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Archive for June 3rd, 2011

Chinese Hackers Steal Google Email

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2011 4:47 am by HL

Chinese Hackers Steal Google Email
Chinese hackers targeted the email accounts of senior U.S. officials and hundreds of other prominent people. Victims, including government and military personnel, Asian officials, Chinese activists and journalists, were tricked into sharing their Gmail passwords with “bad actors” based in China, Google said in an unusual blog post. The goal of the latest hijacking campaign “seems to have been to monitor the contents of the these users’ emails” wrote company engineer Eric Grosse.



Fine Mitterature

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Fine Mitterature
Mitt Romney’s first week as an official candidate was another finely botched roll out.

Your front runner in the GOP race ladies and gentlemen — and what a good start he got off to this week as he announced his candidacy — losing out to a grifter’s magic bus.

Romney, surely a child of privilege if their ever was one — presently the ripe ol’ age of 64 (ripe for the service in Vietnam he avoided — instead he took his Mormon Mission in…SOUTHERN FRANCE!) still manages to play the “hawkier than thou” card for other peoples kids dying.

Those patriots who are on the battlefields today or have gone to battlefields in the past, some never to return, have left us a stronger country

Um, despite their sacrifice, the tragedies of Vietnam and Iraq and by now Afghanistan have done no such thing. Much like Mitt’s battles against drinking wine in Bordeaux.

But the man has grown, “Battleship Earth” is no longer his favorite book — now he prefers the “Twilight Series

Mitt, will you never learn? Literacy is not a selling point on the GOP campaign trail, you could email Bachmann and ask, but, well, you know…

I suppose you could say you love the Bible most of all…oh wait.

At least you’re still liked in your birthstate of Michigan...oh right.

Well, still a better start than Gingrich.



Romney’s In for 2012

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Romney’s In for 2012
He’s tall, he’s telegenic and he’s back: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is throwing in to run for president again in 2012. He’ll have some work to do when it comes to helping Republicans forget his role in revamping his home state’s health care system, but at least according to this Bloomberg analysis Romney plans to distract voters by focusing on other issues such as employment and foreign policy to build up his base.  —KA Bloomberg: Romney, 64, is focusing his second bid for the White House on the economy and job creation as the country struggles to rebound from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. The former venture capitalist, who co-founded Boston-based private equity firm Bain Capital LLC, vowed that as president he would cut federal spending and put the country on course to a quicker recovery. In his remarks to a crowd gathered at a chili cookout in Stratham, New Hampshire, Romney attacked Obama for failing to create jobs, a lagging housing market, and high federal spending. “Barack Obama has failed America,” said Romney. “When he took office, the economy was in recession and he made it worse and he made it last longer.” Read more

He’s tall, he’s telegenic and he’s back: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is throwing in to run for president again in 2012. He’ll have some work to do when it comes to helping Republicans forget his role in revamping his home state’s health care system, but at least according to this Bloomberg analysis Romney plans to distract voters by focusing on other issues such as employment and foreign policy to build up his base.? —KA

Bloomberg:

Romney, 64, is focusing his second bid for the White House on the economy and job creation as the country struggles to rebound from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. The former venture capitalist, who co-founded Boston-based private equity firm Bain Capital LLC, vowed that as president he would cut federal spending and put the country on course to a quicker recovery.

In his remarks to a crowd gathered at a chili cookout in Stratham, New Hampshire, Romney attacked Obama for failing to create jobs, a lagging housing market, and high federal spending.

“Barack Obama has failed America,” said Romney. “When he took office, the economy was in recession and he made it worse and he made it last longer.”

Read more

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War Against War: A Meditation on Bradley Manning’s Mind
Why is Manning’s mind the only relevant site of weakness, disability and pathology in the big media stories so far? Why not the sorry condition of our corporate state passing as a democratic republic?

By Scott Tucker

Why is Manning’s mind the only relevant site of weakness, disability and pathology in the big media stories so far? Why not the sorry condition of our corporate state passing as a democratic republic?


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Ratings Agency Warns U.S. On Debt Limit

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Ratings Agency Warns U.S. On Debt Limit
June 2, 2011 11:35:36 PM By Daniel Bases and Donna Smith NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ratings agency Moody’s warned Thursday it would consider cutting…

Administration’s Top Drilling Official Spars With House GOP Over Gulf Oil Spill Response
WASHINGTON — The Interior Department’s Michael Bromwich on Thursday pushed back against GOP lawmakers who denounced the administration for its response to last year’s oil…

Paul Ryan Hesitates On Question Of Run For President
WASHINGTON — On Thursday evening, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan said yet again that he is not considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination. But…


Morris Resorts To Falsehoods To Attack Obama’s Economic Policy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Morris Resorts To Falsehoods To Attack Obama’s Economic Policy

Fox News contributor Dick Morris claimed that President Obama “will be defeated” in 2012 because “he’s causing the second housing crisis by cutting out the mortgage interest deduction” and “causing the deficit with this gigantic government spending.” In fact, proposed changes in the mortgage deduction for the wealthy have not been implemented, and the primary drivers of the deficit are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economic downturn, and the tax cuts implemented in the Bush administration.

Morris Claims Obama To “Blame For” Deficit

Morris: “Doesn’t [Obama] Understand That He’s Causing The Deficit With This Gigantic Government Spending?” On the June 2 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Dick Morris claimed: “I think that Obama definitely can be defeated and will be defeated. I think that the – it is impossible for him to avoid blame for this economy.” Morris later asked of Obama, “Doesn’t he understand that he’s causing the deficit with this gigantic government spending? I mean, at some point he just has to look in the mirror and say, ‘Everything I’ve been doing is wrong.’ ” Morris later claimed Obama will be “running for re-election … in the middle of a recession and this time it will be called the Obama recession.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/2/11]

In Fact, Experts Agree That Bush Policies, Economic Downturn Are Largely To Blame For The Growing Deficit

CBO Projected $1.2T Deficit In January 2009 Based On Spending Bush Authorized; Actual Deficit Was $1.4T. In a January 7, 2009, report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected, based on spending authorized under the Bush administration, that the federal deficit in FY2009 would total $1.2 trillion. According to the CBO, the actual federal deficit for FY2009, which began during the Bush’s last year in office, was $1.4 trillion. [CBO,

The report explained:

As for the deficit’s cause, the single most important factor is the legacy of President George W. Bush’s legislative agenda. Overall, changes in federal law during the Bush administration are responsible for 40 percent of the short-term fiscal problem. For example, we estimate that the tax cuts passed during the Bush presidency are reducing government revenue collections by $231 billion in 2009. Also, because of the additions to the federal debt due to Bush administration policies, the government will be paying $218 billion more in interest payments in 2009.

Had President Bush not cut taxes while simultaneously prosecuting two foreign wars and adopting other programs without paying for them, the current deficit would be only 4.7 percent of gross domestic product this year, instead of the eye-catching 11.2 percent–despite the weak economy and the costly efforts taken to restore it. In 2010, the deficit would be 3.2 percent instead of 9.6 percent.

The weak economy also plays a major role in the deficit picture. The failure of Bush economic policies–fiscal irresponsibility, regulatory indifference, fueling of an asset and credit bubble, a failure to focus on jobs and incomes, and inaction as the economy started slipping–contributed mightily to the nation’s current economic situation. When the economy contracts, tax revenues decline and outlays increase for programs designed to keep people from falling deep into poverty (with the tax impact much larger than the spending impact). All told, the weak economy is responsible for 20 percent of the fiscal problems we face in 2009 and 2010.

President Obama’s policies have also contributed to the federal deficit–but only 16 percent of the projected budget deterioration for 2009 and 2010 are attributable to those policies. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, designed to help bring the economy out of the recession is, by far, the largest single additional public spending under this administration. [CAP, 8/25/09]

CBPP: “[V]irtually The Entire Deficit Over The Next Ten Years” Due To Bush Policies, Economic Downturn.” The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) published an analysis of federal deficits in December 2009, which was updated on June 28, 2010, titled, “Critics Still Wrong on What’s Driving Deficits in Coming Years: Economic Downturn, Financial Rescues, and Bush-Era Policies Drive the Numbers.” The report noted:

Some critics continue to assert that President George W. Bush’s policies bear little responsibility for the deficits the nation faces over the coming decade — that, instead, the new policies of President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress are to blame.  Most recently, a Heritage Foundation paper downplayed the role of Bush-era policies (for more on that paper, see p. 4).  Nevertheless, the fact remains: Together with the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years.

The report also graphed the effects of Bush’s policies and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the deficit. From the report:

figure 1

[CBPP, updated 6/28/10, emphasis in original]

Harvard Business Review Group Director: “[T]he Giant Deficit Is Mainly The Result Of The Collapse In Tax Receipts Brought On By The Recession.” In an October 2010 post on his Reuters blog, Justin Fox, editorial director of the Harvard Business Review Group, analyzed the deficit and concluded that it was “mainly the result of the collapse in tax receipts brought on by the recession”:

The Treasury Department reported on Oct. 15 that the deficit in fiscal 2010, which ended Sept. 30, was $1.294 trillion. That’s less than FY 2009’s $1.416 trillion, but it’s still really really big. Why is it so big, though? Is it because of all that stimulus and bailout spending? Or is something else going on?

To find out, I created a fantasy world. I figured out how fast federal spending and revenue grew over the last business cycle, from 2000 through 2007, and calculated where we’d be today if those growth rates had continued through 2010. I was originally motivated to do this for a commentary that’s supposed to air tomorrow night on Nightly Business Report. But I’m thinking there’s not a huge overlap between Felix Salmon readers and Nightly Business Report viewers, so I’ll go ahead and share what I learned.

In my no-financial-crisis, no-bailout, no-recession, no-stimulus scenario, spending kept growing at 6.22% a year, and revenue kept growing at 3.45%. You can see from the difference between the two numbers that this was an unsustainable path. But it clearly could have been sustained for a few more years.

