Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Rose Royce Week!

I wanna get next to you..

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63 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Rose Royce Week!

  1. Rachel Maddow to Koch brothers….Man up!

    [wpvideo AXDP8Spp]

  2. rikyrah says:

    October 20, 2011 4:55 PM

    ‘They’ve turned the world inside out’

    By Steve Benen

    We may see a Senate vote as early as tonight on the pending jobs measure, though it will be on the motion to proceed, not the final bill. In other words, Republicans aren’t just prepared to filibuster job-creation efforts, they’re also going to filibuster the Senate’s ability to discuss job-creation efforts.

    The outcome is, alas, a foregone conclusion. The Democratic effort to save or create 400,000 jobs for teachers, police officers, and firefighters will die at the hands of GOP obstructionism. Why? Publicly, it’s because Dems intend to pay for the jobs with a 0.5% surtax on millionaires and billionaires. Privately, it’s possibly because Republicans just don’t want to create jobs anyway.

    It doesn’t matter if Americans overwhelmingly love the idea. It doesn’t even matter that Republican voters love the idea. The GOP doesn’t care.

    Michael Tomasky explains today how this would have worked “in normal times.”

    In an earlier time, in normal times, when legislators used to behave the way legislators are supposed to behave, the minority’s leaders would have brought the price tag down, made the majority and the White House agree to something they wanted — peeling back one of those EPA regulations the Republicans hate — and we’d have had a deal. The minority would never have confronted the very premise. It was a priority of the president, which used to matter, at least sometimes, and more persuasively than that, the minority would have actually paid a bit of attention to those polls showing the American people backed this.

    Poof — all that is long gone. The Republican Party’s posture to the American people is this. Your opinion on issues like teachers and taxes doesn’t matter a whit to us. True, if you happened to agree with us, we’d use that to our advantage, but since you don’t, we really don’t care.

    What Tomasky is describing is the traditional congressional process. If there was a jobs crisis and Americans were demanding action, Dems would present a plan, Republicans would haggle the price down, wavering members would get a new highway expansion or some comparable sweetner, and leaders would cobble together a simple majority in an up-or-down vote.

    The very idea that the minority would filibuster the debate itself, then filibuster the bill, then reject any effort at compromises, then refuse to offer a credible alternative, then rule out the possibility of creating any jobs at all during a jobs crisis would have seemed genuinely insane for much of American history. And yet, in 2011, the entire political world finds this routine and unsurprising. It won’t be front-page news tomorrow morning, and we’d be lucky if most the public heard about the developments at all.

    Tomasky concluded, “I have trouble keeping lunch down when I read these jeremiads about how sad and mysterious it is that our institutions of government are failing. It’s not a mystery. One side wants them to fail. And there’s very little the other side can do about it, besides point it out, which the president has started doing — and now he’s the one being divisive! They’ve turned the world inside out.”

    Yes, they have. If Americans aren’t satisfied with this, they’re going to have to speak up about it.

  3. rikyrah says:

    October 20, 2011 4:05 PM

    The question Blitzer forgot to ask

    By Steve Benen

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) talked to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this morning about Gadhafi’s death in Libya, and at the end of the interview, Blitzer said, “All right, senator, thanks very much. I know you’re happy on this very special day, an historic day.”

    McCain may be pleased, but perhaps now would also be a good time to remember what the senator was up to two years ago.

    In August 2009, the Republican lawmaker traveled to Tripoli for a personal visit with Gadhafi, and the two discussed delivery of American military equipment to the Libyan dictator. There’s even a video of the introductions.

    Yes, you’ll notice that McCain actually bowed a little to Gadhafi. After the meeting, the conservative senator even praised the Libyan leader online. (You might also recognize Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman, and Susan Collins, all of whom attended the meeting and shook Gadhafi’s hand.)

    McCain changed his mind earlier this year and compared Gadhafi to Hitler, but I’m curious why the media has been so quick to forget about the senator’s willingness to cozy up to the dictator just two years ago. Politics can move pretty fast, but 2009 wasn’t that long ago.

    Put it this way: if a Democratic senator who claims superior foreign policy expertise literally bowed to Gadhafi two years ago, chatted with him in Tripoli, and soon after praised him online, do you think he or she might be asked about it today? Especially as the senator makes the rounds doing interviews anyway?

  4. rikyrah says:

    October 20, 2011 3:30 PM

    The GOP line on Libya

    By Steve Benen

    President Obama took an enormous risk by agreeing to intervene militarily in Libya. Military resources were stretched in Afghanistan and Iraq; U.S. military commanders were deeply skeptical; Pentagon chief Robert Gates urged the president not to act in Libya; and there was no great appetite among Americans for a third conflict in the Middle East. What’s more, there were all kinds of credible questions about whether this mission had a meaningful chance of success.

    But it did succeed and the gamble paid off. Gadhafi and his regime are no more. There’s ample room for a fair debate about whether the mission was wise, but predictions of failure proved to be incorrect.

    When it comes to American politics, the next question is what in the world Republicans are going to say about it.

    Mitt Romney has struggled badly to even pretend to understand national security and foreign policy. Today offered another reminder of just how lost Romney is on international affairs.

    Have you had any difficulty discerning Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney’s precise position on the US involvement in the NATO mission in Libya?

    The one consistency has been criticism of President Obama. But beyond that, he’s seemed a bit all over the Libyan map.

    ABC’s report identified five different positions Romney has taken on the U.S. million in Libya this year, and as my friend Elon Green notes today, there’s actually a sixth: in his book, Romney accused Obama of appeasing Gadhafi. I’d imagine Romney would drop this attack now, but I suppose one never knows with that guy.

    It’s worth noting that among Republican presidential candidates, there are two distinct groups, with very different challenges. One group, which includes Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, and Ron Paul, opposed U.S. intervention in Libya from the outset. For them, the question is fairly straightforward: does the end of Gadhafi and his regime change their mind or do they make the case that the mission was a mistake, regardless of the outcome?

    But it’s Romney who has the tougher task. Sifting through his various positions, the former governor ultimately seemed to believe the mission was worthwhile, but the president was about going about this all wrong. For him, the problem wasn’t with the intervention, so much as with questions about Obama’s ability to execute the mission effectively.

    And that’s tougher to address now. If Bachmann and Huntsman want to make the case that the mission succeeded, but the effort wasn’t worth the costs, fine. It’s clearly a legitimate area of debate. But Romney’s line — in effect, Obama was bound to screw this up — leads to inconvenient questions for the inexperienced former governor now that developments have unfolded the way the White House wanted.

    It’s equally problematic for congressional Republicans, by the way, who overwhelmingly opposed the administration’s policy. Have they changed their minds? Will anyone even ask them?

    As for “leading from behind,” it’s looking pretty good right about now.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Romney Tweaks The Ryan Budget: Cut Social Security Benefits, Privatize Medicare (VIDEO)
    Brian Beutler | October 19, 2011, 11:41AM

    Mitt Romney caught a lot of heat Tuesday for his comments about foreclosures. But in the same interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal, he outlined a plan for the country’s future that would please Paul Ryan, and conservatives hell bent on rolling back the social safety net.

    Without noting that Social Security has been in good shape for about 20 years, Romney proposed making it solvent in the long term through a mix of benefit cuts, taking the option of imposing payroll taxes on higher-income earners off the table completely.

    “Arithmetically, there are probably three ways of making Social Security permanently solvent,” Romney said. “One would be simply raising taxes. I don’t favor that one. Number two would be to increase the retirement age. Number three would be to have a little slower growth in benefits for higher income beneficiaries…. Some combination of those last two is the place we can go in my opinion to solve Social Security for future retirees.”

