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Archive for April 6th, 2010

Early Morning Swim: Rachel Maddow on John McCain’s Abandonment of “Maverick” Brand

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 6th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Early Morning Swim: Rachel Maddow on John McCain’s Abandonment of “Maverick” Brand
And it’s not just that he’s used that sham of a nickname for years. He just did last week.

And it’s not just that he’s used that sham of a nickname for years. He just did last week.

At a campaign really for McCain on March 26th, Palin asked Arizona voters to “send the maverick back to the United States Senate” as McCain looked on. She told the crowd that McCain’s “maverick” status hasn’t won him friends from the “Washington D.C. elite machine.”

One reason McCain may be shedding the “maverick” label is that it doesn’t play well with Republican primary voters. McCain is facing a primary challenge from former congressman J.D. Hayworth, who has deemed McCain less than a true conservative.

Really brings the choice of Palin into focus, doesn’t it?


Gibbs: Team Obama ‘Frustrated’ With Karzai’s Remarks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 6th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Gibbs: Team Obama ‘Frustrated’ With Karzai’s Remarks
Relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan were further strained over the weekend after the White House caught wind of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s musings that he might join the Taliban as a reaction to pressure from the West to make some changes in his country. Politico reported over the weekend that Karzai called U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday to “clarify” the accusations he’d made earlier that week about the United States’ alleged role in election fraud in his country. However, that call apparently happened before Karzai let fly with his comment about taking up with the Taliban, which spurred White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to voice dismay “on behalf of the American people” on Monday. “The Two-Way” on NPR: “On behalf of the American people, we’re frustrated with the remarks,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters this morning. According to the Associated Press, the news of what Karzai reportedly said came from Afghan lawmakers who met with him Saturday. “He said that ‘if I come under foreign pressure, I might join the Taliban’,” said Farooq Marenai, who represents the eastern province of Nangarhar, AP reported. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/04/karzai_taliban_white_house_fru.html

Karzai

Relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan were further strained over the weekend after the White House caught wind of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s musings that he might join the Taliban as a reaction to pressure from the West to make some changes in his country.

Politico reported over the weekend that Karzai called U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday to “clarify” the accusations he’d made earlier that week about the United States’ alleged role in election fraud in his country. However, that call apparently happened before Karzai let fly with his comment about taking up with the Taliban, which spurred White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to voice dismay “on behalf of the American people” on Monday.

“The Two-Way” on NPR:

“On behalf of the American people, we’re frustrated with the remarks,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters this morning.

According to the Associated Press, the news of what Karzai reportedly said came from Afghan lawmakers who met with him Saturday.

“He said that ‘if I come under foreign pressure, I might join the Taliban’,” said Farooq Marenai, who represents the eastern province of Nangarhar, AP reported.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/04/karzai_taliban_white_house_fru.html

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SEC Slow To Reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 6th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

SEC Slow To Reform
A year-long effort by the Securities and Exchange Commission to overhaul its enforcement of laws against corporate crime has run into courtroom setbacks and internal…

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Quick Fact: Morris falsely suggested health care reform will lead to “higher premiums” for “most”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 6th, 2010 4:47 am by HL

Quick Fact: Morris falsely suggested health care reform will lead to “higher premiums” for “most”

Dick Morris falsely suggested that the recently-passed health care legislation would lead to “higher premiums” for “most” Americans. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that by 2016 the Senate’s version of health care reform — on which Obama’s plan is largely modeled — would not increase premiums for the vast majority of Americans, and for many, premium costs would decrease.

From the April 5 edition of Hannity:

SEAN HANNITY (Host): Joining me now with analysis on why it took the President of the United States 17 minutes to justify hiking taxes on you, the American people is the author of the forthcoming new book 2010: Take America Back, Dick Morris is with us.

[…]

MORRIS: What is interesting is that he spent 17 minutes and he still didn’t tell the truth. The truth is that the big tax increase in this bill is the one that is going to force insurance companies to levee on people in the form of higher premiums, and that is going to take effect immediately, and in the next few months most of the listeners to this program will receive notices from their insurance companies saying that there are higher premiums.

FACT: CBO found law will not raise premiums for majority of Americans

CBO: Premiums in group market will not increase. CBO estimated that the large group and small group markets make up 83 percent of the insurance market and that those premiums would essentially remain unchanged and could decrease.

PolitiFact: “CBO reported that, for most people, premiums would stay about the same, or slightly decrease.” A January 27 PolitiFact.com analysis labeled the claim that health care reform would cause premiums for most Americans to increase “pants on fire” false and stated, “The CBO reported that, for most people, premiums would stay about the same, or slightly decrease.” From PolitiFact.com:

On Nov. 30, 2009, the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, released a detailed analysis on how health insurance premiums might be affected by the Senate Democrats’ health care bill. The CBO is an independent agency whose estimates for pending legislation are considered nonpartisan and rigorous.

