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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Obama Quotes Lincoln To House Dems: 'I Am Bound To Be True'

WASHINGTON -- Victory within reach, President Barack Obama rallied House Democrats on Saturday for a final health care push, and party leaders appeared confident they had overcome a flare-up over abortion funding restrictions in the legislation.

Building on Democrats' momentum, House leaders decided on a straight up-or-down vote on Obama's top priority and the defining issue of his first year in office, backing off a much-challenged plan to vote on the bill indirectly. With the vote scheduled for Sunday, the battle tilted in Obama's direction as more Democrats disclosed how they would vote.

The president decided to make a final personal appeal with a Saturday afternoon visit to the Capitol. He spoke after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., reassured House rank and file that the Senate will complete the legislation. More than 50 Democratic senators have signed a pledge to do, Reid's spokesman said.

"Is this the single most important step that we have taken on health care since Medicare?" Obama asked lawmakers. "Absolutely."

In what the New York Times called "an extraordinary session," President Obama began his speech by quoting Abraham Lincoln. "I am not bound to win, but I'm bound to be true," he said. "I'm not bound to succeed, but I'm bound to live up to what light I have."

"You have a chance to make good on the promises you made," Obama told the House members. "This is one of those moments. This is one of those times where you can honestly say to yourself: 'Doggone it, this is exactly why I came here. This is why I got into politics. This is why I got into public service. This is why I made these sacrifices.'" LinkHere

As the world watches, What eight years of Bush and Co have bought the so called Leading Nation of the free world to.

Now, that's some good ol' fashioned "Family Values" and morality.

Be ashamed, be very ashamed, unless your a Republican, or a Tea Partier
Faux Propaganda will be very pleased!!!!!!!!

Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock.
Preceding the president's speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse.
A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a 'ni--er.' And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president's speech, shrugged off the incident.
But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.
"It was absolutely shocking to me," Clyburn said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post. "Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday... I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins... And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus."
"It doesn't make me nervous as all," the congressman said, when asked how the mob-like atmosphere made him feel. "In fact, as I said to one heckler, I am the hardest person in the world to intimidate, so they better go somewhere else."
Asked if he wanted an apology from the group of Republican lawmakers who had addressed the crowd and, in many ways, played on their worst fears of health care legislation, the Democratic Party, and the president, Clyburn replied: LinkHere

Right On Dude

if you are against health care reform you are;

- easily duped by disinformation and fearmongering
-being paid by some lobbyist and owe your soul to them as long as you are voted back in
-are a member of the republican party and vote according to what Rush Limbaugh or Karl Rove tells you to
-are white and cannot be for ANYTHING that a black man is (even if he is right)
-are rich and just don't care
-HAVE insurance paid for you and just don't care
-HAVE never been sick and just don't care or think about it
-don't believe the mound of truth in statistics that the system is broken
-don't care that YOU pay 1000 dollars for everybody that uses emergency rooms without insurance
-don't care if people suffer with the worry of paying health bills or that they lose everything they have along with their families( inclusive of innocent children )
-don't care that 62% of personal bankruptcies are related to medical bills
.don't care that single payer is the best and most efficient system implemented in most other western
-don't care that people may d1e as a result from one or all of the above..

HOW is that American ? or even human -- ?

reconciliation is coming and the decimation of the party of NO in November.

An irish Friend

Don't you just love it, how the minority fight against their own best interests?

