Is it silly that it’s had to come to this, to protect documents the DOJ isn’t allowed to hand over, about ‘gun-walking’ the Bush admin started and the Obama admin stopped? It’s beyond silly, but Issa really does seem to love all the attention…
President Obama has asserted executive privilege over the documents sought by a House committee as related to the “Fast and Furious” operation, a development which will have a big effect on the contempt proceedings.
…White House points out to reporters that President George W. Bush asserted executive privilege six times, while Bill Clinton did so in 14 instances, “both of whom protected the same category of documents we’re protecting today (ie after-the-fact internal Executive Branch materials responding to congressional and media inquiries – in this case from the Justice Department). In fact, dating back to President Reagan, Presidents have asserted executive privileged 24 times. President Obama has gone longer without asserting the privilege in a Congressional dispute than any President in the last three decades.”
And it also lists several examples of what it says are “Republicans, legal scholars, and journalists affirming this Congressional investigation into Fast and Furious is all politics.”
[msnbc/Pete Williams and Frank Thorp/20 Jun 2012]
• Romney Goes Full Homophobe, Says Kids Better off With Straight Parents – “I hope to be able to talk to young people and tell them how important it is to get married before they have children because the opportunity for a mom and a dad to help guide the life of a child gives them such an enormous advantage in their lives going forward.”
• Lost in the Wawa’s amazing sandwich machine was another bit of babble about bureaucracy and a 33 page form for getting some small thing done in government. Romney, there is this thing in the world now, nearly as amazing as the sandwich machine, called Teh Interwebs! Lots of people get their
sandwiches government services sorted out on this amazing device and it works just fine.
There’s but one definitive modern-day adjective that does full justice to Mitt Romney – sketchy. Read the full 203 pages of his joint 2010 income tax filing and see if you don’t agree. I do believe he’s a good family man. He’s certainly sleazed up a lucrative path for Tagg, one of his sons.
Mitt Romney has released a single income tax return (back in January), not two as the media keeps telling you. So he has made his 2010 filing available to the public. As for 2011, it’s all estimates. It was due April 17th and he promised to release it on that date. “When my tax returns are complete for this year, when they’re completed this year in April, I’ll release my returns in April and probably other years as well.” On April 17th he filed for a six-month extension. None of the “probably other years as well” have seen the light of day either. His dad and the president released multiple returns, as should Romney. I’d especially like to see his 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 returns. They could make fascinating reading.
[politicususa/Dennis S/19 Jun 2012]
…Mrs. Romney probably shouldn’t be making digs about vacations, with her husband having taken off 212 days of his last year as governor.
…number one, President Obama hasn’t taken any overseas vacations. He does travel overseas for work. You know, as President and all. And yes, even though Cokie Roberts thought Hawaii was exotic, it is still in the United States and not considered “abroad”, and it’s where the President’s family resides.
Number two; the trips Michelle has taken have been with her kids, sorta like “happiness” coming from being with “children.”
And number three, W. Mitt Romney was basically on vacation the entire last two years of his term of Governor of Massachusetts. He pulled a Palin, only he never announced it.
…Republicans and conservatives would avoid the issue of vacations if they were tethered to reality and facts, with Obama taking significantly less time off than all of the three previous Republican presidents from Reagan to the both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
…Ann Romney’s attempt to every-woman herself on the issue of vacations is also perilous ground given the many vacation homes the Romneys own, replete with their own lobbyist and car elevators. For most Americans, a family trip involves renting a house, staying in a hotel or camp grounds or staying with family, not flying via private jet to one of our 12 million dollar ocean-front, 8,000 square foot, staffed homes where we can choose which among a fleet of cars we wish to drive whilst on vacay.
…Maybe she doesn’t even realize how most of us live, but then, why was she trying to so hard to paint her vacations as family get togethers, while implying that the Obamas’ vacations are not?
[politicususa/Sarah Jones/19 Jun 2012]
DREAM act, Immigration, Rubio and the VEEP stakes:
Think it isn’t all related? Think again. Wonder if the right wing will just double down on their immigration craziness…
Complaining about President Obama’s new immigration policy, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said yesterday the move will make it more “difficult” to pass a comprehensive reform package. Since reform efforts are impossible in this Congress anyway, it wasn’t much of a complaint.
