Thursday, March 31, 2011

GOP Rep. Woodall’s Response To Exxon Paying Nothing In Taxes: We Need ‘Lowest Corporate Tax Rate We Can Get’

Last week, Rep. Rob Woodall held a tele-town hall meeting with his constituents, allowing them to call in and ask questions. At one point, a constituent called in and challenged Woodall’s belief that all we need is spending cuts to move towards a more balanced budget. The caller pointed out that closing corporate tax loopholes on big companies like Exxon Mobil — which paid zero federal corporate income taxes in 2009 — and Google, which only paid a 4.2 percent rate in taxes, would do a lot to help balance the budget as well.
Woodall replied by saying he’s “not a fan of class warfare” and that the only people who’ve ever employed him are rich people. He then went on to say that corporate taxes are really taxes on the customers of these companies and that we need to get “corporate taxes as low as we can in this country”:
CALLER: I have a quick comment and then a question. I certainly agree with moving towards a balanced budget, and containing costs, and cutting where we can, including the Defense Department, which I think is terribly bloated, but I just don’t think it’s feasible to balance the budget with cuts alone. I think you’ve got to also include income and place a fair tax on the wealthiest two percent and closing corporate loopholes that allow huge corporations like Exxon to pay no taxes. For example, Google earned eleven billion dollars last year overseas and paid 4.2 percent in taxes. So I think a fair tax on the wealthy and those who can chip in a little more has to be part of the bigger picture.
WOODALL: Bill, I absolutely agree with you that we can’t do it on spending cuts alone. [...] Now you talk about raising taxes. Now I’m not a fan of class warfare. Now the only people who’ve given me a job in my life is rich people. I’ve never had a poor man offer me a job. [...] At the end of the day, it’s going to be one of us, individuals, that pays every nickel in corporate taxes. I want use to get corporate taxes as low as we can in this country. Which means businesses don’t want to be here, they don’t want to provide jobs here. [...] We have to attract new businesses to our shores, the way to do that is with the lowest corporate tax rate we can get, to make sure folks want to come here.
Listen to it:

One has to wonder how we can possibly get taxes any lower when massive corporations like Exxon Mobil and Bank of America are paying nothing in federal corporate income taxes. Perhaps Woodall would prefer that these companies were like General Electric, which not only paid zero in income taxes in 2009 and 2010, but also received a $3.2 billion tax benefit. When Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) was asked about GE’s tax dodging, his response was also that we need to cut corporate taxes.

Mike Huckabee Wants Every American To Be ‘Forced At Gun Point’ To Learn From Radical Historian

Iowa played host to two right-wing rodeos last weekend, the Conservative Principles Conference and the Rediscover God in America conference. While many of the GOP 2012 presidential hopefuls graced both stages, only at Rediscover God in America did they offer Americans two revealing facts: “America should be governed by biblical law,” and that discredited historian David Barton is a genius.
A former Texas GOP official, David Barton is a “Christian historical revisionist” who contends that “the United States of America is a Christian nation” and the separation of church and state is a “liberal myth.” He is also one of the most radical Tenthers in the country who believes the federal highway system is unconstitutional. So radical was his view that even the Tenth Amendment Center disavowed his federal highway theory.

Though he “holds no advanced degrees and does not teach at any legitimate institution,” Barton is no small figure in conservative politics. He was invited by Fox News host Glenn Beck and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to teach as a “scholar” on American history. At the conference, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that “every time he hears Barton speak, he learns something new.” But Right Wing Watch’s Kyle Mantyla captured the most outrageous endorsement yet. Introduced by Barton, Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK) insisted that children need to be “under his tutelage” and said that every American should be forced “at gun point” to “listen to every David Barton message”:
HUCKABEE: I don’t know anyone in America who is a more effective communicator [than David Barton.] I just wish that every single young person in America would be able to be under his tutelage and understand something about who we really are as a nation. I almost wish that there would be something like a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced — at gun point no less — to listen to every David Barton message. And I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.
Watch it:

Unfortunately, American children are already reaping the benefit of such “tutelage.” Appointed by several State Boards of Education and governors to “oversee the writing of history and government standards for public school students,” Barton is revising history textbooks in multiple states. In Texas, he’s ensuring books exchange biographies of George Washington, Thurgood Marshall, and Abraham Lincoln for the role of Jesus “in America’s past.”

