Happy Monday Everyone. Today marks the third anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death.
3 Chics featured artsit this week is the INCOMPARABLE Michael Jackson. Enough said..
DO YOU REMEMBER THE TIME
And DO YOU REMEMBER THE TIME, MITT, THE OUTSOURCING PIONEER OUTSOURCED JOBS?
short video clip of PBO at Oyster River HS today
Josh Marshall-June 25, 2012, 3:32 PM
It seemed like a bad move when the Romney campaign started insisting he was a pioneer in outsourcing rather than off-shoring. Now President Obama takes a stab at it.
“You cannot make this stuff up!” Obama said. “What Gov. Romney and his advisers don’t seem to understand is this: If you’re a worker whose job went overseas, you don’t need somebody trying to explain to you the difference between outsourcing and offshoring, you need someone who’s going to wake up every day and fight for American jobs and investment here in the United States.”
terrific pic, Ametia….how the children shall lead.
PRICELESS… Thanks for this.
BWA HA HA HA Rick Corker locking himself in the plane lavatory.
Iowa Felons’ Voting Rights: Terry Brandstad Executive Order Disenfranchises Thousands
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has made Iowa one of the most difficult states in the nation for felons to vote, with an executive order he issued last year already having disenfranchised thousands of people, a review by The Associated Press shows.
On the day he took office, Branstad signed an order reversing a six-year policy started under Democrat Tom Vilsack in which felons automatically regained their voting rights once they were discharged from state supervision. The move flew in the face of a nationwide trend to make voting easier for felons, making Iowa one of four states where felons must apply to the governor to have voting rights restored. Branstad’s new process requires applicants to submit a credit report, a provision critics call inappropriate and unique among states.
Since then, 8,000 felons in Iowa have finished their prison sentences or been released from community supervision, but less than a dozen have successfully navigated the process of applying to get their citizenship rights back, according to public records obtained by the AP. Branstad’s office has denied a handful of others because of incomplete paperwork or unpaid court costs.
“Wow – that seems pretty low,” said Rita Bettis, lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, which was posting a how-to guide online Sunday to help felons through a process that has confused some seasoned elections officials. Bettis said felons struggling to re-enter society may be less interested in voting than the general population because they have other concerns, but making it easier for them to do so is good public policy.
Henry Straight, who wants to serve on the town council in the tiny western Iowa community of Arthur, is among those whose paperwork wasn’t complete. Straight can’t vote or hold office because as a teenager in Wisconsin in the 1980s, he was convicted of stealing a pop machine and fleeing while on bond.
Straight spent a year on the effort and hired a lawyer for $500 to help. Yet he was notified by the governor’s office last month that he hadn’t submitted a full credit report, only a summary, or documentation showing he had paid off decades-old court costs.
“They make the process just about impossible,” said Straight, 40, a truck driver. “I hired a lawyer to navigate it for me and I still got rejected. Isn’t that amazing?”
Iowa’s process also includes a 31-question application that asks for information such as the address of the judge who handled the conviction. Felons also must supply a criminal history report, which takes weeks and costs $15. Then the review can take up to six months.
Critics say the process is too onerous and that allowing felons to vote helps them reintegrate into society. They say Iowa’s process disenfranchises the poor, who don’t have money to pay off debts, and blacks, who make up a disproportionate number of felons. They also point out that requiring a credit report is likely scaring off felons with financial problems.
Romney’s “Every Town Counts” tour hits Michigan, apparently only all-male, all-white towns count
By Eclectablog on June 21, 2012
Mitt Romney finished up his recent 5-day bus tour in Michigan this week with stops in Frankenmuth, Dewitt and Holland. For those of you who aren’t from Michigan, you’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of those places.
He called it the “Every Town Counts” tour (or, as The Nation magazine calls it, the “Some Towns Just Don’t Count” tour) and it had stops in 13 towns.
Romney was met at the Holland State Park by a monstrous crowd of about 400 mostly white, mostly male supporters. He was also met by a significant number of protesters, including MoveOn.org’s “No Millionaire Left Behind RomneyMobile”.
Before we get into the Holland event, check out MoveOn’s recap of their tour so far. It’s hilarious:
The contrast between a Romney visit to the Midwest and an Obama visit to the Midwest could not be more striking.
Here is what a 1,500+ crowd looks like, waiting for President Obama to arrive in Cleveland, Ohio last week:
Old. Young. Black. White. Asian. Hispanic. Men. Women.
Here’s Romney’s what Romney’s crowd looks like:
White and mostly men. Period.
My wife Anne, who took these photos, had these observations of the event:
The Romney rally in Holland, Michigan was very different than the Obama rally I attended last week in Cleveland, OH. Parking was close and easy. There were no lines of people entering the event. People were not wearing t-shirts or hats in support of Romney. I never saw a single person enter the event with a sign and I only saw one Romney bumper sticker. There were no groups of folks gathering in the parking lot to go into the event together. In fact, the only groups I saw gathering in the parking lot were there to go to the beach or there to protest. I imagine a hot weekended summer day might be just as busy at Holland State Park.
In contrast, the Obama event in Cleveland was a bit hectic. I parked three blocks away because the media lot was full. There was a line of people two blocks long waiting to enter the event. People were gathering in groups and walking to the event together. There were signs and Obama T-shirts and hats. People were excited to be there and to hear Obama talk. The energy at the Obama rally was electric and infectious.
The only protest I saw at the Obama rally was a large Romney campaign bus parked about two blocks from the event
It was parked under a billboard and a handful of men stood right outside the door of the bus holding Romney signs. The only person I saw approach them was a media person with a cameraman.
Four Takeaways From Today’s Arizona Immigration Decision
By Ian Millhiser on Jun 25, 2012 at 11:53 am
This morning, the Supreme Court handed down a 5-3 decision striking down three key provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070 law, and effectively limiting the scope of the law’s “show me your papers” provision requiring law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of anyone they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in the country illegally. Here are four key takeaways from this decision:
1. Arizona Does Not Get To Have Its Own Immigration Policy: For decades the backbone of American immigration law has been an understanding that the United States has one immigration policy set by our national government, not fifty different immigration policies set by fifty different states. Today’s decision leaves this basic framework in place. In the words of Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion, “[i]t is fundamental that foreign countries concerned about the status, safety, and security of their nationals in the United States must be able to confer and communicate on this subject with one national sovereign, not the 50 separate States.”
2. Arizona Cannot Create New Crimes Targeting Immigrants: SB 1070 criminalizes “willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document,” it makes it a crime for undocumented immigrants to work or seek work, and it authorizes police to arrest anyone the officer has “probably cause to believe” can be deported. All of these provisions were struck down by the Court. Notably, Justice Kennedy’s opinion acknowledged how forcing immigrants into the shadows can lead to their exploitation: “making criminals out of aliens engaged in unauthorized work—aliens who already face the possibility of employer exploitation because of their removable status—would be inconsistent with federal policy and objectives.”
3. Arizona Cannot Detain People Simply Because They Might Be Undocumented: Although the opinion does not strike down the “show me your papers” provision, it significantly lessens the harm caused by this provision. SB 1070 provides that “[a]ny person who is arrested shall have the person’s immigration status determined before the person is released,” but the Court warns the state not to apply this provision literally if it wants to avoid running headlong into the Constitution:
Supreme Court Upholds Maryland Law Ending Prison-Based Gerrymandering; Huge Victory For Fair Representation
The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of Maryland’s groundbreaking “No Representation Without Population Act,” which counts incarcerated people as residents of their legal home addresses for redistricting purposes. The 2010 law was a major civil rights victory that ended the distortions in fair representation caused by using incarcerated persons to pad the population counts of districts containing prisons.
The law upheld today is a state-based solution to the long-standing problem in the federal Census of counting incarcerated people as residents of the prison location, even though they cannot vote there and remain residents of their home communities for virtually all other legal purposes. The practice of prison-based gerrymandering particularly harms urban communities and communities of color that disproportionately contain the home residences of incarcerated persons. Other states have since passed similar laws, but the Maryland law was the only one to go to the Supreme Court.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision in Fletcher v. Lamone affirmed the constitutional ‘one person one vote’ foundation of our decade-old campaign to end prison-based gerrymandering,” said Peter Wagner, Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative and the nation’s leading expert on how the Census Bureau’s practice of counting incarcerated people as residents of the prison locations harms the democratic process.
The lawsuit was filed last November, and the civil rights community responded quickly to brief the lower court on the constitutionality of Maryland’s law. In an amicus brief, the Prison Policy Initiative and Dēmos, along with the Howard University Civil Rights Clinic, the ACLU of Maryland, the Maryland and Somerset County NAACP, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund explained the basis and need for the landmark law. The lower court’s opinion, affirmed today, rejected the allegation that the law was somehow dilutive of minority voting rights, finding that the No Representation Without Population Act was an historic Maryland civil rights victory: “As the amicus brief … makes clear, the Act was the product of years of work by groups dedicated to advancing the interests of minorities.”
US President Barack Obama poses for a woman to take his picture at a local restaurant in Durham, New Hampshire, on June 25, 2012. Obama has opened up a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney in a national poll released last week, even as a majority of respondents say the country is on the wrong track. Most surveys in recent weeks suggest a tight race for the White House culminating in the November election, but the new Bloomberg National Poll has Obama leading his Republican challenger 53-40 percent among likely voters.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN DISSES CHRIS CHRISTIE: ‘NOT EVEN A ‘F*CK YOU’!
As a one-time resident of the Garden State (Tara and I lived in NJ for two and a half years, admittedly somewhat of a counter-intuitive living experiment for us), I am always happy to see pugnacious dickhead governor Chris Christie put in his place, but especially when the human embodiment of New Jersey itself, Bruce Springsteen is the one doing the dissin’!!!
Christie is a known Springsteen FREAK and has attended well over 100 concerts by the Boss over the years. In fact, Christie has been seen dancing his ass off and vigorously playing air drums at Bruce concerts like he’s in religious ecstasy (with all the iPhones about, no one’s gotten any footage of this???).
But the Boss no like the lardass NJ governor and goes out of his way to let Christie know this, as reported in The Atlantic:
Obama slams Romney’s jobs record on campaign trail
By Alister Bull
DURHAM, New Hampshire | Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:54pm EDT
DURHAM, New Hampshire (Reuters) – Barack Obama accused his November election rival Mitt Romney on Monday of having outsourced jobs to India and China and sought to convince voters that the former private equity executive is out of touch with their economic concerns.
In remarks to a rally in New Hampshire, the Democratic president seized on a Washington Post report that Bain Capital, the firm that Romney founded and led, had helped U.S. companies become “pioneers” in shipping work overseas.
“So yesterday his advisers were asked about this and they tried to clear this up by telling us there was actually a difference between outsourcing and offshoring,” Obama told a fired-up crowd of supporters crowded into a high-school gym.
“If you’re a worker whose job went overseas, you don’t need somebody trying to explain to you the difference between outsourcing and offshoring. You need somebody who is going to wake up every single day and fight for American jobs and investment here in the United States. That’s what you need. That’s why I’m running,” he said, to loud applause.
Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, has accused the president of using “false and discredited attacks” on Romney’s business record to divert attention from his own economic failures.
“Mitt Romney was a successful businessman and governor with a decades-long record of helping to create American jobs, in contrast to President Obama’s hostility to free enterprise that has left millions of Americans out of work,” Saul said.
It wasn’t a trick question
By Steve Benen
Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:23 PM EDT.
Back in November, there was a fascinating exchange between Romney campaign spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom and Washington Examiner reporter Philip Klein about immigration. Asked what the candidate would do with the millions of undocumented immigrants who are already here, Fehrnstrom said, “He doesn’t believe in granting them amnesty.”
When Klein pressed further — acknowledging what Romney doesn’t believe in, but then asking what he does believe in — Fehrnstrom practically lost the ability to communicate in English.
Today, it happened all over again.
Mitt Romney released a statement earlier today emphasizing the right of states to enact immigration policies, but not actually commenting directly on the substance of today’s Supreme Court decision on the Arizona immigration law. Reporters sought to get more clarity from the campaign in a Q&A with traveling spokesman Rick Gorka, but to little avail.
The transcript is too long to republish here, but it’s a rather extraordinary read. Gorka, speaking on Romney’s behalf, heard reporters ask whether the candidate agrees or disagrees with the Supreme Court’s ruling, but went to extraordinary lengths to repeat superficial talking points, avoiding every question.
By one count, Romney’s overwhelmed spokesperson was asked literally 20 times what the candidate thought about today’s ruling, and literally 20 times, the spokesperson refused to say. Even Byron York called the evasion “excruciating,” which is as good an adjective as any.
Remember, all of this follows a press release this afternoon, in which Romney spent 104 words talking about the Supreme Court ruling without taking a position on it.
Cowardice is an unappealing character trait in a presidential campaign, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Romney, to borrow George Will’s line, “lacks the courage of his absence of convictions.”
Last edited Mon Jun 25, 2012, 03:50 PM USA/ET – Edit history (5)
Rush Limbaugh Off Air in Philadelphia
Limbaugh has been a mainstay on the CBS owned station in Philadelphia for at least 20 years.
Today he was replaced by Michael Smerconish with the intro “forget the anger, reason is back”.
I called the station manager to confirm that it was in fact a permanent and to congratulate him on his public service.
This is one station, but it is a major market that is replacing hate speech one
program at a time. Hannity was dropped last year.
Of course it is all about money and proof that the boycott worked.
June 24, 2012 09:00 AM
Romney “Sick at Heart” Over Bain Job Losses
By Jon Perr
Back in 2007, Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney declared that taking a big payment from a company that later failed “would make me sick, sick at heart.” If so, Romney by now must be badly in need of a quadruple by-pass. Because as the New York Times became just the latest to report, through massive consulting fees, sales of stock and, most perversely, dividend payments, Romney and his partners at Bain Capital reaped whirlwind profits even when the companies they acquired collapsed.
Back in January, McClatchy offered this primer on how private equity firms like Bain Capital work, at least on paper. As candidate Romney explained at a GOP debate back in June 2007, “Don’t forget that when companies earn profit, that money is supposed to be reinvested in growth.”
But as the New York Times documented Friday, large sums of that money were going to Mitt Romney and his Bain colleagues whether their portfolio companies were profitable or not. Put another way, Bain won either way:
Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain’s funds.
Cambridge Industries, which filed for bankruptcy in 2000 after amassing $300 million in debt, is hardly unique when it came to Bain’s “win even when they lose” business model:
Yet Bain Capital, the private equity firm that controlled the Michigan-based company, continued to religiously collect its $950,000-a-year “advisory fee” in quarterly installments, even to the very end, according to court documents.
In all, Bain garnered more than $10 million in fees from Cambridge over five years, including a $2.25 million payment just for buying the company, according to bankruptcy records and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Meanwhile, Bain’s investors saw their $16 million investment in Cambridge wiped out.
From his time as a corporate buyout specialist through his years as governor, Mitt Romney has helped companies ship American jobs overseas. Take a look at where American jobs went under Romney’s watch, and then share this map with your friends.
Romney Faces a Dragon in Jobs Sent to China
By MATT NEGRIN (@MattNegrin)
June 25, 2012
A conveniently timed piece on Mitt Romney in The Washington Post has given Democrats a big chance to label him as a proponent of outsourcing jobs, a line of attack that brings together the economy, a little-known career at a private-equity firm, and China.
The thrust of the Post’s reporting is that while Romney ran Bain Capital, the firm invested in companies that moved jobs from the United States to China, India and other inexpensive countries. Presumably, that type of mentality cuts against Romney’s position as a presidential candidate, which is that America is No. 1.
The Democratic Party has seized on the report. Already this week, President Obama unveiled a TV ad that called Romney a “corporate raider” who “shipped jobs to China and Mexico” while at Bain. (And, bonus, to India when he was the governor of Massachusetts.) None of the reports cited are new.
