Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Romney wins Florida; Newt implodes?

Romney, official portrait.

Steve Holland  reports for Reuters:

Mitt Romney cruised to a blowout victory in Florida's Republican U.S. presidential primary on Tuesday that put him back in front in the fight for his party's nomination to face President Barack Obama and left chief rival Newt Gingrich reeling but vowing to fight on.

With 70 percent of the vote counted, Romney had 47 percent of the vote to Gingrich's 32 percent in the largest of the four Republican presidential nominating contests so far this year.

Newt Gingrich’s role in Congress’s all-time low approval rating

December 22, 1995, House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton meet at the White House to reach a compromise that will reopen the U.S. Government. Photo courtesy of CNN.        

Down in Florida today, the latest poll by Real Clear Politics shows Mitt Romney leading Newt Gingrich by 13 percentage points. If the story in the Nation today, “How Newt Gingrich crippled Congress,” is accurate, we should all be relieved if Romney soundly defeats Gingrich.

The Nation’s Alex Seitz-Wald tells us:

How much Americans hate Congress has become cliché. Congress’s approval rating is at an all-time low, and it’s not hard to see why: the institution is broken. Plenty of structural forces have contributed to Congress’s dysfunction: the increasing flow of money in politics, the emergence of the 24/7 cable news cycle, the increasing polarization of the electorate. But perhaps no single person bears as much responsibility as Newt Gingrich.

“I spent 16 years building a majority in the House for the first time since 1954,” Gingrich said during NBC’s Florida GOP debate Monday night, referring to the Republican takeover of the House in 1994. Over those sixteen years of personal and partisan striving, Gingrich invented or perfected many of the things that Americans dislike most about Congress. “I think I am a transformational figure,” Gingrich said before the 1994 election. “I am trying to effect a change so large that the people who would be hurt by the change, the liberal Democratic machine” will fight it, Gingrich explained.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

2 million Wisconsin citizens demand Walker’s removal

Image courtesy of WKOW.com, Madison, WI.
John Nichols at the Nation tells the story of democracy at work in Wisconsin:

What does democracy look like? How about this: a governor, swept into office on the GOP wave of 2010 with a financial assist from the billionaire Koch brothers, pivots immediately from moderate talk about job creation to radical austerity that divides his state more than any in the Union. He attacks the collective bargaining rights of public workers and teachers. When hundreds of thousands of citizens rally to oppose his agenda, the governor and his allies respond by attempting to bar protests in the Capitol. They reject their state’s tradition of open and transparent government, dismiss criticisms from the opposition—even from moderates in their own party—and begin gerrymandering districts and changing election rules, actions Common Cause and the League of Women Voters recognize as assaults on voting rights. Faced with a serious threat to basic rights and democracy, citizens organize a grassroots campaign to recall and remove the governor, the lieutenant governor, the State Senate majority leader and key legislators.

The task is daunting: it requires collecting more than a million signatures in the dead of winter, and it must overcome a multimillion-dollar attack campaign, along with daily condemnations from local, state and national talk-radio and the Fox News echo chamber. Yet in villages and inner-city neighborhoods, grandmothers with clipboards and high school seniors engaging for the first time in politics brave the snow and cold. They put up with catcalls from Rush Limbaugh listeners who have been instructed that they are nothing but “union stooges.” On the day the documents are due, the people march to the state elections office with brass bands, banners and petitions bearing almost
2 million names—the largest portion of a state’s population ever to demand the removal of a governor and his lieutenants.

What’s the difference between normal grief and depression?

Photo credits: Public domain.

About 20 years ago, I was pastor of two small United Church of Christ congregations in northwestern Pennsylvania. 

Shortly after one of my parishioners, a retiree, died of cancer, his wife came to visit me. She told me that her doctor had offered to prescribe an antidepressant for her. 

She said, “It made me angry. I told him my grief was normal, and I didn’t want any drugs.”

I applauded her decision.

The headline for Allen Frances’s post, Don’t Confuse Grief with Depression, caught my eye this morning. Frances, Professor Emeritus of Duke University, supports the attitude demonstrated by my grieving parishioner with his strong opposition to a proposal that would transform grief into a depressive disorder.

