Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24

Congressman: Women Should Be Forced To Give Birth To Fetuses With No Brain Function

And Uh. This.

During a Thursday House floor speech about the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) practice of scrutinizing conservative groups, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) connected the so-called scandal to the idea that owls could mate on Kmart signs.

This guy gets to vote on legislation that impacts 310 million people. Louie Gohmert. Utterly terrifying.



I hear "if only Obama would close Guantanamo" a lot, so this is going to be long. Here's the meat of what he said about GTMO:

As President, I have tried to close GTMO. I transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress imposed restrictions to effectively prevent us from either transferring detainees to other countries or imprisoning them here in the United States.

These restrictions make no sense. After all, under President Bush, some 530 detainees were transferred from GTMO with Congress's support. When I ran for President the first time, John McCain supported closing GTMO — this was a bipartisan issue. No person has ever escaped one of our super-max or military prisons here in the United States — ever. Our courts have convicted hundreds of people for terrorism or terrorism-related offenses, including some folks who are more dangerous than most GTMO detainees. They're in our prisons.

And given my administration's relentless pursuit of al Qaeda's leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should have never have been opened. (Applause.) [...]

Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO. (Applause.)

I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions. I'm appointing a new senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries.

I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen so we can review them on a case-by-case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. [...]

Now, even after we take these steps one issue will remain — just how to deal with those GTMO detainees who we know have participated in dangerous plots or attacks but who cannot be prosecuted, for example, because the evidence against them has been compromised or is inadmissible in a court of law. But once we commit to a process of closing GTMO, I am confident that this legacy problem can be resolved, consistent with our commitment to the rule of law.

Is he mis-stating the Congressional restrictions? Is there some way he can go around Congress? What else, exactly, can he do?

And I would really like to believe that Dave Weigel is right about his final point:

… We have a divided government; Congress holds the purse strings; Congress passed the 2001 Authorization of Force in Iraq. But most discussion of foreign policy focuses on the president, the commander-in-chief. Why didn't he close Gitmo, like he promised? Is he saying he and he alone can kill citizens with drone attacks?

At four moments in his speech today, the president pointed at Capitol Hill and asked it to move on or admit its role in the security decisions that have become so controversial…

4. "Given my Administration's relentless pursuit of al Qaeda's leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should never have been opened. Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO."

Translation: The Gitmo debacle is on you. You ground me down in 2009, promising to block funding and locations for prisoner transfers, before turning around and attacking me for breaking a campaign promise.


Austerity's Vicious Cycle Spurs Record Cash Hoarding By U.S. Companies

Regarding that bridge collapse in Mount Vernon, Washington, here are the names of the senators who filibustered the president's infrastructure bill via Bill Scher:

Sen. Sessions (R-Ala.)
Sen. Shelby (R-Ala.)
Sen. Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Sen. Lieberman (I-Conn.)
Sen. Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Sen. Isakson (R-Ga.)
Sen. Crapo (R-Idaho)
Sen. Lugar (R-Ind.)
Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa)
Sen. McConnell (R-Ky.)
Sen. Vitter (R-La.)
Sen. Collins (R-Me.)
Sen. Snowe (R-Me.)
Sen. Cochran (R-Miss.)
Sen. Nelson (D-Neb.)
Sen. Burr (R-N.C.)
Sen. Coburn (R-Okla.)
Sen. Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Sen. DeMint (R-S.C.)
Sen. Graham (R-S.C)
Sen. Thune (R-S.D.)
Sen. Alexander (R-Tenn.)
Sen. Hutchison (R-Tex.)
Sen. Hatch (R-Utah)
Sen. Enzi (R-Wyo.)

The deficit has been reduced by $800 billion since the president was inaugurated. We can afford to do this, but the Republicans refuse to allow it because they're more interested in sabotaging the economy to destroy the president. In the crossfire, the destruction of that bridge.



The president's "job-killing" healthcare law and anti-business policies have seemingly had no effect on the pay of corporate CEOs. On the contrary, CEO pay is now higher than ever, breaking the record previously set in 2011.

From the Associated Press.

The head of a typical large public company made $9.7 million in 2012, a 6.5 percent increase from a year earlier that was aided by a rising stock market, according to an analysis by The Associated Press using data from Equilar, an executive pay research firm. [...]

The highest paid CEO was Leslie Moonves of CBS, who made $60.3 million. He beat the second-place finisher handily: David Zaslav of Discovery Communications, who made $49.9 million. Five of the 10 highest-paid CEOs were from the entertainment and media industry.

For the fourth year in five, health care CEOs received the highest median pay at $11.1 million, while utility CEOs had the lowest at $7.5 million. The median value is the midpoint; half the CEOs in that group made more and half less.

Healthcare CEOs have the highest median pay obviously because Obamacare has ruined their business. Or something.


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