Blog Archives

It’s the beginning of the most important day of the year…

Waking up to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

Nate Silver now projects President Obama’s margin of victory to be two or three percentage points in the popular vote, approximating the margin that George W. Bush achieved in defeating John Kerry in 2004.

In addition, he gives Obama a 91.6% chance to win the necessary 270 electoral votes for re-election.

John Avlon: “The final polls are out and behind the national horserace is a fascinating dynamic — Mitt Romney is narrowly winning independent voters while President Obama is winning centrist voters by a nearly 20-point margin.”

“This is significant because in past elections independents and centrist voters have been largely synonymous-overlapping cohorts, reflecting the belief of many independents that the two parties are too polarized and disproportionately dominated by their respective special interests. But what I think we’re seeing this year is the extended impact of the tea party – a growth in the number of independent conservatives that has moved the overall independent voting block slightly to the right. In turn, centrist voters are more likely to vote for Obama precisely because of the polarizing impact of the tea party and the intransigence of many conservative congressmen when it came to working in a good faith spirit of principled compromise with the Obama administration.”

OK… I’m off for my morning appointments (gee…how do people get up this early?).  – Bill

 

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Steve Kornacki has a review of Romneys unfortunate statements in Salon

 

The article is called “Mitt’s shameful Libya statement.”

Here’s how it starts:

That it’s fundamentally dishonest hasn’t stopped Mitt Romney from repeating his central critique of Barack Obama’s foreign policy over and over – the idea that the president “went around the world and apologized for America.”  So it shouldn’t be surprising that Romney’s response to the attacks on U.S. diplomatic installations in Egypt and Libya was rooted in the same caricature of Obama as apologizer-in-chief.

“It’s disgraceful,” Romney’s statement, which was released late Tuesday night, read, “that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

That’s not at all what happened, of course.

Read the rest HERE.

 

I’m really tired of hearing how Obama is costing WV coal jobs. Not True!

This is for you folks out there who are buying the Tea Party Joe Manchin lies. From West Virginia Blue, a blog I have great respect for:

West Virginia Coal Mine Jobs Rise Under Obama

      Despite the lies told by Sen. Joe Manchin (Joe Manchin) and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (Joe Manchin) and the Friends of Coal Barons Who Kill Miners, President Barack Obama’s EPA has not spelled doom to coal jobs. In fact, the opposite is true:

While the Obama administration and the EPA may be taking a harder look at mountain top removal mining permits, a quick look at coal mining employment in West Virginia reveals that since Obama took office in the winter of 2009 coal mining employment has grown by over 1,500 jobs or by 7.4%. If we measure from the end of the national recession in June 2009 (or the 2nd Quarter of 2009) to the third-quarter of 2011 (the latest available data), employment in the coal mining industry has grown by 3,100. For comparison, total employment in West Virginia has only grown by 2.9% over this period.

People have to really hate Obama to push the lies that come out of the coal industry, out of Manchin’s office and out of the Romney Campaign. It’s possible that the West Virginia politicos (even those claiming to be “Democrats”) have other goals in mind for this pathetically poor state.

We’ll see.

Quote of the Day (perhaps the Quote of the Month) from a Congressional Idiot:

Rohrabacher joins the Ranks of the Inverted

“Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rain forests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases? Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?”

 – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R – California

Rohrabacher was questioning Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s climate change envoy, on whether the nation’s climate policy should focus on reducing the more than 80 percent of carbon emissions produced by the natural world in the form of decaying plant matter.

And was he serious about this question… it seems like he was. So let’s cut down the rainforests and turn the world into an oxygen-depleted desert. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that forests soak up more than 1/3 of the world’s carbon emissions… and maybe we would do better to not cut down any more forests…ever.

Responding to a NY Times article on Rohrabacher’s statement, a Dallas, TX, reader commented:

Rep. Rohrabacher may not be that far out of the GOP thinking on the environment. It was his fellow Californian Ronald Reagan who claimed in 1981 that: “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.”

Is the lack of thinking problem endemic to California? Or to Republicans? Or just to Congressmen in general? As Mark Twain said:

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” 

Speak out on Monsanto… Tell the President…

Roundup (herbicide)

Monsanto's Poison

Dear Friend,

Over the past 12 days, the Obama administration has recklessly and unnecessarily chosen to approve two biotech crops, Roundup Ready genetically modified (GMO) alfalfa and Roundup Ready genetically modified (GMO) sugar beets. While the planting of both these crops had been temporarily halted due to court decisions, Obama’s recent approval of them will allow them to be planted as early as this spring, despite widespread acknowledgment that these crops are certain to contaminate both conventional and organic farmers‘ non-GMO crops. Their approval only benefits one company — Monsanto.

These decisions are a devastating blow to our democracy and the basic rights of farmers to choose how they want to grow food on their land and the rights of consumers who increasingly choose organic and sustainably grown food for its positive health and environmental impacts.

Let them know that you care about organic integrity by following this link from Food Democracy Now!, then please pass this on. Please join me in telling President Obama that it’s time to stand up to Monsanto and reject these GMO crops today!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/obama_goes_rogue_on_gmos/?referring_akid=.271844.qz2xd8&source=taf

Every voice counts!


Thank you!

What do you know about Darrell Issa?

Now that the Republicans control the House, Rep. Darrell Issa (R – CA) will be heading the House Oversight Committee and has pledged to investigate all kinds of things. He has also referred to the Obama Administration as “corrupt” and called Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” He has stated that he’s aiming for the ambitious goal of holding “seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks.”  Whew!

So what do we really know about Issa? Multimillionaire? Manufacturer of Viper Auto Alarms? Criminal?

Here’s an article Media Matters ran last June:

Rep. Issa: A Past Filled With Suspected Arson, Weapons Charges & Auto Theft

June 01, 2010 10:34 am ET

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has received a lot of media coverage lately as he demands an investigation into an alleged job offer made to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA).  What’s interesting about this scenario is not only the fact that it doesn’t appear a crime was committed, but also that Issa himself has lived through numerous scandals and allegations without any judicial consequence.

Suspected Arson

1982: Issa Suspected, But Never Charged, In Arson Incident At Manufacturing Plant. According to the Los Angeles Times: “A suspected arson fire ripped through [Issa’s Ohio] manufacturing plant in 1982. No one was ever charged in the fire, but authorities were troubled by a dramatic escalation in the facility’s fire insurance just weeks earlier. Even before the blaze was put out, investigators began peppering Issa and his partner with ‘crazy questions’ regarding their whereabouts before the fire, Issa recalled.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/23/98, via Nexis, emphasis added]

  • Prior To Fire, Issa “Boosted” Fire Insurance And Removed A Computer From The Premises. According to the Los Angeles Times: “Weeks before the fire, Issa and [business partner] Hunsinger boosted their fire insurance from $ 100,000 to $ 462,000 on property stored for other companies…At the same time, a separate company that contracted with Quantum to outfit bug zappers increased its insurance to $ 400,000, and, according to an insurance report, one investigator was ‘concerned about the coincidence.’ Fire investigators also noted that a computer was taken off the site eight days before the fire, ‘allegedly to be reprogrammed’ by Issa’s lawyer, and that business blueprints were put away in a safe–which was ‘not previously done before.'” [Los Angeles Times, 5/23/98, via Nexis]

“Suspicious Burn Patterns” And “Out Of Normal Practice” Behavior Alerted Investigators. The Washington Post reported: “Investigators reported ‘suspicious burn patterns’ and said the fire may have been set. A company bookkeeper, Karen Brasdovich, also told them that computers and records had been removed from the site days before the fire for no clear reason. ‘It was totally out of normal practice,’ she said in a telephone interview last week.” [Washington Post via FTLComm.com, 7/8/03]

AC Custom Fire: Flammable Liquid Had “Been Poured On The Only Area Not Covered By Fire Sprinklers.” The Los Angeles Times reported that “seven months after Issa took control,” a fire broke out at the “Quantum manufacturing plant.”  “Case files from Maple Heights, the Ohio fire marshal and insurers pointed repeatedly to the likelihood of arson in the blaze, which officials estimated caused $ 800,000 in damage. Although an accident could not be ruled out, the uneven and unnatural burn patterns made the blaze ‘suspicious in nature,’ the state concluded two months later. Flammable liquid appeared to have been poured on the only area not covered by fire sprinklers, investigators found.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/23/98, via Nexis, emphasis added]

Intimidation With A Weapon

Former AC Custom Executive Claimed Issa Intimidated Him With A Gun. According to the Los Angeles Times: “One of Issa’s first tasks as the new boss [of AC Custom] was to remove an executive named Jack Frantz. According to Frantz, Issa came into his office, placed a small box on the desk and opened it. Inside, he said, was a gun.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/23/98, via Nexis]

  • Issa Allegedly Used Intimidation To Fire Executive Frantz. According to the Los Angeles Times, Frantz claimed, “‘He just showed [the gun] to me and said ‘You know what this is?’ Issa invited Frantz to hold the gun at one point and told him he had learned about guns and explosives during his military days, Frantz said. Because he was about to be fired, Frantz said he saw it as ‘pure intimidation.'” [Los Angeles Times, 5/23/98, via Nexis]
  • Former AC Custom Bookkeeper: “It Was Pretty Terrifying.” According to the Los Angeles Times: “The bookkeeper, [Karen] Brasdovich, also recalled Issa having a gun at the company that day. ‘It was pretty terrifying,’ she said.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/23/98, via Nexis]

Issa On The Incident: “Shots Were Never Fired.” The Los Angeles Times reported: “Issa said, ‘Shots were never fired. If I asked Jack to leave, then I think I had every right to ask Jack to leave…I don’t recall having a gun. I really don’t. I don’t think I ever pulled a gun on anyone in my life.'” [Los Angeles Times, 5/23/98, via Nexis, emphasis added]

Auto Theft & Weapons Charges

Issa “Twice Arrested In 1972 On Weapons Charges.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle: “Issa was twice arrested in 1972 on weapons charges — once in Ohio, once in Michigan.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/2/03]

Issa Was Convicted Of “Possession Of An Unregistered Handgun,” Paid Fine, And Served Probation. According to the San Francisco Chronicle: “[W]hen Issa was attending college in Michigan, was fined $100 and put on three months’ probation after being arrested for possession of an unregistered handgun, Michigan court records show.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/2/03]

1972: Issa Was Arrested For Auto Theft. According to the New York Times: “In 1972, [Darrell Issa] and his brother William were arrested in the theft of a Maserati from a Cleveland car dealership.” [New York Times, 7/23/03]

1972: Issa Also Charged With “Carrying A Concealed Weapon.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle: “Court records…show that in March 1972, one month after getting out of the Army, Issa was arrested on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and auto theft. The court file doesn’t indicate the type of weapon involved.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/2/03]

Auto Theft, Concealed Weapons Charges Were Ultimately Dropped. According to the San Francisco Chronicle: “In May 1972, a grand jury indicted Issa on a larceny charge in connection with the car theft but dropped the weapons charge. Two weeks later, a prosecutor dropped the car theft charge as well.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/2/03]

  • Charges Were Dropped Despite Witness Reports. According to the Los Angeles Times, “a witness reported seeing [Darrell and William Issa] pushing the sports car down the street just before midnight, records and interviews show. But the charges were dismissed–months before the older brother, [William], was convicted of stealing another car amid a string of offenses.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/23/98, via Nexis]

Issa On His “Indiscretions”

Issa Blamed Past Discretions On Youth. According to the New York Times, Issa said: “Look, I was a kid. What would you rather have? A cardboard-cutout who never made a mistake when he was young only to become governor and then carry on like a juvenile delinquent?” [New York Times, 7/23/03]

Issa Blamed Older Brother For Run-Ins With The Law. According to the New York Times: “‘I love my older brother Billy,’ said Mr. Issa, explaining that he got caught in the orbit of his ne’er-do-well brother who has five felony convictions for car theft and is currently unemployed in Cleveland. ‘He stole a lot of cars. He stole my car. You could say that drew me to the car alarm business. Poetic justice.'” [New York Times, 7/23/03]

Issa Used Sarcasm To Downplay Checkered Past. In reference to reporters inquiring about his past, Issa said in a New York Times article, “Some day somebody’s going to report on those little pineapple squares I snitched at a party.” [New York Times, 7/23/03]

The stories of Issa and his brother make me think of Whitey and Billy Bulger in Boston (I’m currently reading a book about the two Bulgers, one a wanted murderer and the other a disgraced politician and former President of UMass… and it’s remarkable how Billy Bulger got dragged into things by hanging out with his outlaw brother Whitey.) So many coincidences! (Except, of course, that the Bulgers weren’t Republicans.)

The Big News of the Morning… the Wikileaks

Morning Joe is talking about, seemingly, nothing else this morning and Glenn Greenwald sums it up in Salon. Here’s a clip from Greenwald…
clipped from www.salon.com

The WikiLeaks Afghanistan leak
The most consequential news item of the week will obviously be — or at least should be — the massive new leak by WikiLeaks of 90,000 pages of classified material chronicling the truth about the war in Afghanistan from 2004 through 2009.  Those documents provide what The New York Times calls “an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal.”  The Guardian describes the documents as “a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fueling the insurgency.”
In addition to those two newspapers, WikiLeaks also weeks ago provided these materials to Der Spiegel, on the condition that all three wait until today to write about them.

Glenn Greenwald
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Fighting Over the Squandered Decade, By E.J. Dionne

Here’s a snip from a really well-thought-out column by E. J. Dionne. You’ll probably go in and read the whole thing:
clipped from www.truthdig.com
Certain decades shape the country’s political life for generations by leaving behind an era to embrace or, at least as often, to scorn.
I’m afraid that the past 10 years will be seen as a time when the United States badly lost its way by using our military power carelessly, misunderstanding the real challenges to our long-term security, and pursuing domestic policies that constrained our options for the future while needlessly threatening our prosperity.
I am aware that the previous paragraph is thoroughly controversial, and that befits any description of a politically consequential decade. Much of the contention surrounding Barack Obama’s presidency is simply a continuation of our argument over the effects of George W. Bush’s time in office.
That is why Obama, despite his fervent wishes, has been unable to usher in a new period of consensus.
So the Bush camp—Karl Rove’s regular contributions to The Wall Street Journal’s opinion pages are emblematic—must stay on the attack.
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Did you know the Deficit has come down $400 Billion already?

We don’t hear a lot about the controls coming from the Obama Administration, but this article in Roll Call caught my attention. Here’s a small clip… but read i all to see why things could get worse in 2011:
clipped from capitalgainsandgames.com

Far less prominent but no less important was another CBO report released that day — the monthly budget review with revised numbers for fiscal 2009. The bottom line: The deficit was about $1.4 trillion.

Before this deficit is demonized to the point where it’s considered something appropriate for HBO’s “True Blood,” several things need to be explained.
First, the new figure is much smaller than the $1.8 trillion estimate produced earlier in the year by the CBO.
Big swings in deficit projections are often due to dramatic changes in economic conditions, but that wasn’t the case this time.
Depending on what makes you happy, you can call this either a rejection of a spending increase or a reduction from what was proposed.
Either way, not only was federal spending in 2009 much lower than projected earlier in the year, this also is one of the largest one-year spending changes in recent federal budget history.

The real problem is coming in 2011 and beyond
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