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Archive for May 5th, 2011

The Codpiece of Virtue!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 5th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

The Codpiece of Virtue!
How dare a Democrat ever act like a politician! Why the nerve.

Today the President is going to the World Trade Center site in New York. I imagine it is possible that it may make for some visuals portraying him in a favorable light.

Well, naturally, this sort of thing is just not permissible for a Democratic politician. I mean he might give terrorist fist-bumps to various and sundry New Yorkers, maybe even somebody from New Jersey. The horror.

Apparently somebody thinks Obama wanted to come there in matching flight-suits.


Truthdig Radio: Debunking the bin Laden Torture Myth

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 5th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Truthdig Radio: Debunking the bin Laden Torture Myth
This week on Truthdig Radio, Mark Danner debunks the bin Laden torture myth; Sharon Smith gives us tips for young activists; Holger Keifel makes art out of boxing; and Chris Hedges says Osama bin Laden’s death will lead to only more terrorism.

This week on Truthdig Radio, Mark Danner debunks the bin Laden torture myth; Sharon Smith gives us tips for young activists; Holger Keifel makes art out of boxing; and Chris Hedges says Osama bin Laden’s death will lead to only more terrorism.


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Robert Baer’s Take on bin Laden
Robert Baer, the former agency man who takes the form of George Clooney in “Syriana,” has an alternative view on the death of Osama bin Laden.

Robert Baer, the former agency man who takes the form of George Clooney in “Syriana,” has an alternative view on the death of Osama bin Laden.

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Arianna Huffington: The Bin Laden Bounce: How Will Obama Use This Moment of Unexpected Unity?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 5th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Arianna Huffington: The Bin Laden Bounce: How Will Obama Use This Moment of Unexpected Unity?
After nearly ten years of talk about tracking down Osama bin Laden, it’s finally happened. And it’s amazing how different the world suddenly feels — at least for the moment. Coming at a time in which the country is all but paralyzed politically, in which 70 percent feel the country is on the wrong track, and in which real solutions to our problems seem beyond us, there is tremendous spillover power in this accomplishment. Can this real and tangible victory produce conditions that can lead to more successes? The mission to bring bin Laden to justice was a great victory and a testament to the brave soldiers who carried it out. And there’s no reason why this sense of tangible achievement must end in Abbottabad.

William S. Becker: Defending the Atmosphere
To be fair, it’s not just Republicans who are blocking Congress from acting against climate change. Nineteen Democrats in the House voted for Inhofe’s and Upton’s bill to strip EPA of its regulatory authority.

More Than Two Dozen States Urge U.S. Court To Overturn Health Care Reform
ATLANTA — More than two dozen states challenging the health care overhaul urged a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday to strike down the Obama administration’s…


Desperate: Right-Wing Media Attack Obama For Taking Time To Consider Bin Laden Options

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 5th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Desperate: Right-Wing Media Attack Obama For Taking Time To Consider Bin Laden Options

In the latest desperate attempt to criticize President Obama in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, right-wing media are hyping a U.K. Daily Mail article to attack Obama for taking 16 hours to consider his decision regarding the assault on bin Laden–which reportedly had several potentially harmful consequences–by calling Obama “feckless” and “our sleepy president.”

Daily Mail Claims Analysts “Confirmed Beyond Doubt” Bin Laden’s Location; Obama “Stunned” Officials By Taking Time To Decide

Daily Mail: “Obama Took SIXTEEN HOURS To Make Up His Mind About Bin Laden Mission.” In an unbylined May 3 article, the U.K. Daily Mail wrote that Obama “kept military commanders hanging by declaring he would ‘sleep on it’ before taking 16 hours to give the go-ahead to raid Bin Laden’s compound.” [Daily Mail, 5/3/11]

Daily Mail: “[A]nalysts Confirmed Beyond Doubt That Bin Laden Was In Busy Town Of Abbottabad.” The Daily Mail further claimed:

The mission looked set to be given the all clear last Thursday when analysts confirmed beyond doubt that Bin Laden was in busy town [sic] of Abbottabad in northern Pakistan.

But the president stunned officials when he told a national security meeting that he wanted more time to think – and disappeared out of the room.

‘I’m not going to tell you what my decision is now – I’m going to go back and think about it some more,’ said Obama, according to the New York Times. He then added ‘I’m going to make a decision soon.’

The head of the CIA and other senior intelligence officers who were keen to proceed were left tense as they waited for the president’s decision. [Daily Mail, 5/3/11]

In Fact, CIA Chief Said That Analysts Were Only 60-80% Sure Of Bin Laden’s Location

Wash. Post: Panetta Said That Analysts Were “Only 60 Percent To 80 Percent Confident That Bin Laden Would Be Found” In Compound. Contrary to the Daily Mail claim that “analysts confirmed beyond doubt” that bin Laden was in Abbottabad, The Washington Post reported that CIA Director Leon Panetta said “analysts were only 60 percent to 80 percent confident that bin Laden would be found.” From the Post:

CIA Director Leon Panetta, who supervised the operation, said in interviews that U.S. intelligence agencies never had photographs or other proof that bin Laden was living at the compound in Pakistan that was targeted. Panetta told Time magazine that analysts were only 60 percent to 80 percent confident that bin Laden would be found.

“We never had direct evidence that he in fact had ever been there or was located there,” Panetta said in a separate interview with “PBS NewsHour.” “The reality was that we could have gone in there and not found bin Laden at all.”

President Obama nevertheless approved the operation, Panetta and other U.S. officials said, because there was little chance of obtaining more definitive intelligence on bin Laden’s location, which had amounted to a guessing game for the better part of 10 years. [The Washington Post, 5/3/11]

NYT Article Quoted By Daily Mail Made No Mention That Officials Were “Stunned” By Obama Saying He Would Wait To Make Decision. In its May 3 article, the Daily Mail claimed that Obama “stunned officials when he told a national security meeting that he wanted more time to think.” The Daily Mail then cited a New York Times article in which Obama is quoted as telling his advisers, “I’m going to go back and think about it some more.” However, the Times article makes no mention that officials were “stunned” by Obama’s comment, and the Daily Mail did not provide a source for its claim. Indeed, the Times reported that Obama’s “four top aides” were prepared to “brief the president” the next morning, but Obama had already decided on what course of action to take. From the Times:

Mr. Panetta told the group that the C.I.A. had “red-teamed” the case — shared their intelligence with other analysts who weren’t involved to see if they agreed that Bin Laden was probably in Abbottabad. They did. It was time to decide.

Around the table, the group went over and over the negative scenarios. There were long periods of silence, one aide said. And then, finally, Mr. Obama spoke: “I’m not going to tell you what my decision is now — I’m going to go back and think about it some more.” But he added, “I’m going to make a decision soon.”

Sixteen hours later, he had made up his mind. Early the next morning, four top aides were summoned to the White House Diplomatic Room. Before they could brief the president, he cut them off. “It’s a go,” he said. The earliest the operation could take place was Saturday, but officials cautioned that cloud cover in the area meant that Sunday was much more likely. [The New York Times, 5/2/11]

Time: Some Obama Advisers Recommended Waiting On Bin Laden Assault In Order To Gather More Intelligence. On May 2, Time‘s Michael Scherer reported:

The intelligence professionals said they did not know for sure that bin Laden was in the compound. The case was good, but circumstantial. The likelihood, officials told the President, was between 50% and 80%. No slam dunk. Obama went around the table asking everyone to state their opinion. He quizzed his staff about worst case scenarios-the possibility of civilian casualties, a hostage situation, a diplomatic blow-up with Pakistan, a downed helicopter. He was presented with three options: Wait to gather more intelligence, attack with targeted bombs from the air, or go in on the ground with troops. The room was divided about 50-50, said a person in the room. John Brennan, the President’s senior counter-terrorism adviser, supported a ground strike, as did the operational people, including Leon Panetta at the CIA. Others called for more time. In the end, about half of the senior aides supported a helicopter assault. The other half said either wait, or strike from above.

Obama left the meeting without signaling his intent. He wanted to sleep on it. At about 8:00 a.m. on Friday, just before he boarded a helicopter that would take him to tour tornado damage in Alabama, Obama called his senior aides into the Diplomatic Room. He told them his decision: A helicopter assault. [Time, 5/2/11, emphasis added]

Nonetheless, Right-Wing Media Hype Daily Mail Article To Attack Obama For Taking Time To Consider Decision

Hoft: “Good Grief. Obama Took 16 HOURS To Make Up His Mind To Get Osama Bin Laden.” In a May 3 Gateway Pundit post, Jim Hoft wrote cited the Daily Mail article and wrote, “Good Grief. Obama Took 16 HOURS To Make Up His Mind To Get Osama Bin Laden.” Hoft later referred to Obama as “our sleepy president.” [Gateway Pundit, 5/3/11, emphasis in original]

Ace Of Spades: “Seems Like A Very Cautious, Feckless, Indecisive Individual Delaying And Delaying On Critical Decisions.” In a May 3 Ace of Spades post, blogger Ace cited the Daily Mail article to claim that Obama taking time to think about the decision “[s]eems like a very cautious, feckless, indecisive individual delaying and delaying on critical decisions and then attempting to sound heroic when he finally does what he’s being paid to do.” However, Ace further wrote, “To Be Honest: I don’t begrudge a president some thinking time before a big decision.” From Ace of Spades:

On the other hand, after Obama was told (most likely for the fifteenth time) that the CIA was really, really, really quite confident that Osama bin Ladin was at that compound in Abbottabad, he decided he needed to sleep on it.

Sixteen hours later (hours during which Osama might have fled– bear in mind, his courier’s name had just been outed by WikiLeaks), he made up his mind.

How does the media report this? Well, relying upon those in Obama’s inner circle (that is to say, his political flunkies and spinners), we’re told this:

“But the next morning after 16 hours, Obama summoned four top aides to the White House Diplomatic Room. Before they could speak, the president put his fist on the table and declared ‘It’s a go’.”

Why does it matter that he did this “before they could speak”? They had spoken already yesterday when they strongly, strongly urged the president to give the order, and he had decided to sleep on it.

They were only waiting on him, after all.

So, after 16 hours of vacillation, during which the operation might have been rendered a failure by intervening invents, he fist-bumps a piece of furniture and finally makes up his mind.

This is something to brag about? This is, in Howard Fineman’s words, “almost Biblical”?

Seems like a very cautious, feckless, indecisive individual delaying and delaying on critical decisions and then attempting to sound heroic when he finally does what he’s being paid to do.

Thanks to OCBill. This is from the Daily Mail, via Drudge.

To Be Honest: I don’t begrudge a president some thinking time before a big decision.

But the media still hasn’t explained to me which of the previous presidents and which of the potential/hypothetical future presidents wouldn’t have ordered this. [Ace of Spades, 5/3/11, emphasis in the original]

Fox Nation: “Obama Took Sixteen Hours to Make Up His Mind About Bin Laden Mission.” On May 3, the Fox Nation linked to the Daily Mail article under the headline, “Obama Took Sixteen Hours to Make Up His Mind About Bin Laden Mission.” From the Fox Nation:

 

Fox Nation

[Fox Nation, 5/3/11]

Drudge Promotes Daily Mail Article. On May 3, the Drudge Report promoted the Daily Mail story under the headlines, “Obama took 16 hours to make up mind about Bin Laden mission…” and “‘Slept on it’…” From Drudge:

Drudge: Obama took 16 hours to make up mind about Bin Laden mission...

[Drudge Report, 5/3/11]

Right-Wing Media Have Resorted To Absurdities In Struggle To Attack Obama Following Bin Laden’s Death

Drudge: “Bin Laden Announcement Came In The Middle Of Trump’s ‘Celebrity Apprentice.'” Beginning on May 1, the Drudge Report featured the headline, “BIN LADEN ANNOUNCEMENT CAME IN THE MIDDLE OF TRUMP’S ‘CELEBRITY APPRENTICE.'”

Drudge report

[Drudge Report, 5/1/11]

CNN’s Loesch Suggested Obama “Politicize[d] The Hell Out Of” Bin Laden Announcement. In a May 2 Twitter post, CNN contributor Dana Loesch wrote: “Geebus. All he had to do was walk out and fist pump. Not politicize the hell out of it.”

Loesch tweet

[Twitter, 5/2/11]

Geller Accused Obama Of “Shamelessly Strut[ting] Like [A] Peacock.” In a May 2 blog post, Pamela Geller wrote: “Gd bless our troops. Obama can puff himself and shamelessly strut like peacock [sic], but hats off to the US military that has been relentless, dogged and brave for ten years in their mission to kill that devout bastard.” [Atlas Shrugs, 5/2/11]

Washington Times‘ Green Bizarrely Cites 2010 Photo Of Jay-Z At The White House To Attack Obama. In a May 3 column, assistant editorial page editor Anneke Green wrote:

While it’s glorious that we finally delivered justice to Bin Laden, cowboy-style, it has been a little odd to see how eager President Obama is to take credit for it. Apart from the method of the military operation — who knew he had it in him?– his speech announcing the demise of the world’s greatest villain was short on key details and sounded more like an extended pat on the back. 

Green further used a photograph from rapper Jay-Z’s March 2010 visit to the White House to claim that “Mr. Obama has had to grow into his role as the head of state and occupant of the nation’s most revered residence.” [The Washington Times5/2/11]

Washington Times Complains Obama “Snub[bed] Bush,” Showed “No Class” In Speech. In a May 2 editorial, The Washington Times complained that Obama “snub[bed] Bush” and “praise[d] himself” in his announcement that bin Laden had been killed. The editorial baselessly claimed “[b]in Laden assassination wasn’t the result of Barack’s strategic genius.” The editorial continued:

Sunday’s only mention of Mr. Bush came when Mr. Obama defended himself by quipping that even his predecessor insisted America isn’t at war with Islam. Left unsaid was how Mr. Bush setting the groundwork for the conduct of the war on terrorism provided Mr. Obama with the tools to get this job done. The national unity, sense of purpose and offensive posture were largely the result of Mr. Bush’s decisive action and strong leadership following national tragedy. Had Mr. Obama been in Mr. Bush’s position on Sept. 11, 2001, bin Laden would still be alive today, and probably winning. [The Washington Times5/2/11]

Geller: “Would Bush Have Washed Bin Laden’s Body?” In a May 2 post, Geller wrote:

John Brennan, in an ongoing press conference at the White House, was quite insistent that all “Islamic precepts” were respected and adhered to in the burial at sea of Osama bin Laden. The first priority of the Obama adminstration was the Islamic burial of the man Obama claimed was “not a leader of the Muslim world.”

Bush disposed of the remains of Iraqi terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by burying him in a secret location. Did our soldiers wash al-Zarqawi’s body? I am going to puke.

I think this is outrageous and sick. Such respect we give, not only to a mass murderer of Americans in the name of Islam, but deference to the very ideology that has fueled this war on America. [Atlas Shrugs, 5/2/11]

Glenn Beck: “I Have A Real Problem With The Way This Thing Has Been Handled.” “I Really Would Have Put [Bin Laden] In A Meat Grinder With A Pig.” On May 2, Glenn Beck stated: “I have a real problem with the way this thing has been handled.” He later added: “My problem with this is is that we gave this guy a dignified burial at sea. Or at least that’s what they said. I really would have put [bin Laden] in a meat grinder with a pig, honestly.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program5/2/11]

NRO: “The President, In His Rush To Claim Credit, Made A Mistake In Delivering It Himself.” A National Review Online post by Claudia Rosett on Obama’s announcement declared: “Bin Laden’s death is great news, but the president, in his rush to claim credit, made a mistake in delivering it himself.” Rosett went on to write:

Osama bin Laden was a pied piper of mass murder, and every effort should be made to avoid in any way dignifying anything about him. Rather than using the presidential pulpit to break the news, President Obama should have left it to one of the U.S. military commanders or spy chiefs whose men took the real risks in this operation.

[…]

Obama should have then followed up by explaining the broader context of this war, and putting terrorists from Hamas to Hezbollah to Moammar Qaddafi on notice that anyone who attacks or even mortally threatens America, or America’s allies, can expect the same fate. [National Review Online, 5/2/11]

Mark Steyn: News Should Have Been Announced By “Lowest-Level Official … At The Department Of Nondescript Bureaucrats.” In a National Review Online post, radio talk host and frequent Rush Limbaugh substitute Mark Steyn wrote that he “would have liked bin Laden’s death to have been announced by whatever lowest-level official was manning the night desk at the Department of Nondescript Bureaucrats, preferably reading it off the back of an envelope.” Steyn continued:

But, if you’re going to put the head of state on TV to announce it himself, it would have been better to have been all brisk and businesslike — “At 0800 hours American military assets entered an address at 27b Jihadist Gardens, etc” — and finish off with a bit of Churchillian sober uplift about it not being the end or the beginning of the end but maybe the end of the beginning.

[…]

[The speech] managed to be both overwrought and generic — all that telepromptered overload about cloudless Tuesday mornings was not only tackily over-prettified but came over as unfelt and hand-me-down, like a course exercise in some third-rate creative-writing school’s Soaring Oratory class. Or, at any rate, as if they’d loaded up a first draft of September’s tenth anniversary speech into the machine. The official announcement was delayed for all this? If ever there was a moment for the commander-in-chief to be real, plainspoken and off his glassy-eyed follow-the-bouncing-ball routine, this was it. It’s as if nobody around him knows how to write except in the one tinny key.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to rally round the flag, and rally round the president, but rally round this speech? No thanks. [National Review Online, 5/2/11]


‘There Goes The Neighborhood’: Twitter User Chronicled Raid That Killed Osama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 5th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

‘There Goes The Neighborhood’: Twitter User Chronicled Raid That Killed Osama
Until last night, Twitter use @ReallyVirtual had fewer than 1,000 followers. Yesterday he was Tweeting about a strange event in his neighborhood in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Turns out he was unknowingly chronicling the undercover raid which killed Osama bin Laden, as…

NRA Drops Law Firm For Backing Out Of DOMA Defense
The National Rifle Association is dropping the law firm King & Spalding as an outside counsel due to its decision to withdraw from representing House Republicans in support of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)….


Inside Osama Bin Laden’s Compound (VIDEO)
ABC News has aired pictures of the compound where Osama Bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind, was killed by American forces yesterday….


Mothers Day: “Greetings from the Pinnacle Collection Agency…”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 5th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Mothers Day: “Greetings from the Pinnacle Collection Agency…”
I recently got an e-mail from a friend of mine who is truly a Marine Mom — being the proud mother of four (4) Marine sons who have either served in Iraq or Afghanistan or both. “Now that Osama bin Laden is dead,” Marine Mom wrote me, “now they can finally bring our troops home.” […]


Forecast Suggests GOP Senate Majority

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 5th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Forecast Suggests GOP Senate Majority
Harry Enten forecasts Democrats “are in great danger of losing their Senate majority in 2012. History is against them maintaining control of the Senate.”

His model — which uses national variables and not seat-by-seat projections — finds Democrats will win only 16 of their 23 seats up for re-election next year. If correct, this loss of seven seats would flip the Senate to the Republicans.

Congress Nears Deal on Debt Limit
The White House and Republican leaders “are discussing a deal that would enact strict deficit targets and some spending cuts to win Republican votes for lifting the ceiling on how much the federal government can borrow,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The deal would defer contentious decisions about Medicare, Medicaid and taxes until after the 2012 elections. If such an agreement were reached, it would allow both sides to assure financial markets and the public of their commitment to reducing the deficit and then use next year’s campaign to lay out their competing visions for the future of major government programs.”

Said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): “We’re not going to get a grand slam agreement. We’re not going to get a big, comprehensive agreement, because of the political parameters. My hope at this moment is to get a single or a double.”

Why Bush Isn’t Going to Ground Zero
George W. Bush won’t be at Ground Zero with President Obama today “in part because he feels his team is getting short shrift in the decade-long manhunt for Osama Bin Laden,” the New York Daily News reports.

Said a highly-placed source: “He viewed this as an Obama victory lap. He doesn’t feel personally snubbed and appreciates the invitation, but Obama’s claiming all the credit and a lot of other people deserve some of it.”

Associates familiar with his thinking say Bush does not believe Obama or his handlers wanted to exploit his presence. But the tag-team idea “was for the benefit of Obama, and Obama withheld credit from people Bush believes deserved it,” a source said.

Republicans Hold First Debate
“Normally, the first debate of the presidential primary season serves as a starting gun. The one that will take place on Thursday night could sound more like a distress call,” the Washington Post reports.

“With the strongest possible contenders holding back — not just from debating, but also from gearing up their campaign operations — a queasiness is setting in among Republicans about whether their field will be strong enough to produce a standard-bearer who can beat an incumbent.”


Fatah vs. Hamas: An Analogy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 5th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Fatah vs. Hamas: An Analogy
I wrote in my last post: “Fatah now represents the power and prestige of the Palestinian middle class, the dictatorship of its bourgeoisie: growing businesses and banks, women’s emancipation, universities, infrastructure and construction projects, regional networks of intellectual capital, a…


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Declare Victory and Go Home
The death of Bin Laden affords the United States a rare opportunity to rethink the whole War on Terror meme that has dominated our foreign and domestic security policy for 10 years. As the authors of the extremely important National…


Report: States? War On Planned Parenthood Guts Other Health And Nutrition Programs For Women And Children

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 5th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Report: States? War On Planned Parenthood Guts Other Health And Nutrition Programs For Women And Children
The 2010 conservative tidal wave has thrust the nation into an open era of anti-choice zealotry. Nearly 1,000 anti-choice bills are advancing through GOP-led state houses nationwide — their absurdity matched only by the House GOP’s No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion bill which will be voted on later today. At the epicenter of this anti-choice […]

The 2010 conservative tidal wave has thrust the nation into an open era of anti-choice zealotry. Nearly 1,000 anti-choice bills are advancing through GOP-led state houses nationwide — their absurdity matched only by the House GOP’s No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion bill which will be voted on later today. At the epicenter of this anti-choice maelstrom is Planned Parenthood, a women’s health organization that provides vital services like STD tests and treatment, cancer screenings, and contraception to low-income women. Only 3 percent of their work is abortion services and, per federal law, no public funds go towards that service.

But the mere idea of abortions has been enough to spur an all out campaign to gut the organization by any means necessary. Indeed, picking up where the House GOP left off, Indiana is set to become the first state to defund Planned Parenthood with Kansas and several other states not too far behind. But, in their crusade to eviscerate Planned Parenthood, states like Indiana, Texas, and Oklahoma are willing to accept a great number of low-income women and children as collateral damage:

INDIANA: Of the 28 Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana, only four even offer abortion services. But Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) is committed to denying all 28 clinics the $2 million in Medicaid funds they normally receive — a move that will gut the STD testing and treatment, cancer screening and prevention, and contraception services provided to at least 9,300 low-income women in the state. What’s more, because it is illegal for any state to deny payment to health care clinics that provide “a constitutionally protected service,” the state would be penalized with sanctions that could cost all family-planning or women’s health-care providers $4 million in Medicaid funding, leaving thousands more low-income women bereft of vital services.

TEXAS: Texas GOP state senators put a “poison pill” into a women’s health program designed to ensure that “groups like Planned Parenthood do not receive state funding.” The Demonstration Project for Women’s Health Care Services is designed to help poor, uninsured women receive health care including family planning services. While 90 percent of the program is federally funded and Texas (and federal) law already forbids any state money from being spent on abortions. The poison pill makes it so the entire Demonstration Project program “is shut down if an abortion [provider] files and wins a lawsuit against the provision preventing funding.” Thus, should a health clinic file a lawsuit and win, as it has in the past, the entire program that serves 40,000 Texas women will be eliminated.

OKLAHOMA: So “disturbed” is Oklahoma state Rep. Jason Murphey (R) by Planned Parenthood’s abortion referral services, he is planning legislation that would make nutrition vouchers inaccessible to thousands of low-income mothers. The federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program provides federal grants for food vouchers, regular check-ups, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant women and mothers of young children. Oklahoma distributes these funds through 9 independent contractors, including Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Because Murphey’s plan would prohibit any independent contractor from passing out vouchers, the Huffington Post reports that it would severely jeopardize over 9,300 low-income Oklahoman women’s ability to afford nutritional food for their children.

Not to be outdone by the states, it appears some House Republicans are willing to take the entire economy hostage by linking their draconian H.R. 3 measure to the debt ceiling increase. “What we use the debt limit to leverage is really up to the leaders, [but] I would think this would be one of the bills that we could be asking for,” said ardent anti-choice Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA).

As Backlash Against Ending Medicare Spreads, Pawlenty Refuses To Back GOP Plan
ThinkProgress filed this report from the AFP Presidential Summit in Manchester, NH. Last month, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced his plan to end Medicare and extend tax breaks for the wealthy. The measure was quickly voted on, and House Republicans approved it in near lockstep — 235 to 4. However, in the past two weeks, […]

ThinkProgress filed this report from the AFP Presidential Summit in Manchester, NH.

Last month, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced his plan to end Medicare and extend tax breaks for the wealthy. The measure was quickly voted on, and House Republicans approved it in near lockstep — 235 to 4.

However, in the past two weeks, as congressmen went back to hold town halls in their districts, a major constituent backlash ensued.

Seeing the writing on the wall, Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty is refusing to endorse the Ryan plan. During an interview with ThinkProgress, Pawlenty repeatedly refused to say whether he would sign the Ryan budget as president, saying instead that he will soon have his own plan. When reminded that Congress passes legislation and presidents only sign or veto them, Pawlenty only repeated that “you’ll be able to compare them when you see our plan”:

PAWLENTY: I’ll have my own plan and it’ll have many of the same elements to it. And I certainly appreciate Congressman Ryan’s courage and leadership that he’s exhibited in contract with President Obama, who until recently was ducking the issue. But as to the details of Cognressman Ryan’s plan, I will soon have my own plan which will have many similarities…

KEYES: But Congress passes the bills obviously. They come to your desk. If his bill were to come to your desk?

PAWLENTY: Yeah, I just, we’ll have our own plan and you’ll be able to compare them when we reveal that.

KEYES: But if it does come to your desk?

PAWLENTY: You’ll be able to compare them when you see our plan and you can make your judgment.

Watch it:

It’s understandable why Pawlenty would hesitate to endorse Ryan’s budget. Polls show that more than 8 in 10 Americans oppose Ryan’s plan to dismantle Medicare, including 73 percent of Republicans. In addition, an overwhelming majority of Americans support increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Still, as a presidential hopeful, Pawlenty is making a habit of ducking tough questions. Thus far in 2012, the former Minnesota governor has avoided taking stances on Paul Ryan’s Medicare cuts, if homosexuality is a health risk, and whether or not even closeted gays should be allowed to serve in the military.

For a party that routinely criticizes Obama for supposedly “voting present,” one of their own leading presidential contenders is quickly earning a reputation for avoiding tough questions.


Jury deliberates in case of Idaho attorney accused of plotting death of wife, mother-in-law

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 5th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Jury deliberates in case of Idaho attorney accused of plotting death of wife, mother-in-law

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho jury is trying to decide if an attorney who has gained attention representing unpopular clients is guilty of hiring a hit man to kill his wife and his mother-in-law or if he’s the victim of a frame-up.

The panel began its deliberations Wednesday in the case against Edgar J. Steele, meeting late into the night before breaking until Thursday morning.

Steele, best known for defending clients like the Aryan Nations, was arrested last June and charged with four federal felonies: Victim tampering, using interstate facilities in the commission of a murder for hire, using explosive material to commit a felony and possessing a destructive device in relation to a violent crime.

Read full article >>

Department of Corrections: Ryan’s budget has one individual mandate-like policy, not two

In a post yesterday, I summarized and expanded on Simon Lazarus’s argument that Paul Ryan’s budget has not one, but two, individual mandates. That post was wrong.

Lazarus’s article mentioned that the Ryan budget replaced the tax break that employers get for health-care insurance with a refundable tax credit that was “little noticed by pundits or politicians.” This was in Ryan’s Roadmap, and so I figured it got snuck into the final legislative language and Lazarus had simply been eagle-eyed enough to noticed it. But that policy isn’t in the budget. Lazarus was assuming that the budget’s vague portion on tax reform had something like the specific tax policies from the Roadmap in mind. I don’t think that’s a reasonable assumption to make, and given that I hadn’t noticed the health-care tax credit in the budget before, I should’ve checked it out for myself. That leaves Ryan’s budget with one individual mandate-like policy, not two. Mea culpa.

Read full article >>

How to run against Obama, post-Osama

Obama completed the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden and is rightfully credited with making a series of tough calls. This doesn’t, however, mean that the underlying dynamics of the 2012 race have changed.

On this I agree with pollster Charlie Cook, who explained:

Initial polling doesn’t suggest a huge jump in Obama’s approval, and that may be, as Cook argues, because fundamentals of our domestic and international challenges, unlike in 2001, have not changed:

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