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Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Phyllis Hyman Week
This entry was posted in Current Events, Economy, Media, Music, Open Thread, Politics and tagged I Don't Want to Lose You, Phyllis Hyman, When I Give My Love (This Time). Bookmark the permalink.
What a whiney, sniveling lil SNOT.
Massachusetts County Finds 75 Percent Of Mortgage Transfers Invalid, 40 Percent Of Mortgage Owners Unknown
By Guest Blogger on Jul 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm
As investigations into the mortgage services industry continue across the country, the register of deeds of South Essex County in Massachusetts, John O’Brien, has uncovered a large problem. Concerned that local banks were not paying transaction fees to the county when trading mortgages, O’Brien conducted an audit where he discovered that 75 percent of the mortgage assignments, or transfers from lenders to investors, issued in his county were invalid. Business Insider has the details:
Of the mortgages issued in South Essex County, “16% of the assignments were valid, 75% were invalid, and 9% were deemed questionable. Of those that are invalid, 27% were fraudulent, 35% showed evidence of robo-signing, and 10% violated the Massachusetts Mortgage Fraud Statute. The proper owner of the mortgages could only be determined 60% of the time.
In a release by his office O’Brien said: ‘…I suspect that at the end of the day we are going to find that the taxpayers have been bilked in this state alone of over 400 million dollars not including the accrued interest plus costs and penalties. The Audit makes the finding that this was not only a MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) problem, but a scheme also perpetuated by MERS shareholder banks such Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan and others. I am stunned and appalled by the fact that America’s biggest banks have played fast and loose with people’s biggest asset – their homes. This is disgusting, and this is criminal.”
O’Brien is urging Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to “back out of the proposed foreclosure fraud settlement with banks until the full extent of damages can be ascertained.”
This only adds another page to the recent revelations regarding improper practices that still exist in the mortgage industry. Predatory lending, robo-signing, and foreclosure fraud have sparked investigations and lawsuits from many state’s attorneys general. A recent ProPublica investigation found that bank errors are continuing to cause improper foreclosures.
Lawrence is going in on Eric Cantor tonight.
BWA HA HA HA HA HA
Cable TV Says: “Black People Don’t Know Politics”
Barring the odious pout-face mug of Benjamin Jealous circulating about various Internet news wires, the NAACP President makes a solid point: where are the black faces in prime-time cable slots? For folks of a paler persuasion who’d like to play stupid, it doesn’t mean minstrel sandboxing on reality shows or stereotype-casting token Black BFFs as racial guilt therapists on low rate sitcoms. And no: don’t tell us to stop whining and put pressure on BET or TV One since many of you would then knock us for self-segregation and “reverse racism.”
To Jealous’ credit, he attempts a knick at the Atlanta-based jugular, blasting CNN as “trusted” as it is for convenient omission of color from its prime evening line-up.
Clearly, CNN lacks not in programming space. Political dapper John-on-New-York-state-petty-cash hypocrite Eliot Spitzer, the disgraced former Governor, was just cut loose for dismal ratings on “In the Arena.” So, what’s up with that? The bandwidth is certainly there, but the willingness to do the obvious is not.
The true measure of any progress on televised “minority” personalities is when cable decides to go cutting-edge and populate a black face (because two or three is a heavy psychological lift for these folks bad enough we’ve
got the black President) on a heady political talk show.
CNN and other offenders like white liberal Rudyard Kipling MSNBC might counter that they already have plentiful Black anchors gracing television screens. But, that’s not what we’re getting at. It begs Jealous the question of what type of African American anchor or host he wants. In this sense be careful what you ask for. Any sharp, articulate cat in a suit or hourglass shape and of good look can read the teleprompt. Real deal is when
they can pitch hardball questions, catching public figures and decision makers in lies or gaffes.
This isn’t whining; this is intelligent “Talented Tenthers” uniting in a not-so-quixotic search for ad libbing black political junkies (no urban pun or unseemly visualizations intended) who can run bases with the all stars.
See: therein lies the real problem. An implied pimp slap, put-in-our-place by cable suggesting assorted black journalist and political analysts can’t hang. That it’s only the domain of white guys; the same push back we get when they call us to panel exclusively on “race” topics or scandal-ridden black politicians.
Or, an assumption that we can only bite verse off pre-written lines or can only host pop-culture entertainment while relegated to the ghettoes of urban radio. The message: “no coloreds allowed” when it comes to smart political programming. MSNBC did this dance, despite its “progressive” street creds, when Keith Olbermann bounced. Hence, it’s only the domain of snarky White guys, bullish White girls and the occasional Westernized Middle Easterner or East Asian who comports with a half-ass attempt at diversity while maintaining racial safety.
Sure: it’s mad offensive. Particularly to the countless African American pundits, talking heads and politicos who could out-run the likes of Chris Matthews, Bill O’Reilly and Wolf Blitzer. Yet, it speaks volumes when CNN will go so far as to reach over plentiful black talent and hire a sex-addicted Governor and former famed prosecutor who hired call girls with public money rather than keep it clean and fresh by taking on a Robert Traynham (who’s the only Black host of a non-Black political talk show on Comcast’s RollCall TV), a Karen Finney or a Princella Smith. If that was the case, they could have then gotten more bang on the rating with convicted Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. But, of course, only disgraced old boys get to have all the fun.
I guess that $86 MILLION PBO collected from donors means we don’t know SHIT about politics. Oh wait; he’s black and that’s the only reason we voted for’em;
Black folks know white fratboy privilege when we see and hear it. Tell the truth caable tv; you don’t want SMART, BLACK, POLITICALLY ASTUTE men or women heading a cable show. YOU don’t want to hear the TRUTH about your wicked, selfish,absorbed, petty selves.
Screw cable tv; we listen to and support President Obama.
JP Morgan Investor Report: Huge Corporate Profits Resulted Directly From Reducing Wages And Benefits
By Zaid Jilani on Jul 14, 2011 at 11:50 am
As ThinkProgress previously reported, since 2009, 88 percent of income growth has gone to corporate profits, and only 1 percent has gone to wages. Now, a July 11 edition of Eyes On The Market, a JP Morgan investor report, finds that S&P 500 corporate profit margins increased by about 1.3 percent from 2000 to 2007, with profit margins reaching levels “not seen in decades.”
The JP Morgan analysis concludes that “reductions in wages and benefits explain the majority of the net improvement in margins.” The report includes graphs charting out these profit gains as compared to wages:
Note that the JP Morgan report explains this behavior taking place between 2000 and 2007, meaning that it began long before the Great Recession. Also note that the company ends this section of its report with a chilling conclusion: “As we have shown several times over the last two years, US labor compensation is now at a 50-year low relative to both company sales and US GDP.” (HT: @wonkmonk_)
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Under FBI Investigation Over Alleged 9/11 Victims Hacking Scandal
NEW YORK — A law enforcement official says the FBI has opened an investigation into allegations media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. sought to hack into the phones of Sept. 11 victims.
The official spoke Thursday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
New York City-based News Corp. has been in crisis mode because of a scandal that sank its U.K. newspaper the News of the World.
A rival newspaper reported last week the News of the World had hacked into the phone of U.K. teenage murder victim Milly Dowler in 2002 and may have impeded a police investigation into her disappearance. More possible victims soon emerged, including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
When evil gets to rockin, Karma comes a knockin!
Fret not thyself because of evil doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Minnesota Governor Offers Republicans Deal to End Shutdown
By Mark Niquette and Joe Kimball – Jul 14, 2011 11:54 AM CT .
Minnesota’s Democratic governor, Mark Dayton, told Republican legislative leaders he accepts their conditions for ending the shutdown of state government — with provisos.
Dayton will agree to bridge a $1.4 billion budget gap by raising $700 million through bonds tied to the 1998 tobacco settlement and shifting $700 million in education funding into the next budget, he said in a letter today.
In exchange, Dayton said he wants Republicans to drop their demands for policy changes including restricting abortions and requiring voters to show photo identification, as well as a 15 percent reduction of state employees. The governor also wants Republicans to agree to a bonding bill of not less than $500 million for capital projects “to put people back to work throughout Minnesota,” according to the letter.
“I am willing to agree to something I do not agree with — your proposal — in order to spare our citizens and our state from further damage,” Dayton wrote in the letter to Senator Amy T. Koch, the majority leader, and Kurt Zellers, speaker of the House of Representatives.
OH, SHIT! Deaniac from The People’s View just went ballistic on Jane Hamsher’s “simple” ass! A must read if there ever was one…
Jane Hamsher has lost it. Actually, my guess is that she never had it to begin with, but she has now gone and finally signed up, openly, with the uber-crazies, right along with Joe “You-lie” Wilson, display-Obama-as-a-witch-doctor Teabaggers, and of course, her own openly racist “blackface” self. Not only does she think that Mitch McConnell is a genius (!) for surrendering to President Obama because you know, that way the President would have to take responsibility for the debt limit going up, she thinks that the McConnell offer is President Obama’s “political grave.” And of course, those of you who support the President?
You gotta feel sorry for the guy. His most ardent supporters are the dumbest motherfuckers in the world, and they don’t realize he thinks they are digging his political grave.
Oooh. Yes, we are a bunch of dumb motherfuckers. This dumb mofo, yours truly, thinks it reasonable to assume that people who gave money a year and half ahead of the election to a campaign are “ardent supporters.” Too bad for Jane, she has to deal with 552,462 of us dumb motherfuckers. Of these, 260,000 are brand new dumb motherfuckers, aka first time donors to President Obama. And then there’s the dumb motherfuckers who gave countless hours to hold 31,000 face-to-face conversations for the campaign, and nearly 300,000 total conversations. That’s a whole lotta us dumbest motherfuckers talking to a whole lotta our fellow Americans.
Isn’t it so much fun to watch the Queen of the Professional Left, Mizz Hamsher melt down like this? After all, she has reasons for a full-on meltdown. Jane Hamsher dug her own political grave a long, long time ago – actually even before she really became, you know, famous, with the infamous blackface. What’s truly astounding is how long it took her to put the final nail on it.
Let me see if I can’t make some things clear here. Let’s watch how Jane’s thoughts have developed: Barack Obama, the first black President of the United States and the man who is willing to make the tough choices for this country and has the Republicans on the run actually doesn’t know what he is doing. You see, it’s Mr. McConnell that is pulling the political master-stroke, even though he would be handing to the President pretty much exactly what the President wanted to begin with. Uh huh. And since the President lit up the petulant Mr. Cantor who sat in “stunned silence”, obviously, the round goes to Cantor. Or something.
But remember, you are the dumbest motherfucker in the world. Hamsher is the smart cookie.
So if President Obama’s “most ardent” supporters are the dumbest motherfuckers in the world, his “just” supporters must at least be somewhat dumb motherfuckers, right? I mean, surely, the more of an ardent supporter you are, the dumber you are, correct? Just who are these motherfuckers who are lucky enough to be just dumb, in the mind of Jane Hamsher the Queen, Her Majesty? Well, according to a Quinnipiac poll released today, they are (along with a broad cross section of every group other than mentioned here):
* Are you a young voter 18-34? You stand a 58% chance of being a dumb motherfucker.
* Are you working poor or the middle class and make less than $50K a year? You have a 50-50 chance of being a dumb motherfucker.
* Do you think of yourself as a liberal? Congratulations! You take a big cake with a nearly 4 in 5 chance of being a dumb motherfucker.
* If you are a moderate, you have a 57% chance of being a dumb motherfucker.
* If you are Hispanic, you also stand a 57% chance of being a dumb motherfucker.
* If you are a Democrat, you have a whopping 80% chance of being a dumb motherfucker.
* And lastly, if you are Black, your chance of being a dumb motherfucker is the highest, 83%.
Yeah. All you young, Democratic, liberal black dumb motherfuckers. You suck!
Actually, let’s talk about this. Did this awesomely smart (!) Jane Hamsher ever think who she was calling a “dumb motherfucker” before she threw out that mind-bogglingly dumb accusation? She didn’t even think to confine it – just, the President’s “most ardent supporters.” Sure, I will admit that it takes guts to accuse 552,000+ Americans who are dedicated to the progressive cause and a progressive president of being “the dumbest motherfuckers in the world.” But it doesn’t take any brains, Jane.
Jane Hamsher is angry, petulant and getting more so every day. I am sure it had something to do with her disaster of a “membership” campaign, her and the whiny Left’s fast-shrinking influence even in one corner of the blogosphere, and the ringing proof, in the form of 552,462 donors, 680,000 individual donations, 300,000 conversations, and $86 million in the first three months of the campaign (a year and a half removed from the election), that she – and her fringe cadre of screaming whiners – are teetering on the edge of political irrelevancy. They have been threatening of taking away from President Obama’s campaign the volunteer hours and the grassroots money. That was their sole claim to any political power. And now, that house of cards have collapsed.
Jane Hamsher may well have realized that it’s she who brought her own end to political relevancy – at least on the liberal side of things – about. And that is the cause of this pathetic meltdown against people who are doing the hard work of change – young people, economically disadvantaged people, liberals and moderates, Hispanics and Black people. If I did not enjoy seeing the collapse of the Purity Left so much, it would be kind of sad.
This is who Deaniac is talking about…the same person, who is collaborating with other folks who think like her, to have bus tours roll through black communities to “educate” us about how Barack Obama is not our friend.
Excerpts from this article have been posted here before but I’m reposting some of it again to provide context to what Deaniac wrote.
Firebags and afros: the *genius* plan to primary Barack Obama
The most aggressive anti-Obama action is to be found in three places: among an group of highly influential blogs connected to Jane Hamsher’s Firedoglake and its associated FDL Action PAC and knit together via Hamsher’s advertising network; from Greenwald, Moore and other libertarian-leaning activists who oppose Obama’s war and national security policies (which they say are too close to George W. Bush’s); and from Adam Green’s Progressive Campaign Change Committee PAC, which has spent as much time attacking the president as it has advertising against Republicans.
To pro-Obama liberals, these are the “firebaggers” — as vehemently and reflexively anti-Obama as any tea partyer, and when confronted, often just as nasty. It’s thought that some of them, like Hamsher, are into Obama-bashing for the link bait and the cash, while others appear to be true believers in the third party cause, including Greenwald and former Ralph Nader supporters like Moore.
Up to now, one of the things the anti-Obama progressive movement has lacked is diversity, giving them the appearance of an all-white jihad against the first black president. (Hamsher’s history, punctuated by her now infamous “blackface” post attacking Joe Lieberman, doesn’t help.) In a way, that’s a function of the fact that for decades, the leading voices on the left, from its magazines to its radio shows (the liberal talk network Air America, from which MSNBC drew part of its on-air liberal lineup, had no solo black or Hispanic hosts until it signed daytime talk host Montel Williams just before the network folded in 2010, and there remains only one black nationally syndicated liberal talk radio host: The Black Eagle Joe Madison, who is syndicated by African-American owned Radio One) to its top bloggers, have been conspicuously monochrome….
Read more at http://blog.reidreport.com/2011/05/firebaggers-genius-plan-to-primary-obama/
Yep, we’re familiar with FDL/Hamsher.
this was a wonderful post
Here’s the late, great Art Porter…
Wrapping it up with an oldie but goodie from H-Town!
Oh I love it!
Umm hmm; **watching you, SG2* LOL
What? LOL! ain’t nothing wrong with looking…
One of these good looking twins was killed in a car wreck. RIP!
Supposedly Liberal MSNBC Pushes The Conservative Media’s Agenda
July 14, 2011
There was a time in America when journalists were considered the public’s watchdogs to keep tabs on errant politicians and businessmen who paid for political favors whether from the local police chief or the Congressional representative for the district. The so-called “Fourth Estate” was the name of print journalism although these days it refers to mass media whether it is newspapers, magazines, or television, and their task was to keep watch over the politicians by reporting every story accurately to maintain a semblance of transparency in government.
For many Americans, the only political news they hear is during the evening network news and the entirety of their understanding of the issues of the day are what they hear during those 5 minute segments. There are some people who still read newspapers, but unless they live in a major metropolitan market, the only exposure to politics is what the local paper chooses to put on page one or on the editorial page with readers’ letters. The smaller the market, the more apt the newspaper is to hardly cover politics except when elections are scheduled, otherwise, the day-to-day political wrangling that affects every person in America is omitted for lack of interest or editorial manipulation. The major television networks are no better than a small town editor-in-chief with an interest in promoting a political agenda for financial gain, and there is no network as guilty of being a political party’s mouthpiece as Fox News.
However, since the election of Barack Obama, all of the major networks have belied the conservative claim that there is a “liberal media bias” and have ignored reporting on any of the Republican malfeasance going on in Washington on a daily basis. Most political watchers know that Fox News is the de facto media arm of teabaggers and the Republican Party and they were not surprised at the revelations that Fox News’ Rupert Murdoch has been implicated in the U.K. News Corp scandal that has threatened to finally bring some righteous retribution to Murdoch and Fox News. In an article outlining the Murdoch media empire’s monopoly in evangelical Christian publishing, Frank Schaeffer proffered the notion that Americans should boycott all of Fox’s media whether it is sports, news, or prime time family programming.
Fox News is arguably the worst news outlet regardless of their slogan that they are “fair and balanced,” but they are by no means the only organization that deserves rage and scorn from every American for concealing conservative machinations to transform America into a corporatist Christian nation. More specifically, all of the major networks are guilty of anti-Obama, anti-Democrat, anti-liberal bias because they only report on stories where Republicans or teabaggers rail on the president and the left for any number of imagined sleights, and are remiss to report on the president’s accomplishments that benefit the entire country. For liberals, MSNBC has become the go-to alternative to Fox News and the other “fair and balanced” networks, NBC, CBS, and ABC; but there are reasons to hold MSNBC in the same contempt reserved for Fox News.
Before the 2010 midterm elections, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz went on a rant and implored Democrats to “sit out” the election to protest the failure to extend unemployment benefits to people who have been out of work for a certain period of time. Mr. Schultz has performed some fine work reporting on the Wisconsin union-busting legislation by Republican governor Scott Walker and he is to be commended. However, it is worth mentioning that if Schultz’s viewers had showed up at the polls, it is possible that Walker and Republicans may have never been elected. Strike one against MSNBC.
Every day on MSNBC, Mike Huckabee’s television commercial begging viewers to sign a petition to tell Congress to repeal the Affordable Health Act airs between liberal leaning programs and it begs the question; is there a mixed message? In isolation, it does not appear there is a mixed message until the entirety of MSNBC’s programming is taken into account. Why would a network whose slogan is “lean forward” air a commercial meant to repeal the health law when repealing the “forward leaning” health law is a giant step backward? The parent companies of MSNBC are GE and Comcast and these very large corporations stand to win if any of Obama and Democratic legislation or candidates ends up losing or being repealed. Strike two against GE/Comcast’s MSNBC
Time for some music…
Here’s Floetry singing Butterflies…
loving Floetry, creolechild.
I forgot to state that the group singing this song is Bloodstone. A very popular group back in the day!
Last entry…here’s Rachelle Ferrell singing Waiting.
Sorry, I know it’s depressing news! DON’T put down the beach towel, just check the list to see if it’s okay to swim at the beach(es) in your state. Okay?
Put Down Your Beach Towel: 10 States Where You Should Think Twice Before Jumping in the Water
If you’re planning to hit the beach this summer, here’s the scoop on which beaches have the worst water quality issues. It’s that time of year again — folks are donning swimsuits, grabbing beach chairs, and heading or the water to cool down. It’s also the time of year when the Natural Resources Defense Council releases its annual report, “Testing the Waters,” detailing the cleanliness of the water we’re diving into.
In 2010, NRDC found that the number of beach closings and advisories reached 24,091 — the second highest in the 21 years the organization has been compiling its report. Mostly the report focuses on tracking bacteria in the water, which accounted for nearly 75 percent of closings and advisories in the last year. The culprit? “Across the country, aging and poorly designed sewage treatment systems and contaminated stormwater are often to blame for beachwater pollution,” the report states.
That’s bad news for swimmers and those who make a living from the beach crowd. Contaminated waters from sewage overflows and leaks can cause a variety of health problems, from stomach flus and skin rashes to meningitis, hepatitis and respiratory infections. The report states that in L.A. and Orange counties fecal contamination caused between 627,800 and 1,479,200 gastrointestinal illnesses in a year. And it’s likely many, many more cases went unreported. Each year around 3.5 million people get sick because of sewage overflows and 10 trillion gallons of untreated stormwater are released into our waterways. [YUCK!]
China’s most populous province has asked for permission to ease the one-child policy after more than 30 years, an official said Tuesday, as concerns grow over gender imbalances and an ageing population. Guangdong in southern China wants Beijing to allow couples where just one parent is an only child to have a second baby, according to a local government official who declined to be named.
China’s one-child policy was introduced in 1979 to curb population growth in the nation of more than 1.3 billion people, but has become increasingly unpopular as the country’s population ages.
Critics blame the policy for creating gender imbalances — sex-specific abortions are common and female infanticide and the abandoning of baby girls have also been reported.
The policy also puts huge pressure on only children to support their parents and two sets of grandparents. Policy violations usually result in hefty fines and a cut back in social services, although some ethnic minorities and farmers whose first child is a girl are excluded from the restriction. In some areas couples where both parents are only children are also allowed to have a second baby.
As Media Matters first noted, Fox News’ media criticism program, Fox News Watch, avoided any mention of the scandal over the British tabloid News of the World and its publisher News Corp., which also owns Fox News. And in a video posted on FoxNews.com, panelists appeared to admit during a commercial break that they were intentionally avoiding the topic.
FoxNews.com posts “Behind the breaks” videos featuring panelists’ discussions during Fox News Watch’s commercial breaks. In one, Fox News contributor Cal Thomas asks, “Anybody want to bring up the subject we’re not talking about today” and adds, “I’m not going to touch it.”
In a report for CNN’s The Situation Room last night, reporter Brian Todd “confirmed” that “they were talking about” the hacking scandal. On the topic of Fox News, Todd also reported that overall, the channel has addressed the scandal but “not as much as other news networks.”
Wisconsin held a special election on Tuesday, the first round of voting in the recall elections spurred by this spring’s union battle in the state. But some voters in Wisconsin received an automated “robocall” from Wisconsin Right to Life on Monday—the day before the election—informing them that they would be receiving an absentee ballot application for the upcoming recall elections in the “next few days” and urging them to use that form to vote by mail.
A source working on the special election provided Mother Jones with a recording of the voicemail, which the source believes was designed to confuse voters and keep them from the polls on Tuesday. Here’s the transcript of the message:
Lawrence Norden, the deputy director of the democracy program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, stopped short of deeming the robocall an attempt at voter suppression. But it’s clear the call’s script had the potential to confuse and mislead voters, Norden said. “To me it reads confusing enough that it could lead people to believe that they didn’t have to vote on Tuesday and that they could be getting something in the mail to vote absentee,” he argued. “It’s troubling that a confusing message like this would go out the day before an election.”
Lyons, the executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, insisted in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it was “absurd” to claim that the calls were intended to deter voters from going to the polls. “As best as we know,” Lyons added, the calls targeted her group’s supporters. (If so, Wisconsin Right to Life’s phone-banking list is far from perfect—the source who provided the recording to Mother Jones does not support the group.) On Wednesday, Lyons also penned a blog post about the robocall, calling the allegations of voter suppression “false and vicious.”
Like to shop at WalMart because you can get good deals? If so, read this four-page article and then, PLEASE, reconsider whether its worth it to give WalMart your business…
Martori Farms: Abusive Conditions at a Key Wal-Mart Supplier
The prison has sent women to work on the farms regardless of their medical conditions.
Fifty-five years after Rush was killed in solitary confinement, Marcia Powell, a mentally ill 48-year-old woman incarcerated at the Perryville Unit in Arizona, died. The Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) has more than 600 of these outdoor cages where prisoners are placed to confine or restrict their movement or to hold them while awaiting medical appointments, work, education, or treatment programs. On May 20, 2009, the temperature was 107 degrees. Powell was placed in an unshaded cage in the prison yard. Although prison policy states that “water shall be continuously available” to caged prisoners and that they should be in the cage for “no more than two consecutive hours,” guards continually denied her water and kept her in the cage for four hours. Powell collapsed of heat stroke, was sent to West Valley Hospital where ADC Director Charles Ryan took her off life support hours later.
The ensuing media attention over Powell’s death caused the ADC to temporarily suspend using these cages. Once the media attention faded, the ADC lifted the suspension.
Abuses at Perryville have continued. The ADC has sent its prisoners to work for private agricultural businesses for almost 20 years. The farm pays its imprisoned laborers two dollars per hour, not including the travel time to and from the farm. Women on the Perryville Unit are assigned to Martori Farms, an Arizona farm corporation that supplies fresh fruits and vegetables to vendors across the United States (Martori is the exclusive supplier to Wal-Mart’s 2,470 Supercenter and Neighborhood Market stores).
