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Archive for February 4th, 2010

U.N. Puts Bill Clinton in Charge of Haiti Aid

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 4th, 2010 5:49 am by HL

U.N. Puts Bill Clinton in Charge of Haiti Aid
The former president will oversee international aid in Haiti at the request of the United Nations. The U.N. effort has struggled after losing nearly 100 personnel, including the mission chief, to the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. Clinton was chosen for his fundraising abilities as much as his administrative touch. Some in the international community, notably the French, were already miffed that relief efforts were dominated by the United States military. Now the face of the international effort will not only be that of an American, but an American president. —PZS Reuters via Washington Post: The former president would coordinate the work of U.N. agencies, government donors, private investors and non-governmental organizations, the United Nations said. Several diplomats said Clinton had strong backing from U.N. member states and was the right person for the job because he can combine his U.N. authority with his experience and connections in the U.S. government. Read more

The former president will oversee international aid in Haiti at the request of the United Nations. The U.N. effort has struggled after losing nearly 100 personnel, including the mission chief, to the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. Clinton was chosen for his fundraising abilities as much as his administrative touch.

Some in the international community, notably the French, were already miffed that relief efforts were dominated by the United States military. Now the face of the international effort will not only be that of an American, but an American president. —PZS

Reuters via Washington Post:

The former president would coordinate the work of U.N. agencies, government donors, private investors and non-governmental organizations, the United Nations said.

Several diplomats said Clinton had strong backing from U.N. member states and was the right person for the job because he can combine his U.N. authority with his experience and connections in the U.S. government.

Read more


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Mike Green: Eliot Spitzer: “The team of Geithner and Summers is an abject failure”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 4th, 2010 5:48 am by HL

Mike Green: Eliot Spitzer: “The team of Geithner and Summers is an abject failure”
Lock and load financial rookie. In case you’ve been lulled into an American-Idolized stupor since former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer pulled back the dark…

Shelby Aide Tells Senator What CFPA Is, Dodd Says Consumer Agency Still In Reform Bill (VIDEO)
By Ben Protess and Danielle IvoryHuffington Post Investigative Fund WATCH: Has President Obama’s plan to create a new consumer financial protection agency died on Capitol…

Rick Jacobs: Prop 8 Trial + DADT Debate = Death Rattle of the Right Wing
The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins threatened that America “might have to return to the draft” if it allows gays and lesbians to serve openly, because so many soldiers would quit or never enlist.

Obama Administration Knew Foreclosure Program Wasn’t Working Right, Did Nothing
Even as the Obama administration’s signature foreclosure-prevention program has foundered, Treasury Department officials have known that a key driver in keeping people in their homes…


GOP communications arm: Fox News now campaigning for Kirk

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 4th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

GOP communications arm: Fox News now campaigning for Kirk

On the day after the Senate primary in Illinois, Fox News continued its pattern of engaging in political advocacy, this time in support of Mark Kirk, the Republican nominee for the 2010 election for the Illinois U.S. Senate seat. During their February 3 coverage of the primary, Fox News repeatedly aired a National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) “attack ad” targeting Kirk’s Democratic opponent, Illinois State Treasurer Alexis Giannoulias, provided Kirk a platform to attack Giannoulis, and repeatedly offered favorable comparisons between Kirk and Scott Brown, the Republican victor in the special election for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat who received similarly favorable treatment from Fox News prior to his election.

Fox News’ communications arm kicks into gear following Illinois primary

Fox News repeatedly airs NRSC “attack ad.” During the February 3 broadcasts of Happening Now and America’s Newsroom, Fox News aired a National Republican Senatorial Committee “attack ad” targeting Giannoulias. Introducing the attack ad on America’s Newsroom, Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron said that the NRSC “welcomes the two nominees to the race with an attack ad on Giannoulias. Listen to how they’re laying it out at the outset.” Later, on Happening Now, host Jane Skinner introduced the ad by noting that the GOP is “already tearing in” to Giannoulias.

Fox News interviews candidate Kirk, who attacks his opponent Giannoulias. Also during the February 3 broadcast of Happening Now, Jane Skinner provided Kirk a platform to attack his opponent, Alexis Giannoulias. Noting that Giannoulias was not present “to defend himself,” Skinner read a 2006 statement by Giannoulias “from when this came up in one of his previous races.”

Fox News anchors repeatedly liken Kirk to Scott Brown

Steve Doocy: “Some have suggested that Mr. Kirk could be the next Scott Brown.” During the February 3 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy pointed viewers to his campaign website, solicited funds for his campaign, and also cited RedInvadesBlue.com, where, he said, “we have a money bomb right now that’s hitting … and you can help me fight back against the machine.”

