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Archive for May 21st, 2009

Our Loss Is BlackRock’s Gain

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 21st, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Our Loss Is BlackRock’s Gain

BlackRock HQ

How much do you know about the BlackRock hedge fund? Better bone up fast, now that the folks at BlackRock are calling the shots in the government’s trillion-dollar bailout program. BlackRock execs are now directing key elements of the government program at a time when they stand to reap great profits from the fallout of a problem they helped create.?

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MLK to Get the Spielberg Treatment

MLK

It’s the first time that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s estate has officially approved a movie project about the late civil rights leader, and the MLK biopic will be helmed by none other than mega-director Steven Spielberg, who has acquired the “life rights” to Dr. King’s story, according to Variety.

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William Bradley: Obama’s New California-Based Climate Policy: Six Key Things To Know

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 21st, 2009 4:42 am by HL

William Bradley: Obama’s New California-Based Climate Policy: Six Key Things To Know
President Barack Obama announced that he is making California’s standard for greater vehicle fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions the new national standard….

Andy Borowitz: Gingrich: Pelosi Not Good Enough Liar to Be Speaker
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich lashed out today at the current Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, calling the congresswoman unfit to be Speaker of the House “because she’s not a good enough liar.”

Olbermann WTF Moment: Rush Limbaugh (VIDEO)
Rush Limbaugh has challenged MSNBC to not mention him or have any of their guests comment on him for 30 days. At first blush this…

CIA Interrogation Briefing List Contains More Errors
WASHINGTON — New questions surfaced Wednesday about the accuracy of a CIA document meant to settle who in Congress knew about severe interrogation methods approved…


AP disputes Reid on Guant?namo “terrorists” but let GOP falsehoods slide

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 21st, 2009 4:41 am by HL

AP disputes Reid on Guant?namo “terrorists” but let GOP falsehoods slide

In a May 20 Associated Press article, reporter Laurie Kellman wrote that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), at a May 19 press conference, “mangled his party’s position on the congressional news of the day, that Senate Democrats would join their House counterparts in withholding the money President Barack Obama needs to close the Guantanamo Bay prison until Obama comes up with a plan for relocating its prisoners.” Kellman quoted Reid saying, “We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States,” and then reported: “No one, of course, was talking about releasing terrorism suspects among the American populace. Imprisoning them, perhaps, but not releasing them.” However, Republicans in Congress have repeatedly claimed that closing Guantánamo will result in “terrorists” being released into the U.S.; in reporting their claims, the AP has not commented that “[n]o one, of course, was talking about releasing terrorism suspects among the American populace.”

The Obama administration has consistently maintained that suspected terrorists will not be released into the United States. For example, at a January 27 hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Robert Gates responded to a comment by Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) about the administration’s detainee policy by saying, “I can’t imagine a situation in which detainees at Guantanamo who were considered a danger to the people of the United States would simply be released here.” Similarly, during a May 7 Senate hearing, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) asked Attorney General Eric Holder: “Do you have the authority under the law to do this, to bring terrorists into this country and bring them into the community?” Holder responded, “[W]ith regard to those who you would describe as terrorists, we would not bring them into this country and release them, anybody who we consider to be a terrorist, as I think you’re using the word.”

A May 7 AP article on the hearing reported: “The Obama administration will not release terrorists from Guantanamo Bay into neighborhoods in the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress on Thursday as he sought to reassure worried lawmakers.” Nonetheless, two days later, the AP uncritically quoted Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) as saying, “The American people have a right to know exactly what the White House plans to do with these terrorists. … Americans don’t want these terrorists in their neighborhood.” The article continued: “Bond, in his radio address, said the president ‘has no plan for what to do with these killers’ and that the administration has suggested some of them may come into the United States.” The May 9 AP article gave no indication that, in Kellman’s words, “No one, of course, was talking about releasing terrorism suspects among the American populace.”

Other instances in which the AP uncritically reported Republicans’ suggestions that the Obama administration might release terrorists into the United States include:

  • A May 5 article reported: “Referring to the potential release of detainees now at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, which Obama has pledged to close within a year, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asked recently: ‘Will these trained terrorists be allowed to travel freely anywhere in the United States? What will their status be? Will they be allowed to stay here permanently?’ ”
  • A May 4 article reported: “Top Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have suggested that holding terror detainees in the United States would represent a security threat.” The article quoted McConnell as saying, “The American people want to keep the terrorists at Guantanamo out of their neighborhoods and off of the battlefield.”
  • An April 30 article reported: “Congressional Republicans — already critical of Obama’s move to close the detention center — criticized Holder for announcing Guantanamo decisions to European audiences rather than in the U.S.” The article quoted Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) as saying, “Releasing terrorists endangers American lives both here and abroad.”
  • An April 27 article reported: “Republicans in Congress say Guantanamo should remain in operation and are mobilizing to fight the release of any detainees into the United States.”


In Savaging Pelosi For “Attacking” CIA, GOP Ignores Its Own Record Of Similar Attacks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 21st, 2009 4:40 am by HL

In Savaging Pelosi For “Attacking” CIA, GOP Ignores Its Own Record Of Similar Attacks
We really shouldn’t have to do this. As we’ve said before, the idea that it’s some kind of outlandish and unconscionable slur to point out that the CIA — the CIA, for chrissakes! — can sometimes be economical with the…

Bush Pension Chief Charlie Millard To Senate: “I’ll Plead The Fifth”
For practically his entire 18-month term directing the obscure Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation, Charlie Millard could not stop talking about his radical new plan to plow the majority of the agency’s coffers — which offer partial bankruptcy insurance to the…

The Daily Muck
Republican House leader John Boehner said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who last week said the CIA had lied to her about torture, “ought to either present the evidence or apologize.” (Washington Post)…


Tenet’s Slam Dunk House of Secrets

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 21st, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Tenet’s Slam Dunk House of Secrets
For a partial list of CIA lies to Congress, go here: “Does the CIA Ever Lie? Parsing the Pelosi Torture Controversy” Peter Hart, Common Dreams, May 20, 2009.


