Monthly Archives: April 2009

President Obama :”I Believe The Bush Administration Sanctioned Torture!”

President Obama spoke the truth today.He said that “waterboarding was torture” & that he believes “the Bush administration sanctioned torture.”

Guess what,Mr. President? So do I!Even though the president & I agree on what torture is,we don’t share the same opinion about what should be done about it!

It’s  too bad that the Bush administration will get away with running this country as if it were a dictatorship. Instead of a democracy. Here’s two opposing views on whether the U.S. should prosecute Bush officials for torture from ajc.com:

Yes: The standards we hold others to also apply to us.

By Mark J. McKeon

On Sept. 11, 2001, when the twin towers were hit, I was sitting in a meeting in The Hague discussing what should be included in an indictment against Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes in Bosnia. I was an American lawyer serving as a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and there was no doubt that Milosevic should be indicted for his responsibility for the torture and cruel treatment of prisoners. As the head of state at the time those crimes were committed, Milosevic bore ultimate responsibility for what happened under his watch…”(End of First Excerpt)

“No: Terrorists declared open-ended war against America.

By Thomas Sowell

It used to be said that self-preservation is the first law of nature. But much of what has been happening in recent times in the United States, and in Western civilization in general, suggests that survival is taking a back seat to the shibboleths of political correctness.

We have already turned loose dozens of captured terrorists, who have resumed their terrorism. Why? Because they have been given “rights” that exist neither in our laws nor under international law.

These are not criminals in our society, entitled to the protection of the U.S. Constitution. They are not prisoners of war entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention.

There was a time when people who violated the rules of war were not entitled to turn around and claim the protection of those rules. German soldiers who put on U.S. military uniforms, in order to infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge, were simply lined up against a wall and shot.”(End of second excerpt) Read the full opinions here.

And here’s more on what the Bush memos reveal from an article written by a former State Department lawyer & taken from the L.A Times:

have my own reasons to own up to a bit of schadenfreude at the release of these memos. In the year following 9/11, I handled Geneva Convention issues for the State Department; I was a principal drafter of memos arguing that the international law of war applied in Afghanistan and thus to the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay. The same OLC, White House and Pentagon lawyers we sparred with early in 2002 went on to write, solicit or approve the torture memos later that year. They excluded experienced lawyers from the State Department and elsewhere from the process of interpreting U.S. obligations under Geneva and the United Nations Convention Against Torture, among other treaties.

We saw the coming train wreck and advised the administration of the harsh political, legal and security consequences of failing to abide by U.S. and international law. Early in January 2002, my boss at the State Department, William H. Taft IV, advised the OLC’s John Yoo that “only the utmost confidence in our legal arguments could, it seems to me, justify deviating from the United States’ unbroken record of compliance with the Geneva Convention in our conduct of military operations over the past 50 years.” Taft was right, Yoo was wrong, and now we see the consequences.

That said, as much as the OLC memos demonstrate professional misconduct, bad lawyering and possible culpability in the torture regime that followed, I fear that they obscure from public view this basic reality: The most senior policymakers in the Bush administration decided to employ torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment against terrorism detainees.

We know this from the dozens of memos, reports and journalistic accounts in the five years since the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. The bipartisan report on military interrogation from the Senate Armed Services Committee (pdf) and the timeline on the CIA’s program from the Senate Intelligence Committee (pdf), both released this month, make senior-level responsibility crystal clear.

Thus, as clarifying as the OLC memos are, there’s much we still don’t know, including the point at which President Bush and his staff explicitly ordered or approved the interrogation program. And despite recent suggestions from Dick Cheney that the program “worked,” we don’t know what benchmarks, if any, the administration set for itself to judge the effectiveness of torture and cruel treatment.

The aforementioned Senate report concluded that the Bush interrogation program of torture and cruel treatment “damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.If this is true, we must uncover the entirety of the interrogation programs to ensure that they do no recur.

The Obama administration did the right thing in releasing the OLC memos, for even if those responsible are not held to account (a subject we’ll take up later in the week), subjecting the Bush policies to the full light of day is crucial to repairing the damage they’ve already done.”(End of Excerpt) Read the full article here.

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Former Republican Senator Arlen Specter:”My Political Philosphy Is More In Line With The Democrats!”