“Political analyst” Morris: “Please, please help” Brown. During the January 11 edition of Hannity, Morris urged viewers to “go to DickMorris.com … to help elect Brown,” because if “we win this fight, then there will never be another victory for Obama.” DickMorris.com includes a fundraising plea “to help us raise $300,000 for a last minute media buy to push Brown and the Republicans to victory”; Fox News executives allow Morris to solicit funds for Republican efforts despite reportedly telling colleague Mike Huckabee to cease conflict-of-interest promotions that help his political action committee.

Fox News is a conservative political organization

“Voice of the opposition”: Fox News openly advocates against Democratic Congress, White House. Since Barack Obama’s inauguration, Fox News has frequently engaged in political advocacy against the Democratic Congress and White House. Specifically, Fox News personalities have promoted and encouraged viewers to “join” tea party protests, Glenn Beck’s organization The 9-12 Project and its September 12, 2009, “March on Washington,” and town hall meetings; engaged in a witch hunt seeking to “get rid of” Obama administration officials and nominees; implored viewers to call Congress and the White House to protest Democratic policies; and celebrated “victor[ies]” when Democratic legislation has been stalled.

Research and communications arm: Fox News is home to GOP in exile. A revolving door exists between the Republican Party and Fox News Channel, with a number of former Bush administration officials, former and potentially future GOP presidential candidates, and Republican strategists on Fox’s payroll and airwaves. A Media Matters review of Fox coverage from September 1, 2009 through October 25, 2009 revealed that these individuals, typically hosted alone or on unbalanced panels, often used their airtime to advance false and misleading claims about Democrats and progressives, as well as to fundraise, further demonstrating that Fox is effectively a conservative political organization and not a legitimate news outlet.


AIG Paying Bonuses To Unit That Helped Trigger Crisis

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 4th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

AIG Paying Bonuses To Unit That Helped Trigger Crisis
AIG, the bailed-out insurance behemoth whose lavish “retention payments” triggered the first round of bonus fury last year, plans more payments this year, worth $100 million.

Arpaio Tactics Causing Fear And Loathing In Maricopa County
Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s crusade against Maricopa County officials has created a “year-long emotional roller-coaster” for some county employees, they tell the Arizona Republic.


Has Obama shown up for work?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 4th, 2010 5:42 am by HL

Has Obama shown up for work?
Excerpt: After the State of the Union address last Wednesday, a somewhat “friendly” meeting with House Republicans on Thursday and a meeting with Senate Democrats today, it appears that President Obama may have finally showed up for work. A lot of progressives may agree that it is about time that he did that. A lot of conservatives […]


Quote of the Day

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 4th, 2010 5:41 am by HL

Quote of the Day
“How’d I do?”

— South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, on the phone to his wife after holding a press conference admitting to an extramarital affair. The incident is recounted in Jenny Sanford’s new memoir, Staying True.


Big Banks Are Feeding Like Parasites on the Govt.’s Money

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 4th, 2010 5:40 am by HL

Big Banks Are Feeding Like Parasites on the Govt.’s Money
Big bank CEOs like to trumpet free-market ideology, but they depend on the government for survival in good times and bad.

Big bank CEOs like to trumpet free-market ideology, but they depend on the government for survival in good times and bad.

Shadow Elite: How the World’s New Power Brokers Are Upending Our Democracy
Wedel argues in her new book that a group of corrupted elites are destroying the principles that define modern states, free markets and democracy itself.

Wedel argues in her new book that a group of corrupted elites are destroying the principles that define modern states, free markets and democracy itself.

Progressive Leader Donna Edwards Is Out in Front to Stop Corporate Dominance of Elections
Rep. Edwards: "The Supreme Court has left us with no choice but to change the Constitution and make sure that people own our government and our elections."

Rep. Edwards: "The Supreme Court has left us with no choice but to change the Constitution and make sure that people own our government and our elections."

The Right-Wing Media Machine Has Arrived on the Internet
For years, the Right’s media infrastructure had only one weak spot, the Internet, but now that has changed.

For years, the Right's media infrastructure had only one weak spot, the Internet, but now that has changed.


Former Head of AJC Says Israel Is Already Administering An Apartheid Regime PLUS Two Hilarious Israeli Videos

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 4th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Former Head of AJC Says Israel Is Already Administering An Apartheid Regime PLUS Two Hilarious Israeli Videos
It was big news yesterday when Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, said that continuing the occupation (i.e, keeping millions of Palestinians under Israeli control while denying them democratic rights) would make Israel an apartheid state. “As long as in this…


Ehud BarakIsraelAmerican Jewish CongressMiddle EastDefense Minister of Israel

Corporate Citizens? Play Ball!
Suppose you were coming up to bat in the bottom of the ninth: man on first, nobody out. Suppose the game were tied, you were a solid bunter, and the pitcher got behind 2-0. But then, suppose your manager knew…


