Happy FRY-day, Everyone! 3 Chics is wrapping up the week with Gladys Knight & The Pips’ Midnight Train to GEORGIA.
Happy FRY-day, Everyone! 3 Chics is wrapping up the week with Gladys Knight & The Pips’ Midnight Train to GEORGIA.
Even though 3Chics Politico is written and curated by three women: Ametia, Rikyrah, and SouthernGirl2, I must nominate this as one of the most engaging blogs I've found. Devoted to politics and culture, these three shine a light on contemporary life with humor and spirit.
|rikyrah on Open Thread | So…The Mou…|
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The Fruits Of Christianism
Well it’s on now. The pastor, Robert Jeffress, who introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voters Summit, has just opened a can of evangelical whup-ass on Mitt Romney. Here’s the money quote:
Jeffress described Romney’s Mormon faith as a “cult,” and said evangelicals had only one real option in the 2012 primaries. Continue Reading “That is a mainstream view, that Mormonism is a cult,” Jeffress told reporters here. “Every true, born again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian.” Asked by POLITICO if he believed Romney is a Christian, Jeffress answered: “No.”
And I just heard Tony Perkins on CNN refuse to deny that Mormonism is a cult. I have to say the crudeness of this attack, even if Perry had no idea a surrogate would convey this message, is striking. It appears the Perry camp signed off on Jeffress two weeks ahead of time and Jeffress has said this kind of thing before – which makes this even more gob-smacking.
If you wonder why Romney cannot quite seal the deal, Pastor Jeffress has part of the answer. If you turn a political party into a church, as the GOP essentially now is, sectarianism will eventually emerge. In all its ugly, bigoted, negative manifestations. Perry is showing he can play a card from the bottom of the deck when he’s up against it. Which is not a good sign for next year.
Looks like Doroty Cooper’s story is making the rounds GOOD. Maddow just wrapped up a segment on her and TN ‘s attemts at VOTER SUPPRESSION.
Melissa Harris Perry is spot on. They are deconstructing Cain’s bullshit. I beleive that some of the church/ religion thing is about brainwashing. Africans did not practice the form of religion their captors practiced.
Rev. Al: People in GLASS HOUSES SHOULDN’T THROW STONES! I <3 Rev. Al!
I loved Rev. Al
if Cain wants to throw stones; his Black ass should have a duck and weave planned for when folks throw some back.
I’m also very happy that Rev. Al reminded folks that Cain trafficked in that Birther Shyt.
YES YES YES
some folks said they were uncomfortable with Lawrence and Cain last night. I was not one of them for 2 reasons:
1. Cain had LIED in his book about being in high school during the Civil Rights Movement. he was in College.
2. Not just any college, but Morehouse College. The Alma Mater of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Morehouse of Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays. The Morehouse in the center of the Atlanta Black College system.
to believe that the Civil Rights Movement just ’ happened by’ a student at Morehouse would mean that you’d believe a White student, who was at UCal/Berkeley during the 60’s that that period ’ just happened’.
I don’t believe it for a minute.
Rev. Al was so on point. It’s one thing to say that you took your ‘ own path’. It’s altogether something else that you disrespect those who did the heavy lifting to afford YOU the opportunities that you’ve had in America.
I loathe Black conservatives like Cain for many reasons, but chief among them is their willingness to feed into right -wing bullshyt that there simply weren’t any Black folks ‘qualified’ to do anything BEFORE the Civil Rights Movement, and the CVR, then opened the door to all those ‘ unqualified minorities’ to walk through the door. Cain reinforces that the luxury of delusion that I call the ‘World of Mad Men’ was a fact, when, it was FANTASY. They weren’t big fish in a big pond; they were big fish in a pond where 90% of the rest of the pond was shoved into sardine cans.
There has been an educated, qualified Black class in this country since right after the Civil War. My grandmother had her masters degree by the time she married in 1905. She made sure that ALL her daughters were educated with Masters Degrees before Brown vs. Board. And, my family didn’t go to school by themselves. But, my mother and her sisters – all Phi Beta Kappas – had 2 options when they graduated: they could go into social work, or become a teacher. My father, who went to college via the GI Bill, achieved the top 1% on the CPA exam, but couldn’t find an accounting job; he couldn’t even get in with the IRS, so he went to the VA and became an X-Ray technician. I have an aunt who had a PhD in Chemistry.
Do you think she was able to get a ‘ research’ job, of any sort?
And, why not?
Because, it didn’t matter how qualified you were, my family was the wrong COLOR.
And, so, to see a slave catcher like Cain pretend otherwise….I can’t even express the depths of the despisal that I feel towards self-hating clowns like him.
Bring it, Rikyrah! Tell the truth! It gives me chills!
Your post is fiyah!
Tell it, rikyrah. NUFF SAID!
Lawrence O’Donnell is doing a panel on Cain with Sharpton, Lacewell-Perry, and someone else.
Hubby and are watching. Goldie Taylor from the Grio was on the panel.
i’ll post the video when available. This panel discussion is worth a post.
Thank you! Can we embed this?
I have loved Gladys Knight week. I just don’t think Gladys has gotten the recognition she deserved from the industry.
I concur, rikyrah. I think Aretha set the bar high, and I also beleive the “industry” does try to limit the quantity of quality when it comes to BLACK talent, skills and success. If you get my drift.
Here’s Chaka, featuring Meshelle Ndegeocello, with Never Miss The Water. Have a great weekend everyone…and stay safe!
Romney: God wants America to lead By Agence France-Presse Friday, October 7, 2011
Leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney declared Friday that God created America to lead the world, and accused President Barack Obama of deliberately weakening his nation. Romney sought to bolster his credentials to serve as commander-in-chief as new polls showed him back at the top of the Republican field and in a tight potential head-to-head matchup with Obama ahead of next year’s election.
“God did not create this country to be a nation of followers. America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers,” Romney said, in the most important foreign policy speech of the Republican campaign so far. “America must lead the world, or someone else will,” he said, arguing that the globe would be more dangerous absent a prime role for Washington, Romney said in the speech, delivered on the 10th anniversary of the Afghan war. “I will never, ever apologize for America,” Romney said, surrounded by cadets at the Citadel, a military college in South Carolina.
Republicans have cast Obama’s efforts to improve the image of the United States abroad as an “apology tour” and accuse the current administration of settling for a diminished US role in the world. But Obama 2012 campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said Romney’s speech “proves once again that he is willing to say anything, regardless of the facts, to get elected.”
Georgia city revises headscarf policy after lawsuit – By Reuters Friday, October 7, 2011
A Georgia city settled a federal lawsuit on Thursday filed by a Muslim woman who was arrested and jailed after she refused to remove her headscarf before entering a courtroom. Lisa Valentine was accompanying a nephew to court in Douglasville in December 2008 when an officer manning a courthouse metal detector told her that headscarves could not be worn in court, according to the suit filed last year. Valentine then told the officer the policy was discriminatory and tried to leave, but she was arrested and cited for contempt, the lawsuit said. Valentine was later forced to remove her headscarf, handcuffed and sent to jail for several hours, though the contempt charge was later dropped.
The wearing of Muslim headscarves, which typically cover a woman’s hair and neck as a sign of modesty, in public buildings has sometimes sparked controversy in the United States and in Europe. In France, authorities banned the scarves in schools on the grounds that they violated the country’s principle of secularism. U.S. civil rights advocates argue that such a ban in the United States would violate religious freedoms.
As part of the settlement, the city of Douglasville has adopted a new policy permitting headscarves in the courtroom and allowing those wearing religious head coverings to go through security screening in a private area by an officer of the same gender.
11 Facts You Need To Know About The Nation’s Biggest Banks – By Pat Garofalo on Oct 7, 2011
The Occupy Wall Street protests that began in New York City more than three weeks ago have now spread across the country. The choice of Wall Street as the focal point for the protests — as even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said — makes sense due to the big bank malfeasance that led to the Great Recession.
While the Dodd-Frank financial reform law did a lot to ensure that a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis won’t occur — through regulation of derivatives, a new consumer protection agency, and new powers for the government to dismantle failing banks — the biggest banks still have a firm grip on the financial system, even more so than before the 2008 financial crisis. Here are eleven facts that you need to know about the nation’s biggest banks:
– Bank profits are highest since before the recession…: According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., bank profits in the first quarter of this year were “the best for the industry since the $36.8 billion earned in the second quarter of 2007.” JP Morgan Chase is currently pulling in record profits.
– …even as the banks plan thousands of layoffs: Banks, including Bank of America, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, and Credit Suisse, are planning to lay off tens of thousands of workers.
– Banks make nearly one-third of total corporate profits: The financial sector accounts for about 30 percent of total corporate profits, which is actually down from before the financial crisis, when they made closer to 40 percent.
– Since 2008, the biggest banks have gotten bigger: Due to the failure of small competitors and mergers facilitated during the 2008 crisis, the nation’s biggest banks — including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo — are now bigger than they were pre-recession. Pre-crisis, the four biggest banks held 32 percent of total deposits; now they hold nearly 40 percent.
– The four biggest banks issue 50 percent of mortgages and 66 percent of credit cards: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup issue one out of every two mortgages and nearly two out of every three credit cards in America.
– The 10 biggest banks hold 60 percent of bank assets: In the 1980s, the 10 biggest banks controlled 22 percent of total bank assets. Today, they control 60 percent.
– The six biggest banks hold assets equal to 63 percent of the country’s GDP: In 1995, the six biggest banks in the country held assets equal to about 17 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Now their assets equal 63 percent of GDP.
– The five biggest banks hold 95 percent of derivatives: Nearly the entire market in derivatives — the credit instruments that helped blow up some of the nation’s biggest banks as well as mega-insurer AIG — is dominated by just five firms: JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo.
– Banks cost households nearly $20 trillion in wealth: Almost $20 trillion in wealth was destroyed by the Great Recession, and total family wealth is still down “$12.8 trillion (in 2011 dollars) from June 2007 — its last peak.”
– Big banks don’t lend to small businesses: The New Rules Project notes that the country’s 20 biggest banks “devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business.”
– Big banks paid 5,000 bonuses of at least $1 million in 2008: According to the New York Attorney General’s office, “nine of the financial firms that were among the largest recipients of federal bailout money paid about 5,000 of their traders and bankers bonuses of more than $1 million apiece for 2008.”
In the last few decades, regulations on the biggest banks have been systematically eliminated, while those banks engineered more and more ways to both rip off customers and turn ever-more complex trading instruments into ever-higher profits. It makes perfect sense, then, that a movement calling for an economy that works for everyone would center its efforts on an industry that exemplifies the opposite.
Obama’s Food Safety Law That Republicans Fought Could Have Prevented Tainted Melon Outbreak – By Alex Seitz-Wald on Oct 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm
Eighteen people have now died from cantaloupes contaminated with listeria, in the deadliest food outbreak in a decade. But legislation President Obama signed into law earlier this year might have prevented their deaths if it were fully implemented, as it would give regulators the power to head off outbreaks before they even occur, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
Inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration are searching fields in Colorado’s Rocky Ford region for clues as to how cantaloupes grown there this summer caused at least 100 illnesses and 18 deaths. But if a new law had been in place, they might have been there before the outbreak. […] Under the current FDA food-inspection system, facilities are inspected fitfully—if at all. In fiscal 2010, the FDA inspected about 15% of U.S. food production facilities, about 0.1% of foreign import facilities and essentially no farms. Farms such as Jensen Farms, which grew the cantaloupes linked to the deadly outbreak of listeria, don’t get inspected unless contamination is suspected.
Now, the FDA is writing a set of rules that will require farms and food facilities to identify hazards over the next two years, with the goal of preventing disease outbreaks in the first place. The rules will be based on scientific research and the outcomes of investigations, the FDA says. For example, now that the agency has learned that listeria can appear in fruit, it is expected to craft a rule requiring farms to minimize the risk of that occurring.
The law was the biggest upgrade of the nation’s food safety regime in decades, but Republicans fought its passage, calling it a “government takeover” of food. And even after Obama signed it, House Republicans threatened to defund the law through the appropriations process. They say the law is just another burdensome government regulation and that the food industry does a good enough job policing itself. The tainted melon outbreak, alongside other outbreaks of contaminated food, shows that’s clearly not true.
Rep. Steve King Would Repeat Slavery Era, Says There’s Nothing He Would Change About American History – By Alex Seitz-Wald on Oct 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm
Tea Party Rep. Steve King (R-IA) fired up the socially conservative crowd at the Values Voters summit today, telling them that God controlled the Founding Fathers “like men on a chess board.” But the arch-conservative congressman seemed to forget his grade-school history when he told the crowd that there was not a single thing he would change in America’s history to make it better:
KING: Could you reverse engineer the United States of America and come up with a better result that what we have here? Could you go back through history and turn us in history in any way where our mortal wisdom could supersede the actual history that we’ve experienced as a country? I say not. I believe that the Bible was written with divine inspiration. I believe that the declaration was written with divine guidance. I believe that God moved the Founding Fathers around this country and the globe like men on a chess board.
King’s affirmation of the entirety of U.S. history ignores, of course, the country’s dark chapter of legalized slavery. Many of the Founding Fathers, who King believes God micromanaged, were slave owners themselves and enshrined protections for slavery in the original Constitution. Would King really want to repeat this history? In 2009, King was the only member of Congress to vote against a House resolution to acknowledge the role that slave labor had in constructing the U.S. Capitol building. The resolution would merely authorize the placement of a marker inside the new Capitol Visitor Center, but King opposed it because he said it would not present “a balanced depiction of history.”
Sen. Rand Paul ‘Hopes’ Wall Street Protestors Don’t Loot Rich Peoples’ iPhones – By Susie Madrak October 07, 2011 12:00 PM
Rand Paul is, to put it politely, a bit of a dimwit. So I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised that he’s insulting so many of the Occupy Wall Street protesters with his silly rhetoric. Via Raw Story: Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky on Fox Business warned Thursday that the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in New York City could become violent thanks, in part, to President Barack Obama.
“As far as this Occupy Wall Street movement goes, you know I see it sort of like a Paris mob,” he said. “I see the president’s rhetoric of envy inflaming the public.” Sen. Paul said he “hoped” that the “Parisian mob” that Obama was inflaming didn’t result in “lawlessness” where protesters looted iPhones, “because rich people don’t deserve to have them.”
[Click on link to view video.]
Key Romney Advisers Advocate War With Iran – By Ben Armbruster on Oct 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Yesterday, GOP presidential front runner Mitt Romney announced his campaign’s foreign policy team. While ThinkProgress pointed out that many of Romney’s advisers helped push the United States into war with Iraq, it might also be interesting to know what the former Massachusetts governor will be hearing from his top aides regarding Iran. Prominent neoconservative Robert Kagan, who is among Romney’s foreign policy advisers, has actually spoken out in favor of talking to Iran. However, that view is by far an outlier among Romney’s team. While some of them have tried to push the claim that Iran is working with al Qaeda, others have said or written that the U.S. should take a more militaristic approach toward the Islamic Republic:
ELIOT COHEN: Soon after the 9/11 attacks, Cohen, now director of the strategic studies program and Johns Hopkins University, called for the overthrow of the Iranian government. And that thinking doesn’t appear to have changed. In 2009, Cohen again called for the overthrow of the Iranian regime and said either attack Iran or it gets nukes. “The choices are now what they ever were: an American or an Israeli strike, which would probably cause a substantial war, or living in a world with Iranian nuclear weapons, which may also result in war, perhaps nuclear, over a longer period of time.”
MICHAEL HAYDEN: On CNN last year, former CIA director (and prominent torture advocate) Michael Hayden said attacking Iran over its nuclear program might not be a bad idea. “In my personal thinking — I need to emphasize that — I have begun to consider that that may not be the worst of all possible outcomes,” he said.
ERIC EDELMAN: Edelman was a career diplomat and former aid to Vice President Dick Cheney. Earlier this year in an article in Foreign Affairs, Edelman, along with two other co-authors, said that the U.S. will either have to attack Iran or contain its nuclear weapons capability. “The military option should not be dismissed because of the appealing but flawed notion that containment is a relatively easy or low-risk solution to a very difficult problem,” they wrote.
NORM COLEMAN: Coleman, the former Republican senator from Minnesota, said in 2007 that if Israel ever attacks Iran, the United States should join in. “If something is taken,” Coleman said, “the United States is going to be part of that. We have to understand that. There is no saying, ‘Israel did it.’”
KIM HOLMES: In 2005, the Heritage Foundation’s Kim Holmes worried that the Europeans, by negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, might be preventing the U.S. from using military force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Holmes called it a “serious mistake” to allow Iran to obtain the bomb because “Iran itself is simply too untrustworthy to be trusted with nuclear weapons.”
John Boehner threatens to withhold funds from Justice to force DOMA enforcement – Posted on Friday, October 7, 2011, 1:08 pm by GottaLaff
President Obama’s position on the Defense Of Marriage Act is that it is unconstitutional, so he has stopped defending it while Democrats work to repeal the law. In fact, he endorsed the DOMA repeal bill, the Respect for Marriage Act. John Boehner would have none of that, so several months ago, he said that, on behalf of the House of Representatives, he would hire a private law firm to defend it. Now he’s going a step further, doing so at the Value Voters Summit, where he should have been wearing a red meat pin next to his flag pin.
The Hill: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) threatened Friday to withhold funding from the Justice Department unless it agrees to defend a ban on the federal government recognizing same-sex marriages. “We’re going to take the money away from the Justice Department, who’s supposed to enforce it, and we’ll use it to enforce the law,” Boehner told the conservative Value Voters Summit.
Has America figured out what an embarrassment this party is yet? No? Well, someone please place a call and let them know.
Eric Holder: GOP Accusation That I Lied About Fast And Furious Is Outrageous
Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter to Congress on Friday that the accusation that he lied about his knowledge of ATF’s Fast and Furious program is irresponsible “political posturing.”
Holder wrote that he could not “sit idly by” as Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) “suggests, as happened this week, that law enforcement and government employees who devote their lives to protecting our citizens be considered ‘accessories to murder.'”
“Such irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric must be repudiated in the strongest possible terms,” Holder said. “Those who serve in the ranks of law enforcement are our Nation’s heroes and deserve our Nation’s thanks, not the disrespect that is being heaped on them by those who seek political advantage. I trust you feel similarly and I call on you to denounce these statements.”
Holder wrote that he had “not spoken at length on this subject out of deference to the review being conducted, at my request, by our Department’s Inspector General.” But he said that in the past few days “the public discourse concerning these issues has become so base and so harmful to interests that I hope we all share that I must now address these issues notwithstanding the Inspector General’s ongoing review.”
Obama 2012 Campaign Video: Saving Early Voting Rights – Citizens’ Veto for Ohio House Bill 194
Billy Bob Thornton’s estranged daughter Amanda Brumfield gets 20 years in infant’s death
(CBS/WKMG) OCOEE, Fla. – Amanda Brumfield, the estranged daughter of actor Billy Bob Thornton, was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for aggravated manslaughter in the 2008 death of her friend’s 1-year-old child.
Pictures: Children of the rich and famous, arrested
Brumfield, 32, was found guilty in May of aggravated manslaughter, but she was acquitted of the first-degree murder and aggravated child-abuse, charges she originally faced, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.
Brumfield claimed the child, Olivia Madison Garcia, was trying to climb out of a playpen when the toddler lost her balance, fell about 2 feet and hit her head. She said Olivia was fine, and she even fed her a banana, which is why she waited two hours to call for help, reports the station.
At trial, Orange County Medical Examiner Dr. Jane Garavaglia testified that the death of Olivia was intentional, stating that it is impossible for a fall from that height to cause the three-and-a-half inch fracture and bleeding and swelling found in the girl’s brain. But, the defense suggested the fall may have aggravated a previous injury, causing the 1-year-old’s death.
Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:30 AM PDT.
Charlie Cook: The Republican nomination is Rick Perry’s to lose
by Jed Lewison
Charlie Cook isn’t guaranteeing that Rick Perry will win the GOP nomination, but he makes the case that it’s Perry’s to lose:
Perry has shown a proclivity to step on his own body parts and will undoubtedly do so again. The question is whether he learns from his mistakes. If he does, he will be the GOP nominee and stands a fair chance of beating President Obama, given the horrific economy and the public’s loss of confidence in the president. If he doesn’t and isn’t more careful about what he says and how he says it, Perry will either lose the nomination, or he will win it and then lose a general election that’s there for the taking. Simple as that.
That’s basically my take, too, though I suspect Cook’s definition of “fair chance” and mine are a bit different (I’d say Perry is at least a 2:1 dog to win the general, and probably worse). Cook’s basic rationale:
Clearly, most Republican voters would much prefer a very, very, very conservative nominee to the more buttoned-down Romney. […] It’s unclear whether they want, or will end up supporting, Perry—but, obviously, they want a Perry-like conservative.
The question, Cook says, is whether Perry can convince them he’s capable of being a national candidate—not just a regional Southern candidate from Texas.
Based on Perry’s swift collapse over the past few weeks and the conventional wisdom emanating from most pundits, it’s tempting to say that the question’s already been answered, but Romney’s weakness means that Perry or another Republican currently running will get another shot at rising to to the top. Perry is in the best position to do that, not just because of his fundraising ability but also because he’s been a fairly successful politician his entire adult life. You don’t serve as governor of Texas for ten years and counting without having some political skill, and given the shallowness of Romney’s support, he still has every opportunity to clinch the GOP nomination.
Thu, Oct 6 2011
S.Africa’s blacks branching out into wine industry
A new class of wine makers is emerging in South Africa with blacks, many of whom once worked the land, now taking over vineyards in an industry dominated for centuries by whites.
There are only a handful of black-owned vineyards in the $3 billion a year industry but the number is expected to increase as the government tries to unwind policies under colonial rule and then apartheid that forced blacks off the land or into slave-like work at farms.
M’hudi wines is one of the black-owned vineyards that is a recent entrant into the industry, offering several mid-priced options in red and white. M’hudi means “harvester” in Setswana.
“The wine industry is still uncharted by African people,” says Malmesy Rangaka, CEO and matriarch of M’hudi.
The label is run by the Rangaka family of business professionals who chose to leave their well-paying jobs in major cities to pursue an industry they knew nothing about just a few years ago.
“Unless we take the risk, a calculated risk, we will forever complain that the industry is not transforming. Somebody like us and others who took the risk have to lead the way,” she said.
M’hudi now produces over 7,000 cases of wine a year with revenue of over 3 million rand. It is hoping to triple production in five years.
Other new players include the Bayede, or “hail to the king” brand from Zulu royalty King Goodwill Zwelethini, which was set up to help create jobs in the eastern KwaZulu Natal province.
Another is Thandi, which means “nurturing love” in Xhosa. It was started in 1995 to help former farm workers and other people disenfranchised under apartheid. It is owned by 250 farm-worker families.
Most of the new entrants have benefited from government affirmative action and land redistribution programmes. They are producing mid-level wines, hoping to branch into higher end vintages as they build up expertise and experience.
One change in the market dynamics that has favoured all South African winemakers is that the country’s black majority is increasingly selecting wine as a drink of choice.
The Soweto Wine Festival, set in the township that became a centre of black culture under apartheid, has grown into one of the biggest in South Africa.
“It’s a very progressive, young Sowetan market and it is wonderful to be part of that,” said one of the festival sponsors, Caroline Sunders.
South African wines date back to the mid 1700’s and the first vines were planted by Dutch settlers, at first to ward off scurvy.
“This is an industry that requires understanding of product from cultivation of the soils, understanding climate influence, making of wine, branding and marketing of the product, but most of all patience,” said Andre Morgenthal communications manager of Wines of South Africa
Populism And The Shift In Political Debate
Greg Sargent translates the president’s latest challenge:
Can we all stop pretending that eliminating the EPA constitutes a jobs plan?
Steve Benen adds
The simple fact of the matter is, congressional Republicans don’t have a jobs plan. They don’t even pretend to. By all indications, nearly every aspect of the GOP approach to governance is predicated on the idea, at least in the short-term, of making unemployment worse.
Amid comparisons to Truman’s 1948 campaign, Brendan Nyhan issues an important caveat: “Truman’s comeback was fueled by ‘sizzling’ growth in the year before the election.” Nyhan doubts the current economy will rebound as dramatically. David Corn worries about a prolonged message war between Obama and the Republicans:
The real question is, can he sustain such a fight—the equivalent of a political ground war—for the next 13 months? It may be his only play, but it certainly will be hard for him to keep it fresh.
Benen is intrigued by a possible new strategy for “round two” of the jobs fight:
[I]f Republicans kill the legislation, Dems will then press GOP members to start also killing its component parts, one at a time. It’s one thing to reject a package deal; it’s more striking to force Republicans to vote against popular ideas, over and over again — no to infrastructure investments, no to small business tax cuts, no to saving teachers’ jobs, no to the jobs-for-veterans tax break, etc.
According to the NYT, some Republicans understand the political vulnerability of proposing nothing, not even rate-reducing, revenue-increasing tax reform, while a double-dip recession looms. Sure, $447 billion is a band-aid. Structural tax reform, entitlement cuts, Medicare cost control, and revenue increases are necessary to spur long-term growth .. but now? Recessions build on themselves, as demand circles the drain.
I note too how ill-suited Romney is to this climate. Obama’s core weakness in a time of rage and populism is his calm and cool. But Romney is not exactly a tub-thumper either; and it’s close to impossible to imagine him seeming like the man to redress inequality of sacrifice in this period of austerity. Meanwhile, Obama is slowly turning into a happier warrior, campaigning rather than governing, because, without the GOP, there is very little else he can do. Could Obama reinvent himself as a populist while Romney comes off as a corporate suit? Stranger twists in politics have happened.
Politically, Obama was once lethal as an insurgent. What if he becomes an insurgent again?
Jon Stewart Says What The Media Won’t: Sarah Palin Is A Scammer
While discussing Sarah Palin’s decision not to run for president, Jon Stewart put all the pieces together and called her out for running a scam.
Here is the video from The Daily Show:
Stewart showed clips of Palin discussing her decision not to run, and her pretend presidential campaign and then said, “You know, it’s not that terrible of a thing because for the most part Palin’s narcissism is a victimless crime, except for this. Two weeks ago Palin supporters got a letter from SarahPAC that was curiously specific about its purpose.”
He then read from the letter that urged people to donate if they wanted her to run, and then said, “So everyone, let me translate that. If you want Tinkerbelle to live, clap harder. Now we all have to remember that SarahPAC isn’t just some grassroots Sarah Palin fan club that sprouted up naturally out of the manure fields of Wasilla. It’s Sarah Palin’s PAC, and by PAC I mean pack of money. It’s her money. She controls it.”
Stewart than ran down some of the ways that Sarah Palin has used her PAC money and continued, “Now you may say to yourself, wow that’s f**king crazy, but those are the rules that are set up. The only way that her little scheme would dishonorable or shady is Palin had known all along what her decision was yet continued to dangle her indecision as a lure to unsuspecting donors. How you gonna prove that? You would have to find someone close to the operation perhaps too naïve to realize that she has inadvertently spilled the beans on let’s say June 28.”
(Video of Bristol saying her mom has made up her mind on Fox News).
Stewart closed, “See that kind of takes us out of the self-involved territory and puts us into the Nigerian prince territory.”
Jon Stewart is the first person on television to call out Sarah Palin for scamming her supporters. Everyone who writes about Palin already knew that she was running a big con, but this was never discussed on television. The talking heads would make references to Palin not wanting to give up her TV gig or her paid speeches, but they never were brave enough to speak the truth. Since she quit as governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin was running a big con.
Back when she bolted out of Alaska it seemed logical that she quit early in order to position herself to run in 2012, but instead she did the opposite. From the moment that she quit, Palin has been all about making money. Every move that she has made has been about getting paid, including her fake decision making process concerning running in 2012. She got a bus. She went on tours. She did everything, but hire a staff, form an exploratory committee, or anything else that a serious candidate would do.
A few weeks ago Palin pulled her final 2012 con when she sent out a fundraising letter that misled her supporters into giving her money when she had no intention of running for president. The mainstream media has given Sarah Palin a total pass, but Jon Stewart didn’t. He connected the dots and told America what many of us always knew.
Sarah Palin is a grifter. She could see that that her fifteen minutes were almost up, so Palin went for one last score before she was forced out of the politics game, and her scam would have never been mentioned on television if it wasn’t for Jon Stewart.
7 Oct 2011 12:38 PM
Mitt “14 Percent Tax Rate” Romney
Huckabee’s dig at Romney as the man who laid you off has stuck. As Michael Scherer points out, the Buffet tax would definitely apply to Mitt:
Romney, a wealthy man whose income mostly comes from long-term investments, is exactly the sort of “millionaire and billionaire” that Obama likes to hold up for scrutiny, since the source of Romney’s income allows him to pay a lower percentage of his money to the federal government each year than many middle-class wage earners.
Romney is estimated to have paid 14% of his gross income in taxes in 2010, a lot less than the 35% rate that many Americans pay. Greg Sargent thinks it’s one of Romney’s unexplored vulnerabilities. Evan McMorris-Santoro doesn’t see the issue going away:
Romney has been attacked over his wealth (and the way he made it) in the past. This time around, Romney’s still playing up his business credentials, but also casting himself as “unemployed” and a member of the middle class. He’s also hopped on the class warfare train as progressive protests on Wall Street and other places have spooled up. … And the estimated 14% tax rate Romney paid last year makes him perhaps the perfect foil for Obama’s populist push.
The End of the Con
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Oct 6 2011, 10:00 AM ET 312
David Frum sketches the coming decline of Sarah Palin:
Palin will never become a party elder stateswoman. Over the past three years, it became apparent to all but a handful of cultists that her only interests were money and celebrity. She had no concept of public service, and no capacity to serve even if she had wished to do so. Soon even those last cultists will quietly abandon the argument. We talk often these days about makers and takers. Sarah Palin was the ultimate taker. She abandoned her post as governor of Alaska to cash in on lectures and TV. She squeezed her supporters for political donations and spent the money on herself. To adapt an old phrase, she seen her opportunities and she took ’em.
In the end, she exploited, abused, or embarrassed almost everyone who had believed in her. Most embarrassing of all: she was never even a very good con artist. Everything that was false and petty and unqualified in her was visible within the first minutes of encountering her. The people she fooled were people who passionately wished to be fooled. To that extent, what was important in her story was not the faults and failings of Sarah Palin. There have always been grifters in politics. What was important in her story was the revelation of conservatism’s lack of antibodies against somebody with the faults and failings of Sarah Palin. That’s the story that should trouble us still.
I was thinking this morning about how she’ll likely have a long a career in media somewhere. Maybe so. But people don’t seem to like Sarah Palin, very much — and I don’t mean “people like me.” A few years ago it was pretty common to hear folks like Fred Barnes gleefully noting how much Palin annoys liberals. Now you have people like Ann Coulter saying, “no conservative on TV will criticize her because they don’t want to deal with the hate mail.”
Perhaps she’ll do the work to reinvent herself into a Rush Limbaugh, or some such. More likely, I think she’ll hit the speaking circuit, working the marks who so “passionately want to be fooled,” and then make another reality show. It will be a perfectly fine life. Meanwhile, I’m left to wonder how in the world people ever saw in Sarah Palin, who showed no willingness to work, the makings of a gifted politician.
Poll: Cain surges, opens up 20-point lead on Romney
In news sure to inject shock and awe into the Republican political primary season, a Zogby poll released Thursday showed Herman Cain leading the Republican field, topping former front-runner Mitt Romney by an astonishing 20 points. Cain would also narrowly edge out Obama in a general election, the poll found, by a 46�“44 margin.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, would lose by a point to the president, 40 percent to 41 percent. Texas governor Rick Perry, who has slipped in the polls of late, would lose to the president 45 percent to 40 percent.
The poll found that 38 percent of Republican primary voters said they would vote for Cain if the primary were held today. Eighteen percent said they would throw their support to Romney, while 12 percent each said they would vote for Perry and Texas congressman Ron Paul. No other candidate attracted double-digit support.
This is the second month in a row in which Zogby has found Cain leading the pack; he has surged another 10 points ahead of his competitors since September. Romney, on the other hand, has remained in the same place, while Perry’s share of the primary vote in the Zogby poll has steadily declined since he announced his candidacy in August.
Other pollsters have found Cain at or near the top of the field, with Fox News declaring him a top-tier candidate following its poll last week. That poll found Cain had 17 percent of the vote, trailing Perry by just two points and Romney by five.
A CBS News poll released Tuesday found Romney and Cain tied at 17 percent, with Perry trailing at 12 percent; a YouGov/Economist poll released Thursday found Cain leading with 21 percent, four points ahead of Romney.
Though many have questioned Cain’s viability as a legitimate candidate, voters are clearly giving him another look.
The IBOPE Zogby International poll is based on an online October 3�“5 survey of 1,581 voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The sample of likely Republican primary voters included 796 Americans, and has an margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Half And Half Again
Posted by Zandar
Right wing radio host Laura Ingraham actually served a useful purpose this week with her charming comments on race, President Obama, Herman Cain, and American history
And what happened with Obama is that he gets this job that he’s not qualified for… OK, so [Obama is] Constitutionally qualified for but he’s not really qualified for. And guess who pays the price? All of us. Because we had such a yearning for history.
Well I have a question. Herman Cain, if he became president, he would be the first black president, when you measure it by — because he doesn’t — does he have a white mother, white father, grandparents, no, right? So Herman Cain, he could say that he’s — he’s — he’s the first, uh — he could make the claim to be the first — yeah, the first Main Street black Republican to be the president of the United States. Right? He’s historic too.
Now you may be thinking “How is this useful other than as a window into just how awful a person Laura Ingraham is?” I’ll be happy to explain my theory. It goes something like this:
Ingraham’s comments show the difference between racism and assumption of privilege. They’re related, but they’re not the same thing. One specifically involves baseless assumptions, negative stereotypes and bigoted behavior specifically involving race, the other involves that a person believes a specific group that they don’t belong to should follow behaviors and be assigned criteria that they consider to be societal norms that the group in question should possess.
It’s entirely possible to assume privilege about a group, to “take it upon oneself,” on issues other than race (gender, sexual identity, religion or lack thereof, etc.) and it’s entirely possible to be racist without assuming privilege (propagating negative stereotypes about one’s own race, “self-hating” etc.)
What Ingraham’s doing is very much in the category of assumption of privilege. She feels that she not only has the right to be the arbiter of the President’s racial identity, that she not only has the right to define what that identity means to all other racial identity groups (and that Barack Obama’s racial identity is different from Herman Cain’s racial identity based solely on her opinion) but given her statements in the past she feels that she knows what is best for the black community as well, even though she’s not a part of it. On top of all that, because the President is biracial (like myself) she feels that she can emphasize one race over the other when it suits her argument, and that his identity is mutable based on what she thinks at the time and from which angle she needs to attack him from. The assumption that other African-Americans need her guidance and opinion in order to formulate their own perceptions of the President’s racial identity is pretty much the height of hubris.
But Ingraham’s technically not being racist. She’s not actually saying that being black is bad, she’s just defining what she thinks being black from a Presidential historical standpoint means and should be defined as. Having said that, her assumption of privilege here is repugnant, ignorant, arrogant, unacceptable and generally makes her a truly rotten human being. I’m pretty sure most of us would find her statements to be breathtakingly terrible and that most people find what she said to be unremittingly foul on pure instinct. Her statements in fact imply a great number of negative things about the President being biracial and that not being good enough to qualify the him for historical status, that somehow it makes Herman Cain “better” in her opinion, but her statements weren’t technically racism, only implied. There is a difference, and it’s one that has been exploited to great effect in history.
Now here’s where it gets fun: Ingraham’s defenders will no doubt say that her assumption of privilege is not racism, and that anyone who does attack her as being such is overly sensitive and should be dismissed. But this means that her assumption of privilege is acceptable to society because the racism is merely implied and not overt, and therefore a matter of one’s opinion and perspective. Implied attacks on minorities through the language of assumption of privilege have been used throughout American history.
It’s readily and painfully recognizable to various minorities, but has over the decades has lost stigma and has even become acceptable to those who regularly assume the familiar code phrases, tired arguments, and “dog whistle” semantics because they are in the majority and get to define in society what the acceptable norms are. When couched in the haze of opinion and point-of-view, attacks on such language can be easily discounted in order to maintain that majority hold on what is acceptable and what is not, and it’s done specifically to blunt criticism from minorities and to perpetuate the power in the majority. At its logical endpoint, it’s also designed specifically to anger the minority group in question in order to provoke a reaction by the minority that can be dismissed by the majority in order to establish dominance by being able to control what is acceptable in society.
It’s worked for a very, very, very long time. Ingraham is playing a game as old as human interaction itself.
Having said that, Laura Ingraham can kiss my biracial ass.
Madam, you are no more the arbiter of the President’s racial identity and what it means to America than pile of fecal matter inside your cranium, and the poison-saturated sack of hypocrisy that constitutes your soul is not anything I would wish on my worst enemy. I am proud of being biracial. It does not make me any less pure or less worthy or less human than human, and I greatly resent the implication. I am exceedingly proud of my President because he is someone like myself, and I live in a country where someone like myself can in fact be the leader of the free world and govern a country of 310 million people, all of which are better people than you are. If you cannot find the singular joy in a society that allows that to happen, your worldview is a hopelessly broken and bleak landscape of endless recriminations that is so exceedingly and perfectly empty that you will seek to fill it with shallow, sneering, venal attacks in order to find some way, any way, to stop the relentless pain that your daily existence must entail.
My theory ends forthwith. Have a nice day.
October 07, 2011 1:15 PM
‘An unforced economic error’
By Steve Benen
Following up on this morning’s job numbers, it’s worth reemphasizing a point the right generally prefers to ignore: spending cuts are making unemployment worse. Dealing with the jobs crisis is hard enough, and conservative policies are akin to throwing an anvil at a drowning economy.
In September, the U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs overall, but the private sector added 137,000 jobs. The total was dragged down by the loss of 34,000 jobs. There’s no great mystery here — as government at every level cuts spending, this necessary leads to public-sector layoffs, affecting, among others, teachers, police officers, and firefighters.
For Republican policymakers, this is a feature, not a bug. In the GOP worldview, the economy will improve when hundreds of thousands of public-sector workers lose their jobs. That may sound ridiculous — and it is — but it’s also a central tenet to the Republican employment policy. Remember what House Speaker John Boehner said earlier this year, told that his budget plan would force hundreds of thousands of government employees into unemployment? “So be it.”
Also, this isn’t a new problem. Alan Pyke posted this chart today, showing “the steady contraction of the public sector and the expansion of the private economy since the Recovery Act actually began to reach the economy in early summer 2009.”
In case it’s hard to read, the blue line shows private-sector growth, while the red line shows public-sector deterioration.
When spending cuts force these public-sector workers from their jobs, it not only hurts them and their families; the effects are felt throughout the economy. These laid-off employees are forced to scale back dramatically, which means they’re spending and investing far less, taking money out of the economy when the economy needs more capital, not less.
The result, obviously, is a brutal drag. Adding insult to injury, it’s a drag that’s easy to avoid. Layoffs at the state and local level were mitigated in 2009 by the Recovery Act, which saved thousands of jobs that would have otherwise been eliminated, and helping keep the economy from getting worse. Those funds have since been exhausted, and the public sector is back to making severe layoffs. David Leonhardt recently described as “an unforced economic error” — with all of the problems we can’t control, this is one problem we know exactly how to prevent. The notion that government would actively and deliberately make unemployment worse seems genuinely insane, and yet, that’s what’s happening thanks to GOP fiscal policies.
What’s necessary right now is some political will. President Obama’s American Jobs Act includes resources to keep public-sector workers on the job. Congressional Republicans have said this is out of the question because, well, I really don’t know why. They haven’t said. Something about “government = bad” or some similarly useless phrase that demonstrates a child-like understanding of public policy.
But the fact remains that it would be fairly easy to make the jobs landscape better. The expense wouldn’t even be that great. The only thing standing in the way is a major political party that’s convinced unemployment will get better after they fire a lot of teachers and cops.
The rigged game
The Koch brothers were born rich. Their money allowed them to get richer by rigging the game. They pour poison into someone else’s river – saving money on pollution control equipment – and profiting from it at the expense of people who used to swim or fish or sell services to tourists. They install governors who decide laws are for other people. When they break laws, the penalties are not anywhere near the profits they made breaking the laws. A 97 count indictment is something to be shrugged off if you own enough legal firepower. They can plead guilty to poisoning the environment and the people in that environment with benzene and to conspiring to cover up the crime and get away with a chump change fine thanks to connections, wealth and donations to the Republican party. They can even, apparently, make money selling to enemy nations. Each one of these makes them richer and more able to rig the game. And then they go into Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper and complain about “crony capitalism” and “bloated government”. It’s as if Bin Ladin had complained about religious fanaticism. These are the people that Republicans claim are “the job creators”. Indeed they create jobs for sleazeball corporate lawyers, tax accountants, lobbyists and propagandists- although at our expense – because the tax system allows people like them to pay taxes at ridiculously low rates thanks to a complex and hidden system of special tax breaks. So the American Jobs Act is now sitting in front of Congress, a start on putting people back to work and fixing our broken bridges, tunnels, and roads. And the Republican Congress won’t even bring it up for a vote because it will make the Kochs and other winners of the rigged game, pay for their own executive jets without a special handout from Uncle Sam.
Justice Dept. Asks Appeals Court to Block Alabama Immigration Law http://tinyurl.com/3syado8
CNN: Romney’s Foreign Policy Sounds Just Like Bush’s
I’m double posting this video
Thank you, atdnext and Planet POV!
Obama Is Doomed Next Year…Or Is He? – Posted by atdnext On October – 4 – 2011
Whenever one flips on the TV and looks at the headlines, we see crap. We see the media obsessing over nonsense while ignoring the stories that legitimate news outlets in other parts of the world would consider “real news”.
A good example of the problem with America’s corporate media is with the latest obsession over “Obama FAIL!!!” They scream about a poll proclaiming, “55% believe Obama will LOSE!!!“, but they don’t ask any questions as to why those results came out when the actual head to head polls against leading Republicans tell a completely different story. When the Republicans can’t even carry a quintessential swing state like Florida or pummel Obama nationally during what’s supposed to be his “WORST. MONTH. EVER!!!”, why isn’t anyone asking why so many Americans believe Obama is certain to lose next year when all relevant data point otherwise?
I think we know the reason why. This is the narrative the media want. They know nothing drives up ratings and campaign ad buys like a knock-down, drag-out, neck-n-neck horse race. And they know President Obama is no longer the “sexy” “new guy”, so they continue to search desperately for someone, ANYONE!, in the Republican Party who they can crown as “THE Next HOT Political Commodity!” as Republican primary voters still can’t figure out which flavor of “TEA” they dislike the least.
Yet while the media keep asking stupid questions and providing even more asinine answers about Campaign 2012, they continue to ignore the real story of the year that they’re too afraid to publicize. This is what most of the media won’t talk about: [Click on link to view video.]
Steve Benen, Political AnimalBlog
October 07, 2011 10:40 AM
At the Washington Ideas Forum yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) lashed out at President Obama in a deeply strange way. Asked what he hoped someone would ask the president at his press conference, held around the same time, Boehner said, “Mr. President, why have you given up on the country and decided to campaign full time?”
The Speaker added, “Nothing has disappointed me more than what has happened in the last five weeks. To watch the president of the United States give up on governing, give up on leading and just spend time campaigning. We’re legislating. He’s campaigning. It’s very disappointing,”
On the list of ridiculous things John Boehner has said, this has to rank pretty high.
In what universe can the actions of House Republicans this year be characterized as “legislating”? Is Boehner aware enough of his surroundings to realize just how pathetic the 112th Congress really is?
We can debate whether the president is “campaigning full time.” I’d argue that Obama is trying to create the political conditions that might prompt Congress to actually try to govern for a change. But it’s at least a debatable point.
But after watching congressional Republicans closely this year, several words come to mind — most aren’t appropriate for publication — and “legislating” certainly isn’t one of them. Jonathan Bernstein noted yesterday that it’s “hard to believe” that Boehner could make this comment “without bursting out laughing.”
The current House has done hardly any legislating at all. They could barely pass a bill to keep the government’s lights on back in the spring, and they almost send the nation into default in the summer. They missed the deadline to pass appropriations bills just last week, and there’s still no guarantee they’ll be able to do it after their new November extension.
And outside of that there’s … well, almost nothing. As Obama pointed out today, there is no Republican initiative that can meaningfully be called a jobs bill. They passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but did not keep their promise to develop a “replace” bill, or even begin the work on doing so. Same thing on financial regulation: they don’t like Dodd/Frank, but there is no Republican alternative.
Right. Boehner and his cohorts aren’t only failing to legislate; they’re failing to even try. In a divided government, with both parties enjoying some power, a legitimate policymaking process would require some give and take, concessions and compromises, and the Speaker has decided it’s not worth the trouble — or more accurately, the weak Speaker has been told by his radicalized caucus that compromise is impossible.
Boehner’s tenure has been a nine-month-long fiasco. Thanks to his style of “legislating,” this Congress has passed no meaningful pieces of legislation, and won’t improve on this record before 2013. Public support for the institution has reached depths unseen since the dawn of modern polling.
If Boehner wants to explain his failures, fine. If he wants to apologize for them, great. But to blame the White House for trying to rally the public behind credible solutions, and pretend that he and his caucus are making a good-faith effort to govern, is insane.
We’re No. 1! In Lack Of Vision And Leadership on Infrastructure Projects! By Susie Madrak October 07, 2011 07:00 AM
So we have the lowest scores for vision and leadership on infrastructure? We’re number one right down there with Peru! CG/LA Infrastructure LLC announced the results of its annual survey of public- and private-sector executives on the U.S. infrastructure market. […] Results were released ahead of next week’s third North America Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum, being held Oct. 11-13, 2011 in Washington D.C., an event that draws several hundred international infrastructure development companies, banks, and policymakers to develop expertise and collaborate on projects.
[…] The CIC survey polls respondents on eight areas fundamental for infrastructure project development, calling for a ranking from 1 to 10, with scores below 7 indicating a failing grade. The U.S. Score for 2011 is 43.8, compared with Brazil’s most recent score of 50.8 and India’s score of 51.3.
Aside from the extraordinarily low scores, there are a number of important findings. First, two scores — for overall vision and for leadership — are the lowest for any country surveyed. Second, on a positive note, the score for domestic engineering, procurement, and construction firms (EPC) is a passing grade, indicating confidence in the technical capabilities of the U.S. private sector to build necessary infrastructure projects.
Norman F. Anderson, the guy whose company did the survey, also just wrote this op-ed for the Washington Post in which he argues for a new approach to infrastructure:
Read more: http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/were-no-1-lack-vision-and-leadership-
GOP Incensed At Reid’s ‘Tyrannical’ Hardball Tactic – Brian Beutler | October 7, 2011, 10:14AM
As explained at length here, Harry Reid’s Thursday night power play set a very narrow new precedent in the Senate. But it was a power play nonetheless. Setting aside its more-than-modest impact, it required using the same “nuclear option” tactics Republicans threatened in 2005 during the fight over judicial filibusters. If in 2005 the GOP were threatening to detonate a massive H-bomb over a major city, last night Harry Reid dropped a rusty old fission devise in the empty desert. Both nukes, very different impacts.
But Republicans are steamed. Steamed doesn’t really even begin to describe it. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was practically trembling in anger. On Twitter, NRSC chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) called it “tyranny”. And a Senate GOP leadership sent me the following remark, suggesting Republicans will remember this whenever they take the majority. “Democrats are remarkably short-sighted–they forget they’ll be in the minority someday and will have to live with THEIR rules,” the aide said. In other words, setting new precedent is the new precedent, so Republicans will do it to. And they can do it to much greater consequence….
But the rule McConnell was trying to exploit wouldn’t really have run down the clock — if it was a great delaying tactic, the GOP would have tried to use it more than once this Congress. Last night’s machinations were less about slowing down Senate business (the Chinese currency bill) and more about the larger politics of President Obama’s jobs bill. It looks like Reid will get his way on that score, and the reason Republicans are so steamed isn’t that they lost a narrow privilege, but because, well, Reid prevailed.
President Obama Honors the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears
October 07, 2011 3:05 PM EDT
Iowa Caucus 2012: Date On Primary Calendar Set For January 3
Iowa will hold its presidential caucuses on January 3, instead of February 6.
To move comes on the heels of Florida and South Carolina moving up their respective primaries on the 2012 election calendar, and Nevada shifting its caucuses to an earlier date.
This is a developing story… More information to come…
Why Herman Cain is the Koch Brothers’ favorite presidential candidate http://thkpr.gs/p32mxL
Hermie, the COON Cain serves only one purpose for the Koch Brothers. He’s their nigga, THE.END.
Romney, who loves to mock Obama for using a teleprompter, is using a teleprompter.
Cain defends civil rights record
Juana Summers flags this exchange from Herman Cain’s appearance on MSNBC’s “The Last Word” Thursday night, featuring host Lawrence O’Donnell pressing the Republican presidential candidate on why he wasn’t active in the civil rights movement:
CAIN: Lawrence, your attempt to say that I sat on the sidelines is an irrelevant comparison that you’re trying to deduce from that particular point in time. I know what’s in my book. Now, let me ask you a question: Did you expect every black student in every black college in America to be out there in the middle of every fight? The answer is no. So for you to say why was I sitting on the sidelines, I think that was an inaccurate deduction that you’re trying to make. You didn’t know, Lawrence, what I was doing with the rest of my life. You didn’t know what my family situation may have been. Maybe, just maybe, I had a sick relative which is why I might not have been sitting in doing the Freedom Rides. So what I’m saying is, with all due respect my friend, is your deduction is incorrect, and it’s not logical. Okay?
O’DONNELL: Well, I gave your book a fair reading and I didn’t read anything about a sick friend. What I read was a deliberate decision to not participate in the Civil Rights movement and the Civil Rights protest. And, I read a misleading sentence that indicated that in time, that what you tried to say here in the show, that you were in high school at that time when in fact you were in college from 1963 to 1967 right where it was happening in Atlanta, Georgia.
CAIN: Lawrence, Lawrence, Lawrence. I’m going to try this one more time. I graduated from high school in 1963, okay? I didn’t start college until the fall of 1963. I don’t understand why you’re trying to make a big deal out of this small point when we have an economy that is on life support, we’ve got 14 million people out of work and you want to try to deduce something that’s incorrect from my words in my book.
