Rep. Michele Bachmann has been steeped in tea party politics for the last two years, but she may be overstepping her bounds as she increasingly attaches herself to a movement that insists it has no party and no leader. Bachmann is set to give a response to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening in concert with the Tea Party Express — a move that has prompted local tea partiers to cry foul.
“Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has confirmed with us that she will broadcast her response to Barack Obama’s State of The Union address this Tuesday,” Tea Party Express leader Amy Kremer told supporters over the weekend. “You’ll be able to watch her rebut Obama via her address which will be broadcast on our website: www.TeaPartyExpress.org.”
That has caused some consternation among the Tea Party Patriots of the Twin Cities. The group sent out an email Monday evening that said, “Please call Michele Bachmann’s Office and tell her that she does not speak for the Tea Party. Michele has announced she will be giving the ‘Tea Party Response’ to the President’s State of the Union Address. The Tea Party Patriots Organization is a grass roots organization. One person has no right to speak for the whole organization.”
Her response also means she may steal some thunder from the official Republican response, which will be given by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor downplayed Bachmann’s plans to NBC on Monday. “Paul Ryan’s giving the official Republican response,” Cantor said, adding that Bachmann will have an opinion “just as the other 534 members of the House and Senate [are going to."]
Do you keep falling asleep during the State of the Union address? What about those long and boring “rebuttals”? Here is a way to change all of that!
How to play: During tonight’s State of the Union address, check off each block when you hear these words during a meeting, seminar, or phone call. When you have checked off a whole line horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout BINGO! Then call the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414 and tell the President not to touch Social Security!
|Challenge||Opportunity||Pledge||Our ability to borrow||Future generations|
|Future benefits||Ratio of workers||Tough choices||Compromise||unfunded liability|
|Raising retirement age||Austerity||The system is broken||Household budget||Ownership|
|Fairness||Responsible||Strengthen Social Security||Bipartisan consensus||Shortfall|
|Folks are living longer||Deficit reduction||Unsustainable||Social Security crisis||Deficit Commission|
I started drinking organic milk years ago, after I saw “The Corporation”. It showed how regular dairies keeps cows in a constant state of infection to produce more milk, and how much pus there was in the milk. Yuck!
According to an important new study, organic milk sold in England delivers significantly higher levels of healthy fatty acids than does conventional milk. The study, funded by the European Union and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Dairy Science, can be accessed for free here.
The researchers compared fat composition and protein content of 10 organic and 12 conventional brands found on supermarket shelves in northeast England. Researchers found that the organic milk had only slightly higher overall fat content, but much higher levels of what it calls “beneficial fatty acids.”
The differences are significant in public-health terms. In America and Great Britain alike, people on average don’t get enough essential fatty acids. For example, one of the fatty acids in question, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), has been shown to lower heart disease and cancer risks, the researchers say. The meat and milk of ruminant animals are “almost our exclusive source of dietary CLA,” the researchers support — and organic milk has significantly more of it. By switching to organic milk, the U.K. public could increase its average CLA intake by as much as 40 percent, the authors reckon.
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone actually got indicted?
Former Bear Stearns mortgage executives who now run mortgage divisions of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Ally Financial have been accused of cheating and defrauding investors through the mortgage securities they created and sold while at Bear. According to e-mails and internal audits, JPMorgan had known about this fraud since the spring of 2008, but hid it from the public eye through legal maneuvering. Last week a lawsuit filed in 2008 by mortgage insurer Ambac Assurance Corp against Bear Stearns and JPMorgan was unsealed. The lawsuit’s supporting e-mails, going back as far as 2005, highlight Bear traders telling their superiors they were selling investors like Ambac a “sack of shit.”
News of internal whistleblowers coming forward from Bear’s mortgage servicing division, EMC, was first reported by The Atlantic in May of last year. Ex-EMC analysts admitted they were sometimes told to falsify loan-level performance data provided to the ratings agencies who blessed Bear’s billion-dollar deals. But according to depositions and documents in the Ambac lawsuit, Bear’s misdeeds went even deeper. They say senior traders under Tom Marano, who was a Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Mortgages for Bear and is now CEO of Ally’s mortgage operations, were pocketing cash that should have gone to securities holders after Bear had already sold them bonds and moved the loans off its books.
Continue Reading »
It’s interesting that the primary trait of the Republican party is to destroy things or take things down.
Well, looky here [Via Common Cause]. Maybe we need to call Congressman Issa and have him look into whether the Federalist Society was used as a front group to pay for Clarence Thomas and Tony Scalia — and their little meetings with the infamous Koch brothers, which by the way, aren’t illegal.
But the Federalist Society might want to be a little more careful. They might lost that handy 501(c)3 status:
“The public is entitled to more detail about the nature and extent of the justices’ involvement with Koch Industries’ closed-door political strategy sessions,” said Edgar, “And there has been no response to the equally serious concern raised about Justice Thomas’s financial conflict of interest due to his wife’s role as CEO of Liberty Central and its political activities in 2010.”
Charles Koch’s invitation to their 2011 secretive retreat, to be held in Palm Springs on January 30-31, states that the “action-oriented program brings together top experts and leaders to discuss – and offer solutions to counter – the most critical threats to our free society.” It added that past “meetings have featured such notable leaders as Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas,” along with a host conservative leaders and elected officials, like Glenn Beck, Haley Barbour and Jim DeMint.
“That doesn’t exactly square with Thursday’s assertions by a Court spokeswoman,” Edgar said. As reported today by the Los Angeles Times, the spokeswoman stated that the justices attended nearby Federalist Society dinners, but that Scalia did not attend the January 2007 Koch seminar, and that Justice Thomas merely did a “brief drop-by” at the separate Koch meeting sessions.”
In addition, Justice Thomas’s 2008 disclosure form states that he was reimbursed by the Federalist Society for “transportation/meals and accommodations” for a trip to Palm Springs January 26-29. Those dates appear to coincide with the schedule for Koch Industries multi-day retreats, and raise some obvious questions: Did Justice Thomas stay at the same posh resort where the Kochs were holding their event or have more extensive involvement with the event or event participants?
Justice Scalia’s 2007 disclosure form only shows reimbursement by the Federalist Society for “transportation, food and lodging” for Indian Wells, California for a single day, January 29, 2007. His form also shows reimbursement by the Federalist Society for a trip to Beaver Creek, Colorado on September 10-11 of 2007 as well, but we do not know at this time if that was in conjunction with another Koch Industries retreat. The last semi-annual Koch retreat was held in Aspen, Colorado on June 27-28, 2010.
If there’s a better government program than Social Security, I’d like to know what it is.
It has gone a long way toward eliminating poverty among the elderly. Great numbers of them used to live and die in ghastly, Dickensian conditions of extreme want. Without Social Security today, nearly half of all Americans aged 65 or older would be poor. With it, fewer than 10 percent live in poverty.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities tells us that close to 90 percent of people 65 and older get at least some of their family income from Social Security. For more than half of the elderly, it provides the majority of their income. For many, it is the only income they have.
When you see surveillance videos of some creep mugging an elderly person in an elevator or apartment lobby, the universal reaction is outrage. But when the fat cats and the ideologues want to hack away at the lifeline of Social Security, they are treated somehow as respectable, even enlightened members of the society.
We need a reality check. Attacking Social Security is both cruel and unnecessary. It needs to stop.
The demagogues would have the public believe that Social Security is unsustainable, that it is some kind of giant contributor to the federal budget deficits. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the Economic Policy Institute has explained, Social Security “is emphatically not the cause of the federal government’s long-term deficits, since it is prohibited from borrowing and must pay all benefits out of dedicated tax revenues and savings in its trust funds.”
Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t have been clearer about the crucial role of the payroll taxes used to finance Social Security. They gave the beneficiaries a “legal, moral and political right” to collect their benefits, he said. “With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my Social Security program.”
There has always been feverish opposition on the right to Social Security. What is happening now, in a period of deficit hysteria, is that this crucial retirement program is being dishonestly lumped together with Medicare as an entitlement program that is driving federal deficits. Medicare costs are a serious problem, but that’s because of the nightmarish expansion of health care costs in general.
Continue Reading »