Friday, November 30, 2012

Holly Jolly:Donny Hathaway- This Christmas

FLASHBACK: When Krauthammer Excused Condi Rice For Pushing "Defective" Iraq War Intelligence

ERIC BOEHLERT/Media Matters For America:

With the Republican witch hunt against Ambassador Susan Rice showing no signs of abating as they try to derail her possible nomination as Secretary of State, let's consider some additional context surrounding the attacks and examine how Charles Krauthammer has altered his view on the central issue.
This is from a Washington Post column he wrote in January 2005, expressing dismay that Democrats were raising doubts about Condoleezza Rice's qualifications to be Secretary of State, in the wake of her role in marketing the Iraq War [emphasis added]:  
Mark Dayton of Minnesota accused her of lying in order to persuade the American people to go to war -- a charge that is not just false but that most Americans don't believe. Rice was not a generator of intelligence. She was a consumer -- of a highly defective product.
Note the very specific point Krauthammer made as he tried to minimize Rice's central role in the unpopular invasion. The columnist and Fox News talker stressed that Rice didn't generate the intelligence about Iraq, which turned out to be "high defective," she merely consumed it.
And because she had merely consumed, and then marketed, bad intelligence about Iraq ("We don't want thesmoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"), Condoleezza Rice wasn't really culpable, which according to Krauthammer meant Democrats were misguided in their criticism of her.
Of course, that conservative spin now seems entirely disingenuous given the fact that a legion of right-wing pundits, including most of the Fox News on-air staff, are waging a war against Susan Rice not for being a "generator" of defective intelligence about the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, but for consuming it.
On November 14, appearing on Fox, Krauthammer expressed indignation over Rice's public comments about Benghazi:
It was clearly defensive and it was also a stonewall. I mean, after all, what she said was absolutely and completely misleading. Either inadvertently, in which case it's complete incompetence, or on purpose, in which case it's deception.
Meanwhile, On Fox & Friends this week, Brian Kilmeade demanded to know what kind of would-be Secretary of State simply relies on talking points given to her by the intelligence community?
Today, Rice's sin in the eyes of Krauthammer and Fox News is that she relayed what the intelligence community told her about Benghazi. For that, she's guilty of incompetence or being misleading, in the words of Krauthammer. But in 2005, Krauthammer stressed that Condoleezza Rice should not be held responsible for relaying what the intelligence community told her about Iraq because she didn't generate it.
It goes without saying that the sprawling Iraq War was a far more important, costly and deadly event than the "small firefight" that engulfed the Benghazi consulate, as national security writer Tom Rick's described it. And it goes without saying that as national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice had a much more direct and influential role in initiaiting the Iraq War than United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice had responding to the terrorist attack in Libya.
Her only public role was being selected as an administration point person and asked to appear on Sunday morning talk shows to relay intelligence talking points, or what she said was "the best information we have at present" about the cause of the attack.
Conservatives are trying desperately to make Rice a central player in the alleged Benghazi cover-up. But when Condoleezza Rice was named to be Secretary of State, Krauthammer portrayed her as a paid actor in the Iraq War production, simply mouthing the lines given to her. For Krauthammer that wasn't a bad thing. It just meant she wasn't responsible for anything that went wrong with regards to the Iraq War, or the pervasive misinformation campaign that led up to the invasion.
As MSNBC's Rachel Maddow noted this week, almost nothing that Rice's critics are alleging regarding the Benghazi controversy makes sense, and virtually all of the questions they are "asking" have been answered. When you add into the mix the jaw-dropping hypocrisy of conservatives who have literally inverted the standards they used for secretary of state nominee Condoleezza Rice in 2005, you begin to understand how hollow and tiresome this partisan production has become.

Obama throws down gauntlet on taxes

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Michigan House Republicans Endorse Corrupt Jase Bolger for Second Term as Speaker

From Michigan Democratic Party:
LANSING – Michigan House Republicans made a strong statement today in support of corruption as they voted unanimously to support Jase Bolger for a second term as Speaker of the House.
“Michigan House Republicans had the chance to reject Jase Bolger, and each one of them chose instead to stand with him in favor of corruption,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer. “Who did they elect as Bolger’s second in command, Spiro Agnew? Apparently ethics and integrity will not be priorities for the Republican Caucus in 2013-14.”
A one-person grand jury is currently investigating Bolger, Roy Schmidt and others for recruiting fake candidate Matt Mojzak to run against Schmidt, helping Mojzak to file a fraudulent candidate affidavit and then covering up their involvement in the scheme.

Jindal voucher overhaul unconstitutionally diverts public funds to private schools, judge rules

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's school voucher overhaul was dealt a blow Friday when a Baton Rouge area judge declared the diversion of public money by the voucher program to private schools unconstitutional.
The ruling, which came almost immediately after a three-day long court hearing, came in two parts.
The first part of Judge Tim Kelley's ruling declared that the law passed to implement the controversial program -- Senate Concurrent Resolution 99 -- was done in a valid and constitutional manner.
He also ruled Act 2 -- the voucher overhaul -- did not violate the "single object" requirement of the state constitution allowing for a bill to only effect one policy at a time.
But in the second part of his ruling, Kelley declared the diversion of funds from the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) -- the formula under which per pupil public education funds are calculated -- to private entities was unconstitutional.
Gov. Jindal commented on the ruling Friday afternoon:
"Today's ruling is wrong headed and a travesty for parents across Louisiana who want nothing more than for their children to have an equal opportunity at receiving a great education. That opportunity is a chance that every child deserves and we will continue the fight to give it to them.

"The opinion sadly ignores the rights of families who do not have the means necessary to escape failing schools. On behalf of the citizens that cast their votes for reform, the parents who want more choices, and the kids who deserve a chance, we will appeal today's decision, and I'm confident we will prevail. This ruling changes nothing for the students currently in the program. All along, we expected this to be decided by the Louisiana Supreme Court," the statement added.

Louisiana Superintendent John White also issued a statement saying, "We strongly disagree with the ruling. We are optimistic this decision will be reversed on appeal."

The suit was brought by Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT), Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE), Louisiana School Boards Association and 43 local school boards.
LFT Public Relations Director Les Landon told he felt very emotional after the ruling.
"This is a win for all of the children of Louisiana -- and for the taxpayers," he said Friday afternoon after the ruling.
Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., agreed in a statement issued Friday after the ruling.
"It is no surprise that State District Judge Tim Kelley today ruled the unnecessarily aggressive and overreaching statewide voucher program unconstitutional. A strategic use of state-funded vouchers could be appropriate, but this diversion of public education dollars was a step too far and diminishes resources for meaningful reform efforts already underway at the local level," she said.
Outside the 19th District Court in Baton Rouge, where the ruling was made, Louisiana Association of Educators President Joyce Haynes said the ruling was a triumph for the teachers associations and school boards.
Closing arguments in the case were made Friday morning. Brian Blackwell, Larry Samuel and Bob Hammonds represented the teachers unions and school boards while Gov. Bobby Jindal lawyer Jimmy Faircloth represented the state.
State Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, a witness in the case who testified Wednesday, told "none of us are happy with the state of public education. We all need to work together to improve it but we are truly a nation of laws and we never have the option to do that which is constitutional."
The LFT has also filed a separate suit against Act 1 -- another part of the education overhaul -- of the legislative session, also because it violated the single objection requirement. 

Gingrich finally admits he doesn’t deserve to be president

By Stephen C. Webster/Raw Story
In a wide-ranging interview with NBC late night talk show host Jay Leno on Thursday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) finally admitted that he does not deserve to be president.
The famously confident Republican told Leno that he was “publicly, explicitly wrong” about President Barack Obama’s reelection chances.
“Why were you so sure? Were you just watching Fox News?” Leno asked to cheers and applause.
“No, actually it’s just because all the historical models I knew said if you have this level of unemployment, this price of gasoline, this size of the deficit, that the incumbent was gonna lose,” Gingrich replied. “I give Obama a lot of credit that he defied all the probabilities and he won.”
He added that Election Day was “a very hard time for all of us,” saying he felt like the Republican Party “suddenly went off a cliff.”
Leno interjected that during the Republican primary debates, Gingrich and fellow candidates appeared to be “killing” former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R).
“If I were a Democrat, I wouldn’t have to do anything here,” the host quipped. “When you guys were attacking a Republican for not paying enough tax, I thought that was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. That seems hilarious to me. Did you think you were hard on him? during the primaries”
“Not enough,” Gingrich lamented. “He won the nomination. Look, if you can’t get through the nomination process, you shouldn’t be president. It’s a tough business.”
Gingrich withdrew from the Republican Party primaries after his funds ran dry, winning the majority of delegates in just two states.
The videos below were broadcast by NBC on Thursday, November 30, 2012.
Part 1:
Part 2:

