Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Headlines - Wednesday Feb 1


Several weeks ago, Dan Gainor of the conservative Media Research Center told Fox Business host Eric Bolling that "The Muppets," the new movie starring Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, had a liberal agenda….

The difference between a Fox News anchor and a Muppet is one is a puppet who says whatever their handler wants, no matter how ridiculous or factually incorrect…and the other is a Muppet.

Glad our soldiers are fighting for our freedom

More than 400 anti-Wall Street protesters were arrested in Oakland during a night of skirmishes in which police fired tear gas and bean bag projectiles, the city said on Sunday, marking one of the biggest mass arrests since nationwide economic protests began last year.



Wasteful spending

No, this isn't a story about the federal budget. It's a story about the Republican governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, hiring a 500 dollar an hour attorney to defend the state's voter ID law which the Department of Justice has declared unconstitutional.

South Carolina taxpayers will be on the hook for a high-powered Washington attorney's $520-an-hour rate when the state sues the federal government this week to protect its voter ID law.

That litigation could cost more than $1 million, according to two South Carolina attorneys who have practiced before the U.S. Supreme Court.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson has more than five dozen staff attorneys to handle the state's legal affairs, but Wilson hired a former U.S. solicitor general to litigate the voter ID case at a rate of $520 an hour, a contract obtained last week reveals.

The Department of Justice labeled the South Carolina voter ID law unconstitutional because, according to the state's own data, it would disproportionately effect minority voters because minority voters are more likely to not have an ID.

As ThinkProgress reminds us, Paul Clement, the lawyer hired by Nikki Haley, is also the man hired by Speaker of the House John Boehner to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which the Department of Justice has also labeled unconstitutional.

Why do the Republicans hate the constitution?



"Prayerful And Devout" Employee Rips Off NY Archdiocese For More Than $1 Million

But she prayed and went to Mass every day!
Anita Collins, 67, was wearing a crucifix and handcuffs at her arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court for grand larceny and falsifying business records — charges that could send her to jail for up to 25 years if she is convicted. The white-haired bookkeeper alternately prayed and glared at the news photographers as investigators laid out her alleged scam. She did not enter a plea and was ordered held on $750,000 bail. "She held herself out to be a religious woman going to church every day," said Assistant District Attorney Amy Justiniano said. "Yet, behind their backs she would lie and steal."
Compared to their kiddie-fucking payouts, the Archdiocese will probably just file this loss under "miscellaneous." Meanwhile Collins will go to confession, be ordered to say ten "my bads," and she'll be square with the house. 


Did you know President Obama received everything he wanted during his first two years in office, and that there was absolutely no Republican obstruction, Blue Dogs, or excessive use of the filibuster?

That's not exactly how I remember it, but that's exactly what Mitch McConnell is selling.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has embraced the argument that President Obama was able to pass every bit of his legislative agenda in his first two years thanks to large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. It's intended as a counterpoint to the President's re-election strategy of attacking the congressional GOP as do-nothing obstructionists. But it's also a revisionist history of the 111th Congress, during which McConnell more than any other Republican in Washington stood athwart Obama's agenda to great effect.

The White House has "been trying to pretend like the President just showed up yesterday, just got sworn in and started fresh," McConnell declared Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. "In fact, he's been in office for three years. He got everything he wanted from a completely compliant Congress for two of those three years… We are living in the Obama economy."

Right. A completely compliant congress that featured a Democratic majority for a whopping 5 months which included Blue Dogs and the likes of Joe Lieberman.

The president was lucky to find bipartisan support within his own party to pass healthcare reform, and taxes didn't go up because there wasn't enough votes to bypass the filibuster.

Mitch McConnell is many things, but he's not stupid. He knows what he said is complete bullshit and he said it with a straight face. He knows because he personally spearheaded the movement to stall all legislation in an effort to "ensure President Obama is a one-term president."


Excellent piece by Daniel Burke in the Washington Post about the Mormon church's recent racist past, and the fact that the Mormons refuse to this day to fully repudiate their past racism. Even Mitt Romney refuses to criticize it.

