House Dems reject tax deal unless changed

I guess I saw this coming…


The House Democratic Caucus voted to oppose President Barack Obama’s tax plan, throwing into flux weeks of negotiations on an issue that has turned many congressional Democrats against the White House.

Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio offered a resolution in a closed Democratic caucus meeting Thursday morning that said Democrats would oppose the bill in its current form. It is a nonbinding measure but illustrates Democratic displeasure with the bill that extends upper-income tax cuts and offers what they consider a generous deal to Republicans on the estate tax

“We have tremendous concerns about what was given away by the White House to Mitch McConnell and the Senate,” DeFazio said after emerging from the meeting in the Capitol basement. McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden were key players in the final round of talks to reach the $900 billion agreement.

“If it’s take it or leave, we’ll leave it,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who helped draft the resolution. Biden told House Democrats on Wednesday that the deal was a “take or leave it” proposition

At one point during the meeting, a chant of “Just say no!” could be heard coming from the closed-door meeting of the Democratic Caucus. Then Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) led the group in a round of “No we can’t.”

While this doesn’t necessarily scuttle the whole tax deal, it is “highly unlikely” that the tax-cut agreement will come to the floor as is, according to senior Democratic aides. A tax compromise could still pass if an overwhelming majority of Republicans voted for it alongside several dozen Democrats
Read more:

Senate GOP Blocks Cloture On Repeal Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell


After negotiations between Senate Democrats and Republicans apparently broke down today, the Senate GOP just blocked a cloture vote on the defense spending bill that includes a repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay servicemembers. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the focus of the negotiations, voted in favor of cloture while Republican Sens. Scott Brown (MA) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) voted no. Freshly-elected Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) also voted no.

Three Senators missed the vote: Sam Brownback (R-KS), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). Brownback and Lincoln are both leaving the Senate after the lame duck — Brownback was elected governor of Kansas, and Lincoln went down in defeat to Sen.-elect John Boozman (R).

The final vote was 57 for cloture, 40 against it, just shy of the 60 Democrats needed.

The bill could theoretically be brought up again before the end of the lame duck session, but a Democratic leadership aide tells TPM that negotiations are basically at an impasse. Collins had said she wanted time to debate and amendments, and apparently she got what she wanted. But Republicans like Brown and Murkowski who also wanted time to debate the bill apparently were not satsified.

Continue reading here…

Back To The Future? The Clinton Crew Takes Over…

Huffington Post

House Democrats, who voted in caucus today to oppose the tax deal, are in essence at war with the Clinton years — with Obama in the middle.

Barack Obama swept to power promising a new day and a new way, and he brought with him a cadre of top aides forged in the fire of the presidential campaign and the politics of Chicago.

The most visible Clinton alum, Rahm Emanuel, returned to Chicago to run for mayor.

But an array of other Clinton vets has stepped up to handle the sales job on taxes on the Hill and in town. Key names include: Lawrence Summers, Gene Sperling, Ron Klain, Jack Lew and John Podesta. Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, is an early Obama advisor, but he’s philosophically in tune with the economic views of the Clinton types.

Meanwhile, campaign honchos David Axelrod and Jim Messina — two Obama Originals — will soon be headed back to Chicago to lay the groundwork for the president’s 2012 campaign.

The significance of this staff shift is beyond the operational. The Clinton-era alums, by outlook and experience, represent a centrist, pragmatic, pro-business “wealth-creation” wing of the Democratic Party that flourished during the Clinton presidency in the 1990s.

For tactical and substantive reasons, Barack Obama ran for president largely ignoring the economic record of Clinton’s time. Obama, after all, was running against Sen. Hillary Clinton, and he also admired the game-changing sweep of the Reagan presidency.

But now the president finds himself in the same kind of environment that Clinton — as governor — encountered (and learned to thrive in) during his rise in the 1980s. It is one in which conservative Republicans control the terms of debate, if not all the levers of power.

It is therefore not surprising that Obama would turn to the Clintonites to sell some $800 billion worth of tax cuts to his fellow Democrats.

Continue reading here…

Palin Complains Hackers Violated Free Speech, But She Scrubs Even ‘Benign’ Content From Her Own Website

I’m an advocate of the First Amendment and always will be.  Attacking anyone’s site to inhibit “free speech” is wrong.   That includes whoever was responsible for denial of service to Wikileaks and those responsible for the subsequent similar attacks on opponents of Wikileaks. 

However, when I see blatant hypocrisy and duplicity regarding “free speech”,  especially while  hiding behind the same principle when it’s convenient to do so, I prefer to stand on the side that exposes the hypocrisy.  Hence…

Think Proogress

Yesterday, Sarah Palin’s website came under attack from pro-WikiLeaks hackers angry at her criticism of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Palin e-mailed ABC News and said, “This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts.” Her spokeswoman added that Wikileaks supporters claim to be “in favor of free speech yet they attack Sarah Palin for exercising her free speech.”

While shutting down Palin’s website is both illegal and inappropriate, Palin is hardly one to call out free speech hypocrisies. Her Facebook page, for example, is strictly policed for content that Palin doesn’t find appropriate. Time magazine writes in its current issue that “eight Palin lieutenants scattered across the country were quietly given the job of policing her site. To this day, they scrub anything that is threatening, pornographic or unfit for children; that questions Barack Obama’s citizenship or the parentage of Palin’s toddler son Trig; or that hints that the government was behind the 9/11 attacks.”

As Slate’s John Dickerson noted recently even polite disagreements with Palin are regularly expunged:

The comments on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page offer a relatively unbroken chain of adulation, applause, and approval: “Tell it LIKE IS MRS. PALIN.” “God Bless you Sarah!! Thanks for all you do!!” “Palin 2012!!!!” No matter the topic of her posting—an endorsement of a candidate or a remark about energy policy—scores call for her to run for office.

[But] there are a host of benign posts deleted from supporters who simply disagreed with the person Palin chose to endorse in a particular note. A typical one addressed her endorsement of Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire for U.S. Senate: “I can’t believe Sarah endorsed Ayotte. Ayotte is not a Momma Grizzley, she’s just another progressive in Rep. clothing. The 912 group I belong to and some of the other groups in the state are disappointed by this endorsement.”

This [deletion] caused a little stir among the commenters. “Why are the few comments expressing disagreement with this endorsement being deleted?” wrote one. “Just because some of us disagree with the endorsement doesn’t mean that we don’t follow Sarah Palin.” Alfred Petross wrote, “I just wish you would listen to me as a resident of the 3rd Congressional District. All I am doing is voicing my opinion and my posts keep getting deleted….” (These comments were then deleted.)

Continue reading here…

Navy Secretary Mabus pushes Pentagon to feed soldiers more Gulf seafood

A photo of Ray Mabus, Navy Secretary (2009-)
Image via Wikipedia

My question to Secretary Mabus is this:  Will YOU and senior officers be eating the same seafood from the Gulf?

There are several independent scientists and public health experts who disagree with the Government position that the seafood from the Gulf is ok to eat.  Therefore I think it is outrageous to give contaminated seafood to our military men and women.

Raw Story

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus wants the Pentagon to buy as much Gulf seafood as possible to help the region’s seafood industry recover from the damage of BP’s oil spill.

Secretary Mabus reportedly told the Defense Commissary Agency, which operates a worldwide chain of 284 commissaries to provide groceries to military personnel, “that we should be buying Gulf Coast seafood,” according to The New Orleans Times-Picayune.

“He expressed what we wanted to hear; he is in favor of the federal government buying seafood from the Gulf,” Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, said.

Although the federal government has claimed that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe to eat, experts told Raw Story they had serious concerns about the long-term effects of consuming Gulf seafood.

Multiple independent lab tests have found high volumes of crude oil and other harmful hydrocarbons in Gulf shrimp.

“I wouldn’t eat shrimp, fish or crab caught in the Gulf,” said Robert M. Naman, a chemist at ACT Labs in Mobile, Alabama, conducted a test on Gulf seafood after being contacted by a New Orleans activist. “The problems people will face, health-wise, are something that people don’t understand.”

Direct exposure to crude oil can cause a number of short-lived health issues, but the effects of regular consumption of small amounts of crude oil is still being debated by the medical community.

Crude oil contains benzene, which can cause cancer, along with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium, which are toxic to the brain and nervous system.

Continue reading here…

Operation Payback: WikiLeaks Supporters’ Cyberattacks Target Online ‘Enemies’

Logo used by Wikileaks
Image via Wikipedia

Huffington Post

An online group calling itself Anonymous is attacking sites around the web perceived to be “enemies” of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. This appears to be the group responsible for the shutdown of the Mastercard site earlier today, owing to Mastercard’s refusal to process payments to the group. After the site went down, the group posted a statement that read in part:

We will fire at anything or anyone that tries to censor WikiLeaks, including multibillion-dollar companies such as PayPal.Twitter, you’re next for censoring #WikiLeaks discussion. The major shitstorm has begun.

 Other targets that have already been targeted, or threatened with attack, range from Sarah Palin to Sen. Joe Lieberman to PayPal, the last of which recently admitted to bowing to U.S. pressure to break ties with the site.

Follow live updates on The Huffington Post.

Jan Brewer Medicaid Cuts Prompt Dire Calls For Life-Saving Coverage & Criticism Of ‘Brewercare’

In April of this year, I posted an article entitled Who Is Arizona Governor Jan Brewer?  Here Is The Answer…

The post essentially laid out a profile of the notorious Governor.  I recommend that everyone reading this post take a look at the aforementioned post also.

I am not surprised that this woman has implemented such budget cuts against the poor and working poor in Arizona.  Her prior record of budget cuts have been just as heartless.

Huffington Post

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is facing intense criticism and scrutiny for declining requests to hold a special session to reinstate medical transplant coverage, which for some patients was covered by the state until recently when the health care program ended.

The Tucson Sentinel reported on Tuesday:

Mesa resident Randy Shepherd, a 36-year-old father of three, has been living with a pacemaker for several years and now is facing what he says is his last treatment option: a heart transplant.But Shepherd’s hopes for a transplant were dashed when the state cut Medicaid funding for certain transplants under the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.

“Look at all of us who need these transplants,” Shepherd said, joined Tuesday by three others who say they are unable to get live-saving transplants due to the cuts. “It’s not an option for us; it’s a necessity.”

Tiffany Tate, who told the Arizona-based outlet that she was diagnosed with a chronic lung disease when she was a young child more than two decades ago, addressed the stakes she faces if she is unable to receive treatment.

“The state needs to come together so we can have a second chance at life,” she explained. “I want to travel, to play basketball again. It would mean everything to me.”

ThinkProgress relays video of a CBS interview with Tate that aired on Tuesday night.

Continue reading here…

Thursday Morning Blog Round Up

Hackers Give Web Companies a Test of Free Speech
Facebook and Twitter face tough decisions around how they should handle situations as..

Video: Upsetting the left, Obama strikes balance
Frank Rich, columnist for The New York Times, talks with Rachel Maddow about Preside..

Right-wing pundits all too happy to help Democrats tear each other apa..
Click here to view this media Probably the most aggravating aspect of President Obam..

Harry Getting Tough?
Everyone agrees that Harry Reid really upped the pressure on DADT repeal negotiation..

Dear Mary: You voted for the Bush tax cuts
This was some tough talk from Mary Landrieu yesterday — but there’s a catch: Though..

Bachmann’s Tax Double Standard: Cuts For Middle Class Cost Money, Cuts..
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is one of a growing number of Republican lawmakers who ..

President George H.W. Bush Urges Senate To Ratify The New START Treaty
Given the overwhelming military , foreign policy , and public support for the new ST..

Tucker Carlson, Class(less) Act
In his race to the very bottom, media hack Tucker Carlson goes lower , sending a col..

Exactly What Glenn Beck Lied About When Vilifying Soros
Glenn Beck demanded an apology from Forbes magazine for claiming that he has been

Boston Foreclosure Fighters: Banks Are ‘Deceptive In Hosts of Ways’
When Sandra Douglas, 60, received a letter on her door saying that the Boston house

The Orioles’ Luke Scott Is A Birther. So…That’s Interesting.

Oh boy!  Another “birther” comes out of the closet…


David Brown of Yahoo’s Big League Stew talked to Orioles DH Luke Scott yesterday. Scott is an interesting subject, and the two mostly talked about topics other than baseball, focusing on things like deer hunting, Ted Nugent, and President Barack Obama. And because of some views Scott holds about the latter, he – and everyone else – will hear about this interview for a long time.

Scott is an interesting interview subject, because he’s not afraid to speak his mind. He once openly admitted he brought a gun to the ballpark before he realized it was illegal. Brown certainly knew what he was getting into when he started getting more political with his questions – and it paid off, because Scott gave no-frills, compelling responses. Even when talking about Nugent, here’s what he said:

“[H]e’s an American. He has the core beliefs of what it means to be an American in his heart. He lives by those beliefs and those principles. It’s the same beliefs that our forefathers, who fought for our country, have.”

He later went into some more detail about what he thought at least some of those beliefs and principles are (or at least, what they aren’t):

It’s not that you’re supposed to take from those who have and give to those who haven’t. That kills a country. It killed Russia.


That’s what communism does. Cuba, Venezuela. People are trying to escape these lands like a plague. What would make a human being swim 90 miles in shark-infested waters on a raft made of tires and planks? To leave their culture, their family, their language, their way of life. Everything they’ve ever known. What would make someone do that?

You don’t see people in America doing that. There’s no one here in America swimming the Pacific Ocean — or the Atlantic, or the Caribbean — to leave this place. The reason why is because of the freedom. Freedom for a man to mark out his own destiny.

But the real headline maker was when Brown tried to get a reassurance out of the clearly arch-conservative Scott that at least he didn’t believe that Obama wasn’t actually born in the United States:

“He was not born here.”

And it was funny to see Brown throw in the “editor’s note” of Obama’s birth certificate, but clearly, neither that nor the birth announcements in local newspapers at the time of Obama’s birth will convince some people. It just won’t happen, so it’s not really worth trying. Scott believes what he believes…for whatever reason.

In this case, let’s just appreciate that Scott’s candor gave us one extremely interesting interview to dissect. After all, everyone would hate it if Scott stayed really quiet and/or gave boring answers, too. To his credit, he’ll proudly stand by his beliefs. To his discredit, some of those beliefs are nutty…but hey, they’re fun to talk about, no?

Harry Reid Toppled Sharron Angle In Nevada Senate Election With Many Votes From Registered Republicans

This is a great post-script to the very well organized campaign that Harry Reid ran in his Nevada midterm bid for Senator against Sharron Angle.

Huffington Post

The Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Because there were 60,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans at the time of the election, the figures are a clear indication that many Republicans cast votes for Democrat U.S. Sen. Harry Reid rather than for his Republican opponent, Sharron Angle, a secretary of state spokeswoman said.

Read the whole story: The Las Vegas Review-Journal