Taxpayers have put more than $24 trillion on the line to resuscitate Wall Street after the economic meltdown of last year. With the help of this massive taxpayer support, the nation's largest banks are posting record profits. That, by itself, is not bad. After all, our economy runs on profit, and the whole point of the government aid was to get the banks out of intensive care. The problem is that many of these banks have resumed their old habit of using other people's money to gamble with the same risky unregulated derivatives that led us into this crisis.
Let's embrace productive capitalism, not casino capitalism, by restoring transparency and true competition in the commodities markets. Our nation's financial sector can act as a great force for job creation and production. We should not stand by and let their dimly lit casino bring us all down once again.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to make sure Blue Dogs vote for health-care reform.
With what seemed like half the House crowded behind her at the podium, Pelosi announced the bill that will be debated on the House floor would include a public option, but a version more acceptable to the moderate Democrats. The full text of the bill is here.
Why? Pelosi needed their votes.
As our Greg Sargent first reported, Pelosi had barely 200 of the 218 votes she’d need for a more “robust” public option.
That “robust” public option was what progressives would have preferred . It would have paid doctors and hospitals based on Medicare reimbursement rates, which are the lowest in the industry. Instead, Pelosi chose to include a public option in which the government would have to negotiate rates with doctors and hospitals, which means they’ll end up paying them more than with the “robust” option.
It’s the outcome Blue Dogs wanted, especially those from rural areas. They said Medicare, which pays hospitals based on cost-of-living in their area, was already reimbursing doctors and hospitals far too little, and they worried that rural hospitals would not survive if the public option paid at Medicare rates.
This will make it harder for moderate Democrats to vote against the bill, and Pelosi needs only a handful of the 56 Blue Dogs on board to get a bill through the House.
Howie P.S.: Rep. Anthony Weiner explains how the Pelosi bill falls short. Weiner runs out of time as he faults the bill for failing to control prices in the public option.
Friday, October 30, 2009
One of the leading political and legal bloggers in the country, Glenn Greenwald, joins us to talk about about the war in Afghanistan, the Obama administration’s use of state secrets, the healthcare debate, the renewed military commissions at Guantanamo and the coverage of it all by the corporate media. Greenwald is a constitutional law attorney who writes for Salon.com and is the author of three books.
There is a curious phenomenon taking place in the American media at the moment: the lionization of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the American military commander in Afghanistan. Although he has taken a few lumps for playing politics with the White House, McChrystal has generally been sold to the American public as a “Zen warrior,” a counterinsurgency genius who, if simply left to his own devices, will be able to radically transform the ongoing debacle that is Afghanistan into a noble victory that will rank as one of the greatest political and military triumphs of modern history. McChrystal’s resume and persona (a former commander of America’s special operations forces, a tireless athlete and a scholar) have been breathlessly celebrated in several interviews and articles. Reporters depict him as an ascetic soldier who spouts words of wisdom to rival Confucius, Jesus and Muhammad.
Scott Ritter is a former Marine intelligence officer, chief U.N. weapons inspector and the author of numerous books on foreign policy.
firedoglake, video (04:10).
Howie P.S.: This conversation may explain Harry Reid's comment that Joe Lieberman is "the least of Harry Reid's problems."
Joe Mallahan today expressed his disappointment over the Boeing Company's decision to build its second 787 assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina.
"I believe this is the wrong business decision, given that the vast majority of Boeing's commercial airplane expertise resides right here in the greater Seattle area. We have the mostly highly skilled aerospace workforce in the country. It must continue to be the goal of every elected official in Washington State to do everything we can to make Washington a great place for Boeing to grow in the future.
“We need to focus our efforts in coming years on taking the steps to strengthen our economy and create jobs. Today's decision underlines the need to move forward and build a 21st century infrastructure – a network of sound transportation and transit solutions, strong schools, and a healthy environment. Ultimately, that will make the difference for job creation over the long term and that’s what I pledge to work on as Seattle’s next mayor.”
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Howie P.S.: Lawrence O'Donnell is the guest host. Howard Dean visits and says "It's not the best we can do but it's a great start."
Sable Verity, audio.
Howie P.S. : I just recently discovered Sable Verity and her blog of the same name. Now KBCS (Bellevue College radio station) has offered her a regular radio gig. I already wrote her a fan letter, so I won't gush further.Here's how KBCS introduced her on her very own web page they created:
Sable Verity is one of few women bloggers of color in the Pacific Northwest covering issues that directly impact minority families. Sable looks at the world through a sociological perspective, no matter how mundane the situation may seem.
Mother, writer and activist, editor and founder of the SV, friends (and enemies) describe Sable Verity as a tireless advocate (or that bitch that just won’t go away), who believes in speaking (ranting) the truth (her irrational race-tinged views).
Sable Verity's Commentaries air every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:50 pm during Hard Knock Radio and every Thursday at 5:50 pm during One World Report.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Howie P.S.: Glenn Greenwald joins Maddow to discuss conflicts of interest on the health care reform issue involving Lieberman and Evan Bayh.
Don't miss the "Final Showdown" for Mayor of the City of Seattle.
Joe Mallahan vs. Michael McGinn
(60 minutes of exciting toe-to-toe conversation)
That’s StreetBeat, this Sunday morning, 11/1/09 on KUBE 93, 8:00 am – 9:00 am!
We invite our www. email guests in the Northwest to tune into “ .orgStreetBeat” hosted by Tony B on KUBE-FM (93.3) this Sunday morning, 8:00 am, November 1st, 2009. Worldwide via the internet "listen live" at www.kube93fm.com 8:00 a.m. (Pacific Standard Time) – 11:00 a.m (Eastern Standard Time) 4:00 p.m. (British Standard Time). Northwest Comcast cable television viewers can also listen on channel 967.
Joe Mallahan is taking a sabbatical from his position as "Vice President of Operations Strategy" for "T-Mobile" to run for Mayor of Seattle. Mallahan was trained in community organizing by the Industrial Areas Foundation—the same group that trained President Barack Obama. Michael McGinn is the "Founder and Director" of Seattle Great City Initiative. That group aims to bring people together to make Seattle "a model of economic and environmental sustainability.
Last week I reported on our meeting with Mike McGinn and offered some of my impressions. This week, I report on our meeting with Joe Mallahan and close with my final reflections on both candidates
First a report on our meeting with Mallahan held last week:
Our meeting with Joe Mallahan last week began right at 1130AM in his campaign offices and lasted 45 minutes...up from the 30 minutes he originally have us but still not long enough to cover the breadth of issues and concerns we had hoped to discuss with him. Those attending included Justin Simmons (Metropolitan Democratic Club), Sarjane Siegfried (46th District Democrats), David Bloom (Displacement Coalition and Council Candidate), Bill Kirlin-Hackett (Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness), Julian Wheeler (43rd District Democrats) and Joshua Okrente (Low Income Housing Institute). Former Seattle City Councilmember Tina Podlodowsky (and likely Deputy Mayor) joined Joe at our table.I guess my bottom line though is this - even though McGinn (and OBrien) are not fans of the "Sidran Laws" and more favorable to tent cities, (all to the good), on core development issues - the forces that give rise to displacement, and homelessness and inequality (and erode liveability and physical character of our city in the first place), Mallahan I believe is likely to be more responsive, flexible, and open.
So that's my two cents on this race. Ever onward!
Howie P.S. Jane Hamsher joins Rachel to offer historical perspective. Robert Scheer writes "Lieberman Twists the Knife." Ezra Klein (WaPo) says "I don't know why I don't take Joe Lieberman's threat to filibuster health-care reform more seriously, but I just don't." ED Schultz DOES, video (12:31). Political Wire adds their 2 cents: "Analyzing Lieberman's Threat."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
"A Transit-Loving, Car-Hating, Bike-Riding, Progressive Environmentalist Who's Passionately Supporting Joe Mallahan"
A common perception about this year's mayor's race is that Mike McGinn is the guy with the fervent supporters. His all-volunteer campaign has been powered by a flock of righteous, genuflecting, "Mike Bikes"-emblazoned activists and bloggers who seem to view their man as the second coming of Obama.
