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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Palin resignation costs Alaska at least $40,000

Who says you can't find a good bargain these days?
Source: AP
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Early estimates put the cost of Sarah Palin's midterm resignation as Alaska governor at a minimum of $40,000, not including a special legislative session partly linked to her departure.
The preliminary figures obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request show it cost the state almost $14,100 for the July 26 swearing-in ceremony of new Gov. Sean Parnell.
The price tag for moving Palin — the former GOP vice presidential candidate — and her family from the governor's mansion in Juneau amounted to roughly $3,328. Palin's spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton, says suggesting the resignation cost the state is "incredibly misleading." She says the resignation ceremony was added to a previously scheduled governor's picnic and was organized by the lieutenant governor's office.
The tally doesn't include the estimated $100,000 it cost for a one-day special session last month in which lawmakers approved Palin's pick to replace Parnell as lieutenant governor and overrode her veto of federal stimulus funds intended for energy efficiency projects. LinkHere

Secrets of Alleged Oil Price Manipulation Exposed

Source: CNBC/NYT
Its superfast, supersecret oil trading software was called the Hammer.
And if the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is right, the name fit well with an intricate scheme that allowed commodity traders in Chicago working for Optiver, a little-known company based in Amsterdam, to put their orders first in line and subtly manipulate the price of oil to the company’s advantage.
Oil Barrels
Transcripts and taped conversations of actions that took place in 2007, included in the commission’s case, reveal the secretive workings of high-frequency trading, a fast-growing Wall Street business that is suddenly drawing scrutiny in Washington. Critics say this high-speed form of computerized trading, which is used in a wide range of financial markets, enables its practitioners to profit at other investors’ expense.
Traders in the Chicago office of Optiver openly talked among themselves of “whacking” and “bullying up” the price of oil. But when called to account by officials of the New York Mercantile Exchange, they described their actions as just “providing liquidity.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened up an investigation into high-speed-trading practices, in particular the ability of some of the most powerful computers to jump to the head of the trading queue and — in a fraction of a millisecond — capture the evanescent trading spread before the rest of the market does. LinkHere

Always the next trade deal!!!!!!!

Source: AFP
Trade deals with Libya played a "very big part" in Britain's decision to include the Lockerbie bomber in a prisoner transfer deal with Tripoli, a government minister acknowledged in an interview Saturday.
Justice Secretary Jack Straw told the Daily Telegraph that trade and an oil exploration deal between BP and Libya were factors in deciding whether to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi eligible for transfer to a prison back home.
Asked if trade and oil were part of the discussions, Straw said: "Yes, a very big part of that. I?m unapologetic about that... Libya was a rogue state. We wanted to bring it back into the fold.
"And yes, that included trade because trade is an essential part of it and subsequently there was the BP deal." LinkHere

The History of a Campaign That Failed

By Sarah Palin
Former Governator of a Really Big State

By Clay Reynolds
September 04, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- Once upon a time there was a little boy named Barack Hussein Obama who was born in Hawaii, which is near Kenya, or maybe part of Kenya--who can tell? At any rate he was born in Hawaii, maybe, on an island named Oahu, which rhymes with “Wahoo,” which is the yell that came from my daughter’s bedroom so many times when she and her boyfriend were watching the Christian Broadcasting Network’s review of Gospel Favorites—they were such fans!-- and his father was from Kenya, which made the little boy half an African American--a real African American, not one of the fake kinds from Georgia or someplace--or at least half an African American, since his mother wasn't from Kenya or Hawaii, but was from Kansas, which is part of Chicago. I think. At least, there are some nice stores there and a really tall building and a lake nobody can swim in because it’s so polluted bigger than the Bering Straits that you can’t really see across whether the Russians are there are no and can’t swim in because it’s so cold. LinkHere

Republicans Endorse Bizarre Obama School Speech Conspiracies

Keep them uneducated and servient to their masters. Faux Propaganda and the Right Wing
WASHINGTON — The White House on Friday dismissed as pointless the furor over President Barack Obama's plan to deliver a televised back-to-school speech to the nation's students.
"I think we've reached a little bit of the silly season when the president of the United States can't tell kids in school to study hard and stay in school," presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. "I think both political parties agree that the dropout rate is something that threatens our long-term economic success."
Obama's planned address to students has prompted a surprising push-back from some quarters over what the White House sees as an important but innocuous topic.
Some conservative critics say Obama is trying to promote a political agenda and overstepping his bounds, taking the federal government too far into public school business.
Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, a potential presidential contender in 2012, said Obama's speech is "uninvited" and that the president's move raises questions of content and motive.
Many school districts have decided not to show Obama's speech, to be delivered at 12 noon EDT Tuesday, partly in response to concerns from parents.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, on Friday defended Obama's plan to address students.
"The bottom line is we need the president of the United States of America to use his bully pulpit to talk to kids about the importance of education and to help inspire kids," she said on "The John Gambling Show" on radio station WOR NewsTalk Radio 710 in New York. LinkHere
Obama's Education Speech - Community Action - I'm Mad and this is what I did.
Hello Kossacks,
I'm not much of a diary guy, most of mine are bombs. Finally I got mad and took some action. I wrote this letter to my local School District - Dripping Springs Independent School District near Austin Texas.
They are not showing Obama's education speech in school, other than letting teachers in social studies or civics classes show them if they want to. This is only for the 11:00 Central time classes. So almost no students will see the speech. I doubt any teacher will dare show the speech. This is not acceptable. I am organizing a viewing party so parents that want to can come with their student to watch the speech live, and we can do it together. People theaten a boycott of school if they show it. Well, I am threatening a boycott if they don't!

Below is the Letter I sent the school board. I will include emails and numbers so you can help and contact them and show them what patriotic Americans that care about education can do.
Dear DSISD School Board Members and Superintendent Herrick,
This statement is directly for the DSISD Website:
In a letter received last week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated the following, "President Obama announced that on September 8 – the first day of school for many children across America – he will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education. The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens."
We have received a number of inquiries about whether President Obama’s speech to the schoolchildren of America next week will be available in Dripping Springs ISD. Due to the logistics of making a web cast available during that time of the school day and the belief that our limited time with students must be focused on our curriculum and instruction, teachers will not be required to show the address. However, Dripping Springs ISD will treat this address like any other national news event and allow individual teachers to determine whether or not their class will view the speech if it aligns to the curriculum and is timely.
We expect all students to attend school on September 8, just like every other school day; however, we want to make sure we are protecting our parents’ rights by allowing them to exclude their children from this activity if that is their wish. Any person who objects to their child viewing the Presidential address may request that they be excused from the activity by contacting their child’s teacher or campus. For parents who would like to view the speech with their children, a downloadable video will be made available after the speech at http://www.whitehouse.gov/...
What this says to me is that if I don't want my child to hear the speech to be given by President Obama, I can take my son out of class, but if I WANT to have my child hear him, I will probably have to do it on my computer at home, outside of school.
The School District has totally capitulated to the politics of this issue. I view the School Board and the Superintendent as very weak on this stated resolution of the presentation of the speech. This is the President of the United States of America giving a speech to schoolchildren about education. This has not happened since President George H.W. Bush gave a similar speech on October 1st, 1991 from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, D.C. Here is the link from the Bush Presidential Library for the text of the speech:
http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/... .
Cont. Link Here

Friday, September 04, 2009

Gotta remember, Wanker Delay will be doin his thing on "So You Think You Can Dance" far more important to Faux viewers

Faux Won't Broadcast Obama Speech To Congress
After all let"s face it the mobs at the Town Halls are more educational for their viewers
Broadcasting & Cable reports that the network will instead broadcast the premiere of the new season of "So You Think You Can Dance" at 8 p.m. as well as the first new episode of "Glee" at 9 p.m.: LinkHere

Former Attorney General Ashcroft Can Be Sued For Post-9/11 Detentions, Court Rules

Panel: Government Tactics Were "Repugnant To The Constitution"
BOISE, Idaho — A federal appeals court delivered a stinging rebuke Friday to the Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 detention policies, ruling that former Attorney General John Ashcroft can be held liable for people who were wrongfully detained as material witnesses after 9/11.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the government's improper use of material witnesses after Sept. 11 was "repugnant to the Constitution and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history."
The court found that a man who was detained as a witness in a federal terrorism case can sue Ashcroft for allegedly violating his constitutional rights. Abdullah al-Kidd, a U.S. citizen and former University of Idaho student, filed the lawsuit against Ashcroft and other officials in 2005, claiming his civil rights were violated when he was detained as a material witness for two weeks in 2003.
He said the investigation and detention not only caused him to lose a scholarship to study in Saudi Arabia, but cost him employment opportunities and caused his marriage to fall apart.
He argued that his detention exemplified an illegal government policy created by Ashcroft to arrest and detain people – particularly Muslim men and those of Arab decent – as material witnesses if the government suspected them of a crime but had no evidence to charge them.
Ashcroft had asked the judge to dismiss the matter, saying that because his position at the Department of Justice was prosecutorial he was entitled to absolute immunity from the lawsuit. Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller would only say Friday that the agency is reviewing the opinion.
Phone messages left at Ashcroft's Washington D.C. lobbying and law firms were not immediately returned Friday afternoon. LinkHere

NEW WEST BANK settlements rebuked.

The White House said Friday it regretted Israel's reported plans to build new settlements, calling it "inconsistent" with its international commitments to the peace process.
"We regret the reports of Israel's plans to approve additional settlement construction," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
"Continued settlement activity is inconsistent with Israel's commitment under the Roadmap," he said, referring to the blueprint for a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"As the president has said before, the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement expansion and we urge that it stop," Gibbs said. LinkHere

"Netanyahu is walking a thin political wire. In order not to bring down on himself a rebellion in the Likud faction

Israel will approve construction of West Bank settlement homes before it considers a freeze sought by Washington, a top government official said on Friday, sparking Palestinian outrage.
The plan is also certain to anger the US administration, which has pushed for a freeze of Jewish settlements in an effort to restart the stalled Middle East peace process.
"In the next days the prime minister will approve construction starts and then he might consider a freeze for a limited time under certain conditions," the official told AFP, asking not to be identified.
He confirmed a report in the Jerusalem Post saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would consider a moratorium on settlement construction "for a few months" after the green light is given to build hundreds of new homes in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat reacted sharply, saying "the only thing suspended by this announcement will be the peace process."
"This is absolutely unacceptable," he said told AFP by telephone from Paris, where he is accompanying Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
In another reaction, France said such a move was contrary to Israel's commitments in the Middle East peace process.
"It is evidently totally contrary to the spirit of the peace process and Israeli engagements and to the dynamic of the peace process," foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier told reporters in Paris.
"Our position is without any ambiguity. We condemn it."
Israeli media reports said work on 2,500 housing units already under way would continue as part of the plan widely seen as an attempt to appease far right-wing members of Netanyahu's hawkish Likud party.
The international community considers all Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory to be illegal and a major hurdle to Middle East peace efforts that have been at a standstill since December.
The Jerusalem Post said any temporary moratorium on construction would happen if "conditions are right," including if Arab states move forward with the normalisation of ties that Israel is seeking.
A similar report in the Haaretz newspaper said Netanyahu told US officials of his decision to authorise construction a few weeks ago.
"The Americans do not agree and are not happy about it, but we put it on the table a long time ago," the daily quoted an unnamed senior official as saying.
Israeli media said Netanyahu would take up the issue with Washington's Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who is due in the region next week.
Erakat insisted Israel had already responded "with total defiance" to US calls for a freeze. "The real Israeli official answer is being conducted on the ground by continuing the building of housing units and settlements," he said. LinkHere

Canadians Defend Their Health Care System

Three Thousand Turn Out To Support Health Care Reform In Seattle -- Media Ignores

I have personally never been to Seattle, Washington, but I am reliably informed that it is a major American city that enjoys many of the technological amenities of modern life, including news organizations with real live reporters and cameras and internet access and even a major newspaper called the Seattle Times. So, there's really no reason why the media couldn't have reported on the fact that yesterday, 3,000 people attended a rally for health care reform in Westlake Park. According to one person who was there, though, no one could be bothered:
I've no idea where I was yesterday afternoon, but it couldn't possibly have been at an energetic, 3000-person strong pro-healthcare reform rally in Westlake Park, because I couldn't find even the tiniest mention of it in this morning's Seattle Times, so apparently, it never happened. And I have absolutely no idea where all those photos and videos on my camera came from.
It's like my own personal Twilight Zone.
Anyway, health care reform proponents: they exist and can be captured on film! LinkHere

CNN: White House Drafting Health Care Bill... NBC: CNN Report False

WH getting more hands on

Posted:Filed Under: White House From NBC's Chuck Todd
Contrary to a CNN report, the White House is not drafting its own health-care bill, according to a senior administration official.
The White House is, however, contemplating using "legislative language" in the president's speech on Wednesday, which pulls together the 80% they believe all of the four Congressional bills agree on. But even THAT hasn't been decided on yet. As one person said to me, anyone who is claiming we're writing our own health care bill is "leaning over their ski tips."
Still, we can report that there is some frustration in the White House with the Senate Finance Committee and the fact that they haven't reported out a bill yet. There are some advising Chairman Max Baucus to report out a skeleton bill and then, with White House help, starting to cobble together a bill.
So, take all of this together, and it's clear the White House has decided to get more heavily involved in the details of how this legislation is being put together, but it would not be correct to say they are writing the bill themselves. LinkHere
Obama's Top Health Care Opponent: No PhD In Medicine, No Scholarly Articles On Health Care

As someone who's been involved in the patient safety movement since the mid-1990s, I've admired her pugnacity and plainspokenness. Unfortunately, when I decided to look a lot more closely at RID, it turned out that Good Betsy was not quite "the real McCoy" either. The assertions she makes about herself and her organization teeter at the border between exaggeration and being deliberately misleading.
It's a good cause - at least on paper. What a shame that even when Bad Betsy isn't bashing health care reform, Good Betsy doesn't seem to have found the time to do anything of significance.

Ohhhhhhh Shit Please, lock the psychotic fool up!!!!!!!

On Mike Gallagher's radio program yesterday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) offered a novel theory as to why Democrats want her out of office: They don't want her to become the first woman president. LinkHere

Newsweek's Michael Hersh: Madoff Report Indicted Entire Regulatory System

The SEC's Long Tide of Surrender
An entire regulatory system was indicted by the Madoff report.
Superrich, Superbad
In the Company of Madoff: Excesses and low-finance shenanigans of the world's moneyed elite

Kudos Mr Franken, I was never quite sure about you, so long Bachmann hopefully.

Franken Calms Down Health Care Opponents
While coverage of the health care reform debate has focused on yelling, booing and fistfights, not all engagements between lawmakers and constituents turn hostile. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) discussed his beliefs and goals about health care reform at the Minnesota State Fair Wednesday with a group of constituents, and calmed down some who were upset, giving clear, honest answers to thought-out, sincere questions. "I thank you for your passion," he says to a vocal member of the crowd, "we need that, and we need to have these conversations." And then, remarkably, she calms down, and everyone discusses the matter in a reasonable and cool-headed manner. "We all want reform, the question is how do we do it," Franken said. A mixed bag of opponents and supporters gathered around as the senator explained his perspective, how he will vote, and how he believes the legislation will benefit the people of Minnesota and the nation. LinkHere

Ex-US Soldier Gets 5 Life Sentences For Iraqi Deaths

Some Justice at last for Abeer and her family!!!!!!
PADUCAH, Ky. — A former soldier received five consecutive life sentences Friday for his role in the rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager and the slaying of three of her family members.
"What the defendant did was horrifying and inexcusable," U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell said in sentencing to Steven Dale Green, 24, of Midland, Texas. "The court believes any lesser sentence would be insufficient."
A civilian jury in western Kentucky convicted Green in May of raping Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, conspiracy and multiple counts of murder.
Green shot and killed the teen's mother, father and sister, then became the third soldier to rape her before shooting her in the face. Her body was set on fire March 12, 2006, at their rural home outside Mahmoudiya, Iraq, about 20 miles south of Baghdad.
The panel couldn't reach an unanimous decision about whether Green should get a death sentence, automatically making Green's sentence life in prison. Barring a successful appeal or presidential pardon, Green will not be eligible for release from prison.
Green told the judge he merely followed orders from other soldiers involved in the attack.
"You can act like I'm a sociopath. You can act like I'm a sex offender or whatever," Green said. "If I had not joined the Army, if I had not gone to Iraq, I would not have got caught up in anything."
At a hearing in May, Green repeatedly apologized to the al-Janabi family, saying he knew little about Iraqis and realizes now his actions then were wrong. Green described the attacks as "evil" and said when he dies "there will be justice and whatever I deserve, I'll get." LinkHere

"It's Time to Ask: Has the Party No Shame Left?" UNEQUIVOCALLY THE PARTY HAS NO SHAME LEFT

"Rarely is the questioned asked:
Is our children learning?" — George W. Bush, Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

James Moore: The Lies of Texas Are Upon

A friend called to talk about his daughter being caught in the middle of one of the kinds of controversies that only happen in Texas. His daughter's teacher had sent an email that her school was not going to show the president's national address to students in their school. We tell people not to mess with Texas but that's because we reserve the right to mess it up ourselves, which we are doing quite effectively. This latest hypocrisy, though, is almost beyond imagining, but is a logical next de-evolutionary step for progressive thinking under the Lone Star. LinkHere

Slate: How The GOP Tries To Draft Doctors Against Their Will Into The Kill Obamacare Movement

Can the Republican Party draft a doctor, entirely against his will and political inclination, into the Kill Obamacare movement? Well, it can try. Here is what happened to a high-school acquaintance of mine, a physician and medical school professor, who prefers that I not use his name. I'll call him Fred.
Fred received by fax a draft press release from Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who is an orthopedist, head of the Republican Study Committee, and chairman of something called the Physicians' Council for Responsible Reform. According to its Web site, this group seeks "to defeat Members of Congress who support 'ObamaCare' in the upcoming 2010 elections." The PCRR is a front for the National Republican Congressional Committee. The draft press release listed Fred's name along with 32 others as members of the council, "comprised of physicians who are respected by their peers." These worthies, it said, "will be receiving special briefings and providing input to Republican members of Congress," including House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, "during their deliberations of the Obama administration's efforts to reform health care." On the draft press release, Fred's name was circled and connected by a line to the margin note, "Your name here."
A handwritten note on the cover sheet explained:
Because of your invaluable experience, we are asking you to represent California as a consultant on the Physicians' Council.
We're running a press release to honor the achievements of you and other concerned physicians like you. Please call me with your approval at 1-877-416-7188.
Fred phoned the number and was connected to an employee at an InfoCision call center in Austintown, Ohio. The employee pretended to work for the Physicians' Council. This person played Fred a prerecorded message from Rep. Price: LinkHere

Obama Schoolchildren Speech Drives Right-Wingers Batty
UPDATE, 8:17 P.M. EST: ABC News is reporting that some school districts in six states (Texas, Illinois, Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota), are refusing to air President Obama's speech to students.
Yesterday, I noted that Florida's GOP Chair Jim Greer had heard about President Barack Obama's intention to address the schoolchildren of America on the occasion of the start of a new school year, and went quite mental, warning darkly that the address was nothing more than a dastardly inculcation into socialism and a viral spread of liberal propaganda. Naively, I imagined this would be a derangement confined to a few weird nobodies, but, duh, I forgot: everyone is crazy now. So, this matter has thus become a Thing. Let's dispense with the highlights!
Glenn Beck hit this early, in a hurry, announcing that he would be countering Obama's address by airing a "special one-hour broadcast next Tuesday on television on the indoctrination of your children." Naturally, new wacko-target Van Jones figured into Beck's remarks, along with a warning that the "republic is under attack" from a video that encourages kids to do homework and stuff: LinkHere

