We are the Liberal Blog From Hollywood
L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

Photographer in L.A.

Hot Pics & Gossip.

Archive for October 20th, 2011

Nobody could have “Super”-anticipated?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 20th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Nobody could have “Super”-anticipated?
Undemocratic extra-legislative body comprised of Republicans and Democrats evenly divided is incapable of getting anything accomplished…just like the actual legislative body. Huzzah! With a Thanksgiving deadline fast approaching, a powerful congressional panel devoted to debt reduction is running in rhetorical circles, unable to break the impasse over taxes that has long blocked aggressive action to […]

pic via mikenitro94 at flickr.com

Undemocratic extra-legislative body comprised of Republicans and Democrats evenly divided is incapable of getting anything accomplished…just like the actual legislative body.

Huzzah!

With a Thanksgiving deadline fast approaching, a powerful congressional panel devoted to debt reduction is running in rhetorical circles, unable to break the impasse over taxes that has long blocked aggressive action to tame the national debt.

And who could have anticipated the main hang-up would be the same thing as it has been every time before?

Democrats have argued that the trigger would force Republicans to the bargaining table over taxes because the automatic reductions would fall heavily on the Pentagon. But so far, that tactic has not worked. House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) and other GOP leaders have yet to show any appetite for significant tax hikes in advance of the 2012 election, when they hope to campaign against Democrats on the issue.

I did learn something from this article though, in Village parlance “significant” now means “any“.


Turkish Kurds Surrounded by War and Promises

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 20th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Turkish Kurds Surrounded by War and Promises
For decades ordinary Kurds have struggled between an oppressive government and authoritarian guerrillas.

By Reese Erlich

For decades ordinary Kurds have struggled between an oppressive government and authoritarian guerrillas.


Related Entries


Wall Street Is Still Trying to Buy Obama’s Love
President Obama and the Democratic National Committee have raised more from the finance industry than all Republican candidates combined, however without the DNC, Mitt Romney has raised almost twice as much as the president from that sector, according to analysis by the Washington Post. Republican candidates such as Romney are not yet able to utilize their party’s fundraising potential, giving Obama an advantage. Glenn Greenwald points out that the president lags behind his 2008 Wall Street fundraising and, as the Washington Post reports, only “5 percent of the $90 million Obama’s campaign committee has raised this year came from finance and banking interests.” There is a perception, amplified in the political press, that Obama has alienated the finance industry with heated rhetoric and lukewarm reforms. However an anonymous banking executive tells the Post this perception is overblown, if politically advantageous: One top banking executive who raises money for Obama, discussing fundraising efforts on the condition of anonymity, said reports of disaffection with the president “are exaggerated and overblown.” He said a strong contingent of financiers in New York, Chicago and California remains supportive of Obama and his economic policies, even as some have turned on him. But, this donor added, “it probably helps from a political perspective if he’s not seen as a Wall Street guy.” You can pore over the data yourself and come to your own conclusions at the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org.  —PZS

President Obama and the Democratic National Committee have raised more from the finance industry than all Republican candidates combined, however without the DNC, Mitt Romney has raised almost twice as much as the president from that sector, according to analysis by the Washington Post.

Republican candidates such as Romney are not yet able to utilize their party’s fundraising potential, giving Obama an advantage.

Glenn Greenwald points out that the president lags behind his 2008 Wall Street fundraising and, as the Washington Post reports, only “5 percent of the $90 million Obama’s campaign committee has raised this year came from finance and banking interests.”

There is a perception, amplified in the political press, that Obama has alienated the finance industry with heated rhetoric and lukewarm reforms.

However an anonymous banking executive tells the Post this perception is overblown, if politically advantageous:

One top banking executive who raises money for Obama, discussing fundraising efforts on the condition of anonymity, said reports of disaffection with the president “are exaggerated and overblown.” He said a strong contingent of financiers in New York, Chicago and California remains supportive of Obama and his economic policies, even as some have turned on him.

But, this donor added, “it probably helps from a political perspective if he’s not seen as a Wall Street guy.”

You can pore over the data yourself and come to your own conclusions at the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org.? —PZS

Related Entries



Chris Weigant: Republicans Attack Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 20th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Chris Weigant: Republicans Attack Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan
Cain is fighting hard, but he will fail. “I’m going to raise taxes on 84 percent of America!” is not the best way to get elected in this country, and it is definitely not the way to win a GOP primary.

Keith Boykin: Everything The Media Told You About Occupy Wall Street Is Wrong
I finally made it to Occupy Wall Street on Tuesday and had a chance to see for myself what’s going on. My conclusion: almost everything the media told me about the protest is wrong.