Whether or not you think Cain’s level of involvement in the civil rights movement is relevant to the 2012 campaign, it’s striking that he won’t give a straightforward answer to this biographical question. It’s not, you know, unheard-of for college students to be politically engaged. So if Cain made a decision not to participate in the civil rights movement, why not just say so and defend it? And did he really have a sick relative that kept him out of the struggle? If not, why speculate about one?
Cain doesn’t deserve to lick the MLK Memorial or the boots of Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, etc. Who the fuck does he think paved the way for his black ass to rise to any position of power or wealth? Hopefully this negro will fade into oblivion like the rest of the GOP clowns.
Exactly! I was listening to this negro last night on Lawrence and thinking the same thing. Who does Cain’s black ass think paved the way for him? Cain’s a house negro of the highest order!
AMEN to both of you
Cantor Smears Occupy Wall Street As A ‘Mob’ |
Speaking at the social conservative Value Voters Summit today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) maligned the Occupy Wall Street protests and the wider 99 percent movement as a “mob” that is out to “divide Americans”:
CANTOR: I for one am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country. And believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.
October 07, 2011 10:00 AM
The ‘homework assignment’ on the missing GOP jobs plan
By Steve Benen
At yesterday’s White House press conference, President Obama had a compelling suggestion for the press corps in attendance.
“[H]ere’s a little homework assignment for folks,” he said.”Go ask the Republicans what their jobs plan is if they’re opposed to the American Jobs Act, and have it scored, have it assessed by the same independent economists that have assessed our jobs plan. These independent economists say that we could grow the economy as much as 2 percent, and as many as 1.9 million workers would be back on the job. I think it would be interesting to have them do a similar assessment… Have those economists evaluate what, over the next two years, the Republican jobs plan would do.”
At a certain level, Obama was being deliberately coy. There is no Republican jobs plan, at least not in the formal sense. The president and his team, love them or hate them, put pen to paper — they introduced a serious and detailed plan, unveiled a bill, and allowed it to be scrutinized by independent analysts. GOP leaders, in contrast, put some vague platitudes on a website.
But to her credit, the New York Times’ Jackie Calmes saw value in the president’s suggestion and put Obama’s proposition to the test.
Mr. Obama said that while he agreed with some of the Republicans’ proposals — for example, he recently sent three trade bills to Congress for its approval — he said they would not help the economy in the short term. Economists at private-sector forecasting firms agreed.
While economic forecasts are not definitive, in that they are predictions, Macroeconomic Advisers, a St. Louis-based firm that the Federal Reserve often uses, has projected that the Obama jobs plan could increase economic growth by 1.25 percentage points and add 1.3 million jobs in 2012. Moody’s Analytics, another firm, has estimated it would add two percentage points and up to 1.9 million jobs.
Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, said Republicans had “reasonable ideas” but not ones that could be measured by the firm’s forecasting model. He said he believed the proposals “would have little immediate effect relative to a plan that stimulates aggregate demand” — that is, a plan like Mr. Obama’s, with tax cuts and spending programs.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, similarly said the Republican proposals “are generally good longer-term economic policy, but they won’t mean much for the economy and job market in the next year.” He continued: “Given the high odds of another recession in the next few months, it is vital for Congress and the administration to provide some near-term support to the economy.” [emphasis added]
None of this comes as a surprise, of course, which is probably why so few reporters took up Obama’s challenge — the results were pretty obvious.
But this realization should be important to the larger debate over the economy, shouldn’t it? With 9.1% unemployment and a genuine jobs crisis, we have two competing approaches: (a) a credible White House plan with ideas from both parties that, according to independent analyses, would boost an economy that desperately needs a hand; and (b) a vague Republican wish list of tired ideas that, as is clear after any serious evaluation, wouldn’t make matters better.
Until GOP officials come up with a sincere alternative to the American Jobs Act, why should anyone take their whining seriously?
Posted at 04:27 PM ET, 10/06/2011
The conservative response to Elizabeth Warren
By Greg Sargent
The outpouring of rage in response to that viral Elizabeth Warren video has been fascinating to track. My favorite argument thus far from conservatives is the widespread claim that Warren asserted total authority over their property, even though she did nothing of the kind.
Case in point: George Will’s column today. He accuses her of a “collectivist agenda,” which is defined this way:
Such an agenda’s premise is that individualism is a chimera, that any individual’s achievements should be considered entirely derivative from society, so the achievements need not be treated as belonging to the individual. Society is entitled to socialize — i.e., conscript — whatever portion it considers its share. It may, as an optional act of political grace, allow the individual the remainder of what is misleadingly called the individual’s possession.
The collectivist agenda is antithetical to America’s premise, which is: Government — including such public goods as roads, schools and police — is instituted to facilitate individual striving, a.k.a. the pursuit of happiness. The fact that collective choices facilitate this striving does not compel the conclusion that the collectivity (Warren’s “the rest of us”) is entitled to take as much as it pleases of the results of the striving.
It’s important to understand that behind all this clever and fancy wording is an argument that has nothing whatsoever to do with what Warren actually said. Will translates Warren’s claim into an assertion that the “collectivity” is entitled to “conscript” or “take as much as it pleases,” rendering the property, achievements and even autonomy of individuals meaningless or inoperative simply because they were enabled by that society.
This power to “conscript” that Will is talking about is a reference to “taxation.” Congress’s power to tax flows from the U.S. Constitution, and the members of Congress who determine tax rates are elected by the millions of people who vote in Congressional elections. I’m assuming Will doesn’t question that basic arrangement. Warren was not calling for a change in that basic arrangement; she was merely making an argument about what constitutes a fairer rate of taxation under a system that Will presumably accepts as legitimate.
What Warren actually said celebrated individual achievement, property and autonomy, while making the completely uncontroversial argument that those things are made possible by a functioning society enabled by a healthy social contract. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive in any way. The argument Warren is making is over how much each of us should sacrifice in order to keep that functioning society healthy. We’re running a deficit; someone has to pay to close it. Warren is simply asking the wealthy to sacrifice a bit more in that direction, because if they don’t, a disporprotionately heavy burden for fixing it will fall on the rest of us. This is a fair request, Warren says, because the society they’d be helping to keep afloat partly enabled their wealth in the first place — and will enable others to follow in their footsteps. Warren is making thise case to individuals who will decide whether to elect her to the Senate to advance this view. No tyrannical “collectivity” here.
Will doesn’t even attempt to engage her real argument — he doesn’t tell us why the wealthy shouldn’t be called upon to do a bit more to help close a deficit that conservatives insist is a threat to civilization as we know it. In fairness, some conservatives, by contrast, do engage that argument, insisting the rich are already paying a disporportionately large share of the tax burden. I think that argument is deeply flawed, but at least it’s a response to the case Warren is actually making, which has nothing in common with the radical vision and worldview Will and many others on the right are ascribing to her.
Posted at 06:06 PM ET, 10/06/2011
John Boehner said that? Really?
By Jonathan Bernstein
John Boehner has a new line he’s trying out to justify the Republican House’s rejection of Barack Obama’s jobs bill: “We’re legislating. He’s campaigning. It’s very disappointing.”
The campaigning part? He has a case to make there. But legislating? The House of Representatives? The 112th Congress? Hard to believe that Boehner could say that one without bursting out laughing. The current House has done hardly any legislating at all. They could barely pass a bill to keep the government’s lights on back in the spring, and they almost send the nation into default in the summer. They missed the deadline to pass appropriations bills just last week, and there’s still no guarantee they’ll be able to do it after their new November extension.
And outside of that there’s … well, almost nothing. As Obama pointed out today, there is no Republican initiative that can meaningfully be called a jobs bill. They passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but did not keep their promise to develop a “replace” bill, or even begin the work on doing so. Same thing on financial regulation: they don’t like Dodd/Frank, but there is no Republican alternative.
To the extent that they do bother to develop bills and move them to the House floor, Republicans aren’t really legislating, because they have no intention of developing laws that can pass through the Senate and earn the president’s signature. Thus the health repeal, and thus their regulatory agenda this fall, little or none of which has any real chance of becoming law.
The key here is that real legislating requires compromise, especially during times of divided government. And House Republicans have no intention of compromising with either the Senate or with Barack Obama. They’ve said as much; they believe that compromise is per se a bad thing. And that means there won’t be any legislating, no matter how much the president might want it (and don’t forget he spent most of the summer trying, for better or worse, to strike a budgetary Grand Bargain). Even now, if Boehner really offered to deal on jobs, I don’t think anyone doubts that Obama would hop off the campaign trail and try to work something out. But there will be no legislating, because the House isn’t going to do it.
No matter what talking points John Boehner might trot out.
Legislating? Come on, John Boehner!
Here’s some early morning music for y’all. Kicking off with the Ohio Players singing Pain.~
Here’s Jon Lucien, with Rashida.
Going way back with Flora Purim, singing Open Your Eyes.
Afghanistan marks 10 years since war started – By Agence France-Presse Friday, October 7, 2011
Afghanistan marks 10 years since the start of the US-led war against the Taliban Friday amid heightened security and questions over what the next decade will hold. Security is being stepped up in the capital Kabul after a string of major attacks including the assassination of peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani, which has thrown government strategy for talking peace with the Taliban into turmoil. On the frontlines, it is likely to be business as usual for the 140,000 international troops in Afghanistan, of whom 100,000 are from the United States, as they continue the fight against a brutal, Taliban-led insurgency.
For many Afghans, the anniversary will be a time for reflection on what the war has meant for their country and how the withdrawal of all foreign combat troops by the end of 2014 will affect them in future. “I spent a year in the city of Kabul during the Taliban regime and they made life difficult as they banned everything. We were forced to flee the country and live in Pakistan,” said Abdul Saboor, a 30-year-old cook in Kabul. “I was very pleased when finally the dark era of the Taliban ended in (our) country.”
But Kabul street vendor Khan Agha, 30, highlighted discontent over civilian casualties and called for foreign troops to leave. “Since the Americans and their allies came to Afghanistan, our security has deteriorated and they have also been involved in the killings of innocent Afghan civilians,” he said. A senior Afghan government official speaking on condition of anonymity to AFP said security would be stepped up for the anniversary.
Rep. Paul Broun: ‘Occupy Wall Street’ an attack on freedom – By Eric W. Dolan Thursday, October 6, 2011
Republicans have begun to line up against the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that began on September 17. During an appearance Thursday on ABC’s Top Line, Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Texas claimed the protest was an attack on freedom. “Well, if you look at what they’ve been telling in the media, they don’t know why they’re there, they’re just mad,” he said. “And I see people angry in my district too, but this attack upon business, attack upon industry, attack upon freedom, and I think that’s what this is all about.”
“Now, the unions seem to be weighing in and trying to subvert that anger into a political power to try to reelect a president whose policies are just totally ignorant and incompetent about the economy and how to create jobs and how to create freedom in this country,” Broun added.
Meanwhile, Democrats have begun to endorse the “Occupy Wall Street” protests, which have spread across the country. The protesters have outlined a number of grievances, including efforts to eliminate union rights, discrimination in the workplace, student debt, corporate personhood, and the undemocratic influence of big business on economic policymaking.
Watch video, courtesy of ABC News, below: [Click on link to view video.]
Hmmm….interesting comments. Hypocrite much, Representative Broun, or did you forget what you said on another occasion?!!
Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership Author and Page information – By Anup Shah
Some nations can influence and control their media greatly. In addition, powerful corporations also have enormous influence on mainstream media. In some places major multinational corporations own media stations and outlets. Often, many media institutions survive on advertising fees, which can lead to the media outlet being influenced by various corporate interests.
Other times, the ownership interests may affect what is and is not covered. Stories can end up being biased or omitted so as not to offend advertisers or owners. The ability for citizens to make informed decisions is crucial for a free and functioning democracy but now becomes threatened by such concentration in ownership.
The idea of corporate media itself may not be a bad thing, for it can foster healthy competition and provide a check against governments. However, the concern is when there is a concentration of ownership due to the risk of increased economic and political influence that can itself be unaccountable.
Obama Leans On Senators to Vote For Jobs Bill – Susan Crabtree | October 6, 2011, 10:52AM
President Obama ramped up the pressure on senators to vote for his jobs bill when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote next week, aggressively arguing in his first press conference in two months that Congress needs to pass the bill or produce an alternative. “As we look to next week, every senator out there that is looking to vote against this jobs bill, needs to explain why they would vote against something … at such a crucial time for our economy,” he said during a briefing with reporters Thursday.
“If Capitol Hill says the current jobs bill can’t pass in its current form, we’re just gonna keep going at it. Each part of this bill, I want an explanation why they think it shouldn’t be passed.”
“I would love nothing more than to see Congress act so aggressively that I can’t campaign against them as the do-nothing Congress,” he said at the conclusion of a wide-ranging press conference lasting more than an hour.
