Archive for: April, 2012

How Obama Suckered Romney into His Bin Laden Trap

Apr 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

Mitt Romney fell into President Obama’s trap on Osama Bin Laden, and now the president has closed the noose and made the Republican nominee appear weak on national security.

The Obama campaign set Mitt Romney up days ago by releasing a video of former President Bill Clinton praising President Obama’s decision to go get Bin Laden.

The video was perfect bait. It featured a Democrat claiming to be tough on national security, Barack Obama doing something that almost every American agrees with, and Bill Clinton. (Republicans have an odd relationship with former President Clinton. They pathologically loathe the man, yet they are irresistibly drawn to everything he says and does).

The bait was on the hook, and sure enough, Mitt Romney couldn’t resist taking it. In a rebuttal to the video Romney said, “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” As the Obama campaign already knew, Jimmy Carter may have given that order, but Mitt Romney was already on record saying that he wouldn’t.

Back in 2007, Romney criticized Obama for saying that he would go in to Pakistan to get Bin Laden, “I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours. I don’t think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort.” Months earlier Romney also said, “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”

Romney totally walked into the setup, and at a press conference Obama closed the deal without even mentioning him by name,

Well, let me make a couple of points. First of all, Christi, I hardly think that you’ve seen any excessive celebration taking place here. I think that people — the American people rightly remember what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3,000 of our citizens. And it’s a mark of the excellence of our intelligence teams and our military teams; a political process that worked. And I think for us to use that time for some reflection to give thanks to those who participated is entirely appropriate, and that’s what’s been taking place.

As far as my personal role and what other folks would do, I’d just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden. I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. That’s been at least my practice. I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did.

If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it.

This was a perfectly executed strategy. The Obama campaign understands that Republicans aren’t voting for Romney, but against Obama. In order for Mitt to keep the base happy, he is going to have to continue to attack the president. Most of these attacks are going to be far out of the political mainstream, and they are going to contradict Romney’s previous statements.

President Obama suckered Mitt Romney and the GOP into reminding America, repeatedly that he ordered the action to go after Bin Laden. This is a terrible issue for Romney and the GOP, but they have to talk about it because this is what their base wants. Obama was not only able to get Romney to campaign for him on his foreign policy strengths, but he was able to target Romney’s character issues, and make the Republicans look weak on national security. The president was able to accomplish this without even uttering the name, Mitt Romney.

We can expect the pattern that we saw over the last few days to continue over the entire campaign. Obama sets Romney up, and because the Republican is running strictly an anti-Obama campaign, he will continue to take the bait, and be made to look bad over and over again.

Obama is always one step ahead of his opponents, and if the Romney folks don’t wise up, they will be in for a very long campaign.

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Oklahoma Supreme Court to Personhood USA: Oh, No You Don’t

Apr 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

Guess what? Those nut jobs pushing Personhood amendments around the country got slapped down again today, this time by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Gosh, that’s confusing because these same people like to use the word “constitution” to excuse just about everything. So how could they be pushing something that was ruled “CLEARLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL?”

Let’s see. The Personhood USA folks want to make a fertilized egg into a person with all of the “Rights” a person has. I’m still wondering if it’s a female egg, does it then have no rights? Oh, details. Maybe it has a right to life only until it’s born, if it’s a female. So, it will pay no taxes but have more rights than the carrier, who does pay taxes, because this is the new citizenship for women under Republican rule?

NECN.com reported:

The state’s highest court ruled unanimously that the proposal violates a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision and “is clearly unconstitutional.”

Dan Skerbitz of Personhood Oklahoma said he had not seen the decision and could not comment on it.

Yes, the MAN behind Personhood Oklahoma will need to see the Supreme Court’s decision before he can comment on it, and yet he feels entitled to regulate women’s bodies without seeing any of them. And he has no problem stealing liberty from women he’s never seen. Huh.

This same man is okay making medical decisions for women he doesn’t know, and he is also perfectly happy to decide that our lives are worth ZERO if we are carrying a fetus. Ectopic pregnancy? Time to tell your kids goodbye. There will be no medical intervention for you or the exceptional pain you are in.

The results of Personhood amendments might not be so obvious on the surface, but they include “defined zygotes, embryos—even a fertilized egg—as a person. Women would have been unable to have an abortion even in the case of rape or incest – even if her life is in danger, and IUDs, birth control pills and other forms of contraception would have become illegal.”

Here’s their global agenda (spreading their “religious freedom” across the globe sorta like they say Muslims are doing):

Personhood USA is partnering with Human Life International and LifeSiteNews.com to co-host the Global Pro-life Unity Summit…

Pro-life advocates in Portugal are in the midst of a national personhood petition. The Pro Referendo Vida campaign has collected half of the 75,000 signatures needed to convene a national referendum and add a pro-life amendment to the Constitution recognizing the “inviolability of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.” The Global Pro-life Unity Summit will call attention to the Portuguese movement and present an opportunity to demonstrate the wide, international support for the national referendum.

Personhood USA is currently working in all 50 states and on the federal level to advance personhood legislation and constitutional amendments that affirm the rights of all human beings regardless of their size or age. In 2009, Personhood USA traveled to the Dominican Republic to support the people in the ratification of a constitution that established personhood for every human being. “The right to life is inviolable from conception until death,” it reads.

Cough. I suppose they haven’t gotten around to correcting that last line. It should read, “The right to life is inviolable from conception until death for white men.” But then, later they quote Thomas Jefferson, conflating themselves with him and clarifying that yes, indeed, they do wish to go back to those times when only men had rights, “Nothing is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.”

Maybe the PersonhoodUSA peeps aren’t really all that into liberty and the Constitution. Maybe they’re just suckers being used by a political party to create a distraction from the corporate takeover of the country as assisted by said political party.