Frederick Butler: Herman Cain, Tavis Smiley & Cornel West: Black Sheep or Wolves in Black Sheep’s Clothing?
Regardless of what Cain, West and Smiley say blacks in America will continue to be in President Obama’s corner. Not because we are brainwashed, but because he offers the best chance for the advancement of the community.

Department Of Justice Still Wants New York Times Reporterâ??s Sources
In a move that could unleash a major First Amendment battle, the Justice Department is asking a federal appeals court to force a New York…


NRA’s Cox Deceives Over Arms Trade Treaty

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 20th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

NRA’s Cox Deceives Over Arms Trade Treaty

National Rifle Association chief lobbyist Chris Cox claims in Guns & Ammo magazine that a proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty is “completely unnecessary” because the United States “operates what even Hillary Clinton admits is the ‘gold standard’ of export controls for arms transfers.'” But Clinton made that comment while expressing U.S. support for a treaty that would “promote the same high standards for the entire international community.”

Cox Cropped Clinton Quote To Argue Treaty Is “Completely Unnecessary”

NRA’s Cox: Clinton Comment Shows Treaty Is “Completely Unnecessary.” In a column for the November issue of Guns & Ammo, Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, wrote:

During the Bush presidency, American gun owners had an ally in the White House. But President Obama reversed course, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing hope for a “strong and robust treaty that contains the highest possible, legally binding standards.”

The final version of the treaty isn’t due out until 2012, but the Chairman’s draft version that was made available in July is troubling. It predictably includes small arms and light weapons in the scope of the treaty’s control, but goes as far as to cover firearm ammunition, “parts and components” and “technology and equipment” designed to “develop, manufacture or maintain” firearms. How far will the international bureaucrats take these definitions? Scopes? Slings? Cleaning patches? Making the treaty completely unnecessary is that the U.S. already operates what even Hillary Clinton admits is the “gold standard of export controls for arms transfers.” [Guns & Ammo, 11/1/11, via Nexis, emphasis added]

Clinton Was Arguing For Extending U.S. “Gold Standard” Internationally Through Treaty

In 2009, Clinton Said U.S. Supported Negotiations Toward A U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Under Certain Circumstances. From Clinton’s October 14, 2009 statement:

Conventional arms transfers are a crucial national security concern for the United States, and we have always supported effective action to control the international transfer of arms. 

The United States is prepared to work hard for a strong international standard in this area by seizing the opportunity presented by the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations. As long as that Conference operates under the rule of consensus decision-making needed to ensure that all countries can be held to standards that will actually improve the global situation by denying arms to those who would abuse them, the United States will actively support the negotiations. Consensus is needed to ensure the widest possible support for the Treaty and to avoid loopholes in the Treaty that can be exploited by those wishing to export arms irresponsibly. [Remarks by Clinton, 10/14/09]

Clinton’s Full Comment States Treaty Could Allow U.S. To “Promote The Same High Standards” U.S. Has “For The Entire International Community.” From Clinton’s October 14, 2009 statement, with the portion highlighted by Cox in bold:

On a national basis, the United States has in place an extensive and rigorous system of controls that most agree is the “gold standard” of export controls for arms transfers. On a bilateral basis, the United States regularly engages other states to raise their standards and to prohibit the transfer or transshipment of capabilities to rogue states, terrorist groups, and groups seeking to unsettle regions. Multilaterally, we have consistently supported high international standards, and the Arms Trade Treaty initiative presents us with the opportunity to promote the same high standards for the entire international community that the United States and other responsible arms exporters already have in place to ensure that weaponry is transferred for legitimate purposes. [Remarks by Clinton, 10/14/09]

Without A Treaty, Small Arms Are Flowing From Non-U.S. Markets To Human Rights Abusers

U.N.: Illicit Trade In Small Arms “Wreaks Havoc Everywhere.” From the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs:

The illicit trade in small arms, light weapons and ammunition wreaks havoc everywhere. Mobs terrorizing a neighbourhood. Rebels attacking civilians or peacekeepers. Drug lords randomly killing law enforcers or anyone else interfering with their illegal businesses. Bandits hijacking humanitarian aid convoys. In all continents, uncontrolled small arms form a persisting problem.

[…]

The majority of conflict deaths are caused by the use of small arms, and civilian populations bear the brunt of armed conflict more than ever. Also, small arms are the dominant tools of criminal violence. The rate of firearms-related homicides in post-conflict societies often outnumbers battlefield deaths. These weapons are also linked to the increasing number of killings of UN employees and peacekeepers, as well as workers from humanitarian and non-governmental organizations.

Small arms facilitate a vast spectrum of human rights violations, including killing, maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, torture, and forced recruitment of children by armed groups. More human rights abuses are committed with small arms than with any other weapon. Furthermore, where the use of armed violence becomes a means for resolving grievances and conflicts, legal and peaceful dispute resolution suffers and the rule of law cannot be upheld. [UN.org, Small Arms, accessed 10/19/11]

U.N. General Assembly: Treaty Conference Needed To Prevent “Diversion To The Illicit Market” Which Promotes “Armed Conflict.” From the U.N. General Assembly resolution on the Arms Trade Treaty:

Recognizing that the absence of commonly agreed international standards for the transfer of conventional arms that address, inter alia, the problems relating to the unregulated trade of conventional arms and their diversion to the illicit market is a contributory factor to armed conflict, the displacement of people, organized crime and terrorism, thereby undermining peace, reconciliation, safety, security, stability and sustainable social and economic development,

[…]

Decides, therefore, to convene a United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty to meet for four consecutive weeks in 2012 to elaborate a legally binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms [Resolution adopted by the General Assembly 64/48, 12/2/09]

Treaty’s Supporters Say It Is Intended To Stop Arms From Flowing To Human Rights Abusers, Not Regulate Domestic Arms Sales. From an October 2009 Washington Post article on Clinton’s statement that the U.S. supported treaty negotiations:

“No government is discussing a treaty that would ever impact the right to bear arms, nor require regulation of domestic sales of arms,” said Scott Stedjan, a senior policy adviser at the relief group Oxfam America. “This is totally about international transfer of arms so that they don’t go to human rights abusers.”

The United States is the world’s largest supplier of conventional weapons, accounting last year for nearly 70 percent of the global arms sales on contracts valued at $37.8 billion. Italy and Russia were second and third, with $3.7 billion and $3.5 billion in arms sales, according to figures compiled by the Congressional Research Service.

Arms control experts and rights advocates welcomed the U.S. commitment to participate in U.N. talks, saying the negotiations could help impose some basic rules in an industry that operates in the shadows, fuels conflicts and provides arms to terrorist groups and insurgents. [Washington Post, 10/16/09]


Charges Of Occupy Wall Street Anti-Semitism Find Audience On The Right

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 20th, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Charges Of Occupy Wall Street Anti-Semitism Find Audience On The Right
Is Occupy Wall Street anti-Semitic? Some groups on the political right really want you to think so….


Ted Stevens Prosecutor Now Working On Abramoff Scandal Case
A federal prosecutor who was transferred out of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Unit more than two years ago in the fallout of the mishandling of the corruption case against late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) has returned to his position,…


He’s Crazy for Fox Koo-Koo Puffs!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 20th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

He’s Crazy for Fox Koo-Koo Puffs!


The Uncompetitive House

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 20th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

The Uncompetitive House
Kyle Kondik: “Instead of looking at the House through the competitive races, consider instead the uncompetitive races — the large number of seats that should be safe for one party or the other for the foreseeable future. Based on the latest Crystal Ball ratings, less than one in four of the 435 House seats will be competitive next year, and if one only considers the seats we rate as ‘leaning’ to one party or the other or as ‘toss-ups,’ there are only 46 truly competitive contests, or about 10% of all House seats.”

Romney Edges Cain in Latest National Poll
A new AP-GfK poll shows Mitt Romney leading the Republican presidential field with 30%, followed by Herman Cain at 26%, Rick Perry at 13%, Ron Paul at 8%, Newt Gingrich at 7%, Michele Bachmann at 4%, Jon Huntsman at 2% and Rick Santorum at 2%.


One Man Set Himself on Fire and Set Off Uprisings from Tunisia to Wall Street Calling for Dignity for the 99%

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 20th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

One Man Set Himself on Fire and Set Off Uprisings from Tunisia to Wall Street Calling for Dignity for the 99%
An open letter to Mohammed Bouazizi, whose self-immolation set off the Tunisian revolution, about the beautiful movements that have sprung up in the wake of his death.

Infection: How Hospitals Are Breeding Grounds for Superbugs You’ve Never Even Heard Of
We don’t think of hospitals as places where we can get sick. But that’s what they are, far more commonly than the healthcare industry wants us to know.

DREAM Activist Describes Fear After Alabama’s HB 56: ‘I’m Not The Only One’
Three weeks after Alabama began enforcing its ultra-strict anti-immigrant law, the country is beginning to see what happens when states create their own immigration policies.


