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Posted by deminks in Latest Breaking News
Thu Dec 08th 2011, 07:21 PM
Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — It wasn't the slick suits, pricey heels and sense of purpose of the congressional staffers that Susan Wilkinson saw this week on Capitol Hill. What stung about crossing paths with them, she said, was this: "They wouldn't make eye contact with us," the unemployed Seattle activist recalled Thursday. "When did I get invisible?"

Wilkinson was among hundreds of angry Americans who streamed through Washington and its corridors of power this week to command attention for the 99 percent of Americans that protesters claim are struggling to survive the recession. They were hard to miss.


The protesters late Thursday moved to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building, site of a Christmas party expected to draw prominent lawmakers. The demonstrators staged a "human red carpet," by lying in front of the entrance. The idea, organizers said, was to force Washington's well-heeled partiers to tread upon the less fortunate.


Wilkinson, a 65-year-old a former administrative assistant who's lost her home and declared bankruptcy, said she was wearing her friend's boots because she couldn't afford her own. She said she felt the first real anger when she heard politicians saying the unemployed should blame themselves for their problems.

(end snips)

Read more:
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Posted by deminks in Political Videos
Tue Dec 06th 2011, 09:18 PM

Resolution 1720-11 passed by Cleveland City Council, December 5, 2011. The resolution was written in support of the principles of Occupy Cleveland and passed by a vote of 18 to 1.
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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Tue Dec 06th 2011, 08:30 PM

Newt Gingrich is off claiming, with an unflappable voice of authority, of course, that President Obama has killed manufacturing jobs for three years now. Except that, according to independent fact-checker Politifact, Newt would be wrong. Oh but it gets better. Which presidents have increased manufacturing jobs, and which have killed them, over the past 24 years? Take a look at the list from Politifact:

Barack Obama: Increase of 157,368 manufacturing jobs per year in office
George W. Bush: Decrease of 434,143 manufacturing jobs per year in office

Bill Clinton: Increase of 37,143 manufacturing jobs per year in office
George H.W. Bush: Decrease of 336,000 manufacturing jobs per year in office

Ronald Reagan: Increase of 1,429 manufacturing jobs per year in office
Jimmy Carter: Increase of 15,333 manufacturing jobs per year in office

(end snip)

note these are per year.
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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Sun Dec 04th 2011, 11:30 AM /

2012 GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has been pinning his campaign to his economic record, claiming that his time as an investment executive gives him the necessary experience to boost the nation’s moribund job creation.

“I think to create jobs it helps to have had a job. I have,” Romney constantly says, adding “I spent my career in the private sector. I think that’s what the country needs right now.”

When Romney mentions his private sector experience, he’s referencing his time with Bain Capital, the private equity firm that earned Romney his millions. Bain’s model for creating profit was to buy up companies and, as the Los Angeles Times put it yesterday, maximize profits “by firing workers, seeking government subsidies, and flipping companies quickly for large profits.” In fact, one of Romney’s former partners at the firm said that he never saw his role as that of a job creator, undermining one of Romney’s top selling points:

Bain managers said their mission was clear. “I never thought of what I do for a living as job creation,” said Marc B. Walpow, a former managing partner at Bain who worked closely with Romney for nine years before forming his own firm. “The primary goal of private equity is to create wealth for your investors.”

(end snip)

The rich do not create jobs, the middle class does.
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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Thu Dec 01st 2011, 11:01 AM /

One of the most pernicious practices in which the nation’ biggest banks engaged during the lead up to the financial crisis was pushing minority borrowers into subprime loans, even when many of them qualified for prime loans. Wells Fargo had perhaps the most horrifying practices in this department, calling the subprime loans that they pushed in poor, black neighborhoods “ghetto loans.”

This rampant predatory lending helped inflate the housing bubble; a Center for American Progress investigation actually found huge racial disparities in lending at the big banks that wound up getting bailed out, with minority borrowers far more likely to receive high-priced loans.

One former banker for Chase — James Theckston — told the New York Times’ Nick Kristof that not only did his bank push minority borrowers into higher-priced loans, but senior executives then tried to cover up the racial disparity in their banks’ lending:


“The bigwigs of the corporations knew this, but they figured we’re going to make billions out of it, so who cares? The government is going to bail us out. And the problem loans will be out of here, maybe even overseas,” Theckston explained.

