Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

TRUMP AND HIS ADMINISTRATION ARE UNDER FBI INVESTIGATION

TRUMP: “ISLAM IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT RELIGIONS.”

Thursday, May 30, 2013

PolitiFACT: Republicans Lie Three Times More Than Democrats


And water's wet.

And the sun rises in the east.


This is a fact that makes some on the right very uncomfortable, so much so that some of them will contend that PolitiFact is biased, but that doesn't change the facts.

It's a miserable situation for all citizens that politicians on the right and left lie and distort the truth--but the sanctimony that comes from the right about it is risible when we look at the facts:  IT IS THEY who excel in this nasty business. But don't confuse them with the statistics that back this claim up--that will sink them into more painful cognizant dissonance.  

So many of our rightwing bretheren listen to charlatans and demogogues like Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, Savage, Alec Jones, and Mark Levin that their minds have been polluted in falsehoods and distortions that they desperately WANT to believe, and they are unable to see the lies for what they are--bread and butter for the miscreants who peddle their Lies for Lucre.  One bit of good news for the political arena is that one of the biggest liars on the right, Michele Bachmann, will no longer contribute to the GOP's sad record of being bigger Pinocchios than the Democrats.







PolitiFact Says Republicans Lie Three Times More Often Than Democrats, According To New Study 

Republicans lie more — at least according to the Tampa Bay Times’ PolitiFact. 

A new study found that the fact-checking operation finds Republicans to be less trustworthy than Democrats, based on the number of false claims made during President Obama‘s second term. The study, by Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University, took into account 100 PolitiFact-checked statements made by Democrats (46 claims) and Republicans (54 claims) in the first four months of Obama’s second term. 

The results? PolitiFact deemed Republicans were loose with the facts three times as often as their left-leaning counterparts. PolitiFact rated 32% of Republican claims as “false” or “pants on fire,” compared to 11% of Democratic claims – a 3 to 1 margin. Conversely, Politifact rated 22% of Democratic claims as “entirely true” compared to 11% of Republican claims – a 2 to 1 margin. A majority of Democratic statements (54%) were rated as mostly or entirely true, compared to only 18% of Republican statements. Conversely, a majority of Republican statements (52%) were rated as mostly or entirely false, compared to only 24% of Democratic statements. 

CMPA President Dr. Robert Lichter summed it up thusly: “While Republicans see a credibility gap in the Obama administration, PolitiFact rates Republicans as the less credible party.” 

The findings were also consistent with the CMPA’s previous study that found PolitiFact (also known as the bane of Rachel Maddow‘s existence) gave more negative ratings to the Romney campaign than to the Obama campaign during 2012.

Yes, that's correct.  The Rachel Maddow Show DISLIKES with a passion PolitiFact, and Rightwingers believe PolitiFact is biased.  So PolitiFact is doing its job just fine.  Any group that can tick off the left and right has a lot of credibility.

Anyway, the next time you hear BENGHAZI!  BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI!  Remember this:

The right lies THREE TIMES MORE than the left.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

HEADLINES WE LOVE TO READ




Bachmann Won’t Seek Re-election Next Year 


By GERRY MULLANY 
Published: May 29, 2013 
New York Times

Representative Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican who made an ill-fated run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, announced Wednesday that she would not seek a fifth term in Congress next year. 

 She made the announcement just six months after being re-elected in what was her most challenging Congressional campaign since she was first elected to the House in 2006. Her announcement also comes as her former presidential campaign faces inquiries into its fund-raising activities. “I have decided next year I will not seek a fifth Congressional term,” she said in a video on her campaign Web site. 

'This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff,' she added. 




 And when she leaves the House of Representatives, its average IQ will increase to twice what it was while she was there.

Here are some of her idiotic Bachmannisms:


BACHMANN CLAIMED THAT SCIENTISTS ARE SUPPORTERS OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN: During a 2006 debate, Bachmann said, “There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.” This was, and is, not true.


BACHMANN SUGGESTED GAY SINGER SHOULD REPENT AFTER GETTING CANCER: Bachmann saw Melissa Etheridge’s cancer as a teachable moment: “Unfortunately she is now suffering from breast cancer, so keep her in your prayers,” she said in November 2004. “This may be an opportunity for her now to be open to some spiritual things, now that she is suffering with that physical disease. She is a lesbian.”


BACHMANN CLAIMED THAT GLENN BECK COULD SOLVE THE DEBT CRISIS: During a February trip to South Carolina, Bachmann told a South Carolina audience, “I think if we give Glenn Beck the numbers, he can solve this [the national debt].” 



