Who’s deserting the Good Ship Teabag?

The American public

Just 28 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the GOP, according to the latest monthly Gallup tracking poll. The number “is the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992,” the polling company stated.

John McCain (who should be commended for speaking up, which is something many in his party have no spine for): 

“We started this on a fool’s errand, convincing so many millions of Americans and our supporters that we could defund Obamacare,” McCain said. While McCain didn’t name names, he faulted members of Congress — “tea partiers specifically” — for wrongly telling “millions of Americans” that Obamacare can be defunded. That “obviously wouldn’t happen until we had 67 Republican senators to override a presidential veto.”  McCain denounced the fight to defund Obamacare at the cost of a fiscal impasse even before the government shut down last week. McCain called out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for his anti-Obamacare speech, and said “the people spoke” when they reelected President Barack Obama in 2012.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders: 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups have actively engaged lawmakers for weeks and say that while they agree with the need for reforms, the top priority should be avoiding the default that a failure to OK another debt ceiling increase would bring. “Our top lobbyists are continuing to talk to scores of members of Congress and their staff urging them to address this and stop kicking the can down the road,” U.S. Chamber spokeswoman Blair Latoff Holmes told Yahoo News. “It is up to lawmakers and the administration to find common ground and reach a deal that will fund the government and raise the debt limit to avoid default. We will continue to make that case to everyone who will listen.”

Wall Street

Peter King (R-NY), who has been urging his party to drop the fight against Obamacare and pass a bill to fund the government, told POLITICO that if his Republicans colleagues continue to tie Obamacare measures to a continuing resolution, this could “hurt” the GOP’s ability to “raise money from Wall Street and the business community” in the future. “This threat of government shutdown and not paying debt and defaulting, it’s going to have a real impact first of all economically, and it’s going to have a follow-up effect of Wall Street wondering why they support Republicans,” King said. As the government shutdown continued into Wednesday, market analysts warned that concerns about a debt default — initially dismissed by Wall Street as improbable, if not unimaginable — were beginning to intensify.

The ones who brought the Teaparty to the dance, but were left in the corner without a dancing partner – The Koch Brothers: 

The billionaire industrialists have funded a sprawling empire of libertarian-conservative activism; they’ve been dubbed the bankrollers of the Tea Party. Liberals frequently accuse them of seeking deregulatory policies to further their company’s financial interests. But what happens when the Tea Party’s ideological warfare threatens to plunge the U.S. economy into chaos?

The answer: The Kochs appear to be distancing themselves from the movement they’ve helped to create. In a letter released Wednesday, Koch Industries’ chief lobbyist, Philip Ellender, says the company does not favor the House’s push to defund Obamacare as a condition of keeping the government open. Koch Industries would prefer to see Congress focus on fiscal issues: “We believe that Congress should, at a minimum, keep to sequester-level spending guidelines, and develop a plan for more significant and widespread spending reductions in the future,” Ellender writes.

You might want to read the New York Times article that described the significant financial investment the Kochs made to stir up the torch-waving villagers against Obamacare, shortly after Obama started his second term: Freedomworks’ Blueprint to Defunding Obamacare. Maybe the Kochs thought they had pointed the villagers in one direction, but the villagers shambled off in their own direction. Whoops!

The Kochs Favorite Man-Boy, Paul Ryan: 

Ryan laid out a package focused on an overhaul of Medicare and a path toward a comprehensive simplification of the tax code.

[Flashback: this is a rehash of the "entitlement reform" granny-starving nonsense that helped Romney lose the last election.]

Ryan also wrote an op-ed in the WSJ on Tuesday without once mentioning the repeal or delay or defunding of Obamacare / ACA—as was his mission (see Koch Brothers above). He will now be considered a traitor to the Crazy 80 even as he tries to walk it back today, which only creates a longer list of ransom demands for his party.

[Another flashback: remember when Ryan and the Republicans refused any new tax revenues during the "grand bargain" negotiations with Democrats in 2011, even though Democrats were willing to bend on entitlements, and S&P downgraded the U.S. bond rating from AAA to AA? Remember how S&P assigned blame for the downgrade to Republicans refusal to compromise on new revenue? More good times with Paul Ryan!]

Finally, maybe John Boehner …at long last?

President Obama, who invited House Democrats on Wednesday, asked all House Republicans to the White House on Thursday, an invitation Speaker John A. Boehner whittled down to a short list of attendees he wants to negotiate a compromise.

The good news about the whittled down list is that not one of the attendees is from the “Crazy 80″ suicide caucus, which seems to be some kind of message. Of course, Boehner’s familiar bookends (Cantor & Ryan) will be there:

Elected Leaders:
McMorris Rodgers

Hal Rogers

This morning it’s been reported that Boehner is considering a six-week debt ceiling increase. So it seems the Koch Brothers have indeed dropped anchor on the sinking Good Ship Teabag, and are now looking for any transport that’s heading for safer waters.

Charles Koch: we should give poor people the opportunity to make less money

Think Progress: A conservative mogul worth $43 billion says he knows the secret to helping poor people. According to Charles Koch, the U.S. needs to get rid of the minimum wage, which he counts as a major obstacle to economic growth. [...] In an interview with the Wichita Eagle published Tuesday, Koch said that the minimum wage is one policy he is working against:

“We want to do a better job of raising up the disadvantaged and the poorest in this country, rather than saying ‘Oh, we’re just fine now.’ We’re not saying that at all. What we’re saying is, we need to analyze all these additional policies, these subsidies, this cronyism, this avalanche of regulations, all these things that are creating a culture of dependency. And like permitting, to start a business, in many cities, to drive a taxicab, to become a hairdresser. Anything that people with limited capital can do to raise themselves up, they keep throwing obstacles in their way. And so we’ve got to clear those out. Or the minimum wage. Or anything that reduces the mobility of labor.”

If all that sounds a bit like Palin-Wordsalad to you, keep in mind that this is a multi-billionaire trying to convince us (with a straight face) that rich employers should be able to pay workers less than $7.25 per hour because that would help poor people.

As Think Progress points out:

In the U.S., economic inequality has grown rapidly, and the lagging minimum wage is in large part to blame….Little to no evidence exists to support Koch’s claim that the minimum wage impedes companies or causes them to fire employees. In fact, raising the minimum wage to $9 would pump up to $48 billion into the economy by the next year and ease the income gap for 15 million low-wage workers.

Koch maintained his and his brother’s political efforts are not for their own benefit, but for the country’s greater good. …Although he deems low-wage workers part of a “culture of dependency” on the government, Koch Industries is on the receiving end of oil subsidies, government contracts, and bailouts.

It’s also relevant to note that CEOs Made 273 Times What Workers Did In 2012

Average CEO compensation hit $14.1 million in 2012, up more than a third from 2009, and the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay hit a staggering 272.9-to-1, according to new research from the Economic Policy Institute. Put another way: the average U.S. worker made 0.3 percent of what the average chief executive did last year.

AND Three Of Every Four Americans Are Living Paycheck-To-Paycheck: 

Median household income actually declined over the last decade from more than $53,000 in 2000 to under $49,500 in 2010 (all in 2010 dollars). Income inequality has grown immensely, as the share of income earned by the middle class fell from 62 percent in 1970 to a record low of just 45 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, as lower- and middle-class pay has dropped, the cost of living has grown immensely. In the past 40 years, college tuition grew between 80-113 percent, the price of a home nearly doubled, health care costs went up 50 percent, and the price of gas went up nearly 20 percent.

But, sure, let’s pay the American worker less than $7.25 an hour. Those hardworking CEOs could do with a raise and a bigger bonus this year. Opportunity!

Jon Stewart: “It’s really a ‘right to work’ … around the union for the corporation.”

“It’s really a ‘right to work’… around the union for the corporation. It’s one of those things that are actually named for the opposite of the thing they do, like strip bars call themselves ‘gentlemen’s clubs.’ Or the TV network, dedicated to making us stupider, is called ‘The Learning Channel.’ Or a TV show that airs four days a week calls itself The Daily Show.

— JON STEWART, The Daily Show (via inothernews)

What’s next for labor in Michigan? Organizing a backlash…

Political Wire reports on what’s next for labor in Michigan:

Organized labor and its allies essentially have two options to overturn the state’s new “right-to-work” law signed yesterday by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R).

First Read: “First, they have filed legal actions charging that the process violated the state’s Open Meetings Act… Second, critics say they could overturn it by passing a voter-initiated law, which would require getting 258,000 signatures to get on the ballot. And, of course, there’s 2014, when Snyder is up for re-election.”

Fox News: Snyder braces for union backlash.


TPM: Whatever happens, the labor groups say, expect union attempts to exact political vengeance in 2014 when Snyder and other Republican members of the legislature who pushed the legislation are up for reelection. The likely first decision for pro-labor groups is whether to try and overturn the new right-to-work law at the ballot box. [...] The new law won’t take effect for 90 days after the end of the legislative session. It may take longer than that for the law to have a real effect — existing worker contracts are exempted from the new law. So labor and its allies has some time to figure out what to do next in Michigan. But labor groups are determined that Snyder’s signature was just the beginning of a new fight over worker’s rights in Michigan, not the end.

