Homophobic President Fights DOMA In Court

Obviously, it’s not as important as PBO actually attending Rachel Maddow’s wedding, but hey, it’s something:

DOJ: Court Should Find DOMA Unconstitutional

Today, the Department of Justice filed a brief in federal court employee Karen Golinski’s federal court challenge, supporting her lawsuit seeking access to equal health benefits for her wife and arguing strongly that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional in terms unparalleled in previous administration statements.
In a brief filed on behalf of the Office of Personnel Management and other federal defendants, DOJ acknowledged the U.S. government’s “significant and regrettable role” in discrimination in America against gays and lesbians.

The summary of the DOJ argument that Golinski’s case should not be dismissed begins simply: “Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. Section 7 (‘DOMA’), unconstitutionally discriminates.”

Unlike in other cases where DOJ has stopped defending DOMA in accordance with President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision that Section 3 of DOMA — the federal definition of marriage — is unconstitutional, DOJ lawyers today made an expansive case in a 31-page filing that DOMA is unconstitutional.

// more

*****************************************************************************

Michael Tomasky is just awesome.

Why the GOP Loves the Debt

Republicans portray themselves as champions of fiscal responsibility. But as Michael Tomasky argues, they need the debt to push through their radical and unpopular agenda.

/// Go read it and spread it!

***************************************************************************

*
Wonkette: Mitt Romney Visits Abandoned Factory To Spread His Message of Doom

OH HEY, MITTENS. There he is, our weird stale friend Mitt Romney, hanging out in an empty field in front of an old, abandoned factory building. Is that the safest thing for a rich old white guy? No, but that is his campaign strategy! After cruising around the bombed-out parts of Detroit saying it was proof that the auto bailout was a total disaster for everybody, Romney is doing his production of “America is Terrible Part II” over in Pennsylvania, standing outside a shuttered factory where Obama once gave a stimulus speech in order to prove that factories everywhere hated Obama’s miserable stimulus dollars.

Predictably, the factory shutdown was not because of the stimulus, but Mittens just really wanted to stand in the same spot where Obama stood, just for a second, so he could also feel like president.

From the Washington Post:

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski (D) said in an interview that Obama’s policies did not lead to the factory’s closure. The plant reportedly had longtime financial troubles.

“I don’t think Mitt Romney should be criticizing our community and this economy, because he has no clue why this plant closed — and it had nothing to do with President Obama,” Pawlowski said.

We are excited to see which terrifying place Mitt visits next and what Obama policy he blames for it. A trailer park full of children with rickets because of health care reform? A school full of illiterate seventh graders because of support for education funding? That would make an excellent third part for a “trilogy of doom.”

“Halperin showed America exactly what he thinks of America’s first black president”

Couple of incredible articles from blackamericaweb.

Michael H. Cottman:

///

Halperin quickly apologized on the air Thursday. MSNBC suspended him indefinitely hours later, saying Halperin’s comment was completely inappropriate and unacceptable. The network apologized to Obama.

Not good enough.

If these are remarks that political analysts like Halperin make on the set of MSNBC, imagine what people like Halperin are saying about Obama behind closed doors. Halperin’s tainted comments may have reflected the deep-rooted feelings of some of his colleagues who are smart enough not to speak their truth on national television.

///

Perhaps Halperin is just the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. One Washington, D.C. insider told me that Halperin initially refused to accept responsibility for his screwball comments and tried to blame a producer for his perverted remarks.

Halperin showed America exactly what he thinks of America’s first black president. He revealed to a national audience that he has no respect for Obama or the presidency.

Maybe Halperin called the president that name because Obama stood firm Wednesday and challenged Republicans to help families who are struggling, insisting that Republicans agree to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and eliminate tax breaks for oil companies and corporate jet owners.

Halperin may have been annoyed that Obama – a black man – is pushing back against a Republican assault, and that show of steadfast determination, in Halperin’s view, was objectionable.

Whatever was going on inside Halperin’s warped mind, Obama didn’t deserve to be called a dick.

//

The only way Halperin will seriously regret his comments will be if MSNBC fires him. MSNBC should send a strong message to all television political analysts that it’s not appropriate to denigrate the president of the United States.

There are many Americans who probably agree with Halperin’s characterization of Obama and are privately hoping that this calamity blows over. But if MSNBC gives Halperin a pass and he returns to his network job to analyze Obama, then MSNBC is no better than Fox.

