The pepper spraying of UC Davis students by Lieutenant John Pike (and at least one other police officer) has spawned an Internet meme. [comments by Scarecrow] (via Matt Uebel on Google+) Pretending a thing is something it’s not has been the theme[...]
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Visual source: Newseum
Not only could Democrats and Republicans not agree on a deficit deal, they could not even agree after it failed about what had gone wrong.That's the web blurb. Hint: Republican intransigence about raising taxes and letting the Bush tax cuts expire is the heart of the matter. Just frickin' say so, like you do in the article:
In the end the two sides could not agree on a mix of tax increases and spending cuts and ? perhaps above all ? on the fate of the tax cuts originally signed by President George W. Bush, which are now scheduled to expire at the end of 2012.
The imminent failure of the congressional deficit ?supercommittee,? which had a chance to settle the nation?s tax policy for the next decade, would thrust the much-contested Bush tax cuts into the forefront of next year?s presidential campaign.Scott Turow:
Those tax changes have repeatedly provoked fiery partisan debate since they were enacted during President George W. Bush?s first term. Now, with the cuts due to expire at the end of 2012 and their fate left unresolved by the supercommittee, both parties are already positioning themselves to exploit the issue for maximum electoral advantage.
Let me connect the dots. The heart of the protests is a lament about widening income inequality in the U.S., brought about, in part, by a government that seems to favor disproportionately wealthy interests. The Occupiers have focused their outrage on the bailout of banks that reaped huge profits on mortgage-backed securities and are now profitable again, while millions of homeowners have been foreclosed upon or lost their jobs.NY Times and OWS media coverage:
The best antidote to this imbalance of income and influence would be to greatly reduce the role of private funding in our elections. Nothing is more empowering to the well-heeled -- corporations, unions, lobbyists, political-action committees, trade associations and bundlers -- than our political leaders? need to come to them hat in hand for the money to get elected.
Many journalists were blocked from Zuccotti Park as the eviction took place on Tuesday morning, leading to accusations of police suppression of media coverage.EJ Dionne:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the restrictions were put in place ?to prevent a situation from getting worse and to protect members of the press.?
Journalism groups have filed complaints about the restrictions and arrests, resulting in renewed scrutiny of how the Police Department processes requests for press credentials. Of the 10 reporters arrested in New York on Tuesday, half had credentials. Discussing the arrests, Mr. Stearns said, ?In the heat of the moment it may be very hard to tell who is and who isn?t a journalist,? though he said that was no excuse.
Everyone on the left side of American politics, from the near end to the far end, has advice for Occupy Wall Street. I?m no exception. But it?s useful to acknowledge first that this movement has accomplished things that the more established left didn?t.NY Times editorial on fixing Medicare:
There is no way to wrestle down the deficit without reining in Medicare costs. Ensuring that the program provides quality health care coverage to millions of older and disabled Americans is essential. These goals are not incompatible, but they require a judicious approach to policy making that is depressingly absent in Washington.See Daily Kos background articles Medicare: Why is it on the table? and Medicare: What can we do about it?.
Everyone knows that President Obama has a problem with his political base heading into 2012. Except that he doesn?t.
One of the most persistent story lines for the president has been that the liberal left has grown increasingly dissatisfied with his actions (or inaction) on some of its priorities ? including single-payer health insurance, the extension of the George W. Bush tax cuts and whether to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
But an examination of the polling data among key subgroups that constitute Obama?s base makes clear that he has as much support from them as any modern president seeking a second term.
In America, protest is okay for other countries, but not for the self-proclaimed Land of the Free.
I suspect the last few months, with the President fighting back harder against the Republicans, and his increased willingness to blame them when they deserve it, has helped him with a large cross section of the base. It also hasn't hurt that the Republicans continue to be insane. I still think that enthusiasm is not what it was in 2008, and that enthusiasm matters - for fundraising, for messaging, and for get out the vote. The President has begun to turn things around with the base - and more generally show some backbone, which will help him with independents as well.
Want the scoop on hot races around the country? Get the digest emailed to you each weekday morning. Sign up here.Leading Off:
? MO-Gov: Given the extremely rocky road he's traveled down these past many months, it's no surprise that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder finally decided not to run for governor?and that's exactly what he announced in a statement he released late Friday afternoon. Kinder endorsed wealthy plastics magnate Dave Spence for the gubernatorial nod in his stead, and he also said he'd seek a third term as lieutenant governor. Follow the link to Daily Kos Elections for our complete analysis of the events which lead to Kinder's downfall?and what it all means going forward.
? IN-Sen: Damnit. Is Dick Lugar about to get saved by a wealthy self-funder's entry into the clown car? Or should I say, clown limo? Auto dealer Bob Thomas is reportedly looking at the GOP primary, where Treasurer Richard Mourdock has been attempting to derail Lugar's career from the teabaggish right. Mourdock hasn't raised a lot of money, but I've been convinced all along that his success or failure would come down to how much outside groups like the Club for Growth are willing to invest. Now, it may all depend on Thomas, who threw in $600K of his own money in a failed attempt to primary ex-Rep. Mark Souder last year. Interestingly, Souder survived with just 48% because Thomas split the remaining vote with a third candidate, so if anyone knows the perils of piling in too many primary challengers, it oughta be this guy.
One additional detail worth noting: This isn't the first time Thomas's name has come up in connection with a Senate bid. Back in February of 2010, Thomas said he was going to run for Senate, just days before Dem Evan Bayh announced his surprising retirement. A spokesman even said at the time that petition-gathering efforts were underway. But then, two weeks later, he filed to run for the House instead. So maybe he's not serious about a statewide contest this time either.
? RI-Sen: Not sure why this is coming up now, since he already endorsed fellow Republican Barry Hinckley for the nod earlier this month, but former Gov. Don Carcieri says he won't run for Senate next year against Sheldon Whitehouse.
? IN-Gov: Clinton Alert! The Big Dog held a fundraiser with some high-dollar donors for former state House Speaker John Gregg Friday, in advance of a lecture he gave at DePauw University.
? MT-Gov: This nutty story about a gang of Americans who sought $10 million from Muammar Qaddafi's regime in order to advocate in Washington on his behalf is interesting in its own right. In fact, I clicked on it never imagining there'd be any horserace connection whatsoever, but there it is: One member of this cabal was Neil Livingstone, a national security consultant and a Republican candidate for governor in Montana. Livingstone claims that his group was simply trying to pave a way for Qaddafi to step down without mass bloodshed, but a Belgian partner sent a letter to the dictator saying it was crucial to begin a lobbying campaign "to help to block the actions of your international enemies and to support a normal working relationship with the United States Government." The letter was signed "Your Obedient Servants" and included Livingstone's name. Not sure I've seen many things harder to explain away on the campaign trail than this.
? WI-Gov: Organizers of the drive to recall Scott Walker say they've collected 50,000 petitions in the first two days. That's well ahead of the 9,000-a-day pace necessary to achieve the bare minimum of 540,000 signatures (you always want a cushion), but there's still quite a lot more work to be done.
? AZ-09 (?): The Arizona Capitol Times reports that its sources are saying state Senate Minority Leader David Schapira will announce plans to create a congressional exploratory committee on Monday. While the map situation is still unsettled. Schapira hails from Tempe, which would put him in the proposed new 9th CD.
? CA-30: Yowza. In the biggest incumbent-vs.-incumbent Democratic primary battle of them all, Rep. Howard Berman just unleashed some very big guns: He's announcing the support of two-thirds of the state's Democratic House members. Politico unfortunately hasn't published all the names, and Berman hasn't put the press release up on his website (grr), but here's a partial list:
Xavier Becerra; Dennis Cardoza; Jim Costa; Bob Filner; John Garamendi; Barbara Lee; George Miller; Lucille Roybal-Allard; Pete Stark; Mike Thompson; Maxine Waters; and Lynn Woolsey
Henry Waxman had previously given his endorsement to Berman, and Nancy Pelosi is staying neutral. That leaves only seven California Democrats who haven't taken sides. Berman's opponent, Brad Sherman, hasn't announced any backing from the congressional delegation yet.
? MI-03: Justin Amash has proved brilliantly adept at pissing off the conservative establishment, and today we have not one but two examples of his apostasy. First up, the NRA has taken to Facebook to accuse the Republican freshman of "lying" about his support for a pet piece of legislation when he sought their endorsement in 2010. Amash was one of just seven House GOPers who voted against a bill that would created a federally-enforced regime of mandatory reciprocity between states that grant permits for concealed weapons, arguing that the legislation's reliance on the Constitution's Commerce Clause would usurp state's rights. The NRA says nuh-uh, you promised you'd back this bill when you came to us last year?and now they want their members to give Amash a piece of their minds on his Facebook page.
Separately, on Friday, Amash became one of just four Republicans to vote against the so-called "balanced budget amendment," along with David Dreier, Louie Gohmert, and, oddly, enough, Paul Ryan. (Ryan was apparently concerned that the amendment would have rendered his infamous budget plan unconstitutional!) Twenty-five Democrats voted in favor (mostly your usual collection of Blue Dogs and centrists, with a few oddballs). The amendment, which required a two-thirds majority to move forward, failed to advance.
? NC-10: Dem state Rep. Patsy Keever says she plans to run for Congress against GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry "if the redistricting maps hold." Keever and fellow Dem state Rep. Susan Fisher were drawn into the same district, but Keever says she won't run against Fisher, so McHenry's seat is her only real alternative. Keever ran against ex-Rep. Charles Taylor in the 11th CD in 2004, losing 55-45. (Taylor in turn was ousted by Heath Shuler the following cycle.) This time around, if she makes the race, Keever would face Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy in the primary.
? OH-03: Dem state Rep. Ted Celeste has formed an FEC committee to run for Ohio's new 3rd CD, an incumbentless blue district centered around the city of Columbus. Celeste was drawn into the same state legislative seat as fellow Dem Michael Stinziano, so this was his expected escape hatch. Celeste is the brother of former Ohio Gov. Dick Celeste, and he also ran for Senate against Mike DeWine in 2000, getting crushed 60-36.
? California: PPP's first batch of miscellany (from California) includes numbers on a seemingly likely referendum over the new state Senate map, which Republicans are trying to repeal. Obviously the issue has barely penetrated yet, but so far voter favor the lines by a 30-21 margin, with half undecided. There are also positive numbers for gay marriage (48-43) and marijuana legalization (48-42), both of which were rejected at the ballot box in recent years.
? Campaign finance: Can cloud computing provide a simple end-run around the FEC's very 20th-century prohibitions on illegal campaign coordination? Those are the questions raised by the Atlas Project, an online hub for Democratic campaigns to unilaterally upload whatever data and materials they think other campaigns might find interesting (which has been around since 2004, but is only now starting to come into its own as a gathering place for Dems, who lack a big-money coordinating apparatus like Crossroads). This promises to be a big boon not just in terms of not duplicating messages in advertising (when, say, unions and SuperPACs are wading into a race simultaneously in the closing weeks), but even in terms of GOTV, and not duplicating knocking on the same doors and calling the same phones. (David Jarman)
? Mississippi: PPP second pile of random helpings (out of Mississippi) is the usual sports-and-oddities fare, with one amusing presidential "fantasy election" matchup: Abraham Lincoln vs. Jefferson Davis. Honest Abe crushes by a 55-28 margin.
? AZ Redistricting: Gov. Jan Brewer is fast inventing new definitions of chutzpah. Late last week, right after the state Supreme Court humiliatingly reversed her removal of redistricting commissioner Colleen Mathis, a spokesman immediately began saying Brewer might try to impeach Mathis yet again. I think it's seriously time to start thinking about trying to recall Brewer. (Note that former Gov. Evan Mecham, a Republican, was successfully placed on the ballot for a recall in 1988, but he was impeached and removed from office before the recall could go forward.)
? CO Redistricting: Colorado's Supreme Court said it will conduct oral arguments in the GOP's appeal over congressional redistricting on Dec. 1.
