Smackdown

This is great:

Australia’s prime minister Julia Gillard is one badass motherfucker. In an impassioned 15-minute smackdown in front of the house of Representatives, the country’s first female leader gave a scathing speech calling out opposition leader Tony Abbott’s extremely misogynistic comments, actions, views on abortion and single women, all while pointing in his face. She basically ripped him a new asshole.


Here’s some history: Abbott demanded that Peter Slipper, the Speaker of the House, step down for allegedly sexually harassing an openly gay male staff member in a series of text messages, one of which apparently compared female genitalia to mussels. I know. Juicy already. Abbott then implied that if Gillard defended Slipper, she would be just as sexist as a gay man who talks shit on vaginas. Abbott said, “And every day the prime minister stands in this parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.”


(Inside baseball: The line about “dying of shame” was a dig at Gillard’s recently deceased father, whom a shock jock said “died of shame” over his daughter’s policies.)


So Gillard let him have it. Here are some choice quotes:

I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not. Not now, not ever. What i won’t stand for, what I will never stand for is the leader of the opposition peddling a double standard, a standard he has not set for members of his own front bench.


If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he doesn’t need a motion in the house of Representatives, he needs a mirror.


I was very offended personally the Leader of the Opposition said abortion is the easy way out.


I was offended by the sexism, by the misogyny of the Leader of the Opposition cat calling across this table at me as I sit here as prime minister , ‘If the prime minister wants to make an honest woman of herself…’ something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this chair.


I was offended when he stood next to a sign that described me as a ‘man’s bitch.’

How Obama has jeopardized the future of liberalism

So what else is new with our neocon president?

Liberals often tend to overstate conservative electoral achievements. Of the five most recent presidential elections, Republicans have won the popular vote in one, and their congressional majorities have never been large enough to pass legislation without Democratic cooperation.


But if there’s one place where conservatives have had great success, it’s the federal judiciary. Beginning with Ronald Reagan and continuing to George W. Bush, there’s been a concerted effort to bring reliable conservatives to the federal bench. The hope is that they will stand as a bulwark against activist government, and for the most part, that’s been the case: The individual mandate, for example, would have never become a constitutional issue if it weren’t for the influence of conservative judges. The last three GOP presidents appointed more than 150 judges to federal appellate courts.


After Barack Obama won the White House in 2008, there was hope that he would reverse this trend. Instead — to the potential detriment of his policies and priorities — he’s done little to make a mark on the federal judiciary. When staffing the nation’s most powerful courts, Reuters reports, Obama leans towards established moderates — not the younger liberals who would have a lasting influence on the direction of American law: “Obama’s 30 appointees have generally been moderates who mainly served on lower courts and were often selected in consultation with Republican senators.”


Some of this is a product of unprecedented obstruction by those same Republican senators. But a large portion of the blame falls on Obama’s shoulders. Reuters notes the three-person vacancy on the 11-member D.C. Court of Appeals, which — in terms of power — is second only to the Supreme Court. If this were a priority for Obama, it would almost certainly be the subject of complaint from the White House. As it stands, the administration is silent.

[…] It’s not an overstatement to say that by neglecting the judiciary, Obama has placed the future of liberalism in doubt. His loss wouldn’t just lead to the repeal of Obamacare or Dodd-Frank — the promises of a President Romney. It would jeopardize the constitutional status quo that made those laws possible.

Touchdown

Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe fires back At Archbishop Nienstadt’s advice that they should reject their gay children:

Dear Archbishop Nienstedt and Pope Benedict XVI,

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

I read your views on gay marriage in the Star Tribune, Archbishop Nienstedt, and it fills me with great sadness and regret that a steward of the Catholic Church on this Earth feels the need to take a stance of oppression, intolerance, and fear. Surely, is this not what Jesus spoke of when he said, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by his fruit”?

How can we reconcile our version of the Catholic Church as salvation to the sick, the needy, the poor, when we must also bear witness to the Catholic Church as oppressor, tormentor, and executioner? Where, in all of Jesus’ teachings, did he ever say to deny the humanity of other human beings; where did the Son of God proclaim that mortal Man knew God’s will; where, pray tell, did Jesus ever say to harden your heart against those who may not be exactly the same as you?

I say to you – nowhere. Nowhere does Jesus preach hate, or intolerance, or loathing. Nowhere does Jesus say, “You shall deny the humanity of gay people because it makes you feel uncomfortable”. Nowhere does Jesus say, “And the mortal men of the Church shall be the sole conduits of the Word of God, for they are perfect and infallible.” Nowhere, in all of the recorded teachings of Jesus, does it say anything about discrimination or prejudice.

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
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The wisdom of crowds

I need some advice. I have never picked an avocado that wasn’t either unripe when I cut it, or was a moldy mess by the time I sliced it open.

I love them, but I have never pulled off the timing thing. Help!

Hand slap for Wells Fargo

Since we’re never going to see the criminal indictments these weasels deserve, would it be too much, in light of current developments, that the president and other administration officials stop throwing in little digs at homeowners for their miniscule role in the massive and systemic mortgage fraud that crashed the economy? I can’t tell you how that makes my blood boil in light on the ongoing rape and pillaging of those unfortunate enough to be holding mortgages with these bastards:

Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) — Wells Fargo & Co. was sued by the U.S., which alleged the bank made reckless mortgage loans that defaulted and forced the federal government to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims.


The government seeks damages and civil penalties under the False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 for alleged misconduct spanning more than a decade related to the bank’s participation in a Federal Housing Administration program, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said in a statement. The complaint was filed today in New York federal court.


“As the complaint alleges, yet another major bank has engaged in a longstanding and reckless trifecta of deficient training, deficient underwriting and deficient disclosure, all while relying on the convenient backstop of government insurance,” Bharara said in the statement.


The suit undermines San Francisco-based Wells Fargo’s reputation as a lender that avoided some of the industry’s worst underwriting practices and threatens to compound the bank’s costs as the government completes probes of the housing bubble’s collapse.

Where does the Post get such lousy, lazy reporters? Just a few months ago (see video), Wells was fined $175 million for steering qualified minority buyers to subprime mortgages. And in 2008, a Louisiana bankruptcy court hit Wells with $3.1 million in punitive damages – for one bad loan. As Yves Smith wrote then:

Wells, as we have pointed out repeatedly, has an annoying habit of piously claiming it is better than other servicers when it engages in the same indefensible conduct as its peers. So if you were to take Wells at its word, the conduct of other servicers is at least as bad as what has taken place in this jurisdiction, if not worse. Remember, servicers are highly routinized operations, so if something, it is almost certain to be standard practice. And Wells has admitted that in this case.


[…] The latest example of Wells bad behavior in Magner’s courtroom that has come to a resolution of sorts is another case of Wells overcharging a borrower. In this suit, Jones v. Wells Fargo, filed in 2007, involved a borrower having to sue Wells to recoup overcharges by Wells plus actual damages, plus a request for punitive damages. The ruling sets forth the sorry history in some detail and I strongly suggest you read it in full.


[…] The word “predatory” is not adequate to describe Wells’ conduct. The bank is not simply willing to steal from consumers, via blatant, institutionalized violations of its own agreements on mortgages and later on bankruptcy plans. It has absolutely no respect for the law, whether it be contracts or court procedures. It’s a band of marauders that our society treats as legitimate because the perpetrators wear suits and can afford to hire lobbyists. And the Federal government and state attorneys general are certain to have emboldened Wells and its brethren by rewarding them rather than treating them like the criminals they are.

Amen!

In Re Jones

Coming attractions?

Merkel should feel very nervous — she’s turned herself into the most hated woman in Europe. The funny thing is, even the IMf (the FREAKING IMF!!!) calls for government stimulus instead of the extreme austerity demanded by Merkel, and warn of another global slowdown as the result of spending cuts:

POLICE have fired tear gas to disperse protesters attempting to storm a barricade near parliament as tens of thousands of Greeks massed in Athens in a show of anger against German Chancellor Angela Merkel.


Vilified for Greece’s punishing spending cuts, Mrs Merkel, the leader of Europe’s paymaster, is on her first visit to the eurozone’s most indebted nation since the debt crisis erupted almost three years ago.


As she met Greek Prime Minister Antonio Samaras, demonstrators gathered just a few blocks away, some brandishing banners reading “You are not welcome, Imperialisten Raus” (Imperialists out)” or “No to the Fourth Reich”.


Two Nazi flags were draped on the steel fence near parliament and set on fire. Sporadic violence also broke out, with small gangs of masked youths throwing bottles at riot police.


Thousands of police were out on the streets and key parts of central Athens were closed off to create a large security zone for Mrs Merkel’s meetings with Mr Samaras and President Carolos Papoulias.


Police said about 25,000 protesters had already streamed on to the central Syntagma Square, which lies outside the lockdown zone.

Merkel is a highly divisive figure and Greeks are understandably angry over her visit:

Three years of grinding austerity in exchange for foreign funding to pay back banks and meet expenses has seen Greece’s gross domestic product shrink 25 percent. Unemployment is now at 50 percent for young people and 24 percent overall. A series of governments has dramatically cut spending without improving the functioning of the state, resulting in cuts to essential services like hospitals.


“In three years they have destroyed a nation,” said Maria Choussakou, 59, a former high school ancient Greek teacher who said she had been forced into early retirement. “We were middle class, now we’re impoverished,” she added.


At the news conference, Ms. Merkel, looking tense, acknowledged the pain Greece was facing after massive spending cuts. But she encouraged the country to continue on its path of structural reforms. “Much has been achieved, much has been demanded of the Greek people, she said. “I am deeply convinced that it’s going to be worthwhile,” she added.

Worthwhile to pay off the banks while people pick through garbage looking for food? What a strange world these people live in.

Yoo hoo, Bucks County

LANGHORNE – Once again Big Bird will take center stage in the 2012 election with Mitt Romney and Rep. Fitzpatrick detractors welcoming the traveling “Bain Worker Bus” to Sesame Place on Wednesday at 5:30pm.

The Bain Worker Bus is a nationwide tour with a contingent of workers from companies owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm Mitt Romney founded and continues to profit from.

The bus will stop in front of Sesame Place, where a crowd of local supporters, including a costumed Big Bird character, will welcome the Bain workers. The Bain workers will be speaking out, along with local unemployed, under-employed and outsourced workers about the dangers of a “Romney Economy” where good jobs are outsourced and minimum wage jobs, with no benefits, remain.

“We know that this election is not about Sesame Street, but it says a lot that politicians like Mitt Romney and Rep. Fitzpatrick would rather end funding for Big Bird than end tax breaks for big oil,” said Earl Williams of Levittown.

WHAT:  Sesame Place Showdown: Big Bird Meets Bain Capital

WHEN:  Wednesday, October 10, 5:30 pm

WHERE:  Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, PA

(in front of the Sesame Place main entrance)

WHO: Big Bird, local community members, Bain workers

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