 "I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter." –Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), on the HPV vaccine, Fox News interview, Sept. 12, 2011 

 "I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under another, then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter. I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence." -Rep. Michele Bachmann, on the 1976 Swine Flu outbreak that happened when Gerald Ford, a Republican, was president, April 28, 2009 

 "But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. ... I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers who worked tirelessly -- men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country." -Rep. Michele Bachmann, botching American history while speaking at an Iowan's for Tax Relief event in January 2011. The Founding Fathers did not work to end slavery, and John Quincy Adams was not one of the Founding Fathers.

 
Good riddance to an embarrassment to this country.







MORE HEADLINES WE LOVE TO READ BUT KNEW ALL ALONG:

Study: Media Fact-Checker Says Republicans Lie More


"One of the most prominent political fact-checkers has shown Republicans to be much less honest than their Democratic counterparts, according to findings from a study released Tuesday by George Mason University.  

The study, conducted from the beginning of President Barack Obama's second term in January through last week, found that PolitiFact.com has rated Republican claims as false three times more often than Democratic claims. 

 According to the study, 32 percent of GOP claims were rated as "false" or "pants on fire" by PolitiFact, compared with 11 percent of claims by Democrats."

h/tTPM

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lesbian couples may someday reproduce their own biological children.


One of the reasons often given by some people who oppose marriage equality is that marriage is for advancing the human race and that same sex couples can't biologically reproduce in the "normal" way.

That may very well change in the future according to British scientists.

This is amazing:








Sperm cells created from female embryo

Sperm cells have been created from a female human embryo in a remarkable breakthrough that suggests it may be possible for lesbian couples to have their own biological children. British scientists who had already coaxed male bone marrow cells to develop into primitive sperm cells have now repeated the feat with female embryonic stem cells.

The University of Newcastle team that has achieved the feat is now applying for permission to turn the bone marrow of a woman into sperm which, if successful, would make the method more practical than with embryonic cells.

It raises the possibility of lesbian couples one day having children who share both their genes as sperm created from the bone marrow of one woman could be used to fertilise an egg from her partner.

Some living creatures are able to reproduce parthenogenetically.  Certain aphids for example:


Some aphid species have unusual and complex reproductive adaptations, while others have fairly simple reproduction. Adaptations include having both sexual and asexual reproduction, creation of eggs or live nymphs and switches between woody and herbaceous types of host plant at different times of the year. 

Only females are present in the population (although, a few species of aphids have been found to have both male and female sexes). The overwintering eggs that hatch in the spring result in females, called fundatrices (plural). Reproduction is typically parthenogenetic and viviparous.  Eggs are parthenogenetically produced without meioisis and the offspring are clonal to their mother. 

The embryos develop within the mothers' ovarioles, which then give live birth to first instar female nymphs (viviparous). The offspring resemble their parent in every way except size, and are called virginoparae. 

 This process iterates throughout the summer, producing multiple generations that typically live 20 to 40 days. Thus one female hatched in spring may produce thousands of descendants. For example, some species of cabbage aphids (like Brevicoryne brassicae) can produce up to 41 generations of females.

What does this all mean?  We don't know yet, but perhaps through science we will be able to put away forever the idea that marriage is only for male and females who can biologically reproduce (it never really was solely for that purpose anyway). And perhaps we can also leave behind us the old definition of what biologically "normal" human reproduction is.  Some people will protest that this is "playing God."  Of course it is not playing God anymore than saving someone from dying by performing a heart transplant, or a kidney transplant or curing someone's cancer is "playing God." 

Years before our current medical technology, organ transplants, and medicines were available, people accepted as "God's will" deaths from heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, etc.  Medical science intervenes today in what people once believed was God's will.  And it is universally accepted as sound medical practice (if one is lucky enough to be insured or can afford it, of course).  

It appears that nature, through science, is revealing secrets that will allow us humans to redefine how we reproduce and with whom.

Someday little Joshua will not only have two mommies, but he will also carry both of his mommies' DNA!




Monday, May 27, 2013

American Cemetery, Normandy, France

I visited this beautiful and moving cemetery a few years ago.  It was an experience I will never forget.



DULCE ET DECORUM EST

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots 
Of tired, outstripped. Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering,(11) choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud 
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

                                                          ---Wilfred Owen

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

One of the most beautiful bronze relief sculptures I have ever seen is the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on Boston Common.  It is a touching tribute to 54th Regiment and to the men who gave their lives in the Civil War for the Union.  Robert Lowell's poem is a perfect description of the memorial.  I love this bronze, and I stop to admire it each time I walk to Boston Common.









Robert Lowell - For the Union Dead"Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam."




The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.


Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass;
my hand tingled
to burst the bubbles
drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.




