Liz Cheney helpfully explains that it’s not torture that’s the real crime, it’s calling torture torture that’s the real crime:
I hear an awful lot of people out there throwing words around like “torture” and “lines being crossed,” and i think it’s a really, you know, it’s… it’s irresponsible and frankly it’s libelous because you have got brave Americans, men and women, who were involved in this program at the C.I.A who were involved in making sure that the program didn’t cross any lines at the Justice Department. Those people were responsible for saving American lives and keeping us safe. And I think it is offensive for all Americans for this White House to suggest that somehow those actions deserve prosecution or… or… ya-know some sort of ya-know ethical reprimand.
An ethical reprimand? Good heavens, what kind of inhuman monster does she think Obama is? First it’s ethical reprimands, and then the next thing you know it’ll be sternly worded letters. The very fabric of this country could unravel in the face of such extreme sanctions!
Peter, under pressure and fear, denied Christ not just once, but three times. Peter, though, feared death. The strain on Peter was great. The rest of us, though, typically fear the opinions of others.
….The incidents of late with Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Dick Cheney, and others is why I raise this. Putting it bluntly, were these guys on the left, their fellow leftists would at best be cheering them on and at worst silently nodding along. There wouldn’t be any on that side rushing to the nearest microphone to condemn them….
(Wait, what? How many Democrats voted to condemn MoveOn for its “General Betray Us” ad, which pales beside the bile Rush spews every single day?)
Peter denied Christ three times. Our goal should be to not deny Christ and also to not deny the valuable members of our own movement. Embracing them does not mean we embrace every word and every deed. But it should likewise mean we don’t race to the nearest microphone to condemn our own when they do something [indiscreet]. The people we should shun are the ones who are quick to throw the rest of us out for daring to stand up for our friends.
Rush is just like Jesus, but without all that sissy liberal stuff, which was probably in there ‘cuz the New Testament writers were trying to be all politically correct or something.
This afternoon on CNN, he went further, attacking [Sonia Sotomayor’s] affiliation with the National Council of La Raza as equivalent to being a member of the Ku Klux Klan:
TANCREDO: If you belong to an organization called La Raza, in this case, which is, from my point of view anyway, nothing more than a Latino — it’s a counterpart — a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses. If you belong to something like that in a way that’s going to convince me and a lot of other people that it’s got nothing to do with race. Even though the logo of La Raza is “All for the race. Nothing for the rest.” What does that tell you?
SANCHEZ: Alright. We’re not talking about — we’re not talking about La Raza –
TANCREDO: She’s a member! She’s a member of La Raza!
You see, the only reason Republicans hate minorities and women and gays so much, is that minorities and women and gays all hate straight white men, and Republicans simply cannot abide that kind of intolerance.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, “La Raza” appears to be Spanish for “ACORN”:
Tancredo echoed a popular right-wing myth, claiming the group’s slogan is “All for the race, nothing for the rest.” When ThinkProgress asked a La Raza spokeswoman, she replied, “No. That’s very much incorrect.” In fact, the true slogan is “Strengthening America by promoting the advancement of Latino families.” A far cry from Tancredo’s egregiously false, race-based characterization.
So, to sum up: Bestiality and heterosexual sex do not cause AIDS, but lesbian sex does. I want to write this off as just one screwed-up kid with fundie homophobic wingnut parents, but she’s wearing a prize ribbon.
Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak is planning to run against Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter in 2010 but those familiar with his thinking caution no announcement is imminent and that he could well change his mind on the race.
“I have heard from people close to him that he is in but will not announce for months because he does not need to announce yet for a fundraising bounce,” said one senior Pennsylvania-based Democratic operative of Sestak.
Polling suggests that Specter would start the primary as a decided favorite. A survey done for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in early May showed Specter leading Sestak 56 percent to 16 percent. A poll done for a labor-backed 527 group, however, showed significant softness in Specter’s numbers when voters are informed of some of the votes he made as a Republican.
Sestak, sort of, confirmed that he is going to challenge Specter during an interview on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” moments ago. “My intentions are to get in this race pending a final family decision,” said Sestak. He added that he looked at the Senate race as a “deployment” (Sestak is a lifelong military man) and needed final sign off from his family before making a final decision to run.
I suspect that a lot of Specter’s current polling advantage has to do with name recognition and his successful branding as a “moderate.” If Sestak can raise awareness of just how big a Republican wanker Specter is, this could very well play out a lot like Lamont/Lieberman in 2006, except Sestak isn’t as liberal as Lamont, and – even more importantly – PA law does not allow primary losers to run as independents.
Film director Dan Parnish says the new science-fiction movie he’s shooting will be the most realistic one ever made. He’s casting real aliens in the leading roles!
Parnish’s film, The New Immigrants, is being shot on a closed set in a secret location, surrounded by heavy security.
“I’m tired of seeing those phony movies where humans slap on makeup and dress like aliens,” says the controversial Parnish, who’s known for his fanatical obsession with realism in film. “I refuse to make another movie like that.
“I decided to do a truthful alien movie with no compromises. So I cam to this area where there are hundreds of UFO sightings each year. I was determined to meet the aliens, teach them to act and use them in my movie.”
“I can’t reveal how I made contact with the aliens. But they’ve cooperated with me because they want this story to be told.”
The picture, written and directed by Parnish, tells the heartbreaking story of a family of alien beings who land on Earth. But it’s presented from the point of view of the aliens themselves.
“Your sympathy will definitely be with the aliens,” says press agent Steve Lagwarthe, the only person connected with the film besides Parnish who’s speaking to the press.
“Cast lunches are out of this world,” says one caterer who prepares meals for the production. “They won’t allow us on the set. They order the meals, we bring the order and leave it with the guards. A typical lunch order includes 27 quarts of kerosene, 11 adobe bricks, 15 cans of latex paint and 12 lead pipes.”
One actor with a minor part in the film who refused to let his name be used says, “As actors, the aliens are not half bad. They’re just a little unpredictable. The cameras will roll, they’ll be doing the scene perfectly, then suddenly change form – from a solid to a sort of gel – and start talking gibberish.
“But for the most part they do great as actors and with training they may soon be dominating Earth’s film and theater community.”
Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, who represented then-Vice President Al Gore in the contested election, have joined forces to tackle the same-sex marriage issue, which has deeply divided Californians and left 18,000 gay couples married last year in legal isolation.
In a project of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, Olson and Boies have united to represent two same-sex couples filing suit after being denied marriage licenses because of Proposition 8.
Their suit, to be filed in U.S. District Court in California, calls for an injunction against the proposition, allowing immediate reinstatement of marriage rights for same-sex couples.
George W. Bush’s Ted Olsen??? Either he has a gay family member who wants to get married, or this is some kind of elaborate ratfuck to sabotage gay marriage. I sure as hell don’t believe that he’s suddenly discovered the principle of equality and fair play.
He seems awfully worried that the Russians are taking advantage of Obama in nuke-reduction and missile defense negotiations, and laments “President Obama’s seeming indifference to the beneficent effects of the United States’ nuclear deterrent.”
I’m really not sure what it is he thinks will happen. Does he think Russia or China will attack us if we don’t have enough nukes? Is there any other potentially hostile country that we couldn’t wipe out with the tiniest fraction of our nuclear arsenal? And does he actually believe that our missile defense system works?
If only there were some way to reduce suicides among our combat troops – but how?
For more than two hours, Chiarelli, Army personnel chief Lt. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle and a roomful of other generals combed through the facts surrounding a dozen of the Army’s latest suicides, with commanders from Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa and bases throughout the United States participating in a video teleconference.
Such meetings are one piece of a broader effort to arrest the Army’s rising suicide rate, which has surged to record levels in the past year. In 2008, 140 soldiers on active duty took their own lives, continuing a trend in which the number of suicides has increased more than 60 percent since 2003, surpassing the rate for the general U.S. population.
To deal with the problem, the Army has added to the ranks of mental health and substance abuse counselors. The service also required all units to cease operations for two to four hours to talk about suicide prevention in February and March.
Chiarelli’s monthly meetings are the Army’s way of sleuthing out patterns and identifying new policies to deal with the trend. In the most recent meeting, conducted last week, commanders were brutally candid about what went wrong — a mental health screener who missed signs of distress; the failure to take notice when a normally reliable infantryman with three combat tours didn’t show up for an Army school; the dangerous interactions of drugs, dispensed to help soldiers deal with combat stress, with caffeine and alcohol.
It’s too bad there isn’t some easily identifiable root cause behind this alarming trend…
Many soldiers are now in the midst of their third or fourth combat tour, and Army surveys show that mental health deteriorates with each one. Senior Army officials said they are focusing more resources, including extra mental health counselors, where troops are returning from multiple deployments. This year, Fort Campbell, Ky., which is home to the frequently deployed 101st Airborne Division, has had 14 suicides.
“We probably don’t know how many mental health care providers we need after eight years of war and three and four deployments,” Chiarelli said.
I guess it’ll always be a mystery.
(Am I the only one who thinks this is like reading about managers at an unshielded nuclear power plant trying to figure out how to reduce the incidences of cancer among their staff?)
[Marie Osmond] told “Entertainment Tonight” she is completely supportive of her eldest child, Jessica, who is a lesbian.
“I love my daughter! She’s my baby girl, come on,” she said. “So what if she’s gay? She’s my daughter and she’s an amazing woman and a good kid. I raised her, she better be good.”
She went on to preach that her Mormon faith did not keep her from loving her daughter, given her sexual orientation.
“I think it’s sad when we have to separate something from society. Whether it’s, ‘Oh you’re Jewish,’ and then it was ‘Oh you’re a Mormon,’ or ‘Oh you’re gay.’ I love real people,” Osmond said. “A lot of women out there have gay children. Who cares? I want love. I’m a Christian and Christ loved everybody.”
Earlier this month Osmond confirmed to a Los Angeles radio station that her daughter is a lesbian and spoke then about her views on same-sex marriage.
“You know, on those types of things I’m very supportive. When it comes to marriage, I think that civil rights need to be for all,” Osmond said to the radio interviewer.
Star celebrity magazine reports that Prejean’s mother, Francine Coppola, was involved in a lesbian love affair right up to the night Prejean made her now-famous statement opposing same-sex marriage.
The magazine says the beauty queen’s pronouncement didn’t sit well with her mother’s lover, openly gay sales rep Valerie Vetrano, who confirmed that “Yes, Francine and I dated.”
But religion got in the way of their relationship. “Francine explained how she was a Christian and that her loved ones would never accept her if she were gay,” a friend of the couple tells the magazine.
Coppola reportedly told Vetrano that her daughter would never believe it if she found out about their relationship.
The friend said Coppola’s family didn’t know anything about the affair. “Valerie feels that if Francine had just been open about her sexuality with her family, Carrie would have a better understanding of what gay people have to go through,” the friend tells Star.
It’s hard to imagine anything more ridiculous than the suggestion that bringing some of the terror suspects currently incarcerated in Guantanamo to high-security prisons in America will pose a threat to local communities.
It is nothing more than a bogeyman argument, easily refuted with a little common sense. (Isn’t that what prisons are for?) But that’s assuming you don’t spend your every moment living in fear of Republican attack ads questioning your devotion to the security of the country. Or that you have a modicum of respect for the intelligence of the American public.
Ah well. Old habits die hard, I guess. And Senate Democrats apparently remain an easily frightened bunch, after eight years of faint-hearted submission.
Shailagh Murray writes in The Washington Post: “Under pressure from Republicans and concerned about the politics of relocating terrorism suspects to U.S. soil, Senate Democrats rejected President Obama’s request for funding to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and vowed to withhold federal dollars until the president decides the fate of the facility’s 240 detainees…
“As recently as last week, Senate Democrats had hoped to preserve a portion of Obama’s Guantanamo funding request. But their resolve crumbled in the face of a concerted Republican campaign warning of dire consequences if some detainees ended up in prisons or other facilities in the United States, a possibility that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has acknowledged.”
Specifically, as the Associated Press is now reporting, the Senate voted 90 to 6 today for an amendment that would keep any detainee held in the Guantanamo prison from being transferred to the United States.
But here is the biggest WTF of all. What on earth is Harry Reid talking about here?
Reid: “I think there’s a general feeling… that the American people, and certainly the Senate, overwhelmingly doesn’t want terrorists to be released in the United States. And I think we’re going to stick with that….”
Q. “No one’s talking about releasing them. We’re talking about putting them in prison somewhere in the United States.”
Reid: “Can’t put them in prison unless you release them.”
Q. “Sir, are you going to clarify that a little bit? I mean — ”
Reid: “I can’t — I can’t — I can’t make it any more clear than the statement I have given to you. We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States. I think the majority — I speak for the majority of the Senate….
Q. “[I]f a detainee is adjudicated not to be a terrorist, could that detainee then enter the United States?”
Reid: “Why don’t we wait for a plan from the president? All we’re doing now is nitpicking on language that I have given you. I’ve been as clear as I can. I think I’ve been pretty clear….”
Q. “But Senator, Senator, it’s not that you’re not being clear when you say you don’t want them released. But could you say — would you be all right with them being transferred to an American prison?”
Reid: “Not in the United States.”
Reid: “I think I’ve had about enough of this.”
So… what? The detainees would just be set free in the U.S. and then rounded and put in prisons? Huh? Harry can’t get voted out soon enough. Although if the Republicans were smart they’d leave their secret weapon alone.
Too bad the rest of the Democratic caucus is a bunch of spineless idiots too.
Thousands of aliens are masquerading as doctors in America and the patients who go to them are being subjected to unethical medical treatment, a leading researcher warns.
In fact, Dr. Terrence Starnes estimated that as many as two million innocent Americans are trusting their health to alien creatures.
Dr. Starnes refused to say how he learned about the aliens but alleged that medical authorities are aware of the situation and actually have conspired to keep it under wraps to avoid a public relations nightmare.
The expert went on to say that patients must do everything in their power to protect themselves against the physician-intruders, who are alleged to be conducting life-threatening medical experiments, including the implantation of mind-control devices, under the guise of helping people out.
Dr. Starnes also provided the following list of guidelines to help you determine if your doctor is a space alien:
Beware of doctors who have trouble identifying body parts. If you complain of pain in an elbow and he examines your wrist or forearm, you might very well be in the clutches of an extraterrestrial.
Human physicians often run late, but extraterrestrials are always right on time.
A doctor’s handwriting is usually quite sloppy. But aliens labor over their handwriting and the result is easy-to-read printing.
Most doctors draw blood for testing but need very little to get the job done. Physicians who ask for a quart or more of your blood have a hidden agenda – and may be extraterrestrials.
The vast majority of doctors dispense drugs through prescriptions and pharmacist. Alien doctors prefer to pass out “sample” pills and preparations that usually have nothing to do with the patient’s illness.
Aliens often recommend surgery for patients who feel great and have no symptoms of disease.
“Take these warning signs seriously,” said Dr. Starnes. “If two or more of them apply to your doctor, he’s almost certainly an alien.”
The U.S. Army paid “tens of millions of dollars in bonuses” to KBR Inc, its biggest contractor in Iraq, even after it concluded the firm’s electrical work had put U.S. soldiers at risk, according to a source close to a U.S. congressional investigation.
