PROFILES IN COURAGE: Michele Bachmann endorses Mitt Romney

After months of hints, Michele Bachmann finally endorsed her former rival Mitt Romney in his bid for the presidency, calling him “the last chance we have to keep America from going … over a cliff.” — ABC News

Take that, Obama!

Why does CNN currently suck?

Joe Coscarelli asks, Why Is No One Watching CNN?

Put gently, as usual, by the Times: “Like Fox News, MSNBC now has hosts with clear political points of view at key times of the day. CNN promotes itself as the top source for nonpartisan news on television.” In other words, it’s boring and basic, so people only watch when they need primary results or Whitney Houston dies. Cenk Uygur of Current TV’s The Young Turks has the following advice:

… for the love of God, stop doing “he said, she said” crap that doesn’t actually deliver the news to anyone. Democrats said this and Republicans said that — who cares? What is the reality?! Your job is supposed to be to bring us facts, not what official spokespeople told you in their press releases and talking points.

I agree that the ‘he said, she said’ bullshit has to go — in fact Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein recently wrote an excellent op-ed, practically begging the media, like CNN, to stop being such complete failures on this issue. But to have CNN bill itself as the “top source for nonpartisan news” is a joke. Please. Let’s not forget this is the cable news network which decided it would be a great idea to add political commentary from such glorious wingnuts as Erick Erickson and Dana Loesch. If I wanted to listen to rightwing nutjobs (which I don’t), I’d turn to Fox News (which I won’t). CNN is losing on many fronts.

Mitt Romney coddles government parasites: the uncomfortable glitch in Republican ideology

Jonathan Chait makes a great point about the uncomfortable glitch in Republican ideology, which has been enthusiastically embraced by Mitt Romney, regarding ‘certain’ government workers:

Police officers and firefighters are a tricky occupational category for Republicans. Culturally, they are allies — working class, mostly male, and beloved symbols of American values. Economically, though, they are government workers, which has always put their interests in tension with those of the GOP, and especially so in recent years, as Republicans have increasingly held up government workers as a kind of parasitic class.

Last night Mitt Romney was strolling across one side of this tricky line and slipped to the other. Appearing at a fund-raiser, he recounted his trip the day before to a Manhattan fire station. 

[...] ROMNEY:  “I spoke with a fireman yesterday, and he has a one-bedroom apartment, and his wife is pregnant, and he can’t afford a second bedroom,” he said, referring to a visit to New York City. “I asked the firefighters I was meeting with, about 15 or them, how many had had to take another job to make ends meet, and almost every one of them had.”

Well, maybe we should pay them more! Oh, wait — Romney’s position is that these fine public servants are luxuriating in excessive pay, a fact that, unlike swelling income inequality, constitutes a major source of unfairness in American life. (“We will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve,” he said last week.) Obama’s position is that the federal government ought to provide aid to state governments to rehire some of the laid-off teachers, cops, and firefighters. Republicans oppose this. Continue reading…

Also noteworthy, many police and firefighters belong to unions, which are One of the Greatest Evils of This World according to proper conservative thought. How on earth could Fortune 500 CEOs earn 380 times more than the average worker with strong labor unions?

What I find fascinating is how there could be any government workers, at any level of government, in any job category, who would consider — even for a moment — today’s GOP as their ally on any subject that could personally affect them or their livelihoods.

At this point, it should be a no-brainer which political party is actually fighting for government workers and which party just likes to pretend they’re really, really macho with public demonstrations of homage to the manliest men of civil service, while plotting to defund their ranks (or their pay and benefits) behind closed doors.

Photos below: (pic 1) Giuliani and Romney carry pizza two feet to NY firefighters on May 1 for photo-op. (pic 2) Pizza boxes dumped on aide after photo-op.

The (nonpartisan) chart that should accompany all discussions of the debt ceiling

James Fallows says this is The Chart That Should Accompany All Discussions of the Debt Ceiling (via: JoeWo):

…from yesterday’s New York Times. Click for a more detailed view, though it’s pretty clear as is.

24editorial_graph2-popup.gif

It’s based on data from the Congressional Budget Office and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Its significance is not partisan (who’s “to blame” for the deficit) but intellectual. It demonstrates the utter incoherence of being very concerned about a structural federal deficit but ruling out of consideration the policy that was largest single contributor to that deficit, namely the Bush-era tax cuts. Continue reading…

By GOPLogic, it’s Obama’s fault for not fixing Bush’s screw ups quicker. Now the only question that remains is: what can the Republican Party cut so Bush’s tax cuts can be extended for the wealthiest one percent?

