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The Morning Plum

* Brace yourselves for a host of misplaced military metaphors today: Top Obama administration officials are set to put on a major display of all the "force" they're bringing to bear against the Gulf oil spill.

* The action kicks off at 10 a.m., with Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen appearing with Robert Gibbs at a special morning edition of the White House press briefing.

* Also key to watch today: Turkey is demanding an international probe of the Israeli flotilla raid. With Israel opposing international involvement, how will the U.S. handle this aspect of the dispute?

* Indeed, GOP Rep. Peter King is set to circulate a letter among House colleagues defending Israel and calling on Obama to oppose any international probe. Gonna get hot in Congress...

* The criticism of Helen Thomas, which has at first been mostly confined to conservative Web sites, is spreading, and it's hard to imagine she'll hang onto her White House press perch much longer.

* The White House Correspondents Association is being pressed to review her credentials.

* And Joe Klein wants her sent to the back of the room, though he doesn't want to take away "her First Amendment right to be as obnoxious as she wants."

* Lanny Davis adds to the chorus demanding her firing.

* Thomas herself concedes to Howard Kurtz that she "crossed the line."

* Senate Republicans are plotting new ways to delay the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

* Yet another poll finds that Sue Lowden is now a chicken fried Senate candidate, with Tea Partyer Sharron Angle taking a clear lead.

Which brings up the horrifying possibility that after tomorrow, chickens-for-checkups will be a mere memory. Prepare yourselves for severe chickens-for-checkups withdrawal.

* Tomorrow's primaries are emerging as a key referendum on the Tea Party movement's strengths and weaknesses.

* Liz Cheney, on ABC News: The Gulf oil spill "happened on this administration's watch."

* Snark of the day, from John Cole, on Ms. Cheney's recent lumping of Turkey with a new "axis" of our enemies:

How long before one of the Weekly Standard flunkies has a book out detailing the close relationship between Al Qaeda and Turkey?

* Rand Paul is still struggling to dig his way out.

* And here's today's installment in the Michele Bachmann chronicles: Dems have now unified behind a challenger.

I have no idea how realistic this is, but what a victory for Dems it would be if they were to take out Bachmann. More on this later.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  June 7, 2010; 8:11 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Foreign policy and national security , Happy Hour Roundup , House Dems , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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Next: Rand Paul distorts disabilities act, again

Comments

I think its worth mentioning that at the same time Israel is opposing an international investigation they just yesterday had to come out and admit to doctoring their audio on the video of the flotilla incident where they made it seem as if the passengers were saying anti semetic stuff.

Oh in other news Jim Greer explicitly implicated Charlie Crist in his shenanigans. Well not just Crist, but also Crist Senate stand in Lemieux as well. Good times good times.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | June 7, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Slave Sargent:
"Top Obama administration officials are set put on a major display of all the force they're bringing to bear in combatting the Gulf oil spill."

What a WONDERFUL idea!
They should have a parade.

Then, to commemorate D-Day, maybe they can stage an amphibious landing at Pensacola, armed with the Marines armed with oil-absorbent pads, (universally called "Kotexes" or "Diapers" in the trade), and gallantly capture and scrub down oily pelicans.

"Also key to watch today: Turkey is demanding an international probe of the Israeli flotilla raid. With Israel opposing international involvement, how will the U.S. handle this aspect of the dispute?"

Why should WE "handle" any of this at all?

It's Israel and Turkey's tiff.

Look, running blockades is dangerous business...that should reasonably be expected by anyone engaging in such activity.

Likewise, boarding someone's ship on the high seas is also dangerous business, and it should reasonably be expected by folks conducting boarding operations.

Israel and Turkey are both led by grown-ups, and they're perfectly capable of working this out...if there's anything to really BE worked out.

Where and why would we come into it?

To bring pressure to bear on Israel to force their acquiescence in whatever kangaroo-court might be set up?

Has it occurred to you that Netanyahu is just as likely as, say, Kim Jong Il or Vladimir Putin to tell the Alleged Hawaiian to piss off?

In this insance, I'd say that would be MORE likely. Rememebr that Netanyahu, unlike Obama, served HIS country in uniform,(and lost his brother recuing Israeli hostages).

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 7, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Lots of good stuff this morning, Greg.

I, for one, am devastated that Sue Lowden probably won't be Harry Reid's opponent. Although, from what I understand Angle is a real whack-job - so at least we got that to look forward to.

And you just have to love Liz "nepotism-at-its-worse" Cheney's hypocrisy. I don't seem to recall all the mea culpas happening after 9/11 since it happened on her daddy's watch.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 7, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Greg, in response to your awesome note yesterday about the quality of the comments here... I can only say that it would never be thus if it weren't for your excellent coverage of things both politics and policy. I no longer remember how I found your blog, but I stuck around for the well timed updates and wonderfully relevant posts and eventually got sucked into the comments by the likes of Tena, Bernie, AMK, lmsinca, et al (and I do mean everyone here).

