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Archive for March 1st, 2011

Late, Late Night FDL: Aint Hurtin Nobody

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1st, 2011 5:38 am by HL

Late, Late Night FDL: Aint Hurtin Nobody
John Prine – Aint Hurtin Nobody, and, The Notorious Cherry Bombs – It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day

John Prine – Aint Hurtin Nobody

That Guy sent me another great Vince Gill link…

The Notorious Cherry Bombs – It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day

What’s on your mind tonite…?

From the skies
Qaddafi makes a last desperate attempt to keep power…naturally this involved bombing his citizens.

image from ‘Guernica’ via tiganatoo at flickr.com

You may remember that story last week of Libyan pilots who defected rather than bomb their fellow citizens in Benghazi.

Well, not everyone defected apparently.

With escalating hostilities bringing Libya closer to civil war, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces struck back at his opponents on three fronts, with special forces, regular army troops and, rebels said, fighter jets.

But it is not going all that well for Qaddafi, amazing how bombing your citizenry (literally and or right now in this country figuratively) undermines a leader’s support, not that reality matters.

In an interview with ABC News, Colonel Qaddafi said he was fighting against “terrorists,” and he accused the West of seeking to “occupy Libya.” He gave no hint of surrender. “My people love me,” he said. “They would die for me.”

They certainly are.

Obviously recall petitions are a better way.


Obama Gives States Health Care Options

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2011 5:38 am by HL

Obama Gives States Health Care Options
Perhaps shoring himself up for campaign 2012, President Obama announced Monday that he would give individual states the choice to opt out of his health care plan if they can come up with a viable alternative—but regardless, they’ll have to wait until 2017.

Perhaps shoring himself up for campaign 2012, President Obama announced Monday that he would give individual states the choice to opt out of his health care plan if they can come up with a viable alternative—but regardless, they’ll have to wait until 2017.

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Carl Sferrazza Anthony: How Hollywood Helped Reagan Change Washington (PHOTOS)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Carl Sferrazza Anthony: How Hollywood Helped Reagan Change Washington (PHOTOS)
While covering a post-election meeting, I put down my pencil to instead take snapshots with my clunky old Pentex.

Rose Ann DeMoro: Nurses Offer to Buy President’s Shoes to March With Workers
Recall the pledge made by candidate Obama in 2007: “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House … I’ll walk on that picket line with you.”

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The GOP Plan to Cut Social Security … Starting Right Now
Will people gather in the streets to resist this move, or sit on the sidelines as services they’ve paid for are shut down by an increasingly radical Congress and its wealthy patrons?


For Terrorism Commentary, NY Times Looks To Inflammatory Fox Regular Michael Scheuer

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1st, 2011 5:37 am by HL

For Terrorism Commentary, NY Times Looks To Inflammatory Fox Regular Michael Scheuer

In a February 27 news analysis about the potential impact on Al Qaeda of the popular uprisings in Arab nations, The New York Times quoted Michael Scheuer, a frequent Fox News guest with a history of extreme rhetoric.

NY Times Quotes Scheuer In News Analysis On Al Qaeda

From the February 27 New York Times article:

Michael Scheuer, author of a new biography of Mr. bin Laden and head of the C.I.A.’s bin Laden unit in the late 1990s, thinks such enthusiasm is more than wishful thinking.

Mr. Scheuer says he believes that Americans, including many experts, have wildly misjudged the uprisings by focusing on the secular, English-speaking, Westernized protesters who are a natural draw for television. Thousands of Islamists have been released from prisons in Egypt alone, and the ouster of Al Qaeda’s enemy, Mr. Mubarak, will help revitalize every stripe of Islamism, including that of Al Qaeda and its allies, he said.

“The talent of an organization is not just leadership, but taking advantage of opportunities,” Mr. Scheuer said. In Al Qaeda and its allies, he said, “We’re looking over all at a more geographically widespread, probably numerically bigger and certainly more influential movement than in 2001.” [New York Times, 2/27/11]

Scheuer Has A History Of Extreme Rhetoric

Scheuer: “The Only Chance We Have As A Country Right Now Is” For Bin Laden To “Detonate A Major Weapon” In U.S. In a June 30, 2009, appearance on Fox News’ Glenn Beck, Scheuer stated:

SCHEUER: The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States because it’s going to take a grassroots, bottom up pressure because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. It’s an absurd situation. Again, only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary. [Fox News’ Glenn Beck, 6/30/09]

Scheuer: “We’re Not Killing Enough People” In Afghanistan. In a February 7, 2010, appearance on Fox & Friends, Scheuer said of the capture of Taliban military commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar:

