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Archive for May 19th, 2009

Pakistani Official: No New Nukes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Pakistani Official: No New Nukes

Responding to a recent assertion by Adm. Mike Mullen, current chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, that Pakistan is actively adding to its array of nuclear weapons, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira insisted on Monday that Mullen was in error.

AP via Google News:

At a congressional panel last week, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked whether there was evidence that Pakistan was adding to its nuclear weapons systems and warheads. He simply replied: “Yes.”

But Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira denied that assertion Monday.

“Pakistan does not need to expand its nuclear arsenal but we want to make it clear that we will maintain a minimum nuclear deterrence that is essential for our defense and stability,” he said. “We will not make any compromise.”

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Chris Weigant: What, Exactly, Was Pelosi Supposed To Do?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Chris Weigant: What, Exactly, Was Pelosi Supposed To Do?
Listening to the news over the past week, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that Nancy Pelosi was personally responsible for torturing…

Obama Avoids Test On Gays In Military By Not Challenging Court Ruling
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has decided not to challenge a court ruling that undermines the military’s policy of automatically expelling service members found to…

John Legend Commencement Speech: Praises “Politics Of Empathy,” Condemns Falsehoods That Led To War, Financial Crisis
Scroll down for video and full text Grammy-winning singer-songwriter John Legend delivered a stirring commencement address on Sunday at the University of Pennsylvania, College of…


Yet again, media figures respond to a Pelosi controversy with attacks on her looks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Yet again, media figures respond to a Pelosi controversy with attacks on her looks

Commenting on the controversy surrounding what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was told about the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation techniques, numerous media figures have resorted to attacking Pelosi’s looks. Specifically, in the past several days, media figures have characterized Pelosi as being incapable of “human facial expression,” referred to her “fashionable” “Botox shots,” and called her a “hag.” Media Matters for America has compiled the following examples:

  • During the May 17 edition of CNN’s State of the Union, CNN contributor Alex Castellanos claimed that “if Speaker Pelosi were still capable of human facial expression, we’d see she’d be embarrassed, because, right now, she is in a very Nixon-like position.”
  • In his May 17 Townhall.com column, Doug Giles wrote: “Either Nancy Pelosi is lying her backside off regarding her knowledge of the CIA’s irrigation for information techniques, or one of the side effects of a high dollar Botox habit includes severe short-term memory loss.” Giles further wrote: “In December 2007, Mrs. Pelosi admitted that she attended the briefing, but she wouldn’t comment for the record about precisely what she was told. (What do you think old Nancy is doing here? Is she Botoxing? Does she have selective amnesia? Perhaps, a senior moment? Or is she revving up the engines on her BS Express?).”
  • During the May 15 broadcast of his radio show, referring to Pelosi, Neal Boortz said he was going to talk about “how fun it is to watch that hag out there twisting in the wind.”
  • During the May 11 broadcast of his program, Rush Limbaugh said of Pelosi: “All right, all right. It wasn’t a lie. It’s a fashion statement. She wears Armani clothes — fashionable; Botox shots — fashionable. She’s against waterboarding — fashionable. Of course, after 9-11, she was for waterboarding. That was fashion then.” On May 15, Limbaugh claimed that during her May 14 press conference, Pelosi was “shaking.” He added: “Well, that could be Botox withdrawal. I don’t want to be too hard on the shaking.”

Additionally, during the May 13 edition of Fox Business’ Happy Hour, co-host Eric Bolling responded to criticism of his comments about Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), saying:

BOLLING: I woke up this morning, and they told me I was one of [MSNBC host] Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World.” I was “worser” — number two. [Fox News host] Greta Van Susteren, a wonderful lady, was worse. OK, here we go. Here was the problem.

This was supposed to be calling out people who wouldn’t come on Happy Hour. We want them to come on Happy Hour. We’ll take you. We’ll take you, Timmy Geithner. We’ll put you in left field this time because you’re in left field. We’ll take [Federal Reserve chairman Ben] Bernanke. This — that’s all this was all about. But he had a problem with me putting Barney Frank, Representative Barney Frank, as catcher.

Now, look, I come from a baseball past. We play — listen, what am I going to do? Put Nancy Pelosi as a catcher? She’ll get hurt. She’s got all that plastic surgery. That would be terrible for her.

