Morning Bunker Report: Monday 4.23.2012

————————————WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY

REDUCING GOVERNMENT DEFICITS Mitt Romney’s way would mean less money for health care for the poor and disabled and big cuts to nuts-and-bolts functions such as food inspection, border security and education. Romney also promises budget increases for the Pentagon, above those sought by some GOP defense hawks, meaning that the rest of the government would have to shrink even more. [...] The GOP front-runner suggests raising the Social Security retirement age and reducing cost-of-living increases for better-off retirees. [...] Like Ryan’s budget, the Romney plan would also cut benefit programs other than Social Security and Medicare. They include food stamps, school lunches, crop subsidies, Supplemental Security Income for very poor seniors and disabled people, unemployment insurance, veterans’ pensions and refundable tax credits to the working poor. Based on the Romney materials, it’s impossible to project the size of the cuts to such programs. Suffice it to say, they would be controversial. [Romney budgeting: Tax cuts for the wealthy + more money for war = austerity for the rest of us]

PAY NO ATTENTION TO POLYGAMY COMMUNES, TAX RETURNS, CAR ELEVATORS, AND SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS! – “Now, though, the general election season is on, and The Times needs to offer an aggressive look at the president’s record, policy promises and campaign operation to answer the question: Who is the real Barack Obama?” Brisbane wrote. “Many critics view The Times as constitutionally unable to address the election in an unbiased fashion. Like a lot of America, it basked a bit in the warm glow of Mr. Obama’s election in 2008.” [...] “The warm afterglow of Mr. Obama’s election,” he wrote, “the collateral effects of liberal-minded feature writers — these can be overcome by hard-nosed, unbiased political reporting now.” [NYT Public Editor: NYT 'Basked' In Obama's 2008 Election, Must 'Aggressively' Vet Him Now ]

  • Also too: Earlier this week Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University announced that Mitt Romney would speak at this year’s commencement and, just as predicted, students at the arch-Christian academy are not unanimously in favor of the idea because they don’t consider Mormons to be “real” Christians. [...] By Friday morning, more than 700 comments had been posted on the school’s Facebook page about the Thursday announcement – a majority of them decidedly against the Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.’s invitation, citing that the school had taught them Mormonism isn’t part of the Christian faith. [...] This is the part where the aspiring Christians of Liberty University realize that they’ve been played by their elders who are not at all concerned about Romney’s religion. They’re only concerned with money and power, and Mitt Romney is perhaps better suited than anyone to deliver the gospel of free-markets and white privilege. To pervert religion for the purposes of attaining more money and power.

THE DOUCHE SQUAD: REPUBLICAN TEAPARTY FRESHMEN AND THEIR ‘DO NOTHING’ WORK ETHIC. The book, which will be released Tuesday, shows just how much energy had to be expended on the 87 freshmen who took their oath in January 2011, many of them holding office for the first time. Accounting for nearly 40 percent of Boehner’s conference, the freshmen exercised their clout early and often, imposing their will on the rest of the House Republicans. Many freshmen viewed GOP leaders warily from the outset and compelled Boehner’s team to make the rookies the constant focus of its attention. “I didn’t come to Washington to be part of a team,” Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) told the book’s author. [...] During the debt-ceiling fight, some freshmen were ready to push the government into default. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), a first-time politician who was a surprise winner of a West Texas district, wrote Boehner to express his fear that the debt ceiling was “very possibly a hostage that we’re unwilling to shoot.” In an interview Friday, Farenthold said he has some regret that he eventually agreed, under pressure from local businessmen, to support the compromise, because it brought only $2.1 trillion in savings. “I think we could have survived it,” he said Friday of a federal default. [New book about the GOP freshmen and the very serious business of Washington that's no longer being done]

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS—————————————————————-

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA will issue an executive order Monday allowing sanctions to be imposed against foreigners who use technologies to carry out human rights abuses, The Washington Post said. The order would target those found to have used technologies including cellphone tracking or the Internet to carry out violations.  [...] The executive order, which Obama will announce during a Monday speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, will also target companies and individuals assisting the governments of Iran and Syria, the paper said. The report came after troops in Syria shot dead six civilians on Sunday in Homs despite the presence of UN military observers in the rebel province to pave the way for a 300-strong mission approved by the Security Council. [The Raw Story]

REPUBLICANS IN THE US CONGRESS are under a “reign of terror” imposed by the party’s conservative wing that also has pushed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to the right, President Barack Obama’s senior campaign strategist said on Sunday. David Axelrod, in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” program, cited the Obama administration’s plans for immigration reform as an example of Republican intransigence in Congress. The political process in Washington should not be “monolithic opposition to everything the chief executive wants to do as a political strategy,” Axelrod said, adding that an “implacable group of Republicans” had blocked any possibility of immigration reform. “I think there are a lot of Republicans in Congress who want to cooperate … but they’re in the thralls of this reign of terror from the far right that has dragged the party to the right,” he said. [Reuters]

GOP WAR ON THE MIDDLE CLASS: In her bid to unseat Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren is keeping up her populist message, with a new ad out today that notes she “grew up in a family hanging on by our finger tips to a place in the middle class.” It goes on to hit Washington for “let[ting] big corporations like GE pay nothing — zero — in taxes while kids are left drowning in debt to get an education.” The ad comes after Brown joined Senate Republicans in filibustering the Buffett Rule, and in the midst of new reports showing perilously high student loan debt posing a threat to the economy. Watch the ad:

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