Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Nina Simone Week!

Happy FRY-day, Everyone. Hope you’ve enjoyed Nina this week. Have a terrific summer weekend.




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50 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Nina Simone Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    On the 130th anniversary of the founding of Banco Sabadell we wanted to pay homage to our city by means of the campaign “Som Sabadell” (We are Sabadell) . This is the flashmob that we arranged as a final culmination with the participation of 100 people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Lieder, Amics de l’Òpera and Coral Belles Arts choirs.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 05:52 AM PDT.

    White Male Power, Not American Exceptionalism Conservatives’ True Goal+

    The power brokers of the conservative movement are fighting a viscous, and dieing battle to hold onto the white, male power structure they feel is slipping away. It is almost painfully easy to illustrate that the fight from the top of the conservative movement is not about our countries greatness. In fact, movement conservative elites are trying so hard to hold onto power they would even destroy the country in the process. Let me explain.

    The first piece of evidence comes from the unofficial spokesman for the conservative movement. Rush Limbaugh said, “When women got the right to vote is when it all went downhill.” Let’s pull this apart a bit. What is the “it” that went downhill after women got the vote?

    Since women got the vote, America experienced the Golden Age of Capitalism. Obviously women voting was not a direct cause of this, but one certainly cannot describe America as the conservative “it” that went downhill when we were about to experience the largest capitalist economic expansion in the history of the planet.

    Women got the vote in 1920. Just a short twenty years later, Henry Luce penned a seminal essay labeling the century to come, “The American Century”. So, when Limbaugh and other conservatives say it all went to hell when women could vote, it could not have been America they were really concerned with. Heck, those woman who got the vote in 1920, they literally birthed what has been called “Our greatest generation”.

    What are movement conservatives lamenting the decline of, if not America? In their zero sum game of power it can be only thing. In their minds, giving power to women, must automatically by default take power from them. I will quote directly another movement spokesperson, Bill O’Reilly. “They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure,…”, and John McCain’s response was, “No, you’re right.” So, on of the top mouthpieces for the movement and the movements last political choice for president both support my premise. Enthusiastically.

    Carefully examine everything that is being done by Tea Party Congresses, State Legislatures, and Conservative governors. We literally spent the American Century trying to expand access to voting booths. It wasn’t just women. Our leaders broke down barriers to voting for the poor, minorities, and women. A rational person would conclude that giving power to minorities and women does not diminish your power. In fact, it made our country stronger, and by consequence all people stronger. Logically the only ones who could fear losing power by increasing voting are the white males. The ones who always had the vote. So, if the American Century and our Golden Age of Capitalism were typified by an expansion of voting, what does it say about those trying to make it harder to vote?

    The conservative movement wants nothing less than a repeal of the 20th century. Look what the leading conservative literature recently said about when things were great. In the National Review they said, ““most of the world worked better in colonial times,”. Worked better for who? Answer that question and I am pretty sure you cannot deny my premise.

    What else can you possibly say about a movement that has spent the first part of this century trying to dismantle the American Century. What can you say is their goal, when they tear down everything our Greatest Generation did. Whose power are they trying to protect? What do they really care about?

    We experienced the American Century and the Golden Age of Capitalism AFTER women got the right to vote. We experienced the greatest rise to power AFTER the New Deal. We rose to greatness AFTER child labor laws were enacted. We rose to greatness AFTER Medicare reduced senior poverty from 1 in 3 to 1 in 10. We rose to greatness AFTER the the Labor and Civil Rights movements.

    Certainly none of these accomplishments hurt America, and were part of our greatness. Our conservative movement wants to get rid of all of these. What are conservatives fighting for when they try and dismantle the New Deal? What group feels threatened by Child Labor Laws? The expansion of voting rights in the 20th century certainly benefited many new groups, but who are the only ones who might feel threatened? Those who had a monopoly on the franchise before.

    In conclusion, our last century saw a tremendous rise in power for our country. We have a far ways to go, but we added entire classes of people to the American dream. Historians, economists, and journalists all documented this rise. Now the conservative movement wants to repeal almost ever major thing involved in our century of greatness. You cannot logically conclude these movement elites care about securing American greatness. You can only logically conclude they are trying to protect their own power.

  3. Ametia says:

    #4 What a president believes matters

    The campaign released a new TV ad this week that highlights a key difference in President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s economic philosophies: The President believes in an economy that expands manufacturing and brings jobs back to America, while Mitt Romney’s policies would encourage outsourcing, threatening the security of the middle class. Watch the spot, and share it with your friends and family:

  4. Ametia says:

    2 Map of Romney investments

    A Vanity Fair article published this week revealed that Mitt Romney has heavily invested in foreign tax havens, raising questions about whether he’s ever avoided paying U.S. taxes. We already knew that he had a Swiss bank account until just last year, and that he still owns a mysterious corporation in Bermuda. The article notes that Romney’s finances are “deeply entangled” with Bain Capital, including investment funds in the Cayman Islands. We don’t know all the details because he won’t follow precedent by releasing his tax returns, raising a lot of questions about his finances that Americans deserve to know the answers to. Take a look at this map of Romney’s known investments in offshore tax havens, and make sure others see it, too:

  5. Ametia says:

    President Obama combats China’s unfair auto trade policies
    July 5, 2012

    The Obama administration is filing a trade case with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to hold China accountable for unfair trade policies that are hurting American auto workers. Here are the key facts to share with friends on why the President is standing up to China’s unfair trade practices and why Romney would not:
    China has imposed more than $3 billion in unfair duties on more than 80 percent of our auto exports to China, including cars made in cities like Toledo, OH, and Detroit and Lansing, MI.

    China’s unfair policies are disproportionately weighted against GM and Chrysler because of actions President Obama took to bet on the American worker and rescue the auto industry, saving more than a million jobs up and down the supply chain. When the auto industry was on the brink of collapse, Romney bet against American workers and wanted to “let Detroit go bankrupt.”

    President Obama has consistently pressured China on its unfair trade policies, creating a new trade enforcement unit to hold countries like China accountable. He’s brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate of the Bush administration, and recently won several WTO cases against China’s unfair trade practices.

    Romney wants to have it both ways on China trade enforcement. While President Obama has defended our tire and steel industries against unfair Chinese practices, Romney has attacked the President for enforcing trade laws against China and standing up for American tire workers, calling it “bad for the nation and our workers.”

    Romney’s policies would hurt American workers and businesses. He wants to start a trade war with China, which even his fellow conservatives have called “wrongheaded,” “a remarkably bad idea,” and “wise to avoid.” Now he claims he’ll be tough on China, but he still holds investments in Chinese companies—even after his aides claimed to have dumped up to $1.5 million in personal investments there.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Why Mitt Romney Won’t Take a Stand

    Mitt Romney responded to the Supreme Court’s upholding of the health-care law last Thursday with a short, blunt declaration of what he would do about it if elected president. “What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day,” he said. “I will act to repeal Obamacare.” Like many other Republicans, Romney has said he wants to “repeal and replace” the health-care law. But however much he’s pressed, he offers few specifics about what he would replace it with.

    This has become a familiar pattern: a ringing affirmation of some major policy difference with President Obama, followed by a lot of vagueness about what precisely he would do instead.

    Take deficit reduction. Romney has promised to extend the entire Bush tax cut, reduce marginal rates by an additional 20 percent, cut corporate rates, and still bring down the deficit. He has said he’ll pay for this by closing loopholes and deductions, but he won’t identify which ones. His campaign initially indicated it would clarify this once Romney had sewn up the nomination. Months later, the details are still not forthcoming. Yet he routinely gives speeches denouncing Obama over the deficit and promising—somehow—to bring it under control.

    Or take immigration. During the primaries, Romney attacked opponents such as Rick Perry from the right and famously called on illegal immigrants to “self-deport.” This put him in some jeopardy, since Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the electorate. Obama’s recent decision to stop deporting and start issuing work permits to young, undocumented immigrants—a limited version of the Dream Act reforms—was designed in part to exacerbate this problem; Romney has said point-blank in the past that he’d veto the Dream Act. Naturally, reporters wanted his response. But in a statement, and then in a speech to the National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials, Romney wouldn’t say what his position was or whether he’d overturn Obama’s executive action.

    Taken together, I’ve come to think of these speeches, statements, and dodgy rebuttals as the Romney Fog Machine: a great outpouring of words intended to obscure, rather than clarify, whatever issue they’re ostensibly addressing.

  7. rikyrah says:

    5 Ways Republicans Have Sabotaged Job Growth

    By Jeff Spross on Jul 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    New numbers released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the economy added a mere 80,000 jobs in June. That’s down from an average of 150,000 jobs a month for the first part of the year, and far too little to keep up with population growth.

    Republican intransigence on economic policy has been a key contributor to the sluggish recovery. As early as 2009, Republican fear-mongering over spending and their readiness to filibuster in the Senate helped convince the White House economic team that an $800 billion stimulus was the most they could hope to get through Congress. Reporting has since revealed that the team thought the country actually needed a stimulus on the order of $1.2 to $1.8 trillion. The economy’s path over the next three years proved them right. Here are the top five ways the Republicans have sabotaged the economic recovery since:

    1. Filibustering the American Jobs Act. Last October, Senate Republicans killed a jobs bill proposed by President Obama that would have pumped $447 billion into the economy. Multiple economic analysts predicted the bill would add around two million jobs and hailed it as defense against a double-dip recession. The Congressional Budget Office also scored it as a net deficit reducer over ten years, and the American public supported the bill.

    2. Stonewalling monetary stimulus. The Federal Reserve can do enormous good for a depressed economy through more aggressive monetary stimulus, and by tolerating a temporarily higher level of inflation. But with everything from Ron Paul’s anti-inflationary crusade to Rick Perry threatening to lynch Chairman Ben Bernanke, Republicans have browbeaten the Fed into not going down this path. Most damagingly, the GOP repeatedly held up President Obama’s nominations to the Federal Reserve Board during the critical months of the recession, leaving the board without the institutional clout it needed to help the economy.

    3. Threatening a debt default. Even though the country didn’t actually hit its debt ceiling last summer, the Republican threat to default on the United States’ outstanding obligations was sufficient to spook financial markets and do real damage to the economy.

    4. Cutting discretionary spending in the debt ceiling deal. The deal the GOP extracted as the price for avoiding default imposed around $900 billion in cuts over ten years. It included $30.5 billion in discretionary cuts in 2012 alone, costing the country 0.3 percent in economic growth and 323,000 jobs, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute. Starting in 2013, the deal will trigger another $1.2 trillion in cuts over ten years.

    5. Cutting discretionary spending in the budget deal. While not as cataclysmic as the debt ceiling brinksmanship, Republicans also threatened a shutdown of the government in early 2011 if cuts were not made to that year’s budget. The deal they struck with the White House cut $38 billion from food stamps, health, education, law enforcement, and low-income programs among others, while sparing defense almost entirely.

  8. rikyrah says:

    From Charles Pierce:

    Willard Romney, onetime dauphin prince of the Mexican outback and current presumptive nominee of the only Republican party we have, has been having a rough week there up at his lakeside retreat in the small town of Silly Rich Bastard, New Hampshire. He’s gotten himself tangled up (again) with his previous incarnations, particularly the Self that once deigned to govern Massachusetts for about 11 minutes back in the early Aughts. That one put in place a mandate requiring that all citizens of the Commonwealth (God Save It!) buy health insurance, or else pay a penalty that would be collected by the state revenoo’ers. The current Willard, of course, is opposed to mandates because he is the nominee of a party full of crazy people. He and his campaign have spent a week trying to decide if the crazy people are less likely to disembowel them if they call such a mandate a “penalty” or a “tax” in relation to the Obama administration’s success at bringing Romney’s original Massachusetts plan to the masses. He’s also being sniped at by various allegedly non-crazy leaders of his party for not being the candidate of their dreams. All of which seems to be harshing the general mellow up in the piney woods…

  9. rikyrah says:

    The lady whose sister died of cancer that thanked the President yesterday in Ohio for the ACA, was on Rev. Al’s show tonight. Good segment.

  10. Ametia says:

    Transportation & Student loans bills PASSED!

  11. rikyrah says:

    A tale of two jobs plans
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jul 6, 2012 3:08 PM EDT.

    I have a radical idea. It’ll never happen, and the American system of politics would never be able to accommodate such a thing, but I’ll put it on the table anyway, and invite the mockery.

    Here’s the idea: since jobs are the nation’s most pressing issue, and there’s an incredibly important presidential campaign coming up, President Obama and Mitt Romney can each present detailed jobs plans. Then, those plans can be subjected to independent scrutiny, and voters can support the candidate with the superior agenda. Like I said, it’s radical stuff.

    Of course, all kidding aside, we’re not completely flying blind. Romney declared today, “The president doesn’t have a plan, hasn’t proposed any new ideas to get the economy going,” but that’s ridiculously untrue — the Americans Jobs Act exists, it included specific, bipartisan proposals, it was subjected to outside scrutiny, and it would have worked very well.

    And what about Romney’s alternative? Today, the Republican pointed to a series of job-creation ideas: increased oil production, trade with Latin America, cracking down on China, and cutting the corporate tax rate. Ezra Klein noticed one of the main problems with this jobs agenda: it’s slow.

    [W]orking out trade agreements takes a long time. Getting the Keystone oil pipeline up and running takes a long time. Rewriting and implementing a new corporate tax code takes a long time. Changing China’s policies takes a long time. It’s difficult to see how any of these ideas creates a substantial number of jobs quickly.

    Obama also tends to emphasize four parts of his plan: increasing infrastructure investment, hiring more state and local workers, doubling the size of the payroll tax cut and adding a new set of tax cuts for small businesses and companies that hire new employees. Two of those policies imply directly hiring hundreds of thousands of workers. The other two move money into the economy immediately. It’s easier to see how these policies lead to more jobs and demand in the short term.

    In terms of the deficit, the Obama administration has put forward a specific set of ideas — mostly by eliminating itemized deductions for wealthier Americans — to pay for its plan. The Romney campaign has not yet said how it will cut corporate and individual tax rates without increasing the deficit.

    So, to review, Obama’s agenda would create jobs right away, would be fully paid for, and would reduce the deficit over time. Romney’s agenda wouldn’t create jobs right away, isn’t fully paid for, and would apparently increase the deficit over time. Or as Jeffrey Liebman recently put it, “What would Gov. Romney do to create jobs now? In a word, nothing.”

    This doesn’t appear to be much of a contest.


    But in an electoral context, Greg Sargent makes the case today that my fantastical notion of competing jobs plans is probably less likely to actually happen given this morning’s figures.

  12. rikyrah says:

    July 05, 2012 4:51 PM
    The General Election As A Continuing Primary

    By Ed Kilgore
    The motives for the drumbeat on the Right demanding that Mitt Romney get “more specific,” which shows steady signs of getting louder, aren’t necessarily that easy to divine. There are without a doubt many conservatives who truly believe this is a “center-right country” looking for a sharply more conservative direction; that swing voters are mostly conservatives; and/or that the margin between victory or defeat for the GOP will come from the relative temperature level of “the base.” In their endless diatribes on the anger of “the people” towards Obama and “socialism” and “elites” and all that, many have probably bought their own spin. And there is obviously some mass base out their for the Palin/Breitbart proposition that the only way conservatives can conceivably lose any election is by displaying insufficient hatred of the opposition, and an insufficient zest for projecting conspiracy theories and outright fabrications into the overheated air.

    But even more sophisticated conservatives (e.g., the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal) who probably don’t think maximum polarization is the key to the political kingdom seem to be talking the same way. At Ten Miles Square, Jonathan Bernstein suggests they know Mitt’s vagueness is smart politically, but want him to become specific “because specific commitments will tend to constrain him once he takes office.” Earlier today I said something very similar in guessing that the Journal is willing to risk defeat in order to “make sure the mortgage to Mitt’s soul stays in the right hands.”

    What we may be witnessing is a truly rare phenomenon: a general election where one party’s candidate is so manifestly without trust among key elements of his own “base” that they are demanding he continue to campaign as though the primaries are still going on. Check out this Hugh Hewitt post from today about what Romney needs to do right now on the health care issue:

    Governor Romney needs to huddle with Speaker John Boehner and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and come up with a strategy that combats this suspicion, which is deeply held and far wider than most GOP insiders want to admit. That suspicion is going to hobble turnout and it is already a dead weight on enthusiasm and contributions.

    They need a very well publicized joint appearance at which they put out a firm pledge of repeal that is accompanied by a detailed plan and a timeline, one that gets into the “tall weeds.” They all need to resist the temptation to argue that the public isn’t interested in the “tall weeds.” The public is very interested in just that set of weeds, and reacts extremely negatively to vagueness and obfuscation because it smacks of condescension. “Reconciliation,” which is the process by which repeal of Obamacare will be accomplished, is a lot less complicated than the average business of running a business, and it is aggravating in the extreme to be treated like children and told that the details are too obscure to be trotted out. Social media has empowered the public, allowing very smart people to translate Congress-speak into plain language, and the lack of detail gets translated into charges of deceit even when those charges aren’t deserved

    Now even Hugh Hewitt isn’t crazy enough to think that “the public,” 41% of whom are not even aware the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, is demanding a Romney campaign that provides a step-by-step account of how and when the Supreme Court’s work will be overturned. This is all about what conservative activists want because they did not get the assurances they wanted from their nominee during the primary season, in no small part thanks to their crappy field of candidates, and also, of course, as a reflection of Mitt’s richly earned reputation for lying.

    So Romney is going to have to spend his time between now and election day not only trying to beat Barack Obama, but proving himself over and over again to “the base,” running a primary as well as a general election campaign. If I wasn’t so aware of how he’s put himself into this situation throughout a career of serial pandering to anyone he needed to fulfill his ambitions, I’d almost feel sorry for him.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal


    July 06, 2012 10:25 AM
    How Economic Stagnation Is Processed Politically
    By Ed Kilgore

    So at this point in the 2012 election cycle, four months from balloting (and less for many voters), it’s an open question how much political impact will come from for the kind of uninspiring but undramatic economic news provided by today’s June Jobs Report. Most voters do not follow this sort of news, at all; they may be entirely unaware of it unless it produces more visible secondary effects like a big, multi-day plunge in the stock market. Yes, Republican gabbers will do everything within their power to draw attention to it, but since it’s a repetition of what they have been saying day in and day out since 2009, it’s unlikely to turn many heads.

    Moreover, the kind of slow-to-no growth, stable-but-high unemployment, no-inflation “low plateau” the U.S. economy has reached and could well remain at through Election Day is experienced very differently by different kinds of people. It’s the equivalent of a slow-motion riot for the long-term unemployed, those with underwater mortgages, those entering the job market for the first time, and those hanging onto low-wage marginal jobs by their fingernails. But for a majority of voters, it’s like living in the first circle of hell: you have most of what you need other than hope.

    In other words, the basic partisan divisions in a highly polarized electorate are unlikely to change much between now and November. There are no particular signs that either party will enjoy or suffer from a major “enthusiasm gap;” and the small undecided vote will be fought over viciously by campaigns deploying massive paid media resources in a relatively small number of battleground states and media markets. As has been the case since late last year, the incumbent president and his party will do everything within its power to make this a comparative election in which fears and doubts about Republican values and policy preferences matter most. Meanwhile, the GOP will continue to struggle for harmony between a presidential candidate determined to win an “economic referendum on the incumbent” and powerful party forces whose desire for a comparative election on a broad range of issues is even stronger than that of Democrats.

    So Democrats shouldn’t despair over the stagnant economic indicators, and Republicans shouldn’t get complacent. Certainly the kind of economic environment of steady growth that looked possible earlier in the year would be have a major boost to Democratic prospects, and would have greatly increased the internal conflict between Republicans counseling a “safe” referendum strategy and those demanding all-out ideological warfare. But the best guess right now is for a maddeningly close contest on both the presidential and congressional fronts in which relatively small and un-newsy things—the value of the Obama campaign’s huge sunk investment in GOTV infrastructure and “voter protection” efforts; the effect of attacks on Mitt Romney’s character and background; the ability of Republicans to keep their restive and noisy “base” under control—may well determine the outcome.

    Sure, it’s possible that late economic news, from a downward plunge triggered by global developments to a brief growth spurt enabled by a reluctant Fed, could be a game-changer. And maybe the outcome will vindicate those economists and political scientists who believe Obama’s already lost because—contrary to the evidence of such supposed “outliers” as the 2004 elections—late deciders will be deaf to any negative information about Mitt Romney and will break against the incumbent absent big positive economic developments or a foreign policy crisis. But the odds are high that what we see is what we’ll get, and that’s a nail-biter.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal


    July 06, 2012 1:10 PM

    The LIBOR Disaster

    By Ed Kilgore

    I’ll admit freely that for a financial-issues naif like me (I took a college-level Finance course in 1975, which is equivalent to studying Physics in 1775), reading about the LIBOR scandal has been a bit like reading screaming headlines in a foreign language newspaper where I grasp just enough words like HORREUR or CATACLISMO to understand something really big is going on. And there is no question the complexity of the issues involved, as much as any suspected MSM effort to protect the Big Boys of Finance, has inhibited broader coverage. Moreover, as Kevin Drum notes:

    [E]veryone’s a little vague about just who got ripped off here. On a listserv I subscribe to, a seemingly knowledgeable participant2 said the victims of the scam include investors who owned floating rate notes, LIBOR-linked CDs, or pay-fixed-receive-floating interest rate swaps; or anyone who traded LIBOR contracts on a U.S. futures exchange and lost money. And let’s face it: that doesn’t sound much like widows and pensioners, does it

    But any scandal that involves, well, the entire global banking network and a system used to set rates on 800 trillion smackers worth of financial instruments at a time when said network and said system has recently sucked the life out of most of the world’s economies is by definition a pretty big deal. As with the 2008 financial disaster, however, it’s not clear whether the most appropriate emotional response is anger or fear—the desire to see many Masters of the Universe sent to the slammer or to give them a lifeline lest they drag the rest of us to the bottom of hell.

    But it should be clear that this time around, there need to be repercussions beyond the damage these people have inflicted on the innocent. Whether you join with Robert Scheer to call LIBOR the “Crime of the Century” or simply agree with The Economist that it exposes “the rotten heart of finance,” it is obvious these dudes were casually breaking all the rules in a private game that treated the paper wealth of the planet like Monopoly money. If these confidence-destroying activities are not fully exposed, punished, and prevented from recurring, we might as well all admit we are completely helpless to exert any control over our economic life, now and in perpetuity.

  15. rikyrah says:

    July 06, 2012 11:26 AM
    Romney’s Ceiling

    By Ed Kilgore

    Tying together several strands of analysis I’ve been pursuing recently, here is the dialectic that will place a ceiling on Mitt Romney’s level of support during the general election:

    The more Republicans become convinced that economic conditions make a Romney victory likely, the more party conservatives will focus on completing the “vetting” of his candidacy that was never quite consummated during the primary season. That means renewed demands for policy commitments on a broad range of issues remote from his monomaniacal campaign message of trusting his business experience to produce better economic results than Barack Obama. And that will make staying “on message,” and avoiding the comparative election Obama and other Democrats are trying to create, a constant struggle for Team Mitt.

    To put it another way: every time Mitt Romney looks to be succeeding in his general election campaign, the dominant conservative activist core of his “base” will drag him right back into the permanent primary by which the Right is forever testing its “establishment” politicians.

    Perhaps Team Mitt is tough enough to ignore the pressure and get out of this bind. But they will be dealing from now until November with a two-pronged effort by the Obama campaign and conservative Republicans to produce an election day environment that is all about comparisons between the candidates, the parties, and the specific policy options facing the country.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Your Congress at work
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jul 6, 2012 1:33 PM EDT.

    For the third straight month, the job picture in the United States has been disappointing. Any chance lawmakers might pick up the major provisions of the American Jobs Act, most of which have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, and which independent economists believe would have a significant impact?

    Well, no. Republican lawmakers are absolutely convinced the jobs report is Obama’s fault, even though they killed his jobs plan, and despite the fact that they were taking credit for themselves when the jobs picture looked strong earlier this year. (Why does the GOP get credit for February 2012 jobs, but avoid blame for June 2012 jobs? The answer is simple: shut up.)

    But don’t worry, Americans can take some comfort in knowing Congress won’t take the economic news lying down. Dave Weigel has the story.
    For any lover of American prose, the political statements that follow lousy jobs reports are clip-and-save treasures. Michele Bachmann assures us that the economy is struggling because of “uncertainty.” Mitt Romney wants the “kick in the gut” to end. Amid all the verbs and gerunds expressing disappointment, Eric Cantor gives us a sort of heads-up about how Congress will respond…. The House will hold yet another vote on full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

    It will pass, and die in the Senate. Tread carefully. After that vote, you don’t want to be mobbed on the street by newly certainty-infused people offering you jobs.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Romney to look abroad for foreign policy credibility
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jul 6, 2012 12:34 PM EDT.

    When it comes to presidential candidates and foreign affairs, there are basically two kinds of candidates: those who point to their vast experience (Biden, Kerry, H.W. Bush) and those who point to their vision and instincts (Obama).

    Then there’s Mitt Romney, who doesn’t quite fit into either camp.

    During his first presidential campaign, Romney struggled badly on foreign policy and international affairs, arguing, for example, that it was “entirely possible” that Saddam Hussein hid weapons of mass destruction in Syria prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion.

    But the inexperienced former one-term governor has had four years to read, get up to speed, and shape a coherent vision. How’s that going? Not at all well.

    But don’t worry, Romney has a plan.

    Mitt Romney’s campaign is considering a major foreign policy offensive at the end of the month that would take him to five countries over three continents and mark his first move away from a campaign message devoted almost singularly to criticizing President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, sources tell POLITICO.

    The tentative plan being discussed internally would have Romney begin his roll-out with a news-making address at the VFW convention later this month in Reno, Nev. The presumptive GOP nominee then is slated to travel to London for the start of the Olympics and to give a speech in Great Britain on U.S. foreign policy.

    Romney next would fly to Israel for a series of meetings and appearances with key Israeli and Palestinian officials. Then, under the plan being considered, he would return to Europe for a stop in Germany and a public address in Poland, a steadfast American ally during the Bush years and a country that shares Romney’s wariness toward Russia. Romney officials had considered a stop in Afghanistan on the journey, but that’s now unlikely.

    So, the candidate whose foreign policy experience has been limited to missionary work in France and stashing cash in the Cayman Islands hopes to gain some credibility by heading abroad.

    At the surface, there’s nothing especially wrong with this idea, but there is a problem lurking below the surface: what is it, exactly, Mitt Romney is going to say about foreign policy that will be coherent and sound? Or more to the point, how will the candidate choose between the arguments presented by his advisors, most of whom disagree with one another?


    About a month ago, the New York Times reported that many members of Team Romney disagree with one another — and at times, even the candidate — about foreign policy, and occasionally, Romney’s own advisors have no idea what he’s trying to say. Last week, Reuters had a similar article, reporting that Romney’s foreign policy advisors are constantly at odds.

    The same day, the NYT added that the diplomatic crisis surrounding Chen Guangcheng was seen as an opportunity for the Romney campaign, but they couldn’t get their act together, and couldn’t even agree on what the candidate’s position should be.

    Fred Kaplan took stock of what we’ve learned thus far and concluded that Romney is a “foreign policy lightweight” whose ideas “range from vague to ill-informed to downright dangerous.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    Romney Irritates His Base

    by BooMan
    Fri Jul 6th, 2012 at 10:40:18 AM EST

    This guy makes it sound like Romney’s inability to answer a question is part of his strategy.
    “The campaign needs to become more nimble and forward-leaning ASAP from both a political and policy perspective or it isn’t going to be enough to beat a very beatable and weak incumbent in November,” the strategist said. “Romney’s inability to define himself, in the hopes of keeping this of a referendum election, have turned him into a blank canvas that is rapidly being painted by the Obama campaign.”

    The press likes to describe the Romney campaign as “disciplined.” But what they really mean is that the Romney campaign is totally risk-averse, won’t answer any questions, won’t articulate a positive agenda, and wants to keep all the focus off their candidate.

    It’s an odd way to pivot from the primaries. We see that conservatives are increasingly upset with Team Romney, but not for the reasons we would have expected. Team Romney isn’t really trying to create any distance from the crazy base. They’re not alienating the base through their positions, but through their lack of aggression. The base needs red meat or it starves and grows weak.

    But all of this is kind of beside the point. Unless Romney comes up with a plan to win back numerous states that Obama carried in 2008, none of this bickering will mean a thing. So far, I haven’t seen any state-level strategy from Romney at all. All he seems to be doing is laying back and hoping the national numbers move his way.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:40 AM ET, 07/06/2012
    The Morning Plum: Obama rips Romney’s lack of principles

    By Greg Sargent

    Obama, in an interview with WLWT in Cincinnatti that’s set to air today, slammed Mitt Romney for flip flopping on whether Obamacare’s individual mandate is a tax:

    The fact that a whole bunch of Republicans in Washington suddenly said, this is a tax — for six years he said it wasn’t, and now he has suddenly reversed himself. So the question becomes, are you doing that because of politics? Are you abandoning a principle that you fought for, for six years simply because you’re getting pressure for two days from Rush Limbaugh or some critics in Washington?

    “One of the things that you learn as President is that what you say matters and your principles matter. And sometimes, you’ve got to fight for things that you believe in and you can’t just switch on a dime.”

    Obama is wrong — Romney has repeatedly referred to his own individual mandate as a tax in the past. And Romney has never abandoned the principle driving state-level individual mandates. But Romney did, in fact, do a 180 on whether Obamacare’s mandate is a tax, after conservatives revolted against his campaign’s assertion that it wasn’t. And he has, in fact, flip-flopped on whether his own mandate is a tax.

    Romney’s current position is that Obamacare’s mandate is a tax because the Supreme Court says it is one; and that his own mandate isn’t a tax because it has been able to survive on the state level without being designated as one by the courts.

    So, to recap: In the past Romney repeatedly described his own mandate as a tax. Then his campaign said Obama’s mandate isn’t a tax. Then Romney reversed that and claimed Obama’s mandate is a tax. And then he reversed his own previous assertions and claimed his own mandate isn’t a tax. That isn’t an exaggeration. That really is what happened.

    Obama’s reference to Rush Limbaugh suggests that he and his campaign are in the midst of a two-pronged effort to define Romney as lacking the principles, values, and fortitude to fight for the interests of the middle class. The attacks on Bain, outsourcing, and his offshore accounts are all about casting him as someone who is trying to sell you the bill of goods that whatever enriches the wealthy must be good for everyone else — while in reality Romney was an active participant in , and beneficiary of, broader trends that hollowed out the middle class. Now the campaign is using the mandate dust-up to argue that Romney lacks the core convictions to stand up to conservative voices in his party, casting him as lacking in character and backbone. These two arguments were linked the other day in that Obama campaign ad slamming Romney over outsourcing and arguing that “what a president believes matters

  20. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:01 AM ET, 07/06/2012
    A foreign policy tour for Romney? Really?

    By Jamelle Bouie

    Politico reports that Mitt Romney is mulling an overseas trip:

    “Mitt Romney’s campaign is considering a major foreign policy offensive at the end of the month that would take him to five countries over three continents and mark his first move away from a campaign message devoted almost singularly to criticizing President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, sources tell POLITICO.

    The tentative plan being discussed internally would have Romney begin his roll-out with a news-making address at the VFW convention later this month in Reno, Nev. The presumptive GOP nominee then is slated to travel to London for the start of the Olympics and to give a speech in Great Britain on U.S. foreign policy.”

    Given the extent to which Romney has had a monomaniacal focus on the economy, it’s easy to forget that he initially positioned himself as a defender of the exercise of maximum American power abroad. Romney has an acute lack of foreign policy experience, but this hasn’t stopped him from consistent attacks on President Obama’s foreign policy record. His book, “No Apologies,” promises a more muscular approach to national security, and throughout his campaign, Romney has hit Obama for “apologizing” for America, despite the fact that this never happened.

    Indeed, as Daniel Larison points out for the American Conservative, Romney has spent an “inordinate amount of time trying to make foreign policy a major issue in this election.” Romney has consistently attacked the administration for its handling of most international issues, from its relationship with Russia, to its handling of events in Syria and Egypt. As Larison notes, Romney “has been reliably bashing Obama on Iran, Syria, Russia, China, NATO, missile defense, and Israel for months if not years.”

    The problem for Romney is that after eight years of a disastrous, Republican-led foreign policy, voters may be more confident in the Democratic Party’s ability to manage the country’s international affairs. When asked about Obama’s handling of foreign policy, majorities of Americans approve of the president’s performance. In a May poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, 51 percent of Americans said they approved of Obama on foreign policy. Likewise, in a poll from the Associated Press, 64 percent and 53 percent said they approved of Obama’s handling of terrorism and Afghanistan, respectively.

    It doesn’t help that Romney has adopted a bellicose and dangerous approach to foreign affairs; he has characterized Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe,” claimed the ability to unilaterally wage war on Iran, and stated his willingness to spark a trade war with China.

    There simply isn’t much room for Romney to attack Obama on foreign policy. Obama isn’t Jimmy Carter, and Romney doesn’t have the credibility he needs to stand as a credible voice on national security. Foreign policy is a distraction for Romney’s campaign; rather than make a tour of the globe, Romney would be better off continuing to hammer Obama on the economy, which is where the president is actually weak.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Publicly-funded religion for me, not for thee

    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jul 6, 2012 10:40 AM EDT

    I’ve been keeping an eye on Louisiana’s new school voucher scheme this week, which is under fire for offering taxpayer money to sketchy, unaccountable private schools, some of which don’t appear to have curricula at all.

    But that’s not the only problem plaguing Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) program. This week, a Republican state lawmaker who had backed the voucher system decided to change her mind. Apparently, she thought public funding for religious education was a great idea, right up until she learned that her religion wasn’t the only one that might benefit.

    Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Watson, says she had no idea that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s overhaul of the state’s educational system might mean taxpayer support of Muslim schools. […]

    “I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school,’ Hodges said. Hodges mistakenly assumed that “religious” meant “Christian.” […]

    “Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion,” Hodges said. “We need to insure that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana.”

    It’s funny how that happens. Voucher proponents’ first thought: “Never mind the First Amendment and Thomas Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state; using taxpayer money to finance religious indoctrination is a great idea.” Voucher proponents’ second thought: “Wait, you mean religions I don’t like might get my money?”


    As my friend, Rob Boston explained, “Hodges’ bigotry is perhaps only rivaled by her ignorance of constitutional and legal principles. Of course Muslim schools will qualify for funding under a voucher plan. When programs like this are set up that dole out benefits to religious schools, the government can’t play favorites. That’s basic.”

    It is, indeed. If conservatives prefer a system in which churches, temples, and mosques start schools that rely on private, voluntary payments from their congregants, they’ll need to forget about voucher plans like the one in Louisiana.

  22. rikyrah says:

    N.C. Black Leadership Caucus group pulls support for Democrat Kissell

    A Democratic Party feud emerged Thursday as African-American backers of U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell pulled their support after his decision not to endorse President Barack Obama and his plan to vote to repeal the health care law.

    The N.C. 8th Congressional District Black Leadership Caucus political action committee, meeting in Hamlet, announced it would not endorse Kissell, a Biscoe Democrat, and discussed whether to back a write-in candidate.

    “He has refused to endorse or support the president, has said he will vote to repeal the health care bill, and will just do anything that he can to be antagonistic to the president,” said caucus member Walter Rogers of Laurinburg. “We will not endorse or support Larry Kissell in his bid for re-election.”

    Four years ago, Obama helped Kissell oust five-term Republican Robin Hayes when a flood of black voters in the 8th District rushed to the polls to elect the nation’s first African-American president.

    A lot has happened in the past four years. Reapportionment reshaped the 8th District, making it even more Republican – and white. Registered black voters dropped from nearly 30 percent to 19 percent in his new district.

    Kissell said Thursday that some of the people who are criticizing him for taking an independent position are the same people who criticized his predecessor, Hayes, for blind loyalty to the party and President George W. Bush.

    “I am my own man, and I vowed from the very first day I sought this office that I would not cave in to political or partisan pressures,” he said. “As the congressman for the entire 8th District, it is my job to act in a way I feel serves the best interest of all the citizens of our district.”

    Kissell was also one of 17 Democrats who voted last week with Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt of Congress. Holder is the nation’s first African-American attorney general.

    Kissell, who faces the winner of a GOP primary runoff on July 17, also told the Observer that he isn’t sure he’ll attend his party’s national convention in Charlotte.

    In Washington, the Congressional Black Caucus has had several discussions about conservative Democratic members who they see as voting against the interest of minorities and low-income families, according to U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat.

    Butterfield said he told Kissell Thursday that he had started a “firestorm” in the party.

    “It’s disgusting to me that a Democratic member of Congress, who was elected with the votes of thousands of uninsured people, would choose to vote against health care reform,” Butterfield said. “And now (he) has pledged again to repeal health care reform. That’s even after the Supreme Court has found it to be constitutional.”

    Read more here:

  23. Ametia says:

    OBAMA Rips Mitt For “Abandoning a Principle”…because of “pressure for two days from Rush Limbaugh”

    The Morning Plum: Obama rips Romney’s lack of principles
    By Greg Sargent

    Obama, in an interview with WLWT in Cincinnatti that’s set to air today, slammed Mitt Romney for flip flopping on whether Obamacare’s individual mandate is a tax:

    “The fact that a whole bunch of Republicans in Washington suddenly said, this is a tax — for six years he said it wasn’t, and now he has suddenly reversed himself. So the question becomes, are you doing that because of politics? Are you abandoning a principle that you fought for, for six years simply because you’re getting pressure for two days from Rush Limbaugh or some critics in Washington?

    “One of the things that you learn as President is that what you say matters and your principles matter. And sometimes, you’ve got to fight for things that you believe in and you can’t just switch on a dime.”

  24. Ametia says:

    The President brought us back from the brink of another Depression but he doesn’t believe our work is done – he’s got a plan to restore the middle class and create a million jobs now that Mitt Romney opposes and Republican leaders have blocked. Mitt Romney says he has a better path, but over the past decade we saw where that took us — to the slowest job growth since World War II, the collapse of our financial system and the deterioration of the middle class. In fact, independent economists have concluded his plan wouldn’t create one job, wouldn’t reduce the deficit one cent, and could lead to another recession. Mitt Romney’s economic policies failed before and instead of creating jobs, they would weaken the economy and undermine the middle class.” — Ben LaBolt, National Press Secretary

  25. rikyrah says:

    The deliberate rejection of progress
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jul 6, 2012 10:02 AM EDT.

    If there’s any state in the nation that should welcome the Medicaid expansion provisions in the Affordable Care Act, it’s Kentucky. Ezra Klein published this chart the other day, highlighting which states benefit most, and least, from the policy. Take a look at which state was #1.

    With that in mind, one would assume that Kentucky Republicans, based on nothing but common sense and a basic desire to do right by their own state, would have to concede that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is a great deal. Except, they’re not — Kentucky’s House Minority Leader, Republican Jeff Hoover, argued this week that the state should deliberately opt out.

    What was his rationale? Hoover and his GOP colleagues pointed to an Urban Institute report that showed 400,000 uninsured Kentuckians would be eligible for coverage under the expansion, and that the state simply can’t afford to bring access to so many people.

    Joe Sonka noticed the problem with the argument.
    Actually, the Urban Institute says Kentucky and all but four states will save money with this reform…. Taking a conservative estimate on Kentucky’s potential savings, the Urban Institute (KY GOP approved) expects Kentucky to save anywhere from $140 million to $828 million by 2020.

    So according to the Urban Institute, the dreaded Obamacare Medicaid expansion will bring to Kentucky: additional coverage for around 400,000 low-income Kentuckians [and] an additional $140-$828 million dollars saved in the state budget.

    In other words, Kentucky Republicans want Gov. Steve Beshear (D) to turn down a great deal for Kentucky — a deal that will save the state money while expanding access to medical care for hundreds of thousands of people in the state — just because. In this case, they’re citing an Urban Institute study that actually shows the opposite of what they think it does.

    And as you may have heard, it’s not just Kentucky.


    As of the last count, “at least 15” governors are prepared to reject Medicaid expansion, no matter how good a deal it is, and no matter how many of their constituents would be better off. The states that would benefit most are generally the same states that are most adamant about rejecting progress.

    This doesn’t make sense.

    Why would governors be fiscally irresponsible (on purpose), while keeping health care coverage from their own constituents (on purpose)? Even in the face of simple arithmetic? I think Ed Kilgore has the right answer:

    You can expect the Jindals and Haleys and Perrys to ignore or dismiss such estimates as biased or unreliable, just as Republicans have almost universally scoffed at the CBO estimates “scoring” ACA as a federal deficit reducer. Another problem is that Republican pols typically claim that the existing Medicaid program as fiscally unsustainable, so they won’t accept it as a baseline for what is tolerable in the future.

    But more importantly, we have to remember that this is an ideological and even a moral issue to conservatives, who view dependence on any form of public assistance as eroding the “moral fiber” of the poor (as Paul Ryan likes to put it), and as corrupting the country through empowerment of big government as a redistributor of wealth from virtuous taxpayers to parasites who will perpetually vote themselves more of other people’s money

    That those who’ll benefit most are poor, who are presumably supposed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps after the rich get another tax cut, doesn’t help. Republican policymakers prioritize some constituents more than others, and struggling families without health coverage just aren’t important right now.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Is Michigan’s Rep. Clarke suddenly not black enough?

    U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke always has regarded himself as black and Asian. He was born and grew up in solidly black neighborhoods on Detroit’s tough east side.

    He has spoken out for African-American concerns in the Michigan Legislature and, for the past two years, in the U.S. House, where he has represented one of the nation’s blackest and poorest districts.

    But now he is targeted by a smear campaign that alleges he isn’t really black.

    Mr. Clarke is in a tough Democratic primary battle in Michigan’s sprawling new 14th District. He has been thrown into a race against fellow congressman Gary Peters, Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, and several minor candidates.

    Last week, one of those candidates, the scandal-plagued former state Rep. Mary Waters, said she was the “only black Detroiter” in the race. Someone began sending the media copies of the 1976 death certificate of Thelma Clarke, mother of the 55-year-old Mr. Clarke. The document says she was white.

    Reportedly, there also have been robocalls in black neighborhoods, telling voters Mr. Clarke is not really African-American. When I asked the congressman about this, his voice grew husky with emotion.

    “She was black,” he said of his mother. “But she was light-skinned, and, yes, she wanted to pass for white. She did that because she thought that would give me, her only son, a better chance in life.”

    Mr. Clarke’s mother was a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was born in Florida. The death certificate indicates her parents had common African-American first names.

    Mr. Clarke was very close to his mother. His father, who was born in Pakistan, died when he was 8 years old.

    When African-American talk radio began buzzing with gossip last week, the congressman, who was a teenager when his mother died, lost his cool. He announced he wouldn’t take part in any more multicandidate debates before the Aug. 7 primary.

    He was skipping them, a spokesman said, because of the “use of certain racist rhetoric and race-baiting by certain candidates” in the primary race. The seat is so Democratic that whoever wins in August is virtually certain to be elected in November.

    The battle has been tough for Mr. Clarke from the start. Slightly more of the new district’s population lives in the suburbs than in Detroit.

    And while the district has a narrow black majority, the other incumbent, Mr. Peters, has more money. He also represented many of the district’s suburban voters in the state Senate.

    Additionally, Mayor Lawrence, who is African-American, is expected to pull black votes that might otherwise have gone to Mr. Clarke.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Misapplying the burden of proof
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jul 6, 2012 9:16 AM EDT.

    About a month ago, shortly after the last jobs report was released, The Daily Show ran a game-show-style segment called “Polish That Turd.” The point was, after awful jobs news, Republicans were on the attack, and it was up to the Obama White House and its allies to put a positive spin on disheartening data.

    It was a funny bit, and it was premised on the widely-held conventional wisdom: the burden is on the president, and no one else. When the job numbers are good, it’s proof of Obama’s wisdom; when the job numbers are bad, it’s proof of Obama’s missteps.

    Perhaps now would be a good time for a reality check. Last fall, Obama said the job market wasn’t nearly strong enough, and he proposed an ambitious jobs plan called the American Jobs Act. Independent estimates showed that the policy, if implemented, would create as many as 1.9 million U.S. jobs in 2012 alone. Congressional Republicans, however, killed it.

    Indeed, consider this pattern of events

    1. With the job market struggling, Obama unveils the American Jobs Act, a State of the Union agenda filled with economic measures, and an economic “to-do list.”

    2. Republican lawmakers ignore the proposals, and the job market deteriorates.

    3. The GOP then blames Obama when job numbers disappoint.

    The accepted truth this morning is that weak job numbers are absolute, concrete, incontrovertible proof that the president’s jobs agenda isn’t working. News flash: we aren’t trying Obama’s jobs agenda.

    It’s only natural for the public to want to blame someone when they’re frustrated, and Obama’s the one in the Oval Office. If the president had a “push here to create jobs” button on his desk, holding him responsible might even make sense. But it wasn’t Obama who laid off 600,000 state and local public-sector workers; it wasn’t Obama who decided to leave construction workers idle despite the need for infrastructure projects; it wasn’t Obama who told the Fed to sit on its hands; and it wasn’t Obama who asked Congress to ignore job growth for the last year and a half.


    In the meantime, there’s Mitt Romney, who recently touted a pro-layoff agenda, and who’s absolutely convinced everything will be fine once he’s able to cut taxes even more and frees Wall Street of the burdens of accountability and responsibility.

    Something to keep in mind today as some in American politics celebrate the bad news.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Stephanie Miller’s sister
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jul 6, 2012 8:00 AM EDT

    Those who followed the 2004 race closely may recall a campaign commercial called, “Ashley’s Story.” A far-group blanketed the airwaves in swing states with the ad, featuring a photo of President George W. Bush hugging an Ohio girl named Ashley Faulkner, whose mother was killed in the 9/11 attacks.

    It became one of the year’s most important moments for the right — conservatives created the now-defunct, printed 2.3 million brochures with pictures of Bush comforting Ashley, and used the story as the centerpiece of massive media campaign.

    A few days after the 2004 election, Salon called this one television ad the one “that put Bush over the top.” This one hug in Ohio was “an emotional, unscripted moment that set in motion perhaps the most widely seen, and effective, television commercial of the 2004 campaign.”

    I thought a lot about Ashley yesterday, right after President Obama hugged a woman in Ohio named Stephanie Miller.

    After Obama’s speech in Sandusky, he encountered a sobbing Stephanie Miller, who later told reporters about her encounter with Obama.

    “I thanked him for the getting the Affordable Health Act passed,” Miller said, referring to the health care overhaul the Supreme Court upheld last week.

    Miller said her sister passed away from colon cancer four years ago — partly because she could not purchase health insurance

    The above photo shows Stephanie meeting the president, but it’s also worth taking a look at the Reuters photo of Obama comforting her.

    Now, I have no idea if anyone on the left is poised to launch, making her the centerpiece of a massive media campaign. For that matter, if anyone wanted to use this emotional moment to make a larger point, I suspect the right would start peeking in her windows in an effort to discredit her.

    But the larger point is there are a lot of Stephanie Millers in America and far too many people who’ve found themselves in the shoes of her sister, Kelly Hines. And while Republicans continue to argue that the uninsured just aren’t important, for now we have a president who’s championing those who know better.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Romney to bolster communications team amid conservative tempest
    By Philip Rucker, Published: July 5
    WOLFEBORO, N.H. — Mitt Romney is planning to fortify his communications and messaging team by adding seasoned operatives, advisers close to the campaign said Thursday, after withering criticism from prominent conservative voices that his insular team has fumbled recent opportunities.

    Romney’s advisers insisted that he would keep his inner circle intact amid growing concerns about the Republican presidential candidate and his campaign. The tempest began with a weekend tweet from media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and burst Thursday onto the pages of his newspaper the Wall Street Journal, as its conservative editorial board opined that Romney’s advisers were “slowly squandering an historic opportunity” to beat President Obama.

    By day’s end, talk radio host Laura Ingraham had asked listeners whether the vacationing candidate should “get off the jet ski,” and influential commentator William Kristol, who recently returned from a private retreat with Romney and his senior strategists, had bemoaned the campaign’s “dangerous self-delusion.” Without a course correction, Kristol posited, Romney would suffer the same fate as the last two presidential nominees from Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis and John F. Kerry, both Democrats.

    Romney’s advisers strongly rejected the course-correction suggestion but said they have been in the process of recruiting more political muscle to his Boston-based headquarters.

    The campaign plans to bolster its rapid response and overall messaging operations and to assemble a senior staff for the eventual vice presidential running mate, according to strategists close to the campaign. They said some Republicans who have been informally advising the campaign may assume more official duties, including appearing as surrogates on television. The strategists said the moves could be announced as early as next week.

    One GOP strategist not working for Romney said, “The campaign needs to show the GOP elite world and the media a lot of competence going forward or this shake-up talk will only get louder and continue.”

    There are no plans, however, to alter Romney’s core team of advisers, most of whom have worked for the former Massachusetts governor for years, and campaign officials said it was highly unlikely that Romney would demote or fire any of his senior staffers.

    “I don’t sense any panic. I don’t sense that any heads are going to roll,” said Tom Rath, a longtime senior adviser to Romney. “The idea that this guy at this point having gone through what he’s gone through is going to somehow scramble the eggs on the team — they don’t know Mitt Romney.”

    “The idea that somebody other than Beth Myers, Eric Fehrnstrom, Matt Rhoades, Stuart Stevens and Peter Flaherty are going to call the shots, it’s just plain wrong,” Rath said, ticking through Romney’s closest advisers, including Rhoades, the campaign manager, and Stevens, the chief strategist.

    Gail Gitcho, the campaign’s communications director, said, “Governor Romney respects the team that he has, and he has full confidence in their abilities.”

    For Romney, the Journal critique Thursday was a brutal exclamation point after two difficult weeks for his campaign. One Republican strategist who works closely with the campaign acknowledged tactical mistakes, especially the campaign’s handling of a Washington Post report about Bain Capital’s investments during Romney’s tenure at the firm in companies that moved jobs overseas.

    The news article became the basis of harsh attacks from Obama and ads by his campaign that threaten to undermine Romney’s business credentials.

    The Journal wrote in its editorial that Romney’s campaign was too slow to respond and said of Obama’s new attacks on Romney’s foreign bank accounts: “If the Boston boys let that one go unanswered, they ought to be fired for malpractice.”

    The “Boston boy” who came into particular focus was Fehrnstrom, Romney’s longtime chief spokesman, who on Monday put the campaign at odds with GOP talking points by saying that the individual mandate in Obama’s health-care law requiring people to buy insurance or pay a penalty is not really a tax.

    On Wednesday, Romney belatedly got in line with the rest of his party, saying that the federal mandate is a tax because the Supreme Court ruled it so and that what the Supreme Court rules is the law of the land. The Journal wrote that “the campaign looks

    • rikyrah says:

      SUPERB Comment and Reply to this article over at POU by Camille:


      Looks like Roger Ailes and his corporate friends are no longer content with dictating and controlling the where’s and what’s from the sidelines;

      They want to completely hijack and take over the entire fake Romney campaign. They are not even joking.

      It seems Romney resisted and they have gone full blast on his with their Heavy media machinery. First Murdoch and then the WSJ.

      A gentle warning to Romney from them via their tweets and editorials these past few days:

      Sucker, if you don’t completely hand over the reins of your campaign to us, we will completely destroy your sorry arse even before you have the chance to be named officially at the GOP convention.

      And Romney folded immediately.

      The fool actually thinks he is in control. LOL.

      The joke is on Romney and his naive team of Andrea Saul and Eric Fehnstrom.

      These people aren’t giving you the big bucks because they like you and your message.

      They see Mitt Romney’s sorry, craven, hollow arse as easily bought and controlled and they are not even waiting to take over. They are taking over NOW!

  30. rikyrah says:

    Supreme Court Reinstates Block On Arizona Law Requiring Proof Of Citizenship During Voter Registration |

    Lost in the excitement surrounding the healthcare ruling last week, the Supreme Court made another important decision: by lifting a stay, it allowed a 9th Circuit ruling blocking enforcement of an Arizona law that required proof of citizenship in order to register to vote to take effect. The state of Arizona can still appeal the lower court’s decision, but, for now at least, election officials cannot reject voter registraion forms that do not include proof of citizenship. In April, the 9th Circuit ruled that proof of citizenship requirement, in place since 2005, violates federal law. Opponents of the law believe the Supreme Court decision is good news: “The 9th Circuit and now the Supreme Court has basically told them (state officials) you lose on this issue.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    I Wish I Could Go Back… Confessions of a Divorced Mom

    Posted: 07/03/2012 3:10 am

    If I had a second chance, I would have quit my job when my children were born. I would have not made so many excuses to say, ‘I have to work.’ Because they were mostly lies. Lies told, because honestly, the weeks I did spend at home scared me to death. It was easier to hire someone to mother them, and pay her to do my job.

    I would have not made excuses for only nursing my babies for a few months. I would have told my husband and my friends and my mother-in-law that I would raise my children. The heck with what they ‘wanted’ or ‘expected’ or thought I should do. My mother-in-law, although very nasty about the fact that I ‘worked,’ was more than happy to take my kids on weekends, when I was more than happy to be ‘so tired’ to raise them myself. My husband and I broke up anyway, as our lives diverged, and without family time to hold us together, we were just spending money, and making excuses for not being with our children.

    But I was too obsessed with ‘my life’ and how I thought I was supposed to live it. Make money, have fun, be everything to all people, except those who really should mean the most to me. I was selfish, and self-absorbed. I wish I could go back and make the difference when it counts.

    Now my children have no time for me. At first I was angry, but I understand. I always made excuses as to why I never had time for them. Or took them on a few errands and told people we were taking quality time. All BS. It was about me then.

    Now it’s too late. They have their own lives, and as my ex and I ‘worked’ all the time, our children learned to get comfort elsewhere. They expect us to pay for school, which we are doing, and to lend them money, which we do, but it is an artifact of our poor self-absorbed parenting that we feel we have to give them things and money, instead of giving them our time, when we had the chance.

    I wish I could change the past. I’d have my children, say the heck with the huge house, and the big screen TV, and the new car every few years, and the vacations, the expensive food, the eating out, the business suits I thought I ‘needed,’ the radical shoes, the thought that I ‘needed’ lunch out every day, and the cost of day care. None of which was necessary. I would stop all the excuses, say ‘NO’ to spending money on anything but the essentials, forget the BS that I ‘deserved’ what I earned for myself, and spend my time at home and being with my children.

    Now, their only concerns are what my ex and I can do for them. And, I realize they do this because we bought what we thought was love for too long. I hope they can be there for their children, but I am afraid the pattern will continue.

    So, as we move forward, we continue to open the checkbook instead of our hearts.” – Anonymous

  32. Ametia says:

    Employment Situation Summary
    Transmission of material in this release is embargoed USDL-12-1332
    until 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, July 6, 2012

    unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
    Statistics reported today. Professional and business services added jobs,
    and employment in other major industries changed little over the month.

    Household Survey Data

    The number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) was essentially unchanged
    in June, and the unemployment rate held at 8.2 percent. (See table A-1.)

    Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for blacks (14.4 percent)
    edged up over the month, while the rates for adult men (7.8 percent),
    adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (23.7 percent), whites (7.4 percent),
    and Hispanics (11.0 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate
    for Asians was 6.3 percent in June (not seasonally adjusted), little changed
    from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

    In June, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks
    and over) was essentially unchanged at 5.4 million. These individuals
    accounted for 41.9 percent of the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

    Both the civilian labor force participation rate and the employment-
    population ratio were unchanged in June at 63.8 and 58.6 percent,
    respectively. (See table A-1.)

  33. Ametia says:


  34. Ametia says:

    June auto sales point to best year since 2007
    By Bernie Woodall and Ben Klayman

    Tue Jul 3, 2012 5:24pm EDT

    (Reuters) – New auto sales in June raced past expectations on lower gas prices and still-generous incentives, and are on track to score their best year since 2007.

    The surprisingly strong June in which sales rose 22 percent from a year ago helped ease fears that weaker-than-expected results in May would suggest a slowdown in demand.

    June’s annualized sales rate of 14.1 million vehicles, according to Autodata Corp, beat analysts’ average estimate of 13.9 million.

    Before the economy sank into recession, annual auto sales tallied 16.1 million in 2007. They plunged to 13.2 million in 2008 and a 27-year low of 10.4 million in 2009, before beginning a slow recovery. Last year, U.S. auto sales totaled 12.8 million.

  35. Ametia says:

    U.S. employers created 80,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department says. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2%.

    • Ametia says:

      Doom & gloom on the tubes. Chuck Todd ask private sector why are they sitting on the JOBS? Good he just asked Mark Zandi, Moody Analyst. WUH?

  36. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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