Daily Archives: July 15, 2011

The GOP’s Debt Ceiling War Not About Debt But About Obama

The Huffington Post‘s Earl Ofari Hutchinson may have hit the proverbial nail on its head…

Huffington Post

The GOP’s war over America’s debt ceiling is not about America’s debt, it’s about President Obama. The debt ceiling debate can’t be separated from the GOP’s never-ending hunt for any issue that can taint, embarrass, and ultimately weaken the Obama presidency. The GOP’s goal is as it has always been: to make Obama a one-term president. The issue of whether America can pay its bills or not, or reneges on its financial obligations, which would be the catastrophe that would result from failing to raise the ceiling, is secondary to the GOP’s cynical political ploy.

The proof is how the debt ceiling jumped to center stage in political debate and the public’s awareness of it. The debt ceiling was an absolute non-issue during George W. Bush White House tenure. It was raised ten times in those years with barely a peep that the U.S. was in mortal danger of a fiscal crash and burn under its great weight of debt. This debt was incurred almost exclusively by Bush’s two wildly costly and wasteful wars, his two behemoth tax cut giveaways to the rich, a relentless gut of regulations that made banks’ and corporations’ tax liability fall to historic low levels, and then capped by a taxpayer giveaway to Wall Street banks and financial houses. The debt that would be hiked to near astronomical proportions if Congress ever approved the House GOP’s budget plan, drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, which would add $6 trillion in to the national debt over a decade. Strangely, there’s no debt ceiling squawk from the GOP on this horrific prospect.

But the GOP didn’t acquiesce in turning the debt into a non-issue solely to appease a GOP president. Congress jumped the debt ceiling 64 times since 1962 before Bush took office for Democratic and Republican presidents alike. The ceiling was raised even in election years without any public fanfare.

But when polls showed that a majority of Americans were concerned about mounting debt, and that a sizable number of Americans wanted to rein in spending, the debt ceiling instantly became a fresh weapon for the GOP to barrage Obama. They calculate they can score three political pluses on the cheap. They can further tar Obama and the Democrats as reckless spendthrifts that want to run the country and the economy into the ground. They can wrap themselves even more snugly in the cloak of the defenders of fiscal prudence and responsibility with the solemn mission of guarding the nation’s taxpayer’s purse. They can drive a wedge between Obama and Congressional Democrats by forcing him to make concessions for a budget deal that will draw howls from Democrats. The concessions are, of course, putting the Democrats’ two sacred cow programs, Medicare and Social Security, on the chopping block.

The GOP ploy played out to predictable perfection. The instant word leaked out that Obama had offered to make a tweak in the cost of living formula for Social Security and raise the age limit on Medicare recipients; a legion of congressional Democrats screamed betrayal and warned that any such deal on the two vital programs would have damaging consequences for Democrats in 2012. They are right. That was the whole point of the GOP forcing Obama to take the drastic steps of offering up Social Security and Medicare as bargaining chips to put him at odds with other Democrats and cause jitters among the Democratic voter base.

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Congressman Deutch Spins the GOP Wheel of Misfortune

TPMDC

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) took to the House floor on Friday to explain how a debt ceiling default would affect the country using the power of arts and crafts.

The Democratic lawmaker busted out a construction paper “GOP Wheel Of Misfortune” to explain how a failure to raise the debt ceiling would cut off Social Security checks for seniors, suspend pay for federal workers, and send interest rates soaring.

Watch below. The fun begins around 2:00 in.

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Bachmann And The ‘Barbarians’

I have just one question…why did it take Marcus Bachmann a week to respond to the contents of the tape?

TPMDC

Blogger Who Posted ‘Barbarian’ Tape Denies It Was ‘Doctored’

The blogger who first surfaced Marcus Bachmann’s “barbarians” audio from 2010 says in no uncertain terms that the clip of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) husband saying gays “need to be disciplined” was not altered whatsoever.

“I didn’t doctor a damn a thing,”DumpBachmann.com blogger Ken Avidor told New York magazine.

Bachmann and one of the counselors at his clinic are distancing themselves from the controversial remarks by saying, in essence, that they never happened.

Not so says Avidor, who first posted the audio clip from Christian talk radio show “Point of View” back in May, 2010. It was later picked up by ThinkProgress and went viral.

The show’s not talking — it didn’t respond to requests from New York or the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which published Bachmann’s quote about it being doctored this morning.

The show also didn’t immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment on the issue.

Bachmann told the Star-Tribune he was talking about children, not gay people, when he referred to “barbarians” something Avidor — an avid follower of all things Bachmann — told New York could be the case.

Here’s the original question from the transcript of the clip posted by New York:

Question: Today The Wall Street Journal came out with an article, “What do you say when your teenager is gay?” What do you say to Christian parents who come up with this?

Bachmann: Well, I think you clearly say, what is the understanding of God’s word on homosexuality. And I think that this is no mystery that a child or pre-adolescent, particularly adolescents, will question and wonder about sexuality. That’s nothing new under the sun since the beginning of time. But I don’t think we should take that as, because we wonder or we think or we question, does that take us down the road of homosexuality –

Question: Could you add the word experiment to that?

