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Vincent Carroll Repeats Tired, and False, Climate Change Talking Point

Monday, June 08, 2009

By WeatherDem
Square State


Vincent Carroll wrote an op-ed piece in the Denver Post yesterday: Carbon cutting pipe dreams. Someone's smoking a pipe, but it isn't Waxman or Markey, who are pushing ACES (the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009). One thing the legislation would do is set up carbon emissions targets and a market for carbon emissions allowances. The targets would get gradually more strict, which would force changes in the carbon market. Carroll tries to prove in a few short paragraphs that reducing our carbon emissions to 80% below 2005 levels by 2050 isn't possible without harming the economy and restricting personal freedoms ... somehow.

Using tortured logic and forming an argument around industry-approved talking points has long been a mainstay of the way Cons approach any number of policy topics. Climate change, with its potential to affect every person on this planet, is unfortunately no different. I take on Carroll's propaganda below.

At least people like Carroll have moved away from arguing against the science. It was a losing proposition to begin with and became more so as time went on. Now, they're trying to distract from the issues that are relevant about dealing with our climate forcing habits. Carroll attacks ACES with two talking points: economic pain and a radical change in lifestyle are inevitable. It's actually pretty easy to see that they aren't.

Carroll bases his economic pain argument on citing countries who currently emit less than 3 tons of carbon annually per capita. In order for U.S. citizens' to emit that little carbon, we would have to become as poor as those nations are today (he mentions African nations first - stay classy, Carroll). Say what?! Unbelievably, he also cites other industrial nations whose carbon footprints come much, much closer to 3 tons than ours, which is approximately 20.4 tons. Those nations include France and Switzerland. Does anyone else around here remember reading headlines about France and Switzerland's collapse into third-world status? No, because it hasn't happened. It won't happen just because they have smaller carbon footprints than we do. It won't happen here as we decrease ours, either. We certainly won't reduce our economy to anything like the level of African nations. Carroll's quiet use of racism is no less disgusting and immoral than Limbaugh's or Gingrich's regarding Sonia Sotomayor....(Click for remainder.)

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Bring on the Pagans

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly


Once in a while, it's good for political activists to expand their rhetorical repertoire a bit. Conservatives, for example, have been complaining about "liberals," "Hollywood," and the dearth of "family values" for decades. The culture-war language is stale, and more likely to produce eye-rolling than passion.

Perhaps it's time for the right to bring back an oldie that we haven't heard emphasized in a while. (via Lee Fang)
Two leading voices of the Republican Party's evangelical wing visited Rock Church [in Hampton Roads, Virginia] on Friday for a forum aimed at recapturing some of the movement's political momentum.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee urged Christians to get involved in politics to preserve the presence of religion in American life.

"I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history," Gingrich said. "We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism."

Now we're talking. It's one thing to lament feeling surrounded by liberalism, but to feel surrounded by paganism is to kick it old school. Really old school.

Back in December, a religious right activist insisted that "today's liberalism is really just ... a philosophy rooted in ancient pagan traditions." But the piece was published in WorldNetDaily, where it didn't have much of an impact....(Click for remainder.)

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Military Jet Flyover & 21 Gun Salute at D-Day 65th Anniversary

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Obama Cairo Speech "Signal Achievement," Republican Lugar Says

By Hans Nichols
Bloomberg News


Senator Richard Lugar termed President Barack Obama's address to the Muslim world a "signal achievement" and dismissed criticism by fellow Republicans that the U.S. leader was too apologetic.

The speech Obama delivered June 4 in Cairo was important and necessary, said Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noting a "lack of sympathy for our country" in many Muslim nations.

"We probably as Americans need to give a lot of speeches in the Arab world," the Indiana senator said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," airing this weekend.

Lugar, 77, also said Obama's language on Iran was tough enough and was meant to reassure Arab countries, which share U.S. concerns about Iran's quest to acquire nuclear weapons.

Still, Lugar said he doubted that Obama's speech would have much influence on the Middle East peace process or hasten the creation of a Palestinian state.

"It doesn't really change materially things on the ground," he said. Neither the Israeli nor Palestinian governments are really "in the mood" to compromise, he said.

On a domestic issue, Lugar said federal appellate judge Sonia Sotomayor has "excellent qualifications" to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. He recalled his own support for Sotomayor, 54, when she was elevated from a district court to an appellate court by then-President Bill Clinton in 1998....(Click for remainder.)

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Can Obama Stop Israeli Settlements?



By Steve Weissman
t r u t h o u t


Now comes the heavy lifting. Barack Obama has spoken in Cairo, calling for a new beginning between the U.S. and the world's one billion Muslims. All the major players have offered their initial reactions, and everyone from Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to the incredibly shrinking Osama bin Laden is asking the same question: Can Obama deliver?

The first and most obvious test will be Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank. In his speech, Obama drew a rather modest line in the sand. "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," he said. "This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop."

Obama did not call for a withdrawal of existing settlements, the tearing down of the separation wall, or the opening of the Israeli-only highways that carve up the Palestinian land and make a viable state impossible. He left these and other life-and-death issues to future negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Even so, Netanyahu and his Likkud-led government said no. "Israel will not heed President Barack Obama's powerful appeal to halt all settlement activity on lands the Palestinians claim for a future state, officials said Friday, a position that looks sure to cause a policy clash with its most powerful ally," the Associated Press reported....(Click for remainder.)

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Sotomayor Criticized for 1981 Memo Addressing Racism in Capital Punishment

By TChris
TalkLeft


The conservative faithful cling to the belief that racism doesn't exist in our society -- or, if it does, it is racism directed against beleaguered whites. Some conservatives, fearing the repercussions of a full-frontal assault upon Sonia Sotomayor, have shied away from bellicose charges that Judge Sotomayor is a racist, although RNC Chairman Michael Steele recently fanned those flames by saying: "God help you if you’re a white male coming before her bench." (Steele's evidence that white males have not fared well before Judge Sotomayor during her 17 years on the bench is nonexistent, but ignorance of the facts has never stopped Steele or his conservative cohorts from expressing an opinion.)

The right wing Judicial Confirmation Network raised the divisive issue of racism less directly by griping about a memo Sotomayor and two other board members of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund signed in 1981 that said "capital punishment is associated with evident racism in our society." These are fighting words to the conservative mind, which not only denies the reality of racism but believes capital punishment is fair, just and necessary (except, perhaps, for the likes of Scott Roeder, who will not face the death penalty for his alleged murder of Dr. George Tiller). The Network's counsel relied upon the 1981 memo when she warned the Senate Judiciary Committee that Sotomayor is "a hard-left liberal judicial activist."

The death penalty's arbitrary (indeed, haphazard) application raises obvious questions about the impact race (as well as wealth) has upon death sentences. That Sotomayor recognized those concerns more than ten years before she became a federal judge does not disqualify her from a seat on the Supreme Court. Nor does her expression of opinions about an issue of public importance long before she donned a black robe render her unsuitable. It would be strange to think that the only citizens who are fit to sit on the Supreme Court are those who have taken no interest in questions of public policy. Certainly, an affiliation with conservative organizations that hope to influence public policy -- most notably, the Federalist Society (pdf) -- has not been regarded as a bar to judicial confirmation....(Click for remainder.)

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What the New Jim Comey Torture E-Mails Actually Reveal

By Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com


The New York Times was provided 3 extremely important internal Justice Department emails from April, 2005 (.pdf) -- all written by then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey -- which highlight how the Bush administration's torture techniques became legally authorized by Bush lawyers. As Marcy Wheeler documents, the leak to the NYT was clearly from someone eager to defend Bush officials by suggesting that Comey's emails prove that all DOJ lawyers --- even those opposed to torture on policy grounds -- agreed these techniques were legal, and the NYT reporters, Scott Shane and David Johnston, dutifully do the leakers' bidding by misleadingly depicting the Comey emails as vindication for Bush/Cheney (Headline: "U.S. Lawyers Agreed on the Legality of Brutal Tactic"; First Paragraph: "When Justice Department lawyers engaged in a sharp internal debate in 2005 over brutal interrogation techniques, even some who believed that using tough tactics was a serious mistake agreed on a basic point: the methods themselves were legal").

I defy anyone to read Comey's 3 emails and walk away with that conclusion. Marcy has detailed many of the reasons the NYT article is so misleading, so I want to focus on what the Comey emails actually demonstrate about what these DOJ torture memos really are. The primary argument against prosecutions for Bush officials who ordered torture is that DOJ lawyers told the White House that these tactics were legal, and White House officials therefore had the right to rely on those legal opinions. The premise is that White House officials inquired in good faith with the DOJ about what they could and could not do under the law, and only ordered those tactics which the DOJ lawyers told them were legal. As these Comey emails prove, that simply is not what happened....(Click for remainder.)

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Grassley: Obama's "Got Nerve" To Push Lawmakers From Paris

By Erica Werner
Associated Press via The Huffington Post


WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says that President Barack Obama "got nerve" to go sightseeing in Paris while telling lawmakers it's time to deliver on a health care overhaul.

Grassley, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, is key to any bipartisan health care deal. Using Twitter _ the Internet-based social connection service allows users to send mass text messages called "tweets" _ the Iowa Republican issued two angry "tweets" Sunday morning as the president wrapped up an overseas tour.

For months Obama had left the details of health care legislation to Congress, then inserted himself firmly into the debate in recent days, including using his weekly radio address Saturday to declare "it's time to deliver" on health reform.

Grassley's first tweet: "Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us 'time to deliver' on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND."

A short time later: "Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said 'time to delivr on healthcare' When you are a 'hammer' u think evrything is NAIL I'm no NAIL."

A Grassley spokeswoman verified that the senator was the author of the messages.

Asked to respond to Grassley's Twitter commentary, White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said: "President Obama is gratified that the Senate is working hard to bring a health reform bill to the floor on schedule. He looks forward to continuing his work with them upon his return from the commemoration of Allied heroism at D-Day."

Grassley's attitude is significant because any hope for bipartisan consensus on health care rests on an alliance between Grassley and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont. The committee has been laboring to come up with a health care bill that Democrats and Republicans can support....(Click for remainder.)

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Scott Roeder, Murdering Asshat, Warns of More Violence

By Roxana Hegeman
Associated Press via The Huffington Post


WICHITA, Kan. — The man charged with murdering a high-profile abortion doctor claimed from his jail cell Sunday that similar violence was planned around the nation for as long as the procedure remained legal, a threat that comes days after a federal investigation launched into his possible accomplices.

A Justice Department spokesman said the threat was being taken seriously and additional protection had been ordered for abortion clinics last week. But a leader of the anti-abortion movement derided the accused shooter as "a fruit and a lunatic."

Scott Roeder called The Associated Press from the Sedgwick County jail, where he's being held on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the shooting of Dr. George Tiller one week ago.

"I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal," Roeder said. When asked by the AP what he meant and if he was referring to another shooting, he refused to elaborate further.

It wasn't clear whether Roeder knew of any impending violence or whether he was simply seeking publicity for his cause. Law enforcement authorities including the Justice Department said they didn't know whether the threat was credible.

Tiller's clinic in Wichita was among only a few in the U.S. that perform third-trimester abortions. He was shot while serving as an usher at the Lutheran church he attended....(Click for remainder.)

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Dr. George Tiller Didn't Have to Die

By Amy Goodman
The Huffington Post


George Tiller did not have to die. He was assassinated while in church in Wichita, Kan., on Sunday, targeted for legally performing abortions. His death might have been prevented simply through enforcement of existing laws. His alleged killer was seen vandalizing a Kansas City clinic, Aid for Women, both the week before and the day before the murder, putting glue into its door locks. The manager of that clinic, who calls himself "Jeff Pederson" to protect his identity, told me he called the FBI and local police both times, but the vandal, the alleged killer Scott Roeder, was not arrested. Pederson had Roeder's first name and his license-plate number. He had images of him on the security video. He recognized him from previous protests.

Pederson said: "The clinic was closed on Memorial Day weekend. A worker tried to get in on Memorial Day but couldn't. The locks were Super-Glued. I went to the videotape and I saw the same guy on the videotape who had done it in 2000." Pederson called his contact at the FBI, agent Mark Colburn. "He [Colburn] said the videotape wouldn't be clear enough, and since I had touched the locks, I had ruined it with my DNA. So I bought new color video cameras."

On Saturday, May 30, the clinic manager said "Scott" struck again: "My head nurse calls me, 5:40 Saturday morning. She had come to prep for the patients. When she was coming back from the store she noticed the Taurus [Roeder's car]. She made her way to the back door. She saw him. He saw her and bolted. She followed him to his car and started talking to him.

"He tried to stand in front of the license plate, but she got it, 225 BAB. As she ran back to the clinic, he shouted 'Baby killer!' at her."...(Click for remainder.)

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Barack Obama's Great-Uncle: 'I Was Horrified by Lengths Men Will Go to Mistreat Other Men'



By Spiegel

Barack Obama's great uncle was one of the soldiers who liberated a subcamp of Buchenwald. One week before the US president's planned stopover in Germany, where he is expected to visit the concentration camp memorial, SPIEGEL spoke to Charles Payne, 84, about his experiences in WWII.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Payne, early in June your great-nephew, President Barack Obama, will visit the former concentration camp Buchenwald, which you helped liberate at the end of the war. Will he be travelling in your footsteps?

Charles Payne: I don't buy that. I was quite surprised when the whole thing came up and Barack talked about my war experiences in Nazi Germany. We had never talked about that before. This is a trip that he chose, not because of me I'm sure, but for political reasons.

SPIEGEL: What do you think could be his motives for this trip?

Payne: First, I think he already had this trip in mind -- with Cairo on the one end and Normandy at the other, and time for Germany in between. Second, perhaps his visit also has something to do with improving his standing with Angela Merkel. She gave him a hard time during his campaign and also afterwards.

SPIEGEL: At first Mr. Obama claimed that one of his family members was involved in the liberation Auschwitz. How did this misunderstanding come about?...(Click for remainder.)

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Jon Stewart Calls Fox News Personalities "Extremists" For Their Coverage Of Obama's Cairo Speech

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M - Th 11p / 10c
Looking for Comity in the Muslim World
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Economic Crisis

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New Hampshire Goes to Hell

By Mark Morford
The Huffington Post


Surely the news is forthcoming. Surely, this time, the liberal media cannot, will not shirk its responsibility and ignore the shocking facts by pretending nothing's happening and all is fine and good with their scary hippie liberal pervert Obama world. Not with all these charred bodies and screaming kittens about to pour down on our sweet Christian heads.

I await the headlines. I await the startling photos and the jittery video clips documenting the various locust swarms, the floods and the hurricanes and exploding puppies, the pretty flowers spontaneously combusting.

I await the horrible news of the sudden sprouting of multiple demon heads from once-adorable human babies who suddenly start frothing at the mouth and speaking in what everyone thought was delightful gibberish, but which, when slowed down and played backwards through a tub of raspberry vodka, turned out to be Latin for "Satan is my homeboy."

That will be some popular YouTube video, I tell you what.

Did you not hear? Did you not see? For indeed, another smallish east coast state has succumbed to the Dark Lord, hath given its soul over to vile temptation, to sodomy and fine lubricants and superlative gin cocktails made by people who wish merely to fall in love and have lots of sex and feel true passion and then get married and, oh yes, they just so happen to be of the same gender. What a world.

Surely Armageddon is at hand? Surely a storm is coming, and it will shortly rain down rainbow flags and incest and multiple flyers announcing a fabulous sale on Marc Jacobs eyewear, now that New Hampshire has joined Vermont and Massachusetts and the rest by legalizing gay marriage? Surely....(Click for remainder.)

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Picking Players From the Other Team

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly


At this point, there are five Republicans with degrees of power and influence in the Obama administration -- LaHood, McHugh, Gates, Huntsman, and Leach -- and it would have been six were it not for the unpleasantness with Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). The NYT has an item today on the ways in which these moves have taken a toll on "Republican morale."
In picking Republicans like Mr. McHugh for top jobs, the Obama administration says it is assembling a coalition government that welcomes qualified members of the opposition. It gives the White House a claim to bipartisanship despite continuing clashes with Republican Congressional leaders.

But the political benefits are an equally strong incentive. Remaining Republican colleagues become discouraged and feel further isolated in the minority. Political vacancies are created. And Republicans can be painted as being hostile to more moderate Republicans or those willing to engage the Democratic administration.

It works, in other words, on more than one level. They'll no doubt keep doing it anyway, but it's more difficult for congressional Republicans to label the White House as strident partisans, unwilling to take GOP ideas seriously, when Obama has more members of the opposition party on his team than any modern president.

John McHugh's decision to join the administration as Secretary of the Army, though, seems to hurt more. Gates was already at the Pentagon, Leach and LaHood were already out of Congress, and Huntsman was out in Utah, but McHugh was a popular Republican leader in the House. Worse, his departure opens up a competitive House race in New York....(Click for remainder.)

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Child Well-Being Index Foretells Hard Time for Kids

By Paul Rosenberg
Open Left


Writing in the NY Times Economix blog on May 25, economist Nancy Folbre wrote an entry "Hard Times for the Kids" based on a newly released report (pdf) from the Child and Youth Well-Being Index Project at Duke University:
The project regularly publishes a Child Well-Being Index (C.W.I.) - a kind of check-up list for children's social health. Family economic well-being is measured by a composite of the poverty rate, median annual income, parental employment and health insurance coverage for children.

The complete C.W.I. includes measures from six other domains in addition to family economic well-being: health, safety and behavior, education, community connectedness, social relationships, and emotional and spiritual well-being. The domains are equally weighted and their values compared to levels in the base year of 1975.
While the CWI is slightly higher than it was in 1975, those gains could well be wiped out in the next few years of recession.

The CWI is generically similar to the Human Development Index I wrote about yesterday, in that both are multi-factor measures of human well-being, but the HDI is relatively closely tied to a single economics measure, and only combines factors from three different domains, compared to the broader diversity described above (a complete list of the basic measures used can be found on the flip.) As a result, the CWI shows a marked decline during the early Reagan era which marks the lasting impact of the double-dip recession of 1980/82, and widespread deindustrialization the resulted--impacts that military-Keynsian "Reagan boom" papered over in terms of GDP growth, but that were deeply felt in millions of childrens lives:



(Click for remainder.)

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Cheney's and Gonzales' CYA Libraries

By emptywheel
Emptywheel @ Firedoglake


On March 12 or 13, 2004, after Jim Comey threatened to quit because George Bush had reauthorized warrantless wiretapping over Comey's objections, Bush ordered Alberto Gonzales to write up notes of his March 10, 2004 meeting with members of Congress; the congressional meeting would serve as Gonzales' excuse for having visited John Ashcroft in the ICU ward. Gonzales would go on to carry those notes around with him in a briefcase, thereby violating rules on treating classified information. After moving to DOJ in 2005, Gonzales did not feel safe leaving the documents in one of the DOJ safes accessible by--among others--Jim Comey (there was also one in the AG office that woudl presumably not be accessible to Comey).

On June 1, 2005, the day after Alberto Gonzales claims to have passed on Jim Comey's warning to the NSC Principals Committee of the fallout that would come from their continuing to approve torture, the CIA produced a document that purported to tell the benefits of the torture program. That is one of two documents Cheney requested from the National Archives earlier this year to prove that torture worked. It is a document Cheney kept in his "immediate office files" in a file called "detainees."

And if that doesn't make you suspect Cheney and Gonzales got worried enough to start building up their own little CYA libraries to protect themselves from the torture (and wiretap) fallout, consider some of the other document included in Alberto Gonzales' briefcase of highly classified documents.
"The classified materials that are the subject of this investigation consist of notes that Gonzales drafted to memorialize a classified briefing of congressional leaders about the NSA surveillance program when Gonzales was the White House Counsel; draft and final Office of Legal Counsel opinions about both the NSA surveillance program and a detainee interrogation program;

[snip]

The envelope containing the documents relating to a detainee interrogation program bore classification markings related to that program. Each document inside the envelopes had a cover sheet and header-footer markings indicating the document was TS/SCI. The documents related to the NSA surveillance program discussed in Gonzales's handwritten notes as well as to a detainee interrogation program. The documents included Office of Legal Counsel opinions that discuss the legal bases for various aspects of the compartmented programs, memoranda summarizing the operational details of the programs, [my emphasis]"
(Click for remainder.)

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“Regular Guy” Hannity Smears Public School Student—Again

By Ellen
News Hounds


Multimillionaire Sean Hannity likes to present himself as a "regular guy" standing up against elitism. But once again he showed his true colors last night (6/5/09) when he smeared the overwhelming majority of Americans who happen to attend or have attended public schools. This is the second time in less than a month that Hannity has sneered at public school students. But later, in the same segment, Hannity got on his hypocritical high horse in order to wax Hanctimoniously about his concern for those in lower economic brackets - when it was politically expedient, of course. With video.

The discussion in the video below was about the May unemployment figures which, according to the unbalanced panel of Mike Huckabee and Fox Business' Sandra Smith, seemed to prove that Obama's stimulus plan is not working. "I'm not seeing any saved jobs, and I certainly haven't seen any created jobs," Huckabee said with a big ol' smile, like it was the best news he'd heard since Arlen Specter became a Democrat.

"(The Obama administration was) actually bragging," Hannity said scornfully. "They said, 'Well, we created 150,000 new jobs.' I was like 'Where did you go to school? (he hit the table repeatedly.) You must have been to a government school.'"...(Click for remainder.)



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Fox Nation Keeps Pointing Guns at Prominent Black People

By Ellen
News Hounds

We're beginning to see a pattern here. Screen grabs after the jump. From reader Marco.




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Stay Classy Ed Whelan

By John Blevins (aka publius)
Obsidian Wings


So there you have it – I’ve been officially outed by Ed Whelan. I would never have done that to my harshest critic in a million years, but oh well.

And to be clear – the proximate cause was that Whelan got mad that I criticized him in a blog post. More specifically, he’s mad that Eugene Volokh made him look rather silly – and he’s lashing out at me for pointing that out, and publishing my name.

For background, Whelan and others have been harshly criticizing Sotomayor for her comment that courts are “where policy is made.” Whelan has repeatedly seized on this comment (in print and on TV), and is demagoguing it (much like he did with selective and inflammatory readings of Koh).

The problem, though, is that it’s not even controversial that courts consider policy, which Whelan knows full well. Volokh, responding to one of these Whelan posts, wrote an excellent and definitive blog post explaining in great detail why courts do consider policy (something Orin Kerr echoed a while back too). Volokh’s post embarrassed Whelan because it decimated his argument – and now he’s mad.

Whelan is now pretending that Volokh was responding to his single post about Sotomayor’s “Revealing Joke.” I can’t speak for Volokh, but I doubt he would have taken the time to write such a detailed and examining post if he were responding to a single post. I read Volokh’s post as frustration with the larger attack on “make policy,” in which Whelan has been front and center....(Click for remainder.)

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Jesus and Mo

By jesusandmo.net


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JP Morgan, GM and Glass-Steagall

By Masaccio
Firedoglake


I’ve been reading John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Great Crash 1929. His descriptions of market manipulation and secret dealings among banks and brokers in the run-up to the collapse of the stock market are making me suspicious about some of the events that preceded the bankruptcy of GM. After all, without Glass-Steagall, there were only feeble regulators to protect the public.

For starters, JP Morgan Chase was one of GM’s lead underwriters, according to Dan Freed writing at theStreet.com. He speculates that it had a large position in automobile manufacturers debt, and held credit default swaps as a hedge. Of course, no one knows if he’s right. He bases his guess on the fact that JP Morgan was lead or co-lead on $105bn worth of outstanding bonds and loans to the (former) Big Three, and may well have been unable to sell off the entire issues to non-affiliates. He points out that they were unable to sell the secured loan to Cerberus Capital, which was used to acquire Chrysler.

JP Morgan was on the Senior Secured Lenders’ Steering Committee dealing with that debt in the Chrysler bankruptcy. The WSJ says JP Morgan’s representative, James B. Lee,Vice-Chairman, told the Administration it would have to pay the entire $6.9bn debt if Chrysler was to survive. “And not a penny less.”

Or not, as it turns out. For a dose of serious whining about the cruel treatment of the worthless collateral of the lenders, take a look at this interview of Thomas Lauria, the lawyer for the committee of non-TARP lenders, the ones who didn’t have the stomach for a fight.
[Q] Why did the group eventually decide to withdraw its objection in bankruptcy court last Friday?

[A] When [Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez] denied our motion to file the motion under seal and keep secret the identities of the firms, that was our Waterloo. It was like letting the air out of the balloon. I mean, these people were getting death threats.

(Click for remainder.)

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Serial Torture Enthusiast Strikes Again

By Kirk Walters
The Toledo Blade



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The Short Unhappy Life of a Keynesian Moment



By Stirling Newberry
Firedoglake


You don't matter, you are only part of the labor force. And there are more of you than is needed. Under normal circumstances, job losses of 345,000 in a single month would be a matter of consternation, particularly because job destruction is continuing at the same pace. What has changed is that for several months, hiring was virtually at a stop. However, in May some hiring began again, though far below the reduction in jobs. This is taken as a sign that there is hope for a new economic cycle. To give you an idea, 345,000 jobs is more losses than any month in the last downturn. The Bush economic cycle created only as many as 345,000 jobs in a month twice: October of 2004, and November of 2005. But the village has moved on.

The country isn't about to, the time between a deceleration of job losses, and the return of net jobs gains, is usually around 6 months. However, in depressionary cycles, it can be a year, or more, between the first moment that businesses decide that labor isn't all that expensive, to the time when labor seems worth having in quantity. There is a better than 50% chance that every month of 2009 will see job losses. As the chart shows, this downturn is already deeper, as a percentage of jobs lost, than all but two since World War II; and it looks set to pass 57-58 by next month. More or less, we are seeing the economy demobilize from a war time economy. However, there is no government vision to put people back to work building a civilian economy. This means we are going to fall like '48, and rise like '04.

The people who really matter are the people financing America's debt addiction. Whether it is a trade deficit or a budget deficit, the outcome is the same: someone else must direct capital to the US, hoping to get more back by doing this than by investing in their own economies. One of the most important players in this game is China. China, remember, does not make that much profit on what it does for the rest of the world. There are grocery store chains that have higher net margins than China does as a manufacturer. However, almost all of this profit is concentrated into the hands of its central government. As Martin Wolf quipped: "It is the most capitalist state in the world, that owners of the capital, the government, are getting all of the profits."

It is the appetite of the bond holders for US debt issues that matter: if they don't want more bonds, then more cannot be sold. The signal from the recent exchange between Geithner and China, as well as a spike up in long term interest rates, tells a very simple story: China is near it's saturation for US bonds, and the US must sell fewer. That means that deficit reduction is now going to be the religion of the executive branch. The short unhappy life of Keynesianism is over, and neo-classical deficit attention is back in control. The bond holders eased up on buying bonds, which meant interest rates rose. Suddenly, on message, the Obama economic team is all about fiscal sustainability. They know that if interest rates rise, then the current US debt load is untenable without massive inflation. Since massive macro-inflation would be a transfer from the US, to those who sell us oil, and would lead to the end of dollar hegemony, they can't do that....(Click for remainder.)

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The Palin Paradox: Women More Likely to be Elected in Male-Dominated Districts

By Nate Silver
FiveThirtyEight


Alaska isn't the first place you'd expect to see a woman elected to higher office. With its harsh climate and reliance on traditionally male-dominated industries like fishing, mining, and oil extraction, it has the most male population in the country: 106 men for every 100 women. Things are a bit worse still for the guys on Alaska's single scene -- the ratio of unmarried men (15 years or older) to unmarried women is 114:100. Throughout the rest of the United States, the men have it a bit easier, as the ratio is 86:100 nationally.

And yet, Alaska is one of just five states to have elected a female governor -- the irrepressible Sarah Palin. One of its two Senators, Lisa Murkowski, is also a woman.

But Alaska is a quirky state, and presumably this is highly irregular behavior. Except that -- it really isn't. Although women are still having a relatively tough time getting elected in general -- they represent just 17 percent of the members of the U.S. Congress -- Congresswomen, as opposed to Congressmen, are more plentiful in areas where the male-to-female ratio is higher.

I have a database containing the names of 535 members of the Congress -- 435 Representatives plus 100 Senators -- as well as a bunch of demographic information on their states and districts. Of these 535 geographies, 91, or about 17 percent, elected a woman at their last opportunity. (A couple of methodological notes: state-level observations are deliberately double-counted, to represent the two senators that each state has. I also look at the identity of the person who was last elected in each geography, so if someone has since resigned their seat in the Congress, I'm still counting as holding their seat unless there has already been a special election held to name their replacement.)...(Click for remainder.)

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Christian Terrorists

By R.J. Matson
The New York Observer



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Nikke Finke Needs to Calm Down About Her Conspiratorial NBC-Obama Scoop

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters


The Hollywood industry journalist has certainly built herself a reputation for being a dogged reporter with good sources. But after reading her Drudge-esque scoop where she makes all sorts of dark conclusions about a massive NBC power play designed to censor the press, I think Finke ought to stick to writing about box office returns and production deals, because her grasp on the intersection of politics and the press seems rather weak.

I mean, is Finke actually serious when she claims that the federal government ("the FCC, and the FTC, and the U.S. Justice Department") ought to investigate NBC because a handful of its execs won't return calls from some movie industry trade reporters? Give me a break. The notion's just coo-coo and makes it impossible to take seriously anything that Finke writes in her breathless scoop.

The batty premise is this: The Hollywood Reporter back in April wrote up a news story about how some GE shareholders in the audience for the company's annual meeting in Orlando badgered GE execs during the Q&A session about whether its news coverage at NBC and MSNBC was too pro-Obama. THR treated the questions as a very big deal. ("Political drama at GE shareholders meeting.")

But I noted in real time in April how odd the THR article was and that it made no sense. Why would GE shareholders, who invest in the global conglomerate to earn back dividends, be upset that the GE-owned cable outlet MSNBC had practically doubled its ratings in recent years? Why would GE shareholders, who have suffered through dismal earning reports from the business icon recently, be upset that its cable news unit was bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue?...(Click for remainder.)

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Oprah: Shame on You

By Phil Plait
Bad Astronomy @ Discover


So last week, Newsweek printed a heroic front-page article detailing the antiscientific medical swill Oprah Winfrey has been routinely doling out to her audiences. This nonsense includes, of course, Jenny McCarthy, as well as dangerous quackery by Suzanne Somers and others. The article really slams Oprah hard, as well it should.

Unsurprisingly, Oprah has released a statement about this, and it’s full to the brim of fail. I wouldn’t call it a lie, but it’s spinning like a newborn pulsar:
For 23 years, my show has presented thousands of topics that reflect the human experience, including doctors’ medical advice and personal health stories that have prompted conversations between our audience members and their health care providers. I trust the viewers, and I know that they are smart and discerning enough to seek out medical opinions to determine what may be best for them.
That, to be blunt, is baloney. First off, it’s wrong. She pounds home the New Age nonsense from Somers and McCarthy, giving them a platform to relentlessly mislead and misinform people millions at a time, and on those shows rarely gives more than very brief lip service to actual medical research.

Second, it’s at best a cop-out to say that her viewers will do more research. She has to know that’s almost certainly not true! The Oprah imprimatur can rocket a book up the best-selling list, as it has for Somers and McCarthy, as well as many others. Clearly, a vast horde of people will go out and buy what she tells them to because she’s the one who told them to....(Click for remainder.)

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Gordon the Unlucky

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times


LONDON - What would have happened if hanging chads and the Supreme Court hadn’t denied Al Gore the White House in 2000? Many things would clearly have been different over the next eight years.

But one thing would probably have been the same: There would have been a huge housing bubble and a financial crisis when the bubble burst. And if Democrats had been in power when the bad news arrived, they would have taken the blame, even though things would surely have been as bad or worse under Republican rule.

You now understand the essentials of the current political situation in Britain.

For much of the past 30 years, politics and policy here and in America have moved in tandem. We had Reagan; they had Thatcher. We had the Garn-St. Germain Act of 1982, which dismantled New Deal-era banking regulation; they had the Big Bang of 1986, which deregulated London’s financial industry. Both nations had an explosion of household debt and saw their financial systems become increasingly unsound.

In both countries, the conservatives who pushed through deregulation lost power in the 1990s. In each case, however, the new leaders were as infatuated with “innovative” finance as their predecessors were. Robert Rubin, in his years as the Treasury secretary, and Gordon Brown, in his years as the chancellor of the Exchequer, preached the same gospel....(Click for remainder.)

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"Single-Payer" Supporters Challenge Democrats



By Dan Eggen
The Washington Post


When President Obama convened a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, N.M., last month, he wanted to talk about credit card reform. But many in the crowd had a different agenda.

"So many people go bankrupt using their credit cards to pay for health care," the first questioner said to applause. "Why have they taken single-payer off the plate?"

The "single-payer" activists had struck again. As Obama and congressional Democrats work to hammer out landmark health-care legislation, they face increasingly noisy protests from those on the left who complain that a national program like those in Europe has been excluded from the debate.

The White House and Democratic leaders have made clear there is no chance that Congress will adopt a single-payer approach -- named for the idea that a single government-backed insurance plan would pay for all Americans' medical costs -- because it is too radical a change.

That has not dissuaded single-payer activists, who have spent months hounding Democratic lawmakers and organizing demonstrations, including one that resulted in 13 arrests at a Senate hearing last month. The offensive continues this weekend with plans to swamp a series of "house parties" on health care hosted by Organizing for America, an Obama-backed project at the Democratic National Committee.

Opportunity and Challenge

The movement poses both an opportunity and a challenge for Obama, who is able to position himself as a centrist by opposing a single-payer plan but who risks angering a vocal part of the Democratic base.

"Obama is really the one who is puzzling to us," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, a union that has been leading many of the single-payer protests. "We were all supporters of him. . . . It's hard to understand how he can expect to rally support around a plan that will leave the big insurance companies in charge and keep hurting patients."

Many Republicans see the movement as evidence that Democrats are setting the country on the path to "government-run health care," as they describe it. Conservatives for Patients' Rights, an advocacy group bankrolled by ousted Columbia/HCA chief Rick Scott, unveiled a $1.2 million ad campaign Thursday that portrays Democratic plans as a "bulldozer" aimed at eliminating private insurance companies.

"It's just one step removed from a single-payer system," Scott said in an interview, referring to current Democratic proposals. "The goal is to get rid of the insurance companies, and then the government makes all the decisions."...(Click for remainder.)

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Obama Could Be Handed First Legislative Defeat Due To Anti-War Liberals

By Thomas B. Edsall
The Huffington Post


President Obama, who has suffered relatively few setbacks in the Democratic-controlled Congress, has allowed one key administration bill -- the $96.7 billion supplemental appropriation for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (HR 2346) -- to become a Christmas tree for other controversial "must-pass" provisions, including $108 billion for the International Monetary Fund and language keeping detainee torture photos secret.

The emergence of opposition from left and right to the expanded legislation has inspired anti-war forces to try to hand Obama his first major defeat.

In one of the ironies of the legislative process, the threat of Republicans to vote en masse against the measure has empowered the liberal wing of the House Democratic caucus, giving it potential veto power over the legislation.

A number of war critics in the blogosphere including Jane Hamsher at firedoglake.com; buhdydharma on Dailykos.com; and Jason Rosenbaum at theseminel.com, think there is a chance to actually defeat the war-funding bill.

Other anti-war advocates in Congress privately warn that they are likely to be outmaneuvered, and that many in their ranks are not willing to deal Obama a major legislative defeat.

The legislation itself has had a short and volatile history. In the first major blow to the President, majorities in both the House and Senate last month used the bill to voice adamant opposition to plans to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, "Gitmo" or Guantanamo for short, by cutting the money needed to pay for the costs of closure. The action denied Obama the ability to fulfill one of his core campaign promises....(Click for remainder.)

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March of the Greens?

By Renard Sexton
FiveThirtyEight


The end of the speculation is near in the European elections, with final results from four days of voting to be released this evening at 20:00 GMT. In the meantime, we'll take a look at a curious trend regarding the protest vote and small parties in Europe - something that has possibly played into this cycle of voting.

The buzz around western Europe has been that in France and elsewhere, the Greens are on the move. With a charismatic leader in Daniel Cohn-Bendit (French-German fellow), and widespread dissatisfaction with the larger parties in France (and Germany), many people are looking at Les Verts as a good "lefty" option, but without the ugly party politics of the Socialists or Communists. Particularly among the young, green social democracy has become a new leftward movement, fueled in part by frustration with the mainstream system, and the recognition that environment damage, particularly climate change and natural resource depletion are the burden of the younger generation.

It turns out, however, that a "green" sensibility has a lot more power at the European level than at the national level in most big EU countries.



Across each of the four largest delegations to the European Parliament, green factions outstrip their national counterparts by wide margins. Only in Germany do Die Grünen have a significant presence, where green politics have made great inroads to the mainstream left since the reunification in the early 1990s. Perhaps green movements, which recognize the need for cooperative global action on issues such as climate change, are the pragmatic new leaders of the pan-European movement, following the first wave of economic liberals and trade integrationists?

Perhaps. It also turns out that far-right/right wing & nationalists are also far more powerful at the European level than they are at home.*



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Twits on Twitter: The GOP Strikes Out

By Paul Rosenberg
Open Left


Week before last it was [totally ignorant & fatuous] Newt Gingrich tweeting, "White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw." A week later, on his website, Newt wrote:
The word "racist" should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person,
as if some stranger had done it, not Newt himself.

Today, it was Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, usually regarded as one of the few non-insane Republicans on Capitol Hill, making a fool of himself on Twitter:
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley... issued two angry "tweets" Sunday morning as the president wrapped up an overseas tour.

For months Obama had left the details of health care legislation to Congress, then inserted himself firmly into the debate in recent days, including using his weekly radio address Saturday to declare "it's time to deliver" on health reform.

Grassley's first tweet: "Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us 'time to deliver' on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND."

A short time later: "Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said 'time to delivr on healthcare' When you are a 'hammer' u think evrything is NAIL I'm no NAIL."

Old habits die hard, I guess. The Republicans had a good long run snarling at everyone and everything in sight. It's pitch perfect for talk radio or cable TV. But it's not 1994 or even 2001 anymore. And Twitter is not Faux News. You don't impress or intimidate anyone when you strike a belligerent pose on Twitter for no good reason whatsoever, except that you're a one-trick pony and that's your trick; you just come across as a petulant twit. Which, of course, you are....(Click for remainder.)

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Wise Enemy

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly


The AP reports this afternoon that President Obama's speech in Cairo this week has already begun "undercutting extremists" in the Middle East.

Hamas, for example, was predictably unsatisfied with the president's ongoing support for Israel, but officials praised Obama's "shift in tone." A Hamas spokesperson said, "We think we can build on this speech."
From Lebanese guerrillas to Saudi preachers, Islamic extremists have warned followers not to be taken in by President Barack Obama's conciliatory words _ a sign that some may be nervous about losing support if animosity toward the U.S. fades. [...]

[M]any Muslims were heartened by Obama's speech because they saw it as a significant change in the tone of discourse with Muslims. They noted he did not use the word "terrorism" or "terrorist" once in the 55-minute address -- words that many thought had been devalued under the Bush administration and too often equated with Muslims.

They also heard a more respectful U.S. leader who quoted from the Quran, or Islamic holy book, greeted them in Arabic, and removed his shoes when he toured a Cairo mosque.

One militant Web site that often carries statements from al-Qaida had unusual praise for Obama after the speech, noting his quotations from the Quran demonstrated respect for Islam and branding him the "wise enemy."
It's a start....(Click for original.)

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Fox's Twisted Oompa Loompa, Cavuto, Allows Pawlenty's Fear Mongering about Obama

By Ellen and Brian
News Hounds


On Wednesday's (6/3/09) Your World, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican who just happens to be reportedly mulling a 2012 challenge to President Obama, joined Neil Cavuto to accuse Barack Obama of being a socialist and suggesting he has destroyed the United States “that we know and love and remember” and turning the country into “some sort of republic from the South America circa 1970's.” There was not a peep of objection from Cavuto to Pawlenty's over-the-top remarks. With video.

"This is sadly reminiscent of the kinds of things we would expect from South America some decades ago,” Pawlenty said, without naming a single specific country. “We're seeing the nationalization of the auto industry. You're soon going to see the full or partial nationalization of the health care industry, and you're soon gonna see the nationalization under the Obama administration of the energy industry and that, of course, puts the politicians and people making decisions that the market and private businesses should be making and this is just the tip of the iceberg." I'm surprised Glenn Beck didn't pop up out his Doom Bunker.

Cavuto barely took note of the fear-mongering other than to offer a half-hearted defense of the White House overseeing GM by noting that it has a 60% stake in the company. But, he asked sympathetically (to Pawlenty), "How is, for example, GM, ever to turn itself around when it's got 535 bosses popping off what they should do?"

Not suprisingly, Pawlenty thought that nearly impossible. "It's going to be hard enough for GM to make the pivot to the new economy and do what they need to do without the weight of the United States Congress on their back. They should've been in bankruptcy last year. They should've gone in without having to worry about all the politics and psychometrics around what the UAW think."

Cavuto asked, "Do you think that some of them, in their heart of hearts, these executive are saying, 'Man, if this is what a rescue is all about, we shouldn't have gotten rescued?'"...(Click for remainder.)


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Robert "Paul Revere" Reich Sounds The Alarm: The Healthcare Fix Is In - And It Ain't Good. Fight Back Now!

By Susie Madrak
Crooks and Liars


Robert Reich says we have no time to waste if we want to save healthcare reform:
I've poked around Washington today, talking with friends on the Hill who confirm the worst: Big Pharma and Big Insurance are gaining ground in their campaign to kill the public option in the emerging health care bill.

You know why, of course. They don't want a public option that would compete with private insurers and use its bargaining power to negotiate better rates with drug companies. They argue that would be unfair. Unfair? Unfair to give more people better health care at lower cost? To Pharma and Insurance, "unfair" is anything that undermines their profits.

As Michael Moore pointed out in "Sicko", these companies are only doing what they supposed to do: Make money. The real problem is having a for-profit healthcare system.
So they're pulling out all the stops -- pushing Democrats and a handful of so-called "moderate" Republicans who say they're in favor of a public option to support legislation that would include it in name only. One of their proposals is to break up the public option into small pieces under multiple regional third-party administrators that would have little or no bargaining leverage. A second is to give the public option to the states where Big Pharma and Big Insurance can easily buy off legislators and officials, as they've been doing for years. A third is bind the public plan to the same rules private insurers have already wangled, thereby making it impossible for the public plan to put competitive pressure on the insurers.
Isn't that sweet?
Max Baucus, Chair of Senate Finance (now exactly why does the Senate Finance Committee have so much say over health care?) hasn't shown his cards but staffers tell me he's more than happy to sign on to any one of these. But Baucus is waiting for more support from his colleagues, and none of the three proposals has emerged as the leading candidate for those who want to kill the public option without showing they're killing it. Meanwhile, Ted Kennedy and his staff are still pushing for a full public option, but with Kennedy ailing, he might not be able to round up the votes. (Kennedy's health committee released a draft of a bill today, which contains the full public option.)...
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America's Cybersecurity Threat

The US is right to improve its cybersecurity defenses. But would it respond to cyber-attacks with military force?

By Matthew Harwood
The Guardian


Across the world at this moment, computer networks are being hacked and attacked. These cyber exploits range from the teenage gamer cracking websites for fun to the criminal syndicate stealing payment card data for easy money to foreign intelligence agencies looking for state secrets they can exploit to beat their adversaries economically and militarily.

President Barack Obama understands this cyber-threat. On Friday, he announced his decision to create a new cybersecurity office at the White House led by a cybersecurity coordinator and released his 60-day review of the government's cybersecurity posture (pdf). The cyber-tsar, whom many think will be Melissa Hathaway, who oversaw the writing of the review, will be tasked with taking its recommendations and securing not only government information networks but America's digital infrastructure, which is overwhelmingly controlled by private businesses.

The first key to Obama's cybersecurity strategy will be creating a public-private partnership framework, where information flows freely from the government to network operators and service providers and vice-versa, to steel against rising threats and minimise the damage done by cyber-attacks.

Second on his list will be developing a public education campaign that increases information security literacy among the public – from the schoolteacher paying her bills online to the corporation sharing proprietary information over their networks....(Click for remainder.)

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Public Opinion and the Health Insurance Industry

By Pat Bagley
Salt Lake Tribune



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Newly Released E-Mails Reveal Satan Cheney Pressured DOJ to Approve Torture

By Jason Leopold
The Public Record


Dick Cheney and his lawyer, David Addington, pressured the Department of Justice in 2005 to quickly approve a torture memo that authorized CIA interrogators to use a combination of barbaric techniques during interrogations of "high-value" detainees, despite objections from senior DOJ officials, according to e-mails written by James Comey, the agency's former Deputy Attorney General.

In the e-mails, Comey also wrote that then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was “weak” and had essentially allowed Cheney and Addington to politicize the Justice Department. The e-mails can be found here: Documents: Justice Department Communication on Interrogation Opinions.

"The AG explained that he was under great pressure from the Vice President to complete both memos, and that the President had even raised it last week, apparently at the VP's request and the AG had promised they would be ready early this week," Comey wrote. Gonzales “added that the VP kept telling him ‘we are getting killed on the Hill.'”

“It leaves me feeling sad for the Department and the AG… I just hope that when this all comes out, this institution doesn't take the hit, but rather the hit is taken by those individuals who occupied positions at [Office of Legal Counsel] and [Office of the Attorney General] and were too weak to stand up for the principles that undergird the rest of this great institution.”

The New York Times obtained the e-mails, which will likely be included in a Justice Department watchdog's report that will determine whether Office of Legal Counsel attorneys violated professional standards when authorizing the Bush administration's interrogation program.

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Far Right Make Gains in Ten Member States

By Leigh Phillips
EU Observer


EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Across Europe, the far right is on the march, claiming increased numbers of seats in ten different member states. However, in Belgium, France and Poland, the far right saw some significant losses as well.

In total, the far right is up eight seats on the 2004 European elections.

In Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and the UK, the far right made moderate to significant advances.

However, the extreme right saw sharp declines in Belgium, and France, and were completely wiped out in Poland.

While the far right across Europe made significant gains, in France, Jean Marie Le Pen's Front National lost four seats (Photo: Wikipedia)
"The far right growth is a really bad sign, and this is clearly linked to the economic crash," Gerry Gable, the editor of Searchlight, a long-standing anti-fascist monthly magazine out of the UK, where the British National Party elected its first-ever MEP, told EUobserver.

"This is the entirely predictable result of the social fall-out of the financial crisis," he added. "It's a particularly worrying trend, especially in Austria and the Netherlands."

The Netherlands leads the way with four seats for the anti-immigrant and anti-Islam Freedom Party of the platinum blond Geert Wilders, the producer of the notorious Muslim-baiting film short Fitna.

Austria as well delivered two seats to the identically named Freedom Party, up one seat from 2004 and winning 13.4 percent of the vote.

The BVO of the late Joerg Haider, a breakaway from the FPO, however was denied any representation in the European Parliament, although it did manage to win the support of 4.6 percent of voters.

Together, Austria's far right won a clean 18 percent.

Hungary too returned three MEPs from the Movement for the Better Hungary, or Jobbik, on some 15 percent of the vote. The group is the founder of the Hungarian Guard, a paramilitary outfit whose uniforms recall the Nazi youth organisations from Europe's darkest days....(Click for remainder.)

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EU Voters Punish Leftist Parties

By Al Jazeera English

The European parliament appeared set for a shift to the right after voters turned away from leftist parties in elections for the 736-member assembly.

Early results and exit polls on Sunday showed conservative parties and the far-right making gains in many of the 27 nations at the expense of left-leaning parties.

Graham Watson, the leader of the centre-right Liberal Democrat grouping in the parliament, said early results suggested a rejection of the Socialist approach.

"People don't want a return to socialism and that's why the majority here will be a centre-right majority," he said.

The citizens of 19 nations went to the polls on Sunday, after the other eight EU nations had voted in the huge transnational election earlier in the week.

But the election was marked by voter apathy, with just 43.01 per cent of the 375 million eligible voters casting their ballots compared with 45.47 per cent at the last election in 2004, according to a survey by TNS-Opinion pollsters.

Conservative success

In Germany, the conservatives of Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, seemed likely to emerge as the largest party group, raising hopes that they will be able to dispense with the left-right "grand coalition" after a general election in four months....(Click for remainder.)

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Road to Mideast Peace

By Pat Bagley
Salt Lake Tribune



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Swedish Pirate Party Headed for Brussels



By The Local

Sweden's pro-file sharing Pirate Party is on its way to Brussels having secured more than 7 percent of the country's votes in the European Parliament elections, according to early exit polls.

Scenes of wild jubilation broke out at the party's election headquarters when state broadcaster SVT announced a projection likely to give the party enough votes to claim two seats in the EU parliament.

"The polls beforehand had us at between eight and nice percent, but everything over four percent is a political sensation," party leader Rick Falkvinge told news agency TT.

12 percent of men and 4 percent of women plumped for the Pirate Party, according to the SVT survey.

Among voters aged under 30, some 19 percent are believed to have cast a vote for the Pirate Party.

"They are the biggest party among young people, bigger than both the Social Democrats and the Moderates," said politics professor Sören Holmberg.

Pirate Party voters said they considered the freedom to file share by far the most important issue when deciding their party allegiance.

The party was founded in January 2006 and quickly attracted members angered by controversial laws adopted in Sweden that criminalised filesharing and authorised monitoring of emails.

Its membership shot up after a Stockholm court on April 17th sentenced four Swedes to a year in jail for running one of the world's biggest filesharing sites, The Pirate Bay.

Sunday's election attracted more voters than in 2004, the last time Europe went to the polls. With 80 percent of the votes counted, projections showed a 42.5 percent turnout this time round, up 5 percentage points on the previous European Parliament election....(Click for remainder.)

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