Doin' The Wall Street Shuffle

Last week President Obama nominated 1% bail out recipient Jack Lew as tax cheat Tim Geithner's replacement as Secretary of the Treasury.  Tthe Washington Post put together a nice compendium of the highlights to Lew's tenure at CitiBank (for both the left and right).

Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew has spent most of his career in government, but during the financial crisis, he was embedded inside one of the country’s biggest banks as it nearly imploded.
From 2006 to 2008, he worked at Citigroup in two major roles, a notable line in his résumé given that as Treasury secretary, he would be charged with implementing new rules regulating Wall Street.

But Lew did not have just any position at the bank.

Written by LL.


Remember When (Part 1)

Remember when President Obama said "under my plan, no family making under $250,000 a year will see ANY form of tax increase"?  Well, like all of his promises it came with an expiration date.....

American workers are opening their first paychecks of the year and finding an unpleasant surprise: The government's take has gone up.

A temporary cut in Social Security withholdings gave Americans hundreds of extra dollars to spend over the past two years. But Congress allowed that break to expire during the wrangling over the fiscal cliff, meaning that Social Security taxes have reverted to 6.2% of salary from the temporary 4.2%.

The change left some of the President's staunchest supporters sputtering in anger and disbelief.

“What happened that my Social Security withholding’s in my paycheck just went up?” a poster wrote on the liberal site “My paycheck just went down by an amount that I don’t feel comfortable with. I guarantee this decrease is gonna’ hurt me more than the increase in income taxes will hurt those making over 400 grand. What happened?”

But those hurt worst by this tax increase are middle class families, families that the President swore he would protect.

The noticeable lightening of paychecks as consumers remain tentative threatens to put a drag on economic growth. The effect for companies is that the hit is likely to cement a frugal attitude that led consumers to cut back on eating out and shift to less-expensive store brands.

Kari Barker, an accountant in Salt Lake City, recently received her first 2013 paycheck and realized that she and her husband will take home $250 less every month. The 32-year-old, who works as a financial controller for a medical-devices company, accepted a second job last week doing accounting work for a friend's startup company.

But those aren't the only taxes on the "middle class" that are going up.  Take a look at the 2012 tax tables:

2012 tax rates
Tax rate    Single filers    Married filing jointly    Married filing separately    Head of household
10%    Up to $8,700           Up to $17,400                Up to $8,700                    Up to $12,400
15%    $8,701 - $35,350        $17,401 - $70,700       $8,701- $35,350             $12,401 - $47,350
25%    $35,351 - $85,650      $70,701 - $142,700     $35,351 - $71,350          $47,351 - $122,300
28%    $85,651 - $178,650    $142,701 - $217,450     $71,351 - $108,725       $122,301 - $198,050
33%    $178,651 - $388,350    $217,451 - $388,350    $108,726 - $194,175    $198,051 - $388,350
35%    $388,351 or more        $388,351 or more         $194,176 or more         $388,351 or more

Versus the 2013 tax rates:

Rate     Single Filers                   Married Joint Filers     Head of Household Filers
10%     $0 to $8,925                 $0 to $17,850                 $0 to $12,750
15%     $8,925 to $36,250         $17,850 to $72,500         $12,750 to $48,600
25%     $36,250 to $87,850       $72,500 to $146,400        $48,600 to $125,450
28%     $87,850 to $183,250      $146,400 to $223,050      $125,450 to $203,150
33%     $183,250 to $398,350     $223,050 to $398,350     $203,150 to $398,350
35%     $398,350 to $400,000     $398,350 to $450,000     $398,350 to $425,000
39.6%     $400,000 and up          $450,000 and up             $425,000 and up

We now have an added tax bracket right smack in the middle of the "middle class"....The top bracket went up and anyone making $85,000 a year and up gets bumped up a bracket!  So much for not raising taxes on those making LESS than $250,000 a year eh?

And while the President's DU supporters wail and wonder what happened, Republicans are shaking their heads.  We TOLD YOU this was coming and yet you act shocked when a lying Chicago politician lies to you. 

It just proves the old saying "There's a sucker born every minute."

Written by LL.


Refusing To Learn

George Santayana is often credited with the saying "Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it." (the quote is actually "those who don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it" and was first said by Sir Edmund Burke).    However, when it comes to being a living example of the saying, there is no one who can hold a candle to our President.  Today's entry?????  Sub-prime mortgages....

New mortgage rules issued last week by the administration will have the effect of forcing lenders to approve prime loans to borrowers who would normally only qualify for subprime loans carrying higher interest rates and fees to cover the added risk of default.

Banks are already under renewed pressure from federal prosecutors and regulators to make home loans to low-income borrowers with blemished credit as part of the administration's stepped-up enforcement of anti-redlining laws.  Before the mortgage crisis, lenders were able to hedge losses by placing such homebuyers in higher-cost subprime mortgages — something the government at one point actually encouraged as part of a strategy to expand credit opportunities for lower-income minorities and close the racial "mortgage gap."

But under the new mortgage rules, loans with subprime features do not fall under the official government definition of "qualified mortgages," and therefore do not provide a "safe harbor" against lawsuits and other action.

As a result, analysts warn lenders may end up having to "subsidize" riskier borrowers at the expense of other customers.

As IBD points out, THAT is what lead to the mortgage crisis in the FIRST PLACE.

Written by LL.


Hypocrisy Has A Name - It's.....

For years now, the biggest evil in America (according to our friends on the left) are capitalists.  Tax avoiding, big oil capitalists especially.  That is until one of their own becomes a tax avoiding, big oil capitalist...

Al Gore’s strategy for saving the Earth seems to be to raise enough money to be able to buy it. After selling his failing Current TV company to Al Jazeera, Gore is suddenly a super rich man. Forbes analyst Ryan Mac says, “Taking into account taxes to be paid on the deal, possible earlier debt and the fact that Gore's representatives declined to comment, Forbes conservatively estimates the former vice president's net worth to be at least $300 million.”

For those keeping score, that makes Al Gore wealthier than that evil venture capitalist Mitt Romney.

Ryan Mac notes that this discovery of a rich seam of cash makes Mr Gore, “wealthier than unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney … Last May, Forbes estimated Romney's net worth to be around $230 million.” Thanks to petrodollars, the secular saint of liberalism is now richer than its devil.

Written by LL.


Who Said This?

Family and work commitments have kept me from blogging the last few months, however starting today, some of those obligations have lessened. 

So to start my return to blogging, I leave you with a question.  Which US Senator said this?

"The fact that we are here today to debate raisingAmerica’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies."

Was it Mitch McConnell?  Orrin Hatch?  Maybe Tea Party hero Rand Paul?

Written by LL.


Those Racist Republicans

Quiz time.

Which Republican radio talk show host  called US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice¨resident house Negro,¨? 

Which GOP cartoonist drew cartoons of her calling herself a "House Nigga"?

Which Republican called Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner a "House Slave"?

Answers after the jump.

Written by LL.


Learning From History

A lot of conservatives are having the vapors over perceived concessions from House Speaker John Boehner.  Logical Lady Salena Zito thinks that a different game is afoot.

In politics, the minute you win is also the moment you start losing, because you immediately start bleeding political capital — and the minute you lose is the beginning of climbing out from the bottom of the barrel.

John Boehner didn’t awake one morning to find himself speaker of the House; he got there through a series of tough setbacks that took him from leadership at a young age to being just one of 435 congressmen and back again, with plenty of declarations that his career had fizzled.

His fellow Republicans understand that, too — which is why, when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor nominated him last week to retain his speakership, Boehner was greeted with a warm standing ovation. He will be formally re-elected speaker by a vote in the House when the 113th Congress convenes in January.

Many reporters, hung-over conservatives and the “Twitterverse” have questioned why Boehner called on President Obama to step up with a solution to the nation’s pending “fiscal cliff,” rather than taking the lead himself.

What they do not understand is that, for Boehner, it was the only way back to a position of power for his party.

He may be taking his cues from a legendary predecessor — Tip O’Neill.

Written by LL.


The Voice Of Reason?

Hostess Brands, the makers of Twinkies and Wonder Bread,  has closed it's doors forever today, the victims of a bad economy and a labor stoppage that was extremely shortsighted.  How shortsighted, you ask?  So shortsighted that even the TEAMSTERS thought that the striking union was wrong.

Bakery union leaders are “putting Teamster members in a horrible position -- asking them to support a strike that will put them out of a job when they haven’t even asked all their members to go on strike,” the Teamsters said.

Hostess Brands had filed for Chapter 11 re-organization and part of that re-organization called for renegotiation of union contracts.  The Teamsters sent in their own independent auditing firm and the auditing firm concluded that Hostess Brands would not survive without a cut in salary and benefits that the Teamsters accepted.  The Bakers Union leadership did not share the Teamsters grasp of reality.

Written by LL.


That Mending Economy

Well now that President Obama has been re-elected, let's take a look at just how well that economic rebound, that he was talking about on the campaign trail, is doing....

The day and the day following the election....lay-off announcements....

November 6 , 2012
Bristol-Myers - 480 Sales Related Jobs in NJ
Update: the Lower Bucks Hospital - 30
Oce North America, Inc. CT - 135
Updated: Corning in Erwin NY - 100
United Blood Services Gulf region - 10% of Workforce
The Atlantic Lottery Corporation ( International )- 16

November 7 , 2012
Boeing - 30% of Executives at Defense Unit
CVPH Medical Center - 17 Pink Slips
U.S. Cellular - 980
Commerzbank ( German ) - up to 6,000 Layoffs Poss.
Spanish airline Iberia - up to 7,000 Possible
Momentive Performance Materials - 150 Temp, Layoffs
Brake Parts LLC - 75
Gameforge Berlin - 20
Vestas Wind Systems - 3,000 More Job Cuts
Husqvarna AB - 600
ING - 2,350
Ericsson ( Sweden) - 1,550
SRA International Inc - 222 in Arlington Va.
PerkinElmer - 66 Layoffs During 3rd Quarter
Majestic Star Casino and Hotel - About 80
Center for Hospice / Palliative Care NY - 40 Temp. Layoffs

Written by LL.


Bye-Bye Jim

The Star Tribune released a poll last night that, if accurate, is going to spell the end of Blue Dog Democrat Jim Matheson's Congressional career.

For 12 years, Jim Matheson has been a political escape artist, managing to wiggle free from every trap the Utah Republicans have thrown his way.

But after six successful elections, his charmed political run may be coming to an end.

Matheson trails Republican challenger Mia Love 52 percent to 40 percent in a new poll conducted for The Salt Lake Tribune, a large margin in a race where, even a few days ago, both campaigns were predicting a tight finish.

Rep. Matheson, being the good Democrat that he is, has a slightly different take on reality. 

Matheson said lots of polls will have lots of different numbers, and put out a memo from his own polling firm, also completed this week, which shows him with a 2-point lead over Love.

Past polls have shown Mayor Love slowly gaining and finally passing Matheson in the final weeks of the campaign. 

Written by LL.


The REAL War On Women

President Obama and his surrogates have manufactured a ginned up GOP "war on women" as a campaign tactic.  Their idea of a "war on women" is having to pay for their own birth control.  Their ginned up faux-rage pales, though, in light of a real war on women that is happening every day in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the rest of the Middle East.

Meet Malala Yousufzai.  She looks like your typical teenager - but she's not.  You see, Malala was shot in the head and left for dead by the Taliban.  Her crime.....wanting education and taking on the Taliban...

"Shooting attacks happen every day in Pakistan," as NPR's Philip Reeves reports from Islamabad.

But the shooting of a teenaged girl who became nationally known after she documented the Taliban's cruelty in Pakistan's Swat Valley has caused particular shock in that country, he tells our Newscast Desk.

The Pakistani Taliban are claiming their fighters carried out today's attack. According to Philip, "officials say Malala Yousufzai was outside her school when a gunman approached, and opened fire, injuring her and at least one other child."

    (Note at 7 a.m. ET, Oct 10: Earlier, we wrote that Malala is 14. That is what The Associated Press, Reuters and other news outlets are reporting. Phil, though, has checked with Malala's school and been told she was born on July 12, 1997 — making her 15. He also spoke with her in August 2009. Malala said then that she was 12.)

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper says it has been told by a spokesman for the Taliban that the girl was targeted for spreading "anti-Taliban and 'secular' thoughts among the youth of the area." Malala, Dawn says, was "hit by couple of bullets to her neck and head." While hospitalized, she is said to be "out of danger." She may, though, need to be sent overseas for treatment.

The Taliban reportedly say they'll target her again.

The Taliban's threat was so real, that Malala was moved to a hospital in the UK where she would be safe.  She is well on the road to recovery, thanks to the military doctors who are helping her.

Written by LL.


Paging Lily

If you watched Tuesday nights debate, you would have heard President Obama (in response to a question about equal pay) tout his record saying that the signed the Lily Ledbetter act into law, therefore he is all about equal pay for women.  However, the truth of the matter.....

Female employees in the Obama White House make considerably less than their male colleagues, records show.

According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).

But that's not all.  Apparently the White House could be constituted as a "hostile work environment" under the law.

Written by LL.


White House vs. State Dept.

This morning I wrote about the Daily Mail's coverage of science - this evening it's Libya.  The State Department has begun to covers it's and Secretary Clinton's collective hides in the fall out of the bungling of  Benghazi.

The State Department has said that it never believed the September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was the result of a protest over an anti-Islam movie - directly contracting the rest of the Obama administration.

By trying to distance her department from the inept and deceptive handling of the Benghazi attack, which left U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American officials dead, Hillary Clinton could help herself politically for a 2016 presidential run.

Because of course, when electoral politics is at stake, it's every man (or woman) for himself.

All snark aside, President Obama's attempt at throwing Sec. Clinton under the bus may finally be the one thing that gets Pat Smith some answers on how her son Sean died that fateful day...but I digress...

Written by LL.


Oh That Settled Science

Stories like this are exactly the reason why my daily news reading includes several European or Asia/Pacific news sources.  They report things that you would NEVER see in a US media outlet.

The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week.

The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.

Emphasis mine....gee you mean it's still being DEBATED?  So much for settled eh?  But maybe this is an anomaly?

This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.

Written by LL.


Man Down!

Andrew Sullivan is not pleased with the results of the latest Pew Poll....and with good reason.

The Pew poll is devastating, just devastating. Before the debate, Obama had a 51 - 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 - 45 lead. That's a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama's performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.

Emphasis in the original. 

Romney's favorables are above Obama's now. Yes, you read that right. Romney's favorables are higher than Obama's right now. That gender gap that was Obama's firewall? Over in one night...

...Seriously: has that kind of swing ever happened this late in a campaign? Has any candidate lost 18 points among women voters in one night ever? And we are told that when Obama left the stage that night, he was feeling good. That's terrifying. On every single issue, Obama has instantly plummeted into near-oblivion. He still has some personal advantages over Romney - even though they are all much diminished. Obama still has an edge on Medicare, scores much higher on relating to ordinary people, is ahead on foreign policy, and on being moderate, consistent and honest (only 14 percent of swing voters believe Romney is honest). But on the core issues of the economy and the deficit, Romney is now kicking the president's ass...

It does not get any better as it goes on.  Sully is positively despondent over the results.

Written by LL.


You've Come A Long Way Baby

That was the advertising slogan for Virgina Slims cigarettes (a brand that was marketed just to women) back in the day.  The commercial, peppered with a healthy dose of women's liberation and feminism,  targeted young, urban, professional women.  It became a rallying cry for the movement for a short time....until smoking became taboo.

That phrase came to mind yesterday when I saw this picture from the Obama Campaign's Tumblr site:


We have come so far, that we have come full circle.  No longer are women thought of as competent individuals with brains and something to contribute to the world, we are back to being thought of as simply sexual objects.  Bravo to the genius that came up with this.  Because they have shown the Democrats to be the patriarchal misogynists that they truly are.

A friend on Facebook put it best.  I am using my lady-parts...MY vote Obama out!  That sums it up nicely.


Written by LL.