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Archive for June 22nd, 2010

Shecky the Candidate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 22nd, 2010 4:52 am by HL

Shecky the Candidate
Mike Huckabee will have to tour Iowa and New Hampshire with a snare drum.

Having disappeared into the bosom of the FoxNews Republican propaganda machine, especially in comparison to Sarah Palin, conservative Presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee has been trying out his new comedy routine. Aside from the very thought of Mike Huckabee being President, that is.

A couple months ago, he tossed out this knee-slapper:

During a conversation with the College of New Jersey’s student publication, the Perspective, Huckabee reiterated his support for an Arkansas law that would ban same-sex couples from adopting children…”Children are not puppies”

No, children are not puppies, apparently they are sausage casings.

And as he prepares his act for Iowa’s finest mall Chik-Fil-A’s, Mike Huckabee has more material. Between prayer vigils over the Gulf and getting Levi Johnston out of the house…yet again, Palin recently let slip her ambivalence about pot, and Huckabee made ready the rim-shot:

After Sarah Palin made these comments she then produced a gram of coke from her purse and did line after line on the glass table…This is gonna be on YouTube. I can feel it coming on.

You Tube is also not a puppy.


Early Morning Swim: Keith Olbermann and Rick Steiner on New Revelations about BP Negligence
But…but…sometimes mistakes happen.

But…but…sometimes mistakes happen.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s (APC) accusation that BP PLC (BP.LN) committed gross negligence or willful misconduct has consequences far beyond the division of liability between the two companies. If Anadarko eventually presses that position in court–and its survival could depend on it–other plaintiffs could piggy-back on a finding against BP, increasing its exposure and accelerating claims against it.

Anadarko’s charge also signals another potential risk for BP: With the rest of the oil industry publicly questioning BP’s drilling and safety practices, it may become harder for BP to find exploration and development partners.

Why can’t people just leave BP alooooone?


All Shook Up for BP

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 22nd, 2010 4:51 am by HL

All Shook Up for BP
Joe Barton is not alone. The Texas congressman’s lavish sympathy for BP—which he sees not as perpetrator of a preventable disaster but as victim of a White House “shakedown”—is actually what passes for mainstream opinion among conservative Republicans today. By Eugene Robinson

Joe Barton is not alone. The Texas congressman’s lavish sympathy for BP—which he sees not as perpetrator of a preventable disaster but as victim of a White House “shakedown”—is actually what passes for mainstream opinion among conservative Republicans today.


Related Entries



Nebraska Immigration Law Passes: Special Election Held In Fremont To Ban Hiring Or Renting Property To Illegal Immigrants

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 22nd, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Nebraska Immigration Law Passes: Special Election Held In Fremont To Ban Hiring Or Renting Property To Illegal Immigrants
FREMONT, Neb. — This small Nebraska meatpacking town has joined Arizona at the center of a national debate about illegal immigration after voters approved a…

Five Times As Many Homeowners Bounced From Obama Plan To Slow Foreclosures As Granted New Relief
More than five times as many homeowners were kicked out of the Obama administration’s primary foreclosure-prevention program last month than were granted new relief, new…

Rod Blagojevich Praises His Wife’s New ‘Do (VIDEO)
CHICAGO — Rod Blagojevich, a man who knows a thing or two about hair, says he loves his wife’s new ‘do. The former Illinois governor,…

Ben Leming: Opponents of Mosque Using Fear to Divide
As a Marine that has deployed through out the Middle East, I have worked, trained, and broken bread with Muslims. I can’t stand by while they’re accused of being guilty by association of one’s religion and therefore discriminated against.

Public Isn’t Buying Wall Street Reform: AP Poll
WASHINGTON — Americans aren’t convinced new Wall Street rules will prevent a future financial crisis. An Associated Press-GfK Poll finds that 64 percent of those…


Beck smears Obama, Soros with conspiracy theory full of falsehoods and absurdities

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 22nd, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Beck smears Obama, Soros with conspiracy theory full of falsehoods and absurdities

Glenn Beck smeared President Obama and George Soros with the conspiracy theory that the Gulf drilling moratorium is intended to enrich Soros, and that the American people are “getting screwed.” Beck’s conspiracy theory rested on falsehoods and absurdities, and included the suggestion that Soros would have Beck killed for advancing the claim. 

