June 15, 2013 at 9:23 am #90796
This week, the President hosted the new President of China at a two-day informal summit in California, spoke on the importance of supporting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and comprehensive immigration reform, promoted a top economic advisor, and honored the LGBT community.
As you spend this weekend with family and friends, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful dayJune 15, 2013 at 9:24 am #90797
Good Morning, EveryoneJune 15, 2013 at 9:34 am #90798
Yeah PBO has to cancel safari, but AP headline from July 11, 2005: “Laura Bush and daughters end safari, begin three-nation Africa trip”
2:21 PM – 14 Jun 2013June 15, 2013 at 9:35 am #90799
I WEEP for America! White House had to cancel safari portion of Pres. @BarackObama’s trip to the African continent. @WashingtonPost bigots!
2:20 PM – 14 Jun 2013June 15, 2013 at 9:36 am #90800
In 2008, George Bush travels to 4 countries in Africa w/ family, nary a peep from media about cost, but PBO stymied? http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/02/previewing_bushs_africa_trip.html …
2:26 PM – 14 Jun 2013June 15, 2013 at 10:09 am #90801
Cost of Obama’s Trip is Dwarfed By George And Laura Bush’s Africa Spending Spree
By: Jason Easley
Jun. 14th, 2013
As conservatives rage about the cost of Obama’s Africa trip, it is important to remember that George and Laura Bush made a combined 7 trips to Africa all on the taxpayers’ dime.
We’ve played this game before, but anytime the nation’s first black president spends more than a dollar, the right wing freaks out about Barack Obama “wasting taxpayer dollars.” Back in 2011, the right claimed that First Lady Obama’s Africa trip would cost taxpayers millions, but even if you use numbers that the White House disagrees with ($424,000), they weren’t even close.
This time the right has whipped up the fake outrage over a leaked document showing that President Obama’s upcoming Africa trip could cost $60-$100 million. What these same people don’t tell is that George and Laura Bush loved to go to Africa on the taxpayers’ dime…a lot.
During Bush’s second term alone, Laura Bush made five “goodwill” trips to Africa. President Bush made the trip twice during his presidency. Here is former First Lady Bush at an event the night before their trip in 2008, “Tomorrow, President Bush and I leave for what will be my fifth trip to Africa since 2001, and his second trip to Africa since 2001. I’ve seen the determination of the people across Africa — and the compassion of the people of the United States of America.”
Wow, that’s a lot of trips to Africa. In 2007, Laura Bush also took her daughters with her, and they went on a safari. You know, the same kind of outing that President Obama just canceled.
Not much was going right for George W. Bush. Even before the economy crashed, his legacy was 9/11, the unpopular Iraq invasion, and Hurricane Katrina. Back in 2003, Bush laid the groundwork for making aid to Africa his legacy. One of the areas where Bush drew praise was that he spent billions of taxpayer dollars on aid to Africa. It’s funny how conservatives don’t utter a peep about George W. Bush dishing out more than ten times the amount of taxpayer money on aid than Obama will spend on his trip.
Why could the country afford to spend billions of dollars during Bush’s no growth economy, but they can’t afford to spend at least $60 million for the sitting president to travel today?June 15, 2013 at 10:10 am #90802
Elijah Cummings Fights Back
Kudos to the Democratic congressman for standing up to Darrell Issa on the IRS investigation—and showing once again how conservatives refuse to sort fact from fiction. By Michael Tomasky.
by Michael Tomasky Jun 14, 2013 4:45 AM EDT
This is becoming quite a throwdown between Darrell Issa, the wild-swinging GOP chairman of the House oversight committee, and Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat. Cummings is showing himself to be a pretty tough customer, and if this IRS “matter” (the media should either stop referring to it as a scandal or, as I suggested in my previous column, make it clear that the only scandal here is Issa’s reckless behavior) fizzles as quickly and lamely as it looks as if it might, it’ll be Cummings who’ll deserve a lot of the credit for breaking some of the silly protocols of Capitol Hill and calling nonsense nonsense. What’s happening now at Issa’s committee threatens to turn him into a walking punchline, and conservatives with any capacity at all for self-reflection ought to take stock of what this whole thing says about their movement’s ability—actually, its desire—to distinguish between fact and fiction.
When last I wrote, I described how Issa, who’s been having closed-door interviews with various IRS employees, has kept those transcripts under wraps. He was asked in May if he ever intended to make them public, and he said yes, he did. Well, he sort of has—that is, he’s been selectively leaking some. Naturally, the parts he’s letting journalists see are the bits that seem ambiguous.
