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Sunday Loon Watch: Republicans Just Wanna’ Say No

Monday, September 07, 2009

Via DailyKOS TV




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Taking the Movement Out of the Obama White House

By David Sirota
The Huffington Post

My newspaper column this week was about the difference between a political party and a political movement - and I can't say I'm happy to see the lessons of that difference being highlighted so intensely and so negatively as they are with today's news that Van Jones was forced out of the Obama administration (and let's be real clear, despite the "resignation" billing, the White House's pathetic behavior this week makes clear Jones was forced out by the higher ups). This is a serious tragedy for the progressive movement on three levels.

First and foremost, Jones was one of the only movement progressives in a policymaking position in the Obama White House. By that I mean, he was one of the only people in the White House who came out of grassroots movement work and not just political/partisan hack work, and one of the only movement progressives put in a policymaking job, and not ghettoized into a political/tactical job. Whenever I got sick to my stomach at the thought of Obama's Team of Corporate Zombies - people like Rahm Emanuel, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers and Jim Messina - running the show, I was able to at least tell myself that hey, someone like Van Jones is at least in there somewhere fighting the good fight as he always has. No more - and that's a damn shame.

Second, Jones being forced out will not mollify the racists, crazies, tea baggers, Republican congresspeople and other assorted conservative freakshows - it will only embolden them. When lynch mobs in the Old South lynched someone, when a witchhunting band caught a target in Salem, when HUAC "proved" the supposed communism of its victims, that didn't calm them down - it only intensified their bloodlust because it made them believe they could be even more successful in the future. So if the White House's political "gurus" believe booting Jones was the safe and prudent way to mitigate right-wing hatred, then they are as short-sighted and stupid as they've proven themselves to be in mismanaging the summer's health care debate. Seriously, folks - if you think you can appease or mollify someone who takes to the public airwaves and does this, then you are as crazy as that screaming lunatic is....(Remainder.)

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Levi Johnston Lashes Out at Sarah Palin -- Can You Blame Him?

Johnston was shoved in the public spotlight to burnish Palin's conservative credibility during the election. Now he's striking back.

By Sarah Seltzer
AlterNet


Levi Johnston, former Sarah Palin accessory and newfound media personality, leveled some low blows at the grandmother of his child in this month's Vanity Fair.

In its pages, already being excerpted in splashy headlines across the Web, Levi casts Palin as a hodgepodge of stereotypes that feed into the sexist rumormonger's playbook: a bad mom who takes hourlong baths, wears Wal-Mart pajamas in the daytime and doesn't cook for her kids, a money-hungry, narcissistic diva, a grabby woman who tried to take her daughter's baby as her own. Oh, and a wife who doesn't sleep with her man.

Many readers are saying that his words are so extreme, they feel sorry for the former Alaska governer, who despite parroting the sexist, anti-choice policies of the extreme right wing, has taken a staggering amount of unfair, sexist criticism.

It's vital to call out misogyny even when it's directed at our ideological archenemies, and feminists like Alternet's Adele Stan and the Frisky's Jessica Wakeman correctly point out that this latest piece in the so-called liberal media plays into woman-bashing tropes without context or explanation.

Why did Vanity Fair ask Johnston to write about "Mrs. Palin" alone and not his entire experience in the political realm?

But it's hard to get too worked up about Johnston's boorish posturing. Johnston isn't just a typical hanger-on trashing a famous figure to stay in the spotlight -- he's a teenage kid who was used in an abysmal way....(Remainder.)

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Wall Street Wants to do to Life Insurance What it Did to Housing

By Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story

The “securitization” of mortgages — bundling mortgage policies and selling them on to investors — is considered to be one of the major reasons for last year’s financial collapse.

Now, Wall Street banks want to do it all again — but this time, with life insurance policies instead of real estate.

The New York Times reports that large investment banks are lining up to begin securitizing “life settlements,” life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell so that they can get cash before they die.

According to the Times:
[Banks] plan to “securitize” these policies, in Wall Street jargon, by packaging hundreds or thousands together into bonds. They will then resell those bonds to investors, like big pension funds, who will receive the payouts when people with the insurance die.

The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.
Life settlement companies — companies that buy life insurance policies and cash in when the original policy holder dies — have been around for some time, but this would mark the first time that life insurance policies are turned into big business on Wall Street....(Remainder.)

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Sen. Ben Nelson Is Feeling the Heat. Now This DINO Wants A Public Option Trigger

By Susie Madrak
Crooks and Liars

It sounds like Ben Nelson is feeling the heat, because he was so adamantly opposed to the idea of a public option under any circumstances. Not that we want a trigger, but it's heartening to see our pressure is having an effect. Don't stop!
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has long opposed a public health insurance option. In May, he expressed concern that “the public plan would be too attractive and would hurt the private insurance plans.” A Nelson spokesman even suggested that the senator would be “building a coalition opposed to the public plan.” And this past week, Nelson said health care reform “implodes” if a public option is included.

But this morning on CNN, Nelson moderated his stance ever-so-slightly. He indicated to host John King that he would support a so-called “trigger” (which would establish a public plan after a certain period of time if the private market fails to control costs):
Well I think he [Obama] has to say that if there’s going to be a public option, it has to be subject to a trigger. In other words, if somehow the private market doesn’t respond the way that it’s supposed to, then it would trigger a public option or a government-run option. But only as a fail-safe backstop to the process.

When I say trigger, out here in Nebraska and the midwest, I don’t mean a hair-trigger. I mean a true trigger — one that would only apply if there isn’t the kind of competition in the business that we believe there would be.
Howard Dean has previously said the trigger is a "terrible idea," saying insurance companies "will just change their behavior until the trigger runs out and go back to how they were."
(Original.)

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For Obama and Democrats, Colorado Becomes Less Welcoming

By Dan Balz
The Washington Post


DENVER In 2008, Colorado became a symbol of the changing politics in a region once firmly in Republican hands -- and also of the grass-roots power and energy fueling Barack Obama's candidacy. Today, the state embodies the uneasiness spreading throughout Democratic ranks as Obama struggles with major challenges and the 2010 midterm elections approach.

Colorado has been one of the Democratic Party's major success stories. Between 1968 and 2004, Republican presidential candidates carried the state in all but one election. Last year, Obama crushed  John McCain in Colorado, part of a broader shift in the balance of political power in the Rocky Mountain West.

Obama's victory and earlier Democratic wins here have transformed the state. Early in the decade, Republicans controlled virtually everything -- the governor's office, almost all other statewide offices, the congressional delegation and both houses of the Colorado legislature. Today, Democrats are in control of all of those.

A year ago, Denver enthusiastically hosted the Democratic National Convention, which culminated with Obama's acceptance speech before more than 80,000 people at the Denver Broncos' football stadium. Legions of volunteers, young and old, fanned out across the state throughout the fall to rally the vote for Obama's campaign.

Today, the energy that powered Obama to victory has begun to dissipate. Some of his supporters remain on the sidelines; others are, if not disillusioned, questioning what has happened to his presidency. As they look toward 2010, Democrats are nervous. Gov. Bill Ritter, appointed Sen. Michael F. Bennet and at least one Democratic member of the House will probably face difficult election campaigns next year....(Remainder.)

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An Army of Home-Schooled "Christian Soldiers" On a Mission to "Take Back America for God"

Take a glimpse into the little-known world of conservative Christian homeschooling.

By Robert Kunzman
AlterNet


Reprinted from Write These Laws On Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling by Robert Kunzman. Copyright © 2009 by Robert Kunzman. Reprinted by permission of Beacon Press, Boston.

Generation Joshua and HSLDA

“A Few Good Soldiers”

“America is in a culture war. A few good soldiers can make a difference. Equip yourself and come join the battle!” So proclaimed the founders of Generation Joshua, a civics program from the Home School Legal Defense Association begun in 2003. “Our goal is to ignite a vision in young people to help America return to her Judeo-Christian foundation,” its leaders explained. “We provide students with hands-on opportunities to implement that vision.” As I began my homeschooling research six years ago, the birth of Generation Joshua caught my attention. Here was a civics education program aimed at homeschoolers, one that clearly sought to help nurture in students an idea and practice of citizenship informed and energized by their deep religious convictions. Perhaps the homeschooler president of Michael Farris’s dream would emerge from such an education.

Designed primarily for high-school-aged students, Generation Joshua combines online components with periodic opportunities for face-to-face interaction and real-world political engagement. The online elements of the program include extensive civics coursework, adult-moderated “chats” about current events, and thousands of bulletin-board forums where students can post entries on topics ranging from immigration reform and international relations to popular movies and rules for courtship.

This civics education program extends far beyond a virtual electronic community, however. Students are encouraged to participate in summer camps, voter registration drives, regional clubs, and an intriguing feature called Student Action Teams (SATs). These adult-supervised teams of students engage directly with the political process through participation in electoral campaigns. In fact, several victorious candidates for state and national offices have credited SATs with playing a pivotal role in their races....(Remainder.)

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Keith Olbermann Wants Everything We Can Find About Glenn Beck

By Keith Olbermann
Daily Kos


I don't know why I've got this phrasing in my head, but: Find everything you can about Glenn Beck,  Stu Burguiere, and Roger Ailes.

No, even now, I refuse to go all caps.

No, sending me links to the last two Countdowns with my own de-constructions of his biblical vision quality Communist/Fascist/Socialist/Zimbalist art at Rockefeller Center (where, curiously, he works, Comrade) doesn't count. Nor does sending me links to  specious inappropriate point-underscoring prove-you're-innocent made-up rumors.

Tuesday we will expand this to the television audience and have a dedicated email address to accept leads, tips, contacts, on Beck, his radio producer Burguiere, and the chief of his tv enablers, Ailes (even though Ailes' power was desperately undercut when he failed to pull off his phony "truce" push).

This becomes necessary after this in order to prove various cliches about goose and gander, and to remind everybody to walk softly and carry a big popsicle, and most particularly to save this nation from the Oligarhy of The Stupid.

I keep wondering if somewhere somebody named Ollie Garhey thinks he's in charge now. Or, even more entertainingly and societally satisfying, if somebody named Ali Garhi does.

Despite the worn-out snark above, I am in earnest here....(Original.)

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Where to Hit Glenn Beck So It Really Hurts

By booksnmore4you
Daily Kos


I've come up with what I think is an outstanding angle from which to very legitimately attack Glenn Beck.

Beck has repeatedly asserted his adherence to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, colloquially, the Mormon religion.

In fact, in a recent interview, ABC's John Stossel asked Beck why he decided to become a Mormon. Beck replied,
"I apologize, but guys will understand this. My wife is, like, hot, and she wouldn’t have sex with me until we got married. And she wouldn’t marry me unless we had a religion."

Beck’s wife, Tania, confirmed it to Stossel: "He’s not joking."
According to Beck, his marriage with his second wife, Tania, is the one that the LDS Church has "sealed," authenticated. 

So the good standing of Beck's marriage is tied to his good standing in the LDS Church.

More than anything, the Mormon religion seeks to be known within the positive faces of its members. It forwards itself and its adherents as champions of strong family values and high ethical standards. Their point is to present a highly moral image to the public so people might become attracted to the religion and convert.

Knowing Beck and what he does, and knowing the church and what it says it stands for, I want to know why Beck's church allows him to remain a member in good standing.

Or is he?...(Remainder.)

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Pictures of Dying Marine Bring War Home to America



Angry debate in US as agency releases picture of dying marine in Afghanistan.

By Gaby Hinsliff
The Observer
Photo:  Julie Jacobson (AP)


It is a graphic image of the harsh realities of war: the fatally wounded young marine lying crumpled in the mud, his vulnerable face turned to the camera. And it is one the US defence secretary would rather you did not see.

Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard, pictured being tended by comrades in southern Afghanistan, died of his injuries soon after. Now the release of this record of the 21-year-old's last moments has divided America, prompting furious debate over the sanitisation of war at a critical time for the military offensive.

The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, condemned the decision by the news agency Associated Press to publish. "I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard's death has caused his family. Why your organisation would purposefully defy the family's wishes, knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish, is beyond me.

"Your lack of compassion and common sense in choosing to put this image of their maimed and stricken child on the front page of multiple American newspapers is appalling."

However, AP, whose photographer Julie Jacobson took the shot after being caught in the middle of an ambush while accompanying marines on patrol, said it had acted only after a "period of reflection" and argued that the picture illustrated the sacrifice and the bravery of those fighting in Afghanistan. "We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war there, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is," said Santiago Lyon, the director of photography for AP....(Remainder.)

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Meet the Press: Reaction of Obama's School Speech by Republicans is “the Stupid”

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

David Gregory paints this phony outrage as a firestorm, but Friedman has to correct him. Even Tom Brokaw was stunned at the ignorance and stupidity of the right wingers going ballistic over President Obama's speech to our school kids.

Meet the Press:
MR. GREGORY: We brought it up with David Axelrod. Well, this has created such a firestorm. Here's the New Canaan Public Schools, writing a parent letter, and in it they say this. "In developing their plans our principals have considered issues such as developmental appropriateness, curricular relevance, the time at which the speech is being broadcast and the importance of teachers assuming responsibility for the selection of instructional materials. In elementary schools the administration and faculty will view the speech, download it and after discussing it, make decisions regarding how it might be used in the future--including deciding its appropriateness for various grade levels. Parents will be notified, if and when, the decision to show the speech is made." Tom Brokaw, talk about tortured language. What's going on here?

MR. FRIEDMAN: Signs of the apocalypse. I mean, really.

MR. BROKAW: It's stunning to me. I come from a time and a place in America where it would be thrilling to have a president of the United States address your school about the importance of studying and staying in school. And this president, whatever else you think about his political philosophy, is a symbol of working hard, coming from difficult circumstances and getting to where he is in part because of education. I think it's so ripe for satire, it's unbelievable. The superintendent of the Gettysburg Public School System said today that they have devised a plan for students to be shielded from a President Abraham Lincoln who will be coming to make an address. Look, that is the most tortured thing I can possibly imagine, what we just read there. It sounds like East Germany trying to form some restrictions on people leaving the eastern sector to go into the western sector. I think it's perfectly appropriate for parents to say, "I don't want my child to hear that. I would rather keep them out or put them in a different school that day." But this is completely out of control, in my judgment. And it's not--it's not partisan. I mean, if--when I was a student or when my children were in school...
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Morons, Your Bus is Leaving

By Larisa Alexandrovna
at-Largely


This becoming very entertaining. If you enjoy laughing at glue-sniffers on a regular basis, then this will be Christmas for you, with all the stockings and presents and such.

But before we begin the fun, let me recap how we got to this point:

1. Glenn "Psycho" Beck (sorry, but he is entirely off his meds) launched an attack on the now resigned "green czar" Van Jones, who had the misfortune of signing a petition to re-open the investigation into the 911 attacks (that's right... not claiming a 9/11 conspiracy, inside job, and no-planes kook crap, but simply wanting an honest investigation).  He apparently also briefly flirted with Communism in college, which apparently makes him a flaming RED.

2.  The Malkinites and the rest of the glue-sniffing, bigoted, Commie-paranoid right-wing went commando and smeared Van Jones into resigning.

3. Glenn "Psycho" Beck then sets out three new "targets" for his imbeciles to take down, telling them "FIND EVERYTHING YOU CAN ON CASS SUNSTEIN, MARK LLOYD AND CAROL BROWNER."

4. Being his usual hilarious self, Keith Olbermann tells the folks at Daily Kos "find me everything you have on Glenn Beck."

And poof, as if by magic glue of some sort, the birthers, deathers, racists, and whatever else makes up that pool of crazy erupted into the most bizarre, ugly, and even scary crap I have ever seen.

That catches us up. Now for the glue-sniffer extravaganza.
 
Olbermann's Jihad:

The lunatic - and apparently professor (how, I don't know) who runs the American Power blog (the title of which should tell you everything you need to know) claims that Olbermann has started a "Jihad" against Beck. You see, Beck's calls for information to take down people working for the POTUS is okay. Olbermann making fun of Beck and using his own words against him is terrorism. Say professor, can you even define Jihad? Idiot....(Remainder.)

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Van Jones Defeats Glenn Beck

By Mark
News Corpse

That’s right, you heard me. Van Jones defeats Glenn Beck.

The big news of the night is that Van Jones, the President’s advisor on green jobs and the economy, has resigned under pressure from far-right brownshirts. On the surface this is disappointing, to say the least. Jones has proven himself to be a creative and effective advocate for environmental reform. His book, “The Green Collar Economy,” became a best-seller despite having little support from the conventional publishing circles. But after weeks of battling rightist slander and disinformation, Jones issued this statement:
I am resigning my post at the Council on Environmental Quality, effective today.

On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.

I have been inundated with calls - from across the political spectrum - urging me to “stay and fight.”

But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future.

It has been a great honor to serve my country and my President in this capacity. I thank everyone who has offered support and encouragement. I am proud to have been able to make a contribution to the clean energy future. I will continue to do so, in the months and years ahead.
The near-term downside to this is that the residents of the Beck Asylum for Paranoid Thumb Suckers are going to be celebrating triumphantly for a while. That will be annoying but bearable. Beck himself will feel emboldened and anxious to take aim at a new target. He has already laid the ground work for post-Jones assaults on Valerie Jarrett and Mark Lloyd. (Do I need to point out that Jones, Jarrett and Lloyd are all African American members of the Obama administration?)...(Remainder.)

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Rep. Mike Pence, Who Led Witch Hunt Against Van Jones, Took $1000s From Extremist Erik Prince

By Nicole Belle
Crooks and Liars


Rep. Mike Pence has been on the forefront of pushing this Van Jones scandal created by Glenn Beck (good to see he gets his walking papers from such an impeccable source, isn't it?), calling for his resignation and saying that Jones' "extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this Administration or the public debate."

But as Jeremy Scahill points out, Pence isn't bothered by the extremist views of Erik Prince of Blackwater/Xe, who has contributed thousands of dollars to Pence:
On Friday, Pence, who describes himself as “Christian, Conservative, Republican, in that order,” said Jones’s “extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate.” Beyond the obvious here (the hate-filled rhetoric we see every day from racist, right-wing wackos, including those in public office), it is an interesting comment considering that Pence is an extremist right-wing evangelical Christian who has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Blackwater’s owner, Erik Prince. Prince has also donated to Pence’s Political Action Committee “Principles Exalt a Nation.” In December 2007, three months after Blackwater operatives gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, Pence and his Republican Study Committee, which serves “the purpose of advancing a conservative social and economic agenda in the House of Representatives,” organized a gathering to welcome Prince to Washington. “Not only has Mr. Prince personally been targeted by partisan warfare repeatedly over the past months, but the use of contracting throughout the government has been under attack by this Congress,” Pence’s committee’s statement said. Should Pence resign for cavorting with and accepting campaign cash from a man who allegedly “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” in the words of a former employee?
I think it's time for the majority party to start acting like one. If Republican-controlled Congress could set aside time to debate condemning MoveOn.org for their Gen. "Betray Us" ad, then the Democratic-controlled Congress ought to be making sure that the double standard of IOKIYAR no longer stands....(Original.)

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America Is Losing its Collective Mind

By Charles Karel Bouley
The Huffington Post


I am leaving the Democratic party. It is with heavy heart that I change my affiliation to Independent. I'm 46, have been a registered Democrat since I was 18. My parents were from the East Coast, and proud Democrats. But it took the Democrats taking over, being in power, for me to see that Democrats talk a good talk but do not have the spine to walk the walk. They buckle under pressure, even ridiculous, obtuse pressure.

But it's not just the Democrats. I'm going to ask my country soon the horrible question, "them, or me." Truly; either we start listening to, following and promoting educated, sane, individuals and doctrines or I will seriously consider leaving the country. Because after all, what kind of country is it now, or will it be if this discourse and noncourse of action keeps up?

The Democrats are losing me over health care and the wars. Health care was the cause of Ted Kennedy's life, and has been part of the platform for as long as I can remember. Democrats were the champions of single payer, universal care, the only solution for this ailing country. Medical insurance companies are evil entities profiting off the doling out of care to needy Americans, pricing people right out of policies while turning record profits. They will not do the right thing, ever, unless it's right for their stockholders. After all, that's all they care about, their stockholders, CEOs, investors; that's who their clients are, not sick patients or policy holders. They are revenue streams, not people.

And I think I've been clear on the wars, both Iraq and Afghanistan, from the get go. As I sit and listen to the White House talk about more troops in Afghanistan, not less, as I hear some arbitrary 2011 deadline for Iraq at $10 billion a month, well, again, I go back to the core Democratic platform of no war, peace, diplomacy, NATO, allies and such. In 2006 when Pelosi took over Congress, war funding should have stopped and impeachment put on the table. In 2008 when Obama won and Democrats got a majority in the House and Senate, war funding should have stopped and troops called home....(Remainder.)

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EU Warns on Proposed US Travel Fees

Who's the douche-nozzle that though this was a good idea?

By Desmond Butler
Associated Press via WaPo


WASHINGTON -- The European Union is strongly criticizing a congressional proposal to charge a $10 fee to some visitors to the United States and suggesting it may carry a price for U.S. travelers.

If it passes, the EU says, some U.S. travelers to Europe could face retaliation.

The fee now under consideration in Congress would finance a new U.S. program to promote travel, a burden that the EU believes Americans should bear.

"Only in `Alice in Wonderland' could a penalty be seen as promoting the activity on which it is imposed," the European Commission's Ambassador to Washington, John Bruton, said in a statement Friday.

One of the bill's sponsors, Democratic  Rep. William Delahunt, said the EU was getting too worked up over what he called "a nominal fee."

But Europeans see the issue as yet another potential hassle that the United States is preparing to burden Europe's citizens with. Visitors from most European countries have long enjoyed the privilege of visa-free travel to the United States.

Early, this year, however, the United States began requiring people traveling to the United States under the visa waiver program to register online at least 72 hours before travel and renew their registration every two years. If the new proposal is passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, it would require all visitors to pay the fee when they register....(Remainder.)

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AP Discusses Whether Obama is a “Wuss”

By John Aravosis
AMERICAblog


The debate has now shifted to a point that Joe and I had predicted months ago. No longer are we talking policy, but rather, Obama's inability to fight for what he believes in has now turned the debate to a discussion of whether our president is a "wuss." People don't like having discussions about whether their leader is a wuss. The very fact of having the discussion is trouble in and of itself.

Particularly troubling, the administration still thinks the president is playing some game of ten dimensional chess that only he can see:
In an interview this past week, the adviser didn't say, but he did insist the campaign helped Obama hone a style he now uses as president.

"His approach is to keep his eye on the ball and not get bogged down in the tempest of the moment," he said. "He is ultimately a principled pragmatist. He knows where he wants to go, and he's not dogmatic about how to get there."

As president, Obama has dug in against persistent critics or stiff opposition in order to press for a broad, long-term goal.
And for anyone who doesn't have children, or nieces and nephews, or who wasn't a child themselves, that strategy probably makes sense. It's called "waiting until the last minute and then pulling an all-nighter." I had the same discussion with my nephew Anthony in the past year. He explained to me how he always leaves his papers until the last minute, then writes them in one fell swoop where the first edit is the final draft. When I told Anthony that this was the way a kid wrote a paper, not an adult, he protested - no, uncle John, he told me, it's always worked for me in the past, it's my thing....(Remainder.)

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What Torture Never Told Us



By Ali H. Soufan
The New York Times Op-Ed
Illustration:  Jon Han


PUBLIC bravado aside, the defenders of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques are fast running out of classified documents to hide behind. The three that were released recently by the C.I.A. — the 2004 report by the inspector general and two memos from 2004 and 2005 on intelligence gained from detainees — fail to show that the techniques stopped even a single imminent threat of terrorism.

The inspector general’s report distinguishes between intelligence gained from regular interrogation and from the harsher methods, which culminate in waterboarding. While the former produces useful intelligence, according to the report, the latter “is a more subjective process and not without concern.” And the information in the two memos reinforces this differentiation.

They show that substantial intelligence was gained from pocket litter (materials found on detainees when they were captured), from playing detainees against one another and from detainees freely giving up information that they assumed their questioners already knew. A computer seized in March 2003 from a Qaeda operative for example, listed names of Qaeda members and money they were to receive.

Soon after Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the 9/11 attacks, was captured in 2003, according to the 2005 memo, he “elaborated on his plan to crash commercial airlines into Heathrow Airport.” The memo speculates that he may have assumed that Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a fellow member of Al Qaeda who had been captured in 2002, had already divulged the plan. The same motivation — the assumption that another detainee had already talked — is offered to explain why Mr. Mohammed provided details about the Hambali-Southeast Asia Qaeda network....(Remainder.)

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When Will This White House Learn You Cannot Negotiate With Terrorists?

By Baratunde Thurston
Mediaite


I spent the past several months away from politics. It was an involuntary hiatus made necessary by personal and professional commitments that demanded my utmost attention. When I left, we had a stimulus bill in place, a president with high approval ratings and some remaining afterglow from election night and inauguration day.

When I returned in mid August, it was to a country that had clearly lost its damn mind. I turned on one cable station to hear people demanding President Obama prove he’s an American citizen, an insane movement led by an Israeli citizen. I switched channels to see another group screeching in fear that Obama’s health care proposal would institute death panels to kill grandma. On yet another station, Glenn Beck accuses this president of having a deep-seated hatred for half of himself. Flip again to find parents removing their children from school because they don’t want their kids exposed to Obama’s socialist indoctrination. And yesterday, Green Jobs Czar Van Jones resigned after extreme pressure from right wing groups and extreme tepidness from the White House that hired him to do his very important work.

Great. After a brief respite, the most accessible American political discourse has returned to fearful, hate-filled, ignorant rants of a high-volume, low-intellect minority.

In such an environment, how does one govern? Does one try to “balance” such concepts as contradictory as a “public option” on one hand and “fear of death panels” on the other? Or does one realize that this is a false spectrum and to try to find a center in such a sea is a worthless and foolhardy expedition?...(Remainder.)

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Happy Labor Day

By Jeff Parker
Florida Today



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Keith Olbermann: The Public Option is Now “Optional?”

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