Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread | Phyllis Hyman Week

happy HUMP day, Everyone.  3 Chics hopes you’re enjoying  the Soulful Ms. Hyman.

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163 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread | Phyllis Hyman Week

  1. Ametia says:


  2. Ametia says:

    Found the video!

  3. rikyrah says:

    Eric Cantor’s slick upper lip
    By Dana Milbank, Published: July 12

    Eric Cantor has perfected the strategic sneer.

    It comes, frequently, when he answers a reporter’s question about something President Obama has said: The House majority leader’s lip curls up on the left side and a look of disgust washes over his face. This week, he has been coupling the sneer with lines such as:

    How in the world can you even accept that notion?”

    And, “That is laughable on its face.”

    And, “That doesn’t make sense. . . . That again is just nonsensical.”

    And, “Come on — let us think about this.”

    Cantor, who is establishing himself as the lead GOP negotiator with the White House as the Aug. 2 default deadline approaches, is answering calls for compromise with contempt. He shook his fist during a news conference Tuesday and said that Obama’s thinking is “unfathomable to me.” To Obama’s complaint that the wealthy are not sharing in the budget sacrifice, he scoffed: “There is plenty of so-called shared sacrifice.” Asked about Obama’s belief that people like him should pay more in taxes, Cantor retorts: “You know what? He can write a check any time he wants.”

    He draws out the vowels in a style that is part southern, part smarty-pants. Had young Cantor spoken like this at his prep school in Richmond, the bigger boys may well have wiped that sneer off his face. Yet even then, Cantor was accustomed to having things his way. According to Cantor’s hometown Richmond Times-Dispatch, the quotation he chose to accompany his yearbook photo was “I want what I want when I want it.”

    What Cantor wants now is power — and he is prepared to risk the full faith and credit of the United States to get it. In a primacy struggle with House Speaker John Boehner, he has done a deft job of aligning himself with Tea Party House members in opposition to any meaningful deal to resolve the debt. If the U.S. government defaults, it will have much to do with Cantor.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Dems: Issa Scrapped Hearing On Financial Commission Because Docs Wouldn’t Fit His Narrative

    Democrats are accusing House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) of canceling a hearing on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission this week because his committee uncovered documents which wouldn’t have fit his narrative about what went wrong with the agency.

    Peter Kadzick, an attorney for FCIC Chairman Phil Angelides, told TPM that Angelides arrived in D.C. on Sunday night for the Wednesday morning hearing but was told by an Issa staffer on Monday evening that “they had found some documents at the last minute that didn’t fit the narrative.”

    The Democrats’ report on the committee’s investigation says that Issa’s accusations about the FCIC were “largely unsubstantiated.”

    In addition, Democrats said the information uncovered by congressional investigators raises “a host of new ethical questions about Republican commissioners and staff, including evidence that they leaked confidential information to outside parties on multiple occasions.”

    Jeffrey Solsby, a spokesman for Issa’s committee, told TPM and other media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, that the hearing “was postponed to allow further review and analysis of the material gathered in the investigation.” He declined further comment.

    The hearing had been intended to “explore what went wrong and what Congress can learn from the experience of the FCIC as it considers how to address the root causes of the financial crisis as well as whether to create such commissions in the future,” according to a staff briefing memo obtained by TPM.

  5. creolechild says:

    Here’s a fuller version of the incident that occurred at the budget negotiations today.


    UPDATE- More coming in from Jake Tapper.

    After a period of what was described as constructive discussions as officials walked through more than $1 trillion in spending cuts, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said, “Wherever we are, it’s a long way from the $2.4 trillion needed to meet House GOP goals of dollar for dollar.”

    So Cantor suggested a possible short-term extension in order to avoid default, with another vote next year.

    The president — frustrated — said there would be no short term extensions. It would be bad for the economy, and resolving the deficit issue certainly won’t be easier next year in the throes of the political season, he said.

    If we can’t do this now, we won’t be able to do it next year, he said. “This process is confirming what the American people think is the worst about Washington,” the president said. “Everyone is more interested in posturing, political position and protecting their base than in solving problems.”

    He said we can get a lot of savings “if the spirit changes from why we can’t do things to why we can.

    I have shown enormous willingness to compromise and have taken huge heat for it,” he said, “but my responsibility is to the American people and there comes a point when I need to say, ‘Enough.’”

    “It cannot all be on us,” the president said, arguing that Republicans need to give on the revenue side of things as Democrats are willing to do so on spending cuts.

    “Don’t call my bluff,” the president said. “I am not afraid to veto and I will take it to the American people.”

    If Moody’s downgrades the United States, “it will be a tax increase on every American,” he said. There needs to be a long-term debt extension, the president argued.

    “This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this,” he said.

    Then he abruptly ended the meeting, saying, “see you tomorrow.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    go to the link and read the screenshots of the tweets with the article – they’re pretty good.


    obama lit him up. cantor sat in stunned silence”
    By Chipsticks

    “Obama lit him up. Cantor sat in stunned silence,” said an official in the meeting. “It was incredible. If the public saw Obama he would win in a landslide.”

    . Democratic sources dispute Cantor’s version of Obama’s walk out, but all sides agree that the two had a blow up. The sources described Obama as “impassioned” but said he didn’t exactly storm out of the room.

    “Cantor’s account of tonight’s meeting is completely overblown. For someone who knows how to walk out of a meeting, you’d think he know it when he saw it,” a Democratic aide said. “Cantor rudely interrupted the president three times to advocate for short-term debt ceiling increases while the president was wrapping the meeting. This is just more juvenile behavior from him and Boehner needs to rein him in, and let the grown-ups get to work. “

    On exiting the room, Obama reportedly said that “this confirms the totality of what the American people already believe” about Washington, said a Democratic official familiar with debt negotiations, that officials are “too focused on positioning and political posturing” to make difficult choices.

    Amidst discussions of credit ratings agency Moody’s putting the U.S. on review for downgrade, President Obama told congressional leaders today that by Friday they all have to decide what they’re doing: a compromise package to reduce the deficit, or if there’s no willingness to compromise, some other way to raise the debt ceiling and avoid defaulting.

    The president made the declaration at today’s deficit reduction meeting in the Cabinet Room, which began at 4:24 p.m. ET and ended at 6:16 p.m.

    A Democrat familiar with the negotiations, said that the group went through discretionary and mandatory spending cuts – more than $1 trillion over 10 years – that had been discussed in the earlier talks led by Vice President Joe Biden.

    The group agreed to return to the table tomorrow afternoon to talk about mechanisms for those cuts and possibly to address health care spending (Medicare and Medicaid) and a possible extension of the payroll tax cut…

    …Eric Cantor raised yet again the possibility of a short-term fix, which President Obama, seemingly frustrated – according to Republicans – shot down, abruptly ending the meeting.

    CBS: As negotiations continue over raising the nation’s debt ceiling to avoid any potential default on America’s fiscal obligations, the daily meetings at the White House on the subject have been getting more tense, people familiar with the negotiations tell CBS News.

    Wednesday’s meeting was the most tense meeting of the week, a GOP aide told CBS News. In fact, the president ended the meeting by abruptly leaving the room.

    …A Democratic aide described the meeting in different terms to CBS News, saying the participants had a constructive conversation on the numbers, and talked specifics.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor reportedly kept pushing for a short-term deal, which President Obama promised to veto if it reached his desk.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Moody’s moves one step closer to downgrading U.S. debt

    By Neil Irwin, Wednesday, July 13, 4:44 PM

    Moody’s Investors Service said Wednesday it has put the U.S. government’s top-notch credit rating on review for a possible downgrade because of the risk that Washington will not raise the federal debt ceiling in time to avoid a default.

    The firm added that even a brief failure of the government to pay its bills would mean that the United States’s Aaa rating “would likely no longer be appropriate.”

    The announcement comes after Standard & Poor’s, another of the major credit rating agencies, has said that it would dramatically downgrade the U.S. government’s credit rating if payments were missed.

    The U.S. has long been able to borrow money cheaply because global investors believe the government can be counted on to repay its debts. If credit rating agencies downgrade the U.S. and investors lose their faith in the creditworthiness of the government, the cost of borrowing money — in other words, the interest rate — could rise.

    The Treasury Department has said that on Aug. 2, it will run out of legal tools to meet the government’s financial obligations in the absence of an agreement to raise the $14.3 trillion legal limit on how much debt the government can maintain.

    The Moody’s review is prompted by “the possibility that the debt limit will not be raised in time to prevent a missed payment of interest or principal on outstanding bonds and notes,” an announcement from the firm said Wednesday. “Moody’s considers the probability of a default on interest payments to be low but no longer to be de minimis.”

    It added that an actual default, or failure by the federal government to pay its bills, “would fundamentally alter Moody’s assessment of the timeliness of future payments.”

    In early June, Moody’s had said it would likely review the federal government’s credit rating in mid-July if there were no “meaningful progress” in negotiations over raising the debt limit. That review is now happening.

    Moody’s also has placed on review several companies that enjoy implicit backing of the federal government, most notably the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    A senior Treasury Department official pointed to the Moody’s announcement as evidence that Congress needs to act to raise the debt ceiling.

    “Moody’s assessment is a timely reminder of the need for Congress to move quickly to avoid defaulting on the country’s obligations and agree upon a substantial deficit reduction package,” said Jeffrey A. Goldstein, the Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, in a statement.’

  8. rikyrah says:

    Michele Bachmann’s Church Says the Pope Is the Antichrist
    By Joshua Green

    Michele Bachmann is practically synonymous with political controversy, and if the 2008 presidential election is any guide, the conservative Lutheran church she belonged to for many years is likely to add another chapter due to the nature of its beliefs–such as its assertion, explained and footnoted on this website, that the Roman Catholic Pope is the Antichrist.

    Bachmann was a longtime member of the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn., which belongs to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), a council of churches founded in 1850 that today comprises about 400,000 people. WELS is the most conservative of the major Lutheran church organizations, known for its strict adherence to the writings of Martin Luther, the German theologian who broke with the Catholic Church and launched the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. This includes endorsing Luther’s statements about the papacy. From the WELS “Doctrinal Statement on the Antichrist”:

    Since Scripture teaches that the Antichrist would be revealed and gives the marks by which the Antichrist is to be recognized, and since this prophecy has been clearly fulfilled in the history and development of the Roman Papacy, it is Scripture which reveals that the Papacy is the Antichrist.

    During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama’s relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright nearly derailed his quest for the Democratic nomination after video surfaced of Wright’s extreme pronouncements. Similarly, the views of Bachmann’s church toward the papacy–which are well outside the mainstream of modern political discourse–could pose a problem as she pursues the Republican nomination.

    Seeking to better understand WELS theology and how voters should regard it, I called the Rev. Marcus Birkholz of Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater. When I identified myself, he hung up. Turning the other cheek, I called WELS and had slightly better luck. While I didn’t get to speak to a pastor, as I’d hoped, Joel Hochmuth, the communications director, did his best to oblige. On the matter of the Antichrist, he said, “Some people have this vision of a little devil running around with horns and red pointy ears. Luther was clear that by ‘Antichrist’ [he meant] anybody who puts himself up in place of Christ. Luther never bought the idea of the Pope being God’s voice in today’s world. He believed Scripture is God’s word.” Hochmuth hastened to add that despite the lengthy doctrinal statement, the belief that the Pope is the Antichrist “has never been one of our driving principles.”

    Hochmuth also revealed that Bachmann is no longer a member of the WELS congregation. “I do know that she has requested a release of her membership,” he said, adding that she took the unusual step of formally requesting that release in writing. “She has not been an active member of our fellowship during the last year.” Hochmuth wouldn’t speculate on whether her presidential ambitions factored in this decision — the nation’s 70 million Catholics (who lean Republican) might not respond kindly to the Pope-as-Antichrist stuff — but he did emphasize that “it’s not something you’re going to hear preached from our pulpits every Sunday.”

    Nevertheless, the statement alarmed prominent Catholics. “Clearly, that is anti-Catholic,” said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, a national organization devoted to protecting Catholic civil rights. “This kind of hatred is reminiscent of Bob Jones. I believe [Bachmann] has in the past condemned anti-Catholicism. But there’s no question — all you have to do is read it — that they clearly have anti-Catholic statements up there.” Donohue said he would refrain from making any judgments until he heard from Bachmann, who he said must address the matter promptly. “We never went after Obama for sitting there for 20 years listening to Rev. ‘Goddam America’ Wright. I don’t want to give him a pass, but I saw no bigotry on Obama’s part. Similarly, I have see none on Bachmann’s part. But it’s clear that the [synod]’s teachings are noxious and it’s important for her to speak to the issue. Obama had to answer for Wright, McCain had to answer for [the Rev. John] Hagee, and this is something that Bachmann has to answer for.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    More on Rep. Cantor as Least Valuable Player
    By James Fallows

    Jul 13 2011, 5:08 PM ET

    Last month I argued that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was doing more harm to the national interest, or at least doing so more noticeably, than any of his Republican or Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill.

    Events during the budget/debt-ceiling “negotiations” suggest that he was just getting started back then. By comparison with Cantor, Speaker John Boehner has shown a touching national-interest big-heartedness. Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, no fan of bipartisan agreement, has at least based his hyper-complex “make the President do it” debt-ceiling scheme on the premise that the nation should not be forced into default — not even on a Democratic president’s watch.

    But Cantor? As Jonathan Bernstein and Matthew Yglesias have pointed out, he has gone straight from the White House-Congressional negotiating sessions, prepared a slide show (you can see it here) purportedly based on their contents, and used it to encourage House Republicans to pocket all of the hypothetical concessions the Administration has discussed while making none of their own. As Yglesias says:

    >>[I]t’s important to appreciate that this kind of partial leaking of the contents of negotiations has the tendency to poison the atmosphere. The whole reason that “nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to” is that to reach a bargain you need to have a pretty open and flexible discussion. If everyone in the room knows that Cantor has no compunction about misrepresenting every discussion as an agreement, it merely makes it that much harder for people to negotiate in a serious way.

    And, from Bernstein:

    >>I’m struggling to find strong enough words for just how irresponsibly Cantor is acting. Massively irresponsible? Unthinkably irresponsible? Newt-level irresponsible?