Frances writes:

A front page story by Ben Carey in January 24th's New York Times carries the poetic title: 'When does a broken heart become a diagnosis?' It describes a puzzling proposal by D.S.M. 5 to transform what is now considered normal grief into Major Depressive Disorder. 

D.S.M. IV already recognizes that some people respond to loss with severe problems that warrant immediate attention. It therefore encourages the diagnosis of major depression whenever bereavement is persistent or is associated with severe, impairing, delusional, or suicidal symptoms. D.S.M. IV thus makes a crucial distinction between the transient pain of expectable grief and the severe and/or persistent symptoms of major depression. D.S.M. 5 proposes to eliminate this distinction. It would allow the diagnosis of major depressive disorder after only two weeks of fairly mild symptoms.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Protect our endangered wolves from aerial killing

Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife, has some breaking news for all of us:

Yesterday, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game confirmed the state is moving forward as soon as weather permits with plans to have the federal Wildlife Services agency kill as many as two thirds of the wolves in the Lolo District of Clearwater National Forest – possibly leaving only 25 or 30 wolves in the district in a misguided attempt to increase elk numbers for hunter harvest.

Help us stop the killing. Please donate now to support our all-out campaign to stop this ill-conceived and unscientific wolf cull.

The killing could begin within days, when snowfall and a break in the storm in the area will make it easier for federal agents in helicopters to find, target and kill wolves in this wild area of Northeastern Idaho.

According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game director, if Wildlife Services -- the federal agency charged with the killing -- is allowed to move forward with this plan, the state hopes to expand the use of federal dollars and aerial culling to other national forests in Idaho. 

The Obama Administration has not yet indicated how it will respond to Idaho’s request to use federal money and staff to kill these wolves on federal lands, or why it would be justified in doing so since these wolves are on federal lands and not in major conflict with livestock.

That’s why today Defenders is launching a new comprehensive campaign to stop aerial wolf killing in the Lolo District and help ensure an interconnected, sustainable population of these ecologically important animals remain in the region.

Donate now to help stop the killing and save the lives of wolves.

In the next week – with your help –we will launch an outreach plan to make more people aware of this plan, including in media outlets locally and across the country.

We’ll put pressure on federal officials to not participate in Idaho’s unjustified wolf killing plan, including Secretary Tom Vilsack (who oversees the agency that would execute the wolf killing plan in the Lolo District) and President Obama. And we’ll continue to work with ranchers to reduce conflicts with wolves, saving the lives of these amazing and important animals.

This will be a difficult fight, but I believe that our efforts can prevail – with your help. Please donate now to support efforts to save Idaho wolves and other imperiled wildlife.

To support our vital advocacy efforts in the coming days we need to raise at least $50,000 by Monday. Will you help?

The aerial wolf killing plan is not the only new threat to wolves in Idaho.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is reportedly investigating the possibility of no limits on people killing wolves on private land, similar to practices in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, where wolves are far more numerous.

And the chairman of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission even indicated that the state may reclassify wolves as predators under state law – effectively engaging a shoot-on-sight plan similar to Wyoming’s awful plan.

The state reports that pack sizes are down. It also appears that young, less experienced wolves have been the most likely to be killed under Idaho’s wolf plan.

We need to restore science to wolf management in Idaho, and Defenders needs your help to do it. Please donate whatever you can to support our work now.  

With Gratitude,

Jamie Rappaport Clark
Defenders of Wildlife

P.S. Please make a secure donation online now, so we can put your contribution to immediate use saving wolves and other wildlife. Or, you can donate by phone by calling 1-800-385-9712.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rocky Anderson Third Party Candidate (video)

Rocky Anderson

Cross posted from LadyBoomerNYC.wordpress.com

by LadyBoomerNYC

Rocky Anderson appeared on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show on January 17, 2012 and gave a great interview and raison d’etre for his candidacy and The Justice Party. This former two-time mayor of Salt Lake City tells it like it is “about the corrupting influence of money in our government” and his ideas about how to change the system. He makes the point for a spoiler candidate–why just move the players around on the chessboard? This guy makes sense!

Go to www.voterocky.org and show them some love. Do what you can to get the word out, donate, and get this third party going.

“In this day and age, where the Democrat and Republican parties are no longer the voice of Main Street, but the puppets of Wall Street, it is natural that a Third Party should appear to champion the traditionally conservative proposition that the Constitution is the blueprint for the operation of the government of the United States.” —Gatewood Galbraith (1947-January 18, 2012) in a stump speech during his 2000 congressional race

The behind the scenes ruthlessness of the “hope and change” candidate in 08

Obama and Clinton. (photo credit: public domain.)

In his piece in the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza clearly is not out to get Barack Obama. For the most part, Lizza offers balanced coverage of the soon to be president and his first term in office. Occasionally, the savvy reporter bends over backwards to praise Obama in his continued efforts to grasp the difference between campaigning and governing.

It’s a long article that gets tedious at times, but when Lizza exposes the Obama campaign’s deliberate strategy to attack Hillary Clinton by smearing her character rather than debating her policy positions, any civilized person has to recoil in shock.  Recall as you read the paragraphs below that Obama presented himself as the one who would rise above politics and unite the country; whereas, Hillary Clinton would be too polarizing:

(We’re still waiting for that united country, Mr. President.)

Another hard-edged decision helped make him {Obama} the Democratic Presidential nominee. In early October, 2007, David Axelrod and Obama’s other political consultants wrote the candidate a memo explaining how he could repair his floundering campaign against Hillary Clinton. They advised him to attack her personally, presenting a difficult choice for Obama. He had spent years building a reputation as a reformer who deplored the nasty side of politics, and now, he was told, he had to put that aside. Obama’s strategists wrote that all campaign communications, even the slogan—“Change We Can Believe In”—had to emphasize distinctions with Clinton on character rather than on policy. The slogan “was intended to frame the argument along the character fault line, and this is where we can and must win this fight,” the memo said. “Clinton can’t be trusted or believed when it comes to change,” because “she’s driven by political calculation not conviction, regularly backing away and shifting positions. . . . She embodies trench warfare vs. Republicans, and is consumed with beating them rather than unifying the country and building consensus to get things done. She prides herself on working the system, not changing it.” The “current goal,” the memo continued, was to define Obama as “the only authentic ‘remedy’ to what ails Washington and stands in the way of progress.”

Obama’s message promised voters, in what his aides called “the inspiration,” that “Barack Obama will end the divisive trench warfare that treats politics as a game and will lead Americans to come together to restore our common purpose.” Clinton was too polarizing to get anything done: “It may not be her fault, but Americans have deeply divided feelings about Hillary Clinton, threatening a Democratic victory in 2008 and insuring another four years of the bitter political battles that have plagued Washington for the last two decades and stymied progress.”

Neera Tanden was the policy director for Clinton’s campaign. When Clinton lost the Democratic race, Tanden became the director of domestic policy for Obama’s general-election campaign, and then a senior official working on health care in his Administration. She is now the president of the liberal Center for American Progress, perhaps the most important institution in Democratic politics. “It was a character attack,” Tanden said recently, speaking about the Obama campaign against Clinton. “I went over to Obama, I’m a big supporter of the President, but their campaign was entirely a character attack on Hillary as a liar and untrustworthy. It wasn’t an ‘issue contrast,’ it was entirely personal.” And, of course, it worked.

And it’s still working, Neera. Any mention in the blogosphere of Hillary’s current popularity compared to Obama’s humiliating poll numbers, brings out Obamaphiles regurgitating the same character attacks against her.

Read more

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gingrich takes South Carolina

Photo courtesy of newtgingrich360.com

Here’s the tally with 26 percent reporting (NY Times):

Gingrich    60,572      40.7%

Romney    39,261      26.4   

Santorum  26,672      17.9   

Paul           19,590     13.2   

Jim Rutenberg at the NY Times has the story:

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Surprising his rivals and upending the highly unpredictable Republican race for the presidency, Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary on Saturday, just 10 days after a fifth-place finish in New Hampshire left the impression his candidacy was all but dead.  

Mr. Gingrich rode to victory by winning a plurality of voters among a wide swath of important Republican voting blocs, outperforming the rest of the four-person field among evangelical Christians and Tea Party supporters, men and even women, who had been expected to vote by comfortable margins in favor of Mitt Romney, the man who was presumed to be the front-runner as of just a few days ago. 

Mr. Romney’s defeat is sure to raise new questions that have dogged him from the start of his campaign over whether he could win over the many conservatives, Tea Party adherents and religious voters who have viewed him with suspicion over his Massachusetts health care initiative and past support for abortion rights. 

Tell Congress: Overturn Citizens United and end corporate personhood.

Karl Rove. Photo courtesy of Dailykos.com.

If you’ve paid any attention to the 2012 campaign, you’re aware the recent Supreme Court Citizens United ruling makes a mockery of our democracy. 

In just one consequence, Elizabeth Warren is not only battling Scott Brown in the Mass. Senate race, she’s up against Karl Rove’s super PAC.

Dear Virginia,

We deserve a country where our elected officials are not bought and paid for by big corporations.

But the Citizens United vs. FEC Supreme Court decision, issued two years ago this week, overturned over a century of precedent and opened the floodgates for unlimited amounts of corporate money to flow into our political system.

Shockingly, the court came to this decision based on the notion that a corporation is legally a "person" entitled to First Amendment rights, and by equating a corporation's right to spend unlimited amounts of money influencing an election with our right to free speech.

Tell your senators and member of Congress to support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and end corporate personhood. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Even before the Citizens United decision, we too often saw the interests of Main Street subverted in favor of the interests of Wall Street.

But with the Citizens United decision now the law of the land, large corporations have the power to spend unlimited amounts of money from their general treasuries to buy elections.

To put things in perspective, the roughly $745 million Barack Obama raised to run for President in the 2008 election cycle (which was the most money raised by any candidate ever to run for office in the U.S.) is dwarfed by the $45 billion in profits a single company (ExxonMobil) made in 2008.

What's more, Citizen United opened loopholes that allow corporations to hide their campaign expenditures by laundering the money through non-profit advocacy organizations.

Tell your senators and member of Congress to support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and end corporate personhood. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Unfortunately, because Congress cannot pass a law that supersedes a Supreme Court ruling, it may take a constitutional amendment to undo the worst aspects of the Citizens United decision and end corporate personhood.

Clearly, the bar to successfully amending the Constitution is very high. But with 85% of the public opposed to the Citizens United decision, there is a potential for a broad coalition of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who all want to restore our democracy.

And let's remember, the stakes are too high to allow inaction on this issue. It's no exaggeration to say that the Citizens United decision fundamentally threatens the integrity of our democracy.

We need a government of, for and by the people. And sadly, we might need to work really hard to re-establish the common sense and democratic view that only people are people, not corporations.

Your senators and member of Congress need to hear from you, regardless of where they stand on this issue. We need to show them that their constituents are part of a broad movement demanding action — not only to convince them that overturning Citizens United is the right thing to do, but also that it's possible.

Today, take a step to be part of that movement.

Click the link below to automatically sign our petition telling your senators and member of Congress to support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and end corporate personhood:

Thank you for standing up for democracy.

Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Friday, January 20, 2012

Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson enters presidential race

Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson in 2009. Photo courtesy of wikipedia.com.

A couple of days ago, LadyBoomerNYC posted her support of the recently formed Justice Party’s candidate for president, Rocky Anderson. 

According to his wiki page, Anderson is a well-qualified challenger in opposition to Obama and whoever emerges as the nominee from the messy GOP primary.

Coincidentally, a Washington Post-ABC poll reported today (Friday) that more than two-thirds of Americans would consider voting for a third-party candidate.

LBNYC said:

Perhaps there is a choice. Say what? …and we don’t have to vote for the worst of two evils. (Sorry Obama fans, if there are any of you left.)

Rocky Anderson for President! He’s running on the newly formed Justice Party ticket and telling it like it is: “I consider this a second party.” “We need a new paradigm where people are committed to representing the public interest.”

The Boomer’s post includes this video of Anderson’s appearance on Democracy Now:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Elizabeth Warren’s money bomb

Very cool – just got this email from the Elizabeth Warren for Massachusetts campaign.


We are gaining strength every day, and Elizabeth's grassroots supporters are making it happen. But over these next 36 hours, it's more important than ever for you to join us and help make it happen too!

Tomorrow, on the same day Scott Brown officially kicks off his re-election campaign, we're launching our first ever Elizabeth Warren "money bomb." Already, thousands of supporters have pledged more than $300,000 -- pledges that become real contributions when that money bomb launches.

Will we raise $500,000 tomorrow? $1 million? Who knows.

All I know is that the ultimate success of tomorrow's money bomb, how much we end up raising, and the strength of our message is entirely in your hands.

Only you can help us demonstrate that the momentum we have in this race is real, that we have the strength and resources to beat Wall Street and the big banks financing Brown's campaign. They've already helped him build a massive campaign war chest of more than $12 million -- twice what we have in the bank.

But tomorrow, if we can produce a big number on Scott Brown's big day, our money bomb will send a strong message that Elizabeth's supporters across Massachusetts and across the country are coming together to do something big.

That sense of togetherness is really important to Elizabeth, because she knows, that if we work together, we can win.

We all remember the day Scott Brown was elected one year and 364 days ago. We all know why he's trying to turn tomorrow's anniversary of his election into a powerful, symbolic day for himself and his campaign.

We need to show that on his big day, we're going to be the ones who step up with the huge grassroots support it's going to take to win this race.

Thanks for your support,

Mindy Myers
Campaign Manager
Elizabeth for MA

Pledge Today


All content © 2012 Elizabeth for MA, All Rights Reserved
PO Box 290568
Boston, MA 02129
Paid for by Elizabeth for MA

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

America’s enemies: “Just give them death”

Romney: "Bin Laden got what he deserved, a bullet in the head.
Roger Simon at Politico has tapped into America’s bloodlust and thirst for revenge that’s still going strong more than ten years after 9/11. 

Simon highlights the fact that Republicans and Democrats are bipartisan on the issue, although he needn’t have brought religion into it. 

We all know the Quakers, the Religious Society of Friends, represent the sane folks within the Christian tradition. 

Simon said:

Just in case you sometimes get Mormons and Quakers confused, Mitt Romney cleared things up Monday night.

Bin Laden got what he deserved,” Romney, a Mormon, said at a Republican debate in South Carolina. “A bullet in the head.”

The crowd, as debate crowds sometimes do, went wild.

The audience assembled in Myrtle Beach at a Fox News/Wall Street Journal debate seemed so amped up even before the debate began, in fact, that I thought they were going to have to string up chicken wire to protect the candidates.

The primary is Saturday, and it is generally agreed that if Romney wins — it would be his third victory in a row — the Republican nominating race effectively will be over, just 18 days after it began.

So spirits are running high, and all the other Republicans are running hard at Romney.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Huntsman issues statement (video)

Jon Huntsman ended his race for the Republican nomination with this statement today:

Huntsman quits the race

Jon Huntsman in 2010. Photo credits: wikimedia

Bilingual Jon Huntsman – despite our ignorant media’s scorn of his mastery of mandarin – stood head and shoulders above the other candidates in the Republican primary.

With his global vision, Huntsman was the GOP’s best choice to run against Obama in the general election. But word has it this morning that the civil, “country first” Huntsman is quitting the race and endorsing Romney.

From Zeleny and Rutenberg at the Caucus (NY Times):

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Jon M. Huntsman Jr. will announce Monday that he is ending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and endorsing Mitt Romney, narrowing the field and erasing a challenge to Mr. Romney from the moderate wing of his party.

Mr. Huntsman, who had hoped to use the South Carolina primary this week to revive his flagging candidacy, informed his advisers on Sunday that he was bowing to political reality and would back Mr. Romney, whom he accused a week ago of putting party ahead of country.

Mr. Huntsman, who had struggled to live up to the early expectations of his candidacy, was to deliver a speech Monday morning in Myrtle Beach, where the five remaining major Republican candidates will gather hours later for a debate. His endorsement of Mr. Romney is indication of the party establishment getting behind Mr. Romney and trying to focus the party on defeating President Obama.

