Sunday, November 30, 2014


++Chas Cook said that it was only 20 to 30% chance H.Clinton wold run in 2016. He also said Jeb doesn't have a prayer because of his stances on immigration reform and educational reform.

++David Atkins of Washington Monthly posted today a piece on "the dynamic scoring" the GOP is using for their corporate tax reform. Atkins notes that the GOP are cutting the rates but not closing the loopholes.

++And my laptop is on the fritz.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

After the Bird

++Darren Wilson has resigned from the Ferguson police department, ending his career in law enforcement. That didn't stop protests from continuing around the country.

++George Will had a bizarre op-ed in the Washington Post on President Obama's Caesarism even though he has only signed one-half the executive orders of President Reagan and an amazing 1/5th of Silent Cal Coolidge,the conservative's favorite president.

++The Washington Post tried to debunk the myths about a lame duck president not accomplishing much.

++The New York Times does point out that President Obama may be the most consequential environmental President in modern history because of his "adroit" use of the Clean Air Act. This past week the EPA released new guidelines on ozone which had been postponed the last three years.

++A customer at Politics and Prose yelled to President Obama "Close Guantanamo" to which the President responded "we're doing just that". In the past week, more prisoners have been released bring the total left to 167. While off the radar, these moves have started a backlash in the rightwing blogs. Now we hear that these people have been released without any consideration of the national security threat to the United States. No mention is made that all have been released with multiple approvals by various agencies.

++More problematic these coming weeks is the lame duck Congress. The Post is urging the President to go to the Center and not to pander to his base with the tax reform bill that Dave Camp and Harry Reid have cooked up. This would mean $550 billion in corporate tax breaks over 10 years and mean cutting out the Earned Income Tax credit for the lower middle class. This reminds me of President Clinton's welfare reform gambit.

++Congress still has to release the torture report. Dozens of judges and ambassadors are still not confirmed. If they are not,forget about it during the next two years.

++Under the radar has been the GOP's effort to get the head of the Congressional Budget Office removed. This bipartisan group is the main  obstacle to Paul Ryan's budget because they would be compelled to show how he increases the national debt to around $30 trillion. Ryan is advocating a return to Reagan era's "dynamic scoring" to avoid any catastrophic conclusion. This is the fight in the next two years. 

++The GOP wants to show they are constructive so they want Congress to pass a full budget for the next fiscal year before they present the double whammy of the Ryan Budget. Watch this space because the GOP will want to trigger a recession before the next election.

++Rand Paul's move to declare war on ISIS has a little trick clause. I want a real declaration of war but he limits the extent of the war and then calls for armed troops to be sent to fight ISIS. I'll take the limit until the end of President Obama's term but let's leave troops for another day.

++The GOP is turning itself into a pretzel over the immigration executive orders. Naturally 90% of Hispanic voters approve of President Obama's acts. But the GOP has to serve its xenophobic base and so wants to restrict any expenditure on enforcing these orders. The problem is how to structure a year-long budget with this small item in it. 

++With the Iranian nuclear talks postponed until June of next year, expect more Senate mischief on tightening sanctions on Iran. 

++SCOTUS should be nuts this year with their attempt to gut Obamacare like they did the Voting Rights Act. I fear for same sex marriage despite recent moves to declare its prohibition unconstitutional in both Arkansas and Mississippi.

++The 2016 Presidential race is off and running. Rick Perry, Chris Christie,Scott Walker are already geared up. Rand Paul claims he can run for Senate and the President but Kentucky law is doubtful.

++My Senator Mark Warner is been appointed to a Democratic Senate Post to counter Elizabeth Warren. This ought to be good.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Darren Wilson's Testimony

++Ezra Klein at VOX , Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo and John Cassidy at the New Yorker have their takes on Darren Wilson's testimony to the Grand Jury on facing down the "demon" who had the strength of the Hulk.

++Darren Wilson allegedly received $500,000 for his ABC interview and another $500,000 from another network. Throw in the prosecutor raising $432,000 for him. He shouldn't have to work as a cop anymore. Is a million bucks the fee for shooting an unarmed black man?

++The web has scores of analyses how the prosecutor blew being a prosecutor and made sure there was  no indictment.

++Governor Nixon gets my Paul Bremmer Award for the clumsiness of his response or lack of response to the uproar in Ferguson.

++One of President Obama's legacies is--I think a good one--showing us how racist we still are. It should be remembered that President Obama won the Nobel Prize for Peace because of his continuation of Dr. King's struggle. He was a black man who won election in a racist society. That's what the Award was for.

++I have no further comments but I have been following the national protests closely.

Happy Thanksgiving

++Tomorrow the family goes to the Museum of the American Indian for a thanksgiving meal prepared in the original way.

++Remember the original Americans fed a bunch of illegal aliens from Europe on that historic day. At least one of the Pilgrims was a direct ancestor of our present President--one Barack Hussein Obama.

++Today President Obama again exceeded his constitutional rights by pardoning or as he said giving amnesty to two Turkeys.

++ If you are on the road or in the air--which 25% of Americans will be, stay safe and try to avoid short white male cops,particularly in the Midwest. They tend to fire first and often and don't ask questions.

Monday, November 24, 2014

No Indictment Against Darren Wilson on the Death of Michael Brown

++No comment.

Hagel Gone, More War On The Way

++President Obama will accept the resignation of Chuck Hagel today as the Administration looks beyond the days of the drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan to a "new phase" in the war against ISIS.

++The next two years will be Non-Stop War 24/7.

++Even Rand Paul is getting into the action. He is introducing a bill declaring war against Isis. He wants to get proper with the Deep State.

++I watched Jimmy Carter's talk at the JFK Memorial Library this weekend and was shocked when I realized except for the bungled Iran hostage rescue mission he never waged war as President. That is stunning and probably his most interesting legacy.

++Andrew Bacevich writes today about the five most common beliefs of the Washington Punditry that are absolutely false. You can read the piece at Tomsdisptach. com and it now has appeared on democraticunderground. Bacevich's point is that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are not our natural allies and have nothing in common with us. One is a brutal military dictatorship, the other the most repressive theocracy in the world. Point one above all the rest is that American forces in the Middle East do not bring stability but the contrary. The Persian Gulf just doesn't rate anymore in the national interest. With the new oil environment,there is not a lot of national interest in the Middle East. Also terrorism does not pose an existential threat to America. But we go on believing these things.

++The Jerusalem Post writes that Bibi is preparing to attack Iran now that the nuclear talks have been delayed until June 15,2015. 

++Meanwhile Hamas has announced it has received more missiles from Iran.

++The UK is now going to pass tougher "anti-terrorism" laws.

++President Obama has order a strategic review to not only fight ISIS but also Assad. Good luck with that one.

++I'm with Charlie Rangel on this stuff. Tell us in detail the national interests in continuing war in the Middle East, institute a draft with an option to serve domestically on social programs,and tax the wealthy to pay for the war.

Friday, November 21, 2014

GOP Trapped

++Today's Politico had an extensive piece on why the GOP has been trapped by President Obama's move on immigration. A pro-GOP corporate lobbyist felt this was the time when the Republicans could make a move on immigration reform. Even Jeb Bush today criticizing President Obama's unilateral move insisted the GOP should take up the mantle and do immigration reform right.

++Instead,the day was spent with nativist Stephen King threatening impeachment. The whole chorus cried "Emperor Obama" and proclaimed--wrongly--that President Obama violated the constitution. Rep. Brooks from Alabama threatened Obama should be impeached and jailed because of the executive orders.

++Rand Paul did a riff on how President Obama's immigration reform was like FDR's order to imprison Japanese-Americans during WWII. I don't really catch the similarity. Millions protected from deportation, while thousands are deprived of their liberty, even though they were Americans.

++My emails ran solid to impeachment from the right. The GOP vows to get even when they take control of the Congress in January. John Boehner vowed retaliation but he adjourned for a Thanksgiving holiday. Rep.Poe from Texas sponsored a bill to defund the immigration reform, even though it would not receive any federal funding.

++Michelle Bachmann and Steven King are off to spend Thanksgiving on the Mexican border to demonstrate how dangerous the border is.

++Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media proclaimed that President Obama was a Russian spy who should be monitored by our intelligence agencies--like he isn't already. Another conservative radio announcer called for Marines to invade the White House and drag Obama away in handcuffs. 

++The GOP is in total disarray with this move. They actually thought that Obama would act like he did after the 2010 mid-terms and be cowed by them. He wasn't and isn't. And this disturbs my e-mailers more than anything. They keep writing that the mid-terms where 37% of the vote was by 60-year old white men should invalidate the 2012 election. Somehow they don't understand we don't have a parliamentary system. 

++What is a puzzle is why there are no "mature" Republicans who say President Obama did it the wrong way and we will show him how to do it. But no one have appeared. Even John McCain who was for comprehensive immigration reform said on an Arizona station that the next move is to find someone of "standing" to sue the President on his executive orders and to take it to the Supreme Court, which in this instance, even with the toads on it, have already in the case on Arizona that the executive branch had a wide latitude in enforcing a law and had significant discretion on implementation. 

++What is missing here is what I find missing on the issue of Obamacare--there are no human beings considered. None of the affected families are real people. Just remember the House already has voted to deport all the DREAMERS just because Barack Obama. None of the people who may lose Obamacare are humans either. And remember both parties campaigned in 2008 on healthcare reform and immigration reform. One of those parties has disappeared.

++One of the most telling moments in the New Conservatism was Senator Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions complaint about Sonia Sotomayor that she was too empathetic to be a judge.

++This is not the compassionate conservatism rebranded under George W. This is the punitive society in spades. One progressive blogger hit on it this afternoon commenting on how the Republicans are invoking procedures and laws as their main objections to President Obama. The writer warned that this was just a smokescreen.

++President Obama invoking the nation we want to be has no resonance with these people. You don't engage in raw voter suppression with glee,fail to expand Medicaid in your state,and sue the President because he failed to implement the employer mandate according to the schedule in the law (even though you opposed the mandate anyway) and believe we should be a society of equal opportunity and justice for all.

++Louie Gohmert struck again today arguing that President Obama decided on the executive actions on immigration so as to encourage violence in Ferguson, Missouri when the grand jury decision comes down. But there are a lot of people in Ferguson who have a stake in being as violent as possible.

++Rep. Issa of IRS, Benghazi fame said today that there would be no laws Obama wants because he only enforces what he wants. 

++Meanwhile the House Intelligence Committee released its Benghazi Report, which basically exonerated President Obama and Susan Rice from being co-conspirators. That was swept aside. The Benghazi Special Committee has held one session so far and we can expect more in the future.

++The froth and rage after the immigration speech should give minorities all they need to know about the modern GOP. 

++But to top off these week's hijinx,there is the Science Reform Act of 2014 authored by Arizona Representative David Schweikert. This act says that scientists can not share their studies with the EPA. Isn't that cool. We can't have the Enviromental Protection Agency use scientific studies for their information or policy decisions. This is Cave Man stuff.

++AS John McCain often says, "It is darkest before it gets pitch black." 

++We've got a grim two years before us.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Si Se Pudo

++Crowds had gathered outside the White House with signs saying " Gracias President Obama,the Public is with you". An emotional gathering of immigrants and their supporters to watch the President's speech on IPADS. 

++One woman, not among the crowd,was arrested having an unlicensed 9mm and who the Secret Service said was not cooperating with their inquiries. The night before, another white male from Illinois was also arrested with a rifle and a truckload of ammunition. 

++While the immigrant community is euphoric,the bitterness at a fine, eloquent speech has already seeped into the Washington Post. Former Bush speechwriter Gerson,claiming to be for comprehensive immigration reform slammed the President for not playing the political game on this issue. Trudy Rubin wrote a lengthy op-ed how President Obama's executive orders aren't legal, a point Gerson alluded to when he thought they went too far. These are the calmer ones, who have lost their mind.

++Chris Cillezza of the Post said this was the 2008 Obama re-appearing and that he had to stay 50,000 ft in the air because he couldn't get bogged down in the weeds.

++Jonathan Capehart, an Obama supporter, liked what he heard. 

++Bloggers on the Democratic Underground posted the tweets from around the country of reactions from immigrants and their supporters.

++I'm already getting e-mails of various right-wingers proclaiming that Obama just ignored the elections, which were a repudiation of his policies, and now is bringing the country to the brink of civil war. A great deal of this attitude is because the black man didn't ask permission. His climate change deal with the Chinese,his release of 3 more Gitmo prisoners to Georgia and Slovenia, and now immigration is just too much for them.

++Hillary Clinton posted a big thank you to President Obama for taking this action. Trudy Rubin's piece wondered what her position would be.

++It's amazing really, how a moderate, rational speech will drive some people nuts.

++House conservatives are again in the impeachment  mode with some even suggesting jail time for the President.

++For my part, I think he deserves a victory lap.

++Wait to you see in a few days if a deal is reached with the Iranian government over the nuclear program.


++Immigration advocates claim tonight's speech and the subsequent executive orders are the biggest victory in over 25 years. While the Obama administration says it affects 4million, the number is likely 5 million.

++As a comparison, undocumented immigrants grew from 3.5 million in 1990 to 11 million in 2007. These executive orders will affect about 40% of the entire undocumented immigrant society. In other words,President Obama went as big as he could.

++The business community got more attention to L-1 visas and the path to citizenship for talented immigrants. The work visa process will be streamlined. 

++Part of the speech was upholding law and order. President Obama pointed out that illegal border crossings were now the lowest since 1970s. He also pointed to a vast increase in surveillance on the border, the creation of a new border unit of Homeland Security, and a substantial increase in the number of border guards now topping 20,000. He also spoke about streamlining the immigration court system, which presently is a nightmare. 

++In the end ,the White House checked all the boxes. While polls show a plurality of Americans disapprove of President Obama taking unilateral actions,the majority agree with each point he made. Sort of like Obamacare, list its benefits and people agree but overall they disapprove.

++Politically, President Obama set a trap for the GOP. Does it reinforce xenophobia or does it move to the new reality? The next few days we will be treated to pyrotechnics.

Bravo,Mr. President

++President Obama unveiled the outline of his actions on immigration, which will halt the deportation of several million people for at least 3 years.

++In the process, he dismantled argument after argument about why this shouldn't be done and his rights as President to do it. He reminded his audience that the Republican leadership in the House consistently refused to bring the Senate bill to a vote.

++He also acknowledged that deportations had gone up 80% during his presidency and that illegal crossings of the border had gone down dramatically at the same time. He mentioned the spike of the Central American kids but noted that this situation has diminished to a trickle. 

++He affirmed the nature of the United States as a country of immigrants and pointed out that millions lived under a shadow but still lived productive lives.

++He also went after the idea that this is amnesty,said people would have to pay a fine and back taxes. He also extended the Dreamers program.

++He pointed out again how absurd it was to think about deporting everyone. That just isn't the American way. He also mentioned that border security had tightened since he became President. 

++The immediate response by immigrant groups and centers hosting viewing parties was euphoric, a vindication for those who had organized and agitated for this change.

++President Obama had a captive audience of several million watching UNIVISION and the Latino Grammy Awards. The major networks claimed the speech was too political to warrant a prime time address to the nation. 

++Considering the objections he had to silenced and the tightrope he had to weave between law and order as well as justice, it was  good performance.

++Now watch the heads explode tomorrow. Obama also emphasized that you din't have to agree with him on this action to work with him on  other things. He also obliquely warned against a government shutdown.

Tonight's the Night

++You may not know it because the major networks will not be airing President Obama's announcement of his executive actions on immigration. But they will appear just before the Latino Grammys on Univision.

++Depending on how you count, they will affect either 3 or 5 million undocumented immigrants. Proportionately the same number affected by Ronald Reagan's executive action on immunity from deportation.

++But those actions like that of George H.W.Bush met with virtually no resistance from either Republicans or Democrats.

++"Emperor Obama" as Rush Limbaugh and Ted Cruz call him will just be implementing what should have been done last Spring. There was never any chance Boehner would ever allow the Senate immigration bill up for a straight vote in the House. Nancy Pelosi kept egging him on since the Democrats would have voted with enough Republicans to pass it.

++Now the GOP sounds desperate. Today they threatened a government shutdown. Later in the afternoon,the House said there was nothing they could do to stop the President's actions because it is self-funded.

++Others maintain that they will out riders on budget bills to stop the program. It should be emphasized that the immigrants benefiting will not be the parents of the Dreams,although the age limits for the Dreamers may extend to 35. None of the immigrants affected will be eligible to receive Obamacare. 

++People like Andrew Sullivan and even some Democrats resist the idea that the President has to act unilaterally. It seems, however,that the Supreme Court has telegraphed its approval of the move.

++Xenophobes are out in force today. Louie Gohmert wants to cut off Obama's funding for his golf games. GOP governors are threatening to sue. Tom Coburn says that violence and anarchy will engulf the country but especially in Ferguson, Missouri when the grand jury verdict comes down. Of course, Tom doesn't criticize the KKK's new call to violence in Missouri. Mitch McConnell promises harsh reactions next year when he becomes the leader of the Senate. Pat Buchanan,the most level-headed xenophobe, claims Obama is acting unconstitutionally.

++President Obama is asking that this new policy will come into effect during January of 2015. White House spokespeople claim that this is heavy lifting but that much of it is in place now.