Mallahan, meanwhile, seems to have picked up more measured support from people who support the tunnel, think McGinn is elitist, or generally find Joe the "safer" choice. He seems like he's been the fallback, and one not embraced with enthusiasm.
That's why it was so interesting to hear from Judy Lightfoot, a longtime educator, writer, and dyed-in-the-compost greenie (and also a friend of mine), who is strongly committed to Mallahan and devoting her time to his campaign. I asked her to write up the story of how she got here. It's after the jump.
Judy Lightfoot, a former teacher, is a contributor to Crosscut. She's also a Freestyle Volunteer, meeting for weekly coffee and conversation with individuals sharing our public spaces who are socially isolated by mental illness or homelessness. Currently she's volunteering as a phone-banker and unpaid writer for the Mallahan campaign.
David Goldstein, video (01:25).
Howie P.S.: Suzie claims she has made political contributions to "some Democrats and and to some Republicans." FACT: All her contributions were to Republicans.
Fine, but don't lie to us about it.
Howie P.S.: MSNBC and talkers like Ed Schultz won't get their due, as well, I suppose.
Peter Daou, writing in the Huffington Post. Peter was Hillary's online adviser:Your thoughts?
Howie P.S.: Andrew (NPI Advocate) has more instant analysis, from an East King County perspective.
Businessman Joe Mallahan has moved out to an eight-point lead over lawyer Mike McGinn in the race for Seattle mayor, according to the new Washington Poll, while Dow Constantine is ahead of Susan Hutchison in the contest for King County executive.The Washington Poll surveyed all regions of the state, but took into account the anticipated higher turnout in King County. It has a margin of error of 3.6 percent and has a pretty good track record in recent elections.
Howie P.S. Rachel uses visual aids to explain the political menu for the public option. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)discusses his concerns about the "opt out" option.
When Matthew Hoh joined the Foreign Service early this year, he was exactly the kind of smart civil-military hybrid the administration was looking for to help expand its development efforts in Afghanistan.Howie P.S.: Eugene Robinson (WaPo):
A former Marine Corps captain with combat experience in Iraq, Hoh had also served in uniform at the Pentagon, and as a civilian in Iraq and at the State Department. By July, he was the senior U.S. civilian in Zabul province, a Taliban hotbed.
But last month, in a move that has sent ripples all the way to the White House, Hoh, 36, became the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war, which he had come to believe simply fueled the insurgency.
If the United States is to remain in Afghanistan, Hoh said, he would advise a reduction in combat forces.
He also would suggest providing more support for Pakistan, better U.S. communication and propaganda skills to match those of al-Qaeda, and more pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to clean up government corruption -- all options being discussed in White House deliberations.
"We want to have some kind of governance there, and we have some obligation for it not to be a bloodbath," Hoh said. "But you have to draw the line somewhere, and say this is their problem to solve."
Obama is at the key juncture: in or out. If he ratifies the counterinsurgency strategy and approves a troop increase, he'll be committing the United States to see the project through to its end. Advisers say the president's goals for "fixing" Afghanistan are realistic, even modest. To me, however, the whole enterprise looks unrealistic and immodest.
We invaded Afghanistan to ensure that the country could never again be used to launch attacks against the United States. That mission is accomplished, and our only goal should be making sure it stays accomplished -- whether the place is run by Hamid Karzai or the Taliban. The counterinsurgency campaign that Obama is contemplating looks like a step onto the slipperiest slope imaginable. It doesn't matter whether the step is tentative or bold.
Sometimes a "war president" has to decide to start bringing the troops home. That's what Obama must do.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Word - Don't Ask Don't Tell|
Comedy Central, video (05:48):
The petition signers who want to overturn the "everything but marriage" bill should be able to stay in the closet that the gay people have abandoned.H/t to Dan Kirkdorffer.