CW: Mostly because it annoyed me, I didn't link Jonathan Chait's long New York magazine article wherein he examines the sorry history of "liberal disappointment" in Democratic presidents. It is worth reading if you have a grain of salt handy. ...
... BUT even if you don't read Chait, do read Katrina vanden Heuvel's rebuttal in the Washington Post: "The biggest liberal groups in the country lined up to help pass [President Obama's] agenda. They stayed loyal even as his aides cut deals they found deplorable.... He faced unified Republican obstruction, not liberal opposition. Powerful corporate lobbies were able to purchase sufficient conservative Democrats ... to dilute, delay and sometimes defeat reform. Progressives in Congress criticized the limitations, but produced votes when it was time to get something passed.... If anything, Obama was hurt because progressives were too loyal rather than that they were too critical."
David Dayen of Firedoglake: The Office of Comptroller of the Currency, which is mostly useless, has found that ten major lending institutions have unlawfully foreclosed on as many as 5,000 active-duty service members, in violation "of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, in particular the restriction on foreclosing on active duty military while they are overseas. The scandal has led to an extreme degree of restitution from the banks, which have been camo-washing their reputations by providing settlements of up to $117,000 per wrongful foreclosure.... Violations of the SCRA carry with it potential sentences of up to a year in prison."
CW: Don't kid yourself that Congressional Republicans (and no doubt some bank-financed Democrats) are whacking just the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because Elizabeth Warren is so mean or something. They are working overtime (or, rather, having their staffs work overtime) to dismantle the entire financial regulatory framework, such as it is (and it's already a revolving-door joke with the "regulators" making nice to the "regulated" who will soon employ said regulators at 10 times their current salaries. Public service, my ass). See, fer instance, Charles Pierce's remarks on funding cuts for the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which is tasked under Dodd-Frank with regulating derivatives trading. (The Politico backstory is here.)
Greg Sargent shows how the payroll tax cut, proposed by President Obama and Congressional Democrats would benefit 113 million Americans, but Republicans are caterwauling that paying for it with a surtax on the super-rich "amounts to a job-killing tax hike on small businesses." Not only is that not true, the tax itself would in no way be a hardship on the 345,000 rich people who would pay an additional 3.25 percent, only on that part of their income that was over $1MM. ...
... David Firestone of the New York Times: "The anti-tax crowd is boxed in.... Are Republicans going to deny the average working family a $1,500 tax break in order to spare millionaires a modest increase? That $1,500 or so, multiplied by every paycheck in America, would have a huge effect on economic growth next year, widely estimated as between 1.5 and 2 percentage points. The tax increase would affect only a tiny fraction of small businesses with employees, despite the endless Republican claims that it would stifle job creation." ...
... Pat Garofalo of Think Progress: "The GOP has, time and again, blocked any legislation that would increase taxes by the slightest amount on the ultra-wealthy, even with tax revenue at a 60 year low, taxes on the rich the lowest they’ve been in a generation, and income inequality out of control.
Right Wing World
Maureen Dowd is back on her game today, for the first time in a long time, with an "Essence of the Newt" piece. She doesn't cover any new ground (though her borrowing from Barney Frank's news conference yesterday is good), but she nicely puts together a string of outrageious hypocrisies that defines the leading GOP contender du jour.
Charles Pierce of Esquire: "Herb Cain, could have the slimmest chance of being elected president of the United States is a better measure of the depth of this country's problems than the Consumer Price Index is."
After running a now-notorious ad which cut a remark by Barack Obama so as to completely change the meaning of what he said, Mitt Romney had the gall to go on Fox "News" and complain about Democratic oppo ads that portray him as a flip-flopper: "There's no question but that people will take snippets, things out of context, and show there are differences, which there are not." I ran an extended DNC Mitt v. Mitt on the November 28 Commentariat. Here's the 30-second version:
No-Information Governors. It turns out those oft-mocked "low-information" swing voters may be better informed than Republican governors:
I don’t read newspapers in the state of Ohio. Very rarely do I read a newspaper. Because ... reading newspapers does not give you an uplifting experience.... I have found my life is a lot better if I don’t get aggravated by what I read in the newspaper. -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich
No. -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott, when asked if he read Florida newspapers
Via Steve Benen. CW: these governors will never pay a political price for boasting about their willful ignorance. They are just showing their base they are not "elitists." Besides, when everybody is a know-nothing, how would the know-nothing voters ever find out their governor was Know-Nothing-in-Chief?
Perry Ups Voting Age, Election Day. Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post: "At a town hall meeting at the Institute of Politics at New Hampshire’s Saint Anselm’s College Tuesday, Rick Perry asked that all of the college students in the crowd who will be 21 by Nov. 12 support his bid for the presidency.... The voting age in the United States is, of course, 18. And the 2012 election will be held on Nov. 6, 2012." With video.
I repudiate, and I call on the President to repudiate, the concept of the 99 and the 1. It is un-American, it is divisive, it is historically false…. You are not going to get job creation when you engage in class warfare because you have to attack the very people you hope will create jobs. -- Newt Gingrich
[Religious right activists] are the majority in the country who must stand up and take this nation back from the ‘minority elite’ who are ruining it. -- Newt Gingrich
Translation by Steve Benen: ... when it comes to the economy..., we’re all one people, and we must pay no attention to the wealth that divides us. When it comes to the culture war, we’re not one people, and those who believe ... should target and defeat those Americans who disagree. If a right-wing voice rails against the 'minority elite,' he’s speaking the truth. If an Occupy activist rails against the 'minority elite,' he’s an un-American radical.
Elizabeth Hartfield of ABC News: "On Monday night the United Wisconsin coalition, the committee organizing the effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, announced that it had collected 300,000 signatures since the recall kicked off on Nov. 15. The signature-gathering process has moved very quickly so far.... United Wisconsin will need to collect 540,208 signatures by Jan. 17 in order to get a recall of Governor Walker on the ballot."
President Obama speaks on the American Jobs Act in Scranton, Pennsylvania:
Reuters: "Stocks surged on Wednesday after major central banks agreed to make cheaper dollar loans for struggling European banks to prevent the euro-zone debt woes from turning into a full-blown credit crisis. The Dow posted its best day since March 2009 after the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and other major central banks stepped in to head off escalating funding pressures that threaten the key arteries of the world's financial system."
Reuters: "Nearly nine years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, the U.S. mission in Iraq is fast winding down with only 13,000 troops left in the country. Hundreds are departing each day until the end of 2011."
New York Times: "The police broke up large Occupy encampments in Los Angeles and Philadelphia early on Wednesday, arresting hundreds of protesters who had been camped out for the past two months and who had remained in public squares beyond city-mandated deadlines this week." Los Angeles Times story here, with video. Philadelphia Inquirer story here. ...
... Inquirer Update: "Occupy Philadelphia protesters gathered for a general assembly Wednesday evening outside Police Headquarters at Eighth and Race Streets. About 100 protesters marched to the police building from Rittenhouse Square late Wednesday afternoon."
Philadelphia Inquirer: "A feisty President Obama warned that the economy would suffer a 'massive blow' if Republicans block his proposal to extend an expiring payroll-tax cut, rallying supporters at a campaign-style rally in ... [Scranton, Pennsylvania]."
AP: "Britain ordered all Iranian diplomats out of the U.K. within 48 hours and shuttered its ransacked embassy in Tehran on Wednesday, in a significant escalation of tensions between Iran and the West. The ouster of the entire Iranian diplomatic corps deepens Iran's international isolation amid growing suspicions over its nuclear program. At least four other European countries also moved to reduce diplomatic contacts with Iran." Guardian story here.
New York Times: "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived [in Naypyidaw, Myanmar,] on Wednesday to measure the depth of the political and economic opening that the country’s autocratic, military-dominated government has unexpectedly begun.
ABC News: "The latest person to accuse former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse also claims that Sandusky threatened to hurt the boy’s family if he ever told anyone about the abuse. Sandusky’s newest accuser, who is now 29, had not told anyone about the abuse until he read about the grand jury presentment charging Sandusky with 40 counts of child molestation over 15 years, his lawyer Jeff Anderson said today. Until that time, he had thought he was the only victim."
Politico: "A deal between Boeing and its Machinists union Wednesday could quiet GOP attacks against the Obama administration and National Labor Relations Board about the fate of a South Carolina 787 Dreamliner plant. If the tentative deal is ratified allowing the Boeing’s new 737 MAX aircraft to be built in Renton, Wash., the union said it will withdraw its grievances against the aerospace manufacturer over the South Carolina plant, potentially putting an end to a seven-month, highly charged labor debate."