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Teabaggers vs. Democracy

Friday, April 17, 2009

By BarbinMD
Daily Kos


St. Louis teabaggers protesting against Barack Obama:



Barack Obama speaking in St. Louis:



You make the call...

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Glenn Beck Blames Daily Kos For "Mocking" Teabaggers, Planning Infiltration


By Hunter
Daily Kos


Father Coughlin to the white courtesy phone... Father Coughlin to the white courtesy phone.

The Fox Zone is for loading and unloading of crackpot conspiracy theories only. Please do not park in the Fox Zone.

A reminder to our guests: do not leave your teabags unattended. Unattended teabags are subject to seizure by Fox Zone security. Thank you....(Click for original.)

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Jon Stewart: Tempest in a Tea Party

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M - Th 11p / 10c
Tempest in a Tea Party
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis Political Humor

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Limbaugh and Hannity Celebrate

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Stephen Colbert: Tax Atax

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tax Atax
colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor NASA Name Contest

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An Open Letter to the Tea Partiers

By Spencer Ackerman
The Washington Independent


Dear Tea Partiers,

I’d like to address you in good faith for a moment. I noticed today you had some strong feelings about what you consider to be President Obama taking away your freedom. You had some problems, I saw, with a recent Department of Homeland Security report assessing that your outrage is coterminous with prospective terrorism. If you don’t mind, I’d like you to stay in that frame of mind while considering the following proposition.

As you’ll see in the New York Times piece reported by Eric Lichtblau and Jim Risen, the National Security Agency has been engaging in domestic surveillance beyond the boundaries of even the weakened safeguards that resulted from the 2007 revision to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. My question for you, in all your current antigovernment ire, is this: do you trust Barack Obama with these expanded surveillance powers? Do you believe that any government can be trusted not to abuse authorities that do not require individualized warrants for surveillance targets, and require that the government show “reasonably” that the target of wide-ranging surveillance is “reasonably” believed to be overseas? Does this sound like something you want your president to do? Or does it sound like there ought to be a legislative revision to FISA to prevent the now-documented abuse?...(Click for remainder.)

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Napolitano Defends Report On Right Wing Extremism Risk

By Eileen Sullivan
Associated Press via The Huffington Post


WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday dismissed criticism of an intelligence assessment by her agency that says some military veterans could be susceptible to extremist recruiters or commit lone acts of violence.

Napolitano described the report, issued last week, as part of the department's routine of analyzing intelligence information to give law enforcement agencies guidance on possible security threats.

During a series of interviews on network news programs, she was asked about the report's assertion that some U.S. military veterans could be seen as potential converts to right-wing extremism during a down economy.

The report was "an assessment, not an accusation," Napolitano said. "We do not mean to suggest that veterans as a whole are at risk of becoming violent extremists."

She also said: "I apologize for that offense. It was certainly not intended."

Napolitano suggested that critics have taken the report's findings out of context and that there has been a lot of political spinning "out there in Washington, D.C. land."...(Click for remainder.)

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Perry Keeps Pushing the Secession Line

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly


When dealing with confused and enraged mob, responsible leaders try to lower the temperature and encourage cooler heads to prevail. Irresponsible leaders act like Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R).

On Tuesday, Perry denounced the U.S. government as "oppressive," arguing at a press conference, "We think it's time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas." He didn't say what it is he finds so offensive, but it seems to have something to do with the federal effort to help unemployed Texans. (Obama is obviously history's greatest monster.)

At a right-wing "Tea Party" yesterday, Perry pushed the envelope just a little more.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax "tea party" Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states' rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!"

An animated Perry told the crowd at Austin City Hall -- one of three tea parties he was attending across the state -- that officials in Washington have abandoned the country's founding principles of limited government.... Perry called his supporters patriots. Later, answering news reporters' questions, Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that.

"There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."
In other words, according to the elected chief executive of one of the nation's largest states, secession is on the table....(Click for remainder.)