But Boehner added something else that struck me as interesting.
“Where’s the president’s immigration plan? Where does the president stand on this issue? Instead of campaigning all the time, maybe he ought to come back to Washington and go back to work,” Boehner said.
It was an odd thing to say. If the House Speaker wants to know where President Obama’s immigration plan is, he can type “President Obama’s immigration plan” into the Google machine and, wouldn’t you know it, one of the first results is President Obama’s immigration plan. It’s 29 pages long, written in easy-to-read language, and it’s been online since May 2011.
Maybe Boehner isn’t much of a reader? Well, Obama also delivered a detailed speech, outlining his immigration plan, last summer in Texas. The Speaker can watch the video.
When Boehner asks, “Where’s the president’s immigration plan? Where does the president stand on this issue?” it’s disconcerting because it suggests the Speaker doesn’t just disagree with Obama’s approach; it suggests the Speaker doesn’t understand that Obama’s approach exists.
[maddowblog/Steve Benen/20 Jun 2012]
Fox News uncovered a video of Obama from last year where he appeared to give Fox just what they were looking for. In the video, as broadcast by Fox, Obama said that…
“I just have to continue to say this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true. We are doing everything we can administratively. But the fact of the matter is there are laws on the books that I have to enforce. And I think there’s been a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and getting comprehensive immigration passed by perpetrating the notion that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things. It’s just not true.”
That would seem to close the file on the matter of presidential hypocrisy, were it not for the intrepid investigative reporting of Jon Stewart. On the Daily Show last night Stewart aired the uncut video of Obama (see it below), including the part immediately following the point where Fox News ended their clip:
“…It’s just not true. What we can do is to prioritize enforcement — since there are limited enforcement resources — and say, we’re not going to go chasing after this young man or anybody else who has been acting responsibly, and would otherwise qualify for legal status if the DREAM Act passed.”
In other words, Obama very clearly said, as Stewart put it, “…that he can do the exact thing he just did, but which you said he said he’s not supposed to.” This is a blatant, inexcusable example of deliberately editing video to misconstrue its meaning and deceive their audience.
[newscorpse/Mark/20 Jun 2012]
• Romney Adviser: After Palin, Women Are Disqualifed From VP Search – An informal adviser to the Romney campaign told msnbc.com today that the reason there are so few females in the vice presidential discussion is because Sarah Palin’s 2008 bid “poisoned the well” for Republican women.
…leading Republicans trying to rewrite legislative history on the issue
…This is the attempted dodge Republicans are making, that this short-term response forestalls a long-term solution. This only makes sense if a long-term solution was in any way a viable option. And given the public pronouncements from Republicans over the past several months, it’s clear that it wasn’t. The DREAM Act passed the strongly Democratic House in 2010 with only a handful of Republican votes, and was stymied in the Senate with even less. Both of those chambers are more Republican now. Marco Rubio’s proposal was nothing more than a talking point without legislative language, and even at that stage, Boehner shot it down.
[firedoglake/David Dayen/19 Jun 2012]
• Yesterday we noted NJ Rep. Gov. Chris Christie’s close ties to the owner of half-way houses (from which some 5100 prisoners have escaped). There is major reliance on the half-way houses as a result of budget crises. Seems there’s been a murder in one of the half-way houses, committed by three inmates with a violent history who should not have been placed there. An on-going investigation is turning up all manner of interesting things, such as the $35/day/prisoner difference between the federal allocation and what the half-way houses receive.
ABC is reporting that the Romney campaign isn’t even bothering to vet Marco Rubio for the VP slot. I don’t have much to add to what others are saying — I agree that this leak could theoretically be a head fake by the campaign, though most observers seem to think it isn’t, in which case the rejection of Rubio means that Romney has given up on trying to win Hispanic votes and is now trying to get elected exclusively by rolling up the score with non-college-educated whites. I’d add that maybe Romney thinks running with Rubio would effectively be like running with Rubio’s best-known champion, Jeb Bush; Romney, who strikes me as quite insecure, may be trying not to be overshadowed by that Big Kahuna and his famous family.
But what I want to bring up is the pettiness of the whole thing. The report comes on the publication date of Rubio’s memoir. Um, twist the knife much, Romney campaign?