? IL Redistricting: Gawd, check out these WATBs:
Reps. John Shimkus and Donald Manzullo got choked up during their testimony, and Rep. Peter Roskam recalled for the court his visceral reaction when he first saw the map when his wife pulled it up on their computer at home.
Three years of nine percent unemployment and these Republicans are crying about? redistricting. (And note that none of these three guys were detrimentally affected by the new map.)
? TX Redistricting: Late last week, the federal court in San Antonio hearing the big Texas redistricting lawsuit issued orders putting into place interim state House and Senate maps. (Click those two links for instructions on viewing the maps; the Texas Tribune also has copies at the end of this piece.)
The three-judge panel was unanimous on the Senate map, which contains only one (pro-Dem) change, but it split on the House map, with two judges favoring one plan and a third judge (known to be very conservative) dissenting in support of another. The majority plan is much better for Democrats (and Latinos) than the one passed by the legislature earlier this year, so Texas's Republican AG is predictably pissed. It's not yet clear just how much more favorable, though, since different analysts have different opinions on how many seats are now in play. Charles Kuffner, for instance, thinks Dems have a "reasonable expectation of winning" 60 seats, with another 18 more which "could be competitive." But our own wwmiv is much more bearish, putting the split at 54 "Democratic" seats and 15 "opportunity" seats.
Michael Li has a good roundup of press coverage if you'd like to read more. Note that these maps could still change (objections were due on Friday), and we also don't know when the congressional map will issue, though I'd suspect that will happen soon.
Super Committee deal unlikely: “An agreement from the deficit-reduction supercommittee appears unlikely as a co-chair of the 12-member panel said that although he is not giving up hope that the group can still find $1.2 trillion in federal savings over the next 10 years, he conceded the size of the task that remains before the Nov. 23 deadline.” [Modern Healthcare]
Health groups are still preparing for cuts: “Regardless of whether Congress’ super committee meets its deadline for finding ways to reduce the federal deficit, budget and policy experts are braced for Washington soon to face the painful task of finding more savings – and they anticipate that health spending will be at the top of the list.” [Kaiser Health News]
SCOTUS appoints lawyers in health challenge: “The Supreme Court on Friday appointed two veteran D.C. lawyers to argue the merits of two issues that neither the Obama administration nor the health law’s opponents support.” [Julian Pecquet]
Republicans still trying to recuse Kagan from the case: “Senate Republican leaders on Friday demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder respond to requests for information on whether Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan has any conflict of interest in the health reform lawsuit the court will take up this spring.” [Jennifer Haberkorn]
Democrats go after Thomas: “House Democrats wrote to the U.S. Judicial Conference on Friday urging the watchdog agency to request that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder investigate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.” [Julian Pecquet]
Obesity on the rise: “If Americans stay on this path, 83 percent of men will be overweight or obese by 2020. Women are right behind them, with 72 percent projected to be overweight or obese by then.” [NPR]
Bachmann attacks Gingrich on abortion: “Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has failed to uphold a consistently pro-life stance throughout his career in public life,? the email reads. Team Bachmann accuses Gingrich of being “open to watering down the Republican Party’s commitment to the inalienable right to life.” [First Read]
The Onion has a hilarious “American Voices” on the recent news about emissions:
Global greenhouse gas emissions saw their biggest single-year jump ever between 2009 and 2010, exceeding worst-case scenario projections with an increase of 564 million tons. What do you think?
Yes, “Strong-Nitric Operator” is a real job.
Good Monday morning to you! Let's talk turkey. One thing I'm thankful for is photography.
Press Think: Jay Rosen reports on Tim Pool, the amazing protester-turned-reporter covering OWS
LA Progressive: No One Liked Vietnam Protesters, Either
Roundup by Suzette (twitter @miamiswimmer) Send tips to mbru [at] crooksandliars [dot] com
In 1948, President Harry S Truman summed up his view of the Republican Party this way: ? I have studied the Republican Party for years at close hand ?. And I have discovered where the Republicans stand on most of the major issues. Since they won?t tell you themselves, I am going to tell you. [...]Related posts:
Sometimes you just have to wonder what’s going on in America. I know that Americans are[...]
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