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Saturday, April 17, 2010

That Uppity Black President!!!!!!

By David Neiwert Saturday Apr 17, 2010 8:00am

One of the signs of insanity, you know, is the insistence on believing in things that are provably untrue, even when the proof is presented clearly and irrevocably.
So why, exactly, should President Obama show any deference whatsoever to insane people who spread the nastiest and most ridiculous smears about him on a daily basis, people who never in a million years would vote for him? People who almost certainly did not vote for him in 2008, and now refuse to accept the verdict of the election they lost?
He's supposed to show these people deference exactly why?

Fox News Pundits Don't Agree With Demonizing an Entire Group Unless it's the Liberals

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tea America
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Instead of reporting on facts and tax policy, Wyatt Cenac searches for the racist, homophobic members of the Tea Party movement.
Bernard Goldberg isn't going to be happy with the end of this segment. I await him running back to Bill-O to complain about Stewart again next week. LinkHere

Ain't that the truth!!!!!!

George Bush says: See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over ... and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.
You can say anything you want. But to be persuasive it has to have at least an ounce of credulity. Not even the most ardent right wing zealot could believe that the big banks would back the Republicans so they will oppose a "big bank bailout". No, the big banks are backing Republicans because they don't want to be held accountable. Their CEO's want to be free to continue their reckless speculation, so they can take home their ten or twenty or fifty million dollar bonus checks regardless of the impact it has on the economy or the jobs of AmericansGeorge Orwell is Reborn as Mitch McConnell
Fifty-one years ago, the novelist George Orwell published "1984" -- a social science fiction classic about a future totalitarian regime that had perfected the art of propaganda and mind control.
The book contributed several iconic terms to the political lexicon -- "Big Brother," "thoughtcrime" -- and perhaps most profoundly prescient -- the concept of "doublethink." "Doublethink" is the act of simultaneously accepting as correct two mutually contradictory beliefs. The concept was later refined as "doublespeak" -- which is simply the notion that if you say something often enough, you can convince normal people that something is its opposite.
The concepts are clearly on display in this well known excerpt from 1984:
"From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:
The modern Republican Party has worked hard over the last decade to perfect the arts of "doublethink" and "doublespeak." Karl Rove and George Bush were masters of the craft. They called their plan to reduce restrictions on polluters the "Clear Skies Initiative." When they eliminated Clinton-era rules conserving forests they called their program the "Healthy Forests Initiative." And, of course, they argued that their program of warrantless wiretaps enhanced our "freedom."
Now Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has carried Orwellian "doublespeak" to new heights of sheer chutzpa. Tuesday McConnell took to the Senate floor to charge that President Obama's proposal to hold the Wall Street Banks accountable actually "institutionalizes" bailouts of Wall Street.
Of course, McConnell forgot to mention in his floor speech that he and the chief of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Senator John Cornyn, had just returned from a trip to New York, where they had private meetings with top Wall Street executives to enlist their help in funding Republican campaigns this fall in exchange for killing tough financial reform.
And the big Wall Street banks have plenty of reasons to oppose reform. J.P. Morgan Chase just published its new earning figures for the quarter -- $3.3 billion -- up almost 300% from last year. The firm spent a record $6.2 million on its attempts to lobby Congress last year, and you've got to admit -- that the money spent on that army of lobbyists got a pretty good return on investment.
And it's not limited to a well known names. David Tepper CEO of Appalossoa Management -- a hedge fund -- made $4 billion last year -- personally. Four billion dollars is enough money to pay about 80,000 teachers.
Wall Street has every intention of trying to buy off enough Members of Congress to allow them to continue precisely the reckless behavior that sunk the economy eighteen months ago -- and cost seven million Americans their jobs -- all the while making a lot of executives and traders very, very rich.
You've got to give it to McConnell. He has gall to march straight from a New York meeting where he got instructions from Wall Street, and go to the floor of the Senate where he attempted to convince Americans that a bill to hold the big Wall Street Banks accountable, is really a "bank bailout bill."
This cynical tactic is taken directly from the pages of the now-famous memo penned by Republican pollster Frank Luntz who found that it was the only argument that has any traction with swing voters -- or even the Republican rank and file. The fact is that there is a huge fissure in the Republican Party between the Wall Street elite that has always been the core Republican constituency -- and the rank and file party membership that is almost as suspicious of Wall Street as it is of "big government."
The Party's ability to successfully sell this Orwellian notion is their only hope of taking political high ground in the upcoming debate over holding Wall Street accountable. But selling the notion that this is a "big bank bailout bill" is a much more difficult lift than convincing seniors that the health bill included "death panels." The "death panel" fantasy had traction because it built on the underlying foundation of hatred for "big government" in the Republican base and among some independents.
But as soon as people learn that the Republican leadership actually represents the big banks -- and takes huge sums of money from the big banks - their argument that they oppose the bill because it is a "bank bailout" falls flat. LinkHere