SCHEUER: My gut tells me is that the West is making too much out of the capture of an individual, as always. He’s an important guy. It’s a great tactical victory. Everybody should be complimented. But it won’t, in the long run, affect the war. You win wars by killing people, not capturing people and unfortunately what’s going on in Afghanistan is we’re not killing enough people, we’re simply apologizing. [Fox News’ Fox & Friends, 2/17/10]

Scheuer: Democratic Administrations Are “Pro-Terrorist.” During an August 31, 2009, appearance on Fox News’ The Live Desk, Scheuer said of Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to appoint a prosecutor to investigate past CIA interrogation tactics:

SCHEUER: I have to say that, you know, the CIA is pretty much an apolitical organization. You follow the instructions of the president. But on the issue of terrorism, especially on the issue of Islamic terrorism, the agency has grown pretty used to Democratic administrations who are both anti-agency and in many senses, pro-terrorist. Mr. Clinton could have ended this problem in 1997, 1998. He chose not to.

[…]

SCHEUER: Of course it makes us less safe. It’s aid and comfort to the enemy. No matter how the investigation works out, Al Qaeda and its allies are now aware that the President of the United States is trying to neuter the intelligence service in the world that has done the most damage to Al Qaeda. I don’t know if its permissible to do the happy dance in Islam, but once they heard Holder’s announcement, those boys in the caves were doing the happy dance. [Fox News’ The Live Desk, 8/31/09]

Scheuer: Obama “Obviously Does Not Care” About “Protecting Americans.” On the August 28, 2009, edition of Fox & Friends, Scheuer said:

SCHEUER: The real problem, Brian – is the morale is obviously bad but clearly, for the CIA now to be answering to a president, for the first time I think a sitting president who has given aid and comfort to the enemy, both psychologically and materially, it’s a very distressing thing because ultimately the agency is responsible for protecting Americans. The President obviously does not care. [Fox News’ Fox & Friends, 8/28/09]

Scheuer On Time Square Bombing Attempt: “The Federal Government Really Doesn’t Take This Very Seriously.” Appearing on the Mary 4, 2010, edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Scheuer stated of the attempted bombing:

SCHEUER: The New York Police Department, the Washington Police Department, are basically beaten in all directions. They work themselves to death, but the federal government really doesn’t take this very seriously. Mr. Obama has ruled out the use of ‘Islamist’ and ‘Islamic’ and ‘jihad’ as if that’s going to help the problem. The United States is at war with an increasing portion of the Muslim world. And until we accept that and figure out a way to defend ourselves, it’s a downhill struggle no matter how good the police are.

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): So that brings me to Walid Phares. Walid, if you’re still there. We are at war but yet right now our approach is reaching out, learn more about us, we’re not trying to fight you, we’re not at war with Islam. Is that a different message than the reality? [Fox News’ Fox & Friends, 5/4/10]

Scheuer: “Rahm Emanuel Wants An Attack” On The United States. From the August 28, 2009, edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: Michael, I’ve seen you before on the show and you’re always very direct but I’ve never seen you quite so angry and disenchanted. Do you believe that our country is closer than ever to being attacked again?

SCHEUER: Oh, sure we’re going to be attacked, Brian and it doesn’t care. You know, Rahm Emanuel wants an attack. He loves crisis. In crisis, the Democrats, he says, can get all of their programs through. These people simply do not care. [Fox News’ Fox & Friends, 8/28/09]

Scheuer Implored U.S. To Act “Like A Superpower” And “Destroy” North Korean Navy. From the November 23, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: Joining us now is the former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer. Michael, first off, what message did North Korea send, and what message can we send back as the chief ally to South Korea, this morning after they sent fire into that island last night?

SCHEUER: I think the message they sent was they don’t believe we’re going to defend the South Koreans to any great extent. The message we should have sent when they sank that North Korean boat — or South Korean boat — several months ago was we should have destroyed as much of North Korean Navy as we could immediately. I also suspect that we should have destroyed — had been ready to hit them again this morning because now the media and the politicians will talk their way out of defending South Korea and let the North Koreans get away with another act of war.

KILMEADE: So Michael, the heck with what China thinks, just go take them out because we are assigned — we are an assigned defender of South Korea?

SCHEUER: I think that’s right. I think we need to act as what we are. We are a superpower, we have interests of our own and the North Koreans can do without a navy for a while. They can rebuild it. Instead of spending money on nuclear stuff, they can build new boats.

KILMEADE: Yeah, let their people starve. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/23/10]


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2011 5:36 am by HL

Presented By:

Ex-Libyan Ambassador Labels Regime ‘Criminal’ As Pre-Qaddafi Era Flag Raised Over Home (VIDEO)
It was quite a scene at the former Libyan ambassador’s residence in Northwest Washington, D.C. Friday afternoon, where a group of protestors raised the pre-Qaddafi era flag outside of the home of Ambassador Ali Aujali, who resigned his post earlier…


Koch Industries In-House Magazine

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2011 5:34 am by HL

Koch Industries In-House Magazine


Minnesota Could Disrupt Primary Calendar

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2011 5:33 am by HL

Minnesota Could Disrupt Primary Calendar
Ben Smith reports that Minnesota may throw the entire 2012 primary calendar into disarray and could “open the door to a scramble that unravels both parties’ efforts to kick the election season off with the February 6 Iowa Caucuses.”

“Minnesota law establishes February 7, one day after Iowa, as the default date for that state’s caucuses. The date can only be changed with the consent of both political parties. The parties must, according to the statute, agree to change the date ‘no later than March 1 of each odd-numbered year.'”

“Whether Minnesota’s decision is, in fact, a big deal will depend on two things: Whether Iowa is comfortable with the event, and whether other states — which both parties are jointly trying to herd into a February start, and many of whom will need to pass legislation to move their primary dates — take Minnesota as an excuse to blow up the calendar. The RNC is already struggling to persuade Florida’s Republican leaders to fall into line.”

Edwards Indictment Looms
John Edwards has been “lying low” recently, according to the New York Times, but that won’t last as “a federal grand jury in Raleigh could soon hand up an indictment against him in a case centering on campaign finance practices.”

“If Mr. Edwards is charged in the federal case, he could take a number of tacks, say people connected to the case. Striking a deal might be the best option if the charges are misdemeanors. If he faces felony charges, many believe that Mr. Edwards, known as an exceptionally good trial lawyer who is protective of his law degree, would fight them.”

The Importance of the Union Vote for Democrats
Nate Silver finds that union voters and the union-household voters improved President Obama’s margin over Sen. John McCain in 2008 by approximately 4.8%.

He concludes: “Republican efforts to decrease the influence of unions — while potentially worthwhile to their electoral prospects in the long-term — could contribute to a backlash in the near-term, making union members even more likely to vote Democratic and even more likely to turn out. If, for instance, the share of union households voting for Democrats was not 60 percent but closer to 70 percent, Republicans would have difficulty winning presidential elections for a couple of cycles until the number of union voters diminished further.”

Public Backs Unions Over Walker
A new Pew Research poll finds that by a modest margin, more say they back Wisconsin’s public employee unions rather than Gov. Scott Walker (R) in their continuing dispute over collective bargaining rights.

Key finding: 42% say they side more with the public employee unions, while 31% say they side more with the governor.


The Top 10 Names for the “Pro-Life,” Pro-Cancer, Pro-UTI, Anti-Planned Parenthood Amendment

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2011 5:32 am by HL

The Top 10 Names for the “Pro-Life,” Pro-Cancer, Pro-UTI, Anti-Planned Parenthood Amendment
Nothing says “sanctity of life” better than cervical cancer, breast cancer, and HIV!?That’s why on February 18th, so-called “pro-life” members of the House of Representatives, voted 240 to 185 to defund?Planned Parenthood, a premier women’s healthcare provider for nearly a…


PsyOps, Afghanistan, and Al Franken
With all the controversy stirred by Michael Hastings’ Rolling Stone article about the role of Army psychological operations units in hosting congressmembers (i.e. trying to manipulate them) I noticed Sen. Al Franken among the “targets.” This prompts me to recount…


REPORT: Ending Special Interest Tax Dodging Would Balance Wisconsin?s Budget And End The War On Unions

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2011 5:32 am by HL

REPORT: Ending Special Interest Tax Dodging Would Balance Wisconsin?s Budget And End The War On Unions

title= Over the weekend, Main Street America held the largest rallies yet to take place against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) radical proposal to gut his state’s public employee union collective bargaining rights. Walker claims that his assault on the state’s labor unions is designed to help close his state’s budget deficit and save taxpayers money.

Yet the truth is that the relatively minor budget woes that Wisconsin faces aren’t a result of the middle class pay and benefits afforded to hard-working teachers, municipal employees, and other Main Street Americans. Rather, declining tax revenues from a recession caused by Wall Street and corporate tax cuts Walker immediately rammed through the legislature are much more responsible for the relatively minor shortfalls the state is facing.