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Keith Olbermann Mocks Teabaggers and Bill Orally Has a Conniption

By TruthDig

Yes, Keith Olbermann and other pundits (paging Anderson Cooper) had a field day with the right wing’s adoption of “tea bagging” as the driving metaphor behind their Tax Day protests. But no, the double entendres didn’t start “on the blogs,” as Bill O’Reilly’s “nice lady” guest Amanda Carpenter indignantly suggested on his show—the term has a long and storied etymological past.

Perhaps GOP grass-roots organizers should spend a little time with the Urban Dictionary before deciding how to frame their next PR strategy. However, given the recent findings about red states’ consumption of pornography, their apparent ignorance about the term seems a tad disingenuous, perhaps?

First, here’s the Olbermann clip from MSNBC:



Here's Bill Orally's Outrage:



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A Vision for High Speed Rail



THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release April 16, 2009

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AND THE VICE PRESIDENT
ON A VISION FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL IN AMERICA

Room 450
Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building

9:33 A.M. EDT


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) I promise these comments will be shorter than the ride -- (laughter) -- a ride, Mr. President, I've taken about a thousand times with Rob Andrews and Frank Lautenberg and others in the Northeast Corridor. But what gem we've had in the Northeast Corridor. It's time it gets extended throughout the country and improved.

Mr. Secretary, thank you. You know, we often refer to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as I've been going around the country -- shorthand I call it the Recovery Act, Mr. President, for short. But today, we're here to talk about the other part of the effort, the reinvestment -- the reinvestment part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the commitment to building our nation's future.

And you see while the vast majority of what we're doing in the Recovery Act is about short-term job creation -- as it should be, and is our top priority -- we also set aside some funds to build America's long-term economic future, which you all understand very well, assembled in this room.

And we're making a down payment today, a down payment on the economy for tomorrow, the economy that's going to drive us in the 21st century in a way that the other -- the highway system drove us in the mid-20th century. And I'm happy to be here. I'm more happy than you can imagine -- (laughter) -- to talk about a commitment that, with the President's leadership, we're making to achieve the goal through the development of high-speed rail projects that will extend eventually all across this nation. And most of you know that not only means an awful lot to me, but I know a lot of you personally in this audience over the years, I know it means equally as much to you.

With high-speed rail system, we're going to be able to pull people off the road, lowering our dependence on foreign oil, lowering the bill for our gas in our gas tanks. We're going to loosen the congestion that also has great impact on productivity, I might add, the people sitting at stop lights right now in overcrowded streets and cities. We're also going to deal with the suffocation that's taking place in our major metropolitan areas as a consequence of that congestion. And we're going to significantly lessen the damage to our planet. This is a giant environmental down payment.

All in all, we're going to make travel in this country leaner and a whole lot cleaner. And as we look to the future, we're going to ensure that we can travel through the system that is sound, secure and able to handle full-speed-ahead progress for this new economy.

You know, as it's been mentioned often, I'm not sure it's good or bad, but my father referred to my many commutes -- it exceeded over 7,900, they tell me -- he said one day before he died -- he said, you know, honey -- he said, "That is the definition of a misspent adulthood, sitting on a train." (Laughter.)

But I've -- I have, like many in this room, devoted most of my career to doing what I can to support America's rail systems. So I'm really proud to be part of an administration led by a man who has real vision; real vision about how to not only transform this country generally, but transform our transportation system in a fundamental way. It's about time we took those railways and made them the national treasures they should be. They're the best way to reconnect and connect communities to each other to move us all forward in the 21st century.

And many people deserve credit for this: the great congressional leaders who've been introduced today, many of you -- if I started going through the audience, the people I've known who have been working in the vineyards in this, we'd be here all day, Mr. President. But there are so many critical aspects of this, so many supporters in state capitals among the cities, among the governors.

