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Under the radar, lawmakers and corporate lobbyists have been talking about implementing yet another ruinous scheme to make rich corporations even richer while screwing their constituents.

How? By including a corporate tax repatriation holiday either in whatever debt ceiling deal is reached or in a vote later in the year. And (surprise!) it's going almost completely unreported by our mainstream media.

Here's a quick explanation from Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi:

For those who don’t know about it, tax repatriation is one of the all-time long cons and also one of the most supremely evil achievements of the Washington lobbying community.

Read on to find out more.

Poll

Will you contact your representatives to protest the proposed corporate tax holiday?

30%7 votes
43%10 votes
17%4 votes
8%2 votes

| 23 votes | Vote | Results

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Welly, welly, well.  After pushing like mad for years to make it harder for consumers to declare bankrupty, the big credit card companies, banks, and lenders thought they had it made.  The bill finally passed, making life that much harder for people who had fallen on hard times.

Well, there's a small bit of schadenfreude to be gleaned from the bill's passage: apparently, it's destroyed the big lenders' profits for this quarter, and possibly even for this year.  More after the jump.

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I know that many diaries have been posted to refute individual GOP talking points regarding the response to Hurricane Katrina, and they were much appreciated. However, there seems to have been a crystallization and dissemination of certain specific GOP points over the last week. I've been hearing the following talking points (which, naturally, accuse Democrats of all wrongdoing) everywhere in the past few days, and I would like to develop a concise, convincing refutation of each point, which can then be copied to one single document for emailing and/or use for background in a LTE campaign.  I'll need your help to develop it.

More after the jump.

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Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 07:59 AM PST

Nuclear Option? Snowe Says NO.

by Rumblelizard

From Congressional Quarterly Today (membership only), we get some good news: Republican moderates are coming out against the "nuclear option" of short-circuiting the the 200-year-old tradition of the filibuster.

According to the CQ article:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has not sewn up enough support from his GOP colleagues for the so-called nuclear option, despite repeated warnings that he might use the arcane parliamentary maneuver to short-circuit Democratic filibusters of President Bush's judicial nominees.

More after the jump.

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Tears came to my eyes when I read this story.  Nelson Mandela has been a hero of mine for many years, and his life has recently been filled with much personal tragedy.  To have his last surviving son be struck down by this hideous disease is so, so, sad.

With Mandela's public announcement, however, this tragedy might yet result in some good.  (Please continue after the jump)

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Mon Nov 01, 2004 at 11:52 AM PST

NARAL-WI Reports Fraudulent Calls

by Rumblelizard

Breaking: I just received this email from NARAL-Wisconsin:

ANTI-CHOICE FORCES ILLEGALLY USE NARAL PRO-CHOICE WISCONSIN'S NAME
Bush Supporters Resort to Fraud in Effort to Confuse Voters

Madison, WI - NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin filed a police report this morning, after receiving reports of illegal use of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin's name and phone number.  The Madison Police Department as well as the fraud department of the group's telephone carrier are investigating.

 

-con'td after break

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Fri Oct 15, 2004 at 06:47 AM PDT

4-point lead? EVERYBODY PANIC!!

by Rumblelizard

This story from Reuters talks about Bush opening up a 4-point lead according to a Zogby poll.  The point seems to be that Bush convinced the undecided voters by this last debate.

I don't want this to become the next big meme.  Vote it down!

I'd also like to point out that panicking about this kind of stuff is counter-productive. Stop wringing your hands and put them to better use: volunteer, canvass, phone bank. Do whatever it takes.

Discuss
....Except for the kicking ass part. Can I just say a short word about the HSAs, or Health Spending Accounts, that Dubya was touting tonight in the debate?

Now, as one of the functions of my job, I do a lot of research into the minutae of health care and the law. And I'll hazard the guess that not many people in the public (or on DailyKos) are aware of exactly what an HSA is.

What it is, is that people have tax-free savings accounts that allow them to pay much lower monthly premiums for their health care. The catch, of course, is that they have much higher deductibles, somewhere around $5,000 or, for families, even more.

Now, let me just put this to you: if people can't afford a premium of $80 - $300 a month for their health insurance, how the hell are they going to come up with $5,000 or even more if they suddenly find themselves too sick to work?

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Fri Oct 08, 2004 at 06:56 AM PDT

Freep this MSN poll!

by Rumblelizard

In the Fineman story entitled "Bush is beginning to sound desperate," there's a poll midway down in the body of the story.  Look for LIVE VOTE: Who's Your Choice for President?"

Right now, it's GWB 59%, Kerry 41%, Nader 1%.

So my question is, ARE WE GONNA GO OUT LIKE THAT?!

Disclaimer: if anyone has posted this already, my apologies.  And go vote, dammit.

Discuss

Tue Jan 06, 2004 at 02:30 PM PST

A Reply from the AP!

by Rumblelizard

I was outraged about the AP's widely-reported story that Howard Dean was repeatedly warned about security at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

So I wrote this letter to their editors:

Subject: Headline: Dean Was Warned on Vt. Nuke Security

"Dear Sir or Ma'am,

I am outraged and appalled at the biased and
mendacious reporting that is being provided by the AP on the record of Howard Dean during his tenure as governor of Vermont, especially in regards to the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

According to Vermont State Police Homeland Security Unit and Vermont Yankee, "Most of the things mentioned in the article are 10 to 12 years old," and that plant has spent $8 million in upgrades since then.  Those upgrades include additional perimeter fencing, a state-of-the-art intrusion detection system, closed-circuit video surveillance, reinforced guard towers, concrete vehicle barriers, explosive detection devices and enhanced guard weaponry.

According to the officials, Vermont Yankee is the most highly protected facility in that part of the nation's infrastructure.  Yet, according to your article written by JOHN SOLOMON and DAVID GRAM, "despite a decade of repeated warnings of poor safety at Vermont Yankee, Dean's administration was poorly prepared for a nuclear disaster."

How can you allow your reporters to disseminate these damaging LIES as the truth and still call yourselves an objective news outlet?  This article was a blatant hatchet job aimed at Howard Dean.  Your organization has taken a very transparent dislike to Doctor Dean, and are apparently more than willing to print lies and untruths to damage his credibility.  

The only credibility being damaged is that of the Associated Press.  You better believe that this is not going unnoticed.  You need to print a retraction and correction of this piece - and not buried in your corrections section.  

The Associated Press should also think very carefully about the consequences of continuing to print the disgraceful "news" stories by Nedra Pickler and Calvin Woodward.  Their kinds of pseudo-news pieces, which are really mendacious misrepresentations and thinly-disguised attempts to damage Dean and Democratic candidates in general, are NOT GOING UNNOTICED.  If you wish to retain your name as a reliable news outlet, you need to stop this kind of behavior right now.  

Sincerely,

[Rumblelizard]"

Almost immediately, I received this reply from AP:

"Dear [Rumblelizard],

The Associated Press does not insert the headline. The headline is
inserted by the customer who receives the AP story.

Where did you see the story?

AP Corporate Communications/NY"

To which I replied,

"Dear Sir or Ma'am,

Thank you for your reply.

On a Google search of the headline mentioned, the
headline and variations on it came up in the following places:  http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&edition=us&num=30&newsclusterurl= http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/ats-ap_us13jan04,1,5705429.story%3Fcoll%3Dsns-ap -topus

[Would not take my a href command for some reason]

As you can see, this distortion has been widely picked up online (and in print) and was reported as fact, while Vermont officials have denied the conclusions reached by your reporters, as reported in this article

Thank you for your time.

Best regards,

[Rumblelizard]"

Writing to the editors works!  Keep it up!

Discuss

So, basically, David Brooks, a writer for the notoriously right-wing, neo-conservative Weekly Standard, former editor of the notoriously right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page, and program director for the RIDICULOUSLY right-wing Olin Foundation is slamming Dean, who governed a largely rural state since 1982 (when he was elected to the state House, and then to the Governorship in 1991) and lived there for even longer, for saying "Us rural people."


Allll righty then.


Let's leave aside Brooks' own dubious "rural folk" credentials and questionable motives for writing such an attack piece, the likes of which hamstrung Gore's candidacy in 2000.  


[Editorial aside: These people really have no creativity - they just use whatever spurious things they can to brand their opponents as untruthful ("Gore said he invented the internet!  He said his dog's medicine was cheaper than his mom's and his mom takes a different drug!  He never really kisses his wife, that was a set-up!  He's stiff, which proves he's not one of the common people! Liar liar pants on fire!") They love to use little things to brand Democrats as liars, whether the little things are even slightly accurate or not, and even though their own candidate cough*DUBYA*cough deserves the "liar" title a whole lot more.  I mean, look at the promises he campaigned on and his subsequent actions as president.  They're worlds apart.]


