Attorney General Eric Holder Did Not Lie Under Oath Period Full Stop

Blue Unisphere wallpaper

Blue Unisphere wallpaper

 

Two of my otherwise good fellow Democratic bloggers might need to go back and do a more careful reading. Firedoglake writes: Did Attorney General Eric Holder Lie To Congress Under Oath?

During Attorney General Eric Holder’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee he made an interesting statement in response to a question from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA):

JOHNSON: I yield the balance of my time to you.

HOLDER: I would say this with regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. That is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy. In fact my view is quite the opposite.

Interesting statement given that we now know Holder approved a search warrant for a reporter’s emails who was cited as a co-conspirator in a leak investigation.

Holder was under oath at the time raising the possibility of a perjury charge.

In no way, shape or form does their own post show that Holder lied. Words have meanings. Fairly simple. He said he would not be involved in “prosecution” of the press. It is not quite see Rover fetch the ball, but close in it’s simplicity. We’ll get to some further analysis, but first this post from another Democratic blogger,  The Rosen quest: In (partial) defense of Eric Holder

The pattern emerges again: Obama says the right words, but his administration does the wrong thing.

The news that the Obama administration fought to be able to access Fox News reporter James Rosen’s emails over a long period of time underscores just how much the DOJ latched onto the theory that Rosen was a potential criminal.

Rosen was targeted by the DOJ for his communication with State Department adviser Stephen Kim, who allegedly leaked him information about North Korea’s nuclear program. The DOJ infamously labeled Rosen a “co-conspirator” for his attempts to get the information from Kim. Rosen’s personal emails were searched, and the records of five different phone lines used by Fox News were also surveilled. On Thursday, it emerged that Attorney General Eric Holder had personally signed off on the Rosen warrant.

President Obama said on Thursday that he worried the investigations would chill national security and investigative journalism, and that reporters should not be prosecuted for “doing their jobs.” But his Justice Department apparently did not know this.

One of the most interesting exchanges to derive from this brouhaha may be found on the Brad Blog. Brad wrote a piece which cited Glenn Greenwald’s vigorous condemnation of the Obama administration cavalier attitude toward privacy. In response, a reader accused Greenwald of being close kin to Darrell Issa, the Republican Cairman of the House Oversight Committee.

This is, of course, the overheated rhetoric often employed by those who reduce all of politics to a simplistic game of shirts vs. skins, Us vs. Them. But Greenwald’s response deserves to be quoted:

As for the “substance” of the commenter’s accusations: what I said is 100% accurate. At the time Rosen published his article, barely anybody noticed it. It created almost no furor. Nobody suggested it was a leak that was even in the same universe as the big leaks of classified information over the last decade in terms of spilling Top Secret information into the public domain: the NYT’s exposure of the Bush NSA and SWIFT programs, Dana Priest’s uncovering of the CIA black site network, David Sanger’s detailing of Obama’s role in the Stuxnet attack on Iran, etc.

Nor has anyone claimed that this leak resulted in harm to anyone or blew anyone’s cover. That’s what makes it “innocuous”: it’s a run-of-the-mill leak that happens constantly in Washington, where government officials give classified information and intelligence reporting to DC journalists, who then print it. That happens all the time. All the time. And it has for decades.

All that’s happening here is that Obama followers are doing what Bush followers constantly did to defend their leader: screaming “harm to national security!” to justify secrecy and attacks on the press. But there is no demonstrated harm to national security from this leak and nobody has remotely claimed it’s anywhere near the level of leaks that prompted Bush officials threaten to prosecute journalists at the New York Times.

The effort to spy on Rosen resulted from a classic over-reaction, of the sort we’ve seen time and again in leak investigations.

That blogger ( usually a pretty good one) and Glenn Greenwald ned to get a basic understanding of the difference between a national security leak and whistle-blowing. In the examples that Greenwald cites, those were whistle-blowers who revealed crime committed by the Bush administration. James Rosen leaked a national security secret. Rosen, Fox news and  was and State Department adviser Stephen Kim violated national security laws, compromised the U.S. and U.N. bargaining position on North Kora’s nuclear weapons program. At the very lest Greenwald and those who are like minded should say they don’t care about the marked differences or do not care about national security secrets, or claim that it should not have been a national security secret because it is just Obama beng too secretive and wrap that up with some liberal’s long standing grudge against Obama for that reason. Gleen claims without evidence “But there is no demonstrated harm to national security from this leak.” That is not the case. If it is, Greenwald has offered exactly zero evidence to prove it. I’ve been reading Greenwald for years. he used to make almost iron clad arguments, with supporting evidence, as he did during the Bush administration> What happened. Now he seems to have gone into the ‘ they all do it” and liberals are hypocrites business. Again, with no more proof, than his adamant assertion he is right, period. He seems that a true champion of civil liberties is getting lazy.

The Fox case involved a report by Rosen in June 2009 that American intelligence officials had issued warnings that, should the United Nations adopt sanctions that were under consideration, North Korea would begin conducting new nuclear tests. According to the F.B.I. affidavit in the case, the information was top secret and was contained in an intelligence document disseminated to a small number of government officials that same morning. The report was marked top secret.

Probably no lasting harm was done, but that is simply an educated guess on my part. North Korea has proven to be sociopathic when it comes to acting in it’s own best interests. So they probably would have resumed new tests anyway. Greenwald and bloggers who agree with him do not say that. They claim with absolute, evidence free certainty, that no big deal, it does not matter. As though the humility that Glenn has shown in the past is excess baggage in this case. Glenn is doing what quite a few old-fashioned liberals used to do and still do – though Glenn has never officially declared his political affiliations. They want so much to be regarded as being independent minded, of not being a partisan hack, that they end up being hacks against the truth. This is simple. A very brief story, with some little details that seem to be getting short shift, Fox News Whitewashes Reality To Smear Holder With Perjury Accusations

It was recently revealed that the Justice Department obtained a search warrant for the communications records of Fox News reporter James Rosen in an effort to track down a leaker who provided him with classified information on North Korea in 2009. On May 15, during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) asked Holder about the warrant and the potential for prosecuting journalists accused of publishing classified information that they obtained from government sources. Holder responded (emphasis added):

With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. That is not something that I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy.

On May 24, the Justice Department released a statement clarifying Holder’s involvement in the approval process for the warrants in question (emphasis added):

“The Department takes seriously the First Amendment right to freedom of the press. In recognition of this, the Department took great care in deciding that a search warrant was necessary in the Kim matter, vetting the decision at the highest levels of the Department, including discussions with the Attorney General. After extensive deliberations, and after following all applicable laws, regulations and policies, the Department sought an appropriately tailored search warrant under the Privacy Protection Act. And a federal magistrate judge made an independent finding that probable cause existed to approve the search warrant.”

Fox News’ Special Report on May 24 argued that these statements were inconsistent and concluded that the Attorney General had previously lied to the Judiciary Committee and thus had committed perjury. Host Shannon Bream began the show stating, “It’s his story, but he’s not sticking to it,” claiming that Holder has “chang[ed] his tune” on his involvement in the scrutiny of journalists. Contributor Steve Hayes claimed that Holder’s two statements were “incongruent” and Charles Krauthammer speculated that it may be “a case of perjury.”

In fact, the statements are not “incongruent” whatsoever. Holder’s comments to the Judiciary referred to the possibility of prosecuting journalists for publishing classified information, but that is not the crime the Justice Department’s warrant accused Rosen of committing. DOJ investigators were concerned with Rosen’s solicitation of classified information, not any subsequent publication of it. Wired explained (emphasis added):

According to the affidavit (.pdf), FBI Agent Reginald Reyes told the judge there was probable cause to believe that Rosen had violated the Espionage Act by serving “as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the leak. The Espionage Act is the same law that former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning is accused of violating when he leaked information to the secret-spilling site WikiLeaks.

To support his assertion, Reyes quoted an email exchange between Kim and Rosen, in which Rosen told him that he was interested in “breaking news ahead of my competitors” and had a particular interest in “what intelligence is picking up.” He also told Kim, “I’d love to see some internal State Department analyses.”

