Brian Beutler explains why politicians on both sides of the aisle are treading carefully in the aftermath of JP Morgan's $2 billion blunder. [...]
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Playing chicken with debt limit disaster was apparently such a blast last time that John Boehner wants to do it all again this December. [...]
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RUPERT MURDOCH’S “LIEUTENANT” Rebekah Brooks is being charged after News Corp allegations relating to Scotland Yard’s phone-hacking investigation that has humiliated Murdoch and destroyed his credibility.
She is accused of conspiring with others, including her husband, Charlie Brooks, the racehorse trainer and friend of the prime minister, and her personal assistant, to conceal material from detectives.
Brooks and her husband were informed of the charging decision ? the first since the start of the Operation Weeting phone-hacking investigation last January ? when they answered their bail at a police station in London on Tuesday morning.
They are among six individuals from News International, along with the company’s head of security, Mark Hanna, to be charged over allegations that they removed material, documents and computers to hide them from officers investigating phone hacking. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life, although the average term served in prison is 10 months.
From the Daily Beast, who explains the perverting-the-course-of-justice charges:
Perverting the course of justice is a common-law criminal offense in Britain that is seen as potentially more severe than phone hacking or payments to public officials, the two primary allegations rocking the British wing of Murdoch’s news empire. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
It’s important to remember that a murdered girl’s parents’ phone was allegedly hacked by News of the World, which ended in the shuttering of the tabloid rag, one of Rupert Murdoch’s many. That the phone was a gift of Rebekah Brooks so her rag could keep tabs on information about the girl’s case reveals the ethical debauchery of this crew.
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Rachel Maddow took a look at Scott Brown's record since entering the Senate where he has been called one of Wall Street's favorite Congressmen and for good reason. As she reminded us, Brown's contribution to the Wall Street regulatory overhaul was to make sure that the $19 billion it cost to pay for additional oversight was going to be dumped on the tax payers instead of the financial institutions footing the bill. And now he's got donations flooding in from New York even though he's running for office in Massachusetts.
And of course the other reason Wall Street is opening their wallets for Brown is because he's the only thing standing between Elizabeth Warren and the United States Senate.
Elizabeth Warren called for Jamie Dimon to resign from the New York Fed this week:
Elizabeth Warren called on JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon to resign from his post on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's board, citing the need for "responsibility and accountability" in the financial industry.
Dimon, who disclosed a $2 billion loss by the banking giant last week, should "send a signal to the American people that Wall Street bankers get it and to show that they understand the need for responsibility and accountability," Warren said in a statement following Dimon's Sunday appearance on "Meet the Press."
During that interview, Dimon said he "absolutely" believed that the enormous loss would give regulators more ammunition against the banks. Warren latched onto that comment, stating that Dimon's place on the board of directors gave him the power to advise the New York Fed on "management oversight and policy," creating what the Massachusetts Democrat feels is a clear conflict of interest.
"We need to stop the cycle of bankers taking on risky activities, getting bailed out by the taxpayers, then using their army of lobbyists to water down regulations," Warren said. "We need a tough cop on the beat so that no one steals your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street."
You can watch her interview with Rachel below the fold.
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Don't forget you can donate to Warren's campaign at our Act Blue page here.
(Trosious)Late last month, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein wrote an op-ed that sparked a megaton of discussion in Washington, D.C. and across the country. But not on the Sunday talk shows. Their premise is the same as in their new book:
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.Whether you think they hit the bullseye in their critique, or chose the wrong party to pick on, or should have stuck with their previous approach of criticizing both parties or don't really know enough to decide whether they are right or wrong, you have to admit the subject is one worth delving into in some depth. Exactly the kind of thing that ought to lend itself to a thorough back and forth on the Sunday talk shows.
?Not a single one of the Sunday shows has indicated an interest, and I do find it curious,? Ornstein told [Greg Sargent], adding that the Op ed had well over 200,000 Facebook recommends and has been viral for weeks. ?This is a level of attention for a book that we haven?t received before. You would think it would attract some attention from the Sunday shows.If you were cynical, you might conclude that this has something to do with the Sunday shows' relentlessly skewed guest list. When the Republicans were in charge in Washington, the guest list consisted mostly of Republicans (and whites and males). And, when the Democrats came to power? The guest list has consisted mostly of Republicans (and whites and males), as I documented over a 16-month period here and others have pointed out from time to time to time to time to time.
Okay. We get it. But that still doesn't explain why Mann and Ornstein's thesis didn't get some attention from Face the Nation or Meet the Press or State of the Union. Surely, they could have found plenty of Republican guests to blast the two men to smithereens for bias. That, however, would require an admission of the subject matter itself. Which would be a problem, as I noted two years ago:
It's not just who appears in the media, obviously. It is also very much who doesn't appear, whose opinions aren't seen at all. That, in part, is a function of the idea that all stories have only two sides, and as long as two sides are presented there's balance. Never mind that those two sides on a particular day may well be from the perspective of the right and the center or center-right. The truth is that most stories ? especially political, economic and cultural stories ? have more than two sides. Because the media are so subordinated to external power, the bias covers not only what gets talked about, but also what doesn't. Real socialized medicine? Carbon tax? The permanent war economy and the military-industrial-congressional complex? The economics of class? A serious discussion of racism or sexism, not to mention heterosexism? Not a chance.Like so much of the rest of the traditional media these days, the Sunday talk shows are more about propaganda than actual discourse. They are, in the so very apt term of Noam Chomsky, all about manufacturing consent. If that requires ignoring what ought to be major topics of the day, and what in other venues are major topics, then ignoring it shall be.
To be fair to the TSA, sometimes they get it right.Kissinger, who will be 89 this month, was spotted on Friday at LaGuardia airport in New York, getting routed to the pat-down line while going through security. Freelance reporter Matthew Cole recognized him ? something the TSA agent checking identification did not.After asking Kissinger his name as he passed through the scanner, the agent...
The symbolic impact of President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality cannot be overstated. In the days immediately following his announcement last Wednesday, several other prominent political figures followed his lead, declaring their own support for the freedom to marry:
It’s worth also noting that Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) issued an executive order yesterday requiring all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriage. This new momentum only adds to the many Democratic Party Chairs who have endorsed a marriage equality plank as part of the party’s 2012 platform. New enthusiasm for marriage equality will also help in state ballot fights in Minnesota and Maine, as well as those expected in Washington and Maryland. This surge is a testament to Obama’s leadership and the turning tide of history toward justice for all.
House Republicans are making a full court press to pass a defense budget $8 billion larger than caps set by the Budget Control Act. The House Armed Services Committee’s proposed budget would include pet projects like a $5 billion initiative spread across three years, to build an East Coast missile defense system which the military doesn’t want. But it appears that House Republicans have no interest in the Navy’s efforts to consume more biofuels and fuel from green energy sources.
On Monday, the Navy will announce the ships for its demonstration “Great Green Fleet” — an aircraft carrier strike group powered by biolfuels and other green energy sources — but, as reported by Wired’s Danger Room, the House Armed Services Committee is banning the Pentagon from buying alternative fuel that costs more than a “traditional fossil fuel” in its report on next year’s budget. That’s a standard that the upstart biofuel industry will find hard to meet and could well spell the end of the Pentagon’s early efforts to end a dependence on fossil fuels.
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and is one of the staunch defenders of the inflated defense budget, has been on a mission to kill the Navy’s use of biofuels since at least February. In a February hearing, the Viriginia Republican attacked Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus:
I understand that alternative fuels may help our guys in the field, but wouldn’t you agree that the thing they’d be more concerned about is having more ships, more planes, more prepositioned stocks. Shouldn’t we refocus our priorities and make those things our priorities instead of advancing a biofuels market?
Before letting Mabus answer, Forbes, whose homestate houses the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, shot back, “You’re not the secretary of the energy. You’re the secretary of the Navy.”
