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Mira

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Member since: Thu Oct 21, 2004, 06:06 PM
Number of posts: 17,868

Journal Archives

Wondering out loud: will the New "Greatest Page" on DU3 bring us our

missing DUers who still camp out on DU2???

I hope so.
I have gone and visited and lurked and seen when the last posting was etc. - I do believe most of them are trickling on over now and I welcome that.

The new Greatest Threads tab that appeared yesterday (thank you again, Earl G et al) has been the biggest change helping me to settle in and finally feel fully at home with DU3.



Guess what! A little bit of new good news about our missing polling ability

I just thanked Earl G. for the new tab we got this evening: Greatest Threads.
It appeared, and made me so happy.
Then I reminded him that to be complete we still need polls.

He wrote back and told me: "They are coming soon, I promise!"

Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, book by Charles Pierce

Review written by Stephen Amidon
Stephen Amidon is the author, most recently, of Security: A Novel. He can be reached at books@observer.com



Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free
By Charles P. Pierce. 
Doubleday, 293 pages., $26

The pastor from Pennsylvania put it best. On the eve of a trial to determine the legality of a local school board’s decision to teach intelligent design alongside evolutionary theory, the Rev. Ray Mummert, a leader of the anti-Darwin brigade, made national headlines with a statement that cut straight to the heart of America’s culture wars. “We’ve been attacked,” he protested, “by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture.” In an increasingly divided nation, where one is asked to take sides on every issue from the creation of the universe to the first lady’s triceps, it was perhaps inevitable that people should be required to make a stand on the subject of being smart.

Charles Pierce’s Idiot America is a lively and, dare I say, intelligent study of this ongoing assault on gray matter. “We’ve chosen up sides on everything,” he asserts, “fashioning our public lives as though we were making up a fantasy baseball team.” This new civil war almost always boils down to a clash between intellect and feeling, or what Mr. Pierce labels the Gut. “The Gut is a moron, as anyone who’s ever tossed a golf club, punched a wall, or kicked a lawn mower knows,” he writes. “The Gut is the roiling repository of dark and ancient fears.” The problem is, it currently has a stranglehold on a hefty slice of our major media—talk radio—as well as that traveling circus known as the G.O.P.

for the complete book review go here:
http://www.observer.com/2009/books/dunce-confederacy

Dear Ronald Reagan: Thanks for Wrecking America - Birthday greetings from Charles P. Pierce


President Reagan at a rally for Texas Republican candidates in Irving, Texas, 10/11/82. (photo: Reagan Library)

Dear Ronald Reagan: Thanks for Wrecking America
By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire
08 February 12


Turns out yesterday would have been Ronald Reagan's 101st birthday. In all the excitement over the tsunami of Santorum that engulfed the country, it plumb got right by me. So, let me say, in my own belated way, and because behind-the-times was the basis for Reagan's entire career, happy birthday, ya silly old coot.

How do you like your party now, Ronnie? A Mormon everyone hates, a world-historical balloon animal 10 years past his sell-by date, a survivalist crank from Texas, and a guy who is pretty much a dick. That's the party you and your boys created. That's the end product of the "conservative movement" of which you were the amiable and occasionally coherent figurehead, a prop in your own life. You know how you know that's the case, Ronnie? Look how hard they're trying to memorialize you in concrete and marble. They stuck your name on National Airport, and on the biggest and ugliest building in Washington, D.C., to celebrate your devotion to smaller government. What was it that Bogart said in that detective movie?
The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.

You taught us that "deficits don't matter." (Dick Cheney himself reminded us of that.) You sold missiles to the terrorist-sponsoring mullahs in Iran so you could sponsor our own priest-slaughtering terrorists in Central America, thereby laying the groundwork for all the secret deceptions in foreign policy that led to the Iraq war, which was designed and launched by some of your own old Iran-Contra hands, and thereby also laying the groundwork for the destructive increase in presidential power that continues (alas) to this day, under a Democratic president.

You did more than anyone else to demolish the notion of a political commonwealth, the principle that "government" is a common enterprise that must be undertaken by all citizens, and not some foreign entity to be whipped and controlled. You brought "states' rights" back from the historical ignominy where it richly deserved to have been sunk. You showed how The Other can get you elected, how elections are really simply magic shows of pretty images and soft music. You ruled for an entire second term as a symptomatic Alzheimer's patient and dared anyone to act in a patriotic manner and suggest you step down. Nobody did. You robbed the system of its confidence.

snip

for all of it, yes there is more:
http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/ronald-reagan-birthday-greetings-6653286

Foreclosure Fraud: The Job is Not Just the Voting / a letter from Alan Grayson

from my email in box. There is no way to post a link.

Foreclosure Fraud: The Job is Not Just the Voting
Alan Grayson


People often suggest to me how frustrating it must have been, being a Member of Congress, because things move so slowly in Washington, DC.
 
Nope.  Not true.  The job is what you make of it.
 
Let me give you an example:  our work against foreclosure fraud.
 
During my last few months in office, the evidence accumulated that there was a nationwide wave of foreclosure fraud, perpetrated by the big banks.  Mortgage securitization had sliced and diced mortgages to such a great extent that in many cases, the banks had no idea who owed what to whom.  When homeowners were unable to make their mortgage payments, the banks had to do something.  So they hired unscrupulous lawyers and other henchmen, who simply fabricated the paperwork needed to deprive families of their homes.
 
Now, to be fair, these families were usually behind in their mortgage payments.  But that did not give the banks any right or excuse to commit forgery and perjury.  If forced to choose between a destitute family and a crooked bank, I’ll go with the destitute family.  Because I know that the crooked bank won’t end up sleeping under a bridge.
 
Our legislative options were nonexistent.  The Dodd-Frank Act already had passed, so we couldn’t piggyback on that.  Congress was utterly preoccupied with extension of the Obama middle-class tax cuts and the Bush tax breaks for the rich; any amendments that I offered to that would have been ruled out of order, for not being “germane.”  And then there was the impediment of the Senate.  As Sen. Durbin had poignantly observed the year before, the banks “frankly own this place.”
 
Nevertheless, there were things that we could do – especially when we had a Senior Policy Advisor like Matt Stoller, who kept coming up with things to do:
• I told other Members of Congress how to establish a mandatory mediation program like the one that we had in Orange County, which had cut foreclosures in half.
• We recorded an eight-minute speech called “Fraud Factories” explaining the problem, with some startling examples (like one homeowner whose home was foreclosed without even having a mortgage).  That speech quickly zoomed to more than 100,000 views on YouTube.
• As it turned out, many of the people who watched that videos were reporters, looking to learn more.  That led to more than a dozen interviews, many of which were with national media. 
• We held a news conference in Orlando, on the lawn of a homeowner whose bank had tried to break into her home, and change her locks, without a court order.
• We sent a letter to the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the council of key federal economic policymakers established by the Dodd-Frank Act, and we pointed out that: (a) the banks couldn’t properly account for trillions of dollars in assets, and (b) this constituted a potential “systemic risk” that the Council should address.
• I joined with Chairman Barney Frank and Rep. Corrine Brown to send a letter to Fannie Mae, one of the biggest players, asking Fannie Mae to dismiss four Florida foreclosure mills who were under investigation for fraud.  And Fannie Mae did.  Three months ago, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also decided to terminate their contracts with foreclosure mills nationwide.
• We called for President Obama to veto H.R. 3808, a bill which had the potential to let the banks off the hook, and President Obama did veto the bill.
• We called for a national moratorium on foreclosures, until it was confirmed that foreclosure fraud had stopped.
I didn’t get the national moratorium that I asked for, but Bank of America, GMAC and JP Morgan Chase instituted their own moratoria, covering 23 million mortgages.  They kept them in place until they were satisfied that they weren’t conspiring to defraud their homeowners and the courts.
 
The result was a 27% drop in foreclosures, due to the quashing of “robo-signing” and other types of foreclosure fraud.  This gave many homeowners enough breathing room to get back on track with their payments.  According to RealtyTrac, that saved almost 600,000 homes.
 
I don’t know who those 600,000 families are, and they sure don’t know who I am.  But I still feel good about it.
 
I hope to be back in Congress after the November election, and I hope that the Democrats are back in charge in the House of Representatives.  I’ve been working hard toward both goals, and you’ve been helping.  But whoever is in charge of the House, if I’m back there, I’m sure that I’ll find plenty to do.  Because the job is not just the voting.
 
As Rep. Brown told me before I was elected, the best thing about the job is this:  “all the good things that you can do for people.”
 
Courage,
 
Alan Grayson

The Zuckerberg Tax - by Tax lawyer David Miller in the NY Times

The Zuckerberg Tax
By DAVID S. MILLER

WHEN Facebook goes public later this year, Mark Zuckerberg plans to exercise stock options worth $5 billion of the $28 billion that his ownership stake will be worth. The $5 billion he will receive upon exercising those options will be treated as salary, and Mr. Zuckerberg will have a tax bill of more than $2 billion, quite possibly making him the largest taxpayer in history. He is expected to sell enough stock to pay his tax.

But how much income tax will Mr. Zuckerberg pay on the rest of his stock that he won’t immediately sell? He need not pay any. Instead, he can simply use his stock as collateral to borrow against his tremendous wealth and avoid all tax. That’s what Lawrence J. Ellison, the chief executive of Oracle, did. He reportedly borrowed more than a billion dollars against his Oracle shares and bought one of the most expensive yachts in the world.

If Mr. Zuckerberg never sells his shares, he can avoid all income tax and then, on his death, pass on his shares to his heirs. When they sell them, they will be taxed only on any appreciation in value since his death.

Consider the case of Steven P. Jobs. After rejoining Apple in 1997, Mr. Jobs never sold a single Apple share for the rest of his life, and therefore never paid a penny of tax on the over $2 billion of Apple stock he held at his death. Now his widow can sell those shares without paying any income tax on the appreciation before his death. She would have to pay taxes only on the increase in value from the time of his death to the time of the sale.
snip

for the incredibly fascinating rest of it go to:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/opinion/the-zuckerberg-tax.html

Minnesota and Missouri: Photo of the Winner

1 Min. Reminder of what George Carlin Knew About The 'Pro-Life' Movement

RIP George
We carry on

http://front.moveon.org/what-george-carlin-knew-about-the-pro-life-movement/#.TzBmkIjzlCs.facebook

Class Envy Ruminations by Mitt Romney - and coming up.... (Bagley cartoon)

Bone headed and Skewed
as usual

Lieutenant Colonel Reports Pentagon Lying about Afghanistan

HOT: Lieutenant Colonel Reports Pentagon Lying about Afghanistan

In the Armed Forces Journal, LT. COL. Daniel Davis writes:
I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.

What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.

Entering this deployment, I was sincerely hoping to learn that the claims were true: that conditions in Afghanistan were improving, that the local government and military were progressing toward self-sufficiency. I did not need to witness dramatic improvements to be reassured, but merely hoped to see evidence of positive trends, to see companies or battalions produce even minimal but sustainable progress.

Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.

snip

for the source and the rest:
http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/02/hot-lieutenant-colonel-reports-pentagon.html
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