Archive for February, 2010



Lobby Firm Tells Clients How To Sway Elections While Avoiding 'Public Scrutiny' | TPMMuckraker

In the wake of last month’s Citizens United ruling, a powerhouse Washington lobbying firm is informing its corporate clients on how they can use middlemen like the Chamber of Commerce to pour unlimited amounts of money into political campaigns, while maintaining “sufficient cover” to avoid “public scrutiny” and negative media coverage.

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Where Today's Large Deficits Come From — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Some critics charge that the new policies pursued by President Obama and the 111th Congress caused the huge federal budget deficits that the nation now faces. In fact, the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the economic downturn together explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years (see Figure 1).

The deficit for fiscal 2009 was $1.4 trillion and, at 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was the largest deficit relative to the size of the economy since the end of World War II. If current policies are continued without changes, deficits will likely approach those figures in 2010 and remain near $1 trillion a year for the next decade.


PolitiFact | A stimulus report card

Nearly a third of the cost of the stimulus, $288 billion, comes via tax breaks to individuals and businesses. The tax cuts include a refundable credit of up to $400 per individual and $800 for married couples; a temporary increase of the earned income tax credit for disadvantaged families; and an extension of a program that allows businesses to recover the costs of capital expenditures faster than usual. The tax cuts aren’t so much spending as money the government won’t get — so it can stay in the economy. Of that $288 billion, the stimulus has resulted in $119 billion worth of tax breaks so far.

The stimulus also has $499 billion in spending. That includes $226 billion for projects such as new roads and high-speed rail; $273 billion in payments to state governments for things such as hiring teachers and police officers, and for services such as extended unemployment insurance and health coverage.

According to an analysis by Pro Publica, an online news service, $179 billion of the total stimulus has actually been spent. Another $154 billion has been committed, or is “in the process” of being spent.


Yes They Can | The American Prospect

What we are left with is a situation in which one party is assiduously adhering to the norms it believes are still in place, while the other party long ago concluded that norms are meant to be ignored. Republicans aren’t so much the “party of no”; they’re the party of “yes we can” — yes we can filibuster everything, yes we can put holds on nominees for no good reason, yes we can argue in the most dishonest ways imaginable (see panels, death), yes we can be as hypocritical as we like. The Democrats, on the other hand, continue to be the party of “maybe we shouldn’t.”

The Lobbying-Media Complex


The Lobbying-Media Complex

These incidents represent only a fraction of the covert corporate influence peddling on cable news, a four-month investigation by The Nation has found. Since 2007 at least seventy-five registered lobbyists, public relations representatives and corporate officials–people paid by companies and trade groups to manage their public image and promote their financial and political interests–have appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Network with no disclosure of the corporate interests that had paid them. Many have been regulars on more than one of the cable networks, turning in dozens–and in some cases hundreds–of appearances


Powell's Books – Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media by Jeff Cohen
Producer, pundit, and media critic Jeff Cohen offers a fast-paced romp through the three major cable news channels Fox, CNN, and MSNBC and delivers a serious message about their failure to cover the most urgent issues of the day. Propelled by hilarious anecdotes featuring celebrities, famous pundits and media personalities, Cable News Confidential highlights the foibles, hypocrisies, and absurdities he witnessed at news organizations run by entertainment conglomerates


‘Shadow Elite’ Explains Why Washington No Longer Works – chicagotribune.com

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Snowstorm: East Coast Blizzard Tied to Climate Change – TIME

Brace yourselves now — this may be a case of politicians twisting the facts. There is some evidence that climate change could in fact make such massive snowstorms more common, even as the world continues to warm. As the meteorologist Jeff Masters points out in his excellent blog at Weather Underground, the two major storms that hit Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., this winter — in December and during the first weekend of February — are already among the 10 heaviest snowfalls those cities have ever recorded. The chance of that happening in the same winter is incredibly unlikely.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1962294,00.html?xid=newsletter-weekly#ixzz0fp6gAqF2


It's You, Not Me | The New Republic

One mini-saga of the past decade in American politics has been the flirtation—with talk of a deeper partnership—between progressives and libertarians. These two groups were driven together, in the main, by common hostility to huge chunks of the Bush administration’s agenda: endless, pointless wars; assaults on civil liberties; cynical vote-buying with federal dollars; and statist panders to the Christian right.


How to Answer the Dumb Things Climate Deniers Say | Environment | AlterNet

How to Answer the Dumb Things Climate Deniers Say
Below are a few responses to some of the more frequent statements these deniers toss our way.
February 9, 2010 |
If you are like me you probably have encountered a few people that do not believe global warming exists, or if they do, they are not always convinced that humans are contributing to the problem. There are usually a range of issues these skeptics raise in an attempt to cast doubt on climate change evidence. Below are a few responses to some of the more frequent statements these deniers toss our way


Color Revolution? | The New Republic

— So what exactly is the Tea Party movement and why has it risen up?

The ferocity of its opposition to President Obama is mystifying to political progressives. Most of the left simply doesn’t see the current occupant of the White House as especially liberal, let alone “socialist.”


Snowpocalypse sign of global warming

Now that the Philadelphia/DC area has gotten its third major snowstorm of the winter season, anti-science and global climate change deniers have been embolden in their rhetoric.

Their main argument seems to be, “It is cold, and therefore global warming is a hoax.” What they fail to understand is that it is winter; it is supposed to be cold. Also there is a difference between weather and climate. One cannot simply look at the weather of the week or even the season and make an accurate conclusion about the climate. Climate research studies decades and centuries of weather and not simply the day to day temperature.


Op-Ed Columnist – America Is Not Yet Lost – NYTimes.com

We’ve always known that America’s reign as the world’s greatest nation would eventually end. But most of us imagined that our downfall, when it came, would be something grand and tragic

Demand Question Time


Demand Question Time

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