Thursday, June 30, 2011

Markos: "Fire Halperin's ass for being a useless piece of shit who is always wrong about everything. Not for being a dick."

I think it's wonderful that Halperin betrayed his full feelings about Obama on the air. It's tiresome seeing people pretend that he's some sort of neutral political arbitrer, when he's engaged in a long-running jihad against the truth.

Halperin, a real dick, was hired as MSNBC's "senior political analyst" at the behest of another dick, the network's real president Joe Scarborough. MORE...

From Salon's "Hack 30"---No 2: Mark Halperin"

Alex Pareene (Salon's War Room-Nov. 24, 2010):
The Drudge-loving political analyst who gets everything wrong--- thought we were all done talking about former Bob Dole speechwriter former ABC News political director Mark Halperin, whose star had seemed to stop rising toward the end of the Bush years -- but then he attached himself, leechlike, to reporter John Heilemann, to co-write "Game Change," a lengthy catalog of the 2008 presidential campaign's moments of least import.

Halperin used to write this thing called the Note, which was an e-mail newsletter that various Washingtonians whom Halperin referred to as "The Gang of 500" used to read to find out what they themselves thought about the news of the day. It was written as privileged wisdom from Beltway insiders -- cryptic references, obscure jokes, endless name-dropping, constant inexplicable plugs for the Palm restaurant -- when it was in fact just "whatever a professional political operative recently told Mark Halperin, along with links to political stories in the major papers." MORE...

"Howard Dean On Budget Talks: ‘Republicans Are Not Big On Logic’" (with video)

Matt Schneider, MEDIAlite with video from MSNBC (13:16):
While some on Morning Joe were less than enthused with President Obama’s press conference performance yesterday, Howard Dean also stopped by to let the panel know he thought Obama was great, since “we all love it when he comes out fighting.” And especially since Dean thinks the Republicans are being completely unreasonable with their demands on the budget, Dean is happy to have Obama turning up the heat on Congress. MORE...

Urban Dictionary: "An adjective to describe a guy who is a jerk or does mean and stupid things."

Howie Opinion:
How come Halperin never used that word before, like when he was a speechwriter for Gerald Ford? He certainly must have worked with a few there. Or while he covered the glorious reign of George W. Bush you would assume he ran into a few during that time. But, alas, Obama is the "dick" even though the common view is that Obama is a nice guy who can't counter-punch the opposition, though he did manage to land a few on Hillary.

"President Obama: 'I've Met My Commitments to the LGBT Community'"

Jake Tapper (ABC News):
“The bottom line is I am hopeful,” Obama said. “What gives me hope is a deeper shift that we’re seeing, that’s a transformation, not only in our laws, but in our hearts and minds too. Progress led not by Washington, but by ordinary citizens, propelled not by policy, but by love and friendship and sense of mutual regard and mutual respect. It's playing out in legislatures like New York," the president said, as he was interrupted by applause from the audience. "It's playing out in the ballot box, as people argue and debate over how to bring about the changes where we are creating a more perfect union." MORE...
Howie P.S.: Is this textbook "dog whistle"? And OT?: Mark Halperin calls Obama 'a dick' on live television. You can't make this shit up.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"President welcomes the WNBA Champion Seattle Storm to the White House" (video), video (06:38):
President welcomes the WNBA Champion Seattle Storm to the White House.

Frank Schaeffer: "SEX, MOM and GOD"--How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics (and How I Learned to Love Women and Jesus Anyway)
Alternating between hilarious scenes from his childhood and acidic ruminations on the present state of an America he and his famous fundamentalist parents helped create, Frank Schaeffer asks what the Glenn Becks and the Rush Limbaughs and the Sarah Palins and the paranoid fantasies of the “right-wing echo chamber” are really all about. Here’s a hint: sex. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Here's a review of the book by Ben Daniel, a Presbyterian minister and author.

"Blocking debt limit increase could jeopardize Social Security checks"

Jed Lewison:
The thing to keep in mind here is that if we do reach the debt limit, it's not entirely clear what the legal obligations of the White House would be—in other words, whether they would actually be legally obligated to restrain spending. The issue is that reaching the debt limit involves the collision of contradictory legislation (the conflict between legislation that authorized spending and legislation limiting the debt limit). Plus, you also have constitutional questions about whether the debt ceiling is constitutional in the first place. So it's not entirely clear what the law requires, and the Obama administration should be reserving every legal option it has in order to avoid the damage that could be caused if Republicans fail to raise the debt limit. MORE...

"Seattle Storm meets with President Obama at White House"

President Barack Obama welcomed the WNBA champion Seattle Storm to the White House Rose Garden Wednesday morning. The Storm swept the Atlanta Dream last September.
Howie P.S.: I'm on the lookout for video. Meanwhile, here's a longer story from Pam's House Blend.

Howard Dean on "the privatization of political campaigns" (video)

MSNBC-Rachel Maddow, video (06:19):
"Howard Dean talks with Rachel Maddow about corrupting influence of corporate money in politics in the American political system."

Matt Taibbi: "Michele Bachmann's Holy War"

Matt Taibbi:
The Tea Party contender may seem like a goofball, but be warned: Her presidential campaign is no laughing matter---Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don't laugh.

