“I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.”
A lesson in leadership from Admiral McRaven who oversaw the raid that killed bin Laden.
Friday, March 26, 2010
The governor who quite campaigned for long-serving Republican Senator John McCain and losing candidate in the last election for president and who is in danger of losing his senate seat to JD Hayworth, a friend of Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist who is in jail after pleading guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials.
McCain has to depend on the endorsement of the other half of his losing ticket, who at this point is more popular than he is. Palin quit her job as Alaska's governor to make millions of dollars in the entertainment industry. She's now a celebrity right up there with the likes of David Letterman. You go Sarah. LOL!
In a full-page ad that ran in today's Boston Globe, Maddow sets the record straight and refutes Brown's lies about her.
The ad was a response to Sen. Scott Brown's claims — in an effort to raise money — that Maddow is planning a run against him in 2012.
"Hi, I'm Rachel Maddow. I host a TV show on MSNBC. I also live in Western Massachusetts, in the beautiful hilltowns of Hampshire County," the ad begins.
"I'm not running against Scott Brown," Maddow said. "I never said I was running against Scott Brown. The Massachusetts Democratic Party never asked me to run against Scott Brown. It's just not true. Honestly. I swear. No, really."
Maddow hit Brown for trashing one of his constituents.
"Do you remember when Mitt Romney ran for President after being our Governor and he went around the country insulting Massachusetts, talking about what an awful state we are?" she wrote. "To have our new Senator raising money around the country by saying how terrible one of his Massachusetts constituents is, kind of feels the same way to me.
Maddow wrote that "it's standard now for conservatives to invent scary fake threats to run against," citing death panels and the birther movement. "Senator Scott Brown's only been in DC seven weeks, but he already seems to be fitting right in with how conservatives operate there."
Maddow said she didn't run the ad because she's running against Brown, "but because he's the Senator for all of us, and maybe this will make him think twice the next time he wants to smear one of his constituents to raise money out-of-state."
The ad concludes with a reminder that Brown has refused to appear on Maddow's show.
"My show airs at 9PM Eastern in Massachusetts on MSNBC," she wrote. "So far, Scott Brown refuses to come on. Maybe he'll change his mind -- I hope he does."
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Democratic Congress members have been targed with vandalism and death threats for passing this legislation, for exercising their Constitutional right. I've often said that certain elements of the Right truly believe only they have the right to govern this country, and that when the opposition party is in power, they dedicate themselves to delegitimizing and demonizing it. Then they blame Mr. Obama for polarizing the country.
Listen to Rep. Boehner and decide if it is his party that represents the best of America:
Matthew Yglecias at ThinkProgress has more on the health care bill. It is wrong for Mr. Boehner and other opponents of the bill to claim that the American people don't want this. It simply is NOT true. And these people need to stop repeating that lie.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Boehner on "Meet the Press" -- September 20, 2009
"So you think the plan is dead?" asked host David Gregory.
"I think it is," said Boehner.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) - March 12, 2008
"I've been being asked that question over the last couple days, and to be honest with you, I don't think they can pass the bill... I don't even think we need to be talking about 'after they pass it' because they don't have the votes right now..."
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) - February 25, 2010
"We have to continue the fight to make sure [it is dead]," Cantor says, "but all signs indicate now they cannot pass this in the House."
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) - January 19, 2010
"I think you can make a pretty good argument that health care might be dead."
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) - January 20, 2010
"I think the measure that would have passed, that is, some compromise between the House and Senate bill, which I would have voted for, although there were some aspects of both bills I would have liked to see change, I think that's dead."
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) - January 20, 2010
"If [Martha Coakley] loses, [health care] over."
Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) - March 3, 2010
"I think the votes are not there and I don't see where we get them."
The media also jumped the gun on health care's impending death or, at the very least, misread the tea leaves.
Chris Matthews - January 19, 2010
"It's that rare election where voters know exactly what they're voting on. If they're with Democrat Martha Coakleyl, they get health care reform. If they go for Republican Scott Brown it's deliberate, premeditated murder for health care!"
Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard - January 20, 2010
"The health care bill, ObamaCare, is dead with not the slightest prospect of resurrection. Brown ran to be the 41st vote for filibuster and now he is just that. Democrats have talked up clever strategies to pass the bill in the Senate despite Brown, but they won't fly. It's one thing for ObamaCare to be rejected by the American public in poll after poll. But it becomes a matter of considerably greater political magnitude when ObamaCare causes the loss of a Senate race in the blue state of Massachusetts."
Reason magazine - January 22, 2010
"Health Care Is Dead--Just Don't Tell the Left"
George Stephanopoulos - January 19, 2010
"I think most Democrats right now would agree with Congressman Barney Frank, a loyal supporter of the president, who said that health reform in this form is likely dead if Coakley loses."
Andrew Sullivan - January 19, 2010
"What comes next will be a real test for [President Barack] Obama... I suspect serious health insurance reform is over for yet another generation."
Karl Rove - March 15, 2010
"I -- you know, look. It's a 40-60 shot, 40 percent that they pass it, 60 they don't. But on the other hand, I don't count out the speaker of the House and her ability to sway votes. As you say, it's 211-220 today.
"You know, they're going to try and find some additional vote -- they're going to lose some additional votes and then they're going to try and find some additional votes. And it's going to be one wild week to watch it."
Monday, March 22, 2010
Frum's piece is a reasoned and sober assessment of what was involved in the battle over health care. He approaches the subject without resorting to asinine accusations of Marxism! Communism! Socialism! and understanding how stubborn obstructionism got the GOP nowhere. In fact, he explains how those self-destructive ploys taken up by the tea partiers and the GOP to defeat health care reform, well, in the end defeated them.
by David Frum
Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.
It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:
(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.
(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.
So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:
A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.
At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.
Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.
This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.
Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.
Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.
No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?
I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.
So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.
Frum is correct. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have helped construct this disaster for the GOP. They'll continue to peddle their ridiculous lies and hate speech, which enriched them, but left the GOP holding the teabag.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
WELL DONE, MR. PRESIDENT!
Obama's Victory Of Persistence
Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish
21 Mar 2010 10:10 pm
"Yes, in the end, he got all the
Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol, angry over the proposed health care bill, shouted "nigger" Saturday at U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death during an Alabama march in the 1960s.
The protesters also shouted obscenities at other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, lawmakers said.
"They were shouting, sort of harassing," Lewis said. "But, it's okay, I've faced this before. It reminded me of the 60s. It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean."
Lewis said he was leaving the Cannon office building to walk to the Capitol to vote when protesters shouted "Kill the bill, kill the bill," Lewis said.
"I said 'I'm for the bill, I support the bill, I'm voting for the bill'," Lewis said.
A colleague who was accompanying Lewis said people in the crowd responded by saying "Kill the bill, then the n-word."
"It surprised me that people are so mean and we can't engage in a civil dialogue and debate," Lewis said.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said he was a few yards behind Lewis and distinctly heard "nigger."
"It was a chorus," Cleaver said. "In a way, I feel sorry for those people who are doing this nasty stuff - they're being whipped up. I decided I wouldn't be angry with any of them."
Protestors also used a slur as they confronted Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., an openly gay member of Congress. A writer for Huffington Post said the crowd called Frank a "faggot."
Frank told the Boston Globe that the incident happened as he was walking from the Longworth office building to the Rayburn office building, both a short distance from the Capitol. Frank said the crowd consisted of a couple of hundred of people and that they referred to him as 'homo.'
"I'm disappointed with the unwillingness to be civil," Frank told the Globe. "I was, I guess, surprised by the rancor. What it means is obviously the health care bill is proxy for a lot of other sentiments, some of which are perfectly reasonable, but some of which are not."
Brad Blog has been on this story for months and has asked the New York Times to admit its error in reporting the story that wrongly accused ACORN.
As in most of these scams, it is James O'Keefe who cheated and lied, and not ACORN, and finally, after much pressure, the New York Times admits its folly in reporting the story without checking the facts.
Your "Liberal" media at work.
How quickly people believed O'Keefe's dishonest video and how quickly ACORN was vilified, when the truth was completely ignored.
O'Keefe is the scammer, and ACORN, though it has problems as any large organization does, did not break any laws. O'Keefe, however, is facing felony charges for his recent break-in of Senator Landrieu's(D-LA) office.
In the world we live in FOX News and its followers truly do believe up is down, black is white, and any other deception they think they can get away with.
Here's the link for BRADBLOG and the complete story.
"Clark Hoyt says in Sunday column 'editors considering correction'
Also concedes paper 'should have' covered former MA AG's early-December report finding no criminality in 'heavily edited' sting videos
Even as the New York Times once again misreported the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax on its pages in a report on the community organization's possible declaration of bankruptcy in Saturday's paper, their Public Editor (ombudsman) Clark Hoyt finally admits in his column tonight, for tomorrow's paper, that both he and the paper were "wrong" in their reports about rightwing dirty trickster James O'Keefe's "pimp" costume, adding that "editors say they are considering a correction."
NY Times Public Editor writes:
"Here is what I found: O'Keefe almost certainly did not go into the Acorn offices in the outlandish costume - fur coat, goggle-like sunglasses, walking stick and broad-brimmed hat - in which he appeared at the beginning and end of most of his videos. It is easy to see why The Times and other news organizations got a different impression. At one point, as the videos were being released, O'Keefe wore the get-up on Fox News, and a host said he was "dressed exactly in the same outfit he wore to these Acorn offices." He did not argue.
The Times was wrong on this point, and I have been wrong in defending the paper's phrasing. Editors say they are considering a correction."
As the New York Daily News noted recently, but not the New York Times, quoting a law enforcement official involved in the Brooklyn D.A.'s investigation: "They edited the tape to meet their agenda." The NYTimes should have noted that "agenda" immediately, and taken precautions not to have been hoaxed by it. They didn't.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
"The memo is a fake," said Kristie Greco, a spokesperson for Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.). "It's an under-handed and unethical attempt to distract from the health care debate. If opponents of health insurance reform had a credible policy alternative they wouldn't have to resort to nefarious games."
Several anonymous Democratic aides similarly told Talking Points Memo's Christina Bellantoni that the memo was a trick."
"Politico has since pulled the memo, leaving Drudge to link instead to a page that reads "UPDATE: Democrats challenge authenticity of 'doc fix' memo."
The right-wing blog Big Government, however, still has it up as evidence that Democrats intend to mislead the American people about the cost of the bill."
