Morning Must Reads: Accusations

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–The format of the presidential debates has been set.

–Widespread drought has decimated the U.S. corn crop and is expected to send food prices soaring next year. To this point, 2012 is the hottest year on record.

–In Wednesday’s episode of political theater, Senate Democrats pass a stand-alone bill to extend the Bush-era tax cuts on income up to $250,000, and reject a measure to extend them for everyone else. The Democratic legislation is DOA in the House, which soon pass its own symbolic legislation to die in the Senate. Meanwhile, we roll apace toward the fiscal cliff.

–A Romney foreign policy advisor accuses Tom Donilon of being the source of the White House’s national security leaks.

–The House Intelligence Committee chairman fingers Hezbollah, and by extension Iran, for orchestrating the Bulgaria terrorist attack that killed five Israeli tourists. The White House isn’t ready to go that far.

–Charles Krauthammer argues the impossibility of an economic revival before November gives Mitt “the ultimate edge.”

Six policy proposals that are economically sound but politically unpalatable.

–A dispatch from Free Syria by TIME’s intrepid correspondent, Rania Abouzeid.

–And the great chicken kerfuffle escalates.

What else is going on?

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neighbor's ex-wife made $14156 the prior week. she is making income on

the internet and bought a $575800 condo. All she did was get blessed and

put to use the guide uncovered on this site


my roomate's

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Rahm Emanuel rejects Chick-fil-A, but he asks the Rev Louis Farrakhan to help in Chicago.

Really Rahm?  After Louie says this?  Where is your outrage, Mayor?


 Rahm, Louey, and Barry, represent the dems "values."


TIME does it again.

There’s George Washington, our first president. There’s Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of our Independence; Albert Einstein and the Wright Brothers. They all made TIME Magazine’s list of “The Most Influential Americans of All Time” and likely each one deserves to be on that list.

But I do find it odd that TIME also chose to honor Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, on the same list as Jefferson, who declared that life was an inalienable god-given right to all. Ironic, no?

Penning the profile of Sanger is feminist idol Gloria Steinem who writes:In a series of articles called “What Every Girl Should Know,” then in her own newspaper The Woman Rebel and through local clinics that dispensed woman-controlled forms of birth control (a phrase she coined), she put information and power into the hands of women. Her brave and joyous life included fulfilling work, three children, two husbands, many lovers and a large network of friends and colleagues. Indeed, she lived as if she and everyone else had the right to control her or his own life. By word and deed, she pioneered the most radical, humane and transforming political movement of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Radical and transformative, I’ll give you.  But humane?  Seriously? Sanger was also a “radical” and “transformation” figure in “racial betterment” and the eugenics movement — that is, trying to improve hereditary qualities by socially controlling reproduction.  Radical? Yes.  Humane?  Not so much.

Also making TIME’s list: Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln and Lewis amp; Clark.  Margaret Sanger??


Sanger, Rod always love to attack Sanger.


So you defend her?



Don't be surprised if I don't exactly take anything you say for granted or seriously. You really don't have a very good track record on first of all telling the truth but also when it comes to women and liberals.

And I'm not avoiding the question at all. You want me to answer your question based on what you believe about someone and I don't know at all.

Rod, that just doesn't make sense unless what you want in people is someone that always agree with you regardless.

Now her aside (and again I don't know anything about her). I'm not strong on eugenics. It was a aweful philosophy and practice.

Exactly why I almost always ignore everything you have to comment about.

No Rod, you ignore it because I don't agree with you; ergo you ignore it because of what you think I vote for.

Same as with freeinpa, I agreed with him on some things and he turned around and just snapped at you like a deranged monkey.


"Very simple statement. I don't even know who she is."

She was the founder of Planned Parenthood.  She is also a racist and advocated for eugenics in the early 1900's.  

But, I don't believe you.  You are avoiding as usual a direct question which you always accuse everyone else of.  Exactly why I almost always ignore everything you have to comment about.


Sanger, Rod always love to attack Sanger.

Very simple statement. I don't even know who she is.



Romney's Latest Obama Attack Insults the Intelligence of Small Business Owners

It's useful to be reminded that not every small business owner takes

seriously the preposterous caricature of this President as the enemy of

private enterprise in America.

Most people with the most basic grasp of language and logic

understand how absurd is the Romney campaign's attempt to turn President

Obama's "you didn't build that" comment into an attack on small

business. And Romney's own statements, not to mention political ads featuring businessmen who have received government largesse, only affirm what the President was actually saying.

I have several friends who are very successful small business owners.

It's instructive to talk to them. Each simply scoffs at the idea that a

moderate increase in taxes on incomes in excess of $250,000 a year

would have any effect on their hiring or on their business more

generally (and some would be subject to the tax increase). Except for

the sole proprietors among them, they provide health insurance to their

employees and will benefit from the subsidies in Obamacare for small

businesses providing such coverage. More broadly, none has experienced

any tyrannical new impediments to their operations since Obama took

office in 2009.

One of those friends who has, in spite of the alleged death of

capitalism under Obama, seen his business boom in the past two years,

emailed the following to me yesterday:

"As you've probably heard, President Obama doesn't think I built my

business. I'm sorry, but I just can't support him anymore. I'd say more,

but I need to go. I need to get in my car and drive on the publicly

funded roads that will take me to the government-subsidized post office,

where I will drop off packages that will ship to my customers on planes

that take off from airports whose security the government ensures and

on trucks that also drive on roads maintained by public funds. My

customers will quickly receive shiny new bike parts, which were imported

from Asia on ships that sailed through oceans protected by the US Navy

and then entered the US through ports maintained and protected by US

Customs and Homeland Security. They will then use these parts on bikes

ridden on more public roads. But really, it's time we get this

socialist-commie-African who doesn't understand how market economies and

business work out of office. Enough already."

Yes, there's more to say about all this, but it's useful to be

reminded that not every small business owner takes seriously the

preposterous caricature of this President as the enemy of private

enterprise in America. And I know it's asking too much, but wouldn't it

be nice if we could have a conversation about the relationship between business, government, taxes and regulation in the United States that was remotely connected to reality?



"Look, boys and girls.  A circle jerk."


You have to admit Bam's shooting off his mouth with that neo-Marxist blather stepped all over the Democrat Bain narrative.

"Someone else made that happen" 


 Liberals are fond of circle jerks.  But Barry has a big advantage.


 This probably wasn't the warm welcome Mitt Romney was hoping for.

At a boisterous pre-Olympics rally on Thursday, London's mayor, Boris

Johnson, ridiculed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for

his remarks questioning the city's readiness for the games.

"People are coming from around the world and they're seeing us,"

Johnson told the estimated 60,000-person crowd, who had gathered to mark

the end of the Olympic Torch relay. "They are seeing the greatest city

in the world!"

He then turned his comments to Romney.

"There are some people who are coming from around the world who don't

yet know about all the preprations we've done to get London ready in

the last seven years," he said. "I heard there's a guy called Mitt

Romney who wants to know whether we're ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!"

To top it off, Johnson finished his appearance by leading the crowd

in a chant of 'Yes We Can,' President Barack Obama's famous campaign

slogan from 2008.

"Can we put on the greatest Olympics games that have ever been held?"

he asked. "Can we beat France? Yes we can! Can we beat Australia? Yes

we can!"


ran the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City, an accomplishment he

heralds frequently on the campaign trail. He said on Wednesday there

were "disconcerting" signs in the lead-up to this year's Olympics. "The

stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the

supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials -- that

obviously is not something which is encouraging," he told NBC News.

The former Massachusetts governor arrived in London on Thursday on his first trip abroad as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.


Speaking to a community where the unemployment rate rests at 13.7 percent, President Obama this week declared that after trying his economic policy, he was happy to report that “it worked.”

Not so fast, says Mitt Romney.  In his newest ad, Romney‘s campaign cites a CBS News report calling Obama’s recovery “the worst economic recovery America has ever had.”


So, let me understand.

Bush expands presidential power - and that's ok. Obama uses established power, and the uppity black man has to be restrained?

This is YOUR GOP


WASHINGTON -- The Republican-led House on Thursday passed legislation

that would freeze major government regulations until the unemployment

rate, now at 8.2 percent, drops to 6 percent or below.

The latest GOP attempt to rein in Obama administration's rulemaking,

like previous anti-regulation bills, is virtually certain to die in the

Democratic-controlled Senate.

The vote was 245-172, with 13 Democrats voting for the GOP bill and two Republicans against it.

In familiar arguments, Republicans contended that unelected

bureaucrats were costing businesses time and money and preventing hiring

new workers. Democrats countered that consumer protection, health care,

aid to veterans, food safety and workplace rules would suffer if

Washington cannot regulate these areas.

Some earlier Republican bills were aimed at specific regulations,

including environmental ones. But this latest legislation would affect

proposed rules across the board and rival the scope a measure passed

last December that would give Congress the power to approve any major

regulation from the executive branch.

The administration, in threatening a veto, said in a statement that

the bill would undermine critical public health and safety protections,

introduce uncertainly in government decision-making and interfere with

carrying out laws passed by Congress. The administration has promoted

its own program to eliminate burdensome regulations, but Republicans say

the effort is weak and they cite complaints from small business owners

they hope to woo in the November elections.

