10/19/2010 archive

No Guts, No Glory

(h/t Joe Sudbay @ Americablog)

Obama’s surrender on outside spending

By: Ben Smith, Politico

October 19, 2010 04:47 AM EDT

Democrats enter the homestretch of the 2010 elections complaining vocally about the flood of Republican money, much of it anonymous, pounding their candidates.

But as the White House points the finger at outside Republican groups, many Democrats point the finger back at the White House, which dismantled the Democratic Party’s own outside infrastructure in 2008 and never tried to rebuild it.

(T)o some of its more practical-minded allies, the White House is protecting the brand at a very real cost to the party.

“The leadership of the Obama campaign warned their donors against giving to outside groups, including many of the key issue groups that motivate progressives. The leadership in the White House has done the same thing,” said Erica Payne, one of the founders of the Democracy Alliance, a group of the largest liberal donors, who now heads the Agenda Project. “As a result, the administration often looks like Will Ferrell in the movie ‘Old School’ – running through the street naked, shouting, ‘Come on, everybody’s streaking,’ when in reality they are all by themselves.”

That active discouragement began in earnest in May 2008 as Democratic fundraisers began joining hands to try to take back the White House. A first effort, a 527 called the Fund for America, had boasted in March that it would spend $150 million. As it fizzled, a new nonprofit group called Progressive Media USA announced in April that it would raise and spend $40 million from anonymous donors to attack John McCain.

Then, in early May, in a conference call and at a meeting of Obama’s national finance team, Finance Chairwoman Penny Pritzker told donors and fundraisers that Obama didn’t want them helping outside groups. The money stopped so abruptly that Progressive Media was left unable to spend enough on nonpolitical causes to preserve its tax status and was folded into the Center for American Progress.

You piss on your friends and suck up to your enemies, you get what you deserve.

Rachel Maddow: Debunking the Beltway MSM Republican Spin

Reality check ala Rachel:

There was not an ideological coherence to what’s going on in right wing politics.  There’s not a cogent argument to make about what kind of challenge these folks present and what’s going to happen in these elections.

It’s not the deficit.  It’s not big government.  It’s not the stimulus.

It’s not Obamacare.  It’s not populism.  It’s not that all of these people are outsiders.

It’s none of these things.  These things are all provably not what’s going on.  They’re not bolstered by the facts no matter how many times you hear from the Beltway media.  This is not what’s happening.

But the media dressing these guys up like there is some coherent narrative, like there is some cogent argument here, that conveniently obscures what’s really going here, which is that we are on the precipice of elevating the federal office, the most extreme and in some cases strange set of conservative candidates in a lifetime.

Yes, this has happened to a smaller degree before.  In 1994, in the first midterm election after the last Democrat president was elected, we got a slate of candidates that included Helen Chenoweth of Idaho, Steve Stockman of Texas.  These two were so close to the militia movement in this country that Mr. Stockman actually received advance notice that the Oklahoma City bombing was going to happen.

There are extremist candidates who from time to time survive the churn of electoral politics and actually make it into the mainstream.  There’s always a few.  But there has never been this many.

None of this makes any sense.  We’re just about to elect a whole bunch of extremists-unless thing change in the next two week.

Listen as Rachel debunks the campaign lies and the MSM narrative as she exposes the Republicans “wish list” for the extremist agenda that it is.

Two weeks out.  How do Democrats run against this?  

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

These extremist Republican candidates and their Beltway Media enablers should not be allowed to have it both ways by the voters. Don’t be fooled again.

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Robert Reich The Perfect Storm

It’s a perfect storm. And I’m not talking about the impending dangers facing Democrats. I’m talking about the dangers facing our democracy.

First, income in America is now more concentrated in fewer hands than it’s been in 80 years. Almost a quarter of total income generated in the United States is going to the top 1 percent of Americans.

The top one-tenth of one percent of Americans now earn as much as the bottom 120 million of us.

The perfect storm: An unprecedented concentration of income and wealth at the top; a record amount of secret money flooding our democracy; and a public becoming increasingly angry and cynical about a government that’s raising its taxes, reducing its services, and unable to get it back to work.

We’re losing our democracy to a different system. It’s called plutocracy.

Dean Baker: Liar Liens and Wall Street’s Foreclosure Scam

The highest rates of foreclosure are on the quick and dirty loans made at the peak of the bubble.

As we all know there is a major philosophical divide in U.S. politics. One the one hand there are those who think it is the role of government to help ensure that the vast majority of the population can enjoy a decent standard of living. On the other side are those who believe the role of government is to transfer as much money as possible to the rich and powerful. The latter group seems to be calling the shots these days.

This is seen clearly in the ” liar lien” scandal: the flood of short order foreclosures that ignore standard legal procedures. The banks have been overwhelmed by the unprecedented volume of defaulting mortgages in the wake of the housing crash. Even under normal circumstances foreclosure rates that in some areas exceed ten times normal levels would create an administrative nightmare.

But these were not ordinary loans. The highest rates of foreclosure are on the quick and dirty loans made at the peak of the bubble. These loans were issued to be sold. Almost immediately after the ink was dry, the issuers would sell these loans off to Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, or other investment banks to turn them into mortgage backed securities. The investment banks themselves were running short order operations. More rapid securitization meant more profits.

Robert Kuttner: Recovery, Please

Will the recession just go on and on and on? In the absence of far more vigorous government action, it certainly looks that way.

At a recent conference sponsored by several think tanks, Paul Krugman declared that the recession could literally continue indefinitely because the economy is stuck in a cycle of depressed wages, reduced consumer purchasing power, damaged banks, and business hesitancy to invest — and no strategy on the political horizon is about to alter this dynamic.

It’s not surprising to hear that from Krugman. The startling thing was that his two co-panelists, former Reagan chief economist Martin Feldstein and the chief economist of Goldman Sachs, Jan Hatzius, agreed that massive stimulus spending was the necessary cure.

More Bush’s Clone: Defending John Ashcroft

This is no laughing matter. The Obama Justice Department is defending the worst Attorney General, John Ashcroft, from being sued by an American citizen whose Constitutional rights were clearly violated by AG Ashcroft’s stated policy to use the material witness law to prevent terror attacks by rounding up Muslim immigrants.

Last night on Countdown with Keith Olbermannn, Constitutional Law Professor, Jonathan Turley discussed the Prosecuting of John Ashcroft and the ramifications of a possible decision favoring the Obama administration’s support of abuse of the law by Ashcroft.

Jonathan Turley:

The amazing thing about this case is that there is an old expression of bad cases making bad law. This is a case of a bad guy making a bad law. They’re going to have to pitch this to the heart of the court to support one of the most abusive Attorney Generals in history. What will be left is truly frightening.

This is a case, as you have mentioned, where false statements were given to a Federal court to secure a warrant, a person was held without access to a lawyer, was held in highly abusive conditions and you have an Attorney General who was virtually gleeful during that period about his ability to round up people. This was at a time when material witness rationale was being used widely and rather transparently to simply hold people.

Smith, the judge, wrote a really incredible opinion, one of the better opinions I’ve read in the last ten years and he basically noted st the end, this is what the Framers fought against. And he right, we have become what the Framers fought against. What it is we defined ourselves against, this is what the Framers were talking about, arbitrary detention.

And my God, you have the Obama Administration arguing that you cannot hold an Attorney General liable for such an egregious and horrible act.

On This Day in History: October 19

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

October 19 is the 292nd day of the year (293rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 73 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1781, hopelessly trapped at Yorktown, Virginia, British General Lord Cornwallis surrenders 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to a larger Franco-American force, effectively bringing an end to the American Revolution.

The Siege of Yorktown or Battle of Yorktown in 1781 was a decisive victory by combined assault of American forces led by General George Washington and French forces led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis. It proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War  in North America, as the surrender of Cornwallis’s army prompted the British government eventually to negotiate an end to the conflict.

In 1780, 5,500 French soldiers landed in Rhode Island to assist their American allies in operations against British-controlled New York City. Following the arrival of dispatches from France that included the possibility of support from the French West Indies fleet of the Comte de Grasse, Washington and Rochambeau decided to ask de Grasse for assistance either in besieging New York, or in military operations against a British army operating in Virginia. On the advice of Rochambeau, de Grasse informed them of his intent to sail to the Chesapeake Bay, where Cornwallis had taken command of the army. Cornwallis, at first given confusing orders by his superior officer, Henry Clinton, was eventually ordered to make a defensible deep-water port, which he began to do at Yorktown, Virginia. Cornwallis‘s movements in Virginia were shadowed by a Continental Army force led by the Marquis de Lafayette.

The French and American armies united north of New York City during the summer of 1781. When word of de Grasse‘s decision arrived, the combined armies began moving south toward Virginia, engaging in tactics of deception to lead the British to believe a siege of New York was planned. De Grasse sailed from the West Indies and arrived at the Chesapeake Bay at the end of August, bringing additional troops and providing a naval blockade of Yorktown. He was transporting 500,000 silver pesos collected from the citizens of Havana, Cuba, to fund supplies for the siege and payroll for the Continental Army. While in Santo Domingo, de Grasse met with Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis, an agent of Carlos III of Spain. De Grasse had planned to leave several of his warships in Santo Domingo. Saavedra promised the assistance of the Spanish navy to protect the French merchant fleet, enabling de Grasse to sail north with all of his warships. In the beginning of September, he defeated a British fleet led by Sir Thomas Graves that came to relieve Cornwallis at the Battle of the Chesapeake. As a result of this victory, de Grasse blocked any escape by sea for Cornwallis. By late September Washington and Rochambeau arrived, and the army and naval forces completely surrounded Cornwallis.

After initial preparations, the Americans and French built their first parallel and began the bombardment. With the British defense weakened, Washington on October 14, 1781 sent two columns to attack the last major remaining British outer defenses. A French column took redoubt #9 and an American column redoubt #10. With these defenses taken, the allies were able to finish their second parallel. With the American artillery closer and more intense than ever, the British situation began to deteriorate rapidly and Cornwallis asked for capitulation terms on the 17th. After two days of negotiation, the surrender ceremony took place on the 19th, with Cornwallis being absent since he claimed to be ill. With the capture of over 8,000 British soldiers, negotiations between the United States and Great Britain began, resulting in the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

Morning Shinbun Tuesday October 19

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Making the cut at sushi academy


U.S. Pushes to Ease Technical Obstacles to Wiretapping

Foreclosure freeze leads to uneasy politics for Democrats


Germany’s neighbours from hell

Sarkozy defies French strikers on pension reform

Middle East

Kurdish rebels tell Turkey: keep your promises or ceasefire is over

The Dangers of Being a Journalist in Iran


Pakistan intelligence services ‘aided Mumbai terror attacks’

Xi Jinping on Track for Chinese Presidency


Corrupt east African nations ‘running global crime’

Somali militants ban mobile money transfers

Latin America

After Rescue, The Fight for Compensation Begins

Flight delays cost passengers $16.7 billion

FAA-funded study factors in time lost, secondary travel arrangements


WASHINGTON – Airline flight delays cost passengers more than inconvenience – $16.7 billion more – according to a study delivered to the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday.

The FAA-funded study looks at the cost to passengers for flight delays in 2007, the latest year for which complete data was available when researchers began working on the study.

Unlike past studies of the impact of flight delays, researchers looked more broadly at the costs associated with flight delays, including passengers’ lost time waiting for flights and then scrambling to make other arrangements when flights are canceled.

Bush’s Clone: Violating the 4th Amendment

President Obama, aka Bush, is making sure that telecommunications companies are ensuring that their networks can be wiretapped. Change? LMAO

U.S. Pushes to Ease Technical Obstacles to Wiretapping

WASHINGTON – Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, citing lapses in compliance with surveillance orders, are pushing to overhaul a federal law that requires phone and broadband carriers to ensure that their networks can be wiretapped, federal officials say

The officials say tougher legislation is needed because some telecommunications companies in recent years have begun new services and made system upgrades that create technical obstacles to surveillance. They want to increase legal incentives and penalties aimed at pushing carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast to ensure that any network changes will not disrupt their ability to conduct wiretaps.