Women have also alerted outside advocates and activists about these inhumane conditions, again at great risk to themselves. If not for their courage in speaking out, the outside world would remain unaware of the exploitation and abuse on the farm.
While the women both endure and challenge these abuses, those outside prison gates remain largely unaware of their struggles. Those involved in social justice organizing need to recognize that prisons and prison injustices are exacerbations of the same social issues in the outside world and recognize that these struggles intersect. Safe from the retaliation of prison authorities, outside organizers and activists can and should raise their voices and take action to help the women inside challenge and ultimately stop these abuses.
The following pop quiz is brought to you in part by the American Petroleum Institute:
Which sounds better? A) The Obama administration should be doing more to develop U.S. oil-and-gas reserves. Or, B) The Obama administration should be doing more to deplete U.S. oil-and-gas reserves.
If you answered “A” give yourself a pat on the back. But you’ll also want to brace for impact, because you fell right into a trap built by the API and its Republican friends like House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) who endorsed development with patriotic gusto on Monday, July 4. Of course we should do more to develop our resources. Sounds great! How can any sane person take issue with that?
It’s a trick question. Let me explain: What does it mean to develop non-renewable resources? Extract, mine, dig up, disperse, burn. When we develop muscles or skills, we have more at the end of the process than when we started. When we develop non-renewable resources, we have . . . less. Pretty sneaky, right? Now you can see that the better way to describe the extraction of America’s non-renewable resources would be “B.” Deplete. Deplete America first! Deplete here, deplete now!
Nobody ever says that. But why not? It’s precisely what we are doing by increasing rates of drilling and mining.
The haters couldn’t sabotage PBO’s money & now they’re freaked. When are folks gonna learn not to fk w/ PBO? What did Nancy Pelosi say? Nobody can out-debate him or out-statistic him!
…And there you have it. Keep your eyes on the prize!
President Barack Hussein Obama is one mighty POWERFUL man.
Oh, that’s right; he’s the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
BWA HA HA HA
Evidently, for some individuals hate never grows old…(sigh).
When professor-cum-conservative martyr Michael Filozof, an adjunct professor of political science at the State University of New York at Brockport, sees a need for a “militant conservative movement,” you have to wonder what he thinks we’ve been seeing for the past few decades, ever since Christian fundamentalism inserted itself into Republican politics. Filozof makes the outrageous claim that “Leftists have a nearly religious, cult-like devotion to their cause that conservatives don’t.”
Since the 60s political conservatism (and the Republican Party) has increasingly identified itself with the social causes of fundamentalist Christianity, which is not “nearly religious” but zealously über-religious. We’ve gotten to the point where it’s not even accurate any more to speak of Republican politics – political theology would be a far more accurate term. What else can you call it when they’ve resurrected the idea of the “divine right” of kings?
The GOP doesn’t even have a political platform anymore outside the Bible – albeit a Bible most of them haven’t read or don’t understand. Demands to legislate the Ten Commandments have become as common-place as claims that the Constitution is based on the Ten Commandments and that the Founding Fathers intended to establish a Christian theocracy on these shores (no explanation offered for why they didn’t express such intent or carry it out in the first place).
A new analysis of poll data about the Affordable Care Act from 2009 to 2010 finds that public support for health reform may be higher and more consistent than previously thought. The study, published today in the newest issue of Health Affairs, shows that while support often depended on the wording of the question, on average, 57 percent of the public favored the public option, while overall support for the individual mandate averaged at 53 percent.
The study also found that despite the GOP’s best efforts to portray reform as a government takeover, the public showed consistent support for government programs. “When polling questions included phrases that described the public option as insurance, similar to Medicare, or available as an option or choice for consumers, support was higher—often considerably higher.” Even the “idea that the federal government should directly sponsor insurance—a major expansion of the government’s role—received strong support,” the researchers concluded:
A Global Game of Chicken
by John Cole
The markets and the raters and world sources are being quite clear what would happen should we refuse to raise the debt limit and default:
Moody’s Investors Service warned late on Wednesday that the U.S. could lose its top credit rating in coming weeks if a standoff between the White House and congressional Republicans over raising the statutory borrowing limit is not resolved.
Earlier on Thursday China, the United States’ biggest foreign creditor, urged the U.S. government to adopt responsible policies to protect investor interests after the Moody’s warning.
Another ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, also privately told U.S. lawmakers and business groups that it might still cut the U.S. government’s rating if the government fails to make any of its expected payments—on debt or other obligations—a congressional aide said on Thursday.
China, who owns a lot of our debt, is not being subtle:
The authorities in Beijing added their voice of concern Thursday, though in more muted terms.
“We hope that the U.S. government adopts responsible policies and measures to guarantee the interests of investors,” Hong Lei, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in response to questions about the Moody’s report.
The comments echoed those made by officials in Beijing in April, when Standard & Poor’s lowered its outlook on the United States from stable to negative because of the country’s high budget deficit and rising government indebtedness.
China holds more than $1 trillion in United States Treasury securities, making it highly sensitive to any developments that could lower the value of those holdings.
Yet still, the wingnut intelligentsia think they can defy reality through the power of ideology, and are doing so by attacking the ratings agencies:
The ratings agencies — all-knowing, all-seeing, omniscient — have weighed in on the U.S. federal debt “crisis,” talking about downgrading U.S. paper in anticipation of a Beltway failure to cut a deal to raise the debt ceiling, thus engendering a “default.”
Oh, please. Can anyone believe that the global capital market cannot distinguish between a Greek-type situation, in which the government literally cannot service its debts, and the U.S. condition, in which a political dispute might delay some interest payments for a few days? The question answers itself. More generally, has there ever — ever– been a case in which Moody’s or Standard & Poor made an announcement in light of information not already known by everyone? The ratings agencies, always closing the doors on empty barns, are virtually worthless, and would be unlikely to survive an elementary market test were it not for some legal requirements that their ratings constrain certain investment decisions.
Moreover, even the underlying premise is incorrect: In the event that the debt ceiling is not increased, federal revenues will be far more than merely sufficient to service the existing debt, roll over maturing debt, etc. Revenues will be sufficient to pay Granny, our servicemen, and other such untouchables. The ethanol producers and myriad other interests might have to extract their snouts from the federal trough for a few days; but so what?
Look, I can not stand the ratings agencies and think they got away with widespread fraud in the financial meltdown. I would love it if we reformed the process. But I realize that this is what I want to change, and not how things work now. This really is not hard to understand. People who run up debt and then either can not or will not pay it back are not credit worthy individuals. Every single person on the street understands this. If you have a bad credit rating, it is harder or impossible to get credit, and should you get credit, you will payer higher interest on your debt. That’s how it works. That is the system we have. So even if you hate the ratings agencies and think they are wrong about everything, if we default and fail to make debt payments or pay any of our obligations, our rating will be downgraded. They ratings agencies and the world won’t buy into the wingnut belief of American Exceptionalism in all things. They aren’t going to say “Oh, well, this is different.” How do I know that? Because if you read above, THEY ARE TELLING US AHEAD OF TIME WHAT WILL HAPPEN. We will then start a death spiral of higher interest rates and higher debt repayment rates and so on. And that is on top of the cataclysmic effects this will have on the markets and the overall global economy.
And no one will be safe. No one. Every single investment will be at risk- pensions, mutual funds, 401k, you name it. Again, this is just not hard to understand.
July 14, 2011 3:45 PM
‘We’re running out of time’
By Steve Benen
It’s safe to say the Secretary of the Treasury is feeling some anxiety.
During a visit to Capitol Hill on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner implored Congress to raise the debt ceiling and to send a “definitive signal” to the world that America will avoid default, warning that “we’re running out of time.”
“We’ve looked at all available options and we have no way to give Congress more time to solve this problem. We’re running out of time,” Geithner said at a news conference after meeting with Senate Democrats.
“The eyes of the country are on us. The eyes of the world are on us, and we need to make sure we stand together and send a definitive signal that we’re going to take the steps necessary to avoid default and also take advantage of this opportunity to make some progress in dealing with our long-term fiscal problems,” he added. “We don’t have much time; it’s time we move.”
Putting aside, at least for now, whether Tim Geithner is my favorite Treasury Secretary of all time or not, I’ve been thinking a bit lately about what it must be like to be in his shoes right now.
When he was sworn in two-and-a-half years ago, I imagine he had a lengthy list of overwhelming crises that demanded his immediate attention. As some of those pressures subsided, Geithner probably began evaluating how to deal with the next series of possible crises.
The list probably included concerns over Europe, the U.S. housing market, abrupt changes in China, the effects of instability in the Middle East, etc.
It almost certainly never occurred to Tim Geithner that the single greatest threat to the global economy in 2011 is the criminal stupidity of congressional Republicans and their desire to prevent the United States government from paying its bills.
July 14, 2011 5:00 PM
Bolling pulls a Giuliani
Last year, Rudy Giuliani, hoping to take some sort of cheap shot at President Obama, told a national television audience, “We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.”
Last night, Fox News’ Eric Bolling pulled a Giuliani.
Bolling, perhaps best known for his on-air racism, hosted a roundtable discussion on the Republican cable news network. When the subject turned to presidential “fear-mongering,” loyal Bushie Dana Perino said it was “ridiculous” to even bring up her former boss’ bogus claims about weapons of mass destruction and mushroom clouds.
Bolling had her back. (via Oliver Willis)
“Whether they did or didn’t, America was certainly safe between 2000 and 2008. I don’t remember any terrorist attacks on American soil during that period of time.”
No one on the panel interjected. The host then changed the subject.
For quite a while, many Americans connected the attacks of Sept. 11 to the phrase “Never Forget.” On Fox News, just two months before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, this has apparently been replaced with “Easily Forget.”
I mean, really. A paid media professional, hosting a nationally televised program on a top-rated news network, can’t remember any domestic terrorism from the entire Bush era? It’s one thing for, say, the anthrax attacks to skip one’s mind, but Eric Bolling has no memory of 9/11?
I realize he’s a shameless partisan activist. I also realize Bolling will say literally anything to try to make Republicans look better, even when they’ve failed spectacularly. But this gem has to belong in the Hack Hall of Fame.
Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s representative for the 5th Congressional District, has caught more flack (here and here) than most congressmen, and not for anything he has done, but rather for what he is. Rep. Ellison is guilty of the egregious error of being a Muslim in 21st century America. Unsurprisingly he is being challenged in Minnesota by Tea Party Nation Muslim-hunter-criminal defense attorney-cum-crazy mall-lady Lynne Torgerson, who called him a “radical Muslim fundamentalist.”….
Torgerson previously challenged Ellison and with unhappy results, getting only 3 percent to Ellison’s 69 percent, her he’s “not an appropriate person to have in Congress” platform not selling. On her 2010 campaign website she demonstrated her own catastrophic lack of qualifications for Congress
She seems to think that because attacking Ellison as a Muslim last time didn’t work, that attacking him as a Muslim this time will (I very much doubt she’s learned any more about Islam since 2010 – she looks like she’s more concerned with making bad hair-style choices). She ran as an Independent last time (2010) though she declined to incorporate the IP ‘s “platform of equality and inclusion” because she doesn’t ” support those ideas” but had Tea Party Nation backing and little good it did.
Torgerson feels emboldened by Bachmann’s ignorant rhetoric.
July 14, 2011
The virtue of collapse
Now this, from Dana Milbank, is puzzling:
[T]he truth is, if [Michele Bachmann] succeeds in blocking a debt-limit increase, the resulting economic collapse will improve her 2012 prospects — just as she hoped.
In a momentary lapse I assumed Milbank only meant, in that bookend conclusion, that her nomination prospects would improve. As the GOP crazies up more and more by the minute, such a conclusion could be reasonably argued. Yet, although my reading comprehension may deplorably flag from time to time, I soon recalled that Milbank’s opening line suggested an altogether larger conclusion:
When Michele Bachmann was asked during a television interview last week whether she thought higher unemployment would increase her chances of winning the presidency, she gave an unexpectedly candid reply: “I hope so” [my emphasis].
So yes, Milbank did intend to opine that yet another and even more spectacular financial apocalypse would benefit Bachmann — all the way. And that mystifies. Not even Mitch McConnell believes that a materialized debt crisis would produce for his party any political effect but an extraordinarily devastating one.
And therein lies the lone and extraordinarily magnificent promise of a realized crisis.
