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Blogs and Opinion
Government Shutdown Insanity by Michael Tomasky, thedailybeast.com | January 15, 2013You know how when you hear the long screech of a car braking for several seconds you’re a bit disappointed if you don’t hear the crash right after it? Well, that’s where House Republicans are now, in psychological terms. The brakes are screeching in their ears. They have been since 2011. The brakes have been screeching so long that they’re itching for the wreck to happen, just to make their point, just to see what goes down, just to say to Barack Obama and The New York Times and mainstream economists and the reality-based community across America that, no, they don’t care. They want to hear the glass shatter and the metal twist. They’ve been wanting to force a catastrophe, really, since the day Obama was first sworn in. read more »
Why Obama's Gamble on the Debt Ceiling Depends on the GOP Being More Sane Than It Is by Robert B. Reich, robertreich.org | January 15, 2013A week before his inaugural, President Obama says he won’t negotiate with Republicans over raising the debt limit. At an unexpected news conference on Monday he said he won’t trade cuts in government spending in exchange for raising the borrowing limit. Well and good. But what, exactly, is the President’s strategy when the debt ceiling has to be raised, if the GOP hasn’t relented? He’s ruled out an end-run around the GOP. So it must be that he’s counting on public pressure — especially from the GOP’s patrons on Wall Street and big business — to force Republicans into submission. That’s probably the reason for the unexpected news conference, coming at least a month before the nation is likely to have difficulty paying its bills. The timing may be right. But Obama’s strategy depends on there being enough sane voices left in the GOP to influence others. That’s far from clear. read more »
It's Not Just Partisanship That Divides Congress by Ronald Brownstein and Scott Bland, nationaljournal.com | January 15, 2013The House of Representatives is not just divided between the red and the blue. It also fractures along lines of white, black, and brown. Four-fifths of the House Republicans in the new Congress represent districts in which the white share of the voting-age population exceeds the national average, according to a new National Journal analysis. In a near-mirror image, almost two-thirds of House Democrats represent districts in which the minority share of the voting-age population exceeds the national average, the analysis found. For each party, these stark patterns bring opportunities and challenges. The GOP’s strength in these preponderantly white districts helped sustain its House majority in a year when overwhelming minority support powered President Obama to a comfortable reelection. But the party’s disproportionate reliance on whites also means that few House Republicans have much experience in courting nonwhite voters—or much electoral incentive to do so. read more »
Rigging Democracy by Rob Richie, inthesetimes.com | January 15, 2013Many center-left political analysts tout Barack Obama’s re-election as affirmation that the unfolding demographic changes in the United States will inevitably vanquish the Republican Party as we know it. But before progressives sit back on their heels and wait for history’s just rewards, a deeper look at the 2012 election results is in order. Obama’s victory overshadowed the fact that Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives and won dramatic victories at the state level that seem almost mathematically miraculous in how they flout majority rule. Most strikingly, Republican congressional candidates were able to convert their national 49 percent of the major-party House vote into 54 percent of seats. read more »
House Republicans Are Seriously Serious by Paul Waldman, prospect.org | January 14, 2013As any parent knows, when your children are young, you have one distinct advantage over them: you're smarter than they are. It won't be that way forever, but if it comes down to an argument, using words, with a six-year-old, you're probably going to win. Faced with this disadvantage, children often resort to things like repeating the thing they've already said a hundred more times, or stomping their feet. Which brings us, of course, to the House Republicans. I think by now all of us, including President Obama, know that these people are serious. But when they say "serious," they don't actually mean that they want to seriously confront the nation's problems without getting distracted by trivial concerns. That's not the kind of serious they're talking about. When they say they're serious and they want Obama's attention, they mean it in the way that a suicide bomber is serious and wants attention. read more »
Bold New Conservative Ideas Still Mostly Involve Screwing The Poor by Alex Parene, salon.com | January 14, 2013The Republicans, we’re told, are going to have to start making some big changes if they want to start winning elections again. (Besides all the congressional elections they handily win.) Americans are tired of their stale rhetoric and old, white standard-bearers. The party needs fresh blood and bold ideas. It needs people like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a GOP rising star and highly regarded “ideas” guy. After the election, Jindal told Politico that the Republicans had to totally rebrand themselves to escape being known as “the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything.” And so Bobby Jindal’s big new idea for Louisiana is …eliminating all income taxes. And shifting the tax burden onto poor and working people. read more »
John Boehner’s Secret by Steve Kornacki, salon.com | January 14, 2013According to Politico’s reporting, John Boehner “will never allow a (debt) default, even if it puts his leadership position at risk.” The speaker, supposedly, understands the catastrophic economic fallout that a default would unleash and is busily trying to convince his fellow House Republicans to look elsewhere for leverage in their ongoing fiscal fight with President Obama and Democrats. There’s good reason to believe this reporting, since virtually no one outside the far-right echo chamber has any illusions about the consequences of failing to extend the debt ceiling. But could it really come to such a stark choice for Boehner: Stave off a default and lose his job as speaker or allow one and get to hang around? There are a few ways of looking at Boehner’s dilemma right now. read more »
Is the Tea Party Over? by Adele M. Stan, alternet.org | January 14, 2013There's a new parlor game in your nation's capital, played by reporters and pundits who begin with a single question: Is the Tea Party dead? Endlessly entertaining to ponder, it's a question whose answer depends on your definition of the Tea Party movement. Are you talking about the 900 grass-roots Tea Party groups in 2010 whose numbers have now dwindled to 600? Or the popularity of the movement among most Americans? Or do you measure the "Tea Party" as a marketing plan by the right wing in its 50-year quest to bend the Republican Party to its will and bring the nation to its knees? read more »
Why the NRA is Becoming the "Great Oz" by Robert Creamer, Huffington Post | January 14, 2013For years the NRA has struck terror into the hearts of many Members of Congress. The organization's officers and lobbyists purported to represent the interests and wishes of millions of American gun owners. Members of Congress believed that negative NRA ratings -- and a flood of NRA money -- could sink their political careers faster than you could say "AR-15." But the American people, and Members of Congress, are gradually awaking to the fact that -- just as with the Wizard of Oz -- there isn't much behind the NRA's magic curtain but the big booming voice of a special interest bully whose power derives more from perception than reality. It is of course true that in politics the perception of power translates into the reality of power. The problem is that once it becomes clear that you're all hat and no cattle, the myth of power rapidly collapses into a pile of dust. That is exactly what is happening to the NRA. Here's why. read more »
Hoist By Their Own Petard by Brian Beutler, talkingpointsmemo.com | January 11, 2013My debt limit nightmare scenario goes something like this: Nothing of any substance happens for the next month or so. Then, a few days before the government’s borrowing authority lapses, House Republicans pass legislation pairing deep spending cuts — some specific, some asterisked — with a debt limit increase. The Senate, gridlocked by filibuster, can’t pass a clean debt limit bill, so instead they pass nothing. Republicans skip town claiming they’ve done their job, leaving Democrats to choose between surrender and economic havoc. Republicans used the same trick (or tried to) repeatedly in 2011 and 2012 as a negotiating tactic. But if Democrats are serious about not negotiating for a debt limit increase, then the “tactic” amounts to lighting a very short fuse and running for the hills. But thanks to Karl Rove I’m beginning to doubt Republicans can get it together enough to pull this off. 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 »