U.S. Politics

Chamber’s War On Obama Just Getting Started

President Obama needs to shed his “bi-partisan” image and get into fighting mode these next two years.  Between the GOP, Big Business, The Chamber of Congress and The Tea Party, he is literally caught between a rock and a hard place.  Playing “nice” is not an option…

The Huffington Post

President Barack Obama’s apparent hopes to the contrary, the head of the nation’s flagship business lobby has made it clear that the corporate campaign against the White House’s agenda is far from over.

In a newly-published BusinessWeek cover story worth reading for the gloating alone, Devin Leonard reports that U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue is gearing up for more fights, and is more than willing to inject unprecedented amounts of Chamber money directly into electoral politics. Donohue’s priorities, as reported by Leonard, are unsurprising: tax cuts, deficit cuts, foreign trade pacts, and deregulation — meaning he wants to tear down the health care and financial reform laws passed earlier this year.

So while The New York Times suggested Thursday that corporate America may be softening its view of the Obama administration, Donohue finds that idea hilarious, according to BusinessWeek. “Oh, hell no,” he chuckles to Leonard, when asked if the battles between Obama and his organization have ended. “They are in the second inning.”

Senate Republicans

GOP senators fight over failure

Let the games begin!


Long-simmering tensions within the Republican Party spilled into public view Wednesday as the pragmatic and conservative wings of the GOP blamed each other in blunt terms for the party’s failure to capture the Senate.

With tea party-backed candidates going down in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada, depriving Republicans of what would have been a 50-50 Senate, a bloc of prominent senators and operatives said party purists like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win in politically competitive states.

Movement conservatives pointed the finger right back at the establishment, accusing the National Republican Senatorial Committee of squandering millions on a California race that wasn’t close at the expense of offering additional aid in places like Colorado, Nevada and Washington state, where Democratic Sen. Patty Murray holds a narrow lead as the votes continue to be counted.

The back-and-forth following an otherwise triumphant election amounted to a significant ratcheting up of the internecine battle that has been taking place within the GOP for the past year.

“Candidates matter,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “It was a good night for Republicans but it could have been a better one. We left some on the table.”

Referring to the debate within the right about whether the party was better off losing the Delaware seat than winning with a moderate Republican like Rep. Mike Castle, who lost the GOP primary to Christine O’Donnell, Graham was even more blunt.

“If you think what happened in Delaware is ‘a win’ for the Republican Party then we don’t have a snowball’s chance to win the White House,” he said. “If you think Delaware was a wake-up call for Republicans than we have shot at doing well for a long time.”Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott put it plainly: “We did not nominate our strongest candidates.”Had Republicans run Castle in Delaware and establishment favorites Sue Lowden in Nevada and Jane Norton in Colorado, Lott said, Tuesday would have turned out different.“With those three we would have won and been sitting at 50 [senators],” he observed.

Read more…

Global Warming

Karl Rove: ‘Climate Is Gone’

There goes that GOP hubris again.  Karl Rove seems pretty sure of his claim that any legislation toward climate change is now null and void with the GOP majority in the House. 

I really don’t like these people.

Think Progress

Republican strategist Karl Rove, who helped organize the outside groups that spent millions to install Republicans in the midterm elections, spent election day celebrating with Pennsylvania’s growing drilling industry. Like other corporate sectors, the fossil industry is hoping that Republicans will be able to roll back regulations that limit their profit-seeking at the expense of people’s health and safety. Rove told the attendees of a shale-gas conference in Philadelphia that the incoming Republican House of Representatives “sure as heck” won’t pass legislation to limit greenhouse pollution from fossil fuels:

Climate is gone,” said Rove, the keynote speaker on the opening day of a two-day shale-gas conference sponsored by Hart Energy Publishing L.L.P. And Rove told the trade show, “I don’t think you need to worry” the new Congress will consider proposed legislation to put the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing under federal rather than state regulation. The procedure, known as “fracking,” is responsible for the dramatic growth of shale-gas drilling in formations such as Pennsylvania’s vast Marcellus Shale.

