Newt in happier times.
A month and a half ago, we learned that in contrast to what usually happens to a not-entirely-unsuccesful presidential contender, the candidacy of one Newton Leroy Gingrich had seriously hampered the former Speaker's ability to get people to give him money for doing very little other than spout off his opinion on things. You see, Newt had carefully constructed a network of organizations whose main purpose was getting people to give him money for being Newt. In the course of the campaign, however, the world learned just how much people gave him, and how little they got for it, most notably in the case of Freddie Mac, which paid Newt $1.6 million for "strategic consulting" that consisted of little more than giving a couple of speeches and having a couple of meetings. It'll now be awfully hard for Newt to run that scam on anyone again, and as a result, GloboNewtCorp is well and truly disintegrating. The Center for Health Transformation, one arm of GloboNewtCorp, went bankrupt, and the other tendrils of the network are falling away like dust through Newt's stubby fingers. Here are some excerpts from a Reuters article on the proceedings:
When someone tells you to stop imagining that you're having an impact, ask them to please redirect their energy into getting 10 friends to join you in doing what needs to be done. If it has no impact, you'll have gone down trying. If it has an[...]
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In case there was any doubt about it before: The man in charge of running Arizona's elections has no plans to investigate Mitt Romney's birth certificate the way he's been looking into President Obama's.
"No, we haven't contacted Michigan," a spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Bennett told TPM in an email on Tuesday. "I don't know if Michigan has the same statute that Hawaii has."
Since he first revealed his conspiracy theory-fueled investigation into Obama's birth certificate and threatened last week to keep the president off the state's ballot, Bennett and his staff have been ducking for political cover behind the people they say really started it: the 1,200 constituents who sent angry emails begging him to take up their cause.
It was only because of them, Bennett said, that he began to look into the birth certificate issue in the first place. His spokesman, Matt Roberts, told TPM "with complete and utter honesty" it has nothing to do with Bennett's affiliation as a Republican or his role as Romney's Arizona campaign co-chair.
But those excuses apparently didn't sit well with the legions of the president's supporters and others convinced by clear evidence that Obama really is a natural born citizen of the United States and therefore eligible to serve as president.
"The reaction has been largely negative since the story broke," Roberts said. It "balanced out the thousands of people who advocated for Mr. Bennett to keep (Obama) off the ballot in the first place."
Balanced is one term for it. Tipped the scales might be another. At least one progressive online network, Left Action, took up the cause this week under the theory that if 1,200 emails can convince Bennett to investigate one conspiracy theory, maybe they can cobble together enough support to get him to investigate anything.
As of Tuesday afternoon some 15,000 people and counting had already put their names on Left Action's online petition asking Bennett to investigate whether Mitt Romney is really a unicorn. (Yes, a unicorn. The petition even has its own domain name: MittRomneyIsAUnicorn.com.) That's more than 10 times the number of people who asked Bennett to investigate the president in the first place.
While Roberts said he hadn't seen the unicorn petition, he's heard about it through a litany of nasty emails in recent days.
"We have received emails containing that request," he said, "usually followed by some colorful language suggesting things I don't think I can physically perform."
The anger is something of an echo to the rage Bennett heard from the right even after he launched the investigation in March, including emails calling him "week-kneed" (sic) and saying he obviously had little interest in upholding his oath of office.
Still, despite the reversal in rhetoric, Roberts said his boss has no regrets about launching the investigation and no plans to call it off until he gets the answers he's looking for from Hawaii. Roberts said they're just hoping that comes as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Hawaii officials, tired of the mountains of requests they have gotten about Obama's birth certificate from conspiracy theorists over the years, have made Bennett jump though a series of hoops to prove he's qualified to investigate the matter.
As of Friday, a spokesman for the Hawaii attorney general's office said Bennett still hadn't qualified despite two months of trying.
"We're hopeful to have some closure from HI very soon," Bennett's spokesman wrote in an email on Tuesday, "and if they supply us with the verification in-lieu of certified copy, the issue will be over as far as we're concerned."
Update: Late Tuesday, Bennett backed off his threat to keep Obama off the ballot and apologized for embarrassing Arizona.
The MSNBC host attacked Cory Booker for breaking with the Democratic Party line. As a journalist, he ought to celebrate truth-telling. – The Misplaced Loyalties and Dubious Code of Chris Matthews, by Conor Friedersdorf
JUST HOW DENSE is the new media elite?
The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf proves how thick today when reviewing Chris Matthews’ harangue against Cory Booker last evening. This is what Friedersdorf actually wrote today:
If Matthews were a political operative, perhaps the code he’s defending would make sense.
But he is a journalist.
Stop the servers!
Chris Matthews lost his journalist credentials in 2007-2008, during the “thrill going up my leg” primary season where he vilified Hillary Clinton at every turn and reveled in his serial political porn on the Clinton marriage, while parading every misogynist in his DC Rolodex across his Clinton hating guest roster.
What makes matters worse is that Politico’s Dylan Byers picked it up without any analysis that computes the history of Chris Matthews, and Byer’s covers media.
Chris Matthews has been a die hard Barack Obama supporter for over four years now, which is his choice. Fox News Channel is a ratings juggernaut doing partisan coverage. Are Friedersdorf and Byers really the only ones who don’t know MSNBC is now the bookend to Fox News Channel?
Of course, the game in elite new media circles is you never tell the truth about your colleagues, because that wouldn’t be cool. But writing about the shock associated with the reality that Matthews would attack someone who just took a rhetorical I.E.D. to team Obama’s entire strategy to take Mitt Romney down is analytical malpractice.
If you’re an Obama supporter, which I assure you Matthews is, why wouldn’t he be outraged?
Of course, all of this is just a side show, but for once Chris Matthews was actually arguing his own personal conscience transparently, so both Friedersdorf and Byers had it exactly backward.
Booker remains the villain in this PR disaster.
What does actually matter is the day after Think Progress reported that Mayor Cory Booker had accepted $565,000 from private equity firms and “at least $36,000″ from Bain, neither Friedersdorf of The Atlantic, nor Byers of Politico, even bothered to mention this fact, showed any interest or even knowledge that Mayor Cory Booker’s idea of “truth-telling” was to take the side of his own private equity backers against a fellow Democrat who also happens to be the President.
Now you know the dubious code of the elite media and what “truth-telling” means to them.
Hey, but maybe this will all blow over now that James Clyburn has once again skimmed the bottom of the barrel, this time by accusing Mitt Romney of “raping companies.”
The next verbal gaffe festival begins in 3…2…
Once upon a time you could be fairly certain that investing the time, money, and effort required to earn a four-year degree would allow you to land a good job with medical/dental/vision benefits, a retirement plan, and paid vacation time. In the event of a bad break, you could count on being covered by worker’s comp and unemployment insurance. While you may never get rich, you’d be comfortable, with no trouble financing a new car or qualifying for a mortgage.
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Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney should "go rogue" and attack President Barack Obama for his former associations with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Marxists and radicals.
During an interview on Fox News on Monday, host Sean Hannity told Palin that he thought the president's former pastor was "relevant" even though Romney had repudiated a proposal to use Wright in attack ads.
The half-term Alaska governor replied: "I thought so in 2008 and that's why I went rogue, if you will, and disagreed with some of John McCain's advisers when they said, no, a lot of these issues like past associations and Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers and those that helped shape Obama's world view needed to be off the table and not discussed. I disagreed then, I disagree now."
"Barack Obama in 2008 was an empty vessel," she continued. "The public did not know who or what filled this vessel in order to create what has become a very confused and mission and visionless leader for our country. Well, now it's not too late to change course and this next go around understand what has filled up that vessel. Who are these people? Who are the radicals, the Marxist professors that he said he would hang out with, some of his friends and associations."
Hannity noted that Democrats and the media were willing to bring up Romney's alleged 1965 gay bullying incident, putting a dog on his car roof, the so-called war on women and "throwing granny over the cliff" by privatizing Medicare -- but Republicans were refusing employ the same type of tactics.
"Amen, brother," Palin agreed. "A one-sided, cease-fire call is not something to agree to. Some of these GOP operatives, Sean, they seem to have the fighting instinct of [Sesame Street character] Mr. Snuffleupagus. And if you remember him, he would hide, he would back down, he would run the other direction."
"It's disgusting, the double standard," she added. "And I'm really tired of, again, too many in the GOP establishment just kind of kowtowing to what the left will dictate in terms of how this election is going to go."
Palin also reiterated her advice that Romney pick tea party favorite Rep. Allen West (R-FL) as his vice presidential runningmate.
"I love people who understand the Constitution and will fight tooth and nail and are willing to put their lives and their families lives on the line to defend our republic. That is who I want to see as that teammate for the GOP nominee."
When JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon dropped a bomb on the financial world two weeks ago by announcing that the bank had lost at least $2 billion on a series of trades that went bad on a London-based investment desk, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker (R) was among the first lawmakers to call for investigations and hearings into the trade. Today, Corker got his first chance to get some answers, as the top regulators from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission appeared before the Senate Banking Committee.
But it wasn’t JP Morgan’s losses that Corker seemed concerned with. Instead, with advocates for stronger financial rules (including President Obama himself) pushing for a re-examination of pending regulations instituted by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, Corker was worried that the JP Morgan losses would bolster the case for a stronger Volcker Rule — the yet-to-be-finalized regulation that would ban federally-insured banks from engaging in certain types of risky trading:
CORKER: I fear that you’re under pressure, that a lot of calls are being made, that the administration is concerned that the American people are going to wake up and look at the last three years as a bad dream. … This big Dodd-Frank bill really doesn’t address real-time issues. And what you’re going to do is cause this Volcker Rule to become something that it was never intended to be.
Regulators are indeed facing pressure to strengthen the Volcker Rule, and as I wrote yesterday, that pressure is legitimate. Though it is unclear whether JP Morgan’s trade would have been subject to the rule, it is clear that the Volcker Rule as proposed was stronger than it is in its latest draft form. But JP Morgan and its cohorts on Wall Street played a major role in watering it down. That lobbying created a loophole that may have kept JP Morgan’s trade legal even under the rule.
Risky trades designed to make bank’s massive profits — known as proprietary trades — were at the center of the financial crisis that ultimately ended with taxpayers bailing out America’s biggest banks. Regulations like the Volcker Rule (and others included in Dodd-Frank) are aimed preventing taxpayers from having to foot the bill again in the future. The JP Morgan loss has given regulators and policymakers a golden opportunity to re-examine those rules and make sure they are sufficiently strong.
That may seem an inconvenience to lawmakers, like Corker, who opposed the regulations in the first place. To Americans who have to backstop this risky trading even when it goes drastically wrong, though, the chance to strengthen the rules should be a welcome one.
Arizona?s birther-curious Secretary of State Ken Bennett has been getting jerked around like a Daily Caller "reporter" by the strangely un-American named Jill T. Nagamine, who is Hawaii?s Deputy Secretary of State, in his quest to discover if President[...]
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When you decide that you need to take your children on a tour of the slums of New Delhi to see how the other half lives, there is something wrong in your world. You make too damn much money. If you have to see how the other half lives by touring their neighborhood, there is something
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