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Time Swampland

By Michael Crowley | @CrowleyTIME | March 27, 2012

For months now, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has overwhelmingly focused on the economy.  But as he geared up his candidacy a couple of years ago, Romney opened with an argument heavy on foreign policy. In March 2010, for instance, he published No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, a campaign stage-setter largely based on the idea that Barack Obama was allowing America to slip into decline while bowing and caving to global rivals like China, Russia and Iran. It wasn’t until the recovery sputtered and Obama scored a string of foreign policy successes that Romney adopted a monomaniacal focus on the jobs picture.

But some Republicans remain convinced that they can score points against Obama on foreign policy. And now, in the wake of Obama’s open-mic comment to Russian president Dmitri Medvedev that he can show “more flexibility” on missile defense and other issues after the November election, Romney seems to be reviving his earlier line of attack. Romney pounced on the comment Monday, calling it “an alarming and troubling development” that suggests Obama is “not telling us what he’s intending to do” on various key foreign policy matters. Later in the day he delivered a surprisingly harsh assessment of Russia as “without question our number one geopolitical foe,” a perhaps defensible position when you consider questions like U.N. Security Council vetoes, but still a tough one to square with his past remarks about Iran. (For example: “Right now, the greatest danger that America faces and the world faces is a nuclear Iran.”)

Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2012/03/27/romneys-well-rehearsed-case-against-obama-and-the-russians/#ixzz1qMQxp4UM

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By ANNE GEARAN  03/10/12 06:03 AM ET AP

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is hitting back at Republican criticism of his energy policies and his role in controlling gasoline prices.

Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday to underscore his administration’s work to develop alternative energy sources and increase fuel efficiency.

“I’m going to keep doing everything I can to help you save money on gas, both right now and in the future,” Obama said. “I hope politicians from both sides of the aisle join me.”

He accused Republicans of a “bumper sticker” approach to solving the nation’s energy problems.

It’s a familiar theme _Obama stuck many of the same chords during two out-of-town trips this week and during a White House news conference on Wednesday.

“We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices – not when we consume 20 percent of the world’s oil,” Obama said in the address, recorded during a visit Friday to a Virginia jet engine component plant.

In the Republican weekly address, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple accused the Obama administration of blocking projects and technology that would allow greater energy production. He singled out the Keystone XL pipeline project, which Obama deferred.

MORE HERE

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Addicting Info- February 3, 2012

By

A day after Mitt “Moneybags” Romney stated his lack of concern for the economically disadvantaged (an old school Republican touchstone), President Obama shot back by finally using the right-wing’s bullets against them.  Despite constantly being smeared as a secret Muslim, Barack Obama in fact subscribes to Christianity.  Today’s perverse version of Christianity typically refers to super rich, white proselytizers who flagrantly manipulate the pure teachings of Jesus and spew bilious hatred towards gays, women, single moms, blacks, and the poor and middle-class. It also tends to refer to making a bunch of bombs to kill a bunch of Middle Easterners so that some  defense contactor can continue to eat caviar.  So it’s only natural for thinking people to stay within 100 yards of it. But, much like everything else under the sun, the Republicans love co-opting it blatantly injecting it into politics in order to claim higher ground.

Former president Bush, a simple-minded lummox with virtually nothing to offer other than his ability to relate to even dumber people, understood that invoking Jesus’ name would guarantee universal support of his hawkish foreign policy no matter how severely flawed and unreasonable it may have been.  For that reason, I have been constantly saying that President Obama should put on his best decider face, hold a press conference on the white house lawn, and state that his good homeboy JC told him that he should return taxes on the highest earners to the levels during the Clinton era. But that’s not the style of the guy of the president who sings Al Green.

During the National Prayer Breakfast in D.C. that took place yesterday, the president revealed that his Christian (or Christ-like) faith heavily influenced his economic policies– including calling for the wealthy to pay more taxes and overhauling the healthcare system. He explained to the attendees that the nation’s challenges require smart policies coupled with a strong values system, and not of the philandering on your dying wife, or subscribing to anti-gay policies and making anti-gay rhetoric only to have secret gay sex variety.

It’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone,’President Obama said.

“For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that, for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’ he added, referencing verse 48 of chapter 12 in the Gospel of Luke. “To answer the responsibility we’re given in Proverbs to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute,” added Obama.

VIDEO & MORE HERE

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Huffington Post 7/30/11

Jennifer Bendery

WASHINGTON — With just three days left until the country is set to begin defaulting on its debt, the House rejected a debt proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Saturday — a move Republicans designed purely for theatrics to show the bill lacked the votes to pass.

The bill was rejected by a vote of 173 to 246. Eleven Democrats joined all of the House Republicans in opposing Reid’s bill. The defecting Democrats included Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Bruce Braley (Iowa), David Loebsack (Iowa), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Mike Ross (Ark.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), Peter Visclosky (Ind.) and David Wu (Ore.).

Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) headed to the White House to discuss the state of play with President Barack Obama shortly after the bill went down.

House Republicans pushed Reid’s bill through via a restrictive voting process: The measure was taken up on the suspension calendar, which requires a two-thirds vote to pass, bars amendments and limits debate to 40 minutes.

Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), who sits on the House Rules Committee, called the day’s business “a joke,” “a disgrace” and “an insult to the American people.”

The effect of taking up Reid’s bill on the suspension calendar — a move typically reserved for noncontroversial measures — is “a $2.5 trillion bill being brought up under the same process used for post offices,” McGovern said.

Read more at Huffington Post

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Conservative Journalist Takes Every Single Republican To Task

Politicususa
June 15, 2011

By Ray Medeiros

Will the GOP listen to one of their own? Liberals have been saying this for 10+ years now, but had obviously been cast aside by the GOP and conservatives as not important, divisive, and just plain old class warfare. The subject is simply wages, American workers’ share of total national income and the decline of the American workers’ former exceptional standard of living.

The gentleman in question is an author of the many conservative books, including In January 2003, The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush, an End to Evil was co-written with Richard Perle. It defended the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and advocated regime change in Iran and Syria, and finally in 2008 he published Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again, a work which garnered “lavish praise from his friends.” Former Congressman David M. McIntosh called “required reading for all GOP candidates.”

The author is by no means liberal. His name is David Frum and he simply asks TWO questions to the Republicans Presidential candidates. Is this a problem? If yes, what can be done about it? The two questions were regarding new statistics from the St. Louis Federal Reserve and the Bureau Of Labor and Statistics.

What the new statistics indicate is that over the last TEN YEARS, specifically right after the 2001 recession, non-farm wages have been on a steep decline. The wages of working class Americans continued to decline even from 2003-2007, which was during economic growth and plummeted again with the current enduring Republican recession.

MORE HERE

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Donald Trump at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Trump recently announced he would not be running for President. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

The Kooky Konservative Klown Kar

Tuesday 17 May 2011
by: William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

We all want to be big stars
But we don’t know why
And we don’t know how…

– Counting Crows

Say it ain’t so, Donald.

This is so depressing. I was actively looking forward to following the Trump For President crazy train for at least a few weeks longer, if not more. You couldn’t stay in long enough to participate in one debate, Donald? It would have been the show of the year. “Birth certificates the blacks love me derp derp derp…” All lost forever now. The hairpiece has moved on.

I know, I know, it was a joke campaign, a ploy to get people to watch some stupid reality show I am proud to say I’ve never even peeked at once. But you have to understand my perspective here: the quintessential excellence of Trump’s absurd pre-candidacy was the fact that it dragged the fundamental derangement of the GOP base into the light for all to see. After Mr. Obama gelded Trump with the birth certificate release, the explosion of nonsense from the hedgerows of the far right took on an almost mythical quality, and editorial cartoonists from sea to shining sea had great sport portraying Trump and his followers as tinfoil-wearing brain donors.

This is what I’m going to miss. But I guess you can’t have everything, and besides, there is plenty here to play with until the race begins in earnest.

Take Mitt Romney, for instance. Here is a man who, by any meaningful measure, should be the runaway favorite to be the Republican nominee…until, once again, you take the berserkers of the GOP base into account. They are going to be the largest voting bloc in the Republican primaries, and they consider Mormonism a cult (which cracks me up, given the cultish nature of that crew). Add to that the fact that Romney chopped his own legs off last week trying to explain away the fact that he wrote the blueprint for “Obamacare,” which is roundly despised by the party base. E.J. Dionne nailed the crux of Romney’s dilemma in a Sunday column for the Washington Post:

The candidates appear much smaller than they are because the party’s primary voters and core interest groups insist upon cutting them down to size. To win a Republican nomination, a candidate has to move right, recant absolutely any past position that violates the current conservative catechism and never dare to speak the truth that solving our deficit problem will require new revenue – a.k.a. taxes.

Thus we have Mitt Romney defending the individual mandate to buy insurance that was part of the health plan he championed in Massachusetts but then denouncing President Obama for imposing a similar mandate at the national level. This shuffle wasn’t good enough for the guardians of conservative orthodoxy. It ruled that Romney will merit salvation only by fully repudiating his greatest achievement as governor.

And then there’s Newt. I literally jumped for joy when he announced his candidacy. Trump was more entertaining, but Newt will do. Straight out of the gate, he blasted the Paul Ryan plan to destroy Medicare with both barrels, calling it “social engineering,” a loaded phrase for anyone on the far right, especially since the Tea Party freshmen in the House are going to try and roll the plan out again this week. There were perhaps ten beats of silence after Gingrich delivered his broadside before his people scrambled to walk back his comments with the predictable “The liberal media misinterpreted him” claim. Expect many more moments like this as the election approaches; one of these days, Newt is going to open his mouth too wide and fall right in.

Ron Paul is in the race, which should be an effective sop for those in the GOP base who pine for Donald Trump and his bright ideas. Paul is, after all, the fellow who voted against sending federal aid money to New Orleans after the Katrina disaster, and just recently told people along the flooding Mississippi River to build their own levies, because the federal government is too big and too controlling in his opinion. Yet this is the same fellow who wants to pass laws that will charge anyone who gets an abortion with first-degree murder. This is just the kind of obnoxious, witless, false libertarianism the GOP base can really sing its teeth into.

And then, of course, there are Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann to consider. Neither are in it yet – Palin has all but disappeared from public view after covering herself in sackcloth and ashes when Gabrielle Giffords was shot – but one can dream. The bottom of the insanity barrel has not yet been found; there is already a self-described vampire named Jonathon Sharkey running for the Republican nomination, speaking of sinking your teeth in.

How can this not be fun?

SOURCE

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SNL: GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate

Crooks and Liars- By Heather
May 07, 2011 09:35 PM

Since so many of the undeclared potential presidential contenders decided to skip the first official Republican primary debate, Saturday Night Live decided to treat us to their version of the GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate, with Tina Fey returning as Sarah Palin.

The segment also featured Bill Hader as Fox’s Shepard Smith, Jason Sudeikis as Mitt Romney, Darrell Hammond as Donald Trump, Kristen Wiig as Michele Bachmann, Bobby Moynihan as Newt Gingrich and Kenan Thompson as the Rent is Too Damn High Party’s Jimmy McMillan.

As expected, Fey stole the show with her Palin impression.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

SOURCE

hat tip to Huffington Post for the photo and video

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Copyright Permission from my friend, Stephen Pitt

Is the Shadowy World of ALEC and the Koch Brothers Leading the GOP’s Charge to Suppress the Youth Vote?

Submitted by BuzzFlash on Mon, 04/04/2011 – 11:55am.

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

BuzzFlash at Truthout suggests you read the well-received first column on ALEC, Smart ALEC: Dragging the Secretive Conservative Organization Out of the Shadows.”

Nearly forty years after a constitutional amendment conferring voting rights on eighteen year-olds was passed into law, and signed by President Richard Nixon, the American Legislative Exchange Council is doing all it can to make it difficult for young people to vote.