Where do you think Roland Martin would be now if he called George Bush a dick while broadcasting on CNN?

******************************************************************************

Tom Joyner:

//

About a month ago, I wrote a blog about Tavis Smiley and decided to table it because I said some things I didn’t want to publish. You’re probably thinking I went too hard him, but no. In reality, I hadn’t gone hard enough – and I knew it. I said I’d wait until something pissed me off so bad that I would have the words harsh enough to express what I was really feeling about him and his side piece – I mean side kick – Cornel West.

Well, yesterday, when Mark Halperin – a well-respected journalist, employed by a well-respected magazine and a contributor to a well-respected news network – had the audacity to call the president of the United States a dick, that was all I needed.

While I am appalled at Halperin’s statement, I have no expectations of him as a man and know nothing about his character. I am appalled, however, that as editor-at-large of Time magazine, he is responsible for among other things, deciding what stories will be covered in that publication. As the person in charge of political content, it is upsetting to know that he probably has not been objective in his dealings with material I and so many people look forward to (until now) reading each week. Needless to say, I’ve cancelled my subscription to Time magazine and hope you will too.

But I’m even more disgusted with Smiley and West, two brothers who I did have expectations of – and thought I knew. These two have done much worse than what Halperin has done because they set the tone for it, opened the door to it, and must take much of the blame for creating a climate that would make a white, professional journalist feel comfortable verbally and vulgarly attacking the first black president of the United States.

//

In case you believe I think Tavis and Cornel called the president an offensive name, I don’t. I think they did something even worse. Any black people with any sense know that racists on the job, at school, at church or on the bus wait for opportunities to feel comfortable enough to spew their evil thoughts. If a black person tells a racist joke in front of a racist or laughs at one, it won’t be long before the racist begins to fire off a couple of his own. Mark Halperin and others are no different. They hate the president because he is black, and Tavis and Cornel, by not having the sense to not give them the opening they waited for, went all in. And this is what we get.

So, yes, MSNBC, fire Mark Halperin. I hope he never works again. I’ve already fired Tavis and Cornel. There’s nothing either can ever do for me or with me again.

I’ve got a new D-word for the two of them: Done.

Ass, meet your kicker!

Okay, that press conference was sweet. And the professional left freak out over us not willing to accept their nonsense anymore is sweet. And ex-Scalia-clerk ruling health care reform constitutional is sweet.

Greg Sargent: Obama picks fight with GOP over tax cuts for the rich

The primary goal of President Obama’s presser, which just wrapped up, was obvious: He was clearly out to pick a major public fight with Republicans over tax cuts for the rich. Obama mounted a surprisingly aggressive moral case for ending high end tax cuts, casting it as a test of our society’s priorities, and argued — crucially — that anyone who fails to support ending them is fundamentally unserious about the deficit.

// more

*****************************************************************************

Chris Cillizza: Obama the confrontational

President Obama had a simple message for congressional Republicans in a press conference Wednesday: Stand up and lead.

Obama, often in harsh and stark terms, condemned the approach that House and Senate Republicans have adopted in the final stretch of the negotiations surrounding the increase in the nation’s debt limit.

“They’re in one week, they’re out one week,” said Obama of Congress. “And then they’re saying Obama needs to step in. I’ve been here.”

He repeatedly challenged Republicans to make compromises in order to adopt a truly “balanced approach” to the debt deal; “Call me naive, but my expectation is leaders are going to lead,” he said.

Obama’s confrontational approach toward Congress extended beyond the debt negotiations — seeping into answers he gave on job creation, the broader economy and Libya.

On each issue, Obama cast himself as the adult in the room and Congress as an irresponsible child — unwilling to sacrifice their desire to score political points for the good of the country.

// more

*****************************************************************************

politicususa: Obama Seizes The Bully Pulpit And Tells Congress To Do Their Job

Obama described the debt ceiling deadline as, “The yellow light is flashing but it hasn’t been a red light yet. . . . By August 2, we run out of tools to make sure that all our bills are paid.” If the U.S. defaults, “the consequences for the U.S. economy will be significant and unpredictable.”

The president hinted that his two daughters have a better work ethic than Congress, “Malia and Sasha generally finish their homework a day ahead of time. . . . They’re not pulling all nighters. They’re 13 and 10. You know, Congress can do the same thing. If you know you’ve got to do something, just do it.” Obama then contrasted his schedule with that of Congress, “I’m here. I’ve been dealing with Afghanistan, the debt crisis, Greece. I’m here. Congress is in one week, out the next.”

Obama then delivered the money quote of the press conference, “We have meetings and discussions and … [then] they decide they’re not happy with the fact that at some point you have to make a choice. They all step back and say — ‘The president needs to get this done.’ At a certain point they need to do their job.” Obama then hinted that Congress might be kept in session until they actually do their jobs.

// more

***************************************************************************

And, if you didn’t read Andrew Sullivan’s excellent defense of PBO’s gay rights record and work, you should.

*****************************************************************************

“President Obama Wants to Scrap $72 Billion Corporate Tax Break as Republicans Balk” (Updated with new Souza stuff)

Hi guys,

First, our money-bomb week is in full force: here and here.

*************************************************************************

*
Today’s schedule:

9:50 AM PBO receives the presidential daily briefing.

10:30 AM PBO and VPB meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

12:30 PM Carney briefs the press.

1:35 PM PBO welcomes the MLS champion Colorado Rapids to the White House.
5:00 PM PBO and VPB meet with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

*************************************************************************

You think we’ll hear anything about from the PL?

Obama Wants to Scrap $72 Billion Corporate Tax Break as Republicans Balk

Barack Obama’s proposal to end a business tax break worth $72 billion is among the tensions the president may confront as he meets today with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in an effort to revive bipartisan talks over reducing the debt, three persons familiar with the issue say.

Ending the so-called last-in-first-out, or LIFO, provision, a method of accounting for inventory costs, was among options offered by White House officials for raising $400 billion in revenue over 10 years during seven weeks of negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to comment publicly.

// more

******************************************************************************
*

Few excellent things to read and SPREAD:

Obama DREAMs On

The DREAM Act is dead in Congress, but the White House is quietly moving to limit deportations of undocumented immigrants with strong ties to the US.

Hamstrung by a politically deadlocked Congress, the Obama administration is using executive authority to shape immigration policy instead. Obama’s immigration chief has advised officials to take pause before moving to deport certain undocumented immigrants who are particularly vulnerable or have strong community ties to the country—some of whom may have qualified for the DREAM Act, the bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for certain students, military veterans, and other undocumented youth that’s currently stalled in Congress.

//

According to the memo, there is a range of factors that federal agents, attorneys, and other officials should consider in deciding whether or not to pursue an individual undocumented immigrant for deportation. The list of “factors to consider” includes whether they are military veterans and their families, have family ties and “contributions to the community,” act as caretakers of the infirm and disabled, are very young or very old, or are pregnant or nursing.

In addition, the Obama administration instructs federal officials to weigh the circumstances of immigrants’ arrival to the US—especially if they came as young children—and whether they’ve graduated from high school, college, or are currently pursuing higher education. The memo explicitly states that no groups of immigrants are categorically excluded from deportation if they fit these criteria. But it emphasizes the need to “warrant particular care” when it comes to particular individuals, while advising officials to target serious felons, repeat offenders, known gang members and immigration fraudsters, and those “who pose a clear risk to national security.”

Pro-immigration advocates have cheered the memo for its potential to blunt the most punitive parts of the existing immigration law through the executive branch, in the face of Congressional inaction on the issue.

// more

******************************************************************************

*

Obama shifts from consensus to instincts on key calls

The Obama administration’s top national security officials were gathered around the polished wooden table of the White House Situation Room to hear Gen. David H. Petraeus argue for a slow drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The military needed time, he said, to secure the eastern part of the country as it had done in the south.

President Obama quickly made clear his disagreement. More important, he said, was the administration’s goal of shifting responsibility for the country’s security to the Afghan government, which would let him bring home troops.

As a senior administration official put it, “He asked everyone, if we’re serious about transition, then when? When are we going to do it?”

“Everybody came out of that meeting knowing the president wanted to go this direction,” said the official who described the scene, “even though it wasn’t the pace that Gen. Petraeus was recommending.” A week later, last Wednesday, Obama announced plans to withdraw the 33,000 “surge” troops he sent to Afghanistan.
To some who had attended the meeting, the encounter — and the president’s willingness to overrule key advisors — brought to mind another meeting four and a half months earlier.

On that occasion, Obama and his top advisors were discussing the rapidly unfolding events in Egypt. Most top administration officials had been advising the president against calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

But as the discussion went along, the television monitors in the Situation Room showed an angry crowd in Cairo’s Tahrir Square yelling, “Leave! Leave! Leave!” in response to Mubarak’s televised speech refusing to resign.

