The Bush-Cheney crimes: Why we must not move on.

I think the Obama senate controversy showed that Republicans do not give a damn about extending some bipartisan courtesy and will seek every opportunity to embarrass the President even for insignificant links to shady people. They are even going after him for merely not expressing "Strong enough" condemnation of the Illinois governor. Hey, that is still better than what Bush  did when faced with similar cases. They will be relentless for every minor scandal while the Democratic wimps will sing kumbaya whenever Republicans use the Jedi Mind trick to convince them that going after Bush is counterproductive.

Just like people say that they hate negative campaigning, they will also say that they dont want to waste time on retributions. Do not believe them for a second. What they say and what they feel may not gel. You have to expose all the criminals in the Bush administration and their cronies in private business who were obscene war profiteers and make them pay for it. Of course, there are limits to an obsessive pursuit.

How would one feel if a foreigner told us to move on from 9-11?

There is no guarantee we will have Democratic administrations forever. So we need to teach the republicans for the future of the country that bad behavior will invite consequences. If people couldn't move on from a measly OJ case , why should people move on from people who caused much more damage to society?

From a voters perspective, it is actually good when one party goes after the other. It keeps the system in check. Plus keeping the Republicans occupied on defense leaves them less time to go on the offense. Right now, they have all the free time to go after Obama for any trivial issue.

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I will do Rangel's website for ONLY 70 grand

Rangel paid his son 80,000 for a freaking website that is not even a sophisticated one. Maybe I can make more money undercutting these bids.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1208/16219.html
Between 2004 and 2007, Rep. Charles Rangel steered nearly $80,000 in campaign cash to an Internet company run by his son — paying lavishly for a pair of political websites so poorly designed an expert estimated one should have cost no more than $100 to create. The payments are apparently legal under federal law, but their disclosure raises new questions about the Ways and Means Committee chairman as he faces House ethics committee probes into his failure to pay taxes on rental income and his alleged use of House stationery to solicit contributions for a public policy center that bears his name. Rangel’s leadership PAC and congressional committee shelled out $79,560 to Edisonian Innovative Works for “websites,” according to Federal Election Commission filings. Edisonian Innovative Works, which lists several clients on its homepage — none of them politicians — was founded by Rangel’s son, Steven Charles Rangel, 40, of Greenbelt, Md.

My outrage on this is minimal. Unfortunately, there is a lot of funny money in play with a lot of politicians in both parties. Integrity is something that is in short supply. We had many examples of Republican nepotism(Neil Bush getting easy money for some silly products in the No Child Left Behind program) or John Edwards paying that bimbo extra money to make her web based documentaries from campaign funds. Cheney's daughter gets more than market value for her talents to act as a consultant.

Rangel is hardly the first House member to hire his family for campaigns. Between 2002 and 2005, Julie Doolittle was paid $136,000 in fundraising fees by the campaign of her husband, retiring Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.). And Long Island Democratic Rep. Timothy Bishop raised eyebrows in 2005 when Newsday reported that he had paid his daughter Molly $87,828 in salary and travel expenses to act as his campaign’s finance director for two years. But few relatives have ever played such a visible role. Steven Rangel’s design for his father’s National Leadership PAC site appears to have been slapped together in a hurry, intermittently updated and never spell-checked.

Anyone in government that has given Michael Brown a contract after he left to set up his own consulting firm needs to be taken to Iraq and left to be beheaded by one of those loons.

Just too much corruption in government to make me care for this Rangel controversy.

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Bill Gates for Education: what do you think?

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-tra il/2008/12/04/bill_gates_says_hes_open_t o_a.html


Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who is in Washington this week to press his foundation's education and global health agenda, said he is keeping an open mind about taking a role aiding the incoming Obama administration.

Asked in an interview yesterday with The Washington Post whether he would consider serving in the new administration, Gates left the door open.

"Certainly my full-time job is being chairman of the foundation," Gates said. "If there was some committee or pretty focused task where I could contribute, I'd be glad to consider that, and I hope that the things we've learned about education -- including the mistakes we've made -- I hope we do get a strong dialogue and I'm very optimistic we'll have that with these people."

Kicking off that dialogue, Gates met with Vice President-elect Joe Biden at Obama's Washington transition headquarters yesterday afternoon. A transition official said Biden and Gates discussed "a wide range of issues, including global health and development, as well as the need to improve resources for secondary education, particularly for community colleges."

What do you think, guys? Obama is certainly inspiring some big shots to serve in his cabinet. Who better than someone not connected to the old way of thinking? Gates foundation has done a lot of good stuff. His whole family is invested in the charities, a lot of that geared to funding educational programs. Notwithstanding his dropout status at Harvard, maybe he can help turn around our education programs? Both parties have tried over the years with bad results.

No matter what one thinks of Microsoft as a company, the Gates family have been very sincere in combating social issues.

Should Obama seek someone like him out? While Gates seemed to limit his interest to a task or a committee, he could probably be convinced to take a bigger role.

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Obama playing it safe? (UPDATED)

[editor's note, by Pravin]Changed the diary title(Is Obama risking jading the young generation) because rereading it, I realized it just makes my outlook even more negative than I intended. When I have to clarify my support for Obama in multiple responses, it is time to acknowledge some sloppy writing that could be construed as giving up on Obama. I intended to put out all the doubts I had so that I could read any rebuttals to fill in any information I was missing out on and feel better about the direction we are headed in. It was not meant to be dismissive of Obama this early. I also regret putting the windfall taxes part so early in the diary as it puts the wrong emphasis on what I was going for.

Obama ran on a campaign of change. Sure he needs to play the Washington game a little bit and come up with some choices that won't please us. But is Obama going too far?

Obama so far hasn't really shown that he is willing to live up to some of his campaign promises already and he hasn't even taken office yet. Now, let me make it clear that I do understand it is still early. But I am just concerned about some troubling signs and hope we do not have business as usual go on in Washington.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/03 /the-debate-over-obamas-fi_n_148225.html


President-elect Barack Obama has quietly shelved a proposal to slap oil and natural gas companies with a new windfall profits tax.

An aide for the transition team acknowledged the policy shift Tuesday, after a small-business group discovered the proposal -- touted throughout much of the campaign -- had been dropped from the incoming administration's Web site.

"President-elect Obama announced the policy during the campaign because oil prices were above $80 per barrel," the aide said. "They are below that now and expected to stay below that."

Seriously? How the hell do they know that gas will stay below 80? I don't mind Obama changing course on some proposals. But he indicated none of this foresight that oil will go under 80. So how the hell does his people know that it will stay under 80 a month later? Do not insult my intelligence.

Obama has already gone against the spirit of his selling point of the foolishness of the iraq war by not hiring anyone of note that showed the same wisdom on the war early on. Seriously, I understand the need for balance, but the balance seems so far tilted in favor of the status quo he claimed to want to change. Where is the change? By change, it doesn't mean just be an improvement over Bush. That is not enough. That is a pretty low bar to set.

Obama continues to wuss out on the bailouts by letting Bush do more fuckups without offering anything of substance. Is the Democrats plan to let Bush mess up the economy so much in the next two months that anything Obama does will come across as an improvement?

Here is an opinion piece from WSJ(Take it for what you will considering the bias of the source) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122834956865577699.html:
Some Bush officials feel those plans may not be able to wait until the Jan. 20 transfer of power. As early as next week, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will decide whether to seek the second tranche of $350 billion in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to help rescue the nation's financial sector. To access that money, Mr. Paulson must present to Congress not only his plan for the money, but also detailed plans from the next administration, which would spend the bulk of it. Mr. Obama told reporters Wednesday he didn't need to deal with the issue yet. "Until Secretary Paulson indicates publicly that he's drawing down the second tranche, the second half of the TARP money, it would be speculation on my part to suggest that [the first tranche of] that money is going to be used up," Mr. Obama said. Treasury officials have grown frustrated with the Obama transition team's unwillingness to engage in specifics. Mr. Paulson has to consult with the Obama team on any big moves, in particular on plans for how the next $350 billion should be used. While Treasury has been in frequent contact with the Obama team, there is uncertainty about what it wants to do with that next batch of money. Many within Treasury believe the next administration is trying to keep its distance in an effort not to be painted as endorsing any of the Bush administration's plans. Mr. Obama also hasn't discussed one of his hot-button issues -- foreclosure-mitigation efforts -- with the Paulson team. While Mr. Obama has talked about helping homeowners, his aides haven't presented Treasury with any type of plan they would like to see implemented.

Obama's people seem more concerned about the Washington conventional wisdom. Well a lot of people watch the Daily Show. So far Obama's people who seem pretty careful in managing his reputation risk making Obama seem like just another politician as he looks less than dynamic in recent Daily SHow episodes.

His approval rating is high for now. I am hoping all these appointments are just politically calculated and he has a secret masterplan to make sure these people tow the line he promised during the campaign. Until then, he needs to hear from honest critics, not to keep him down, but to keep him honest for his own benefit. It is easy to fall prey to Washington thinking.

THe country needs more than a status quo. Problems like CEO unaccountability have been problems even before the Bush years. It's not enough to hire mostly former Clinton and Bush people.  

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Indian Union Home Minister Resigns. So when is a single Bushie going to?

One thing that really got on my nerves over the last few years was the lack of accountability in American politics. Not a single Bush appointee was forced to resign in disgrace despite the many screwups related to the Iraq war, justice department, etc.(just name a field that they did not mess up).

Sure Gonzales and Rumsfeld left, but only when it got too inconvenient, and only on their own terms. They did not feel obligated to express regret over their blunders.

Well, even a country like India which has many bad politicians, the people demand resignations when things get messed up. The disgraceful laughable way in which India responded slowly to the terror attacks in Mumbai has led to the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil submitting his resignation.  

http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/nov/30mu mterror-patil-sends-resignation-to-pm.ht m


Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil [Images] has sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images]. Patil  had offered to quit at the Congress Working Committee meeting on Saturday night held in the backdrop of the Mumbai terror strikes, party sources said on Sunday.      

Patil told the meeting that as the Home minister  he "takes the responsibility and whatever the CWC decides, I am ready
to do", they said.

You got to understand that Indian politicians are not exactly role models for our politicians. The ruling party in India is full of sycophants and the union minister is not exactly a paragon of virtue. Still, even he felt compelled to submit a resignation. What did we get from the Bushies? Excuses and sidestepping of responsibility over the years. What did we get from Democrats?  In an effort to look statesmanlike,  they gave us an example of mealy mouthed wimpy evasion of taking Bush and his cronies to task for the enormous harm they did to the country.

You got a chairman of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Lieberman, unwilling to take a single Bushie to task.

We got  bailouts where no politician or exec will take responsibility for the problems.

Nice. Change is not just a slogan. Obama is really doing a lot of superior groundwork compared to past presidents.  But he must understand accountability is key regardless of ideology. He must not let any of his underlings forget that in the upcoming years.

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WALMART Black Friday Tragedy: Will we ever learn

As Americans have been inundated with one bad financial news item after another, you would think that this Black Friday would at least provoke some reflective thought regarding the greed that has contributed to the crisis we are in now. People buying things that they cannot afford. People who would rather sacrifice a holiday to stay all night in line for a freaking DVD player or some other item they want NOW! Can these savages lay off the materialism at least for one fucking holiday?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/28 /black-friday-stampede-kil_n_146967.html

Update [2008-11-29 11:23:26 by Pravin]: Ok here is another link where they wanted to close the store down temporarily, but the mob did not react well. Also the cops are now getting down to looking at tapes. Why they did not do an immediate investigation is beyond me. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/29/police-seeking-walmart-sh_n_147069.html

Police were reviewing video from surveillance cameras in an attempt to identify who trampled to death a Wal-Mart worker after a crowd of post-Thanksgiving shoppers burst through the doors at a suburban store and knocked him down. Criminal charges were possible, but identifying individual shoppers in Friday's video may prove difficult, said Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, a Nassau County police spokesman. Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers stepped over him and became irate when officials said the store was closing because of the death, police and witnesses said. Police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the Wal-Mart doors before its 5 a.m. opening at a mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the employee, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion. "This crowd was out of control," Fleming said. He described the scene as "utter chaos," and said the store didn't have enough security. Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help Damour were also getting trampled by the crowd, Fleming said. Shoppers stepped over the man on the ground and streamed into the store. Damour, 34, of Queens, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 6 a.m., police said. Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said shoppers were acting like "savages.""When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling `I've been on line since yesterday morning,'" she said. "They kept shopping."

Time after time, BOTH parties have done very little to solve the real problem corrupting this country. The lack of accountability for irresponsibility caused by greed by people of all classes and income levels. Greed is not the problem, but the lack of accountability for any of the problems caused by it. We have a government ready to bail out institutions which encourage this kind of behavior without any significant strings attached.

Take this Walmart incident. I am going to assume that there were at least as many Democrats standing in line as Republicans. at the very least. No fatcat CEOs. Yet, they showed callous disregard for human life when they impatiently forced the doors open and trampled some poor immigrant worker to death in their greed.

People shopping at the Walmarts are merely taking their cues from greedy execs who have millions and still want more. In this case, I would go after EVERYONE. Walmart should have known better. They purposely encourage this kind of crazed behavior to hype Black Friday as a sales day among dumbass common folk. Like zombies on a rampage, these morons fall for the corporations mantra and line up to buy goods most do not have a great chance of finding at the bargain rate.

Then you have the case of personal responsibility. Walmart tried to, but did not actually close the store down because customers objected. So we actually rewarded those who killed the guy by letting them buy goods? I did not read one reference to a single arrest. I am not talking about arresting people who were pushed by others and made moves solely for self preservation. There are many easy culprits one can identify from store tapes if the cops bothered to shut down the store and detained everyone. How about the front line of the mob? Arrest those bastards. Even if the charges do not stick, you can make their lives miserable. And identify every person from the tapes who engaged in pushing someone else in front of them. Based on how culpable they were in leading to the guy's death, I would charge them with various degrees. Freaking animals need to be taught a lesson. And what kind of parent lets their kid stand in a mob that is getting impatient by the minute right before the opening?

What were the Walmart people doing not calling the cops earlier on when people were getting out of control even before the opening. The spokesman claims they did, but obviously they didn't do nearly enough. A lady at another nearby Walmart suffered injuries. I hate those frivolous damages lawsuits, but Walmart better pay up a huge amount to the family of the victim for this crap. What they did was highly irresponsible subjecting a temp worker to such a dangerous mob. What kind of people continue to shop after they killed a guy?  

And we wonder why we are in such a financial mess. You got CEOs in war profiteering companies wanting more and more money while they contribute to propaganda asking other Americans to sacrifice for the war effort and in the process, some even overlook things like faulty armor. You got CEOs of auto companies who make millions while workers are suffering.

Two things - Greed and no Accountability. Greed leads to these incidents and the lack of accountability(for both the mob and Walmart) leads to the reoccurrence of these incidents. Update [2008-11-29 11:23:26 by Pravin]:: Edited the diary down a tad to remove some bipartisan rants. Didn't expect this to be on the recommended list. I was initially letting loose some steam because of the nature of this incident. I have already seen a few comments that do a good job dealing with this issue.

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HARRY REID: JOE IS NO DEMOCRAT

You know there are many things to dislike about this deal with Lieberman. But you know what, as much as we despise the deal, the Senate Democrats were entitled to do what they wanted. I would have preferred they made their votes public so we can know who to  boycott for donations. This diary is not about the stupdity or cowardice in rewarding lieberman with the chairmanship. This is about how the Democratic senators have been treating Joe and referring to him as a fellow Democrat. And how Democrats have made it tougher for a legitimate Democratic challenger who follows all the rules to beat Lieberman in 2012.

But Harry Reid crossed the line, my friends, when he referred to Joe Lieberman as a democrat. This is not a trivial statement. This is a lot more offensive than merely giving him the chairmanship when we needed him for a majority. That was a practical deal. Calling him a democrat on the heels of a shameless vote is going beyond practicality and actually shunning democratic processes. That is a slap in the face of all the democrats that voted against him the Democratic Primary. WHY HAVE A FUCKING PRIMARY IF YOU AS A PARTY ELDER HAS NO INTENTION OF RESPECTING IT? Lieberman got elected as a senator from CT and he is entitled to it as unsavory as that election was. But once he declined to honor the results of the Democratic Primary, he ceased to be a Democrat no matter who he ended up caucusing with. And there is a difference between a senator striking a deal with Lieberman for practical purposes and Democratic senators actually treating him like he is still a Democratic senator and he had to just overcome an additional hurdle which was something insignificant to them like the will of the Democratic party voters.

My question is this. It is widely known that most of the Democratic Party senators wanted Lieberman to win the general election against Lamont. People like Obama supported Lamont only because they didnt want to risk the wrath of angry democratic voters. If the primary only attracts fringe voters in the minds of these democrats (funny how they dont mind primaries when they are running as aspiring senators), why not scrap primaries when there is a democratic incumbent? Why not nominate challengers to incumbents only if the party elders dictate so and be done with the pretense that primaries mean something.

Making deals with Lieberman to invite him into the caucus doesnt invalidate a primary when you need him for a majority because the status of the inclusion is clearcut. But when you do it needlessly, you are getting closer. And when you make such comments on top of such a questionable move and combine that with behavior by the likes of Bill Clinton on Larry King(doesnt matter if it's lieb or lamont) or other senators giving him standing ovation during the lamont fight(pretty much saying "good ole boy, just find a way to get back here, and nothing will change, fuck the masses"), you definitely have achieved the same result as that of a primary having never taken place.

This is not just the lieberman issue. This is a warning to any Democratic voting block that they dare not fuck with a Democratic incumbent because they will ignore your vote and do whatever it takes to welcome future spoilsport incumbents.

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Democratic Senators have no principles

There are a few senators that fight the good fight. But after seeing the behavior of senators from both parties, I don't hav confidence in their courage and principles.

Lawrence O Donnell was on Rachel Maddow show talking to Arianna.
One of his statements which I paraphrase loosely.
"Committee chairpersons are never evaluated on their performance."

Wow, not exactly a shocker, but when you hear someone who served as a chief of staff say that without any reservation, it really sinks in how the senators for the most part do not give a crap about the people. They are in it for their fraternity of senators.

"Homeland Security" is not even considered an important committee.

Seriously? So isn't that all the more reason why Democrats who are in a compromising mood feel emboldened to remove him of that and give him another committee? Instead Dodd and Salazar - Dodd will get no support from me the next time Republicans expose one of his financial scandals- come up with an insulting compromise that spits on the face of every concerned Democratic Party activist when they propose stripping Lieberman of some no name committee and let him retain Homeland Security.

Say what?? Why not just crap on our heads and get on with business as usual in the senate? Here is a link to a discussion of that proposal:
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/1 1/18/858/95471/442/662652

Now you got my favorite Senate dunce pretty boy - Evan Bayh aka Ferris Bueller's clueless dad. He, in my opinion, gave either a really naive stupid interview with Maddow or a very dishonest one where he said that Lieberman should apologize to them and what he said about Obama and others in the past crossed the line. But Bayh was careful enough never to link that apology explicitly to retaining the chairpersonship of that committee. We KNOW Lieberman will never give an apology of that type. So why would Evan Bayh say they need one? Because he was just trying to say something to save face on Maddow, not because he believed in it. The guy is a Democratic version of Dan Quayle. I could not believe it when some of our fellow Democrats were touting this idiot(I always felt that way about him, this is not hindsight talking) as potential President or VP.

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Democrats let us down on the bailouts

Remember when the Bushies gave us the "WE MUST DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW OR ALL HELL WILL BREAK LOOSE" message and quite a few of the DEmocrats lapped it up like it was the right thing to do? There were dissenting people of both parties that tried to talk some sense into waiting an extra week or month if necessary to hammer out a more meaningful bailout that would attach some meaningful conditions. Guess what. They treasury still doesn't have a plan on how to spend all 700B. Wait, ,hasn't it been a couple of months? So isn't armageddon upon us according to their predictions? And if what they said was indeed true, and we will be paying for this delay, why aren't both party members showing more urgency on this?

From the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2008/11/12/AR2008111202846. html?hpid=topnews

Along the way, the Bush administration has committed $290 billion of the $700 billion rescue package.

