A transportation bill, a student loan bill, and a flood insurance bill.
After so much intransigence, you’ve got to wonder about the sudden willingness to actually, you know, do some work rather than stick a spanner in the works at every turn.
What could the reason be?
If you’re a generous sort, you could think that the right wing in the US decided, all of a sudden-like, to do something that truly helps the US population. Or, you could think that with all of the rulings and actions that have made right wingers look like, well, losers, that compounding that by behaving even more like the sore losers they are, and doing it in such a public way, to such a large group of the electorate before an election, maybe wasn’t in their best interests and a right wing leader decided to finally act like a grownup for once.
Guess what I’m going with. This is probably general across a whole lot of countries but in the US, being a loser, especially a sore loser, and being seen to be so? Yeah, that’s not going to fly.
• Conservatives Find A Way To Blame Obama For Monster Colorado Wildfire: While Colorado burns, conservatives have looked for ways to blame it on President Obama. Some of the same people who have bashed the president as a big government, big spending liberal now say a wildfire that destroyed hundreds of homes in the conservative stronghold of Colorado Springs can be blamed on the president because he has been too slow to spend money to beef up the federal fleet of air tankers….The suggestion even made its way to a news conference on Wednesday with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who was answering questions about multiple fires burning in the state. The Denver Post reported that a question about conservatives blaming the president for the size of the air fleet set the governor off. “Were these the same conservatives that were so worried about the Obama administration spending too much money, or were these different conservatives?” Hickenlooper said. [talkingpointsmemo/Nick R. Martin/29 Jun 2012]
On Congress actually working:
• President Barack Obama has signed a short-term bill that avoids interest rate increases on new loans to millions of college students and maintains jobs on transportation projects across the nation. The one-week extension of the measure to give time for the full legislation, approved Friday by Congress, to reach his desk.
• Congress has quickly passed a series of bills, consolidated into one package, that freezes federal student loan interest rates at 3.4% for one year, and extends surface transportation funding for two years. The package also reauthorizes the federal flood insurance program for five years.
Mandates are fine for them [Reproductive Rights]:
• Anti-abortion zealot Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America: “Women want to make their own decisions when it comes to their health care, with the support of their families and their doctors. It’s preposterous to suggest the government would do a better job at deciding what is best for us and our loved ones.”
• Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on Republicans: “The only health care mandate they can embrace are transvaginal probes for women.”
• Mississippi’s only abortion clinic sued Wednesday to stop a law that it says will effectively ban abortion in the state and endanger women’s health by limiting access to the procedure.
• The problem is there is no way to say that, because they’re the same fucking bill. He just can’t have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it’s the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he’s just lying. — Jonathan Gruber, healthcare advisor for both Romneycare and Obamacare.
• Mississippi Tea Party Chairman Calls For Open Rebellion Against Federal Government After Obamacare Ruling
• Republican “Patriots” Terrorize America with Calls for Armed Insurrection: In their quest to transform the country into a corporatist theocracy, Republicans are using the ignorance and stupidity of a significant segment of the population to incite violent reactions to every policy proposed by President Obama. Americans got a glimpse of the stupidity in the teabagger movement during the healthcare reform debate two years ago, and despite the availability of information about the myriad benefits of the health law, it appears that, coupled with racism, that particular group is still stupid and becoming a hazard to the security of the entire population. In the 24 hours after the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, the combination of ignorance, stupidity, and racism exposed the threat of a violent uprising against the government of the United States. [politicususa/Rmuse/30 Jun 2012]
Very dirty money:
• The Internal Revenue Service has begun a process of determining whether Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS should have to give up its nonprofit 501(c)(4) status and disclose its donors.
• Come Saturday Morning: Has Casino Magnate Sheldon Adelson Found a Scandal He Can’t Dodge?: There is a long-simmering scandal involving Sheldon Adelson, the intercontinental casino magnate who props up Israel’s Likud Party, serves as an ATM for various Republicans, and who is making a very expensive bid to influence, if not outright control, Israel’s news media in much the same way Rupert Murdoch has been trying to do for decades in Australia, the UK and the US. Thus, it’s somehow fitting that the first really big exposure of this scandal to American eyes has been through the Murdoch-owned broadsheet, the Wall Street Journal: A former top China executive at Las Vegas Sands Corp. suggested in a court filing made public Thursday that there was potential wrongdoing by company executives, including allegations that chairman Sheldon Adelson approved a “prostitution strategy” at the casino operator’s Macau properties. [firedoglake/Phoenix Woman/30 Jun 2012]
• Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who has close ties to the dominant operator of the state’s privately run halfway houses, used line-item vetoes to limit lawmakers’ efforts to bolster oversight.
Fast and Furious:
• The NRA and Republican members of Congress (and a handful of Dems who voted with them, many of whom got NRA money) are doing the bidding of a somewhat-out-there conspiracy blogger who is now discussing the violent overthrow of the US government. That’s what Fast and Furious is really about. The violent takeover of the Republican party by lunatics.
• The Justice Department declared Friday that Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to withhold information about a bungled gun-tracking operation from Congress does not constitute a crime and he won’t be prosecuted for contempt of Congress.
Some more on Issa:
• Darrell Issa Puts Details of Secret Wiretap Applications in Congressional Record: In the midst of a fiery floor debate over contempt proceedings for Attorney General Eric Holder, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) quietly dropped a bombshell letter into the Congressional Record. The May 24 letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the panel, quotes from and describes in detail a secret wiretap application that has become a point of debate in the GOP’s “Fast and Furious” gun-walking probe. The wiretap applications are under court seal, and releasing such information to the public would ordinarily be illegal. But Issa appears to be protected by the Speech or Debate Clause in the Constitution, which offers immunity for Congressional speech, especially on a chamber’s floor. According to the letter, the wiretap applications contained a startling amount of detail about the operation, which would have tipped off anyone who read them closely about what tactics were being used….A June 5 letter from Cummings responding to Issa’s May 24 letter said Issa “omits the critical fact that [redacted].” The entire first section of the letter’s body is likewise blacked out. “Sadly, it looks like Mr. Issa is continuing his string of desperate and unsubstantiated claims, while hiding key information from the very same documents,” a Democratic committee staffer said. “His actions demonstrate a lack of concern for the facts, as well as a reckless disregard for our nation’s courts and federal prosecutors who are trying to bring criminals to justice. We’re not going to stoop to his level. Obviously, we are going to honor the court’s seal and the prosecutors’ requests. But if Mr. Issa won’t tell you what he is hiding from the wiretaps, you should ask him why.” [rollcall/Jonathan Strong/29 Jun 2012]
• Darrell Issa Slams Loan To Bankrupt Energy Company Backed By Democrats And Republicans: WASHINGTON — Republicans have jumped on the latest failed solar company, lambasting it as another example of the Obama administration’s “politically motivated” and “failed green energy agenda.” The company in question, Abound Solar, was also backed by the George W. Bush administration along with other prominent Republicans, including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indiana Reps. Mike Pence and Dan Burton. Abound, which received about $70 million in loans from the Department of Energy, declared bankruptcy Thursday, prompting a slew of comparisons to Solyndra, a similar company that failed in 2011 in spite of getting a $535 million loan guarantee. U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the House Oversight Committee chairman, led the charge condemning Abound Solar and Obama’s energy policy in a statement Thursday. …Issa didn’t address the political motivations of Republicans who backed Abound Solar. Several of them have supported other green-energy projects before. …While Issa has alleged some sort of political motivation for the loan, investors in Abound have donated not just to Republicans, but to Issa himself. Raymond Debbane, the chairman of Abound’s largest equity investor, Invus, gave Issa $5,000 for this upcoming election, as well as another $5,000 for Issa’s political action committee in the last election. Debbane, who donates to both parties, has given $30,000 to GOP candidates this cycle. [huffingtonpost/Erin Mershon/29 Jun 2012]
Romney on education, immigration, and the economy:
• Romney: Students Should Get ‘As Much Education As They Can Afford: This is similar to other comments Romney has made regarding higher education, such as when he told students to simply borrow the money for college from their parents or when he told them to “shop around” or join the military to get an education. But the crux of the matter is that Romney’s policies would make college less affordable for low- and middle-income students. So what they “can afford” is going to be a lot less: I think this is a land of opportunity for every single person, every single citizen of this great nation. And I want to make sure that we keep America a place of opportunity, where everyone has a fair shot. They get as much education as they can afford and with their time they’re able to get and if they have a willingness to work hard and the right values, they ought to be able to provide for their family and have a shot of realizing their dreams. [thinkprogress/Pat Garofalo/29 Jun 2012]
Another theory on this would be that Romney has changed his positions so often that he doesn’t know what they are – or what his backers pay to make them – anymore, and so parroting Obama might seem to be the thing to do. If he had his own ideas, or if he didn’t have to wait to hear from his handlers in regard to his “own” positions, maybe this wouldn’t happen?
• “He simply misspoke”: Romney Misstates Own DREAM Act Position: Mitt Romney accidentally floated a new immigration position in an interview with conservative site Newsmax on Friday, suggesting that he favored a path to permanent status for young illegal immigrants through higher education. The campaign quickly walked the position back when confronted with the discrepancy by TPM. “For those that are here as the children of those who came here illegally, I want to make sure they have a permanent answer to what their status will be,” Romney said in the interview, “and I’ve indicated in my view that those who serve in the military and have advanced degrees would certainly qualify for that kind of permanent status.” That would have represented a significant departure from Romney’s previous stance, reiterated as recently as last week in a major immigration speech to Latino group NALEO, that only military service should be considered as a valid path to permanent status. Romney has vocally opposed even allowing in-state tuition for college students who came to the country illegally. By contrast, Obama’s recent executive action waives deportations for young illegal immigrants who graduated from high school, earned a GED or served in the military. [talkingpointsmemo/Benjy Sarlin/29 Jun 2012]
• Romney’s critiques of Europe raise some questions: Romney’s presentation ignores aspects of the European crisis that critics see as an illustration of how his own plans to shrink government could threaten the sputtering U.S. recovery. In Greece, Spain, Ireland and other Eurozone nations, unemployment has soared amid steep government cutbacks under austerity measures championed by Germany. In Britain, critics of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron blame the country’s recent slide back into recession on his austerity agenda of scaling back government. Obama has rejected austerity, calling instead for new federal spending on short-term stimulus measures, such as road construction and state aid to stop layoffs of teachers and other public workers, followed by long-term budget cuts to reduce the deficit once the economy recovers. Facing diplomatic constraints, the president has avoided comparing European austerity to Romney’s economic plans. Former President Clinton, however, has been blunt about drawing political lessons from Europe — saying that Romney’s vision of smaller government would kill jobs, both private and public. “Who would have ever thought that the Republicans would embrace the austerity and jobless policies of what they used to derisively call old Europe?” Clinton told Obama campaign donors at a fundraising dinner with the president June 4 in New York City. [latimes/Michael Finnegan/29 Jun 2012]
• Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was formally sworn in on Saturday as the first democratically elected president of Egypt, marking a new stage in an ever murkier struggle to define the future of the nation after six decades of military-backed autocracy.
• Egypt’s first freely-elected President Mohamed Morsi says his country ‘will stand with Palestinian people until they get their rights’. “I will not betray my nation, my people,” Morsi said during his inauguration speech at Cairo University on Saturday.
• Toronto police focused so much on guarding a security fence around the G20 summit site two years ago that they failed to stop a riot, a civilian board said.