Donald Trump Partnership Ruins Macy’s Popularity

By Annie-Rose Strasser/Think Progress
The old adage that “all press is good press” might not ring true with department store chain Macy’s. Their recent partnership with conservative billionaire oddball Donald Trump is causinga sudden drop in the brand’s popularity, particularly among women.
According to a YouGov Brandindex survey, immediately after the Macy’s-Trump partnership, women steadily became far less likely to recommend Macy’s to their friends. In the same period, other brands like JCPenney actually performed better than usual:
Nearly 675,000 people have signed a petition asking Macy’s not to partner with Trump, citing his extremist political positions: Trump called for revolution after President Obama won re-election, has been a leader in the so-called “birther” movement, and called global climate change “a concept created by and for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Or perhaps it’s the more overtly sexist things Trump is known for that make him such a terrible partner for Macy’s: He recently offered to expose his genitals to a woman, played “rate the women” with contestants on his reality TV show, and in 1991 he told Esquire magazine, “it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of [expletive].”
Macy’s has stood by its decision to partner with Trump, saying, “Macy’s marketing and merchandise offerings are not representative of any political position.”

Five Overreactions To Obama’s Fiscal Cliff Proposal

By Scott Keyes/Think Progress
Yesterday, the Obama administration unveiled its proposal to avert the looming fiscal showdown. The plan included $1.6 trillion in increased taxes on the rich over the next decade, $400 billion in savings to be found in Medicare and other social programs, $50 billion in stimulus spending to begin next year, and an end to current debt ceiling rules.
This proposal is not new. It reflects the very policies Obama not only put forth in 2011, as Kevin Drum noted, but also campaigned on extensively this year. They are the very policies that the American public voted for in November when they granted Obama another four years. Exit polling also showed that 60 percent of voters wanted to see income taxes increased for wealthy Americans.
However, these facts didn’t stop conservatives from acting as though Obama had proposed the “Kill All The Puppies Act of 2012″. Here are five overreactions to Obama’s plan:
  • Worse than surrender in the Civil War: Leading conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer likened Obama’s proposal to the terms of surrender offered to Confederates in the Civil War, only the president’s deal was worse. “It’s not just a bad deal, this is really an insulting deal… Robert E. Lee was offered easier terms at Appomattox and he lost the Civil War,” said Krauthammer.
  • Out of a fairytale: Writing in her Wall Street Journal column, Kimberley Strassellambasted the plan as “something out of Wonderland and Oz combined.” She went on to argue that Obama wasn’t negotiating in good faith. “The most frightening aspect of the White House proposal is that it wasn’t an error.”
  • “Nothing good can come of negotiating further”: RedState editor Erick Erickson, whosecounsel congressional Republicans regularly seek, advised the GOP to pack up, go home, and take the country over the cliff. “Nothing good can come of negotiating further,” Erickson wrote. “The GOP should pass what they want and promptly go home. Let the Democrats stay and sort things out. Dive.”
  • “I’d walk out”: MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former GOP congressman, said that his Party ought to walk out of negotiations, saying Obama’s proposal was solely meant to “provoke” House Republicans. Speaking on his morning show, Scarborough detailed what his reaction would have been had he been in negotiations: “I would have said, ‘We’re all busy people, this is a critical time, if you’re going to come over here and insult us and intentionally try to provoke us, you can do that but I’m going back to work now.’ And I’d walk out.”
  • “Congress should dive headlong off fiscal cliff”: After a lengthy column detailing how going over the fiscal cliff “would shock the economy,” Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson advised GOPers to “dive headlong off fiscal cliff” following Obama’s proposal. “Republicans don’t have a lot of good choices right now,” Tucker wrote. “They might as well try it.”

Thirty-Six Congressional Republicans (And Counting) Have Distanced Themselves From Norquist’s Pledge

Greg Noth/Guest blogger for Think Progress
Every day, more Republicans in Congress are backing away from Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquit’s anti-tax pledge. For more than 20 years, the pledge, which stipulates that those who sign will never — under any circumstance — vote to raise taxes while in Congress, has virtually been a requirement for Congressional Republicans.According to ATR, just 16 of the 234 House Republicans and 6 of the 45 Senate Republicans that comprise the 113th Congress did not sign the pledge.
However, the pledge may not have the staying power it once did. As of this writing, more than a dozen House Republicans — including Majority Leader Eric Cantor — and 10 GOP senators have distanced themselves from the pledge to one degree or another. Here are just a few examples or what members had to say:
— Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): “The only pledge that keeps me up at night is the pledge I owe to the people of New Hampshire and our country to work as hard as I can to make sure America doesn’t go bankrupt.”
– Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge . . . I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist.”
– Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “Well, I’m not obligated on the pledge. I made Tennesseans aware, I was just elected, that the only thing I’m honoring is the oath I take when I’m sworn in this January.
– Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): “When I go to the constituents, it’s not about that pledge. It’s about trying to solve problems.”
– Rep. Peter King (R-NY): “A pledge is good at the time you sign it . . . In 1941, I would have voted to declare war on Japan. But each Congress is a new Congress. And I don’t think you can have a rule that you’re never going to raise taxes or that you’re never going to lower taxes. I don’t want to rule anything out.”
– Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-IL): “I would never in a million years have considered this as some kind of a locked-in-granite pledge. Frankly, I didn’t even remember it. That shows you how obscure it was to me.”
Other Senators that have signed the pledge and distanced themselves from Norquist includeSen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE), and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY). House Republicans also jumping ship include: Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI), Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA), Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE),Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN),Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), Rep. Allen West (R-FL), Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL), and Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA).

Early morning Christmas cheer

Susan Rice And How The Press Keeps Ignoring Republican Obstructionism

ERIC BOEHLERT/Media Matters for America

Once again, the press is turning a blind eye to the unprecedented obstructionism coming from the Republican Party.
In the wake of Ambassador Susan Rice's Capitol Hill meetings with Republican senators this week and the harsh assessment they quickly gave reporters, most new accounts stressed that if Rice were nominated to be secretary of state she would face stiff opposition. Reporters detailed how Republicans were raising objections to Rice's involvement in the controversy surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi after she was selected to appear on Sunday talk shows to relay the intelligence community's assessment of the attack. (An assessment that was later changed.)
Here's the key fact most press accounts omitted: The GOP continues to engage in unrivaled obstructionism. And its threat to vote down Rice as secretary of state before she's even named likely represents an unparalleled act of partisan defiance.
The extremist maneuver erases decades, if not centuries, of Capitol Hill protocol with regards to allowing a newly elected president to confirm the secretary of state of his choosing. The aggressive GOP attempt to derail Rice's rise also runs counter to how Democrats confirmed Condoleeza Rice as secretary of state, despite outstanding questions about her involvement in selling and planning the Iraq War.