++So stayed tuned. The fireworks will start beginning tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Coming Up

++Dianne Feinstein promises the Torture Report will be released after the Thanksgiving Break. Holding it up is a tussle between the Senate Committee and the White House over one last redaction.

++Does anyone think we will see NSA reform anytime soon. The filibuster worked against Pat Leahy's Reform Bill, which may not have been great but would have been an improvement over the status quo.

++President Obama's immigration executive orders may be overshadowed by the release of the Grand Jury findings in Ferguson, Missouri. Governor Nixon has already declare a state of emergency because the authorities expect no charges but rioting.

++Ready for Hillary! Sometime during the Holidays. it is expected that Hillary Clinton will announce her candidacy for President in 2016. It would be a boost or a distraction for Democrats who must ponder an incoming Congress dominated by the GOP.

++The GOP leadership is now struggling with the incoming crowd over the promise by Mitch McConnell not to shutdown the government. Already Senator Cruz and other GOP congressmen want to shutdown the government over President Obama's immigration  orders. As a stop-gap measure, Cruz wants to hold up all Obama nominations--which includes about 25% of all embassy openings.

++Mitch McConnell promises the Keystone XL Pipeline will be one of the first things he will raise in the new Congress. If he wanted a job-creator, he could have passed President Obama's Jobs Bill, which would have created 1 million jobs, compared to 50 permanent jobs.

Obama Immigration Orders

++The AFL-CIO emailed their members that President Obama will make a prime time announcement on his executive orders tomorrow and then unveil the whole package on Friday.

++Meanwhile ,despite the GOP's hue and cry over this lawlessness, the very conservative Federalist Society meeting at the Mayflower Hotel here in D.C. had panels on the subject and the conservative legal scholars all agree the executive orders on immigration are within his purview.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Keystone Doesn't Make Senate Cloture Vote

++Mary Landrieu tried desperately to find the 60th vote. But she couldn't. Angus King of Maine came out early today to say he was voting against. So the Keystone XL Pipeline stalls with a 59 yes-41 no vote.

++But the stories the last few days about the pipeline shouldn't encourage backers because the job creation numbers were confirmed by the Canadian company and the feasibility of the pipeline seems in doubt with the current price per barrel quotes. 

++But Mitch McConnell said that it would pass in the new congress. It now looks like Keystone is the primary GOP job plan.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Impeachment Fever!

++With President Obama overseas at the G-20 Summit, the GOP rightwing has whipped up the calls for impeachment of the war-time president.

++This time it isn't Benghazi,the Fast and Furious,or the IRS' concerns about the Tea Party. No,it's the possibility that President Obama will issue executive orders on immigration. This time they think they have a real winner. Except exit polls at the mid-term indicate that even rank and file Republicans agree with President Obama that the immigration system needs to be fixed. 

++Matt Salmon,Rep. King,and even Charles Krauthammer have weighed in, claiming the executive orders are impeachable offenses.

++This is interesting because Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush all used executive orders on immigration matters. Now the GOP is leaping to threaten all sorts of things to Obama.

++With the theme of wanting to govern, John Boehner is now saying a government shutdown is now on the table. McConnell and Boehner want to punish Obama for this, primarily by offering to pass a short term funding bill and not a long-term budget through 2015.

++Whether either man can control their far-right caucuses remains to be seen. Boehner has tried to defuse this volcano by offering up his lawsuit, which hasn't been filed since the House approved it.


++Business Week reported President Obama's comments today from Burma about the Keystone XL Pipeline. In their story,they followed up with the State Department's findings, which have been suspended pending a court decision.

++Yes, I was wrong. The number of permanent jobs to be created by Keystone XL Pipeline is 50,not the 25 I had written before. The first number of jobs to create it is 3,900, about 1,500 more than I said. But I was right that gas prices would rise in the Midwest.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

So What's Left

++I didn't have much expectations for the second Obama term but the last week basically gave me enough of what I had wanted.

++On Climate Change, the Presidents edicts on the coal-plants was significant in and of themselves. The agreement with China,the other great polluter,is beyond significant in that it paves the way for a possible global agreement next year. I await his executive orders due next week.

++On immigration, I had wanted the whole thing in some version of the Senate bill. It would have made reforming the system easier. I'll take executive actions. Harry Reid tonight wanted President Obama to delay his immigration orders. I think enough is enough.

++Linda Greenhouse today in her NYTimes blog made me shudder about SCOTUS possible evisceration of Obama care. Grubergate only fuels the anxiety with a Republican Congress just aiming for it. For me personally, premiums went down 40% since last year and I still can cover my son. I just want to make it to Medicare  before Paul Ryan vouchers it. 

++I want the Torture Report released. If it isn't in the lame duck session it never will be. Activists have urged Mark Udall leak it before he leaves office. I hope so.Former Republican Senator and later presidential candidate Mike Gravel who did a similar thing on Vietnam volunteered to tell Udall how to do it without legal repercussions.

++Closing Gitmo still ranks as a concern of mine. The longer it stays open,the worse the image around the world as the United Nations still can't understand why it is open.

++I doubt anything will be done with the NSA, now that their biggest fans are back.

++This brings me to the deal on the Iranian nuclear program. President Obama says he would rather have no deal, rather than a bad deal. There is some indication, especially in a conversation with Vladimir Putin in Asia that the international community is all on board for the final push. This week it is likely the Senate will pass a resolution condemning the deal and asking for more sanctions. I've argued before that this would be premature and would actually threaten the sanctions regime in place by other countries. In other words,if there is a deal and the United States won't take it, what would ever satisfy you guys? The international community won't hang around much longer.

++President Obama is teed up to put in motion all the remaining initiatives of his last term before the new Congress comes in. I believe he is steadying himself to the full onslaught of the GOP and will spend his last two years defending what he has achieved. And for my money,that has been a lot.

++The unfortunate change has been the return of Iraq 3.0 and the war on ISIS.

Tan Man Expands His Lawsuit to Include Immigration

++While the GOP and their entertainment complex is mesmerized by Gubergate, John Boehner announced he was expanding his lawsuit, which no one remembers anymore, to go after President Obama's executive actions on immigration.

++The NYTimes explains that deportation would be deterred for 5 million people and work permits would be allowed for these undocumented workers. Naturally,Congress is going nuts because both GOP leaders warned President Obama that signing these executive orders would blow up any chance at cooperation in the new Congress. I'm sure President Obama read the polls of the Republican voter, which showed that some 2/3rds of them want their Congresscritter to oppose President Obama. Carnival Cruz pledges to showdown the government. A fight has opened up between the slightly nuts and the real nut wing of the Party.

Happy News

++Clayton Kershaw has won his third Cy Young Award and the MVP for the National League. After the season lost my interest after the Dodgers, Nationals and Orioles lost,at least some late happy baseball news is welcomed.

++And for baby boomers who remember their baseball card collections, Alvin Dark died. A below-par infielder but a good manager for both the Giants and A's.

The Race To The Keystone XL Pipeline

++While President Obama's office claimed late in the day he would veto the upcoming legislation approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, the Senate version already has 60 votes and could almost become veto proof.

++To recap some of my arguments,the Keystone XL does not provide an ounce of oil to the United States. The whole argument about energy independence is hokum. 

++In fact, study after study shows it will increase gas prices in the Midwest.

++The Keystone Pipeline is supposed to create jobs. After the initial construction jobs added,only 25 will remain permanent. The American beer industry has 2 million jobs. A couple of Ben and Jerry's would add more jobs than the Keystone Pipeline.

++Despite assurances it will not ruin the Ogalala Aquifer which provides the grain belt with its water,any leak would be ruinous.

++CNBC reported today that the Keystone Pipeline is already obsolete. Tar Sands need an oil price over $100 to make it worthwhile to develop. Today the price is below $80 and the Saudis say it will stay around $75 for a while.

++The primary benefactor of the pipeline was supposed to be the Chinese. The other would be the Koch Brothers who stand to make a killing from their Tar Sands holdings. Yesterday, the Chinese said they don't want our dirty oil since they have made a commitment to accelerate solar, wind and hydroelectric energy.

++The Canadian firm Endridge already has their own Keystone pipeline which goes from Alberta down the West Coast.

++But it doesn't matter,Cassidy and Landrieu have to muscle this one out. Does President Obama really want to veto it or simply let market forces kill it? We'll see this week.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mark Begich Has Not Conceded

++While AP pronounced Dan Sullivan the winner,Mark Begich refused to concede the Alaska race because there are thousands of votes still outstanding from rural Alaska and the Indian territories he conducted his extensive outreach in. 

++Elizabeth Warren looks like she may join the ranks of the Senate Democratic Leadership.

++Same Sex marriage became legal in South Carolina and Kansas.

The Ever-Ready Rabbit Strikes Again

++The US delegation to the UN Human Rights Council surprisingly re-affirmed its commitment to the Torture Convention and to its interpretation that it holds true not only domestically but to its forces abroad. The New York Times had suggested that the Obama Administration was re-thinking its policy given the pressure put on it by both the CIA and the military. Sanity prevailed.

++Fox News reports that President Obama will announce his executive orders on immigration next week, which will be a ten point plan which will dramatically diminish the deportations of undocumented workers. It is said the orders will allow some 4 million people with children born in the United States to remain. This is another Big Deal.

++The President is also set to unveil a series of executive actions on climate change, which he has the authority to do under the Clean Air Act. The Supreme Court has upheld the President's authority to act unilaterally on such matters.

++The sky is falling. The Washington Post finally hailed President Obama's agreement with China over carbon reductions. Writers in various columns also hailed the other agreements he had reached with the Chinese.

++Senator Whitehouse said tomorrow he will vote against Mary Landrieu's bill to pass the Keystone Pipeline. She was to introduce it for unanimous consent. I guess she won't get it.

++The House weighs in on Keystone by sponsoring a Cassidy-Keystone Pipeline bill.

++The Obama Administration has ordered a review of its own ISIS strategy because they want to deal with both the Assad regime and ISIS. 

President Obama Didn't Ask Permission

++In case you missed it, the President had a smashing trip to Beijing where he signed multiple agreements ranging from tariffs, visas, the military and trade.

++But the one smashing agreement was the bilateral agreement between the two greatest polluters to reduce carbon emissions in a very meaningful way. The agreement is to set up a global agreement in Paris later his month. Don't expect a treaty but a detailed and comprehensive agreement.

++The President isn't done yet. Politico published yesterday a list of all the executive orders being prepared to combat climate change. At the end of the day, the President will have done more than any President in history to tackle this problem.

++Naturally,the Democrats will do something contrary to this direction. In their infinite wisdom,they will vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline in the lame duck session to try and protect Mary Landrieu.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Just My Two Cents

++Today, I've read all sides of the legal arguments for and against subsidies for Obamacare and the federal exchange. If the case is decided by law, the administration wins hands down. But the way the four judges made a power play to get the case means that four decided the case had been decided wrongly. Which means all bets are off. 

++Citizens United reverse over 103-years of established law regulating campaign contributions. The Roberts Court eviscerated the Voter's Rights Act so that voter suppression played a huge role in this mid-term and will in the future. If Roberts is the corporation's guy than he should invoke the Chevron case and let the Administration win. He also had told opponents of the bill to win elections and change it that way. He may decided the same on this case,let the legislature handle this.

++The ramifications of them decided against the tax subsidies have been captured in Paul Krugman's column today about the corrupt court. Millions would be affected and thousands would die. 

++As for my family, my son stays on the policy and I would limp onward to Medicare, unless the GOP eliminates that through reconciliation.

++President Obama gave a full-throated call for net neutrality and the Internet to be treated as a public utility. Carnival Cruz said this is "Obamacare for the Internet". 

++Big e-mails today from the triumphant Right that they will repeal Obamacare and pass the XL Keystone Pipeline. On the latter, it may be a trillion dollar payoff to the Koch Brothers, who have sizable holdings in the Tarsands area of Canada. I would suggest the courts in the Midwest and the indigenous tribes in Canada may have a different idea.

++President Obama is off to China and will probably missed the outcry on the Ferguson Grand Jury ruling.

++I'm not so sure Obama isn't pleased with the GOP winning because he aims to have corporate tax reform the last two years, and fast track approval of at least the TransPacific Trade Pact. On the perpetual war,or Iraq 3.0, he will get the support he wants. 

++The GOP says they want to impeach President Obama if he signs executive orders on immigration. Gee, what a surprise. But impeachment may actually have a positive effect of stopping the GOP from getting into more mischief. I imagine the world would be interested to see our first African-American wartime President impeached. Fascinating concept.

++It is incredible how the GOP is proclaiming a mandate after winning half of 32% of the American electorate and not campaigning on anything other than I am not Obama. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Must Read: Charles Blow's The Obama Opposition

It's Official

++Homage to Catalonia. The Catalans voted 81% in their symbolic referendum for independence.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

++Marriage equality is going to the Supreme Court because a lonely Circuit Court ruled to uphold same sex marriage bans. Andrew Sullivan analyzes this at the Dish and some legal experts say the author is the next conservative judge on the Supreme Court.

++The Supreme Court short-circuited the DC 9th Circuit decision to hear the case against subsidies for Obamacare en banc by accepting the case on a Friday and not waiting until Monday. You need four judges to accept a case--guess who. If the case succeeds, it will gut the Affordable Care Act and send health insurance costs spiraling.

++Oh, the CBO says that beneficiaries 2015 of the ACA will be 20 million and in 2016 will be 25 million.

Unemployment nudges down to 5.8%

++Curiously, white unemployment is at 4.8%. 

++The jobs report disappointed Wall Street which expected more than the 214,000 jobs created. But jobs were created across all sectors, which is a positive sign of a more durable recovery.

++The long-term unemployed who benefits were not extended by Congress consist of 32% of all unemployed. 2.9 million are long-term unemployed. But that number went down by 1.1 million in the past year.

++But a Huffington Post poll found that 2/3rds of the mid-term voters were dissatisfied with the economy system itself. Wide majorities believed the economy did not help the average worker. So I guess you vote for people who will give corporations bigger tax breaks.

++If anyone acts on infrastructure, the unemployment rate will drop further.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


++President Obama held a press conference that lasted over an hour. Instead of doing the shellacking bit from 2010, he actually looked good and was peppy. He did his usual rich out to Republican schtick, who infuriates the true believers who remember every time he has been screwed. But he twisted this about hearing their ideas and stressed the elections were about getting things done.

++Questioned about the rejection of his agenda, he pointed out when they were separate ballot items they passed. He also defended his absence on the campaign trail saying that he was respectful about their region or district and did what they wanted whether it was behind the scenes are not.

++This was not a press conference of a defeated man. He emphasized that as President he still had a lot of mojo left and he hoped to play the fourth quarter as well as others. He stressed that while he is called a lame duck President, lots of things will happen in the next two years.

++He passed the buck on the Keystone Pipeline saying that a court has to make decisions and he had a press in place which he will let pan out. He also said Keystone was a very small piece of the overall energy puzzle. He went on to say we have a 100-year supply of natural gas and that energy independence is just around the corner.

++He was presented by Mitch McConnell's statement that an immigration executive order would be like waving a red flag at a bull. He didn't back down. He said he had waited two years for the House to act and if Congress acted, it would make his executive order moot. Several journalists tried to get him to back away on this issue but he said he would before the next Congress.

++On Obamacare, he ran off all the positives. Said the usual thing about willing to make it better. Resisted calls for ending the individual mandate. Pointed out that was from Romney's plan. Said no to any repeal. Said no to other ideas. The Medical device tax popped up and he dodged.

++Emphasized another Authorization to use Force law was approaching and that meetings will be held this week.

++He also was positive about the Iran nuclear talks but said that Iran had politics also. He dodged the question whether he would unilaterally enforce a deal and suspend sanctions. 

++He was repeatedly asked about his "Red lines" in talking with Republicans. He knew better than to tell them any if he had any.

++He asked the issue of why Americans think they live in bummer times. He was Reaganesque in his optimism, which is partly why he won twice.

++He left with a hymn of praise for America and optimism of the last two years.

++Graceful,eloquent as always, and even-tempered.
This was several times better than after the 2010 debacle. He also said that 2/3rds of the country didn't vote.

The Geezer Vote

++Father Hesbergh, formerly of Notre Dame, once told me that "the young are cursed with living in a world created by 80-year olds." His saying seems appropriate for last night's electoral rout by the Republicans.

++The 2014 mid-terms were even older than 2010.
37% of the voters were 60 years old or older, while only 12% were under 30. 

++In 2010, it was 32% 60 or older and again 12% under the age of 30.

++And what is the median age of the Koch Brothers,Adelson and his wife and Karl Rove's billionaires? Even through in George Soros. I can't even imagine the political/racial wars they think they are in.

++What does the election mean? It means no relief for the students with huge debt burdens from college or gradate school. It means the healthcare they got through Obamacare either directly or through their parents is jeopardized. It means nothing will be done about the issue they are obsessed with the most--climate change. 

++They may be destined to live in the world William Gibson calls "after the Jackpot" when people are impoverished,food supplies are diminished,people die off from random epidemics, but science keeps producing new products and inventions. 

++After last night, I think my son may have been prophetic when for the last few weeks he entertained the idea of moving to Oregon. Oregon made out well last night.

What Will Obama Do?

++Odds are he signs Keystone XL Pipeline in law.

++He will resist other measures aimed at gutting EPA.

++He will have to actually veto bills, which he has been reluctant to do in the past.

++While Mitt Romney promised that with an all GOP Congress,they would pass immigration reform, don't believe him. President Obama must use his executive powers to deal with immigration as promised.

++He will get his fast track on the TPP agreement and the free trade agreement with Europe.

++He will allow the law to be changed so that America can export oil and gas.

++He will have to protect Obamacare from the endless attempts to gut it. 

++Any positive change will happen by incidental acts like those of the past two years, things the GOP doesn't observe or pay attention to.

++The GOP Congress raises real risks of a return to recession. Democrats will have to be willing to use the filibuster like the Republicans have to obstruct policy.

++President Obama will get anything he wants for war but little for foreign aid. In fact, he will get more than he wants.

++To re-assert himself,President Obama has to come out with momentum because Mitch McConnell already wants to roll him in 100 days.

What I Expect From The Republican Congress

++I expect the Senate to pass the Ryan budget through reconciliation. I expect we will hear from Paul Krugman on this.

++I expect the Senate to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. I also expect President Obama to sign it because of our Canadian relations and their involvement in the Middle East against ISIS.

++I expect the Senate will first repeal Obamacare. When rebuffed,they will strip out the employer mandates,and the risk corridors for insurance companies, and repeal the medical device tax. The latter is wanted by all of one company that has been lobbying Congress for the past several years.

++I expect cuts in the corporate tax rate.

++I expect the Senate to create a committee to investigate Obama's abuse of power.

++I expect an effort to repeal the Consumer Protection Agency.

++I expect one last effort to eviscerate the Dodd-Franks legislation regulating Wall Street.

++I expect some additional tax credits to help companies who are tracking because the prices of oil and gas have dipped.

++I expect a full-scale assault on the EPA.

++I do not expect an assault on Social Security and Medicare because that is now the GOP base.

++I expect total obstruction on any Obama nominee for the judiciary.

++I expect increases in military spending.

++I expect the GOP will not score bills with the CBO.

++I expect there will be no Pay-Go as Democrats used to do.

++I do not expect any reforms of the NSA or CIA.

++I do not expect the CIA torture report will ever see the light of day.

++I do not expect anything on climate change.

Still Another Winner

++ADP reports another 230,000 jobs added last month.

Another Winner

++ On election day,a federal judge struck down the ban on same sex marriage in Kansas.

Another Winner

++In four states that went Republican, the initiatives to raise the minimum wage passed.

So Who Won?

++Marijuana won in Oregon,Alaska and D.C. and lost in Florida.

++Personhood lost big in Colorado and South Dakota.

++Anti-abortion won big in Tennessee.

++Dirty Money won huge!

++Jerry Brown won.

++Andrew Cuomo won.

++Unbelievably, Sam Brownback,LePage,Scott, and Walker won.

++Tom Tillis beat Kay Hagan.  Hagan's good campaign couldn't beat the GOP national tide.

++Older white Americans over 65 won big. They were 30% of the turnout over 12% for millenials.

++Climate Change won huge. The GOP will try to roll back regulations on fossil fuel. They have 61 votes in the Senate to pass the Keystone XL Pipeline.

++The opening in the nuclear talks with Iran will likely be stopped by the GOP Senate.

++AS Sam Wang noted at the end of last night, the GOP ran 5% above their polling. As he had noted earlier, the polls in mid-terms would be off for one side or the other by 50%.

++Extremism won big. It is hard to see a "moderate" in the bunch elected to the Senate.

++Women as politicians won. There will be 100 women in the House of Representatives for the first time in our history.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Republicans Take Back the Senate

++David Perdue has been declared the winner in Georgia with a majority.

++Joni Ernst has been declared the winner in Iowa

Time To Go Read William Gibson

++You know it's time to call it a night when Rick Scott wins re-election. Probably because the petition by Crist to extend voting hours in Broward-Dade country was rejected by the judge.

++Networks have called Colorado for Gardner. That deserves a morning look.

++One loser of tonight is Rand Paul. He hoped the Republicans would take the Kentucky legislature so they would pass a law that would allow him to run for President while serving as Senator.

++And don't forget Scott Brown made history tonight becoming the first male politician to lose to two women in two different states.

Still There

++Louisiana to go to runoff.

++Mike Rounds wins in South Dakota. Alright,what happens when he is indicted? Since the FBI confirmed during the campaign he was under criminal investigation. Sorry, Rick Weiland didn't make it.

++Scott Brown could run next time in Maine where he really was born.

++So far,no real surprises. But the Warner race in Virginia is giving people the heebie-jeebies.

++Sam Wang says the New Hampshire and Kentucky races didn't help him on his Delta rating. 

++Mark Udall is polling less than Hickenlooper is.

++Maine governor's race still tight.

Ignore The Groans and Panic over Impartial Results

++Commentators are panicking about the Virginia Senate race when northern Virginia hasn't weighed in. 

++Hagan, Sheehan look good. Cotton and Caputo take seats from the Democrats.

++Wolf wins Pennsylvania Governor. Big win for mankind!

++Maine's governor's race to close to call. Mary Collins won the Senate.

++Charlie Crist holding his own in Florida.

++Georgia really does look like it's going to a run-off. Michelle Nunn turned out to be a good candidate. Alison Grimes in Kentucky not so much.

++Cory Booker won in New Jersey against old-time supply sider Jeffry Bell.

++Not looking like a wave election despite President Obama saying the Democrats faced the toughest Senate landscape since Ike.

++A good night for election junkies. But I must go read listen to Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes.

Election Night

++I'm not sure I have the stomach for this. But the last New York Times prediction was 49 Democrats,51 Republicans.

++Josh Marshall at Talking Points is saying we won't know who won the Senate tonight. Alaska is too late and Georgia and Louisiana go into overtime. He writes that Colorado looks lost.

Readers Push Back On Wang

++Predicting mid-terms is perilous as Nate Silver and Sam Wang have sparred throughout this campaign. How good are the polls? Is the likely voter screen reliable? How underrepresented are minorities,particularly African Americans and Hispanics? Did putting marijuana initiatives and raising the minimum wage on the ballot increase Democratic voter participation?

++Readers disputed Wang's call on Iowa,Alaska and Colorado. Unfortunately, Tom Harkin didn't help matters yesterday when he said Ernst was attractive as Taylor Swift but too extreme for Iowa. While workers on the ground say Braley's campaign is in good shape,I have found it snake-bitten from the start. 

++Readers question Wang's call for Sullivan in Alaska. Everything coming from Alaska says that Begich has an absolutely superb and innovative Get Out The Vote campaign. While I have been interested in his outreach to the native americans who endorsed his campaign, political independents say that his efforts in the cities of Alaska are superior to anything that state has seen. Sullivan has been plagued by the perception he is from Ohio and bankrolled by outsiders like the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove. Ted Cruz appeared at the end of his campaign and was treated like a rock star. I think this one if going to go long. Alaska is heavily Republican but with a very strong independent streak. Unlike others, Begich has run a very strong Alaska-centered campaign and has been quick in responding to out of state ads.

++Other readers think Sam is wrong about Colorado. We forget Colorado is the epicenter of the Christian Right and has an extreme right leaning from the not so distant past. The Democrats failed to paint Cory Gardner as the extremist his voting record shows. Gardner has been successful in painting Udall as a professional politician coming from a family of politicians, albeit one with a fine record of public service. Udall failed to go personal defending this record. But the demographics of the state have changed. That is why Latino Decisions claims not only did the polls underestimate the Hispanic vote but that this vote, despite President Obama's failure to sign Executive Orders on immigration, favor Udall, who was critical of the President on this. The Udall campaign all the way until late last night were optimistic that the Bannock Street project of Get Out The Vote was succeeding. Bennett barely won with a 1.5% vote margin over Buck last time. Democrats are counting on that again.

++I shudder about Iowa. As we saw in the last Republican Iowa Caucus that the state is filled with the Christian Right and on the Republican side moved away from the Midwestern sensible. Remember that the Supreme Court judges who ruled for same sex marriage in the stone age were removed by the Republicans. Also, Governor Branstad is looking to win a big election which could have coattails for Ernst.

++I agree with Sam on Georgia and Louisiana but both look like they are heading to a run-off. Even though my electoral fantasies usually don't play out,it would be fun to have the decision on the Senate linger until next year. But if Sam is wrong on only two races,it could be a 50-50 tie and Joe Biden would cast the deciding vote.

++I hope his fifty-fifty governor's races are off. Scott and LePage are too much for me.

Sam's Predictions

++PEC predictions: 52 GOP,48 Democrats--Senate.
Kentucky--Mitch McConnell
Georgia  --Perdue
Alaska   --Sullivan
Iowa     --Ernst


Monday, November 3, 2014


++His midnight numbers are 52 to 48 for the Senate but no new analysis.

Waiting on Sam Wang

++The states I listed below that will have Democratic governors --the big ones--add up to 153 electoral votes. Not very hard to get to 270.

Nate Silver's Picks For Governors

++Fivethirtyeight analyses the most competitive races for governor and predicts the following:

Maine: Michaud
Colorado: Hickenlooper
Florida: Crist
Alaska: Walker of the fusion ticket
Illinois: Quinn
Kansas: Davis

Wisconsin: Scott Walker
Michigan: Rick Snyder

Looking toward 2016:
This would mean that California,Florida,Illinois, New York,and Pennsylvania would have Democratic governors. That's a lot of electoral votes.

While I Await Sam Wang's Predictions

++President Obama appeared in Philadelphia to enthusiastic crowds in a campaign appearance for Tom Wolf, the Democrat who tomorrow will beat Corbett. The audience was primarily African-American from the photos. But as Charles Blow writes in the New York Times President Obama's call to the African American community has been going on throughout the campaign. In Georgia, he regularly appeared on radio shows in the African-American community, where his approval rating is sky-high. This technique he used in 2012 and no white media personality ever caught on. Besides Michelle Obama appearing in Georgia, his radio broadcasts have resulted in a huge unexpected turnout of African-Americans in Georgia,North Carolina and hopefully Florida. 

++Another sector of the electorate Obama has made in-roads in is with native Americans. He has made radio broadcasts to the Navaho in Arizona in their own language. The native American vote lies under the radar but will pivotal in states like Arizona and Alaska.

++Persuaded to delay his immigration actions until after the mid-term,President Obama may have hurt Mark Udall in Colorado where there is a substantial Hispanic community. 

Born To Run's Final Predictions

++Born To Run projects 49 Democratic seats, and eventually 51 Republicans in the Senate. The GOP should pick up 10 seats in the House and lose 2 governors. 

++But the real story coming out of the night is that we will not know who controls the Senate for several months. It will be 49-49. The AP, Born To Run and others argue that Georgia and Louisiana will have run-offs. They say anything can happen during the time for the final vote. 

++Another wild card that Washington Monthly raised was Angus King's statement that he will decide who to caucus with after the election. The same may be for Orman in Kansas. 

++The one scenario has Harry Reid opening the next Senate and then having to give the gavel to Mitch McConnell after Georgia comes through.

++It should be a late night.

PPP/American Progress

++Georgia: Nunn 46-Perdue 46,Swafford 4%,4% undecided

++Kansas: Senator Roberts 47 to Orman 46.
                  Davis 48-Brownback 44

++North Carolina: Senator Hagan 46 to Tillis 45.

++New Hampshire: Shaheen 49 to Brown 47.

Last Maine Poll

++Maine People's Resource Center has a poll out completed on the 1st. 

++Michaud at 44.7%, LePage at 44.4%, Cutler at 9.2%, only 1.6% are undecided.