Obama watched, and then told his aides, “Look, guys, this is not going to go back into the box.” The president said he would call Mubarak and tell him to step down, and he would deliver a public statement calling for a transition to begin immediately.

The decision took aides by surprise. In retrospect, it seemed a sign of things to come.

In the first two years of Obama’s presidency, his top aides had grown accustomed to a process in which Obama drew out and explored the views of his full team and searched for a consensus — decision by ballot, some called it.

Increasingly, however, that process has changed, according to a wide group of Obama’s personal friends, informal advisors and top aides interviewed during the spring. In recent months, they say, the president has been relying more heavily on his own instincts and feeling less impelled to seek accord among advisors.

// more

*****************************************************************************

*

Hope still part of Obama campaign message for 2012

CHICAGO — Immediately inside President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters is a sign counting down days to the election (507 as of Saturday ) and a poster that reads, “Respect. Empower. Include. Win.”

The words are set against familiar Obama blue but carry the feel of something from a motivational bin at Staples, a subtle reminder of the challenge facing the re-election effort taking shape on an entire floor of the Prudential building in downtown Chicago.

Voters in 2008 gravitated in waves to Obama’s promise of “hope” and “change,” transforming slogans into the powerful ethos of a movement. But Obama is an insider now — the target of Republican calls for change — and hope has been buffeted by a poor economy, spiraling national debt and relentless partisan rancor in Washington.

To persuade Americans to stick with him in 2012, an array of strategists say, Obama will have to find the right balance of past and future, emphasizing accomplishments while promising to guide the country out of a still dark time.

“At the end of the day, he’s got to talk about hope again,” said Garry South, a Democratic strategist based in California. “Not in the theoretical way he did in 2008; rather that if ‘we all pull together, there will be a better tomorrow.’ ”

Obama’s team indicates the emphasis will be along those lines, though only hints are given of an overarching theme.

“Elections are always about the future. This president has taken on some difficult issues and fights with the future in mind. We’re pressing forward here,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist.

/// more, and very interesting.

*****************************************************************************
*
*
And how sweet is this?

Obama fulfils promise as 9/11 victim’s teen daughter meets Justin Bieber

New York, June 27: US President Barack Obama has made a 9/11 victim’s teenage daughter’s dream of meeting her heartthrob Justin Bieber come true.
For Payton Wall from New Jersey, meeting the teen music sensation was really an uplifting moment after suffering the tragic death of her father in the attacks on the Twin Towers.

Obama brightened her life by making good on his promise to set up a meeting with his ‘buddy’ Bieber, after a request from the teen at last month’s Ground Zero wreath laying ceremony.

“It was so cool. I couldn’t even believe it,” the New York Post quoted her as saying.

Wall got a private sit-down with the Canadian crooner at Macy’s in Herald Square, along with her sister Avery and best friend Madison Roberson.

They met Bieber just moments after a near-riot among fans outside the store where the singer was promoting his fragrance ‘Someday.’

“He just said ‘Hi’,” said Payton, admitting that she was more nervous being around Bieber than the president.

:)

****************************************************************************

*

New Souza wonder:

*

“As long as economic recovery would work to the political benefit of Barack Obama, the Republicans have been, are, and will be in favor of sabotaging the economy”

Not a big revelation, but still a terrific and really upsetting piece from Michael Tomasky:

It’s about time the Democrats started saying openly what has been clear for months or even years now—that as long as economic recovery would work to the political benefit of Barack Obama, the Republicans have been, are, and will be in favor of sabotaging the economy. Senators Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin made the point in a press conference in the Capitol Thursday. Noting that his GOP colleagues are coming out against business tax cuts (read that again: Republicans against tax cuts for businesses) that Democrats happen to support, Schumer said, “It almost makes you wonder if they aren’t trying to slow down the economic recovery for political gain.” Well, not almost. Certainly. And I don’t “wonder.” I think it’s obvious. But this is a start.

Washington is a city of conspiracies, but far and away the most pernicious one is the fiction, in which one must participate if one wants to be regarded as a “serious” person, that both parties are more or less equally to blame for the present malfunctioning of our democracy. One hears this all the time at the sort of panels, dinners, and seminars I attend. The topic is our energy future, our fiscal prospects, whatever. Discussion turns to obvious remedies, which inevitably involve the government taking some minimal amount of action, or the investment of a few modest public shekels. The symposiast will then note, sighing forlornly, that we appear to be light years away from consummating even these modest actions. He will then bemoan a vague “lack of political will” or “absence of leadership” as the reason for the inertia.
Nonsense. There’s nothing vague about it. It’s crystal clear. We can’t do these things because of the extreme nature of the Republican Party and the right-wing noise machine that enforces such rigid ideological purity. Period and end of story. I think most people at these panels and dinners know this deep down. But it’s thought impolite to say it. Often it’s a technical violation of law to say it,

/// More, and a must read

*
*
********************************************************************************

Mitt Romeny, crook and liar:

Mitt Romney released a much-discussed new video today that hammers away at the “Obama Misery Index” and features one Ryan King of Midland, Michigan, who has fallen on hard times. King, a recent college grad, talks in somber, apolitical tones about his economic situation, claiming he has $3 to his name and that he eats bologna sandwiches because they’re cheap.

“Frustration is the big word,” King says, claiming that prospective employers want experience, even for jobs he’s qualified for. “My hands are tied…how am I gonna get experience if no one will hire me in?”

“Is it my fault that I can’t get a job?” he says. “To a certain point, you just start losing faith in yourself.”

It turns out there’s a bit more to King’s story than that, though.

In 2009, King was identified in the local press as the vice treasurer for the Midland County Young Republicans. He seems to have been a local Republican operative since; his Facebook page shows him partying away at the 2011 state GOP convention.

King’s employment history is also unclear. As late as May, he boasted on his Facebook page of getting a job at Quality Marketing Enterprise in Midland, as a marketing accounts rep. “Got the job, booya!!!” he exclaimed.

// more

*************************************************************************
*
*


*
*
***********************************************************************
*

You can’t touch the swagger, you just can’t.

*
*

**********************************************************************

*

This is simply awesome:

“For the first time in ten years, the light at the end of the tunnel of the U.S. war in Afghanistan is suddenly visible”

Michael Cohen:

To understand the implications of President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan this evening, perhaps the best place to start is not with what he said tonight in public, but what he allegedly said in private 18 months ago. Then, as he was making the decision to take the advice of his military and surge 30,000 troops to fight a war he had inherited, the President posed a leading question to his top general:

Inside the Oval Office, Obama asked Petraeus, “David, tell me now. I want you to be honest with me. You can do this in 18 months?”

“Sir, I’m confident we can train and hand over to the ANA [Afghan National Army] in that time frame,” Petraeus replied.

“Good. No problem,” the president said. “If you can’t do the things you say you can in 18 months, then no one is going to suggest we stay, right?”

“Yes, sir, in agreement,” Petraeus said.

Tonight the bill on that promise came due. Reporter Bob Woodward’s 2010 book-length account of the Obama administration’s decision to escalate in Afghanistan shows Obama siding with Petraeus in 2009, but only ambivalently and conditionally, and in a way that suggested he was willing to give the counterinsurgency strategy a chance but was not convinced of its success. If there is one overriding takeaway from Obama’s speech tonight, it is that the same President who 18 months ago was led by his generals into an escalation that he didn’t appear to fully support has now taken back control of his policy in Afghanistan. Right now, that means leading U.S. strategy down the path of de-escalation. As Obama said, this not the end of the war in Afghanistan, but it’s certainly the beginning of America’s effort to “wind down the war.”

// more serious non-hair-on-fire read

“Obama makes good on his promise…growing from a cautious new President into a commander in chief asserting control over the military”

Hi guys,

Today’s busy schedule:
10:00 AM
PBO and VPB meet with House Democratic Leadership.

12:45 PM
PBO departs the South Lawn en route Joint Base Andrews.

1:00 PM
PBO departs Joint Base Andrews en route Fort Drum, New York.

2:15 PM
PBO arrives Fort Drum, New York.

2:30 PM
PBO meets with soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division.

3:10 PM
PBO meets with Gold Star Families.

4:15 PM
PBO departs Fort Drum en route New York City, New York.

5:10 PM
PBO arrives New York City, New York.

7:05 PM
PBO delivers remarks at a DNC event.
Sheraton Hotel and Towers

8:00 PM
PBO delivers remarks at a DNC event.
Daniel

9:50 PM
PBObama delivers remarks at a DNC event.
Broadway Theatre

11:05 PM Obama departs New York City, New York en route Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

**************************************************************************

***********************************************************************

Ryan Lizza:

Tonight, President Obama will announce a timetable for withdrawing the “surge” troops sent to Afghanistan that is bolder than many expected. Though the news is slightly surprising, it’s worth noting that Obama’s aides have been arguing for a very long time that the President was serious about the Afghan withdrawal. This past spring, when I was reporting on Obama’s foreign policy, here’s what Ben Rhodes, a deputy national-security adviser, told me about drawing down troops:

We’ve done that in Iraq. And in Afghanistan, we’re going to begin to implement that approach in July. But there shouldn’t be any doubt about that. And anybody who does doubt that should just look at how the President kept his commitment in Iraq. When he says he’s going to steadily draw down U.S. forces, he means what he says.

One of the themes of my piece about Obama’s foreign policy was that the President seemed to be growing in office as he dealt with a series of complicated foreign-policy crises. Two case studies of that growth and confidence are the evolution in his policy on democracy in the Middle East and the evolution of his policy on Afghanistan. On the former, Obama moved from a crabbed realist pose to a more risky but principled embrace of democracy, even at the expense of stability. On Afghanistan, it is a story of Obama growing from a cautious new President, overly deferential to his military advisers, into a commander in chief asserting control over them.

*****************************************************************************

Sullivan:

There is, as with the Iraq withdrawal, no triumphalism. But destroying half of al Qaeda’s leadership, including Osama bin Laden, as Americans struggle in a stubbornly sluggish economy, is good enough. The longest war in the history of America will come to an end … in three years’ time. It will have lasted thirteen years. And Obama’s pragmatism – his refusal to embrace either the Full McCain Jacket or the impulse to just get the hell out of there ASAP – has helped him.

//

For more than 200 years, the United States would not have dreamed of occupying Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires. We intervened in a just cause, and, thanks to Obama’s callibrated resilience and new focus on al Qaeda, and the brilliance and bravery of the armed forces, we have done our job. We can never care more about a country’s future security than the people of that country care about it themselves. That much we have learned. And the core goals of that original impulse have been achieved. The perpetrator of 9/11 is dead, and, more to the point, discredited. And the neoconservative dream of a democratizing Arab world as the only ultimate solution to the threat of Islamism has come true.

Because the United States did not impose it.

************************************************************************

Chris Good:

// snip

The president’s delivery was good — crisp, decisive-sounding, not much hesitation or deliberation in his voice. The speech was well rehearsed, which was how Obama probably needed to sound.
But we saw, on Wednesday night, a president clearly pulled in different directions. Obama’s speech was aimed at a domestic audience mostly opposed to the war. We heard promises that the war, really, is going to end. “Afghans are fighting and dying for their country,” Obama told us, speaking to those who may think Americans shouldn’t be fighting and dying for Afghanistan. Most of the explanations for why we’re there, given by Obama tonight, involved the attacks of 9/11. It was, in many ways, an anti-war speech, not justifying a continued, nation-building presence, but justifying Obama’s own foreign policy — advertising a minor drawdown, sometimes echoing the buzzwords of opposition to president George W. Bush’s wars. At the same time, the president advertised progress.

// more

***********************************************************************

Michael Tomasky:

The president of the United States, whether it’s Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Charlie Sheen, has one chief job here: to make sure that Afghanistan does not fall back under Taliban control. That’s a president’s bottom line, period. Imagine that you are the president and one day—let us say a day during the year when you’re seeking reelection—the headlines blare that the Taliban are back in Kabul, just as they were in 1996. You are in all likelihood finished politically. More importantly, you have arguably exposed your country to further harm. That would be any president’s bottom line, more than a “war-weary” public, more than your electoral base, more than anything. And let’s face it, it’s especially true for a Democrat.

//
So I cut Obama more slack on this question than a lot of people do. There will be complaints that drawing down 33,000 troops by the end of 2012 means that 66,000—more than when he took office—will remain. Those people complaining aren’t the president.

// more

**********************************************************************

3,000 kisses!

Hi guys, interrupting my break to open a new thread, and especially to thank you for this. You are all heroes.  
*
I know that it’s easy to get discouraged by the Nutroots pathetic noise, but noise is all they can produce. They are worthless, and more and more people see them for what they really are. And, what they really are. And, what they really are. And, what they really are. At the same time, today is OFA national day of action, and judging from my Twitter, it’s going very well and on a much much bigger scale than fringe. People are actually OUT THERE, registering voters, talking to people, making a difference:

*

Have a great weekend and happy father’s day. See you soon.

So far ahead of everyone (Updated)

No wonder half the country hates Barack Obama. He is like a president from the year 2050, trying to govern a country stuck in 1950. This NYT front page story is just amazing:

U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors

The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks.

The effort includes secretive projects to create independent cellphone networks inside foreign countries, as well as one operation out of a spy novel in a fifth-floor shop on L Street in Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs who look as if they could be in a garage band are fitting deceptively innocent-looking hardware into a prototype “Internet in a suitcase.”

Financed with a $2 million State Department grant, the suitcase could be secreted across a border and quickly set up to allow wireless communication over a wide area with a link to the global Internet.

The American effort, revealed in dozens of interviews, planning documents and classified diplomatic cables obtained by The New York Times, ranges in scale, cost and sophistication.

Some projects involve technology that the United States is developing; others pull together tools that have already been created by hackers in a so-called liberation-technology movement sweeping the globe.

The State Department, for example, is financing the creation of stealth wireless networks that would enable activists to communicate outside the reach of governments in countries like Iran, Syria and Libya, according to participants in the projects.

In one of the most ambitious efforts, United States officials say, the State Department and Pentagon have spent at least $50 million to create an independent cellphone network in Afghanistan using towers on protected military bases inside the country. It is intended to offset the Taliban’s ability to shut down the official Afghan services, seemingly at will.

//

The effort has picked up momentum since the government of President Hosni Mubarak shut down the Egyptian Internet in the last days of his rule. In recent days, the Syrian government also temporarily disabled much of that country’s Internet, which had helped protesters mobilize.

The Obama administration’s initiative is in one sense a new front in a longstanding diplomatic push to defend free speech and nurture democracy. For decades, the United States has sent radio broadcasts into autocratic countries through Voice of America and other means. More recently, Washington has supported the development of software that preserves the anonymity of users in places like China, and training for citizens who want to pass information along the government-owned Internet without getting caught.

But the latest initiative depends on creating entirely separate pathways for communication. It has brought together an improbable alliance of diplomats and military engineers, young programmers and dissidents from at least a dozen countries, many of whom variously describe the new approach as more audacious and clever and, yes, cooler.

// much much more

*
*
*
And then, there’s this:

High unemployment numbers may be good for Republicans in the next election, which makes it disturbing that Republican leaders have blocked any discussion of stimulus policies that might succeed in putting people back to work.

// more

*
*

“Under Bush, terrorists were ‘elusive’, and ‘masters of disguise’. Under President Obama, terrorists are dead”

This, from Booman, is just *this*.

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was actually indicted in a U.S. court for his role in the African Embassy Bombings of 1998. But he didn’t turn himself in, so now he’s dead.

//

The official word is that he was killed at checkpoint by Somalian security forces. Maybe, in this case, Obama was just lucky. Who knows? I’ll take a lucky president over a bumbling one.

This is how a war on terrorists should have looked. Instead of big invading and occupying armies that chewed up our treasury, we should have methodically tracked down the people who were directly responsible and either captured them and put them on trial in normal courts or killed them if that wasn’t possible.

The geniuses around Bush left us broke with a prison we can’t close, prisoners we can’t prosecute or let go, broken countries we can’t leave, a reputation for torture, and enough resentment to last many generations.

The mess Bush left was epic. So epic.

*****************************************************************************

And this, from deaniac, is even more *this* (Please go read it all):

// snip

He’s the President who pulled us back from the brink of a full on economic disaster, whatever his detractors on either side of the political pendulum have to say about it. He is the President who revitalized the American auto industry. He’s the president who passed health care reform that that presidents and Congresses have been talking about for over a half a century. He’s the president who put common sense rules of the road back in the financial industry through the most sweeping regulatory reform since the Great Depression. He’s the president who streamlined student loans and signed into law a credit card bill of rights and women’s equal pay for women. He’s the president who more significantly expanded the rights of LGBT Americans than any before him, including repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, ensuring hospitals honor the relationships of same sex couples and offering Medicaid protections to gay couples.

He’s the president who has ended or is ending two wars. He’s the president who’s securing loose nukes and reducing nuclear warheads. Oh, and AxelFoley pointed out below in the comments, President Obama is the President who took out Osama bin Laden.

I am no historian, but I think those are among things history is likely to say about President Obama.