But those watching the webcast of the event might be shocked to learn of Huckabee’s comments. As the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Chris Rodda notes, the webcast of the event edited out the “forced at gunpoint” comments — which, incidentally, received enthusiastic applause.

USAID Administrator: GOP Budget Cuts Would Lead To The Deaths Of 70,000 Children Globally

Yesterday, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs held a budget hearing on the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the primary agency in the government responsible for dispensing humanitarian aid and assisting global development efforts.
As Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin notes, one moment of the hearing provided a particularly startling fact about H.R. 1, the House Republicans’ bill for continuing appropriations to fund the government. USAID administrator Rajiv Shah explained to Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) that the agency was committed to its mission of battling global poverty, but that H.R. 1 would severely gut its ability to battle easily preventable deaths among children — and even lead to the deaths of as many as 70,000 kids globally. Dent, apparently unmoved by Shah’s testimony, immediately asked to change the subject:
SHAH: We estimate, and I believe these are very conservative estimates,that H.R. 1 would lead to 70,000 kids dying. Of that 70,000, 30,000 would come from malarian control programs that would have to be scaled back, specifically. The other 40,000 is broken out as 24,000 who would die because of a lack of support for immunizations and other investments, and 16,000 would be because of the lack of skilled attendants at birth. [...] There’s a way to do this that doesn’t have to cost lives. [...]
DENT: Can I just quickly change subjects?
Watch it:

H.R. 1 includes a $120 million funding cut to USAID’s annual budget, which amounts to a 9 percent cutback. Additionally, the bill would cut 30 percent from development assistance, 10 percent from global health and child survival programs, and a 29 percent cut from the Millennium Challenge Corporation. When viewed next to the deep cuts to Head Start and other domestic programs related to children, it appears that the right isn’t just waging war against kids at home, but kids all over the world — balancing budgets on their backs due to a recession they played no part in.

Several GOP Senators Take Credit For Infrastructure Funding They Voted Against

The House Republican spending plan for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 — H.R. 1 — includes many economically counterproductive cuts that will lead to job loss and stunted growth. One of these is a provision rescinding unobligated money from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery II, or TIGER II, grant program. The program is designed to deliver competitive grants to states for high-need infrastructure projects.

All but three Republican senators voted for H.R.1when it was before the Senate, and those three only voted no because they wanted even deeper cuts than those included in the bill. But three GOP senators — Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) — are now taking credit for a grant to rebuild the Memorial Bridge that was provided under the TIGER II program they voted to cut:
COLLINS: “I am delighted by today’s announcement that this critical $20 million will be preserved that will help to rehabilitate a vital link for our states’ businesses and people…I particularly appreciate Secretary LaHood’s working so closely with me to expedite the process to guarantee this funding. 
SNOWE: “Snowe said she is grateful the US DOT fulfilled its commitment to the Memorial Bridge project in a timely fashion, and that completion of the bridge overhaul was not jeopardized by ongoing budget debates in Washington, D.C.” 
AYOTTE: “Having been called ‘one of the worst bridges in America,’ I am pleased that paperwork issues have been resolved allowing this project to move forward. New Hampshire and Maine have already made a serious commitment to replacing Memorial Bridge, and I am glad that DOT followed through on its commitment.
After having voted to rescind any funding left for this program, the three New England Republicans lobbied the Department of Transportation to release the funding quickly before the recissions could take place. When H.R. 1 was before the Senate, Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood warned people before the vote that approving those could put projects in peril. “We just want to make sure everybody understands that,” LaHood said.

Overall, H.R 1 “cuts funding for transportation infrastructure by 9 percent, slashing $2.7 billion from rail, $675 million from federal transit investments, and nearly $1 billion from highway investments.” Unfortunately for those trying to use America’s aged and disintegrating infrastructure, not every project will be rushed through to avoid the budget cuts that the GOP wants to implement.

Obama Approval Rating Increases Among College Students

Endurance we can believe in?
According to a new survey from the Harvard Institute of Politics, young adults still overwhelmingly like President Barack Obama. Among four-year college students alone, the president's approval rating has risen 9 points to 60 percent since a similar poll was conducted October. The president's overall approval rating holds at 55 percent among 18-to 29-year-olds, up 6 points from October.
As for Obama's pull among youth in 2012, 38 percent of Millenials said they'd vote for the president against a "generic Republican" candidate.
On a larger scale, 27 percent of students said they trusted the federal government, a 2-point decrease from last year. Fifty percent said they trusted the military, a 3-point drop. And 83 percent of students reported caring about America's global standing.
For more results, see the full survey here.

Missouri Unemployment Benefits Extension To Be Dropped

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Thousands of people in Missouri who have been unemployed for more than a year soon will lose their jobless benefits, marking a significant victory for Republican fiscal hawks who are crusading against government spending.
When eligibility ends Saturday, Missouri will become the only state to voluntarily quit a federal stimulus program that offers extended benefits. Michigan, Arkansas and Florida also recently took steps to cut back on money going to the unemployed, although they targeted state benefits instead.
"We have to take a stand and say, `When is enough enough?' and send a message to the federal government, and hopefully shame them into doing the right thing and quit spending money that they don't have," said state Sen. Jim Lembke, a Republican from St. Louis. CEO Bob Parsons' Elephant Hunt Sparks Outrage (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

The video below is pretty graphic.
GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons is taking a lot of heat for the video, which details his recent elephant hunt. However, the CEO originally tried to frame the hunt as almost a "humanitarian" expedition. Many disagree.
From GOOD:
In the middle of the night, Parsons, along with his African guides, ambush and shoot what Parsons calls a "problem elephant": "[Zimbabweans] have very little," says Parsons. "Many die each year from starvation and one of the problems they have is the elephants, of which there are thousands and thousands, that trash many of their fields destroying the crops."
Then the video gets really graphic, as Parsons records villagers who come out in the early morning to slaughter the dead animal, stripping it of its flesh. Oddly enough, this part, which is set to AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," is almost a shameless plug for the company, zooming in at one point on the company's logo.

Google Starts To Close Android's Open Door

Google is starting to shut Android's open door.
As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, Google has begun to crack down on the way developers can use and access their "open-source" Android software.
At its inception in 2008, Android's open-source nature meant that after Google created the code, hardware and software makers could freely use and customize the result. But in recent months, Google has instated new rules that limit the way companies can use Android.

5 Browns Dad Keith Brown Sentenced For Sexual Abuse Of Daughters

Keith Brown Sexual Abuse

PROVO, Utah -- Declaring him "a danger to society," a judge on Thursday called the father of the renowned piano group The 5 Browns a pedophile and sentenced him to at least 10 years in prison on charges that he sexually abused his three daughters when they were children.
Keith S. Brown, 55, pleaded guilty in February to one felony count of sodomy of a child and two felony counts of sexual abuse of a child.
Fourth District Judge David Mortensen sentenced Brown to 10 years to life on the first count, and 15 years to life for each of the others. The sentences will run concurrently, but Brown will have to serve at least 10 years under the plea agreement.

Immigration Advocates Push Obama To Make Good On Campaign Promises

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' immigration task force, announced on Thursday a national campaign to hold President Obama accountable for promises he made on the campaign trail to reform the country's broken immigration system.
Featuring the stories of families devastated by deportations, "Change Takes Courage" will hold events across at least 20 states, Gutierrez announced at a press conference on Capitol Hill. The campaign will include meetings and press events with local leaders and immigration advocates designed to put pressure on the administration. The first will be held on Saturday afternoon at the Instituto Biblico de Rhode Island in Providence; another will take place in Honolulu, Hawaii, the president's birthplace, in May.
Spearheaded by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a coalition of more than 200 immigration advocacy groups, the campaign will contrast clips of the promises Obama made on the campaign trail with two years of Congressional inaction, and spotlight the flesh-and-blood experiences of families torn apart by deportation.

Revealed: Gaddafi envoy in Britain for secret talks

Colonel Gaddafi's regime has sent one of its most trusted envoys to London for confidential talks with British officials, the Guardian can reveal.
Mohammed Ismail, a senior aide to Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, visited London in recent days, British government sources familiar with the meeting have confirmed.
The contacts with Ismail are believed to have been one of a number between Libyan officials and the west in the last fortnight, amid signs that the regime may be looking for an exit strategy.
Disclosure of Ismail's visit comes in the immediate aftermath of the defection to Britain of Moussa Koussa, Libya's foreign minister and the country's former external intelligence head, who has been Britain's main conduit to the Gaddafi regime since the early 1990s.

Tea Party Rallies To Send GOP Message On Spending

WASHINGTON -- The tea partyers who helped drive GOP gains in the last election are rallying in the city they love to hate Thursday, urging Republican House leaders – Speaker John Boehner above all – to resist the drive toward compromise in the protracted fight over the federal budget. Even, they say, if that means Congress fails to do its most important job: pay for the government.

And if Boehner opts instead to agree to a deal with President Barack Obama?

"You're going to see massive amounts of (GOP) primaries" in next year's election, said Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots. If the Ohio Republican strikes a budget deal that doesn't cut spending enough, Meckler said Wednesday, "he is going to face a primary challenge."

Exclusive: Koch Operative May Have Deceived Officials To Take $2.7M In Taxpayer Money For Governor’s Race

In 2008, Steve Lonegan, the New Jersey state director for David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity group, announced a campaign to run for governor. Running as a Republican, Lonegan lost to Chris Christie (R-NJ) in the Republican primary, and Christie went on to win the general election later in 2009. But recent tax disclosures examined by ThinkProgress reveal that Lonegan, who used $2.7 million in taxpayer matching funds for his gubernatorial campaign, may have deceived public officials in order to collect the public money used for his campaign.

According to New Jersey state clean election law, recipients of public campaign fundscannot be “involved in any way in the management of” a political advocacy 501(c)(4) organization “unless the organization agrees to disclose the name of each of its contributors and the amount of each contribution and expenditure.” Americans for Prosperity has never disclosed its donors. Lonegan, who has served as the New Jersey Americans for Prosperity executive director for years, said the disclosure law didn’t apply to him because he was paid by Americans for Prosperity’s educational 501(c)(3) foundation rather than its 501(c)(4) lobbying and advocacy branch. He told reporters that he was only paid by Americans for Prosperity’s educational foundation, not its lobbying branch. However, new information shows that Lonegan was in fact paid by Americans for Prosperity’s 501(c)(4) lobbying and advocacy branch and that he had significant managerial duties at Americans for Prosperity’s New Jersey Political Committee.:
To avoid potential campaign conflicts, candidates who apply for matching money are required to tell the commission if they’ve previously managed issue-advocacy groups and list their donors and expenditures if they’ve recently run such a group. Lonegan said he is not subject to those reporting requirements because he was paid by the educational foundation of the anti-tax lobbying group, not its lobbying branch.
When Lonegan filed his request for public funds, he signed a certificate saying he was not “involved in any way in the management of an issue advocacy organization” for the period of 2005 to 2009.
When he applied for the taxpayer campaign funds, Lonegan reasoned that his Democratic opponent, then-Gov. Jon Corzine, was so wealthy that the campaign would be unfair. Ultimately, Lonegan collected $2.7 million in taxpayer money for his campaign. But recent tax disclosures reveal that Lonegan was in fact paid by Americans for Prosperity’s 501(c)(4) advocacy and lobbying arm, and that he deceived reporters, and possibly even New Jersey public officials when applying for the matching funds:
– The 2008 disclosures for Americans for Prosperty’s 501(c)(4) lobbying and advocacy branch reveal that the group paid Lonegan $24,500 in 2008 and listed him as a highly compensated employee (see page 7) — the same period in which Lonegan began his gubernatorial campaign. This funding was in addition to the $108,000 Lonegan received from Americans for Prosperity’s 501(c)(3) education wing that year.
– Additionally, Lonegan was involved in other significant and managerial advocacy efforts on behalf of Americans for Prosperity. In 2007, Lonegan created the “Americans for Prosperity New Jersey Political Committee” to oppose ballot questions that year, listing himself as chairman and treasurer. He reported raising $455,000 for his “Americans for Prosperity New Jersey Political Committee” advocacy group.
We asked Phil Kerpen, Americans for Prosperity’s vice president, if Lonegan has a management role at the organization. Kerpen confirmed, saying yes, Lonegan is “autonomous,” but that the national organization “advises” him. Today, ThinkProgress contacted Lonegan about taking taxpayer funds for his election. Asked if he was paid by the Americans for Prosperity 501(c)(4) lobbying and advocacy wing, Lonegan said, “I don’t remember, I don’t know.” When told about the recent tax returns showing that he was indeed paid by the lobbying wing, in contrast to what he told reporters at the time in 2009, Lonegan said, “that’s old history.”
If he gave the New Jersey election law enforcement commission his compensation information from Americans for Prosperity’s educational foundation but not its lobbying and advocacy branch, and if he concealed his dual Americans for Prosperity salary from the commission, Lonegan and Americans for Prosperity could have some explaining to do. If the election commission decides to investigate the issue, it could hand downfines or other penalties to Lonegan.

Herman Cain Goes Birther: Obama Must ‘Prove He Was Born In The United States’

While not one candidate has yet declared a run for the 2012 GOP nomination, the race for most outlandish long-shot bid is heating up, with pizza mogul Hermain Cain seeinggolf course and hotel mogul Donald Trump’s birtherism with his own. Yesterday, in an interview with Florida conservative blog the Shark Tank, Cain said Trump is right to question President Obama’s birthplace, saying that he himself is unsure about Obama’s birthplace because he hasn’t hasn’t “studied” the issue enough:
INTERVIEWER: What do you think of [Trump's] lead? Do you think he’s off base with asking the president to supply his birth certificate?
CAIN: No, he’s not off base. Just like the people who have been challenging his place of birth for the last couple of years. It’s just not an issue that I have studied enough to have a view one way or the other. … I respect people that believe he should prove his citizenship. He should prove he was born in the United States of America.
But Cain is best known for his anti-Muslim bigotry. He told ThinkProgress last week that if he were elected president, he wouldn’t appoint a Muslim to his cabinet or the federal judiciary. He reiterated this in the Shark Tank interview, and added that anyone who takes the oath of office in a Herman Cain administration would have to swear to the Christian Bible:
CAIN: Now, I don’t know one Muslim who will denounce Sharia law and then say they support the Constitution. So my assumption based upon what I know about this belief system, is that they are not give up Sharia law. Anybody that takes the oath of office in a Herman Cain administration will put their hand on the Bible, not the Koran.
Watch it:

Cain’s demand that any member of his administration place their hand on the Christian Bible would likely make not just Muslims, but Jews, Hindus, or members of any other religion uncomfortable.

GOP Rep. Tom Marino On Libya: ‘Where Does It Stop? Do We Go Into Africa Next?’

Speaking with the Scranton Times-Tribune on Tuesday, freshman lawmaker Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) expressed mixed opinions about the Obama administration’s actions in Libya. He told the paper that he “supports” the intervention, but wishes that the administration had consulted with Congress first.
Marino, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House subcommittee on issues related to African foreign policy, then posed an odd question:
“Where does it stop?” he said. “Do we go into Africa next? I don’t want to sound callous or cold, but this could go on indefinitely around the world.”
Competing for the most confused assertion on Libya, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), Marino’s colleague in the House and the other lawmaker quoted in the Times-Tribune article, echoed an argument made by Libya strongman Muammar Qaddafi by floating the idea that the idea that al Qaeda may be in control of the rebel forces in Libya. As the paper noted, “At the moment, there are no indications of al-Qaida influence among the rebels.”
UPDATEDave Weigel reports that Marino may have been trying to say that he doesn't want ground troops in Africa. But, the U.S. military does currently have troopsstationed in the African continent.

Rand Paul Mocks Newt Gingrich: ‘He Has More War Positions Than He Has Wives’

Potential GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich has been in hot water lately after ThinkProgress caught him flipping his position on the Libyan war rapidly over the span of just a few weeks, indicating that his positions on foreign policy are more driven by politics than principle. Last night, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke at the Congressional Correspondents Dinner. At one point, Paul referenced these flip-flops by Gingrich to criticize both his politically driven foreign policy positions and his infidelity to his wives. Paul also poked fun at Fox News, saying that it is having a hard time deciding what it likes more, bombing the Middle East or attacking President Obama, in deciding its opinion on Libya:
PAUL: I was happy to see that Newt Gingrich has staked out a position on the war, a position, or two, or maybe three. I don’t know. I think he has more war positions than he’s had wives. [...]
There’s a big debate over there. Fox News can’t decide, what do they love more, bombing the Middle East or bashing the president? It’s like I was over there and there was an anchor going, they were pleading, can’t we do both? Can’t we bomb the Middle East and bash the president at the same time? How are we going to make this work?
Watch it:

Breaking: Wisconsin Judge Declares Anti-Worker Law Is Not In Effect

Nearly two weeks ago, Wisconsin state Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) prohibiting Wisconsin’s Secretary of State from “publishing” Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-union law. Because Wisconsin law requires the Secretary of State’s office to publish a law before the law may take effect, this TRO should have suspended the law for as long as Sumi’s order remains in effect. 

Nevertheless, the state’s Republican leadership asked a different government office topublish the law on its website, and the Walker Administration has already begun toimplement the law in defiance of Sumi’s original order.
This morning, Judge Sumi issued a new order clarifying that any attempt to implement Walker’s assault on working families is lawless:
[I]t is hereby DECLARED that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 has not been published…and is therefore not in effect.
In a third order, issued two days ago, Judge Sumi threatened sanctions against officials who act in defiance of her court orders. Under Wisconsin law, someone who intentionally defies a court order is in contempt of court, and can be fined up to $2,000 for each day that they disobey the court or imprisoned for up to six months.

One interesting twist in this entire debacle is that the sole basis of Sumi’s orders is a claim that Wisconsin Republicans violated the state’s open meetings law by passing the order without proper notice. Accordingly, Gov. Walker’s anti-union allies could eliminate this legal barrier simply by voting on the law again after providing the legally required notice. The fact that they have not yet done so suggests that they many no longer have the votes to ram Walker’s massively unpopular legislation through the legislature.
UPDATEThe AP reports that "Two Walker administration officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the governor hadn't publicly announced his plans said he would announce later Thursday that he wouldcomply with Sumi's ruling."

Today, Rick Scott Will Lay Out Cuts For Developmentally Disabled And Then Attend A Special Olympics Photo-Op

Today, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) will announce deep cuts to programs that help the developmentally disabled in his state. Scott will invoke his “emergency powers” to impose a 15 percent cut to the rates charged by group home workers and case workers that help the 30,000 Floridians with cerebral palsy, autism, and Down Syndrome.

Those who provide services to the developmentally disabled are already decrying the cuts. “This would be a catastrophe,” one advocate told the Miami Herald. “The system can’t take this. Eventually, we will have to cut jobs and reduce services.”
Scott says the cuts are necessary to address a $170 million deficit in the Agency for Persons with Disabilities — but at the same time, he is also proposing $1.5 billion in corporate tax cuts and $1.4 billion more in property tax cuts.

Even more galling, today — the same day his cuts are announced — Scott is scheduledto appear at a Special Olympics Torch Run with his wife and other state officials. The run is designed to promote the upcoming Special Olympics in Florida, and raise money for developmentally disabled athletes along the way:
Funds are generated through contributions from individuals and businesses along the way and through sales of the popular Torch Run T-shirts and caps.
This event is held each year prior to Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games.
Given the deep cuts Scott has just proposed, they might need to sell a lot of t-shirts.

Explaining Birther Myth, Trump Says He Knows People On Wall Street Who Commit ‘Fraud’ And ‘Change Documents’

Twice-bankrupted casino owner Donald Trump has made questioning Obama’s birthplace a “pivotal part” of his supposed presidential run, but because Trump’s concerns about Obama’s birth certificate have been asked and answered years ago, the reality TV boss has been forced to resort to increasingly bizzare justifications for his doubts. Last night, Trump told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that he questions the veracity of Obama’s birth certificate because he knows plenty of people who can easily forge documents to commit fraud:
TRUMP: Bill, I grew up with Wall Street geniuses. What they do in terms of fraud, and how they change documents.
Watch it:

Of course, securities fraud is a federal criminal offense, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. This type of fraud is also a serious and pervasive problem. From Enron toWorldCom to the Bernie Maddoff scandal, “Wall Street geniuses” have defrauded Americans out of billions of dollars, causing economic havoc. More recently, banks have been implicated in the so-called “robo-singing” scandal, where bank employees didn’t even review mortgage documents they were signing, such as foreclosure orders.

But if Trump is aware that his friends were committing fraud or forgery, why didn’t he do anything about it? Did he witness fraud? Did he ever posses a forged document? (If so, that too could be a felony). Or did he let his friends defraud people?

Government Shutdown: Polls Show Voters Blamed GOP For 1995 Crisis

WASHINGTON - How will the public react if the federal government shuts down next week?