The CBO reported that, for most people, premiums would stay about the same, or slightly decrease. This was especially true for people who get their insurance through work. (Health policy wonks call these the large group and small group markets.) People who have to go out and buy insurance on their own (the individual market) would see rates increase by 10 to 13 percent. But more than half of those people — 57 percent, in fact — would be eligible for subsidies to help them pay for the insurance. People who get subsidies would see their premiums drop by more than half, according to the CBO. So most people would see their premiums stay the same or potentially drop.

CBO: Most individual enrollees would receive subsidies, which would decrease the premiums they pay by “56 percent to 59 percent” on average. CBO estimated that by 2016 a majority of people insured on the individual market would receive subsidies, which would decrease their premiums compared to what they would pay without health care reform. CBO stated, “The majority of nongroup enrollees (about 57 percent) would receive subsidies via the new insurance exchanges, and those subsidies, on average, would cover nearly two-thirds of the total premium, CBO and JCT [Joint Committee on Taxation] estimate. Thus, the amount that subsidized enrollees would pay for nongroup coverage would be roughly 56 percent to 59 percent lower, on average, than the nongroup premiums charged under current law.” Claims that the bill would increase premiums in the individual market are based on estimates that do not factor in subsidies.

Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein: “CBO found health-care reform would reduce premiums.” The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein reported on an exchange between Obama and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) during the February 25 health care summit:

Lamar Alexander and Barack Obama just had a contentious exchange on this point, so it’s worth settling the issue: Yes, the CBO found health-care reform would reduce premiums. The issue gets confused because it also found that access to subsidies would encourage people to buy more comprehensive insurance, which would mean that the value of their insurance would be higher after reform than before it. But that’s not the same as insurance becoming more expensive: The fact that I could buy a nicer car after getting a better job suggests that cars are becoming pricier. The bottom line is that if you’re comparing two plans that are exactly the same, costs go down after reform.


Charged Hutaree Member: I’m No Extremist

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 6th, 2010 4:46 am by HL

Charged Hutaree Member: I’m No Extremist
Kristopher Sickles, one of the alleged Hutaree militiamen accused in a plot to kill police and the creator of a series of colorful YouTube videos, insists in a statement released by his brother that he is “not an extremist, racist or a cop killer.”

Gearing Up For Midterms, GOP Heavyweights Raise $30M For New 527 Group
Some of the biggest names in the GOP are organizing an outside group to help Republicans win in the 2010 midterms — and donors have already pledged a whopping $30 million for the new project, according to National Journal.


The Impossible Cheney Dream?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 6th, 2010 4:42 am by HL

The Impossible Cheney Dream?


Poll Gives Thompson Big Lead Over Feingold

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 6th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Poll Gives Thompson Big Lead Over Feingold
A new St. Norbert College poll in Wisconsin shows Tommy Thompson (R) with a double digit lead over Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) in a possible U.S. Senate match up, 45% to 33%.

Branstad Way Ahead in Iowa
A new Magellan Strategies survey in Iowa shows former Gov. Terry Branstad (R) crushing Gov. Chet Culver (D) in this year’s race for governor, 50% to 34%

Democrats Scramble for Special Elections Next Month
Politico notes the prospect of losing two House special elections next month “has sparked a vigorous, behind-the-scenes Democratic effort, designed to avoid an outcome that could lead to panic among the rank-and-file and stall the momentum generated by the recent passage of landmark health care legislation.”

“The trajectories of the two elections, which will take place in Pennsylvania and Hawaii over a span of four days next month, have raised alarm bells among top party officials who fear that a pair of defeats in the Democratic-held seats could amount to a Massachusetts Senate sequel, overshadowing President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan and reinforcing a narrative that the Democratic Party is on track for severe losses in November.”


6 Bad Things That Have Happened to the Republican National Committee This Week

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 6th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

6 Bad Things That Have Happened to the Republican National Committee This Week
The week is still young, but already the RNC is flailing.

The week is still young, but already the RNC is flailing.

U.S. and Allied Forces: We Killed Those Pregnant Afghan Women After All

Brave New Foundation’s Rethink Afghanistan project has been following the story about a night raid in Gardez by U.S. and Afghan forces (see the video above), and today those forces made a major admission about their responsibility for civilian deaths. In a press release issued on Easter (gee, I wonder if […]

Guilty of Sedition? How the Right Is Undermining Our Government’s Authority and Capability to Run the Country
It’s time to openly confront the fact that conservatives have spent the past 40 years systematically delegitimizing the very idea of US government.

It's time to openly confront the fact that conservatives have spent the past 40 years systematically delegitimizing the very idea of US government.

Despite Some PR Spin, the Top U.S. Bank Cop Is Still Pushing the Same Anti-Consumer Agenda
Instead of strengthening the framework that lead the economy to the brink of collapse, the top U.S. bank regulator wants to sabotage it further.

