Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

A little good news The House of Representatives tried again today and easily passed the unemployment benefits extension. If it clears the Senate, and a promised presidential veto is overridden, the unemployed will have an extra 13 weeks of benefits, in states with high unemployment, the extension is 26 weeks. Every dollar of unemployent benefits returns $1.64 to the economy - thats a respectable ROI by my way of thinking. Every "No" vote was cast by a republican, with 49 crossing over to vote with the Democrats. “You can vote no if you want,” Representative Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington and an author of the measure, cautioned Republicans on the House floor. “You will have to face your constituents in November.” The White House - which persists in fighting a three trillion dollar war - said that extending jobless benefits would cost too much money.

We want to remind you that senseless ethnic violence in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is a two way street
The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has handed out 100 video cameras to Palestinians as part of their "Shoot Back" campaign. The cameras are intended to document attacks by Israeli settlers in the occupied territories. Now, they have given video to the BBC that shows four young male settlers with their faces obscured wielding baseball bats and beating an elderly shepherd, his wife and their nephew for allowing their animals to graze too close to the settlement community of Susia on Sunday. Video is at the link - and it is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.

Pushing Back The Obama campaign has added a new feature to their website. Called Fight the Smears, it is dedicated to debunking the wingnut bullshit that is filling the air as republican desperation mounts. Beat the rush and bookmark it now.

Have you been to McCainpedia yet? It was put together by our friends at the DNC and is dedicated to debunking John W. McBu$h's bullshit, spin and partial truths. Absolutely indispensable. Bookmark this one right now, too.

Obama opens up 6 point lead According to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of registered voters, Obama has 47% support to 41% for McCain. The lead is outside the polls margin of error. “The poll clearly shows a post-primary bump for Barack Obama,” says Republican pollster Neil Newhouse, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart. “We have a very competitive race for president,” Hart says, even though the overall political environment tilts strongly in the Democrats’ favor.

Obamarama is a worldwide phenomenon
All over the world, it is expected that the next American president will change U.S. foreign policy "for the better," but they have more confidence in Democratic candidate Barack Obama than republican rival John W. McBu$h, according to a multi-nation poll released Thursday. The survey of nearly 25,000 people in 24 countries also found, for the first time in a decade, a modest uptick in the United States' dismal global image - and Obama gets credit for that, too.

This is what Mullen was talking about when he issued the "stay out of politics" edict recently.

You just knew this was coming Mike Huckabee has inked himself a one-year deal with Faux Noise to be a political commentator. In other words, he intends to dive into the 2012 republican primaries and Murdoch just gave him a hell of a platform.

Rezko pressured to incriminate Obama? That is what he said in a presentencing letter to the judge. Your Honor, the prosecutors have been overzealous in pursuing a crime that never happened. They are pressuring me to tell them the “wrong” things that I supposedly know about Governor Blagojevich and Senator Obama. I have never been party to any wrongodoing that involved the Govenror or the Senator. I will never fabricate lies about anyone else for selfish purposes. Nothing would surprise me coming from this Department of Just Us. They have a track record of using prosecutions to influence politics, so why not grab at the brass ring and try to influence the presidential race?

Hannity slips up and states the obvious Talking to Rudy! Wednesday night on Hannity & Colmes insHannity pissed and moaned about McCain being unwilling to go negative. The Rude Dude responded that he thought that the negative attacks would be done by surrogates, to which he replied "People like me." So will he get the same treatment as that 24-year-old production assistant who gushed to McCain that she voted for him in the primary and he was going to win? They fired her ass, promptly.

It was almost a spit-take Barack Obama was asked an unexpected question at a townhall meeting in Kaukauna, Wisconsin last night - would aWol bu$h have any role in his administration, perhaps as ambassador to Iraq? Obama was taking a drink of water at the time and almost spewed at the absurd question. "Honestly, we need someone really good in that job," Obama said, implying that allowing bu$h anywhere near the country he willfully and illegally invaded would be out of the question in an Obama administration.

Ron Paul blasts McCain, praises Bob Barr Ron Paul will be throwing in the towel on his candidacy tonight, but he isn't going quietly. In an interview with CNN's John Roberts on Wednesday, talking about his planned alternative one-day mini-convention, Paul emphasized that “we’re not going to parade, we’re not going to march, we’re not going to disrupt, we’re not going to demonstrate, as much as present a positive case for values that we believe should be the Republican values — limited government, personal liberty, a sensible foreign policy, and a sound monetary system. … We’re just going to remind the country … that we don’t have to accept big government programs and blending the two parties together where the people don’t have an actual choice.” Asked if McCain embodied those values, Paul shot back “Very much — the values that we’re competing with. Not our values.” Paul will not be working to get McCain elected in November. Instead, he will be working to get libertarian-leaning republicans elected to public office.

Our friend Brandon Friedman says it out loud for all of us Talking to Olberman last night about McSame's most recent "stay forever" comment, Friedman showed his exasperation with the deference to the hotheaded old prick because he's a former POW. "You know, we all respect John McCain’s service. But he’s not the only person who suffered in war.We have troops coming back from this war who are quadriplegics, who’ve been maimed, who had to go through so much. And, you know, it doesn’t give him a carte blanche reason to say something like that. He doesn’t get a free pass." (Full transcript and video at the link.)

Lindsey's in a lather over the 5-4 decision that restored Habeas Corpus and gave the detainees access to the federal court system. Lindsey feels so strongly that the United States should be able to hold people indefinitely and keep then away from the protections of both the Geneva Conventions and the federal courts that he would be willing to spearhead a movement to amend the very Constitution that defines America - to strip habeas rights away where the 'war on terror' is concerned. Our friend Steve Benen summed him up quite nicely: "He’s quite an excitable young man, you know."

"We were cheated, and we want justice" Indian workers who were lured to the United States to work on gulf coast reconstruction are accusing the company that recruited them and the recruiters of deceptive practices. Workers were promised permanent resettlement in the U.S. for themselves and their families. They paid up to $20,000 in recruiter fees and travel expenses, only to find when they arrived that they had been duped. Instead of resettlement, they were brought in on H1B visas that allow them to work in the U.S. for ten months. With support from the AFL-CIO, law firms and advocacy groups, more than 100 of the recruited Indians have filed a federal lawsuit in Louisiana against Signal and several recruiting agents, under a federal law that prohibits "human trafficking" by fraud or force for labor or services. The group also asked for a Justice Department investigation and for permission to remain in the United States, even though they are no longer employed here, while their court case is pending. Some of the workers, who quit Signal in March and made their way to Washington, have staged an intermittent hunger strike outside the Embassy of India to draw attention to their case. Eighteen members of Congress have signed a letter to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey on their behalf.

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