Nearly forty years after a Constitutional Amendment giving 18-21 year-olds the right to vote, Republican legislators across the country are trying to disenfranchise youth under the subterfuge of combatting “voter fraud.” However, as Christina Francisco-McGuire recently pointed out at progressivestates.org, instances of *voter fraud “are so rare that one is more likely to be struck by lightening.” Amongst the legislation being pushed in various states are photo id requirements, the abandonment of election-day registration, and the redefining of student residency requirements.

“The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative organization linked to corporate and right-wing donors, including the billionaire Koch Brothers, [see “Smart ALEC: Dragging the Secretive Conservative Organization Out of the Shadows” — http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/12551] has drafted and distributed model legislation, obtained by Campus Progress, that appears to be the inspiration for bills proposed by state legislators this year and promoted by Tea Party activists, bills that would limit access of young people to vote,” Tobin Van Ostern reported in Campus Progress in early March (“Conservative Corporate Advocacy Group ALEC Behind Voter Disenfranchisement Efforts” —http://campusprogress.org/articles/conservative_corporate_advocacy_group_alec_behind_voter_disenfranchise).

Van Ostern wrote: “According to research by the Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) and Campus Progress, in the past six years, seven states have enacted laws that disenfranchise students or make it more difficult for them to vote. This year, 18 additional states are considering similar laws, while other states are proposing voter ID laws that would depress turnout among other groups of voters — particularly those who traditionally lean left.

“These requirements run the gamut from requiring in-state driver’s licenses, to banning school IDs, to prohibiting first-time voters – essentially every college-aged voter – from voting by absentee ballot. All together, these barriers create new logistical and financial barriers for many people attempting to vote.”

Van Ostern’s investigation found that “Many of the state proposals appear to stem from model legislation known as the Voter ID Act (also known as Photo ID) that was developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

MORE HERE

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TIME

Posted by Amy Sullivan Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What was Newt Gingrich doing at John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church on Sunday? Besides delivering another speech from his book of Demagogue Mad Libs, that is. The most obvious answer is that Gingrich is courting evangelical voters. But ever since the LA Times wrote about Gingrich’s outreach to evangelicals earlier this month, I’ve been skeptical about whether that’s actually the case.

Sure, in the past few years, Gingrich has met with groups of pastors in key electoral states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and Florida. He helped support an effort in Iowa that year that ousted three state supreme court justices who were involved in a 2009 ruling that sanctioned gay marriage. And he’s gone on Christian media outlets like James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio show and the Christian Broadcasting Network to reintroduce himself to social conservatives.

These are the actions of a man who is either engaged in a futile quest to win over evangelical GOP primary voters or looking to build a distribution network or his growing enterprise of books and movies on religious themes.

Why futile? First of all, if Gingrich is looking to earn the endorsements of influential evangelical leaders, Hagee isn’t near the top tier of people he needs to court. But more than that, Hagee is considered toxic by many evangelicals for his controversial comments about the Holocaust and description of the Catholic Church as “the great whore.” John McCain learned this the hard way in 2008 when his campaign initially welcomed an endorsement from Hagee, only to reject it days later when Hagee’s more hateful remarks attracted media attention.

Then there’s the matter of Gingrich’s divorces. Plural. Not to mention the affairs that led to each of his divorces. While evangelicals have long ignored divorce as a social concern in favor of focusing on issues like abortion and gay marriage, it still carries a significant taboo. And having an affair can get a person booted from a congregation. During the 2000 primaries, Dobson issued a personal press release highlighting McCain’s history of infidelity: “The senator is being touted by the media as a man of principle, yet he was involved with other women while married to his first wife.”

A personal history that includes multiple affairs and divorces doesn’t have to spell electoral doom for a GOP candidate if he presents it as part of a narrative of sin, repentance, and redemption. Along these lines, George W. Bush spent much of the 2000 campaign talking about his alcoholic past and referring to himself as a “sinner” as a way of communicating his new spiritual sobriety. He once was blind, but now he sees.

The rest of the story

Hat tip to Youtube user DBRielly

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