Here’s something else to keep in mind while gazing at this chart:

“In 2010, 93 percent of income growth went to the wealthiest 1 percent of American households, while everyone else divvied up the 7 percent that was left over.” — University of California economist Emmanuel Saez, The rich are different; they get richer 

What rightwing domestic extremists? JT Ready: border vigilante, white supremacist, baby killer

On that shooting in Arizona (not surprisingly) yesterday which left five dead, TPM reports:

Longtime white supremacist and border vigilante JT Ready saw himself as part of a war that few others would fight. He amassed weapons. He donned a uniform. He formed his own brigade of volunteers to walk alongside him as he hunted what he described as “narco terrorists” flowing across the Arizona-Mexico border.

On Wednesday, reports out of Arizona said Ready died, not at the hands of drug runners, but with his own gun during a mad rampage inside a suburban home just east of Phoenix. Along the way, the reports said, he took the lives of four other people, including a toddler.

The Arizona Republic reported the victims were Ready’s girlfriend, her daughter, the daughter’s boyfriend and the daughter’s 18-month-old baby. Ready still somehow managed to use the event to blame immigrants even after his death. A posting on his Facebook page appeared hours after the massacre took place.

“Reports are unconfirmed that a cartel assassination squad murdered JT Ready and several of his friends and family this afternoon in Gilbert Arizona,” the posting said. “This page’s admin will keep you updated of the situation as soon as possible.”

TPM called Ready’s cell phone late Wednesday, but a message on the other end said the line had been disconnected or was no longer in service.

Read: JT Ready Identified As Gunman In Arizona Massacre

No one could have predicted. /sarcasm

Maybe if we as a country fought as hard for universal healthcare (to include mental health) as we do for our Second Amendment rights, these kinds of typically American acts of violence would someday be not so typically American.

Federal spending pie chart

Click for larger:

PDF slides / script

From ConnectTheDotsUSA.com — 

SLIDE 2: Federal Spending 2011 Script: So let’s break it all down Suze Orman style. Here’s the 2011 Federal budget all in one beautiful pie chart. If you master this, you’ll understand way more than most. The budget year actually started Oct 1, 2010. We kept the government open for half the fiscal year with a series of Continuing Resolutions (aka CRs). And we’re off to the same start using CRs for the 2012 budget. Total spending in 2011 was approximately $3.64 Trillion, so each 1% equals about $36 Billion or $36,000 Million.

Everything in red is Mandatory spending, meaning it is dictated by existing law and very difficult to change without a Battle Royale. This makes up about 2/3 of the entire budget and includes Social Security 20%, Medicare 13%, Medicaid 8%, other Safety Net programs 10% and Interest on the long-term debt 7%. Note that Social Security and Medicare have their own dedicated revenue stream through the payroll tax.

Everything in yellow is Discretionary spending, which is what is hammered out each year between Congress and the President. What I found most surprising is that almost all Military spending ($728 Billion), including the two wars, is negotiated each year. And it makes up more than half of our Discretionary spending. That leaves only about 14% of the entire budget — these little bitty 1% and 2% slivers over here — that are “non-military discretionary” spending.

It includes things like Education, Energy, Environment & Science, Veterans Affairs, Housing, Transportation. And that’s exactly where the Republicans recently got $38 billion slashed out of about $255 Billion in the 6 month budget left. That cut is little more than 1% of the entire budget, but it’s a gigantic chunk out of these little slivers.

Note that Foreign Aid is only about 1% of the budget. In a recent poll, most people mistakenly believe it is a whopping 27% and that just eliminating foreign aid will solve our budget problems.

Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 5.3.2012

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

PROTECTING THE CAUCASIAN RACE: Jodie Brunstetter, the wife of Republican North Carolina state legislator Peter Brunstetter told poll workers that her husband authored the state’s anti-same sex marriage law Amendment One to “protect the Caucasian race” and save the U.S. Constitution from “activist judges,” according to Chad Nance’s reporting for Yes! magazine. [...] Nance quickly recruited a friend as a witness and recorded an interview with Brunstetter at the scene. In it, she reluctantly confirmed that she had made references to the “Caucasian” race and reiterated her remarks that “we” created this country and its Constitution and that Amendment One is necessary in their defense. Brustetter “insisted there was nothing racial about her remarks, but could not explain why she used the term ‘Caucasian.’” — Raw Story

IT’S REMARKABLE, this shitcanning of Richard Grenell as foreign-policy spokescritter for the Romneybot 2.0. Remarkable still for its being handled with such notable dispatch. First, you hire on the former mouthpiece for authoritarian nutbag John Bolton to establish further your neo-conservative foreign-policy gravitas. It turns out the guy is openly gay, so bonus! …Then, of course, the guy turns out to be just as crackers as his former boss — Bad-mouthing the lovely Callista Gingrich? Calumnizing kindly Doc Maddow? My seconds will call on yours, sir! — and, because he’s gay, the megachurches scramble the flying monkeys into the air and, within two weeks, Grenell is as fired as an Ampad worker. — Charles P. Pierce

WHAT’S THE OPPOSITE OF PROGRESS? Mitt Romney shared a straightforward summary of his guiding economic principle at a campaign stop earlier today: Kicking off his Virginia campaign, Republican Mitt Romney said Wednesday he’ll do “the opposite” of what President Barack Obama has done to help the economy. His wife, Ann, chipped in by appealing to women voters in a key region of a state both candidates will fight over until November’s election. “What I would do? People ask me, ‘What would you to get the economy going’? and I say, ‘well look at what the president’s done, and do the opposite,'” Romney told a group gathered at a warehouse in Northern Virginia. I’m not sure if Romney’s really thought this one through. Or maybe he has, and he assumes voters won’t think this one through. Four years ago, the economy is shrinking; now it’s growing. Four years ago, the economy was hemorrhaging jobs; now it’s gaining jobs. Four years ago, the unemployment rate was going up; now it’s going down. Four years ago, the stock market was crashing; now it’s reaching new heights. Four years ago, the deficit was getting bigger; now it’s getting smaller. Four years ago, the American auto industry was on the verge of collapse; now it’s thriving. Is Romney sure he wants to look at the Obama administration’s policies and do the opposite? — Maddow Blog – Romney vows to do ‘the opposite’

OVERSEAS LOCATIONS of Mitt Romney’s finances  — Mitt Romney has invested his money around the world, from the Cayman Islands to Ireland to Australia. We don’t know if he’s using these accounts to avoid paying his fair share in taxes, but we do know that in 2010, Romney’s tax rate was a startlingly low 13.9%. This means Romney pays a lower tax rate than many teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other middle-class Americans—even a lower rate than most other millionaires. — BarackObama.com

“POLITICS IS WEIRD. And creepy. And now I know lacks even the loosest attachment to anything like reality.” — Shep Smith reacts to Mitt Romney reacting to Newt Gingrich quitting:

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

CENK UYGUR accused former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of hypocrisy for brushing off President Barack Obama’s decision to strike Osama bin Laden’s compound. Tuesday night on Fox News, Rumsfeld denied that sending a SEAL team into Pakistan to kill or capture bin Laden was a “tough decision.” “To not make that decision, it seems to me, would just be dumbfounding,” he said. “I can’t imagine any President not making that decision.” Cenk, however, noted that Rumsfeld himself had called off a major raid targeting bin Laden. “There was a U.S. general near Tora Bora with about five thousand troops and he asked Donald Rumsfeld — specifically him — for permission to pursue bin Laden,” Cenk said, describing a Senate report. “Rumsfeld said ‘no.’ This is not a matter in dispute. It is an absolute certifiable fact.” — Raw Story

OBAMA LIED! Except — wait, hang on, anyone who reads Dreams From My Father starts with this disclaimer. “For the sake of compression, some of the characters that appear are composites of people I’ve known, and some events appear out of precise chronology. With the exception of my family and a handful of public figures, the names of most characters have been changed for the sake of their privacy.” This has been known for years. Obama’s memoir has stymied reporters because characters who might have some insights appear in composite form. The most famous of them, up to now, was a guy named “Ray,” who gets all of Dreams’s “angry black dude” lines. Is it kosher for a future president to write like this and then be cagey about who was who? Interesting discussion! But in 2012, you can’t “admit” something you told book-buyers in 1995. — Obama Girlfriend Trutherism

  • DEEP THOUGHT: Pretty sure “so old girlfriends don’t dish on me in national magazines” is reason enough to not want to be president. — Duncan Black
  • LESS DEEP THOUGHT: Pretty sure “so national magazines can’t find your old girlfriends” is reason enough to make them composite characters in your memoirs. — Me

Young Barack Obama in Love: A Girlfriend’s Secret Diary — When Barack Obama met Genevieve Cook in 1983 at a Christmas party in New York’s East Village, it was the start of his most serious romance yet. But as the 22-year-old Columbia grad began to shape his future, he was also struggling with his identity: American or international? Black or white? Drawing on conversations with both Cook and the president, David Maraniss, in an adaptation from his new Obama biography, has the untold story of the couple’s time together. — Adapted from Barack Obama: The Story, by David Maraniss, to be published this month by Simon & Schuster; © 2012 by the author.

JON STEWART: CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS hate Barack Obama more than they love Jesus — reporting on the conservative Christian belief that Mormonism is heretical.