May 20, 2013 at 8:46 am #88546
President Obama gave the Commencement Address at Morehouse College yesterday.
As you begin a new week, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate.
Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.
Valedictorian for Morehouse College Class of 2013
Dorian Joyner, Sr. and Dorian Joyner, Jr.
2013 Father and son Morehouse graduates
Young students from California on their way to the Morehouse graduation.
May 20, 2013 at 8:53 am #88549
- This topic was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by rikyrah.
Good Morning, EveryoneMay 20, 2013 at 9:30 am #88554
The Morning Plum: Presidential scandals, only in the minds of Republicans
By Greg Sargent,
Published: May 20, 2013 at 9:11 am
Over the weekend, CNN released the first extensive national polling on the “scandals” that have gripped Washington, and it got a bit of a bounce yesterday over two key findings. First, Obama’s approval rating is holding steady (53 percent) despite the scandal chatter. Second, majorities don’t believe the GOP has overreached.
But dig into the internals of the poll and you find something striking. In the case of the IRS and Benghazi stories, the lurid and nefarious view of Obama’s involvement in them being peddled by the right is held only by Republicans — big majorities of them — while most moderates and independents, i.e. the middle of the country, believe the White House’s arguments.
* The IRS scandal: Among overall Americans, 61 percent say what Obama has said about the matter is mostly or completely true, versus only 35 percent who say it’s mostly or completely false. Among Republicans, 68 percent say what Obama has claimed is false, and among conservatives, 56 percent say this. But independents believe what Obama has said is true by 58-36, and moderates believe this by 71-25.
Meanwhile, among overall Americans, 55 percent say the IRS acted on its own in targeting conservative groups, while only 37 percent say the White House ordered it. Among Republicans, 62 percent say the White House ordered it, and among conservatives, 54 percent believe this. But independents believe the IRS acted on its own by 53-36, and moderates believe this by 65-29.
* The Benghazi story: Among overall Americans, 50 percent believe early statements about the attacks by Obama officials reflected what the administration believed at the time, while 44 percent believe they intentionally misled. Among Republicans, 76 percent believe they intentionally misled, and among conservatives, 65 percent believe this. But moderates believe the statements reflected the administration’s beliefs by 60-35. (Among independents this isn’t as pronounced, but still, a plurality sides with the White House, 47-44.)
These two stories are presidential scandals only in the minds of majorities of Republicans. This helps explain why Obama’s approval is holding.
Now, it’s true that a large majority believes the Benghazi attacks could have been prevented, 59-36, but that question doesn’t go to motive — it doesn’t ask whether the Obama administration deliberately allowed the attacks. And it’s also true that in both cases, majorities say there are serious matters at stake and that the GOP has not overreached in pursuing them. That’s understandable, since very legitimate questions remain about the security in Benghazi, and the IRS tale still requires a complete accounting. All of this gives Republicans incentives to keep it up.May 20, 2013 at 9:31 am #88556
ABC’s Karl expresses ‘regret’ over false Benghazi report
By Steve Benen
Mon May 20, 2013 8:00 AM EDT
We’ve been keeping a close eye on the controversy surrounding ABC News’ Jonathan Karl and his misleading reporting on Benghazi, which played a critical role in moving the controversy out of Republican media and into the mainstream. Yesterday, for the first time, Karl expressed “regret” for his missteps, though his apology was not without flaw.
To briefly recap, 10 days ago, Karl told the public he had an exclusive report on internal administration emails, which purportedly showed a top White House official pushing to change Benghazi talking points for political reasons. The report was wrong — it mischaracterized the official’s communications; it included fabricated quotes; it told viewers Karl had “obtained” emails that he had not actually seen; and it effectively got the substance of the story backwards.
Yesterday, Howard Kurtz on CNN shared a statement he’d received from Karl.
<i>”Clearly, I regret the email was quoted incorrectly and I regret that it’s become a distraction from the story, which still entirely stands. I should have been clearer about the attribution. We updated our story immediately after new information became available.</i>
The ABC reporter later said on Twitter that he “sincerely” regrets his error, adding that he apologizes for failing to tell viewers that “the reporting was based on a summary provided by a source.”
