Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread | Carole King Week!

Happy HUMP day Everyone! :-) Carole King week continues with YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND.”

We miss you, SouthernGirl2! This song’s for you, dear one.

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About Ametia

I am a Spiritual traveler, a devoted wife, mother, sister, lover of dream study, reading, theater, music, dance, and thought-provoking discussions on love, life, humor and service.
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75 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread | Carole King Week!

  1. Ametia says:

    Dear President Obama Supporters,

    Big news: In 10 days, President Obama is hitting the campaign trail.

    On Saturday, May 5th, the President and First Lady Michelle Obama are holding the first two public rallies of the campaign in Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia. He’ll speak about how far we’ve come, and lay out the very real stakes in this election: Are we going to continue to move forward, rebuilding an economy that’s meant to last, with a growing middle class and more Americans getting a fair shot? Or are we going to go back to the same failed policies that crashed our economy and left too many folks struggling to catch up? That’s the choice.

    These kinds of events are one of the hallmarks of this organization. Millions of people first came to know and support candidate Barack Obama in 2007 and 2008 when they met him at rallies and town halls in their communities. We’re now entering the general election of his final campaign — this day should be something pretty special.

    The President would like two supporters from across the country and their guests to meet him backstage before he goes on at the first rally. Supporters like you are the core of this campaign — so we’re opening this up to anyone willing to sign up.

    What we’re looking at right now is essentially the start of a general election. We’ve all but got our opponent. This is what we’ve been building for since we launched this campaign last April — and we’re ready to go.

    I can tell you the President can’t wait to get out there.

    You really can’t lose on this one: As part of our mobile community, you’ll be sure to hear about events near you, when the President will be in your area, and other campaign news.

    And signing up right now just might land you the chance to meet President Obama backstage before he starts firing folks up.

    Want to be there with him? Sign up for text updates — and be automatically entered for you and a guest to meet him backstage:

    Go to my.barackobama.com/Backstage-with-barack

    Thanks,

    Messina

    Jim Messina
    Campaign Manager
    Obama for America

    P.S. — Even if you can’t be there, you’ll still be able see the first rally for yourself. We’ll be streaming the event live on our site. Stay tuned for more information about that.

  2. rikyrah says:

    this is a really good segment from Tweety on the differences between POTUS and Willard

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/ns/msnbc_tv-hardball_with_chris_matthews/#47181009

  3. Ametia says:

    Just got off a conference call with David Axelrod and Jim Messina.

    David said the most STRIKING thing about Romney’s speech last night after winning the 5 state primaries was the fact that he did not mention HE WAS GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS. NOT ONCE!

    Mittens talking points about being a business amn and turning the econony around when he left MA in debt.

    Romney went on and on about job creation, yet for years all he’s done is OUTSOURCE jobs, & BANKRUPT companies that lost jobs not create them.

    David said he is proud of PBO’s record. We had 800,000 jobs and now we’ve had 25 months of straight job growth. Can’t afford to return to the past with Wall Street writing the rules.

    Looking foward to the May 5. and the debates.

    QUESTIONS from the call:

    Why PBO campaign picked Ohio & Virginia as first 2 states to visit?
    These 2 states are critical to the election. FLOTUS will join him. Not worried about Mitt Romney’s campaign, the focus is on winning the 270 electoral votes, and they have a clear plan to get there.

    What is the strategy for having FLOTUS on the campaign trail with PBO?

    FLOTUS can speak to his character, his steady hand, and his accomplishments.

    Sam Stein, HuffPO: How much money is being spent on the campaign for use of Air Force One vs. work-student loan speeches-travel ?

    The POTUS is doing this for the students, and it is in the budget. PBO needed to speak on this issue of raising student loan rates. It’s not a distraction, and as you can see Congress is starting to move on it, since PBO has spoken out on it to college students.. The Obama camp is not bothered by RNC stunts. BAM!

    Call ended… Thank you!

  4. rikyrah says:

    That Center Cannot Hold? Rubio Speaks on foreign policy
    Posted by Heather Hurlburt

    Marco Rubio makes a splashy appeal to what used to be the national security center-right, with a Bob Kagan-heavy speech at Brookings and an LATimes op-ed on Latin America.

    The pieces are well structured and make bows to reality — working with allies and partners, the need for negotiation and engagement, even the appropriateness of using the UN to build coalitions — that we have grown unused to hearing from conservatives over the primary debates.

    Laura Rozen went as far as suggesting Rubio was auditioning for an Obama second-term Secretary of State, with lines like these:


    In this new century, more than ever before, America should work with out capable allies in finding solutions to global problems. Not because America has gotten weaker, but because our partners have grown stronger. It’s worth pointing out, that is not a new idea for us. Our greatest successes have always occurred in partnership with other like-minded nations. America has acted unilaterally in the past – and I believe it should continue to do so in the future — when necessity requires. But our preferred option since the U.S. became a global leader has been to work with others to achieve our goals. So yes, global problems do require international coalitions. On that point this administration is correct.

    Preferably, we can succeed through coercive means short of military force. We should be open to negotiations with Iran.

    The spread and success of political and economic freedom in the Middle East is in our vital interest. It will certainly present challenges, as newly enfranchised societies elect leaders whose views and purposes oppose and even offend ours. But in the long term, because governments that rule by the consent of the governed must be responsive to the material needs and demands of their people, they are less likely to engage in costly confrontations that harm their economies and deprive their people of the opportunity to improve their circumstances.

    It’s easier to imagine each of those paragraphs coming out of President Obama’s mouth than Mitt Romney’s, which presages some interesting questions about Rubio as VP.

    I found just three differences on specific policies: Rubio’s call to establish a safe haven across the Turkish border and “potentially” arm the opposition in Syria; his limits on a timeline for negotiations with Iran; and his rejection of the US “reset” with Russia that produced Russian nuclear reductions udner New START, Russian help or abstention on Iran sanctions and Libya, and vital overflight rights for our troops in Afghanistan.

    http://www.democracyarsenal.org/2012/04/the-center-cannot-hold-rubio-speaks-on-foreign-policy.html

  5. rikyrah says:

    Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 08:49 AM PDT
    Mitt Romney has failed to live up to his reputation as a flip-flopper

    by Jed Lewison

    If you’re wondering why the Obama campaign has focused most of its recent criticism of Mitt Romney on Romney’s conservative positions instead of his track record as a flip-flopper, you need look no further than this fact: despite Mitt Romney’s track record of being a flip-flopper and despite predictions from virtually everybody in politics (including his own campaign!) that he would Etch-A-Sketch his conservative primary positions away, Mitt Romney has largely stayed true to his campaign promises.

    Romney has flip-flopped on flip-flopping, you might say. The most glaring exception is his reversal on student loan interest rates; there’s no question he’s flip-flopped there. And he’s hinted at a shift on immigration policy, but aside from disputing his own statement about Arizona being a model for immigration policy, he hasn’t actually changed his position.

    Meanwhile, on virtually everything else, Romney hasn’t budged. His economic philosophy is extraordinarily conservative, featuring a $10 trillion tax cut for the wealthy. His stump speech portrays Obama as an enemy of the American way of life and describes his campaign in apocalyptic terms, saying that America’s survival is at stake in the 2012 election. That’s not hyperbole (on my part). Last night, Romney said if Obamacare is allowed to stand, America’s economic system will have “ceased” to exist.

    Not only isn’t Romney flip-flopping on any of those positions, for the most part he’s not even trying to soften his rhetoric. Case in point: going on Jay Leno’s show to tell sick people without insurance that they are out of luck if they want to buy coverage. He even brought up the Republican War on Birth Control during his speech to the NRA. (Talk about shooting blanks!)

    It might be remarkable that Mitt Romney hasn’t sought to flip-flop on those positions or soften his rhetoric, but given the fact that he’s decided to stay on the right, it’s not exactly hard to understand why the Obama campaign is training its fire on his conservative positions. It’s true that they’ve shifted from attacking him as a flip-flopper to attacking his conservative views, and The New York Times and Politico have done an interesting job exploring the dynamics of that shift, but the central reason for it is that Mitt Romney—against all odds—hasn’t even tried to flip-flop.

    Perhaps the key question that reporters should explore is understanding why Romney hasn’t yet tried to erase more of his positions. Perhaps he’s waiting until voters are paying more attention, or maybe he just wants to make sure he unifies the Republican base. He might even be sensitive to the perception—fueled by the Obama campaign and his own past history—that he’s particularly inclined to being a flip-flopper. And if Mitt Romney’s camping out on the right simply because he doesn’t want to play into the Obama campaign narrative of him as a flip-flopper, then that narrative will have proven to be one of the most effective traps in political history because Mitt Romney cannot win this election without Etch-A-Sketching his way to the middle. And if—or, more likely, when—he eventually tries, you can bet the Obama campaign will be there every step of the way, challenging his credibility. And the longer Romney waits, the more effective those challenges will be.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/25/1086100/-Mitt-Romney-has-failed-to-live-up-to-his-reputation-as-a-flip-flopper

  6. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:37 PM ET, 04/25/2012
    Student loans: A rerun of the payroll tax cut fight?
    By Greg Sargent

    Jake Sherman reports on the House GOP’s latest response in the student loan fight. With Republicans claiming they are for extending the low interest rates, and that they only disagree with the White House and Dems over how to pay for it, House GOPers will introduce their own bill extending the rates, and pay for it out of Obamacare’s “slush fund”:

    House Republicans will announce by the end of this week their own bill to keep student loan rates from doubling, several Republican leadership sources said.

    The GOP will offset its cost with money from what they dub a “slush fund” in the Democrats 2010 health care law…

    “Democrats put in place a law that would double interest rates for student loans this year. Republicans and Democrats on both sides of Capitol Hill have been working on this issue, and everyone knows we will fix it before the deadline in a few months,” a GOP leadership aide said. “This week, the president is travelling the country on the taxpayer’s dime campaigning and trying to invent a fight where it doesn’t exist. To end this charade, and eliminate the excuse for his taxpayer-funded campaign tour, the House is going to move more quickly to fix the problem.”

    Which Obamacare “slush fund” is being referred to here? Speaking to reporters this afternoon, John Boehner clarified that the “slush fund” in question is the law’s $17 billion account that the Health and Human Services Secretary can use to fund prevention and public health programs.

    The “slush fund” term is not new. In March of last year, Boehner decried the law’s “series of slush funds.”

    When Politifact asked for substantiation of the claim, Boehner’s office said that this was a reference to the fact that the law empowers HHS to spend money on a whole range of programs, such as the aforementioned prevention and public health programs, or grants to states to set up health insurance exchanges or to build school-based health centers.