Unified GOP To Block Senate From Debating Wall Street Reform

Robert Greenwald: We're Not Stupid, Mitch
Say what you want about Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, but he's a man who knows what he wants and who's not afraid to go get it. Specifically, he wants Wall Street fat-cat campaign contributions.

"Bring it on,"

Mitch McConnell has rounded up the necessary votes to block Democrats from bringing Wall Street reform to the Senate floor, a spokesman for the Senate Minority Leader said on Friday afternoon.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Thursday he planned to bring the bill to the floor next week where it would be debated and amendments added. McConnell has now persuaded 41 Republicans to vote against debating reform.
'We simply cannot ask the American taxpayer to continue to subsidize this 'too big to fail' policy. We must ensure that Wall Street no longer believes or relies on Main Street to bail them out. Inaction is not an option," McConnell writes in a letter to Reid that was provided to HuffPost.
Democrats have been battering McConnell all week for his firm opposition to the Democratic reform effort.
Reid spokesman Jim Manley told HuffPost that Reid will be moving ahead regardless.
"Congratulations. I hope they feel good," said Manley. "They've got 41 signatures on a weak, watered-down letter that simply calls for more negotiations. If they are at all serious, they will simply let us go to the bill next week and let the amendment process begin."
Manley said the bill will be brought up for a vote on a motion to proceed to debate later this coming week. LinkHere

UPDATE: McConnell's office sends along a statement from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who had been the holdout, that she will indeed vote to filibuster a motion to proceed: "If the Majority Leader brings the partisan Senate Banking Committee bill to the floor next week, Senator Collins will vote against a motion to proceed."
UPDATE II: Reid spokesman Manley says that Democrats aren't backing down. "Bring it on," he says of the GOP filibuster threat.
Dodd unveils bank reform bill without GOP support
Legislation would limit the Fed's scope to setting monetary policy
Nov. 10, 2009
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd unveiled Tuesday a long-anticipated package of bank-reform measures, legislation designed to shore up deficiencies that came to light in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
Running 1,136 pages long, the bill includes provisions to create a consolidated bank regulator, limit the fallout if a bank deemed "too big to fail" collapses, and set up a consumer-protection agency to oversee mortgages and credit cards.
It would also give the Federal Reserve a considerably smaller role in banking oversight.
Republicans in the Senate aren't offering any backing for Dodd's legislation.
"We must restore responsibility and accountability in our financial system to give Americans confidence that there is a system in place that works for and protects them," said Dodd, D-Conn., in a statement. "We must create a sound foundation to grow the economy and create jobs."
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has already begun to work on a similar bill in his capacity as chief of the House Financial Services Committee. The legislation has been widely discussed and last week came in for criticism. See full story.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rush Lies Again: ‘There Were Union Workers’ At Non-Union Mine Explosion

Last Friday, Rush Limbaugh demanded to know why a coal miner union didn’t protect the 29 miners who were killed in one of Massey CEO Don Blankenship’s mines. After ThinkProgress reported that there was no union at the mine, Limbaugh claimed yesterday that it was a “fact” that “there were union workers there.” Limbaugh cited a news article that the “National Labor Relations Board has affirmed a decision that Massey Energy must rehire 85 coal miners who alleged they were illegally discriminated against because of their union affiliation.” Limbaugh concluded that “the left” who “are trying to blame the Massey disaster on its union busting” were wrong:
So there were union workers there, and so the United Mine Workers should have been overseeing their safety. United Mine Workers of America. There were union workers at that mine, and the left is trying to say, “You can’t say that, Limbaugh! Why it’s a nonunion shop. That SOB CEO got rid of all the unions!” No, no. He agreed to bring back 85 of them. You people, it’s been 21 years. At some point you are going to learn: If you go up against me on a challenge of fact, you are going to be wrong. It’s just that simple. LinkHere

