Day: November 8, 2010

GOP investigation plans are built on Fox News falsehoods

This is most telling about Fox News and it’s connection to the Republican Party.  In my mind, it shows that Republicans are just as dumbed down as the rest of Fox News’ audience…OR that Fox News and the Republican Party are cohorts in an effort to get rid of President Barack Obama.  My money is on BOTH!

Media Matters

Before the midterm elections, Republicans indicated that if they gained control of the House, they would launch investigations into numerous “scandals” that have been pushed by Fox News over the past two years. Since the elections, Fox News figures have also called for these investigations. But the purported “controversies” have long been debunked.

GOP plans spate of congressional “investigations”

Politico: GOP is “gearing up for a possible season of subpoenas not seen since the Clinton wars of the late 1990s.” In an August 27 article, Politico reported that “Republicans are planning a wave of committee investigations targeting the White House and Democratic allies if they win back the majority. Everything from the microscopic — the New Black Panther party — to the massive — think bailouts — is on the GOP to-do list, according to a half-dozen Republican aides.” Politico continued:

Republican staffers say there won’t be any self-destructive witch hunts, but they clearly are relishing the prospect of extracting information from an administration that touts transparency. And a handful of aggressive would-be committee chairmen — led by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas) — are quietly gearing up for a possible season of subpoenas not seen since the Clinton wars of the late 1990s.

Politico: “The New Black Panther party” is “on the GOP to-do list.” Politico reported on August 27, “Everything from the microscopic — the New Black Panther party — to the massive — think bailouts — is on the GOP to-do list, according to a half-dozen Republican aides interviewed by POLITICO.” The article also noted that “[Lamar] Smith, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, has already pressed Holder to look into charges that members of the New Black Panther Party intimidated voters at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008″ and quoted Smith’s statement that “we would definitely want answers about the Black Panther case.”

New Black Panther Party case allegations were brought by long-time GOP activist. J. Christian Adams is the originator of the claim that the Obama Justice Department was motivated by race to narrow its case against members of the New Black Panther Party, who were accused of intimidating voters in 2008. Adams is a long-time Republican and conservative activist. He has likened Obama to the appeasers who caused the “carnage” of World War II. He has reportedly volunteered with the National Republican Lawyers Association, which “trains lawyers to fight on the front lines of often racially tinged battles over voting rights,” according to a December 2009 Main Justice article. He also reportedly served as a Bush campaign poll watcher in Florida and once filed an ethics complaint against Hillary Clinton’s brother, Hugh Rodham, that was subsequently dismissed.  Continue reading…

Sestak, Romanoff conversations

Human Events: Issa to “investigate the policy of offering federal positions as political rewards.” In an October 19 article, Human Events reported: “Predicting that Republicans will win control of the House next month and that he will then be chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) vowed that the Obama Administration will be held accountable ‘like they’ve never been held accountable.’ ” The article further reported that Issa said “he planned to investigate the policy of offering federal positions as political rewards. The issue was magnified this year following claims by Colorado’s Andrew Romanoff and Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak that the Obama White House had offered them federal positions in return for not running against Democratic incumbents for the Senate.”

White House reportedly talked to Sestak, Romanoff in effort to avoid primary challenges. In late May, news outlets reported that the White House sent Bill Clinton to determine whether Sestak would decline to challenge Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary “if Obama offered him an unpaid spot on a prestigious presidential advisory board,” according to The Washington Post. Around the same time, reports emerged that an Obama adviser suggested that Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff “forgo a primary challenge to Sen. Michael Bennet and instead apply for one of three international development jobs,” as the Associated Press reported

Continue reading…

Pawlenty And Perry Tout Opposition To Health Law, While Accepting Some Of Its Funding

Typical hypocrisy from the right.  They have no shame at all.

Think Progress

Outgoing Minnesota Governor and potential presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty (R) reiterated his opposition to the Affordable Care Act this morning on CNN’s State of the Union, touting his principled rejection of the law’s grants and programs:

PAWLENTY: I think ObamaCare is one of the worst pieces of legislation passed in the modern history of the country. I’m doing everything I can in Minnesota to stop delay or avoid its implementation in my state, including signing an executive order saying we’re not going to participate unless required by law or approved by me. We’ve been given opportunities to early enroll in that program and take advantage of other aspects of it. We’ve declined and I hope between now and 2014, when it’s fully kicked in, that as many states as possible do what they can to reel that program back or that the new Republican congress, better yet, can repeal it. Because it’s dragging stuff into Washington, DC, creating a new bureaucracy, spending a lot of new money that they don’t have isn’t going to work. We should have market-based solutions.

Watch it:

Continue reading…

Feds Say ‘Rogue Navy SEAL’ Smuggled Iraqi Machine Guns

TPM Muckraker

Federal agents arrested a Navy SEAL on Wednesday in San Diego, CA, on charges that he and two other men smuggled firearms from Iraq and possibly Afghanistan to sell them on the black market.

The Navy Times reports that Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Nicholas Bickle, 33, along with Richard Paul, 34, of Durango, CO and Andrew Kaufman, 36, of Las Vegas, NV, are facing charges after allegedly selling 18 machine guns and 14 other firearms to undercover agents in a sting operation from June through October. According to the court documents reviewed by TPM, the markings on some of the guns suggest they belonged to the Iraqi military. The Times reports that Bickle’s military awards and decorations “include the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V,” National Defense Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.”

According to the Associated Press, federal prosecutor Drew Smith told U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. in Las Vegas that Bickle is a “rogue Navy SEAL.” The complaint suggests that Bickle was in Chicago, IL, in August, apparently “involved” in the production of Transformers 3. The AP also reports that five pounds of C-4 explosives, grenades and night-vision goggles were also seized at Paul’s Colorado home. 

“As long as they got paid . . . they didn’t care if the weapons wound up in Mexico or on the streets of Las Vegas,” Smith also said.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Bickle, who is appearing in a San Diego court today, allegedly smuggled “about 80 AK-47s as well as Iraqi-made weapons. He allegedly bragged that the weapons would be impossible to trace.” The complaint alleges that on Sept. 8, Paul told an agent that he had 10 AK-47s for sale at $1,300 a piece, and six handguns at $300 each.

The Times also notes:

Federal agents were allegedly tipped off to the suspected smuggling conspiracy by someone facing felony charges of domestic violence and robbery

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Fareed Zakaria On The Republicans: Fool Me Once, Shame On You. Fool Me Three Times…

Crooks & Liars - By Nicole Belle

Fareed Zakaria reminds Americans that this newest re-taking of the House is the third “Republican revolution”, behind the Reagan revolution and Newt Gingrich’s Contract On For America. Neither era of Republican control worked out well for the vast majority of Americans. Will the American people give the GOP another chance if they screw this one up?

[...]

[T]here is little chance that the majority of Americans will have this pointed out to them via our traditional media. Sure, you and I see it and we seek out media that provide facts and context, but the vast majority of people in this country do not.

That’s why it’s so refreshing to have a cable news commentator say what needs to be said: The Republican Party have shown time and time again they cannot govern the country well.

The people have spoken, or at least 42 percent of registered voters have spoken, which is 90 million of America’s 300 million people, and the verdict is clear. The Republicans have come to power. But whether they will be able to stay in power will surely depend on whether they’re able to fulfill their central campaign promise, which is to cut down big government.

I’m going to lead – leave aside the question of whether cutting government and government spending is the right thing for the economy now. We actually have a great debate on that very topic coming up. But I’m simply holding the Republican Party to its pledge.

The reason I think this will be tough for them to stay politically popular, if they renege on this pledge, is because we’ve been here before. You see, this is actually the third Republican revolution.

The first was Ronald Reagan’s when he came into office in 1980 and promised to cut taxes and cut spending. He did the first bit, enacting a massive reduction in taxes and closed hundreds of loopholes. It was a landmark piece of legislation.

The problem is he never got around to the second part. The result by 1985 was that the federal deficit as a percent of GDP had doubled. It only went down slightly after that because Reagan agreed to several tax increases. But his budget director, David Stockman, argued that the Reagan revolution failed because Congressional Republicans refused to cut spending.

The second revolution was Newt Gingrich’s. That was more successful, and Gingrich deserves some credit. Much of the credit, however, must go to the man who was president during those years, Bill Clinton. Clinton’s years in office saw the lowest average deficits in decades ending up with a massive surplus, and that is because he both raised taxes and cut spending.

Next up, the Bush years, with Republicans controlling all levers of government after 2002, an ideal time to fulfill the Republican promise, to close the deficit, right? Wrong. It turned out to be the most reckless expansion of government spending in two generations. The two percent budget surplus he inherited from Clinton turned into a two percent deficit. Why? Tax cuts, prescription drugs, and two wars, all unpaid for. The debt exploded.

So, this time, if the Republicans look at the deficit and promise to close it, but then cut taxes and continue to expand spending, the public surely, at some point, will say, fool me three times, shame on me.

 

Taliban Writes Letter to Congress

Daily Beast

A spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan has written a 2,300-word letter to Congress, calling upon American lawmakers to get “a true picture of the ground realities” of the war in Afghanistan.

In what appears to be the first letter that the group has written to Congress, specifically, its spokesperson, Qari Mohammad Yousaf Ahmadi, claims that U.S. troop commanders give their legislators “distorted information about a losing war, trying to conceal from you their failures.”

The letter—addressed to “Messers American Congressmen” and written in poor English—also denies any Taliban links to the September 11th attacks and insists that the Taliban is still in control of their stronghold, Kandahar, despite an aggressive recent push by U.S. forces there. Unlike many government offices in Afghanistan, the Taliban are known to run a savvy media operation.

Obama, on ’60 Minutes,’ blames his leadership

President Barack Obama acknowledged a series of errors since taking office, admitting that he misjudged the pace of the economic recovery, that he has sometimes strayed from his campaign promise to change the tone of debate in Washington, and that leadership “isn’t just legislation.”

“We were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that, yeah, leadership isn’t just legislation, that it’s a matter of persuading people and giving them confidence and bringing them together, and setting a tone,” Obama said in an interview conducted Thursday for airing Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” “We haven’t always been successful at that, and I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I have to examine carefully as I go forward.”

Read more…

Tea Party Favorites Rand Paul & Jim DeMint Struggle To Name Specific Budget Cuts

This is nothing new.  Tea Party favorites have always been either inarticulate in expressing their views on the budget (among other things) or silent for fear of appearing inarticulate on the issues…

Huffington Post

Signaling how difficult it will be for the Republican Party to live up to its campaign promises of cutting spending while preserving the Bush tax cuts and not cutting benefits for seniors, Tea Party favorites Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-Ky.) struggled on Sunday to actually name any specific cuts they plan on making.

On ABC’s “This Week,” Christiane Amanpour repeatedly pressed Paul to move beyond “slogans and platitudes” to “direct information” on how the Republican Party will balance the budget and cut the deficit.

Paul immediately reiterated that he was going to push for a balanced budget amendment and said that cuts needed to come from across the board — including defense spending. Whenever Amanpour asked whether a specific program — such as Medicare, Social Security and health care — would be cut, Paul simply kept reiterating that he was going to be looking “across the board.” He was unable, however, to actually name anything significant that would be on the chopping block:

AMANPOUR: Give me one specific cut, Senator-elect.

PAUL: All across the board.

AMANPOUR: One significant one. No, but you can’t just keep saying all across the board.

PAUL: Well, no, I can, because I’m going to look at every program, every program. But I would freeze federal hiring. I would maybe reduce federal employees by 10 percent. I’d probably reduce their wages by 10 percent. The average federal employee makes $120,000 a year. The average private employee makes $60,000 a year. Let’s get them more in line, and let’s find savings. Let’s hire no new federal workers.

AMANPOUR: Pay for soldiers? Would you cut that?

PAUL: I think that’s something that you can’t do. I don’t think –

AMANPOUR: You cannot do? [...]

AMANPOUR: So, again, to talk about the debt and to talk about taxes, there seems to be, again, just so much sort of generalities, for want of a better word. [...]

PAUL: Well, the thing is that you can call it a generality, but what if — what if I were president and I said to you, Tomorrow, we’re going to have a 5 percent cut across the board in everything? That’s not a generality, but there are thousands of programs. If you say, Well, what are all the specifics? There are books written on all the specifics. There’s a book by Christopher Edwards, downsizing government, goes through every program. That’s what it will take. It’s a very detailed analysis.

DeMint had a similar experience on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” When asked by host David Gregory where the American people should be prepared to sacrifice in order to cut the deficit, DeMint said, “I don’t think the American people are going to have to sacrifice as much as the government bureaucrats who get paid about twice what the American worker does. First of all, we just need to return to pre-Obama levels of spending in 2008. We need to cut earmarks so people can stop taking home the bacon, we need to defund Obamacare and then we need to look at the entitlement programs, such as the way Paul Ryan has done in the House with his Road to America’s Future.”

When Gregory pointed out that going back to 2008 spending levels won’t get anywhere close to balancing the budget, he asked whether everything would be on the table. DeMint said he opposed cutting Social Security. “If we can just cut the administrative waste, we can cut hundreds of billions of dollars a year at the federal level. We need to keep our promises to seniors, David, and cutting benefits to seniors is not on the table.” DeMint also said that cutting benefits for veterans is out.  Continue reading and watch video here

Olbermann Back on Tuesday – Olbermann Breaks Silence

I won’t pounce on MSNBC’s ridiculous decision to suspend Keith Olbermann, others have articulated the general consensus rather colorfully.  I’m just happy tohear that MSNBC’s Phil Griffin regained his common sense and reinstated Keith Olbermann!

Talking Points Memo

That didn’t take long.

MSNBC just announced that Keith Olbermann will be back on Tuesday after one more day of suspension on Monday evening.

Olbermann was suspended indefinitely without pay on Friday after a report that he’d contributed to three Democratic House candidates in October, purportedly a violation of MSNBC policy.

Statement from Phil Griffin …

After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night’s program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.

Huffington Post

Olbermann Breaks Silence

About 48 hours after news of his suspension was announced by MSNBC, Keith Olbermann has published a tweet thanking his supporters:

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