(Reuters): “Internet monitoring must have proper limits, Merkel tells Obama”
(New York Times): “Extending a hand abroad, Obama often finds cold shoulders”
(The Hill): “House passes late-term abortion ban”
(Talking Points Memo): “Nate Silver: Politico co-founders lack ‘curiosity for the world outside the bubble”
(USA Today): “Journalist Michael Hastings dead at 33″
(Reuters): “Internet monitoring must have proper limits, Merkel tells Obama”(New York Times): “Extending a hand abroad, Obama often finds cold shoulders”(The Hill): “House passes late-term abortion ban”(Talking Points Memo): “Nate [...]
(Reuters): “Internet monitoring must have proper limits, Merkel tells Obama”
By Mustang Bobby Just as it’s always the most anti-gay crusader who gets caught with the rent boy, it’s the hard-core anti-big-guvamint rightie who gets caught pilfering from the taxpayers. [...]
Just as it’s always the most anti-gay crusader who gets caught with the rent boy, it’s the hard-core anti-big-guvamint rightie who gets caught pilfering from the taxpayers.
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and his wife, Maureen, have used taxpayer money for a range of small personal items they should have paid for themselves under state policy, according to spending records.
The McDonnells have billed the state for body wash, sunscreen, dog vitamins and a digestive system “detox cleanse,” the records show. They also have used state employees to run personal errands for their adult children. In the middle of a workday, for example, a staffer retrieved Rachel McDonnell’s newly hemmed pants at a tailoring shop nine miles from the governor’s mansion. Another time, a state worker was dispatched to a dry cleaner 20 miles away to pick up a storage box for Cailin McDonnell’s wedding dress.
The records do not indicate if the “digestive system ‘detox cleanse’” was for the governor or for the dog. Or if it involved an ultrasound.
By CarlI have an idea that might help ease the transition from the “Quantitative Easing” (QE) policy of the Fed over the past five years to a more free market [...]
I have an idea that might help ease the transition from the “Quantitative Easing” (QE) policy of the Fed over the past five years to a more free market oriented capital market. More after the break:
Here in the U.S., one thing is clear: The market is so accustomed to stimulus from QE that it is poised to retrench if it is cut off. And it is unduly fearful that the Fed would be short-sighted enough to suddenly turn off the spigot.
The market is such an extreme QE junkie that, perversely, whenever there’s talk about the economy improving, stocks go down. Clearly, the market is afraid that the Fed would be cruel enough to put it on cold turkey.
Investors who react this way aren’t thinking about a sound economy in which QE wouldn’t be needed any more than a heroin addict thinks in terms of life without a fix.
OK, so here’s my thought: Methadone.
Methadone, in that you’d substitute one fix for a more controllable, sustainable fix that would give the addicts a chance to wean themselves off the socialist crutch you’ve been providing them.
My proposal is simple and will even cut the debt you’re piling up in half. Give the people $45 billion a month. $150 bucks in tax free spending each month. If you’d like, you can add the string, as you do for the banks, that it be used to pay down existing debt.
You have a $2,000 mortgage payment? It’s now $1,850. Let’s take the pressure off our poor middle class. You have payday loans that you roll over every month because you need to buy food? We’ll pay for a week’s worth of groceries.
See, capitalism does not work – and never has – on a trickle down basis. It works on a trickle up basis. I buy a thing in the store. The shopkeeper pays the manufacturer, and keeps a bit for him or herself. The manufacturer pays his workers and suppliers, and so on.
Giving it to banks only freezes the money at the upper echelons of the economy and it does not get spent or invested. Period. Programs like HAMP have only been used by banks to cherry pick mortgages for refinancing, often given to people who can easily afford their current mortgages, and denying almost 95% of requests. Basically, the rich are getting richer.
Give the money to we, the people, and I can promise that within a year, the economy will be set to rights.
(Cross-posted at Simply Left Behind.)
By Mustang Bobby There is an outside chance that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) could become law. On Monday, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) signed on as the bill’s 51st cosponsor. [...]
There is an outside chance that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) could become law.
On Monday, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) signed on as the bill’s 51st cosponsor. The legislation would outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Senator Carper believes it is important for federal law to explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — in the same way that current law addresses race, sex or religion — in order to ensure that all Americans are protected equally under the law,” said Carper spokesman Ian Sams.
When asked why Carper decided to sign on now, Sams added, “There’s nothing significant about the timing of his cosponsorship since he’s cosponsored the bill before, but he’s pleased to be the 51st senator to sign on in this Congress, as it means a majority of senators stand ready to pass this important legislation.”
Although the legislation now has majority support, it will need more votes in order to reach the 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster.
It still has to make it past the inevitable filibuster attempts by the Republicans who would run over their own grandparent to foil anything supported by President Obama, and it still has to get through the House, whose GOP antediluvians make the Senate GOP sound like a Quaker meeting, but it’s some progress to get 51 co-sponsors.
(Politico): “President Obama: I’m not Dick Cheney”(USA Today): “Justices: Arizona voter registration rules go too far”(Reuters): “Putin faces isolation over Syria as G8 ratchets up pressure”(CNN Money): “Ex-trader charged with [...]
(Politico): “President Obama: I’m not Dick Cheney”
(USA Today): “Justices: Arizona voter registration rules go too far”
(Reuters): “Putin faces isolation over Syria as G8 ratchets up pressure”
(CNN Money): “Ex-trader charged with Libor rigging in U.K.”
(New York Times): “Iran president-elect wants to ease strains with US, but sees no direct ties”
By Mustang Bobby Over the weekend the story went out on CNET that Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said that the N.S.A. can listen in on any phone call it wants [...]
Over the weekend the story went out on CNET that Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said that the N.S.A. can listen in on any phone call it wants to without a warrant.
Except he didn’t say that.
Update at 2:50 p.m. ET on June 16: We’re pulling the plug on this story, following Rep. Nadler’s comments that debunk CNET’s story. In a statement to our sister site, Nadler said: “I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant.” We’ve left the amended article (post the previous update, below) in tact for transparency, but corrected the headline.
Glad we cleared that up.
By Carl….they often get crossed. And then what you gonna do? White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Sunday that “the scope and scale” of assistance to Syrian rebels will expand, based [...]
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Sunday that “the scope and scale” of assistance to Syrian rebels will expand, based on evidence that the Assad government is gaining ground in the protracted civil war and that it may have used chemical weapons in the conflict.
Speaking on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” McDonough did not say whether arms shipments to Syrian rebels would include artillery and other heavy weaponry that could help reduce the military regimes advantage. In the shadow of Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has to tread carefully, McDonough said.
“We have to be very discerning about what’s in our interest and what outcome is best for us, and the prices that we’re willing to pay to get to that place,” he said. “We’ve rushed to war in this region in the past; we’re not going to do it here.”
So basically, Obama wants to play this as the Opposite Iraq, and find a balance between Syrian autonomy and American influence and assistance.
Good luck with that, but I suppose he feels we have to be involved somehow. But this is why you don’t draw lines in the sand and decide that factor A is what will determine your foreign policy. That places your nation in the hands of someone else.
Needless to say, the bloodthirsty warmongers among us seem to have a problem with his handling:
Republicans such as Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, faulted the administration for not providing the kind of detailed plan needed to get congressional approval for the military aid to Syria.
“The administration needs to come up to Congress and make a comprehensive case. What is the plan? Where are we going on Syria? And what do you want to accomplish?,” Rogers said on “Face the Nation,” after McDonough spoke. “Some of the things that they’ve told the Intelligence Committee in the past doesn’t comport with what they’re presenting as the direction they want to go. It seems to me they have a great media strategy; they don’t have a great Syrian strategy.”
So a strategy of incremental adjustments is not enough for a body politic that swallowed the lies of the last President whole and even gave him a blank, off-budget- check to write to pay for it, using our children and our children’s futures.
Obama’s strategy admits of two things: first, we can’t know beyond any doubt that the situation is what we say it might be, and second, we’re certain beyond a reasonable doubt that Assad is gassing his people. The President’s strategy seems to be flexible enough to withdraw once we have that last problem under some form of control.
Of course, this completely ignores the 100,000 Syrians whom Assad has killed using conventional weapons. Somehow, we’re OK with that under some warped Prime Directive-type strategy.
Either you’re in or you’re out, is my feeling.
He’s caught between a rock and a hard place of his own creation, is my guess, and he’s trying to navigate the very narrow straits he’s left himself.
(Cross-posted at Simply Left Behind.)
By Frank Moraes I’ve got a great way to make a group of people think that the government is complete corrupt and without any accountability. It’s really easy. Have the [...]
By Frank Moraes
I’ve got a great way to make a group of people think that the government is complete corrupt and without any accountability. It’s really easy. Have the people on TV tell them every day about some terrible scandal. Of course, there is no actual scandal. The news readers just report things that indicate that there is a scandal and don’t report the vast majority of the evidence that indicates there is nothing going on. And then, when all the possible scandal confirming information has been reported, the TV drops the subject altogether.
This is brilliant because the news source never actually lied. It provided true, if highly misleading information. But the biggest part of this is not information at all; it is the sudden lack of reporting. Why would they do that?! It must be yet another example of the government clamping down on the news media. We really do have a fascist government! It won’t even let them talk about these scandals on TV!
Yesterday, The Hill reported, House Republicans See Long Slog Ahead for Probes of IRS Targeting. It got me thinking about the effects that all of these non-scandals are having on conservative television viewers. For almost a year, they’ve been told that Benghazi is a big scandal: Obama killed those four people! And now? Nothing other than occasional comments to the effect that Benghazi is a bad scandal that shows how terrible the administration is, even if there is no evidence to support that.
