Morning Bunker Report: Saturday 5.12.2012

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

An email campaign endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) launched this week (pictured, below) depicts a rifle pointing at President Barack Obama’s head, and a message about an imaginary “million rifle ban” the president is allegedly seeking to implement. “Death threats against this president are up 400 percent as compared to President Bush,” Ladd Everitt, director of communications for The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told Raw Story on Thursday. “We are living today in a supercharged, partisan political climate where threats of violence and violent rhetoric are everywhere, and you would think that anyone — anyone, no matter what their political views or disagreements with this president — would have the common sense and decency to not create a banner image for a conspiracy theory-fueled email that shows a gun pointing directly at [the president's] head, while simultaneously preaching to folks about some ridiculous Obama gun ban that exists only in a fantasy world.” — Raw Story

  • UPDATE — 5/11: The image housed at the website for the campaign has been changed. The rifle now points toward the head of Sen. Paul. — HuffPo

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HOW ARE WE DOING AS A SOCIETY? Trayvon Martin gun range targets were sold online “to make money off the controversy,” report says — The targets reportedly do not show Martin’s face, but feature a hoodie with crosshairs aimed at the chest. A bag of Skittles is tucked in the pocket and a hand is holding a can resembling iced tea. Martin reportedly was carrying both items the night of his death.  [...] According to WKMG, the seller of the targets told them in an email exchange that the “main motivation was to make money off the controversy.” — CBS News

Harry Reid finally gets fed up with ‘mindless’ Republican obstructionism over the refusal of Senate Republicans to pass a completely non-controversial reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank on the grounds that they wanted time to offer amendments. “It’s so unusual here,” Reid continued. “I have been here in Congress thirty years, but this is a new one. Even bills that they agree on, they want to mess around with. In years past, this would have gone through here just like this [snapping his fingers]. … The House passed something 330 to 93, and we’re here playing around with it? It should be done. We should have passed it yesterday. This thing is going to expire.” “It’s hard to comprehend what the new mantra of the Republicans in the Senate, what it is,” he added. “I don’t get it.” — Raw Story

  • Reid expressed regret that he had not supported a proposed change to the filibuster rule in January 2011, but had instead entered into a “gentleman’s agreement” with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to keep it intact.
  • NOTE: If the Democrats hold their Senate majority, Democratic voters will need to remind Harry Reid and others that there can be no ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ with Republicans anymore. Ever. There is no more trust.

The 111th Congress was practically defined by Republicans who turned an extraordinary measure–the filibuster–into a routine tool of obstruction. GOP senators invoked holds and filibusters on virtually everything that came from Senate Democrats, resulting in a session that saw more filibusters than any previous session in history. This nifty graph is illustrative. [...] At this point, I’m honestly unsure of what will convince reporters to cease the constant equivalence between the two parties. Democrats aren’t angels, of course, but the Republican Party has embarked on a crusade against the norms that govern conduct in the Senate. It’s totalistic approach to politics is responsible for congressional dysfunction, and placing blame on both sides only makes the problem harder to solve. — Prospect.org

Maddow Blog: It’s a good thing we didn’t let Detroit go bankrupt: “U.S. auto sales are on pace for the best showing since 2007 and a third straight year of at least 10 percent gains, only the fourth such streak since the Great Depression, as more-confident buyers return to showrooms.”

Mediaite: Geraldo Rivera appeared on Fox & Friends on Friday where he described an intrusive inspection he had received from a Transportation Security Administration officer on a recent trip to Afghanistan. “I got manually raped by a guy,” said Rivera. “This guy, it seemed to me, was getting off on it.” (NOTE: it was a TSA pat-down, something thousands of people go through every day.)

TPM: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), on Obama: “Call me cynical, but I didn’t think his views on marriage could get any gayer.”

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



President Barack Obama gave Congress a “to-do list” for fixing the economy in his weekly address broadcast Saturday. Obama’s suggestions:
1) ending tax breaks for companies that outsource work overseas,
2) help homeowners refinance their mortgages at lower interest rates,
3) increasing tax benefits for small businesses that hire,
4) increasing tax benefits for small businesses that hire and extending tax credits for clean-energy companies,
5) and creating a Veterans Job Corps for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are re-entering the private sector.

“… America’s real problems have nothing to do with what we do in our bedrooms and everything to do with what top executives do in their boardrooms and executive suites. We’re not in trouble because gays want to marry or women want to have some control over when they have babies. We’re in trouble because CEOs are collecting exorbitant pay while slicing the pay of average workers, because the titans of Wall Street demand short-term results over long-term jobs, and because of a boardroom culture that tolerates financial conflicts of interest, insider trading, and the outright bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign “donations.” Our crisis has nothing to do with private morality. It’s a crisis of public morality – of abuses of public trust that undermine the integrity of our economy and democracy … .” — Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich in Of Bedrooms and Boardrooms [via: reagan-was-a-horrible-president]

Daily Kos: Tom Barrett gets an Obama campaign assist in Wisconsin recall against Scott Walker — The next election here in Wisconsin is coming up on June 5th — and it’s important to make sure your voice is heard. For the last year and a half, Governor Walker has divided Wisconsin — siding with big corporations and the super-rich at the expense of working, middle-class families. He’s broken our trust in state government: Too many Wisconsin families are out of work, students face crowded classrooms, and working men and women will be hurt by cuts to health care funding.

  • Charles P. Pierce: The microphone is always open, the camera is always on, and Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to run their midwestern subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, is always saying the wrong thing to the wrong people. In the video in that link there, which you should really watch all the way through, the billionaire Diane Hendricks tells Walker she wants to discuss “controversial” subjects away from reporters…
  • In the video, Diane Hendricks, who owns a roofing wholesale and siding distribution company, asks Walker: “Any chance we’ll ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions—” Walker: “Oh, yeah.” Hendricks: “—and become a right-to-work? What can we do to help you?” Walker: “Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer.” — Daily Kos
  • Walker has said publicly before that he wouldn’t pursue right-to-work. Asked about right-to-work earlier this year by The Atlantic’s Molly Ball Walker had said, “When I was in the legislature, I supported it. It’s not something I’m pursuing right now, nor have any plan of pursuing. Again, private-sector unions have been our partner in the economic revival we’ve had in this state.” — Buzzfeed

Asked whether he would be at a disadvantage politically if gays galvanize behind Obama’s reelection campaign, Romney said, “Hopefully, people are focusing on the major issues of the day, which relate to our economy, getting people back to work, dealing with Syria…. But I know for many people, the issue of marriage is going to be a defining issue, and they will make their decision on that basis. That is their right. But you don’t change your position to try to win states or certain subgroups of Americans. You have the positions you have, and you know, for a long time, I think since the beginning of my career, I have made it very clear that I thought that marriage should be a relationship between a man and a women.” — NationalJournal.com

Think Progress: Insurers Will Pay $1.3 Billion In Rebates To 16 Million Consumers Because Of Obamacare – Thanks to a provision of the Affordable Care Act, 16 million consumers and businesses are expected to receive about $1.3 billion in rebates from health insurance companies, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The medical loss ratio rule requires insurers to spend at least 80 to 85 percent of premiums on patient care; if not, then the companies owe rebates to their customers. As Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explains, “We want to know that most of what we are paying for is for health care, not advertising, executive bonuses or overhead. It’s pretty simple: we want to get a good value for our premium dollars.”

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