During debate on the bill Wednesday, Rep. Rep. Blake Farenthold,

R-Texas, lamented the problems that Republicans have in the Senate with

their anti-regulation bills. "I hope it has better luck than some of

the other bills we've passed ... when it gets across the Capitol," he


In addition to the proposed freeze, the measure also would:

_Prevent lame-duck administrations from issuing economically significant regulations.


When Barack Obama and Joe Biden first began campaigning in 2008, their complimentary advantages as candidates were fairly clear – that is, Obama was the candidate who spoke to the young and minority voters (who had, up until that point, been his base) most capably, while Biden was the one who spoke to restive blue collar workers. As a matter of fact, Biden’s constant references to “taking the train” back from Washington were probably intended to demonstrate this supposedly more homespun character.

Yet as Vice President, Biden has shown himself to be prone to gaffes, even in his supposed home turf, a fact that has complicated this otherwise simple division of labor between him and the President. And Biden’s lack of comfort in the public eye, has, at least recently, become increasingly difficult not to notice. For evidence, simply look at his speech today to the International Association of Firefighters in Philadelphia.

Why? Because that speech reportedly had all the hallmarks of a vintage Biden gaffe-fest. To begin with, according to Business Insider, Biden mouthed odd lines such as “I wish my kids would become wealthy,” apparently intended as a means of reassuring the audience that Democrats aren’t anti-wealth. Needless to say, the line fell flat.

And then there was the fact that despite Biden’s attempts at pandering, he seemed to almost purposefully avoid hitting the right notes. One Philadelphia Firefighters’ Union President was apparently visibly upset at Biden for failing to include even one sentence regarding a local dispute in Philadelphia over an award to firefighters. From Business Insider’s report:Bill Gault, president of Philadelphia Fire Fighter’s Union Local 22, said after Biden’s speech that he wanted Biden to endorse the implementation of an award to city firefighters that provided raises and protections against furloughs. An arbitration panel granted the award in early July, and last week the union filed a lawsuit against the city to ensure that it is enacted.

“I just wanted him to say one sentence to my mayor to honor the firefighters’ award,” Gault told Business Insider. “But I guess I can’t expect him to do that.”[...]

Gault was hoping for an endorsement from the vice president, which led to his disappointment.

“We feel unappreciated in this city. And if you ask these men in here, they’ll feel the same way,” Gault said. ”I‘m disappointed that the vice president didn’t say, ‘Mr. Mayor, honor their agreement.‘ It’s a very simple sentence.”Simple, indeed, yet Biden skipped saying it. He did, however, throw in an obligatory dig at GOP nominee Mitt Romney – a dig that, when paired with the reaction to Biden’s speech, may sound more than a little ironic:I don’t think he gets you. I don‘t think he understands what you’re all about, what makes you tick, what makes you decide to go in this profession, which you couldn’t pay 90 percent of the population to do.One wonders if the Vice President might have been projecting. Or, perhaps, he simply is a surrogate for the wrong candidate. After all, while running for President in the 2008 Democratic primary, Biden was very well-received by the same group:


Eric Holder's Justice Department is back in the news.  This time NEPOTISM.  

Eight Justice Department officials tried to get their children and other relatives hired at the department in violation of laws and regulations, according to a report released Thursday by the department’s inspector general.

The nepotism violations in the division that serves as the Justice Department’s management arm were revealed in the third investigation of the division in the past decade, according to Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz. His office found similar improper hiring practices in 2004 and 2008.The officials involved are career, not political, employees and included the director and deputy director of Facilities and Administrative Services; the director and two assistant directors of Human Resources; and a senior adviser to a deputy assistant attorney general in the division.“The department takes seriously the findings in this report, and we are moving immediately to address the report’s findings,” said Gina Talamona, a Justice Department spokeswoman.Talamona said the attorney general and deputy attorney general have made clear to the division leadership that such behavior will not be tolerated and that quick action must be taken.The inspector general’s report found that several officials violated the federal nepotism statute by advocating for the appointment of their relatives to positions. Some of them “improperly manipulated” the hiring process to ensure that their children or the children of other employees were appointed to positions, according to the report.“Most of the misconduct described in this report — the nepotism, the prohibited personnel practices, the ethical lapses, the false and misleading statements — was the result of bad behavior by individuals insufficiently impressed with the principles of fair and open competition,” Horowitz said in the report.In at least one case, the inspector found that two senior officials simultaneously attempted to assist each other’s relative in getting jobs at the Justice Department, the report said. And according to the report, a deputy assistant attorney general did not respond adequately to warnings she received concerning the hiring of relatives of other employees.“The report issued by the Department of Justice Inspector General today is alarming, especially given that the department has twice been warned about these illegal practices before. Nepotism has no place in any federal agency, and it is especially disturbing coming from the Department of Justice — the agency charged with enforcing the law,” Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), who brought the nepotism allegations to the inspector general, said in a statement.Lee J. Lofthus, the Justice Department assistant attorney general for administration, said the report about the Justice Management Division was “deeply disappointing.”“While it was a small number of JMD staffs and individuals implicated . . . the report clouds all of JMD and was particularly troubling because it is the third time in eight years that [the inspector general] had identified similar violations,” Lofthus wrote in a response to the report.Lofthus said he will institute better training and other immediate corrective actions recommended by the inspector general.


The Obama campaign is bringing back the “war on women” theme in a big way with a new ad declaring that now is a “scary time to be a woman.”From the Washington Post:“I’ve never felt this way before, but it’s a scary time to be a woman,” says 30-something “Jenni.” “Mitt Romney is just so out of touch.”

A female narrator chimes in: “Romney opposes requiring insurance coverage for contraception and Romney supports overturning Roe vs. Wade. Romney backed a bill that outlawed all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.”

Jenni adds, “There’s so much to do. We need to attack our problems, not a woman’s choice.”The ad’s claims are similar to those in another spot earlier this month about Romney’s abortion stance, which his campaign labeled “viciously negative and false.” Romney has said he supports abortion in cases of rape and incest, though believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned and opposes mandatory contraception coverage.The ad was not available on YouTube as of Thursday afternoon, but is running in Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, Nevada and Ohio, according to the Post, and will begin airing in Colorado on Monday.

Yes with Obama supporting the baby killing factories from Planned Parenthood, women should be scared.


PORTLAND, OREGON – June 24, 2012 – President Barack Obama visited Portland Tuesday greeting diners Mark Peterson, center, and Thomas Foeller, right, at the Gateway Breakfast House in an unschedueld stop on the way to fundraisers at the Oregon Convention Center. Michael Lloyd/The Oregonian.But then the truth eked its way out—-

The three veterans were not regulars.

They just happened to be sitting in a booth at the diner when Obama popped in.

Victoria Taft has more, via Orbusmax:“No, they were not regulars.” The waitress who served President Obama, Mary, told me the veterans with whom the President discussed “health care” were not regulars. “Well, maybe one of the guys came in here before…”In fact, the Obama Campaign even had a copy of their bios on hand.

And, one of the veterans just happens to be an Obama for America volunteer!The roundtable participants, as provided by the campaign:-Dean Dilley from PortlandDean enlisted in the U.S. Army 1972 when he was 20 years old. He served for three years, from 1972-1975 as a supply specialist. He retired from American Honda Motor Company in 2009, where he worked as a stock and material handler and is currently a volunteer for Obama for America.

Dean says that health care is the issue that is most important to him, particularly as he is getting older. He is also focused on veterans-related issues and says he is grateful for the President’s commitment to supporting veterans like himself.

-Mark Peterson from PortlandMark is a retired veteran. He served in the Air Force and Air National Guard for 27 years, from 1966 – 1993. In the Air Force, he was rated as a Navigator and flew B-52s as an Electronic Warfare Officer and in the Air National Guard he was a Weapons System Officer in F-4s and F-101s. Following his service he worked as a CPA, and retired around 2006.

Mark is focused on health care and foreign policy. He is thankful for his military benefits and Medicare coverage, but as the father of two disabled children, he knows a lot of people who have had problems with coverage, so he knows how important it is to have access to quality, affordable health care.

-Thomas Foeller from Oak GroveTom is a retired Vietnam War era veteran. He enlisted in the Navy Reserves in 1967 during his junior year at Portland State University because he wanted to serve his country. He left the Navy Reserves as a lieutenant in 1976. He served for a total of nine years; four of those were active duty. He was a member of the Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit and spent six months stationed in Japan, then six months in Guam while on call to deploy to Vietnam. His unit never received the call to deploy.

Tom retried from a career in the housing industry six years ago. At the time of his retirement, Tom was diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer, during a routine physical. He believes that had the Affordable Care Act – and the emphasis on preventative care – been in place a decade or two ago, he would have caught his cancer earlier and could have saved tens of thousands of dollars in healthcare costs.What a complete surprise.

It was all manufactured – just for Obama.


