Monday Reads

Good Morning!

SuperPacs are going to play a central role in this coming year’s elections. The Supreme Court has basically opened free speech to the point that political free speech will go to the highest, unaccountable bidder. Rick Santorum is the only current presidential contender without one.  Here’s some background from ABC.

Super PACs, or “independent-expenditure only committees,” as they are officially known, are a relatively new kind of political action committee (PAC) that can raise unlimited amounts of money for a candidate or cause from corporations, unions, individuals, etc. The rise of the super PAC started in the most recent midterm cycle, after the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case lifted federal and state campaign spending regulations dating back to the 1970s.

Super PACs have since become ubiquitous. Seven of the eight leading GOP candidates have at least one that is raising money in their behalf; a couple of the candidates have more than one. Earlier this month, a group calling itself “Texas Aggies for Rick Perry” filed papers with the Federal Election Commission. The name refers to Perry’s alma mater, Texas A&M University, and the group is the second super PAC operating in Perry’s behalf, in addition to his “Make Us Great Again” PAC, which formed in July.

The candidates are prohibited from having any connection to the super PACs, meaning they can also distance themselves from any negative campaign ads against their opponents that are funded by the super PACs. The groups can also pay for polling, mailing materials, social media efforts and research, among other things.

There are already legal questions on Perry’s use of SuperPacs according to Politico.

The Perry campaign’s borrowing of three clips from a SuperPAC ad for use in a campaign video was a novel foray into the gray area of campaign finance law, and so I asked the experts on Rick Hasen’s excellent and disputatious election law listserv for their views on it. They were not unanimous on the question, but Perry is clearly treading in some uncharted legal waters.

“With virtually all fundraising limits and prohibitions hanging on the necessity of independence between the super PAC and the Perry campaign, using super PAC footage for a campaign ad pushes the concept of independence to new boundaries,” emailed Ken Gross, an election lawyer at Skadden Arps.

David Mason, vice president at the political data firm Aristotle International, wrote that “whatever is going on in terms of the Perry campaign using Super PAC footage, it is simply not addressed by the coordination regulation.”

“That is not to say there are no FECA implications to a candidate using Super PAC footage. If a campaign is given footage for no charge, the footage could be an in-kind contribution to the campaign. A campaign could pay for the footage (raw footage typically costs way less than the cost of finishing and broadcasting), or, in this case, according to the spokesman you quote, gotten it from a public source,” he wrote.

Since the GOP couldn’t force its agenda on the Supercommittee, it will try to change the rules according to The Hill. They are trying to change the configuration of the automatic cuts to favor defense and their spending priorities.

Supercommittee member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Sunday that Republicans will seek to “change the configuration” of the automatic spending cuts triggered by the committee’s failure to present a deficit-reduction deal.

“I think it’s important that we change the configuration [of the cuts]. I think there’s a broad consensus that too much of the cuts are weighted on [our national defense],” Toomey said on ABC’s “This Week With Christiane Amanpour.”

Toomey said he is “terribly disappointed” the committee failed to reach a deal but called the automatic cuts built into the committee’s mandate a “silver lining.”

The failure of the supercommittee to reach an agreement last week triggered $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts set to hit the Defense department and other programs in 2013.

Due to FOIA requests and the perseverance of some in congress, we are beginning to see the kinds of loans the Fed gave to banks that have not been disclosed before. There were $13 billion dollars of such loans.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has called for “Zero tolerance’ for violence against women as the UN celebrated November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

According to the UN, 70% of women experience violence in their lifetime, and one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. A number of global surveys have shown that half of all women murder victims are killed by current or former husbands or partners.

November 25 is designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and in South Africa kicks of 16 days of activism, which ends on Human Rights Day.

In a statement to mark the occasion, Ban said young men and boys must be encouraged to become advocates for the elimination of violence against women. “We need to promote healthy models of masculinity. Too many young men still grow up surrounded by outmoded male stereotypes,” he said. “By talking to friends and peers about violence against women and girls, and by taking action to end it, they can help break the ingrained behaviour of generations.”

The wife of a charismatic christian youth minister and dentist who was found to be guilty of horrific crimes involving pedophilia tells her tale and speculates that Dorothy Sandusky may be as in the dark as she was.  Her story is at the Daily Beast.

Just shy of seven years ago, my life and the lives of my two children were turned upside down. The man I had been married to for more than a decade had been arrested as a part of an FBI sting to bring down NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association, an advocacy group for pedophiles that supports an “end to the extreme oppression of men and boys in mutually consensual relationships.” I was a well-educated, philanthropic, 39-year-old mother who, until recently, was living a charmed Dallas life, married to a well-liked dentist who had been living a lie for our entire relationship.

A former youth-ministry volunteer at a local church, an energetic volunteer at our kids’ elementary school, and a favorite at their Y-Guides outings, my ex-husband, Todd, turned out to be a criminal who brought tremendous harm, both physically and emotionally, to prepubescent boys. He was an “inner circle” member of NAMBLA—a member of its board of directors—wanted by the feds. Throughout our marriage, which ended in a confusing divorce shortly before the FBI swept in, I believed him when he said he was traveling to dental conventions—when in fact, he was attending pedophile conferences. He kept a secret mailbox at the local post office, where he received his pedophilia newsletters and other suspicious mail. We never found any proof of illegal Internet activities—his hard drive had been cleaned—except for a printed-out receipt for a porn video of young boys. Often, as I eventually learned, these predators are masters of deceit, creating a façade of the “ideal family” to protect their image, or perhaps convince themselves that they’re not a deviant to society, all the while acting on their sick desire to engage in sexual acts with kids.

OOh, baby, it’s a wild world.So, what’s on your reading and blogging list this morning?


58 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Personally, I have my doubts about these women who claim to have been “in the dark” about their partner’s activities. Especially when they have spent so many years in their presence.

    Some of these men have thrown up so many “red flags” along the way that it makes it difficult to accept that they went about their perversions unnoticed by their closest family members who were in daily contact, not to mention years of cohabitation, that their actions went unchallenged.

    I suppose it can happen but it does raise the question of “what they knew and when they knew it” but chose to look the other way for reasons only they can explain.

    One thing to ignore adulterous affairs but another to ignore a fascination to spend so much time and money on kids.

    If what has been revealed so far, in that so many people were commenting and discussing what may have been going on, it is difficult to accept that family members weren’t somewhat aware of it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Usually women in these kinds of situations have a history of abuse in childhood. They have learned to block out things that they don’t “want” to see and deal with. Remember that defense mechanisms like denial are completely unconscious–the person using them doesn’t have any awareness of doing so. On the other hand, some women “don’t see” what their husbands are doing because dealing with it would mean losing money, fame, and power. Of course men can do this too!

      • The Rock says:

        This seems to be the case with Associate coach Fine’s wife at Syracuse. Coach Fine was accused of molesting a teenager that was living with him and his wife in their basement. Recently released phone conversations between her and the alleged victim demonstrate clearly that she not only knew about her husband’s actions, but she subsequently warned him about the consequences of being caught and then, 3 years later, went on to lie to investigators in order to cover for her husband’s crimes. Coach Fine was fired from Syracuse based on these allegations.

        Hillary 2012

      • Fannie says:

        You know I think alot of women have been trying their damnest to talk about it, and get the message out that things were wrong, not just for them in their life experiences, but for the spouses and families to which they are (were a part of)………………..I think alot of people denied them a voice, and all of a sudden want us to think, it was them who brought up the subject……………….know what I mean?

    • Branjor says:

      Also, men are extremely sneaky and able to act exactly “as if” what they want you to believe is true, even if it isn’t.
      Plus, yeah, women sometimes block out what they can’t bear to see, esp. women who have been taught to center their lives around a man or men, such as husband or son. Who wants to believe they married or brought up a criminal? Also, is the well known phenomenon of a woman who does nothing as her husband rapes their daughter.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Some men (and women) are like that, and some men are normal, mentally healthy, regular human beings.

      • Branjor says:

        I’ve seen that even in men others consider to be “normal, mentally healthy, regular human beings.” Several of them were my abusers.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I see. Nevertheless, I refuse to paint every single man with that sterotyped brush.

      • northwestrain says:

        Some religious wing nuts train their daughters to obey their husband — because he is the “head” of the family. The psychological abuse that these wives endure is amazing — however I’ve seen that even this life long training can be broken when it comes to protecting the children. A wife might endure constant abuse — but when the husband starts abusing the baby — that might be the trigger that makes her leave.