And now there’s this from BuzzFeed:
Rubio Ally Fingers Romney Adviser As Possible Leak Source A top ally to Marco Rubio suggested that a prominent Romney aide was the source of the ABC News story today that Romney is not considering the Florida senator as his running mate. “Do remember that Stuart Stevens was Charlie Crist’s guy,” Ana Navarro told BuzzFeed, referring to Rubio’s Republican-turned-independent opponent in the 2010 Senate race. “The guys who did all of that oppo and attacks on Marco were none other than [Romney advisers] Stuart Stevens and Russ Schriefer.”… “I think it’s interesting that the only person being singled out in this rumor is Marco,” said Ana Navarro, an adviser to one of Rubio’s strongest backers — former Gov. Jeb Bush….
So this is how your team operates, Mitt? Your subordinates use the campaign not to do what helps the campaign, but to settle scores in a small-minded, childish way? Yeah, I’m so looking forward to having you and your crew in the Situation Room dealing with a 3:00 A.M. crisis.
[No More Mister Nice Blog/Steve M./19 Jun 2012]
Corporate feelings are something the right wingers care about. Real people’s feelings? Not so much…
Perhaps you’d expect no more from the Republican leader of the Senate who proclaimed three years ago that the GOP’s first priority was to get Obama out of the White House. But Senator Mitch McConnell’s speech Friday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington is simply bonkers.
The only reason I bring it up is because it offers an inside look at how the Republican goal of getting rid of Obama is inextricably linked to the Republican Supreme Court’s decision equating corporations with people under the First Amendment, and to the Republican’s current determination to keep Americans in the dark about which corporations contribute what.
In the upside-down world of regressive Republicanism, McConnell thinks proposed legislation requiring companies to disclose their campaign spending would stifle their free speech.
He describes the current push to disclose the sources behind campaign contributions as a “political weapon,” used by the Democrats, “to expose its critics to harassment and intimidation.”
Harassment and intimidation? It used to be called accountability to shareholders and consumers.
Five members of the Supreme Court think corporations are people. Mitt Romney agrees. And now the minority leader of the Senate – the highest-ranking Republican official in America – takes this logic to its absurd conclusion: If corporations are people, they must be capable of feeling harassed and intimidated if their shareholders or consumers don’t approve of their political expenditures.
Hell, they might even throw a tantrum. Or cry. Corporations have feelings.
[robertreich/Robert Reich/19 June 2012]
Racists, and Racist Idiots:
• Arizona Radio Host Calls Obama a ‘Monkey’:
Barbara Espinosa, the host of an Arizona radio show called “Hair on Fire,” called the President a “monkey” on a recent radio segment. “I don’t believe in calling him the first black president,” she said, “I voted for the white guy myself. I call him a monkey.” When outrage erupted over her racist comments, Espinosa went on the Internet to defend herself. In one comments section, she linked to a Google image search of the words “Obama as monkey cartoon” and wrote, “With a last name of Espinosa I’m anything but racist.” She also wrote a post on her website titled “YES! I Did Use the Word Monkey and Obama in same sentence…” You can listen to her original comments here
[thinkprogress/Annie-Rose Strasser/19 june 2012]
Yesterday, Mr. Wurzelbacher released a campaign web video in which he blamed the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide on gun control laws...
“In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917 one-point-five million Armenians, unable to defend themselves were exterminated,” Mr. Wurzelbacher says in the clip. “In 1939, Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, six million Jews and seven million others unable to defend themselves were exterminated.”
Where to start?
First of all, I demand this idiot be required to find Armenia on a Map, new or old — oh, and Turkey didn’t exist in 1911, try Ottoman Empire dumbass. Second, I demand he tell us who the ‘Young Turks’ were. Third, hey Jackass, you assert that if a person was only able to get a gun and fight back the Holocaust would not have happened? Guess that explains the ineffectiveness of the Horst Wessel song, huh?
[firedoglake/Attaturk/20 Jun 2012]
• Russia, Syria deny war games with China and Iran:
MOSCOW, June 19 (Reuters) – Russia and Syria on Tuesday denied an Iranian media report that Syria would host Russian, Chinese and Iranian military forces for joint exercises. Iranian news agency Fars said 90,000 troops and hundreds of ships, tanks and warplanes from the four countries would take part in the war games on land and sea in Syria soon. The Russian Defence Ministry called such reports “disinformation” and the Russian news agency Interfax quoted an adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as saying it was not true.
