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Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Bailout Fraud: Not Entirely A Shocker, But Still
Federal investigators say they have opened 20 criminal probes into possible fraud, insider trading and other crimes in the $750-billion TARP bailout plan. Neil Barofsky, who oversees the program, called it "inherently vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse" and said there could be many more cases. Barbara Roper of Consumer Federation of America: "What is it with these people?"
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The End of Western Civilization, Such As It is
Given that sometimes you just have to laugh or cry, we like the response of talkingpointsmemo.com to the idiotic tumult surrounding President Obama's – gasp! – handshake with Venezuela President Hugo Chavez. To see the awful truth of just how low Obama will go in the hand-shaking department, click here
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Monday, April 20, 2009
Republicans Less Popular Than Venezuela!
Also China and Russia. See the numbers here
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A Step Toward Justice
ThinkProgress is sending a petition to the House Judiciary Committee urging them to remove Judge Jay Bybee, author of the sickest torture memos, from office. If you think Bybee "has neither the legal nor moral authority to sit in judgment of others," sign here
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Rep. Jane Harman and AIPAC
In Congressional Quarterly , Jeff Stein details Rep. Jane Harman's possible corruption and ethics breach: Rep. Jane Harman, the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.
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The Old Face of Homelessness
Media reports on "new" tent cities springing up from our economic woes often get the story wrong, say advocates. Homelessness is decades old, the result of flat wages, no housing and basic economic inequities that need to be addressed. Safe ground for the homeless is key, says Sacramento's Loaves and Fishes. They hold a rally April 21. "The media are trying to capture a complex situation in a sound bite..." says Joan Burke. "Why do we care so much for people who suffer for a short time versus those who suffer for a long time?"
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Vote Out Larry Summers
On Sunday, the Washington Post had a "Spring Cleaning Special" in which ten writers make the case for something that deserves to be tossed out this spring. On the trash heap is everything from academic tenure to the White House press corps to the phrase "Muslim world." I chose to argue for the elimination of Barack Obama's chief economic adviser, Larry Summers.
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And Maybe Cheney and Gonzalez Could Do A Duet
Plans for an Israeli Defence Force song-and-dance troupe to perform at a London show to mark the founding of Israel have been blasted as "ghoulish and retrograde," given that IDF is under investigation for war crimes in Gaza. "This is akin to singing and dancing on the graves of the 400 Palestinian children that the IDF was responsible for killing in January," said Chris Doyle of the Council for Arab-British Understanding.
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Don't Forget Prosecution Of The Others, Too
From a New York Times editorial on the nauseating "journey into depravity" that is the torture memos, and the need to impeach author Jay Bybee, still, somehow, a judge. "These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it."
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Black Hole Calling: Tell Us Again What You Did With All That Money
All but three of the 19 largest banks getting bailout – ie: taxpayer – money gave out fewer, not more, loans since getting our money, according to Treasury Department data. Given those figures and the news of executive perks and planes and bonuses, seems it's time for the much-touted goal of "accountability." President Obama: "I am not going to simply put taxpayer money into a black hole..."
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