Fischer Doubles Down On Hate Rhetoric Ahead Of Appearance With Romney | By Zack Ford on Oct 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm
People for the American Way and the New York Times have challenged Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on his decision to share the stage this weekend with the American Family Association’s resident hate-spewer, Bryan Fischer. Fischer, who has said that the First Amendment does not apply to Mormons (like Romney), commented on the growing controversy by saying that he only speaks “the truth” about groups like the gay community, Muslims, and Mormons. He couched this so-called “truth” in his faulty belief that gays aren’t “animals that are forced by nature to respond to whatever impulses arise,” but sinners who can and should change. Watch the clips:
Romney Secures Support Of Marriage Equality Booster As He Prepares To Address Value Voters Summit – By Igor Volsky on Oct 6, 2011 at 11:20 am
As Mitt Romoney prepares to address the Family Research Council’s Value Voters Summit to express his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, his campaign is celebrating the support of Paul Singer a financial titan whose endorsement “the candidate and his team had been intently focused on trying to win.” But Singer, a big booster of Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), was one of Rudy Giuliani’s top bundlers in 2007 and is a strong supporter of marriage equality — which Romney will undoubtedly condemn in his speech on Saturday.
Singer has a gay son who was married in Massachusetts and he “donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to New York’s same-sex marriage campaign” and the national effort. Below is a video of Singer describing why same-sex marriage “will be seen as a profoundly traditionalizing act” at a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) in 2010:
SINGER: The social arguments on behalf of gay marriage, I think, can be summed up this way: America, the writer Jonathan Rauch has said, needs more marriages not fewer, and the best way to encourage marriage is to encourage marriage, which is what society does by bringing gay couples inside the tent. I believe a generation from now, gay marriage will be seen as a profoundly traditionalizing act. It will have channeled love into the most powerful social institution on Earth, marriage itself. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done, but the wind is at our back, public opinion is increasingly on our side, and the law is opening doors of opportunity that used to be nailed shot.
Watch it: [Click on link to view video.]
Posted by Zandar
Greg Sargent argues that the Dems have shifted gears from the party of bi-partisan comity to grab the populist mantle from the intellectually lazy Republicans this week by going after the GOP with a Senate battle on using the Buffett Rule’s millionaire’s tax to fund the American Jobs Act.
Though it probably won’t secure enough votes to overcome a GOP filibuster, Dems are hoping that an epic floor fight over the surtax will cast Republicans as defenders of the rich and opponents of any and all action on job creation policies that have very broad public support.
More broadly, it’s hard not to discern a clear shift in strategy on not just Obama’s part, but also among Dem party leaders — one designed to, in effect, completely redraw the battle lines that have largely defined our politics in recent months. While the jobs bill in its original form seems doomed, Dems seem to be mounting a full-throttle effort — one involving the White House, Senate leaders, and the DNC — to draw a sharp populist contrast with Republicans on every available front, whether it’s over jobs, tax fairness, or Wall Street reform.
All this is unfolding as a host of various factors — Occupy Wall Street, Obama’s jobs tour, Elizabeth Warren’s Senate run, Warren Buffett’s appeals to his class that they sacrifice a bit more — are pushing the disputes over economic fairness, progressive taxation and corporate influence to the forefront of the national conversation. After two years battling on GOP austerity/deficit/cut-cut-cut territory, Dems finally seem to be making a serious, across-the-board effort to shift the storyline on to their own turf.
The Dems needed to go here years ago, but the Tea Party beat them to it. Now the Dems are wisely taking advantage of the moment to redefine themselves, their party, and most importantly their battle. The same effort by the Tea Party redfine Occupy Wall Street as a bunch of dirty effing hippies shows just how worried they are about the movement and about losing the populist mantle they spent billions to buy.
The narrative changes this week, and now the real battle is joined.
A Message For John Boehner: Stop Defending DOMA And Create Some Jobs – By Snee October 6, 2011
Dear Speaker Boehner,
I am writing you as a friend of Captain Steve Snyder-Hill, a brave and amazing man who is serving in Iraq. Perhaps you and your colleagues know him better as the gay soldier who was booed at the Republican debate. He is much more than that; he is a healer, a friend and a wonderful husband to Joshua Snyder-Hill. Captain Steve Snyder-Hill deserves your thanks and respect. Where is your patriotism? Captain Steve Snyder-Hill is doing more for this country than you are.
Now that DADT is history you want to continue your prejudicial agenda by fighting DOMA. The Washington Post reports that you have raised the cap for Paul Clements to fight DOMA to $1.5 million. Why are you fighting DOMA at all? Allowing gay people to marry will not destroy the institution of marriage as so many conservatives believe. What is destroying American marriages is the fact that couples and families are struggling every day to put food on the table, pay their bills and keep their homes.
Last November you and the rest of the current crop of Republicans were elected on a promise to create jobs. What you have actually done is introduce over 900 pieces of legislation to fight a woman’s right to choose, investigate Planned Parenthood, try to make President Obama a “one term president” (Mitch McConnell), fight President Obama’s jobs bill in favor of continuing to serve the wealthiest Americans, and now fight to defend an antiquated policy that makes no sense.
Where are all those jobs you promised, Mr. Boehner? Nowhere, because you lied last November. You knew exactly what to say to get your party the majority in Congress, to get governors in power who would destroy their own states, and you knew exactly how far to go with the incendiary rhetoric regarding President Obama’s birth, his race, and his political views.
I think that the $1.5 million would be better spent creating jobs but I’m just a political writer who is going to share this letter with thousands of people. What do I know, right?
What I do know is this: you have failed this country, you have failed the men and women of the Armed Services, and most of all, you have failed the poor people who stood in line to vote for you last year. The people deserve answers. I urge them to write you and ask where the jobs are and why you are spending all of your time and our money on a culture war instead of serious problems. Those people will remember your lack of job creation in 2012.
In closing, Speaker Boehner, I assure you that in spite of all your efforts to make certain people who love each other and happen to be gay cannot get married in America there are, thankfully, a few places that disagree with you.
Erin M. Nanasi
October 07, 2011 8:55 AM
Jobs picture improves — a little
By Steve Benen
After a rather dismal summer, today’s new jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was supposed to offer an answer to a painful question: has the economy slipped back into a recession?
Expectations going into the morning were low. Neil Irwin reported yesterday, “Analysts are expecting the data to reveal continued mediocrity — 50,000 net new jobs…. And in this age of diminished expectations, a positive number in the 100,000 range … would mean a big positive surprise.”
The new jobs numbers aren’t great, but they did reach six digits.
As an increasing number of economists have warned in recent weeks of a double dip back into recession, employers added 103,000 jobs in September, staving off the bleakest forecasts for now.
The unemployment rate for September was the same as August, 9.1 percent.
There’s one key detail that shouldn’t be overlooked: the Verizon strike in August that skewed last month’s numbers in the wrong direction by 45,000 jobs were added to the September totals. In other words, the overall total was 103,000 jobs for the month, but if one excludes the Verizon numbers, it’s really 58,000 jobs gained in September.
And that’s obviously not a good number.
In keeping with recent trends, the private sector gained 137,000 jobs in September, which certainly doesn’t sound recessionary, while the public sector lost 34,000 jobs due entirely to budget cuts at the state and local level. Republicans are eager to force more public-sector layoffs, making the jobs landscape worse on purpose, while President Obama’s American Jobs Act seeks to do the opposite.
Also note, it was slightly more encouraging to see that both of the last two months saw their numbers revised upwards, with July and August adding a combined 99,000 previously unreported jobs.
Over the last year, the U.S. economy has added 1.49 million jobs overall.
At this point, it’s probably fair to say we’re looking for relative progress. Today’s jobs report exceeded expectations, but just to keep up with population growth, the economy should be adding over 150,000 jobs a month. To bring down the unemployment rate quickly, we’d look for 300,000 jobs a month or more.
If policymakers look at the report and think, “Well, that’s not so bad; I guess we don’t need to worry about boosting the economy,” they’d be making a tragic mistake. This jobs report shows an improvement, but it’s nowhere near good enough.
And with that, here’s the homemade chart I run on the first Friday of every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction — red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.
FRC Announces Nationwide ‘Values Bus’ Tour | By Igor Volsky on Oct 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm
The Family Research Council is out with a new video touting the success of its “Values Bus” tour in Iowa, which allowed presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann to highlight their anti-abortion, anti-gay views ahead of the Iowa straw poll in August. “The impact was so pronounced, that the values bus will be traveling the nation between now and the November 2012 election,” the group announces in its video and invites voters to “hop on” in support of traditional values. But if the August tour is any indication, few actual voters will take FRC up on that offer. Given the focus on the economy and the growing acceptance of marriage equality, the August tour was plagued by poor attendance and limited media coverage. In fact, to this day, the @ValuesBus Twitter account has attracted just 54 followers. Some other highlights:
Friday, October 7, 2011
Harry Reid Goes Mini Nuclear
Posted by Zandar
If this report from Alex Bolton at The Hill is legitimate, Harry Reid may have just opened up a huge can of whoopass.
In a shock development Thursday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) triggered a rarely-used procedural option informally called the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules.
The Democratic leader had become fed up by Republican demands for votes on motions to suspend the rules after the Senate had voted to end a filibuster.
Reid said these motions, which do not need unanimous consent, amount to a second-round filibuster after the Senate has voted to move to final passage of a measure.
The surprise move stunned Republicans, who did not expect Reid to bring heavy artillery to what had been a hum-drum knife fight over amendments to China currency legislation.
It seems that the Republicans either got lazy or sloppy, and left the door open for Reid to throw some serious jujitsu. Now, what this means is that one of the byzantine filibuster options available to the Republicans is going to go away. If that happens, all of a sudden things get very, very interesting.
So here’s what I want to know: is Reid really going to do this, or is he finally playing cards he has left in order to win concessions from Orange Julius and the House? Let’s not forget that Republicans immediately reneged on the deal reached after the debt ceiling fight and tried to shut down the government a few weeks ago. If this is Harry Reid’s payback, then I hope he’s at least getting passage of the American Jobs Act out of the deal at the bare minimum.
October 07, 2011
The peril of outrage
With a gentleness that nevertheless implies a strong, professorial disapproval of a proposed dissertation’s argument, Paul Krugman writes that though it would “be helpful if [Occupy Wall Street] protesters could agree on at least a few main policy changes … [their] indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right.”
In other words, behold the ambiguity of outrage.
The protesters’ grasp of injustices committed by these particular plutocrats is altogether fitting and proper, but woefully unfocused; and, from the Obama administration’s point of view, potentially self-destructive. Their lashing out at the powers that be may be cathartic and refreshing and all that, but wild punches have a way of hitting the powerfully innocent, too.
Or at least that’s the way President Obama sees the protests — probably correctly — as evidenced in his press conference yesterday. His response was, in so many words, Get a grip.
What Wall Street did lo those many years was incontrovertibly stupid and despicable and “reckless,” he noted, but “not against the law.” The pseudoconservative ideology of boundless deregulation had legalized high-financial stupidity — so what, mused a tacit Obama, is the latter-day law enforcer to do? Prosecute dumb?
That’s what many of the protesters would prefer, yet that could be as destructive to civilized order as what the original perps committed. Such presidential restraint might be emotionally unrewarding, but I rather like the idea of a president upholding the law, rather than demagoguing outrage.
And that outrage might very well hit the wrong political targets next year. Outrage is feral and undisciplined and profoundly imprecise, hence many a good incumbent could wind up paying its cost. We could, that is, actually wind up with more right-wing idiots in high national office than ever.
$78 Million | By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Oct 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm
That is roughly how much Cook County in Illinois, which includes Chicago, spends each year to prosecute those arrested for marijuana possession. The Chicago Reader crunches the number to reach the estimate by totaling how much time and money police and courts spend on these cases. At the same time, city and county officials face budget deficits and are laying off public employees. In 2009, Cook County decriminalized small amounts of marijuana in areas managed by the county. County commissioner John Fritchey (D) told the Reader it is at least time to consider legalizing marijuana because of the cost. “People have to unshackle themselves from the stigma surrounding marijuana and recognize it’s time to change existing laws,” Fritchey said.
The shock would probably kill you
Sometimes this stuff is beyond parody:
In a shocking development this evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “triggered a rarely used procedural option informally called the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules,” The Hill reports.
“The Democratic leader had become fed up with Republican demands for votes on motions to suspend the rules after the Senate had voted to end a filibuster.”
Roll Call reports a “visibly upset” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “said Reid was fundamentally turning the Senate into the House and was setting the precedent that the minority wouldn’t have a voice after 60 votes are invoked.”
Deliberately sabotaging the economy for political gain, that gets a shrug. But some minor parliamentary move to get a jobs bill through the Senate, that is shocking.
Thu Oct 6th, 2011 at 06:32:07 PM EST
I literally agree with every word that Steve Benen says in his piece on the way the press is treating Obama’s pitch for a jobs bill. But I also think it’s legitimate to ask the president how the hell he thinks he’s going to get it passed. One thing that would help is if the press would accurately report, without he said/she said b.s., what’s really going on. They shouldn’t have to ask the president why he isn’t trying to make some kind of deal with the Republicans. A fairer question would be something like, “Now that you’ve given up trying to work with the Republicans, do you feel like you learned your lesson a little too late?”
I’d actually be interested to learn his thoughts on that question, because in some ways I think he did wait a little too long to pivot. I understand that the debt ceiling was a true hostage situation. But he probably played along too long with the myth that the Republicans would agree to anything. I can second guess a lot of stuff, especially in how the administration let things get out of control in the lead-up to health care vote and then the midterms. Personally, I wish he would have gone heavy on the obstruction in the Summer of 2010. Once the financial reforms bill was in the bag, he should have gotten a lot more political to try to protect his majorities.
On the other hand, he got a tremendous amount done in the lame-duck session.
In any case, he’s running against a Do-Nothing Congress because that’s exactly what they are. People are out of work and congressional Republicans are happy about it. What else can he do? If they want to do something, they’ll do something. As the president said today:
And so, Bill, the question, then, is, will Congress do something? If Congress does something, then I can’t run against a do-nothing Congress. If Congress does nothing, then it’s not a matter of me running against them; I think the American people will run them out of town, because they are frustrated, and they know we need to do something big and something bold.
The president asks a better question than any he answered this morning.
Tea Party Senator Proposes Permanent Tax Giveaway To Multinational Corporations – By Pat Garofalo on Oct 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm
Tea Party Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) — when he isn’t badly mangling the U.S. Constitution — wants to take a hatchet to the federal budget, proposing a program that “would require slashing every government program that’s not defense or Social Security (Medicare, Medicaid, veterans affairs, education, and so on) by 89.6 percent.” But at the same time, judging by a new proposal he released today, he wants to gift multinational corporations with a permanent tax break worth tens of billions of dollars.
A slew of multinational corporations — even though they already pay exceedingly low taxes — have been pushing for the enactment of a tax repatriation holiday, which would allow them to bring money they have stashed overseas back to the U.S. at a tax rate dramatically lower than the statutory 35 percent. The corporations want a short window in which this low tax rate would apply. But Lee has decided that he would just go ahead and make the holiday permanent:
Friday, October 7, 2011
Brought To You By The Letters “F” And “U”
Posted by Zandar
National Review’s Julie Gunlock takes great umbrage with the notion of the latest puppet character on Sesame Street: Lily, a little girl who sometimes goes hungry.
Although Lily is just the latest politically charged plot to come out of Sesame Street, the problem with this storyline is that it is absolutely false. In fact, Lily’s lucky to be “poor” in this country. Sesame Street would be wiser to educate America’s children about the real poor and hungry — the 98 percent of the world population who live outside the United States.
The truth is, 94.3 percent of American households are able to put enough food on the table every day to feed their families. And despite the grim “facts” and figures thrown around by children’s television programs, celebrity spokespersons, and the mainstream media, the vast majority of children living in America are healthy and well fed.
The facts about hunger in America really aren’t that alarming — certainly not alarming enough to warrant a whole new Sesame Street character!
In fact, American kids have it pretty good. As I wrote on NRO back in January, the idiom “food insecure” — a term created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — means one has either “reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet” or “disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.”
So, far from hungry or starving, Lily suffers from a much less dramatic condition — unpleasant to be sure, but at its core, just a somewhat boring, irregular, and occasionally reduced diet.
Of course, what will likely be absent from Sesame Street’s lessons on “food insecurity” are the various federal, state, and local welfare programs for which Lily’s parents qualify: food stamps, WIC, free school meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner!) as well as all the charitable services provided to families in need, such as food banks and church-run food assistance.
Yes, how dare Sesame Street lie and lead anyone to believe that there are kids going hungry in a singularly exceptional country like America, the commie pinko (and actually pink) bastards. There’s no such thing as poverty here, only brave Real Americans supporting millions of parasites out of the goodness of our hearts (and we really should cut funding for the programs that do that so the moochers and looters will pull their fair share dammit.) Besides, God will fix it.
We have fat people with cell phones and shoes and ethnic hairstyles. Nobody’s actually poor in America the greatest country ever. Why, food insecurity is just an evil liberal myth.
The shoes belonging to Skyler, 10, and Zachery, 12, are falling apart. Their sister, Jordan, 14, wears the varsity coach’s shoes when she plays on her school’s volleyball team. Less visible is hunger. The children and their parents, Tonya and Ed McKee, of Dowagiac, Michigan, sometimes went without food this summer when Ed’s unemployment insurance ran out and the family was not yet receiving food stamps. Skyler told Cass he gave the birthday money he got at church to his mom for groceries, “and I told her she didn’t have to pay me back.” Skyler confided that sometimes his stomach has growled. “It’s hard, not easy like it was before where we had money and could do stuff. Now we don’t go anywhere… Sometimes we don’t have food and we just don’t eat.”
Damn kids could stand to skip a meal once in a while, the little lardasses are lucky they’re not in Zimbabwe or Mongolia or Costa Rica or something. And hell, we send them food all the time. Ungrateful, all of them!
Hungry people in America? They don’t exist. Not like food insecurity actually affects people if it doesn’t affect NRO writers. It’s always good to hear what “poverty is really like” from people who reduce missing meals to an exercise in statistics. The Math Demands It(tm).
America Should Be Livid With The GOP For Their Anti-Jobs Agenda – By Rmuse October 6, 2011
There are occasions when it is prudent to take a go-slow approach in any situation to be as certain as possible that every eventuality has been anticipated and planned for to guarantee a successful conclusion to any problem. Conversely, there are instances when expediency is required to avert a calamity whether it is in the theatre of war or the United States Congress. As more Americans find themselves out of work because their jobs were sent overseas or consumers stopped spending money, it is safe to say creating jobs is one of those times when Congress should act quickly to help the economy and the American people.
Republicans appear to have a “wait and see” approach to creating jobs because their plans of deregulation and tax cuts does little to foster a vibrant economy businesses need to begin hiring. The Republicans’ meme-of-the-month is to “create an environment” for businesses to expand and as businesses grow, they will start hiring. However, creating an environment that is conducive to growth and increased jobs will take time, and still there are no guarantees Republicans’ deregulation and corporate tax cutting plans will ever create even one job. In fact, during George W. Bush’s term as president, regulations were eliminated and the so-called job creators (read rich people) received tax cuts and very few jobs were created. Republicans will have Americans believe that this time it will be different, but returning to the environment of lax regulatory oversight and tax cuts will continue rewarding corporations, the financial industry, and the wealthy; there is nothing for American job seekers.
Minn. GOPers join marriage amendment opposition – Oct 6, 2011 5:50pm
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A handful of Minnesota Republicans vowed Thursday to help defeat next year’s ballot measure that will ask voters to ban same-sex marriage in the state constitution. “I’m a Republican because I believe in individual liberty and freedom,” said state Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, one of only four majority Republicans in the Minnesota House who in May voted against putting the question on next year’s ballot. “I believe this is an attack on that.”
Kriesel was joined at the press conference by Wheelock Whitney, a party eminence who unsuccessfully ran for governor for the GOP in 1982, and a handful of other Republicans, though Kriesel was the only current Republican elected official. Members of the group said they tried to build support among Republicans to help defeat the ballot measure and get out a message that being Republican doesn’t necessarily mean opposing gay marriage.
Whitney, who has a gay son and a gay grandson, said he’d already donated $10,000 to defeating the amendment. “I’m looking forward to asking my friends and other Republicans to do the same,” he said.
His grandson, Alex Whitney, is a former legislative candidate and also spoke Thursday. The ballot measure on the November 2012 general election will ask voters whether the Minnesota Constitution should define marriage as between one man and one woman. That’s already how marriage is defined in state law, but supporters of the ban argue that it’s necessary to protect against judicial rulings and future legislative votes.
Follow The Money: 10 Republicans Opposing Consumer Protection Nominee Received $31 Million From Wall Street
By Pat Garofalo on Oct 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm
The Senate Banking Committee today — on a party-line 12-10 vote — approved the nomination of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to be the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, sending the nomination to the full Senate. Senate Republicans, of course, doubled down on their refusal to approve a nominee — any nominee — unless the Bureau is substantially changed and watered down.
“My colleagues and I stand by our pledge that no nominee to head the CFPB will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate — regardless of party affiliation — without basic changes to the Bureau’s structure,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS). “I will not support the consideration of any nominee to be the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director until the structure of the bureau is reformed,” added Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
But as the Public Action Campaign Fund noted today, the 10 GOP members of the Banking Committee who opposed Cordray’s nomination had about 31 million reasons — having nothing to do with the Bureau’s structure — to ensure that the first federal regulator explicitly charged with only consumer financial protection never gets off of the ground:
All 10 members have received significant campaign cash from Wall Street interests during their time in Congress…Committee Republicans have received at least $31 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector (FIRE) during their time in Congress, according to Public Campaign Action Fund analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Banking Committee’s ranking member, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that today’s vote — which comes more than 14 months after Dodd-Frank was signed into law — “was premature.” Shelby, remember, received $5000 from Goldman Sachs literally the day after he denounced the CFPB as “dangerous.”
During his press conference today, President Obama explained that Republicans “want to roll back the whole notion of having a consumer watchdog.” “I’m going to be fighting every inch of the way here in Washington to make sure that we have a consumer watchdog,” he added. The GOP though, continues to do Wall Street’s bidding, even as the country struggles to recover from a recession caused, in large part, by Wall Street malfeasance.
Why Occupy Wall Street Should Scare Republicans: Jonathan Alter
In Florida this week, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked about the growing Occupy Wall Street movement. “I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” he said.
Romney’s right. It may be dangerous — to his chances of being elected.
Occupy Wall Street, now almost three weeks old, isn’t like the anti-globalization demonstrations that disrupted summits in the 1990s or even the street actions at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, though some of the same characters are probably in attendance. With unemployed young protesters planning to camp out all winter in Zuccotti Park (with bathrooms available only at a nearby McDonald’s), it’s more like a cross between a Hooverville and Woodstock — the middle-class jobless of the 1930s and the hippie protesters of the 1960s.
With the help of unions and social networking, the movement has at least some chance of re-energizing Democrats in 2012 and pushing back against the phenomenal progress Republicans have made in suppressing voter turnout in several states.
Why? Because the tectonic plates of U.S. politics are shifting in ways we don’t yet fully understand. We don’t know whether Occupy Wall Street is a carnival party — a piece of left-wing street theater that gets old fast — or a nascent political party that revives a long-dormant tradition of class- based politics.
It’s possible that these demonstrations, which have now spread to about 150 cities and campuses, will be hijacked by extremists or dissipated by obnoxiousness; the American left has practice in committing suicide. The whole thing could fade as young people find a better way of hanging out offline.
But my visits to Zuccotti Park made me think it’s the beginning of something consequential. So far it looks like a younger, lefty version of the early days of the Tea Party — a leaderless, mostly organic movement with a catchy symbolic name that captures the public imagination by channeling anger against elites.
Like the Tea Party on the Republican side, Occupy Wall Street makes the party establishment nervous. It’s not just that Democratic candidates have done well fundraising on Wall Street in recent years. The bigger problem is getting the activists to draw a distinction between bringing specific greedheads to justice and mocking those parts of Wall Street that are blameless in the 2008 crash and do plenty to invest in the future of the country.
But a healthy rebalancing of the national conversation is nonetheless under way. The Tea Party directed public anger against the federal government in general and President Barack Obama in particular; Occupy Wall Street directs that ire against Wall Street in general and — inevitably — Romney in particular.
This will have no effect on Romney in the Republican primaries, of course, but in a general election it could make him the poster boy of the big banks that many see as the cause of their woes. The specifics of his record running Bain Capital LLC will be subsumed in the image of his rationalizing the actions (resisting any tax increases) of the “1 percenters.”
The arguments I heard from the often-articulate protesters in the park were economic, not partisan. None of the posters depicted Romney, House Speaker John Boehner or any other Republicans. Instead they said things like “Top 1% Want Everything,” “Listen to the Drumming of the 99% Revolution,” “Stop Off-Shore Tax Evasion,” and “Protect Medicare, Not Billionaires.”
It’s easy to denigrate the movement for simplistic sentiments that lack a clear agenda. But as the Tea Party demonstrations showed in 2009, that very shapelessness is a huge asset (to use the Wall Street term). If “We’re the 99 percenters” catches on, and the crazies can be marginalized, then the challenge will be to move from the streets to the ballot box, as the Tea Party did in 2010.
Romney looks to George W. Bush with foreign policy team announcement
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney announced his foreign policy team Thursday.
“America and our allies are facing a series of complex threats,” Mr. Romney said in a statement. “To shape them before they explode into conflict, our foreign policy will have to be guided by a strategy of American strength. I am deeply honored to have the counsel of this extraordinary group of diplomats, experts, and statesmen. Their remarkable experience, wisdom, and depth of knowledge will be critical to ensuring that the 21st century is another American Century.”
Mr. Romney, who continues to lead a series of recently released polls, announced Thursday the addition of Michael Hayden, former director of CIA from 2006 until 2009 and former director of the National Security Agency; former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff; and former State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator J. Cofer Black.
The announcement preceded a major campaign speech on foreign policy at The Citadel in South Carolina, the military college in South Carolina. Mr. Romney is slated to speak on Friday morning to lay out his intended foreign policy plan.
The announcement is likely to conjure up comparisons between the former Massachusetts governor and former President George W. Bush. Mr. Romney’s team of foreign policy advisers is largely comprised of former Bush administration officials, a move that could draw criticism from those seeking to draw a distinction between the two Republicans.
The team includes former U.S. Representative Vin Weber, who had previously announced his support for former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Mr. Pawlenty announced earlier this year that he would not continue his campaign for president, citing a lack of funds.
Overall, Mr. Romney’s foreign policy team is significantly larger and more organized than the national security policy team of any other Republican presidential campaign. The former Massachusetts governor has indicate that his campaign will focus on building support for his platform by attracting the nation’s leading national security advisers.
Read more: http://www.thestatecolumn.com/articles/romney-george-w-bush-foreign-policy/#ixzz1a6LLWiED
Senate panel approves Richard Cordray for consumer bureau – By Eric W. Dolan Thursday, October 6, 2011
The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday narrowly approved Richard Cordray to be the first ever Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but his nomination is expected to be halted by Republicans in the full Senate. The Bureau was created by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to regulate mortgages, credit cards and other financial goods and services. The committee voted 12 to 10 along party lines.
The consumer bureau was supposed to commence operation as an independent agency on July 21, but without a director its power is severely limited. “He would be America’s chief consumer watchdog when it comes to financial products,” President Barack Obama said at a news conference before the vote took place. “This is a guy who is well regarded in his home state of Ohio, has been the treasurer of Ohio, the attorney general of Ohio. Republicans and Democrats in Ohio all say that he is a serious person who looks out for consumers. He has a good reputation.”
“And Republicans have threatened not to confirm him not because of anything he’s done, but because they want to roll back the whole notion of having a consumer watchdog,” Obama said.
Top 10 Things Herman Cain Doesn’t Want You To Know About Him
By Scott Keyes on Oct 6, 2011 at 5:00 pm
After just six weeks, ever-fickle Republican presidential primary voters are cooling to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), setting their sights instead on a Tea Party favorite: former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain (R).
Though Cain has been running since January, his recent debate performances and straw poll victories have created a boomlet for the former pizza executive. Now, Cain is leading state polls from North Carolina to West Virginia to Nebraska and surging nationally as well. Taking up the mantle once occupied by the likes of Donald Trump and Rick Perry, pollster Tom Jensen declared yesterday that “Herman Cain is the new GOP frontrunner.”
Now, as Cain enters the Republican top tier, it’s worth taking a look back at the former CEO’s policy positions. During his nine months on the campaign trail, Cain has repeatedly shown a lack of understanding on foreign policy matters, a lack of empathy for immigrants and poorer Americans, and a lack of respect for religious liberty.
ThinkProgress has put together the top 10 hits from Cain’s presidential bid:
(1) PLEDGED THAT HE “WILL NOT” APPOINT MUSLIMS IN HIS ADMINISTRATION: In an interview with ThinkProgress earlier this year, Herman Cain declared that he “will not” appoint a Muslim in his administration if he were elected president. In the months that followed, Cain qualified his position a number of times – at one point even telling Glenn Beck that he would appoint Muslims but only on the condition that they take a special loyalty oath – before finally recanting this unconstitutional stance and issuing an apology to Muslim-Americans. Unfortunately, since that time Cain has continued to peddle the ridiculous notion that Sharia law is a threat to the American legal system.
(2) TOLD THINKPROGRESS, “I DON’T THINK THE CURRENT MINIMUM WAGE IS NECESSARY”: During his time as the top lobbyist for the restaurant and fast food industry, Cain fought against an increase in the minimum wage. During a recent ThinkProgress interview, Cain went further, saying “I don’t think the current minimum wage is necessary.” As Greg Sargent noted, not even conservative icon Barry Goldwater supported eliminating the minimum wage.
(3) CONFUSED BY BASIC CONCEPT OF ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE PROCESS: In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Cain was asked his opinion on the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Cain was clearly confused by the question, responding, “The right of return? [pause] The right of return?” When host Chris Wallace explained the issue to him, Cain suggested that Israel wouldn’t have a problem “with people returning,” a prospect Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu fiercely opposes. The incident was not the first time Cain displayed lack of familiarity with international affairs. Previously, Cain said he doesn’t know enough to say what he thinks about the war in Afghanistan.
(4) IMMIGRATION PLAN INVOLVES A “GREAT WALL OF CHINA” AND A “MOAT [WITH] ALLIGATORS”: In a speech to Iowa Republicans, Cain called for building a fence along the entire U.S.–Mexico border, comparing the effort to the Great Wall of China. Building a fence along the nearly 2,000-mile border not only wouldn’t work, it would cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars in the process. Cain also suggested building a moat next to the fence and filling it with alligators.
(5) BELIEVES “WE ALREADY RECOGNIZE” THE GOVERNMENT OF TAIWAN: Discussing U.S.-Chinese relations with ThinkProgress, Cain confirmed fears that he lacked a firm grasp on foreign policy matters when he declared that “we already recognize” the government of Taiwan. In fact, the United States stopped recognizing Taiwan in 1979. Cain, visibly confused about relations between the U.S, China, and Taiwan, refused to say whether this belief meant he planned to send an ambassador to Taiwan, saying instead, “President Cain will get back to you!” Lest the matter seem trivial, Chinese-Taiwanese relations are extraordinarily tense and the matter of diplomatic relations with the United States carries enormous implications for the billions of people living in southeast Asia.
(6) WANTS TO PUT DIRTY ENERGY CEOS IN CHARGE OF EPA REGULATIONS: After an Iowa voter asked about increasing domestic oil production, Cain proposed creating a commission consisting of businessmen from the coal, oil, shale oil, and natural gas industries to gut environmental protections. Cain even said he would appoint the CEO of Shell, claiming the company had been “abused” by the EPA. Cain has close ties to several top oil executives.
(7) BELIEVES IRAQ SHOULD PAY U.S. BACK FOR INVADING THEIR COUNTRY: Cain suggested in a 2008 interview that Iraq should pay the United States back for invading and occupying their country. Even Rick Santorum, who nobody would confuse as a moderate, strongly disagreed with this idea, saying, “I think that would send every possible wrong signal.” Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died and millions have been displaced.
(8) TRIED TO HIDE HIS GAY TREASURER: A former staffer to Cain, Kevin Hall, testified in court that Cain attempted to cover up the involvement of his openly gay PAC treasurer Scott Toomey. According to Hall, the campaign was trying to cover up Toomey’s involvement due to his sexuality. Cain’s lawyers declined to dispute the allegations.
(9) SAYS HE WOULD SUPPORT A NATIONAL PHOTO ID LAW: With an increasing number of conservative governors implement new requirements for voters to present photo identification at the polls, Cain told ThinkProgress he’d support such a bill on a federal level. “If you need a picture to get on an airplane, why shouldn’t you need one in order to be able to vote?” Cain asked. To be clear, voting is not like getting on an airplane – only one is the basis of our very democracy – and requirements that citizens present photo IDs instead of other forms of identification has the potential to disenfranchise millions of voters, especially minorities and poorer individuals.
(10) BELIEVES THAT AMERICANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO BAN MOSQUES: During a Fox News Sunday interview, Cain professed his belief that if a community wants to ban a mosque, “they have a right to do that.” Rather than idle banter, Cain’s comments came fresh off his speech blasting the proposed expansion of an existing Islamic center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee because it was, in the former pizza executive’s estimation, “not an innocent mosque.” Cain’s view is squarely at odds with not only the Constitution, but basic precepts of tolerance and diversity as well.
Sen. Sessions: It’s Not Sad That Immigrant Children Are Too Scared To Go To School, It’s Sad They’re Even Here
By Marie Diamond on Oct 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm
As ThinkProgress has been reporting, the decision of a federal judge last week to allow Alabama’s harshest-in-the-nation immigration law to go into effect has had heartbreaking consequences. Hispanic families have been fleeing Alabama in droves and thousands of children have been too terrorized to show up for school. The law allows police to racially profile and pull over anyone they suspect might be in the country illegally, and blatantly violates children’s constitutional right to an education by forcing schools to check students’ immigration status before they can be enrolled.
But Republican lawmakers who supported the measure have been remarkably short on compassion for immigrant families that have been torn apart and other residents who have been deeply affected by their exodus. During an interview on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) said Hispanic children being too afraid to go to school is merely the just consequence of immigrants’ unlawful decision to live in the state:
INGRAHAM: Do you think it’s bad all these Hispanic kids have disappeared from the schools? Do you think that’s a bad thing?
SESSIONS: All I would just say to you is that it’s a sad thing that we’ve allowed a situation to occur for decades that large numbers of people are in the country illegal and it’s going to have unpleasant, unfortunate consequences.
Sessions said he “couldn’t agree more” with Ingraham when she called this a “sob story” that simply proves that “enforcement of the law works!” It’s a good thing, Ingraham suggested, that immigrants are responding by leaving Alabama. “This is a rational response,” Sessions remarked, arguing that “one of the sad consequences of illegal immigration is families can be hurt in the process” — indicating that families brought the government’s harsh crackdown on themselves by seeking a better life here.
Around 2,285 Hispanic students failed to show up for school on Monday, which amounts to 7 percent of the entire Hispanic population of the school system. On a conference call this week, Wendy Cervantes, the vice president of child rights policy at First Focus, pointed out that because federal education funding is based on attendance numbers, Alabama schools lose money every day these children don’t attend. Additionally, according to the Institute for Taxation & Economic Policy, undocumented immigrants in Alabama paid $130.3 million in state & local taxes in 2010 — money that state and local governments will have to do without if the new law succeeds in driving them from the state.
The U.S. economy gained more jobs in September than most economists had expected.
The Labor Department reported Friday that employers added 103,000 jobs in the month, although Verizon workers returning from a strike represented 45,000 of those gains.
In addition, after initially reporting no change in the number of workers for August, the figures for that month were revised to a gain of 57,000 jobs.
The September unemployment rate held steady at 9.1%.
October 07, 2011 8:00 AM
Defining the ‘nuclear option’ down
By Steve Benen
For several years, the “nuclear option” has had a fairly specific meaning. The strategy is procedurally complicated, but the gambit is about finding a way around Senate Rule 22, which says 60 votes are needed to end debate, and 67 votes are needed to change the rules of the chamber. The nuclear option is intended to change the rules with 50 votes — instead of 67 — to, in effect, make filibusters impossible.
There was a fair amount of drama in the Senate last night, but to call this the nuclear option is an exaggeration.
In a shocking development Thursday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) triggered a rarely used procedural option informally called the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules.
Reid and 50 members of his caucus voted to change Senate rules unilaterally to prevent Republicans from forcing votes on uncomfortable amendments after the chamber has voted to move to final passage of a bill.
Reid’s coup passed by a vote of 51-48, leaving Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fuming.
McConnell, described as “visibly angry and shaken,” fumed to his colleagues, “We are fundamentally turning the Senate into the House. The minority’s out of business.” A GOP staffer added, “Just wait until they get into the minority!”
Senate Republicans’ larger argument about unilateral rule-changing is not without merit. Reid didn’t execute the nuclear option, but his move last night was, shall we say, inspired by the nuclear option. The actual nuclear option would constrain or eliminate filibusters — or at least certain kinds of filibusters — and Reid’s move doesn’t do this at all.
Good Morning, Everybody! :-) Happy FR-day!
Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!
Good morning, 3Chics!
Good Morning, Ametia, Rikyrah, CC, 3 Chics, Friends & Visitors!
Happy FRY-day! :)
Good morning lady! Happy FRY-day to you.~
Morning, CC: Tea: http://jamieonline.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/tea_cup_small.jpg
Mornin’ SG2. Well now aren’t you a sight to behold this fine Friday morning.
Thank you! I’d be delighted! Nothing like a good cup of coffee to start the day!
Oh, Metia…I didn’t notice your offering of tea earlier today. But thank you anyway for offering it!