If Romney-Ryan would do this to fellow Republicans, what would they do to the rest of us?

All kidding aside, if I supported Ron Paul, I’d be completely pissed:

Twenty Paul backers from Maine were also stripped of their spots as official delegates after the RNC concluded that their election was invalid.

On Tuesday afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called for a full delegation vote on the rules, including the ones the Paul backers opposed. The voice vote of ayes and nays were equal in volume, but Boehner immediately gave it to the ayes, leading to loud boos and shouts from Paul supporters.

[...] After the vote, Paul supporters took to the hallways outside the main convention area and continued shouting and talking to reporters about how they believed they were robbed. Several of them said they may not support Romney — and it could cause problems for Republicans in the fall.

“After the way they treated us, treated the state of Maine, treated us Republicans, they should be worried about how this is going to affect the election,” said Erin Gail, a stripped Maine delegate.

“This is a sign this man [Romney] will take our country down a much worse path than the guy who is currently in office. And I can’t stand the guy who is currently in office,” said John Jones, another rejected Maine delegate.

— Ron Paul Delegates Cause Mayhem At Republican Convention

Mitt Romney’s RNC: “This is the biggest power grab in the history of the Republican Party”

Buzzfeed reports that a Paul and Santorum coalition are bringing a floor fight to the convention today over rule changes that now let the candidate (i.e. Willard Romney) decide which delegates may come to the national convention (i.e. those delegates who are voting for Romney may come).

Grassroots Press For Convention Floor Fight Over Romney’s “Power Grab”

A coalition of grassroots Republicans are pushing for a potentially distracting and noisy floor fight at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday to undo rules changes that weaken insurgent candidates and state parties.

The group, which includes supporters of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, as well as some top state party officials who back Romney, is working to oppose changes to the Party rules allow presidential candidates the right to refuse delegates to the national convention.

[...] “This is the biggest power grab in the history of the Republican Party because it shifts the power to select delegates from the state party to the candidate,” said Indiana National Committeeman Jim Bopp in an email to RNC members late Sunday, calling it an “overreaction” to Ron Paul. “And it would make the Republican Party a top down, not bottom up party.”

It’s adorable that this coalition thought the GOP was a “bottom up party” before Mitt Romney purchased the nomination. They just cannot be that surprised that Romney is being Romney with his convention. Lord Romney will not follow your little rules. Lord Romney will change your rules to suit himself, peasants.

The Republican National Convention has been officially Bain Capitalized!

The Raw StoryFormer Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee thinks supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) should line up behind presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, despite the treatment they received during this year’s primary season.

Buzzfeed: Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who starred at the 2008 Republican National Convention and will skip this one, Tuesday morning offered her support to conservatives pressing for a floor fight over attempts by Mitt Romney’s allies to centralize control over the Republican Party. (Some of the parties appear to have reached a compromise in advance of Palin’s missive.)

Ron Paul won’t speak at the convention, but he will have a very nice video tribute

Ron Paul won’t be speaking at the convention because of two conditions that he says convention organizers required:

Paul claims that convention organizers told him he could deliver a speech on two conditions. First, the Romney campaign would get to vet his speech, and second, he would have to give a full-blown endorsement of the GOP nominee. Paul balked at both requirements. “It wouldn’t be my speech,” Paul told the Times. “That would undo everything I’ve done in the last 30 years. I don’t fully endorse him for president.”

IDK, what does “I don’t fully endorse him” even mean? That he sort of endorses him? Slightly? That he doesn’t completely reject him? Blah. And now Ron Paul goes back to his day job of writing frivolous bills (14 long years, 620 bills sponsored, FOUR made it to a vote and only ONE became a law).

The Teapublican National Convention will be anything but a moderate affair

Paul Harris with The Guardian reports on the terrible shitstorm of the century that’s about to hit Tampa — and how it might be impacted by Hurricane Isaac. Harris describes the difficulty Romney will have attracting moderates while being nominated to run for president by a party base comprised of socially conservative “Christians,” anti-government wackadoos, and tea party “patriots.” It will be a perfect storm of the most extreme, vicious, and radical versions of the GOP that have ever existed.

The article describes the various extreme elements to watch for, such as Todd Akin with his legitimate rape theory — which is who and what the RNC’s official abortion platform actually matches. There will be birthers, seven in all, as featured speakers. Will four three days be enough time for all the fresh birther jokes? And any mention of marriage equality and gays should rile the attendees to a level of primate frenzy not fit for national coverage. So The Girl With the Faraway Eyes will be there, speaking at numerous events, doing her part to rile them. Herman Cain will talk about how Obama is failing black people and maybe Jesus, and to offer his personal attention to any lonely female attendees. Ted Cruz will undoubtedly speak about the huge threat of Sharia Law… and Muslims.

The article doesn’t mention the “surprise” appearance of the shadowy OPSEC Group, a reincarnation of Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, run by Republicans, funded by nameless billionaires (none of whom were probably ever in the military), and comprised of a few former U.S. intelligence and special forces personnel who dislike the president enough to use their past service in a political campaign to advance a guy who dodged the Vietnam draft for 30 months in France. They want to tell America that President Obama had about as much to do with the take down of Bin Laden as did Snooki from the Jersey Shore. Not that any of these people were anywhere near the Bin Laden operation, but … you know, they once had super important Jason-Bourne-like government jobs — so you should just believe them. And it’s anyone’s guess how their swift-boating will be “honorably” represented this year, without the little purple-heart bandaids.

And at some point Donald Trump, with his intricately spiraled hair hat, will amaze the attendees with his originality by shouting at an Obama impersonator: “You’re fired!”  Naturally, some will believe it’s really happening, while the others will pretend they didn’t see that coming, and the crowd will go mouth-foaming wild. Count on The Donald to serve up another fresh birther joke as well.

But for Mitt, the real ugliness will be Ron Paul and his legion of disciples:

[...] A final thorn in Romney’s side could be Texan congressman Ron Paul. Libertarian-leaning Paul is bowing out of national politics, but his followers are going to be vocal in Tampa, highlighting their beliefs in minimal government, an anti-war foreign policy and getting rid of the Federal Reserve. Now thousands of Paul supporters are holding a three-day festival in Tampa in his honour. Paul himself will speak tomorrow night at a rally at the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome. Coverage is hardly likely to leave the impression that Romney heads a united or a moderate party. One thing that could dampen things is Hurricane Isaac, which is barrelling towards Florida and may yet force some of the convention to be delayed or cancelled. “For Romney, that is probably a blessing in disguise,” said Bowler.

We’ll see if Reince Priebus and Mitt have observed what’s arrived in Tampa and decided that the hurricane will be a danger to the attendees every day this week except for Thursday night. It’s pretty bad when a hurricane would be the best thing that could happen to Lord Romney’s convention.

Ron Paul got his

Think Progress: Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a libertarian hero, last year said that allowing Social Security to exist is akin to permitting slavery. But during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, Paul admitted to the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein that he collects Social Security checks anyway:

STEIN: A bit of a personal question then, are you on Social Security? Do you get Social Security checks?

PAUL: I do.

STEIN: Well, I mean, is there — you just told younger generations that they should ween themselves off this social contract.

PAUL: That is true.

STEIN: But you haven’t done it yourself…Don’t you think you chould have set a good example for the future generations. You’re not the wealthiest man in congress, I know that, but you have enough means to take care of yourself in retirement…Couldn’t you have set an example?

PAUL: No. I think the programs are so designed, just as I use the post office too, I use government highways, I do that too, I use the banks, the federal reserve system, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t work to remove this in the same way on Social Security.

It’s ‘the system,’ man. So while Paul got his, he’s working to cancel yours.

