Good Morning and Happy Summer Solstice!!
Hillary is in the news this morning, so I thought I’d begin with her latest public remarks on the presidency. Claire McCaskill kicked off the Hillary talk on Tuesday when she said she was supporting a new superpac called Ready for Hillary.
“Hillary Clinton had to give up her political operation while she was making us proud, representing us around the world as an incredible Secretary of State, and that’s why Ready for Hillary is so critical,” McCaskill said in a statement released by the group. “It’s important that we start early, building a grassroots army from the ground up, and effectively using the tools of the Internet –- all things that President Obama did so successfully –- so that if Hillary does decide to run, we’ll be ready to help her win.”
McCaskill was one of the female Senators who abandoned Hillary to jump on the Obama bandwagon in 2008. Hillary gave her call after the announcement of support.
An early endorsement this week for a 2016 presidential run by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton merited a phone call from the potential candidate, according to Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Clinton made the call after the senator’s Tuesday announcement that she was endorsing a political action committee pushing a presidential run.
“She did call me after this all happened the other day,” the Missouri Democrat said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We had a great conversation. I’m not going to talk about what we said. But I think she’s got a big decision to make and I think she’s in the process of making it.”
McCaskill called the endorsement of Clinton an easy decision. “She is by far the strongest, most capable, most qualified candidate for President of the United States,” she said. “I am part of a lot of group of people, big huge group of people, that really wants her to run. And it seemed like coming out publicly and stating the obvious, that we all want her to run, was an important thing to do right now.”
Naturally, the corporate media is *concerned* about Hillary’s ambitions. The Washington Post sees “worries” for her in the new superpac.
The upstart super PAC, called Ready for Hillary, is fast emerging as the quasi-official stand-in for potential 2016 presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton, scooping up advisers and gathering big donations more than three years ahead of election time.
But the group is also making some advisers in Clinton’s orbit decidedly nervous about its potential impact on her own efforts, which for now consist of philanthropic pursuits and remaining mum on a presidential bid. Some allies also fear a repeat of 2008, when an assumed air of inevitability contributed to Clinton’s loss to fresh-faced challenger Barack Obama….
“It’s hard to even know what’s what any more,” said John Morgan, an Orlando lawyer who served on Bill Clinton’s 1996 national finance committee. “It’s become a cottage industry. It’s like, ‘Who are you?’ Just because you put the name ‘Hillary’ at the end of your PAC — it could be a bait and switch. I want to make sure I can get the biggest bang for my buck.”
Ready for Hillary — launched in January by Clinton boosters Adam Parkhomenko and Allida Black — is getting help from a number of veterans from Hillary and Bill Clinton’s political operation. Former Bill Clinton strategist Harold Ickes, former Clinton White House political director Craig Smith and former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Jim Lamb are advising the group on strategy, while longtime confidant James Carville recently sent out a fundraising solicitation under his name.
So what does Hillary herself have to say? Well she made a speech at the “Unique Lives and Experiences” conference in Toronto on Thursday, and she expressed a desire that many American women share. She wants to see a woman president in her lifetime. From Politico:
“Let me say this, hypothetically speaking, I really do hope that we have a woman president in my lifetime,” Clinton said in Toronto, before a women-centered event Thursday. “And whether it’s next time or the next time after that, it really depends on women stepping up and subjecting themselves to the political process, which is very difficult.”
She added that President Barack Obama’s election was historic, and said, “I hope that we will see a woman elected because I think it would send exactly the right historic signal to girls, women as well as boys and men. And I will certainly vote for the right woman to be president.” [….]
Friends and supporters of Clinton say she is genuinely undecided about whether to run again, even if some of the moves she is making now, immersing herself in domestic policy on issues affecting women and children that have been the core of her life’s work, would certainly be helpful if she launches another national campaign.
Yet that argument — the historic nature of a female president, combined with a pent-up desire among women voters to break that barrier — is the one most often espoused by Clinton backers.
Here’s the video that was posted to YouTube after the event.
In an “intimate” setting with 5,000 other people, Hillary reminisced about her life:
In a verbal stroll through her life, Clinton mentioned her mother’s difficult early years as an abandoned and mistreated child, she recalled the first time she ever heard the voice of her husband, former president Bill Clinton, back when he was a student, drawling about “the size of watermelons” in Arkansas. She mentioned the “extraordinary sense of anxiety” that she and every other American felt after the attacks of Sept. 11.
And she spoke candidly about how she had learned to cope with sexist attacks and snippy criticism about her hair, her clothes and all the things that don’t really define her.
“My attitude is different than it was 20 years ago,” she said. “I don’t care.”
The crowd clapped its approval.
“I learned to take criticism seriously but not personally” Clinton told her audience.
She is amazing. I so miss her as Secretary of State. In contrast John Kerry is so boring that he’s already become almost invisible. With Hillary as SOS, there were frequent stories about her travels with photos of her colorful outfits. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have her engaging personality, not to mention her valuable experience and brilliant mind in the White House?
In other news…
The news broke yesterday that Edward Snowden has been charged with three felonies. Most media outlets are reporting that has been charged with espionage, but so far that hasn’t been specifically stated by the government. From Politico:
Snowden was charged with conveying classified information to an unauthorized party, disclosing communications intelligence information, and theft of government property.
The charges, which can carry a penalty of up to ten years in prison on each count, were filed in federal court in Alexandria, Va., last Friday….
The charges were first reported Friday evening by the Washington Post, which said the complaint against Snowden was sealed. It’s not immediately clear whether the charges were unsealed before or after the Post report.
A Justice Department official confirmed Friday evening that a complaint was filed in the case, but declined further comment on the matter.
The Washington Post reported this morning that the charges were conveyed to Hong Kong authorities a week ago, but so far they seem to be dragging their feet about arresting Snowden.
The reason for the hold-up is unclear. There could be delays in the legal process for issuing the warrant. Or, officials may still be looking for Snowden, who is believed to be in Hong Kong but could also have found a way to leave the semiautonomous region.
The U.S. government asked Hong Kong to detain Snowden on a provisional arrest warrant June 14, the same day it filed criminal charges against him, including theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.”
Under an extradition treaty between Hong Kong and the United States, a provisional warrant, as opposed to a regular one, is a faster way to detain suspected criminals since it does not require the initial approval of Hong Kong’s leader, currently Leung Chun-ying.
Instead, a judge can issue the warrant immediately. Simon Young, a legal professor at the University of Hong Kong said this means a warrant for Snowden’s arrest in theory could have been made as early as June 14, more than a week ago.
The Supreme Court justices are taking their own sweet time in announcing the most important decisions of this SCOTUS session. At The Daily Beast, Richard L. Hasan asks “What’s Taking the Supreme Court So Long?”
With everyone anxiously awaiting potentially blockbuster decisions on issues fromaffirmative action to voting rights to same-sex marriage, it is easy to criticize the Supreme Court for being too slow.
After all, Fisher, the affirmative-action case involving the University of Texas, was argued in Supreme Court back in October. By historical standards, the court is deciding very few cases: it issued 167 with opinions in the 1981 term, but is expected to decide only 77 this term. Why save all of the big calls for the end? Are the justices trying to create maximum suspense to get more attention?
These criticisms fundamentally misunderstand both the modern Supreme Court’s mission and the psychology of the justices. There may be a lot of reasons to criticize the court, but the end-of-the-term crunch is not one of them.Consider first the Supreme Court’s mission. Justices are unlike legislators, who simply vote to express their preferences. Justices are expected to give reasons for their decisions. Further, the court on some of the toughest questions is divided along strong ideological lines. For example, a majority opinion from a conservative justice can generate a dissenting opinion from a liberal justice. The dissenting justice won’t just say “I disagree,” but will offer reasons—reasons that the dissenting justice writes not only for history but in the hopes that one day a majority of justices will change their minds and adopt the dissenting view in a majority opinion. Both a majority and dissenting opinions will be circulated within the court, and each opinion will be modified numerous times to respond to the arguments of the other side, and to respond to the concerns of other justices who may join one or more of the opinions. Sometimes a justice will agree with the result but not with the reasoning of an opinion, and that justice will write separately, prompting another round of revisions.
We’re still waiting for decisions on 11 more cases, and those could be announced this week. It should be interesting.
Finally, today is the summer solstice, and people the world over celebrated the beginning of summer. Read about it at the the WaPo: Summer solstice observed at Times Square, Stonehenge, in D.C.
And tomorrow a unusual celestial even will take place, according to the Sydney Morning Herald: A Supermoon, when ‘people turn into lunatics’
ONLY ONCE a year Earth, Moon and Sun line up to create the perfect conditions for a so called ‘Supermoon’.
According to popular folklore, this is the time when “people turn into lunatics”, ships run aground and earthquakes rattle our planet.
According to NASA , it is the best opportunity to get a good look at Earth’s rocky satellite.
The distance between Earth and Moon varies between about 357,000km and 406,000km throughout the year, and depends on the moon’s elliptical orbit around Earth.
When the moon is on its farthest position from the earth, it is called Apogee while the closest encounter is named Perigee.
