20
Jul 13

Steven Rattner: We Have to Step In and Save Detroit

Source:

But while Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has capably overseen Detroit’s march to Chapter 9, neither the state nor the federal government has evinced any inclination to provide meaningful financial assistance.

That’s a mistake. No one likes bailouts or the prospect of rewarding Detroit’s historic fiscal mismanagement. But apart from voting in elections, the 700,000 remaining residents of the Motor City are no more responsible for Detroit’s problems than were the victims of Hurricane Sandy for theirs, and eventually Congress decided to help them.

America is just as much about aiding those less fortunate as it is about personal responsibility. Government does this in so many ways; why shouldn’t it help Detroit rebuild itself?


02
Apr 13

NY State Senator Arrested in Alleged Plot to Rig NYC Mayor’s Race

New York state Sen. Malcolm Smith and New York City Councilman Dan Halloran were arrested Tuesday in an alleged plot to rig the New York City mayor’s race, federal authorities said.

Four other political figures also were charged in what U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called “an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself.”

via NY state sen. arrested in alleged mayor race plot – Yahoo! News.


23
Mar 13

The Senate Passes a Budget for the First Time in 4 Years

America is headed for ruin and the U.S. Congress refuses to do it’s job. And when they finally act it’s the bare minimum. You have a renegade government that does not care a damn about you or what you think. Oh, by the way, the elections held every 2 to 4 years. They are worthless. The game is rigged. You have 2 corporate parties that pretend to give you choice. Incumbents are essentially in for life. Wake up, America:

After an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., the Senate on Saturday adopted its first budget in four years, a $3.7 trillion blueprint for 2014 that would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red a decade from now.


25
Feb 13

Fed Regulations Are Making Banks Riskier

Source:

Americans are becoming increasingly aware of how risky financial products, such as mortgage-backed securities, played a major role in the recent financial crisis. Few Americans, however, are aware that federal banking regulations encouraged banks to hold more mortgage-backed securities. In fact, the Federal Reserve is now in the process of strengthening these regulations, which will create more bank risk and the potential for more bank bailouts, with average Americans ultimately bearing the costs.

The Fed’s faulty rules are part of an initiative known as risk-based capital regulation. After the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, the United Sates joined an international banking agreement known as the Basel Accords. The Fed previously evaluated risk based on the bank’s capital ratio, a measure of leverage calculated as the value of the bank’s equity divided by the value of its assets. This changed with the adoption of the Basel Accords in 1991.


24
Feb 13

Robert Gibbs Told Not To Acknowledge Drone Program Exists As White House Press Secretary

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that he was told not to “acknowledge” or “discuss” the secret drone program when becoming the government’s top spokesman.

Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s “Up,” played a video clip of Gibbs and current press secretary Jay Carney dodging questions about drones in the White House briefing room before asking if the Obama administration has been sufficiently forthcoming about the controversial targeted killing program. Gibbs, who recently became an MSNBC contributor, recalled the instructions he was given upon taking the job.

“When I went through the process of becoming press secretary,” Gibbs said, “one of the things, one of the first things they told me was, ‘You’re not even to acknowledge the drone program. You’re not even to discuss that it exists.’”

via Robert Gibbs Told Not To Acknowledge Drone Program Exists As White House Press Secretary.


26
Jan 13

Less Than Half Of Wall Street Reform Rules Are Finalized

Banks have already managed to win delays on key regulations, and successfully convinced international regulators to water down other new rules. Further delay on the part of regulators will just extend the amount of time that taxpayers are on the hook for the financial system’s failures.

via Less Than Half Of Wall Street Reform Rules Are Finalized | ThinkProgress.


23
Jan 13

Ban on U.S. Women In Combat Roles Lifted

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is lifting the military ban on women in combat, allowing them to officially serve on the front lines for the first time in the history of U.S. armed forces.

The policy change, to be announced Thursday at the Pentagon, “will initiate a process whereby the services will develop plans to implement this decision, which was made by the Secretary of Defense upon the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” a senior Defense Department official said Wednesday in a statement to The Huffington Post.

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, lauded the change. “After a decade of critical military service in hostile environments, women have demonstrated a wide range of capabilities in combat operations and we welcome this review,” McKeon said in a statement Wednesday.

via Leon Panetta Lifts Ban On Women In Combat.


28
Dec 12

Will Obama Throw Chuck Hagel Under the Bus, Like with Susan Rice?

It looks like it. This President has a habit of doing that. In fact Obama is such a weasel he will back-stab anyone at anytime.

This is what the pro-Obama blog, Daily Kos, had to say:

Last week, the current administration decided that rather than fight for their preferred nominee, they decided to let John McCain and Lindsey Graham lead the way.

[...]If anyone still believes that this administration has any semblence of an ability to navigate Washington, press their advantages, and negotiate competently, I have a bridge in Brooklyn available for sale at a very reasonable price.

The decision the Administration chooses here will be very interesting, and will speak volumes if there is a decision to defend Hagel vs asking him for his withdrawal as they did with Rice. It will tell me everything I need to know about this Administration.


23
Dec 12

Republican Senator Crapo Arrested for DUI

Typical of members of Congress; leading by example. You think he’s going to be reprimanded by his conservative colleagues. No chance:

Sen. Michael Crapo, R.-Idaho, was arrested in Virginia

Oh, Crapo.

early Sunday morning for driving under the influence, Alexandria police say.

Police spokesman Craig T. Fifer said an officer was on routine patrol when he saw Sen. Crapo’s vehicle run a red light. It was stopped at Hume Avenue and Mount Vernon at 12:45 a.m.

Crapo then underwent several field sobriety tests, which he failed, Fifer said in a statement. He was then taken into custody without incident.

Sen. Crapo is one of four Republicans in the self-named “Gang of Eight” — a bipartisan group of senators who came together to work on a budget deal to avoid the upcoming “fiscal cliff.”

CBS News has reached out to Crapo’s office and will update this story.


16
Aug 12

Anti-Medicaid states: Earning $11,000 is too much

Sandra Pico is poor, but not poor enough.

She makes about $15,000 a year, supporting her daughter and unemployed husband. She thought she’d be able to get health insurance after the Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Then she heard that her own governor won’t agree to the federal plan to extend Medicaid coverage to people like her in two years. So she expects to remain uninsured, struggling to pay for her blood pressure medicine.

“You fall through the cracks and there’s nothing you can do about it,” said the 52-year-old home health aide. “It makes me feel like garbage, like the American dream, my dream in my homeland is not being accomplished.”

Many working parents like Pico are below the federal poverty line but don’t qualify for Medicaid, a decades-old state-federal insurance program. That’s especially true in states where conservative governors say they’ll reject the Medicaid expansion under Obama’s health law.

In South Carolina, a yearly income of $16,900 is too much for Medicaid for a family of three. In Florida, $11,000 a year is too much. In Mississippi, $8,200 a year is too much. In Louisiana and Texas, earning more than just $5,000 a year makes you ineligible for Medicaid.

via Anti-Medicaid states: Earning $11,000 is too much – Yahoo! News.


16
Aug 12

Gallup Poll: Obama gets Low Marks on Economy

President Obama continues to get low marks for his handling of the economy, says a new Gallup Poll.

Only 37% of those surveyed approve of Obama’s performance on “creating jobs,” the poll said. His marks are lower on “the economy” in general (36%) and “the federal budget deficit” (30%).

Obama gets higher marks on battling terrorism (58%), education (49%), and foreign affairs (48%).

via Gallup: Obama gets low marks on economy.


11
Jul 12

Federal Spending Expands the Economy

Source:

Prof. Robert Barro of Harvard has worked years on this topic, with his most recent estimates prepared with Charles Redlick in 2009. They find that military purchases reduce the size of the civilian economy, but the civilian reduction is less than the military expansion, so the net result is a larger economy.

Another way to look at it: some additional military resources come from the civilian business sector, but the rest comes from people and materials that would be not be engaged in the economy at all.

By the same logic, government spending on road building, scientific research and other projects could expand the economy, although in the process they might reduce the size of the private sector. Perhaps road building and scientific research would even expand the economy in the long term as they made labor and capital more productive.

However, government purchases are a minority of federal government spending. The rest consists largely of transfer payments and interest payments on the federal debt. For example, the federal government spent $3.9 trillion in calendar year 2011, of which $2.3 trillion was on transfer payments such as Social Security benefits, unemployment insurance and food stamps.

[...]The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included purchases and transfers (as well as so-called tax credits, which are another story, discussed in a previous post). The transfers served to shrink the economy, while the purchases may have pushed to expand it.

On balance, that is why many Americans had trouble seeing much net economic expansion produced by the act.


08
Jul 12

California Legislature Approves Resolution Opposing Citizens United Ruling

California today became the largest state in the nation urging Congress to draft a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. AJR 22 by Wieckowski and Allen seeks to restore balance to campaign finance spending.

The state Senate voted 24 to 11 to approve Assembly Joint Resolution 22, authored by Assemblymembers Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and Michael Allen (D-Sonoma). The 2010 court ruling ignored long-standing precedent and allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates. The state Assembly passed the resolution in March.

via California Legislature Approves Resolution Opposing Citizens United Ruling : California Newswire.


30
Jun 12

A Far Greater Crime than “Fast and Furious”

Republicans in Congress are talking about arresting the Attorney General over events surrounding the so-called cover-up of the “Fast and Furious scandal.” If there is a wrong doing here it is dwarfed by a government that is beholden to a truly criminal organization–the NRA.

The National Rifle Association is directly responsible for the thousands of lives lost in Mexico. They are responsible because narco-terrorists are easily able to obtain guns in the U.S. thanks to the NRA. It is that lobby that prevents any effort to stop the flow of legal or illegal weapons into Mexico.


19
Jun 12

Howard Dean Hopes Supreme Court Throws Out Individual Mandate

Source:

Howard Dean shares something with conservative politicians: He, too, is hoping that the Supreme Court throws out the individual mandate. “I don’t give a damn about the individual mandate,” the former Vermont governor told progressive activists during a panel discussion at the Take Back the American Dream conference on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. “It was a foolish thing to do anyway, and I hope it does get thrown out.” Dean’s remarks followed an audience member’s criticism of the Affordable Care Act for not being a single-payer system.


07
Jun 12

Video: “Money for Nothing”: Billions of Tax Dollars in Limbo

Billions of federal tax dollars are sitting in bank accounts, doing absolutely nothing. CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson has an exclusive look at an eye-opening new Congressional report.


11
Apr 12

Video: “Predictive Policing” making LA safer


27
Mar 12

Video: Justices skeptical of health care law

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


25
Mar 12

Senator Gillibrand calls for quick drawdown in Afghanistan

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is appearing with veterans in Manhattan to renew her call for a quick troop drawdown in Afghanistan.

Gillibrand says the United States needs to focus its fight against al Qaeda’s multi-national terror networks and that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is an unreliable partner. The U.S. presence in Afghanistan has become notably more tense since the recent shooting rampage blamed on an Army sergeant.

Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is expected to make the push for the drawdown Sunday afternoon in her New York City office.

via Gillibrand calls for quick drawdown in Afghanistan – WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-.


16
Mar 12

NYC’s Anti-Profiling Law: ‘Not Worth Paper It’s Written On’

ProPublica: NYC’s Anti-Profiling Law: ‘Not Worth Paper It’s Written On’ https://www.google.com/producer/editions/CAowsbIB/propublica/CAIiEBMKSV6xbMLHTQ8WWQFmPSkqFQgEKg0IACoGCAowsbIBMMBGMLGrAg/nyc%25E2%2580%2599s_anti-profiling_law%253A_%25E2%2580%2598not_w