Posted: April 14, 2022 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: biological males in women's prisons, Diane Feinstein, Elderly U.S. lawmakers, Elon Musk, January 6 Committee, police killings, Putin's war on Ukraine, Twitter |
Peach Trees in Blossom, by Vincent Van Gogh
There are some unusual stories in the news today. Suddenly the advanced age of many U.S. lawmakers may finally be a subject for public debate. Elon Musk is trying to buy Twitter after declining to join the board because of a background check. It seems that there are quite a few biological males being housed in women’s prisons, and now two woman inmates in New Jersey are pregnant. Another killing of a Black man by police is in the the news. And of course Putin’s war on Ukraine continues as does the January 6 Committee investigation.
The San Francisco Chronicle has a disturbing article about Diane Feinstein: Colleagues worry Dianne Feinstein is now mentally unfit to serve, citing recent interactions.
When a California Democrat in Congress recently engaged in an extended conversation with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, they prepared for a rigorous policy discussion like those they’d had with her many times over the last 15 years.
Instead, the lawmaker said, they had to reintroduce themselves to Feinstein multiple times during an interaction that lasted several hours.
Rather than delve into policy, Feinstein, 88, repeated the same small-talk questions, like asking the lawmaker what mattered to voters in their district, they said, with no apparent recognition the two had already had a similar conversation.
The episode was so unnerving that the lawmaker — who spoke to The Chronicle on condition they not be identified because of the sensitivity of the topic — began raising concerns with colleagues to see if some kind of intervention to persuade Feinstein to retire was possible. Feinstein’s term runs through the end of 2024. The conversation occurred several weeks before the death of her husband in February.
“I have worked with her for a long time and long enough to know what she was like just a few years ago: always in command, always in charge, on top of the details, basically couldn’t resist a conversation where she was driving some bill or some idea. All of that is gone,” the lawmaker said. “She was an intellectual and political force not that long ago, and that’s why my encounter with her was so jarring. Because there was just no trace of that.”
Four U.S. senators, including three Democrats, as well as three former Feinstein staffers and the California Democratic member of Congress told The Chronicle in recent interviews that her memory is rapidly deteriorating. They said it appears she can no longer fulfill her job duties without her staff doing much of the work required to represent the nearly 40 million people of California….
Adding urgency to the recent concerns: If Democrats retain control of the Senate next year, Feinstein will succeed retiring Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy as the Senate’s president pro tem — putting her third in line for the presidency. Feinstein has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission that would allow her to run in 2024, a formality that lets her keep her fundraising accounts active, though she has not yet declared whether she intends to run.
Emphasis added. Read more details at the link.
Early Spring, by Gustav Klimt
Now can we ask questions about Chuck Grassley, James Inhofe, and Richard Shelby? It’s not just age that is the problem though. Nancy Pelosi at 82 still seems sharp. Patrick Leahy is also 82, and he has decided to retire. I think this is an important topic for public discussion. Should there be an age limit for members of Congress?
Bloomberg on the Musk offer to buy Twitter: Elon Musk Makes $43 Billion Unsolicited Bid to Take Twitter Private.
Elon Musk has made a controversial offer to buy Twitter Inc., saying the company has extraordinary potential and he is the person to unlock it.
The world’s richest person will offer $54.20 per share in cash, valuing Twitter at about $43 billion. The social media company’s shares rose just 5.3% to $48.27 at the market open in New York as investors began to assess how one of the platform’s most outspoken users will succeed in his takeover attempt.
Musk, 50, announced the potential deal in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, after turning down a potential board seat at the company. The billionaire, who also controls Tesla Inc., first disclosed a stake of about 9% on April 4. Tesla shares fell about 1.8% on the news.
Twitter said that its board would review the proposal and any response would be in the best interests of “all Twitter stockholders.”
The bid is the most high-stakes clash yet between Musk and the social media platform. The executive is one of Twitter’s most-watched firebrands, often tweeting out memes and taunts to @elonmusk’s more than 80 million followers. He has been vociferous about changes he’d like to consider imposing at the social media platform…
Here’s The Daily Beast take by Allison Quinn: Top Shitposter Elon Musk Escalates Twitter Feud With $43B Takeover Bid.
“I am not playing the back-and-forth game. I have moved straight to the end. It’s a high price and your shareholders will love it,” Musk is said to have told the social media giant, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.
Musk, whose fortune is estimated at about $260 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, said Twitter “needs to be transformed as a private company,” and vowed to “unlock” its “extraordinary potential” if the bid is successful.
“If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” he said in the filing….