Here’s the link to map above.
June 25, 2012 11:15 AM
By Ed Kilgore
While the ACA decision did not come down, another highly anticipated ruling did: on a 5-3 vote (Justice Kagan recused herself as having been involved in the case as Solicitor General), in an opinion written by Justice Kennedy, three of the four challenged provisions of the infamous and influential Arizona immigration law, S.B. 1070, were struck down as having been preempted by federal law. Roberts, Ginsberg, Breyer and Sotomayor concurred. In separate dissents, Scalia and Thomas said the entire law should have been upheld, and in another partial dissent, Alito agreed with the majority in invalidating just one provision.
As explained in an insta-analysis by SCOTUSblog’s Kevin Russell, the invalidated provisions of S.B. 1070 were those creating a separate state crime for immigration law violations; making it illegal to be employed in the state without proper immigration documentation; and authorizing warrantless arrests of people suspected of committing a crime that would under federal law justify deportation.
The most notorious provision of S.B. 1070, the “show your papers” authorization of police checks for immigration documentation, survived at least temporarily, but only pending its implementation by Arizona and separate litigation over the “racial profiling” issue.
All in all, this was a win for opponents of S.B. 1070 and for the Obama administration. It’s interesting that in his dissent, Scalia took a shot at the administration’s recent executive order providing limited and conditional immunity from prosecution for young people brought into the country illegally but subsequently obtaining a high school diploma or performing military service.
High Security At Koch Conclave
Posted Jun 24, 2012 3:16pm EDT
CARLSBAD, Calif. — The Koch Brothers have locked down a resort hotel in this breezy San Diego suburb for their annual conservative conference, a gathering that directs a funnel of money to their favored conservative causes with the goal of pulling both America and the Republican Party hard to the right.
The intensely private conservative brothers, heirs to a Midwestern refining fortune, have been seeking an increasingly broad influence on public policy, and contributions attendees a their conferences have in the past financed everything from the anti-union campaigns of Americans for Prosperity to the 60-Plus Association’s attacks on President Barack Obama’s health care plan. This year, the group — many of them low-profile, old-line industrialist families like the Kochs — is expected to spend nearly $400 million on a range of causes, the core one defeating Obama’s reelection campaign.
The gathering makes Mitt Romney’s private donor retreat this weekend 700 miles away in Park City, Utah look almost laid back by comparison: The Romney retreat has been marked by occasional conversations with the press and snapshots of the candidate’s family.
Major Romney donors rewarded at lavish Utah retreat
Top contributors to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign spend three days at what is billed as a ‘senior leadership retreat’ in Deer Valley.
By Seema Mehta and Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times
June 23, 2012, 7:16 p.m.
PARK CITY, Utah — It was the kind of image Mitt Romney has sought to blunt during his campaign for president: a prodigious display of wealth.
At a private retreat this weekend, major Romney campaign donors quaffed 1927 Port they’d brought in for the occasion, mingled in the lobby of a posh resort called the Chateaux at Silver Lake and watched an aerial display of Olympic ski jumpers.
Billed as a “senior leadership retreat,” the three-day gathering in Deer Valley was a reward for the wealthy GOP donors who have fueled Romney’s fundraising, giving at least $25,000 each or raising at least $100,000 by June 18. Many of the more than 700 who attended had donated much more.
The campaign is counting on these supporters to raise $500 million of its $800-million fundraising goal, according to one top fundraiser. The retreat is part of a meticulous effort by the campaign to keep its biggest supporters personally invested in the candidate as he hurtles toward November.
Jun 24, 2012 6:25pm
What Romney’s Donors Heard at This Weekend’s Retreat
ABC News’ Arlette Saenz and Shushannah Walshe report:
Mitt Romney’s donors attended a golf outing today at the Red Ledges Gold Club in Heber, Utah, but the excitement was really what went on Friday and Saturday at the events and panels. Romney’s top donors were treated to panels on specialized policy topics, such as healthcare or the financial services industry, heard speeches from stars of the Republican Party, such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and were granted access to the presidential candidate’s senior advisors for information about the inner workings of the campaign. All events were closed to reporters, but ABC News has the rundown of some of what these donors were privileged to hear.
Read about here:
Posted at 01:09 PM ET, 06/25/2012
Republicans support Obama’s health reforms — as long as his name isn’t on them
By Greg Sargent
The new Reuters-Ipsos poll finds that Obamacare remains deeply unpopular; 56 percent of Americans oppose the law, versus only 44 percent who favor it. The poll also finds that strong majorities of Americans favor the individual provisions in the law — the hated individual mandate excepted, of course.
What’s particularly interesting about this poll is that solid majorities of Republicans favor most of the law’s main provisions, too.
I asked Ipsos to send over a partisan breakdown of the data. Key points:
* Eighty percent of Republicans favor “creating an insurance pool where small businesses and uninsured have access to insurance exchanges to take advantage of large group pricing benefits.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents.
* Fifty-seven percent of Republicans support “providing subsidies on a sliding scale to aid individuals and families who cannot afford health insurance.” That’s backed by 67 percent of independents.
* Fifty-four percent of Republicans favor “requiring companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance for their employers.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents.
* Fifty two percent of Republicans favor “allowing children to stay on parents insurance until age 26.” That’s backed by 69 percent of independents.
* Seventy eight percent of Republicans support “banning insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions; 86 percent of Republicans favor “banning insurance companies from cancelling policies because a person becomes ill.” Those are backed by 82 percent of independents and 87 percent of independents.
* One provision that isn’t backed by a majority of Republicans: The one “expanding Medicaid to families with incomes less than $30,000 per year.”
“Most Republicans want to have good health coverage,” Ipsos research director Chris Jackson tells me. “They just don’t necessarily like what it is Obama is doing.”
I’d add that Republicans and independents favor regulation of the health insurance system in big numbers. But the law has become so defined by the individual mandate — not to mention Obama himself — that public sentiment on the reforms themselves has been entirely drowned out. It’s another sign of the conservative messaging triumph in this fight and the failure of Dems to make the case for the law. And it suggests that if the law is struck down, Dems might be able to salvage at least something from the wreckage by refocusing the debate on the idividual reforms they’ve been championing — and what Republicans would replace them with, if anything.
June 25, 2012 12:20 PM
The Only Precedent That Seems To Matter: Bush v. Gore
By Ed Kilgore
Nobody would much describe Monthly alumnus and long-time Atlantic writer James Fallows as a firebrand. But he does have a sense of historical perspective. Over the weekend, mulling a probable Supreme Court action to invalidate some or all of the Affordable Care Act, Fallows put together a stunningly brief summary of how we came to this point:
Pick a country and describe a sequence in which:
* First, the presidential election is decided by five people, who don’t even try to explain their choice in normal legal terms.
* Then the beneficiary of that decision appoints the next two members of the court, who present themselves for consideration as restrained, humble figures who care only about law rather than ideology.
* Once on the bench, for life, those two actively second-guess and re-do existing law, to advance the interests of the party that appointed them.
* Meanwhile their party’s representatives in the Senate abuse procedural rules to an extent never previously seen to block legislation — and appointments, especially to the courts.
* And, when a major piece of legislation gets through, the party’s majority on the Supreme Court prepares to negate it — even though the details of the plan were originally Republican proposals and even though the party’s presidential nominee endorsed these concepts only a few years ago.
How would you describe a democracy where power was being shifted that way
Fallows answers his own question by using a term—“long-term coup”—that he later downgrades to “radical change.”That’s appropriate, since “coup” implies tanks in the street rather than black-robed ideological cheerleaders. But it’s becoming more obvious each day that the judicial counter-revolutionaries of the Supreme Court don’t need the crisis atmosphere that they used to justify Bush v. Gore to continue its legacy. Indeed, it seems to have become the only precedent the majority reliably respects. Maybe they will surprise us all on Thursday and step back from the brink. But without question, if another seat on the Court falls their way, the constitutional substructure of every 20th century social accomplishment from the New Deal to the Civil Rights Act to the Clean Air Act to the right to an abortion is in immediate danger. And anyone who remembers that strange night in 2001 when the Court’s Republican appointees decided to seize the opportunity to choose a president should not be surprised.
Posted at 11:33 AM ET, 06/25/2012
SCOTUS strikes down much of Arizona law, but preserves worst part
By Greg Sargent
The Supreme Court ruling that struck down much of the Arizona immigration law this morning is being widely trumpted as a victory for the Obama administration. But in truth, from the point of view of immigration advocates, it was only a partial victory at best. It still remains to be seen whether the worst feature of the Arizona law will spread to other states and, in the process, resist future court challenges and survive over the long term as a legally-enshrined law enforcement tactic.
The decision, as described by the Post:
The court ruled that Arizona cannot make it a misdemeanor for immigrants to fail to carry identification that says whether they are in the United States legally; cannot make it a crime for undocumented immigrations to apply for a job; and cannot arrest someone based solely on the suspicion that the person is in this country illegally.
However, the court let stand the part of the law that requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they detain, if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is unlawfully in the United States. Even there, though, the justices said the provision could be subject to additional legal challenges. The court said it was “improper” for the federal government to block the provision before state courts have a chance to interpret it and without determining whether it conflicts with federal immigration law in practice.
The court’s decision to strike down the first three provisions is welcome news to immigration advocates, and suggests the Obama administration was right to challenge the law. But advocates expected that those provisions wouldn’t survive the decision. The problem is that the court upheld the aspect of the law that is most worrisome — the part that requires police to check the status of a person if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is here illegally.
“The real make or break was the show-me-your-papers provision,” Frank Sharry of America’s Voice tells me. “Basically they upheld it.”
There are several problems here. The first is that this could lead to racial profiling, says Marshall Fitz of the Center for American Progress. “It’s not a sweeping victory for the other side, but the provision we most worried about was the one giving cops the ability to stop people and ask for their papers,” Fitz says. “We think this will lead inevitably to racial profiling, based on the way they sound and the way they look.”
Second: The fact that the High Court has suggested that there are ways for states to implement and/or interpret this law could encourage other states to try their own versions of it, rather than dissuade them from doing so. Efforts to emulate the Arizona law are already underway in a handful of states.
“There are lots of Joe Arpaios out there,” Fitz says, in a reference to the Arizona sheriff. “States will say, `Look, they upheld this.’”
No question, the ruling does contain some good news, even when it comes to the most controversial provision. The ruling is a warning to states that the High Court has not given it a full green light, and it essentially keeps other court challenges to that part of the Arizona law very much alive, meaning it could be struck down on other Constitutional grounds later. But ultimately, the larger battle over the provision has not been settled, and will continue. Perhaps it will fail in court in the long run. But the alternative is that this law enforcement tactic ultimately could become a permanent feature of the American legal landscape — with untold consequences when it comes to possible racial profiling and other potential abuses.
25 Jun 2012 01:05 PM
The Core Reality Of This Campaign
In a nutshell:
The United States has never been witness to a presidential candidate, in modern American history, who lies as frequently, as flagrantly and as brazenly as Mitt Romney.
The Dish has covered most of the individual incidents, but Michael Cohen does a great job compiling them – and noting that Romney is perfectly happy to repeat lies that have already been debunked, and to deny having told the lies whenever challenged. Prometheus’s robot David has a more ethical backbone than Romney’s post-truth will-to-power:
First, there is Romney’s claim that the 2009 stimulus passed by Congress and signed by President Obama “didn’t work”. According to Romney, “that stimulus didn’t put more private-sector people to work.” While one can quibble over whether the stimulus went far enough, the idea that it didn’t create private-sector jobs has no relationship to reality. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus bill created more than 3m jobs – a view shared by 80% of economists polled by the Chicago Booth School of Business (only 4% disagree).
Romney also likes to argue that the stimulus didn’t help private-sector job growth, but rather helped preserve government jobs. In fact, the Obama years have been witness to massive cuts in government employment. While the private sector is not necessarily “doing fine”, as Obama said in a recent White House press conference, it’s doing a heck of a lot better than the public sector.
And the list goes on. Romney has accused Obama of raising taxes – in reality, they’ve gone down under his presidency, and largely because of that stimulus bill that Romney loves to criticize. He’s accused the president of doubling the deficit. In fact, it’s actually gone down on Obama’s watch.
SCOTUS: Total Betrayal of Democracy
Mon Jun 25th, 2012 at 12:57:41 PM EST
As you probably know, I did some work with Democracy for America to raise awareness of and build support for an effort by our country’s state attorneys general to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in favor of hearing the American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Steve Bullock, Attorney General of Montana case. Ultimately, twenty-three attorneys general signed on to the brief (you can thank them here). Personally, I want to thank all of you who stepped up to the plate to lend your hands to the effort. Sadly, however, we were not successful.
In a brief per curiam (unsigned) opinion, the five conservatives on the Court summarily overruled the Montana Supreme Court’s decision to defy Citizens United and refused to receive briefs or hear arguments. Justice Breyer, writing for the minority, issued a terse dissent.
This is tragedy for Montana, but it is also a tragedy for our whole country. The conservatives didn’t even have the intestinal fortitude to sign this death sentence for our democracy. They were completely unmoved by the spectacle of billionaires deciding who would become the Republican nominee or the opinions of nearly half the attorneys general in the country that Citizens United has a corrupting influence on their home state’s politics.
This is utterly shameless and totally destructive. The only way to fix this now is to replace one of the five conservatives on the Court with an Obama nominee.
SCOTUS and Arizona
Mon Jun 25th, 2012 at 11:27:36 AM EST
The Supreme Court did not issue their ruling on the Affordable Care Act today. That decision will almost certainly be announced on Thursday as I am preparing to go on vacation. Doesn’t that figure? However, the Supreme Court did rule on S.B. 1070, the Arizona immigration law. It basically ruled in the Obama administration’s favor, although it did allow one part of the law to stand (at least, for now).
1. Police Checks. Section 2(B) of the law requires the police to check the immigration status of persons whom they detain before releasing them. It also allows the police to stop and detain anyone suspected of being an undocumented immigrant. The Court held that the lower courts were wrong to prevent this provision from going into effect while its lawfulness is being litigated. It was not sufficiently clear that the provision would be held preempted, the Court held. The Court took pains to point out that the law, on its face, prohibits stops based on race or national origin and provides that the stops must be conducted consistent with federal immigration and civil rights laws. However, it held open that the provision could eventually be invalidated after trial.
The immediate result is that Arizona can continue to harass and detain Latinos even if it can’t deport them unilaterally. Naturally, there are limits imposed by the plain language of the bill, but proving that the effect of this section is to create unlawful racial harassment remains to be proven in court.
While that is being litigated, other red states can pass their own Latino harassment laws, and some may do so. This is bad news for Mitt Romney, who upheld the Arizona law as a model for the country.
‘Scalia has finally jumped the shark’
By Steve Benen
Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:27 PM EDT.
Last week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia announced in a new book that he’d changed his mind about everything he ever believed about the Commerce Clause — just in time to ignore his own precedents and rule against the Affordable Care Act.
This week, as Sahil Kapur notes, Scalia used the court’s ruling on Arizona’s anti-immigrant law to condemn President Obama and complain about the administration’s enforcement policies. Consider this gem from Scalia’s dissent in the 5-3 decision.
It has become clear that federal enforcement priorities — in the sense of priorities based on the need to allocate “scarce enforcement resources” — is not the problem here. After this case was argued and while it was under consideration, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immigration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants under the age of 30. [For certain illegal immigrants] immigration officials have been directed to “defe[r] action” against such individual “for a period of two years, subject to renewal.”
The husbanding of scarce enforcement resources can hardly be the justification for this, since the considerable administrative cost of conduct¬ing as many as 1.4 million background checks, and ruling on the biennial requests for dispensation that the nonenforcement program envisions, will necessarily be deducted from immigration enforcement. The President said at a news conference that the new program is “the right thing to do” in light of Congress’s failure to pass the Administration’s proposed revision of the Immigration Act. Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the Immigration Act that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind.
Remember, Obama’s decision to implement many of the goals of the DREAM Act wasn’t at issue in this case. Scalia didn’t agree with the president’s move, though, so he decided to make it part of the case anyway.
For that matter, Scalia complaining about lax enforcement of existing federal immigration laws — another element that really wasn’t at issue in this case — it itself bizarre, given that Obama deporting more undocumented immigrants than any modern president.
Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at UCLA, told Kapur, “Scalia has finally jumped the shark. He claims to respect the founding fathers, but his dissent channels the opponents of the Constitution.”
When he was running for President in 2008, Barack Obama struck me as a gifted orator. But now that he’s running for re-election, it feels to me that the messaging power of his political opponents is like Hurricane Katrina blowing against a chipmunk’s squeal.
So I am confident that a piece of excellent news for drivers resulting from a little-noticed policy from Mr. Obama will get no attention at all from the media.
In April, I predicted that President Obama’s $52 million plan to increase the margin requirements and otherwise tighten the screws on oil speculators — who borrow huge sums to bet on the direction of oil without taking delivery — would cut oil prices by 10 percent. He’s beaten that prediction, and the lowered price of gasoline has added $78.4 billion to its consumers’ spending power.
In case you never heard about it, in April the Obama administration asked Congress to spend $52 million to regulate this speculation. According to the Washington Post, this included the following steps:
• Increase by a factor of six Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) surveillance and enforcement staff “to better deter oil market manipulation,”
• Boost 10-fold, to $10 million, the civil and criminal penalties against “firms that engage in market manipulation,”
• Give the CFTC authority to increase the trader margins — the amount of their own capital that traders must set aside for each bet. The administration officials said such authority “could help limit disruptions in energy markets,” according to the Post.
If Halperin and Politico say it’s not working, it’s working
By DougJ June 25th, 2012
Sometimes NBC’s First Read is surprisingly smart (via):
*** Romney has more of a Bain problem than the Acela Corridor realizes: Ever since the Obama campaign began its Bain hit, there has been near universal agreement among elites that the hits were either “not working,” or “unfair,” or both. But as we’ve said before and we’ll say again: The Bain attacks aren’t meant to sway folks in NY and DC, but folks in three crucial battleground states: Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The whole point of this campaign by the Obama folks is to paint Romney as an out-of-touch Wall Street CEO or worse, one of the Bobs from “Office Space. And while the Romney campaign has comforted itself with the criticism of the Obama attacks by other Democrats (Booker, Rendell etc.), the campaign has done little to fix the larger image issue. So far, the Romney campaign has made this argument: Any attack on Bain is an attack on America’s free enterprise system. But how does it explain that Bain and its partners often made money, even if the firms they took over went belly up? And how do they now explain this Milken association? Does it keep using the “free enterprise” line? Or does it need to do something else
Real Murkins don’t like vulture capitalism. Wealthy east coast “journalists” do because that nice man from private equity sat next to them in Aspen and invited them to his Hamptons house.
It is that simple.
Statement by the President on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Arizona v. the United States
I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.
At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.
I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.
Another missed opportunity to ‘lead’
By Steve Benen\
Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:22 PM EDT.
Mitt Romney loves to talk about “leadership,” but to borrow a line, though he keeps using that word, I don’t think it means what he thinks it means.
This morning, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB1070, which Romney heralded as a “model” for the nation during the Republican primaries. Romney is in Arizona today, and a lot of folks — including his own supporters — would like to know what he thinks of the ruling.
Here’s the Romney campaign’s official statement in response to the high court ruling.
“Today’s decision underscores the need for a President who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration. This represents yet another broken promise by this President. I believe that each state has the duty — and the right — to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities. As Candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office. But 4 years later, we are still waiting.”
This one paragraph helps highlight so much of that’s wrong with Romney’s approach to campaigning for the presidency. He managed to say 104 words about a Supreme Court ruling, without actually taking a side — I know no more about Romney’s beliefs on this after reading his statement than I did before reading it.
The irony is almost jaw-dropping. Romney is certain we need a president “who will lead” on immigration policy, while at the exact same time, Romney refuses to lead on immigration policy. Put it this way: refusing to take a stand because one constituency or another might get angry isn’t leadership; it’s cowardice (and for the Republican presidential hopeful, it’s far too common).
This as an opportunity for Romney to step up and prove he’s ready to lead, but he lacks the intestinal fortitude to do so.
Apparently, voters are supposed to believe Romney will will lead on immigration, right after they vote for him. And where, exactly, will he lead the nation to? Presumably he’ll let us know once he’s in office.
As for the notion that President Obama has “failed to provide any leadership on immigration,” Romney have missed the news from two weeks ago, when Obama led on immigration. The Republican added that we’ve been waiting for years for Obama to “present an immigration plan,” but that’s demonstrably false — the comprehensive plan was released more than a year ago.
Update: A campaign press aide told reporters that Romney will have “no further comment” on today’s court ruling, and will not address the issue in person
The Real Entitlement Mentality
It was a 1984, or maybe an ‘85, Toyota pickup truck.
He was plodding along at about 55MPH on the Glenn Highway, crossing the Palmer Hay Flats heading into Anchorage in morning traffic.
The fact that he was actually in the slow lane was noteworthy in and of itself, given that about 99% of Valley commuters simply can’t seem to wrap their pointy heads around the concept of Left Lane Fast, Right Lane Slow. Alaska doesn’t have mandatory drivers ed classes in high school and it shows. But I digress.
So there he was, ‘84 (or maybe ‘85) Toyota pickup. It might have been white once, back when people listened to Blondie on stereo cassette tapes, but the truck’s primary color now was the burnt orange of rust and the dull threadbare gray of worn duct tape smothered in at least two decades of road dust. I could easily see the vehicle’s internal components, and daylight, through the holes. The windshield was cracked and a loose fender flare was flapping in the slipstream. The bed was filled with the usual detritus you’d find in the back of any similar Alaskan vehicle: empty beer cans and broken fishing poles, a worn out rimless tire and a five gallon bucket crusted with last year’s dried salmon guts and an empty gas-can labeled “2-stroke” in large black marker.
On a good day the whole rig, dried fish guts and all, was worth maybe, maybe, a thousand bucks tops.
And on the back window?
A brand new bumper-sticker:
You’re Not Entitled To My Stuff!
As I passed him I looked over fully expecting to see the usual Valley Bush Habitant, i.e. a scowling angry greybeard with a roll-your-own clenched firmly between thin bloodless lips. Instead the driver was a clean cut youngster, twenty maybe.
That’s right, a member of the so-called Entitlement Generation.
You’re not entitled to my stuff.
I had to smile at the irony as I passed him in my fifty thousand dollar GMC truck (which, I might add is paid off). I’m not entitled to your stuff? Don’t worry, Kid, your POS rustbucket is probably safe from my entitled covetousness (though I might snatch that snot encrusted bait bucket given half a chance).
You’re not entitled to my stuff.
Everywhere you turn nowadays that’s what you hear: you’re not entitled to my stuff. The government isn’t entitled to my money. The jobless aren’t entitled to my job or my unemployment benefits. The aged aren’t entitled to my social security or my Medicare, hell it’s nothing but a damned Ponzi scheme anyway. The uninsured aren’t entitled to my healthcare, they can always use the free medical at the emergency room. The illegals aren’t entitled to my country, even if they were born here and have lived here their whole lives the same as me. Gays aren’t entitled to my marriage, minorities aren’t entitled to my civil rights, women aren’t entitled to their own bodies, blacks aren’t entitled to live in my neighborhood. The poor aren’t entitled to anything because really, screw those those lazy bastards.
You are not entitled to my stuff. It’s mine.