The Senate Democratic Policy Committee plans to hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine KBR’s operations in Iraq, and question why the Army rewarded the Houston-based company.
The panel says KBR has been linked to at least two, and as many as five, electrocution deaths of U.S. soldiers and contractors in Iraq due to “shoddy work.”
Investigators believe hundreds of other soldiers may have received electrical shocks, the source added. The Army is investigating.
Military reports have criticized KBR’s work in Iraq in recent years. Yet afterward, the company received “tens of millions of dollars in bonuses,” said the source, who declined to be identified.
“We want to know why,” the source said.
Um… bonuses are supposed to be a reward for exemplary work, right? Perhaps the military has adopted the same standards as the corporate world applies to executives. Electrocute some troops, run a company into the ground, good job, here’s your bonus.
I hope the committee invites some family members of troops who were electrocuted – I’m sure they’ll be very interested in hearing why that warranted a financial reward.
Asked whether they were planning to vote to reelect Reid next fall or would vote to replace him, 35 percent said they would cast a vote for Reid while 45 percent said they planned to replace him. Another 17 percent said they would consider replacing Reid.
More (potentially) troubling for the Democratic leader was the fact that just 61 percent of self-identified Democrats said they planned to vote to reelect Reid. Looked at one way, that means Reid has room to grow among base voters. Looked at another, the very people among whom Reid should be strongest are pretty strongly divided in their attitudes toward him.
Only 39% of NV Democrats wouldn’t vote for Reid? Haven’t they been paying attention? Haven’t they watched him completely squander their party’s overwhelming advantage in the Senate? Reid losing, even to a Republican, would be the best thing that could happen to the Democratic party. Assuming they don’t choose, say, Ben Nelson as his replacement. Which, quite frankly, seems entirely possible to me.
Nope, nothing at all suspicious about a scruffy unshaven guy in a shapeless, vaguely Army-surplus-looking jacket wandering around taking a whole bunch of pictures of police headquarters. I don’t think I even saw any cops, much less got hassled by them.
Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. (R) will be introduced today as President Obama’s choice as ambassador to China, a source familiar with the decision said last night.
Huntsman, 48, was mentioned this spring as a potential Republican contender for the White House in 2012, and Obama’s former campaign manager recently suggested that he is a rising force in the GOP.
Huntsman was elected in November to a second term as Utah’s governor, drawing 70 percent of the vote. He served in the George W. Bush administration as deputy U.S. trade representative from 2001 to 2004 and, for President George H.W. Bush, was ambassador to Singapore. He is an expert on China, and he speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently.
Huntsman has been getting informal advice from national political consultants, helping to stoke rumors that he might be positioning himself for a run at Obama in 2012.
On the surface, this certainly appears to undermine any hopes Huntsman might have of running for president. It certainly has not been well-received by the wingnut base.
But maybe Huntsman has a plan: An ambassadorship, especially an ambassadorship to such a pivotal country, will seriously boost Hunstman’s credibility on foreign policy, which is typically the Achilles’ heel of most governors not named Bill Richardson.
Beyond that, he may also be making the calculation that there will inevitably be a Republican backlash against the hard-right extremism which has destroyed the GOP’s image and made its candidates all but unelectable. Huntsman will be well positioned as the Reasonable Bipartisan who can Reach Across The Aisle and Work With Democrats to Get Things Done. (Preferably in 2016 rather than 2016, since unless things are going really badly, he’s probably smart enough not to want to run against an incumbent Obama)
If the GOP can put the crazy base back in the box by 2016, this could be a genius move by Huntsman, and if the dead-enders are still running the party in 2016, well, he was never going to get past the primary anyway.
And all this time, I thought suffering was a bad thing:
Suffering is a gift, not a problem. It’s temporal happiness that’s a curse. When life is easy and unthreatened, the cancer of self-centered contentment can take over our spiritual life. When that happens, suffering is the greatest gift that God can impart to us.