Facebook Meets Political Wire

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 21st, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Facebook Meets Political Wire
You can now post comments on Political Wire using your Facebook sign-in.

This is very similar to the Twitter functionality we added a few days ago and should make it even easier for you to jump into a conversation.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

An Unfavorable View of Cheney
As former Vice President Dick Cheney prepares to give a major speech today on national security, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds that 55% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of him while 37% have a favorable opinion of Cheney.


Are We Going to Let Health Industry Propaganda Derail Obama’s Plans for Reform?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 21st, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Are We Going to Let Health Industry Propaganda Derail Obama’s Plans for Reform?
Millions of dollars will be poured into deceptive media ads by the health care industry — will you step up to stop them?

Are We Going to Let Health Industry Propaganda Derail Obama’s Plans for Reform?
Millions of dollars will be poured into deceptive media ads by the health care industry — will you step up to stop them?

Do Perfectionists Face Early Deaths? New Study Suggests Yes
Perfectionism, as a way of life, tends to be self-defeating. New research suggests it may also be deadly.

Pakistan Is Not in Any Way on the Verge of a Theocratic Coup
It’s a thoroughly modern state with vast infrastructure, a fiercely critical and diverse media, globalized economy — no "failed state" here.


An Early Frost: Netanyahu’s Failure In Washington

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 21st, 2009 4:34 am by HL

An Early Frost: Netanyahu’s Failure In Washington
The American media mostly understood that Prime Minister Netanyahu achieved nothing that he wanted during his Washington visit. His reception at the White House was the coolest in memory. The two sides ended their meeting at least as far apart…





Netanyahu’s Economic Peace: Discuss
On Bloggingheads.tv, Sam Bahour and I explore the importance, and difficulty, of engendering the Palestinian private sector under occupation….





Tony Soprano and Robert Nozick
A long-standing debate between libertarians and others concerns the extent to which a state is needed to enforce cooperative rules. Many libertarians argue that informal, self-sustaining agreements can achieve desirable outcomes even without the state acting as a third-party enforcer….


O?Reilly: ?I Consider Myself A Middle Class Guy? Even Though I Make $10 Million A Year

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 21st, 2009 4:33 am by HL

O?Reilly: ?I Consider Myself A Middle Class Guy? Even Though I Make $10 Million A Year
In October, Bill O’Reilly renewed his contract with Fox News, winning a multi-year deal paying him roughly $10 million per year — placing him well above the top 0.1 percent of income earners. O’Reilly also reportedly charges $50,000 per speaking engagement. Yesterday on his show, O’Reilly said he supports more fuel efficient cars because […]

In October, Bill O’Reilly renewed his contract with Fox News, winning a multi-year deal paying him roughly $10 million per year — placing him well above the top 0.1 percent of income earners. O’Reilly also reportedly charges $50,000 per speaking engagement. Yesterday on his show, O’Reilly said he supports more fuel efficient cars because he has a “middle-class…sensibility”:

INGRAHAM: And what this is, whether you like the green initiatives or not, ultimately, will end up being a continued war on the prosperity of the middle class of America. That’s what this is. It’s part of the remaking of the middle class of America –

O’REILLY: Why, why, why? Look, I consider myself a middle-class guy. Even though I make a lot of money, my sensibility is there.

INGRAHAM: Yeah.

Watch it:

O’Reilly’s middle class “sensibility” curiously favors the wealthy. Last July, he complained that if President Bush’s tax cuts “on those making $250,000 or more” are repealed, “me and other rich folks” would have to finance “folks who dropped out of school, who are too lazy to hold a job, who smoke reefers 24/7.” This isn’t surprising, of course. A Wonk Room analysis found that O’Reilly saves over $400,000 per year under Bush’s tax code.

In March, speaking to anti-tax crusader Glenn Beck, O’Reilly accused “30 percent” of the public of being “jealous” of the rich, saying they want to “take from the rich and give to the poor.”


House Approves Measure to Allow Guns Into National Parks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 21st, 2009 4:32 am by HL

House Approves Measure to Allow Guns Into National Parks
Gun rights advocates have found a sweet spot in Democratic-dominated Washington, and they are using it to aggressively push legislation.


Tracking Stimulus Spending May Not Be as Easy as Promised
Shortly after the economic stimulus bill was signed, Vice President Biden was talking up the administration’s Web site to track the spending, Recovery.gov, when he accidentally directed people to Recovery.org.


Obama to Give Speech After Backlash Over Recent Detainee Decisions
President Obama will attempt today to answer critics of his dismantling of Bush-era policies on detention and interrogation, in a speech reminding Americans that strong national security and adherence to laws and national values are not mutually exclusive.


Napolitano’s Career, Relationships Position Her for the Court
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is a former two-term Arizona governor and working Democratic politician with a history of winning moderate Republican support.


Judge Diane Wood, Solicitor General Elena Kagan Seen as Supreme Court Hopefuls
President Obama is intensifying his search for a Supreme Court nominee and has interviewed Judge Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago, believed to be among a handful of top contenders.