It’s tempting to think this should effectively settle the matter, but the closer one looks at Karl’s response — over a week in the making — the more I’m inclined to believe the underlying problems haven’t been resolved.
The email was “quoted incorrectly”? Well, that’s not quite right. Karl’s original ABC report included a quote that had been made up to advance a partisan attack based on nothing. “Quoted incorrectly” suggests Karl put a quotation mark in the wrong place, or misunderstood the nature of a paraphrase, but that’s not what happened. Karl received bogus information, which he then presented (badly) as accurate information.May 20, 2013 at 9:33 am #88557
The secret memo that only Rand Paul understands
By Steve Benen
Mon May 20, 2013 9:11 AM EDT
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) seems to have an unusual fondness for conspiracy theories. Paul believes, for example, that the administration is conspiring with the United Nations “confiscate and destroy all ‘unauthorized’ civilian firearms.” He believes there was a secret gun-running scheme that shipped weapons from Libya to Turkey. He fears gun-toting meteorologists and is convinced the Obama administration is responsible for problems with his toilet.
And when it comes to the IRS’s scrutiny of groups applying for tax-exempt status, Paul believes there are secret memos that exist in his imagination that point to a conspiracy that only he understands.May 20, 2013 at 11:17 am #88566
Imagine if Ben Carson had delivered exactly that same Morehouse speech, conservative media would go incandescent w joy.
davidfrum @davidfrum 45m
Very struck by how Drudge Report home page plays O’s Morehouse speech as statement of racial grievance, rather than call for responsibility
I don’t usually play the “Even the conservative…” game, but those were too good to pass up.May 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm #88573
Getting to know E.W. Jackson
By Steve Benen
Mon May 20, 2013 10:11 AM EDT
When it comes to culture-war politics and candidates for statewide office, it’s tempting to think Virginia’s state attorney general and Republican gubernatorial hopeful, Ken Cuccinelli, represents an extreme wing of his party. But over the weekend, the Virginia GOP officially nominated its slate of statewide candidates, and the man Republicans chose to run for lieutenant governor is arguably even more unhinged.
It’s time to get to know E.W. Jackson. This guy is not your garden-variety right-wing activist; this guy is special.
And really is just the tip of a large iceberg. Jackson has accused President Obama of having “Muslim sensibilities” and seeing the world “from a Muslim perspective.” Jackson sees Democrats embracing a policy agenda “worthy of the Antichrist.” He’s argued that the “repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ law is a disaster of historic proportions and it must be reinstated.”
He believes liberals who support gay rights “have done more to kill black folks” than the “Ku Klux Klan.” And speaking of the KKK, Jackson has argued, “The Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions. Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was.”May 20, 2013 at 12:23 pm #88575
50th anniversary of Medgar Evers’ broadcasting milestone
…Finally, Evers was granted time to respond, on May 20, 1963. He spoke for 17 minutes, beginning by telling his audience he was as an U.S. Army veteran who fought fascism and Nazism in Europe during World War II. He talked about a 40 percent black city of 150,000 residents that had no black police officers, firefighters, or clerks. He called for a
black man being able to “register and vote without special handicaps imposed on him” and “more jobs above the menial level in stores where he spends his money.”
Evers said toward the end: “The two races have lived here together. The Negro has been here in America since
1619, a total of 344 years. He is not going anywhere else; this country is his home. He wants to do his part to help make his city, state, and nation a better place for everyone, regardless of color and race. Let me appeal to the consciences of many silent, responsible citizens of the white community who know that a victory for democracy in Jackson will be a victory for democracy everywhere.”
Tape recordings of viewer calls to WLBT, preserved at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History vividly depict the irate reactions of many white viewers who laced their comments with racist epithets.