    Politifact concluded that Congress retains the power to oversee the law’s implementation, and dubbed the “slush fund” claim a “Pants on Fire” lie.

    That aside, this latest turn in the fight is yet another reminder that this is shaping up very much like the battle over the payroll tax cut extension. Just as in that fight, Republicans say they don’t object to extending the low student loan rates; they only differ with Dems over how to pay for it. (The Paul Ryan budget that recently passed the House, however, did not extend the rates.) Just as in that fight, Republicans are now floating various ways to pay for the extension (as in the Obamacare “slush fund”) that seem likely to get shot down by Dems.

    Meanwhile, Dems continue to believe the politics of this fight are on their side, and continue to argue that Republicans are taking refuge behind the dispute over the pay-for to mask their ideological hostility to government help for student debt. And Dems are getting a bit of help in that regard, too. As I noted this morning, GOP Rep. Todd Akin recently opined that programs such as federally funded student loans have left America with “the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism.”

    In his speech today, Obama lampooned this quote and held it up as an emblem of GOP extremism, noting: “Just when you think you heard it all in Washington, somebody comes up with a new way to go off the deep end.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/student-loans-a-rerun-of-the-payroll-tax-cut-fight/2012/04/25/gIQADMCThT_blog.html

  7. Ametia says:

    I”T IS THE STATEMENT THEIR LIVES HAVE MADE.” Michelle LaVaugn Robinson OBAMA & Barack Hussein Obama. You got that right, Chris Matthews.

  8. rikyrah says:

    GOP economist, Romney aide ‘seems to have jumped the shark’
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:00 PM EDT.

    Economist Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, saw his stature and credibility as a scholar take a pretty severe hit during the Bush/Cheney era. Hubbard served as the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors under George W. Bush, and ended up looking pretty foolish — he not only defended ridiculous policies, the Bush gang had him promote policies he’d argued against before joining the president’s team.

    In other words, Hubbard became known as an economist who would say things he didn’t believe, simply because political circumstances forced him into it.

    Hubbard is now an economic adviser to Mitt Romney — who, incidentally, also is known for saying things he doesn’t believe — and today has a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing that President Obama’s budget plan includes a secret plan to raise everyone’s taxes by 11%.

    Commenting on the piece, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Hubbard’s argument is “completely made up,” and a “remarkably hackish observation for an economist.”

    Austan Goolsbee, himself a former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, has apparently been friends with Hubbard for nearly 20 years, so he responded with a lighter tough, but even he was willing to say, “Glenn seems to have jumped the shark.”

    Hubbard’s numbers seem in pretty serious danger of violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

    His claim that the President’s budget requires large tax increases on the middle class to stabilize the debt is just factually wrong. Just go look at the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers. They examined the President’s budget and directly refute the central claim of the op-ed.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/25/11395446-gop-economist-romney-aide-seems-to-have-jumped-the-shark?lite

  9. rikyrah says:

    4/25/2012
    In Brief: Mitt Romney Is Breathtakingly Vile:

    Describing his successful business career at Bain & Company and Bain Capital last night after winning who the fuck cares which primaries, Mitt Romney said, “I became successful by helping start a business that grew from 10 people to hundreds of people.” That was actually Bain Capital, which he founded with other rich prickfaces. After once again listing the few companies we’ve heard of that were successes once Bain came in, Romney continued, “I’d tell you that not every business made it and there were good days and bad days, but every day was a lesson.”

    “Huh,” the Rude Pundit thought. “I wonder which day or which business he was talking about.” Was it Georgetown Steel in South Carolina, which was gutted by Bain once it took over, with managers “replaced by people who knew nothing of steel,” with equipment upgrades avoided, with union benefits cut, which was fine for making the quick buck Bain wanted it to make so it could look better on paper and be sold, but not so good for making, you know, steel products, and Georgetown was driven into bankruptcy.

    Or was it a bad day when a Bain-run corporation bought a paper plant in Marion, Indiana, in 1994 and immediately fired everyone who worked there and forced them to reapply for their jobs “at lower wages and a 50 percent cut in health-care benefits”? When the workers striked, Bain closed it down and shipped the jobs to Mexico. Was that a bad day or a good day? It’s hard to tell. Probably both, depending on where your paycheck was at the end of it.

    Was it a bad day when Bain’s management, specifically Romney’s, created the financial situation that forced a Kansas City steel mill to close after 100 years in business, with 750 people losing their jobs and the pension fund shorted by $44 million? Or maybe ask the 1700 workers laid off from Dade International in Illinois after Bain took over?

    The thing that President Obama needs to keep in mind about Mitt Romney is that he is a ruthless, amoral son of a bitch. Like Bain Capital, he makes promises that are lies when they get in the way of his greater good or his bottom line. With his polished smile and primped hair, Romney is one of the most outright depraved and evil sociopaths ever to run for office, and that’s including Richard Nixon and Pat Robertson.

    Beware the man who presents himself as honorable when his actions have demonstrated nothing but disgrace.

    http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2012/04/in-brief-mitt-romney-is-breathtakingly.html

  10. rikyrah says:

    Boehner: House To Vote Friday On Student Loan Rate Extension

    Speaker John Boehner announced at a press conference in Washington today that the House will vote Friday on bill to extend low interest rates for student loans – paid in off-sets by taking money from the health reform law’s “slush fund.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    I’ll say it again:

    THIS IS WHO THEY ARE.

    ……………

    Scalia Likens Undocumented Immigrants To ‘Bank Robbers’

    Sahil Kapur April 25, 2012, 2:20 PM

    In his fervent defense Wednesday of Arizona’s right to crack down on illegal immigration, Justice Antonin Scalia likened immigration enforcement to crackdowns on bank robbers.

    “What’s wrong about the states enforcing federal law?” Scalia said during his aggressive questioning of U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. “There is a federal law against robbing federal banks. Can it be made a state crime to rob those banks? I think it is.”

    The Reagan-appointed justice mocked the Obama administration’s argument that S.B. 1070 unconstitutionally forces the federal government to re-prioritize its enforcement resources and go after undocumented people who are not dangerous.

    “But does the attorney general come in and say, you know, we might really only want to go after the professional bank robbers?” Scalia said. “If it’s just an amateur bank robber, you know, we’re going to let it go. And the state’s interfering with our whole scheme here because it’s prosecuting all these bank robbers.”

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/04/scalia-likens-undocumented-immigrants-to-bank-robbers.php?ref=fpa

  12. rikyrah says:

    in case you didn’t know, Rubio gave a ‘ foreign policy’ speech, and for all the bullsyt that they thrust upon POTUS because of the ‘ teleprompter’…Rubio’s stopped working, and his dumb ass couldn’t even fake the end.

    ‘ does anyone have the last page of my speech?’

  13. rikyrah says:

    Religious right lobbies against VAWA
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:45 PM EDT.

    As the Violence Against Women Act gets ready to move in the Senate, no one seems to be lobbying against it as aggressively as the religious right.


    While the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is mired in scandal resulting from ERLC head Richard Land’s repeated plagiarism and inflammatory remarks on race, it has found time to criticize the Violence Against Women Act. Doug Carlson, manager for administration and policy communications for the ERLC, voiced the group’s opposition to the highly successful law because of new provisions that ensure that LGBT victims of domestic violence do not encounter discrimination while seeking help.

    Carlson quoted a letter Richard Land signed along with Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership Action, Tom McClusky of Family Research Council Action, C. Preston Noell of Tradition, Family, Property Inc., Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and Penny Nance and Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America.

    Notably, the letter was also signed by conservative activist Timothy Johnson, who was convicted of a felony domestic violence charge and was arrested a second time for putting his wife in a wrist lock and choking his son, as reported by Sarah Posner.

    The lobbying efforts don’t appear to be having much of an impact. The Hill reports today that Senate Republicans “will let legislation on domestic violence pass the upper chamber despite having concerns about its constitutionality.”

    The focus will shift quickly to the House. A Senate Democratic leadership aide added, “We will be happy to point out as long as it takes the inability of the House to act on the Violence Against Women Act. We won’t let a day go by where we don’t put pressure on the House to move forward. Republicans would be wise to let this go through the Senate and not count on House GOP counterparts to hold it up and strip out provisions.”
    .

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/25/11393803-religious-right-lobbies-against-vawa?lite

  14. rikyrah says:

    Racist “Neighbors” arrested in Kalonji Case
    by Steven D
    Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 02:17:18 PM EST

    You may remember this story about Jean Kalonji and his wife Angelica, the purchaser of a foreclosed home in Newton County GA. While changing the locks on their new home, they were threatened and held at gunpoint by two of their white neighbors. When the local sheriff deputies arrived they arrested the Kalonjis without checking to find out if they were the homeowners, and took no action against the men who threatened and assaulted Jean and Angelica with their firearms and held them against their will for no apparent reason other than that 61 year-old Jean Kalonji was black.

    Well, it seems the Newton County Sheriff’s Department has had a change of heart about the actions of these two vigilantes (though the Kalonji’s lawyer’s meeting with the Sheriff and the local DA on Monday may have helped clarify the situation for them). Yesterday, Robert Canoles and his son, Branden, were taken into custody and charged with “aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal trespass.” Frankly I am surprised, but also grateful that the Newton County authorities reversed themselves and made the proper decision to charge these two morons. These idiots took it upon themselves to assault a 61 year old black man and his 57 year old white spouse and cause them to fear for their lives merely for lawfully occupying their own property. Nonetheless, shamefully, both men reacted with defiance and an utter lack of remorse at what they had done to these two innocent people.

    Porterdale resident Robert Canoles said he has no second thoughts about interrupting what he thought was a robbery in progress Thursday night at his neighbor’s house — though he is now facing criminal charges just days after deputies lauded his armed response.
    Canoles said he and his teenage son, Branden, heard noises from the once-foreclosed home next door, vacant for seven months. They grabbed their AR-15s and snuck up behind a man and woman fiddling with the front door lock.

    For roughly 10 minutes, the Kalonjis — who moved to the U.S. from Zaire in the late 1990s to escape persecution from the brutal Mobutu regime — stood nervously, arms lifted over their heads, backs turned to the gunmen.

    “I didn’t know who they were,” Jean-Joseph Kalonji told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday. “Were they there to rob us?”


    The situation could very easily have resulted in the shooting or death of either Jean or Angelica. The Canoles are very fortunate their stupidity and the desire to take the law into their own hands did not result in a much greater tragedy. I don’t know what my reaction to being confronted by two men with AR-15 rifles on my own property might have been, but I can imagine that if Mr. or Mrs. Kalonji had said the wrong thing, or demanded that the Canoles leave their property, or if either had had a panic attack (my likely reaction), or otherwise acted in a manner that the Canoles could argue justified “self defense,” they might very well have shot either or both Jean and Anjelica Kalonji dead. Certainly the Canoles’ statements indicate they have little understanding of the illegality and injustice of their actions. They don’t deny what they did in the least. They don’t give a damn regarding the fear and suffering they needlessly caused the Kalongis. Indeed they still seem to consider themselves the heroes of this sordid tale.

    And the sad thing is that these gun-toting fools had the support of the local law enforcement officials who at the time of the incident arrested the Kalongis for “loitering and prowling” while letting the men with the guns walk away free.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/4/25/14323/1834

  15. rikyrah says:

    What drives Kobach and Hethmon
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:49 PM EDT.

    The Washington Post has an interesting profile piece this week on two of the men who’ve helped push the Republican Party so far to the right on immigration policy. Of particular interest, though, was a tidbit about one of their motivations.


    One, Kris Kobach, was a telegenic law professor who was worried about foreign terrorists. The other, Michael Hethmon, was a bookish lawyer afraid that immigrants would overburden the environment.

    Over the past six years, the two have become the most successful propagators of a powerful idea: that state and local governments can make life so miserable for illegal immigrants that they would choose to deport themselves…. Kobach and Hethmon have helped six states and at least seven cities and counties write tough legislation that allows local police or bureaucrats to crack down on illegal immigrants.

    This is pretty standard fare, until Hethmon notes his concerns about the culture.


    Immigration is “on track to change the demographic makeup of the entire country. You know, what they call ‘minority-majority,’ ” said Hethmon, who is general counsel at the Washington-based Immigration Reform Law Institute. “How many countries have gone through a transition like that — peacefully, carefully? It’s theoretically possible, but we don’t have any examples.”

    This strikes me as a rather remarkable thing to say, though Hethmon obviously disagrees or he wouldn’t have been so candid with a reporter for a national news outlet.

    But the quote itself deserves more attention. As Hethmon sees it, he’s motivated, at least in part, by concerns about a transition from a white U.S. majority, which he fears may not be “peaceful.” In other words, he’s working on anti-immigrant measures for Republican policymakers nationwide to prevent whites from slipping into the American minority.

    Remember, Hethmon isn’t some random figure — he’s worked with Kris Kobach, who isn’t just Kansas’s secretary of state, he’s also advising Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on immigration policy.

    Is the Republican Party on board with Hethmon’s perspective? Are GOP officials willing to admit it out loud?
    .

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/25/11393045-what-drives-kobach-and-hethmon?lite

  16. rikyrah says:

    Wanker of the Day: Jimmy Carter
    by BooMan
    Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 12:32:52 PM EST

    Jimmy Carter isn’t helping:

    “I’d rather have a Democrat but I would be comfortable — I think Romney has shown in the past, in his previous years as a moderate or progressive… that he was fairly competent as a governor and also running the Olympics as you know. He’s a good solid family man and so forth, he’s gone to the extreme right wing positions on some very important issues in order to get the nomination. What he’ll do in the general election, what he’ll do as president I think is different.”

    Here’s Obama in Rolling Stone:

    “I don’t think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, ‘Everything I’ve said for the last six months, I didn’t mean.’ I’m assuming that he meant it. When you’re running for president, people are paying attention to what you’re saying.”

    They’re not talking about the exact same thing. Obama is talking about sincerity, integrity, honesty, and what a candidate can or cannot get away with. Carter is talking about what kind of president Romney would be. But, aside from the sheer political malpractice of Carter’s remarks, here’s where I have a problem.

    Romney held one set of positions when he was running for senator and then governor of Massachusetts. He’s been espousing an entirely different, often diametrically opposed, set of positions during this campaign. In all three cases, his positions were well-suited for the office he sought. When Romney became governor, he had to deal with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, so his options were quite limited. He governed within a tight set of constraints. But he didn’t govern much differently from how he campaigned. Now he seeks a new office. What reason do we have to believe that Romney won’t similarly govern as he has campaigned? Why would we expect him to be a brake on a severely conservative Congress? Why should we disbelieve Grover Norquist, for example?

    We’re not nominating a candidate to tell the party what direction to go. All of them ran as Reagan Republicans. We know what we’re doing and who we are — we just want a guy to sign the bills.”

    In other words, why should we believe that Mitt Romney governed Massachusetts the way he wanted to? He was a Republican. Wouldn’t he have made different choices if he had a Republican legislature to work with?

    The truth is that we don’t really know what is in Mitt Romney’s heart because he never tells us. He just says what he thinks he needs to to advance his political career a few yards down the field. He never stood up to the base of the Republican Party on a single issue during the entirety of his campaign for the nomination, but Jimmy Carter expects him to buck them once in office? Why?

    It’s a stupid argument and it is exactly what Romney needs to convince moderates to believe if he is going to win. Carter is a fool on both counts.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/4/25/123252/262

  17. rikyrah says:

    Rubio thinks Bush did ‘a fantastic job’
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:37 PM EDT.

    If Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) overcomes his objections and agrees to join Mitt Romney’s 2012 ticket, I have a strong hunch this quote will become one of the more important tidbits of the year.

    George W. Bush, in my opinion, did a fantastic job as president over eight years.”

    In some Republican circles, many on the right choose to explain the spectacular failures of the Bush/Cheney era by saying the former president wasn’t really a conservative, so his fiascos shouldn’t be held against the conservative movement. After all, they argue, he was a liberal on spending, a moderate on immigration and education, a big-government advocate on entitlements like Medicare, and even a supporter of civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Sure, Bush failed, the argument goes, but only because he wasn’t a real conservative.

    Indeed, go back and look at the transcripts from the Republican presidential candidates debates over the last year — when Bush’s name came up, it was only to criticize his breaks with party orthodoxy on everything from deficits to No Child Left Behind to Medicare Part D.

    But while that was the standard line for quite a while, the tide appears to have turned. Rubio thinks Bush did “a fantastic job”; the Republican National Committee believes the party’s agenda in 2013 will simply be a warmed over version of Bush’s policies; and Romney has surrounded himself with Bush’s former aides and advisors.

    To reiterate a point from the other day, this is exactly what Democrats wanted to hear. For Dems, one of the principal goals of 2012 is to persuade American voters not to go backwards. Bush/Cheney left all kinds of crises for Obama/Biden to clean up, and Democrats will urge the electorate not to return to the failures of the recent past.

    Romney, Rubio, and the RNC are making Democrats’ job easier.

    I’m also left thinking about this in historical terms. In 1936, were Republicans running around telling voters that Hoover did “a fantastic job” and vowing to bring back his policy agenda? If not, why are Republicans praising Bush now?

    ——————————————————————————–

    Rubio’s bizarre praise notwithstanding, Bush was one of America’s worst presidents. He inherited peace and prosperity, along with a massive budget surplus and a strong national standing around the world. Over the course of eight years, Bush proceeded to have a reverse Midas touch, ruining practically everything he touched. His two terms and the events therein are, in retrospect, a sort of nightmare we’re still struggling to overcome.

    To think he did “a fantastic job” is to be out of touch with reality in borderline frightening ways.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/25/11392107-rubio-thinks-bush-did-a-fantastic-job?lite

  18. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:11 PM ET, 04/25/2012
    TheWashingtonPost
    Obama’s reelection challenge
    By Greg Sargent

    In an interview with Rolling Stone, Obama goes further than I’ve ever seen him go in acknowledging that the bad economy poses a major obstacle to his reelection:

    Their vision is that if there’s a sliver of folks doing well at the top who are unencumbered by any regulatory restraints whatsoever, that the nation will grow and prosperity will trickle down. The challenge that they’re going to have is: We tried it. From 2000 to 2008, that was the agenda. It wasn’t like we have to engage in some theoretical debate — we’ve got evidence of how it worked out. It did not work out well, and I think the American people understand that.

    Now, the burden on me is going to be to describe for the American people how the progress we’ve made over the past three years, if sustained, will actually lead to the kind of economic security that they’re looking for. There’s understandable skepticism, because things are still tough out there. You still have an unemployment rate that’s way too high, you have folks whose homes are underwater because the housing bubble burst, people are still feeling the pinch from high gas prices. The fact of the matter is that times are still tough for too many people, and the recovery is still not as robust as we’d like, and that’s what will make it a close election. It’s not because the other side has a particularly persuasive theory in terms of how they’re going to move this country forward.

    This seems like a pretty clear-eyed reading of the difficulties Obama faces. It seems likely that Mitt Romney will clear a basic competence threshold with many swing voters — that is, they will probably accept the argument that Romney’s success in business shows that he possesses basic leadership qualities. Barring major good news on the economy, many of those voters will likely be receptive to the argument that Obama hasn’t been as effective on the economy as he promised to be — particularly when we start seeing the crush of Super PAC ads contrasting Obama’s lofty 2008 language with dramatic tales of people’s economic suffering and a barrage of statistics cooked up to paint his economic record as an abject failure.

    That’s why so much turns on whether Obama can successfully persuade people that whatever Romney’s aura of competence, they should base their decision on the fact that he’s promising an approach that we’ve already tried, and that has already failed. Obama’s ongoing critique of inequality and tax unfairness, and his call for more government investment in the future, is all about focusing voters on this. It’s all about setting up a contrast of visions that highlights the things in common between Romney’s vision and the approach that defined the Bush presidency, to get voters to look beyond their frustration with the slow pace of the recovery on any given day — particularly on Election Day 2012 — and to take a longer view of the choice they face between two visions of the country’s future.

    The Republican response has been to try to disentangle the tax fairness issue (where the public is on Obama’s side) from the economy (where Obama will likely be on the defensive) in the public mind. That’s why you hear them continuously arguing that Obama is calling for higher taxes on the rich to divert public anger over the economy and to distract from his economic record, as if tax fairness and the economy are distinct ssues. Obama’s increasingly frequent claim that Romney is advocating a “trickle down” approach that has already failed us — as you see above — is all about preventing Republicans from achieving that separation. It’s about persuading people that argument over inequality and tax fairness is inseparable from the argument over the economy and how to secure the future.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/obamas-reelection-challenge/2012/04/25/gIQAL2RDhT_blog.html

  19. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:14 PM ET, 04/25/2012
    TheWashingtonPost
    Scott Brown’s strategic blunder
    By Greg Sargent

    If there is one thing that’s central to Senator Scott Brown’s reelection hopes, it’s his image as an independent politican who’s willing to work across party lines and doesn’t take his marching orders from the national GOP. Polls suggest he’s been very successful at cultivating that image.

    That’s why Democrats were so delighted by what they see as a major strategic blunder on his part: The news that he’s raising money from national Republicans by invoking the menace of an Obama second term.

    HuffPo’s Michael McAuliff reported late yesterday that Brown circulated a fundraising appeal describing his Senate race in urgent terms. “This race is THE battleground for the United States Senate — the only sure hedge to a potential second term for President Obama,” Brown’s appeal says.

    HuffPo reported that the fundraising letter appeared to have gone to an out of state list — meaning he likely is raising money from a national conservative audience by portraying his race as the last bulwark against creeping Obama tyranny.

    I’m told that Democrats are going to incorporate this into their narrative against Brown. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign went out with a fundraising appeal today that spells out the new message:

    On TV, Scott Brown says that he’s an independent voice in the Senate.

    But that’s not the message he sends to his campaign supporters. In fact, when the cameras aren’t rolling, you see Scott Brown’s true colors — and he’s as partisan a Republican as they come…

    Scott tt Brown likes to hide his allegiances when it’s politically convenient, but it’s crystal clear: A vote for Scott Brown is a vote for President Mitt Romney…

    Donate $5 to deliver Scott Brown a clear message: “I’m supporting President Obama, and I’m supporting Elizabeth Warren.”

    In other words, Dems will use this to appeal directly to the huge bloc of Massachusetts voters who didn’t come out in the special election Brown won in 2010, but will come out in a presidential year. Many of them may be Obama supporters who might entertain voting to reelect a likeable GOP incumbent they perceive as independent of the national party

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/scott-browns-strategic-blunder/2012/04/25/gIQA8kD0gT_blog.html

  20. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan’s faith-based troubles continue
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:33 AM EDT.

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) argued two weeks ago that his right-wing budget agenda was inspired by his Roman Catholic faith. In retrospect, that probably wasn’t the best idea he’s ever had.

    Last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said Ryan’s plan fails to meet certain “moral criteria” by disproportionately cutting programs that “serve poor and vulnerable people.” They added the cuts are “unjustified and wrong.”

    This week, faculty members at one of the nation’s most notable Catholic colleges entered the fray.

    The latest criticism comes in a letter released Tuesday and signed by nearly 90 faculty members and priests at Georgetown, the Jesuit university in Washington, in advance of Mr. Ryan’s visit there on Thursday. Mr. Ryan is to deliver the prestigious Whittington Lecture, named for an associate dean who was killed on the airplane that crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

    The letter says, “We would be remiss in our duty to you and our students if we did not challenge your continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few.”

    “Your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” says the letter, which the faculty members sent to Mr. Ryan along with a copy of the Vatican’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church — “to help deepen your understanding of Catholic social teaching.”

    Ouch

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/25/11391216-paul-ryans-faith-based-troubles-continue?lite

  21. rikyrah says:

    Thune: Senate Republicans Might Escalate Gov’t Shutdown Fight

    Brian Beutler & Sahil Kapur April 24, 2012, 3:21 PM

    A member of the Senate GOP leadership says he and his colleagues could end up backing House Republicans in their efforts to fund the government at levels below those agreed to in the bipartisan debt-limit deal last August, increasing the chances of a government shutdown fight just weeks before the 2012 election.

    “I think the Budget Control Act stated caps and lids,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD) in the Capitol Tuesday. “It’s not necessarily floors. And if the House appropriators can mark bills that will come in at that $1.028 [trillion] level, then more power to them. Of course, here they’ve already agreed that they’re going to mark at the Budget Control Act levels, so that’ll set up some interesting discussions in the conference committee. But I think we’ve got to be as aggressive as we can in trying to rein in the cost of government, the growth of government.”

    The White House insists that it will hold House Republicans to the deal they struck last summer, and that President Obama will veto appropriations legislation that funds the government below those levels. Thune did not address that threat. Senate Republicans are less eager to pick this fight, but comments suggest they’ll back their House counterparts if the parties reach an impasse.

    “I think our appropriators decided for the most part to mark at the Budget Control Act levels,” Thune said. “But I don’t think that would preclude anybody here in the Senate, on the floor or somewhere else, from offering amendments to go below that. I’m guessing you’re going to see a lot of amendments to go down to where the House numbers are as these bills work their way to the floor.”

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/04/republicans-government-shutdown-obama.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

  22. rikyrah says:

    Romney for “fairness”…really?

    We all know that for months now, President Obama has been talking about “fairness.” Here’s what he said in his State of the Union speech.

    “We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules,” he told a joint session of Congress gathered in the chambers of the House of Representatives. “What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them.”
    So I find it fascinating that last night in his big speech on basically winning the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney made a stab at trying to co-opt the theme.

    Romney outlined an agenda aimed at combating what he called “unfairness” in government, spinning a phrase often employed by Democrats as they make the case that wealthier Americans and corporations should pay higher taxes…While other Republicans often debate these arguments by emphasizing “opportunity,” Romney adopted the “fairness” language to criticize federal spending.

    “This America is fundamentally fair,” he said. “We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.”
    This is such a typical Republican strategy – completely robbing a word of its meaning and then co-opting it. Remember how we were bringing Iraqis “freedom” by invading and occupying their country? That’s just the first and most ridiculous example that came to my mind. But there are hundreds of them. They think that if they put a nice title on something (“Clear Skies Initiative” anyone?) they can fool us into believing they’re going to work on our behalf. Utter nonsense.

    Steve Benen tears this one apart.

    Romney reached out, for example, to “the mom and dad who never thought they’d be on food stamps,” without acknowledging that he supports slashing funding for food stamps. He spoke repeatedly about “unfairness” in the economy, without mentioning he supports some millionaires and billionaires paying a lower tax rate than most of the middle class. He talked about rising debt without noting that he has no way of paying for the massive tax breaks he’s sworn to pass. He said he’d rescue “grandparents” without acknowledging that he intends to turn Medicare into a voucher program, push partial privatization of Social Security, and bring back the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole.”

    Listening to Romney, an uninformed voter would probably have no idea that his promises bear no resemblance to his stated intentions. The former governor said last night, “It’s still about the economy — and we’re not stupid.” It’s a nice little line, but it rankles because Romney is absolutely counting on ignorance and gullibility to advance his ambitions.

    http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2012/04/romney-for-fairnessreally.html

  23. rikyrah says:

    But How Would He Transform Us?
    by BooMan
    Wed Apr 25th, 2012 at 09:56:25 AM EST

    When I saw that Ezra Klein had written a piece about how Mitt Romney would be a transformational president, I got kind of excited. I was thinking that Ezra had gamed out the likely avenue of New Deal destruction that would immediately commence with Romney’s inauguration. But I was disappointed. All Ezra did was point out the obvious. If Romney wins, that means the Republicans in Congress will have a good night, too. And that means that we won’t win back the House and will almost definitely lose the Senate. And because the job of destroying the New Deal is budgetary and fiscal in nature, it can all be done using budget reconciliation rules that are immune to the filibuster. So, elect Romney and he’ll have both houses of Congress and the simple majority he needs to destroy the last eighty years of progressive policy in this country. He can enact the Ryan Budget, or something much like it, and the Democrats will be powerless to stop him.
    I guess that’s a smart thing to tell people from time to time, since it’s true. But a better idea is to tell people what the country is likely to look like as a result. Ezra should write that column because he’s good at that sort of thing. He could expand on this:


    Right now, the GOP’s agenda is the Ryan budget, and that’s entirely fiscal: It’s a premium support plan for Medicare, and tax cuts, and deep cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and other domestic programs.

    There’s a lot to unpack in “other domestic programs.” A Romney presidency would completely transform this country. And not in a good way.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/4/25/95625/8866#4

  24. Ametia says:

    PBO’s policy director:

    Our Policy director, James Kvaal, hits back at Romney adviser Glenn Hubbard’s dishonest claims about the President’s budget and highlights how Mitt Romney has refused to reveal to the American people how he would pay for his $5 trillion tax plan : “The Romney campaign apparently believes that large middle-class tax increases are the way to fill large budget gaps — a deeply troubling view given the gaping holes in their own plan. President Obama could not disagree more, and he has a plan to bring the deficit under control to protect middle-class families.

    http://bit.ly/IDWWQM

  25. Ametia says:

    And Jamelle Bouie breaks down Mitt’s surprisingly dishonest take on the past 3.5 years

    Mitt Romney’s Fantasy WorlD
    Jamelle Bouie
    April 25, 2012

    In his victory speech last night, the former Massachusetts governor offered a startlingly dishonest take on the last three and a half years of the Obama presidency.

    http://bit.ly/IDWWQM

  26. Ametia says:

    POLL: Majority of Republicans Guess They Have to Support Fucking Romney

    Lack of Other Option Cited

    NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – In what Romney campaign insiders are hailing as a sign that the party faithful are rallying around the former Massachusetts governor, a new poll released today shows that a majority of Republican voters agree with the statement, “I guess I have to support fucking Romney.”

    When asked why they were now ready to cast their vote for Mr. Romney, a majority of those Republicans polled “strongly agreed” with the statement, “Why do you think? No one else is fucking running anymore. Stop asking such stupid fucking questions. I don’t need this shit.”

    Underscoring the sense that he is now the presumptive nominee, the Romney campaign unveiled a new slogan this morning, “You Have No Other Options Anymore. Start Dealing With It, Losers.”

    After sweeping five primary states Tuesday night, Mr. Romney was exultant, telling supporters in Manchester, N.H., “I love American democracy. I’m good friends with the owners of it.”

    The wins by Mr. Romney forced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to suspend his campaign, telling reporters that he was leaving the race “to spend more time with my families.”

    As for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, he offered Mr. Romney this endorsement during an appearance on CNN: “Yeah, I guess I support him, because, well duh, I have absolutely no other choice. Right? I mean, really, Piers, what kind of moronic question is that? I guess this goes to show that you can be a total douchebag and still win the nomination if you have the most dough. I mean come on — this whole situation makes me want to throw up. My only consolation is that on Judgment Day I’m going to Heaven, and we’ll have to see what happens to Mr. Magic Underpants. Haha. Yeah. Sweet.” Get a free subscription to the Borowitz Report here.

  27. rikyrah says:

    03:24 PM EDT 24-4-2012 03:24 PM EDT
    Wal-Mart Creates “Global FCPA Compliance Officer” Position

    Wal-Mart announced today that it has created a Global FCPA Compliance Officer position, in the wake of a bribery in Mexico scandal revealed this weekend in The New York Times.

    “This position will have responsibility for compliance with the FCPA in every market around the world and will oversee five FCPA compliance directors based in the international markets,” Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said in a statement.

    The company’s statement did not specify when the position was created, or if it has been filled.

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/wal-mart-creates-global-fcpa-compliance-officer-position?ref=fpblg

  28. rikyrah says:

    Big Night
    By Charles P. Pierce at 7:55AM
    MANCHESTER, N.H. —

    As a performance piece, the speech itself was very well-received. It was well-crafted and delivered with something approaching actual gusto. It was also shamelessly maudlin, mendacious in the extreme, and otherwise completely of a piece with the entire campaign that has been waged by the man who delivered it in triumph last night. Willard Romney declined to speak in any of the five states in which he won primaries last night. Instead, he came back to New Hampshire to declare, in so many words, Game Over, and he did so in a manner befitting the manner in which he has run for president for going on eight years now. He has found entirely new worlds in which he can pander.

    The general theme, echoing through everything right down to the sign fastened to the podium, was “A Better America Begins Tonight.” (Apparently, “Obama Isn’t Working,” a not-particularly well-coded jab at the president, has been abandoned for the nonce.) The Romneys have decided to ride the car elevator down among the common folk again, whose interests he’s always kept at heart. Why, as Ann Romney herself said by way of introduction, and to the roaring cheers of a crowd whiter and older than you’ll see at the Masters, she and Willard were just ordinary folks, sitting around one of their several living rooms, when they decided that the country was going all to hell and only Willard could ride to the rescue. So he stopped doing his figurin’ on the coal shovel by the light of a dimming fire and rode off to save the country. Or something.

    “A little more than a year ago, Mitt and I sat in our kitchen,” she said. “I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant. Four years ago, we’d gone through a tough primary and I told him that I didn’t want to go through this again. Mitt reminded me that I said that after every pregnancy. I have five sons, as you know.

    “But I knew that this country was in real trouble and needed real leadership. And I said to him, ‘Can you do it?’ He said yes, and that’s all I needed to know. I told him, ‘If you can fix it, we need to do this.'”

    Let us pause for a moment and consider the sheer audacity of this creation myth. All the available evidence indicates that Romney started running for president in 2007 and never really stopped. Long before “a little over a year ago,” Romney already had published No Apologies, his campaign book for 2012, and he’d already rewritten portions of it in the paperback edition so as to make it more palatable to the audiences to whom he’d be appealing in 2012. (Specifically, he took out a line about health-care, essentially distancing himself from his one achievement as governor of Massachusetts.) By the time Ann and Mitt pondered the sad state of our nation in one of their several living rooms, Restore Our Future, Romney’s superPAC, which was established by aides from his 2008 run, and whose biggest donor was John Paulson, a hedge-fund predator who got rich on the country’s economic catastrophe by betting against the housing industry, was already a year old. Just a couple of folks, worried about the nation’s future, deciding to sacrifice themselves nobly for the cause. Ambition is so declasse, you see.

    But the heart of the evening came from the candidate himself, who has decided at last, now that he has the nomination, and now that he has learned to speak fluent wingnut, and now that he has trod the wild places to which his party has taken itself, to come back to us all as a tribune of the people, a friend of the working man. He has met people less fortunate than he has been, and their cause is his own.

    For every single mom who feels heartbroken when she has to explain to her kids that she needs to take a second job … for grandparents who can’t afford the gas to visit their grandchildren … for the mom and dad who never thought they’d be on food stamps … for the small business owner desperately cutting back just to keep the doors open one more month – to all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I’ve met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance, to all of you, I have a simple message: Hold on a little longer. A better America begins tonight.

    I mean, honestly, where do you go with something like this? Over the course of the campaign, Romney has signed on with policies that will make the lives of every single one of these apocryphal people immeasurably worse. What will be the fate of that “mom and dad” on food stamps if his good buddy Paul Ryan’s budget passes? What will happen to the personal finances of those “grandparents” if the Affordable Health Care plan is repealed and Medicare drifts into voucher hell? How many jobs will that “single mom” — who is, after all, the woman about whom Romney regularly brags about chucking off government assistance so she’d have to “learn the dignity of work” by taking those two jobs in the first place – have to take to pay for her children’s health-care?

    Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Mitt_Romney_And_His_Big_Old_Night#ixzz1t4OVOmp0

  29. rikyrah says:

    GOP trying to move backwards on student loans
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:57 AM EDT.

    When it comes to President Obama’s accomplishments, I tend to think one of the more overlooked breakthroughs was reform of the student-loan system — an effort that was decades in the making, but had been blocked by Republicans and bank lobbyists until 2010.

    Under the old system, the student-loan industry received billions in taxpayer subsidies to provide a service the government could perform for less. As Rachel explained on the show last night, in 2010, Democrats removed the middleman, streamlined the process, saved taxpayers a ton of money, and helped more young people get college degrees.

    Republicans have condemned the move, usually for ideological reasons (they tend to call it a “government takeover” of the student-loan system). Yesterday, however, the Romney campaign tried to make a practical argument about the more efficient system.

    College Republican National Committee Chairman Alex Schriver] suggested the reason tuition costs are going up is because “this president decided to take over the student loan market.”

    Think about that for a moment. Schriver, acting in his capacity as an official surrogate of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, argued on the record to reporters that tuition costs are higher because the government is no longer paying banks billions of tax dollars to serve as needless middlemen in the student-loan system.

    Does anyone, anywhere, seriously believe this argument makes any sense at all? Either way, it suggests Romney, if elected, intends to bring back the old system and undo the cost-saving 2010 reforms.

    That is, if Republicans don’t scrap the federal student-loan program altogether.
    .

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/

  30. rikyrah says:

    Barack Obama: An Underdog Story
    By Tim Alberta
    April 24, 2012 | 3:34 PM

    For the second time in as many weeks, President Obama on Tuesday made an overt attempt to contrast his humble beginnings and real-world struggles against the privileged life of Mitt Romney — without actually mentioning the Republican nominee-in-waiting by name.

    Speaking to a boisterous throng of college students at the University of North Carolina, Obama argued for making college more affordable by extending a low interest rate on student loans set to expire this summer. Obama stressed that he understands the importance of the issue by reminding the collegiate crowd that he, too, needed federal loans to complete his higher education.

    “I didn’t just read about this,” Obama said.

    The president paused for effect, and cocked his head to the side as the audience burst into applause. His message was unmistakable: I’m pushing this policy because I’ve been in your shoes and I know what it’s like to struggle with student loans — unlike SOME politicians.

    The timing of Obama’s remark was hardly coincidental: Romney made major headlines yesterday by announcing his support for extending the low interest rate on federal student loans, finding a rare point of agreement with Obama — and wisely robbing the president of a key point of contrast as he launched a high-profile tour of three college campuses located in critical swing states.

    With Romney now squarely on his side regarding student loans, Obama was forced to cast as his foil the faceless “congressional Republican” — not the enemy Obama prefers to portray, nor the side-by-side comparison he wants desperately to draw. But like any skilled politician, Obama came equipped with a backup plan, one that allowed him to project the same point without using his preferred language. He didn’t need to say his opponents’ name to get his message across: What does Mitt Romney know about student loans? He’s not like me. He’s not like you.

    Obama began pouring it on, each brick of his biography building a protective wall around the young voters Romney hopes to reach. “We didn’t come from wealthy families,” the president said of himself and the first lady. “When we graduated from college and law school we had a mountain of debt. When we married, we got poor together. We added up our assets, and there were no assets.”

    That sounds an awful lot like something Obama just recently said — albeit at a different college, in another swing state.

    “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” Obama said last Wednesday at Lorain County Community College in Ohio. “Michelle wasn’t, either. But somebody gave us a chance.”

    The White House, of course, dismissed as “oversensitive” any suggestion that Obama’s “silver spoon” remark was a thinly-veiled shot at Romney’s advantaged upbringing. With that precedent established, it seems likely that Obama’s reelection team has achieved plausible deniability for launching this compare-and-contrast offensive against Romney for the remainder of the campaign — without ever explicitly mentioning their target.

    If that’s the case, Obama and the Democrats are at a major advantage. They know that attacking Romney for his prosperity and privileged background is terrible politics. But they also recognize that Romney’s wealth speaks to his single biggest vulnerability, the perception of being an out-of-touch aristocrat who can’t empathize with the struggles of everyday Americans. Obama, on the other hand, possesses the unique ability among politicians to connect with voters by saying he feels their pain — and then proving it. There is a winning dichotomy for the Democrats to work with here — the classic David vs. Goliath narrative — and they’ve had many months to decide how best to exploit it.

    http://decoded.nationaljournal.com/2012/04/barack-obama-an-underdog-story.php

  31. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 04/25/2012
    Why the defeat of Blue Dog Dems could be a big deal
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Perhaps the most important fact about polarization in Congress during the Obama years has been that Republican Members of Congress are frightened of primaries from their right while Democrats are frightened of being tarred as liberals in general elections. The result: Republicans have moved much farther away from the center than Democrats have — leading Dems to be far more willing to compromise on their priorities.

    Could that change? Yesterday, two Democratic Members of the House were defeated in primaries in Pennsylvania by more liberal candidates. In the 12th District, where two Members were thrown together by redistricting, moderate Jason Altmire was defeated by labor favorite Mark Critz. And in the 17th, five-term Blue Dog Tim Holton was defeated by newcomer Matt Cartwright.

    The question here is how these results, and any other moderate setbacks in other primaries this year, will be interpreted by Democratic politicians. Will they see it as just a couple of redistricting-inspired flukes? Or as a warning shot to Democratic elected officials who care more about avoiding the “liberal” label than they do about supporting policies that primary voters prefer?
    Democratic politicians convinced of the latter interpretation will be far more likely to support the agenda urged on them by liberal activists.

    Objectively, one can certainly argue that these were accidents of redistricting. Holton was clobbered by Republican-drawn lines, with only a small overlap between his old district and the new 17th. And while more of the 12th had been Altmire’s, he was still running against another Member, and losing a Member-Member race isn’t really anything like losing to a regular primary challenger.

    On the other hand, in both battles liberals signed on with the winner, mainly to punish the losers for their Blue Dog moderation.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/why-the-defeat-of-blue-dog-dems-could-be-a-big-deal/2012/04/25/gIQAZyjtgT_blog.html

  32. rikyrah says:

    here’s the latest polls:

    Gallup: Obama +7, National Journal: Obama +8, WSJ:Obama +6,CNN: Obama+9, PEW: Obama+4, Reuters: Obama +4, ABC: Obama +7, IBD: Obama +8

  33. rikyrah says:

    The wrong message, the wrong messenger
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:28 AM EDT.

    Back in October 2010, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told Rush Limbaugh he considers President Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” Ruth Marcus noted soon after, “If Issa believes this, he is deranged. If he doesn’t and is saying it anyway, he is dangerous.”

    The jury’s still out on which of these is true, but Issa is still pushing the same bizarre line.

    Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told Bloomberg TV that the Obama government is “proving to be” the “most corrupt in history.”

    Said Issa: “We are busy in Washington with a corrupt government, with a government that I said perhaps because of the money, the amount of TARP and stimulus funds, was going to be the most corrupt government history and it is proving to be just exactly that.”

    Marcus’ deranged-or-dangerous frame continues to ring true.

    Part of the problem here is that Issa desperately wants Americans to believe the Obama administration is corrupt, but can’t point to any legitimate examples of corruption. In his Bloomberg interview, the conservative Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee pointed to Solyndra, which proved to be meaningless, and the GSA conferences, which isn’t an example of corruption (and which the administration uncovered in the first place).

    Indeed, the great irony of Issa’s strange attack is that the Obama administration, after more than three years in office, has been remarkably scandal-free. After the corruption, investigations, grand juries, and criminal probes that dominated the Bush/Cheney era, it’s a pleasant change of pace.

    The other part of this that strikes me as interesting is the messenger himself: given Darrell Issa’s background, it’s tempting to think he’d be a little more circumspect about slinging mud at anyone.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Every time I see Issa throw around wild accusations about Obama’s imaginary wrongdoing, I’m reminded of Issa’s own real-world scandals. Last year, the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza had a fascinating piece reviewing Issa’s rise in wealth and power, despite the “troubles” the right-wing congressman has had along the way.


    Many politicians have committed indiscretions in earlier years: maybe they had an affair or hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny. Issa, it turned out, had, among other things, been indicted for stealing a car, arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and accused by former associates of burning down a building.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/25/11389317-the-wrong-message-the-wrong-messenger?lite

  34. rikyrah says:

    GOP concedes on domestic violence bill
    By Alexander Bolton – 04/25/12 05:00 AM ET

    Senate Republicans, seeking to avoid a public policy dispute with Mitt Romney, will let legislation on domestic violence pass the upper chamber despite having concerns about its constitutionality.

    They will let House Republicans battle with Democrats over controversial language expanding special visas to illegal immigrants seeking protection from abuse, a provision specifically naming same-sex partners as eligible for domestic violence programs and another empowering American-Indian tribal authorities to prosecute abuses alleged to have happened on their reservations.

    GOP leadership officials say they will not take the election-year bait laid out by Democrats and block the bill, which would give President Obama and his allies more ammunition to argue that the Republican Party is waging a “war on women.”

    Senate Republicans lost political leverage last week when Romney’s campaign said the candidate supported the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. He stopped short of endorsing the bill Democrats crafted, however.

    Republicans are pushing for an alternative version of the bill sponsored by Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that does not include the contentious items, and will likely demand votes on amendments to strip them from the Democratic legislation.

    But with only 47 members, Senate Republicans lack the votes to rewrite the bill. That gives Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his deputies two choices: block it or let it go through.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/223529-gop-concedes-on-domestic-violence-bill

  35. rikyrah says:

    Romney won’t be able to shake immigration debate
    By Dana Milbank, Published: April 24
    The Washington Post

    Aficionados of the Etch a Sketch will recall a certain flaw in the toy: If you use it often, some of the lines drawn no longer disappear when you shake the device, instead leaving an indelible trace of where you have been.

    This is the problem Mitt Romney is encountering: He is shaking the device, trying to erase impressions left during this year’s primary contest. But he just can’t shake away the image of Russell Pearce.

    Pearce, the former Republican president of the Arizona Senate, is the author and self-described “driving force” behind S.B. 1070, that state’s law — endorsed by Romney — cracking down on illegal immigrants. Pearce told The Post’s Felicia Sonmez this month that Romney’s “immigration policy is identical to mine,” and he told reporters this week that Romney “absolutely” gave him the impression that he saw the Arizona law as a national model.

    Democrats, seeking to use this loose cannon against his own side, called Pearce to testify Tuesday before Congress on the eve of the Supreme Court’s review of the Arizona law. Republicans boycotted the hearing, sensing a political trap. Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer sent regrets, too.

    But Pearce, whose questionable activities include touting an old deportation program called “Operation Wetback,” is less aware, and he handled himself in just the manner Democrats had hoped. Enhancing the effect, his tie bore the “Don’t Tread on Me” emblem of the tea party, and his considerable jowls tugged his mouth into a perpetual scowl.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/romney-wont-be-able-to-shake-immigration-debate/2012/04/24/gIQAWTrTfT_story.html?hpid=z5

  36. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:05 AM ET, 04/25/2012
    TheWashingtonPost
    The Morning Plum: GOP backed into corner on student loans?
    By Greg Sargent

    Is the battle over student loans shaping up as a rerun of the payroll tax cut fight, which by all accounts badly damaged the GOP?

    Consider the parallels. Just as in the payroll tax cut battle, there’s a looming deadline: On July 1st, interest rates on federally funded student loans is set to double. Barack Obama and Democrats, confident that the politics are on their side, are signaling that they intend to remain on offense on the issue.

    Meanwhile, Mitt Romney and other Republican leaders, apparently sensing that this a losing issue for them, have voiced varying degrees of support for extending the low rates. And just as in the payroll tax fight, they insist their only issue is about how to pay for the extension. Yet they won’t say what spending cuts they would favor to offset it.

    Meanwhile, House conservatives — just as during the payroll battle — are beginning to signal that they oppose the extension, period, full stop. Check out this quote from GOP Rep. Todd Akin, who is running in a GOP primary for the right to take on Dem Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri:

    Akin said the government should be out of the student loan market altogether. “America has got the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in,” he said.


    For Akin, federal help with student loan debt is an ideological nonstarter. If we start seeing more of this kind of thing from House conservatives, it could limit the maneuvering room GOP leaders need to reach a deal with Dems on how to pay for the extension they say they favor, in order to resolve this issue and put it behind them.

    Even if Romney has voiced support for an extension, Dems will seek to use the impasse — should it drag on — to tar the GOP brand among young voters. They’ll also use it to make the case that Romney’s moderation on the issue is fake, that no amount of Etch-A-Sketching can erase the fact that he and his party are ideologically hostile to government help for students, and that they prioritize tax breaks for the rich and corporations over government investment in the future of the American people.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-morning-plum-gop-backed-into-corner-on-student-loans/2012/04/25/gIQAZyohgT_blog.html

  37. Ametia says:

    CNN BREAKING…. OUT IN LAUGHTER…

    Sources close to Newt Gingrich say he will end his bid for the GOP presidential nomination next week.

  38. Ametia says:

    A couple of pics from PBo in Boulder, Colorado last night

    Girl Spills Yogurt On Obama, He Says ‘Getting Yogurt On The President, You’ve Got A Story To Tell’

  39. Ametia says:

    The RECALL of WAlker can’t come fast enough!

  40. Ametia says:

    President Obama Participates in a roundtable with students at 1:20 p.m. EDT today.
    University of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Watch it live here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    President Obama Speaks as part of a concerted effort to get Congress to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling in July at 2:20 p.m. EDT today
    University of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Watch it live here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

  41. rikyrah says:

    The problem with Boehner’s logic
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:48 PM EDT.

    This tweet from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) probably wasn’t intended to be important, but it’s an astonishing message.

    Let’s back up for a moment. At issue is a 2007 law, set to expire on July 1, which keeps the interest rate for federal Direct Stafford Loans at 3.4%. If Congress fails to act, the rate will double, affecting more than 7.4 million students, who’ll face, on average, an additional $1,000 in debt. President Obama and congressional Democrats are fighting to keep the rates where they are, and Mitt Romney agrees with them.

    Congressional Republicans have balked at the proposals, and today, Boehner is arguing that this is all Democrats’ fault anyway — they’re the ones who “included an expiration provision that placed the looming increase in the middle of an election year.”

    Democrats wanted to lower student interest rates. Now, they want to keep the lower student interest rates. As far as Boehner is concerned, this means Dems “voted to double” interest rates.

    Mr. Speaker, you really should have thought this one through a little more.

    First, voting to cut interest rates in half is the opposite of voting to double interest rates. Second, when the law passed in 2007, it enjoyed strong bipartisan support. This wasn’t a Democratic bill; it was a bipartisan effort to give students and their families a break.

    And third, and arguably more important, is the fact the Bush tax cuts included an expiration provision that placed a looming tax increase in 2010 — an election year. Thanks to a Republican plan, they were extended until 2012 — another election year.

    In other words, by Speaker Boehner’s logic, taxes are set to go up for practically every American worker because Republicans voted for a massive tax increase.

    Is there no one in Boehner’s press office who considered this, or has logic been deemed altogether irrelevant?

    Update: This apparently wasn’t a fluke. Boehner’s spokesperson said yesterday, “The rising cost of tuition is a serious problem for students and their families, so it’s unfortunate that Washington Democrats put in place a law that would double student loan rates.”

    It would be every bit as accurate for me to say, “It’s unfortunate that Washington Republicans put in place a law that would increase federal taxes by trillions of dollars over the next decade.” If one is true, the other true.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/24/11374977-the-problem-with-boehners-logic?lite

  42. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:36 AM ET, 04/24/2012
    TheWashingtonPost
    The trap Democrats are laying for Mitt Romney
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    There’s a lot of nonsense on the presidential campaign trail right now, but if you look hard enough there’s also some real campaigning that might actually have an effect on the outcome of the presidential race.

    For example: The emerging Democratic strategy is to find popular issues that Republican Members of Congress oppose, and to force votes on them. The goal: To try to make Mitt Romney choose between either appearing ideologically extreme or risking conflict within his own party.

    Here’s why this strategy could work: Perceptions of ideological extremism are one of the few factors that influence voter perceptions of challengers, as George McGovern and Barry Goldwater discovered. So Romney presumably wants to move to the center on as many issues as possible, including the ones Democrats are pushing. And yet this isn’t easy, because Romney doesn’t want a civil war to break out in the GOP.

    Dems are currently pushing votes on no less than three major issues, all of which are designed to force Romney to make difficult choices.

    First up: The student loan rate extension. Romney has already committed to Barack Obama’s position on this one, but House Republicans are reluctant to go along.

    Next: The Violence Against Women Act, where Republicans in Congress have objected to reauthorization if modest Democratic changes are included.

    And after that, the Senate will be taking up the “Paycheck Fairness” bill, which covers discrimination against equal pay for women.