Instead of strengthening the framework that lead the economy to the brink of collapse, the top U.S. bank regulator wants to sabotage it further.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 6th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Presented By:

The Paper Entrepreneurs Are Winning Over the Product Entrepreneurs (A Thirty Year Retrospective)
The paper entrepreneurs are winning out over the product entrepreneurs. Paper entrepreneurs — trained in law, finance, accountancy — manipulate complex systems of rules and numbers. They innovate by using the systems in novel ways: establishing joint ventures, consortiums, holding…


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One Progressive’s Two Red Lines on National Security
Two policy decisions where I see particularly high stakes are on the White House docket to be decided any day, so I thought I’d offer one more plea. (Consider it a closing argument.) President Obama should really stand firm on…


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Michigan Militia plans ?open carry? gun tea party to ?take the stigma out of the word militia.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 6th, 2010 4:38 am by HL

Michigan Militia plans ?open carry? gun tea party to ?take the stigma out of the word militia.?
This Saturday, on April 10, the Michigan Militia plans to host a tea party “open carry” gun rally. The Militia, which is a successor to the violent anti-government Michigan Militias of the mid-’90s, has come under criticism since the FBI raids of the Hutaree, a Michigan-based Christian militia that had planned to murder police officers. […]

Michigan Militia tea partyThis Saturday, on April 10, the Michigan Militia plans to host a tea party “open carry” gun rally. The Militia, which is a successor to the violent anti-government Michigan Militias of the mid-’90s, has come under criticism since the FBI raids of the Hutaree, a Michigan-based Christian militia that had planned to murder police officers. The Michigan Militia cooperated with the FBI to arrest the Hutaree and claimed that although they “had occasional contacts with the Hutaree militia,” they “had never trained with them.” Mike Lackomar, a spokesman for the militia, defended the planned “open carry” rally and again tried to distance himself from the Hutaree:

This event primarily tries to take the stigma out of the word ‘militia,’ and provide information on what we are and who we are,” Lackomar said. “It lets people meet us and see what we’re all about.” […] “I want it to be perfectly clear,” Lackomar said. “(The Hutaree) are not us, and we are not them, and we did not agree with their philosophy.”

However, according to their own website, the Michigan Militia boasts of being joined by their “friends” in the Hutaree shortly before leaving their training session to eat fajitas back in 2007. In a photo gallery published by the Michigan Militia in 2008 (now deleted), they posted pictures of the Hutaree with the caption: “Like ghosts through the woods, The Hutaree close on their objective.” The tea parties, anti-government militia groups, and far right elements of the Republican Party are slowly merging. Gun right advocates are planning rallies on the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing around the country, with even Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) slated to speak at one of the events.

Did Jindal Bribe Louisiana?s Attorney General To Force Him To Join Frivolous Health Care Lawsuit?
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is the only Democrat in the lawsuit challenging the federal government over the constitutionality of health care reform. On March 26, he explained why he joined the suit, which is being led by Florida: As Attorney General, I am duty bound by my oath of office to pursue a request […]

Jindal, Caldwell, and Landrieu Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is the only Democrat in the lawsuit challenging the federal government over the constitutionality of health care reform. On March 26, he explained why he joined the suit, which is being led by Florida:

As Attorney General, I am duty bound by my oath of office to pursue a request by the Governor of the state of Louisiana for legal assistance, so long as it has substantial legal merit.

To save Louisiana the potential expense of filing a separate suit regarding the health-care legislation, it was my decision to sign-on to Florida’s well-drafted action at minimal cost to Louisiana and accomplish the same legal purpose.

It’s questionable whether the suit actually has “substantial legal merit.” At least eight other attorneys general have refused to go along, saying that doing so would be a frivolous waste of taxpayer resources to make a partisan point. The Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky has also pointed out the political motivations driving the attorneys general who suing the federal government, noting that they are overwhelmingly running for running for higher office or up for re-election.

The Eunice News in Louisiana, however, is reporting that Jindal may have essentially bribed Caldwell to join the suit, promising no more cuts to his budget if he did so:

In a subsequent address to employees of his office, the Attorney General said the decision was made more out of the necessity of saving jobs in his agency than any real hope—or desire—of overturning the health care law.

One employee said Caldwell, in a candid admission, claimed that a deal was made with Jindal. Under terms of that agreement, the governor would not make additional cuts in the attorney general’s budget if Caldwell joined in the litigation. Caldwell agreed to be the “token Democrat,” he said, so that he might save additional job cuts by an administration whose state goal is to reduce the number of state employees by as much as 5,000 per year over three years.

Caldwell has been facing significant blowback for his decision to pursue Jindal’s right-wing case. Louisiana’s Black Caucus recently rallied against Caldwell, with state Rep. Regina Barrow (D) saying the services provided by the Affordable Care Act “could approximately save us $500 million. These savings could be used to cover a majority of the state budget crisis that we currently face, inclusive of higher ed.”