Post RNC-Mid DNC Desktop Clearing Link Dump

Let’s get this stuff out of here…another backlog of articles that were interesting but didn’t find the time…

First up, we start in conservative media fantasy-land.

THR: Does the media tie mistakes made by Democrats to President Obama as readily as they tie Republican mistakes to Romney?

Wallace: Yes, the mainstream media is terribly unfair to Obama, and they have to stop their bias in favor of Romney.

[Note: the funny part…Wallace was joking…and doesn’t consider the network that got the highest ratings for the RNC to be part of the mainstream media.]

Next up we see what is driving ratings for Fox News.

From : Fear of a Black President

Obama is not simply America’s first black president—he is the first president who could credibly teach a black-studies class. He is fully versed in the works of Richard Wright and James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X. Obama’s two autobiographies are deeply concerned with race, and in front of black audiences he is apt to cite important but obscure political figures such as George Henry White, who served from 1897 to 1901 and was the last African American congressman to be elected from the South until 1970. But with just a few notable exceptions, the president had, for the first three years of his presidency, strenuously avoided talk of race.

Next we move onto folks in black-face being using as political props…

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited an Ohio coal mine this month to promote jobs in the coal industry, workers who appeared with him at the rally lost pay because their mine was shut down.

The Pepper Pike company that owns the Century Mine told workers that attending the Aug. 14 Romney event would be both mandatory and unpaid, a top company official said Monday morning in a West Virginia radio interview.

We need to develop a “canary in the convention” that falls over dead when the b.s. gets too deep.

Speaking of b.s. at the convention, here’s the Rolling Stone piece that looks a bit deeper into how Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital made its start, and how it was saved in the early years by a taxpayer bailout.

And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a “turnaround specialist,” a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don’t know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America’s top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/greed-and-debt-the-true-story-of-mitt-romney-and-bain-capital-20120829#ixzz25c4gDbu1

In the background, quietly crying, you’ll find our environment.

Yesterday was August 28th 2012. Remember that date. It marks the day when the world went raving mad.

Three things of note happened. The first is that a record Arctic ice melt had just been announced by the scientists studying the region. The 2012 figure has not only beaten the previous record, established in 2007. It has beaten it three weeks before the sea ice is likely to reach its minimum extent. It reveals that global climate breakdown is proceeding more rapidly than most climate scientists expected. But you could be forgiven for missing it, as it scarcely made the news at all.

It also appears that Paul Ryan is quickly creating lots of jobs in various fact-checking departments…

•Accused President Obama‘s health care law of funneling money away from Medicare “at the expense of the elderly.” In fact, Medicare’s chief actuary says the law “substantially improves” the system’s finances, and Ryan himself has embraced the same savings.

•Accused Obama of doing “exactly nothing” about recommendations of a bipartisan deficit commission — which Ryan himself helped scuttle.

•Claimed the American people were “cut out” of stimulus spending. Actually, more than a quarter of all stimulus dollars went for tax relief for workers.

•Faulted Obama for failing to deliver a 2008 campaign promise to keep a Wisconsin plant open. It closed less than a month before Obama took office.

•Blamed Obama for the loss of a AAA credit rating for the U.S. Actually, Standard & Poor’s blamed the downgrade on the uncompromising stands of both Republicans and Democrats.

And there’s more….

The next statement Ryan made was that in 1980 “330,000 businesses filed for bankruptcy. Last year, under President Obama’s failed leadership, 1.4 million businesses field for bankruptcy.”

This is not true. According to American Bankruptcy Institute, under Carter 331,264 businesses and non-businesses filed for bankruptcy. That number includes not just businesses, but personal bankruptcies as well. In 1980, there were 43,694 business bankruptcies and 287, 570 non-business bankruptcies.

Ryan also got it wrong with regard to the number of business bankruptcies last year. In 2011, there were 1, 410, 653 total bankruptcies. Of that number 47,806 were business bankruptcies and 1,362,847 were non-business bankruptcies.

and just to keep it in perspective, Paul Ryan is being sold as the gold standard in Republican honesty and integrity when it comes to numbers.  Really.

Here’s a bit of the “liberal” media conspiracy…in that we have an actual liberal calling out the media for keeping certain things from the eyes of the public.

When Mitt Romney walked down the aisle toward the stage Thursday night, among the people whose hands he shook was the conservative billionaire and major political donor David Koch. But it was a moment missed by the tens of millions of viewers at home. While Democracy Now! was there on the floor and captured the handshake on video, the networks cut away just before the handshake to show footage of two enthusiastic young women supporters and then an overhead shot of the convention center.