That’s what’s wrong with the current generation, right? They’re a bunch of spoiled rotten brats. They think they’re entitled to everything, good jobs, healthcare, early retirement, safe neighborhood, strong economy, big house with a chicken in the pot and a new truck in the garage – they think they’re entitled to the “American dream.” They think they’re entitled to their own stuff.
Wonder where they got that stupid idea?
You’re not entitled to my stuff.
That’s what we’re telling them now, you know. At high school graduation, on the TV and the radio, from the pulpit and the politicians. There’s even a Facebook page, You’re Not Entitled To What I’ve Earned. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find there:
“Maybe your back is sore? Maybe you have a headache? The ones who choose not to work don’t experience these things because they do nothing but sit on their lazy butts. We were not put on this earth to pay for their bad choices. I say to the entitlement class, get up off your couch and go look for a job. We are sick and tired of our tax money going to a worthless cause!!!! If you agree please hit the “like button” You’re Not Entitled To What I’ve Earned!!!!”
Every post ends with that tag line, You’re Not Entitled To What I’ve Earned!!!!, just to make sure you lazy bastards get the message. You’re not entitled to my stuff (but I am, however, entitled to a like or two).
The guy that started that Facebook page really, really hates the entitlement mentality.
And why shouldn’t he, right?
Really, where do you snot-nosed brats get off thinking you’re special anyway? Who raised you people? Who put that idea in your silly little heads? Who’s responsible for how you greedy punks turned out? Who? Boy, you never saw this kind of crap in the Greatest Generation, that’s for sure. Used to be each generation was raised to think it was shitty and worthless and less than the one that came before – because, man, nothing motivates kids like that.
But not the Entitlement Generation.
See, that’s what happens when you’re all full of self esteem – you end up thinking you’re better than Jesus.
Monday, June 25, 2012
My last best shot in defense of the ACA
[repost] I have a piece up at The Atlantic updating my case that the enemies of the ACA misrepresented the individual mandate in the Supreme Court, that the cadre of oppressed citizens they conjured up is a phantom, and that the law’s creators worked under a self-imposed “limiting principle,” doing their utmost to minimize the financial burden imposed by the mandate.
Below, a few posts that flesh various parts of the argument compressed in the Atlantic piece. A full index of my posts on the ACA in the Supreme Court, along with outside sources relevant to my argument, is here.
Misrepresentation of the mandate in the Supreme Court: Why it still matters (5/10)
Three possible surprise rulings on the Affordable Care Act (6/15)
Attention, Justices Kennedy, Roberts et al: Read the young people’s brief (5/5)
The ACA offers catastrophic coverage: the AP notices (4/10)
Marty Lederman concurs: the individual mandate could be trimmed, not killed (4/5)
Go tell the justices: the ACA has a catastrophic coverage option (3/31, updated 4/2)
And, for the record, the 3/28 post by a healthcare attorney who picked up the plaintiffs’ core card trick more or less in real time during oral argument: Ragbatz on the catastrophic coverage options in the ACA.
Sorry, but these scenes are beginning to sound and look STAGED, Booker.
Cory Booker to the Rescue, Again?
By: Jenée Desmond-Harris | Posted: June 25, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Earlier this year, Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker was the subject of national attention when he rescued a neighbor from a burning building.
Has he done it again today, going beyond the call of political duty to save a citizen’s life?
Not really, according to NJ.com. The report is that while the mayor was definitely helpful, his role at the scene of a traffic accident this morning didn’t quite reach heroic proportions:
Hold the accolades. The superhero mayor was more of a concerned bystander this time.
When a pedestrian was struck by a moving vehicle in Newark earlier today, Mayor Cory Booker tweeted that he was among a group of people who “got man stabilized & into ambulance. He’ll b OK. Thanx 2 all who helped
thought I was the only one who thought this
Knew you were on to him too, rikyrah. What are the odds of the same Mayor being at the scene of folks in need? Desperate much, Corey. SMGDH
The mandate is constitutional
Monday, June 25, 2012
Immediately following the oral arguments at the Supreme Court on health care reform, here is what President Obama said.
I’m confident that this will be upheld because it should be upheld. That’s not just my opinion; that’s the opinion of a whole lot of constitutional law professors and academics and judges and lawyers who have examined this law, even if they’re not particularly sympathetic to this particular piece of legislation or my presidency.
Bloomberg News demonstrated that he was right by surveying 21 constitutional law experts at the nations top 12 law schools.
The U.S. Supreme Court should uphold a law requiring most Americans to have health insurance if the justices follow legal precedent, according to 19 of 21 constitutional law professors who ventured an opinion on the most-anticipated ruling in years…
10 Things You Would Miss About Obamacare
By Igor Volsky
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act this week and could potentially strike down part or the whole of ‘Obamacare.’ Below are 10 things you will miss about the law if the justices invalidate it:
1) Access to health insurance for 30 million Americans and lower premiums. More than 30 million uninsured Americans will find coverage under the law. Middle-class families who buy health care coverage through the exchanges will be eligible for refundable and advanceable premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies to ensure that the coverage they have is affordable.
2) The ability of businesses and individuals to purchase comprehensive coverage from a regulated marketplace.
3) Insurers’ inability to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Beginning in 2014, insurers can no longer deny insurance to families or individuals with pre-existing conditions. Insurers are also prohibited from placing lifetime limits on the dollar value of coverage and rescinding insurers except in cases of fraud. Insurers are already prohibited from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions.
4) Tax credits for small businesses that offer insurance.
5) Assistance for businesses that provide health benefits to early retirees.
6) Affordable health care for lower-income Americans. Obamacare extends Medicaid to individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty line, guaranteeing that the nation’ most vulnerable population has access to affordable, comprehensive coverage.
7) Investments in women’s health. Obamacare prohibits insurers from charging women substantially more than men and requires insurers to offer preventive services — including contraception — at no additional cost.
8) Young adults’ ability to stay on their parents’ health care plans.
9) Discounts for seniors on brand-name drugs.
10) Temporary coverage for the sickest Americans.
Supreme Court invalidates Sections 3, 5, and 6 of SB1070 (Arizona anti-immigration law)
Most of the key provisions of SB1070 (3 of 4) are invalidated. One provision is held not to be proved preempted; it must be construed.
It was improper for the lower courts to enjoin Section 2(B), which requires police officers to check the legal status of anyone arrested for any crime before they can be released.
The provision that the Court says is not yet preempted is the “check your papers” provision that commands officers to check immigration status.
There are ongoing proceedings on Section 2(B) and whether it involves racial profiling; that issue was NOT before the Court today.
Read more: http://scotusblog.wpengine.com/
So it’s papers please
The Supreme Court issues split verdict on Arizona’s controversial immigration law, upholding some parts, rejecting others. More details to come and on http://cnn.com/thisjustin
Watch live coverage and analysis now on CNN TV, CNN’s mobile apps and http://cnn.com/live
Court: Police may check for immigration status
Robert Barnes and N.C. Aizenmann 9:41 AM ET
The Supreme Court rejects much of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, but upholds other provisions, giving a partial victory to the Obama administration. The court ruled that Arizona cannot make it a misdemeanor for immigrants to fail to carry identification.
LIVE, NOW: Comments on the cases
Court strikes down Montana limits
Corporate profits soaring under oppressive ‘socialism’
By Steve Benen
Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:45 AM EDT.
Henry Blodget published a 13-word headline late Friday that spoke volumes: “Corporate Profits Just Hit An All-Time High, Wages Just Hit An All-Time Low.” There it is — the American economy in a nutshell.
Blodget included this chart, compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, showing that American companies “are making more per dollar of sales than they ever have before.”
At 2:05 p.m. today President Obama will Deliver remarks at a campaign event at Oyster River High School (in CNN’s live streaming schedule) http://edition.cnn.com/video/
7:3p.m. delivers remarks at a campaign event (in CNN’s live streaming schedule) http://edition.cnn.com/video/
Lawmakers reworked financial portfolios after talks with Fed, Treasury officials
By Kimberly Kindy, Scott Higham, David S. Fallis and Dan Keating, Published: June 24
In January 2008, President George W. Bush was scrambling to bolster the American economy. The subprime mortgage industry was collapsing, and the Dow Jones industrial average had lost more than 2,000 points in less than three months.
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner became the Bush administration’s point person on Capitol Hill to negotiate a $150 billion stimulus package.
In the days that followed, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. made frequent phone calls and visits to Boehner. Neither Paulson nor Boehner would publicly discuss the progress of their negotiations to shore up the nation’s financial portfolio.
On Jan. 23, Boehner (R-Ohio) met Paulson for breakfast. Boehner would later report the rearrangement of a portion of his own financial portfolio made on that same day. He sold between $50,000 and $100,000 from a more aggressive mutual fund and moved money into a safer investment.
The next day, the White House unveiled the stimulus package.
Boehner is one of 34 members of Congress who took steps to recast their financial portfolios during the financial crisis after phone calls or meetings with Paulson; his successor, Timothy F. Geithner; or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, according to a Washington Post examination of appointment calendars and congressional disclosure forms.
The lawmakers, many of whom held leadership positions and committee chairmanships in the House and Senate, changed portions of their portfolios a total of 166 times within two business days of speaking or meeting with the administration officials. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was about evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, 19 to 15.
Real People, Real Problems: The Stakes of the Obamacare Lawsuit
Do you care how the Supreme Court rules on health care reform this week? I don’t mean in the political sense. I mean in the personal sense—because the law’s fate is a very personal matter for many millions of Americans.
They’re the Americans who have diabetes and Crohn’s disease, cancer and hay fever. They’re the Americans who don’t have access to health benefits and the Americans who have access to health benefits but can’t afford to pay for them. There are a lot of these people, more perhaps than you realize—at least tens of millions and perhaps more than a hundred million, depending on how you want to define the categories. If by now you’re thinking, gee, maybe I could end up becoming one of those people, you’re right. Death and taxes aren’t the only certain things in life. Accident, illness, and injury are too. They’ve plunged the lives of plenty of Americans, even those who thought they had good insurance, into financial and physical chaos.
The Affordable Care Act won’t help all of these people. But it will help an awful lot of them. In fact, it’s already starting to make a difference. On Thursday, the Obama Administration announced that 12 million Americans would be getting rebates from their insurance companies. The reason for the rebates was a regulation in the Affordable Care Act. Under the law, insurance companies must spend at least 80 percent of their premiums on actual patient care. (For some insurers, it’s 85 percent.) Insurers that fail to meet that standard have to give some premium money back to their subscribers, in the form of rebate checks.
The rebates were not huge: The average was $151, although some consumers got rebates approaching $1000. But it’s yet another reminder that, by and large, the Affordable Care Act seems to be working. More than 5 million seniors have saved hundreds of dollars on their prescription drugs. As many as 6 million young adults now have comprehensive insurance coverage because, under the law, Americans under the age of 26 without access to coverage can enroll in their parents’ plans.
Go Play With Your Horse and Shut Up
Sun Jun 24th, 2012 at 10:22:57 PM EST
I’m tired of hearing people on the right talk about class warfare and people envying success and hating capitalism and all that nonsense. I’ve run a progressive website for seven years and I’ve read a ton of progressive comments and opinions. There are always a couple of people who want to cap income or radically redistribute wealth, but they make up about two percent of the American left. The other 98% don’t have any problem with Bill Gates or Steve Jobs making a cajiillion dollars. If you made a ton of money, that’s great. Good for you. You want to buy a fancy car and seven or eight homes? Fantastic.
What people overwhelmingly object to is the idea that we need to balance our budget by cutting our Social Security benefits or our Medicare benefits or entirely by cutting programs that help people in need or that help people get ahead. Federal, state, and local income taxes haven’t been this low since Harry Truman was president. I’m not kidding about that. They went up because of the Korean War.
Now, maybe you think the government is doing too much and you’d like to see some programs eliminated. I can understand that. But back in 1950, we didn’t have an interstate highway system yet. NASA lay eight years in the future. The National Security Agency (NSA) did not yet exist. Medicare hadn’t been created. Almost no government offices had computers. The Food and Drug Administration was too pitiful to prevent things like the thalidomide tragedy. We had no Environment Protection Agency. I could go on listing many more ways in which we all are benefiting from the federal government doing more than it was doing in 1950, but my point is that we really should expect to be paying more in income taxes today than Americans were paying in 1950, but we are not.
If you want to argue that we don’t need some program or that some benefit is too generous or that some perverse incentive is created by a poorly constructed law, then more power to you. But don’t tell me that we need to raise the retirement age because we can’t afford to pay for Social Security.
Just two days ago, Business Insider reported that corporate profits are at an all-time high while wages are at an all-time low. Do you think maybe people ought to get paid a little more money or should we cut taxes on corporations some more and let the wage-starved middle class pick up the difference?
Here’s a little factoid about the results of the Reagan Revolution:
The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay between CEOs of the S&P 500 Index companies and U.S. workers widened to 380 times in 2011 from 343 times in 2010. Back in 1980, the average large company CEO only received 42 times the average worker’s pay.
Did you get rich because you sold a billion personal computers or did you get rich because you paid yourself 380 times what the average America worker earns? Why are CEO’s making nine times more money than they did, relative to average workers, in 1980?
And, hey, maybe people on the left wouldn’t be too concerned about all that extra pay if average workers were doing great, too. But people on the right are coming after our earned benefits with a meat cleaver. They’re telling us that our government can’t afford to keep its promises. And they’re telling the poor to drop dead. We try in make sure people have access to health care, and the right tries to take that away.
So, this isn’t about class envy or caring that someone has nice things that we can’t afford. It’s about a sustained period of U.S. history during which rich people changed the game so that they could keep more of their money and we would all lose out on the things our parents enjoyed.
You can talk all you want about the effects of globalization or the expense of an aging population, but if rich people paid taxes at the rate they paid them before 1980, we wouldn’t have any budget problems at all. So, rich people have three choices. They can pay more in taxes; they can stop trying to gut programs and benefits for the poor and middle class; or they can continue to have people say nasty things about them.
And, you know, if you made your money by inflating the housing bubble or by doing leveraged buy-outs, people are going keep hating you no matter what you do.
Posted at 07:43 AM ET, 06/25/2012
The Morning Plum: Liberals prepare for SCOTUS loss
By Greg Sargent
With a ruling on Obamacare expected as early as today — one which may strike down the individual mandate or perhaps a good deal more — liberals are anticipating the worst, and debating whether there are ways of salvaging anything good from the anticipated wreckage. If there’s consensus around any one point, it’s this: Whatever happens before the court, this debate will continue.
Mike Tomasky says Obama and Dems need to pivot off a loss and go on offense against Mitt Romney, Republicans, and the court itself:
Almost never before in American history has a Supreme Court taken a law duly passed by the people’s representatives and in just two years’ time invalidated it. If that isn’t legislating from the bench, what is? Mr. Cool needs to get Hot. Against unanimous and ferocious opposition, and in the face of blatant lies about what this bill would and would not do, he and the Democrats came up with a way for people with cancer and diabetes and what have you to get the treatment they need and not be either turned away or gouged. He’s proud of that, he ought to say, and by God, he’s going to fight for it. That provision of the law is wildly popular — 85 percent supported that, in a late-March New York Times survey. If you can’t play offense with 85 percent of the people behind you, I give up.
He should also go right at Mitt Romney, on two points. First, Romney flatly opposes coverage for all people with preexisting conditions. He backs care only for those who have had “continuous coverage,” and not for people whose insurance had lapsed at any point during their illness. So Romney is against something 85 percent of Americans support.
In sum, the Democrats should see an adverse decision as a chance to put the other guys — the Republicans in Congress, Romney, and the court’s ideological majority — on the defensive.
