Mittens is sending out his wife to take swipes again. Does she sound bitchy? You betcha. What gets me is that not only are the Romneys not averse to travelling, but even if they never left the US, they’ve got how many homes in the US to vacation in? Just as with Mittens, there’s something awful about Ann, something nasty, vicious and mean…
This is getting a lot of attention:
Ann Romney, the wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said Monday that she doubted she and her husband would vacation overseas as frequently as the Obamas if her husband were elected.
Romney was responding to a question from WJR Detroit’s Frank Beckmann, who asked Romney if her family would be vacationing abroad as frequently as the Obamas.
“I doubt that,” Romney replied. “Our vacations and our happiness come from being with our children and our grandchildren.”
But I think what Mrs. R says after that is most telling:
But the potential future first lady didn’t rule out vacationing at all, noting the Romney family has their “own places for that.”
[No More Mister Nice Blog/Steve M./18 Jun 2012]
Right wing politics:
MISSOULA, Mont. — A bullet-riddled outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library” containing a fake birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama and graffiti that read “For a Good Time,” and a reference to first lady Michelle Obama was on display at the Montana Republican Convention in Missoula. The Missoulian reports (http://bit.ly/MzkB7t ) the display on Saturday also contained “For a Good Time” references to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, her name circled in red. The display, painted to look as if it had numerous bullet holes, was parked outside Missoula’s Hilton Garden Inn that drew some 500 convention goers.
[chron.com/17 june 2012]
Liberty Plaza Events has signed on musical acts Lynyrd Skynyrd (Aug. 26), Trace Adkins (Aug. 28) and Kid Rock (Aug. 29) for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
So wait — Mitt Romney, the guy who once forcibly chopped off the hair of a long-haired prep school classmate, is going to be serenaded at the Republican convention by a band named after a teacher who disciplined the band members in high school for having long hair?
In 1970, [Ronnie] Van Zant sought a new name. “One Percent” and “The Noble Five” were each considered before the group settled on “Leonard Skinner”, a mocking tribute to a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School, Leonard Skinner, who was notorious for strictly enforcing the school’s policy against boys having long hair. [Gary] Rossington dropped out of school, tired of being hassled about his hair. The more distinctive spelling was adopted before they released their first album.
[nomoremister/Steve M./19 Jun 2012]
I’m having a really hard time writing about Mitt Romney, because this really is a new paradigm for me. How do you write about someone when every word that falls out of their mouth is a lie? With Bush and Palin, they were often wrong about things just because they were morons. With McCain, he was just angry and insane. But with Romney, every single thing he says is just a damned lie. How do you approach near constant deceit like this?
[balloon-juice.com/John Cole/18 Jun 2012]
Mitt Romney’s pledge to massively increase military spending — close to a $2 trillion increase over the next ten years and boosting the Pentagon’s base budget to 4 percent of GDP — combined with his promises to cuts taxes and reduce the national debt is leaving many national security and defense experts scratching their heads, particularly because the presumptive GOP presidential nominee has not said how he’d pay for it.
A poll of defense budget experts conducted by Defense News finds that Romney’s pledge to grow the defense budget “appears politically impossible, if technically doable.”
Todd Harrison, a senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments said about Romney’s plan:
If you put all of the promises together, it doesn’t all add up. The administration may change, but the math remains the same. Harrison said. If you want to increase spending on defense over the next decade and reduce the deficit, then that necessarily means sharp reductions in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid or sharp increases in taxes, or some combination of the two.
[thinkprogress/Eli Clifton/18 Jun 2012]
For decades, when Republicans made the case against campaign-finance reform, they invariably touted disclosure as the panacea that made restrictions unnecessary. As Fred Hiatt explained, “Republicans always dangled this apple in the most alluring way. Political money will find a path, they would insist. Give up! Give in! We will post every donation on the Web, instantly! We will give you transparency! Sunshine! Accountability! What could be more democratic?” Except, of course, that the right never really meant it. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a staunch opponent of campaign-finance reform, spoke at the American Enterprise Institute the other day and condemned the Obama administration’s efforts to “silence” political speech.
[maddowblog/Steve Benen/18 Jun 2012]
WASHINGTON — Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde (R) says he is sick and tired of reading sad stories about people struggling in the recession. Instead, he wants to see the media focus more on the debt and the larger problems afflicting the country. Hovde made his remarks during a presentation on Friday to the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce.
[huffingtonpost/Amanda Terkel/18 june 2012]
Several states have been taking their share of the $25 billion foreclosure fraud settlement that was crafted in February with the nation’s five biggest banks and, instead of using the money for its intended purpose of providing foreclosure relief to troubled homeowners, have used it to bolster other areas of their budgets. Georgia lawmakers, for instance, have been planning to stash nearly $100 million from the settlement into their state’s general fund. As Kate Little, president of the Georgia State Trade Association of Nonprofit Developers wrote today, that money did indeed wind up in the state’s general budget, where it will be spent on corporate giveaways — economic programs meant to entice companies to move to Georgia — rather than helping homeowners
[thinkprogress/Pat Garofalo/18 Jun 2012]
About that heckler:
• Right-wing “reporter” who heckled Obama over immigration is here on a green card
• Neil Munro won’t answer questions about his questions
President Obama has tapped Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, to play Republican Mitt Romney in mock debate rehearsals, Obama campaign officials and the senator’s office confirmed Monday.
