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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Amherst. MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 11,703

Journal Archives

GOP Intel Report Debunks Its Own Party's Nutty Benghazi Theories


By KEN DILANIAN Published NOVEMBER 21, 2014, 5:40 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people.

The House Intelligence Committee report was released with little fanfare on the Friday before Thanksgiving week. Many of its findings echo those of six previous investigations by various congressional committees and a State Department panel. The eighth Benghazi investigation is being carried out by a House Select Committee appointed in May.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/republican-benghazi-investigation-debunks-conspiracy-theories-clears-obama-hillary

Obama's plan of action on immigration may derail Republican agenda


Rising Republican hostility toward President Obama's impending immigration plan is as intense as has ever existed between the White House and the GOP.

House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio says the president's executive action — expected to be announced Thursday — will "poison the well" for cooperation with the upcoming Republican-controlled Congress. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky compared it to "waving a red flag in front of a bull." Tea party conservatives have renewed talk of censuring or impeaching the president.

But the strong reaction by Republican leaders has less to do with opposition to the nuts and bolts of the president's immigration policy and more to do with fear and anger that the issue will derail the agenda of the new Republican majority before the next Congress even convenes.

Republican leaders who had hoped to focus on corporate tax reform, fast-track trade pacts, repealing the president's healthcare law and loosening environmental restrictions on coal are instead being dragged into an immigration skirmish that they've tried studiously to avoid for most of the last year.

That's largely because the question of how to handle the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. bitterly divides Republicans, and the party has been unable to agree on an alternative to the president's plan.


Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy to Democrats: Grow a Pair

David Freedlander

In his first term, Dan Malloy enacted a hugely ambitious progressive agenda. This fall, he ran on that record—and won. Now he’s got some advice for his dejected fellow Democrats.

When Dan Malloy was elected governor of Connecticut in 2010, he was the first Democrat to win an open race in the Nutmeg State since 1980. It would have been reasonable to expect, then, something of a cautious approach, one wary of shifting political winds in an otherwise reliably blue state.

Instead, Malloy enacted one of the most ambitiously liberal agendas of any governor in the nation, from higher taxes on the wealthy to a higher minimum wage, guaranteed paid sick leave for workers, protections for gays and immigrants, strict new gun-control laws, looser marijuana-possession laws, allowing the unionization of daycare workers, and outlawing the death penalty.

The result? A 25,000-vote victory out of more than a million cast in Malloy’s reelection bid against Tom Foley.

Now, having barely survived in a race that was not conceded, Malloy has some advice for his fellow Democrats. But first he wants to clear up a few things.



NOM CRATERS: Funding for Anti-LGBT National Organization For Marriage Drops by Over 50%

November 19, 2014 by Stephen Peters

A white-hot spotlight focused on the issue of same-sex marriage over the last few years hasn’t translated into financial success for an organization whose self-proclaimed sole purpose is to “protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.” In a time when virtually every nightly newscast, political debate, even television series delves into discussions about marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, the beleaguered National Organization for Marriage (NOM) can’t seem to raise enough money to cover its expenses. According to analysis of the organization’s 2013 tax filings done by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), NOM raised $5.1 million in 2013, dropping by over 50% since 2012. Just 2 donors accounted for more than half of the organization’s funding – further evidence that everyday Americans have little interest in furthering NOM’s extremist agenda. In addition, the NOM Education Fund also dropped by nearly $3.5 million in funding -- a drop of almost 70% since the previous year. NOM ended the year more than $2.5 million in debt.

“NOM should start figuring out that people aren’t willing to give their hard-earned money to an extremist agenda that's going nowhere,” said Fred Sainz, HRC Vice President of Communications. “If I were Brian Brown, I’d be worried that my two or three mega-donors are soon going to come to terms with the fact that they’d largely be better off flushing money down the toilet. Americans certainly aren’t buying what NOM is selling, and it’s only a matter of time before the trickle of money keeping the lights on at NOM HQ dries up.”

NOM made their 2013 990s available this morning after repeatedly refusing to make them public following their November 17 deadline – a direct violation of federal law. HRC first made an in-person request for the public financial documents on Monday morning and again Tuesday – both times, NOM was unable to produce the documents. Federal law requires organizations to publicly release their 990s the same day an in-person request is made. As a result, HRC filed a complaint with the IRS in order to compel NOM to abide by the law.

A virtually unending series of losses is at the heart of NOM’s financial woes. Since enduring a staggering defeat on Election Day 2012 when voters at the ballot enacted marriage equality in three states and defeated a discriminatory marriage ban in another, the defeats just keep on coming. Over the last year, nearly three-dozen federal court rulings – from judges appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents – have struck down state bans on marriage equality, while only two federal courts have upheld the bans. In the year since NOM released its last annual financial report, the number of states where same-sex couples can legally marry has jumped from fifteen to thirty-three. Today, sixty-two percent of Americans live in states with marriage equality. And the Supreme Court of the United States has allowed federal court rulings granting marriage rights to same-sex couples to become the law of the land in eleven states over the last two years: California, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Indiana, Virginia and Pennsylvania.


House authorizes building of Keystone pipeline

Source: Washington Post

The House easily passed a measure Friday authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, sending it on to the Senate where the issue is expected to come up for a vote on Tuesday.

Lawmakers voted 252 to 161 to approve the project. Thirty-one Democrats, including a handful who lost reelection last week, joined with all but one Republican who voted for the bill. Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), a renegade Republican who frequently bucks his party and top leaders, voted present.

An identical measure is set for debate and a vote Tuesday in the Senate, where Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) forced leaders to permit an up-or-down vote in hopes of settling a long-simmering concern for her state and to help buttress her reelection.

Landrieu faces Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who was the lead sponsor on Friday's House bill, in a Dec. 6 runoff race for her Senate seat.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/11/14/house-passes-keystone-xl-construction-bill/?wpisrc=al_comboPN_p

‘We crossed the line’, US admits to UN anti-torture body


The United States said Wednesday it did not condone torture under any circumstances, but acknowledged to a UN anti-torture watchdog it had “crossed the line” following the September 11 attacks.

“The US is proud of its record as a leader in respecting, promoting and defending human rights and the rule of law, both at home and around the world,” acting US legal advisor Mary McLeod told the 10-member UN Committee on Torture.

“But in the wake of 9/11 attacks, we regrettably did not always live up to our own values,” she said. “We crossed the line and we take responsibility for that,” she said, quoting US President Barack Obama.

McLeod was one of about 30 top US officials gathered in Geneva for Washington’s first grilling by the committee since 2006.


Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/11/we-crossed-the-line-us-admits-to-un-anti-torture-body/

Eyeing 2016, Clinton calls for female empowerment


MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton says she has a “grandmother glow” that’s fueling her campaign for gender equality around the globe.

Clinton spoke Thursday to a convention of women real estate professionals. The potential 2016 Democratic presidential contender is calling on business and political leaders to close the gap between men and women in wages and leadership positions. She says all women should grow up in a world of “full participation and shared prosperity.”

Clinton says new granddaughter Charlotte “has just as much God-given potential as a boy who was born in that hospital on the same day.”

The former U.S. senator is also in Florida promoting her book and helping Democrat Charlie Crist raise money for his gubernatorial campaign against Republican Gov. Rick Scott.


Read more: http://www.salon.com/2014/10/02/eyeing_2016_clinton_calls_for_female_empowerment/

Justice Antonin Scalia: Constitution allows religion to be favored over secularism

02 OCT 2014

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a conservative Christian audience Wednesday that secular arguments about the public role of religion were “absurd.”

“I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion,” Scalia told a crowd at Colorado Christian University.

He said many Europeans nations demonstrate that’s one possible way to run a government, the Washington Times reported, but he said the U.S. system was not set up to promote secular values.

“If the American people want to do it, I suppose they can enact that by statute, but to say that’s what the Constitution requires is utterly absurd,” Scalia said.

As Right Wing Watch reported, Scalia’s comments came the same week many religious conservatives have called on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself from abortion-related cases over recent public comments.


Koch Group In Hot Water Over Misleading Voters With Mailers

By DANIEL STRAUSS Published OCTOBER 2, 2014, 4:38 PM EDT

In the last few weeks before the Nov. 4 midterm elections Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brothers-backed conservative organization plans to spend millions in key senate races through digital mail, door-to-door campaigning and other types of advertising.

Those states include, according to The New York Times which first reported the push, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina, where the group has found itself under fire recently over sending out mailers that included misleading information about voting.

On Tuesday, North Carolina's ABC affiliate reported that "hundreds of complaints" are flooding into the state Board of elections over "hundreds of thousands of mailers with false information about voter registration sent by Americans for Prosperity." That report cited Jenifer Odum, who received a letter addressed to her young daughter who would only be about four years old if she had not died two years ago.

On Tuesday, North Carolina's ABC affiliate reported that "hundreds of complaints" are flooding into the state Board of elections over "hundreds of thousands of mailers with false information about voter registration sent by Americans for Prosperity." That report cited Jenifer Odum, who received a letter addressed to her young daughter who would only be about four years old if she had not died two years ago.

The report is the latest of a string of coverage about the mailers that started with a piece in The Raleigh News & Observer. A before the North Carolina affiliate report Zachary Roth at MSNBC reported that AFP was being investigated over the mailers, which were sent to hundreds of voters in North Carolina and a cat.


Family of Texas Ebola patient ordered to stay home, comply with blood tests

By Amy Ellis Nutt October 2 at 8:03 AM

DALLAS -- Citing "an abundance of caution," Texas and Dallas County health officials ordered four close family members of hospitalized Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan to remain home and not see any visitors to prevent the spread of the disease.

The order was hand-delivered to the family at the Ivy Apartments, in northeast Dallas, on Wednesday night and legally requires the four relatives of Duncan to stay home until at least Oct. 19.

"The order is in place until the incubation period has passed and the family is no longer at risk of having the disease," a news release from Dallas health officials said. The family must also provide blood samples, agree to any other testing and report any symptoms to the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department immediately, including any fever above 100.5 degrees, headache, nausea, diarrhea or abdominal pain.

"We have tried and true protocols to protect the public and stop the spread of this disease," David Lakey, Texas's health commissioner, said in the news release. "This order gives us the ability to monitor the situation in the most meticulous way."

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