The insurance giant Cigna last year gave compensation packages worth more than $120 million to two executives who left the company, according to a filing with the SEC on Friday.
The vast majority of that total went to former chairman and CEO H. Edward Hanway who left his post with a retirement package worth $110.9 million -- which included $18.8 million in executive compensation for 2009, as well as a healthy pension plan, deferred compensation and stock options.
With more than $19 billion in revenues reported in 2008, Cigna remains one of the most profitable insurers in the country. Though, unlike some of its competitors, it does not appear to have raised premiums on customers in an effort to improve somewhat sagging recent profits.
The company is part of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which has lobbied heavily against health care reform. In drumming up opposition, the industry group has warned that reform legislation will adversely affect the market as a whole and Cigna's bottom line in particular.
Hanway's retirement package is sure to provide fodder to reform proponents, who insist that too much money and resources are wasted on the excesses of the private insurance industry -- often at the expense of consumers.
In addition to Hanway, former Cigna Executive Vice President and CFO Michael Bell received a $10.9 million executive compensation package in 2009. Bell left the company abruptly that year -- no reason was given for his departure.
Cigna's current president and CEO, David M. Cordani, earned a salary of more than $6.5 million in 2009, according to the SEC filing. LinkHere

GOP To Kill Health Bill For Nonexistent Abortion Coverage, But Provide Abortion Coverage To GOP Staff

“do as I say, but not what I do?”
Republican lawmakers, as well as Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), have falsely claimed that the health reform bill allows taxpayer funded abortions. At a press conference yesterday, GOP members of Congress convened to again hammer the lie home that health reform will provide taxpayer funds for abortion.
Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA), a member of the GOP leadership team at the press event yesterday, blasted Democrats for trying to pass a health reform bill with supposed funds for abortion coverage. ThinkProgress spoke to McMorris-Rodgers after the event. According to disclosure reports, McMorris-Rodgers’ state Republican Party provides health insurance through AWB Health Choice — a consortium of benefit packages including Lifewise Health Plans of Washington, which covers abortions. McMorris-Rodgers assailed the nonexistent abortion coverage in the health reform bill, while brushing aside her own campaign dollars going towards plans which cover abortion. Eventually, the congresswoman relented and admitted that her campaign dollars funding abortion coverage is “not” okay:
TP: But at the same time, Lifewise Health Plans, which is what the Washington State GOP uses to provide health insurance to their employees, they cover abortion. So when you fundraise for the Washington State GOP, aren’t you providing dollars to abortion?
MCMORRIS-RODGERS: Uh, we’re talking about federal taxpayer dollars.
TP: Yeah, but isn’t this kind of like, you know, “do as I say, but not what I do?”
MCMORRIS-RODGERS: Um, I think the issue at hand is whether or not federal taxpayer dollars should be used to fund abortion –
TP: But your fundraiser dollars are used for abortions. … But campaign dollars are okay, Republican campaign dollars that you raise?
MCMORRIS-RODGERS: No, that’s not. LinkHere

Iraq War Anniversary: Seven Years of Waste, Fraud and Abuse

Today is the 7th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
There's a temptation as we begin to end our combat presence in Iraq to search for the happy ending. Newsweek, for example, recently ran a cover photo of President Bush with the infamous "Mission Accomplished" banner in the background, declaring that now, finally, we have "Victory At Last." But that's an awful revision of history. We have an obligation to insist on uncompromising truth rather than the versions that make us feel better about ourselves. Tens of thousands of dead people demand it.
No "mission" was accomplished in Iraq because we went to war on false pretenses. We failed the moment we invaded. LinkHere

Friday, March 19, 2010

Health Care Coverage: 15 Executives Who Get Paid Millions To Deny Care - The Business Insider

The business model of American health insurers is basically: try to get healthy customers as clients, and then resist as long as possible when it comes to paying out claims.
That's actually not an indictment or a criticism.
It's just the way our system works, and it's screwed up.
Whatever you feel about Obamacare, you probably think our current system needs reform in some sense.
Below we present the posterboys of the problem. Top healthcare CEOs making millions, leading companies that deny you coverage.
Meet them here>

Stupak dismisses nuns’ letter: I don’t listen to them, I listen to ‘leading bishops’ and Focus on the Family.

Today, “60 leaders of religious orders representing 59,000 Catholic nuns” sent a letter to federal lawmakers urging them to pass the Senate health care legislation. They decried the “false” information floating around about abortion provisions and said that the bill’s “historic new investments” for pregnant women are the “REAL pro-life stance.” The nuns’ letter was a significant and unusual break with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which continues to denounce the legislation. This afternoon, Stupak dismissed the nuns, saying that he listens to only male religious figures and far-right religious organizations:
Congressman Bart Stupak, D-Mich, responded sharply to White House officials touting a letter representing 59,000nuns that was sent to lawmakers urging them to pass the health care bill.
The conservative Democrat dismissed the action by the White House saying, “When I’m drafting right to life language, I don’t call up the nuns.” He says he instead confers with other groups including “leading bishops, Focus on the Family, and The National Right to Life Committee.”
It’s Stupak and the bishops, however, who are increasingly isolated. The nuns join other prominent pro-life figures and organizations — including the Catholic Health Association — in urging passage of the bill. LinkHere

Jon Stewart Spends 15 Minutes Parodying Glenn Beck

History awaits Health Reform's passage

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Right On


A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted
a man in a boat below. She shouted to him,

"Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago,
but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're 840 feet above sea level.
You are at 31 degrees, 14.29 minutes north latitude, and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes
west longitude."

She rolled her eyes and said, "YOU must be a democrat."

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"

The balloonist answered, "Everything you told me is technically correct,
but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I am still lost.
Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "YOU must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the balloonist, "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going.
You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made
a promise that you have no idea how to keep, then you expect me to solve
your problem. You're in exactly the same situation you were before we met
but, somehow, now it's my fault."

Health Insurance, Closer in Chief?

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Stewart Takes On Tea Baggers' Call For Uprising

Netanyahu's Brother-In-Law Says Obama Is An Anti-Semite, Hates Israel

In the midst of trying to ease tensions following one of the worst diplomatic rifts between the US and Israel in recent memory, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to distance himself from his brother-in-law Wednesday after he accused US President Barack Obama of being an anti-Semite during a radio interview.
"It's not that Obama doesn't like Bibi," Hagai Ben-Artzi said during the interview, according to Haaretz. "He doesn't like the nation of Israel."
Ben-Artzi attributed Obama's alleged anti-Semitism to his long association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose views Obama came to disavow during his presidential campaign in 2008.
"When there is an anti-Semitic president in the United States, it is a test for us and we have to say: We will not concede. We are a nation dating back 4,000 years, and you in a year or two will be long forgotten. Who will remember you? But Jerusalem will dwell on forever," Ben Artzi said.
Netanyahu was quick to condemn his brother-in-law's comments, saying, "I entirely reject the remarks of Hagai Ben Artzi."
"I have a deep appreciation for President Obama's commitment to Israel's security, which he has expressed many times," Netanyahu said, according to the Guardian.
During an interview with Fox News Wednesday Obama played down the recent rift with Israel.

Don't Mess With Textbooks

Ignorant Wanker

My co-worker and I watched an excerpt of this interview on CNN. It was interesting to hear my co-worker(Hispanic) muse, "I wonder how will they treat the first Hispanic president?" I didn't offer a reply, but I thought about it. We see the blantant disrespect they display for our first mixed-race President. We saw the subtle outrage over Ms. Sotomayor's confirmation. There is always going to be a contigent in white America that recents being pulled into a continually diverse United States. I'm quite sure if my co-worker picked up on Baier's lack of respect, there are many out there in the Hispanic/Latino, Asian, LGBT, etc. communities that feel that they would be treated this way if one of their own gained higher office.

VIDEO: Bret Baier Interviewing Obama Vs. Bret Baier Interviewing Bush

Yesterday, Fox News anchor Bret Baier aired his 19-minute exclusive interview with President Obama, where he frequently interjected and interrupted the President. (Raw Story counted 16 such instances.) The right wing gave Baier kudos for the interview, saying he “showed us how a genuine professional TV journalist works.”

Baier’s tenacity, however, seems reserved only for Democratic presidents. His interviews with President Bush were far friendlier, with questions like, “What are you reading now?” and “Do you believe that there hasn’t been a terrorist attack on U.S. soil in more than seven years because of the policies your administration has implemented?”