Scapegoating Baby Boomers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 20th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Scapegoating Baby Boomers
Baby Boomers, who have now morphed into “young seniors,” certainly did not contribute to the economic decline of America. On the contrary, this huge demographic bulge–as we have moved through our highly-publicized life cycle– helped create the country’s consumerist prosperity…


Dear GOP Candidates, Some Foreign Policy Substance Please
As I weighed how to respond to the emerging GOP foreign policy campaign themes and Mitt Romney’s big speech, I was torn between my partisan self and my bipartisan self. On the one hand, I genuinely crave a dignified and…



Solar Trade War? Accusations of China?s Illegal Solar Subsidies Stirring Debate in the Solar Industry

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 20th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Solar Trade War? Accusations of China?s Illegal Solar Subsidies Stirring Debate in the Solar Industry
Concerns about China’s support of domestic solar companies have been brewing for years. But they have finally come to a boiling point — and it’s causing some in the solar industry to feel burned. The German solar manufacturer SolarWorld, along with six other unnamed companies, filed a petition to the U.S. Department of Commerce and […]

Concerns about China’s support of domestic solar companies have been brewing for years. But they have finally come to a boiling point — and it’s causing some in the solar industry to feel burned.

The German solar manufacturer SolarWorld, along with six other unnamed companies, filed a petition to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission today, calling for America to challenge China’s “illegal” subsidies to solar companies and develop tariffs for Chinese products:

With a large number of subsidies and preferential treatments, the Chinese government and its state authorities have enabled its solar industry to make price cuts well beyond their own efficiency and to massively expand the export of its goods. Many documented cases of violations of social, quality and environmental standards that regulate production sites in the U.S. and Germany have also been discovered.

SolarWorld, which just laid off 66 people at a facility in California, says that China’s “unfair practices” make it nearly impossible for solar manufacturers to continue operations in the United States.  SolarWorld executives hosted an event on Capitol Hill in Washington today with two Democratic Senators from Oregon, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. The company’s U.S. headquarters are based in Oregon.

Speaking to reporters at the event, Gordon Brisner, president of SolarWorld’s U.S. business, called China’s subsidies “no different than giving an athlete a bucket of steroids.”

But here’s the problem: No one really knows how potent those “steroids” are. Or if they’re illegal.

Climate Progress and other publications reported recently on the more than $30 billion in loans that the China Development Bank had offered Chinese companies in 2010. However, those are offers to take down the loans over a multi-year period. Many companies have not yet taken the full amount offered, so it’s difficult to make a direct comparison between loans to Chinese and U.S.-based firms.

The terms of the loans are also difficult to dissect. Suntech says it is getting a loan from the China Development Bank at 5% interest —far above what an American loan guarantee would provide. But in many cases, provincial governments will pay that interest for the company along with providing other perks. Take this example, from a very detailed investigative piece in the New York Times last year:

To help Sunzone, the municipal government transferred to the company 22 acres of valuable urban land close to downtown at a bargain-basement price. That reduced the company’s costs and greatly increased its worth and attractiveness to investors.

Meanwhile, a state bank is preparing to lend to the company at a low interest rate, and the provincial government is sweetening the deal by reimbursing the company for most of the interest payments, to help Sunzone double its production capacity.

Heavily subsidized land and loans for an exporter like Sunzone are the rule, not the exception, for clean energy businesses in Changsha and across China, Chinese executives said in interviews over the last three months.

The petition from SolarWorld details many of the specific accusations, but it has not been released publicly.

China’s support for the sector has helped companies produce massive amounts of product, causing a structural global oversupply of modules and dropping prices dramatically. That has been a great thing for developers and consumers, but extremely difficult for manufacturers. In the last year and a half, seven different U.S.-based manufacturers have closed or scaled back facilities in the U.S. — with China being blamed in some way each time.

But SolarWorld appears to be going it mostly alone. Although the other six manufacturers are anonymous, some of America’s largest solar producers didn’t sign.

The industry’s trade organization, the Solar Energy Industries Association, is also staying neutral in the dispute, explaining in a statement:

Solar companies – whether foreign or domestic – have the right to request investigations into alleged unfair trade practices. It is important that these allegations are thoroughly examined and, if unlawful trade practices are found, action to remedy those practices is taken.

On a call this conference call this morning from the Solar Power International trade show, some leading solar executives took a much more direct approach.

“This is not in the interest of American consumer,” said Arno Harris, CEO of the project developer Reccurent Energy. “The best thing the industry can do is drive down the cost of solar. We don’t want to see this kind of development.”

The mixed responses from folks in the industry highlights a major split in thinking about Chinese subsidies. The astonishing price drops in the last three years — due largely to a massive influx of Chinese panels — has helped make solar far more competitive. But it’s also knocked a lot of companies out of the game.

The rhetorical battle over China’s solar subsidies has been raging for sometime. Is it now turning into a full-on trade war?