Archive for the ‘Power’ Category

Arlen Specter says Norm Coleman should win Minnesota election

May 5, 2009

Today, newly Democratic Senator Arlen Specter said that he hopes the Minnesota Supreme Court will rule in favor of Norm Coleman and that he will once again be seated as a United States Senator.

Someone get this man a primary opponent ASAP.

Someone get this man a primary opponent ASAP.

The revelation comes courtesy of an interview the Pennsylvania Senator gave for the New York Times Magazine.  The complete interview will be available this weekend.

Arlen Specter recently made my list of Democratic Senators that are in the back pocket of the banking lobby.  Specter voted against consumers by opposing the bill that would help to renegotiate home loans for thousands of home owners.

Many Minnesotans are pushing Norm Coleman to drop his pending lawsuit.  In fact, failure to seat Al Franken is chipping into Governor Tim Pawlenty’s approval numbers.

The Minnesota Supreme Court will wait until this summer to make a ruling.

RWP Rating: Bizarre

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Quick Link: Eric Cantor giddy for high-speed rail after ridiculing it

April 28, 2009

Flippity-Floppity.  House Minority Whip Eric Cantor was against the high speed rail before he was for it.

Full Story: Huffington Post

Arlen Specter switches to Democratic Party

April 28, 2009

Well, there was no way in hell Specter was going to win as a Republican in Pennsylvania.  Republicans had already been preparing primary opponent Pat Toomey for the Senate.  Latest polls in Pennsylvania had Toomey 21 points ahead of Specter among likely voters in the Republican primary.

Like many sane people, Specter was forced out of the Republican Party.

Like many sane people, Specter was forced out of the Republican Party.

After Al Franken is finally seated, Democrats will have a full filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate.   Specter released the following statement today:

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.
Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania’s economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

Pretty disappointing that his position on EFCA hasn’t changed, but now that Specter will caucus with the Democrats, he may be more easily convinced eventually.  The Democratic Party doesn’t need another Joe Lieberman; the American people need health care reform, energy reform, and reform in the financial sector.  Hopefully, Specter is on board.

RWP Rating: Real Fucking Weird

Fox Nation chides Obama for not filling HHS secretary, neglects to mention Republican filibuster

April 28, 2009

You have to hand it to Fox Nation.  They actually rely on the fact that you only get your news from one source: Fox.  If you are a news connoisseur like the majority of well-informed Americans, you know that the majority of their stories contain brazen half truths.

Fox Nation can only update when stories are released that concur with their message.  Thats why there are so few new stories every day.

Fox Nation can only update when stories are released that concur with their message. That's why there are so few new stories every day.

Let’s take this gem for an example.

Headline: Obama Unprepared for Swine Flu Scare?

Snip-it: President Obama went golfing and the Department of Health and Human Services is short a secretary, so other U.S. officials took the controls Sunday as the Obama administration ramps up efforts to find and isolate U.S. cases of swine flu.

Full Article: Fox News

The headline, of course, implies that Obama was not ready for the flu scare.  You know what would have helped?  The money that was removed from the stimulus bill for pandemic flu preparedness by a Republican Senator from Maine.  Does that get a mention on Fox Nation?  Ha!

The Snip-it, otherwise known as the only two sentences that any Fox Nation devotee reads, claims that Obama is “short” a Department of Health and Human Services secretary.  Any guesses why that position is unfilled?  Because the motherfucking Republicans in the Senate are filibustering Kathleen Sebelius.  Why?  She’s pro-choice.  Shocking for a Democrat, I know.

The full article doesn’t mention Sebelius until the 11th paragraph.  You know how many people read until the 11th paragraph of any article they find on the internet?  Nobody.  And that is what they rely on.

Newt Gingrich in ’97: “There is no place for torture and arbitrary detention”

April 27, 2009

Good old Newt Gingrich has been in politics too long.  Quotes from his past are beginning to catch up with him and the Democratic Party just may have found a flip-flop moment that could put Gingrich in hot water with his Republican base.

Funny how being opposed to torture may actually hurt the future Republican Presidential Candidate

Being opposed to torture may actually hurt the future Republican Presidential Candidate.

In 1997, then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, released a statement that said the following:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 30, 1997
SPEAKER’S STATEMENT ON VISIT OF PRESIDENT JIANG
Washington, D.C. — House Speaker Newt Gingrich released the following statement today following his meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

“As I said in China this spring, there is no place for abuse in what must be considered the family of man. There is no place for torture and arbitrary detention. There is no place for forced confessions. There is no place for intolerance of dissent.” “While we walked through the Rotunda. I explained to President Jiang how the roots of American rule of law go back more than 700 years, to the signing of the Magna Carta. The foundation of American values, therefore, is not a passing priority or a temporary trend.

That last sentence is the kicker.  Gingrich cannot hide behind the “everything changed after 9/11” bullshit that has been used to justify both torture and arbitrary detention.

In a recent interview with Greta Van Susteren, Gingrich was grilled by the side-of-the-mouth talker.  It’s not really too big of a surprise because Van Susteren’s husband is one of Sarah Palin’s advisers, so she has a vested interest in Gingrich losing the 2012 nomination.  In any case, here is the interview:

VAN SUSTEREN: But you said a minute ago that it was torture, waterboarding…
GINGRICH: No, I said it’s not something we should do.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Is it torture or not?

GINGRICH: I — I — I think it’s — I can’t tell you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does it violate the Geneva Convention?

GINGRICH: I honestly don’t know.

I can’t tell you?  What the fuck?  Do you know whether waterboarding is torture or not and you’re just following some stupid Republican talking point?

I do agree with Gingrich on his original statement, but I’m sure you’ll see him backpedal like no other during the primaries.  We should be opposed to torture every day.  A post 9/11 world is only an excuse for those who seek to undermine the very foundations of this country.

RWP Rating: Strange

Quick Link: John McCain gets Minuteman primary opponent

April 22, 2009

Ouch.  This ought to be interesting.  I doubt the borderman can beat out Johnny Mac, but it will hurt him against his eventual Democratic opponent.  I’m a bit surprised he’s not considering retirement.  Dude is getting old.

RWP Rating: Unusual

Full Story: Mlive

Louisiana man arrested for defamation of local police chief picked up by ACLU

April 22, 2009

UPDATE: I completely fucked up this story.  There was no op-ed piece.  It was an email written by Simmons to the newspaper.

A lot of people have problems with the ACLU.   Whether it’s defending the rights of illegal immigrants or demanding stringent political correctness, many people in the United States feel like the ACLU is just an organization of lefty loonies that do harm to the United States.  It’s an incredibly naive way of thinking if you recognize all the good the organization has done, especially in regards to the crimes of the Bush Administration.  But this story isn’t about that.

You want them on your side.

When the shit hits the fan, you want them on your side.

Enter Bobby Felix Simmons, a man from Layfayette, Louisiana that wrote a controversial op-ed for the local newspaper sent a controversial email to the local newspaper.  In the article email, Simmons said that the police chief was getting a free pass on allegations of improper conduct in the press.  Now you may think that the worst that could happen to Simmons is that he is taken to task in a subsequent op-ed, but Mamou police chief Greg Dupuis doesn’t roll that way.

Rather than publicly denouncing the op-ed, Dupuis had Simmons arrested in his home for public defamation.  Simmons maintains that Dupuis is trying to take away his civil rights and the ACLU agrees.

RWP Rating: Unusual

Full Story: Shreveport Times

Judge says Blagojevich can’t travel to Costa Rica for reality TV show

April 21, 2009

You have to give Rod Blagojevich some credit.  Despite defining corrupt Chicago politics, Blagojevich deals with the sticks and stones with such nonchalance that it is difficult to despise him.

How can you not love the man?

How can you not love the man?

Last week, Blago tried to petition the District court system to allow him to travel to Costa Rica for a reality TV show.  Filmed deep in the foliage of a rain forest, the show is called, “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!”  A bit ironic that Blago would petition the court to participate in such a show.

In any case, Costa Rica is about the most goddamn beautiful place I’ve ever been.  Even in the thick of the rain forests, there are paths everywhere.  Stay on the path and you’ll be perfectly safe from threats.

Anyway, U.S. District Judge James Zagel denied Blagojevich’s request to be on the show, saying:

I don’t think this defendant fully understands and I don’t think he could understand … the position he finds himself in.

Ouch.  You mean the law applies to politicians as well?  Surely you jest!

RWP Rating: Strange

Full Story: Mlive

The real reason Dick Cheney keeps talking shit about Barack Obama

April 21, 2009

If you’ve been watching cable news lately, you’ll know that Dick Cheney won’t keep his mouth shut about how unsafe we all are now that Barack Obama is President.  Cheney contends that terrorists provided crucial information to the United States when they were tortured.  Now that Obama has stopped all torture, they are less likely to provide more.  Click here to see a bit of what I will be discussing.

Cheneys a hater.

Cheney's a hater.

Cheney is banking on the fact that the American public doesn’t know much about the confessions of the supposed terrorists.  He is also saying that the methods, especially waterboarding, are so damn effective that we can’t possibly get good intel without their use.  Let’s analyze each of these premises in some detail.

Even though few people in the United States know it, torture is what got the United States to invade Iraq, at least if you are to assume that Cheney and company went to the waterboarding table in good faith (ie, had a conclusion to invade Iraq and just wanted to find any reason to do so).   Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a trainer for al-Qaeda, was tortured by the United States until he “confessed” to a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda.  al-Libi said that “Iraq trained al-Qaeda in bomb-making, poisons, and gases” (George W. Bush, October 2002).

Now we now that this intelligence was completely bogus.  There was absolutely no link between Iraq and al-Qaeda.  No training, no trading, nothing.  The methods led to a false confession, which led to an illegal invasion.   So much for good intel.

Imagine if that were a US troop, in the hands of al-Qaeda.

Imagine if that were a US troop, in the hands of al-Qaeda.

The second premise from Cheney is that the torture methods used under the Bush Administration were so damn effective that no terrorist could resist a good waterboarding.  Unfortunately for Cheney, this is bullshit.

Recent memos released by the Obama Admistration that were written by the Bush Justice Department say that Abu Zubaydah, an operator of an al-Qaeda training camp, was waterboarded 83 times in a single month.  If waterboarding were so effective, why the additional 82 sessions?  Even worse was the torture of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who was waterboarded 183 times in one month.  Once again, if torture is so effective, why doesn’t KSM confess sooner?

Dick Cheney knows that torture doesn’t work.  He knows it leads to bad confessions.  But it’s almost as if he is on the campaign trial right now, disparaging Obama’s foreign policy constantly.   And that is exactly what he wants you to believe.

If the Obama Justice Department were to begin a special prosecution against Bush Administration officials that knowingly violated the Geneva Conventions  and the United Nations Convention against Torture, Cheney wants the public to view it as a political hitjob.  If Obama is seen by the public as playing politics by going after Bush officials, it may hurt him politically and may actually affect the outcome of the investigation.

Obama has to realize that the American people are on the side of law.  Torture is a crime in the United States.  Period.  If a lawyer from the Obama Justice Department were to write a memo justifying rape, rape would still be illegal.   And this whole “let’s just concentrate on looking forward” business is stupid.  Bernie Madoff could tell a judge that he already stole the money, let’s just look forward and not get bogged down in an investigation.  It sets a terrible precedent.

Now is the best time for this investigation.  If it gets dragged out, it’s more time the Republicans will have to convince the public that it is all a political game rather than justice for a group of thugs.   Leave the CIA agents that administered the torture alone.  But nail every motherfucker that ordered the Code Red to the wall.

California Democrat nailed for trying to reduce charges against Israeli spies

April 20, 2009

The National Security Agency is about to release an entire uterus-worth of period blood all over California Democratic Representative Jane Harman’s face.   NSA officials wiretapped Harman and discovered that she was planning to lobby the Justice Department for reduced sentences for two American Israeli Public Affairs Committee officials that are currently being held for espionage.  In exchange for helping AIPAC, Israeli agents offered to lobby then Majority leader Nancy Pelosi to appoint Harman chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

I cannot confirm or deny that Harman also broke the trade embargo with Cuba.

I cannot confirm or deny that Harman also broke the trade embargo with Cuba.

All this shit went down in 2006 after the Democrats seized control of the House of Representatives.   What’s really bizarre in this story is that Harman realized that she may have been wiretapped during the phone call.  Like anyone that has just left a paper bag of dog crap on their neighbor’s doorstep, Harman quickly ran for the proverbial bushes saying:

This conversation doesn’t exist.

And then hanging up the phone.

I suppose this lays to rest the speculation that the New York Times released last week when they said that an undisclosed member of Congress had been warrant-lessly (new word?) wiretapped by the NSA.

Being a deeply cynical asshole, I immediately thought that Bush had wiretapped a congressperson for completely political reasons.  But right now, the report seems pretty legit.  However, this whole thing could end up like the Eliot Spitzer scandal.  The one motherfucker that could have blew the whistle on the shady side of Wall Street just so happens to be involved in a prostitution sting before he can pursue further banking regulations.

Spitzer broke the law, no doubt about it.  But I would bank on the fact that Washington and your local capital is so dense with corruption that the only people who really get “caught” are the ones that are about to lay the hammer on a large business or a political opponent.

Harman is ready for the damage control, releasing a statement immediately:

I never engaged in any such activity. Those who are peddling these false accusations should be ashamed of themselves.

I’m guessing the NSA has some pretty convincing evidence.  Ironically, Harman voted for FISA.  Karma is a bitch.  Expect this ALL DAY on Fox News tomorrow along with veiled allegations waged at Pelosi.

RWP Rating: Real Fucking Weird

Full Story: CQPolitics