Congress schedule … radio/live stream

The Senate Convenes: 2:00pm updates as needed

Morning Business until 3:00pm with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.

Following morning business, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to debate the nomination of Lael Brainard to be Under Secretary of the Treasury. At 5:30pm, the Senate will proceed to roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the Brainard nomination.

As a reminder, Senator Reid filed cloture on the following nominations:

– Lael Brainard, of the District of Columbia, to be an Under Secretary of the Treasury;
– Marisa J. Demeo, of the district of Columbia, to be an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia;
– Christopher H. Schroeder, of North Carolina, to be an Assistant Attorney General;
– Thomas I. Vanaskie, of Pennsylvania, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit; and
– Denny Chin, of New York, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit.

118: Motion to Invoke Cloture on the nomination of Lael Brainard to be Under Secretary of the Treasury:
Invoked: 84-10

Unanimous Consent:
Adopted S.Res.489, a resolution honoring the life and achievements of Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks.

Adopted H.Con.Res.243, a concurrent resolution authorizing the use of Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center for a June 6, 2010 event to celebrate the birthday of King Kamehameha.

Passed HR4360, a bill to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs blind rehabilitation center in Long Beach, California as the “Major Charles Robert Soltes, Jr., O.D. Department of Veterans Affairs Blind Rehabilitation Center.”

The House Convenes 4/20/2010


Monday mashup …

Word that all 41 GOP Senators oppose financial reform is not a surprise; hoping it shines a big light on the deception, dirty partisan behavior from McConnell; it is disappointing that Susan Collins has decided to use a completely bogus reason to vote against the financial reform that shoved our economy into a ditch by saying that financial reform should be done with bipartisanship… WHAT!

Now, it’s obvious that even a good bill means nothing to Senator Susan Collins or the rest of the Republicans.

With all the rhetoric … the good, bad and the really ugly by people who distrust government, mad that Republicans are not in power anymore, are anti-Obama and or are racists.   It’s my contention that the Media and the guests they invite into the fray are by far the number one vehicle of people feeling this so-called palpable tension being felt all over the country.  The rhetoric is admittedly from the right and left stirring up trouble.  The problem is not freedom of speech it’s when talking heads or public servants such as Michelle Bachmann- lose sight of their responsibility when on the airwaves get emotional and start saying things that upset and rile their audiences up; that includes all of Fox news as well as some people on the left who feel our President has betrayed them or consider the President to be Wall Street controlled. All talkingheads on the airwaves need to be reminded continually … Words Matter and some of those words have unintended consequences.

April 19th has become a day in which people remember as a warning of what can happen when a person desperate or a group of people use desperation to behave extreme use violent rhetoric openly and wage war against our government and its people.

We the People mourn all those victims in Oklahoma as well as other victims of  terrorism.

Today, we must remember the past and pledge to all do our best to see the signs hear the rhetoric and report any suspicious behavior by people who resemble the men and women who practice hate, exclusion in its most extreme way includes violence.

In good news … it’s nice to know that financial reform will be dealt with before the end of the month and clearly Wall Street will finally get it’s due,  and it’s not a permanent bailout like the Republicans are trying to get the public to believe; it’s dishonest and the American people are much smarter than they think. All Americans must ask ourselves why would Republicans say one thing and do another?  Republicans need to pick …  are they on the side of big Banks or are they for the people even Justice Roberts has helped big money big greed corps with infinite amounts of money get into the game of politics by making corporations equal to individuals … which makes no sense.

Is it me or does the obvious disrespect for the effort of bipartisan on the part of  the Democrats offer Republicans is way beyond  offensive. Republicans keep saying no to reforming all aspects of the government but not because the government is broken and needs to be fixed but because they are not the governing party in charge and all those statements of taking their country back definitely have to be because the President is a person of colour.

I know that there are smart people out there who might be misguided misinformed by the right and need to hear the truth see it for yourself by listening to c-span live stream listen to the rhetoric on tv by Republicans who refuse to be bipartisan and fix our economy.

In the eight years that the house of Bush was in office he managed to get us into 2Wars give tax cuts…huge tax cuts to the rich and while informed of financial problems the Bush administration apparently did nothing.  And as reported; the only Republican that has waved an alarm is ron paul and the man is definitely not even accepted into his own party.   The Political Party of No remains on the side of Wall Street and greed or why would Mitch Mcconnell or Cornyn visit major Financial Fund consultants and ask for not only money but talking points to fool the public.    Apparently, the public are fools; to believe that the current administration is at fault is beyond me; again, change takes time and for those to feel the President betrayed them is absurd

Again, people are  either stupid, have forgotten  or didn’t believe we were close to having our whole economy system derailed by folks who dabbled in financial products that were set to fail.  The last minute announcement by the house of Bush right before the new President was going to be voted into place should not only remind people who was in charge and did nothing; ask yourself at what point in the months prior to the Presidential vote did the house of Bush know the economy was moving toward a depression.

Other News …

**Talks with Waste Management and Seattle garbage workers are at an impasse;with no meetings scheduled

**2top alqae da leaders in Iraq were eliminated via a rocket fire

**The President will be campaigning for Sen B.Boxer in California

**Vice President Joe Biden is facing the ladies of ‘The View‘ this week.

**Reports that the mistress of jjames got a tv gig …how disrespectful to the wife, marriage and what tv producers won’t do for money;hopefully the public will choose the wife, what is right and wrong behavior over the mistress and boycott the show

**The President will be in New York Thursday

The talk show announced Monday that Biden will be its featured guest on Thursday’s show.

**Massey Energy CEO paid Don Blankenship $17.8 million last year, “a $6.8 million raise over 2008 and almost double his compensation package in 2007. Blankenship also has a deferred compensation package valued at $27.2 million at the end of last year.”TP

**On Friday, Obama promised to veto the financial reform bill if it doesn’t regulate the market for derivatives, which contributed to the nation’s economic problems after their value plummeted during the housing crisis.AP live stream

Listen to C-SPAN Radio

watch Pres. Obama’s Weekly Address 4/17

Ceremony Commemorates the 15th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing


Marking the 15th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, a remembrance ceremony will be held on the grounds of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. In a speech last week, former Pres. Bill Clinton warned about the possible effects of incendiary language from antigovernment activists.

Rep. Levin to speak about tax cuts and the economy


Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), the new chairman of the House Ways & Means Cmte., will likely discuss the fate of billions of dollars in tax cuts when he speaks about the economy at the National Press Club today. The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire at the end of this year. In March, Rep. Levin replaced Cmte. chair Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), who stepped aside due to an ethics investigation.

watch NPC: C-SPAN at 1pm ET
visit NPC Website visit Rep. Levin Website

Commission Questions Armys Oversight of Service Contracts


Defense contracts are estimated to total $80 billion over the past five years in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Wartime contracting commission will investigate what Co-Chairman Shays calls, “a serious gap in reviewing contracts between $100 million and $1 billion in value.” The commission is concerned that the Army lacks adequate resources for planning, managing, and overseeing services contracts that are critical to the success of military operations. Currently, those contracts account for nearly two-thirds of contracts in Southwest Asia, and are mostly managed by the U.S. Army.

watch Hearing Begins: C-SPAN2 at 9:30am ET
visit Commission on Wartime Contracting

Pentagon decides it’s time to clamp down on the right-wing extremists infiltrating ranks of U.S. military

By David Neiwert

Crooks and Liars

Janet Napolitano is probably getting some satisfaction from the fact that reality has proven the bulletin issued by her Homeland Security department last year — warning that the nation was about to be hit by a fresh wave of right-wing extremism and its attendant violence — all too prescient.

Especially the part where it warned that these extremists were working hard to recruit military veterans:

Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.

At the time the bulletin was issued, the right-wing media put up a hue and cry claiming that DHS was smearing veterans as potential terrorist threats, and demanding Napolitano’s head. And even though Napolitano rebutted their nonsense, the conventional-wisdom talking point out of the affair was that DHS had unfairly smeared folks in the military.

Now it’s clear that the Pentagon is aware that it has a problem: From Stars and Stripes:

The Pentagon is cracking down on extremism in its ranks with a new set of rules restricting servicemembers from participating on the Web sites of supremacist groups.

A new Defense Department directive on dissident and political activity issued on November 27 — the first since 1996 — says servicemembers “must not actively advocate supremacist doctrine, ideology, or causes.” This includes writing blogs or posting on Web sites.

… Last July, Stars and Stripes reported that 130 members of, a social networking Web site affiliated with the National Socialist Movement, had listed “military” as their job in “Facebook”-style user profiles. Swatsikas, Nazi symbolism and militant imagery emblazon the site.

Army and Defense Department officials said at the time that extremist activity was not considered “an Army-wide issue.” And there was confusion, Potok said, about what defined “active participation.” Previously, membership alone in an extremist group was not enough for disciplinary action, though banned activities included distributing materials and demonstrating.

“The one worry here is that enforcement of these regulations may be very uneven. It leaves the decision up to local commanders and we’ve really yet to see how that’s going to work,” Potok said. “The hope is that this clarifies that even advocacy of these kinds of ideas is not consistent with being in the military.”

The arrests of the Hutaree militia made clear that the concern was full grounded in reality. As Newsweek observed in its report on the rise of right-wing extremists:

The rambling rants of the Hutaree might seem funny, in a sick sort of way, but they are far from harmless. The FBI busted nine members last month for allegedly plotting to trigger an “uprising” against the government by assassinating a local police officer and then ambushing colleagues who attended the funeral by blowing up improvised explosive devices. They may have had some professional instruction: one of the men in the group, Michael Meeks, is a Persian Gulf War veteran who served four years in the Marines and was a decorated rifle expert, according to Marine Corps records. Another member, Kristopher Sickles, is an Army vet (discharged “under other than honorable conditions,” according to prosecutors).

After all, as we explained at the time, the DHS report’s assessment of the situation vis a vis veterans was if anything understated:

This is, in fact, precisely accurate — and as we pointed out White Supremacist Recruitment of Military Personnel Since 9/11) found that the numbers of identifiable neo-Nazis within the ranks was quite small (only a little over 200), but warned:

Military experience—ranging from failure at basic training to success in special operations forces—is found throughout the white supremacist extremist movement. FBI reporting indicates extremist leaders have historically favored recruiting active and former military personnel for their knowledge of firearms, explosives, and tactical skills and their access to weapons and intelligence in preparation for an anticipated war against the federal government, Jews, and people of color.

… The prestige which the extremist movement bestows upon members with military experience grants them the potential for influence beyond their numbers. Most extremist groups have some members with military experience, and those with military experience often hold positions of authority within the groups to which they belong.

… Military experience—often regardless of its length or type—distinguishes one within the extremist movement. While those with military backgrounds constitute a small percentage of white supremacist extremists, FBI investigations indicate they frequently have higher profiles within the movement, including recruitment and leadership roles.

… New groups led or significantly populated by military veterans could very likely pursue more operationally minded agendas with greater tactical confidence. In addition, the military training veterans bring to the movement and their potential to pass this training on to others can increase the ability of lone offenders to carry out violence from the movement’s fringes.

This is underscored by a Wall Street Journal story today outlining the FBI work that both produced this assessment and the operation that followed:

The FBI said in the memo that its conclusion about a surge in such activities was based on confidential sources, undercover operations, reporting from other law-enforcement agencies and publicly available information. The memo said the main goal of the multipronged operation was to get a better handle on “the scope of this emerging threat.” The operation also seeks to identify gaps in intelligence efforts surrounding these groups and their leaders.

The aim of the FBI’s effort with the Defense Department, which was rolled into the Vigilant Eagle program, is to “share information regarding Iraqi and Afghanistan war veterans whose involvement in white supremacy and/or militia sovereign citizen extremist groups poses a domestic terrorism threat,” according to the Feb. 23 FBI memo.

Michael Ward, FBI deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, said in an interview Thursday that the portion of the operation focusing on the military related only to veterans who draw the attention of Defense Department officials for joining white-supremacist or other extremist groups.

“We’re not doing an investigation into the military, we’re not looking at former military members,” he said. “It would have to be something they were concerned about, or someone they’re concerned is involved” with extremist groups.

It’s important to understand how FBI investigations into these kinds of activities take place: The FBI is constrained by DOJ guidelines that do not allow them to investigate organizations merely because of incendiary rhetoric or politically worrisome beliefs. They only open investigations into the activities of members of such groups when there is evidence of actual criminal activity.

And it’s at that time that the presence of an extremist with a military background becomes not merely relevant, but potentially important. This is especially so considering one of the realities of the extremist right — namely, that the vast majority of its members are incapable of anything remotely resembling a terrorist act; what they actually specialize in is the Verbose Bellyache. Yet simultaneously they have developed over recent years a decidedly militaristic culture that prizes actual military background.

So when investigators begin dealing with potential criminal or terrorist activity by right-wing extremists, the presence and involvement of people with military backgrounds — particularly with skill at armaments — is a huge red flag. Because these kinds of people transform these groups from Verbose Bellyachers to potentially competent — lethally competent — extremist cells.

The most famous example of this, of course, is Timothy McVeigh. But — contrary to what the right-wing talkers have been saying this week — McVeigh is hardly the only example of what happens when an alienated veteran is radicalized by these kinds of belief systems — he’s just the most famous. There have, in fact, been a number of veterans who have played significant roles in the radical right in recent years, including acting as terrorists. Besides McVeigh, for instance, there is also Eric Rudolph, who spent two years in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, attending the Air Assault School there, and earning the rank of Specialist/E-4.

Then there was our old friend Col. James “Bo” Gritz, ex-Green Beret and Special Forces veteran:


Though he adamantly denied harboring such beliefs much of the time he was promoting militias back in the 1990s, Gritz is now a full-fledged adherent of Christian Identity.

More recently — and certainly more relevant to the point here — there’s the case of Kody Brittingham, recently of the U.S. Marines:

Brittingham, 20, was with Headquarters and Support Battalion, 2nd Tank Battalion, when he allegedly made the threats against Obama, president-elect at the time. Brittingham was administratively separated from the Corps on Jan. 3.
Brittingham’s legal troubles began in mid-December, when he and three other Lejeune Marines were arrested by Jacksonville police in connection with attempted robbery. He was charged Dec. 16 with attempted robbery, breaking and entering, and conspiracy. His bond was set at that time.

After his arrest, Naval investigators found a journal allegedly written by Brittingham in his barracks room, containing plans on how to kill the president and white supremacist material, a federal law enforcement official told The Daily News of Jacksonville.

This points to a significant dimension of the problem: The recruitment of young men into the military who already harbor white-supremacist beliefs.

It’s been long reported that hate groups and other extremists, including neo-Nazis, have been making actual inroads into the ranks of the military in recent years. A July 2006 report by the SPLC found this infiltration occurring at an alarming rate. Neo-Nazis “stretch across all branches of service, they are linking up across the branches once they’re inside, and they are hard-core,” Department of Defense gang detective Scott Barfield told the SPLC. “We’ve got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad,” he added. “That’s a problem.”

The source of the problem, as the report explained, was the extreme pressure military recruiters were under to fill their recruitment quotas. “Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces,” said Barfield, “and commanders don’t remove them . . . even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members.” The military downplayed a neo-Nazi presence in the ranks, Barfield added, “because then parents who are already worried about their kids signing up and dying in Iraq are going to be even more reluctant about their kids enlisting if they feel they’ll be exposed to gangs and white supremacists.” …must read info


RADICAL RIGHT — MCDONNELL WANTS TO WITHHOLD STATE MONEY FOR ABORTION WHEN MOTHER’S HEALTH IS AT RISK: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has proposed an amendment to the state budget that would withhold “state money for abortions, including cases in which the health of the mother is at risk or the child might be born with a deformity. Under the proposal, money could be spent on abortions in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk” — thus meeting the bare minimum requirements of the federal Hyde Amendment. State lawmakers will return for a one-day session next Wednesday to either “override the amendments or write them into law.” McDonnell’s amendment would tighten the already strict limits on state abortion funding in Virginia. Currently, public funding is prohibited unless 1) the woman’s health or life would be substantially endangered, 2) the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest that has been reported to a law-enforcement or public-health agency, or 3) a physician certifies that the fetus will be born with a gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency. A woman may not obtain an abortion until at least 24 hours after a provider offers a medical explanation of the procedure, the probable gestational age of the fetus and offers to review state-prepared materials about alternatives to abortion. McDonnell’s new funding restrictions are intended to encourage women to go through with their pregnancies, but his other budget proposals would actually make it more difficult for mothers to obtain needed government assistance. For instance, McDonnell “proposed capping state spending on comprehensive services for at-risk and troubled children. The change would result in a $9.9 million cut to funding for programs that were already reduced by $86 million over two years.”

A message from President Obama …

It has now been well over a year since the near collapse of our entire financial system that cost the nation more than 8 million jobs. To this day, hard-working families struggle to make ends meet.

We’ve made strides — businesses are starting to hire, Americans are finding jobs, and neighbors who had given up looking are returning to the job market with new hope. But the flaws in our financial system that led to this crisis remain unresolved.

Wall Street titans still recklessly speculate with borrowed money. Big banks and credit card companies stack the deck to earn millions while far too many middle-class families, who have done everything right, can barely pay their bills or save for a better future.

We cannot delay action any longer. It is time to hold the big banks accountable to the people they serve, establish the strongest consumer protections in our nation’s history — and ensure that taxpayers will never again be forced to bail out big banks because they are “too big to fail.”

That is what Wall Street reform will achieve, why I am so committed to making it happen, and why I’m asking for your help today.

Please stand with me to show your support for Wall Street reform.

We know that without enforceable, commonsense rules to check abuse and protect families, markets are not truly free. Wall Street reform will foster a strong and vibrant financial sector so that businesses can get loans; families can afford mortgages; entrepreneurs can find the capital to start a new company, sell a new product, or offer a new service.

Consumer financial protections are currently spread across seven different government agencies. Wall Street reform will create one single Consumer Financial Protection Agency — tasked with preventing predatory practices and making sure you get the clear information, not fine print, needed to avoid ballooning mortgage payments or credit card rate hikes.

Reform will provide crucial new oversight, give shareholders a say on salaries and bonuses, and create new tools to break up failing financial firms so that taxpayers aren’t forced into another unfair bailout. And reform will keep our economy secure by ensuring that no single firm can bring down the whole financial system.

With so much at stake, it is not surprising that allies of the big banks and Wall Street lenders have already launched a multi-million-dollar ad campaign to fight these changes. Arm-twisting lobbyists are already storming Capitol Hill, seeking to undermine the strong bipartisan foundation of reform with loopholes and exemptions for the most egregious abusers of consumers.

I won’t accept anything short of the full protection that our citizens deserve and our economy needs. It’s a fight worth having, and it is a fight we can win — if we stand up and speak out together.

So I’m asking you to join me, starting today, by adding your name as a strong supporter of Wall Street reform:

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

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