You can even see Mitt’s face light up when he sees the Koch.

Heading back to that Rolling Stone story about how firms like Bain avoid paying taxes on their income…the NY State Attorney General (the one after the whore-monger) is now looking into the practice of treating wealthy and connected people’s labor as if it were capital (and thus getting a 20% tax break, from 35% down to 15%).

The New York attorney general is investigating whether some of the nation’s biggest private equity firms have abused a tax strategy in order to slice hundreds of millions of dollars from their tax bills, according to executives with direct knowledge of the inquiry.

The attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, has in recent weeks subpoenaed more than a dozen firms seeking documents that would reveal whether they converted certain management fees collected from their investors into fund investments, which are taxed at a far lower rate than ordinary income.

According to financial statements, Bain partners saved more than $200 million in federal income taxes and more than $20 million in Medicare taxes.

[full story]

Thus goes the “secret to his success”.

And finally we see a Business Insider story that hits the nail on the head.

Lots of things are wrong with the economy, but the main problem can be summed up with two simple facts:

  • Corporate profits as a percent of the economy are at an all-time high
  • Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low

The following charts clearly illustrate that problem.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-ford-salary-increase-2012-8#ixzz25cGRYdou

I repeat…

  • Corporate profits as a percent of the economy are at an all-time high
  • Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low

This is the natural results of 30+ years of supply-side economics.

History of Supply Side Experiment

Here we see the real world effect of “supply side” economics.

And there you have it.  Links dumped.

Oh…one final note…it appears that some of the rich, if eaten, might actually sustain us for a while.  Just a thought…

Just in case you were beginning to think rich people were deeply misunderstood and that they feel the pain of those who are less fortunate, here’s the world’s wealthiest woman, Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, with some helpful advice.

“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain,” she said in a magazine piece. “Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.”

Yeah, let them eat cake.

Rinehart made her money the old-fashioned way: She inherited it. Her family iron ore prospecting fortune of $30.1 billion makes her Australia’s wealthiest person and the richest woman on the planet.

 

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Mitt didn’t know how Ann’s manslaughter affected their family

Ann Romney tells of miscarriage – Tim Mak – POLITICO.com 

Mitt Romney, sitting alongside his wife, appeared taken aback by the story, leading CBS interviewer Scott Pelley to ask if he’d heard that story before.

“I hadn’t heard the story about Craig coming home from school that day and being so devastated,” said the presumptive GOP nominee. “I’m not surprised. He’s a very tender heart and a wonderful father today himself.”

As to the title…if abortion is murder…miscarriage is manslaughter. If this was a real person that died, as the Republicans want to change the law to say it was, there should be an investigation.

Was it irresponsible actions that led to the death? An absent father? My guess is that conservatives will whine more about the tone of this post than the obvious and impssible legal situations their own policies would create (of which the post title is one).

Romney revives tax discussion with admission of tax avoiding history and expertise

Romney Says Corporations Familiar With ‘Low-Tax Havens’ – Businessweek 

The newly released Bain records show that Romney took advantage of investments with the firm that achieved a low tax rate, for example, by engaging in what are known as management- fee conversions or fee waivers. Bain Capital Fund VII LP disclosed in a 2009 report that the general partner in the fund had in the past waived management fees and converted those fees into an interest in the fund called a “priority profit share.” That had the effect of turning fees that would be taxed at ordinary income rates, as high as 35 percent, into capital gains, taxed at a rate of 15 percent.

So by using this loophole he is essentially cutting his tax rate from 35% to 15%.   A 20% reduction.   Considering he made $20M last year, 15% is $3m.  35% is $7M.   So he is getting a roughly $4m/yr tax loophole.

Multiple this by 10 years, and you find the $40M he used to run for President in 2008.  You’ll also find that the U.S. ran a budget deficit this whole time, so a good portion of Mitt’s tax loophole money was replaced with borrowed from China money.

The thing about this is…it only takes 300,000 people paying that extra $4M/yr to make up our $1,200,000,000,000/yr deficit.

300,000,000 million people in the country, divided by 300,000…is the top 0.1%.  I.e. the top 10% of the top 1%.

In 2005 (seven years ago), the top 0.1% averaged nearly $1.7M each.

So while closing this loophole doesn’t completely close our budget gap in and of itself, it closes a good portion of it…and does so in a responsible manner.

Right now we are borrowing from the wealthy to pay our bills rather than taxing them.  The same folks are then turning around and using that money to “job create….” in the sense that Mitt Romney is using that money to run for President…again (he took the $17m he spent in 2008 as a loss on a personal loan to himself on his 2009 tax returns…one would assume…since he is hiding them and it makes sense to do so).

Far from being the petty thoughts of small minds, wondering how much folks like Mitt pay in taxes, and how they have avoided them in a very relevant discussion in 2012…at least if anyone knows how math works.

Talking Point Smash : “Obama had full control of Congress of two years, and look what happened”

This is one of those things I hear a lot in various forms.  Essentially this is “blaming” Obama for not fixing the Great Recession in 4 years despite having “complete” control of Congress for two full years.

The reality of the history is a bit different.

On July 7th, 2009, Al Franken was sworn in as a Senator for Minnesota.  This was after a protracted legal battle regarding the vote count.  Franken was the 60th vote that the Democrats needs to overcome the unprecedented number of “filibusters” by Republicans in the Senate.

On August 26h, 2009, Ted Kennedy finally succumbed to brain cancer and unsheathed from the mortal coil.   His seat was taken by Scott Brown, a Republican of sorts currently facing off against Elizabeth Warren to hold the seat.  The loss of Kennedy’s vote removed the Democrats ability to overcome the Republican filibuster.

The point here isn’t to focus so much of legislative minutia, but to smash a talking point.   The President has faced, on the numbers alone, unprecedented opposition in trying to get *anything* done over the past 3 years and 46 weeks.   For 6 weeks, the one’s noted earlier, he had the full support of Congress.  Outside of that, it’s been a battle every step of the way.

To be clear…

 

When does Paul Ryan support multiple stimuli and sending free money to every American? Take a wild guess…

Paul Ryan Defended Stimulus — When George W. Bush Wanted It In 2002 (VIDEO) – The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2012/08/19/paul-ryan-bush-stimulus_n_1803761.html?icid=hp_politics_art_more

“What we’re trying to accomplish today with the passage of this third stimulus package is to create jobs and help the unemployed,” Ryan said, in comments unearthed by MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes” and provided to HuffPost. “What we’re trying to accomplish is to pass the kinds of legislation that when they’ve passed in the past have grown the economy and gotten people back to work.”

Paul Ryan…actually a perfect fit for Mitt on the “Blatant Hypocrisy 2012” Ticket

After repeated denials, Paul Ryan has admitted he requested stimulus cash even after sharply criticizing the program.

Ryan had denied doing so as recently as Wednesday, when he spoke to ABC’s Cincinnati affiliate, WCPO, in Ohio.

“I never asked for stimulus,” Mitt Romney’s new running mate said. “I don’t recall… so I really can’t comment on it. I opposed the stimulus because it doesn’t work, it didn’t work.”

“I’m not one [of those] people who votes for something then writes to the government to ask them to send us money. I did not request any stimulus money,” the congressman answered.

In 2009, Ryan wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis asking for stimulus money to cover costs on two energy conservation projects in his home state of Wisconsin. In the letter, Ryan said the funds would help create jobs and reduce “energy consumption” in the state. At least one of the companies received the requested cash.


Thursday, Ryan responded to the questions himself.

“After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled,” Ryan said in a statement. “This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier. But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that.

“Regardless, it’s clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the President is asking to do it all over again.”

via Presented With Letters, Ryan Admits Requesting Stimulus Cash – ABC News.

[all emphasis added]

So you see…despite him claiming not to have requested funds…he actually did…and despite him claiming it was  failure…it actually helped create jobs in his district.

Then…he turns around and claims he didn’t remember doing this becausehe wrote those letters a regular, concerned citizen…not as a Representative of the United States.

See…ta-da!    Issue retroactively retired.

UPDATE: As suspected…he issued these “concerned, regular, citizen” requests on Congressional letterhead.

United States Total Employment By President 1977-2012 (Misleading Statistics Lesson)

I was recently going about my daily business when I was confronted on the Facebook with the following chart…

"Reason" Magazine Net Jobs Analysis...From the Mercatus Project of George Mason University*

Taking these raw numbers without any context leaves a bit to be desired on the “providing insight” part of statistical analysis.

During the ensuing discussion, I noted a couple of things…first that 5 months remain in Obama’s first term. At the current roughly 200K-job/mo pace we are gaining, that’s another 1M on his tally.  As we’ll see in a moment, looking at *how* these numbers came about can be quite enlightening.

As noted in the charts, all raw data is provided from here.

We’re going to start with Jimmy Carter.  In the following analysis, we are calling the inaugural month the first one they are responsible for, going through December of their last year.   A quick comparison shows this to be very close to how Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center* did the original chart.

Non Farm Employment under Carter, Seasonally Adjusted

Non Farm Employment under Carter, Seasonally Adjusted, 1977-1980

From here you can see something that will be a consistent theme in the following analysis…a stagnant job market causing issues for a sitting President.  Employment peaked in March, 1980, having moving little since the previous summer.  The long, hot year and rising unemployment was too much for voters, and a change was made.

Enter the Reagan…

Total Employment Reagan, Seasonally Adjusted, 1981-1988

Total Employment Reagan, Seasonally Adjusted, 1981-1988. One can see how Reagan faced initial skepticism, but has gained long-term respect.

Here we see Carter’s “malaise” lasting well into 1983.  The lowpoint in unemployment, to Reagan’s great fortune, came late in 1982.  By the time the election rolled around in 1984, everything appeared to be on track.  Employment continued to expand throughout the rest of his term.  Then we had to pay for it, and the business cycle shifted again.

Total Employment, Bush the Elder, Seasonally Adjusted, 1989-1992

Total Employment, Bush the Elder, Seasonally Adjusted, 1989-1992. Here we see Bush the elder’s problem, employment peaking two and half years prior to the election.

Bush the Elder saw the peak of the Reagan “what’s debt?” economic expansion, and watched as nearly 2M jobs evaporated after peaking in Jun of ’90. Economic recovery in job form came only in the last few months before the 1992 election, not nearly enough to stop the new kid on the block from stealing heart and minds and electoral votes.

Next we get to *see* what the longest and largest and most stable economic expansion in U.S. history like…in bar graph form.

Total Employment, Clinton, Seasonally Adjusted, 1993-2000

Total Employment, Clinton, Seasonally Adjusted, 1993-2000. It really is pretty impressive, standing there all big and growing like that, Mr. President.

Like all the other graphs, I’ve marked the low and high point in employment during Clinton’s term. That’s how it’s done, folks.  Really can’t ask for more.  Well…maybe a bit less disgracing the Office of the President.  He did, however, get impeached for that.  Not sure if it was the peace and prosperity or the blowjob that got him impeached, but something sure made the Republicans mad.  It didn’t stick in the Senate, but did doom his VP.

Regardless, after so much peace and prosperity, we decided it was time for a change.   And oh what a change it was.

Total Employment, Bush the Lesser, Seasonally Adjusted, 2001-2008

Total Employment, Bush the Lesser, Seasonally Adjusted, 2001-2008. Bush was all over the map. First losing 3M jobs, then finding 9M building houses, then losing 4M in a year after the bust.

Oh George.  What can we do about this one.  If you want to see what a bursting real estate bubble looks like?  Click on that one.  First we see the extended era of peace end on 9/11.  Then we see the prosperity depart as we marched to war, hitting the  low employment point just as the mission in Iraq was “accomplished.”    Then we went on an easy-credit mortgage-fueled home-building binge, topping out with the greatest number of working Americans ever reported, 138,023,000 in January 2008.

By the end of 2008, 4M of those jobs had disappeared, and the Great Recession wasn’t nearly done.

Total Employment, Obama, Seasonally Adjusted, 2009-2012

Total Employment, Obama, Seasonally Adjusted, 2009-2012. Here we see the second half the Great Recession, with 4M more jobs going away in Obama’s first year. Since then there’s been a steady grind upwards, as we work to recover lost ground.

And this brings us up to the present data (Jul 2012).  Here we see the graphic and dramatic employment results of the Great Recession.  Four Million Jobs gone in the first year, reaching Obama’s lowpoint in February of 2010.  Since then (as the “failed” Stimulus package was implemented) we’ve seen steady employment gains over the intervening two years, finally within grasping distance of where from we started.

To wrap the whole thing together…here’s the whole thing together…

Total_Employment_1977_2012

Total_Employment_1977_2012. All of it. Together.

Here we see each and every year laid out side by side.  Now longer term business cycles become more apparent, and we see the huge dip created by the crash of 2008.

All in all I wanted to provide this analysis because I found the original chart to be so incredibly lacking in context as to be misleading.

* the Mercatus Project is funded (to a noticeable degree) by the Koch Bros, who have used some of the $100M they pledged to unseat the current President producing graphs like this…which don’t tell the whole story.  Often telling so little of the story, they might as well be lying.

"Reason" Magazine Net Jobs Analysis...From the Mercatus Project of George Mason University*

Taking these raw numbers without any context leaves a bit to be desired on the “providing insight” part of statistical analysis.

Romney campaign takes credit for Auto Bailout Romney opposed

One of Mitt Romney’s top advisers said Saturday that President Obama’s decision to bailout Chrysler and General Motors was actually Romney’s idea.

“[Romney’s] position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed. I know it infuriates them to hear that,” Eric Fehrnstrom, senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said.

“The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice.”

The claim appears to be a shift from Mitt Romney’s November 2008 op-ed in The New York Times, headlined, “Let Detroit go bankrupt.”

Expect a lot of this.  Romney’s core supporters are two groups that will believe anything: people who hate Obama and Mormons.  Hence the Romney campaign is under the impression they can say pretty much anything and expect a good portion of their supporters to believe it wholeheartedly.

As to the general election, the hope is to sling so much mud the cynics stay home and the low-information folks get fooled in sizable numbers.

“Romneality” is what I call the strategy, although I don’t think it will work…blatant b.s. like in this story only fools a small portion the populace.  Combing John Kerry’s charisma with George W. Bush’s policies doesn’t seem like a winning combination in any sense.


Romney campaign aide claims auto bailout was Romney’s idea – The Hill’s Ballot Box
http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/224371-romney-campaign-claims-auto-bailout-was-his-idea?utm_campaign=briefingroom

Ignoring the Media vetting a candidate is not the same as them ignoring vetting a candidate

Today, the website BuzzFeed published a clip of the speech along with an article explaining some past and current context for Obama’s remarks. The website claimed the clip was “not previously available online.” The editors at Breitbart.com responded that the video on Buzzfeed had been “selectively edited” and said that they would release the full footage tonight on Fox News.

But there’s nothing new about the clip or Obama’s role in the controversy at Harvard Law School. In 2008, as a part of our quadrennial election special The Choice 2008, FRONTLINE ran the same footage of the speech as a part of an exploration of Obama’s time at Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1991. It’s been online at our site and on YouTube since then. You can see that part of the film below.

Isn’t it curious how if you ignore that someone has done something, you can claim,  in good faith, they haven’t done that same thing.   Some people truly believe that their own perception is reality.  These people are largely ignorant idiots.

And in a complete coincidence, they don’t watch PBS.
—-
The Story Behind the Obama Law School Speech Video | Government / Elections / Politics | FRONTLINE | PBS
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/government-elections-politics/the-story-behind-the-obama-law-school-speech-video/

Hump Day Link Dump (Romney’s KKK Logo and Gay Rights Bashing, Dodd on China, Carrier Low IQ, Gingrich’s Latest Lie, Robert Reich Explains, Trump Fails Again, and Newt’s Class War)

Romney uses KKK tagline for his campaign, “Keeping America American”.

Romney tells vet his marriage should be illegal.

MPAA head Chris Dodd (yes, that one) is envious of China’s Great Firewall, and think the U.S. should have one here.   Curious note… part of the point of the Chinese firewall is to avoid paying outrageous copyright fees to U.S. companies.   The point of the U.S. Great Firewall would be to force U.S. citizens to continue to pay outrageous copyright fees to U.S. companies.

Your phone company is spying on you.   This shouldn’t be news to anyone.    Most of the Republicans candidates want todstrengthen Patriot Act rules that allow this, and then claim to be supporting your freedom by doing so.

Another example of a Tea Party group walking all over that racism line.

Gingrich, obviously, does the exact same kind of thing with the Palestinians, echoing insanely racist rhetoric.

Trump’s debate strategy goes bankrupt, one of Trump’s specialties.

Gingrich tax plan: Give it all to the 1% (not the taxes…the money).

Robert Reich on how math works (and why Republicans don’t seem to care about that).

China has it’s own “occupy” movement happening.

Giving Newt the business on his “poor people, especially poor kids,  are worthless and lazy” kick he’s been off on.

UPDATE:  Larry Wilmore absolutely smashing Newt’s outrageous statements and racist supposition.

7,000,000,000th Person Joins Earth, RPN gets older (link dump)

37 times around the Sun, now with 7,000,000,000 of my closest friends.   Thus we mark the year.

October 31, 2011

The U.N. estimates that the world’s population will pass the 7 billion mark on Monday.

Much of that growth has happened in Asia — in India and China. Those two countries have been among the world’s most populous for centuries. But a demographic shift is taking place as the countries have modernized and lowered their fertility rates. Now, the biggest growth is taking place in sub-Saharan Africa.

For all the actual problems the world faces, this is one that I think will largely moderate itself as more and more of humanity catches up to the present (in the 21st century, unless your political climate is noxious towards women, there are ample methods for taking control of one’s reproductive life).

Wage stats for 2010.  No surprise here…

Based on data in the table below, about 66.2 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the $39,959.30 raw average wage. By definition, 50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage, which is estimated to be $26,363.55 for 2010.

[full stats]

When the average is 50% higher than the  median it’s probably a situation where people are taking to the streets to protest and….oh.  And yes you read that right, half of wage earners earned less than $27K last year.  These are the folks every Republican candidate wants to *raise taxes* on (i.e. “expand the base”), while cutting them further for the wealthy.

Palestine goes for country-hood, U.S. promptly pulls funding (I hate this crap, the UN created Israel, but somehow it horrible to use the same mechanism to create Palestine).

PARIS (Reuters) – The United Nations’ cultural agency decided Monday to give the Palestinians full membership of the body, a vote that will boost their bid for recognition as a state at the United Nations.

UNESCO is the first U.N. agency the Palestinians have joined as a full member since President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations on September 23.

[full story]

–followed by–

The United States has announced it will stop its financial contributions to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after the body admitted Palestine as a member on Monday.

“We were to have made a $60 million payment to UNESCO in November and we will not be making that payment,” said the US State Department’s spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland.

[full story]

This is another one of those things where the Obama administration is doing exactly what conservatives want them to do, but will get absolutely no credit whatsoever for doing it.   Indeed, this will likely be interpreted as “throwing Israel under the bus” when in reality what we are doing, once again, is “going to the mat for an unthankful ally who ignores our requests they stop violating the law“.

Just to get an idea of what crap goes on and gets called justice over there…

An Israeli court on Thursday threw out a lawsuit filed by a Palestinian family that lost two relatives after their home in the Gaza Strip was bombed during an Israel Defense Forces operation.

The Jerusalem District Court refused the family’s request for damages, ruling that the fatal 2006 bombing was a legitimate act of war.

Fatma Wahabe and her son Khaled were killed after a missile fire by an IDF assault helicopter hit their home in Khan Yunis, instead of the targeted vehicle carrying wanted Palestinian militants.

The court’s decision was based in part on an affidavit filed by the head of the Shin Bet security service’s department on Gaza, who defended the IDF operation as necessary “to prevent a clear, immediate, and present danger to public safety.”

“It was an initiated attack meant to strike a top terror operative based on solid intelligence, according to which he was about to attack Israeli citizens,” the judge said.

The plaintiffs were also ordered to pay NIS 25,000 in legal fees.

[full story]

I can’t imagine how someone occupying your city, killing your family, and charging you for the service could do anything but build strong bonds of fellowship.

Right Wing Pundit realizing GOP primacy choices are largely  a joke.

Great questions for anyone who wants to claim that Big Poverty caused the financial crisis of 2008.  One of the more disturbing aspects of the collapse of 2008 is that the people responsible have done a bang-up job of blaming everyone else for the collapse.   I’m guessing this is because they control most of the money and media, and therefore just get to propagate loads of self-affirming bullshit.   However, when you run into someone that claims it was the CRA (from ’94) that caused the crisis (in ’08), there’s a few good questions on that link to ask them.  (note: these are more technical economics questions, so it’s important to first ascertain if the person you are talking to has a basic understanding of how economics works.  If they are a Ron Paul supporter….just nod and back away).

Read this and then you’ll understand that cutting corporate tax rates won’t do a dang thing unless we cut them to negative numbers.   (and that’s  one of the “good” guys).  We need a corporate AMT, based on yearly reporting earnings, firm-wide.

Marco Rubio has been a’lyin about his origin story.  Whenever I see this guy, I always think it’s this guy.   Maybe it’s because when Rubio talks, it’s like he’s living in an imaginary Never Never Land

Canadians seems to have taking a liking to Canadians.  I can see why…who doesn’t like Canadians?

Paul Ryan and Class Mobility in 21st Century America

U.S. vs Europe contemporary comparison

U.S. vs Europe contemporary comparison of likelihood of social mobility

Paul Ryan is stuck in the last century

Paul Ryan is stuck in the last century, things have changed in the last 50 years

The Inflation Adjusted version of income gains over the last 30 years

The Inflation Adjusted version of income gains over the last 30 years

Original TPM link.

And there ya go.