Get your praise on with Pastor John P Kee.
Come on, sing it with me. Lord….
Pastor John P Kee (born John Prince Kee on June 4, 1962) is an American gospel singer and pastor.
John P. Kee was born the 15th out of 16 children in Durham, North Carolina. At an early age he began to develop his musical talent both instrumentally and vocally. He attended the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and at 14, he and his brothers Wayne and Al moved to California where he began attending the Yuba College Conservatory School of Music in Marysville, CA. During this time, he began playing with various groups such as Cameo and Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds. After having a hard time adjusting in California, he left and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina only to find himself living in a part of the city known for its violence and drug activities. After watching one of his friends being murdered in a drug deal gone bad, he rededicated his life back to God during a visitation to a revival meeting.
Pelosi: ‘None Of Us’ May Support Debt Limit Deal
Like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has to consult her caucus before fully buying into a still-forming debt limit deal.
But unlike Reid, she’s not keeping completely silent. In a statement to reporters outside her office moments ago, she sounded a strong note of doubt about the prospects for members of her caucus supporting the bill.
“We all may not be able to support it,” she said. “And maybe none of us will be able to support it.”
Liberals in her caucus are set to revolt. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), a leader among House progressives, blasted the deal in an official statement earlier Sunday.
“”This deal trades peoples’ livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it,” he said.
And the details may become even less palatable for Democrats, as Republicans grit their teeth over potential defense spending cuts in the bill.
More on that in a moment. But bottom line: Getting majority support for this legislation in the House will be very, very difficult.
HEEY Southerngirl. ***BIG HUG** :>)
I saw U on Smartypants annnd I couldn’t find a REPLY BUTTON. LOL. I am sooo TECH-CHALLENGED! LOL.
Sooo GOOD 2 C U. :>) Another –***BIG HUG*** :>)
Good to see you too. I found Smartypants through TOD and started posting over there. She’s good! Drop in anytime. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.
CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER TO THE…
First all African American Female Crew of a Commercial Airliner
Congrats, Ladies! Big Up!
Vindicate our President!
Pray pray Pray!
This we ask in his name.
Talking Points Memo:
@samsteinhp: breaking: Dem leaders are all in pelosi’s office, i’m told. and everyone has signed off on deal. waiting on Boehner.
Interesting. Boehner was not going to be able to do shyt without the Dems, now he is talking to the woman with ALL the power.
Pelosi got some demands, bet!
Well, isn’t this interesting…
At Her Founding, America Had Almost 1 Trillion Dollars of Debt
By Ray Medeiros
The tea party and in fact many conservatives love to embrace the Constitution and the flag. Unfortunately they FAILED to embrace U.S history at the same time. Within the next couple of days the United States will become a dead beat nation because of the very small minority of ideological conservative tea party members. These individuals have embraced the constitution, not because they know what is in it, but because it is “politically expedient”.
In the 14th Amendment section 4 it states: Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
The United States of America was FOUNDED on debt. Yes, we had debt in the amount of 75,463,476.52 by January 1, 1791 according to the bureau of public debt. Without debt, the country would have NEVER won independence and thus NEVER become the country we know today. When you adjust for inflation, 75.4 million dollars in 1800 is almost ONE TRILLION in 2010. The United States had an almost ONE TRILLION dollars debt when this country was born. This debt was almost paid off by the mid 1800s, not because of austerity, but because of economic growth. The founders of the United States did not like debt, but obviously understood that debt is a necessary evil. In times of war, we submitted to this evil, like in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.
CNN Still Pretending the ‘Tea Party’ is Not Just the Extreme Right Wing of the Republican Party
While I do not disagree with any of the points that CNN’s Fareed Zakaria made to Anderson Cooper after seeing the turn that this debt ceiling hostage taking has taken with the extreme level of obstruction by these so-called “tea party” freshmen in the House of Representatives and as Zakaria pointed out, their refusal to do any negotiating at all during this debacle. But what both of them failed to point out here is that there is no “tea party.” It’s the extreme right wing of the Republican base.
It’s a drummed up astroturf movement sponsored by corporate America that is not only one of Fox’s making, but CNN’s as well. I don’t believe for one minute that any of these right wing Republicans actually believe that it’s not necessary to raise the debt ceiling. I also don’t believe that any of them are too naive to realize what kind of dangerous game they’re playing with our economy. I don’t believe they’re acting out of ideological purity. I think they’re willing to play bad cop to push the Overton window even further to the right so that the rest of them can jam through right wing policies that would otherwise be completely unacceptable to the electorate in the name of a fake, drummed up emergency.
It’s shock doctrine and the “tea party” is playing their part as the useful idiots. And our media continues to pretend that they’re some grass roots movement that is just beholden to some ideological purity and not just the extreme right of the Republican Party who is helping them to achieve their goal of destroying our social safety nets, which Republicans have hated ever since they’ve been enacted. And they’re doing corporate America’s bidding with helping to turn us into a third world country where we have no middle class left. That’s their goal. They’re not crazy. They’re bought and sold.
CNN helped to create this monster. Now we’ve got Zakaria and Cooper bemoaning how undemocratic they’re behaving with Zakaria saying the president should invoke the 14th Amendment and end this nonsense. I don’t disagree with him there either, but maybe if CNN was not playing cheer leader for these posers we would not be in the mess we are now with these right wing extremists dominating our House of Representatives and with having the power to threaten the United States’ and the rest of the world’s economy with their hostage taking during this kabuki theater.
Restaurants Where You Only Pay What You Can Afford? A Visionary Way to Bring Good Food to the Poor Is Taking Off
[This story first appeared on Shareable.]
If you were to only judge the world by watching the news, you’d think we had collectively lost all of our humanity, our intergrity. Neverending wars, devastating environmental disasters, punishing austerity measures… all of which impact the poorer among us more than the richer. Rare is the voice that speaks for the underprivileged. But, if you listen hard enough, you might just hear a little whisper out there in the distance.
Among those voices, Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich might well be the loudest. Last year, Shaich began an experiment in Clayton, Missouri. He opened a Panera Cares pay-what-you-can café and it has been an unqualified success, so much so that he has since opened two more locations – in Dearborn, Michigan, and Portland, Oregon. The goal, now, is to open one per quarter in diverse communities around the country – the geographical logic being that the folks with more means can help offset those with less.
And that logic has been borne out. Using the slogan, “Take what you need, leave your fair share,” the cafés are doing just fine. Shaich claims that an estimated 60 percent of customers pay suggested retail price, 20 percent pay extra, and another 20 percent pay less or nothing. The net average comes out to approximately 80 percent of suggested retail price and the shops generate revenues well above their costs. Interestingly, there are no cashiers and cash registers to tally humility or generosity, only greeters and donation boxes to preserve dignity and collect offerings. Further still, some of those who can’t contribute monetarily offer their time and effort instead which, in turn, lowers operating costs for the business.
15 Years in Prison For Taping the Cops? How Eavesdropping Laws Are Taking Away Our Best Defense Against Police Brutality – By Rania Khalek
Over Memorial Day weekend this past May, residents of Miami Beach witnessed a horrific display of police brutality as 12 cops sprayed Raymond Herisse’s car with 100 bullets, killing him. The shooting provoked outrage in the surrounding community, not only because of the murder, but because of what the police did afterward. Officers on the scene confiscated and smashed witnesses’ cell phones; later, when they were confronted by the media, the police denied trying to destroy videos of the incident. But 35-year-old Narces Benoit removed his HTC EVO’s SIM card and hid it in his mouth. He later sold the video to CNN, placing the police in the awkward position of explaining why they lied about allegations of cell phone destruction. More importantly, the video showed at least two officers pointing guns at Benoit, demanding that he stop filming.
Police brutality takes many forms around the country on a regular basis, particularly in poor and minority neighborhoods. Sometimes, the only method of accountability is a victim’s word (if they are still alive) against that of an officer. Unsurprisingly, the police officer’s version of the story is often adequate for a judge to dismiss allegations of wrongdoing, unless there is hard evidence of misconduct, such as a video or audio recording, which can be useful to unravel conflicting versions of police-citizen encounters.
