Thursday Reads

Good Morning!

Wall Street Royal Jamie Dimon deigned to appear before a Senate Committee yesterday, and the Senators mostly sucked up to him. I’m surprised they didn’t ask if he needed a pillow for his chair. MSNBC: Senate treats JPMorgan CEO Dimon with kid gloves

Dimon was expected to receive a frosty reception in his first congressional appearance since he announced the bank sustained a trading loss some analysts now estimate is at least $3 billion. It was a massive loss for the nation’s biggest financial institution.

Instead, Dimon, who has won praise for bringing JPMorgan (JPM) through the financial crisis relatively unscathed, was treated cordially by most of members of the Senate Banking Committee. They peppered him with questions about regulation and risky practices at the bank, but did not press him to give an update on the losses resulting from the trade. JPMorgan is expected to give an update to shareholders when it reports its second-quarter earnings July 13.

“I think it was a pretty favorable day,” David Konrad, a Keefe, Bruyette & Woods banking analyst, told CNBC. Konrad said he was surprised that the questioning of Dimon by lawmakers was so “professional.”

Excuse me, “professional” for a Senator would have been sending this man to the woodshed. NPR’s Marketplace called the treatment of Dimon “a wake for Dodd-Frank.”

Yahoo has named the winner of the “Most Tepid Endorsement of Mitt Romney” contest: it’s a bumper sticker that reads “At least he’s not a communist.”

Until recently, it appeared that no one could unseat Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels as the champion of the tepid Romney endorsement. Since Yahoo News started conducting reader polls on the politicians who supported Mitt Romney in the least enthusiastic terms, Daniels has defeated original champ George Pataki and defended the crown against Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and George W. Bush. (The former president came the closest to unseating Daniels.)

We thought the book was closed on the tepid endorsement bracket until Yahoo News reporter Chris Moody spotted a bumper sticker at last weekend’s regional CPAC conference in Chicago bearing these words of praise: “At least he’s not a communist.”

You can read the other tepid endorsements at the link.

First Romney made fun of Obama for wanting to help cities and states pay for cops, teachers, and firefighters. Then he went on Fox News and said it was a “strange accusation” for anyone to say he didn’t want to hire teachers and first responders.

After an extended skewering of President Obama for a gaffe about the private sector last week, ending with the charge that it was proof the president was “out of touch” Romney was asked by Fox and Friends’ Brian Kilmeade for his response to Obama saying it was Romney who was clueless (Romney’s comment comes at about the 1:40 mark) :

[BRIAN] KILMEADE: He says that you’re out of touch. He says you want to cut firefighters and teachers, that you don’t understand what’s going on in these communities. What do you say to that, Governor?

ROMNEY: Well, that’s a very strange accusation. Of course, teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So, obviously that’s completely absurd.

But of course the federal government does subsidize states and they often use the money to pay for these public employees. In fact, the reason so many teachers, firefighters and cops are getting laid off now is because stimulus money has run out.

Yesterday Greg Sargent pointed out that Romney’s plan would indeed cut billions from cops, firefighters and teachers

Yesterday Mitt Romney claimed that it was “ completely absurd” of the Obama campaign to argue that he favors cutbacks in cops, firefighters and teachers. “The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen,” Romney said, adding that they were paid by states and localities.

What’s getting lost in the back and forth here is that Romney’s actual economic plan would, in fact, cut billions of dollars in federal money that goes to cops, firefighters, and teachers — perhaps more than $10 billion a year, in fact.

This is the conclusion of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which analyzed Romney’s plan through the prism of the debate over public workers at my request.

As Michael McAuliff reported yesterday, despite Romney’s claim, the federal government does give billions of dollars to states and localities through programs like Title 1, the COPS program, FEMA and others — which pay for first responders and teachers.

This is amazing. Romney finally broke down and decided to talk to a media source that isn’t Fox News! He will be on Face The Nation on Sunday morning.

A full year into his presidential campaign, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney will venture out of his Fox comfort zone this Sunday to make his first appearance on a rival network’s political talk show.

Romney has been interviewed several times on ”Fox News Sunday” this campaign cycle, but has declined repeated invitations to appear on any of the other Sunday shows, occasionally drawing scorn from veteran anchors accustomed to interviewing presidential candidates.

Let’s hope Shieffer asks a few tough questions. One thing Shieffer will probably ask about is Romney’s choice of Vice President. One of the leading contenders, Marco Rubio, announced yesterday that he supports the illegal Florida voter purge.

“How can you argue against a state identifying people who are not rightfully on the voter rolls?” he said at a Bloomberg event, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Rubio’s comments put him in line with Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) who on Tuesday declared the debate on the merits of the purge “over,” because the probe had supposedly turned up more than 50 non-citizen voters who had cast ballots.

The Department of Justice didn’t agree. Later Tuesday, it announced it was launching a federal lawsuit against Florida over complaints that the purge was taking place within 90 days of its August 14 primary election, as well as over its alleged violation of a voting rights law meant to prevent states from suppressing voters.

That might not help Romney win over Latino voters.

John Avlon has a piece at CNN on Jeb Bush and other “moderate” Republicans who are starting to fight back against Grover Norquist:

This is what happens when politics starts looking like a cult: Jeb Bush gets attacked for being a traitor to the conservative cause.

The former Florida governor has been speaking with the freedom of someone not running for office, saying that both his father and Ronald Reagan would have had a hard time in today’s hard-right GOP and questioning the wisdom of Grover Norquist’s absolutist anti-tax pledge.

That set off a fascinating public fight between Bush and Norquist, two faces of competing factions within Republican Party. It is the latest evidence of a growing GOP backlash against the ideological straitjacket Norquist has attempted to impose on governing in the United States.

And Jeb is not alone.

As it turns out, Norquist has reason to be concerned. It’s not just Jeb Bush. A growing number of Republicans are rejecting his pledge. Oklahoma conservative Sen. Tom Coburn called the pledge’s effective veto of deficit reduction plans “ridiculous” when talking with Erin Burnett on “OutFront.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Tuesday declared his independence from the pledge, saying, “We’re so far in debt, that if you don’t give up some ideological ground, the country sinks.”

Add to those voices seven other Republican U.S. senators — from Maine’s Susan Collins to Iowa’s Chuck Grassley to Wyoming’s John Barrasso — and 11 Republican House members, ranging from centrist New Yorker Richard Hanna to tea party Floridian Allen West.

In pedophile news, Jerry Sandusky had another bad day in court yesterday with three victims testifying that he manipulated and threatened them into putting up with his sick sexual behavior.

The trio of young men who testified against Jerry Sandusky on the third day of his sexual-abuse trial couldn’t have been more different in personality and temperament. Yet each of their testimonies was sexually graphic and disturbing—and midway through the prosecution’s fast-tracked arguments, a clear pattern has emerged in their allegations.

I’m not going to quote all of the sordid details–there are too many of them anyway. You can read it all at the link. I’ll just give you one excerpt that shows what Sandusky is all about:

Then, the witness told the jury of a time he visited the Sandusky home.

“We were in the basement. We were wrestling,” he said in a monotone frequently heard from abuse victims who have had to tell their stories multiple times. “The defendant pinned me to the floor, pulled down my gym shorts, and started to perform oral sex on me.” Asked by prosecutor Joe McGettigan what his reaction was at the time, the witness said, “I freaked out.”

“Did he ever say anything to you about it?” McGettigan asked.

“He told me if I ever told anyone I’d never see my family again,” the young man replied. “Later he apologized and said he didn’t mean it, that he loved me.”

I hope Sandusky goes to prison for life, and I want to see prosecutions of his enablers at Penn State. It’s an outrage that he was allowed to go on abusing children for years after many at the school knew about his behavior.

And then there’s the Catholic Church: U.S. Catholics still suspect priests sexually abuse children: Report

The National Review Board said that, a decade after the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a child protection charter, there has been a “striking improvement” in the way the Church deals with the abuse of minors by clergy.

“Children are safer now because of the creation of safe environments, and action has been taken to permanently remove offenders from ministry,” said the report, released as the Conference began its annual spring meeting in Atlanta.

But it acknowledged: “Despite solid evidence (to the contrary), many of the faithful believe that sexual abuse by clergy is occurring at high levels and is still being covered up by bishops.”

Well, what did they expect? I’m certainly not surprised. In fact I’d be surprised if there aren’t still pedophile priests abusing children.

Forest boy

I’ll end with the strange story of “Forest Boy.”

Berlin police on Wednesday released photos an English-speaking teenage boy who wandered into the city nine months ago saying he had been living for the last five years in the forest with his father.
Police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said all attempts to identify the boy since he emerged in the German capital on Sept. 5 have been unsuccessful, and they are now hoping the release of his photo may produce some leads.

“We have checked his DNA against all missing person reports, sent the data to Interpol so that they could check it internationally, but unfortunately without any success,” Neuendorf said.
The boy has told authorities his father called him “Ray” and that he was born June 20, 1994, but claims not to know his last name or where he’s from.

He said his mother, Doreen, died in a car accident when he was 12 and after that he and his father, Ryan, took to the forest. He said they wandered using maps and a compass, staying in tents or caves overnight.

He told authorities that after his father died in August, 2011, he buried him in the forest and then walked five days north before ending up in Berlin, and showed up at city hall.

As of last night, the identity of the boy was still a mystery even after release of the photos.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

28 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Agreed that Sandusky and his enablers should be put behind bars for the rest of their lives. Their inaction and willingness to “look the other way” allowed children to be abused for years due to the silence and the interest of Penn State that outweighed the crimes.

    But I would also like to include Mrs. Sandusky as well. So tired of these women getting a free pass because “they didn’t know”.

    How could she not? Her turned her basement into a “mancave” and we are supposed to accept this was done right under her nose without it raising questions about his activities?

    These poor young boys were subjected to the most vile interaction with this man, much of it taking place in the Sandusky home, and it’s disengenuous to suggest that she was unaware of his predilictions over that period of time.

    We now see her “standing by her man” as these traumatized and injured young men describe the horror of being in his company.

    This “devoted” father, grandfather, and sports icon is a sexual predator and it is difficult to believe that her silence did not contribute to his flagrant abuse of these children who were being assaulted regularly right under the same roof.

    • You know Pat, I have quite a few friends who were molested by their fathers and/or step-fathers, and their mothers either looked the other way in some kind of sick denial or outright ignored all the cries for help from their daughters and like you said, to “stand by their man”.

      It is so disgusting, and to see the defense making it out like the victims are lying to cash in is so loathsome to me…I can’t imagine what it must be like for those men to take the stand and have to defend themselves like that.

      And as for the enablers, they should all get jail time…and Penn State should also pay heavy settlements to the victims.

      • bostonboomer says:

        No one knows for sure how it happens, but men who abuse can somehow sniff out women who are vulnerable and will either be easy to abuse or will enable them. My guess is that if you looked into Mrs. Sandusky’s history, you’d find that she came from an alcoholic family or that her father was abusive.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        I couldn’t agree more.

        Years ago there was a family of 4 daughters. The father did not work due to some disability. It came out that he had been systematically abusing the oldest daughter who finally reported him because of her fear that he would do the same to her younger sisters.

        Though they lived in a very small 5 room house, the mother claimed “she did not know” what was going on but then went on to accuse the daughter of lying. He made the girl strip every day after school in order to “examine” her genitals to prove she had not been “fooling around” with boys. The mother then claimed that he was merely “protecting” her as any father would do. So of course she knew.

        Long story short: he was arrested and served about 4 years for his actions. Upon release the mother took him back into the home forcing the two eldest girls to leave. But the mother had her defenders, those who felt she was just another “victim”. To my knowledge the two oldest girls never spoke to their parents again.

        She chose having a “man” in the house over her girls. Which is why I question Mrs. Sandusky as troops of young boys were led through her home year after year with the claim that she had no knowledge of what was going on.

        Apparently there was a lot of “talk” going through Happy Valley over a long period of time concerning Sandusky and his activities and is seems that many knew, or at least had their doubts, to what this beast was up to.

        To have it take place under your own roof is pushing “denial” to the limit.

      • bostonboomer says:

        That’s a heartbreaking story, Pat–but it happens all the time. We need to end the cycle of violence. But it’s very very difficult.

    • HT says:

      Agree completely. His enablers including all the people at Penn U who knew or suspected and allowed this to continue for years deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Re Mrs Sandusky, also agree wholeheartedly. Unless she’s mentally challenged, she would have seen the signs and chose to ignore them. I speak from a place of experience – not of paedophilia, but of a man acting out in different destructive ways. It requires putting the clues together and just doing the right thing. Mrs Sandusky did not.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I agree that Mrs. Sandusky was and is an enabler. She had to know something creepy was going on in that basement. And after her husband lost his job over abusing kids, she no long had any claim of ignorance.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        And the same can be said of those within the Catholic Church who stood by and did nothing.

        I remember when they had Fr. Porter on trial in Boston and a priest testified that he had walked into the gym and found Porter and a little girl on a mat engaging in inappropriate behavior. The priest turned around and left the area rather than take action against this monster. Porter then went on for the next decade, transferred from one parish to another, abusing kids at will.

        So it is not merely the hierarchal administration who chose to ignore the issues, it was just as much the fault at those who witnessed it and said nothing.

        Running the complaints up the “chain of command” proved nothing. An immediate call to law enforcement was what was called for yet it was ignored by both the Church and Penn State.

        These poor kids suffer from emotional damage and will for the rest of their lives.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Yep. We don’t value children in this country.

      • HT says:

        I think a large part of the enabling and overlooking obvious situations has to be associated with that ole chestnut “What would the neighbors/church/friends think. If I ignore it, it will just go away” or perhaps “I talked to him/her about the situation and he/she has promised it will never occur again, so it’s finished” People don’t just enable, they indulge in self imposed delusions.
        Unfortunately Pat, these kids not only will suffer a lifetime of emotional damage, but one or two could become the very thing they hate – abusers. Circle of Life, sadly.

  2. Texas man convicted in stand-your-ground case –

    Rodriguez was angry about the noise coming from Danaher’s home, where the family was having a birthday party for Danaher’s wife and young daughter. Rodriguez went to the home and got into an argument with Danaher, a 36-year-old elementary school teacher, and two other men who were at the party.

    In a 22-minute video he recorded the night of the shooting, Rodriguez can be heard telling a police dispatcher “my life is in danger now” and “these people are going to go try and kill me.” He then said “I’m standing my ground here,” and shot Danaher after somebody appeared to grab his camera. The two other men were wounded.

    Rodriguez’s reference to standing his ground is similar to the claim made by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who is citing Florida’s stand-your-ground law in his defense in the fatal February shooting of an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin. Rodriguez’s case, however, was decided under a different kind of self-defense doctrine.

    Danaher’s wife, Mindy, said she cried tears of joy and sadness after the verdict was read.

    “I’m just glad that he can’t hurt anybody else. That’s my main thing,” she said outside the courtroom. “I love my husband and I miss him so much.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thank goodness! Thanks for that link, JJ.

    • Woman Voter says:

      The elementary school teacher had his hands up, while Mr. Stand Your Ground was on the teacher’s property pointing a gun at him, saying he felt threatened??? The guy basically executed his defenseless neighbor and I hope the nation as a whole begins to review these ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws as they are being interpreted as a right to kill at will gun laws, and no one is safe until they are repealed or fixed.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Yes, but he was convicted of murder, thank goodness.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Yes, only because you could see the guys with their hands up, and in the mans twisted mind, he thought the video showed him ‘Standing His Ground’… insanity is what these laws are. I am saddened by the loss of a life, a productive life, due to these laws.

        I hope this guy spends the rest of his life in prison to think about how he executed that defenseless teacher with his hands up.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Connie (ecocatwoman) sent me this link this morning: “I met a 16-year-old kid. 3 days later, Obama killed him.” It’s originally from the Guardian.

    • bostonboomer says:

      During the day I shook the hand of a 16-year-old kid from Waziristan named Tariq Aziz. One of his cousins had died in a missile strike, and he wanted to know what he could do to bring the truth to the west. At the Reprieve charity, we have a transparency project: importing cameras to the region to try to export the truth back out. Tariq wanted to take part, but I thought him too young.

      Then, three days later, the CIA announced that it had eliminated “four militants”. In truth there were only two victims: Tariq had been driving his 12-year-old cousin to their aunt’s house when the Hellfire missile killed them both. This came just 24 hours after the CIA boasted of eliminating six other “militants” – actually, four chromite workers driving home from work. In both cases a local informant apparently tagged the car with a GPS monitor and lied to earn his fee.

