Tag Archives: Whittemore

Coffee and the Papers

Oh my, the story concerning Nevada über-lobbyist Harvey Whittemore has all the Big Names — Ensign, Ernaut, Sandoval, Reid, Heller, Berkley — and a flight of campaign donations returned. [full story Las Vegas Sun] Perhaps leading to the conclusion that Hell hath no fury like a business partner scorned?

Someone might want to tell Senator Rubio (R-FL) that he really doesn’t get to have it both ways.  He can’t devote a full paragraph to his family’s flight from Castro’s Cuba [Rubio] in his Congressional biography, which is a little strange since his parents left in 1956* (and then attempted to return, or visited, or something in ’61),  campaign as one who  “always publicly identified with the exile community and has a strong following within it. In a campaign ad last year, he said: “As the son of exiles, I understand what it means to lose the gift of freedom,” [CSM] [WaPo] and then get touchy when Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) calls him out for stonewalling the confirmation of Mari Carmen Aponte as ambassador to El Salvador in order to pressure the Obama Administration into changing policy toward Cuba and Nicaragua. [LV Sun]  *Fidel Castro did not take over until February 16, 1959.

The Yucca Mountain Breakdown. Another slip of the tongue from Mark Amodei (R-NV2) “While nobody wants a nuclear landfill in Nevada, we probably ought to at least talk about it,” Amodei said. “Well if that is breaking ranks, then yes I did.” At which point former Nevada Governor Richard Bryan came down upon the freshman representative like a ton of toxic dirt. [full story Nevada News Bureau]  Just asking, but if nobody in Nevada wants it — what is the point of talking about it?

No matter how many Democrats jump on board, the cleverly named CPU Act is a bad idea.   The bottom line is that enactment of this legislation would cut tech workers’ pay and allow employers to cut overtime pay. [More at Economic Policy Institute]

A bankruptcy is a bankruptcy… Governor Romney is having some difficulty in Michigan with the auto bailout rhetoric.  And, then’s there’s Bain in the mix:

“The managed bankruptcies that Romney had in mind in early 2009 for the two car companies pretty clearly were liquidations that would then allow Bain Capital or other venture capital firms to buy small parts of these companies, eliminate union workers, and … I’m not sure.  A weird, incoherent ad his campaign’s been running on the local news broadcasts actually hints at the elimination-of-union-workers thing, while actually advertising that “liberals” got “Obama” to save the auto industry.  Seriously.” [Angry Bear]

Not. So. Fast.  Senator Pat Toomey (R-Club for Growth) was incensed that anyone would believe his taxation plan would require tax increases for those earning less than $200,000 annually.  Except Senator Toomey’s tax plan would require tax increases for those earning less than $200,000 annually.

“The math is irrefutable.  Senator Toomey told O’Brien that, while reducing their deductions and credits, he also would cut tax rates for people below $200,000 so that they would face no net tax increase.  But that can’t be.  If the tax plan is supposed to produce a net increase in revenues, and if it loses revenue from people making over $200,000, then it simply must raise revenue from people making less than $200,000.”  [CBPP]

Financialist Follies.  John Paulson, he of the Hedge Fund Titans who helped create the Wall Street Casino, is worried about a Greek default:

“We believe a Greek payment default could be a greater shock to the system than Lehman’s failure, immediately causing global economies to contract and markets to decline,” the hedge fund said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. The euro is “structurally flawed and will likely eventually unravel,” it said.?  [Bloomberg]

Look carefully at Paulson’s terms.  “Shock to the system” as in a shock to the financial markets.  “Causing global economies to contract” as in investment banks particularly in France and Germany will find themselves in another bind.  “Markets to decline,” at this point Paulson isn’t talking about the market for automobiles, homes, refrigerators, or agricultural products — the only “market” in which he is interested is the Stock Market.

In short, we might want to take a deep breath and contemplate what another self-induced panic by the Wall Street wizards might mean for credit access for American consumers and businesses.   Remember: Those investment banks could have invested in plant expansion, infrastructure projects, manufacturing upgrades, or entrepreneurial enterprises — it was THEIR choice to invest in Greek debt.

Brute Force, that’s how a Citigroup whistle blower described the firm’s attempt to paper over its bad loans. [C&L]

“Instead of reporting the defects to the Federal Housing Administration, the bank saddled the agency with losses by falsely declaring the loans fit for its federal insurance program, according to a complaint filed yesterday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Citigroup agreed to pay $158.3 million to settle the claims, and admitted that it certified loans for FHA backing that didn’t qualify.”  [Bloomberg]

And, how was this accomplished?

“Efforts to quash negative quality-control reports about mortgages continued into 2011, according to the complaint. That January, at a quarterly staff meeting that Hunt said 1,000 people attended, CitiMortgage managers gave a “Star Players Award” to workers who had successfully challenged negative reviews during meetings with quality-assurance workers and others, according to the complaint.”  [Bloomberg]

The press release from the Department of Justice, USAO Southern District of NY is available here for those who want more details. (pdf)

The Urban legend of those Terrible Health Care Costs.  Oops, the facts just don’t fit the narrative.

“In fact, the recent trends are mildly favorable. As J. D. Keinke of the American Enterprise Institute writes today in the Wall Street Journal, the idea of runaway health spending is a “myth” because “new data show that health spending over the past several years has been normalizing toward the rate of general inflation, rather than growing higher and higher, as had been the case almost continuously since the 1970s.” … [EconView]

Faux New tries and fails to get the author of the book on the Obama Administration to fill in the blanks with misinformation.  Find the entertaining and illuminating video here.

WalkerGate gets more interesting as investigators are probing into the possibility of real estate bid rigging in Wisconsin while Scott Walker was Milwaukee County Executive. [BlueCheddar] [MJS 1/25] Walker has asked for two more weeks for reviewing recall petitions. [MJS]  This, while a three judge federal panel excoriated Wisconsin Republican lawmakers and told them:

“…to turn over 84 documents to a group of Democrats in a blistering order that said Republicans had engaged in an “all but shameful” effort to keep its efforts hidden from the public.

The court promptly released the documents that showed, among other things, that Republicans who drew new election maps last year largely orchestrated the public testimony given in support of them.

The three federal judges – two of them appointed by Republicans – were unanimous in their decision. It came after a string of orders against the Republicans and just five days be fore the judges will preside over a trial in Milwaukee to determine whether the maps adhere to the U.S. Constitution. [MJS]

But, the saddest feature of the attacks on Wisconsin citizens and their rights is to be found in this article, including:

“Before Sunday’s sermon in many churches in Milwaukee, ministers and religious leaders will ask those sitting in the pews to pull out their photo identification as a step to make sure that their members can vote in Tuesday’s primary election.” [MJS]

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Filed under Amodei, Berkley, Ensign, Health Care, Heller, labor, Reid, Romney, Sandoval, tax revenue, Taxation, Vote Suppression, Yucca Mountain

Coffee and the Papers

Nevada:  The Las Vegas Sun looks at 11 specific ways the Administration’s budget might affect the Silver State.  Nevada Progressive looks at reasons why Nevada may well remain a Blue State in 2012.   Why is Sheldon Adelson sorry he wore an American uniform, and how might the Romney campaign respond? See The Gleaner.

The federal deficitJared Bernstein sums it up – “The key for any real deficit hawk to understand is that right now, Republicans won’t support anything that raises taxes on the rich — which is to say they’re not supporting a meaningful path to lower long term deficits. They didn’t last year, and they won’t this year. No matter what their initial rhetoric claims.”

There’s more on the political side of the subject at TPM; once burned, twice shy, the GOP would rather increase the deficit than fight over the extension of the payroll tax holiday paid for with any tax increase on millionaires and billionaires.

But, OH, the Beltway Villagers are inclined to wail that the current budget doesn’t do what the President promised in 2009.  This would be an appropriate time to remember that the GOP is the party that won’t take “yes” for an answer.  The President’s call for the Grand Bargain was dismissed by Republicans even though it reduced the deficit, and made cuts with which they said they agreed.  The Villagers have very short memories.

So, it should come as no surprise that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already announced that the President’s budget is DOA in the Congress. [The Hill]  The GOP seems beyond even pretending to participate in legislative discourse.

The Democratic lady the GOP loves to hate, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, had this to say about the budget:

“President Obama has laid out an innovative blueprint for restoring opportunity for all Americans and for constructing an economy that is built to last.  The budget is balanced, fair, and responsible and is an investment in our economic growth, in job creation, and in a stronger, thriving middle class.  It is a fiscally responsible plan, reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years.”

Department of Shiny Objects:  If you missed Jon Stewart’s takedown of the opponents of contraception insurance coverage, here’s a link.   And, there’s Sebelius’s insightful dissection of Representative Joe Heck’s perspective on women’s health, including the following:

“When I asked Heck directly during the 2007 Legislature why he, a physician, would vote against a vaccine that prevents an infection that can lead to cancer, he told me simply, “because it’s a mandate.” And when I replied by saying, “So what?” Heck (after a second or two; apparently he’d never been asked that before) told me that mandates drive up costs of insurance for everybody.

I wonder, which costs more: The HPV vaccine, or treatment for cervical cancer? And what drives up costs more, a vaccine given to prevent a disease, or the expensive treatment for those who get the disease?”

Local Interest: The Seeno vs. Whittemore battle continues, with implications for Nevada political life, as explained in the Reno Gazette Journal.  And, the BEST invitation ever:

The Holy Order-Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence invite you to “Project Red Dress” on February 25, 2012. The event will be held at The World Market Center (495 S. Grand Central Parkway) on the 16th floor. The VIP Party ($50), which includes admission to the Main Event, will start at 8pm and the Main Event ($30) will start at 10pm. This is a non-smoking and 21+ event.The money raised through this event will be used for The Sisters AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

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Filed under Adelson, Federal budget, Heck, Nevada, Nevada politics, Obama, Pelosi, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights