The President's Weekly Address:
The Way We Were When the South Was Away. Charles Pierce writes an excellent piece on the Morrill Act of 1862. Really, read it. Pierce's essay -- and Morrill's vision -- are antidotes -- and a retort -- to everything the "zombie-eyed granny-starver" stands for. And, in my opinion, another argument against the Civil War. The North shoulda let 'em get away & stay away.
David Adams & Alex Dobuzinskis of Reuters: "The Obama administration's new policy to grant temporary legal status to millions of young illegal immigrants will end the immediate threat of deportation but may not give them the same privileges as legal residents. Within hours of the policy's going into effect on Wednesday, Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, issued an executive order denying public benefits such as driver's licenses to illegal immigrants who are given temporary legal status.... Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, a Republican, issued a statement on Friday saying the state will continue to deny driver's licenses, welfare benefits and other public benefits to illegal immigrants even if they are granted temporary legal status."
Two new Obama-Biden ads with significant buys in swing states:
In this Web video, Stephanie Cutter of the Obama campaign does a great job of explaining the differences between whatever the Romney-Ryan plan is & Obama's Medicare plan:
** "Buyer's Remorse?" Ezra Klein: "Here's the weird thing about Paul Ryan being named to the Republican presidential ticket: It's all part of Barack Obama's campaign plan -- a plan that's working better than his strategists could have hoped. It could also backfire more disastrously than they could have ever imagined.... By pitting his presidency against Ryan and his budget, Obama helped make Ryan the de facto leader of the Republican Party. As Mitt Romney emerged as the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee, the Obama administration began calling Ryan's budget the 'Romney-Ryan budget.' ... If Obama loses, Republicans will have won the presidency with a mandate to enact a deeply conservative agenda."
Just looked at this PolitiFact page of recent campaign ads & remarks: Obama gets a lot of "Mostly True"s; Romney gets only "Mostly False"s. (And PolitiFact is notoriously tough on Democrats.)
Road to Ruin. Charles Blow: "Shady money, voter suppression, shifting positions, murky details and widespread apathy. If there is a road map for a Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan win in November, that's it."
Web of Greed. John Swaine of the London Telegraph: while Romney was governor of Massachusetts "appears to have profited from a marketing company that was contracted by the state of Massachusetts after receiving $5 million (£3.2 million) in financial backing from Bain Capital, Mr Romney's investment firm. One of [Paul Ryan]'s brothers, who is a former Bain consultant, was at the time of the investment a senior executive at the marketing company, Imagitas, which was co-founded by another former Bain executive. Both Mr Romney and Tobin Ryan, who omits his work at Imagitas from his corporate biography, also apparently stood to benefit from the $230 million (£146 million) sale of the company in 2005, while Mr Romney remained in office. Massachusetts law requires that all state employees divest themselves of financial interests in private sector contracts with state agencies. At the time, failure to do so could have resulted in a $2,000 (£1,273) fine or a 2.5-year prison sentence." ...
... CW: Now we're beginning to see why Romney won't release his tax returns. They would, for instance, show his profits from Imagitas, which appear to be ill-gotten gains.
R&R Admit to Smoke & Mirrors Strategy. Mike Allen & Jim Vandehei of Politico: "The Romney strategy is simple: Hammer away at Obama for proposing cuts to Medicare and promise, in vague, aspirational ways, to protect the program for future retirees -- but don't get pulled into a public discussion of the most unpopular parts of the Ryan plan. 'The nature of running a presidential campaign is that you're communicating direction to the American people,' a Romney adviser said. 'Campaigns that are about specifics, particularly in today's environment, get tripped up.'" ...
... Greg Sargent: "As Steve Benen asks: 'what does it say about the merit of Romney's policy agenda if voters are likely to recoil if they heard the whole truth?' And this is coming after the campaign touted the selection of Paul Ryan as proof that the GOP ticket is deeply serious about policy and committed to making the tough decisions Democrats won't." ...
... Imani Gandy in Balloon Juice: "Better to be vague and accuse President Obama of being black than to tell voters what you stand for, (or, as the case seems to be, than to tell voters just how much you're going to screw them when you get elected.)"