An Obama administration task force that includes officials from the Justice and Commerce Departments, the F.B.I. and other agencies recently began working on draft legislation to strengthen and expand a 1994 law requiring carriers to make sure their systems can be wiretapped. There is not yet agreement over the details, according to officials familiar with the deliberations, but they said the administration intends to submit a package to Congress next year.

Never mind “1984”, we may as well be living in the USSR.

Fantasy Fun 20101018: Let’s Have Dinner Together

Well, not you and me particularly, but with some historical figures.  This was sort of spurred by Keith Olbermann’s story about Michele Bachmann’s list of people with whom she would like to have dinner.  I could not imagine a dinner with only six to eight folks, including me, wherein I could meet everyone that I would want, so I have set up a series of dinners with diverse groups of folks that I would love to get to know.  By the way, K.O. will be in a future installment if there is enough interest in this series.

Tonight’s installment will include a dinner with physicists (or their historical counterparts) that are both living and dead.  Here are my rules:  1) I am not personally acquainted with anyone mentioned (a chance meeting, like on a flight does not count), 2) within certain limits, only a maximum of eight people can attend.  More than that would make highly interactive conversation difficult, and 3) there is no language barrier.

Prime Time

I understand a Senior League team was victorious in a sporting competition.  Hopefully the listings give you some idea where to switch so yu don’t have to listen to God Bless America all the time.  I’m not yet despairing of my brackets,  The Phillies showed almost Yankee like offensive powers last night.  This Series is pitching matched up, so you get the best pitcher against the best and so on.  Tuesday will be the third game in the series and it will be interesting to see how each offense performs against the ‘not so good’ pitcher.

Of course it’s the third game in the Junior League tonight and as you’ll recall the Yankees started their Ace first game, but the Rangers had to wait until tonight for theirs which means he’ll probably only pitch the once.  Once being of course in the first game in Yankee Stadium.  Lee has impressive statistics.  Opposed by Pettite who really is only the third best.  Again I think it comes down to offense in which I think the Rangers are less good.  If they can solve Pettite and put it away they’re likely to win.  If it’s close- everyone on the Yankees can hit.

But while it would ruin my 5 game prediction it doesn’t alter my opinion of the ultimate outcome.  Means the Yankees need to win on the road again and they’ve already shown they can do it.

Postseason ace vs. October pro in Game 3 of ALCS


50 mins ago

NEW YORK – Cliff Lee’s left arm has been the most dominant force in baseball during the past two postseasons. Now, all that October success has earned him another matchup with the New York Yankees.

“They’re basically an All-Star team. From top to bottom, they have threats everywhere,” Lee said. “I’m not going to get intimidated.”

With the best-of-seven AL championship series tied at one apiece, the scene shifts to Yankee Stadium for Game 3 on Monday night, when a pair of pressure-proven pitchers will be back in the spotlight.

Broadcast premiers.  


No Dave.  No Jon or Stephen.  Or rather repeats from 9/21, 10/12, and 10/12.  Fortunately there is double Alton, Oats 2 and 1.

Boondocks– Series Premier A Huey Freeman Christmas.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Cars burned, fuel short in France pensions protest

by Roland Lloyd Parry, AFP

50 mins ago

PARIS (AFP) – France faces a sixth day of national protests Tuesday against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pensions reform, with the stakes rising after youths battled riot police and filling stations ran dry.

Tuesday’s coordinated protest is the latest in a series of mounting actions against Sarkozy’s plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, and follows days of strikes, skirmishes and full-blown street marches.

On Monday police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at youths who set a car on fire, smashed bus stops and hurled rocks outside a school in Nanterre, near Paris, blocked by students protesting the pensions reform.