Walker claims that that the state is facing a $137 million budget deficit and says that the state’s hard-working public employees should sacrifice their pay and benefits and have their collective bargaining rights crippled in order to close this budget gap. Additionally, Walker has included language in his latest budget proposal that would restructure the state’s debt, which would essentially take care of any economic problems in the short-term. Despite the fact that they aren’t responsible for a budget deficit, Wisconsin’s public employee unions have “announced they would accept paying half the cost of pensions and 12.6 percent of the cost of health insurance — as long as they were allowed to keep their collective bargaining rights” — a deal Walker has flatly rejected.

Yet if Walker really feels like the state is facing unacceptable budget problems and that it needs to be able to recoup revenue, he doesn’t have to attack the pay, benefits, or rights of his public employees at all. All he has to do is look at his state’s tax code and take action to close a handful of special interest tax loopholes and tax breaks so that the state’s richest pay their fair share so that the middle class that has already sacrificed so much doesn’t continue to have to bear all the burdens of the recession by itself. ThinkProgress has assembled a far from comprehensive list of just some of these special interest tax breaks and loopholes that could help balance the budget and end any need for a war on unions:

Close The Internet Sales Tax Loophole: Currently, online retailers all over the country make skillfull use of the tax code to avoid paying sales taxes. Big retailers like Amazon.com set up subsidiary corporations in states and then argue that the subsidiary corporation doesn’t obligate the parent company to collect sales taxes in the state. A University of Tennessee study estimates that “in 2011 alone, Wisconsin will lose an estimated $127 million in uncollected sales tax on purchases made online” — only $10 million short of what Walker projects his state’s deficit to be. While the best way to close the internet sales tax loophole is for federal action, some states like New York have enacted what they refer to as the “Amazon law,” which would decree that any internet sales company would be liable for the state’s tax laws if it has “independent ‘affiliate’ websites in the state promoting sales on its behalf.” After New York enacted its law to capture previously lost revenues in 2008, Amazon responded by unsuccessfully suing the state. Wisconsin could follow New York’s lead.

Close Special Interest Property Tax Loopholes: Much of the funding necessary to support government services in Wisconsin comes from property taxes, collected by municipalities, with these taxes currently generating “far more revenue than any other state or local tax.” Considering that much of the Wisconsin state budget is consumed by aid to municipalities, closing these loopholes would relieve city budgets and therefore help reduce statewide expenditures. The current exemptions on potential property taxes amount to $700 million a year. Many of these exemptions were won by interest groups with clout in the state legislature. For example, nonprofit community hospitals — which make up 89% of hospital revenue in the state — currently have an exemption, allowing them to forgo $128 million in taxes in 2008. Certain retirement homes also have an exemption that costs the state $15 million a year. The 2009-2011 state budget included a special exemption “for student housing owned by a nonprofit organization that houses up to 300 students, with at least 90% of its residents enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison” — which benefitted a single dorm: the “Pres House on the UW-Madison campus, which would pay about $250,000 in taxes without it.” While some of the state’s current exemptions make sense, others simply benefit special interest groups and should be closely examined.

Crack Down On Corporate Income Tax Dodgers: The Institute for Wisconsin’s Future (IWF) notes that the state is “losing over one billion dollars annually to the ‘tax gap,’ the difference between what is legally owed by taxpayers and what is actually paid.” It notes that “business income is only 8% of Wisconsin income, but responsible for 57% of the underreporting tax gap,” mostly due to underreporting. This gap accounts for $113 million in revenue. Some companies dodge their taxes by setting up subsidiaries in neighboring states with corporate income tax havens, like Nevada and Delaware. IWF suggests that simplying the tax code and expanding the network of state auditors could help close the tax gap and stop businesses from underreporting their income to avoid taxes.

And it’s worth noting that the tax cuts Walker rammed through during his first month in office “will reduce general fund tax collections by $55.2 million in 2011-12 and $62.0 million in 2012-13.” It is simply irresponsible for Walker and his allies to continue to blame middle class Wisconsinites for his state’s modest budget woes while ignoring the tax dodging by the state’s special interests who continue to fail to pay their fair share.


The Plum Line: Dem poll: Republicans turning on Scott Walker

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 1st, 2011 5:31 am by HL

The Plum Line: Dem poll: Republicans turning on Scott Walker
Everyone has already blogged on the forthcoming poll from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling, which finds major buyer’s remorse in Wisconsin, with voters saying they’d support Scott Walker’s opponent by 52-45 if they could hold a do-over election.

The Fix: Good Newt and Bad Newt
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) continues to move ever-closer to a run for president in 2012, a bid that will almost certainly highlight his great gifts and equally large potential flaws.

Levin, federal workers slam Army’s move to put brakes on insourcing
The Army’s decision this month to suspend its efforts to move more work in-house has drawn a cool reaction from federal employee unions and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.