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Archive for January 17th, 2010

‘Left, Right & Center’: Tragedy in Haiti; the Evils of Wall Street

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 17th, 2010 5:49 am by HL

‘Left, Right & Center’: Tragedy in Haiti; the Evils of Wall Street
Is the tragic story of the Haiti earthquake as much about poverty and failed governance as it is about a natural disaster? Is the Banking Commission a kangaroo court? And what does the Massachusetts special election have to do with the future of the health care plan in Congress? All this and more on this week’s episode of “Left, Right & Center.”

Left, Right & Center

Is the tragic story of the Haiti earthquake as much about poverty and failed governance as it is about a natural disaster? Is the Banking Commission a kangaroo court? And what does the Massachusetts special election have to do with the future of the health care plan in Congress? All this and more on this week’s episode of “Left, Right & Center.”

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Ed Schultz On MA Election: ‘I’d Cheat To Keep These Bastards Out’ (AUDIO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 17th, 2010 5:48 am by HL

Ed Schultz On MA Election: ‘I’d Cheat To Keep These Bastards Out’ (AUDIO)
On Friday, MSNBC host Ed Schultz proposed a radical path to a Democratic win in the unexpectedly close Massachusetts Senate race for the late Ted…

John Eskow: $100 Million US Aid to Haiti: $3.3 Billion Quarterly Profit for JP Morgan
It was extremely strange to hear President Obama specify $100 million as America’s pledge to the suffering people of Haiti. My first thought was: $100 million is roughly one-quarter of the budget for Avatar.

Paul Loeb: Call for Coakley: How three votes can tip an election
On election day 2004, I was canvassing in my home state of Washington, alternating between knocking on doors for gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire and breaking…


Fox News’ Bulls & Bears makes dubious claim that plan to tax banks will cause ATM fees to rise

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 17th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

Fox News’ Bulls & Bears makes dubious claim that plan to tax banks will cause ATM fees to rise

On Fox News’ Bull & Bears, while discussing President Obama’s plan to tax the nation’s largest banks, host Brenda Buttner claimed that it’s “going to be the consumers who get hit, ultimately”; Fox Business Network host Eric Bolling agreed, responding that the tax would be passed “right down to the depositors, through ATM fees, through check fees, through lower rates.”  However, according to economist Dean Baker, since the tax “only applies to the largest banks, it would not be possible for the banks to pass it along to consumers, since they would lose market share to smaller banks who don’t pay the tax.”

Fox News’ Bolling and Buttner:  “Consumers” will get hit by Obama’s bank tax 

From the January 16 edition of Fox News’ Bull & Bears

BUTTNER:  It’s going to be the consumers who get hit, ultimately, isn’t it?

BOLLING:  Unfortunately, that’s what’s going to end up happening.  The fifty banks or so that are going to get slapped with this tax, they’re going to get fees, and they’re going to drop it right down to the depositors, through ATM fees, through check fees, through lower rates, the bottom line is –

TOBIN B. SMITH (Fox Business Network contributor):  Less lending –

BOLLING:  Less lending. 

Baker: Not possible for banks to pass tax along to consumers

Baker: “it would not be possible for the banks to pass [tax] along to consumers.” In a January 15 post on his American Prospect blog Beat the Press, Baker noted that since the tax applies only to the largest banks, if they passed along fees to consumers, they “would lose market share to smaller banks who don’t pay the tax. (If they could charge their customers more, why aren’t they doing it already?)” From Baker’s post:

It would also be helpful if reporters tried to evaluate the assertion of the industry lobbyists that this (or other) taxes will simply be passed on to customers. Reporters should have the time and ability to do make such an evaluation, rather than just pass along a he said/she said to readers, almost none of whom will have the time or expertise to make this assessment.

In the case of this tax, since it only applies to the largest banks, it would not be possible for the banks to pass it along to consumers, since they would lose market share to smaller banks who don’t pay the tax. (If they could charge their customers more, why aren’t they doing it already?) The alternative scenario, in which the large banks are able to pass on the tax, would suggest a degree of concentration in the industry which should require anti-trust action.

Bulls & Bears claim echoed Limbaugh’s dubious assertion

Limbaugh: “your ATM fee’s gonna go up” because of bank tax.  On the January 14 edition of his radio program, Rush Limbaugh told listeners that their lives “might get worse because your ATM fee’s gonna go up. As these banks are taxed, they’re gonna pass as much of it along to you and all of us as possible. That’s just how it works, which Obama also knows.”