    His proposal for Medicare, which he and other Republicans have nodded at in the past, would mimic the GOP budget plan. It would provide future seniors vouchers to buy private insurance, while at the same time preserving traditional Medicare as an option. This type of approach has been adopted by one independent fiscal commission this year (the Domenici-Rivlin proposal), but it dates back to the 1990s when then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich embraced it as a way to put traditional Medicare on the path to extinction — or as he put it to “wither on the vine and die.”

    “You have a program like Paul Ryan has proposed which says we’re going to give people vouchers to let them chose among private plans,” Romney said. “I think that has a good deal of merit. I would not at the same time want to remove the option from people to have standard Medicare. But I would probably move toward a more managed care approach even in Medicare itself.”

    Elsewhere, Romney would turn Medicaid into a block grant program, and hand it over to states to make their own plans; phase out 10 percent of federal jobs; reduce discretionary spending on all other non-defense programs to the levels they were at in 2008, and undermine collective bargaining by federal unions with the stated goal of diminishing their benefits.

    It’s a fairly close approximation of the controversial GOP budget, with Social Security cuts thrown in on top.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    October 20, 2011 2:40 PM

    A simple choice on jobs

    By Steve Benen

    It’s probably safe to assume the latest jobs bill will die in the Senate, today or tomorrow, following the latest in a never-ending series of Republican filibusters. But it’s worth clarifying the nature of the choice facing lawmakers.

    On the table is a plan that would save or create hundreds of thousands of jobs through state aid, boosting teachers, police officers, and firefighters. It would be paid for, not through the kind of deficit financing Republicans pushed in the Bush era, but with a 0.5% surtax on millionaires and billionaires.

    It leaves senators in both parties with a choice: create jobs or shield the very wealthy from paying just a little more in taxes.

    But Greg Sargent had a clever idea: what would the impact be on the states represented by on-the-fence senators or GOP “moderates” who would, under normal circumstances, consider legislation like this? As Greg discovered, the impact on workers in those states would he very positive, and the impact on wealthy taxpayers would be minimal.

    Nebraska, home to Senator Ben Nelson: The aid proposal would provide $176 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 2,800 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Nebraska taxpayers.

    * Montana, home to Senator Jon Tester: The aid proposal would provide over $90 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 1,400 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Montana taxpayers.

    * West Virginia, home to Senator Joe Manchin: The aid proposal would provide over $162 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 2,600 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of West Virginia taxpayers.

    * Maine, home to senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins: The aid proposal would provide over $117 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 1,800 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Maine taxpayers.

    * Tennessee, home to senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker: The aid proposal would provide over $596 million to the state, with the goal of supporting up to 9,400 education jobs — impacting untold thousands more people, the economy, and the state’s future. The 0.5 percent millionaire surtax would impact 0.1 percent of Tennessee taxpayers.

    These pesky details — also known as “pertinent facts” — probably won’t sway any votes. But it’s worth appreciating the fact that opponents of these job-creation proposals have run out of excuses. They can’t complain about the deficit; they can’t complain about the impact on small businesses; they can’t complain (as Snowe did this week) about the administration failing to act with a sense of “urgency” on jobs; they can’t complain about efficacy, since we know exactly what this bill would do if approved.

    And as Greg noted, they certainly can’t object on the grounds that the jobs bill is a bad deal for their constituents.

    If reality had any meaning at all, this vote would be practically unanimous. Instead, it’s going to fail. If Americans aren’t satisfied with this outcome, they’re going to have to say so.

  7. rikyrah says:

    GOP Takes Aim At Companies On Obama’s Jobs Council

    House Republicans are no longer content to use the investigative powers of Congress to go after President Obama’s healthcare overhaul by compelling Obama administration to cough up information and testify before their committees.

    In recent weeks, the GOP has launched a dragnet for internal information from companies with ties to the White House about the healthcare law and its impact on business.

    The move has Democrats crying foul and accusing Republicans of abusing their investigative authority to intimidate company executives who are cooperating with President Obama and serving on his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

    Earlier this month, Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent 23 letters to executives on the President’s Council seeking information about the impact of the Obama’s healthcare law. But the request appeared more like a witch hunt, Democrats argue, because Republicans asked for a voluminous amount of material, including all emails from all company employees even mentioning the healthcare law.

    The letters request all documents “discussing, concerning, or relating in any way” to the healthcare law, including “all communications, including e-mail, sent to or received by” company employees, during a two-and-a-half year period,” Democrats on the panel wrote in a letter to Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), its chairman, sent Thursday.

    Executives serving on the council include GE’s Jeffrey Immelt, AOL co-founder Steve Case, American Express’s Kenneth I. Chenault and Xerox’s Ursula Burns, to name just a few. Obama created the jobs council, made up of business, labor and academic leaders, earlier this year to give him advice on boosting the economy and creating jobs.

    “Given that some of the targeted companies have hundreds of thousands of employees, the burden of compliance is potentially enormous,” wrote Reps. Henry Waxman (CA) and Diana DeGette (CO), two senior Democrats on the committee.

    “Your decision raises an exceptionally serious issue: are the Committee’s powers being used to intimidate companies that cooperate with President Obama?” they asked.

    The only rationale Republicans could have for singling out the companies, Democrats said, is that they were serving on the President’s Jobs Council.

    “These companies do not have unique expertise regarding the impact of the health reform legislation, and they do not represent a cross-section of the organizations and individuals that will be affected by its provisions,” Waxman and DeGette wrote. “Selecting investigative targets for an invasive document request because they are associated with a President you oppose would be an act of brazen political intimidation.”

    Republicans are pushing back against the charges of political intimidation, arguing that the companies are a “natural group to survey” because they are already cooperating with Obama on ideas about easing the regulatory government burden and boosting economic growth.

    “These companies volunteered to participate in the president’s jobs council, indicating a willingness to share their views and experiences to help shed light on public policy options,” a GOP aide said in an email.

    “If someone is looking for political intimidation, they might note that the only oversight of the health care law that Mr. Waxman did was to aggressively and publicly demand documents and testimony from a handful of companies that were simply complying with the law in documenting the losses they would face because of [healthcare overhaul],” the aide noted.

    Waxman and DeGette claim the GOP political intimidation is part of pattern and point to another recent “burdensome and intrusive” investigation launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) against Planned Parenthood.

    The pair requested a meeting with Upton and Stearns next week to discuss the matter.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Cain On Top In Iowa
    If I were a Republican, I’d be embarrassed.

    A major political party running a motivational speaker as a future president? Or to put it another way: a massively popular two-term governor and former ambassador to China with a tax reform plan that bears scrutiny is at 2 percent, and Cain is at 28.

    What a total joke the GOP now is. (Perry, meanwhile, is in sixth place behind Bachmann in a caucus dominated by Christianists. And, yes, I trust Rasmussen when polling the Christianist base. Just not the general population.)

  9. rikyrah says:

    Liz Cheney cares about you. Really. She does.
    by Kay

    First, the good news:

    Labor is poised for a big victory in Ohio next month- PPP’s newest poll of the state finds that voters intend to reject Senate Bill 5 by a 56-36 margin. Although that margin is consistent with what we found in the state earlier this year, when we polled Ohio in August the support for repealing SB 5 had tightened to 50-39. These numbers suggest that momentum is back on the side of the groups trying to kill the bill.

    Labor. That’s refreshingly blunt. Accurate, too.

