Archive for category Barack Obama
When President Bush and VP Cheney publicly confessed to criminal acts, the Democrats let it pass. Probably they thought nobody would take impeachment seriously anymore after Republicans made a mockery of it during the Clinton administration. Then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously said impeachment was “off the table.”
Ah, but Republicans view impeachment differently. President Obama wasn’t even inaugurated before Republican politicians were calling for his impeachment. The right spawned a cottage industry of inventing Obama conspiracy theories. Some right-wingers are pretty sure Obama is the Anti-Christ described in the Book of Revelation.
So let’s not be surprised when Utah’s very own Rep. Jason Chaffetz joins in (emphasis added):
Rep. Jason Chaffetz says President Barack Obama’s handling of the government’s response to the Benghazi terrorist attack could be an impeachable offense and vows to continue digging at the “lies of highest magnitude” from the White House.
“It’s certainly a possibility,” the Utah Republican said Monday when asked about impeachment. “That’s not the goal but given the continued lies perpetrated by this administration, I don’t know where it’s going to go. … I’m not taking it off the table.
Never mind that terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomats happened 13 times during the Bush administration, and killed 98 people. Congressman Chaffetz is on a mission to destroy the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton too, if he can. He recently participated in the NINTH congressional hearing on the Benghazi assault, which has also been investigated by the FBI and a State Department Accountability Review Board chaired by Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Mike Mullen.
The irony here is that President Obama is actually guilty of impeachable offenses, which the Republicans can’t talk about because it all comes back to Bush and Cheney.
The Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee boycotted today’s hearing on Gina McCarthy, President Obama‘s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Lacking the votes to defeat approval of McCarthy’s nomination, they decided to deprive the committee of a quorum. Apparently Republicans are worried that the EPA might enforce the Clean Air Act, thus helping to reduce the effects of climate change.
Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was not happy.
“Their opposition, even to allowing us to vote, shows how outside the mainstream they are, it shows how obstructionist they are,” the senator continued. “It shows how their pledge to do better with women voters is false. How could you have a more qualified woman than Gina McCarthy? This is outrageous.”
“They’re fringe, they’re out of the mainstream,” she reiterated — and trying to impose their “pro-pollution stance” on the Obama administration. Boxer further noted that they’d be examining their parliamentary options, which would include potentially changing committee rules.
To the opposition, Boxer offered some advice: Take a page out of the mainstream Republicans’ playbook and “get out of the fringe lane.”
McCarthy has already answered over 1,000 written questions from GOP committee members, more than any other Obama nominee.
This is how the tail wags the dog in the U.S. Senate. Nice work, GOP
UPDATE: An instrument near the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawaii has recorded a long-awaited climate milestone: the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere there has exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in 55 years of measurement—and probably more than 3 million years of Earth history.
350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments consider to be the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere.
It certainly took long enough. The new 577-page torture report from The Constitution Project’s bipartisan commission concluded (emphasis added):
The question as to whether U.S. forces and agents engaged in torture has been complicated by the existence of two vocal camps in the public debate. This has been particularly vexing for traditional journalists who are trained and accustomed to recording the arguments of both sides in a dispute without declaring one right and the other wrong. The public may simply perceive that there is no right side, as there are two equally fervent views held views on a subject, with substantially credentialed people on both sides. In this case, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that among those who insist that the United States did not engage in torture are figures who served at the highest levels of government, including Vice President Dick Cheney.
But this Task Force is not bound by this convention.
The members, coming from a wide political spectrum, believe that arguments that the nation did not engage in torture and that much of what occurred should be defined as something less than torture are not credible.
Now that a bipartisan blue-ribbon panel has reached the conclusion that President George W. Bush and his top advisers bear “ultimate responsibility” for authorizing torture in violation of domestic and international law, the question becomes what should the American people and their government do.
The logical answer would seem to be: prosecute Bush and his cronies (or turn them over to an international tribunal if the U.S. legal system can’t do the job). After all, everyone, including President Barack Obama and possibly even Bush himself, would agree with the principle that “no man is above the law.”
Interestingly enough, Section 3286 of the USA PATRIOT Act effectively abolished the statute of limitations for torture.
The U.N. Convention Against Torture, signed by President Reagan in 1988, compels all signatories who discover credible allegations that government officials have participated or been complicit in torture to “submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution” (Art. 7(1)).
The disgrace of the American torture regime falls on Bush officials and secondarily the media and political institutions that acquiesced to it, but the full-scale protection of those war crimes (and the denial of justice to their victims) falls squarely on the Obama administration.
As it’s written, CISPA won’t protect us from cyber attacks, but it will violate our 4th Amendment right to privacy.
- It lets the government spy on you without a warrant. (read more)
- It makes it so you can’t even find out about it after the fact. (read more)
- It makes it so companies can’t be sued when they do illegal things with your data. (read more)
- It allows corporations to cyber-attack each other and individuals outside of the law. (read more)
We’ve had to listen to a lot of wailing from the Gun Lobby about imagined attacks on the Bill of Rights. This is what a real one looks like.
Tucson shooting survivor Patricia Maisch spoke for 90 percent of Americans today. After the Republicans stopped a weak firearm background check bill with a silent filibuster that required a 60-vote super-majority, she called out “Shame on you!” from the Senate gallery. The bill failed despite the support of 54 senators. Only four Republicans voted to break the filibuster (Utah senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee voted to kill the bill).
President Obama commented on the absurdity of this vote:
I’m going to speak plainly and honestly about what’s happened here because the American people are trying to figure out how can something have 90 percent support and yet not happen. We had a Democrat and a Republican -– both gun owners, both fierce defenders of our Second Amendment, with “A” grades from the NRA — come together and worked together to write a common-sense compromise on background checks. And I want to thank Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey for their courage in doing that. That was not easy given their traditional strong support for Second Amendment rights.
As they said, nobody could honestly claim that the package they put together infringed on our Second Amendment rights. All it did was extend the same background check rules that already apply to guns purchased from a dealer to guns purchased at gun shows or over the Internet.
Broadcast and cable networks interrupted regular programming to bring viewers Obama’s remarks, except for the Faux News Channel.
Four Democratic senators voted against the baby-step background check bill, but the filibuster was 100 percent Republican – so they get the blame. Must be used to wearing the black hats by now, anyway.
Gabrielle Giffords: A Senate in the Gun Lobby’s Grip
I watch TV and read the papers like everyone else. We know what we’re going to hear: vague platitudes like “tough vote” and “complicated issue.” I was elected six times to represent southern Arizona, in the State Legislature and then in Congress. I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither. These senators made their decision based on political fear…
UPDATE: Gun Violence Victims Detained, Put Through Background Check For Yelling ‘Shame On You’ At Senators. Imagine that, a background check.
I actually thought they would wait until next year. Nope, the day after the Obama administration issued a budget proposal calling for cuts to Social Security, veterans’ benefits and other programs a key Republican leader previewed next year’s campaign commercials against Democratic candidates.
On CNN, National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) cynically condemned President Obama’s adoption of so-called “chained CPI” as “kind of a shocking attack on seniors.” Because he is head of the NRCC, Walden’s job is to plot strategy to elect more Republicans to Congress.
Remember when the Republicans hypocritically ran and won in 2010 as the saviors of Medicare? Well, the Democrats seem to be letting them get away with basically the same thing AGAIN.
Progressives tried to warn the President that instead of welcoming the adoption of so-called “chained CPI” (a Republican idea!), the GOP would continue to deny him a budget deal and attack him for proposing to cut Social Security. Well, QED.
The latest national survey from Quinnipiac University confirmed something that’s been widely evident in the months since the massacre in Newtown, Conn.: Support for universal background checks is pretty much, well, universal. According to the poll, 91 percent of American voters support background checks for all gun buyers, while a mere 8 percent said they are opposed. The poll also showed 88 percent of gun owners in favor of universal background checks…
Today two things happened:
(1) President Obama eloquently made the case for gun safety legislation that is overwhelmingly popular with the American people.
(2) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that he would not allow any such legislation to be debated or voted on in the U.S. Senate.
UPDATE: RUNNING AWAY: Backers Of Gun Filibuster Duck Interview Requests. Cowardly is the only way to describe this.
The Obama administration’s latest budget, which will be introduced on Wednesday, is expected to include cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and other earned benefit and social safety net programs. The proposal is a pre-compromise designed to placate the 1 Percent, who are not happy about having to pay back the Trust Fund after “borrowing” from it to provide tax cuts for the rich. “The president has no mandate to cut these benefits, and progressives will do everything possible to stop him,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
Now is a good time to review the facts about Social Security, which some may have forgotten. From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (see link for more info):
Fact #1: Social Security is more than just a retirement program. It provides important life insurance and disability insurance protection as well.
In June 2012, 56 million people, or about one in every six U.S. residents, collected Social Security benefits. While three-quarters of them received benefits as retirees or elderly widow(er)s, another 11 million (19 percent) received disability insurance benefits, and 2 million (4 percent) received benefits as young survivors of deceased workers.
Fact #2: Social Security provides a guaranteed, progressive benefit that keeps up with increases in the cost of living.
Social Security benefits are progressive: they represent a higher proportion of a worker’s previous earnings for workers at lower earnings levels.
…In recent years, fewer employers have offered defined-benefit pension plans, which guarantee a certain benefit level upon retirement, and more have offered defined-contribution plans, which pay a benefit based on a worker’s contributions and the rate of return they earn. Thus, for most workers, Social Security will be their only source of guaranteed retirement income that is not subject to investment risk or financial market fluctuations.
Once someone starts receiving Social Security, his or her benefits automatically increase each year to keep pace with inflation, helping to ensure that people do not fall into poverty as they age. In contrast, most private pensions and annuities are not adjusted for inflation or are only partly adjusted.
Media Matters gives us the short version: Liz Cheney: Get Over 2012 And Start Embracing Romneyism. Of course, it was President George W. Bush who originally said “We ought to make the pie higher.”
Cheney’s Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday un-apologetically recycles just about everything that voters rejected in 2012, and claims, without evidence, that “President Obama is the most radical man ever to occupy the Oval Office.”
This is from someone who was part of the Worst Administration Ever, that brought about truly radical right-wing policies from massive tax cuts for the rich to the torture of detainees and an outright war of aggression in Iraq. The Bush administration came close to wiping out the American middle class when the collapse of the financial sector caused U.S. households to lose about $16.4 trillion of net worth.
Jonathan Chait: Liz Cheney Is Even More Bonkers Than We Suspected
Even after four years of bug-eyed right-wing paranoia, Cheney’s op-ed stands out for its utter dearth of the slightest whiff of perspective or factual grounding.
This stuff is getting old. We had legitimate criticisms of the Bush administration’s actual radicalism, and Republicans dismissed it all as “Bush derangement syndrome.” Now prominent Republicans won’t stop ranting about their imaginary “radical” President Obama despite the fact he’s been center-right all along, even to the point of implementing Republican policies. At last year’s GOP convention Clint Eastwood presented a prime-time portrayal of the right-wing, yelling at an empty chair.
PFC Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Alfred Nobel’s will left funding for a prize to be awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
The intent of the prize was to fund this work. As a result of enormous legal expenses, Bradley Manning is in need of that funding (currently $1.2 million).
A record 259 nominations have been received for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, with candidates including PFC Manning and 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai, an education activist who was shot in the head by Taliban militants while on her way home from school in Pakistan. Around 50 of the nominations are for organizations. Last year, the prize went to the European Union for promoting peace and human rights in Europe following the devastation of World War II. Nobel Prize winners are usually announced in October.
It came as no surprise to people concerned about the environment that the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline was shoddy and misleading. It’s been suspected for some time that the fix is in for the Obama administration to approve the pipeline. Andy Kroll of Mother Jones discovered just how badly this is being rigged (emphasis added).
The contractor that produced the bulk of the report was Environmental Resources Management (ERM), an international consulting firm. On the day the State Department published the Keystone impact report, the agency also released a cache of documents that ERM submitted in 2012 to win the contract to produce the Keystone environmental report. That cache included a 55-page filing in which ERM stated it had no conflicts of interests writing the Keystone report.
But there was something strange about ERM’s conflict-of-interest filing: The bios for the ERM’s experts were redacted.
Here’s what those redactions kept secret: ERM’s second-in-command on the Keystone report, Andrew Bielakowski, had worked on three previous pipeline projects for TransCanada over seven years as an outside consultant. He also consulted on projects for ExxonMobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips, three of the Big Five oil companies that could benefit from the Keystone XL project and increased extraction of heavy crude oil taken from the Canadian tar sands.
Another ERM employee who contributed to State’s Keystone report—and whose prior work history was also redacted—previously worked for Shell Oil; a third worked as a consultant for Koch Gateway Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Shell and Koch* have a significant financial interest in the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. ERM itself has worked for Chevron, which has invested in Canadian tar sands extraction, according to its website.
President Obama has the final say regarding the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. He delayed the process until after last year’s election. A final decision on the Keystone XL remains months, if not a year or more, away. Will it be thumbs up or thumbs down?
A residential subdivision was evacuated due to the toxic spill, and Interstate 40 was closed.
When you see the word “grand” in front of the word “bargain,” look out. They are trying to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This is why President Obama is treating right-wingers to lunch and dinner, while ignoring progressives.
After first making nearly all the Bush-Obama Tax Cuts For The Rich permanent, key members of Congress and the White House now say there is a deficit problem that can only be solved by austerity budgets. Well, the last election wasn’t about dismantling our earned benefits programs and the social safety net that Americans have relied on since the New Deal. President Obama is proposing a BAD bargain.
Sign Senator Bernie Sanders’ petition today.
Send a Message to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Boehner: No Budget Deal on Backs of the Elderly, the Children, the Sick and the Poor.
At a time when the middle class is disappearing, poverty is increasing and the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing wider, we demand that the federal budget not be balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable people in our country.
A federal budget that reduces the deficit by cutting cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security and disabled veterans, raising the Medicare eligibility age and lowering tax rates for the most profitable corporations in this country is not a grand bargain. It is a bad bargain.
We oppose the chained-CPI, a new way to measure inflation and consumer prices designed to cut benefits for Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and their survivors.
We demand a budget that puts millions of Americans back to work in decent paying jobs.
We demand a budget that makes sure that the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations pay their fair share.
UPDATE: Rep. Ryan, announcing his budget plan today:
“This to us is something that we’re not going to give up on, because we’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people.”
Definition of a Bushism: when a right-winger accidentally tells us what he really wants to do.