By now everyone has heard of the latest wingnut manufactured scandal against his Oness. It's the one with the movie title: "Fast and Furious" I think they are calling it. This is where we are supposed to believe that a bunch of right wingnuts really give a s*&^ about a bunch of brown people South of the border who lost their lives because of a dumb scheme by the ATF to stop the flow of weapons into Mexico.
So anyway, they had a
dog and pony show congressional hearing in Washington and the AG was called in front of a bunch of wingnut poli-tricksters so that they could score political points and maybe get on the news network for dummies later on.
Fortunately, Eric Holder did not roll over and play dead, (no pun intended) and he had a little something of his own to give back to his accusers.
"During a hearing Thursday over the Fast and Furious scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder lit into GOP Congressman Raul Labrador, after he displayed slides depicting statements Holder made about President Bill Clinton?s pardon of Marc Rich.
?That was among the worst things I?ve ever seen in Congress? Holder scolded. ?There?s a whole bunch of things that I could say about what you just did, maybe this is the way you do things in Idaho or wherever you?re from, but understand something ? I?m proud of the work that I?ve done as attorney general of the United States, and looked at fairly, I think that I?ve done a pretty good job.?
?Have I been perfect? No. Have I made mistakes? Yes,? Holder acknowledged. ?Do I treat the members of this committee with respect? I always hope that I do. And what you have just done is if nothing else, disrespectful. And if you don?t like me that?s one thing. You should respect the fact that I hold an office that is deserving of respect.?
?And you know, maybe you?re new to this committee, I don?t know, I don?t know how long you?ve been here,? Holder continued. ?But my hope would be that we can get beyond that kind of interaction, that kind of treatment of a witness whether it?s me or somebody else because I think what you just did was fundamentally unfair, just not right,? [Read & watch comments here]
That's right Mr. AG, we all know how they do things in Idaho. Besides, didn't this crap start under W? Why the outrage now?
Oh well this is how the [rignt]wingnut mind works. It is, after all, "politics season."
Finally, my man Rippa sent me a story from Memphis that I am still trying to figure out. I usually have no love for black republicans, not because they are black republicans, but because they usually become black republicans for all the wrong reasons. But there has to be some good ones out there, and if there are, I don't want them to be discouraged from getting into politics if they are going to do some good in our community.
So this story of the Memphis DJ who dissed a black congressional republican candidate has me a bit concerned. From the [right] wingnut accounts of things he seemed to be a bit rough on this lady.
Now she is all over [right] wingnut sites as this poor sympathetic figure who the evil black man picked on.
I need my fam in Memphis to give me more on this one.
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Most have known how serious the problem was, but this new research shows that the problem is even worse than previously believed. The Guardian:
Malaria kills twice as many people every year as formerly believed, taking 1.2 million lives and causing the deaths not only of babies but also older children and adults, according to research that overturns decades of assumptions about one of the world's most lethal diseases. The findings from the research, published on Friday, which has reanalysed 30 years of data on the disease using new techniques, will force a rethink of the huge global effort that has been under way to eliminate malaria. That ambition now looks highly unlikely by the UN target date of 2015. It also raises urgent questions about the future of the troubled Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria, which has provided the money for most of the tools to combat the disease in Africa, such as insecticide-impregnated bed nets and new drugs. The fund is in financial crisis and has had to cancel its next grant-making round.
I guess it all depends on how you look at it… Bush II chief economist and CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin attacking the millionaires tax: Of course, the biggest misconception about the Buffett rule is that it would help balance the budget.[...]
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TIME TO TAKE THE HIGH GROUND – The Occupy Oakland movement is at the crossroads of peaceful demonstration and violence. It’s time for the ‘organic’ movement to learn how to better cultivate allies.
The San Francisco Bay area has a long history of protest ? much of it gone violent. At 1960s UC Berkeley, Vietnam war opponents started as idealistic, flowers in your hair protesters who morphed into glass breakers, nascent fire bugs, and building grabbers with a few Molotov hurlers for good measure. Next door, the hard-scrabble neighborhoods of East Oakland are now the perfect breeding ground for discontent. It would seem to be the right place for the Occupy movement to set up tents. Plenty of people with grievances and lots of rich people to snub.
But, Occupy Oakland has a dark side.
Peaceful Occupy marches have become a thing of the past in Oakland. Now, the occupiers fan out while windows break, dumpsters flare, and the very people most likely to support Occupy are left to sweep up. Understandably, 99 percent of the 99 Percenters are growing tired and that?s a hell of a way to build a movement. Just ask Sarah Palin.
Even the first Occupy march broke some windows and spawned some graffiti, but the mood was more youthful exuberance than Weather Underground sinister. The next day, some of the occupiers went out with cleaning equipment to get clean up the graffiti and help small business owners replace their broken glass ? testament to the sane and peaceable idea of protesting in front of the little guys, not driving them off with boorish behavior.
Their relationships with community were basically good, even when they closed the Port of Oakland and cost the rough-hewn Teamsters a day?s pay. The second time around the Teamsters weren’t nearly so understanding and neither was the commuters stranded on some of the most overcrowded freeways in the nation.
Many people blame the Oakland PD for the violence. No doubt they aren?t a crackerjack force. The Feds have them under threat of Federal control because of the tepid pace of court ordered reforms. Incompetent police chiefs and even more incompetent mayors didn’t do much to help. Many people finger the current mayor, Jean Quan, with mismanaging the original outbreaks. And there is some justification; several recall drives are collecting signatures as you read this. She was so bad, she lost several top advisers who couldn’t take the addle-brained chaos.
I know several OPD cops. They?re like cops anywhere. Standing in front of a potentially dangerous mob throwing rocks and bottles at their head understandably makes them edgy. Some react with restraint, others fire tear gas canisters into the crowd or rely a little too heavily on truncheons to break things up. You can charge the PD with using too much force, but if someone was trying to whack me in the head, my adrenaline would be up too.
But most of the cops are doing a job in less than optimal conditions. They have orders. Some don?t agree. They feel the same as some of the cops in the Arab Spring uprisings. They don?t necessarily feel that clubbing their fellow citizens is exactly what they signed up for nor something they particularly feel good about doing.
But occupiers and cops alike suffer more for the actions of the few. The latest numbers indicate that a healthy majority of people arrested in the melees are true anarchists from out of the Bay Area fixated on no one coming to an agreement over anything?ever.
Occupy Oakland doesn’t need the distractions and fewer cops would be in the street. Oakland citizens might look more favorably on the occupiers if millions of dollars weren’t being spent to keep the peace and pay for damage. They just want to dodge the regular drive bys to go to Safeway. They?re already feeling like a Sunni in Tehran.
A lot has been made about Occupy being ?organic? which a $10 word for leaderless uprising is. Occupiers may venerate the ?organic? nature of things, but they could use a small leader committee to help keep eyes on the prize, ferret out the anarchists and other malcontents, and do some community outreach to a community that is getting a little battle worn. Have a heart for the cops, plumbers, and taco truck entrepreneurs who just want to make a living in an increasingly difficult place to do it. Turn the violence down a notch.
Focus the organics onto others and give fellow 99 Percenters a break from falling even farther behind.
It has been a fascinating last few weeks in the great banking/housing debates. The administration is growing less and less tentative in its rhetoric against Wall Street, and is opening up multiple new fronts to take on the black hole of the housing market that is throwing a wet blanket over the broader economy. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been pounding on the doors of the Department of Justice, demanding they work with him and give him more resources to do the aggressive prosecution he wants to do, and they have relented to an extent. But we still don?t know how aggressive the new task force they set up will be. The long rumored robo-signing settlement, which has been a few days away from being inked for about a year now, seems like it is moving toward completion, but Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto sent a letter with 38 specific questions that trouble a lot of people. And progressives who have been working on banking issues for years are debating whether to have any faith at all in the developments of the week.
I am going to focus on the settlement and Attorney General Masto?s letter, because the rumors and counter-rumors, arguments and counter-arguments, are dizzying. I should stipulate that I am not a lawyer, and have seen none of the actual language of the settlement, so all I?ve got to work with are lots of conversations, blog posts, news reports, and Masto?s letter. Since the settlement talks began more than a year ago, I have had a ton of conversations with AG Tom Miller of Iowa, Schneiderman and some of his staff, a couple of California Attorney General Kamala Harris? staff people, and a boatload of administration people. So a lot of what I have been trying to do is combine what I am hearing from all those conversations with what I am seeing other places. My assessment of what people tell me is based partly on how much I trust them (which can admittedly be flawed; such things are highly subjective judgment calls), but mostly my read of the political dynamic, which is of course different for each of the players'.
On Jan. 27, I released a story outlining what sources high up in the settlement negotiations told me would be the nature of the legal release for the banks. Some of the phrases they gave me, such as the phrase ?vast majority? (used twice) were pretty vague, and because I hadn?t seen the actual language, I was reporting only what I was told. But it sounded like we were headed toward fairly tight release language on the settlement. However, the very same day, Masto sent a letter to Shaun Donovan at HUD, Attorney General Tom Miller, and DOJ settlement chair Tom Perrelli with a list of 38 detailed questions indicating either that she had yet to see any language, or that any settlement language she had seen was so vague and poorly written as to cause big worries about the nature of the settlement. Her questions raised alarm bells with me and with writers I respect, including David Dayen and Yves Smith, because if she had seen the release language and was asking these kinds of questions, it probably meant very bad things, and certainly would have meant I had been lied to by my sources on Jan. 27.
One possibility, of course, is that Attorney General Masto doesn?t know what she is talking about, or is acting in bad faith, raising questions she already knows the answers to. I do not believe that for a minute. From everything I have heard, Masto is a very smart and capable Attorney General who is fighting hard for Nevadans who have been royally screwed over by mortgage fraud. Nevadans have been hit harder than anyone by the rampant levels of fraud in every aspect of the housing market in recent years, with a stunning 60 percent of Nevada homeowners in underwater mortgages. Masto?s letter shows that she and her staff are deep into the nitty-gritty on these issues, and that she is asking all the right questions. I have confidence that she is fighting the good fight effectively on behalf of her constituents.
But I still find it difficult to believe the administration would be so politically stupid to appoint a high-profile task force to investigate financial fraud; make a big deal about it by announcing in the State of the Union address; have Schneiderman sit in the First Lady?s box; talk about it extensively in another big speech on housing yesterday; leak something about the settlement where they claim the release will be very narrow and tight; and then have a settlement with a release that is weak, broad, and full of loopholes so that their shiny new task force is dramatically undermined and rendered toothless. Trust me, I have seen the polling: This is a President whose path to re-election could not be more clear ? he needs to have credibility as a champion against the abuses of Wall Street, and he needs to have a fired-up base. The firestorm that would be created if this administration would agree to a bad settlement after all this build-up would be immense, with close allies like the AFL-CIO and MoveOn.org denouncing the administration, and Occupy and community organization demonstrators around the country protesting Obama at every campaign stop.
I also can?t imagine Attorneys General like Eric Schneiderman and Kamala Harris, who have built their political brand and base dramatically by standing up against a weak settlement, agreeing at this late date to something bad. It doesn?t make any political sense at all for them to do that. Schneiderman?s reputation will now live or die with the success of this new financial fraud task force, so why would he ever agree to a settlement that didn?t allow him full running room to thoroughly investigate financial fraud? I don?t know all the legal ins and outs of this, but I do know politics, and a weak settlement at this point doesn?t make any sense to me.
So if Masto isn?t in the wrong, and the settlement release language is relatively strong, where does that leave me? My strong hunch is that Masto, at least as of the time she sent the letter (no way to tell what she has seen since), still hadn?t seen much if any of the language being proposed in the settlement agreement. If that conclusion is correct, I think the administration has been making a serious mistake in the bargaining strategy on this settlement. I?m sure there are things I?m not understanding about all this, and I feel for the people trying to herd 51 Attorneys General, five big banks, and multiple government agencies all in the same direction. It?s got to be just a mess. But given how late in the game this is?HUD Secretary Donovan is saying there was a deadline for the Attorneys General to say yes or no by the end of this week?for an Attorney General in a state as central to the housing crisis as Nevada to not have seen the proposed settlement language by last Friday would be a travesty.
I don?t know what the answer to this mystery is. Maybe my political instincts are all wrong, or there are deep things I?m not getting about what is going on, but I think the administration needs to be talking more to Attorneys General like Masto to get this right, and to make sure her questions get answered. Most importantly of all, if there is to be a settlement, the release language needs to be as tight as a drum, or all hell will break loose.
I think we?ll know more very soon.
And the best thing is, when you find it, the Wall Street Journal will print your name and give you money! How sweet is that? The system works!
I'm guessing this Rabbi Aryeh Spero is the kind of prince whose life work has been spreading anti-Semitism. No, not fighting anti-Semitism, spreading it. I mean, who wouldn't hate a miserable lying sack of doody like this? Your average street-level sex worker, by comparison, is at least providing a useful service, especially by comparison with a wackadoodle clergywhore who interprets his calling from God as a mandate to provide blowjobs for deep-pocketed economic predators.
I almost wrote "deep-pocketed economic predators who are the object of their God's wrath," and officially this is probably true, since not many religions can afford to be caught fronting for the avatars of greed and selfishness. The reality, though, is that it's the grandees of greed who keep nearly all religions going, and in more cases than note provide their reason for being -- they're just not supposed to talk about that.
But I haven't told you yet what I'm talking about. OK, folks, it's time for you to meet the good rabbi, courtesy of Catherine Rampell yesterday on the NYT's Economix blog.
February 2, 2012, 1:40 PM
What Else Does the Bible Teach About Capitalism?
By CATHERINE RAMPELL
Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by Rabbi Aryeh Spero titled ?What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism,? which argued that Americans should laud Mitt Romney?s private equity career.
An outline of his reasoning: The United States was founded upon ?the Judeo-Christian ethos,? and within that ethos ?resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as a moral endeavor.?
The Bible and related Judaic-Christian teaching are pro-capitalist, he argues, because God?s people are told to work and encouraged to be creative (which could be read as entrepreneurial), and because the Tenth Commandment forbids envy (including envy of the 1 percent). Additionally, Rabbi Spero notes, ?King Solomon?s thriving kingdom crashed once his son decided to impose onerous taxes.?
Whatever capitalism?s merits, I?m not sure hanging its moral legitimacy on Jewish Scripture is such a solid plan. The Holy Book also conveys plenty of ideas that are anti-capitalist and anti-free-market.
Deuteronomy 23:19, for example, orders: ?Do not charge your brother interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.? ?Foreigners? can be charged interest, however. Exactly who counts as a foreigner has fueled centuries of debate, and at least one Shakespearean play. (That play, ?The Merchant of Venice? was home to the line ?The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose,? by the way.)
Additionally, a biblical prohibition against ?taking advantage? of the person on the other side of a sale was interpreted by ancient rabbis to mean that sellers were permitted a profit margin that was no greater than one-sixth of a good?s selling price. Any markup beyond that had to be returned to the buyer.
That restriction might not go over very well in private equity circles.
Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush and prominent right-wing pundit, was secretly involved in the Komen Foundation’s strategy regarding Planned Parenthood. Fleischer personally interviewed candidates for the position of “Senior Vice President for Communications and External Relations” at Komen last December. According to a source with first-hand knowledge, Fleischer drilled prospective candidates during their interviews on how they would handle the controversy about Komen’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Fleischer’s relationship with Komen and the Planned Parenthood controversy was previously undisclosed. He confirmed to ThinkProgress his recent role in filling a key communication position at Komen. Fleischer stressed, however, another communications firm (Ogilvy PR) was retained by Komen to deal with crisis communications over the last few days and he has not been involved.
In November, Komen advertised for a top level communications position in Roll Call. Promising applicants received a call from Fleischer. The advertisement is no longer posted on the Roll Call website, but a portion is accessible via Google:
According to a source, during at least one interview, Planned Parenthood was a major topic of conversation. Fleischer indicated that he had discussed the Planned Parenthood issue with Komen’s CEO, Nancy Brinker, and that she was at her wits end about how to proceed. Fleischer described himself as a longtime friend of Brinker.
Fleischer confirmed to ThinkProgress that he would receive a fee from Komen when the search is complete. Fleischer did not specify the amount of his fee but said it would be “substantially below the normal placement fee charged by executive search companies” because “they’re a charity I believe in.”
Fleischer’s high-level involvement with Komen further complicates its image as an apolitical cancer charity. Fleischer is a prominent partisan commentator and a longtime critic of Planned Parenthood. In his book, Taking Heat, Fleischer criticized Planned Parenthood as a partisan, ideological organization that receives undeserved positive coverage in the press. In 2001, Fleischer said that the Clinton administration verged too far to the left on family planning efforts because “if Planned Parenthood wanted it, the previous administration favored it.”
A copy of the full listing for the position Fleischer was working to fill for Komen is still available here.
Last time we looked at 1975, and if anything 1976 was a bit more settled for The Who in some respects. Most of their time was spent doing a huge tour, with multiple Atlantic Ocean crossings. There were a couple of reasons for that.Likely the[...]
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Many, many years ago, I was out in the Pecos wilderness with several my classmates. We found out,[...]
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Many, many years ago, I was out in the Pecos wilderness with several my classmates. We found out,[...]
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