MorganRants

Things I am passionate about. Injustice, stupidity, intolerance, bigotry and small-mindedness. Oh and there might just be some humor to offset the whole thing.

Archive for October, 2008

Illegal Aliens with Illegal Mortgages

Posted by morganwrites on October 13, 2008

A single report by KFYI radio of Phoenix, Arizona highlights a shocking claim made by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD says that five million illegal aliens hold illegal mortgages. This is just one more example of the lax lending laws put into place by Democrats like Barney Frank that have contributed to this economic crisis. One would think this would be big news. But, so far we have only this one report to cover it.There have been earlier stories of home flipping schemes that made liberal use of illegal aliens as straw buyers and the FBI has followed numerous cases to prosecution and conviction. But the Old Media have not done much with this story.

KFYI reports that these fraudulent straw purchases of mortgages by illegal aliens has affected every state in the union.

One illegal alien was arrested this year in Tucson after allegedly using a stolen social security number to buy two homes and rack up over $780,000 in bad debt.Some five million fraudulent home mortgages are in the hands of illegal aliens, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

It’s not known how many of those have contributed to the subprime housing mortgage meltdown, but it has affected every state, including Arizona.

The problem began years ago when banks were forced to give mortgages without confirming social security numbers or borrower identification. As a result, illegal immigrants were able to obtain home mortgages which they could not afford.

Lax immigration laws have also helped make this crime easy to perpetrate.In 1965 a Democrat Controlled Congress under President Lyndon Johnson passed the concept of “chain” immigration into law. A later commission named the Hesburgh Commission convened during Ronald Reagan’s first term, found that this concept statistically allowed each single immigrant to bring into this country 84 of his family members. Of course, all these people have to live somewhere making such fraudulent mortgages quite attractive.

But go on. Vote for the fellow with the most charismatic personality for your hopey changey goodness, and blame any hitches in the giddy-up on “eight years of Bush Cheney.”

Real life just isn’t that simple, m’friends.

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This could be the game changer

Posted by morganwrites on October 13, 2008

(American Thinker) – Someone with the unlikely name of Molotov Mitchell has produced a 10 minute and 52 second video [watch it below] that could well change the terms of the election — if enough people watch it. Illuminati Productions has posted it to YouTube. They have provided the voting public a very professionally and engagingly done video generation equivalent of a long detailed article in a place like American Thinker.

It makes accessible to the general public some of the serious questions about Obama’s citizenship status that have been vetted almost exclusively in the conservative web world. You can’t get most voters to focus on print media in order to entertain a series of hard questions on what seems like a far-fetched notion. Especially those voters who rely on the Big Media. They figure that if this were true, they would have heard about it from the old familiar faces.

But you can get people to watch 11 minutes of interesting video raising a slew of questions for Obama, in fact cornering him, on the question of his birth, citizenship, and eligibility for office as POTUS under the Constitution. Especially if people start talking about the video. It’s called viral distribution. A friend emails an Obama-supporting friend and dares him or her to watch.

A lifelong Democrat who has held political office and been a committeeman, Philip Berg, has brought suit over the real questions raised by the absence of a valid Obama birth certificate. His narrative of the various questions Obama has refused to answer is devastating. Graphics and sound are well-deployed to avoid tedium as factual data is conveyed in a way that allows viewers to absorb it. When he contrasts Obama’s behavior when challenged (use perfectly valid legal technicalities to delay) with John McCain’s full disclosure of all documentary evidence under a similar challenge (remember the flap over his birth in the Panama Canal Zone? — who raised those questions, anyway?), there is no doubt in a viewer’s mind that there is something seriously wrong here.
We are talking about the Presidency and this guy stonewalls?

The only way Obama can satisfactorily respond is to release his suposed Hawaiian birth certificate. If he has it, why hasn’t he released it? If he does release it, game over. So why drag this out on technical grounds? It doesn’t make sense.

If this video gets widely viewed and discussed, Obama’s support will crumble in the face of continued stonewalling.


I am grateful for the efforts of the people who put this op together. It is brilliantly timed. I do know that there are one or more smart Democrats who haven’t forgiven Obama and who don’t want to see him elected. They know how to design and implement really effective plans to get things done.

They might even want to get Obama thrown off the ballot and replaced by the second place finisher before Election Day. Or, if the Democratic Party stonewalls and the court delays, pick up the pieces.