Update Andrew Tyndall observed the network nightly news coverage of the disaster and notes:
Not once, in all five days of coverage, did a single reporter mention the organization that has worked hardest over the decades to make sure that mining management does not cut safety corners and that miners can monitor their own working conditions with impunity. The union went unmentioned, as did the fact that the Upper Big Branch workforce went unorganized.However, MSNBC's Ed Schultz has dedicated significant coverage to the lack of union representation at the mines.
Update Phil Smith, Communications Director for the United Mine Workers of America, tells ThinkProgress that Massey Energy is still appealing the NLRB decision, and that the 85 union miners have not been rehired. In fact, Massey Energy has not employed any union miners for over a decade. There are only about 80 UMWA members working for Massey, not in the mines but at two preparation plants in West Virginia

You Say You Want a Revolution

So it’s the Teabaggers v the Sane. Alrighty, then, let’s do this.
But first, we have to get the ground rules straight.

Right off the bat, I think it imperative that we begin with a level playing field – and that field is gonna take a hell of a lot of leveling.

First off, you (the “Teabaggers”) have to stop griping about being called Teabaggers. You picked the name; we didn’t. The uniforms have already been delivered – and you’ll be wearing them. There’s no turning back now. (Next revolution, you might want to investigate the origins of your name, and perhaps choose more wisely).

Speaking of uniforms, we’ve chosen tasteful, everyday attire. It would seem you have chosen sweatshirts that desecrate the American flag by plastering it over your flabby stomachs and substantial butts. If you have reconsidered this choice, please advise.

Please be more specific in your complaints. Placards that read “Keep the guvmint’s hands off my Medicaid” have us confused. Being as Medicaid is now, always has been, and always will be a guvmint-run program, we’re not quite sure what you’re bitchin’ about. We stand ready to be enlightened.

In a Revolution, just as in all things, communication is key. While we, the Sane, have not taken up the cause of making English "are offical language", we do actually speak it fluently, and can communicate coherently. If you need a time-out to familiarize yourself with spelling and grammar, we are more than happy to accomodate you.

Choosing a leader is also important. We’ve chosen President Barack Obama. We will need to know who your “leader” is forthwith. (Note: If you are leaning towards Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh, you should be aware that skill-testing questions, along with drug-testing, will be required.) Again, if you need more time to come up with a leader who can pass either, we are willing to afford you whatever time is necessary.

No backsies – once you’re in, you’re in. This means that we can use public roads, highways, libraries (“liberrries” to you, and we figure there won’t be much of an argument from your side when it comes to their use) – and you can’t. You don’t believe the government should be “intruding” into your personal lives by building/maintaining same. So be it.

There will be no government hand-outs to you or yours – by way of medical treatment if you are injured, Social Security payments, food stamps, welfare, etc. We, on the other hand, will be free to benefit from any and all government “intrusion” into our lives.

Strictly off-limits: wiretapping citizens without a warrant, relegating dissenters to “free speech zones”, arresting and incarcerating anyone as “enemy combatants” without due process of law, subjecting anyone to torture – you know, all that fun stuff you people are so enamored of.

You cannot label anyone as a socialist or communist without being able to coherently and accurately define those terms. We cannot label anyone as an ill-informed douchebag without defining those terms – and we can, just so’s ya know.

Our “official spokespeople” will be named at a later date. We are still choosing from among the many Ph.D.s, Nobel Peace Prize recipients, Pulitzer award winners, and internationally renowned among our ranks. We are assuming you’ll be going with Hannity or Beck – or some other ill-informed douchebag who graduated Come-Loud from the Ding Dong School of Political Wherewithal. Please advise at your earliest convenience.

As in all Great Battles, the overwhelming question is: Whose side God is on?

Well, we’ve done some fact-checking (something you’re unfamiliar with, but you can Google it for a full explanation of the exercise) – and lo and behold, it seems that we who are concerned about the “least among us”, who consider ourselves “our brother’s keeper”, and have this thing about “doing unto others as we would have done unto ourselves” have a definite advantage with this long-haired, commie-pinko guy from way back – yeah, the same guy YOU drag out and re-hang on a cross whenever convenient!

I’m not saying we all believe in his divinity, or ability to save wretches like you from your just rewards – but damn, you can’t miss the fact that he’s more like one of us than one of you. And I hear he’s got some sway with his Dad.

Contrary to popular belief, the Revolution WILL be televised. So please leave your hooded robes at home – white sheets wrapped around pasty white faces tend to come across on-screen as a bland misrepresentation of what America looks like in reality – and, oh, yes, forgot to mention: reality is in play here. Sorry about that. But there will be a home version of the game for all runners-up, a suitable consolation prize for those who mistakenly thought bigotry, homophobia, AND cluelessness were the winning answers.

Now that the rules of engagement have been established, we await your response.

Operators are standing by. And to avoid any further confusion, please use Spellcheck before replying.

Fox News falling out with the Tea Party

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Fox News' Sean Hannity cancels appearance at Tea Party rally

Cincinnati Tea Party: Fox Isn’t Telling The Truth About The Hannity Broadcast

Source: Think ProgressThe CTP is firing back, claiming that Fox News is lying. They said that not only did they work with Fox News staff on logistics for the event, but executives told CTP organizers Hannity wouldn’t be able to tape his show in Cincinnati because of a “personal emergency”:

*****Shortly after the scheduled book signing (which was canceled) Fox News producers onsite informed the Cincinnati Tea Party senior leadership that Mr. Hannity had to rush home for a personal emergency. The Cincinnati Tea Party expressed a statement of support and concern to Hannity and family.

*****The Cincinnati Tea Party received information from local media attributing concerns regarding ticketing to a executive vice president at the Fox News Network. The Cincinnati Tea Party has not been able to confirm the authenticity of this message via a source this statement to any @foxnews.com email or http://www.foxnews.com/ website. Emails and phone calls to network went unanswered until 7:48 p.m. — more than four hours after the scheduled appearance; this source has not yet put it in writing despite our request.

The CTP’s post added that the organization is not profiting from the Hannity event; all ticket proceeds are going to “offset the cost of the event.” LinkHere

Update A tea party activist who attended the Cincinnati rally produced this video to criticize Fox News and Hannity for failing to attend:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Message to Tom Coburn: Blocking Unemployment Benefits Is the Opposite of Courageous

For months now, the Republican Party has decided to stand up for America's fiscal rectitude by denying benefits to a segment of Americans facing the most difficult circumstances -- the long-term unemployed. As of today, four Republicans have voted with most Democrats to invoke cloture and pave the way for final passage of a bill that will extend emergency unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed. But Republicans -- first Kentucky's Jim Bunning, then Oklahoma's Tom Coburn, clearly backed by the GOP leadership -- have done their darndest to try to stop this from happening.
Though Congress is now poised to move ahead on the extension, several hundred thousand Americans have already had their benefits cut as a result of Coburn's and the GOP's actions.
And why? LinkHere

Fox uses Clarence Thomas to promote its tea party event

by Jed Lewison
Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 09:06:03 AM PDT
Great. Now Fox is trying to drag the Supreme Court into their tea party nonsense, using an image of Clarence Thomas to promote their Atlanta Tea Party event:Obviously, Fox will say they were just trying to use Virginia Thomas (Clarence's wife and a tea party activist) to promote their event. But will anybody really believe them?
More importantly, will Justice Thomas demand Fox remove him from the promotional campaign for their tea party event?
Update (9:13AM): oxfdblue points out a dreamy alternative solution: Justice Thomas could resign from the Court and party all he wants with the teabaggers! LinkHere

Tea Parties Protest Tax Day 2010

The Other 95% - Counter Tea Party Rally in DC 04-15-10

It's Tax Day 2010 and the Tea Party is holding rallies across the country to push their conservative, small government message. This year a number of anti-Tea Party groups are out in force too.
From coast to coast, here's are some of the key developments from today's Tax Day rallies and events:

The Tea Partiers are being countered by a start-up group called "The Other 95%," which descended on D.C. on Thursday to protest "right across from Tea Party rally.""Obama passed 25 separate tax cuts," Sheryl Stein, founding member of "The Other 95%" said in a statement announcing the group's plans, "including $300 billion in middle class tax cuts -- one of the largest in history - as part of the stimulus package. Unlike President Bush's 2001 tax cuts, which went to the wealthiest 2.2%, President Obama's tax cuts overwhelmingly benefit working and middle class families -- in fact, 95% of all Americans." LinkHere

Appropriate!!!!!!Hell yes


A Farewell to Arms

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Change is what we got

US in race to secure nukes

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tea Party NY Gov Candidate's E-Mails Exposed: Racism, Porn, Bestiality

Josh Marshall
Carl Paladino
As noted earlier, reacting to some of the excess of March, national Tea Party leaders are looking for ways to tone down the group's image and rebrand it as a mainstream (i.e., not Crazy) albeit insurgent movement. But if that's the plan, they may need to do something about Tea Party New York governor candidate Carl Paladino.
A bunch of his emails have just surfaced with racist appeals, porn and even some good old bestiality thrown in for good measure. One email features video of an African tribal dance, entitled "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal." LinkHere

Let's not forget Palin, I think he was referencing Palin also, after all she can see Russia from her house.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, one of 47 world leaders gathering for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America to relay his country’s concerns ahead of the summit. During one point in the interview, host George Stephanopoulos asked Medvedev what he thought of President Obama. The Russian leader coyly replied that he believed Obama distinguishes himself from “many other people” — presumably former President Bush — by being “a thinker”:

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve now met President Obama many times, at least fifteen meetings and phone calls –

MEDVEDEV: Sixteen times.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sixteen, OK, I knew it was fifteen, I wasn’t sure about sixteen. What do you make of Barack Obama the man?

MEDVEDEV: [Obama] is a very comfortable partner. It’s very interesting to be with him. The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people, I won’t name anyone by name, he’s a thinker. He thinks when he speaks.

STEPHANOPOULOS: (laughing) You have somebody in your mind, I think!

MEDVEDEV: Obviously I do have someone on my mind, I don’t want to offend anyone.

Groups demand arrest of coal mine CEO

Groups call for arrest of West Virginia mine CEO
A coalition of NGOs who say they are fighting against the influence of the US Chamber of Commerce has called for the arrest of Don Blankenship, the CEO responsible for the West Virginia mine where 29 workers lost their lives last week.
In a press release on Monday, StopTheChamber.com said Blankenship was "as criminally culpable as any mass murderer" for the disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, because he had systematically worked to avoid safety regulations.
“This was not an accident, but rather the result of deliberate and intentional decisions and actions of Don Blankenship, a director of the United States Chamber of Commerce," said Kevin Zeese, a founder of the liberal-oriented Velvet Revolution, which runs the StopTheChamber.com site.
"Blankenship, with the lobbying arm of the Chamber to back him up, has thumbed his nose at the Mine Safety and Health Administration, ignoring or appealing every violation, including the scores that resulted in coal mine evacuations and the hundreds of other serious violations," Zeese said in a statement.
Zeese added, "As the Washington Post pointed out in a Saturday editorial, these 29 deaths would not have occurred absent this intentional conduct of Blankenship. He is just as criminally culpable as any mass murderer.”
On Friday, the New York Times reported that the mining industry has been able to skirt around an enhanced safety law from 2006 by filing multiple appeals against safety violation citations.

Dake Says: Take off my flag- you unpatriotic buffoon!

Ken Huckins Says:
“When facshism comes it will be wrapped in a flag and packin a bible”

The death toll from Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine explosion last week has reached a total of 29 miners, the worst coal disaster in 40 years. When the disaster occurred, Massey was contesting millions of dollars in major safety violations levied against the mine. At his Labor Day anti-union rally last year, Massey CEO Don Blankenship attacked the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), claiming it “seeks power over coal miners.” He mocked both “Washington politicians” and local elected officials who attempt to ensure miner safety, calling their efforts “as silly as global warming”:
We also endure a Mine Safety and Health Administration that seeks power over coal miners versus improving their safety and their health. As someone who has overseen the mining of more coal than anyone else in the history of central Appalachia, I know that the safety and health of coal miners is my most important job. I don’t need Washington politicians to tell me that, and neither do you. But I also know — I also know Washington and state politicians have no idea how to improve miner safety. The very idea that they care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming.

Don Blankenship — who uses his position on the boards of the National Mining Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to promote his conspiracy theories about global warming — said he spent one million dollars to put together the “Friends of America” right-wing rally and rock concert in Holden, WV on September 7, 2009, which starred Ted Nugent, Hank Williams, Jr., and Fox News host Sean Hannity. In 2009, Blankenship also complained that “politicians get emotional” about disasters and establish “nonsensical” safety rules. LinkHere

Michael Winship
Senior writer at Bill Moyers Journal on PBS

The high cost of energy in America was paid in human lives this week, with the deaths of more than two dozen miners in a massive explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia. It's the worst U.S. mine disaster in four decades.
Upper Big Branch is owned by Massey Energy Company, which operates 47 mines in central Appalachia. According to the Los Angeles Times, it employs nearly 6000 and in 2009 reported revenues of $2.3 billion, with a net income of $104.4 million.
At the center of this week's catastrophe is Massey's president and CEO Don Blankenship, a man so reviled nowadays he had to be escorted away by police when he and other company officials tried to address a group of distraught family and friends outside the Upper Big Branch mine in the early morning hours after the explosion. The crowd hurled invective -- and a chair.
Blankenship hates unions (Upper Big Branch is a non-union mine), thinks global warming is a figment of our imaginations and that those who do believe in climate change are crazy; supports destructive, mountain-top-removal mining; serves on the board of the conservative, free market U.S. Chamber of Commerce and now, lucky us, shares his pearls of right-wing wisdom via Twitter. "America doesn't need Green jobs," he tweeted pithily last month, "but Red, White, & Blue ones."
David Roberts of the environmental magazine Grist described him as "the scariest polluter in the U.S. ...The guy is evil and I don't use that world lightly."
Just one example of Massey Energy's earlier history of environmental malfeasance was described in a May 2003 issue of Forbes Magazine: LinkHere

Coal Country the movie

"Mourn for the dead and fight like hell for the living"
Mother Jones

Senator Byrd

"Let me be clear about one thing - this is not about
the coal industry or their hard-working coal miners. This is about
companies that blatantly disregard human life and safety
because of greed. That is never acceptable."

“My heartfelt prayers and deepest condolences go out to all those who have
lost loved ones in the worst mining tragedy since 1984,We grieve for those
who have died, and we continue to pray for their families.

Clearly we must get to the bottom of what happened, how and who was
responsible. And we must and will hold those parties accountable.

At least 25 coal miners have died inside a mine that has over time
amassed scores of safety violations, including 57 citations just last month.
West Virginia’s coal miners are the backbone of a great nation that
depends on their work. They deserve nothing less than a safe working
environment, and an employer who respects and values their safety.

We must reexamine the health and safety laws we have put into place
and what more may need to be done to avoid future loss of life.

Let me also pay homage to our mine rescue units and first responders.
These mine rescue units have world-class training and skills, and I commend
their bravery as they search to rescue and recover their brothers.”

Senator Robert C. Byrd- 4-8-10

"Such arrogance suggests a blatant disregard for the
impact of their mining practices on our communities, residents
and particularly our children. These are children's lives
we are talking about."

"If Massey were not operating near Marsh Fork Elementary, we
would not be debating what to do about moving these young
students someplace safer. This is not the taxpayers' burden to
remedy. This is Massey Energy's responsibility to address."

"Let me be clear about one thing - this is not about
the coal industry or their hard-working coal miners. This is about
companies that blatantly disregard human life and safety
because of greed. That is never acceptable."

"At a time when coal is under such close scrutiny, coal companies
operating in West Virginia should be working together to put their
best foot forward. For the sake of the entire coal industry, Massey
Energy should strive to be a better and more responsible corporate
citizen. And for the sake of the kids, they should address these serious
environmental concerns at Marsh Fork Elementary immediately."

Senator Robert C. Byrd - 10-7-09

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Judge Jed Rakoff taps into nation's outrage over economic crisis

By Nathaniel Popper
April 10, 2010
Reporting from New York
The economic crisis has brought out the populist in many politicians and others. Among the more unlikely ones may be a silver-bearded federal judge who has wasted no chance to tell the country's biggest banks what he thinks about how they operate.

When Bank of America Corp. was trying to settle civil charges over its conduct in its purchase of Merrill Lynch, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff wrote that the bank's executives had led what "could have been a bank-destroying disaster if the U.S. taxpayers had not saved the day."

Addressing how the firm pays its top people, the judge spoke in February of "the incredibly bloated compensation of too many executives in too many American companies."

In another case, Rakoff called JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s handling of a major client improper at the very least, "if not a downright sham."

He condemned not only big banks but also their regulators, saying the Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement in the Bank of America case did "not comport with the most elementary notions of justice and morality."

"He has tapped into some of the national and populist outrage that has followed the economic meltdown," said Anthony Barkow, executive director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University. "He's made an intellectual and legal case for what a lot of people are thinking based on their own common sense."

Rakoff has even become a reference point in the legal world. In chastising the SEC last week in the online magazine Slate, Eliot Spitzer, who as New York attorney general took on Wall Street, pointed to Rakoff's rulings. When another judge criticized the SEC recently, a Wall Street Journal blogger said that judge had "pulled a Rakoff."

Don't Cry for David Frum

By Eric Alterman
David Frum makes an extremely inconvenient martyr for liberals. Forced out of his cushy sinecure at the American Enterprise Institute, he will continue to be fabulously rich, thanks to his marriage to a Canadian newspaper heiress. His voice will be magnified in the national discourse, and tributes to his courage will dot the landscape of American political discourse for weeks to come.
But forget about Frum for a minute and take a look at why he was let go. Frum remains a right-winger. He has not renounced his former self for coming up with the bankrupt concept of the "axis of evil" in service to the Bush administration's propaganda push for its disastrous, dishonest invasion of Iraq. (Frum's tome An End to Evil, written with Richard Perle, will one day serve historians as a near-perfect exhibit for the self-serving intellectual vacuity of Bush-era hubris.) And he has strongly opposed the Obama administration, both at home and abroad, particularly its healthcare reforms.
No, Frum was drummed out of what is, sadly, the conservative movement's most prestigious quasi-academic perch not for any recognizable form of philosophical or theological apostasy. Rather, it was for stating the obvious: that perhaps GOP leaders had screwed up their healthcare fight because they were listening to the wrong people, and hence doing the wrong things.
Way back on December 2, 1993, when William Kristol was still pretty much a nobody with a famous dad and a good-news/bad-news reputation as Dan Quayle's chief attack dog and press leaker, he circulated a four-page memo to Republican leaders warning of the dangers lurking in President Clinton's proposed comprehensive healthcare bill. True, the tone of his musings was a great deal friendlier to Republican muckety-mucks than that of Frum. "Nothing in these pages is intended to supplant the many thoughtful analyses of the Clinton health care plan already produced by Republicans and others," Kristol wrote. Even so, his warning presaged that made by Frum today. Should the Democrats pass their bill, he cautioned, their success would "revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government."
Last year Kristol--now a Republican kingmaker, Weekly Standard founder and editor, Fox News commentator, columnist for the Washington Post and previously for Time and the New York Times (all this despite an atrocious record of analysis regarding Iraq and a willingness to run intellectual interference for the likes of Sarah Palin)--repeated the same argument regarding Obama's plan. On the Weekly Standard website, he informed his troops: "My advice, for what it's worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill." He was echoing the advice of Senator Jim DeMint, who had opined, "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."
As Frum explained, the problem was the abdication of Republicans' intellectual leadership to the folks at talk-radio and Fox News. "Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox," he told ABC News, echoing an argument made in the Columbia Journalism Review, that Roger Ailes is "without close contest the most powerful Republican in the country today." (Personally, I might put him just behind Rush Limbaugh, with Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill Kristol barking just a few lengths behind.) Healthcare, Frum argued, was a "huge win for the conservative entertainment industry," but for "the cause they purport to represent, it's Waterloo all right: ours."
The upshot of this tawdry affair--as with the less celebrated firing of Bruce Bartlett from the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis after he dissented from ruinous Bush-era budget policies--is, um, Kristol-clear. The rule of Roger and Rush will go unchallenged. No forms of deviation from the consensus of the conservative chatterboxes will be tolerated, no matter how trivial. AEI, like the rest of the conservative movement, will operate on the same basis Joseph Stalin legendarily used when he heard something he didn't like: "no person, no problem."

Good Bye, Bart Stupak

Bart Stupak (D-USCCB) has announced he'll retire from Congress at the end of his term in order to spend more time with his wife and no, not because the Tea Party has made ousting him a top priority. "I've fought my whole career for health care and thanks to Barack Obama and my colleagues, we've gotten it done," said the man who was ready to let health-care reform go down in flames unless it was bent to his extreme anti-abortion-rights views--and who didn't seem to understand that the Senate version's Nelson amendment already did that. Stupak was the worst of both worlds: he got party support as the only kind of Dem who could win in a conservative district, only to collapse when faced with a tough campaign. Meanwhile we're all supposed to genuflect to him as a man of "principle" for putting at risk the most significant piece of social legislation in decades – and give him credit for his last-minute vote to pass it! It's too much -- cowardice plus chutzpah, with a little dash of dumb.
The general view seems to be that the seat will now revert to the Republicans who had it up until 1992 when Stupak won it, but, really, who knows? You can help keep that from happening by supporting Connie Saltonstall, former school teacher and Charlevoix county commissioner, pro-choicer. Saltonstall , who entered the primary last month to challenge Stupak over his anti-abortion-rights brinkmanship, has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW, BlueAmerica and MI List, a state organization dedicated to electing pro-choice women Democrats. We sure could use some more of those. LinkHere
Conservatives claim Rep. Bart Stupak's scalp
Conservative groups are claiming a small victory with Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak’s retirement.
Since the anti-abortion Democrat withdrew his opposition to the health care reform bill, conservative groups have pounded Stupak’s district with attack ads accusing him of abandoning his principles in order to give President Barack Obama his signature domestic policy achievement.
The immediate gratification of seeing Stupak go so soon after the health care bill passed gave the groups plenty to celebrate. LinkHere

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Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Securing world's nuclear materials goal of U.S. summit

Source: McClatchy News Service
Early on Nov. 8, 2007, armed men penetrated a 10,000-volt security fence, disabled intrusion detectors and scaled a ladder into the emergency control center of the Pelindaba nuclear facility, the repository of highly enriched uranium removed from the six bombs of South Africa's defunct nuclear arsenal.

The gang, which shot and wounded a security officer during the 45 minutes they spent inside the center, left empty-handed. Its members have never been captured or identified, however, and their ability to penetrate what was supposedly one of South Africa's most heavily guarded installations highlights what experts warn is growing danger that terrorists or criminals will obtain small amounts of highly enriched uranium and build a crude nuclear weapon.

Securing the world's stocks of highly enriched uranium, also known as HEU, and weapons-grade plutonium is the goal of a two-day nuclear summit involving leaders from 46 countries that begins Monday in Washington. President Barack Obama hopes that the attendees will acknowledge the threat and will begin a concerted effort to ``lock down'' all HEU and plutonium stocks vulnerable to theft within four years.

The summit -- the largest gathering of international leaders in the U.S. in more than 60 years -- is the next step in Obama's plan to rid the world of nuclear weapons eventually. In addition to the treaty with Russia, Obama last week announced a new U.S. nuclear strategy that embraced further cuts in the U.S. arsenal, ruled out the development of new warheads and excluded most of the world's countries from U.S. nuclear attack. LinkHere

His Man in Washington

--Josh Marshall

The mining tragedy in West Virginia has focused attention on Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, the hard-charging CEO notorious for systemic safety lapses at his company's mines. Things could be looking up for Blankenship, though. One of his very close friends (with a history of having Blankenship's back) is running for Congress against incumbent Rep. Nick Rahall (D).
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