Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
President Barack Obama’s mother had health insurance coverage when she died of ovarian cancer in 1995, a new book about her life claims, raising questions about the accuracy of a story that Obama often told on the campaign trail in 2008.
Pretty shocking story, if true!
Let's take a look, shall we? What precisely did Obama say on the campaign trail?
“For my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they’re saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don’t have to pay her treatment, there’s something fundamentally wrong about that,” he said during a presidential debate with John McCain.
Dunham, Scott wrote, wanted to be compensated for the additional costs and living expenses under her employer’s disability insurance policy. CIGNA, Scott wrote, denied that claim.
Emphases added in both quotes, which came from the same story. So Obama didn't say his mother didn't have insurance coverage, he said that the insurance company was playing hardball with Ann Dunham over paying an admittedly steep hospital bill, right?
So how would Glenn Beck spin this?
At the Blaze, Glenn Beck’s web site, Christopher Santarelli wrote that “Obama’s story about his mother’s healthcare struggle is inaccurate.”
With Democratic and Republican congressional leaders divided over how to cut the deficit, the president "got very agitated" and left the room after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor suggested a vote on a smaller deal, Cantor said. The president met with the eight top congressional leaders for close to two hours.
"Don't call my bluff; I am going to the American people," Obama said, according to Cantor, a Virginia Republican. The president "shoved back from the table" and left, Cantor said after the meeting.
A Democratic official disputed Cantor's description of Obama's departure from the room as abrupt and said the president had emphasized he believed people were engaging in too much political posturing.
Whether Cantor or the "Democratic official" (Geithner, probably) are more accurate is irrelevant: Obama walked out in the face of the lead Congressbagger's childish and immature attempts to kick the can down the road.
And why is Cantor so eager to do this?
It's really very simple: there is a steady, bipartisan drumbeat to raise taxes, probably by closing massive loopholes in the tax code that both sides admit are unnecessary and elitist.
How eager is Obama to negotiate this deal?
President Barack Obama is considering summoning congressional leaders to Camp David this weekend to find a way to cut the deficit and avoid a financial default, two people familiar with the matter said after a tense White House meeting.
Moody's Investors Service said today it would consider downgrading the U.S. credit rating, adding to concern that political gridlock will lead to a default.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The jury deliberated about 40 minutes before returning with their verdict.
"They lost because they lied, it's as simple as that," said Molens after hearing the verdict. He said since the incident he has received death threats from Tea Party members, who had Gladney speak about the incident at Tea Party gatherings.
The truth about the incident?
McCowan and Molens, each at the meeting for the Service Employees International Union, claim Gladney was selling anti-Obama buttons, and that when they confronted him about them, Gladney started the physical attack by slapping McCowan's hands.
Molens testified that Gladney slapped McCowan's hands a second time, and that McCowan pushed him.
"Gladney started punching him in the face," Molens said. "I tried pulling him off."
The attack escalated with more punches and shoves, and McCowan suffered a fractured shoulder, he testified.
McCowan, a Baptist minister, got chuckles in the courtroom when he testified that he didn't turn the other cheek because it "hadn't gotten hit yet."
LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron offered details for the first time on Wednesday of a broad inquiry into the relationships between the police, politicians and the press in the broadening scandal confronting Rupert Murdoch’s media empire in Britain.
Speaking to Parliament, Mr. Cameron said the inquiry would be led by a senior judge, Lord Justice Leveson, and would have the power to summon witnesses to testify under oath. The announcement came as Mr. Cameron fought to recover the initiative in a scandal that has turned into potentially the most damaging crisis of his time in office.
Mr. Cameron’s Conservative Party took power in May 2010, supported by some of the newspapers in Mr. Murdoch’s British stable, and his critics said that he, like some of his predecessors in 10 Downing Street, sought to maintain that support even as the phone hacking scandal erupted last week.
Keep in mind that Cameron hired a former editor at News Of The World, Andy Coulson, as his (now former) director of communications. Keep in mind too that former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has alleged that he was a subject of inappropriate investigation by another Murdoch paper, The Sunday Times by "known criminals," as he put it. It's not a stretch to suggest that Brown himself may have had his phones and voicemails hacked.
Let that sink in a moment: the Conservative Cameron won election to the Prime Minister post in a bare plurality, falling 20 seats short of a clear majority, and needing to meld a coalition government with the Liberal Democratic party of Nick Clegg. The Labor Party lost a staggering 91 seats in that 2010 election.
It's not inconceivable, although I'd be skeptical of drawing this conclusion without better evidence than Brown's say-so, that Murdoch basically overthrew democracy and installed a puppet in Cameron. His organization could have hacked any number of phones (they've shown a particularly morbid curiousity with the technology,) and uncovered any number of campaign strategies.
