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Amped Status's List: Government & Politics

  • 22 Sep 11

    "Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) says he would consider putting the liberal congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in his Cabinet if he were to win the presidency in 2012.

    Paul said his libertarian political philosophy helps him connect with some on the far left — including Kucinich, who shares Paul’s general anti-war stance."

  • 22 Sep 11

    "Troy Davis, the Georgia man controversially sentenced to death for the 1989 slaying of a Savannah police officer, was executed by lethal injection at a state prison in Jackson, Ga., at 11:08 p.m. EST, officials said.

    The execution was delayed more than three hours while the U.S. Supreme Court considered his attorneys' petition for a stay.

    Davis had maintained his innocence in the slaying of Mark MacPhail, who was killed while trying to break up a fight while off duty.

    After Davis' 1991 trial, several key witnesses recanted statements that helped convince the jury of his guilt. But a federal judge who heard the new evidence in 2010 called it "largely smoke and mirrors.""

  • 21 Sep 11

    "A dispute between the House and Senate over money for disaster relief is threatening a short-term bill to finance the government after Sept. 30, raising the prospect of a government shutdown if the disagreement cannot be resolved. While a plan to keep the government running well into November was expected to attract far less controversy than the measure that nearly led to a shutdown last spring, Democrats and Republicans have divergent views on how much money should go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and whether those dollars should be offset by spending cuts elsewhere.

  • 21 Sep 11

    "As we ramp up to the 2012 election, politicians are really starting to grandstand about their accomplishments, but what do the everyday people think about how their state is doing? This infographic done with 1Bog, asked hundreds of U.S. residents in all 50 states to grade their state on several different factors."

  • 21 Sep 11

    "On September 16th I received an email from a Solyndra (“SOL”) employee. This individual was on of the management team at SOL. He is a part of the Silicon Valley world and does not want his name to come out. I have his permission to use his words. As a “Wanna Be” journalist I’m reluctant to introduce information without attributing it to a source. That said, I respect the position of this individual. His words of explanation:

    My apologies for not completely identifying myself, but I am not currently in any spotlight w/ regards to visits from men in blue windbreakers with stenciling on the back. My goal is to steer as well clear of that particular issue as I can.... Thanks for your patience in not asking for my identity at this juncture."

  • 21 Sep 11

    "Obama's new tax proposal, which has been dubbed the "Buffett rule" after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, may include a change in how capital gains are taxed.

    According to research by the Center for Responsive Politics, about 40 percent of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and nearly half of all U.S. senators reported capital gains in 2009.

    Among the 176 current members of the House and 48 sitting senators to do so? Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)."

  • 21 Sep 11

    "Nine months after the very same quartet of republicans, headed by John Boehner, sent a letter to Bernanke protesting the launch of QE2, this time the GOP has waited until a mere 24 hours before the actual announcement with an identical, if preemptive, message, namely: don't print, or stated differently, "we submit that the board should resist further extraordinary intervention in the U.S. economy, particularly without a clear articulation of the goals of such a policy, direction for success, ample data proving a case for economic action and quantifiable benefits to the American people." And while the political undertone of the letter is all too obvious: i.e. prevent any additional Obama-benefiting stimulus in the economy through the only conduit Obama has left, courtesy of Fiscal stimulus being snarled for good due to the republican majority in the House, Boehner et al bring up a valid point, which is that the Fed policy now accentuates market uncertainty and promotes trade wars: precisely the topics discussed in an earlier article today. As stated by Boehner: "Our long-term growth depends on restoring confidence and certainty in our fiscal, regulatory, and trade policies -- and not on government’s willingness to engage in additional stimulative measures. When asset prices increase due to anticipated Federal Reserve policy rather than economic fundamentals, it increases the potential for speculative action and erodes confidence in the economic outlook, making it more difficult to generate sustainable growth." Regardless of its actual merit, one thing is without doubt: QE3, and the Fed, just become once again critically politicized, and as such, even more market uncertainty is imminent. All that said, the theatrical optics of this action are quite glaring."

  • 20 Sep 11

    "President Obama isn't leaving a single couch cushion unturned in his effort to lower the deficit. A new proposal by the White House would allow collectors pursuing a government-backed debt -- which includes most mortgages, unpaid taxes and federal loans -- to contact people via their cellphones, in an effort to secure every last nickel and dime from taxpayers.

    On page 28 of the president's deficit-reduction plan released Monday, federal agencies would be allowed to call people's cellphones to collect debts -- an attempt to reach the increasing number of Americans who are ditching landlines for mobile phones:

    Allow agencies to contact delinquent debtors via their cellular phones. The Administration also proposes to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to facilitate collection of debts owed to or guaranteed by the Federal Government, by facilitating contact of delinquent debtors who are most readily reached on their cell phones. This provision is expected to provide substantial increases in collections, particularly as an increasing share of households no longer have landlines and rely instead on cell phones."

  • 20 Sep 11

    "What a comedown!

    In 2008 Barack Obama ran on hope and change. His reelection bid relies on fear (of Republicans) and stay-the-course (lest said Republicans slash even more Medicare than Obama is willing to give away).

    Inspired yet?

    Yeah, yeah, anything can happen in one year--the GOP could nominate Bob Dole again--but it's getting harder to imagine a scenario in which Obama wins reelection. The tsunami of bad economic news has become so relentless that last week's story that one out of six Americans have fallen below the poverty line came and went with nary a shrug. (On the bright side, we're just ahead of Indonesia. On the other side, Russia won the Cold War after all.)

    Obama's threat to veto any debt bill that doesn't include taxes on the rich is supposed to signal a "new, more combative phase of his presidency, one likely to last until next year's election as he battles for a second term," as the New York Times puts it. But it's too nothing, too late."

  • 20 Sep 11

    "The German Pirate Party won 8.9 percent in the Berlin election to gain its first-ever seats in a state parliament. It could become a political force at the national level, say observers, arguing that the party represents a generation of Internet users who have been ignored by the web-phobic mainstream parties."

  • 20 Sep 11

    "Barack Obama’s politically expedient decision to betray and abandon his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, exposed his cowardice and moral bankruptcy. In that moment, playing the part of Judas, he surrendered the last shreds of his integrity. He became nothing more than a pawn of power, or as Cornel West says, “a black mascot for Wall Street.” Obama, once the glitter of power fades, will have to grapple with the fact that he was a traitor not only to his pastor, the man who married him and Michelle, who baptized his children and who kept him spiritually and morally grounded, but to himself. Wright retains what is most precious in life and what Obama has squandered—his soul.

    The health of a nation is measured by how it treats its prophets. When these prophets are ignored and reviled, when they become figures of ridicule, when they are labeled by the chattering classes and power elite as fools, then there is no check left on moral decay and the degeneration of the state. Wright, who spent 36 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s South Side, since the 2008 presidential campaign has endured slander and calumny and weathered character assassination, misinterpretation and abuse, and yet he doggedly continues Sunday after Sunday to thunder the word of God from pulpits across the country.

    I grew up as a Christian. My father was a pastor. I graduated from a seminary. I can distinguish a Christian pastor from the slick imposters and charlatans, from T.D. Jakes to Joel Osteen. Wright preaches the radical and unsettling message of the Christian Gospel. He calls us to live the moral life. He knows that the measure of our lives as individuals and as a nation is reflected in how we treat our most vulnerable. And he knows on whose side he stands. Obama, who like Judas took his 30 pieces of silver and betrayed someone who loved him, withers into moral insignificance in Wright’s presence.

    Obama, although his subservience to the war machine and Wall Street mocks the fundamental values of Dr. Martin Luther King, will preside Oct. 16 over the dedication of the King memorial on the Mall in Washington. He will lend himself to the venal cabal of the corporate and political elites who have hijacked King’s image. These political and corporate figures—many of whom donated significant sums to build the $120 million memorial (General Motors, which gave $10 million, uses the memorial in a commercial for its vehicles)—seek to silence King’s demand for economic justice and an end to racism and militarism. King’s vision is grotesquely deformed in Obama’s hands. To hear the voice of King we will have to turn from the choreographed and corporate-sponsored dedication ceremony to heed the words of a handful of men and women who are as reviled by the power brokers as King was in his own life, and yet who battle to keep the flame of King’s message alive."

  • 20 Sep 11

    "In the midst of a bleak economic landscape and after a bruising battle over the federal budget deficit, approval of Congress now matches its all-time low, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll.

    Just 12 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing - the same as the lowest percentage recorded in this poll, reached in October 2008, right before the November elections.

    Dissatisfaction with Congress cuts across party lines. Republicans, Democrats, and independents all overwhelmingly disapprove of the job Congress is doing."

  • 20 Sep 11

    "Worried the liberal voice is being drowned out in the presidential campaign, progressive leaders said Monday they want to field a slate of candidates against President Obama in the Democratic primaries to make him stake out liberal stances as he seeks re-election.

    Ralph Nader warns that without an intraparty challenge the liberal agenda “will be muted and ignored,” the one-man primary will kill voter enthusiasm and voters won’t get a chance to reflect on the real differences that divide the Democratic and Republican parties.

