ThinkFast: October 22, 2010

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) responded to the latest revelations about the millions of dollars behind the Chamber political attack ads. “They give new meaning to the term ‘Buy American’…they want to buy these elections,” she said on MSNBC. “[I]f they were to win, it would mean that we are now…a plutocracy and oligarchy. Whatever these few wealthy, secret, unlimited sources of money are can control our entire agenda.”

NBC’s Michael Isikoff reported last night that Karl Rove’s coalition of right-wing groups is “expected to raise as much as $250 million.” Most of this money “is coming from big fat cat donor” and undisclosed “secret money pouring into American elections,” Isikoff said, adding that “many $20 million-plus checks have come in from hedge fund moguls and other big business executives.”

Vice President Joe Biden told Bloomberg’s Al Hunt that he has been “amazed” by the amount of money flowing into outside campaign groups advertising against Democratic candidates. The only thing preventing Democrats from maintaining a majority in the House “is how much impact” the outside secret money has, Biden said.

Reintroducing a tactic used during the anti-ACORN spectacle, radical right-wing Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said he plans to introduce a bill in Congress today that would defund NPR in the wake of Juan Williams’ firing.

Rep. Darrell Issa, who would become chairman of the House Oversight Committee if Republicans regain the majority, accused President Obama of “playing faster and looser with the rules” than former Republican President Bush. And yet, Issa maintains he “won’t pepper the Obama White House with subpoenas and showboat hearings.”

The Obama administration will refuse to train or equip a group of Pakistani military units found to have been involved in human rights abuses. “I told the White House that I have real concerns about the Pakistani military’s actions, and I’m not going to close my eyes to it because of our national interests in Pakistan,” said Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), who wrote a law requiring ending aid to military units that abuse human rights.

Adding to the legal confusion surrounding the status of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a directive yesterday “that appeared to be a near moratorium on discharges of openly gay service members.” The memo stated that only five top civilian DOD officials will have authority to approve DADT discharges “until further notice.”

“College seniors who graduated in 2009 had an average of $24,000 in student loan debt, up 6 percent from 2008,” according to data collected by the Project on Student Debt. The unemployment rate for “college graduates ages 20 to 24 was 8.7 percent in 2009 — the highest annual rate on record and a substantial rise from 5.8 percent in 2008.”

The FBI is investigating a toxic substance that was mailed to the office of Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus. Staffers found the envelope containing the powder and two hand-drawn swastikas; this is the third security issue at Grijalva’s office this year.

And finally: Responding to a right-wing ad by Citizens Against Government Waste claiming America’s financial future is owned by China, Campus Progress has created a remixed version of the spot, mocking the xenophobia of the original and pointing out some inconvenient truths.

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