Due to advancements in technology, the average citizen carries a digital camera in his or her pocket or purse, creating a potential army of amateur videographers on every street corner. A quick YouTube search of “police brutality” lists endless videos, often cell phone footage, of what appear to be police acting with unnecessary and violent force. Some of those videos have served a crucial role in bringing charges against brutality that may have gone unaddressed had it not been for bystanders recording. One would think the fear of videographers on every block would be a powerful deterrent to police misconduct. However, legislatures are not taking this newfound power against police abuse lightly. In at least three states, it is illegal to record any on-duty police officer, even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists….
The Black Panthers Huey Newton, Minister of Defense said it well.
The police are legal gangs.
This isn’t about debt or deficits — Republicans just want a reason to impeach Obama
By David Neiwert
If he resorts to the 14th Amendment, they are already lining up to impeach him. Right-wing talk-show host Mark Levin said it explicitly two weeks ago: [Click on link to hear audio.]
If Barack Obama attempts to destroy the Separation of Powers doctrine, if he intends to seize Congressional power when it comes to borrowing and spending despite the plain wording of Article 1 Section 8 Clause 2. In other words if he’s going to violate his oath of office…then he needs to be impeached.
Should he attempt to seize explicit Congressional power, we’ve got to make a case that we don’t like dictators in this country and that we will not accept dictators in this country. There’s not even a colorable argument that can be made that justifies the President of the United States seizing for himself the authority to “borrow money on the credit of the United States.” And should Chuck Schumer continue to urge this and should the President do it, then Chuck Schumer should be expelled from the United States Senate when the Republicans take it back over as they will.
We already know that Republicans believe it’s smart political strategy to destroy the economy so that it can be blamed on Obama. They’re willing to throw the country into economic ruin just in the hopes that it will work to their political advantage. And if the president stops them? They will make him pay.
Howard Fineman:GOP Is In A ‘Slow-Motion Secession’ From Rest Of America | Mediaite http://bit.ly/og2Lwa
Y’all know how Murdoch’s wife attacked the pie thrower?
Well this slideshow of ‘ride or die chicks’ was put together in response to that ..folks said who else would defend their man like that?
I like the list.
What say you?
Wrapping it up with Streetwize, performing Read Your Mind.
Here’s Musiq, singing Love.
This is one of the bedtime songs my father used to sing to us when we were little. Here’s Sarah Vaughn, singing Misty.
Here’s the Yellowjackets, performing Navajo.
Here’s Eric Benet, singing Femininity.
Here’s Hil St. Soul, singing Goodbye.
How about an afternoon music break…starting with Chicago, performing Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is.
Defining victory in the debt ceiling showdown
What would a “win” look like for each of the parties in the debt ceiling debate?
For the president, a “win” in this crisis would be getting it behind him, period, at this point; particularly a deal that puts off the next debt limit increase until after the 2012 election. Other elements of a “good” deal for President Obama: a deal that gives the ratings agencies confidence, by being sufficiently bipartisan (70 or more Senators voting for it) that it reassures them that this country has not become ungovernable; that includes sufficient deficit reduction over ten years to give international bond markets confidence, and that contains a mix of spending reductions — but definitely not spending reductions in the present year, which would kill the economy — and that includes revenues, whether that means closing loopholes or junking the disastrous Bush tax cuts.
Harry Reid is in the relatively enviable position of having just been re-elected, so he’s safe in his seat for a minute. But his leadership is being challenged by Mitch McConnell, who has tried to go around Reid and open a channel directly to the White House (though you’ve got to wonder why anyone in the White House including Vice President Biden, would trust a guy who has said his prime directive is to prevent the president’s re-election.)
Reid needs to seize back the initiative, and have his definitive stamp on the final legislation. That means preserving the good things about his bill: keeping entitlements, especially Social Security, out of it; preserving the Democrats’ Paul Ryan-induced electoral advantage on Medicare (trimming the growth of Medicare is not the same as cutting it, and usually, Medicare cuts hit the providers in some fashion, not the recipients, so there’s room for negotiation there without giving away so much that Dems lose the “vouchercare” bump next year), getting real defense spending cuts and at least keeping the principle of savings by getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq on the table, and cutting corporate subsidies. That’s the “shared pain” Sen. John Kerry is talking about and that the final negotiations are apparently hinging on. If Reid does that, and especially if he holds the line on not renewing the Bush tax cuts in 2012, he’ll look like a hero, even to grumbling liberal Democrats who apparently do not trust the president.
The ultimate snake in the grass in these negotiations, the Senate minority leader has two real goals here: 1) making President Obama own seriously unpopular budget cuts so that Republicans can turn around and run against him on the basis of those cuts next year, and 2) becoming Senate majority leader. To that end, McConnell needs a final deal to have his stamp on it, by preserving as many tax loopholes Republican members like, and as many reductions to popular, Democratic-approved programs (including Medicae, Medicaid and if he can get it, Social Security) as possible. McConnell wants to be able to tell fellow Republicans that the president signed off on entitlement cuts too, so the public should pay no attention to vouchercare, and he wants tea party people to vote him in as majority leader if — and this is a scary thought — Republicans manage to win the Senate in 2012.
At this point, a win for Boehner might just be a long, booze filled vacation. Boehner is limping through this crisis with less power and authority every time the House takes a vote. He barely cobbled together the 217 votes (besides his own) to pass his own bill, the tea party freshmen don’t respect him, Eric Cantor is constantly stabbing him in the back and plotting against him (and probably Kevin McCarthy is too) and he has yet to engage the one person who can help him win, by not pissing off Wall Street with a debt ceiling failure: Nancy Pelosi.
At this point, Boehner needs a win – it doesn’t even have to be a big one. He needs to get enough tea sweeteners into the final bill to get it through the House with significant Republican support, but that also has at least some bipartisan flavor. Conversely, a bill that passes with almost all Democrats will make him look even more ineffectual and dependent on the minority. If Boehner could simply ignore the freshmen and get Pelosi to deliver him 87 Democratic votes, that wouldn’t be a bad outcome for the speaker. But with his own election, and that of a lot of really unstable seeming fellow GOPers coming up, Boehner also needs the bill to somehow blunt the Paul Ryan/vouchercare mess by cutting into entitlements, so members can run for re-election pointing the finger at the White House and saying “they cut Medicare too!” That’s why Republicans, including Boehner, have been apoplectic that the White House won’t lay out a written plan. How can they attack President Obama’s plan if he won’t write the bloody thing down!!!? And Boehner would love to have a bill that’s short-term, so Republicans could fire up the freak show again six months from now, in the midst of election season. He probably won’t get that, though.
I can’t remember who originated this, but someone on Twitter threw out the brilliant line last week that somewhere, Nancy Pelosi is watching all of this, smiling widely and stroking a bald, white cat. Pelosi on the one hand has been marginalized in the debate, since no one seems to be negotiating with her. On the other hand, she gets to sit back and watch John Boehner demonstrate day after day that he can’t do her job. As speaker, Nancy Pelosi ran circles around poor Boehner, and he knows it. Now, all she needs is for him to come to her, as he’s going to have to, and watch her deliver the votes. In the process, she can exact a price — protecting entitlements and critical programs like Pell grants, WIC and assistance to the poor. Then, she’ll be a hero to the liberals in her caucus, and to Democrats around the country.
The American People
Who’s that, you say? I know, the rest of us rarely get a mention in the wild horse race that is Washington politics, but the American people can win in this debate too, even if it doesn’t seem like it now. A good deal for Americans would tackle the long term debt but avoid short term cuts; would exempt Social Security, trim the explosive growth of Medicare by attacking the source of the problem: out of control prescription drug and treatment costs — without touching benefits; would calm the international bond markets and preserve America’s AAA rating; and would include that shared sacrifice we keep hearing about, by forcing the rich to participate in deficit reduction. Even getting rid of ALL the Bush tax cuts this time, including the middle class rates, would constitute shared sacrifice, but the problem is, those at the very bottom really can’t afford even an incremental increase. So something would have to be done to bolster the Earned Income Tax Credit or some other offset.
But the biggest win of all, would be to finally end the influence of the tea party movement, which has proven to be the most divisive, destructive force in modern American politics (including their divisiveness within the GOP, which has been paralyzed and turned into a three-ring circus with an impotent ring master/House leader by them). The teas may think they’re doing the right thing, but they clearly are a reckless bunch of talk radio-fed extremists who don’t know how to govern, don’t understand economics or history (even Ronald Reagan raised the darned debt ceiling), and they frankly have no business helping run the government. Winning means voting, folks, because not doing so is how we got the tea party House in the first place.
All I can say about this is…WOW…and smile. This is one focused and very determined young woman. Congratulations to her and her family on BOTH joyous events!
Pregnant Woman Takes Bar Exam While in Labor, Delivers Baby Right After!
By David Lat
We thought we had a winner for most gutsy bar exam performance of July 2011. On Thursday, a woman taking the New Jersey bar exam passed out during the test — then picked herself up off the floor, and went right back to typing. That’s impressive — but we may have spoken too soon. Here’s a labor-intensive story that tops it. “A friend of mine went into labor while taking the Illinois bar exam,” a tipster told us. “She calmly finished, went to the hospital, and had her baby an hour or two later. Girl’s a real trooper.”
“A certain Northwestern Law alumna went into labor during the second day of the Illinois bar,” said a second source. “She finished the exam and had her baby, her first, at 5:58 p.m. I think that is worth noting.” You better believe it’s worth noting. If ever there was a baby immaculately conceived by a lawgiver, this might be the one. We have all the details — including a picture of the Bar Exam Baby, whom we’ll nickname “Baby Bar”….We’ve confirmed the story with multiple friends of the new mother, by email and by phone. We’ll refer to the mother in this story as “Mother Bar Exam” or “MBE.”
Contrary to the reader comments posted on our story about the bar exam fainter, MBE’s water didn’t break in the middle of the test, nor did she take the exam sitting on the floor. But she was in active labor throughout much of the afternoon session on Wednesday, and she gave birth less than two hours after leaving the test.
Talking Points Memo:
BREAKING: Senate Kills Reid Bill, Await Obama/McConnell Spending-Cut-Only Debt Limit Bill. Story here: http://tpm.ly/njMuWR
Vindictive WalMart erroneously accuses couple of shoplifting, has husband deported, wife fired, costs them house and car – Posted by Cory Doctorow
A newlywed couple in Birmingham, AL had problems with the automatic checkout system at WalMart, which refused to ring up their $2.90 packet of chicken necks. A WalMart employee helped them with the system, and they paid and made to leave. A security guard confronted them and accused them of stealing the chicken necks, despite their receipt, which showed they had paid. The manager was summoned, reviewed the receipt and the security footage, and concluded the couple had done nothing wrong. However, the security guard insisted on calling the police, and then WalMart contacted the INS to alert them to the husband’s legal trouble (he hadn’t yet been naturalized following his wedding to a US citizen), as well as the WalMart where the wife worked in order to get her fired. The husband was deported, the wife lost her car and home in the ensuing legal battle. They’re suing.
Plaintiff told these employees to look again as the item was on the bottom of the receipt and therefore accounted for. The security guard started screaming and asked to see the identifications of the plaintiff and her husband. The security guard screamed at the plaintiff and her husband saying they were going to be deported. The security guard, in overly loud voice, stated plaintiff and her husband were illegal and what were they doing in this country. Plaintiff asked for the assistant manager. The security guard answered by saying plaintiff and her husband were going to jail…
The assistant manager said in presence of plaintiff and her husband: ‘I see where she scanned it, I see where it’s been rung up.’ Plaintiff responded: ‘I did scan it, I told you.’ Ricky, plaintiff’s husband said I’ll pay for it again if you want me to. The assistant manager then said to the security guard: ‘Well what do you want to do?’ The security guard said he wanted to put plaintiff and her husband in jail.…When the security guard found that Mary Hill Bonin had worked at another Wal-Mart, he called that store and informed it “that she was being charged with a Theft of Property in the Third Degree,” even though the assistant manager already had told him that the chicken bones had been bought and paid for, the Bonins say.
This is deep.
So do I need to ask..or was this security guard a white poor ethnic male, no?
What difference does it make what the color of his skin is…ignorance is ignorance.
Unbelievable, how one stupid sob can cause some unnecessary horrific problems! The security guard need his ass kicked but hard!
Well CC the difference is that ignorance based on race is far more prevalent than any other when it comes to abusing people under legal pretense.
Well Opulent you’re entitled to your own opinion. But as far as I’m concerned ignorance is ignorance, race-based or otherwise…same difference.
July 31, 2011 9:50 AM
Grow the economy, lower the deficit
By Steve Benen
This comes up from time to time, but probably not often enough. For all the preoccupation with the budget shortfall, and the apparent desire to turn a blind eye to the economy, we know perfectly well that the most effective way to reduce the deficit is to grow the economy. Indeed, it’s painfully obvious: when the nation’s economic conditions improve, the nation’s fiscal conditions also improve.
Though she steered clear of policy recommendations, I was nevertheless glad to see the NYT’s Catherine Rampell touch on this today.
Not so long ago, the National Debt Clock, perched above the Avenue of the Americas, a block east of Times Square, was running backward.
It seems remarkable now, with all the End Times talk of debt ceilings and default, but it was only 11 years ago that the owners of that electronic totem, the Durst family, simply pulled the plug. The clock, a fixture since 1989, went dark after the federal government ended its 2000 fiscal year with a record $236.4 billion budget surplus.
Today, well — you know. We face the largest budget deficit the nation has ever known: $1.6 trillion, the equivalent of about 11 percent of our economy. And, whatever Washington does, many economists say the situation will grow only worse, particularly as Americans age and Medicare costs spiral higher.
But there is, in theory, a happy solution to our debt troubles. It’s called economic growth. No need to raise taxes or cut programs. Just get the economy growing the way it used to.
Good luck with that.
I do look back with some fondness at 2000. The National Debt Clock had never been programmed to run backwards, so it had to be unplugged. Did Tea Partiers celebrate? Well, no, the so-called “movement” didn’t exist, and its current members didn’t much care. Indeed, the elimination of the deficit was so low-key, about a third of the country still thought Clinton had left a deficit for Bush, reality be damned. (The deficit didn’t much matter to the public consciousness again until 2009, when the right hoped to make governing impossible for President Obama.)
It’s a forgotten detail, but going into 2000, the government was expected to run a deficit. What happened? The economy was growing so fast, and unemployment was so low, receipts far exceeded expectations. It was a striking reminder: good economy = good fiscal picture.
Of course, Republicans soon dominated after Clinton’s departure, the deficits came back, and those who claim credibility on fiscal issues stopped paying for their agenda and added several trillion dollars to the debt.
In our current decade, growth alone won’t be enough to balance the budget anytime soon. The shortfall is too large. That said, growth was responsible for reducing the deficit in 2009, and more growth would mean more jobs, more jobs would mean more revenue, and more revenue would mean a smaller deficit.
It’s why the last several months have been so dispiriting. Those who claim to be the most concerned about the deficit — who, incidentally, are largely responsible for the deficit — are also the ones demanding austerity measures that would hold the economy back, which in turn makes it tougher to address the budget shortfall they pretend to care about.
In the name of fiscal responsibility, we’re going to take money out of the economy, making growth more difficutl, and undermining the best available method of lowering the deficit.
July 31, 2011 10:40 AM
Extortion politics: a new form of governing
By Steve Benen
Josh Marshall made an interesting point in passing yesterday, asking whether conservative Republicans could achieve massive spending cuts through “old-fashioned majority votes.” Josh answered his own question: “Of course not.” The cuts on the table were only made possible by Republicans “threatening the health” of the United States.
I think this arguably one of the more important realizations to take away from the current political landscape. Republicans aren’t just radicalized, aren’t just pursuing an extreme agenda, and aren’t just allergic to compromise. The congressional GOP is also changing the very nature of governing in ways with no modern precedent.
Welcome to the normalization of extortion politics.
Consider, for example, the Republican decision to reject any and all nominees to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, regardless of merit, unless and until Democrats accepted changes to the agency’s structure. Traditionally, if the GOP wanted to alter the powers of the CFPB, it would write legislation, send it committee, bring it to the floor, send it to the other chamber, etc. But that takes time and effort, and in a divided government, this “old fashioned” approach to policymaking probably wouldn’t produce the desired result.
Instead, we see the latest in a series of extortion strategies: Republicans will force Democrats to accept changes to the agency, or Republicans won’t allow the agency to function. Jonathan Cohn wrote a good piece on this a couple of weeks ago, noting the frequency with which this strategy is utilized.
Republican threats to block nominees to the consumer board are of a piece with their opposition to Don Berwick, Obama’s first choice to run the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; to Peter Diamond, whom Obama tapped to sit on the Federal Reserve Board; and most recently to John Bryson, Obama’s nominee to take over the Commerce Department. It’s nothing short of a power grab by the Republican Party — an effort to achieve, through the confirmation process, what they could not achieve through legislation. And it seems unprecedented, at least in modern times.
Republicans effectively tell the administration, over and over again, that the normal system of American governance can continue … just as soon as Democrats agree to policy changes the GOP can’t otherwise pass.
The traditional American model would tell Republicans to win an election. If that doesn’t work, Republicans should work with rivals to pass legislation that moves them closer to their goal. In 2011, the GOP has decided these old-school norms are of no value. Why bother with them when Republicans can force through policy changes by way of a series of hostage strategies? Why should the legislative branch use its powers through legislative action when extortion is more effective?
It’s offensive when it comes to nominees like Cordray, but using the full faith and credit of the United States to force through desired policy changes takes this dynamic to a very different level. And since it’s working, this will be repeated and establishes a new precedent.
Indeed, it’s a reminder that of all the qualities Republicans lack — wisdom, humility, shame, integrity — it’s their nonexistent appreciation for limits that’s arguably the scariest.
A group of Republican ideologues in Congress…have apparently abandoned their oath of office in order to keep their pledge to Grover Norquist” – Posted by GottaLaff
An extra long edition of L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
Power of the pledge
Re “Anti-tax bloc of Republicans threatens the nation’s stability,” Column, July 27
Once again, columnist Michael Hiltzik is spot on. [Laffy Note: My post about his article here] We have a group of Republican ideologues in Congress who have apparently abandoned their oath of office in order to keep their pledge to Grover Norquist, a man who holds no formal office and who has publicly stated that his goal is to shrink government to “the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” We live in a time of high unemployment. Wages have either flat-lined or shrunk for nearly everyone except the wealthiest. Norquist has built a lucrative business model mau-mauing the rich and powerful into dismantling America. This nation deserves better. – Richard Dickinson Glendale
Kudos to Hiltzik. Does this mean that this pledge overrides the constitutional oath these Republicans took when taking office? What about if there’s a state of war that requires immediate revenues to protect our country’s interests? Is there a provision in this pledge that addresses this possibility or other national emergencies? Or what about the mere fact that there may be a conflict of interest here? Beware of any pledge made to one man and/or a particular organization; it may prove to be disastrous. – Joe Martinez El Segundo
Re “Perils of taking the pledge,” July 26
Our elected officials take an oath to defend the Constitution, which was written for “we the people” and not special-interest groups. We the people consist of white, black, brown, rich, poor, gay, straight, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim and everything in between. Who elected Norquist to be the keeper of the pledges, much less to enforce them? It’s time for those we elect to do what is good for everyone and not just a radical few. – Carol Giandalia Torrance
Thank you for your article about these pledges being required of political candidates. This is a very serious threat to the democratic process. I want my representatives to go to Washington or Sacramento with an open mind, good judgment and the willingness to do the business of governing. I want them to research issues and to communicate with colleagues and with constituents. I want honest evaluation and sincere intentions to do what is right for the most people. I want representatives who have the ability to stand up to power and think independently. I want a list of candidates who have the courage not to sign a pledge.
– Avalon Hill Long Beach
Read more: http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/2011/07/30/a-group-of-republican-ideologues-in-congress-have-apparently-abandoned-their-oath-of-office-in-order-to-keep-their-pledge-to-grover-norquist/
Michigan AG Appeals ‘Nutty’ Ruling Against State’s Affirmative Action Ban
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette appealed a federal court’s decision to overturn the state’s 2006 ballot initiative that banned affirmative action. Schuette requested Friday that the full 6th Circuit panel rehear the case, after an Appellate panel ruled 2-1 earlier this month that Proposal 2 violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. “The majority may not manipulate the channels of change in a manner that places unique burdens on issues of importance to racial minorities,” Judges R. Guy Cole and Martha Craig Daughtrey wrote in the majority opinion. On Thursday, Schuette called the court’s decision “nutty” and said it “simply defies common sense and turns the 14th Amendment on its head, upside down, and inside out.”
“We will stand up and protect the rights of all citizens of Michigan to be treated fairly,” he said.
Voters passed Prop 2 in November 2006 by a vote of 58%-42% — though in the breakdown the vote was “overwhelmingly approved by white voters and overwhelmingly rejected by blacks,” according to the Detroit Free Press. Jennifer Gratz, head of the American Civil Rights Institute which opposes Affirmative Action, initially pushed the measure after her own lawsuit against the University of Michigan, which denied her admission in 1994. She believed she wasn’t admitted because of the school’s affirmative action policy, which the Supreme Court ultimately upheld.
O’Reilly slams National Council of La Raza as ‘a pretty radicalized group’ that ‘opposes any kind
By David Neiwert
Bill O’Reilly cooked up another way to attack President Obama this week — by suggesting that he was associating with racial radicals again, namely, the National Council of La Raza: But the president spoke to La Raza this week. La Raza, a pretty radicalized group. I think they’re further left than you are. I mean, they don’t like any kind of border security, they want amnesty for all the people here. They object to almost every kind of measure to control illegal immigration. And yet the president feels comfortable there. Do you think he’s just posturing?
This is why O’Reilly enjoys about as much credibility among Latino viewers as Lou Dobbs — which is to say, nearly zero. Because everyone who knows their way around the immigration scene is perfectly aware that NCLR is a very temperate, middle-of-the-road organization — and in fact is frequently criticized by other Latino groups for being too safe and cautious, and for being corporate sellouts. (Your mileage may vary.)
Indeed, all O’Reilly and his crack staff would have had to do is visit NCLR’s website to read this:
Unfortunately, NCLR has been called an “open-borders advocate” and the “illegal alien lobby” numerous times. NCLR has repeatedly recognized the right of the United States, as a sovereign nation, to control its borders. Moreover, NCLR has supported numerous specific measures to strengthen border enforcement, provided that such enforcement is conducted fairly, humanely, and in a nondiscriminatory fashion.
There are a whole bunch of falsehoods about NCLR — beginning with their name — that endure as right-wing myths. I bet O’Reilly has pretty much swallowed those whole, too.
Aarrgghhh…s/b: O’Reilly slams National Council of La Raza as ‘a pretty radicalized group’ that ‘opposes any kind of border security.’
It’s a blatant attempt to discredit NCLR just like they did to ACORN. NCLR does a lot of work around voter registration and encouraging voting. Repugnants don’t want Latinos and AA’s to vote. QED!
Bill O’Reilly can go straight to hell!
Thom Hartmann: Corporate CEO’s…job makers or job movers?
I caught Sherrod Brown talking economic sense for the United States the other day and the need to restore our manufacturing base and do something about putting Americans back to work. Here’s Thom Hartmann on Russia Today addressing the real problem with our economy as well — the jobs crisis.
From Thom’s You Tube Channel: So raise the damn debt-ceiling – and get on with addressing the real crisis in America – the crisis created by our insane so-called Free Trade policies and treaties, and greedy corporate CEOs with too much power.
Amen brother. It would be nice to see the politicians having their phone lines burnt up over this issue as well instead of just for calls for all of them to compromise with GOP hostage takers on the debt ceiling.
Thank you, Heather!
Thank You Lord (He Did It All) – John P. Kee & NLCC
Thank You Lord (He Did It All) 2 – John P. Kee & NLCC
Thank You, Jesus! Come on…
You Did It Yes You Did It
You Did It Yes You Did It All…
China’s New Aircraft Carrier “For Study”
Chinese military officials announced Wednesday that the decommissioned Varyag aircraft carrier — once a Soviet warship — will be used for research and training. Its purchase earlier this year led to rampant speculation about possible military uses. Many analysts have doubted the ship’s actual usefulness in battle — it lags well behind more modern aircraft carrier technology. But sources have told Reuters that China plans to acquire two more carriers, and “research” on the Varyag may mean helping to build or refit other, more war-ready ships.
It’s all part of a current push by China’s communist regime to boost military capabilities. Defense spending has shot up sharply, and Beijing continues to test new high-tech equipment, including a stealth fighter. Military strategy experts see this as a major shift. Alexander Chieh-Cheng Huang, Professor, Tamkang University: “China now can project its air power with moving assets, which means carriers, to even further away from its coastline, and that will have significant security implications to the forces operating in the Western Pacific; including the United States’, Japanese, Australian and many other states’ forces. So, this is a watershed development.”
The carrier plans come as Chinese authorities flex their muscles more aggressively in the South China Sea, where territorial disputes with Taiwan and other neighbors have festered for years.
The Ministry of Defense’s spokesman, Geng Yasheng, was quoted on the ministry website as saying that the military modernization effort “is the sacred responsibility of China’s armed forces.”
South Korea, China Hold First Strategic Defense Talks
South Korea and China held their first strategic defense dialogue in Seoul on Wednesday. The dialogue between the Deputy Chief of General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army and South Korea’s Vice Defense Minister touched upon a range of security issues. The meeting came after the defense ministers of the two countries agreed earlier this month in Beijing to open the annual strategic dialogue.
Jon Kyl Continues the “Can’t Raise Taxes on the Job Creators” Nonsense in the Republican
In the Republican Weekly Address, Sen. Jon Kyl continued with more of the GOP’s latest excuse for why no one can ever dare to take tax rates back to where they were when Bill Clinton was in office. Heaven forbid we can’t raise taxes on the “job creators.” Republicans care about job creation, alright … just not in the United States. Maybe once they’ve destroyed our economy entirely where people here will work for a few dollars an hour, those “job creators” will decide to start blessing us again and creating more jobs here at home. Kyl also seems to have a bad case of amnesia if he’s not going to acknowledge just who did that “runaway spending” he’s talking about here.
Kyl’s part of the problem with his votes for the Bush tax cuts, the illegal invasions of countries that were not a threat to us and the giveaways to the pharmaceutical industry — not to mention he and his fellow Republicans’ aversion to any type of regulation that might have prevented the financial meltdown and subsequent bailouts that have done terrible harm to our economy.
Kyl claims that raising the debt ceiling without significant spending cuts would be irresponsible. Sorry Jon, but your reckless spending that you refused to pay for or even put on the books that caused us to go from a surplus to a deficit in the first place is what’s irresponsible. Now your party just continues to prove that you’re completely incapable of governing as well. Slash, pillage, burn and destroy is all these people understand.
did anyone hear see McLaughlin Group?
They used the income disparity data just as predicted to drive a wedge about race and to drive away AA votes for Obama.
It was ugly. They even used Tavis and West and had the unmitigated gall to say black folks agree with West’s nasty mascot line!!
Went further to say how the approval rating amongst AA’s had gone down for Obama and that while we might vote for him, the numbers would be down in turnout of AA for Obama has enthusiasm has waned.
Eleanor then told the most telling line, she said, that Rove stated that 100K less votes in SC would have changed the entire election.
Make no mistake about the game plan folks.
It is to depress the black vote…to ensure no second term for Obama.
Get on twitter…tell the truth…do NOT let them prevail.
Economic disparity is NATIONAL not just between whites and blacks…shoot down this specious new southern strategy meme.
White ethnics must hear the message they are the have nots fighting for 15% of the wealth because 85% of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of 15% of Americans.
That ain’t no black white issue…that is an American capitalist issue…haves vs. have nots…not race!!
Anxiety in Afghanistan over troops pay if U.S. defaults
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) – It is unclear if the United States will be able to pay troops on time in the event of a debt default, the top U.S. military officer told troops in Afghanistan on Saturday. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Pentagon officials were working hard to plan for a potential default but cautioned that the circumstances were extraordinary. “So I honestly can’t answer that question,” he told troops at Kandahar air base in southern Afghanistan, as several expressed anxiety over budget wrangling in Washington.
Potentially suspending pay to U.S. forces waging wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is an extremely sensitive subject in the United States and Mullen acknowledged that many troops lived paycheck to paycheck. “So if paychecks were to stop, it would have a devastating impact,” Mullen said, answering questions from troops.
“I’d like to give you a better answer than that right now, I just honestly don’t know,” he said.
This was brought up on McLaughlin too.
This nasty vile folks are working hard to rile up every group they can to oppose Obama.
Whether it is military, or his base.
They have figured out where the votes came from and they are attacking HARD.
Let’s not forget they continue to push the lie about Obama cutting SS when he NEVER said any such thing.
US hikers in Iran court, hope for end to ordeal
By Agence France-Presse
A new hearing opens Sunday in the trial of three American hikers who face espionage charges in Iran after straying into the country two years ago, an ordeal their lawyer hopes will have a happy ending. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, were arrested along with Sarah Shourd, 32, on the unmarked border between Iran and Iraq on July 31, 2009. Iran accuses the three of “spying and illegally entering the country.” They have pleaded not guilty to spying charges, saying they were hiking in Iraq’s northern province of Kurdistan when they innocently walked into Iran across an unmarked border. Washington has vehemently denied Tehran’s charges and has pressed for their release.
Shourd, who got engaged with Bauer while in prison in Tehran, is being tried in absentia after she returned to the United States following her release on humanitarian and medical grounds in September 2010, for which bail of about 500,000 dollars was paid. “Since the hearing date coincides with the two year anniversary of their arrest, and it is the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, I am hopeful that this case has a happy ending,” their lawyer Masoud Shafii told AFP on Wednesday referring to the Muslim fasting month when compassion, the spirit of caring and sharing is advocated.
“I believe that they are innocent; the espionage charges have no relevance. Even if the court does not accept my defence, the two years they’ve spent behind bars is punishment enough,” he added referring to the illegal entry charge. Ahead of the new hearing their families issued a statement on Friday in New York, and Shourd used her statement to wish Muslims in Iran and everywhere a blessed Ramadan on behalf of the families of the two men. “Please, if you could make a little room in your prayers on the eve of Ramadan for my fiance, my friend and our families, it would mean the world to us,” she said.
Can Your Financial ‘Plan B’ Withstand the Unexpected?
By Sheryl Nance-Nash
Over the course of a decade, Jeannine McCurrie suffered three tragedies: her brother’s murder, her father’s death from emphysema and strokes, and then, three years ago, the sudden death of her husband, Darin. Those loses taught her: Expect the unexpected, because when you do, you can prepare. She’s grateful that she and her husband talked about the “what ifs” in life, including the unpleasant thought of one leaving the other behind. They wrote wills and purchased life insurance. Now, nearly three years after her husband’s passing, she reflects on what life would had been like if they had not thought things through.
“I would have lost the house that we had just bought in 2006,”says McCurrie. “I would have had to pack up and move our two children to California to join family, work two jobs, and have too little time for my children at a time when they needed me most.” Instead, she was able to maintain a stable life for her family. They moved to a new home to get a fresh start, but kept the old home as rental. She has had the luxury of working part-time, could afford a nanny when needed, and can pay for health insurance. “When you can alleviate the financial stress, the grieving process is very different,” says McCurrie.
McCurrie is a poster child for getting your affairs in order in advance, and though she isn’t unique, her proactive stance put her in the minority. In the new Financial Plan B survey by State Farm, only 45% of those surveyed said they’ve actually planned ahead and are ready to take on a life crisis, despite the fact that 81% said that having a back-up plan is very important. Nearly 60% said they don’t have their plan in writing. Worse still, the survey revealed that some of the “plans” people have are short-sighted, unrealistic or incomplete, says Joe Monk, senior vice president and chief administrative officer for State Farm Life Insurance…..
So, what’s your Plan B?
See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/qyr7Kk
In debt standoff, voters’ role also key
By: Charles Babington
WASHINGTON -Dear voter: Want to know why Democrats and Republicans in Congress find it so hard to work together to solve tough problems like the debt ceiling, health care and Social Security? Look in the mirror. Americans gripe about cowardly, self-serving politicians, and Congress doubtlessly has its feckless moments and members. But voters are quick to overlook their own role in legislative impasses that keep the nation from resolving big, obvious, festering problems such as immigration, the long-term stability of Medicare, and now, the debt ceiling.
Here’s the truth: The overwhelming majority of senators and House members do what their constituents want them to do. Or, more to the point, they respond to people in their districts who bother to vote. Nothing is dearer to politicians than re-election, and most have a keen sense of when they are straying into dangerous waters. For a growing number of senators and representatives, the only risk is in their party’s primary, not in the general election. Most voters, and many news outlets, ignore primaries. That gives control to a relative handful of motivated, hard-core liberals (in Democratic contests) and full-bore conservatives (in GOP primaries). In politically balanced districts, a hard-right or hard-left nominee may have trouble in the general election, when many independent and centrist voters turn out.
But many House districts today aren’t balanced, thanks largely to legislative gerrymandering and Americans’ inclination to live and work near people who share their views and values. The result is districts so solidly conservative that no GOP nominee can possibly lose, or so firmly liberal that any Democratic nominee is certain to win. In these districts, the primary is the whole ball game. Republican lawmakers are under constant pressure to drift to the right, to make sure no fire-breathing conservative outflanks them in a light-turnout primary dominated by ideologues. The same goes for Democrats on the left. So who turns up on Capitol Hill for freshman orientation? Democrats and Republicans who can barely comprehend each other’s political viewpoints, let alone embrace them enough to pursue a possible compromise on big issues.
CNN’s Don Lemon And Rand Paul Clash Over Debt Ceiling (VIDEO
Rand Paul = Filthy tea party slug!
Lemon gets on my last nerve…he is so inept.
Paul is a stupid fanatical.
OFA must concentrate on running all these folks out of office…although it will be exceeding difficult in KY, LA, MS.
I can’t take listening too much to Rand Paul’s nonsense. My blood pressure sky rockets listening to this creep. He is so disrespectful and likes to talk over the host. For the love of God, run these slugs out of Congress!
Utah tobacco sales drop nearly 10 million packs
By Robert Gehrke
Jim Gibbs fears the days may be numbered for his South Salt Lake tobacco shop. His business at The Tobacco Store has dropped sharply — a trend he blames on the long-running recession and a sharp increase in Utah’s tobacco tax. He’s already had to lay off one part-time worker and is probably going to have to cut his own salary in half. “I might be on a slow decline of going out of business,” Gibbs said. “I’m just barely hanging on.”
Utah hiked its tobacco tax last year, raising it from 69.5 cents per pack to $1.70. For the 11 months since then, cigarette sales are down 15 percent with 9.9 million fewer packs sold, according to State Tax Commission figures, putting them on pace to drop by more than 11 million and potentially as many as 12 million packs through the end of the year.
At the same time, the revenue generated by the tax has doubled from the amount collected the year before. Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, the sponsor of the tax hike, said the figures are “exactly what we expected.” “You kind of get the best of both worlds. We’ve had a huge decrease in smoking, basically, and had a huge increase in revenue from the tax,” Ray said. Calls to the state-run tobacco quit line have also increased by more than 150 percent, he said. Advocates expected that about 13,000 people would quit smoking when Utah raised its tax, but the new figures show that the equivalent of about 19,000 one-pack-a-day smokers have quit.
That is what was so stupid about the tobacco tax to begin with.
If the tax, which are to increase revenues, was successful it would decrease revenues!!
As it was punitive.
Now where are they going to make up the loss revenues?
Gay Group Works Against Equal Rights By Supporting Michele Bachmann
Politics in America is based on alliances between similar-thinking groups that work toward a common goal, and with a two-party system it is a crucial aspect to govern and win elections. There are times though, when a particular special interest group makes alliances with the major party that has no interest in promoting their cause, and in some cases, is the antithesis of the special interest and seeks to eliminate their influence as soon as they are in power. It is becoming normal for Republicans to give lip service to special interest groups during campaigns only to reverse their position when they no longer need their support. However, it is curious why a special interest group supports a party that opposes them as a matter-of-course and is a reminder that there are always people willing to vote against their own self-interest.
There is an old adage by Sun-tzu, a Chinese general and military strategist from around 400 BC that says, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” to signify the importance of knowing your enemy’s plans about your demise. It is no different in politics, but for a group to support their enemy and help them win elections borders on having a death wish. GOProud is a gay conservative group that advocates Republican policies and although it seems counterproductive for gays to support Republicans, their conservative logic overrides any sense of self-preservation. The group’s leaders have expressed an interest in meeting with anti-gay rights presidential aspirant Michele Bachmann and it exemplifies making a deal with the devil. Whether GOProud understands that Bachmann has no interest in their opinions or their cause is a mystery, but they should know that Bachmann will take their support now and then crucify them all if she is elected.
Listen, this is why I have always despised Gay folks rallying against Obama from Maddow to Anderson to all Gay advocacy groups. These hypocrites have always been repubilcans!
But they never once came out against any GOP politician!! In fact, there was an entire group of GOP called Log Cabin republicans made up entirely of gay folks, and Ken Mehlman was gay.
So gay folks have been the face of the GOP rallied their policies and advocated their politics..BUT they save their hate and disdain for not supporting their issues for THIS president.
Phuck gayfolks and their BLATANT hypocrisy!!
Opulent~ Not ALL gays feel the same as the Log Cabin Republicans; there’s a significant segment of the gay population who are staunch advocates of President Obama. And they’ve been very vocal about their support of his policies and/or efforts while he’s been in office. It’s something that’s worth remembering…rather than singling out and scapegoating an entire demographic based on the actions of some.
As to your statement: ” Phuck gayfolks and their BLATANT hypocrisy,” imo, it’s divisive and counterproductive …but feel free to do you!
Here is the thing CC, you cannot be divisive and counterproductive when that is already what Gay Folks do when it comes to this admnistration. Gay folks political advocacy is divisive and counterproductive. It always has been. they lash out and people of color continually and attack Democrats. They do not attack the GOP.
In fact, they have been the face of the GOP despite the GOP clearly not supporting anything that the gay advocacy groups say they are fighting for.
In short, it is Gays who are counterproductive.
Now whether this is ALL Gays is the issue. The issue is that those who represent Gay political issues and advocacy are, inDEED, divisive and counterpoint…and they engage in BLATANT hypocrisy.
So, if being me means describing accurately what the Gay political movement has been then so be it.
There is NO political agenda Gays have that has not involved Gay folks being belligerent, hypocritical, divisive while all the while claiming to be a victim?
Please what?!! There are many groups of individuals that have issues they are passionate about and who take it very seriously when policies that affect their lives aren’t addressed in what they consider to be a timely fashion or they don’t get the exact results that they hoped for. And in fact, many gays who fit this particular criterion are NOT Republicans but Democrats and Independents. Hence, the reference to being divisive and counterproductive…because it’s possible to be impatient for change, advocate for an issue that’s important to you, and others like you, AND still support the President without reservation. I know many gays who fall into this category.
Furthermore, what corroborating evidence do you have to support your statement that “Gay folks political advocacy is divisive and counterproductive. It always has been. they lash out and people of color continually and attack Democrats. They do not attack the GOP.” Please, provide proof for this wildly inaccurate statement! There are many gay advocacy groups putting in work to get this President re-elected. That is a fact!
I’ll say it again, perhaps you’ll be able to keep up this time! Statements like yours: “Phuck gayfolks and their BLATANT hypocrisy!!” are divisive and counterproductive because you’re singling out and scapegoating an entire group based on the actions of a small minority that manages to get their faces plastered all over the news or their names in the papers. I find it interesting that you went there given how you were so adamant a few days ago about UNITY in the face of class warfare. But not so much when it comes to gays though, right? Get a fucking grip and get over yourself!
Oh, and you’re welcome…
Under cover of debt crisis, Senate looks to extend telco spying immunity
By Stephen C. Webster
Legislation which changed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to give U.S. telecoms immunity from prosecution for participating in legally-ambiguous spying programs, isn’t set to expire until 2012 — but one group of U.S. Senators appears to see opportunity in crisis. Amid the calamitous debt-limit talks seizing Washington in recent weeks, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence kick started yesterday the mark-up of legislation that would reapprove the spying activities and telecom immunity.
While the Obama administration has urged the FAA’s renewal, at least two Senators are calling for greater caution in the process. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) asked the director of national intelligence to explain how the Obama administration had applied the 2008 act, and to provide an estimate of how many Americans’ communications were spied upon. The administration refused to provide an estimate, according to The Associated Press.
“Congress needs to know if the laws it writes are being interpreted and implemented as intended before it is asked to extend them, and failing to assure the public that government agencies aren’t violating the rights of law-abiding Americans erodes public confidence and makes it harder for intelligence agencies to do their jobs,” Sen. Wyden said in a statement released Thursday. The senators also sought information earlier this month on how U.S. spy agencies and telecoms are handling geolocation data from mobile phones, which allows authorities to track virtually anyone they wish. Above all, they called for an “informed debate” of the FISA Amendments Act ahead of reapproval, but that seems unlikely.
Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/07/29/under-cover-of-debt-crisis-senate-looks-to-extend-telco-spying-immunity/
Anti-Government Protests in Israel Spread
Rani Shoket, NTD News, Jerusalem
On Wednesday evening , hundreds of people marched through Jerusalem’s main streets demanding the government lower housing prices and improve social conditions. They shouted: “Come out of your balconies, the country is collapsing!” and “We want justice, not charity!”
As the protesters passed near the residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they called him to get involved and help solve the situation.
Earlier this week, Netanyahu canceled a trip to Poland, to stay home and deal with the crisis.
Carrying tents – symbolizing their struggle, and banners, the protesters accused the government of injustice and corruption. Police were present, but no violence irrupted. The protest is part of a bigger movement, recently gaining momentum, with thousands of people setting up tent camps, blocking roads and rallying in cities all across Israel. In the last three years home prices in Israel have risen about 50%.
Militants attack gas pipeline in Egypt’s Sinai
By Agence France-Presse
Unidentified gunmen on Saturday attacked a terminal on the gas pipeline to Israel for the fifth time since February, a security official said. Gunmen on motorbikes and cars lobbed grenades and tried to storm the terminal at Al-Shulaq in north Sinai but were confronted by armed forces, leading to clashes. Witnesses said the gunmen managed to flee. “Unidentified gunmen attacked the natural gas terminal on the pipeline to Israel. There was no gas in the pipeline since it was blown up on July 11,” the security official said.
It was the fifth attack on the gas pipeline since February, a time of political upheaval when an uprising toppled former president Hosni Mubarak and saw power handed over to a military council. Earlier this month, saboteurs bombed the pipeline cutting supplies to Israel and Jordan. Egypt supplies about 40 percent of Israel’s natural gas which is used to produce electricity. Jordan, which buys 95 percent of its energy needs, imports about 240 million cubic feet (6.8 million cubic metres) of Egyptian gas a day, or 80 percent of its electricity requirements. The attack comes a day after clashes in the nearby city of El-Arish that left five people dead.
Armed forces arrested 12 men, including three Palestinians, suspected of involvement in an attack on an El-Arish police station, said north Sinai security chief Saleh al-Masri. Three civilians, an army officer and a police officer were killed in the clashes, and 19 people wounded. Earlier on Friday, around 150 men in trucks and on motorbikes rampaged through El-Arish, firing assault rifles in the air, driving terrified residents into their homes.
Large Mortgage Service Filed False Documents in Foreclosure Bid
by: Paul Kiel
GMAC, one of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers, faced a quandary last summer. It wanted to foreclose on a New York City homeowner but lacked the crucial paperwork needed to seize the property. GMAC has a standard solution to such problems, which arise frequently in the post-bubble economy. Its employees secure permission to create and sign documents in the name of companies that made the original loans. But this case was trickier because the lender, a notorious subprime company named Ameriquest, had gone out of business in 2007.
And so GMAC, which was bailed out by taxpayers in 2008, began looking for a way to craft a document that would pass legal muster, internal records obtained by ProPublica show. “The problem is we do not have signing authority—are there any other options?” Jeffrey Stephan, the head of GMAC’s “Document Execution” team, wrote to another employee and the law firm pursuing the foreclosure action. No solutions were offered. Three months later, GMAC had an answer. It filed a document with New York City authorities that said the delinquent Ameriquest loan had been assigned to it “effective of” August 2005. The document was dated July 7, 2010, three years after Ameriquest had ceased to exist and was signed by Stephan, who was identified as a “Limited Signing Officer” for Ameriquest Mortgage Company. Soon after, GMAC filed for foreclosure.
An examination by ProPublica suggests this transaction was not unique. A review of court records in New York identified hundreds of similar assignment documents filed in the name of Ameriquest after 2008 by GMAC and other mortgage servicers. The issue has attracted growing scrutiny in recent months as bloggers, consumer attorneys and media outlets have identified what appears to be part of a pattern of questionable assignments filed across the country.
Thousands Flee Crisis in Somalia
Desperate to survive, escape is the only route. As the worst drought in 60 years grips East Africa, the conflict in Somalia conspires to create a deadly cocktail. Crossing the harsh Somali landscape to reach Dadaab, refugee camp in Kenya is no easy task. Ali Ibrahim, Somali Refugee:
“This is the hardest journey I have ever done. I spent 17 days on the road with my 12 children, but thank God we made it. I have just been given a tent by an organization here.”
Al Qaeda affiliated rebels refuse to allow food aid convoys in famine-stricken Somalia. The population has no choice but to seek refuge in neighboring Kenya. As livestock die of malnutrition or are taken by rebel soldiers, hundreds of thousands of Somalis see the UN refugee camp as the only way to keep their families alive. Abdi Hassan, Somali Refugee: “There is nobody left where I came from, there is serious famine, drought and conflict. All our animals died and we have nothing left back there. I do not mind what I have here right now, I just need a tent for my family.” UNHCR officer Emmanuel Nyabera says his organization has to move fast to keep up with the growing numbers.
Emmanuel Nyabera, Information Officer, UNHCR: ”Most of the refugees who are coming here from Somalia are mostly women and children. They come in very, very tired. Some of them are very sick and we make sure that at least we are able to settle them here in a dignified manner. In the three camps in Dadaab, we have more than 400 thousand refugees. More than 300 thousand have been registered already, so the numbers are growing and that’s why we’re trying to move very fast to make sure that we don’t congest the camp.” As the tragedy unfolds the area straddling Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia has been dubbed the “triangle of death.” The UN estimates some 12 million people are now affected by the crisis.
BREAKING: Dems Delay Debt Limit Test Vote – Brian Beutler
Senate Democrats have delayed a key Sunday morning test vote on legislation to raise the debt limit, as negotiations to avoid a catastrophic debt default drag on. Late Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced on the Senate floor that the White House is making progress in those negotiations, but several issues remain unresolved. “There are negotiations going on at the White House now on a solution that will avoid a catastrophic default,” Reid said. “There are many elements to be finalized, there is still a distance to go before any arrangements are to be complete. I’ve spoken to the White House quite a few times this weekend, and they’ve asked me to give everyone as much time as possible.”
Earlier Saturday, Dems were prepared for the 1 a.m. vote to fail, based on continued disagreement between the two parties over how to assure future cuts to entitlement programs and tax reform, according to a highly placed Democratic source. That vote is now scheduled for 1 p.m., Sunday. Both the House and Senate debt limit votes call for the creation of a bipartisan, bicameral committee tasked with reducing the deficit by at least $1.8 trillion through entitlement and tax reform. But Republicans are reluctant to count that $1.8 trillion toward the debt limit increase unless there’s a viable penalty in place that would be triggered if the committee gridlocks, Congress fails to pass their proposal, or President Obama vetoes it.
As noted here, Republicans are insisting on skewed triggers. The source provided some fresh details on precisely what they’re asking for. One of their proposals would alter the way the government calculates inflation. It would thus reduce automatic increases in tax bracket levels and Social Security cost of living adjustments — in effect a regressive tax increase, and a Social Security cut, each of which would result in modest savings. –
15 mins to 1p.m. EST
British comedian convicted of Murdoch pie assault
Agence France Presse
A British man was convicted Friday of assaulting Rupert Murdoch with a foam pie at a parliamentary hearing into phone-hacking, as MPs demanded the tycoon and his son clarify their evidence from the session. British comedian Jonathan May-Bowles — aka Jonnie Marbles — , leaves Westminster Magistrates Court. May-Bowles has been convicted of assaulting Rupert Murdoch with a foam pie at a parliamentary hearing into phone-hacking, as MPs demanded the tycoon and his son clarify their evidence from the session. The James Murdoch-chaired British pay-TV giant BSkyB meanwhile tried to calm the waters by offering £1.0 billion (1.13 billion euros, $1.63 billion) in payouts to shareholders after the hacking scandal derailed a takeover bid by the Murdochs’ US-based News Corp.
The crisis has rocked Britain and shaken News Corp., but it also provided a bizarre interlude on July 19 when protester Jonathan May-Bowles splattered Murdoch with foam as the media mogul was being quizzed by lawmakers. On Friday the 26-year-old, a comedian who goes by the stage name of Jonnie Marbles, pleaded guilty at City of Westminster Magistrates court in London to assault and to causing harassment, alarm or distress. Leaving court, May-Bowles echoed the 80-year-old Murdoch’s own statement to parliamentary media committee hearing, telling reporters: “This has been the most humble day of my life.” The hearing was adjourned for pre-sentencing reports and May-Bowles was ordered to return to court to be sentenced next Tuesday. District judge Daphne Wickham warned that it was a “serious offence which carries a risk of imprisonment.”