Keep in mind that the Mormons didn't change until they faced a boycott. I did not know, however, that the Mormons to this day - Romney included - refuse to fully expunge themselves of their racist past. As the article notes, this is an issue that's going to dog Romney for the campaign, at the very least with the black community, but really anyone who has an issue with racism.  (Of course, the Mormons are extremely homophobic as well.)

Running away from the cure
In case you've been donating to the Komen Foundation, perhaps you'd want to reconsider. CharityWatch gives the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, founded by the late Evelyn Lauder, an A+ rating and the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund an A rating. Neither of those is looking to de-fund Planned Parenthood or to deny women health care in the name of ideology.
Pakistan helping Taliban: secret NATO report

From Common Dreams:

OWS Stands With Farmers, Says Enough! to Monsanto

Movement is calling for protests to support 60 family farmers, small seed businesses, organizations challenging Monsanto's patents on genetically modified seed.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has highlighted the tremendous corporate greed and power that has benefited the 1%.

One company helping the 1% is Monsanto. Food Democracy Now! writes that:

Monsanto's seed monopoly has grown so powerful that they control the genetics of nearly 90% of five major commodity crops including corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets.

Monsanto's genetically modified seed can contaminate non-gmo fields allowing the company to sue for seed theft. Food Democracy Now! continues:

In many cases farmers are forced to stop growing certain crops to avoid genetic contamination and potential lawsuits. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto admits to filing 144 lawsuits against America's family farmers, while settling another 700 out of court for undisclosed amounts. Due to these aggressive lawsuits, Monsanto has created an atmosphere of fear in rural America and driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy.

Today, the Occupy movement is seizing the moment to highlight this corporate power.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) writes:

On January 23, over 20,000 people poured into the streets of Berlin to say that they have had enough of industrial agriculture. The demands made in Germany can be heard all over the world starting with fair treatment of farmers and consumers, safe food, an end to food speculation and a respect for nature and the welfare of animals.

[Today], in New York City, the Occupy Wall Street movement is calling for protests to support 60 family farmers, small and family-owned seed businesses, and agricultural organizations that are challenging Monsanto's patents on genetically modified seed in federal court.

Like the Germans, it time for us to say, "We've had enough!" of Monsanto's agriculture. From super weeds to pest resistance in corn, genetically modified seeds have failed. Now Monsanto is turning to even more dangerous products with new varieties that will only increase the amount of herbicides in the environment.

At the heart of industrial agriculture is a long running conflict between corporations and farmers on who will control food production. Occupy Wall Street has come out on the side of farmers and all who eat to say, "We've had enough!"

Writing on the Care2, Beth Buczynski adds this background:

On January 31st, family farmers from across the county will take part in the first phase of the OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto court case filed to protect farmers from genetic trespass by Monsanto's genetically modified (GMO) seed, which can contaminate organic and non-GMO farmers' crops and open them up to abusive lawsuits.

As a result of aggressive lawsuits against farmers with contaminated crops, Monsanto has created an atmosphere of fear in rural America and driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy.

But farmers are fighting back! The Federal District Court judge has agreed to hear oral arguments in this landmark case to decide whether or not this case will move forward.

Occupy Wall Street Food Justice, Occupy Big Food and Food Democracy Now! will assemble in solidarity with farmers on the front lines of the struggle against corporate domination of our food system.


New disclosures show that conservative Super PACs are helping Republicans close a massive fundraising gap between them and President Obama. Obama raised $224.6 million for his campaign and Democrats in 2011, but outside groups that can raise unlimited funds, like American Crossroads, which raised $51 million, hope to shrink the gap between him and the eventual GOP nominee.


At his first Senate hearing as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Republicans warned Richard Cordray not to get used to his job. President Obama recess appointed Cordray, which Republicans contend was unconstitutional. "I can't imagine how anybody could maintain…that your appointment and your service is valid," said Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE).



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