At the latest Casey Research conference, respected investment analyst Porter Stansberry stood at the podium and predicted that the price of oil will fall below US$40 per barrel within the next 12 months. Part of his reasoning revolves around the impact that the shale gas revolution has had in the United States ? he believes a similar thing will happen with oil.
Porter is a friend of mine and a very smart, successful individual? but I think not.
From my perspective, the pressures at play in the oil market are all pushing prices in the opposite direction: up. Global supplies are tightening, costs are rising, and … [visit site to read . . . → Read More: Marin Katusa vs. Porter Stansberry on Oil Prices
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House Republicans are taking up where Senate Republicans failed (or gave up) in trying to prevent the Violence Against Women Act from including or expanding protections for undocumented immigrants, LGBT people, and Native Americans. In addition to excluding those groups of victims, the House Republican bill, sponsored by Rep. Sandy Adams of Florida, would introduce mandatory minimum sentencing for some sexual assaults.
Research shows that mandatory minimum sentences in general disproportionately affect black men (as compared with white men); there are also concerns about mandatory minimums specific to sexual assault:
Senate Democrats say mandatory minimum sentences ?can have a chilling effect on the reporting and prosecution of crime, particularly domestic and sexual violence offenses that involve offenders closer to the victim,? a staff analysis of the Senate bill (S 1925) found.Given this and opposition to inclusion of mandatory minimum sentences in the Violence Against Women Act from dozens of groups such as the NAACP and the ACLU, their inclusion in the Republican version of the bill may be intended as a poison pill, which Republicans will seize on to say that Democrats don't want to punish sexual offenders. Republicans are also foregrounding women as sponsors of their version of the bill, clearly hoping to pinkwash their attempts to weaken VAWA.
The House Judiciary Committee will mark up the bill when recess ends, and it is expected to go to the full House the week of May 14. Once the House has passed its version, the real fun begins as the House and Senate have to reconcile their very different bills.
Tell your representatives to pass the expanded, bipartisan Senate reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, not the Republican House version that would exclude Native Americans, LGBT people, and undocumented immigrants and introduce problematic mandatory minimum sentences to sexual assault.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) on Thursday released a draft memo laying out the case for holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for producing a "small fraction" of the documents they requested as part of their investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.
The Justice Department, the memo asserted, "has issued false denials, given answers intended to misdirect investigators, sought to intimidate witnesses, unlawfully withheld subpoenaed documents, and waited to be confronted with indisputable evidence before acknowledging uncomfortable facts."
Issa said in a statement that the draft contempt report "explains the case, to both Members of the Committee and the American people, for holding Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress" and "provides the facts, on which decisions will be made."
A Justice Department official told TPM that DOJ continues to comply with the Oversight Committee's requests and said the information it has not released is the type that is historically not released because it would politicized and jeopardize ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions. That position, according to DOJ, is backed by an Office of Legal Counsel memo authored by President Ronald Reagan's Justice Department that asserted turning over such documents would allow Congress to "exert pressure or attempt to influence the prosecution of criminal cases."
Issa first threatened contempt proceedings over a year ago. There were mixed reports last week on whether House Speaker John Boehner had explicitly signed off on Issa's pursuit of a contempt resolution against Holder.Update on Fast and Furious With Attachment FINAL
The Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point today released 17 declassified documents, totaling 197 pages in English translations, which were among the reportedly thousands of items seized from Osama bin Laden's compound after U.S. Special Forces killed the terrorist leader last year.
The oldest of the released documents dates from September 2006, and the most recent was written by bin Laden and dated April 26, 2011, just days before the U.S. raid. Some of the correspondence was written by bin Laden himself -- but not all. Some were written by Al Qaeda figures Atiyya `Abd al-Rahman, Abu Yahya al-Libi and the American Adam Gadahn. Some of the documents are incomplete and do not identify an author. It is also unclear if the letters not addressed to bin Laden ever reached their intended audience.
"Other recognizable personalities who feature in the letters either as authors, recipients or points of conversation include Mukhtar Abu al-Zubayr, leader of the Somali militant group Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahidin; Nasir al-Wuhayshi (Abu Basir), leader of the Yemen-based al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP); Anwar al-`Awlaqi; and Hakimullah Mahsud, leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)," the CTC's guide to the documents states.
One of the letters with no clear author or date contains a discussion of changing Al Qaeda's very name.
"This name reduces the feeling of Muslims that we belong to them, and allows the enemies to claim deceptively that they are not at war with Islam and Muslims, but they are at war with the organization of al-Qa?ida," the document states.
Alternative names proposed in the letter include Taifat al-tawhid wal-jihad (Monotheism and Jihad Group), Jama?at wihda al-Muslimin (Muslim Unity Group), and Jama?at i?adat al-khilafat al-rashida (Restoration of the Caliphate Group).
In a long letter written in May 2010, bin Laden wrote that he had given instructions to "prepare two groups - one in Pakistan and the other in the Bagram area of Afghanistan - with the mission of anticipating and spotting the visits of Obama or Petraeus to Afghanistan or Pakistan to target the aircraft of either one of them."
"They are not to target visits by US Vice President Biden, Secretary of Defense Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff (Chairman) Mullen, or the Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Holbrook," bin Laden continued. "The groups will remain on the lookout for Obama or Petraeus. The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term, as it is the norm over there. Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis."
A document from January 2011, written by American Al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn, discusses media plans for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and offers some twisted yet perhaps familiar-sounding media criticism.
"From the professional point of view, they are all on one level-except (Fox News) channel which falls into the abyss as you know, and lacks neutrality too," Gadahn wrote. "I used to think that MSNBC channel may be good and neutral a bit, but is has lately fired two of the most famous journalists-Keith Olberman and Octavia Nasser the Lebanese - because they released some statements that were open for argument."
In a report that the CTC released along with the documents, the center offered some advice on reading the documents.
"[T]wo cautions are worth highlighting. First and most importantly is
that these documents likely represent only a fraction of the materials reportedly taken
from the compound," the report said. "Second... analysis based on captured documents alone is fraught with risk. While they may offer unique insights, these are most valuable when contextualized with information drawn from other sources."
As Russell Pearce's power in Arizona politics grew over the years, so too did questions about his past friendship with a man who went on to become the most vocal neo Nazi in the state.
So when that neo Nazi reportedly massacred four people in a suburban Phoenix home before turning the gun on himself on Wednesday, reporters naturally turned to the former state Senate president and primary sponsor of Arizona's tough immigration law to comment on the killings.
After resisting for hours, Pearce relented late in the day and released a lengthy statement detailing how he came to know JT Ready and what eventually led to their falling out. Multiple media outlets in Arizona posted the statement in whole.
Pearce said he, like others in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, got to know Ready for his interest in Republican politics.
"When we first met JT he was fresh out of the Marine Corp and seemed like a decent person," Pearce wrote. "He worked as a telephone fundraiser for Christian and pro-life groups, he dated the daughter of one of our District 18 members, and his attitudes and spoken opinions were good and decent."
According to the Phoenix New Times, Pearce became a mentor to Ready. The powerful lawmaker helped the young man convert to the Mormon religion and he was there for Ready's first baptism.
But Pearce said Ready's demeanor changed somewhere along the way. Pearce described it as a "darkness." Ready began spending time with hate groups, including the National Socialist Movement, which is the largest neo Nazi organization in the U.S.. After pressure from fellow Republicans, Pearce eventually disavowed the friendship.
"He was angry with me and stayed angry with me, and it has been several years since I have had reason to speak with JT," Pearce said in the statement.
The former lawmaker, who was thrown out of office by voters in a recall election last year and who is currently trying to regain a seat in the state Senate, also took the opportunity to criticize reporters for hounding him with questions about his former friendship with Ready. He described the reporting as "the most reprehensible that I have ever witnessed."
Pearce said he never shared Ready's racist views and moved quickly to distance himself from the neo Nazi. He hurled anger at journalists who he said were trying to connect him to those views.
"When I learned the truth about him, I made it clear how wrong I thought it was and I worked to remove him from our Party," Pearce wrote. "Yet the lie is told and retold over and over again."
Pearce, however, didn't address the fact that, according to the New Times, it took more a year from the time that Ready went public as a white supremacist to the time the senator finally denounced him.
Finally, Pearce used the opportunity to express sadness over the massacre in which four others, including a toddler, were killed. The victims included Ready's girlfriend and members of her family.
"Today, the Devil won and claimed the soul of one young man and the lives of others, including the most innocent of all, a child," Pearce said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the four beautiful souls that are now in God's hands."—
Watch an 11-minute report about Pearce's connections to Ready that a Fox affiliated television station aired last year:
Among new documents from the bin Laden compound released today, OBL lamented decline of al Qaida rep, musing on possible rebranding, only wanted to target Obama and Petraeus for assassination. From this we can draw the conclusion that the culture of[...]
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The success of ?Dreams? has given Obama nearly complete control of his own life narrative, an appealing tale that has been the foundation of his political success. But Maraniss?s biography threatens that narrative by questioning it: Was Obama?s journey entirely spiritual and intellectual? Or was it also grounded in the lower realms of ambition and calculation? – The dangerous new Obama book, by Glenn Thrush and Dylan Byers
BACK IN 2007, into very early 2008, when the national press was agog about Barack Obama, I wrote about him in a manner that was honest and highly doubting that the myth matched what I’d been told by Chicagoans, as well as what I’d dug up and read about the man who was just another ruthless politician. But politics is a dirty game and there isn’t one person who reaches Obama’s heights that doesn’t get into the mud, which was certainly the case in the Democratic primaries of 2007, which I recount in my book The Hillary Effect.
The Obama camp went nuclear on Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas, which I’ve defended, as they also did on Confidence Men by Ron Suskind, also a trove of revealing facts. So you can bet they’ve got a corner of their reelection war room ready for David Marinass’s new book Barack Obama: The Story, to be published this month by Simon & Schuster.
However, let’s begin with what Barack Obama wrote in Dreams of My Father, before the reader gets to the first page:
?For the sake of compression, some of the characters that appear are composites of people, I?ve known, and some events appear out of precise chronology. With the exception of my family and a handful of public figures, the names of most characters have been changed for the sake of privacy.? [Business Insider]
No one can get into Mr. Obama’s mind way back when he was writing his memoir, but having written about a boyfriend in my current book I’ll admit I can’t relate to the composite choice. There are many ways to protect people, with a composite obviously coming with motive on crafting a story that lives beyond facts and truth. It’s not in any way necessarily nefarious, dishonest or manipulative. However, considering Barack Obama’s healthy ambition it’s clear there was intent to create a narrative that suited the main character’s purpose. Again, nothing wrong with that either, but the tale does lie beyond fact. That he admits this up front is important. Why he decided to take that road, however, is too.
In Dreams from My Father, Obama chose to emphasize a racial chasm that unavoidably separated him from the woman he described as his New York girlfriend.
One night I took her to see a new play by a black playwright. It was a very angry play, but very funny. Typical black American humor. The audience was mostly black, and everybody was laughing and clapping and hollering like they were in church. After the play was over, my friend started talking about why black people were so angry all the time. I said it was a matter of remembering?nobody asks why Jews remember the Holocaust, I think I said?and she said that?s different, and I said it wasn?t, and she said that anger was just a dead end. We had a big fight, right in front of the theater. When we got back to the car she started crying. She couldn?t be black, she said. She would if she could, but she couldn?t. She could only be herself, and wasn?t that enough.
None of this happened with Genevieve. She remembered going to the theater only once with Barack, and it was not to see a work by a black playwright. When asked about this decades later, during a White House interview, Obama acknowledged that the scene did not happen with Genevieve. ?It is an incident that happened,? he said. But not with her. He would not be more specific, but the likelihood is that it happened later, when he lived in Chicago. ?That was not her,? he said. ?That was an example of compression I was very sensitive in my book not to write about my girlfriends, partly out of respect for them. So that was a consideration. I thought that [the anecdote involving the reaction of a white girlfriend to the angry black play] was a useful theme to make about sort of the interactions that I had in the relationships with white girlfriends. And so, that occupies, what, two paragraphs in the book? My attitude was it would be dishonest for me not to touch on that at all ? so that was an example of sort of editorially how do I figure that out??
An over exercised story in The Atlantic makes good points on Rush Limbaugh and the corrections made by Politico. But the complaining about Obama and “vetting” is laughable.
Politico does get one thing correct and that is the Marinass book is potentially dangerous, because people don’t think of Barack Obama the way they did in 2008. No politician can withstand the pedestal and political god treatment, whether it’s John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, William Jefferson Clinton or, yes, even Barack Obama.
All along David Axelrod and David Plouffe portrayed Barack Obama as beyond your average politician. Michelle Obama has added to this myth exponentially, as has Valerie Jarrett and others around the President, because as the first African American president they’ve laid on him, with Obama accepting the charge, that he’s special, different and, as Oprah said, “The One.”
Through all my writing, including in my book, which focuses on the press’s complicity in allowing the myth of Obama to take hold as a political foundation, I’ve endeavored to portray Barack Obama as he is, which began through what I’d learned from digging around as much as my independent pocketbook would allow, back when the traditional and new media press, as well as cable, were laying hands on him. It looks like the media is finally deciding to consider that Barack Obama is indeed another politician who utilized his life story to craft a narrative that would sell.
Ask Marco Rubio how important a political narrative is in American politics.
We’re a Hollywood nation, so we love a good story and when someone tries to add truth to the mix that tarnishes the tale they end up paying for it in any number of ways.
But to hear the media whine about Barack Obama’s story is a bit much. This is the same national and new media I indict in my book, because of their clear bias and careless coverage throughout 2007-2008, while ignoring important clues, not to mention what they chose to focus on regarding Hillary Clinton, a dramatic political and journalistic tale that goes back 20 years. Ryan Lizza’s article in The New Yorker further proved I’d been on to something from the start.
Now the right’s going nuclear because it will help their fight to get Mitt Romney in the White House. Utilizing Obama’s fall from perfection, the media’s Rip van Winkle awakening to stir up a story in a dizzyingly boring election year, as well as the people’s nervousness about everything, Republicans have seized on the Marinass narrative.
Team Obama’s in for a bruising battle, because now everyone knows he’s not “The One.” No one is.
Basically a grifter who has made himself a multimillionaire by bilking clueless donors to his many schemes, Gingrich has now agreed to endorse Romney. In return for Romney and the RNC, which Romney has now taken over, will be paying off Newt's immense campaign debt. So... contribute to Romney and you're contributing to pay back loans from Gingrich's sleazy cronies who financed his ridiculous money-sucking campaign. Aside from all the stumbles and hilarity, the Gingrich campaign will probably be best remembered for the fascinating exposť of Romney's shady, destructive and immoral business practices, When Mitt Romney Came To Town.
On his way off the national stage again, Gingrich gave USAToday an interview yesterday in which he says he regrets "not being smarter about how to run." We'll leave that for the late night comics. He told them the campaign should have spent more time talking about "brain research." Maybe he should just read Chris Moody's two most recent brilliant books, The Republican Brain and The Republican War On Science.
He claimed Romney won because he was better at raising money. He seemed most bitter about the "irresponsible and cynical reaction to my proposals for space" by "the elites." and he doesn't think he'll be running for president again.
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Scott Brown has a growing Obama problem that threatens to derail his campaign. It?s a problem of his own making, but he is caught between a rock and a hard place.
enlargeAs he tries to make the case to Massachusetts voters of how bipartisan he is, touting his pride in working with President Obama, he is at the same time promising to his corporate special interest and anti-Obama donors, as well as right-wing Republican base groups, that he will be their champion, especially in an Obama second term. As a result, Brown is in the position of constantly having to run both hot and cold on Obama. He will simultaneously do anything to hug the President publicly even while dissing him more quietly to his Republican supporters.
This week, Brown put out a radio ad talking about his work with the President. He talks about how proud he was to work with Obama and how important cooperation is. ?We need to work together now,? Brown says. Last month he flew to D.C. twice in one week to be at signing ceremonies at Obama's side, after begging and prodding to be invited. Brown also staked out his seat on the aisle at the State of the Union hours in advance to make sure he could be seen on TV with Obama.
Obama is very popular in Massachusetts, and Brown couldn?t be any clearer about how much of a drag he thinks his very close personal friend Mitt Romney is on the ticket. It?s pretty difficult in a Presidential Election year to run with the opposite party?s candidate while running away from your own party?s standard bearer?especially when that standard bearer happens to be your longtime friend and political mentor. In fact, Brown is facing a terrible dilemma: spending so much time trying to associate with Obama, while continuing to trash him in fundraising appeals, creates a very big problem for him. Add to that the fact that Obama and Warren are actually close allies, and Brown is in a bind.
We were reminded of this again when Warren released a new television ad with Obama as well?in this case, Obama touting Elizabeth Warren's consumer advocacy and work setting up the CFPB from the White House. Obama is a big supporter of Warren?s, and his enthusiasm for her campaign is going to keep creating problems for Brown.
Brown should be careful what he wishes for. He might think Obama?s role in the race is a good thing, but adding credibility to the President is a dangerous game to play when the President is dead set against your re-election?and when you have to keep attacking Obama when raising money and talking to your right-wing friends.