Today on Fox News, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace defended Baier’s technique, saying that he needed to get in more questions and prevent Obama from “giving talking points.” But Baier had no problem with allowing Bush to give talking points in interviews. ThinkProgress has compiled some moments of Baier’s final interview with Bush versus his recent interview with Obama. Watch it: LinkHere

How soon they forget

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can the 'Bush Lied' Deniers Handle the Truth?

Conservative apologists for the George W. Bush crew are swinging hard these days to defend their man -- and themselves -- from the charge that W. and his gang misled the nation into war. They must worry that they are going to end up on the wrong side of history. After all, a 2008 Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans believed that the Bush administration "deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction." (This was a big change from a poll taken two months after the 2003 invasion that noted that 67 percent believed that Bush had played it straight.)
Bring it on.

One-year freeze on earmarks fails in Senate, splits GOP

By James Rosen McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly defeated a bid to freeze spending earmarks for a year.
Lawmakers voted 68-29 against an amendment by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., to impose a one-year moratorium on earmarks. Twenty-four fellow Republicans voted for DeMint's measure, while 15 GOP senators voted against it.
The vote came six days after House Democratic leaders banned earmarks to defense contractors and other private companies, limiting them to state or local governments and nonprofit groups.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Time for the Truth"

Eliot Spitzer and William K. Black
Posted: March 16, 2010 11:46 AM
Cross-posted from New Deal 2.0.
In December, we argued the urgent need to make public A.I.G.'s emails and "key internal accounting documents and financial models." A.I.G.'s schemes were at the center of the economic meltdown. Three months later, a year-long report by court-appointed bank examiner Anton Valukas makes it abundantly clear why such investigations are critical to the recovery of our financial system. Every time someone takes a serious look, a new scandal emerges.
The damning 2,200-page report, released last Friday, examines the reasons behind Lehman's failure in September 2008. It reveals on and off balance-sheet accounting practices the firm's managers used to deceive the public about Lehman's true financial condition. Our investigations have shown for years that accounting is the "weapon of choice" for financial deception. Valukas's findings reveal how Lehman used $50 billion in "repo" loans to fool investors into thinking that it was on sound financial footing. As our December co-author Frank Partnoy recently explained as part of a major report of the Roosevelt Institute, "Make Markets Be Markets," such abusive off-balance accounting was and is endemic. It was a major cause of the financial crisis, and it will lead to future crises.
According to emails described in the report, CEO Richard Fuld and other senior Lehman executives were aware of the games being played and yet signed off on quarterly and annual reports. Lehman's auditor Ernst & Young knew and kept quiet.
The Valukas report also exposes the dysfunctional relationship between the country's main regulatory bodies and the systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) they are supposed to be policing. The NY Fed, the regulatory agency led by then FRBNY President Geithner, has a clear statutory mission to promote the safety and soundness of the banking system and compliance with the law. Yet it stood by while Lehman deceived the public through a scheme that FRBNY officials likened to a "three card monte routine" (p. 1470). The report states:
"The FRBNY discounted the value of Lehman's pool to account for these collateral transfers. However, the FRBNY did not request that Lehman exclude this collateral from its reported liquidity pool. In the words of one of the FRBNY's on-site monitors: 'how Lehman reports its liquidity is between Lehman, the SEC, and the world'" (p. 1472).
Translation: The FRBNY knew that Lehman was engaged in smoke and mirrors designed to overstate its liquidity and, therefore, was unwilling to lend as much money to Lehman. The FRBNY did not, however, inform the SEC, the public, or the OTS (which regulated an S&L that Lehman owned) of what should have been viewed by all as ongoing misrepresentations.
The Fed's behavior made it clear that officials didn't believe they needed to do more with this information. The FRBNY remained willing to lend to an institution with misleading accounting and neither remedied the accounting nor notified other regulators who may have had the opportunity to do so.
The Fed wanted to maintain a fiction that toxic mortgage products were simply misunderstood assets, so it allowed Lehman to maintain the false pretense of its accounting. We now know from Valukas and from former Treasury Secretary Paulson that the Treasury and the Fed knew that Lehman was massively overstating its on-book asset values: "According to Paulson, Lehman had liquidity problems and no hard assets against which to lend" (p. 1530). We know from Valukas' interview of Geithner (p. 1502):
The challenge for the government, and for troubled firms like Lehman, was to reduce risk exposure, and the act of reducing risk by selling assets could result in "collateral damage" by demonstrating weakness and exposing "air" in the marks.
Or, in plain English, the Fed didn't want Lehman and other SDIs to sell their toxic assets because the sales prices would reveal that the values Lehman (and all the other SDIs) placed on their toxic assets (the "marks") were inflated with worthless hot air. Lehman claimed its toxic assets were worth "par" (no losses) (p. 1159), but Citicorp called them "bottom of the barrel" and "junk" (p. 1218). JPMorgan concluded: "the emperor had no clothes" (p. 1140). The FRBNY acted shamefully in covering up Lehman's inflated asset values and liquidity. It constructed three, progressively weaker, stress tests -- Lehman failed even the weakest test. The FRBNY then allowed Lehman to administer its own stress test. Need we tell you the results?
We believe that the Valukas report cries out for an immediate Congressional investigation. As we did with A.I.G., we demand the release of the e-mails and internal documents from the New York Fed and Lehman executives that pertain to analyses of Lehman's financial soundness. What downside can there possibly be in making these records available for public analysis and scrutiny? LinkHere
At Lehman, Watchdogs Saw It All
Published: March 15, 2010
Almost two years ago to the day, a team of officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York quietly moved into the headquarters of Lehman Brothers. They were provided desks, phones, computers — and access to all of Lehman’s books and records. At any given moment, there were as many as a dozen government officials buzzing around Lehman’s offices.
These officials, whose work was kept under wraps at the time, were assigned by Timothy Geithner, then president of the New York Fed, and Christopher Cox, then the S.E.C. chairman, to monitor Lehman in light of the near collapse of Bear Stearns.
Similar teams from the S.E.C. and the Fed moved into the offices of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and others.
There were plenty of reasons to send in these SWAT teams. With investors on edge about the veracity of valuations on Wall Street — and with hedge fund managers like David Einhorn publicly questioning Lehman’s numbers — the government examiners rifled through Lehman’s accounts. They also interviewed executives about various decisions, and previewed the quarterly earnings reports.
Yet now, two years later, we learn through a 2,200-page report from Lehman’s bankruptcy examiner, Anton R. Valukas, that the firm was taking a creative approach with its valuations and accounting. LinkHere

"The Big Short" Rachel interviews author Michael Lewis

Conservatives win the war on history

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Senate Republicans Allegedly Block Key Intelligence Nominations

Mark Hosenball
Obama administration officials and Senate Democrats are complaining that Senate Republicans are secretly blocking approval of two nominees to key U.S. intelligence posts. Following public hearings, the Senate Intelligence Committee last month approved the nominations of Caryn Wagner to become intelligence chief at the Department of Homeland Security and Philip Goldberg to head the State Department's Intelligence and Research bureau. The Intelligence Committee's vote on both nominees was unanimous, meaning that every Democrat and every Republican member of the committees supported their confirmation by the full Senate. The nominations were then sent to the Senate floor, where leadership officials sought to arrange expedited approval for them through a procedure that requires unanimous consent by senators. All Senate Democrats gave their approval to the nominees. But according to a senior Senate official, at least one unknown Republican senator, taking advantage of one of the Senate's more esoteric conventions, lodged an objection to unanimous consent─effectively placing an indefinite anonymous "hold" on the two appointments. LinkHere

Exclusive: A U.S. Intelligence Breakthrough in the Persian Gulf?

By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
U.S. intelligence officials appear to have obtained access to what could turn out to be a significant trove of phone numbers, photographs and documents detailing the links between Al Qaeda's leaders in northwest Pakistan and the terror group's increasingly menacing affiliate in Yemen, two counter-terrorism sources tell Declassified.
In late January, an Al Qaeda operative headed from Pakistan on his way to Yemen was arrested in the Persian Gulf country of Oman, a U.S. counter-terrorism official confirmed.
There has been no public announcement of the arrest. But in a possible indication of the operative's importance, just a few days later, two postings on a jihadi web forum suggested that Al Qaeda leaders were worried and wanted their "commanders" to take immediate precautions.
The postings stated that the "captured brother" -- identified as a "field commander" named Abdullah Saleh al-Eidan who went by the name of "Barud"- - was "on his way back from Afghanistan" and had been turned over to Saudi authorities.
Even more noteworthy, the postings -written by a fellow Al Qaeda "brother" - reported that Al Eidan had with him 300 "important phone numbers" as well as pictures, names and documents from Afghanistan. LinkHere

US Envoy Puts Mideast Trip On Hold As Feud With Israel Deepens

The diplomatic dispute with the U.S. was sparked by Israel's announcement last week of plans for 1,600 apartments in east Jerusalem, which undercut a visit by Vice President Joe Biden aimed at bolstering peace talks. Palestinians claim that sector of the city for a future capital. Israel claims all of the holy city as its eternal capital.
The announcement enraged Palestinians, who have threatened to bow out of U.S.-brokered peace talks that were supposed to begin in the coming days. The Obama administration has angrily demanded that Israel call off the project.
Tensions Rise As Israel Announces New Homes
Dominic Waghorn, Middle East correspondent
Israel is being accused of deepening the crisis with the US by announcing it is set to build 426 new settler homes - in addition to the 1,600 announced last week.
The plans, for two areas of East Jerusalem, come the day after Israel's ambassador to the US described relations between the two countries as at their lowest in 35 years.
Palestinians mounted violent protests in a "day of rage" in Jerusalem on Tuesday as Washington said US special envoy for Mideast peace, George Mitchell, had cancelled plans for talks this week with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. LinkHere

Monday, March 15, 2010

Senators Accuse Homeland Security Spies of Cribbing From ‘Questionable’ Right-Wing Sources

Mark Hosenball Mar 11, 2010 03:51 PM
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein and other prominent Senate Democrats have accused spies at the Homeland Security Department of basing official intelligence reports on dubious open-source material. Inquiries by Declassified indicate that at least some of the data that Feinstein and her colleagues deemed “questionable” came from a Web site set up by outspoken conservative activist David Horowitz to catalog negative information about the political left.

In an official report accompanying an intelligence authorization bill last year, Feinstein’s committee alleged that Homeland’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis had been issuing papers that “inappropriately analyze the legitimate activities of U.S. persons”—papers that “often used certain questionable open source information as a basis of their conclusions.” And in a little-noticed floor speech in February, Feinstein spoke of “numerous problems” at the intelligence office, including poor planning and budgeting and excessive reliance on contractors. She went on to allege that on a number of occasions, Homeland’s spies had “produced and disseminated finished intelligence that has been based on non-credible, open source materials or focused intelligence resources on the first amendment-protected activities of American citizens.” She said the need for a new spy boss at Homeland was urgent, and successfully urged the Senate to confirm Caryn Wagner, a veteran intelligence executive, as Homeland Security’s new chief of intelligence and analysis.

Congressional officials say the Homeland intelligence report that particularly angered Feinstein and other committee members is still classified. Nevertheless, three current and former intelligence officials, requesting anonymity when discussing sensitive information, say the report in question is a profile of an unnamed but prominent American Islamic leader and was produced by Homeland Security’s intelligence office during the latter years of the Bush administration. The report was requested by the Department’s civil-rights office, whose officials were preparing to meet with the Islamic leader. But instead of sending the civil-rights office a quick bio of the individual in question, Homeland’s intelligence office issued a “finished” intel report that was circulated to other intelligence agencies and, eventually, to congressional oversight committees.

The report’s contents were sufficiently shocking to provoke a July 2008 letter of complaint to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Charles Allen, then Homeland’s intelligence chief, from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, then Senate Intelligence committee chair, and committee member Russ Feingold. In the letter, which has been only partially declassified, the senators allege that the Homeland intelligence report included a “clearly inappropriate” assessment of “derogatory” information about the unnamed Islamic leader, even though the paper’s overall conclusion that the person in question was not an “extremist." According to the letter, the Homeland report specifically went on to conclude that the Islamic leader in question was a “mainstream voice” and that information on him “points to politically controversial statements but not to extremism”—conclusions that Rockefeller and Feingold declared to be “political assessments that are outside of the bounds of the authorities granted U.S. law enforcement and intelligence entities.” More

Grayson goes for the jugular:: 'Alaskan chillbilly' smartest GOP leader since W.

In a piquant fundraising email to supporters Sunday -- hard-edged even for the Democrats' newest quote machine -- Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) went all out on former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
His remarks, which came after Palin criticized him during a trip to Florida, are perhaps the sharpest attack made on the former vice presidential candidate by a member of Congress.
Speaking in Orlando on Friday, Palin said she "got to meet quite a few candidates who are lining up in a contested primary who want to take out Alan Grayson."
She added: "What can you say about Alan Grayson? Piper is with me tonight, so I won't say anything about Alan Grayson that can't be said around children."
Grayson's email reply was straight to the point. He began by referring to Palin as "the former half-term Governor, current-nothing and future-even-less," and snapped, "Atypically, Palin was wearing clothes that she had paid for herself."

The email continues: "In response to Palin's attack on Rep Grayson, Grayson actually complimented Palin. Grayson praised Palin for having a hand large enough to fit Grayson's entire name on it. He thanked Palin for alleviating the growing shortage of platitudes in Central Florida. Grayson added that Palin deserved credit for getting through the entire hour-long program without quitting. Grayson also said that Palin really had mastered Palin's imitation of Tina Fey imitating Palin. Grayson observed that Palin is the most-intelligent leader that the Republican Party has produced since George W. Bush."
The Florida Democrat also introduced a reference to the recently released film, Alice in Wonderland.
What effect might Palin's criticism have? he asked rhetorically.
"As the Knave's horse says in Alice in Wonderland, 'dogs will believe anything,'" he replies. "I'm sure Palin knows all about politics in Central Florida, since from her porch she can see Winter Park," part of Grayson's district.
The email continues:
Grayson said that the Alaskan chillbilly was welcome to return to Central Florida anytime, as long as she brings lots of money with her, and spends it. "I look forward to an honest debate with Governor Palin on the issues, in the unlikely event that she ever learns anything about them," Grayson added, alluding to Politifact's "liar, liar, pants on fire" evaluation of much of what Palin has said .
Scientists are studying Sarah Palin's travel between Alaska and Florida carefully. They hope to learn more about the flight patterns of that elusive migratory species, the wild Alaskan dingbat.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hillary Rodham Clinton's Harsh Words Stun Israel

By Paul Richter
March 14, 2010

Reporting from Washington

Beginning as a spat over a single housing project, a dispute this week between the Obama administration and Israel has ballooned into the biggest U.S.-Israeli clash in 20 years, adding to months of strain between Washington and one of its closest allies.

Israel's decision to move ahead with 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, announced during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, drew criticism from Washington in language rarely directed at even Iran or North Korea.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Israel's announcement "was an insult to the United States."

In a 45-minute telephone call Friday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Clinton upbraided him and demanded that he take more steps to show his nation's commitment to peace.

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity in the midst of the diplomatic friction, described the administration's objection to the project as "the first time the U.S. has really pushed back hard."

The Israeli government, stunned and perplexed by the U.S. assault, tried to regroup this weekend. Netanyahu convened seven members of his Cabinet on Saturday to consider their response, and his office said a committee would investigate the timing of the housing announcement. LinkHere

This gang’s rewriting of history knows few bounds.