It may be the hardest thing you ever do, for Michele Bachmann is almost certainly the funniest thing that has ever happened to American presidential politics. MORE...

Obama News Conference Online Here Now (streaming video)

C-SPAN (live streaming video).

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Cuomo's Big Problem in 2016: Democrats"

Ari Melber (The Nation):
Eric Alterman, a columnist for The Nation and the Daily Beast, notes that Cuomo’s budget will cost New York schools

2,600 teachers and another 1,000 city workers, “many of whom work in health care for the poor, at a time when the need for both could hardly be greater.” Those cuts were not inevitable austerity measures, Alterman emphasizes, since Cuomo “fought tooth and nail to ensure the death of New York’s millionaire tax, at exactly the moment when its proceeds might have been able to prevent exactly [these] kinds of cuts.” MORE...

Greg Sargent on Mitch McConnell on "perks for corporate jet owners"

Greg Sargent:
Mitch McConnell won’t even support the Dem suggestion to get rid of perks for corporate jet owners, which his spokesman describes as “hundreds of billions in tax hikes.” MORE...

Inslee: "Get the Federal Government Off Our Backs" on Medical Marijuana, but "Not There Yet" on Legalization" (with video)

Goldy (SLOG) with video (01:29):
At the kickoff for his 2012 Washington gubernatorial campaign, Democratic US Rep. Jay Inslee says we need to "get the federal government off our backs," when it comes to medical marijuana, but that he's "not there yet" on full legalization.

Ziggy on the Marley family, the state of reggae and marijuana

David Dacks (
"Wild and Free" was used in the campaign to legalize marijuana in California. Are you disappointed that initiative failed?
The song is written to stand up for your rights, the plant exists for the benefit of the planet in all its aspects. Not just the aspect that we all stereotypically smoke and get high. But medicinal and especially industrial use where people who aren't of a certain mindset don't know about. So this song is about the time when the plant will be wild and free. MORE...

Bernie Sanders: "Dear Mr. President" (video)

Senator Sanders, video (07:24):
As the debate over deficits ramped up in Washington on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out the compelling case not to slash programs for working families. Any deficit reduction package must rely on new revenue for at least half the reduction in red ink, he added in a major address in the Senate. Sanders spoke at length about what caused deficits (wars, Wall Street bailouts, tax breaks for the rich) and how to shrink them (more revenue from the wealthiest Americans to match spending cuts). He urged fellow senators not to yield to Republican congressional leaders who "acted like schoolyard bullies" when they walked out of budget negotiations. He summed up the situation in a letter to the president that had been signed by more than 16,000 people by the time he completed his speech.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jay Inslee at Kickoff: "Washington Should Lead" on Marriage Equality (with video)

Goldy (SLOG) with video (01:13):
The thing about campaign kickoff events, is that unless you get tossed out, they're not really news. The real news, that Rep. Jay Inslee is running for governor, came last week, when he announced his kickoff. Or maybe the day before, when the kickoff announcement itself was leaked. And even that wasn't really news, considering that Inslee has never been shy about his intentions, and in some ways has been running for years.

So yeah, Inslee didn't make much news this morning. That said, in response to a question at his post-speech press conference, Inslee did clarify his support for marriage equality, embracing the issue in no uncertain terms. MORE...

Seattle FOX Affiliate Covers Inslee and Bachman Announcements (video)

Video, KCPQ-Political Wrap (02:33).

Howie P.S.: The local FOX affiliate covers the Inslee (and Bachman) announcements.

"Janeane Garofalo Talks Tea Party, Larry Sanders Show & Jason Bateman With Keith Olbermann" (video)

Current-Keith Olbermann, video (14:14).

Howie P.S.: I can't get enough of Janeane.


Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wears a T-shirt supporting the recent legalization of gay marriage in New York State. Photo: JOSHUA TRUJILLO / SEATTLEPI.COM


"Instead of Dancing With the Austerity Devil, Keith Ellison Wants Democrats to Campaign for Jobs"

John Nichols (The Nation):

“At a time when we have 8, 9, 10 percent official unemployment in states across this country, and when the real unemployment rate is so much higher in our cities and rural areas, the economic issue that Americans are talking about is jobs,” says Ellison. “We want to have that conversation in Minneapolis, in Detroit, in Milwaukee, in cities across this country, and we want to take it back to Washington. MORE...

(Updated) "Obama has mourned his tattered coolness at about half a dozen recent fundraisers"

UPDATE: E. J. Dionne, Jr. covers the same territory from a different view point: "Obama and the Agony of Prudence."

Julie Mason (POLITICO):
Elayne Rapping, professor of American studies at SUNY Buffalo and an expert on popular culture, said Obama has a point about his reduction in cool. After all, he built a political career, in part, on his persona as a youthful achiever. Now he’s traded that in for the more staid role of incumbent.

“The persona that Obama likes is when everyone sees him as this very hip guy and shooting hoops and all that,” Rapping said. “Now he’s playing golf with John Boehner, which is about the most uncool thing there is.”

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes On Full Marijuana Legalization" (audio)

KUOW, audio (20:00):
City Attorney Pete Holmes is joining an initiative campaign to fully legalize marijuana. He says prohibiting pot makes our government complicit in the tens of thousands of murders committed by Mexican drug cartels. We talk to Pete Holmes about his views on pot legalization, plus the language of the tunnel referendum and releasing the names of misbehaving police officers.