Those wondering why the Department of Justice has refused to go after Jon Corzine for the vaporization of $1.6 billion in MF Global client funds need look no further than the documents uncovered by theGovernment Accountability Institute that reveal that the now-defunct MF Global was a client of Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer’s former law firm, Covington amp; Burling.There’s more.Records also reveal that MF Global’s trustee for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy retained as its general bankruptcy counsel Morrison amp; Foerester--the very law firm from which Associate Attorney General Tony West came to DOJ.And more.As Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer explains in the Washington Times Thursday, the trustee overseeing MF Global’s bankruptcy is former FBI Director Louis Freeh. At Holder’s Senate confirmation hearing Freeh served as a character witness for Holder and revealed that Holder had previously worked for Freeh. “As general counsel,” Freehsaid, “I could have engaged any lawyer in America to represent our bank. I chose Eric.”Until now, the conventional wisdom for why Holder wouldn’t throw the book at Corzine was that Corzine is an Obama campaignbundler. Indeed, as Breitbart News reported, four of the top officials at the Department of Justice--Eric Holder, Thomas Perrelli, Karol Mason, and Tony West--were also big money bundlers for Obama.But the newly understood crony connections reveal conflicts of interest that extend well beyond mere political support for a common candidate--they go to a tangle of prior business dealings that further underscore the need for a special prosecutor in the Corzine case.At least 65 members of Congress have already signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate MF Global’s collapse and the loss of $1.6 billion in customer money. What’s more, even progressives have begun to wonder whether Holder’s Covington amp; Burling connection explains why the Department of Justice has not charged, prosecuted, or jailed a single Wall Street executive after the biggest financial collapse in American history.As Richard Eskow of the Huffington Post recently wrote:More and more Washington insiders are asking a question that was considered off-limits in the nation's capital just a few months ago: Who, exactly, is Attorney General Eric Holder representing? As scandal after scandal erupts on Wall Street, involving everything from global lending manipulation to cocaine and prostitution, more and more people are worrying about Holder's seeming inaction -- or worse -- in the face of mounting evidence.This isn’t going away. Both the left and the right are onto Holder’s Wall Street head fake. With the revelation of the new crony connections, the time for Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor in the Corzine/MF Global case is now.


Romney 'Looking Forward to the Bust of Winston Churchill Being in the Oval Office Again'

At an event in London, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, "I'm looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again."

Mitt Romney at London fundraiser: "I'm looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again." #watersedge?— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) July 26, 2012

President Obama famously sent Churchill's bust back to Britain soon after coming into office. As theTelegraph reported then:

A bust of the former prime minister once voted the greatest Briton in history, which was loaned to George W Bush from the Government's art collection after the September 11 attacks, has now been formally handed back.The bronze by Sir Jacob Epstein, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds if it were ever sold on the open market, enjoyed pride of place in the Oval Office during President Bush's tenure.But when British officials offered to let Mr Obama to hang onto the bust for a further four years, the White House said: "Thanks, but no thanks."

Richard Giles
Richard Giles

“Super Rich Hide Trillions” was the headline on the article; “$21,000,000,000,000 stashed in 80 Tax Havens” and “an amount equal to the economy of Japan and the US combined” were the status lines.  Now people don’t fault the super rich for having the money or for enjoying it but it is easy to see how that amount of money corrupts all who come in contact with them, with many bowing to their desires just to get any consideration and then there is a lot to find fault with.  “Places with no or nominal taxes and little if any reporting requirements” describes the havens they use to hide and protect their wealth, allowing them to avoid the responsibility of the taxes that everyone else pays.

One example of a problem that is crystal clear and extremely costly to the majority is the politicians who are owned and controlled by these super-rich, as is evidenced in the mega-millions given to support these politicians and then the politicians’ actual “puppet” performances focused on the super-rich’s interests, while together they aggressively work at conning the people, manipulating public opinion and simply neglecting the majority, just taking them for granted as “pawns” to be used and abused.  They are cocky confident in their power, influence and money being able to propagandize and deceive and have become emboldened by past successes with the manipulation of the “conservative” Christian, the Swift-boat propaganda, the Tea Party movement and the pouring into Wisconsin of mega-millions during that state’s recent recall election; all of it being well designed, well directed and well funded efforts to dupe and move people in the same single direction.  No where in any of it are the people’s interests ever sincerely considered, as their only real criteria is to feed the 1%’s insatiable “more” (never enough) appetite; their positions and history completely document all of it when the propaganda and deception are put aside.

There is recourse available, as no matter what, their success is dependent on having the voters perform as they want, on their being able to control the people, to deceive the voters and have them vote to support the interests of “the money”.   Should the majority be able to recognize the deception in process, reject the propaganda insultingly being pushed and instead just firmly refuse to be used and abused, completely rejecting the “puppet” candidates, then “the money” will not have prevailed and their control over the politicians will be frustrated.  Can the people be that rational and objective with their emotions checked so they can’t be used to excite and use them or will “the money” once again prevail and we will be returned to “more of the same”, Bush-Cheney style, with those drastic costs to the majority and with the 1% gaining more while the 99% continually loose?


 Republicans Have Made It Harder to Vote, Easier to Buy Guns

In a Republican world, it's mandatory for government to regulate voting

even though the Constitution repeatedly deregulates voting, while it's a

trespass against patriotism to regulate firearms, even though the

Constitution explicitly calls for firearms to be "well regulated."

