Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Overreactions To Obama’s Fiscal Cliff Proposal

THINK PROGRESS

Yesterday, the Obama administration unveiled its proposal to avert the looming fiscal showdown. The plan included $1.6 trillion in increased taxes on the rich over the next decade, $400 billion in savings to be found in Medicare and other social programs, $50 billion in stimulus spending to begin next year, and an end to current debt ceiling rules.
This proposal is not new. It reflects the very policies Obama not only put forth in 2011, as Kevin Drum noted, but also campaigned on extensively this year. They are the very policies that the American public voted for in November when they granted Obama another four years. Exit polling also showed that 60 percent of voters wanted to see income taxes increased for wealthy Americans.
However, these facts didn’t stop conservatives from acting as though Obama had proposed the “Kill All The Puppies Act of 2012″. Here are five overreactions to Obama’s plan:
  • Worse than surrender in the Civil War: Leading conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer likened Obama’s proposal to the terms of surrender offered to Confederates in the Civil War, only the president’s deal was worse. “It’s not just a bad deal, this is really an insulting deal… Robert E. Lee was offered easier terms at Appomattox and he lost the Civil War,” said Krauthammer.
  • Out of a fairytale: Writing in her Wall Street Journal column, Kimberley Strassel lambasted the plan as “something out of Wonderland and Oz combined.” She went on to argue that Obama wasn’t negotiating in good faith. “The most frightening aspect of the White House proposal is that it wasn’t an error.”
  • “Nothing good can come of negotiating further”: RedState editor Erick Erickson, whose counsel congressional Republicans regularly seek, advised the GOP to pack up, go home, and take the country over the cliff. “Nothing good can come of negotiating further,” Erickson wrote. “The GOP should pass what they want and promptly go home. Let the Democrats stay and sort things out. Dive.”
  • “I’d walk out”: MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former GOP congressman, said that his Party ought to walk out of negotiations, saying Obama’s proposal was solely meant to “provoke” House Republicans. Speaking on his morning show, Scarborough detailed what his reaction would have been had he been in negotiations: “I would have said, ‘We’re all busy people, this is a critical time, if you’re going to come over here and insult us and intentionally try to provoke us, you can do that but I’m going back to work now.’ And I’d walk out.”
  • “Congress should dive headlong off fiscal cliff”: After a lengthy column detailing how going over the fiscal cliff “would shock the economy,” Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson advised GOPers to “dive headlong off fiscal cliff” following Obama’s proposal. “Republicans don’t have a lot of good choices right now,” Tucker wrote. “They might as well try it.”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

GOP Rejects White House Opening Budget Bid

TPM

Republicans have rejected President Obama’s opening budget bid.
In a Capitol meeting with House Speaker John Boehner Thursday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner submitted the Obama administration’s proposal for addressing medium term deficits, and avoiding across the board tax increases and spending cuts at the end of the year.
Republicans called the proposal outlandish and brushed it aside as unserious. But it’s almost entirely comprised of policies Obama campaigned on and included in his budget for the current fiscal year. And by satisfying GOP demands that Obama offer up a plan that includes spending cuts, it paints Republicans, who have been reluctant to specify their own Medicare cut proposal, into a tight corner.
The White House formally proposes to increase tax revenues by $1.6 trillion over 10 years by increasing top marginal income tax rates and taxes on both capital gains and dividends, and by limiting tax deductions for top earners, according to Republicans.
Obama proposes to reinstate the estate tax at its 2009 level, as well as patch the alternative minimum tax.
The administration asked Republicans to boost the economy, too, by either extending the payroll tax cut, or replace the holiday with a similar stimulus, such as the Making Work Pay tax credit in the Recovery Act. They also want to extend emergency unemployment benefits.
On top of that, the administration proposes $50 billion in new infrastructure spending, as well as a mortgage refinancing program. The plan would prevent automatic reimbursement cuts to physicians who treat Medicare beneficiaries, and would eliminate congressional control over the debt limit altogether.
In exchange, the administration proposes a tax reform proposal consistent with its $1.6 trillion in new tax revenues taken from top earners, and to cut 10-year deficits overall by $4 trillion, including $400 billion in savings from Medicare and Medicaid in Obama’s budget.

Hostess asks judge to approve additional $1.8 million in executive bonuses

RAW STORY


Texas-based Hostess Brands Inc. asked a judge on Wednesday to approve an additional $1.9 million in executive bonuses, according to The Associated Press, saying the money is needed to keep top managers on as the company sells off all its assets.
The now-defunct company, which rakes in more than $2.5 billion in annual sales, closed its doors earlier this month amid a strike by its unionized workers who refused to accept wage cuts. Despite still-heavy sales, the company declared bankruptcy twice in recent years as its revenues gradually fell. Many critics blamed the company’s net loss of $1.1 billion in FY 2012 on its failure to diversify into more healthy snacks.
The company’s most recent court filing asks New York-based bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain to give final approval of managements plans to liquidate its assets.
If approved, the move would be the final defeat for the company’s union, which saw Judge Drain order significant concessions from the workers earlier this month.
In addition to laying off more than 18,000 workers, the company stopped contributing to its union pension plans some time ago and now owes workers more than $111 million.
Gregory Rayburn, the company’s interim CEO, told The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday that more than 80 firms have lined up to buy out the company’s assets, in a series of sales that could pull in more than $1 billion. It is possible that the unionized workers could be hired on by one of those other companies.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Romney Campaign Did Great, Right? Yes, Says Man Who Ran Romney Campaign

Breaking news from the Washington Post: A Romney advisor thinks Mitt Romney did, like, so awesome in this election, and we should all feel really good about the future of the Republican Party.
Quit thinking Republicans suck, we only lost the biggest election in the country, says Stuart Stevens, chief Romney strategist (and occasional employee of child-soldier commanders):
On Nov. 6, Mitt Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters.
Yes, yes: Romney did so well! He got a majority among people who have a bunch of money, which was his only market, so good for him. We still do not have to pay attention to those pesky lower-middle-class households; they’re unreachable. Ditto 96 percent of blacks.
Let us peruse the rest of the column for a straight, unbiased analysis of the Romney strategy, from the Romney strategist. READ MORE »

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Penn Jillette: Donald Trump's 'Celebrity Apprentice' is Fake

Entertainment

In his new book, magician Penn Jillette, who has been on Celebrity Apprentice twice says the show is fake and there are no rules -- and that Donald Trump decides the rules as he goes on.
And the more you suck up to him, the more likely you are to go further in the game. Penn is on the All-Stars edition, or he was actually.
He suddenly was fired when news of his book's revelations started to leak. He also said that the boardroom scenes which only air a few minutes each episode take hours and hours to film because Donald loves listening to himself talk and thinks that everyone should also enjoy listening to him talk.
The talking has nothing to do with the show or who is going to get fired, which really only does take a few minutes. Penn says he spent 22 hours in the span of six weeks listening to Donald's speeches.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fox Host: People Who Died In Walmart Factory Fire Were Thankful For Their Jobs

THINK PROGRESS

The 129 Bangladeshis who died in a fire caused by poor fire safety conditions in their garment factory should be thankful for their jobs, according to Fox Business host Charles Payne. Speaking with Neil Cavuto on Fox News this Monday, Payne excused this Sunday’s fire as a rare event and labelled all critics of the unsafe conditions that contributed to the tragedy as anti-Capitalist:
PAYNE: It is tragic. I don’t think something like this will happen again. Don’t think that the people in Bangladesh who perished didn’t want or need those jobs, as well. I know we like to victimize everyone in this country, particularly when it comes to for-profit motivation, which is being assaulted. But, you know, it is a tragedy but I think it is a stretch, an amazing stretch, to sort of try to pin this on Walmart but, of course, the unions in this country are desperate.
Watch it:



The Bangladeshi factory in question, Tazreen Factories, had no functioning extinguishers, locked the exits, and employed managers who told factory workers to go back to their stations when the fire alarm went off. Since 2006, over 200 people have died in Bangladeshi garment factories as a consequence of the substandard safety precautions prevalent in their factory. Some believe companies like Walmart — whose brands were found in the burnt factory — would move if production at the faculty were more expensive; that is, if things like basic safety precautions were implemented.
During his defense of the factory, Payne referred to himself as “a spokesman for capitalism and the American Dream” and said “for a lot of people, this [Walmart business practice] is a step in the right direction.”

Florida Republicans Admit Voter Suppression Was The Goal Of New Election Laws

THINK PROGRESS

Floridians endured election chaos and marathon voting lines this year, largely thanks to reduced early voting hours, voter purges, and voter registration restrictions pushed by Republican legislators. In an exclusive report by the Palm Beach Post, several prominent Florida Republicans are now admitting that these election law changes were geared toward suppressing minority and Democratic votes.
Former governor Charlie Crist (R-FL) and former GOP chairman Jim Greer (R-FL), as well as several current GOP members, told the Post that Republican consultants pushed the new measures as a way to suppress Democratic voters. Crist expanded early voting hours in 2008 despite party pressure, but Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) targeted early voting almost immediately when he took office in 2011. Scott’s administration claimed the new laws were meant to curb in-person voter fraud, despite the fact that an individual in Florida is more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter fraud.
Current party members and consultants confirmed the motive was not to stop voter fraud but to make it harder for Democrats and minorities to vote:
Wayne Bertsch, who handles local and legislative races for Republicans, said he knew targeting Democrats was the goal. “In the races I was involved in in 2008, when we started seeing the increase of turnout and the turnout operations that the Democrats were doing in early voting, it certainly sent a chill down our spines. And in 2008, it didn’t have the impact that we were afraid of. It got close, but it wasn’t the impact that they had this election cycle,” Bertsch said, referring to the fact that Democrats picked up seven legislative seats in Florida in 2012 despite the early voting limitations.
Another GOP consultant, who did not want to be named, also confirmed that influential consultants to the Republican Party of Florida were intent on beating back Democratic turnout in early voting after 2008.
[...]A GOP consultant who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution said black voters were a concern. “I know that the cutting out of the Sunday before Election Day was one of their targets only because that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves,” he said.
Though the state ultimately went to President Obama, the Republican effort to suppress votes was largely successful. A post-election report found that new voting restrictions led to a huge increase in provisional ballots, which are cast when there is some question of the voter’s eligibility.
While crying voter fraud, the Florida GOP had to confront its own scandal when a voter registration firm they hired turned in hundreds of fraudulent registration forms in several Florida counties. The GOP hastily cut ties with the group when the state opened a criminal investigation into their operations.

Military expert booted after accusing Fox News of ‘operating as wing of the Republican Party’

RAW STORY


A Pulitzer Prize-winning author who is acclaimed for his military expertise had his interview abruptly ended on Monday after he accused Fox News of “operating as the wing of Republican Party” because the September attacks in Benghazi had been “hyped by this network especially.”
Fox News host Jon Scott noted that Tom Ricks had “spent decades covering our military” as he invited the author to analyze why Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) seemed to be backing away from his threat to block U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice’s potential nomination to become the next secretary of state.
“I think that Benghazi was generally hyped by this network especially,” Ricks explained. “And now that the [2012 presidential] campaign is over, I think [McCain] is backing off a little bit. They’re not going to stop Susan Rice from being secretary of state.”
At that point, Scott shifted the interview’s focus from McCain to defending his employer, asking Ricks, “How do you call that hype” when four Americans died in the Benghazi attacks?
“How many security contractors died in Iraq, do you know?” Ricks wondered.
“I don’t,” Scott admitted, seemingly at a loss for words.
“No, nobody does because nobody cared,” Ricks pointed out. “Several hundred died but there was never an official count done of security contractors dead in Iraq. So when I see this focus on what was essentially a small fire fight, I think — number one — I’ve covered a lot of fire fights, it’s impossible find out what happened in them sometimes.”
“And second, I think the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as wing of the Republican Party,” the author added.
“Alright, Tom Ricks, thanks for joining us today,” Scott said, ending the interview less than two minutes after it began.
“You’re welcome,” Ricks smiled.
Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum observed last week that the “Fox News effect” was reflected in a recent Pew poll which showed that 21 percent more Republicans than Democrats were “closely following” the Benghazi story.
“The only segment of the country that really cares about the sham Benghazi scandal is Republicans, and the reason Republicans are riled up about it is because of Fox News,” Drum wrote.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Forward this: The President's plan to keep your taxes low and reduce the deficit

Right now, President Obama is working with leaders of both parties in Washington to reduce the deficit in a balanced way so we can lay the foundation for long-term middle-class job growth and prevent your taxes from going up.
President Obama's plan to keep your taxes low and reduce the deficit
This is the President’s plan, but he’s not wedded to every detail. He is determined to work with Congress to find compromise and common ground. His guiding principle throughout this debate will be what’s best for the middle class. He’ll be fighting for you.
These problems are challenging, but they're solvable. In fact, the Senate has already passed a bill to keep your taxes low, and the House needs to pass it and Congress should get it to the President as soon as possible. There's a lot at stake, and with your help we'll continue to move this country forward.
Share this and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Jefferson Airplane -White Rabbit

Bob Dylan - Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Bob Dylan - Lay Lady Lay



Lyrics:
Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Whatever colors you have in your mind
I'll show them to you and you'll see them shine.

Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
Until the break of day, let me see you make him smile
His clothes are dirty but his hands are clean
And you're the best thing that he's ever seen.

Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
Why wait any longer for the world to begin
You can have your cake and eat it too
Why wait any longer for the one you love
When he's standing in front of you.

Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead
I long to see you in the morning light
I long to reach for you in the night
Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead.

Bob Dylan - All Along The Watchtower



Lyrics:
"There must be some way out of here" said the joker to the thief
"There's too much confusion", I can't get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.

"No reason to get excited", the thief he kindly spoke
"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late".

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

Pat Robertson admits his election prediction from God was wrong

Right Wing Invents New Bengahzi Conspiracy Theory: Top U.S. Intel Official Is A Liar

THINK PROGRESS

The Republicans’ new focus of attack in the faux “Benghazi-gate” scandal is Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, claiming that he lied about the source of changes to talking points on the Benghazi attack given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
Yesterday, a DNI spokesperson debunked accusations made by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and other Republicans that the White House changed Rice’s Benghazi talking points, saying that it was the intelligence community that made the “substantive” changes to the talking points. Moreover, former CIA head David Petraeus and other top intelligence officials have said there was no politicization of the process and that the talking points were not altered to minimize the role of extremists but to reflect the best intelligence at the time.
McCain appeared to accept the new information but wondered why Clapper and other DNI officials did not provide this information during closed door hearings last week. And now that all their earlier attacks on Rice have fell apart, Republicans and conservative media figures are directing their attacks at Clapper, a George W. Bush appointee:
– BILL O’REILLY: Now it’s James Clapper, President Obama’s national security guy who is saying, “Oh, it’s me. I sent Rice out there and I took out all the al Qaeda stuff.” I’m not buying it. None of this adds up. … All right so there’s a lot of lying going on here.
– CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I’m not buying it because the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said that a week ago in classified testimony that same Clapper said that they had no idea who changed the talking points and now a week later he seems to say he did? That’s kind of strange. I mean I’ve seen amnesia in my day in my clinical days and that one is pretty quick, one week.
– TUCKER CARLSON: I hate to think that the director of National Intelligence lied, is a liar. But I’m not sure I see an alternate explanation. Apparently, he’s contradicting what he testified to just last week. Is there another explanation for this?”
– FOX NEWS’ STEVE DOOCY: They did say it is out of the [DNI] office. It’s not him per se, so we’re supposed to believe that a Clapper aide changed what Petraeus had said? That’s very, very curious.
– REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC): This is the head of our national intelligence and he changed his mind within the course of 24 hours. So how are you possibly going to have any confidence in what he says?
And while Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) didn’t call Clapper a liar, he told Fox News’ Stuart Varney that he now might be involved in the alleged cover up:
GINGREY: Now have you got someone who basically can trump the CIA, especially if the president says to him — I am not suggesting that he did, but he could have — look, James, we need to kind of clean this up a little bit.. We are doing really well. We’re right about time for the election and we are doing very well on national security and this could blow our cover.

 The right wing has spent months trying to bring down the Obama administration in politicization the attacks in Benghazi that left four Americans dead and after all of their conspiracy theories and baseless attacks have been debunked, the rabbit hole appears to have led to Clapper and who knows where it will end.

WND Had A Most Cunning Plan To Stop Obama With Constitution, Except For One Tiny Detail: The Constitution

Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation and a guy who just loves the Constitution of the United States so much that he wakes up every morning with patriojizz all over his 2nd-amendment footie pajamas, published a brilliant plan the other day that had the potential to actually save America from the tragedy of national suicide represented by the reelection of gay black crack addict Barack Hussein Obama. And the best part about it? The plan invoked a Top Secret Loophole in the Constitution itself to save the Constitution! How neat is that? And it would have worked, too, if it weren’t for that darn Constitution.
Still, you have to admit he is one earnest little teabagger:
We have one last, final chance to save America. We have one last, final chance to stop Barack Obama. One final chance.
So if you believe in the Constitution Fairy, clap your hands!!! READ MORE »

Bill O’Reilly Is Very Peeved That People Found His Racist Rant Racist

So, Mr. O’Reilly here is really cheesed at You People for calling him a racist. All he did was point out that Barack Obama was reelected by a bunch of poor nonwhite people who want productive white Americans to give them All The Things, and then people started calling him bad names. Like “racist,” which is certainly a new one for Bill O’Reilly that he has never been called before! But look, children, Mitt Romney came out just a week after the election and said pretty much the same things himself, as Mr. O’Reilly points out. It’s just the truth! Nobody called Romney a racist (sure they did! Really! More than once!), but Romney also didn’t actually come out and say “White America is over, man.” He just implied it, like. READ MORE »

Classy Wrasslin’ Two-Time-Loser Lady Linda McMahon Stiffs Staff, Invites It To Screw Itself

Hmmm, it looks like your Wonkette didn’t bother to write even the littlest thing about two-time-Senate-loser and Wrasslin’ Lady Linda McMahon this time around, probably because we had used up all our folding-chair jokes the first time around, and also probably because we didn’t care. But in fact, it is AFTER her (second) loss that Linda McMahon has become interesting! And how has she done that? Well, once she’d blown $100 million of her own money on her two (losing) campaigns, it seems she didn’t have enough left over to pay the uniformly low-income and African American folks who had been her (low-wage) fake-supporters, so they just waited and waited. But then they told the press “hey this rich lady isn’t bothering to pay us!” So THEN they got checks with a condom in the envelope, so’s they could fuck themselves! AND THEN THE CHECKS BOUNCED ANYWAY. Oh man. READ MORE »

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

McCain Backs Away From Benghazi Conspiracies

THINK PROGRESS

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) today issued a statement essentially conceding that he was wrong in accusing the White House of changing U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s talking points on Benghazi for political purposes.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus told lawmakers last week that the CIA’s assessment that al Qaeda was responsible for the Sept. 11 attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi was taken out of Rice’s talking points after an interagency review. McCain and his allies then claimed the White House took out the talking points because it supposedly undercut the Obama administration’s narrative that it had severely weakened al Qaeda.
But Intelligence officials told CNN yesterday that the intelligence community was responsible for the changes made to Rice’s talking points. The Director of National Intelligence spokesperson said that the White House did not make any “substantive changes.”
McCain responded today and instead of taking issue with the substance of the report, the Arizona Republican wondered why administration and intelligence officials didn’t offer this information in closed door sessions:
“I participated in hours of hearings in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week regarding the events in Benghazi, where senior intelligence officials were asked this very question, and all of them – including the Director of National Intelligence himself – told us that they did not know who made the changes. Now we have to read the answers to our questions in the media. There are many other questions that remain unanswered. But this latest episode is another reason why many of us are so frustrated with, and suspicious of, the actions of this Administration when it comes to the Benghazi attack.”
Of course, it’s possible that the officials did not know who changed the talking points when McCain and other lawmakers asked last week, and later made inquires into the matter.
But McCain, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Republicans, has lead a proverbial witch hunt against the Obama administration and Rice, claiming that the administration deliberately misled the public about the nature of the attacks. Today’s news comes just a week after McCain went on national television and claimed that Rice’s “talking points came from the White House, not from the DNI.” He added on Fox that “I think it’s patently obvious that the talking points that Ambassador Rice had didn’t come from the CIA. It came from the White House.” For weeks, McCain has lambasted the administration for engaging in “either a cover-up or the worst kind of incompetence” on the Benghazi attack. McCain also said last week that “[e]verybody knew that it was an al Qaeda attack and she continued to tell the world through all of the talk shows [on Sept. 16] that it was a ‘spontaneous demonstration’ sparked by a video.”
McCain has also said he would block the nomination of Rice for Secretary of State, should the President choose her, saying he would “do everything in my power to block her,” that Rice is “not qualified” for the position and that “she should have known better.” He subsequently said he would bock any nominee Obama put forward.
But now that every angle of McCain’s attacks have been completely debunked, all he has left is to complain about not being told that intelligence officials didn’t give him this information sooner.

A Public Service Reminder: Paul Ryan is a Con Man

PAUL KRUGMAN

So now that the Unperson/Ryan ticket has lost, Republicans are clearly expecting Paul Ryan to move right back into his previous role as Washington's favorite Serious, Honest Conservative.
He might get away with it; but I hope not.
The fact is that Ryan is and always was a fraud. His plan never added up; it was never, contrary to what people who should know better asserted, "scored" by the CBO. What he actually offered was a plan to hurt the poor and reward the rich, actually increasing the deficit along the way, plus magic asterisks that supposedly reduced the debt by means unspecified.
His genius, if you can all it that, was in realizing that there was a role -- as I said, that of Honest, Serious Conservative -- that self-proclaimed centrists desperately wanted to see filled, so that they could demonstrate their bipartisanship by lavishing praise on the holder of that position. So Ryan did his best to impersonate a budget wonk. It wasn't a very good impersonation -- in fact, he's pretty bad at budget math. But the "centrists" saw what they wanted to see.
Ryan can't be ignored, since his party does retain blocking power, and he chairs an important committee. But if he must be dealt with, it should be with no illusions. Fool me once ...

Obama Steals Election, Again, According to Totally Clear Evidence

We’ve been suspicious about possible voter fraud ever since effeminate numbers demon Nate Silver had a vision during his Pagan Rituals of a comfortable Obama reelection. With the weight of those mathematical odds in your favor, you’d almost be forced to resort to stuffing ballot boxes to remain in office.
Good thing there’s an edgy, investigative media group with a passion for journalistic integrity willing to blow the top off this thing!
It’s natural to be uncomfortable with the truth, and we advise against proceeding if you’re not ready to have your mind blown. It ain’t easy to put down the Kool-Aid when you’re thirsty – but if you’re like us, and you want to quench that thirst with something purer, head over to Barackofraudo.com.

They aren’t afraid to make daring arguments few others seem willing to touch. For example, why hasn’t anyone else made the case for using vague hearsay to determine truth?
…so the evidence is often quite circumstantial. In fact, often the circumstantial evidence is all the evidence we have…
Look, sometimes finding the kind of evidence that proves a theory beyond reasonable doubt is super hard, and you just have to make a judgment with monumental implications based on some circumstantial stuff. That’s not to say there isn’t any concrete evidence.
…tens of thousands of bogus votes in the ballot box, we didn’t see someone actually put them there, but they are found, they are there, and they are clearly evidence of vote fraud.
Evidences are found, guys. There really isn’t an argument to be made against that. We’re left to fear the worst – the end of Democracy as we know it, eagerly watching this horrifying story develop as the Barack O’Fraudo team works to add a few hundred more words to their page.
Also included is a link to this insightful report, which exposes how the “black Dems” stuffed ballot boxes full of Russian money to rig the 2008 election.

GOP’s Benghazi Conspiracy Falls Apart: White House Didn’t Change Susan Rice’s Talking Points

THINK PROGRESS

Intelligence officials told CNN that the intelligence community, not the White House, changed the now infamous Benghazi talking points given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice before her appearance on several morning news shows in September. CNN quoted both the spokesperson for the Director of National Intelligence and an anonymous official “familiar with the drafting of the talking points.” The DNI spokesperson said that the only “substantive changes” came from the intelligence community and not the White House.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus told lawmakers in a closed door hearing last week that the CIA’s original assessment on the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack was that it was carried out by al Qaeda affiliated groups. But he reportedly said that analysis was later taken out after an interagency review in favor of a more general assessment that “extremists” carried out the attack to broaden the scope and not tip off terrorists to U.S. knowledge on the matter. And despite the fact that Petraeus said the CIA approved the change, Republicans, led by Republican senators John McCain (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC) and Kelly Ayotte (NH), have accused the White House of stripping the language for political reasons.
But Shawn Turner, the spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence, told CNN that it wasn’t the White House’s decision:
“The intelligence community made substantive, analytical changes before the talking points were sent to government agency partners for their feedback. There were no substantive changes made to the talking points after they left the intelligence community.”
Another anonymous intelligence official echoed Turner, saying that the changes were made based on legitimate intelligence and for legal purposes:
“First, the information about individuals linked to al Qaeda was derived from classified sources. Second, when links were so tenuous – as they still are – it makes sense to be cautious before pointing fingers so you don’t set off a chain of circular and self-reinforcing assumptions. Third, it is important to be careful not to prejudice a criminal investigation in its early stages.”
Indeed, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told the New York Times last week that in his closed door briefing, Petraeus “was adamant there was no politicization of the process, no White House interference or political agenda.”
The fight over the talking points will most likely continue; it has even become a campaign cause for Republican senators like Lindsey Graham. Others like John McCain have vowed to do “everything” to block the potential nomination of Susan Rice for Secretary of State. But Democrats in Congress and media commentators are beginning to wonder why Republicans are picking a substance-free fight with Rice, a woman and an African-American, after the drubbing they took in last month’s elections among those demographics.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Trump’s Vegas Restaurant Gains Popularity Among Bacterial Culture Community

It’s been roughly twenty minutes since our boy Donald Q. Worthington Trump has been in the news, so here’s some background in case you’re unfamiliar with the underreported saga of everyone’s favorite honey-tinted quaff:
The Donald is a massively successful businessman who owns pretty much everything you could imagine owning. Trump is also a popular dissident against a government so radically Socialist it prevents people from being free and owning things. He mastered the art of smelling Kenyans in the late ’90s atop a mountain in Nepal, huddled around a stack of King magazines while sniffing sample patches of sandalwood cologne. Since then he’s achieved enlightenment, reaching the level of MASTER BIRTHER. And he would have been President too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids and their stupid dog.
So what’s The Donald up to now? Sticking it to the LIBRIL FASCISTS by ignoring those pesky and oppressive laws that require restaurants to serve people safe food, that’s what! Sure, the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas had its steakhouse shut down temporarily after logging 51 health code violations during a regular inspection, but can you prove they weren’t planted by the Obama cartel? Besides, we’re positive it’s still the best place on The Strip to mumble about government takeovers with a mouth full of moldy yogurt. Five stars for that, right? READ MORE »

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hostess Blames Union For Bankruptcy After Tripling CEO’s Pay

THINK PROGRESS

 Today, Hostess Brands inc. — the company famed for its sickly sweet desert snacks like Twinkies and Sno Balls — announced they’d be shuttering after more than eighty years of production.
But while headlines have been quick to blame unions for the downfall of the company there’s actually more to the story: While the company was filing for bankruptcy, for the second time, earlier this year, it actually tripled its CEO’s pay, and increased other executives’ compensation by as much as 80 percent.
At the time, creditors warned that the decision signaled an attempt to “sidestep” bankruptcy rules, potentially as a means for trying to keep the executive at a failing company. The Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union pointed this out in their written reaction to the news that the business is closing:
BCTGM members are well aware that as the company was preparing to file for bankruptcy earlier this year, the then CEO of Hostess was awarded a 300 percent raise (from approximately $750,000 to $2,550,000) and at least nine other top executives of the company received massive pay raises. One such executive received a pay increase from $500,000 to $900,000 and another received one taking his salary from $375,000 to $656,256.
Certainly, the company agreed to an out-sized pension debt, but the decision to pay executives more while scorning employee contracts during a bankruptcy reflects a lack of good managerial judgement.
It also follows a trend of rising CEO pay in times of economic difficulty. At the manufacturing company Caterpillar, for example, they froze workers’ pay while boosting their CEO’s pay to $17 million. And at Citigroup, CEO Vikram Pandit received $6.7 million for crashing his company, walking off with $260 million after the business lost 88 percent of its value.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Questioned About Missed Briefing On Benghazi, McCain Snaps At Reporter

TPM 

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) flashed his temper on Thursday morning when confronted with questions from a reporter regarding the former Republican presidential nominee's absence from a briefing on the September terrorist attacks at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
According to CNN, most Republican members of the Senate committee in charge of investigating the attacks were absent from the classified briefing, which was led by Obama administration officials on Wednesday. On the same day, McCain held a Capitol Hill press conference to call for a special investigation of the attacks and also took to the Senate floor to issue a blistering criticism of President Obama's handling of the situation in Benghazi. 
Approached by CNN's Ted Barrett on Thursday, McCain said he had no comment on his schedule or "how I spend my time to the media." When Barrett pressed McCain, the senator became agitated.
From CNN:
Asked why he wouldn't comment, McCain grew agitated: "Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”
When CNN noted that McCain had missed a key meeting on a subject the senator has been intensely upset about, McCain said, "I'm upset that you keep badgering me."
While McCain refused to shed light on why he didn't show, his spokesman Brian Rogers emailed CNN a short time later with an explanation. He blamed it on a "scheduling error" but wouldn't provide any more detail......




Beck: Obama ‘set up’ Petraeus to ‘discredit the military’

RAW STORY

Conservative radio host Glenn Beck is accusing of President Barack Obama’s administration of a manufacturing former CIA Director David Petraeus’ sex scandal as a plot to “discredit the military.”
“This is a set up,” Beck said on his Tuesday broadcast. “This is spontaneous, they just found out? Bull crap. They have known. The White House knew during the vetting process that Petraeus was carrying on an inappropriate relationship. They knew it. They knew that he could be easily compromised, but they appointed him anyway.”
“Because when you have the goods on someone — you need a pressure point,” he explained. “Just like this Jill [Kelley] lady. She’s got $2 million in debt. She’s in and out of court all the time. Pressure point. Same with the general. ‘General Betray Us,’ that’s what the left used to call him. Now, he’s put up to head the CIA? Really? Of course. They have a pressure point.”
“And now he’s being discredited. This whole scandal is doing what? How’s your opinion of the military? Discredit the last-standing, honorable institution we have: the military.”
Beck added: “These people in Washington are really bad people. And they will use anything, any pressure point. And you will fold. This, today, is all about discrediting the military while distracting the media.”
A video of Beck’s full 20-minute, conspiracy-filled rant can be viewed here.

Maine Republican chair cries voter fraud because ‘dozens of black people’ voted

RAW STORY


Charlie Webster, the chairman of Maine’s Republican Party, sees “dozens of black people” voting on Nov. 6 as evidence of voter fraud because “nobody in town knows anyone who’s black.”
In an interview with WCSH’s Don Carrigan earlier this week, Webster said that Democrats were winning elections because they blocked an effort by the Republican Party to repeal same-day voter registration, which requires an ID and proof of residency.
“Let’s just look at what happened on Tuesday,” he explained. “I mean, literally hundreds of new people came in. We don’t know if they’re residents or not but they came in and voted. And there’s no way of knowing that.”
“In some parts of the state — for example, in some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens — dozens of black people who came in and voted election day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in town knows anybody that’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know, but we’re going to find out.”
When Carrigan pressed the party chairman for specifics about where fraud occurred, he vaguely referred to “several rural Maine towns” and promised an investigation to find out more.
“What I’m doing is purchasing a post card, we’re going to mail it in and thank people for registering to vote and see whether it comes back,” Webster said.
“So, you think the Democrats bussed in people?” Carrigan asked.
“I just think that the system, without some kind of an ID or without some kind of way to check, is fraught for abuse,” Webster insisted. “I’m just telling you my personal opinion. I believe it’s a problem.”
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan also recently pointed to African-American turnout to explain his loss to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
“We were surprised with the outcome,” the Wisconsin Republican told WISC-TV’s Jessica Arp. “We knew this was going to be a close race. We thought we had a very good chance of winning it. I think that the surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which definitely gave President Obama the big margin to win this race.”
Watch this video from WCSH via Think Progress, broadcast Nov. 13, 2012.

Republicans skip Benghazi hearing; complain about lack of information on Benghazi

Posted By Josh Rogin

This week, a number of Republican senators have strongly criticized the administration for failing to properly explain the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Some of those senators failed to show up for a briefing on the attack Wednesday.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been the leading congressional critic of the administration's handling of the Benghazi attack and what he sees as the administration's lack of candor with Congress on the matter. On Wednesday, he pledged to block the potential nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton due to Rice's statements on the attack. That drew a sharp rebuke from President Barack Obama at Wednesday's press conference.


But although McCain had time to speak on the Senate floor and on television about the lack of information provided to Congress about the attack, he didn't attend the classified briefing for senators Wednesday given to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, of which he is a member.

Committee ranking Republican Susan Collins (R-ME) called out McCain for skipping the briefing and said his call for a special committee to investigate the Benghazi attack was not necessary because the Homeland Security committee could handle it.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), "who was there at briefing, and Senator McCain, who was not, are members of our committee, and I know they would play very important roles," Collins told Politico.


Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), another Homeland Security committee member who was on television complaining about the lack of Benghazi information, also did not show up for the Wednesday hearing. Paul did a CNN interview from the Capitol building Wednesday in which said he had questions about the anti-Islam video, the lack of Marines in Libya, and diplomatic security. At one point he says, "I don't know enough of the details."


The closed and classified briefing included representatives from the State Department, the Defense Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the FBI, an administration official said. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a classified hearing on Benghazi on Tuesday and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold one Thursday, but McCain and Paul are not members of either of those committees.

"If you want answers, a good first step is to show up and ask a question," an administration official told The Cable. "That's what a senator does." ................

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama To Republicans: Tax Rates Will Rise Unless You Can Make Your Impossible Math Work

TPM

President Obama is giving Republicans in Congress a tough assignment: If you don’t want marginal tax rates on top earners to go up, bring me an alternative way to raise $1 trillion in revenue without burdening the middle class.
Politically and mathematically speaking, it’s a nearly impossible task. And moreover, Obama said he won’t allow Republicans to use dubious conservative theories about tax cuts, or vague promises of future action, to meet it. But importantly, it’s also a way for him to enter negotiations with House Republicans without appearing to have closed himself off to any compromise.
“What I have told leaders privately as well as publicly is that we can not afford to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy,” he told reporters at his first post-election press conference at the White House. “When it comes to the top two percent what I’m not going to do is extend further a tax cut for folks who don’t need it.”
But Obama hedged ever so slightly, to allow Republicans to figure out an alternative path toward the same revenue goal with the same distributional impact — a task that’s eluded independent tax experts for years.
“It is very difficult to see how you make up that trillion dollars, if we are serious about deficit reduction, just by closing loopholes and deductions,” Obama cautioned. “The math tends not to work.”
In other words, Republicans will have to come up with something new and unexpected if they’re going to avoid higher tax rates on high income Americans.
“I just want to emphasize that I am open to new ideas,” he said in response to a followup question. “If our Republican counterparts or some Democrats have a great idea for raising revenue, maintaining progressivity, and making sure the middle-class is not getting hit, reduces our deficit and encourages growth, I am not just going to slam the door in their face.”
But that’s predicated on Republicans genuinely ponying up real — not illusory — revenue. And he’s under no illusions that it can be done easily without raising tax rates.
“What I will not do, I will not have a process that is vague, that says we are going to sort of, kind of, raise revenue and do dynamic scoring or closing loopholes that have not been identified,” Obama said, referring to supply side theories that suggest cutting tax rates creates enough economic growth to offset revenue losses. “The reason I won’t do that is because I don’t want to find ourselves in a position six months from now or a year from now where, lo and behold, the only way to close the deficit is to sock it to middle-class families…. That is my concern. I am less concerned about red lines, per se.”
Obama was reluctant to boast of having earned a broad governing mandate from the public. But he noted that taxes were the most central issue to his campaign.
“This should not be a surprise to anyone…. The majority of voters agreed with me,” Obama said. “More voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me.”
His broad pitch to Congress is thus: increase the tax revenue base by modestly raising taxes on the wealthy. Then once that new baseline is set, he’ll negotiate broader tax and spending reforms with party leaders.
“We don’t want the middle-class taxes to go up. Let’s go ahead and lock them in,” Obama said. “Let’s also then commit ourselves to a broader package of deficit reduction. That includes entitlement changes and it includes potential tax reform. As well as I am able to look at discretionary spending on that side. I want a big deal, a comprehensive deal…. But right now I want to make sure of is the taxes on middle-class families don’t go up. And there is a very easy way to do that. We could get it done by next week.”

Mitt Romney Unbound: Thanks A Lot, Moochers!

TPM

Mitt Romney has a simple explanation for donors as to why his presidential campaign came up short: President Obama gave out too much stuff.
According to reports in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, the former Republican nominee said during a call with donors on Wednesday that Obama had been “very generous” in doling out “big gifts” to “the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people” as well as to women throughout his first term. Benefits such as access to “free health care,” guaranteed contraceptive coverage, more affordable student loans, and “amnesty for children of illegals,” all combined to give the president a decisive edge in popularity.
“The President’s campaign focused on giving targeted groups a big gift — so he made a big effort on small things,” Romney said. “Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars.”
His explanation contained strong echoes of a leaked fundraiser tape earlier this year in which he told campaign backers that Obama’s strength came from the 47 percent of Americans who consider themselves “victims” and “dependent” on government.
“I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” he said at the time.
At first Romney defended those remarks in a press conference, but weeks later he changed his tune and said his comments were “just completely wrong.” His latest conversations with donors suggest that he has moved closer towards his original views.
Despite complaints that the Republican’s campaign missed the mark badly on polling and turnout operations, Romney said he stood by his organization, which he called “a very solid team that got along.” He said there was “no drama in the campaign — not that everybody was perfect; everybody has flat sides, but we learned how to accommodate each other’s strengths and weaknesses, to build on the strengths.”
Romney told donors that he believed up to election day that he would win.
“I am very sorry that we didn’t win,” he said. “I know that you expected to win. We expected to win. … It was very close, but close doesn’t count in this business.”

Obama Rejects Boehner’s Fake Tax Compromise

THINK PROGRESS

 During his first press conference since he was re-elected, President Obama today criticized the tax approach that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and many other Congressional Republicans have proposed. Boehner and the rest of the GOP have recently suggested cutting tax rates, but raising more federal revenue via a combination of closing loopholes and counting on the economic growth that tax cuts will supposedly cause.
Obama derided “dynamic scoring” — the revenue increases that conservatives claim will occur after tax cuts — saying he would oppose any efforts to only “sorta-kinda raise revenue”:
What I will not do is to have a process that is vague, that says we’re going to sorta-kinda raise revenue through dynamic scoring or closing loopholes that have not been identified. And the reason I won’t do that is I don’t want to find ourselves in a position six months from now or a year from now, where low-and-behold, the only way to close the deficit is to sock it to middle-class families...............


Obama also rejected the notion that he would accept new revenue solely via closing deductions and eliminating loopholes for the wealthy, and not via raising marginal tax rates.
There is little evidence that tax reform that lowers rates and cuts loopholes will spark appreciable economic growth that will increase revenue. For instance, as conservative economist Bruce Bartlett shows, the tax reform package of 1986 did not increase growth. Several other studies show the same thing. As Citizens for Tax Justice added, “the highest priority of tax reform should be raising revenue — real revenue, not the voodoo-economics sort of revenue gains that Boehner mistakenly claims will come from tax-rate reductions.”

A Shady Charity, Millions In Debt, And ‘Diplomatic Inviolability’: Tampa’s Good-Time Kelley Sisters Are Perfect Republicans

It’s completely not fair that we in the media have now turned our considerable interest on the Kelley sistren. All they did was either get some shitty emails from a presumed nutzoid Internet stalker, or be related to someone who got some shitty emails from a presumed nutzoid Internet stalker, and now here we are and the Kelley Girls are the worst people in the entire world, or as we like to call them, ur-Republicans. Let us delve deep into the grotesque and typically GOP-pish misdeeds of these awful people, who are frickin’ perfect in every way. READ MORE »

Without Gallup’s Crappy Polls, Nate Silver Is Nothing, Says Gallup

One of the “fun” things about presidential elections is that every four years there’s a new dumb thing about the process for political junkies to yell at each other about despite the disinterest or genuine disgust of normals, and this year it’s polling! Did Nate Silver’s devil-math suck all the fun out of democracy, forever? Were the polls skewed because they didn’t reflect Republican understanding of reality? Were Gallup and Rasmussen “in the tank” for Republicans? Well, Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport has decided to weigh in on this controversy, and would like you to know that (a) Gallup was not wrong, because it abruptly stopped picking Romney to win by 7 points several days before the election, and (b) Nate Silver is a parasitic remora clinging to the great white shark that is Gallup and if everyone gets into the Nate Silver business the whole polling industry will collapse, and then we’ll have no polling at all, and then we’ll be sorry!
READ MORE »

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Christie Reverses Stand on Tax Increases After Storm

By KATE ZERNIKE

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has pushed aggressively for cutting and capping taxes in New Jersey during his three years in office, said Tuesday that people who lived in towns destroyed by Hurricane Sandy were likely to pay higher taxes to help rebuild.
“It’s got to be paid for,” he said. “There’s no magic money tree.”
In a 40-minute news conference in Trenton, Mr. Christie said he expected the federal government to do as much as it had done for victims of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast to help rebuild New Jersey. And he said that municipalities would be allowed to raise property taxes more than the 2 percent limit that he signed into law in 2010 to cover costs brought on by the storm.
“No one’s ever happy with higher taxes, but the fact is, what annoys people more than anything else is waste,” he said. “As long as they know that the money’s being spent in a way that’s helping to bring their town back to life, I think people will understand it’s got to be done.”
It was a striking endorsement of the role of higher taxes and the federal government in helping the recovery, particularly coming from a governor who has often been held up as a leader in the movement to rein in both.
But Mr. Christie, wearing a suit and tie rather than the fleece jacket seen in his TV appearances the last two weeks, disagreed that the storm had brought on a change of heart. Unlike Mitt Romney, he said, he had never questioned the need for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Emergency response is always something that I’ve thought was an appropriate governmental function,” he said.
“There are plenty of instances that can happen in our country where a state by itself is not equipped to deal with the results of a natural disaster,” he continued. “And so the country needs to band together to help its other states to be able to get over something that has been disproportionately foisted on one or two or three states of the 50. But no, it hasn’t turned me from a limited-government guy to a big-government guy.”
Mr. Christie showed little sign of backing off the 10 percent tax cut he has been pushing all year. To pay for that cut, Mr. Christie presumed that revenues would grow by more than 7 percent. With the state’s unemployment rate hovering well above the national average, tax revenues have lagged far behind those predictions. The devastation of Hurricane Sandy — with scores of homes and businesses destroyed — has made that growth even more unlikely.
The governor said the state treasury would release figures at the end of this week projecting the storm’s damage to the state economy. He has argued that as people buy things to rebuild, sales and income tax revenues may actually increase.
But he also said that he has always known “that if something catastrophic happens, you have to adjust your position.”
“I know how to do math,” he said. “I’m a realist.”