Bachmann: Well, certainly, there’s that curiosity. But again, we, like, you know, it is as if we have to understand: Barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. And just because someone feels it or thinks it, doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to go down that road. That’s what’s called the sinful nature. And we have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps.

Avidor says he’s heard Bachmann say “children are barbarians” before, and often says “things need to be “civilized out of them.” So he does acknowledge that Bachmann may have been taken — at least somewhat — out of context.

Read the full New York post, including Avidor’s take on the quote in context, here.

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Fox News Host Eric Bolling’s Emotional Defense Of 9/11 Omission: ‘Thank You, Liberals, For Reminding Me How Petty You Can Be’ (VIDEO)

Since Glenn Beck left, this guy is the biggest clown on Fox News…

Huffington Post   

Fox News’ Eric Bolling delivered an angry, emotional response to the attention he received for mistakenly saying there had been no domestic terror attacks during President Bush’s term.

Since the statement–which Bolling made on Wednesday’s episode of “The Five”–omitted 9/11, Bolling drew some ridicule. On Thursday’s episode, he addressed his critics directly, with his voice shaking. Bolling said that “obviously” he had meant that there were no domestic terror attacks in the aftermath of 9/11, but that the “radical liberal left pounced on us and me” instead of letting the statement go.

He then assured people that he remembered 9/11 all too well.

“I happened to be standing there watching in true terror as radical Islamists slammed planes into the towers that morning,” Bolling said. “I remember the towers collapsing, killing 3,000, including 16 of my closest friends, and I really remember trying to comfort the kids of my friends at their memorial services. I’ll never forget 9/11, but thank you liberals for reminding me how petty you can be.”

WATCH:

 

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Report: Bin Laden’s Hit List Included Obama, Petraeus, And A Major U.S. Sporting Event

Mediaite

ABC News Martha Raddatz is quoting unnamed U.S. officials who are claiming that Osama bin Laden had the desire to celebrate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 with another attack on the United States, and had a “hit list” which includedBarack Obama, General David Petraeus and included plans for crashing a small airplane into a major U.S. sporting event causing mass casualties.

Writing for ABCNews.com, Raddatz reports:

The hit list was discovered in the “treasure trove” of information seized from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound after the Navy SEAL raid that killed him in May. Officials say he was intent on an attack on the upcoming 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, though the plot was only in the “discussion phase.” He also remained obsessed with using aircraft to kill.

Officials tell ABC News that bin Laden wanted to fly a small plane into a sporting event to cause mass casualties.

“We have so many small airports, you could fly below radar,” said Brad Garrett, former FBI special agent and now an ABC News consultant. “That’s possibly doable.’

Raddatz continues to report that the main target on bin Laden’s hit list was Obama and that the al Qaeda leader was “trying to hatch a plan to kill President Obama by shooting down Air Force One or Marine One” during one of his trips abroad. Read the full report here or watch Raddatz report on GMA this morning, courtesy of ABC News.

Watch ABC News video courtesy of Mediaite

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Filed under Osama Bin-Laden, September 11th

Low Registration Sinks Tea Party Convention

Sign of the times ahead for the Tea Party?

Roll Call Politics

Organizers of the Freedom Jamboree announced Wednesday that they have canceled the tea party convention planned for this fall, citing low registration.

They had hoped the event would serve as a stage for Republican presidential candidates to court the conservative movement, and two — Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) — had already confirmed they would attend.

The weekend of reflection and strategizing was scheduled for Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 in Kansas City, Kan., and included a straw poll. Twenty-one local tea party groups started it with the intent to reclaim the movement from national umbrella groups and offer an alternative to the annual fall tea party rally on the National Mall.

“We were doing it because we were fed up with the infighting that these umbrella groups have done in 2010,” William Temple, a lead organizer who lives in Georgia, told Roll Call.

He cited low registration in an email Wednesday informing activists about the cancellation. He said that finances weren’t an issue, but a June financial report posted on the organization’s website showed that only about $10,000 had been raised for an event that was supposed to attract hundreds of tea party groups from across the nation.

Only 62 tea party groups had committed to attending, well under the 350 that Temple estimated would be needed to break even.

The $10,000 was raised through sponsorships, donations, registration and vendor fees, and Temple’s email said it all would be returned.

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FBI to investigate News Corporation over 9/11 hacking allegations

Guardian.co.uk

Bureau to investigate claims News of the World journalists sought to hack into phones of victims of 9/11, reports say      

The FBI has opened an investigation into allegations that News of the World journalists tried to hack into the phones of victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York.

The launch of the FBI inquiry amounts to the first official inquiry within the US into News Corporation activities. The move brings the scandal within Rupert Murdoch‘s British newspaper division closer to his American home and to News Corporation’s headquarters in Manhattan.

The announcement of an FBI inquiry followed a mounting chorus from politicians and relatives of 9/11 victims calling for a review of the allegations. Peter King, the Republican chairman of the homeland security committee in the House of Representatives, on Wednesday wrote to the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, and asked him to open an investigation into the 9/11 allegations.