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Kabul U.S. Embassy Guard: Bosses Required Sex Acts For Promotion... Whistleblower Allegedly Forced Out After Exposing Scandal
KABUL - The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan has banned alcohol and assigned American personnel to watch over the embassy's security guards following allegations of lewd behavior and sexual misconduct at their living quarters.
An independent watchdog group alleged this week guards hired by a private contractor were threatened and intimidated at their offsite living quarters, and photos were released of guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity at parties flowing with booze.
The State Department inspector general is leading an investigation of the contractor, ArmorGroup North America. LinkHere

Bachmann, Beck actively trying to get Obama killed

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Paging A Different President Obama

Non-fire-breathing Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein actually understated the case earlier this month, when he could finally take it no more and wrote:
The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.
The nation needs to see a different President Obama next Wednesday when he addresses a joint session of Congress.
His laid-back attempt to take the high road just isn't working.
It was all very noble and everything to try to be bipartisan. It was most excellently un-Bush-like to actually ask Congress to try its hand at legislating. It was admirably high-minded to attempt conciliation, to adopt a professorial role, and stay at 30,000 feet.
But no more. The Republican Party and the national discourse have been hijacked by unhinged zealots. The Democratic congressional leadership has shown itself to be incoherent, incapable and corrupted. So for Obama, it's either time to fight back or give up.
Obama could, I guess, back off on everything remotely controversial in his health care proposal, throw the public option and universal coverage and end-of-life counseling overboard, and try to get everyone to find common ground. But even that wouldn't appease his critics. They won't stop fighting just because he does. Their goal is for Obama to lose.
Alternately, Obama could commit himself to some specifics, call out his critics, and remind people why all this is so damned important.
Here's one thing he could say: I'm not going to chase after the crazies on the right anymore. I cannot do business with these people, try as I may. I reach out and they accuse me of being a socialist who wants to pull the plug on grandma.
He could bolster this argument with nearly endless examples of the extreme, vitriolic and outright balmy things leading Republicans have been saying about him and his plan lately. Heck, just yesterday, Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe told a town hall audience that Obama is disarming the military, is destroying everything good about America and is determined to turn foreign terrorists loose on U.S. soil. LinkHere

Sue 'Em Back to the Stone Age: The RNC Files Suit to Reverse the Small Donor Revolution

It's a bizarre time for the RNC to be arguing that it needs to be taking more - not less - money from corporate interests. Just last week, Public Citizen released a report showing that bailed-out banks have spent $6 million in federal campaign contributions since the election. If the soft money ban is lifted, we can expect these figures to increase exponentially, for special interest domination of federal politics to attain new heights, and for the small donor revolution to face extinction.
To the millions of grassroots activists and fundraisers who came of age in the 2008 election, the year 2000 seems like the era of the dinosaurs - a time when the fundraising landscape was the fiercely guarded territory of corporate behemoths, whose massive footprints and titanic struggles for dominance made any grassroots level activity seem pathetically minuscule. But last week, a three-judge panel of the D.C. federal court heard oral arguments in a case where the RNC is seeking to turn back the clock to a time when Obama's much-vaunted "small-donor revolution" would have been drowned in a flood of largely unregulated corporate "soft money" donations.
Back in the bad old days of soft money (i.e., donations to political parties to which federal contribution regulations did not apply), neither party had much of an incentive to reach out to small donors. After all, why bother building an entire organizational infrastructure to solicit donations $10 at a time when Enron is thrilled to cut you a six- or seven-figure check? Political fundraising at this time was a noisome swamp of influence peddling - an era in which pharmaceutical companies wrote multimillion dollar soft money checks to kill the Generic Drug Bill in committee, a $1 million soft money contribution preceded a $280 million tax break for Amway, and a torrent of soft money fundraising scandals engulfed both major parties. A soft money donor - unconfined by the strict monetary limits on direct donations to candidates - could give hundreds of thousands of dollars to the party, and enjoy a range of perks including golf outings with Senators and nights in the Lincoln Bedroom.
Cue the meteor -- the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, popularly known as McCain-Feingold, which changed the climate of federal political fundraising by draining the swamp of huge corporate soft money donations. To continue the metaphor, the national parties were forced to adapt to this colder, drier fundraising landscape by turning to the grassroots, and especially to the small donors who had not warranted much attention in the soft money era. McCain-Feingold meant that small donors finally mattered in federal fundraising, and both parties built grassroots machines to harvest small donations. In 2004, the RNC took the initial lead in small donor fundraising, with Bush's bundler rodeo of "Pioneers," "Rangers," and "Mavericks." LinkHere

The Public Option is Popular, Moral and Inexpensive, Therefore it Must Die

There's no ambiguity about it. The public option is resoundingly popular, fiscally conservative and morally sound. It's centrist, it's liberal, it's conservative. Unless you don't believe in, you know, numbers. LinkHere

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

GOPers Decrying "Socialized Medicine" Go To Govt. Hospital For Surgeries

Republicans in Congress have raised the specter of a bloated, "socialized," bureaucrat-run nightmare of a health care system as a means of undermining the White House's effort at a systematic overhaul. And yet, as Democratic sources are now pointing out, when medical crisis hit close to home, many of these same officials turned to a government-run hospital for their own intensive care and difficult surgeries.
Take, for instance, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who warned that "a government takeover of health care" would "take away the care that people already have [and] are perfectly satisfied with." In its place, the senator said, would be "a system in which care and treatment will be either delayed or denied."
That was July 2009. In February 2003, McConnell actually went to one of those government-run institutions (where treatment is, apparently, "either delayed or denied") for a procedure of his own. The Kentucky Republican traveled to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to have an elective coronary artery bypass surgery after it had been revealed that he had arterial blockages.
Also known as Bethesda Naval Hospital, the National Naval Medical Center is the premier branch of the United States Navy's system of medical centers -- as in, the government runs it. It's also the place where elected officials of all ideological stripes and political branches often go get surgery performed. Indeed, members of Congress pay an annual fee for the privilege of getting treatment at Bethesda Naval Hospital or, for that matter, Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It is, as longtime Democrat Martin Frost wrote for Politico, "like belonging to an HMO." Only, in these cases, the surgery is conducted at a public facility.
None of this has stopped some of the same officials who have taken advantage of this congressional perk from railing against the intrusiveness and inefficiencies of a health care system with greater government involvement.
Senator John McCain, (R-Ariz.) for instance, recently applauded the town hall protesters who were, in his words, revolting "against a government-run health system." That was August 2009. In May of 2000, McCain had surgery at the Bethesda Naval Hospital to remove a potentially lethal melanoma from his left temple.
Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.), meanwhile, has warned of the rationing of care, expensive costs, and reduced quality that would come under a government-run health care plan. In April 2003, however, he traveled to Bethesda Naval Hospital to undergo hip replacement surgery in an attempt to alleviate degenerative arthritis in his left hip.
Senator George Voinovich, (R-Ohio), has declared that a "bureaucratic Washington-run government plan is not the answer" to the nation's health care needs. In June 2003, the Ohio Republican (who is retiring from the Senate in 2010) went to Bethesda Naval Hospital to have a pacemaker installed.
The best example of this double standard, however, may be Rep. Roy Blunt, (R-Mo.) who compared government-run health care to an elephant, stomping on and killing off the mice of the private insurance industry.
Blunt has had two procedures done at Bethesda Naval Hospital. The first came in July 2002, when he underwent surgery to remove his left kidney. The second came a year later, when he underwent prostate surgery after being diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer.
To be strictly accurate, there is an important distinction between a government-run hospital and a government-run health insurance agency. The public plan, which is the focus of much of the GOP's ire, is the latter. Bethesda Naval Hospital is the former.
But conservatives have long used the notion of "socialized medicine" to defeat health care reform efforts -- even though when it comes to the flagship Naval Hospital just miles away, the worries about bureaucratic nightmares, low quality care, and long lines seem to be wiped away. LinkHere

Health Care Reform Town Hall: no room for a centrist

I never thought I'd see a crowd of people heckle and boo a handicapped woman in a wheelchair. I never thought I'd be called a communist and a shill for big business - both in the same ten minutes.
But that was before the debate over federal health care reform came to my hometown, last night, at a town hall meeting on federal health care reform with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th District).
I kind of wish it hadn't. There was no discussion, no one listened to anyone. Pallone could not open his mouth before being jeered and heckled. Opponents of the health care legislation sponsored by Pallone grew so rabid they at one point began booing people who were asking Pallone NOT to vote for the bill. When one opponent of the bill began her comments by quoting Margaret Mead, she was booed loudly. She was challenging Pallone and was clearly opposed to the bill. But I guess the crowd heard her mention Margaret Mead and assumed, if they were quoting an intellectual, it must be a liberal talking. So they bood her almost out of the joint.
Both sides did their share of yelling. I guess they at least got their frustrations out. But for someone like me - who believes we need fundamental health care reform, but maybe HR 3200 is not the way to go about it, there was no relief. And there seems to be no place at all for us in the current debate.
Can there be any room for a centrist at a health care reform town hall meeting

Maddow Interviews Tom Ridge About Iraq Intelligence, Hurricane Katrina, Politicized Threat Levels

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

President Obama, Mrs Clinton?

Blackwater Chief Accused of Murder, Gun-Running
Audit: U.S. Overpaid Blackwater

Despite Ban, Blackwater Gets Iraq Contract Extended
Firm Gets Iraq Contract Extended by State Dept
The State Department has extended a contract with controversial private security firm Blackwater, ABC News has learned. The contract was due to expire this month.
In this July 2005 file photo, contractors of the US private security firm Blackwater secure the site...
In this July 2005 file photo, contractors of the US private security firm Blackwater secure the site of a roadside bomb attack near the Iranian embassy in central Baghdad. The State Department has extended a contract with controversial private security firm Blackwater, ABC News has learned.
Sources say the department has agreed to temporarily continue using the subsidiary known as Presidential Airways to provide helicopter transport for embassy employees around Iraq until a new contract with another security company, Dyncorp International, is fully implemented. Presidential Airways is an arm of U.S. Training Center, which is a subsidiary of the company Xe, formerly and still commonly known as Blackwater. LinkHere
Report: Contractors Outnumber Troops In Afghanistan By Highest Ratio In U.S. History
In the clearest sign that the Pentagon has become dependent on privatization, a new report reveals that today there are more defense contractors than U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
According to a Congressional Research Service report obtained by the Federation of American Scientists blog Secrecy News, the ratio of contractors to troops is higher "than in any conflict in the history of the United States":
"As of March 2009, there were 68,197 DoD contractors in Afghanistan, compared to 52,300 uniformed personnel. Contractors made up 57% of DoD's workforce in Afghanistan. This apparently represented the highest recorded percentage of contractors used by DoD in any conflict in the history of the United States."
The report also details how few Americans make up this private army - more than 75% of the Pentagon contractors are local nationals and only 15% are U.S. citizens.
Read the report:

The United States is the only developed country that lets insurance companies profit from basic health coverage.

By T.R. Reid
Sunday, August 23, 2009
As Americans search for the cure to what ails our health-care system, we've overlooked an invaluable source of ideas and solutions: the rest of the world. All the other industrialized democracies have faced problems like ours, yet they've found ways to cover everybody -- and still spend far less than we do.
I've traveled the world from Oslo to Osaka to see how other developed democracies provide health care. Instead of dismissing these models as "socialist," we could adapt their solutions to fix our problems. To do that, we first have to dispel a few myths about health care abroad:
1. It's all socialized medicine out there.
Not so. Some countries, such as Britain, New Zealand and Cuba, do provide health care in government hospitals, with the government paying the bills. Others -- for instance, Canada and Taiwan -- rely on private-sector providers, paid for by government-run insurance. But many wealthy countries -- including Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland -- provide universal coverage using private doctors, private hospitals and private insurance plans.
In some ways, health care is less "socialized" overseas than in the United States. Almost all Americans sign up for government insurance (Medicare) at age 65. In Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, seniors stick with private insurance plans for life. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the planet's purest examples of government-run health care.
2. Overseas, care is rationed through limited choices or long lines.
Generally, no. Germans can sign up for any of the nation's 200 private health insurance plans -- a broader choice than any American has. If a German doesn't like her insurance company, she can switch to another, with no increase in premium. The Swiss, too, can choose any insurance plan in the country.
In France and Japan, you don't get a choice of insurance provider; you have to use the one designated for your company or your industry. But patients can go to any doctor, any hospital, any traditional healer. There are no U.S.-style limits such as "in-network" lists of doctors or "pre-authorization" for surgery. You pick any doctor, you get treatment -- and insurance has to pay.
Canadians have their choice of providers. In Austria and Germany, if a doctor diagnoses a person as "stressed," medical insurance pays for weekends at a health spa.
As for those notorious waiting lists, some countries are indeed plagued by them. Canada makes patients wait weeks or months for nonemergency care, as a way to keep costs down. But studies by the Commonwealth Fund and others report that many nations -- Germany, Britain, Austria -- outperform the United States on measures such as waiting times for appointments and for elective surgeries.
In Japan, waiting times are so short that most patients don't bother to make an appointment. One Thursday morning in Tokyo, I called the prestigious orthopedic clinic at Keio University Hospital to schedule a consultation about my aching shoulder. "Why don't you just drop by?" the receptionist said. That same afternoon, I was in the surgeon's office. Dr. Nakamichi recommended an operation. "When could we do it?" I asked. The doctor checked his computer and said, "Tomorrow would be pretty difficult. Perhaps some day next week?"
3. Foreign health-care systems are inefficient, bloated bureaucracies.
Much less so than here. It may seem to Americans that U.S.-style free enterprise -- private-sector, for-profit health insurance -- is naturally the most cost-effective way to pay for health care. But in fact, all the other payment systems are more efficient than ours.
U.S. health insurance companies have the highest administrative costs in the world; they spend roughly 20 cents of every dollar for nonmedical costs, such as paperwork, reviewing claims and marketing. France's health insurance industry, in contrast, covers everybody and spends about 4 percent on administration. Canada's universal insurance system, run by government bureaucrats, spends 6 percent on administration. In Taiwan, a leaner version of the Canadian model has administrative costs of 1.5 percent; one year, this figure ballooned to 2 percent, and the opposition parties savaged the government for wasting money.
The world champion at controlling medical costs is Japan, even though its aging population is a profligate consumer of medical care. On average, the Japanese go to the doctor 15 times a year, three times the U.S. rate. They have twice as many MRI scans and X-rays. Quality is high; life expectancy and recovery rates for major diseases are better than in the United States. And yet Japan spends about $3,400 per person annually on health care; the United States spends more than $7,000.
4. Cost controls stifle innovation.
False. The United States is home to groundbreaking medical research, but so are other countries with much lower cost structures. Any American who's had a hip or knee replacement is standing on French innovation. Deep-brain stimulation to treat depression is a Canadian breakthrough. Many of the wonder drugs promoted endlessly on American television, including Viagra, come from British, Swiss or Japanese labs.
Overseas, strict cost controls actually drive innovation. In the United States, an MRI scan of the neck region costs about $1,500. In Japan, the identical scan costs $98. Under the pressure of cost controls, Japanese researchers found ways to perform the same diagnostic technique for one-fifteenth the American price. (And Japanese labs still make a profit.)
5. Health insurance has to be cruel.
Not really. American health insurance companies routinely reject applicants with a "preexisting condition" -- precisely the people most likely to need the insurers' service. They employ armies of adjusters to deny claims. If a customer is hit by a truck and faces big medical bills, the insurer's "rescission department" digs through the records looking for grounds to cancel the policy, often while the victim is still in the hospital. The companies say they have to do this stuff to survive in a tough business.
Foreign health insurance companies, in contrast, must accept all applicants, and they can't cancel as long as you pay your premiums. The plans are required to pay any claim submitted by a doctor or hospital (or health spa), usually within tight time limits. The big Swiss insurer Groupe Mutuel promises to pay all claims within five days. "Our customers love it," the group's chief executive told me. The corollary is that everyone is mandated to buy insurance, to give the plans an adequate pool of rate-payers.
The key difference is that foreign health insurance plans exist only to pay people's medical bills, not to make a profit. The United States is the only developed country that lets insurance companies profit from basic health coverage.
In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really "foreign" to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we're Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we're Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we're Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we're Burundi or Burma: In the world's poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can't pay stay sick or die.
This fragmentation is another reason that we spend more than anybody else and still leave millions without coverage. All the other developed countries have settled on one model for health-care delivery and finance; we've blended them all into a costly, confusing bureaucratic mess.
Which, in turn, punctures the most persistent myth of all: that America has "the finest health care" in the world. We don't. In terms of results, almost all advanced countries have better national health statistics than the United States does. In terms of finance, we force 700,000 Americans into bankruptcy each year because of medical bills. In France, the number of medical bankruptcies is zero. Britain: zero. Japan: zero. Germany: zero.
Given our remarkable medical assets -- the best-educated doctors and nurses, the most advanced hospitals, world-class research -- the United States could be, and should be, the best in the world. To get there, though, we have to be willing to learn some lessons about health-care administration from the other industrialized democracies. LinkHere

Bachmann: 'Slit our wrists' to stop reform
MN lawmaker rails against dangers of health care reform, other Dem causes.

Senate GOPers: We'll Block Health Care Under Reconciliation

The Party of No, your in the minority!!!!!!

Sen. Judd Gregg has hundreds of procedural objections ready for a healthcare plan Democrats want to speed through the Senate.
Gregg (N.H.), the senior Republican on the Budget Committee, told The Hill in a recent interview that Republicans will wage a vicious fight if Democrats try to circumvent Senate rules and use a budget maneuver to pass a trillion-dollar healthcare plan with a simple majority.
The death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) leaves Democrats with 59 Senate seats — one shy of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. That, combined with the pushback from Republican negotiators, has prompted Democratic leaders to look more closely at using budget reconciliation to push a healthcare overhaul through.
The maneuver was originally intended to help reduce the federal deficit by allowing spending cuts and tax increases to pass by majority vote, but it has since been used to fast-track wider-scope legislation, such as former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts.
Republicans, however, warn that if Democrats attempt the maneuver, their healthcare bill will end up looking like Swiss cheese.
Gregg said that Republicans could file “hundreds” of points-of-order objections to the bill, each one requiring 60 votes to waive.
“We are very much engaged in taking a hard look at our rights under reconciliation,” Gregg said. “It would be very contentious.”

Mexico's health care lures Americans

Source: USA Today
MEXICO CITY — It sounds almost too good to be true: a health care plan with no limits, no deductibles, free medicines, tests, X-rays, eyeglasses, even dental work — all for a flat fee of $250 or less a year.
To get it, you just have to move to Mexico.
As the United States debates an overhaul of its health care system, thousands of American retirees in Mexico have quietly found a solution of their own, signing up for the health care plan run by the Mexican Social Security Institute.
The system has flaws, the facilities aren't cutting-edge, and the deal may not last long because the Mexican government said in a recent report that it is "notorious" for losing money. But for now, retirees say they're getting a bargain.
"It was one of the primary reasons I moved here," said Judy Harvey of Prescott Valley, who now lives in Alamos, Sonora. "I couldn't afford health care in the United States. … To me, this is the best system that there is." LinkHere

Where Is the Right Wing's Christian Forgiveness When It Comes to Ted Kennedy?

Apparently, many on the political right are without sin, because they wasted no time after Senator Ted Kennedy's death to start casting as many stones as possible.
Right wingers so often focus on religion or morals as the basis for their politics. That's part of what drives the anti-Roe v. Wade movement, though, interestingly, not the right's support for the death penalty. As I watched the coverage of Ted Kennedy's death, and listened to and read accounts that dripped with unbridled contempt, I had to wonder where the right's so-called Christian values were for an American who accomplished much and whose family was grieving. And, more specifically, how could those on the right who have sinned just as much as they accuse Ted Kennedy of, have the gall to make things harder for those who are suffering the loss of the patriarch of their family?
Granted, Ted Kennedy did a lot of things in his life that wouldn't earn him any medals. But why is it that those who hate the left find it acceptable to trash a political icon in the days after his death? Whether you agreed with his politics or not, can't most of us admit that the late Senator Kennedy did accomplish good things for the country? If Orrin Hatch can acknowledge that, then it ought to be easy for others, as well.
I always thought that one of the main components of religion was forgiveness. Is that a lesson that Kennedy's right-wing critics missed out on? In the hours after Kennedy's death, I was shocked to see that Twitter was a-tweet with critiques of Kennedy's personal life, including messages that bashed him for missing Senate votes in the last year of his life while he was fighting brain cancer. LinkHere

Ohhhhhhh to be so pure and innocent
Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers
Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama. LinkHere

The list goes on and on.

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"
“God,” said Einstein, “is subtle but not malicious.”
The God who beckons

"Nuremberg Defense"

American Diplomats Advocated "Nuremberg Defense"
Special to the Huffington Post
Two newly-obtained documents show how American diplomats during the Bush administration worked tenaciously to incorporate what is commonly known as the Nuremberg Defense into a new international convention addressing enforced disappearances.
The rejection of the notion that government agents could avoid liability for crimes by arguing that they were simply following orders had been a bedrock principle of the American government ever since shortly after the end of World War II, when that defense was employed during the Nuremberg war-crimes trials.
But the new documents, obtained by the ACLU through Freedom of Information Act litigation, show how State Department officials tried to establish what they called "the good soldier defense" -- in this case, the right of government agents charged with seizing and holding people in violation of international law to claim as a defense that they acted in good faith based on representations as to the legality of the conduct they were undertaking.
American officials found themselves "virtually alone" at the negotiating table with this position, facing criticism from long-established allies, the documents show. The efforts occurred in the context of a proposed "Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances" in 2004 and 2006. The documents are available here and here.
Previously released documents show how Bush administration lawyers in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel gave government agents legal cover to conduct a variety of actions, including torture, that critics say were flatly contrary to domestic law. LinkHere

Appease neither!!!!!!!!

To the right, President Obama faces a Republican Party that is now more of a fundamentalist cult, wedded irrevocably to myth and deliberate misinformation, than a political party. (I did my part to make it that way by being a religious right anti-abortion leader and side-kick to my far-right evangelist father in the 70s and 80s, before I fled the Republican Party in disgust with its extremism and worked my tail off to get Obama elected.) To the left President Obama faces an impatient bevy of shortsighted critics.
Where Obama is measured, thoughtful and far thinking, interested in winning long term change the only way possible -- in Edward Kennedy-style increments -- the left, apparently the victims of collective attention deficit disorder and ideological fundamentalism, insist on everything being done today. No, rather, yesterday.
Where Obama offers bipartisanship the right only knows hate, pure and simple. To the right the truly insane, the armed, the deluded and the outright liars dwell.
To the left the impatient and jaded dwell. So what is the last reasonable American -- President Obama -- to do?
Appease neither.
Before continuing a caveat: I know I'm generalizing about the left. Who I'm really showing some exasperation with are the lefties of little faith, the sort of people who are now falling all over themselves to praise Senator Kennedy now that he has died, but who don't have a clue as to how he actually governed: by fighting smart, comprising when needed, and not holding himself up as some sort of paragon of ideological purity. He was willing to give his lifetime to go step by step to a better, fairer, more progressive society. Obama's critics didn't have the patience to even give the new president six months!
In the August 20 Rolling Stone magazine is a conversation about Obama's first six months among Krugman, Michael Moore and David Gergen. The interesting thing is how happy Moore -- the real Leftie "radical" -- is with Obama. Sure he has some differences, but as he put it, Obama is adept at faking right and going left. Moore was much more sensible than Krugman (Gergen was good, albeit starting out from a different place). I think that Moore's view represents a lot of what I hear from Obama's real supporters. (Keep in mind that Krugman was for Hillary, and always doubted that Obama would succeed.)
That said, Krugman and his ilk have started what amounts to an anti-Obama leftist coup that is now begining to seriously undermine the possibility for change by (ironically) harping on the theme of wanting change faster. Obama's leftist critics would all have made terrible Little League coaches! You don't boo your guys in the first inning every time they make a play you don't like or miss a catch -- not if you want to win the game.
While the critics on the left think in minutes the president thinks in years. Where the right thinks of "we" versus "them" the president thinks of "us."
How to understand Obama?
He's the leader that somehow missed the bitterness that deforms the thinking of we culture war survivors of both the right and left. He'd rather win the battle than have the pleasure of instant vindication. And he understands magnanimity -- a concept lost on the right and left.
The president is being asked by the left to stop trying to work with the far right Republicans: in other words all the Republicans these days. I agree. The Republicans have proved that they are more adept at encouraging such outrageous behavior as bare-faced lying about health reform ("death panels") and/or carrying loaded weapons to presidential rallies than at putting forth actual policy. But the president also must do nothing to appease the vocal left in terms of changing his long term incremental strategy. These critics on the left don't know what the words "long term" mean.
You can't trust people who won't admit they are wrong. The shrill left said that Obama's economic recovery program would fail. But the economy is slowly turning around. I have yet to read an opinion piece by anyone on the left who claimed to have had such perfect information on what Obama should have done now saying that maybe, just maybe, they were wrong and spoke too soon.
Instead the critics on the left have just moved on to health care in order to predict doom. They predict that somehow Obama has given away the farm and "wavered" on the public option. Has he?
No, he hasn't. Obama is grownup enough to be playing for the long term tactical victory. It is called politics. He's good at it.
Now take note, all ye of little faith, and email me in four to eight years and tell me I was right!

"It's not my job to pay for YOUR healthcare!!" ‘compassionate conservatives’ Save the fetus kill the child

"Great White Hope" Rep. Laughs Off Uninsured Single Mother At Town Hall
U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins stood just a few feet away as a young mother expressed frustration at not being able to afford a doctor for her son, but Jenkins was not swayed from her opposition to a new government-run insurance plan. LinkHere

Keith Olbermann Destroys "Idiot" Glenn Beck. It's about time someone did.