Cummings responded to this by doing some leaking of his own. So he let the world know about the self-described conservative Republican who’d worked in the Cincinnati office for 21 years and said he had no reason whatsoever to think the White House had any role in the IRS decision to apply a little added scrutiny to some Tea Party applications for nonprofit status. Issa responded to that three days ago with a letter, with a fairly high snark quotient by congressional standards, explaining that despite what he said last month, this would be a terrible time to release full transcripts because they “would serve as a roadmap of the Committee’s investigation.”
That may be so, but there’s another suspicion afoot, which is that the full transcripts indicate that there’s no political scandal here. And in the most recent chess move, Cummings, as reported by my colleague Ben Jacobs, wrote another letter to Issa demanding that Issa tell him what portions of the conservative Republican’s testimony were too sensitive to be disclosed, and to tell him by next Monday. The clear implication was that Cummings would release the man’s testimony. That could be a pretty big deal, because, according to Cummings, the man said that he and he alone first “centralized” the Tea Party cases, without any direction from any superiors and without any political motivation.
Now take a step back and ask: Cummings, who has had staff sitting in all these interviews, knows what’s been said by every witness. Would he be swashbuckling around like this if there were anything in there suggesting that there might be a shred of substance to Issa’s more dramatic allegations? Of course not. Now, we must allow for the possibility that Issa’s investigators are out there still finding people and have some surprise witness who’s sitting on emails between Barack Obama and Lois Lerner plotting to destroy the Tea Party movement. But anything like this seems a pretty remote possibility at this point.June 15, 2013 at 10:12 am #90803
Rupert has dumped Wendi.
So, of course, the stories are coming out.
The Crazy Story Of How Wendi Deng And Rupert Murdoch Got Together
Pamela Engel, provided by
Published 11:47 am, Thursday, June 13, 2013
News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch just filed to end his 14-year marriage to Wendi Deng, a woman 38 years his junior.
The pair met in 1997 in China, where Deng is from. She started as an intern at News Corp-owned Star TV, and caught Murdoch’s eye during a staff meeting in Hong Kong when she asked an intelligent question and approached him after the meeting, according to New York Magazine.
After that, in 1998, Deng worked as Murdoch’s interpreter when he was in Shanghai and Beijing, according to The Wall Street Journal.
By that summer, there were rumors circulating at Star TV that the two were having an affair. In May, Murdoch separated from his then-wife of 31 years, Anna Torv, who, according to New York Magazine, suspected that Murdoch “had a girlfriend.”
Murdoch said he didn’t start seeing Deng romantically until after he separated from Torv, but Torv insists that’s a lie, according to New York Magazine.
In the fall of 1998, Murdoch informed top Star TV executives of his relationship with Deng. She then resigned from her job at Star TV and moved to New York with Murdoch.
Murdoch’s divorce from Torv became final in June 1999 (it cost him $1.7 billion), and he married Deng on his yacht 17 days later.
If Deng was a factor in Murdoch’s divorce from Torv, it wouldn’t be the first time she was accused of breaking up a marriage.
In its 2000 profile of Deng, The Wall Street Journal reported that she was previously married to Jake Cherry, a man 30 years her senior. He and his wife Joyce, who were from L.A., met Deng in China in 1987 when they were there for work. Deng was looking for someone to tutor her in English, and Joyce took on the job.
Joyce eventually moved back to L.A., while Jake stayed in China to finish a factory project, according to the Wall Street Journal profile. Deng reportedly told them she wanted to come to the U.S. for school, and needed sponsors. Jake and Joyce helped Deng get a student visa and allowed her to live with them while she got acclimated in L.A.
But Joyce eventually grew suspicious of Deng’s relationship with Jake, according to the Wall Street Journal. She found “coquettish” photos Jake took of Deng in his Chinese hotel room, and Jake admitted that he had become infatuated with Deng.
The couple divorced, and Jake moved into an apartment with Deng. The two married in 1990, and the union lasted two years and seven months, enough time to get Deng a green card, the Wall Street Journal reported. The marriage might have, for all intents and purposes, been over long before the divorce became final — Jake claims that he told Deng to move out four months after they got married.June 15, 2013 at 10:14 am #90804
Millennials Are Destroying The Status Quo And Why We Should Help Them Do It
Author: Justin “Filthy Liberal Scum” Rosario 4:32 pm
Why are we constantly being told that Millennials, that generation coming of age right now, suck? It’s pretty simple, actually: They represent a VERY different future from the status quo and the people in charge don’t like that idea. Not at all.
I was out at party a while ago, listening to some people in their 40s talk about hiring millennials, and how they are all entitled. This is the word that comes up over and over. After a certain number of minutes into the conversation (10? 15? I’m a pushover) I found myself agreeing that, yes, 25-year-olds are just doing drugs in their parents’ basement because they hate the mere idea of working. Meth, probably. At least Adderall. Probably something stolen out of their parents’ medicine cabinets because those unemployed losers can’t get money to buy their own drugs to fuel their Lena Dunham-esque sex romps. “I’m like you,” I wanted to say, “by which I mean I am an employed non-meth addict.”
And that’s just what people at a party think. Journalists think we’re much worse. Wall Streeters bemoan that only 32 percent of millennials consider themselves entrepreneurial (compared to 41 percent of Gen-Xers, and 45 percent of baby boomers). Time thinks we’re narcissists. The Christian Science Monitor is nervous that “ The Millennial Generation Could Kill the NFL” – because, sissies that we are, we really don’t like seeing people suffer long-term brain damage. Meanwhile, the New York Times says — more or less every week — that we probably don’t have much of a shot in the real world.
But what makes Millennials so different and scary?
Neil Howe notes that the trend of millennials living at home post-college was on the uptick even before the great meltdown of 2008. It’s not even particularly uncool anymore. At the Grammy Awards, the band Fun., famous for their song “We are Young,” thanked their parents “for letting us live at home for a very long time.”
And millennials are grateful for this support. They know their parents have invested a huge amount in them and, with that backing, comes a pressure not to screw up.
Greg Cohen, a 27-year-old working in real estate, says, “Most people I know have parents who are generally supportive of their kids financially or otherwise. They gave their kid a new car on their 16th birthday instead of buying themselves a new motorcycle. When kids get out into the real world, they realize how hard it is to actually make a buck. They really appreciate the generosity of their parents. Not wanting to disappoint them [comes with that]. I just don’t think parents 30 years ago gave as much of a shit about their kids, for whatever reason.”
Herein lies the greatest threat of the Millennials. Right now the status quo, as dictated by conservatives for the last 30 years, is that everyone is supposed to fail or succeed on their own. If you are poor it’s because you are a bad person and deserve it and if you are rich, you are morally superior. Even if you had the luck of being born to an upper middle class white family with connections to get you into the best schools and a good job right out of college, you’re a self-made man, dammit! No matter how much help you had along the way, you didn’t really have any help, especially not from the damn government!June 15, 2013 at 10:17 am #90805
Rupert Murdoch-Wendi Deng divorce involves Tony Blair?
Day Two of the Rupert Murdorch-Wendi Deng divorce story turned juicier when ex-British prime minister and Deng pal Tony Blair got dragged into it.
Said scandal turned out to be the claim that Deng, 44, had an affair with Blair, 60, who happens to be godfather of the couple’s two young daughters, Grace, 11, and Chloe, 9.
Blair, the former New Labor PM who was embraced politically by the conservative Tory/Republican Murdoch when he was in power, denied the claim through a spokesman todayJune 15, 2013 at 10:21 am #90806
This NSA Scandal Is A White People Problem
by Tommy Christopher | 3:57 pm, June 14th, 2013
In case you hadn’t heard, the National Security Agency is Red-Wedding-ing Americans’ freedom by backing up phone records and collecting internet data from overseas (some of which involves communications with Americans), all with warrants, and all of which they need to get extra warrants if they want to look at Americans’ stuff. The horror. While the white media completely freaks out from every possible angle, they’ve been all but ignoring a true abuse of the Fourth Amendment, and saying every stupid thing possible in the process.
Glenn Greenwald and his source, whistle-and-country-blower Edward Snowden, have completely taken over the political media with revelations that hype well, but don’t amount to much upon closer examination. Now, Greenwald promises more (and more devastating) revelations to come, but what has been revealed so far is about as alarming as an epidemic of Pac Man Fever, which is a far more recent threat than that presented by these revelations.
The phone records that the NSA has been gathering consist of numbers (not names) and times, information that, before last week, I always assumed was readily available to the government whenever they wanted it, as long as they had a warrant. As it turns out, they did have a warrant, and collected the information (without looking at it) because otherwise, the phone companies destroy it over time. They still need a warrant to look at the data on individual Americans. Ditto the Prism program, which collects internet data via legal means (not by unilaterally plugging into all of the servers of internet companies), and requires another warrant to look at the information on individual Americans.
Is there “potential for abuse” of these programs? Yes, but as people keep pointing out (while they ignore it), the same is true of a tape recorder. Remember when J. Edgar Hoover put Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s phone number on a list of phone numbers that he could only look at with a search warrant? Neither do I.
Granted, the technology has increased the potential scope of potential abuse, but that’s true of every technology. My phone records being archived by the government isn’t all that scary. Googling the phrase “that TV show where…” and having the answer I was looking for come up third on the list of suggestions? That’s scary. But I thought the idea of technology stealing our souls was settled with that whole “camera” thing.
Why is that? It’s hard to tell, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Stop and Frisk policy overwhelmingly affects the privacy of innocent black and Latino people. It’s not for lack of a hot news peg. Even if the merits of the story don’t turn you on, the Obama administration just signaled it will file briefs in support of the plaintiff in a suit against the policy. If the last several weeks have made one thing clear about the media, it’s that the best way to get them to care about government abuse, or anything, is to do it to white people.
Much like these NSA programs, the Stop and Frisk policy isn’t inherently abusive. It is based on a law that allows police to stop someone on the street if they have “reasonable suspicion” that the individual “is committing, has committed or is about to commit” a crime, and “demand of him his name, address and an explanation of his conduct.”
That’s the “Stop” part of “Stop and Frisk.” In order to move on to “Frisk,” the officer must “reasonably suspect that he is in danger of physical injury.”
In practice, though, the policy has resulted in over half a million stops per year, stops which have disproportionately targeted minorities, in the same way that Scooby Snacks™ disproportionately target Scooby Doo. I know there are some folks who would like to explain this as a function of minorities’ inherent criminality (you know who you are), but then how do you explain this: White people, who represent about 12% of those stopped, white people were almost twice as likely to be found with drugs or weapons than black people? Are white people inherently more criminal?June 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm #90809
Former senior Justice Dept. officials spring to attorney general’s defense
By Ben Goad – 06/15/13 12:34 PM ET
Two-dozen former top Justice Department officials who worked for Attorney Gen. Eric Holder have leapt to the to nation’s top cop’s defense, answering fierce criticism outlined in a Washington Post column earlier this month.
“Our work…showed Mr. Holder to be a leader with excellent judgment and an unwavering commitment to do the right thing without regard for partisan preferences,” the lawyers wrote in a letter published in the newspaper Friday. “That is exactly what this nation should expect of an attorney general, and precisely what they have in Mr. Holder.”
Led by former acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler and former Assistant Attorney General David Kris, the group also includes former assistant attorneys general and other officials who served in key agency roles.
The letter responds to a June 6 column bearing the headline, “Attorney General Eric Holder is not up to the task.”
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/305787-ex-top-justice-officials-spring-to-holders-defense#ixzz2WK1faes1
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on FacebookJune 15, 2013 at 7:13 pm #90813
A Positive-Looking Election in Iran
Sat Jun 15th, 2013 at 09:37:04 AM EST
The Iranian elections seem to have provided a welcome shock. Hassan Rohani appears to have won the majority of the votes outright on the first ballot, meaning that there may be no need for a run-off. If that lead holds, the hardliners will have lost the presidential election. Here is Jack Straw’s estimation of Mr. Rohani:
British former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who dealt with Rohani during nuclear negotiations between 2003 and 2005, called him a “very experienced diplomat and politician”.
“This is a remarkable and welcome result so far and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there will be no jiggery-pokery with the final result,” Straw told Reuters, alluding to accusations of widespread rigging in the 2009 election.
“What this huge vote of confidence in Doctor Rohani appears to show is a hunger by the Iranian people to break away from the arid and self-defeating approach of the past and for more constructive relations with the West,” he said.
“On a personal level I found him warm and engaging. He is a strong Iranian patriot and he was tough, but fair to deal with and always on top of his brief.”
The Ayatollah’s preferred candidate, Saeed Jalili, came in no better than third place with less than 16% of the vote. Let us hope that the results stand up. It is encouraging to see the Iranian people reject continued confrontation. Rohani’s election would reinvigorate the moderate factions in Iran who want more constructive engagement with the world. Because the office of the presidency has little to do with Iranian foreign policy, the benefits to us will be indirect. We should not expect any immediate change in U.S.-Iran relations. However, I believe Rohani’s election provides a mandate to improve the economy and that entails doing things that might ease the sanctions. In this case, the sanctions on Iran may have led to a positive development by discrediting the regime’s foreign policy.June 15, 2013 at 7:16 pm #90814
Hassan Rohani’s Biography
The newly-elected Iranian president was born into a religious family on November 13, 1948 in the city of Sorkheh in Semnan Province.
Rohani started his religious education in 1960 at Semnan Seminary. One year later, he moved to the holy city of Qom. In 1969, he was admitted into Tehran University and received his BA in law after three years. Rohani earned his MA and PhD in law from Glasgow Caledonian University.
Rohani was involved in the struggle against the Pahlavi regime as a young man. After the late Imam Ruhollah Khomeini’s return from exile in France in 1979, Rohani was politically active in Europe. He held question-and-answer sessions with students in Britain and France.
Rohani was elected to parliament following the establishment of the Islamic Republic and served as a lawmaker for five consecutive terms until 2000. He held positions such as deputy Majlis Speaker and head of the Defense and Foreign Policy committees.
During the 1980-1988 Iraqi imposed war, Rohani served as member of the High Council of Defense, commander of the Iran Air Defense and deputy commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces.
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