Never forgetOn Saturday night, as the Very Serious Media Elite like Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan, both guests of slightly less serious Fox bobblehead Greta Van Susteren, gathered at the White House Correspondents Dinner, aka Nerd Prom, to demonstrate their utter lack of humor, President Obama was in fine form, opening a nice fresh can of comedic whoop-ass on Republicans, birthers, Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, the all-male congressional hearings on contraception, and, of course, the most innocent victim of Mitt Romney's lifelong carelessness and cruelty: Seamus.
Video and transcript here.
Jefferies | TR/J CRB Wildcatter Exploration & Production Equity ETF (WCAT) will see its last day of trading on Friday, April 27, 2012. ALPS ETF Trust announced (pdf) the closure and liquidation after the Board determined it was advisable and in the best interest of the fund and its shareholders. I advise shareholders to sell all shares prior to the delisting using a limit . . . → Read More: No More Wildcatters: WCAT Closing
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Last Wednesday was Denim Day, an international campaign to raise awareness of sexual assault and rape. The campaign was in reaction to the Italian Supreme Court's ruling overturning a rape conviction based on the fact that the victim of the rape was[...]
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Over 100 community, labor, human rights leaders decry Hershey?s greed at May 1 meetingHARRISBURG, PA?On May 1, 2012, over 100 community, labor, and human rights leaders will march on Hershey's annual shareholder meeting to condemn the company as an icon of corporate greed. The march?led by the National Guestworker Alliance, SEIU, and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation?is one of a nationwide series of nonviolent direct actions against corporate greed this spring under the banner of 99% Power.Last summer, hundreds of student guestworkers escaped captive labor at the Hershey's chocolate packing plant. They exposed the depth of Hershey's corporate greed: how the company destroyed hundreds of permanent, living-wage jobs and subcontracted to replace them with temporary, sub-minimum wage jobs for exploitable guestworkers.While the student guestworkers exposed Hershey's labor abuses, human rights groups exposed Hershey's use of child labor in Africa, and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation exposed illegal discrimination by the Milton Hershey School against a 13-year-old HIV-positive boy.?Hershey's used to be iconic American brand. But the company?s violation of the most basic labor, civil, and human rights?from Central Pennsylvania to Central Africa?have turned it into an icon of corporate greed,? said NGA Lead Organizer Jacob Horwitz.?Ordinary Pennsylvanians are joining with national leaders to demand that Hershey?s abandon the low road of greed and exploitation, and take the high road of true corporate social responsibility,? Horwitz said.The leader?s demands are that Hershey's:1. create dignified, living wage jobs for local workers;2. sign the NGA's Worker Dignity Protocols to end exploitation of guestworkers; and3. pledge an immediate end to discriminatory practices and abuses that affect children at both the Hershey School and the Hershey family of companies.The march takes place amid a wave of grassroots protests by the 99% Power coalition, which are converging on the shareholder meetings of America's greediest, most destructive corporations, including Hershey's, Walmart, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.WHAT: March on Hershey?s shareholder meetingWHO: Over 100 community, labor, and civil rights leadersWHEN: May 1, 2012, 9:30 a.m. ETWHERE: Intersection of Park Blvd/Route 39 & Boathouse Rd in Hershey, PA, marching to Giant Center, 550 Hersheypark Dr.CONTACTS: Stephen Boykewich, stephen@guestworkeralliance.
Statement online at http://www.
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Are parts of the enduring narrative of Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate investigation not true?[...]
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As you know, on the eve of the anniversary of the targeted killing of arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden, the Obama reelection campaign launched a frontal attack on Mitt Romney. They not only celebrated Obama's decision but freely suggested that Romney[...]
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The other day, after reading about our Filter guitar giveaway on behalf of Ken Aden's Run 2 End Hunger II, a correspondent asked me if I have a lot of guitars and if I play them. I once had a lot of guitars; I never played any of them. Before I was a blogger I ran a record label-- or three, a small indie label in San Francisco, 415 Records, then Sire here in Los Angeles, where I was general manager, and finally Reprise, where I was president. It was a nice run and I wound up with closets filled with memorabilia. Actually, rooms filled with memorabilia... like the guitars. I'm not a musician. They were souvenirs for me-- signed guitars by the artists I worked with. Years ago I decided I needed to find a way to give them away to people who would get some pleasure out of them. I started donating them to auctions for worthy causes-- the guitars and some of the dozens of gold and platinum award discs that used to thrill me so much when I was a kid.
In two hours, we're going to randomly pick a name from among the 400 people who have expressed an interest in "winning" a beautiful Fender Stratocaster guitar signed by all them members-- yes, Steven Page included-- of the Barenaked Ladies. It was one of those guitars in an upstairs closet. The band endorsed my idea of using it to help advance the cause of democracy. So "expressing an interest" meant contributing to our If I Had A Million Dollars ActBlue page or even just sending us a note without any money involved. One person was entered who said she has no money to spare but that she is praying for victories for Norman Solomon and David Gill. She wasn't even a fan of "If I Have A Million Dollars" but another Barenaked ladies song, "One Week," was played at her daughter's wedding party and she fell in love with the song. Anyway, whether someone contributed $5 to be split between Norman and David or $500-- or just let us know they were sending their prayers-- all the names are in a box and at noon (PT) one name will be randomly selected and that person will get the guitar. We'll announce it in an Update on the bottom of this post.