Pete Holmes is the Seattle City Attorney.

Douglas Hiatt is a criminal defense attorney and the chairman of Sensible Washington

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"WATCH: The routine that got Obama impersonator yanked off stage" (with video)

David Ferguson--MEDIAite with video (04:40):
Audience members at the Republican Leadership Conference last weekend were perfectly happy to laugh at Obama impersonator Reggie Brown when he was aiming racially-themed barbs at President Obama and the First Lady. However, when the comedian began to fire verbal missiles at the Republican contenders for 2012, his mic was cut and he was quickly escorted from the stage.

On last night’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”, Maher brought on Brown to let him finish his act. We think the Republicans may have cut his mic because they realized that the second half of the routine was actually going to be funny.

Watch the clip, via Mediaite, below:

"Van Jones on Rebuilding the American Dream"

Tim Dickinson (Rolling Stone, quoting Van Jones):
"In 2008, we would never have had a movement called, "Yes, he can." It was "Yes, we can." But in the past two years, the "we," was not present. You can blame anybody you want to for that, but I think we have to start taking personal responsibility for the shape of American politics. My view is that the entire DC establishment – both political parties – have gotten away from the addressing the problems I just described." MORE...

"Marriage equality is set to become law in New York, and history marches on"

Greg Sargent:
Congratulations to all the gays and lesbians in New York and elsewhere who — through sheer force of will and determination, against truly unthinkable levels of adversity and hostility — have taken another step in the direction of forcing New York, America, and the world to recognize their fundamental humanity. MORE...
Howie P.S.: What Joan Walsh said:
Proud to be a native New Yorker, time for my adopted state to do the right thing! Congratulations to ALL New Yorkers!

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Where Can Gays Legally Marry?"
Although many states in the United States voted to outlaw gay marriage, there are many places in the world where gays and lesbians can get married or obtain civil unions. Here are a list of places where same-sex couples can get legally married or enter in some kind of legally recognized partnership. This list will be updated as things change. MORE...

Professional Left and Right Meet (with their own): "Revving up the bases"

The Economist (UK):
Auditions down south and tactical debates up north, as activists on both sides plot a course for the coming election---A DEMOCRAT sits in the Oval Office, preparing to run for re-election. Barack Obama is a formidable campaigner and fund-raiser. In 2008 his campaign raised a record $745m; this time his haul may exceed $1 billion. Gearing up to oppose him are a squabbling bunch of Republicans, united in relative obscurity save for the front-runner, Mitt Romney. By rights the left-leaning Netroots Nation gathering should have been jubilant, and the Republican Leadership Conference (RLC) doleful and panicky.

But that would overlook the left’s capacity to rain on its own parade. Despite the big Democratic reforms of the past few years, the left—or at least the roughly 2,400 lefty bloggers who attended Netroots Nation—often sees the Obama administration as hesitant and incrementalist. Joan McCarter, who moderated a panel called “What to Do When the President is Just Not That Into You” (the title comes from a popular romance/self-help book), said that Mr Obama has been “not necessarily as progressive as we hoped he would be”.

But progressives may also have been more docile than Mr Obama had reason to expect, and a running question at the conference was whether activists should defend or put pressure on the president. Recommending pressure was Dan Choi, a former army linguist who was discharged in 2010 after coming out as gay. He had become the country’s most prominent advocate for a repeal of the military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and that same year was arrested after handcuffing himself to the White House fence. “We were drama queens, and we were damn proud of it, and our message was, ‘We’re going to get crazier’,” Mr Choi explained. The policy was repealed some months later, although the repeal has not yet been implemented. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Matt Duss says he is the blogger "thinking about waffles" in the photo above. Additional research suggests he is the one in the middle.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The White House Blog: "Troop Levels in Afghanistan and Iraq"


Ben Rhodes (
Our troops have provided extraordinary service and sacrifice in both Afghanistan and Iraq for nearly ten years. Last night, the President spoke to the American people about the way forward in Afghanistan, and outlined his plan to remove 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and a total of 33,000 by next summer, with reductions continuing after that at a steady pace. He also put the drawdown in the broader context of the last decade, and our effort to wind down these wars while keeping America safe. As President Obama said:

Yet tonight, we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding. Fewer of our sons and daughters are serving in harm’s way. We’ve ended our combat mission in Iraq, with 100,000 American troops already out of that country. And even as there will be dark days ahead in Afghanistan, the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance. These long wars will come to a responsible end.

Howie P.S.: This graphic popped up after the "Ending the Surge But Not The War" graphic appeared on Think Progress earlier today.

Ari Melber: "If you look at one thing on the Afghanistan Plan, this says it all." (Chart)

Ari Melber's photo PIC: If you look at one thing on the Afghanistan Plan, this says it all. (Via CRS' Amy Belasco/Think Progress.)
Ari Melber on WhoSay (Via CRS' Amy Belasco/Think Progress.)

Howie P.S.: Go to the link above to view the image.

Matt Taibbi on "Michele Bachmann's Holy War!" (with video)

MOXNEWSd0tCOM, video (09:29).