The move comes after the Tesla CEO disclosed a stake of about 9 percent in Twitter last week. That disclosure is reportedly already at the center of a lawsuit filed this week by another Twitter shareholder who alleges Musk made “materially false and misleading statements and omissions by failing to disclose to investors” that he owned a stake in the company.
His delay in disclosing the stake, the lawsuit claims, led to “artificially deflated prices.”
With more than 80 million followers on the platform, Musk has sparked speculation in recent weeks with frequent tweets calling for drastic changes in the company and questioning whether it is really a “free speech” site. Earlier this week, he floated the idea of turning Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter, calling it a “great idea.”
Musk, who last week took to the platform to ask, “Is Twitter dying?” wrote in the filing that he believes it can “neither thrive nor serve” its purpose of promoting free speech if it remains as it is now.
About that New Jersey “women’s” prison from Yahoo News: NJ inmates at women’s only prison pregnant after sex with ‘another incarcerated person.’
Two inmates at New Jersey’s only women’s prison are pregnant after reportedly having sex with a transgender inmate.
It appears the women became pregnant from “consensual sexual relationships with another incarcerated person,” Dan Sperrazza, the Department of Corrections’s external affairs executive director, told NJ.com.
The prisoners are held at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in Clinton, which has faced a long string of sex assault scandals….
There are 27 inmates who identify as transgender currently housed at the facility, according to NJ.com. New Jersey’s policy does not require trans women inmates to undergo gender-reassignment surgery to be held in the facility.
“While DOC cannot comment on any specific disciplinary or housing decisions that may be considered in light of these events, the Department always reserves all options to ensure the health and safety of the individuals in its custody,” Sperrazza told the Daily Mail.
Two Edna Mahan prisoners filed a lawsuit last year seeking to end New Jersey’s gender identity policy for prisons, claiming they were harassed by trans inmates and that transgender inmates were having sex with female prisoners.
ACLU legal director Jeanne LoCicero defended the policy of allowing transgender inmates in a women’s prison as one that protects the rights of transgender women.
Apparently the rights of women (“people with vaginas”) are secondary, as usual.
The vegetable garden with trees in blossom Spring Pontoise, 1877, by Camille Pissarro
Another killing of a Black man by police has been revealed in Michigan. Detroit Free Press: Grand Rapids police release video of officer fatally shooting Patrick Lyoya.
A Black man facedown on the ground was fatally shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids police officer, the violent climax of a traffic stop, brief foot chase and struggle over a stun gun, according to videos of the April 4 incident released Wednesday.
The release by Grand Rapids police sparked renewed protests and calls for justice Wednesday, and state officials promised a full investigation.
It comes in the wake of other police-involved shootings in Grand Rapids.
The video released Wednesday includes footage from the unnamed officer’s body camera, which was deactivated shortly after the officer told the suspect, 26-year-old Congolese refugee Patrick Lyoya, to “let go of the Taser.”
The video, a collection of dashcam footage, body cam footage, a home security camera, and a cellphone video, shows the unnamed officer pulling over Lyoya and a passenger for a “license plate that doesn’t match the car.”
Was the deactivation of the body cam deliberate?
Lyoya gets out of the car, and the officer gets out and tells him to get back in the car. The officer asks for his driver’s license and then asks whether Lyoya speaks English.
Lyoya then appears to run around the car, and the officer chases and tackles him to the ground on the front lawn of a house.
They struggle, and the officer can be heard telling Lyoya to “stop” and to “let go of the Taser.”
After about 90 seconds, the officer is lying on top of Lyoya, who is facedown on the ground. The officer, still yelling for Lyoya to “let go of the Taser,” proceeds to shoot him.
Lyoya was shot in the head, police Chief Eric Winstrom confirmed.
A traffic stop should not be a death sentence. Driving without a license shouldn’t lead to death either.
Updates on Putin’s war:
Reuters: Russia warns of nuclear, hypersonic deployment if Sweden and Finland join NATO.
One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned NATO on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland joined the U.S.-led military alliance then Russia would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in an exclave in the heart of Europe.
Bluebonnets and Mesquite, Early Spring, by Texas artist Julian-Onderdonk
Finland, which shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden are considering joining the NATO alliance. Finland will decide in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Wednesday.
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said that should Sweden and Finland join NATO then Russia would have to strengthen its land, naval and air forces in the Baltic Sea.
Medvedev also explicitly raised the nuclear threat by saying that there could be no more talk of a “nuclear free” Baltic – where Russia has its Kaliningrad exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania….
Medvedev said he hoped Finland and Sweden would see sense. If not, he said, they would have to live with nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles close to home.