Or maybe the Personhood USA folks (aka: self-described “pro-life Christians”, aka “Republicans”) are just in a war against the laws of this country. Maybe they don’t think women deserve to have any rights, and they don’t care about the law; all they really want is to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us even if it violates the Constitution. Sort of like they keep telling us Muslims are doing, only no Muslim has tried to pass a law telling me what kind of contraception I can use, let alone legislating an unnecessary, invasive and painful vaginal probe.

Oklahoma is the same state where earlier a female Democrat added an amendment to a personhood bill stating that “every sperm is sacred,” which effectively would have made masturbation illegal. Her amendment read in part, “[A]ny action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.” For some reason, that bill did not pass.

Mississippi voters told the Personhood Peeps where to go last year, so even after it got on the ballot, it still failed. Hrafnkell Haraldsson reported for PoliticusUSA:

Personhood USA blamed Planned Parenthood for their defeat – really, they should blame voter sanity – after all, nearly 60 percent of them voted against Measure 26.

When that failed, Mississippi Republicans tried it again: House Concurrent Resolution 61 aka “The Right to Life Amendment of 2012,” (HC 61) would “provide that the right to life is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person; to provide that the world ‘person’ applies to all human beings from conception to natural death.” Fortunately, this bill died in committee on March 6, 2012.”

When these people say “liberty” they mean liberty for white, rich men and feti until they are born, at which point females will be rendered second class citizens akin to the family pet, unless they are super cute and then they will be the beauty bread winner for freedom.

Now ladies, that’s not so bad, right? Just because Republicans want to take your rights from you hardly means there is a war on women. Stop being hysterical. See, if you could be counted on to do what men wanted you to do, then they wouldn’t need to legislate away your rights. But you all had to get full of yourselves and think that your life might be worth saving.

When you ladies agree to stop expecting liberty, the Republicans will be happy to stop waging war on you. After all, they’ve got liberty to steal from gays, brown people and union members.

image: A Little Red Hen

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African Americans Will Be Critical to the 2012 Election, but None Will Be Elected to the Senate

Apr 30 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party, U.S. Senate

It is imperative that the Democrats control the senate come 2013 by a wide margin. Unfortunately that margin will, as usual, not include any black senators.

American voters will not elect African-Americans to the U.S. Senate. There are none serving in the 105th congress. Our president was the last to be voted in; his replacement to fill his term was Roland Burris, also black. Burris was appointed by then-Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, who, himself, was subsequently appointed to a 14-year-term in a cell at a federal prison in a Denver suburb. Burris left the seat November, 2010 after Republican Mark Kirk surprisingly won two special elections – one for the remaining days of the Obama term, the other for the six-year term to follow. This despite the fact he inflated his military record.

Counting Obama and the brief Burris appearance, there has been a total of six blacks in the senate – ever! That contrasts with 44 currently serving in the house. Come election time, rural and small-town Republican conservatives statewide block yet another black candidate from access to the august Senate Chamber. District house races are a different story where the urban fiddle often plays the tune.

And man, do black and white Democrats ever need that senate access come swearing-in day, January 3  of 2013. The presidency and the House are a lock. The former for the Democrats, the latter, the Republicans. Also a lock, another Republican-driven 2 years of incredibly selfish and anti-American gridlock as the radical Republicans continue their attempts to dissolve the federal government, hand all social programs and education to for-profit billionaires, deregulate everything,  decimate health care and legislate ongoing funding to annihilate every Muslim man, woman and child while reviving the cold war with Russia with money again being the driving avatar.

A narrow margin of senate seats in favor of the Democrats is meaningless, other than to serve as an endpoint for the next ludicrous house bill. It’s an almost impossible task, but Democrats should dedicate every waking hour and every last bank account and Super Pac dollar to making it happen. I’m talking about a supermajority of 60 democratic senators.

Without it, the Democrats are slaves to the filibuster that requires a 3/5th supermajority vote to trigger cloture. So powerful a weapon is the filibuster that just the threat of some blowhard dominating the senate floor for God knows how long is enough to topple a bill or appointment.

The primary reason 60 Democratic senators need to be at the epicenter of any political strategy is because Barack Obama, as president, may appoint as many as 3 Supreme Court justices. He’s already brought two very sharp women to the highest bench in the land, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Another equally sharp lady, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is going on 20 years on the bench and at 79 has had a sad history of cancer including her latest bout with about the deadliest form you can acquire – pancreatic cancer. Over a dozen years earlier she conquered colon cancer. It’s been about 4 years since a tumor was removed from her pancreas. The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is 5%.

Patrick Swayze, Michael Landon and Steve Jobs were all in their mid-50’s when they succumbed to this deadly disease. Luciano Pavarotti, the wonderful, larger than life operatic tenor was another victim though at the more advanced age of 71.

Antonin Scalia is 76 and apparently in good health, but he’s reaching the age where one is human flypaper for any number of opportunistic health destroying pests. Anthony Kennedy is also 76 while Steven Breyer is 73. Clarence Thomas, he of the wafer-thin CV and a vow of judicial silence, is 63, the oldest of the trio of relatively young (by court standards) right-wing justices.  His fellow radical ideologues include Chief Justice John Roberts and Sam Alito whose ultra conservative fundraising efforts are a thing of legend. And you thought Thomas’ wife was the only far-right activist connected to the court.

Even some of the younger justices, male and female could be at risk. Take a look at your local obituaries. There are as many 50-60 year olds as 80-90 year olds. Of course Barack Obama must be elected to protect the people from the five-man corporate Supreme Court, but I think that’s a given.  I beseech Politicus readers to get fully involved in the process of voting Democrats into every elective office, most especially the U.S. Senate.

The numbers are not great. Six senate Democrats are retiring as well as ‘Independent’ Joe Lieberman. The Republicans are losing just three of their number to retirement, including a thoughtful moderate in Olympia Snowe who is just fed up with the new breed in her party. Seven Republican Senators are running again, with familiar names Lugar and Hatch among their number. Scott Brown is also in the mix. Hopefully Elizabeth Warren will take his measure. I’m in awe of Ms. Warren. I’ve not been this excited about a senatorial candidate since I helped Sherrod Brown back in Ohio.

Democrats (with independents Lieberman and Bernie Sanders) currently outnumber Senate Republicans, 52-46.

To get to a 60-40 advantage, senate Democrats will need a combination of loaves and fishes, David Copperfield and about a 90% voter turnout. Unlikely in the best of times. You can do the remaining math. The best hope for progressives is that independents go strong for the Democrats and reasonable Republican voters come out of the ether and install moderate clones of Susan Collins and Snowe under their banner.

Otherwise, it’s two more years of pure hell. On the plus side, even the most disconnected and misinformed Republicans will finally figure it out by 2014 from the confines of their cardboard boxes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Scott Walker Blames Protesters for Wisconsin’s Highest in Nation Job Losses

Apr 30 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

Some of the most dangerous words in politics today are, “I’m a businessman, and I’m here to help.”

I don’t have to introduce you to “businessman” and “business friendly” Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin; his reputation precedes him. However, he has jumped the crazy shark with his latest claim that Wisconsin’s worst job losses in the nation are the fault of … wait for it….

The protesters.

Yes, it is the protesters of Walker’s policies who are to blame for the result of his policies.

Sunday on UpFront With Mike Gousha Scott Walker blamed protesters for scaring off businesses (this argument is predicated on the premise that the record breaking job losses in Wisconsin were all in the private sector, but of course, that’s not true either.)

WiscPolitics reports:

Walker warned that job losses might again ramp up in Wisconsin if either Barrett or Falk are elected in the June 5 recall because “they will rehash the collective bargaining issue,” scaring off potential employers.

“They don’t want to see the positive foundation reversed for us to go back in time not only to the Doyle days … but even back to what we see in Illinois right now,” Walker said on Sunday’s show, produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com. “That’s where Tom Barrett, that’s where Kathleen Falk would to take us.”

Walker said Wisconsin’s job picture was improving in January and February of last year, shortly after he took office, only to deteriorate when concern over his budget repair bill led to prolonged massive protests at the state Capitol.

Walker says the political uproar that has continued in the state has contributed to employers being afraid to add jobs.

Walker concluded with the usual Republican fear tactic of telling voters that if they vote Democrat, more jobs will be lost. Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terror Alerts, oh my!

Those jobs added “right after he took office”? Those are not attributed to his policies, because in fact they were added in December of 2010 before he took office. It is only the luck of the way the DWD tabulates the numbers that allows Walker to mislead the public by taking credit for those jobs.

Excluding thousands of jobs added in December 2010 but included in Walker’s total because of the way DWD tabulates numbers, the latest revisions show the state gained only 900 private-sector jobs since January 2011. It actually lost 12,500 total non-farm jobs, a number that includes public jobs.

In March, Walker announced that job numbers were “going in the right direction”, “(T)he jobs numbers and falling unemployment statistics released today show Wisconsin is headed in the right direction.”

In April, Wisconsin was humiliated by being the only state in the nation with statistically significant job losses.

“Wisconsin job losses highest in nation for last 12 months, federal report says”:

Wisconsin saw the largest percentage decrease in employment in the nation during the 12 months ending in March, a new report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
During that time period, while 27 states and the District of Columbia saw significant job increases, only Wisconsin saw “statistically significant” job losses, the report said.
From March 2011 to March 2012, the state lost 23,900 jobs, for the country’s largest percentage decrease, at 0.9 percent.
Of the 23,900 jobs lost in Wisconsin in that period, 17,900 were from the public sector and 6,000 were from the private sector, according to the BLS.

Walker cites some survey he did of businesses, but it seems that this survey may have simply been phone calls made to business people he knows. Perhaps campaign donors who are not presently in jail, just released from jail, convicted, or under investigation? Or, maybe he included those too.

Wisconsin could have had all of the jobs from the high speed rail system, but Walker turned that project down and instead used some of the federal money (he turned down the high speed rail system because of evil federal money – go figure) to improve the existing rail, which benefited one of his campaign donors who was convicted of felony counts of violating campaign finance laws. To add insult to injury, when Walker turned down those funds, the state had already spent millions on the system and owed millions in cancellation fees, which Walker assured them would be reimbursed by the feds (but with no new rail system). You haven’t truly seen waste and debauchery until you watch a post-Reagan “fiscal conservative” in office.

Later in the interview, Walker claims he has conducted himself with “high integrity.” If this were true, then it would be a first for the man who dropped out of college (where he maintained a C average according to his campaign, but he refused to release his transcripts) after he was found guilty of illegal campaigning, and who left the Milwaukee County Executive position by taking almost every file with him and around whom the John Doe investigation into campaign violations centers. Maybe “integrity” means “systemic corruption” to Walker.

Walker isn’t even smart enough to know what a Koch tool he is, or that laws, procedures and rules exist for a reason, and there’s really no excuse for his ignorance because one needn’t go to college to have an open, willing mind. He has made the choice to remain ignorant.

Walker is taking credit for jobs added under the previous administration, while fear mongering the public to vote for him because if they don’t, things could get worse. Gosh, it brings me warm Bush fuzzies of 2004, “Vote for Bush otherwise we’re going to get attacked again and you don’t want to die!” Nothing like a little fear-mongering to duck and dodge policy debates. No matter, Republicans figure most people won’t pay attention. All they have to do is keep lying and scaring people.

