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Archive for December 8th, 2010

“Show me where the compromise touched your principles?”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 8th, 2010 5:50 am by HL

“Show me where the compromise touched your principles?”
Well as long as deficits don’t matter AND the poor are the only ones who do not benefit you can reach compromise in Washington if it involves a tax cut.

picture via Black Country Museums at flickr.com

This will teach those of us on the left who decry compromise:

…the tax benefits will flow most heavily to the highest earners, just as the original cuts did when they were passed in 2001 and 2003. At least a quarter of the tax savings will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.

Look who’s winning all that class warfare…but benefits for nearly all to a lesser extent of course, except, the actual lessers (i.e. “bad ‘muricans”):

In fact, the only groups likely to face a tax increase are those near the bottom of the income scale — individuals who make less than $20,000 and families with earnings below $40,000.

But hey, the two parties are getting together and compromising to make really bad policy, at least David Broder will be pleased.


Elizabeth Edwards Dies at 61

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 8th, 2010 5:49 am by HL

Elizabeth Edwards Dies at 61
On Tuesday, Elizabeth Edwards, who fought a very public battle with her husband John Edwards over his private life even as she fought cancer, died of the disease in North Carolina. The former presidential candidate and his wife separated after the revelation of his affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter and remained estranged until her death. The Washington Post: She was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007. O, the Oprah magazine, called her “the most refreshing political spouse since Eleanor Roosevelt.” A Washington Post profile of Mrs. Edwards was headlined, “A Shoo-In For ‘Regular Person.’ ” The headline on a Frank Rich column in the New York Times was “Elizabeth Edwards for President.” Unlike a traditional political spouse, however, she refused to appear with her husband when in August 2008 he publicly admitted to having repeatedly lied about having an affair with campaign aide Rielle Hunter. After her husband admitted fathering a child with Hunter, the Edwardses separated. She had learned of the affair in early 2006 but stayed silent about it in public and campaigned for him, a tactic that annoyed some of her supporters, who noted that the Edwardses ran as a couple, telling the story of their romance and renewing their wedding vows on their 30th anniversary in 2007. Read more  

On Tuesday, Elizabeth Edwards, who fought a very public battle with her husband John Edwards over his private life even as she fought cancer, died of the disease in North Carolina. The former presidential candidate and his wife separated after the revelation of his affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter and remained estranged until her death.

The Washington Post:

She was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007. O, the Oprah magazine, called her “the most refreshing political spouse since Eleanor Roosevelt.” A Washington Post profile of Mrs. Edwards was headlined, “A Shoo-In For ‘Regular Person.’ ” The headline on a Frank Rich column in the New York Times was “Elizabeth Edwards for President.”

Unlike a traditional political spouse, however, she refused to appear with her husband when in August 2008 he publicly admitted to having repeatedly lied about having an affair with campaign aide Rielle Hunter. After her husband admitted fathering a child with Hunter, the Edwardses separated.

She had learned of the affair in early 2006 but stayed silent about it in public and campaigned for him, a tactic that annoyed some of her supporters, who noted that the Edwardses ran as a couple, telling the story of their romance and renewing their wedding vows on their 30th anniversary in 2007.

Read more

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From Jefferson to Assange
It is outrageous for any journalist, or respecter of what every American president has claimed is our inalienable, God-given right to a free press, not to join in Assange’s defense.

By Robert Scheer

It is outrageous for any journalist, or respecter of what every American president has claimed is our inalienable, God-given right to a free press, not to join in Assange’s defense.


Related Entries



Aaron Sorkin: Aaron Sorkin: Palin Killing Animals For Fun

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 8th, 2010 5:48 am by HL

Aaron Sorkin: Aaron Sorkin: Palin Killing Animals For Fun
You weren’t killing that animal for food or shelter or even fashion, you were killing it for fun … I can’t make a distinction between what you get paid to do and what Michael Vick went to prison for doing.

Robert Lenzner: Soros Warns U.S. Could Be On Verge Dictatorial Democracy, Slams Fox News, Glenn Beck
Billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros warned tonight in New York that the combination of Fox News, Glenn Beck, The Tea Party, and the ability…

Craig Crawford: Almost Knowing Elizabeth
I had no idea who she was in 2003 when I met Elizabeth Edwards. Covering a debate for the Democratic nomination I was chatting about…


Fox Pundits Mum On South Korea Trade Deal After Earlier Criticism

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 8th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

Fox Pundits Mum On South Korea Trade Deal After Earlier Criticism

When President Obama’s November trip to Asia did not immediately result in a trade agreement with South Korea, Fox News’ top pundits Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity were quick to paint the entire tour as a failure. Now that Obama has secured the trade deal, both O’Reilly and Hannity have ignored the achievement.