Howie P.S.:
Don Imus and Taibbi chat it up. Here's Taibbi's story on Bachmann in Rolling Stone: "Michele Bachmann's Holy War."

Marijuana Prohibition in Washington state: "Big Steps"

Rick Steves at a news conference Wednesday announces the filing of a marijuana legalization initiative. Next to Steves are from left: City Attorney Pete Holmes, lawyer Mark Johnson, Dr. Bob Wood and campaign director Alison Holcomb.

Lee (
Two big announcements over the past 48 hours regarding the eventual death of marijuana prohibition:

- For the first time ever, a bill to end marijuana prohibition is being introduced in Congress. Barney Frank and Ron Paul are introducing a bill that would allow states to make the drug legal, while only focusing on interstate smuggling. I doubt the drug will go anywhere, but it’s certainly a milestone that shows how quickly things are starting to change.

- Here in Washington, a group called New Approach Washington is launching an effort to pass a marijuana legalization initiative. The group is led by former U.S. Attorney John McKay, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, and travel show host Rick Steves. The initiative represents the opposite strategy from what Sensible Washington has been trying to do with I-1149. While Sensible Washington focused on creating an initiative that puts the federal government in a difficult situation (by removing all state penalties), New Approach Washington focused on creating something that they feel is more certain to win a statewide vote. MORE...

Howie P.S.: Here's the coverage in Seattle Times:
Washington state would be defying federal drug laws if an initiative filed Wednesday with the Secretary of State to legalize and regulate marijuana is adopted.

But backers said Wednesday that states can take the lead in ending what they call the nation's failed war on drugs, much as individual states, including Washington, repealed Prohibition before the federal government. MORE...
More coverage from the AP and video (02:21) from KING5 News.

"Frowns All Around: Maddow, Matthews, And Ed Schultz Pan Obama’s Afghanistan Speech" (with video)

MEDIAite with video (15:11) from The ED Show on MSNBC:
President Obama’s announcement that he would be withdrawing troops from Afghanistan throughout the next year appears to, upon first impression, let most of MSNBC’s hosts down. Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews joined host Ed Schultz on his program to assess the speech last night, and while each took their own issue with the withdrawal plan, all three were united in their disappointment that the withdrawal was not happening quickly enough. MORE...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Obama to Outline Afghanistan Troop Reduction"

AP via C-SPAN:
President Obama will deliver a prime-time speech this evening at 8pm EST. on the withdrawal of some U.S. troops in Afghanistan. At a White House press briefing Tuesday, Spokesperson Jay Carney said the President informed his national security advisors Tuesday morning which plan he will follow.

Media reports indicate that he is expected to announce the reduction of 10,000 troops by the end of this year and the rest of the 33,000 troops associated with the “surge” withdrawn by the end of August 2012. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Go to the link for live coverage @ 5pm Pacific.

Greg Sargent on Obama's Afghan Speech Tonight

Greg Sargent:
* Obama will announce tonight that he’s bringing home 10,000 troops this year and another 23,000 by September 2012 — which would bring home his whole “surge” in a year and a half.

What to watch: Whether Obama effectively makes a persuasive case for continuing the war at the levels he wants to maintain.

* Rising antiwar sentiment means the 2012 candidates and other Republicans will have to tread very carefully indeed in the wake of Obama’s drawdown announcement.

* Senator Carl Levin says Obama’s drawdown would be too slow, and it’ll be interesting to see how much maneuvering room other Dems give Obama on the issue. MORE...

"Rachel Maddow Recites Jon Huntsman’s New Campaign Ad As Beatnik Poetry" (with video)

MEDIAite with video (03:47):
Before today, most of what the media knew about 2012 Republican candidate Jon Huntsman was that he seems to like the desert, motorcycles, and very weird campaign ads. That’s still most of what is known today, but at least his latest ad makes an attempt of assembling facts, and Rachel Maddow tonight made an attempt to find poetry in those words, complete with conga drum and oversized shades. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I was a beatnik once and Jon Huntsman is no beatnik.

"Washington Marijuana Legalization: Former Seattle U.S. Attorney Sponsors State Pot Initiative"

Gene Johnson:
A man who once served as the Justice Department's top official in Seattle said Tuesday that he is sponsoring an initiative to legalize possession of up to an ounce of dried marijuana in Washington state, a measure he hopes will help "shame Congress" into ending pot prohibition.

John McKay spent five years enforcing federal drug laws as the U.S. attorney in Seattle before he was fired by the Bush administration in early 2007. He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that laws criminalizing marijuana are wrongheaded because they create an enormous black market exploited by international cartels and crime rings.
McKay is joining Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, travel guide Rick Steves and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in forming a group called New Approach Washington. They're pushing an initiative to the Legislature that would regulate the recreational use of marijuana in a way similar to how the state regulates alcohol. Their bill would legalize marijuana for people over 21, authorize the Liquor Control Board to regulate and tax marijuana for sale in "standalone stores," and extend drunken driving laws to marijuana, with blood tests to determine how much of pot's active ingredient is present in a driver's blood. MORE...

"Al Gore Blasts Obama On Climate Change For Failing To Take 'Bold Action'"

Former Vice President Al Gore is going where few environmentalists – and fellow Democrats – have gone before: criticizing President Barack Obama's record on global warming.

In a 7,000-word essay for Rolling Stone magazine that will be published Friday, Gore says Obama has failed to stand up for "bold action" on global warming and has made little progress on the problem since the days of Republican President George W. Bush. Bush infuriated environmentalists for resisting mandatory controls on the pollution blamed for climate change, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible. MORE...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Melissa Harris-Perry: How Obama Can Capture the Spirit of 2008 in 2012" (video)

Anna Lekas Miller (The Nation) with video (03:45) from MSNBC:
It will be difficult for Obama and his campaign to steal media attention away from the Michele Bachmanns and Rick Santorums of this election season.

That's why it's so important, as The Nation's Melissa Harris-Perry explains in this Sound Off segment, that Obama leverage his position as the incumbent candidate—and his track record of positive legislation—rather than simply recycle his 2008 rhetoric and strategy.

Cenk and 'The Power Panel' on "Super PACs" (video)

TYTShows, video from MSNBC (09:10):
MSNBC host Cenk Uygur speaks with Politico's Josh Gerstein, syndicated columnist and host of TYT Now Tina Dupuy and Huffington Post reporter Amanda Terkel about Super PACs, Fox News/Chris Christie and more.

"Thoughts on Netroots Nation 2011"

Gaius Publius (AMERICAblog):
Feingold, in contrast, seems to have broken loose. Before the conference, I caught this piece from TPM, in which he accuses Dems and Repubs of "corruption" (defined correctly as letting campaign cash cast your vote). In the piece, he's quoted as calling out Steny Hoyer and Claire McCaskill (her). Not the party-loyalist thing to do. And his keynote address rung the same bell. MORE...

"Olbermann is now going head-to-head with Rachel Maddow, his old protege, for the first few minutes of her show." (with video)

Olbermann responded that he was going after MSNBC, not Maddow personally.

"Sorry," he wrote. "It is a competition." He also pointed out that Maddow had appeared on the last minutes of Lawrence O'Donnell's show, directly opposite Olbermann, to talk about Jon Stewart--a seeming incentive to MSNBC's viewers not to change the channel.

"So I'm assuming you're mad at her for doing the last five minutes of O'Donnell's show in competition with me?" he wrote. "I'm not." MORE...
Howie P.S.: I am posting this, but I'm not really sure why. More news on the media landscape: "Markos Moulitsas Bashes MSNBC On Olbermann's First 'Countdown,' with video (10:40).

Joe Biden: "Wishing you luck‏"

I just got this email from Joe Biden:
Howie --

The President and I have a routine -- we get lunch together almost every Friday.

But all I get is lunch. You could be one of four supporters to have dinner with him soon.

Donate $5 or more today to have your name automatically thrown in the hat here:

I'm reminded every week that sitting down for a meal with the President of the United States -- without TV cameras or a big crowd -- is something only a few people will ever get to do.

You're not going to want to miss this chance.

I wish you luck,

Howie P.S.: Thanks, Joe. If I could reply directly to you this is something close to what my final draft would be like:
Joe---I think you're a good, loyal guy and all that, but "luck" (not even good luck) is all you got?
Sincerely, Howie

"Never Mind The Drawdown: Taliban Talks, Not Troop Numbers, Are What Really Matter for Afghanistan"

Spencer Ackerman (WIRED):
All the D.C. punditocracy is playing a numbers game about President Obama’s troop reductions from Afghanistan. And once, again, that misses the whole point of the war’s next phase. What matters isn’t how many troops Obama withdraws this year, or next. It’s how the drawdown supports Taliban peace talks, the only real ticket out of the war.

Our sources tell us that if the president has even settled on a number to unveil in a Wednesday night speech, he’s not sharing it very widely. Still, the Los Angeles Times confidently reports that he’ll remove 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, with the remaining 20,000 surge forces to follow by 2012. The New York Times and the Washington Post are more circumspect, reporting that the White House is still debating how to structure the drawdown.

Notice that doesn’t even end the 2009 Afghanistan surge, let alone the war. Here’s why. MORE...

Greg Sargent: "Obama should seek Congressional authorization for Libya war"

Greg Sargent:
Another important story from Charlie Savage and Thom Shanker: Since handing control to NATO, the U.S. has struck Libyan forces at least 60 times — making it harder to argue that we’re not embroiled in “hostilities.” MORE...
Howie P.S.: More pushback on Libya via Sargent:
Opinion-makers turning on Obama over Libya: My pick for read of the morning: Yale professor Bruce Ackerman’s piece explaining that Obama’s decision not to seek Congressional authorization for the Libya operation is eroding a key check on arbitrary presidential power and setting a precedent for future presidents to wage war at their convenience.

Matt Taibbi: "Out of Power, Right-Wing Hawks Turn Dovish"

Matt Taibbi:
It’s been interesting, watching the seamless transition many conservatives seem to be making now, from brainless war-drum-beating to Randian isolationism. Six or seven or eight years ago, I seem to remember, anyone who even hinted that not using military force to resolve any foreign policy dispute, no matter how trivial or how imaginary the justification, was to be considered a traitor.

Now, all of the sudden, Republicans are on the outside looking in, and entering a presidential election season, they’ve suddenly decided to play the pacifist card. It makes sense, given the appalling and completely senseless bloodshed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and God knows where else, but it drives me crazy to see the same people who were waving pom-poms for the original invasions suddenly switch sides now. MORE...