Morning Bunker Report: Tuesday 5.15.2012

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

Ralph Reed Concern Trolls Over Political ‘Dumpster Diving’ — During his Roundtable appearance on This Week, discussion turned to whether Mitt Romney’s pattern of bullying others and entitled attitude is relevant to the election at hand. [...] Reed actually had the nerve to ask who would want to serve “if they know people will be dumpster diving into your high school or prep school?” Wow, really? Because nothing says dumpster diving like half the Republican Party claiming Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States, that he is really a Kenyan usurper, and the other half claiming that he’s Muslim but somehow influenced by an inflammatory Christian pastor in the church he attended for 20 years, and other assorted untrue stories they flog every damn day. Nothing says dumpster diving like pointing at his time in Indonesia as a time where he was indoctrinated by imams, or the nonsense they spewed just this week about how he dealt drugs in college. So here is Ralph Reed, calling a story corroborated by five independent witnesses and Romney himself “dumpster diving” while he and his band of religious thugs are largely responsible for the lies, rumors, and smears they laid upon Barack Obama for the last six years or so. Who would want to serve, indeed? — Hypocrites for Jebus

Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget and his kinder, gentler approach to ending Medicare as we know it is no more popular in 2012 than it was in 2011. Which is a problem for House Republicans who voted for it and are now running for reelection. Consider Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY-25) and the convolutions she had in explaining the Medicare vote she took at a town meeting. [...] Her defenses, in order: 1) it’s not law! We all voted for it but that doesn’t mean we actually want it to be law; 2) we’re not going to take Medicare away from you, just your children and grandchildren; and 3) the Senate will never pass it anyway, so this really isn’t a real issue to be scared of, and you shouldn’t blame me for voting to end Medicare as we know it because, even though I voted for it, it’s not going to happen and isn’t that a relief. Oh, and yeah, look over there! Obamacare! Scary! Compelling stuff. Nonetheless, it’s what the Republicans have chosen, again, to run on for 2012. So it would be a really good time for Democrats to make a campaign pledge of no benefit cuts to Medicare, or Social Security. — Daily Kos

In a column for the white nationalist site VDARE.com, John Derbyshire (who was fired from National Review recently) offers unqualified praise for white supremacy: [...] Leaving aside the intended malice, I actually think “White Supremacist” is not bad semantically. White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with. There have of course been some blots on the record, but I don’t see how it can be denied that net-net, white Europeans have made a better job of running fair and stable societies than has any other group. As a reminder, this man who now openly praises a racial caste system wrote for one of the nation’s top conservative publications for nearly 12 years. — Think Progress | (Note: he’s right about one thing: a society run by white Europeans IS one of the better arrangements for white Europeans – just not anyone else.) 

UNTIL 2016: Ron Paul effectively suspends presidential campaign Supporters will focus on picking off delegates already won by other candidates. Paul has yet to make clear what he plans to do with his delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and activists planning on attending have expressed differing views and sometimes confusion as to what their goals will be heading into the event. — TPM

SHHHH! Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians on Monday during a secretive, closed-door ceremony in the state Capitol as police stood guard to keep out any uninvited political opponents of the sometimes divisive radio show host. — The Washington Post

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

RECALL ELECTION JUNE 5: The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has not invested heavily into the recall elections against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R), according to an anonymous Wisconsin Democratic party official. [...] “We are frustrated by the lack of support from the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Governors Association,” the official said. “Scott Walker has the full support and backing of the Republican Party and all its tentacles. We are not getting similar support.” – Raw Story | Contact the DNC

Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) is calling for JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon to resign from his position at the New York Federal Reserve Bank to acknowledge that he was in a position of trust after his company revealed that it had recently lost $2 billion as a result of bad bets on derivatives. “I’d like to see some real accountability here,” Warren told CBS host Charlie Rose on Monday. “I’d like to see Jamie Dimon, for example, resign from his position as a Class A director of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.” — Raw Story

Romney donor pulls support, backs Obama, over same-sex marriage – “I feel that I no longer wish to support your presidential campaign and ask that you please return the maximum contribution that I gave to you last year,” Bill White wrote in a letter addressed to the former Massachusetts governor and obtained by CNN. “You have chosen to be on the wrong side of history and I do not support your run for president any longer,” White added. [...] White is the chairman and CEO of the New York-based consulting firm Constellations Group. He was previously the president of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum – the cultural and educational institution whose major presence is the floating World War II Intrepid aircraft carrier sitting on the Hudson River. White told CNN he has advocated on behalf of injured and fallen veterans for 20 years – being awarded the Meritorious Public Service Award from the Coast Guard and from the Navy. — CNN

IRONICALLY, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) says Obama is trying to ‘divide the country’ with marriage equality — Cornyn says that President Barack Obama only announced support for same sex marriage because “he can’t run on his record.” “He’s trying to raise divisive issues up to solidify his base and to divide the country,” Cornyn told CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday. — Raw Story

“I’ve always thought it as something that was still holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. It’s no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple. I think it’s the right thing to do, so whether it costs him votes or not – again, it’s not about votes. It’s about people. It’s the right thing to do as a human being.” — Jay-Z, speaking on CNN.


image: MMFA

Morning Bunker Report: Sunday 5.13.2012

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

Mitt Romney panders to the far-right Christian fundagelicals who think his religion is a cult – Toward the beginning of the ceremony, Mark DeMoss, a well-known Evangelical and longtime Romney supporter, took to the podium to vouch for the Mormon candidate. He recounted a meeting between Romney and Dr. Falwell four years ago, after which the candidate sent the pastor a chair engraved with the words, “There’s always room for you at my table.” “I trust him to do the right thing,” DeMoss said. “To do the moral thing, to do what’s best for our country. I trust his integrity, his moral compass, his judgment, and his perfect decency. Finally, I trust his values, for I feel they mirror my own.” It was meant to be a unifying moment of culture war diplomacy on DeMoss’s part, a nod to his fellow Evangelicals that Romney was, in fact, one of them. But in the middle of his speech, an angry voice from the back of the graduates’ section interrupted: “Hey Mitt! Jesus is the only way!” [...] For the thousands of conservative Evangelicals on campus Saturday who reject the candidate’s claim to Christianity, Romney may represent a compromise: They’re voting for him because they can’t do better. —  Mitt Romney’s Pitch To The True Believers [image: arcaneimages]

  • THE BOND between Romney and Christian fundagelical fascists will be a shared hate of those who are different: “As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman. The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate. It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with. Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.” - Mitt Romney, speaking at today’s commencement at Dead Dead Dead Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.
  • Romney backs away from supporting same-sex adoption — “Well, actually I think all states but one allow gay adoption. So that’s a position which has been decided by most of the state legislatures, including the one in my state some time ago. So I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one.” — Raw Story
  • JESUS CHRIST Himself is too ‘counterculture’ for this place: No ‘Counterculture’ Hair Allowed At Liberty University — the rules governing hair on Liberty’s campus are very strict. From the rules for men: Hair and clothing styles related to a counterculture (as determined by the Student Affairs Deans’ Review Committee) are not acceptable. Hair should be cut in such a way that it will not come over the ears, collar or eyebrows at any time. Ponytails for men are unacceptable.