In his letter, King said he represented a district of New York that lost more than 150 constituents in the terror attacks. “If these allegations are proven true, the conduct would merit felony charges, and any person found guilty should receive the harshest sanctions available under law.”

The claim that Murdoch journalists attempted to get hold of victims’ phone details was made by the Mirror newspaper, which based the story on an unnamed former New York police officer working as a private detective, who was said to have been approached by News of the World reporters asking him to retrieve the private phone records of the dead.

The detective was reported to have declined to take up the commission.

It is unclear at this early stage in the investigation whether there is any substance to the Mirror’s allegations. But relatives of 9/11 victims expressed delight and relief that the FBI had stepped in to clear up the issue.

Continue reading here…

    

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Head of Murdoch’s British operations quits

It was only a matter of time that Rebekah Wade Brooks would either be fired or allowed to resign with “dignity”…

L A Times

Rebekah Brooks, the head of Rupert Murdoch‘s British operations, resigned Friday after days of intensifying pressure on her because of the growing phone-hacking scandal.

One of the most influential women in Britain until the scandal broke wide open last week, Brooks said in a statement that she was stepping down as chief executive of News International because she had become a “focal point” in the scandal and therefore a distraction to efforts to repair the damage.

“I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place,” Brooks wrote to her colleagues at News International.

The company is the British subsidiary of Murdoch’s giantNews Corp. and owns such storied titles as the Times ofLondon and the Sun tabloid. Until this past Sunday, the weekly News of the World, Britain’s bestselling newspaper, was also one of the company’s holdings. But News International abruptly shut it down after 168 years of existence because of allegations that it ordered the hacking of cellphones belonging to a wide swath of British society, including celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

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Debt talks shine light on prickly relationship between Obama, Cantor

The term “prickly” is putting it mildly.  Eric Cantor is the unpolished, egotistical school kid in the room trying to make a name for himself.

It appears his lack of understanding of the President’s determination to get the debt ceiling raised is faulty.

Cantor assumed that because Obama has capitulated to so many of the majority’s demands in the past, he would simply do it again.  Cantor’s bully tactics and frankly, total disrespect for the President at Wednesday’s meeting backfired on him.  Clearly, Eric Cantor was not the smartest guy in the room

The Hill

The fractious negotiations over raising the debt ceiling have exposed the prickly relationship between President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

On Thursday —the day after Obama and Cantor had what all sides seem to agree was a terse exchange at the White House — the Virginia Republican stressed that he had always tried to be substantive in his discussions with the president.

“You would have to ask him what irks him so much about my policy-based discussions,” Cantor told The Hill in a short interview.

While Obama is known to have a chummy rapport with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the president does not seem to have the same kind of working relationship with Cantor.

The interactions between Cantor and Obama have been closely watched ever since Boehner decided last weekend to abandon a $4 trillion deficit-reduction package. Since Boehner’s announcement, Cantor has taken a more prominent role in the debt-ceiling negotiations and reportedly asserted his voice in closed-door meetings with the president.

In an interview Thursday, Obama said he’s more than willing to work with Cantor on a deficit-reduction package.

“I am willing to work with everybody, including Eric Cantor, to solve problems. My relationship with all the leaders has been cordial, it has been professional,” Obama told with KYW of Philadelphia.

But even as the president stressed his openness to working with the majority leader, he said Republicans need get to serious about reaching deal.

“I think at a certain point the American people run out of patience if they think people are playing games and not serious in terms of solving problems,” Obama said.

Cantor’s emergence as a leader in the talks seems to have riled the president, who reportedly snapped at the No. 2 Republican on two different occasions this week.

One of the incidents occurred during Wednesday’s session of the debt-ceiling talks. Cantor claimed Obama stormed out of the White House meeting after daring him to call his bluff on rejecting a short-term debt-ceiling increase. Democrats said Obama simply ended a discussion in which Cantor kept interrupting him.

Another sharp exchange reportedly happened during Tuesday’s negotiating session.

According to media reports, Cantor challenged Obama to show him the outline of his “grand bargain” for $4 trillion in deficit savings on paper.

“Frankly, your Speaker has it,” Obama shot back. “Am I dealing with him, or am I dealing with you?”

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Obama on Debt: ‘It’s Decision Time’

It has finally come down to the wire…

The Daily Beast

Now he means business: President Obama told Congressional leaders to talk with their members over the next 24 hours “to see what can be done,” to reach a deficit-reduction deal. Obama said, “It’s decision time. We need concrete plans to move this forward.”

Although, Obama also said he might call leaders back to the White House over the weekend for further discussion, one Republican aide said, “The White House talks are irrelevant, a sideshow. They have been overtaken by events.”

Meanwhile, support appeared to be growing for Mitch McConnell’s backup plan, which would give Obama power to raise the debt cap himself. Senator Harry Reid said that he had spoken to McConnell about the plan. Reid said, “I told him I appreciated his work and I would do everything I could to try to be positive about it.”

Read it at The New York Times

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