UPDATE 3/19 5:20pm: Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) just read from the memo on the House floor. And Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) responded by ripping him and demanding his source.
"What they're doing is producing fake memos," he said.
"That memo that he read from has no source. He will not return to the microphone to tell us what it was because he took something that was created by the opponents of health care -- and there are a whole lot of them, mostly paid for by the health insurance industry -- and came to the rostrum with a fake document," said Weiner.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) interrupted. "Parliamentary inquiry," she yelled.
"I don't yield for that," said Weiner, continuing. "There is no reluctance to talk about the real CBO score: $1.2 trillion in savings for the American people. That's the fact. That's nothing we're hiding from."
"Will the gentleman yield?"
"I will yield only if the person will tell us the source of the document."
A chaotic back-and-forth broke out until Weiner regained the floor.
"Ladies and gentlemen, what you saw just now is a microcosm for this debate: A real piece of legislation that for a year we've been working on and a fake document that they won't even give a source for," he said.
Friday, March 19, 2010
"State officials tell Virginia Thomas that her conservative advocacy group, Liberty Central Inc., must comply with a law that requires registration before seeking donations.
Reporting from Washington
By Kathleen Hennessey
Los Angeles Times
March 19, 2010
Virginia consumer-protection officials have warned the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that her advocacy group is improperly soliciting contributions in the state.
In a letter to Virginia Thomas on Thursday, the state Office of Consumer Affairs directed Liberty Central Inc. to the Virginia law that requires groups to register with the office or request an exemption before seeking donations for a charitable purpose.
Liberty Central is a Virginia-based group soliciting contributions online and is not registered or exempt, said Michael Wright, the manager of regulatory programs at the Office of Consumer Affairs, a branch of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Under state law, political advocacy is considered a charitable purpose.
"They should be filed with us," he said.
Thomas is the president and chief executive of Liberty Central, a nonprofit group hoping to mobilize conservatives online.
The group, which is aiming to appeal to small-government "tea party" activists, was incorporated in Delaware in January and is registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission."
She's sloppy in setting up her organization but quick to blame Liberals. What else is new?
In addition to its website solicitations, Liberty Central asked for donations in an e-mail this week, after The Times reported on the group and Thomas' unprecedented role as an outspoken political advocate married to a Supreme Court justice.
"Although we're just getting started, we're already under attack from the left and its allies in the liberal media!" the e-mail said, noting The Times' story. "Our fully functioning Liberty Central website will launch in early May, but we invite you to send friends, family members and other known 'patriots' to subscribe or donate."
Under attack from the "liberal media?" If she hadn't made this blunder, the media wouldn't have had to report it.
Matt Sussman over at Technorati had this to say:
"Goof! You'd imagine an ambitious activist like Ginni Thomas would know all the rules (and check them twice since she does share a bed with someone who's pretty well-versed in the law) before going whole hog into the partisan soup. But the Virginia officials are here to help and inform, not to penalize. Now that LC is aware of the need to register, they can snuff out the oversight and begin raking in the campaign dollars.
Or they can refuse to register and see what happens. I wonder how the Supreme Court would rule on that."
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Glenn Beck is all mucused up over our secular Government offending God by its plan to hold the vote for health care reform on Sunday--a vote that may actually comfort the sick and help the most helpless among us. This he, and some other cement head, believes would be an offense against God?
But of course we know from Beck's previous insufflations that he also believes social justice--what the Christian God preached--are code words for Nazism and Communism.
You've got to give Beckerhead credit, though, for his consistency in being a very silly ass.
"With this morning’s release of the Congressional Budget Office’s reconciliation package score, the House appears ready to vote on health care reform this Sunday. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) — speaking with Fox News host Glenn Beck on his radio show this morning — said the timing of the vote is unholy. He warned that Democrats intend to “take away the liberty that we have right from God” on “the Sabbath, during Lent.” Beck agreed, calling the Sunday vote an “affront to God,” and something “our founders would have never” done “[o]ut of respect for God”:
KING: They intend to vote on the Sabbath, during Lent, to take away the liberty that we have right from God. [...]
BECK: You couldn’t have said it better. Here is a group of people that have so perverted our faith and our hope and our charity, that is a — this is an affront to God. And I honestly, I don’t think anybody is like, “yes, and now what we’ll do is we’ll vote on the Sabbath.” But I think it’s absolutely appropriate that these people are trying to put the nail in the coffin on our country on a Sunday — something our founders would have never, ever, ever done. Out of respect for God.
On Palm Sunday in 2005, the Republican-controlled Senate passed a controversial bill to allow a federal court to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo. The House passed the same bill shortly after midnight on Monday morning."
Capt. Fogg has an excellent post up over at The Swash Zone about the appalling behavior of the "Christian values Right." [Jesus would be soooooooooo proud of these heartless thugs.]
FAUX NEWS' BRET BAIER IS AN ILL-MANNERED OGERHUNCH.
This post is to counter the lies I've read on so many rightwing blogs stating, as part of their litany of criticisms of President Obama, that he apologized to other countries for America's behavior.
The information cited in this post is taken from PolitiFact. Several experts on foreign policy and apologies analyzed President Obama's remarks and the majority found that they do NOT rise to the level of apologies, but are diplomatic statements.
