First, the adults in the room:
• Two Choices: President Obama Sets Out His Vision for the Economy
• Obama Drops the Gloves and Delivers an Epic Middle Class Beatdown to Mitt Romney
• Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is celebrating Pride day by thanking LGBT servicemembers (and their “families!”). Video’s after the jump. Towleroad runs the verbate
Now for the childish, surly and untruthful…
Still a bully:
• Romney bus taunts Obama – The GOP candidate’s campaign uses its vehicle to harass the president’s supporters in Ohio:
Mitt Romney’s love for pranks didn’t apparently die at the Cranbrook School: With both Romney and President Obama campaigning in Ohio today, his team took the opportunity to drive their campaign bus in circles around the site of President Obama’s economic speech this afternoon, laying on the horn.
Several reporters on the bus tweeted with confusion, at first, why the bus seemed to be aimlessly circling in Ohio. Soon, the campaign’s brilliant scheme revealed itself as they realized the bus — emblazoned with the Romney campaign’s logo in giant letters — was circling the president’s speech site and honking at Obama supporters. The president’s talk doesn’t begin until later this afternoon, but the move seemed to be an attempt to harass, distract or annoy attendees.
[salon/Alex Seitz-Wald/14 Jun 2012]
The difference between Mitt Romney at prep school and Mitt Romney as an adult is, apparently, that these days he has people to do his harassment for him. His emotional age appears not to have changed.
…I don’t think everyone with a mean streak is fundamentally insecure, but I think Romney is. I heard a clip of Romney this morning on the radio — sorry, I can’t find it — in which he was whining about how you know what Obama will do in this campaign, he’ll just utter all those nice, eloquent words … and I realized that here’s a guy who has everything, and who’s always had everything, and he’s still a bitter, resentful Nixon of a man, even though Nixon didn’t have everything, so at least he had an excuse for being a bundle of resentments.
[nomoremister/Steve M./14 june 2012]
McCain’s pissed off too, but on one score, he’s certainly got a reason to be. How long until he walks it back? Not long, I guess:
In an interview on PBS’s NewsHour, McCain told Judy Woodruff that because casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson makes a huge portion of his profits from a casino in Macau, his massive spending in support of Mitt Romney and other right-wing candidates is a form of foreign money influencing American elections
[thinkprogress/Josh Israel/15 Jun 2012]
• Shorter John McCain: “That guy I lied about and allowed my surrogates to call a terrorist for a year? He won’t treat me like his best buddy!”
On that money?:
Forbes has confirmed that billionaire Sheldon Adelson, along with his wife Miriam, has donated $10 million to the leading Super PAC supporting presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A well-placed source in the Adelson camp with direct knowledge of the casino billionaire’s thinking says that further donations will be “limitless.”
Adelson, who has built Las Vegas Sands into an global casino empire, will do “whatever it takes” to defeat Obama, this source says. And given that Adelson is worth $24.9 billion–and told Forbes in a recent rare interview about his political giving that he had been willing to donate as much as $100 million to his initial presidential preference, Newt Gingrich–that “limitless” description telegraphs potential nine-digit support of Romney.
Adelson, this source continues, believes that “no price is too high” to protect the U.S. from what he sees as Obama’s “socialization” of America, as well as securing the safety of Israel. He added that Adelson, 78, considers this to be the most important election of his lifetime.
[Forbes/Steven Bertoni/14 Jun 2012]
• Ex-Texas tycoon Stanford sentenced to 110 years in prison for orchestrating $7B Ponzi scheme.
As a form of political warfare, sabotage varies from acts that require detailed planning utilizing specially trained operatives, to obstruction of legislation based on insignificant logical fallacies. Republicans planned to sabotage the economy on Inauguration Day 2009, and their specially trained operatives, congressional Republicans, deliberately placed obstacles to economic recovery as a means of portraying President Obama as ineffective at reversing the effects of the catastrophic Bush-Republican Great Recession. Subsequently, every measure the President and Democrats proposed to stimulate the economy and create jobs were held up or blocked by inserting unrelated amendments the Republicans knew Democrats would not accept, and their criminal hostage maneuvers preventing a more robust recovery that political observers have known for three years is finally recognized by American voters.
…The Republicans obstructing, sabotaging, and blocking economic recovery should be tried and convicted of treason under Article III, Section 3, where it says a subversive act that “weakens the power of the United States,” is treason, and requires two witnesses for conviction. After over three years deliberately weakening the economy, there is little doubt Republicans are guilty of treason and 49% of voters agree they are purposely obstructing recovery. The legal definition of treason is “the betrayal of one’s own country by waging war against it,” and by their own admission, Republicans are campaigning on an anti-government platform. In lieu of trying Republicans for treason, the American people have the ability to do the next best thing and vote every obstructionist, anti-government Republican out of office for their three-year campaign to destroy the economy.
[politicususa/Rmuse/14 Jun 2012]
A media strategist who was a senior adviser to Mitt Romney when he ran for governor in 2003 said that he thinks Republican lawmakers are “rooting against the economy” to ensure that President Obama doesn’t win re-election.