    It’s easy to forget at times like these, but the whole ponderous U.S. political/governmental system is made of actual human beings, who — even as they respond to large-scale ideological, political, financial, and interest-group pressures — can still choose to behave better, or worse, in a given set of circumstances. And the difference between good and bad behavior can make a difference. (If JFK’s national security council had been much more hair-trigger and impatient during the Cuban Missile Crisis, or if Khrushchev had been, world history would have been different.)

    And if a leading party in a very important set of negotiations has shown that he’ll walk right out of the “bargaining” room, release a distorted version of what has just been discussed, and use it to whip us his side to more demands, that makes a difference too. For the worse. The prospects for an agreement now are worse because of Rep. Cantor’s presence in them. That’s not because he’s a conservative — so, obviously, are Boehner and McConnell.

    It’s because he’s acting like a weasel.

  10. The Reid Report:

    Cantor’s account of the end of the meeting with the president indicates Cantor got embarrassed when President Obama dressed him down

  11. rikyrah says:

    Lawrence is at it again.

    • They’re beating the shit out of Chuck Todd on Twitter:

      @3ChicsPolitico @chucktodd he came 2 twitter breathless, “the POTUS walked out of the meeting” he’s the only one that can end a damn meeting.

  12. Ametia says:

    Oh Geesh! Chris Matthews is painting Mitch McConnell as some one who cares about our country.


  13. Oh! Oh! It’s on & Poppin…

    Breaking News:…Obama walk out meeting!..He told Eric Cantor, “Don’t call my bluff’! It’s On!

  14. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    July 13, 2011 3:20 PM
    What it means to be ‘pro-business’

    By Steve Benen

    With many in the business community starting to take their concerns about GOP tactics public, maybe it’s a good time to revisit what it means to be “pro-business.”

    Noting pressure on Congress from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable to resolve this crisis quickly, Steven L. Taylor, writing at the center-right Outside the Beltway, noted the disconnect between congressional Republicans and their traditional allies.

    What this underscores yet again is that most people who understand the situation also understand that the debt ceiling has to be raised. The only people who seem not to understand this are a faction of ideologues in the GOP, a gaggle of talk show hosts, and a smattering of bloggers and blog commenters.

    I have not seen a serious economist (regardless of philosophical predilections) or really anyone I would consider serious/informed about this topic who thinks otherwise…. I find all of this interesting as well because it seems to speak to a serious internal identity crisis within the GOP at the moment. The Republicans are allegedly the party of business, yet they have created uncertainty in the economy over their game of chicken and have now forced some of their allies to speak publically.

    I realize that the Republican Party’s leadership fully accepts the fact that the debt ceiling has to be raised, and I’m glad. But as has become painfully clear of late, members of the leadership are no longer doing the leading; they’re doing the following.

    I agree with Taylor that we’re talking about “a faction of ideologues in the GOP, a gaggle of talk show hosts, and a smattering of bloggers and blog commenters” who appear to have gone completely mad, but it’s worth emphasizing that this group just happens to dictate the outcome of most key votes in the House of Representatives.

    In the bigger picture, there is quite a bit of irony here. Under the first two years of the Obama presidency, economic growth was restored, corporate profits soared, the major Wall Street indexes rocketed up, and nearly all of the job creation was limited to the private sector. The Chamber of Commerce crowd, unsatisfied, invested heavily in Republican candidates, hoping they would create a climate even more business friendly.

    News flash, business community: you invested in the wrong horses.

    Jon Chait noted today that if Republicans block a debt-ceiling increase before August 2, “The business elite will decide that the Republicans are dangerous and must be stopped.”

    I think that’s true. I also think the business elite should have thought of this last year.

  15. Ametia says:

    Posted at 06:14 PM ET, 07/13/2011 Happy Hour Roundup
    By Greg Sargent

    * The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is now saying it could support Mitch McConnell’s proposal to transfer control of the debt ceiling to the President — another sign of how badly business leaders want the GOP leadership to get this resolved.

    The statement from chief U.S. Chamber spokesman Tom Collamore:

    The key here is to avoid the U.S. government defaulting on its obligations, so in that vein I think any proposal is worth a close look if it will avoid that. In the meantime the negotiations should continue on how to find a meaningful longer term solution to the nation’s budget deficit.
    * Dems are pouncing on the news that Moody’s may downgrade the U.S.’s credit rating if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, and quick.

    From Dem Rep. Chris Van Hollen: “The fact that Moody’s put the United States on its watch list and may downgrade our AAA bond rating underscores the danger for those who would hold our economy and jobs hostage to a rigid ideological agenda — instead of acting in the best interests of our country.”

  16. Ametia says:

    Breaking News Alert: Moody’s moves step closer to downgrading U.S. over debt-ceiling stalemate
    July 13, 2011 6:24:19 PM

    Moody’s Investors Service said it has put the Aaa credit rating of the U.S. government on review for a possible downgrade given the possibility the debt limit will not be raised before an approaching August deadline. It comes two weeks after Standard & Poor’s said that any failure to make debt payments would result in a dramatic downgrade of the United States’s current top-notch credit rating.

  17. Ametia says:

    BWA HA HA Rev. Al is snarking on the HATERS-

    PBO raising all that money. HAMMER TIME!

  18. Ametia says:

    I need help locating a video of a commercial. I can’t remember what they were advertising. but the message is sooo powerful.

    A black man comes home to silence. We see his son playing with some techie gadget, his wife on the computer, etc. He shuts off of the breakers and the power goes out. We see him firing up the BBQ grill and his family joins him for some juicy hotdogs. His son finally speaks. He asks how come the neighbors have lights on and they don’t have any light. His dad offers up a second round of hotdogs! LOL

    Whoever finds the clip wins a prize.


    • opulent says:

      ctfu…that scenario is hilarious…and soooo black America!!

      • Ametia says:

        the commercial is priceless. dude just came in the hizzy and shut her down. then drop skillett on the grill. it was hilarious. His family just followed right along and had a great time! Gotta find that video. Please help me.

  19. Pelosi, on Obama being the guy in the White House: “How blessed we are to have him there.”

    Let me say of the president how blessed we are to have him there. . . . This president has extended the respect and the courtesy to bipartisan House and Senate members to listen, listen, listen and listen to them talk about what their concerns are, their priorities; what their suggestions are,” Pelosi said. “Thursday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and now Wednesday. Unprecedented in terms of a president listening that much, bringing to the table complete knowledge of the subject. Nobody can out-debate him or out-statistic him on this information.”

  20. Ametia says:

    Remember that vile booty-shaking, thug, bling, video depicting Janice hahn as a stripper?

    Posted at 07:51 AM ET, 07/13/2011
    Janice Hahn wins California special election
    By Rachel Weiner

    Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn (D) beat back a surprisingly strong challenge from businessman Craig Huey (R) in a nasty fight for an open congressional seat in California. With all the votes counted, Hahn beat Huey 55 percent to 45 percent, or 41,585 votes to 34,636.

    Hahn called the victory bittersweet, because of her mother’s death on the eve of her victory. She told the Associated Press that the loss of her mother “was devastating to me, so it was the strength of the thousands of volunteers who were campaigning for me that carried me across the finish line.”

    Democrats were worried about losing this special election, held to replace former Rep. Jane Harman (D), even though a large majority of voters in the district are registered Democrats. Voter turnout in southern California in July is always going to be low (it was 22 percent Tuesday), and Huey poured nearly $900,000 of his own money into the race.

    The evangelical direct-mail marketer shocked observers by making it into the race at all. California has just switched to “jungle primaries,” in which the top two vote-getters face off in the general regardless of party affiliation. In a district where Democrats have an 18-point registration advantage, it was a surprise to see a Republican make it into the runoff.

    “Congresswoman-elect Hahn has earned the confidence of the voters of her district; tonight, she has the full congratulations of the entire House Democratic Caucus,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming her to Congress and to working with her to make progress for the American people.”

    The congressional seat came open when Harman resigned to become head of a think tank. Both Huey and Hahn went negative early and often–with Huey tying Hahn to gang members, and Hahn accusing Huey of radical social views and scams against senior citizens.

    Hahn’s victory means another special election to fill her city council seat. Firefighter Pat McOsker announced his candidacy last night.

    While a Republican win here would have been seen as a coup for the GOP, special elections occur under such unique circumstances that they have little predictive power.

  21. GOP Freshman To McConnell: Dude, You Gave Our Debt Hostage to Obama!

    So after acceding Tuesday that they’ll raise the debt limit one way or another, Republicans are now accusing President Obama of holding the debt limit hostage. Fine. It’s pretty clumsy as rhetorical jiu jitsu goes, but fine.

    For this argument to be persuasive, though, these same Republicans must omit the fact that they were using the debt limit as a weapon in an ideological fight just 24 hours ago.

    But that’s exactly what Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) — an articulate freshman, beloved by conservatives — just did. Specifically, he told a scrum of reporters outside a GOP steering committee meeting that President Obama’s the mustache-twirling villain of the debt limit wars…just after lamenting the GOP’s loss of leverage in its pursuit of a Balanced Budget Amendment.

    “Why is the President willing to push us into a debt-ceiling induced financial shortfall by virtue of the fact that he’s not willing to convince his party to support a balanced budget amendment?” Lee asked rhetorically.

    He took some heat from the assembled reporters for trying to turn the tables on the Democrats, and did his best to argue the point. But his biggest problem was that he’d just finished explaining why his caucus leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), had ruined the party’s chances of using the very same debt ceiling to advance long-sought conservative goals.

    “I fear that we could easily lose the bargaining power that would enable us to get to that point if we signal in advance, ‘by the way if we don’t get what we want, here’s what we’re going to do. If we don’t get what we want, we’ll just give you guys what you want,'” Lee said. “No one would ever try to do that in trying to settle litigation. No one would ever signal to a military opponent, ‘if we don’t get what we want we’re just going to retreat and give you what you’re seeking.’ I don’t know why we’d want to do that here.”

    Lee added:

    To get a balanced budget amendment in this environment…we’d have to make the serious, credible, earnest threat that if you want to raise it and you want to have any Republicans voting for raising it, you’re going to have to assist us: You give us 20 votes to adopt the balanced budget amendment in the Senate and we’ll make sure you get the votes you need to raise the debt limit.

    Those two arguments are impossible to square.

  22. Ametia says:

    Yoo hoo000! Looks who coming to our town!!!!

    President Obama to visit MN for vets convention
    12:52 PM, Jul 13, 2011

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will visit the Twin Cities on August 30th to address thousands of military veterans and their families at the American Legion’s national convention.

    Jimmie Foster, the American Legion’s national commander, says the veterans’ organization wants to hear about the administration’s vision for the economy, national security and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    The war in Afghanistan is also likely to be of interest. In June, Obama announced that 33,000 U.S. troops will return from Afghanistan by next summer. Ten thousand of those troops are to leave by the end of 2011.

    Obama said the pullout would begin this month but left it to his commanders to decide the details.

    McConnell: ‘I Refuse To Help Obama Reelection’

    WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), under siege from conservatives over his opt-out proposal for the debt ceiling debate, defended the idea in crassly political terms during an interview on Wednesday morning.
    The Kentucky Republican, appearing on Laura Ingraham’s program, repeatedly pointed to the political toil that congressional Republicans endured during the mid-’90s when they squared off against then-President Bill Clinton over government spending.

    “[W]e knew shutting down the government in 1995 was not going to work for us. It helped Bill Clinton get reelected. I refuse to help Barack Obama get reelected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy,” McConnell said. “It didn’t work in 1995. What will happen is the administration will send out notices to 80 million Social Security recipients and to military families and they will all start attacking members of Congress. That is not a useful place to take us. And the president will have the bully pulpit to blame Republicans for all this disruption.”

    “If we go into default he will say Republicans are making the economy worse,” he concluded. “And all of a sudden we have co-ownership of a bad economy. That is a very bad position going into an election. My first choice was to do something important for the country. But my second obligation is to my party and my conference to prevent them from being sucked into a horrible position politically that would allow the president, probably, to get reelected because we didn’t handle this difficult situation correctly.”

    • Ametia says:

      TRANSLATION: Let the nigga take control; I ain’t tryna get blamed for what’s about to go down.

    • creolechild says:

      Trying to re-write history, are we? Like the Republican Party had absolutely nothing to do with the shape the economy is in–after 8 years under the previous administration.

      The same party that is obstructing progress at every turn by rejecting several jobs bills that have been proposed, slashing safety nets, trying to eliminate environmental regulations, attempting to dismantle unions across the country, enacting voter I.D. laws in numerous states, and basically disregarding anything that doesn’t align with THEIR political and religious ideology or which requires the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share.


  24. creolechild says:

    Hmmm…how about a quick music breakl? Here’s Lala …daughter of the late, great Donny Hathaway.

  25. rikyrah says:

    July 13, 2011 2:35 PM

    Fear is a powerful motivator

    By Steve Benen

    For all of his many flaws, Mitch McConnell’s candor is occasionally refreshing.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that his fall-back plan for the debt ceiling negotiations would prevent President Obama from blaming Republicans for the economic fallout from a default.

    “If we go into default, [the president] will say that Republicans are making the economy worse … The president will have the bully pulpit to blame the Republicans for all of this destruction,” McConnell said, indicating that default would hand the re-election to Obama.

    “I refuse to help Barack Obama get re-elected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy,” McConnell said.

    A more thoughtful argument might have referenced the senator’s desire to do right by the country. Maybe something about the public suffering in the event of a self-imposed economic crash.

    But that’s not where the Minority Leader is going with this. Avoiding an economic catastrophe? Whatever. What really matters here is McConnell avoiding blame and electoral consequences for the misguided hostage strategy he and his party never really thought through.

    For what it’s worth, McConnell isn’t wrong. If Republicans see the threat and refuse to do their duty, the economy will crash and the GOP will be blamed. I’d prefer to see the senator principally concerned with the public’s wellbeing, but if he’s prepared to end the crisis motivated by nothing but political fear, I guess that will have to do.

    That said, McConnell’s comments this morning reinforce a few things. First, the Republicans’ Senate leader doesn’t see a way to reach a debt-reduction agreement. Second, McConnell doesn’t buy into the right-wing nonsense that default would be painless and inconsequential.

    And third, the GOP leadership really doesn’t want to get caught shooting the hostage.