Wait, Suddenly Right-Wing Bloggers Don’t Want Candidates Vetted? — In the wake of the Washington Post’s unflattering article yesterday about how five of Mitt Romney’s high school classmates recalled the Republican candidate leading an assault against a presumed gay schoolmate, pinning him down, and cutting his long hair while tears filled up in the boy’s eyes, conservative bloggers were indignant the Post would bother with such trivial pursuits. -“Is a decades old high school story really ‘news’?” (Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin.) -“Cutting-edge reporting from WaPo: Let’s take an in-depth look at … Romney’s cruel high-school pranks.” (Ed Morrissey) -“It’s a waste of time and energy and effort.” (Fox News’ Karl Rove.) -“BREAKING NEWS: Mitt Romney Went to High School. Seriously.” (Erick Erickson) Suddenly the far-right press thinks it’s pointless to delve deep into a candidate’s past in search of clues about his personality and clues to what shaped him into an adult. Suddenly they mock efforts by the press to paint a detailed personal portrait of would-be presidents by combing over their biographies. In short, suddenly right-wing bloggers are strongly opposed to vetting. — Media Matters

YOUR LIBERAL MEDIA: NBC’s David Gregory To Headline Conference For Major Republican Advocacy Group — The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics states: Journalists should: — Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. — Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility. — Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity. Regardless of whether Gregory is being paid for this event and of what he says in his keynote, allowing the NFIB to raise money for its political mission using his name, reputation, and celebrity appears to be at odds with journalistic ethics. — Think Progress

Arizona Ron Paul supporters boo Romney’s son off stage — Supporters of Ron Paul booed the son of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney off the stage Saturday at the Arizona Republican Party convention as he sought to solidify support for his father’s nomination. Hundreds of state GOP members were gathered at Grand Canyon University to elect delegates for the national convention in August in Tampa, which is expected to select Mitt Romney as the official Republican nominee to challenge President Barack Obama. — azcentral.com

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

Obama Camp Ties Romney To JP Morgan Scandal — The Obama campaign is seizing on the news that financial giant JP Morgan lost billions of dollars trading derivatives with customer funds to attack Mitt Romney for wanting to repeal the 2010 law meant to curtail these kinds of risky bets. “Rolling back Wall Street reform, as Mitt Romney proposes, would be reckless,” says Obama camp spokeswoman Lis Smith in a statement to TPM. “The law promotes transparency, limits the types of risky investments that can be made with deposits insured by federal taxpayers, and prevents investment losses at one bank from threatening the whole financial system. Returning to the failed policy of letting Wall Street write their own rules would put all of us at greater risk of another financial crisis and leave us vulnerable to another taxpayer-funded bank bailout like the one shortly before President Obama took office.” — TPM

Obamacare: A Mother’s Day Gift For All Moms Throughout The U.S. — People always say good health is the greatest gift, so let’s make health a priority this Mother’s Day. Now that I am a mother myself, I am even more appreciative that I have health insurance that covers the care I need. All moms deserve the kind of quality, affordable care that I was lucky enough to receive while pregnant and postpartum, and Obamacare is working to make that dream a reality. — Think Progress

HOW JOURNALISM is done: MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Demonstrates How To Handle Tony Perkins On Television — Perkins’ presence on MSNBC isn’t surprising – the hate group leader has become a regular guest on the network over the past several months, and has typically been treated as a credible, uncontroversial political figure, especially on Hardball. On Thursday, however, things were different.For nearly 15 minutes, Matthews, with the help of Frank, grilled Perkins on his views on homosexuality, marriage equality, and same-sex parenting. Matthews challenged Perkins’ anti-gay misinformation, held him accountable for past statements, and demonstrated how out-of-the-mainstream his extreme positions really are. This is exactly the kind of interview that major news outlets should be conducting when dealing with someone like Perkins. — Media Matters

Dianne Feinstein Defends Obama On Gay Marriage: ‘What’s Wrong With People Being Happy?’ — When asked whether Obama had made a political calculation in endorsing gay marriage, Feinstein rejected the idea. “I don’t think it is a flip flop and there is no political calculus in this, because it is not smart from a political point of view. It doesn’t make sense,” Feinstein said. “From a personal point of view, I can tell you what happened because it happened to me,” she continued. “You get to know more and more gay couples and you see the happiness. You see the economic security that marriage brings. And even more fundamentally, you can see children who otherwise would not have an adopted home being able to have that home. And so same-sex couples raise children, they do a fine job. And I think when you see this — and it has happened in California — more and more people say, ‘What is wrong with people being happy?'” — HuffPo [image: randomactsofchaos]

BREAK UP BIG BANKS: A message from Bernie Sanders — J.P. Morgan Chase revealed that its in-house trading operation lost $2 billion in the past six weeks. “The debacle at J.P. Morgan Chase reaffirms my view that the largest six banks in this country, including J.P. Morgan Chase, which have assets equivalent to two-thirds of our GDP, must be broken up. This is important in order to bring more competition into the financial marketplace and to prevent another ‘too-big-to-fail’ bailout,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said. “At a time when 23 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed, huge financial institutions should not be involved in ‘making wagers or high-stake bets.’ They should be investing in the productive economy creating jobs and improving our standard of living.” — Crooks & Liars

Betty White says she ‘very, very much favors’ Obama — As she prepares to visit the Smithsonian Institution and National Zoo next week, White told The Associated Press she “very, very much favors” President Barack Obama in the election. The 90-year-old actress said Friday she is very bi-partisan and has stayed away from politics all of her life. She usually never says who she is for or against because she doesn’t want to turn off any of her adoring fans. White says in this year’s election, she likes what Obama has done and “how he represents us.” – HuffPo

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 5.9.2012

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

THE WINGNUTS in Indiana have booted Dick Lugar from office — “Reasonable Republicans” everywhere will have to think of a new excuse for why they are remaining in a party of fanatics, bigots, homophobes, and fascists. — John Cole

MITT ROMNEY: “I’ll take a lot of credit” for auto industry recovery — Romney said his views helped save the industry. “I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy,” Romney said. “And finally, when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet. So I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” [...] Romney’s stance on the bailouts and his infamous 2008 New York Times op-ed “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” have come up throughout the campaign, especially ahead of February’s primary in Michigan. In that editorial, Romney argued that a government bailout for ailing auto giants Chrysler and General Motors would do more harm than good. [...] Romney also spoke out on his opposition to the government loaning money to the industry in 2009, placing some of the blame on Bush. — HuffPo [image: drunkonstevphen]

  • John Kerry laughed: “I just – he cannot be serious.”
  • Former auto czar Steve Rattner reacts to Mitt Romney taking credit for the auto bailout: “I’ve read, I think, everything Romney’s had to say on this subject, and the level of flip flopping and dissembling is truly mindboggling. He’s been on every side of the auto rescue at different times and said different things, so it’s hard to know what he honestly thinks.”
  • Another point — Before we even got to the managed bankruptcy in 2009 that Romney says he called for all along, there were a series of emergency loans in late 2008 to the carmakers from the federal government that Romney opposed. [...] If Romney’s position had prevailed, there would have been no emergency loans and no auto industry left to put through a managed bankruptcy.
  • Image: “This is outside Romney’s Lansing event,” Reuters correspondent Sam Youngman tweets. — reuters

PAUL RYAN now trying very hard to distance himself from his prior love for Ayn Rand — “This is kind of fun, because you know you’ve arrived in politics when you have your own urban legend about you,” Paul responded. “This one is mine. I get a really big kick out of this one.” Paul, a practicing Catholic, explained that although he was fond of some of Rand’s novels he did not embrace her philosophy. He acknowledged that it was Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged that got him interested in economics and politics. “Just because you like someone’s novels doesn’t mean you agree with their entire worldview philosophy and she has a worldview philosophy which is completely antithetical to mine,” he added. Ryan has said that his Catholic faith helped shape his budget plan. But Catholics have questioned his admiration for the atheist novelist. “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are,” he said in 2005. “It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.” The Atlas Society previously told Raw Story that Ryan’s policies are “very much in line” with Rand’s philosophy. — Raw Story [image: fyeahpaulryan]

JAMES O’KEEFE released a video in January featuring individuals apparently committing voter fraud during the New Hampshire primary. Rather than attempting to document authentic cases of voter impersonation — a virtually non-existent problem — O’Keefe enlisted activists to commit the crime to demonstrate how easy it is to do so. This self-appointed sting operation, unsurprisingly, may itself have violated state laws. [...] But it remains instructive that the only people actually committing voter fraud seem to be those trying to expose the problem. — Think Progress

