Last week, a Boston Globe investigation uncovered that former Gov. Mitt Romney’s administration destroyed emails, purchased hard drives, and otherwise obliterated all digital records of his time as governor of Massachusetts. This happened as Romney was leaving the state to campaign for president (the first time), and observers immediately speculated that the systematic destruction was politically motivated to hide embarrassing data.
Romney and his campaign have so far denied this, with the candidate saying this weekend in New Hampshire that his staff took the highly unusual step of purchasing their work hard drives because they might contain “confidential and private” information. Meanwhile, he’s made calls for greater White House transparency a part of his campaign message.
But in a fairly stunning admission today during an interview with the editorial board of the Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire, Romney suggested that his administration deleted emails because they didn’t want “opposition research teams” to have access to them:
ROMNEY: Well, I think in government we should follow the law. And there has never been an administration that has provided to the opposition research team, or to the public, electronic communications. So ours would have been the first.
While Romney’s claim that no previous administration had kept emails may be true, that’s hardly a strong precedent given that emailing was not commonplace for very many years before Romney took office.
Meanwhile, Romney clearly broke precedent with the hard drive buybacks, as staffers for previous administration called the purchases “unheard of.” Terry Dolan, who worked in six previous administrations in the state, told the Globe, ?That had not happened prior to the end of the Romney administration.” ?I don?t remember anybody buying their hard drives. I don?t remember anybody buying anything,?? said Stephen Crosby, who worked for Romney?s two predecessors.
Rick Perry has joined fellow Republican presidential contenders Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum in signing a controversial marriage pledge from Iowa’s FAMiLY LEADER. The social conservative organization is headed by failed gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats and has positioned itself as a gateway to Iowa’s Republican caucus goers. The pledge likens homosexuality to polygamy, adultery, or polyandry and asks candidates to vow that being gay is a choice that poses serious health risks like “shorter life expectancy.” An earlier draft also claimed that children were better off under slavery than they are under Obama.
Some Iowa Republicans have complained that the document is a distraction that has destroyed Vander Plaats’ credibility, and Mitt Romney has even characterized it as “undignified and inappropriate.” But Perry — who is polling in the single digits in the state — is now embracing the group and its controversial leader.
The Texas governor has previously compared homosexuality to alcoholism and condemned ?the agenda of radical gay rights groups that want to throw their sexual activity into the face of society.” In 2010, Perry ran for re-election on a GOP platform explicitly supporting the criminalization of gay sex.
Alabama’s economy is suffering because of HB 56, the state’s draconian immigration law, as workers flee out of fear. State Sen. Scott Beason (R), who sponsored the anti-immigrant bill in the Alabama legislature, once called it a “jobs bill,” but the state’s immigration law is leaving entire industries without enough workers instead.
And the extreme law, which legislators are now reconsidering, could seriously damage the state’s reputation as well after police arrested a German Mercedes-Benz executive last week under the immigration law. Mercedes opened its first American manufacturing plant in Vance, Alabama in 1993, spurring a trend of foreign car makers and suppliers opening factories in the state. They may be rethinking that decision, however, after one of their German executives was arrested for simply not having his passport with him:
Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson told The Associated Press an officer stopped a rental vehicle for not having a tag Wednesday night and asked the driver for his license. The man only had a German identification card, so he was arrested and taken to police headquarters, Anderson said.
The 46-year-old executive was charged with violating the immigration law for not having proper identification, but he was released after an associate retrieved his passport, visa and German driver’s license from the hotel where he was staying, Anderson said.
The length of his detainment and the status of his court case weren’t immediately known.
Bentley…called the state’s homeland security director, Spencer Collier, after hearing of the arrest to get details about what had happened, Collier said in an interview.
“Initially I didn’t have them, so I called Chief Anderson to find out what happened,” Collier said. “It sounds like the officer followed the statute correctly.”
Before Gov. Robert Bentley (R) signed HB 56, drivers who did not have a license were given a ticket and court summons, Collier said. “If it were not for the immigration law, a person without a license in their possession wouldn’t be arrested like this,” he told the AP.
In October, the New York Times speculated in an editorial that despite best efforts to recruit foreign automakers to Alabama, the state was now “infamous as a regional capital of xenophobia.” And if the immigration law scared away a manufacturer like Mercedes, which employs about 2,800 Alabamians, or Hyundai, which announced an expansion at its Montgomery, Alabama plant in May, would only compound the state’s economic woes. The unfortunate arrest of a visiting Mercedes executive only underscores the damage Alabama’s harmful anti-immigrant law will continue to do to the state’s economy — and its reputation.
At a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on the dangers of drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) exploded with rage. The hearing, with witnesses requested by the Democratic minority, was scheduled by Republicans for Friday afternoon. “I call it garbage, Dr. Rice,” Young said, addressing his comments to Dr. Douglas Brinkley, a historian at Rice University. When Brinkley corrected his name, Young grew even more apoplectic, saying, “I can call you anything I want if you sit in that chair.”
YOUNG: If you ever want want to see an exercise in futility ? That side has already made up its mind and this side has already made up its mind. I call it garbage, Dr. Rice, it comes from the mouth –
BRINKLEY: It’s Dr. Brinkley. Rice is a university –
YOUNG: Well, okay, I can call you anything I want if you sit in that chair. You just be quiet! You be quiet!
After Young’s irate outburst, Committee chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) castigated Dr. Brinkley for interrupting the Alaska congressman and disrupting the “comity” of the hearing.
“The Arctic plain is really nothing,” Young continued, calling Dr. Brinkley “elitist.” “You can go on all the pontifigurds you want . . . I’m really pissed.”
“Some people love money more than their homeland or where they live,” Dr. Brinkley said later, rebuking Young for his hatred of the undrilled Alaskan wilderness.
Rick Santorum, speaking in Ottumwa, Iowa on Friday:
If you're low-income ... in many states you can qualify for Medicaid, you can qualify for food stamps, you can qualify for housing assistance, and that's not if you're in poverty. That's if you're above the poverty line. And so you have all of the children growing up in an environment where government is paying you, and then we wonder why do these kids feel they're entitled to so much? [...]
That is not a healthy thing for children, it's not a healthy thing for society ... Suffering, if you're a Christian, suffering is a part of life. And it's not a bad thing, it is an essential thing in life ... There are all different ways to suffer. One way to suffer is through lack of food and shelter and there's another way to suffer which is lack of dignity and hope and there's all sorts of ways that people suffer and it's not just tangible, it's also intangible and we have to consider both.
Rick Santorum starts here with a pretty standard Republican "culture of entitlement" argument: If you give these low-income families food and health care, their kids will grow up just thinking they're entitled to food and health care, and we can't have that. If their parents' jobs don't pay enough?because note that he specifies this is people just above the poverty line, so clearly he is talking here about employed people?to pay for food and health care, then those kids should go without.
Then he whips that tried-and-true argument into a frothy mix with the suggestion that in fact denying low-income children food and health care is actually a good Christian thing to do. Because, yes, they will suffer tangibly through lack of food and shelter, but if they are getting their food and shelter in part through governmental assistance due to low-paying jobs, then they are suffering intangibly through lack of dignity and hope. And there's nothing that says dignity and hope like children starving on the street.
I've been lucky. There was no Internet back in the 1990s when I was one of the few women writing in the mainstream media about LGBT issues. Hate mail, then, was actual, physical mail, usually sent to a newspaper and forwarded, although one or two writers somehow found my home address. But even those were pretty mild. The usual theme was that I was going to hell; sometimes I got conversion pamphlets, with handy cartoon illustrations of people on fire. I got a couple of letters with disgustingly graphic ideas about my sex life, but those were overshadowed by the religious pamphlets and the psychotics' letters?which you learned to recognize by the tiny handwriting on the envelope, and which ran six to ten pages, and almost always mentioned alien life forms somehow.
So when, in the Internet era, I started writing more about women's economic lives?exposing the gross details of sexual harassment, or explaining the violence involved in occupational segregation?I was honestly shocked by the responses. Write about gay people, and you get told to go to hell. Write about women, and you get threatened with rape. I don't know about you, but I find hell much less frightening.
Over at The Independent, Laurie Penny has written a must-read exposť of what it means to be a woman with an opinion:
You come to expect the vitriol, the insults, the death threats. After a while, the emails and tweets and comments containing graphic fantasies of how and where and with what kitchen implements certain pseudonymous people would like to rape you cease to be shocking...
An opinion, it seems, is the short skirt of the internet. Having one and flaunting it is somehow asking an amorphous mass of almost-entirely male keyboard-bashers to tell you how they'd like to rape, kill and urinate on you....
Like many others, I have also received more direct threats, like the men who hunted down and threatened to publish old photographs of me which are relevant to my work only if one believes that any budding feminist journalist should remain entirely sober, fully clothed and completely vertical for the entirety of her first year of university. Efforts, too, were made to track down and harass my family, including my two school-age sisters. After one particular round of rape threats, including the suggestion that, for criticising neoliberal economic policymaking, I should be made to fellate a row of bankers at knifepoint, I was informed that people were searching for my home address. I could go on....
Penny is aware that she's far from alone. I know women who've been stalked for publishing. I know many who've received similar sexualized threats, regularly, over long periods of time. Penny calls for a public discussion of how to end the normalization of the sexual threats against women who dare to think. I am trying to understand what such a discussion would be like. In her ironically titled piece,†"The Girl's Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet," Sady Doyle offers more detail about the disgusting personal attacks, with more detailed language (the "c" word is frequently deployed) and stories about "Santorum"-style online attacks, aimed at preventing women from getting jobs, or online attackers who find bloggers' family members' addresses for additional attacks:
This is the game, for feminist bloggers: the more recognition you receive, the more dangerous the job becomes. Other writers may be able to nurture ambition, and pursue goals without ambivalence. Feminists, on the other hand, live with the fear of Schrodinger?s Promotion. Every step we take toward recognition might be the step that makes blogging itself an intolerable risk. I?ve spoken to other bloggers ? one of them male ? who have changed pseudonyms or deleted blogs once they got an unacceptably large readership, just to avoid it. Those who stay put have paid a high price.
I'm lucky over here at the Prospect: You, readers, have treated me with respect, unlike some of the readers I've had at, say, TPMCafe (several years ago), or those I've had when I've published in The Washington Post. Perhaps that's because you're only reading me here if you already agree. Perhaps it's because I'm a middle-aged dyke and therefore not a prime target as a male sexual object. I'm fine with that. Whatever the reason, thank you.
But the underlying issue isn't particular to women with opinions. Fear of publishing one's thoughts is just an extension of the underlying fear women have of being public at all. It's sexual harassment and street harassment in just another venue. After a certain age?say, by 19?women know that we must keep our heads up and our eyes open in the back stacks of libraries or hidden areas of public parks, lest we encounter flashers or worse; be alert when walking at night or in empty areas; stay near streetlights and away from parked cars; keep our keys splayed in our fingers as potential weapons if jumped; check our back seats before getting into our cars and to lock the car instantly on getting in; make sure a friend knows where we are at all times; avoid being near certain bosses alone. Heterosexual women know, when dating, not to give out their home addresses until they've run criminal background and personal reference checks on a dating prospect (okay, maybe the criminal background checks are illegal and impossible, but many wish they were not).
A lot of men have no idea how fully women's lives are limned by caution and fear. This is the invisible burka for women in the West. I don't mean to exaggerate it?god forbid that I should be mocked by Katie Roiphe, who has made a silly career of asserting that sexual violence is just flirting by another name?but neither should this gendered background noise continue to go unnoticed.
Here's the larger question for me: Why do so many men feel comfortable having and acting on such sexually violent attitudes toward women? What will it take to end this underlying beastly treatment of women who dare to be anything but silent bodies? How do we end this epidemic of violent disrespect? I am honestly asking for your thoughts.
I'm having one of those moments where I want so badly to say "I told you so". I hate being right when my being so means that 99% of us have just taken another hit from pissy, whiny little turds that either claim to be our "leaders" or want a chance to call themselves that.
But I'm going to remind everyone that on the day when the president announced that yet another goddamned committee or commission was being formed to study the deficit situation and come up with ways to keep the money flowing into the big corporation and without making them pay their fair share of the price for it, I went on record right here, stating that I knew it was just another flipping sham and that ponce again the fricking congress and the administration were urinating on our britches leg and calling it a warm tropical rain.
The so called "supercommittee" was never intended to find a solution for anything. It's only purpose was to serve as some kind of public relations gimmick to keep the 99% thinking our government really gave a rat's ass about serving the "common good" when, as Ted points out in his latest piece, not a fricking one of them has a clue as to what the phrase "common good" even means anymore.
Did anyone really think that a bunch of goddamned millionaires... most of whom have become or are in the process of doing so... by selling their very asses to the one percent, was going to come up with anything that didn't maintain the status quo or even increase the flow of wealth upward to the people who own those asses by virtue of having bought and paid for them with the money they steal daily from the rest of us?
That's probably the dumbest fricking thing I've ever heard and if you believed a syllable of the story they were peddling when they put this conglomeration of greed and evil together to supposedly serve YOUR best interests, then f**k you... you deserve exactly what you're getting for continuing to vote for the same sonsofbitches that keep doing this shit to you. understand this: The "Supercommittee" did NOT fail. They did exactly what they were put in place to do and now they continue to do exactly what anyone with the brains of a flipping pissant expects them to do... they're covering their asses.
Patricia Murphy @ The Daily Beast puts it clearly:
Just one day before the congressional supercommittee's drop-dead deadline to come up with a plan to cut trillions of dollars from the national debt, and days after the country racked up its 15 trillionth dollar of borrowed money, panel members fanned out across Washington Sunday morning-not to negotiate a last-minute deal, but to blame the other guys for messing everything up.
"In Washington, there is a group of folks that will not cut a dollar unless we also raise taxes," Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, a Republican committee member, complained on NBC's Meet the Press. "The only real breakthrough here was the Republican offer to actually increase the amount of revenue through the tax code."