Some readers, I suspect, believe that my musings on this site are appallingly political by virtue of an excessively pragmatic singularity; that is, that certain desired outcomes expressed here — such as a ravaging, horrifying, waste-laying debt crisis, which nonetheless would come with the practical upside of more politically sophisticated gains — coldly neglect in the process the very real harm done to very real human lives. Yet in that cold, political pragmatism so commonly disparaged by idealistic progressives there inheres the highest of principle: Vacant a sudden and overwhelming annihilation of contemporary pseudoconservatism, its seething abominations will lay permanent waste to traditional American life and values.
In short, the inhuman malignancy of pseudoconservatism, a la Bachmann & Friends, will continue metasticizing until it is powerfully excised. Ignited by the evidently necessary pain of a materialized default crisis, such an excision we can perform about now, or we can decline this serendipitous gift and once again wait to remedially counterstrike. When it may be too late.
While some see only profane political pragmatism in this articulated position — that is, an almost unthinkably huge cost for mere political benefit — it is, in reality, an “eat our peas” pursuit of the highest political ideals.
BREAKING: FBI investigating News Corp http://thkpr.gs/nECgBr
oh shit! saw this coming, though
Hey, SG2~ I had a feeling that this was coming. There was simply too much dirt to sweep under the rug AND by bribing foreign officials Murdoch’s organization violated U.S. law. This is going to be dinner AND a show…
“This is going to be dinner AND a show…”
Indeed, because Murdoch has already fucked pretty much the entire world when it comes to his news/tabloid chicanery.
Good luck with that, Ron Paul! “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…” (Or better yet, just retire and stay out of the political arena!) WHATEVER, son! DO YOU…and lose again.
Just days after announcing his retirement from Congress to focus on his 2012 presidential bid, Paul is going up in Iowa and New Hampshire with his first TV ad.
And he’s taking direct aim at the men running his party in Congress. The minute-long ad focuses on the debt ceiling fight, which is cast in the ad’s movie preview theme as an epic struggle between the forces of good and evil (or “compromise” as the ad says) lasting for decades. With a grainy shot of House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on screen, Paul’s campaign makes it clear which side he thinks the current crop of Republican leaders comes down on.
“We know where they stand,” the narrator says as images of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filling the screen.
“But will our party’s leaders repeat the mistakes of the past?” the narrator asks. “Will they choose compromise? Or conviction?”
The Great Fear
In Brooklyn, two parents allowed their eight year old son to walk home, and their worst nightmare came true:
Every day, parents put their faith in those rules and send their children, with a silent prayer, off into the world, trying to push away the knowledge that something bad could happen, as if thinking it would make it come true.
On Wednesday, it did come true for one Brooklyn family, as the body of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky was found dismembered two days after he disappeared on a short walk between his day camp and where he was supposed to meet his parents. The boy, who had implored his parents for permission to walk home from school alone, had gotten lost and ran into a stranger who, the police said, kidnapped and killed him.
For parents across New York City, the tragedy set off a wave of fear, self-doubt and sometimes fatalism, not seen perhaps for 32 years, since Etan Patz, who was 6, vanished after begging to be allowed to walk alone to the bus stop, just two blocks from his home in SoHo. The rules of parenting suddenly seemed flimsy, and the world became a scarier place, despite the relatively low crime rate.
I think the boy’s parents will spend much of their lives questioning themselves. I am so sorry about that, mostly because I don’t think they did a single thing wrong. I was walking home by age seven, and on mass transit by age nine. I suspect a lot of you have similar stories. Moreover, there is no 100 percent protection for children. This is, by far, the hardest reality for a parent to reckon with.
Having a child is like watching your arm split off from you, grow its own brain and then do whatever it feels like. On some level, it’s still yours, but you can’t control it, you can’t save it, and you can only, within reason, really protect it.
My heart goes out to the Kletzky family. Truly, I am so very sorry for their loss.
Again with this? Essence magazine hires white guy for their manager editor.
While Republicans are maintaining a hardline stance of no tax increases in the debt ceiling negotiations, a new Gallup poll found that 76% of Republicans along with a majority of all Americans believed that some tax increases may be necessary to reduce the deficit.
According to the new Gallup poll while spending cuts are the preferred choice among Republicans for lowering deficit, only 26% Republicans believe that deficit reduction can be achieved with only cuts in spending. Forty one percent believe that deficit reduction can be achieved with mostly spending cuts, and 24% favor an equal mix of spending cuts and tax increases. This means that almost two thirds of Republicans (65%) understood that some increase in revenue is necessary if the deficit is going to be lowered.
Among Independents, 58% supported a mix of program cuts and tax increases, and surprisingly 23% of Democrats believed that deficit reduction should be done with mostly spending cuts, and another 42% believed that it should be an equal mix of spending cuts and tax increases. Democrats were the group that was most supportive of using mostly tax increases to pay off the debt (12%), followed by Independents (7%), and Republicans (2%).
This poll illustrates how out of step Congressional Republicans are not only with the country at large, but also with their own party members. Republicans prefer that the process of deficit reduction be weighted heavily towards the spending cuts side, but they accept the possibility that some increase in taxes will be required if the US is going to pay down the deficit. Even Democrats tilt more towards using spending cuts (33%) than using tax increases (20%).
GOP= “POLLS, WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ POLLS.”
Remember, Mithc McConnell want to rewrite the Constitution, because elections are working for him and his buddies!
Metia~ That’s just half the story! Read what this bozo had to say about the Constitution:
At an Iowa campaign stop, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) offered a truly bizarre explanation for an even more bizarre proposal — Congress should simply forbid the Supreme Court to hear cases he doesn’t want them to hear because there is no Supreme Court in the Constitution:
GINGRICH: In the American system, if you read the Constitution correctly — this is why I wrote “A Nation Like No Other” — if you read the Federalist Papers correctly, the fact is the Congress can pass a law and can limit the Court’s jurisdiction. It’s written directly in the Constitution. The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton promises, I think it’s Number 78, that the judiciary branch is the weakest of the three branches. There is no Supreme Court in the American Constitution. There’s the court which is the Supreme of the judicial branch, but it’s not supreme over the legislative and executive branch. We now have this entire national elite that wants us to believe that any five lawyers are a Constitutional convention. That is profoundly un-American and profoundly wrong.
First of all, Gingrich should take a moment to actually read the Constitution before he pretends to know what is in it. Article III of the Constitution begins “The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court,” so his claim that there is no Supreme Court in the Constitution is just plain wrong.
Read more at http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/07/12/266219/gingrich-supreme-court/
Stephen Colbert is clowning on Michele Bachmann…hilarious!
Stephen Colbert took on Michele Bachmann on Comedy Central yesterday for her signing of the FAMILY LEADER pledge. As Colbert points out, the “African Americans were better off as slaves” preamble has been taken out, but Bachmann (and Rick Santorum) signed the pledge while the wording was in place, thus signifying that they agreed with it:
“Michele Bachmann stands up against slavery in all forms whether it’s the slavery of health care, the slavery of the national debt, or the slavery of the loins.” Bachamnn says the gay life style is “personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement.” Colbert quipped: “Yes, personal enslavement, or personal domination depending upon what role you’re playing that night.” He suggests that, “The important thing is to have a safe word; perhaps ‘Bachmann.’”
To Bachmann, Colbert says, “everything is slavery. Don’t walk signs, that’s ambulatory slavery; Fat-free cheese? That’s flavor slavery! Or flavery!”
Colbert asks, “With all the pledges out there how can candidates keep track of everything they’re supposed to be honoring?” His solution is the “Stephen Colbert pledge shock color” using the same sound recognition technology “used to train dogs to stop barking.” You strap it on the candidate and if the candidate forgets the pledges he or she gets zapped.
uly 14, 2011 1:10 PM
Cantor ‘is basically standing in the way’
By Steve Benen
With the Speaker of the House relegated to a backbencher role in the ongoing debt talks, Democrats are forced to deal with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). And while John Boehner seemed relatively willing to work constructively towards a good-faith resolution, Democrats are discovering that his replacement is less willing, less knowledgeable, less cooperative, and frankly less intelligent.
With this in mind, Democratic leaders are making it clear that if there’s a villain in this fiasco, it’s the Post Turtle from Virginia.
Greg Sargent flagged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) remarks on the floor this morning.
…House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has shown he shouldn’t be at the table, and Republicans agree he shouldn’t be at the table. One Republican told Politico last night, ‘He lost a lot of credibility when he walked away from the table. It was childish.’
“We had negotiations going here in a room a short jog from here, and he walked out on the meeting. … It was childish. Another Republican said Cantor is putting himself first. He said: ‘He is all about Eric.’
“The time for personal gain and political posturing are over. It’s time to put our economy and our country first. The risks we face are simply too great. We don’t need to take my word for it. More than 300 respected business leaders wrote to Congress night before last to make it clear how serious this crisis really is.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the #3 Democrat in the chamber, also pushed back against Cantor.
“He is basically standing in the way,” Schumer said. “It can’t just be Eric Cantor deciding everything. If Eric Cantor decides everything, I fear we’ll be in default.”
Cantor argues that he’s simply representing the reality of the House — that his overwhelmingly conservative caucus won’t vote in sufficient numbers to pass anything resembling a deal Democrats would take. Schumer said that’s nonsense. “He’s not just representing it, he’s making it,” Schumer said.
Asked after the briefing whether a deal would be easier to reach if Cantor stepped aside, Schumer said simply “yes.”
As a practical matter, that’s not going to happen. But the point is Cantor has become someone Democrats don’t feel like they can trust to negotiate reasonably and in good faith. And in this process, Democrats control the White House, the Senate, and a chunk of House votes any deal will need to pass.
I find it hard to imagine Cantor responding to this by bringing a fresh attitude to this afternoon’s talks, but at least he should now realize the pressure is on his shoulders, now that’s he replaced Boehner as the party leader.
July 14, 2011 12:35 PM
Public rejects GOP on debt, blames economy on Bush
By Steve Benen
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned his party yesterday that Republicans would get the blame if the debt ceiling isn’t raised and the economy takes a hit. On this, he’s right.
Voters would blame congressional Republicans more than the Obama administration if the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling is not raised, according to a new poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University.
Forty-eight percent of those polled said Republicans would be mainly responsible if the debt ceiling is not raised, compared to 34 percent who said the Obama administration.
Indeed, going through the Quinnipiac poll, there’s not much in the way of good news for Republicans. Of particular significance, 67% of the public wants a debt-reduction agreement that includes tax hikes for the wealthy and corporations, not just spending cuts. Just 25% agree with the position demanded by the congressional GOP.
What’s more, the public is even on board with Democratic frames — a plurality see President Obama’s proposals raise revenues as “closing loopholes,” not “tax hikes.”
Also of interest, by a two-to-one margin, Americans blame George W. Bush for the state of the economy, not President Obama. This is consistent with three other recent national polls, all of which show the American mainstream not inclined to blame the president for the weak economy.
And while no one in Washington is popular, Obama fares far better than members of Congress: the president has a 47% approval rating, congressional Democrats are at 28%, and congressional Republicans’ approval rating stands at 26%.
Looking through the results, the public is still in a dour, pessimistic mood, but on the central political arguments of the day, the numbers also suggest Americans aren’t buying what Republicans are selling.
July 14, 2011 2:00 PM
Bernanke warns policymakers: don’t cut too much
By Steve Benen
The Federal Reserve has hinted this week that it’s concerned about the state of the economy, and may yet consider additional intervention efforts. But Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reminded lawmakers today that it’d sure be helpful if they didn’t make things worse by taking a lot of money out of the economy.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress on Thursday that overzealous cuts to government spending could derail an already fragile recovery and said a U.S. debt default could wreak financial havoc.
“I only ask … as Congress looks at the timing and composition of its changes to the budget, that it does take into account that in the very near term the recovery is still rather fragile, and that sharp and excessive cuts in the very short term would be potentially damaging to that recovery,” Bernanke told members of the Senate Banking Committee.
My expectations are probably a little too low, but I’m always a little relieved to hear Bernanke talk this way.
Economic growth is awfully weak and the unemployment rate has inched higher, not lower, in recent months. It’s against this backdrop that the only topic policymakers are willing to discuss is major spending cuts, which necessarily takes money out of the economy when we need the opposite.
I assume Republicans will ignore this. After all, Bernanke pleaded with them months ago not to screw around with the debt ceiling, and they did the exact opposite.
But I think Washington needs the occasional reminder about the basics of supply and demand. A fragile recovery can break if Congress and the White House agree to lay off public-sector workers and weaken demand when it needs to be strengthened.
At his press conference the other day, President Obama shot down the notion that he’s pushing for increased revenue right away. “Nobody is looking to raise taxes right now,” he said. “We’re talking about potentially 2013 and the out-years.”
What’s less clear to me is when the proposed spending cuts would take effect. Here’s hoping everyone, on both ends of Pennsylvania Ave, remember Bernanke’s warning that “sharp and excessive cuts in the very short term would be potentially damaging to that recovery.”
Postscript: On the debt ceiling and the potential default, Bernanke also told the Senate Banking Committee, “It would be a calamitous outcome. It would create a very severe financial shock that would have effects not only on the U.S. economy but the global economy.”
Ask Cantor what he has to PERSONALLY GAIN from being an asshole. They’re giving this asshat too much credit. Enough already!
Just when you think that today’s GOP couldn’t possibly sink any lower into the abyss of bat-sh#t crazy and avaricious soullessness, a new candidate for the president of Kookistan emerges from the muck and disquiets all.
When the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Law was passed, it was adulated as America taking care of the gallant warriors who rushed into the burning buildings at Ground Zero and, consequently, got sick after working tirelessly at Ground Zero. But that just doesn’t sit well with Florida Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns. Clearly, something that aims to help public workers poises a pernicious threat to all humankind. Meet Cliff Sterns.
Obscure Florida Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns tacked on a provision to the 9/11 compensation law that mandates all the tens of thousands of heroic firefighters (the ones Republicans love to use in over-produced campaign ads during elections when they could win or lose the House) be compared to the database of suspected terrorists. Worse yet, any of the responders who are not compared to the database of suspected terrorists would be barred from getting treatment for the numerous, worsening ailments that the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Law was passed to address.
The Obama Justice Department needs to do more to stop states from implementing voter ID bills which disenfranchise minority voters, a coalition of House Democrats and civil rights leaders said Wednesday. Gathered by the steps of the Capitol, the members of Congress and civil rights advocates slammed what they called a coordinated plan by Republicans to prevent students, minorities and the elderly from exercising their right to vote. They dismissed a frequent argument made by supporters of voter ID laws — that since photo identification is required for plenty of everyday activities, it should be required at the polls as well.
“You wanna know something? Getting a video from Blockbuster is not a constitutional right. Getting liquor from the liquor store is not a constitutional right,” said Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI).
States coming up with these voter ID laws at the same time “was not spontaneous generation,” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) said. “It was Rovian. This was an obvious Republican attempt to subvert our vote in 2012 and to hurt the President of the United States’ chance of reelection, which is the entire goal of the Republican House — to defeat Barack Obama even if they take down the United States economy while they do it.”
Sixteen states already have laws requiring or requesting voters present a photo voter ID in order to vote and at least 38 states are considering or have recently considered such measures, according to the Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights. Indeed, evidence emerged on Wednesday that the conservative state legislative group ALEC had circulated draft legislation for conservative state lawmakers to propose to impose restrictive photo voter ID requirements.
OOPS! Sorry about that. It was my intention to cut the material that appears after the link.
Eric Cantor Discusses The Debt Limit & Cutting Trillions On Bloomberg’s “Inside Track”
Here’s one politician’s take on the Kabuki theater involving the GOP’s stance on the budget and deficit. LOL! Too funny! Thank you, Paddy and The Political Carnival!
“I don’t know what [House Speaker John] Boehner [R-Ohio] has going on in his caucus,” she said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It looks like a hot, sloppy mess.”
Senator Claire McCaskill
This is a prime example of sheer, unadulterated, and breathtaking IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY!
Last month, when coal execs read the report linking birth defects to mountaintop removal mining, they weren’t exactly thrilled. One rebuttal, penned by four attorneys with the firm Crowell & Moring, which represents the National Mining Association, accused the study’s authors of using cherry-picked and misleading data. But that apparently wasn’t convincing enough, so they went a step further and employed a discredited stereotype about inbreeding in West Virginia.
“The study failed to account for consanquinity [sic], one of the most prominent sources of birth defects,” the attorneys’ statement said. It then went on to advertise the firm’s services to coal companies looking to “counter unfounded claims of injury or disease” from potential lawsuits sparked by the study.
The statement, which had been on the firm’s website for more than a week, was quickly removed yesterday after Charleston Gazette blogger Ken Ward Jr. pointed out its insinuation that inbreeding hicks, not mountaintop mining, were to blame for spikes in the rate of birth defects, which it also said didn’t exist in the first place. Wrap your head around that one. (Thanks to Ward, you can still read the statement here.)
Oh, and then’s there’s THIS…
The Google+Facebook and Google+Tweet browser extensions that let you add your Facebook and Twitter streams to Google+ are a great idea. Unfortunately, they’re not ready for prime time.
The extensions’ maker, Israeli software developer Crossrider, built the Facebook extension in a matter of hours as a demonstration of its cross-browser development tools, Crossrider CEO Koby Menachemi told TPM. The extensions contain several bugs and limitations (I found several in a brief glimpse at them) but there’s also a larger, and more serious security vulnerability.
Maybe you don’t care, BUT just so you know:
Netflix Inc hiked monthly prices for customers who use both its mail and online services, a move that could steer users toward its growing Internet streaming service. The company said it was raising by 60 percent the monthly price of a plan that lets subscribers watch unlimited movies and video online and get DVDs by mail.
Customers in the United States who want both services will pay $7.99 per month to rent one DVD at a time plus $7.99 for unlimited streaming, or a total of $15.98 per month, the company said on Tuesday. The previous cost of this plan was $9.99 a month.
The changes take effect immediately for new subscribers, and in September for current customers.
I car. I currently use netflix. Thanks for the reminder.
thanks for this
Pffttt…this woman is truly a horse’s azz.! (No offense to horses intended.) Will do and say anything to get her face on camera! Clueless AND incapable of feeling shame…a toxic combination, imo.
It’s baaack. On Hannity last night, Sarah Palin blew the dust off a phrase that caused her more
than a bit of bother back in January. Chatting about the looming deadline for a debt ceiling solution — and her rejection of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to end the crisis — Palin pulled an old standby out of her bag of tricks.
“We cannot default but we cannot afford to retreat right now either,” Palin said. “Now is not the time to retreat, it’s the time to reload.”
Despite Palin’s strenuous objections, that phrase became synonymous with the overheated political rhetoric many said was a precursor to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) in January. (Of course, Giffords was shot by an allegedly deranged madman, but the incident opened up a debate about violence-themed political speech.)
Bye Sno Ho!
When will this dumb b*h get it? No one gives a rats ass about Palin’s advice. Hell, she doesn’t even read.
The New York State Legislature’s passage of the Power NY Act was a bright moment in a session marred by budget cuts and layoffs. The new law allows the Green Jobs-Green NY program to advance toward goals of generating 1 million energy efficiency retrofits on homes and businesses and creating over 14,000 full-time permanent jobs.
Consider this: Sealing and insulating a home saves 20 to 50 percent on energy. But many owners can’t afford this work. That’s where Green Jobs-Green NY and the Power NY Act come in.
If you’re a homeowner and a utility customer in good standing, the state will pay upfront for retrofits. Using “on-bill recovery” — the financing mechanism created by the Power NY Act — you’ll repay the state over time via your utility bill.
The repayment is less than the monthly energy savings, so it doesn’t increase expenses. The fact that utility customers rarely default on their bills — even if they pay late — allows the state to attract billions from investors. The potential environmental impact is also impressive: The program could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of removing about 1 million cars from the road.
To date, New York, like other states, has focused on saving the most energy at the lowest cost without regard to community impact. Not so Green Jobs-Green NY with on-bill recovery. Among other unique elements, the program provides funding for community groups to recruit and educate homeowners. It’s a real effort to channel the benefits of efficiency toward hard-hit families.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, who has been accused by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley of grabbing her neck in a chokehold during an argument over the court’s decision to uphold Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation, is rejecting calls from pro-Bradley activists that he take a leave of absence while the matter is being investigated.
The ABC affiliate in La Crosse reported:
Spokesperson for Prosser Brian Schimming said Prosser would not take leave, and said other work place settings and standards were “not comparable” to the work setting of the state supreme court. Schimming said Prosser, Walsh-Bradley and other justices have been working together without any issues since the June incident.
On Tuesday, liberal groups held a rally at the state Capitol, calling for Prosser to take a leave, with speakers comparing such an action to standard procedures in cases of alleged workplace violence.
Unnamed sources supportive of Prosser have accused Bradley of initiating the violence, saying that she charged at Prosser with her fists raised, and then Prosser made contact with her neck when trying to block her.
The matter is currently under investigation by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the state Judicial Commission.
That we are still commenting on a Supreme Court justices *alleged* violent behaviors does NOT bode well for Wisconsonites or our judicial system. SMGDH
U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton has declared a mistrial in the case of baseball legend Roger Clemens. Rusty Hardin, attorney for Clemens, had objected to the prosecution showing video at Clemens’ perjury trial which Walton had specifically said was inadmissible unless it was brought up on rebuttal.
Walton said the prosecution should have modified the video that showed Rep. Elijah Cummings (D- Maryland) during a 2008 congressional hearing talking about a deposition from the wife of former New York Yankees player Andy Pettitte. Prosecutors want testimony from former teammates to add to the credibility of a key prosecution witness.
Clemens is facing charges of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of Congress about his alleged use of steroids and human growth hormone. The former all-star pitcher testified under oath before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2008 that he never used illegal performance-enhan cing substances during his career.
Why It’s Going Down Like This
Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 10:28:15 AM EST
There are twelve senators and, more importantly, thirty-six House Republicans who have pledged not to vote to raise the debt ceiling unless a Balanced Budget Amendment has been passed through Congress. There are probably another thirty House Republicans who feel similarly but who haven’t signed the pledge. Passing an amendment to the Constitution through Congress requires two-thirds of both Houses, which is simply not going to happen, so these members have effectively decided that they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling. It’s true that some of them might be persuaded to break their pledge, but only for something much more generous than the Democrats are willing to offer.
A vote to raise the debt ceiling only requires a simple majority, which is 218 votes in the House. The Republicans have 240 seats and the Democrats currently have 193, I believe. So, let’s do some simple math. We’ll stick with the 36 number even though we know it’s higher. Two hundred and forty minus thirty-six is two hundred and four. That means Speaker Boehner, at a minimum, would have to get 14 Democrats to vote for any bill to raise the debt ceiling. For each additional Republican who won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling, you can add a Democrat. I’ve seen numbers ranging from 60 to 120 (the latter being a full half of the Republican caucus).
I’m inclined to believe a lower number, but even at 60, that forces Boehner to craft some agreement that can win the support of at least thirty-eight Democrats. That’s a substantially bigger number than the entire Blue Dog Caucus. And any bill that could attract several dozen Democrats would not have the kind of cuts to entitlements that might make some Republicans willing to break their pledge. Moreover, it would alienate fence-sitters who would be practically guaranteeing a major Tea Party primary challenge.
Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce have both made it very clear to the Republicans that they do not want to see the U.S. lose its credit rating and they’ve convinced McConnell and Boehner to back down. But that doesn’t mean they can craft anything that can pass. Their best bet is something along the lines of what Mitch McConnell proposed, which is to give the president his money but make him exercise a veto in order to get it. At least in this scenario, no Republicans will have to vote in a straightforward fashion to raise the debt ceiling. But this political jujitsu isn’t a very attractive option. For Tea Party Republicans, it’s a transparent capitulation that may invoke some political pain on the president but also takes away all their leverage to force historic cuts in government spending. For Democrats, it’s simply annoying and bad policy.
“The McConnell plan does nothing about the debt! How can that be?” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who unveiled a plan Monday that would cut $4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) criticized McConnell’s plan, saying on Bill Press’s radio show that it “punts the ball down the road.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stopped short of endorsing the proposal, but said it has “merit.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a member of the Budget panel, said there were “pros and cons” to the proposal.
Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), a member of the Budget Committee, said he is uncomfortable about heaping all the responsibility — and expected political blame — on Obama.
“To say it’s only the president’s problem is irresponsible,” Begich said. “Did the people who have been here for 10 years suddenly get amnesia? They helped drive up the deficit. This is everybody’s problem, the president’s and Congress’s.”
The thing to remember here is that the House can’t pass anything. The president can work out some deal with Boehner and Cantor that cuts two trillion dollars, raises the Medicare eligibility age, cuts the COLA adjustments to Social Security, and whatever else, but without the Balanced Budget Amendment, the House won’t pass it. And there really isn’t any sweet spot where the president can win over some conservatives without the Democrats balking.
Now, the president may be sincere in wanting to actually tackle the budget right now when there seems to be the political will to do something tough that otherwise might not be palatable to his own party. That’s what he’s saying. That’s how he’s negotiating. But he also knows that Boehner and Cantor can’t sell any acceptable deal to their caucus. In addition to the Balanced Budget Amendment issue, there’s also the issue of raising some revenue from either tax hikes or the elimination of tax breaks. The House Republicans won’t go for that either. So, what’s really going on is an effort to assign blame. The blame can be for one of two things. It can be blame for defaulting on our debts, ruining our credit score, and causing an economic catastrophe. Or the blame can be for raising the debt limit without addressing our deficits. The way the president has positioned himself, he does not stand to take any blame for either outcome. Oh sure, the other side will try to blame him. And, as the president, he’s still going to own the economy to a great extent. But people will be pretty united in blaming the Republicans for their intransigence and irresponsibility in the face of a good-faith and fair offer.
For this to work, the president must be seen to be acting in good faith, which means he must convince most people that what he’s put on the table is for real. But everything he’s put on the table has been conditioned on the Republicans dropping the Balanced Budget nonsense and agreeing to more tax revenues. The president knows that the Republicans cannot agree to those terms.
This is why McConnell and Boehner caved. They want to pass the gun they’ve been holding to the head of the economy back to the president because they realize that their party is too irresponsible to be trusted with it. Right now, the Republican leadership is wishing they had never gone along with this hostage-taking plan.
McConnell on Wednesday said the Republican brand would be destroyed by a default, claiming it would clinch a second term for President Obama.
“Not on my watch,” McConnell said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show.
It’s now up to Cantor to explain to the Tea Party Republicans in the House that they’ve lost this round and that default is not an option. What he needs to explain to them is that for every one of them that votes against a bill, Boehner has to sweeten the deal enough to attract a Democrat. The more intransigent they are, the worse the capitulation. McConnell is trying to give them all a face-saving device. And, as stupid, cynical, and irresponsible as that device is, it’s the best deal available to the Republicans.
Reid: Cantor acted ‘childish’ and shouldn’t be at the negotiation table
By Josiah Ryan – 07/14/11 10:17 AM ET
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) acted “childish” in the debt talks.
He is the the latest Democratic leader to accuse Cantor of impeding progress on negotiations to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
“House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has shown he shouldn’t be at the table, and Republicans agree he shouldn’t be at the table,” Reid said from the Senate floor.
“We had negotiations going here in a room, S-219, a short jog from here, and he has walked out on the meetings with the vice president of the United States,” said the majority leader, recounting Cantor’s recent exit from the talks hosted by Vice President Biden. “It was childish.”
Reid’s remarks followed a clash that occurred between Cantor and President Obama at the White House on Wednesday night that culminated in the president walking out of the room. Obama and Democrats have become increasingly irked with Cantor as he has advocated for the more conservative demands of the House Republican Conference and drawn a hard line against tax increases in any deal to raise the $14.3 trillion deficit ceiling.
In focusing his ire at Cantor, Reid is following the lead of his No. 3 in the Senate, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who on Wednesday said Cantor was the only congressional leader who has failed to make meaningful concessions or bring a plan to the table in the ongoing debt-ceiling negotiations.
“There is one person who hasn’t come up with a plan, hasn’t compromised, hasn’t reached out to the other side in an effort to move forward, and that is the majority leader in the House, Mr. Cantor,” Schumer said from the Senate floor. “He is the only one who still says, ‘My way or the highway.’ ”
Quinnipiac poll finds more voters would blame GOP on debt
By Alicia M. Cohn – 07/14/11 08:57 AM ET
Voters would blame congressional Republicans more than the Obama administration if the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling is not raised, according to a new poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University.
Forty-eight percent of those polled said Republicans would be mainly responsible if the debt ceiling is not raised, compared to 34 percent who said the Obama administration.
Twenty percent of Republicans would hold their party mainly responsible, and 49 percent of the independent voters both parties are trying to attract would put more responsibility on the GOP. Thirty-three percent of independents would put more responsibility on the administration.
Judge declares mistrial in Roger Clemens case.
Murdochs Summoned Before Parliament, Refuse To Testify
Rupert and James Murdoch have declined a request to appear before the British Parliament next Tuesday to testify over the News Of The World phone hacking scandal.
Rupert Murdoch told the Department of Media, Culture and Sport Committee on Thursday that he will not appear at the hearing, though he is “fully prepared” to provide evidence in the public inquiry that Prime Minister David Cameron announced Wednesday. James Murdoch said he could appear on a different day, August 10th at the earliest.
Rebekah Brooks, Chief Executive for News International, the branch of News Corp. in charge of Murdoch’s print holdings in the U.K., will appear, saying she “welcomed the opportunity” to testify.
The hearing Tuesday relates to numerous allegations that News Corp’s News Of The World tabloid, along with a few of its other newspapers, hacked into the phones of murder and terrorism victims, as well as various public figures. On Thursday, Neil Wallis, a former executive editor of The News of the Word, was the ninth person arrested in connection with the scandal.
Though the BBC notes that the Murdochs can’t be forced to testify because they are U.S. citizens, the MPs on the committee are not giving up quite that easily. In a statement, they said: “The committee has made clear its view that all three should appear to account for the behaviour of News International and for previous statements made to the committee in Parliament, now acknowledged to be false.”
Burn Baby, Burn!
LOL Get it, woman!
Debt Ceiling Shenanigans: Lawrence O’Donnell Breaks it Down (and Criticizes “Progressives”)
Ol’Blue Eyes Strikes Again
Lawrence O’Donnell has been on fire as of late. Here’s his latest on the debt ceiling shenannies. Notably, he had the following to say:
Consider the lead editorial today in Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal. Normally a champion of the most ludicrous Republican policies and strategies… they have finally caught on to what they say today: “the President’s strategy all along: take the debt limit talks behind closed doors, make major spending cuts seem possible in the early days, but then hammer republicans publicly as the deadline nears for refusing to raise taxes on business and the rich.”
If the Republicans had a plan that they thought would work when they took the debt ceiling hostage, it could only have been the misguided expectation that when the moment came for the presidential decision in these discussion, Barack Obama would simply cave to the hostage takers’ demands. Ironically, others who shared that view as the possible outcome, here on the left side of our politics, have positions in the blogosphere and megaphones in which they have trumpeted their distrust of Barack Obama’s strength of character and his command of presidential power. As of tonight, the one person who we know is not panicking about what to do next is Barack Obama. Eric Cantor, however, has just described the meeting tonight at the White House this way to reporters. He, the president got very agitated, said that he had sat there long enough, that Ronald Reagan wouldn’t sit here like this, and that he’s reached the point that something’s got to give. a Democratic aide tells NBC, Cantor’s account of tonight’s meeting is completely overblown.
O’Donnell went on to discuss the symbolic “shared sacrifice” vote which Senator Reid brought to the floor, and which the Republicans (and a couple Blue Dogs) soundly rejected:
The Senate on Wednesday blocked a resolution that would have called for “shared sacrifice” from the wealthy in resolving the ongoing debt-limit impasse.
The symbolic measure, introduced last month by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), failed to secure the 60 votes necessary to end debate. Fifty-one members, all members of the Senate Democratic caucus, voted in favor of proceeding on the measure, while 49 senators – including 47 Republicans and two Democrats, Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) – voted “no.”
So, Republicans in the Senate are on the record as favoring tax breaks for the rich; the House refuses to close tax loopholes as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling ::coughNorquist:: and is decidedly freaking the fuck out—all due to the ol’ Obama/Reid one-two punch.
Bachmmentum Is Real? Michele Up 13 On Mitt In New Poll
Evan McMorris-Santoro | July 13, 2011, 3:50PM
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) the strong frontrunner in the first contest of the Republican 2012 presidential nomination race? Believe it, baby.
A new poll of likely caucus goers in Iowa by the Republican-leaning Magellan Strategies shows Bachmann with 29% of the vote. Next place finisher Mitt Romney has 16%. The Magellan field did not include Jon Huntsman, who is skipping Iowa, or the (so far) non-running Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani or Rick Perry.
Other polling has shown the race closer, too. The Des Moines Register poll showed Bachmann running an extremely close second to Romney last month. A recent American Research Group poll that showed Bachmann with only a slight lead over Romney in a field that did include those other names.
The Magellan numbers come on the heels of a survey by George W. Bush’s old pollster that found Bachmann well ahead of Romney it what the poll called “the most attentive voters.” That poll showed Bachmann ahead 32-18 among that group.
Bachmann’s winning big with men (she’s up 18% over Romney in the Magellan crosstabs), women (9%), seniors (10%), social conservatives (22%), fiscal conservatives (17%) and tea partiers (33%). Three percent in the Magellan survey said “other” and 24% said undecided. More women are undecided (30%) than support Bachmann (24%) and it’s the same story with seniors (27% undecided, 26% support Bachmann.)
So there’s room for the proverbial new candidate (*cough* Perry *cough*) to get in. But Bachmmentum seems to be the real deal for now.
Poll: Chaffetz Leads Hatch In Potential Senate Primary Challenge
A new survey of Utah from Public Policy Polling (D) shows longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch vulnerable for the Republican nomination, trailing his potential opponent Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
The numbers: Chaffetz 47%, Hatch 43%. The survey of Republican primary voters was conducted from July 8-10, and has a ±4.9% margin of error.
Chaffetz, who was first elected to Congress in 2008 by defeating an incumbent in the GOP primary, has been considering a challenge against Hatch. The poll gives Chaffetz a favorable rating of 61%, to 17% unfavorable. Hatch’s approval rating is actually a very similar 60%, to a disapproval of 28%.
However, the poll also asked: “Generally speaking, would you like the Republican nominee for Senate next year to be Orrin Hatch or someone more conservative than him?” The result was Hatch 45%, someone more conservative 44%.
In 2010, Hatch’s then co-Senator Bob Bennett lost his renomination at the state GOP convention — failing to even make it to a primary — when he was unable to gain the support of at least 40% of convention delegates.
Given the rules used for party nominations in Utah, any of four outcomes are possible: Hatch could win outright at the convention; or Chaffetz could win at the convention; or a primary could be forced if nobody gets over 60% delegate support, sending them to a primary where either could win.
July 14, 2011 8:00 AM
Going backwards with 19 days to go
By Steve Benen
As scheduled, participants in the debt-reduction talks met for about two hours yesterday. It’s safe to say the discussions didn’t go well.
Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, said he raised the idea of taking what savings could be achieved now — roughly $1.4 trillion — and then having additional votes to raise the debt limit again before the elections in November 2012, with Republicans ultimately seeking a total of at least $2.4 trillion in cuts with no tax increases.
At this, Mr. Cantor said, the president “got very agitated, seemingly.” Mr. Cantor quoted the president as saying: “Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people with this.”
Then, Mr. Cantor said, “He shoved back and said, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow’ and walked out.”
“I was a little taken aback,” Mr. Cantor added.
Democrats said that Mr. Obama’s departure was not abrupt, but that he had forcefully made a case that Republicans had been unwilling to compromise. “Enough’s enough,” one Democrat familiar with the talks quoted Mr. Obama as saying.
It’s not surprising that accounts from participants vary, but piecing together the various accounts, it appears President Obama was wrapping up the meeting for the afternoon. Cantor interrupted him three times to push for a temporary increase — an idea Cantor himself had previously rejected — in which Republicans would get significant cuts in exchange for nothing.
Obama reportedly found this hard to take. “I have reached the point where I say enough,” Obama said, according to Reuters. “Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here? I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.”
Ordinarily, powerful officials involved in these kinds of high-level talks stick to vague generalities when talking to reporters afterwards. In contrast, Cantor rushed to reporters yesterday to whine that President Obama had hurt his feelings — a pathetic display that reminded many of Newt Gingrich’s back-of-the-plane tantrum in 1995.
Cantor isn’t just being a pain is the ass in the room; he’s also undermining the process itself by pouting for the cameras.
And remember, if Cantor isn’t satisfied, he’ll lead the way in crashing the economy on purpose.
Sam Stein’s report added, “It was the fifth straight day of talks, but the first in which attendees, speaking on background, were willing to admit that steps were taken backwards.”
Indeed, theatrics aside, the substantive gaps between the parties appear to be turning into chasms. They disagree on cuts, the baseline used to determine the size of the cuts, the timeframe for the cuts, the need for revenue, the role of defense spending in the cuts, and mechanisms to enforce the savings. Is any progress being made on any of these fronts? By all accounts, no.