O’Reilly, Hannity Assailed Obama Trip To Asia As A Failure

Wash. Post: U.S.-South Korea Negotiations Faltered Because Of “Domestic Political Concerns.” In an article about Obama’s trip to South Korea, The Washington Post reported:

Negotiations over a U.S.-Korea free-trade agreement faltered Thursday after four days of discussions, a setback for the leaders of the two nations and a blow to efforts to rekindle broader world trade talks.

White House officials said the discussions foundered over long-standing disagreements over U.S. access to the Korean auto and beef markets.

Despite optimism from both sides as they began bargaining, domestic political concerns weighed heavily on the talks and ultimately appeared to have prevented the final compromises needed to secure an agreement.

The two sides pledged to continue the discussion, and said that they had made progress in recent days toward narrowing disagreements. [The Washington Post, 11/11/10]

O’Reilly On Obama Asia Trip: “It Tells Me That The World Leaders Feel That This Is A Weakened President.” On his Fox News show, O’Reilly said:

O’REILLY: I felt sorry for Barack Obama, and let’s be honest, when he was in Asia ’cause he didn’t get what we needed. We didn’t get the Korean trade agreement. He didn’t get the Chinese to stop, you know, flouncing around their currency. And what it tells me — and you’re in a position to correct me if I’m wrong here, Hume, and I expect you to do that.

It tells me that the world leaders feel that this is a weakened president. They don’t have any incentive to do business with Barack Obama the way he is now inside this country. That’s what that told me. [Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, 11/15/10, via Nexis]

Hannity Described Obama’s Trip As “Disastrous.” Discussing the Asia trip, Hannity stated: “Just days after returning from a disastrous trip to Asia, President Obama slated to depart for Europe later this week.” [Hannity, 11/16/10, via Nexis]

Hannity: The Trip To Asia Was “A Complete And Utter Waste Of Time And Your Taxpayer Dollars.” On his show, Hannity listed Obama’s Asia trip among events that he claimed would make the month “not … a November to remember for President Barack Obama.” Hannity continued: “Now earlier this month, his party suffered historic losses in the midterm elections. His recent trip to Asia can be summed up as a complete and utter waste of time and your taxpayer dollars.” [Hannity, 11/18/10, via Nexis]

O’Reilly, Hannity Silent On What Would Be “Largest” Trade Deal Since NAFTA

Wash. Post: “U.S., South Korea Complete Free-Trade Deal.” In an article headlined, “U.S., South Korea complete free-trade deal,” the Post reported:

U.S. and South Korean negotiators agreed Friday to a free-trade deal that the Obama administration hopes will increase American exports by billions of dollars annually and create momentum for a broader push on free trade in 2011.

The pact is the administration’s first major foray into the arena of free-trade politics, and officials said it may be followed by efforts to have Congress approve pending deals with Panama and Colombia, and reinvigorate the larger Doha round of global trade talks.

The deal marks a victory for President Obama, who was widely criticized after failing to secure the pact during his Asia trip after last month’s midterm elections.

“Today’s agreement is an integral part of my Administration’s efforts to open foreign markets to U.S. goods and services, create jobs for American workers, farmers and businesses, and achieve our goal of doubling of U.S. exports over five years,” Obama said in a statement Friday night.

The South Korea agreement was first negotiated by the George W. Bush administration, but during follow-up negotiations the Obama administration won further concessions considered important to American automakers. Those include a slower reduction of U.S. tariffs on imported South Korean vehicles and a provision under which South Korea will exempt up to 25,000 of any American company’s cars from its strict safety standards, as long as they meet similar U.S. regulations. [The Washington Post12/03/10]

AP: Trade Deal “Would Be The Largest Since The North American Free Trade Agreement.” The Associated Press reported:

The pact, which requires congressional approval, would be the largest since the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico in 1994. Obama said the South Korean deal would support at least 70,000 American jobs — welcome news with the latest unemployment figures showing nearly stagnant job growth. The president said that jobs report showed more needed to be done.

“Essential to that is opening new markets around the world to products that are made in America,” Obama said. “Because we don’t simply want to be an economy that consumes other countries’ goods.”

He said U.S. automakers would gain greater access to the expanding South Korean market. “It will continue to ensure a level playing field for American automakers here at home,” he added.

Exports of U.S. goods to South Korea could soar to $10 billion under the deal, which won rare praise for Obama from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as some Republicans. The pact originally was negotiated under George W. Bush’s administration but had stalled. [Associated Press, 12/04/10]

O’Reilly, Hannity Have Not Mentioned Trade Deal. On the December 6 edition of their respective Fox News programs, neither Hannity nor O’Reilly mentioned the trade deal.


Ginni Thomas: ‘It Was Probably A Mistake’ To Call Anita Hill

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 8th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Ginni Thomas: ‘It Was Probably A Mistake’ To Call Anita Hill
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, says the call she placed to Anita Hill in October “was probably a mistake on my part.”


Still No Culprit In Leak Of Obama’s Aunt’s Immigration Status
Over two years after a somebody leaked the immigration status of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s aunt to the media just days ahead of the 2008 election, it still isn’t clear if any federal officials have been held accountable for the illegal disclosure.

Civil Rights Commission Ousts VT Chair Over Anti-Bush Comments, Nazi Comparison
The conservative-controlled U.S. Commission on Civil Rights ousted the chairman of the agency’s Vermont State Advisory Committee last week over an an October column in which he wrote that the Republican gubernatorial candidate’s “Pure Vermont” slogan “raises the specter of Hilter’s Aryan Nation and the Khmer Rouge, where the purifying agent was genocide.”


Heard any good gossip lately?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 8th, 2010 5:43 am by HL

Heard any good gossip lately?
John Loughery’s biography of Willard Huntington Wright, titled S. S. Van Dine, contains a noticeable amount of material about art theory which this reader found interesting. That prompted us to leap to the assumption that we would have enjoyed the evening of conversation about that very esoteric topic which was recently scheduled to occur […]


Americans Don’t Support Tax Deal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 8th, 2010 5:42 am by HL

Americans Don’t Support Tax Deal
A new Bloomberg Poll finds a majority of Americans don’t approve of keeping tax breaks for upper-income taxpayers that are part of the deal President Obama brokered with congressional Republicans.

“The survey, conducted before, during and after the tax negotiations, shows that only a third support keeping the lower rates for the highest earners, and less than half of those respondents say the breaks for the wealthy should last for a shorter period than cuts for the middle class. Overall, two-thirds of those polled favor a permanent extension of the lower rates for the middle class.”

“More than a fourth say all the tax cuts should be allowed to expire Dec. 31, as scheduled.”

Emmer to Concede to Dayton
Tom Emmer (R) will concede the Minnesota governor’s race this morning to Mark Dayton (R), the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Emmer’s concession means “he will not contest the election in court — thus averting a scenario that could have kept Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty in office past the scheduled Jan. 3 swearing-in of the next governor.”

A recent Public Policy Polling survey in Minnesota found that 68% of voters thought Dayton was the winner.


5 Fish You Should Eat More Of

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 8th, 2010 5:41 am by HL

5 Fish You Should Eat More Of
Stories of overfishing and toxic contamination put consumers in a state of confusion and fear at the seafood counter. But there are healthy and sustainable options.

Stories of overfishing and toxic contamination put consumers in a state of confusion and fear at the seafood counter. But there are healthy and sustainable options.

Downsize Nation: Welcome to the New, Smaller American Dream
As heartbreaking as the job losses and foreclosures are, there is also a bright side to the downward economy — Americans are beginning to see that "less is more."

As heartbreaking as the job losses and foreclosures are, there is also a bright side to the downward economy — Americans are beginning to see that "less is more."

Caught Between Fat and Thin: The Pounds Come Off, But the Label Stays
Being fat makes you see the world differently — even when you aren’t fat anymore.

Being fat makes you see the world differently — even when you aren't fat anymore.


On Iran, Targeted Non-Proliferation?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 8th, 2010 5:40 am by HL

On Iran, Targeted Non-Proliferation?
Was the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist, Majid Shahriari, and the wounding of his colleague Fereydoon Abbasi, a case of “targeted non-proliferation?” Was it a case of taking out the brains behind the program instead of bombing its…


Bill Maher Doubles Down On His Racism (Ugly Slam At Obama, Too)
Bill Maher seriously hates Muslims, which is why he can’t resist going back to the subject. The thing that strikes me is how sincere his racism is. You know, some of these rightwingers mouth racist nonsense but are clearly…

Should the US Negotiate Now With N. Korea? With Iran?
Looking at current standoff with North Korea / China, Shadow Government’s Will Inboden calls for a truce between conservatives and progressives in the foreign policy community over the question of when the United States should or shouldn’t engage in negotiations….


