Feed on

Selling access

Isn’t that nice:

Former Governor Mitt Romney is already offering top donors access to a special “Presidential Inaugural retreat,” planned on the assumption that he will be elected president this November.

The offer, in a fundraising email circulated by a top Georgia supporter to fellow Republicans and obtained by BuzzFeed, is one of several goodies offered to those who contribute more than $50,000 to the joint fundraising committee known as “Romney Victory,” a program whose outlines were first reported by POLITICO.

Those donors will be named “Founding Members” of Romney Victory and invited to a California retreat with Romney and offered “yet to be determined access at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August.”
They will also “have preferred status at the first Presidential Inaugural retreat,” the email says.

Krugman calls out Times contributor Steve Rattner as a concern troll for his economic distortion of the “true” cost of the Affordable Care Act. (You may have heard the wingnuts parroting the so-called “study” on which this horse hockey is based all last week?) Krugman doesn’t pull any punches:

The way to cut through the whole double-counting nonsense is to ask the following: did the ACA improve or worsen the fiscal outlook compared with what it would have been without the legislation? The answer is that it improved the outlook – the additional revenues plus cost savings outweigh the cost of the subsidies. End of story. Don’t take my word for it — that’s what Robert Reischauer, the good trustee, says.

So what about the alleged double-counting? That exists only in the minds of the trolls. The Obama administration has never claimed that a dollar of savings somehow counts twice.

Does it matter that some of the savings accrue to the Medicare trust fund? Not for the unified budget. And as it turns out, not for the non-trust-fund budget either, because everyone understands that Medicare will be supported out of general revenues when the trust fund is exhausted, so any savings on trust fund spending eventually redound to general revenues.

There’s nothing here, except in the tortured word games of people who are desperately looking for a way to make trouble.

Why I love a man in uniform

They’re just so inspiring!

The fight of our lives

Yeah, I’d say that beating back this particular company (who poisons our food supply by buying off politicians) is pretty damned important:

This November, in a food fight that will largely determine the future of what we eat and what we grow, Monsanto will face its greatest challenge to date: a statewide citizens’ ballot initiative that will give Californians the opportunity to vote for their right to know whether the food they buy is contaminated with GMOs.

A growing corps of food, health, and environmental activists – supported by the Millions against Monsanto and Occupy Monsanto Movements, and consumers and farmers across the nation – are boldly moving to implement mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods in California through a grassroots-powered citizens ballot initiative process that will bypass the agribusiness-dominated state legislature. If passed, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act will require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods and food ingredients, and outlaw the routine industry practice of labeling GMO-tainted foods as “natural.”

Passage of this initiative on November 6 will radically alter the balance of power in the marketplace, enabling millions of consumers to identify – and boycott – genetically engineered foods for the first time since 1994, when Monsanto’s first unlabeled, genetically-engineered dairy drug, recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), was forced on the market.

As Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director for the Organic Consumers Association, pointed out at an Occupy Wall Street teach-in in Washington DC in early April: “The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act ballot initiative is a perfect example of how the grassroots 99% can mobilize to take back American democracy from the corporate bullies, the 1%. By aggressively utilizing one of the last remaining tools of direct democracy, the initiative process (available to voters not only in California and 23 other states, but in thousands of cities and counties across the nation), we can bypass corrupt politicians, make our own laws, and force corporations like Monsanto to bend to the will of the people, in this case granting us our fundamental right to know what’s in our food.”

A little ray of hope

This is promising:

An Obama administration task force established to investigate misconduct that fueled the financial crisis is turning to a little-used statute that may make such cases easier to bring, according to people familiar with the matter.

The federal statute, FIRREA, was passed in the wake of the savings-and-loan scandals in the 1980s. It requires a lower burden of proof than criminal charges, has a longer statute of limitations than other financial laws and potentially could bring big fines.

But it has appeared in only a few dozen cases since it was enacted in 1989.

The task force, which is in the Justice Department, used FIRREA earlier this year when it issued more than a dozen civil subpoenas to top financial institutions, including Citigroup, the people familiar with the matter said.

The subpoenas ask for documents related to mortgage-backed securities offerings between 2006 and 2008.
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One man’s ceiling

Is another man’s floor, I guess.