Even more shocking with regards to Susan Rice was the threat this week from Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) that she would try to block any secretary of state nominee, whether it's Rice or someone else, unless the White House provides more answers about Benghazi. (The White House has been providing Benghazi answers for 10 weeks now.)
Ayotte's stunning threat is, without question, the definition of (militant) obstructionism :
One who systematically blocks or interrupts a process, especially one who attempts to impede passage of legislation by the use of delaying tactics, such as a filibuster.
Ayotte's scorched-earth tactic was treated by the Beltway press as nothing more than routine political posturing. Virtually no information was provided cluing news consumers into just how radical and extraordinary a proposal the Republican was making, or just how remarkable it was for senators to mount a campaign to block a secretary of state nomination.
Note that in these news reports from the Wall Street Journal, New York TimesLos Angeles Times, USA Today, and Washington Postall of the crucial context was missing. And it's routinely missing from the ongoing Rice coverage.
The coordinated, partisan campaign to attack and derail Rice's possible nomination is highly, highly unusual regarding a secretary of state. But you would never know it from watching and reading the press coverage, which depicts the battle as simply more political jockeying and part of a long-running partisan feud where both sides are to blame.
It's not. And the press ought to say so.
Fact: For decades, secretaries of state were confirmed by the U.S. Senate unanimously, as senators acknowledged the president's prerogative in selecting one of the country's most important cabinet posts. There existed a longtime acknowledgement that partisanship was supposed to end "at the water's edge" and that the United States' envoy to the world should have the backing of both parties.
In 1981, when Al Haig was confirmed to be Ronald Reagan's secretary of state and received six no votes that was considered unusual and newsworthy. When Condoleeza Rice was confirmed in 2005 with 13 no votes, she collected the most dissenting votes for any secretary of state in 180 years
At the time, Fox News' Charles Krauthhamer noted that historic fact [emphasis added]:  
In this country, it is customary to allow the president to choose his own Cabinet so long as the nominee is minimally qualified.
Indeed, secretaries of state are generally approved unanimously. This is the first nomination in a quarter-century to have earned even a single dissenting vote.
Note that in 2005, Krauthammer thought it was imprudent for any Democrat to vote against Rice's nomination. (Sean Hannity decried the Democrats' "shrillness" on the topic.) With Republicans now threatening to indefinitely block Susan Rice's possible nomination by placing a hold on her would-be bid, and with Fox News talkers (including Krauthammer) leading an endless barrage of attacks against Rice, placing her at the center of an alleged cover-up, the conservative script on secretaries of state has certainly flipped. 
It's true that twelve Democrats and one Independent voted against Condoleeza Rice, based on her role in selling the public on the need for war with Iraq. (i.e. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.")  But at no time was there a concerted campaign to actually block her nomination. Democrats made it clear early on in the process that Rice would be confirmed. And that's how the story was covered.
On Nov 17, 2004, when the Washington Post reported on President Bush's selection of Rice, the article didn't even bother quoting Democrats to gage the party's reaction. The premise of the article was straightforward: Rice will be the next secretary of state because the president wants her to be.
And that's how the process has mostly worked throughout American history. That's certainly how it's worked in modern American history.
Today though, in a radical bout of obstructionism, Republicans are vowing to vote down Rice and vowing to possibly block any secretary of state nomination put forward by President Obama.
And the press is giving Republicans a pass. Just as they've done throughout Obama's presidency, pundits and reporters are careful not to spell out the historic, extremist tactics being adopted by Obama's opponents; the same opponents who have voted en masse against his initiatives for four years in an unrivaled display of legislative partisanship.

Republicans still reeling over Romney loss

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Conservative activist threatens to steer donors from RNC if GOP raises taxes

By Alexander Bolton/The Hill
Brent Bozell, a prominent conservative activist and fundraiser, is threatening to steer donors away from the Republican Party if GOP lawmakers sign a deal to raise taxes.
Bozell sent a letter to Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus on Wednesday pledging to make it his mission to counsel conservative donors to shun the party if its leaders in Congress agree to raise taxes. 
Bozell, the chairman of ForAmerica Inc., has been active in conservative political circles for three decades and estimates he has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for “an alphabet soup of conservative causes.” 
“Reince, it pains me to say this, but if the Republican Party breaks its word to the American people and goes along with President Obama with tax increases, it will have betrayed conservatives for the final time,” Bozell wrote. 
“I will make it my mission to ensure that every conservative donor to the Republican Party that I have worked with for the last three decades — and there are many and they have given tens of millions to Republican causes — gives not one penny more to the Republican Party or any member of Congress that votes for tax increases,” he warned. 
A spokesman for the RNC did not respond to a request for comment. 
Bozell is the founder of the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group, which has an annual budget of more than $10 million. 
He sent a separate letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) earlier in the week, pushing them to reject Obama’s call to raise taxes on the wealthy.
“With the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ rapidly approaching, both sides are making opening gambits and the talk so far is alarming,” Bozell wrote in a letter dated Nov. 27 to Republican leaders. 
“Conservatives have one question to ask: If you now claim a tax increase on small business is the correct course of action, were you lying all along when you claimed this tax increase would decimate the economy?” he wrote. “Because if you were not lying, you will now be willing participants in the destruction of American jobs in a time of economic crisis.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and incoming Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) were included on the letter. 
Several Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Bob Corker (Tenn.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), have said in recent days that they do not feel bound by the anti-tax pledge they signed in the past. 
The pledge, sponsored by Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, requires signatories to oppose any legislation that raises tax rates or eliminates tax breaks without offsetting the action by cutting other taxes. 
“When you’re $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans — Republicans should put revenue on the table,” Graham said in a television interview over the weekend. “We’re this far in debt. We don’t generate enough revenue. Capping deductions will help generate revenue.” 
Boehner and McConnell have signaled in the wake of the election that they would be willing to strike a deal with Obama that raises taxes to reduce the deficit, although they insist it must be linked to reforming entitlement programs. 
Bozell is not the only conservative to warn that signing onto a deal hiking taxes would prompt a strong backlash. 
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Tea Party caucus, warned that conservatives could back challengers to sitting lawmakers who vote for tax increases. 
“If there is a bad deal, I just think you’re going to see conservatives around the country coalesce around better candidates, better-trained candidates, and to recognize the Republican Party needs to reflect more conservative principles,” he said. 
DeMint said a lot of conservative donors have already stopped giving to the official Republican Party committees and sent their dollars instead to outside groups. He said that trend is a major reason why the Senate Conservatives Fund, which he founded, has raised millions of dollars. 
On Tuesday, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, urged colleagues to extend the Bush-era tax rates only for families earning below $250,000 to avoid a tax increase on middle-class families at year’s end. He said Republicans could resume the fight against higher taxes on wealthier families next year. 
DeMint, however, said decoupling tax rates for families earning above $250,000 per year and those below that threshold would be a mistake. 
“I don’t think any decoupling of the rates is a concession we should make. I think that’s capitulation. It doesn’t help the country. For the Republicans to agree to that is bad policy and I think it’s bad politics,” he said. 
In his letter to Priebus, Bozell warned of dire political consequences if GOP leaders fail to stand their ground against Democrats. 
“If the GOP again abandons its pledge of fiscal responsibility, including the promise not to raise taxes on ANYONE, again conservatives will walk,” he wrote. 
“Pure and simple, in the ongoing debate over the so-called ‘fiscal cliff,’ the Republican Party is giving new definition to the word ‘surrender.’ The GOP is signaling a desire to abandon its solemn commitment to advance fiscal restraint,” he added. 
Brian Darling, senior fellow for government studies at the Heritage Foundation, predicted a conservative backlash against any deal leaders strike to raise taxes.
“You’re going to have a lot of pressure in the Republican caucus against any measure that hikes taxes, that closes loopholes to gain more revenue,” he said. “Some would be outraged if a deal was cut where Republicans affirmatively voted to raise taxes. I think the Tea Party would be outraged.”

CNN’s Howard Kurtz: Tom Ricks showed Fox News is ‘thin-skinned’

By Eric W. Dolan/Raw Story
Howard Kurtz, the host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, said Thursday that Fox News signaled it was “thin-skinned” by abruptly ending an interview with military expert Tom Ricks.
“I don’t think Tom Ricks planned anything, but he did take quite a provocative swipe at Fox News,” Kurtz explained. “The reason this has gone viral, the reason for all the YouTube attention, the reason we’re still talking about it, is because the Fox anchor, Jon Scott, gave him the hooks. Because he dared to criticize Fox News coverage of the Libya situation that was deemed unacceptable, and in effect, he was tossed off the air.”
Earlier this week, Ricks appeared on Fox News to discuss the attack on a diplomatic mission in Benghazi. During the extremely brief interview, he accused the network of “operating as wing of the Republican Party.

“But this could have been a really interesting, provocative discussion,” Kurtz added. “If Ricks takes the position that the whole coverage of Benghazi, while obviously it’s a serious and legitimate issue with four American diplomats dead, has been hyped for political reasons by Fox News, certainly the anchor could have pushed back on that.”
“Instead, by cutting the interview short, Fox sent the signal, I believe, that it’s kind of defensive and thin-skinned when it comes to criticism, even though, as you know, journalists love to criticize everybody else.”
Fox executive Michael Clemente claimed Ricks privately apologized for his statement, but Ricks asserted that was “horseshit.”
Ricks later took at shot at MSNBC when they asked him to come on the air. He told the network they were “just like Fox, but not as good at it.”
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by CNN, below:

