Saturday, September 29, 2012

Reaganphone: show this to @gop #teaparty supporters when they get worked up over the Obama phone #p2 #tcot

Show this to all your conservative friends and family in a tizzy over the alleged "Obamaphone"... Newsflash... it's not new. 

NC @GOP Joins FL in Firing RNC's @mittRomney -Tied Voter Registration Firm Accused of Fraud #p2 #tcot

LATER UPDATE: Officials confirm 'possibly fraudulent' forms from RNC in 10 FL counties...
By BRAD FRIEDMAN on 9/27/2012, 3:33pm PT  

[See BREAKING UPDATE at bottom of story. NBC News now reports the RNC has also cut ties with Strategic Allied Consulting.]

The North Carolina Republican Party has fired the shady voter registration firm owned by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant and longtime GOP operative, Nathan Sproul. The firing came as Democrats in the state were on the brink of denouncing the Republicans' tie to the operative's firm.

The state GOP joins the Republican Party of Florida, which also fired Sproul's company (who accounted for the party's largest 2012 expenditure, some $1.3 million over the last two months) after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration forms were turned over to the FL State Attorney in Palm Beach County on Monday for investigation. The BRAD BLOG first reported the emerging story in detail on Tuesday.

The firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, is the latest creation of Sproul, a longtime, high-level GOP operative whose companies --- including Sproul & Associates and Lincoln Strategy Group --- have been accused of destroying Democratic voter registration forms and changing information on them in election after election, in state after state, year after year. He was hired for similar operations by Bush/Cheney in '04, by McCain/Palin in '08 and by Mitt Romney's campaign late last year.

When the FL GOP fired Strategic Allied on Tuesday night, they noted that the firm had been hired "at the request of" the Republican National Committee. On Wednesday, during our exclusive interview with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Susan Bucher, she described some of the "similarities in the signatures and certain characteristics in the applications that were very disturbing" on registration applications collected by Sproul's firm and turned in to her office. Among the "disturbing" defects on the forms, addresses of existing registered voters changed "to commercial buildings or addresses" and, "in some places, they were changing political parties."

*UPDATED x3 with CO Tie-in* BREAKING: Florida GOP Election Fraud scandal spreads to ten counties #p2 #tcot

The Los Angeles Times reports that numerous fraudulent GOP voter registrations have now been discovered in ten Florida counties.

WASHINGTON — Florida elections officials said Friday that at least 10 counties have identified suspicious and possibly fraudulent voter registration forms turned in by a firm working for the Republican Party of Florida, which has filed an election fraud complaint with the state Division of Elections against its one-time consultant.
The firm of course is none other than Strategic Allied, which is basically a regurgitation of Nathan Sproul's infamous firm which destroyed Democratic registration forms in swing states during the 2004 election.
The controversy in Florida -- which began with possibly fraudulent forms that first cropped up in Palm Beach County --  has engulfed the Republican National Committee, which admitted Thursday that it urged state parties in seven swing states to hire the firm, Strategic Allied Consulting.  The RNC paid the company at least $3.1 million -- routed through the state parties of Florida, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia -- to register voters and run get-out-the-vote operations. Wisconsin and Ohio had not yet paid the firm for get-out-the-vote operations it was contracted to do.
This is sort of like our ACORN story - except that ACORN actually reported fraudulent or suspicious registrations whereas Strategic Allied Consulting has been systematically trying to engage in voter registration fraud in order to add fictitious and/or redundant GOP voters to the rolls.  Disgusting.

*As someone pointed out downthread, they may be engaging in this activity so as to register Democratic voters with wrong information so that when they show up to vote, they can't, because their information is inaccurate.  Also, I would bet that Sproul is still engaging in the destruction of Democratic voter registrations.

I sincerely hope that the media picks up on this story and runs with it.  The Republicans got into bed with this firm because of its checkered past not in spite of it!  The Republican Party has become synonymous with corruption.

Here is a link to the article:

UPDATE:  Someone downthread posted part of an article originiating from Pensacola.  Here is a link to that whole article, which points out that over 100 suspicious registration forms were found in Santa Rosa County as well:

Second Update  There was a nice juicy story on CBS radio that I just heard on my way back to the hotel.  It was pretty substantive and made the GOP sound like the idiots they are.  I am in the Bay Area for the weekend.  :)    It sure is beautiful here today, any Bay Area Kossacks here?

Third Update  As someone downthread has correctly pointed out, the young lady from El Paso County, Colorado (Colorado Springs) who was only registering Republicans was indeed working for this Strategic Alllied group - that is, Nathan Sproul's group.

And FOX31 Denver has confirmed that the young woman seen registering voters outside a Colorado Springs grocery store in a YouTube video, in which she admits to trying to only register voters who support Mitt Romney, was indeed a contract employee of Sproul's company.

"I'm actually trying to register people for a particular party," the girl tells a woman in the video, which has been viewed more than 417,000 times. Because we're out here in support of Romney, actually."

Here is a link:



Pre-Debate Obama Exposes Romney’s Real Record of Job Killing #p2 #tcot @drudgereport

Obama is pulling a Clinton (Explainer-in-Chief ) before the debates, explaining to the people what Romney's business record really involved. Sure, by now most people who follow politics closely know that Bain wasn't about creating jobs, but your mildly interested American probably doesn't. Leaving nothing to chance, Obama is gonna 'splain it all to us before the debates, so when he hits Romney on his record during the debates, we will know he's speaking the truth.

Watch "Remember: Romney's Private-Sector Experience Wasn't About Creating Jobs" here:

Caught on Tape: @GOP Phone Bank Volunteer in Florida making racist remarks and more. #p2 #tcot

Here in Florida, a volunteer for the Clay County Republican Party called a man in Polk County and got his answering machine. She did not hang up before moving on to make her next call, so the first man's answering machine picked up what she said to the next person she called. You can hear her side of the call, but not what is being said on the other end of the line. The audio has been published online by The St. Augustine Record, and is also embedded to the right. Here's a transcript:

Y'all sound like y'all are senior citizens, right? Yeah. We don't want — you don't want Obama. You really don't want Obama because he'll get rid of your Medicare. You might as well say goodbye to it. Yeah, and I don't know if you've done any research on Obama or not, but he is a Muslim. He is — got a socialistic view on the, you know, the economy, the government, the whole nine yards. Um, if he had his way, we would be a socialistic country. Okay, really, do. Pay attention to Fox News. If you can get out and watch that movie 2016 do so. That has a lot of good information. Just really the newspapers and theFox News will help you out; will help you. Okay, appreciate it sir. Thank you. Uh huh. Bye-bye.
My husband and I live in Polk County, Florida. We listen to Rob Lorei on WMNF Radio all the time and somehow missed this story which appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show tonight. It was part of a larger segment. Since this is where I first learned about the recorded call, I've included the clip and transcript of what appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show below the fleur-de-orange. Rachel talks about the call coming from the Clay County Republican Party, but the article she references talks about the call being recorded here in Polk County.
The voicemail message was given to WMNF, a Tampa-area radio station that describes itself as "independent, progressive news and public affairs." The station did not identify the source of the audio but said the person identified the Clay GOP's number from caller ID.

""I received the call from a Polk County listener who said the recording was left on his answering machine," said Rob Lorei, who aired the audio Wednesday on a show he hosts.

GOP volunteer calls Obama a MuslimThe St. Augustine Record, September 27, 2012

In another report from Jacksonville, it is pointed out that the party chair in Clay County did not condemn the comments made by the volunteer who went off script.

J.K. Rowling says that she didn’t build that. And now – she’s a billionaire #p2 #tcot

J.K. Rowling says that she didn't build that.  And now – she's a billionaire. I truly believe the only ones who feel entitled are the wealthy citizens who complain that they have to pay a few % more in taxes even though their lives and the lives of their children are without any financial challenges whatsoever.  A person who complains about that trade off is selfish, greedy and deserves for someone to smack them in the face like Cher in Moonstruck … "Snap out of it."

Read more: 
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Crazy For "Obama Phones" - But Are They For Real? #p2 #tcot @gop @drudgereport

Forget iPhones. The country has Obama phone mania.

You've seen the video, right? This one:

In the video, an alleged Obama supporter screams about her "Obama phone" at a rally in Ohio. She tells a reporter, "Keep Obama in president, you know! He gave us a phone, he's gonna do more."

The video made news this week as taxpayers grow increasingly uncomfortable with the so-called "47%" – those folks who supposedly rely on the government for entitlements. Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney described those folks as:

[D]ependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it

She went on to shriek, "Everybody in Cleveland, low minorities, got Obama phones…"

It was a great sound byte. But it's deeply flawed. The "Obama phone" program she's touting doesn't give out free phones to minorities. And it wasn't started by President Obama. And this rumor isn't new.

As I reported months ago, there is a law in place to help low-income customers have access to basic telephone service. It's divided into two programs: Link-Up America and Lifeline.

Link-Up assists consumers with the installation costs of phone service. The program pays up to $30 of the cost of installation and up to $200 in the form of a one year, interest-free loan for additional installation costs.

Lifeline provides discounts on basic monthly service at a primary residence for qualified telephone customers. These discounts can be up to $10.00 per month, or more for certain Native Americans. Generally, to qualify, your income must be at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines (these vary by location and size of family but for comparison, rings in at $22,350 for a family of four in the lower 48).

In some instances, coverage may include discounts for cell phone service instead of land lines at primary residences because realistically, cell phone service is less expensive in some areas than traditional service. Eligibility and type of program may vary from state to state – and this is why there is a flurry of confusion about the program being a product of the Obama administration. In Florida, for example, cell phone service was added to the existing program – in 2008, the year that Obama was elected to office. The conclusion from many folks was that it was a new federal program. It was not. It was an expansion of the existing program and implemented on a state by state basis.

The federal program wasn't started by President Obama. It dates back to 1996, as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Act did a number of things, including increasing internet access to doctors and patients in rural hospitals (for consults with specialists); subsidizing internet and phone coverage for schools and libraries and providing free or subsidized coverage for families who can't afford it so that they have links to emergency and government services. The Act was not taxpayer funded… exactly. Taxpayers do pay for coverage but not via federal income taxes. Instead, the Act "mandated the creation of the universal service fund (USF) into which all telecommunications providers are required to contribute a percentage of their interstate and international end-user telecommunications revenues." So that little fee on your phone bill labeled USF? That's what you're paying for.

As you can imagine, not every one supports this idea. And yes, there has been abuse – you can read about efforts to curb abuse here (downloads as a pdf).

As a result, there is a bill in place to put an end to the practice. The bill, H.R. 3481, the Stop Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act of 2011, was introduced by Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) with three co-sponsors, Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA), Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) on November 18, 2011. The bill now has 11 more co-sponsors, four of which joined this month. And since I know you're wondering: none of the co-sponsors are from Cleveland – or from Ohio. All of them are Republican.

The purpose of the bill, as stated is: "To prohibit universal service support of commercial mobile service through the Lifeline program."

The bill now sits in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce where it was referred to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology last year. I predicted earlier this year that it would sit awhile and viral video or no, I suspect it will continue to sit. It provides for fun election banter but realistically, with Congress on recess, nothing is happening any time soon on any legislation, especially one as politically charged as this. In fact,, which researches and follows legislation in Congress and the state legislatures, gives the bill a mere 2% chance of being made law.

ISPs and Tracking Company Ready to Start Six-Strikes Anti-Piracy Scheme

Soon, five large U.S. Internet providers will begin to warn and punish alleged copyright infringers as part of the "six strikes" anti-piracy scheme. While details are still scarce, TorrentFreak is informed that MarkMonitor will be responsible for tracking down alleged infringers, and that an independent expert review of the evidence gathering technology has been completed. ISPs have also been making progress and several are now ready to start sending out warnings, although none of them wants to go first.

ispsThe MPAA and RIAA, helped by five major Internet providers in the United States, will start to warn and punish copyright infringers later this year.

The parties launched the Center for Copyright Information(CCI) and agreed on a system through which copyright infringers are warned that their behavior is unacceptable. After five or six warnings ISPs may then take a variety of repressive measures.

Initially ISPs were expected to send out the first copyright alerts by the end of 2011 but this deadline silently passed, as did the revised July 2012 start date. As of today, AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon are yet to send out the first alerts.

One of the reasons for the delay is that not all providers were ready to process the alerts. Previously, a spokesperson for the CCI told TorrentFreak that each ISP would roll out the scheme at its own pace, but even that plan is causing some issues.

A source connected to CCI informs TorrentFreak that several ISPs are now ready to start warning subscribers, but that none of them wants to be the first to do so. For this reason, CCI's Executive Director Jill Lesser is now pushing for a joint launch at the end of the year.

Leading up to the official start the ISPs might do some small-scale tests in November, we were informed.

After more than a year of uncertainty we can also confirm that MarkMonitor has been hired to track down alleged infringers. MarkMonitor, which often operates under the name DtecNet, is the only tracking outfit working with the CCI.

In 2010 DtecNet was acquired by MarkMonitor, but it continues to operate under its own name. DtecNet already works closely with the RIAA and MPAA and is also responsible for collecting data on copyright infringers as part of the Irish three-strikes program.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Long toxic, mortgages now seen boosting U.S. bank results

(Reuters) - One of the few businesses working well for the biggest banks these days is the same one that got them in trouble just five years ago: mortgages.

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) are both expected to post more than $4.5 billion in profits for the third quarter, an increase of more than 15 percent from last year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Other businesses at big banks will likely benefit from the mini-mortgage boom. Fixed-income trading revenue will likely rise at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) and other investment banks, thanks in part to more trading in mortgage-backed securities.

A booming mortgage business will help make up for a challenging environment that includes low interest rates squeezing lending profits and slow merger activity pressing earnings from investment banking. Analysts said banks may announce new rounds of cost cutting.

While banks are making new mortgages, the home loan business is still tough. Lenders have millions of foreclosures to process, and all the current refinancing will translate into lower income from mortgage securities they choose to hold.

Legal settlements stemming from the housing bubble and financial crisis are still weighing on results. Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) said on Friday it will pay $2.43 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit by investors who claimed the bank lied to them when it was acquiring Merrill Lynch. With the settlement, the bank will likely post a quarterly loss.

Many lenders scaled back mortgage operations after the housing crash, which turned into a financial crisis that cost banks trillions of dollars globally.

But for banks that stuck with the home lending business, such as Wells Fargo, JPMorgan, and U.S. Bancorp, (USB.N) the fees generated from making mortgages will be a big boon in the near term, analysts said.

Mother Jones Has Another @MittRomney Video It Wants You To See #p2 #tcot

Mother Jones, the liberal muckraking magazine that was the first to publish the now viral "47 percent" video secretly recorded at a Mitt Romney fundraiser, is out with another video of the GOP challenger. This one, recorded back in 1985, shows a much younger Romney talking about Bain Capital. Here's the quote that's getting the most play so far:

Bain Capital is an investment partnership which was formed to invest in startups and ongoing companies, then to take an active hand in managing them and, hopefully, five to eight years later, to harvest them at a significant profit.

.@DRUDGE_REPORT the "Obama phone": the program goes back to George W. Bush #p2 #tcot

The right seemed pretty worked up yesterday after Drudge pushed a video of a woman claiming she's voting for President Obama because he gave her a phone (thanks to James Carter for the tip). It wasn't long before Rush Limbaugh and others like him were excitedly asking over-the-top questions: is Obama getting votes through bribes?

And though I don't doubt that your Fox News-watching uncle will be emailing all-caps messages about this any minute now, the truth is far from scandalous.

The Federal Communications Commission has a program called Lifeline that provides low-cost or free phone service. The agency's website says this is because it and Congress "recognize that telephone service provides a vital link to emergency services, government services and surrounding communities." Who qualifies varies by state, but "in general," to qualify you must have an income that is no more than 135 percent of the federal poverty line, or be enrolled in assistance programs like Medicaid, public housing assistance, discounted school lunch, or yes, food stamps. [...]

Strictly speaking, it's not a government-funded program: the telephone companies make payments to a fund administered by a non-profit called the Universal Service Administrative Company, but anyone with a phone bill chips in through a surcharge on their service.

Though the origins of the universal service program date back at least to 1934, the Lifeline program in particular was instituted by a well-known redistributionist by the name of President Ronald Reagan in 1984. A related effort, expanding affordable access to cell phones for low-income Americans, was created by another radical liberal by the name of George W. Bush.

As for the larger context, Dave Weigel's point bears repeating: "Shockingly, despite the bipartisan origins of the service, the idea of an 'Obama Phone' for the undeserving has existed for a long time. You know what else has existed for a long time? The Drudge Report hyping up tabloid news that makes black people look like violent dopes who'll do anything for more goodies from Obama."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

.@GOP Senate Candidate Tommy Thompson: ‘Who Better Than Me… To Do Away With Medicaid and Medicare?’ #p2 #tcot

Republicans and their defenders have claimed that the GOP's massive proposed cuts to the nation's health care safety net will not eliminate Medicare or Medicaid. The Romney campaign even released talking pointsclaiming GOP proposals would "strengthen Medicare" shortly after they announced that Paul Ryan, the author of a 2011 plan to phase out Medicare, would be the vice presidential candidate. Yet, in a speech last May to a conservative group, former Bush Secretary of Health and Human Services and U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson (R-WI) appeared to admit that the GOP's proposals have a far more nefarious purpose:

[W]ho better than me, who's already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?

.@mittromney @gop Obama Draws 18,000 in Wisconsin While 650 Show Up for Romney in California #p2 #tcot

While President Obama was mobilizing a large and loud crowd of thousands of supporters in Wisconsin, Mitt Romney was fundraising off of a crowd of 650 in California.

Here is how Fox 11 described the Obama rally in Wisconsin last night, "Then the President continued his attack on the GOP ticket in front of an estimated 18,000 people at the Summerfest grounds along the lakeshore."

While Obama was rocking the crowd in Wisconsin, Mitt Romney was off trying to raise money for his cash poor campaign. According to the AP, "Speaking to roughly 650 supporters gathered at Grand Del Mar, a luxury hotel north of San Diego, Romney said his campaign schedule has been hectic. I'm not even going to be able to go home today," he said of his second home in nearby La Jolla. "We're just coming to town to see you and keep the campaign going. It's nonstop."

'Innocence of Muslims' Filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Arrested #p2 #tcot

The man credited as Sam Bacile is expected to appear in federal court on Thursday for violating parole.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker who sparked violence worldwide after releasing portions of his anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims online, has been arrested for violating terms of his parole, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Nakoula, who was credited as Sam Bacile in the production notes, is expected to appear in Los Angeles federal court on Thursday afternoon.

The news was confirmed by a court spokesman, Reuters reports, who said Nokoula would face a bail hearing with regards to an ongoing investigation into whether or not her violated the terms of his 2011 release from prison on a bank fraud conviction.

The parole terms barred Nakoula from "accessing the Internet or using aliases without the permission of a probation officer," according to Reuters. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Speed of ocean acidification concerns scientists – ‘Our current acidification rates are unparalleled in Earth history’

Idealized diversity trajectories of the calcareous and organic fossil lineages discussed in the text. Extinction and radiation suggest events of major environmental change throughout the past 300 My. Calcareous plankton is shown in black, calcareous benthos in blue, and organic fossils in green, and the line thickness indicates relative and smoothed species richness. Highlighted events (vertical red lines) have been associated with potential ocean acidification events. Hönisch, et al., 2012

26 September 2012 (University of Bristol) – Speaking at the Third International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World this week in Monterey, California, Dr Daniela Schmidt, a geologist from the University of Bristol, warned that current rates of ocean acidification are unparalleled in Earth history.

Dr Schmidt of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences said: "Ocean acidification has happened before sometimes with large consequences for marine ecosystems.  But within the last 300 million years, never has the rate of ocean acidification been comparable to the ongoing acidification.

She added that the most comparable event, most likely 10 times slower than the current acidification, was 55 million years ago.

"At that time, species responded to the warming, acidification, change in nutrient input and loss of oxygen – the  same processes that we now see in our oceans.  The geological record shows changes in species distribution, changes in species composition, changes in calcification and growth and in a few cases extinction," she said.

"Our current acidification rates are unparalleled in Earth history and lead most ecosystems into unknown territory."

46 Republicans Claim Wind Credits Are Too ‘Costly’ After Voting To Retain Billions In Big Oil Subsidies #p2 #tcot

The future of wind tax credits is still tied up in Congress as the clock runs down to extend the production tax credit for wind (PTC) expiring at the end of the year. This week, 47 House Republicans urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to let them expire.

Although GOP districts hold 81 percent of the nation's wind power capacity, Republicans are deeply split on investing in wind (Mitt Romney, for example, drew criticism from fellow Republicans for opposing the PTC). Boehner's home state supports up to 6,000 wind jobs.

The GOP remains less divided on issues favoring Big Oil.

Of the 47 Republicans asking Boehner to end the wind investments, 46 voted in March 2011 against closing tax loopholes that let Big Oil collect $4 billion in annual subsidies. The one outlier, GOP Rep. Richard Hanna, was a no-vote that day. According to OpenSecrets, these representatives have received a total $2.2 million from the oil and gas industry, in an election cycle where Republicans have collected 89 percent of the oil industry's contributions. Republicans have maintained these tax breaks are "essential" to an industry posting record-breaking profits.

Yet their letter claims wind is too expensive for investment. An excerpt reads:

Today, when the U.S. is more than $15 trillion in debt and borrowing $0.40 of every dollar it spends, we cannot afford to borrow money to subsidize the operations of a politically preferred technology. In the case of wind, doing so would not only be costly to taxpayers but ultimately would hurt consumers by distorting energy markets."

The letter's arguments echoes Americans for Prosperity's campaign to end PTC. The Koch-funded organization called wind tax credits "deplorable."

rest at

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Romney Campaign Volunteer Says She Works For Clerk's Office, But Only Registering Romney Voters

A video uploaded to YouTube on Friday depicting a young woman registering voters in El Paso County, Colorado claiming she works for the clerk's office, but is only registering voters who support Mitt Romney has gone viral over the weekend.

The person recording the video exits a Safeway grocery store and a young woman who is registering voters outside the store asks her, "Are you voting for Romney or Obama?"

The woman recording responds, "Well, wait, I thought you were registering voters a minute ago."

To which the young woman replies, "I am." The person recording then asks, "Well, who are you registering? All voters?"

"Well, I'm actually trying to register people for a particular party. Because we're out here in support of Romney, actually," the young woman registering voters says.

"And who is paying you for this?" The video recorder asks.

"We're working for the County Clerk's Office," the young woman replies with some hesitation and confusion.

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams disavowed the young woman's statements that she was registering voters on behalf of Williams' office. "The statement made in this video is both unfortunate and inaccurate," Williams said in a statement. "My office does not and will not engage in partisan voter registration. It is the duty of the Clerk's office to ensure that elections are conducted in a fair and honest manner, this includes allowing any one to register to vote regardless of their political party affiliation."

According to 9News, the young woman registering voters outside of the Safeway storewas a volunteer for the Romney campaign who has since been spoken to by the campaign about her actions.

Republicans in El Paso County claim that the video was recorded more than a month ago by a Democratic "campaign operative" and has been released now to damage the Romney campaign. But, Christy Lelait, Chairman for the El Paso County Democratsdenies that charge to KOAA. "It's an interesting charge. I don't know of any campaign operatives here in El Paso County and I know for certain that the woman who shot this video is not a campaign operative, she's a volunteer with several different organizations including the El Paso Democratic Party and she's also a precinct chair."

Later in the video the woman recording says to the volunteer, "Okay, you cannot come out here and register one party, lady." The young woman now becoming clearly embarrassed puts her hands up in front of the camera to block her face. "You're working for the County Clerk's Office?"

"I believe so, yes," the young woman says.

"And you're only registering Republicans?" The video recorder says with outrage. To which the young woman replies, "No."

"You said you're only registering Romney people," says the video recorder.

And the young woman replies, "Well, we're trying to, to be honest."

It's unclear if the young woman in the video was only registering Romney voters, but if that were the case, it would be illegal if she were doing so on behalf of the County Clerk's office. It would also be illegal to deny a person registration based on their survey answers, which isn't entirely clear if that would have occurred in the video above either.

The El Paso County Clerk's Office has requested that the video be removed from YouTube because it contains inaccurate information, but the person who uploaded the video has refused to do so.

Romney Touts Energy Plan In Colorado, Visit Called The 'Height Of Irony' By Wind Power Advocates

Mitt Romney campaigned in Pueblo, Colorado, on Monday, telling about 3,000 supporters that, as president, he'd create jobs in the state by developing U.S. energy resources. Yet, even before he touched down at the city airport where the event was held, Romney was under fire by wind-power advocates for leading opposition to the federal tax credit extension tied to the loss announced last week of roughly 100 jobs at a Pueblo wind tower factory.

In a statement sent out Monday morning, Pete Maysmith, executive director at Colorado Conservation Voters, characterized the Romney visit as the "height of irony."

"If [Romney] was serious about job creation, he would quit catering to his big oil supporters and join the bipartisan support in Colorado for clean renewable energy jobs and extension of the wind production tax credit."

Romney's remarks in Pueblo clearly weren't designed to allay those kinds of concerns about the priorities of his energy plan.

"We will drill for more oil on government lands, open up Alaska for development and bring that [Keystone] pipeline down from Canada," he told the crowd.

In the past, Romney has said he supports wind power generally but that he opposes wind production tax breaks for unfairly propping up the industry in the energy market.

Judge Shoots Down Another Forbes 400 Member's distressed asset/debt or “DAD” shelter

A California federal district court judge on Friday rejected, on summary judgment, a bid by billionaire Broadcom co-founder Henry Nicholas, III,  to claim hundreds of millions in tax losses from a shelter marketed more than a decade ago by myCFO, Inc. the  wealth advisory firm started by Forbes 400 member James  Clark, co-founder of Netscape,  and backed by venture capitalistJohn Doerr.  An attorney for Nicholas, BakerHostetler partner  Jeffrey H. Paravano,  said Monday that Friday's ruling will be appealed.

The Nicholas case involves what the Internal Revenue Service has branded the distressed asset/debt or "DAD" shelter. In this ploy,  a U.S. taxpayer  purchases (through a partnership) junk foreign debt for pennies on the dollar and then claims big paper tax losses—losses that are real, but that were sustained by a foreign lender, not the U.S. taxpayer. DAD was marketed to the ultra-wealthy in 2001 and 2002 after the IRS began cracking down on even more brazen tax gambits, such as the notorious Son of Boss shelter. New 400 member Shahid Khan, owner of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, is currently suing BDO Seidman for, among other things, selling him DAD shelters for both 2002 and 2003.  In October 2004,  Congress changed the tax code to bar partnerships from being used to transfer foreign losses to U.S. taxpayers, thus clearly outlawing DAD after that point.

BMO Harris Bank acquired the myCFO name and client list in late 2002 and was not a part of the shelter promotion.  A 2007 Wall Street Journal post mortem  reported that with the encouragement of Doerr, myCFO's tax strategies group  sold 17 clients a tax shelter known as CARDs, invented by Raymond J. Ruble, a former partner of SidleyAustin LLP who is now doing 78 months for tax evasion at the Lewisburg federal pen.  But according to the government, Ruble was also involved in the development of myCFO's DAD shelter. A government expert's report filed in the Nicholas case indicates that myCFO sold the DAD shelter to at least 20 rich taxpayers in 2001.

A version of DAD  was rejected last year by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving Texas banker and Forbes 400 member Andrew Beal. Beal, who attempted to claim $1.1 billion in tax losses based on an investment of just $19 million in distressed Chinese debt, is still wrangling with the government over his final tax bill and last month filed another lawsuit covering DAD losses he claimed for 2006 and 2007. In Beal's case, the trial court rejected the IRS' attempts to impose penalties,  finding that Beal had "good cause" to believe his ploy might work; the appeals court decision described the penalty issue as  a "close one" but let the trial court's ruling against penalties stand.  Also last year, in Superior Trading LLC, theU.S. Tax Court ruled against a variant of the DAD shelter promoted to more modestly wealthy individuals by former Seyfarth Shaw partner and Harvard law grad John E. Rogers. It upheld penalties in that case. (Last October, a courtpermanently barred Rogers from promoting tax shelters.)

No court had previously ruled on the myCFO promoted version of DAD and in court papers Nicholas' lawyers asserted the Beal decision "turned upon at least three groups of idiosyncratic facts (found after lengthy trials) that are not present" in their client's case.

According to the government, in December 2001, Nicholas' family holding company, N&S Holdings, arranged through myCFO to pay $6.2 million for $303 million in  nonperforming Chinese and Korean loans marketed under the name of DRAGONS. That $6.2 million investment was expected to save Nicholas and his family trusts $78 million in tax, the government contends.  After the Internal Revenue Service denied the losses claimed by five Nicholas partnerships for 2002, 2003 and 2004, he filed multiple suits in district court asserting the losses were proper and that he had invested in distressed debt with a legitimate non-tax purpose—namely to diversify his portfolio, reduce its volatility and enhance his "risk-adjusted" returns.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Why won't the WSJ acknowledge its Karl Rove ties? #p2 #tcot

Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal continues to trip over its Karl Rove conflict of interest, with the paper's newsroom routinely failing to mention that the man who helped found an anti-Obama super PAC is also aJournal employee. Time and again this election season the Journal has reported on Rove's campaign work with American Crossroads, and time and again the newsroom has neglected to acknowledge Rove works for theJournal as a political columnist.

 The disclosure failure, and the obvious lack of transparency, is just part of the paper's ongoing ethical morass with regards to Rove. As Media Mattershas reported, scores of editorial page editors have criticized the paper for failing to disclose in its opinion pages where Rove's anti-Obama columns appear, that Rove is closely associated with an anti-Obama campaign group.

The very fact that the Journal hired Rove, a GOP fundraiser, to write columns about the races Rove is trying to win for the GOP represents a glaring ethical lapse. The Journal'srefusal to disclose those ties only compounds the problem; a problem that extends from the opinion pages to the newsroom.

Today's front-page Journal article examines whether conservative super PACs have been effective in denting the president's re-election chances. Rove's Crossroads group is featured as the pivotal conservative super PAC in the article. Yet nowhere in the piece is it reported that Rove also works for the newspaper.

That transparency failure has become commonplace. On September 6, the newspaper published an articleabout super PAC fundraising efforts by liberal and conservative groups and noted, "By contrast, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, two Republican groups founded with the help of Karl Rove, have spent $67 million combined."

There was no mention that Rove's a Journal employee.

On Sept. 5, the Journal focused on the surprisingly tight U.S. senate race in North Dakota, and the amount of outside money pouring into the campaign:

Crossroads GPS, a Republican campaign fund co-founded by Karl Rove in 2010, and Majority PAC, a group that aims to protect Democrats' Senate majority, have spent heavily and run negative ads in the state.

No mention that Rove's a Journal employee.

.@gop House Passes Sweeping Anti-Environmental Bill As Final Business Before Elections #p2 #tcot

WASHINGTON -- House lawmakers skipped out of town on Friday until after the November elections, but not before pushing through a sweeping anti-environmental package that has no chance of becoming law.

Republican leaders teed up the Stop The War On Coal Act, H.R. 3409, as their last vote before lawmakers hit the campaign trail full time. It passed 233 to 175, with 19 Democrats joining nearly all House Republicans in voting for it.

Despite its title, the bill isn't just about the coal industry: it repackages four previously passed House GOP bills, plus adds in another one, aimed at blocking carbon pollution standards. Specifically, the package would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency's clean car standards, nullify the EPA's mercury and air toxic standards, weaken the Clean Water Act and block efforts to reduce damage from coal mining.

The bill already has a White House veto threat on it, and there's no chance it would move in the Senate, but Republicans went ahead and passed it anyway. They argued that their package would spur job growth -- the number one message for everyone ahead of the elections -- by removing regulations on the coal industry and on energy development in general.

"It's about the millions of Americans and American businesses that are paying skyrocketing prices, the 23 million Americans underemployed. And yet we've got an administration that wants to attack the very reliable energy source that would fuel a resurgence in manufacturing that would put people back to work," Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), the bill's author, said to GOP cheers on the House floor. "Let's get Americans back to work and stop the administration's war on coal."

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been trying to cast Obama as an enemy of the coal industry. Romney released a pair of TV ads this week that shows coal industry workers worrying about their futures.

The reality, though, is that the bills rolled into the package would have next to no effect on job creation. In fact, rather than increasing employment, the package increases the likelihood of fatalities.

"The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that emissions reductions resulting from meeting these standards will prevent as many as 11,000 avoidable premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks annually," reads a Statement of Administration Policy, issued Thursday by the Office of Management and Budget.

Democrats dubbed the measure "the single worst anti-environmental bill" taken up by the House and wondered aloud why Congress isn't working past Friday to make progress on bills in need of attention, namely the budget, the farm bill and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

"Every day in America, a woman dies of domestic violence," House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) said during a press event ahead of the vote. "So it's not just American workers, it's not just American farmers, it's not just American taxpayers being left behind. ... It is women who are fighting for their very lives."

The House won't be back in session until Nov. 13. Friday's departure marks one of the earliest dates that Congress has adjourned before Election Day since 1960.