Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "Justice Antonin Scalia said in a television interview on Wednesday night that the Supreme Court's bitterly divided decision upholding President Obama's health care law had not led to a falling out with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr." You can watch parts of the interview here. If you can't find anything to piss you off this morning, watch the top segment where Scalia blames Al Gore for Bush v. Gore. ...
... CW: what was more important about the interview was this:
'Thomas Jefferson,' Justice Scalia responded, 'would have said the more speech, the better. That's what the First Amendment is all about.' Then he added a proviso, one that put him at odds with many Republicans who oppose the disclosure of the sources of such spending. 'So long as the people know where the speech is coming from,' Justice Scalia said. He later underscored the point, one endorsed by eight justices in the Citizens United decision. 'You are entitled to know where the speech is coming from -- you know, information as to who contributed what,' he said.
... Seven other members of the Court agree with Scalia on this. I don't know if there are any suits wending their way through the lower courts on this, but there should be. It seems to me that the Supremes would find undisclosed advertising by superPACS & "non-profit issues" groups unconstitutional. ...
... Adam Liptak: "The American public's satisfaction with the Supreme Court, which had already been low by historical standards in recent polls, dropped further in the wake of the court's 5-to-4 ruling last month upholding President Obama's health care overhaul law."
Fire Tim Geithner:
"The Feckless Fed." Paul Krugman: "I really believe that we have reached a point where the Fed is afraid to do its job, for fear of being accused of helping Obama."
Steven Mufson of the Washington Post: "... the oil rush in North Dakota has also brought soaring home prices, makeshift camps for workers, overbooked hotels and an explosion of heavy truck traffic and crime. Towns are gritty and cheerless. Stacks of pipe lie along the roads, waiting to be buried." CW: life in Boomtown is pretty much like life in "Deadwood." Times change; people don't.
Ali Gharib of Think Progress: "On the floor of the Senate Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) repudiated Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) McCarthyesque witch-hunt to root out the alleged Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government. The flap started when Bachmann all but directly accused Secretary Hillary Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin of working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood in a letter with four colleagues to the State Department's Inspector General demanding an investigation":
New York Times Editors: "Give credit to John McCain, too often a wayward voice in recent years, for taking to the Senate floor Wednesday to skewer a crackpot allegation of a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy to infiltrate the government.... It was heartening to hear him back on deck condemning Know-Nothingism, especially in a week that started with his vote against a campaign finance disclosure act that should have had his strong backing."
Cecilia Kang of the Washington Post: "As Apple and Samsung escalated a multibillion-dollar war over one of the hottest consumer gadgets of our time, the tablet computer, a little-known judge did for Apple what the company couldn't do on its own: She shut down the competition. The stunning move by U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh to temporarily order Samsung's tablets off the shelves last month rippled across the tech industry because her decision came as sales of the devices are surging. Samsung's Galaxy Tab was one of the few 10-inch screen tablets that could go toe-to-toe with Apple's iPad."
Crooks & Bundlers. Philip Rucker & Dan Eggen of the Washington Post: Mitt Romney will be dialing for dollars next week in London among the stars of the LIBOR scandal. "The hosts of Romney's high-dollar reception and dinner on July 26 overwhelmingly represent banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions, some of which are embroiled in the Libor rate-fixing scandal.... One of the event's co-chairs is Patrick Durkin, a Washington-based lobbyist for Barclays, which agreed last month to pay $450 million to settle allegations that it manipulated Libor before and after the financial crisis. Durkin has helped raise $1.1 million for the Romney campaign, according to U.S. disclosure records. This month, the Boston Globe reported that Barclays' chief executive, Bob Diamond, withdrew as a co-host [of the Romney fundraiser]." Diamond has resigned from Barclay's. CW: not sure how much hay Obama can make with this since his own Secretary of the Treasury is implicated, too.
Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post: "Congressional Democrats are using the legislative process to pressure Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to release more tax returns and information about his investments in offshore accounts. In the House, Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) is proposing legislation that would require presidential candidates to release 10 years worth of tax returns and disclose any overseas investments. And in the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich) are proposing beefing up financial disclosure forms for all candidates for federal office to require disclosure of overseas investments, including Swiss bank accounts."
Abby Huntsman & Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post: "Mitt Romney has been determined to resist releasing his tax returns at least since his bid for Massachusetts governor in 2002 and has been confident that he will never be forced to do so, several current and former Bain executives tell The Huffington Post. Had he thought otherwise, say the sources based on their longtime understanding of Romney, he never would have gone forward with his run for president."
... Charles Blow: "Whether a Mitt the Vicious will be more effective than Mitt the Victim at shifting attention away from the 1,500-pound dressage horse in the room remains to be seen."
Sam Youngman of Reuters: "Republican Mitt Romney shrugged off growing pressure on Tuesday to release more of his tax returns, and his campaign lashed out at President Barack Obama in an effort to turn the campaign debate away from Romney's business and financial record."
Zach Carter & Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post: "Mitt Romney has not released his full tax records from 2010, including key documentation connected to his Swiss bank account." Read the whole thing: pretty interesting. The one year Romney said he released he didn't fully released & has refused to do so to the HuffPost. CW: Is he secreting something in those once-secret Swiss accounts? I think he must be. ...
... David Dayen of Firedoglake: "This ought to lead to more speculation about that Swiss bank account, and whether Romney took the tax amnesty on that (a de facto admission of illegal tax dodging) in 2009.... An absence of the account on previous returns would be essentially an admission of tax dodging, as Romney's team has already acknowledged he had the Swiss account since 2003."
Blue Texan in Crooks & Liars: the Romney campaign's evah-so-original new rhetoric that "Obama hasn't been vetted" "is deeply nutty."
Jonathan Chait of New York: "The primary goal of President Obama's attacks on Mitt Romney's business career is to define him as a self-interested financier and thus to soften him up for attacks on the Ryan budget later on. But it also seems to have accomplished a secondary, and perhaps unintended, objective: to rattle Romney and his campaign.... The apparent plan is to mutter darkly about Chicago and drug use and sundry other biographical details that conservatives believe they wrongly shied away from four years ago." ...
... Ditto Kevin Drum: "Operation 'Piss Off Mitt' Seems to Be Working: Obama is unquestionably running a tough campaign, but if Romney is losing his cool over questions about his taxes and his stewardship of Bain Capital, he's just showing he's not ready for the big leagues." ...
... AND Doug J. of Balloon Juice: "I meant to start my blogging vacation today but I love the smell of Republican panic in the morning."
Paul Krugman has a series of posts on Romney's brand of Gordon Gekko capitalism. I recommend you just go to his blog & scroll down. Here's a good one: "... predictably, Romney is accusing Obama of 'attacking capitalism' and 'dividing America'" by raising questions about Bain and those hidden tax returns.... The special Romney twist -- aside from the willful misrepresentation of what Obama actually said about business success -- is Mitt's desire to have it both ways. He's proud of his business record and his success, he says, but at the same time wants us to believe that he had nothing to do with Bain's actions over a three-year period when he was still its CEO, and is completely unwilling to let us see the tax returns that would tell us something about exactly how he achieved his current wealth."
Paul Waldman of American Prospect: "If [the Romney people] want to run the rest of their campaign on the fact that Obama knew Rod Blagojevich and did coke when he was a teenager, I'm sure the Obama campaign would reply, be our guest."
Richard Oppel, Jr., of the New York Times: "The Romney campaign unveiled an advertisement on Wednesday that contends that under President Obama, stimulus money went to the president's political donors and to overseas companies.... Much of the ad is false, including its first claim." ...
I am ashamed to say that we’re seeing our president hand out money to the businesses of campaign contributors, when he gave money, $500 million in loans to a company called Fisker that makes high end electric cars, and they make the cars now in Finland. That is wrong and it's got to stop. That kind of crony capitalism does not create jobs and it does not create jobs here. -- Mitt Romney
Adam Peck of Think Progress: "... during a campaign appearance in Ohio on Wednesday, Mitt Romney misquoted Obama, before agreeing that tax payer-funded programs help all American businesses succeed."
AND YET. CBS News: "President Obama and Mitt Romney are effectively tied in the race for the presidency, according to a new CBS News/New York Times survey. Forty-seven percent of registered voters nationwide who lean towards a candidate back Romney, while 46 percent support the president. Four percent are undecided. The one percentage point difference is within the survey's three point margin of error." ...
... Jim Rutenberg & Marjorie Connelly of the New York Times: "Declining confidence in the nation's economic prospects appears to be the most powerful force influencing voters as the presidential election gears up, undercutting key areas of support for President Obama and helping give his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, an advantage on the question of who would better handle the nation's economic challenges, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll."
... BUT. Latino Decisions: "Latino Decisions released new national poll of Latino registered voters showing Barack Obama winning 70% of the Latino vote compared to 22% for Mitt Romney. The poll ... illustrates an increase in support for President Obama, and comes after a month of outreach to Latino voters, starting with the June 15 Dream announcement, appearances by the President and Vice President at NALEO and NCLR conferences, and comments opposing Arizona's SB1070 immigration law."
Gail Collins reviews the literary efforts of possible GOP running mates. She is very kind & quite funny. You are not likely to rush out & buy any of the books, though the Shaker one does sound okay.
Right Wing World
Shocking Exposé! Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) caught hugging female journalist. Journalist reveals on Facebook page she also kisses Brown "so hard he passes out from lack of oxygen." CW: And, yes, journalist is right -- Brown is "really cute."
Laura Myers of Reuters: "Washington will become the first U.S. state to allow eligible residents to register to vote through Facebook, in an initiative due to launch this month.... Online voter registration has existed in Washington since 2008, but the latest effort to increase voter participation is designed for users who already have a Facebook account."
CoMa! Dylan Byers of Politico: "The war between Rep. Connie Mack and Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith continued today when the Republican representative told Smith to his face that he wasn't a real journalist." CoMa -- my very own horrible Congressman -- is a candidate for the Senate seat of Bill Nelson (ConservaD); he's running a primary race now. Adam Smith is a Florida treasure.
ToMa! Reuters: "FBI agents early on Wednesday raided the home of Trenton, New Jersey, Mayor Tony Mack, who has been accused of nepotism and mismanagement since taking over the crime-plagued, economically depressed city in 2010. FBI spokeswoman Barbara Woodruff said the raid took place at about 2 a.m. EDT, but she declined to say what the agents were looking for or what they may have removed from Mack's house." The Trenton Times story is here. CW: well, it's New Jersey.
New York Times: Tom Davis, Al Franken's comedy-writing partner on "SNL," died today.
New York Times: "The attack on a tour bus carrying Israeli vacationers outside the airport here was carried out by a suicide bomber carrying fake American identification, officials said on Thursday."
AP: "Egypt's former spy chief Omar Suleiman, deposed president Hosni Mubarak's top lieutenant and keeper of secrets, died Thursday, the country's official news agency reported. He was 76. Suleiman, who said little but had a finger in virtually every vital security issue confronting Egypt, was dubbed by the media as the 'the black box.'"