Anyway, let's look at the article.

 Brooks, predictably, uses a wobbly thing like the "he's not rural, that son of a gun" canard as a base to attack all of Dean's positions, which, when you examine them, are mostly just as wobbly. He does have a point or two, but we'll get to that. Let's go through his arguments one by one.

  1. "When he began running for president, he left his past behind, along with the encumbrances that go with it."  Excuse me, but that's utter bullshit.  Dean has always run on his record as Governor of Vermont - fiscal conservative; deficit hawk; somewhat more liberal on social issues; pro-business; pro state's rights when it comes to gun laws.  He can't help it if David Brooks and his ilk decided the best way to slam him in the past was to call him "too liberal."  Yes, Dean has been angry, but it's hardly because he's liberal.  He's angry because there's plenty of reason to be, and not just for liberals - for centrists and even conservatives, too.

  2. "The old Dean was a free trader. The new Dean is not."  Well, Brooks has somewhat of a point: Dean's policies could be construed as somewhat protectionist.  But that's not the whole story.

    Dean is in favor of the creation and strengthening of middle classes throughout the developing world.  To do this, he hopes to encourage and reward countries that respect labor rights and environmental standards.  This will help to achieve the goal of creating middle classes in developing countries (and the existence of middle classes greatly stabilize countries) as well as helping to level the playing field and hopefully stop the hemorrhaging of American manufacturing jobs overseas.  As he has said, we can't compete for manufacturing jobs with countries that have no environmental standards and who pay their workers 27 cents a day.

I don't know where Brooks got that Dean has changed on this issue; he's always struck a balance between the interests of business, labor and environmental causes in Vermont.  (Not as much as radical environmentalists wanted, but to my mind, that just goes to show even more that he's a moderate.)  More here.

Dean is also well known as a strong supporter of NAFTA (although he wants to re-negotiate it and "fix" the problems it has) and he was strongly in favor of admitting China into the WTO.  

  1. "The old Dean was open to Medicare reform. The new Dean says Medicare is off the table."  Uh, again, this is total, ridiculous BS.  Brooks has completely misquoted Dean and twisted his words altogether.  Read more here and here.

  2.  "The old Dean courted the N.R.A.; the new Dean has swung in favor of gun control."  What?  Could Brooks please put the crack pipe down?   Read the truth here.

  3. "The old Dean was a pro-business fiscal moderate; the new Dean, sounding like Ralph Nader, declares, 'We've allowed our lives to become slaves to the bottom line of multinational corporations all over the world.'"  Once again, Brooks has twisted Dean's policies and meaning.  Dean says on his Web site, "The truth is that large corporate interests have taken over the Bush White House. Multi-national corporations -- not ordinary Americans -- are the principal beneficiaries of the Bush legislative agenda." Which, to my mind, is completely true.  I don't know where the heck Brooks got the quote he cited; I did a Google search for it and couldn't find anything like it.  Once again, I'm a lot more willing to believe what Dean says than what Brooks says.  Brooks is a highly partisan and suspect person to be commenting on Dean's record.

  1. Dean did say he would teach Bush a little about defense, as you can read here. But as far as I could see, Dean's points about Bush's defense record were extremely valid.  I agree strongly that Bush's record on defense has not been exactly stellar or even effective.  I think he could use a few lessons from someone like Dean; at least Dean reads the newspapers.  I also have to say that I agree with Dean that a lot of  Congress people are cockroaches, although it might not have been the most politic thing to say publicly.  But once again, I think most Americans would agree with him as well.  Both things were definitely ill-considered, off the cuff remarks from Dean, but so what.  Whatever.  Let's compare his slips of the tongue to Dubya's.  No contest.

     

  2. After this, Brooks goes into the territory of pure stupidity/mendacity.  I think that most people with a little bit of integrity and ability to grasp reasonable arguments can say that yes, we can't pull out of Iraq responsibly right now, and yes, our troops need to come home as soon as possible, and the way to do that would be to repair our relations with our allies and convince them to help us.  I think many of our allies would be willing to do just that if a different, less arrogant president was asking.  Just an opinion.

In closing, I'd like to say that it's a good thing to consider the source when you read Dean-slamming Op-Eds.  David brooks is hardly an uninterested and unbiased commentator.


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