“There was support in the white community, but it was very low key and very quiet,” Myrlie Evers said. She believes her husband’s groundbreaking speech made him a more visible target.May 20, 2013 at 1:24 pm #88594
Hunter lawsuit proves NBA out for rich
If you care about America and want to understand the times we live in, it would be a huge mistake to ignore the Billy Hunter-Derek Fisher war.
n it, particularly in the allegations leveled in Hunter’s lawsuit against Fisher and the NBA Players Association, you can clearly see how the rich protect their wealth by screwing the unsuspecting people beneath them.
It’s difficult for the working man or woman to think he/she has anything in common with a rank-and-file millionaire professional athlete. But in a labor dispute pitting a major corporation against union employees, a career union assembly line worker such as my mother has a lot in common with a nine-year NBA vet such as Nick Collison.
My mother, now retired except for seasonal work for tax-preparer H&R Block, has always been a proud member of the 99 percent. Despite working overtime at AT&T’s Western Electric and occasionally taking a second job, my mother never earned more than $62,000 annually during her 35-year work career. Collison has averaged about $4.5 million a season. He’s part of the NBA’s 99 percent. He was in the same draft as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Bron and ‘Melo represent the 1 percent; they have averaged about $11 million per season.
The NBA’s 99 percent and the league’s elite 1 percent had conflicting agendas during the labor dispute.
In his lawsuit, Hunter contends that he was caught between the two different factions. He also alleges Derek Fisher was not. Hunter says that Fisher was at the end of his playing career and looking to parlay his union post into a management position within the NBA. Fisher would not be the first players’ union employee to do just that. Hunter also says that one of the league’s highest-paid players and his agent called him on Oct. 27, 2011, and informed Hunter that a labor deal had already been struck with ownership, and Hunter should sign off on it.
In his statement to the media on Thursday, Hunter claimed that Fisher and certain highly compensated players had a strong motivation to give into ownership’s desire to claw back the gains that Hunter had won in his self-described “successful” negotiations in 2005.
“Each game canceled during the lockout represented income that Fisher would never realize and would be unlikely to recover because his remaining playing career was limited,” Hunter’s lawsuit claims. “For similar reasons, some of the highest-compensated NBA players… and their agents shared Fisher’s sentiment that the lockout must end.”
Hunter, as I reported on Oct. 29, 2011, says he confronted Fisher regarding concerns that Fisher had weakened the union’s negotiating leverage by assuring representatives of ownership that the players would agree to a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. Under the previous labor agreement, the players received 57 percent of BRI.
According to all the experts, the NBA labor agreement struck in early 2012 squeezed the league’s middle class. Does that sound familiar? Does that not sound exactly like every labor deal struck in America the past 20 years? The difference in BRI will come out of Nick Collison’s compensation, not LeBron’s or Carmelo’s.
Now let’s dig deeper. Since Larry Bird and Magic Johnson reinvented the NBA and set the table for Michael Jordan to turn the league into a multi-billion-dollar economic force, let’s take a look at the transformation of the NBA Players Association.
Here are the names of the player presidents of the union from 1954 to 2001: Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, Oscar Robertson, Paul Silas, Bob Lanier, Junior Bridgeman, Alex English, Isiah Thomas, Buck Williams and Patrick Ewing. This time frame is important because it covers the league’s fight for relevancy and traction and the union’s fight for fair compensation once Magic, Larry and Michael made the league highly relevant and ridiculously profitable. Every player president during this time frame except for Bridgeman was an exceptional, All-Star caliber performer. And Bridgeman was a really good player.
My point is as the league was on its way up and the players were clawing for authentic wealth, the NBA’s best players were intimately involved in union activities.
Here are the player presidents since 2001: Michael Curry, Antonio Davis and Derek Fisher. Here are the players who served on the NBPA executive committee during Billy Hunter’s last years as executive director: Derek Fisher, James Jones, Chris Paul, Matt Bonner, Keyon Dooling, Maurice Evans, Roger Mason, Etan Thomas and Theo Ratliff.
Hunter became executive director in 1996. He spent the overwhelming majority of his tenure working intimately with the NBA’s 99 percent. Once the superstar players financially feasted at the table set by Michael, Larry and Magic, the NBA’s 1 percent lost interest in union activities.
Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant walked straight out of high school into a league built on the backs of Larry, Michael, Magic, Isiah, Doctor J, Sir Charles, the Mailman, the Dream and Ewing. Garnett and Bryant together have earned in excess of $550 million in NBA salaries. Guys making that kind of coin don’t have time to bother themselves with union issues until there is a crisis.
I’ve been to the NBPA’s summer meetings in the Bahamas. It was attended by the 99 percent. Those are the players Hunter worked with and communicated with on a regular basis. Hunter’s perspective on union issues was shaped by the 99 percent. I don’t say that because I believe Hunter is some sort of righteous union leader. I say it because those were the players he most often engaged with on union activities.
So Hunter claims that one of the highest-compensated players and his agent called him on Oct. 27, 2011, and said a 50-50 BRI deal had been struck with ownership and Hunter should accept it.
I am not certain who that player is. I have been told by two different sources it was Kobe Bryant. Bryant and Fisher share the same agent — Rob Pelinka. Bryant and Fisher are close friends; they joined the Lakers the same year. Bryant was the NBA’s highest-paid player in 2011-12, earning $25 million. Bryant spent part of the 2011 offseason in Germany receiving experimental treatment for his arthritic knee. Given his salary, advancing age, health concerns and legendary competitive zeal, no NBA player had more reason to be desperate for an end to the lockout than Bryant.
On Friday, I made several attempts to speak with Pelinka. We’ve known each other for 20 years. He was a role player on the Michigan “Fab Five” basketball teams that I covered for the Ann Arbor News. We also occasionally run into each other in Los Angeles. I left a message at his office. I left a voicemail on his cell phone. I wrote him a detailed email explaining why I was contacting him. I also sent him a text message that my iPhone confirmed that he read. Pelinka did not respond to my inquiries.
Whether it was Bryant, Garnett or some other highly compensated veteran player who contacted Hunter on Oct. 27, 2011, doesn’t really matter. (Although a court case and Hunter’s phone records will eventually reveal the callers.) The point is that during the lockout, Hunter was caught between the NBA’s elite and the rank-and-file players who actually worked in the union.
Fisher could argue he was caught in the same spot. He has never been an NBA elite. He’s played the same number of seasons as Bryant and earned one-fourth of Bryant’s nearly $250 million.
But the problem with being represented by a marginal player at the end of his career is that the player will be tempted to position himself for his next career. That is not written to cast Fisher as evil. It’s written to convey he’s human, which means he’s flawed, which means he’s vulnerable to the same temptations many players believe seduced Michael Curry when he was player president during a labor dispute.May 20, 2013 at 2:23 pm #88597
Ex-Obama Aide: Maureen Dowd Has Written Same Column For Eight Years (VIDEO)
The frostiness between President Barack Obama’s circle and Maureen Dowd continued Monday, with former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs needling the New York Times columnist for a lack of originality.
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Gibbs was asked if he happened to read Dowd’s latest column, in which she called Obama “a sad sack” who could use a little bit more John F. Kennedy.
“I don’t normally read Maureen,” Gibbs said. “I don’t largely because it’s sort of largely the same column for the last eight yearsMay 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm #88598
Poll: Scandals Not Sticking to Obama
Democratic strategists are increasingly confident that the three high-visibility scandals of the past week won’t do lasting political damage to President Obama. Democratic pollster Geoff Garin told me that the controversies have created a “tempest in a teapot” and predicted there would be no long-term effect on Obama.
