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Archive for April 19th, 2011

Brewer Vetoes Birther Bill

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 19th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Brewer Vetoes Birther Bill
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has vetoed a bill that would have required national political parties to submit affidavits affirming their presidential candidates are “natural born” citizens and to provide a long form birth certificate, baptismal or circumcision certificate, hospital birth record, mother’s post-partum medical record or early census record. “I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for president of the greatest and most powerful nation on earth to submit their ‘early baptismal circumcision certificates,’ Brewer said.



A lesson from the master

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 19th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

A lesson from the master
Spying and FoxNews executives? Hard to believe.

pic via ryan king at flickr.com

As goes Rupert:

Scotland Yard has accepted for the first time the extent of the phone-hacking scandal when it told a court the number of potential victims whose voicemails were targeted by the News of the World is likely to be “substantially” more than 91.

A high court hearing to timetable and organise the growing civil claims for damages against Rupert Murdoch’s News International heard that the new police investigation believed the scale of potential victims was much higher than leading officers had previously said.

So goes his greatest student:

The small-town newspapers in New York’s Hudson Valley that Fox News chief Roger Ailes owns with his wife Elizabeth are in a staff revolt after employees caught Ailes spying on them with News Corp. security goons.

Late, Late Night FDL: The Taxman Cometh
Beatles Cartoon – Taxman & George Harrison & Eric Clapton- Taxman

Beatles Cartoon – Taxman

Since the Beatles never performed it ‘live’ on stage, you’ll just have to settle for this…

George Harrison & Eric Clapton- Taxman

I wish ya’ll many happy ‘returns’…!

What’s on your mind tonite…?


British Government Memos Tie Iraq Invasion to Big Oil

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 19th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

British Government Memos Tie Iraq Invasion to Big Oil
Demonstrators in cities around the world chanted “No Blood for Oil” as a Western invasion of Iraq became more and more likely in 2002. Memos obtained under the U.K.’s Freedom of Information rules confirm some of the fiercest critiques by the war’s opponents. They detail arrangements made between the British government and the world’s largest oil companies, orchestrating trades of access to oil and gas for military commitment. The Independent reported, “Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change. “The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP’s behalf because the oil giant feared it was being ‘locked out’ of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.” Former President George W. Bush and Blair have been adamant in maintaining that Iraq’s natural resources did not factor into their decision-making, as have BP and other energy companies. —KDG

Demonstrators in cities around the world chanted “No Blood for Oil” as a Western invasion of Iraq became more and more likely in 2002.

Memos obtained under the U.K.’s Freedom of Information rules confirm some of the fiercest critiques by the war’s opponents. They detail arrangements made between the British government and the world’s largest oil companies, orchestrating trades of access to oil and gas for military commitment.

The Independent reported, “Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change.

“The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP’s behalf because the oil giant feared it was being ‘locked out’ of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.”

Former President George W. Bush and Blair have been adamant in maintaining that Iraq’s natural resources did not factor into their decision-making, as have BP and other energy companies. —KDG

Related Entries



Power Shift Participants Denounce Obama’s Environmental Inaction

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 19th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Power Shift Participants Denounce Obama’s Environmental Inaction
WASHINGTON — Thousands of young activists gathered at a rally in front of the White House on Monday to demand that the president protect the…

Norman Goldman: Update the Constitution
While the Constitution continues to chug along as it has for all these years there are some problems so fundamental that a new set of amendments is needed. I do not argue for a new Constitutional Convention, but a refinement for a modern America.

George Mitrovich: Liberalism’s Uncertain Fate
Liberalism’s fate, under siege from the rage of pseudo-Reagan conservatives and the ultra right, hangs in the balance.

Gara LaMarche: Making the Moral Case for Change
The U.S. is in a toxic political moment. For many of us who recently thought that the political arc might finally be bending, it is beginning to seem clear that we have failed again at communicating a coherent and compelling worldview.


O’Reilly Distorts Ryan’s Proposal To Cut Tax Rate For The Rich

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 19th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

O’Reilly Distorts Ryan’s Proposal To Cut Tax Rate For The Rich

Bill O’Reilly distorted Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposal to lower income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, claiming that Ryan “stated he simply wants to keep the tax rate where it is.” In fact, Ryan has proposed cutting the tax rate on upper income levels from 35 percent to 25 percent.

O’Reilly Obscures Ryan’s Proposal To Cut Top Tax Rate

O’Reilly: “Mr. Ryan Stated He Simply Wants To Keep The Tax Rate Where It Is.” From The O’Reilly Factor:

O’REILLY: Check three. On the CBS program Face The Nation, anchor Bob Schieffer interviewed Congressman Paul Ryan: 

SCHIEFFER [Video Clip]: I guess the question I would have, Congressman, why do these rich people need another tax cut? I mean they’re already rich. They seem to be doing pretty well as it is now. Why cut their taxes some more?

[…]

SCHIEFFER: If the country is going bankrupt, if the country needs to borrow 40 cents of every dollar that it spends, how do you help that by reducing the amount of taxes that the richest people in the country pay? It would seem to be that’s where you get revenue.

O’REILLY: Well, Mr. Ryan stated he simply wants to keep the tax rate where it is because if it rises the economy may be hurt. Standard conservative vs. liberal argument with Mr. Schieffer taking the liberal position. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 4/18/11]

In Fact, Ryan Has Proposed Lowering The Tax Rate For The Wealthiest Americans

Ryan’s Proposal Would Lower Top Marginal Tax Rate To 25 Percent. From the Republican majority House Budget Committee’s summary of Rep. Paul Ryan’s FY 2012 budget resolution:

TAXES

  • Keeps taxes low so the economy can grow. Eliminates roughly $800 billion in tax increases imposed by the President’s health care law. Prevents the $1.5 trillion tax increase called for in the President’s budget.
  • Calls for a simpler, less burdensome tax code for households and small businesses. Lowers tax rates for individuals, businesses and families. Sets top rates for individuals and businesses at 25 percent. Improves incentives for growth, savings, and investment. [House Budget Committee, 4/5/11]

The Top Marginal Tax Rate Is Currently 35 Percent. The top marginal income tax rate has been 35 percent since 2003. [Tax Policy Center, 1/31/11]

Ryan: “Get Rid Of All Those Loopholes And Deductions” And “Lower Tax Rates.” From Ryan’s appearance on CBS News’ Face the Nation:

SCHIEFFER: You have two very different approaches that are now out there. The president wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. He wants to keep Medicare in place. The big part of the savings in your plan is to do away with Medicare, replace it with private insurance that would be subsidized by the government, and you actually want to lower taxes on the wealthy, even lower than the Bush tax cuts which were enacted during the Bush administration.

I guess the question I would have, Congressman, why do these rich people need another tax cut? I mean they`re already rich. They seem to be doing pretty well as it is now. Why cut their taxes some more?

RYAN: So first of all, we`re not talking about cutting taxes. We`re just not agreeing with the president`s tax increases. I guess that`s the new definition of tax cuts. We`re saying keep tax rates where they are right now and get rid of all those loopholes and deductions which by the way are mostly enjoyed by wealthy people so you can lower tax rates.

We`re taking a page out of the playbook of the fiscal commission, the president`s fiscal commission supported by a majority of Democrats, said the same thing — broaden the tax base, lower the tax rates for economic growth. A simpler, flatter, fair tax code, more internationally competitive so we can create jobs.

That`s what we`re proposing. This isn`t tax cuts. It`s tax reform targeting our revenues at where they are right now. We`re just signing on to all the tax increases that the president is proposing.

[…]

SCHIEFFER: All right, let me go back to what you said there at the top. You say you`re not for cutting taxes. But am I misinformed? I thought you were talking about lowering that rate for the top income tax pairs back to 25 percent. So isn`t that a tax cut?

RYAN: In exchange for losing your deductions. So in exchange for using the loopholes and deductions that mostly higher income earners use. So what we`re saying is keep tax revenues where they are. Don`t lower tax revenues, but clean up the tax code so that it works.

If you have really high tax rates, what you end up doing is penalize small businesses. [CBS, Face The Nation, 4/17/11, via Nexis]


Chuck Norris To Protect America From Sharia Law Invasion

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 19th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Chuck Norris To Protect America From Sharia Law Invasion
Sharia-haters, take heart! In case the state bills outlawing Sharia law popping up around the country don’t prove enough to prevent the Islamic takeover of America, Chuck Norris stands ready to defend the country, promising to deliver a roundhouse kick…

DoD Report Says McChrystal Profile Inaccurate, Rolling Stone Responds
The award-winning Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal — which portrayed the former top general in Afghanistan as having a loose tongue when it came to the Obama administration — effectively ended his military career. But the Department of…


Forget about Libya: Let’s invade the Caymans!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 19th, 2011 4:33 am by HL