The suggestion was that Rosen broke the law by soliciting information from Kim, something that all journalists do routinely with sources.

Nonetheless, the federal judge found there was probable cause to believe that Rosen was a co-conspirator and approved the warrant.

In other words, Holder’s on-the-record denial of involvement in any prosecution of news organizations for publishing classified information in no way conflicts with any knowledge he may have possessed or action the DOJ may have taken against reporters for soliciting said information. Fox’s perjury accusations simply don’t align with the facts.

Among those getting the Holder story wrong, Glenn, being a veteran lawyer, should know there is a difference between getting a warrant to track and identify the leakers of a national security secret and prosecuting a reporter. Warrant versus persecution. All the difference in the world between those two things and Glenn knows it. I expect this kind of truth twisting, half facts, balling up everything into smearing sun bites from Fox News, but not someone who has such a great record on keeping his facts straight. Even HuffPo is running with Fox’s lie.

Benghazi – ABC Pushes Doctored Benghazi Emails and Documents Show Stevens Rejected Increased Security

Spring Beach wallpaper

Spring Beach wallpaper

Apparently at least some of the news division at ABC are in the bag for conservatives,  Who doctored a White House email?

Was ABC News used by someone with an ax to grind against the State Department? It looks possible. A key email in its “scoop” that the administration’s “talking points” on Benghazi had been changed a dozen times came from White House national security communications adviser Ben Rhodes. It seemed to confirm that the White House wanted the talking points changed to protect all agencies’ interests, “including those of the State Department,” in the words of the email allegedly sent by Rhodes.

But CNN’s Jake Tapper reveals that Rhodes’ email didn’t mention the State Department, and doesn’t even seem to implicitly reference it. The email as published by Karl differs significantly from the original obtained by Tapper.

According to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, Rhodes weighed in after State Department’s Victoria Nuland, who expressed concerns about the way the talking points might hurt “my building’s leadership.” ABC quotes Rhodes saying:

We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.

The email obtained by Tapper is very different.

Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.

There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.

We can take this up tomorrow morning at deputies.

You can read the original here.

Significantly, the Rhodes email doesn’t even mention the controversial Benghazi talking points.

Who, just after ABC got the scoop with the doctored wording. The same radical far Right conservative sites always complaining about the “liberal” press: Townhall.com, The American Thinker, Hot Air, and Breitbart.com, The Daily Mail and National Review Online.

Whoever provided those quotes seemingly invented the notion that Rhodes wanted the concerns of the State Department specifically addressed. While Nuland, particularly, had expressed a desire to remove mentions of specific terrorist groups and CIA warnings about the increasingly dangerous assignment, Rhodes put no emphasis at all in his email on the State Department’s concerns.

The allegedly inaccurate characterizations of the Rhodes email by ABC News and The Weekly Standard were repeated in numerous media outlets, and a Republican research document.

Some might remember that Tapper practically played communications director for former S.C. Governor Mark Sanford during his infamous disappearance and the discovery of his affair. I do and don’t understand how hacks like  Jonathan Karl and Lou Dobbs keep jobs as supposedly straight up journalist when they’re always getting caught reading off the Republican fax machine. We certainly will not be hearing this news from ABC, nor probably even CNN for that matter, Ambassador Stevens twice said no to military offers of more security, U.S. officials say U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens

In the month before attackers stormed U.S. facilities in Benghazi and killed four Americans, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens twice turned down offers of security assistance made by the senior U.S. military official in the region in response to concerns that Stevens had raised in a still secret memorandum, two government officials told McClatchy.

What did the far Right’s newest hero Stevens’ deputy, Gregory Hicks have to say about the news that Stevens had rejected increased security,

Both Hicks and Ham declined to comment on the exchange between Ham and Stevens. Hicks’ lawyer, Victoria Toensing, said Hicks did not know the details of conversations between Stevens and Ham and was not aware of Stevens turning down an offer of additional security.

“As far as Mr. Hicks knows, the ambassador always wanted more security and they were both frustrated by not getting it,” she said.

M’s Toensing is a professional smear merchant for the conservative movement, so of course she doesn’t know about anything that conflicts with the fairy tale she made up with her client.

Update: In the previous version of this post I wrote Jake Tapper when I should have written  Jonathan Karl. Sorry about that.

The Aspect Of The IRS Scandal You Will Not Be Hearing About

Los Angeles 1891

Los Angeles 1891. “Los Angeles, Cal., population of city and environs 65,000.” I was amazed at that population figure in relation to the current population of about 3.9 million.

Certainly the Republican noise grinder has kicked into full victim mode, and as usual the media has largely joined in so they will not be accused of liberal bias, the IRS has victimized poor little conservatives. I wonder if Jeffrey Toobin’s article can be heard through the den, The Real I.R.S. Scandal

So the scandal—the real scandal—is that 501(c)(4) groups have been engaged in political activity in such a sustained and open way. As Fred Wertheimer, the President of Democracy 21, a government-ethics watchdog group, put it, “it is clear that a number of groups have improperly claimed tax-exempt status as section 501(c)(4) ‘social welfare’ organizations in order to hide the donors who financed their campaign activities in the 2010 and 2012 federal elections.”

Some people in the I.R.S. field office in Cincinnati took the names of certain groups—names that included the terms “Tea Party” and “patriot,” among others, which tend to signal conservatism—as signals that they might not be engaged in “social welfare” operations. Rather, the I.R.S. employees thought that these groups might be doing explicit politics—which would disqualify them for 501(c)(4) status, and set them aside for closer examination. This appears to have been a pretty reasonable assumption on the part of the I.R.S. employees: having “Tea Party” in your name is at least a slight clue about partisanship. When the inspector-general report becomes public, we’ll surely learn the identity of these organizations. How many will look like “social welfare” organizations—and how many will look like political activists looking for anonymity and tax breaks? My guess is a lot more of the latter than the former.

In many cases conservative groups were violating the terms of their 501(c)(4)  by engaging in explicit political advocacy. never mind, all anyone needs to know is that this is a scandal. I have yet to read or hear even one conservative explain how the actions of the IRS benefits the Obama administration or Democrats. While not an excuse it does seem like some IRS employees at the lower level did not use the kind of systematic filtering of organizations that they should have. probably add in some political bias as well. If they would have looked over all applications equally, that would have served what is now considered an arcane concept, keeping dirty money and underhanded politics out of elections. Conservatives obviously have no problem with that. Where would they be without their money and front groups. They would have to fight the battle of ideas on level ground. As it is they need the constant media lies and disinformation. They need their conspiracies – real or imagined or ginned up 50 degrees. The tea bagger base, just have desert served up with a cherry on top. They’re enjoying this. Even though it is a level one scandal, they’ve pumped it up to level five because it serves their agenda. Should the IRS employees be ashamed. Certainly. But from this point onward this tax exempt business will be the gift that keeps on giving. The tea baggers will make sure of that. And for yet again putting on another Chicken-Little show, they should be ashamed. Only that’s right, you have to have reasonably good working conscience to feel ashamed.

The National Security State, Terrorism and The Conservative Logic Hole

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Blue Ocean Cliffs wallpaper

 

The last few days, staring with the news of the Bush Library opening and this new report from the WaPo is like having a waking nightmare that is on automatic shuffle. The main theme of the nightmare stays the same, the little details change. CIA pushed to add Boston bomber to terror watch list

The CIA pushed to have one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers placed on a U.S. counterterrorism watch list more than a year before the attacks, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Russian authorities contacted the CIA in the fall of 2011 and raised concerns that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed last week in a confrontation with police, was seen as an increasingly radical Islamist who could be planning to travel overseas.

The CIA request led the National Counterterrorism Center to add Tsarnaev’s name to a database known as the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, that is used to feed information to other lists, including the FBI’s main terrorist screening database.