But on behalf of those of us who've been waiting for this day for decades, Mr. President, I want to pay particular thanks to three people. And the first is Secretary LaHood for his leadership and vision. He jumped right into this job and he didn't miss a step, didn't miss a beat, and was ready to go from day one. And this is very uncharacteristic of me, Mr. President, but I want to thank Rahm Emanuel. (Laughter.) Not only as smart as a devil, not only as a former congressman, I believe, Mr. President, it was Rahm's tenacious, tenacious persistence that led to getting this high-speed rail funding in the Recovery Act. It was at your direction, but I'm not sure it would have been able to have been done without Rahm. And third, to the man who in this area is, as so many others, has turned the years of talk in Washington into a season of action, President Barack Obama.

Ladies and gentlemen, join me in welcoming the man who's making this possible. And this will be one of the many parts of a great legacy he's going to leave -- President Barack Obama. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. That is a wonderful reception, and I want to, in addition to Ray LaHood and Joe Biden, Rahm Emanuel, all of who have worked on this extensively, I also want to acknowledge Jim Oberstar and Rob Andrews, two of our finest members of Congress, both people who understand that investing in our infrastructure, investing in our transportation system pays enormous dividends over the long term. So I'm grateful to them. (Applause.)

You know, I've been speaking a lot lately about what we're doing to break free of our economic crisis so to put people back to work and move this nation from recession to recovery. And one area in which we can make investments with impact both immediate and lasting is in America's infrastructure.

And that's why the Recovery and Reinvestment Plan we passed not two months ago included the most sweeping investment in our infrastructure since President Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s. And these efforts will save money by untangling gridlock, and saving lives by improving our roads, and save or create 150,000 jobs, mostly in the private sector, by the end of next year. Already, it's put Americans back to work. And so far, we're ahead of schedule, we're under budget, and adhering to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

But if we want to move from recovery to prosperity, then we have to do a little bit more. We also have to build a new foundation for our future growth. Today, our aging system of highways and byways, air routes and rail lines is hindering that growth. Our highways are clogged with traffic, costing us $80 billion a year in lost productivity and wasted fuel. Our airports are choked with increased loads. Some of you flew down here and you know what that was about. We're at the mercy of fluctuating gas prices all too often; we pump too many greenhouse gases into the air.

What we need, then, is a smart transportation system equal to the needs of the 21st century. A system that reduces travel times and increases mobility. A system that reduces congestion and boosts productivity. A system that reduces destructive emissions and creates jobs.

What we're talking about is a vision for high-speed rail in America. Imagine boarding a train in the center of a city. No racing to an airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes. (Laughter.) Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination. Imagine what a great project that would be to rebuild America.

Now, all of you know this is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future. It is now. It is happening right now. It's been happening for decades. The problem is it's been happening elsewhere, not here.

In France, high-speed rail has pulled regions from isolation, ignited growth, remade quiet towns into thriving tourist destinations. In Spain, a high-speed line between Madrid and Seville is so successful that more people travel between those cities by rail than by car and airplane combined. China, where service began just two years ago, may have more miles of high-speed rail service than any other country just five years from now. And Japan, the nation that unveiled the first high-speed rail system, is already at work building the next: a line that will connect Tokyo with Osaka at speeds of over 300 miles per hour. So it's being done; it's just not being done here.

There's no reason why we can't do this. This is America. There's no reason why the future of travel should lie somewhere else beyond our borders. Building a new system of high-speed rail in America will be faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or adding to an already overburdened aviation system –- and everybody stands to benefit.

And that's why today, with the help of Secretary LaHood and Vice President Biden, America's number one rail fan, I've been told -- (laughter) -- I'm announcing my administration's efforts to transform travel in America with an historic investment in high-speed rail.

And our strategy has two parts: improving our existing rail lines to make current train service faster -- so Rob can, you know, shave a few hours over the course of a week -- but also identifying potential corridors for the creation of world-class high-speed rail. To make this happen, we've already dedicated $8 billion of Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to this initiative, and I've requested another $5 billion over the next five years.

The Department of Transportation expects to begin awarding funds to ready projects before the end of this summer, well ahead of schedule. And like all funding decisions under the Recovery Act, money will be distributed based on merit -- not on politics, not as favors, not for any other consideration --purely on merit.

Now, this plan is realistic. And the first round of funding will focus on projects that can create jobs and benefits in the near term. We're not talking about starting from scratch, we're talking about using existing infrastructure to increase speeds on some routes from 70 miles an hour to over 100 miles per hour -- so you're taking existing rail lines, you're upgrading them. And many corridors merit even faster service, but this is the first step that is quickly achievable, and it will create jobs improving tracks, crossings, signal systems.

The next step is investing in high-speed rail that unleashes the economic potential of all our regions by shrinking distances within our regions. There are at least 10 major corridors in the United States of 100 to 600 miles in length with the potential for successful high-speed rail systems. And these areas have explored its potential impact on their long-term growth and competitiveness, and they've already presented sound plans. I want to be clear: No decision about where to allocate funds has yet been made, and any region can step up, present a plan and be considered.

The high-speed rail corridors we've identified so far would connect areas like the cities of the Pacific Northwest; southern and central Florida; the Gulf Coast to the Southeast to our nation's capital; the breadth of Pennsylvania and New York to the cities of New England; and something close to my heart, a central hub network that draws the cities of our industrial heartland closer to Chicago and one another.

Or California, where voters have already chosen to move forward with their own high-speed rail system, a system of new stations and 220 mile-per-hour trains that links big cities to inland towns; that alleviates crippling congestion on highways and at airports; and that makes travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles possible in two and a half hours.

And by making investments across the country, we'll lay a new foundation for our economic competitiveness and contribute to smart urban and rural growth. We'll create highly-skilled construction and operating jobs that can't be outsourced, and generate demand for technology that gives a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs the opportunity to step up and lead the way in the 21st century. We'll move to cleaner energy and a cleaner environment, we'll reduce our need for foreign oil by millions of barrels a year, and eliminate more than 6 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually –- equal to removing 1 million cars from our roads.

Now, I know that this vision has its critics. There are those who say high-speed rail is a fantasy -- but its success around the world says otherwise. I know Americans love their cars, and nobody is talking about replacing the automobile and our highways as critical parts of our transportation system. We are upgrading those in the Recovery Package, as well. But this is something that can be done, has been done, and can provide us enormous benefits.

Now, there are those who argue that if an investment doesn't directly benefit the people of their district, then it shouldn't be made. Jim, you know some of those arguments. (Laughter.) But if we followed that rationale, we'd have no infrastructure at all.

There are those who say, well, this investment is too small. But this is just a first step. We know that this is going to be a long-term project. But us getting started now, us moving the process forward and getting people to imagine what's possible, and putting resources behind it so that people can start seeing examples of this around the country, that's going to spur all kinds of activity.

Now finally, there are those who say at a time of crisis, we shouldn't be pursuing such a strategy; we've got too many other things to do. But our history teaches us a different lesson.

As Secretary LaHood just mentioned, President Lincoln was committed to a nation connected from East to West, even at the same time he was trying to hold North and South together. He was in the middle of a Civil War. While fighting raged on one side of the continent, tens of thousands of Americans from all walks of life came together on the other. Dreamers and risk-takers willing to invest in America. College-educated engineers and supervisors who learned leadership in war. American workers and immigrants from all over the world. Confederates and Yankees joined on the same side.

And eventually, those two sets of tracks met. And with one final blow of a hammer, backed by years of hard work and decades of dreams, the way was laid for a nationwide economy. A telegraph operator sent out a simple message to a waiting nation. It just said, "DONE." (Laughter.) A newspaper proclaimed: "We are the youngest of peoples. But we are teaching the world to march forward."

In retrospect, America's march forward seems inevitable. But time and again, it's only made possible by generations that are willing to work and sacrifice and invest in plans to make tomorrow better than today. That's the vision we can't afford to lose sight of. That's the challenge that's fallen to this generation. And with this strategy for America's transportation future, and our efforts across all fronts to lay a new foundation for our lasting prosperity, that is the challenge we will meet.

"Make no little plans." That's what Daniel Burnham said in Chicago. I believe that about America: Make no little plans. So let's get to work. Thank you, everybody. (Applause.)

