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Obituary: Hastert Rule by Billmon, dailykos.com | January 17, 2013Died, after long struggle with infectious reality, Hastert Rule. Mr. Rule, caretaker at the House GOP Asylum for the Criminally Insane, is remembered by all who knew him—Democrats in particular—as an emotionally distant father, abusive husband, and hostile, litigious neighbor. However, he is also widely credited with keeping his asylum under tight control for many years, although some observers attribute much of Mr. Rule's success to his long-time pharmaceutical assistant, Nurse Ratched. More recently, Mr. Rule’s growing health problems left him largely incapacitated, making him a figure of ridicule even among the asylum’s inmates. As his mental faculties deteriorated, Mr. Rule’s increasingly bizarre orders (such as his recent call for the utter destruction of the federal government and the global financial markets) were largely ignored by his staff, including head janitor John Boehner. read more »
Lots Of Smart Republicans Are Terrified Of The Debt Ceiling by Ezra Klein, The Washington Post | January 17, 2013One dimension of the debt-ceiling debate that hasn’t gotten enough attention is how split Republicans are on the idea. While the working assumption in Washington is that the GOP will try to hold the debt-ceiling hostage in return for some (heretofore unspecified) spending cuts, quite a few influential Republicans are begging and pleading with the party to find another strategy, warning that it’s a hostage Republicans can’t shoot and that the two possible outcomes are 1) an embarrassing cave or 2) an economic disaster that the public blames on the GOP. read more »
The House GOP’s Intentional-Losing Strategy by Jonathan Chait, nymag.com | January 17, 2013On the Sandy bill, a mere 49 Republicans voted aye, against 179 nays. Now why, you might ask, would Republicans tolerate the passage of a bill they overwhelmingly oppose? They didn’t have to pass it — they could have kept it off the floor and only brought a bill that had their party’s support, or possibly no bill at all. It appears they decided the negative publicity, and the damage to the party’s brand, outweighed their own preferences. House Republicans wanted to vote no so they could signal opposition to their own base, and protect themselves against a possible primary challenge, but they didn’t care enough to actually stop the bill. The unanswered question here is whether they care at all, or how much they really care. Perhaps Republicans have been told they can’t afford to drive the party into a public confrontation, so they quietly accede to compromises, while frustration builds beneath the surface. read more »
Flashback: How Republicans and the NRA Kneecapped the ATF by Tim Murphy, Mother Jones | January 17, 2013Driven to act by last month’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama on Wednesday called on Congress to pass new laws banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and targeting gun traffickers, and he announced 23 steps his administration is taking to better enforce existing law. With Republicans threatening to block any legislation—and some extreme GOPers calling for impeachment if Obama acts alone—reform, as could be expected, will not be easy. But should Obama gets what he wants, he'll face another major challenge: his own Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Over the last three decades, gun activists and lawmakers have purposefully hindered the BATF and carefully molded the agency that enforces gun laws to serve their own interests, stunting the ATF's budget, handicapping its regulatory authority, and keeping it effectively leaderless. The bureau Obama is counting on to lead his gun control push is a disaster...by Republican design. read more »
Even The Koch Brothers Disagree With The GOP On The Debt Ceiling by Mark Gongloff, Huffington Post | January 16, 2013When you've lost the Koch brothers, you've lost the game. Republicans intent on smashing through the debt ceiling in order to wring some spending concessions out of President Obama are finding themselves awfully lonely these days, but they've kept soldiering on. The latest ally to abandon them may be the toughest to ignore, though. The president of the group Americans For Prosperity, bankrolled by Charles G. and David H. Koch of Koch Industries, yesterday said the group wants spending cuts, but warned Republicans that screwing around with the debt ceiling "makes the messaging more difficult," the Financial Times writes. The AFP president also warned Republicans not to be seen as "hostage takers." That's a marked change from the summer of 2011, when AFP objected to a debt-ceiling deal because it didn't cut spending enough. read more »
Has The NRA Lost It Entirely? by Joan Walsh, salon.com | January 16, 2013On the eve of President Obama announcing his gun control agenda, based on Vice President Joe Biden’s task force recommendations, the National Rifle Association needed to go big: to remind Americans that the organization protects their gun rights, and to remind politicians that they’re a smart and formidable political force they’d be unwise to cross. Instead, they showed us the truth: They’re part of the vast and increasingly incompetent right-wing conspiracy that’s sacrificed its own effectiveness for the pleasure of hating Democrats generally and our first black president in particular. read more »
An Uncomfortable Alliance by Brian Beutler, talkingpointsmemo.com | January 16, 2013House Republicans contain multitudes. But in a way the story of their majority is about the deterioration of the relationship between the conference’s right-most faction and the rest of the party — and thus of the slow erosion of the party’s influence over major policy. This goes back to the early days of 2011, when House leaders would round up 218 Republican votes for big-deal bills, and use them as opening bids in negotiations with the White House and the Senate. They shifted the political center of gravity way to the right, such that even after Democrats made their demands heard, important bills would ultimately pass both chambers with the support of a majority of Republicans. If Democrats wanted to avoid a government shutdown, they had to be willing to accept legislation that was Hastert Rule compliant. That was pretty remarkable, considering the Republicans only controlled the House. But the right-hard right alliance started showing signs of instability almost immediately. read more »
Why Were There Long Voting Lines in 2012? Virginia Holds Answers by Brentin Mock, colorlines.com | January 15, 2013Virginia celebrated record high voter turnout in 2008, at 67 percent, and had similarly strong showing in 2012 with around 66 percent. Yet somehow, the state experienced much more Election Day malady last year, in terms of prohibitively long lines, than it suffered in 2008. This was particularly true in Prince William County, the only “minority-majority”—or, predominantly people of color—area in northern Virginia, where the population has increased 43.2 percent just since 2010, many of those Latino immigrants. So why the difference in performance from 2008 to 2012? This question was explored in the “Lessons from Election 2012” congressional forum in Woodbridge, Va. hosted yesterday by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), both of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. There was a tremendous amount of testimony about long lines and how this was a worse problem than 2008, despite a greater turnout rate back then. read more »
The Trillion Dollar Coin Fantasy: GOP Extremism Can’t Be Wished Away by MIchael Grunwald, swampland.time.com | January 15, 2013The idea of a trillion-dollar platinum coin was not quite as insane as it sounded. It was a response to the insanity of congressional Republicans, who have refused to raise the debt ceiling and let the U.S. pay its bills unless Democrats agree to massive cuts in Democratic priorities. The coin would have been an accounting trick designed to allow Obama to ignore the debt ceiling and keep fulfilling obligations Congress had already incurred. It was always unrealistic to imagine that Obama could sidestep Republican extremism and obstructionism through a kooky loophole in monetary regulations. Big ideological battles don’t get settled through technicalities. But especially on the left, there is still a powerful urge to believe that Republican extremism and obstructionism can be sidestepped. read more »
The Cold Civil War: Economic Treason, Terrorism, or Suicide in the Age of Obama by J. Christian Watts, jackandjillpolitics.com | January 15, 2013The GOP’s death wish, embodied in their fiscal recklessness, has created this moment in time when the full faith and credit of the Nation, of The United States of America, is called into question. This is part of a slow public suicide of the Grand Old Party. They are shrinking demographically, stagnant in terms of ideas and ideology, and now they are completely utterly mad. The GOP, in the throes of Obama Mania, a sickness that is a conflation of race hatred, school yard bullying, inferiority complexes, and simple stupidity, has decided that since they aren’t in charge nothing should get done. They have decided that if they can’t force America to its very knees and beyond, that America should die a slow tortuous death of a thousand cuts. This isn’t an ideological disagreement, this is sabotage, this is sedition — this is the opposite of economic patriotism. The GOP is committing economic treason. This conflict with the GOP has become a cold civil war. read more »
No 'Leak' links: US National Archives blocks searches containing ‘WikiLeaks, rt.com | November 4, 2012
Plutocracy In Action: Trespassing On Your Own Property, commondreams.org | October 12, 2012
Tar Sands Blockade: Along with Landowner, Actress Daryl Hannah Arrested
Great grandmother, Eleanor Fairchild, and film actress both arrested after blocking machinery
This Is What Tyranny Looks Like, commondreams.org | May 24, 2012
Land Of The Free? Don't fool yourselves - You've been had!
Goldman Sachs: Lloyd Blankfein 'disappointed' by claims of 'toxic' greed, telegraph.co.uk | March 14, 2012
Legal Fees Mount at Fannie and Freddie, The New York Times | February 22, 2012
Taxpayers have advanced almost $50 million in legal payments to defend former executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the three years since the government rescued the giant mortgage companies, a regulatory analysis has found.
To: DOJ Funky fascist America Dept
Subject: Accountability more »
FBI Nutjobs Reveal: Terrorists Pay For Coffee With Cash, Apparently, huffingtonpost.co.uk | February 15, 2012
If you're in Starbucks and notice a nondescript individual paying for their coffee with cash - watch out.
According to the FBI you might have found evidence of a terrorist plot.
A series of fliers distributed to companies around the United States by the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Assistance appear to give workers and business owners exactly this advice. more »
On the Trail of Mortgage Fraud, The New York Times | January 17, 2012
When is a crime not a crime?
When criminality subverts the system, challenges the system, becomes the system. From the Kleptocrats' point of view it is the systematic breakdown of each and every law which gets in their way; preventing the ascent to power of their enhanced moral values.
The Kleptocrats are really America's third political party.
Massive Fraud: Watchdog critical of SEC hedge fund probe, Marketwatch | December 1, 2011
OK America, your legal system has been trashed. Your constitution has been trashed. Whats next?
"WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The Securities and Exchange Commission’s watchdog released a report Wednesday examining an anonymous tip explaining that agency staffers discovered a “massive fraud” by a hedge fund manager and never pursued it. "
The GM Debate The US Is Not Having, publicserviceeurope.com | November 13, 2011
The submission by successive US administrations and congress to the GM Lobby, illustrated by silence and suppression of arguments against GM proliferation, is gradually being mirrored in Europe. There is life in the old democracy dog yet, but for how much longer? The EU Commission is trying to dispense with the rule of law. Something the US administration did years ago. more »
Regulators Investigating MF Global for Missing Money, dealbook.nytimes.com | November 1, 2011
By BEN PROTESS, MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED and SUSANNE CRAIG more »