To hear them tell it, 9/11 was so completely Bill Clinton’s fault that it retroactively happened while he was still in office. The Bush White House is equally blameless for the post-9/11 resurgence of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Iran. Instead it’s President Obama who is endangering America by coddling terrorists and stopping torture.

Published: March 13, 2010
THE opening salvo, fired on Fox News during Thanksgiving week, aroused little notice: Dana Perino, the former White House press secretary, declared that “we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.” Rudy Giuliani upped the ante on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in January. “We had no domestic attacks under Bush,” he said. “We’ve had one under Obama.” (He apparently meant the Fort Hood shootings.)
Now the revisionist floodgates have opened with the simultaneous arrival of Karl Rove’s memoir and Keep America Safe, a new right-wing noise machine invented by Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz and the inevitable William Kristol. This gang’s rewriting of history knows few bounds. To hear them tell it, 9/11 was so completely Bill Clinton’s fault that it retroactively happened while he was still in office. The Bush White House is equally blameless for the post-9/11 resurgence of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Iran. Instead it’s President Obama who is endangering America by coddling terrorists and stopping torture.
Could any of this non-reality-based shtick stick? So far the answer is No. Rove’s book and Keep America Safe could be the best political news for the White House in some time. This new eruption of misinformation and rancor vividly reminds Americans why they couldn’t wait for Bush and Cheney to leave Washington.
But the old regime’s attack squads are relentless and shameless. The Obama administration, which put the brakes on any new investigations into Bush-Cheney national security malfeasance upon taking office, will sooner or later have to strike back. Once the Bush-Cheney failures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran again come home to roost, as they undoubtedly and explosively will, someone will have to remind our amnesia-prone nation who really enabled America’s enemies in the run-up to 9/11 and in its aftermath.
There’s a good reason why Rove’s memoir is titled “Courage and Consequence,” not “Truth or Consequences.” Its spin is so uninhibited that even “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job!” is repackaged with an alibi. The book’s apolitical asides are as untrustworthy as its major events. For all Rove’s self-proclaimed expertise as a student of history, he writes that eight American presidents assumed office “as a result of the assassination or resignation of their predecessor.” (He’s off by only three.) After a peculiar early narrative detour to combat reports of his late adoptive father’s homosexuality, Rove burnishes his family values cred with repeated references to his own happy heterosexual domesticity. This, too, is a smoke screen: Readers learned months before the book was published that his marriage ended in divorce.
Rove’s overall thesis on the misbegotten birth of the Iraq war is a stretch even by his standards. “Would the Iraq war have occurred without W.M.D.?” he writes. “I doubt it.” He claims that Bush would have looked for other ways “to constrain” Saddam Hussein had the intelligence not revealed Iraq’s “unique threat” to America’s security. Even if you buy Rove’s predictable (and easily refuted) claims that the White House neither hyped, manipulated nor cherry-picked the intelligence, his portrait of Bush as an apostle of containment is absurd. And morally offensive in light of the carnage that followed. As Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, said on MSNBC, it’s “not a very comforting thing” to tell the families of the American fallen “that if the intelligence community in the United States, on which we spend about $60 billion a year, hadn’t made this colossal failure, we probably wouldn’t have gone to war.” LinkHere

Political impartiality for the Supreme Court, I don't think so?

As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, Liberty Central can raise unlimited amounts of corporate money and largely avoid disclosing its donors.Because of a recent Supreme Court decision, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the group may also spend corporate money freely to advocate for or against candidates for office.Justice Thomas was part of the 5-4 majority in that case.
Thomas is no ordinary activist.
She is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and she has launched a tea-party-linked group that could test the traditional notions of political impartiality for the court.
In January, Virginia Thomas created Liberty Central Inc., a nonprofit lobbying group whose website will organize activism around a set of conservative "core principles," she said.
The group plans to issue score cards for Congress members and be involved in the November election, although Thomas would not specify how. She said it would accept donations from various sources -- including corporations -- as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court. LinkHere

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Beck takes on Christians? Friking Dumb Ass Wanker!!!!!

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