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TomCADem

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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,071

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Bob Woodward To Hannity: I Never Called WH Email A 'Threat,'

Source: Huffington Post

Bob Woodward set about trying to defend himself on Thursday night from the widespread derision that has greeted his account of his hostile exchange with White House economic adviser Gene Sperling.

Woodward spoke to his own newspaper, the Washington Post, and appeared on Sean Hannity's Fox News show to discuss the now infamous emails between himself and Sperling. On Wednesday, Woodward set the media world chattering when he told Wolf Blitzer that Sperling's email —which said, in part, that, "as a friend," he thought Woodward would "regret" a hotly contested claim he was making about the Obama administration's handling of the budget sequester — had made him "very uncomfortable." He did not dispute Blitzer's comment that he had been "threatened" by Sperling. Nor did he quarrel with the Politico editors who interviewed him and wrote, "Woodward [made] clear he saw it as a veiled threat."

When the emails were released in full by Politico on Thursday, though, their cordial tone angered many journalists, who thought Woodward had mischaracterized the nature of the exchange.

* * *
Critics also noted the chumminess between Woodward and Hannity. After the Fox News host cricitzed the press for not looking into President Obama's associations with Bill Ayers, Woodward said, "I agree with that." He also lavished praise on Hannity, saying, "You let me say what I want. You dig into things. You — there is no bleep-out button.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/bob-woodward-hannity-white-house-threat_n_2785739.html



If there is any upside to Bob Woodard's backpedaling on Sean Hannity of all shows is that it exposes how many "mainstream" journalists are nothing more than shills for the right wing.

As noted in this review of Bob Woodard's 2012 Book, the Price of Politics, Woodard's work on President Obama offered no new information and, if anything, told more about Woodard's right wing bias, then the President:

http://www.newrepublic.com/book/review/bob-woodward-price-of-politics

Flashback - Review of Bob Woodard's Book on Obama (2012) - Notes Lack of New Info and Bias

The New Republic will never be confused with Mother Jones, yet here is a review from Bob Woodard's last book, The Price of Politics, in October 2012, which notes (1) that Bob Woodard's book offers no new information and (2) that is reveals more about Bob Woodard's bias than President Obama:

http://www.newrepublic.com/book/review/bob-woodward-price-of-politics#

So it goes with The Price of Politics. Critics have complained about the tediousness of this latest Woodward volume, which focuses mostly on the debt-ceiling negotiations between the White House and Republicans during the summer of 2011. The reviews in The New York Times and The Washington Post point out that the ground has been tilled by a succession of other writers, most exhaustively by Matt Bai of The New York Times. But I didn’t find Woodward’s book unusually tedious. In fact, I learned a lot from it. What I found it to be was remarkably slanted.

This was all the more jarring because Woodward is famous for his distinct lack of slant. His books are scrupulously reported but annoyingly literal. At their worst, they read more like stenography than fully hatched stories. The only hint of a worldview he injects is the worldview of the establishment. He reflexively flatters the powerful.

So in one sense the book is a departure: it is relentlessly biased against the president. Woodward argues that the White House and Congress failed to reach a major deficit-reduction deal last summer because Obama didn’t provide the necessary leadership, even though this thesis is untethered from Woodward’s own reporting, to say nothing of reality.

But, in another sense, the book is perfectly in sync with Woodward’s oeuvre. There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency: he hadn’t put in his time before running, didn’t grasp the majesty of the office, evinced no respect for the way things were done. He not only won without courting the city’s elders, he had the bad manners to keep his distance even after winning. This is the view Woodward distills.

Ezra Klein - "On the sequester, the American people ‘moved the goalposts’"

Ezra Klein has a nice explanation that destroys Bob Woodard's argument that President Obama is "moving the goal posts" by not agreeing to spendings cut only to avoid the sequester.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/23/on-the-sequester-the-american-people-moved-the-goalposts/

I don’t agree with my colleague Bob Woodward, who says the Obama administration is “moving the goalposts” when they insist on a sequester replacement that includes revenues. I remember talking to both members of the Obama administration and the Republican leadership in 2011, and everyone was perfectly clear that Democrats were going to pursue tax increases in any sequester replacement, and Republicans were going to oppose tax increases in any sequester replacement. What no one knew was who would win.

“Moving the goal posts” isn’t a concept that actually makes any sense in the context of replacing the sequester. The whole point of the policy was to buy time until someone, somehow, moved the goalposts such that the sequester could be replaced.

Think back to July 2011. The problem was simple. Republicans wouldn’t agree to raise the debt ceiling without trillions of dollars in deficit reduction. Democrats wouldn’t agree to trillions of dollars in deficit reduction if it didn’t include significant tax increases. Republicans wouldn’t agree to significant tax increases. The political system was at an impasse, and in a few short days, that impasse would create a global financial crisis.

The sequester was a punt. The point was to give both sides a face-saving way to raise the debt ceiling even though the tax issue was stopping them from agreeing to a deficit deal. The hope was that sometime between the day the sequester was signed into law (Aug. 2, 2011) and the day it was set to go into effect (Jan. 1, 2013), something would…change.

Maddow Blog - "Woodward's unfortunate errors"

Nice article in Maddow Blog that destroys the new corporate media narrative that tries to blame sequestration on President Obama and Democrats and that tries to suggest that both sides are refusing to compromise:

http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/02/25/17086993-woodwards-unfortunate-errors

Over the weekend, there was quite a kerfuffle when Woodward, to the delight of far-right bloggers, jumped into the debate over this week's sequestration cuts, challenging some of the White House's key assertions. For one thing, Woodward insists the sequester was President Obama's idea. For another, Woodward wants the public to believe Obama is "moving the goal posts" by expecting Democrats and Republicans to reach a compromise including both spending cuts and revenue from closed tax loopholes. As far as the Washington Post reporter in concerned, sequestration cuts were supposed to be replaced entirely with different spending cuts, just as GOP policymakers demand.

Let's take these one at a time. The first point, which Republicans and reporters find needlessly fascinating, is quickly becoming farcical. Tim Noah argued that the White House came up with the sequestration policy "in roughly the same sense that it was Charles Lindbergh's bad idea eight decades ago to fork over the equivalent in today's dollars of $840,000 to a German-born carpenter named Bruno Hauptmann.... The sequester was a ransom payment." Noam Scheiber added that saying the sequester was Obama's idea is "like saying it was your idea to give wallet to mugger when he said, 'Your money or your life.'"

Republicans were threatening to crash the economy on purpose and Obama was scrambling to satisfy their demands before GOP lawmakers pulled the trigger and shot the hostage (which is to say, shot us).
The sequester then became part of the plan that Republicans proceeded to vote for and brag about, before they came up with the "this is all Obama's fault" talking point in the hopes of winning a bizarre public-relations fight.

After Republicans created a crisis, both sides created the sequester, and both sides now consider it dangerous. The point that matters, even if Very Serious People in Washington are reluctant to acknowledge it, is that only one side is prepared to compromise to resolve the problem.

New Yorker - "Is Senator Ted Cruz Our New McCarthy?"

Interestingly, Ted Cruz even resembles Joe McCarthy. I guess it is no surprise that Ted Cruz feels no shame about attacking the patriotism or loyalty of decorated war heroes. Why feel afraid when you have billions in Koch money behind you?

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/02/ted-cruz-sees-red-not-crimson-at-harvard.html?mbid=gnep&google_editors_picks=true

Last week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s prosecutorial style of questioning Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary, came so close to innuendo that it raised eyebrows in Congress, even among his Republican colleagues. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, called Cruz’s inquiry into Hagel’s past associations “out of bounds, quite frankly.” The Times reported that Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, rebuked Cruz for insinuating, without evidence, that Hagel may have collected speaking fees from North Korea. Some Democrats went so far as to liken Cruz, who is a newcomer to the Senate, to a darkly divisive predecessor, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, whose anti-Communist crusades devolved into infamous witch hunts. Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, stopped short of invoking McCarthy’s name, but there was no mistaking her allusion when she talked about being reminded of “a different time and place, when you said, ‘I have here in my pocket a speech you made on such-and-such a date,’ and of course there was nothing in the poc
ket.”

Boxer’s analogy may have been more apt than she realized. Two and a half years ago, Cruz gave a stem-winder of a speech at a Fourth of July weekend political rally in Austin, Texas, in which he accused the Harvard Law School of harboring a dozen Communists on its faculty when he studied there. Cruz attended Harvard Law School from 1992 until 1995. His spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request to discuss the speech.

Cruz made the accusation while speaking to a rapt ballroom audience during a luncheon at a conference called “Defending the American Dream,” sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a non-profit political organization founded and funded in part by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch. Cruz greeted the audience jovially, but soon launched an impassioned attack on President Obama, whom he described as “the most radical” President “ever to occupy the Oval Office.” (I was covering the conference and kept the notes.)

He then went on to assert that Obama, who attended Harvard Law School four years ahead of him, “would have made a perfect president of Harvard Law School.” The reason, said Cruz, was that, “There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”

Univision - "Obstacle to Reform? Top House Republican Opposes Path to Citizenship."

This just goes to show that beltway's media's effort to claim that Democrats share the blame for the failure to advance immigration reform are nothing more than pro-right wing propaganda. Republicans are not refusing to advance immigration reform simply because they don't like the President. Rather, Republicans want cater to their Xenophobic base, but get some credit from the Latino community for trying to pass immigration reform. Thus, they talk about immigration reform, then blame the President for their opposition.

http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/obstacle-reform-top-republican-opposes-path-citizenship/story?id=18559421

The head of the House committee tasked with overseeing the nation's immigration laws has come out squarely against a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, yet another sign that a comprehensive reform bill could face a tough road to passage.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) told NPR he opposes allowing many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States from eventually gaining full citizenship.

* * *

Goodlatte's comments should come as no surprise. He is a favorite of immigration restrictionist groups and has long voiced skepticism about a path to citizenship. Goodlatte called a path "extreme" during a committee hearing on immigration reform earlier this month.

But the congressman's comments are an indication that comprehensive immigration reform, which is supported by President Barack Obama, a bipartisan group of senators, and a majority of the American public, could still face significant trouble passing Congress.

NY Magazine - "John Boehner Traps Himself on the Sequester"

The Republican party continues to try to hide the fact that Boehner has no way of getting his caucas to vote for any deal. So, he continues to make mutually exclusive promises to his crazy caucas.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/02/john-boehner-traps-himself-on-the-sequester.html


John Boehner uses a Wall Street Journal op-ed today to signal his party’s strategy, such as it is, on the budget sequester. The main message is to blame President Obama for the budget sequester. Now, that part of the message is obviously untrue — the sequester was a way to escape an economic crisis ginned up by House Republicans, and Boehner himself touted it in 2011.

But the untruth of Boehner’s claim that Obama is the Father of the Sequester isn’t the real problem here — that fact will get buried in he-said, she-said reporting. The bigger problem with Boehner’s strategy is what comes next.

* * *
So what is Boehner’s play here? One possibility might be to just try to cancel out the sequester — perhaps in some sneaky way by replacing it with some future commission that would pretend to cut the deficit but really wouldn’t. The trouble here is that Boehner promised his own ultra wing he would carry it out earlier this year. The other possibility would be to just live with the sequester more or less permanently, or until Republicans can gain full control of government. The trouble here is that Boehner promised his defense hawk members the sequester would never go into effect. Conservative reporter Byron York notes that Boehner’s message — that the sequester is a disaster – totally undermines his chances of just sticking with the sequester.

* * *
It is actually a fascinating thing about Boehner. He keeps wedging himself into impossible situations and somehow escaping. One interpretation (put forward by Ross Douthat) is that he is a highly clever pol who manages to defuse crises. It could be. But it also seems that Boehner’s technique for escaping each crisis involves putting off irreconcilable promises. He got through the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the debt ceiling by promising his members a grand, successful clash the next time.

Maddowblog - "Reality 1, Boehner 0"

Once again, just another reminder why Republicans are the reason why Congress is dysfunctional and Boehner is the worse speaker ever.

http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/02/20/17030297-reality-1-boehner-0?lite

We're down to just nine days before brutal sequestration cuts kick in, undermining the economy, the military, and public needs. At this point, it'd be a mistake to suggest the bipartisan talks have stalled, since there no talks -- Democrats have unveiled a sequester alternative, and Republicans have not; Democrats have said they're open to compromise, and Republican have said they aren't. The probably of avoiding next week's mess is quickly approaching zero.

With this in mind, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has a 900-word op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on the subject, devoted almost entirely to a desperate attempt to avoid blame. In the larger context, it's only mildly annoying that Boehner invests more energy in pointing fingers than working on a solution, but it's far worse that the Speaker peddles blatant falsehoods, lacking enough respect for the public and the political world to be honest with them.
* * *
This is insane. As the president scrambled to pay the GOP's ransom, so Republicans wouldn't follow through on their threats to hurt Americans on purpose, Obama accepted over $1.2 trillion in spending cuts with no revenue. Boehner said that was inadequate. With time running out, the two leaders agreed to a sequester to give policymakers time for further fiscal talks. Obama pushed for a sequester that was 50% revenue, 50% cuts, but Boehner refused that, too. Eventually they agreed to 50% defense cuts, 50% non-defense domestic cuts, and the Speaker agreed to let the hostage live another day.

* * *
To call this "the president's sequester" is idiotic. Republicans demanded a ransom, and at the time, boasted about the sequester they said they put into the law. Boehner and his GOP cohorts voted for all of this, making it the nation's sequester.

* * *

FreedomWorks Made Video of Fake Giant Panda Having Sex With Fake Hillary Clinton

Source: Mother Jones

An internal investigation of FreedomWorks—the prominent conservative advocacy group and super-PAC—has focused on president Matt Kibbe's management of the organization, his use of its resources, and a controversial book deal he signed, according to former FreedomWorks officials who have met with the private lawyers conducting the probe. One potential topic for the inquiry is a promotional video produced last year under the supervision of Adam Brandon, executive vice president of the group and a Kibbe loyalist. The video included a scene in which a female intern wearing a panda suit simulates performing oral sex on Hillary Clinton.

In December, after months of bitter in-fighting, two members of FreedomWorks' board of trustees—C. Boyden Gray, the White House counsel for President George H.W. Bush, and James Burnley IV, a secretary of transportation during the Reagan years—notified Kibbe that they had received "allegations of wrongdoing by the organization or its employees" and had hired two lawyers, Alfred Regnery and David Martin, to investigate. Soon after, Regnery and Martin began interviewing past and present FreedomWorks employees and officials. This list included Dick Armey, the former House majority leader who in November resigned as chairman of the group (and pocketed an $8 million payout), citing concerns about the management of the organization. The investigating lawyers, Armey says, "picked my brain. I told them a forensic audit would be imperative because so much is hidden there."

One former FreedomWorks official says three "investigative themes" emerged when he was interviewed by Regnery and Martin. The two attorneys indicated they were examining the book deal that awarded Kibbe the profits from a book whose production, several former FreedomWorks officials say, involved extensive use of the organization's resources. Kibbe has contended that he wrote the book without significant help from FreedomWorks. (Armey and two former officials have also told Mother Jones that the nonprofit bought thousands of copies of Kibbe's book from retail sources in an attempt to land it on bestsellers lists. FreedomWorks, one former staffer says, "used tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, to promote this book."

The investigative team has also discussed with former staffers Kibbe's use of his expense account. "The question is whether Matt Kibbe used FreedomWorks resources and donor funds to live the high life," one past staffer says. And Regnery and Martin have questioned FreedomWorks sources about management and personnel matters. A former FreedomWorks official says Kibbe and Brandon ran the group as a "cult of personality" geared toward promoting Kibbe, and that Kibbe at times issued crude guidelines for hiring women based on their appearance. The investigators, according to a witness interviewed by them, have "asked about a hostile work environment that also included Adam [Brandon] pitting people against each other."


Read more: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/panda-hillary-clinton-sex-tape-freedomworks-matt-kibbe-dick-armey



Stay classy Freedom Works. I guess Republicans are continuing their decent into right wing madness with Ted Cruz now openly accusing fellow Republican Hagel of being an Iranian agent. The fact that the media simply lets them say the most childish, insane shit without any blowback is the reason why Republicans continue to try to out-crazy each other.

Big Corporations Put Up Seed Funding for Republican Dark Money Group

Source: ProPublica

Some of the nation’s biggest corporations donated more than a million dollars to launch a Republican nonprofit that went on to play a key role in recent political fights.

Like the nonprofit groups that poured money into last year’s elections, the decade-old State Government Leadership Foundation has been able to keep the identities of its funders secret. Until now.

A records request by ProPublica to the IRS turned up a list of the original funders of the group: Exxon, Pfizer, Time Warner, and other corporations put up at least 85 percent of the $1.3 million the foundation raised in the first year and a half of its existence, starting in 2003.

The donor list is stamped “not for public disclosure,” and was submitted to the IRS as part of the foundation’s application for recognition of tax-exempt status. If approved, such applications are public records.


Read more: http://www.propublica.org/article/big-corporations-put-up-seed-money-for-republican-nonprofit



Despite all the recent re-branding efforts of the Republican party, the fact of the matter is that it is still the same old Republican party with multinationals and billionaires pulling the strings from the shadows.
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