REP. ALLEN WEST compared Afghanistan draw down of troops to Hitler appeasement — West, a tea party Republican from Florida, on Monday compared the draw down of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to the appeasement of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, according to Right Wing Watch. On May 1, President Barack Obama signed a ten-year security agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Under the agreement, the majority of U.S. troops will be withdrawn by 2014 but the U.S. will continue to have a role in Afghanistan for a decade. — Raw Story

RON PAUL fanatics are probably not making many friends at state caucuses – Over the weekend, Ron Paul won Maine and Nevada, gaining 20 of 24 delegates in Maine, and 22 of 25 in Nevada. In addition to the chaos that Paul will cause at the national convention, consider how this makes the average Republican caucus-goer feel. You make a good faith effort to vote, you leave the caucus with the impression that you elected a delegate loyal to your candidate, and then you find out that your vote didn’t matter at all because some Paulist used a technicality to essentially unseat the person for whom you voted. — Balloon Juice

  • NOW IDAHO — This year, contingencies are being planned to respond to Paulians. And one reason the campaign is quiet about the strategy (multiple reporters told me last week that they were having more luck with scared Romney supporters than with proud Paul supporters) is because it can be thwarted with enough warning. In Idaho, Paulians have eight days to win district delegates. — Dave Weigel, Slate

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

GAS PRICES fall for fifth straight week – The average cost of one gallon of gas in the U.S. dropped to $3.79 on Monday, a 3.8 percent decrease from the 2012 high of $3.94 on April 2. It’s also the fifth consecutive week that gas prices decreased. That’s welcome news for Americans with upcoming summer road trips, people tired of getting gouged at the pump, and Barack Obama. When gas prices were dancing upwards in March and April owing to fears of war with Iran and problems in Afghanistan, a New York Times/CBS News poll found that 54 percent of respondents believed that a president can do a lot to control gas prices, while 36 percent said that gas prices are beyond a president’s control. — Daily Intel

REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA) noted this week that, “simply spending more money on defense does not make us safer” after the Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee put forward a base defense budget of $554 billion — which is $29 billion more than what the Pentagon requested. — Think Progress

OBAMA’S TO-DO LIST for Congress — Obama’s action plan for Congress centers on a series of economic initiatives he has already been pushing for months, including eliminating tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas and promoting new tax credits for small businesses and for companies to develop clean energy. [...] Obama’s “to do’’ list for Congress also includes legislation creating a Veterans Job Corps to help service members returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan find work as police officers and firefighters. And to address the housing crisis, Obama pressed anew for a measure designed to help homeowners refinance their homes at lower interest rates. Obama planned to also make the housing pitch during a stop Friday in Reno, Nev., the state that has been the epicenter of the nation’s housing meltdown. — Boston.com [image: obama2016]

SENATE GOP BLOCKED DEMOCRATIC STUDENT LOAN BILL yesterday —  Republicans on Tuesday blocked consideration of a Democratic bill to prevent the doubling of some student loan interest rates, leaving the legislation in limbo less than two months before rates on subsidized federal loans are set to shoot upward. [...] Republicans say they want to extend Democratic legislation passed in 2007 that temporarily reduced interest rates for low- and middle-income undergraduates who receive subsidized Stafford loans to 3.4 percent from 6.8 percent. But the Republicans would not accept the Senate Democrats’ proposal to pay for a one-year extension by changing a law that allows some wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes by classifying their pay as dividends, not cash income. — NYTimes.com

TEAMSTERS ENDORSE Obama, call Romney ‘vulture capitalist’ — Hoffa said that “Despite inheriting the worst economy since the Great Depression, President Obama has led the country down the long road back to prosperity, providing relief for the middle class and fighting for workers’ rights.” By comparison, the Teamsters endorsement statement describes Mitt Romney as a vulture capitalist; according to Hoffa, “He represents everything that is wrong with our financial system. He made his money as CEO of Bain Capital by destroying U.S. businesses, sending good-paying American jobs overseas and filling his pockets with millions while putting workers out on the street.” — Daily Kos

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

The Land of Exceptionalism: who needs health care reform?

Health care laws leave hospitals overwhelmed by ‘permanent patients’ 

Under federal law, hospitals must treat any patient who needs emergency medical attention even if they have no way to pay. Nursing and rehab facilities are not required by law to do so. At the same time, hospitals cannot discharge a patient without a plan in place for his or her ongoing care.

The result is patients stuck in the hospital in need of long-term care but with nowhere to go, large medical bills, and no way to pay – a cost that is usually covered at the hospital’s expense.

A cost passed on to the rest of us eventually. Even teabaggers who are against Obamacare have no problem with filing bankruptcy on their unpaid medical bills, letting the rest of us absorb the costs. Boom! Who needs reform now, Nobama?

Or recall the simple solution for people who need medical care but don’t have health insurance, suggested by the very serious DOCTOR Ron Paul (and his cheering supporters) during an early GOP debate:


And here’s something new and cool happening in the Land of Exceptionalism:

Debt Collectors Take Places Alongside Hospital Staffs – NYTimes.com

This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country.

The tactics, like embedding debt collectors as employees in emergency rooms and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, were outlined in hundreds of company documents released by the attorney general. And they cast a spotlight on the increasingly desperate strategies among hospitals to recoup payments as their unpaid debts mount.

To patients, the debt collectors may look indistinguishable from hospital employees, may demand they pay outstanding bills and may discourage them from seeking emergency care at all, even using scripts like those in collection boiler rooms, according to the documents and employees interviewed by The New York Times.

In some cases, the company’s workers had access to health information while persuading patients to pay overdue bills, possibly in violation of federal privacy laws, the documents indicate.

The attorney general, Lori Swanson, also said that Accretive employees may have broken the law by not clearly identifying themselves as debt collectors.

Accretive Health has contracts not only with two hospitals cited in Minnesota but also with some of the largest hospital systems in the country, including Henry Ford Health System in Michigan and Intermountain Healthcare in Utah. Company executives declined to comment on Tuesday.

As comparison, a dispatch from an American in Korea:

Morning Bunker Report: TGIF 4.27.2012

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

PLEASE BUY TEAM ROMNEY A MAP: ROMNEY AND HIS SURROGATES have revealed an ongoing Cold War fixation. Former Reagan Navy Secretary John Lehman and former Bush administration Ambassador Pierre Prosper, on Thursday derailed Romney messaging in a conference call with reporters by raising the specter of the “Soviet Union” and slamming Obama for not protecting Czechoslovakia — a country that was peacefully dissolved in 1993 and now exists as the Czech Republic and Slovakia. – Romney Campaign Again Warns Of ‘Soviet’ Threat 

IN AN APPARENT AUDITION FOR OFFICE, ROMNEY’S PAL, SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-Fla.) delivered a speech on foreign policy that mentioned Russia 13 times. How many times did the senator reference Iraq and/or al Qaeda? Literally, not once. — Maddow Blog

HOUSE GOP THREATENS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN to get steeper cuts to food assistance, financial regulation — After earlier indications that they would make substantial cuts to domestic programs to preserve defense spending, the House Appropriations Committee made it official yesterday, setting a spending level $27 billion below the level agreed to in the debt deal. The committee, bowing to the GOP’s more conservative wing, will make deep cuts to food assistance, financial regulations, and a host of other programs, setting up the potential for a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends in October. [...] After GOP leadership worked with Democrats to form the debt deal last year, the party’s conservatives have seemingly wrangled control back from Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). [...] Senate Republicans, despite McConnell’s stated position last week, are now making similar rumblings. — ThinkProgress

VAWA PASSED: The bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 has passed the Senate, and every single Senator who voted against it was a Republican man. — LGF

66% OF THE GOP SENATE VOTED AGAINST VAWA. AFTER THE VOTE, JOHN MCLAME called the GOP’s War on Women “phony,” “ludicrous,” and “imaginary” — During a Senate speech outlining why he supported reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), something that many Republicans oppose, McCain blasted Democrats for “dividing the country in the name of greater fairness and unity.” [...] Divisive slogans and the declaring of phony wars are intended to avoid those hard choices and to escape paying a political price for doing so.” “Women and men are no different in their rights and responsibilities,” McCain concluded. “I believe this legislation recognizes that. I don’t believe the ludicrous, partisan posturing that has conjured up this imaginary war does.” – McCain: Dems ‘conjured up imaginary war’ on women

HALF-TERM QUITTER SARAH PALIN said on Wednesday that child labor regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor would lead to America’s decline. The federal agency is considering updating the Fair Labor Standards Act by strengthening current child labor regulations related to work with animals, pesticides, timber operations, manure pits and storage bins. [...] “The Obama Administration is working on regulations that would prevent children from working on our own family farms,” she wrote on Facebook… However, the proposed regulations would not apply to children working on [family farms]. — Raw Story   

RON PAUL IN 1988: Employers should be able to “sever” contract with AIDS victim and say “Look, I don’t want to deal with you” — CSpan Video

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

WITH A VOTE OF 23-12, THE COLORADO SENATE just approved final passage of the Civil Unions Act, with three Republicans voting in favor of the bill. Though an overwhelming majority of Coloradans support civil unions, the legislation still faces hurdles in the Republican-controlled House. — Colorado Senate Passes Civil Unions Bill

PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS PUSHED TWO POLITICAL FIGHTS over recent days — one over student loans and another on renewal of the Violence Against Women Act. And in pretty short order congressional Republicans have folded on both. McConnell’s signal that Senate Republicans won’t filibuster VAWA is the later tell. — TPM

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN criticized Romney’s “Cold War mindset” on national defense and slammed the presumptive Republican nominee for his “go it alone” foreign policy positions: “Here’s what he says. He says we need “crippling sanctions,” apparently unaware that through President Obama’s leadership we produced just that, crippling sanctions. He emphasizes the need for “a credible military option” and “a regular presence of aircraft carrier groups” in the region, apparently ignorant of the fact that’s exactly what our policy is and what we’re doing. [...] I think it’s fair to say the only step we could take that we aren’t already taking is to launch a war against Iran. If that’s what governor Romney means by a “very different policy” then he should tell the American people. He should say so. Otherwise the governor’s tough talk about military action is just that, talk. And I would add, counterproductive talk. Folks, loose talk about a war has incredible negative consequences in our efforts to end Iran’s nuclear quest. And let me tell you why, because it unsettles world oil markets. It drives up oil prices. When oil prices go up, Iran’s coffers fill up, undermining the effect of the sanctions that are already in place. This type of Romney Talk is just not smart.” — Biden Blasts Mitt Romney’s ‘Loose Talk Of War,’ ‘Cold War Mindset’

Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 4.26.2012

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

DONALD TRUMP DECIDED TO MAKE AN ASS OF HIMSELF in Scotland’s parliament yesterday, demanding the country end plans for an offshore wind farm he fears will spoil the view at his exclusive new $750-million-pound ($1.2-billion) golf resort. In a typically blunt display, the New York property tycoon told an inquiry into renewable energy to stop the wind power efforts in the country’s north. “Scotland, if you pursue this policy of these monstrous turbines, Scotland will go broke,” he said. “They are ugly, they are noisy and they are dangerous. If Scotland does this, Scotland will be in serious trouble and will lose tourism to places like Ireland, and they are laughing at us.” [...] When challenged to produce hard evidence about his claims on the negative impact of turbines, Trump said: “I am the evidence, I am a world class expert in tourism.” The public gallery burst into laughter. — Yahoo!

MITT ROMNEY’S SPEECH INCLUDED THE WORD “America” a numbing 33 times. But there’s something else I want to note from Romney’s speech, something that both Republicans and Democrats do, and it drives me crazy: “I’ll tell you about how much I love this country, where someone like my dad, who grew up poor and never graduated from college, could pursue his dreams and work his way up to running a great car company. Only in America could a man like my dad become governor of the state in which he once sold paint from the trunk of his car.”  You see, Mitt Romney may not have pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, but he has a pair of bootstraps that he inherited from his father, which he keeps in a small mahogany box and takes out and gazes upon every now and again to remind himself of how great it is for someone to have bootstraps, and pull himself up by them, if that’s what he needs to do. All he’s saying is, he knows from bootstraps. – Enough With “Only In America”

MARCO RUBIO AUDITIONS FOR ROMNEY AND THE BASE: U.S. may have to strike Iran (and Russia, and China…) — Rubio, a member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently campaigned with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and has been touted as a possible running mate. [...] “We should also be preparing our allies, and the world, for the reality that unfortunately, if all else fails, preventing a nuclear Iran may, tragically, require a military solution.” Rubio, also lambasted Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin’s preaching of “paranoia and anti-Western sentiments” and the “curtain of secrecy that veils the Chinese state.” “On the most difficult transnational challenges of our time, who will lead if we do not? The answer, at least today, is that no other nation or organization is willing or able to do so,” he said. — Raw Story

TEA PARTY FRESHMAN REP. SCOTT TIPTON (R-CO) relies on campaign contributions from oil and gas companies that he has a financial stake in. Public Campaign reports that one-third of Tipton’s first quarter fundraising comes from corporate PACs and party committees, while only 14 percent comes from small donors of less than $200. — ThinkProgress

BAD TOUCH: REP. FRANCISCO CANSECO (R-TX) CLAIMS TSA ASSAULTED HIM (they made him feel funny in his tummy) during a pat-down at the San Antonio International Airport. “The agent was very aggressive in his pat-down, and he was patting me down where no one is supposed to go,” Canseco told local network KENS 5. — Raw Story

REP. TODD AKIN (R-MO) says the federal government shouldn’t be involved in student loans at all: “America has got the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in.”TPM

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

RON PAUL’S CAMPAIGN PULLED IN LESS MONEY FROM THE MILITARY last month than President Obama’s did, according to campaign finance numbers. Paul’s anti-war stances still draw more military donations than Mitt Romney, but the decline is another indicator of his campaign’s increasing status as more of a traveling libertarian speaking series than a traditional effort to win the presidency. On the Open Secrets blogOverall, Paul retains the lead. Analysis of OpenSecrets.org data shows that so far in this election cycle, members of the military who donated more than $200 have given Paul’s campaign about $333,134, versus $184,505 to Obama and just $45,738 to Romney. But in March, Obama and Paul switched places. Members of the military sent $36,448 to Obama and just $17,733 to Paul. Even though Romney solidified his position as the presumptive Republican nominee, military donations to his campaign remained anemic — only $8,630. — Obama Overtakes Paul Among Military Donors

PRESIDENT OBAMA SAYS the amount of money poured into fighting the scientific consensus on climate change will push the issue into the presidential campaign. [...] “Part of the challenge over these past three years has been that people’s number-one priority is finding a job and paying the mortgage and dealing with high gas prices,” Obama said. “In that environment, it’s been easy for the other side to pour millions of dollars into a campaign to debunk climate-change science. “I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we’re going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way,” he added. — POLITICO

THE WHITE HOUSE ON WEDNESDAY shocked lawmakers and advocacy groups by announcing that President Obama would veto a proposed national cybersecurity bill known as CISPA if it reaches his desk in its current form. [...] The ACLU is one of several advocacy groups staunchly opposed to CISPA over concerns that the bill’s language is so broad that it would allow companies and U.S. intelligence agencies to share unprecedented amounts of personally identifiable information about Web users without proper oversight and accountability. — White House Veto Threat Scrambles CISPA’s Prospects

FOX NEWS SUGGESTS President Obama’s appearance on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is somehow denigrating the office of the presidency. For instance, today on Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson said that it’s “nutso” for Obama to go on “these comedy shows” because it “lowers the status of the office.” — Obama Lowered “The Status Of The Office”? Bush Appeared On Deal Or No Deal

  • 9 presidential pols on late-night TV — 6. George W. Bush drew both laughs and groans on “Late Show with David Letterman” on March 1, 2000, when he told his host, who had recently undergone heart bypass surgery, “It’s about time you had the heart to invite me.” 8. Al Gore read a “Top 10” list of rejected Gore-Lieberman campaign slogans on the Sept. 14, 2000, episode of “Late Show with David Letterman.” No. 9: “Remember, America, I gave you the Internet, and I can take it away!” 9. Mitt Romney also used Letterman’s “Top 10” segment to jab himself on Dec. 20, 2011. The No. 1 thing Romney would like to say to the American people? “It’s a hairpiece.”

