Just a quick note about Grover Norquist. If Grover Norquist is now the most powerful man in America, he should run for president. There’s no question about his power. And let me tell you, he has people in thrall. That’s a terrible phrase. Lincoln used it. It means your mind has been captured. You’re in bondage with a soul. So here he is.... He said, ‘My hero is Ronald Reagan.’ I said, ‘Well, he raised taxes 11 times in his eight years.’ And he said, ‘I know. I didn’t like that at all.’ I said, ‘Well, he did it. Why do you suppose?’ He said, ‘I don’t know. Very disappointing.’ I said, ‘He probably did it to make the country run, another sick idea. -- Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), testifying before the Deficit Reduction Super Committee, a/k/a Catfood Commission II (Simpson-Bowles being Catfood Commission I)
Zaid Jilani of Think Progress. The net worth of the median American Congressman is more than five times what the net worth of the median American is. (And the figure for that "average American" includes, of course those in the top tier. If you cut out Mrs. & Mrs. Richy Rich, the "average American" net worth would be substantially lower.)
Congress is responsible for the mortgage crisis. -- Baron von Bloomberg:
For any public figure to go with the Congress-did-it argument at this stage is for him to reveal both that he is grossly ignorant about the central policy issue of the day and that he gets his 'analysis' from right-wing flacks. -- The Peasant Krugman, Nobel Laureate
Keep this in mind every time you hear Tom Friedman or some other Village-meets-Versaille resident of the royal court urge Bloomberg to run a third-party campaign. The logic that informs this kind of political analysis is quite similar to that which dictates Charlie Sheen’s philosophy of intoxicant consumption — if it doesn’t work, do it again, more, harder, forever. -- Elias Isquith, The League of Ordinary Gentlemen
Mayor 1% (and Unity 2012 dream boat) is starting to show his true spots.... What he said is just an outright lie (a zombie lie, in fact) and he knows it. -- Digby ...
... Digby links to this very helpful October 2008 McClatchy News report (by David Goldstein & Kevin Hall) of Fannie & Freddie's limited participation in the subprime lending mess
Bloomberg is either ignorant of the facts of the mortgage meltdown or so eager to rid his city of Occupiers that he'll discard the truth. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 did not cause the meltdown of 2007, in no small part because that law didn't apply to the private lenders who dominated the subprime market. The fraudulent practices of those lenders and the financial derivatives the private investment houses used to turn the subprime market into an elaborate game of hot potato were left unregulated by the federal government — but that's not even the basis for Bloomberg's criticism of Washington. He claims Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac 'made a bunch of loans' even though they (1) do not make loans, and (2) were backing out of insuring subprime loans as private, unregulated firms rushed into the derivatives casino. -- Alan Pyke, Political Correction
... The lenders that made the bulk of subprime loans weren’t even covered by government laws to encourage homeownership. In fact, 94 percent of high-cost loans were totally unconnected from government homeownership laws. -- Pat Garofalo of Think Progress
... AND Another Thing. Harry Siegel of the New York Daily News: "Two different drunks I spoke with last week told me they’d been encouraged to 'take it to Zuccotti' by officers who’d found them drinking in other parks, and members of the community affairs working group related several similar stories they'd heard.... The NYPD’s press office declined to comment on the record about any such policy, but it seems like a logical tactic from a Bloomberg administration that has done its best to make things difficult for the occupation — a way of using its openness against it." ...
... Karen Garcia thinks the city's alleged subversion of the movement may backfire as Occupy gives the homeless a voice. ...
... Kristin Bender, et al., of the Oakland Tribune: "As Oakland braces for Wednesday's general strike, potentially the biggest demonstration in the East Bay since the Vietnam War, Mayor Jean Quan found herself under fire, both from her own Police Department and a neighboring mayor, for her handling of the Occupy Oakland protests.... There are now more than 100 tents on the plaza lawn. The Oakland teachers union has paid for at least nine portable toilets at the camp and there is a new food station, medical aid available from the California Nurses Association and freshly planted gardens that protesters say will sprout to feed the occupiers.... Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said she will march part way with residents who plan to trek 10 miles from Richmond to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. McLaughlin said Quan made a 'big mistake to have the police attack and raid the movement' last week." ...
... Oakland Police Officers Association: "We represent the 645 police officers who ... protect the citizens of Oakland. We, too, are the 99% fighting for better working conditions, fair treatment and the ability to provide a living for our children and families. We are severely understaffed.... As your police officers, we are confused.... the Administration issued a memo on Friday, October 28th to all City workers in support of the 'Stop Work' strike scheduled for Wednesday, giving all employees, except for police officers, permission to take the day off." Via Valerie L-T.
Ken Thomas of the AP: Priorities USA Action, "a Democratic super PAC, is targeting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with a new social media campaign that raises questions about his economic agenda one year before the 2012 election." Here's their ad:
Here's Jared Bernstein's short list of what Washington politicians would be working on were they actually doing what we hired them to do:
Jobs, incomes, loosening the middle class squeeze, both cyclical (recession) and structural (long term)
A sustainable budget path
Coverage and cost control in health care
Adequate regulation in key sectors, including financial markets and climate.
Reinvestment in public goods, education, infrastructure
... Bernstein adds, "if you hold or are running for political office and you don’t have a credible, understandable, plausible plan for addressing the above, you don’t belong in the picture. Do us all a big favor and go home."
... NOW here is what Washington politicians are actually "working" on:
Why have my Republican friends returned to an irrelevant agenda? ...And yet here we are, back to irrelevant issue debates, the kind of thing people do when they have run out of ideas, when they have run out of excuses, when they have nothing to offer a middle class that is hurting and that has run out of patience.... This is simply an exercise in saying, 'We're more religious than the other people, we're more godly than the other people, and by the way, let's waste time and divert people's attention from the real issues that we're not dealing with,' like unemployment. -- Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on the House GOP's resolution reaffirming that "In God We Trust" is the national motto since "President Obama and other public officials often forget that." The resolution passed 396-9, with Nadler one of the "no" votes
Herman Cain & Judy Woodruff (of PBS's "News Hour") haven't heard that China has nukes (has had 'em for almost 50 years).
Right Wing World
Oh, You Knew This Was Coming, Too: Jack Gillum & Stephen Ohlemacher of the AP: "A third former employee says she considered filing a workplace complaint over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior by Herman Cain when she worked for the presidential candidate in the 1990s. She says the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment. She worked for the National Restaurant Association when he was its head. She told The Associated Press that Cain made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against him." ...
... Evan McMorris-Santoro & Jillian Rayfield of TPM: "Herman Cain’s allies seem intent on tying his sexual harassment scandal to the most famous case of inappropriate workplace behavior in American history, the saga of Clarence Thomas. And in one unexpected way, they’ve already succeeded: much of the right wing is now pulling the dust cloths off the same old criticisms of the very concept of sexual harassment that they’ve kept in storage since the ’90s. Namely, that the behavior is often harmless fun and women really need to lighten up already." ...
Women Just Don't Get It. There are people now who hesitate to tell a joke to a woman in the workplace, any kind of joke, because it could be interpreted incorrectly. -- Sen. Rand Paul ...
A Sen. Paul Sympathizer Writes: Lil' Randy draws the line at abduction; kidnapping women and forcing them to participate in bizarre cult rituals. I can see where he might get the idea that women have no sense of humor about such small matters as kidnapping, forced drug use, and cultish religious worship ceremonies. Spoil sports. -- Anonymous
Sandhya Somashekhar & James Grimaldi of the Washington Post: "A woman who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment in the 1990s is ready for her story to come out, her attorney said Tuesday, even as the Republican presidential hopeful spent a second day trying to quell the mounting controversy and explain his conflicting recollections of the matter. Joel P. Bennett, a lawyer representing one of two women who made the claims against Cain, said Tuesday that his client is barred from publicly relating her side because of a non-disclosure agreement she signed upon leaving the National Restaurant Association.... Bennett is calling on the association to waive the agreement so the woman, a federal worker living in suburban Maryland, can rebut Cain’s statements this week that the allegations were false and baseless.
... Update: Jim Rutenberg, et al. of the New York Times: "The National Restaurant Association gave $35,000 — a year’s salary — in severance pay to a female staff member in the late 1990s after an encounter with , its chief executive at the time, made her uncomfortable working there, three people with direct knowledge of the payment said on Tuesday." ...
... Jonathan Easley of The Hill: "A Herman Cain-affiliated super-PAC sent out a racially charged email to supporters on Tuesday, saying opponents are looking to 'take down any black man who stands up for conservative values.' The fundraising letter, which came from Jordan Gehrke, the campaign director for Americans For Herman Cain, is titled 'Don’t let the left "lynch" another black conservative'." ...
... Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine: "The question of whether the Herman Cain sexual harassment story will hurt his presidential campaign sort of misses the point that there is no Herman Cain presidential campaign.... Cain is executing a business plan.... The plan involves Cain raising his profile as a conservative personality, which he can monetize through motivational speaking, book sales, talk shows, and other media. If Cain were campaigning to be president, the scandal would hurt him. Since he is instead campaigning to boost his profile, it will help him.... Before this week, the one element missing from Cain’s profile was persecution by the liberal media. In the minds of the most conservative Republicans — which is to say, Cain’s customers — the sexual harassment story proves his importance and his virtue." ...
... Steve Kornacki of Salon: "Sean Hannity ... devoted two segments on his Fox News show Monday night to portraying the entire episode as the product of a 'left-wing media' that wants to destroy Cain because he 'represents a real threat to a liberal narrative that suggests conservatives are racist.'”
Congratulations are in order for Rick Perry who has taken Right Wing World to new heights. Most conservatives make up stuff by fudging numbers, twisting facts, "misremembering" or taking quotes out of context. But as Colby Hall of Mediaite reports, Perry has taken to repeating as fact a fictional "quotation" from a satirical story by Mark Schatzker publlshed in the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Washington Post: "A group of 40 House Republicans for the first time Wednesday encouraged Congress’s deficit reduction committee to explore new revenue as part of a broad deal that would make a major dent in the nation’s debt, joining 60 Democrats in a rare bipartisan effort to urge the 'supercommittee' to reach a big deal that could also include entitlement cuts.... Among those who signed were several dozen Republicans who had previously signed a pledge promising they would not support a net tax increase."
AP: "Thousands of Japanese-Americans who fought in the fiercest battles of World War II and became some of the most decorated soldiers in the nation's history were given an overdue thank-you from their country Wednesday when Congress awarded them its highest civilian honor. Nearly seven decades after the war's beginning, Congress awarded three units the Congressional Gold Medal. In all, about 19,000 Japanese-Americans served in the units honored at a ceremony Wednesday: the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service."
... Chris Goode of The Atlantic: "George Zimmer, founder and chairman of Men's Wearhouse, has repeatedly donated to Democratic candidates..., including progressives like 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean and Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.). Zimmer is also among the nation's biggest donors supporting the movement to legalize marijuana."
... AP: "Thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters escalated their tactics beyond marches, rallies and tent camps Wednesday and moved to disrupt the flow of goods at the nation's fifth-busiest port. Protesters were arrested as they held a sit-in at the headquarters of cable giant Comcast in Philadelphia. Military veterans marched in uniform in New York, angry at their dim job prospects. And parents and their kids, some in strollers, formed a 'children's brigade' to join the Oakland, Calif. rallies." ...
... Oakland Tribune: "Protesters have effectively shut down maritime operations at the Port, Director Omar Benjamin said ... Tuesday, as more than 4,000 people are at the gates. The crowd stretched several blocks down Middle Harbor Road leading into the port as they begin their attempt to shut down the port for start of the 7 p.m. night shift. Benjamin pledged that normal port operations would resume, however, and asked protesters to give workers safe passage to their homes." ...
... Philadelphia Inquirer: "Ten protesters were arrested during an Occupy Philly sit-in staged Wednesday afternoon at the Center City headquarters of Comcast Corp. Several hundred people, including protesters and onlookers, watched the spectacle unfold at the Comcast Center on John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Area traffic was jammed for hours. About 1:30 p.m., nine protesters got into the lobby and sat for about an hour before being arrested. Another demonstrator had been arrested outside earlier." ...