[Reuters/19 Jun 2012]
A transport ship the U.S. believes is carrying attack helicopters to Syria is now heading back to Russia. Ostensibly, the MV Alaed turned around after its insurance coverage was pulled. But the ship’s return coincides with a meeting between Obama and Vladimir Putin — a sign the two leaders may be starting to cooperate on what to do about Syria’s deadly war.
…But it’s not clear if the ship was also ordered to return to port by Russian authorities. EU sanctions, for one, do not have jurisdiction over Russian ships. If Russia really wanted the ship to continue to Syria, and remained complicit in the slaughter of civilians, then it’s unlikely anyone could have stopped them. But letting the ship continue on its way would also contradict statements made by Vladimir Putin on Monday during the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. During the leaders’ two-hour meeting, which is the first time the two have met as presidents, Putin and Obama agreed to a “peaceful” resolution to Syria’s bloodshed.
“In order to stop the bloodshed in Syria, we call for an immediate cessation of the violence and we pledged to work with other international actors, including the United Nations, Kofi Annan, including the movement towards a political transition to a democratic, pluralistic political system, which would be exercised by the Syrians in the framework of the sovereignty, independence, unity and the territorial integrity of Syria,” a joint statement issued by the two presidents read.
But there was no agreement on what to do about Bashar Assad. Russia won’t go so far as to throw one of its oldest allies out of power.
[WiredDangerRoom/Robert Beckhusen/19 Jun 2012]
• “Hosni Mubarak, the deposed Egyptian leader, has been revived and is on an artificial respirator after he suffered stroke, sources in the interior ministry and from his family told Al Jazeera. A lawyer for Mubarak’s family told Al Jazeera he was actually unconscious and on a respirator after he was rushed to Maadi Hospital near Cairo from Tora prison hospital.”
• Anti-SCAF Egyptians throng Tahrir Square:
Thousands of Egyptians have packed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest against the ruling military council’s decision to claim new powers, amid contesting claims by both presidential candidates of victory in the weekend’s election. In the hub of the uprising that deposed president Hosni Mubarak, protesters chanted against his military successors, with a steady trickle of people joining the demonstration after sunset. The demonstration on Tuesday comes against a backdrop of uncertainty over the winner of the presidential vote, with the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and his rival, former prime minister Ahmed Shafik, both claiming victory.
[aljazeera/20 Jun 2012]
• Hamas Fires Rockets Into Southern Israel – The military wing of Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into southern Israel yesterday in an apparent reaction to Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. “The rocket fire marks an unusual move for the group,” Haaretz reports, because it “has been avoiding launching rockets toward Israel for many months now.” Communities close to the Gaza border were put on high alert and told to stay close to bomb shelters.
• U.S., Israel developed Flame computer virus to slow Iranian nuclear efforts, officials say:
The United States and Israel jointly developed a sophisticated computer virus nicknamed Flame that collected intelligence in preparation for cyber-sabotage aimed at slowing Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, according to Western officials with knowledge of the effort. The massive piece of malware secretly mapped and monitored Iran’s computer networks, sending back a steady stream of intelligence to prepare for a cyberwarfare campaign, according to the officials. The effort, involving the National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel’s military, has included the use of destructive software such as the Stuxnet virus to cause malfunctions in Iran’s nuclear-enrichment equipment. The emerging details about Flame provide new clues to what is thought to be the first sustained campaign of cyber-sabotage against an adversary of the United States.
[washingtonpost/Ellen Nakashima/19 Jun 2012]
Bits and pieces:
• Julian Assange has taken refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy and is seeking political asylum.
Just weeks after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) proposed to lower the charge for possession of small amounts of marijuana, the New York Times reports that the proposal is “doomed” thanks to the state’s Republican-controlled Senate.
Despite the fact that Cuomo’s proposal to decriminalize marijuana possession has the backing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), the New York City Police Department, and the city’s top prosecutors, Republicans are digging in their heels on the issue. The state’s Senate Majority Leader has confirmed that the Senate will not take up the proposal, saying, “We do not support decriminalization.”
[thinkprogress/Tara Culp-Ressler/19 Jun 2012]