The CIA’s request came months after the FBI had closed a preliminary inquiry into Tsarnaev after getting a similar warning from Russian state security, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

The disclosure of the CIA’s involvement suggests that the U.S. government may have had more reason than it has previously acknowledged to scrutinize Tsarnaev in the months leading up to the bombings in Boston. It also raises questions why U.S. authorities didn’t flag his return to the United States and investigate him further after a seven-month trip he took to Russia last year.

let’s get to the obvious thing first. The WaPo’s shoddy reporting. We already knew that the FBI had Tsarnaev on their watch-list. He was added to the TIDE list. In a quick scan of a few blogs, one suggested that we have reentered the space-time continuum of blame between the two agencies. That might be, but for those who are following the details, this confusion seems to be largely a problem of individual personnel not being briefed very well and the WaPo relying on what one person said instead of taking five minutes to check Lexus-Nexus. Unlike the rest of us reporters at the WaPo do not have to pay to use it.

“The system pinged when he was leaving the United States,” Napolitano said at a Senate hearing this week. “By the time he returned, all investigations had been closed.” The Washington Post notes that since the CIA became involved later, it’s possible Tsarnaev would have still been on the TIDE list when he reentered the country. “If Customs officials had alerted the FBI to his return, the bureau might have found reason to question him further in the months leading up to the attacks,” the paper reports.

However, that seems fairly unlikely. The CIA and FBI asked the Russians for more information on Tsarnaev several times, but got no response until the manhunt was on in Boston. Therefore, he was just a man two agencies had cleared on a list of hundreds of thousands of potential terrorists. A U.S. intelligence official noted Tsarnaev “did not come anywhere close to being a selectee” for the no-fly list. As for what would have happened if the FBI was aware of his return from Russia, the official said, “Probably nothing.”

Since we’re in time trvael mode let’s go back to the problems the FBI was having when our national security policy was to make everyone in the U.S. a potential terrorist. June 19, 2003, THREATS AND RESPONSES: LAW ENFORCEMENT; False Terrorism Tips to F.B.I. Uproot the Lives of Suspects

Federal agents, facing intense pressure to avoid another terrorist attack, have acted on information from tipsters with questionable backgrounds and motives, touching off needless scares and upending the lives of innocent suspects.

After a wave of criticism, Bush administration officials have been revising their policies for handling terrorist suspects. On Tuesday, President Bush issued guidelines restricting racial profiling in investigations to ”narrow” circumstances linked to stopping potential attacks.

In a report earlier this month, the Justice Department’s inspector general found that in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, many illegal immigrants with no connection to terrorism were detained under harsh conditions.
[  ]…With thousands of tips coming in every week, the F.B.I. was hard pressed in those early days merely to take in the information, officials said, especially since Justice Department orders were that no plausible tip was to be ignored.

In that same report the FBI acknowledge that tipping the FBI off that someone was potential terror suspect became a way for people to take revenge on people they did not like, such as ex-spouses and anyone who looked like they were from the middle-east. Then and now how does the FBI or CIA determine who to watch on an almost continuous basis. That is a lot of resources and manpower focused on someone that might do something. That apparently has not stopped what has become one of the most enormous bureaucracies in the U.S. government from trying to watch everyone, all the time. What happens when you have thousands of people and billions of dollars chasing every tip and every ghost of a suspect, July 19, 2010 – A hidden world, growing beyond control

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

The investigation’s other findings include:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.

* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year – a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

This is one of the reason to be both concerned and laugh at what national security has become. Because so much of the funding is simply bundled for national security, the details of how it is spent are known to hand full of people and they can only tell Congress in secret meetings about the specifics of how it was spent. basically two lone wackos just went off one day. How is it that anyone can see that coming and take legal action. The FBI could do what they did after 9-11 and simply take people off the street. That will work until someone who thinks abortion is murder, or women should not be allowed to take contraceptives, or someone who thinks vaccines are part of a nefarious government plot, or someone thinks Obama must be taken out because he heard Obama does not have a real birth certificate….is put in a cell without the right to counsel. Why didn’t the FBI pick up on signals from this guy, just because he is white, male and likely list his religion as Christian, Illinois shootings: Suspect helped wounded girl after killing 5

After he shot his way into a home in the small town of Manchester, police say Rick Odell Smith gunned down a great-grandmother, a young couple and three young children. Then he did something that puzzled authorities.

He scooped up one of the children, a 6-year-old girl who was still alive, and carried her to a neighbor’s home. Then he jumped into his white Chevy Lumina and sped off. Police caught up with him hours later and he died in a gunfight with officers.

So a Caucasian male murders one more person than the Boston marathon terrorists: it is not called terrorism. There is no call to stop letting whites immigrate to the U.S. There is no blame game by politicians. There is no wacky conspiracy theories from Glenn Beck – Beck: ‘If You Want to Continue to Discredit Me, You Will Only Discredit Yourself’. Somehow, and being anti-science and anti-rationalism it makes sense, conservatives have come to belive that if you’re murdered by a non-Chritian you’re more dead and your death matters more if you’re murdered by a while male Christian. Another trip down memory lane when conservatives were complaining about national security overreach, “You Don’t Have Any Civil Liberties If You’re Dead” (2010)

Be careful what you ask for; you just might get it. So it is with the uproar from disingenuous conservatives trying to capitalize on the public outcry over the TSA’s airport body scans and aggressive pat-downs. While Charles Krauthammer now spouts “don’t touch my junk” and Rush Limbaugh declares, “Keep your hands off my tea bag, Mr. President,” five years ago the right-wing echo chamber applauded President Bush’s regime of illegal domestic surveillance by the NSA. After all, they insisted then, you don’t have civil liberties when you’re dead.

That stunning defense of anti-terrorism over-reach became a Republican staple in December 2005. After the New York Times revealed the Bush administration’s campaign of warrantless wiretapping, Senator John Cornyn debuted the now famous GOP talking point. The former Texas Supreme Court Justice announced:

“None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead.”

(With no sense of irony, Cornyn in August 2009 accused President Obama of instituting a “data collection program” in support of health care reform.)

Soon, Republican leaders were singing from the same hymnal. On February 3rd, 2006, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, who has stonewalled the Phase II investigation into the misuses of pre-Iraq war intelligence, similarly claimed:

“You really don’t have any civil liberties if you’re dead.”

Just days later, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) joined his colleagues in blessing President Bush’s unilateral abrogation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the Constitution. The failed federal judge insisted that in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, anything goes:

“Over 3,000 Americans have no civil rights because they are no longer with us.”

Of course, Republicans aren’t merely seizing on the TSA passenger imbroglio to embarrass President Obama. As it turns out, the dust-up is another chance for Republicans to further some of their most cherished goals.

Like more, not fewer, violations of Americans’ civil liberties. While Florida Congressman John Mica is pushing for U.S. airports to turn passenger security over to private contractors, Representatives Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) have called for profiling of passengers. “Sure, profiling is okay,” Hoekstra explained, adding, “You know, you do it everywhere in life – it only makes sense.”

Charles Krauthammer couldn’t agree more. Krauthammer is only too willing to sacrifice other peoples’ rights in order to keep the government out of his junkyard:

“The only reason we continue to do this is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling – when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable and universally known. So instead of seeking out terrorists, we seek out tubes of gel in stroller pouches.”

So much for the threat from terror babies.

So profiling and trashing every American’s constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties is OK, but limiting the size of gun magazines is too intrusive. Profiling prevents Americans from being killed? Tell that to those five people murdered in Illinois. Or the families in Newtown. Remember that Adam Lanza’s mother was a conservative gun collector who thought civilization was going to crumple. And in every forum on the internet the gun fetishists claim that no gun safety laws will ever prevent a murder, but throwing all olive skinned, possibly middle-eastern “looking” folks in preventative detention will. It all sounds like something out of a very surreal graphic novel, but it is the reality we all live in. Just in time to prove my point, O’Reilly Demands To Know Why Obama Didn’t Condemn Islam Immediately After Boston Bombing

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly chose on Tuesday night to slam President Obama for failing to condemn Islam in the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombings and claimed that American Muslims aren’t doing enough to stand up against jihad.

During his “Talking Point Commentary” segment, O’Reilly called the President “seriously wrong” for urging the country on Friday to not to jump to conclusions about the bombing suspects’ motivations.

“It’s all about motivation and it’s all about a specific group of people,” O’Reilly declared, referring to Muslims. He then went on to say that suspected Dzhokar Tsarnaev and his deceased brother Tamerlan were definitively jihadists, stating that “only radical Islam allows terror murder.”

April is the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombings by two white Christian conservatives. Maybe Obama didn’t condemn all of Islam for the same reason Bill Clinton did not use Oklahoma City to condemn conservationism and right-wing Christians. Maybe to do so is a tad too sweeping an indictment. O’Reilly is a good example of the kind of lazy knee jerk thinking which permeates the conservative movement. They always get caught on the absurdity, the contradictions, the lack of facts and the hypocrisy. Yet, like mindless zombies they don’t skip a beat they keep clawing at the wall. O’Reilly makes millions for being wrong, for spreading deeply unAmericans values, for twisting and distorting the simplest bits of information. There is no incentive for him to become less morally corrupt. Malignity pays.

Bonus links: Bush’s Library Dedication Reminds America Of 50 Reasons George W. Bush Should have Been Tried For Sedition.

STUDY: Media Overlooked Keystone XL Risks Even After Arkansas Spill

Black and White Lighthouse wallpaper – The DOMA Issue Brings Up The Conservative Antipathy Towards Individual Rights

Black and White Lighthouse wallpaper

Black and White Lighthouse wallpaper

Old Lighthouse wallpaper

Old Lighthouse wallpaper

 

Just because it is the SCOTUSBlog does not mean it is the last word, but it does carry a little more authority in terms of analysis than much of what is on the internets especially, Argument recap: DOMA is in trouble (FINAL UPDATE). This story is being tweeted and blog about quite a bit, but it does not say what some headline skimmers thinks it says, David von Drehle writes How Gay Marriage Won. The article documents some of the legal victories, but is also as much about, if not more about the cultural victories. Good article, worth saving for the historical documentation, but this part struck me,

True, most of the remaining states have passed laws or constitutional amendments reserving marriage for opposite-sex partners. And Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, declares that the fight to defend the traditional definition is only beginning. “Our opponents know this, which is why they are hoping the Supreme Court will cut short a debate they know they will ultimately lose if the political process and democracy are allowed to run their course,” he said.

The thoughts and let’s assume deeply held convictions of Mr. Brown are a great encapsulation of the way conservatives think a democratic republic such as ours works. In Conservoworld, if the majority thinks there is such a thing as witchcraft, that it is their belief witchcraft is harmful to society, well, let the witch burning begin. This is what President James Madison warned about in his concerns with the “tyranny of the majority”. Sure liberals belief you have to work at nudging people over to their side on issues, but they also believe that some rights are fundamental, as Madison did in the Bill of Rights. Anyone see anything in the Bill that says these basic liberties and protections are reserved just for heterosexuals or white males or fundamentalist Christians. No, of course not. Those rights were extended to all Americans. That is the way our democracy works. It is the conservative antagonism towards our basic principles of governance that makes the conservative movement such a malignancy. They are fighting for a way of governance and life that is opposed to small r republicanism. You only hear conservatives get passionate about Lockean individual liberty when they talk about the rights of corporations. That your rights as a consumer, an individual, as an investor, as a parent trying to raise a child that values something other than money – your rights should be surrendered for the sake of being pro business.

Do they hear the words that come out of their mouths, Fox’s Jon Scott: Defending “Traditional Marriage” Is Part Of The Fight Against Gun Violence

Fox News host Jon Scott looped the opposition to marriage equality into the fight against gun violence, claiming that conservatives are lined up in front of the Supreme Court “trying to defend traditional marriage” in part because gun violence is exacerbated by the institution’s decline.

On the March 27 edition of Happening Now, Scott hosted Fox News contributor Juan Williams to discuss the nexus between race, gun violence, and the family unit. Scott then tied the discussion to the debate over the Defense Of Marriage Act, saying that a rise in gun and gang violence and drug use was “why so many hundreds of conservatives are lined up outside the Supreme Court right now trying to defend traditional marriage, because they say marriage is an important building block to the society.”

So deny equality in marriage and people will stop buying guns. Sounds like the hippie conservative on acid appeal. And if marriage equals stability in society than that means Scott should want gays couples to get married to encourage said stability.

No, Breitbart.com Serial Liars, We Did Not Spend $1 Million On Puppets “Amid Sequester”

Right-wing media are claiming that the federal government spent money on research grants and other expenses for puppets during the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, despite the fact that the grants were all paid prior to the budget cuts.

On Wednesday, Breitbart.com attacked the administration for stopping tours of the White House as a result of budget cuts in a post titled “U.S. Spends $1.18 Million On Puppets Amid Sequester,” and claimed the government could “cut federal ‘puppet expenditures’ to keep the people’s house open.” The website listed spending from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, among other sources, as federal spending on “puppets and puppetry-related expenses.”

Fox Nation hyped the Breitbart.com post, labeling it a “report”:

Fox & Friends joined in on Thursday when co-host Steve Doocy said: “1.18 million, that’s how much the government has spent on puppets since 2009. That’s enough to pay for more than a year’s worth of White House tours.”

However, the grants and contracts that Breitbart.com cited were all paid prior to 2013. A screenshot of the search terms used by Breitbart.com reveals the most recent grants were paid in fiscal year 2012, which ended on September 30, 2012. Sequestration took place on March 1, 2013, almost six months later.

So the complaint here, from the anti-science crowd, is that President Obama needs to immediately create a time-machine and go back, twist the arm of every Republican in Congress, forcing them to unvote for the sequester they voted for. Of course all the Brietbart commenters joined in with the usual shrill outrage. One assumes because none of them know how to read a calender or tell time. They are definitely in the right bubble of disinformation over there.

The tired, beaten and raged story of conservatives and the relationship between tax cuts and jobs: if only taxes were cut even more, business could afford to hire more people. Yet another pin in that hot air balloon, Post analysis of Dow 30 firms shows declining tax burden as a share of profits.

Most of the 30 companies listed on the country’s most famous stock index, the Dow Jones industrial average, have seen a dramatically smaller percentage of their profits go to U.S. coffers over the past 40 years.

…A Washington Post analysis of data compiled by Capital IQ found that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, companies in the current Dow 30 routinely cited U.S. federal tax expenses that were up to half of their worldwide profits. Now, most are reporting less than half that amount.

The reason? The slow but steady transformation of the American multinational after years of globalization. Companies now enjoy an unprecedented ability to move their capital around the world, and the corporate tax code has not kept up with the changes.

Across industries, virtually every major U.S. firm has seen the rate of its tax contributions plummet, at least according to publicly available financial statements.

Procter & Gamble, the consumer products giant, reported a U.S. federal tax expense that was 40 percent of its total profits in 1969; that figure was down to 14 percent in 2011.

The maker of Otis elevators and Black Hawk helicopters,
United Technologies, reported a tax expense in 1969 that was 47 percent of profits. In 2012, that figure was 5.8 percent.

Walt Disney cited a tax figure that was 40 percent of its profits in 1969; in 2012, it had dropped by nearly half to 21 percent.

Oil companies and too big too fail banks like JP Morgan have stayed about the same in terms of taxes.

Sunrise Earth wallpaper – Dorner and The Michelle Malkin School of Journalism

Sunrise Earth wallpaper

 

Remember when one of the worse peace time mass murders in history broke in Norway by far Right conservative Anders Behring Breivik. As soon as the at news broke, ace conservative “journalist” Michelle Malkin was tweeting away about how it was the work of Isalmic jihadists. In addition to her shoot first get the facts later brand of reportage – and we’re not talking about facts unfloding and she just reported what a police or offical said as events unfolded – Malkin has a habit of being apologetically sleazy. Much like a middle-school smart ass who never out grew her worse impulses, Malkin has always been happy to make snide smears first, and forget the actual reportage. With the news of the serial murders by former police officer Christopher Dorner and the publication of his supposed manifesto, Malkin continues the conservative standard for fair and balanced, The Blame Righty mob falls silent By Michelle Malkin

Question: What will this rabid Blame Righty mob do now that an alleged triple-murderer has singled out prominent lefties in the media and Hollywood for fawning praise as part of his crazed manifesto advocating cop-killing?

Answer: Evade, deflect, ignore and whitewash.

This week, former Los Angeles Police Department Officer Christopher Dorner allegedly shot and killed three innocent people in cold blood. He was the subject of a massive manhunt as of Thursday afternoon. Dorner posted an 11,000-word manifesto on Facebook that outlined his chilling plans to target police officers.

CNN headlined its story on the rant: “Alleged cop-killer details threats to LAPD and why he was driven to violence.” MSNBC reported: “Manifesto: Alleged Revenge Shooter Named Targets.” KTLA-TV in Los Angeles went with: “Christopher Dorner’s Manifesto (Disturbing Content and Language).”

There was a curious, blaring omission in both the headlines and the stories from these supposedly objective outlets, though. Dorner expressed rather pointed, explicit views of news personalities and celebrities who have influenced, entertained and uplifted him.

Note the bold (mine) in that last paragraph. Malkin links to what Dorner wrote. It is available on-line in several places, which she lists. So if she found it, she linked to it, the manifesto is up for anyone to read , where is the “blaring omission”. Where is the media hiding stuff that Malkin says is a secret. Are they hiding it in plain sight. A modern case of the Purloined Letter? Does Malkin read her rants back to herself and check them for coherence. Let’s pause for a second and discuss that manifesto. BuzzFeed says that the version released has been highly edited.  Malkin has probably not jumped the shark as badly as with Brevik, but is basing her post on a document that may or may not be the complete original. I tend to think that even if only half the stuff in it is true Dorner has some evil impulse issues. If the the parts about police department racism and brutality are true, still not even close to being an excuse for murder. For the time being let’s say the snips she quotes remain in an unedited version, that means some other parts, that distract some Malkin’s spin of Dorner as a crazed “lefty”: Fox News/Hannity Uses Ex-LAPD Cop Killer To Dishonestly Smear Liberals

Oddly enough, Hannity left out Dorner’s support for Republican Chris Christie (“You’re America’s no s*** taking uncle. … Your leadership is greatly needed.”), how Dorner said that the only presidential candidate he supported in 2012 was Republican Jon Huntsman, and how George H.W. Bush was “always one of my favorite presidents.”

It turned into a trifecta of political opportunism for the “fair and balanced” network that allowed Hannity to a) play the media victim because b) the “liberal media” was showing its hypocrisy in c) not reporting the liberal/Democratic affiliations of Dorner the way you know it would have if he were a conservative.

Dorner hearts Bush 43 and Chris Christie, and Malkin thinks the guy is a liberal. Maybe, but he seems to belong to the cult of personalities. He sees and hears public officials, newscasters and celebrities and either falls in love or hate with them. Dorner was a police officer and is ex-military. Maybe he did have legitimate mainstream liberal leanings on some issues – racism as an issue obviously meant a lot to him, but antisemitism and police corruption as well. It is safe to say that he snapped. Liberals don’t stand for gunning down innocent people. That is certainly not something he got listening To Joe Biden, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. None of the newscasters or celebrities he admired have advocated murder. So how can one reasonably say that they are to blame. That is where Malkin and the conservative pile-on comes in. They do not have to put together a reasonable case for cause and effect, because they don’t care about the truth.

I cannot vouch for this site, but he claims to have the entire unedited-uncensored version. Here are what “glaring omission” Malkin missed,

Those lesbian officers in supervising positions who go to work, day in day out, with the sole intent of attempting to prove your misandrist authority (not feminism) to degrade male officers. You are a high value target.
Those Asian officers who stand by and observe everything I previously mentioned other officers participate in on a daily basis but you say nothing, stand for nothing and protect nothing. Why? Because of your usual saying, ” I……don’t like conflict”. You are a high value target as well.

….I will utilize OSINT to discover your residences, spouses workplaces, and children’s schools. IMINT to coordinate and plan attacks on your fixed locations. Its amazing whats on NIPR. HUMINT will be utilized to collect personal schedules of targets. I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own, I’m terminating yours. Quan, Anderson, Evans, and BOR members Look your wives/husbands and surviving children directly in the face and tell them the truth as to why your children are dead. ( one of the more disturbing parts)

…Wayne LaPierre, President of the NRA, you’re a vile and inhumane piece of shit. You never even showed 30 seconds of empathy for the children, teachers, and families of Sandy Hook. You deflected any type of blame/responsibility and directed it toward the influence of movies and the media. You are a failure of a human being. May all of your immediate and distant family die horrific deaths in front of you. ( if he would have left off the last sentence he would have nailed it).

…General Colin Powell, your book “My American Journey” solidified my decision to join the military after college. I had always intended to serve, but your book and journey motivated me. You are an inspiration to all Americans and influenced me greatly. ( Powell was and still is a conservative)

….Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” is the greatest piece of music ever, period. ( if everyone one that thinks this is a violent liberal, than some of the conservatives I know are leading double lives).

…Anthony Bourdain, you’re a modern renaissance man who epitomizes the saying “too cool for school”.
Larry David, Kevin Hart, the late Patrice Oneal, Lisa Lampanelli, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Dave Chapelle, Jon Stewart, Wanda Sykes, Dennis Miller, and Jeff Ross are pure geniuses. ( after 9-11 Dennis Miller turned into a humorless conservative smart-ass, an Ann Coulter with a bad beard).

 

 

Kick That Can

John Boehner, the speaker of the House, claims to be exasperated. “At some point, Washington has to deal with its spending problem,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve watched them kick this can down the road for 22 years since I’ve been here. I’ve had enough of it. It’s time to act.”

Actually, Mr. Boehner needs to refresh his memory. During the first decade of his time in Congress, the U.S. government was doing just fine on the fiscal front. In particular, the ratio of federal debt to G.D.P. was a third lower when Bill Clinton left office than it was when he came in. It was only when George W. Bush arrived and squandered the Clinton surplus on tax cuts and unfunded wars that the budget outlook began deteriorating again.

As bad as their economic lies are, the conservative dedication to being ingenious is even worse.

Antique map of Europe 1595 – The Old Benghazi Conspiracy Failed So Conservatives Use Petraeus To Start New

Antique map of Europe 1595.

Some major historical events of 1595: Henry IV of France defeats the Spanish, but is nearly killed due to his rashness. Henry had converted from Catholicism to Protestantism, which may have been the reason he was, in comparison to others of the time remarkably tolerant of religious differences. He enacted the Edict of Nantes, in 1598, ending the civil war between Catholics and Protestants. He was assassinated by François Ravaillac, a radical Catholic of the era.

A Spanish expedition led by navigator and explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira (1542 – October 1595) makes the first European landing in Polynesia, on the Marquesas Islands. As students of  history know the era of European explorers would begin some very difficult times for native populations.

1595 was also the year of The Battle of San Juan. The battle was a Spanish victory in the Anglo-Spanish War that spanned the Atlantic, also being fought in Spain’s American colonies.

Physical Map of North America showing sea levels according to The Edinburgh Geographical Institute. This map was made around 1910 by cartographer  John Bartholomew  (1860-1920).

As everyone knows CIA director and former Army General David H. Petraeus resigned. He cited an affair as the reason. Apparently this all came to light after Petraeus contacted the FBI about concerns that someone had obtained access to his G-mail account. I cannot say I’m a big fan of Petraeous for a couple related reasons. he covered Bush and Cheney’s incompetence in their handling of Afghanistan. he talked a lot of smack about Iraq and what became known as the surge. By the time of the surge so much near genocidal violence had occurred there was not much to surge against. That did not stop Petraeous, Bush the conservative echo chamber ( later to include the biographer with which the General had his affair) from calling the surge a great success. That said I’m not sure why having an affair per se should be sufficient cause to hand in a resignation. Though I’m talking about practical reasons. It seems unlikely he could be blackmailed. Though it does appear possible the person who gained access to the e-mail account was Paula Broadwell, the co-author of a biography of Mr. Petraeus. he could have survived the scandal if it all became public. That is not how some conservative observers see it. Mr. Petraeus was to testify in a House inquiry into the Benghazi, Libya terror attacks.

“Petraeus resignation. Timing, everything suspicious,” tweeted Rupert Murdoch, the CEO and founder of News Corp.

“COINCIDENCE?! Petraeus is set to testify NEXT week at a closed door session on Capitol Hill abt Benghazi. Did BHO push him out? This stinks!” tweeted conservative radio host Laura Ingraham

Intelligence Community Points Out Fox Was Kinda Lying About Benghazi This Whole Time. The Conservative Gossip Brigade had run out of conspiracies on Libya. There was an immediate response from the CIA, some military forces were in route – but the whole thing was just over before they could stop the killing of embassy personnel.

Oh, yeah, it’s ONAs you may have noticed, the Wingnut Noise Machine is seriously pushing the notion that President Obama deliberately sat back and did nothing when a Libyan militia attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, apparently because he is either incompetent (the “charitable” view) or because he just plain hates America that much (the “reasonable doubt exists” view). It turns out that, according to intelligence officials, CIA agents stationed in Benghazi actually did come to the aid of the Consulate, as did a second CIA team sent from Tripoli, and Libyan military forces helped the surviving Americans get to the airport to escape after the attack. The officials also directly refuted Fox News’ claims that the CIA was ordered to “stand down,” and also dismissed the notion that airstrikes could have helped anyone in the consulate:

“Let’s say we were able to get an aircraft there. Do you go in and start strafing a populated area without knowing where friend or foe is?” a senior Defense official asked. “If you did that, you could kill the very people you are trying to help.”

Of course the Right’s dumbest blogger joined in (The Gateway Pundit). Drudge Sirens: Gen. David Petraeus Resigns CIA Due To Spying … Between The Sheets

Reaction from the wingnut press has been muted so far, although readers of the Stupidest Man On the Internet were quick to speculate that Barack Obama knew of the affair and blackmailed Petraeus to do nothing to save the lives of the Benghazi consulate staff. We await further thoughtful analysis from Pam Geller and Jerome Corsi.

So President Obama conspired ever so conveniently to hand the Swifboaters on 2012 a tragedy they could spin and exploit just before the election. That makes since in the context of having a slice of the moon with your kool-aid. For those not familiar, Mark Halperin is a conservative hit-man (1. Mark Halperin. Congratulations to the world’s laziest dispenser of conventional wisdom). He, with the help of the networks – like the Today Show like to himself as an independent political analysis.

HALPERIN: Whenever there’s tension — behind the scenes for the most part — between the executive branch, the political part of the executive branch, and the CIA and the intelligence community, you see a lot of high-stakes pressure back and forth. Sometimes there are threats. I’m not saying that’s what happened in this case affecting his resignation, but there’s no question that the political pressure on the State Department, on the White House, over the facts and circumstances of the tragedy in Benghazi was creating tension, has created tension, with the intelligence community and the CIA, and so, at a minimum, the context of General Petraeus’s resignation is a time of pretty heightened pressure on him with some very tough political actors who have had the tension over the way Benghazi’s been handled, both before and after the tragedy.

You can picture mark leaning over the shrubs by the fence whispering to the neighbor – I don’t know, but just say’n that there was tension. And you know the timing – Libya and Obama and Libya and Obama – and tensions between tough political actors. Like I don’t know, but maybe, and the timing , the CIA and Libyia… Mark is on every list of worse conservative hacks passing themselves off as unbiased journalists for a reason. Halperin does not make the news like flame throwers such as Limbaugh or Coulter, but in many ways he is worse. When people listen to Limbaugh and clones they know they’re getting manufactured talking points from the Republican Bubble of Reality. Halperin is always presented as an unbiased source of “news”.

This is a good report that shows how the Fox-Drudge pushed Libya conspiracy narrative is falling apart, In Benghazi timeline, CIA errors but no evidence of conspiracy

 

This is from yesterday, but still a good catch from Mike and crew, Le Folies du “Market Liberte”: Officials Want Military to Take Over Power Restoration on Long Island

Pardon my French but this “free market” fandango in the wake of hurricane Sandy continues to expose the failure of past policy.  Now local government officials are finally ready to call the troops in on Long Island.  Story at NBC-NY.

Newsday said a reporter on Thursday visited the Hicksville headquarters of National Grid, which is the company contracted by LIPA to oversee operations, and found engineers tracking outages with highlighters and paper maps.

Here is the wiki page of National Grid, which is headquarted in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange and looks like it is another one of these infrastructure “privatization” deals motivated by the desire to “save money that we don’t have” that always ends up taking out too much cash and leaving too little funds left to account for the real maintenance and real upgrades required for the real infrastructure.

Then as usual, some periodic crisis happens to expose the real neglect and the regulatory morons who set the deal up in the first place take no responsibility and try to get the federal government sector to bail them out in the end anyway.

We’ve seen these follies before. ( all emphasis mine)

I work in the corporate free market. It works well enough most of the time. It is never perfect. It is not the holy garden of market efficiency the Right and rightie libertarians portray it as. In the real world things are seldom excellent, much less perfect. I’m not sure why the champions of laissez-faire, let’s privatize everything cult  think they can sell their snake oil to anyone who lives outside the bubble.

 

Sailor’s wallpaper – Another Day in The Conservative Race to The Bottom

old map, steering wheel, sail, rigging

Sailor’s wallpaper

 

Limbaugh has millions in the bank, testimony to the rewards of laziness and mindless hyperbole passing for what conservatives consider keen political and cultural insights. His financial success says a lot about the status of the rube, the knuckle dragger, the mouth breather, the conservative who has to think a minute to figure out 3+5 – all species that thrive in the culture of hate and malicious ignorance cultivated by the far Right. That Limbaugh shovels out his garbage from the a temperature controlled room where there he is safe from any real counters to his bombast, is a daily example of the moral rot of conservatism. Limbaugh could not even sustain his own drug addiction. A multimillionaire with plenty of free time, he sent his maid out to doctor shop. So it goes with calling women “sluts”. “Slut”: The Voice Of A Right-Wing Bully. This is the kind of culture conservatives want for America. They say the word values a lot. They have values. Those values are dark perversions of what decent people think of when they think of their own values. Be grateful to the thousands of little ditto heads. They put a face on the underbelly of conservatism. The modern kind that some have described as smiley faced fascism (pdf). Not the full on fascism of European fascists of the mid 20th century. Modern conservationism has learned from those earlier iterations of authoritarian extremism. Wrap up “values” in the red, white and blue. Use bits and pieces of Christianity to hide behind – the Beatitudes always conspicuously absent. They seem to have as much contempt for what Jesus actually said as they do for facts. Fact: Young Women Need Contraceptives For More Than Just Pregnancy Prevention

Oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) are primarily intended to prevent pregnancy. But they also offer a number of additional and immediate health benefits, particularly for women who experience menstrual-related disorders. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), OCPs help relieve or reduce the symptoms of severe menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea), which is experienced by up to 40% of all adult women and can lead to absences from work and school. The pill (as well as other hormonal contraceptives) is useful in treating excessive menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), which can lead to anemia, and it also has the potential to reduce acne and excess hair growth (hirsutism).

