Thursday, January 28

Alito on "Super Duper" Precedents

Justice Samuel Alito during his confirmation hearings describing the concept of "Stare Decisis" (Settled Law).

Strangely this idea that a precendent that has been reaffirmed in multiple decisions seems to have gone completely out-the-window when it to the ability of corporations to flood our electoral system with oceans of cash with the Citizen's United decision.


Shuster Punks Breitbart over Phone-Gate

David Shuster vs Andrew Breitbart of - Round One, DING!

Ok, here's are my notes on this - Shuster showed class and integrity when admitting he overstated when he said that O'Keefe and Company had engaging in "Wiretaping". A charge I myself made via twitter and have no problem correcting the record. The facinating thing about Breibart is he can't even take that concession in good spirit and has to try and berate Shuster for it after he's repeatedly corrected the record.

2nd point, even though the Federal Complain didn't including a charge for "Wiretaping" - it's still a Felony Charge that carries up to ten years so Brietbart's attempt to minimize this into a "Non-crime" is patently ridiculous and highly telling.

Shuster then goes on the attack and asks why has Breibart and other Right-wing Neo-Journalists continued to accuse ACORN of being criminals when there's isn't even a criminal complaint filed? Breibart argues somehow that in his opinion there was a crime and the flaw is on the part of the Justice Dept that has "refused to investigate".

Except that there Was an investigation which found ACORN did nothing wrong.

While some of the advice and counsel given by ACORN employees and volunteers was clearly inappropriate and unprofessional, we did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff; in fact, there is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers. Instead, the videos represent the byproduct of ACORN's longstanding management weaknesses, including a lack of training, a lack of procedures, and a lack of on-site supervision.

The people at ACORN answered questions presented by O'Keefe and his associate. Their answers weren't illegal, but in fact, ACORN staff members actually called the police and filed at report against O'Keefe and Co because what they claimed they were doing or wanted to do - WAS Illegal.

Philadelphia ACORN Housing official: "[W]e called the police and filed this report." In a newly released YouTube video, Katherine Conway Russell, ACORN Housing Corp.'s Philadelphia office director, stated that O'Keefe visited the office "[l]ast July" with "another woman." Russell stated that "[a]fter asking several general questions, [O'Keefe] began to veer off into suspicious territory." Russell said that O'Keefe eventually "asked about bringing girls from El Salvador and getting them papers, et cetera," but that "I told them that there was nothing we could do to help them, that I didn't know anything about what they were asking about." Russell also said that after she contacted another ACORN official and it became clear that O'Keefe "lied to get his appointment," they contacted the police.

There was also a police report filed by ACORN's San Diego Office.

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (AP) -- Police say an ACORN worker caught on video giving advice about human smuggling to a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute had reported the incident to police.

National City police said Monday that Juan Carlos Vera contacted his cousin, a police detective, to get advice on what to with information on possible human smuggling.

Vera was secretly filmed on Aug. 18 as part of a young couple's high-profile expose.

Police say he contacted law enforcement two days later. The detective consulted another police official who served on a federal human smuggling task force, who said he needed more details.

The ACORN employee responded several days later and explained that the information he received was not true and he had been duped.

Giving bad advice isn't a crime - although it should be note that everyone who DID give bad advice was Fired - no matter how much Breitbart attempts to spin with Lies such as these via Media Matters.

Breitbart: "There's no place, as ACORN tried to state, that kicked them out based upon the premise that they were doing something nefarious." Following Giles' denial, Hannity turned to Breitbart and said, "Not one? Every place you went, they helped you or were willing to help you, either -- not report you for an underaged prostitution ring, evade taxes as we've -- ." Breitbart responded, "Right. The -- it is interesting. There's no place, as ACORN tried to state, that kicked them out based upon the premise that they were doing something nefarious."

O'Keefe: "None of the facilities kicked us out. That's a lie." During the September 13 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, senior correspondent Eric Shawn asked O'Keefe, "ACORN says that you went to, what, five other places around the country where they kicked you out. ... [D]id you find ethical, honest ACORN employees in any of the places that you went to that kicked you out and said, 'No, we're not going to do this. We're not going to cooperate. We're not going to have ACORN help you'?" O'Keefe responded that the people at ACORN are "liars" and that he "[a]bsolutely" wanted an apology and later added: "[N]one of the facilities kicked us out. That's a lie."

During the same interview, Giles stated: "[A]bout the whole kicking out, I mean, the women in Baltimore hugged me and -- when I left. And the women in D.C. -- I did follow-up phone calls, and they asked if I could come and meet them for coffee so we could further discuss how to make this possible." Shawn then asked, "[Y]ou are saying that there were some that did refuse? James or Hannah?" Giles responded, "Not -- no."

Yet again they're engaging in a Olympic Semantics here, the Philadelphia ACORN Office refused to help them with thier child prostitution ring plot.

"I told them that there was nothing we could do to help them, that I didn't know anything about what they were asking about."

Since they couldn't get any help or any good footage - they left. It was afterward they discovered the O'Keefe lied to get the appointment and they subsequently called the police.

"Thrown Out" is a harsh word, but effectively that's what happened once the ACORN employees refused to help them anymore and had them depart. It's not like anyone claimed that tossed them out the front door - they made them LEAVE - the fact that they did it was some class should be commended, not condemned.

They may not have been "Kicked Out" of the Washington and New York ACORN offices, but neither did they bring up the subject of their "child prostitution ring".

Washington, D.C., office: Child prostitution not clearly discussed. At no point in the transcript of Giles and O'Keefe's visit to the Washington, D.C., ACORN office does either Giles or O'Keefe clearly state that they are planning to engage in child prostitution. Both Giles (Page 15) and O'Keefe (Page 9) say that the house will be used by "girls" -- who the ACORN employee refers to as "women of the night" -- and at one point, O'Keefe says (Page 13) that "10 El Salvadorians" will be working in the house, but at no point are the ages of the supposed prostitutes mentioned.

New York office: Child prostitution not clearly discussed: In the transcript of Giles and O'Keefe's visit to the New York ACORN office, they discuss underage girls that Giles wants to "protect" and separately discuss "girls" working in the house, but they do not indicate that the two groups are the same. O'Keefe says that Giles "is going to have this business in the house with a bunch of girls coming and doing these things, performing tricks and she is going to give me the money so that I can pay the mortgage" (Page 15) but does not say that those "girls" are underage. Much later, Giles states, "They should throw Sonny in jail, not me, he's the one who got me started. ... I mean he got a whole slew of which is why I also want a house. ... He's got all these 13, 14, 15 year old girls from El Salvador and that's what -- I need to protect them like I know what its like and I have to protect them and like give them somewhere to live" (Page 28). The videos posted on YouTube are nevertheless titled "ACORN NYC Child Prostitution Investigation."

These guys really can't keep their shit straight.

Besides Philadelphia one ACORN employee in Los Angeles also refused to help O'Keefe as soon as he started talking about underage children.

So that's two times the FAIL on the "No one refuse to help" us lie.

The ones who committed a crime, namely Fraud, were O'Keefe and Giles. They also broke the wiretap laws of Maryland and California according to the Congressional Research Service.

A December 22, 2009, report by the Congressional Research Service prepared for the House Judiciary Committee on "several issues" relating to ACORN and its affiliates stated that "[a] search of reports of federal agency inspectors general did not identify instances in which ACORN violated the terms of federal funding in the last five years." Addressing "the recent videotaping of ACORN workers and the distribution of conversations with ACORN workers without consent," the report stated that "the laws of Maryland and California appear to ban private recording of face to face conversations, absent the consent of all the participants."

Media Matter Broehlert also schooled Breitbart on this "Independant Contractor" thing...

They'd already been reported to the police twice, had investigations going against them in two states - but just couldn't QUIT, so now they're looking at doing ten to twenty in Federal Prison.



Wednesday, January 27

Stop Freaking Out: Obama Always Promised to Cut Deficit Spending

And addressing deficit spending is exactly what he's doing with the "Sending Freeze". Frankly based on what was described yesterday by Jared Bernstein on Rachel Maddow, it's not really a "freeze" if the Stimulus and other job generating elements of the budget are exempt.

Let's all recall the Obama originally pledged to cut the Federal Deficit in Half by the end of his first term.

Obama also promised to cut the federal budget deficit by more than half in his first term. That now appears unlikely, given the spending on the stimulus and the billions of dollars spent on bank and auto company bailouts. The 2009 federal budget deficit hit a record $1.42 trillion, and the red ink in the first two months of fiscal 2010 was nearly 6 percent higher than the same period in 2009.

So what he's supposed to be unveiling tomorrow is actually a considerable walk-back from his original goal. Plua what he's being criticized for - "Hooverism" - isn't what's happening.

Time and time again Bernstein explains that this is really about reseting priorities with some items cut and other items increased in a deficit neutral manner, with the exception of Economic Stimulus, Education, Homeland Security & Defense.

Here's his first try:

BERNSTEIN: Well, first of all, not in the middle, because we‘re talking about a freeze that would take effect in 2011.

But I think the important thing, Rachel, that your comments didn‘t get to is that we‘re not talking about an across-the-board freeze. That entitles this president to comb through the budget and find policies that help to create jobs and boost the middle class—like the policies we announced today which is what I was going to talk about anyway here—and to cut back on spending on the wasteful stuff, stuff that accumulates over the years that Congress has a very hard time pulling back on, that the lobbyists love. So, we‘re talking about boosting the spending that helps the middle-class pushing back on the special interests.

So, for example, today, we talked about a set of programs that will be in the State of the Union, that will be in this budget, the very budget we‘re talking about—programs that nearly double the child care tax credit for middle class families, cutting much higher into the middle class than the current policy, retirement security policies, policies that help students facing burdensome debt from college loans, policies that help with elder care. All of those are policies that can be boosted while this freeze is pulling back on some of the wasteful stuff that is nothing to do with jobs in the middle class.

Then he tried again....

BERNSTEIN: What I‘m saying is that, that is an aggregate freeze but it‘s not an across-the-board freeze.

Let me explain what I mean. If you have an across-the-board freeze, you say, OK, folks. Every agency, everything goes down by 3 percent, end of story. It‘s real simple.

That‘s not what this is. Some things will go down. Some things will go up. More things will go down than will go up. That‘s how you achieve some of the deficit savings.

Now, on the other—there‘s also a bunch of emergency spending that‘s outside of this freeze. The Recovery Act will continue to create employment. By the way, that‘s one of the other things I wanted to talk to you about because I know you get this.

The Recovery Act saved or created 2 million jobs so far, on track to create or save another 1.5 million before it‘s done. That‘s going to be in effect, of course, the rest of this year and in 2011 as well. This freeze won‘t affect that at all.

New jobs initiatives that the president will be outlining in the State of the Union—those will also be accommodated under this program.

So, we‘re going to really shift our focus here to stuff that works and

to help stabilize what is truly a long-term, unsustainable budget picture,

by squeezing stuff that doesn‘t help.

That's didn't work either... so he tried a third time.

MADDOW: I have to tell you, it sounds completely, completely insane.

BERNSTEIN: Two hundred and fifty billion over 10 years, but—by the way, I think it‘s wrong that we‘re not talking about additional programs to foster job growth.

The president, last month, talked about new jobs initiatives in areas of clean energy investment, building on some of the successes of the Recovery Act that you mentioned, but also considerable deep investments in clean energy, manufacturing for example, here in the United States, building the components of the new clean energy economy, education spending. The president talked about some favorable tax policies for small businesses. That‘s very much part of this targeted jobs agenda that you‘ll hear more about on Wednesday night and infrastructure spending—and, by the way, to that the president attached a number $50 billion.

So, we‘re talking about some serious investments in job growth to boost the middle class and I would again remind you about a set of announcements the president and vice president made today in the area of child care, elder care, student lending, retirement security, all part of new initiatives or expanded initiatives that you‘ll hear going forward—totally consistent with the freeze we‘re talking about.

The President is NOT going to be putting the brakes on job growth while attempted to implement a responsible budget.

I quoting so extensively because obviously Rachel wasn't listening, neither was Keith based on his program today which just completed.

Meanwhile Paul Krugman is freaking out. Robert Reich is freaking out - and somehow forgetting that when he was Secretary of Labor President Clinton cut the budget, cut deficit spending and reduced the overall Federal Workforce by an average of about 12% - and the Economy did pretty well during that time.

According to the tables current online at the OMB when President Obama came into office the Federal Budget Deficit was $1.8 Trillion, yet as of the start of this year the Budget Deficit for 2010 is - TADA - $1.2 Trillion which is a $600 Billion reduction.

The projection for 2011 is $900 Billion, and the 2012 projection is $575 Billion. That would be a more than a 50% reduction in the deficit over that time, pretty much what Obama said he was going to do. The primary reason for this deficit reduction isn't so much that President Obama has implemented a lot of spending cuts - the fact is that TARP, which alone was reason for about 30% of the huge 2009 deficit, has largely been Paid Back.

The government got $68 billion Wednesday from 10 financial firms eager to escape the curbs that came with taxpayer-funded capital infusions.

Repayment of the bailout cash J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and the other companies got under the Troubled Asset Relief Program essentially leaves them on their own to wrestle with the recession and financial crisis. Some firms said they plan to immediately start the tricky task of negotiating to repurchase warrants that the government received in return for the infusions.

Also the end of 2010 is when the Bush Tax Cuts Finally Expire injecting a huge amount of cash back into the Federal System and putting us back on track to the Balance Budget we had when Bush first came into Office.

Let's also recall that Obama still has about $300 Billion of TARP funds still under his belt which he can put forward toward direct SBA Loans, as well as Small and Community Banks to help small Business grow and hire more people. And not nearly all of the Stimulus has been spent yet - so it's not like the White House is putting on the spending breaks, their simply reseting their priorities.

It's not an issue of Big Government Vs Small Government, it's Dumb Government vs Smart Government.

So calm down.