  26. rikyrah says:

    July 13, 2011 12:35 PM

    WSJ backs McConnell plan (and a ‘bipartisan’ deal)

    By Steve Benen

    While the right doesn’t seem at all pleased with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) proposed solution to the debt-ceiling crisis, opposition among conservative Republicans is far from unanimous.

    The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, one of the more influential pieces of Republican media real estate, got on board with the McConnell plan this morning. After several hundred words about how much the editorial page doesn’t like President Obama, the WSJ argued:

    The hotter precincts of the blogosphere were calling this a sellout yesterday, though they might want to think before they shout. The debt ceiling is going to be increased one way or another, and the only question has been what if anything Republicans could get in return. If Mr. Obama insists on a tax increase, and Republicans won’t vote for one, then what’s the alternative to Mr. McConnell’s maneuver? […]

    Even if Mr. Obama gets his debt-limit increase without any spending cuts, he will pay a price for the privilege [under McConnell’s proposal].

    For Republicans looking for an excuse to back the McConnell plan and get out of this mess, perhaps the editorial will offers some cover.

    But what I found especially interesting about the WSJ piece came in the last paragraph of the editorial. (thanks to D.D. for the tip)

    We’d far prefer a bipartisan deal to cut spending and reform entitlements without a tax increase.

    Yes, according to the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, a “bipartisan deal” on debt reduction would include the spending cuts Republicans want, entitlement cuts Republicans want, and the existing tax rates Republicans want. Democrats, in this “bipartisan deal,” would get nothing.

    President Obama, the editorial board, “won’t go along” with this.

    He’s obviously history’s greatest monster for rejecting such a “bipartisan deal.”

  27. rikyrah says:

    Pawlenty Plummets To 3% In National Poll While Bachmann Surges
    A new poll shows Tim Pawlenty slipping to the bottom tier of the presidential field as rival Minnesotan Michele Bachmann shoots upwards.

    The latest numbers from Quinnipiac University put Mitt Romney first at 25%, Michele Bachmann second at 14%, then undeclared candidates Sarah Palin at 12% and Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 10%. Pawlenty is stuck way in the back of the class at 3%, behind pizza magnate Herman Cain at 6%, struggling Newt Gingrich at 5%, and libertarian Ron Paul at 5% as well. At least he’s doing better than the flatlining Jon Huntsman, Thad McCotter, and Rick Santorum, who don’t even register above 1%.

    Pawlenty registered at 5% in the same poll last month while Bachmann was at just 6%.

    The usual caveat: early national polls are far less relevant than the state-level action in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, etc. and are a lagging indicator in presidential nominating contests. Having said that, these numbers are rough for Pawlenty, who has spent months trying to fashion a credible challenge to frontrunner Mitt Romney. The former Minnesota governor has taken to attacking Bachmann directly in recent days in an effort halt her growing momentum.

  28. creolechild says:

    Even Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker’s home redecorating plans have caused an uproar. In his first six months in office, Walker sparked a national controversy by trying to curb collective bargaining rights for most public-sector unions, not to mention slash education funding and social and health services for his state’s citizens.

    Now, Walker has made headlines again after he removed a painting depicting three Wisconsin children—one had been homeless, one came from low-income family, and a third who had lost family members in a drunk-driving accident. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the painting was one of numerous pieces of art commissioned by the fund that operates the governor’s mansion—works that were intended to remind the governor of the constituents he or she represents.

    Here’s the Journal Sentinel on the painting by artist David Lenz:

    In an interview, Lenz said he carefully selected the three children portrayed in “Wishes in the Wind.” The African-American girl, featured in a Journal Sentinel column on homelessness, spent three months at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission with her mother. The Hispanic girl is a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. And the boy’s father and brother were killed by a drunken driver in 2009.

    “The homeless, central city children and victims of drunk drivers normally do not have a voice in politics,” Lenz explained in an email. “This painting was an opportunity for future governors to look these three children in the eye, and I hope, contemplate how their public policies might affect them and other children like them.”

    He added: “I guess that was a conversation Governor Walker did not want to have.”


    • Ametia says:

      Really, how much credibility does the WSJ think it has with votes; except for the few rich white males who soak up the ideological right wing bent. And it’s Ruppert Murdock owned, fer Christ sakes!

  29. rikyrah says:

    GOP Lawmaker Sells Off Oil Stocks After Al Sharpton Admonishes Him

    Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) is no longer a shareholder in the nation’s highly profitable oil and gas industry. Why? Because Al Sharpton yelled at him.

    The story began last week, when ThinkProgess flagged Kelly’s $6.25 million in oil and gas shares and a question the freshman Republican was asked about it at a June town hall meeting. Then came Sharpton’s attack on Kelly on MSNBC.

    Now Kelly has surrendered to both progressive voices, selling off all of his shares in both companies noted by ThinkProgress. Both firms were founded by Kelly’s wife’s family, the AP reports.

    The liberal complaint, of course, is that Kelly was defending federal oil and gas company subsidies, which Democrats wanted to eliminate as part of the budget debate.

    “A Republican Congressman defending big oil, that’s not new,” Sharpton said while guest-hosting MSNBC. “What is new: doing when you have investment in big oil companies. And that’s our ‘con job’ of the day.”

    Kelly’s retort was pretty standard GOP boilerplate on the topic. From ThinkProgress:

    CONSTITUENT: Why are we subsidizing them?
    KELLY: If you really want to understand the whole thing, I would say that, number one, we want companies to be profitable. I said earlier about the class warfare, if we’re going to start classifying, “they’re too rich, they’re too wealthy, they’re too greedy. We don’t get enough, we need more, and we need to have rich people putting more money in. We need, we need, we need, we need, we need, we need, we need.”

    Kelly at first dismissed the talk about the oil and gas company stock.

    “Mike feels very blessed that both his family and his wife’s family have achieved success after decades of hard work, personal sacrifice, and significant adversity,” his office said in a statement sent to last week. “By the grace of God and through the hard work of many, the Kellys have achieved the American Dream.”

    Kelly’s office also took the expected shot at Sharpton.

    “Although Mr. Kelly has never met Reverend Sharpton,” the statement read, “he is not surprised by his comments given the Reverend’s history of divisive and polarizing commentary and not telling the whole story.”

    Days later, it appears Kelly decided to buckle to Sharpton’s attacks, scoring a victory for the progressives who’ve been hounding the Republican for days. Progressives have been on his case over his wealth since he ran. AFSCME dropped a tough ad on him in the 2010 cycle entitled simply, “What’s Wrong With Millionaire Mike Kelly?”

    Kelly’s spokesperson “says she doesn’t know when the transactions took place,” the AP reports, “but says they’ll be detailed in a financial disclosure form Kelly is in the process of filing.”

  30. rikyrah says:

    oooops ….. 27%?!
    By Chipsticks 4 Comments

    You have to chuckle at this Sunshine State News article about Rick Scott’s latest approval ratings – they don’t mention until the seventh (seventh!) paragraph that he’s down to 27 percent!

    Before then there’s a truly heroic attempt to spin the figure, with two – two! – Tea Party creatures quoted supporting him.

    The article also talks about the “venom” directed at Scott from “across both genders and all corners of the state” and how “Left-wing activists” have “assailed Scott from day one for his budget cuts….”.

    Venom? Left-wing activists? Translation: regular Florida folk are angry about what this lowlife is doing to their state.

    The final word is given to Richard Johnston, a Palm Beach County-based Republican consultant: “Any place you have reform, that creates negativity as well … It’s a byproduct of leadership.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    New Reporting Rules on Multiple Sales of Guns Near BorderBy CHARLIE SAVAGE

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Monday approved a new regulation requiring firearms dealers along the Southwest border to report multiple sales of certain semiautomatic rifles, a rule intended to make it harder for Mexican drug cartels to obtain and smuggle weapons from the United States.

    Under the rule, dealers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas will be required to inform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives if someone buys — within a five-day period — more than one semiautomatic rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and uses ammunition greater than .22 caliber. Such weapons include AK-47s.

    Dealers nationwide are already required to report bulk sales of handguns, and the A.T.F. applied to impose such a regulation late last year to help detect bulk “straw buyers” — people who say they are buying weapons for themselves but then transfer them to criminals.

    In a statement, the deputy attorney general, James Cole, said the regulation was justified by the need to help the A.T.F. “detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce to criminals” and in particular to “help confront the problem of illegal gun trafficking into Mexico.”

    “The international expansion and increased violence of transnational criminal networks pose a significant threat to the United States,” Mr. Cole said, adding that rifles covered by the new regulation “are highly sought after by dangerous drug-trafficking organizations and frequently recovered at violent crime scenes near the Southwest border.”

    The proposal has been hotly contested by gun-control advocates, and Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president for the National Rifle Association, said his organization was preparing to sue the government once it tried to begin enforcing the regulation.

    Mr. LaPierre contended that it should take an act of Congress to impose such a requirement, not a regulation developed by the executive branch alone. He noted that the similar rule requiring dealers to report multiple handgun sales was part of the Gun Control Act of 1968.

    “We view it as a blatant attempt by the Obama administration to pursue their gun-control agenda through backdoor rule making, and the N.R.A. will fight them every step of the way,” he said. “There are three branches of government and separation of powers, and we believe they do not have the authority to do this.”

    An A.T.F. spokesman cited a federal statute governing the licensing of firearms dealers as the source of the agency’s legal authority to enact a regulation allowing it to collect the information about bulk sales of semiautomatic rifles.

  32. creolechild says:

    here’s an excellent commentary that was written by Norbrook, who has his own blog and is also a regular contributor at Blue Wave News. Bravo, Norbrook!

    There’s a great post over at The Angry Black Lady Chronicles called “Confessions of an Obamabot,” which I recommend reading. It’s drawing a lot of conniption fits from the various frustrati, professional left, and firebaggers. This part caught my attention:

    And keep in the back of your mind that Barack Obama was a known centrist long before 2008. He was never a liberal. I knew that when I voted for him. Why have so many others forgot? Or did they just assume he was a liberal because of his skin color and never bothered to check? That type of bigoted ignorance is not his fault.

    Which is quite true. In a different subject’s comment thread over at BPI, I said “Unlike the Hamsher’s and the frustrati, I don’t substitute my personal wish list for the platform that the candidate actually ran on.”

    I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. This President is doing what he said he was going to do when he was a candidate. If I have had any surprises, it’s that he’s been able to do as much of what he said he was going to do, as he has. That’s despite relentless and unified opposition from the Republican Party, along with the exercise in herding cats that constitutes the Democrats in Congress.

    Now I was, if anything, a latecomer to which candidate I was going to support in the primaries. I didn’t really pay much attention until late in 2007. I had a life, which did not involve obsessing about the latest poll showing where the large number of candidates stood that day in popularity. But when I did start paying attention, it was to actually spend the time going over what each candidate was saying, and what they were running on. It was all out there in public, and yes, candidate Obama had a very large policy document posted right there on his web site for people to peruse. So I knew exactly what he was running on.

    But I guess that makes me unusual for an “progressive Democrat.” Apparently the frustrati, the Professional Left, and the firebaggers assumed they knew what he was really running on, without all that bothersome effort of reading his platform, books, and listening to his speeches. They were lazy. They had a wish list, and figured that the black candidate was going to have the same list. That it wasn’t reality doesn’t matter.

    They want to scream about “betrayal?” Just how? Because they didn’t get their wish list? That’s not betrayal, that’s being too damn lazy to read what the candidates were saying was their platform! That’s not the only time they’ve demonstrated that trait. For all their bitching, and touting about how they’re “activists,” it turns out that most of them have no involvement with their local Democratic Party. When it comes time to do the grunt work of finding and vetting candidates, they’re notably absent. They’re too damn lazy to do anything except bitch about the people who actually do show up and work.

    I’m not responsible for their laziness, and neither is the President. They are. They can change that, but I doubt they will. They can bitch all they want, but don’t expect me to put up with it. If that makes me an “Obamabot,” then fine. I’m one. But you know what? At least I’m willing to put forth the modicum of effort to read a platform, unlike them. I’m not that lazy, but I’ll be damned if I have to do their reading as well.

  33. rikyrah says:

    It May Be Desperate, but At Least It’s Juvenile
    by Jonathan Rauch

    I’m trying to get my mind around Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s trial-ballooned and, I expect, probably short-lived scheme to avoid a default on the country’s obligations. The idea is to set things up so that the debt limit can be raised without any Republican votes. The unpopular job would get done with Republicans’ tacit consent, but only Democrats would put their fingerprints on it.

    I see two small(ish) problems with the scheme, and a big one. First small(ish) problem: Why will Tea Partiers like a devious method to raise the debt limit any better than straightforward method? If I know my Tea Partiers, they won’t. Rather, McConnell’s idea will symbolize everything they think is wrong with Washington (and with the Republican establishment) and it will bomb with the grassroots.

    Second small(ish) problem: Why be confident that House Democrats will play ball? They will see themselves as being set up to accept Republicans’ responsibility in order to become targets for Republicans’ attack ads. They could (1) take that offer and bail out the House majority and get attacked for it; (2) decline the offer by joining Republicans in boycotting debt-limit increases, in which case we’re back where we started; or (3) demand a price for their votes in the form of, say, higher taxes on the wealthy, in which case we’re back where we started. Would you pick No. 1?

    Big problem, now. McConnell is drawing praise for being a grownup, and that’s fair, but only in the sense that it’s mature for a child to punt to her parents.

    The question about the Tea Party has always been whether, once in power, it could be more than a protest movement—that is, whether it could govern. Governing means compromising, which Tea Partiers think is the root of our problems. So far, they’re staying with protest and punishing any Republican who tries to make a deal.

    In response, cornered Republican leaders are flailing to have it both ways: retain the powers of elective office while offloading the responsibilities onto Democrats. That was the gist of House Speaker John Boehner’s revealing definition of “balance” (italics added): “The administration gets its debt limit increase, and the American people get their spending cuts and their reforms.” See? Republicans embody the nation’s collective will, Democrats own the government.

    Unfortunately, that’s not the division of responsibility the Constitution envisions, nor will it amuse the almost 80 percent of the public who are not Tea Party enthusiasts. I continue to feel more pity for the Republican leadership than anger at them. I hope, for their sake, they can find a way to blink and do a deal before the public really tunes in, because the longer this goes on, the more juvenile they look.

  34. rikyrah says:



    Quote For The Day
    by Zack Beauchamp

    “If they’ve got a good relationship, I don’t want to see a bad one,” – Representative Jim Clyburn, on Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor

  35. rikyrah says:

    July 13, 2011
    Boundlessly nimrodded
    You know that any House bill whose “chief sponsor” is Iowa’s screwy Steve King and whose co-sponsors are Texas’ even loopier Louie Gohmert and Minnesota’s magnificently megalomaniacal Michele Bachmann is a must read for maintaining one’s nosediving confidence in American democracy, but this one, HR 2496, rests in a vapidly demagogic foxhole all its own. From The Hill:

    [It] seeks to ensure that the federal government prioritizes payments to members of the Armed Forces in the event the U.S. reaches the debt limit.

    You know … that debt limit that is no problem; just a silly Obamian demand for more socialist spending. However, Michele & Friends do wish to carve out for pre-protection their own preferred socialism.

    One would think that even Tea Partiers would now finally “get” how boundlessly nimrodded their congressional pols are, but in that event one’s thinking would only be clouded by Reason. There is no limit to their lunacy.

  36. creolechild says:

    A new report from researchers at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute predicts that states will save between $92 billion and $129 billion from 2014 to 2019 “because of provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are designed to reduce the uninsured population and provide federal funding for functions that, in the past, have been financed by states and localities.” The federal government will spend “$704 billion to $743 billion more under ACA, while states will spend $92 billion to $129 billion less with ACA than without it.” A partial breakdown:

    – Medicaid costs: State spending is actually expected to rise by $80 billion on new enrollees, but the federal government will largely offset these costs with an anticipated $66 billion in new federal spending on existing Medicaid enrollees. States will also save $69 billion from the elimination of Medicaid eligibility for individuals above 138 percent of the federal poverty line.

    – Savings from uncompensated care: Since more individuals will have more access to insurance, state spending on uncompensated care could fall by 12.5–25 percent, saving the federal government up to $87 billion, while states would collectively save $52 billion.

    – Savings in mental health: Reform will extend Medicaid to many low-income people with mental illness who previously were uninsured, thus saving states between $11 billion and $22 billion dollars from 2014-2019.

    Look: [Refer to article to view chart.]

    This study is in line with past analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which similarly found that the federal government will contribute 95 percent of all the additional Medicaid spending, helping states reduce uncompensated care, cover more people, and even boost struggling economies. Under the law, states don’t have to spend additional Medicaid dollars on the expanded population until 2016 and will received a federal match of 90 percent for the newly eligible Medicaid enrollees by 2020.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Wis. Dems: Walker Should Reimburse State For Fake Dem Primaries!
    On a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Wisconsin Democratic chairman Mike Tate touted the victories in Tuesday’s state Senate recall primaries by all six official Dem candidates, against Republican activists who had filed in the Democratic primaries. Tate also said the party had internal polling that showed the Dems poised to win a majority in the state Senate in the recall general elections this August.

    Soon after the recall elections were triggered, Republicans declared a strategy to plant fake candidates in the Democratic primaries — which they have called “protest candidates” — in order to delay the general elections from July to August, while the GOP incumbents ran unopposed. The candidates included a GOP activist in his 20s, and an octogenarian former GOP state representative, among others. As it turned out, the scheme would cost local governments throughout the state over $400,000.

    “I think it is time to officially ask for Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin to reimburse taxpayers for the costs they were forced to bear for these fake primaries,” said Tate, calling the Republicans hypocrites, and also adding: “They have no credibility to speak on shepherding tax dollars moving forward.”

    Tate predicted that Dem state Sen. Dave Hansen would easily win his general election next week against lone GOP challenger David VanderLeest — a flawed candidate which the GOP was stuck with after the preferred candidate, state Rep. John Nygren, failed to submit 400 valid petition signatures. Throughout the call, Tate described Vanderleest as “a bail-jumping, domestic violence offender,” and “a radical, extreme Republican with a criminal history.”

    He also said that the internal polling showed the other two Dems facing recalls in August, Robert Wirch and Jim Holperin, over 50% against their challengers, and noted their very large fundraising advantages.

    Tate also said that the polling showed that none of the six Republican incumbents with an approval rating of over 44%, and that none scored under 50% support in match-ups against their Democratic challengers.

    TPM asked whether the efforts by Republicans to win one of the six Democratic primaries, in the 10th District held by Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, showed them well-positioned for an actual general election — the official Democratic candidate Shelly Moore won the race, but only by a 54%-46% margin. Did the Republicans nearly winning that Dem primary give a good omen for them in the general election for that seat?

    “They didn’t come anywhere near winning the Democratic primary for that seat,” said Tate. “I think what we saw yesterday was the clearest indication that Sheila Harsdorf is going to lose that seat, and the Republican Party already knows that.”

    “They said in their own communications that this is our best opportunity to defeat Shelly Moore and protect Sheila Harsdorf,” Tate added.

  38. creolechild says:

    Allegations that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation bribed police officers and tapped phones, both abroad and potentially in the U.S., may violate U.S. law. ThinkProgress has drafted a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and SEC Chair Mary L. Schapiro demanding a full and immediate investigation into any potential illegal acts by News Corporation and their subsidiaries.

    You can sign onto the letter HERE. [Click on link to sign petition.]


  39. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 13, 2011 9:35 AM

    Why GOP leaders are looking for the exits

    By Steve Benen
    When it comes to the debt-reduction talks and the debt-ceiling crisis, congressional Republicans aren’t exactly winning the public relations fight. What’s worth emphasizing, though, is the fact that they seem a little surprised about it.

    President Obama and congressional Democrats have positioned themselves as the sensible pragmatists, ready to strike a deal and avert disaster, and eager to compromise to resolve the dispute. Congressional Republicans have positioned themselves as unyielding ideologues who refuse to even consider concessions and expect 100% of their demands to be met.

    GOP leaders probably expected to lose elite opinion, and they have (see Brooks, David). But Republicans also expected to force Democrats to back down — long before now — because the GOP assumed that simply shouting “tax increases” repeatedly would pave the way for success.

    Kevin Drum had a smart post on this.

    [T]he bigger picture, obviously, is that McConnell wouldn’t have proposed giving Obama his debt ceiling increase with only political strings attached unless he was convinced that Republicans were losing the PR battle for a more comprehensive deal. And since the only real stumbling block to a comprehensive deal was Obama’s insistence on revenue increases, McConnell must have felt that they were losing the PR battle even there. After years of owning the tax issue, this must have come as something of a tectonic shock.

    Which is … interesting. Obviously, Obama has been positioning himself all along as the reasonable, centrist guy, willing to agree to trillions in spending cuts as long as Republicans are willing to close a few modest tax loopholes. Last week Republicans derided Obama’s repeated focus on tax breaks for corporate jets as class warfare etc., but you know what? It must have been working. Somewhere down in the bowels of the GOP’s polling operation, they must have discovered that the public was buying Obama’s pitch that “the wealthy need to pitch in too.”

    To a very real extent, we’re finally getting a look at the playbook Republicans wrote at the beginning of this process. Step 1: they’d demand massive cuts and no new revenue. Step 2: when Democrats balked, Republicans would say Democrats want to raise taxes. Step 3: they’d wait for the public to balk at the notion of tax increases, forcing Dems to back down.

    Except, that third step never happened. And since this was integral to the GOP plan, Boehner and McConnell have begun looking for the exits.

    It’s almost amusing, though, to see Republicans struggling with this. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) proclaimed this week, “Mr. President, you have gotten on the last nerve of the American people and they don’t want a tax increase, and you just don’t seem to understand that.”

    Except, that’s backwards. There’s ample evidence that the public expects increased revenue as part of a debt-reduction deal. It’s Republicans who “don’t seem to understand that.”

    McConnell and Boehner are slowly learning that the plan didn’t work. Whether they can present reality to their caucuses remains to be seen.

  40. rikyrah says:

    July 13, 2011 1:15 PM

    McConnell touts BBA, forgets the 1990s

    By Steve Benen

    We’re facing a jobs crisis, weak economic growth, and the prospect of voluntarily default, created entirely by congressional Republicans, in less than three weeks.

    With this in mind, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor this morning to talk about what he considers to be really important: a constitutional amendment that has no chance of being ratified.

    “The time has come for a balanced budget amendment that forces Washington to balance its books. If these debt negotiations have convinced us of anything, it’s that we can’t leave it to politicians in Washington to make the difficult decisions that they need to get our fiscal house in order. The balanced budget amendment will do that for them. Now is the moment. No more games. No more gimmicks. The Constitution must be amended to keep the government in check. We’ve tried persuasion. We’ve tried negotiations. We’re tried elections. Nothing has worked.”

    What a beautiful summary of a spectacularly dumb idea.

    McConnell’s pitch is beautiful in its own way. He’s come to believe that policymakers — including, apparently, himself — are no longer trustworthy with public resources. To prevent irresponsible politicians from doing what they want to do, McConnell wants a constitutional straightjacket. That McConnell decried gimmicks while touting a gimmick was just the cherry on top of an inane sundae.

    Now, this would ordinarily be about the time that I mention that the balanced budget amendment is easily the worst proposed amendment since Prohibition, and has accurately been described as a “pathetic joke.” I might also note that this version of the BBA is actually worse than the old one.

    But instead, I thought I’d focus on one specific part of McConnell’s pitch: the notion that “nothing has worked.”

    If McConnell were right about this, we could at least have a reasonable conversation about the constitutional merits of his idea. In other words, if policymakers really had tried everything to close the budget gap, and every idea failed, leading to deficits that only went in one direction, it’d at least be the basis for a coherent debate.

    But here’s the part McConnell doesn’t remember: the 1990s.

    It really wasn’t that long ago — McConnell was in the Senate at the time — that the deficit didn’t exist. When Bill Clinton left office a decade ago, we not only had a large surplus, we were paying off the national debt for the first time in a generation. Those debt clocks we occasionally see? They had to be shut down — no one had ever programmed them to run backwards.

    We were on track to eliminate the national debt in its entirety within just 10 years. Republicans of the Bush era — including a guy by the name of Mitch McConnell — reversed course, created huge deficits, and added several trillion dollars to the debt.

    The point, though, isn’t just about blame, it’s about reminding McConnell of recent history. He’s certain that “nothing has worked,” but reality shows otherwise.

  41. rikyrah says:

    July 13, 2011 2:00 PM

    Murdoch media scandals intensify by the day

    By Steve Benen

    Eric Boehlert noted this morning, “Like a getaway bandit trying to lighten his load, Rupert Murdoch keeps making frantic sacrifices in hopes of containing the phone-hacking scandal that’s now consuming his News Corp media empire.”

    The latest, and arguably biggest, sacrifice came this morning.

    In a stunning setback after days of building scandal surrounding its British newspaper operations, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation announced on Wednesday that it was withdrawing a $12 billion bid to take over the shares it does not already own in Britain’s main satellite television broadcaster.

    The withdrawal from the bid for complete control of British Sky Broadcasting, also known as BSkyB, represented the most severe damage inflicted so far on Mr. Murdoch’s corporate ambitions by the scandal.

    Murdoch’s takeover of BSkyB was, up until recently, considered a foregone conclusion. Now, with every day bringing new scandalous revelations of alleged crimes and misdeeds, the deal is dead.

    Increasingly, attention is turning to whether, and to what extent, the Murdoch media scandal will reach U.S. soil.

    With news that News Corp’s phone-hacking scandal may have included 9/11 victims and possibly other Americans as targets, two Democratic Senators, Frank Lautenberg and Jay Rockefeller, are calling on U.S. authorities to launch an investigation.

    And they’re not alone.

    Angry family members of victims of the 9/11 attacks on Wednesday called for a U.S. investigation into allegations that journalists at the British News of the World tabloid sought to hack the phones of their lost love ones.

    “Someone should look into it to see if their rights were violated — the family members I’ve talked to are appalled, they’re disgruntled, they have to relive the pain all over again,” Jim Riches, a former deputy chief in the New York Fire Department whose 29-year-old fireman son was killed in the attacks, told POLITICO.

    “I think they crossed the line. They’re trying to get messages from loved ones in the last moments of their lives. It’s horrible, and they should be held accountable. It’s despicable and unethical,” Riches added.

    Sally Regenhard, vice chairwoman of 9/11 Parents and Families of Firefighters & World Trade Center Victims, said that she also supports an American probe and added that the latest allegations come at a particularly hard time for victims’ families.

    While Murdoch’s media control is arguably worse in Great Britain, he also still dominates in the U.S. Actor Hugh Grant, who’s played a surprisingly important role in this story, told NBC this morning that Americans may want to start asking themselves, “Who is this man who owns such a large part of our media?”

    Seems like a reasonable question.

    • creolechild says:

      Segments of the documentary that was posted here earlier in the week entitled, OUTFOXED, delves deep into the background of Murdoch; interviews former employees, and examines how he operates. I’d advise watching the ENTIRE documentary when you have time. It’s a real eye-opener and…will give you lots of background information and confirm that the scandal that’s unfolding in the UK can be contributed to standard operating practices under Murdoch.

  42. creolechild says:

    It appears the evolution of Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer event began even earlier than recently reported in Time, and is part of a wider strategy by influential conservative Christian figures to unseat President Barack Obama in 2012.

    After Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches wrote that Perry’s rally seemed reminiscent of televangelist James Robison’s efforts to mobilize conservative Christians to support Ronald Reagan in 1980 and George W. Bush in 2000, the author of what Posner described as one of the most “under noticed” religion stories of the campaign season helped strengthen the connection.

    In a two-part series, Ethics Daily contributing editor Brian Kaylor reveals closed-door meetings called last month by Robison in the Fort Worth suburb of Euless, bringing together about 80 pastors and conservative Christian leaders. With the aim of plotting to oust Obama, the leaders met not just on the phone call recounted in TIME, but in person on June 20-21, after earlier rounds of secretive gatherings September 2010 in Dallas. Robison also held two conference calls in March with 35 right-wing Christian leaders. Many of the leaders Ethics Daily reported attended those closed-door meetings are also sponsors of Perry’s prayer rally planned in August. (Today, Robison included a list of those who attended on his blog.)



  43. rikyrah says:

    Wanker of the Day: Mitch McConnell
    by BooMan
    Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 12:41:07 PM EST

    Mitch McConnell would rather tear out his eyeballs with a claw hammer than operate under the constraints of a balanced budget amendment. But that didn’t keep him from saying the following on the floor of the Senate this morning:

    “The time has come for a balanced budget amendment that forces Washington to balance its books. If these debt negotiations have convinced us of anything, it’s that we can’t leave it to politicians in Washington to make the difficult decisions that they need to get our fiscal house in order. The balanced budget amendment will do that for them. Now is the moment. No more games. No more gimmicks. The Constitution must be amended to keep the government in check. We’ve tried persuasion. We’ve tried negotiations. We’re tried elections. Nothing has worked.”

    Yeah, whatever. How about McConnell think back to 1999 and 2000? Remember those days? We had a surplus.

    That was before Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, and George W. Bush gained power and looted the treasury.

  44. creolechild says:

    TRIPOLI (Reuters) – France said Muammar Gaddafi was ready to leave power, according to emissaries, the latest sign contacts were underway between the Libyan leader and NATO members to find a way out of the crisis. “Emissaries are telling us Gaddafi is ready to go, let’s talk about it,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said, without revealing who the emissaries were. “The question is no longer about whether Gaddafi goes but when and how,” Juppe said.

    NATO powers have until now been focused firmly on air strikes and backing the rebels trying to overthrow Gaddafi, but five months into the insurrection and with no sign of a breakthrough, attention is switching to a political solution.

    “Everybody is in contact with everybody. The Libyan regime is sending messengers everywhere, to Turkey, New York, Paris,” Juppe said on France Info state radio. “There are contacts but it’s not a negotiation proper at this stage.”

    How reliable the information from the emissaries is remains unclear and many observers warn of the need to be cautious about taking everything emanating from the Libyan government at face value. In April officials said they were preparing a new constitution and wider political reforms, but the details were vague with no reference to the role Gaddafi would play.


  45. creolechild says:

    FORT WAYNE — There’s a lot more to poverty than just a lack of money. Instead, it is more often a tangled web of interconnected problems, with any one of them enough to cause an immediate crisis. “Is the issue housing? Is it employment? Is it education?” Denise Porter-Ross asks in an Urban League office stacked high with case files of people dealing with all of those problems, and more. “These things are all so intertwined that you can’t tug on the string of one without affecting the others.”

    But just as bewildering as the web causing poverty is trying to navigate the web of assistance to deal with — and hopefully escape — the condition. There are myriad agencies to help, but each has a different mission, requirements, guidelines, locations and hours of operation. Finding your way is difficult enough, it’s even harder without a car, or a job with an unbendable schedule.

    None of this is new. But despite hints and whispers that the economy may be slowly beginning to improve, more and more people continue to be dropped into this world, people who have never had to ask for assistance before and have no idea where to even start. Missteps are easy to make — like not seeking township assistance first — and can cause delays for those who can least afford them.

    “People who used to be the haves are becoming the have-nots,” said Porter-Ross, a community case manager at Fort Wayne Urban League. “I see on average 15 new people per week. That’s with no advertising, no fliers, nothing. It’s just people walking in looking for help.”

    Community Harvest Food Bank, which last year reported providing emergency food for an estimated 90,000 different people in northeast Indiana, had its busiest-ever Saturday on June 25. The food bank is open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and usually sees people lining up outside at 6 a.m., food bank spokeswoman Claudia Johnson said. Most Saturdays, they serve between 500 and 600 people.

    “We saw 820 heads of household this last Saturday (June 25),” Johnson said. “That’s a huge amount of people lined up outside to get inside for whatever we have.” Rather than improving, Johnson said, things seem to be getting worse.


    “The ugly side of it is we’re starting to see pushback and divisiveness,” Porter-Ross said. “These people are already struggling, and now they’re mad to hear they’re in a waiting list of 2,000 people.”


  46. rikyrah says:

    Cameron Begins to Cut Murdoch Loose
    by Alex Massie

    As I write, parliamentarians are preparing for a debate that will call on Rupert Murdoch to abandon his bid to purchase the rest of BSkyB. Mr Murdoch’s interest will not prevail. Prime Minister’s Questions today was a moment when, as Paul Waugh suggests, parliament began to reclaim its prerogatives and cut the vermighty press barons down to size. As David Cameron put it, Murdoch should “stop the business of mergers and get on with the business of cleaning stables”.

    Cameron cut Murdoch loose today just as, for the first time, he finally dumped his former Director of Communications Andy Coulson. Cameron’s performance at PMQs was his most assured and bullish since this scandal began and yet even now he remains on the defensive and, bafflingly, will not be speaking in this afternoon’s debate.

    On the other hand, maybe he doesn’t need to speak now that the Murdoch empire has withdrawn its bid to purchase the 61% of BSkyB it does not already own. Who’d have thunk we’d see the day when Rupert was beaten-up as badly as this?

  47. Ametia says:

    The United States has beaten France 3-1 in the Women’s World Cup soccer semifinals, sending the Americans to their first World Cup final since 1999.
    Sunday’s final will pit the United States against the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal match between Sweden and Japan.

  48. Ametia says:

  49. creolechild says:

    More than a decade ago, shoe giant Nike came under fire for its use of sweatshop labor in the production of its products. Most of the criticism focused on its Indonesian workforce, where workers, largely young women, were forced to labor under harsh conditions and abusive supervisors. In 1997, filmmaker Michael Moore made Nike’s abuses a subject of his film “The Big One,” and met with Nike CEO Phil Knight. Knight explained that the reason his company was using low-wage labor in Indonesia is because “Americans don’t want to make shoes.”

    [Click on link to view interview with Phil Knight.]

    In 2001, following protests by labor and human rights advocates, Nike pledged a series of reforms following the revelation that some of its developing world workers were children. But a new investigation conducted by the Associated Press appears to find that poor conditions persist in many of Nike’s factories.


    The 10,000 mostly female workers at the Taiwanese-operated Pou Chen plant make around 50 cents an hour. That’s enough, for food and bunkhouse-type lodging, but little else. Some workers interviewed by the AP in March and April described being hit or scratched in the arm — one man until he bled. Others said they were fired after filing complaints. […] Mira Agustina, 30, said she was fired in 2009 for taking sick leave, even though she produced a doctor’s note. […]

    At the PT Amara Footwear factory located just outside Jakarta, where another Taiwanese contractor makes Converse shoes, a supervisor ordered six female workers to stand in the blazing sun after they failed to meet their target of completing 60 dozen pairs of shoes on time.


  50. Ametia says:

  51. Michele Bachmann Addresses ‘Marriage Vow’ Pledge, Slavery (VIDEO)

    During an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Tuesday night, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann discussed her decision to sign a controversial pledge introduced by the Family Leader, a conservative Iowa-based group, last week.

    Supporting the “The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family” means standing behind a “federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which protects the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.” It also entails backing a crackdown on pornography.

    Bachmann and rival GOP candidate Rick Santorum recently found themselves facing scrutiny over a section of the pledge invoking slavery that has since been removed from the document. Here’s an excerpt of the text in question:

    Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.

    [Speaking on Fox News Bachmann said, “That statement was not on a document that I signed.” She added, “Apparently, the group had a statement about that in another part that they’ve now since removed and gotten rid of and disavowed. I just want to make it absolutely clear, I abhor slavery. Slavery was a terrible part of our nation’s history. It is good that we no longer have slavery. And under no circumstances would any child be better off growing up under slavery that that isn’t what I signed. That isn’t what I believe.”]

  52. creolechild says:

    Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger on Tuesday night slammed fellow contestant for the nomination Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota over allegations a counseling clinic she co-owns with her husband is offering ex-gay therapy.

    “She’s a liar and now that she’s been busted, she’s trying to divert attention away from her lies,” Karger said in an exclusive interview with Michigan Messenger. “She is just another hypocrite and bigot.”

    Karger’s words came as an undercover video investigation by Truth Wins Out started making headlines. The therapy, called reparative therapy, has been condemned by most credible medical organizations, which say there is no evidence the therapy works and may in fact be damaging to a person struggling with their sexuality.

    Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, runs the clinic. He has publicly denied that his Christian counseling center does ex-gay therapy.


  53. creolechild says:

    Luckily, Alexis Bonogofsky has a day job with the National Wildlife Federation, because her goat ranch and farm on the banks of the Yellowstone River south of Billings, Mont., has been completely shut down by last week’s ExxonMobil pipeline break and oil spill. Oil from the ExxonMobil pipeline spill on the Bonogofsky family farm along the Yellowstone River

    “We ranch full-time, too,” Bonogofsky told the Colorado Independent Thursday. “I basically have two full-time jobs. When I’m not working at NWF I’m out working on the farm, and what they did is take away that part of my life for an extended period of time and I don’t know when or how we’re going to get over it because we can’t use a majority of our property right now.”

    On Friday, July 1, an ExxonMobil pipeline passing under the Yellowstone River near Laurel, Mont., broke and spewed what the company says is about 1,000 barrels (or 42,000 gallons) of oil into the flooded Yellowstone River – the longest undammed river in the United States and a world-renowned recreational fishery.

    Bonogofsky disputes Exxon’s calculations, saying up to twice as much oil likely poured into the river given that the company has now admitted the pipeline was open for nearly an hour rather than the original estimate of 30 minutes.

    “It actually ran for I think 20 minutes longer than they said it did, so each minute 2,000 to 3,000 gallons comes out of the pipeline,” Bonogofsky said. “So if you do the math, that’s almost twice as much oil as they initially said it was, which is why I’m interested to see why the press keeps reporting that 42,000-gallon number.”


  54. creolechild says:

    The Obama administration approved a rule requiring gun dealers in Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas to inform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) if a person buys more than one semiautomatic rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and uses ammunition greater than .22 caliber within five days.

    The rule is an attempt to make it more difficult for Mexican drug cartels to purchase weapons. Straw buyers often purchase guns, which are then smuggled back to Mexico.

    The ATF — which has been without a permanent director for almost five years, thanks to the difficulty of Senate confirmation — has been under fire for Operation Fast and Furious, wherein the agency tracked straw buyers were allowed to purchase large number of weapons, some of which ended up being used by the cartels. The criticism is that the ATF should have intercepted the weapons once they changed hands from the straw buyer to cartel member, and not have waited to see where the weapons end up.

  55. creolechild says:

    MUMBAI (Reuters) – Three blasts almost simultaneously rocked India’s financial capital of Mumbai on Wednesday evening, injuring at least 15 people, local media said. Two of the blasts were in south Mumbai, while one was in central Mumbai, police said.

    Mumbai was the city where a 2008 gun raid by Pakistan-based militants killed at least 166 people.
    No further information was immediately available.

    (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; writing by Paul de Bendern; editing by Malini Menon)

    • creolechild says:

      ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The head of Pakistan’s powerful spy agency headed for Washington on Wednesday for unscheduled talks, the military said, days after the United States suspended a third of military aid over deepening tensions in their relationship. Few details were available about Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha’s one-day trip, but it comes at a time when the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the military’s intelligence wing, is under intense pressure to sever ties with militant groups including those it has long nurtured as assets in Afghanistan and India.

      Relations between the intelligence establishments of the two countries have been on a downward spiral since January after a CIA contractor killed two Pakistanis with joint operations against militants suspended soon after. Then, in May, the killing of Osama bin Laden in a secret raid by U.S. special forces further damaged the relationship, with Pakistan branding the operation a violation of its sovereignty.

      Pasha was going to Washington to “coordinate intelligence matters,” the military said in a one-line statement and an official said it signaled efforts to patch up ties. “Relations have not broken down. Intelligence sharing is going on… We are talking to each other despite difficulties,” the senior military official said on condition of anonymity.

      Incensed over the bin Laden raid, Pakistan drastically cut the number of U.S. military trainers allowed in the country and also set clear terms for U.S. intelligence activities in the country. Washington responded by saying it would hold back $800 million — a third of $2 billion in security assistance — in a show of displeasure over the cutback of military trainers, limits on visa for U.S. personnel and other bilateral irritants.

      Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani expressed concerns over the U.S. suspension of some of the assistance.


      • creolechild says:

        CAIRO (Reuters) – More than 1,000 Egyptians extended a protest in central Cairo to a fifth day on Tuesday after dismissing the prime minister’s pledge to reshuffle the cabinet as falling short of demands for swifter reforms. An army statement repeating its commitment to hand power to civilians after the transition and backing the prime minister in his work also drew criticism for offering nothing new.

        “The military council is following the same policies as the ousted regime,” said Mohamed Abdel Waged, 43, a teacher who has camped for several nights in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

        Egyptians have been protesting since Friday in Tahrir, the heart of Egypt’s uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in February. They have also gathered in coastal cities of Alexandria and Suez. Friday’s demonstration included tens of thousands. Activists have urged more protesters to join in later on Tuesday.

        The protests and threat of escalation has hit the Egyptian stock market, where the benchmark index was down 3.4 percent in the middle of Tuesday’s trading session.


      • creolechild says:

        Couldn’t help myself…

      • creolechild says:

        Gonna mix it up a little with this blast from the past…

      • creolechild says:

        Hold up…you taking my appetite, but it’s alright…

      • creolechild says:

        I’m going to let Floetry bring this musical interlude to a close…

  56. creolechild says:

    Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Immigration Law Center announced Friday at the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala., they have filed a lawsuit challenging the new Alabama immigration law.

    Karen Tumlin, the managing attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, told The American Independent that HB 56, the Alabama immigration law, “hearkens back to the days of Jim Crow” in that it attempts to restrict the rights of individuals to form contracts, protect themselves from unreasonable searches and have access to justice and equal protection under the law.

    The Alabama law is by far the most stringent immigration enforcement measure passed by a state government. Like laws passed in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana and other states, the Alabama law requires that police check the immigration status of anyone detained for a traffic violation or greater infraction, so long as they have “reasonable suspicion” that the violator is undocumented. Unlike those laws, Alabama includes measures that criminalize renting housing to immigrants — meaning landlords that rent to the undocumented could face up to 20 years in jail — and also invalidates any existing contracts that undocumented immigrants are a party to. The state also banned undocumented immigrants from attending public colleges, and requires public schools to count the number of undocumented children that attend them.


  57. creolechild says:

    Some good news tonight from Wisconsin. All six of the fake Democrats the GOP put up to run against actual Democrats in the recall primary elections lost tonight. I wonder if this will cause any backlash for them wasting the taxpayers’ money for pulling this stunt.

    Ed Schultz talked to the Nation’s John Nichols about the results and here’s more from USA Today — Fake Democrats lose in Wisconsin primary recalls. And as Ed and John discussed, the GOP running fake Democrats weren’t the only dirty tricks that went on with these elections.

    Deceitful Robocalls Added to List of Dirty Election Tricks in Wisconsin:

    Adding to the list of dirty tricks, reports are surfacing that a “Right to Life” group is robocalling Wisconsin Democrats and telling them not to go to the polls today, and instead to wait for an absentee ballot to arrive in the mail. This is false, as July 12 is the last day to cast a vote in the Democratic primary, and there is not enough time to cast a vote by mail. Apparently, the robocalls are coming from a 703 area code (Virginia).

    We do not know yet exactly who is ultimately responsible for these calls, and even if an individual is caught and takes the fall, we may never find out who’s really pulling the strings. Whoever they are, they are obviously people in synch with the right wing agenda of Governor Walker and the Koch Brothers. Disenfranchising voters by tricking them into not voting is a tried and true method of voter suppression. So is finding excuses at the polling place to keep certain people from voting, as GOP-pushed voter ID laws do. What all the tactics we see in Wisconsin have in common is that the right wing is pulling out the stops to prevent the people from exercising their constitutional right to remove them from office.

    Karoli: Fortunately, Wisconsin’s recall elections will go forward with actual Democrats running against their recall targets. Despite the best efforts of Koch Industries and their American Majority puppets, the real Dems won by large margins.

  58. Ametia says:

  59. ThinkProgress: Mitch McConnell says we need to rewrite the constitution because elections haven’t worked #democracy

    McConnell Hates Democracy

    • Ametia says:

      Tippy Turtle McConnel hates democracy and elections, except for when it comes to he and his GOP cronnies don’t get what they want. And they don’t want the Black man in the White House. Slimy BASTARDS.

  60. rikyrah says:

    July 13, 2011 11:25 AM

    A leadership team divided against itself

    By Steve Benen

    As apparent tensions between House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) come to the fore, the two, at least publicly, insist this is just manufactured melodrama. They get along fine, we’re told. They’re on the same page, they say.

    Behind the scenes, those who’ve watched the two up close seem to have a different impression.

    House Democratic leader on Wednesday suggested Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) don’t have a good relationship.

    “If they’ve got a good relationship, I don’t want to see a bad one,” said Assistant Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) in an appearance on MSNBC. […]

    “The facts seem to be very clear to me that this team — the Speaker and the leader on the Republican side — cannot seem to get on the same page,” Clyburn said on MSNBC.

    There was also this exchange, from yesterday’s two-hour discussion at the White House.

    Since pulling the plug on the deal, Boehner has been largely silent in the meetings, leaving House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to present details of the House’s position. On Tuesday, people in both parties said, Obama tried to reestablish Boehner’s primacy.

    Cantor, who is advocating a smaller deal, at one point demanded that Obama offer the details of his vision for a “grand bargain.”

    “Where’s your paper?” he asked angrily.

    Obama snapped back: “Frankly, your speaker has it. Am I dealing with him, or am I dealing with you?”

    The fact that the answer isn’t immediately obvious probably isn’t a good sign.

  61. rikyrah says:

    July 13, 2011 10:05 AM

    Boehner’s uncomfortable pause

    By Steve Benen

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sat down with Fox News’ Bret Baier yesterday to discuss, of course, the debt-ceiling crisis Republicans have created. There were a couple of noteworthy exchanges.

    First, the Fox News host asked the Speaker for a head-count assessment.

    BAIER: Straight up or down. How many votes you think you can you lose on your side to get a debt ceiling increase raised?

    BOEHNER: It really depends on how the packages put together and how much members know about it. There’s no way you could make that prediction on any given set of assumptions at this point.

    BAIER: You lost 59 in the continuing resolution. It seems like there’s more than that number opposed to it now.

    BOEHNER: I would agree with that statement. There are a lot of members who just don’t believe that raising the debt ceiling under any circumstances.

    This is one of the more important things Boehner has said all week. There are at least 60 House Republicans, and very likely more, who want to see the United States default. The significance of this goes beyond just head-shaking disgust at the extremism of today’s Republican Party, there’s also a practical angle — there are 240 Republican members of the House, and it takes a minimum of 218 votes to pass a bill.

    Boehner surely knows, then, that any resolution to this matter will require a significant number of House Democrats. The Speaker doesn’t have to like it, but the arithmetic doesn’t lie.

    Second, take a moment to watch this exchange, and pay particular attention to the length of the pause and the look on Boehner’s face.

    Baier asked the Speaker what happens if there’s no deal Congress chooses not to raise the debt ceiling. Boehner just sat there for a few seconds, unsure what to say. Eventually, he shook his head and conceded, “I don’t know.”

    The Speaker probably didn’t expect this process to unfold this way. He’s helped take the hostage, threatened to shoot the hostage, and assumed Democrats would pay the ransom.

    But Dems want to compromise and Boehner’s caucus doesn’t. The Speaker doesn’t really want to shoot the hostage, but he neglected to craft a backup plan.

    And now he just doesn’t know what to do.

  62. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011Power Plays

    Barack is not a politician first and foremost. He’s a community activist exploring the viability of politics to make change.

    – Michele Obama

    I love that quote from Michelle because it so often captures what I see when I try to watch and understand what President Obama is doing. Today I am again watching and trying to learn as we see the process unfold about the negotiations on the debt ceiling.

    Over the last couple of years, Obama has several times mentioned that his experience as a community organizer was the most critical in his career. What we know is that he used that experience to understand the dynamics of power and how to use it to address the very real needs of people who don’t feel like they have any. As a matter of fact, at one point in his career, we know that Obama taught seminars on the concepts of power and change.

    Today I’m thinking about how he’s played these negotiations about the debt ceiling differently that he did the one’s about the Bush tax cuts. There was one big difference in the power equation on this one. He’s known from the start that the Republican leadership (ie, Boehner and McConnell) would have to eventually agree to raise the debt ceiling because the corporate and business community would demand it. That meant the power dynamics of this one was different than during the battle over the tax cuts. Obama knew what the final outcome would be.

    So he used the power of that position to set up the Republicans to show their hand on two things:

    1. They refuse to compromise
    2. They don’t really care about the deficit

    Some people are starting to talk about this being a death blow to the Republicans.

    Obama needs to quickly move to declare victory in this thirty-year debate on taxes. Do it now, with the biggest, wickedest grin he can muster while Republicans are in disarray fighting amongst themselves.

    The curtain has been pulled back. The wizard has been revealed as a small insecure man. But in Washington no one will acknowledge even a seminal moment unless you grab ahold of it and declare it as such.

    That would certainly feel good. But I’m still in the stage of watching and learning how this President operates. It will be interesting to see how he uses this moment. The truth is that the Republicans have probably lost this one – but it doesn’t mean they’re going to simply go away. In politics, the opposition is never completely vanquished. So we’ve still got many more battles to fight. And I can’t help but think about the advice we get from the hostage negotiators. One of their strategies is:

    Help your counterpart save face when you come out ahead.

    So we know that Obama correctly read the power plays on this one. Now we’ll see how he manages the win.

  63. rikyrah says:

    BREAKING: Sen. Frank Lautenberg Calls For DOJ, SEC to Investigate News Corp | Another United States senator has joined ThinkProgress’ call for a Department of Justice and SEC investigation of News Corporation. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) writes:

    I am writing to express my deep concern regarding allegations that News Corporation and its subsidiaries bribed foreign law enforcement officials for information to advance their business interests. If true, these allegations may be a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977. […] Further investigation may reveal that current reports only scratch the surface of the problem at News Corporation. Accordingly, I am requesting that the DOJ and the SEC examine these circumstances and determine whether U.S. laws have been violated.

  64. rikyrah says:

    Rutten: News Corp.’s widening scandal

    The only sort of power a news organization can wield safely is the power to persuade.

    Every other sort — no matter how high-minded or expedient the reason for taking it up — is a kind of slow poison that twists the souls of the journalists involved and, ultimately, makes their enterprise dangerously self-interested and unaccountable. That’s the fundamental lesson to be taken from the spectacle of the Murdoch meltdown now underway in London.

    The 80-year-old Australian-born Rupert Murdoch is the unrivaled press baron of our era, who through his acquisitive will and insatiable avarice has assembled a media empire, News Corp., that spans the globe. Though Murdoch is now an American citizen, his company’s deepest roots are in the press culture of Britain’s Fleet Street. News Corp., in fact, still controls nearly 40% of Britain’s newspaper market, as well as maintaining a controlling interest in its leading pay television service, BSkyB. (Its hope to expand that interest is now in jeopardy.)

    The scandal involving the reporting methods of Murdoch’s British newspapers continues to unfold on an increasingly lurid scale. Initially reported to involve the hacking of a handful of cellphone voice-mail accounts belonging to princes and celebrities, there are now allegations that thousands of such accounts were illicitly tapped and that bribes were paid to police officers for information on the royal family and others, according to the Guardian newspaper and BBC. The medical records of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s ill child may have been illegally obtained, along with his bank records.

    More stunning still, on Tuesday the New York Times reported that the Scotland Yard investigators assigned to probe the News of the World’s alleged illegal activities may have had their own phone accounts hacked by the paper, and may have been intimidated into short-circuiting their inquiry by threats that embarrassing personal information would be published.

    Some allegations involve Murdoch’s Sunday Times and the Sun as well as the now-dead News of the World. That’s significant, as is the fact that News Corp. is known to be a highly centralized company. Murdoch is a hands-on manager, and his lieutenants operate in a similar style. That raises the question of what, if anything, the scandal signifies for News Corp.’s U.S. holdings, which include the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Fox News and Fox Broadcasting.

    Murdoch’s American-based top executives and editors — many of them Australians and Britons — are famous for their desire to instill a bit of the “Fleet Street spirit” in their U.S. publications. The media cultures of the two countries, however, are substantially different. To be fair, despite the anxiety that surrounded Murdoch’s purchase of the Wall Street Journal, the paper has become a broader and more lively one since he took over — though even its literary and cultural coverage is noticeably inflected with conservative politics.

    That said, America’s media culture has become coarser and more vulgar and politically divisive since Murdoch became a force here and began pushing U.S. journalism closer to the British model. The New York Post’s focus on salacious gossip and celebrity helped launder what essentially had been a supermarket tabloid sensibility into the mainstream media, as did the place Fox Broadcasting’s stations made for such coverage. Fox News played a key role in legitimizing the notion of partisan news coverage and political commentary as not just normative but somehow inevitable.

    News Corp.’s unquestioned financial success has taken other media organizations — many essentially unmoored from their own values by the stress of technological change — down these same paths. Pre-Murdoch, could we really imagine a dubious gossip website and syndicated TV program such as TMZ being regularly quoted by mainstream media? Would CNN have given license to one of its news personalities to campaign for a guilty verdict in a criminal trial — and to excoriate a jury for disagreeing with her — as it has done with Nancy Grace in the Casey Anthony trial?

    The seeds of Murdoch’s British newspapers’ abuse of trust and power were sown in a media culture whose essentials — salacious celebrity coverage, gossip, overt partisanship — have infiltrated our own under his influence. The meltdown in London ought to be a wake-up call.,0,3978126.column

  65. rikyrah says:

    McConnell outlines new proposal on debt ceiling

    McConnell was quickly excoriated online by tea party bloggers, with Erick Erickson of the Web site blasting the plan as “the Pontius Pilate Pass the Buck Act of 2011.”

    Still, with less than three weeks left until the default deadline and no viable alternative in sight, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) declined to shoot it down. “I think everyone realizes there needs to be a backup plan if we can’t come to an agreement,” he told Fox News.

    Little progress in meeting

    By all accounts, negotiators made little headway during the two-hour session at the White House on Tuesday. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner opened with a sobering account of the consequences of default. With Ireland and Italy veering closer to their own debt crises, Geithner warned that this is the wrong time for the United States to be testing its luck with world markets, according to a Democratic official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door talks.

    The two sides then sparred over the advantages of a mid-size deal that would reduce borrowing by roughly $2.4 trillion over the next decade vs. a grander, $4 trillion debt-reduction compromise Obama and Boehner had been trying to forge in private last week.

    Since pulling the plug on the deal, Boehner has been largely silent in the meetings, leaving House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to present details of the House’s position. On Tuesday, people in both parties said, Obama tried to reestablish Boehner’s primacy.

    Cantor, who is advocating a smaller deal, at one point demanded that Obama offer the details of his vision for a “grand bargain.”

    “Where’s your paper?” he asked angrily.

    Obama snapped back: “Frankly, your speaker has it. Am I dealing with him, or am I dealing with you?”

  66. rikyrah says:

    Dems Push Back At Republican Claims Of “Scare Tactics”

    The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) is pushing back against Republicans’ most recent memo to GOP candidates telling them not to worry about the dire default-or-else messaging coming from President Obama and the Democrats.

    To Murray, GOP disregard for the government’s inability to pay seniors’ their Social Security checks is what’s really scary about the Republicans’ most recent political positioning in the debt talks.

    “The possibility that seniors could be denied Social Security benefits is frightening,” Murray said. “Rather than accuse the President of scare tactics, my Republican colleagues should tell the extreme voices in their own party that it is time to act responsibly.”

    The most recent GOP talking points, Democrats argue, shows just how politically focused Republicans are being when it comes to pushing their my-way-or-the-highway agenda of spending cuts and no tax increases in the debt ceiling talks, while Democrats are trying to forge a balanced deal that cuts spending while protecting seniors, the middle class and the poor.

    “Senate Republicans have put us in this position by walking away from every attempt at finding a long-term solution to our national debt,” Murray continued. “They continue to deny that their irresponsible actions will have real consequences for the American people. This is not about bumper sticker politics. This is about real people, who could be hurt if Republicans fail to act reasonably and responsibly.”

    National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) informed GOP candidates in the memo sent Tuesday night to steel themselves against “disingenuous attacks” from Democrats.

    “Washington Democrats are not going to hold back on their misleading tactics – and it’s becoming clear that they are willing to use the full resources of the executive branch to help them execute it,” Cornyn wrote.

    Recalling the warnings the Obama administration sent to the military and “non-essential” government employees earlier this year when talks broke down over imposing new cuts to this year’s spending bills, Cornyn said the Obama administration could use the resources of the executive branch to send letters to Social Security and Medicare recipients, federal employees and the military in the days ahead warning them they might not receive their salaries or benefits.

  67. rikyrah says:

    Jackson Lee ‘offended’ by GOP saying debt deal impossible with Obama around
    By Pete Kasperowicz – 07/12/11 07:08 PM ET

    Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said Tuesday evening that she is “insulted” and “offended” by Republicans who said today that a deal on the debt ceiling is impossible to reach as long as President Obama is in the White House.

    “If we are negotiating the debt ceiling, we should not have leaders in the room that make the statement that we’ll have no resolution because Barack Obama is president,” Jackson Lee said on the floor. “I’m insulted, offended, and it is not becoming as adults.”

    Jackson Lee was apparently referring to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said there is “little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is unattainable.”

    • Ametia says:

      Jackson Lee and the rest of us SANE Americans know that Mitch McConnell and crew don’t respect President Barack Hussein Obama and want the black guy out of the Oval Office. Power, Greed, and White privilege, ONE HELLUVA DRUG, aint it?

    • Sheila, the racists have traded their hoods for bullhorns. Mitch McConnell is a racist and have no shame. His ass need to be kicked out of office. He has no business near where laws are made.

  68. rikyrah says:

    News Corp. Withdraws Its Bid For British Sky Broadcasting
    Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has withdrawn its $12 billion bid for control of British Sky Broadcasting in the wake of the News Of The World phone hacking scandal, Sky News reports.

    “We believed that the proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation would benefit both companies but it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate,”
    Chase Carey, President and Chief Operating Officer for News Corp., said in a statement. “News Corporation remains a committed long-term shareholder in BSkyB. We are proud of the success it has achieved and our contribution to it.”

    According to Mark Kleinman, city editor for Sky News, News Corp. won’t be able to re-bid on BSkyB for at least six months. But he said that News Corp. will keep its 39% share in the company, which is Britain’s main satellite network.

    The move comes amid allegations that employees working for publications of the U.K. branch of News Corp, News International, hacked into the phones of as many as 4,000 people, including those of murder victims and terrorism victims. News Of The World, a News International tabloid, was shuttered this week amid the allegations. Two other News International publications are accused of targeting the phone, bank, and medical records of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown for a period of ten years.

    News Corp. announced its plans shortly after Prime Minister David Cameron called on News Corp. to drop its bid for the network, saying that the company “should not be focused on mergers and takeovers, but on clearing up the mess and getting their house in order.” The House of Commons was also scheduled Wednesday to vote on a motion declaring that “it is in the public interest for Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation to withdraw their bid for BSkyB.”

  69. Ametia says:

    Supreme Court Upholds Ruling That Child’s Mother Did Not Surrender Partial Custody to Same-Sex ‘Co-Parent’

    Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Office of Public Information for the general public and news media. Opinion summaries are not prepared for every opinion released by the Court, but only for those cases considered noteworthy or of great public interest. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official headnotes or syllabi of Court opinions. The full text of this and other Court opinions from 1992 to the present are available online from the Reporter of Decisions. In the Full Text search box, enter the eight-digit case number at the top of this summary and click “Submit.”

    2010-0276. In re Mullen, Slip Opinion No. 2011-Ohio-3361.
    Hamilton App. Nos. C-090285 and C-090407, 185 Ohio App.3d 457, 2009-Ohio-6934. Judgment of the court of appeals affirmed.
    Lundberg Stratton, O’Donnell, Lanzinger, and Cupp, JJ., concur.
    O’Connor, C.J., and Pfeifer and McGee Brown, JJ., dissent.


  70. Ametia says:

    ’cause that’s how we ROLL, BAY-BEE! LOL

  71. Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference with Women Members of Congress Calling for Deficit Reduction Agreement that Strengthens Medicare and Social Security

    Question and Answer Session:
    Q: During the Presidential campaign, President Obama explicitly vowed not to seek the kinds of reforms to Social Security that he is now voluntarily proposing as an enticement to Republicans, specifically changing COLA and raising the retirement age. Are you surprised and are you disappointed?

    Leader Pelosi. I think the President has done an excellent job in leading the debate as we go forward to reach an agreement on the debt.

    I’ve told the Members this morning at the Caucus, I wish they could be in the room to hear how values-based the President’s statements have been on this subject. We couldn’t be, I couldn’t be prouder of his leadership.

    And since you brought up the President, I want to speak to that issue for a moment. I think that this Administration has done more to listen to Members of Congress in a bipartisan way than anything I have seen before. When, for I think, 10 meetings of at least 2 hours each, the Vice President of the United States sat at the table, listened with respect and openness, to the suggestions of Democrats and Republicans, alike. This President, Thursday, Sunday, Monday and now Tuesday we’ll go back, has sat in that room fully prepared, knowledgeable about the issue to the minutest detail, but with a big vision about the future for our country, and has listened to what the Republicans have had to say. This is highly unusual.

    Let me give you a contrast. When we won the majority and we came in to talk to President Bush about the Iraq, which was a big issue in the campaign and how we could reduce our presence there and how we could respond more fully to Katrina and the domestic agenda, we went to the White House to have this discussion with the President. President Bush came into the meeting, didn’t sit down, said hello, and before he said goodbye, he said, “This is my package. Take it or leave it.” Now, there is a vast difference there. This President, again, has been open and willing.

    And as other of our colleagues have said, some of these subjects that have entered the debate have no business being in this discussion. Whether we raise the debt ceiling is a mathematical absolute urgency. When President Bush was President and were in the majority, I voted, I think, at least five times to raise the debt limit. It didn’t mean I approved of his tax cuts for the wealthy, which did not create jobs but only increased the deficit, or his prescription drug bill, which increased the deficit, or his unpaid-for wars, which have increased the deficit. But it was…we voted for it because that’s what had to be done. Not everybody voted for it, but nobody obstructed it. So to use this requirement, as the Republicans are doing, to extract concessions is really just not fair.

    But apart from that, to your question, I am very proud of the President. I think that he is leading in a very important way

  72. rikyrah says:

    I’m Almost Sad for the Tea Partiers
    by BooMan
    Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 12:08:52 AM EST

    It’s kind of interesting to wade into the fetid waters of Lunaticville to see how they’re reacting to the news that real Republicans represent Wall Street, and Tea Baggers are merely their (mostly) useful idiots. Look, this isn’t complicated. There are a few very wealthy people in this country and there are hundreds of millions of…well…everyone else. Very wealthy people have a particular set of concerns. They would like to keep the money they have and they’d like to set the optimal conditions for them to make much more money. In this, they’re not really much different than the rest of us, but their behavior can have an outsized impact on all kinds of things, like the integrity of investments or the quality and safety of products or the healthiness of the air and water or the kind of compensation we receive as their employees. Very frequently, our interests conflict with their interests. They’re badly outnumbered, so they should expect to lose political arguments pretty much all the time. But they have money. Lots and lots of money. And they use that money to create political speech and political outcomes. But speech isn’t enough. They need votes. And the only way for them to get enough votes to have their interests reach parity with ours is to align themselves with some other large segment of the population. In our recent history, this has been religious conservatives and, especially, Southerners who still retain an unhealthy contempt for the Federal government that beat them in the Civil War. There’s also another group of people, usually called libertarians, who are basically cheerleaders for rich fat cats not out of any particular self-interest but probably as a result of some quirky protein produced by their DNA in utero. Who knows what is wrong with these people? Most of them were born on third base, think they hit a triple, and are really pissed that they haven’t yet scored. They blame empathy. And Al Sharpton.
    Now, you can believe political rhetoric or you can believe your lying eyes. Republicans run up huge deficits whenever they have the power to do so, and they loot the treasury to enrich themselves and their political donors. That is literally what real Republicans live to do. That’s the party’s entire purpose. The deficits are not really the primary goal. They’re a byproduct of their desire to pay the lowest possible taxes while steering the maximum amount of the government’s money to their rich pals. The deficits do serve a purpose however. Once bounced from power, the Republicans behave as though it was the Democrats who produced those deficits. And they pound the Democrats to cut social programs that steer government money away from their rich pals to people who are in need of some assistance.

    This is how American politics work in our two-party system. Anyone who rallied to the Republican Party because they wanted to see them fix the deficit problem is not paying attention to how our system operates. Mitch McConnell doesn’t want to do away with earmarks. He doesn’t want a balanced budget amendment. Those things would interfere with his ability to steer our tax money where he wants it to go. A Republican Party that couldn’t run up massive deficits would have no real reason to exist anymore.

    If you joined the Tea Party because you want to see lower taxes on millionaires and less regulation of business, then good; you’re on solid ground. But if you joined because you want smaller government and a balanced budget, you made a grave mistake. The thing about greedheads is that they have no moral qualms about ripping you off and selling you out. They’re almost sociopathic by definition. I mean, who attacks empathy? That should be your first clue that you’re on your own.

    If you are getting well paid to be an idiot, more power to you. This is America. But if you actually believed that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell want to transform the government into some Galtian paradise, you’re just a sucker. Plain and simple.

  73. rikyrah says:

    July 13, 2011 8:00 AM

    With 20 days to go, a ‘last-chance option’

    By Steve Benen

    President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the top eight congressional leaders continue to meet literally every day in the hopes of striking a debt-reduction deal, and yesterday’s talks lasted two hours. How much headway was made yesterday? By all accounts, none.

    We’re now 20 days from August 2, the point at which the United States will exhaust its ability to pay its bills, and the fundamental dynamic has not, cannot, and probably will not change: Democrats are seeking a compromise with spending cuts and new revenue; Republicans won’t compromise and expect Dems to meet 100% of the GOP’s demands. Or else.

    Enter Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) new proposal, which he called a “last-choice option.” The byzantine process would work like this:

    …First, Obama would submit a request for a $700 billion increase in the debt ceiling, along with a nonbinding proposal to cut spending. That would automatically trigger a $100 billion increase in the debt ceiling to give Congress time to consider the request. Congress could then vote to either approve or disapprove of the president’s request. If they disapprove of it, however, Obama could veto their disapproval, and unless two-thirds of both chambers voted to overturn his veto — a virtually unthinkable outcome given that Democrats control the Senate — he could raise the debt ceiling anyway.

    The same thing would happen, albeit in $900 billion increments rather than $700 billion increments, in fall 2011 and summer 2012. Take it all together, and Republicans would almost completely forfeit their leverage over the debt ceiling. In return, they’d get to make Democrats vote repeatedly to first raise the debt ceiling and then to “approve” of raising the debt ceiling. As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said, this “gives the president 100 percent of the responsibility.” Or, to put it differently, 100 percent of the blame.

    How many cuts would this process guarantee? None. The parties would go back to fighting over spending through the appropriations process, which would “only” lead to government shutdowns, instead of an economic collapse. Rather, McConnell’s effort is about politics — it would give Republicans the upper hand when it comes to whining, on three separate occasions, about Democrats doing the right-but-unpopular thing.

    McConnell wouldn’t lower the deficit, but he would get the chance to complain an awful lot about Obama using the power that McConnell is eager to give him.

    The plan is childish, petty, and more than a little pathetic, but as it happens, those adjectives describe congressional Republicans rather well, too.

    The next question is whether such a proposal has any credible shot at being adopted. Senate Democrats have “privately embraced the idea,” seeing it as a viable way to circumvent the GOP-created crisis. The White House still prefers to strike an actual debt-reduction deal, but sees McConnell’s plan as a viable fall-back option. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) seemed quite pleased with the Senate Minority Leader’s proposal, which under normal circumstances, would mean a great deal.

    But these aren’t normal circumstances. By all accounts, House Republicans, and even several far-right GOP senators, hate McConnell’s proposal, and won’t even consider supporting it.

    We’re looking at the very real possibility that the top two Republicans in Congress — the Senate Minority Leader and the Speaker of the House — have no meaningful influence over how their caucuses resolve a crisis of their own making.

  74. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 13, 2011 8:35 AM

    Business community to Congress: Enough

    By Steve Benen
    It wasn’t too long ago that 62 leading U.S. business groups, including the American Gas Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers, all pleaded with Congress to end the standoff and raise the debt ceiling. “With economic growth slowly picking up we cannot afford to jeopardize that growth with the massive spike in borrowing costs that would result if we defaulted on our obligations,” the groups said. “It is critically important that the United States stands fully behind its legal obligations.”

    That was two months ago today. Ordinarily, the allegedly “pro-business” Republican Party would have taken this seriously, but instead, GOP leaders ignored the pleas.

    So, business leaders are being forced to ask a little louder.

    At his press conference earlier this week, President Obama was asked about working with business leaders to “lobby Congress to raise the debt ceiling.” The president explained that he’s spoken “extensively” to the business community, but they’re often reluctant to push Congress publicly, even if they agree with Obama privately: “[T]hey’ve got a whole bunch of business pending before Congress and they don’t want to make anybody mad.”

    Fortunately, some are raising their voices anyway.

    A sprawling coalition of Wall Street and Main Street business leaders sent an unmistakable message to lawmakers Tuesday: Enough squabbling. Get the debt ceiling raised.

    The message, sent in a letter to President Obama and every member of Congress, puts pressure on GOP lawmakers, who have staked out an uncompromising stance against raising taxes in the partisan wrangling over the country’s borrowing limit.

    Republicans rely heavily on corporations for political support and have regularly cited the opinions of these “job creators” in their opposition to new tax revenue. Many of the House GOP freshmen most opposed to a compromise were swept into office with the help of financial support from groups behind the letter.

    But the business community, which has largely kept quiet on the issue until now, does not uniformly share the Republican orthodoxy on taxes, according to some lobbyists who helped craft the statement.

    The businesses involved in this effort didn’t present a blueprint for a possible debt-reduction plan, and were silent on revenues or cuts-to-savings ratio. The reason is simple: they don’t much care. The corporate leaders just want Congress to raise the debt ceiling; how members get to “yes” is irrelevant.

    In this case, the letter was “signed by hundreds of senior company executives and groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.”

    So, let’s see. Wall Street wants Republicans to stop screwing around. The business community wants Republicans to stop screwing around. Global investors want Republicans to stop screwing around. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department want Republicans to stop screwing around.

    But unhinged and uninformed right-wing activists want Republicans to keep pushing their — and our — luck. As of this morning, the congressional GOP is only listening to the activists.

  75. rikyrah says:

    July 13, 2011
    Government by nervous breakdown
    Rather than grasping for a dry, debt-ceiling increase or some fussy federal budget, how about a “sense of Congress” resolution that declares its signers as prototypical banana republicans; acknowledges they have swiftly degenerated into Buster Keaton chaos, with more zany hijinks to come; and merely authorizes the Treasury secretary to awake El Presidente each morning to inform him how much national lunch money he has for the day.

    Welcome to your grandfather’s grandson’s Republican Party, a bifurcated collection of poltroonish managers and squalid misfits, whose upper-chamber minority leader suggests parliamentary magic tricks as a substitute for competent governance, and whose lower-chamber majority leader summarizes his party’s anarchic nihilism by conceding, “Nothing can get through the House right now. Nothing.”

    One House member from Colorado declares that even $2.1 trillion in cuts “won’t do it for a lot of people,” while another, “a veteran Florida Republican, said he couldn’t go home with $2.1 trillion in cuts.” Yet another, from Texas, wouldn’t you know it, courageously “implored his leadership to leave agricultural subsidies alone and cut food stamps,” while the ineffably clueless Virginia Foxx, from the planet Cretin, “simply said the debt limit is Obama’s problem.”

    All of which leaves even Mitch McConnell’s Nervous-Breakdown Compromise a trifle more than dubious, even as an eleventh-hour backstop. As the NY Times’ bluntly assessed it:

    McConnell’s plan would shift both substantive and political responsibility onto Mr. Obama, forcing him to take almost sole ownership of a debt-limit increase and any consequences from not doing more to address the budget deficit.

    Meanwhile, Eric Cantor has let his truest, gangsterish colors fly by resorting to an infinitely seedy strain of blackmail: “We [the House and White House] both agree on entitlements. And in fact, we would both agree on what the president’s prescription for entitlement reform is, and we know what that is. So why don’t we do that?” (Hence the singular peril of an insincere negotiating position: the opposition will later swear you really meant it.)

    Nevertheless the odds of a debt crisis appear substantially diminished. If nothing else, all this GOP panic reveals a modest recognition of a dire reality and who would be blamed for it. On the other hand, the odds of a dismantled GOP — one in which a more moderate remnant survives, while a formal Tea Party is born — appear greatly enlarged.

  76. rikyrah says:

    Commentary: Budget deficit, debt debate controlled by Grover Norquist

    By Barbara Shelly | Kansas City Star
    For all the homage paid to Grover Norquist in Washington, you’d think we’d elected him to some high office.

    Deficit hawk Alan Simpson says he’s one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of reducing our massive debt. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says GOP lawmakers are “terrified” of the guy.

    He’s credited — or blamed — with thwarting attempts to reduce the deficit and raise the debt ceiling.

    That’s a lot of power to confer on a man who should have been consigned to the political dustbin, if not to a courtroom, five years ago.

    Norquist, former executive director of the College Republican National Committee, promotes the poisonous notion that government is inherently bad and should exist only to enrich the rich and empower the powerful.

    Give him credit, he’s good at what he does. A master of the essential Washington arts of bullying, schmoozing and messaging, he’s branded himself as a power broker. Republicans, in particular, can’t contemplate raising revenues — even by revoking an outdated subsidy or tax credit — without risking his wrath.

    But if Washington gave a hoot about ethics, Norquist would have been run out of town in 2006, when his old pal from the College Republican group, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials. The Norquist express was chugging along at that time. Everyone who was anyone in GOP circles attended Norquist’s weekly meetings to receive their marching orders.

    But the federal probe into Abramoff’s activities revealed that the man who professed to disdain government didn’t mind profiting from it in the seediest manner.

    Documents showed that Norquist allowed his nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, Americans for Tax Reform, to be used as a pass-through for money that Abramoff’s clients handed over to finance lobbying campaigns aimed at influencing public officials. For his trouble, Norquist kept a cut of the funds.

    For instance, the Choctaw Indian tribe in Mississippi paid Americans for Tax Reform $1.1 million in 1999 alone. Norquist passed the money along to another college buddy, Ralph Reed, who was simultaneously running the powerful Christian Coalition and a for-profit political consulting company. Reed used the money to run a religious-based antigambling campaign whose veiled purpose was preventing a rival tribe from cutting in on the Choctaw casino business.

    Experts said tax-exempt organizations such as Americans for Tax Reform could not legally act as a conduit for money intended to profit a private business.

    Yet no charges were filed or sanctions issued. Some Republicans shied away from Norquist for a time, but he clearly has weathered the storm.

    Norquist’s power starts with “the pledge.” Politicians who sign it vow not only to oppose efforts to increase marginal tax rates, but also to block “any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits,” unless they are matched by other reductions of tax rates.

    All but six GOP members of the House and seven Senate Republicans have signed the pledge. With the brave exception of freshman Congressman Kevin Yoder in Kansas, all GOP members of the Missouri and Kansas congressional delegations have signed on.

    The pledge leaves little maneuvering room when it comes to solving fiscal problems because most economists and just about everybody with an ounce of sense agrees that new revenues must join spending cuts to reduce the deficit.

    Such is Norquist’s grip on the Republican Party that it was considered an act of courage for GOP senators recently to vote to repeal billions of dollars in ethanol subsidies.

    Washington, we know, is a planet unto itself. But here in the heartland, it’s surreal to watch an unelected guy with a broken ethical compass bring the capital to a standstill and thwart the spirit of compromise that the majority of Americans say they want. Who elected Grover Norquist? He did, that’s who. And Washington’s political class has not the shame, nor the spine, to send him packing.

    Read more:

  77. rikyrah says:

    Senator Calls for News Corp Probe
    Jay Rockefeller wants to know if 9/11 victims were hacking targets By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff

    If journalists working for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. hacked the phones of any Americans, “the consequences will be severe,” warns the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who says he’s concerned that the hacking “may have extended to 9/11 victims or other Americans,” has called for US authorities to investigate whether US laws were broken, reports the BBC.

    Murdoch is already facing no fewer than six investigations in Britain and has been asked to report to Britain’s parliament for a grilling next week, Bloomberg notes. Murdoch axed the 168-year-old News of the World over the scandal, and circulation at his other three British papers has fallen so dramatically that he is rumored to be thinking of selling them off, according to the Telegraph. The eight major papers Murdoch owns in Australia have launched a review of editorial expenditures to “confirm that payments to contributors and other third parties were for legitimate services,” said the chief of News Corp.’s Aussie subsidiary.

  78. rikyrah says:

    Jon Huntsman launches attack on Mitt Romney
    The State Column | Staff | Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman is ratcheting up the pressure on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, questioning Mr. Romney’s record on creating jobs.

    Mr. Huntsman, who traveled to South Carolina on Monday, touted his job creation record while governor by contrasting it with that of Mr. Romney, who served as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

    “When you look at absolute increases in job creation, Utah led the way in United States in terms of job creation,” Mr. Huntsman said. “That compared and contrasted with certain other states like say, Massachusetts that I’ll just pull out randomly; not first, but 47th.”

    “Some are running from their record. I am running on my record. Take a look at what we have done,” the former Utah governor added.

    Read more:

  79. Ametia says:

    Debt talks reveal the Republicans’ apocalyptic war on government

    By Harold Meyerson, Published: July 12
    As Default-on-Our-Debt Day creeps ever closer, America’s two major political parties have embarked on a round of ideological redefinition. Republicans have subordinated even the appearance of concern for many of their historic priorities — reducing deficits and the debt, maintaining a passable system of roads, even reducing Medicare and Social Security payouts — to the single goal of blocking any tax increase on anyone ever again. Taking the adage that “that government is best that governs least” to an extreme, at least some seem to view a government shutdown as a consummation devoutly to be wished. GOP presidential candidate and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty is running ads hailing the shutdown of his state’s government, the result of the same kind of political impasse that threatens to shutter the feds’ doors.

    If it was possible to give libertarianism a bad name, today’s Republicans would be doing just that.

    On the Democratic side, President Obama has moved so far to the right that he has picked up many of the ideals the Republicans have jettisoned and embraced them as his own. It’s Obama who’s now the deficit-and-debt hawk and who has proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Congressional Democrats oppose the president’s proposed entitlement cuts, but in fact they’ve already voted to reduce Medicare spending (though not benefits) by passing health-care reform, and, as part of the current budget negotiations, have agreed to major cuts in domestic as well as military spending.


    Republicans, to be sure, have long waged a war on government, but only now has it become an apocalyptic and total war. At its root, I suspect, is the fear and loathing that rank-and-file right-wingers feel toward what their government, and their nation, is inexorably becoming: multiracial, multicultural, cosmopolitan and now headed by a president who personifies those qualities. That America is also downwardly mobile is a challenge for us all, but for the right, the anxiety our economy understandably evokes is augmented by the politics of racial resentment and the fury that the country is no longer only theirs. That’s not a country whose government they want to pay for — and if the apocalypse befalls us, they seem to have concluded, so much the better.

  80. Ametia says:

    Congress, Health Care, Must Reads, Politics, The Right, Top Stories
    Rep. Ryan Quiet on His Own Medicare Plan
    — By David Corn
    | Mon Jul. 11, 2011 12:27 PM PDT

    Hit the Republicans with a club, and they at least get the message.

    The Republican National Committee this afternoon sent out a fundraising email featuring Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who chairs the House budget committee. He is the infamous author of the Ryan budget adopted by the House GOP that would end Medicare as a guaranteed benefit. Since the House Republicans passed his budget in April, the Democrats have been bashing GOPers for trying to destroy Medicare-as-we-know-it, and, according to the polls, the Dems seem to have have public sentiment on their side in this fight. So Ryan’s proposal to cut Medicare and Medicaid are hardly good selling points for the party.

  81. Ametia says:

    Posted at 01:05 PM ET, 07/12/2011
    Vows, pledges and the far-right’s obsession with the Gays
    By Jonathan Capehart
    The far-right wing of the Republican Party is held together by the 3G network. Not that one. God, guns and gays. And as we’re finding out once again nothing throws these conservatives into a tizzy more than the Gays.

    Yesterday, I knocked Tim Pawlenty for having the nerve to question whether homosexuality was genetic, whether people were “born this way.” But at least the former Minnesota governor hasn’t signed onto — at least not yet — “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMiLY.” This ridiculously offensive document comes from gay-obsessed Bob Vander Plaats and his organization, The FAMiLY Leader. He’s the guy who said being gay was a health hazard more dangerous than second-hand smoke.
    The two-page vow has the delusional and abhorrent assertion that “a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.” Said child born into slavery faced untold horrors, including beatings, rape and the probability that the family would be split apart as part of a liquidation sale. But I digress.

    The declaration would etch discrimination into the nation’s founding document by calling for an amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. It demands vigorous defense of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. And the marriage vow expresses doubt that being gay is an innate trait and that acceptance of homosexuality is the result of “anti-scientific bias which holds . . . that non-heterosexual inclinations are genetically determined, irresistible and akin to innate traits like race, gender and eye color.”

    This is where Pawlenty and Vander Plaats are in agreement. As well as that other Minnesotan in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). She actually signed the pledge. And, thanks to Brian Ross at ABC News, we know that her husband’s medical practice appears to engage in so-called reparative therapy .

    While Dr. Marcus Bachmann denies dabbling in “praying the gay away,” he is already on record likening gay men and lesbians to “barbarians who need to be educated.” Thanks to a report from Mike Isikoff at NBC News, we know that the “quality Christian counseling” offered by Dr. Bachmann has been buttressed by more than $137,000 in Medicaid funds since 2005. My taxpayer dollars (unwittingly) at work.

    Listen, folks. You can’t pray the gay away. Those who insist upon it are dangerous and are doing the very people they claim to want to help a potentially life-threatening disservice. Even the American Psychological Association passed a resolution in 1997 that “raises ethical concerns about attempts to change sexual orientation, reaffirms psychology’s opposition to homophobia and client’s rights to unbiased treatment.”
    If conservatives cared so much about families, they’d love and accept their gay children. And if they really cared about the institution of marriage, they’d recognize that the gay and lesbian couples fighting to get into it are the very people who will save it.

  82. Ametia says:

    Posted at 07:45 PM ET, 04/19/2011
    By what Standard is the U.S. Poor?
    By E.J. Dionne Jr.

    The decision by Standard & Poor’s to move U. S. government debt to a negative outlook is really a political intervention by a ratings agency into the country’s debt and deficit debate.

    I truly doubt that any investor expects the United States government to default on its debt. The underlying assets of the United States — which is to say, the largest economy in the world — are rather formidable. And history says that we eventually get our act together on budget matters, even though the politics on the way there is usually ugly.

    So I agree with Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, who said that S&P’s “political judgment” should not be given “too much weight.” And the Financial Times’ John Authers was right to say that “the move is still more symbolic than anything else.”

    What this should do is get Republicans off their genuinely dangerous strategy of using a vote on increasing the debt limit as leverage to win budget concessions.

  83. Ametia says:

    Politicus Radio: The GOP Falls Through The Debt Ceiling
    July 13, 2011
    By Jason Easley

    In episode two of Politicus Radio, Sarah Jones and Jason Easley discuss Obama’s handling of debt ceiling standoff. Plus, your daily update on the decline of Rupert Murdoch’s empire.

    Listen here:

  84. Ametia says:

    Ametia —

    We’re filing this campaign’s first financial report with the Federal Election Commission on Friday.

    You own this campaign, so you deserve to get this news first.

    And thanks to you and other supporters all over the country, there’s a lot of good news to share.

    I’m not going to steal my own thunder here in the email — you’ve got to watch the video to get the news about what we’ve raised, how we’re spending it, and what’s next:

    See below:

  85. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everybody! :-)

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