Yet for all this activity, no formal action has been taken to fill the independent oversight posts established by Congress when it approved the bailout to prevent corruption and government waste. Nor has the first monitoring report required by lawmakers been completed, though the initial deadline has passed.

"It's a mess," said Eric M. Thorson, the Treasury Department's inspector general, who has been working to oversee the bailout program until the newly created position of special inspector general is filled. "I don't think anyone understands right now how we're going to do proper oversight of this thing."

In approving the rescue package, lawmakers trumpeted provisions in the legislation that established layers of independent scrutiny, including a special inspector general to be nominated by the White House and a congressional oversight panel to be named by lawmakers themselves.
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Some lawmakers and their aides fear that political squabbling on Capitol Hill and bureaucratic logjams could delay their work for months. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office, which also has some oversight responsibilities, is worried about the difficulty of hiring people who can understand the intensely complicated financial work involved.
.............

The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, is also required by the legislation to conduct oversight of the program. The agency's mission is to look at the overall performance of the initiative and its effect on the financial system.

The GAO has dedicated about 20 people to look at the bailout and has office space at the Treasury Department. Agency officials said they expect to issue a brief report on the program, as mandated by the legislation, within the next month.

The legislation also created a body called the Financial Stability Oversight Board, whose five members include Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. But it has no staff of its own, and few expect that policymakers can conduct oversight of themselves. "It's sort of a joke in terms of oversight," a congressional aide said.

Granted, the major fault lies with the Bush administration on the 700B bailout. But the point is that the Democrats said they had to compromise quickly because we needed a bailout immediately and what has happened since then? No immediate bailout anyway. Democrats should have just called bluff on the Bushies and taken their time to come up with a better proposal.
It is politics as usual. Neither party has what it takes to do the dirty work to get something done all the way.

Now you got Democrats pandering over the auto bailout. Pelosi's body language doesnt indicate a smidgen of outrage in how the auto industry messed up on its own. She wants to help it because it is the "right thing" to do. Obama indicates the same stuff. Where is the outrage over management of the big Three? There seems to be a desperation to save the auto industry because the unions form a huge voting bloc for our party. Why aren't the DEmocrats thinking of putting some money into retraining some of our autoworkers? There are skills that are transferable. What is the point of an auto bailout if there is no long term fix? Didn't we have a bailout for them just months ago? What were the conditions back then and have they been satisfied? I don't think they have been, if any were imposed.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/13 /democrats-telegraphing-up_n_143497.html

There are provisions for some government ownership of auto stock in exchange for the loans. Who the hell wants to own worthless stock anyway because that stock will be worthless in the future when they need one more bailout. I did not see one mention in that article about more accountability from management and some need for changing management. The Ford family can sell off the Lions and use that money to fund the Ford motor company. The GM execs who make  millions can take massive paycuts and still earn more than a senior engineer and some of that money could help be pooled into keeping whatever unemployment or pension fund healthy.

Oh here's the beauty. Theere are some suggestions for the government to share in the profits before it benefits the shareholders. All those execs will do is steal some of those profits with some undeserved bonuses before it gets termed as a profit.

No accountability. Before the Democrats talk about increasing taxes for anyone, or restoring taxes to some pre Bush levels, they freaking need to learn how to spend OUR money like it is their personal income.

P.S.: I don't think I have to say that I have no confidence in the Republicans either. It is just that I expect more from the DEmocrats.

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Counter mainstream talking points favoring Lieberman

-crossposted on Dkos

I am sick of watching even people like Bill Maher so uninformed about what the real objection is to Lieberman being stripped of the chairmanship. Let us get one thing clear. Most of us are not asking for him to be booted from the caucus. Our point is this - Strip him of the chairmanship, and if he decides to leave the caucus, let him. It is important to keep independent voices in your caucus. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with a chronic bitter malcontent who can't get over any perceived slights in the past. I have a problem with a person who does not respect my point of view on the war in iraq, yet wants me to respect his "independent" opinion on that very same issue. OK, now if you call a senator's office to put pressure on them, the aides might trot out one of these points. So how do we counter them?

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