The other day I compared today’s Republican Party to a not-terribly-bright organized-crime family, run entirely by petulant children. In retrospect, that was probably insulting to children.
The president has set a Friday deadline to determine, once and for all, whether an agreement is possible. If not, attention will turn to contingency plans, most notably Mitch McConnell’s proposal.
July 14, 2011 8:30 AM
The credit-rating warnings begin
By Steve Benen
A leading economist explained the other day that “financial markets in the U.S. are giving [default] a 0% probability of happening,” basically because investors believe “there’s no way” Congress “could possibly be this stupid.”
Say hello to non-zero probability — and the realization that Republicans might just be this stupid after all.
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 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.
This caused a considerable stir late yesterday afternoon, and for good reason. The Republicans’ hostage strategy is starting to shift from scary to terrifying.
But there’s no reason this warning should have surprised anyone. A month ago, Moody’s Investors Service made clear the nation’s AAA credit rating is at risk of being downgraded by mid-July — well before the August 2 deadline — if it looks like failure is even a possibility.
Well, guess what, folks. It’s July 14, and the negotiations are going backwards. Moody’s wasn’t kidding.
In a sane political environment, this would prompt Republicans to reconsider their radical tactics. In our political environment, this will lead Republicans to proclaim, “You better hurry up with that ransom.”
What’s more, among others in the financial industry, who’ve long assumed that this posturing would be resolved long before there were real-world consequences, anxiety levels are rising.
In several recent reports, analysts at some the nation’s largest banks are resorting to truly hyperbolic terms in an effort to warn lawmakers and investors alike about the fallout of the debt limit being breached.
“Asking what the U.S. economy might look like after a possible U.S. Treasury default is akin to asking ‘what will you do after you commit suicide,’ ” wrote Steven Wieting, Managing Director in the Economic and Market Analysis team of Citigroup, in a July 11, 2011 report.
Wieting added that in his industry, “No one thinks any of this is funny…. You are talking about a catastrophic financial event.”
Rick Perry Hype Yet To Show Up In IA, NH Polling
Rick Perry’s generated plenty of buzz nationally for his ongoing flirtation with a presidential bid, but his polling in the early states has yet to match the national hype.
Polling on Perry is still only beginning to trickle in from Iowa and New Hampshire, but the handful of surveys out there show him peaking in single digits.
An American Research Group poll in Iowa this week has him at just 2%, and the crosstabs don’t look any better among likely caucus-goers and self-identifying Tea Partiers. That puts him well behind top tier candidates like Michele Bachmann (25%) and Mitt Romney (20%), potential candidate Sarah Palin (10%), and others, and about even with Tim Pawlenty (2%), Jon Huntsman (2%), and the undeclared Rudy Giuliani (2%).
“There aren’t people clamoring for Rick Perry in Iowa at the moment,” ARG president Dick Bennett told TPM. According to Bennett, unreleased polling in New Hampshire has so far generated similar results.
“Low single digits at best,” he said. “I can tell you there’s no groundswell for him there, either.”
Two recent polls of New Hampshire already show Perry making a limited impact. Democratic pollster PPP puts him at 7% while a University of New Hampshire poll has him at 4%, behind Giuliani and ahead of Huntsman and Pawlenty.
Of course, the fact Perry — without even running — is pulling even with some of the struggling candidates who have sunk millions into the race merits at least some credit.
The most encouraging poll so far may be from The Iowa Republican, which gave Perry a pedestrian 7% in Iowa last month but found some silver lining in their data.
“80 percent of the most engaged caucus goers know who Rick Perry is,” editor Craig Robinson wrote. “That number falls to 48 percent with those who are not currently paying much attention to the race. It also turns out that those paying the most attention like Perry a lot: 51% of the plugged in crowd have a positive impression compared to 21% among those who are not following the race closely.”
Real Professional Kabuki Theater
Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 11:15:14 PM EST
You can read Russell Berman and Sam Youngman’s version over at The Hill or Sam Stein’s more comprehensive and substantive piece at the Huffington Post. Basically, the talks at the White House this afternoon over raising the debt limit did not go well. I am not going to recount everything here. I hope you read at least Stein’s piece so you’ll know what I’m talking about.
One thing that’s becoming clear is that McConnell and Boehner have basically given up. They have no fight left in them. But the Tea Partiers in the House insist that the fight go on, so Eric Cantor has been deputized to run the negotiations. And the problem is that Eric Cantor isn’t offering anything.
You have to picture this. You have McConnell and Kyl and Reid and Durbin and Pelosi and Hoyer and Boehner, and you have the president, the vice-president, and a bunch of wonky aides. They’re all sitting around trying to hash out a deal. And every half-hour or so Cantor interrupts the president to ask him to stop working on all this stuff and just cave in and give him everything he wants. The president gets more and more annoyed until he finally decides he’s had enough of Cantor’s crap. I don’t know what the hell Boehner is doing while all this is happening. He’s like a lamp post, but less useful.
In any case, there’s some dispute about exactly what happened, but it’s clear that the president told Cantor off, ended the meeting, and left. The most important thing is that he told Cantor that he would not yield on revenues. He basically told Cantor that he either gets the House to raise taxes or he figure something else out, because there is no deal without revenues.
Now, this whole thing is a bit of theater. The president may be willing to swing a grand bargain, but not on any terms that Cantor is offering. That makes it a lot easier for the president to put his own sacred cows on the table. He knows they won’t be accepted. More to the point, Cantor needs something he can take back to the House that proves he can’t get a better deal. He can say he fought longer and harder than Boehner and McConnell, but their choice remains to either violate their pledge to Grover Norquist and raise taxes or default on the debt. And, if those are their choices, then doing some face-saving cop-out like McConnell has proposed becomes a whole lot more attractive. Maybe the House Republicans don’t believe or trust their hard-drinking Speaker. Maybe they need to hear the truth from someone they do trust.
What better way to set that up than to have this story come out about how Cantor was really confrontational and annoyed the president to the point that he received a dressing down? I’m not suggesting it didn’t happen or that it was somehow staged. It’s more like everyone instinctively knows how to play their part. The president is going through the motions on the negotiations. Cantor knows he has to press the president for some unreasonable capitulation. After a while, it’s time to end the Kabuki and have a little blow-up so everyone can go home with what they need.
Cantor to the Woodshed
David Rogers over at Politico, who has been doing this–extremely well–for about as long as I have, has word that the President of the United States monstered down on Representative Eric Cantor in Wednesday’s deficit ceiling squabble. This is so refreshing on so many levels. Cantor has been using this crisis to undermine his leader John Boehner, by playing the Tea Party/Grover Norquist recalcitrance card. The boy badly needed someone to get up in his face and Barack Obama, of all people, apparently did, telling Cantor, in no uncertain terms, that he’d veto any short term deficit ceiling fix or, indeed, any plan that did not include revenue increases. Then Obama walked out, or the meeting ended, depending on whom you talk to.
So what we have now is the Republican party in, yes, disarray–a word used to describe Democrats almost exclusively, back in the day before the crazies took over the GOP store. You have Cantor and the House Teasies opposing any revenue increases, including a tax loophole closing plan that Ronald Reagan and Edmund Burke would have smiled upon. You have Boehner, struck dumb apparently, after his attempt at bipartisan statesmanship with the President was greeted by tossed shoes and catcalls from the Teasies. You have Mitch McConnell, well, I’m speechless about Mitch McConnell…
Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2011/07/13/cantor-to-the-woodshed/#ixzz1S5KnlAl8
July 13, 2011
I’m baffled. Perhaps it’s a step, a tiny step, but it’s only a step:
Commenting separately on McConnell’s plan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid described it as a step in the right direction.
Once again the GOP would win the politics of a self-created crisis while a Democratic president and congressional Democrats are left with the burden of unwelcome policy.
“I bet there won’t be a single Republican vote to raise the debt ceiling at the end of the day,” [McConnell] told conservative commentator Laura Ingraham in a radio interview Wednesday morning.
Well, that’s their choice. But it’s a choice that requires playing out — an indisputable, uncontestable, on-the-record confirmation of the GOP’s wholesale indifference to the American and global economies.
Which leaves the above, generally favorable Democratic assessment as … baffling.
July 13, 2011
A few ugly truths
The Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson:
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…. [F]or 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.
Meyerson penned that analysis in answer to his own challenge that “we have to seek explanations for their radicalism that go beyond those of economic philosophy.” And as tough, I imagine, that Meyerson believed he was being, he fell far short of some uglier truths.
Today’s far right on Capitol Hill are but crypto-skinheads in Brooks Brothers suits.
They are the authoritarian personalities of Adorno’s darkest dreams and bleakest research. They are — and this is not meant as hyperbolic or sensationalistic — soft fascists of violent, Old South sentimentalities who detest even the notion of any American community but their own. Just as their antebellum species was, they are profoundly ignorant, intentionally isolated, recklessly bombastic and creepily unAmerican. At worst, their concept of freedom is their absolute freedom, and your enslavement; at best, it’s whatever you suffer with a properly stiff upper lip, and their utter indifference to it.
I should say their racism is a conspicuous given, although doubtless they would have chivalrously attempted the total destruction of a President Hillary Clinton as well. It’s no demographic accident that the GOP’s hardest hardcore base is white, male, aging, and prodigiously stupid. These are the irremedial crackers who giddily unfurl Rebel flags on their junkheaps and happily subsidize the grotesquely lucrative NRA and believe the U.S. Postal Service is V.I. Lenin’s most diabolic revenge — a revenge that inexpensively sends the Social Security checks every month to their fat greedy fingers and updates them on the latest that Medicare paid on their grease-induced bypass surgery.
They are aggressively patriotic, but, as Adorno uncovered, theirs is an eccentric brand of patriotism, in that it’s steeped in the anarchic. They relish chaos, insomuch as chaos tends to a manly survival of the fittest, guns blazing and all that. They are crude cartoons of their parodied selves.
Yes, Mr. Meyerson, they are indeed experiencing a “fury that the country is no longer only theirs.” But it’s a fury that requires a more vigorous evaluation than the Washington Post will ever permit you.
Posted at 04:29 PM ET, 07/13/2011
Why doesn’t Washington hear the unemployed?
By Ezra Klein
With 15 million people unemployed, and more than 20 million underemployed, you’ve got a fairly large constituency for action on the jobs crisis. But it’s not a constituency that has any evident power in Washington. Over the past few days, a number of writers have put forward a variety of interesting theories as to why, but I think they may be missing the most obvious explanation. But we’ll get to that in a minute. Catherine Rampell kicked off the discussion in this column, where she noted that the unemployed don’t vote in high numbers:
In 2010, some 46 percent of working Americans who were eligible to vote did so, compared with 35 percent of the unemployed, according to Michael McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University. There was a similar turnout gap in the 2008 election
David Leonhardt says it’s because persistent unemployment means that though many people are unemployed, fewer people have had a recent brush with unemployment than was true in previous recessions:
In 1982, the unemployment rate averaged between 9 and 10 percent — and fully 22 percent of the labor force experienced unemployment at some point during the year. In 2009 (the most recent year of data), the unemployment rate also averaged between 9 and 10 percent, but only (or maybe “only”) 16.4 percent of the labor force experienced unemployment at some point during the year … the share of the labor force that experienced unemployment in 2009 was lower than in the early 1960s, when the unemployment rate was generally below 7 percent.
Matthew Cameron says it’s because the unemployed are concentrated in populous states that are underrepresented in the U.S. Congress:
In 2010, there were 17 states with working age populations that exceeded the per-state average. Among these states, which accounted for 70 percent of the U.S. working age population, the average unemployment rate was 9.9 percent. The other 33 states with below average working age populations, however, had an average unemployment rate of 8.2 percent. The situation is even starker when looking at the extremes. The average unemployment rate among the 10 most populous states was a whopping 10.3 percent in 2010. Among the 10 least populous states, however, average unemployment was only 7 percent.
I’m sure all of these theories are at least partially right. But they’re missing the big one that has the best evidence behind it: The unemployed don’t have very much money. And it’s money that gets the political system interested in your agenda:
Gilens has been collecting the results of nearly 2,000 survey questions reaching back to the 1980s, looking for evidence that when opinions change, so too does policy. And he found it — but only for the rich. “Most policy changes with majority support didn’t become law,” Hacker and Pierson write. The exception was “when they were supported by those at the top. When the opinions of the poor diverged from those of the well-off, the opinions of the poor ceased to have any apparent influence: If 90 percent of poor Americans supported a policy change, it was no more likely to happen than if 10 percent did. By contrast, when more of the well-off supported a change, it was substantially more likely to happen.”
