Blue Democratic City wallpaper – “We speak, we write, we advocate – and those in power turn deaf ears and blind eyes to our deepest aspirations.”

blue city skyline, city at night

Blue Democratic City wallpaper

 

I don’t usually bother to comment at news sites. When I have I try to be reasonable and fact based. If I feel like venting I can always do that here.  A couple of stories were so factless at The Hill over the last year I was moved twice to post a comment. Their stories generally have a Right-of-center slant. Their commenters run so far Right and are so angry your facts are going to get lost in the verbal jousting anyway. Both my comments were never posted so going unread became a moot point. So my surprise at this somewhat fair story about Democrats, the Super Committee and the budget talks – Democrats gain upper hand in deficit-reduction negotiations

Reid’s threat is yet another signal that Democrats are preparing for a supercommittee flop, and are largely comfortable with the cuts that would be triggered if there is no bipartisan agreement.

As Republican leaders vow that failure is “not an option,” Reid is growing increasingly pessimistic and already looking ahead to the consequences of missing next week’s Nov. 23 deadline.

That dynamic has Democrats saying they have the upper hand in the negotiations, with some liberals privately rooting for sequestration cuts to be triggered. Unless Republicans cave on tax increases, there is little reason for Democrats to strike a deal because sequestration does not call for structural reforms to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.

Automatic cuts to Medicare would be capped at 2 percent and limited to insurance companies and healthcare providers while Social Security and Medicaid would be exempt.

The Defense Department is slated for $500 billion in cuts if the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction does not produce an agreement with at least $1.2 trillion in spending reductions.

 

Unless The Hill is completely wrong – a possibility – Ezra Klein might be a head of himself – The Democrats’ peculiar negotiating strategy. If as Ezra claims Republicans think they can push negotiations to the last-minute and come out with a better deal, Reid seems determined that will not happen. The automatic cuts – not perfect by any means – would be a huge defeat for the hostage takers on the Right. Just looking at the polls most Americans are concerned about jobs than the deficit. They’re more concerned about major cuts to Social Security, medicare and Medicaid than they are a few billion to defense. If conservatives want to push their agenda in defiance of the polls look for historic losses in the House for those newly elected tea smokers.

Gingrich Was Paid ~$1.7M From GSEs

Wait, I thought this was all Barney Frank’s fault?

Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the arrangement.

The total amount is significantly larger than the $300,000 payment from Freddie Mac that Gingrich was asked about during a Republican presidential debate on Nov. 9 sponsored by CNBC, and more than was disclosed in the middle of congressional investigations into the housing industry collapse.

Here is the thing about not caring much about reality: If you are going to create a false narrative about the causes of an event, you must be aware of details, data and facts even if you don’t want to believe in them.

 

Gingrich, Bachmann, Perry, Cain and the rest are all on broad the working poor people, government, brown people and liberals caused the Great Recession train of delusions. Of course they are. They can’t admit that letting Wall Street act like gambling addicts on acid caused the loss of $17 trillion dollars of the nation’s wealth. In ConservoLala Land the private sector are angels incapable of wrong doing. This attitude also happens to be the same as people who belong to cults. Everything they worship must be perfect because to admit fallibility even once means a lot of the economic scripture they worship is a load of leprechaun toe-jam. Barry Ritholtz who wrote the excerpt from that blog post also wrote an article in the WaPo that everyone should print out and give to your wing-nut friends and relatives – What caused the financial crisis? The Big Lie goes viral.

Wall Street has its own version: Its Big Lie is that banks and investment houses are merely victims of the crash. You see, the entire boom and bust was caused by misguided government policies. It was not irresponsible lending or derivative or excess leverage or misguided compensation packages, but rather long-standing housing policies that were at fault.

Indeed, the arguments these folks make fail to withstand even casual scrutiny. But that has not stopped people who should know better from repeating them.

The Big Lie made a surprise appearance Tuesday when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, responding to a question about Occupy Wall Street, stunned observers by exonerating Wall Street: “It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp.”

What made his comments so stunning is that he built Bloomberg Data Services on the notion that data are what matter most to investors. The terminals are found on nearly 400,000 trading desks around the world, at a cost of $1,500 a month. (Do the math — that’s over half a billion dollars a month.) Perhaps the fact that Wall Street was the source of his vast wealth biased him. But the key principle of the business that made the mayor a billionaire is that fund managers, economists, researchers and traders should ignore the squishy narrative and, instead, focus on facts. Yet he ignored his own principles to repeat statements he should have known were false.

Why are people trying to rewrite the history of the crisis? Some are simply trying to save face. Interest groups who advocate for deregulation of the finance sector would prefer that deregulation not receive any blame for the crisis.

Some stand to profit from the status quo: Banks present a systemic risk to the economy, and reducing that risk by lowering their leverage and increasing capital requirements also lowers profitability. Others are hired guns, doing the bidding of bosses on Wall Street.

They all suffer cognitive dissonance — the intellectual crisis that occurs when a failed belief system or philosophy is confronted with proof of its implausibility.

And what about those facts? To be clear, no single issue was the cause. Our economy is a complex and intricate system. What caused the crisis? Look:

*Fed Chair Alan Greenspan dropped rates to 1 percent — levels not seen for half a century — and kept them there for an unprecedentedly long period. This caused a spiral in anything priced in dollars (i.e., oil, gold) or credit (i.e., housing) or liquidity driven (i.e., stocks).

*Low rates meant asset managers could no longer get decent yields from municipal bonds or Treasurys. Instead, they turned to high-yield mortgage-backed securities. Nearly all of them failed to do adequate due diligence before buying them, did not understand these instruments or the risk involved. They violated one of the most important rules of investing: Know what you own.

*Fund managers made this error because they relied on the credit ratings agencies — Moody’s, S&P and Fitch. They had placed an AAA rating on these junk securities, claiming they were as safe as U.S. Treasurys.

• Derivatives had become a uniquely unregulated financial instrument. They are exempt from all oversight, counter-party disclosure, exchange listing requirements, state insurance supervision and, most important, reserve requirements. This allowed AIG to write $3 trillion in derivatives while reserving precisely zero dollars against future claims.

• The Securities and Exchange Commission changed the leverage rules for just five Wall Street banks in 2004. The “Bear Stearns exemption” replaced the 1977 net capitalization rule’s 12-to-1 leverage limit. In its place, it allowed unlimited leverage for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. These banks ramped leverage to 20-, 30-, even 40-to-1. Extreme leverage leaves very little room for error. ( all emphasis mine).

 

Does anyone even remember what the tea baggers were so upset about. Part of their beef was health care reform. But in the beginning the biggest complaint  had been how reckless Wall Street had been and they shouldn’t have to pay for it. Of course once they were elected to office they did everything they could to be a golden shield for Wall Street. Now they are indistinguishable from the same old crones of far Right conservatism, even claiming that reforms to protect consumers and investors, and maybe prevent another Great Recession are bricks on the road to communism. No wonder they hate the OWS movement. OWS seems to have a lot more courage and deeper convictions even if some of their methods ain’t so great.

Since Newt appears to be gaining traction on Herman Cain’s decline he is getting a little more scrutiny. Newt Gingrich: His baggage has baggage. Ethics charges? Three marriages? Shutting down government? Orphanages for welfare kids?

For instance, he’s the only House speaker in American history to be disciplined by Congress for ethics violations.  In 1998, he paid a $300,000 fine after he was found to have been misusing his tax-exempt foundations for political gain.

OK, those have to be the two worst things, dumping his wife who had cancer for his mistress, and congressional ethics sanctions, right?

 

Whenever I watch political drams on TV or at the movies, as cynical as I might be at times I always have reservations about the petty acts of revenge perpetrated by the characters. In real life Newt’s revenge for President Clinton not letting him sit up front on Air Force One should be what I use as a barometer for what passes the petty vindictive test in drama. Herman Cain doesn’t eat “sissy” pizza. The GOP candidate measures a man in terms of sausage and pepperoni — and with lame, emasculating words

“The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is,” he explained. “Because the more manly man is not afraid of abundance. A manly man don’t want it piled high with vegetables! ” …. Cain then explained that a real man would dismiss any pizza contaminated with vegetables as “a sissy pizza.” Because Herman Cain’s penis isn’t having it!

Admit it, if you heard someone on a TV drama say that you’d groan, wondering where Hollywood is getting its script writers. The only reason I include this Hermantor meltdown of sausage laced lunacy is because it is these verbal hair balls are the most likely cause of Herman’s decline in the polls, not the real possibility he committed multiple sexual assaults.

Not word for word but I agree with Matthew Yglesias’s general sentiment – Getting Kicked Out Of Zuccotti Park Is Probably Good For Occupy Wall Street. Bill Moyer makes a good point – PBS host Moyers says government failing Americans

Q: The people behind the Occupy Wall Street protests and the tea party seem to present a similar message, even though they are quite different on a social and personal level. The tea party folks have had some political impact, while the Wall Street protesters have not yet. Do you see their movement ever gaining more traction?

A: I know a lot of tea partiers. I was out listening to them and talking to them. They had a half-truth. Why do I want to put more of my taxes into a government that was serving special interests? They understood that. The other side says we have to have a safety net. The two sides can’t get together. The populist movement (of the tea party) was taken over and co-opted by corporate interests. It’s hard to retain fiery indignation and independence when that happens. I don’t think Occupy Wall Street will have the influence they want unless they do what the tea party did and take over the nominating process. Unless they do, they will never have the satisfaction that they want and that the civil rights movement, say, had back in the 1950s and ’60s. These people are not going to have long-ranging effect unless they have a party to act on their interests. They need to become a political movement instead of a grievance committee.

OWS has thus far declined to identify with a political party. Put aside that small fraction who are anarchists, libertarian crack-pots, the far left and general malcontents – and you have the vast majority of OWS who seem to be progressives. They and conservatives hardly seem like a good match – Karl Rove and his right-wing millionaire posse Crossroads are using OWS to attack Democrats. There is a progressive caucus in the House. Trying to get progressives elected and expanding their power in the House would be the next logical and practical step. Robert Reich notes the irony of using a nationwide militarization of the police to shut-down democracy in action – Occupiers Occupied: The Hijacking of the First Amendment

A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances and evicted.

To pile on the irony the police are shutting down the best voice in America that represents them.

 

Bill Moyers keynote at Public Citizen’s 40th Anniversary Gala. Kind of long, but worth a listen to, at 77 years old, a veteran of the long war for social and economic justice. The quote used in the post title is from the video.

Two Trees Winter Landscape wallpaper – Delicate Conservatives Hide Behind Delusions

field, snow,horizon

Two Trees Winter Landscape wallpaper

Last Sunday the WaPo did what many moderates thought was a hot piece on Social Security. Rather than admit they were just plain wrong they have doubled down with ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton defending the piece. He says he talked to everyone across the political spectrum with liberals not liking the story, conservative wing-nuts thinking it was absolutely correct and an economist described as centrist who also thought the piece was mostly correct. Here we go again with the rational people say earth is a rounded pear shape while flat earthers disagree approach to journalism. Sometimes there is not a difference of opinion. There are facts and then there is spin. Economist Dean Baker writes – WAPO Ombudsman Defends Hit Job on Social Security

Social Security has not gone “cash negative” in the sense that the trust fund is still growing. While current benefit payments exceed designated Social Security tax revenue, the income to the system, which includes interest on its holdings of government bonds, still exceeds benefit payments.

In this sense it is simply wrong to say that the system is cash negative. More money is still coming into the system than is going out. Obviously the Post meant to say that benefit payments exceed tax revenue, but tax revenue is only part of the income for the program. It is a serious failure by the Post to ignore the income stream from interest payments, which is compounded by the failure of the ombudsman to recognize this failure.

This is really not something that is arguable — Social Security has a stream of income from the interest on its bonds. The Post and its ombudsman may not like this fact, but it is nonetheless true.

The ombudsman also chose to ignore several misleading or false claims that the Post used to advance its Social Security crisis story. For example, the original piece told readers that “the payroll tax holiday is depriving the system of revenue.” This is not true. Under the law, the Social Security system is fully reimbursed for the money not collected as a result of the payroll tax holiday.

The piece also claimed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was wrong when he claimed that Social Security was not contributing to the budget deficit. In fact, under the law Social Security has a separate budget that is not part of the on-budget budget. The program can only spend money from its own trust fund, which is money raised through designated taxes or the bonds purchased with this tax revenue. For this reason, it cannot legally contribute to the budget deficit.

 

The urban myth that there is no Social Security trust fund has been a favorite of the black helicopter crowd for years. They can’t win the argument on the merits so pull whatever they can out of their backsides and insist in all caps that they are right. They’ve been watching too much Bill O’Reilly. Just because you repeat the same lies louder does not magically make them true. One other head spinning tactic is to tie Social Security to the general deficit – as done by this arrogant delusional conservative at Parapundit – Americans In Denial About Medicare And Social Security. Throwing Medicare and Social Security funding issues together also further muddies the water. His commenters join in with a lot of regulated myths about Social Security, Medicare and the deficit. It’s similar to pigs wallowing in mud, these prefer lies that reassure themselves their wacky cardboard house of misinformation is as sturdy as a rock.

There are people in mental hospitals who are less delusional than proto-fascist William Kristol at The Weekly Standard. It’s Not 1980 Anymore

For every American conservative, not once but whenever he wants it, it’s always the evening of November 4, 1980, the instant when we knew Ronald Reagan, the man who gave the speech in the lost cause of 1964, leader of the movement since 1966, derided by liberal elites and despised by the Republican establishment, the moment when we knew—he’d won, we’d won, the impossible dream was possible, the desperate gamble of modern conservatism might pay off, conservatism had a chance, America had a chance.

 

This would be the same Regan who had the government seize the savings and loans after they tanked. If President Obama had done the same thing with the too big to fail banks conservatives would have called him a communist. Obama did not seize the banks and break them into smaller competitive enterprises, but the Right calls him a commie anyway. This was the Reagan who gave us the HUD scandal where conservatives took government contracts to build housing for the poor and fell all over themselves cheating tax payers and the poor. This the same Reagan who said government was not the answer and increased the the size of government more percentage wise than either Carter or Clinton or Obama. This is the Reagan who saw deficits increasing so raised taxes four times. Kristol is looking forward to the 2012 elections with the same foggy clarity he sees Reagan – who in economic terms was probably slightly to the left of Obama,

These other models for conservative success in 2012 need to be studied for their lessons and adapted to our times. Reversing Obama’s weakness abroad, repealing Obamacare, restoring solvency and prosperity and limiting government at home, these are tasks too important not to be achieved because of our nostalgic disappointment that we will not, in 2012, replay a moment that is not to be again—and that perhaps never truly was.

Still, for every conservative of a certain age, there is the instant when it’s Election Day 1980, and the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out.. .

Threats of a violent revolution Nov 14, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 09 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL at The Weekly Standard

Just looking at Obama’s foreign policy through a right-wing lens – Obama has killed or captured multiple top-level terrorist including Bin Laden. has helped Egypt and Libya become at slightly more democratic nations without losing a single solder’s life. Repealing health care reform would increase the federal deficit by almost a quarter of $1 trillion over the next 10 years and more than $1 trillion more over the following decade.

As for the guns ready and the fake patriots laying in wait. Only a conservative proto-fascist like Kristol can get away with that kind of language.

No, there is no way Herman Cain is just another corrupt right-wing loon. He’s different. He’s an outsider – Koch-backed group confirms financial ties to Cain campaign manager

One of those groups, Prosperity USA, paid for $37,000 in expenses, including iPads, charter flights and items, for Cain’s presidential campaign, according to financial documents disclosed this week by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Non-profits are barred by law from paying for campaign expenses, and when the allegations  first surfaced this week — at the same time as the sexual harassment charges against the presidential candidate — Cain said he would order an investigation of whether there were improper campaign violations.

 

I am shocked and disappointed to find that The Hermanator, the master of business and economics did not know before hand that having your sugar daddies launder money through a non-profit was illegal.

The Gothamist gets how populist movements are so easily undermined – Alleged Occupy Wall Street Protester Had McDonald’s Meltdown

According to the NY Post, an Occupy Wall Street protester had a temper tantrum in the McDonald’s near Zuccotti Park yesterday, after employees allegedly refused to give him free food. Fisika Bezabeh, 27, allegedly ripped a credit-card reader from a counter and threw it at workers just after 2 a.m. last night (could he have an relation to boxer Fasika Bezabeh?). However, the Post specifies that Bezabeh was only “seen hanging out” with protesters, so it’s unclear whether he actually is part of OWS, or just one of a growing number of rabble rousers who have descended upon Zuccotti to stir up trouble and inspire some fun headlines for the rag.

After all, the Post hasn’t exactly been Occupy Wall Street’s biggest fan since its inception—but their contempt for OWS has blossomed this week into an all-out hit job, with catty cover headlines (“Zoo-Cotti!”), bitter editorials, and lots of exclusives about “protesters”—or you know, anyone hanging out in lower Manhattan, regardless of associations—behaving badly.

To that end, they also report today that, as their misleading headline put it, “‘Occupy’ bum busted for peeing on cop car.” But in the story itself, they clarify that 26-year-old Edgar Rivera is a drunken man who has “been crashing with the Occupy Wall Street protesters” was arrested for urinating on an NYPD van parked next to Zuccotti Park. But hey, this is a newspaper who labels a photo of a WWII veteran struck and killed by an NYPD car as “geezerkilled”.

yet another vet has been battered by police – Brew Pub Owner/Vet Oakland Cops Almost Killed+Video of Beating & Sister’s interview (UPDATEDx3)

UPDATE:  Local El Cerrito newspaper where Sabeghi’s Brew Pub, Elevation 66 is located has a story with a photo of Mr. Sabeghi in the sidebar.

Kayvan Sabeghi, one of the three main [partners] who started the popular Elevation 66 brewpub in El Cerrito, suffered a lacerated spleen and other injuries in a beating by Oakland police on duty for the Occupy Oakland protests Wednesday night, according to the UK Guardian newspaper and one of his Sabeghi’s partners. […]Brian Kelly, another partner at Elevation 66, told Patch this afternoon (Friday) that he had talked to Sabeghi Thursday.

“He was walking down 14th (14th Street in Oakland) away from the protest,” Kelly said. “He walking to his house. He got beaten by police. He’s got a lacerated spleen, maybe a couple of broken ribs too.”

 

This seems to be the best write-up of the protester hit by a car and the police failing ti further investigate or charge anyone – Car Hits Three Protesters at Occupy DC Rally, Driver Held (VIDEO)

There is the counter assertion flocked by the far Right Daily caller and echoed by conservative bloggers that Occupy DC protesters knocked down an elderly woman while protesting the Koch brothers circle jerk of Bill Krsitol’s elite friends – Occupy protest turns violent outside Washington Convention Center. I watched the video twice. It’s actually two different women who were attending the event who either fell or were knocked down somehow as they left the event. What is clear is that no protester is shown knocking them down. If The DC has video that shows that they need to produce it rather than claiming this video shows such an assault. Because of all the pushing and shoving, the general jostling of the crowd that could have led to the women falling. I think it is terrible that even that might be the cause. But it is an important distinction to make that they seemed to have fallen because of the combination of behavior by the protesters, the police and the participants rather than a protester singling them out and shoving them to the ground. Wing-nut Robert Stacey McCain states as an absolute certainty the older woman was shoved by protesters even though the video shows no such thing.  #OWS Protesters Attempt to Storm AFP Defending the American Dream Summit and adds,

UPDATE IV: Welcome, Instapundit readers! It’s stuff like this that makes you nostalgic for the Good Old Days of real police brutality.(emphasis mine)

 

Having been awaken from their caves by all the “smelly hippies” McCain commenters chime in,

Be safe down there, those people are animals, Barack Obama has allowed his degenerates to destroy ANY attempt at comity in this Country, it is indeed WAR!
http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

As Ann Coulter once observed, this kind of nonsense suddenly stopped after some of them got shot up and killed at Kent State.

Time to start meeting mob violence with lawful deadly force.  Then it won’t be so fun.
http://nobodyimportant.myopenid.com/ nobodyimportant


That s the general drift of the Wuss Keyboard Brigade that brought us the Iraq debacle, crashed the economy and ran government like The Right-Wing Mob.

 

Black and White Chess wallpaper- Journalism, OWS, The Police and Unequal Justice

 

Black and White Chess wallpaper

 

Black and White Train Station

“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.” -Voltaire

Is there a name for days when several news stories all come together to highlight come glaring inconsistencies about how events are reported, different groups are treated differently and how deeply ingrained a kind of conventional wisdom is in American culture and institutions.

To start is the news producer who was fired for holding up a sign at a OWS protest – How Occupy Wall Street Cost Me My Job

My boyfriend, Will, and I decided to take Friedersdorf’s words and use them, perhaps more literally than he intended. We printed them out, taped them to poster board, and headed to the Occupy Wall Street march in Times Square, on October 15. The plan was for Will to hold the sign, and for me to observe what happened and post reports to my personal Twitter account. (Video of Will attracting attention with the sign before I did is on your right, or click here to watch it.) But, inevitably, Will developed sign-holding fatigue, and I took over momentarily. I was standing beneath a news ticker near West 43rd Street and Broadway, and people began cheering as a headline about the movement scrolled across the ticker. I looked up, and at that moment a photographer took a photo of me holding the sign, and posted it to Twitter shortly thereafter.

What Caitlin E. Curran did is certainly participatory journalism. What she thought would be a good segment for a morning program – the sign and how people reacted. Note there was no intention on her part to claim she was doing a completely detached objective piece of reporting. It was not her intention of passing off her actions as unbiased. How could she. It was quite obvious that what anyone would have seen or listened to was what she did, why, what the crowd’s reaction was.

The next day, The Takeaway’s general manager fired me over the phone, effective immediately. He was inconsolably angry, and said that I had violated every ethic of journalism, and that this should be a “teaching moment” for me in my career as a journalist. The segment I had pitched, of course, would not happen. Ironically, the following day Marketplace did pretty much the exact segment I thought would have been great on The Takeaway, with Kai Ryssdal discussing the sign and the Goldman Sachs deal it alluded to in terms that were far from neutral.

So her boss uses her story, but fires her for creating the story. We live in an age where Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Jonah Goldberg, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh all call themselves journalists who are “fair and balanced”. Sure the hypocrisy of those examples is clear enough, but in a hilarious post TBogg – If It Weren’t For Double Standards, We’d Have No Standards At All – reminded me of Glenn Greenwald’s profile of “news” reporter  Erin Burnett – Erin Burnett: Voice of the People

On her new CNN show on Monday night, host Erin Burnett was joined by Rudy Giuliani’s former speechwriter John Avlon and together they heaped condescending scorn on the Wall Street protests while defending the banking industry, offering — as FAIR documented — several misleading statements along the way.  Burnett “reported” that while she “saw dancing, bongo drums, even a clown” at the protest, the participants “did not know what they want,” except that “it seems like people want a messiah leader, just like they did when they anointed Barack Obama.”  She featured a video clip of herself explaining to one of the protesters that the U.S. Government made money from TARP, and then demanded to know if that changed his negative views of Wall Street.

This is far from the first time Burnett has served as spokesperson for Wall Street; it’s basically what her “journalistic” career is.   She angered Bill Maher a couple years ago when arguing that the rich have suffered along with the poor and middle class as part of the financial crisis, and that it would be wrong to “soak the rich” because they’re already paying so much taxes.  She caused Rush Limbaugh to gush over her when she argued on TV in 2007 that all Americans benefit when the rich get richer: “the majority of Americans directly benefit from what happens on Wall Street,” she proclaimed, just over a year before the financial collapse.

Curran did not tell the world or give her audience the impression she was going to do an objective study of OWS and file a report accordingly without reviling her point of view. Burnett on the other hand presents herself, as do her employers, as a straight up news reporter.  As of Glenn’s writing Burnett was engaged to a big bank executive. She started her business career as a financial analyst for worldwide investment banking and securities firm Goldman Sachs. Burnett later became Vice President of Citigroup/CitiMedia.

Would it ever occur to CNN that perhaps a former Wall Street banker at Goldman Sachs, currently engaged to a Citigroup executive, might not be the best person to cover those protests?  Of course not: that’s exactly the bias that makes her such an appropriate choice in the eyes of her Time Warner bosses.

I don’t think Burnett can claim dumb or naive when she states to Vanity Fair, CNBC’s Erin Burnett Doesn’t Think All Rich People Are Evil

We’ve heard a lot about how some banks and companies are “too big to fail.” I’m not sure I understand that reasoning. Weren’t the dinosaurs too big to fail? The Titanic was too big to fail. The Galactic Empire in the Star Wars trilogy was definitely too big to fail. Isn’t everything bloated and evil and stupid too big to fail before it inevitably fails?

(Burnett) Whoa. (Long pause.) The irony of this whole crisis is that all of the banks that were too big to fail got a lot bigger. J.P. Morgan bought Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual. Bank of America got Merrill. Bank of America and J.P. Morgan have really gotten a lot bigger. I’m not sure what you can do to prevent that. No matter what the legislation does, if something is incredibly big, it’s very hard to put in assurances and preventative measures in advance that would prevent it from actually causing massive damage when it fails.

What a convenient case of suddenly does not have a clue. What could you do so that the US would not have too big to fail banks. Gee, how about bringing back the Glass-Steagall Act. You know the Act that is actually pro healthy competition , pro capitalism and protects consumers, investors and the average American household. I guess knowing that is too much to expect from a financial expert and completely unbiased financial reporter. One that has not lost her job for  blatant bias in reporting.

More strange inconsistency –  Boehner Demands $2 Billion for Ohio Plant After Solyndra

House Speaker John Boehner attacked the Obama administration for financing failed solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC, saying government shouldn’t pick winners and losers. That hasn’t stopped him from demanding that the U.S. make a winner of a nuclear-fuel plant in Ohio, his home state.

Boehner is backing a $2 billion Energy Department loan guarantee sought by USEC Inc. (USU) for its American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, aimed at enriching uranium for commercial nuclear reactors.

“When it comes to emerging energy technologies, the Republicans don’t want to pick winners and losers — unless it’s nuclear power,” Ellen Vancko, nuclear energy and climate-change project manager in the Washington office of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in an interview.

If John Boehner(R-OH) likes it, the project deserves government money and guarantees. What he likes also happens to be nuclear, non-alternative energy, a business in his state and to an industry that gives most of its contributions to conservatives. American Centrifuge will likely get its money. Obama has previously promised the money, has pushed nuclear energy, it is in Ohio and it is election time.

USEC’s political action committee has given $10,000 to committees supporting Boehner since 2010, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
11,500 Centrifuges

In an interview with Fox Business Network on Sept. 19, Boehner said that “for the federal government to be out there picking one company over another, one type of energy source over another. I think is wrong.”

Remember that conservatives keep telling us that government does not create jobs. Furthermore, depending on what day it is or what state or where Boehner is getting his checks from – “for the federal government to be out there picking one company over another, one type of energy source over another. I think is wrong.” I know and have become accustomed to the fact the conservative movement has values that are as pliable as play-dough and as consistent as the wind direction. Standards for conservatives are whatever they think they should be depending on the situation. They have the same kind of situational ethics that  Erin Burnett and CNN have.

They say what goes around comes around – Officers Jeer at Arraignment of 16 Colleagues in Ticket-Fixing Investigation

As 16 police officers were arraigned at State Supreme Court in the Bronx, incensed colleagues organized by their union cursed and taunted prosecutors and investigators, chanting “Down with the D.A.” and “Ray Kelly, hypocrite.”

As the defendants emerged from their morning court appearance, a swarm of officers formed a cordon in the hallway and clapped as they picked their way to the elevators. Members of the news media were prevented by court officers from walking down the hallway where more than 100 off-duty police officers had gathered outside the courtroom.

The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward.

The unsealed indictments contained more than 1,600 criminal counts…

It’s OK for the police to shove, block and yell – engage in rowdy protests. It is OK for them to block the media from filming and reporting on police corruption. They also get to engage in this behavior without being maced, kicked, suffer fractured skulls, knocked to the ground, jailed or be kept from exercising what they see as their right to protest. The protests are not about economic justice, but about 1,600 criminal counts that range from drug trafficking to corruption to grand larceny to ticket fixing. As the NYT notes this all comes as Federal agents “arrested eight current and former officers on accusations that they had brought illegal firearms, slot machines and black-market cigarettes into New York City.” While other officers have been charged in federal court with making false arrests. And in Brooklyn a criminal trial proceeded in which narcotics detectives were accused of planting drugs on innocent civilians. Of course all these people are innocent until proven guilty. Yet how quickly the worm turns. The police who were having their little riot at the court-house were doing so because of what feel is unfair and unjust treatment – with that many indictments there probably were a few innocent cops swept up with everyone else. The OWS protesters the police have been mistreating also feel they have legitimate complaints. No doubt a few of the protesters have behaved badly – as I write this there is a running story about some protesters assaulting other protesters, a few protesters in one city engaged in lewd behavior and a woman who apparently tried to recruit a teen protester for prostitution.

Mr. Kelly said that those who tried to rationalize ticket-fixing as part of the culture “are kidding themselves, especially if they think the public finds it acceptable.”

The everyone is doing it defense. I used that one myself at least once when I was a young teen. My parents weren’t buying it and I doubt the public will either when it comes to ticket fixing. This is also a big part of the problem with America’s financial sector. They have engaged in outrageously immoral behavior for so long it has become the norm – hey everyone is doing it.

On Friday morning, on the street outside the courthouse, some 350 officers massed behind barricades and brandished signs expressing sentiments like “It’s a Courtesy Not a Crime.”

When the defendants emerged, many in the crowd burst into raucous cheers. Once they had gone and the tide of officers had dispersed, the street was littered with refuse.

The police who think this whole episode is unfair and the city prosecutor should just call it a day, forgive and forget, might again think about what the best participants in the OWS are saying. Some of the police appeared to have done wrong. They’re going to trial or face some kind of departmental disciplinary action. Wall Street screwed the nation and millions of families, they cost us trillions in lost wealth and jobs. No one seems to be headed for trial much less jail. Different standards for different parts of a society which has a Supreme Court building engraved with the phrase “Equal justice under law”.

update: Just changed out the wallpaper.

The Right-wing Emergency Committee For Israel Is Trying to Portray OWS as Anti-Semitic, Even as Several Jewish Groups Join in The Protests

Never underestimate how low conservatives can go and how fast they can create yet another astroturf group that pretends to speak on behalf of regular Americans. It the conservative playbook no lie is too big, too venal or too morally outrageous. All such lies are justified in the name of the movement. If those lies hurt America or democracy, oh well, sacrifices must be made in the name of all-mighty conservatism. Thus the Right’s new meme that the OWS protesters are anti-Semitic – Homeless anti-Semite was around long before OccupyWallStreet

Right-wing pundits and Republican Party figures are continuing their attempt to smear the Occupy Wall Street movement as anti-Semitic, but we now have more evidence that the charge is profoundly dishonest.

To review: the Emergency Committee for Israel (which, it turns out, is funded by Wall Street) released an ad last week claiming that Occupy Wall Street is shot through with anti-Semitism, and demanding that Democrats condemn the protests. That attack has now been picked up by various pundits and GOP officials. The Republican National Committee started using the line against Democrats Wednesday. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin inevitably piled on. Fox News is all over the story.

Exhibit A in the ad (watch it below) is a sign-bearing man who yells that “Jews control Wall Street!” Now, as I’ve previously reported, Occupy protesters have taken to surrounding the man, who gave his name to me recently as David Smith, with rebuttal signs, including one that reads, “Asshole —>”. Smith has been hanging around Zuccotti Park nearly every day for a couple of weeks.

But as Josh Nathan-Kazis reports at the Forward, Smith started carrying anti-Semitic signs around the financial district long before Occupy Wall Street existed…

Think porgress has more on the Emergency Committee for Israel who are financed by hedge fund managers. One of the biggest contributors has been on a crusade against Obama ever since he and Democrats passed that modest package of financial reforms. David Smith seems to have both medical, and what unfortuantely seems to be genuine mental issues. Leave it to the Right to exploit a guy with mental problems who is going blind. Three is also another “nutpicking” example in a guy named Danny Cline who has some manic obsession with making trouble and seeing himself on YouTube.

OccupyWallStreet: Yom Kippur Celebration in Support of Occupy Wall Street 10/7/11

Another story about Jews supporting OWS that the Right is pretending does not exist, Jewish groups rally in sukkah at Occupy Los Angeles

As part of the Occupy Los Angeles movement, hundreds of Angelenos have been living in tents outside downtown’s City Hall for several weeks. On Oct. 16, Jewish groups rallied in a sukkah alongside these temporary shelters.

“I think of a sukkah as a structure that’s full of vulnerability,” said Elissa Barrett, chief of regional operations for Progressive Jewish Alliance and Jewish Funds for Justice (PJA & JFSJ), a participant in the demonstration. “It forces us to look at what’s happening in the world around us.”

In solidarity with the protestors of Occupy Los Angeles — an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street and similarly anti-corporate — several Jewish clergy, community organizers and rabbinical students came together to organize the protest in the sukkah, billed as “Not Just a Sukkah: A JUST Sukkah at Occupy L.A.”

The collaborators included Rabbi Jonathan Klein of CLUE-LA (Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice); Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen of Temple Ner Maarav; Lauren Henderson, a rabbinical student at American Jewish University (AJU); Rabbi Aryeh Cohen of American Jewish University; Charlie Carnow, a CLUE-LA board member; and Maya Barron of PJA & JFSJ.

 

And a video from the L.A. group as well, A Just Sukkah at Occupy LA


The Emergency Committee for Israel was one of those shady groups that pushed for the invasion of Iraq. Their interests and what is best for the U.S. always seem to be at odds. Why are such anti-American groups supported by the Right? That’s just a rhetorical question, we all know the answer.

Antique World Map c1713 – All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem

Antique World Map (copper engraving), Pieter van der Aa, c.1713. The illustrations make the map a work of fine art in addition to being an amazing example of 18th century map making.

All protest movements are vulnerable to being infiltrated, their message co-opted by outside agitators and the small number of weirdos who joy in, used to discredit everyone. The Right – you know those people who manipulated the nation into a three trillion-dollar quagmire in Iraq, all the while hiding behind the flag and nationalism, bankrupting the nation and using government the way organized crime uses goons, are engaging in all three tactics. Wingnuts’ Photo Fail

Wingnuts have been circulating this photo, claiming it’s from Occupy Wall Street. One woman who claims to work/have worked at the New York Stock Exchange posted it on her Facebook page and where it was shared over 1000 times wrote this as the caption:

This is the NO-CLASS Wall Street occupiers. They are rutting in the street. They are defecating in the street. This is what the democratic party is applauding and embracing? America is in trouble; When morality is willingly being usurped by corruption; Freedom sold for limitation and servitude; Honor traded for degradation, a society can not survive.

Fail. It’s from a 2007 Portland, Oregon anti-war demonstration.

The right-wing fraudster thinks freedom is letting Wall Street steal $17 trillion dollars from the American people and pleading with them to continue as usual, please abuse us some more. Masochism has always been a not too subtle feature of the conservative mindset. OWS: The provocateurs have arrived!

Well, we predicted that the provocateurs would hit Occupy Wall Street, and we should have predicted the methodology. In an obvious ploy, the bad guys sent out a few guys with anti-Semitic signs. On cue — with a telling immediacy — Breitbart’s site picked up on this, and charged the whole movement with anti-Semitism. Also see NewsBusters, which is pushing the major media to parrot their line.

A transparent ploy? To you and to me, perhaps. But not to many other Americans.

How can I be certain that the anti-Semitic sign-holders are agents? Well, I can’t be certain about all of them. But…come on. At least one of these clowns is the biggest, most obvious plant I’ve seen outside the Muir Woods. The reliably vile Pam Geller has the story here (quoting CBS News):

“Blame the Jews.”

That’s the message one Wall Street protester was trying to spread in Lower Manhattan to anyone that would listen.

A new video posted to YouTube shows the protester loudly and aggressively proclaiming “the Jews control Wall Street.”

In the nearly 6-minute video, the man is seen standing in Zuccotti Park ranting against Israel and Jews while holding a sign reading “Hitler’s Bankers – Wall St.”

The protestor, who would not give his name to those gathered around him, is also seen arguing with members of the public who took offense to his choice of words.

A number of others also ask the protester if Fox News had paid him to stand and display his sign to which he responded: “[expletive] Fox News, that’s [expletive]. [Expletive] Jew made that up.”

He’s nameless, he’s with no-one, and — like the fool on the hill — nobody seems to like him. He shows up with a cameraman just to get his mug plastered all over YouTube, and of course the resultant video immediately goes viral. Classic provocateur profile. The whole thing is being pushed by an out-of-nowhere Republican front group which calls itself the Emergency Committee for Israel.

The picture of this one guy anti-Semite poster boy is at the link. It came to my attention over the weekend that the American Nazi Party has Tweeted some support for OWC. That too has been taken as PROOF the OWC is antisemitic. Te little problem with that are the anti-Obama tweets from the ANP which associate Obama with said “Jewish bankers”,

  1. ANP14 American Nazi Party
    The Jewish Goldman Sachs is the most politically connected corporation in the world, it was also Obama’s largest campaign donor. #fail
    7 Oct

Anyone who has a Twitter account can search the ANP’s tweets for similar lines of attack.

If the Right is going to try to hijack Martin Luther King Jr. the least they could do is find, I don’t know, some supporting evidence on which to hang their thesis, From Malkin’s Hot Air – Obama: MLK Jr. would have supported Occupy Wall Street

MLK Jr. might at times have used rhetoric later in his life that suggests he would be sympathetic to the OWS protesters’ redistributive aims, but my best guess is he’d also have a few exhortations for them.

It was in poor taste for the president to make a divisive claim in his dedication of a memorial of a man who aimed to unite.

What Malkin stand-in Tina Korbe does is standard operating procedure. For today and at their convenience they take a few excerpts from other conservative wing-nuts, highly interpretative pieces that suit the attack of the day, and presto, they got their average reader rube who has all the historical knowledge of a dung beetle. It just so happens that MLK Jr. lead, not the first OWS protests, but one among many in America’s history in the 1960s – Poor People’s Campaign: A Dream Unfulfilled

In early 1968, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders planned a Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, D.C., for the spring. The group planned to demand that President Lyndon Johnson and Congress help the poor get jobs, health care and decent homes.

Campaign organizers intended the campaign to be a peaceful gathering of poor people from communities across the nation. They would march through the capital and visit various federal agencies in hopes of getting Congress to pass substantial anti-poverty legislation. They planned to stay until some action was taken.

But weeks before the march was to take place, King was assassinated. His widow, Coretta, and a cadre of black ministers, including the Revs. Ralph Abernathy and Jesse Jackson, decided they would pick up where King had left off and that the Poor People’s March on Washington would go forward.

Thousands of people participated in the march on May 12, 1968.

“We come with an appeal to open the doors of America to the almost 50 million Americans who have not been given a fair share of America’s wealth and opportunity, and we will stay until we get it,” Abernathy said as he led the way for demonstrators.

Whiskey Fire also unloads some more much deserved scorn on the zombies at Hot Air –  Look at That Distracting Thing. A reminder that we have been redistributing wealth in America for some time, from the people who work the hardest to the people who work the least:

The conservative wealth distribution plan is going swimmingly

 

Iraq Veteran Questions NYPD Violence Against OWC

On Saturday, Occupy Wall Street demonstrators occupied Times Squares when thousands flooded the iconic location to protest economic inequities. After a number of demonstrators refused to leave the streets there, police responded with heavy-handed tactics to arrest them. Now, video has emerged of an apparent U.S. military veteran speaking out against these police tactics. The man, who identified himself as Sgt. Shamar Thomas, explained that he spent fourteen months in Iraq and that his parents served in the military as well. “This is not a warzone. It doesn’t make you tough to hurt these people!” protested Thomas to police officers. “There is no honor in that.” The crowd gave the man a hearty applause.

I tend to think well of law enforcement in general. I have friends and relatives in law enforcement. perhaps because of that I find some of the incredibly heavy-handed tactics being used by uniformed street officers all that much more frustrating. I’m sure they’ve encountered some jerks among the protesters but for the most part the OWC are looking out for the rights of union workers like the police. America’s ‘Primal Scream’

Three factoids underscore that inequality:

The 400 wealthiest Americans have a greater combined net worth than the bottom 150 million Americans.

The top 1 percent of Americans possess more wealth than the entire bottom 90 percent.

In the Bush expansion from 2002 to 2007, 65 percent of economic gains went to the richest 1 percent.

As my Times colleague Catherine Rampell noted a few days ago, in 1981, the average salary in the securities industry in New York City was twice the average in other private sector jobs. At last count, in 2010, it was 5.5 times as much. (In case you want to gnash your teeth, the average is now $361,330.)

More broadly, there’s a growing sense that lopsided outcomes are a result of tycoons’ manipulating the system, lobbying for loopholes and getting away with murder. Of the 100 highest-paid chief executives in the United States in 2010, 25 took home more pay than their company paid in federal corporate income taxes, according to the Institute for Policy Studies.

What conservatives, tea baggers, the 53 percent or whatever they’re calling themselves this week want everyone to believe, hell their entire knuckle dragging political philosophy depends on it – is to buy into the deeply bizarre possibility that  one to ten percent of Americas are working so darn hard they deserve to own 70% of the wealth. To buy into that you don’t just have to drink the kool-aid, you’re getting it intravenously and in daily supply side kool-aid enemas.

Illegal immigration is just that – rule of law and all. That said tis a wee bit of an overreaction for people, basically coming here to pick lettuce and wash dishes, to be preemptively electrocuted – On Taxes and Fences, Cain Stumbles a Bit

Herman Cain found out how tricky being in the national spotlight is on Sunday as he was pushed to admit that his signature economic plan, 9-9-9, would result in increased taxes for some people.

[  ]…The Republican presidential candidate also sought to back away from fiery comments he had made just hours earlier, saying he was only joking about killing people trying to cross the border from Mexico with an electrified fence. And he said that the American people need to “get a sense of humor.”

Yea America when are you going to start laughing about electrocuting poor Mexicans, what’s wrong with you. Maybe we’ll all get to appreciated the electrocuting poor people jokes right after we start to appreciate right-wing rape jokes – and shame on you Glenn Reynolds, not that Glenn is capable of feeling shame at the appropriate times.

 Why Is Darrell Issa (R-CA) Pretending He Knows Nothing About Bush Era Fast and Furious Gun Walking Program and all the documents he was sent by Attorney General Holder. The Right has been pushing this Fast and Furious crap as a way to bring down Holder and embarrass Obama for months. I hope they keep it up because Issa is going to end up hanging by his own petard. We’ll get to the stage where Issa will have to put up or shut-up. Issa will need a time machine to make the put up part possible.

Tea Party co-founder expresses support for Occupy Wall Street

One of the original founders of the Tea Party movement has told RT.com that he believes Occupy Wall Street is not only comparable to the earliest states of the movement he helped launch but can learn from its mistakes.

“The problem with protests and the political process is that it is very easy, no matter how big the protest is, for the politicians to simply wait until the people go home,” financial blogger Karl Denninger observed. “And then they can ignore you.”

“Well, Occupy Wall Street was a little different,” he continued. “And back in 2008, I wrote that when we will actually see change is when the people come, they set up camp, and they refuse to go home. That appears to be happening now.”

 

 

All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem. – Martin Luther King, Jr.