Bill Maher on the difference between the debt ceiling and “the fiscal cliff”

I think most people have “the fiscal cliff” confused with the debt ceiling crisis. Really, they’re opposites. Not raising the debt ceiling means not paying our debts. Going off the fiscal cliff means paying off our debt by raising taxes and cutting government spending. Well-advertised is the CBO saying going off the cliff could lead to a recession next year. Less advertised is that it also says it could get us into a more sound fiscal position in the long-term.

All this fiscal cliff panic is just proof that we are all Keynesians. Everybody knows that more government spending — whether it’s in the form of tax expenditures or social services, helps the economy grow. But you have to balance that with not letting your budget get out of hand.

Since we’re looking for new revenue streams that aren’t income taxes, Obama should use this budget crisis — if you can call it that — to do something about global warming with a carbon tax. This may be his last and only chance to do something big since cap and trade didn’t work. And it would be just desserts for the oil and coal industries that went all in for Mitt Romney, a nice little personal fuck you to the Koch brothers.

— Bill Maher

Freedumb! Steve Wynn tells workers how to vote: Romney-approved coercion

Huffington Post: Wynn Resorts, the third-largest casino operator in the U.S., recently mailed a “2012 General Election Voter Guide” to its 12,000 employees in Nevada. The bound booklet, obtained by The Huffington Post, identifies candidates whom the Las Vegas-based company supports, leading to what one worker described as a feeling of being pressured to vote for candidates favored by the boss. This pressure is compounded by the behavior of company CEO Steve Wynn, who has used corporate time and media to attack President Barack Obama’s policies. The 67-page booklet is titled “WE Vote,” a reference to the Wynn Encore resort brand, and opens with a letter from President Marilyn Spiegel. The preferred candidates, she writes, “support policies that help promote a friendly business and living environment to Wynn Resorts, our approximately 12,000 employees, and the gaming industry as a whole.” [...]

It’s a strategy that Romney personally endorsed in June, telling business owners, “I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of … their job … in the upcoming elections.” Romney made the comment on a conference call hosted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a lobbying group that plans to host an Oct. 30 call to “train” business owners how to speak to employees about the election. Johnson, the Clear Law compliance consultant, pointed out that “unions have for years provided sample ballots to its members showing which candidates the union endorses,” but added that “the union, of course, doesn’t have the ability to fire, or threaten to fire, a member because he or she votes for another candidate.”


New York Times: Until 2010, federal law barred companies from using corporate money to endorse and campaign for political candidates — and that included urging employees to support specific politicians. But the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has freed companies from those restrictions, and now several major companies, including Georgia-Pacific and Cintas, have sent letters or information packets to their employees suggesting — and sometimes explicitly recommending — how they should vote this fall. In these letters, the executives complain about the costs of overregulation, the health care overhaul and possible tax increases. Some letters warn that if President Obama is re-elected, the company could be harmed, potentially jeopardizing jobs.


Who else has been threatening their employees with voting “suggestions”? 

Rightwing conservative ideology isn’t winning over the American public, so the one-percent have moved their candidate to the middle (clearly a PR stunt for votes), and are openly threatening workers with layoffs if Pres. Obama wins.

image: What Would Jack Do


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Email from President Obama today — something to think about

“I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign.” — email sent by President Obama today



Sheldon Adelson plans to purchase the very best White House his money can buy

Daily Intel reports: Conservative casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has reportedly pledged a total of $35 million to three conservative nonprofits: the Karl Rove–linked Crossroads GPS, an unspecified group with ties to the Koch brothers, and a third affiliated with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. This is in addition to the $10 million he gave to pro-Romney super-PAC Restoring Our Future last week… Sources say he’s ready to commit $100 million to right-wing causes and candidates this year.

Remember that $100 million to Sheldon Adelson is about $300 – $400 to an average family.

Additionally, John McCain said recently that Sheldon Adelson “is indirectly injecting millions of dollar in Chinese foreign money into Mitt Romney’s presidential election effort,” according to Josh Rogin.

Those facts would probably be reported more by the mainstream media, if all the billionaires didn’t own the mainstream media.

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 6.6.2012


“But if people only watch the three big networks … a lot of people will assume that Obama really is just doing a great job and he just can’t get those crazy Republicans to help him out.” Mike Huckabee, commenting on what people would think of President Obama without Fox News

Romney should probably stop talking about the auto-industry rescue altogether — The Republican has repeatedly argued that GM and Chrysler should have relied on private funding to restructure and get back on their feet. That, of course, was impossible. In early 2009, the credit markets were frozen and there was no private funding available. (When a company called Bain Capital was approached, it refused to invest.) And so it appears that Romney is shifting once again, not only taking credit for a policy he attacked, but also saying taxpayer support “was fine,” after arguing for three years it wasn’t fine. The new twist is that Romney is on board with public support after, but not before, bankruptcy, but that doesn’t make sense, either — GM and Chrysler would have never survived the bankruptcy process without federal intervention. Romney could simply try the truth — he should admit, “I was wrong” — but that seems to be the only position he hasn’t tried yet. – Steve Benen

images: sandandglass

How things change! Emails show how Romney pushed Massachusetts health bill: Romneycare – The emails show the Republican governor was closely engaged in negotiating details of the bill, working with top Democratic state leaders and drafting early copies of opinion articles backing it. Mr. Romney and his aides, meanwhile, strongly defended the so-called individual mandate, a requirement that everyone in Massachusetts have or buy health insurance. And they privately discussed ideas that might be anathema to today’s GOP—including publicly shaming companies that didn’t provide enough health insurance to employees. – WSJ

This can’t be re-stated enough: if Romney wins, he’ll pay himself  $5 million — One of the perks of being a Republican president: Under his plan, Romney’s tax rate would fall from its current 14.7 percent to 13.1 percent, while under Obama’s tax plan, Romney would pay a 34.3 percent rate. The difference in these rates means about $5 million for Romney’s tax bill. By the way, Romney’s $5 million personal tax cut would add to the deficit. You know, because he’s a fiscal hawk and really, really cares about the deficit and debt. – Bob Cesca

Hey, struggling homeowners! Mitt Romney hates you.

Nobel-winning economist predicts Romney recession – Economist Joseph Stiglitz is hitting the media circuit to promote his new book.. Speaking to reporters in New York on Monday, the Nobel Prize-winner and former World Bank chief claimed that if former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) is elected president in 2012, the risk of another recession will go up “significantly.” “The Romney plan is going to slow down the economy, worsen the jobs deficit and significantly increase the likelihood of a recession,” he said. – Raw Story

Lindsey Graham wants more wars – SO YES TO TAXES! Mr. Graham is openly talking about revenue increases to offset the costs. Even South Carolina’s ardently conservative House members, Mick Mulvaney, Joe Wilson and Jeff Duncan, said last week that they were ready to talk.  [...] “The debate on the debt is an opportunity to send the world a signal that we are going to remain the strongest military force in the world,” he said. “We’re saying, ‘We’re going to keep it, and we’re going to make it the No. 1 priority of a broke nation.’ ” To that end, his arguments grow increasingly complex, involving a near-term confrontation with Syria and what he is sure will be a military strike on Iran late this summer, “an air and sea campaign from hell,” he tells an audience in Sumter. A large screen at the Third Army command center in nearby Shaw Air Force Base seemed to back him up on that. It broadcast a multicolored map of Iran with its air defenses demarcated in loud, red circles. – NYTimes

Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA ) blatantly lies about Obama giving TSA waivers to Muslims – on conservative talk radio Monday… Landry [blatantly lied about the Obama administration and an imaginary] Transportation Security Administration program that lets Muslim passengers through security without even so much as a sideways glance. [...] The TSA gives no waivers, special rights or exceptions based upon religious beliefs. The only people who get special treatment are those willing to pay for it by submitting to a pre-screening process. Minorities, such as Muslims, Sikhs and people who appear to be from the Middle East, have typically reported facing even greater scrutiny by TSA agents than other passengers. Rep. Landry appears to have invented the claim as a way of illustrating another imagined controversy: that Obama is secretly punishing people of his own faith because of his spiritual preference for Muslims. — Raw Story


“Nobody has seen a communist in over a decade.”Bill Clinton, quoted by The Hill, criticizing House Republicans for failing to reprimand Rep. Allen West (R-FL) who claimed as many as 80 Democrats in Congress are members of the Communist Party.

Michigan had sixth highest rate of growth in 2011: no wonder Romney keeps etch-a-sketching his earlier opinions on Detroit and letting it go bankrupt — New data released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis revealed that Michigan, the home of the American auto-industry, had the sixth highest rate of growth in the nation in 2011. […] For comparison’s sake, the Michigan economy shrank by 9 percent in 2009. Now the state boasts the sixth highest rate of growth in the nation. An unprecedented turnaround that occurred in just two years. — Bob Cesca

Some Republicans are now willing to increase taxes, as Democrats have been pushing for all along (but only to preserve military spending) – In March, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) pointed out that a “vote to extend the Bush tax cuts in their entirety would, in essence, be the vote to lock in sequestration” by cutting down on revenue to offset government debt. The Times report today pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is unlikely to allow sequestration to be averted without a debt reduction package that includes increased government revenue. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) was more blunt speaking to the Times, noting that the Republicans that supported last August’s Budget Control Act — 28 in the Senate and 174 in the House — were given the choice of automatically-triggered military spending cuts or tax increases. Van Hollen said: The consistent pattern here is they have chosen to defend special interest tax breaks over defense spending. They made that choice.Think Progress

Tax cuts for the wealthy, austerity for the rest of us: pension cuts – “In both San Diego and San Jose, voters appeared to overwhelmingly approve ballot initiatives designed to help balance ailing municipal budgets by cutting retirement benefits for city workers,” the New York Times reports. Wall Street Journal: “Since the recession, dozens of state legislatures and city councils throughout the U.S. have scaled back benefits and jobs in an attempt to plug large budget holes. But unlike most efforts to rein in pension costs, the San Jose measure targets current workers and retirees rather than focusing only on workers that have yet to be hired.” – Political Wire  

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer charges GOP with Obstructionism – “It’s not ‘our way or the highway,’ it’s ‘our way or no highway.’ No jobs. No progress. No consensus. No agreement,” Hoyer said. “So what the Republican hardliners are doing, are saying, [is], ‘We won’t agree in conference, we won’t come to agreement, we won’t help create jobs in America … unless we get our way.’” — Roll Call News

[I]t seems Wisconsin Democrats have managed one significant, if largely symbolic, victory for the night by apparently reclaiming control of the Wisconsin state senate. There were four state senate recalls tonight. Dems needed one to flip control of the state’s upper house. Three of those the Republicans won handily. But they appear to have won the 21st district. […] 16 of the 33 seats are again up for election in 5 months. – TPM

Scott Walker steps right up into the pocket of those who got him there — Make no mistake. A star was born last night. You will now see Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to run their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, everywhere in the energetic precincts of the revived American right. He will be on the covers of their startlingly advertising-free little magazines. He will be the darling of every wingnut blogger in the extended monkeyhouse; poo will be flung high and far in celebration of him. He will have a high-profile speaking role in Tampa this August, and it is very likely that there are people in Iowa who already are booking house parties for the late autumn of 2015 in his honor. He will be a bigger presence on Fox News than are Brit Hume’s jowls or Shep Smith’s gradually swelling public rage. I will tell you what: Willard Romney better be damned glad that he’s already clinched the nomination, and that Walker didn’t win this recall a year ago. And, because they are a timid flock of ruminants, the rest of the elite political press corps will wander, sheeplike, in his general direction, grazing amid the unmitigated manure of his victory speech here last night. Oh, Lord, are we going to be hearing about what a “turning point” in Walker’s career that speech was. – Charles P. Pierce

It’s a great day for Citizens United, Wisconsin!

Scott Walker survived the recall election because, apparently, Wisconsin is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Koch brothers. $30 million in campaign funds will usually always beat $3.9 million. Everyone knows that.

Josh Marshall wonders how Walker managed to cease to be as unpopular as he was a year ago — what exactly happened with the anti-Walker forces and what the defeat ultimately means for them and for everyone beyond Wisconsin:

This is also a big loss for public employees unions. There’s no getting around that fact. Just why that happened is another matter. But at the end of the day, victory is all that matters. Walker went big to destroy the public-sector unions in his state. And the labor movement went all out to take him down and lost. Wisconsin’s a pretty progressive, fairly blue-ish state. This result in this state has to embolden Republican governors across the country to think you can go for game-changing attacks on key Democratic constituencies like labor and not pay a price at the polls. Public employees unions across the country have feel like they have crosshairs on their backs. And they do.

If you think union-busting, and the effort to recall Walker for doing that, doesn’t eventually affect all of us in the long run, then you haven’t been paying attention. Harold Meyerson explains,

Added to the prohibition on their ability to bargain over wages and conditions of work, what the dramatic drop in union membership means is that workers’ power to win a decent life either at the workplace or at the ballot box will be weakened. Union treasuries will grow smaller, as will the level of resources they can devote to election campaigns. That means not just less money to campaign for union-specific issues, but for the whole panoply of causes (and the candidates who back them) that unions routinely support—women’s and minority rights, affordable higher education, financial regulation, the works. [...] Of course, as historian Fred Siegel, a leading opponent of public-sector unions, remarked to me many years ago (when he was still on the left), before unions, the common form of protest for workers seeking a better life was rioting. That may eventually prove to be the common form of protest after unions, too.

The reality about unions and standard wages nationally is this:

[T]he middle class’s share of national income has steadily declined as the percentage of the population in labor unions has fallen. At the same time, the top 1 percent’s share of national income has exploded… Strong unions have traditionally been the free-market solution to income inequality, allowing people to get higher salaries without government intervention. Unionization has allowed middle class and working-class Americans to have the ability to bargain for stronger wages and benefits and a larger share of national income. Highly-unionized countries tend to have far less income inequality.


As John Cole says, “Here’s to Wisconsin getting what they voted for and getting it hard.”

The Koch-Arends-Rove Swiftboating Ad on the President was aired nationally, for FREE, by ABC’s This Week

Then the round-table discussed it, as if it were anything but a political hit piece in a campaign season. That’s your liberal media, plebs.

What Everyone Should Know About The Secretive Group Trying To Swift Boat Barack Obama

The group’s leader and sole employee, Joel Arends, told Mother Jones, “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president.”

3. Arends also tried to Swift Boat Obama in 2008. Arends, under the auspices of a similar group called “Vets for Freedom,” ran an ad accusing Obama of refusing to meet with wounded soldiers from Illinois. [NPR,7/5/08] …

4. Arends worked as a consultant for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Properity. “Though he doesn’t list it on his public resume, around 2006 Arends went to work for Craig Dewey, the state director of Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy outfit that’s Astroturfed everything from the tea party and the Wisconsin union fight to public-school segregation.” The Koch Brothers and their allies have pledged to spend $100 million to defeat Obama. [Mother Jones, 5/4/12; HuffingtonPost, 2/3/12]

7. Arends helped promote a documentary advocating war with Iran. Arends appeared on a panel in South Dakoa promoting the documentary Iranium, which strongly suggests beginning a war with Iran, in March 2011. [Flier; ThinkProgress, 11/3/11]

8. Veterans for A Strong American is fully endorsed by Karl Rove. The man known as “Bush’s Brain” tweeted his support of their first web ad. [Twitter,5/3/12]

Continue reading…

Because, seriously

image: phroyd

Colbert goes Colbert at the TIME 100


Colbert at the TIME 100

Of course, all of us should be honored to be listed on the TIME 100 alongside the two men who will be slugging it out in the fall:  President Obama, and the man who would defeat him, David Koch.

Give it up everybody.  David Koch.

Little known fact — David, nice to see you again, sir.

Little known fact, David’s brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential.  Charles pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million.  That’s kind of cheap, Dave.

Sure, he’s all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, Dave’s always in the men’s room.  I’m sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.

I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am — thank you, thank you — and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC.  And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there’s no way for you to ever know whether that’s a joke.

By the way, if David Koch likes his waiter tonight, he will be your next congressman.

Colbert went totally Colbert on his fellow TIME 100 honorees the other night. Read the full speech here. You’ll be glad you did.

Morning Bunker Report: Saturday 4.21.2012


CNN’S DANA LOESCH tells ‘foreigner’ MSNBC’s Martin Bashir to ‘go back to his own country’ — Yesterday, Bashir called former Massachusetts Governor and presumptive Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney a liar and said that by his own faith’s tenets, he’s going to hell for what he said about President Obama and the economy. That was apparently more than Loesch, a CNN contributor, erstwhile Andrew Breitbart protege and supporter of corpse desecration could stomach hearing about her party’s nominee. In a sputtering freakout rant from Thursday’s edition of “The Dana Show,” she called Bashir “an unintelligent hack” and “a foreigner” who isn’t qualified to cover U.S. politics. “I don’t want to hear a foreigner talking about media in this country, or politics in this country.” she said, “You don’t understand it.” She urged the award-winning journalist to go back to “his own country” and report on British politics and celebrities, “and be famous off of that.”

WOMEN ARE STUPID! AMIRITE? Presumptive GOP nominee MITT ROMNEY’s new foreign policy spokesperson RICHARD GRENELL has an odd penchant for targeting the wives of male politicians and women in general on Twitter. Grenell, who served as George W. Bush’s spokesperson at the UN and was announced as the Romney campaign’s new representative yesterday, has gone after Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Callista Gingrich, Sandra Fluke and others. He also asserted that President Obama’s children should be fair game for political debate. A selection of his thoughts on women… In another comment, that has since been removed, Grennell discussed the first lady “sweating on the East Room carpet.” This afternoon, Grennell offered an apology, of sorts, for his attacks, writing, “my tweets were written to be tongue-in-cheek and humorous but I can now see how they can also be hurtful. I didn’t mean them that way and will remove them from twitter. I apologize for any hurt they caused.” [New Romney Spokesman Used Twitter For Sexist Attacks]

MAKES YOU WONDER — HOW MUCH ROMNEY MONEY IS INVESTED IN A KEYSTONE PIPELINE ‘BLIND’ TRUST? Romney: I’ll build Keystone pipeline even ‘if I have to do it myself’ — Mitt Romney vowed Friday that, if elected president, he would build the controversial Keystone Pipeline linking oil deposits in Canada to refineries on the Texas gulf coast. “I will build that pipeline if I have to do it myself,” Romney said during a speech before state Republican Party leaders gathered at a retreat in Arizona. [...] Romney, who took the stage to a standing ovation, delivered essentially the same speech he has given for the last two days, attacking President Barack Obama on everything from his handling of the economy to his policies on energy, health care and education. “The president has failed,” Romney said. He took specific aim at the Democratic Party’s ties to labor unions, accusing Obama of putting union heads above the needs of the American people. “That’s where they get their money,” Romney said. “And that’s where they pay obedience.”

Romney: I like firing people. Vote RepublicanIF BY ‘ENTREPRENEURSHIP’ YOU MEAN ‘LOWER TAXES FOR BILLIONAIRES’   Billionaire energy businessman William Koch, whose brothers finance an array of conservative political causes, directed another $1 million into a “super PAC” backing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to new campaign finance records filed Friday. The donation to Restore Our Future was made through Huron Carbon, a subsidiary of Oxbow Carbon, a privately held coal and petroleum supplier that Koch founded and runs. The contribution means that Koch has steered at least $2 million to the super PAC: Last year, Oxbow Carbon gave $750,000 to Restore Our Future, while Koch personally gave the group $250,000. [...] “Bill Koch is becoming more engaged because he wants to see entrepreneurship in this country improve,” spokesman Brad Goldstein said Friday. “He has known Mitt Romney for more than three decades and believes Mitt Romney possesses the business skills needed to turn our economy around.” [latimes.com]

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

MAYBE OBAMA SHOULD HAVE PROMISED TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY TOO? Obama Campaign Faces Dropoff in Big Donations — With big checks no longer flowing as quickly into his campaign, Mr. Obama is leaning harder on his grass-roots supporters, whose small contributions make up well over half of the money he raised through the end of March, according to reports filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission. And Mr. Obama is asking far more of those large donors still giving, exploiting his joint fund-raising arrangement with the Democratic National Committee to collect five-figure checks from individuals who have already given the maximum $5,000 contribution to his re-election campaign. “They clearly are feeling the pressure,” said one major Obama fund-raiser, who asked for anonymity to characterize his conversations with campaign officials. “They’re behind where they expected to be. You have to factor in $500 million-plus in Republican super PAC money.”

  • March fundraising report shows Romney even more dependent on wealthy donors than Barack Obama and George W. Bush in 2004. [Buzzfeed Politics]

YET THE GOP IS OKAY WITH CONTINUING TO SUBSIDIZE BIG OIL, BIG FARMS, ETC: “In America, higher education cannot be a luxury; it’s an economic imperative that every family must be able to afford,” Obama said in his weekly address. “That’s why next week I’ll be visiting colleges across the country, talking to students about how we can make higher education more affordable – and what’s at stake right now if Congress doesn’t do something about it.” …”If Congress doesn’t act, on July 1 interest rates on some student loans will double,” Obama said. “Nearly seven and half million students will end up owing more on their loan payments.” The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, introduced in the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2007 and passed on bipartisan votes, halved the rate on federally subsidized Stafford loans to 3.4 percent. If Congress doesn’t act, the rate returns to 6.8 percent. Republicans contend keeping the low interest rate costs too much… [Obama: GOP needs to prevent doubling of student loan rates]

  • IN FAIRNESS, it’s worth noting that Republicans have argued, accurately, that the lower rate would cost about $6 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office, and Democrats haven’t said much about how they’d pay for the extended rate freeze. Then again, House Republicans just passed an unnecessary tax cut bill with a $46 billion price tag, which they didn’t try to pay for, either. For GOP officials to say we can afford to add $46 billion to the deficit for a tax break, but we can’t afford $6 billion on student aid, is a problem. As for the president’s likely opponent, Mitt Romney has said he intends to dramatically scale back the federal role in helping students go to college. [Dems, GOP fight over student loan rates]

NEW AFL-CIO WEBSITE | EXECUTIVE PAYWATCH: Corporate Cash Hoarding Holds Back Job Creation – Since the Wall Street financial crisis, the largest U.S. non-financial corporations have amassed record levels of cash. But rather than investing these cash hoards to expand their operations and create jobs, many companies have shed workers in the United States. At the end of 2011, the largest non-financial companies in the S&P 500 Index had accumulated more than $1 trillion in cash, a historic high. Corporate cash was up 66 percent from the end of 2007, before the Wall Street financial crisis.[1] This comes at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate has exceeded 8 percent and more than 12 million Americans are looking for jobs. While overall employment at S&P 500 Index companies has grown since 2007, cash stockpiles have grown even faster. Most of this job creation has been overseas. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. parents of multinational companies cut a total of 864,000 jobs between 1999 and 2009, while their foreign affiliates added 2.9 million jobs.[2] Public companies are not required to disclose the percentage of their global workforce that is based in the United States. However, they must disclose the total number of employees, and a number of large companies have been cutting jobs while stockpiling cash.

Mitt Romney, with regard to lobbyists running your campaign, will you please define “running”

(Dec/2011): Mitt Romney gets testy with a reporter, what bothers me most about this is the attitude from the staffer telling him not to be argumentative with the candidate and for him to “save his opinions” – the reporter is doing his job, this is exactly what reporters are supposed to do.

He seems pretty testy that he actually got called out on his bullshit, we need more of this. — via: abaldwin360

From the video: Ron Kaufman is a lobbyist for Dutko Worldwide. His clients have included FedEx, Sprint Nextel, Union Pacific, and United Health Care.

Mitt Romney, who once hit John McCain for lobbyists, gets advice from one of them | 01/02/2012: Romney has also getting campaign advice anew from two Washington lobbying figures who also counseled his 2008 campaign. Ron Kaufman, former chairman of the Dutko Group Worldwide and now senior adviser to Dutko Grayling, has been traveling across the country with Romney, providing advice and conducting strategic meetings. Meanwhile, Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman who now works as managing director of Clark & Weinstock, is reprising his role as a campaign policy adviser. It was the roles of Kaufman, as well as Weber, that sparked a January 2008 confrontation between Romney and a reporter.

Mitt Romney Raised More Campaign Cash From Lobbyists Than All Other 2012 GOP Candidates Combined  | 08/10/2011: Another major lobbying firm providing prominent support to Romney’s bid is Dutko Worldwide. Seven currently registered Dutko lobbyists are supporting Romney’s campaign and have contributed $14,750 so far this year. Dutko Chairman Ron Kaufman, who has not registered to lobby in 2011 despite registering every year for the past twelve years, contributed $2,500 to Romney’s campaign. In 2008, Kaufman’s work as an unpaid advisor to Romney’s campaign became a point of controversy after Romney declared, “I don’t have lobbyists running my campaign.”

Boston.com | 11/29/2011: One of Mitt Romney’s top advisers [Ron Kaufman] works for a lobbying firm that once represented Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar energy firm that has come under scrutiny for the federal loans it received – and has been criticized by Romney himself.

WaPo | 08/04/2011: Mitt Romney has dispatched three senior campaign officials to hold strategy briefings with Republican National Committee members at the RNC’s summer meeting here, as Romney tries to consolidate the party establishment around his 2012 candidacy. [...] Ron Kaufman, a longtime RNC member from Massachusetts and a close adviser and fundraiser for Romney, is also another co-host.

Are the Koch Brothers Trying to Put Mitt Romney in the White House?: But here is where it begins to get really interesting: What do William  Koch, Donald Trump, Andrew Card, a Chief of Staff for George W. Bush and a former Transportation Secretary, and Ron Kaufman, Card’s brother-in-law (who is also Mitt Romney’s closest lobbying buddy, (the one who got him in deep water in 2008 when he fibbingly claimed he wasn’t beholden to lobbyists) all have in common?

Cain reveals he’s bought and paid for by the Koch brothers. Why is the audience cheering wildly about that?

By now everyone knows Herman Cain said: ‘I am the Koch Brothers’ brother from another mother’ — but will someone explain to me who is in this audience?

I will NEVER understand the priorities / ideals of today’s Republican voter base and their  support of corporations and billionaires opening buying elections and running Washington DC. “Patriots” my ass. They embrace fascism because they hate Democrats that much. 2012 is coming. If you didn’t vote in 2010, you might want to vote this time.