        Those of you who haven’t been raised in fundamentalist cults really can’t understand how powerful this belief system is. And I do believe that many of the fundamentalist religious are cults.

        I can see how wives could be ignorant of the outside behavior of a powerful husband — who takes great care to cover his second life.

        These husbands could be thought of as spies who lead double lives.

        And then there are the wives who will cover up and protect their husband’s secrets.

        • dakinikat says:

          Those multiwife cults in Arizonia and Utah of those fundamentalist Mormons are beyond me. Some of these women offer up their daughters for child rape they’ve spent their lives in such horrible and abusive situations. If this was done in the name of something other than religion these cults would’ve been busted up by now. It’s a form of child prostitution.

      • Branjor says:

        I see. Nevertheless, I refuse to paint every single man with that stereotyped brush.

        How nice for them. However, I prioritize my safety over their feelings.

        • dakinikat says:

          Well, then I assume you stay away from lesbians given there’s abusers in that population too. Oh, and there’s straight women that are abusers too … you must stay away from all women! That must leave you in short supply of company … let’s see, small animals and plants?

      • Branjor says:

        I see. Nevertheless, I refuse to paint every single man with that sterotyped brush.

        No, you don’t see at all. Nor do you care.

      • Branjor says:

        Dkat – I don’t stay away from women, but I’m very choosy about which women I associate with. You’re right, I don’t like all women. But I don’t like any men except if they’re respectful and then only on a superficial level.

      • Branjor says:

        I suppose the fact that my abuser was a woman is lost on you then.

        No, it’s not lost on me. I’ve been abused by women too. That’s why I’m choosy about which women I associate with. But at the same time I grew up in all female society all day long and it was paradise. All the best memories of my life are all female times. Not all females are abusive, many are very life giving and affirming. I can’t live without other women. But I am totally unable to thrive in an environment which includes men. I’ve been that way all my life and I am apparently not alone.

      • Branjor says:

        No. I know better than that, you can’t fool me and I won’t.

      • Branjor says:

        I’d suggest the same approach to men then.

        No way. I’m not giving them an in with me. I know better than that and you’re shaming me doesn’t change it.

    • dakinikat says:

      Reminds me of the women that show up in the hospital with stomach aches and deliver babies. The mind is a powerful thing. Some people are so vested in a certain reality or belief system they can convince themselves of the truth of all kinds of magical thinking.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The human mind has very powerful ways of protecting us from knowledge that might cause us to lose contact with reality or become depressed or angry to the point of being immobilized or losing control and resorting to violence.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Breaking news from Politico. Barney Frank will not run for reelection in 2012. He will hold a news conference at 1PM today to explain his reasons.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/69201.html

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Gingrich 32%, Romney 23%, Cain 14%, Perry 5%

    http://pollposition.com/2011/11/28/gingrich-32-romney-23/

    Yikes!

  4. Roofingbird says:

    I’m beyond fed up with the PAC – no PAC issue.(it wasn’t any better with all the lying about small donors on Obama’s campaign.) Maybe we need to start an Occupy movement against the FEC.

  5. dakinikat says:

    Just when I think I’ve seen it all ..

    http://global.christianpost.com/news/arizona-gun-club-offers-pictures-with-santa-and-machine-guns-63166/

    The Scottsdale Gun Club is hosting a “family event” in which people will be able to strike a pose in pictures with the man in the red suit and an $80,000 Garwood mini-gun as the backdrop to the photo.

    Families can also chose to pose with additional firearms in hand with choices ranging from pistols to grenade launchers to AK-47s.

    “Families and gun enthusiasts from around the Valley will have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to be photographed next to Santa while against a backdrop of a stunning $80,000 Garwood mini-gun and SGC’s coolest belt fed machine guns including the M60, M249 and M240,” said the Scottsdale Gun Club.

    The families will also have the opportunity to test out the machine guns.

  6. dakinikat says:

    Professor who ‘watched child porn in first class showing naked young girls’ pleads not guilty as he’s put on leave from university

    University of Utah professor Grant Smith, 47, arrested after fellow passenger took picture of him watching film
    Police ‘discover disturbing images on computer’
    Laptop bought by university grant
    Smith has been placed on administrative leave
    Judge ordered him to be held on $75,000 cash bail

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2066771/Professor-watched-child-porn-class-showing-naked-young-girls-pleads-guilty-hes-leave-university.html

    These were photos of 8 and 10 year old girls.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Barf!

      • dakinikat says:

        What is even more offensive is some of the comments at the mail. Some commenters are trying to make the guy that turned this whacko into the police into a vigilante of some kind and one actually said it was probably some harmless pictures of grandchildren even with the description saying it was “simulated sex acts”. Unbelievable.

      • Gregory says:

        I went and read those “moderated” comments and am a bit perplexed by them. The socialist paradise comment really takes the cake for me. It is such a non sequitur. Child porn is so far out of bounds of the realm of human decency that there really is no argument to be made in favor of that man or any person who partakes of it in any form. You know if I see my neighbor smoking a joint, I am not calling the law. If he puts a big protest sign in front of his house against something near and dear to me, it is his right. If he openly displays child pornography, I am calling the police ASAP. Kudos to the passenger that turned him in.

        • dakinikat says:

          I think any one’s right to do something ends when innocent people get hurt and it costs us all to clean up the mess. Children cannot defend themselves against predators, abusive parents, and all kinds of things that eventually break them to the point of becoming social problems themselves when they grow up. I think it is well within the boundaries of civilization to stop horrible exploitation and abuse of humans that can’t defend themselves. Exploitation of children is the worst of the worst and should be so obvious that you have to wonder how badly the lives of the commenters were when they grew up. No one could possibly be sane and think that it’s not harmful to children to create a demand for pictures that show them in harmful and damaging behavior.

    • Susan says:

      Bravo to the guy behind him who was willing to get involved and smart enough to photograph the evidence. Too many people would look the other way.

  7. dakinikat says:

    How Private Warmongers and the US Military Infiltrated American Universities

    http://www.truth-out.org/how-private-warmongers-and-us-military-infiltrated-american-universities/1321396333

    A matrix of closely tied university-based strategic studies ventures, the so-called Grand Strategy Programs (GSP), have cropped up on a number of elite campuses around the country, where they function to serve the national security warfare state.

    In tandem with allied institutes and think tanks across the country, these programs, centered at Yale University, Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin, Columbia University, Temple University and, until recently, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, illustrate the increasingly influential role of a new breed of warrior academics in the post-9/11 United States. The network marks the ascent and influence of what might be called the “Long War University.”

    Ostensibly created to train an up-and-coming elite to see a global “big picture,” this grand strategy network has brought together scores of foreign policy wonks heavily invested – literally and figuratively – in an unending quest to maintain US global supremacy, a campaign which they increasingly refer to as the Long War.

    The network of grand strategy programs integral to the Long War University came about through the financial backing of Roger Hertog, the multimillionaire financial manager, man of the right and a key patron of the contemporary conservative movement. Hertog is a chairman emeritus of the conservative social policy think tank the Manhattan Institute, and a board member of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, and the Club for Growth.

  8. dakinikat says:

    NY Judge Rejects SEC Settlement With Citigroup

    U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff has rejected a $285 million settlement between the SEC and Citigroup over claims that the company misled investors through its sale of mortgage-backed securities. Rakoff wrote in the opinion that in this case, “there is an overriding public interest in knowing the truth.”

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/updates/2160

    • ralphb says:

      Good for the judge…

      Quelle Surprise! Banks Lied About Bailout Funds and Got $13 Billion in Profit from Them

      Bloomberg News is continuing with the tankless task of pushing forward with FOIA requests relative to the Fed’s lending programs, and once it eventually gets its troves of documents, having to slog through them to see what they reveal.

      Bloomberg has a long article up on its site about its latest findings. And the bottom line is everybody close to the process lied like crazy.
      (…)
      Regulators continue to lie. I get really offended by the bogus accounting, such as the “banks paid back the TARP” or “the Fed lost no money on its lending facilities,” which this story annoyingly has to repeat out of adherence to journalistic convention. This is all three card Monte. So what if the banks paid back loans when the central bank has goosed asset prices vis super low interest rates? That’s a massive tax on savers. And we have the hidden subsidy of underpriced bank rescue insurance. Ed Kane estimates that’s worth $300 billion a year for US banks; Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England has pencilled the annual cost as exceeding the market cap of big banks (and that was in 2010, when their stock prices were higher than now).

      The Fed is most assuredly going to have losses. It hoovered up a ton of Treasuries and MBS to shore up asset prices at time when interest rates were already low. The central bank intends to sell them when interest rates rise, to soak up liquidity. Buying when interest rates are low and selling when rates are high guarantees losses. As an old Wall Street saying goes, it’s easy to manipulate markets, but hard to make money from it.

      The story contains other juicy tidbits, like bank lobbying on behalf of big banks to help them get bigger, and how Geithner told Congressmen they were too stupid to be able to shrink banks, and they should leave those questions to the Basel Committee (which has no interest in making big banks smaller)

  9. Minkoff Minx says:

    Great post Dak, that news about the secret money is getting lots of attention in the blogs I follow…I hope msm starts to pick up on it.

  10. ralphb says:

    The Euro Area Is Coming to an End: Peter Boone and Simon Johnson

    The path of the euro zone is becoming clear. As conditions in Europe worsen, there will be fewer euro-denominated assets that investors can safely buy. Bank runs and large-scale capital flight out of Europe are likely.

    Devaluation can help growth but the associated inflation hurts many people and the debt restructurings, if not handled properly, could be immensely disruptive. Some nations will need to leave the euro zone. There is no painless solution.

    Ultimately, an integrated currency area may remain in Europe, albeit with fewer countries and more fiscal centralization. The Germans will force the weaker countries out of the euro area or, more likely, Germany and some others will leave the euro to form their own currency. The euro zone could be expanded again later, but only after much deeper political, economic and fiscal integration.

    Tragedy awaits. European politicians are likely to stall until markets force a chaotic end upon them. Let’s hope they are planning quietly to keep disorder from turning into chaos.

    This seems plausible to me. Politicians dither while the house burns down.

    • dakinikat says:

      Simon Johnson is a skilled economist and used to work at the IMF. I still wonder if this is really what will play out because I can’t imagine that we’ll let these banks crash and burn since we put so much into rescuing them a few years ago. It is like watching Nero fiddle however. Merkel seems to have changed her stance since the German bond fiasco on Friday. It’s possible the banks wangled that to get her to act. It sounds like something that Goldman Sach would do and some of these guys are big enough to move a market that much. The big thing to watch is Italy. There is no reason why their spreads should be this big. This strikes me as financial institutions punishing countries that aren’t driving worker’s wages to third world nation levels. If fiscal policy was used like it was used in the Great Depression, most of these countries would be recovering. They need to transfer all those financial paper profits into growth in the real sector. It seems the oligarchs want to continue to slash wages and seek deflation on assets rather than have real growth. They must all have swaps, hedges, and such on the no growth scenario and are trying to force that outcome.

      • ralphb says:

        It may be one of the most perplexing things I’ve ever seen. It’s like their confidence fairy died.

      • dakinikat says:

        more like they’re trying to kill the confidence fairy. That’s why I think the must be positioned in their own trading accounts for a recession or for no growth. They want deflation badly.

      • ralphb says:

        The very top tend to be able to buy everything up at pennies on the dollar during a true depression. My son and I were talking about that over Thanksgiving and it makes sense as sociopathic behavior.

    • northwestrain says:

      Could this Euro collapse have anything to do with the threat of the Oil producing Nations threatening to dump the Us dollar and turn to the Euro or some other currency?

  11. dakinikat says:

    At age 87, Doris Day is not exactly pop music’s latest hot young artist. But this week the star of film, TV and music returns to the U.S. record world she conquered more than 60 years ago with a new album, “My Heart.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/27/us-dorisday-idUSTRE7AQ0KI20111127

    • Susan says:

      Thanks for the heads up. I love Doris Day.

      • dakinikat says:

        I think it’s wonderful that some of these performers can still work. She’s a great advocate for the humane treatment of animals. She’s one of the first advocates that was really outspoken. Plus, she was wonderfully supportive of Rock Hudson and his struggle with HIV/AIDS. She’s terrific!

  12. Fannie says:

    Dak, I had to print that article on secret loans………………..that 7.77 trillion is half of our GDP…….
    isn’t it? and I can’t believe they were NOT aware of the “magnitude” of that the banks parceled out..

    • dakinikat says:

      Annual US GDP is about 15 trillion dollars right now. Just think, we’re about to do it again if this EURO crisis isn’t solved quickly. The banks are just going crazy over investing in risky things.