      • Woman Voter says:

        This drone policy is breeding more hate in areas we need positive PR, not more hate.

      • In both cases a local informant apparently tagged the car with a GPS monitor and lied to earn his fee.

        Wow…just wow.

      • quixote says:

        “lied to earn his fee.”
        I can’t say I’m surprised. Given the opportunity, there are always people who will sell their neighbors down the river if they can. But I am shocked, horrified, appalled. I don’t really have words for it. Especially that we’re the ones buying that corruption of everything that matters.

      • bostonboomer says:

        That is the same way all those innocent people ended up in Gitmo. Now Obama is just killing innocent people instead of arresting them.

      • Targeting someone for money — that has been one of the hallmarks of these Bush/Cheney/0bama wars. A whole bunch of the Getmo prisoners were bought by the US Government to fill that hell hole. Someone strange or foreign in the village — point them out to the US soldiers and get paid. That 16 year old boy was not born & raised in that community so he had a target painted on his back.

        That’s the story that really made me take a closer look at drones — that and seeing drones in action flying over New Mexico. How must it feel for the people living under the drones 24/7? What none of the stories say is that the drones are not silent. But most of the noise comes after they pass. My personal observation — plus I grew up on Navy Air Bases so I am always watching for aircraft. The military brattiness never goes away (grin).

        Obama murdered that 16 year old child and all the other children killed by the drones. War is never clean & surgical. Plus we now know that the rescuers and mourners are also targeted. What sort of people can do this and be so far removed that they are basically robots?

        An International opinion poll has been released on using drones to kill — most people don’t approve.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Thanks, bb. This story was just so beyond horrible. And, essentially, the “pilots” are doing nothing more than playing video games, except now the targets are real, live, anonymous people. Whether it’s drones, Stand Your Ground, or our local animal control departments – the option seems to always be KILL – KILL – KILL. Adolf Hitler may be dead, but his legacy remains & is practiced daily, whether en masse or one by one. Is this really what our fathers and grandfathers fought and may have died for?

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Romney points to failures, while Republican governors talk about how they’ve turned around their state economies.

    As Mr. Romney hops among battleground states to highlight U.S. economic woes under Mr. Obama, he keeps knocking against dissonant voices from his own side: Republican governors, such as Mr. McDonnell, touting recent turnarounds in states that Mr. Romney has to win in November.

    Mr. Romney’s message that the national economy remains sour is central to his core campaign argument that the president’s policies have impeded the recovery, and that someone with deep business experience is better to set the U.S. right.

    But Republican governors in states that will decide the election, such as Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Michigan and Iowa, have a rosier view. While Mr. Romney points to a feeble recovery, underscored by last month’s grim jobs report, the governors—looking to their own political fortunes—cite job growth, higher corporate investment and the rebirth of domestic manufacturing in their states.

    • bostonboomer says:

      While the Romney campaign could easily incorporate that message before the election, the competing narratives have led to some awkward moments. When Mr. Romney traveled to Iowa last month, his campaign released a Web ad highlighting Iowans who were struggling to find work—in a state with a 5.1% jobless rate, the seventh lowest in the U.S.

      “My state is seeing significant growth,” Mr. Branstad said in an interview, adding that he didn’t see why the Romney campaign decided to highlight unemployed Iowa residents. Ticking off a long list of companies that are expanding in the state, including Alcoa and John Deere, he said, “We are doing very well.”

  5. Woman Voter says:

    AFL-CIO Pulling Funds From #Obama Campaign – Washington Whispers

    I don’t think they are too happy with Nancy Pelosi either.

  6. dakinikat says:

    Democracy Now’s podcast for the day is worth listening to because of it’s coverage of Jamie Demon and the connections between all the money given to the Senators sitting on the committee and JPM. Also, there’s an astounding interview with the folks that are following the TPP ‘trade’ agreement and the leak that occurred. I’m going to look into this further and write something about it. Any, go listen or watch their episode today. We’ve got their feed over on the right side skinny column.

    • I hoping that you would cover the leaked trade agreement .

      When I first read about the secrecy & complaints from Oregon’s Senator — that seemed to be an indicator of something smelly. For someone who promised transparency — O could now run against candidate 0bama of 2008. So many lies – too hard to remember them all.