*end snip" Emphasis mine

NYT link

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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Tue Nov 29th 2011, 07:31 AM

The bombshell reports from Bloomberg Markets delving into the events that transpired amid the 2008 financial crisis just keep coming, and this time it concerns some dubious actions by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

The newest expose by Richard Teitelbaum reveals that in July 2008, then-Treasury Secretary Paulson met with several hedge fund managers and told them that a government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was a very real possibility.

Just a week prior to that meeting, he had testified in the Senate and told media outlets that government intervention in Fannie and Freddie was near impossible.


In case anybody needs a refresher: Fannie and Freddie were infamously bailed out by the federal government on Sept. 6, 2008.

(end snip)

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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Sun Nov 20th 2011, 06:14 PM
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has staked his presidential hopes on a radical revamping of Washington’s political structure, reshaping the tax code, making the legislature part-time, enacting term limits on the Supreme Court, and closing multiple government agencies.

Perry took his radical new vision for America to a new level last night at the Iowa FAMiLY Leader presidential forum. Going against the Constitution, centuries of American history, and the wishes of our nation’s founders, Perry claimed that the United States military should not be “micromanaged” by civilians and needed military commanders to be “truly in charge”:

PERRY: There is a time and a place for us to intervene, and intervene militarily. But when we intervene militarily, we best make the decision on how we are going to win and how we are going to win convincingly and quickly, send those young men and women with the equipment to win. Don’t let some congressman sitting in an air-conditioned office in Washington DC deciding what the rules of engagement are. … And for us to micromanage them, in a civilian way, without their commanders truly in charge, is absolutely irresponsible and as commander-in-chief of this country I will not let it happen. /

And you thought the Bush Doctrine (pre-emptive strikes, Sarah) was the most evil policy every written. It was, until this.
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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Thu Nov 17th 2011, 05:48 AM /

The new face of the youth-fueled Occupy Wall Street movement is none other than an 84-year-old woman who's spent her life crusading for liberal causes. The image of pepper-sprayed Doril Rainey has quickly gone viral across Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.


Public roles Broadly, Rainey has been active in politics and Seattle public life since the 1950s. A former schoolteacher, she ran for a seat on the King County Council in the 1970s and lost. During the same period, she was a school board member in Issaquah, a nearby city. Last year, she ran for mayor but eventually withdrew from the race saying, "I am old and should learn to be old, stay home, watch TV and sit still." But that doesn't mean she doesn't have a good rapport with the current mayor. On Twitter, one of her fellow Seattle supporters Norman Sigler posted an amicable photo of Rainey, himself and Seattle mayor Mike McGinn:


Her activism Born in Austria, Rainey came to the U.S. in 1956 following her work as a technical translator in the U.S. Army in Europe, she explained last year on the Talking Stick, a weekly show on public-access television. Describing why she left Austria she said "it's a great country but it's a really bureaucratic country." She is an activist across a range of issues including non-violence in foreign affairs, feminism and local transportation. In the interview, a sort of celebration of her life's work, she voiced disapproval for the "car takeover" in Seattle and how parking lots are detrimental to the general welfare of the city, among other things:


The tech-savvy activist also has her own blog called Old Lady in Combat Boots where she describes herself as an "all-around troublemaker." "I believe change begins in the streets, and all citizens have the power to make a difference," she writes in the blog's about section. "Together we can make our voices heard in the ivory towers of government, so lace up your combat boots, log in and turn on!" She hasn't quite kept the blog running: the last post is from 2009. Past posts include articles on feminism and tunnel projects. Other activities include being a member of the Seattle chapter of Women in the Black. According to its website, it's an international network of women who "stand in silent vigil, calling for peace, justice and non-violent solutions to conflict." The Toronto Star exchanged e-mails with Mike McCormick, the producer of the Talking Stick, who said Rainey is "a role model among activists that walks the walk." He added, “She's passionate, thoughtful, well informed, dogged, fearless, in-your-face but not in an intimidating way, warm, caring, humorous, doesn't pull her punches kinda activist you want right next to you when the s--t hits the fan.”

(end snip)

I loved her comment on Countdown last night from the women's movement: 'screw us, and we multiply.' An old/new battlecry.
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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Mon Nov 14th 2011, 06:06 PM

WASHINGTON--(ENEWSPF)--November 14 - Hours after considering whether to hear challenges to national health care reform, Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia were honored Thursday at a fundraiser sponsored in part by law firms engaged in the litigation. This is an apparent breach of ethical standards that apply to every other federal judge.

That morning, all nine justices met to review appeals from lower federal courts. Their agenda included a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which the court announced today it would hear this term.

A few hours later, Scalia and Thomas were honorees and speakers at an annual fundraising dinner for the Federalist Society, which describes itself as “conservatives and libertarians interested” in the law.

Donors for the event included corporations like the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which has a critical stake in the outcome of the health care litigation, as well as lawyers and law firms directly involved in bringing suits challenging the law.

Edited to add:

Three Justices - Sam Alito (Scalito) was also in attendance.
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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Thu Nov 10th 2011, 12:33 PM

I'm going for the 18 1/2 minute gap myself
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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Wed Oct 26th 2011, 06:41 PM /

Olsen’s injury was caught on tape, and photographs of him lying on the floor were also published. During the video, a group of protestors rush to his aid, and a police officer throws an explosive device at them. The footage then shows the group carrying Olsen away as he bleeds from his head.

video at the link.

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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Wed Oct 26th 2011, 05:52 AM

There is “ample circumstantial evidence” that the congressional and state representative redistricting maps signed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry had not only the effect but the intent of limiting the voting power of Hispanic voters, Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing late Tuesday.

DOJ is seeking the block the maps, filing to deny Texas’ request for summary judgement in a case involving allegations that officials in the state tried to limit the voter power of Hispanic voters in violation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Federal lawyers contended in the newest filing that there is “ample circumstantial evidence of a discriminatory purpose with regard to both the State House and Congressional plans” and that in the new maps nearly half a million fewer Hispanics would live in districts where they would have the ability to elect a candidate of their choosing.


Race and ethnicity, the lawyers wrote “were common themes during discussions between the Republican leadership and others, including a United States Congressman and staff. State leaders viewed race as a proxy for party, leading to redistricting decisions and movements of population based solely on the basis of race.”

The member of Congress in question is Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) — who as it so happens chairs the House Judiciary Committee, which has primary oversight over DOJ. Smith’s emails are cited as an example of officials plotting to protect their electoral interests while taking race into account.

(end snip)

Stunning. I hope the emails are made public.

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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Tue Oct 25th 2011, 05:50 AM /

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is poised to make it increasingly difficult for their legions of customers to waive the hugely unpopular $5 debit card fee, which is to go into effect next year. The second-biggest bank in Central Florida is to eliminate its Advantage checking program, which required no more than $5,000 in overall deposits in order to see the $5 fee waived. As of now, it will require at least $20,000 in order to enjoy the same privilege, forming part of the bank’s new ‘Premium Solutions’ offering.

However, customers who currently hold a mortgage with Bank of America will also be able to waive the fee, according to official reports.

The CEO of the national giant came forward this week to speak about the new move, stating that the increase in required deposits is designed to encourage customers to bring more business to the bank. This of course contradicts the millions who have labeled the new initiative as nothing more than profiteering, which is something the bank refused to respond to.

(end snip)

It's not like they need the cash.


“We just don’t need it anymore,” said Don Sturm, the owner of American National Bank and Premier Bank, community lenders with 43 branches in Colorado and three other states. “If you had more money than you knew what to do with, would you want more?”

(end snip)

So, it must be pure greed.

What would Jesus do, BOA?

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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Mon Oct 24th 2011, 05:36 AM

Pundit and MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan’s new book, “Suicide Of A Superpower,” is a veritable treasure trove of eye-popping assertions about the decline of America at the hand of increased diversity and multiculturalism.


From the chapter, “Equality or Freedom?”:

Not until the 1960s did courts begin to use the Fourteenth Amendment to impose a concept of equality that the authors of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, The Federalist Papers, and the Gettysburg Address never believed in. Before the 1960s, equality meant every citizen enjoyed the same constitutional rights and the equal protection of existing laws. Nothing in the Constitution or federal law mandated social racial, or gender equality.


From the chapter “‘The White Party’”:

What the above points to is a strategy from which Republicans will recoil, a strategy to increase the GOP share of the white Christian vote and increase the turnout of that vote by specific appeals to social, cultural, and moral issues, and for equal justice for the emerging white minority. If the GOP is not the party of New Haven firefighter Frank Ricci and Cambridge cop James Crowley, it has no future. And although Howard Dean disparages the Republicans as the “white party,” why should Republicans be ashamed to represent the progeny of the men who founded, built, and defended America since her birth as a nation?

(end snips)

Cmon, MSNBC. It's past time for Uncle Pat to go to pasture. This man has never leaned forward in his life.

Tell 'em
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Posted by deminks in General Discussion
Thu Oct 20th 2011, 12:25 AM
Must see TV.

Wall Street/Banks have taken 2 of the three pillars, pensions and savings (no interest/no way to grow savings) and are now after the 3rd pillar, Social Security. Privatization of Social Security = flooding the markets with mo' money. When that happens, we can all be beggars again when we hit 65 or 67 or whatever, probably sooner than that because we tend to lose jobs in our 50's.

Medicare and Medicaid are tied into this as well.

We are the 99%.

"Don't blame Wall Street, blame yourself" and the crowd cheers.

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Greatest Threads
The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
Suddenly Sick
The Seattle Times

The hidden big business behind your doctor's diagnosis

By Susan Kelleher and Duff Wilson · Seattle Times staff reporters

You walk into your doctor's office for a physical exam and step on the scale. Last year, the doctor said you were overweight. Now he says you are obese — at the same weight.

A nurse takes your blood pressure. You have hypertension — with the same previously healthy reading you've had for years.

The doctor scans your wrist bone. You have a condition called "osteopenia" — with the same bone density that was fine last time you were measured.

You are suddenly sick, simply because the definitions of disease have changed. And behind those changes, a Seattle Times examination has found, are the companies that make all those newly prescribed pills.

(end snip)

Oh so much more at the link.
Three Years of War in Iraq: A Timeline
Think Progress

MARCH 19, 2003: Bush launches invasion of Iraq

MARCH 30, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld: We know where the WMD are

We know where the weapons of mass destruction are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.


MAY 1, 2003: Mission Accomplished

My fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.

MAY 9, 2003: Paul Wolfowitz: We agreed on WMD rationale for bureaucratic reasons

The truth is that, for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason to go to war.


EFF defends liberties in high-tech world

SAN FRANCISCO — In March 1990, when few people had even heard of the Internet, U.S. Secret Service agents raided the Texas offices of a small board-game maker, seizing computer equipment and reading customers’ e-mail stored on one machine.

And thus the Electronic Frontier Foundation was born — 16 years ago today — taking on the Secret Service as its first case, one the EFF ultimately won when a judge agreed that the government had no right to read the e-mails or keep the equipment.

Today, after expanding into such areas as intellectual property and moving its headquarters twice along with its focus, the EFF is reemphasizing its roots of trying to limit government surveillance of electronic communications, while keeping a lookout for emerging threats even as the Internet and digital technologies become mainstream.

In one of its highest-profile lawsuits to date, the EFF has accused AT&T Inc. of illegally cooperating with the National Security Agency to make phone and Internet communications available without warrants.
Cnn: Putin blasts U.S. on terror stance
From CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty
Tuesday, September 7, 2004 Posted: 2:48 AM EDT (0648 GMT)

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that mid-level officials in the U.S. government were undermining his country's war on terrorism by supporting Chechen separatists, whom he compared to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Putin's charge, made in a meeting with a group of western foreign policy experts, came just days after hundreds of people, mostly children, died in the bloody end to the Beslan siege.

But Putin said each time Russia complained to the Bush administration about meetings held between U.S. officials and Chechen separatist representatives, the U.S. response has been "we'll get back to you" or "we reserve the right to talk with anyone we want."

Putin blamed what he called a "Cold War mentality" on the part of some U.S. officials, but likened their demands that Russia negotiate with the Chechen separatists to the U.S. talking to al Qaeda.
Lord Goldsmith reveals meeting with US chiefs helped change his view on Iraq war /

Tony Blair's law chief changed his mind to give the green light for war after meeting US politicians.

Lord Goldsmith told the Chilcot inquiry he had originally warned Mr Blair military action against Saddam Hussein's regime would be illegal without United Nations' authority.

But the then Attorney General dramatically reversed his view after he flew to Washington for secret talks two months before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Lord Goldsmith yesterday said that meeting, plus a conversation with Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary at the time, were the main reasons which led him to declare the invasion lawful.

His evidence reignites claims Britain was browbeaten by then US President George Bush into backing the conflict and it piles pressure on Mr Blair ahead of his appearance before Sir John Chilcot's inquiry tomorrow.
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