Serendipty Soul | Thursday Open Thread

More Terence Trent D’Arby…


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52 Responses to Serendipty Soul | Thursday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    The Impeachment of President Obama Has Begun

    June 20,2012

    By Bob Cesca:

    During the Clinton administration, and immediately following the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, the impeachment process began.

    Not officially, and it wasn’t until midway through Clinton’s second term when the Republicans finally voted to impeach. In that four year span of time, the zealots who refused to allow Clinton to get away with a full four-to-eight years of his administration went from hints of fringy conspiracy theories to a full blown impeachment process including an infamous special prosecutor investigation to the vote to impeach in the House and, ultimately, to the nail-biting (but failed) vote to remove the president from office in the Senate.

    All of that was in the shadows of a massive economic boom and rapidly shrinking deficit. When the ink was still warm on the House roll call to impeach, the deficit turned into a surplus and the the economy reached a high water mark unlikely to be matched again anytime soon. Still, they pursued Clinton with the unwavering tenacity of the T-1000 from Terminator 2.

    Fast forward in time. In the last 24 hours, there have been hints and rumblings from the congressional Republicans that they’re setting the table for a potential second term stab at impeachment again.

    On Fox News the other day, Senate Minority Leader and Albino Sleestak Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican in the Senate, accused the president of a high crime — literally a scandalous crime similar to Watergate, without the bungled break-in.

    “What they’re trying to do is intimidate donors to outside groups that are critical of the administration, McConnell said. “The campaign has rifled through donors’ divorce records. They’ve got the IRS, the SEC and other agencies going after contributors trying to frighten people and intimidate them out of exercising their rights to participate in the American political discourse.”

    That’s a serious accusation from someone who’s been doing some nosing around (sleestak don’t have noses, but you know what I mean). The details are very specific and the consequences of such an allegation would.

  2. rikyrah says:

    What Happens Next?

    Posted on 06/21/2012 at 5:00 pm by JM Ashby

    What happens next now that House Oversight Chairman Darrell “Witch Hunt” Issa has successfully held a vote of contempt for Attorney General Eric Holder in the House Oversight Committee?

    The short answer is — not much.

    Speaker of the House John Boehner stated yesterday that he will hold a vote of contempt in the House next week unless Eric Holder begins cooperating with Grand Inquisitor Issa, something which Eric Holder has already been doing. But even if John Boehner does hold the vote and the House of Representative does find Eric Holder to be in contempt of congress, the end game is just as fruitless.

    According to a report from Talking Points Memo, if the House of Representatives finds Eric Holder in contempt of congress, it would be up to the U.S. attorney of Washington D.C. to convene a grand jury to prosecute Holder, who also happens to be the D.C. attorney’s boss. And under regular circumstance this would pose a conflict of interest, however President Obama’s invocation of executive privilege means the D.C. attorney cannot initiate a prosecution.

    Furthermore, the vote of contempt will expire at the end of this session of congress, meaning that after January 2013 the House of Representatives would have to vote on the matter again during the new session. Of course we all know that to be highly unlikely, because as of that time the 2012 presidential election will have long since concluded.

    This a purely political circus act carried out during an election year intended to distract Eric Holder from his regular duties. Duties such as enforcing the Voting Rights Act which is currently under assault by Republicans in battleground states who really don’t want you to vote in November.

    I don’t need a poll to tell me most Americans would rather see congress focus on the economy instead of reenacting 1999.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Thomas Friedman’s bad habits, redux
    By Steve Benen – Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:46 PM EDT.

    Back in April, I chided the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman for having two bad habits: (1) writing columns complaining that President Obama had failed to take a certain action, apparently unaware that the president has already taken that action, and (2) writing columns calling for a third party that would push the two major parties to be more responsible.

    He’s made the first mistake more than a few times; and the same goes for the second.

    This week, in a curious twist, Friedman combined both bad habits — he wishes a third party could have forced Obama into supporting an agenda Obama already supports.

    T]here will be no third-party candidate, so the only hope is getting Obama to raise his game. […]

    What the president should have done is follow the advice of the Princeton University economist and former Fed Vice Chairman Alan Blinder, namely lay out a specific “three-step rehab program for our nation’s fiscal policy.” Call it the Obama Plan; it should combine a near-term stimulus on job-creating infrastructure, a phase-in, as the economy improves, of “something that resembles the 10-year Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan — which would pay for the stimulus 15-20 times over” and a specific plan to “bend the health care cost-curve downward.”

    My beef is not with Friedman’s goals, per se. I consider much of the Simpson-Bowles plan to be off-base, but putting aside the specifics and considering the larger context, an approach that combines short-term growth and long-term deficit reduction sounds quite sensible. What Friedman wants, in a general sense, is what I want.

    Instead, the problem, once again, is that Friedman is admonishing Obama for no reason — the president already agrees with the columnist and has already done what Friedman recommends.

    A “near-term stimulus” with a focus on “job-creating infrastructure”? Done. A phased-in deficit-reduction plan that “resembles” Simpson-Bowles? Also done. A plan to “bend the health care cost-curve downward”? You guessed it; that’s done, too.

    Where’s the value in criticizing the president for failing to adopt an agenda he’s already adopted?

  4. rikyrah says:

    Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney says but doesn’t say he will deport DREAM Act kids

    Speaking in Orlando Thursday afternoon, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney provided a few more details about how he would move on immigration. But he still would not say directly that he would return to deporting young immigrants. That, however, is the obvious implication of his speech.
    President Obama announced last Friday that the government would no longer deport undocumented immigrants who came to this country with their parents and have lived here for years. This shields hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation. But Obama noted that the executive order is only a temporary measure, not the needed comprehensive reform that he says Republicans stand in the way of achieving.