A new CNN/ORC International poll lends credence to these views. It shows that Obama’s approval rating hasn’t changed very much despite all the coverage of the scandals. Fifty-three percent of Americans said they approve of the job Obama is doing, while 45 percent disapprove. This is comparable to his rating in early April, when 51 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved of his job performance.May 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm #88602
Republicans Are Using Faux IRS Outrage to Protect Citizens United
May. 20th, 2013
Many Americans claim to mistrust the government, but their real focus is not necessarily the government as it is their elected representatives and their practice of pursuing agendas far removed from that which they avow. Republicans are notorious for claiming, for example, their top priority is creating jobs and then giving tax cuts to the rich and eliminating regulations they assert encourages “job creators” to begin hiring. On Thursday House Speaker John Boehner said “Our system requires the bonds of trust between the American people and their government. Those bonds, once broken, are very hard to repair,” and it was a stunning admission from any Republican, but especially a man who has given the American people no reason whatsoever to trust any utterance issuing from his mouth. Boehner was commenting on the alleged scandals Republicans are working to discredit the Obama White House, and particularly the faux outrage over the I.R.S. doing its due diligence in exposing conservative activists’ attempts to circumvent campaign finance laws.
Republicans know there was no impropriety in I.R.S. personnel scrutinizing 501(c)(4) tax exempt applications for “social welfare” organizations, and despite their faux outrage that teabagger and patriot groups were targeted unfairly, their real concern is protecting groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity using “social welfare” designations to influence elections without revealing the source of the dark money being injected into American elections. There is a reason the I.R.S. was deluged with thousands of 501(c)(4) applications prior to the 2010 midterm elections and they can be traced back to the conservative Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that effectively handed the electoral process over to dark money groups that gave corporations unfettered rights to buy candidates and install them in the highest levels of government.
The I.R.S. is beyond reproach for scrutinizing applications for “social welfare” designation, but Republicans are panting to use the phony scandal to neuter the agency’s ability to bifurcate campaign financing organizations from legitimate organizations performing social welfare. Citizens United gave rise to so-called super PACs (Political Action Committees) that are unencumbered by legal limits of funds they can raise from individuals, corporations, and other groups, provided they are operated correctly, including revealing their donors that is maintained for public scrutiny by the Federal Election Commission. It should come as no surprise, then, that two of the largest organizations pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the 2010 and 2012 elections for conservative candidates are also designated as 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations that are allowed to conceal their donors despite their political activism and direct influence on the electoral process.
Republicans could not care less about the I.R.S. giving extra scrutiny to small mom-and-pop teabagger groups and patriot militias posing as social welfare organizations because their contributions are not, in and of themselves, election game-changers in the grand scheme of billion dollar elections. However, they are acutely interested in protecting Karl Rove and the Koch brothers’ dark money being used to influence public opinion against Democratic candidates and issues that protect the American people from conservative predators. Both Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity applied for, and received, 501(c)(4) designation as tax exempt “social welfare” organizations that allows them to conceal their donors’ millions-of-dollars contributions that Super PACs would be charged with revealing. Only a deluded conservative sycophant would ever believe for a second that Rove and the Koch’s organizations remotely resemble social welfare organizations, and it is obvious that after the I.R.S. came to grips with the fact Rove and the Kochs are not social welfare oriented, they shifted their attention to groups that were obviously political activists and not social welfare organizations.May 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm #88603
The Lie Matters: What Did Sen Coburn Know about the Edited Benghazi Email and How Did He Know It
By: Sarah Jones
May. 19th, 2013
Joy Reid dropped a little Benghazi lying leaker bomb yesterday on the Reid Report blog. A trusted source of hers told her to look at the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. One person who stood out to her was Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who was on Morning Joe on May 9th, the day before the now debunked Benghazi email bombshell, claiming that there were “glaring omissions” in what was given to the intelligence committee, but that he couldn’t talk about it yet.
Senator Coburn appears to be referencing the email that was edited and shopped by “Republicans on Capitol Hill” to media outlets, and picked up by the gullible rube Jonathan Karl at ABC, as well as repeated by The Weekly Standard and a CBS reporter. This suggests that he saw the edited version of the email that was leaked by Republicans.
The Reid Report detailed on Saturday:
A very trusted source of mine gave me a cryptic piece of advice yesterday, which was to take a look at the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. I didn’t know quite what to make of it at the time, but tonight it occurred to me: could someone on that committee also have been on the Select Committee on Intelligence, which is the one that got the email briefing in February?
Here’s the Republican membership of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (the Committee is chaired by Democrat Thom Carper of Delaware):
• Tom Coburn, (OK) Ranking Member
• John McCain (AZ)
• Ron Johnson (WI)
• Rob Portman (OH)
• Rand Paul (KY)
• Mike Enzi (WY)
• Kelly Ayotte (NH)
Pretty juicy list! Note how stacked the minority side of the committee is with presidential aspirants, potential aspirants, a former aspirant, and some of the most hardcore tea party Senators, including some, like Rand Paul, John McCain and Kelly Ayotte, who have gone after, first Susan Rice, and then Hillary Clinton guns blazing on Benghazi. But only one of those Senators ALSO sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence — which is the one that my administration source says got the February briefing”
And that person is Tom Coburn.May 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm #88604
Mitch McConnell Crashes and Burns When Pressed for Evidence of Obama Scandal
By: Jason Easley
May. 19th, 2013
When asked for evidence of Obama’s role in the IRS scandal, Mitch McConnell crashed and burned by babbling on about a culture of intimidation with no supporting proof.
Basically, Sen. McConnell admitted that Republicans don’t have any evidence to back up their IRS allegations. They are investigating an Obama connection to the IRS scandal because they are falsely attributing some beliefs to him that he does not hold.
McConnell’s culture of intimidation talking point was supposed to act as justification for all of the congressional investigations.
Minority Leader McConnell never thought that David Gregory would ask him for evidence to back up his accusations. McConnell’s claim about Obamacare was a lie. The directive was sent out because insurance companies were sending their Medicare customers confusing and deceptive mailings designed to whip up opposition to Obamacare. His claim about the FCC was based on an attempt by the commission to require local stations to post online the names of those who purchase television campaign ads. Mitch McConnell views openness and transparency as part of Obama’s culture of intimidation.
McConnell’s complaint about the SEC also involved Citizens United. The SEC is considering a disclosure rule that would require publicly traded companies report to shareholders all of their political donations. According to McConnell, trying to stop billionaires from secretly buying our government is Obama intimidation.
Republicans have been screaming about an Obama culture of corruption since the president took office, but when asked to prove their allegations, they offer zilch. Without even realizing it McConnell proved that all of these “Obama scandals” are nothing more than political fishing trips. Congressional Republicans are hoping to find something to confirm their conspiracies about this president.May 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm #88605
Benghazi Bullshit: The Real Scandal is the Media Pretending that Republicans Aren’t Lying
By: Sarah Jones
May. 19th, 2013
Pardon my language, but I’ve had it with this bullshit.
The real scandal, the only scandal, is that your “free press” is once again pretending as if Republicans are not lying to them. They are pretending that House Republicans did not feed a lie to the press in order to forward their bullshit Benghazi narrative.
The press is very busy and important moving forward the narrative that there’s a scandal. Oh, you might be impressed at first that they’ve finally found the courage so clearly missing during the Bush years, when they scraped the lies off of the administration’s feet with subservience and deference befitting propaganda outlets.
But you’d only be impressed if you didn’t look any deeper. You see, there is one consistency here and that is that when Republicans lie to the press, the public, and Congress, from WMD to Benghazi, the press carries their water like the corporate serfs they are.
They are not doing this to hold the executive branch accountable. They are doing it because this is the only time they have any balls at all, and they must make a show of it. They haven’t the courage to stand up to corporate Republicans in Congress because their corporate bosses need their Republican stooges to deregulate them for the profit. They haven’t the integrity to stand up to Bush’s WMD. But boy oh boy, can they stand up for phony Benghazi bullshit!
On the Sunday shows this week, you’d have thought that Jake Tapper never busted ABC’s deliberately misleading Benghazi email “exclusive” as the joke it was. Much concern over the trifecta of scandals. Yesterday I was listening to CNN on satellite radio, and they were breathless with the scandals– would Obama ever recover?
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.