Star Witness In Alaska Corruption Cases Begins Prison Term

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 17th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Star Witness In Alaska Corruption Cases Begins Prison Term
Bill Allen, the Alaska businessman whose secretly taped declaration, “Ted, I love you,” was played during the Ted Stevens corruption trial, reported to prison in California yesterday, the Anchorage Daily News reports.


Ex-Gitmo Detainee Who Joined Al Qaeda Accuses U.S. Of Torture At Bagram
In a new interview with the BBC, a former Gitmo detainee and former member of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula accused the United States of torturing him while at Bagram prison in Afghanistan.


The Last of Sarah?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 17th, 2010 5:44 am by HL

The Last of Sarah?


A Sobering Picture

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 17th, 2010 5:43 am by HL

A Sobering Picture
[See a high-resolution version of the map here.] Yesterday, at my request, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that provides a thorough understanding of the state of the housing market at the end of June 2009. A…


Government Accountability OfficeGovernmentViolence and AbuseElderFinance

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Phony Banking Commission
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission began its show trial this morning. As I suspected it will be a two day elaborate pantomime in which the nations top bankers are allowed to profer a feigned apology, Congress will be allowed to…


Financial Crisis Inquiry CommissionUnited States CongressGoldman SachsBusinessLloyd Blankfein


Obama administration grants undocumented Haitians Temporary Protected Status.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 17th, 2010 5:42 am by HL

Obama administration grants undocumented Haitians Temporary Protected Status.
After activists and over 80 lawmakers, including at least eight Republicans, called on the Obama administration to grant undocumented Haitian immigrants already in the U.S. Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced yesterday afternoon that Haitian nationals who were in the U.S. at the time of the earthquake in […]

3412938456_1556bcba2dAfter activists and over 80 lawmakers, including at least eight Republicans, called on the Obama administration to grant undocumented Haitian immigrants already in the U.S. Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced yesterday afternoon that Haitian nationals who were in the U.S. at the time of the earthquake in Haiti will be permitted to over-stay their visa for the next 18 months. A statement released by DHS on behalf of Napolitano reads:

As part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to assist Haiti following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, I am announcing the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010.

This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months. Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this Administration’s continuing efforts to support Haiti’s recovery.

Napolitano is careful to note that TPS will not be granted to those who attempt to travel to the United States after January 12, 2010 and that Haitians who try to enter the U.S. without documentation from there on out will be repatriated.


Medicaid provision for Nebraska raises ire

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 17th, 2010 5:41 am by HL

Medicaid provision for Nebraska raises ire
It was a single paragraph, added at the last minute on Page 2,129 of the Senate’s mammoth health-care bill: a promise that the federal government would pay forever for extra poor people to join Medicaid in Nebraska. And it triggered a swift, partisan backlash.


For now, a show of unity on helping Haiti, but politics could intrude later
President Obama hosted former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in the Oval Office on Saturday to discuss Haiti relief efforts, a show of political solidarity that has become an expected ritual in the days after a massive natural disaster.

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Poll shows growing disappointment, polarization over Obama’s performance
A year into his presidency, President Obama faces a polarized nation and souring public assessments of his efforts to change Washington, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.


Why Intelligence Keeps Failing

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 17th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Why Intelligence Keeps Failing
Herbert Meyer, American Thinker
In the wake of our country's latest intelligence failure — allowing a Nigerian terrorist to board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit when his own father had alerted us to the dangers posed by his son — President Obama demands to know why our intelligence service failed to “connect the dots.”So he's ordered investigations led by the very same officials who presided over our country's intelligence failures. That would be John Brennan, the president's counter-terrorism adviser whose job it was to keep Umar Abdulmutallab from boarding that…

A Republican? In Massachusetts?
Mark Steyn, Orange County Register

Rewarding Losers, Punishishing Winners
Larry Kudlow, RealClearMarkets
President Obama's misbegotten bank tax is precisely the wrong policy at precisely the wrong time. It will wind up backfiring across the board. Why? Because bank consumers and borrowers are the ones who will wind up paying this tax, creating an obstacle to economic recovery. Obama is actually rewarding losers and punishing winners — exactly the reverse of free-market capitalism.Who's being rewarded? Obama's bank-tax penalty is being used to finance the failed government takeovers of GM, GMAC, and Fannie and Freddie. And let's not forget the $75 billion failure of the…

Dispatch Health Care Reform Bill

Why Haiti Matters
President Barack Obama, Newsweek