We gave our friends at the Courage Campaign a beautiful, customized TLC platinum and gold award for the 1992 debut album, Ooooooohhh... On The TLC Tip, which sold 4 million copies and included the big hit Aint 2 Proud 2 Beg. They're using the award plaque to fight homophobia in North Carolina this week by funding a grassroots effort filled with TLC to defeat Amendment One. Please consider helping that at that last link-- whether you want the award or not... you can always donate it back if you win it or give it to another charity of your choice (and even get a tax deduction!).
Meanwhile, we're just ramping up another guitar giveaway, this one, which will go to support Ken Aden's efforts to end hunger in Arkansas. This one is a Squier Telecaster and it was signed-- back in 2002-- by all the members of Filter, riding high on their smash hit, Hey Man, Nice Shot. Before becoming a candidate for Congress, Ken, an Iraq and Afghanistan War vet was immersed in running a non-profit community-based self-help group in Arkansas, Residents 4 Arkansas, Inc. Last month he was honored by the White House for his community service and met with President Obama and members of his cabinet to talk about the role of volunteerism in America. Ken has been awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Multinational Force and Observers Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. Right now he's in the middle of a 253 mile, 7 day run across his district (ending May 5) to raise awareness and to raise cans of food for families who are hungry in Arkansas. When he ends his run, Blue America will thank one of the supporters of Ken's candidacy with the Filter guitar. Supporters can contribute here or send a check-- or even just a note-- to PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Everyone will have an equal chance to "win" the guitar, regardless of how much you contribute-- or even if you just let us know you're praying for Ken or rooting for him.
Some may see Ken as a "do-gooder" but he's a tough as nails progressive running in the reddest district in Arkansas. Rather than shrink away from a fight as others in his state have done, this Army Combat Veteran is taking it to the streets and standing up for equal rights for all. As you've probably guessed by now, the main part of his campaign focus is on community service work-- as well as renewable energy technology, veterans rights, and the protection of Social Security and Medicare. In a recent quote he said that "if you even think of cutting Medicare and Social Security you ARE a criminal! The time for corporate prostitution has come to an end!"
As we mentioned on the Act Blue page, we were chatting with Ken last week and he told us about a woman he met while out campaigning the weekend before. She considered herself an independent, and was a supporter of Ken's very right-wing opponent-- Wal-Mart's personal Congressman, Steve Womack-- back in 2010.
"I wish I would have met you back then, because I never would have voted for him," is just what she told Ken on Saturday.
We liked that, because it is the opening lyric of Filter's "Hey Man, Nice Shot," we figured that would be the perfect guitar for Ken's campaign. (Not to mention that Ken is a huge fan of Filter's music himself.) What Ken's doing is so important that we wanted to encourage all of our friends to help. But, since we know we can't ask you to send canned food through the mail even though we are 100 percent in support of our brothers and sisters at the APWU, we thought we'd ask you to pledge to donate $25.30 to Ken's race-- that's one dime for every mile that he'll be running across the district. Of course if you can't donate that amount any help would be greatly appreciated. And if you want to contribute more... please don't hesitate.
And, for every person who makes a contribution through this page for Ken's campaign, you will be entered in a random drawing to win a guitar signed by every member of Filter as a "thank you" from Blue America. Everyone has the same shot, whether you contribute one dollar or 1,000 dollars-- or even if you just send us a note to PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
So don't delay-- please make your contribution to Ken's campaign today, and by doing so, you'll have a direct hand in ending the plight of impoverished families today. GO KEN GO!!
Here's another Filter song-- this one a cover of an old hit by Harry Nilsson, "One [Is the Loneliest Number]," a song I always thought summed up the right-wing world view summed up by Ayn Rand. Three Dog Night, Al Kooper, Aimee Mann, Dokken, Mastodon and the Chainsaw Kittens all did versions of the song as well. Filter's version was on the soundtrack of The X-Files: Fight The Future, an apt GOP slogan that Ken Aden is battling against.
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In 2007, Mitt Romney injected himself into the Democratic primary campaign and criticized Barack Obama for vowing to go after “high-value intelligence targets” in Pakistan with or without permission. Romney said “I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours.” Here was the August 4, 2007 headline from Reuters:
In April 2007, Romney said, “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” Last May, President Obama ordered the raid that killed bin Laden and last week, the Obama campaign produced a video highlighting the president’s decision, while noting Romney’s 2007 comments.
The Romney campaign attacked the ad, claiming it was trying to “divide” the country.” And this morning on CBS’s The Early Show, the Romney campaign got an unexpected supporter, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington:
HUFFINGTON: I agree completely — I agree with the Romney campaign. I think that using the Osama bin Laden assassination, killing the great news that we had a year ago in order to say basically that Obama did it and Romney might not have done it, which is the message. … I don’t think there should be an ad about that. … [T]o turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do. It’s the same thing that Hillary Clinton did with the 3 a.m. call. You know, you are not ready to be commander-in-chief. [...]
HOST: In a campaign aren’t you supposed to tout the accomplishments of what you’ve done?
HUFFINGTON: But this is not just what this ad did, does. What the ad does is questions, if we’re talking about the same ad. … It quotes a snippet from Romney in ’07 and uses that to imply that Romney would not have been decisive. There’s no way to know whether Romney would have been as decisive. And to actually speculate that he wouldn’t be is to me not the way to run campaigns on either side.
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Huffington doesn?t seem to think it?s fair to speculate what Romney would have done as president based on what Romney said he would (or in this case wouldn?t) do. But the ad is stating two basic facts. One, that Obama ordered the raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader and two, that Romney said in 2007 that he wouldn?t have done the same. So is it really ?despicable? to wonder whether a President Romney would have ordered the raid on bin Laden given that he said he wouldn’t do it while campaigning for president?
Romney commented on the issues at a campaign event today:
On ropeline, Romney says “of course” he would have given bin Laden order: “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order”
— Rachel Streitfeld (@streitfeldcnn) April 30, 2012
Bush passed on a similar mission to capture “senior members of Al Qaeda” in 2005 because “it was too risky and could jeopardize relations with Pakistan.”
Organizers and protesters around the world will come together to commemorate International Workers Day tomorrow, and they are taking on familiar targets. Large protest actions are planned in more than 115 American cities, where activists will continue the anti-Wall Street message started by the 99 Percent Movement last fall. The action will again center in New York, where protesters have identified 99 targets in Manhattan, including large Wall Street banks like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America.
Wall Street banks are pooling resources and coordinating with each other to plan for the New York City protests and will work with local law enforcement to monitor the protests throughout the day. Though the New York-based banks offered no specifics on how they plan to deal with the protests, one security adviser made the laughable comparison that Wall Street banks — the same ones whose errors include triggering the financial crisis and wrongfully foreclosing on thousands of Americans — were innocent elk defending themselves against attacking wolves, Bloomberg reports:
Banks cooperating on surveillance are like elk fending off wolves in Yellowstone National Park, he said. While other animals try in vain to sprint away alone, elk survive attacks by forming a ring together, he said. [...]
Spokesmen for Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc. (C), Morgan Stanley (MS), UBS AG (UBSN) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) wouldn?t describe security measures for the protests. One likened commenting to telling al-Qaeda about the bank?s continuity plans.
That Wall Street banks view themselves as innocent victims of wolf-like predators in the form of protesters is ironic, given that multiple Wall Street insiders have blown the whistle about the financial industry’s predatory practices. In November, a former JPMorgan insider said that exploiting consumers was “the purpose of the banking organization,” a claim seemingly echoed by a Goldman Sachs trader who decried the bank’s “toxic and destructive” culture, in which clients were sometimes referred to as “muppets.” Remember, it was Goldman that sold self-described “shitty deals” to its own customers. Other banks have perpetuated fraudulent foreclosure and credit card practices, profited off of student loans, and charged huge fees on customers who were collecting unemployment benefits.
It’s no secret why the banks view the 99 Percent Movement so horribly — the movement took Wall Street’s excesses and abuses to the mainstream, refocusing the national discussion on rising income inequality, exploding student debt, and fraudulent banking practices. That effort will continue tomorrow, when protesters will march through Manhattan and picket various Wall Street banks. They’ll be joined by other actions in San Francisco, where protesters will target Wells Fargo, and other cities around the country. More events will take place around the world, in cities like London, Sydney, Toronto, and Barcelona.
by Ruy Teixeira
President Barack Obama recently observed that tackling climate change remains vitally important despite difficulties moving legislation forward. Conservatives, of course, are trying their utmost to remove the issue permanently from political discussion, claiming that the public is tired of the debate and no longer has an appetite for combating global warming.
But a just-released poll from the Yale and George Mason climate change communication programs reveals the lie in this claim. In the poll 63 percent of respondents said the United States should move forward to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what other countries do, compared to 3 percent who said we should await action by industrialized countries, 8 percent who said we should wait for both industrialized and developing countries to move, and 5 percent who said we shouldn’t bother reducing emissions.
In the same poll the public supported, by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent, requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if that would cost the average household an extra $100 per year.
The poll also found 65 percent of Americans supporting an international treaty to require a 90 percent cut in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
Clearly, reports of the death of public support for action on global warming are overblown. Contrary to conservative assertions, that support is alive and kicking.
Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. This is a CAP cross-post.