    Romney has steadfastly refused to say exactly what he would do regarding those young people who, in many cases, do not speak the language of their birthplace and are, except for a piece of paper, Americans. He did make vague comments Thursday about keeping families together, but what he meant by that is unclear. Which is a stance, on nearly every subject, that Romney uses repeatedly.

    Some people have asked if I will let stand the President’s executive action. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President’s temporary measure.
    As President, I won’t settle for a stop-gap measure. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution. […]

    Our immigration system should help promote strong families, not keep them apart. Our nation benefits when moms and dads and their kids are all living together under the same roof. But, today, too many families are caught in a broken system that costs them time and money and entangles them in red tape. For those seeking to come to America the right way, that kind of bureaucratic nightmare has to end. And we can do this with just a few common-sense reforms.

    As President, I will reallocate Green Cards to those seeking to keep their families under one roof. We will exempt from caps the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents. And we will eliminate other forms of bureaucratic red tape that keep families from being together.

    That would help documented workers. But what of undocumented children who have been raised in the United States by undocumented parents? Will they be kept together by being shipped back to their birthplace along with their parents? Is that what he means by keeping families together? Replacing and superseding the president’s executive order would seem to say that young people will again be deported.
    Certainly, the nation needs an overhaul of its immigration policy. But Romney’s continued vagueness in this matter of fundamental justice, his opposition to the DREAM Act, which ought to be utterly uncontroversial, and his failure to put forth anything even slightly innovative, indicates that immigration is not one of his priorities anymore than are the young people who, up until last Friday, were being deported by the tens of thousands each year.


  5. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Cold War Strategy To Defeat Obama

    Mitt Romney has adopted what top Republicans describe as a Cold War strategy to defeat President Barack Obama: To spend him into oblivion.

    As Ronald Reagan’s expensive defense build up stretched the Soviet Union thin, the Romney campaign’s massive ad buys are aimed as much at broadening the playing field as at persuasion, forcing Obama and his allies to spread their resources thin and to play defense in formerly safe states. Wednesday, there were early signs that the strategy is working, as Obama reported a “burn rate” far in excess of the Republican’s.

    “It’s just like the Cold War. They’re going to force Obama to spend himself into oblivion — while trying to peel off constituencies like the Eastern Bloc,” said a Democratic strategist, citing lingering vulnerability with blue collar workers and potential Republican gains with hispanics. “The only question is which [constituency] will be the first domino.”

    As the Obama campaign launches multi-million dollar TV blitzes to shore up support in left-leaning states, Romney and his conservative allies continue to fill their war chests.

    “There’s no way they’ll be able to keep up. Our SuperPACs are our Star Wars, if you will,” said a Republican operative close to the Romney campaign.

    The Obama campaign itself will probably be able to stay even with Romney’s haul, but the incumbent’s advisers admit they’re at a disadvantage when SuperPACs and joint victory committees are taken into account. In fact, on Wednesday Obama officials told reporters that all-in, they expected to be outspent three-to-one by Romney and his Republican allies by Election Day.

    Financial disclosure reports released this week indicate that Romney’s Cold War strategy may be working. Obama spent $34 million on ads last month, a staggering sum so early in the election that did nothing but keep the incumbent from sinking further in the polls amid a painfully slow economic recovery. And while the campaign ran at a $5.4 million deficit in May, they just announced a new ad buy that includes defending two states — Pennsylvania and Nevada — that they previously deemed to be leaning in their direction.

    “There is a sense that this impenetrable wall, this hermetically sealed culture in the East, is opening up,” said Republican consultant Rick Wilson. “There are a lot of cracks in Obama’s operation, but also his narrative — and the economy is just eating away at them. It looks like this ‘blue wall’ is about ready to collapse.”

    The Romney campaign is still less than one-third the size of the expensive Obama bureaucracy in Chicago, and has been able to hoard its cash because super PACs are giving them cover. To Obama’s detriment, Democrats have fewer deep-pocketed allies.

    “He can run deficits all he wants as president, but there is no Federal Reserve to print more money for campaigns,” Wilson added. “Republicans are just spending at a rate they can’t keep pace with, and that’s going to hurt him in November.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    Romney leaves blanks unfilled on immigration
    By Steve Benen – Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:16 PM EDT.

    Six days ago, President Obama unveiled a new immigration policy, which included using the executive branch’s prosecutorial discretion to implement many of the goals of the DREAM Act. Since then, Mitt Romney has been pressed repeatedly for his position on the new policy.

    Apparently, the Republican presidential hopeful is feeling a little shy.

    Over the weekend, Romney dodged the issue in a CBS interview. The candidate has also dodged reporters’ questions all week. On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he intends to take his cues from Romney, but Romney still wouldn’t say anything. Yesterday, the Romney campaign cut short a press teleconference, rather than trying to deal with the question they didn’t want to answer.

    Today, Romney scheduled a big speech on immigration policy, finally giving him the chance to make his position clear. Unfortunately, the Republican still won’t give a straight answer.

    In remarks he delivered in Florida before Latino political leaders, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney once again declined to answer if he would overturn President Obama’s executive action to no longer deport qualified young illegal immigrants.

    Instead, Romney explained that he would work to craft a long-term solution dealing with illegal immigration.

    “Some people have asked if I will let stand the president’s executive action,” Romney said at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ conference. “The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure.”

    You’ve heard of a non-apology apology? This is a non-policy policy. What’s Romney’s position? It’s to come up with some other position that will “replace and supersede” Obama’s policy. Does Romney agree with Obama’s policy? He won’t say. What will the new “long-term solution” include? He won’t say that, either.

    Just about everyone — congressional Republicans, voters, reporters, et al — are waiting for Romney to step up and show some leadership. The GOP candidate isn’t quite up to the task.

  7. Ametia says:


  8. Ametia says:

    After his NALEO speech, Mitt Romney refused to answer a direct question from a college student about where he stands on the DREAM Act. But he’s been perfectly clear where he stands – he’s called the DREAM Act a “handout” and promised to veto it. The student told CNN that she was “furious” because Romney would not tell her “what would happen to her life should he become President.” Video and transcript of CNN’s report is below.

    ACOSTA: I will tell you, Suzanne, right after the speech, I broke away after we talked last and I met up with an undocumented college student, who was here in the crowd. She told me in an interview just a few moments ago – she went up to Mitt Romney and confronted him to try to get him to come down with a position on this issue of the DREAM Act – she walked away disappointed. She basically told me after this speech she is furious that she did not get direction from Mitt Romney about what would happen to her life should he become president. So Suzanne, I’ve got to tell you, I think there were some people in this this room who were disappointed.

  9. Ametia says:

    Obama for America Director of Hispanic Press Gabriela Domenzain released the following statement in reaction to Mitt Romney’s NALEO address:

    “Today, Mitt Romney told the largest national gathering of Hispanic elected officials: ‘When I make a promise to you – I will keep it.’ But in front of an audience of Republican primary voters, he called the DREAM Act a ‘handout’ and promised to veto it. Now, after seven days of refusing to say whether or not he’d repeal the Obama administration’s immigration action that prevents young people who were brought here through no fault of their own as children from being deported, we should take him at his word that he will veto the DREAM Act as president.”

    Mitt Romney attacked DREAM Act students, saying they were looking for a “handout”.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Casual Observation
    by BooMan
    Thu Jun 21st, 2012 at 10:11:05 AM EST

    Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced new grants for 219 local health centers. This comes after a May announcement that they had completed the construction of 67 new clinics out of the 200 they intend to construct by 2014. And they have renovated 200 out of the 600 clinics they intend to renovate. The 219 grants will create an estimated 5,640 jobs. However, none of this may be acceptable to the five conservative justices on the Supreme Court, so Congress may wind up having to renege on all these commitments. You know, because providing health care to poor people is unconstitutional. That’s why we are going to have to push for Medicare for All if the Supreme Court goes all pear-shaped on us.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Non-Answers Reveal a Weak Man Who Would Be a Weak President
    By: RmuseJune 21, 2012

    One benefit trial lawyers enjoy is having a judge order a witness to give a definitive yes or no answer to a question without explanation or excuse to avoid unclear or inexact answers regardless the question. Unfortunately, trial rules do not apply to human interactions and conversation, and there is little that arouses suspicion as much as asking someone a direct question and getting vague answers when it is certain they hold strong opinions on a particular subject. Politicians often give ambiguous answers to questions their party hasn’t taken a position on yet, or if they are unsure how their response may affect their chance of winning an election. The presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Willard Romney, has reversed his position on myriad subjects important to the American people, and over the past few weeks he has avoided giving any definitive answer on a variety of issues such as immigration, equal pay, taxes, or which government agency he will eliminate if he is elected president.

    There is little doubt that Romney avoids answering questions out of fear of alienating specific voters or his backers in the Republican Party, but his reticence to take a stand on important issues defines a weak character and lack of resolve a presidential candidate should possess. Romney made matters worse and showed that, besides being a pathological liar, he is a rank hypocrite for demanding that “President Obama level with the American public about his real agenda.” One of the primary reasons many Americans are suspicious of Romney is because, besides his religion, he has never leveled with the American people what his real agenda is other than transforming government into a private enterprise to enrich himself and his wealthy elite cohorts.

    First, President Obama has leveled with the American people from the time before he was elected President, and except his evolving stance on same-sex marriage, his agenda remains the same as when he campaigned for the presidency in 2008. In fact, the President has worked tirelessly to fulfill his campaign promises within the limitations of the Constitution as head of the Executive Branch of government, so why Romney thinks President Obama has not openly stated his agenda is indeed curious. Willard is the man who fails to level with the American people about his real agenda and there are several reasons why he appears ambiguous and weak-minded. There are some pundits who believe Romney’s lack of resolve and commitment to an issue are calculated political strategy to avoid alienating voters, and it is probably true, but it is also likely that he has not yet decided who he will serve if he is elected president.

    Some of the issues Romney refuses to commit to are whether he supports: ending deportations of immigrants eligible for the Dream Act, Lily Ledbetter Act, Paycheck Fairness Act, Violence Against Women Act, or eliminating tax breaks for private equity partners. Willard also avoided answering questions about how many federal agencies he will eliminate and which tax loopholes he will close to fund the outrageous tax breaks for the rich. Romney has a history of “not laying out just exactly” what his real agenda is because doing so in his bid for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat definitely cost him the election in 1994. The real problem with Romney’s reluctance to lay out his agenda is not his ambiguity or pandering for votes, but who he really answers to and how he would handle a national crisis if he is the president.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Pelosi: Contempt Vote Payback For Holder’s Voter Protection Efforts (VIDEO)

    Ryan J. Reilly- June 21, 2012, 12:25 PM

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that an effort by House Republicans to pass a resolution finding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress is really about his efforts in opposition to GOP-backed voting laws that Democrats consider forms of voter suppression.

    “It’s really important to note how this is connected with some of their other decisions. It is no accident. It is no coincidence that the Attorney General of the United States is the person responsible for making sure that voter suppression does not happen in our country, that issues that relate to the civil liberties of the American people are upheld,” Pelosi said.

    “These very same people holding in contempt are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress a vote. They are closely aligned with those who are suffocating the system, special interests, secret money, and they are poisoning the debate. They are poisoning the debate with that money. And so what does the average citizen say? They throw up their hands and they say, a pox on both your houses, and that is a victory for the special interest,” Pelosi continued.

    Holder’s Justice Department has opposed voter ID laws passed in several states as well as measures in Florida to both shorten early voting periods and purge suspected non-citizens from the voter rolls.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Obama Lead Narrows To 4 Points, But Low Enthusiasm For Romney

    Kyle Leighton June 21, 2012, 2:08 PM

    Will “anyone but Obama” be enough for Mitt Romney?

    A Pew poll released Thursday shows the former Massachusetts governor within striking distance of President Barack Obama, but also indicates that anti-Obama sentiment outweighs pro-Romney enthusiasm among Republicans.

    Obama leads Romney 50 percent to 46 percent nationwide, a tighter spread from a Pew poll conducted in May that showed Obama with a 7-point lead.

    “I think recent history suggests that an intense dislike of the president is enough to carry the day for the opposition party in midterm elections — witness both 2006 and 2010, but whether it is enough to carry a presidential election is another question,” Michael Dimock, associate director of research at Pew, told TPM in an email. “Plenty of Republicans were pretty unhappy with Clinton in 1996, but that certainly didn’t come close to getting a less-than-inspiring candidate over the top. And Democratic frustration with Bush was palpable in 2004, but couldn’t carry the day.”

    But the Pew numbers show that the race remains tight even in the absence of strong enthusiasm for Romney. Romney leads by 8 points, 49 percent to 41 percent, on which candidate would to be best at improving the economic conditions in the county. When Pew asked registered voters to compare the two men on other political attributes — “Connects with ordinary Americans,” “Willing to work with other party,” “Shares my values” and so on — Obama led all of them.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Secret bundlers to get extraordinary access
    By Steve Benen – Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:42 PM EDT.

    It sounds like Mitt Romney has scheduled quite a get-together for this weekend. On Friday, the Republican presidential hopeful will kick off a soiree of sorts, “strategizing and fraternizing with his biggest bundlers at a posh resort in Park City, Utah.”

    The presumptive Republican nominee and his senior advisers and aides are hosting two days of policy sessions and campaign strategy discussions at the Deer Valley resort for more than 100 top fundraisers and their spouses. Those who raised more than $100,000 are expected to attend.

    More than a dozen Republican heavy-hitters are scheduled to join the private retreat as special guests.

    Though the full guest list has not been released to the public, the Washington Post makes it sound like a who’s who of GOP players. The “biggest bundlers” will hobnob with Romney and his team of advisors, as well as Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, John Thune, John McCain, Condoleezza Rice, Jeb Bush, Reince Priebus, and former Utah governor Mike Leavitt, who happens to be leading up Romney’s transition team.

    Conservative media personalities will also be on hand, including Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes, and Mary Matalin, culminating in a speech from Karl Rove (Rove wears several hats this year, including running an attack super PAC, while providing campaign analysis as an ostensible media professional).

    All of this, apparently, is “a way to reward top-performing bundlers, who make their own donations and then raise many times that from their networks of friends and associates.” To be sure, this is quite a treat for these bundlers, who will reportedly be “briefed on campaign strategy” during the posh affair (the agenda for Saturday evening includes “dessert and dancing”).

    And who are the lucky folks who scored exclusive invitations? We don’t know.That’s part of the problem.


    Unlike George W. Bush, John McCain, and Barack Obama, each of whom voluntarily disclosed the names of their bundlers, Romney refuses to share this information, preferring to maintain a veil of secrecy over his fundraising operation. These bundlers are poised to get extraordinary access to Republican leaders and the man who may be president next year, but we aren’t allowed to know who they are.

    It’s one of the many oddities of the Romney campaign: he likes to talk about transparency, but his reality doesn’t match his rhetoric.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Nancy Pelosi Spots The Joker In The Deck
    By Charles P. Pierce at 1:00PM
    The nickel drops with a resounding thunk.

    “These very same people holding in contempt are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress a vote. They are closely aligned with those who are suffocating the system, special interests, secret money, and they are poisoning the debate. They are poisoning the debate with that money. And so what does the average citizen say? They throw up their hands and they say, a pox on both your houses, and that is a victory for the special interest,” Pelosi continued.

    Considering that, just yesterday, she said something that made me want to remove my cochleas with a melon baller, and prompting a new outburst of barefaced non-facts from the lump of walking yard-waste in question, this is much, much better. And before the flying monkeys get to shrieking and flinging the poo from on high, it’s important that Senator John (Box Turtle) Cornyn gave this whole game away a week ago.

    “You still resist coming clean about what you knew and when you knew it with regard to Operation Fast and Furious. You won’t cooperate with a legitimate Congressional investigation, and you won’t hold anyone, including yourself, accountable. Your Department blocks states from implementing attempts to combat voter fraud. In short, you’ve violated the public trust, in my view, and by failing and refusing to perform the duties of your office,” Cornyn said.

    That is not a non sequitur. That’s a tell.

    Read more:

  16. rikyrah says:

    oh pretty please let POTUS light Willard and the GOP’s asses up at that Latino groups with the FACTS that none of those GOP mofos voted for the DREAM ACT when it came up in the Senate. all they needed was FIVE fucking Republicans for it to pass, and they didn’t have that.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:44 PM ET, 06/21/2012
    On immigration, Mitt Romney dodges yet again
    By Greg Sargent

    The other day, Mitch McConnell said that Republicans were not going to take a position on Obama’s new anti-deportation policy until Mitt Romney signaled his own stance on it, which McConnell predicted would happen at today’s speech to Hispanic elected officials. “We’re going to wait and see what Governor Romney has to say,” McConnell said.

    If McConnell is hoping for more clarity than Romney has offered so far, he’s going to have to keep waiting. During his speech today, Romney again declined to say directly what he would do about Obama’s policy.

    Here’s the key bit, from the prepared remarks:

    Last week, the President finally offered a temporary measure that he seems to think will be just enough to get him through the election. After three and a half years of putting every issue from loan guarantees for his donors to Cash For Clunkers before immigration, now the President has been seized by an overwhelming need to do what he could have done on Day One. I think you deserve better.
    Some people have asked if I will let stand the President’s executive action. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President’s temporary measure. As President, I won’t settle for a stop-gap measure. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution.

    The most charitable interpretation of this is that Romney is signaling that he will let Obama’s policy stand until he comes up with a long-term replacement, but just isn’t willing to say so in those terms. In this interpretation, Romney would not repeal Obama’s order, which would put him at odds with conservatives who are trying to roll it back. But again, he’s not quite willing to say this, and it’s even less clear what he would do if he and Congress don’t come up with a “long term solution.” Would he leave Obama’s policy — no more deportations for hundreds of thousands of DREAM-eligible youth, depending on certain factors — in place indefinitely?

    As for Romney’s vow of a long term solution, the problem with that is that he didn’t detail what that long term solution would be. Romney essentially hinted that he would embrace Marco Rubio’s solution — which isn’t even going to be introduced as a bill this year — without saying so.

    Romney did repeat that he supports legal status for illegal aliens who want to join the military. But that would impact an estimated 30,000 people, according to Frank Sharry of America’s Voice. He talked about reducing the waiting period for Green Card holders who are trying to get Green Cards for spouses and children, and argued for giving Green Cards to college grads. Both of those are good things, and both have broad support — but they wouldn’t do anything to address the big policy elephant in the room, i.e., what to do about 11 million illegal immigrants, beyond suggesting more enforcement. And he didn’t address what he’d do about the DREAMers with any specificity.

    “He threw sand in the face of his audience, to try to make himself sound like an immigration reformer,” says Sharry, who has said positive things about Rubio’s DREAM alternative. “The best you can say about his speech is that he was saying, `I’m not the nativist I played in the primaries.’”

  18. Ametia says:

    Mother Jones reports on where people’s opinions on Obamacare might be coming from — More than $200 million in advertising has been spent attacking the law, while just $69 million has been spent defending it.”

    • Ametia says:

      Mother Jones reports on where people’s opinions on Obamacare might be coming from — More than $200 million in advertising has been spent attacking the law, while just $69 million has been spent defending it.”

  19. Ametia says:

    Think Progress reports:12.8 million Americans will receive $1.1 billion in rebates from insurers that have not met minimum spending guidelines in Obamacare, the administration announced Thursday morning. The Affordable Care Act requiresinsurers to spend 80 to 85 percent of premium dollars on health care services or issue rebates to policy holders. The average rebate is valued at $151 per household.“

  20. Ametia says:

    Nearly 114K Michigan families to get health insurance rebate

    Nearly 114,000 Michigan families who buy their own health insurance or who have workplace coverage at small businesses will receive an average rebate of $214 no later than August 1 if their health insurer spent too much on administration and salaries, the nation’s top health official announced today.

    • PDF: Report breaks down rebates by state

    A list of Michigan insurers that must pay the rebates was not immediately available.

    The information about health plan spending and rebates will be posted “in coming weeks” at, said Mike Hash, director of the Office of Health Reform for the department.|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

  21. Ametia says:

    Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:56 AM PDT.

    Busted: Mitt Romney’s Campaign Caught Collaborating With Karl Rove’s American Crossroad

    Romney’s Great Utah Adventure: The Guest List and Schedule Leaks Out
    “ABC News has obtained access to parts of the schedule for the three-day retreat with Mitt Romney in Park City, Utah, this weekend. If you’re massively wealthy and favor Romney over Obama, or if there’s a possibility you might be No. 2 on the Republican ticket, or if you fancy being considered for the veep spot, this fancy resort town nestled in the Deer Valley is the place to be.”

    cut through the noise to give you a taste of his guest-list:
    1. James A. Baker III
    2. Former Minnesota Senator Norman Coleman
    3. Tennessee senator Bob Corker
    4. Weekly Standard editor and co-founder Bill Kristol,
    5. Former Utah governor Mike Leavitt.
    6. John McCain
    7. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
    8. CEO of Hewlett Packard Meg Whitman
    9. Billionaire financier Ken Langone,
    10. Rep. Paul Ryan
    11. Sen. John Thune.
    12. GOP attorney Ben Ginsberg
    13. Weekly Standard and Fox contributor Fred Barnes
    14. GOP strategist Mary Matalin
    15. Condoleezza Rice
    16. Ann Romney
    17. Former Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill
    18. Jeb Bush
    19. Rob Portman
    20. Bob McDonnell
    21. Tim Pawlenty
    22. Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu
    23. Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets

    This is quite a little party he has going on. The most newsworthy issue I see is in this paragraph:

    “Then, “Media insight” will feature Romney counsel and longtime GOP attorney Ben Ginsberg; Fred Barnes and Kristol, editors and co-founders of The Weekly Standard; GOP strategist Mary Matalin; and Bush strategist and American Crossroads founder, Karl Rove.”

  22. rikyrah says:

    12:10 PM EDT, Thursday June 21, 2012
    Excerpts Of Mitt Romney’s Big Immigration Speech

    Mitt Romney’s campaign sent out these excerpts of Mitt Romney’s big speech before the National Association Of Latino Elected Officials Thursday:

    Hispanics have been hit disproportionately hard. While national unemployment is still above 8%, Hispanic unemployment is at 11%.

    The middle class has been crushed under President Obama. More Americans are living in poverty today than at any point in history. Over two million more Hispanics are living in poverty today than the day President Obama took office.

    Home values have plunged, our national debt is at record levels and families are buried under higher prices for food and gasoline.

    And yet our President says the private sector is doing fine. This is more than a policy failure; it is a moral failure.


    Unfortunately, despite his promises, President Obama has failed to address immigration reform.

    For two years, this President had huge majorities in the House and Senate – he was free to pursue any policy he pleased. But he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough re-election and trying to secure your vote.

    Last week, the President finally offered a temporary measure that he seems to think will be just enough to get him through the election. After three and a half years of putting every issue from loan guarantees for his donors to Cash For Clunkers before immigration, now the President has been seized by an overwhelming need to do what he could have done on Day One. I think you deserve better.

    Some people have asked if I will let stand the President’s executive action. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President’s temporary measure.

    As President, I won’t settle for a stop-gap measure. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution. I will prioritize measures that strengthen legal immigration and make it easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.


    As I have said many times, it is critical that we redouble our efforts to secure the borders. That means both preventing illegal border crossings and making it harder to illegally overstay a visa. We should field enough border patrol agents, complete a high-tech fence, and implement an improved exit verification system.

    Our immigration system should help promote strong families, not keep them apart. Our nation benefits when moms and dads and their kids are all living together under the same roof. But, today, too many families are caught in a broken system that costs them time and money and entangles them in red tape. For those seeking to come to America the right way, that kind of bureaucratic nightmare has to end. And we can do this with just a few common-sense reforms.

    As President, I will reallocate Green Cards to those seeking to keep their families under one roof. We will exempt from caps the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents. And we will eliminate other forms of bureaucratic red tape that keep families from being together.

    Immigration reform is not just a moral imperative, but an economic necessity as well. Immigrants with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at a high rate. Immigrants founded or cofounded nearly half of our 50 top venture-backed companies. They are nearly 30 percent more likely to start a business. And that kind of risk taking is something we need more than ever because new business starts are now at a 30-year low.

    I will work with states and employers to update our temporary worker visa program so that it meets our economic needs.

    And if you get an advanced degree here, we want you to stay here – so we will staple a green card to your diploma. We want the best and brightest to enrich the nation through the jobs and technologies they will help create.

    We also have a strong tradition in this country of honoring immigrants who join our military and put their lives on the line to keep this country safe. Since September 11, 2001, the United States has naturalized almost 75,000 members of the Armed Forces. Too many of these patriots died on distant battlefields for our freedom before receiving full citizenship here in the country they called “home.”

    As President, I will stand for a path to legal status for anyone who is willing to stand up and defend this great nation through military service. Those who have risked their lives in defense of America have earned the right to make their life in America.

    But improving access to legal immigration is only one part of the equation. We must also make legal immigration more attractive than illegal immigration, so that people are rewarded for waiting patiently in line. That’s why my administration will establish a strong employment verification system so that every business can know with confidence that the people it hires are legally eligible for employment.

    We can find common ground here, and we must. We owe it to ourselves as Americans to ensure that our country remains a land of opportunity – both for those who were born here and for those who share our values, respect our laws, and want to come to our shores.

  23. rikyrah says:

    excuse me while I LMBAO


    TPM Editor’s Blog
    Breaking Now
    Josh Marshall- June 21, 2012, 11:58 AM 10

    We’ve got the first nuggets out of Mitt Romney big immigration speech coming later today. And the gist seems to be that he’s going to duck the question of whether he’s for or against, would keep or change President Obama’s new mini-Dream Act. More soon

  24. Ametia says:

    SCOTUS Strikes Again
    by BooMan
    Thu Jun 21st, 2012 at 11:26:49 AM EST

    I think the Supreme Court just finished off the other half of their plan for a permanent Republican majority. The opinion was just released an hour ago and I am not an expert on labor law, but based on Sotomayor’s opinion (pdf) in Knox v. SEIU, it appears that the Court overreached and just legislated that unions must get an opt-in from members to do political work. The case involved the SEIU’s political work during 2005 in California. Apparently, they didn’t follow the law in terms of notifying members that they could opt out of paying increased dues. But that’s where the case should have ended. Instead of affirming the law, the Court used the opportunity to cripple unions’ ability to raise money for political action

  25. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 10:56 AM ET, 06/21/2012
    Scott Brown’s private meetings with kings and queens
    By Greg Sargent

    Senator Scott Brown is attracting some attention this morning for making this odd claim in a radio interview:

    In the interview, Brown also fired back at suggestions that the campaign is lacking in substance, pointing out that he ran a radio ad about military base closings. He also said he is engaged in substantive issues on a daily basis, some that involve royalty.
    “Each and every day that I’ve been a United States senator, I’ve been discussing issues meeting on issues, in secret meetings with kings and queens and prime ministers and business leaders and military leaders, talking, voting, working on issues every single day,” he said.
    Secret meetings with kings, queens and prime ministers? I asked Brown spokesman Colin Reed for clarification. He emailed:

    Senator Brown was speaking generally about private meetings he has had with foreign and domestic leaders.
    Okay, fair enough. Brown meant “private” meetings, and not “secret” ones. People misspeak. It happens. Might be worth nailing down what private meetings with kings, queens, and prime ministers Senator Brown conducts on a regular basis, however, particularly since he’s pointing to these as proof of his substantive work on serious issues.

  26. rikyrah says:

    N.C. Senate rejects plan to compensate state sterilization victims

    North Carolina’s attempt to become the first state to compensate people sterilized in a decades-long program ended Wednesday after Senate Republicans refused to support a bipartisan plan to give victims $50,000 each.
    The House put $10 million in the state budget to pay eugenics victims. But it didn’t survive negotiations with the Senate, where conservative lawmakers disagreed on whether to compensate victims.
    “I’m sorry it happened,” said Sen. Don East, a chief critic. “I just don’t think money fixes it.”

    Read more here:

  27. rikyrah says:

    Why health reform is so unpopular
    By Steve Benen – Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:29 AM EDT.

    If we put aside everything we know about the politics of the last three years and consider the debate over health care policy in the abstract, “Obamacare” should be the most popular thing in the country. That may seem absurd, but hear me out.

    For 100 years, national leaders have been trying to get health care reform done, and for 100 years, officials in both parties have come up short. As the system grew more dysfunctional, costing too much and covering too few, public demand for reform intensified. It served as a driving issue in many campaigns, including presidential races.

    In 2009 and 2010, President Obama helped oversee a slow, deliberate process, with outreach to both parties, which led to a comprehensive law filled with popular ideas, many of which have enjoyed bipartisan support for decades. After a century of trying, Obama finally made reform a reality, and millions are already benefiting. It was, as Vice President Biden put it, a big bleeping deal.

    And yet, most Americans, even those who gain the most from the Affordable Care Act, hate it.

    How can this be? While we wait for the Supreme Court’s decision on the law’s fate — a ruling could come within the hour — there are two broad angles to consider. The first is that well-financed misinformation campaigns work

    [The success of the law’s opponents] may stem in large part from more than $200 million in advertising spending by an array of conservative groups, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($27 million) to Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS ($18 million), which includes the billionaire Sheldon Adelson among its donors, and the American Action Network ($9 million), founded by Fred V. Malek, an investor and prominent Republican fund-raiser.

    In all, about $235 million has been spent on ads attacking the law since its passage in March 2010, according to a recent survey by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. Only $69 million has been spent on advertising supporting it.

    Millions of Americans, especially in key battleground states, have turned against the law because they’ve been told to hate it. Voters have heard so many negative claims about “Obamacare” so often, they’ve started to believe them — even though the claims aren’t true. $235 million, in other words, can change a lot of minds, and convince people who want and need health care reform to reject a law that would serve them well. The right relies on well-financed propaganda campaigns because well-financed propaganda campaigns work.

    The second has to do with the media.


    The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism published a very interesting report this week (via Sargent).

  28. Ametia says:

    Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigns

    Commerce Secretary John Bryson announced Thursday in a letter to President Obama that he is stepping down from his post, citing a recent seizure and medical leave of absence.

    Earlier this month, Bryson was cited in a felony hit-and-run car accident in Los Angeles after suffering a seizure while driving.

    Read more at:

  29. Ametia says:

    What your uncle who watches FOX News all day is all worked up about (Fast and Furious)

    Rachel Maddow, as usual, hits it out of the park on the loony Fast and Furious conspiracy theories, and the Darrell Issa witch hunt. It turns out that right-wing gun nut/militia blogs have been cultivating conspiracy theories about how F&F is really a complicated ploy for Obama, Clinton, and Eric Holder to take away everyone’s guns. For a while only the true gun loons were into this stuff, but then FOX News mainstreamed it by giving voice to the militia guy who dreamed up the whole thing — a guy named Mike Vanderbeough, the same guy who incited vandalism against Democratic offices after the health care reform vote.

    And that’s what lead to the Issa witch hunt and all the rest. Basically, F&F is the new birtherism.

  30. Ametia says:

    Let’s lightin up around here, shall we?

  31. Ametia says:

    3 Chics supports all New Yorkers

  32. rikyrah says:

    A referendum on Obama, or a choice? The AP followed up its poll with interviews with voters, and this one is noteworthy:

    “I’m not going to vote for Obama,” said Raymond Back, a 60-year-old manufacturing plant manager from North Olmsted, Ohio… “I don’t know what Romney is going to do, but this isn’t the right way.”

    A second said he is going to vote for Obama in spite of the lagging recovery, because he doesn’t trust Romney and his business background. The voter who is so frustrated with the status quo that he’ll take a chance on any alternative is going for Romney. The one who is looking at the election as a choice is sticking with Obama. Which confirms again the Obama camp’s urgent need to shift the focus back to Romney.

  33. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum

    By Greg Sargent

    * Romney team asked GOP governor to downplay good news: Let’s get started with the scoop of the morning, from Bloomberg News:

    Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message that the nation is suffering under President Barack Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter.

    Scott, a Republican, was asked to say that the state’s jobless rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, according to the people, who asked not to be named.

    Unemployment has dropped for 11 straight months in Florida, though the rate is still above the national average, at 8.6 percent, and Scott has been touting the drop as good news. The Romney camp’s reported objection to this highlights the tension between GOP governors, who want to point to the recovery in their states, and the Romney campaign, whose chances depend on casting economic news in the ugliest conceivable light. We’ve already seen this tension on display with Ohio governor John Kasich, and Iowa’s Terry Branstad has even explicitly called on Romney to stop downplaying good news in his state.

    A Romney spokesperson didn’t deny the story, saying only that Romney frequently praises governors “for their ability to overcome the job-stifling policies of the Obama administration.” That’s a new twist on the Romney camp’s argument that the recovery has only proceeded in spite of Obama’s policies, and only underscores the difficulty for Romney here — i.e., acknowledging the recovery where it’s happening while claiming Obama gets negative credit for it. It also highlights just how tightly Romney’s fortunes are dependent on us seeing the worst economic news possible for the next five months.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Holder Contempt Charge Was Predictable

    by BooMan
    Thu Jun 21st, 2012 at 12:12:22 AM EST

    Barack Obama has been president for almost three and a half years and his administration has not had anything remotely resembling a scandal. That’s why the right is reduced to talking about his birth certificate. There really aren’t even any phony scandals. A clean-enregy company went broke after receiving millions of dollars in funding. Big deal. The only thing the right has to hold on to is this stupid Fast and Furious investigation. Admittedly, the Department of Justice gave erroneous information about that program to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. And that committee has now in a party-line vote decided to recommend that Attorney General Eric Holder be held in contempt by the entire House of Representatives.
    I didn’t predict this, but I should have. What were the chances that a black attorney general could serve two consecutive years during Republican control of the House without being charged with contempt?

    The chances had to be about zero. They started accusing Holder of being a racist before he got his parking assignment at the DOJ. Go to Google and type in “Eric Holder racist” and you get 2,470,000 results. Type in “George Wallace racist” and you get 400,000.

    The GOP is a southern party, folks, and not enough has changed.

    • Ametia says:

      The GOP are using Issa to go after Holder to distract him from going after….


  35. rikyrah says:

    A Pointless Partisan Fight

    Published: June 20, 2012

    The political feud between the White House and Congressional Republicans has now culminated in a House oversight committee vote to cite Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. for criminal contempt. His supposed crime is failing to hand over some documents in an investigation of a botched gunrunning sting operation known as “Fast and Furious.”

    The Republicans shamelessly turned what should be a routine matter into a pointless constitutional confrontation. And the White House responded as most administrations do at some point: it invoked executive privilege to make a political problem go away.

    While Mr. Holder has turned over more than 7,600 documents to the committee, he has withheld some subpoenaed documents. The committee’s chairman, Representative Darrell Issa, has treated this refusal as a cover-up of wrongdoing by the Justice Department. Mr. Holder claims that surrendering some of the documents would jeopardize criminal investigations and the confidentiality of the department’s decision-making process.

    Under Operation Fast and Furious, which ran between 2009 and early 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives let about 2,000 assault weapons slip across the border to Mexico so the guns could be tracked up the drug cartel ladder. The bureau kept A.T.F. agents in Mexico in the dark while their superiors botched the surveillance. Some of the guns turned up in deadly shootouts, including one where an American border agent was slain.

    The House committee’s contempt resolution focuses largely on internal Justice Department documents that relate to a Feb. 4, 2011, letter sent by the department to Senator Charles Grassley. That letter falsely denied that the A.T.F. had engaged in a gunrunning strategy that sent weapons across the border.

    The department eventually retracted the letter in late 2011 and acknowledged that it was wrong. Mr. Holder said that department leaders inadvertently passed on bad information. Republican officials now want to see communications between Justice Department officials about the handling of that inquiry and whistle-blower complaints.

    Mr. Issa has relished making this investigation a political fight. Last week, he seemed to bait Mr. Holder when he said in a statement, “the Obama administration has not asserted executive privilege or any other valid privilege,” so it could not refuse to produce the materials.

    On Wednesday, for the first time since he was elected, President Obama invoked executive privilege on the disputed documents. Doing so now bars prosecution of Mr. Holder in federal court should the full House vote to hold him in contempt of Congress.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 06/20/2012
    E-mails show U-Va. board leaders planning Teresa Sullivan’s exit

    By Daniel de Vise and Anita Kumar

    This story has been updated.

    Newly released e-mails shed light on the private discussions between the leaders of the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors as they orchestrated the campaign to oust then-president Teresa Sullivan.

    In the e-mails, sent in May and June and released late Tuesday, Rector Helen E. Dragas and Vice Rector Mark Kington periodically reassure one another that removing the president was the right thing to do.

    The two trade news articles and op-eds about the coming revolution in online education, and about the urgent need for universities to keep up with emerging technology or risk being left behind.

    Some of the language in the exchanges — and in the clippings themselves — would resurface later in their official statements about Sullivan’s departure. In those statements, Dragas attempts to build a case that U-Va. faces a do-or-die moment of adapting to changing times and that Sullivan had not adequately responded to that challenge.

    The emails were released in response to a public records request from the Cavalier Daily student newspaper, according to a university spokeswoman.

    Here are some excerpts.

    May 4: Kington sends Dragas a N.Y. Times Op-Ed piece presaging “a rescrambling” in higher education “around the Web and online learning.” The next day, Dragas says she has “others like this” and has had “interesting discussions” with Provost Simon and COO Strine on the topic.

    May 24: Dragas sends Kington a link to a press release about the abrupt resignation of a university president: Jeffrey S. Lehman , who left Cornell University in 2005, after two years, over unspecified differences with the governing board.

    May 29: Dragas writes Kington, “Calling for the question…”, setting off a discussion about potential times for a meeting with Sullivan. “Either time would be ok with me,” Kington replies. Dragas and Kington would meet with Sullivan on June 8 to ask for her resignation.

    May 31: A public relations executive writes to Dragas to discuss pricing for a “Strategic Communication Project” they have previously discussed. The price is $7,500 for the first 10 hours, and $350 for each additional hour. The work will include “drafting press releases and strategy.” Kington replies, “Seems reasonable.” Dragas says the firm was “Ed’s recommendation,” possibly referring to ex officio board member Ed Miller.

    May 31: Dragas sends Kington an editorial from the Wall Street Journal about the “higher education’s online revolution” with the notation, “why we can’t afford to wait.”

    June 1: Dragas forwards an article to Kington, board member Heywood Fralin and Chief Operating Officer Michael Strine about Wesleyan University scaling back on a costly financial aid program to save money.

    June 2: Dragas sends Kington a draft press release, already in production, to announce Sullivan’s resignation. Kington says it is “excellent, and properly links the action to forward progress.” He suggests removing the term “cutting edge”.

    June 2: Dragas tells Kington “TS” has sent a “strange email,” then concludes it is “nothing out of the ordinary.” Kington replies, “OK, will assume Plan A.” He doesn’t say what Plan A is.

    June 3: Jeffrey Walker, a prominent U-Va. alumnus, urges Dragas to watch a video that, in his view, signals “that the on-line learning world has now reached the top of the line universities and they need to have strategies or will be left behind.”

    Dragas replies, “Your timing is impeccable – the BOV is squarely focused on UVA’s developing such a strategy and keenly aware of the rapidly accelerating pace of change.”

    June 4: Dragas sends Kington an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education that asserts, “College leaders need to move beyond talking about transformation before it’s too late.” Dragas comments, “good article.”

    June 5: Dragas sends Kington a “timely” New Yorker article. It states, “To take a risk, you must have confidence in yourself . . . “[Y]ou will take risks, and you will have failures. But it’s what happens afterward that is defining.”

    June 7: The plan is set in motion. Dragas writes to Sullivan, “Terry, Mark and I will both be in Charlottesville tomorrow afternoon and would appreciate a meeting with you. Are you free sometime after 3 pm? Thank you, Helen.” Sullivan replies that she will be free by 5; “Is there anything you would like me to prepare?” The meeting is set for 5.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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