Ben Stein agrees with President Obama: raise taxes on the rich

Raw Story: Conservative economist Ben Stein on Thursday seemed to know that he had wandered off message when he joked that the hosts of Fox & Friends might murder him for saying that it was not possible to balance the budget without raising taxes:

Ben Stein: “I hate to say this on Fox — and I hope I’ll be allowed to leave here alive — but I don’t think there is anyway we can cut spending enough to make a meaningful difference. We going to have to raise taxes on very rich people, people with incomes of like say, 2, 3 million a year and up, and then slowly move it down.”

Steve Doocy: “You do not think Washington just has a spending problem?

Stein: “I do not think they just have a spending problem. I think they also have a too-low taxes problem. And while all due respect to Fox, whom I love like brothers and sisters, the taxes are too low.”

The economist noted that even more revenue could have been brought in during President George W. Bush’s presidency if taxes had not been cut.

Stein: “The evidence is that there is no connection between the level of taxation and the level of economic activity. The biggest growth we’ve ever had in this country was roughly 1941 to roughly 1973, that was the best years we ever had and those were years of much, much higher taxes than we have now, during war time and during peace time. So, the economy can grow very fast, even with much higher taxes. And we’re going to have to do something.”

Doocy: “Taxes were like 70, 80 percent!”

Stein: “I know. And yet, we were very prosperous, we were extremely prosperous. I mean, the highest rate was in the 90s during parts of the 50s and, yet, we were very prosperous.”

When conservative jackwagons like Stein wander off-message and/or are uncharacteristically honest, it turns out that President Obama is correct and Mitt Romney is wrong.

But, ultimately, this will be Good News for Romney. Right, Gallup?

Jon Stewart on Romney reframing effort: “Turd containment on Bullshit Mountain.”

  
  
  
  

Source: sandandglass

Here’s an example of the “reframing” effort, the script — currently being undertaken by panicky Fox “news” and Team Romney — to spin Mitt Romney’s own words into something a bit more palatable to the “47 percent” that Romney dismissed as a scavenging horde of grifters, eaters, and shiftless bums, and whose existence sucks the lifeblood from the upstanding and heroic entrepreneurial class:

He was obviously inarticulate in making this point. The point we’re trying to make here is, under the Obama economy, government dependency is up and economic stagnation is up. And what we’re trying to achieve is trying to get people off government dependency and back to a job that pays well, that gets them on the path to prosperity.” — Paul Ryan

No. Sorry, Paul Ryan. Mitt didn’t mean to say that, at all. And then the spin goes counter-clockwise:

  
  
  
Source: sandandglass

Marie Anntoinette Romney: We’re used to passing up $30 million job offers


image: The Raw Story

Perpetually confused-looking Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends asked Ann Romney if it was difficult for Mitt to turn down a $30 million job offer in 2008. Her answer

“Well, we’re used to kind of passing offers up like that. For us, our life is not about making money. We’ve been very blessed financially. Our life is now about giving back. I always trust that Mitt can always make another dollar. Poor guy, he took no pay when he did the Olympics for three years and no pay when he was governor for four years.”

Previous Marie Annoinette-isms (Think Progress):

  • “I don’t even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing.” [Fox News, 3/5/12]
  • “Remember, we’d been paying $62 a month rent, but here, rents were $ 400, and for a dump. This is when we took the now-famous loan that Mitt talks about from his father and bought a $42,000 home in Belmont, and you know? The mortgage payment was less than rent.” [Boston Globe, 10/20/94]
  • “I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids.” [Prescott Bush Awards Dinner, 4/24/12]
  • “We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life.” [ABC News, 7/19/12]

Also: 

Paul Ryan is a lean, mean, catfish catchin’ with his bare hands, virility machine

Paul Ryan has many in the media hot and bothered with his raw virility:

The Week Magazine gushes, “So dedicated is Rep. Paul Ryan to his body-sculpting workout program, P90X, that he leads a daily class for about a dozen fellow Congressional staffers.” The main article describes Ryan as “The ripped new GOP vice presidential candidate” who “catches catfish with his bare hands.

Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy can barely contain his passion:

“Paul Ryan does this workout everyday. And, subsequently, you know, number one: he used to be a personal trainer. But, number two, he could be the most ripped – Paul Ryan…And, when you talk about fitness in office, he could define it.” — Fox News Host Steve Doocy, who has a track record of attacking Michelle Obama’s fitness initiatives, suddenly thinks fitness is praiseworthy. (via: dropfox)

It’s great that Ryan works out daily and leads a ‘class’ (your tax dollars at work?) of 12 fellow staffers. What would be ever greater is if Ryan also did this much work in his day job as a Congressman. No wonder he’s only passed two bills in his 13-years as a public servant.

communism-kills: In the real world, people get fired for this.


Quote from that other guy with the huge forehead on Fox & Friends

“I think the British press better back off — and so should the officials! This guy could be president!” — The Fox And Friends’ Not Steve Doocy Guy

It must be truly frightening for childlike Brian Kilmeade to be confronted with an entire world filled with other people who don’t have to toe the usual Fox Entertainment rightwing nutjob line of Republican propaganda.

Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 5.31.2012

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

“There is no more naked celebrity in America than Donald Trump. He doesn’t do subtlety. He doesn’t do ‘thought.’ To say he has a political calculus is a wild overstatement. His strategy amounts to no more than junior high school algebra. The equation is: Trump + infantile public statement x infinite repetitions on TV and Twitter = maximum publicity for flailing Trump products and insatiable Trump ego.” — Frank Rich | image: christopherstreet

Romney’s birth certificate evokes his father’s controversy – Willard Mitt Romney, the certificate says, was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947. His mother, Lenore, was born in Utah and his father, former Michigan governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate George Romney, was born in Mexico. So on a day when real estate and media mogul Donald Trump was trying to help Mitt Romney by stirring up a new round of questions about whether Democratic President Barack Obama was born in the United States, Romney’s own birth record became a reminder that in the 1968 presidential campaign, his father had faced his own “birther” controversy. – Reuters

Where’s Mitt Romney’s Long-Form Birth Certificate? — Just one problem: The document released by Mitt Romney’s campaign is titled “Certificate of Live Birth.” This is, to be clear, the same thing as a birth certificate (it just has a couple of extra words in there and the order is flipped around). But according to three years of commentary from top conservative media and politicos, it’s not enough. “There’s a difference between a birth certificate, apparently, and a certificate of live birth,” said Fox News host Jeanine Pirro in a segment last April on the President’s supposedly missing paper trail. The President’s certificate of live birth, reported Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy, “is not the exact birth certificate.” Sarah Palin suggested that the certificate of live birth was insufficient proof of citizenship. As one leading conservative activist put it, “A ‘birth certificate’ and a ‘certificate of live birth’ are in no way the same thing, even though in some cases they use some of the same words.” That was Donald Trump.  — Mother Jones 

Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday denied he was a “birther,” but found it “odd” that President Barack Obama took so long to release his birth certificate. “You know, I’ve never been a birther,” the Fox News host declared. “You know, it was odd that they didn’t release the birth certificate to me. I’m like, you ask me for my birth certificate, it’s pretty easy to get.” […] During his 2008 bid for the White House then-Sen. Obama did release his short-form birth certificate. FactCheck.org concluded  at the time that “it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. … Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said.” After billionaire Donald Trump and other prominent birthers refused to drop the issue, the White House released the president’s long-form birth certificate in April 2011.  – Raw Story

Hoekstra Says Feds Should Check Birth Certificates (but it’s not about Obama) – Michigan U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra (R) said he’d like to “create a federal office in Washington that would verify that presidential candidates meet the minimum requirements to hold the office,” the Detroit Free Press reports. Said Hoekstra: “This is not brain surgery. It should be an FBI person, maybe a CIA person. If you want to run for president, you’ve got to go with the proper documentation and get it certified that you meet the qualifications to be the President of the United States.”– Political Wire

