Saturday, December 11, 2010

Madoff Son Found Dead of Apparent Suicide

Mark Madoff, far left.

New York (CNN) -- Mark Madoff, the son of convicted Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff, apparently killed himself while his wife was out of town and his 2-year-old son was asleep in a nearby bedroom, New York police officials said Saturday.

One more life ruined.

Posted via email from

Bernie Is A Monster!

Senator Bernie Sanders, showing Neocons that filibustering is about logic and not about reading out of a phone book.

Posted via email from


Republicans and their voters are shameless. Willfully delinquent of consistent morals. #complete scum

Posted via email from

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bernie Sanders on C-SPAN: American Hero, Must Watch

"I am absolutely sure that millions of people in one way or another are telling the same stories. These are great Americans. These are people who work, people who want to do the best they can by their kids, and they are simply not making it right now. These people. This is the United States of America, year 2010. People are going cold. People are going cold. People don’t have enough food. People are homeless. And my friends here are talking about tax breaks for billionaires? My friends here are talking about lowering rates on the estate tax for the top 3/10 of 1% of the American people? What are we talking about? What kind of priorities are these?"

Bernie Sanders, 5:11 EST today. Hour 6.75

Wake Up, America. In the race to the bottom, winning is not the goal. We are crushing the country, rewarding the richest over and over again. What has this country come to?

As winter approaches, it's just going to get worse.

Posted via email from

$2 Trillion Cash In Hand And Want More Tax Breaks?

WikiLeaks vs US Hosting Press Freedom Day: Irony Alert

With American politicians screaming for Julian Assange to be killed, and US companies pressured to squeeze Wikileaks, I was most surprised to see this State Department press statement put out this week:

The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from May 1-3, Washington, D.C.
The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The US places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals right to freedom of expression.

At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information.”

Posted via email from

$990 Billion Reasons Republicans Are Clueless And Fake

Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 - and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years - which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?

If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years. Two-thirds of that is above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts but includes such urgent national necessities as windmill subsidies.

No mean achievement. After all, these are the same Republicans who spent 2010 running on limited government and reducing debt. And this budget busting occurs less than a week after the president’s deficit commission had supposedly signaled a new national consensus of austerity and frugality.


Republicans and Tea Klanners ran 2010 elections on reducing debt and Government spending. The fact that Republicans just approved $990 billion in borrowed spending does not even register with their conservative base. #imbeciles #fake rage

Posted via email from

Thursday, December 09, 2010

STFU Capitalists

Ezra Klein: The Tax Deal In One Graph


Chinese censors apparently began blocking the news Web sites of CNN, the BBC and the Norwegian broadcaster NRK from appearing in China on Thursday, a day before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is to be held in Oslo to honor Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned dissident.

Posted via email from

Charles & Camilla's Car Hit By Demonstrators

The protests are over plans to hike tuition fees to £9,000 a year.

The Rolls-Royce limousine was en route to the London Palladium to see performers like Kylie Minogue, Take That and N-Dubz.

Take your pick, both are worthy of a paint bombing.

Posted via email from

GOP To 9/11 Responders: Fuck You

Senate Republicans on Thursday derailed a bill to aid people who got sick after exposure to dust from the World Trade Center's collapse in the Sept. 11 attack.

Moral obligation? Republicans don't know what that means.

If Halliburton would have provided half the health care and compensation at three times the price, Republicans would have voted "yea" reflexively.

Posted via email from

Ireland Proposes 90% Bank Bonus Tax

Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said on Thursday he would impose a 90 per cent tax on bankers’ bonuses, in a move to try to silence critics who have said the banking sector drove Ireland into the ground.

“As far as the future is concerned I do propose to introduce the amendment to the finance bill to put this matter beyond any doubt and provide a high rate, a 90 per cent rate of charge on any ... bankers’ bonuses,” Mr. Lenihan told local radio.

On using bank bailouts to pay banker's bonuses:

“Let me make this clear, they’re entitled to be paid it, we’re entitled to tax it,” Fine Gael deputy leader James Reilly.

Posted via email from

House Passes DREAM Act


The controversial immigration bill known as the DREAM Act passed the House of Representatives Wednesday, but the Senate’s approval remained uncertain. Passed mainly along party lines, the DREAM Act allows illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors to apply for citizenship after graduating from high school. It has been hotly debated—supporters say kids shouldn’t be punished for being taken to the U.S. illegally, while detractors say it offers amnesty. The DREAM Act also allows its beneficiaries to apply for federal grants, such as Pell Grants, to attend college. The Congressional Budget Office has said the measure will cut the federal deficit by $1.4 billion and increase government revenue by $2.3 billion over the next decade. Earlier in the evening, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said a scheduling conflict caused a delay of the Senate’s vote.

(Source: CNN)

Protecting and educating. Republicans will hate this.

Posted via email from

LEAKED EMAIL: Fox Boss Caught Slanting News Reporting

At the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News' controversial Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network's journalists not to use the phrase "public option."

Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox's reporters should use "government option" and similar phrases -- wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats' reform efforts.

From Bill Sammon's email:

2) When it is necessary to use the term "public option" (which is, after all, firmly ensconced in the nation's lexicon), use the qualifier "so-called," as in "the so-called public option."

We report, you decide? Fox is a Republican PAC. 24/7.

Posted via email from

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Tax Cuts In Context

A VISUAL BREAKDOWN.... Analysis of any compromise is invariably going to focus on who got what, and in this case, the New York Times offers this breakdown of the tax policy agreement between the White House and congressional Republicans.

Of its estimated $900 billion-plus cost over two years, roughly $120 billion covers the high-end tax cuts and the estate tax cut, $450 billion covers Mr. Obama's wish list and $360 billion covers the tax cut extensions both parties favored.

Tim Fernholz asked rhetorically, "Was anyone else expecting a $450 billion stimulus this year? Me neither."

I thought I'd go ahead and create a visual for this. The left column shows the cost of the Republicans' high-end tax cuts in the deal; the middle column shows the cost of President Obama's progressive priorities like an extension of unemployment benefits; and the right column shows the cost of the tax cuts for those making under $250,000, which both parties generally supported. (The y axis is in billions of dollars.)


The clear majority of the costs here are going to Democratic priorities. And why on earth would Republicans go along with a proposal that includes expenses beyond their own priorities? Because as Jon Chait noted yesterday, "Republicans love them some rich folk," and GOP leaders are "willing to bargain away a lot to help the very rich."

That doesn't necessarily make the agreement a great deal, but it's a context worth keeping in mind.

Steve Benen 1:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

Bookmark and Share

A pragmatic philosopher President and "scorched Earth" nihilistic opposition don't mix.

Posted via email from

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Capitalism vs Communism In Education: Invest In Your Kids

I can’t see this getting better with education funding always being marginalized and kids having the attention span of a chimp on speed. You invest in your kids, you get results.

You pay for what you get. You get who you elect.

Posted via email from

Obama: President; McConnell: Sucker

And notice that Obama has secured - with Republican backing - a big new stimulus that will almost certainly goose growth and lower unemployment as he moves toward re-election. If growth accelerates, none of the current political jockeying and Halperin-style hyper-ventilation will matter. Obama will benefit - thanks, in part, to Republican dogma.

So here's something the liberal base can chew on if they need some grist: how cool is it that Mitch McConnell just made Barack Obama's re-election more likely? Bet you didn't see that one coming, did you?

"The GOP has won again on tactics, but keeps losing on strategy. Obama can avoid an all-out fight over short-term taxes and spending now in the wake of a big GOP victory in order to set up the real debate about long-term taxes and spending over the next two years.

The president urgently needs to get the new START and DADT through the Senate. DADT would be a major boost for his base - and the country's military. Getting START through is critical to his foreign policy cred. If he can pull all this off by Christmas - and the Senate should indeed stay open for an extra week - the last Congress will indeed be viewed by historians as one of the most substantive (and liberal) in recent history. And Obama will have orchestrated it - while ending up firmly planted and rebranded in the center."

Posted via email from

December 7, 1941. A day that will live in infamy.

USS Arizona - Pearl Harbor Memorial, Hawaii

The GOP Has Their Demands

Fox Lawyers Up

The Fox News network has solicited the services of a prominent D.C. law firm and an equally prominent campaign finance lawyer to ward off a suit alleging that it made illegal in-kind contributions to a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Fox gives direct contributions Republicans, lets top Republicans Presidential candidates have shows, gives millions in free airtime to support GOP views, and promotes, on-air and on-location, anything the Tea Party wants.

Then has the balls to turn around and call someone fascist? A media outlet directly run by, and supportive to, the Conservative party = fascism.

Posted via email from

Sen. Bernie Sanders Holding The Line For Democrats

Senator Bernie Sanders threatens to filibuster tax cut deals.

Video Transcript

SANDERS: Not only is this bad public policy, driving up the deficit, increasing the growing gap between the rich and everybody else… I think it is bad politics. It’s bad politics in the sense of who is going to believe the President, or anybody who votes for this, in the future when you have campaigned for years against Bush’s economic policy and say “Oh, by the way, that’s what I’m voting for. I’m voting for tax breaks for the rich.” And by the way, if it turns out in this deal to be two years, you can bet that that’s just the beginning. It will be extended beyond that. So I think for a Democratic President, Democratic House, Democratic Senate to be following the Bush economic philosophy of tax breaks, millionaires, and billionaires is absolutely wrong public policy, absolutely wrong politically, and I gotta tell you… I will do whatever I can to see that 60 votes are not acquired to pass this piece of legislation.

SCHULTZ: Will you filibuster this?

SANDERS: I will do whatever I can on this. This is a very, very bad agreement.

SCHULTZ: So the two year extension of the Bush tax cuts, the thirteen months on unemployment, that’s the reported meat of the deal. You’re telling us tonight that you will do everything you can to stop this deal—

SANDERS: I will.

SCHULTZ: —this will of course push it into the next session of Congress and we would go back to the old right(?). That’s what would you take right now, Senator?

SANDERS: I believe, Ed, that we have the vast majority of the American people on our side. I think we gotta hold tough on this, hold firm on this, and not concede to Republicans, who as you indicated, have no inclination to compromise. They want it all for their rich friends.

I won’t vote for Republicans - not even when they call themselves Democrats.

This will be a growing story.

Posted via email from

Monday, December 06, 2010

Republican Nihilism

"What we’ve observed these past two years is a political party that knows nothing but scorched earth tactics, cannot begin to see any merits in the other party’s arguments, refuses to compromise one inch on anything, and has sought from the very beginning to do nothing but destroy the Obama presidency. I see no other coherent message or strategy since 2008. Just opposition to everything, zero support for a president grappling with a recession their own party did much to precipitate, and facing a fiscal crisis the GOP alone made far worse with their spending in the Bush-Cheney years. There is not a scintilla of responsibility for their past; not a sliver of good will for a duly elected president.
Worse, figures like Cantor and McCain actively seek to back foreign governments against the duly elected president of their own country, and seek to repeal the signature policy achievement of Obama’s first two years, universal healthcare."
The Conservatives' inconsistent morality and complete denial in anything they have done that has contributed to the 2008 global collapse is disheartening.

It's draining having to deal with such intellectual delinquents.


Liberal Tweet Of The Day

WikiLeaks Attempts to Expose Palin’s Thoughts, Finds Nothing

That’s the bombshell from fugitive founder Julian Assange, who said that after months of hacking former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s brain, WikiLeaks has come up empty.

“I challenge the best hackers in the business to have a look inside,” he said, speaking from an undisclosed location.  “There’s nothing there.”

These jokes-as-news are pretty spot on.

Posted via email from

Why Is Saving $4.6 Trillion Such A Hard Idea?

Back in 2001, former President George W. Bush pulled a fast one. He wanted to enact an irresponsible tax cut, largely for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans. But there were Senate rules in place designed to prevent that kind of irresponsibility. So Mr. Bush evaded the rules by making the tax cut temporary, with the whole thing scheduled to expire on the last day of 2010.

The plan, of course, was to come back later and make the thing permanent, never mind the impact on the deficit. But that never happened. And so here we are, with 2010 almost over and nothing resolved.

Democrats have tried to push a compromise: let tax cuts for the wealthy expire, but extend tax cuts for the middle class. Republicans, however, are having none of it. They have been filibustering Democratic attempts to separate tax cuts that mainly benefit a tiny group of wealthy Americans from those that mainly help the middle class. It’s all or nothing, they say: all the Bush tax cuts must be extended. What should Democrats do?

The answer is that they should just say no. If G.O.P. intransigence means that taxes rise at the end of this month, so be it.

Think about the logic of the situation. Right now, the Republicans see themselves as successful blackmailers, holding a clear upper hand. President Obama, they believe, wouldn’t dare preside over a broad tax increase while the economy is depressed. And they therefore believe that he will give in to their demands.

But while raising taxes when unemployment is high is a bad thing, there are worse things. And a cold, hard look at the consequences of giving in to the G.O.P. now suggests that saying no, and letting the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule, is the lesser of two evils.

Bear in mind that Republicans want to make those tax cuts permanent. They might agree to a two- or three-year extension — but only because they believe that this would set up the conditions for a permanent extension later. And they may well be right: if tax-cut blackmail works now, why shouldn’t it work again later?

America, however, cannot afford to make those cuts permanent. We’re talking about almost $4 trillion in lost revenue just over the next decade; over the next 75 years, the revenue loss would be more than three times the entire projected Social Security shortfall. So giving in to Republican demands would mean risking a major fiscal crisis — a crisis that could be resolved only by making savage cuts in federal spending.

And we’re not talking about government programs nobody cares about: the only way to cut spending enough to pay for the Bush tax cuts in the long run would be to dismantle large parts of Social Security and Medicare.

So the potential cost of giving in to Republican demands is high. What about the costs of letting the tax cuts expire? To be sure, letting taxes rise in a depressed economy would do damage — but not as much as many people seem to think.

A few months ago, the Congressional Budget Office released a report on the impact of various tax options. A two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, it estimated, would lower the unemployment rate next year by between 0.1 and 0.3 percentage points compared with what it would be if the tax cuts were allowed to expire; the effect would be about twice as large in 2012. Those are significant numbers, but not huge — certainly not enough to justify the apocalyptic rhetoric one often hears about what will happen if the tax cuts are allowed to end on schedule.

Oh, and what about confidence? I’ve been skeptical about claims that budget deficits hurt the economy even in the short run, because they undermine confidence in the government’s long-run solvency. Advanced countries, I’ve argued, have a lot of fiscal leeway. But anything that makes permanent extension of obviously irresponsible tax cuts more likely also sends a strong signal to investors: it says, “Hey, we aren’t really an advanced country; we’re a banana republic!” And that can’t be good for the economy.

Last but not least: if Democrats give in to the blackmailers now, they’ll just face more demands in the future. As long as Republicans believe that Mr. Obama will do anything to avoid short-term pain, they’ll have every incentive to keep taking hostages. If the president will endanger America’s fiscal future to avoid a tax increase, what will he give to avoid a government shutdown?

So Mr. Obama should draw a line in the sand, right here, right now. If Republicans hold out, and taxes go up, he should tell the nation the truth, and denounce the blackmail attempt for what it is.

Yes, letting taxes go up would be politically risky. But giving in would be risky, too — especially for a president whom voters are starting to write off as a man too timid to take a stand. Now is the time for him to prove them wrong.

Why are Bush's failed ideas still fucking with us? Afghanistan and Iraq Wars? Bush's tax incentives for the mega rich?

We have to frame the disastrous 8 years of Bush better. They sucked suck. They left America is the worst shape in 80 years. Wake up, America.

Posted via email from

What Happened to the Brown Menace?

Is it just me, or did the issue of illegal immigration just completely fall off the radar after the first week of November? Did something happen then that would make illegal immigration no longer an issue? I wonder what it was…
via: balloon-juice

GOP identity politics, just like the Gay Marriage Amendment in 2004, completely disappear once the elections are over.

Understatement Of The Day

The wife of Justice Clarence Thomas says her phone call to Anita Hill was "probably a mistake on my part."

In an interview with the Daily Caller, Virginia Thomas said her call to Hill was not the reason she resigned as leader of the conservative "citizen activists" group Liberty Central.

This is how Republicans react when they are 100% wrong, they use "probably". It was a mistake. You were in the wrong.

Ginny Thomas claimed she was "extending an olive branch" by leaving the most creepy message ever, which implicitly accused Hill of lying.

Pretty much par the GOP course: up is down, morality is subjective to your own selfish interests, never apologize for your hypocrisies and failures in judgment.

Posted via email from

Bush v Gore 10 Years Later: Worst. Ruling. Ever.

In the first ten years after Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision that ended the doctrine of separate but equal in public education, the Justices cited the case more than twenty-five times. In the ten years after Roe v. Wade, the abortion-rights decision of 1973, there were more than sixty-five references to that landmark.
This month marks ten years since the Court, by a vote of five-to-four, terminated the election of 2000 and delivered the Presidency to George W. Bush. Over that decade, the Justices have provided a verdict of sorts on Bush v. Gore by the number of times they have cited it: zero.
"Many of the issues before the Supreme Court combine law and politics in ways that are impossible to separate. It is, moreover, unreasonable to expect the Justices to operate in a world hermetically cut off from the gritty motives of Democrats and Republicans. But the least we can expect from these men and women is that at politically charged moments—indeed, especially at those times—they apply the same principles that guide them in everyday cases. This, ultimately, is the tragedy of Bush v. Gore. The case didn’t just scar the Court’s record; it damaged the Court’s honor."

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Giving Handouts To The Mega-Rich?

Preserving Bush Tax Cuts For Rich Costs $60 Billion Per Year. Here’s What Eliminating Them Could Pay For

David Leonhart in the New York Times looks at what could be paid for with the $60 billion per year the Bush tax cuts, now being preserved.

  • A tripling of federal funding for medical research.
  • Universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, with relatively small class sizes.
  • A much larger troop surge in Afghanistan, raising spending by 60 percent from current levels.
  • A national infrastructure program to repair and upgrade roads, bridges, mass transit, water systems and levees.
  • A 15 percent cut in corporate taxes.
  • Twice as much money for clean-energy research as suggested by a recent bipartisan plan.
  • Free college, including room and board, for about half of all full-time students, at both four- and two-year colleges.
  • A $500 tax cut for all households.

Posted via email from