Wednesday morning’s 4 marginally interesting things

1) ROMNEY THE RICH RUSSIAN ADVERSARY

Mitt Romney’s 4-car fantasy home — At Mitt Romney’s proposed California beach house, the cars will have their own separate elevator. There’s also a planned outdoor shower and a 3,600-square foot basement — a room with more floor space than the existing home’s entire living quarters. A project this ambitious comes with another feature you don’t always find with the typical fixer-upper: its own lobbyist, hired by Romney to push the plan through the approval process. […] But it may not help Romney — whose wealth has caused him trouble connecting with average folks — to be seen building a split-level, four-vehicle garage that comes with a “car lift” to transport automobiles between floors, according to 2008 schematic plans for the renovation obtained by POLITICO that are on file with the city of San Diego.

  • Car Elevators In Action — Mitt Romney is getting one, and they’re kind of awesome.
  • Mitt Romney: Silly voters, elevators are for cars, not people!His appreciation of elevators in his capacity as a private citizen didn’t show up, however, when he was Governor of Massachusetts. In particular, Romney — like many Republicans — was hostile to requirements for elevators imposed by the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA). [...] On June 26, 2006 Romney vetoed an improvement project with the price tag of $40,000 with his line item veto. The project would have allocated the money to Woburn Development Authority for improvements to an elevator to meet the standards set in the ADA. The whole state of Massachusetts couldn’t come up with $40,000 to refurbish an elevator so that people with disabilities could use it. By contrast, when Mitt Romney wanted to convince the city of La Jolla, California that his beachfront mansion needed its own private car elevator, he spent $21,000 just on the lobbyist he hired to help make that happen.
  • Mitt Romney’s Many Homes – Republican Presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney drew more attention today for ill-timed plans to triple the size of his La Jolla, Calif. home and add a car elevator. It’s not his only property, however, and here’s a look at his other lodging.

Not Ready to Lead — Mitt Romney thinks the president doesn’t need to be an expert on foreign policy; he’ll just call his lawyers to figure out what to do.


LOL ROMNEY: Making Friends All Over the Place — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev tweaked Mitt Romney for his characterization of Russia as the “No. 1 geopolitical foe” of the United States, saying the comments did not reflect the current relationship between the two countries. “It is very reminiscent of Hollywood and also of a certain phase in Russian-U.S. relations,” Medvedev said at the end of the nuclear security summit in South Korea Tuesday. […] Medvedev urged Romney to take the current climate into account if he hopes to win the presidential election. “My first advice is to listen to reason when they formulate their positions. Reason never harmed a presidential candidate,” Medvedev said. “My other advice is to check their watches from time to time: it is 2012, not the mid-1970s.”

2) ‘COLOSSAL DICK’ SANTORUM  

Santorum loses lead at home to Romney — Santorum, who represented the state in Congress for 16 years until he was defeated in a Senate election in 2006, saw his lead over Romney evaporate from 29 points to 2 points in the past month, according to the Franklin and Marshall College poll conducted from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s primary election takes place on April 24, along with liberal northeastern states like New York and Connecticut which Romney is favored to win. If Santorum loses or scrapes by with a narrow win in Pennsylvania, he will come under pressure from senior Republicans to pull out of the race.

Santorum, Gingrich open to VP slot — Rick Santorum sat down with radical TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, which asked the former senator if he would consider an invitation to join Mitt Romney’s Republican ticket. “Of course,” Santorum said… Also yesterday, Newt Gingrich was asked on Fox News about a possible V.P. nomination. Though the former Speaker said an invitation is unlikely, he added, “I wouldn’t say no.” At least on the surface, Santorum and Gingrich scoff at the very idea of ending their presidential bids, and in public, continue to tell voters that they remain viable candidates. But when they both sit down for televised interviews, and both signal a willingness to accept roles on the ticket, Santorum and Gingrich are signaling a level of resignation and defeat neither has made up until now. As one GOP strategist told TPM, “Rick Santorum saying he would be open to being Romney’s vice president undermines the logic of his delegate campaign. To win his delegate race, he has to demonize Romney. He has now cut that path off.”

3) THE OTHER TWO

Gingrich, Strapped for Cash, Lays Off Third of Staff — Gingrich, insists that he is still a viable candidate despite a third-place rank in the delegate count. He has hinged his entire strategy on hoping Mitt Romney is incapable of securing the 1,144 delegates needed to become the nominee, resulting in a contested GOP convention this summer. Earlier Tuesday in Annapolis, Md., Gingrich told reporters “the money is very tight obviously” and suggested his communications staff would soon announce a series of layoffs. Gingrich significantly cut back the number of scheduled campaign events he holds. Currently on his schedule, he only has one event a day for the next three days.

We call this one “Ron Paul with Sad Meat.”More where that came from.Where is Ron Paul? — Two things Ron Paul isn’t doing: He’s not winning — he has yet to place first in a primary or a caucus, either this cycle or last. And he isn’t making a lot of appearances on the campaign trail — over the past week, he has held only three campaign events, while his rivals’ events have numbered in the dozens. Four things Paul is doing: He’s appearing on late-night TV; he’s having a town hall at the University of Maryland in College Park on Wednesday; he’s holding what his campaign describes as a “giant” rally on Thursday at the University of Wisconsin in Madison; and he’s airing TV ads criticizing his rivals over last week’s Etch a Sketch incident. [image: ccindecision]

4) TEABAGISTAN

Arizona lawmakers push to take over federal land – Another “sagebrush rebellion” is spreading through legislatures in Arizona and other Western states with a series of formal demands that the federal government hand over title to tens of millions of acres of forests, ranges and other public lands. […] Legal experts say the movement is based on a misreading of federal law and the U.S. Constitution and will almost certainly fail to survive court challenges…”In an era of apparent fiscal responsibility, why would the state seek billions of dollars of liability and management responsibility to assume ownership over the (25 million) acres or so of parks, forests and public lands in Arizona?” said Matt Skroch, executive director of the Arizona Wilderness Coalition. “It is ill-conceived, it is irresponsible and it makes absolutely no sense.”

‘Obamacare’ and the Right’s Own Private Universe — It is a small miracle of mass communication that complete and total bullshit is so quickly and easily converted into incontrovertible fact out of which can be created a world of public events completely real, but completely divorced from what the rest of us recognize as reality. Take poor Sandra Fluke. It is now an article of faith on the Right that she asked all of us to pay for “her” birth control. “Real women pay for their own birth control,” the crowd on the steps chanted today, and there were more than a couple of signs warning her not to expect “our” money to pay for her obviously overindulgent sexytime. Of course, Fluke did nothing of the sort. … Also, today, folks told me that Obamacare “finances abortions.” (It doesn’t.) I heard that it will mandate “euthanasia.” (It won’t.) Even the death panels got a workout again. We have half the country living in its own universe of belief, with its own history, its own politics, and its own physical laws. It’s like running elections against the anti-gravity party. It is not healthy for any of us. [image: phroyd]

Worst Persons in the WorldThe Daily Caller released a series of Trayvon Martin’s tweets yesterday, and once again the far-right is attacking and attempting to discredit an innocent child — and this time, the child happens to be dead. So classy, these people. Limbaugh and Beck attacked Malia Obama, Malkin stalked Graeme Frost and others — there are literally dozens of examples of the Fox News / AM radio crowd attacking children and noncombatants like Sandra Fluke. Why? Because they’re bullies and scavengers who can only prey upon easy targets.