Interestingly, Zeleny and Rutenberg conclude their post:

But Mr. Obama’s top advisers seemed to see the danger in Mr. Huntsman’s candidacy, signaling in 2009 that they thought he might be a strong contender.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

America’s social welfare state: relief for the rich!

In her campaign for the senate in Mass., Elizabeth Warren continues to take on the big banks. Photo courtesy of 1000awesomewomen.tumblr.com.

Dan Froomkin’s recent post, “Social Welfare State, American-Style, Means Relief For The Rich,” has attracted more than 8,000 comments from its readers. A quick scan indicates that hundreds of those comments support Froomkin’s thesis.

Anyone who followed the budget debates in 2011 is already aware that both Democratic and Republican leaders, supported by our corporate-owned media, favored cuts in Social Security and Medicare to reduce the deficit.

But keep in mind that those going after the safety net for the poor and the elderly repeatedly used the euphemism “entitlement programs” to equate even self-funded Social Security with welfare.

It’s good news that Froomkin’s post is drawing multitudes of readers as he emphatically points out that the real entitlements in our country benefit primarily the wealthy. Hopefully, members of both parties will reflect on that fact:

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney has taken to accusing President Barack Obama of trying to turn the United States into a European-style social welfare state.

The hyperbole about Obama's actions aside, the United States already is a social welfare state -- almost right up there with the Europeans -- if you measure the total amount of drain on the Treasury caused by spending and subsidies on such things as health care and retirement. 

The one big difference is that in the American social welfare state, a lot of the benefits go to the rich. 

"We spend a tremendous amount on private social welfare through tax subsidies," said Christopher Faricy, a political science professor at Washington State University whose forthcoming book is about our divided welfare state.

"It just goes to a drastically different population than what we usually associate with welfare programs," Faricy said.

Friday, January 13, 2012

“Urinating on dead bodies represents ‘us’ today”

Marines in Afghanistan reportedly urinating on dead bodies.

I’ve written several times previously on the desensitization of American culture since 9/11 when we blindly set out on a path toward revenge rather than justice. In a recent post, Steve Clemons addresses the same topic in his response to the video of the five Marines who appear to be urinating on Taliban corpses in Afghanistan.

Clemons begins:

As Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, US military officers -- incumbents and retired -- and others in DC's firmament condemn the US soldiers that apparently urinated on dead Taliban militants, I'm wondering how long it will take for a movement to grow inside the United States that embraces the soldiers and the "pissing act" that Panetta has called "deplorable."

And Clemons concludes:

So, while many in the national media and in polite circles promise to investigate this act, to punish those involved as Panetta said "to the fullest extent", the truth is that the Iraq War and Afghanistan War and the building up of national security commitments that rest on the backs of a new generation of soldiers -- many of whom don't understand and operate with nuance -- has empowered those who think pissing on the enemy is the thing to do.

Whether many want to admit it or not, what those soldiers allegedly did represents "us" today -- and that's yet another part of the malignant manifestation of these current conflicts.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

When will the Obama Administration investigate the perpetrators of the economic crisis?

Obama and bank officials. Photo credits: public domain.

Credo, Moveon.org, and other progressive organizations are joining forces to pressure the Obama Administration during this election year to investigate the big banks that caused the housing crisis and resulting recession.

Check out this message from Credo and sign the petition to get Obama to act:

