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    • Ferguson and the brokenness of America’s “Justice” System
      There isn’t much to say that others haven’t, but let’s go through it anyway: There was never any chance that Darren Wilson would be charged; the prosecutor acted as defense attorney, not as prosecutor; A grand jury, for all intents and purposes does what the prosecutor tells it to; Doing the announcement at 8pm at [...]
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The best government that money can buy

Your democracy


This makes me ill:

TEAM OBAMA BEGINS PLANNING $1 BILLION REELECTION CAMPAIGN

“Bracing for a half-billion-dollar onslaught of outside GOP cash in 2012, President Obama’s advisers are quietly working to bring back together the major donor base that produced a record-breaking fundraising haul in his first run for president. In the past few months, Democratic National Committee aides have contacted several of Obama’s earliest financial backers to brainstorm about when and where to host the first money-raising events. Several big donors said they expect the Obama 2012 operation to open its doors this spring, with a string of fundraisers to generate the early cash needed to rebuild the president’s high-tech campaign operation. … ‘They are getting organized in Chicago to start a massive two-year campaign, which I believe will be successful, but has extraordinarily large challenges in some of the major states,’ said Philadelphia philanthropist Peter Buttenweiser, who hosted one of the first Obama presidential fundraisers in 2007 and is in talks to organize an early one for the re-election. …

“Obama was scheduled to go to New York this week to meet with about 25 large bundlers and supporters … but that event was canceled after the Tucson shootings … The one piece of Obama’s fundraising apparatus that has been managed closely since his inauguration is his online, small donor base. … But a billion dollar presidential re-election bid is unlikely to be launched or sustained for long exclusively with small donors. Even in 2008, Obama’s eye-popping online giving was matched with larger donations generated by roughly 700 big and small bundlers. Rebuilding that half of his financial operation is critical to his prospects and talk of it dates back to before the midterms when the president hosted a string of late summer DNC fundraisers. Attached to each of those large events was a smaller gathering where Obama had private time with his biggest bundlers and talk inevitably turned to 2012.”

One billion dollars. That’s almost $4 from every man, woman and child in the country.

But he’s not gonna get that money from a bunch of college kids sending him their beer money like he supposedly did last time. In fact, last time he got most of his money from Wall Street, BP, health insurance company execs, energy company execs, and all the other Joe Moneybags special interests.

ONE BILLION DOLLARS

How much time will Barack Obama be spending at fundraisers during the next two years? What will his donors expect for their investment? What promises will he be making?

How will he spend that money anyway? It’s not like he needs to pay for advertising because nobody knows who he is. Will we see more paid bloggers and summer camps for the Obama Youth?

Below is a screencap from Memorandum. Why aren’t all the lefty bloggers covering this story? I thought campaign finance reform was a big priority in Left Blogistan? I guess that died in 2008 when Obama broke his promise on campaign financing.



BTW – Didja notice the smooth opening? “It’s the Republicans fault!


Answer: They stand for nothing



Byron York
:

What’s wrong with Democrats? Sure, they got their butts kicked on Nov. 2, but they still control the Senate and the White House, and they remain in charge of the vast bureaucracy of the executive branch. So why do they seem so lost?

“We’re uniting,” one key House Republican said recently, “and they’re disintegrating.”

The lawmaker was marveling at the Democrats’ inability to come up with a coherent position on the Bush tax cuts. The party has hated “tax cuts for the rich” for nearly a decade, but now that those cuts are sunsetting, they can’t decide what to do. Some Democrats want to stand firm against extending cuts for high-income taxpayers, while others agree with Republicans that the Bush rates should be extended for everybody, even the “rich,” if only for a few years. Democratic legislators can’t even come together on an alternative proposal to extend all the cuts except for people who earn more than $1 million a year.

Think about it: If today’s Democrats don’t stand for raising taxes on millionaires, then what do they stand for?

(See answer above)

Here’s a couple giggles:

For some in the Democratic base, the party’s current confusion is the last straw. Imagine if you had said this to a lefty activist back in those happy days of January 2009: “By the end of 2010, President Obama will have escalated the war in Afghanistan, there will be 50,000 American troops in Iraq, Guantanamo will remain open, some of the most controversial aspects of the Bush war on terror will still be in effect, there will be no grand climate legislation, no comprehensive immigration reform, no second round of stimulus, and oh, by the way — they’re going to extend Bush’s tax cuts for the rich.”

It’s no wonder true believers have sunk into a funk. “I hope President Obama, who’s intensely intelligent, understands that he needs to … stand tall, stand hard, stand tough,” the Nation’s editor Katrina vanden Heuvel said recently. “It about morality, principle, good policy, good politics to stand tall on these Bush tax cuts.”

Everybody, 1-2-3:

“WE TOLD YOU SO!”

Seriously, what the hell does Barack Obama know about “about morality, principle, good policy, (and) good politics?”

Here’s a clue – The Democrats will extend the Bush Tax Cuts on the Wealthy because THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT TO DO.

Fuck you and your unemployment insurance. You poor people don’t have any money to donate to their campaigns anyway.



Funky Friday Fugue State


Matt Yglesias thinks we need a Reality Check:

Something I find incredibly puzzling is the strange determination many progressive have to diagnose what the “problem” is with Democrats that makes them so “bad” at electoral politics. They actually seem to me to be fine. Look at the 30 year span from 1980 to 2010. The Democratic candidate won the popular vote in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008 (4 times) whereas the Republican candidate won in 1980, 1984, 1988, and 2004. It’s true that in the real world the poor ballot design in Palm Beach County, the Supreme Court, and the Electoral College put George W Bush in the White House but none of that is the fault of Democratic Party messaging tactics.

Democrats controlled the House for 18 out of those 30 years, and controlled the Senate for 14 out of 30 years. In the new year, they’ll control two out of the three branches of government. None of that sounds to me like a political party that’s having trouble persuading people to vote for it.

Check it out, Bill Clinton is a Democrat again! Okay, to be fair I’ve never seen MattY accuse the Big Dawg of being a DINOcrat Republican but plenty of his Creative Class pals do it all the time. I wish they would be consistent with their memes.

MattY’s numbers are kinda tricky though, since Bill won in 1992 and 1996 with pluralities and Gore “lost” electorally in 2000 with a popular vote majority thanks to Jeb Bush and 5 SCOTUS (in)justices. His definition of “winning” is fairly narrow, confining it to the outcome of elections and not having anything to do with accomplishments in terms of policy and legislation.

Kevin Drum:

True! But here’s another lens to look through, one that I’ve mentioned before. It’s liberal-centric rather than Democrat-centric.

Over the past century, American liberalism has mostly progressed in three very short, sharp spurts.

[…]

But the last one of these spurts ended 40 years ago, and the Obama Era, such as it was, lasted a mere 18 months. That’s despite the fact that Democrats had big majorities in both the House and Senate, George Bush had seemingly degraded the Republican brand almost beyond salvaging, and conservative policies had produced an epic financial collapse that should have provided a tremendous tailwind for substantial progressive reform. And yet: 18 months. That was it.

So yes: Democrats have done OK over the past few decades. And it’s fair to say that conservatism has made only modest strides during that period. Triumphalist right-wing rhetoric to the contrary, America obviously doesn’t have any burning desire to turn back the clock to the 1950s. But actual, substantial liberal progress? We haven’t seen so much of that, and after 18 months of modest achievements we’re obviously not going to get any more for quite a while.

So what happened?

Awww, so close but no cigar.

Does Kevin really not know what happened or is he just not allowed to say it? At least he isn’t trying to convince us that Obama had the most awesomest first two years of any POTUS ever.


You-know-who did another Facebook fireside chat in response to the latest ginned-up PDS fauxrage:

A Thanksgiving Message to All 57 States

My fellow Americans in all 57 states, the time has changed for come. With our country founded more than 20 centuries ago, we have much to celebrate – from the FBI’s 100 days to the reforms that bring greater inefficiencies to our health care system. We know that countries like Europe are willing to stand with us in our fight to halt the rise of privacy, and Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. And let’s face it, everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma and they end up taking up a hospital bed. It costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early, and they got some treatment, and ah, a breathalyzer, or an inhalator. I mean, not a breathalyzer, ah, I don’t know what the term is in Austrian for that…

Of course, the paragraph above is based on a series of misstatements and verbal gaffes made by Barack Obama (I didn’t have enough time to do one for Joe Biden). YouTube links are provided just in case you doubt the accuracy of these all too human slips-of-the-tongue. If you can’t remember hearing about them, that’s because for the most part the media didn’t consider them newsworthy. I have no complaint about that. Everybody makes the occasional verbal gaffe – even news anchors.


That’s it for now, yesterday was a quiet news day but I’m sure there will be more stuff to talk about later so keep checking back.

My big project for today is putting up my Festivus lights outside. What will you be doing?

Have a great Friday!

ONLY 27 MORE SHOPPING DAYS LEFT UNTIL FESTIVUS!




An unusually busy lame-duck session

Somebody is getting screwed here


Politico:

A repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell?” Don’t bet on it.

The window for action on reversing the ban on gays in the military is quickly closing, and the path to undoing the 17-year-old law is riddled with roadblocks: a crowded lame-duck calendar, Democratic defectors, and emboldened Republican senators who have no desire to hand a legislative victory to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

If Democrats fail to pass the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” next month — before Republicans take control of the House in January — it could be years before they get another shot.

“Unless Democrats completely neglect the tax-hike issue and everything else they’ve been talking about lately, like the DREAM Act, the START treaty and controversial nominees, they won’t be able to finish it,” said one senior Senate GOP aide.

The repeal of “don’t ask” has been attached to the defense authorization bill, and Senate Republicans have already blocked the bill once before over this issue.

DADT, the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), the START treaty, the Paycheck Fairness act, retroactive immunity for mortgage fraud, the extension of Bush tax cuts for the rich and the Catfood Commission report are all on the table of the 111th Congress.

This Congress has been in session for almost two years and several of the items before them have been languishing the entire time. START has been waiting a Senate vote since last Spring and the only thing of recent development is the discovery of massive mortgage fraud.

So why with less than two months left to go are all these items suddenly urgent?

I can’t recall any prior lame-duck session with such a full agenda of important legislation. Some of these items might have helped the Democrats energize their base for the election earlier this month. Yeah, those bills might have helped some GOPers too, but it wasn’t like the Democrats were expecting to gain seats on November 2nd.

If they couldn’t pass them before, what makes them think they can pass them now?

Maybe it’s just my Reynold’s Wrap beanie, but I get the feeling the Democrats aren’t being fully honest with us. Either that or they’re not playing with a full deck.




She’s baaack!


Nancy Pelosi survives Democratic revolt

Bruised but not beaten, Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday locked up the votes needed to transition from speaker to minority leader in the new Congress, topping Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), 150-43, on a secret ballot in a private Wednesday meeting of House Democrats.

The 43 votes against her — and the 68 cast in a losing effort to delay her election — reveal that a caucus bloodied by the loss of at least 61 seats and control of the House no longer bends to her will the way it once did.

But Pelosi was defiant as ever in her post-election press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Asked why she should remain Democratic leader after the election wipeout, Pelosi said: “Because I’m an effective leader, because we got the job done on health care and Wall Street reform and consumer protection. Because they know that I’m the person that can attract the resources both intellectual and otherwise to take us to victory — because I’ve done it before.”

Since it’s that time of year I’ll use a football analogy. If any NFL coach led his team to such a disastrous season as the Democrats just had he would be fired even if the team owner had to eat a multi-million dollar contract.

Nobody is cheering this news harder than the Republican party. That alone tells you all you need to know.

Nancy Pelousy lost my support four years ago when she said “Impeachment is off the table.” I won’t even go into her involvement with what went wrong in 2008.

So after the worst mid-term beating in modern history Obama is still in the White House, Dirty Harry Reid is still Senate Majority Leader, and Nancy Pelosi is demoted but still has a job. No personnel changes, no new blood in the Democratic leadership, no change of direction.

The Democratic party must have a death wish.



Charlie Rangel walks out of ethics hearing


Politico:

Complaining bitterly that he was denied the right to have an attorney present, an emotional Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) walked out of his highly publicized public ethics trial Monday morning, an unexpected twist in the ethics inquiry has tarnished Rangel’s four-decade congressional career.

The ethics panel, after an unexpected 40-minute private session, rejected Rangel’s request to delay the trial and went ahead anyway. The witness chair where Rangel was supposed to sit was empty, a dramatic sign of Rangel’s refusal to participate.

With Rangel gone – foregoing the 10 hours he was granted to defend himself – the committee moved very quickly through the case and spent just 80 minutes reviewing the allegations before retiring to decide whether it would approve a “motion for summary judgment.”

If that motion is approved the Rangel trial is esentially over, just several hours after beginning.

But it hasn’t been without fireworks. Rangel asked for more time to get a lawyer and then walked out. His request was later denied.

“The committee has decided not to continue this matter,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who is overseeing the trial, said in turning down Rangel’s demand for more time.

“We recognize that Mr. Rangel does not intend to participate. It is his right not to participate.”

Maybe it’s just me but something stinks here, and it’s not the Representative from Harlem.

What’s the urgency? Rangel was just reelected, and if he’s not afraid of the incoming GOP majority then why should the Ethics Committee care?

The worst thing that they can do to him (now or later) is expulsion. The outgoing and incoming Governors of New York are both Democrats, and Rangel’s seat won’t be going to a Republican if there is a special election.

Are they worried that a GOP-led Ethics Committee won’t be harsh enough?




And we get?


Anglachel discusses the Catfood Commission’s “disingenuous calls for sacrifice.”

The general criticism of the class bias in how the commission weighted the sacrifices (most for the little people, few for the monied elite) has been done by other commenters, so I’d like to focus on the last, rather amazing sentence in the above quote. The work of the New Deal is delivering value and providing economic security almost a century after it was done. It is an investment that continues to pay out.

Consider that at least 30 of those 80 years have occurred while a political party explicitly opposed to the New Deal has been in power, and that it has been under fire from that same faction since the early 1960s, more than half its life. We’re talking some institutional resilience. When a program provides material benefits to large portions of the population with little overhead and minimal intrusiveness, it’s going to be a winner. This is deep strength of Social Security and Medicare – they deliver. [There’s also the incredible infrastructure investments of the WPA that continue to deliver, but those are less easy to identify as a personal benefit.]

This is why the attacks on them have failed thus far. Main Street can see the benefit these programs deliver. Main Street in this case is not just families, but also small business. Cost efficiencies for business is also a reason why these programs persist. How many small business owners can provide a retiree pension or medical insurance system with the cost efficiency as SS and Medicare, for example? People also see that these New Deal programs are about the only thing still delivering to them in the face of 35 years of continual and deliberate economic degradation


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