  • CNN Host Confronts Pete Hoekstra Over Birther Commission Proposal – Baldwin aired a clip of an infamous Hoekstra ad that aired during this year’s Super Bowl, since pulled from his website, in which an actress depicted a Chinese villager thanking Hoekstra’s opponent in broken English for running up the national debt. “Critics called you a racist for that ad,” Baldwin said. “Do you realize that critics might use this office, this proposal for this office, as further proof?” Hoekstra was not happy to see the old wound reopened. “I don’t know why they would take it in that direction,” Hoekstra said.  – TPM
  • Romney surrogate: CNN ‘should be embarrassed’ for covering birther story — Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who is now a surrogate for Mitt Romney, on Wednesday blasted CNN host Soledad O’Brien for reporting on the presumptive Republican nominee’s link to birthers like billionaire Donald Trump. – Raw Story

New low for Fox News: Fox News produced its own 4 minute attack video disguised as a retrospective of President Obama’s first term in office and aired it as a “Fox & Friends Presents” special.  […] At the conclusion of the video, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy thanked one of the show’s producers for editing together the segment “for weeks.” But it only took hours for network brass to perhaps recognize the implications of Fox News producing and airing its own attack ads, because they quickly pulled it from the Fox News website with no explanation. Even conservative sites balked at the idea of Fox News producing its own political attack ads. – Think Progress

Tea Party Joe Walsh race baits — “The Democratic Party promises groups of people everything,” Walsh, a conservative freshman from suburban Chicago, said during a Schaumburg, Ill., speech caught on video provided by CREDO SuperPAC, an anti-tea party group. “They want the Hispanic vote, they want Hispanics to be dependent on government, just like they got African Americans dependent on government. That’s their game.” Walsh goes on to say that civil rights activist Jesse Jackson “would be out of work if [African Americans] weren’t dependent on government.” Walsh was elected in 2010, part of a wave of tea party-backed candidates elected to the House of Representatives that year. – HuffPo

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————

Not much has changed…

image: compeet

Obama Pitches ‘To-Do’ List at Bill Signing – President Barack Obama used the bill signing reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank to again push for his “to-do” list, which has gone nowhere in Congress so far. [...] Obama hasn’t gotten any traction on his “to-do” list, which includes tax cuts for small businesses, a massive mortgage refinancing plan, extending renewable energy tax breaks, a Veterans Jobs Corps and shifting tax breaks from companies that ship jobs overseas to companies that bring them back home.The president also touted his trade policies, which he said opened markets in South Korea, Colombia and Panama, while doubling the number of trade cases brought against China. – Roll Call News

Obama’s political advisor David Axelrod dissected Romney’s record in Massachusetts between 2003 and 2007 in a campaign memo…”Mitt Romney applied the economic philosophy he learned in the private sector to disastrous results as governor of Massachusetts,” Axelrod wrote.”It’s the same formula that benefited a few, but crashed our economy in the first place and undermined security for the middle class. Massachusetts couldn’t afford Romney Economics, and neither can the American economy.” Axelrod said that under Romney, Massachusetts plunged from 36th to 47th out of 50 states in job creation, and despite promises to the contrary raised taxes and fees on middle class families and small businesses. “Meanwhile, he cut taxes for millionaires like himself, handing over more than $75 million to just 278 of the wealthiest in Massachusetts.” — FRANCE 24 | image: mittromeny

Axelrod: A handful of plutocrats are trying to buy the United States“There was a report this morning that the Republican Super PACs, apart from Romney and apart from his own super PAC, intend to spend a billion dollars in this campaign setting up shadow state organizations—district-wide organizations—as well as running media. So a handful of plutocrats of billionaires with a special interest agenda are going to try and buy this government in this election, and the stakes of that are pretty profound. I’m obviously concerned about the implications for our race, but we’ve braced ourselves and we’ve been talking about this for some time. It’s a concern. It’s one of my big concerns. But for congressional candidates, it’s gotta be a nightmare. We saw in the last election, in the last 3 weeks of those campaigns, Super PACs swooped in and spent huge amounts of money in the final 3 weeks to influence those congressional races and turned a lot of races with their money. I think you can anticipate that in spades this year.” Raw Story | image: realpolitiks

  • GOP Groups Plan $1 BILLION Push for Romney (that’s billion, with a B) – Political Wire

Help Matt Taibbi Stand Up for Wall Street Reform – To get the word out about Wall Street’s anti-reform push and stiffen spines in congress, we’re trying out Thunderclap, a cool new technology that lets groups of people tweet a single message together at the same time, breaking through the din and reaching a potentially massive audience. (Learn more here.) But we need your help! Here’s how it works: Go here  and click “Tweet this in X days.” On June 6 at 12 pm, together with hundreds of other Twitter users, you will automatically tweet a message –”.@senjohnsonsd @stabenowpress Hear our voices and stop the rollback of Dodd-Frank http://thndr.it/JBZD9Z” – to Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, the chairman of the Senate banking committee and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over financial derivatives. — Rolling Stone

Wage theft complaints increased 400% in the last decade — According to CNN Money, “More than 7,000 collective actions were filed in federal court in 2011 alleging wage and hour violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an approximately 400% increase since 2000.” A 2009 report showed that more than two-thirds of low-income employees had experienced a wage law violation in the previous week alone, prompting Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum to ask, “How many reports of mistreatment do we have to get before we finally figure out that labor violations are rampant in this country?” As the Huffington Post’s Alexander Eichler noted, the weak economy has “reduced the amount of leverage employees have in their relationship with their managers — meaning it’s been especially easy in recent years for bosses to demand ever more of workers while paying them the same amount as before.” – Think Progress

imageThe Pentagon wants to move toward a greener military, one that relies more on renewable energy and less on fossil fuels. Why? It would save lives. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey made that case last October and a recent Army study found that “[a] fighting force that isn’t restricted by the reach of a tanker truck or weighted down by heavy batteries is more nimble and, as a result, more lethal.” …However, there are a few hurdles standing in the way: Republicans. The House GOP included a measure in the defense authorization bill this month prohibiting the Defense Department from buying alternative fuels if they cost more than “traditional fossil fuel.” And the Senate Armed Services Committee last week followed suit with an “even tougher” provision mirroring the House version but also exempts DOD from clean energy standards. Why are the Republicans doing this? VoteVets.org chairman Jon Soltz pointed out yesterday that they get a lot of money from the oil and gas industry. – Think Progress

“The President of the United States was born in the United States. That’s just a fact. It’s not a disputed point. It’s just a fact. It’s like, we have one moon not two. It’s a fact.” — David Frum (Former Special Assistant to George W Bush) on CNN answering the question: Where do you disagree with Donald Trump?

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 5.2.2012

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

FOX & FRIENDS has more important things to talk about than Rupert Murdoch – When the news broke [yesterday morning] that Rupert Murdoch had been declared by the UK Parliament unfit to lead an international company, Fox & Friends was in full swing. [...] After several segments critical of the Occupy movement and President Obama, trailers for a story about Karate Kid and a man falling off some scaffolding, Fox ran the big news about Murdoch. See the whole 32 seconds they dedicated to it, as well as the following story – a couple towing their grand-daughter’s toy car behind their SUV. — TPM 

MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR SCOTT BROWN (R) doesn’t see anything wrong with the fact that he has voted to overturn the Affordable Care Act four times, in spite of the fact that it enables him to keep his 23-year-old daughter on his Congressional health plan. Brown told The Boston Globe that his daughter Ayla’s use of the coverage is in no way inconsistent with his criticism of the ACA, which most Republicans call “Obamacare.” — Scott Brown opposes ‘Obamacare’ policy that covers his daughter