Rove’s pronouncement that the “climate is gone” may be more accurate than he realizes. The Geological Society of London is warning that the planet will take 100,000 years to recover from man’s global warming pollution, the permanently warmer Arctic is altering weather patterns across the Northern Hemisphere, and scientists continue to warn that global policy ambitions — if the United States even acted — are likely too weak to avoid catastrophe.

Health Care Reform

Dem memo: GOP doesn’t have mandate for repeal

The GOP chatter about “repealing ‘Obamacare’ ” was solely for the sake of appeasing “big business”, in my opinion.  The GOP knew there was no mandate for repealing the current Health Care bill… 

The Washington Post – Greg Sargent

With Republicans gearing up to repeal health care reform, Dems urgently need to make the case that the Tuesday bloodbath did not give the GOP a mandate to roll back Obama’s signature achievement, and the DNC is out with a new memo arguing that health reform was not a significant factor in Dem losses:

* Among those Democrats who faced competitive races, those who voted for the reforms fared significantly better than those who voted against it.

* Among the 93 competitive races that have been called, 67 featured Democrats who voted for reform and 25 featured Democrats who voted against reform.

* 35 Democrats who voted for reform won re-election, while 32 did not, for a win percentage of 52%.

* 8 Democrats who voted against reform won re-election, while 16 did not, for a win percentage of 33%.

* Also, among Democratic Senators facing re-election, only 2 of the 12 who voted for reform were defeated, Blanche Lincoln and Russ Feingold.

Though the memo seems backward looking, in that it’s reinterpreting the results of the elections, the real goal is a forward looking one: Dems are pre-emptively trying to persuade opinion-makers, columnists and cable talkers not to play along if and when the Republicans take up repeal in earnest and begin making a public case that they have a mandate to proceed with it.

The coming repeal push is why Dems need to engage the debate over health reform’s legacy right now.


George Bush Says He Approved Waterboarding: ‘Damn Right’

The unbelievable hubris that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have displayed regarding the crime of waterboarding, is simply mind-boggling!

Huffington Post

“Damn right.”

That’s what former president George W. Bush told CIA officials when they came to ask him for permission to waterboard alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, according to a Washington Post report on the 43rd president’s forthcoming book, “Decision Points.”

Mohammed supposedly had knowledge of brewing terrorist plots against the United States, and Bush had little reservation about using the practice of simulated drowning on the detainee to extract them.

“I’d do it again to save lives,” Bush, who refused to call the interrogation technique “torture” during his presidency, said at a forum earlier this year. He repeats this willingness to use the procedure and maintains that it isn’t torture in his book, according to the Post.

President Obama and the current Justice Department have tightened their view on waterboarding, characterizing it as an act of torture that is prohibited by international stricture, and, while the Post reports that there may someday be legal repercussions for those who directly authorized torture, the Obama administration has shown little interest in pursuing action against Bush and others, such as Dick Cheney, who have openly supported and admitted using the interrogation tactic.

Earlier advanced looks at “Decision Points” have also provided insight into the mindset of the former president. According to a sneak peak by the New York Times, Bush considered dumping Cheney as his vice president in 2004 because of his “Darth Vader” image and the common perception that he was the real source of power and decision making in the White House.

Bush also writes that he was heartbroken and repulsed by rapper Kanye West’s reaction to his handling of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, when he said on live TV that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

Large segments of the book will also focus on Bush’s struggles with alcoholism, his faith and key decisions he made on 9/11, according to a Drudge Report preview.

Karl Rove · Sarah Palin

Fox 2012 Primary: Palin vs. Rove

Keep an eye on Karl Rove and Sarah Palin as they verbally duke it out over Palin’s qualifications to be President of the United States.   This will be interesting and  entertaining to watch for the next two years. 

Media Matters

An October 31 Politico article reported that Fox News contributor Karl Rove seems to be among GOP leaders who are on a “mission” to “halt” Fox News contributor Sarah Palin’s “momentum and credibility,” viewing her potential 2012 presidential nomination as a “disaster in waiting.” Indeed, Rove and Palin have recently traded attacks, with Rove reportedly suggesting that Palin lacked the “gravitas” required to run for president.

Palin, Rove have recently sparred over Palin’s qualifications to be president

Politico: Rove seems to be among GOP leaders who have “highlighted an urgent task that they will begin in earnest as soon as the elections are over: Stop Sarah Palin.” From an October 31 Politico article:

Top Republicans in Washington and in the national GOP establishment say the 2010 campaign highlighted an urgent task that they will begin in earnest as soon as the elections are over: Stop Sarah Palin.  

Interviews with advisers to the main 2012 presidential contenders and with other veteran Republican operatives make clear they see themselves on a common, if uncoordinated, mission of halting the momentum and credibility Palin gained with conservative activists by plunging so aggressively into this year’s midterm campaigns.

There is rising expectation among GOP elites that Palin will probably run for president in 2012 and could win the Republican nomination, a prospect many of them regard as a disaster in waiting.

“There is a determined, focused establishment effort … to find a candidate we can coalesce around who can beat Sarah Palin,” said one prominent and longtime Washington Republican. “We believe she could get the nomination, but Barack Obama would crush her.”


Top Republicans, from presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty to highly influential advisers such as Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, are said to be concerned she will run, and could win, according to the officials.

Nearly all of these interviewees insisted on keeping their views on background, fearing the wrath of conservative grass-roots activists who are enthralled with the former Alaska governor and who have made plain.

Continue reading…


Midterm Madness: The Year In Review (VIDEO)

Huffington Post – 11-2-2010

Welcome to Election Day, everyone! All year long, we’ve noted that America is facing a host of difficult choices and tough circumstances. Long wars, massive unemployment, a foreclosure crisis that seems to get worse and worse and an economic recovery that’s slow to emerge. How have your would-be lawmakers responded to this time in our lives? With the most infantile, substance-free campaign in memory.

We’ve been watching the campaign ads, the debates, and the interviews, and if there’s some undercurrent of gravitas and maturity and dignity to be found in the country, we’ve not been able to discern it amid all of the chickens and the demon sheep and the gunplay and the singing and the dancing and the barely concealed childish wrath that’s been allowed to masquerade as “conviction.”

If you happened to miss any of our previous chronicles of Midterm Madness, we’re here to help. Here’s the story of how we got to where we are today.

Watch videos here…


What NOT To Post On Facebook: 13 Things You Shouldn’t Tell Your Facebook Friends

I would suggest that everyone read this and then implement whatever changes you need to make to secure your privacy..

Huffington Post

1.   While it might be nice to hear from Facebook well-wishers on your birthday, you should think twice before posting your full birthday. Beth Givens, executive director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse advises that revealing your exact birthday and your place of birth is like handing over your financial security to thieves. Furthermore, Carnegie Mellon researchers recently discovered that they could reconstruct social security numbers using an individual’s birthday and place of birth.

Rather than remove your birthday entirely, you could enter a date that’s just a few days off from your real birthday.

2.   “Your mother’s maiden name is an especially valuable bit of information, not least since it’s often the answer to security questions on many sites,” writes the New York Times. Credit card companies, your wireless service provider, and numerous other firms frequently rely on this tidbit to protect your personal information.

3.   Publicizing your home address enables everyone and anyone with whom you’ve shared that information to see where you live, from exes to employers. Opening up in this way could have negative repercussions: for example, there have been instances in which burglars have used Facebook to target users who said they were not at home.

4.   Don’t post status updates that mention when you will be away from home, advises New York Times columnist Ron Lieber. When you broadcast your vacation dates, you might be telling untrustworthy Facebook “friends” that your house is empty and unwatched. “[R]emind ‘friends’ that you have an alarm or a guard dog,” Lieber writes.

5.   Although new features like Facebook Places encourage you to check in during outings and broadcast your location (be it at a restaurant, park, or store), you might think twice even before sharing information about shorter departures from your home. “Don’t post messages such as ‘out for a run’ or ‘at the mall shopping for my sweetie,'” Identity Theft 911 cautions. “Thieves could use that information to physically break in your house.”

6.   By now, nearly everyone knows that racy, illicit, or otherwise incriminating photos posted on Facebook can cost you a job (or worse). But even deleted photos could come back to haunt you.

Ars Technica recently discovered that Facebook’s servers can store deleted photos for an unspecified amount of time. “It’s possible,” a Facebook spokesperson told Ars Technica, “that someone who previously had access to a photo and saved the direct URL from our content delivery network partner could still access the photo.”

7.   Flubbing on your tax returns? Can’t stand your boss? Pulled a ‘dine and dash?’ Don’t tell Facebook. The site’s privacy settings allow you to control with whom you share certain information–for example, you can create a Group that consists only of your closest friends–but, once posted, it can be hard to erase proof of your illicit or illegal activities, and difficult to keep it from spreading.

There are countless examples of workers getting the axe for oversharing on Facebook, as well as many instances in which people have been arrested for information they shared on the social networking site. (Click here to see a few examples of Facebook posts that got people canned.)

8.   Watch where you post your phone number. Include it in your profile and, depending on your privacy settings, even your most distant Facebook “friends” (think exes, elementary school contacts, friends-of-friends) might be able to access it and give you a ring. Sharing it with Facebook Pages can also get you in trouble. Developer Tom Scott created an app called Evil that displays phone numbers published anywhere on Facebook. According to Scott, “There are uncountable numbers of groups on Facebook called ‘lost my phone!!!!! need ur numbers!!!!!’ […] Most of them are marked as ‘public’, and a lot of folks don’t understand what that means in Facebook’s context — to Facebook, ‘public’ means everyone in the world, whether they’re a Facebook member or not.”

9.   CBSMoneyWatch.com warns social network users that counting down the days to a vacation can be as negligent as stating how many days the vacation will last. “There may be a better way to say ‘Rob me, please’ than posting something along the lines of: ‘Count-down to Maui! Two days and Ritz Carlton, here we come!’ on [a social networking site]. But it’s hard to think of one. Post the photos on Facebook when you return, if you like. But don’t invite criminals in by telling them specifically when you’ll be gone,” MoneyWatch writes.

10.  Identity thieves also target children. “Don’t use a child’s name in photo tags or captions,” writes Consumer Reports. “If someone else does, delete it by clicking on Remove Tag. If your child isn’t on Facebook and someone includes his or her name in a caption, ask that person to remove the name.”

11.  CBSMoneyWatch.com writes:

You take your classic Camaro out for street racing, soar above the hills in a hang glider, or smoke like a chimney? Insurers are increasingly turning to the web to figure out whether their applicants and customers are putting their lives or property at risk, according to Insure.com.

There have been additional reports that insurance companies may adjust users’ premiums based what they post to Facebook. Given that criminals are turning to high-tech tools like Google Street View and Facebook to target victims, “I wouldn’t be surprised if, as social media grow in popularity and more location-based applications come to fore, insurance providers consider these in their pricing of an individual’s risk,” says Darren Black, head of home insurance for Confused.com.

12.  Identity Theft 911 reminds Facebook users never to post photos that reveal the layout of an apartment or home and the valuables therein.

13.  Do you want your Facebook profile–even bare-bones information like your gender, name, and profile picture–appearing in a Google search? If not, you should should block your profile from appearing in search engine results. Consumer Reports advises that doing so will “help prevent strangers from accessing your page.” To change this privacy setting, go to Privacy Settings under Account, then Sharing on Facebook.