U.S. Politics

Truth Or Consequences: Bush National Guard Story Reexamined

George Bush Dan Rather

I’ll always believe that Karl Rove and his minions forced CBS to fire Dan Rather over his report about then President Bush and his stint in the National Guard.  At that point,  the story became Dan Rather’s firing (implying a credibility issue) rather than the truthfulness of Dan Rather’s investigative report.  Bush was up for re-election in 2004 and could not afford to have such a negative report about his National Guard years making the rounds.

The Huffington Post

Texas Monthly:

Here it is, on a coat hook in midtown Manhattan: the Army-issue green shirt, with “CBS NEWS” written in white letters on the ID tag, that Dan Rather wore in 1966 while hunkered down in rice paddies along the Cambodian border.

Read the whole story: Texas Monthly

President Obama

Obama’s Buffett Rule: Just a political gimmick?

President Obama's Buffett Rule, which would tax incomes of $1 million or more at a rate of 30 percent, would raise an extra $47 billion over the next decade.

Following, are three opinions on President Obama’s “Buffet Rule”…

The Week

The president passionately argues that we ought to hike taxes on the very richest Americans — which, if nothing else, is a handy campaign talking point

President Obama has been making a lot of hay about the Buffett Rule. Named after billionaire Warren Buffett, who has famously said he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, the rule would set a baseline tax rate of 30 percent for yearly incomes over $1 million. The Obama administration says enacting this policy is a matter of economic fairness and common sense, and that it would be the first step toward closing our massive budget deficit. His opponents, however, see nothing more than a cynical campaign ploy. Is the Buffett Rule just smoke and mirrors?


It won’t solve the country’s fiscal problems: The Buffett Rule is a “gimmick,” says Dana Milbank at The Washington Post. The Buffett Rule would raise a paltry $47 billion in revenue over the next 10 years, a drop in the bucket compared to our annual $1.2 trillion deficit. It’s too bad Obama “doesn’t use his unrivaled political skill to sell a tax plan of more consequence.”
“Rebuffing Obama’s gimmicky ‘Buffett Rule'”


But it does highlight economic inequality: “The Buffett Rule is a compelling symbol” of economic inequality in America, says The New York Times in an editorial. Obama has “persuasively argued that it would be a step toward fairness in a tax code tilted in favor of the wealthiest Americans.” And he has every right to make the “serious and growing problem” of income inequality “a central issue in this year’s campaign.” We hope that the Buffett Rule “is only a start,” and that Obama takes other steps “to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared among all Americans.”
“Mr. Obama and the ‘Buffett Rule'”


And voters seem to agree with Obama: Polls show that about 60 percent of Americans think the U.S. economic system “favors the wealthy,” says Ari Berman at The Nation. So “it makes no sense to discard a populist message that is clearly resonating among a majority of the electorate.” Obama’s “focus on income inequality has put the GOP on the defensive,” and shifting gears “would be political suicide, not to mention terrible public policy.”
“Why economic populism is a winning strategy for Obama”


Ann Romney: Hilary Rosen Controversy Was ‘My Early Birthday Present’

Ann Romney Hilary RosenHmmmm….

The Huffington Post

During a closed-door fundraiser in Florida, Ann Romney described Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s recent criticism of her choosing to be a stay-at-home mother as an “early birthday present,” according to a report by NBC News.

While speaking at the fundraiser for her husband Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Ann Romney told the audience that Rosen’s slam was a boon to her and her husband’s campaign.

“It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it,” Romney said.

Mitt Romney, speaking after his wife, also said that the media’s nonstop coverage of Rosen’s criticism, along with the ensuing “war on moms,” was a “gift” in the early stages of his general election push.

Rosen, who is unaffiliated with President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, caused a political firestorm last week when she criticized Romney for turning to his wife, who has “never worked a day in her life,” for advice on women’s economic concerns. While the Obama camp was quick to distance itself from the controversial remarks, the Romney camp seized on the remarks and turned it into a  fundraising push and rallying cry.

“My career choice was to be a mother, and I think all of us need to know that we need to respect the choices women make,” Ann Romney told Fox News last week.

Mitt Romney


“Mittens” is at it again…

The Huffington Post

In a closed-door speech to donors at a private home in Florida on Sunday, Mitt Romney was unusually candid about his policy plans, offering details about what he expects to implement if elected president in November.

According to NBC News, the former Massachusetts governor said he may decide to eliminate several government agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was once led by his father, George Romney.

“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later.”

Although Romney refused to make specific calls about each agency, he did suggest that the Department of Education would see major changes under a Romney presidency.

“I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller,” Romney said. “I’m not going to get rid of it entirely,” explaining that to do so could be a political pitfall and would eliminate a way to push back on powerful teacher unions.

Romney also acknowledged the key role those unions will have on the election, since many of them have pledged support for President Barack Obama.

“The unions will put in hundreds of millions of dollars,” Romney said. “There’s nothing like it on our side.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Romney also outlined which tax deductions he planned to cut.

“I’m going to probably eliminate for high-income people the second-home mortgage deduction,” he said. He also expressed similar plans for the state income tax deduction and state property tax deduction. As the Wall Street Journal points out, this is the first time Romney specifically named which deductions he would cut.

Romney also took the opportunity to discuss his campaign’s efforts to win over key demographics in the general election against Obama. According to Romney, an inability to attract Hispanic voters “spells doom” for the Republican Party.

“We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party,” Romney said, citing a “Republican DREAM Act” as a potential way to give these voters a choice between the two parties. The version backed by Democrats offers a limited path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

He also acknowledged that in order to attract typically Democratic-leaning voters, his campaign would have to reach beyond the Fox News media sphere.

“Fox is watched by the true believers,” Romney said. “We need to get the independents and the women.”

U.S. Politics

9th And 10th Companies Drop ALEC

This is great news.  I hope this will have a domino effect and pinch a nerve or two in the ALEC machine.

Think Progress

Reed Elsevier — a personal information provider (of services such as Lexis-Nexis) — and American Traffic Solutions — a provider of traffic technology solutions— have become the 9th and 10th companies to drop ALEC.

Reed Elsevier stated that the campaign to highlight ALEC’s promotion of measures that disempower and disenfranchise minorities played a role in its decision. “We made the decision after considering the broad range of criticism being leveled at ALEC,” said a Reed Elsevier spokesman.

American Traffic Solutions spokesman Charles Territo said his group’s decision not to renew its membership with ALEC “was based on how best to allocate our resources.”

To recap, here is the list of companies that have dropped ALEC so far:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Mars, Inc.
Arizona Public Service
Reed Elsevier
American Traffic Solutions

Zaid Jilani reports that, while complaining about “bullying” and “intimidation” by others, ALEC is “apparently deleting comments on its Facebook page that are critical of the corporate front group.”