    Next, the bad news:

    The essential battle for organized labor in America this fall is in the state of Ohio, where voters will go to the polls in just three weeks to decide whether to overturn anti-labor legislation that Governor John Kasich and a Republican-controlled legislature forced on the state last spring. If the anti-labor law is upheld, Kasich will be thanking Liz Cheney. The daughter of the former vice president has—along with former White House political czar Karl Rove—taken a leading role among the out-of-state groups that are raising money and implementing media campaigns to support the law.

    This was never about balancing a state budget or public employee benefit packages. It is now and was always about destroying organized labor in both the public and the private sector. If conservatives can eradicate unions in the Rust Belt states, they can kill them anywhere.

    Liz Cheney, Karl Rove and the media personalities at Fox News don’t go to war over teachers in Ohio paying 10% more out of pocket for health insurance. None of them live here. Why on earth would national conservatives be pouring all this energy and all these assets into a state budgeting issue? That’s nonsense, and an insult to the intelligence of the voters in this state. Unions, both public sector and private sector, represent their members in Ohio and nationally, hence their (huge) presence here, during this campaign. Who are Cheney and Rove working for, and why?

    The Ohio newspapers who are going along with this elaborate charade should be ashamed. They had a duty to tell us the truth, and the truth is this was never about the state budget. Hopefully, a majority of voters figured that out all by themselves.

    If you’re in Ohio, and you’re not buying that Liz Cheney has taken time out of her busy international war-mongering schedule to focus on health insurance cost-sharing by public employees in Ohio, start here, with No On Two.

    Let’s send her packing back to wherever the hell she lives.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:09 PM ET, 10/20/2011
    Melody Barnes to leave White House, another loss of a high-level female staffer
    By Nia-Malika Henderson
    Melody Barnes, one of a handful of high-profile women in the White House, will leave her post as President Obama’s domestic policy advisor at the end of the year, two senior administration officials confirmed.

    First reported by POLITICO, the news comes as the White House shifts to re-election mode and as the admistration has faced scrutiny over the role of women.

    Jen Psaki, who had been the White House’s deputy communications director left last month to join a top Democratic research firm.

    In the Obama White House, Barnes was the point person for domestic policy as the administration pushed through major initiatives on health care and moved to overhaul nutrition and education standards.

    Barnes was also the first woman to join an Obama golf game after complaints about the all-boys outings.

    In a statement to POLITICO, she said she planned to help Obama get a second term, though she wanted to leave the White House to spend more time with her family and explore private sector opportunities.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    October 20, 2011 1:35 PM

    The pro-life candidate who’s pro-choice

    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain sat down with CNN’s Piers Morgan last night, and immediately after Cain insisted that sexual orientation is a matter of choice, the discussion turned to abortion rights.

    Cain, at least at first, took an uncompromising line: “I believe that life begins at conception. And abortion under no circumstances.” It didn’t appear to be a position with any wiggle room.

    But then the host asked what Cain would think if he had a daughter or granddaughter who was raped and impregnated. And that’s when the candidate’s response took a strange turn.

    CAIN: [I]t comes down to it’s not the government’s role or anybody else’s role to make that decision. Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidents, you’re not talking about that big a number. So what I’m saying is it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t have to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.

    MORGAN: By expressing the view that you expressed, you are effectively — you might be president. You can’t hide behind now the mask, if you don’t mind me saying, of being the pizza guy. You might be the president of United States of America. So your views on these things become exponentially massively more important. They become a directive to the nation.

    CAIN: No they don’t. I can have an opinion on an issue without it being a directive on the nation. The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to social decisions that they need to make.

    As it turns out, in American politics, there’s a category for candidates who may be personally opposed to abortion, but who wouldn’t use the power of the state to impose their opinion on the nation. They’re called “pro-choice’ candidates.

    Now, as it turns out, Cain doesn’t see it that way. As news of his on-air comments made the rounds this morning, the right began demanding an explanation. Cain tweeted, “I’m 100% pro-life. End of story.”

    Except, it’s really not the end of the story, because Cain may not know what “pro-life” means. If the Republican presidential candidate doesn’t believe the government should interfere with personal decisions on “sensitive issues,” Cain may think he’s “pro-life,” but opponents of abortion rights are going to draw a very different conclusion.

    If this guy hasn’t already used up his 15 minutes of fame, he’s coming very close.

  12. Ametia says:

    Love watching our POTUS just going about the business of presiding. No drama OBAMA!

  13. President Obama Awards the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal
    October 20, 2011 2:15 PM EDT

  14. WATCH LIVE VIDEO: Obama to speak about Gaddafi, #Libya at 2 ET

  15. The Associated Press

    BREAKING: Libyan information minister says Gadhafi’s son Muatassim killed in Sirte.

  16. rikyrah says:

    October 20, 2011 12:30 PM

    The GOP’s ‘Thank America Last’ crowd

    By Steve Benen

    Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Delicious

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) appeared on Fox News this morning to respond to reports of Moammar Gadhafi’s demise. His first instinct wasn’t to thank American troops, but rather, to thank French troops.

    “Today’s not a day to point fingers,” the right-wing Florida senator said. “I’m glad it’s all working out. Ultimately this is about the freedom and liberty of the Libyan people. But let’s give credit where credit is due: it’s the French and the British that led in this fight, and probably even led on the strike that led to Gadhafi’s capture, and, or, you know, to his death.

    “So, that’s the first thing. The second thing is, you know, I criticize the president, for, he did the right things, he just took too long to do it and didn’t do enough of it.”

    In the mind of this rising Republican star, the American military that helped drive Gadhafi’s regime from power deserves no credit at all. Marco Rubio is comfortable crediting the French, but not American men and women in uniform.


    Remember hearing about the “blame America first” crowd? Well, say hello to the “thank America last” crowd.

    Rubio, by the way, isn’t the only member. In August, when Gadhafi’s government fell, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued a joint statement in which the Republicans commended the “British, French, and other allies, as well as our Arab partners, especially Qatar and the UAE.” McCain and Graham eventually said Americans can be “proud of the role our country” played, but nevertheless condemned the administration’s “failure” to act the way the GOP senators wanted.

    Republicans hate the president so much, they just can’t bring themselves to credit him for the success of the mission, or even thank American servicemen and women for their service in completing the mission.

    I realize Rubio is a reflexive partisan, but even for him, his comments on Fox News this morning were just cheap. When the fear of Obama getting some credit for success is stronger than the satisfaction that comes with Gadhafi’s demise, there’s a problem.

    As for Rubio complaining about the way in which Obama’s policy came together, it’s worth noting that the president assembled an international coalition with surprising speed and won approval from the United Nations extremely quickly.

    If Rubio and his ilk don’t want to applaud the president for getting the results they claim to have wanted, the least they can do is have the decency to acknowledge the efforts of U.S. troops. Is that really too much to ask from the right?

    Update: McCain appeared on CNN this morning and said, “I think the [Obama] administration deserves credit, but I especially appreciate the leadership of the British and French in this in carrying out this success.” Shameless.

  17. rikyrah says:

    A Tale Of Two Presidents
    A reader writes:

    Bush and Saddam – One Trillion dollars and thousands of US lives.

    Obama and Qaddafi – One Billion dollars and zero US lives.

    Meep Meep indeed.

    And this time, the Arab world loves us as well.

    To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Eric Cantor For…Something? (VIDEO)

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor posted a video Thursday that has Democrats scratching their heads. Is he running for something (besides reelection to his Richmond, VA-area Congressional district)?

    Check out the video, titled “Snapshot of the Leader :: 9 am – 10 am”:

    One Democratic operative suggested that the video looks like a presidential campaign ad from the man once known as Overdog. The source also notes the fluffy video was paid for with taxpayer funds.

    “We finally found Eric Cantor’s jobs plan – hiring taxpayer funded staffers to spend every day photographing every minute of his life and producing videos his staff can watch and tell him how great he is,” the operative said. “Viewers are left wondering if this taxpayer funded self-promotion video is just the groundwork of a VP bid or just a highly active morning of undermining Speaker Boehner.”

    Team Cantor suggested the Democrats may be spending a little too much time on conspiracy theory message boards.

    “Sometimes a video is just… A video. If some Democrats want to look for subliminal messages or secret codes, that’s cool,” said Cantor spokesperson Brad Dayspring. “Sounds like someone has read the DaVinci Code one too many times.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    The Untold Story Of The Actual Obama Record

    I can’t put it better than this longtime Dish reader:

    Personally, I am praying that Obama’s messaging improves drastically. (It has failed on multiple occasions – not the least of which was during August/September of 2008.)

    The truth is that this President has done a good job in what has been one of the most difficult periods of modern history. He saved the economy from ruin (until the Tea Party took over Congress) with a stimulus that was as large as possible given the political realities, presided over a stock market that fairly quickly recouped many of its losses, presided over almost consecutive monthly increases in private sector job growth (unfortunately balanced by monthly decreases in public sector jobs which I attribute to the GOP further starving government), enacted the only meaningful healthcare reform ever in our history, passed financial reform (no matter what the Left says, he did this), saved the auto industry (which Romney is on record opposing), fired the first salvo of the Arab Spring with his address in Cairo no less, drawn down our footprint in Iraq in a responsible way (and headed toward almost total withdrawal), stopped numerous terrorist attacks in this country, stopped torture as policy, repealed DADT, joined the international community in a measured and responsible way to bring down an odious tyrant in Qaddafi, and killed a whole generation of al Qaeda leaders. And taking out Osama bin Laden the way he did will go down as one of the bravest military actions in American history.

    I know this President is not popular, and it is very unpopular to defend him in such a way. I don’t care. For this country to dump him for anyone on the other side would be a terrible thing. Progress is slow and painful, but we are doing it. Is that fashionable to say? No. Again, I don’t care.

    Amen. And the way in which the ADD media simply jumps to the next cycle of spinmanship only furthers the amnesia. But the Obama administration also shares some of the blame. Many of them have been too focused on governing to explain what the fuck they’re doing. There’s a technocratic arrogance to them that is too blind to winning and sustaining arguments and narratives. And this is kinda mind-blowing because the record is so remarkabe in retrospect.

    If you’d told me in January 2009 that the banks would pay us back the entire bailout and then some, that the auto companies would actually turn around with government help and be a major engine of recovery, that there would be continuous job growth since 2009, however insufficient, after the worst demand collapse since the 1930s, that bin Laden would be dead, Egypt transitioning to democracy, al Qaeda all but decimated as a global threat, and civil rights for gays expanded more rapidly than at any time in history … well I would be expecting a triumphant re-election campaign.

    But we are where we are – and the economic pain is real and the president must take his lumps. The good news for those of us who still back Obama and hope for his re-election is that even with all this positive record essentially dismissed and little of it capitalized on politically, Obama is still neck and neck with any likely opponent. And he is his own best messager.

    At some point, he needs to shuck off the restraint, and tell the actual story of the last three years – against the fantastic and self-serving lies and delusions we keep hearing in Republican debates and Beltway chatter. If he does it with panache, he won’t need a jumpsuit onto an aircraft carrier. And many of his missions may even actually be accomplished.

  20. rikyrah says:

    When Tim Met Marco”

    For some reason the Republican blogosphere is swooning over the above exchange. What you see, in my view, is an exchange between someone making high school debating points and someone actually making decisions about governing when there are no great choices. Geithner logically destroys Rubio here. But because the right has become uninterested in governing, or the compromises of responsible politics, and is essentially a talk radio racket pretending to be a serious political party, they see a triumph. A commenter at NRO proves not every conservative has succumbed to the delusion:

    [I]f Rubio made anyone look like an idiot, it was himself. Shorter Rubio: “How come we can’t just cherry pick the ideas we want without giving anything back? Why can’t we take an idea out of its context? … Republican politicians have refused to play ball. And if Republican politicians like Rubio think they are going to pocket the tax cuts while also making deep spending cuts, they are completely delusional

  21. rikyrah says:

    Why Didn’t Bigger Name Republicans Run?
    Ezra Klein asks:

    Perhaps more Republicans would have run if Obama had looked this weak eight months ago. But Obama’s numbers have been sinking for awhile now. Entering the race late makes it tougher to win, but it doesn’t make it impossible. And it’s hard to believe that Romney had such an imposing head start that he scared off a larger field. His dominance has come as a surprise to everyone. So help me out. What’s the answer here?

    Christie isn’t ready. Daniels didn’t have the charisma or balls. Jeb’s last name is Bush. The new crop of governors – Rubio, Scott, Walker – is too green. Barbour is too Southern. Palin couldn’t handle more scrutiny of her actual life. Sometimes, no grand theory is needed. Events and timing matter. It reminds me of the Dems in 1991. But they had a Clinton in the pack of cards. A rogue card, but better than any that the GOP now has.

  22. rikyrah says:

    October 20, 2011 11:25 AM

    Joe Biden understands marginal tax rates

    By Steve Benen

    If all goes according to plan, the Senate will consider an extremely worthwhile jobs bill tomorrow. It’s a pretty straightforward effort: the Obama administration would be able to save or create 400,000 jobs through state aid, boosting teachers, police officers, and firefighters. It would be paid for, not through the kind of deficit financing Republicans pushed in the Bush era, but with a 0.5% surtax on millionaires and billionaires.

    GOP members — all of them — have already vowed to kill the proposal, because in their minds, even a tiny tax increase on millionaires and billionaires would be awful. It’s a straight-up choice for Republicans to make: hundreds of thousands of jobs for teachers and first responders, or shielding the wealthiest of the wealthy from paying just a little more.

    Every GOP senator believes it’s the rich that need protecting. (And as the economy struggles, it will somehow be Republicans who get rewarded, and the Obama White House that gets blamed.)

    As infuriating as this, it was reassuring to see Vice President Biden on the Hill yesterday, giving members a quick refresher on the basics of marginal tax policy.

    “You have a one-half of one-percent surtax on the 1,000,0001th dollar — in other words it doesn’t affect anybody who makes $999,000, it doesn’t affect anybody making $999,999 — and if you want to find the guy who make $1,000,0001, it only affects that $1. That’s the only thing the rate goes up on,” Biden explained.

    This is a basic fact about marginal tax policy, but it’s one Republicans like to obscure.

    “If you make $1.1 million, and god-willing this passes, you would pay next year, $500 more in taxes,” Biden said.

    And the point is, these folks can afford it. What we, as a country, can’t afford is to let 400,000 teachers, police officers, and firefighters stay at home rather than work.

    As for Biden’s remedial lesson on taxes, it’s painful to realize how necessary it is, since far too many folks — including many Republicans — still don’t understand how marginal rates work.

    It may not matter to GOP policymakers, of course, who’d apparently kill any jobs plan that asked for an additional penny from the rich, but at least they should go about undermining the economy with their eyes open.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/20/2011
    The GOP’s ludicrous claim about their jobs bill
    By Glenn Kessler

    The entire plan will not add one penny to the federal debt, while creating 5 million new jobs.”

    –news release by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) about the Senate GOP jobs plan

    “Paul said the bill would create 5 million new jobs—although he did not offer a specific time frame.”

    –news article on unveiling of the plan, Oct. 14, 2011

    Politicians love to make claims about how many jobs their proposals will create. As a practical matter, readers should immediately discount such assertions, since they are often based on guesstimates that are then extrapolated beyond reality. One good example of such a dubious claim is one made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in August about the Federal Aviation Administration funding bill, for which he earned Three Pinocchios.

    But the current battle over the jobs bills is, of course, about jobs. President Obama has toured the country, making the case for his plan while frequently citing an estimate by one economist that nearly 2 million jobs would be saved or created. Bloomberg News surveyed 34 economists and came up with a decidedly smaller average – the plan would “add or keep 275,000 employees on payrolls.” Still, the economists concluded the president’s plan might help avoid a recession in the next year.

    Senate Republicans, including Rand Paul (Ky.), John McCain (Ariz.) and Rob Portman (Ohio), last week unveiled what they labeled as their alternative to Obama’s plan. Their plan was mostly a mish-mash of previous offered bills, such as that hardy perennial–a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. (Some experts would argue that such a requirement could hurt employment if government spending dropped too quickly.)

    During the news conference, and in a news release, Paul claimed the GOP plan would create 5 million jobs

    So, we wondered: Where did that figure come from?

    The Facts
    Moira Bagley, a spokesman for Paul, said the figure was derived from three proposals: individual and corporate tax cuts that reduced the top tax rate of 25 percent, which the Heritage Foundation said would boost employment by 1.6 million jobs over the next decade; a tax holiday allowing U.S. companies to return cash held overseas, which a Chamber of Commerce study said would create 2.9 million jobs in two years; and a study by energy consultant Wood MacKenzie, which said allowing access to domestic energy resources and imports of Canadian oil would generate more than 1 million jobs by 2018.

    There are several problems with these figures.

    First of all, the tax reductions and the energy proposals are going to do very little in the near term. The Heritage study looks at the impact over ten years. And, let’s face it, a project as big as reducing tax rates will take months, if not years, of legislative battles. Such a tax plan certainly won’t do anything to avert a recession right now. (In any case, we raised serious questions about aspects of the Heritage analysis when it was released earlier this year in conjunction with the House Republican budget plan.)

    The same problem holds true for the energy proposal—a long-term fix that will not bring much near term help. Incidentally, this same study, which has been promoted by the American Petroleum Institute, was recently the subject of a front-page Washington Post article about the “fuzzy math” on jobs used by corporate lobbying interests.

  24. rikyrah says:

    The Debate to End All Debates Is Only Helping Mitt Romney

    Things were starting to lag a bit in the late going in Las Vegas. And then the mighty Anderson Cooper brought up foreign aid, giving the mighty Republican candidates a chance to show off their foreign-policy chops. This enabled Rick Perry to talk about defunding the United Nations. And it allowed Michele Bachmann — dressed, for some reason, like a Marriott bellhop — to get it exercised that President Obama was “putting us into Libya and and now he’s putting us into Africa.” Gradually, imperceptibly, one exhausted absurdity at a time, everybody got around to talking about the release of Gilad Shalit, who was freed after extensive negotiations between Israel and Hamas that also produced the release of a thousand Palestinian prisoners by Israel. They were asked about whether or not they would negotiate with terrorists. This brought a swift response from Bachmann, whose Reagan fixation has done nothing but repeatedly get her into trouble. (Earlier, she said she’d go back to the Reagan policies that “brought us a miracle in the 1980’s” — when, of course, all the tax rates were higher than they are now. This is the second time in a week that she’s stepped on that particular rake.) “I would have a policy that said we absolutely do not negotiate with terrorists,” La Bachmann thundered.


    For one thing, I think we’ve seen the last of Herman Cain, Republican Frontrunner. He got beat up pretty badly because almost everyone on the stage seemed to be explaining his economic plan to him. Both Romney and Perry tried to get him to understand that his 9-9-9 plan would cause people in Nevada to pay a national sales tax on top of their state sales tax, and Cain kept telling them to check with his own analysis of his plan which, in a stunning coincidence, says he’s right and they’re wrong. He repeatedly told them that they were comparing “apples and oranges.”

    “The state tax is an apple. We are replacing the current tax code with oranges,” Cain explained. “Take a loaf of bread. It does have five taxes in it right now.” And raisins, too. And, occasionally, twelve grains. Before the debate completely disappeared down the aisle at the Piggly Wiggly, Romney and Perry started laying the wood to each other on immigration. Alas, Romney was better at being snippy than Perry was at being snappy.

    Here are the two things we learned about the actual frontrunners last night. First of all, Mitt Romney is still a smug, entitled prick. His regular-guy shtick has never been convincing, and it never will be, so he abandoned it entirely last night. If he wasn’t whining, continuously, about how he wasn’t being allowed to speak, he was letting loose with the kind of contemptuous snicker that you aim at the help when they fall down the stairs. (Remember in 2000, when pundits wouldn’t shut up about Al Gore’s alleged sighing? This was worse.) For some reason — and “utter, flop-sweaty desperation” is the first answer that leaps to mind — Perry decided to go after Romney on an old story from the Boston Globe in which it was reported that the Romneys had illegal immigrants doing yard work on the family manse back in Massachusetts. Romney parried the attacks ably with his usual mixture of condescension and contempt for the lower classes who dare question him. And then he proceeded to drop his hands, and stick his chin out.

    First he said that, when he learned that the landscaping company had hired undocumented workers, Romney told Perry that he told the company, “You can’t have any illegals working on our property. I’m running for office, for pete’s sake, we can’t have illegals.”

    Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?

    The answer was not, “Hey, we can’t have this. It’s illegal.” No, for Mitt, the first problem was that he couldn’t find a way to spin it if anyone found out. And then, Mitt continued, that “it’s hard to know, when you’re hiring people to work on your property, if they’re hiring illegals or not.”

    Yes, Muffy, it certainly is difficult to get good help these days, a problem that I am sure is plaguing all of those people out there in Nevada who are scraping to keep the old Craftsman running for another season as they mow their own lawns in front of the house that’s in danger of being foreclosed because some crook in a distant bank sold the mortgage to it about 130 times. More sherry, Pater?

    What a rhetorical bonanza was sitting right there in front of the dirt farmer’s kid from Painter’s Gulch. Mitt Romney was asking — nay, begging — to be framed as a wealthy, elitist snob, complaining about the difficulty of hiring a decent lawn service, and worried more about his political future than the fact that he was accessorial to breaking the immigration laws.

    Unfortunately, the second thing we learned, one more time, is that Rick Perry isn’t that quick. Unfortunately, Perry is molasses running uphill in February. The opportunity went a’glimmering.

  25. GGail says:

    Good morning 3Chics. Thank you for your musical selections this week!
    What a lovely song “I wanna get next to you”. The musical arrangement and the words are just beautiful. I loved how songs were written back then to convey a message and yet be clean. We knew what the singer was saying, yet it was tastefully worded – which made it more sexy. You know what I mean?

    • Ametia says:

      Good day to you, GGail. We know exactly whatcha mean, lady. It’s 3 Chics pleasure to bring the classics to y’all. So glad you’re diggin’em!

  26. AttackWatch:

    Mitt Romney says President Obama doesn’t have a jobs plan. Apparently Mitt doesn’t have a TV, computer, or radio. http://OFA.BO/jdPinE

  27. Ametia says:

    Libyan prime minister confirms Gaddafi killed as Sirte is overrun

    By Mary Beth Sheridan and Michael Birnbaum, TRIPOLI, Libya — Revolutionary fighters overran the last loyalist stronghold in Libya and killed former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi on Thursday, bringing to a dramatic close an eight-month war backed by NATO.