Beck lays out conspiracy theory riddled with falsehoods and absurdities

Beck: Drilling moratorium intended to help Soros get rich while the American people are “getting screwed.” During his Fox News show, Beck questioned whether Soros “knew that the administration would be making a $2 billion preliminary commitment” to Brazilian oil company Petrobras “just days after he strengthened his investment. Isn’t that weird?” Beck further said that “in a completely unrelated story, BP has the oil spill,” later saying, “Then Obama suspends the deepwater drilling at 1,500 meters. He says ‘Hey, hey, that’s dangerous! Fifteen hundred meters, that’s crazy.’ Petrobras is drilling at 2,777 meters. Obama knows it and loans $2 billion to Petrobras. Last stop, Petrobras shareholders get rich,” and “You, getting screwed.”

From the June 21 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: I’m not sure if he knew that the administration would be making a $2 billion preliminary commitment for Petrobras, for Petrobras, for exploration, just days after he strengthened his investment. Isn’t that weird? You see, he’s got some connections here, but I’m sure he had no idea what was coming on the other side of the circle? No. It’s probably just another one of those bad luck situations for Obama, because this doesn’t seem to pass the smell test at all. No. Billionaire investor dumps money into a state-controlled Brazilian oil company; days later the American administration dumps $2 billion into the exact same company. What are the odds, Gilligan?

Let’s go here. George Soros starts the Center for American Process with John Podesta. John Podesta, Center for American Progress, selects the Obama transition team. Soros buys $900 million in gasoline powered bras. Then, in a completely unrelated story, BP has their oil spill. But wait a minute, who’s this guy? John Podesta. John Podesta is the guy who does all the lobbying for BP? Certainly — I’m sorry, Tony Podesta — certainly no relation to John Podesta, other than they’re brothers. We’ll have to come back to that one later in the show. So then Center for American Progress starts to make Obama policy. This one, we’ll show you, laid out by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. One of the policies: cap and trade, which goes right to Crime Inc. and all of the Obama friends with the Climate Exchange in Chicago. That’s weird.

Then Obama suspends the deepwater drilling at 1,500 meters. He says “Hey, hey, that’s dangerous! Fifteen hundred meters, that’s crazy.” Petrobras is drilling at 2,777 meters. Obama knows it and loans $2 billion to Petrobras. Last stop, Petrobras shareholders get rich. Oh my gosh, we’re back at the beginning: shareholder, Petrobras. Getting rich. You getting screwed. You see how this works?

Beck: “I do have a bulletproof car, George. I just want you to know.” Introducing his conspiracy theory, Beck said:

BECK: Gasoline Brazil. Now why am I telling you about this? Have you heard of another word? Soros. George Soros. I do have a bulletproof car, George. I just want you to know.

George Soros — I’m going to show you this tonight. I’m going to spend an hour on this. I want you to DVD, write down, take notes, look into this. We’re going to be talking a little bit about this in the next few days. This is — I like to call it the circle of life, as it is now understood in America. [Glenn Beck, 6/21/10]

Beck’s conspiracy theory hinges on false claim that Obama issued loan to Petrobras

Beck: “Petrobras is drilling at 2,777 meters. Obama knows it and loans $2 billion to Petrobras.” Beck’s entire conspiracy theory relies on the completely discredited falsehood that the Obama administration loaned $2 billion to Petrobras. Beck claimed that “the administration” was “making a $2 billion preliminary commitment for Petrobras, for Petrobras, for exploration,” and claimed “Petrobras is drilling at 2,777 meters. Obama knows it and loans $2 billion to Petrobras.”

Bush appointees at Export-Import bank unanimously approved loan to Brazil

Loan approved by Bush-appointed bank board. As FactCheck.org noted in September 2009, the “bogus” claim that Obama “loan[ed] $2 billion to Petrobras” can be traced to an email that was circulating at the time. FactCheck called the claim “bogus,” noting that the Export-Import Bank of the United States approved a “preliminary commitment” to Brazil to finance “their purchases of U.S. equipment, products and services.” At the time, “the Bank’s Board consisted of three Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom were appointed by George W. Bush.”