As I’ve been saying here, a ruling against parts of the law could refocus the debate on the specific reforms Dems have been championing, and on what Republicans would replace them with (in some cases, nothing). One of the individual provisions likely to be struck down by the court — a ban on discrimination against people with preexisting conditions — is overwhelmingly popular, and other individual provisions have majority support, too. Mitt Romney would not replace the preexisting-conditions provision with anything that’s nearly as comprehensive. House Republicans are not going to propose anything to replace it, either.
‘It was difficult for the firm … to ever really lose’
By Steve Benen
Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:10 AM EDT.
Earlier this year, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was still a presidential candidate, he took aim at Mitt Romney’s controversial private-sector background. Perry told voters, “There is something inherently wrong when getting rich off failure and sticking it to someone else is how you do your business.”
The notion of “getting rich off failure” is certainly a tough one to grasp. I suspect most Americans believe business success is dependent on the opposite — one invests in a venture, and if the enterprise thrives, the investor benefits. Capitalizing off failure, though, is harder to understand.
But for Romney, the key to appreciating his private-sector accomplishments is acknowledging his habit of making enormous sums of money from failure. The New York Times had this report over the weekend.
The private equity firm, co-founded and run by Mitt Romney, held a majority stake in more than 40 United States-based companies from its inception in 1984 to early 1999…. Of those companies, at least seven eventually filed for bankruptcy while Bain remained involved, or shortly afterward, according to a review by The New York Times. In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money. […]
He has fended off attacks about job losses at companies Bain owned, saying, “Sometimes investments don’t work and you’re not successful.” But an examination of what happened when companies Bain controlled wound up in bankruptcy highlights just how different Bain and other private equity firms are from typical denizens of the real economy, from mom-and-pop stores to bootstrapping entrepreneurial ventures.
Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain’s funds.
In several instances, even when Romney’s firm drove companies into bankruptcy, and even when Bain’s own investors lost, Romney made millions, thanks to fees he charged the companies has they spiraled towards collapse. Taking risks may be a key element to successful capitalism, but this Republican created a system in which risk taking wasn’t necessary.
As far as the election is concerned, Romney is telling voters this background helps prove his qualifications for the presidency. I still haven’t the foggiest idea why.
Issa rejects one silly meme, embraces another
By Steve Benen
Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.
Last week, after the White House asserted executive privilege on some Justice Department documents related to the so-called “Fast and Furious” controversy, Republican leaders quickly pushed the argument that it meant the White House was directly involved in the operation. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) even argued that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has secret documents that prove it.
Yesterday, Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, ruined the GOP’s fun and made Chambliss look rather foolish — there’s no evidence, he said, connecting the White House to the Fast and Furious operation.
But while Issa was willing to reject one silly meme yesterday, he was also willing to embrace another.
The California Republican appeared on three Sunday shows, but ABC’s Jake Tapper was the only to ask whether Issa actually believes the conspiracy theory that Fast and Furious was an elaborate scheme cooked up to create a political demand for gun control laws. For those who can’t watch clips online, the congressman said:
First of all, this was so flawed that you can’t believe they expected to actually get criminal prosecutions as a result of it. So the level of flaw, if that’s a word, here is huge. But here’s the real answer as to gun control. We have e-mail from people involved in this that are talking about using what they’re finding here to support the — basically assault weapons ban or greater reporting. So chicken or egg? We don’t know which came first; we probably never will.”
In other words, yes, Issa thinks the conspiracy theory is legit. He clearly tempered his thoughts on the matter — at the NRA convention in April, Issa was far more explicit — but the fact remains that the chairman of the House Oversight Committee actually takes this wild-eyed nonsense seriously.
Rubio steps on Romney immigration line
By Steve Benen
Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:35 AM EDT.
As Rachel noted on the show last week, Mitt Romney was asked during the Republican primaries about Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, and he praised it at the time as a “model” for the nation. Yesterday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — a leading Romney surrogate and possible running mate — was asked about the same law on “Meet the Press.”
For those who can’t watch clips online, Rubio told David Gregory:
“What I’ve said repeatedly is I believe Arizona has a right to pass that bill. I understand why they did it. But I don’t think it’s a national model, and I don’t think other states should follow suit. For example, I don’t want to see a law like that in Florida.”
As a rule, when high-profile surrogates reject their candidate’s arguments on “Meet the Press,” it’s not a good sign.
On a related note, keep in mind, we’re waiting for word from the Supreme Court as to whether Arizona had the legal authority to approve its SB1070. Romney will be campaigning in Arizona today, and if the ruling is issued this morning, expect him to face renewed pressure to defend his support for the law.
And speaking of immigration policy, it’s been 10 days since President Obama announced he would use the executive branch’s prosecutorial discretion to implement many of the goals of the DREAM Act. Does Romney agree with Obama’s move? Would he keep the policy in place if elected? As of now, we still don’t know, and the Sunday shows only muddled the picture further.
Romney campaign surrogates appeared on several talk shows yesterday, and refused to say what the Republican presidential hopeful believes on this policy. Ed Gillespie said Obama’s policy would be “subject to review” — I think we knew that — but the campaign advisor would go no further.
For what it’s worth, Ray Walser, a co-chair of Romney’s Latin American advisory group, said last week that Romney “would probably rescind this directive” if he’s elected, but Walser quickly backpedaled, saying he doesn’t speak for the campaign.
With the fate of hundreds of thousands of people on the line, neither Romney nor his team have the courage to simply state an opinion about a major national issue. We’ll see how long they can keep this going.
By Betty Cracker June 25th, 2012
The more the Romney camp tries to unzip the “Mitt as Irrepressible Prankster” meme, the more clear it becomes that either “prank” is an earthling word that Mittbot 2012 cannot compute or else the dude is just a fucking psycho. Here’s a fond remembrance of pranks past published by Tucker Carlson’s puke funnel:
On a Friday evening in 1962, or perhaps 1963, Ben Shaw and his sales employees at the Princeton Prep Shoppe in Birmingham, Mich., were watching traffic roll by as an ordinary work day wound down. But with young Mitt Romney around, Shaw recalls, nothing was ordinary. The future presidential candidate and three friends dressed in what Shaw calls “gangland fashion” hopped out of a 1930s vintage Ford that was double-parked across the street, in front of City Hall and the police station.
The four teens wore “trench coats with turned-up collars and wide-brimmed fedoras,” Shaw told The Daily Caller in an interview.
The pretend gangsters made a beeline for the storefront. One knocked the door open while two others “stood menacingly with their hands in their pockets.” Shaw instantly pegged the fourth member of the team as Romney. The boy “shoved his way in,” he said, wielding a toy Tommy gun.
“This is a stick-up,” Shaw recalls Romney saying, adding that he “proceeded to ‘spray’ the entire store as sparks from the toy flew from the muzzle.”
In the blink of an eye, the pranksters jumped into their getaway car and sped away.
Mock executions, how droll! Of course, teen pranksters attempting such a stunt today would likely die in a hail of bullets as the shopkeepers exercised their right to “stand their ground,” particularly if the teens in question had a greater melanin concentration than Romney and his pals.
Shaw told of another Romney “prank:”
Mohamed Morsi named new Egyptian president
By Ernesto Londoño and Karin Brulliard, Published: June 24
CAIRO — Egyptians picked a conservative Islamist as their first freely elected president, officials announced Sunday, giving the Muslim Brotherhood a platform to challenge entrenched military authority and electrifying the Arab world’s most populous nation with one of the most concrete signs of democratic change since the revolution last year.
Mohamed Morsi’s victory represented a watershed moment for Egyptian Islamists, who were tortured and repressed during decades of autocratic regimes, and it sparked jubilant celebrations in Tahrir Square, the heart of the revolution. But the result raised as many questions as it answered. Morsi will assume a position that was recently weakened by Egypt’s ruling generals through a constitutional decree. And he will not have the backing of the country’s Islamist-dominated parliament, which was dissolved by a court order.
Good Morning, Everyone. Happy MUN-dane! :-)
Good Morning, Everyone :)
Good photo of him.
Hi SHO. Thank you.