    Gaddafi, 69, the long-entrenched autocrat who was driven from power in Tripoli two months ago, was killed when revolutionaries ended loyalist resistance in Sirte, his birthplace and home town, the new government announced.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Perry and Romney warned: personal attacks could cost GOP the election

    Top pollster Frank Luntz tells Republican conference delegates that pair’s clashes during Las Vegas debate were ‘horrific’

    The bitter personal clashes between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney at the Las Vegas GOP debate were “horrific”, according to influential Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who predicted that such divisive behaviour could cost the party the White House race in 2012.

    His warning was reinforced by one of the candidates, the former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

    The nastiness of the exchanges between Perry and Romney suggests that the battle for the Republican nomination is shaping up as one of the most dirty and brutal since George Bush destroyed John McCain in 2000.

    Luntz, one of the best-known pollsters in the US, was speaking immediately after Perry on Wednesday at a conference of Republicans from the western states being held in Las Vegas.

    Perry provoked a row with Romney during Tuesday’s CNN debate, accusing him of having hired illegal immigrants to cut his lawn. Personal jibes between the two dominated the two-hour debate.

    It made for riveting television but it will be a few days before polls make it clear whether the Texas governor will benefit from going negative in such a personal way.

    Luntz told hundreds of Republicans gathered for the four-day conference that if candidates insisted on turning on one another, they would have no-one to blame but themselves when they lost the White House election.

    “What happened last night was horrific,” Luntz said. There were cries of “Yes” from the audience. Luntz had a message for the candidates: “Do not think you are helping your cause by destroying one another.”

    Former House speaker Gingrich rounded on Perry and Romney too, saying: “The bickering does not help the Republican party … it hurts the Republican party.”

    He promised he would not run negative ads against a Republican opponent, and called for the television networks to adopt a different debate format. In a dig at the CNN debate moderator Anderson Cooper, he said that “left-wing journalists” should not be allowed to dictate the questions.

    Perry, in his speech to the conference, attempted to build on the momentum he generated in the debate.

    After weeks of appearing flat-footed and seemingly uninterested in the campaign, he appeared energised by the occasion. He trotted onto the stage and began to flesh out his economic policy beyond opening up America’s oil, gas and coal resources and promising tax reform.

    He made no mention of Romney, but it was clear the former Massachusetts governor was Perry’s target when he said: “I am not a candidate of the establishment.”

    Perry, in an effort to differentiate himself further from Romney, is to take up part of Herman Cain’s tax plan – a simple flat rate tax.

    In his speech, Perry said he will scrap the 3m words in the present tax code and start with something simple: a flat tax. He will disclose details next week.

    Cain has enjoyed a surge in support with his ‘9-9-9’ tax plan: a 9% income tax rate, 9% corporate income tax rate and 9% sales tax. While the income tax plan has gone down well with Republicans, he has been heavily criticised over the sales tax figure.

    Perry’s strategy is to portray himself as a Washington outsider with a modest upbringing in contrast to Romney’s Ivy League background.

    Nevada is strongly pro-Romney, and a renewed attack by Perry would have gone down badly with Republican audience at the conference.

    Perry is also working hard to present himself as having the best record on job creation.

    But one of his weaknesses, apparent in Perry’s speech, is that he brings to mind George Bush, not just because of his Texas twang but in mangling his words. Making another contrast with Romney, he described himself as “an authentical” conservative.

    Political commentators on the early morning television shows said Perry had come off best by unsettling Romney. The former Massachusetts governor, they said, came across as condescending, sneering and looking as if he wanted to kill his opponent.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Who are the dumbest motherfuckers in the world now?

    982,967 donors. That’s the number at which President Obama’s campaign stood at the end of the third quarter of 2011. That is almost double the 552,000 number that the campaign had at the end of the last quarter. But what’s really fascinating about it are the following facts for the quarter:

    •606,027 individual donors, 257,000 of them new donors.
    •More than 766,000 donations, 98% of it in chunks of $250 or less.
    •OFA and DNC raised $70 million, dwarfing their goal of $55 million.

    Obama and DNC combined dwarfed all the Republican candidates and the RNC combined. Not only that, the Obama campaign alone raised nearly as much money this year ($86 million) as all the Republicans combined ($90 million). The DNC (source: Barack Obama also has more cash on hand than all the Republican candidates combined. Perhaps this following graph will clear things up:

    As of the time of this writing, the president’s campaign has surpassed a million donors.

    Weren’t we told by a bunch of head hanchos on the Left at the end of the wildly successful second quarter that, oh, that was before the president decided to “put Medicare benefits on the table” (which of course was an usual lie from the whiners)?

    So why are these early fundraising numbers so important? Because despite the media and the professional whiners’ crying about how the president is in political danger, and how he must listen to them in order to be elected, the early donations are early commitments. It means over a million people, over a year before the election, have spoken up and are ready to do more. That is extraordinary. It means people are breaking through the media conflict barrage, and that they understand what is at stake. Millions of people understand that we cannot afford to go through the 2012 election in the usual pissing match fashion, nor can we go through it without And, it means that all the threats from the professional Left have failed:

    •The threat to withhold donations from the president if he in any way tries to solve Medicare’s funding problem (even without touching benefits).
    •The threat to withhold donations if the president does not perpwalk bank executives by waving a time machine.
    •The threat to primary the president (ahahahahahaha).
    •The threat to make it really difficult for the president to raise money if he does not bring rainbow colored ponies to the doorsteps of the Daily Kos powers that be.
    The numbers prove that the assault on the president by the pretend-Left have failed. Not only have they failed, they have been ridiculed. Numbers don’t lie.

    So let’s do this one more time. Just to get this straight.

  30. EconomicFairness

    here we have another proven case of US leadership applied in the appropriat­e manner by a competent president yeilding great success
    Obama proven right once again. Obama’s leadership takes out another terrorist leader, despite all of the criticism from the right, without costing 5,000 young American lives and spending a trillion dollars. They just reported on TV that the total cost of the Libyan operation was the same as THREE DAYS of what the Iraqi costs have been. For those who want to call Obama weak, ask Khaddafy and bin Laden what they think about that analysis. And yet, Obama still hasn’t appeared on an aircraft carrier with a “Mission Accomplish­ed” banner behind him.


  31. rikyrah says:

    It’s a Girl for Carla Bruni
    Sarkozy’s newborn is first French presidential baby

    A child has been born to a serving president for the first time in modern French history. Carla Bruni gave birth to a baby girl at a clinic in Paris last night, the BBC reports. The 43-year-old mom—who told interviewers recently that she was bored with being pregnant and looking forward to having a drink and a cigarette—has a son from a previous relationship. Nicolas Sarkozy, who left debt talks in Germany to return to Paris, has three sons from previous marriages. With the election seven months away, the unpopular Sarkozy needs a boost in popularity, but analysts believe the newborn isn’t going to help.

    Sarkozy says his wife will reveal the baby’s name (rumored to be Dalia or Dahlia), and called his joy “profound” but “private.” He made the comments while visiting a waste-processing plant in France today. Best detail, via the BBC: Plant workers gave him congratulatory gifts, which included a bib and … a dieting book for Carla. Bruni, who kept a low profile during her pregnancy, says the media won’t be getting any photos of the baby.

  32. rikyrah says:

    October 20, 2011 9:35 AM

    ‘You don’t believe that, do you?’