NBC News: Russia evacuates flagship after it suffers major damage in Black Sea blast.
Ukrainian officials said their forces launched a successful missile attack on the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, forcing the crew to evacuate the vessel.
The Russian defense ministry said the Moskva warship had been “seriously damaged,” but blamed the incident on a fire. NBC News has been unable to verify what happened on the ship, but its loss could prove a significant setback in Russian forces’ efforts in Ukraine’s south and east, where a fierce battle for Mariupol is ongoing….
Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said the damaged Russian flagship is the same one that infamously demanded the surrender of Ukrainian forces on Snake Island early in the invasion.
January 6 investigation updates:
The January 6 Committee heard from Trump WH lawyers Pat A. Cipollone, the former White House counsel, and his deputy Patrick F. Philbin, yesterday; today they will question Dr. Evil, Stephen Miller: AP sources: Trump aide Stephen Miller to speak to 1/6 panel.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Miller, who served as a top aide to President Donald Trump, will appear Thursday before the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Miller was a senior adviser for policy during the Trump administration and a central figure in many of the Republican’s policy decisions. He had resisted previous efforts by the committee, filing a lawsuit last month seeking to quash a committee subpoena for his phone records.
The people familiar with the matter spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private testimony. It’s unclear whether Miller will appear in person or virtually. A spokesperson for the committee said the panel had no comment, and Miller did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Dans la prairie, Claude Monet
The Washington Post: Biden White House waives executive privilege for more Trump records.
President Biden has authorized the National Archives and Records Administration to hand over a new tranche of Trump White House documents to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
In a letter released Wednesday by the archives, Biden declined to assert executive privilege over the records — the latest batch sought by the committee after the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s bid to block such releases.
The new letter is in line with the Biden administration’s decision to err on the side of disclosure, given the gravity of the events in the Jan. 6 attack. The archives has already turned over hundreds of pages of documents to the committee.
“As to the remaining prioritized records, President Biden has considered the former President’s claims, and I have engaged in consultations with the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice,” White House counsel Dana Remus writes. “The President has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified.”
That’s what’s happening in the news today, as I see it. What about you? What stories have caught your attention?
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Posted: April 7, 2014 | Author: dakinikat | Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics, War on Women | Tags: Anita Hill, Diane Feinstein, Game of Thrones, Michael Hayden, Mickey Rooney, Sexism, Susan Merk, Thomas Greason, Women |
Well, the women in Game of Thrones may be looking towards a year of kick ass revenge. The women of the United States of Superstitious nonsense still have to deal with mansplaining and not being taken seriously. These two stories just iced my cupcakes this weekend. First, CIA stooge Michael Hayden accused Senator Dianne Feinstein of being “too emotional”. This is basically the most hackneyed insult a man can throw at a woman in power.
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Ca.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, may be too “emotional” to have produced a fair report on the CIA’s use of torture, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said Sunday.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday” about a Senate Intelligence Committee report which criticizes the CIA program as excessive and ineffective at fighting terrorism, Hayden said Feinstein “wanted a report so scathing that it would ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.”
“That motivation for the report may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the senator, but I don’t think it leads you to an objective report,” Hayden said.
Hayden claimed a lack of knowledge about the report itself, but admitted that key information in the hunt for Osama bin Laden from a detainee who was later tortured by the CIA was actually attained before he was ever turned over to the CIA.
Still, Hayden said he believed that “the totality of information, including information from this program” led to finding bin Laden.
This tidbit came directly after my reading this bit of nonsense from a Virginia Republican.
A Republican Virginia lawmaker accused an elderly constituent of intellectual laziness after she urged him via email to support the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program, the Loudoun Times-Mirror reported on Tuesday.
“How intellectually lazy are you?” state Thomas Greason (R) wrote Susan Merk as part of a series of emails between the two. “You are the problem. Good luck to you. You can not insult your way to ‘victory.’ If you are not willing to have a civil discussion, please do not write me again. It is a waste of my time.”
Greason’s remarks were the culmination of a contentious correspndence. Merk, a resident at a retirement community in Loudoun County, wrote Greason on March 24 saying it was “imperative” that lawmakers vote to support the state program under the Affordable Care Act. But Merk took issue with Greason’s response, in which he opposed such a move because the law “as already proven to be inefficient, costly, and an utter disaster.”
“This reply is pitiful — it’s nothing but partisan rhetoric, false accusations and invalid excuses,” Merk wrote back. “I will be sure to vote you out the next time you’re up for election.”
Greason’s ensuing response took a more aggressive tone towards Merk.
“Pitiful because I am willing to enter a dialogue with you?” he wrote. “All you liberals are the same. As soon as someone doesn’t agree with you, you shut down communication, call the other side names, take your ball and go home. I understand and am saddened by this approach at the federal level … but your reaction below is THE problem. I did not have to write you back … but I did. I think discussing differences is the only way to solve problems.”
On Monday, Greason told the Times-Mirror that he “must have been having a bad day” when he wrote his latest response to Merk.
I really get tired of the way these politicians treat older women. I hope their wives/mothers/daughters/grandmothers give them a good what for.
Those of you in larger cities can get your anger on with a new film about Anita Hill. I will. NEVER. get over that travesty of a hearing.
Against a backdrop of sex, politics, and race, ANITA reveals the intimate story of a woman who spoke truth to power. Directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, the film is both a celebration of Anita Hill’s legacy and a rare glimpse into her private life with friends and family, many of whom were by her side that fateful day 22 years ago. Anita Hill courageously speaks openly and intimately for the first time about her experiences that led her to testify before the Senate and the obstacles she faced in simply telling the truth. She also candidly discusses what happened to her life and work in the 22 years since.
93 year old Mickey Rooney has died.
Rooney had been in ill health for quite some time.
He was one of the most famous child actors in entertainment history. He play the role of Andy Hardy in 20 films.
Rooney also teamed up with Judy Garland for “Babes in Arms” which was a huge hit back in 1939.
He was the first teenager ever to be nominated for an Oscar for his leading role in “Strike Up the Band” in 1940.
Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor stared in one of the biggest movies of the 40s — “National Velvet” — which launched Taylor’s career.
That’s about all I can find at the moment, I’m afraid. I’m going to search for some more headlines as the day wears on.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
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Posted: November 15, 2012 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama, Discrimination against women, Monsanto, morning reads, U.S. Economy, U.S. Military, U.S. Politics | Tags: Benghazi attacks, David Petraeus, Diane Feinstein, Eric Cantor, Frederick W. Humphries III, GOP conspiracy theories, Jill Kelley, John Derbyshire, Kevin MacDonald, meritocracy, military and women, mind control, Noam Scheiber, Paula Broadwell, Rosa Brooks, White nationalist groups, White supremacists |
Following on Dakinikat’s post about the bitter old white men who can’t handle four more years with a black president, I recommend you read a scary article by J.M. Berger at Foreign Policy on “Why white nationalists are thrilled with Obama’s victory.” Several white supremacist leaders are quoted in the piece; I’ll just give you a couple of examples.
Kevin MacDonald, a professor of psychology whose anti-Semitic writings make him a favorite of Neo-Nazis, penned a pro-secession piece for a prominent white identity site, The Occidental Observer, that might finally get him fired from California State University, where he inexplicably still works.
White males constituted only 34% of the electorate and this will continue to decline. It’s no accident that stocks of gun companies soared after the election, even though the stock market as a whole took a dive. What we have here is a situation in which around 70% of traditional American White men (correcting for the overly inclusive White’ category used by the media) are now pretty much officially disenfranchised in a country where they see themselves as the founding population. That’s a lot of angry White men….
It may take a while for this 70% to wake up to the reality that they are politically impotent. But it will happen. Separatist movements in the many states that are deeply red are certainly a possibility. … Is there any other realistic alternative? Apart from futile violence against the Leviathan, do White men really have any other choice?
The concept of a wake-up call articulated by MacDonald was widely echoed in posts on white nationalist blogs and forums. Some thought it would come sooner, others thought it might come later, but many agreed the writing was on the wall.
Then there’s John Derbyshire, who was fired from National Review earlier this year.
When you look at the overall picture, however, we are still fighting the Civil War. That is to say, the contest was mainly between two huge groups of white people who don’t much like each other, with the colored folk playing a marginal role. That’s how it was in the War Between the States, and that’s how it still is today.
He went on to suggest whites will ultimately have no choice but to unite as a race-based voting bloc. The current problem, Derbyshire explained, was that “Republicans are white, sure enough, but whites are not Republican.”
Berger concludes that when these groups finally realize that history and demographics are leaving them behind, they will have no choice but to turn to violence. I just hope the Secret Service and FBI are aware of and ready to deal with this threat from the right.
Disgraced General David Petraeus will testify before Congress on Benghazi today “behind closed doors,” according to the Washington Post.
He is likely to be asked — both by reporters on his way in and by lawmakers — about any possible intelligence breaches involving his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Law enforcement officials said Broadwell is the woman with whom the retired general has acknowledged having an affair….
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday that Petraeus has agreed to testify. After his sudden resignation, acting CIA Director Michael Morell had been tapped to appear in Petreaus’s place.
“Gen. Petraeus is willing to come before the committee and the details will be worked out,” Feinstein said.
Noam Scheiber has an interesting and thoughtful piece about the relationship between Paula Broadstone and David Petraeus: Paula Broadwell, a Hanger-On in King Petraeus’s Court. According to Scheiber, the people around Petraeus could not understand how Broadwell managed to get so close to this supposedly “intellectual” general.
Petraeus wasn’t just the Army’s most famous general. He was the military’s best-known and most accomplished intellectual. If he wanted an official biography, he could have had his pick of dozens of scholars and writers. “My gosh, if you are going to have someone interview everyone who has ever touched you in your life, choose someone who has written a biography or at least a history book,” Peter Mansoor, one of the general’s top aides, told The Washington Post.
Scheiber describes Petraeus as the “ultimate meritocrat–with his Ph.D. from Princeton and his reputation as a “brainiac.”
[T]he term “meritocracy”—a bit like its cousin, “the best and the brightest”—wasn’t actually intended to be complimentary. It entered the lexicon through a book, “The Rise of the Meritocracy,” by the British social thinker Michael Young, who imagined a dystopian world in which a small group of highly educated elites controls society. The meritocrats persuade themselves that, unlike the ruling classes that came before them, they are uniquely deserving of power because they earned it rather than inherited it. (And they have the SAT scores to prove it, by God!) And yet, over time, they somehow manage to become just as inbred, self-serving, and corrupt.
Over time, Petraeus went through that same transformation, surrounding himself with
…growing hoards of groupies who descended on his command posts, including conservative think-tankers from Washington, for whom he arranged office space and aircraft….Paula Broadwell, it turns out, was the kind of hanger-on whose arrival heralds a meritocracy in decline. Outwardly, she checked all the right sociological boxes: High school valedictorian, all-state basketball player, West Point alum, Harvard master’s degree. But, up close, she could be remarkably shallow. “There was no room for a conversation of shortcomings of the Petraeus theology. She wasn’t a reporter. She struck me as an acolyte,” a wonk who met her told the Post. “I was underwhelmed….
What Broadwell excelled at instead was leveraging credentials to impress fellow achievers. She didn’t stop at her own. When my friend met her, she was fond of pointing out that her husband was no mere radiologist but a special breed known as an “interventional radiologist.” (She would draw out the word “interventional” for emphasis.) Later, she would boast about hanging out with the glitterati on the panel-discussion circuit—“Heading 2 @AspenInstitute 4 the Security Forum tomorrow! Panel (media & terrorism) followed by a 1v1 run with Lance Armstrong,” she recently tweeted, according to the Times. She was a kind of successful-person trophy collector who made no apologies for her ambitions. (My friend remembers the Facebook appeal in which she asked, “Can anyone introduce me to Lance Armstrong?”)
It’s a fascinating article, and an antidote to all the trashy coverage of the Petraeus-Broadwell scandal in much of the corporate media.
Rosa Brooks has written another serious article on the Petraeus affair at Foreign Policy: Sex and the Modern Soldier. Brooks asks:
Does the U.S. military have an adultery problem? A woman problem? A generic, all-purpose craziness, sleaze, and corruption problem? A public-image problem?
Answering these questions in order, I can offer a definitive “sort of,” “kind of, “maybe,” and “very possibly.”
The article is too long and detailed to sum up quickly, but here’s an excerpt from the section on the military’s “woman problem.”
The military remains plagued by allegations of sexual harassment and assault, and a number of studies by the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs have concluded that women in the military face higher rates of sexual assault than do civilian women. Here again, no big surprise: The military remains an overwhelmingly male — and overwhelmingly macho — institution. Women are outnumbered and often rendered nearly invisible in a culture in which nearly all senior officers are male.
This extends to the home front, as well. In certain ways, the informal culture of military officers resembles the 1950s more than the 21st century. Military life isn’t just hard on marriage — it’s also hard on the careers of the (mostly female) civilian spouses of military personnel. Rising up the career ladder isn’t easy when you move from one military base to another every few years. One military friend of mine recalls a general telling junior officers — in a recent lecture at an official Army command training event — that they should actively discourage their wives from pursuing careers, because career women would be less supportive and flexible military wives. And though official publications now speak of officers’ “spouses” rather than “wives,” the military still produces etiquette guides for spouses, with a rather gendered focus on appropriate forms of address at social functions and the proper pouring of tea and coffee.
Yuck. Read all about it at the link.
Frederick Humphries, FBI agent
Last link on the Petraeus clusterfu&ck: The NYT has learned the name of the mystery FBI agent who sent shirtless photos to Jill Kelley and disrupted the investigation by contacting Rep. Eric Cantor.
The F.B.I. agent who spurred the investigation that led to the resignation of David H. Petraeus as C.I.A. director is a “hard-charging” veteran who helped investigate the foiled millennium terrorist plot in 1999, colleagues said on Wednesday.
The agent, Frederick W. Humphries II, 47, is also described by former colleagues as relentless in his pursuit of what he sees as wrongdoing, which appears to describe his role in the F.B.I. investigation involving Mr. Petraeus. Suspecting that the case involved serious security issues and was being stalled, possibly for political reasons — a suspicion his superiors say was unjustified — he took his concerns to Congressional Republicans.
“Fred is a passionate kind of guy,” one former colleague said. “He’s kind of an obsessive type. If he locked his teeth onto something, he’d be a bulldog.”
Humphries says that the shirtless photos were sent to Jill Kelley long before the Petraeus investigation and were simply a “joke.”
I know everyone has probably heard already about how Mitt Romney spoke to donors yesterday on a conference call and insulted women, African Americans, Latinos, and young people by claiming that these groups voted to reelect Barack Obama because he <a showered them with “gifts” during his first term. But I can’t help including it, because it’s so typical of the cluelessness that Romney and his supporters showed throughout his campaign. Here’s how the NYT Caucus Blog reported on the call:
In a conference call with fund-raisers and donors to his campaign, Mr. Romney said Wednesday afternoon that the president had followed the “old playbook” of using targeted initiatives to woo specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.”
“In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said, contrasting Mr. Obama’s strategy to his own of “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth.” ….
“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” Mr. Romney said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”
The president’s health care plan, he said, was also a useful tool in mobilizing black and Hispanic voters. Though Mr. Romney won the white vote with 59 percent, according to exit polls, minorities coalesced around the president in overwhelming numbers: 93 percent of blacks and 71 percent of Hispanics.
“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,” Mr. Romney said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”
Breathtaking, isn’t it? This man really needs to go away and never be heard from again. I certainly hope Obama won’t consult him on anything, including what the weather is like outside his window. Goodbye, Mitt. Please don’t ever come back.
Finally, this one is for JJ. Check out this article at Mother Jones: Top Georgia GOP Lawmakers Host Briefing on Secret Obama Mind-Control Plot.
President Obama is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as “Delphi” to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship in which suburbanites will be forcibly relocated to cities. That’s according to a four-hour briefing delivered to Republican state senators at the Georgia state Capitol last month.
On October 11, at a closed-door meeting of the Republican caucus convened by the body’s majority leader, Chip Rogers, a tea party activist told Republican lawmakers that Obama was mounting this most diabolical conspiracy. The event—captured on tape by a member of the Athens-based watchdog Better Georgia (who was removed from the room after 52 minutes)—had been billed as an information session on Agenda 21, a nonbinding UN agreement that commits member nations to promote sustainable development. In the eyes of conservative activists, Agenda 21 is a nefarious plot that includes forcibly relocating non-urban-dwellers and prescribing mandatory contraception as a means of curbing population growth. The invitation to the Georgia state Senate event noted the presentation would explain: “How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to ‘save the earth.'”
There’s much much more insanity at the link.
Now what’s on your reading and blogging list for today?
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Posted: December 15, 2011 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, 2012 presidential campaign, Banksters, Barack Obama, Civil Liberties, George W. Bush, income inequality, indefinite detention, Medicare, morning reads, net-neutrality, Psychopaths in charge, Republican presidential politics, U.S. Economy, U.S. Military, U.S. Politics, We are so F'd, WE TOLD THEM SO | Tags: ACLU, Afghanistan War, AUMF, Carl Levin, CEO salaries, defense authorization bill, Diane Feinstein, Emptywheel, Harry Truman, Human Rights Watch, indefinite detention, Iraq War, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, taxes, terrorism |
So far I haven’t been locked up in Guantanamo or debtors’ prison. I hope the rest of you Sky Dancers still have your freedom too, such as it is.
Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Defense Authorization bill, which includes language permitting indefinite detention by the military of “al Qaeda members” without specific charges or trials. You can read the bill here.
Our craven and cowardly President had promised to veto this bill, but today the White House reneged on that promise, and Obama is set to sign it once it passes the Senate tomorrow or Friday.
The White House backed down from its veto threat of the defense authorization bill Wednesday, saying that the bill’s updated language would not constrain the Obama administration’s counterterrorism efforts.
While the White House acknowledged it still has some concerns, press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama’s advisers wouldn’t recommend a veto, a threat that had been hanging over the Pentagon policy bill for the past month.
Obama and his crew don’t care about the fifth amendment, habeas corpus and all that jazz–just that the president is the one who decides who is an “al Qaeda member” and therefore will be whisked away to indefinite detention. Wanna bet there are suddenly going to be a lot of “al Qaeda members” in the Occupy movement? From Anti-War.com:
As revealed in the Senate deliberations last week, the Obama administration itself requested the principal authors of the provision – John McCain and Carl Levin – to include language authorizing due-process-free military custody for American citizens. The initial threat of veto was apparently nothing more than political theater on the part of the White House.
According to The Hill, the following changes satisfied the White House concerns:
The bill deleted the word “requirement” from the section on the military detention of terror suspects, which was among the most contentious parts of the bill.
The national security waiver allowing the executive branch to move terror suspects from military to civilian courts was placed in the president’s hands rather than the Defense secretary’s, a change Levin said Obama had asked for.
The conference bill was based on the Senate language, which was not as harsh as the House bill when it came to trying terror suspects in civilian courts.
The administration called the provision in the bill that establishes the authority for military detentions unnecessary because the executive branch already was given this authority following Sept. 11.
Carney’s statement said if the administration finds parts of the law “negatively impact our counterterrorism professionals and undercut our commitment to the rule of law,” it expects the bill’s authors will correct those problems.
Oh well, then no worries… Except that lots of people who care about the Constitution aren’t so happy about it. Here’s a statement from Laura Murphy of the ACLU:
“The president should more carefully consider the consequences of allowing this bill to become law,” Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “If President Obama signs this bill, it will damage both his legacy and American’s reputation for upholding the rule of law. The last time Congress passed indefinite detention legislation was during the McCarthy era and President Truman had the courage to veto that bill. We hope that the president will consider the long view of history before codifying indefinite detention without charge or trial.”
Unfortunately, Barack Obama is no Harry Truman.
Here’s a statement from Human Rights Watch:
“By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “In the past, Obama has lauded the importance of being on the right side of history, but today he is definitely on the wrong side.”
The far-reaching detainee provisions would codify indefinite detention without trial into US law for the first time since the McCarthy era when Congress in 1950 overrode the veto of then-President Harry Truman and passed the Internal Security Act. The bill would also bar the transfer of detainees currently held at Guantanamo into the US for any reason, including for trial. In addition, it would extend restrictions, imposed last year, on the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo to home or third countries – even those cleared for release by the administration.
There are currently 171 detainees at Guantanamo, many of whom have been imprisoned for nearly 10 years. As one of his first acts in office, Obama signed an executive order for the closure of Guantanamo within one year. Instead of moving quickly to close the prison and end the use of the discredited military commissions, he supported modifications to the Military Commissions Act.
“It is a sad moment when a president who has prided himself on his knowledge of and belief in constitutional principles succumbs to the politics of the moment to sign a bill that poses so great a threat to basic constitutional rights,” Roth said.
The bill also requires the US military take custody of certain terrorism suspects even inside the United States, cases that previously have been handled by federal, state and local law enforcement authorities. During debate over the bill, several senior administration officials, including the secretary of defense, attorney general, director of national intelligence, director of the FBI, and director of the CIA, all raised objections that this provision interfered with the administration’s ability to effectively fight terrorism. In the last 10 years over 400 people have been prosecuted in US federal courts for terrorism related offenses. Meanwhile during that same period, only six cases have been prosecuted in the military commissions.
“President Obama cannot even justify this serious threat to basic rights on the basis of security,” Roth said. “The law replaces an effective system of civilian-court prosecutions with a system that has generated the kind of global outrage that would delight recruiters of terrorists.”
The bill also reauthorizes the AUMF that Bush used to get us into Iraq. Emptywheel has a lengthy post in which she wonders: Feinstein’s “Fix” on AUMF Language Actually Authorize Killing American Citizens? You probably should read the whole thing, but here’s the summation:
…by affirming all purportedly existing statutory authority, DiFi’s “fix” not only reaffirmed the AUMF covering a war Obama ended today, but also affirmed the Executive Branch’s authority to use deadly force when ostensibly trying to detain people it claimed present a “significant threat of death or serious physical injury.” It affirms language that allows “deadly force” in the name of attempted detention.
In any case, it’s one or the other (or both). Either the AUMF language became acceptable to Obama because it included American citizens in the Afghan AUMF and/or it became acceptable because it affirmed the Executive Branch’s authority to use deadly force in the guise of apprehending someone whom the Executive Branch says represents a “significant threat.”
My guess is the correct answer to this “either/or” question is “both.”
So DiFi’s fix, which had the support of many Senators trying to protect civil liberties, probably made the matter worse.
In its more general capitulation on the veto, the Administration stated that the existing bill protects the Administration’s authority to “incapacitate dangerous terrorists.” “Incapacitate dangerous terrorists,” “use of deadly force” with those who present a “significant threat of death or serious physical injury.” No matter how you describe Presidential authority to kill Americans with no due process, the status quo appears undiminished.
Finally Al Jazeera asks: Is the principle of indefinite detention without trial now an accepted and permanent part of American life? I wonder if Michelle Obama is still proud to be an American today?
There is some other news, of course. For one thing, it seems as if Rep. Ron Wyden of Oregon must have more energy I can imagine having. As of today he managed to get the decisions on rural post office closings postponed until next May; he joined with Rep. Paul Ryan (!) to propose a medicare overhaul; and he and Darrel Isa (!) have proposed an alternative to the entertainment industry bill that would effectively shut down social networking on the internet. Check out those links if you’re interested.
One of my favorite economists, Robert Reich, has an analysis of Newt’s Tax Plan, and Why His Polls Rise the More Outrageous He Becomes.
Newt’s plan increases the federal budget deficit by about $850 billion – in a single year!
Most of this explosion of debt in Newt’s plan occurs because he slashes taxes. But not just anyone’s taxes. The lion’s share of Newt’s tax cuts benefit the very, very rich.
That’s because he lowers their marginal income tax rate to 15 percent – down from the current 35 percent, which was Bush’s temporary tax cut; down from 39 percent under Bill Clinton; down from at least 70 percent in the first three decades after World War II. Newt also gets rid of taxes on unearned income – the kind of income that the super-rich thrive on – capital-gains, dividends, and interest.
Under Newt’s plan, each of the roughly 130,000 taxpayers in the top .1 percent – the richest one-tenth of one percent – reaps an average tax cut of $1.9 million per year. Add what they’d otherwise have to pay if the Bush tax cut expired on schedule, and each of them saves $2.3 million a year.
To put it another way, under Newt’s plan, the total tax bill of the top one-tenth of one percent drops from around 38 percent of their income to around 10 percent.
What about low-income households? They get an average tax cut of $63 per year.
Oh, I almost forgot: Newt also slashes corporate taxes.
Dakinikat clued me in to this post at Naked Capitalism: “Let Them Eat Pink Slips” CEO Pay Shot Up in 2010, which links to this article in the Guardian.
Chief executive pay has roared back after two years of stagnation and decline. America’s top bosses enjoyed pay hikes of between 27 and 40% last year, according to the largest survey of US CEO pay. The dramatic bounceback comes as the latest government figures show wages for the majority of Americans are failing to keep up with inflation.
America’s highest paid executive took home more than $145.2m, and as stock prices recovered across the board, the median value of bosses’ profits on stock options rose 70% in 2010, from $950,400 to $1.3m. The news comes against the backdrop of an Occupy Wall Street movement that has focused Washington’s attention on the pay packages of America’s highest paid.
The Guardian’s exclusive first look at the CEO pay survey from corporate governance group GMI Ratings will further fuel debate about America’s widening income gap. The survey, the most extensive in the US, covered 2,647 companies, and offers a comprehensive assessment of all the data now available relating to 2010 pay.
And these oligarchs couldn’t care less if we like it or not. They own the White House and the Congress and we don’t.
I’ll end with a bizarre and very sad story out of Utah:
Thousands of migratory birds were killed or injured after apparently mistaking a Wal-Mart parking lot, football fields and other snow-covered areas of southern Utah for bodies of water and plummeting to the ground in what one state wildlife expert called the worst mass bird crash she’d ever seen.
Crews went to work cleaning up the dead birds and rescuing the injured survivors after the creatures crash-landed in the St. George area Monday night.
By midday Wednesday, volunteers had helped rescue more than 3,000 birds, releasing them into a nearby pond. There’s no count on how many died, although officials estimate it’s upwards of 1,500.
“They’re just everywhere,” said Teresa Griffin, wildlife program manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resource’s southern region. “It’s been nonstop. All our employees are driving around picking them up, and we’ve got so many people coming to our office and dropping them off.”
Those are my recommendations for today. What are you reading and blogging about?
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