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Scarier than John Ashcroft

By Odd Man Out
Eric Holder might feel more at home in Vladimir Putin’s Justice Department than in the USA’s. Susie blogged about Charles Pierce’s take on the Attorney General the other day.

Yesterday, Jonathan Turley weighed in with his impressions:

…Democrats are largely silent in the face of a president claiming the right to unilaterally kill citizens.

Holder became particularly cryptic in his assurance of caution in the use of this power, insisting that they will kill citizens only with “the consent of the nation involved or after a determination that the nation is unable or unwilling to deal effectively with a threat to the United States.” What on earth does that mean?

This is precisely why the framers of the US constitution rejected the “trust me” approach to government, as discussed in this column. Since last year, US drones have killed three Americans overseas.

Life in the food chain…….

By Boohunney
I have relatives who live in Dalton, GA, the carpet capital of the world. As every manufacturing town, Dalton has a very high unemployment problem.

Down here in the sunny South in my Red State of Jawja, we have many immigrants from south of the border. As a consequence, there have been many small stores (Tiendas) that have opened. To make ends meet, lots of gringo folks have started shopping the “Tiendas.”

One would think that there is a watchful eye out there on the food supply.

NOPE.

My sister-in-law, Carla, found a frog in her salad mix!

Well, my first thought was, “y’all aren’t having cole slaw tonight?”

But, my second thought was “frogs are a sign of a healthy ecosystem.”

Maybe that lettuce was grown in a less sterile, less chemical environment, without a BIG watchful eye.

 

 

Rush Gets Ad Help

By Boohunney
After all the bad news concerning advertisers for his show, Rush Limbaugh may have some good news.

Gabriel to Limbaugh: Lay off my tunes

By Odd Man Out
It looks like Rush Limbaugh might have to stoop to using Ted Nugent’s music as soundtracks for his rants. I can’t think of any other rocker who might be a good fit. From USA Today:

Peter Gabriel doesn’t want Rush Limbaugh’s radio show to use his music, in the wake of the Sandra Fluke controversy.

Gabriel’s song “Sledgehammer” played in the background while Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she testified at a congressional hearing about contraception, reports CBS News. More here.

What’s good for the goose

By Odd Man Out
An Ohio legislator is trying to turn the tables on those who wage war on women’s rights. From TCM:

On Tuesday, Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) will introduce a bill aimed at cracking down on prescription drugs like Viagra that treat erectile dysfunction. Turner’s legislation would make men jump through certain hoops — such as psychological screenings — before they could obtain the meds. The bill follows FDA recommendations to determine the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction — but that’s certainly not the only reason Turner is putting the measure forward…

“All across the country, including in Ohio, I thought since men are certainly paying great attention to women’s health that we should definitely return the favor,” Turner told TPM. Her bill is one of several pieces of legislation offered over the past several weeks by women lawmakers eager to prove a point about the raging contraception debate.
Their bills seek to regulate men’s sexual health, from Viagra to vasectomies, just as Republican-led state governments and Congress have zeroed in on access to abortion and family planning care.

Turner’s bill mimics language found in Ohio’s so-called Heartbeat Bill, which passed the Ohio state House and is now pending in the Senate. The bill would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, sometimes as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Turner’s bill, she says, offers men a taste of their own medicine — it would require physicians to inform patients in writing of the risks involved in taking erectile dysfunction drugs and requires men to sign a document acknowledging the risks, just like the anti-abortion bill does…

Tax-dodging corporate liars

By Odd Man Out
What a surprise. It seems those those CEOs from Business Roundtable who met behind closed doors with Barack Obama Tuesday and with “blue dog” Democrats on Capitol Hill yesterday were much more interested in pushing for lower corporate tax rates than in discussing job creation. The CEOs argued that Congress “tax reform” shouldn’t be delayed until after the November elections. One of them, quoted in Roll Call, repeated an oft-heard complaint about corporate tax rates in America:

Procter & Gamble’s president and CEO Bob McDonald, who chairs the Roundtable’s tax and fiscal policy committee, said that the country’s corporate tax rate will become the highest in the world when Japan lowers its rate three weeks from now. The Obama administration recently released its own proposal for lowering the corporate tax rate from about 35 percent to about 28 percent. The CEOs said they support lowering it to about 25 percent.

McDonald is a liar, and Roll Call should have said so — politely, of course — by citing, as Salon did in November, the results of a study conducted by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. More here.

By Odd Man Out
See, it’s not your imagination. Quality of life for poor Americans really is declining in a big way, and in a hurry.

Sex & drugs & Rick Santorum

By Odd Man Out
Any fiction writer who made up a character as bigoted and predictable as Rick Santorum would probably be accused of jumping the shark, but reality is stranger than fiction. Richard Reeves quoting the candidate:

“Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. They prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that’s sex. And the whole abortion culture, it’s not about life. It’s about sexual freedom. That’s what it’s about. Homosexuality. It’s about sexual freedom.”

By Odd Man Out
Earlier this week, Benjamin Netanyahu stormed through Washington beating the drum for war with Iran, to thunderous applause by AIPAC members and Congressional neo-cons. President Obama appeared to strike a moderate pose on the issue, but it’s anybody’s guess whether Israel will pull the trigger in the near future:

The greatest danger the United States (and any peace-loving person in the Middle East) currently faces is that [Ehud] Barak and Prime Minister Netanyahu will spring an October surprise (or a surprise in any month between now and the first Tuesday of November) in the form of an armed attack on Iran….

President Obama’s attempt to handle this problem was reflected in his speech on Sunday to the AIPAC conference. He and his speechwriters pushed back as much as it was politically safe to do. In addition to recounting the ample evidence that “when the chips are down, I have Israel’s back” and recalling how his administration has mustered far more international pressure on Iran than his predecessor did, Mr. Obama spoke favorably and optimistically about diplomacy, rightly observed that there is “too much loose talk of war,” and talked about nuclear weapons as distinct from mere nuclear-weapons capability.

But staying with what is politically safe still leaves an unsquared circle. The president said more than enough about the unacceptability of an Iranian nuclear weapon to set the stage for Netanyahu to demand later that the United States do whatever it takes to prevent such a weapon.

In the nearer term, the president’s comments about how “no Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of” Iran and reference to “Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs” sound almost like an invitation to Netanyahu to launch a war…

The next domino

Matt Taibbi:

Last year, there was an uproar when Bank of America announced a plan to slap customers with a monthly $5 fee for debit card usage. The bank eventually backed off that plan when the public and some politicians cried foul.

 

Now it seems the company is going to try to put a new package on the same crappy idea and sell it again. This time, the plan is to add charges that range from $6 to $25 a month. From an MSNBC report:

 

Pilot programs in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts are experimenting with charging $6 to $9 a month for what’s called an “Essentials” account. Other account options being tested in those states carry monthly charges of $9, $12, $15 and $25, but give customers opportunities to avoid the payments by maintaining minimum balances, using a credit card or taking a mortgage with Bank of America, according to an internal memo cited by the [Wall Street] Journal.

 

It’s a very bad sign that a bank is in a desperate cash crunch when it tries repeatedly to gouge its customers. David Trainer, an analyst for Market Watch, a WSJ publication, wrote that the new fees are a sign of series trouble at BAC. He writes:

 

In my opinion, there are four actions taken by financial services that signal the company is headed to serious trouble.

1. Management shake-up and major layoffs – lots of layoffs over the past year

2. Exploiting accounting rules to boost earnings – SFAS 159

3. Drawing down reserves to boost earnings: to the tune of $13.3 billion in 2011 and 2012

4. Bilking customers with new fees: tried it before and trying it again

Bank of America has taken all four steps. Bilking customers with new fees is a desperate measure of last resort because it requires exploiting the one asset the bank has left, namely its customers.

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