Indeed, the Republican opposition to biofuels, while encouraging various other types of military spending, may have a political dimension. In President Obama’s State of the Union speech in January, he put the Department of Defense at the forefront of an ambitious alternative energy plan. In February, Forbes quipped, “Now look, I love green energy. It’s a matter of priorities.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey made the case last October that military use of green energy technologies “saves lives” and an Army study in August found “A fighting force that isn?t restricted by the reach of a tanker truck or weighted down by heavy batteries is more nimble and, as a result, more lethal.”
The problem: Gorzkowski is an American citizen.
In fact, if O’Keefe had done a simple Nexis search for “Zbigniew Gorzkowski”, he would have found a single article from the News & Observer in 2008 noting that Gorzkowski and his wife are naturalized citizens:
Customers flock through the red door of Zbigniew “Ziggy” and wife Halina Gorzkowski’s European grocery and flower shop to buy one of the 12 varieties they sell. The pierogis and 400 eastern European food items and flowers are also punching the naturalized citizen couple’s ticket for their version of the American Dream.
ThinkProgress spoke with Gorzkowski this morning. He verified that this information was indeed correct and he had been an American citizen since the late 1980s. Therefore, his votes in the 2008 and 2010 elections were not only perfectly legal, but encouraged as a civic duty.
In other words, the one instance in the video where O’Keefe purports to show that a non-citizen had actually voted, in fact shows that a citizen voted.
The episode does speak to a larger underlying problem with most accusations of voter fraud. It’s what I call the “Scooby Doo routine”. People like O’Keefe make wild voter fraud accusations like non-citizens voting, only to discover a much simpler explanation for the situation.
In this case, O’Keefe is using “evidence” of foreigners voting in American elections to supposedly demonstrate the need for draconian security measures like voter ID, which could disenfranchise 20 million citizens across the country. However, his evidence actually shows nothing more than an American citizen exercising his civic duty. Earlier this year, South Carolina went through the same Scooby Doo routine after Attorney General Alan Wilson claimed to have unearthed evidence of 953 dead voters, only for his state investigation to ultimately find no dead voters — and zero voter fraud — but rather a handful of clerical errors.
O’Keefe has a responsibility as a journalist to ensure the veracity of his facts before he makes wild charges like these. A simple phone call or Nexis search would have sufficed, yet doing so would have undercut his spurious argument that voter fraud is a widespread problem in the United States.
In a surprise move last night, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) vetoed a bill demanding that the federal government turn over up to 25 million acres of public lands to the state by 2014 or face a lawsuit. In a statement, Brewer said that she was:
“?concerned about the lack of certainty this legislation could create for individuals holding existing leases on federal lands. Given the difficult economic times, I do not believe this is the time to add to that uncertainty.”
The overwhelming legal expert opinion is that this type of bill is unconstitutional — which is how the courts have ruled over many decades. The Salt Lake Tribune called a similar effort in Utah “tilting at windmills.”
This is a blow to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate front group that designs “model” legislation and is funded by the likes of Koch Industries, BP, Exxon Mobil, and Shell. ALEC endorsed this particular legislation, as the Associated Press reported:
Lawmakers in Utah and Arizona have said the legislation is endorsed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that advocates conservative ideals, and they expect it to eventually be introduced in other Western states.
Turning over public lands could eventually lead to their privatization, opening them up to mining, drilling and other industrial activity.
A similar bill demanding federal lands be turned over to the state was signed into law by Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) last month. The state has demanded 30 million acres of public lands by 2015 or it will sue. And, the Utah legislature has already authorized the state?s attorney general to spend $3 million on the anticipated legal battle.
Brewer?s veto of this bill is also a major setback to those aiming to start a new ?sagebrush rebellion? in the West, and may bring an end to other lawmakers? dreams of privatizing public lands. As Arizona state senator Al Melvin, the primary sponsor of the bill, said:
What we envision is all of the Western states going before the Supreme Court to force this issue.
Jessica Goad is Manager of Research and Outreach for the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress.