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Archive for February 24th, 2010

Two weeks ago in this space, I wrote about how the Democrats appear to be totally incompetent at ballyhooing their own successes. And make no mistake, there have been numerous legislative triumphs over the last year.

Really. No, seriously. Stop laughing. There have been.

They rescued the economy. They set new emissions standards. They protected two million acres of national forest. They passed legislation to help unemployed Americans to afford COBRA health insurance. They expanded affordable health insurance for children. They passed historic hate crimes legislation. They passed the largest middle class tax cut in American history. They’re tantalizingly close to passing health care reform. All of this despite a record number of Republican filibusters by the crackpot minority party.

So I have to ask: H-H-Hello? Anyone home?

Two events this week have served to illustrate my point about the ongoing failure of the Democrats to self-promote.

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 went into effect. Major Democratic triumph. At long last, some of the most predatory and nefarious scams orchestrated by one of the most predatory and nefarious industries have been officially banned. Of course the credit card companies will come up with new, cruel and unusual ways to screw us hard, but this was a major victory in the effort to reform the financial sector. No more random interest rate hikes. No retroactive rate hikes. Fair warning. Transparency.

But you’d never know it based upon the silence from Capitol Hill and the White House. It’s truly confounding. Where are the Democrats? They ought to be bumrushing everyone with a camera and a fake law library backdrop — thumping their chests about how this bill will make our lives just a little bit less complicated and costly. And holy hell, it was a totally bipartisan vote in the Senate, too. 90 to 5. The lawmakers who are scrambling to prove they’re “reaching across the aisle” and all that happy crappy glad-handing — all of the pandering to the voters who tell pollsters there’s too much partisan bickering, then turn around and vote along straight party lines — these Democrats ought to be the loudest and proudest of the bunch.

Hear that? Crickets chirping.

It gets worse.

(more…)

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by The Robert Jackson Steering Committee – 2010-02-23

The Justice Robert Jackson Steering Committee, a group of lawyers, journalists and advocates formed in the fall of 2008 to pursue the prosecution of top Bush administration officials for alleged war crimes while in office, is both greatly concerned and guardedly hopeful by the recent release of 2 different assessments from inside the Department of Justice on whether John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the lawyers who crafted “torture memos” inside the Bush administration’s Office of Legal Counsel, engaged in professional misconduct.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17789
http://lawsnotmen.org/

Conspiracy to engage in aggressive and illegal war

Yoo, Bybee, and Disinformation

by David Swanson
After Downing Street – 2010-02-21

Everything you’re reading about torture lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee getting off the hook is wrong. They are not torture lawyers, they are not off the hook, there never was any hook, they may not be lawyers for long, impeachment and indictment are on the agenda, and you have a role to play.

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17754

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Senate Jobs Bill Vote Passed

ANDREW TAYLOR | 02/24/10 12:27 PM | AP

WASHINGTON — Companies that hire the unemployed would claim new tax breaks under a jobs-promoting bill the Senate passed Wednesday, delivering President Barack Obama and Democrats a much-needed victory.

The 70-28 vote sends the bill back to the House, which passed a far more costly measure in December. Many in the House consider the Senate bill too puny, but they may simply adopt it and send it to Obama in order to get a win. Democratic leaders promise more so-called jobs bills are on the way.

It’s the first major bill to pass the Senate since the Christmas Eve passage of a deeply controversial health care bill and the subsequent election of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown, which rocked Democrats by demonstrating their falling standing even among heavily Democratic voters.

The bill contain two major provisions. First, it would exempt businesses hiring the unemployed from the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December and give them an additional $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year. The Social Security trust funds would be reimbursed for the lost revenue.

Second, it would extend highway and mass transit programs through the end of the year and pump $20 billion into them in time for the spring construction season. The money would make up for lower-than-expected gasoline tax revenues.

The Senate’s $35 billion proposal is a far smaller measure than the $862 billion economic stimulus bill enacted a year ago.

The measure cleared a key hurdle Monday when Brown and four other Republicans broke party ranks to defeat a filibuster. Republican leaders said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had used strong-arm tactics to bring the measure to the floor.

In all, 13 Republicans voted for the measure Wednesday. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the only Democrat in opposition.

Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, blasted the measure for increasing the budget deficit to fund highway and transit programs. He said the measure made a joke of Democratic promises to adhere to “pay-as-you-go” budget rules requiring new spending programs to not increase the deficit.

MORE HERE

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Chief of Staff Draws Fire From Left as Obama Falters

Wall Street Journal

By PETER WALLSTEN JANUARY 26, 2010

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama’s liberal backers have a long list of grievances. The Guantanamo Bay prison is still open. Health care hasn’t been transformed. And Wall Street banks are still paying huge bonuses.

But they are directing their anger less at Mr. Obama than at the man who works down the hall from him. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, they say, is the prime obstacle to the changes they thought Mr. Obama’s election would bring.

Some observers say Rahm Emanuel is losing favor with liberal Democrats. Could his job be on the line? Kelsey Hubbard talks with WSJ’s Peter Wallsten about the future of President Obama’s chief of staff.

The friction was laid bare in August when Mr. Emanuel showed up at a weekly strategy session featuring liberal groups and White House aides. Some attendees said they were planning to air ads attacking conservative Democrats who were balking at Mr. Obama’s health-care overhaul.

“F—ing retarded,” Mr. Emanuel scolded the group, according to several participants. He warned them not to alienate lawmakers whose votes would be needed on health care and other top legislative items.

Deja-Vu? Well, not being up to date on Emanuel’s history, I wondered why, with his Zionist connections, he was chosen as senior adviser by Obama. So, being kind of  kicked back in the now, went straight to the Wiki. I wasn’t disappointed.

Some highlights:
*At the start of then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton’s presidential primary campaign, Emanuel was appointed to direct the campaign’s finance committee.

*Following the campaign, Emanuel became a senior advisor to Clinton at the White House from 1993 to 1998. In the White House, Emanuel was initially Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy.

*He was a leading strategist in the unsuccessful White House efforts to institute universal healthcare; and many other Clinton initiatives
*
*Emanuel was named to the Board of Directors for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) by then President Bill Clinton in 2000.


Rahm Israel Emanuel

A view from beyond the Left

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