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Archive for July 5th, 2010

Late Late Night FDL: God Bless The USA

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: God Bless The USA
Lee Greenwood-God Bless The USA Happy 4th of July…!

Lee Greenwood-God Bless The USA

Happy 4th of July…!

And because I can…

The Muppets-Stars & Stripes FOREVER!

Hat Tip: Mad Mommy…

What’s on your mind this 4th of July…?

I’m starting to appreciate Michael Steele
I’m starting to enjoy Michael Steele…what the hell is wrong with me?

Nobody could have anticipated he’d be so good at expressing things half-way correctly against his own Party’s self-interest — let’s hope for more — such as these.



Don’t Ask, Do Tell

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Don’t Ask, Do Tell

By Mr. Fish

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John Dougherty: Deadly Drug War

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2010 4:47 am by HL

John Dougherty: Deadly Drug War
The horrific violence in Mexico is too often dismissed in the U.S. as “Mexico’s problem.” Only when violence “spills over” into the U.S. does it seem to register as a matter of concern.

Dave Johnson: Independence
In 1776 democracy and government by the people were literally revolutionary concepts but even now they continue to face constant attack from the interests of concentrated wealth.

Ami Bera, MD: Happy Independence Day
Happy Independence Day! On this day, 234-years ago, the leaders of what would become the United States declared independence from England.

Robert Kuttner: My Private Obama
We in the progressive community have projected our own visions onto Barack Obama ever since we first noticed him as a remarkable political novice. It was clear from the 2008 campaign that he was a basically a centrist and seeker of common ground. But sometimes a crisis makes a presidency. And history has seldom delivered a more graphic, teachable crisis than the one that Obama inherited. So we voted our hopes that events could compel Obama to govern as a progressive. We are still waiting, and we are a cheap date.

Dr. Jill Biden: Celebrating the Fourth of July With Our Troops in Iraq
My husband Joe and I flew to Iraq to celebrate the Fourth of July with our troops. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day than spending it with Americans who are bravely serving our country.


Sunday shows don’t challenge senators’ criticism of Afghan withdrawal timetable

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2010 4:46 am by HL

Sunday shows don’t challenge senators’ criticism of Afghan withdrawal timetable

Fox’s and CBS’ Sunday morning talk show hosts allowed Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman to criticize President Obama’s conditions-based troop drawdown date in Afghanistan without mentioning Gen. David Petraeus’ endorsement of that timetable. By contrast, during his interview of Sen. John McCain, ABC’s Jake Tapper played video of Petraeus endorsing the timetable.

Petraeus said he “supported” and “agreed with” Obama’s 2011 timetable

Obama: “[W]e will execute this transition responsibly” beginning in July 2011. In a December 1, 2009, speech, Obama said that the additional troops he was sending to Afghanistan “will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. We’ll continue to advise and assist Afghanistan’s security forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government — and, more importantly, to the Afghan people — that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country.”

Petraeus agreed with timetable, called it a “message of urgency.” From the June 29 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Petraeus’ nomination to be commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan (around 1:02:25):

SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): In the course of your colloquy with Senator McCain, you indicated that you did not make a recommendation with respect to a deadline, but your public statements indicate you support that approach. Is that correct?

PETRAEUS: That’s correct.

REED: So that you’re fully supportive of the president’s policy, including beginning a transition based upon the conditions on the ground in July of 2011.

PETRAEUS: Let me be very clear if I could, Senator. And not only did I say that I supported it, I said that I agreed with it. This is, again, an agreement that was made back, of course, in the fall of last year, based on projections about conditions that we hoped we’d obtain, that we were going to strive to achieve in Afghanistan a full year from now. So that was, you know, an 18-month or more projection at that time.

As I mentioned in my opening statement, I saw this most importantly as the message of urgency to complement the message of enormous additional commitment. Let’s remember that it wasn’t just this 30,000 additional forces, the president — and actually, the previous president had started some deployment of additional forces before he left office. But we started with some 30-, 31,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2009. And we will now be approaching 100,000 by the time of the deployment of the final 30,000. So this is a substantial additional commitment complemented, again, by a message of urgency.

Lieberman’s, Graham’s criticisms of timetable left unchallenged

Lieberman on Fox: “[O]n balance, I think it was a mistake.” On the July 4 edition of Fox News Sunday, guest host Major Garrett asked Lieberman if he wanted “U.S. forces, the surge forces, to start leaving July of next year, or do you want them to stay longer and fight longer?” Lieberman said that while he understood why Obama established the timetable, “on balance, I think it was a mistake because it sent a message to the Afghans, to the Taliban, to people in the neighborhood that we’re going to leave regardless, and that’s not the fact. General Petraeus has clarified that, the president has come some distance now in the last couple of weeks and clarified that. Whatever we do in July of 2011 will be based on conditions on the ground at the time.” Neither Garrett nor Lieberman noted that Petraeus has endorsed the timetable.

Graham on CBS: “General Petraeus needs this monkey off his back.” Asked by guest host John Dickerson on the July 4 edition of CBS’ Face the Nation whether the timetable “has affected the pace of the counterinsurgency,” Graham said it did, claiming that “confusion and uncertainty … needs to be clarified.” After Dickerson noted that “the administration says that all they’re talking about is withdrawal based on conditions. The president’s always said that from the beginning,” Graham responded by saying that Vice President Joe Biden “reassured me that it would be conditions-based,” adding that “General Petraeus needs this monkey off his back. It’s not fair to him and our troops and our civilian counterparts to be operating in Afghanistan with the belief that come July 2011, we’re going to begin to withdraw no matter what.” Neither Dickerson nor Graham noted that Petraeus has endorsed the timetable.

Tapper challenged McCain’s criticism of timetable with Petraeus’ statements

Tapper plays Petraeus video in response to McCain criticism. McCain said on the July 4 edition of ABC’s This Week that the timetable is “what I worry about more than anything else,” adding that “we need a conditions-based situation, not a date for withdrawal.” Tapper noted that under the Bush administration, “[t]here was an unlimited commitment of U.S. troops for an unlimited amount of time there, and that didn’t seem to be effective, and yet you’re criticizing this July 2011 deadline, which would be the beginning of a transition period.” McCain responded that “I’m all for dates for withdrawal, but that’s after the strategy succeeds, not before.” Tapper then played video of Petraeus at his confirmation hearing saying that “not only did I say that I supported [the timetable], I said that I agreed with it,” and his description of the timetable as a “message of urgency.” Tapper then asked McCain, “Is General Petraeus wrong?” McCain responded by saying that Obama “should state unequivocally that we will leave when we have succeeded, and to somehow put that burden on General Petraeus is not appropriate.”


WATCH: The Best Worst Moments From Arizona’s Anti-Profiling Training Video

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2010 4:45 am by HL

WATCH: The Best Worst Moments From Arizona’s Anti-Profiling Training Video
When Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the state’s sweeping, and controversial, immigration law earlier this year, she also signed an executive order requiring that law enforcement officers get additional training on how to avoid racial profiling. Today, the hour-long training…


LawRacial profilingArizonaImmigrationUnited States

The Gore Sexual Assault Allegations: An Update
Wednesday night the Portland Police Bureau announced it is re-opening an investigation into allegations that Al Gore sexually assaulted a massage therapist in 2006, following the public revelation of the accusation last week by the National Enquirer.



Al GoreNational EnquirerPortland Police BureauSexual assaultMolly Hagerty


Islamic Terrorists: Creating a Frankenstein monster

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2010 4:43 am by HL

Islamic Terrorists: Creating a Frankenstein monster
Back in approximately 1528, when the very first black man was snatched from a village in Africa and shoved onto a slave ship, somehow a ball got rolling that has consequences even down to this day. That single act of brutality began a long, slow process that eventually resulted in the proliferation of violence and […]


Reporting Just Part of the Picture

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2010 4:42 am by HL

Reporting Just Part of the Picture
“It was the ideal metaphor for a politically troubled president. There was President Obama on the cover of the June 19 issue of The Economist, standing alone on a Louisiana beach, head down, looking forlornly at the ground,” the New York Times reports.

“The problem was, he was not actually alone. The photograph was just edited to make it look that way.”

Quote of the Day
This is not President Obama’s war. This is America’s war… Michael Steele is backtracking so fast, he’s going to be in Kabul fighting here pretty soon.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), in an interview on Face the Nation, on RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s comments on the Afghanistan war.


Obama Malaise: Bob Herbert Nails It

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Obama Malaise: Bob Herbert Nails It
Bob Herbert, the New York Times columnist, is terrific. The reason I say that is because he invariably says exactly what all my friends are saying. I’ll concede that my friends are not necessarily the most representative group. They all…


New York TimesBob HerbertUnited StatesPresidentHistory

The Neocons Prepare Our Next War
One hoped that the neoconservatives would have disappeared after George W. Bush left office and the Iraq War they worked so hard to engineer proved to be a disaster. All those dead, nothing accomplished except the establishment of Iran as…


United StatesIranGeorge W. BushMiddle EastIraq War


BP used oil industry tax break to write off its rent for Deepwater rig.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

BP used oil industry tax break to write off its rent for Deepwater rig.
Transocean, the company that owns the failed Deepwater Horizon rig that caused the Gulf oil spill, used well-known tax havens in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland to lower its U.S. corporate tax rate by almost 15 points. And due to a break in the U.S. tax code, BP was also allowed to write off the […]

Transocean, the company that owns the failed Deepwater Horizon rig that caused the Gulf oil spill, used well-known tax havens in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland to lower its U.S. corporate tax rate by almost 15 points. And due to a break in the U.S. tax code, BP was also allowed to write off the rent it paid to Transocean on its own tax bill, saving it hundreds of thousands of dollars per day:

The owner, Transocean, moved its corporate headquarters from Houston to the Cayman Islands in 1999 and then to Switzerland in 2008, maneuvers that also helped it avoid taxes. At the same time, BP was reaping sizable tax benefits from leasing the rig. According to a letter sent in June to the Senate Finance Committee, the company used a tax break for the oil industry to write off 70 percent of the rent for Deepwater Horizon — a deduction of more than $225,000 a day since the lease began.

So, essentially, the U.S. taxpayer paid BP to lease a rig that was incorporated in a foreign country for the purpose of avoiding the U.S. corporate tax. And the U.S. tax code is actually riddled with breaks for the oil industry, despite that industry’s record profits in recent years. Center for American Progress Senior Policy Analyst Sima Gandhi has counted nine different subsidies that the U.S. government gives to the oil industry, including refunds for drilling costs and refunds to cover the cost of searching for oil. If this corporate welfare were cut, it would save $45 billion per year, and according to the Office of Economic Policy at the Department of Treasury, “affect domestic production by less than one-half of 1 percent.” “The flow of revenues to oil companies is like the gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico: heavy and constant,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). “There is no reason for these corporations to shortchange the American taxpayer.”

No Dissent Allowed: Leading Conservatives Call For Steele To Resign For Daring To Question War
This past Friday, video surfaced of RNC Chairman Michael Steele speaking at a fundraiser in Connecticut about the war in Afghanistan. While some of Steele’s comments at the fundraiser were clearly inaccurate — such as his claim that the war was of “Obama’s choosing,” when it was started by his predecessor — he […]

steele2 This past Friday, video surfaced of RNC Chairman Michael Steele speaking at a fundraiser in Connecticut about the war in Afghanistan. While some of Steele’s comments at the fundraiser were clearly inaccurate — such as his claim that the war was of “Obama’s choosing,” when it was started by his predecessor — he also made reasonable, debate-worthy arguments that engaging in a prolonged land war in Afghanistan is unwise.

Rather than refuting the historical inaccuracies in the first half of Steele’s statements and thoughtfully considering his critique of the war, numerous leading conservatives have responded to Steele’s comments by lashing out at the chairman, with some even asking for him to step down from his post. Their message is clear — in the modern Republican Party, you are not allowed to question the wisdom of engaging in a war:

– Leading conservative pundit and McCain presidential campaign advisor Bill Kristol called Steele’s comments an “affront…to the commitment of our soldiers” in Afghanistan and demanded that the chairman step down. [7/2/10]

– RedState founder, leading movement conservative, and CNN contributor Erick Erickson said that Steele “has lost all moral authority” and he “must resign.” [7/2/10]

– Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Steele’s remarks were “totally unacceptable” and said that he should “apologize and resign.” [7/03/10]

– Former Bush State Department official and Keep America Safe founder Liz Cheney said that Steele’s Afghanistan comments were “deeply disappointing and wrong” and that it is “time for Steele to step down.” [7/4/10]

– This morning on ABC’s This Week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said there was “no excuse” for Steele’s comments and told host Jake Tapper that “Mr. Steele is going to have to assess as to whether he can still lead the Republican Party as chairman of the Republican National Committee.” [7/4/10]

– Speaking on Fox News Sunday today, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) demanded that Steele “apologize to our military” and said that Republicans “need a chairman who’s focused.” [7/4/10]

– On CBS’s Face The Nation, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called Steele’s remarks “unwise” and said “we must win this war.” The senator was thankful, however, that Steele was “backtracking so fast he’s gonna be here fighting in Kabul soon.” [7/4/10]

While leading conservatives may be fine with toppling the head of their party for daring to question the wisdom of a long and protracted war in Afghanistan, they risk marginalizing themselves politically among an American public that is increasingly opposed to America’s longest war in history. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that a whopping 58 percent of Americans agree with President Obama’s stated timeline of July 2011 to begin withdrawal from Afghanistan.

It is also worth noting that nine elected Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the McGovern-Obey amendment requiring President Obama to submit a timeline for withdrawal from Afghanistan — indicating that Steele’s position may be an increasingly popular one in the Republican Party.


Featured Advertiser

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Featured Advertiser

Tea party gatherings on the Fourth mix the educational and the patriotic
BEALETON, VA. — “Tea party” activists across the nation tried to put the “independence” back in Independence Day this weekend with festivals and other gatherings focused on the Constitution — and how to use it for political gain.


Tea Party protests 2009TeaBeveragesShoppingUnited States

McCain calls Steele’s remarks on Afghan war Â?wildly inaccurate’
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday added his voice to those questioning Michael Steele’s ability to lead the Republican Party after the Republican National Committee chairman’s comments late last week on the war in Afghanistan.



John McCainRepublicanUnited StatesMichael SteeleRepublican National Committee

Democrats hope Obama 2008 model will help stem midterm losses
To become the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama not only won heavy percentages of the black and Hispanic vote but also managed to trim the Democratic Party’s traditional deficit among white voters.


Barack Obama presidential campaign 2008Barack ObamaUnited StatesPresidentDemocratic