PitcherBaseballsportPlay BallTeams


Deficit Peacock Newt Gingrich Doesn?t Recognize His Own Feathers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 4th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Deficit Peacock Newt Gingrich Doesn?t Recognize His Own Feathers
Last month, Center for American Progress Associate Director for Tax and Budget Policy Michael Linden released a report on “how to spot a deficit peacock,” which he described as people who like to “preen and call attention to themselves” as deficit hawks “but are not sincerely interested in taking the difficult but necessary steps toward […]

Newt Gingrich holds a cockatooLast month, Center for American Progress Associate Director for Tax and Budget Policy Michael Linden released a report on “how to spot a deficit peacock,” which he described as people who like to “preen and call attention to themselves” as deficit hawks “but are not sincerely interested in taking the difficult but necessary steps toward a balanced budget.” Linden wrote that those who “say that the solution is to simply freeze discretionary spending, are just peddling fiscal snake oil.” Critics across the political spectrum have since used the “deficit peacock” phrase to criticize the Obama administration’s proposed freeze. OMB Director Peter Orszag has pushed back against that characterization of the Obama plan, arguing that the freeze is “only one step” the administration is taking.

In his Human Events column today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich embraces the term, claiming that it was created to describe “Washington liberals posing as budget cutters.” In fact, if Gingrich actually paid attention to what Linden wrote, he would realize that he fits the definition perfectly of a deficit peacock who prefers “scoring political points to solving problems. According to Linden, the number one way to tell that someone “isn’t taking our budget problems seriously” is if “they never mention revenues”:

Increasing revenues is going to have to be part of the solution for meeting the fiscal challenge. Any suggestion that we can solve this problem solely by cutting spending reveals an utter misunderstanding or ignorance of the budget numbers. Balancing the budget without raising any additional revenue 10 years from now would require cutting every program in the entire budget by more than 25 percent, including all defense spending, Social Security and Medicare benefits, air-traffic-control funding, veterans’ benefits, aid to schools, job training programs, agriculture subsidies, highway maintenance, and everything else.

In his column, Gingrich explicitly denounces “tax increases” to “pay for all that spending” in the federal budget and calls for spending cuts only. Linden also notes that deficit peacocks “support policies that make the long-term deficit problem worse.” In January, Gingrich released a “jobs first” plan consisting almost completely of proposals that would hurt the long-term deficit:

Immediate Payroll Tax Relief. Allow workers and employers to keep more of their hard earned money through an immediate, two-year, 50% reduction of the payroll tax. […]

Incentives for Small Business Investment. Allow small businesses to expense 100% of new equipment purchases each year to help them invest in new, more productive technologies. […]

Abolish Taxes on Capital Gains. Match the Chinese capital gains rate of zero. […]

Reduce the Business Tax Rate. America has the second highest business tax rate in the world. We should match the Irish business tax rate of 12.5%. […]

Abolish the Death Tax. Inheritance is the most powerful accumulator of capital.

In an analysis of an early variation of Gingrich’s plan, the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo concluded that the tax changes would add trillions to the deficit over the next decade while “throwing money to mainly the well-off and hoping that it will have some positive effects.” In the January plan, Gingrich also called for balancing the budget by simply reducing spending and reforming government.

Flashback: McCain cited Colin Powell as justification for opposing DADT repeal.
Following President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address to end the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, Congress has taken up the issue and is debating legislation that would repeal it. Last June, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — a leading critic of ending DADT — cited Colin Powell as justification for his […]

mackFollowing President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address to end the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, Congress has taken up the issue and is debating legislation that would repeal it. Last June, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — a leading critic of ending DADT — cited Colin Powell as justification for his position:

MCCAIN: My opinion is shaped by the view of the leaders of the military. The reason why I supported the policy to start with is because General Colin Powell, who was then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the one that strongly recommended we adopt this policy in the Clinton administration. I have not heard General Powell or any of the other military leaders reverse their position, just like when on other issues, that people are expert and knowledgeable of, I rely on their opinion. But this is unique. These military leaders are responsible for the very lives of the men and women under their command, and that’s why I am especially guided, to a large degree, by their views.

Today, in a statement released from his office, Powell officially announced that he now opposes the continuation of DADT because “attitudes and circumstances have changed.” Now that Powell no longer supports the DADT policy, what other excuses will McCain offer? (HT: Andrew Sullivan)


Featured Advertiser

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 4th, 2010 5:36 am by HL

Featured Advertiser

Obama criticizes Senate Republicans for delaying confirmation votes
President Obama criticized senators Wednesday for using a legislative tactic he once practiced himself, saying that Republicans were delaying confirmation votes on several of his nominees for reasons unrelated to their qualifications.

Scott Brown to be sworn in to Senate a week early
Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R) will be sworn into office Thursday, a week earlier than expected, after he asked officials in his home state of Massachusetts on Wednesday to certify his election “without delay.”

Illinois governor’s race too close to call
Illinois primary voters awoke this morning to electoral confusion in President Obama’s home state, facing Democratic and Republican gubernatorial races still too close to call.