Wall Street greed fueled the housing bubble, and it's not hard to find evidence of what appears to be widespread and pervasive fraud by the biggest players in the mortgage industry.
Yet, despite the work of a handful of brave state attorneys general, there has been an astonishing lack of investigation into the misdeeds and outright crimes that caused the financial crisis.
The investigations that do exist have barely begun to scratch the surface.
And without meaningful investigations, there won't be any accountability for the Wall Street crooks who drove our economy off a cliff.
The collapse of the housing bubble caused trillions of dollars in homeowner equity to evaporate, which directly led to our economy grinding to a halt.
And the ensuing wave of foreclosures — caused in no small part both by predatory loans designed to fail and out-and-out foreclosure fraud — has destroyed communities across the country and shrank the tax base of local governments right when there was the most need for the services they provide.
Yet with all the resources at its disposal, the Department of Justice and other federal entities have yet to announce a full investigation of the cause of this man-made economic catastrophe.
Quite the opposite. Thus far the president's advisors have been pushing for a bad settlement with the banks that lets them off the hook . But a bad settlement has been stopped so far by courageous progressive attorneys general supported by an army of grassroots activists like you.
We now have an opportunity to change the White House's strategy as the reelection campaign heats up, and get the president to come out on the right side of this issue.
The timing of this fight is critical.
The election calendar is working with us by pushing President Obama to be more aggressive than he's been. We saw this, for example, with his recent recess appointment of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
And we know that President Obama's political team wants him to run against Wall Street.
CREDO is not alone in asking the Obama administration to launch a full investigation. We're joining with MoveOn and other progressive groups in this campaign.
If we make enough noise, it will be hard for the Obama administration to avoid calling for full investigations into the fraud that led to the housing crisis.
It's a completely reasonable ask, it's within his powers to call for a full investigation, and it's the right thing to do.
Thank you for speaking out. Your activism matters.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Protecting consumers: Cordray hits the ground running

Richard Cordray. Photo courtesy of wikipedia.com.

In the interval between the NH and SC primaries, the GOP is likely to turn its attention back to its efforts to undermine Obama’s recess appointment of Richard Cordray to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s why Elizabeth Warren is rallying the troops to defend Cordray and the agency she founded.

I just got this email from the Warren campaign:


On the second day of a new job, most people are still filling out paperwork and finding the cafeteria.
But not Richard Cordray.

Just one day after President Obama appointed Richard to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- bypassing the Senate Republicans -- he got to work.

He made clear his intent to use his authority as Director to level the playing field for middle class families and to rein in the sorts of abusive lending practices that nearly brought down the economy.

With Richard Cordray on the job, consumers already are seeing a big difference. We want to show Rich we're with him, and Elizabeth is going to personally deliver our online card to him when she next sees him. If you haven't signed it yet, there's still time.

Many outside analysts and observers expect there will be fierce legal challenges to Cordray's appointment from those who want him out.

Republicans are still reeling over their inability to block his nomination, and the big banks have a lot on the line with the new agency's success. We've also seen Wall Street continue to set new spending records hiring lawyers and lobbyists to shift attention away from their wrongdoing.

We've worked hard together to get this far. With Richard Cordray in place at the new consumer agency, we can start moving toward real accountability over the big banks and better protections for consumers.

The public is paying attention to this fight -- including thousands who signed our petition urging that Rich get this important job. Middle class people in Massachusetts and around this country are tired of getting hammered by the same characters time after time.

This is a big deal for everyone who thinks it's time for a level playing field that gives middle class families a fair chance to get ahead.

Thanks for your support,
Mindy Myers
Campaign Manager
Elizabeth for MA

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's Romney 1st in NH; Paul 2nd, and Huntsman 3rd

From CNN:
Photo courtesy of salon.com

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary, according to CNN projections after voters turned out in expected record numbers Tuesday in the second contest of the Republican presidential race.

The CNN projection, based on early results and exit poll data, came after final polls closed in the state at 8 p.m. ET.

The battle for second place loomed as the most hotly contested result, with implications for the next primary in South Carolina on January 21.

According to CNN's information, Texas Rep. Ron Paul trailed Romney, with former Utah Jon Huntsman, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum behind Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry well behind them.

Huntsman hits his stride in NH

Photo courtesy of Real Clear Politics.

Just hours ago, in my two previous posts, I was lamenting our media’s ignorance in essentially excluding Jon Huntsman in its coverage of the Republican primary. I found it necessary to point out that Huntsman was obviously the best qualified of the Republican candidates to assume the presidency.

As the polls opened in NH this morning, however, the media’s tune had changed, and a potential Huntsman surge is adding excitement in a race hitherto assumed to be all Romney, all the way.

Richard Benedetto at Real Clear Politics is measured in his expectations of where Huntsman will finish in NH, but he summarizes well Huntsman’s newly energized campaign:

KEENE, N.H. -- If today's New Hampshire Republican presidential primary produces a surprise, it could be Jon Huntsman.

The photogenic former two-term governor of Utah and ambassador to China in the Obama administration has a long-shot chance at finishing third behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

That would be a shock. Huntsman has been campaigning in obscurity for the past six months, choosing to make a do-or-die stand in New Hampshire, but gaining little steam.
However, as the pre-voting days in this no-snow winter capital dwindle to the end, the low-key Huntsman seems to be hitting his stride. Although he continues to bill himself as an “underdog,” his crowds are bigger, his smile is wider, his voice is stronger and his step has an extra spring.

“New Hampshire loves an underdog!” he shouted to a cheering crowd of about 500 Sunday night at Keene State College.

Buoyed by the cheers, he still resisted the siren song of the grandiose prediction. That would be uncharacteristic of a man who has built his reputation on modesty. “We’re going to do well here” was as far as he would go.

His wife, Mary Kaye, who has been campaigning at her husband’s side and making speeches for him for months, was a little more optimistic, though not too much. “Every day the energy gets stronger and stronger. We’re going up, not down,” she declared in the tradition of Huntsman restraint.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our ignorant media disses Jon Huntsman for his ability to speak Mandarin

Jon Huntsman in 2010. Photo courtesy of wikipedia.

It was to be expected that media coverage of last night’s Republican debate would include dissing Jon Huntsman for his ability to speak Mandarin. But it figures. Too often pundits and commentators in both the old and new media appear to have mastered the technical skills of journalism, but are so ignorant in other areas as to fail to grasp what an asset Huntsman’s language skills might be for a U.S. president in today’s climate in which China is emerging as a world superpower.

Incidentally, how often do we find a U.S. ambassador who has actually taken the trouble to learn the language of the country where he or she serves?

Up to now, the media has virtually ignored Huntsman who is obviously the best qualified Republican candidate to compete with Obama in the 2012 general election. With his extensive background and “my country first” attitude, Huntsman could serve our nation well as president.

The Atlantic at least gives Huntsman some credit for his performance in this morning’s debate:

2. Jon Huntsman's breakout. Huntsman picked up a thread from the night before to jab back at Romney, who had dinged him for serving in the Obama administration. "He criticized me while he was out raising money for serving my country in China. Yes, under a Democrat. Like my two sons are doing in the United States Navy. ... I will always put my country first." When Romney replied that conservatives ought to oppose Obama, not support him, Huntsman replied: "This nation is divided because of attitudes like that." It was the best job he's done at making his centrist vision accessible and relevant.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Could Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman defeat Obama?

Jon Huntsman. Photo courtesy of wikipedia.com.
It must be apparent by now to most sentient beings that the results of the Iowa caucuses offered nary a candidate capable of igniting even a modicum of enthusiasm in the 2012 presidential race. And as E. J. Dionne, a worshiper of Barack Obama in 2008, recently observed:

As the attention of the politically minded has focused on the rather more down-to-earth contests in Iowa and New Hampshire that will help determine which Republican will face Mr. Obama in November, let us ponder what the coming year will bring for someone who must now seek re-election as a mere mortal.

Oh, but E. J., out there on the horizon in the New Hampshire Republican primary, Jon Huntsman could emerge as a candidate whose qualifications for the presidency just might excite currently lethargic Republicans, Democrats, and independents sufficiently to defeat incumbent Obama. It seems as if, Obama, like Icarus, flew too close to the sun and got his wings melted.

In today’s LA Times, Michael A. Memoli reports from N.H.:

In its endorsement of Jon Huntsman, the Boston Globe made largely the same case for the Utah governor’s candidacy that the candidate himself has to New Hampshire voters -- that he is the rare GOP candidate prioritizing the national interest over ideology.

The Globe, which has a reach into many southern New Hampshire homes, snubbed former home state Gov. Mitt Romney for the second time in its endorsement for the first-in-the-nation primary, after backing John McCain in the 2008 vote.

Both Huntsman and Romney, the paper’s editorial board writes, "have track records of success" and "have shown the breadth of spirit to lead the nation."

"But while Romney proceeds cautiously, strategically, trying to appease enough constituencies to get himself the nomination, Huntsman has been bold," the Globe said.