... New York Daily News: "Dozens of veterans marched on Wall Street Wednesday in support of the '99 percent' and a young soldier injured last week when demonstrators clashed with police in Oakland, Calif. Close to 40 people walked in unison from Vietnam Veterans Plaza to Zuccotti Park.... The demonstrators attempted to walk up to the stock exchange, the symbolic heart of New York’s financial district, and were met by a barricade of police on horseback."
... Guardian: "The Corporation of London has told Occupy London protesters that they can stay in the lee of St Paul's Cathedral until the new year, according to protesters. The Corporation refused to confirm or deny this." ...
... Los Angeles Times: "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke says he has sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street movement’s 'dissatisfaction' with the economy. But he also said his critics were misguided if they believed that Fed policy has been motivated by a desire to protect bankers' incomes." ...
... The Do-Nothing Fed. New York Times: "The significantly reduced its forecast of economic growth through 2013, acknowledging that it had once again overestimated the nation’s recovery from the 2008 financial crisis.... However, the Fed said that its policy-making committee had decided against taking new measures to stimulate growth at a two-day meeting that concluded Wednesday."
AP: "A third former employee says she considered filing a workplace complaint over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior by Herman Cain when she worked for the presidential candidate in the 1990s."
Life Is So Unfair. AP: "A casualty of the European debt crisis is the release date of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s new album of love songs. The album, the fourth by the former cruise ship singer, was due for release in September, but is now scheduled for as late as Nov. 22 due to the country’s massive debt problems and his own legal issues, according to the Italian newspaper La Stampa."
President Obama spoke about an infrastructure bill late this morning. The Hill: "A senior Senate Democratic aide predicted Tuesday that not a single Republican would vote for the latest jobs package of $50 billion in infrastructure spending combined with a $10 billion national infrastructure bank."
... New York Times Update: "President Obama on Wednesday visited another bridge in need of repair – this one somewhat closer to home, between Washington and Virginia — to promote his job-creation proposals as the Senate began the latest partisan debate over his plans." See video above.
New York Times: "With the government teetering on the verge of collapse, the Greek cabinet offered its full support early Wednesday to Prime Minister George Papandreou for his surprise plan to call a referendum on the Greek financial crisis." ...
... Guardian: "The French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel will hold emergency talks on Wednesday in a desperate attempt to hold the eurozone together and formulate a response to the Greek prime minister's plan for a referendum on the austerity measures imposed by his European partners."
New York Times: "A London court ruled on Wednesday that can be extradited to for questioning over allegations of sexual abuse there last year. The decision was the latest chapter in a months-long legal battle that has seen Mr. Assange under house arrest and WikiLeaks temporarily shuttered. In their ruling, two British appeals judges said a European Arrest Warrant seeking Mr. Assange’s extradition could not 'be said to be disproportionate' since it related to 'serious sexual offenses,' which Mr. Assange has denied." Guardian story here., the founder,
AP: "The Arab League will unveil on Wednesday its plan to ease violence in Syria, calling for the withdrawal of tanks and armored vehicles from the streets and free elections, diplomats involved in the process said Wednesday. The proposal is the most wide-reaching yet to address the 7-month-old Syrian uprising and comes with a sharp rebuke to President Bashar Assad's regime for its bloody crackdowns on anti-government protesters. The U.N. says the some 3,000 people have been killed since the revolt began in March."
AP: "For 20 years, Abdurrahim el-Keib taught electrical engineering at the University of Alabama, helped lead the area's Muslim community and talked little about his home country of Libya. With Moammar Gadhafi's regime deposed, the professor now has a new role as prime minister of his homeland. El-Keib was elected to the post late Monday by Libya's National Transitional Council and will replace outgoing interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, who had promised to step down after victory over Gadhafi's dictatorship."
Digital Journal: "Loudoun County, Va., GOP Chairman Mark Sell, has apologized for a ghoulish image of Obama sent by email to invitees to a Halloween parade, and the Loudoun County Republican Committee's communications director Robert Jesionowski, has resigned his position."