About once a year a full Moon occurs during the Perigee orbit, resulting in a 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter appearance.
Right wing nuts should stay indoors and avoid looking at the sky. They’re already lunatics; we don’t need them to go completely around the bend.
Now it’s your turn. What are you reading and blogging about on this first day of summer?
I have a potpourri of great reads for you this morning, so let’s get started.
First up, people in the states impacted by Hurricane Sandy have barely begun to recover. CBS News/AP report that: The scale of post-Sandy challenge in NY, NJ is unprecedented.
Two major airports reopened and the New York Stock Exchange got back to business Wednesday, while across the river in New Jersey, National Guardsmen rushed to feed and rescue flood victims two days aftersuperstorm Sandy struck.
For the first time since the storm slammed the Northeast, killing at least 63 people and inflicting billions of dollars in damage, brilliant sunshine washed over the nation’s largest city — a striking sight after days of gray skies, rain and wind. The light gave officials and residents a true glimpse of destruction on a scale that the region has never seen before.
At the stock exchange, running on generator power, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a thumbs-up and rang the opening bell to whoops from traders on the floor. Trading resumed after the first two-day weather shutdown since the Blizzard of 1888.
New York’s subway system was still down, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo said parts of it will begin running again on Thursday. And he said some commuter rail service between the city and its suburbs would resume on Wednesday afternoon.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie and his new BFF Barack Obama toured the devastation. From The New York Times: An Unlikely Political Pair, United by a Disaster.
President Obama toured the storm-tossed boardwalks of New Jersey’s ravaged coastline on Wednesday, in a vivid display of big-government muscle and bipartisan harmony that confronted Mitt Romney with a vexing challenge just as he returned to the campaign trail in Florida.
The scene of Mr. Obama greeting his onetime political antagonist Gov. Chris Christie in Atlantic City was a striking departure from what has become an increasingly bitter campaign, marked by sharp divisions between Mr. Romney’s more limited view of the federal role and Mr. Obama’s more expansive vision. The president placed a hand on Mr. Christie’s back and guided him to Marine One, where the two men shared a grim flight over shattered sea walls, burning houses and a submerged roller coaster.
Speaking to storm victims at a community center in the hard-hit town of Brigantine, Mr. Obama said, “We are going to be here for the long haul.” Mr. Christie thanked the president for his visit, saying, “It’s really important to have the president of the United States acknowledge all the suffering that’s going on here in New Jersey.”
The tableau of bipartisan cooperation, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s highly visible role in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, has put Mr. Romney in an awkward position…
As for Mitt Romney, he was getting hammered by the media in Ohio for two ads in which he falsely implied that Chrysler and GM were planning to ship American jobs to China. It looks to me as if Romney has given up the ghost in Ohio, because he headed to Florida yesterday, where a new Quinnipiac poll shows Obama leading by one point.
And last night the NYT editorial board slammed Romney for “cross[ing] a red line.”
When General Motors tells a presidential campaign that it is engaging in “cynical campaign politics at its worst,” that’s a pretty good signal that the campaign has crossed a red line and ought to pull back. Not Mitt Romney’s campaign. Having broadcast an outrageously deceitful ad attacking the auto bailout, the campaign ignored the howls from carmakers and came back with more.
Mr. Romney apparently plans to end his race as he began it: playing lowest-common-denominator politics, saying anything necessary to achieve power and blithely deceiving voters desperate for clarity and truth.
I think Romney may have finally sunk his campaign with those lying ads about the auto bailout. I wonder if that has contributed to polls that show Obama widening his leads in Michigan and Wisconsin?
In the Nebraska Senate Race, Bob Kerrey has been moving up in the polls, and last night Omaha.com broke some exciting news that could put him over the top: Chuck Hagel to endorse Bob Kerrey.
A spokesman with Kerrey’s campaign says Hagel – a former Nebraska U.S. Senator and a Republican – will back Kerrey in his race against Republican Deb Fischer.
Hagel’s endorsement comes as polls have shown the race between Kerrey and Fischer tightening down the home stretch.
Hagel’s backing could go a long way with independents. And, it clearly underscores Kerrey’s contention that he is the person in the race who can win Republican and Democratic support.
If Kerry, Claire McCaskill, Tammy Baldwin, and Elizabeth Warren, and perhaps Joe Donnelly can win their races, the Democrats should at least hold their majority in the Senate.
In Massachusetts, Liz Warren began making her final arguments.
As both Massachusetts Senate candidates deliver their final messages to voters, Warren is drawing on one major advantage she has in the state: demographics. According to the Secretary of State, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in Massachusetts by a more than a three to one margin. As the race remains close, Warren and her supporters are using a partisan argument to rally the Democratic base, and encourage activists to turn out the vote on Warren’s behalf. Elect Brown, Warren and her supporters argue, and Republicans will control the U.S. Senate.
Introducing Warren to a crowd of volunteers and activists at Warren’s Haverhill field office on Wednesday, Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini said he came from a Halloween party. “Everyone was dressed up in really scary costumes, so I was going to dress up as (Republican Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell,” he said, to laughter. “Because can you think of anything scarier than (Republican House Speaker) John Boehner in the House of Representatives or Mitch McConnell in the Senate?”
“There’s only one vote that counts and that’s the vote about which party is going to control the United States Senate,” Fiorentini continued. “We know which way Scott Brown is going to vote.”
Warren also released a great new ad that may serve as a closing argument: For All Our Families.
Right now in Indiana Joe Donnelly is leading Richard Mourdock by 7 percentage points.
I’ll end with a couple of powerful long reads.
From Truthout: What Does Romney’s Campaign of Lies Say About Our Country? Here’s the first paragraph:
Last week Mitt Romney delivered possibly the most dishonest presidential campaign speech in American history. It contains lie after lie, distortion after distortion, and trick after trick. The fact that a person capable of giving such a speech has reached this level suggests that it may be too late to salvage the country. Our institutions may be corrupted beyond repair.
Please check it out.
At Alternet, Matthew Fleisher writes: Why I Infiltrated One of the Most Secretive and Powerful Republican Organizations in the Country. This one is really long, but well worth reading. Here’s the teaser:
The Lincoln Club is the real deal. And if they have their way, Citizens United is just the beginning of their political ambitions for the country.
That’s it for me. I hope you found something to your liking. Now what are you reading and blogging about today?
For tonight I have just a few links, I will refrain from commenting because even getting a link right is difficult today.
The tweets this guy is sending are something else, give those a quick look.
Two links on ads being run for Democrats:
And..an update for you: Arkansas GOP rep Jon Hubbard stands by pro-slavery comments
Finally, BAR has new articles up…just go to the website and read them. Black Agenda Report | News, analysis and commentary from the black left
This is an open thread, have a good night.
Embattled Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) on Wednesday reacted to the death of a U.S. ambassador in Libya by accusing President Barack Obama of not liking the very country he is leading….
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Wednesday had used the death of Stevens to score political points by accusing Obama of “sympathizing” with the enemy after the U.S. embassy in Libya released a statement condemning the anti-Muslim film.
“First of all, apologizing to all people, [to] a lot of countries who are enemies, and apologizing to them and everything,” Akin said during a campaign stop in Kansas City, according to KMBC. “You know, if we did something wrong that’s one thing, but he’s just apologizing because he didn’t like America? I think that’s the wrong thing to do.”
This ignoramus and others like him are making life and death decisions that affect all of us. And the reporter doesn’t even explain that Obama didn’t “apologize” for anything or express dislike for the United States.
Stop the world, I wanna get off!
Where does the Tea Party find these freakazoids? Missouri Representative Todd Akin is the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, running against current Senator Claire McCaskill. This insane, anti-science knuckle-dragger claims that if a rape is “legitimate,” a woman’s body can magically prevent pregnancy. And he claims he got his information from doctors!
Today Akin appeared on a local St. Louis TV show, The Jaco Report. The host, Chris Jaco asked him if there were any circumstances under which Akin believes abortion would be acceptable. In response Akin went into a bizarre dissertation about how Americans’ believe in the value of life is what makes this country great. For example, look at the firefighters who rescued people on 9/11 and didn’t even ask for their IDs. And then there are the American soldiers who were willing to rescue wounded people–even if they were only Iraqis.
Finally, Jaco broke in and pressed Akin on the abortion question. Akin said he thought abortion should be allowed in the case of a tubal pregnancy where the child could not survive, if the woman’s life were in danger. But not in cases of rape:
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.
“Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Here’s the video:
A 1996 study by the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found “rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency” and is “a cause of many unwanted pregnancies” — an estimated “32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.”
Naturally, this isn’t the only strange idea Akin has about rape and women’s behavior. TPM learned that in 1991, Akin opposed a law against marital rape because “it might be misused ‘in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband,’ according to a May 1 article that year in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.”
Eventually, Akin was apparently pressured into voting for the bill. Akin also thinks the morning after pill is a “form of abortion,” and wants it banned.
Right now Akin is leading McCaskill by several points in the Missouri Senate race.