Other noncontraceptive uses include prevention of menstrual-related migraines, and treatment of pelvic pain that accompanies endometriosis and of bleeding due to uterine fibroids. Additional benefits identified by ACOG are normalization of irregular periods and suppression of menstruation. For some women, predicting when they will have their period or avoiding it altogether may be a matter of convenience; for others, menstrual regulation may help prevent migraines and other painful “side effects” of menstruation. [Guttmacher Institute, November 2011]

Related and a window on the bizarre window conservative have on the world, one in which they seem to cheer for as much misery as possible on their fellow human beings – Two Romneys

Right now, Mitt Romney is two people. Romney #1 is the Romney that nearly got the nomination sewed up and wants to start running against Obama. That Romney was the one that came out when he was asked about the Blunt amendment yesterday afternoon:

Unfortunately, the journalist misrepresented the bill. The Blunt Amendment is about a lot more than contraception; it would allow an employer to deny an employee any coverage for any “moral or religious” reason through the health insurance after it’s been relinquished to the employee as compensation. Functionally, it’s no different than an employer denying you the right to spend your salary on beer or condoms, if they disapprove, and it’s closing in on giving the employer the right to require you to tithe to their church as a condition of your employment. Remember, the insurance coverage being debated here is yours. You paid for it, with a combination of labor and often cash. Giving an employer a right to dictate what care is covered is like giving your employer a right to live in your house because you used money they gave you in exchange for work to buy it.

This is part of a long tradition on the American right of demanding the right to control others while characterizing it as “freedom”. It goes right back to slave owners claiming that the federal government was encroaching on their freedom to own others, i.e. their freedom to deprive others of all freedom. Now the argument is that for employers to be “free”, they should have the right to deprive their employees of the freedom to use earned benefits as we see fit. ( all emphasis mine)

When one writes about conservatives – what they really stand for as opposed to what they say they stand for – if you’re a hack you can use all the over the top commentary you like. If you’re trying not to be a hack you weight the use of terms like wage slave and smiley faced fascist ( even though I used a qualifier someone will think it is too strong). Yet time and again these terms seem almost weak in describing the extreme extent of the conservative world view. Limbaugh is probably incorporated and pays himself a salary and the corporation pays for his health care benefits. But imagine if he or Santorum or Romney worked for $10 an hour at a tire dealership. That business goes to Limbaugh and says we’re not going make the co-pay on your health insurance – unless you stop buying cigars. Or Limbaugh could work in a cigar plant, they noticed he stopped smoking the company product, unless he starts again, no insurance. men that divorce multiple times have a higher mortality rate than men who stay married or only remarry once. Let’s cancel Limbaugh’s insurance for being a serial monogamist. What if an employer told Santorum he did not need a full size SUV that he was contributing too much to our pollution and oil dependence issues – go buy another car and listen to the Pope you say you follow or you’re fired – as an employers – conservatives see me as having those kinds of rights based on my personal rules of morality. What if an Evangelical employer – many Evangelicals see Mormonism as a cult – said I’ll let you work here but I am not paying for the health insurance of a cultists. if conservatives want to take all this personal conscious stuff to its logical conclusion we’ll live in a country where no one is considered a single human being entitled to certain inalienable rights – but rather a big lump of beliefs perpetually in conflict with everyone else. This is not something to imagine, it is not in the far off future, the denial of the individual and their individual health issues is what conservatives have decided to advocate. Here are ten things you need to know today.

Democrats Attack Romney over support of Blunt Amendment: Democrats are attacking Romney for supporting the Blunt Amendment, which would undo the administration’s contraception coverage rule by allowing employers not to cover anything they object to in employees’ health care plans. The DNC has released a new video called “What Romney Will Take Away From Women.”

Romney has already flip-flopped on the Blount legislation because of feigned outrage by the Medieval branch of the conservative movement. As he hears more mainstream voices I would not be surprised to hear him walk back some of that support.

Bush Appointee Conservative Federal Judge Sends Racist E-mail Joking that Obama Born of Bestiality.Federal judgeships are lifetime appointments. I’m not familiar with the judge’s history of rulings, but minorities who have appeared before this judge might now have cause to appeal.

Andrew Breitbart passed way today. This was his reaction to Sen. Ted Kennedy’s death, Andrew Breitbart Unleashed A Torrent Of Invective Against Sen. Ted Kennedy’s Legacy On Twitter

Over the course of the next three hours, Breitbart unapologetically attacked Kennedy, calling him a “villain,” “a big ass motherf@#$er,” a “duplicitous bastard” and a “prick.” “I’ll shut my mouth for Carter. That’s just politics. Kennedy was a special pile of human excrement,” wrote Breitbart in one tweet.

Conservatives are on the prowl looking for similar reactions by non-conservatives. They are using the opportunity to get in touch with their inner black helicopter – 25 People Who Think President Obama Killed Andrew Breitbart

 

This may sound like some rain of the current Democratic parade – Reports of the Republican Nominee’s Doom Are Greatly Exaggerated. The economy is up, unemployment is down, the conservative clown posse is beating itself up with clown shoes and among other promising news Olympia Snowe is retiring in a state that leans slightly blue. That said, now is not the time to get cocky.

2. Republicans Will Unite Behind Romney (or Whomever). Here’s the sort of sentence you can find in articles on nearly every presidential poll, with the numbers fluctuating slightly: “Still, 52 percent … say they are not satisfied with the candidates running and wish someone else would enter the race. And that level of dissatisfaction is up from the 45 percent who felt that way a few weeks ago.” But that sentence actually comes from a March 3, 1992 New York Times story on the Democratic primary. Unfortunately for those Democrats, no white knight rode in (damn you, Mario Cuomo!) and they were stuck with lesser candidate Bill Clinton, who went on to be the most successful Democratic president since Truman. In a January 30 Pew poll, Republicans gave almost exactly the same responses: 52 percent were dissatisfied with their slate, up from 46 a few weeks earlier.

None of this is to say that the primary process hasn’t been very bad for the Republican Party. It has. Nor is it providing the sort of improvement that the 2008 race did for Barack Obama, as party pollyannas would have you believe. In particular, Romney (assuming he holds on to front-runner status and wins the nomination) has a bad, and worsening, favorable/unfavorable ratio. But the party will coalesce behind him, or whoever gets the nomination, though it’s hard to see who else that could be at this point. Returning to the Clinton comparison, the Arkansan’s favorability was nearly as far underwater in April 1992 Gallup polling (34 favorable, 46 unfavorable) as Romney’s is now, but he still won.

It is entertaining in a dark sort of way to read the conservative blogs and right-wing web sites, reading all the insults passed about who is a real conservative. Do not be lulled into thinking these people who hate Romney or Santorum or Newt will not have a sudden glorious light from above moment about the eventual nominee and do everything they can to get him elected. We’ll hear the same litany of lies, the same disinformation campaign. All the old myths about Obama, Birtherism, Kenya and socialism. Democratic senate candidates will be demonized as bad if not worse than 2008.

President John F. Kennedy Greets Peace Corps Volunteers, White House, South Lawn

larger

This photograph shows President John F. Kennedy greeting Peace Corps volunteers on the South Lawn of the White House on August 9, 1962. Kennedy first proposed what became the Peace Corps in a speech at the University of Michigan on October 14, 1960, in which he challenged students to give two years of their lives to helping people in countries of the developing world. At the time, Kennedy was a member of the U.S. Senate campaigning for the presidency. Following his election, he signed an executive order establishing the Peace Corps. This photograph is by Abbie Rowe (1905-67), a photographer for the National Park Service who became an official White House photographer in the Kennedy administration and produced many of the best known pictures of the president and his family.

Photographer

Rowe, Abbie (1905-1967)

Date Created

August 9, 1962 CE

Classic Jazz wallpaper – Conservatives and The Art of Voting Against Your Rational Self Interests

Classic Jazz wallpaper

 

Workers in the USA who are making less than $12 an hour probably don’t absolutely love their jobs. In cities such as Dallas, New York, San Francisco and Miami they’re just getting by. They are paying their payroll taxes – for their Medicare and Social Security. This is a group that needs those programs more than high income households because even the best savers are not going to have much when they retire. This is deep working class America. They also pay federal taxes when they buy gas and a few other things. They pay local fees ( frequently which are hidden taxes politicians with no guts vote for so they can clam they did not rise taxes). According to Republicans these people – the bottom 50% of all income earners and who frequently work far harder for their money than the Koch brothers or the Coors family ever will – are freeloaders who need to anti-up their share of the federal tax pie. Romney “Wants” Breaks for the Middle Class: Too Bad His Actual Plan Favors the Mega-Rich 

As part of his critique of Herman Cain’s absurd “9-9-9” tax plan, Mitt Romney said in last night’s debate, “I want to reduce taxes on middle-income families.”