Senator Arlen Specter has dropped a bombshell todayThe veteran Republican is switching political parties because he says that his beliefs line up more with the Democrats. Others are saying that this whole move is all about self-preservation. Many also believe that Sen. Specter would have lost the GOP primary.

Whatever the reason,the Democrats are happy to have him.Because if Al Franken gets his Senate seat,then the Democrats will have the 60 seats that they need to control the Senate! Here’s more from cbs5.com:

Saying he now finds his “political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans,” Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, now a Republican, has announced that he will run for reelection as a Democrat in 2010.

Specter, a 79-yar-old fifth-term senator, wrote in a statement that he has been a Republican since 1966 and was elected in 1980 “as part of the Reagan Big Tent.” Since then, however, “the Republican Party has moved far to the right.”

He suggested his support for the economic stimulus package ultimately led to the decision.

“It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable,” he wrote. Specter said he knew his support for the bill would not be popular in the Party but that he saw the bill “as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.”

The Democrats now hold 58 Senate seats, and are likely to have 59 with the seating of Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, which is most likely to take place in June. Specter’s vote would give the party the 60 votes it needs to avoid a Republican filibuster and pass legislation without the support of the minority party.

Specter plans to hold a news conference later today to explain he will be switching parties and if and when he will begin caucusing with the Democrats.

He vowed, however, that his “change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans.”

“Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture,” he said. “For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.” (Specter opposes the union- and Democrat-backed bill.)

Specter had been facing a tough GOP primary fight – a January poll found that he was trailing Republican Congressman Pat Toomey 41 percent to 27 percent among primary voters in the state. The fact that the state’s GOP primary is closed meant that the relatively moderate Specter could not depend on the support of independents or moderates to get him past Toomey.

The Associated Press, citing a senior White House official, reports that President Obama was handed a note during his daily economic briefing this morning announcing Specter’s plans to switch parties. The president reportedly called Specter at 10:32 a.m. ET and said “you have my full support,” adding that the Democratic Party is “thrilled to have you.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.

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There Was A Runaway Bull Caught On Camera In An Irish Supermarket!

America has had its share of crazy animal mishaps.Remember the three deer that ran amok at the Beer Arena in Greensburg, Pennsylvania last month?But,the raging bull caught on camera running through the aisles of Cummins’ SuperValu in Ireland really takes the cake! I got a much needed chuckle out of that one!

Apparently,the bull had escaped from a nearby cattle market.But,his owner was not far behind & he was the one who captured the escapee! No one was hurt & the store owner got a good laugh out of it too! He says the store takes pride in their fresh meat.

It’s unbelievable, you know. It’s not everyday a shop has beef as fresh as that,”says the owner,John Cummins.


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The 1976 Swine Flu Scare Is Probably Why The President Says We Should Not Get “Alarmed”!

The 1976 swine flu outbreak at a army base really caused a great panic in America.That’s probably why President Obama is saying that Americans should be “concerned” instead of “alarmed” by the current international swine flu outbreak.Here’s the latest from CNN:

The World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert level in response to the outbreak of swine flu that originated in Mexico, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday.The move from level three to level four on the WHO’s six-level threat scale means the world body has determined the virus is capable of significant human-to-human transmission — a major step toward a flu pandemic, said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the agency’s assistant director-general.A pandemic is not considered “inevitable,” Fukuda said.

But Napolitano said the move “does indicate that we have a serious outbreak of swine flu on our hands.”At least 75 cases have been confirmed worldwide, including 40 cases in the United States and 26 in Mexico, the WHO said.Hundreds more cases are suspected, especially in Mexico, where as many as 149 deaths are thought to have been caused by the virus, the country’s health secretary said.

“Sadly, 149 people have died, of which we are working to confirm if they are linked to the swine flu,” Mexico Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos said. “The number of cases, unfortunately, will continue to increase.”

So far, 26 cases have been confirmed by laboratory tests in Mexico and reported to the World Health Organization. Nearly 2,000 people have been hospitalized and 776 remain in hospitals, Cordova said.The U.S. government is urging travelers to avoid nonessential travel to Mexico because of the swine flu outbreak, and it has started distributing antiviral medications from its strategic stockpile in response to the outbreak, Napolitano said.