My hand draws back. I often sigh still
for the dark downward and vegetating kingdom
of the fish and reptile. One morning last March,
I pressed against the new barbed and galvanized


fence on the Boston Common. Behind their cage,
yellow dinosaur steamshovels were grunting
as they cropped up tons of mush and grass
to gouge their underworld garage.


Parking spaces luxuriate like civic
sandpiles in the heart of Boston.
A girdle of orange, Puritan-pumpkin colored girders
braces the tingling Statehouse,


shaking over the excavations, as it faces Colonel Shaw
and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry
on St. Gaudens' shaking Civil War relief,
propped by a plank splint against the garage's earthquake.


Two months after marching through Boston,
half the regiment was dead;
at the dedication,
William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.


Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city's throat.
Its Colonel is as lean
as a compass-needle.


He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound's gentle tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.


He is out of bounds now. He rejoices in man's lovely,
peculiar power to choose life and die--
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.


On a thousand small town New England greens,
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.


The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year--
wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns . . .


Shaw's father wanted no monument
except the ditch,
where his son's body was thrown
and lost with his "niggers."


The ditch is nearer.
There are no statues for the last war here;
on Boylston Street, a commercial photograph
shows Hiroshima boiling


over a Mosler Safe, the "Rock of Ages"
that survived the blast. Space is nearer.
When I crouch to my television set,
the drained faces of Negro school-children rise like balloons.


Colonel Shaw
is riding on his bubble,
he waits
for the blessèd break.


The Aquarium is gone. Everywhere,
giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
a savage servility
slides by on grease.

Friday, May 24, 2013

"You've Got To Be Carefully Taught"




You've Got To Be Carefully Taught
by Rodgers and Hammerstein, from South Pacific

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear

You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!





New children's book teaches kids to hate gay families 

Right-wing Christians in the US are pushing a new book attacking gay families, called God Made Dad and Mom. 

The picture book by Amber Dee Parker and Hannah Sequra tells the story of an adventurous young boy, Michael. He prays for his classmate Jimmy and his two dads to learn ‘the truth’ about how God made them after a trip to the zoo where he’s told all animal families ‘consist of a male, a female, and their offspring’.  There is no acknowledgement that homosexuality is widespread in the animal kingdom. 

And it’s endorsed on the back cover by the American Family Association (AFA). 

Their President Tim Wildmon has in the past stated LGBT groups are ‘vile in many ways’ and gays are ‘immoral’ and ‘unnatural’. When it comes to gay families he has commented on same-sex marriage ‘it makes me want to throw up, the idea of two grooms – well that’s the way a lot of people feel’.


President Obama: State of Perpetual War Must End

I'm very glad he said this, wish this speech had come sooner.  But I applaud his courage and determination to change the policy of perpetual war.



From The New York Times:


President Obama’s speech on Thursday was the most important statement on counterterrorism policy since the 2001 attacks, a momentous turning point in post-9/11 America. For the first time, a president stated clearly and unequivocally that the state of perpetual warfare that began nearly 12 years ago is unsustainable for a democracy and must come to an end in the not-too-distant future.


“Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue,” Mr. Obama said in the speech at the National Defense University. “But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. It’s what our democracy demands.”



Mr. Obama said the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which was passed after Sept. 11, 2001, must be replaced to avoid keeping “America on a perpetual wartime footing.” He added: “Unless we discipline our thinking and our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.” He did not say what should replace that law, but he vowed: “I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further.” Mr. Obama’s speech covered the range of national security, counterterrorism and civil liberties issues facing the United States since 2001. 

 TARGETED KILLINGS 

For the first time, Mr. Obama admitted to ordering the death of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, and to the unintentional deaths of three other Americans, including Mr. Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, in drone strikes. Mr. Obama announced important shifts in the policy of using unmanned drones to kill citizens of other countries, in the territory of sovereign nations, without any public, judicial or meaningful Congressional oversight. From now on, the Central Intelligence Agency and the military will no longer target individuals or groups of people in countries like Pakistan based merely on the suspicion that their location or actions link them to Al Qaeda or other groups allied with the terrorist network. Those attacks, referred to as “signature strikes,” have slaughtered an untold number of civilians and have become as damaging a symbol of American overreach as the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.




Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Bit of Information...

...published in the Wall Street Journal for those who are overly eager to believe that President Obama orchestrated the targeting by the IRS of some conservative groups seeking nonprofit status.  Conservative groups were not the only ones targeted for investigation to see if their chief goal was political or nonprofit; several liberal groups, as well as others, were targeted too.

We understand how this controversy plays into the paranoia that is so rife in certain parts of the rightwing, and we understand how they will behave like chattering howler monkeys over it until they squeeze every last bit of Obama-hate from it and leave it on the cage floor to wither and rot.

Here is the Wall Street Journal:


Internal Emails Indicate IRS Targeting Designed By Low-Level Staffers 
 SAHIL KAPUR 9:27 AM EDT, THURSDAY MAY 23, 2013 

Internal IRS emails analyzed by the Wall Street Journal indicate -- albeit not conclusively -- that the agency's targeting of conservative groups was designed by low-level employees in the Cincinnati office. 

 [House Oversight] Committee staff on Wednesday released several documents related to the matter—including the IRS emails and a 2012 statement by Ms. Lerner—that helped provide a clearer picture of what happened. The criteria were developed by an IRS screening group in Cincinnati "based on cases they were seeing," Cindy Thomas, a supervisor in the Cincinnati office, wrote in a June 2011 email to an official in Washington. 

"When the screening group starts seeing new type cases that have similar issues, they meet and come up with criteria to identify 'emerging issue' and elevate information," she wrote. 

 In another email from June 2011, a screening manager in Cincinnati, John Shafer, outlined the criteria the group was using to select applications for extra review. They included references in the case file to "tea party," "patriots" or "9/12 Project"; issues such as government spending, debt and taxes; advocacy or legislative activity to "make America a better place to live"; and "statements in the case file that are critical of…how the country is being run." 

 The Journal notes that the emails don't rule out involvement by high-level officials but they also don't contain any evidence that the targeting scheme was developed by anyone other than low-level staffers.

This bit of information will disappoint many people who ardently hope to prove that President Obama himself is involved.

GOP overreaching on display (h/t ThinkProgress):

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe Thursday morning, panelist John Heilemann got into a heated argument with GOP Chairman Reince Priebus over President Obama’s role in the targeting of conservative groups applying for 501(c)4 status. Priebus offered a series of comments trying to tie Obama to the scandal — which Republicans have attempted to frame the IRS scandal as Obama’s ‘Watergate’ moment — leading Heilemann to shout “that’s an assertion that’s not actually borne out by any of the facts”: 


HEILEMANN: Okay. You used two phrases just now saying we have to wait for the facts but I’m entitled to my opinion and before we have the facts just wait. You then said it’s lawlessness and guerrilla warfare and Obama is in the middle of. You say we need to have all of the facts before we can determine whether President Obama is in the middle of it and now you’re asserting the fact he’s in the middle of it. That is your public tweet.

PRIEBUS: I would say it is consistent. When I start out an investigation and say it’s low level employees in Cincinnati and then you find out there are senior level people in Washington. Then Pfeiffer goes on five Sunday morning shows and says the White House didn’t know anything about this and two days later you figure out that the chief of staff actually knew about it. You have a hundred and, what? 15 visits from Shulman to the White House and 132 Democratic senators pleading with the IRS to investigate this. And the Chief of Staff of the White House is now involved or at least knew about it when — two days earlier Pfeiffer said they didn’t know about it.

HEILEMANN: 
I thought you said you have the facts you need. If you don’t have the facts you need why are you saying he’s in the middle of it? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Long Will the GOP Bark Up The Scandal Tree?




Conservative pols and bloggers are as high as glue-sniffers, bingeing on thoughts of driving Mr. Obama from office, gleeful and giddy with visions of impeachment dancing in their heads.

The pundits below, however, put conservatives' premature victory dance into perspective by recalling  history and how the GOP overreached the last time they tried to drive a duly elected Democratic president from office.

What many conservatives fail to understand is that a majority of the American people do not share their toxic hatred of Mr. Obama and do not share the GOP's obsession with and dream of destroying his presidency.  

The American people voted, by comfortable margins, for Mr. Obama twice to lead their country.  

The GOP needs to pay attention to that fact before they overdose on their "Get Obummer" halucinogen.





History Repeating
Ramesh Ponnuru

"Watch the way the Republicans are handling today’s controversies and it’s easy to see how their tactics could backfire again. You would expect that Senator Lindsey Graham, who helped to lead the impeachment proceedings against Clinton, had learned to be cautious in pursuing a scandal. Yet he decided to tie the Benghazi investigation explicitly to the 2016 presidential race, saying that the controversy would doom Hillary Clinton. If Graham were a Democratic plant trying to make the investigation look like a merely partisan exercise, he couldn’t have done better.

Republicans are trying to tie IRS misconduct to President Barack Obama, so far without much evidence. The Republican National Committee is demanding that the president apologize to targeted groups, apparently on the assumption that the public isn’t satisfied with his calling the IRS’s actions “intolerable and inexcusable.”

Other Republicans are saying that the president created a “culture” that made the scandal possible by being a partisan Democrat. These efforts are strained. If the evidence leads to the conclusion that the IRS bureaucracy acted on its own, that is scandal enough; it would serve to strengthen the public’s conservative instincts about the dangers of trusting the government, whoever happens to be in the Oval Office.

Republicans shouldn’t be obsessed with Obama, who won’t be on the ballot again, and shouldn’t make a legitimate inquiry into potential abuses of power appear to be -- or, worse, actually be -- part of a personal vendetta."





NationalJournal
Charlie Cook

"Republicans’ Hatred of Obama Blinds Them to Public Disinterest in Scandals

Republicans are so focused on their bitter battles against Obama, they can’t see how little impact the “scandals” have had on public opinion.

Red-faced Republicans, circling and preparing to pounce on a second-term Democratic president they loathe, do not respect, and certainly do not fear. Sound familiar? Perhaps reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s second term, after the Monica Lewinsky story broke? During that time, Republicans became so consumed by their hatred of Clinton and their conviction that this event would bring him down that they convinced themselves the rest of the country was just as outraged by his behavior as they were. By the way, what was Clinton’s lowest Gallup job-approval rating in his second term, throughout the travails of investigations and impeachment? It was 53 percent. The conservative echo machine had worked itself into such a frenzy, the GOP didn’t realize that the outrage was largely confined to the ranks of those who never voted for Clinton anyway.

These days, the country is even more polarized, and the conservative echo chamber is louder than ever before. Many conservatives made it all the way to Election Day last November unaware that their White House nominee was falling short. How could Mitt Romney possibly lose when everyone they knew was voting for him? Except that he did lose, and it wasn’t even a very close race. Five other post-World War II presidential elections had closer outcomes. The simple fact is that although the Republican sharks are circling, at least so far, there isn’t a trace of blood in the water.

A new CNN/ORC survey of 923 Americans this past Friday and Saturday, May 17-18, pegged Obama’s job-approval rating at 53 percent, up a statistically insignificant 2 points since their last poll, April 5-7, which was taken before the Benghazi, IRS, and AP-wiretap stories came to dominate the news and congressional hearing rooms. His disapproval rating was down 2 points since that last survey. In Gallup’s tracking poll, Obama’s average job-approval rating so far this year is 50 percent. For this past week, May 13-19, his average was 49 percent, the same as the week before. The most recent three-day moving average, through Sunday, May 19, was also 49 percent.

Over the past two weeks, even as these three stories/scandals have dominated the news, they have had precisely zero effect on the president’s job-approval numbers. His ratings are still bouncing around in the same narrow range they have been for weeks. Maybe that will change. Maybe these allegations will start getting traction with voters. But it might just be that Americans are more focused on an economy that is gradually coming out of the longest and deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Most economists say the current quarter will show a slowdown in economic growth from the first quarter’s 2.5 percent pace, but they expect the economy to be stronger in the second half of this year.

[skip]

One wonders how long Republicans are going to bark up this tree, perhaps the wrong tree, while they ignore their own party’s problems, which were shown to be profound in the most recent elections. Clearly none of these recent issues has had a real impact on voters yet. Republicans seem to be betting everything on them, just as they did in 1998—about which even Newt Gingrich (who was House speaker that year) commented recently to NPR, 'I think we overreached in ’98.'”


Will Republicans Screw Up Again? Some Are Already Overreaching 

Stuart Rothenberg

"Some Republicans are so excited at the thought of multiple controversies dogging the White House over the next few months (or longer) that they are already foaming at the mouth. 

 For example, on his syndicated radio show late last week, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee compared reports of the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status to what happened in Nazi Germany. 

 And, of course, you knew that some conservatives and Republicans (such as Glenn Beck, Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann) couldn’t resist mentioning the “I” word — impeachment — almost immediately as they struggled to show their anger and contempt for President Barack Obama and his administration. 

 But Republicans ought to remember that they have seen this movie before, and the ending was not what they hoped for or expected." 

Monday, May 20, 2013

At Least 37 confirmed dead in monster Oklahoma tornado



"After the ear-shattering howl of the killer storm subsided, survivors emerged from shelters to see an apocalyptic vision -- the remnants of cars twisted and piled on each other to make what had been a parking lot look like a junk yard. 

Bright orange flames roaring from a structure that was blazing even as rain continued to fall. At least one school was in the tornado's devastation zone in Moore, Oklahoma. Lance West, a reporter for CNN affiliate KFOR, said that rescuers were searching for students trapped in debris at Plaza Towers Elementary School. 

There were no immediate reports on the condition of the children but rescuers swarmed to the scene to begin a painstaking search. There were 75 students and staff at the school when the storm hit, KFOR reported. "Our worst fears are becoming realized this afternoon," Bill Bunting, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center, told CNN soon after the tornado struck.


