The American Bear


REPORT: Koch Brothers Looking To Purchase Several Major American Newspapers


Right-wing funders and business industrialists David and Charles Koch may purchase the Tribune Company newspapers, which include the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and the Los Angeles Times. The brothers are “interested in the clout they could gain through the Times’ editorial pages,” the Hollywood Reporter notes. Responding to the report, a spokesperson for Koch told the website that the brothers are “constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors”


The Koch brothers own Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in America, and fund a network of right-wing think tanks and organizations. In 2012, the brothers had pledged $60 million to defeat President Obama and even sent mailers to employees urging them to support Mitt Romney and other conservative candidates.

You should be scared. And this is why:

In case that’s not enough:

And that’s just off the top of my head. I encourage a reblog of this post and additions of the atrocities committed by the Koch empire.

(via zeram-deactivated20130410)

Paul Bremer still believes Iraq is better off | Murtaza Hussain

This past week, while giving a speech at an event organized by the neoconservative Henry Jackson Society in London, former U.S. civil administrator of Iraq Paul Bremer was confronted by the legacy of the human catastrophe he had helped facilitate during his tenure in that country. In an incident captured on video, an Iraqi man in the crowd who stood up to address the panel and said that he had been forced to flee Iraq after “the U.S. destroyed my country” threw both his shoes at a seemingly stunned Bremer before being removed from the event. In the commotion afterwards he can be heard to yell “You f***** up my country, you destroyed the country. F*** you and f*** your democracy.” After regaining his composure and suggesting that the Iraqi man “improve his aim if he wants to do things like that”, Bremer addressed the quieted crowd by saying “if he had done that while Saddam Hussain had been alive he would be a dead man right now”. Upon hearing Bremer’s words of proud reassurance, the gathering of neoconservative think-tank intellectuals burst into applause — a moment emblematic of the arrogance which legal impunity has generated for the architects of one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the 21st century. For Bremer — who often refers critics to “the Iraqi people” when questioned over the country’s monumental cost in human suffering during his civil administration — to be confronted by one of those very same Iraqis and still maintain his hubristic defiance is indicative of his moral bankruptcy and that of the neoconservative movement for which he remains an esteemed representative. [continue]

Lanny Breuer Now Blames 94 US Attorneys for Immunizing Banksters | Marcy Wheeler

Lanny [Breuer has] adopted a new excuse to deny responsibility for letting the most destructive criminals in the country walk free (note, Lanny appears to be ignorant of SarBox regulations that wouldn’t even require this kind of intent):

“I understand why people are upset,” Breuer said. “But we have 94 U.S. attorneys and they don’t report to me. Not one of them determined that there was a criminal case to be had. These are very complicated cases and they were just simply, on the merits, not cases that could be brought criminally.”

Breuer said Wall Street executives would have been prosecuted if the investigators could have proved criminal intent. “I have the same DNA in all of these cases,” Breuer said. “It’s just not plausible that in one area we would be overly scared and in all the other areas we would be aggressive.”

Well okay then. In this article, Lanny takes or is given credit for the BP pleas, two Medicare cases, 40 corporate cases (by Robert Khuzami, almost all of which resulted in settlements), the La Cosa Nostra take down, and LIBOR “prosecutions” (reportedly DOJ will charge UBS shortly). Of those, I’m only aware of the BP investigation being led by a task force rather than a traditional US Attorney structure. Yet Lanny wants to claim credit for all these prosecutions and settlements, but blame his US Attorneys–all 94 US Attorneys (!) when we’re really talking maybe 4 or 5 who would face a complex bankster case, and really just New York’s Preet Bharara, whom Lanny himself gave jurisdiction over some of the highest profile cases–for not prosecuting the banksters.

It’s not Lanny’s fault the banksters have gone free, you see, it’s the fault of people like John Leonardo, Arizona’s US Attorney, Alicia Limtiaco, Guam’s US Attorney, or Felicia Adams, Northern Mississippi’s US Attorney, all of whom had no hint of jurisdiction in these cases.

This, in spite of the fact that Lanny has repeatedly admitted being personally involved in the bankster cases.

This, in spite of the fact that Lanny did play a leadership role in one of the few cases that had a similar task force structure as BP–the mortgage fraud settlement. In that case, Lanny under-resourced the investigative team, ensuring it would be unable to do adequate investigation to reach adequate settlement. And he didn’t even show up for the big announcement that–basically–the settlement was immunizing the banksters for stealing millions of people’s homes. Somehow, now that it’s time to claim credit, Lanny has forgotten about that willful attempt to help banks bury their crimes.

Lanny has, in the past, clearly admitted to actions that led directly to amnesty for banksters. But in his effort to shore up his reputation as he heads out the door (though not until March 1, unfortunately), he’s gonna blame everyone else for the fact that, on his watch, the most destructive criminals in the country got a pass.

For A Few Decades Of Profit And Power… | The Agonist

If you needed more proof of just how much we, our children, and our children’s children are going to get screwed by the Powers That Be as catastrophic climate change comes down the pike, look no further than this myopic message of unaldulterated praise for Big Energy from the hand of Fred Kempe. Kempe is president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, a think-tank paid for by people who build and use tanks with the mission of supporting NATO and American hegemony.

According to IEA projections, the U.S. will overtake Russia as the world’s top gas producer by 2015 and will pass Saudi Arabia as the No. 1 global oil producer by 2017. By 2035 the U.S. is likely to be energy self-sufficient and an exporter of oil and liquefied natural gas. Experts are only now beginning to absorb a gusher of geopolitical consequences.

Just when it seemed America’s global influence might be ebbing, the world’s leading military and economic power was adding unconventional energy weapons to its arsenal. The Obama administration – confronting fiscal cliffs, Middle Eastern conflagrations and China’s rise — is only now beginning to understand how to leverage this energy windfall as the president shifts his efforts from re-election to historic legacy.

Those who have despaired about American decline – either relative or absolute — in a world where less democratic and benevolent powers are rising, now hope for an American comeback. Those less inclined toward U.S. leadership worry that this fossil-fuel blessing might reverse the tide toward a more politically humble and environmentally conscious America.

Kempe wants to talk about the billions of dollars in investment and tax revenues this oil boom will give the US, and about the 3 million jobs it will create. He wants to talk about the US not having to be the gatekeeper in the Gulf any more, and about Arab or Chinese consternation when they realize that fact.

What he doesn’t want to talk about is the basic math of climate change. Hauling all that oil and gas out fo the ground may well be worth $27 trillion to Big Energy, but it means 2,795 gigatons of released carbon, more than enough to take the world past every tipping point and into “extinction event” territory. Kempe doesn’t want to talk about the billions who will die a century from now, the vast cost of international and national insecurity caused by the upheavals climate change will bring, or the millions of Americans who will over the next few decades lose their livelihood as the Southwest dries up for a thousand years.

For the sake of a few decades of profit and power, those in charge of the nation are willing to sacrifice everything that comes afterwards.

Saved by the Invisible Hand | digby


John Stossel proves once again that he’s lives in a libertarian utopia only inhabited by arrogant teenagers and celebrity millionaires:

Christie would help more if he could suspend New Jersey’s foolish law forbidding price increases of more than 10% during an “emergency,” and if he’d apologize for bragging that the state will crack down on price “gouging!

What politicians call “gouging” is just the free market. When markets are allowed to work their magic, lines disappear… If gas stations could raise prices, many of those drivers would wait, and drive less. Drivers who really need gas would be able to get it. At the same time, entrepreneurs would rush gasoline to gas stations that have the highest prices. The lines would quickly vanish, and prices would come back down.

And the drivers who really “need” gas (not sure who it is that doesn’t, but apparently there are a lot of them) will just happen to be those who are flush with cash and can afford the stupid high prices. And hey, if a few people have to lose their jobs, go without food, are unable to get to a hospital or evacuate due to the lack of money, well they should have thought of that before they decided not to get rich. You’ve gotta take responsibility for your bad choices in life.

Seriously, this worship of markets is just as faith based as any other religion. And just like all the others it features an invisible Deity directing traffic from somewhere else. I’m not much of a believer in any of them but if I had to choose I’d pick one of the ones that doesn’t require the human sacrifices.

Also too: this.

G.O.P. Blocks Veteran Jobs Bill


Veterans won’t be getting a new, billion-dollar jobs program, not from this Senate. Republicans on Wednesday afternoon blocked a vote on the Veterans Job Corps Bill after Jeff Sessions of Alabama raised a point of order — he said the bill  violated a cap on spending agreed to by Congress last year. The bill’s sponsor, Patty Murray of Washington, said that shouldn’t matter, since the bill’s cost was fully offset by new revenues. She said Mr. Sessions and his party colleagues had been furiously generating excuses to oppose the bill, and were now exploiting a technicality to deny thousands of veterans a shot at getting hired as police officers, firefighters and parks workers, among other things.

The vote was 58-40; the bill needed 60 votes to proceed.

It would be easier to admire the Republicans’ late-breaking fiscal scrupulosity if their motives — denying  the Obama administration any kind of victory this year, whatever the cost to jobless vets — weren’t so transparent.  It’s probably useful to remind Republicans like John McCain (a “nay” on the jobs bill) that wounded, jobless and homeless veterans aren’t a fact of nature. They’re a product of the wars that Congress members voted for, the war debt they piled on, and the economy they helped ruin.

“It’s unbelievable that even after more than a decade of war, many Republicans still will not acknowledge that the treatment of our veterans is a cost of war,” Ms. Murray said in a statement after the vote.

Pakistan is much more menacing than Iran.

Lord Paranoid Richard Gideon.

Oh no! Now that we’re a little confused about fretting over Iran’s nuclear program, let’s focus on Pakistan’s already established one. The only part where Gideon should be taken seriously is when he says: “It is funny what people choose to worry about.”

Yes, Richard. It really is funny. Maybe you should reevaluate your list of concerns. Let’s place America’s 5,113 warheads at the top and rearrange accordingly since, after all, you seem very worried about world peace.

(via mehreenkasana)

Netanyahu pledges to build larger settlement | Al Akhbar

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged on Wednesday to rebuild an illegal settlement in the West Bank, after parliament voted down a bill to legalize all outpost settlements.

The bill would have prevented the destruction of Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood, home to 30 families, which the Israeli High Court has said must be destroyed as it is built on Palestinian land.

The right-wing leader said that while he was in favor of the demolition, he promised to build a larger settlement elsewhere in the area.

"Beit El will be expanded, the 30 families will remain in Beit El, and 300 new families will join them," Netanyahu said after the vote.

"There is no government that supports or will support settlement more than the government I lead," he added.

International law considers all Jewish settlements built in the West Bank illegal, but Israeli law distinguishes between settlements it has approved and those it has not.

But the Palestinians are still the problem.

Romney, Bully | Ted Rall

A few random thoughts about the Romney bullying story:

First, this story probably has legs. It frames an unpleasant narrative about Mitt Romney’s personality: Not only do his politics suck, he’s an asshole. Personally. The kind of asshole who abuses his pets. Who takes over profitable companies and bleeds them dry, leaving people jobless for no good reason. Who mutilates someone because he’s different. Faggy. In the same way that the story about George H.W. Bush being surprised about a supermarket scanner made him seem out-of-touch during a recession, the Romney bullying story has the potential to make him seem unlikeable in a way that he will have a very hard counteracting.

And we’re not just talking about bullying: shoving, punching, etc. This sounds almost rape-y: a long-haired boy held down to the ground by several boys as one hacks off his hair. Primal.

It doesn’t matter whether the story is even true: the image fits. It works. That’s the problem. And Romney didn’t help with his response: calling the victim a “fellow.” Who uses the word “fellow” in 2012? A “homosexual”? Who uses that word, either? He should have either denied the story entirely, or said something like this:

I did lots of stupid shit when I was a kid. I was kind of wild. Man, I sure wish I could take most of it back. If I could go back in time, I would catch myself being an asshole and beat the shit out of myself. All I can say now is, I am a fervent defender of the oppressed, including gays, and even though I don’t think marriage is a good idea for gays and lesbians, I view them as absolute equals in all ways and will always fight for them and every other American.

Obama has got to be laughing his ass off.

On another note, it’s very cool that bullying has become so uncool. When I was a kid, often victimized by bullies, no one gave a shit. This is progress.

Governor Rick Scott Vetoes Funds For Rape Crisis Centers During Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) shocked the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence this week when he vetoed $1.5 million in funding for 30 rape crisis centers in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. State lawmakers allotted the money to offset an increase in need and a lack of sufficient funding for victim services.

A spokesperson for Scott said he vetoed that particular line item in the state budget because the state already funds sexual violence programs, and nobody was able to make it clear to him why rape crisis centers needed the new funding.


As for the $6.5 million that Scott said the government provides for rape prevention and sexual assault services, a large percentage of that money is distributed to education programs, not actual crisis centers serving the victims.

“He’s probably including rape prevention and education money,” she said. “You think they would have asked us about that, and we could explain to them very clearly what money is available for our programs. It looks like $1.5 million is a lot of money to ask for, but frankly, when you spread it across 67 counties, it’s not.”

From a political standpoint, Scott’s cuts to sexual violence funding could not have come at a worse time, as Republicans in Congress are taking heat for opposing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. But Scott’s spokesman said the governor’s decision had nothing to do with the oft-cited GOP “war on women.”

“Anyone who’s trying to say this veto is evidence of a war on women, is deliberately trying to mislead the public for political ends,” Wright said.

(Source: sarahlee310, via other-stuff)