If you want to know what a “businessman” Mitt Romney presidency would look like, just take a look into Wisconsin under Scott Walker. It is the only state with statistically significant job losses. Like Michigan and other Republican-controlled states, Wisconsin now also has discrete higher taxes on the poor and middle-class (taxes come from places other than income taxes, but Republicans don’t like to talk about the ways they inflict their “shared sacrifices” only on the serfs). Walker’s wars on working people and corporate agenda have decimated a great state.

This is Wisconsin under the “business friendly” polices endorsed by Mitt Romney. Wisconsin might be “open for business”, but it’s not open for jobs. It’s just like a Republican to blame the people he’s hurting the most for the predictable ramifications of his bad policies.

Did I mention how much money Walker wasted pushing legislation that is now being held up in various courts? Millions of taxpayer dollars.

When you hear these words, “I’m a businessman and I’m here to help,” run. Just run.

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Watch the Arguments For the Bush Torture Program Self Destruct

Apr 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

Meet Jose Rodriguez, the man who designed, lobbied for and oversaw the Bush Administration’s enhanced interrogation program.  While he had a long career with the CIA, Rodriguez did not have experience in interrogation techniques, nor did he have any background in Middle Easter affairs.  Nothing says this is the perfect guy to design an interrogation program than someone with these qualifications, right?

After graduating from law school, Rodriguez joined the CIA where he worked for 31 years.  He worked in the Latin division for 21 years where he became the Chief of the Latin America Division for the Agency’s Directorate of Operations.  Following 9-11, Rodriguez was appointed Chief of Staff of the Counter Terrorism Center (CTC).

He designed the Bush Administration’s enhanced interrogation program which included using waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation and humiliation.

After retiring from the CIA in 2008, Rodriguez spent some time writing his recently published book, “Hard Measures”. His interview with Leslie Stahl on “60 Minutes” was largely a recitation of the all too familiar talking points we have heard.

Watch here:

The essence of Rodriguez’s argument is torture or “enhanced interrogation” works because we say it works.  We needed torture to save lives and the information must be acquired as quickly as possible because time is of the essence.  (This, in sum, is the ticking time bomb argument.) Where have we heard that before?

When the FBI says something to the contrary, it’s wrong. In fact there is an ongoing dispute between the FBI and the CIA as to which interrogation techniques can be credited for information obtained from Abu Zubaydah.  Rodgriguez’s response to Leslie Stahl’s question regarding this dispute was:

“He shuts down.

But the FBI’s lead interrogator said he didn’t shut down, and that they should continue with their traditional methods of questioning. Jose Rodriguez, though “heard the ticking time bomb and felt a sense of urgency.”

And a bit later in the interview, there was this exchange:

“Lesley Stahl: In fact, what they say is everything important that he gave up, he gave up to them before the harsher interrogation techniques kicked in.

Jose Rodriguez: Well, that is just not true. It’s not true.

Lesley Stahl: Well, now they say that. And you say, “It’s not true.” What am I supposed to think? “

When the Inspector General says torture doesn’t work, it means his work is sloppy and well, he’s wrong too, as reflected in this exchange during the 60 Minutes interview.

“The question is whether the information they got from KSM was truthful and helpful. In his report, the CIA’s inspector general says that the CIA’s office of medical services concluded that when it came to the waterboarding–

Lesley Stahl: There was no reason to think that it had been effective or that it was safe. This is your inspector general.

Jose Rodriguez: Well our own inspector general in many cases did very sloppy work. That report is flawed in many different ways.

Lesley Stahl: Why would they make it up?

Jose Rodriguez: I don’t know if it’s made up. I don’t know if they were advocates. You know, the inspector general himself, he was opposed to this. I mean, but this was the policy. So he was wrong.

That’s it.  When reduced to its simplest form, Rodriguez’s counter claim to people who argue that torture doesn’t work is they are wrong because torture was the policy.

Rodriguez relied on the ticking time bomb scenario as a significant factor in favor of the “enhanced interrogation methods” that he believes are comparable to a work out at the gym, jet lag and getting a little water splashed on your face.

According to Rodriguez, it was necessary to get actionable intelligence under the ticking time bomb scenario but… here’s where it gets interesting.  By Rodriguez’s own admission, the torture program was designed with the understanding that it would take 30 days to get … results. From the transcript

Jose Rodriguez: You know, he had speculated that within 30 days we would probably be able to get the information that we wanted, yes.

Ironically, that’s the same time period it would take to get results under methods that are compatible with American values, morality, law and all those niceties that even the best pitchman for torture can’t get around.  In other words, he inadvertently destroyed his primary selling point.  If conventional methods take too long to acquire information in a ticking time bomb scenario, and if using methods that constitute crimes against humanity take the same time period, then notwithstanding other issues that go with torture, it does not provide an advantage over conventional interrogation under a ticking time bomb scenario.

Moreover, the objective, as acknowledged by Rodgriguez is to acquire needed information to head off potential attacks.  However, if the information is more about giving the torturer what they want to hear, what does it accomplish aside from wasting time and resources?  Here’s is the exchange on this point.

But many of the tips from detainees reportedly led to blind alleys and expensive wild goose chases. Jose Rodriguez maintains the information from KSM and the other detainees enabled the CIA to disrupt at least 10 large scale terrorist plots.

It’s very conceivable that the CIA may have disrupted large scale terrorist plots.  However, even Rodriguez concedes a couple of important points in the following exchange.   One cannot conclude that torture was the sole and exclusive means by which to acquire that information.  Moreover, Rodriguez once again discredited the ticking time bomb argument in defense of torture.

“Lesley Stahl: Would the plots have been stopped without the harsh interrogation techniques? In other words, could it have happened without waterboarding?

Jose Rodriguez: I can’t answer that question. Perhaps. But the issue here was timing. We needed information and we needed it right away to protect the homeland.

Lesley Stahl: You told us that the whole rationale, justification for the whole interrogation program was to stop an imminent attack. The inspector general says it didn’t stop any imminent attack.

Jose Rodriguez: I submit to you that we don’t know. We don’t know if, for example, al Qaeda would have been able to continue on with their anthrax program or nuclear program or the second wave of attacks or the sleeper agents that they had inside the United States that were working with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to take down the Brooklyn Bridge, for example. So, it’s easy, years later, to say, “Well, you know, no ticking time bomb– nothing was stopped.”

So in other words, torture was justified in the name of a ticking time bomb, except there wasn’t one.  Time was of the essence, except, if successful, torture would not produce results faster than methods that are more compatible with our values, morals and the law.  Torture produced a lot of false leads, but he claims it did provide some valuable information, which Rodriguez concedes may have been acquired through methods that are more compatible with American values, morals and law.

Frankly, in his effort to justify the torture program he created, Rodriguez inadvertently discredited his own arguments.

You’re welcomed to check out my blog, Nuts and Dolts

Image: Bartblog

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Ridiculous Romney Claims Obama Auto Bailout Was Really His Idea

Apr 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

The sign of an altruist is having concern for the welfare of others that transcends religious dogma or the need for recompense whether it is material or spiritual. Politicians are not necessarily altruists, but they are supposed to show concern for the welfare of others as part of their jobs and it is natural they celebrate their successes when their actions benefit constituents and the country. Republicans have little to celebrate because they have done nothing for the greater good of the country or the people, but they are notorious for taking credit for Democratic legislation that the people benefit from in spite of their vehement opposition before and accusations of failure after the legislation proved successful.

Willard Romney has assailed President Obama’s handling of the economy because it has been successful, and has traveled around the country asserting that the economy is worse today than when the President took office. Romney has demeaned the President for bailing out the automobile industry for three years, and over the weekend his senior adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, said that President Obama’s decision to bailout Chrysler and General Motors was actually Romney’s idea. Willard has said over and over again President Obama has no economic success, but Fehrnstrom said “The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice,” and that the bailout “is exactly what Mitt Romney told them to do.” Now, Romney and his campaign are pathological liars, but claiming credit for something he has derided for three years is the height of hypocrisy and informs a character flaw of epic proportion; but what else is new?

This fantasy that the auto bailout was Romney’s idea is beyond lunacy in light of the intense criticism he leveled at the President just a couple of months ago when he said “the president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse. I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.” In 2008, Romney said, “IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye,” and in 2012 he argued that “Obama should have let the free market work and allowed GM and Chrysler to go through a managed bankruptcy” which is what he now claims the President did with the bailout that is not remotely what a managed bankruptcy entails. A managed bankruptcy is more akin to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy that involves reorganization of a debtor’s business affairs and assets but it does not include a bailout by the government that Romney assailed as “crony capitalism on a grand scale.”

Romney is renowned for lying and flip-flopping on every issue for political expediency, but this latest claim is mindboggling. The simple fact that the President bet on American workers and saved or created jobs and the auto industry is indisputable and why General Motors and Chrysler still exist and are posting some of the most profitable quarters in their history. If, as Romney contended from 2008 through last week that the President did follow his advice, the American auto industry and millions of jobs it supports would not exist and GM and Chrysler’s creditors would be left holding the bag. However, the industry is thriving and it is only because the President ignored advice and criticism from vulture capitalists like Romney who has a record of bankrupting businesses and destroying or outsourcing jobs to profit himself and his wealthy investor friends.

Forget for a second that Willard Romney is a dirt-bag, and consider President Obama’s reason for bailing out the auto industry. The President may not be an acclaimed business mind, but he is an altruist that displays concern for the welfare of the American people and the economy. Instead of letting Detroit fail, he was able to get labor to make concessions to preserve their own jobs as well as the health of a leaner, more efficient industry. In fact, the entire bailout showed that for the good of the economy, the industry, and their jobs, Americans are willing to compromise and make concessions that define what America is capable of when all parties are working for the same goal. Contrast that process with Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital where investor profits trump a company’s health and Americans’ jobs, and one begins to understand why Willard advocated letting Detroit go bankrupt so wealthy investors like himself could leverage the auto industry into failure and millions of unemployed Americans. It is why Romney may be an adept vulture capitalist, but he will never look out for Americans’ jobs and a healthy economy that sustains a vibrant middle class because doing so will not enrich Willard Romney.

It is little wonder why the more Americans learn about Romney, the more they dislike him. No-one likes a pathological liar, and even worse, no-one likes a person who takes credit for another’s accomplishments. It is especially despicable that Romney has been unrelenting in criticizing the President’s decision to save the auto industry for over three years, and now claims the President followed his advice. What is next for Romney? Is he going to take credit for killing Osama bin Laden or the President’s stimulus package that created millions of jobs? Last week Romney said the President made the economy worse than when he came into office, and that his economic agenda has been a total failure, but now he says the President’s ‘only’ economic success was because he followed Romney’s advice? It makes one wonder if Willard is suffering from a mental dysfunction or is just a pathetic loser who happened to make a ton of money destroying jobs and American businesses.

Romney is a miscreant that must think the American people are memory challenged and stupid. How else can he spend three years criticizing the automobile industry bailout as a failure and then claim it was a success that was his idea all along? Americans are not stupid, and neither are Democrats who will replay Romney’s three year bailout criticism alongside his contention that it was his brilliant idea all along so the entire country will see Willard for what he really is; a liar, a hypocrite, and as bad for struggling businesses as he is for America.

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Get Ready For Some Right Wing May Day Hysteria

Apr 30 2012 Published by under Featured News, Issues

You’d think it was the War of the Worlds. Orson Wells surprised everyone with that; but it’s no secret May Day is a big Occupy event. It’s not like it’s coming like a thief in the night, like Jesus. Everyone pretty much knows what to expect, right? May1stSeattle.org like other Occupy sites even gives you the full schedule of events, the where and the when. Nothing much to get excited about: most violent overthrows of the capitalist system don’t start with a “meet & greet.”

