Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney speaks about national security at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington in this file photo from May 21, 2009. Cheney, 69, was hospitalized in George Washington Hospital on February 22, 2010 after experienci

Dick Cheney says the Bush Administration was always ready for terror, especially on 9/11:
Ex-Vice President Dick Cheney claims the Benghazi attack was a "failure of leadership" by the Obama administration, and that the Bush administration would have been ready and would have responded to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other American embassy staff.

"When we were there, on our watch, we were always ready on 9/11, on the anniversary," Cheney told the U.K.'s Daily Mail.  "We always anticipated they were coming for us, especially in that part of the world . . . I cannot understand why they weren't ready to go."

Yeah, always ready. With, to paraphrase Alan Greenspan, a notably rare exception. But just one.


Guess who Sen. Marco Rubio blames for Boston Marathon bombingIf nothing else, recent events should remind us that we are a country at war, that radical Islamic jihadists are evil, and that America has a moral and security responsibility to lead the fight to defeat them. Unfortunately, we have a president who wants to declare the war over, the enemy defeated.


Remember that little 210,000-gallon Exxon oil spill? The Arkansas Department of Health says people with dizziness, nausea and headaches have the option to leave, and it is their personal choice. [...] For more than a month, residents of Mayflower, Ark. have been told not to worry about lingering fumes from a March 29 oil spill that shut down a neighborhood and forced the evacuation of 22 homes. [...]
The people with acute symptoms are going through something that is "real and really debilitating," said Wilma Subra, an environmental consultant who has spent decades working with communities hit by chemical accidents. Subra is the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant and works extensively with people impacted by the BP Gulf spill.


Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced her first bill, a simple proposal to give students the same loan rates as the nation's biggest banks. Her proposal would allow the cut-rate loans for students for one year, to give Congress the time to come to agreement on a long-term solution to interest rates. Federal Stafford subsidized loan rates for new students are set to double on July 1 to 6.8 percent.

Here's a snippet from her floor speech introducing the bill.

"Some people say that we can't afford to help our kids through school by keeping student loan interest rates low," said Senator Warren. "But right now, as I speak, the federal government offers far lower interest rates on loans, every single day–they just don't do it for everyone. Right now, a big bank can get a loan through the Federal Reserve discount window at a rate of about 0.75%. But this summer a student who is trying to get a loan to go to college will pay almost 7%. In other words, the federal government is going to charge students interest rates that are nine times higher than the rates for the biggest banks–the same banks that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke this economy. That isn't right. And that is why I'm introducing legislation today to give students the same deal that we give to the big banks."

"Big banks get a great deal when they borrow money from the Fed," Senator Warren continued. "In effect, the American taxpayer is investing in those banks. We should make the same kind of investment in our young people who are trying to get an education. Lend them the money and make them to pay it back, but give our kids a break on the interest they pay. Let's Bank on Students… Unlike the big banks, students don't have armies of lobbyists and lawyers. They have only their voices. And they call on us to do what is right."

Sen. Warren is selling herself a little short, there. Students don't just have their voices. They have Elizabeth Warren's voice, too. That's a damned good thing.


WonkBlog: The Heritage Foundation made something of a splash with its study suggesting that immigration reform will cost the public trillions. Past work by one of its co-authors helps put that piece in context.

Jason Richwine is relatively new to the think tank world. He received his PhD in public policy from Harvard in 2009, and joined Heritage after a brief stay at the American Enterprise Institute. Richwine's doctoral dissertation is titled "IQ and Immigration Policy"; the contents are well summarized in the dissertation abstract:

The statistical construct known as IQ can reliably estimate general mental ability, or intelligence. The average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population, and the difference is likely to persist over several generations. The consequences are a lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low-IQ immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust, and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market. Selecting high-IQ immigrants would ameliorate these problems in the U.S., while at the same time benefiting smart potential immigrants who lack educational access in their home countries.
Richwine's dissertation asserts that there are deep-set differentials in intelligence between races. While it's clear he thinks it is partly due to genetics — "the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component to group differences in IQ" — he argues the most important thing is that the differences in group IQs are persistent, for whatever reason. He writes, "No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against."
This is important, since this would seem to be one of the underpinnings to the argument that immigration reform will cost trillions of dollars.

"The main premise of the heavily disputed Heritage Study is that undocumented immigrants will be unable to reach education and income levels high enough to make them a net plus to the economy, even after several generations," reports Talking Points Memo's Benjy Sarlin. The Heritage study doesn't come right out and say that Latinos are too dumb for America, but it would seem that's only because it would rightly doom the study's credibility.

Once again, we see that the Heritage Foundation is a bullshit factory and this particular variety of bullshit can be classified as "fullblown racist."


Separation of church and state

"For the first time in our nation's history, the Supreme Court is considering two cases about whether ornot marriage should be redefined to include two persons of the same sex. These cases involve the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8, both of which define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.The Court is expected to rule on both cases by the end of June. A broad negative ruling could redefine marriage in the law throughout the entire country, becoming the 'Roe v. Wade' of marriage.

"The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined with many other organizations in urging the Supreme Court to uphold both DOMA and Proposition 8 and thereby to recognize the essential, irreplaceable contribution that husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, make to society, and especially to children." - From the "pray and fast for life, marriage, and religious liberty" bulletin that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has ordered to be distributed at services. Hit the link to read the bulletin in full.



Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) proposed an amendment that essentially enshrine undocumented servants into law.

Lee's amendment would exempt "services performed by cooks, waiters, butlers, housekeepers, governessess, maids, valets, baby sitters, janitors, laundresses, furnacemen, care-takers, handymen, gardeners, footmen, grooms, and chauffeurs of automobiles for family use" from "prohibitions on unlawful employment of unauthorized aliens."

They're going to take away our butlers, footmen, and chauffeurs? This cannot stand!


If you're gonna get caught stealing, steal big. From the Washington Post:

HOUSTON — Convicted ex-Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling's more than 24-year prison sentence for his role in the once mighty energy giant's collapse could be reduced by as many as 10 years if a federal judge approves an agreement reached Wednesday between prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Under the agreement, which Justice Department officials say includes a previous court-ordered reduction of as much as nine years, Skilling's original sentence will be reduced to somewhere between 14 and 17.5 years…

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said the agreement will allow victims of Enron's collapse to finally receive more than $40 million in restitution. The ongoing status of the case has so far prevented the government from distributing Skilling's seized assets to victims, according to the agreement.

Skilling was convicted in 2006 on 19 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading and lying to auditors for his role in the downfall of Houston-based Enron. The company collapsed into bankruptcy in 2001 under the weight of years of illicit business deals and accounting tricks…

The U.S. Supreme Court said in 2010 that one of Skilling's convictions was flawed when it sharply curtailed the use of the "honest services" fraud law — a short addendum to the federal mail and wire fraud statute that makes it illegal to scheme to deprive investors of "the intangible right to honest services."

The Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors can use the law only in cases where evidence shows the defendant accepted bribes or kickbacks and that because Skilling's misconduct entailed no such things, he did not conspire to commit honest-services fraud

Skilling, 59, was the highest-ranking executive to be punished for Enron's downfall. Enron founder Kenneth Lay's similar convictions were vacated after he died of heart disease less than two months after trial.

Enron's collapse put more than 5,000 people out of work, wiped out more than $2 billion in employee pensions and rendered worthless $60 billion in Enron stock. Its aftershocks were felt across the city and the energy industry.

Imagine the kind of brain that can decide "Sure, he destroyed the company and wiped out thousands of peoples' financial security, but none of his innumerable lies or deceptions amounted to a violation of honest services!"…

I know violence is never the answer, so I can only hope that Jeff Skilling never lives a day outside of prison when he isn't confronted by one of his many victims… pointing out exactly how much misery he's caused.





After three women were found locked away for over a decade in a Cleveland, Ohio home, the American people paused and focused on this bizarre story. While most offered their sympathy, one right-wing Pigboy wasn't so caring.

"Three brothers have been arrested in Cleveland, which voted Obama. Not that that's got anything to do with anything! One of who has a baby. 
 Double welfare benefits if one of the women has a baby."

Well, at least he didn't call the women "sluts" for being raped for a decade.

I know - we should throw the vulgar Pigboy in a basement and chain him to the ceiling. Then we'll find some orangutan and force Rush to fellate him every day and after ten years, we'll let him go and tell that lazy fuck to stop being a leech and get a f-ing job.


Boehner explains why House will waste more time and money on Obamacare repeal

Why are Republicans holding yet another futile, time-wasting and taxpayer-money-wasting Obamcare repeal vote next week? House Speaker John Boehner explains.
"We've got 70 [sic] 17 new members who have not had an opportunity to vote on the president's health care law," Boehner said. "Frankly they've been asking for an opportunity to vote on it."
Well, then. By all means. It's not like it's costing American taxpayers something like $1.45 million to have that meaningless vote.

Oh, wait. Yes, it is! It's exactly like it's costing us $1.45 million for that repeal vote. Last July, when CBS News tallied it up using the CRS figure of $24 million per work week in the House, they figured that the House had spent 80 hours on 33 repeal votes, for a grand total of $48 million. That's $1.45 million per vote. There have been another three repeal votes since then, for another $4.4 million to the tally.

So, we're at a grand total of $52.4 million wasted on futile Obamacare repeal votes, just in the House. And that's being generous to the Republicans, not counting committee time wasted on this, the opportunity cost of delaying other work, etc. It's probably a lot closer to $55 million.

And if you ask those 70 new GOP members who are insisting on having their turn to cast a meaningless vote on settled law why they want to be in Congress, they'll tell you it's to stop big government from wasting taxpayer dollars.

I'm guessing none of these new members voted on things from the 1700s either, so I hope we'll let them do so on whichever votes they felt they've lost out on.


UPDATE: Conservative Co-Author Of Racist Immigration Report Resigns Amidst Controversy


Jim Inhofe let's us all know what this Benghazi freakout is all about:

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) suggested that President Obama could be impeached over what he alleged was a White House cover-up after last year's attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview Thursday with "The Rusty Humphries Show" that impeachment would become an issue soon over the "greatest cover-up in American history."

"People may be starting to use the I-word before too long," Inhofe said.

"The I-word meaning impeachment?" Humphries asked.

"Yeah," Inhofe responded.

"Of all the great cover-ups in history — the Pentagon papers, Iran-Contra, Watergate, all the rest of them — this … is going to go down as most egregious cover-up in American history," Inhofe said.

And there you have it. Aided and abetted by the useful idiots in the media.


Public Opinion On Abortion Rights Remains Unchanged By The Gosnell Trial


EXCLUSIVE: Embassy Staff Undercut 'Whistleblower' Testimony On Benghazi


Obamacare Is Already Forcing Private Insurers To Lower Their Premiums





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