If 15 million college-educated professionals were unemployed right now, the political system would care.
Tucker Carlson Carries Water for Rupert Murdoch, Claims Outrage Politically Motivated by Liberal Media
After being asked if Rupert Murdoch’s scandal in the U.K. might affect his operation here in the United States, Tucker Carlson, who is a frequent guest on Fox News, of course carries water for his Uncle Rupert on this morning’s edition of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.
CARLSON: Well Fox News is a huge and vital part, as far as I can tell from the publicly available data on this question of News Corporation. Fox is a profit center. Fox is very successful and in my view for good reason. Um… Fox is fine. As far as I know Fox has not been implicated in this and I don’t expect it will be.
Maybe someone should ask Carlson if he’s read any of these posts by Media Matters.
Three Things You Should Know About NOTW’s Hollywood Operation
9-11 Families: Investigate Murdoch In U.S.
Shareholder Lawsuit: Phone-Hacking Scandal Damaged News Corp.’s Image
Tucker went on to claim that a lot of the outrage strikes him as being politically motivated and said that if people are upset with what News of the World did when they were spying on people, they should be equally upset about the government doing it and that they’re hypocrites if they’re not. I don’t remember ever hearing Tucker Carlson complain about the Patriot Act before this. And I would imagine that most of the people who are complaining about what Murdoch did don’t like the Patriot Act too terribly much either and have voiced their opposition to it.
Finally Carlson was asked about the claims that Fox is ignoring the story and instead of answering the question, he immediately went on to attack the rest of the media that is covering it as being liberal and just having it out for Rupert Murdoch and Fox.
SCULLY: CNN and MSNBC, two of your former employers…
SCULLY: …have been running stories saying that Fox is ignoring this story.
CARLSON: Of course they are. They’re Fox’s competitors. Of course. They love it. The New York Times is going wall to wall. I mean this is like a new 9-11 for the New York Times. I was reading the Times a minute ago… I read the New York Times everyday. I think it’s a great newspaper. It’s a very left wing paper however and they’re not good at hiding their agenda sometimes. Sometimes they are. But they’ve got a lot of good stuff on there in their pages, but they are just going hard on this story and gleefully so.
They don’t like Rupert Murdoch. They don’t like his politics. They hate Fox. They hate Fox’s politics. Their editor, the guy who was the editor up until a couple of weeks ago has said so in public. So yeah, of course they’re reveling in it, as is their right by the way. And you know, I understand that. When your enemy is in trouble, pounce.
Tucker’s bow tie is cutting off his oxygen to the brain!
Burn Baby, Burn!
News Corp-Funded ‘U.S.’ Chamber Leading Campaign To Weaken Key Anti-Bribery Law
By Josh Dorner on Jul 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm
News Corporation faces a potential U.S. investigation and prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a law that bars companies with U.S. ties from bribing foreign officials to get or retain business, stemming from widely-reported allegations of bribing police. News Corp, like several other major corporations recently targeted under the law, would not only be liable for the costs of any investigation — whether or not it is ever charged — but could also face billions in fines and even jail time for its executives if it were found guilty of violating of the anti-corruption statute.
The Obama administration has stepped up enforcement of the FCPA in recent years, and one FCPA expert, Butler University Professor Mike Koehler, told the Guardian that he would be “very surprised” if U.S. authorities don’t become involved in the growing News Corp scandal.
This stepped up enforcement of the FCPA has not escaped the notice of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has reportedly received millions of dollars in funding from News Corp. The Chamber is now leading a high-profile campaign to weaken the landmark anti-bribery law.
On October 27, 2010, the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform held a summit at which it released a white paper outlining the Chamber’s suggestions for weakening the FCPA. After its 2010 summit, the Chamber began actively lobbying Congress to weaken the FCPA. In March of this year, the Chamber’s ILR hired marquee talent, former Bush administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey, to aid in its push to weaken the law. According to filings with the Senate, the Chamber’s ILR spent $6,030,000 lobbying on the FCPA and numerous other bills during the first quarter of 2011. During the 4th quarter of 2010, the Chamber’s ILR spent an additional $14,490,000 lobbying on the FCPA and other bills.
In addition to its own direct lobbying activities, the Chamber’s ILR engaged several lobbying firms during the first half of this year to help it push Congress to weaken the anti-bribery law, including Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, and Schreck; Hollier & Associates; Akin, Gump, Strauer, Hauer & Feld; and Debevoise & Plimpton (Mukasey’s firm).
The Chamber’s ILR, in its white paper, lamented the fact that the corporations would continue to be held accountable for their criminal activities:
Unfortunately for the business community, an active FCPA enforcement environment appears likely to continue.
Specifically citing the Chamber’s lamentations, the Republican-led House of Representatives is currently drafting a bill to weaken the FCPA. A hearing held last month by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, gave Chamber lobbyist Mukasey a platform to reiterate the Chamber’s ideas for weakening the anti-bribery law.
While any changes to the FCPA may come too late to help News Corp, it’s clear that the Chamber’s campaign to weaken the landmark anti-bribery law is already showing some early signs of success.
STRAIGHT TO THE PEOPLE: The day after telling House Majority Leader Eric Cantor he would take his case on the deficit “to the American people,” President Obama will sit down with three local TV reporters to do just that. In guidance to reporters, the White House said Obama will talk about “the economy and the importance of finding a balanced approach to deficit reduction.”
The interviews will be shown starting at 5 p.m., the White House said — just after the fifth round of negotiations with congressional leaders starts in the Cabinet Room.
BUSINESSJULY 14, 2011.Shutdown Hits Happy Hour
Minnesota Budget Standoff Leaves Some Bars, Liquor Stores Unable to Restock.
By AMY MERRICK, DAVID KESMODEL and JACK NICAS
MINNEAPOLIS—State parks, horse-racing tracks and the state Capitol are all closed because of the government shutdown here. If the budget standoff lingers, the neighborhood watering hole could be next.
More than 300 bars and liquor stores can’t buy beer, wine or liquor to sell to consumers because their $20 alcohol-purchasing licenses, known as buyer’s cards, have expired, a casualty of the July 1 shutdown. For some proprietors, inventories are dwindling and anger is rising.
“This is beyond the realm of anything I ever thought in my wildest dreams,” said Trevor Berg, a liquor-store owner in Walker, Minn. With his annual buyer’s card expiring Sunday, he is borrowing cash from friends to buy as much beer and wine as he can get his hands on now.
Posted at 07:58 AM ET, 07/14/2011
Wonkbook: Why Obama walked out
By Ezra Klein
Last night’s debt-ceiling meeting did not go very well. Unlike in the Biden negotiations, where the talks were kept quiet and so the participants didn’t grandstand, these negotiations have been leaking, so the participants are making speeches and mugging for the reports that they know will come out after, and in some cases, will seed themselves. But even by that baseline, Wednesday’s meeting was particularly bad.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor launched into a stemwinder before the teams had even had time to look at the options papers the staffs had developed. On three separate occasions, Cantor pushed for the sort of short-term increase the administration has explicitly ruled out. Cantor’s final effort to push the new plan came as the meeting was breaking up and the president was giving instruction to staff on how to prepare for the next set of talks. “Eric, don’t call my bluff,” the president said. “I’m going to the American people on this.” Then, as the story goes, he walked out.
The breakup of the meeting, while dramatic, seems a bit less so if you know that Obama also said “I’ll see you all tomorrow” before leaving the room. But, as if confirming Obama’s accusation that this was all “posturing,” Cantor immediately rushed to reporters to inform them of the president’s dramatic exit. Nevertheless, one goal of the talks is now fulfilled. In his initial remarks announcing the White House negotiations, Obama said one goal was that “the parties will at least know where each other’s bottom lines are.” Now they do.
Last night, Obama was clear with Cantor: either Republicans have to give on revenues or they have to give on their demand to match each dollar in debt-ceiling increases with a dollar in spending cuts. But there’s no $2.5 trillion package — which is the size of the debt-ceiling increase needed to get us through the next election — that’s all spending cuts.
The Republican Party, meanwhile, doesn’t have a bottom line so much as it has bottom lines, some of which conflict. No revenue, of course. That demand has come through. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s debt plan has throw the dollar-for-dollar condition into question. “McConnell seems to define the necessary size of the deal closer to zero than $2.5 trillion,” one Democrat with knowledge of the talks told me. You’re increasingly hearing about the possibility of a split Boehner/McConnell deal, in which Boehner gets less than $2 trillion in spending cuts, which is not quite as many as he wanted, and the McConnell process is used to raise the debt ceiling beyond where the spending cuts have gone. That would, in other words, be the GOP giving on its dollar-for-dollar demand, which seems likelier to everyone involved than the party making an agreement on taxes.
Foreclosure fraud investigators forced out at attorney general’s office
A lead foreclosure fraud investigator for the state said she and a colleague were forced to resign from the Florida attorney general’s office, unexpectedly ending their nearly yearlong pursuit to hold law firms and banks accountable.
Former Assistant Attorney General Theresa Edwards and colleague June Clarkson had been investigating the state’s so-called “foreclosure mills,” uncovering evidence of legal malpractice that also implicated banks and loan servicers.
Despite positive performance evaluations, Edwards said the two were told during a meeting with their supervisor in late May to give up their jobs voluntarily or be let go. Edwards said no reason was given for the move.
“It all happened very abruptly,” said Edwards, who had worked in the attorney general’s office for about three years.
The foreclosure investigations were launched under former Attorney General Bill McCollum, but Edwards said she sensed changes were coming under Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.
“I think they wanted to put people in there that were more in line with their thinking,” Edwards said.
Bondi’s press secretary said Tuesday that foreclosure investigations are still open and are being personally led or supervised by Division Director Richard Lawson.
“The division has made these investigations a top priority and will continue to actively pursue all of our investigations into foreclosure law firms,” said Jennifer Krell Davis.
But Edwards said she was given no time to brief anyone on the investigations and that there were notes that had yet to be transcribed and filed.
Davis said she could not comment on personnel issues when asked about the nature of the resignations.
On May 20, Edwards said she and Clarkson were summoned together to a meeting at 3:30 p.m. and told by Robert Julian, then the South Florida bureau chief for the Economic Crimes Section of the attorney general’s office, that they had the opportunity to resign or would be let go immediately. They turned in nearly identical resignation letters that day.
“We had absolutely no idea it was coming,” said Edwards, who in an April 22 performance review she provided to The Palm Beach Post was praised by Julian.
“During this interim period, Ms. Edwards has, along with another attorney, achieved what is believed to be the first settlement in the United States relating to law firm foreclosure mills,” the review says. “Her work has been instrumental in triggering a nationwide review of such practices.”
The Fort Lauderdale-based Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson agreed to pay $2 million in March to settle the attorney general’s investigation.
Clarkson, who is on vacation and could not be reached Tuesday, also received high marks from Julian on a performance evaluation in September, which was obtained through a public records request. She was given “above expectation” or “exceptional” rankings in 14 of 15 categories.
Edwards said Julian has since been placed in another position. A message left at his office Tuesday was not returned.
In sworn statements taken by Edwards and Clarkson as part of their investigation of the Law Offices of David J. Stern, former employees described conditions where signatures were regularly forged on foreclosure documents, paperwork was notarized by non-notaries, and flawed files were hidden from auditors of federal mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
UH UH UH….
Man with racist signs arrested after gunfire
By Wayne Grayson
Published: Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 11:58 p.m.
An east Tuscaloosa man who had posted racially offensive signs and, neighbors say, long terrorized black residents was arrested Wednesday afternoon after allegedly firing a shotgun twice but missing a neighbor.
Billy Ray White, 62, was taken into custody at about 3:30 p.m.
White was charged with attempted murder and was being held on $50,000 bond, according to the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office jail database. He also had a $1,000 bond set for a reckless endangerment charge and a $15,000 bond set for a charge of shooting into an occupied automobile or building.
Eddie Eatmon, who lives next door to White, said he witnessed the altercation. He said it was the second time in three days that White had drawn a gun on someone in the neighborhood.
Read more: http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20110714/NEWS/110…
Good Morning, Everyone! :-)
Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!
Yes, I’d love a cup. I like it black! :) Thank you!
Top of the MORNING to ya, creolechild!
Tea, my lady:
Hey, Metia~ How are you today? And thank you for the tea. Right on time!
Inspiration for today…
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.