Happy Birthday to America’s longest war

  

thepoliticalnotebook:

A happy eleventh birthday to the war in Afghanistan, which it rather quietly celebrated on Sunday. (It’s almost a teenager, how time flies.)

Here are a selection of photos from the past month in Afghanistan, from The Atlantic’s In Focusblog.

Photos: French soldiers in their vehicle on their way to an operation in Kabul.  Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty. US Army soldiers based at Zangabad Forward Operating Base in Panjwal on an operation. Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty. A young Pashtun boy watches a joint Afghan-NATO patrol. Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty.

theamericanbear: 11 years ago, Oct. 7th, 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. Thus began the longest war in American history, going on for over 4000 days. This milestone rolled by almost without mention yesterday. Is it possible that we feel shame?*

comic source, david rees, get your war on, Oct. 9th, 2001.

*No.

Dick Cheney still pissed Bin Laden killed on Obama’s watch

Kevin Drum wins best headline of the year. And he’s right:

Drum scoffs at the sheer hypocrisy and selective memory inherent in Cheney’s complaints. He says, “This came on the same day that Kurt Eichenwald told us what he’d learned after seeing a series of daily briefings from the months prior to 9/11. Presumably Dick Cheney saw them all too.”

  • By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation.
  • Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible. But some in the administration [i.e., Cheney's clique of neocon nitwits -ed.] considered the warning to be just bluster….In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real.
  • “The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden,” the daily brief of June 29 read, using the government’s transliteration of Bin Laden’s first name
  • On July 1, the brief stated that the operation had been delayed, but “will occur soon.”
  • On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews.
  • On July 24, Mr. Bush was notified that the attack was still being readied, but that it had been postponed, perhaps by a few months. But the president did not feel the briefings on potential attacks were sufficient, one intelligence official told me, and instead asked for a broader analysis on Al Qaeda, its aspirations and its history. In response, the C.I.A. set to work on the Aug. 6 brief.
  • August 6, of course, was the infamous daily brief titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” — the one that prompted George Bush to tell his briefer, “All right. You’ve covered your ass.”

NEVERFORGET™ how much good it did us for Bush to attend his daily briefings in the summer of 2001.

Drum reminds everyone, “Obama reads the daily brief and sometimes he attends briefing sessions. Either way, though, he certainly seems to pay more attention to them than either George Bush or Dick Cheney ever did.”

“The President is among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet.” — National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, in response to this criticism

Kurt Eichenwald | NY TimesKevin Drum | Mother Jones — Jamie Weinstein | TDC

President Obama doesn’t deserve credit?


via: sarahlee310

“At the end of the day – make no mistake about it – it was the president of the United States that shouldered the burden for this operation, that made the hard decisions, that was instrumental in the planning process, because I pitched every plan to him.” — Adm. William McRaven, head of Special Operations Command, who planned the raid.

The Republicans are so pissed that finding / capturing Bin Laden happened on Obama’s watch instead of on George “Dead or Alive” Bush’s watch. SO PISSED.

Related:

Why does Fox “News” hate our troops (when they’re serving under a Democratic president)?

Bob Cesca reacts to Fox News revealing the name of the Navy SEAL who wrote a book about the Bin Laden operation under a pseudonym — for the safety of himself and his family: 

Fox News Channel, who outed the real name of the Navy SEAL Team Six soldier who wrote a book about the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. And now, this has happened: Users on several militant Islamic websites affiliated with al-Qaida have posted the name and photo of a former Navy SEAL identified as the author of an upcoming book on the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The posts called for his “destruction” in revenge for the al-Qaida founder’s killing. Among the website publishing the death threats was the “Al-Fidaa” web forum, which al-Qaida uses to distribute its media and public communications, said Evan Kohlmann, an NBC News consultant and a terrorism analyst at Flashpoint Partners, a global security firm.

FNC’s response? “Once you write a book, anonymously or not, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.” – John Moody, Executive Vice President & Executive Editor FOX News

Think Progress: “Fox News already published the name of the Navy SEAL who has written a book documenting his experience leading the special ops team that ending up killing Osama bin Laden. Other media outlets have even published pictures of the SEAL, who wrote the book under the pseudonym “Mark Owen.”

“Penguin, the book’s publisher, had previously asked reporters not to divulge Owen’s real name, saying that he faced “risks to his personal security.” And CNN’s Barbara Starr said the network will not report Owen’s real name. “CNN is not doing so at this time at the request of the Pentagon,” she said yesterday, “which is citing its concern about the security of the other SEAL team members.””

Fox *is not* News and Fox *does not* support the troops, and has a politically convenient / hypocritical double-standard on military secrecy.

Guessing what a Mitt Romney presidency would look like: foreign policy

Out of Romney’s 24 special advisors on foreign policy, 17 served in the Bush-Cheney administration. If Romney were to win, it’s likely that many of these people would serve in his administration in some capacity — a frightening prospect given the legacy of this particular group. The last time they were in government, it was disastrous. — The Romney-Cheney Doctrine

Morning Bunker Report: Tuesday 5.8.2012

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

imageRICK SANTORUM endorses Mitt Romney “in a late night email to supporters” — “He clearly understands that having pro-family initiatives are not only the morally and economically right thing to do, but that the family is the basic building block of our society and must be preserved,” Santorum wrote in the letter e-mailed to supporters. The endorsement comes as Romney looks to shore up his support among conservatives, who powered Santorum to victory in several states, particularly in the south. Last week, Romney and Santorum met for an hour in Pittsburgh, where Santorum stressed the need for Romney to hire conservatives. During the primary, Santorum was one of Romney’s harshest critics, suggesting that he was unelectable because of his health care plan and because of his more moderate views. Yet Santorum, who resurrected his career with his unlikely challenge of Romney down the stretch, said that he was satisfied that Romney would overturn health care. — Washington Post

MITT ROMNEY does have a lengthy economic plan, but it amounts to the same thing Republicans always advocate (there’s no ‘special insight’ from all Mitt’s ‘business’ experience): tax cuts, particularly on the wealthy; spending cuts in domestic programs; eliminating regulations; free trade; undermining labor unions, and so on. The closest thing to an innovative idea is the creation of a “Reagan Economic Zone,” which presumably will create wealth through the repeated incantation of the great one’s name. Which is just the point: if Mitt Romney’s experience in private equity gives him such unique understanding of the economy, why is what he proposes exactly what you’d hear from any Republican who spent his working life in government? It’s partly because Romney is a Republican, and things like tax cuts and reductions in regulation are just what Republicans believe. But maybe it’s also because when it comes to the things government can do to affect the economy, being a businessman doesn’t give you such special insight after all. — Paul Waldman, Prospect.org

MITT ROMNEY was confronted by a questioner about foreign taxes he reported on his income tax returns, a charge Mitt Romney appeared to deny. “I don’t think I paid any foreign income taxes, but I’ll look at it,” Romney replied over the boos of the audience for the hostile questioner. But in fact, Romney has paid over $1.2 million in foreign taxes for “passive category income” since 2000, according to his 2010 income tax return. Additionally he has paid over $800,000 in foreign taxes for “general category income” according to the same filing. — Buzzfeed

REV. JESSE LEE PETERSON says America’s greatest mistake was allowing women to vote — Peterson, a Fox News contributor, tea party activist and personal friend of Sean Hannity’s said in a sermon… that America’s greatest mistake was allowing women the right to vote, adding that back in “the good old days, men knew that women are crazy and they knew how to deal with them.” [...] Despite his statements being online for more than a month, Hannity welcomed Peterson on his show last Tuesday to castigate the Obama administration over “taking credit” for the Osama bin Laden assassination — but the segment didn’t exactly go as planned. — Raw Story

GOP WILL BLOCK student loan bill — Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said the GOP’s stance is designed to trigger talks between House Republican leaders and Senate Democratic leaders — including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — so that a compromise can be reached before the July 1 deadline when interest rates on Stafford loans are poised to jump to 6.8 percent from 3.4 percent. “There will be a compromise worked out,” Kyl said. “When it’s clear that [Reid’s] version isn’t going to go anywhere, I presume that leaders of the House and Senate will get together and find a way to ensure that the interest rate doesn’t double.” Kyl said that the GOP move also stemmed from Democrats signaling that no amendments would be allowed to the bill. — Roll Call News

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

VETS FOR A STRONG AMERICA darkened the President’s image – Vets for a Strong America has gotten a lot of attention for its recent video attacking President Obama for taking too much credit for the Osama bin Laden killing. [...] I haven’t seen anybody point out the truly most egregious part of the video: the obvious attempt to make Obama look like a criminal thug by darkening his image. Remember the hue and cry when Time magazine did that to O.J. Simpson in 1994? Remember the hue and cry when Hillary Clinton’s campaign supposedly did that to Obama during the 2008 primary, even though it actually hadn’t? But this time nobody cares. I guess times have changed. — Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

DAVID AXELROD reminded us of this quote from the Bush-appointed former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates about the killing of Bin Laden: “I worked for a lot of these guys and this is one of the most courageous calls — decisions — that I think I’ve ever seen a president make.” Bob Cesca

THE RIGHTWING CLAIMED that Obama failed when he drew 14,000+ people to his Ohio rally on Saturday — However Mitt Romney drew only 500 people to his Ohio event yesterday. That was the event where the woman told Romney she thought Obama should be tried for treason (which is punishable by death) and Romney said nothing. The Romney people called the crowd estimated at anywhere between 300-700, “great turnout.” — PoliticsUSA

FORMER SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D-WI) on Monday speculated that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was embarrassed by the “almost lawless decision” in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. “This is a guy who is usually a careful justice,” he told Sam Seder of the Majority Report. “He just started making these sweeping assertions about what corruption was, what companies do, like he was talking at a bar with somebody over a beer rather than anything that was a legal decision. It was really reckless. I am guess he might even be a little bit embarrassed at this point about what a sloppy opinion it was, and how it just asserted things that aren’t proven.” — Raw Story

Morning Bunker Report: Monday 5.7.2012

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


MITT ROMNEY on the other hand, is proposing the exact opposite. His tax plan would give massive tax cuts to the rich. (The top 0.1% for example, would recieved a $264,000 tax cut.) Meanwhile, in a closed-door fundraiser, Romney revealed he planned to make massive reductions in education spending. He is also proposing cutting funding for infrastructure, including the possible elimination of the Department of Housing and Urban development. — ThinkProgress

THE REPUBLICANS who control the House are using cuts to food aid, health care and social services like Meals on Wheels to protect the Pentagon from a wave of budget cuts come January. The reductions, while controversial, are but a fraction of what Republicans called for in the broader, nonbinding budget plan they passed in March. Totaling a little more than $300 billion over a decade, the new cuts are aimed less at tackling $1 trillion-plus government deficits and more at preventing cuts to troop levels and military modernization. The House Budget Committee meets Monday to officially act on the measure, the product of six separate House panels. It faces a likely floor vote Thursday. — MiamiHerald

FOX NEWS: Murdoch’s most toxic legacy — My complaint is that Fox pretends very hard to be something it is not, and in the process contributes to the corrosive cynicism that has polarized our public discourse. I doubt that people at Fox News really believe their programming is “fair and balanced” — that’s just a slogan for the suckers — but they probably are convinced that what they have created is the conservative counterweight to a media elite long marinated in liberal bias. They believe that they are doing exactly what other serious news organizations do; they just do it for an audience that had been left out before Fox came along. [...] In the digital era of do-it-yourself news consumption, it is easier than ever to assemble an information diet that simply confirms your prejudices. Traditional news organizations, for all their shortcomings, see it as their mission to provide — and test — the information you need to form intelligent opinions. We aim to challenge lazy assumptions. Fox panders to them. — Bill Keller

MICHELE BACHMANN makes shit up on CBS’ Face the Nation — Bachmann: “Actually, if you look at the 2010 elections, women went Republican. They didn’t go Democrat, and they will this time as well, because women are more concerned about the economy and jobs for themselves, for their husbands, for their children, and that’s not happened because Obama’s broken his promises.”— ThinkProgress

  • FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR HOWARD DEAN responds — “Michele Bachmann has never had much command of the facts and that shows us exactly why… women are terrified of what the Republicans are talking about. They’re talking about basically stripping away their ability to have insurance pay for their birth control pills. Latinos are terrified of the Republicans because they seem to have a total tin ear when it comes to the basic needs of treating people with dignity. And the average American thinks that Mitt Romney doesn’t care about them. Here’s a guy that’s building, during a campaign, a mansion in Malibu with an elevator for his car. He had a Swiss bank account and invested in the Cayman Islands. I don’t think we’ve ever elected a president who’s invested in the Cayman Islands as a tax dodge before. This candidacy is a shipwreck, and for Michele Bachmann to go out there and claim that women are going to vote for Mitt Romney is perfectly ridiculous.” — Raw Story

JOHN MCCAIN STILL (hilariously / sadly?) trying to convince us he chose Palin in 2008 because of her ‘qualifications’ — Speaking about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney selecting of a vice presidential running mate, McCain said on ABC’s “This Week” that the “primary, absolute, most important aspect is if something happened to him, would that person be well qualified to take that place?” “I happen to believe that was the … primary factor on my decision in 2008,” McCain said, “and I know it will be Mitt’s.” — POLITICO | Seriously. Just STFU, McCain. [image: TBogg]

RON PAUL supporters are causing Mitt Romney major headaches in Nevada and Maine. 

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

OBAMA CAMP: You’re damn right we take credit for killing bin Laden  — The Obama re-election campaign doesn’t appear fazed by attacks from the right about “politicizing” the killing of Osama bin Laden, and on Sunday remained on offense over what it said was one of the president’s accomplishments. “The president hasn’t been spiking the ball,” said President Obama’s senior campaign adviser David Axelrod on ABC’s This Week. “This was the one-year anniversary. It’s part of his record. And it’s certainly a legitimate part of his record to talk about.” Axelrod said Obama followed through with his promise that catching the al-Qaeda leader would be a top priority. “And then he ordered a mission that was — was, frankly, risky, dangerous,” he said. “Bob Gates said it was one of the most courageous, one of the gutsiest decisions he’s ever seen a president make. And it turned out successfully.” Axelrod was responding to an outside conservative group’s ad — hailed by Karl Rove and widely discussed in the conservative blogosphere — that utilizes ominous music to sharply attack Obama for taking credit for the killing of Bin Laden on the first anniversary last week. “Heroes don’t seek credit,” the ad said. “Heroes don’t politicize their acts of valor.” “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president,” the leader of the group told Mother Jones. Republicans were particularly peeved that Obama’s campaign commercial about the killing quoted 2007 remarks from his likely opponent Mitt Romney saying it’s “not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars” to catch bin Laden. — TPM

  • ONE YEAR AGO, President Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden, ending a near-decade-long manhunt. Amid U.S. celebrations, it was largely forgotten that the delay in getting the terrorist leader resulted from blunders by George W. Bush and his neocon advisers, Robert Parry wrote in 2011. [...] Though it remains unclear what the long-term consequences of this action will be, Obama’s success – after years of Bush’s failure – does suggest one important lesson: U.S. officials would be well advised to ignore the special pleadings of the neocons who remain highly influential inside Official Washington. The neocons, along with other Bush advisers, exploited the 9/11 tragedy to justify a policy of inserting U.S. military forces into the heart of the Arab world to the detriment of bringing the masterminds of 9/11 to justice. That miscalculation did horrendous damage to both the United States and the people of the Middle East. It also allowed Osama bin Laden to remain at large for more than nine years. — Consortiumnews

LEARNING FROM THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS?