Unfortunately, the extremists on the rightwing blogs did not take the time to actually read the statements in Mr. Obama's speeches, rather they listened to what Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and now, Romney told them to think. And they are woefully misinformed.
Here's PolitiFact's ruling on the lie that President Obama apologized for America:
In reviewing Romney's book, we couldn't help but notice that Romney's diagnosis of the problems America faces are very similar to the themes Obama often repeats: The U.S. needs to educate its children better to remain competitive in the global marketplace. We spend too much money on health care. The fiscal future is ultimately unsustainable. It is in the matter of foreign policy that Romney lays out the most aggressive case against Obama, warning that the United States needs to maintain its military dominance in the world, particularly in the face of threats from China, Russia and Islamic jihadists. Obama, Romney writes, needs to "proudly defend her rather than continually apologize for her."
Here, we're checking Romney's statement that Obama "has apologized for what he deems to be American arrogance, dismissiveness, and derision" and a host of other reasons. If you think American presidents should never admit to any sort of error at any time, you might find yourself in philosophical agreement with Romney's criticisms. We set out to discover whether Obama really had apologized in his speeches, and what he was apologizing for. But in our review of his words, we came up short. Yes, there is criticism in some of his speeches, but it's typically leavened by praise for the United States and its ideals, and often he mentions other countries and how they have erred as well. There's not a full-throated, sincere apology in the bunch. And so we rate Romney's statement False.
HERE IS HOW POLITIFACT CAME TO THAT DECISION:
HERE'S THE LIE, REPEATED BY FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS, MITT ROMNEY:
Several times, Obama "has apologized for what he deems to be American arrogance, dismissiveness, and derision; for dictating solutions, for acting unilaterally ... ."
HERE'S THE TRUTH AS REPORTED BY POLITIFACT:
Obama's remarks never a true 'apology'
Mitt Romney's new book is called No Apology. The first chapter makes it clear who he thinks is apologizing: President Barack Obama.
"Never before in American history has its president gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many American misdeeds, both real and imagined," Romney writes. "It is his way of signaling to foreign countries and foreign leaders that their dislike for America is something he understands and that is, at least in part, understandable. There are anti-American fires burning all across the globe; President Obama's words are like kindling to them."
Obama might give compliments to America here and there, Romney adds. "But what makes his speeches jump out at his audience are the steady stream of criticisms, put-downs, and jabs directed at the nation he was elected to represent and defend.
"In his first nine months in office, President Obama has issued apologies and criticisms of America in speeches in France, England, Turkey, and Cairo; at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the United Nations in New York City. He has apologized for what he deems to be American arrogance, dismissiveness, and derision; for dictating solutions, for acting unilaterally, and for acting without regard for others; for treating other countries as mere proxies, for unjustly interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, and for feeding anti-Mulism sentiments; for committing torture, for dragging our feet on global warming and for selectively promoting democracy."
As we did our research, we noticed that the idea that Obama has traveled the world apologizing is popular among some conservative Web sites. The Heritage Foundation, for example, published an analysis in June 2009 called "Barack Obama's Top 10 Apologies." Similar compilations are available elsewhere, and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has mentioned Obama apologizing several times.
But as we looked over Obama's remarks, we noticed that he never used the word that is the universal hallmark of apologies: "sorry." Merriam-Webster defines an apology as "an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret." If someone is apologizing, it seems that is a discrete act that can be verified and fact-checked. We set out to discover how accurate Romney was in describing Obama as constantly apologizing.
What Obama said:
We read the seven Obama speeches and selected the passages that seemed the most critical, apologetic or conciliatory, and then ran them by several experts with different points of view. Because of their length, we've compiled those passages into a separate document with links to the full remarks, and we encourage you to click over and read those remarks now.
To summarize them here, the remarks include major speeches, press conferences, and remarks at a town hall meeting. At times, Obama uses an on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand formulation that he is tends to employ right before he asks the two sides to come together.
At a town hall meeting in France, for example, Obama encouraged Europe to work with the United States, and admitted that the United States "has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." But he immediately said that Europe has been guilty of a "casual" and "insidious" anti-Americanism. "On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated," Obama concluded. And at a major address to the United Nations, Obama said, "I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. And this has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for collective inaction."
At other times, Obama doesn't seem so much to be criticizing the United States as he is criticizing the foreign policy stances of the Bush administration. In England, a reporter said that during the 2008 campaign, Obama had said that the power and authority of the United States had diminished in recent years. Obama was quick to turn the question toward the Bush team. "Well, first of all, during the campaign I did not say that some of that loss of authority was inevitable," Obama said. "I said it was traced to very specific decisions that the previous administration had made that I believed had lowered our standing in the world.... I would like to think that with my election and the early decisions that we've made, that you're starting to see some restoration of America's standing in the world."
At a speech in Cairo on relations between the U.S. and the Islamic world, Obama got very close to regretting decades-old U.S. actions in Iran. But then he immediately countered with criticism of Iran. He did not make a formal expression of regret, but suggested both countries simply "move forward." Here are his exact remarks: "In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I've made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward."
Looking at all the remarks Romney cited, we noticed that Obama is most conciliatory when discussing torture and detention at the U.S. military installation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Obama mentioned this in four separate instances that Romney cited in the fact we're checking. Typically, Obama would say that the U.S. must always stay true to its ideals, and that's why Obama "unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year." (He has not been successful with his order of closing Guantanamo; it remains open as of this writing.)
Obama's most pointed remarks on Guantanamo were at the National Archives, in a major speech on fighting terrorism. Obama said that after 9/11, "our government made a series of hasty decisions. I believe that many of these decisions were motivated by a sincere desire to protect the American people. But I also believe that all too often our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight; that all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions." He also said that the Guantanamo prison "likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained. So the record is clear: Rather than keeping us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security. It is a rallying cry for our enemies."
WERE THOSE REMARKS APOLOGIES? NO! HERE'S WHY:
~John Murphy, a communications professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studies presidential rhetoric and political language. He said Obama is using conciliatory language for diplomatic purposes, not apologizing.
"It's much more a sense of establishing of reciprocity," Murphy said. "Each side says, okay, we haven't done great, but we have a new president and we're going to make a fresh start and move forward. I don't think that's an apology. ... In rhetorical history, an apology is generally considered an account of some kind of bad behavior in which you are going to take responsibility and express regret."
~ Lauren Bloom, an attorney and business consultant, wrote the book, The Art of the Apology, advising businesses and individuals on when to apologize and how to do it.
She said Obama's words fall short of an apology, mostly because he didn't use the words "sorry" or "regret." "I think to make an effective apology, the words 'I'm sorry' or 'we're sorry' always have to be there," Bloom said.
Obama's remarks are really non-apologies, and they're not good in business or personal relationships, Bloom said. The one area where they can be useful: international diplomacy.
"Gov. Romney is trying to appeal to the inner John Wayne of his readers, and that has a certain emotional appeal," Bloom said. "For the rest of us, a level assessment of less-than-perfect human behavior is perfectly reasonable."
~Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, a professor who studies international human rights, maintains the Web site Political Apologies and Reparations, a database of documents on apologies. Many of the apologies in the database relate to genocide or slavery.
"To say the United States will not torture is not an apology, it is a statement of intent," Howard-Hassman said. "A complete apology has to acknowledge something was wrong, accept responsibility, express sorrow or regret and promise not to repeat it."
Obama's Cairo address in particular was a means of reaching out to the Islamic world, not an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, she said.
"Whether he's apologizing or not, he's saying 'I respect your society and I respect your customs.' Maybe that's what Romney considers an apology, that gesture of respect," she said. "But a gesture of respect is not an apology."
There was one dissenter, from the conservative Heritage Foundation:
~ Nile Gardiner, a foreign policy analyst with the the conservative Heritage Institution, said Obama is definitely apologizing, and it's not good. He co-wrote the Heritage analysis, "Barack Obama's Top 10 Apologies: How the President Has Humiliated a Superpower."
"Apologizing for your own country projects an image of weakness before both allies and enemies," Gardiner said. "It sends a very clear signal that the U.S. is to blame for some major developments on the world stage. This can be used to the advanage of those who wish to undermine American global leadership."
He noted that Obama tends to be most apologetic about how the U.S. has fought terrorism and its approach to the Iraq war. "There is a very strong partisan element to his apologies, but the biggest driving factor is Obama's personal belief that the U.S. is not an exceptional, uniquely great nation," he said.
President Obama did not apologize for America in any of his speeches. Mitt Romney needs to apologize to President Obama for spreading that lie.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
'I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,' cried she.
'Come out of charity,
Come dance with me in Ireland.'
One man, one man alone
In that outlandish gear,
One solitary man
Of all that rambled there
Had turned his stately head.
That is a long way off,
And time runs on,' he said,
'And the night grows rough.'
'I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,' cried she.
'Come out of charity
And dance with me in Ireland.'
'The fiddlers are all thumbs,
Or the fiddle-string accursed,
The drums and the kettledrums
And the trumpets all are burst,
And the trombone,' cried he,
'The trumpet and trombone,'
And cocked a malicious eye,
'But time runs on, runs on.'
I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,' cried she.
"Come out of charity
And dance with me in Ireland.'
William Butler Yeats
Monday, March 15, 2010
HIGH DIVORCE RATES AND TEEN PREGNANCY ARE WORSE IN CONSERVATIVE STATES THAN IN LIBERAL STATES NEW STUDY SHOWS
h/t Corrupting Conservatives One at a Time
High divorce rates and teen pregnancy are worse in conservative states than liberal states
By Naomi Cahn and June Carbone Naomi Cahn And June Carbone –
Fri Mar 12, 11:43 am ET
Washington; and Kansas City, Mo. – Ask most people about the differences between families who live in “red” (conservative) states and “blue” (liberal) states, and you’ll hear a common refrain: Massachusetts and California are hotbeds of divorce and teen pregnancy, while Nebraska and Texas are havens of virtue and stability.
The reality is quite different. And the evidence should force all of us – conservative and liberal alike – to think carefully about the policies we set to help American families thrive in the 21st century.
According to a new federal study, women with a college education are much more likely to be married than are women who have never graduated from high school. And men and women who married after the age of 25 have lower divorce rates than couples who were married at younger ages.
We could have predicted these results. The US family system, which once differed little by class or region, has become a marker of race, culture, and religion. A new “blue” family paradigm has handsomely rewarded those who invest in women’s as well as men’s education and defer childbearing until the couple is better established. These families, concentrated in urban areas and the coasts, have seen their divorce rates fall back to the level of the 1960s, incomes rise, and nonmarital births remain rare. With later marriage has also come greater stability and less divorce.
Societal support for high school sweethearts who want to tie the knot at graduation or for shotgun weddings – where the bride is accidentally pregnant – no longer exists.
Difficulties in the “red” world, meanwhile, have grown worse. Traditionalists continue to advocate abstinence until marriage and bans on abortion. They’ve said an emphatic “no” to the practices that have made the new “blue” system workable.
Yet, paradoxically, as sociologist Brad Wilcox reports, evangelical Protestant teens have sex at slightly earlier ages on average than their nonevangelical peers (respectively, 16.38 years old versus 16.52 years old), evangelical Protestant couples are also slightly more likely to divorce than nonevangelical couples, and evangelical mothers are actually more likely to work full time outside the home than their nonevangelical peers.
While the devout who make traditional marriages work have happy stable lives, economic circumstances have made it harder to find matches that support gendered family roles and to get marginal couples through family tensions.
Sociologist Paul Amato concludes that among the marriages least likely to last are those in which women who would prefer homemaking roles end up working outside of the home much more than they expected because of the husband’s inability to support the family.
These factors reflect class and cultural differences, but all of our research suggests that the great recession is likely to make things worse. The hallmark of what we have termed the blue family paradigm is training for autonomy.
With a more extended transition to adulthood, better educated youth also need greater flexibility – to navigate their developing sexuality; to switch jobs, cities, and specialties; and to renegotiate family and career responsibilities. In hard times, dual careers provide a cushion, and flexibility about gender and work roles makes it easier to trade off child care and employment.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Amy Sullivan, writing in Time Magazine, asks the quesstion. I've said on various blogs covering this latest embarrassement from FOX News' leading crackpot that Beck apparently knows nothing about Chritianity and even less about his adopted faith, Mormonism.
When Beck urged his listeners and viewers to leave their churches should they hear their pastors talk about "social justice" or "economic justice" because those are code words for "Communism" and "Nazism," he knew he would get the attention he so desperately craves and needs to keep his audience tuned in to listen to his paranoia. He needs listeners to keep his ratings high and, therefore, justify the obscene amounts of money he receives to spread his lies and disinformation. The problem for Beck is that he has to keep topping himself with more and more idiotic irrationalities and brainless theses-- his claim that social justice is a form of Communism and Nazism. He should have checked with the Elders of his own Church before he made a colossal ass of himself.
Apparently, Beck crossed a line here. You don't mess around with Jesus in America. Beck did, and he's reaping the whirlwind that he so richly deserves.
Give a fool enough rope, and eventually he'll hang himself. Good job, Glenn.
Why Does Glenn Beck Hate Jesus?
Posted by Amy Sullivan Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 4:40 am
When Glenn Beck told listeners of his radio show on March 2 that they should "run as fast as you can" from any church that preached "social or economic justice" because those were code words for Communism and Nazism, he probably thought he was tweaking a few crunchy religious liberals who didn't listen to the show anyway. Instead he managed to outrage Christians in most mainline Protestant denominations, African-American congregations, Hispanic churches, and Catholics--who first heard the term "social justice" in papal encyclicals and have a little something in their tradition called "Catholic social teaching." (Not to mention the teaching of a certain fellow from Nazareth who was always blathering on about justice...)
He also managed to bring the National Council of Churches--once a powerful umbrella organization for Christian churches--out from hibernation, in the form of a withering response from leader Peg Chemberlin. Progressive evangelical leader Jim Wallis, taking a page from his conservative counterparts, is calling for Christians to boycott Beck's shows. And Beck has given the folks who come up with slogans every week for church signs plenty of material to work with.After initially doubling-down on his statements, Beck is now trying to walk them back somewhat, making a distinction between religious injunctions for individuals to help the poor and the broader notion that society has an obligation to care for the "least of these." But as religious scholar and blogger Mark Silk points out, that's not what Beck's own tradition--the Latter-Day Saints--believes:
"Not to belabor the point, but the Judeo-Christian tradition from which Beck's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints springs expects the poor to be provided for as a matter of public law. And indeed, in the days when the LDS Church ran its corner of North America as a theocracy, that's just what it did."
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, talks about the myths fueling the controversy:
"The first of these myths, which has been all over the airwaves lately, is the claim that President Obama is proposing a government takeover of one-sixth of the economy, the share of G.D.P. currently spent on health.
Well, if having the government regulate and subsidize health insurance is a “takeover,” that takeover happened long ago. Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs already pay for almost half of American health care, while private insurance pays for barely more than a third (the rest is mostly out-of-pocket expenses). And the great bulk of that private insurance is provided via employee plans, which are both subsidized with tax exemptions and tightly regulated. "
"The second myth is that the proposed reform does nothing to control costs. To support this claim, critics point to reports by the Medicare actuary, who predicts that total national health spending would be slightly higher in 2019 with reform than without it.
Even if this prediction were correct, it points to a pretty good bargain. The actuary’s assessment of the Senate bill, for example, finds that it would raise total health care spending by less than 1 percent, while extending coverage to 34 million Americans who would otherwise be uninsured. That’s a large expansion in coverage at an essentially trivial cost."
"...the third myth: that health reform is fiscally irresponsible. How can people say this given Congressional Budget Office predictions — which, as I’ve already argued, are probably too pessimistic — that reform would actually reduce the deficit? Critics argue that we should ignore what’s actually in the legislation; when cost control actually starts to bite on Medicare, they insist, Congress will back down.
But this isn’t an argument against Obamacare, it’s a declaration that we can’t control Medicare costs no matter what. And it also flies in the face of history: contrary to legend, past efforts to limit Medicare spending have in fact “stuck,” rather than being withdrawn in the face of political pressure. "
More links to facts and the fictions concerning health care arguments.
Senator Bart Stupak's lie.
Rep. Michelle Bachmann's lie.
Jon Stewart deals with the lies of FOX News:
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
We can only hope..
What is hilarious about his Sean Pennish threat is this:
He stated he may go to Costa Rica.
"Responding to a caller who asked him where he would go for health care if Congress enacts reform, Limbaugh replied,
"I don't know. I'll just tell you this, if this passes and it's five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented -- I am leaving the country. I'll go to Costa Rica."--huffpost
Costa Rica has a health care system similar to the one Mr. Obama hopes to pass here in the US. It has a public health care system. Did you hear that Rush? Costa Rica has a socialistic health care system!
"The Costa Rican healthcare system is rated very highly on an international level, and the country’s citizens enjoy the health and life expectancy equal to that of more developed nations. These accolades come courtesy of strong, universal health insurance and excellent public and private hospitals.
Public Health Care - Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS)
Costa Rica’s public health insurance system, commonly known as the Caja, is available country-wide to all citizens and legal residents. There are ten major public hospitals – four in San Jose, including the Children’s Hospital – affiliated with the Caja. For non-emergencies and everyday medical care, small clinics, known as EBAIS are located in almost every community."
So are we to believe El Rushbo will leave the US if Mr. Obama's health care reform passes and settle in a country that has a universal health care system similar to Mr. Obama's plan? Poor Rush! Maybe he should look into moving to a third world country that doesn't have the ability to deliver health care to its citizens. That seems to be where he would be more comfortable--a country like the Dominican Republic, he's been there, and apparently enjoyed his stay there very much.
Last Saturday we found out that the ex-Governor Who Quit Sarah Palin's family took advantage of the socialist health care system in Canada when her family couldn't afford to take Palin's brother to a local hospital when he was injured. At least that's the story she recently told. She told a different version of the story when she was campaigning--like the Bridge to Nowhere, Palin was for Canadian health care before she was against it.
Palin says her family went to Canada for health care when she was young
"Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, a fierce opponent of Democratic health-care reform efforts who has said America under President Obama is headed toward socialism, told a Canadian audience her family used to go to Canada to get medical care when she was growing up.
"My first five years of life we spent in Skagway, Alaska, right there by Whitehorse. Believe it or not -- this was in the '60s -- we used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in Whitehorse. I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse and I think, isn't that kind of ironic now. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada," Palin said a speech Saturday night, according to the Calgary Herald."
It all depends on the meaning of "health care" for both of these hypocrites who influence millions of Americans. Do they really know what they're for or against? It doesn't appear they do.
Certainly not the Loony Limbaugh.
"Health Reform Gaining
09 Mar 2010 04:06 pm
As this poll of polls shows, if Obama keeps up his performances like yesterday and campaigns like this day after day after day, the first poll - from YouGov/The Economist - showing a clear 53- 47 majority in favor of his reform will become a harbinger of the future. The data is already there that passing this will help the Democrats against the Republicans this fall, if you can get past the Washington bullshit. The last month has been clearly a net positive in public opinion."
Monday, March 8, 2010
No. Not that he's gay. That's not the tragedy.
The tragedy is that California State Representative Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) believed it was necessary to demonize gays--to demonize who he is--in order to gain approval from his conservative constituency. Ashburn had to adopt an anti-gay persona--betray who he was-- in order to garner votes from his conservative supporters.
When will this madness stop? California was persuaded in 2008, with the help of millions of dollars from the Mormon and Catholic Organizations, to overturn the State legislature's ruling allowing gays to enjoy the same civil rights as the rest of the state's citizens, as the rest of American citizens.
How do you suppose Ashburn voted? This is another heartbreaking story of how our culture destroys the individual who does not conform to an organized religion's idea of what is moral.
As the TPM report says, it is heartening that Ashburn came out of the closet and was honest in admitting who he is. We have to leave this barbaric prejudice behind us and move forward to grant civil rights to our gay citizens.
And this will happen.
It is happening.
From Talking Points Memo:
The history of gay politicians fighting as tribunes of homophobia and prejudice is so long and twisted and sad and awful that I don't really think I'm in any position to judge. But I'll give credit to state Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield), the anti-gay rights Republican who got picked up last week on a DUI after leaving a gay nightspot in Sacramento, for not pulling a Craig or a Haggard.
"I'm gay," he told a radio interviewer this morning. "Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long."
He explained his past voting record saying that's what his conservative constituents wanted.
What are the known unknowns and the unknown knowns in this case that involves American citizens who were deprived of their rights?
From Crooks and Liars:
Donald Rumsfeld Faces Suit Over Torturing Whistle Blowers
According to the complaint filed against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, as summarized by Judge Anderson in his order refusing to dismiss the case, two men employed in Iraq by Shield Group Security (SGS) allege that their employer bribed Iraqi Sheiks and trafficked in weapons, activities they worried were illegal. The men allege that on a visit back home, one (with the knowledge and cooperation of the other) contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and became informants, giving regular reports and copying computer files as directed. SGS started questioning their loyalty and took away the identification cards that allowed them to access Baghdad's Green Zone. As a result, their lives were placed at risk; the only safe place to be was the SGS compound. When the men contacted their law enforcement handlers, they claim they were told to barricade themselves in an SGS room and await rescue by the U.S. military. They were in fact rescued and brought to the U.S. embassy, where allegedly they explained their undercover corruption- exposing work, and turned over their laptops, which corroborated what they said.
According to the complaint, after the men slept for a couple of hours, several armed guards woke, arrested, handcuffed and blindfolded them, put into a Humvee, and brought them to Camp Prosperity and ultimately Camp Cropper for detention and interrogation. The men were labeled "security internees" affiliated with SGS, a status that enabled the men to be detained indefinitely, incommunicado, without access to due process or an attorney, and interrogated with torturous techniques. This status was a direct result of policies enacted by Rumsfeld and others, and the interrogation techniques used were specifically authorized by Rumsfeld, the men allege.
Based on this alleged treatment and Rumsfeld's alleged involvement, the men sued Rumsfeld in part for depriving them of their well established Constitutional Right to be free from torture.
What kind of torture you ask? The contractors allege that they were subjected to extremes of temperature, sleep deprivation, denial of food, water and medical care, prolonged solitary confinement and threats of violence as well as actual violence.
As would be expected, Rumsfeld's attorneys argued that he should be granted immunity since he was acting as the Secretary of Defense, but the judge surprisingly ruled against that motion.
If this case continues to trial, this may offer us the fullest account of the kind of crimes the Bush administration took so casually and set precedent for other similar cases.
Friday, March 5, 2010
I've never seen such an athletically fit FLOTUS in my lifetime. She is really enjoying herself, and it all looks so effortless.
I'm going off now to do a quick 3-mile fast walk--which is exactly the response most of us should have after seeing these photos.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
FEAR AND LYING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL--GOP WILL SEEK TO RAISE MONEY FOR FALL ELECTIONS, AND THEY'LL USE FEAR AND LYING TO GET IT
This is what the talking points will be about as the country approaches next fall's elections, and expect many rightwing blogs to parrot them.
The GOP shamelessly admits that the only thing they have to lure donors and voters is FEAR itself. And a generous serving of lies.
The Republican National Committee plans to raise money this election cycle through an aggressive campaign capitalizing on “fear” of President Barack Obama and a promise to "save the country from trending toward socialism."
The strategy was detailed in a confidential party fundraising presentation, obtained by POLITICO, which also outlines how “ego-driven” wealthy donors can be tapped with offers of access and “tchochkes.”
The presentation was delivered by RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart to top donors and fundraisers at a party retreat in Boca Grande, Florida on February 18, a source at the gathering said.
In neat PowerPoint pages, it lifts the curtain on the often-cynical terms of political marketing, displaying an air of disdain for the party’s donors that is usually confined to the barroom conversations of political operatives.
The presentation explains the Republican fundraising in simple terms.
"What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House, or the Senate...?" it asks.
The answer: "Save the country from trending toward Socialism!”
Manipulating donors with crude caricatures and playing on their fears is hardly unique to Republicans or to the RNC – Democrats raised millions off George W. Bush in similar terms – but rarely is it practiced in such cartoonish terms.
One page, headed “The Evil Empire,” pictures Obama as the Joker from Batman, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid are depicted as Cruella DeVille and Scooby Doo, respectively.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Luis Meléndez (1715–1780) is now recognized as the premier still-life painter in 18th-century Spain, indeed one of the greatest in all of Europe.
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts is hosting an exhibit of this great painter's works--an artist who was not appreciated in his time. He died a pauper.
After taking in all the beauty of his artistry as I passed through the galleries, I wanted to sit down and have a feast of all the gorgeous, sensual food depicted in these incredible oils. After consistently being rejected as a portrait painter for the royals in Spain, Meléndez was commissioned, in the late 1700s, by the Prince of Asturias, later King Charles IV of Spain to do a series of painting representing the abundance of foods that was the basis of Spain's cuisine.
Meléndez painted these foods uncooked--fish, hams, beef, and every sort of vegetable and fruit--so that when one looked at the paintings, one had to use her imagination to see how the various foods would be used to make an elaborate and memorable meal.
One thing that impressed me was that the fruits and vegetables Meléndez painted had not been sprayed with any sort of chemical, so when one observes his paintings, one sees the little worm holes and bruises that are natural to the fruits and vegetables. We consumers are accustomed to seeing the perfect flesh of fruits and vegetable--which would not be natural without chemical sprays and contaminants--but that perfection is not real, and we pay a dear price with our health and in the contamination of the soil and the skins of the fruits and vegetable for this unnatural perfection.
I left the exhibit with hunger pangs--not just for the voluptuous foods on exhibit, but for a time when people were able to consume them without worrying about the toxins that accumulate in our fatty tissues because we demand unnatural perfection and unnatural color in our fruits and vegetables.