Well, unless you are part of the conservative economic power structure that is strangling the life’s blood out of working class Americans. Look, to use another example here, nobody is storming the Bastille. No government is being overthrown. These are working class people embracing their right of free speech to be heard in protest of policies and practices that are hurting them and all Americans.

Not that you’d know that from the reaction so far. And May Day! Seattle’s mayor is actually warning of possible violence. From World Net Daily’s typically hysterical portrayal of this you’d think the crowd would be carrying hammers and sickles and posters of Marx and Lenin on their way to a new October Revolution: “Mayor Warns Occupy May Day Could Turn Violent” WND proclaims.” We are told that the mayor of Seattle “has warned that protesters may use Tuesday’s Occupy May Day events to ‘commit violence, damage property and disrupt peaceful free speech activity.”

The thing is, the mayor isn’t talking about the Occupy protestors themselves but about “others” who may also attend the gathering. Not that you’d know that from the tone of the WND article.

Here is the mayor’s warning:

SEATTLE –On Tuesday, May 1, several organizations will be holding public demonstrations in Seattle. This will include an annual May Day March for Immigrant and Workers Rights from Judkins Park to downtown Seattle, an Occupy Seattle-sponsored General Strike, and rallies scheduled throughout the day at Westlake Park. The Seattle Department of Transportation advises that delays should be expected downtown during the Tuesday afternoon commute.

We also have evidence that other people may be coming to Seattle on Tuesday with the intention of using the public demonstrations as an opportunity to commit violence, damage property and disrupt peaceful free speech activity. There has been a significant increase in graffiti and posters alluding to violence around the May 1 events. Websites have described trainings in how to conceal weapons beneath signs and banners, and how to target police officers on horses. At a protest at the Port of Seattle in December 2011, several people used peaceful demonstrators as a shield to throw projectiles and incendiary devices at police officers.

Early Thursday morning an incendiary device was thrown at a bank in Columbia City. This was similar to an attack on a bank that took place in Portland late Wednesday night.

Seattle Police command staff and Mayor’s Office staff have been working with protest organizers, property owners, and other stakeholders to facilitate peaceful, constitutional demonstrations. Officers will respond appropriately to criminal acts and threats or harm directed against participants, non-participants, and property.

It’s important to note how this is phrased: “other people” – in addition to the “Occupy Seattle-sponsored General Strike.”  WND takes issue with the MayDayNYC.org website, referring to it as a “call to arms.” Doesn’t that seem a bit over the top? There is no mention of guns, no appeal to “Second Amendment Rights” – that’s Tea Party stuff and I don’t recall WND ever warning people to look out for people who were actually both angry AND well-armed.  If you look at – actually look at MayDayNYC.org, you see another list of events, like that in Seattle.

In their eagerness to prove nefarious purposes, WND won’t mention the events outlined for Bryant Park by MayDayNYC.org:

A fun and family-friendly Pop-up Occupation, featuring mutual aid—free food, a free market, skillshares, workshops, and learn-ins—public art, the OWS Library, and a rehearsal for the Guitarmy.

Yes, that sounds pretty “call to arm-ish” doesn’t it – “free food, skillshares, workshops” – ? That’s an unusual way for a violent overthrow to kick off, isn’t it?

Maybe we should start warning cities about all those businessmen and their weekend long gatherings. Sounds like they have a lot in common.

Getting back to the West Coast, in the Bay area, you would think they were burning Bibles: “The Bay Area schedule is replete with ‘anti-capitalist’ events such as an ‘anti-patriarchy’ protest and actions to protest ‘gentrification.’”

Is there any good reason to not  protest these things – capitalism, patriarchy, gentrification? In any event, last I heard, we had our rights of free speech and we can protest pretty much any damn thing we please. I suppose it’s okay if you’re claiming the right to shoot people simply because you don’t like them, but how could anyone oppose patriarchy? That’s just sick!

Makes you wonder if the folks at WND even know what patriarchy is. According to Merriam-Webster: “a social organization marked by the supremacy of the father of the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of decent and inheritance in the male line; broadly: control by men of a disproportionately large share of power.”

Isn’t this simply the facts on the ground, whether in Hollywood or on Capitol Hill?

Then WND gets to the really juicy stuff: “‘Economic terrorist’ brains of Occupy plot?”

Occupy plot? What plot?

Oh, well it turns out “The plan to shut down the U.S. economy” is supposedly “reminiscent of plans first hatched in March 2010 by Stephen Lerner, a controversial anti-capitalist SEIU organizer. Lerner visited the Obama White House at least four times.”

Oh no! That nasty, sneaky Obama, whom the same WND continues to insist wasn’t born in Hawaii – and Obama’s joking about it the other day proves it! And of course, they’ll be selling books about it soon because “WND was first to report Lerner was the brain behind some of the economic protest templates being used by the Occupy Wall Street campaign.”

The thing is, it isn’t simply the fools at WND selling crap to other fools and it isn’t even really about the people who read what WND says and believe it as gospel. The problem goes far deeper than Joey Farah and his radical right-wing tabloid. The problem is a predatory capitalist system, not the response to that system, namely, the Occupy movement. If you eat rotten meat, are you going to blame the rotten meat or your stomach’s response to that rotten meat?

Well, we’re being served rotten meat, folks and people like Joey Farah want you to just chew and enjoy it. Farah,  like Glenn Beck, see George Soros behind every tree but what George Soros thinks or does is less important than what Adam Smith, the guy who “invented” modern capitalism thought: that  rich people should pay their fair share – more even than their fair share.

In his 1776 magnum opus, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith wrote:

“The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

Even the guy who got the capitalist ball rolling at the dawn of the Industrial Age said “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

To look at these words, you’d think would himself by participating in Occupy’s May Day protests. In fact, Occupy ought to adopt Smith as a symbol. Smith “got it” as we say today.

WND wants to lay the blame for anarchist violence at the feet of Occupy Wall Street, which has as a statement of purpose the following:

Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.”

WND makes all sorts of claims about Occupy’s embrace and alliance with anarchy and anarchist associations which promote violence but if you actually visit the Occupy Wall Street site you see none of that; you see none of that at the Seattle site. Nobody is issuing “eight foot long pipes” or promoting the overturning of trash cans. And unlike the Tea Party rallies, the protesters will not be heavily armed; they will not be talking about putting “Second Amendment remedies” into action.

They will simply be standing up for their economic rights. As Thomas Jefferson said in support of taxes, “The farmer will see his government supported, his children educated, and the face of this country made a paradise by the contributions of the rich alone, without his being called on to spend a cent from his earnings.” The problems the Occupy movement takes to the streets to protest on May 1 are not of their own making and the Occupy movement is not the problem – it is a response to a problem that has been growing in severity for decades, a problem that even Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith recognized.

The Right Wing media will be abuzz tomorrow, you can count on it, but not with the facts, not with the problem or its origins and causes, but with buzz words and talking points that tell us more about their attitudes and  motivations than those of the Occupy movement.

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The Girl Power Unity of Fluke and McCain Spawns a Right Wing Meltdown

Apr 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

Here’s something to feel good about for your late night snack. Last night, at a Nerd Prom after party, Meghan McCain and Sandra Fluke swapped stories about being attacked by sexist losers after expressing an opinion publicly.

Meghan tweeted out this gorgeous picture of the powerful pair:

Meghan added, “My fav meeting of the night, the very brave and badass Sandra Fluke! #MSNBCafterparty”.

To which Ms Sandra replied, “.@McCainBlogette thanx 4 support/advice re: public attacks! We girls have 2 have each others’ backs despite polit diffs. #MSNBCafterparty”

Meghan wrote back, “@SandraFluke There’s like ten women on the planet that know what being in the middle of a political media firestorm feels like. Any time”

How cool is this? Ah, that’s just how we women like to roll. Everything is not a war, you know. We like to find common ground. That’s just one reason we think we need more of us in elected office….

But I digress.

Meghan later had to defend herself from conservative accusations of actually treating a liberal like a human being. But not to worry, if there is one thing Meghan McCain is, it’s truly steely-spined unlike some pit bulls we all know.

Meghan told her conservative followers to chill.

Naturally, all of this sisterhood power got patriarchal puppet Michelle Malkin upset. She sounded like the perennial third wheel trying to hop on a ride of more relevant peeps, whining about conservatives needing air sickness bags over the two “Twitter besties,” as if we all never left junior high.

Meghan knows these waters well. Here’s just a few of the sexist attacks she earned from her side of the aisle for speaking the truth about “I am not a witch” Christine O’Donnell:

Blogger Doug Powers kicked off the mud-slinging with a post on Michelle Malkin’s blog Sunday morning. He began his post with a photo of McCain that spurred controversy after she posted it on Twitter a year ago and commented, “Disregard the above photo. I’m only putting it there to remind myself to check my tire pressure later this afternoon.”

Later that day, conservative blogger Dan Riehl on his blog Riehl World View referred to McCain as “Meggie ‘Big Mac’ McCain” and wrote that “this self-indulgent set of mega-breasts doesn’t belong anywhere near a TV studio commenting on anything.”

Jeff Poor, a staff writer for the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute, rounded out the evening by re-tweeting a conservative blogger’s comment that “I swear, if Meghan McCain gets any dumber she’ll be drooling on her boobs” with the remark: “Haha.”

Malkin is probably really upset because deep down inside, she knows that Meghan McCain is the only force pulling the Republican Party to any semblance of sanity. Meghan has dedication to her chosen cause, and she refuses to act like a crazy person just to be accepted by the nuts who’ve hijacked her father’s party. Let’s face it, McCain doesn’t need to act nasty to get press. She’s already famous, she has already proven herself as a political voice, and frankly, she’s rather charming and likeable on camera.

Anything that disturbs Malkin has a high probability of being good for the planet, so I say donate an air sickness bag to a conservative in the name of sisterhood. She won’t know what hit her, because we all know that mature people run around hating on anyone who doesn’t agree with them on like, everything!

Bravo to Meghan and Sandra for reminding everyone that women have needed, necessary and important skills and perspectives to bring to the table. It’s not about being as good as a man; it’s about being fabulous because they’re smart, outspoken women who know the importance of sisterhood. And yes, Michelle, sisterhood trumps politics and so does general humanity — or rather, it does for some people.

Bonding with our sisters is good for the soul. Just watch out for the pit bulls, they like to eat their own.

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Rachel Maddow Makes History and Triumphs over the War On Women

Apr 29 2012 Published by under Featured News

Republicans tried to target Rachel Maddow in their war on women, but Maddow made history by calling out the GOP’s condescending misogyny on Meet The Press.

Here is the video:

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Transcript:

RACHEL MADDOW: Policy. It should be about policy. And all of our best debates are always about policy. And it should be about policy that affects women specifically. The Romney campaign wants to talk about women and the economy. Women in this country still make 77 cents on the dollar for what men make. So if–

ALEX CASTELLANOS: Not exactly.

RACHEL MADDOW: Women don’t make less than men?

ALEX CASTELLANOS: Actually, if you start looking at the numbers, Rachel, there are lots of reasons for that.

RACHEL MADDOW: Wait, wait. No.

ALEX CASTELLANOS: Well, first of all, we–

RACHEL MADDOW: Don’t tell me what the reasons are. Do women make less than men for the same work?

ALEX CASTELLANOS: Actually–

ALEX CASTELLANOS: –because.

RACHEL MADDOW: No? (LAUGH) Okay. No.

ALEX CASTELLANOS: Well, for example—

ALEX CASTELLANOS: –men work an average of 44 hours a week. Women work 41 hours a week. Men go into professions like engineering, science and math that earn more. Women want more flexibility–

RACHEL MADDOW: Listen, this is not a math is hard type of conversation.

ALEX CASTELLANOS: No, no. Yes, it is, actually.

RACHEL MADDOW: No, it isn’t.

ALEX CASTELLANOS: We’re having to look–

RACHEL MADDOW: No, listen–

DAVID GREGORY: All right, let Rachel–

RACHEL MADDOW: Right now women are making 77 cents–

ALEX CASTELLANOS: And litigated–

RACHEL MADDOW: –on the dollar for what men are making, so–

ALEX CASTELLANOS: Well, that’s not true.

RACHEL MADDOW:–so–

ALEX CASTELLANOS: If so every–

DAVID GREGORY: All right, let Rachel make her point.

ALEX CASTELLANOS: –greedy businessman in America would hire only women, save 25% and be hugely profitable.

RACHEL MADDOW: I feel like this is actually–

ALEX CASTELLANOS: That’s it.

RACHEL MADDOW: –and it’s weird that you’re interrupting me and not letting me make my point, because we get along so well. So let me make my point.

ALEX CASTELLANOS: I will.

RACHEL MADDOW: But it is important, I think, the interruption is important, I think, because now we know, at least from both of your perspectives that women are not faring worse than men in the economy. That women aren’t getting paid less for equal work. I think that’s a serious difference in factual understanding of the world.

But given that some of us believe that women are getting paid less than men for doing the same work, there is something called the Fair Pay Act. There was a court ruling that said the statute of limitations, if you’re getting paid less than a man, if you’re subject to discrimination, starts before you know that discrimination is happening, effectively cutting off your recourse to the courts. You didn’t know you were being discriminated against. You can’t go.

The first law passed by this administration is the Fair Pay Act. To remedy that court ruling. The Mitt Romney campaign put you out as a surrogate to shore up people’s feelings about this issue after they could not say whether or not Mitt Romney would have signed that bill. You’re supposed to make us feel better about it. You voted against the Fair Pay Act. It’s not about–whether or not you have a female surrogate. It’s about policy and whether or not you want to fix some of the structural discrimination that women really do face that Republicans don’t believe is happening.

DAVID GREGORY: It’s policy is the argument.

ALEX CASTELLANOS: It’s policy. And I love how passionate you are. I wish you are as right about what you’re saying as you are passionate about it. I really do.

RACHEL MADDOW: That’s really condescending.

ALEX CASTELLANOS: For example– no.

RACHEL MADDOW: I mean this is a stylistic issue.

ALEX CASTELLANOS: I’ll tell you what–

RACHEL MADDOW: My passion on this issue–

ALEX CASTELLANOS: Here’s a fact–

RACHEL MADDOW:–is actually me making a factual argument–

Rachel Maddow was correct. The interruption by Castellanos was significant, because Republicans don’t want to talk about the war on women. They have adopted the same position towards the rights of women that they long ago adopted towards issues like poverty and racism. It doesn’t exist. Castellanos was trying to muddy the waters with funny math designed to deny the fact that women earn less than men. Women who work full time earn 77% of what men do. Until today, that fact was not in dispute.

Castellanos tried to use different factors to claim that the wage gap doesn’t exist, but even when all factors are taken into account, 41% of the wage gap is unexplained. This means that when a man and a woman have the same background, are doing the same job, and are working the same hours, women still make less money than men.

For Alex Castellanos the argument was matter of political strategy. His goal was to make some people believe that there is cause for question on the existence of the pay gap. (You may also recognize this strategy as the exact same course the right has pursued on climate change).

Castellanos’s behavior towards Maddow proved that the Republican Party has declared war on women. By watching the video, you can see his condescending tone directed at Maddow. When he said that he appreciated her passion, but that she was wrong, he was trying to portray her as an irrational woman who was being guided by her emotions.

The fact that Alex Castellanos thought he had the right to demean Dr. Rachel Maddow’s intellect because she is a woman demonstrates that the Republican Party’s war on women goes deeper than politics and policy. In their hearts, they truly believe that women aren’t equal to men.

It was enraging and embarrassing to watch Rachel Maddow get treated that way on national television. It is even more embarrassing to think that most men, including myself, have behaved that way at one time or another towards a woman. (The good news is that men can learn, grow, and change if they really want to.)

The Republican war on women is a political affirmation of misogyny. The Republican message to men is vote for us to reclaim your rightful place of superiority. You don’t have to change. Women are beneath you. Let’s keep them in their place. We can stop progress. Sadly, there is a group of men in this country who find the prospect of codified misogyny both attractive and exciting.

The goal was to put Rachel Maddow in her place, and to stop the “hysteria” from the “girls” who don’t understand that because men say so there is no war on women and pay gap.

When Rachel Maddow called out Alex Castellanos’s misogyny on Meet The Press it was an historic moment in the push back against the war on women. I can’t remember another woman in the media standing up and calling out the condescending behavior of the right wing champions of the war on women. The mainstream media, except for MSNBC, has mostly ignored the war on women. Much like the Republican Party, the media has acted like it does not exist.

Republicans are afraid. They don’t want the country to know about their anti-woman agenda, and they would love nothing more than to discredit one of the primary national watchdogs of their behavior, Rachel Maddow.

But this is bigger than Rachel Maddow on Meet The Press. This is a civil rights issue that impacts all Americans regardless of gender. There are no men’s issues, or women’s issues. There are American issues, and we all must stand together to reject the agenda of discrimination and inequality being perpetuated on us by the Republican Party under the guise of a war on women.

Because this isn’t a war on women, it’s a war on us all.

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