Kerry will help Obama prepare for among the most consequential events of his reelection campaign — the three fall debates against Romney. As the senior senator from Massachusetts, Kerry has studied Romney’s career and campaign style for nearly two decades and has first-hand knowledge of his record as governor.
[washingtonpost/Philip Rucker and Dan Balz/18 Jun 2012]
Why would they? In Rubio’s “plan”, isn’t it a fact that it’s not even committed to paper yet? What’s there to call about? …
• Rubio: The White House Never Asked My Advice On New Immigration Plan
Even before the Republicans chose a presidential nominee it was widely assumed that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would be at the top of anybody’s list of vice presidential candidates. The reasons are obvious: Not only is he young, charismatic and wildly popular with conservatives, but he could also help Republicans win a key state (Florida) and make inroads with Hispanics.
But knowledgeable Republican sources tell me that Rubio is not being vetted by Mitt Romney’s vice presidential search team. He has not been asked to complete any questionnaires or been asked to turn over any financial documents typically required of potential vice presidential candidates.
[abcnews/Jonathan Karl/19 Jun 2012]
Law, sort of:
This is what the whole political witch hunt is about…
House Oversight Committee member Rep. John Mica (R-FL) took to Fox News last week to promote the conspiracy theory that the Obama administration had ATF agents let guns “walk” during Operation Fast and Furious in an effort to boost political will for enacting gun control.
Mica’s comments came a few days before Wednesday’s scheduled vote on a resolution holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, though there are signs the matter could be settled and the vote delayed.
“People forget how all of this started. This administration is a gun-control administration. They tried to put the violence in Mexico on the blame of the United States. So they concocted this scheme and actually sending our federal agents, sending guns down there, and trying to cook some little deal to say that we have got to get more guns under control,” Mica said, a theory that is supported by absolutely zero evidence. “That’s how this all started.”
The list of Republicans who have promoted the conspiracy theory includes Reps. Trent Franks, Blake Farenthold, Joe Walsh and Dan Lungren.
[talkingpointsmemo/RYAN J. REILLY/18 Jun 2012]
Justice Antonin Scalia has changed his mind about a key Supreme Court precedent that supporters of the Affordable Care Act have been using to argue that the law is constitutional. Scalia’s new position leaves little doubt that he’ll vote to overturn the law.
[motherjones/Adam Serwer/18 Jun 2012]
Police State, MILINDCO, and the NSA:
Sgt. David Clifford, a member of the Minneapolis SWAT team, turned himself in to authorities on Sunday after a father of four who he reportedly “sucker punched” for talking too loud spent Father’s Day in intensive care… Witnesses identified the assailant as Sgt. David Clifford but police did not find the officer at his home. Commander Paul Sommer said that Clifford finally turned himself in at about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday after retaining a lawyer. He is expected to be charged with third-degree assault.
[rawstory/David Edwards/18 Jun 2012]
If you hear planes flying overhead at some point later tonight into the wee hours, don’t fret—it’s just Exercise Falcon Virgo. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has announced that it will be conducting some aerial exercises—code-name Falcon Virgo—over D.C. tonight and tomorrow night between 11:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. According to a press release, Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16s, and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercises, which are meant to “hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System.” (As if those cannon blasts from Arlington last year weren’t enough.)
[dcist/Martin Austermuhle/18 Jun 2012]
PORTLAND, Ore., June 18 (UPI) — Defense contractor KBR is being sued by Oregon National Guard members who say they were exposed to a carcinogenic chemical in Iraq, attorneys said.
The most contentious motion to be argued at hearings this week in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., concerns allegations KBR deliberately concealed knowledge sodium dichromate was present at the Qarmat Ali, Iraq, water treatment plant it was contracted to repair. Members of the Oregon National Guard, on duty in Iraq, were assigned in 2003 to guard the plant during repairs, and have allegedly suffered health problems from exposure to the chemical, The Portland Oregonian reported Monday.
[upi/18 Jun 2012]
The surveillance experts at the National Security Agency won’t tell two powerful United States Senators how many Americans have had their communications picked up by the agency as part of its sweeping new counterterrorism powers. The reason: it would violate your privacy to say so. That claim comes in a short letter sent Monday to civil libertarian Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall. The two members of the Senate’s intelligence oversight committee asked the NSA a simple question last month: under the broad powers granted in 2008′s expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, how many persons inside the United States have been spied upon by the NSA? The query bounced around the intelligence bureaucracy until it reached I. Charles McCullough, the Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the nominal head of the 16 U.S. spy agencies. In a letter acquired by Danger Room, McCullough told the senators that the NSA inspector general “and NSA leadership agreed that an IG review of the sort suggested would further violate the privacy of U.S. persons,” McCullough wrote.
