Tag Archives: Congress

Newsbyte: Syria Sliding To Civil War, Knives Out For Google, Fishing On Europa

In today’s issue:

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Newsbyte: Post Office Records $5bn Loss, Congress Calls Pizza a Vegetable, Creator of Diaspora Commits Suicide

In tonight’s issue:

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Newsbyte: Congress Insider Trading, Dorm Life & Pot Growing in Foreclosed Exurbs, NASA: No 2012 Fireball of Doom

In today’s issue:

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The Low Bar Set by Tearing Down Anthony Weiner

Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), ran out of town because of scandalous twitter pictures.

Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), ran out of town because of scandalous twitter pictures. (Photo: Reuters)

After two weeks of an embarrassing non-scandal scandal for now-former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) that provided for some of the easiest comedic material for late night comedy programming since Lorena Bobbitt, the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives took a bold stand and were rewarded: they collectively turned their backs on Mr. Weiner and said he should resign from Congress, and he did just that.

The start-to-finish of this ordeal was quite quick.  The infringing photo was tweeted to a 21-year old on May 27th.  Mr. Weiner went with the “I was hacked” defense, which anyone who’s familiar with the internet (especially saying stupid things in a public forum, for example) knows doesn’t hold much water ever.  Conservative blogger Andrew Brietbart salivated over the story with more gathered pictures, threatening to leak those as well.  On June 6th, the day the first one of the Brietbart photos were leaked, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took the lead in bringing the knives out for Mr. Weiner:

“I am deeply disappointed and saddened about this situation; for Anthony’s wife, Huma, his family, his staff and his constituents,” the Democratic leader said in a statement. “I am calling for an Ethics Committee investigation to determine whether any official resources were used or any other violation of House rules occurred.”

With friends like these?  In any event, they were joined by Republican National Chair Reince Priebus calling for an outright resignation on June 7th, along with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).  The bandwagon was joined on June 8th by more Democrats – Represenatives Schwartz (PA), Ross (AR), Michaud (ME), Tsongas (MA), Kissel (NC), and Donnely (IN).  Clearly these pictures needed to be stopped.

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In Search of a Budget Fix: Missing Revenue

How did we get here?

How did we get here?

Among conservatives and other small-government minded individuals, a common complaint is that the full ability of our economy to recover from the late 2000′s crash is being restrained by taxes on business.  Frequently cited is the 35% tax rate that businesses are supposed to pay annually.  It is cited as being among the highest rates in the world – which it is.  Only a handful of third world nations and Japan have official corporate income tax rates that are higher.

If corporations actually paid taxes at that rate and were hurting because of it, this would be a valid argument to go after.  What occurs in the real world, however, is that through a myriad of tax loopholes and armies of tax lawyers fighting to find them, companies pay an effective tax rate that is far below the implied 35%.  Some, like General Electric, can rack up billions of dollars in profit in this country and not only have to not pay a dime on any of those earnings but is actually able to get billions of dollars of refunds from the federal government.

General Electric is hardly alone in being able to exploit the system in the past year, or even over the past years.  In a period of time from 1998 until 2005 some 72% of all foreign companies and 57% of domestic companies were able to not pay a dime in taxes for at least one full year.  That is lost revenue for the federal government – revenue that can not possibly be made up in its entirety by going after the incomes of individuals.  As a result things that those same small-government fiscal conservatives complain about – such as the ballooning national debt – are allowed to explode out of control from the abuse of these loopholes.  The solution seems to be a never ending mantra of “cut! cut! cut!” and never an effort to figure out if we’re missing out on any revenue.

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Global Warming Ain’t No Problem – The Bible Told Me So

Illinois representative, Republican, climate change denier, John Shimkus. He'd like to have a hand in our energy policy!

Illinois representative, Republican, climate change denier, John Shimkus. He'd like to have a hand in our energy policy!

With the incoming class of Republicans set to begin their rule in the House of Representatives this coming January, battles for leadership of various positions and committees have already begun.  Names have been put forward hoping to step into a larger, brighter spotlight – as is the norm in the world of politics.  As each formally unknown (or better said, not-as-known) Congressperson steps forward, the evaluation of who they are and what they believe begins.  One of the bigger standouts in this arena of committee leadership change comes from Illinois representative John Shimkus, who is aiming for the leadership of the Energy and Commerce committee.

As the title of the committee indicates, one of the realms that it has jurisdiction over is the nation’s energy policy.  As an extension of that, it also has huge effects on our environmental policies, just by which policies and energy sources would be favored by it (coal vs. clean, for example).  With the threat of Global Warming still incrementally playing out year by year across the world, and with so many things related to energy, consumption, and resources seemingly near dramatic tipping points, now would be the time for some decisive leadership to help ensure that America will be on the right paths to not only help itself from an energy standpoint, but also help the world in the fight against Global Warming.

Instead?  Mr. Shimkus takes his cues on Global Warming from The Bible. Read more »

There’s a slight chance that the Senate is wasting time

Stephen Strasburg's MLB debut: 7.0IP, 4H, 2ER, 14K's, and a topic of Senate conversation?

Stephen Strasburg's MLB debut: 7.0IP, 4H, 2ER, 14K's, and a topic of Senate conversation?

June 9th, 2010.  Major events impacting America that day were led by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill – in its 49th day by that point.  Dark clouds were looming over policy for the 2nd half of the year as more economic indicators have begun to turn negative, hinting at the chance that America could slip back into recession.  Bankstas are still roaming the highest perches of American business society, and are still making more in an hour than many make in a year.  With a full and chaotic plate served up, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stepped up and got right on down to the business of the country.

Mr. President, as a little sidenote, because we have 5 months to campaign all over the country, including Nevada, I want to take a pause and think about some of the things going on in the country.

What was Mr. Reid about to unload upon the Senate?  What matter of importance was he about to lead off with?  Issues are happening left, right, and center – not to mention it’s a good time to look good with an election campaign looming for this year.  Now is the time to be serious, be concise, and do some good.

One of the things going on in the Nation’s Capital is tremendously interesting to me…

Things going on in the nation’s capital?  Well there’s been protests here and there – people protesting against BP, tea partiers protesting against the existence of government, the few anti-war people that still hang around in front of the White House, and so on.  Maybe he’s referring to one of those…

One of the things going on in the Nation’s Capital is tremendously interesting to me, and that is baseball.

Be warned, rolling of eyes is about to occur.
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Why the Right is Wrong on Health Care Reform

(admin note:this is a guest post lifted from the board by elspaniard. also contains a bit of profanity, but that’s okay.)

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve seen the shitstorm that is health care reform brewing in Washington as of late.

This is not a post about the proposals.  This is a post about being absolutely sick to the point of puking blood and shit about the misleading statements and outright lies the right wing noise machine is trying to use to scare the shit out of Joe Public about the supreme Boogeyman, government-run health care.  I know I’m probably preaching to the choir for the most part here, but I’m hoping others will find this and join the discussion.

Ok, so the main point conservatives and neo-cons (yes, there’s a difference) are making about government-run health care is you will lose the “right” to choose your doctor and make your own decisions regarding your health and treatment.  At best, this is an outright lie.  Anyone who’s ever had insurance knows this is bullshit.  Why?  Because already, as we speak, you do not have this right.  But who does, you ask?  Your insurance company.
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September 18th, 2008 – Why it’s good we don’t remember this day

Dow in September 2008

Dow in September 2008 – down 12.07% from Sept 1 high to September 18 panic low

Whispers are beginning to come in as to what exactly happened to our financial system during the chaotic weeks of September 2008 – especially the week of September 15th, 2008.  What is emerging is a picture of an economic state that almost ended up in what would have really been a second 1929 in terms of losses and in terms of the sort of immediate impact it would have on America.  The day that almost lived in infamy was September 18th, 2008.  On that day, if one source in particular is to be believed, the American financial system was quite literally hours away from collapse.  Some events swirling around this day back this up, others are nearly indistinguishable from the wild volatility that dominated that month.  This post will be an attempt to analyse what was going on during that period of time to at least give this some back story, as the comments drift around the internet to reactions of “…woah”.

We’ll start with the video in question…

That is Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) on C-SPAN talking about the upcoming second round of bailouts for the banking system and the economic stimulus package that is currently making its way through Congress. A caller had, in essence, asked about how bad things really had been the last time a bailout was proposed – which would become the Troubled Asset Relief Program – TARP. The basic premise of the plan, whether or not it would work, would be to “unclog the system” and get lending flowing again between banks, which various reports had hinted as all but coming to a dead halt. While it was generally understood that the situation was bad, the full extent was never really known until potentially now.

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The Would-be Senator Burris – A victim & the Republicans’ newest best friend

These sorts of comparisons never seem to mean much since the answer is already known, but I’ll give it a shot nevertheless.

If a long-serving Democratic senator was suddenly revealed to be supported in an upcoming election, by, say, an embattled governor who is being investigated for an impressive portfolio of corruption, you can be damned sure that the Republicans would be looking to crush this fellow at the polls, and would be making sure to mention the corrupt governor in and in between every possible breath until the line between the ‘innocent’ appointee and the corrupt governor became indistinguishable. Thankfully we have the state of Illinois to completely throw this logic out of the window.
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