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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rahm Emanuel: Don’t Worry About the Left

Turn off MSNBC. Tune out Howard Dean and Keith Olbermann. The White House has its liberal wing in hand on health care, says White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

“There are no liberals left to get” in the Senate, Emanuel said in an interview, shrugging off some noise from the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) that a few liberals might bolt over the compromises made with conservative Democrats.

As the White House leans on conservative Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska for the 60th health care vote, Emanuel has made the case that this generation of liberal political figures will not make the mistake of their predecessors. The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s greatest regret was not cutting a deal with Richard Nixon on universal health care. Former President Bill Clinton has forever rued the day he did not take moderate Republican Sen. John Chafee up on a compromise that could have secured a health care bill early in his presidency.

Liberal senators nearly scuttled the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program -– S-CHIP –- because Clinton compromised with Republicans and agreed to take the program out of Medicaid and involve private insurers.

“Every time they’ve gotten close to the deal, they’ve passed up the opportunity and chosen to walk away from a particular where they’ve lost the forest for the trees,” Emanuel said.

The comments may not endear the powerful White House chief of staff to liberal activists, furious that Senate Democratic leaders, at Emanuel’s urging, cut a deal with Sen. Joe Lieberman to drop a federally run insurance policy option, then eliminate a Medicare buy-in proposal.

“I don’t think the White House recognizes how much trouble they’re in,” said one former Democratic official this morning. “I think they’re miscalaculating what’s happening with progressives and the left. They feel like they’re being taken for granted.”

But Emanuel pointed to a New York Times column by economist Paul Krugman and another coming from National Journal writer Ronald Brownstein pressing for passage of the Senate health bill. “What you’re seeing is the progressive backlash against the progressive backlash,” he said.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Joe Lieberman Could Run As A Republican In 2012

MoveOn Hits $1 Million Mark In Anti-Lieberman Campaign

In less than two days time, the progressive action group MoveOn.org has raised more than $1 million for its campaign against Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.).

The five-million-member group launched a fundraising drive on Tuesday after the Connecticut independent successfully killed key provisions from the Senate's health care reform legislation.

The goal was set, initially, for $400,000. By 1:22 p.m. on Thursday they were past the $1 million mark and climbing. The money will go to an ad campaign against Lieberman and into a fund to oppose his re-election in 2012.

The massive and quick response to the plea reflects just how much progressive frustration there is about the man who, eight years ago, was the Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Additionally, on Thursday, MoveOn.org put out a comic web ad using sock puppets to mock Lieberman as a spotlight-seeking political diva -- and his colleagues in the Democratic caucus as spineless enablers of his behavior.

The spot, which is not part of the broad multimedia ad campaign that the group will launch with its fundraising drive overhaul, has Lieberman at one point demanding that he be given four inches in height in exchange for his vote -- a request that was, naturally, granted.

Mockery of Lieberman may be one of the few sticks left to brandish in the health care reform debate. However. MoveOn's video seems more likely to make progressives feel better than to compel Democratic leadership to toughen up.

Chump change compared to what the WealthCare Industry is going to funnel to "their man".

Jon Stewart Slams Ingraham For Comparing Health Care Reform To Holocaust

"They will stop at nothing to destroy the american way of life....
And neither will we..."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

90 Accomplishments of Pres. Obama Which The Media Fails to Report....

Media loves to say that President Obama is not getting much accomplished which the facts belie and fail to report the 90 plus accomplishments of administration, so far!

"Professor Watson writes

Hi friends,

I am always being asked to grade Obama's presidency. In place of offering him a grade, I put together a list of his accomplishments thus far. I think you would agree that it is very impressive. His first six months have been even more active than FDRs or LBJs the two standards for such assessments. Yet, there is little media attention given to much of what he has done. Of late, the media is focusing almost exclusively on Obama's critics, without holding them responsible for the uncivil, unconstructive tone of their disagreements or without holding the previous administration responsible for getting us in such a deep hole. The misinformation and venom that now passes for political reporting and civic debate is beyond description.

As such, there is a need to set the record straight. What most impresses me is the fact that Obama has accomplished so much not from a heavy-handed or top-down approach but from a style that has institutionalized efforts to reach across the aisle, encourage vigorous debate, and utilize town halls and panels of experts in the policy-making process. Beyond the accomplishments, the process is good for democracy and our democratic processes have been battered and bruised in recent years.
Let me know if I missed anything in the list (surely I did).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Despite Market Plunge, DeMint Calls For Privatizing ‘Socialistic’ Social Security

Last week, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) sent out a recruitment call for “new Republicans,” confirming that he sees “little use for a big-tent approach for his party.” As South Carolina’s The State put it, DeMint is setting himself up as a kingmaker, wading into national races to endorse far-right candidates.

And one of the issues about which DeMint feels very strongly is Social Security. In an interview with Bloomberg News’ Al Hunt, DeMint blasted Social Security as “socialistic,” and advocated reviving President George Bush’s Social Security privatization scheme:

DeMint considers Social Security a “socialistic” measure and blasts the American Association of Retired Persons for promulgating “socialist solutions”…In the interview, he talks of reviving President George W. Bush’s failed plan to partially privatize Social Security by having workers put a small percentage of the current levy in a personal savings account.

As CNN Money’s Allan Sloan wrote back in January, “someday, Social Security privatization will come back into vogue. When that happens, I’ve got two words that will remind you why it’s a bad idea: Remember 2008.” It’s quite shocking that we’re not even through 2009 yet, and 2008, at least for DeMint, is already forgotten.

But let’s review. As a Center for American Progress Action Fund report found, under a Bush-style privatization plan, a October 2008 retiree would have lost $26,000 in the market plunge. If the U.S. stock market had behaved like the Japanese market during the duration of that retiree’s work life, “a private account would have experienced sharp negative returns, losing $70,000 — an effective -3.3 percent net annual rate of return.” And this doesn’t take into account the full plunge of the stock market, which dipped below 7,000 in March 2009.

Court Ruling Vindicates Grayson’s Argument That The ACORN Funding Ban Is Unconstitutional

Suck on that FAUX NEWS.
One of the right’s loudest crusades has been its effort to undermine the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN). Following the release of a series of videos showing a handful of ACORN employees behaving inappropriately, conservatives in Congress have done everything they can to single out ACORN to be stripped of all federal funding (while hypocritically opposing the defunding of companies that cover-up rape).

Rep. Alan Grayson challenged his conservative colleagues — and even reduced Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) to incoherent defenses — to prove that the ACORN de-funding measures were an unconstitutional “bills of attainder,” given the fact that they were singling out one organization for punishment without trial. Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that Grayson was right and that the ACORN funding ban is unconstitutional:

A federal judge today issued an injunction preventing the implementation of a congressional ban on funding for ACORN. Judge Nina Gershon concluded that the ban amounted to a “bill of attainder” that unfairly singled out ACORN.

“[The plaintiffs] have been singled out by Congress for punishment that directly and immediately affects their ability to continue to obtain federal funding, in the absence of any judicial, or even administrative, process of adjudicating guilt,” Gershon wrote in her decision.

Gershon said ACORN had demonstrated “irreperable harm” from the ban, while “the potential harm to the government, in granting the injunction, is less.”

The decision noted that the ban had already prevented ACORN from receiving payment from contracts awarded before the ban took effect.

Reflecting on the ruling, Glenn Greenwald writes, “There is an endless list of radical flaws in our political system, including our judicial branch. But in those rare cases when things actually work the way they’re designed to, it’s worth reminding ourselves of why the Constitution is such a vital document and why it’s so crucial that it be adhered to and defended.” LinkHere

Grayson v. Broun on the Constitution

Abu Dhabi gives Dubai $10 billion to cover debt

Source: Associated Press

Dubai's government says it has received $10 billion in emergency funds from oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi that will go toward paying debts owed by its struggling Dubai World conglomerate.

Some $4.1 billion of the money will be used to pay off a pile of debt from Dubai World's Nakheel property division that comes due Monday.

Dubai's ability to repay those funds had been seen as a key test of the debt-laden emirate's creditworthiness.

The UAE central bank, based in the federation's capital Abu Dhabi, also says it is prepared to provide support to local banks.
Dubai gets $10 billion from Abu Dhabi to pay Nakheel bond

BREAKING NEWS: 22 million missing Bush White House e-mails have been found, two nonprofit groups say

Computer technicians have uncovered 22 million messages believed lost
WASHINGTON - Two nonprofit groups say that computer technicians have found 22 million White House e-mails from the administration of President George W. Bush.

The two groups say the electronic messages were previously mislabeled and effectively lost.

An announcement Monday by the two groups is the latest development in a controversy that surrounded the failure by the Bush White House to install an electronic recordkeeping system.

The two private organizations — the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — say they are settling lawsuits that they filed against the Executive Office of the President in 2007. LinkHere

White House to Restore Emails from Plame Cover-Up Period

By: emptywheel Monday December 14, 2009 11:48 am

The National Security Archive has released a list of dates for which the White House will restore emails under its settlement agreement.

That list includes almost all of the most suspect dates when email was missing, most notably the period (between September 29 and October 7, 2003) when Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby were working on a cover story in Jackson Hole. This is the period, remember, when Libby told Cheney the story he was going to tell the FBI–that he had learned of Plame’s identity from Tim Russert, not from Cheney himself. And it is also the period during which we know Fitzgerald was seeking emails, but did not receive them. (He did receive at least one email, printed out from a hard drive, after the more intense search for emails started in 2005.

I would have liked to see the emails through 2004–when it became clear Fitzgerald would subpoena Judy Miller and Matt Cooper, and when, in response to Rove turning over a key email to Fitzgerald, someone did some highly suspicious searches in the White House email system.

But this is a start, at least.

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