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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Michael Lewis, 'The Big Short' Author, On Jon Stewart: How A One-Eyed Man Bet Against Wall Street

Jon Stewart’s Punching Bag, Fox News

A Farewell to Arms
Fox News wants you to decide if the Nuclear Security Summit logo looks similar to the flags representing Muslim nations.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
A Farewell to Arms
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are long gone. Fox News Channel is Jon Stewart’s new enemy No. 1.
Last week that comedian did something that the hosts of “Fox & Friends,” the morning show on Fox News, did not do: he had his staff members call the White House and ask a question.
It may have been in pursuit of farce, not fact, but it gave credence to the people who say “The Daily Show” is journalistic, not just satiric. “Fox & Friends” had repeatedly asked whether the crescent-shaped logo of the nuclear security summit was an “Islamic image,” one selected by President Obama in his outreach to the Muslim world. The White House told “The Daily Show” that the logo was actually based on the Rutherford-Bohr model of the atom.
“This is how relentless Fox is” in savaging President Obama, Mr. Stewart said.
On the subject of Fox, Mr. Stewart is pretty relentless too. As demonstrated by that crescent segment and dozens of others since Mr. Obama took office, he may well be television’s pre-eminent fact-checker of Fox News, the nation’s highest-rated cable news channel.
It has been noticed by, among other people, the Fox host Bill O’Reilly, who called Mr. Stewart a “devoted critic” of Fox News and said “his influence is growing.”
Separately, this week Mr. Stewart’s contract was renewed by Comedy Central into 2013. Combining the earnestness of a journalism professor and the sarcasm of a satirist, Mr. Stewart routinely charges that Fox’s news anchors and commentators distort Mr. Obama’s policies and advance a conservative agenda. He reminds some viewers of the left-wing group Media Matters but much funnier.
“Stewart does a great job of using comedy to expose the tragedy that is Fox News, and he also underscores the seriousness of it,” said Eric Burns, the president of Media Matters.
The segments about Fox are often replayed hundreds of thousands of times on blogs and other Web sites, amplifying their significance. “Media criticism has become part of his brand,” said Mark Jurkowitz, the associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, who noted that Mr. Stewart had also dissected CNN and CNBC in lengthy segments in the past.
It is true that the often-left-leaning “Daily Show” deals with a wide array of topics, but Fox is one that Mr. Stewart is overtly passionate about; he said on the show this week that he criticizes the network a lot because it is “truly a terrible, cynical, disingenuous news organization.” LinkHere

Beck To Headline Texas Event With Rick Perry, The Man He Once Said He Wanted To ‘French Kiss’

Earlier this month, Fox News host Sean Hannity fell into hot water with network executives for his plan to headline the Cincinnati Tax Day Tea Party. Perhaps sensitive to criticisms in recent weeks that Fox personalities have been doing too much cheerleading on behalf of conservative political parties and candidates, executives pulled Hannity from the event when news broke that profits were going to benefit the Cincinnati Tea Party (which the group has denied).
Today, Fox News host Glenn Beck will be appearing with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is running on the Republican ticket for re-election. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:
Gov. Rick Perry will be in Tyler this Saturday to appear on stage with conservative commentator Glenn Beck, Perry’s office confirmed.
Beck is holding a town hall-style event in Tyler’s Oil Palace this Saturday [at 7:00 p.m.] Ticket prices range from $25 to $85.
ThinkProgress spoke to Jim Couch, manager of the Oil Palace, who said that ticket proceeds would be going back to the private venue and to pay Beck’s speaking fees. “We have to pay for Beck to appear,” he said, but wouldn’t disclose how much they are paying him. Couch added that none of the money would be going toward Perry’s re-election campaign.
Beck has played a substantial role in the Texas election. In February, Beck blunted the momentum of one of Perry’s Republican challengers, Tea Party favorite Debra Medina, by asking her, “Do you believe the government was any way involved with the bringing down of the World Trade Centers on 9/11?” Medina subsequently took flack for responding, “I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard.” Although he had previously dismissed Perry as a “progressive,” Beck quickly rushed to embrace him after Medina’s stumble:

We All Need Goals

Darrell Issa Goes On A Quest To Find An Obama Scandal
No Let Up: Darrell Issa's Tireless Quest For Scandal
Remember the 1990s, when Newt Gingrich, Dan Burton and co. managed to create a steady stream of outrage by playing up every Clinton administration "scandal," no matter how minor? Or how about the last years of the Bush administration, when Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) seemed to function as a one-man investigative machine, making sure that no Bush administration wrong-doing went unexamined?
Today that role is being played by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the ranking Republican on the House Oversight committee. But despite the steady stream of made-to-order conspiracy theories coming from Fox News and the Tea Party crowd, it's a much harder job. That's largely because Issa's party is in the minority, so he doesn't have the power to compel testimony or subpoena documents. And it's perhaps also because, though the Obama administration is far from squeaky clean, Issa just hasn't had the kind of material to work with that his predecessors did.
Still, you've got to hand it to Issa for giving it the old college try. In fact, though many of his investigations have flown under the national radar, he's been tireless in his efforts to find something -- anything! -- that will stick to the Obama-ites.
In just the last couple days, Issa has been pushing at least three different potential scandals:
• Did the White House have prior knowledge of the lawsuit filed last week by the SEC against Goldman Sachs, Issa wants to know. He noted in a letter to SEC chair Mary Schapiro that the agency's action "neatly coincided" with the White House's push for financial reform -- currently its top political goal. There's no evidence of co-ordination, but it's hard to blame Issa for jumping on that one. He may have gone too far, though, when he cited a Google ad buy made by the DNC as part of the conspiracy. The ad, which slammed "Wall Street greed" and touted financial reform, was seen by people who searched the terms "Goldman Sachs" and "SEC." But the DNC quickly said it hadn't bought the ad until hours after the lawsuit was made public -- and Google confirmed that was the case. LinkHere

After Saying That Big Banks Should Be Made ‘Smaller,’ Cornyn Votes Against Breaking Them Up

Last week, the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim and Sam Stein interviewed several Republican senators about their views on making megabanks that threaten the economy smaller. The bloggers concluded that “Republican senators are beginning to embrace” breaking big banks up, with a number of the legislators endorsing the idea reducing the maximum size of banks.
One senator they talked to was Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). Cornyn told the Huffington Post that he views Democratic plans as a “perpetual bailout” and prefers making banks “smaller in order to avoid” the problems we saw during the financial crisis:
Last week, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) met with 25 top Wall Street executives in New York City to hear their concerns regarding reform. Both say they oppose the Democratic plan as a perpetual bailout. “By creating a fund, that’s an invitation to Congress to spend that money just as we have in the highway trust fund and the surplus in Social Security,” Cornyn said.
HuffPost asked Cornyn what his alternative solution to the Democratic plan would be. “I think we need to look at the concentration of banking in just a handful of entities that threaten our economy if they go under,” Cornyn said. “They need to be smaller in order to avoid that problem and I would support efforts to move in that direction.”
Yesterday, Cornyn got a chance to put his money where his mouth is. The Senate Budget Committee held a vote on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) amendment to the financial regulatory reform bill that would’ve broken up some of the nation’s largest financial instutitions that are considered “too big too fail.” Cornyn voted against the amendment, joining all of his Republican colleagues on the committee except for Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY). Democratic Sens. Warner (VA), Nelson (NE), Conrad (ND), and Begich (AK) also voted no, causing it to fail 10-12.

Arizona militia recruiting veterans with ‘kill records’ to patrol border.

According to KOLD Channel 5 News in Arizona, local militiaman Bill Davis is recruiting “combat veterans, with kill records, to camp out and patrol” along the U.S.-Mexico border. “If it comes to when shots are fired in the general direction of these guys, they have my authorization to return fire, if they’re in defense of their life or their buddy next to them, return fire, stop it as fast as it starts, and they’re capable of it,” Davis told reporters. Despite a warning from Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada that the militia’s plan is “very dangerous” and “very risky,” Davis is pressing forward:
“If we think they’re carrying drugs, weapons, contraband, we’ll get out in front of ‘em and stop ‘em,” says Davis. “They won’t get past us. You can write into that what you want, short of shooting them.”
Watch Channel 5’s report:

Democrats Plan Bill To Counter Citizens United Ruling

By Dan EggenWashington Post staff writer Friday, April 23, 2010
Democrats plan to introduce legislation next week that would sharply limit the ability of foreign-connected companies to participate in U.S. politics and require greater transparency from corporations, unions and nonprofit groups that pay for political advertising, according to a confidential summary of the bill.
The proposal, spearheaded by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), is aimed at blunting the effect of a Supreme Court ruling in January that permits companies and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money for or against political candidates. President Obama has sharply attacked the ruling, and many Democrats fear it will unleash a flood of corporate spending that is likely to favor Republicans.
According to the summary, obtained by The Washington Post, the legislation would require corporate chief executives or group leaders to publicly attach their names to ads, much like political candidates are required to do. It would also mandate disclosure of major donors whose money is used for "campaign-related activity."
The latter measure would require powerful trade groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the first time to identify the companies that fund its political-related spending.
The measure would also tighten political restrictions on foreign-based corporations, which would be defined as any company that has 20 percent foreign voting shares, a majority of foreign directors or a foreign national leading U.S. operations. If enacted into law, that provision could affect a significant number of familiar companies, including Budweiser, T-Mobile and Research in Motion. LinkHere

'Loyalty Oath' Forbids GOP Support For Crist

For a party that likes to portray President Obama as a n@zi, I find it odd how often Republican's adopt the trappings of 1930's Germany: purity tests, loyalty oaths and, the latest from AZ: Show Us Your Papers!!

The Florida Republican Party on Thursday invoked a "Party Loyalty Oath" forbidding its members from supporting Gov. Charlie Crist should he decide to run as an independent in the state's Senate race.In a memo obtained by the Palm Beach Post, GOP General Counsel Jason Gonzalez, who used to be a top lawyer in Crist’s office, informed state party members that there would be severe consequences if they did not rescind all support from the Florida governor:
The Republican Party of Florida requires members of all political party committees organized under the RPOF to abide by a Party Loyalty Oath....Any member who fails to formally revoke his or her public support and request the return of any contributions made to a candidate running against the candidate of the Republican Party would be in violation of the RPOF Rules and would be subject to removal from party office and membership on Republican executive committees.Gonzalez explained that the oath strictly prohibited any "Republican Executive Committee members from supporting any candidate other than the candidate nominated by the voters of the Republican Party through its primary election."The memo surfaces as time ticks down until the deadline for Crist to decide whether he will make an independent run for Senate -- April 30.Via the Palm Beach Post, here's General Counsel Jason Gonzalez's memo in full:


Timothy Mcveigh would have fit right in to the new republican party


First of all we have to understand that conservatives don't understand the concept of loyalty. Their more like a pack of wolves. When they sense blood or a weakness even in one of their own pack, they will turn on him and rip him to shreds. That's what happened to Crist and that's what's happening to Senator Graham. Their "sin or weakness" is to try and work in a bipartisan way to address the problems of this country. Meanwhile, republicans like Senator Vitter can visit brothels and gets a pass because they support conservative causes like the Tea Party Groups.

Kangaroo Down Under

Ahhhhhhh don't forget the diapers

Crist On Rubio's Cheney Endorsement: 'Do I Look Upset?' (VIDEO)

Gov. Charlie Crist (R...for now) says he's unfazed by yesterday's endorsement of Marco Rubio by former Vice President Dick Cheney.
"Do I look upset?" he told the Palm Beach Post, which caught up with Crist yesterday. "It's just another Washington politician telling Florida what to do. I don't think Floridians appreciate it. It doesn't matter."
The response was just another crazy turn in the Florida Senate election, which has been non-stop entertainment since it began. Check out video of Crist's response from the Palm Beach Post -- chock full of ironic goodness -- after the jump.
Crist, the man who enjoyed the full support of the NRSC before Rubio began to crush him in primary polls, is now taking a page right out of Rubio's book (pre-front runner Rubio that is) and is running as the outsider squaring off against the national establishment. In fact, Crist casting himself as such an establishment outsider these days he might just quit the Republican party all together before the month is out.
Rubio, meanwhile, is criss-crossing the Sunshine State with a host of mainstream Republican leaders like Cheney. His days as an insurgent outsider are long gone.
Check out Crist's take on the Cheney endorsement as caputured the Palm Beach Post's cameras: LinkHere

Touchy Subject: Steele Slammed For Criticizing GOP's Southern Strategy

Lawmakers who supported the vetoed measures promised an override vote in the House and Senate as early as next week.

Oklahoma Abortion Bills Vetoed By Democratic Governor Brad Henry
Henry said "it would be unconscionable to subject rape and incest victims to such treatment" because it would victimize a victim a second time.

Marc Ambinder: Have Conservatives Gone Mad?

Serious thinkers on the right have finally gotten around to a full and open debate on the epistemic closure problem that's plaguing the conservative movement. The issue, to put it in terms that even I can understand, because I didn't study philosophy much in college: has the conservative base gone mad?
This matters to journalists, because I really do want to take Republicans seriously. Mainstream conservative voices are embracing theories that are, to use Julian Sanchez's phrase, "untethered" to the real world.
Can anyone deny that the most trenchant and effective criticism of President Obama today comes not from the right but from the left? Rachel Maddow's grilling of administration economic officials. Keith Olbermann's hectoring of Democratic leaders on the public option. Glenn Greenwald's criticisms of Elena Kagan. Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn's keepin'-them-honest perspectives on health care. The civil libertarian left on detainees and Gitmo. The Huffington Post on derivatives.
I want to find Republicans to take seriously, but it is hard. Not because they don't exist -- serious Republicans -- but because, as Sanchez and others seem to recognize, they are marginalized, even self-marginalizing, and the base itself seems to have developed a notion that bromides are equivalent to policy-thinking, and that therapy is a substitute for thinking.
It is absolutely a condition of the age of the triumph of conservative personality politics, where entertainers shouting slogans are taken seriously as political actors, and where the incentive structures exist to stomp on dissent and nuance, causing experimental voices to retrench and allowing a lot of people to pretend that the world around them is not changing. The obsession with ACORN, Climategate, death panels, the militarization of rhetoric, Saul Alinsky, Chicago-style politics, that TAXPAYERS will fund the bailout of banks -- these aren't meaningful or interesting or even relevant things to focus on. (The banks will fund their own bailouts.) LinkHere

Arizona Governor Signs Harsh Immigration Law

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer ignored criticism from President Barack Obama on Friday and signed into law a bill supporters said would take handcuffs off police in dealing with illegal immigration in Arizona, the nation's busiest gateway for human and drug smuggling from Mexico.
With hundreds of protesters outside the state Capitol shouting that the bill would lead to civil rights abuses, Brewer said critics were "overreacting" and that she wouldn't tolerate racial profiling.
"We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act," Brewer said after signing the law. "But decades of inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation."
Earlier Friday, Obama called the Arizona bill "misguided" and instructed the Justice Department to examine it to see if it's legal. He also said the federal government must enact immigration reform at the national level – or leave the door open to "irresponsibility by others."
"That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe," Obama said.
The legislation, sent to the Republican governor by the GOP-led Legislature, makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It also requires local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants; allows lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws; and makes it illegal to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or knowingly transport them.
The law sends "a clear message that Arizona is unfriendly to undocumented aliens," said Peter Spiro, a Temple University law professor and author of the book "Beyond Citizenship: American Identity After Globalization."
Brewer signed the bill in a state auditorium about a mile from the Capitol complex where some 2,000 demonstrators booed when county Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox announced that "the governor did not listen to our prayers." LinkHere

Friday, April 23, 2010


Worried About Reform, Derivatives Conference Participants Seek Refuge At Bondage Club
Financiers, lawyers, traders and accountants gathered this week at the annual International Swaps and Derivatives Association conference here to discuss “Collateralization and Netting — the Impact” and “Systemic Risk: Advances and Challenges in the Wake of the Crisis.”
By Thursday night they needed to put out of their minds the specter of sweeping legislation to regulate the derivatives.
They escaped to Supperclub, a bar and restaurant, where some plopped on the beds that covered the floor while a waiter in denim short shorts, suspenders and a scarf delivered drinks. The truly relaxed turned over on their tummies and received back massages from a dreadlocked member of the Supperclub staff.
By midnight, others ended up in the S & M chamber with a bed-to-ceiling stripper pole and videos of dominatrixes playing in the background.
“They don’t seem nervous,” said Iam Crowley, who also happened to be at the establishment because his girlfriend puts on a burlesque show for the guests.
During more sober and somber conditions at the conference at the posh Fairmont hotel on Nob Hill the next morning, some of these people confessed that they were in fact very nervous about the future of the derivatives industry. LinkHere

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sheep Getting Restless

By Ewen MacAskill
Amid growing concern in the White House about the anti-government mood and a marked rise in radical fringe groups, Clinton said the internet made it easier to spread ideas to reach "the unhinged". Continue

Disposable Warriors

Disposable Soldiers
April 22, 2010 "The Nation"
By Joshua Kors
According to figures from the Pentagon and a Harvard University study, the military is saving billions by discharging soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan with personality disorder. Continue

Obama tries to seal deal on financial regulation overhaul

Americans {even Tea Partiers} value government

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

Mitch: Plutocracy's Bitch

-Stephen Foster

A question to ponder for the ages:

If a tree falls in the forest....

....does it make a sound if Mitch McConnell is not there to deny that a sound was made?

I wonder....

I have written before of my Kentucky heritage. Although I have never lived in the place, many of my maternal forebears called Kentucky home. My grandfather Walter L. Clements was a native of Hodgenville, Kentucky, the same small town where Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. That's me posing with him in the photograph on the left. It was taken in the summer of 1971 at his home in South Bend, Indiana, right around the time of my thirteenth birthday. This was the last time I ever saw him alive. Grandfather Clements passed away in 1975. Today he and my grandmother Loretta Doran lie side by side in the little rural Catholic cemetery in Hodgenville.

I have spent enough time in Kentucky to know that it is chock full of good, decent, and honorable citizens. Knowing this as I do, another perplexing question forces itself on my consciousness: Why would such wonderful and lovely people consistently send a flaming asshole like Mitch McConnell to represent them in Washington? It just doesn't make any sense!

It sure as hell hasn't been an easy week for poor old Mitch, that's for sure! Not only was he caught red-handed parroting Frank Luntz's talking point memos - almost word for word - he has now been exposed for all time and eternity for what he truly is, and what the history books a century in the future will remember him as being: a whore for the plutocracy. After the events that have transpired this week, if his constituency have not yet awaken to the fact that their senator is a corrupt political hack who is in the back pocket of a cabal of Wall Street bankers and financiers, then they are utterly beyond hope.

Earlier this week in New York, Mitch had a meeting with the pimps he struts his stuff for - the hierarchy of Wall Street and the banking industry. It was at this meeting that he developed a political strategy for defeating regulatory reform legislation that they could approve of. He knew he had one hell of a tightrope act to perform once he got back to Washington. On the one hand he had to do his pimp/master's bidding - and do it right - or the bitch'll get slapped silly (Don't you go pissin' off those johns, Mitch). On the other hand he had to make his constituents believe that he was some kind of prairie populist, man-of-the-people! It blew up in his face. He has now found himself walking in a politically untenable minefield. It sure as hell wasn't a good week to be Mitch McConnell. I almost feel sorry for the hideous little freak. LinkHere

Report: Mine where 29 died 'doesn’t appear to have changed its tune.'

In Coal Country, a Culture of Fear
Massey Intimidates Workers, Families Into Silence

Charleston, W.Va. — Two weeks after the horrific explosion that killed 29 coal miners in southern West Virginia, it’s business as usual for the owner of the project.

Massey Energy, the Virginia-based coal giant that runs the Upper Big Branch Mine, has denied time off for miners to attend their friends’ funerals; has rejected makeshift memorials outside the mine site; and, in at least one case, required a worker to go on shift even though the fate of a relative — one of the victims of the April 5 disaster — remained unknown at the time, according to some family members and other sources familiar with those episodes. In short, the company might be taking heat for putting profits and efficiency above its workers, but it doesn’t appear to have changed its tune in the wake of the worst mining tragedy in 40 years.
“They told my husband, ‘You’ve got a job to do and you’re gonna do it,’” said the wife of one Massey miner, referring to the funerals he’s missed this month for friends who died in the blast. “What else are we gonna do?”
Such anecdotes aren’t easy to come by. Massey — the top coal producer in Appalachia — has built a reputation of intimidating its workers into a type of lock-step compliance that most often takes the form of silence, particularly when the subject revolves around safety in the company’s mines. The reason is clear: Massey is the economic engine in parts of West Virginia, and there’s a lingering fear among many workers that any grumbling could leave them unemployed. Some former employees said this week that the reluctance of Upper Big Branch miners to discuss the conditions inside those tunnels prior to the blast is no accident.
“I guarantee it: Massey’s already told these guys, ‘Hey, don’t say nothin’. You’re not talking to no reporters. You’re not saying nothin’ about our safety record — or you won’t have a job,’” said Chuck Nelson, a former Massey miner who’s since become an environmental activist with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. “That’s the way they operate.”
Jerry Massie, field representative for the United Mine Workers of America’s District 29 branch in Beckley, echoed that message this week, saying that Massey miners are well aware of the company’s response to recalcitrance: “Take your dinner pail and get out.”
That threat of job loss — be it spoken or simply understood — has created a culture of fear in some corners of Southern West Virginia, where coal is the only real industry, and Massey is king of the hill. Indeed, in certain areas there’s simply no queen.
“The bad thing here is that Massey owns [the Upper Big Branch] mine, and they’ve got a lot of subsidiaries — little tiny outfits just all down the river,” said Denny Tyler, an electrician who has contracted with Massey and now runs a website advocating for the end to mountaintop removal. “If you get fired from one, you’re not working anywhere on Coal River. … Its a fear thing.”

Burning oil rig sinks, setting stage for big spill

By KEVIN McGILL and HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press Writers Kevin Mcgill And Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press Writers – 14 mins ago
NEW ORLEANS – A deepwater oil platform that burned for more than a day after a massive explosion sank into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, creating the potential for a major spill as it underscored the slim chances that the 11 workers still missing survived.
The sinking of the Deepwater Horizon, which burned violently until the gulf itself extinguished the fire, could unleash more than 300,000 of gallons of crude into the water every day. The environmental hazards would be greatest if the spill were to reach the Louisiana coast, some 50 miles away.
Crews searched by air and water for the missing workers, hoping they had managed to reach a lifeboat, but one relative said family members have been told it's unlikely any of the missing survived Tuesday night's blast. More than 100 workers escaped the explosion and fire; four were critically injured.
Carolyn Kemp of Monterey, La., said her grandson, Roy Wyatt Kemp, 27, was among the missing. She said he would have been on the drilling platform when it exploded.
"They're assuming all those men who were on the platform are dead," Kemp said. "That's the last we've heard." LinkHere

VIDEO: The GOP’s Solution To Everything — Let’s ‘Start Over’

In their attempts to fight Wall Street reform, Republicans are already recycling the same old tactics that they used to fight health care reform and even the stimulus. Conservatives opposed to financial reform are repeating a familiar refrain — “start over”:

On the Recovery Act
“The Senate would do us all a great favor if it started again from scratch.”
– Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), 2/4/09

“Start over again on this bill and retarget it.”
– Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), 2/12/09

On Health Care Reform
“How much longer do Americans have to wait before Democrat leaders will give up this partisan quest and agree to start over?”
– Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 3/10/10

“We should either scrap this bill completely and throw it away and forget about it. Or scrap it and start over again.”
– Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), 3/17/10

On Wall Street Reform
“Look, there’s no rush right now. We need to get it right.”
– Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), 4/21/10

“Start over please, Mr. President.”
– Fox News’ Steve Doocy, Karl Rove, 4/19/10
Rather than engage in substantive debate over reform, Republicans decided early on that they would lie about the legislation and slow down its progress. Instead of trying to fix the mess created by their own Party, Republicans are using a rhetorical ploy to confuse the public and kill reform. Over and over again.
ThinkProgress has compiled a video documenting the Republican calls to “slow down” and “start over” over the past year. Watch it: LinkHere


The Man

. Won the election against all odds
- Faced down the worst financial crisis since the great depression
- Reached out across the world to signal a new era of Global community
- Showed Leadership in tackling the most pressing problems of today
- Weathered the season(s) of h8 and lies and fear
- Guided the military to a plan of action contrary to the previous administrations' dithering
- Challenged members of congress to roll up their sleeves and get to work
- Kept focus on and ACHIEVED the goal of expanded health care reform (a CENTURY of trying)
- Achieved access to millions more Americans to seek out an affordable quality education


Don't count this man down and out Republicans . *wink
priceless (.) period..
Your irish friend ,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stanford Lobbyist, Bush Admin. Medicare Bamboozler Host Kasich Fundraiser

Two of the hosts of a fundraiser for Ohio GOP gubernatorial candidate John Kasich have some interesting items on their resumes: One was a senior executive and top lobbyist for alleged Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, while another is a former Bush administration official who threatened to fire a subordinate if he revealed to Congress the true cost of a major bill.
This afternoon, Washington's tony Capitol Hill Club was the scene of a fundraiser for Kasich, the former Ohio congressman who is the presumptive Republican nominee to take on the incumbent Democratic governor, Ted Strickland, this fall. According to an invitation obtained by TPMmuckraker, the 15-person host committee includes Jim Conzelman and Tom Scully.
As we reported earlier this year, Conzelman, a former top staffer on the House Ways and Means committee, was one of two men that Allen Stanford turned to in 2008 -- while federal probes of the Texas banker were underway -- to run an in-house lobbying operation. Conzelman was even given the title of Senior Vice President of Stanford Financial. That year, Stanford's firm spent $2.2 million on lobbying. Stanford was charged last year with orchestrating an $8 billion Ponzi scheme.
As for Scully, as the Bush administration's director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services, he was found to have directed a subordinate, Richard Foster, to withhold from Congress the true cost of the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit bill, and to have threatened to fire Foster if he revealed the cost. Foster's cost estimate was not released until after Congress had very narrowly passed the bill. LinkHere

Why The GOP Suddenly Let Up On Financial Reform

Within 48 hours, the Republican line on financial regulatory reform went from "filibuster" to "we're very close to a deal." Why the shift? Republicans and Democrats will offer up spin all day, chalking up the progress to their own doggedness, but in the end it comes down to a simple reality. Key Republicans, sincere about passing new rules for Wall Street, but intimidated by the notion of blocking financial regulatory reform, let it be known to their leadership that, at some point, they would side with Democrats to break a filibuster. Maybe not on round one, or even round two. But eventually.
"Folks on our side of the aisle want a bill," Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) told TPMDC and a few other reporters Monday night. "I know that. I just [had a] discussion with some of our leadership on the floor. You know, we want a bill."
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) made it equally clear: if top-level negotiations broke down, she and other members would find a solution. "I think it's important to continue between the two principals on the committee, because that's where it's likely to happen," Snowe told reporters yesterday afternoon. "But if not then we'll take things as they come. We'll take the next step."
This afternoon, entering a Republican caucus meeting, the Republican Deputy Whip John Thune candidly acknowledged that the politics just aren't playing out for the GOP, and that members don't want to take a tough vote against regulating Wall Street.
"I think it's a difference between perception and fact, because the facts are very different than the perception," Thune told TPMDC and two other reporters. "I think the Democrats believe that they can get political advantage by painting the Republicans as protecting Wall Street.... The perception right now is what's driving this."
Republican members and leaders still insist that it was a letter, written by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that forced Democrats' hand, and opened them up to GOP ideas. But it wasn't the Democrats who eased up. Republicans hard charging rhetoric carried through Monday, three days after McConnell delivered the letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid. By the end of the day Republican unity began to soften. The political charge of the issue preserved the Democrats' leverage, and they continue to insist that they'll force the GOP to take the tough vote if a deal isn't reached.
Today, in the Dirksen cafeteria, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the Republican point man on financial reform, told TPMDC that a global deal on a bill is well within reach. "We're very close to a deal and there will be a substantial number of Republicans that go along with it," he said.
His optimism was paired with a sign of actual movement on votes: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) voted with Democrats on the Agriculture committee to advance legislation to regulate derivatives--a package that will be incorporated into the broader reform bill. And it was echoed a few hours later by three other Republicans--Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT)--who joined Shelby at a press conference to express optimism that they're on the verge of a deal.
The blink will come as little surprise to Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), the lead negotiator for Democrats, who's been saying for weeks that Republicans privately tell him that they want to get out from under the thumb of GOP leadership. LinkHere


Rent-A-Front: New Group Wages Stealth Battle Against Wall Street Reform

"These guys made the KGB look like amateurs"
In the last few weeks, a new player entered the financial reform fray with a $1.6 million ad buy, a respected economist on board, a blitz of opinion columns on left-leaning websites, and a message, cooked right into the group's name -- Stop Too Big To Fail -- that liberals could love.
But as TPMmuckraker has looked into the group, every indication is that Stop Too Big To Fail is an astroturf operation funded by corporate interests to give the appearance of grassroots opposition to reform.
The group's leader has a long history running a rent-a-front operation: offering up his services to large corporations who are willing to pay top dollar for a "consumers group" that will engage in stealth advocacy on behalf of industry. The group refuses to divulge its funding sources. The respected economist whose support the group touts now says he was deceived. And Stop Too Big To Fail has links to DCI Group, one of Washington's best-known astroturf operators.
Besides all that, Stop Too Big To Fail's real goal is clear: kill the financial reform bill.
"These guys made the KGB look like amateurs, and I used to work in Russia quite a lot," says Simon Johnson, a former chief economist at the IMF, now at MIT, who is a prominent advocate of breaking up the big banks.
Stop Too Big To Fail reached out to Simon Johnson earlier this month to participate in a media conference call purportedly on the topic of breaking up large banks. The theme was "protecting small investors." Johnson agreed to be on the call and outlined his views as usual, but he also noticed something seemed off. "I thought they seemed a little different from the other people I talked to on these issues." LinkHere

Late Update: The group has now pulled Simon Johnson's image and name from its website.

Reform opposition for hire

Ensign Campaign's Haul Last Quarter: 50 Bucks

Report: Scandal-ridden Nevada senator got one donation this year so far.

What a friking joke, the party of I object. Welcome to the party that holds your govt HOSTAGE.

Object to objectionable Republicans at the polls in November.
Kangaroo Down Under
Now there is a perfect add to present Nation Wide
A democracy in which the losing party can stall and keep the winning party from governing is not a true democracy.
Democrats took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to try to break a logjam that has 101 executive branch nominees backed up. A new Senate rule that aims to make "secret holds" more difficult requires a senator to publicly declare his or her hold six legislative days after the nominee is brought to the floor.
Republican have holds on scores of nominees, so Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) went to the floor to call up the names, knowing that the GOP would object.
When Whitehouse began, however, the Republicans had failed to show and Whitehouse threatened to ram them all through if they didn't arrive.
"For the record, I'm informed that the minority was aware that I was coming to make these unanimous consent requests, that they had full knowledge that this was going to come, and if they are unable to get somebody to the floor to object, that is, as far as I'm concerned, not my concern," said Whitehouse.
Just seconds later, Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) arrived, setting off a surreal series of requests and objections that HuffPost's Ben Craw pulled together in the clip below.
Whitehouse read off five names, followed by McCaskill, who read off 17. She returned later in the day and read 75 more. LinkHere
“Hopefully by the end of the week we’ll learn who it is in the Senate that doesn’t want them to be nominated, who it is that doesn’t want them to be confirmed,” McCaskill said afterwards. Because of the rule that McCaskill and Whitehouse employed, the senators who have placed the anonymous holds now have six legislative days before they have to reveal who they are to the Congressional Record. However, as the Huffington Post’s Ryan Gram and Ben Craw note, the senators “may be able to wiggle out of going public by dropping their holds and picking them right back up, or teaming up with other Republicans and swapping the holds back and forth. It’s never been tried before.”
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) has introduced a package of legislative reforms in the Senate that would eliminate the ability of senators to place anonymous holds. LinkHere
Several news outlets are reporting that Republicans are preparing to re-litigate the health care reform debate by blocking the nomination of Donald Berwick, Harvard University professor, to head the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). As the Washington Post notes, “Democrats in the Senate said that, given Berwick’s national stature and broad-based support, he would be easily confirmed under ordinary circumstances,” but “Berwick must first clear the Senate Finance Committee, where ranking Republican Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) said that he plans to vigorously ‘explore the nominee’s preparedness for the enormous challenges that face the agency.’”
The Republican Policy Committee has already prepared a memo — which was obtained by The Wonk Room — that links Berwick to the British health care system and presents him as someone who supports rationing and a government takeover of health care (Download the full memo HERE):
Donald Berwick, President Obama’s nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has a history of support for government rationing of health care resources on cost grounds. He has spoken favorably about Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which denies patients access to life-saving treatments the National Health Service (NHS) deems too expensive. The American people should have their eyes open to the ramifications of NICE-style rationing in the United States as part of Democrats’ brave new health care world. … They may see a Medicare Administrator who explicitly advocates for rationing as indicative of Democrats’ government takeover of health care…
All this is to be expected, particularly since Republicans have pledged to turn the 2010 midterm elections into a referendum on health care reform. But Berwick, no matter how “radical” Republicans consider him to be, will be working within the confines of a fairly conservative law.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Only in America can such a uneducated piece of work, make $12 million in a year. "Leaders of the Free World"? please!!!!!

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

The McVeigh Tapes

With GOP In Its Pocket, Financial Industry Tries To Buy Off UK Conservatives

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged that Goldman Sachs defrauded investors by failing to disclose conflicts of interest in subprime mortgage investments it sold as the housing market collapsed in 2007. Fabrice Tourre, a Goldman Vice President, is accused of encouraging investments into subprime mortgage securities he knew would fail, while working with a hedge fund to bet against its success. Referring to himself as the “the fabulous Fab,” Tourre boasted in e-mails about his scheme to defraud investors.
Reacting to the SEC’s probe into Goldman, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown over the weekend called for his own investigation of the firm. “This is probably one of the worst cases that we have seen,” Brown said. The Royal Bank of Scotland, a bank buoyed by a UK taxpayer funded bailout during the financial crisis, was one of the biggest victims of the alleged fraud, losing $841 million dollars. Earlier today, Britian’s Financial Services Authority announced that it will in fact start a formal enforcement investigation into the London unit of Goldman Sachs — where Tourre is currently employed.
The financial industry is fighting back. On Monday, the UK division of legal and lobbying giant DLA Piper released a poll of business leaders showing that an overwhelming majority (60%) want a Tory leader to take over when elections take place on May 6. 36% of respondents specifically expressed hope for the conservative leader David Cameron to become the next Prime Minister. The poll, which is being promoted in the British press, is accompanied by a message from DLA Piper UK’s London Managing Partner Catherine Usher calling for more free market reforms and an end to the Labour “regime”:

The Senile old fart and his GOP party members, are really putting their hatred for "THEIR" President out there for all to see? time to go old boy

Arizona House voted for a provision that would require President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate and prove his own citizenship status. Arizona’s local KPHO station broke the news:
Just a few days after Arizona lawmakers passed an immigration law that will essentially require anyone who is or looks like an immigrant to carry their proof of residency at all times, the Arizona House voted for a provision that would require President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate and prove his own citizenship status. Arizona’s local KPHO station broke the news:
The Arizona House on Monday voted for a provision that would require President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate if he hopes to be on the state’s ballot when he runs for reelection. The House voted 31-22 to add the provision to a separate bill. The measure still faces a formal vote.
It would require U.S. presidential candidates who want to appear on the ballot in Arizona to submit documents proving they meet the constitutional requirements to be president. Phoenix Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema said the bill is one of several measures that are making Arizona “the laughing stock of the nation.” Mesa Republican Rep. Cecil Ash said he has no reason to doubt Obama’s citizenship but supports the measure because it could help end doubt. LinkHere
dchart says:
I swear this country has lost its collective fu_king mind because a black guy was elected President.

dchart says:
Police saying show me your papers. I thought that this could never happen in America. Who is calling whom a Nazi?

Reid to play chicken on Wall Street reform, daring GOP to filibuster

Source: The Hill
By Alexander Bolton - 04/20/10 11:31 AM ET

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided to play a game of political chicken with Senate Republicans, daring them to kill a Wall Street reform bill.

Reid said he plans to move ahead with immediate consideration of the financial regulatory reform bill, despite a GOP pledge to filibuster the measure.

“Remember, there are only 59 of us, so if a single Republican is not willing to join with us, there will be no Wall Street reform,” Reid said. “Republicans will have killed Wall Street reform. I am confident that will not happen.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a crucial swing vote, said Monday that she would support a Republican filibuster if Reid tried to advance a bill crafted by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). LinkHere

Families begin to bury 29 killed in West Virginia explosion

Families of workers killed in the West Virginia mine explosion are beginning to bury their loved ones, as residents speak out against Massey Energy and government regulators responsible for the disaster.
In an especially vindictive move, workers said that Massey has refused to allow miners at the company time off so that they can attend the funerals of their coworkers.
The bodies of four miners were found early Saturday morning, bringing the total number killed to 29. The final death toll makes last week’s tragedy the deadliest mine disaster in the US since 1972, when 91 workers were killed from a fire at the Sunshine silver mine in Idaho. It is the deadliest incident at a coal mine since 1970, when 38 people were killed in an explosion at a Finley Coal mine in Hyden, Kentucky.
It appeared that the miners found Saturday, like all those killed in the mine, had made no attempt to put on their rescue breathers. This means that the blast killed them almost immediately. The explosion was so powerful that it shredded railroad tracks, buckled mine barriers, and reversed the direction of ventilation fans five miles from the origin.
The size of the explosion suggests an extremely concentrated buildup of methane gas and coal dust at the Upper Big Branch mine. It exemplifies the disregard for the human lives with which Massey Energy, abetted by mine regulators, makes its profits. LinkHere