It was a throw-away line, mentioned in passing. But it’s important to realize what Romney claims to “want” is not even close to what Romney actually intends to do.

In fact, there’s no real ambiguity here. The apparent Republican frontrunner has already said he wants to see middle-class taxes go up right away, having endorsed an increase in payroll taxes in 2012. Romney has also backed higher federal income taxes on lower- and middle-income earners for the foreseeable future. He’s been surprisingly explicit on this, recently telling voters, “I think it’s a real problem when you have half of Americans, almost half of Americans, that are not paying income tax.”

Of course, those who aren’t paying income taxes include a fairly narrow group of people: lower- and middle-income workers who fall below the tax threshold; the unemployed; students, and retirees. Romney thinks it’s a “real problem” that they’re not paying federal income taxes — and it’s a problem he intends to fix by raising their taxes.

But, the former governor says, that’s only part of the picture. Sure, Romney will raise middle-class income taxes, but he also intends to give the middle class a capital-gains tax break.

Under Romney’s plan, those making less than $200,000 a year would see their capital gains taxes eliminated entirely. And what’s wrong with that? Pat Garofalo explained:

Romney may think he focused his tax cut on the middle-class, but according to a ThinkProgress analysis of Tax Policy Center data, nearly three-fourths of households that make $200,000 or less annually would get literally nothing from Romney’s tax cut, due to the simple fact that most of those households have no capital gains income

To be exact, 73.9 percent of the households upon which Romney “focused” his tax cut will see zero benefit from it. […]

For families making between $40,000 and $50,000 annually, Romney’s tax cut comes out to a whopping $216 per year. Meanwhile, the payroll tax cut enacted by the Obama administration in 2011, which Romney derided as a “temporary little Band-Aid,” gave those same households a tax cut of $800 to $1,000.

Romney also, incidentally, wants massive tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.

“I want to reduce taxes on middle-income families”? What Romney “wants” is irrelevant.

To be sure, there are some who might argue that middle-class taxes should go up, and it’s a subject worthy of debate. The problem here is that Romney just isn’t telling the truth about his own agenda. If he intends to raise middle-class taxes, and his own plan suggests that he does, Romney should prepared to defend his agenda.

 

If most Americans want Medicare and Social Security to remain solvent it is probably inevitable that we do away with the current payroll tax cuts. In Romney’s formula people who my grandmother used to say lived from hand to mouth, or pay check to pay check, just trying to keep their head above water will have to kick in some minimum federal income tax. All the while the richest Americans get yet another cut on their capital gains. Who are the capital gains people – mostly the 1%. They get a huge amount of their income from capital gains, thus a lower effective tax rate than, you know who, Warren Buffet’s secretary. No matter how badly the tax cut our way to economic nirvana plan fails, conservatives are going to stick with it. There is very obviously no evidence that cutting capital gains to historic lows creates jobs. They do make people with lots of money richer. In America, money is political speech and political power. So Romney’s plan is the continued dis-empowerment of the 99%.

This connection between taxes, political power and dis-empowerment of the non-wealthy is enough to make most Americans pause. If we have a free market merit based economy how come so many Americans are working so hard ( or want to work, but cannot find employment) and we’re not getting ahead. How or why is this unwholesome and un-meritocracy system allowed to continue. As much power as the wealthy and their network of think tanks and lobbyist are they only have so many votes. Except they’re counting on a large minority of voters, working class voters, to vote against their own best interests in some Faustian bargain – How Christian Fundamentalists Disempower Themselves and Help Empower the Top 1% to Exploit the 99%

Evangelical fundamentalism helped empower the top 1 percent. Note I didn’t say religion per se, but religious fundamentalism.

Why? Because without the fundamentalists and their “values” issues, many in the lower 99 percent could not have been convinced to vote against their (our) economic self-interest; in other words, vote for Republicans who only serve billionaires.

Wall Street is a great target for long-overdue protest, but so are the centers of religious power that are the gatekeepers of Republican Party “values” voters that make the continuing economic exploitation possible.

Fundamentalist religion — evangelical and Roman Catholic alike — has delegitimized the US government and thus undercut its ability to tax, spend and regulate.

The fundamentalists have replaced economic and political justice with a bogus (and hate-driven) “morality” litmus tests of spurious red herring “issues” from abortion to school prayer and gay rights. The result has been that the masses of lower middle-class and poor Americans who should be voting for Democrats and thus their own economic interests, have been persuaded to vote against their own class and self interest.

This trick of political sleight of hand has been achieved by this process:

Declare the US government agents of evil because “the government” has allowed legal abortion, gay rights, etc.
Declare that therefore “government is the problem,” not the solution.
The government is the source of all evwww.amazon.com/Sex-Mom-God-Strange-Politics/dp/0306819287/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0il, thus anyone the government wants to regulate is being picked on by satanic forces. The US government is always the bad guy.
Good, God-fearing folks will always vote for less government and less regulation because “the government” is evil.
So unregulated corporations, banks and Wall Street are always right and represent “freedom” while government is always wrong and represents “tyranny.”

All the GOP presidential candidates are exploiting this phenomenon. Herman Cain, a puppet of the Koch brothers said without shame, without having clue from inside his bubble of elitism that the OWS movement should be protesting in front of the White House, not America’s financial centers. Certainly Washington shares some of the blame – if we had not had thirty years of financial deregulation by Washington – the Wall Street meltdown might never have happened. We still might have had a housing bubble but not one so severe – the severity was caused by Wall Street as well – Private Wall Street Companies Caused The Financial Crisis — Not Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Or The Community Reinvestment Act . How do you get people to vote in their own rational best interests. I’ve always wondered about the cultural wing-nuts and abortion. By national budget standards investments in education about both abstinence and birth control, at least a two year degree from a community college and a job that pays a living wage all bring down the abortion rate. Yet the very same culturally conservative vote to increase abortions when they vote to cut programs those programs. Want a lower crime rate, don’t build more prisons, invest in education.

After Confusing Himself, Cain Decides That Rape Victims Should Be Forced To Carry Pregnancies To Term. The conservative tenet that women should be incubators for rapists and child molesters hasn’t quite worn out my outrage quotient. This perverse, immoral unfathomable attitude toward women, toward another human being is something out of some dystopian dictatorship or horror movie.

The Republican Bickersons

That was fun tonight. Attack, defend, attack and attack some more. Texas Gov. Rick Perry had some problems in tonight’s Republican presidential debate, as he’s had before — do we really want to “defund the United Nations”? — but he was a real presence this time, and I thought he put some life back into his campaign.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney found himself on the defensive as he never has been before. His health-care plan in Massachusetts finally got a real going-over, with Sen. Rick Santorum leading the way. Santorum was an important player throughout the discussion, and this has to give him a bump — in attention, if not in the polls.

For the most part, Romney was fluid and fluent, as is his habit. But I thought the particularly bitter exchange he had with Perry, over whether Romney had hired an illegal immigrant, hurt Romney more than Perry. There was petulance and perhaps a trace of arrogance in the way Romney kept badgering Perry. “It’s been a tough couple of debates for Rick” and “You have a problem with letting people finish speaking” are Romney lines that will get played over and over, and I don’t think they came off well. In truth, neither Romney nor Perry looked great when they went into junkyard-dog mode, but it may be a net win for Perry, because he put himself on the same level as Romney. But on the question of Mormonism and the religious faith of politicians, Romney’s answer was very good, while Perry’s response at times came close to incoherence.

 

It’s not difficult to imagine the Perry prep team over the last couple weeks. It’s the political version of Rocky. His team told Perry that it had to land some solid punches or he was down for the count. This is no time to be a gentleman. Romney’s support might not win any prizes for enthusiasm, but his supporters have not been easy to sway either. As feisty as everyone was when you have all those punches being thrown, it tends to distract so much people aren’t sure who won. So they just stay with the leanings they had before the fight started.