Double talk is not new in Washington, but it is never clearer than when we are simultaneously talking about deficit reduction and a continued presence in Afghanistan.[...]
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Via the AP: As world food prices surge to the highest levels ever recorded due to a combination of production constraints and rising demand from expanding middle classes, many poor families teeter on the edge, and it is the mothers who often quietly bear[...]
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Conservatives in Congress and their echo chamber have backed President Obama, and the American people, into a dangerous corner. Private sector job creation is desperately needed for our national recovery and to begin rebuilding the economic security of[...]
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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce thinks a law that prohibits American businesses from paying bribes to foreign government officials is hurting U.S. companies, and Republicans in the House agree. But don't accuse them of being pro-bribery.
"Nobody here is in favor of bribery," said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) at a Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday examining the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). But Sensenbrenner and House Republicans made clear they intend to change the law as it currently stands.
Sensenbrenner called the FCPA statute vague and said it was too open to the interpretation of the Justice Department, arguing that the feds could even apply the law to paying for cab rides for their overseas workers if they wanted.
Sensenbrenner argued that companies "lack guidance on how expensive a gift must be to be considered a bribe" and said prosecutions should be more effective, fair and predictable. He argued that the way the law could be enforced could "put at a significant disadvantage to our foreign competitors."
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who has been lobbying to change the statute on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform, testified that the FCPA has "substantial" merits but proposed six amendments he said would improve the law.
Mukasey argued that the FCPA was a "Catch-22" because under the law businesses could still be punished even if they had a robust compliance system in place to prevent illegal bribes and voluntarily disclosed violations to the government. He said there could be a "perverse incentive not to be too aggressive lest wrongdoing be discovered."
Just as companies who meet certain standards can't be held reliable under Title VII of Civil Rights Act if a rogue employee discriminates based on race, companies that have an anti-bribery compliance system in place should be able to use a compliance defense, Mukasey argued. He said dozens to hundreds of complaints are resolved through that provision of the Civil Rights Act each year.
"I think the lesson here is that having a compliance defense actually diminishes the overall instances of discrimination because it encourages employers to have robust systems of compliance," Mukasey said.
He argued that right now the law treats bribery more harshly than discrimination.
"Otherwise it would look like the interests that are served by the FCPA are given more weight in a statutory scheme than the interests served by the civil rights laws, which is certainly not the case," Mukasey said.
But Greg Andres, who testified on behalf of the Justice Department, said allowing for a compliance defense would create a loophole for companies to beat foreign bribery rap based on a "novel and somewhat risky approach."
Mukasey also advocated for Congress to clarify the meaning of a "foreign official" under the law, arguing that that definition could include anyone in countries where businesses were state-owned.
A representative of an organization for criminal defense lawyers also argued that the feds had too much prosecutorial discretion under the law.
"Because there has been so little judicial scrutiny of FCPA enforcement theories, right now the FCPA essentially means whatever the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) say it means," Shana-Tara Regon, Director of White Collar Crime Policy for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), said in a statement.
"Commercial corruption is a very real, very insidious problem in the global marketplace and advocating for reform in the FCPA context is absolutely not advocating for commercial bribery," Regon said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce held a briefing for congressional staffers on the FCPA ahead of the hearing, as Christopher M. Matthews reported for MainJustice.com.
In Saturday's Sun-Herald, Geoff Pender broke the buzz that some of us had been hearing for awhile now: Sen. Michael Watson (R-Pascagoula) is considering a run against first term U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo (R). That would be a pretty audacious move, but it would be a fun race to watch.
As an aside, when Majority in Mississippi posted about this, a spat broke out in comments between Ron Williams, Republican candidate for Governor, and some guy posting as "Adam." Interesting to see a statewide candidate engaging anonymous folks on the internet.
Tonight at 6:30 p.m., Hattiesburg Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Johnny DuPree will be hosting a forum entitled ?Making Mississippi First: A Conversation on Jobs and Education.? It will be held at the Good Deeds Community Center at 15101 Madison St., Gulfport, MS. From his press release:
We face many challenges in Mississippi, many that must be dealt with at the same time. This is why we are hosting conversations with elected officials, community leaders, and the people of Mississippi on the issues we face and how we will work together to solve our problems.
Please join us for ?Making Mississippi First: A Conversation on Jobs and Education.?
For far too long, state leaders have ignored the voices of the people, denying the opportunity for common-sense approaches from Mississippians like you.
