We are the Liberal Blog From Hollywood
L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

Photographer in L.A.

Hot Pics & Gossip.

Archive for March 1st, 2010

In like a Lyin’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2010 5:49 am by HL

In like a Lyin’
Rhetoric saying progressives must be “eliminated” is rewarded while our precious media preens like Sally Quinn.

Certain Republican Senators have decided to be an asshole and depriving over a million Americans of unemployment benefits starting today. Thank goodness their actions are ignored on the Sunday Chat Shows. That way we can focus on the important things like allowing “President” McCain to reinvent history a couple times a month or White House social secretaries.

Meanwhile, David Sirota, notices something particularly ominous and never challenged (other than by us filthy bloggers of course) from the likes of Glenn Beck:

Beck taught us that a once-principled conservative movement of reasoned activists has turned into a mob — one that does not engage in civilized battles of ideas. Instead, these torch-carriers, gun-brandishers and tea partiers follow an anti-government terrorist attack by cheering a demagogue’s demand for the physical annihilation of those with whom he disagrees — namely anyone, but particularly progressives, who value “community.”

Former FDL contributor David Neiwert recognizes such notions:

It often further depicts its designated Enemy as vermin (especially rats and cockroaches) or diseases, and disease-like cancers on the body politic. A close corollary—but not as nakedly eliminationist—are claims that opponents are traitors or criminals and that they pose a threat to our national security.

Replace ‘progressive’ in Beck’s rants with ‘Jew’ and you recognize the portent.

Just imagine if Obama really governed as a progressive.

Late Late Night FDL: Alphabet
Patti LaBelleThe Alphabet gospel style on Sesame Street.

Patti LaBelleThe Alphabet gospel style on Sesame Street.

What’s on your mind?

Tags: gospel, late late nite firedoglake, Patti LaBelle, Sesame Street, The Alphabet Song, YouTube


No to Consumer Protection Agency

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2010 5:47 am by HL

No to Consumer Protection Agency
Plans to create an independent agency to offer consumer financial protection have probably been scrapped. According to a leaked document, Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd is proposing that the protection office be within the Treasury Department instead of being independent, a clear capitulation to the Republicans. —JCL Mother Jones: Mother Jones has obtained a copy of Sen. Chris Dodd’s plan to house a consumer financial protection office within the Department of the Treasury rather than creating an independent agency. Several other news sources have received copies, but none have made the leaked document publicly available. We’re posting Chris Dodd’s consumer financial protection plan here (PDF). It seems certain to disappoint experts and progressives who had called for a powerful new agency. (Andy Kroll has more on this.) This is the document’s top-line summary: Create a [Bureau of Financial Protection] inside of Treasury with a Presidentially-appointed director; a dedicated budget (through assessments on large banks, non-banks, and with the Fed making up the shortfall); autonomous rule-writing authority with the regulations to apply across-the-board to all entities offering financial services or products; and examination and enforcement authority for large banks and mortgage companies, small banks in a back-up capacity, and other non-banks on a risk basis, as described below. The independent agency proposal would be dropped. As Andy explained Saturday afternoon, Dodd’s decision to move financial protection inside an existing agency is an effort to gain Republican votes for financial reform. But it’s unclear whether either of the Republicans Dodd has negotiated with to date—Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Al.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)—will support the new plan. There hasn’t been any hint of GOP backing for the proposal in newspaper articles on Dodd’s leaked plan. Read more

Dodd

Plans to create an independent agency to offer consumer financial protection have probably been scrapped. According to a leaked document, Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd is proposing that the protection office be within the Treasury Department instead of being independent, a clear capitulation to the Republicans. —JCL

Mother Jones:

Mother Jones has obtained a copy of Sen. Chris Dodd’s plan to house a consumer financial protection office within the Department of the Treasury rather than creating an independent agency. Several other news sources have received copies, but none have made the leaked document publicly available. We’re posting Chris Dodd’s consumer financial protection plan here (PDF). It seems certain to disappoint experts and progressives who had called for a powerful new agency. (Andy Kroll has more on this.) This is the document’s top-line summary:

Create a [Bureau of Financial Protection] inside of Treasury with a Presidentially-appointed director; a dedicated budget (through assessments on large banks, non-banks, and with the Fed making up the shortfall); autonomous rule-writing authority with the regulations to apply across-the-board to all entities offering financial services or products; and examination and enforcement authority for large banks and mortgage companies, small banks in a back-up capacity, and other non-banks on a risk basis, as described below.

The independent agency proposal would be dropped.

As Andy explained Saturday afternoon, Dodd’s decision to move financial protection inside an existing agency is an effort to gain Republican votes for financial reform. But it’s unclear whether either of the Republicans Dodd has negotiated with to date—Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Al.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)—will support the new plan. There hasn’t been any hint of GOP backing for the proposal in newspaper articles on Dodd’s leaked plan.

Read more

Related Entries



Robert Kuttner: The Cure That Dares Not Speak Its Name

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Robert Kuttner: The Cure That Dares Not Speak Its Name
How does the rest of the club of affluent countries manage to insure everyone for 9 or 10 percent of GDP, and have a healthier and longer-lived population, to boot? They do it, of course, through universal, socialized insurance. What every other nation has in common is that they have taken the commercialism out of their health systems. But most Democratic politicians and policy wonks behave as if the option of a national health plan simply did not exist.

Jerry Brown: California Governor Run Still A Mystery
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With less than two weeks before he must enter the race for governor, state Attorney General Jerry Brown told college-age Democrats on…

Nuclear Posture Review: Obama Rethinking U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
As President Obama begins making final decisions on a broad new nuclear strategy for the United States, senior aides say he will permanently reduce America’s…

Jo Comerford: A Titanic Budget in an Ocean of Icebergs: Will the USS Budget Go Down?
A serious look at the budget reveals some “leaks” — two in actual spending practices and two in the basic assumptions that undergird the budget itself. Ship-shape as it may look on the surface, this is a budget perilously close to an iceberg.

Obama Doctor: President ‘Fit For Duty’ And In ‘Excellent Health’
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama hasn’t kicked the smoking habit, takes anti-inflammatory medication to relieve chronic tendinitis in his left knee and should eat better…


Quick Fact: Perkins advances myth that DADT repeal could hurt morale, unit cohesion, readiness

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2010 5:45 am by HL

Quick Fact: Perkins advances myth that DADT repeal could hurt morale, unit cohesion, readiness

On Fox & Friends Sunday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins advanced the falsehood that repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” would undermine unit cohesion and morale in the military. Studies of other countries show that allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly does not affect unit cohesion, morale, and readiness.

From the February 28 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Sunday:

PERKINS: Well, as a veteran of the Marine Corps, I’ve served in the military and I understand exactly the environment in which men and women serve, and it’s much different than what civilians live in. And it’s troubling on a couple of points: one is the — how this will affect the men and women who serve.

You’ve got 80 to 100 men that will live in one room, shower together, they stay together. I mean, it’s — you don’t have much privacy. But, secondly, and I think more importantly is the impact that this will have on national security from the standpoint of its impact upon military readiness. And now we’ve had 14 congressional studies in the last 16 years or congressional hearings and they’ve all come to the same conclusion that good order, morale, unit cohesion is essential to military success, and this policy, the current policy — “don’t ask, don’t tell” — upholds that. So, this is not just our opinion. Congress has come to the same conclusion 14 times in the last 16 years.

FACT: Experts say claims that “don’t ask, don’t tell” preserves “unit cohesion” are not supported by studies or experience

Unit cohesion argument “not supported by any scientific studies.” In an essay published in the fourth quarter 2009 issue of Joint Force Quarterlywhich is “published for the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, by the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University” — Col. Om Prakash wrote of DADT, “[T]he stated premise of the law — to protect unit cohesion and combat effectiveness — is not supported by any scientific studies.” The essay won the 2009 Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Competition.

At least 25 nations — including many U.S. allies — allow military service by openly gay men and lesbians. According to the Palm Center, a think tank at the University of California-Santa Barbara that studies sexuality and the military, as of February 2010, 25 nations allowed military service by openly gay men and lesbians, including U.S. allies Australia and Israel and the following NATO member countries: Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

GAO: Other countries say allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly “has not created problems in the military.” In a June 1993 report to Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) studied four countries that allow gay men and lesbians to serve in the military — Canada, Israel, Germany, and Sweden — and found that military officials said “the presence of homosexuals has not created problems in the military because homosexuality is not an issue in the military or in society at large.” It also found that “[m]ilitary officials from each country said that, on the basis of their experience, the inclusion of homosexuals in their militaries has not adversely affected unit readiness, effectiveness, cohesion, or morale.” GAO wrote that it chose those four countries to study because they “generally reflect Western cultural values yet still provide a range of ethnic diversity” and have similarly sized militaries.

Palm Center: “No consulted expert anywhere in the world concluded that lifting the ban on openly gay service caused an overall decline in the military.” In a February 2010 report, the Palm Center reviewed the experience of the 25 nations whose militaries allow gay men and lesbians to serve and found: “Research has uniformly shown that transitions to policies of equal treatment without regard to sexual orientation have been highly successful and have had no negative impact on morale, recruitment, retention, readiness or overall combat effectiveness. No consulted expert anywhere in the world concluded that lifting the ban on openly gay service caused an overall decline in the military.”

None of the 104 experts interviewed for study believed decisions to allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in UK, Canada, Israel, or Australia undermined cohesion. In a 2003 article for Parameters, the U.S. Army War College Quarterly, Aaron Belkin wrote that the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (since renamed the Palm Center) had conducted a study of the impact of the decisions to allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military in the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, and Australia, and found: “Not a single one of the 104 experts interviewed believed that the Australian, Canadian, Israeli, or British decisions to lift their gay bans undermined military performance, readiness, or cohesion.”

Participants in creation of DADT admit “unit cohesion” argument was “based on nothing.” In a March 2009 Huffington Post piece, the Palm Center’s Nathaniel Frank wrote of the process that led to the creation of DADT in the early 1990s:

One group staffer provided a wealth of research to the flag officers in charge, but said it was never even considered. He said the policy was created “behind closed doors” by people who were totally closed to lifting the ban, and that it relied on anti-gay stereotypes and resistance to outside forces.

Charles Moskos, the renowned military sociologist and close friend of Sen. Sam Nunn, advised the MWG [Military Working Group], and was ultimately credited as the academic architect of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” While he said publicly that the problem with openly gay service was that it would threaten “unit cohesion,” he told me privately something quite different: “Fuck unit cohesion,” he said, “I don’t care about that.” For Moskos, the last serious defender of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the ban was about the “moral right” of straight people not to be forced into intimate quarters with gays. Shortly before he died last summer, he admitted that he clung to his policy, in part, because he was afraid of disappointing his friends if he “turncoated.”

[…]

The MWG was also supposed to take recommendations from working groups convened by the individual services. Rear Admiral John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy was a participant in the talks about whether to lift the ban in 1993. Hutson told me the assessment of gay service was “based on nothing. It wasn’t empirical, it wasn’t studied, it was completely visceral, intuitive.” The policy, he said, was rooted in “our own prejudices and our own fears.” Hutson now says “don’t ask, don’t tell” was a “moral passing of the buck.”

Another advisor to the MWG was Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, a deeply homophobic evangelical who became vice president of the Family Research Council. While Maginnis admitted that he found homosexuality “morally repugnant,” he cast the question of gay service in terms of “unit cohesion” for what he called “political reasons”–because he knew this approach would be more effective than moral tirades against equal treatment for gays. Maginnis, who believes gays are “unstable” hedonists who can’t control themselves and are tainted by something called “gay bowel syndrome,” was only the tip of the iceberg: in fact the “unit cohesion” rationale was an elaborate strategy created by a network of evangelical military officers and supporters who knowingly sold an anti-gay policy rooted in religion as though it were essential to protecting national security. And for too long, the nation drank the coolaid.