END
9:50 A.M. EDT

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White House Statement: President Obama on Past Interrogations of Terrorism Suspects

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

Statement of President Barack Obama on Release of OLC Memos

The Department of Justice will today release certain memos issued by the Office of Legal Counsel between 2002 and 2005 as part of an ongoing court case. These memos speak to techniques that were used in the interrogation of terrorism suspects during that period, and their release is required by the rule of law.

My judgment on the content of these memos is a matter of record. In one of my very first acts as President, I prohibited the use of these interrogation techniques by the United States because they undermine our moral authority and do not make us safer. Enlisting our values in the protection of our people makes us stronger and more secure. A democracy as resilient as ours must reject the false choice between our security and our ideals, and that is why these methods of interrogation are already a thing of the past.

But that is not what compelled the release of these legal documents today. While I believe strongly in transparency and accountability, I also believe that in a dangerous world, the United States must sometimes carry out intelligence operations and protect information that is classified for purposes of national security. I have already fought for that principle in court and will do so again in the future. However, after consulting with the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, and others, I believe that exceptional circumstances surround these memos and require their release.

First, the interrogation techniques described in these memos have already been widely reported. Second, the previous Administration publicly acknowledged portions of the program – and some of the practices – associated with these memos. Third, I have already ended the techniques described in the memos through an Executive Order. Therefore, withholding these memos would only serve to deny facts that have been in the public domain for some time. This could contribute to an inaccurate accounting of the past, and fuel erroneous and inflammatory assumptions about actions taken by the United States.

In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution. The men and women of our intelligence community serve courageously on the front lines of a dangerous world. Their accomplishments are unsung and their names unknown, but because of their sacrifices, every single American is safer. We must protect their identities as vigilantly as they protect our security, and we must provide them with the confidence that they can do their jobs.

Going forward, it is my strong belief that the United States has a solemn duty to vigorously maintain the classified nature of certain activities and information related to national security. This is an extraordinarily important responsibility of the presidency, and it is one that I will carry out assertively irrespective of any political concern. Consequently, the exceptional circumstances surrounding these memos should not be viewed as an erosion of the strong legal basis for maintaining the classified nature of secret activities. I will always do whatever is necessary to protect the national security of the United States.

This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past. Our national greatness is embedded in America’s ability to right its course in concert with our core values, and to move forward with confidence. That is why we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future.

The United States is a nation of laws. My Administration will always act in accordance with those laws, and with an unshakeable commitment to our ideals. That is why we have released these memos, and that is why we have taken steps to ensure that the actions described within them never take place again.

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Torture Memos Said CIA Could Use Insects and Severely Beat Detainee

By Jason Leopold
The Public Record


CIA interrogators were given legal authorization to slam an alleged "high-value" detainee's head against a wall, place insects inside a “confinement box” to induce fear, and force him to remain awake for 11 consecutive days, according to a closely guarded Aug. 1, 2002 legal memo released publicly by the Justice Department for the first time Thursday.

The memo, signed by the former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Jay Bybee, was written about a week after Bybee’s office had given the CIA verbal authorization that subjecting the detainee to seven other brutal interrogation methods would not violate torture laws.

“This letter memorializes our previous oral advice given on July 24, 2002 and July 26, 2002, that the proposed conduct would not violate” the prohibition against torture,” wrote Bybee, who now has a lifetime judgeship on the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. CIA interrogators would not be in violation of torture laws, Bybee wrote, because they would not be acting with the intent to inflict "severe pain or suffering" by subjecting detainees to the brutal interrogation methods outlined in the memo.

“To violate the [torture] statute, an individual must have the specific intent to inflict severe pain or or suffering,” Bybee wrote. “Because specific intent is an element of the offense, the absence of specific intent negates the charge of torture.

“Based on the information you have provided us, we believe that those carrying out these procedures would not have the specific intent to inflict severe pain or suffering. The objective of these techniques is not to cause severe physical pain. First, the constant presence of personnel with medical training who have the authority to stop the interrogation should it appear it is medically necessary indicates that it is not your intent to cause severe physical pain.”...(Click for remainder.)

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Interrogation Memos Detail Harsh Tactics by the C.I.A.


By Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Thursday made public detailed memos describing brutal interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency, as President Obama sought to reassure the agency that the C.I.A. operatives involved would not be prosecuted.

In dozens of pages of dispassionate legal prose, the methods approved by the Bush administration for extracting information from senior operatives of Al Qaeda are spelled out in careful detail — like keeping detainees awake for up to 11 straight days, placing them in a dark, cramped box or putting insects into the box to exploit their fears.

The interrogation methods were authorized beginning in 2002, and some were used as late as 2005 in the C.I.A.’s secret overseas prisons. The techniques were among the Bush administration’s most closely guarded secrets, and the documents released Thursday afternoon were the most comprehensive public accounting to date of the program.

Some senior Obama administration officials, including Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., have labeled one of the 14 approved techniques, waterboarding, illegal torture. The United States prosecuted some Japanese interrogators at war crimes trials after World War II for waterboarding and other methods detailed in the memos....(Click for remainder.)

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Keith Olbermann Special Comment: Mr. President, You Are Wrong

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U.S. Experts: Pakistan on Course to Become Islamic State

By Jonathan S. Landay
McClatchy Newspapers


WASHINGTON — A growing number of U.S. intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials have concluded that there's little hope of preventing nuclear-armed Pakistan from disintegrating into fiefdoms controlled by Islamist warlords and terrorists, posing the a greater threat to the U.S. than Afghanistan's terrorist haven did before 9/11.

"It's a disaster in the making on the scale of the Iranian revolution," said a U.S. intelligence official with long experience in Pakistan who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

Pakistan's fragmentation into warlord-run fiefdoms that host al Qaida and other terrorist groups would have grave implications for the security of its nuclear arsenal; for the U.S.-led effort to pacify Afghanistan; and for the security of India, the nearby oil-rich Persian Gulf and Central Asia, the U.S. and its allies.

"Pakistan has 173 million people and 100 nuclear weapons, an army which is bigger than the American army, and the headquarters of al Qaida sitting in two-thirds of the country which the government does not control," said David Kilcullen, a retired Australian army officer, a former State Department adviser and a counterinsurgency consultant to the Obama administration....(Click for remainder.)


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Colorado Initiative Process Reaches a Tipping Point

Lawmakers and analysts believe Colorado's ballot-initiative process desperately needs reform. Can they get voters to agree with them?


By John Tomasic
The Colorado Independent


Colorado voters are making too much law and the wrong kind of law at the ballot box, according to a growing list of elected officials, analysts and experts. Critics of the state’s famously loose ballot initiative process agree it unnecessarily opens up the state constitution to improperly vetted amendments, which are extremely difficult to rework or repeal. The result: Bad laws that bog down government and generate extended and expensive lawsuits.

“We’re such a die-hard initiative state,” said state Rep. Lois Court, a Denver Democrat who has been watching the ballot initiative process in Colorado for the past two decades. “We believe strongly in direct democracy here … but the initiative process needs fixing.”

Court says the state’s infamous monster ballots, where lists of candidates are supplemented by growing numbers of complicated paragraph-titles describing proposed laws, are just a symbol.

“We just make way too much law in Colorado. That’s the basics of it. And it’s not the best way to make law.”...(Click for remainder.)

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Which is the Gay One?

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VIDEO: Gov. Patterson and Mayor Bloomberg Presser on Same-Sex Marriage Bill

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Gov. Paterson Introduces a Same-Sex Marriage Bill in New York

When are the fundies going to realize that they've lost this battle?  Public opinion is swinging strongly against the homophobes and their message of hate and division.  It's only a matter of time, before this becomes law nation wide.  The sooner these freakshows get used to the idea, the sooner the country can move on as a culture.

By Jeremy W. Peters
The New York Times


Gov. David A. Paterson introduced a bill on Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage, vowing to personally involve himself in the legislative debate at a level that is rare for a chief executive in New York.

Throwing the weight of his office behind legislation that still faces considerable obstacles in Albany, Mr. Paterson said he would leverage the personal relationships he developed over two decades in the State Senate to see the bill voted on — and passed. The vote is expected to turn on the thinnest of margins in the Senate, and some advocates say Mr. Paterson’s direct involvement could prove pivotal.

At a news conference in Manhattan on Thursday, Mr. Paterson, a Democrat, invoked the abolitionist movement of the 1800s, the writings of Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision to argue that New York had neglected civil rights for gays and lesbians for too long. “I’m putting a stop to it,” he said. “We have a duty to make sure equality exists for everyone.”

The announcement came amid growing activity around the country on same-sex marriage: Iowa and Vermont have legalized the practice in the past month, and the New Hampshire State Senate has been debating it this week. Massachusetts and Connecticut already have gay marriage, and a campaign is under way to extend it across New England by 2012....(Click for remainder.)

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Concerned Women for America's Failing Fainancials

By David Hart
Pam's House Blend


CWA has filed their tax return for the year ended June 30, 2008. One of their obvious financial problems is that they are addicted to outside telemarketers. In fact, they spent more half of their gross revenues on outside fund raisers. To raise $10.4 million, they spent more than $5.5 million on outside fund raisers.  People should know that less than 47 cents of every dollar they donate goes to CWA. They paid out almost a half-million dollars for list rentals which may – or may not – be included in the outside marketers expenses.

A few notes of interest:
  • Their deficit for the year was $767,716
  • This left them with a negative net asset value of $49,875.
  • Their payables ballooned 44% from $832 thousand to $1.2 million. Their vendors are are probably not being paid on time — if at all.
  • Included in the donation total is $129,000 that they booked as a receivable. In other words funds pledged but nor received.
  • J. Matt (Bam Bam) Barber was being paid $91,000.
  • They paid Jancie Shaw Crouse as a consultant a sum of $115,433.There are some potential tax issues.
  • Two of the outside contractors have conflicts of interest. For expample, Advanced Marketing Concepts is owned by Beverly LaHaye's son and received $265,177.
It is also unlikely  that CWA felt the full brunt of the recession in the year ended June 30, 2008. I would speculate that they are now deep in the financial crapper. With a negative net asset value, it will be nearly impossible to borrow money. They currently owe Beverly LaHaye $150,000, She better get ready to pony up if she wants to keep this endeavor of hate alive....(Click for original.)

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Greeley Trial Puts Focus on Hate Crimes

By Rep. Jared Polis
The Denver Post


Last July, 18-year-old Angie Zapata of Greeley was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher in her own living room. The man accused of the crime has indicated that Angie was killed because she was transgender. While in jail, he was quoted as saying that "all gay things need to die."

This type of hatred, unfortunately, is too prevalent. In 2008 alone, there were at least 21 murders of transgender people in the United States. But because the murders of transgender people are often under-reported or the identities of transgender murder victims are not properly reported, it's impossible to ever know how serious this problem really is.

People from all over the country were appalled a decade ago when gay student Matthew Shepard was beaten to death in Wyoming. We should be even more appalled that in those 10 years, our nation has failed to adopt a federal hate-crimes bill.

Colorado was the first state in the country to pass a hate-crime law. In 2005, that law was updated to protect gay and transgender Coloradans. However, the murder trial starting next week in Greeley will be the first time in Colorado — and the country — that any such law has been used in a prosecution related to the murder of a transgender person.

More than 125 incidents of anti-gay or anti-transgender violence occurred in Colorado in 2008 alone. With numbers like that, it's evident that this type of trial was unfortunately bound to occur at some point.

That is why today, people throughout Colorado should join to say, "No more." While we might disagree on many things politically regarding the legal status of unions or service in the military, we can all agree that targeting someone for violence and murder because that person is gay or transgender has no place in our country and certainly no place in Colorado....(Click for remainder.)

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