    “What we are looking at now is the dullest presidential campaign since Walter Mondale — and that’s saying something, believe me,” Mr. Nader told The Washington Times."

  • 20 Sep 11

    "His approval rating is at its lowest level ever. His party just lost two House elections — one in a district it had held for 88 consecutive years. He's staked his future on the jobs bill, which most Americans don't think would work.

    The vultures are starting to circle. Former White House spokesman Bill Burton said that unless Obama can rally the Democratic base, which is disillusioned with him, "it's going to be impossible for the president to win." Democratic consultant James Carville had one word of advice for Obama: "Panic."

    But there is good news for the president. I checked the Constitution, and he is under no compulsion to run for re-election. He can scrap the campaign, bag the fundraising calls and never watch another Republican debate as long as he's willing to vacate the premises by Jan. 20, 2013.

    That might be the sensible thing to do. It's hard for a president to win a second term when unemployment is painfully high. If the economy were in full rebound mode, Obama might win anyway. But it isn't, and it may fall into a second recession — in which case voters will decide his middle name is Hoover, not Hussein. Why not leave of his own volition instead of waiting to get the ax?
    "

  • 20 Sep 11

    "That's why -- after 2 1/2 years -- we suddenly see an outburst of "fighting for jobs" and, now, a call to raise taxes on the rich. He does that precisely because everyone -- especially the rich -- knows it will not and cannot happen. We're now formally in (re-)election season, so it's time again to haul out the progressive music. Some Democrats are honest and cynical enough to acknowledge that Obama is doing all these things purely for political gain and -- because his re-election is their top priority -- to celebrate it even while acknowledging it will never become reality (see here and here as examples). From that perspective, I suppose having him give speeches where he advocates for jobs and taxes on the rich is preferable to his endorsing austerity and Reaganomics as he had been doing for months But whatever else is true, none of this presages an actual change in how the government functions or, especially, on whose behalf it labors. That's precisely why he feels free to advocate such things without alienating his funding base. It's still the government of Tim Geithner and his bosses/owners; election season (combined with rising elite fear of social unrest) just requires a bit more pretense to obscure that fact."

  • 20 Sep 11

    "Presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul won a California straw poll by a large margin, the state Republican Party announced Saturday night.

    Paul won with 44.9 percent of the votes, Texas Gov. Rick Perry came in second with 29.3 percent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came in third with 8.8 percent, and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann came in fourth with 7.7 percent. A total of 833 ballots were cast during the straw poll.

    “This win is just the latest indication of our campaign’s growing momentum,” said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton. “Americans are sick and tired of the status quo and Dr. Paul offers a real change, and hope for a free and prosperous future.”"

  • 20 Sep 11

    "Two former law enforcement officials who worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as confidential informants on probes into police corruption have come forward with allegations of drug cartel ties to top cops, judges and elected officials.

    Greg Gonzales, a retired sheriff's deputy, and Wesley Dutton, a former New Mexico livestock investigator, told The El Paso Times that the FBI uncovered some "big names" in the course of one investigation, but it was dropped without result.

    Both men helped with several investigations during their 18 months as confidential informants, the report says, including one that ended with the arrest of FBI special agent John Shipley, who was allegedly selling guns to cartel members."

  • 19 Sep 11

    "This morning, as part of his broader deficit reduction plan, President Obama called for a new rule that would raise taxes on the the wealthiest Americans. The proposal was quick to spark reaction from Republicans, who labeled it “class warfare.”

    But politics aside, we thought it would be helpful to run through what’s actually known about the proposal, the impact it might have on the deficit, and the history behind it all. "

  • 19 Sep 11

    "Today we re-launched our Clearspending project with new data. Clearspending is a scorecard-like analysis of the quality of the grants data found in USASpending.gov. We evaluated the grant data on consistency, completeness and timeliness. The results are pretty much unchanged -- we found over $1.3 trillion in broken spending.

    Head on over to the summary page for the quick highlights. While consistency and completeness haven't changed much, timeliness is much improved. Essentially, many programs are reporting bad data, faster. There are some exceptions however."

  • 19 Sep 11

    " While lawmakers and the president scrap over deficit reduction and jobs plans, they're largely overlooking one of the biggest drags on employment and a major cause of our national economic woes: the moribund housing sector.

    There's a growing cry in economic circles for new steps to revive this sector, which year after year has been the subject of optimistic predictions about soon hitting a bottom that turns out to be, well, bottomless.

    New housing starts are hovering at 475,000 to 690,000 a year since the financial crisis exploded in late 2008. That's the slowest pace since record-keeping began in 1959, and a fraction of the 2.1 million homes built annually in boom times. "

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