Army’s Iraq Handbook: Avoid War Crimes And Beware Arab Paranoia

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2010 5:44 am by HL

Army’s Iraq Handbook: Avoid War Crimes And Beware Arab Paranoia
A 2003 handbook for the U.S. First Infantry Division in Iraq exhorts soldiers to “Do your best to prevent war crimes” and warns that “when an Arab is confronted by criticism, you can expect him to react by interpreting the facts to suit himself or flatly denying the facts.”


John Sweeney Jailed For Drunk Driving
John Sweeney, the former GOP congressman and Abramoff crony, will serve 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to driving drunk, reports the Albany Times-Union.

Former DOJ-ers Doubtful On Missing Yoo Emails Story
An internal Justice Department report on the Torture Memos noted that investigators were told that key emails from John Yoo had been deleted and could not be retrieved. But several former DOJ staffers expressed intense skepticism that the emails could in fact have been rendered unrecoverable — at least without a deliberate effort to destroy them.


Ye Olde Scribe Presents More Spam

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2010 5:40 am by HL

Ye Olde Scribe Presents More Spam
wiki “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it… damn stuff.” Spam from the great white North: no relation to Ollie… December 8 – 6:00 PM It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down […]


Quote of the Day

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Quote of the Day
“I don’t like him. He is not a very pleasant person. He is nasty, mean; the skin of an onion would look deep compared to his. He has a short fuse, he is almost peculiarly unstable.”

— Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), in an interview with a Dutch newspaper, about Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

As Ben Smith notes, Tancredo is also quite negative on Sarah Palin.

Close Race for Senate in Indiana
A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in Indiana finds Dan Coats (R) barely edging Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 37% to 36%.

The poll also shows John Hostettler (R) leading Ellsworth by a larger margin, 40% to 34%.

With Rep. Baron Hill (D) taking himself out of the race over the weekend, Ellsworth is almost certainly the Democratic candidate.


Conservative Character Assassination of Kennedys Must Be Stopped

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Conservative Character Assassination of Kennedys Must Be Stopped
Robert Greenwald appeared on CNN Sunday to slam a right-wing script for a series about the Kennedys.

Robert Greenwald appeared on CNN Sunday to slam a right-wing script for a series about the Kennedys.

Joe Bageant: Americans Are "Hope Fiends" Because Honestly Looking at the Present Situation Would Destroy Just About Everything We Hold As Reality
An awareness of class makes clear who is screwing whom. That’s why American capitalism’s official line is that we are a "classless society."

An awareness of class makes clear who is screwing whom. That's why American capitalism's official line is that we are a "classless society."

Glenn Beck, Radical Hit Man for the Tea Partiers, Is Breeding Potential Violence
I wish this were just a bad joke, but Beck isn’t messing around — he’s painting bull’s-eyes on the backs of progressives.

I wish this were just a bad joke, but Beck isn't messing around — he's painting bull's-eyes on the backs of progressives.

Bill Maher: Stop Saying Sex Addiction Like It’s a Bad Thing
Sex addiction is not a real mental disease: not like delirium or bipolar disorder or any of the other things Glenn Beck suffers from.

Sex addiction is not a real mental disease: not like delirium or bipolar disorder or any of the other things Glenn Beck suffers from.

Heads Up: Prayer Warriors and Sarah Palin Are Organizing Spiritual Warfare to Take Over America
The New Apostolic Reformation, the largest religious movement you’ve never heard of, aims to take control of communities through ‘prayer warriors.’

The New Apostolic Reformation, the largest religious movement you've never heard of, aims to take control of communities through 'prayer warriors.'


Conservatives Strive to Repel Jewish Support, Again

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Conservatives Strive to Repel Jewish Support, Again
You’ve perhaps heard by now that Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul won this weekend’s presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) gathering in Washington, D.C.You may also have heard that Paul surprised the pundits with his strong…



Ron PaulConservative Political Action ConferenceCPACStraw pollMitt Romney

Nuclear Posture Review — I Repeat Myself
Nearly every major policy address by the administration’s top officials — from the president to the vice president and secretary of state — has stressed that the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) will “reduce the role of nuclear weapons” in…


Nuclear weaponWeaponsWarfare and ConflictNuclearUnited States


Pelosi Welcomes Tea Partiers To Join Progressives In Fighting Against Special Interests

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2010 5:36 am by HL

Pelosi Welcomes Tea Partiers To Join Progressives In Fighting Against Special Interests
Last year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) proclaimed that the tea party movement is “astroturf [and] not really a grassroots movement. It’s astroturf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class.” Pelosi has been repeatedly attacked […]

Last year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) proclaimed that the tea party movement is “astroturf [and] not really a grassroots movement. It’s astroturf by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class.” Pelosi has been repeatedly attacked since then by many on the right who object to the notion that the tea party movement is being hijacked by Republican operatives.

Today, during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” with host Elizabeth Vargas, Pelosi reiterated her belief that much of the tea party movement is “orchestrated from the Republican headquarters.” But, she also explained that progressives “share some of the views of the Tea Partiers in terms of the role of special interest in Washington” and welcomed tea partiers to join progressives in battling special interests:

PELOSI: the Republican Party directs a lot of what the Tea Party does, but not everybody in the Tea Party takes direction from the Republican Party. And so there was a lot of, shall we say, Astroturf, as opposed to grassroots. But, you know, we share some of the views of the Tea Partiers in terms of the role of special interest in Washington, D.C., as — it just has to stop.

Watch it:

Indeed, as ThinkProgress has documented, many of the principal organizers of the local tea party events are the well-funded right-wing astroturf organizations Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works. Both provided logistical support and public relations assistance, including “sign ideas, sample press releases, and a map of events around the country.”

Yet, as Pelosi states in the interview, opposition to entrenched special interests cut across party and ideological lines. She rightly notes that for example, Americans overwhelmingly oppose the recent Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case that eliminated decades of campaign laws that restrict corporate spending in election campaigns. A recent poll found that 80 percent of Americans oppose the decision with 85 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of Republicans, and 81 percent of independents opposed.

Sen. Alexander: Using Reconciliation To Pass Health Care Reform Would ?End The Senate?
Today, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) appeared on ABC’s This Week to discuss last week’s bipartisan health care reform summit. During the summit, Alexander urged the President and Congressional Democrats to “renounce” the idea of using budget reconciliation to pass health care reform. Alexender went even further today, saying that the use of reconciliation would be […]

Today, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) appeared on ABC’s This Week to discuss last week’s bipartisan health care reform summit. During the summit, Alexander urged the President and Congressional Democrats to “renounce” the idea of using budget reconciliation to pass health care reform. Alexender went even further today, saying that the use of reconciliation would be “the end of the Senate“:

The reconciliation procedure is a little-used legislative procedure — 19 times, it’s been used. It’s for the purpose of taxing, spending, and reducing deficits. But the difference here is, that there’s never been anything of this size and magnitude and complexity run through the Senate in this way. There are a lot of technical problems with it, which we could discuss. It would turn the Senate, it would really be the end of the Senate as a protector of minority rights, the place where you have to get consensus, instead of just a partisan majority.

Watch it:

If using reconciliation were really “the end of the Senate,” the Senate would have died a long time ago, and Lamar Alexander would have been complicit in its death.

Reconciliation has been used to pass at least 19 bills, including major pieces of health care reform legislation like the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Medicare Advantage Program. Fourteen of the times reconciliation was employed it was used to advance Republican interests.

Furthermore, Alexander himself has personally voted for reconciliation at least four times, as Igor Volsky pointed out:

– 2003 Bush Tax Cuts: The Congressional Budget office, Bush’s tax cuts for the rich increased budget deficits by $60 billion in 2003 and by $340 billion by 2008. The bill had a cost of about a trillion dollars. [Alexander voted yes.]

– 2005 Deficit Reduction Act of 2005: The bill cut approximately $4.8 billion over five years and $26.1 billion over the next ten years from Medicaid spending. [Alexander voted yes.]

– 2005 Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005: The bill extended tax cuts on capital gains and dividends and the alternative minimum tax. [Alexander voted yes.]

– 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act: The bill forgave all remaining student loan debt after 10 years of public service. [Alexander voted yes]

In the end, Alexander’s mere presence on television this morning seems to indicate that using reconciliation does not, in fact, end the Senate.