This Friday, Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran will speak at the weekly "Friday Forum" at Koinonia Coffee House at 136 S. Adams Street in Jackson. Mayor Moran is currently running for State Treasurer and presiding over quite a post-Katrina recovery in Ocean Springs.
Earlier, I posted a piece on Phil Bryant's attempt to convince the newly formed Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Tourism Partnership to spend most of its BP tourism money on moving the flagging Miss America pageant to the Coast. In it, I noted that Sam Haskell, who runs the pageant, had given Phil Bryant a $10,000 donation 3 weeks before Bryant went to pitch the Miss America bailout to the Partnership.
It appears as though Haskell is also a "Chairman" of the upcoming $1,000 per couple Phil Bryant fundraiser at Robert Lampton's home in Jackson's Eastover neighborhood. The list of host for the event is on the second page of the invitation.
h/t Majority In Mississippi
This one, from Violet Socks.
I'm crazy about all of it and strongly recommend you read it in its entirety. I want to highlight two passages in particular. First (my emphasis):
Women are the vagina animals, and one way or another, their vaginas are always the story.And second:
Feminism is about saying to hell with all of that. ?The proposition that women are fully human? is one way feminism has been summarized, and it means just that. Not the sex class, not the breeding stock adjunct of the default (male) humans, but real, full members of the human race. And feminism calls for a world where women can go about being doctors and lawyers and technicians and students and normal citizens without their sexual characteristics always being the story. The way men can.
I?m writing this because I?m sick of people pretending that sexual harassment isn?t any kind of offense at all. As a feminist, I want women to be able to walk through the world as something more than just fuck receptacles accompanied by a bluesy sax track. And I?m sick of alleged ?progressives? dismissing that as prudery or fainting-couch hysteria.The perspective reflected in Violet's post and in these excerpts strongly reminded me of part of my argument in "We Are Not Freaks." I wrote that essay in response to remarks by (surprise!) a straight, "liberal-progressive" man in a post at TAPPED, and the essay discusses what is often horrifyingly awful about common "liberal-progressive" attitudes toward gays and lesbians. In part, I wrote:
It?s not. It?s feminism.
When you strip away all the verbiage, all the intellectual tap dancing, and all the efforts to "understand" and be "tolerant," that is the inescapable, the terrible bottom line: many of you think we are Freaks. Speaking for myself with regard to these issues, I don't want you to "understand" me or to be "tolerant" of me. I don't want you to "study" me, and try to graph all the various points of similarity and difference between us: I want you to recognize that I am completely and entirely a human being, just as you are. And I want you to understand fully what that means, and to genuinely mean it.I won't belabor the parallels, for I think they should be clear.
I'm 58 now. I first became aware that most of you think I'm a Freak almost half a century ago. You should think about what that means, what it does to a person, and about the survival strategies we are forced to adopt, often so that we can simply get through the day.More informally, I would say: you fucking bastards.
And then think about what you need to change -- not about me, but about yourselves. I am not an object for your amusement, for your ridicule, or for your disgusting "jokes," just as I am not the subject for your earnest and "well-intentioned" discussions about "policy."
I am not a Freak. To those of you who think I am, no matter how subtly, and to those of you who have to exert so much diligent effort in your miserable attempt to "understand" and "tolerate" me, I now have only one thing to say:
God damn you to hell.
Herod had set the terms of the contest, and Salome used them for her own ends. She fought on his terms, but she outwitted the man who had set the rules. She humiliated him -- and she got what she wanted.If you doubt how common the Limbaugh-Sullivan view is, I again refer you to, "Christ, Men Are Awful," where I document a number of men who called into one radio show to agree emphatically that the only reason men resort to violence against women (or at least want to) is because women are Evil Incarnate. It's always the woman's fault, even if a man murders her. She asked for it.
For Herod -- for most men -- this is intolerable. It is inconceivable to Herod -- just as it is inconceivable to most men -- that the fault or the responsibility should be his. The fault and the responsibility must be Salome's. The fault and the responsibility must always be woman's. In any confrontation between a man and a woman in our culture, there is only one party to be punished: the woman. So it was with Salome, and so it is with Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.
Kill that woman. That is the motive, and that is the goal. To the extent women are successful, to the extent they threaten men's monopoly on power and control, they must be demeaned, diminished, treated with unending cruelty, and mocked. When all else fails, they must be eliminated. Kill that woman.
So ends our story for today.
Tim Profitt, a former volunteer coordinator for Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) Senate campaign, has agreed to serve probation and pay medical expenses for assaulting a MoveOn.org activists last year. After the incident, he said, ?I would like for her to apologize to me” — apparently the judge disagreed.