Why John Edwards is being prosecuted

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rachel Maddow did an interesting piece Friday night that said something that needs to be said, over and over: John Edwards is being singled out for special treatment in his indictment. And unfortunately, people who might otherwise support him in fighting it have decided for their own reasons that he deserves to be punished because he cheated on his dying wife.

That’s just plain crazy. And it’s no basis for a criminal prosecution, as Maddow pointed out.

Nor is our personal affection for Elizabeth Edwards a good enough reason to look the other way while he’s railroaded through a criminal trial that was brought by a politically ambitious Republican prosecutor:

MADDOW: The reason the reason I’m making a federal case about this is because a federal case has been made about this – specifically, about the money part.

During the campaign with the National Enquirer reporting he had an affair. the mistress was a politically inconvenient thing for this presidential campaign. Two of his very wealthy supporters spent $900,000 trying to hide the woman with whom John Edwards had the affair. […]

They paid for her medical care while pregnant. According to the government, that $900,000 spent on his mistress, that was a campaign contribution. It was meant to protect his public image. […] $900,000 being spent on that is way over the limit for how much you can legally donate to a campaign. Remember when we used to think there was [a limit on] how much money you could give to a campaign.

The John Edwards trial is unprecedented. Nobody has been indicted on charges like this before, let alone in the wild, wild world campaign of no rules with the Citizens United and the finance laws they have killed in the last few years. Sheldon Adelson has spent more than 16 times more that the money implicated in the John Edwards scandal on Newt Gingrich in the 2012 primary. At least, this case is not about whether or not John Edwards is a bad guy. Ultimately, this sex scandal boils down to whether he took campaign donations that were too big. Joining us now is Hampton Dellinger. He’s been covering by blog. Thanks for your time. it’s nice to have you here.

DELLINGER: You’re welcome. Great to be with you.

MADDOW: I know you’ve been covering this closely. Did I get the basics about the scandal and the case? I wouldn’t be surprised if I messed something up.

DELLINGER: I’m surprised you didn’t. You got it spot on. This is a one of a kind. It will likely be the only case of its kind. We have corporations and individuals giving tens of millions of dollars in direct aid of candidates and their campaign. $900,000 in indirect aid doesn’t feel good, doesn’t smell right. Clearly, his activity as a husband was heinous, but it’s never been considered felonious until now.
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Stand your ground

People with guns get permission to kill anyone who annoys them, thanks to the “stand your ground” laws pushed by the NRA:

This isn’t a post meant to highlight that “it happens to white people too, and why isn’t CNN covering their story?“. Not at all. Trayvon Martin was a child, out on a candy run and on the phone with his young girlfriend, a child that was brutally executed by an animal who will hopefully someday get what he deserves. Brandon was a fully-grown adult who had been driving erratically (I’m told he too was on the phone with his girlfriend, with whom he just had a fight and who was riding closely behind him, and that that was the source of his erratic driving, but it’s possible he had been drinking, which makes his situation much more serious than Trayvon’s, but never worthy enough of him losing his life) and as far as I can tell, the police did not cover anything up or lied to the press or Brandon’s family.

No, this is a post to highlight the insane brutality of the stand-your-ground law, which turns every yahoo with a gun into a potential vigilante, all he (or she, but let’s face it: he) has to do is claim he “felt threatened” (a claim as subjective as “it’s cold outside” or “purple is my favorite color”) and then he can commit murder with impunity. That this law was wholly owned and pushed for by the NRA is so obvious that it barely needs telling.

If you think that these two murders are not enough, check out this other horrifying story, in which a man was shot and killed in front of his eight-year old daughter. Find out why he was killed, by reading the first three paragraphs, and if the reason doesn’t send chills up your spine, you are not human. Just like the other two killers, this man waited for police next to the corpse of his executed victim, and was questioned and released.

There cannot be hope for this country while its citizens are being openly slaughtered with impunity and their murderers sheltered by laws passed by pusillanimous cowards wholly owned by the NRA. It’s just not possible.

Rainbow connection

Dixie Chicks:

He’s right

I’ve always thought the “someone would have talked” rationale was bullshit.

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