No sooner had Kyl finished speaking than John Kerry appeared on the same show, essentially calling Kyl a liar.
"What Jon just said is patently not true. We just cut $917 billion without one dime of new revenue. He knows it, we just did it...this is just nonsense," Kerry said. "If this weren't so serious I might laugh."
But nobody was laughing on Capitol Hill as it became increasingly clear that the latest supergroup of bipartisan dealmakers was about to go down in flames despite the high hopes in August, when Congress gave them the power to re-jigger the entire federal budget and President Obama vowed he would "stay on it until we get the job done." But four months later, they haven't gotten the job done. And according to aides, they were never even close.
With all DUE respect to Mr. Kyl... heavy emphasis on the word "due" since he's probably one of the few people on the DC scene who can rival Newt Gingrich for scaliness and the size of the slime trail he leaves behind him wherever he slithers... he's just doing what we all expect him to do.
Understand this people... politicians get rich by cutting your throat to provide a pipelined supply of blood to the fricking vampires sitting in the goddamned crypts that line both sides of Wall Street. As far they're concerned, they don't owe you a fricking thing. All you did was vote for the bastards. And the mere pittance you pay them pails in significance to the money the fourteen thousand or so registered fricking corporate lobbyists have to toss in their direction.
Cut defense spending now? Another fricking laugh. Most of the money made in this country today is made by corporations that manufacture and sell the stuff we use to travel around the world killing people and taking their shit. It's what e do better than anything else and if we had to stop doing it tomorrow half the billionaires in the country would throw themselves from window their penthouses offices and the other half would make sure they were standing under them when they hit the fricking sidewalk.
In that regard, Ill make another prediction. I predict that any significant cuts made in our defense budget will almost exclusively involve cuts in pay and benefits to the rank and file (one of the political commissars... I think it was Mullen... said so months ago when the committee was formed... and even more severe cuts in care and benefits for our veterans while items such as John Boner's totally superfluous "backup" engines for the F-35 will remain virtually unscathed.
Our "representatives" aren't about to bite the hand of the people making them rich but will go right on kissing their asses and giving them whatever the hell they want.
Wolf Blitzer and the rest of the cowardly media pricks can not only quote me on that, he and they can kiss MY ass when it comes true.
"You start with people with a socialist bias that you shouldn't earn money," the former House speaker tells USA TODAY. If you do, he says, "you're automatically suspicious of having done something bad."
Gingrich?s is an amazingly efficient candidacy, in that it embodies almost everything disagreeable about modern Washington. He?s the classic rental politician. People think his problem is his colorful personal life. He?s gonna hope people concentrate on that, rather than on, for example, ethanol. Al Gore has recanted ethanol. Not Newt Gingrich, who has served the ethanol lobby. Industrial policy of the sort that got us Solyndra ? he?s all for it. Freddie Mac, he says, hired him as a "historian." He?s not a historian. Hire Sean Wilentz, hire Gordon Wood if you want a historian.
And then there's Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney. Carney is obviously a socialist because he accuses Gingrich of lying about his lobbying:
When Newt Gingrich says he never lobbied, he's not telling the truth.
Gingrich brushes off the criticism, saying Republican voters just don't care about any of it. And at least so far, the polls are on his side. According to the latest Reuters poll, not only has Gingrich surged to the top of the GOP field, but nearly half of Republican voters say they don't care about Gingrich's ties to Freddie Mac and just one-third said it lowered their opinion of him.
It's easy to understand why Republican voters don't care about Gingrich's influence peddling: Unlike George Will and Tim Carney, they aren't socialists.
Former Boston archbishop, now Cardinal Bernard Law fled to Rome after the sex abuse scandal broke in Boston, and he's been there ever since. He embodies the Catholic church hierarchy that has been exposed as a pedophile priest protection racket. He has[...]
Read The Full Article:
I did it, and it was fun.Happy news!
The nation's 10 biggest banks could stand to lose as much as $185 billion in deposits in the next year due to customer defections, according to cg42, a Wilton, Conn.-based management consulting firm that has conducted research for several of the nation's top banks. The top 10 banks hold a total of $2.04 trillion retail deposits (deposits made by consumers and small businesses), according to data from cg42, which is based on each bank's annual report [...]
Out of all the big banks, Bank of America is the most vulnerable and could lose up to 10% of its customers and $42 billion in consumer deposits in the next year, the survey found. The bank's total retail deposits stand at $407 billion (while total deposits, including corporate deposits and deposits from other financial institutions, amount to nearly $1 trillion, according to FDIC data).
That's real money, but we can deliver more pain. Pressure your local municipalities to divest their holdings from the big banks, like San Jose already did, and like Portland and Seattle are trying to do. Pressure non-profits you are involved with to do the same, same with businesses.
Make it your New Year's resolution.