1) PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS
- President Obama repeats call to end subsidies for Big Oil - “… at a time when big oil companies are making more money than ever before, we’re still giving them $4 billion of your tax dollars in subsidies every year. Your member of Congress should be fighting for you. Not for big financial firms. Not for big oil companies. In the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies. And when they do, we’re going to put every single Member of Congress on record: They can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people. They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century, or they can place their bets on America’s future. So make your voice heard. Send your representative an email. Give them a call. Tell them to stand with you.”
- Medicare fight is not over yet – Rep. Steve Israel - This Republican Congress of Chronic Chaos is dusting off last year’s same failed playbook — where seniors would lose their Medicare while Republicans give more tax breaks to millionaires and Big Oil companies. I have one response: Bring it on. Tone-deaf House Republicans are preparing a budget that will — again — protect millionaires over Medicare. As with their last budget, House Republicans are giving Americans a window into their souls. And the American people don’t like what they’re seeing: Republicans’ relentless, reckless promise to protect the ultrawealthy at the expense of the middle class and seniors. Republicans might stand for those failed priorities, but middle-class families and seniors won’t. Medicare is a sacred bond with seniors that cannot be broken.
2) YOUR 2012 GOP PRIMARY
- Rick Santorum: If I win the Illinois primary, I win the nomination – “This is a primary, and turnout is everything. You do your job, you do your job, then this is the pledge,” Santorum said. “If we’re able to come out of Illinois with a huge or surprise win, I guarantee you, I guarantee you that we will win this nomination.” Illinois has largely been predicted to favor Mitt Romney for Tuesday’s primary. The vote is expected to be driven by Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, pegged as unfavorable territory for the former Pennsylvania senator’s brand of conservatism. But in areas like Effingham, hours south of the Windy City, Santorum hopes to fire up a Republican base that is often overshadowed by its Democratic counterparts to the north.
- Ahead of Ill. primary, Romney blasts Obama on gas prices, defends his own wealth - Romney accused three administration officials—Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson— of working to push up energy prices. He said they should either resign their offices or be fired by the president. [...] He ended the event with a defense of his business success, which has helped him amass a huge personal fortune. “I am not in this race to make money,” he said to rising cheers from the audience. “I’ve already made enough… I’m not embarrassed about being successful, but I’m embarrassed for people who think there’s something wrong with that.”
3) YOUR 21st CENTURY REPUBLICAN (TEA)PARTY
- Why Conservatives Are Still Crazy After All These Years – But are right-wingers scarier now than in the past? They certainly seem stranger and fiercer. I’d argue, however, that they’ve been this crazy for a long time. Over the last sixty years or so, I see far more continuities than discontinuities in what the rightward twenty or thirty percent of Americans believe about the world. The crazy things they believed and wanted were obscured by their lack of power, but they were always there – if you knew where to look. What’s changed is that loony conservatives are now the Republican mainstream, the dominant force in the GOP. [...] conservatism continues to thrive. That’s because power begets power: Democrats can be counted on to compromise with conservative nuttiness, and the media can be counted on to normalize it. And it’s because there will always be millions of Americans who are terrified of social progress and of dispossession from whatever slight purchase on psychological security they’ve been able to maintain in a frightening world. And because there will always be powerful economic actors for whom exploiting such fear, uncertainty and doubt pays (and pays, and pays).
- Tea party leader suspected of sexual assault - San Diego tea party spokesperson Michael Kobulincky was placed into custody and accused of abduction and sexual assault on a 56-year-old woman in February. Authorities say the woman was pulled into a car and assaulted before she was dropped off. Surveillance cameras and a picture released to the public led to Kobulincky being identified as a suspect. The San Diego Tea Party released a statement, citing that Kobulincky has been relieved of his spokesperson’s role and has been inactive since January. He is facing a myriad of felony charges, including kidnapping, sexual assault and sex with a foreign object.
4) REPUBLICAN WAR ON WOMEN
- Romney plans to pay for his tax cuts for millionaires by getting rid of Planned Parenthood – Mitt Romney just offered up one more way he is failing American women. He knows that his plan to spend $151 billion on tax cuts for millionaires in one year alone is going to require slashing other programs. His first target? Planned Parenthood. Describing how he’d reduce the debt, Romney said, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.” The Democratic National Committee released this video noting exactly who Romney is standing up for and how women will pay the price. Take a look, and then share it with your friends.
- Breaking: “First Degree Homicide Of The Unborn Child Bill” Passes CO House On Second Reading – Horrible news for women’s rights from the state House tonight. From State Rep Daniel Kagan (D): “…we were unable to prevent the Republican majority in the House from passing on second reading the First Degree Homicide of the Unborn Child bill. Under some circumstances, it makes both termination of pregnancy and the use of the morning after pill a homicide. It also confers personhood on a newly fertilized egg.” Kos readers may believe this bill will be stopped in the Senate. Tea Party legislators have been successful in passing 135 bills nationwide to limit women’s reproductive rights this year. To assume it cannot happen in Colorado is a dangerous assumption…
- Violence Against Women Act Divides Senate - But Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, found multiple reasons to oppose the bill when it came up for a formal consideration last month. The legislation “creates so many new programs for underserved populations that it risks losing the focus on helping victims, period,” Mr. Grassley said when the committee took up the measure. After his alternative version was voted down on party lines, the original passed without a Republican vote. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, one of two women on the judiciary panel, said the partisan opposition came as a “real surprise,” but she put it into a broader picture. “This is part of a larger effort, candidly, to cut back on rights and services to women,” she said. “We’ve seen it go from discussions on Roe v. Wade, to partial birth abortion, to contraception, to preventive services for women. This seems to be one more thing.” [image: leftish]
5) PROTECTING THE WEALTH OF THE ONE PERCENT: GOP WAR ON THE 99%
- Yet another income redistribution scheme. Notice the GOP never recommends more revenue with a tax increase to the one percent? Medicare bill would hike costs to federal workers – Four Republican senators have introduced legislation designed to improve Medicare, but with federal employees paying a price. Under the Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act, Medicare recipients would enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP). Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.), the main sponsor of the bill, said it would save taxpayers $1 trillion over 10 years. He acknowledged, however, that the legislation would result in higher premiums for federal employees… An organization that represents older Americans on Medicare and federal employees does have arguments against the legislation. “This is a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone kind of proposal that would both bring down Medicare as we know it and threaten the stability of the FEHBP,” said Joseph A. Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
- A Senate Republican plan to replace Medicare – For years, Republicans have insisted that they would not end Medicare as we know it and that any changes to the program would not affect those in or near retirement. In the span of 20 minutes Thursday, they jettisoned both promises. [...] But DeMint and his colleagues think the time to end Medicare is now — with a cold-turkey conversion to a private program, effective in 2014. … Paul says his plan would cut funding of Medicare by $1 trillion over 10 years and reduce Medicare’s liabilities by $16 trillion. It would do that by enrolling Medicare recipients in the health plan now used by federal workers. The government would pay 75 percent of the insurance premium on average but 30 percent or less for those who earned more than $100,000 a year. The eligibility age would gradually be raised to 70 from 65. If seniors can’t afford their share of the premium, they can apply for Medicaid, the health program for the poor. || The GOP has always been against Medicare — remember THIS?
- Ryan Budget to Include Firewall of Defense Sequester – President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have stated they want defense spending to be part of a larger budget deal on taxes and spending. The sequester mandates that both defense and discretionary spending will take a hit beginning next January. Defense spending would account for $600 billion of all mandated cuts over 10 years. Some Republicans not wanting to flirt with national security have said they want to keep defense out of the negotiations surrounding the sequester, which are expected to last until after the November elections. Panetta has stated any further cuts could be “devastating,” but has insisted Congress should negotiate on taxes and spending in a comprehensive way without pulling defense. [...] But by firewalling defense from further cuts, House Republicans would need to pay for those expected cuts another way. At a House Budget Committee hearing, Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told Panetta he felt entitlement spending should be on the table. [chart: MotherJones « click for larger image]
- Mossad ‘agrees with U.S.’ on Iran nuclear goals - Israel’s intelligence service Mossad agrees with US assessments there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb, even though Israeli leaders have talked about Tehran’s plans to acquire nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported. “Their people ask very hard questions, but Mossad does not disagree with the US on the weapons program,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed former senior US intelligence official as saying. “There is not a lot of dispute between the US and Israeli intelligence communities on the facts,” the former official said. The Times reported last month that the latest assessments by US spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program.
- BUT THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE! Record highs set Wednesday. Open circles indicate records were tied, circles with an x indicate records were broken. (National Climatic Data Center) Temperatures more characteristic of June have broken hundreds of temperature records over the last several days and promise to continue into the next week in many areas. In some places, temperatures have been an eye-popping 30-40 degrees above normal, nearing or surpassing the warmest temperatures ever recorded so early in the season. Since Sunday, an amazing 943 new record highs have been broken or tied across the U.S. compared to just 9 record lows On Wednesday alone, an incredible 400 new record highs were were broken (307) or tied (93). Record heat spanned from Florida to Montana. [...] The backdrop for these warm weather records is an atmosphere that’s bulking up. Levels of carbon dioxide and methane (two key greenhouse gases) are higher than they’ve been in at least 800,000 years, and global temperatures over the last decade are unsurpassed in the modern climate record. All 11 years of the 21st century rank among the 13 warmest globally since 1880 according to NOAA.