder of your Friday – and the weekend!

  27. US VP Biden meets with pope

    6/3/11 AP

    VATICAN CITY – U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, a pro-abortion rights Roman Catholic, met with Pope Benedict XVI in an unannounced visit at the Vatican on Friday.

    Vatican officials said the meeting was strictly private and U.S. officials declined to give details.

    Biden, who was in Rome to mark Italy’s 150th anniversary as a unified nation, is an observant Catholic who nevertheless supports abortion rights. Benedict has long insisted that Catholic politicians follow church teaching on such “nonnegotiable” issues as abortion, which the Vatican strongly opposes.
    Some U.S. bishops have said priests should refuse to give Communion to politicians who support abortion.

    The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, published a photo of Biden and the pope in its afternoon edition.

    The media learned of the meeting when journalists at the Vatican to cover Benedict’s meeting with the Palestinian president spotted Biden’s car in the Vatican courtyard.

    For the entire article:

  28. Coast Guard Admiral Becomes First Woman to Lead a U.S. Service Academy

    Posted by Admiral Bob Papp on June 03, 2011

    Today is a significant waypoint not only in Coast Guard history, but in American history. This morning Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz assumed command as the United States Coast Guard Academy’s first woman superintendent. This also makes her the first woman to command any U.S. service academy.

    A 1982 Coast Guard Academy graduate and a surface operations officer with 12 years of sea duty, Admiral Stosz has plotted a course that includes many firsts for women in the military. Her performance in previous assignments as commanding officer for recruit training at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J., the Director of Reserve and Leadership, and the commanding officer of two cutters, has demonstrated a commitment to building a diverse workforce without boundaries.

    With this appointment, Admiral Stosz opens what I hope is one of the few remaining doors to women in uniform. This is a tribute not only to our country’s rich history of dynamic leaders and trailblazers but also our Service’s ongoing commitment to providing limitless opportunities for every man and woman who wears the uniform.

    Admiral Stosz takes over a world class institution of higher learning and leadership development that continues to see increases in minority admissions. On June 27, the class of 2015 reports aboard and will be the most diverse class in history. Of the 290 offered appointments, 33 percent will be from underrepresented minority groups and 32 percent will be women.

    For the entire article:

  29. WH

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    7:15 AM EDT
    Vice President and Dr. Biden will visit with U.S. service members and their families in Naples, Italy, and deliver remarks at an event with U.S. and NATO forces and their families.

    Vice President and Dr. Biden return to Washington, DC.

    8:00 AM
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    10:00 PM

  30. On Saturday, June 4th, the Vice President and Dr. Biden will visit with U.S. service members and their families in Naples, Italy, and deliver remarks at an event with U.S. and NATO forces and their families. Afterwards, the Bidens will return to Washington, DC.

  31. ARCHIVE:

    June 4, 2009

    Cairo University
    Cairo, Egypt
    1:10 P.M. (Local)

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning; and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. And together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I’m grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And I’m also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum. (Applause.)

    We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world — tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

    Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. All this has bred more fear and more mistrust.

    So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

    For the entire article:

  32. I wanted to share with you my favorite photos from the Arab Spring:

    Three women gesture for victory during the demonstrations in Cairo

    Three women gesture for victory as they attend a demonstration in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday Jan.30, 2011. Minutes before the start of a 4 p.m. curfew, at least two jets appeared and made multiple passes over downtown, including a central square where thousands of protesters were calling for the departure of President Hosni Mubarak. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

    Chrisitians protecting Muslims in Tahrir Square during the Spring Uprising

    Christians protecting Muslims in Tahrir Square, Egypt during the Spring Uprising of 2011. (Al Jazeera photo)

  33. Thousands in Hong Kong to mark Tiananmen crackdown

    6/3/11 by Beh Lih Yi – AFP

    HONG KONG (AFP) – Thousands were expected to gather in Hong Kong Saturday to commemorate the bloody 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, as China defies world condemnation with an ongoing roundup of political dissidents.

    Pro-democracy groups hope to draw around 150,000 people to the annual candlelight vigil in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, the only such commemoration on Chinese soil, to mark the 22nd anniversary of the demonstrations in Beijing.

    “We are hoping for the same number of people like last year, if not a bigger crowd this year, ” said Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the event organiser.

    “With the current crackdown in China, we are also expecting more mainlanders — those who study or work here — to join us this year because they won’t be able to do so in China,” Lee, who is also a prominent lawmaker, told AFP.

    Wang Dan, a key leader of the 1989 student-led protests, and Ding Zilin, spokeswoman of the Tiananmen Mothers, a group representing families of the victims, will address the crowd in Hong Kong by videolink from Taiwan and China respectively.

    Hundreds, perhaps thousands, are believed to have died when the government sent in tanks and soldiers to clear Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on the night of June 3-4, 1989, bringing a violent end to six weeks of pro-democracy protests.

    An official verdict after the protests called them a “counter-revolutionary rebellion” although the wording has since been softened.

    For the entire article:

    • “Thank You”: Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden to Our Service Members in Naples, Italy

      Posted by Dr. Jill Biden on June 05, 2011

      Yesterday, my husband and I were honored to visit with some of our service members and their families at the Navy’s Capodichino base in Naples, Italy. I was proud to be there as Second Lady of the United States, but I was even more proud to be there as a military mom.

      We were there for a simple reason, and that was to say thank you.

      On a daily basis, each of these men and women show us what words like service, strength, and sacrifice really mean. Our military families serving in the United States and around the world are truly inspiring, and they need to know that everyone at home appreciates all that they do for our nation.

      The First Lady and I are working hard through our Joining Forces initiative to make sure that every American understands the sacrifices that our service members and their families are making for the security of this nation. And we’re encouraging all Americans to find ways to give back in any way they can.

      Ed. Note: Dr. Jill Biden introduced her husband — a proud military dad and our Vice President. Here’s an excerpt from his remarks to the troops:

      When you are deployed and you are here, and when you’re in combat — I know many of you have served in many other theaters, as well — your husbands or your wives, your mothers or your fathers do exactly what I watched my wife do every single morning when our son was deployed in Iraq for a year. I’d see her standing there making coffee at the sink, and her lips moving saying a little prayer, the same prayer she said every morning. It was essentially: God protect my son. God protect my daughter. Please bring back my father. Please bring back my mother.

      For the entire article:

  34. June 04, 2011

    Weekly Address: The Big Three Drive a Growing Manufacturing Sector

    Remarks of President Barack Obama
    As Prepared for Delivery
    Saturday, June 4, 2011
    Toledo, Ohio

    Hello, everyone. I’m speaking to you today from a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, where I just met with workers, including Jill. Jill was born and raised here. Her mother and step-father retired from this plant. And she met her husband here, and now they have two children of their own. This plant has not only been central to the economy of this town. It’s been a part of the lifeblood of this community.

    The reason I came to Toledo was to congratulate Jill and her co-workers on the turnaround they helped bring about at Chrysler and throughout the auto industry. Today, each of the Big Three automakers – Chrysler, GM, and Ford – is turning a profit for the first time since 2004. Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers for their support during my presidency – and it repaid that money six years ahead of schedule. And this week, we reached a deal to sell our remaining stake. That means soon, Chrysler will be 100% in private hands.

    Most importantly, all three American automakers are now adding shifts and creating jobs at the strongest rate since the 1990s. Chrysler has added a second shift at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit that I visited last year. GM is adding a third shift at its Hamtramck plant for the first time ever. And GM plans to hire back all of the workers they had to lay off during the recession.

    That’s remarkable when you think about where we were just a couple of years ago. When I took office, we were facing the worst recession since the Great Depression – a recession that hit our auto industry particularly hard. In the year before I was President, this industry lost more than 400,000 jobs, and two great American companies, Chrysler and GM, stood on the brink of collapse.

    For the entire article:

  35. Key al Qaeda operative killed in Pakistan by U.S. drone

    6/4//11 By Michael Georgy and Augustine Anthony – 1 hr 33 mins ago

    ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Senior al Qaeda operative Ilyas Kashmiri, regarded as one of the most dangerous militants in the world, was killed by a U.S. drone aircraft missile strike in Pakistan, an intelligence official and local media said on Saturday.

    The death of the Pakistani militant was another intelligence coup for the United States after U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden in a town close to Islamabad on May 2.

    “We are sure that he was killed. Now we are trying to retrieve the bodies,” said the Pakistani intelligence official. “We want to get photographs of the bodies.

    It is not the first time reports of Kashmiri’s death have surfaced. He was reported to have been killed in a September 2009 strike by a U.S. drone aircraft.

    Pakistani media said Kashmiri had been killed this time, citing the group that he heads that is allied with al Qaeda, Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI).

    “We confirm that our Amir (leader) and commander in chief, Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, along with other companions, was martyred in an American drone strike on June 3, 2011, at 11:15 p.m.,” Abu Hanzla Kashir, who identified himself as an HUJI spokesman, said in a statement faxed to a Pakistani television station.

    “God willing … America will very soon see our full revenge. Our only target is America.”

    For the entire article:

  36. Some Men Bring Home Flowers For Their Wives…

    JUNE 03, 2011

    …but President Obama gifted First Lady Obama with two pairs of bright green gardening gloves as he emerged from Marine One on Friday afternoon at the White House after a visit to Toledo, Ohio…

    The President had toured the Chrysler Jeep Plant in Toledo, and he also stopped by a local hardware store, where he purchased the gloves. President Obama carried the gloves as he stepped off Marine One, and he was smiling broadly as he presented them to Mrs. Obama while they were still standing beneath the chopper’s rotors.

    The First Lady held the gloves up and admired them, and they then strolled across the South Lawn together, chatting.

    The gloves were purchased when President Obama made an “unannounced” visit to Fred’s Pro Hardware in Toledo, a family owned business.

    For the entire article and photos:

    • I thought the same thing when I saw the photo on BWD’s blog, of the President’s handing over the garden gloves he had chosen to bring home for Mrs. Obama. That’s real love, by the look on her face, when garden gloves are appreciated as much as … say … diamonds! They both sure have diamonds in their eyes when they look at each other. So nice to see.

  37. Gates Travels to Kabul for Talks with Leaders, Troops

    June 4, 2011By Jim Garamone – American Forces Press Service

    KABUL, Afghanistan – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived here today for his final visit to Afghanistan as defense secretary.

    The secretary, who retires at the end of the month, will meet with Afghan and coalition leaders and U.S. troops.

    “This is principally an opportunity for me to thank the troops and bid them farewell,” Gates said during a news conference aboard his plane before arriving.
    The secretary noted that he has many commemorative challenge coins to give to troops he meets. “The plane will be considerably lighter when we leave,” he joked.

    Gates discussed with reporters traveling with him the dialogue within the administration on the troop drawdown that will begin next month. He hit back at critics who say that fiscal matters should partially dictate the pace of the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan.

    “I think that once you’ve committed, that success of the mission should override everything else, because the most costly thing of all would be to fail,” he said. But that does not preclude adjustments to the mission or to the strategy, he added.

    “Ultimately, the objective has to be success in the mission that has been set forth by the president,” the secretary said, adding that he will use what he learns from the visit as he participates in the Afghan drawdown decision.

    “It’s always helpful to go into these discussions with the latest information from the field and some feeling of the ground truth in terms of how things are going,” he said.

    President Barack Obama has made the commitment that U.S. forces will begin the drawdown process next month. Afghan forces will begin taking over security from the coalition, and the process will continue to the end of 2014.

    For the entire article:

    • Afghanistan at Important Point in Struggle, Gates Says

      June 4, 2011 By Jim Garamone – American Forces Press Service

      CAMP EGGERS, Afghanistan – The conflict against the Taliban in Afghanistan has reached an important inflection point in the struggle for the future of the country, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.
      Gates met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul, where Karzai presented Gates with the Wazir Akbar Khan award, named for an Afghan leader who fought against the Russians.

      During a joint news conference after their meeting, Karzai thanked Gates for his support of the Afghan people and for always trying to see the struggle against terrorists through their eyes. The president, speaking through a translator, said that in the meetings with Gates he once again brought up the matter of civilian casualties. He asked the secretary to end bombardment of homes and night raids.

      In his remarks, the defense secretary acknowledged weariness in both Afghanistan and the United States over the duration and costs of the conflict.
      “I am keenly aware that some of these [International Security Assistance Force] military operations have at times impacted the Afghan people in unwelcome ways – from minor but grating inconveniences to, in some rare but tragic cases, civilians accidently killed or injured – losses we mourn and profoundly regret,” he said.

      “But we also know that the vast majority of civilian casualties are caused by the Taliban – who intentionally target innocent men, women and children with their terror attacks. And few Afghan citizens want a return to the cruel and despotic regime that so devastated this country during the 1990s.”

      For the entire article:

  38. Palestinians agree to attend Mideast conference

    6/4/11 By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH, Associated Press – 34 mins ago

    RAMALLAH, West Bank – The Palestinians on Saturday accepted a French invitation to attend a conference in Paris aimed at reviving peace talks with Israel, as their strategy to bypass negotiations and seek U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state appeared to be unraveling.

    Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians were prepared to go to Paris and were waiting for Israeli and American responses.

    French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe extended the invitation earlier this week in a visit to the region, saying the conference could take place later this month and would use Israel’s boundaries prior to the 1967 war as a starting point for talks on borders. Israel would be loath to accept such a proposal and has not replied to Juppe’s invitation. Israel had no comment Saturday on the Palestinian acceptance, which came with no conditions attached.

    The Palestinians have refused to return to the bargaining table for months because Israel has rejected their demand to halt all settlement construction on lands they claim for a future state. At the same time, they have been preparing to ask the U.N. General Assembly in September to recognize a Palestinian state, with or without a peace deal.

    For the entire article:

  39. Latest developments in Arab political unrest

    6/4/11 By The Associated Press – 7 mins ago

    Yemen’s wounded president accepted an offer from the Saudi king to travel there for medical treatment for burns and wounds from a splintered pulpit that was blown apart in an opposition rocket attack. A flurry of conflicting reports about President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s whereabouts and condition spread through the Middle East late Saturday after Yemeni government officials and opposition tribal leaders reported that Saudi King Abdullah had mediated a cease-fire in the raging conflict in Yemen. The capital and other areas of Yemen grew quiet for the first time in days after dawn, though the head of the tribal confederation battling Saleh’s forces accused them of not observing the cease-fire.

    British Apache and French attack helicopters struck targets for the first time in NATO’s campaign in Libya, hitting Moammar Gadhafi’s troops near a key coastal oil town. Hours later, at least eight airstrikes were heard in Tripoli. Rebel leaders met with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in the rebels’ de facto capital, Benghazi. Hague is one of the highest-ranking foreign officials to visit rebel-held territory in eastern Libya.

    Tanks rolled toward a tense central city mourning the deaths at least 65 protesters, reaching the outskirts hours after a funeral procession of thousands. The government lifted its stranglehold on the Internet, which has been key to motivating people to join the 11-week uprising. Troops killed at least six protesters in a northern town, according to the Local Coordination Committees, which helps organize and document the protests calling for an end to the regime of President Bashar Assad.

    Fighting over unemployment erupted in a mining town in the southwest, killing five people and injuring 90. Tunisia’s official TAP news agency said the clashes erupted in the mining town of Metlaoui after rumors surfaced about a change in the recruitment policies of the region’s main employer.

    A former Egyptian finance minister was been sentenced in absentia to 30 years for squandering public funds and abusing his authority, the official state news agency said. Yousef Boutros-Ghali, a nephew of former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, left Egypt during the uprising that forced out President Hosni Mubarak. Yousef Boutros-Ghali, whose location is unknown, was a powerful confidant of Mubarak’s son Gamal. He was convicted of appropriating luxury vehicles seized from customs and of abusing his authority for using state print shops to produce campaign material.

  40. President Obama on the Passing of Lawrence Eagleburger: “Our Nation Has Lost a Distinguished Diplomat and Public Servant”

    Posted by Kori Schulman on June 04, 2011

    On the passing of former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, President Obama and Vice President Biden released the following statements:

    Statement by the President:

    With the passing of former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, our nation has lost a distinguished diplomat and public servant. Through more than four decades of service, first in the Army and then as a dedicated foreign service officer and statesman, Lawrence Eagleburger devoted his life to the security of our nation and to strengthening our ties with allies and partners. As Deputy Secretary and then Secretary of State under President George H. W. Bush, he helped our nation navigate the pivotal days during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. Our nation is grateful for Secretary Eagleburger’s lifetime of service, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, especially his three sons.

    For the entire article:

  41. Obama gets in a round of golf on Saturday

    6/04/11 By Jamie Klatell –

    President Obama headed to the golf course at Andrews Air Force Base on Saturday for an afternoon game.

    Energy Department official David Katz, White House trip director Marvin Nicholson and staffer Michael Brush rounded out the president’s foursome.
    Obama has a big golf outing coming in the near future. He and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will play together, a spokesman for the Speaker confirmed on Friday.

    The two will hit the links on Saturday, June 18, in Washington D.C.

  42. WH

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    4:45 PM
    President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a reception for the Ford’s Theatre.

    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden attend a performance at Ford’s Theatre; Joe Biden delivers remarks following the performance.

    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  43. Sunday talk show tip sheet

    6/3/116/3/11 By ZACK HALE – POLITICO


    Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Republican Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who decided against a presidential bid, are on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

    Pelosi, who was House speaker in the last Congress, will surely be pressed on her role in the ongoing budget negotiations between the White House and Congress, and Barbour will analyze the field of Republican presidential
    contenders in his first Sunday show foray since opting out of the race.

    NBC’s “Meet the Press” is preempted this Sunday by coverage of the French Open tennis tournament.

    On CNN, “State of the Union” assesses the nation’s sluggish economic recovery with chief White House economist Austan Goolsbee – and with Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a Republican and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, and Alice Rivlin, a Democrat and former director of the White House budget office.

