Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Last Call

I'm glad to see Eric Holder realizes exactly what's going on here as far as the GOP Fast and Furious witch hunt.

In his first interview since Thursday’s vote, Holder said lawmakers have used an investigation of a botched gun-tracking operation as a way to seek retribution against the Justice Department for its policies on a host of issues, including immigration, voting rights and gay marriage. He said the chairman of the committee leading the inquiry, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), is engaging in political theater as the Justice Department tries to focus on public safety.

“I’ve been doing all of these things all the time Darrell Issa and his band have been nipping at my heels,” a defiant Holder said. “They’ve been nipping, but I’ve been walking.”

The attorney general has long been a lightning rod for Republican lawmakers’ anger toward the Obama administration. But Holder said the debate over documents related to the gun operation, known as “Fast and Furious” — along with the National Rifle Association’s attempts to make it an electoral issue — have made matters worse.

I’ve become a symbol of what they don’t like about the positions this Justice Department has taken,” he said. “I am also a proxy for the president in an election year. You have to be exceedingly naive to think that vote was about . . . documents.”

Ding ding ding!  Holder understands all too well what's going on here:  impeachment by proxy.  It's also impeachment for interfering in the GOP plan to disenfranchise millions of Democratic voters.  Holder has to go, he knows exactly how the game works.  There's a reason why there's such a massive show of force on the program with the intent of forcing Holder out and paralyzing the Justice Department.

Stopping GOP voter fraud is the number one issue in 2012's election.  The GOP knows it, and so does Holder...oh, and the race thing?  There's that, too.

I'm glad he's aware of what's at stake here, not that I doubted him.

What The Frack, North Carolina?

North Carolina Dem Gov. Bev Perdue has vetoed a GOP bill that would have turned where I grew up in North Carolina into the fracking capital of the universe, but odds are really good all she's done is bought the state a few days before the Republicans override her veto, cement state control and reduce my home state to an environmental nightmare.

Gov. Bev Perdue announced Sunday that she has vetoed a controversial proposal to legalize fracking in North Carolina.

The bill, Senate Bill 820, was backed by Republican leaders in the House and Senate, who said it would give state regulators up to two years to implement rules. Lawmakers would have to approve those rules before any commercial wells could be drilled.

But environmental advocates pushed Perdue to veto the bill. They say safeguards should be put in place before fracking is legalized, not the other way around.

In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Perdue said that, although she supports fracking, the legislation moves too quickly.

"This bill does not do enough to ensure that adequate protections for our drinking water, landowners, county and municipal governments, and the health and safety of our families will be in place before fracking begins," Perdue said.

She says she tried to work with lawmakers, but they refused to negotiate.

"I urged the sponsors of the bill to adopt a few changes to ensure that strong protections would be in place before any fracking would occur," Perdue said. "The General Assembly was unwilling to adopt the changes I suggested. Therefore, I must veto the bill."

The fact of the matter is even Perdue sees dollar signs before her eyes when it comes to the mountains and foothills of NC.   Ohio's recent ugly experience with fracking may have allowed the state some clock, but the fact of the matter is there's just too much money at stake here to think that NC will pass up on fracking.

And of course, they won't.

It's the second time Perdue has stopped legislation that would move the state toward fracking. Last year, she vetoed a proposal with far fewer safeguards. Republican leaders have not yet been able to override that veto.

Perdue has vetoed two other major bills in recent days – the Racial Justice Act repeal, and the state budget. Lawmakers are expected to attempt to override all three vetoes Monday or Tuesday.

In fact, all that happened last night.  And so it goes.  By January, the GOP will have pretty much total control of my home state, and then the pain will absolutely begin as $190 million is cut from schools to give tens of millions in tax credits to the state's burgeoning film industry.  And fracking could begin in as early as 2014, or sooner if Republican fast track "regulations" for the practice.  You can bet that's coming.  By the way, the new fracking capital of the state?  Durham County.  Where I went to high school, one of the largest concentrations of less affluent urban minorities in the state, and home to a hell of a lot of liberals.  GOP can't wait to DRILL BABY DRILL there. 

Can't wait for the flammable tapwater.

Could The Bush Tax Cuts Really End?

It's hard to imagine, but that's what Reuters is reporting:  if Democrats hold their ground and Republicans make good on their efforts to pull the trigger, December 31 could pass without a deal on the Bush tax cuts, meaning they would expire across the board.

Members of Congress from both parties are increasingly mulling the unthinkable: going home in December without acting to avoid the $4 trillion in tax hikes and deep spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans claim this is their preferred option, as it could rattle global financial markets badly and anger their constituents.

But as they circle each other in an ever-more partisan atmosphere they see little prospect for a settlement acceptable to both parties in the lame duck session of Congress after the November 6 election.

That is when they confront the wave of fiscal cliff decisions including how to handle expiration of temporary tax cuts that originated during the presidency of George W. Bush, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts and the need to raise the debt ceiling again.

Some members and partisan strategists are concluding that they might be better off doing nothing.

They would come back in January with a new Congress relatively flush with cash - at least on paper - from the impact of the tax hikes; hit reset and start over to structure a new series of tax cuts. Call them the "Obama tax cuts" or "Romney tax cuts," depending on the victor in the November election.

In other words, Republicans are confident they will win in November and figure they'll have the White House and Congress, and they'll do what they need to do in order to come up with a new set of tax cuts.  That's a dangerous plan...because they fact of the matter is they can't do much of anything if the Democrats win.

On the other hand, they're betting they can block any Obama move to make middle class tax cuts without massive tax cuts for the rich.  That's worked well so far.  We'll see.  BooMan's take:

It will be far easier to let all the Bush tax cuts lapse. This can be done easily. All Obama has to do is refuse to sign any deal or any short-term extension during the lame-duck. On the first of January 2013, the government would instantly get a $3.7 trillion boost on their books. This would free Congress up to redo the tax code in an more equitable way. In the worst case scenario, Romney would be in charge of this and would enjoy majorities in both houses. He might be able to use the budget reconciliation process to enact another Bush-like temporary (decade-long) tax cut, but it's unlikely that that would would work with the budget deficits we're facing. Bush had surpluses and still needed Dick Cheney to break the tie in the Senate for both his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

However, if, as now seems likely, Obama wins reelection, he will be in a great position to influence the new tax code. If Congress does nothing, everyone who pays taxes will see their taxes go up. Having won a second term, the president will have at least some initial political clout. And we've seen recently that the GOP will fold when put in a bad position, like letting student loan rates double or letting the payroll tax holiday run out. 

Fair enough.

15-Year-Old To Answer For Shooting, Killing Baby

Donald Ray Dokins appeared in court Friday and a judge set his bail at $3 million, a day after he was charged with murder and attempted murder. He did not enter a plea and his arraignment was postponed until July 16.
Prosecutors contend Dokins rode up on a bicycle on June 4 and opened fire on a crowd standing outside a South Los Angeles home.
Angel Cortez Nava was fatally shot in the stomach as his father cradled him. The father, 24-year-old Mauro Cortez, was hit in the shoulder.

A teenager killed a baby, and it's just routine news.  Possible gang ties, nothing to see here, gee that's sad but True Blood is on tonight.

I feel saddened that I'm starting to lose my hope that young criminals are able to see mercy and justice, and an opportunity to change.  I'm starting to believe that there really is no hope for youth determined to live fast and die hard.

Angel was shot while in his father's arms.  I wouldn't think anything could make this worse, but somehow that does.

The Enema Enigma

JUNE 29--A Florida man is under investigation for repeatedly returning boxes of used enemas to a CVS pharmacy where workers re-shelved the items, cops report.
The unidentified suspect, who has not yet been charged in a product tampering probe being led by the federal Food and Drug Administration, was arrested earlier this month on an unrelated outstanding warrant. He is currently locked up.
The repulsive probe began earlier this month when a worker told Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office deputies that the suspect, on four occasions, had purchased ready-to-use saline enemas only to later return the items.
The only reason this was discovered is because a manager did his job right, and checked the returned items.  They could have been ignored, skipped and put back on the shelves for an unsuspecting consumer.

Yes, managers have a job to do, but don't let it replace your duty as a consumer to inspect packaging.  Maybe it's because I remember the great Tylenol scare of the 80s, but I have always checked my seals and tamper labels.  We should be able to expect stores to be responsible and thorough, like this manager was.  But we should never trust enough not to use our own eyes and common sense as a final barrier to the ickdom that awaits us out there.

You Know Who This Guy Is, You Mooks?

It’s Chris Bag O’ Donuts, that’s freakin’ who it is here.  Born under a bad sign with a blue moon in his eye.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, known for his candor, snapped at a reporter Saturday while taking issue with his question at a press conference. 
Reporters were told the governor would only answer questions about a major problem at a water treatment plant, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.
Yet one reporter proceeded to ask an unrelated question involving the state legislature, as seen in video of the press conference from Monmouth County.
Christie, cutting him off, said: “Did I say on topic? Are you stupid? On topic, on topic. Next question.”
As the reported tried to follow up, the Republican governor again interjected and ended the press conference.
Thank you all very much, and I’m sorry for the idiot over there. Take care,” he said before walking away.

Can you imagine if a Dem tried this, especially “arrogant, uppity Obama”?  Christie on the other hand, he’ll get away with it.  Hell, he’ll be a hero.  Republicans don’t have to answer your gorram questions, you know.  Open hostility to the press and the press takes it and we all have a good laugh, and then the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign guys announce that the press no longer matters because of Drudge and St. Andy Of The Pageview’s Ghost, so stay tuned while we make our own reality.  Fun for everyone.

Rest of you mooks, get outta here.

I'm LIBOR To Haul Off And Belt Somebody

Long-time readers will remember our old friend the LIBOR, the London Inter-Bank Overnight Rate, or in English, how much banks charge to lend to each other.  Turns out all this time the Libor's been played like a fiddle for the last five years, and the first bankster casualty in manipulation of the rate is the Chairman of Britain's Barclays Bank.

Barclays Plc chairman Marcus Agius quit on Monday, saying "the buck stops with me" after an interest rate rigging scandal that has dealt "a devastating blow" to the bank's reputation.

Agius, chairman of Britain's third biggest bank for 5-1/2 years, is the first major scalp from the scandal, which is likely to draw in more banks and could equally embarrass regulatory authorities.

But his resignation did not take the heat off chief executive Bob Diamond, who is also under pressure to go.

This is a big one, folks.  Just how big we're only beginning to find out.

Lawmakers are likely to quiz Agius and Diamond on what the Bank of England (BoE) and other regulators knew about the rate-rigging.

Details in documents released by U.S. authorities last week could prove embarrassing to the BoE, after sources said a key conversation held in October 2008 cited in the documents was between Diamond and BoE Deputy Governor Paul Tucker.

Some people at Barclays mistakenly believed the bank had been granted permission to submit artificially low Libor estimates after that conversation, the documents released last week showed.

More than a dozen other banks are being investigated in the long-running global probe by authorities in North America, Europe and Japan, including Citigroup, HSBC, UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland. Analysts and bankers expect more big fines.

So yes, everybody played the Libor table at Big Casino.  Only now, five years after the fact, is anybody noticing.  Awesome.  Customers paid billions more than they should have to borrow money and have been since 2005.  This scandal is pretty massive, considering trillions in derivatives depend on the Libor rate as well as -- you guessed it -- mortgage rates!

The British and US authorities said they had found evidence Barclays had attempted to manipulate a key borrowing rate for years, meaning that home owners could have paid millions more in mortgage payments than they might otherwise have had to.

And boom went the housing market and our economy.  Just another fraud scam perpetrated by the banks, and the banks are most likely going to walk.  Certainly nobody in the US is going to do anything with an election contest brewing and the EU is in financial chaos.

This one is going to get a lot, lot worse before it gets better.  And as I mentioned earlier this morning, the scandal has now claimed CEO Bob Diamond too.  In addition, COO Jerry del Missier is also out.  Something of a triple play here, and more banks are going to have issues with this.  Look for more resignations, and soon.


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