From the FactCheck article:

This claim stems from a “preliminary committment” made back on April 14 by the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The bank intends to loan up to $2 billion to finance exports to the Brazilian oil company Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., known as Petrobras, over the next several years.

The e-mail is false on two counts.

  • The message falsely says the decision was due to an “executive order” by the president. No presidential order was required. Furthermore, none of President Obama’s appointees had joined the Ex-Im board at the time of the vote, which was unanimous, and bipartisan. The Ex-Im Bank states: “In fact, at the time the Bank’s Board consisted of three Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom were appointed by George W. Bush.”
  • The message falsely claims that “we have absolutely no gain” from the loan. In fact, the loan is being made specifically to finance purchase by Petrobras of U.S.-made oilfield equipment and services. The mission of the Ex-Im Bank is to encourage exports by making such loans.

The bank’s chairman and president, Fred P. Hochberg, underscored the purpose of the loan during a trip to Brazil at the end of July:

Ex-Im Bank President Hochberg, July 29: I chose Brazil as my first international destination for good reason: Brazil is a powerhouse among South American economies and offers tremendous opportunities for U.S. exporters in many sectors. I want Brazilians to know that Ex-Im Bank has the will and the capacity to finance their purchases of U.S. equipment, products and services.

Beck’s conspiracy theory rests on distorting Soros’ investments in Petrobras, timing of loan

Beck falsely claims loan was issued “Just days after [Soros] strengthened his investment.” Beck said that Soros Fund Management LLC had “$900 million invested” in Petrobras and that the loan occurred “just days after he strengthened his investment.” Beck asked, “Isn’t that weird?” Beck also said that the purported connection between Soros, the Obama administration, Petrobras, and the moratorium on some drilling in the Gulf of Mexico “doesn’t seem to pass the smell test at all.” He summarized the supposed timeline: “Billionaire dumps money in Brazilian oil company; days later the American administration dumps $2 billion in the exact same company. What are the odds, Gilligan?”

Soros decreased his investment in Petrobras before any loan funds were distributed

Soros investment in Petrobras reached $900 million in 2008 — months prior to Export-Import Bank loan, not “just days.” According to a February 17, 2009, Market Watch article, Soros “reported that during the fourth quarter [of 2008] he increased his already considerable stakes in Brazillian state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA [emphasis added].” The article further reported, “Soros, through his Soros Fund Management LLC, reported holding 36.8 million American depositary receipts of the Brazilian oil company known as Petrobras as of Dec. 31 [2008] — a holding valued at about $900 million at the time.” The Export-Import Bank issued its preliminary commitment on April 14, 2009.

Soros reportedly sold 5 million shares in May 2009. A May 15, 2009, Bloomberg article reported: “Billionaire George Soros cut stakes in his biggest holdings, Petroleo Brasileiro SA and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, and bought more shares of retailers in the first quarter [of 2009]. Soros Fund Management LLC, the investor’s hedge-fund firm, sold 5 million U.S. shares of Petrobras, as the Brazilian company is known, according to a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The New York-based firm’s remaining 32 million shares of the state-controlled oil company were valued at $963 million at the end of the quarter.”

Soros reportedly sold stock before Ex-Im bank loan was dispensed. The FactCheck article also refuted what it called the “baseless allegation” that the loan was intended to financially benefit Soros. From FactCheck.org:

The message claims that George Soros would “benefit most” from the loan, but that is also a baseless accusation. Soros is a favorite whipping boy of conservatives because of his early financial help to the liberal group MoveOn.org. And he is indeed a major investor in Petrobras, through his New York-based hedge-fund firm, Soros Fund Management LLC. But the hedge fund recently sold 22 million shares of common stock in the company (which carry voting rights) while buying 5.8 million shares of preferred stock (which is non-voting.) As reported by Bloomberg News, Soros reduced his stake in the company before any of the Ex-Im Bank’s promised loan has been dispensed.

Beck claims a loan providing “strategic benefits” and jobs to U.S. means American people are “getting screwed”

Beck baselessly claims American people are “getting screwed.” Beck also commented: “Then Petrobras shareholders get rich. Back at the beginning. Getting rich. You getting screwed. You see how this works? Don’t you feel better inside? The American president is out looking for you.”

Loan reportedly will create American jobs and provide “strategic benefits” to U.S. energy security

Ex-Im President: “Loan guarantees to help finance purchases of U.S. goods and services by Petrobras.” In an August 21, 2009, letter to the editor printed in The Wall Street Journal, Export-Import Bank chairman and president Fred P. Hochberg discussed the “loan guarantees to help finance purchases of U.S. goods and services by Petrobras.” Hochberg wrote, “This increases the likelihood that American — not foreign — workers will be employed to satisfy part of the company’s planned $175 billion investment during the next five years.” Hochberg also asserted: “Ex-Im Bank does not make U.S. policy. In fact, our charter prohibits us from turning down financing for either nonfinancial or noncommercial reasons, except in rare circumstances including failure to meet our environmental standards.” He added: “The foreign buyers that use Ex-Im Bank products pay us in full. Over the past 16 years the fees that we collect have netted American taxpayers more than $4.9 billion plus the jobs those exports have created. Thanks to the fees we charge, the bank is self-sustaining and does not receive any appropriated funds from Congress.”

 Ex-Im spokesman: “This is the government doing what it’s supposed to do: Create jobs.” An August 19, 2009, blog post by Politico‘s Ben Smith reported on Export-Import Bank spokesman Phil Cogan’s response to similar criticism made by Fox News’ Sarah Palin:

A spokesman for the bank, Phil Cogan, noted to POLITICO that the bank does not rely on tax money and that Palin’s statement ignores the bank’s central function: To lend money to foreign companies for the purchase of American goods and services.

“It has to be produced by U.S. workers,” Cogan said. Palin’s statement refers to “creat[ing] jobs and health benefits in the U.S.”

“That’s exactly what a purchase financed by the U.S. government would do,” Cogan said.

In this case, Cogan said, the proposed loan would likely finance engineering services, sales of ships to service oil platforms, or drilling equipment.

Even IBD said “the investment has both practical and strategic benefits for our energy security.” An August 12, 2009, Investor’s Business Daily editorial stated: “We’ll admit that, on first blush, spending such money overseas when we’ve got plenty at home sounds a little questionable. But the investment has both practical and strategic benefits for our energy security.” The editorial continued:

First, the U.S. money is a loan, and Brazil has excellent credit with an investment-grade BBB sovereign rating and a record of responsible borrowing. Whatever we loan the Brazilians will be paid back on time and with interest.

Second, the cash will encourage Brazil’s state oil company, Petrobras, to contract with American businesses. And we aren’t just talking about oil companies, but software, steel, research, environmental impact and engineering concerns, to name a few others.


Blago Lawyers Try To Tie Kickbacks To Obama Donation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 22nd, 2010 4:47 am by HL

Blago Lawyers Try To Tie Kickbacks To Obama Donation
As the Rod Blagojevich trial wears on, defense attorneys are attempting to tie the shady dealings that took place during the former Illinois governor’s tenure to donations made to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.


Rod BlagojevichBarack ObamaTony RezkoPresidentUnited States

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Rush Limbaugh’s Honeymoon in Hell!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 22nd, 2010 4:43 am by HL

Rush Limbaugh’s Honeymoon in Hell!


Runoff Likely in GOP Primary for Georgia Governor

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 22nd, 2010 4:42 am by HL

Runoff Likely in GOP Primary for Georgia Governor
A new SurveyUSA poll in Georgia finds the Republican race for governor likely headed toward a runoff with John Oxendine (R) leading the field with 34%, followed by Karen Handel (R) at 18% and Nathan Deal at 17%.

On the Democratic side, former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) is well ahead in the race for the Democratic nomination and leads Thurbert Baker (D), 63% to 13%.

The primary is on July 20.

McChrystal Apologizes for Article
Gen. Stanley McChrystal has apologized for a new Rolling Stone article out this week in which he criticizes the Obama administration, CBS News reports.

The article depicts McChrystal “as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration and unable to convince even some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the war.”

McChrystal is also described by an aide as “disappointed” in his first Oval Office meeting with an unprepared President Obama. The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start.

Said McChrystal: “I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”


ICE Gets a Makeover but Immigration Policy Under Obama Remains the Same

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 22nd, 2010 4:41 am by HL

ICE Gets a Makeover but Immigration Policy Under Obama Remains the Same
It’s laughable to think that a PR campaign and “new reporting alignment†will distract anyone from a broken immigration system.

It’s laughable to think that a PR campaign and “new reporting alignment†will distract anyone from a broken immigration system.


Obama as Frequent Flier and Language-Changer in Alter’s New book

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 22nd, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Obama as Frequent Flier and Language-Changer in Alter’s New book
This post is part of TPM’s book club discussion of Jonathan Alter’s new book, The Promise.Hi Jonathan,The Promise is a thorough book with many topics that are probably familiar (and interesting) to TPM readers. I want to hone in…


Jonathan AlterUnited StatesBarack ObamaPresidentHistory

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Mandate? What Mandate?
Jonathan Alter’s book is fascinating to read and raises lots of questions. One that I have stems from his prelude of sorts, where he looks at how Obama responded to the market collapse of September 2008 and suggests that…


Jonathan AlterBarack ObamaPresidentUnited StatesObama administration


High School Student Stumps AZ GOP Superintendent Candidate With Substantive Questions About Education

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 22nd, 2010 4:39 am by HL

High School Student Stumps AZ GOP Superintendent Candidate With Substantive Questions About Education
In Arizona, GOP state senator John Huppenthal is running for one of the state’s major education positions, Superintendent of Public Instruction. His campaign boasts of his “proven record of improving Arizona schools.” During a recent interview with high school student Keith Wagner, Huppenthal was caught totally off guard when asked about a vote he cast to […]

In Arizona, GOP state senator John Huppenthal is running for one of the state’s major education positions, Superintendent of Public Instruction. His campaign boasts of his “proven record of improving Arizona schools.”

During a recent interview with high school student Keith Wagner, Huppenthal was caught totally off guard when asked about a vote he cast to cut education funding. Wagner asked the senator about proposed cuts to the state’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, and Huppenthal agreed that the program is “very important.” Wagner then pointed out that, in May 2009, the senator voted to cut $550 million from the Department of Education, but Huppenthal didn’t appear to recall the vote. After being presented with a copy of the bill by Wagner, the senator laughed and said that he didn’t “know the specific bill that you’re talking about”:

WAGNER: So you think that the CTE programs are very important, right?

HUPPENTHAL: Oh, yes.

WAGNER: But in May of 2009 you voted yes on a bill that would cut $550 million from the Department of Education. And a lot of that [funding] was CTE, what factors led to that decision?

HUPPENTHAL: Well, tell me a little bit more about that vote. What committee did it take place in?

WAGNER: I actually have that right here.

(student hands the senator a copy of the vote)

HUPPENTHAL: (laughs)

WAGNER: Well it says right here that this bill actually passed. So, and through the research, we saw that it did pass again in the House of Representatives that did end up cutting $550 million.

HUPPENTHAL: Well, I don’t know the specific bill that you’re talking about, so.

After being pressed by Wagner about his views on CTE programs, Huppenthal awkwardly stands up and walks out of the interview. Huppenthal says “I’ll be right back,” but he doesn’t appear to return. Watch it:

On his website, Huppenthal claims he is being “punked” by a “Democratic dirty trick” because the video has been edited (watch the full interview here). He also claims the the aforementioned cuts never took place, yet as the Arizona Republic notes, “Huppenthal and every other Republican in the Senate voted for the education funding cut.” The vocational funding for the program Wagner is asking about was restored, but only because federal stimulus funds ended up making up for the funding the Republicans slashed. It should be noted that during a 2009 debate on Arizona’s budget, Huppenthal complained, “We don’t have enough cuts in this budget.”