"Netroots Nation event reveals unhappiness among Obama supporters"

James Nord (MinnPost):
Former presidential candidate Howard Dean agreed. In a speech to the convention Thursday night, Dean seemed to gloss over his support for Obama in his attempt to rally the crowd.

"Change does not come from Washington, D.C.," he said. "Change comes from the bottom up, and we will make change in our own communities and then it will spread outwards." MORE...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Glenn Greenwald: "Obama Could Be Impeached For Libya Conflict Without Congressional Approval" (with video)

Democracy Now! with video (13:43):
The New York Times recently broke the story that President Obama rejected the views of top administration lawyers when he decided he had the legal authority to continue U.S. military participation in the war in Libya without Congressional authorization. Obama continues to face congressional opposition to the ongoing Libya attack. To examine the legal dimensions of U.S. military intervention, Democracy Now! interviews Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger for

"The idea that presidents can start wars on their own, without any congressional authorization, violates not just the law but the Constitution," Greenwald said. "So sure, in theory, when the president violates the law and the Constitution, that's an impeachable offense. At the same time we have set a very low standard for our tolerance rampant presidential law-breaking." Republican House Speaker John Boehner has called on the White House to further clarify the legal basis for the war in Libya or face a cutoff of war funds. Last week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers filed a lawsuit accusing President Obama of violating the War Powers Act of 1973.

FACT CHECK: "McKenna campaigns with faulty data"

Mike Baker (AP):
Rob McKenna launched his campaign for governor recently with a vow to curb the costs of personnel in state government, citing statistics that drew gasps from his audience of supporters.

Problem is, a couple of McKenna's key numbers were wrong, exaggerating the speed of government growth. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I can't remember the last time a public official got smacked around like this around here.

Greg Sargent: "Will House vote to restrict funding for Libya operation?"

Greg Sargent:
In the wake of Charlie Savage’s big story reporting that Obama rejected his lawyers’ advice that he needed Congressional authorization for the war, one key thing to watch this week is whether the House will now take this confrontation to a head by voting to restrict funding for the operation.

If so, Dems will find themselves torn between opposition to executive overreach and the desire to remain loyal to the president, while Republicans will be torn between their desire to box Obama in and their support for strong American engagement abroad.

"Lawrence O’Donnell Explores Obama’s ‘Hypocrisy’ On The War On Drugs" (with video)

Mediaite with video (07:14) from MSNBC:
This week marked the 40-year anniversary of the “War on Drugs” launched by President Richard Nixon, and Lawrence O’Donnell “celebrated” by highlighting the alarming statistics on inmates in the past four decades and the racial disparity in legal arrests.

Opening his segment with a “Just Say No” 1987 PSA, O’Donnell noted the history of the War on Drugs before highlighting its impact: an increase from 500,000 to 2.3 million inmates between 1980 and 2009. Guest Michelle Alexander expanded more on those numbers, calling the war on drugs an “engine of mass incarceration” but noting that drug arrests affect minorities disproportionately despite the fact that “people of color are no more likely to use or sell drugs.” MORE...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hertzberg on "The Sins of Anthony Weiner"

Hendrik Hertzberg (The New Yorker):
One more factor that comes to mind: the particular media addictions of the political class. I suspect that, unlike normal people, a preponderance of that class—commentators, political reporters and editors, operatives, “strategists,” aides, news producers, etc.—spends several hours of every day watching cable-news television (or having it drone and flicker in the background), reading political blogs, sending and receiving e-mails about the latest political uproar, and talking about same to other members of the same class, on the phone or face to face. Actual office-holding politicians don’t necessarily have the time for all that, but they live inside the bubble it creates. The ambient atmosphere is one of constant overexcitement, hysteria, and sometimes unbearable tension, all focussed on the story of the day. That may be a reason why the protagonists of political scandals are dispatched more quickly and more mercilessly than in the past.

Except when they aren’t, of course. Senator Vitter is still Senator Vitter. But that’s another story. MORE...

OBAMA 2012: "Meet Alex: A Dad and a Summer Organizer" (VIDEO)

BarackObamadotcom, video (02:04):
Alex, a father of four, is devoting two months this summer to volunteering in his community as a summer organizer. Watch the video to hear him explain why, in his own words—then pass it on to a dad who's in your thoughts today.

Van Jones: "How many of you want to have a green CAREER?" (with video)

David Ferguson (RAW STORY) with video (20:24):
In this video clip, via the Netroots Nation YouTube channel, Netroots Nation 2011 keynote speaker Van Jones delivers the fiery last few minutes of his speech. He humorously invokes “Popeye” cartoons, quoting, “I’ve had all I can stand, and I can stands no more!” and encourages attendees to stand up to the smears and hate-mongering spewed daily by Fox News. He then issues a debate challenge to Glenn Beck, daring the Fox News pundit to have him on his show before it goes off the air at the end of this week.

Al Franken: "Democrats Shouldn't Swear Off Super PACs In 2012 Election"

Amanda Terkel (HuffPo):
Franken said that even if the Democrats in Congress had managed to pass the DISCLOSE Act -- their legislative response to Citizens United -- the party would still probably need to create Super PACs and other outside groups since Republicans would be doing the same. He was also pessimistic about the chances of passing strong campaign finance reform, arguing that Democrats would essentially have to control the White House, House and have a 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. MORE...

"Obama’s Views on Gay Marriage ‘Evolving’"

Cheryl Gay Stolberg (NY Times):
And Representative Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is gay, said in an interview that a top adviser to Mr. Obama, whom he would not name, asked him this year, “What would be the effect if he came out for same-sex marriage?”

“My own view is that I look at President Obama’s record, he was probably inclined to think that same-sex marriage was legitimate, but as a candidate for president in 2008 that would have been an unwise thing to say,” Mr. Frank said. “And I don’t mean that he’s being hypocritical. I mean that if you live in a democratic society, it is a mix of what you think the voters want and what you think is doable.” MORE...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"REMEMBER THE LAST TIME we thought a republican couldn't be any worse than the Democrat?"

Shaun (Upper Left):
"A public service reminder.."

"Feingold At Netroots" on 'corporate influence on elections' (video)

UpTakeVideo, video (27:08):
Former Senator Russ Feingold (WI-D) attended his first Netroots Nation today. At the conference, he presented a keynote speech. In his speech, he said that he was "eternally grateful" to everyone at Netroots Nation for their support and their "singleminded" pursuance of truth in complicated issues. In his speech, Senator Feingold noted that the most important thing, right now, is to overturn Citizen United, the Supreme Court Decision on campaign finance and corporate influence on elections. He also says that the Disclose Act needs to be passed through Congress. Near the end of his speech, Senator Feingold said that he feared for the identity of the Democratic party.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Media Overplays Obama Angst at Liberal Netroots Conference"

Ari Melber:
The White House dispatched Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer for a different kind of press conference on Friday in Minneapolis, where he tangled with a prominent writer known only as Angry Mouse. Hundreds of other writers were there, too, since Pfeiffer was headlining a conference for liberal bloggers. MORE...

(Updated)White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer NOW @NN11 (LIVE streaming video)

UPDATE: Here's the archived version of the Dan Pfeiffer interview. Alex Pareene (Salon) writes "White House spokesman and Kos blogger have uncomfortable chat."

Free Speech TV, streaming video.

Howie P.S.: I can't imagine Gibbs doing this particular task very well. Kaili Joy Grey (Daily Kos) is the interviewer.

Patty Murray on Weiner: “Congressman Weiner did the right thing.”

John F. Harris and Erika Lovly (Politico):
By the time Anthony Weiner resigned his House seat in shame over dirty texting, the consensus in Washington political circles was glaringly clear: The Brooklyn Democrat was simply, and belatedly, bowing to the inevitable.

But why, exactly, was it inevitable? MORE...
Howie P.S.: The short answers are 1)The tweets and photos were prima facie evidence and 2) Mr. Weiner didn't have any real friends in Congress.

NN11 Panel: "Structural barriers to progressive success" (video)

FreeSpeechTV, video (01:13:00).

Howie P.S.: Darcey Burner leads a panel with David Waldman (Kagro X) and Ari Berman.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Howard Dean @NN11 on Obama

Evan McMorris-Santoro (TPM):

But he declined to criticize Obama over his choice to continue the fighting without asking Congress to weigh in.

"I would," Dean said when asked if he'd request the congressional war authorization the White House decided not to this week.

"But I'm not willing to go after Obama on that one," Dean said.
But Dean promised to "work my ass off" for Obama next year -- and he gave the president a pass on Libya.

"There's plenty of things that we can have disagreements on on but that's -- everyone picks their own things that they deeply care about," Dean said. "And I care deeply about social justice in this country." MORE...

(Updated) "What to do when The President is just not that into you."---Hotshot Panel LIVE NOW on NN11 (streaming video)

UPDATE II: Joel Connelly reports from NN11: "Liberals have no love for Obama."

Booman tells us why "I declined to attend the Netroots Nation conference." He also takes on some of the participants on this panel (Jane Hamsher and John Aravosis):
There's a line between principled advocacy for the issues you care about and being a careerist champion of the disgruntled.

Upton Sinclair used to say, ""It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" That's what happened to a big part of the blogosphere.
Howie P.S.:
The comments are also worth a look. Elise Foley (HuffPo) chimes in with "Progressives 'Break Up' With Obama."

Free Speech TV (streaming video).

Howie P.S.:
"What to do when The President is just not that into you."

LIVE from Netroots Nation 2011 (streaming video)

Free Speech TV (streaming video).

"On 40th Anniversary Of War On Drugs, Cops Decry Obama's Drug Policy"

Lucia Graves (HuffPo):
Forty years after President Richard Nixon first declared a war on drugs, the officers who fought in it are calling for a truce.

Former law enforcement officials gathered in the District of Columbia on Tuesday to announce their new report. It details the failures of the government's long battle against illegal drugs and denounces the Obama administration's current drug policies.

"Since President Nixon declared 'war on drugs' four decades ago, this failed policy has led to millions of arrests, a trillion dollars spent and countless lives lost, yet drugs today are more available than ever," said Norm Stamper, former chief of police in Seattle and a speaker for legalization-advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. MORE...
Howie P.S.: You probably recognize Stamper in pinstripes in the photo above.

"Space Needle to Raise Pride Flag During Seattle Pride"

Joe Mirabella (
On Wednesday afternoon, the Space Needle posted a clarifying messaging to their Facebook page after some push back from a handfull of people when the Space Needle issued a fundraising challenge in response to a community call to raise the Pride flag led by Josh Castle’s petition.

Their new statement makes it absolutely clear that the Space Needle will raise the Pride flag during Seattle Pride weekend. They also want to continue to raise $50,000 through an online fundraiser to help four LGBT charities. This is a real win/win for everyone involved. Those passionate about the Pride flag will get to see it on the Space Needle again. Those who know how desperately our community needs financial support will have a tool to raise $50,000. The Space Needle kicked off the fundraiser with a $5,000 contribution of their own. MORE...

Howie P.S.: If you read The Other Seattle Daily, none of this ever happened.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Katrina vanden Heuvel on The ED Show: "How Far Right Is Michele Bachmann?" (video)

Kevin Donohoe (The Nation) with video from MSNBC-The ED Show (04:13):
During Monday's Republican Presidential Debate, Representative Michelle Bachmann announced her candidacy for President and was quickly declared the night's winner—and a frontrunner for the GOP nomination—by conservative pundits and conservative members of Congress.

Yet The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel argued on The Ed Show last night that the media has focused too much on Bachmann's self-styled image and not enough on the far-right policy positions and neo-McCarthy politics she has embraced as a member of Congress. Bachmann's rise makes it increasingly likely that Republicans will continue to move to the right and pursue their pro-corporate, anti-middle class agenda into the 2012 election.

Greg Sargent: "Twenty-seven Senators sign bipartisan letter calling on Obama to speed up Afghan withdrawal"

Greg Sargent:
The letter had already been made public, but the final range and number of signatories — which you can view after the jump — is new. The letter’s chief sponsors — Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall and Mike Lee — will officially go public with the full list of signatories later this morning. From the letter:

From the initial authorization of military force through your most recent State of the Union speech, combating al Qaeda has always been the rationale for our military presence in Afghanistan. Given our successes, it is the right moment to initiate a sizable and sustained reduction in forces, with the goal of steadily redeploying all regular combat troops. MORE...
Howie P.S.: And the signers are...


Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Connelly: "How politicians avoid exposing themselves"

Joel Connelly:
Why the palpable nervousness and purging of all things spontaneous?

Just look what happened to ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich after the infamous "Meet the Press" appearance where he dissed House Republicans' plan to privatize Medicare as "right-wing social engineering." An Iowa Republican grasped the candidate's hand, held on, telling Gingrich he was a disgrace and should leave the race. It aired on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" the next morning.

Another gambit is bait and switch. No cameras or computer-stained wretches at the McDonnell fund raiser, but the McKenna adviser quickly added that "we'd like to get you and Rob together" ASAP. McKenna had already worked an interview to cop a flavorless, favorable Seattle Times editorial page column.

With an increasingly partisan press and blogosphere, a new tactic has emerged: allow access or confide in only to those who agree with you. Palin and ex-Govs. Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee use Fox News as a Republican house organ to disclose their intentions. Or make your announcement by video; nobody will interrupt with a critical question. MORE...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Speakout for Good Jobs Now!" (video)

ProgressiveCongress, video (00:41):
Join the Progressive Caucus as we listen to the People. Introducing on the Speakout for Good Jobs Now! Rebuild The American Dream Tour.

DNC on GOP 2012 Candidate Debate: "What in the world are they talking about?" (video)

DemRapidResponse, video (00:42).

Ellsberg: "Why the Pentagon Papers matter now"

Viet Cong guerrilla suspects led by US infantrymen to an interrogation point near Long Thanh, 40 miles southwest of Saigon, during the Vietnam war on 1 February 1966. Reflecting on the release of the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg bitterly regrets that he did not release sooner contemporaneous evidence in his possession that contradicted the official version of the 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident, which – just as with Iraq's nonexistent WMD in 2003 – enabled the presidential executive to gain congressional approval for escalating US military involvement in Vietnam. Photograph: AP Photo/Henri Huet.

Daniel Ellsberg (Guardian UK):
The declassification and online release Monday of the full original version of the Pentagon Papers – the 7,000-page top secret Pentagon study of US decision-making in Vietnam 1945-67 – comes 40 years after I gave it to 19 newspapers and to Senator Mike Gravel (minus volumes on negotiations, which I had given only to the Senate foreign relations committee). Gravel entered what I had given him in the congressional record and later published nearly all of it with Beacon Press. Together with the newspaper coverage and a government printing office (GPO) edition that was heavily redacted but overlapped the Senator Gravel edition, most of the material has been available to the public and scholars since 1971. (The negotiation volumes were declassified some years ago; the Senate, if not the Pentagon, should have released them no later than the end of the war in 1975.)

In other words, today's declassification of the whole study comes 36 to 40 years overdue. Yet, unfortunately, it happens to be peculiarly timely that this study gets attention and goes online just now. That's because we're mired again in wars – especially in Afghanistan – remarkably similar to the 30-year conflict in Vietnam, and we don't have comparable documentation and insider analysis to enlighten us on how we got here and where it's likely to go. MORE...