Technically, the U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee the right to

vote. It seems odd, considering all of the various other rights,

guarantees and structural details enumerated in the document, but it


That said, there are amendments that provide reasons why certain groups of people can't be denied suffrage. In other words, there's nothing that says, "All Americans have the right to vote." Yet there are passages that say, Americans can't be denied the right to vote because of [race, gender, etc...]

The 15th Amendment, for example, reads as follows: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

Throughout a series of amendments, such as the 15th, 17th (popular

vote for Senate seats), 19th (women's suffrage), 23rd (D.C. vote for

president) and 26th (voting age), the Constitution repeatedly

deregulates voting -- it expands rights to those who had been previously

disenfranchised either by exclusion or state laws.

Around 10 states have made it prohibitively difficult for as many as

five million Americans without adequate financial means to vote through

an array of restrictive Voter ID laws that force citizens to attain a

government issued photo identification card, often with a fee attached

along with whatever financial losses are incurred due to missed work and

the cost of transportation to and from the government office.

So what we've seen over the last two years are Republican lawmakers

who have passed multiple forms of legislation that force Americans to

get an additional license from the government in order to vote -- on top

of the pre-existing voter registration process. These new laws in

effect add a second layer of government approval and regulation in order

to vote. In Mississippi, for instance, the Voter ID law, which has yet

to be approved by the federal government under the Voting Rights Act,

requires that a birth certificate be presented in order to attain an ID.

But Mississippi law also requires a photo ID in order to be issued a

birth certificate copy.

Imagine you're 94 years old and you've voted in every election since

1936. You don't drive. And you live more than a dozen miles from the

nearest government services office. And now, in your home state of

Pennsylvania, Republican leaders (who have admitted to conspiring

to disenfranchise Democratic voters) have passed a law mandating that

you somehow have to attain a government identification card if you'd

like to vote again.

This is the story of Bea Bookler,

94 years old, of Devon, Pennsylvania who, after all these years, has to

somehow find a ride to the nearest DMV, then has to stand in

interminably long and potentially confusing lines for hours on end, in

order to retain her well-worn right to vote.

"How would I get there and how would I manage to stand in a

line?" says Bookler, who uses a walker. She says she can barely make it

to the polling place next door to her retirement community. She also

doesn't understand why she has to go to all this trouble in the first

place. She already has a voter registration card.

"I have an ID which says I am registered to vote in Chester County.

There is no reason why I should need anything else. It's an outrage,"

she says.

There must be a serious voter fraud crisis in Pennsylvania that

prompted lawmakers there to pass through another bureaucratic level of

hell in order to vote. But there's not. The commonwealth is being sued

by the ACLU and the NAACP, and in a pre-trial agreement, Pennsylvania

admitted to it.

"There have been no investigations or

prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties

do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or

prosecutions in other states," the statement reads.

According to the agreement, the state "will not offer any

evidence in this action that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred

in Pennsylvania and elsewhere," nor will it "offer argument or evidence

that in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the

absense of the Photo ID law."

In 2007, after a five year study, the George W. Bush Justice Department determined that organized voter fraud was nonexistent.

Okay, so why the Voter ID laws? Obviously to disenfranchise voters

who are more likely to vote Democratic (see also Mike Turzai).

According to the Brennen Center for Justice, millions of legitimately registered voters could be turned away at polling places this November:

--Nearly 500,000 eligible voters without cards do not have

access to a vehicle, and many live in rural areas without public

transportation access.

--1.2 million black voters and 500,000 eligible Hispanic live more than

10 miles from state offices issuing free IDs.

--People of color are more likely to be disenfranchised by these laws

since they are less likely to have a photo ID than the general


But if we want to buy a handgun or a box of high capacity magazines

loaded with deadly rounds of ammunition that allow us to fire at length

in the direction of, you know, deer, turkeys and foreign invaders (yeah

right) these exact same Republicans have told us that we should be

allowed to do so without government interference and regulations.

In other words, the Republicans have actively been campaigning to

make it easier to build an arsenal while making it more difficult to

cast a ballot on Election Day.

It's because of various legal loopholes and gaps in the system that

James Holmes was able to stockpile his arsenal. He ordered his

ammunition and ballistic armor online without restrictions, and he

purchased his firearms from various retail gun stores. There aren't any

laws against buying bullets, save for armor-piercing bullets which

remain illegal, so he was really able to stock up with enough ammunition

to fill those controversially large magazines. The AR-15 semiautomatic

assault rifle that Holmes bought in a store following (we presume) a

background check was formerly illegal under the 1994 assault weapons

ban, but the Bush era Republican Congress allowed that law to expire in

2004, making it possible for Holmes and others to buy them anywhere.

The NRA and the Republicans have historically refused to allow more

regulations to be passed, such as closing the gun show loophole that

allows the unfettered purchase of firearms without background checks at

various trade shows, while allowing old regulations to expire.

Why? The Constitution, they say. Specifically the 2nd Amendment.

Let's review the text: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the

security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms

shall not be infringed."

The third word in the amendment is "regulated." And not just "regulated" but "well regulated," meaning thoroughly

regulated. A variation of the word "regulation" is right there in the

line of the Constitution that the NRA and Republican Party hold so

sacred. So it can be argued that the 2nd Amendment calls for regulation

of militias composed of citizens who own firearms. What else besides

arms could the framers have intended to be regulated in the context of

militias? The tri-corner hats? The pantaloons? The charming regional

colloquialisms? Yes, people can "bear arms" (I don't know if the framers

envisioned AR-15 rifles and high capacity magazines) but they can't

bear arms without being well regulated, say nothing of the fact that

government-raised militias are totally extinct making the 2nd Amendment

almost completely irrelevant.

Bottom line: the Republicans are only selectively dedicated to the Constitution.

They see "the right of the people to bear arms" while they

deliberately ignore everything else surrounding those words. Likewise,

they've systematically passed new versions of poll taxes without

bothering to read the 24th Amendment:

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or

other election for President or Vice President, for electors for

President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in

Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any

State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax."

And yet they're passing Voter ID laws, which the attorney general of the United States has in no uncertain terms defined as poll taxes.

In a Republican world, it's mandatory for government to regulate

voting even though the Constitution repeatedly deregulates voting, while

it's a trespass against patriotism and the framers to regulate

firearms, even though the Constitution explicitly calls for firearms to

be "well regulated." Anyone who tells us that owning an AR-15 assault

rifle should be easier, while voting in an election should be more

difficult needs to be repeatedly questioned about his or her utterly

backwards priorities. Sadly, this is the direction we're headed: a

direction in which violent means are deregulated and non-violent means are restricted.


 Mitt Romney, in his first trip abroad as the presumptive GOP

presidential nominee, is trying to walk back comments he made

questioning London's Olympics preparation -- comments that have drawn a

sharp response from Prime Minister David Cameron.

The dustup began Wednesday, as Romney, who ran the 2002 Salt Lake

City games, said there were "disconcerting" signs in the days before

this year's games.

"The stories about the private security firm not having enough

people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials --

that obviously is not something which is encouraging," he told NBC News.

"Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? And that's

something which we only find out once the games actually begin," he


Cameron soon rebuked Romney.

"We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active,

bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it's easier if you

hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere," he said.

"I think we will show the whole world not just that we come together

as a United Kingdom, but also we're extremely good at welcoming people

from across the world," Cameron added. "I will obviously make those

points to Mitt Romney. I look forward to meeting him."

In comments before meeting with Labour Party leader Ed Miliband,

Romney was more measured. "My experience with regards to the Olympics is

it is impossible for absolutely no mistakes to occur," he said. "Of

course, there will be errors from time to time, but those are all

overshadowed by the extraordinary demonstrations of courage, character

and determination by the athletes."

UPDATE: 3:35 p.m. -- Mitt Romney's disastrous British trip continued Thursday when, according to The Huffington Post UK, he "caused amusement" by saying he had spent a great day in the "backside" of Downing Street, rather than the back garden.

In another faux pas, Romney announced his meeting with MI6, the U.K.

Secret Intelligence Service whose existence was only acknowledged by the

British government in 1994.

"I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the

government here and opposition here as well as the head of MI6," he told


MI6 was mum about the meeting, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"[MI6 Chief] Sir John Sawers meets with lots of people," said an aide

in the British foreign press office, "but we don’t give a running

commentary of any of these meetings."

London Mayor Boris Johnson hit back at Romney's comments about the Summer Games before a crowd of 60,000 in Hyde Park. "There is a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Yes, we are," he declared.

Romney also seemed to break the longstanding rule for U.S.

politicians not to criticize the president overseas. At a fundraiser for

American expats, he reportedly said, "I'm looking forward to the bust

of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again," referring to the

White House returning the artwork to the British Embassy in early 2009. President Barack Obama replaced it with a bust of Abraham Lincoln.


 The fight over tax cuts got a bit nastier on Thursday as top Senate

Democrats accused Republicans of lying to the country by saying tax

hikes on millionaires would cause tax hikes for the middle class.

“They sold the country a fable, that if a Democrat tried to take away

tax breaks for the wealthy, then middle class taxes would rise as well,”

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, said at a news

conference. “That has always been a lie. Our vote on our bill yesterday

exposed it as a lie.”

The accusations came as Schumer, Majority Leader Harry Reid and other

Democratic leaders called on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to take

up the just-passed Senate bill that would extend George W. Bush-era tax

cuts for families making less than $250,000 but allow tax cuts for the

wealthiest 2 percent of Americans to expire.

The Senate passed the bill Wednesday on a mostly party-line 51-48 vote,

with Republicans objecting to the fact that the plan did not renew 2001

and 2003 tax cuts for all Americans, including the wealthy.

Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said the Senate-passed tax plan was just “one

vote away” from being signed into law by President Barack Obama.

“Speaker Boehner should have the same vote in the House of

Representatives,” Reid said. “He should do it, and he should do it


The reality is the Senate-passed bill doesn’t have a chance of passing

the House, where Republicans in the majority argue it would lead to tax

hikes on small businesses. But Boehner said Thursday he was willing to

let House Democrats offer a tax plan of their own.

“If our Democrat colleagues want to offer the president’s plan or the

Senate Democrat plan, we’re more than happy to give them the vote,”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters.

The House plans to vote next week to extend all the tax rates for one more year.


President Obama on Thursday implored House Republicans to "do the

right thing" and pass an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the

middle class.

Because the Senate passed an extension on Wednesday, "the only thing

that is going to prevent the vast majority of Americans from not seeing a

tax increase next year is if the House doesn't act," he said, speaking

to reporters before the start of a cabinet meeting at the White House.

"I would encourage the House of Representatives to do the right thing," he added later.

Obama said that he and members of his cabinet will spend the coming

days, "mak[ing] sure the American people understand that we can provide

them certainty now for next year that their taxes will not go up and

they will be able to plan accordingly. Small businesses will be able to

plan accordingly."

Thursday's cabinet meeting was the first Obama has hosted since Jan. 31 and the 18th of his presidency, according to logs kept by

CBS News's Mark Knoller. A readout released after that meeting said the

discussion then focused on small businesses, as he elevated Karen

Mills, the leader of the Small Business Administration, to his cabinet.



John Boehner would rather not deal with Michele Bachmann

Minnesota's neo-McCarthyite probably doesn't

need to worry about punishment from John Boehner

Rep. Michele Bachmann, Washington’s Most Beautiful Demagogue,

has an enviable seat on the House Intelligence Committee, because,

after the Republicans took control of the House, Rep. John Boehner

thought that would be a good idea that wouldn’t end up embarrassing him

and the Republican Party and the nation as a whole. Who could’ve

predicted that Bachmann would use the position to advance dingbat

conspiracy theories, seek press attention with wild accusations, and

generally continue acting as Michele Bachmann has always acted?


actually got more pushback than she probably expected when she accused

Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin of being in league with the

nefarious Muslim Brotherhood. John Boehner said “accusations like this

being thrown around are pretty dangerous,” which seems to suggest that

the person leveling the accusations shouldn’t have a privileged position

related to national security and intelligence. Bachmann is reportedly

worried that her committee assignment is in jeopardy.

Here’s the

problem, though: The more extreme House Republicans don’t actually have

any respect for Majority Leader Boehner, who always wants them to do

lame non-conservative stuff like “raise the debt ceiling after winning

stunning concessions on entitlements from President Obama and the

Democrats.” Michele Bachmann, who has a huge campaign war chest and a

national following, is a bit more influential with this crowd. Lots of

activist conservatives think even criticizing her crusade against shadow

agents of Islamofascism was cowardly and out of line.

And Robert Costa reports that Boehner is basically scared to remove her from the Intelligence Committee.

That’s not quite how he phrases it, but the implication is there.

Boehner is sort of hoping people just stop paying attention to Bachmann

so that he doesn’t have to do anything about her:


doesn’t appear ready to back down. Instead, sources tell NRO, she is

working behind the scenes to generate support for her

intelligence-committee post. Conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck, who

has spoken with Bachmann on his program about the Abedin story, has

reported that Bachmann is “facing pressure to apologize for her

comments” or risk being “removed from her position.” Republican House

aides roll their eyes at the Beck story. No such pressure, they say, is

being exerted on the congresswoman. If anything, a third leadership

source reiterates, Boehner is doing his best to avoid spending time on

the Bachmann matter, publicly or privately.

Yet the general goodwill that has existed between Bachmann and

Boehner for the past year seems to be gone. Bachmann, long a force

during closed-door conference meetings, is now a backbencher once again,

at least in the eyes of many congressional politicos. Boehner may be

pressured to kick her off the committee, but with her star power fading,

he doesn’t seem in any rush to make her a martyr.Yeah,

this seems like spin from Boehner. He knows he’ll catch hell if he

actually punishes Bachmann, and he’d just much rather focus on anything else.

So he says she’s embarrassed herself and no one will pay her any mind

in the future, because as we all know Michele Bachmann is very concerned

with not seeming like a deranged kook. Boehner’s “just don’t look”

strategy means she doesn’t actually need to worry about any

repercussions for her irresponsible statements, and she will likely feel

free to continue making them.