Hollande versus Sarkozy via Flickr FRENCH ELECTIONS: “Mr. Normal” defeats “President of the Rich” — The defeat of the most unpopular French president ever to run for re-election was not simply the result of the global financial crisis or eurozone debt turmoil. It was also down to the intense public dislike of the man seen as “President of the Rich” who had swept to victory in 2007 with a huge mandate to change France. Most French people felt he had failed to deliver his promises, and he was criticised for his ostentatious display of wealth, favouring the rich and leaving behind him more than 2.8 million unemployed. Political analysts said anti-Sarkozyism had become a cultural phenomenon in France. The turnout was high, estimated at around 80%. Hollande is the first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand’s re-election in 1988. Thousands of cheering supporters, including many intellectuals and arts figures, massed at Paris’s Place de la Bastille, a flashpoint of the 1789 French revolution, where the left celebrated Mitterrand’s first historic victory in 1981. [...] Hollande’s manifesto is based on scrapping Sarkozy’s tax breaks for the rich and levying more from high earners to finance what he deems essential spending, including creating 60,000 posts in France’s under-performing school system. He has pledged to keep the public deficit capped but for his delicate balancing act to work he needs a swift return to growth in France, despite economists warning of over-optimistic official growth forecasts that need to be trimmed. — Raw Story 

  • GREECE ALSO rejects austerity — In a major upset that will not be welcomed by the crisis-plagued country’s eurozone partners, the two forces that had agreed to enact unpopular belt-tightening in return for rescue funds appeared headed for a beating, with none being able to form a government. After nearly 40 years of dominating the Greek political scene, the centre-right New Democracy and socialist Pasok saw support drop dramatically in favour of parties that had virulently opposed the tough austerity dictated by international creditors. — Raw Story
  • FOUR YEARS LATER and apparently the “give rich assholes free money” strategy isn’t work out so well. — Duncan Black
  • THE GERMANS will cling to their fantasies of prosperity through pain, and will insist that continuing with their failed strategy is the only responsible thing to do. But it seems that they will no longer have unquestioning support from the Élysée Palace. And that, believe it or not, means that both the euro and the European project now have a better chance of surviving than they did a few days ago. — Paul Krugman

THE FRENCH ELECTION offers good and bad news for Obama. “For President Obama, the sight of Nicolas Sarkozy, a fellow member of the Presidential class of 2007-2008, being sent packing by French voters will bring mixed feelings…When the campaign turns to questions of economics, what is happening in Europe should provide Obama with plenty of arguments with which to flay his opponents. Republicans say they want to slash government spending and focus on the deficit regardless of the immediate economic situation. The Europeans have carried out that experiment, and, to say the least, it hasn’t turned out very well. From this side of the Atlantic, the American economic recovery seems pretty impressive. After more than three years of economic stagnation, most Europeans would gladly take G.D.P. growth of two-to-three per cent and an unemployment rate of eight per cent.” — John Cassidy in The New Yorker.

WOMEN ARE the richer sex, if by “richer” you mean “making less money.”

I wrote about this subject on Equal Pay Day, before I came across Bryce Covert’s fabulous Nation post “How to Close the Gender Wage Gap In Just Seven Easy* Steps.” (Do read it for serious policy ideas written with verve.) One of her steps: raise the minimum wage. See? Easy! — Are Women the Richer Sex?

Morning Bunker Report: Saturday 5.5.2012

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



images: sandandglass

MICHELE BACHMANN and a Christian Broadcasting Network reporter think she ran an ‘impeccable’ and ‘mistake-free’ campaign — Christian Broadcasting Network reporter David Brody: You ran pretty much an impeccable campaign, in terms of a mistake-free campaign. Michele Bachmann: Thank you, it really was. Brody: It pretty much was. Bachmann: It really was, we were extremely careful, and we were almost mistake free, but for those two points, Elvis Presley’s birthday and John Wayne’s birthplace. I’ve apologized, and we moved beyond. Brody: Interesting. — A conversation that really happened

MITT ROMNEY spent a total of 219 days outside of Massachusetts in 2006, during his first campaign for president, an average of four days each week. Romney visited over 35 states in the efforts to build his Presidential network, with state taxpayers picking up the tab for his security detail. [...] Romney also took vacations that year, including trips to Utah, Michigan, California, and Alaska. The trips combined his Presidential ambitions with downtime with his family. Many of the trips were funded by Romney’s political action committees, the Commonwealth PACs, with some trips being funded by the Republican Governors Associations, of which he was the Chair. Romney has been on the campaign trail, more or less, ever since. — Buzzfeed

TED NUGENT is but a loving and passionate man who will fellate and rape CBS reporters and producers to prove it!  CBS interview, yesterday, 5.4.2012:
ACCORDING TO FOX NEWS host Laura Ingraham, Ted Nugent was “winning” when he started yelling at a CBS News reporter and made sexually explicit threats during an interview that aired on May 4. The National Rifle Association board member and Washington Times columnist blew up at CBS’ Jeff Glor when he raised the suggestion that Nugent will have a hard time attracting moderate voters for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Nugent responded by citing his charity work with children, then exploded: NUGENT: “Call me, when you meet someone who does that more than I do. Because that’s really moderate. In fact, you know what that is? That’s extreme. I’m an extremely loving, passionate man, and people who investigate me honestly, without the baggage of political correctness, ascertain the conclusion that I’m a damned nice guy. And if you can find a screening process more powerful than that, I’ll suck your d–k.” Turning to a female producer off-camera, he shouted: “Or I’ll f–k you. How’s that sound?” — Fox’s Laura Ingraham On Ted Nugent’s Profanity-Laced Tirade: “Winning”  [images: Buzzfeed]

GOP WAR ON WOMEN: The GOP-led House’s version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) would not only strip away Senate-passed protections for undocumented, LGBT, and Native American victims, it also contains a dangerous provision that violates an undocumented victim’s confidentiality by allowing immigration officials to speak with, and ask for evidence from, his or her abuser. — Think Progress

IN OHIO, Romney referred to the Bush/Cheney era as “before the recession.” The recession began in late 2007, more than a year before President Obama’s inauguration. The economy crashed in September 2008, four months before Obama took office. Someone who claims an expertise in economic policy probably ought to know that. — Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity, Vol. XVI [You must read these posts -- Romney lies chronically, all the time!]

MITT ROMNEY set the entirely unrealistic goal of creating 500,000 jobs per month [yesterday] on Fox News, then added another unreasonable metric of 4 percent unemployment at a campaign event in Pennsylvania this afternoon… the unemployment rate hasn’t been that low since December 2000, at the end of President Clinton’s second term. Meanwhile, there have only been 16 months since 1939 — and only four in the last 50 years — in which the economy added 500,000 jobs or more. — Romney Sets Second Ridiculous Standard For Jobs Growth

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

IN CASE YOU’RE INTERESTED, here’s the basic Obama jobs record. His first full month in office was February 2009, and employment bottomed out a year later. Since then, employment has increased steadily and is now above the February 2009 level. That’s a pretty slow and disappointing level of employment growth, but it is what it is. Employment is now officially higher than it was when Obama took office. — Kevin Drum

OBAMA’S WEEKLY ADDRESS: Time to focus on nation building here at home — Turning to domestic politics, Obama asked what kind of country will greet U.S. troops as they return from war. “Will it be a country where a shrinking number of Americans do really well while a growing number barely get by? Or will it be a country where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules — a country with opportunity worthy of the troops who protect us?” he asked. Taking a veiled stab at Republicans, the president said the country should not “prioritize things like more tax cuts for millionaires while cutting the kinds of investments that built a strong middle class.” “That’s why I’ve called on Congress to take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the other half to rebuild America,” he said. — ABC News

USED TO BE KNOWN AS UNPATRIOTIC: “There is no need to butt into a fast moving story when the secretary of state is in Beijing with delicate negotiations and say it’s a day of shame for the Obama administration. Hillary Clinton is waking up right now. Let’s see if she can pull this off in the next 12 hours or so,” – Bill Kristol, on Romney’s approach to Chen Guangcheng. — Andrew Sullivan

BACK TO THE OBL AD. The argument is that Obama, having ordered the OBL operation, does not have the right to brag about it. Only the SEALs do. And they would never brag. It’s a kind of “stolen valor” theory. Except… the commander-in-chief isn’t stealing valor when he talks about a mission he ordered. That’s what “commander-in-chief” means. The average American who fist-pumped at the OBL news had much less to do with the operation than Obama. I’d doubt he/she feels guilty and wants to take back the “USA!” or the “wooooo!” into the TV camera. — The New Swift Boaters? Really?

THE TRUTH IS that recovery would be almost ridiculously easy to achieve: all we need is to reverse the austerity policies of the past couple of years and temporarily boost spending. Never mind all the talk of how we have a long-run problem that can’t have a short-run solution—this may sound sophisticated, but it isn’t. With a boost in spending, we could be back to more or less full employment faster than anyone imagines. But don’t we have to worry about long-run budget deficits? Keynes wrote that “the boom, not the slump, is the time for austerity.” Now, as I argue in my forthcoming book*—and show later in the data discussed in this article—is the time for the government to spend more until the private sector is ready to carry the economy forward again. At that point, the US would be in a far better position to deal with deficits, entitlements, and the costs of financing them. Meanwhile, the strong measures that would all go a long way toward lifting us out of this depression should include, among other policies, increased federal aid to state and local governments, which would restore the jobs of many public employees; a more aggressive approach by the Federal Reserve to quantitative easing (that is, purchasing bonds in an attempt to reduce long-term interest rates); and less timid efforts by the Obama administration to reduce homeowner debt. — How to End This Depression by Paul Krugman

Morning Bunker Report: TGIF 5.4.2012

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

PAUL KRUGMAN fired back at Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) after the influential Republican laughed off the New York Times columnist’s criticisms by saying, “I’ve always figured I’ve got three certainties in my life: Death, taxes and attacks from Paul Krugman.” In an exclusive interview following the release of his new book End This Depression Now!, Krugman told TPM, “That’s not a substantive remark. I’ve never attacked him just for nothing in particular. I’ve gone after his arithmetic and said it doesn’t add up at all. And he has never offered a response to that. All he does is make scary noises about the deficit, with mood music, with organ music in the background about how ominous it is, and then propose a plan that would in fact increase the deficit.” “So if he wants to joke about it, that’s fine, that’s his right. But he has not actually offered any response at all to my criticisms,” added Krugman, a relentless critic of both Ryan and the journalists who lionize him as a deficit hawk. — TPM

MITT ROMNEY’S pro-America “Made in China” flag pins — Mitt told a story about the “We Stand United” American flag pins he commissioned for the [2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games], which took place just months after the terror attacks on 9/11. Romney touted his creation of the pins as a means to explain how he hopes to bring Americans together. [...] Complicating Romney’s patriotic message is the fact that the pins were made in China, according to a website run by the Utah state government’s culture department… [...] Meanwhile, Lynn Sweet at the Chicago Sun-Times notes that a conference call hosted by the Republican National Committee (RNC) yesterday attacking President Obama for “high unemployment” was hosted by a firm in The Philippines (apparently a subcontractor of Verizon, whom the RNC used). – Mitt Romney Commissioned Pro-America Pins, Made In China

(VIDEO) RICK SANTORUM’S own words on Mitt Romney: “’If Mitt Romney’s an economic heavyweight, we’re in trouble.’ Senator Santorum, We Couldn’t Agree More,” the DNC says in a new video:


NEWT GINGRICH made sure to single out his chief benefactor during his concession speech Wednesday, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson: Yes, we’re through the looking glass here. The Adelsons spent $25 million on Gingrich’s campaign, and so I suppose a “thank you” is in order. But that’s the problem. Imagine the “thank you” if Gingrich had won the nomination and then was elected president. — Bob Cesca

THE RON PAUL insurrection in Tampa — The McCain camp was forced to fight off an insurrection on the 2008 convention floor from delegates supporting Ron Paul in what was at the time a very underreported story. It looks like the Paulites are burrowing themselves in deeply this time around, too, controlling more delegates than he “deserves” by taking advantage of the byzantine delegate-nominating process. — TPM

MITT AND MRS. MITT meet the wingnuts, allow their rings to be kissed: The attendees came from numerous conservative sites and right-of-center publications, including National Review, Daily Caller, American Spectator,Washington Examiner, Human Events, RedState, Right Wing News, Powerline, Townhall, Ace of Spades, RiehlWorldView, White House Dossier and PJ Media. RNC chairman Reince Preibus also attended. — HuffPo

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

SWIFTBOATING OBAMA  Can Obama be swift boated? That’s the idea behind this attack ad from Veterans for a Strong America, which slams the president for taking too much credit for Osama bin Laden’s death. The group’s founder tells Mother Jones’ Adam Weinstein that he’s recruiting Navy SEALs to openly criticize Obama: “We’re gonna be rolling some of those folks out soon.” Want to know who’s funding the group? Sorry, it’s a 501(c)4, so it doesn’t have to reveal its donors or how much money it has.  Mother Jones

PAYING TAXES is, in fact, patriotic — It’s un-fucking-American is what it is. I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share. That our civics classes never taught us that being American means that—sorry, kiddies—you’re on your own. That those who have received much must be obligated to pay—not to give, not to “cut a check and shut up,” in Governor Christie’s words, but to pay—in the same proportion. That’s called stepping up and not whining about it. That’s called patriotism, a word the Tea Partiers love to throw around as long as it doesn’t cost their beloved rich folks any money. — Stephen King

  • King… regularly lands on Forbes’ highest-paid authors list; in 2010, he was at No. 3. His net worth is estimated to be as much as $400 million — that’s huge for a writer but small change when it comes to big finance. Warren Buffett, another tax-the-rich advocate, is worth about $4.4 billion.
  • Rich Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship rose sevenfold since UBS AG (UBSN) whistle-blower Bradley Birkenfeld triggered a crackdown on tax evasion four years ago. About 1,780 expatriates gave up their nationality at U.S. embassies last year, up from 235 in 2008, according to Andy Sundberg, secretary of Geneva’s Overseas American Academy… — Bloomberg

WHOEVER WANTED to let Detroit go bankrupt must be pretty embarrassed by this news: GM (GM) posted a profit of $1 billion in the first quarter, beating Wall Street expectations on strong demand in its key North American market. GM also said the U.S. economy was improving and it expected its core North American results in the second and third quarters to largely match the first quarter due to scheduled downtime at its large truck plants. — Daily Kos

ELEVEN DEMOCRATIC state party chairs are pushing to include support for gay marriage in the 2012 national Democratic platform.  — TPM

OBAMA’S BELOW-THE-RADAR push builds support for healthcare reform law: “The Obama administration is employing an aggressive ground game to build support for its controversial healthcare law that often reaches beyond the Beltway.” — The Hill

NEVER FORGET: President Obama did something Donald Rumsfeld would not — Donald Rumsfeld now says the raid to nab Osama bin Laden was not a tough call, but five years ago Rumsfeld pulled the plug at the last minute on a Navy Seal raid against high-value al Qaeda targets. — TPM

Jon Stewart on Republican outrage over President Obama talking about Osama bin Laden


 
 
 

drunkonstevphenJon: ”This brings us to the subject of our new segment: You are aware that the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex gives us the ability to store and recall past events as they occurred, right?”

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.

Morning Bunker Report: Tuesday 5.1.2012

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

ALWAYS CHOOSE wealthy parents — If you don’t come from a wealthy family with tens of thousands of disposable income, well, that’s a shame — no small business for you. Romney wants young people to “take a shot,” “go for it,” “take a risk,” “get the education,” and “start a business,” but only if the federal government has no role in creating those opportunities. In the 2012 campaign context, the point isn’t to mock Romney for being very wealthy or for having very wealthy parents. Rather, what matters here is that he’s opposed to using public institutions to help level the playing field for everyone else. — Steve Benen

MITT ROMNEY thinks you should read W. Cleon Skousen: conspiracy theorist, slavery apologist, tea party icon. – “Skousen quotes from an essay which argues that “one of the blessings of slavery” was that slaves’ marriages were fleeting, and suggests that being bought at auction improved slaves’ self worth. The real victims of slavery, he suggested, were the white owners. The book also referred to black children as “pickaninnies”—which prompted lawmakers in California to block the text from being used in classrooms. In Skousen’s book, the model Supreme Court decision was Dred Scott, which correctly demarcated the limits of federal power; Roger B. Taney, who wrote the majority opinion in that case, was the model Supreme Court justice.” — Mother Jones

GOOD NEWS, Arizona lawmakers are on the verge of doing what no one else could — defeat the secret United Nations plot to lower poverty, eliminate radioactive waste, and improve the public health. Obvious, glaring threats to our way of life. Arizona lawmakers appear close to sending to Gov. Jan Brewer a tea party-backed bill that proponents say would stop a United Nations takeover conspiracy but that critics claim could end state and cities’ pollution-fighting efforts and even dismantle the state unemployment office. A final legislative vote is expected Monday on a bill that would outlaw government support of any of the 27 principles contained in the 1992 United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, also sometimes referred to as Agenda 21. — What’s Wrong With Arizona?

“REPRESENTATIVE PAUL D. RYAN strolls the halls of Capitol Hill with the anarchist band Rage Against the Machine pounding through his earbuds. At 6:30 every morning, he leads an adoring cast of young, conservative members of Congress through exercise sessions in front of a televised trainer barking out orders. For fun, Mr. Ryan noodles catfish, catching them barehanded with a fist down their throats. He may be, as a friend described him, “a hunting-obsessed gym rat,” but Mr. Ryan, 42, of Wisconsin, has become perhaps the most influential policy maker in the Republican Party, its de facto head of economic policy, intent on a fundamental transformation of the federal government.” — Wow. Half-Wonk, Half-Jock. Half-Objectivist, Half-Catholic. Half-Punk, Half-Wall Street. Paul Ryan is like a projected fantasy of what every high school Young Republican wants to be when he grows up. No wonder GOPers and reporters alike are writing his name all over their notebooks. — The Man, the Legend, the Catfish Noodler

STEPHEN FINCHER (R-TN), ANOTHER TEA PARTY FRESHMAN barfed into Congress on a wave of anger over government-funded bailouts of banks, is accepting cash from bailed-out bankers. Now those incumbents are collecting thousands of dollars for re-election campaigns from the same Wall Street firms whose excesses they criticized. They have taken no significant steps to curb them or prevent future taxpayer-financed rescues. Republican freshmen have made clear their disdain for expanding government, and openly opposed a financial regulatory overhaul enacted by Democrats in 2010 before the newcomers arrived in Washington. [...] “I haven’t seen any of them putting forth legislation on breaking up the big banks or on other things that would genuinely prevent a bailout next time,” said Marcus Stanley, policy director of Americans for Financial Reform, a Washington- based umbrella group of organizations that supported the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and other financial regulations. — Bloomberg

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

Former President Clinton: Obama ‘Deserves to Be Re-Elected’ – “He’s got an opponent who basically wants to do what they did before, on steroids, which will get you the same consequences you got before, on steroids,” Clinton said at a campaign event this weekend.

“I WOULD SUPPORT the president’s version of the DREAM Act…I think that Senator Rubio’s version of the DREAM Act would create a second class status for folks. And I understand that Speaker Boehner has said that he doesn’t expect that that issue will be addressed in this Congress…He said the DREAM Act would be a handout and has campaigned with Kris Kobach, who authored the Arizona and the Alabama laws…” — Los Angeles’ Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, chair of the Democratic convention later this year, criticized Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) work-in-progress version of the DREAM Act. — CBS NEWS | Video

WHILE OBAMA SAID it’s “entirely appropriate” to “remember what we as a country accomplished” in getting bin Laden, the President advised that people look at what Romney said in 2007 and ask him why he now says something different: OBAMA: As far as my personal role and what other folks would do, I just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden. I assumed that people meant what they said when they said it, that’s been at least my practice. I said that we’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggested they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it. — Obama: ‘I Assumed’ He Meant It When He Said He Wouldn’t Get Bin Laden

THE REASON for all the dust that’s being thrown up is that, every time he talks about foreign policy, Romney is a blindfolded man in a yard full of rakes.  Is anyone taking seriously the complaints now coming about how the president’s re-election campaign is using the decision to kill Osama bin Laden to its own advantage? I think the killing of the author of the 9/11 atrocities, and a considerable international murderer even beyond that particular crime, is something that a president who wants to be president again is within his rights to use. However, Willard Romney is all a’flutter. (“My dear young chap, that simply is not done.”) There apparently were no clouds in the sky at which John McCain could yell, so he weighed in on the dreadful inappropriateness of it all. [...] In the present case, the president actually gave the order. Osama bin Laden is actually dead. And, having done what he did, the president is well within his rights to wonder out loud if Willard Romney would have made the same call, given what Romney said back in 2007, when he was just starting to run for president. And it’s no more or less “fair” on the merits than is Romney’s constant refrain that the president “doesn’t understand how the economy works” because he’s never been a vulture capitalist. (Today in New Hampshire, while travelling around with Senator Kelly Ayotte, his latest vice-presidential beard, and demonstrating the pure class and raw political courage that has marked his entire political career by throwing a cheap shot at someone who wasn’t in the room, Romney said that, “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” This from a man whose toughest decision in his life has been which house to sleep in.) — Charles P. Pierce

“I’VE KNOWN RICH PEOPLE, and why not, since I’m one of them? The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar.” — Stephen King, “Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!”

DID PRESIDENT OBAMA’S re-election campaign take its new slogan from MSNBC? The campaign unveiled a new video with a new tagline on Monday morning. The slogan? “Forward.” The “Morning Joe” crew were among the many to notice that the slogan bears more than a passing resemblance to MSNBC’s nearly two-year-old branding line, “Lean Forward.” — Joe Scarborough: Obama’s New Slogan Taken From MSNBC

FACTOID: “BACKWARDS” has already been trademarked by the Republican Party.

Morning Bunker Report: Monday 4.30.2012

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

LISTEN TO MITT ROMNEY, he’s telling you everything you need to know about him“You will hear words from people running for office that sound great. But sometimes what people say is not a perfect example of what they’re going to do.” [...] Romney says he wants to put the nation on a path to a balanced budget while also cutting an array of taxes, building up the Navy and Air Force and adding 100,000 active-duty military personnel. He says he would slash domestic spending and reduce tax loopholes but has offered few details. Cut taxes for the rich, cut spending on investment in people and infrastructure, increase military spending and whammo: balanced budget. — Daily Kos


GOV. JERRY BROWN: the Republican Party is like a cult – On CBS News’ Face the Nation Sunday morning, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said that politics had changed a “hell of a lot” since he started his career as a public official. “It’s more polarized, the money is more centrally collected and distributed by the two major parties, there is — particularly on the Republican side — an enforcement of discipline that’s ideological,” he explained. “And as was mentioned today in The Washington Post, it takes on the quality of a cult.” — Raw Story

REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST ALEX CASTELLANOS denied that women make 77 cents for a man’s dollar in the workplace and noted, “there are lots of reasons for that.”  “Now we know, at least from both of your perspectives,” [Rachel] Maddow said, pointing to Castellanos and Romney surrogate Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), “women are not fairing worse than men in the economy that women aren’t getting paid less for equal work.” “It’s about policy and whether or not you want to fix some of the structural discrimination that women really do face that Republicans don’t believe is happening,” she added. — Think Progress

  • The problem of ‘working from different facts’ – There’s simply no shared foundation of reality, which in turn shapes the policy debate in unproductive ways. The left sees gender-based pay disparity and looks for mechanisms to address the problem; the right rejects the existence of the disparity and sees no use for the solutions because, to them, there is no problem.

NEWT GINGRICH will drop out Wednesday — According to Fox News sources, the still technically in-the-running Republican — now without supporters or a security detail — will officially end his campaign on Wednesday. Earlier reports said he would call it quits on Tuesday, but apparently he needs our attention for just a teeny, tiny while longer. — Daily Intel

FLORIDA PASTOR TERRY JONES held another Koran-burning ceremony yesterday in a portable fire pit, despite a Pentagon warning that this could jeopardize American troops overseas… — Gainesville Sun

ROMNEY PERFORMS A TWISTING, DOUBLE, BACKWARDS FLIP FLOP: Romney top advisor Eric Fehrnstrom says that not only did Mitt Romney not oppose auto bailout but that President Obama actually got the idea from Mitt.  — TPM


image: Bob Cesca

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

SENATE DEMOCRATS will soon hold a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a senior Democratic Senate aide confirms to me. “This vote is going to happen,” the aide says. The vote means this will likely be the next major battle in the war over women, and it could put Mitt Romney in a delicate political spot. It will force a choice: Either he supports the measure, which would put him at odds with the Senate GOP caucus (which voted against the bill two years ago), or he opposes it, which would put Romney at odds with his own rhetorical support for equal pay for women, potentially damaging him further among crucial female swing voters. — Greg Sargent

ROBERT GIBBS: Romney’s slogan is ‘Obama didn’t clean up our mess fast enough‘ — “I think sometimes you listen to the Romney campaign and they do think a lot people in this country are stupid,” Gibbs told NBC’s David Gregory. “Their message is: You didn’t clean up our mess fast enough.” “The last six months of the Bush administration, we lost three and half million jobs. We know this about Mitt Romney: He’s not a job creator. When he was governor of Massachusetts, they were 47th out of 50 in job creation. His experience is in downsizing, outsourcing jobs and bankrupting companies and walking away with a lot of money for himself.” Gibbs added: “His economic ideas are the failed economic ideas that we tried for eight years, tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, and letting Wall Street go back to writing the rules all over again. That is the policies that got us into this mess.”  — Raw Story

OBAMA SPIKES the bin Laden football — After taking a low-key approach to the killing of Osama bin Laden for most of the past year, the Obama campaign released a video on Friday taking credit for green-lighting the operation and questioning whether Mitt Romney would have made the same call. Conservatives scoffed, claiming that the raid was a no-brainer that any president would have approved. I don’t know who’s right, but if you want to decide for yourself you probably ought to know just how the entire operation was planned and what part Obama played. — Mother Jones

WHAT SHOULD WE DO to help America’s young? Basically, the opposite of what Mr. Romney and his friends want. We should be expanding student aid, not slashing it. And we should reverse the de facto austerity policies that are holding back the U.S. economy — the unprecedented cutbacks at the state and local level, which have been hitting education especially hard. Yes, such a policy reversal would cost money. But refusing to spend that money is foolish and shortsighted even in purely fiscal terms. Remember, the young aren’t just America’s future; they’re the future of the tax base, too. A mind is a terrible thing to waste; wasting the minds of a whole generation is even more terrible. Let’s stop doing it. — Paul Krugman