Forget about Libya: Let’s invade the Caymans!
If you were to look in the dictionary for a definition of the word “loot,” you would find the following: “Goods usually of considerable value taken in war”. But no matter how you get your hands on it, loot is still loot. According to Merriam-Webster, when nations seize loot, it is called war. However, when […]


Obama Struggles But Republicans Gain No Traction

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 19th, 2011 4:32 am by HL

Obama Struggles But Republicans Gain No Traction
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds President Obama’s approval rating falling and virtually all of the possible Republican presidential challengers struggling to gain traction. Obama’s net approval has fallen by nine points in the past month, from 51% approving and 45% disapproving in March to 47% to 50% now.

Meanwhile, none of the potential GOP hopefuls polled gets more than 20% of Republican leaners’ support. Mitt Romney leads with 16% support, but 12% of Republican leaners choose none of the above. Donald Trump comes in a distant second with 8%, followed by Mike Huckabee with 6%, Sarah Palin with 5%, and a cluster of Republicans with 2% or 1% support each.

Key finding: Obama still leads in every hypothetical general election contest that was polled. Only Mitt Romney comes within five points, getting 45% to Obama’s 49%, while Mike Huckabee trails Obama by six, 50% to 44%. Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty all trail Obama by double digits.

Paul Files for Re-Election
Just three months after taking office, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has already filed to seek re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2016, the AP reports.


Questions for S&P on Its Potential Downgrade of U.S. Debt

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 19th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

Questions for S&P on Its Potential Downgrade of U.S. Debt
S&P managed to capture the headlines yesterday when it announced that it had a negative outlook for the credit rating of the United States. After all, an actual credit downgrade for the United States government would be big news. While…

Paul Ryan’s $30 Trillion Burden, Where Is Peter Peterson?
Paul Ryan is proving more useful than any of could have possibly dreamed. His plan, as analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), drives home the simple truth that the long-term budget problem is a health care problem. Ryan radically…



Florida?s GOP House Speaker Pushing Court-Packing Plan To Neutralize Democratic Justices

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 19th, 2011 4:30 am by HL

Florida?s GOP House Speaker Pushing Court-Packing Plan To Neutralize Democratic Justices
The Florida Supreme Court is not a rubber stamp for the Republican Party — indeed, they recently tossed out a wildly unconstitutional ballot initiative attempting to nullify part of the Affordable Care Act. This fact greatly upsets Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon (R), who would much rather have the court unquestioningly do his Party’s bidding […]

The Florida Supreme Court is not a rubber stamp for the Republican Party — indeed, they recently tossed out a wildly unconstitutional ballot initiative attempting to nullify part of the Affordable Care Act. This fact greatly upsets Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon (R), who would much rather have the court unquestioningly do his Party’s bidding than have them actually follow the law. So Cannon is now pushing a court packing plan that will effectively neutralize the court’s Democratic members:

The measure would add three new justices to the court, all of whom would be named by Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Then it would go one step past Roosevelt by dividing the court in two. The three most senior justices — all, coincidentally, appointed by a Democratic governor — would be consigned to a new criminal division.

This would ensure a conservative-leaning majority on a new civil division, where pivotal cases involving the drawing of new voting districts will land next year. Republicans cite all sorts of reasons for expansion, such as needing to cut the court’s heavy caseload. They ignore the fact that the court’s caseload is now the lowest in a decade.

The Florida GOP’s effort to effectively turn its states’ judiciary into a sock puppet for Rick Scott is just one part of a nationwide campaign by the far right to ensure the only way to win a case in court is to be powerful and privileged. In the Wisconsin Supreme Court race earlier this month, corporate interest groups — including groups with close ties to the Kochs — massively outspent the conservative incumbent’s opponents. One corporate lobbying group spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to reward incumbent Justice David Prosser after Prosser allowed them to write the court’s “justice for sale” ethics rules.

Similarly, anti-gay hate groups spent hundreds of thousands of dollars last year to depose three of the seven justices who joined a unanimous marriage equality opinion in Iowa. Florida Tea Partiers tried to depose two justices to punish them for keeping the unconstitutional nullification initiative off the state’s ballot. And GOP senators have systematically blocked President Obama’s judicial nominees while ramming President Bush’s most pro-corporate judges through the confirmation process.

A judge’s job is to follow the law, not to bend the law to suit a partisan agenda. Sadly, this rule of law just isn’t good enough for the GOP.