What’s interesting about the article in The Hill is that the Republicans themselves seem to be aware that they are doing this. Actually, it’s been pretty clear for a while. Why else would Darrell Issa be selectively and deceptively releasing information from the House hearings? But it goes further than that:
“We knew that there was going to be a time when we would not put any new information out there,” said Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), who heads the Ways and Means investigations subcommittee. “I wouldn’t even describe it as a lull in the process. I would just say that without new information to reveal out to the media, it seems quiet.”
In other words, “We are only going to put out information that furthers our goals of embarrassing the White House.” It also makes it sound as if the Republicans on the committee want to slow the process down so that they can use this non-scandal (You do know it is a non-scandal, right?) throughout next year’s election cycle to impugn the Democratic Party.
As much as any group, conservatives bemoan the fact that the people have no respect or confidence in the major institutions of American life (except shockingly, the military). Yet they are willing to hurt our country on this score in the name of short term political gain. There is no doubt that Charles Boustany and Darrell Issa know there is no scandal behind the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups. But they will use their plausible narrative and willing accomplices in the conservative media to imply that it is true. It’s shameful. It’s traitorous.
By Mustang Bobby There is a chance that the Supreme Court will hand down rulings today on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8 cases. Mondays are usually [...]
There is a chance that the Supreme Court will hand down rulings today on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Prop 8 cases. Mondays are usually good for Court rulings, so it will either be today or a week from today.
There are any number of ways the Court could rule on DOMA. They could go full tilt and overturn it completely, saying that federal law has no business dictating to the several states how to define marriage, or they could overturn the section of the law that denied marriage benefits to a legally married couple in New York, which was the basis for the suit in the first place. Or they could not rule at all, leaving the lower court rulings in place. Not being a lawyer or a dug-in Court watcher like SCOTUSblog, I have no tea leaves to read and report on, but my gut tells me that the Court will come down narrowly on the side of tossing DOMA to the point that it is basically ineffective and unenforceable. I’m guessing 5-4 with a vehement dissent from Scalia who will carry on like a diva about how the homosexual lobby has driven the Court to a politically correct ruling. (After Bush v. Gore, irony is not Justice Scalia’s strong suit.) I don’t hold out much of a possibility that they will leave DOMA intact. They would not have waited this long on that ruling.
As for California’s Prop 8, the Court could go the same way as DOMA: they could rule that the voter-approved ban on marriage equality in California violates the equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution and thereby reinstate the 2008 California supreme court ruling that marriage equality is permissible in the state. If they narrowly apply that ruling — meaning it is specific only to the case in California — then marriage equality would be the law there and only there. Or they could rule that bans on marriage equality violate the equal protection clauses, thereby overturning them in the states that provide for civil unions but not marriage, which would only apply to those states that have civil unions. Or they could rule that all bans on marriage equality are unconstitutional and overturn every state law prohibiting it, much as they did with Loving v. Virginia in 1967 that ruled bans on interracial marriage anywhere were unconstitutional, not just in Virginia. Or — and here’s the out for the Court — they could rule that the party suing to keep the ban in place did not have standing to sue, which would mean the case would be tossed and the lower court ruling — in favor of marriage equality — would stand. A punt win for equality.
Again my gut tells me that it will be a narrow ruling, holding 5-4 in favor of marriage equality, but only for the state of California, again with an intemperate dissent from the right wing of the Court. I doubt that they will have the courage of their predecessors to impose the ruling across the country. They’ll go states-rights on this one because they think that the LGBT community has enough political clout to get marriage equality passed without their help. (If that was true, then why would the cases have been brought in the first place?) Like DOMA, I don’t think they’ll rule completely in favor of leaving the ban in place. As for the lack of standing ruling, I doubt they would have held that back until now; they would have handed that one down a lot sooner.
So that’s what I think, based on nothing more than watching the Court from a distance for the last 45 years or so, and I pretty much nailed it a year ago on Obamacare. The kicker is that if the Court rules today, I won’t be able to blog about it until I get home tonight. That’s one of the reasons I tried to cover all the bases. I know I missed something, and they’ll probably rule on a part that I missed. So sue me.
If there is no ruling, I’ll be back with another SCOTUS post next Monday, which is most likely the last day the Court will hand down rulings, including the ones on the Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action. Stay tuned.
(USA Today): “G-8: Obama arrives in Northern Ireland”(Reuters): “Obama does not feel Americans privacy violated: chief of staff”(ThinkProgress): “Lindsey Graham warns GOP: ‘It doesn’t matter who we run in 2016′ [...]
(USA Today): “G-8: Obama arrives in Northern Ireland”
(Reuters): “Obama does not feel Americans privacy violated: chief of staff”
(ThinkProgress): “Lindsey Graham warns GOP: ‘It doesn’t matter who we run in 2016′ if immigration reform falls”
(CNN): “CNN Poll: Obama approval falls amid controversies”
(New York Times): “From inner circle of Iran, a pragmatic victor”
(CNET): “NSA admits listening to US phone calls without warrants”(Politico): “Cheney defends NSA surveillance”(Boston Globe): “”Markey holds solid lead over Gomez, poll says”(New York Times): “Bill schools Barry on Syria”(The [...]