Watch it and see what you think.

Posted in Barack Obama | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

AIDS virus leapt the species barrier early last century: study

Posted by morganwrites on October 7, 2008

The AIDS virus, previously thought to have been transmitted from chimps to humans in the 1930s, may have leapt the species barrier more than a century ago in west-central Africa, scientists said on Wednesday. Analysis of tissues preserved by doctors in the colonial-era Belgian Congo shows that the most pervasive strain of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) began spreading among humans at some point between 1884 and 1924.

“The diversification of HIV-1 in west-central Africa occurred long before the recognised AIDS pandemic,” they announced in the British-based science journal Nature.

AIDS first came to public notice in 1981, when alert US doctors noted an unusual cluster of deaths among young homosexuals in California and New York.

It has since killed at least 25 million people, and 33 million others are living with the disease or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS by destroying immune cells.

Epidemiologists trying to date the history of HIV have until now been limited to only one laboratory source that long precedes the detected start of the outbreak.

This is a now-legendary blood sample called ZR59, which was taken in 1959 from a patient in Leopoldville, now Kinshasa, then capital of the Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

HIV is highly mutating virus, with as much as one percent of its genome diverging per year.

This rate of mutation gives rise to a measurement called a “molecular clock,” a timescale at which the HIV deviates from previous strains and from its animal ancestor, the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV).

By this calculation, HIV began to spread among humans before 1940, according to ZR59’s genes.

Now, though, another precious piece of the jigsaw has emerged.

It is a piece of lymph node tissue that was taken for a biopsy from a woman in Kinshasa in 1960 and preserved in a bed of paraffin wax. It was found in the archives of the Anatomy Department at the University of Kinshasa.

An international team of sleuths pieced together the genetic sequence of the virus — the sub-group M of HIV-1 — and then compared telltale regions between ZR59 and the second sample, DRC60.

They found a significant divergence between the two genetic regions, and calculate that this gap must have taken around 40 years to evolve from a common viral ancestor.

In other words, the ancestral virus began to be transmitted among humans at the start of the century — the estimated range is between 1884 and 1924.

The virus spread only very slowly at first but got a vital foothold thanks to urbanisation during the colonial era, the authors speculate. It was transmitted through sex and then was taken further afield through commerce.

“The founding of and growth of colonial administrative and trading centres such as Kinshasa may have enabled the region to become the epicentre of the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” they suggest.

Kinshasa was founded in 1881, Brazzaville (capital of today’s Republic of Congo) in 1883 and Yaounde (Cameroun) in 1890, while Bangui (Central African Republic) was established in 1899.

All of these towns were founded before or at around the time that HIV-1 is believed to have entered the human population, the investigators note.

The growth of these towns was at first slow. Until 1910, not one of them had a population of more than 10,000 people.

There are several theories that seek to explain how SIV entered humans, the animal primates’ closest relative.

An infected chimpanzee bit a human, or a SIV-infected ape was butchered and sold for bushmeat, and the virus entered the bloodstream through tiny cuts in the hand, according to these hypotheses.

The new research was led by Michael Worobey of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Posted in AIDS, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Kids spread cheating methods on YouTube

Posted by morganwrites on October 6, 2008

‘‘Hi YouTube, it’s me, Kiki,’’ the teenager said to the camera as she swiveled in her chair to jazzy background music.

‘‘And today I’m going to show you how to cheat on a test – the effective way.’’

She demonstrates her technique, slipping a small piece of paper with the answers in a clear-tubed pen as she rationalizes her reasons for cheating.

‘‘I know it’s not a good thing to cheat,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s academic dishonesty, blah, blah, blah. But I think everyone has at least done it once.’’

Kiki’s video is one of several dozen on the popular Internet site YouTube that show detailed ways to cheat on tests. Students no longer conceal answers in the sole of a shoe or the underside of a baseball cap’s bill. In the age of continual access to the Internet and laser-precision printers, cheating has gone high-tech.

And some techniques, like Kiki’s, come with a guarantee.

‘‘This is 98 percent effective,’’ she said. ‘‘Hopefully, any of my teachers don’t see this video. It would be very awkward.’’

Elizabeth Losh, writing director of the human core course at University of California, Irvine, knows the cheating videos well.

As a teacher of digital rhetoric, she analyzes how media affects society. The YouTube videos are really a way for people to boast, she said.

‘‘It’s a whole kind of tradition on YouTube – how do you subvert something, how do you break in to something,’’ she said. ‘‘In some ways, I’m not surprised that the genre has evolved.’’

Some of the modern cheating techniques are so time-consuming that students would be better off simply studying, Losh said.

‘‘They take so much time you might as well study,’’ she said. ’’I can laugh about the inventiveness, but it’s sad more than anything else.‘‘

Chris Ciocchetti, adviser to a student panel that determines punishments for cheating at Centenary College of Louisiana, is surprised with the boldness of some of the cheating videos’ techniques.

Much like Kiki in her video, others make cheating look easy and almost acceptable. One such video uses a Coke bottle and photo-altering software to sneak the answers past teachers.

’’The boldness does worry me,‘‘ Ciocchetti said. ’’Students that cheat think that everyone does it. But students that don’t, don’t think it’s appropriate. The Internet reflects back to us, and that’s the worrisome part.‘‘

Universities have different methods of punishing academic cheaters.

Centenary College, a private liberal-arts institution in Shreveport, La., requires students to sign an honor code on all work they submit. An Honor Court consisting of student justices determines punishments for any violations. Sanctions include redoing the work, receiving a failing grade, suspension for the semester or expulsion.

Students cheat for many reasons. ’’It’s an easy way out,‘‘ said Nicholas Swell, a communication major at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.

Students are under great pressure to succeed so some take a chance, Ciocchetti said: ’’They get to the point where they say ’if I don’t, my dream is gone.’ ‘‘

Thomas Harrison III, a biochemistry major at Louisiana State University, said that while he’s never cheated, he’s had friends attempt to pay him to take a test for them online. He refused, he said.

’’Every outlet is available,‘‘ Harrison said. ’’Professors have office hours, and there are tutors. It’s not necessary.‘‘

But if a student is on the verge of cheating, the ease of finding the information on how to do it could push them over, Ciocchetti said.

’’It makes it easy to do it because of YouTube,‘‘ he said. ’’So it makes it feel like it’s OK.‘‘

Cheating, lying, stealing, etc. has become ubiquitous in America – and why is this?  Just look to the Democratic Party!

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Reid’s Irresponsible Lie Costs Insurance Industry a Fortune

Posted by morganwrites on October 5, 2008

Harry Reid did his best to cause us to fail in Iraq by proclaiming that the war had already been lost, even as the Surge turned the tide in our favor. Now he’s applying similar tactics to the economy, in hopes of whipping up enough financial chaos to sweep Obama into the White House. His disgraceful efforts appear to be meeting with success.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is getting credit for sparking a blistering sell-off in insurance stocks.
MetLife Inc., Hartford Financial Services Group and Prudential Financial Inc. all fell by double-digit percentage amounts [yesterday] after Reid on Wednesday said the financial-system bailout plan was crucial because a large insurer was at risk of failing.

Reid specifically cited “a major insurance company — one with a name that everyone knows — that’s on the verge of going bankrupt,” according to Dow Jones Newswires.

But apparently Dingy Harry was just kidding — i.e., talking trash for political purposes.

A statement from his office said that Reid was “not personally aware of any particular company being on the verge of bankruptcy” and that “he has no special knowledge about nor has he talked to any insurance company officials,” Dow Jones reported.

However, the damage has been done.

But with investors already on high alert after the Federal Reserve’s rescue of insurance titan American International Group Inc. on Sept. 16, and with the credit crunch still making funding difficult for even the largest U.S. financial companies, Reid’s comments were the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a grease fire.
MetLife plunged $7.19, or 14.9%, to $40.96; Hartford dived $12.20, or 32%, to $25.91; and Prudential slid $7.15, or 11%, to $57.65.

Reid is following in the proud tradition of fellow Democrat Senator Charles “Chuckie Schmuckie” Schumer.

In late June, Democrat Schumer made public a letter he had sent to federal bank regulators, expressing concern that Pasadena-based IndyMac Bancorp was on the brink of failure.
When regulators seized IndyMac in mid-July, they accused Schumer of fomenting a panic run on deposits that made the bank’s collapse inevitable.

Due to liberal domination of the media, lefty politicians stand only to benefit from the economic ruin they inflict, as they can be assured that few people will know enough to hold them responsible.

Irresponsible fools in positions of great power.

Irresponsible fools in positions of great power.

Posted in Harry "Dingy" Reid | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Poll: Obama Faring Poorly Among Racists

Posted by morganwrites on October 4, 2008

Bigots Oppose Barack by 1,000-to-1 Margin

In a potentially ominous sign for the Democratic nominee, a new poll shows Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) trailing far behind GOP standard bearer Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) among voters who identify themselves as racists.

Pundits and pollsters alike have wondered about the role racists might play in the 2008 presidential contest, but the new survey released today was the first concrete attempt to take the pulse of this key voting bloc.

The poll, conducted by Duh Magazine, suggests that Mr. Obama faces an uphill battle in his effort to win the votes of dyed-in-the-wool bigots.

“We wanted to know, why isn’t Barack Obama closing the deal among racists?” said Charles Plugh, editor-in-chief of Duh. “The answer seems to be because he’s black.”

In a head-to-head match-up, likely bigots chose Sen. McCain over Sen. Obama by a margin of 1,000 to 1, with a majority of racists saying they “strongly disagree” with Sen. Obama’s decision not to be white.

Asked under what conditions they would conceivably vote for a black presidential candidate, 95 percent of racists responded, “Only if he were running against someone from a group I hated even more, such as Arabs.”

Duh editor Plugh says the poll indicates that Sen. Obama “has his work cut out for him” if he is going to make up lost ground among racists.

“Sen. Obama made a choice at the beginning of this campaign to run as a black man,” Mr. Plugh said. “He could change his position on that, but racists might see that as too little, too late.”

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Unlike Clinton, Biden Gets Pass for Saying He Was ‘Shot At’ in Iraq

Posted by morganwrites on October 3, 2008

When Hillary Clinton told a tall tale about “landing under sniper fire” in Bosnia, she was accused of “inflating her war experience” by rival Democrat Barack Obama’s campaign.

But the campaign has been silent about Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, telling his own questionable story about being “shot at” in Iraq.

“Let’s start telling the truth,” Biden said during a presidential primary debate sponsored by YouTube last year. “Number one, you take all the troops out – you better have helicopters ready to take those 3,000 civilians inside the Green Zone, where I have been seven times and shot at. You better make sure you have protection for them, or let them die.”

But when questioned about the episode afterward by the Hill newspaper, Biden backpedaled from his claim of being “shot at” and instead allowed: “I was near where a shot landed.”

The senior senator from Delaware went on to say that some sort of projectile “landed” outside a building in the Green Zone where he and another senator had spent the night during a visit in December 2005. The lawmakers were shaving in the morning when they felt the building shake, Biden said.

“No one got up and ran from the room-it wasn’t that kind of thing,” he told the Hill. “It’s not like I had someone holding a gun to my head.”

The rest of the press ignored the flap at the time because Biden was viewed as having little chance of ending up on the Democratic presidential ticket. But even after Biden was selected to be Obama’s running mate last month, his claim to have been “shot at” drew no scrutiny from the same reporters who had savaged Clinton for making a similar claim that turned out to be false.

FOX News has been asking the Obama campaign for details of the alleged shooting in Iraq ever since Biden was tapped to be vice president. Biden campaign spokesman David Wade promised an answer last week, but failed to provide one.

Meanwhile, the gaffe-prone Biden has again raised eyebrows with another story about his exploits in war zones – this time in Afghanistan. Biden said he will grill Republican rival Sarah Palin in Thursday’s vice presidential debate about “the superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down.”

“If you want to know where Al Qaeda lives, you want to know where Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me,” Biden bragged to the National Guard Association. “Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are.”

But it turns out that inclement weather, not terrorists, prompted the chopper to land in an open field during Biden’s visit to Afghanistan in February. Fighter jets kept watch overhead while a convoy of security vehicles was dispatched to retrieve Biden and fellow Senators Chuck Hagel and John Kerry.

“We were going to send Biden out to fight the Taliban with snowballs, but we didn’t have to,” joked Kerry, a Democrat, to the AP. “Other than getting a little cold, it was fine.”

Biden never explicitly claimed his chopper had been forced down by terrorists. Nonetheless, John McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said Obama-Biden officials have been less than forthcoming about Biden’s dramatic war stories.

“They never explained Biden’s helicopter story from last week – which is very similar to the story about getting ‘shot at’ in Baghdad,” Rogers said.

When will they every learn, when will they ever learn.

