Archive for December 15, 2010

The Progress Report – Tainted Judge

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

From The Progress Report:

Think Fast

Republicans won the midterm elections, but they still haven’t won the public’s trust — a new Washington Post-ABC News poll says the public trusts President Obama more than congressional Republicans to address the country’s problems, by a margin of 43 to 38 percent. Most continue to say that the Republicans in Congress are not doing enough to compromise with Obama on important issues.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have been negotiating in hopes of finding an agreement “to confirm more judicial nominees before adjourning for the year.” The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim notes that Obama has experienced the slowest pace of judicial confirmations in at least a generation, with a paltry 39.8 percent of Obama’s judges having been confirmed by the Senate.

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Tainted Judge

On Monday, George W. Bush appointed-Judge Henry Hudson broke with 14 judges who have dismissed challenges to the Affordable Care Act to become the only judge in America to conclude that the portion of the law requiring almost all Americans to carry insurance is unconstitutional. Predictably, conservatives reacted to this outlier opinion by pretending it was the single most important decision since Brown v. Board of Education. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), who filed the lawsuit, immediately fired off a fund-raising solicitation proclaiming, “Cuccinelli succeeded in overturning the individual mandate.” Presumptive House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on states to ignore the law and refuse to implement it. Even former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R), who signed a nearly identical law while he was governor, pretended to agree with Hudson. But the right is in for a rude awakening. The reality is that Hudson is a deeply ideological judge who handed down an exceptionally poorly reasoned opinion that is unlikely to sway any appellate judge to his side.

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Sen. Franken’s Floor Statement on the Tax Cut Package

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Kosovo’s PM Harvesting Organs

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Winners and Losers in Obama-GOP Deal

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Merry Christmas

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Crooks and Liars – C&L Opening Bell: Mitt Romney’s Ass-Tastic Idea for Unemployment Insurance Edition

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

From Crooks and Liars:

C&L Opening Bell: Mitt Romney’s Ass-Tastic Idea for Unemployment Insurance Edition

By Brad Reed | Posted: 15 Dec 2010 06:00 AM PST

Happy Wednesday, campers! Mitt Romney yesterday engaged in a pathetic pander to Dittohead Nation by honoring their time-honored tradition of trashing the unemployed. Let’s take a look at what our pal Mittens had to say:

The system is also not designed for a flexible economy like ours in which some employees move from job to job for short periods, and are therefore ineligible for unemployment compensation when they are faced with a protracted spell without work.

To remedy such problems we need a very different model, perhaps establishing individual unemployment savings accounts over which employees would exercise direct control when they lose their jobs, or putting in place financial incentives for employers to hire and train the long-term unemployed. One thing is certain: While we cannot rebuild our flawed system overnight, we are surely not required to borrow the funds to pay for it. In spending $56.5 billion to extend benefits, the deal is sacrificing the bedrock Republican principle that new expenditures be paid for with offsetting budget cuts.

That last sentence is the most hilarious pile of horses*** I’ve read in a long, long time. Let’s go through some of the wonderful Republican initiatives over the past decade and see if they were offset by budget cuts:

  • The cost of extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich for the next two years will be $79 billion, or more than $20 billion more than the cost of extending unemployment benefits. Mittens sees no need to pay for these.
  • The Iraq war has cost us close to $750 billion. Did the GOP try to offset those costs with tax increases or budget cuts? Pffffffft!
  • And then there’s TARP, the $700 billion bank bailout that had no guarantee of seeing any return on investment. Again, did the GOP insist on making cuts or raising taxes to pay for this? Nope.

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December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

From Truthdig:

Return of the Great Triangulator
By Robert Scheer — The sight of Bill Clinton back at the White House podium defending tax cuts for the super-rich was more a sick joke than a serious amplification of economic policy.

Since When Does Interpol Care About Women?
Laura Flanders points out that Interpol’s pursuit of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over sexual assault allegations is yet another example of women’s bodies serving ulterior political motives. Where is Interpol, Flanders asks, for the sexually assaulted women of the U.S. military or those in Haitian refugee camps?

Weeper of the House
By Ruth Marcus — The speaker got weepy. No, not her—him. The incoming House speaker, Ohio Republican John Boehner, turns out to be a veritable waterworks of emotion.

‘Assangination’: From Character Assassination to the Real Thing
By Amy Goodman — Despite being granted bail, WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange remains imprisoned in London. Politicians and commentators, meanwhile, have been repeatedly calling for Assange to be killed.

Colonialism Still at Heart of Africa’s Problems
By William Pfaff — What do you call it when a country’s elites exploit its people and resources for profit abroad?

Obama’s Tax-Cut Plan for Dummies
From the “White House White Board” to Glenn Beck’s blackboard, it seems like everyone’s trying to spell out fundamental political concepts using methods usually reserved for elementary school teachers. Does this say something about their opinions of American voters?

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emptywheel – Republicans Vote to Ban the Terms “Wall Street” and “Deregulation”

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

From emptywheel:

Republicans Vote to Ban the Terms “Wall Street” and “Deregulation”

By: emptywheel Wednesday December 15, 2010 4:19 am

Apparently, the Republicans on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission have abandoned the commission because the other six members would not agree to ban the phrases “Wall Street” and “deregulation” from the final report.

The four Republicans appointed to the commission investigating the root causes of the financial crisis plan to bypass the bipartisan panel and release their own report Wednesday, according to people familiar with the commission’s work.


Frustrated in part by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s chairman, Phil Angelides, and the tenor of the panel’s preliminary findings, the Republicans are choosing to ignore the five Democrats and lone independent and issue their document ahead of the commission’s Jan. 15 release.


During a private commission meeting last week, all four Republicans voted in favor of banning the phrases “Wall Street” and “shadow banking” and the words “interconnection” and “deregulation” from the panel’s final report, according to a person familiar with the matter and confirmed by Brooksley E. Born, one of the six commissioners who voted against the proposal.


“I certainly felt, and I think the majority of the commission felt, that deleting those phrases would impair the commissioners’ ability to give a full and fair and understandable report to the American people about the causes of the financial crisis,” Born said.

“Certainly, it’s hard to imagine Wall Street wasn’t involved,” she added.

It all sounds so childish. But then, it’s no more childish than holding a bunch of unemployed Americans hostage to make sure the very wealthy get tax cuts and an estate tax cut. So, as much as the Obama Administration seems intent on giving the banks what they want, Republicans seem insistent on using nuclear tactics to steal even more for the banks.

I guess both parties really are going to insist on pushing us into a Depression and/or full-on feudalism, aren’t they?

Related posts:

  1. TARP Oversight Panel: Securitization Mess May (Re)Crash the Economy
  2. Both Dodd and Frank Call on Admin to Use Powers of Dodd-Frank
  3. Are Obama and Congress Set To Screw American Counties, Homeowners and Give Wall Street Mortgage Banksters a Retroactive Immunity Bailout?
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Prof. John Kozy – Western Civilization and Classical Economics: The Immorality of Austerity

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

From Global Research:

Western Civilization and Classical Economics: The Immorality of Austerity

By Prof. John Kozy

URL of this article:

When a civilization abandons its morality, no rationalization can be devised to justify its continued existence. It is likely that many reasons can be given for this abandonment in the Western world, although I am convinced that one predominates—the expansion of law. Law once governed various kinds of behavior. It has now encroached upon various kinds of speech and is even being applied to the realm of belief. When someone is accused of having done something wrong, the reply offered usually is something like, “What was done complied with all legal requirements.” But “right” has never been defined as “conforms to law,” because thoughtful people have long noticed that the law itself can be a great crime, and the worst criminals in a culture can be its lawgivers, as the people of Ireland, Portugal, France, Spain, Greece, and Great Britain are now finding out. Americans will soon find it out too.

Numerous critics of classical economists over the past two centuries have argued that it is immoral when judged by any of the recognized moral codes. Major aspects of it clearly violate the Golden Rule. It violates many, perhaps all, of the Ten Commandments. It conflicts with various teachings of Jesus. Aristotle’s Ethics can be used to demonstrate its viciousness. It violates Kant’s Categorical Imperative and Mill’s Utilitarianism. Yet some of its proponents continue to argue that The Wealth of Nations is not inconsistent with moral principles. Clive Cook and Gavin Kennedy recently made such a claim, but what they cite as evidence doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

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AMERICAblog – Goldman Sachs executives to receive $111 million in bonuses for 2007 and 2009

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

From AMERICAblog:

Goldman Sachs executives to receive $111 million in bonuses for 2007 and 2009

by Chris in Paris on 12/15/2010 04:02:00 PM

Who owns you, Washington?

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein and his top deputies will collect about $111.3 million in stock next month in a delayed payoff from last year and their record-setting 2007 bonuses.

Blankfein, 56, is poised to receive about $24.3 million in January, based on yesterday’s share price, while President Gary D. Cohn, 50, will get about $24 million, company filings show. The payouts, just a portion of the $67.9 million bonus awarded to Blankfein for 2007 and the $66.9 million paid to Cohn, reflect a 24 percent decline in the stock’s value since it was granted at $218.86.

Within a year after the bonuses were approved, Goldman Sachs took $10 billion from the U.S. Treasury, converted to a bank and was borrowing as much as $35.4 billion a day from Federal Reserve emergency programs. This year the firm paid $550 million to settle U.S. regulators’ fraud charges related to a mortgage-security the company sold in 2007.

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AMERICAblog – FINAL The next Irish Troubles?

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

From AMERICAblog:

FINAL The next Irish Troubles?

by Gaius Publius on 12/15/2010 12:50:00 PM

The last Irish Troubles were good for no one. The next Irish Troubles may be good for everyone except the bankers and the European elite.

In short, it appears the resistance is moving to Europe.

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Economist’s View – “Republican Members of FCIC to Promote Crisis Urban Legends”

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Economist’s View:

“Republican Members of FCIC to Promote Crisis Urban Legends”

I’ve taken on the “CRA and Fannie and Freddie did it” myth so many times that I hardly have the energy to do it again (e.g. see here and here for several posts debunking this idea). So let me turn it over to Yves Smith:

Republican Members of FCIC to Promote Crisis Urban Legends, Shift Blame From Bank, by Yves Simth: Lordie, the Big Lie is with us in force. The New York Times reports that the Republican members of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission are going to pre-empt the report (due in mid-January) and issue their own 13 page screed later today focusing blame for the crisis on…Fannie and Freddie, and no doubt the CRA too.

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BBC – A History of Britain (100 part playlist)

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

GRITtv: Personal Democracy Forum: Is Watchdog Press Dead?

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment