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...when we abandoned the 50 State Strategy that brought us success in the 2006 midterms.

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Ok, can someone educate me on this?

What does the IRS consider a "successful" audit?  Where they find that the person was totally in compliance, where they find that the person was obviously totally not in compliance and they got good money out of it, or some other criterion?

Given this criterion, what were the IRS's "success" rates on their audits of Teabagger and other conservative organizations compared to the general public?  Is there a place I can find this information?  Has this been covered in another diary, so I can go over there to understand it?

Thanks to the DKos community in advance for advice and links.  I'm in a place where I don't know the right vocabulary to ask the questions I want to ask.


I can't believe this didn't get more play.  From the SOTU:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans, last month I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought, and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.

President Obama was a contender for the Democratic nomination for exactly one reason: his opponents largely supported the Iraq War.  It's hard to view the opening of the 2012 as anything other than a punch in the mouth to the people who supported his nomination in 2008.  He's calling us out, making it clear that he didn't mean a damn word of it.

2013 is going to be awful.

Note: Some folks have asked what the point of diaries like this are.  Well, I'd say that the purpose is to make clear that once Obama gets reelected in 2013 (if he does), we as Progressives should give up on getting anything valuable from this Administration and concentrate on organizing for downticket races and 2017.  Obama has made clear that policy is irrelevant and success is irrelevant; what's most important is punching hippies.


Was the opening to the SOTU a pretty explicit callout?

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Yeah, I've been trying to understand where Obama's coming from with his new "investigation" into mortgage fraud.

Firstly, this change of policy has to be the end of the obviously lying meme that everything the banksters did was legal.  If it were legal, then there wouldn't be a need for an "investigation".  If the crime was so enormous that it requires an independent investigator, why aren't we getting one?  Obama was careful to announce that Schneidermann would not be independent, but rather placed under Holder.

The second is a more obvious question: if this is something that has needed to be done for three years, but we're just getting to it now, how is AG Holder keeping his job?  How is Geithner keeping his?  

There's a discussion of some of the details at Calculated Risk here.  They know some of the players who will be with AG Schneidermann, which I don't.  Their summary:

So get this: this is a committee that will “investigate.” The co-chair, Lanny Breuer, along with DoJ chief Eric Holder, hail from white shoe Washington law firm Covington & Burling, which has deep ties to the financial services industry. Even if they did not work directly for clients in the mortgage business, they come from a firm known for its deep political and regulatory connections (for instance: Gene Ludwig, the Covington partner I engaged for some complicated regulatory work when I was at Sumitomo Bank, later became head of the OCC). We’ve written at length on how the OCC is such a shameless tout for the banking industry that it cannot properly be called a regulator. Similarly, the SEC has been virtually absent from the mortgage beat, no doubt because its enforcement chief, Robert Khuzami, was general counsel to the fixed income department at Deutsche Bank. That area included the trading operation under Greg Lippmann who we have described as Patient Zero of so called mezz CDOs, or to the layperson, toxic mortgage paper that kept the subprime bubble going well beyond its sell date. And we don’t need to say much about the DoJ. It has been missing in action during this entire Administration.

President Obama seems to be a good person, and I'd sure enjoy the opportunity to have a (gluten-free) beer with the man.  But the defining characteristic of his Administration has been impunity for connected actors and putting the hammer down on whistleblowers.  We as Americans should expect any energy he puts into the mortgage crisis to be a whitewash, a repeat of Obama's approach on the illegal torture committed by members of the Bush Administration.  This is a transparent election year stunt, full of sound amd fury but signifying nothing.  The Oligarchy will maintain its hold.  And if the commission is too obviously useless, Gingrich will still be able to make a name for himself running to Obama's left on the economy.  The only real question is whether or not the Netroots will allow itself to be chumped again.


Is yet another

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By now, everyone's heard that Newtie's ex-wife is gonna finally spill that Newt wanted a formal "open marriage," rather than go on the DL for his side nookie.

This won't affect any sane person's opinion of Newt.  Anyone who's paying attention knows that Newtie wants a de facto open marriage anyways.  But it will kill Newt for the same reason that Cain's affair killed him.

Conservatives are often accused of not understanding consent.  I disagree.  They understand it just fine; they're just opposed to it.  As long as Cain was accused of violent sexual assault, he was supporting the Patriarchy, and the voters loved him.  But as soon as he entered into a loving and relatively equal long-term relationship, that was the end of him.

Newt's going to have the same issue.  Nobody cares if he sleeps around, as long as he keeps up the most minimal of appearances.  But the moment Gingrich treats his wife with respect, and tries to work with her in an open, honest fashion . . . yeah, no.  The problem isn't that Newt wanted an "open marriage."  The problem was that he was willing to let his wife decline the invitation.


Do you like Dan Savage's word monogamish?

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Hey, look, a conservative twofer:

In a spate of recent cases across the country, American citizens have been confined in local jails after federal immigration agents, acting on flawed information from Department of Homeland Security databases, instructed the police to hold them for investigation and possible deportation.

Of course, those of us with white skin privilege are largely immune from this little Obama pecadillo.  So yay for me, I guess.  Too bad for y'all.

Exact numbers of Americans erroneously held by immigration authorities are hard to come by, since they are not systematically recorded. In one study, 82 people who were held for deportation from 2006 to 2008 at two immigration detention centers in Arizona, for periods as long as a year, were freed after immigration judges determined that they were American citizens.


Ms. Campos said the experience was shocking. “I felt misused completely, I felt nonimportant, I just felt violated by my own country,” she said.


Should we just hold our nose and vote for SCOTUS?

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Silence has pretty much become consent at this point.

While people are now beginning to learn that the police attack on Occupy LA was much more violent than previously reported, few actually realize that much—if not most—of the abuse happened while the protesters were in police custody, completely outside the range of the press and news media. And the disgraceful truth is that a lot of the abuse was police sadism, pure and simple:


• The bus that I was shoved into didn’t move for at least an hour. The whole time we listened to the screams and crying from a young woman whom the cops locked into a tiny cage at the front of the bus. She was in agony, begging and pleading for one of the policemen to loosen her plastic handcuffs. A police officer sat a couple of feet away the entire time that she screamed–but wouldn’t lift a finger.

It goes on, of course.

No response from the White House.  Guess that blank check for brutality is still in force.

This is insane, even more absurdly self-destructive than the DOJ's unwillingness to take on GOP voter suppression tactics.  These people are the folks who moved Heaven and Earth to defeat nihilistic American burn-it-all conservatism.  And Obama's gonna watch and eat popcorn while they're brutalized into submission.

Well, the man has his priorities.


Why is this theme important to the diarist?

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Lawmakers of the governing Grand National Party caught the opposition by surprise by calling a snap plenary session. Opposition legislators rushed in but were too late to prevent their rivals from putting the bill to a vote.

In a desperate attempt, one opposition lawmaker detonated a tear gas canister, throwing the National Assembly chamber into chaos. A scuffle erupted, but members of the governing party outnumbered their foes and, while sneezing and wiping tears, passed the deal in a vote of 151 to 7. In the 299-seat National Assembly, 170 members showed up for the vote Tuesday, most of them governing party lawmakers. The opposition members either voted against the bill or abstained.

Glass doors were shattered as legislative aides from the opposition parties tried to barge in, and security guards formed a human barricade.

Thanks for making us the side that's against Congresspeople getting to vote, President Obama.


Sun Nov 20, 2011 at 08:53 AM PST

Obama is losing my vote

by Punditus Maximus

So, right now, I have a choice between a candidate for President who is totally down with violently suppressing the Occupy movement,

and another candidate for President who is totally down with violently suppressing the Occupy movement.

Obama's welcome to change his mind, of course.  But I'd have to take a lot of Dramamine to make it through marking the little circle at this point.

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Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 09:10 AM PST

Obama on Zuccotti Park

by Punditus Maximus

This diary is a request for information:

Has there been any response from the White House on the violent eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park, and Mayor Bloomberg's book-burning?*

This is pretty much the most important single issue and event of the past week.  Where is the White House?  And why are they where they are?

*Okay, book-dumping, but less alliterative.


Is it still possible to pretend that Obama wants OWS to succeed?

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Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 09:16 AM PST

Obama's failed Presidency.

by Punditus Maximus

Obama has failed and will continue to fail as a President, because of his ideological commitment to maintaining the Bush/Reagan economic oligarchy.

He will also fail, because his blindness is so total that it extends to his senior staff.  From Naked Capitalism:

The research project that reinforced my view about the crushing costs of financial ignorance was reviewing Attorney General Holder’s testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). It is apparent that neither Holder nor his senior staff read Naked Capitalism (at least in that era). Attorney General Holder made two extraordinary statements at that hearing demonstrating his utter ignorance. Chairman Angelides asked Holder to explain the actions the Department of Justice (DOJ) took in response to the FBI’s warning in September 2004 that mortgage fraud was “epidemic” and its prediction that if the fraud epidemic were not contained it would cause a financial “crisis.” Holder testified: “I’m not familiar myself with that [FBI] statement.”


For none of his senior staffers to know about the FBI testimony requires that they know nothing about the department’s most important and (potentially) useful act. That depth of ignorance could not exist if his senior aides cared the least about the financial crisis and made it even a minor priority to understand, investigate, and prosecute the frauds that drove the crisis. Because Holder was testifying in January 14, 2010, the failure of anyone from Holder on down to know about the FBI’s warnings also requires that all of them failed to read any of the relevant criminology literature or Naked Capitalism.

There is no excuse for this, none whatsoever.  It is a Bushian level of total incompetence, and it is combined with a Bushian level of total confidence.  There is no alternative to Obama, and we are completely fucked until 2017 at the earliest.

It is silly for anyone who cares about this country to actually support Obama.  He will be much less vile than any Republican who takes office, but he will be utterly incompetent at taking on the most vital task facing our political system today: resisting the corrosive influence of oligarchs who want to destroy this country's middle class and civil liberties.  There is no time to primary Obama, but our energy should be spent on supporting good Congressional candidates and building an infrastructure to support an actually competent candidate for the 2016 election.


Do you think Obama has a pro-oligarch ideology?

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I signed this petition:

We call on the Department of Justice, our nation's top law enforcement agency, to stand up and protect American citizens whose rights to protest peacefully are under attack -- from New York to Oakland and every occupation in between.

Over the last year, President Obama and members of his administration have showed great leadership in demanding that all governments worldwide protect the rights of their people to peacefully protest without harassment.

It's time for the Obama administration to lead again by requiring the Department of Justice to provide those exact same protections for peaceful protesters here in the United States of America.

It is a waste of time, of course; the Obama Administration is far too committed to its oligarchy support to view suppression of protesters as anything other than a political tactic.  Still, I suppose it's nice to give them a tool to use to justify a soft approach to their donors.


How committed an oligarch is Obama?

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