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Meltdown

Posted by morganwrites on October 3, 2008

Suppose a group of astrophysicists sat you down and told you a giant asteroid was headed toward Earth. You’d be unable to verify what they were telling you, unless you were an astrophysicist too. But you’d probably feel irresponsible if you didn’t support dramatic action to avert disaster.

Something like this scenario is playing out in Washington, where Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson have informed Congress that an asteroid is about to crash into the U.S. economy, precipitating a long economic slump. The danger now is that the rocket scientists in Congress will design a solution that’s worse than the problem.

Paulson has put before Congress a plan to avoid catastrophe by restoring function to the nation’s stricken credit markets. He is seeking $700 billion and the authority to buy bad assets from struggling firms before they take the economy down with them. He reasons that once these firms have clean balance sheets, they can resume the borrowing and lending activities that keep the economy going.

The plan is a bailout pure and simple. But as we have stated before, viable options for taxpayers currently range from bad to worse. Here are the other alternatives:

1. Do nothing: If Congress does nothing, it is clear that the Fed and the Treasury Department will continue to use their existing authority to bail out firms on an ad hoc basis, resulting in a wide variety of arrangements at a high cost to taxpayers. First, the Fed facilitated the sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase by guaranteeing $29 billion of its assets. Then, Treasury nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, putting several hundred billion more at risk. And last week, the Fed effectively bought insurance giant American International Group (AIG) at a cost of $85 billion. The feds may only succeed in spending lots of money, while still not avoiding the financial calamity they fear.

2. Suspend “mark to market” accounting rules: Under current accounting rules, a firm’s assets must be “marked to market,” or valued at the going price, which for mortgage-backed securities is often pennies on the dollar. As the housing bubble burst, a few fire sales set prices for the market, and firms that owned lots of these securities were forced to write down billions in losses, eroding their capital base and making it harder to meet their short-term borrowing needs. But most people are still paying their mortgages, which means that mark-to-market accounting may fail to capture the real value of these assets. If the Securities and Exchange Commission temporarily suspended mark-to-market rules — just for mortgage-backed assets — firms could hold them to maturity (or until the market settles) without having to take crippling write-downs in the process. But this could be too little, too late, in which case we’re back to Option 1.

3. Buy equity in struggling firms: Senate Banking Committee chairman Chris Dodd has proposed an alternative to Paulson’s plan that would essentially nationalize the U.S. banking system. Under Dodd’s plan, companies selling assets to the government would also have to give up an equity share, agree to limited executive compensation and submit to whatever other conditions Dodd can think up between now and when the bill reaches the floor. This is the same approach the Fed took with AIG. The Treasury Department has rejected this approach because it would discourage firms from selling bad assets until they were on the brink of failure, thus prolonging the current period of uncertainty and crisis.

Option 1 clearly isn’t working. At the rate things are going, the price tag of future ad hoc bailouts could reach well north of $700 billion, and the government could end up owning half the nation’s financial firms without stabilizing the market.

Option 2 would be a good idea regardless of what Congress does, and SEC chairman Chris Cox should show a little responsiveness to the crisis by abandoning his misguided war on short-sellers and temporarily suspending mark-to-market rules for mortgage-backed securities. But that alone might not be enough.

Option 3, Dodd’s plan, has punitive features that would discourage firms from taking advantage of the Treasury facility until they are about to fail. Perhaps that is a desirable end, but let’s call it what it is: a grander version of Option 1.

The Paulson plan itself has drawbacks, besides the enormous cost. First, it puts the government in the position of trying to assign the correct value to a set of esoteric financial products that Wall Street itself doesn’t know how to price. There’s some risk that if Treasury pays too little for these assets, it could weaken the banks and exacerbate the crisis; if it pays too much, the taxpayers lose. Second, it vests in the Treasury Secretary tremendous power with virtually no oversight. Conservatives are rightly wary of how Paulson would use this power, and their fears are compounded by the knowledge that, come January, that power could be in the hands of a Democratic Treasury Secretary with an unknowable agenda.

Paulson and Bernanke are testifying before Congress today. We are eager to hear how they address these concerns, and others. Any plan that shields irresponsible actors from the full consequences of their decisions creates moral hazard, encouraging riskier behavior in the future. But that asteroid could indeed be hurtling toward us, making even a highly unpalatable option necessary. We know the Paulson plan is unpalatable, but it also might be necessary.

Posted in Politics As Usual | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Senate bailout bill keeps growing

Posted by morganwrites on October 2, 2008

The Senate hopes to revive Treasury’s $700 billion financial rescue plan Wednesday night by packaging it together with more than $100 billion in popular tax breaks as well as aid to rural schools important to House Republicans.

To calm voters fearful of bank failures, the $100,000 cap on federal insurance for deposits would also be raised to $250,000—a concession backed by both parties but also aimed at community banks who can be helpful in building small town support for the larger bill.

With each permutation, the bill has steadily grown in size. Treasury’s initial plan was about three pages long. The House version, which failed, stretched to 110. The Senate substitute now runs over 450 pages. And tucked away in the tax provisions is a landmark health care provision demanding that insurance companies provide coverage for mental health treatment—such as hospitalization—on parity with physical illnesses.

Really a bill onto itself, the mental health parity measure has been a bipartisan priority for top lawmakers in both chambers but has stalled because of disagreements again over how to pay for its estimated $3.8 billion five-year cost. In the current climate, that seems to be no longer a stumbling block, and if the Treasury plan becomes law, it will also.

Both presidential candidates, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, are slated to return for two important roll calls Wednesday evening, and Obama appears to be playing an increased role in shoring up support among House Democrats after the bill failed Monday.

Proponents hope a strong Senate vote—with support from both candidates—will marginalize the opponents in the House, which could vote Friday on the revised package. In early trading Wednesday, the Dow was holding steady. More important perhaps in the credit markets, the London inter-bank offer rate or Libor, which influences what charge in borrowing from one another, had dropped by 3 points—after spiking Monday night in the wake of the House defeat.

When the Treasury plan went down in the House, it was clearly hurt by the public perception that it was nothing more than a costly bailout for Wall Street. And since then there has been a more concerted effort by proponents to broaden grassroots support around the nation.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has begun radio ads targeted at lawmakers. The Republican and Democratic chairmen of national governors associations for the two parties released a joint letter Wednesday urging Congress to act. And the courtship of community banks— by raising the insurance level for deposits –builds on a decision over the weekend to also include tax breaks for local banks which were hurt by the government takeover of the two mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Senate leaders are confident that they can prevail, but the strategy is not without risks in the House given the added costs of the tax package. Congressional Budget Office estimates indicate that the net impact will be to add almost $105 billion to an already large deficit next year, and fiscal conservatives will feel they are being straight-armed by the Senate which has refused to do more to offset the costs.

The biggest single piece in the package is an extension of protections for millions of middle class families who would otherwise find themselves exposed to the higher levy under the alternative minimum tax. This alone accounts for about three quarters of the cost or $78.8 billion in 2009. Almost $14 billion more can be attributed to a variety of tax break extensions important to business, including the R&E credit worth about $8.4 billion in 2009.

The rural school aid is smaller —about $3.3 billion over the next five years— but has great importance for many Western communities and could be important then in the House.

Yet many House Democrats are already upset that Republicans and the White House had rejected their effort to require Treasury to impose a fee on Wall Street transactions in five years to help recoup any taxpayer losses. The expanded Senate package would compound this loss and puts Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) in an awkward spot since she has vowed to stand up for these moderates in her caucus.

“The Senate has made a decision about how to proceed and what can pass that body,” Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday night. “The Senate will vote tomorrow night and the Congress will work its will. House Democrats remain strongly committed to a comprehensive bill that stabilizes the financial markets, restores confidence, and protects taxpayers, and we hope Congress can agree on legislation in the very near future.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also warned on Wednesday morning that adding tax extenders might cause Democratic votes to drop of.

Speaking on The Today Show on NBC, Hoyer said he was “not particularly pleased” that the Senate has decided to add a set of tax breaks to the bailout package.

“There’s no doubt the tax package is very controversial,” Hoyer said. Soon after the defeat in the House Monday, the administration and leadership began exploring ways to revive Treasury’s plan in the Senate, where it has enjoyed more bipartisan support. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took the lead but he was also helped by the fact that his chief negotiator on the Treasury bill, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) enjoys a good humored, working relationship with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

“The voters sent us here to respond to crises, not to ignore them,” McConnell said. “And if you fail the first time, you get back up, and you work with each other.”

Reid had been fearful that he would be drawn into prolonged negotiations about changes in the core Treasury plan. But the decision to raise the cap on insurance for savings deposits won wide support Tuesday, and as a practical matter, all sides know they must deal with the tax extenders now or risk having to come back into session after the November elections.

“This is a brilliant move by Harry, and I believe it will help pick up votes on both sides of the aisle,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

How brilliant will rest on the House reaction. The White House itself was somewhat apprehensive Tuesday night until it has seen a better vote count. And if Pelosi starts to lose Democrats who voted for the bill Monday, that means the burden will be even greater on House Republicans to increase their numbers from the 65 who backed the plan then.

Pork, pork, pork.  And exactly how much will this cost the citizens of America?

Posted in Congressional Idiocy | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Democracy Alliance memo details Dem plan to “educate the idiots” and target minorities

Posted by morganwrites on October 2, 2008

In a confidential internal memorandum obtained by Face The State (PDF), the Colorado Democracy Alliance outlines a roster of “operatives” who worked for Democratic victory in the 2006 general election. The document outlines specific tasks for various members of the state’s liberal infrastructure, including a campaign to “educate the idiots,” assigned to the state’s AFL-CIO union. Among the operation’s intended targets: “minorities, GED’s, drop-outs.”

Individuals named in the document, marked “CONFIDENTIAL,” “for internal use only,” and “DO NOT DISTRIBUTE,” are high-level elected Democrats including House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, former Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, as well as Gov. Bill Ritter‘s press aide and former campaign chief Evan Dreyer. All are specially marked as “off-the-record or covert.”

Mentioned as a “critical contact” was Dominic DelPapa, a partner at Ikon Public Affairs. DelPapa was at the center of recent controversy stemming from the February leak of a confidential memo he authored detailing a multi-million dollar “foot on throat” attack on Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, among others.

CoDA is one of 18 state-based versions of the nationally focused Democracy Alliance, a self-described “investment partnership of business and philanthropic leaders” funding liberal infrastructure nationwide. For more information about the Democracy Alliance in Colorado, see day one and two of Face The State’s week-long series on the group.

In a podcast released by the DNC Host Committee Tuesday, national Democracy Alliance founder Rob Stein explains the need for large, secretive donor networks. “We do not have the infrastructure that the right has built, yet,” he said. “But there has never in the history of progressivedom (sic) been a clearer, more strategic, more focused, more disciplined, better financed group of institutions operating at the state and national level.”

In the same podcast, Laurie Hirschfeld Zeller, the newly installed executive director of CoDA, explains her organization’s mission. “Our job is to build a long-term progressive infrastructure in Colorado while we’re conceding nothing in the short term in terms of progressive goals at the ballot box.”

Zeller had high praise for the state’s liberal establishment, specifically naming America Votes, New Era Colorado, Progressive Majority, the Latina Initiative, and ProgressNow as partners in CoDA’s coalition building efforts. “CoDA works with all these organizations,” she said.

The Bell Policy Center, a liberal think tank that regularly plays host to CoDA board meetings, was praised for its work fighting to dismantle Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. She characterized Colorado’s constitutional requirement for voter approval of tax increases as “arcane.”

According to Zeller, CoDA operates “in a structure that provides privacy to members.” Under current law, this structure is as a taxable non-profit organization that allows individual donors to give anonymously to shared causes. She described the structure as a “fiscal irrigation system” designed to “provide a harvest later this fall.”

Stein, the DA founder, said state groups like CoDA have fired “a warning shot to conservatives in America.”

“Conservatives have nothing comparable to possibly compete with it, and they better watch out,” he said. Colorado was chosen as a test case for exporting DA’s national model, due in part to the “significant wealth” of liberal donors living here.

“It’s not just individual donors,” Zeller said of CoDA’s financial underwriting. “One of the things that has been crucial in making the work of the Colorado Democracy Alliance effective in Colorado has been our partnership with institutional donors and activist organizations in labor, particularly,” she said. “That’s been a major part of how we get our work done here.”

According to Zeller, CoDA’s giving is concentrated in five general funding categories: leadership development, communications, “research and ideas,” “civic engagement” and “constituency development.”

“We embrace the ‘progressive’ label in our giving and the strategic role we play in Colorado politics,” she said.

Despite sweeping gains for political liberals both in Colorado and nationally, Stein believes his coalition can do a better job of communicating with voters.

“It feels scary, because we don’t have the message down right,” he said. “[But] We’re being more businesslike – we’re being more professional.”

Can you believe these people?  IF the main-stream media would have some balls and report this – man, the shit would fly.

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