    Each of these is apt to be highly popular, and yet in each case Congressional Republicans are expected to oppose the bills as proposed. A fourth possible vote, Chuck Shumer’s legislative push to undo the Arizona immigration law if it survives the Supreme Court, may be less generally popular, but might become a key issue for Latino voters.

    In each case, the obvious general election position for Romney to take would be with the Democrats. If there were no cost, Romney would probably like to distance himself from unpopular Congressional Republicans. But there’s a lot of risk involved. Even with the nomination wrapped up, he still needs at least tacit support from major party factions. He certainly doesn’t want a convention disrupted by conservative demonstrations against the nominee.

    That’s why the real players here are House and Senate Republicans, and more broadly, conservative opinion leaders. Of course Democrats are going to try to push Romney on these sorts of issues; of course he’s going to try to move to the center. But will conservative opinion leaders let him? Will Congressional Republicans (who have their own fears of being labeled RINOs) quietly allow Romney to break with them, or will conservatives punish him for pivoting away from their principles?

    We don’t yet know the answer to these questions, and no single bill will matter all that much. But add it all up and these fights could definitely help determine whether Romney will be perceived as extremely conservative by November — which in turn could be decisive in dictating the outcome.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-trap-democrats-are-laying-for-mitt-romney/2012/04/24/gIQA6xzXeT_blog.html

  43. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:53 PM ET, 04/24/2012
    TheWashingtonPost
    John Boehner: If Obama is reelected, America may never recover
    By Greg Sargent

    John Boehner, in an interview with Fox News:


    The president’s economic policies have failed. I would argue they actually have made things worse. And as a result, the president has turned to the politics of envy and division…

    America can’t live for four more years with Barack Obama as president. His policies will turn America in a direction that we may never recover from…

    It’s sending America down a path that will look a lot like what we see in Europe: A big social welfare state, high unemployment, slow economic growth and a government that is overly large.
    If you have a government that can give you everything that you want, you have a government that can take everything that you have.

    No one is advocating for a government that will “give you everything that you want,” of course. So I suppose there’s no need to fear that government will be taking away “everything that you have” anytime soon.

    This is really crazy stuff, but such lurid invocations of impending Big Government Apocalpyse have become par for the course among today’s Republican leaders. Paul Ryan, who has become the intellectual leader of the party on fiscal matters, claims we are approaching a ”tipping point beyond which the nation will be unable to change course.” Mitt Romney, the all-but-certain GOP nominee, frequently argues that Obama favors government-enforced “equal outcomes.”

    Obama wants to return to Clinton-era tax rates on the rich, and to tax millionaires who pay lower tax rates than middle class taxpayers at a rate of 30 percent. His policies would barely put a dent in long term trends that have exacerbated inequality for decades.

    Yet as Jonathan Chait recently noted in a different context, when Republicans respond to Obama’s prescriptions to combat inequality and tax unfairness, they aren’t attacking his actual policies, they’re attacking socialism. They’re attacking an imagined plan for mass seizure and redistribution of wealth in service of mass government-enforced equality.

    This type of talk is as out of touch with reality as it is all-pervasive. And yet the press never even remarks on it at all.

    Update: The “take away everything that you have” quote is an allusion to something Gerald Ford said in a joint address to Congress in 1974. Used in the context of a discussion of Obama’s policies and reelection, of course, it takes on whole new meaning

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/john-boehner-if-obama-is-reelected-government-may-be-able-totake-away-everything-that-you-have/2012/04/24/gIQAz9KneT_blog.html

  44. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:50 PM ET, 04/24/2012
    TheWashingtonPost
    Mitt Romney and flip-flop fatigue
    By Greg Sargent

    A couple months ago, during the GOP primary, I speculated that Mitt Romney was benefitting from a phenomenon you might call “flip-flop fatigue.” The crush of equivocations, reversals and rhetorical contortions had gotten so relentless and ubiquitous that people had grown too exhausted to bother tracking or objecting to them anymore.

    In the context of the general election, this has only grown more pronounced. If anyone thought conservatives, or neutral commentators, would hold Romney to the positions he professed to hold during the primary — and wouldn’t let him pivot towards middle in the general election — the early signs are that he will be granted all the maneuvering room he’ll need.

    In the last few days, Romney has signaled that he is Etch-A-Sketching away his previous positions on immigration and on student loans. Romney has now hinted that he’s open to supporting Marco Rubio’s DREAM Act. If Romney embraces Rubio’s approach, as seems likely, will he pay any price from the right? Romney’s own immigration adviser, Kris Kobach, has said any such measure would also have to include self-deportation to be acceptable to conservative hard-liners. But now Kobach is already signaling that he thinks he and Rubio can coexist comfortably in Romney’s universe.

    Meanwhile, during the primary, Romney repeatedly drew a hard line against government help with student debt. But as soon as Obama launched a campaign to extend low interest rates on federally funded student loans, and signaled that he’d make it central in the presidental race, Romney supported Obama’s position. Will conservatives who previously opposed the Obama student loan measure revolt? Well, House Republicans are already finessing the issue by signaling that there may not be any significant differences between them and Romney on the issue, after all.

    Putting aside the reaction from conservatives, who have their own reasons for letting Romney’s pivoting skate, both of these turnarounds are being widely covered in the press as mere process stories, as if they’re as inevitable and unremarkable as a campaign staffing up in advance of the general.

    Call it flip-flop fatigue in reverse. First Romney flip-flopped to the right, away from previously held positions, in order to get through the primary. While some of his rivals objected, many commentators treated it as business as usual, as stuff Romney just had to say to appeal to the right wing base. And now, precisely because commentators previously decided he didn’t mean any of the stuff he said to get through the primary, few if any are holding him accountable for those positions now in any meaningful way, and he’s paying little price in the way of pundit scorn for flip-flopping right back to the center again. It was all part of the game before, and it’s all part of the game once again

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/mitt-romney-and-flip-flop-fatigue/2012/04/24/gIQArzW1eT_blog.html

  45. rikyrah says:

    Why The Obama Campaign Won’t Let Romney Out of the Radical Corner He Backed Himself Into

    It seems that the Obama campaign has fooled the Republicans once again: everyone thought that the president’s campaign would wrap Romney with the flip-flopper cloth, but it appears that they are actually following the strategy of not letting Romney out of the radical right corner he’s backed himself into. There’s a lot of political postulation as to the merits of this strategy – some say it’s the right thing to do; others say that the President’s campaign should have stuck with the flip-flopper label. After all, George W. Bush hung that rope around John Kerry’s neck pretty effectively in 2004. But really, the media is missing the boat a little, by oversimplifying a lot.

    First, President Obama, of course, isn’t the one painting Romney as ultra conservative. Mitt Romney painted Mitt Romney as an ultraconservative.

    All the Obama campaign is doing is blocking Mitt Romney’s escape from the radical Right corner Mitt Romney has painted himself into.

    I tend to believe that the president’s strategy is brilliant for two reasons: first, no one who isn’t already in the bag for Mitt Romney actually believes for a moment that Mitt Romney has a core. That Mitt Romney will do and say anything in his political interest of the time is a settled truth. I see no reason why the Obama campaign needs to spend seven months establishing in the public mind what is already established. Believe it or not, it is not necessary that one has a core in order to pander to far right. What the Obama campaign is trying to show is that Mitt Romney – and his party – have been pulled too far out of the American mainstream, and, if elected, they will continue that wave, not because Mitt Romney really believes in anything, but because it will be in his political interest to do so.

    And therein lies the much deeper, broader, brilliant strategic reason why the Obama campaign chose this narrative of Mitt Romney – the severe right wing panderer.

    The strategic brilliance behind it, I believe, goes well beyond Mitt Romney as a candidate for President. It goes even beyond the 2012 election. But in the context of the 2012 election, the strategy is about two things: making Mitt Romney own the fringe radical right movement, and expose the Republican party for their radical agenda. You cannot do that in a presidential election year without marrying the nominee to his party’s extremism. And Mitt Romney has stepped into it pretty good by going out of his way to embrace crazy, whacked up right wing positions like:

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2012/04/why-obama-campaign-wont-let-romney-out.html

  46. rikyrah says:

    When Mexican immigration drops to zero
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:40 AM EDT.

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in his capacity as a leading surrogate for Mitt Romney, argued yesterday that the presumptive Republican nominee hasn’t endorsed “self-deportation” as an immigration policy. Talking to reporters, McCain snapped, “Don’t put words in his mouth.”

    The problem is that McCain doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Romney, just this year, explicitly endorsed “self-deportation.” It’s not a matter of opinion — Romney said this on national television. It’s on video.

    McCain’s comments, however, are part of a larger pattern: the truth about immigration policy and what Republicans say about immigration policy are usually quite different. The right claims, for example, that violence is rampant in U.S. border communities, though crime statistics show otherwise.

    Conservatives also argue that the influx of immigrants from Mexico practically constitutes an invasion of the United States, which makes the latest research from the Pew Hispanic Center all the more interesting.

    A four-decade tidal wave of Mexican immigration to the United States has receded, causing a historic shift in migration patterns as more Mexicans appear to be leaving the United States for Mexico than the other way around, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Center.

    It looks to be the first reversal in the trend since the Depression, and experts say that a declining Mexican birthrate and other factors may make it permanent.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/25/11388467-when-mexican-immigration-drops-to-zero?lite

  47. rikyrah says:

    Decoding the Secret Agenda in Mitt Romney’s Better America Tonight Speech
    By: Jason Easley

    A little discussed excerpt in Mitt Romney’s Better America Tonight speech revealed his true intentions using the White House to attack public schools and unions.

    Romney said,

    I see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living. I see children even more successful than their parents – some successful even beyond their wildest dreams – and others congratulating them for their achievement, not attacking them for it.

    This America is fundamentally fair. We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.

    In the America I see, character and choices matter. And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded. And poverty will be defeated, not with a government check, but with respect and achievement that is taught by parents, learned in school, and practiced in the workplace.

    Notice that Mittens managed work a little self-pity in there with the line about children who were more successful than their parents being attacked. Poor Mitt just doesn’t get the fact that he isn’t being attacked. It is merely being pointed out that Romney made his quarter billion dollar fortune by ruthlessly killing the jobs of middle class Americans. Romney may not like that fact, but it’s the truth.

    However, the most revealing part of the soon to be Republican nominee’s entire speech focused on what Romney considers inequality to be. Inequality according to Mitt Romney is not the wealthy paying less in taxes than everyone else. Inequality is not corporations who get to dodge their tax bills, while the burden is passed on to those who can afford it least. Inequality is not Citizens United, which has allowed a few wealthy billionaires and corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to drown out the influence of everyday Americans. Inequality is not ALEC writing legislation in secret behind closed doors that is designed to marginalize entire segments of the population.

    Inequality according to Mitt Romney is the fact that we fund a public education system with taxpayer dollars. Inequality is the fact that unions are allowed to collect dues are allowed to use that money to engage in political free speech. Inequality is the fact that public sector employees belong to unions, and inequality is also the deficit, which has been created and exploded by Republicans.

    Mitt Romney who never attended public school is determined to defund them. It is rather amazing that Romney is promising to defund public schools, when federal funding only makes up 10.8% of public school system budget. Much like Scott Walker and Rick Snyder, Mitt Romney is using the language of a moderate to hide an extremist conservative agenda. Romney wants to take Scott Walker’s union busting plan national.

    http://www.politicususa.com/mitt-romney-better-america.html

    • Ametia says:

      Folks had better ask Wisconsonites how that worked for’em! It’s taken them a year and a half to get signatures on a petition to oust this fool, after some of their citizens gleefully ran to da polls anf voted for Walker. And bet their were some of the same folks who ran around getting folks to sign the petition to make Scottie boy BEGONE@

  48. rikyrah says:

    April 24, 2012
    That Womney, oh he’s a wily one

    It’s official. The Obama camp will strategically stalk the GOP’s Mr. Default not for his Olympic flip-floppery, but for his avowed (which of course no one believes, because of his Olympic flip-flopping) reactionaryism.

    It must be official, since I heard the “news” innumerable times just yesterday on MSNBC; it was indeed presented as a kind of developing news or breaking news or whatever network journalism is calling the Unnews these days–even though the Washington Post had caught up to the patently conspicuous no less than a week ago:

    Obama’s sharper, more personal dialogue with Romney comes after several weeks in which the president and his allies have been portraying the former Massachusetts governor as having a conservative core that is out of step with middle-class Americans [my emphasis]….

    “During the primaries, Governor Romney labeled himself the ‘ideal tea party candidate’ and ‘severely conservative’ and committed to a series of policies that reflect those labels,” said Ben LaBolt, Obama’s campaign spokesman.

    This seems like a perfectly reasonable approach, although one should never underestimate the American electorate’s jaw-dropping susceptibility to right-wing imbecilities dressed up as transcendent American values. Had the New Right and Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich and the Tea Party et al ever unveiled their sociopolitical program as what it actually was–an anarchistic game in which those starting on third plate and racing to home are allowed on the way to shoot the umpire–rather than what they advertised–a ‘Leave It to Beaver’ version of Atlas Shrugged–than Mitt Romney would scarcely be exalting the nostalgic wonders of “severe conservatism.”

    There is however one aspect of Obama’s strategy that promises Good Fun; that being, should the president’s strategy begin registering negatively on Romney, the latter will no doubt then reassure us that he really is a flip-flopper–not an abidingly severe conservative at all.

    Remember, as a Great White Hunter of wascally wabbits, he’s a wily one.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2012/04/that-womney-oh-hes-a-wily-one.html

  49. rikyrah says:

    Greatest Healthcare System in the World
    Posted on 04/25/2012 at 7:17 am by Bob Cesca
    Well, something needs to be done about this:

    Hospital patients waiting in the emergency room or convalescing after surgery could find themselves confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside.

    One of the nation’s largest medical debt-collection companies is under fire in Minnesota for having placed its employees in emergency rooms and other departments at two hospitals and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, according to documents released Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general. The documents say the company also used patient health records to wrangle for more money on overdue bills.

    There are people in this country who can look into a TV camera and insist that America has the world’s greatest healthcare system. It’s likely they were never broke and in need of urgent medical attention.

    http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2012/04/greatest-healthcare-system-in-the-world.html

  50. rikyrah says:

    PA: Two Fewer Blue Dogs in the House
    by BooMan
    Tue Apr 24th, 2012 at 10:53:54 PM EST

    With apologies to my mother, Pennsylvania Democrats voted out two of the shittiest incumbent members of the House of Representatives. Both Jason Altimire and Tim Holden are now looking for work. Altmire, who represents parts of Pittsburgh and its suburbs, got his start working for the loathsome Pete Peterson before becoming a lobbyist for the hospital industry. Unsurprisingly, he voted against the Affordable Care Act. Tim Holden, who represents Schuylkill County and surrounding areas, is a former real estate agent, insurance salesman, and sheriff. To his credit, he has managed to win a lot of elections in very red territory. Nonetheless, he voted to invade Iraq, for Bush’s bankruptcy bill, against the Affordable Care Act, and sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). We will hold both these seats, too, which makes it easier to gloat. Altmire was redistricted into a contest with the late Jack Murtha’s protege, so we won’t be gaining much on social issues. In fact, on that front, this is a loss. But the labor unions went big for Rep. Mark Critz because Almire is a total tool of corporate America. Meanwhile, you can begin donating to Matt Cartwright, who defeated Tim Holden tonight. He’ll be a very solid progressive voice in DC.

    I am sorry to see that former Rep. Patrick Murphy narrowly lost his bid for the nomination as Attorney General. A bright career has taken a big hit tonight.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/4/24/225354/995

  51. Ametia says:

    THESE PHARMACIST NEED TO GTFOH THEIR PROFESSIONS! LICENSES NEED TO BE SNATCHED, STAT!

  52. rikyrah says:

    The President’s speech at UNC-Chapel Hill:

  53. rikyrah says:

    .

    Has Mitt Romney met Mitt Romney?
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    As expected, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney cruised to easy wins in five GOP primaries yesterday — his remaining competitors aren’t really trying — and he capped the night with a big speech in New Hampshire, where he rolled out a new campaign message: “A Better America Begins Tonight.”

    If you missed it, we featured the entirety of the former governor’s speech on last night’s show.

    The remarks were well received by most pundits — delivery and clever turns of phrase tend to earn plaudits, because honesty and policy coherence no longer matter — but watching the speech, I kept asking myself, “Has Mitt Romney met Mitt Romney?”

    The presumptive GOP nominee went through a litany of predictable falsehoods, including the ridiculous lie that President Obama “apologized for America,” but just as important was the disconnect between Romney’s rhetoric and Romney’s stated agenda.

    Romney reached out, for example, to “the mom and dad who never thought they’d be on food stamps,” without acknowledging that he supports slashing funding for food stamps. He spoke repeatedly about “unfairness” in the economy, without mentioning he supports some millionaires and billionaires paying a lower tax rate than most of the middle class. He talked about rising debt without noting that he has no way of paying for the massive tax breaks he’s sworn to pass. He said he’d rescue “grandparents” without acknowledging that he intends to turn Medicare into a voucher program, push partial privatization of Social Security, and bring back the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole.”

    Listening to Romney, an uninformed voter would probably have no idea that his promises bear no resemblance to his stated intentions. The former governor said last night, “It’s still about the economy — and we’re not stupid.” It’s a nice little line, but it rankles because Romney is absolutely counting on ignorance and gullibility to advance his ambitions.

    Finally, there was this line in Romney’s conclusion:


    “There was a time — not so long ago — when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one else in the world shared. We were Americans.”

    Let me tell you what would happen if there was a Republican incumbent president and a Democratic candidate said this: we’d spent the next several months talking about why the Democrat no longer believes Americans should take pride in their country. The candidate’s patriotism would be routinely questioned and he’d be asked repeatedly why he thinks it is no longer true the American people should hold their heads high.

    And yet there was Mitt Romney, effectively arguing that the only way to have national pride is to give him power.
    .

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/25/11387950-has-mitt-romney-met-mitt-romney?lite

  54. rikyrah says:

    Fla. senator: Scott budget veto ‘allows poor black farmworkers to die’

    State Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, says he is “shocked and surprised” that Gov. Rick Scott cut funding for a community health center in Apopka that would have gone toward providing specialized care to a community of farmworkers facing serious illnesses due to pesticide use.

    Siplin has been term-limited this year and has run out of time to fight for this project, a priority of his.

    Apopka, a community outside of Orlando, has been facing a health crisis that has caught the attention of researchers, health providers and policymakers. The community has a large population of seasonal farm workers and minorities.

    This is the second time that Scott vetoed the funding. Last May, the Republican governor removed the funding to trim down the budget.

    Siplin told me last September that he was optimistic a veto would not happen again. He said he was committed to getting help to Apopka Health Center and that helping the residents of Apopka had become “a priority in [his] life as a state senator.”

    According to Siplin, the community has needed help for years. Ten to 15 years ago, he said, Apopka farmworkers were being sprayed with pesticides. “Now, they are burying someone almost every weekend,” he told me. “I feel they have been mistreated.”

    According to a study from the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine, Siplin’s feelings are justified. The study warned that pesticides in the area present “a highly prevalent problem that is related to both chronic and acute conditions and generational adverse effects.”

    It also found that “the most common complaint [of farmworkers] was cold-like symptoms, followed by gastritis and musculoskeletal problems.” About 80 percent of the Hispanic migrant workers were found to be overweight or obese, with high blood pressure. Many of them face an “inability to receive consistent, affordable care while being exposed to multiple occupational hazards” due to a number of factors, including “language barriers, lack of health insurance, lack of transportation, fear of immigration policies, and low socioeconomic statuses.”

    Mark Dickinson, CFO and interim CEO of the health center, told The Florida Independent last year that the funds Scott vetoed would have gone to a “high population of migrant farmers.” Due to the “prolonged exposure to pesticides” and strenuous labor, he said, the workers require “specialty intervention” for illnesses ranging from Lupus to Rhumetoid Arthritis.

    Dickinson also said last year that he hoped the center would receive additional state funds for its specialty care efforts.

    Due to Scott’s veto, the center will have to wait another year, at least.

    Siplin says he was “shocked and surprised the governor would cut money that would save people’s lives.”

    “I thought he was a Christian. I thought he cared about people’s lives,” he says.

    According to Siplin, he spoke with Scott’s chief of staff about the project — and had even recently spoken to Scott. But it wasn’t enough to stop the item from being slashed from the budget.

    “He did what he did,” Siplin says. “He kept money for soccer and other questionable things, but he allows poor black farmworkers to die.”

    http://floridaindependent.com/75448/rick-scott-budget-veto-apopka-gary-siplin

  55. rikyrah says:

    Beyonce: People’s 2012 World’s Most Beautiful Woman

    It’s official: Beyonce has been named People’s 2012 World’s Most Beautiful Woman. The new mom graces the cover of the magazine, looking as stunning as ever.

    The singer, who welcomed her first daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, with husband Jay-Z in January, opened up about motherhood in the special issue:

    “I feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt because I’ve given birth … I have never felt so connected, never felt like I had such a purpose on this earth.”

    http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20589758,00.html

  56. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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