Rick Warren Derides The Tax Paying Poor As His Church Pays No Taxes – By Rmuse
The nation’s tax system offers many benefits to every citizen and none is more important than a sense of contributing to America’s greatness that is shared by ever person who is not a 10-year-old child who is unable to work or purchase anything with their own funds. Although taxpayer dollars fund the military, police and fire protection, roads, bridges, and myriad other government provided benefits, the sentiment of investing in America should help bring people together with a sense of mutual participation in maintaining a great nation. Ever since the rise of the teabagger movement, there has been a fallacy that half of Americans do not pay any taxes and it has led teabags and their ultra-conservative brethren to decry the lack of involvement by the poor in having any value to America. Last Monday, a super-wealthy Christian preacher joined teabaggers in criticizing poor people, seniors, and many lower-middle class Americans for advocating raising taxes on the top 2% of Americans who continue receiving tax cuts regardless that the country’s economic status is less than wonderful.
The preacher, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, posted a short message on social media outlet Twitter that said, “HALF of America pays NO taxes. Zero. So they’re happy for tax rates to be raised on the other half that DOES pay taxes.” The twitter post caused immediate outrage and Warren quickly deleted the post, but not before several people captured it for posterity and dissemination around the Internet. Warren has been lampooned for his claim that half of America does not pay taxes, and he could have saved himself some much-deserved grief if he had only said that 47% of Americans pay no income taxes; but his hateful sentiment toward the poor and seniors prohibited him from exercising the slightest discretion. As is often the case, when a person is so full of contempt and hatred for the least fortunate, their mind’s thoughts become manifest in outward displays of dishonesty and vile derision.
Every American pays some form of taxes whether Warren likes to admit it or not. Myriad bloggers have pointed out that if a person works at any job, they pay FICA (Social Security), Medicare, and state disability taxes on every penny they earn. Every American who drives a car pays gasoline tax and DMV license tax as well as sales tax (if a state levies sales tax) on every purchase. Senior citizens and retirees who own a home pay property taxes as well as various bonds to build and maintain schools, hospitals, parks, and in some areas they pay separately for fire protection in they live in unincorporated parts of a city. The list of taxes all Americans pay is extensive, but the point is that Warren’s contention that half of the population pays no taxes is fallacious. It is true that many Americans pay no income taxes and it is not limited to the poor and seniors. Many corporations pay no taxes and some of the largest oil companies in America pay no taxes, but Warren would never bemoan their lack of contributions to America because his hatred is limited to Americans who live in near poverty.
After Promising to Drive Disenfranchised Voters to the DMV, Nikki Haley Won’t Give Ride to 76-Year-Old Veteran – By Alex Seitz-Wald
As ThinkProgress reported earlier this month, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) promised to drive residents whose right to vote will be jeopordized by her new voter ID law to the DMV to help them obtain a photo license. “Find the people who say this is invading their rights and I will go take them to the DMV myself and help them,” Haley said in a local TV interview.
This week, 76-year-old Army veteran Robert Tucker, who lacks an accurate birth certificate and thus ID, tried to take up Haley on her offer. Tucker’s cousin, Edith Cunningham, caught wind of Haley’s promise and decided to ask the governor for a ride on Tucker’s behalf, only to be turned down: “When I saw that I thought ‘well maybe they’ll help the plight that we’re in,’” said Cunningham. Cunningham called Gov. Haley’s office. “They told me the best that they can do is tell me to go to legal aid,” she said. […] “They talked about how it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but they couldn’t do anything for the person whose disenfranchised.”
When a reporter from WISTV asked the governor’s office about tucker’s request, a Haley spokesperson said, “We’ll work to assist anyone who is having trouble getting state services,” but offered no ride….
Mr Tucker is among the 100K votes Karl Rove wants to do away with.
Wicked lying crooks!
Far Right Hate Groups “Like” Facebook – By Asawin Suebsaeng
If you’re the leader of a loud, disorganized European hate group, you’ve probably figured out by now that the best way to recruit followers is the same way Ashton Kutcher does it: use Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. A lot. The AP reports that European hate groups—including the English Defence League, an organization that Norway terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik claims to have communicated with—are increasingly relying on social networking sites like Facebook to recruit members.
In just two years, EDL membership has shot up from a few dozen to more than 10,000, a dramatic increase that EDL leader Stephen Lennon attributes to popular websites, as well as underground online fora. The AP has the interview: I knew that social networking sites were the way to go…[b]ut to say that we inspired this lunatic to do what he did is wrong. We’ve never once told our supporters [it’s] alright to go out and be violent.
Lennon, who was sentenced to “community rehabilitation” in England this week for inciting and leading an EDL street fight, isn’t the only far-right (or far-left, or far-anything) organizer using Facebook for maximum publicity or reach. All sorts of anti-Muslim and racist cliques have been greatly supplementing their blog-based fulminations with modern social media, and they often do so unimpeded because sites like Facebook claim to uphold “the sharing of controversial ideas and opinions.” (Facebook’s methods for selecting what stays and what gets pulled frequently seem, well, curious: for instance, Holocaust denial stays, but UK labor strikes get the boot.)
I hope this is the beginning of the end for Facebook.
It should be abolished as it is a recruitment tool for hate groups.
That risk far surpasses any other social media nonsense it purports to serve.
Gary Locke Confirmed as New US Envoy to China
On Wednesday, the United States Senate confirmed former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as the next US envoy to China. Locke is the first Chinese American appointed to represent the United States in the communist country.
Locke received a unanimous voice vote. His appointment reinforces the increasing importance of US–Sino relations. Locke says he will push for more trade opportunities for US companies in the rapidly growing Chinese economy. He plans to move with his family to Beijing.
The tea party’s terrorist tactics
It has become commonplace to call the tea party faction in the House “hostage takers.” But they have now become full-blown terrorists.
They have joined the villains of American history who have been sufficiently craven to inflict massive harm on innocent victims to achieve their political goals. A strong America has always stood firm in the face of terrorism. That tradition is in jeopardy, as Congress and President Barack careen toward an uncertain outcome in the tea party- manufactured debt crisis.
As we stumble closer to Aug. 2, it has become clear that many in the tea party are willing to inflict massive harm on the American people to obtain their political objective of a severely shrunken federal government. Their persistence in rejecting compromise, even as the economic effects of the phony crisis they have created mount, has taken their radicalism beyond tough negotiating, beyond even hostage-taking.
As markets fall in anticipation that there may not be a timely resolution; as credit agencies issue dire warnings that the U.S. political system has become so dysfunctional that a credit downgrade may be inevitable, and as America looks weakened in the eyes of the world, the tea party’s hostage-taking has evolved into the intentional infliction of harm on innocent Americans to achieve a political objective – terrorism.
Terrorism is a tough term, but, unfortunately, it describes tea party tactics precisely. Their first step was to vow not to vote to raise the debt ceiling.
Here, as in many radical factions, there was a split between the purists and the pragmatists. Pragmatists vowed not to raise the ceiling unless draconian cuts were made in the federal government.
Purists didn’t bother with an “unless.” They, including presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.), were willing to let the entire edifice come crashing down — hiding behind magical thinking that allowed them to deny that anything horrible would happen if the ceiling were not raised.
Out of this vow grew the phony linkage between raising the debt ceiling and addressing the deficit. Raising the debt ceiling, of course, has nothing to do with addressing the deficit. It simply allows the federal government to pay debts that have already been incurred, based on expenditures that Congress has already authorized.
Charge everyone of the home grown terrorist with Treason. It’s beyond the pale what is happening in our government and it coming from the enemy within. The DOJ needs to investigate and purge these maggots from society! They pollute the land!
FINALLY!! they are calling it what it is.
I am with you SG…next they need to call it treason …as these folks are not fulfilling the Constitutional oath they swore to uphold.
Kerry: Republicans Have Broken Our Governing Process
Good Morning, 3 Chics, Friends & Visitors!
Inspiration for today…
Be strong and of good a courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
Good Morning, Everyone:)
thank you for the inspiration.
Good morning, 3Chics~
Morning ladies, I’m running a little behind this morning! I hope you have a great Sunday!
Hey, lady! Same here…other than that hope you have a good day! (: