Month: October 2011

Campaign In 100 Seconds: Santorum Froths With Frustration

TPM2012

Poor Rick Santorum. As if it wasn’t hard enough on him to see his name turned into a filthy internet joke, he’s failed to make a splash in the GOP debates. All this from a former Senator who (as he likes to remind us) once won Pennsylvania by six points! True, he once lost it by eighteen points too, but why dwell on that?

In today’s episode, Benjy Sarlin wonders why – despite being well-versed in the art of victimhood – Santorum just can’t seem to make himself stick.

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‘Anonymous’ threatens to identify Mexicans involved with drug cartels

This is just absolutely astounding…

The Raw Story

The hacker activist group “Anonymous” said this weekend that it may begin revealing the names and addresses of individuals who work for the Zetas drug cartel, in hopes that the Mexican government would step in and arrest them.

Shortly after the release, announced in a video published in Spanish and English, some members of the group were claiming that “OpCartel” had been canceled because it was simply too dangerous. Others insisted the operation would continue, calling it a “war.”

In the video, a masked actor explains that “Anonymous” embarked on the operation after one of their members was allegedly kidnapped by the Zetas.

“We are fed up with taxi drivers, commanders and ‘police-Zetas’ officers of Xalapa, Córdoba, Orizaba, Nogales, Río Blanco and Camerinos, who are chickens and have made themselves the most loyal servants of these assholes,” the person explains. “For the time being, we will not post photos or the names of the taxi drivers, the journalists or the newspapers nor of the police officers, but if needed, we will publish them including their addresses, to see if by doing so the government will arrest them.”

It also lays out a clear threat: “You made a huge mistake in taking one of us. Release him. And if anything happens to him, you will always remember this upcoming November 5th.”

By threatening to identify the cartel workers, “Anonymous” could be opening more than just one can of worms. Members of rival cartels could theoretically use those individuals as bargaining chips, or attack them if it served their business interests. It could even theoretically spark a greater conflict between the Zetas and other groups.

Or, it could help to facilitate a government crackdown on the cartels, which has been raging for nearly five years on the orders of President Felipe Calderon. In that time, Mexico has become one of the bloodiest war zones on the planet, with over 34,000 dead in cartel violence.

The situation has become so severe that many leading officials, including a coalition of former world leaders, have called for major changes to U.S. drug policies that ultimately inflate black market prices and make the cartel business that much more lucrative and violent.

Despite recent polling that shows an unprecedented amount of support in the U.S. for ending the prohibition of marijuana — the cartels’ biggest cash crop by far — officials in the Obama administration are not willing to do that.

This video was published to YouTube on Oct. 29, 2011:

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John Boehner understands Occupy Wall Street ‘frustrations’ and hopes they don’t riot

Daily Kos

John Boehner has decided to weigh in with his deep thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street protests. He understands. He knows why people are “frustrated.” He knows that people have the right to protest. Oh, and please don’t riot:

Beyond that, I lived through the riots of the Vietnam War … and you can see how some of those activities got out of control. A lot of people lived through the race riots of 1968 that was clearly out of control, and I’m hopeful that these demonstrations will continue to be peaceful.

Well, sure. He understands, don’t riot. Great take-away.

And it’s a shame Boehner isn’t in a position to actually do anything about people’s frustration about jobs and the economy. Oh, wait …

 

Karl Rove to Herman Cain: True or false?

Usually, there is nothing that I agree with Karl Rove on…except in this instance…

Politico

Karl Rove said Monday that Herman Cain has failed to properly respond to the POLITICO report that at least two women accused him of inappropriate behavior, saying he needs to say “yes or no.”

“He’s not denying but he ain’t responding and that’s not the best place to be,” Rove said on Fox News. “If these allegations are not true, say they aren’t true and put it behind you. If not, better get everything out sooner rather than later because in a situation like this, if there is something there, that something’s going to come out.”

Asked whether he considered the Cain campaign’s response to the allegations as sufficient, the former George W. Bush strategist answered “no,” criticizing the decision to evade questions about whether there were ever any financial settlements with the women.

“I think Geraldo had it right last night — you simply can’t say go talk to the National Restaurant Association and refuse to answer the question, ‘Were there any monetary settlements involved in these things,’” Rove said, referring to Fox News host Geraldo Rivera’s phone interview with Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon Sunday night hours after the report was first published, in which Rivera repeatedly asked whether there had been any cash settlements.

Rove added, “You can’t simply say go ask, go talk to somebody else. You either need to say yes or no. And if no, say no immediately. Say absolutely or not and get on with it. But if you’re sitting there saying go talk to somebody else, it’s not going to help you.”

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Herman Cain Sexual Harassment Accusations: GOP Presidential Candidate Denies Politico Report

Well, the squeaky clean Mr. Cain might not be so immaculate after all.  Oh my, what will his Teapublican followers say now?

The Huffington Post

GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain has denied a report alleging that he sexually harassed women during his time as head of the National Restaurant Association.

Politico released a story Sunday evening, noting that at least two female employees made complaints about Cain:

During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.

In a statement given to the Associated Press, Cain’s campaign labeled the Politico report as “dredging up thinly sourced allegations” from his tenure at the trade group. Spokesman J.D. Gordon told the AP that the claims include “unsubstantiated personal attacks”, adding that the press is “casting aspersions on his character and spreading rumors that never stood up to the facts.”

Cain’s camp entered Sunday riding an Iowa high. A key Des Moines Register poll unveiled on Saturday shows the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza in a virtual tie with rival Mitt Romney for the lead in the GOP 2012 primary.

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Perry: Ending The Iraq War Is ‘Irresponsible,’ ‘Putting Our Kids’ Lives In Jeopardy’

Someone forgot to inform Gov. Rick Perry and the other GOP candidates that it was their very own George W. Bush that signed an agreement with the leaders of Iraq to leave by the end of 2011…

Think Progress

After President Obama announced that he is ending the Iraq War, virtually all of the Republican presidential candidates piled on in criticizing the move, even though two-thirds of Americans oppose the war. Mitt Romney called the decision an “astonishing failure” driven either by “naked political calculation or sheer ineptitude.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) also called it a “complete failure,” while Rick Santorum said the U.S had “lost the war in Iraq.”

Today on Fox News Sunday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) told host Chris Wallace that Obama was flat-out “irresponsible” for bringing the troops home, because, he argued, it is “putting our kids’ lives in jeopardy”:

PERRY: The idea that a commander-in-chief would stand up and signal to the enemy a date certain of when we’re going to pull our troops out I think is irresponsible. You need to be talking to your commanders in the field. You need to be working with the experts who understand what is going on in those countries, for instance. We need to finish our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. You better believe I want out kids home as soon as we can and safe. But to give that signal that we’re pulling them out is bad public policy and, more importantly, it’s putting our kids lives in jeopardy[...]

He has lost his standing from the standpoint of being a commander-in-chief who has any idea about what’s going on in those theaters. He’s making mistakes that are putting our kids that in theater and I think future issues dealing with whether it’s in the Middle East or the south China Sea with our allies, putting all of that in jeopardy because of this unwavering, or I should say this wavering or this aimless approach to foreign policy which he has.

Watch it:

Some senior military officials have been calling for a drawdown since 2009. It is hard to see how bringing soldiers home jeopardizes their safety. It’s also worth noting that if pulling out troops at the end of 2011 is a signal to the enemy, as Perry claims, it’s President George W. Bush who is the guilty party. Bush signed an agreement with Iraq to withdraw troops by the end of 2011, and Obama is just carrying that out.

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Herman Cain Speaks Of ‘The So-Called Palestinian People’

Showcasing GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s utter ignorance is something I enjoy doing and will continue to do until this really strange man descends from his first place position in the GOP lineup…

TPM2012

Herman Cain’s lack of foreign policy knowledge has had him in hot water before. Since he hit frontrunner status he’s been dinged for mocking “Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan” and suggesting he might free every prisoner in Guantanamo Bayin exchange for one U.S. soldier.

Earlier in the campaign, before he had frontrunner status and its resulting scrutiny, the former CEO was asked about the Israel-Palestine “right of return” issue. This is one of the red lines in mid-east diplomacy, with the Israeli stance being that the prospect of opening the door to Palestinians displaced in the 1947-48 fighting should not even be negotiated. Cain rather put his foot in it when he was quizzed about the issue on Fox News and – clearly unfamiliar with the subject – he tried to dodge it by saying, “that should be an issue for negotiation.”

Cain’s clearly been swotting up on his mid-east knowledge since then, and a recent choice of words suggests he may have been dipping into some fairly controversial sources.

Cain gave an interview to Israel Hayom that was released Friday. It’s fairly boilerplate except for the part where he addresses the Palestinians’ recent push for full UN membership:

“I think that the so-called Palestinian people have this urge for unilateral recognition because they see this president as weak.”

It’s that “so-called” that’s striking. This is still pretty controversial territory, though it did admittedly find its most notorious expression in the words of the former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. She famously said, “There is no such thing as the Palestinians.”

What she meant by that, and what Cain is tapping into, is that the notion of a Palestinian people only arose after the foundation of Israel, and that this was a convenient way of harnessing the disparate resentments of various Arab groups who had been dislodged during the tumult of 1947-48.

This is something most serious commentators tend to hold back from claiming. Around the time the statehood push chatter was reaching its peak, a National Review editorial led with the line: “There is no such thing as a Palestinian state, and the United Nations can’t conjure one into existence.” However, their contention was very different from the idea that the Palestinian identity was simply invented so the Arabs could have a convenient stick with which to beat Israel in international institutions. Their argument rested on the far more common contention that the Palestinians – riven between Hamas and Fatah-controlled territories, lacking a Weberian “monopoly on violence,” and without strong political institutions – are not yet ready to have a definite political entity that could credibly be called a “state.” But though the editorial writers denied the Palestinians the concept of statehood, they held back from denyingnationhood.

The only people willing to go that far tend to be the more hardline publications such as World Net Daily. That publication’s editor, Joseph Farah, has several articles arguing that “Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.”

The statehood push is a thorny diplomatic issue, and people on both sides of the matter have some fairly nuanced positions. However, it would seem that Cain has avoided these and has moved instead to one of the furthest edges available in this debate.

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Could There Be a More Reprehensible and Ignorant GOP Candidate Than George W. Bush? Yes, Several.

Official photograph portrait of former U.S. Pr...

Image via Wikipedia

Great question.

Here’s Buzz Flash‘s answer:

Where do such inconsequential people get the nerve to criticize their betters when they have so little to offer in terms of either foreign or domestic policy or intellect?

There was a time when I thought there could never be a more reprehensible, more ignorant presidential candidate and eventual president than George W. Bush, but I was wrong – – a man who served two terms still mispronouncing the word nuclear – – a person so insensate, as to find humor in a search for weapons of mass destruction under tables, and behind lecterns at a press correspondents’ dinner. Who could have imagined that the leader of the free world could be so embarrassingly idiotic as to sign on for an unnecessary war financed by tax cuts that would leave the country in a mountain of debt?

The awful truth is, of course, that he was motivated by personal demons and incomplete intelligence that drove him to make incredibly bad foreign-policy decisions, compounded by less than well-founded economic considerations. The worst part of his malfeasance remains, however, the continuing insistence on his part and that of his ne’er-do-well vice president, that their administration was right to undertake an endless war without figuring out where or when it would end and to undermine our country’s good name by using torture and calling it enhanced interrogation techniques. In a reference that often comes to mind in terms of what went on during the Bush years, there are always those who insist when a wolf is at the door that it is just a dog.

We have passed through a gruesome period of our history that will leave a multitude of unresolved issues behind, but at least for the moment the Iraq war itself is no longer our responsibility. Of course President Obama is being criticized by the likes of John McCain, Lindsey Graham and others who say we should stay in Iraq for “as long as it takes” whatever that means to them,-  – ten more years, twenty, ’til the end of time? None of the war hawks ever suggest a way to pay for our foreign involvements even as they rant repeatedly about our “debt crisis.”

Continue here…

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TV that deserves the name “journalism”

I am a very pleased fan of Up With Chris Hayes, the weekend morning news show that already has over 150,000 viewers and has only been on for about a month or so.

I DVR the show since it comes on at 7am on Saturdays and 8am on Sundays…

Salon – David Sirota

Chris Hayes’ new show on MSNBC provides a rare space for the expansive, non-partisan debates we need

Waking up at 4 a.m. is rarely enjoyable, and arising at that unspeakable hour to appear on a cable news show is particularly painful. In such situations, you feel as if you’re dragging yourself out of bed only to be treated like a canine in a dogfight, with the typical show pitting you in a contrived death match against another guest who is your equally angry, equally mangy opposite. That, or you’re simply asked to play the yes-man — the Ed McMahon to the host’s Johnny Carson.

Needless to say, I’m not a fan of most cable news because I find this format mind-numbing, uninformative and tedious (and cable news’ declining ratings over the last year prove I’m not alone). So when I was asked to appear on MSNBC last Saturday morning, my initial thought was, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

But then I realized it was a new show hosted by Chris Hayes, a journalist whose work I’ve long admired. So I said yes. And crack-of-dawn fatigue aside, I’m glad I did, because to my surprise, I ended up getting the chance to participate in one of the best television programs on the air.

“Up With Chris Hayes,” which broadcasts Saturday and Sunday mornings, purposely rejects the manufactured red-versus-blue mallet that bludgeons every issue into partisan terms. Instead, the program’s host is creating a space for more expansive discussions with voices typically deemed too unconventional, provocative or dangerous to be allowed anywhere near a television set.

Continue reading here…

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