There are allegations by London's Metropolitan Police from as early as 2006 that the royal family's voicemails had been eavesdropped on, and continuing allegations have been made by various people that they were, too, targeted.
And that's just voicemails. Cell phones have been notoriously easy to eavesdrop on, using various hard-, soft- and fleshware (bystanders overhearing conversations.) E-mail interceptions are not out of the question either, if you presume that Murdoch's empire was basically an organized crime syndicate.
And going with that theme, it's easy to see that the same things might have happened here, assuming they happened at all.
Keep in mind that this entire story came out only because 13 year old Milly Dowler was found dead, despite the fact that her voicemail box never was full and her family and friends called constantly and left messages in the hopes she was alive and would call as soon as she could. The hackers, private investigators, clumsily deleted voicemail messages to the missing girl, unintentionally giving false hope to the family and destroying potential evidence for the police.
This was in 2002. Is it a stretch to think that, for at least ten years, Murdoch has committed similar crimes and obstructions of justice world-wide?
Perhaps even in a national election like, say, Bush-Kerry in 2004?
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The death of Ahmed Wali Karzai was confirmed by Hamid Karzai, his half brother, who said the killing reflected the suffering of all Afghan people."Inside the houses of Afghan people, we have all suffered from the same kind (of pain). And our hope is that, God willing, there will be an end to the pain and suffer of Afghan people, and peace and security will be implemented," said Karzai at a joint news conference with visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Ahmed Wali Karzai, who was head of the Kandahar provincial council, had become a political liability for the Karzai government after a series of allegations were levelled against him, including that he was on the CIA payroll and involved in drug trafficking.
He denied the charges, and the president repeatedly defended him, denouncing accusations that his brother was involved in criminal activities in the restive south.
What better way to pave your own exit than to eliminate the smoking guns of your office.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Republicans say they are willing to raise the debt ceiling, but only in exchange for corresponding budget cuts -- and no tax increases, saying they would hurt job growth.
House Speaker John Boehner told Obama over the weekend that his caucus would not support a $4 trillion package that includes higher taxes. Boehner proposed going back to a smaller deal, some $2 trillion or so in cuts, developed during meetings led by Vice President Joe Biden.
George W. Bush, along with a Republican-dominated Congress, in the midst of a mild recession that bridged the September 11, 2001 attacks, passed not one, not two, but THREE tax cuts, bringing the tax burden on the top 1% to the lowest level in history.
Let me repeat that: three tax cuts, over three years, and the rich who presumably would trickle jobs all around the country, had their taxes lower than they ever had them.
That was by 2003. The first net job created by the Bush tax cuts did not come until the second quarter of 2005. His net jobs created in eight years was one million jobs.
William J. Clinton raised taxes on the rich modestly while lowering them for the other 95% of the country. By the end of his FIRST TERM IN OFFICE he created 12 million jobs. By the end of eight years, he had created 23 million.
Q.E.D. Lowering taxes on the wealthy will not create jobs, because the rich do not create jobs. The middle class creates jobs by spending, by opening businesses and by taking advantage of lower taxes on themselves.
Finally, let's look at how spending affects job creation, particularly in times of crisis (emphasis added):
Calls for greater government assistance increased as the U.S. economy continued to decline. Hoover rejected direct federal relief payments to individuals, as he believed that a dole would be addictive, and reduce the incentive to work. He was also a firm believer in balanced budgets, and was unwilling to run a budget deficit to fund welfare programs. However, Hoover did pursue many policies in an attempt to pull the country out of depression. In 1929, Hoover authorized the Mexican Repatriation program to combat rampant unemployment, reduce the burden on municipal aid services, and remove people seen as usurpers of American jobs. The program was largely a forced migration of approximately 500,000 Mexicans and Mexican Americans to Mexico, and continued until 1937. In June 1930, over the objection of many economists, Congress approved and Hoover signed into law the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. The legislation raised tariffs on thousands of imported items. The intent of the Act was to encourage the purchase of American-made products by increasing the cost of imported goods, while raising revenue for the federal government and protecting farmers. However, economic depression now spread through much of the world, and other nations increased tariffs on American-made goods in retaliation, reducing international trade, and worsening the Depression.
Now, it's true that Hoover tried to increase spending. A little. But not nearly enough to count as a stimulus.
Mr. Speaker, what you are trying to do is to create a Democratic Herbert Hoover in the person of President Barack Obama. Grow up, sir, this is no time to play politics with American lives.
Where are the motherfucking jobs, Mr. Speaker?