Rob Gray, a senior adviser on Romney’s gubernatorial campaign, is a Republican media strategist who owns Gray Media, which lists an assortment of Republican officials among its past clients. Gray worked for Arizona Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and, according to Gray Media’s web site, has advised former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld (R), Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R), the Republican National Committee, and Romney. He did not respond to inquiries from ThinkProgress about whether he currently advises Romney or his campaign.
Appearing on Boston’s Fox 25 news channel this morning, Gray said he bought the idea that congressional Republicans were “rooting against the economy somewhat” because they believed “short-term pain” between now and November would be better than four more years under Obama
[thinkprogress/Travis Waldron/14 june 2012]
That healthcare thing?:
Earlier this week, President Obama sat down with a reporter from an NBC affiliate Iowa, who asked the president to explain why a local company had closed “as a direct result” of the Affordable Care Act. Obama said that was almost certainly not true, causing the Romney campaign to pounce — it was proof the president didn’t understand how “Oba,acare” is “hurting small businesses.”
So, who’s right? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not Romney.
The company is called Nemschoff Chairs, and it makes medical furniture. Did it the company close? Actually, no — as Jonathan Bernstein noted, Nemschoff Chairs is moving from Iowa to Wisconsin, not closing up shop.
Did Nemschoff Chairs struggle as a result of the Affordable Care Act? Strike two — Greg Sargent talked to the company’s spokesperson, who completely contradicted Romney’s version of events.
[maddowblog/Steve Benen/14 Jun 2012]
This is rich on a number of levels. It should really make you marvel at all the time, money, and histrionics conservatives have dedicated to attacking, delegitimizing, and otherwise undermining the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, it adds to the growing body of evidence that even if the Supreme Court tosses the law, or a Republican Congress and administration repeal it, it’s already generated enough expectations and genuine reforms, that it’ll serve as something like the national connective tissue for a patchwork of ‘Obamacare’-based statewide programs.
Here’s the story.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker met with reporters today, and basically admitted that if the ACA disappears, states like his could step up and make sure people with pre-existing conditions aren’t excluded from the insurance market. A pander, yes, but it opens an exquisite Pandora’s box.
In response to the obvious followup — how could you do that without a mandate? — he sort of waved his hands, but crucially he admitted it’s something individual states could and might implement themselves. This wasn’t Jerry Brown talking, it was Scott Walker. More than just about any GOP governor, he’s the face of the anti-Obama insurgency. And what he’s suggesting is that many states (either out of desire or political necessity) will implement some of the key features of ‘Obamacare’ even if it’s struck down or repealed at the federal level.
…Walker hinted at the endgame almost by accident. He may regret saying it, and may walk it back, but it’s still significant and revealing. Significant because it suggests ‘Obamacare’ has already injected itself into our health care system’s DNA. Revealing because it gives the lie to the idea that conservatives have some huge principled objection to individual mandates. Many do not. Additionally, for most conservatives, the vicious opposition to the health care law has never really been about an esoteric Tenth Amendment objection.
[talkingpointsmemo/Brian Beutler/14 Jun 2012]
• Romney’s Plan To Outsource Coverage For Sick People To The States Would Lead To Soaring Costs
Veep Stakes, Immigration and How Not To Win The Latino Vote:
• Marco Rubio Announces His Support For Rick Scott’s Illegal Florida Voter Purge
• You’re Doing It Wrong > 9000: RNCLatino Outreach Site Full of Spam and Epic Fail
• Obama Policy Will Grant Immunity To Young Immigrants – President Barack Obama will order his administration to stop deporting younger illegal immigrants and granting them work permits. The policy will apply to immigrants younger than 30 who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, have been in the country at least five years, have no criminal history and graduated from high school, earned a GED or served in the military. The decision could affect as many as 800,000 immigrants.
Whatever you do, don’t say vagina:
• Whatever you do, don’t yell “Vagina!” like you would “Eureka!” upon discovering gold at the end of a rainbow, or gaining entrance to a highly coveted and special place. “Vagina” is offensive and will get you a proper scolding and banned from speaking if you dare use the term during a House debate about legislating vaginas …Look dudes — if you can’t say “vagina,” or you find “vagina” offensive, then you don’t get to touch them — and you sure as hell don’t get to legislate them.
So the Michigan House of Representatives banned one of its members from speaking today. Why?
“What she said was offensive,” said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”
What did she say? She said … “vagina”.
[Hullabaloo/Digby/14 june 2012]
Political Witch Hunt:
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) continues to threaten Attorney General Eric Holder with a contempt of Congress citation should he not comply with Issa’s request for a wide-range of documents relating to the Bush-administration-initiated “Fast and Furious” program. The Department of Justice has said releasing some of the documents Issa is demanding could jeopardize ongoing criminal investigations.
But, Issa has not always favored executive branch compliance with Congressional records requests. In 2007, Issa complained to the Press Enterprise of Riverside, CA that scrutiny into Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the firings of numerous U.S. Attorneys amounted to a “political witch hunt” by Democrats:
“I see no evidence it (the attorneys’ firing) was political,” Issa, R-Vista, said by telephone between votes on the House floor. “They want to imply there was criminal behavior when there isn’t even a criminal allegation.” …
Justice Department officials said the firings were based largely on performance issues, and released thousands of pages of e-mails and other documents to substantiate the claim. Issa said releasing the documents was a mistake on the part of the administration. U.S. attorneys are “at will” employees and can be let go without reason or public explanation.
An Issa spokeswoman attempted to explain away the discrepancy to ABC News claiming that the Bush administration used executive privilege in Gonzales’s case, while Holder has not done. She refused to provide any additional explanation.
Of course, the Bush administration had already released the documents in question — making it bizarre that Issa’s office now claims they were somehow protected by executive privilege.
[thinkprogress/Josh Israel/14 june 2012]
Azerbaijan’s ministry of agriculture recently warned customs authorities and retail facilities to remain on alert for signs of an anthrax outbreak spreading out of neighboring Georgia. The Azerbaijan State Veterinary Service, which is part of the ministry, said the warning particularly applies to meat and other food products imported from Georgia, according to Bernama.com. Baku said it recently sent a request to the Veterinary Service of Georgia for a report on the outbreak, but has yet to receive any information. The veterinary service said that all imported meat should be vaccinated and placed in a 21 day pre-export quarantine in order to conduct laboratory safety testing. The Georgian media reported that the anthrax outbreak has spread to regions of the country heavily populated by Azerbaijanis. At least 30 people have been infected, including 20 Azerbaijanis, since the outbreak began. No cases of anthrax have been reported inside Azerbaijan, according to VestnikKavkaza.net.
[bioprepwatch/Ted Purlain/14 Jun 2012]
A major bioterror laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has run into repeated airflow system issues, according to internal emails and government documents. The CDC said that there have been no germ releases and no one has been hurt, Associated Press reports. The airflow systems in the $214 million facility are meant to prevent the release of infectious agents such as anthrax, pathogenic influenza, monkeypox and other pathogens that could be used as biological weapons. In one incident in February, air from a potentially contaminated lab briefly blew into a corridor where visitors weren’t wearing any protective gear.
[bioprepwatch/Bryan Cohen/14 Jun 2012]
Military Industrial Complex:
• MIC thugs: “Nice little economy you’ve got there …”
I noted this morning that some defense establishmentarians have reached the “bargaining stage” on the trigger cuts, trying to get out of the situation with minimal albeit tangible damage to the military budget.
Not everyone is there yet. Witness Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, today suggesting that trigger cuts will start a war
…if Dempsey, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, are using the threat of attack to avoid the cuts, the defense contractors are going one better – using the threat of pink slips
[firedoglake/David Dayen/14 june 2012]
The former head of Israel’s vaunted Mossad spy agency told the Atlantic magazine that an attack on Iran would not spur the Iranian people to rise up against the regime and could cause the international sanctions regime imposed against Iran to crumble. In the interview, Meir Dagan said that, contrary the contention made by of many Iran hawks, should Israel attack Iran, the population may well rally behind the regime. He went on to say, in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, that the U.S.-led international sanctions regimen imposed on Iran would crumble in the face of an attack, making pursuit of a nuclear weapon easier for the Islamic Republic.
[thinkprogress/Ali Gharib/14 Jun 2012]
(CBS/AP) CAIRO – Egypt’s highest court on Thursday ordered the country’s Islamist-dominated parliament dissolved and ruled that the last prime minister to serve under Hosni Mubarak could stay in the presidential race, twin blows to the Muslim Brotherhood that could sweep away its political gains since Mubarak’s ouster 16 months ago.
The rulings by the Supreme Constitutional Court, whose judges are Mubarak appointees, escalated the power struggle between the Brotherhood and the military, which stepped in to rule after Mubarak’s fall. The decisions tip the contest dramatically in favor of the ruling generals, robbing the Brotherhood of its power base in parliament and boosting Ahmad Shafiq, the former Mubarak prime minister who many see as the military’s favorite in the presidential contest against the Brotherhood’s candidate.
Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader and lawmaker Mohammed el-Beltagy said the rulings amounted to a “full-fledged coup.”
[CBS/AP/14 Jun 2012]
MOSCOW — Russia offered its most direct rebuttal so far on Friday to an accusation by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that Moscow is providing attack helicopters to Syria in the midst of a struggle depicted by the authorities in Damascus as “cleansing” of rebel-held strongholds. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin inspects a Mi-24 ground-attack helicopter at a military airbase in Korenovsk on June 14. A statement posted on the Foreign Ministry Web site confirmed that Moscow had refurbished helicopters for the Syrian military but denied shipping new models.
[nytimes/ANDREW E. KRAMER and ALAN COWELL/15 Jun 2012]