For those of you who admit to watching babyboyBeck:
It's not the number of people who sit through glenn's garbage
It's the numbers of you that SIT through it and AGREE with it. Or excuse beck 's ignorance.
It's truly apalling to sentient, moderately intelligent people that there are the numbers of beck followers Truly apalling.
So think quality------ not the numbers of goobers who watch beck, billo, coward hannity, et alia. ad nauseum

Keith Olbermann slammed Glenn Beck on "Countdown" Monday, ripping the Fox News host apart over his week-long tirade last week. LinkHere

Obama Having Greater Success Taking Terrorists Out Of Commission Than Bush Did, Says National Security Adviser

ABC News Exclusive: National Security Adviser Says President Obama Is Having Greater Success Taking Terrorists Out of Commission Than Bush Did
Responding to criticism from former Vice President Cheney that President Obama is making the nation more vulnerable to terrorism, the president’s National Security Adviser, Gen. Jim Jones (Ret.), told ABC News in an exclusive interview that actually the reverse is true: President Obama’s greater success with international relations has meant more terrorists put out of commission.
“This type of radical fundamentalism or terrorism is a threat not only to the United States but to the global community,” Jones said. “The world is coming together on this matter now that President Obama has taken the leadership on it and is approaching it in a slightly different way – actually a radically different way – to discuss things with other rulers to enhance the working relationships with law enforcement agencies – both national and international."
Jones said that “we are seeing results that indicate more captures, more deaths of radical leaders and a kind of a global coming-together by the fact that this is a threat to not only the United States but to the world at-large and the world is moving toward doing something about it.”
The former Marine General didn't provide any specific numbers to back up his claim, but he said “there is an increasing trend and I think we seen that in different parts of the world over the last few months for sure.” He added that he was not “making a tally sheet saying we are killing more people, capturing more people than they did -- that is not the issue.”
But the numbers are going up, he said. “The numbers of high value targets that we are successfully reaching out to or identifying through good intelligence” from both the CIA and intelligence agencies from US allies has made the difference, he said. “We have better human intelligence; we know where the terrorists are moving. Because of the dialogue and the tone of the dialogue between us and our friends and allies...the trend line against terrorism is positive, and that’s what we want. If we have a positive trend line we have a safer country.” LinkHere

Monday, August 31, 2009

DeMint attempts to break Obama

Right now with the bar being set so low for all republicans, I guess anyone that
can write their own name would be considered a genius.
DeMint Stokes Health Care Fears And Lies At Town Halls
"Right Now, I Think I'm Still Too Smart To Be President"
New York Times:
Senator Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who predicted that President Obama's effort to overhaul the health care system would become his "Waterloo," is doing his best to make that happen.
Taking questions from a friendly crowd of 500 people here the other day, Mr. DeMint did little to correct their misimpressions about health care legislation but rather reinforced their worst fears.

GOP looking for the Great White Hope

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Can Democrats capitalize on GOP floundering?

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Baucus predicts health care overhaul this year

HELENA, Mont. — U.S. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana says a health care overhaul will happen this year even if Republicans back out of bipartisan talks under growing public pressure and that the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy could help hold together a compromise deal.
Baucus is leading a panel of two other Democrats and three Republicans that is being watched closely by everyone from the White House and beyond. Chances of a bipartisan breakthrough appear to be diminishing in the face of an effective public mobilization by opponents during the August congressional recess.
But Baucus says the bipartisan deal is still alive. He said he still speaks frequently with Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Michael Enzi of Wyoming.
"I think the chances are still good," Baucus told The Associated Press in an interview Monday. "I talked to them, and they all want to do health care reform. But the sad part is a lot politics have crept in. They are being told by the Republican Party not to participate."
If it falls apart, Democrats will have to turn to the "nuclear option" – forcing through an inferior bill through a process that only requires 51 votes instead of 60 Baucus said.
Baucus' panel has not released a proposal yet but is looking at a package of reforms that makes it easier for people to get insurance, including banning exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and makes it more affordable with tax credits and other benefits.

Gang Of Six Appears To Be Dead, But How Many of Them Know It?
The White House has, for the first time, spoken out against a member of Max Baucus's "Gang of Six." After Mike Enzi used the GOP's weekly radio to attack the Democrats' health-care plan for promoting "the rationing of [America's] health care," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs fired back that Enzi "clearly turned over his cards on bipartisanship and decided that it's time to walk away from the table."
Everyone I've spoken to in the Senate believes, strongly, that this process is about to break down, and the Democrats are going to move forward on a more partisan basis. Presumably, the Republicans in the Gang of Six process have heard the same and have no interest in looking like fools when that happens. And so they're beginning to use their positions in the negotiations not to further the cause of a final bill, but to enhance their stature as spokesmen for the opposition. Grassley, as noted earlier, is sending out fundraising e-mails attacking "Obama-care." Enzi is lacerating Democratic ideas under the banner of his party. As far as I can tell, the Gang of Six process is already dead. What's happening now is that the participants seem to be raiding its corpse. LinkHere

Conservative Pundit George Will Calls For U.S. Ground Troops To Leave Afghanistan

Calls For U.S. Ground Troops To Leave Afghanistan
George F. Will, the elite conservative commentator, will call in his next column for U.S. ground troops to leave Afghanistan, according to publishing sources.
“[F]orces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters,” Will writes in the column, scheduled for publication later this week.
Obama ordered a total of 21,000 more U.S. troops into Afghanistan in February and March, and casualties have mounted as the forces began confronting the Taliban more aggressively. August saw the highest monthly death toll for the U.S. since the invasion in 2001, the second record month in a row.
Will’s prescription – in which he urges Obama to remember Bismarck’s decision to halt German forces short of Paris in 1870 - seems certain to split Republicans. He is a favorite of fiscal conservatives. The more hawkish right can be expected to attack his conclusion as foolhardy, short-sighted and naïve, potentially making the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorist attack.
The columnist’s startling recommendation surfaced on the same day that Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, sent an assessment up his chain of command recommending what he called “a revised implementation strategy.” In a statement, McChrystal also called for “ LinkHere

Where was Cable News? Nowhere in sight I betcha!!!!!

Just watched Dem Chris Van Hollis 8th District Rockville Silver Springs Bethsheda,
Town Hall Meeting Silver Springs Maryland, on C Span.
BRAVO Mr Van Hollis very informative, and the crowd was there for information thank the Lord and not theatrics. SANITY REIGNS

Now if you want theatrics, lies and half thruths, go watch Vitter, you know the one who likes diapers, and is still in congress, go figure, at the Louisiana Town Hall Meeting.

Governor makes announcement regarding Kennedy Replacement

Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) made an announce-
ment regarding the date for a special election to fill the seat left vacant by Sen. Edward Kennedy’s (D-MA) passing. The Senator’s request -- to have the governor name an interim replacement -- will require further action by the state legislature. LinkHere
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