    Also, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas discusses fiscal policy and his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. And former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn stop by as well to weigh in on presidential race.

    Paul is also a guest on Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital.” And Goolsbee is also on ABC’s “This Week.”

    C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” has Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, interviewed by National Journal’s Humberto Sanchez and The Hill’s Ian Swanson.

    Finally, the new Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, talks campaign politics on TV One’s “Washington Watch.” She’ll be joined by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, now the CEO of the American Bankers Association.

      • Yes, for a change! Maybe the Republicans are off having their annual picnic. 😦

  44. Vice President Biden to Make Appearance at Ford’s Theatre Gala, 6/5

    June 3, 2011

    Vice President Joe Biden will deliver remarks at the Ford’s Theatre Annual Gala: “Lincoln’s Legacy and a New Era of Hope” on Sunday, June 5, 2011, at Ford’s Theatre (511 10th Street NW). The evening will include the presentation of the Lincoln Medal to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julie Andrews, whose extraordinary careers and commitment to education, understanding and equality exemplify the character and lasting legacy of President Abraham Lincoln.

    Previously announced appearances include host Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Arden, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks, Christopher B. Corrigan, Jeremy Gumbs and Joshua Henry from the Tony-nominated “The Scottsboro Boys,” Kellee Knighten Hough, Kevin McAllister, Michael McElroy, Anika Noni Rose, David Selby, Michael Urie and “Liberty Smith” cast members Christopher Bloch, Geoff Packard, Donna Migliaccio and Bobby Smith in a performance showcasing scenes and Broadway songs from past and future Ford’s Theatre theatrical productions that capture the essence of Lincoln’s legacy by illuminating his hopes for a world defined by tolerance, understanding and acceptance. Following the performance, guests dine at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum (750 Ninth Street NW).

    First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the honorary chair of the gala celebration. Honorary co-chairs are Mrs. Landra Reid, The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, Mrs. Cynthia Rogers, Mrs. Deborah I. Dingell, Dr. Sharon Malone and Mrs. Catherine B. Reynolds.

    Read more:

    • Good evening, CR and O’family!

      CR – I seem to recall seeing one or more of the Ford’s Theatre gala award ceremonies in the past, perhaps on PBS? Would anyone know if this one will be televised?

        • Fingers crossed! I just checked my local PBS schedule, but didn’t spot it. Will keep looking!

          Good night.

    • Biden at Ford’s Theatre
      Biden honors American celebrities

      6/05/11 By ABBY PHILLIP – POLITICO

      Vice President Joe Biden made brief remarks following a performance of selections from the musical “Liberty Smith” at the Ford’s Theatre Society’s Annual Gala on Sunday night.

      He and Dr. Jill Biden were joined on the stage by the “Liberty Smith” cast and other performers from the night’s program.

      Biden began by saying that the Ford’s Theatre had worked to transform the space from “a site of national tragedy into a site of nation celebration.”

      Biden said that actress Julie Andrews and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who were both honored tonight with the Lincoln Medal, fit “naturally into the sweeping arc of America’s greatness.”

      “The greatness that Abraham Lincoln knew lived inside of each and every one of us,” Biden continued at the site of Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth.

      Biden remarked that the cast’s final song, “Dare but to Dream,” struck a chord. But, he said, America is about more than just dreams, “America is about possibilities.”

      He recalled waiting for President Barack Obama in Delaware with Dr. Biden before the inauguration in January 2009, where they would board a train from Philadelphia to Washington on the same route that Abe Lincoln took.

      “When I stood there, the possibilities for this country just overcame me,” Biden said.

      “I stood there and I was waiting for the first African American in American history, to pick up this Irish Catholic kid, to take a 128 mile ride to Washington, D.C., to be sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States.”

      “Ladies and gentlemen, I was a senator for 36 years and a Vice President for a little over two. I’m more optimistic for the possibilities of this country than I have ever been,” Biden said.

      For the entire article:

  45. Good Sunday afternoon to all! Hope you – and the President! – are having a relaxing weekend. I haven’t heard one bit of news since I accidentally listened to one of Haley Barbour’s lies early this morning. That was quite enough.

    • Good Sunday Ms O’Boomer!

      I don’t think that the Ford’s Theater event will be covered live; maybe there will be a video or at least an article to post regarding it.

      We will be toasting Dr. Jill Biden’s health tonight with the Obama birthday tradition of pizza (and a salad) tonight.

  46. *********************

    NBLB Come on over to my newest post

    titled: “D-Day – Operation Neptune ”

    To get to newest post click on “HOME” at the top of the page and click on the title of the newest post

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