Goldman figure Paulson hosted Romney, Steele last week

Republicans Mitt Romney and Michael Steele headlined a Republican National Committee fundraiser six days ago at the home of the hedge fund titan at the center of the Security and Exchange Committee's fraud charges against Goldman Sachs.
A spokesman for the RNC confirmed the Tuesday evening event at the Manhattan home of John Paulson, who made a fortune betting against the housing market, and whom Goldman is accused of working to structure products sold to unwitting investors.
Paulson appears not to be facing charges. The RNC spokesman declined to comment on the gathering and a Romney spokesman didn't respond to an email on the topic.
Republicans have by and large fought regulations on derivative trading that would dramatically impact the businesses of hedge fund managers like Paulson. LinkHere

Monday, April 19, 2010

Shorting The Middle Class: The Real Wall Street Crime

The press is all abuzz with news of the SEC suing Goldman Sachs for fraud. While this is certainly big news in itself, even more important is what it says about what the financial elite has been doing to America for the last 30 years: shorting the middle class.
The SEC's action is a perfect moment for us to look at the bigger picture of how the American people were sold on the promise of never-ending prosperity while Wall Street was overseeing a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the richest Americans.
The results have been devastating: a disappearing middle class, a precipitous drop in economic and social mobility, and ultimately, the undermining of the foundation of our democracy.
Thirty years ago, top executives at S&P 500 companies made an average of 30 times what their workers did -- now they make 300 times what their workers make. And between 2000 and 2008, the poverty rate in the suburbs of the largest metro areas in the U.S. grew by 25 percent -- making these suburbs home to the country's largest and fastest-growing segment of the poor.
The human toll of the shorting of the middle class is brought to life on sites like Recessionwire.com, LayoffSupportNetwork.com, and HowIGotLaidOff.com where the casualties of Wall Street's systemic scam share their personal stories.
Looking through these sites, I came upon a story that struck me as emblematic of where America's middle class finds itself these days. It feels like a dark reboot of the American Dream. Think Horatio Alger rewritten by O. Henry. LinkHere


Top Al Qaeda Leaders Killed In Iraq

BAGHDAD — The U.S. and Iraq claimed a major victory against al-Qaida on Monday, saying their forces killed the terror group's two top figures in this country in an air and ground assault on their safehouse near Saddam Hussein's hometown.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced the killings of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri at a news conference and showed photographs of their bloody corpses. U.S. military officials later confirmed the deaths, which Vice President Joe Biden called a "potentially devastating blow" to al-Qaida in Iraq.
The organization has proven resilient in the past, showing a remarkable ability to change tactics and adapt – most notably after its brutal founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed nearly four years ago in a U.S. airstrike. Still, some analysts contend, the group was far stronger then and would likely have a harder time now replenishing its leadership and sticking to a timetable of attacks.
"The death of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to al-Qaida in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency," Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said in a statement.
Al-Qaida in Iraq has remained a dangerous force as the U.S. prepares to withdraw most of its troops. The terror group has launched repeated attacks on civilian targets in Baghdad in an attempt to sow chaos and exploit political deadlock in the wake of the inconclusive March 7 parliamentary elections.
Monday's announcement comes at a critical time for al-Maliki, who has staked his reputation on being the man who can restore stability to Iraq after years of bloodshed. The prime minister is locked in a tight contest with secular challenger Ayad Allawi to see who will form the next government. Al-Maliki's coalition trails Allawi's bloc by two seats in the 325-seat parliament, and neither has yet been able to secure enough support from other parties to muster a majority.
Mark Hosenball Apr 19, 2010 12:53 PM
U.S. intelligence and defense officials say "indications" have reached Washington appearing to substantiate claims by the Iraqi government that its security forces over the weekend killed the two most senior leaders of Al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate. However, given the fact that in the past similar claims sometimes turned out to be premature—in that Qaeda operatives who had been allegedly killed miraculously came back to life—some American officials remain cautious, saying they don't have 100 percent confirmation that the Iraqi government's reports are true.
According to a press release issued by the U.S. military, U.S. forces supported Iraqi forces on Sunday when they claim to have killed the two Al Qaeda leaders in a night-time raid on the safehouse where they were hiding, 10 kilometers south of Tikrit, former hometown of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The official statement identified the two dead Iraqi leaders as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamzah al-Muhajir, an Egyptian who supposedly is the military commander of Al Qaeda in Iraq, and Hamid Dawud Muhammad Khalil al-Zawi, otherwise known as Abu Umar al-Baghdadi, whom Iraqi authorities say served as leader of a shadow Iraqi government which Al Qaeda had set up called the Islamic State of Iraq. Zawi supposedly held the title "Prince of the Faithful" among Al Qaeda followers.

Iraqi authorities said that Abu Ayyub al-Masri had replaced Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the notoriously bloodthirsty Jordanian jihadist who built up Al Qaeda in Iraq after the American invasion in 2003, after Zarqawi was killed in June of 2006. The authorities claimed Masri had been "directly responsible for high profile bombings and attacks against the people of Iraq."More
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