Media Matters previously documented media figures frequently resorting to attacking Pelosi’s looks while discussing her. For instance:

  • On the January 26 broadcast of his program, Limbaugh claimed that if Pelosi “wants fewer births, I have the way to do this — and it won’t require any contraception: You simply put pictures of Nancy Pelosi — like, for example, the picture that [Internet gossip Matt] Drudge has of Pelosi right now on his website. Put pictures of Pelosi in every cheap motel room in America today. That will keep birthrates down because that picture will keep a lot of things down.”
  • On the September 17, 2008, broadcast of his Minneapolis radio show, discussing Pelosi’s reported response of “No” when asked whether “Democrats bear some of the responsibility regarding the current crisis on Wall Street,” Chris Baker stated: “Yesterday, they ask her, ‘Do Democrats have any responsibility here?’ And what does she say? ‘No.’ Another reason why it’s very rare to find a woman worthy of serving in political office.” Moments before, Baker had said of Pelosi, “Get another facelift, lady.”
  • On the June 30, 2008, edition of his radio program, Michael Savage said of Pelosi: “It’s Mussolini at work — Mussolini in a skirt with bad rouge; Mussolini if he came back and wore ugly clothing and put on bad makeup and had too much Botox. He would be calling for the Fairness Doctrine, assuming he would still own the winery and the bad restaurant chain.” Savage previously referred to Pelosi, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) as “yentas.” He later asked his “board operator” if he would rather “be waterboarded for 30 seconds or eat Jane Harman’s ravioli” and whether he’d rather “be waterboarded or eat Nancy Pelosi’s tortellini.”
  • During the August 16, 2007, edition of MSNBC’s Hardball, radio host Mark Williams referred to Pelosi as “Nancy Botox.”
  • During the October 31, 2006, edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, Republican pollster Frank Luntz said of Pelosi: “I always use the line for Nancy Pelosi, ‘You get one shot at a facelift. If it doesn’t work the first time, let it go.’ ”


Detainee Said He Was Brought To Gitmo To Give Info On Iraqi Army

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Detainee Said He Was Brought To Gitmo To Give Info On Iraqi Army
More possible evidence that the Bush administration used torture to get information about Iraq? Back in 2004, the Associated Press http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20070630-0908-guantanamo-alwaysaprisoner.html”>reported on the plight of several Guantanamo detainees who had previously been held by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Among them…





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Just a rant from WI

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Just a rant from WI
Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch a clip of Jesse Ventura putting Hasselbitch in her place on the View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHyy2sgm8Io In my political spectrum, I have always described myself as so far left you can’t find me without the Hubble, and Ventura has been in the other galaxy on the right of me. But a […]


Chu Favored in Today’s CA-30 Special Election

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Chu Favored in Today’s CA-30 Special Election
Endorsements, a hefty war chest and an effective absentee ballot program appear to have put Judy Chu (D) in position to succeed former Rep.-turned-Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (D-CA) in today’s CA-30 special election, according to The Hill.

“But there are several factors that could throw a roadblock into the heavily favored Chu’s path: the large candidate field; the fact that another candidate with the same last name appears next to her on the ballot; expected low voter turnout; and virtually no public polling conducted in the race.”

CQ Politics notes there are “few ideological differences” separating any of the candidates running today.


The Disease of Permanent War

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

The Disease of Permanent War
The embrace by any society of permanent war is a parasite that devours the heart and soul of a nation.

Demanding Justice for Murdered Immigrant Luis Ramirez Is AlterNet’s Top Take Action Campaign of the Week
Join us in urging Pa. Gov. Rendell to speak out about Luis Ramirez’s tragic slaying.

John Cusack’s Email to Obama’s Blackberry: You’re in Power, Don’t Let Cheney’s Torture Crew off the Hook
We can’t whitewash institutionalized torture, trash any conceivable notion of the rule of law, and call that ‘looking forward.’

John Cusack’s Email to Obama’s Blackberry: You’re in Power, Don’t Let Cheney’s Torture Crew off the Hook
We can’t whitewash institutionalized torture, trash any conceivable notion of the rule of law, and call that ‘looking forward.’


Confrontation: Netanyahu and Obama Agree on Almost Nothing

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Confrontation: Netanyahu and Obama Agree on Almost Nothing
It was clear from the Obama-Netanyahu press conference that the two leaders most decidely did not see eye-to-eye. That is why there was no joint statement but essentially two statements. Obama put forth his well-known views on a Palestinian state…

Phew!
It turns out that the man who brought down the world economy studied not finance or economics–but political science! Now my colleagues and I can go out in public again… (HT: Andrew Leonard)

The Health Care Cave-In
“Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the better” is a favorite slogan in Washington because compromise is necessary to get anything done. But the way things are going with health care, a better admonition would be: “Don’t give away…


Wash. Post?s Cillizza Uses GOP Poll To Claim That ?Most? Americans Say Torture Is ?Justified?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Wash. Post?s Cillizza Uses GOP Poll To Claim That ?Most? Americans Say Torture Is ?Justified?
Today in the Washington Post, reporter Chris Cillizza has an article titled “Some Call It Torture. In One Poll, Most Call It Justified.” According to Cillizza, “[A] new poll conducted for Resurgent Republic suggests that the American people — including politically critical independent voters — by and large support the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ […]

cillizzaweb0518Today in the Washington Post, reporter Chris Cillizza has an article titled “Some Call It Torture. In One Poll, Most Call It Justified.” According to Cillizza, “[A] new poll conducted for Resurgent Republic suggests that the American people — including politically critical independent voters — by and large support the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ [EITs] on suspected al-Qaeda operatives“:

Asked whether such tactics were justified, 53 percent of the overall sample said they were and 34 percent said they were not. […]

On the question of whether such techniques have yielded information that has made the country safer, 52 percent of all respondents said they had while 39 percent said they had not.

Aside from the fact that Cillizza bases his story on a poll from a firm “made up of Republican strategists,” as he acknowledges, the poll’s questions are conducted in such a way that appear to lead the respondents toward support of torture. In Cillizza’s first example — 53 percent say EITs are justified — the poll’s actual question reads, “Based on what you have read or heard, would you say harsh interrogation of detainees was justified or not justified?” Of course, the poll doesn’t ask if “torture” is justifed. Instead it asks if respondents support “harsh interrogation” — the Bush administration’s preferred language for its torture program. Moreover, the question does not give specific examples of such “harsh interrogation” that would give any determination as to what exactly its respondents are supporting.

As far as Cillizza noting the poll’s finding that 52 percent say EITs have made the country safer, again, consider the poll’s actual question. The poll asks respondents if they agree with “Congressman A” who says EITs should not be used because they are “torture” and have not made the U.S. safer or with “Congressman B” who says, “Those techniques are justified when they are the only way to stop the murder of another 3000 innocent Americans in another 9/11.” Given the latter option, it is indeed quite surprising that more Americans would not be in favor, even though such a “ticking time-bombsituation rarely, if ever, occurs.

Cillizza later cited a recent CNN poll showing a closer “divide” on the issue, with 50 percent supporting torture and 46 percent disapproving. But he ignored a recent poll from his own newspaper which found that “49 percent said they oppose the use of torture no matter the circumstance, 48 percent said there are some cases in which the U.S. should consider it.”

Like Cillizza, the media is caught up in American public opinion based on questions about what has not happened (so-called EITs, ticking-time bomb scenarios, etc.) versus what has actually happened (i.e. torture and potential lawbreaking). Indeed, Congress Matters’s David Waldman made this point in a recent CNN appearance in reference to the media ignoring reports that Vice President Cheney ordered waterboarding to find a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda:

WALDMAN: I know of no American on either side or in the middle who says that its acceptable to be torturing people to get them to say –- to give them the political story you want to give you political comfort back home. I mean this is an astounding violation of international human rights. […] You tell me whether there are people in America who agree with the prospect of torturing people for political gain.

Seeming to recognize the distinction the media makes between the reality of the Bush torture regime and how they cover it, Waldman later added that “everyone has been asked whether or not they can support torture for the cases of the ‘ticking time bomb’ scenario. These are people who were being tortured for political reasons. That’s what makes it so disgusting. There’s no framework for dealing with that on television in America.”


U.S. to Check Immigration Status of People in Local Jails

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 19th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

U.S. to Check Immigration Status of People in Local Jails
The Obama administration is expanding a program initiated by President George W. Bush aimed at checking the immigration status of virtually every person booked into local jails. In four years, the measure could result in a tenfold increase in illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes and…


Skeptics of Global Warming Have Their Say on Capitol Hill
After the decade they’ve had, Capitol Hill’s climate-change skeptics might well feel like polar bears on a shrinking ice floe.


At White House, Obama and Israel’s Netanyahu Differ on Mideast Emphasis
President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu yesterday outlined the shared goals of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and of achieving a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. But within those broad areas of agreement were significant differences in tone…


Obama-Netanyahu Meeting Leaves Palestinian Officials Disappointed
JERUSALEM, May 18 — Palestinian officials on Monday said they were disappointed that a round of U.S.-Israeli talks in Washington produced no clear progress on the removal of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank or other issues they feel are crucial to rejuvenating stalled peace…


CIA Officials Fear That New Rules May Hinder Interrogations
Battered by recriminations over waterboarding and other harsh techniques sanctioned by the Bush administration, the CIA is girding itself for more public scrutiny and is questioning whether agency personnel can conduct interrogations effectively under rules set out for the U.S. military, according…