LINDSEY GRAHAM helps a nuclear plant get permits, is rewarded with cash — The $13-billion Cayce, SC-based energy company has long wanted a permit to build two new nuclear reactors at its Jenkinsville, SC, facilities. Graham, one of the Senate’s strongest supporters of nuclear power, actively backed their efforts. [...] In February, the U.S. Nuclear Research Commission voted to approve the country’s first nuclear reactor construction permits in more than 30 years. [...] On March 31, much to Graham’s delight, SCANA received its Jenkinsville permits. [...] Two weeks later, when Graham’s “Team Graham” Senate campaign committee filed its quarterly lobbying disclosure form, just one name appeared. SCANA Corporation, the committee revealed, had given the Graham $54,575 in bundled campaign contributions between January 1 and March 31 — raising money for him as he worked to secure their $10 billion project. — Think Progress

ISSUES PEOPLE ‘CARE ABOUT’ — Steve Benen has some followup questions for Romney with regard to his statement yesterday: “Of course, I would have taken out Osama bin Laden, but what’s the right course for the economy? What should we do with taxes? What should we do with regulation? What should we do with trade overseas? What should we do with our energy policy? How about our labor policy? These are important issues people care about.”

  • * When you say you’re focused on “important issues people care about,” why do you exclude counter-terrorism? Do you believe targeting the al Qaeda leader behind 9/11 is an unimportant issue people don’t care about?
  • * When you said four years ago that an Obama victory would be “a surrender to terror,” do you still think that was a sensible argument?
  • * When you say “of course” you would have launched the raid on bin Laden, do you realize that completely contradicts your campaign promises from four years ago? And do you understand the complexities and enormous risks of the decision itself?
  • * When you decided to visit New York firefighters today with Rudy Giuliani, are we to think this wasn’t a political move associated with the one-year anniversary of killing bin Laden?
  • * Republicans politicized the fear of terrorism in several recent election cycles. Why didn’t you complain then? And do you recognize a qualitative difference between politicizing fear and politicizing a victory?

MITT ROMNEY AND RUDY GIULIANI carried pizza a whole two feet for their firehouse photo op, then unloaded the pizza onto an aide — The presumptive GOP presidential nominee and his former critic emerged from a black SUV bearing gifts for some of New York’s bravest: six boxes of fresh pizza, which Romney and Giuliani personally lugged into the firehouse as a gaggle of photographers, cordoned off at a safe distance, snapped away. Moments later, the photo op complete and the press pool (mostly!) out of sight, Romney and Giuliani unloaded all six pizzas into the arms of an aide. — Daily Intel

FYI: MITT ROMNEY has always been a dick – Back in 2004, President Bush ran a smear campaign against challenger Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) which undermined his service in Vietnam and questioned Kerry’s ability and determination to protect the United States — just three years removed from the 9/11 attacks — from another terror strike. “If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again,” then Vice President Dick Cheney said at the time. And while Romney complains about Obama’s alleged “politicization” now, he willfully participated in the Bush-Cheney smear campaign on Kerry in 2004. During an August 9, 2004 (accessed via Lexis/Nexis) interview on Fox News, Romney suggested that Kerry would “twiddle his thumbs” when dealing with terrorism and in September 2004, also on Fox News, Romney said Kerry is too much of a flip-flopper to protect the country. — Think Progress

WHAT DO SANTORUM AND GINGRICH want before they officially endorse Mitt?

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

MARKING TWO ANNIVERSAIRES yesterday — 2003 and 2011: 

“As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it’s time to renew America,” Obama said at 4 a.m. local time, the first time a sitting U.S. president has addressed the nation from inside an active war zone. “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” [...] Shortly after arriving unannounced at the military base near Kabul, Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement that memorializes the relationship between the two nations for the 10-year period following the draw down of combat troops by the end of 2014. At that time, Obama said the U.S. will assume a “support” role and deliver aid to the struggling nation that will become responsible for its own security. “The agreement we signed today sends a clear message to the Afghan people: as you stand up, you will not stand alone,” Obama said. And in a statement after the meeting, Karzai stated, “By signing this document, we close the last 10 years and open a new season of equal relations.” — Obama in Afghanistan: This is Where the War Will End

IT ALL STARTED right after Team Obama debuted their new campaign’s slogan: “Forward—the long-awaited sequel to 2008’s “Hope and Change.” And in those seven letters, members of the conservative commentariat detected a whiff of totalitarianism. On Tuesday, ThinkProgress editor Alex Seitz-Wald threw together a primer on the bizarre, petty, and not entirely unexpected freak-out. For example, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard criticized the president for having signed off on a word so closely linked to Chairman Mao’s mass-murder-tastic Great Leap Forward. (“[P]erhaps President Obama might rethink this slightly creepy slogan,” Kristol pondered earnestly.) Breitbart.com’s Joel Pollak (this guy) wrote about how the seven-letter slogan is further proof that Obama’s political heritage belongs to a long line of Communist tyrants. Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit took Forwardgate as his cue to yet again draw the Obama-Hitler connection. — Hitler, Obama Both Fond of Slogans

  • AND PEOPLE WONDER why our public discourse is so stunted — there’s more: National Review‘s The Corner: “I knew that sounded awfully familiar. From Wikipedia: Vorwarts (“Forward”) was the central organ of the Social Democratic Party of Germany published daily in Berlin from 1891 to 1933.” Daily Mail: “Mao, Lenin and a century of Marxist radicals: The controversial origins of Obama’s new campaign slogan ‘Forward'” The Washington Times: “New Obama slogan has long ties to Marxism, socialism” — Moving ‘forward,’ into a red scare
  • WHICH BEGS THE QUESTION — Was Richard M. Nixon a closet Marxist? “Forward Together” 

NOTE: THOUGH THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN voluntarily chooses to disclose all of its fundraising bundlers, the Romney campaign has decided to keep bundlers’ names secret.

Fox “News” — Fair & Balanced as always…

MMFA: During a discussion of President Obama’s speech at AIPAC on his recent Middle East statements, Fox & Friends aired the following on-screen text:

Pandering at AIPAC

It’s really sad that the President had to “reinterpret” for AIPAC what he said — exactly – about borders, because Fox News and other media organizations (and wingnut blogs) chose to twist his words to gain political points.

Why does Fox & Friends hate America?

They don’t know how to quit him: “the most important moment maybe in American history.”

Steve Benen highlights the Brokeback Mountain-ess of Fox News and the Republicans regarding GWB:

I’m going to hope she just misspoke and didn’t actually mean this.

It didn’t take long after the momentous announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death for conservatives to start taking credit and claiming vindication for the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies. This morning on Fox & Friends, former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined the chorus of conservatives heaping praise onto her former boss, suggesting that Bush’s bullhorn speech at Ground Zero was “probably the most important moment maybe in American history.

[...] Um, Condi? It was a good moment, and it was powerful imagery, but to suggest the bullhorn speech may have been “the most important moment maybe in American history” is so absurd, it’s almost comical.

Brian Kilmeade (the not-Steve-Doocy-guy) also argued that it would be nice if President Obama invited GWB to join him at Ground Zero on Thursday…

Obama did. Bush declined.

http://www.alan.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/bush_ground_zero_moment.jpg

image

There are facts and then there are Fox News facts.

reallyfoxnews:  This morning, Fox & Friends hosted an “upset Wisconsin parent” to discuss her objection to Wisconsin public schools’ teaching of labor union history. Left unsaid during the segment: The parent, Amber Hahn, is also a local GOP official.  Fox Masquerades GOP Activist As Concerned Parent To Attack Unions

reallyfoxnews:

This morning, Fox & Friends hosted an “upset Wisconsin parent” to discuss her objection to Wisconsin public schools’ teaching of labor union history. Left unsaid during the segment: The parent, Amber Hahn, is also a local GOP official.

Fox Masquerades GOP Activist As Concerned Parent To Attack Unions