Crooks and Liars
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Now that we're all being treated to the sight of Darrell Issa puffing up and bloviating about his work as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, this clip with Ari Melber and Martin Bashir is an excellent reminder of which fox currently chairs the henhouse. Ryan Lizza's 2011 profile of Issa served as the basis for today's discussion.
There is the car theft, for example. Oh, alleged car theft, I should say. After all, the man who made his fortune from a car alarm company was accused of auto theft at one point:
A member of Issa’s Army unit, Jay Bergey, told Williams that his most vivid recollection of the young Issa was that in December, 1971, Issa stole his car, a yellow Dodge Charger. “I confronted Issa,” Bergey said in 1998. “I got in his face and threatened to kill him, and magically my car reappeared the next day, abandoned on the turnpike.”
Ok, maybe that was a prank, but after that, there was this:
On March 15, 1972, three months after Issa allegedly stole Jay Bergey’s car and one month after he left the Army for the first time, Ohio police arrested Issa and his older brother, William, and charged them with stealing a red Maserati from a Cleveland showroom. The judge eventually dismissed the case.
While the Maserati case was pending, Issa went to college. Just before 11 p.m. on Friday, December 1, 1972, two police officers on patrol in the small town of Adrian noticed Issa driving a yellow Volkswagen the wrong way down a one-way street. The police pulled him over, and, as Issa retrieved the car registration, an officer saw something peculiar in the glove compartment. He searched it, and, according to the police report, found a .25-calibre Colt automatic inside a box of ammunition, along with a “military pouch” that contained “44 rounds of ammo and a tear gas gun and two rounds of ammo for it.” Issa was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. The policeman asked why he was armed. “He stated in Ohio you could carry a gun as long as you had a justifiable reason,” the report said. “His justifiable reason was for his car’s protection and his.” Issa pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of possession of an unregistered gun. He paid a small fine and was sentenced to six months’ probation.
When Issa ran for the Senate in 1998, he rewrote his past:
"He had been a soldier, and he claimed that he was part of an elite bomb detecting unit that guarded President Nixon at the 1971 World Series," said Williams.
Williams called up the Nixon Presidential Library, and was told that Nixon hadn't gone to any World Series games that year. Then Williams looked into Issa's purportedly stellar career in the Army.
"The biography that he was providing the press in the context of his campaign was all wrong. He had a bad conduct rating. He was demoted, and a fellow soldier accused him of stealing his car," said Williams.
But probably the most suspicious and most uninvestigated event in Issa's checkered past is the mysterious 1982 fire at his factory at a time where he was buying out the owner of Steal Stopper, the predecessor to Issa's car alarm company. Issa quadrupled his insurance coverage and then boom! The place burned down. Lizza:
Joey Adkins, the former owner of Steal Stopper, provided the main evidence against Issa. On the afternoon of September 20, 1982, in a lengthy recorded interview with an insurance investigator, he described a series of suspicious actions by Issa before the fire. Adkins, who still worked for Steal Stopper, said that Issa removed the company’s Apple II computer from the building, including “all hardware, all software, all the instruction books,” and also “the discs for accounts payable, accounts receivable, customer list, everything.” According to Adkins, Issa also transferred a copy of every design used by Steal Stopper from a filing cabinet to a fireproof box. He also said that Issa put in the box some important silk screens used in the production of circuit boards. Insurance officials noted that, less than three weeks before the fire, Issa had increased his insurance from a hundred thousand dollars to four hundred and sixty-two thousand dollars. “Quite frankly,” Adkins told the investigator, “I feel the man set the fire.”
So did the insurance company. They finally settled out of court for about $20,000, which was a fraction of what Issa had sued them for.
Not mentioned in the Bashir discussion but equally interesting is this small nugget:
The insurance company, meanwhile, had found something peculiar about Issa, unrelated to the arson: there was no indication of where his initial capital came from. After interviewing a family member, an investigator reported, “She was unable to advise us as to his financial banking [sic] to become an officer in Quantum Inc.” A second report noted, “We were unable to find the source of his financing for the business ventures he is engaged in at the present time.”
This is the guy holding himself out as the crusader for What is Right and Just. Or as Bashir called him, a "paragon of virtue."
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When Gawker first broke this story last night I was dubious, as their version read like something out of The Onion. Even for those of us who've watched his antics for the last few years this seemed a bit much. But with this piece in this morning's Toronto Star this 'crazy story' seems to be legit, and with it the merciful end to the embattled career of Mayor Rob Ford.
A cellphone video that appears to show Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine is being shopped around Toronto by a group of Somali men involved in the drug trade.
Two Toronto Star reporters have viewed the video three times. It appears to show Ford in a room, sitting in a chair, wearing a white shirt, top buttons open, inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe. Ford is incoherent, trading jibes with an off-camera speaker who goads the clearly impaired mayor by raising topics including Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and the Don Bosco high school football team Ford coaches.
"I’m f---ing right-wing,” Ford appears to mutter at one point. “Everyone expects me “to be right-wing. I’m just supposed to be this great.…” and his voice trails off. At another point he is heard calling Trudeau a “fag.” Later in the 90-second video he is asked about the football team and he appears to say (though he is mumbling), “they are just f---ing minorities.”
It's so nice to hear a high-profile senator asking the same question that's been on the minds of voters for some time now. Fortunately, Sen. Warren is popular enough that the bankers are a tad afraid of her:
In a letter (PDF) sent to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Attorney General Eric Holder and SEC Chair Mary Jo White on Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) demanded to know why the government keeps accepting financial settlements from criminal bankers when they could instead be taken to trial, convicted and locked up.
In six short paragraphs, Warren requested that each institution turn over copies of any internal research “on the trade-offs to the public” between letting big financial firms pay a fine and walk “without admission of guilt” versus moving forward with full-scale prosecutions.
The letter was sent as a follow-up to a similar question she asked of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on Feb. 14. Warren noted that the OCC replied last week denying the existence of any such research. In her letter sent Tuesday, she went on to add:
…I believe very strongly that if a regulator reveals itself to be unwilling to take large financial institutions all the way to trial — either because it is too timid or because it lacks resources — the regulator has a lot less leverage in settlement negotiations and will be forced to settle on terms that are much more favorable to the wrongdoer.
The consequence can be insufficient compensation to those who are harmed by illegal activity and inadequate deterrence of future violations. If large financial institutions can break the law and accumulate millions in profits and, if they get caught, settle by paying out of those profits, they do not have much incentive to follow the law.
There’s been a rash of mega-settlements between the government and the nation’s largest banks in recent years over allegations of foreclosing on people without just cause, knowingly making bad loans and reselling the debt, making false statements to rob from retired pensioners, laundering money for drug cartels, repressive regimes and terrorists, and agreeing to settlements and then ignoring them, to name a few.
“The problem is the banks have overwhelming confidence that law enforcement is not taking this seriously,” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said last Monday, appearing on MSNBC.
“They have overwhelming confidence that whatever the rules are, they won’t be followed up on.”
Here's some sage advice for the ladies from that brave defender of traditional marriage, Pat Robertson. Ladies, if your man cheats on you, try harder! Clearly you haven't made your home "so wonderful that he doesn't want to wander." Yeah, I doubt that the wandering had much to do with the home, quite frankly. Uncle Pat, so full of sage advice, also informed the woman that it was too bad, but after all, "he's a man." Oooh, manly thing, breaking commitments and cheating on your wife. Yes, very, very manly.
More from Right Wing Watch:
On today’s 700 Club, Robertson told a woman whose husband was cheating on her that she should stop focusing on the adultery and instead ponder, “Does he provide a home for you to live in, does he provide food for you to eat, does he provide clothes for you to wear, is he nice to the children…is he handsome?”
Well, there you go. You know, those girls held hostage in Cincinnati were probably fed and clothed in some fashion and the guy did have them in the house, so there was that. He wasn't very handsome, though.
So all women could hope to expect was food, clothing, kindness to children and a handsome face -- in exchange for working their tails off making sure he was always so satisfied his eye wouldn't wander!
I guess General Petraeus' wife knew, since that was Robertson's reason for shrugging his affair off, too. I wish that woman had told Robertson her husband had a gay affair, just to see what his reaction would have been.
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A Republican congressman from North Dakota suggested to the graduating class at University of Mary earlier this month that the Boston Marathon bombings, the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks and multiple school shootings were all connected to the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973.
In a video clip pointed out by The Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel on Thursday, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) says that the ideal of American Exceptionalism has been "turned upside down."
Cramer notes that Bismarck news anchor A.J. Clemente had been fired for uttering a "vulgarity on live television."
"He's been heralded by celebrities from New York to California as some sort of pop icon," the congressman complains. "We learned this week that the Pentagon is vetting its guide on religious tolerance with a group that compared Christian evangelism to rape, and advocated that military personnel and colluding chaplains who proselytize should be court-martialed."
Cramer adds: "Forty years ago, the United States Supreme Court sanctioned abortion on demand. And we wonder why our culture sees school shootings so often."
The North Dakota Republican goes on to reference the federal government's decision to allow girls younger than 18 to purchase emergency contraception without a prescription.
"Now we learn our little girls can eliminate unwanted pregnancy by buying a pill at the drug store on their way to middle school," he laments. "Folks, our children will never disappoint us as long as we keep the bar really, really low."
"Innocent people in New York have airplanes flown into their places of work and marathoners in Boston are victimized by bombs, yet Christianity is singled out as bigotry in our public institutions!" he exclaims. "Because academics and politicians lack the courage to speak truth."
"We've normalized perversion and perverted God's natural law to the point where the only thing not tolerated anymore is a stand for truth."
BradBlog - IG's report says no tempest in IRS teapot (see what I did there?);
Connecting.the.Dots - presenting your summer of scandals (Benghazi!);
FireDogLake - fight them over there so we don't etc. etc. - Boston bombing edition;
Goblinbooks - Dick Cheney and the Goblet of Sh*t;
Zandar Versus the Stupid - Louie Gohmert's asparagus.
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Chris Hansen's problem is that he isn't a big enough scumbag.
You see, the reason the NBA this week turned away Hansen's bid to buy the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle was that he was honest about his intentions. If he had followed the established NBA model, he would have gone about this thing entirely differently.
Clearly, the chief reasoning of NBA owners for declining to add Hansen and Steve Ballmer to their list of owners was that they were from Seattle. When the NBA ripped their team of 41 years out of Seattle back in 2007, it was intended as an object lesson for the rest of the league: Unless you bow to our extortion demands, you will lose your team.
Sacramento, obviously, got that lesson. After teetering on losing the Kings because of the failure to build a new arena, the city gave up every ounce of its soul in its desperate effort to keep the NBA in town. The new arena deal requires the taxpayers to foot about 60 percent of the tab.
So of course the NBA was going to reward the city that gave in to their extortion demands. And it would continue to punish the city that insists on limiting the taxpayers' role in enriching billionaire owners and their exposure to ever-ratcheting arena costs.
You see, Seattle thought it had done everything right for years. Its fans always supported the Sonics -- even when they sucked, the team still averaged 15,000 a game -- and were among the most rabid and knowledgeable in the league. (I was myself a season ticket holder for over a decade.) There's a reason so many NBA teams are populated with players from Seattle high schools: It is a basketball-saturated town.
We even bellied up to the bar in the 1990s on the arena demands -- spent $100 million tearing apart and renovating the old Seattle Center Coliseum, three-quarters of which was paid for by Seattle taxpayers. When it reopened in 1995, David Stern came and proclaimed the new facility as state-of-the-art for the next generation.
Six years later, it was no longer good enough for the NBA. Or so said then-owner Howard Schultz, who demanded a whole new arena from city, state, and regional leaders. Those folks, of course, were still paying off the bonds for the supposedly state-of-the-art arena they had just refurbished, not to mention their new football and baseball stadiums, and weren't exactly eager to take Schultz's extortion demands seriously -- especially since, in the early part of the decade, much of the town was hurting economically.
So Schultz -- who to this day is the least popular billionaire in town -- threw a fit of pique and sold the team to Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett. Everyone immediately understood that Bennett intended to move the team to Oklahoma. But Bennett, wide-eyed and innocent, proclaimed piously that this was not the case.
Bennett, as documents later unearthed during the departure debacle disclosed, is a prodigious liar. At the same time he was telling Seattle fans all they had to do to keep their team was step up to the plate and deliver on their new arena plan, he was telling his business associates that moving the team to OKC was a done deal.
And that arena plan was a doozy. Bennett proposed building a $500 million arena in the relatively remote southern suburb of Renton, right next to the two worst traffic intersections in the state. Oh, and his investors were only willing to pay $100 million, at the most, for their share of the building. Of course, the state Legislature knew when it was being gamed and declined to play along. Soon the moving trucks had backed up and our team was playing in Oklahoma City for an ownership group comprised of proven liars and scumbags.
Clay Bennett, of course, was then named to head up the same relocation committee that summarily slapped down the Seattle bid this time. Because that's the kind of league this is.
If Chris Hansen had really wanted to be part of this league, he should have understood that. If Hansen had really wanted to succeed in getting a team back to Seattle, he should have followed the established NBA model. Clay Bennett's model.
He should have bought the Kings and lied about it. He should have claimed that he wanted to try to keep the team in Sacramento and was willing to work with locals. Then he could have proposed building a new arena in, say, Davis and soaking taxpayers for 80 percent of the tab. And when they balked (as anyone sane would) Hansen and Co. could have packed up stakes and moved them up to Seattle.
That's the established NBA model. Which raises the question: Why would anyone want to get in bed with a business that toxic and dysfunctional in the first place?
We really don't want to be the NBA's Los Angeles -- the extortion threat the league can hang over every other city. Having just been the NBA's bitch, there's really no appetite here to be its tool as well.
This just-finished episode has just reminded everyone in Seattle what they were first taught eight years ago: The NBA is a malignant, dysfunctional entity that preys on cities and on people's normative civic pride and exploits that for the sake of enriching a few millionaires, who are the real owners of these teams. Cities don't own them, and Seattle was always intended to remind everyone else of that.
Thanks to David Stern, the NBA today is by, about, and for the 1 percent, while suckering the 99 percent into thinking it's about them. Quite a game, really. And when you see that from the outside, as Seattle basketball fans must, the desire to get back in just melts away.
It's time for Seattle to just walk away from the NBA. We can still be a hoops city. It will be harder, but the foundation is already well in place. And we can find other diversions as well. How about those Sounders, eh?
The NBA can come back some day. Maybe. But for Seattleites, it has to be on our terms. It has to be our team, not something stolen from another city. By then, David Stern will be long gone. And so, perhaps, will be the scumbag ethos that rules the league. In places like Seattle, hope always springs eternal.
As you know, I'm not an Obama fan. But there's just no "there" there with this Benghazi story. Unfortunately, with yesterday's email release, the administration only added more chum for the sharks in the water and nothing this president does will be enough to satisfy them. Who could have known?
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House release of some 100 pages of emails and notes about the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year has failed to satisfy congressional Republicans, who are demanding more information.
“Why not release all of the unclassified documents?” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “The president has repeatedly said that when he gets new information, he’ll release it to the public. Why not release — instead of the hand-picked ones — why not release all the unclassified documents?”
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Wednesday Republicans hoped “this limited release of documents is a sign of more cooperation to come,” while the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee pressed the Pentagon for more details about military orders around the time of the attack and what military aircraft were in the region.
Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed when militants struck the U.S. mission and CIA annex in twin nighttime attacks on Sept. 11, 2012.
Republicans have accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people about the circumstances of the attack, playing down a terrorist strike that would reflect poorly on President Barack Obama in the heat of a presidential race. Obama has dismissed charges of a cover-up and suggested on Monday that the criticism was politically motivated.
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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on Thursday declared that efforts to repeal President Barack Obama's health care reform law were "now revived" after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) admitted that it had inappropriately targeted conservative groups to determine if they had abused their tax-exempt status.
At a tea party rally in Washington D.C., the Minnesota Republican pointed to the scandal as evidence that the IRS should not be allowed to distribute subsidies for health care coverage through state exchanges and issue penalties for individuals who elect not get insurance.
"As someone who formerly worked for the IRS, I can tell you this is the largest ramp-up and expansion, both of employees but also on an area of jurisdiction on one of the largest new entitlement programs that the American people have seen in decades," she told the crowd. "That's why it's crucial that we ask these questions now, when our most personal, sensitive, intimate information -- our health care information -- will all be centralized in a national federal database."
"Who will have access to that database, for what purpose?" she asked. "Will our most personal, sensitive information be used to deny health care? Or to delay access to health care? Or could it be possible that our sensitive information could be used to blackmail Americans. Or even potentially to embarrass Americans. Again, this question would have been considered unreasonable and out of bounds a week ago. Today, this question is highly relevant."
Bachmann reminded the cheering tea partiers that the House would be voting later that day for the 37th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
"Many people said this issue was dead, many people have said that Obamacare is here to stay," she explained. "We are here as the people's representatives, as real people across the United States to say, this issue is now revived! It's is back on the table!"
"We believe the heat will become so hot that even the president of the United States will be forced to repudiate his signature legislation."
Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert (R), who also spoke at the rally, had little say about health care reform, and instead focused on "legal status" for tea parties -- talking points that could have easily caused a passerby to mistake the event for an immigration reform rally.
"I want to go back to this question, why were you seeking legal status?" Gohmert remarked. "Have you heard what has happened? You have a government that is forcing people to get a legal status in order to just come up here and have their voices heard. And then once they force you into this funnel of having to have legal status then they use that to intimidate and abuse to prevent opposite views from being heard."
"And if the AP [phone records seizure] story has taught anything, it should be to the media that when there is a tyrannical despot, the media will be one of the early victims! You will be used as helpful savants for a while and then when you are no longer needed, you will be pressured and put out of business as well."
"Why would you want legal status?" he asked. "Because this is the way a tyrannical government comes into being and perpetuates itself."
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Things got heated and a bit insane, as they usually do, when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) got miffed when Attorney General Eric Holder rather politely told Gohmert he didn't know what he was talking about, and that he should refrain some stating as fact what were only Gohmert's conjectures on what may or may not have occurred. The confontation happened during a House Judiciary hearing into the Boston Bombing. Gohmert was disparaging the FBI's handling of the case.
ERIC HOLDER: “You don’t know what the FBI did. You don’t know what the FBI’s interaction was with the Russians. You don’t know what questions were put to the Russians, whether those questions were responded to. You simply do not know that. And you have characterized the FBI as being not thorough, or taken exception to my characterization of them as being thorough. I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know. That is all.”
Gohmert took exception to the fact that his wild allegations would not be taken seriously as facts, and called for a point of personal privilege to defend his honor. Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) noted Gohmert's time had expired but had Holder state again why he considered what Gohmert had said was untrue, which he did, much to the consternation of Gohmert.
A visibly flustered Gohmert then tried for another point of personal privilege, but was rebuked as his time had expired. Gohmert then shouted over the Chairman one of the best lines of the year:
LOUIE GOHMERT: "I cannot have a witness challenge my character! The attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus!"
The British use this as a joking expression ("cast asparagus" on something) but somehow I don't think Gohmert was joking at all. He really is this dumb.
Megyn Kelly went there on her show Wednesday, but you knew this was the goal all along, right? Republicans have wet dreams every night of a special prosecutor so they can harass Barack Obama through the last three and a half years of his presidency and make sure they don't get anything done. From Benghazi to Fast and Furious, they're practically squirming with anticipation.
For the recipe to work, they have to distort the facts in order to suggest something happened that didn't. Via Media Matters:
Fox News ignored President Obama's explicit demand for accountability in the wake of news that the Internal Revenue Service applied extra scrutiny to conservative groups. The network's omission gave it cover to accuse Obama of not taking the IRS's actions seriously and to call for a special prosecutor.
They also ignored the fact that the IG's report clearly stated that targeting was not exclusively limited to conservatives, because of course, that would be too much like the truth. Instead, they tried to pretend the president wasn't taking the scandal seriously, and went even farther into fantasyland in order to gin up their audience for only one thing.
Kelly and Stirewalt used their mischaracterization of Obama's response to call for a special prosecutor into the IRS's actions. Stirewalt told Kelly that if he were the president, he would "find a Republican of good standing" to appoint as an independent investigator. Kelly responded with the charge, "Where is the harm to this administration, if as these IRS employees state, no one outside of the IRS had anything to do with this, this was just IRS employees deciding to target conservatives. So if the White House and no one else had anything to do with it, where is the harm? Why doesn't the president just say 'absolutely'?"
As usual, they're employing the Fox Effect. Fox News has now uttered those words, and the National Journal is piling on. Fox News published an op-ed by Ted Poe claiming that Department of Justice investigations are biased, so of course a Republican should take care of things. National Journal picked up on it too, giving their audience a crash course on special prosecutors.
Following the usual Fox Effect pattern, Republican governors have called for a special prosecutor, Haley Barbour pal Ed Rogers wrote a column for the Washington Post with the same dog whistle, and Town Hall dishonestly claims the IRS "purged" the Tea Party. Ed Rogers really hit the intellectual dishonesty meter with this bit of nonsense:
Armed with this new information, Republicans need to demand an independent counsel, i.e. a special prosecutor, to investigate the political abuses at the Obama IRS.
Because what we know is that the ball started rolling under a Bush appointee who used to work for Grover Norquist. So of course it's the Obama IRS. Naturally.
Someone needs to remind these folks that those tea party groups were not entitled to tax-exempt status. In fact, no group with primary engagement in politics -- conservative, liberal or otherwise -- should have tax-exempt status. There was no purge, there was no entitlement to escape taxes and hide donors, and there is no reason for a special prosecutor. I hope their dream turns into a nightmare.
Yep, even after Barack Obama became the first two-term president since Eisenhower to win more than 51% of the popular vote in two elections, giggling wingnuts like Erickson are still using the "Black Jimmy Carter" line. And despite the non-stop giddy SCANDAL! drumbeat by right-wingers, his approval rating is at 49%.
In comparison, after the actual scandals of Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, Abu Grhaib, FISA, the US Attorney firings, and Valerie Plame, George W. Bush spent his last three years in the 30s.
How quickly they forget.
Farmers be warned: The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Monsanto in its suit against an Indiana farmer who planted its genetically modified seeds without paying the company. The case has been closely watched for its bearing on companies that hold patents on DNA molecules and other self-replicating products, but Justice Elena Kagan stressed that the court was ruling narrowly, addressing only the farmer’s violation of patent law. The farmer first bought seeds for a crop of soybeans that had been engineered to be resistant to the pesticide Roundup, which is also a Monsanto product. But for his second crop, he took a mix of seeds from a grain elevator, sprayed them with Roundup, and planted seeds from the plants that survived, exploiting what he believed to be a loophole in the contract.
Remember folks, loopholes are only for the fabulously wealthy.
I'm shocked. He seemed like a harmless hippie to me, but apparently he isn't:
HADDONFIELD, N.J. - May 16, 2013 (WPVI) -- A man known on the internet as "Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker" is now being sought for the murder of a man in New Jersey.
The suspect is identified as Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, a 34-year-old who is well known on Facebook and YouTube.
An arrest warrant has been issued for McGillvary in the homicide of Joseph Galfy, Jr. in Clark, New Jersey, WABC-TV in New York reported.
He was last seen at a light rail station in the Haddonfield, New Jersey area, said Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow. McGillvary is considered to be armed and dangerous.
The Camden County Prosecutor's Office said that McGillvary is likely no longer in New Jersey and there is "no immediate danger in Haddonfield."
McGillvary is homeless but considers himself "homefree" and relies on the generosity of strangers for food, lodging and transportation.
He is also known as Kai Lawrence, Caleb Kai Lawrence and Kai Nicodemus.
Based on the investigation, authorities say McGillvary has cut his hair in an attempt to alter his appearance. Investigators also released an updated photo of McGillvary, showing him with that shorter hair along with a distinctive face tattoo.
The victim, 73-year-old Joseph Galfy, was found inside his home on Starlite Drive in Clark, New Jersey on May 13th after officers received a call to check on his well-being.
An autopsy performed the following day determined that Galfy died as a result of blunt force trauma, said Romankow.
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Our corporate media has been trotting these Bushies back out for years on end now, so it's no surprise that we'd eventually see Alberto Gonzales take his turn. I guess the producers of Morning Joe thought there was no one better for their audience to hear from when it comes to Department of Justice scandals than Gonzo.
It does seem his memory has improved slightly since 2007, when he couldn't recall much of anything when testifying before Congress.
Steve Benen summed up his appearance this Wednesday quite nicely. After first explaining why it's likely Gonzales has kept such a low profile since leaving office and the fact that he went through quite a bit of trouble finding a job, he reminded us why he has absolutely no credibility to be commenting on the DOJ and journalists: Alberto Gonzales returns from obscurity:
The former A.G. nevertheless appeared on MSNBC this morning, apparently ready to address some of ongoing controversies. He seemed inclined to give the Obama administration the benefit of the doubt when it came to subpoenaing Associated Press phone logs, but this nevertheless stood out for me.
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recalled on Wednesday a time when he was confronted with a "very serious leak investigation" similar to the one that has embroiled the Obama administration this week. But, he said, he went a very different route and decided against subpoenaing a reporter's notes.
Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday defended the seizure of Associated Press phone records, saying the Department of Justice was trying to get to the bottom of a "very serious leak" that "put American people at risk." Gonzales, who oversaw a massive domestic wiretapping program under former President George W. Bush, acknowledged on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the attorney general is often forced to "make a very hard determination" but when faced with a similar dilemma, his Justice Department "ultimately decided not to move forward."
Now, I can't be sure which case Gonzales is referring to, but for the record, let's not forget that during his tenure as attorney general, the Justice Department "improperly gained access to reporters' calling records as part of leak investigations." Indeed, it happened quite a bit.
Unlike the current uproar, we didn't hear much about this at the time, but if Gonzales wants to give the impression now that his DOJ showed greater restraint when it came to journalists and phone logs, he's mistaken.
Search ends in Bangladesh garment factory collapse with death toll at 1,127.
The agreement on worker safety and building regulations in Bangladesh intended to prevent disasters like the factory fire in November and the factory collapse earlier this month will be missing one major retailer: Walmart. Even though major names like H&M, Zara, Primark, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and more signed the agreement, Walmart opted out, saying that the deal was “unnecessary to achieve fire and safety goals.” Instead, the retail giant created its own agreement, which it claims goes above and beyond the regulations outlined in the current deal. The difference: Walmart’s manifesto is not legally binding.
Instead, Walmart has agreed its own deal to inspect all 279 factories it uses in Bangladesh within six months, and has promised to publish the findings immediately.
Bosses claim this goes beyond the UNI Global Union and IndustriALL deal, pointing out the agreement requires 65% of inspections instead of 100% inspections taking place and argue its own deal means results are published straight away rather than within 45 days.
However, the Walmart deal is not legally binding, does not require the company to offer financial support for fire and safety regulations or blacklist factories unwilling to comply.
The agreement has been criticised by campaigners as a "business as usual" approach, which fails to address the core problems that led to the Rana Plaza factory collapse.
Sam Maher from Labour Behind the Label, said: "Walmart's so-called new programme is simply more of the same ineffective auditing that failed to prevent the Rana Plaza disaster, or the deaths of 112 workers at Tazreen, who were producing Walmart goods.
How many dead people is a Walmart shirt worth?
Deficit projections have already decreased by $200 billion for this year alone, so why do Republicans keep lunging for ever-more radical spending cuts like they were corn dogs at a barbecue? That's more in deficit reduction than President Obama's proposed cut to Social Security would "save" in 10. So why hasn't he withdrawn the proposal?
It would make more sense to dial back on the sequester, which is the biggest driver of these revised deficit figures, and work on the fundamental weaknesses in our economy that are prolonging the recession. In the long run this approach would do more to reduce deficits, too.
Instead of cutting Social Security, they should be strengthening the country's social safety net. A good start would be the passage of Sen. Tom Harkin's bill to increase Social Security's benefits. (If I were you I'd contact our senators and representative and demand that they support it. I already have, by signing this petition.)
The Mother of All Crises
You wouldn't know it from listening to most politicians, but there's a crisis going on. In fact, there are a few of them going on -- including the crisis of un- and under-employment, the crisis of wage stagnation, and the crisis caused by lost social mobility.
Each of these unaddressed problems feed into the Mother of All Economic Crises, the one that our mothers and fathers are facing and we'll all confront ourselves someday: the retirement crisis. Sen. Tom Harkin has a bill that starts to address that crisis, in a bill that should be passed immediately.
Harkin's bill would increase the typical Social Security benefit by roughly $800 per year. Since most seniors depend on Social Security as their primary source of income, most of that money would be spent immediately. That means the Harkin bill will also have a modest but genuine stimulus effect. And by providing added protection for lower-income retirees, which would protect more seniors from falling into poverty while increasing the stimulus effect.
And it's all paid for. Harkin's bill would pay for this benefit increase and ensure Social Security's solvency by removing the tax cap which currently exempts income above a certain level (currently about $110,000) from taxation.
Passing this bill would be a good move, and would be a first step toward the national conversation we should really be having -- the one about restoring the middle class, educational opportunities, and social mobility.
Austerity's Corpse Won't Stop Dancing
And yet some politicians are still obsessing instead about the phony crisis over government deficits, which has been ginned up by the corporate interests and billionaires, especially deficit-increasing corporations like defense contractors and deficit-increasing individuals like undertaxed hedge fund billionaires. (We're looking at you, "Fix the Debt" and Pete Peterson!)
The deficit situation of the last five years was never urgent, and which was only going to be exacerbated by the austerity ideology that's currently devastating Europe. This misplaced priority has extended the recession, prolonged the jobs crisis, shut down educational opportunities, and allowed wage stagnation to go on killing the middle class.
It's time to say it: Austerity is dead. The results out of Europe prove it. The complete discrediting of its economic hocus-pocus proves it. As John Carney observes, even Wall Street knows it's dead. Memo to Washington: When you've lost Goldman Sachs, you've lost Oligarch America.
But austerity's corpse is still engaged in a grotesque St. Vitus dance, a dance that has Republicans shrieking about more spending cuts. That's not surprising, since the GOP is the party of corporate prostitution. They're a lost moral cause. But why are Democrats like President Obama still playing Ginger Rogers to austerity's desiccated but still dancing corpse?
In the name of all that's decent: Won't somebody stop the music?
No Cuts, Mr. President
It's the president, not his Republican counterparts, who have proposed the madly punitive "chained CPI" cut to Social Security benefits. We're told that cut, which will take money from America's seniors and disabled, will reduce government deficits by $120 to $130 billion over ten years. But the Congressional Budget Office's projected deficit for this year has already fallen by $200 billion since February, when Obama was presumably preparing the budget which includes this chained CPI cut.
That bears repeating: The projected deficit for this year has already fallen by $200 billion, way more than the "chained CPI" cuts, since last February when those cuts were being prepared. And that's for only one year, as opposed to Obama's ten.Mr. President: Please remove this unkindest cut of all from your budget.
Without a Leg to Stand On
Economists have always spoken of retirement security as a "three-legged stool" made up of savings (including assets like a home), pensions, and Social Security. But Wall Street's greed and criminality shattered the balance sheet of middle-class America, causing Americans to lose trillions in real estate assets and much of their hard-earned savings.
Corporations have also improved their bottom line at their employees' expense by shifting from defined-benefit pension plans to 401(k) programs and other plans that over very little security to retired Americans.
In other words, corporate profits have kicked two legs off that three-legged stool. The third -- Social Security -- is splintered and cracked, thanks to Wall Street. Banks convinced Americans to sink their fortunes and their destinies into real estate in order to fuel a bubble that made bankers rich and left Americans bereft.
The resulting crisis drained even more from taxpayers' resources, and the result "recovery" exists in name only for most people -- except for corporations and the wealthy, who have captured all of its growth and a little extra besides.
Benefit Cut? No, Thanks, Just Had One
Americans who lost their jobs because of the recession, and the others who aren't earning as much as they did, will already see a cut in Social Security benefits, since those benefits are calculated based on lifetime earnings.
So will a generation of young Americans who are entering the worst job market in history. (That's what reveals the utter cynicism are moral bankruptcy of the austerity crowd's claims that they're fighting "greedy geezers" on behalf of the young, who'll suffer the most if they succeed.)
That means that the wage stagnation that's afflicted the middle class will also lead to a benefit cut for most Americans. So will Congress' refusal to act on raising the minimum wage, which is less than half of what it was in 1968 (in real dollars).
Leadership, Not Phony 'Savings'
It's even a misnomer to suggest that Obama's "chained CPI" cut will even "save" what it claims to save from the federal budget. That kind of thinking reveals a lack of understanding about economies as a whole. If you take money from the pocket of struggling seniors and disabled people, they won't be able to spend that money on goods and services that grow the entire economy.
That means less prosperity for all. It also means less tax revenue for the Federal government and more demands for its resources to help the needy. The "savings" figures thr