[WiredDangerRoom/Spencer Ackerman/18 June 2012]
All of this right wing shouting about the US not doing anything about Syria would of course imply that the US isn’t doing anything about Syria. And the current administration likely couldn’t say if it were or weren’t doing anything about Syria, given that there’s no mandate to do so. But the right wing really does love to hear itself shout…
Western intelligence agents in Syria are passing vital intelligence gathered by U.S. and British agencies to rebel forces in the country, according to a report in a British newspaper.
CIA operatives and their counterparts in MI6, the United Kingdom’s foreign-intelligence wing, have been gathering reams of raw intelligence gleaned from American and British satellites and other electronic intelligence assets in the skies above Syria, according to reports in the U.K’s Daily Star.
After parsing though that raw data, analysts in Washington and London have passed on those bits of actionable intelligence to CIA and MI6 agents on the ground, who then pass the information to rebel leaders.
That information includes images of troop movements of forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as captured communications between top Syrian military officials in Damascus to commanders in the field, a British defense source told the Star.
That information has allowed rebel leaders to evacuate areas targeted by Assad’s troops and possibly plan counterstrikes against offensives by government forces.
[thehill/Carlo Munoz/18 Jun 2012]
The UN Security Council was to examine the future of its observer mission in violence-wracked Syria on Tuesday after a joint US-Russian call for an immediate end to the conflict.
…US President Barack Obama and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Monday called for an “immediate cessation of all violence.”
“In order to stop the bloodshed in Syria, we call for an immediate cessation of all violence,” the two leaders said in a statement after meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.
“We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future,” the leaders said.
Putin told reporters that he and Obama had found “many common points” on the 15-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad that monitors say has cost more than 14,400 lives.
Obama said he and Putin agreed on the need for a “political process” to halt the conflict and had pledged to work with UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, who has crafted a largely-ignored six-point plan aimed at halting the bloodshed.
But there was little sign they had agreed on concrete means to end the conflict, following US frustration at Russia’s blocking of Security Council moves against Assad.
[yahoo/19 Jun 2012]
TEHRAN, June 19 (UPI) — Iran, Russia, China and Syria plan to conduct a joint military exercise in the Middle East in coming weeks, the semi-official Fars news agency said.
Citing “informed sources” the agency said some 90,000 troops from the four countries are expected to participate in land, air and sea maneuvers off the Syrian coast, including air defense and missile units.
Some 400 warplanes and 1,000 tanks will take part in the exercise, the agency said.
Egypt has granted authorization for 12 Chinese warships to sail through the Suez Canal, and Russian atomic submarines, warships and aircraft carriers, and Iranian battle ships will dock at Syrian ports in the next two weeks, the agency said.
During the exercise, Syria will test its air defense systems and coast-to-sea missiles, Fars said.
[upi/19 Jun 2012]
Britain’s Foreign Office said a Russian ship carrying weapons and military helicopters to Syria has been stopped off the coast of Scotland after the ship’s insurers cancelled the vessels coverage. “We were made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying munitions destined for Syria,” Standard Club, the ship’s insurer, said in a statement. “We have already informed the ship owner that their insurance cover ceased automatically in view of the nature of the voyage.” The movement of the shipment has been closely monitored since Secretary of State Hillary warned last week that such shipments were adding to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s arsenal.
[thinkprogress/Eli Clifton/19 Jun 2012]
Egypt’s generals awarded themselves sweeping political powers in an 11th-hour constitutional declaration that tied the hands of the country’s incoming president and cemented military authority over the post-Mubarak era. The announcement on Sunday night came as early presidential election results put the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi ahead of his rival Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak’s final prime minister and an unabashed champion of the old regime. But with thousands of polling stations yet to declare following the two-day runoff vote, the overall winner was too close to call. Pro-change activists and human rights campaigners said the junta’s constitutional declaration – which came just days after judges extended the army’s ability to arrest civilians and following the dissolution of the Brotherhood-dominated parliament by the country’s top court – rendered the scheduled handover of power to a democratically elected executive meaningless. The Brotherhood was quick to label the declaration “null and unconstitutional”, raising the prospect of a dramatic showdown within the highest institutions of the state.
[guardian.co.uk/Jack Shenker in Cairo/18 June 2012]
The IDF has deployed Armored forces near the Israel-Egypt border, moving tanks closer to the fence, Ynet has learned. The unusual move followed Monday’s terror attack on defense contractor crews building the new security fence. The attack claimed the life of Said Phashpashe, 36, from Haifa. Golani soldiers who were scrambled to the area killed two terrorists. Ynet was able to document the presence of Israeli tanks in close proximity to the border – maneuvers which are barred by Jerusalem’s peace treaty with Cairo.
[ynetnews/Yoav Zitun/18 Jun 2012]