Analysis: Obama’s Components Of Tax Deal Help 150 Million More People Than GOP’s Components

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 8th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Analysis: Obama’s Components Of Tax Deal Help 150 Million More People Than GOP’s Components
Yesterday, the White House agreed with Congressional Republicans on a “framework” for extending the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts. In exchange for a two-year extension of all the tax cuts — including those for households making more than $250,000 per year — the deal includes a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits, a two percent cut […]

Yesterday, the White House agreed with Congressional Republicans on a “framework” for extending the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts. In exchange for a two-year extension of all the tax cuts — including those for households making more than $250,000 per year — the deal includes a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits, a two percent cut in the employee side of the payroll tax for one year, and a retention of the some expanded tax credits included in the 2009 Recovery Act. To get Republicans on board, Obama also agreed to a two-year cut in the estate tax.

For comparison’s sake, The Wonk Room has a chart detailing both the number of people (in millions) who benefit from each side’s priorities, as well as the total cost (in billions). Obama’s components of the tax deal (extended unemployment benefits, the payroll tax cut, and the extended credits) will cost $214 billion to aid 156 million people. The Republicans priorities (extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and cutting the estate tax), meanwhile, will cost $133 billion, but only benefit roughly 4.8 million people.

So, in order to get desperately needed help for the long-term unemployed and to provide the middle-class with tax relief in a weak economy, Obama agreed to tax cuts for a small, wealthy portion of the population that the Republicans were willing to go to the mat for, even if it meant that everyone’s taxes went up if the Bush tax cuts expired. Excluded from this analysis is extension of the broad-based Bush tax cuts, on which everyone agreed. The total package will cost about $900 billion over the next two years, entirely financed through deficit spending.

Read more about the tax deal in today’s Progress Report, “Tough Pill To Swallow.”

Lieberman: ?I Don?t Understand? Why The Department Of Justice Hasn?t Charged Australian Assange With Treason
This past weekend, the whistleblower website WikiLeaks began leaking hundreds of diplomatic cables sent by U.S. embassies and diplomatic staff across the world. The cables contain all sorts of information, from gossip from embassy staff poking fun at world leaders to details of high-level meetings between world leaders to revelations of sensitive national security sites. […]

This past weekend, the whistleblower website WikiLeaks began leaking hundreds of diplomatic cables sent by U.S. embassies and diplomatic staff across the world. The cables contain all sorts of information, from gossip from embassy staff poking fun at world leaders to details of high-level meetings between world leaders to revelations of sensitive national security sites.

Since the release of the cables, numerous pundits and politicians have called for the prosecution of WikiLeaks and related media outlets for publishing the leaked cables. Conservative commentator Bill Kristol even called for assassinating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

This afternoon, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) appeared on Fox News to discuss WikiLeaks and other political topics of the day. At one point, the Fox News anchor asked Lieberman what he thinks “of the Justice Department’s actions so far not to charge Julian Assange with treason.” Lieberman responded by saying he doesn’t “understand why that hasn’t happened yet”:

ANCHOR: What do you think of the Justice Department’s actions so far to not charge Julian Assange with treason?

LIEBERMAN: I don’t understand why that hasn’t happened yet. We can go back to the earlier dump of classified documents mostly related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that occured in July, and to me that was a violation of espionage as well.

Watch it:

While the Justice Department and other government agencies are apparently searching for ways to bring criminal charges against WikiLeaks and those who leaked information to them, it is easy to understand why they have not brought charges of treason against Assange. For one, he isn’t American. The doctrine of treason within U.S. law applies to people who have allegiance to the U.S. government, meaning U.S. citizens — they can be charged with treason for betraying their country. Julian Assange currently holds citizenship with the government of Australia and has never even been a U.S. resident, meaning that he cannot be charged with treason against the U.S. government.

Although there have been numerous calls from public officials for prosecuting WikiLeaks, it has also earned praise from a handful of policymakers. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said that the leaks help us “draw some important conclusions” about U.S. foreign policy, earning him the label “Al Qaeda’s Favorite Member of Congress” from a Redstate blogger. And Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) said that it “doesn’t make sense” to try to criminalize WikiLeaks or other whistleblowing organizations.

On Fox, Lieberman also said that the New York Times “has committed at least an act of, at best, bad citizenship, but whether they have committed a crime is a matter of discussion for the Justice Department.”