Maddow rips Mississippi Republicans over abortion crack down

By Eric W. Dolan/Raw Story
On her show Thursday night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow explained how Mississippi Republicans have nearly forced the only abortion clinic in the state to shut down.
Lawmakers in the state forced the abortion clinic to comply with regulations that were “impossible to comply with,” according to Maddow. The abortion clinic will be forced to shut down in January unless a judge blocks the law from taking effect.
“So this thing designed by Mississippi Republicans to be impossible turned out to be impossible,” she said. “They wanted to create a new regulation that the state’s one last abortion clinic could not follow, because they wanted to shut it down.”
The liberal MSNBC host noted that Republicans had publicly admitted the law was intended to make Mississippi an abortion-free state.
“January 11th is when American women in one American state will lose access to what is supposedly their constitutionally protected right, because Republicans in that state decided that for them,” Maddow concluded.
Watch video, courtesy of MSNBC, below:
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Boehner Refuses To Give Specifics About The Entitlement Cuts He’s Demanding

By Travis Waldron/Think Progress
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on President Obama and Democrats to specify entitlement cuts that could balance their desires for tax increases in a hypothetical deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff,” even though only Republicans have demanded spending cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security. Despite their support for putting entitlement programs on the chopping block, GOP lawmakers have refused to specify how, or by how much, they would cut the programs.
Boehner, instead, used a press conference today to urge Democrats to take the lead on entitlements, even though Obama and Democratic leaders made it clear that they would not support a deal that cut Social Security, and Democrats have repeatedly opposed the Medicare changes Republicans have attempted to make in the past:
BOEHNER: There has been no serious discussion of spending cuts so far. And unless there is, there is a real danger of going off the fiscal cliff. [...] So right now all eyes are on the White House…It’s time for the President, Congressional Democrats to tell the American people what spending cuts they’re willing to make.
Q: Why will you not tell Democrats, what specific spending cuts you would like to see, especially within entitlements?
BOEHNER: It’s been very clear over the last year and a half. I’ve talked to the President about many of them. You can look at our budget, where we outlined very specific proposals, where we passed in last year’s budget and the budget from the year before. We know what the menu is, what we don’t know is what the White house is willing to do to get serious about solving our debt crisis.
Q: So your 2011 position still stands, then? I mean, are you still offering, those talks from 2011, is that still the basis here?
BOEHNER: Listen, I’m not going to get into the details, but it’s very clear what kind of spending cuts need to occur, but we have no idea what the White House is willing to do.
The entitlement cuts Boehner and the Republicans have already approved, like turning Medicare into a voucher program, are vastly unpopular with Americans, who have long opposed cuts to Medicare and Social Security (past polls, in fact, have shown that they preferincreases in the programs). Recent polling shows that even Republican voters oppose Medicare cuts. Americans rejected the Republican Medicare plan during the 2012 election, when losing vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan insisted that the GOP could win the debate about specific changes to the program.
Democrats, meanwhile, have already passed reforms to strengthen Medicare — Obama’s health care law cut $716 billion and lengthened the program’s life by eight years, according to the Congressional Budget Office — and Democratic senators have proposed legislation that would extend the life of Social Security, while also increasing benefits for all recipients. Republicans opposed the Medicare cuts in Obamacare and have not shown a willingness to support Democratic proposals on Social Security.

GOP Rep. Floats New Conspiracy Theory: Obama Ousted Qaddafi ‘So Al-Qaeda Could Take Over’

By Scott Keyes/Think Progress

As if it weren’t enough that members of the Republican Party spent much of President Obama’s first term accusing him of being a crypto-Manchurian Candidate who was born in Kenya, one GOP congressman is floating a new conspiracy theory: Obama only helped oust former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi so al-Qaeda could take over.
Appearing on Frank Gaffney’s anti-Muslim radio show, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) launched into a lengthy tirade criticizing the Obama administration’s decision to provide air support in the international campaign against Qaddafi last year. Rather than acknowledging that Obama launched the mission to stave off a looming massacre in Misrata, the Texas Republican saw a hidden, pernicious reason for the intervention. “This administration sent planes and bombs and support to oust Qaddafi so that al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood could take over Libya,” said Gohmert.
GOHMERT: What was all the rage a year and a half ago? It was the Arab Spring and how wonderful it was! This administration really embraced blowing out Mubarak – yes, do it up by all means – getting rid of Qaddafi, it wasn’t enough to send verbal accolades, this administration sent planes and bombs and support to oust Qaddafi so that al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood could take over Libya.
Listen to it:
After accusing Obama of harboring hidden sympathy for al-Qaeda — a group whose leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a mission ordered by Obama — Gohmert went on to say that the president of helping “jumpstart” a “new Ottoman Empire” in the Middle East.