The confirmed cases in the United States have been mild so far but, “Scientists can’t tell us right now why this is presenting so severely in Mexico City and not as severely up here,” she said.Federal officials confirmed 20 new U.S. cases on Monday.A federal official said they were at the same school in New York in which eight U.S. cases were confirmed earlier. More than 100 students at the school were out with flu-like symptoms last week.

The outbreak is a particular concern because of who it is hitting hard, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday. “We are concerned that in Mexico, most of those who died were young and healthy adults,” he said.

President Obama said Monday that the swine flu outbreak is a “cause for concern and requires a heightened state of alert,” but is not a “cause for alarm.”He added that the federal government is closely monitoring emerging cases and had declared a public health emergency as a “precautionary tool to ensure that we have the resources we need at our disposal to respond quickly and effectively.”(End of Excerpt) Read the full report here.

Here’s more on the 1976 swine flu scare from capitalcentury.com:

The ominous name of the flu alone was enough to touch off civilian fear of an epidemic. And government doctors knew from tests hastily conducted at Dix after Lewis’ death that 500 soldiers had caught swine flu without falling ill.

Any flu able to reach that many people so fast was capable of becoming another worldwide plague, the doctors warned, raising these questions:

Does America mobilize for mass inoculations in time to have everybody ready for the next flu season? Or should the country wait to see if the new virus would, as they often do, get stronger to hit harder in the second year?

Thus was born what would become known to some medical historians as a fiasco and to others as perhaps the finest hour of America’s public health bureaucracy.

Only young Lewis died from the swine flu itself in 1976. But as the critics are quick to point out, hundreds of Americans were killed or seriously injured by the inoculation the government gave them to stave off the virus.

According to his sister-in-law, John Kent of President Avenue in Lawrence went to his grave in 1997 believing the shot from the government had killed his first wife, Mary, long before her time.

Among other critics are Arthur M. Silverstein, whose book, “Pure Politics and Impure Science,” suggests President Gerald Ford’s desire to win the office on his own, as well as the influence of America’s big drug manufacturers, figured into the decision to immunize all 220 million Americans.

Still, even the partisan who first branded Ford’s program a fiasco, says now that it happened because America’s public health establishment identified what easily could have been a new plague and mobilized to beat it amazingly well.

To understand the fear of the time you have to know something about the plague American soldiers seemed to bring home with them after fighting in Europe during World War I.

The Great Plague, as it came to be called, rivaled the horrid Black Death of medieval times in its ability to strike suddenly and take lives swiftly. In addition to the half million in America, it killed 20 million people around the world.

It got its name because it was a brand of flu usually found in domestic pigs and wild swine. It was long thought to have come, like so many flus, out of the Chinese farm country, where people and domestic pigs live closely together.

Recent research has shown, however, that the post-WWI flu was brought to Europe by American troops who had been based in the South before they went to war. Medical detectives, still working on the case in the 1990s, determined that a small group of our soldiers took swine flu to Europe and that it spread to the world from there.

How the swine flu got to Fort Dix in 1976 still hasn’t been tracked down. At the time, Dix military doctors knew only that a killer flu had made it to the base and that they were lucky more men hadn’t died or been sickened seriously.

Weeks after Lewis died, doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and other federal public health officials were meeting in Washington, trying to decide if they should recommend the government start a costly program of mass inoculations.

One doc later told the authors of “The Epidemic that Never Was” that he and others in on the meetings realized there was “nothing in this for the CDC except trouble,” especially because a decision had to be made fast to get the immunizations manufactured by the fall.

“…The obvious thing to do was immunize everybody,” the doctor said. “But if we tried to do that … we might have to interrupt a hell of a lot of work on other diseases.”

The doctors knew they faced complaints if the epidemic broke out and vaccines weren’t ready, as well as criticism if they spent millions inoculating people for a plague that didn’t happen.

“As for ‘another 1918,’ 1 didn’t expect that,” the doctor continued in the book. “But who could be sure? It would wreck us. Yet, if there weren’t a pandemic, we’d be charged with wasting public money, crying wolf and causing all the inconvenience for nothing … It was a no-win situation.” (End of Excerpt) Read the full article here.

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Bea Arthur:The Grande Dame Of Comedy Will Always Be America’s “Golden Girl”!

The amazing Bea Arthur has passed.The grande dame of comedy was born on May 16, 1923 in New York City. A witty woman with a very wry,sarcastic sense of humor would be the best way to describe her comedic style.It was her particular brand of wit that made her a hit as “Maude“.And it is also the reason why she will always be one of our favorite “Golden Girls“! Here’s more from The AP:

“Beatrice Arthur, the tall, deep-voiced actress whose razor-sharp delivery of comedy lines made her a TV star in the hit shows “Maude” and “The Golden Girls” and who won a Tony Award for the musical “Mame,” died Saturday. She was 86.Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side, family spokesman Dan Watt said. She had cancer, Watt said, declining to give further details.

“She was a brilliant and witty woman,” said Watt, who was Arthur’s personal assistant for six years. “Bea will always have a special place in my heart.”

Arthur first appeared in the landmark comedy series “All in the Family” as Edith Bunker’s loudly outspoken, liberal cousin, Maude Finley. She proved a perfect foil for blue-collar bigot Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), and their blistering exchanges were so entertaining that producer Norman Lear fashioned Arthur’s own series.

In a 2008 interview with The Associated Press, Arthur said she was lucky to be discovered by TV after a long stage career, recalling with bemusement CBS executives asking about the new “girl.”

“I was already 50 years old. I had done so much off-Broadway, on Broadway, but they said, `Who is that girl? Let’s give her her own series,'” Arthur said.”Maude” scored with television viewers immediately on its CBS debut in September 1972, and Arthur won an Emmy Award for the role in 1977.The comedy flowed from Maude’s efforts to cast off the traditional restraints that women faced, but the series often had a serious base. Her husband Walter (Bill Macy) became an alcoholic, and she underwent an abortion, which drew a torrent of viewer protests.

Maude became a standard bearer for the growing feminist movement in America.The ratings of “Maude” in the early years approached those of its parent, “All in the Family,” but by 1977 the audience started to dwindle. A major format change was planned, but in early 1978 Arthur announced she was quitting the show.

“It’s been absolutely glorious; I’ve loved every minute of it,” she said. “But it’s been six years, and I think it’s time to leave.””Golden Girls” (1985-1992) was another groundbreaking comedy, finding surprising success in a television market increasingly skewed toward a younger, product-buying audience.The series concerned three retirees — Arthur, Betty White and Rue McClanahan — and the mother of Arthur’s character, Estelle Getty, who lived together in a Miami apartment.

In contrast to the violent “Miami Vice,” the comedy was nicknamed “Miami Nice.”As Dorothy Zbornak, Arthur seemed as caustic and domineering as Maude. She was unconcerned about the similarity of the two roles.

“Look — I’m 5-feet-9, I have a deep voice and I have a way with a line,” she told an interviewer. “What can I do about it? I can’t stay home waiting for something different. I think it’s a total waste of energy worrying about typecasting.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.

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Before She Wonders About Anybody’s Sanity,Shouldn’t Michelle Bachmann Be Worried About Her Own?!!

Michelle Bachmann has proven time & time again that she is the one who is “stark raving mad! So,why is she wondering about the sanity of the DHS secretary,Janet Napolitano?Ms. Napolitano has made some incredibly stupid statements.She should have known better than to say that crossing the border illegally is not a crime.Because that just is not so! And she claimed that some 9/11 terrorists came through the Canadian border,which was also untrue.

These verbal mishaps have caused many conservatives to question whether or not Janet Napolitano really knows what the law is along the border! And those supposed concerns have some Republicans calling for her resignation.

What really got their goat,though,is the release of a intelligence report about right-wing extremism.Here’s more from The AP:

“It didn’t take long for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to shoot herself in the foot or for Republicans to make her a target of their opposition to Obama administration policy.At the heart of the GOP criticism is a recent intelligence analysis from Napolitano’s agency saying veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan could be susceptible to right-wing recruiters or commit lone acts of violence.

When conservative bloggers began writing about the report, Napolitano defended the assessment while acknowledging that some of it should have been rewritten. She went on a number of television news shows to apologize and explain her support for and admiration of veterans.

This was not enough for several Republicans who took to the House floor this week to criticize Napolitano, confirmed to her Cabinet position less than 100 days ago.

Has this homeland security secretary gone absolutely stark raving mad?” said Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. “She needs to come before Congress. She needs to answer a few questions.

On Thursday, Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, told Fox News that Napolitano must not understand “the disruption that she has caused” in some parts of the country.

“I think the appropriate thing for her to do would be to step down,” he said.

A day earlier, Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, said, “Janet Napolitano should resign or be fired.”

Obama administration aides dismissed the criticism as a “typical Washington game” and “political theater.”

Despite the furor among some Republicans, party leaders did not bring it up in a meeting with President Barack Obama and top White House aides on Thursday. Although House Republican leader John Boehner had indicated earlier it likely would be discussed, his spokesman, Kevin Smith, said the topic was not broached.

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said the right-wing extremist report originated in the Bush administration and Napolitano was working to keep the nation safe from terrorists.

“She doesn’t have time for these games — and neither does the president,” Shapiro said.

The veterans issue wasn’t the only flap. Earlier this week, Napolitano drew criticism for flubbing an explanation of federal law prohibiting people without proper documents from crossing U.S. borders into the country.In an interview with CNN, Napolitano, whose career has included stints as a U.S. attorney and attorney general and governor of Arizona, said:

Crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil.

While crossing the border illegally is a crime, most illegal immigrants caught in the United States face only civil penalties and deportation.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.

I don’t think that the DHS secretary should be fired for making really dumb statements.Because if that’s the case,Michelle Bachmann should have been fired a long time ago.And there are a lot of people who are working to make that happen.Here’s more from Care2 petition site:

This is a petition to the citizens of Minnesota and Governor Tim Pawlenty to hold a recall election to remove Rep. Michelle Bachmann from the United States House of Representatives for her unprofessional, hateful, and treasonous remarks towards President Barack Obama, his administration, and for inciting violence against anyone who doesn’t believe in her right wing agenda.

Ms. Bachman has a long history of making disparaging remarks about the President even before he was elected.”(End of Excerpt) To sign the petition go here.

Because if anyone should resign from public office,it is this right-wing fanatical nut named Michelle Bachmann! She is the queen of hypocrisy,deceit,& hatred! Michelle Bachmann is a disgrace to the American people!

And there’s more from citizens for ethics.org:

Michele Bachmann was one of nine named as 2008’s Most Embarrassing Re-Elected Members of Congress.“

The list incorporates those elected officials who have misused their position through illegal, unethical or just plain outrageous conduct,” says the Washington-based Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/35847

(I first noticed a reference to this story in MPR’s Polinaut.)

From Rep. Bachmann’s smearing of President-elect Barack Obama to [Florida Republican] Rep. [Vern] Buchanan’s serious FEC violations — these members of Congress stand out for their inability to conduct themselves in a manner that respects the office they hold,” says Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW.

Earlier, Bachmann made Esquire magazine’s list of 10 worst congresspeople.The CREW list includes seven Republicans and two Democrats. The group has drawn criticism from some quarters, including the Norm Coleman campaign, which called it “an attack dog” for the Democratic Party. CREW at the time denied that charge, noting that it recently had asked the Senate ethics panel to investigate mortgage deals that went to two Democratic senators, Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad.

Here’s CREW’s take on Bachmann:“Rep. Michele Bachmann is a first-term member of Congress representing Minnesota’s 6th district. She was re-elected by a margin of 46% to 43% of the vote. Rep. Bachmann gained notoriety for claiming God had told her to run for Congress, and for grabbing President Bush’s shoulder after the 2007 State of the Union and holding him there until he kissed her, as well as calling for investigation into the anti-American views of fellow members of Congress.” (End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.

For the most complete coverage on this insane congresswoman,go here.

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Shepard Smith:”We Are America! We Don’t Fucking Torture!”

Leave it to Shepard Smith to state the plain & simple truth on the station that is commonly referred to as “Faux News” by many! But,Fox News was actually fair & balanced the moment that Shepard Smith angrily blurted out the following:

We are America! We don’t fucking torture!”

Now,that’s the passion that any true American should feel on the subject of torture! Because if that’s not the case,then how can we claim to be the moral authority on anything? I’m glad to see that someone knows what patriotism is all about. Shepard Smith went against all of the apologists over at the Fox network when he spoke honestly about this subject.Instead of repeating the same old tired talking points!

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