Divide and Conquer For Jesus — Stay classy, homophobes: The leading opponents of same-sex marriage [National Organization for Marriage - NOM] planned to defeat campaigns for gay marriage by “fanning the hostility” between black voters from gay voters and by casting President Obama as a radical foe of marriage, according to confidential documents made public in a Maine court today.

Tuesday morning’s 5 moderately interesting things

1) MITT ROMNEY – the GOP’s unofficially official presidential candidate

Mittmentum from here on out — Next month’s contests will take place almost totally in the Northeast — a region where Romney is thus far undefeated. In addition, a few of those states award their delegates on a winner-take-all basis — something only two states have done so far — allowing Romney to expand his delegate lead more quickly than he has to this point. He leads by about 300 delegates overall… Santorum may get a little momentum off his win — as the media continue to question Romney’s appeal to conservatives — but Louisiana is one of the last states that will put a magnifying glass on that problem.

Romney Disses Santorum: “I’m Not Going To Worry Too Much About What Rick Is Saying These Days — Mitt Romney brushed off Rick Santorum’s criticism of his ability to oppose President Barack Obama’s health care law, saying he doesn’t listen to Rick Santorum much anymore. “I’m not going to worry too much about what Rick is saying these days,” Romney said on CNN’s The Situation Room, telling Wolf Blitzer that Santorum is getting more outspoken on the campaign trail as he falls behind. “When you fall further and further behind, you get a little more animated,” he added.

2) ‘BADASS’ SANTORUM — now with improved Macho!

Rick Santorum Would Love to Be Veep of the ‘Worst Republican In Country’ (VIDEO) – Well this is awkward. The good Christian bitches at CBN asked Rick Santorum if he would accept a veep pick from worst Republican in the country Mitt Romney, and instead of pretending there was a chance of beating our Mittens, or cussing him out for asking the question, Rick Santorum said yes!

Rick Santorum Attacked John McCain For His Temper In 2008 Romney Robocall — Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s temper has been the news this morning for attacking a New York Times reporter who questioned characterization of Mitt Romney as the “worst Republican” to run. Santorum snapped at to the reporter saying “quit distorting my words It’s bullshit.” [...] The text of the call: “Hello, this is Senator Rick Santorum calling to let you know I am supporting Mitt Romney and urging you to support him next Tuesday… As a conservative I don’t agree with McCain on many issues and I don’t think he has the temperament and leadership ability to move the country in the right direction. Please join me and other conservative in voting for Mitt Romney this Tuesday.” [image: drunkonstevphen]

Santorum is so BUTCH — A defiant Rick Santorum on Monday defended his weekend attacks on both Mitt Romney over health care and on a New York Times reporter, saying, “If you haven’t cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you’re not really a real Republican. I just said OK, I’ve had enough of this you-know-what,” Santorum said on “Fox & Friends,” referring to why on Sunday he accused reporter Jeff Zeleny of “bulls——”. “And so that’s what I did and you know, look, we’re out there slugging away … and we’re mixing it up.”

3) THOSE OTHER TWO

Gingrich begins charging $50 for pics at events — In a sign that his campaign is in need of fresh funds, Newt Gingrich on Monday began charging $50 to have a photograph taken with him following a campaign speech to Republican County groups here in the northernmost part of the state. It was the first time the former House speaker has charged those attending one of his public speaking events to pose for a photograph with him. Lately, a member of his campaign staff has been snapping photographs of any interested attendee and later posting them online at the campaign’s website, newt.org. On Monday night, those paying for a photograph were also told they could find their photos on Gingrich’s website, after they had filled out a form providing their credit card information.

Hello, Karma! “Lamestream Media” no longer cares about Newt Gingrich — Newt Gingrich has lost his last embedded print reporters, reporters on the trail confirm. The last two print reporters covering Gingrich full-time on the trail — from POLITICO and the Atlanta Journal Constitution — pulled out on Friday. The Associated Press pulled its embed after Tuesday’s Illinois primary. These and other print outlets will continue to cover Gingrich on occasion, but the sustained traveling press has been reduced to the television networks, which will remain. On the bright side, he’s still faring better than Ron Paul.

Piers Morgan asks Ron Paul why he is still in the race — He noted that Paul had obtained only 71 delegates, far behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. But Paul fired back, saying it was “way too soon” for Morgan “to write anybody off.” “What if Mitt Romney isn’t the best person? Why should we just throw in the towel?” [Paul] continued.

4) AMERICA’S RELIGION PROBLEM

According to Pat Robertson, homosexuality is “related to demonic possession.” Yes, this really is how the religious right thinks. [LGF]

Romney’s cousin: Mormonism is a ‘fraud’ — “There’s compelling evidence that the Mormon Church leaders knowingly and willfully misrepresent the historical truth of their origins and of the church for the purpose of deceiving their members into a state of mind that renders them exploitable,” he explained. [...] But Harvard Kennedy School Prof. Robert Putnam told BBC that the former Massachusetts governor’s religion is not often questioned in the U.S. because Americans value freedom of religion. “It’s not something you’re supposed to talk about,” Putnam said. “Whenever the issue of Romney’s Mormonism has come to the surface, there’s been lots of condemnation across the political spectrum for raising the issue of his religion.” “I’m not saying it’s not relevant, but it’s not talked about in polite company.”

The Religious Frenzy of a Court You Can’t Believe InWhat exactly are these people praying for? Are they praying for a return to the way things were? For the denial of health insurance due to whatever the whimsical opinions of corporate bureaucrats determine to be a pre-existing condition? For the right to be thrown into an overpriced, endlessly gouging “marketplace” the moment when you turn 25, and you’re burdened anyway with usurious student loans? Are they praying that the law be upheld? That the central place the insurance industry holds the way we do health care in this country be guaranteed in what looks like perpetuity, with the government’s power behind it? (This is where the conservative argument falls into incoherence. Conservatives are opposed to the mandate because of, well, Liberty (!), but they never pursue that argument to the point where they might discomfit the insurance companies because of, well, The Market (!). This latter, of course, is why conservatives supported a mandate as a market-based solution in the first place.)

Religious Right Prays for the Supreme Court to Overturn Health Care Reform — With the Supreme Court hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law this week, conservative groups are reviving the apocalyptic rhetoric they developed when the law was passed. Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the case on today’s Faith & Freedom, where Staver said that if the court did not overturn the law it would set “an incredibly bad precedent that allows huge power grabs, not just in this medical insurance issue but in every place else.” Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice emailed members that the law is an “atrocity.” […] The Christian Defense Coalition plans to “encircle” the Supreme Court to pray “that the President’s Health Care legislation is declared unconstitutional.”

5) CLASS WAR: GOP / ONE PERCENT VS. 99%

Trump’s Sons Under Investigation for African Hunting Trip – Donald Trump Jr., who stars on ” The Celebrity Apprentice” alongside his dad, and his brother Eric sparked outrage among animal lovers on Twitter earlier this month after photos surfaced of the two posing with animals they killed during a 2011 safari trip in Africa. Trump Jr. later defended their actions in part by tweeting, “I’m a hunter, for that I make no apologies.” …Trump Jr. may be a hunter, but TMZ.com reports the independent Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force says the South African safari company the sons used was not registered in Zimbabwe. The task force says Trump Jr. and his brother killed an elephant, a buffalo and a crocodile, among other animals. In one of the leaked pictures, Trump Jr., is seen holding a knife and the cut-off tail of an elephant. [image: Salon]

More tax cuts for T-Mobile! T-Mobile To Lay Off Thousands Of Workers After Taking Millions In Taxpayer Subsidies For Job Creation — About 3,300 employees work at those centers, and the company is planning to lay off at least 1,900 of them, while offering transfers to some (though it doesn’t yet know how many). Adding insult to injury, four of the centers that T-Mobile is closing received taxpayer subsidies worth millions of dollars, according to Good Jobs First: – Frisco, TX: $3.7 million – Brownsville, TX: $5.3 million – Lenexa, KS: $3.9 million – Redmond, OR: $1.3 million These subsidies took several forms, including sales tax exemptions, salary supplements for workers, and job training money. “T-Mobile USA’s decision to close seven call centers, employing 3,300 workers, is a bad one. It harms workers and communities, and in several locations, abuses taxpayers who provided funds to the company in exchange for employment and economic development,” said the Communication Workers of America. || And how big will the CEO bonuses be this year at T-Mobile? HUGE, would be my guess. 

SEIU Campaigning for Retirement Security — SEIU also issued a fact sheet that takes on a number of the right-wing myths that are being spread in an attempt to build support for cutting public pensions. The key points: Seven out of 10 public employee pensions are less than $30,000 a year, making them anything but lavish. Taxpayers pay little to no part of these pensions, which are funded by employee contributions and investment returns. Public pensions have survived for 70 years with no problem and only had any problems because of the financial crash, most of them are starting to return to their earlier strength. Public employees have shown a strong willingness to negotiate to improve pension systems and to work with governments to make through during tough economic times. Massive cuts to public employee pensions will not benefit the economy much or solve state budget crisis, but will be massively destructive to working families. There is no correlation between states that have underfunded pensions and the level of unionization among state workers — unions are not driving the problems we see with pension funding. || RELATEDThe Rachel Maddow Show: SEIU the Next Target for the Right Wing Smear Machine [larger image here]

Sunday morning’s 5 not completely interesting things

1) PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS

VIA FORBES (!): 218 reasons to vote for President Barack Obama this November

Team Obama embraces ‘Obamacare’ label – Back in October, the president told an audience, “They call it Obamacare. I do care, that’s right. The question is, why don’t you care?” […] Much of the Affordable Care Act won’t take effect until 2014 — assuming it survives until then — but several provisions that have already been implemented are having a positive impact. The health care law (1) is combating fraud and abuse, which in turns saves Americans quite a bit of money; (2) has brought coverage to 2.5 million young adults; (3) is delivering major savings to seniors on prescription drugs; (4) is giving a boost to small businesses through ACA tax credits; (5) has slowed the growth of Medicare spending; (6) has provided new treatment options for cancer patients; and (7) has offered new coverage protections conditions. These are tangible, real-world benefits, making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

This pretty much explains it all: 

2) SANITORIUM – proving crazy has a fan base too

AMONG THE FEW MOSTLY WHITE EVANGELICALS WHO TURNED OUT TO VOTE: Rick Santorum wins Louisiana Primary - Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won the Louisiana Primary Saturday evening, keeping his campaign with an argument to continue going on in the GOP presidential race against frontrunner Mitt Romney. The large victory in Louisiana was expected for Santorum, who led all polls throughout the run up to Saturday’s vote. The race was called with just a handful of precincts reporting. However, the dynamics of the race still heavily favor Romney, who will come in second ahead of Newt Gingrich. Rep. Ron Paul (R) will finish in last place.

The Caucus is saying – and rightly so, that this is a two-man race, and that Gingrich and Paul are simply wasting their money at this point. But Santorum is still basically pissing in the wind, too. The next race is Wisconsin, where Romney is up 13 points in the last poll. Santorum’s only hope in Wisconsin is that this Etch-A-Sketch thing lingers a while, and that his efforts to defend Governor Scott Walker in the recall election will make an impression on Wisconsin Republicans. Even then, after Wisconsin, the primaries will turn largely to the Northeast, where Romney dominates. I expect the Republican establishment to start pushing hard on Santorum to get out after Wisconsin unless he can turn this convincing Louisiana win into something a little more sustainable…

3) ROMNEY – feel the excitement!

Romney should READ Paul Ryan’s budget plan (OR QUIT LYING) - Mitt Romney said the plan introduced by House Budget Committee chairman Ryan (R-Janesville) “does not balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the elderly … It instead preserves Medicare and preserves Social Security.” […] While giving a massive tax break to the wealthy, the Ryan budget plan Romney is so fond of slashes funding for Medicaid, food stamps, and other for low-income programs, nearly all of which Ryan’s plan would eliminate over the next couple of decades. If this doesn’t “balance the budget on the backs of the poor,” for crying out loud, what exactly would such a budget plan look like? As for “preserving” Medicare, the Ryan plan that Romney supports would turn Medicare into a voucher program, scrapping the guaranteed benefit altogether; weaken Medicare solvency; and bring back the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut-hole.” [IMAGE: silas216]

4) SCIENCE

Skipping Spring and Going Straight to Summer – The United States and parts of Canada have come out of winter to find a lingering ridge of high pressure inducing summer-like conditions. The map above shows surface temperature anomalies during March 13-19 compared to averages for those dates over the last 10 years. More than 1,054 locations set new daily high temperatures records and 627 saw new record lows.

Safety fear aboard space station as debris passes nearby – Crew members aboard the International Space Station temporarily scrambled into spacecraft capable of returning them to Earth early as remnants of a discarded Russian satellite passed nearby, the latest episode spotlighting the growing amount of space debris encircling the planet. The crew – three Russians, two Americans and a Dutch astronaut – climbed into the two spacecraft as the debris passed within about nine miles of the space station, at 2:38 a.m. Eastern time. Soon afterward, NASA officials allowed the astronauts to return to the station. […] Saturday’s episode underscored a recent report by the National Research Council warning that the increasing amount of space debris is threatening to interfere with the space station and working satellites. The nonprofit group warned that the growing amount of debris is threatening to make low-Earth orbit unusable because of the potential for collisions.

Europe’s ATV space freighter launches – The robotic truck is heading to the International Space Station (ISS) with new supplies of food, water, air, and fuel. It is also carrying experiments and spares for the high-flying astronaut outpost. The ship’s Ariane 5 carrier rocket left the ground at 04:34 GMT, with the flight to orbit taking 63 minutes. At 20 tonnes, the ATV is the biggest ship servicing the station now that the US shuttles have been retired. The Ariane placed the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) at an altitude of about 260km. The freighter will use its own thrusters to climb a further 130km to the ISS over the course of the next few days. “This is the start of a long journey; there will be other critical phases, especially the rendezvous [with the ISS] that will take place during the night of the 28th and 29th, Paris time,” said European Space Agency (Esa) Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain.

5) MISC

Dick Cheney recovering at hospital after heart transplantCheney, 71, who served as vice president in the George W. Bush administration, has had a long history of heart trouble and has been on the cardiac transplant list for more than 20 months. [...] More than 3,100 Americans currently are on the national waiting list for a heart transplant. Just over 2,300 heart transplants were performed last year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. And 330 people died while waiting. According to UNOS, 332 people over age 65 received a heart transplant last year. The majority of transplants occur in 50- to 64-year-olds.

RAPEY VODKA: Social media blunder of the week: Belvedere Vodka apparently thinks that rape jokes are a good advertising strategy. Unfortunately for them, the twitterverse disagreed, forcing Belvedere into a half-hearted apology. Too little, too late. I won’t touch their product again.