RNC calls Nancy Pelosi - PussyGalore..

Crossposted to MotleyMoose

Just when you think, RNC, and the Republicans in general, have realized that this country have moved on and left them in the dust. No more appeals to our worst and base instincts with racism, sexism and homophobia are going to work with majority of the folks. RNC releases this misogynistic video to make their point about Nancy Pelosi.

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55 House members speak out for fair trade

Corrected to note that one Republican also signed this letter.

Today 55 House representatives took a stand against the Panama Free Trade Agreement in an open letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

After the jump I've posted the full text of the letter, along with the list of those who signed. Here is an excerpt:

We believe trade agreements must meet basic standards protecting labor rights, environmental standards, food safety regulations, financial regulations, and taxation transparency. We are disturbed by Panama's tax haven status and the use of this tax haven by U.S. financial institutions like AIG and Citibank. The U.S. is currently contemplating stricter financial regulations to protect our economy, but the Panama FTA will likely weaken any such effort. We believe the Panama FTA should be renegotiated in order to address these outstanding issues.

President Obama campaigned effectively on changing the trade model and his message resonated with the American people.  We believe the Panama FTA falls far short of that commitment and it is not in the best interests of the American worker, our economy, or our country.  We share your commitment to fighting for working families and believe you can be an effective advocate for our cause.

The House members who signed the letter mostly belong to the Populist Caucus, House Trade Working Group, and/or the Progressive Caucus. One Republican signed: Walter Jones (NC-03).

"Defending American competitiveness by fighting for fair trade principles" is one of the six key priorities for the Populist Caucus, which Bruce Braley (IA-01) formed earlier this year.

Also today, a U.S. Trade Representative announced that the Panama agreement "won't be submitted to Congress for approval until President Barack Obama offers a new 'framework' for trade." At Open Left, David Sirota interpreted that announcement as a victory (albeit possibly only temporary) for the Populist Caucus, its allies and the AFL-CIO, which had already come out against the Panama agreement.

We'll see whether the White House is willing to deviate significantly from the NAFTA model in this agreement. Whatever the final outcome, I am glad to see a large House contingent taking a stand for fair trade.

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Will Speaker Pelosi Stand Up to the IMF?

It would be an exaggeration to say that Congress has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this week to reform the policies of the International Monetary Fund. If the future is like the past, if Congress misses this opportunity, another one will come along - in about 10 years or so.

This week, House and Senate leaders are meeting in a conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the supplemental appropriations bill.  The Senate version of the bill is likely to include $100 billion and new authorities for the IMF, but the House version of the supplemental bill did not include funds for the IMF. The Senate is debating amendments now as I write. The conference committee will almost surely meet soon after Senate passage; the stated goal is to pass the supplemental before the Memorial Day recess.

Concrete, observable reforms of the IMF's policies in poor countries should be part of any agreement: there should be no "blank check" for the IMF.

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Nancy Pelosi is No Newt Gingrich

CNN says that Nancy Pelosi is facing Newt Gingrich-like approval ratings:

Nearly half of all Americans -- 48 percent -- disapprove of how the California Democrat she is handling her job as Speaker of the House in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday, while 39 percent approve of her performance.

[...]

That puts her approval rating at roughly the levels Newt Gingrich had in his first year as Speaker of the House. (Back in 1995, Gingrich's approval rating was 37 percent; by 1997 -- at the same point in his speakership that Pelosi is now -- that had dropped to just 25 percent.)

The headline of this post reads "Pelosi facing Gingrich-like approval ratings," but even CNN.com is forced to admit -- even if just in parentheses -- that an apples-to-apples comparison of Pelosi and Gingrich shows the Democratic leader to be significantly more popular than the Republican leader was at a similar point in his tenure.

But let's parse these numbers further. Gingrich's disapproval rating consistently stood above 50 percent, reaching as high as a whopping 62 percent, in the period following his shutdown of the United States government in late 1995 and early 1996. From the time of this failed political gambit to the later failed political gambit that was the impeachment of Bill Clinton, Gingrich's approval rating averaged 30.9 percent, per Gallup polling (which I believe CNN co-sponsored at the time), while his disapproval rating averaged 55.5 percent. Over the course of Gingrich's entire tenure as Speaker, his net negative rating (again, per Gallup) was negative-22.6 points.

Pelosi's net-negative rating in the current CNN poll is 9 points -- not great, but not nearly a Gingrich-like number. What's more, looking through all of the polling on her Speakership, no survey has found a majority of the country disapproving of Pelosi's job performance with the exception of the Harris poll, which asks a strangely weighted question that lumps the ambivalent feeling of "fair" into its disapproval rating. Gingrich's disapproval rating averaged well north of 50 percent during his time as Speaker, while Pelosi's disapproval rating hasn't even hit that mark in a single equally weighted poll.

Again, this isn't to say that Pelosi's numbers are great, because they aren't. But they also aren't terrible -- and they certainly aren't Gingrich-like, whatever the headline-writers at CNN say.

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Admitting The Obvious

Sargent flags video of Fox News reporter Jonathan Hunt admitting what everyone should already know:

"Instead of this debate being about national security, what is and isn't torture, what the Bush administration should and shouldn't have allowed and whether anybody in that administration should now be prosecuted, the Republicans are now able to frame this debate as to whether Nancy Pelosi is fit to continue as Speaker. So they are not about to let their foot off the gas in any way, shape, or form."

Of course.

Apparently Republicans didn't sign-off on the memo to 'look forward' on torture. Instead they filled a vacuum and threw blame on Pelosi - and it's probably the right's biggest political victory since the inauguration.

There's no better time to appoint a special prosecutor. We can't move on from torture this way.

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