Isn’t it ironic that our happiness-seeking American culture is doing all in its power to avoid suffering–the true source of blessing? We even do it through bailouts, and printing endless streams of fiat money. We want happiness without difficulty, the good life without pain. But that pursuit will also mean life without God, character, heaven, or true peace. Self-centered worldly avoidance of pain is killing our spiritual and corporate life. Only the gift of suffering can awaken us and point us to the true source of blessedness.
Okay, I’m sold: Suffering is Teh Awesome. But why should its benefits be limited to ordinary citizens and those lucky duckies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Hellraiser movies? Shouldn’t the upper classes be allowed to share in its blessings too? Surely we owe them some tax increases at the very least. True, it might deprive the lower and middle classes of some of their suffering, but they’ve had so much that they can afford to sacrifice a little for the sake of fairness.
And what about those noble heroes who have selflessly spread so much suffering to so many? They’re entitled to a better reward than the curse of wealth, power, and permanent comfort. Surely we can give the Masters Of The Universe who crashed the economy the gift of unemployment or at least steep pay cuts – maybe even jail time for the truly worthy. And it would be churlish not to offer the torturers and war architects of the Bush administration prolonged prison sentences as a token of appreciation for all the concentrated suffering they’ve bestowed upon the world.
Of course, their natural modesty and humility will require them to protest this largesse as simply too generous, but we really must insist. It’s the least we can do for them after all they’ve done for us.
Sen. Ben Nelson’s opposition to President Obama’s choice to head the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel appears to be the key obstacle to her confirmation. Democrats say Dawn Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor, has 59 backers in the Senate — just one vote shy of cloture. Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, is standing firmly against her appointment, pointing to Johnsen’s job 15 years ago as a counsel to the abortion rights group NARAL.
All of which has left Nelson’s critics furious. Where was the principled opposition from the Senator during the Bush years? Why is he refusing to show Obama the same deference that he offered the previous administration?
The votes, they argue tell the story. Nelson supported cloture or confirmation for some of Bush’s most controversial judges and political nominees, including several who were never able to be confirmed even under a GOP-controlled Senate. Moreover, Nelson often defended his positions by citing presidential prerogative.
“The president’s nominees, especially to the Supreme Court, deserve an up-or-down vote,” he said of the nominating process, “even if the nominee isn’t popular with the special-interest groups in Washington.”
Indeed, Nelson voted for cloture twice on former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and once for former EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.
He backed the nominations of Samuel Alito and John Roberts to the Supreme Court, as well as John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales to the Attorney General post.
He supported cloture for the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on seven separate occasions.
He did the same three times for the nomination of then Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, before ultimately supporting confirmation as well.
In one of the very few cases where Nelson voted against a Bush nominee — Priscilla Owen (whose nomination nearly led to the “nuclear option” in the Senate) — he did so only after backing cloture first, though this was part of the deal struck by the Gang of 14. Nelson even voted against cloture on one of the judges excluded from that bipartisan deal: Henry Saad, whose nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was ultimately defeated.
I sure hope someone can get supposed Democrat Nelson to explain why he’s an absolute believer in presidential prerogative when the president belongs to the other party.
Look, I can give Democrats in red states or districts a little bit of slack for the need to be more conservative, but acting like a partisan Republican is going too far. Arlen Specter was a far more reliable Republican than Nelson is a Democrat – and probably still is.
Last month, former Vice President Dick Cheney revealed that he had requested the release of CIA documents supposedly showing that the Bush administration’s torture program produced valuable intelligence and protected the U.S. against terrorist attacks…. Now, in a letter to the National Archives, CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator Delores M. Nelson, “rejected Cheney’s request because the documents he has requested are involved in a Freedom of Information Act court battle.”
The King Of Government Secrecy is thwarted by… government secrecy. It’s just too delicious.