At any rate, I can only apologize that I am no longer able to comment with the frequency that I used to... but my reasons are good! I went from a part time job to a full time job where I help manage 2 other people. So my personal situation puts me in the minority of folks thinking we're "on the right track"... if only it weren't so long and mine-laden, but I think we can pull through.

Posted by: PaulW99 | June 7, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Really Bileman? Why should WE get involved in a dispute resulting from Israeli stupidity? Really?

You've demonstrated a stunning amount of ignorance in the past Bileman but I doubt anyone would expect such naivete from you.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | June 7, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

"Why should WE "handle" any of this at all? It's Israel and Turkey's tiff.


Agree completely. America should let Israel fight its own battles. With its OWN MONEY.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 7, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

"What else is happening?"

At least $500 million has been spent since 9/11 on renovating Guantanamo Bay

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/06/AR2010060604093.html?hpid=topnews

Good thing we don't have a deficit problem here in the U.S. Unlimited money for israel and unnecessary prison camps in other countries.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 7, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

BP lacks capacity to collect oil from cap

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/report-bp-lacks-capacity-to-collect-oil-from-cap-2010-06-07

So when will be get legitimate estimates for how much oil has already leaked and how much continues to leak now? They MUST know now with the containment dome in place. I hope someone asks at the presser this A.M.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 7, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

"Has it occurred to you that Netanyahu is just as likely as, say, Kim Jong Il or Vladimir Putin to tell the Alleged Hawaiian to piss off?"

Great...but then maybe Bibi should think about giving back all of the foreign aid that we provide. Don't like our rules? Don't take our money.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 7, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Federal judges have oil links. And it isn't only Louisiana:

"Thirty-seven of the 64 active or senior judges in key Gulf Coast districts in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida have links to oil, gas and related energy industries, including some who own stocks or bonds in BP PLC, Halliburton or Transocean — and others who regularly list receiving royalties from oil and gas production wells, according to the reports judges must file each year."

http://www.pnj.com/article/20100607/NEWS01/6070320/1056/NEWS10/Federal-judges-have-oil-links

The United States is an oil addict.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 7, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Paul. Sorry to lose you as a constant commenter but it sounds like it's for a good cause...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 7, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

"I have no idea how realistic this is, but what a victory for Dems it would be if they were to take out Bachmann. More on this later."


Not very. Clark is a reasonable candidate for the district, certainly better than Wetterling (2006) or Tinklenberg (2008). But Bachmann will be difficult to unseat. Reed was an arguably better match for the district than Clark, but the DFL is behind Clark (Reed is a former Lt Gov candidate for the IP), so Reed was always a longshot. Clark's problem is that she'll need ticket-splitters to win. The district is likely to go for Emmer for Gov, with Horner (IP) coming in 2nd. Whomever the DFL nominates will likely be a 3rd place finisher. So Clark will need to get crossover voters at least from Horner's backers to win the seat; she may need some of Emmer's voters too. That will not be easy to pull off.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 7, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

schrodinger's Slave:
"Great...but then maybe Bibi should think about giving back all of the foreign aid that we provide. Don't like our rules? Don't take our money."

Okay. No problem. Will we similarly de-fund the other side of this tiff?

Oh yeah...we can't. They sell us oil, and we seem to have all sorts of problems drilling for our own sources, (and not just offshore, either), so the anti-Zionist Arab world can tell US to go piss up the rope, and we "punish" them by buying all the oil that we MIGHT be able to produce ourselves.

But if Netanyahu doesn't "Yassuh Boss!" Obama, we shut off the money.

Got it.

Look, get this through your head. The problem with Gaza is that Hamas runs the place.

Hamas espouses the elimination of Israel. And has used Gaza as a base for firing their unguided rockets into Israeli territory...not aimed at military targets, just to kill Israelis, (whether they be Muslims or Jews).

Therefore Israel has every reasonable right in the world to put the screws to the Hamas regime in Gaza.

By attacking Israel over this, you are championing the worst of the worst of terrorist slime.

I would note that no such blockade or embargo is being imposed over on the West Bank, where Maliki and his boys run the show.

Odd that, huh?

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 7, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

slave-b-gone:
your linked story:
"NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- BP PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!bp/quotes/nls/bp (BP 37.70, +0.54, +1.45%) decided Sunday to keep some of the four vents open on a cap over its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico because it didn't have enough processing capacity to handle the mix of sea water and oil coming from the gusher, according to a report in The New York Times. The newspaper cited a technician working on the operation, who did not want his name used. The cap was already capturing about 10,000 to 15,000 barrels a day without all its vents closed, while the Discoverer Enterprise drill ship at the site handles up to 15,000 barrels a day. "There is no chance to close the vents when you are at maximum production," the technician said"

This is misleading. BP doesn't have the capacity RIGHT NOW, with the Discoverer Enterprise, to recover all the oil.

This isn't surprising, since this is a drill-ship:

http://www.deepwater.com/fw/main/Discoverer-Enterprise-61C17.html?LayoutID=17

What they need are dynamically positioned FSO's or FPSO's, and possibly shuttle tanker to lighter the product and convey it to the nearest refinery.

Drill ships are built to drill wells.

FSO/FPSO's are built to receive and/or process crude oil from the well.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 7, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"Drill ships are built to drill wells. FSO/FPSO's are built to receive and/or process crude oil from the well."

Um, shouldn't BP have thought about this before sending the wrong ship out to collect oil? They've had 6 weeks to prepare.

Also, do you agree that the with cap in place estimates of the oil flow should be more accurate now?

Posted by: wbgonne | June 7, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"But if Netanyahu doesn't "Yassuh Boss!" Obama, we shut off the money."

Are you seriously contending that the U.S. can't condition its foreign aid, to Israel or anyone else? And the disrespect Israel has shown Obama over and again is appalling. They only get away with it b/c so many of our "political leaders" have conflicted loyalties between the United States and Israel. And "conflicted loyalties" is putting it nicely; there are far harsher ways to describe elected officials who aren't loyal to their own country first.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 7, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

slave-b-gone:
"Um, shouldn't BP have thought about this before sending the wrong ship out to collect oil? They've had 6 weeks to prepare."

One would think so, wouldn't one?

I imagine that they may have really and truly believed that they could shut it down with Dome, Son of Dome, Top Kill and Junk Shot.

I can tell you that many of these shoreside business people have inflated notions of their own competence...and the culture does not always reward those who tell them that their head is up their behinds.

Back to the original accident...the drilling suprevisor and the tool-pusher apparently told BP's Company Man that there were problems.

Company Man was more worried about the Executive cattle-herd ABOVE him than the enormous bubble of methane BELOW him.

"Also, do you agree that the with cap in place estimates of the oil flow should be more accurate now?"

I never believed the 5,000 bpd figure to start with. 5,000 bpd wouldn't justify a deepwater well.

IIRC, that was a FedGov estimate that was thrown out there and got caught up in the Hive Mind. BP, probably not wanting to make things worse for itself, simply did not dispute the Fed's WAG number.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 7, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

This article is a MUST-READ on why Dems should stay FAAARRRR away from Charlie Crist (and strongly support Kendrick Meek in FL-SEN):

* Jim Greer's lawyer says Gov. Crist okayed diversion of GOP funds *

Gov. Charlie Crist personally signed off on his former Republican Party chairman's confidential fundraising role with the state party, according to Jim Greer's attorney, whose allegation contradicts the governor's statement that he "didn't know anything" about the deal now part of a criminal investigation.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/gubernatorial/jim-greers-lawyer-says-gov-crist-okayed-diversion-of-gop-funds/1100322

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 7, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

All, Rand Paul again floats distortion about Americans with Disabilities Act:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/rand_paul_again_floats_distort.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 7, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"I never believed the 5,000 bpd figure to start with. 5,000 bpd wouldn't justify a deepwater well."

OK, but my question is shouldn't they have a far more accurate estimate of the oil now that they are capturing a certain amount? I should think that between the capture amount and the video we should be able to do better than the wild guesses thrown out so far.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 7, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

@PaulW--Congrats on the job. I hope you jump in here whenever you can. It's always good to see you and your comments.

@Everybody--You can contribute to Tarryl Clark at http://tarrylclark.com, which I just did. Bachmann is going to get a lot of money, so we need to help Clark. From her campaign literature, she looks like a really good candidate but has still gotten lots of votes in a very conservative area.

Posted by: AllButCertain | June 7, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Must-read on Bush Admin torture:

* Medical Ethics Lapses Cited in Interrogations *

Medical professionals who were involved in the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogations of terrorism suspects engaged in forms of human research and experimentation in violation of medical ethics and domestic and international law, according to a new report from a human rights organization.

Doctors, psychologists and other professionals assigned to monitor the C.I.A.’s use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques gathered and collected data on the impact of the interrogations on the detainees in order to refine those techniques and ensure that they stayed within the limits established by the Bush administration’s lawyers, the report found. But, by doing so, the medical professionals turned the detainees into research subjects, according to the report, which is scheduled to be published on Monday by Physicians for Human Rights.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/world/07doctors.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 7, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Here's some new info on the drilling moratorium as well as new safety measures going forward for off shore drilling.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6505FH20100602

Posted by: lmsinca | June 7, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

And this is a Must-Read out of FL after you read the piece on Crist:

* How Florida's Forgotten Democrat Could Win the Senate Race *

In a three-way race in which Democrats are 42% of the electorate and growing, while Republicans are 36% and independents are 22%, Meek will win if he holds his base. And that base is quite loyal in general elections; pundits said the Latinos and condo bubbies who supported Hillary Clinton would never vote for Obama, but they did. Crist's only path to victory is to convince Democrats that Meek is unelectable. But after opposing health care reform, dismissing Obama as a one-term President and declaring that "my commitment to the values and principles of the Republican Party will always be the foundation on which my decisions are based," he's going to have a tough time winning them over in November. Crist may be leading in the polls, but he's got no party organization, and when Meek and Rubio start running ads reminding voters about his shameless flip-floppery, he'll probably fade.

[...]

then [Meek] turned serious: "Look, the right has made its decision. The left is going to make its decision in the fall. And they're going to know who's been with them all the way."

If the Democrats vote for the Democrat, that forgotten candidate will sneak into the Senate.

http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1994060,00.html

Don't count Meek out! Crist is going to fade. And when he does, it's going to be a choice between Rubio and Meek. Dems WILL come home. Like I've been saying, Meek has a strong chance at winning.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 7, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Also, some new photos from a photographer on the scene.

http://andylevin.com/2010/06/catastrophe-in-the-gulf-the-hot-zone/

Posted by: lmsinca | June 7, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Ethan:

The scope of Bush-Cheney evil is shocking. They even turned our medical professionals into Dr. Mengele's.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 7, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

No - get it through YOUR head - the problem with Gaza is that the Bush administration pushed for elections and got blindsided by the outcome. One more in a long list of screwups for Obama to have to clean up.

In addition - just because someone has opted to call out Israel's actions on the flotilla makes them neither anti-Israeli or pro-Hamas. The problem with people of your ilk is that everything is either black or white. "You're either with us or against us". What leads you to believe that I haven't in the past condemned acts by the Palestinians? I very well remember the video of them dancing in the street after 9/11.....but that doesn't excuse the Israelis' act of boarding a ship in international water and killing nine people because they were afraid some toys and cilantro might get through.

In closing - don't bother responding because I will neither read it nor reply. I find the fact that you throw the term "slave" around with such abandon horribly offensive. The idea that you would equate someone paying an income tax rate of 35% or being mandated to participate in our health care system with a system where people were forced to helplessly watch as their young children were sold and taken away forever tells me that your have NOTHING to intellectually contribute to any discussion. Shame on me for taking the bait and I will now go back to ignoring your posts.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 7, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Imsinca:

Thanks for that. It clears up a lot of confusion. Two points:

1. "Shallow water drilling and wells already in production will be able to continue work under the moratorium."

Unless I am mistaken this means that there are still deepwater operations ongoing in the GOM. Even though it is disastrously clear that these operations are not safe. If, god forbid, another deepwater drill blows, it is on Obama. He should know better and he shut down ALL deepwater operations NOW.

2. I hope we aren't otherwise twiddling our thumbs during the 6-month commission investigation. We should be using this period to AGGRESSIVELY move to research, plan and deploy clean energy resources.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 7, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

schrodinger's Slave:
"No - get it through YOUR head - the problem with Gaza is that the Bush administration pushed for elections and got blindsided by the outcome."

What a wonderful example of a slobbering moonbat you are.

The problem with Gaza is NOT the terrorist Hamas organization that runs it, but rather it's...George W. Bush, huh?

"What leads you to believe that I haven't in the past condemned acts by the Palestinians?"

I never said that you hadn't...go dance with your straw-man somewhere else, wilya?

"I very well remember the video of them dancing in the street after 9/11..."

Do you now? Do you remember those images with warm and fraternal feelings?

Because bin-Laden, by his own admission, attacked us because we had troops in Saudi Arabia, NOT because we supported Israel's "occupation" of Palestine.

Or is that one of those Moonbat Inconvenient Facts?

So, those dirt-ball Palis were just celebrating the fact that Americans died...period.

And yet YOU want to lead the charge to osculate their fundaments,(your asserted past protests against their conduct notwithstanding).

"...but that doesn't excuse the Israelis' act of boarding a ship in international water and killing nine people because they were afraid some toys and cilantro might get through."

And now you resort to outright lying.

The Israelis likely shot those "activists" because those "activists" attacked them with clubs and knives.

The Israelis are not afraid that toys and cilantro gets through, you mendacious moonbat, but rather weapons and ammo.

"The idea that you would equate someone paying an income tax rate of 35% or being mandated to participate in our health care system with a system where people were forced to helplessly watch as their young children were sold and taken away forever tells me that your have NOTHING to intellectually contribute to any discussion."

Blah-blah-blah....You're off in a huff and a snit because I call you out on your BS and your lies.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 7, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't remember similar calls for firings after Mike Huckabee said the exact same thing as Helen Thomas but about Palestinians.

Posted by: eganfoote | June 7, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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