Steve Benen has an interesting lead-in to his 30th installment of "Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity": In a speech this week, Romney said "'How can you go out there and tell people things that just aren't true? ... This is a time for truths.' ... Romney was referring to Obama's claim that 'we're adding jobs in the coal industry.'" This is true. "Romney was looking for an example of the president saying something that 'just isn't true,' and he pointed to an Obama quote that happened to be accurate, though he told his audience the opposite. It's hard not to appreciate the ironic circle -- the president said something true, Romney lied when he said the accurate claim is false, and then he complained about falsehoods in the campaign.... It's actually a little scary to think of a leader ... who can convince himself that his falsehoods are true, and that others' truths are falsehoods." ...
... Speaking of falsehoods, reader Jeanne B. reminds us that Romney & his team have previously (and repeatedly) lied to the public about what was in his tax returns.
Kaili Gray of Daily Kos: "After weeks of insisting that the Romney campaign had learned the hard lessons of 2008 and would very deliberately do the opposite of everything McCain did, including seeking an 'incredibly boring white guy' for the VP spot to avoid any Palintastrophes, the fact that the campaign ... is now following the same disastrous roadmap McCain did, starting with, in McCain's own words, 'a pretty bold choice' for the VP slot, is pretty shocking." ...
... This commentary by Frank Rich on the Ryan roll-out is a few days old but still worth reading. Rich was not impressed.
** Paul Krugman: "what [Ryan's] budget actually proposes (as opposed to vaguely promises) in its first decade...:
Spending cuts: $1.7 trillion
Tax cuts: $4.3 trillion
"This is, then, a plan that would increase the deficit by around $2.6 trillion. How, then, does Ryan get to call himself a fiscal hawk? By asserting that he will keep his tax cuts revenue-neutral by broadening the base in ways he refuses to specify, and that he will make further large cuts in spending, in ways he refuses to specify. And this is what passes inside the Beltway for serious thinking and a serious commitment to deficit reduction." ...
... CW: instead of having Joe Biden debate Ryan, why can't we have Paul Krugman fill in? ...
... Harsha Natata in Think Progress: "A Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis shows that Ryan voted to add a grand total of $6.8 trillion to the federal debt during his time in Congress, voting for at least 65 bills that either reduced revenue or increased spending."
Now that Romney & Ryan are "on the same page," whatever page that might be, Gail Collins write a handy column to help the uninformed voter tell them apart. She includes this aside:
Practically the only person in America who claims to have no idea who he's going to vote for is Senator Joseph Lieberman, who recently declared himself absolutely and totally undecided. People, do you think it's possible that the entire presidential campaign is now being waged just for the benefit of Joseph Lieberman? On the one hand, that's a real waste of about $1 billion. On the other, it's exactly what Joseph Lieberman has been waiting for all his life.
... CW: The only sad thing about saying goodbye to Joe Lieberman is that we might be saying hello to the super-rich wrestler lady. Please, Connecticut voters, you have already saddled us with Loathsome Joe. Don't add insult to injury.
Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: Romney has such a lousy personality, the GOP convention will focus on his business acumen instead of his person qualities -- which is the usual thrust of conventions. CW: I'm paraphrasing.
Romney to Ryan: "Keep yer mouth shut, kid." Steve Peoples of the AP: "Ryan has been directed to avoid taking questions from reporters who travel with his campaign and to agree only to a handful of carefully selected interviews.... Romney's Boston headquarters -- so far, at least -- seems to prefer that ... [Ryan] talks about camping and milking cows instead of the transformational budget proposals that made him a conservative hero.."
Jerry Markon & David Fallis of the Washington Post: Paul Ryan "has often ... [sought] federal funds for his Wisconsin district, sometimes from existing pools of money and other times in ways that would increase federal spending.... It complicates the image that Ryan, and now the Romney campaign, have sought to project of a man who is single-mindedly focused on sharply cutting the federal budget and erasing the nation's deficit.... In several instances, he sought earmarks opposed by the George W. Bush administration. In 2009, he urged the Obama administration to award millions of economic stimulus dollars for 'green' jobs in his district, even though he had voted against the stimulus package that year.... [His] stance ... drew more attention this week when he [twice] denied that he had ever sought stimulus dollars.... He backtracked Thursday and acknowledged he had sought stimulus funds, but he said his office had mishandled the requests. He continued to voice opposition to the stimulus program, which he has called a 'wasteful spending spree.'"
Friday Afternoon News Dump. Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Paul Ryan and his wife Janna paid an effective tax rate of 15.9% in 2010 and 20% in 2011, according to tax returns provided by the Romney-Ryan campaign to the Journal Sentinel Friday."
David Firestone of the New York Times: "Among the many falsehoods in the Romney campaign's new Medicare ad is this remarkable line pitched to the elderly: 'The money you paid in for guaranteed health care is going into a massive new government program that's not for you.' ... The implication is that Obamacare is for the poor, the uninsured, blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, anyone but the upstanding older Americans that the Romney-Ryan ticket is suddenly very afraid of losing. 'It's not for you.' As it happens, the ad is incorrect. For instance, the president's health care bill eliminated the notorious Medicare 'doughnut hole,' which forced beneficiaries to use their own money for prescription drugs after they reached a limit. That hole, created by President George W. Bush and Congress, had a serious health effect on millions of older Americans."
Juliet Lapidos of the New York Times on "Paul Ryan & the Auto Bailout." Ryan said at a campaign stop & in an interview Thursday that the auto bailout didn't work because GM shut down its Janesville, Wisconsin, plant. "What's his argument? That the auto bailout, which saved GM, was a failure because it didn’t save one particular GM plant? That Janesville proves the president might as well have let Detroit go bankrupt? ... On Talking Points Memo, Benjy Sarlin reports that the Janesville plant closed in 2008, before Mr. Obama took office. Mr. Ryan, moreover..., supported the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act in the waning months of the Bush administration. That bill, which died in the Senate, would have extended a $14 billion loan to Chrysler and GM." CW: just an all-around tip-top Olympic-calibre hypocrite.
CW: in honor of its new favorite son, Janesville should at least temporarily change its name to Janusville because that guy is so incredibly two-faced.
Steve Kornacki of Salon: the whole point of the untrue Romney-Ryan Medicare attack ads is to obfuscate, and it could work. "Just because Romney's running mate is the author of a reviled Medicare plan doesn't necessarily mean that the GOP ticket will pay a price for it."
Ready for His Close-Ups. Carl Hulse of the New York Times: "Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, has emerged as the choice to play Representative Paul D. Ryan in mock debates with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr."
CW: Ed Klein, author of a"stunning exposé" of "the real Barack Obama," reveals that "As recently as a couple of weeks ago, the White House was putting out feelers to see if Hillary Clinton was interested in replacing Joe Biden on the ticket." Klein said Bill Clinton was encouraging the move. "Klein ... quoted unnamed sources who revealed that top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett put the vice presidency on the table during a lunch with the secretary of state."
Hillary Clinton's spokesman Philippe Reines responded, sort of "Cat in the Hat" style:
This did not happen
They did not have lunch
They did not have any meal
They did not meet this month
They did not meet last month
They did not meet in 2012
They did not meet in 2011, 2010, 2009
This is not happening
Truth is that Ed Klein is an idiot with not a shred of credibility
Truth is that Ed Klein's motto is 'If at first you don't succeed, lie lie again.'
Alison Cowan of the New York Times: "According to a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday..., Ofer Biton ... schemed to commit immigration fraud and other illegal acts.... According to the complaint, Mr. Biton deceived the government in June 2010 about the source of $500,000 that he claimed to have put into a new business that was to make him eligible for a permanent visa.... While it was not mentioned in the complaint, Mr. Biton has also emerged as a key figure in the 2009-10 Congressional campaign of Representative Michael G. Grimm, a Republican who represents Staten Island and Brooklyn.... Though Mr. Biton is barred from raising money for federal election campaigns because he is an illegal immigrant, he is said to have raised much of Mr. Grimm's campaign money...."
Rich Abdill of Wonkette: "Kentucky Republicans passed education legislation in 2009 that made it easier to compare the state's students to other states. Now they're very upset that the results came back Stupid. ACT, the state's testing company, interviews professors to figure out the things most important to student readiness for college, which sounds like a smart thing to do. Unfortunately, those professors have bad news: If you want students to do well in biology classes, they have to know about evolution."
Politico: "Lost in the hubbub last weekend over Rep. Paul Ryan's selection as Mitt Romney's running mate was the fact that Obama signed a bill that eliminates the need to obtain Senate confirmation for about 170 executive branch posts: the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011. The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), addresses concerns that the Senate's confirmation process has become so constipated that in many cases, especially with lower-profile posts, nominations were being held up without anyone really trying."