The massive tornado first touched down in Newcastle and churned toward Interstate 44 and S.W. 149th Street. It ripped down Santa Fe and hit Briarwood Elementary School, destroying the building. Parents ran to the school, trying to make sure their children were all right. Firefighters and police are also on scene, trying to rescue trapped students and staff. The tornado left behind incredible destruction. It wiped out entire neighborhoods, leaving behind piles of debris." 



Possibly the worst tornado to ever touch down in an American city.
Horrible reports of children and teachers unaccounted for.

This is something the medical examiner from Moore, OK, said he's never seen in his life.

I will post the Red Cross numbers where we can donate to the survivors and the families of the victims.


Horrible.

UPDATE 11 PM EDST:

Number of dead at 51.


RED CROSS DISASTER RELIEF FUND

MORE ON HOW TO HELP TORNADO VICTIMS

Sunday, May 19, 2013

SOME THINGS THAT NEED TO BE REPORTED

Much is being shouted in Scandal Land.  But much has also been lost down the memory hole. 

To refresh our memories while the Scandal Land Follies are being played out, and to bring some proportion to the hysteria that is being manufactured by the opposition, I'm posting the following (with links):




"The one dismal benefit of this particular NotSufficientlyTaxExemptGate pseudocrisis may be that, as with all screw ups or distortions or outright abuses of government power, it's only discovered to be Very Very Bad when a conservative somewhere finds themselves on the receiving end of it. 

Under the last administration, protesting against the Iraq War got you put on an actual Pentagon list of possible terrorist threats, and nobody from the other side of the aisle gave a flying f--k. Quakers got put on that one. Effing Quakers. 

The uncanny nature by which the Terror Alert Level got itself raised before important elections or other politically helpful dates didn't result in outrage even after one of the architects of the Rainbow of Terror admitted that yes, he was pressured to do exactly that. 

And yes, as others have pointed out, one of the vanishingly few times the IRS ever investigated a church for possible violations of their nonpartisan, nonprofit status it was for an anti-war sermon, during the Bush administration, two days before the election that won Bush a second term. That wasn't a scandal either. During the same year the IRS launched an investigation of the NAACP for opposing Bush's reelection. 

No Republicans were calling for Bush to resign over that particular outrage. 

 The Fast and Furious program, long been peddled by current Republicans as the worstest scandal to hit anything anywhere until the next worstest scandal, started under Bush. 

Nobody gives a damn. 

During the Bush administration, there were 13 terror attacks on U.S. diplomatic compounds (not including Iraq or Afghanistan), killing 98. 

You couldn't find a Republican lawmaker then who could even tell you what the talking points for a particular bombing or rocket attack or armed assault were at the time, much less one who decided that the real scandal was whether administration officials classified the attack as a "terrorist attack" or an "act of terror" in the days afterwards, and what might that difference mean? 

What's this? In trying to track down illegal leaks of classified information, the Department of Justice obtained reporter phone records? Yeah, that's nasty. And it's funny how that kept happening; under the Bush administration, the FBI did it to the New York Times. It was under the Bush administration, in fact, that we decided government could obtain all phone records, nationwide, and no longer even needed a reason for doing it, and if they had done it illegally—oops!—then we passed a damn law making it legal after-the-fact and immunizing all the people who did it. 


That's how much of a non-scandal it turned out to be. We were so damn helpful that we passed laws allowing government to break laws. What about the very Department of Justice itself being politicized—being intentionally populated with members of a single ideology while removing less stalwartly ideological members? That happened. 

That was a damn fine example of, in McConnell's parlance, an administration using the powers of government to "squelch" their ideological opponents. It was almost a true scandal, even, given how overt it was and how close the architects were to the White House itself. Almost, anyway, but you'd be surprised at how quickly we can get over these things."





Down the memory hole!  

Glad to be able to remind people who are apoplectic over these "scandals" what REALLY GOOD scandals look like.

And I'm glad to remind everyone of how this is more partisan than it is "scandal." More attempts at throwing more doo-doo at the president, hoping it will stick.

Instead of waiting for all the facts to come out, the rightwing noise machine had indicted and impeached the president.

This has never been about getting to the truth in the Benghazi tragedy, the IRS bungling, or the DoJ leak tracking.  

This is and always has been about "getting Obumma."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

John Dean: I knew Richard Nixon. I actually worked for him. Barack Obama is NO Richard Nixon.



John Dean in his own words debunks those who are howling about President Obama being the second coming of Richard Nixon.  In their feverish, crazed state of scandalitis, anything that their delirium presents to them seems like reality.

Here's John Dean who intimately knew how Richard M. Nixon, when it came to being a crook, was in a class all by himself.

"John Dean, who served as White House counsel under the disgraced former president, said that anyone applying the Nixonian label to Obama is 'challenged in their understanding of history.' 

There's no legitimate comparison, Dean argued, between the Internal Revenue Service's improper targeting of conservative groups, the Department of Justice's subpoena of Associated Press phone records or the investigation into the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya and the scandals that ultimately led to Nixon's undoing.

 'There are no comparisons. They’re not comparable with any of the burgeoning scandals,' Dean told the Boston Globe. 

 Dean was present in the Oval Office when Nixon suggested using the IRS to target his foes." 







The truth is that every president since Nixon — except possibly Gerald Ford — has been compared to Nixon at some point, according to The New Republic‘s Eric Kingsbury: 

 "Of course, most of these comparisons require a bit of historic amnesia. While Nixon used the IRS to intimidate and investigate his enemies, there’s no evidence that Obama had any clue about the agency’s wrongdoings. There also doesn’t seem to be any cover-up, since the story itself was uncovered by an Inspector General report that was slated to be made public this week. And it appears that the Justice Department broke its own binding regulations, but not necessarily the letter of the law, in secretly obtaining two months’ worth of Associated Press phone records. It’s troubling, just not quite Nixon territory." 

Other recent presidents — notably George W. Bush — came much closer to Nixonland. 

President Obama isn’t even in Iran-Contra territory, another Republican scandal the GOP often likes to invoke. 

Notably, the only scandals those on the right can use as a reference point for a real administration-shaking crisis were all perpetrated by Republicans.

SCANDOOOOOOOOL!

It's been quite a week.

The Keystone Cops of politics, the Republican Party, outdid itself with its yawping hysteria, shouting Impeach! Impeach! INPEACH! and threatening more Congressional hearings into why President Obama ordered a marine to hold his umbrella during a rainy press conference with the Prime Minister of Turkey.  INPEACH!

We found out that Republican operatives  deliberately and with malice altered White House emails in order to make the Benghazi response look like a cover-up.  Benghazi, the GOP's leaden egg from a  demented goose, is seen by the wingers as more terribly awful, and sinister than Watergate!  Abu Ghraibgate!  Plamegate! Enrongate!  and Munching Babiesgate! (I made that last one up.)

We heard from the Department of Fainting Couches and Pearl Clutchers' chairwoman, "Peggums" Noonan, that Benghazi is "worse than Watergate!"  A statement so bizarre, so utterly outside the realm of sanity that we truly fear for the little lady's mental stability and suggest that the cause of her "colorful" ramblings  may be the result of conversations she's had with the pink elephants and purple unicorns.

Big Dick Cheney (R-War Criminal) sneeringly hissed on FAUX NOOZ that l'affaire Benghazi is the worst he's seen in his career! 

His interview with a FAUX NOOZ interview person went something like this:

"Ahh, but the Benghazis that's... that's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with... geometric logic... that a duplicate key to the Benghazi DID exist, and I'd have produced that key if they hadn't of pulled my arse out of action. I, I, I know now they were only trying to protect the evul Obummer..." 


Unhappy with the non-scandal that Benghazi has become, our foaming-at-the-mouth opposition party has sunk its very long canines into another SCANDOOL!: l'affaire IRS.  As they cackle with delight, rubbing their sharp little claws together while vision of INPEACHES! dance in their heads, we wait for more information to emerge--first from the Bush appointee who ran the agency until November of 2012.  What did he know and when did it know it!  And then we'll sort out all the political skullduggery, (which is part of every scandal-sniffer's job), from the facts.  

So far all we know is that the GOP's biggest embarrassment, and the country's leading idiot Representative, Michele Bachmann) (R-Monkey Donuts) is claiming that Obummer will come after you, drag you from your homes and churches and rip out your tongues unless you give up your guns, your children, your kittehs and a whole shyte-list of other horrors that the squirrels in her very special head are telling her.

Meanwhile, over at the clown-car cable news outlet, FAUX NOOZ, we have their gazillionth outrage over, wait for it... 





UMBRELLAS!  








Keep those SCANDOOLS coming, FAUX and FIENDS, the country lives to hear you call out the Kenyan Socialist on his Commie plans to turn America into his private empire so that he can take YOUR MONEY and send his wife and daughters to Mexico, steal all their chihuahas, plant them in Mrs. Obama's White House vegetable garden, and take away our guns!










Little Tweeting Sarah:

Sarah Palin ✔ @SarahPalinUSA Scandalous Hat Trick Mr. President, when it rains it pours, but most Americans hold their own umbrellas. Today in... http://fb.me/zAZryzjj 8:26 PM - 16 May 2013





Dear Sarah,  FAIL!  

Friday, May 17, 2013

CBS IS REPORTING THAT GOP ALTERED WHITE HOUSE EMAILS

CONFIRMED: 


GOP Sources Altered Benghazi E-Mails To Suggest A Cover-Up, Reporter Confirms


One day after The White House released 100 pages of Benghazi emails, a report has surfaced alleging that Republicans released a set with altered text. 

 CBS News reported Thursday that leaked versions sent out by the GOP last Friday had visible differences than Wednesday's official batch. Two correspondences that were singled out in the report came from National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes and State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. 

 The GOP version of Rhodes' comment, according to CBS News: "We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don't want to undermine the FBI investigation." 

 The White House email: "We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation." 

 The GOP version of Nuland's comment, according to CBS News: The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda's presence and activities of al-Qaeda." 

 The White House email: "The penultimate point could be abused by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings." 

The news parallels a Tuesday CNN report which initially introduced the contradiction between what was revealed in a White House Benghazi email version, versus what was reported in media outlets. 

On Monday, Mother Jones noted that the Republicans' interim report included the correct version of the emails, signaling that more malice and less incompetence may have been at play with the alleged alterations. 

 In that April interim report on Benghazi (which Buck noted), the House Republicans cited these emails (in footnotes 56 and 57) to note an important point: 

"State Department emails reveal senior officials had 'serious concerns' about the talking points, because Members of Congress might attack the State Department for 'not paying attention to Agency warnings' about the growing threat in Benghazi." 

Despite the White House's Wednesday move to release emails, Republicans continued to call for more information on Thursday. 

 "While these hundred are good and they shed light on what happened, we have nearly 25,000 that they haven't released," Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told Fox News on Thursday.

Also this from Polk Award winning journalist, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:




More on ABC's erroneous report on emails:


"...on Tuesday of this week, CNN’s Jake Tapper published the entirety of the White House email, which showed ABC’s take on the story to be completely false."


From the Department of Moronic GOP pundits comes this piece of gobshite from "Our Lady of the Magic Dolphins," Peggy Noonan.  She really ought to keep away from the gin:

"
We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate."


Andrew Sullivan asks:


"Can she actually believe this? Has this president broken the law, lied under oath, or authorized war crimes? 

Has he traded arms for hostages with Iran? 

Has he knowingly sent his cabinet out to tell lies about his sex life? 

Has he sat by idly as an American city was destroyed by a hurricane? 

Has he started a war with no planning for an occupation? 

Has he started a war based on a lie, and destroyed the US’ credibility and moral standing while he was at it, leaving nothing but a smoldering and now rekindled civil sectarian war? 

 So far as I can tell, this president has done nothing illegal, unethical or even wrong." 


So in the face of all this hanky-panky and dishonesty by the GOP in trying to alter the substance of the WH emails--a terrible scandal in itself--what did the House do yesterday?  It voted for the 38th time to repeal the ACA.  A total and complete waste of taxpayers' money and nothing more than another sop to throw at their base.  Another scandal.  But IOKIYAR.

It's become apparent to the American people that the GOP has overreached on these issues and are more interested in hanging a scandal around this president's neck than in getting to the truth.

No wonder people are turned off by politics and government.

This is for those poop-flinging conservatives who were so eager to call Mr. Obama "Nixonian."  Congratulations on revealing your inner chimpanzee:



The Washington Post editorial board chimes in with probably the best description of the modern GOP - "small-minded, hyperpartisan and foolish": "This is one of those Washington dust-ups where the actual facts don’t seem to matter much to the scandal mongers. [...] By focusing on the phony issue of the talking points, Republicans are missing the opportunity to press for needed reforms at State and a more active U.S. policy in the Middle East. They should also be spurring a sluggish FBI investigation to determine who really organized and led the attacks in Benghazi; it has yet to be established whether they were ordered by local jihadists, terrorists linked to al-Qaeda or someone else, and whether they were planned because of the Sept. 11 anniversary or inspired by the events in Cairo. Instead, with their bigger-than-Watergate rhetoric, the GOP’s scandal-pushers are making themselves look small-minded, hyperpartisan and foolish." 

The Los Angeles Times editorial board:
  "On Monday, an exasperated Obama, referring to the emails, said: "There's no 'there' there." The same is true of the allegation of a broader Benghazi coverup. And now that we know, let's move on." 


Scot Lehigh at The Boston Globe:
Watergate? Nixonian? Impeachment?
Please. Someone get the smelling salts. [...]
[C]harges of a Benghazi coverup don’t pass the evidence test. Comparisons to Nixon are idiotic. And it’s the height of partisan absurdity to suggest that anything we’ve seen in these so-called scandals could justify impeachment.