Where would it have left us in fiscal 2010? With $2.843 trillion in federal revenue and $3.270 trillion in spending, leaving a deficit of $427 billion. The actual revenue and spending totals for 2010 were $2.162 trillion and $3.456 trillion. So spending was $186 billion higher than if we’d stuck to the trend, and revenue was $681 billion lower. In other words, the giant deficit is mainly the result of the collapse in tax receipts brought on by the recession, not the increase in spending. Nice to know, huh? [Justin Fox, blogs.reuters.com, 10/25/10, emphasis added]

Morris Claimed Obama Is “Causing…Second Housing Crisis” By Eliminating “Mortgage Interest Deduction”

Morris: Obama Is “Causing The Second Housing Crisis By Cutting Out The Mortgage Interest Deduction.” Morris further claimed on Fox & Friends that Obama is “causing the second housing crisis by cutting out the mortgage interest deduction.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/2/11]

But No Changes To Mortgage Interest Deduction Have Been Implemented

CNN Money: Proposals To Limit Mortgage Interest Deduction “Have Gone Nowhere And The Same Outcome Is Expected This Year.” According to a February 15 article on CNN Money, the mortgage interest deduction proposal is not implemented and is expected to “hit a wall of resistance from entrenched special interests.” The article pointed out that the “Obama administration, as well as several tax and deficit commissions, have called for limiting or eliminating the deductions in the past. But the proposals have gone nowhere and the same outcome is expected this year.” [CNN Money, 2/15/11]

Obama’s Proposal Would Only “Affect Those With Taxable Income Of $250,000 And Up.” CNN Money further reported that the proposal would “curtail high-income earners’ tax deduction for mortgage interest payments.” From CNN Money:

The president once again proposed in his budget to curtail high-income earners’ tax deduction for mortgage interest payments and charitable contributions.

Under his proposal, taxpayers in the 33% and 35% tax brackets would only be able to deduct their contributions and mortgage interest payments at the 28% rate. It would affect those with taxable income of $250,000 and up and bring in $321 billion over 10 years, according to the White House. [CNN Money, 2/15/11]


‘Sovereign Citizen’ Allegedly Sends White Powder To Feds Handling His Back Taxes Case

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2011 4:42 am by HL

‘Sovereign Citizen’ Allegedly Sends White Powder To Feds Handling His Back Taxes Case
A man in Colorado was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly sent a manila envelope filled with white powder to state officials who were handling his back taxes case.


Sarah Palin: Gas Prices Are So High We Might Not Finish Our PAC-Funded Vacation (VIDEO)
Plenty of Americans are worried about whether they’ll be able to pay for their family vacations this summer due to the high price of gas. Sarah Palin is worried that her PAC won’t be able to afford it.



Palin and Bachmann in ‘Depraved Romance’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Palin and Bachmann in ‘Depraved Romance’


Republicans Don’t Believe Taxes Are Lower Under Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Republicans Don’t Believe Taxes Are Lower Under Obama
When House Republicans met with President Obama earlier this week to discuss the debt ceiling, The Hill reports GOP members engaged in a lot of “eye-rolling” over his assertion that tax rates are lower today than they’ve been in decades.

Rep. Terry Lee (R-NE): “He made a comment like the tax rate is the lightest, even more than Reagan.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA): “We learned we had the lowest tax rates in history … lower than Reagan!”

Of course, as Jed Lewison points out, total federal tax revenues as a percentage of GDP averaged 18.2% during Reagan’s presidency, reaching a low point of 17.3% in 1984. During Obama’s term, total federal tax revenue as a percentage of GDP have averaged 14.9%.

Unemployment and Re-Election
Nate Silver: “Make no mistake: The higher the unemployment rate in November 2012, the less likely President Obama is to win a second term. But we should be careful about asserting that there is any particular threshold at which Mr. Obama would go from favorite to underdog, or any magic number at which his re-election would either become impossible or a fait accompli. Historically, the relationship between the unemployment rate and a president’s performance at the next election is complicated and tenuous.”

“But we should be careful about asserting that there is any particular threshold at which Mr. Obama would go from favorite to underdog, or any magic number at which his re-election would either become impossible or a fait accompli. Historically, the relationship between the unemployment rate and a president’s performance at the next election is complicated and tenuous.”

New Hampshire Debate Set
CNN reports the field is set for the June 13 debate in New Hampshire.

Attending: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum.

Not attending: Rudy Giuliani, Jon Huntsman, and Sarah Palin.


Has America Become a Corporate Police State?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Has America Become a Corporate Police State?
In just the last few years, the Corporate Police State has reared its head at every level of government.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 3rd, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Presented By:

Gates


Palin Factor
Sarah Palin has reinserted herself into the Republican Presidential race and it is causing a great deal of handwringing among the party elite. Politico’s Mike Allen notes an email he got from “a top Bush strategist”. “You heard it here…