    By Steve Benen

    A few weeks ago, Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain sat down with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour who asked about his fear of Sharia law being “infused” into the U.S. judicial system. The host, seemingly bewildered by the nonsense, asked, “You don’t really mean this, though, do you, Mr. Cain?” He said, “Oh, yes, I do.”

    I thought of this when CNN’s Piers Morgan chatted with Cain last night and the conservative candidate insisted that sexual orientation “is a choice.” The host seemed rather amazed — and ended up using the identical question Amanpour raised earlier.

    MORGAN: You believe people — seriously, you think people get to a certain age and go, I think I want to be homosexual?

    CAIN: Let me turn it around to you. What does science show? You show me evidence other than opinion and you might cause me to reconsider that…. Where is evidence? […]

    MORGAN: Wait a minute, let me ask you. You genuinely believe millions of Americans wake up in their late teens normally and go, you know what, I quite fancy being a homosexual? You don’t believe that, do you?

    CAIN: You haven’t given me any evidence to convince me otherwise nor has anyone else.

    Eventually, Morgan said this is tantamount to a gay person telling Cain his chose to be black. “Piers,” the Republican said, “this doesn’t wash off. I hate to burst your bubble.”

    To which Morgan replied, “I don’t think being a homosexual washes off.”

    What struck me as interesting wasn’t just Cain’s profound ignorance, but also Morgan’s incredulity. This seems quite common among many in the media — sure, Republican candidates repeat a lot of nonsense, but underneath the rhetoric, even conservatives have to be more sensible than they appear.

    But therein lies the point: they’re really not. Cain actually believes this garbage.

    As for Cain’s alleged interest in evidence, Zack Ford recently explained, “If Cain has not seen ‘the science,’ he clearly has never bothered to look. Based on decades of research, all major medical professional organizations agree that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American Psychological Association, the world’s largest association of psychological professionals, describes sexual orientation as ‘a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors.’ There is considerable evidence to suggest that biology, ‘including genetic or inborn hormonal factors,’ plays a significant role in a person’s sexuality.”

  33. Ametia says:

    The battle over the electoral calendar that costs voters
    By Howard Dean, Published: October 19

    The quadrennial presidential primary “scheduling farce” is in full swing. Once again, the New Hampshire secretary of state is threatening to move his state’s primary to early December, while Iowa has announced it will hold its caucuses Jan. 3. States such as Florida, South Carolina and Nevada have either moved their primaries or threaten to do so.

    Ironically, while these states claim they are doing this to increase their role in the nominating process, holding primaries in January violates the Republican National Committee’s rules — agreed upon by representatives from every state — and threatens to decrease the relevance of voters in those states.

  34. facepalm23:

    Osama Bin Laden ☑ – Muamar Gadafi ☑ Anwar al-Awlaki ☑

  35. Gaddafi killed as Libya’s revolt claims hometown | Reuters

  36. rikyrah says:

    October 20, 2011 8:00 AM

    Punching down

    By Steve Benen

    A week ago, reveling in the attention, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign was delighted to highlight the Obama campaign’s criticisms of the former governor. Romney’s team even put together a video, streaming together Democratic criticism of the Republican candidate, with a one-word title: “Nervous?”

    This week, one might be inclined to ask Romney’s campaign the same question.

    For months, if not years, the former governor has focused all of his energy on going after the president. Romney was largely content to pretend he had no primary rivals, and looked to already be gearing up for the general election. Just over the last few days, however, Romney has decided to engage the other Republican candidates in ways unseen all year.

    In the CNN debate, for example, we saw Romney go after Herman Cain’s tax plan and challenge Newt Gingrich over health care mandates. Yesterday, the Romney campaign went much further, releasing a video suggesting Rick Perry is a bit of dolt.

    As it turns out, a few hours later, Romney’s team pulled the minute-long clip without explanation, but American Bridge grabbed a copy and posted it this morning*.

    Nate Silver noted last night, “Romney’s new attack ad is the sort of thing a campaign puts out when it thinks it lost a debate.” That’s exactly right.

    This comes, by the way, a day after Romney’s team used some pretty harsh language to describe the Texas governor to reporters.

    Romney adviser Ron Kaufman called Perry “a petulant little boy” and said that Romney “put him in his place.”

    “The governor of Texas came across as mean, petulant and nasty,” Kaufman said.

    This is, as a strategic matter, bizarre. Perry has seen his support fall off a cliff in recent weeks, whereas Romney is considered the likely GOP nominee. By attacking Perry directly and aggressively — instead of simply ignoring a candidate who appears to be imploding all on his own — the Romney camp isn’t even trying to hide the fact that it considers the Texas governor a serious threat.

    Most campaign observers believe there’s one credible candidate standing between Mitt Romney and the Republican nomination, and that’s Rick Perry. Yesterday, whether they meant to or not, Romney and his team dropped the pretense and made clear they accept the conventional wisdom as fact.

    It’s the sort of thing that, ironically, might give Perry’s flailing effort a shot in the arm.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, October 20, 2011
    Take Two On The Jobs Bill
    Posted by Zandar
    Harry Reid may hold a test vote as early as Friday on legislation that would authorize arguably the most widely approved part of the American Jobs Act: putting firefighters and teachers laid off across the country by cash-strapped schools and local governments back to work.

    “We are going to make sure there is a vote on our bill this week,” Reid told a crowd of fire fighters and teachers at a rally on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

    The $35 billion legislation would be paid for with a 0.5 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year — a tiny new marginal bump that Republicans unanimously oppose. Some analyses suggest the legislation would save or create 400,000 jobs.

    “The Republicans who work in the Senate suit up every day and come down and play their game in the Senate by following the lead of their leader — and that is, whatever they do, to make sure they do everything they can to make Barack Obama [lose],” Reid said.

    That’s the good news. The bad news? It might get even fewer votes than the entire bill did as not only will Republicans unanimously oppose it, but more Blue Dogs in the Senate will turn and bite the President’s hand once again and pull Reid’s pants down.

    [Reid will] face some resistance from his own caucus as well. Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) bucked Reid last week and opposed debate on Obama’s entire jobs bill and have signaled they’ll do the same this time around. They may be joined by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) who took to Twitter during Reid’s speech to oppose the legislation.

    “Spending on new programs will add to the amount of money the Special Cmte. on debt cuts has to find,” Lieberman tweeted. They already have a very hard job.”

    Yeah, see, this is a problem, guys. You’re supposed to be backing the President on this. Does Blanche Lincoln ring a bell with you morons or not?

  38. Ametia says:

    Gaddafi’s home town overrun; conflicting reports on his fate

    By Mary Beth Sheridan and Michael Birnbaum, Updated: Thursday, October 20, 7:47 AM
    TRIPOLI, Libya — Revolutionary fighters overran the last major stronghold of Moammar Gaddafi’s loyalists on Thursday, but there were conflicting reports on the fate of the ousted former Libyan leader.

    The revolutionaries captured the Mediterranean coastal city of Sirte and effectively brought an end to an eight-month war in which NATO intervened militarily to protect a pro-democracy uprising.

    Libyan TV station al-Ahrar reported that Gaddafi was killed in the fighting but did not cite a source. Reuters news agency quoted an unidentified official of the interim national government as also saying the former Libyan leader had been slain.

    “He’s captured. We don’t know if he’s dead or not,” Ibrahim Mohammed Shirkasiya, a senior security official in Misurata, the biggest city west of Sirte, said by telephone. He said his information came from revolutionary commanders in Sirte.

    Celebrations erupted in Sirte and in other parts of the country as word spread of the fall of the city and the possible capture or slaying of Gaddafi.

    In Tripoli, hundreds of cars honked their horns, and the air was filled with celebratory gunfire from automatic rifles and heavy weapons.

    Gaddafi’s death, if confirmed, would ease fears that he could still rally his forces to launch a stealth guerrilla campaign against the revolutionary government. Gaddafi ruled with an iron fist for 42 years, brooking no opposition and establishing a cult of personality.

  39. rikyrah says:

    October 20, 2011 8:40 AM

    GOP hopes Latino voters have short memories

    By Steve Benen

    A few weeks ago, Mitt Romney’s campaign launched an attack ad, going after Rick Perry for a Texas policy that offers in-state tuition to children of undocumented immigrants. It was an ugly, borderline-racist commercial, intended to exploit right-wing animus towards Latino immigrants. I noted at the time that Romney appears to be hoping that these voters have short memories and will forget about his divisive antics by Election Day 2012.

    Of course, the larger issue goes well beyond one obnoxious ad. Given the extent to which Republican presidential hopefuls are appealing to anti-immigrant voters, the Latino community isn’t exactly being made to feel welcome in the GOP.

    Today, Republican candidates are competing over who can talk the toughest about illegal immigration — who will erect the most impenetrable border defense; who will turn off “magnets” like college tuition benefits.

    But after such pointed proposals heated up yet another Republican debate, on Tuesday night, some party officials see a yellow light signaling danger in battleground states with large Hispanic populations in November 2012. Will Hispanic voters remember and punish the eventual Republican nominee?

    “The discussion of creating electrified fences from sea to sea is neither prudent nor helpful,” said Ryan Call, chairman of the Republican Party of Colorado, where Hispanics cast 13 percent of votes in 2008 and helped President Obama flip the state to blue. “They’re throwing red meat around in an attempt to mollify a particular aspect of the Republican base.”

    Well, yes, of course they are. This isn’t a diverse party; it’s an overwhelmingly white, far-right party. There’s a very good reason Perry’s support plummeted the moment Republican voters heard about his support for Texas’ in-state tuition policy.

    But the effect of this intra-party competition — candidates trying to out-do one another in a contest of who hates immigrants more — is equally obvious. Latino voters are likely to notice, and will be that much less inclined to vote Republican in 2012. Many in the community may be open to GOP outreach, but not if the party continues to use Latino immigrants as punching bags.

    Lionel Sosa, a Texas strategist who advised George W. Bush John McCain on appealing to Hispanics, told the NYT, “[Romney] can make as many trips to Florida and New Mexico and Colorado and other swing states that have a large Latino population, but he can write off the Latino vote. He’s not going to gain it again.”

    Given the size of the Latino population, that’s writing off a huge chunk of the American electorate.

    GOP strategist Mike Murphy recently added, “In the short term, it’s a great wedge issue for Mitt Romney to beat up Rick Perry with in the primary. In the longer term, it’s a great wedge issue for President Obama to beat up the Republican nominee with. So it’s one of these things where the short-term interest and the long-term interest are in conflict.”

    Romney very likely thinks he can turn on a dime after nailing down the nomination. After all, he’s done it before on every issue under the sun. But counting on millions of voters to simply forget the ugly tactics he used to win the party’s nod is a risky proposition.

  40. rikyrah says:

    October 19, 2011
    Cain’s blunder

    E.J. Dionne’s post-debate “hunch” is spot on:

    Cain will take a hit in the polls and some of his support may go back to Perry, where it appears to have come from.

    If any phenomenon has demonstrated the erratic superficiality of the far-right/tea party vote, it’s Cain, who followed Perry, who followed Bachmann, who followed Trump in transient popularity. For tea partiers are as children, fascinated by toylike splash and shine, and always ready to leap to the next political bauble.

    Yet Cain’s momentary appeal possessed deep historical roots. The pizza guy shrewdly underscored the simplicity of his 9-9-9 plan, and ever since Barry Goldwater’s ’64 dictum that “The big trouble with the so-called liberal today is that he doesn’t understand simplicity,” the far right’s journey to love and embrace even the most preposterous versions of simplicity has been a long and devoted one.

    In Cain, they found a voice as shallow as their comprehension.

    Cain’s blunder? That final “9” — the one that more than doubles most states’ sales tax. Had Cain nixed the triad and gone with a duet, he might have survived his fellow rightists’ assaults. It goes without saying that the rest of his plan is idiotically unworkable as well, but that never stopped the right-wing horrors of Reaganomics or W.’s balanced-budgets-through-higher-spending-and-revenue-gutting.

  41. rikyrah says:

    October 19, 2011
    For all of last night’s debate’s pettiness and snark, I found this remark, from Mitt Romney, to be the lowest:

    It doesn’t make sense to borrow money from the Chinese and take care of people around the world. Get the Chinese to help them.

    The right’s quintessential selfishness — especially shameful in that it comes not from some wingnut who’s nothing to lose, but from the GOP’s likely nominee. This party’s ethical descent is utterly breathtaking to watch.

  42. rikyrah says:

    October 20, 2011
    The real utopians among us
    The Post’s Richard Cohen takes a preliminary step to an argument I’ve been making for months:

    The GOP is in thrall to dogma and ignorance, hermetically sealed against uncertainty, hostile to inquiry and inadvertently mimicking the leftist parties of old when communists, Mensheviks, socialists and other “icks” would beat the brains out of one another over some fine point of Marxist dogma

    Those “leftist parties of old”? They were the utopians of our political globe. They possessed not only answers to humanity’s ills, but the answers — every one of them — to humanity’s ills. They came packaged with a tidy ideology (not so much the Mensheviks, maybe, who were to the Bolsheviks’ what Steny Hoyer is to Dennis Kucinich) from which thoughtful apostasy was deemed intellectual treason. They believed in the uniform perfectibility of Man.

    At home there were times — emphatically, during the 1930s and 1960s — when their ideologies were not only tidy, but comprehensible: in the ’30s, the overthrow of a failing and brutalizing capitalism; in the ’60s, an end to imperialist war. While perhaps noble, both ideological goals were, in a capitalist empire, somewhat short on realistic probabilities.

    Today, there is no real “leftist party” — not, anyway, a neo-Marxist movement or organization of recognizable presence and influence. The first aforementioned of yore went the way of postwar prosperity, the other the way of youthful, Boomer exuberance. Their ideological progeny, if you will, are the peopled scatterings of a ramified incoherence: they are the “99 percent,” which, of course, would by definition lump democratic socialists with right wingers, liberal Democrats with conservative Republicans, and moderates of all center-left stripes with moderates of every center-right stripe. The sloganeering, Occupy Wall Street rallying cry of “We the People” has been done to death; ideologically, there is no such thing, and in it, one can locate no coherent utopian theme.

    Yet there are utopians among us — just not on the left. They’re the tea partiers. To most of us their political paradise sounds more like Dante’s hell, but hey, even nihilistic anarchists have a constitutional right to the elaborate fictions and fantasies of their choosing. The point to be stressed here, though, is simply that their fictions are an aggressive species of utopianism: a kind of governmentless, Social Darwinian nation in which we all delightedly scramble for what only the strongest among us deserve. The outcome, in time, will be the perfection of our imperfect society — indeed, even the process of achieving perfection will closely imitate it.

    So let us hear no more talk of the utopian left. It’s as withered and depleted as any notional proletarian dictatorship; rather pitiably, all that remains is an unremitting demand for a “public option.”

    No, if you want to go utopian, go right — far, far to the right.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!

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