Public polling around the two partial shutdowns between November 1995 and January 1996 provides a sense of what to expect, although reactions then may have been unique to that era's circumstances and outsized personalities.

Radiation In Milk: Low Levels Found In Milk From West Coast

WASHINGTON — Low levels of radiation have turned up in milk samples from two West Coast states. Officials say there is no public health threat.

The Economic Truth That Nobody Will Admit: We're Heading Back Toward a Double-Dip

Why aren't Americans being told the truth about the economy? We're heading in the direction of a double dip -- but you'd never know it if you listened to the upbeat messages coming out of Wall Street and Washington.
Consumers are 70 percent of the American economy, and consumer confidence is plummeting. It's weaker today on average than at the lowest point of the Great Recession.
The Reuters/University of Michigan survey shows a 10 point decline in March -- the tenth largest drop on record. Part of that drop is attributable to rising fuel and food prices. A separate Conference Board's index of consumer confidence, just released, shows consumer confidence at a five-month low -- and a large part is due to expectations of fewer jobs and lower wages in the months ahead.

Budget Compromise Talks Continue As Tea Party Watches

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner signaled Thursday that a compromise is coming with Democrats on immediate cuts in government spending, noting that Democrats control the White House and the other half of Congress. Boehner said Republicans are fighting for the biggest spending cuts they can get.
Boehner said there's no agreement yet on how much he and Democrats are willing to compromise in cutting the day-to-day budgets of federal agencies over the coming six months. The GOP House has voted to cut more than $60 billion from this year's budget, and Democrats have been moving steadily in his direction.
The Ohio Republican has agreed to discuss a compromise in the $33 billion range, which would still be of historic magnitude.
"We are going to fight for all of the spending cuts that we can get," Boehner said. "We control one half of one third of the government here in Washington. We can't impose our will on another body. We can't impose our will on the Senate. All we can do is to fight for all of the spending cuts that we can get an agreement to."

U.S. Economy Growing Faster Than Rivals, But Creating Far Fewer Jobs

WASHINGTON — The United States is out of step with the rest of the world's richest industrialized nations: Its economy is growing faster than theirs but creating far fewer jobs.
The reason is U.S. workers have become so productive that it's harder for anyone without a job to get one.
Companies are producing and profiting more than when the recession began, despite fewer workers. They're hiring again, but not fast enough to replace most of the 7.5 million jobs lost since the recession began.
Measured in growth, the American economy has outperformed those of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – every Group of 7 developed nation except Canada, according to The Associated Press' new Global Economy Tracker, a quarterly analysis of 22 countries representing more than 80 percent of global output.

Maddow Stunned By Think Tank Targeting Professors Who Use Her Name In Emails (VIDEO)

Rachel Maddow reacted incredulously to a reportthat a conservative think tank in Michigan has filed a Freedom of Information request to seek any emails that mention her from three state universities.
The request was uncovered by Talking Points Memo on Tuesday, and Maddow described it on her Tuesday show. She cast it as part of a growing pattern of broad FOIA requests from conservative politicians and organizations seeking to obtain access to the private emails of academics. Among other incidents, a University of Wisconsin professor has had his emails sought by Gov. Scott Walker.
"The latest incarnation of this breed of conservatism weirdly involves this show," Maddow said. As she described it, a conservative think tank in Michigan called the Mackinac Center submitted a FOIA request seeking any emails from labor professors at the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University. The center demanded any email that includes the words "Scott Walker," "Wisconsin," "Madison," and "Maddow."
Maddow said she thought that the Center's interest in her was due to her highlighting of a controversial bill in the state that seeks to allow the state government to declare a financial emergency in a town and send in an unelected official who can actually dissolve the town.
"This show was the first national news outlet to report in detail on that policy, and now, the Mackinack Center is demanding the emails of anybody who could be an expert on that subject who might have the temerity to type the word 'Maddow' in any context in an email," Maddow said. "How's that leave me alone personal liberty thing working out for you?"
She also noted that the Center is funded by many prominent conservative foundations, such as those of the Koch brothers, the Waltons, and the parents of Blackwater chief Erik Prince. Inanother segment, Maddow said her show had contacted all of the above foundations, as well as the Mackinac Center itself. None, she said, had been willing to talk to her.