News & Comment
Blogs and Opinion
Cliff After Cliff by Charles M. Blow, The New York Times | January 3, 2013We have a deal. But please hold your applause, indefinitely. We momentarily went over the fiscal cliff but clawed our way back up the rock face. Unfortunately, we are most likely in store for a never-ending series of cliffs for our economy, our government and indeed our country. Soon we’ll have to deal with the sequester, a debt-ceiling extension and possibly a budget, all of which hold the specter of revisiting the unresolvable conflicts and intransigence of the fiscal cliff. Imagine an M. C. Escher drawing of cliffs. Be clear: there is no reason to celebrate. This is a mournful moment. We — and by we I mean Congress, and by Congress I mean the Republicans in Congress — have again demonstrated just how broken and paralyzed our government has become, how beholden to hostage-takers, how vulnerable to extremism. read more »
The Wingnut Trifecta by Joan Walsh, salon.com | January 3, 2013Right-wing claims that Hillary Clinton faked illness to avoid testifying about the Benghazi tragedy would be funny if they weren’t so ugly. It’s the wingnut trifecta, smearing our most popular past Democratic president, Bill Clinton, along with our current president, Barack Obama, and the current 2016 front-runner, all with one shot. Imagine birtherism crossed with the worst of the hateful anti-Clinton lies, like the “Vince Foster was murdered” claim. That’s Hillary-health trutherism. But so far right-wingers claiming that Clinton somehow faked her concussion have gone virtually unchallenged on Fox News and right-wing sites like Newsbusters and the Daily Caller. This is crazy. read more »
Republicans Against ... the Violence Against Women Act? by Jamelle Bouie, prospect.org | January 3, 2013Every so often, Congress has to tackle “no-brainer” legislation. These are bills that, for the most part, are broadly supported by both parties and don’t require much in the way of time, negotiation, or effort to resolve and pass. One of them is the Violence Against Women Act, which provides funding for shelters and other services, and targets resources toward prosecution of violent crimes against women. House conservatives would rather kill the Violence Against Women Act—which has helped drive a significant reduction in domestic violence—than allow it to be reauthorized with new protections for Native Americans, LGBT Americans, and undocumented immigrants. Ladies and gentlemen, your Republican Party. read more »
Dark Money Group Told IRS They Would Stay Out of Politics, Then Didn’t by Kim Barker, propublica.org | January 2, 2013Five conservative dark money groups active in 2012 elections previously told tax regulators that they would not engage in politics, filings obtained from the IRS show. The best known and most controversial of the groups is Americans for Responsible Leadership , an Arizona-based organization. Not long after filing an application to the IRS pledging — under penalty of perjury — that it would not attempt to sway elections, the group spent more than $5.2 million, mainly to support Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Much hangs on these applications, all of which are still pending. The tax code allows social welfare nonprofits to engage in political activities as long as public welfare, not politics, is their primary purpose. If the IRS ultimately decides not to recognize these groups, they could have to disclose their donors. read more »
The End of the Hastert Rule by Michael Tomasky, thedailybeast.com | January 2, 2013Well, now we know what it takes for House Republicans to see a little bit of reason: It takes Fox News anchors warning them that if they don't pass the fiscal cliff bill, they'll be universally blamed. I would guess that there were some interesting phone calls being made yesterday afternoon to Speaker Boehner's office, calls we'll never know about, from various rich and influential people telling him to quit playing games and do the responsible thing. Even so, it's worth remembering that only 85 of 241 Republicans backed the cliff bill. In other words, if it had been entirely up to them, they'd have killed it. That will always be worth remembering. read more »
The Republican Party Is the Problem by Jamelle Bouie, prospect.org | January 2, 2013The Republican Party is the problem. President Obama isn’t perfect—he’s a mediocre negotiator, with a penchant for giving away too much. But he’s dealing with a group of fanatical, rabidly anti-government conservatives, who—over the last two years—have threatened to shut down the government, crash the global economy, and induce a second recession in order to lower taxes on the rich and slash spending on a collection of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. There’s nothing Obama—or any Democrat—can do to mitigate the policy nihilism of right-wing conservatives in the House. And so we should expect more of it. Not the least because these same Republicans also won re-election in 2012, in districts that also voted to elect Mitt Romney president. They have no incentive to cooperate, and with the debt ceiling on the horizon, a new opportunity to force crisis. read more »
Tea Party Extremism and the 'Cliff' by Paul R. Pillar, consortiumnews.com | January 2, 2013It is irresponsible to help create a mess and then to walk away and expect someone else to clean it up. That’s true whether the mess is a spill in the kitchen or something comparably sticky, smelly or hazardous in deliberations in Congress. Multiple press reportsobserve that this is what the political tantrum known as the Tea Party has been doing. We haven’t heard much from the Tea Partiers recently because they opted out of participation in the fiscal cliff drama as the rest of the country counted down the time remaining until the New Year’s, and budgetary, ball drops. In this latest phase in the tantrum, Tea Partiers unhappy that the political game has not gone entirely their way (with the outcome of the presidential election being, of course, their principal setback) have decided to take their own ball and bat and go home. read more »
Mr. Smith's Insane Cousins Go to Washington by Michael Tomasky, thedailybeast.com | December 21, 2012Plan B was a conservative plan with one little tiny dash of compromise, one small and mostly symbolic feather step outside the safe zone of hard-right ideology and toward...not even the center, but the far-right fringe of the center. And the Republicans could not vote even for that. So we'll go over the cliff, and Obama will have more leverage, and we'll see what happens then. But make no mistake. Mr. Smith's insane cousins have come to Washington, and insane people can't be reasoned with. The country is stuck with the vandals, and vandalism is all they can commit, because that is who they are. read more »
The Humiliation Of John Boehner by Steve Kornacki, salon.com | December 21, 2012Last night was hardly the first public humiliation that John Boehner has suffered at the hands of his fellow Republicans, but it’s probably the most stark. And it raises some very basic questions about the House speaker’s political future – like whether he even has one. The demise of Plan B also calls Boehner’s job security into question. The Obama-era conservative base has never trusted him; he’s been in Washington too long, he cut too many pre-2008 deals with Democrats, and he voted for too much spending. Since he claimed the speaker’s gavel, they’ve been watching him like a hawk for any sign he’s about to sell them out, virtually eliminating his ability to cut deals on their behalf. What happened last night indicates that this dynamic hasn’t changed since the election, and with the January 3 vote for speaker coming up, there is some chatter now that House conservatives might attempt to dethrone Boehner. read more »
It’s a Mad, Mad Michigan by Anna Clark, prospect.org | December 21, 2012Sure, lame-duck legislatures are bound to be a bit mad. But the session that just closed in Michigan was one for the ages. Aflush with the flurry of bills sent to the desk of Governor Rick Snyder—not so much speaking to his opinion on their quality—a politics-loving friend of mine in Detroit exclaimed, “It’s like Christmas in … well, in December.” The swift passage of right-to-work in Michigan picked up national and international headlines last week. But that overhaul of labor law is only one piece of the expansive legislative plan for the state that now awaits Snyder’s go-ahead. 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 »