Remember how, earlier this month, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tried to get a kinda-sort credit for being gay-friendly when he hired Roy Cohn Award recipient Richard Grenell to be his go-to guy for foreign policy?Well, even a self-hating[...]
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The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur takes apart the 60 Minutes interview with former CIA torture architect Jose Rodriguez which we posted on earlier here ? Whitewashing Torture, Redux.
I'm quite sure that Rodriguez would never come on the air with someone like Cenk, who unlike Leslie Stahl during her softball interview with this man, who was openly admitting to torture and war crimes on the air, actually articulated the amount of disgust that Rodriguez deserves.
And Cenk's exactly right. This is what happens when you don't prosecute people for their crimes. They end up on television giving interviews trying to sell books instead of landing in a jail cell where they belong. And allowing this to go unpunished means that it will happen again. Sadly, our history in recent decades has proven him right about that already.
(Right Wing Watch)American Family Association director Bryan Fischer is known for his rabidly, head-spinningly anti-gay conspiracy theories?none of which seem to get him booted from media Rolodexes, when they need someone from "the right" to say anti-gay things on television. He was on CNN just last week railing about Richard Grenell, the openly gay Romney adviser who had to resign from the Romney campaign due to those conservative attacks:
During the segment this morning, Fischer said, ?you cannot separate religious liberty from the issue of the homosexual agenda. In fact, the homosexual agenda represents the single greatest threat to religious liberty and association in America today.? [...]Wow, thanks, CNN. I'm really effing glad that a raging, bigoted nutcase can use your network brand to peddle his bigotries and hate speech against one random gay man on Mitt Romney's campaign staff. Good fucking show. What a credit to journalism you are.
?My complaint about Governor Romney all the way along is not that he?s Mormon, but he?s not Mormon enough,? Fischer told Phillips. ?The Mormon Church believes homosexual behavior is sinful and that homosexual acts are offensive to God. So the question that needs to be asked of Governor Romney, do you agree with the teaching of your Church? If you do ? that homosexual acts are offensive to God ? then why have you made the face of your campaign someone who engages in conduct that your own Church says is offensive to God??
I keep bringing this up, but when you ask for commentary from hateful jackass bigots, even knowing full well that they're going to use the airtime to be hateful jackass bigots, you own that. It's not enough for the host to push back gently on how gosh, that sure does sound a little controversial, Mr. Batshit Crazy Person. No. He's still in your rolodex because, apparently, you want him to come on your show and say that stuff.
And now Fischer is giddy over the resignation, thinks this is a "huge win" for the radical right, saying that after this incident he can "flat-out guarantee you" that "there is no way in the world that Mitt Romney is going to put a homosexual activist in any position of importance in his campaign."
Bryan Fischer isn't some conspiracy-mongering nobody having fever dreams about ammo-hoarding and the national security dangers of Teh Gays. I wish he was, but he's not. He gets to go on CNN and attack people. He gets to attack Romney campaign staffers for their suspicious, suspicious homosexuality, and Mitt Romney's campaign has to pander to these clowns by pulling said controversial gay guy from public view. This crackpot conspiracy theorizing is recognized by both media and campaigns alike as the "base" of the Republican Party. CNN treats it as legitimate, and legitimizes those views in front of the nation. Mitt Romney then has to cower to those views, because he is a spineless halfwit whose entire campaign hinges on not pissing these conspiracy theorists off.
(Bryan Snyder/Reuters)First Mitt Romney tried to get the Obama campaign to stop talking about Romney's error in judgment on entering Pakistan to get bin Laden. Then he knuckled under, cried uncle, and praised the president for killing him. Now Romney is explaining himself by saying he only meant that then-Sen. Obama shouldn't have made his position on a major foreign policy matter clear to the public:
?I said that very clearly in the response that I made, but that I thought ? and many people believed as I did ? that it was naive on the part of the president at that time, the candidate, to say he would go in to Pakistan. It was a, if you will, fragile and flammable time in Pakistan and I thought it was a mistake of him ? to announce that he would do this.?He's alluding to his support for former Pakistani President Musharraff:
We do not go out and say to a nation which is working with us, where we have collaborated and they are our friend and we?re trying to support Musharraf and strengthen him and his nation, that instead that we intend to go in there and potentially bring out a unilateral attack.This is another dumb foreign policy blunder on Romney's part. Especially considering what we have seen take place in Pakistan since 2007.
Musharraf, the guy whom Romney said we should support, was subsequently run out of the country under an oncoming impeachment for suspicion of assassinating Benazir Bhutto and other violations of Pakistan's constitution. He is now exiled in London. There is an outstanding warrant for his arrest that Pakistan has forwarded to Interpol.
What Romney is saying is that President Obama shouldn't have announced he would strike unilaterally into Pakistan because it would have damaged relations with Musharraf. In the political turmoil swirling in Pakistan at that time, his decision was to side with the guy that was subsequently run out of the country and remains a fugitive on the lam.
By contrast, what did candidate Obama say about Musharraf at that time?
Musharraf resigned on Aug. 18, 2008, rather than face imminent impeachment proceedings, and two days later Sen. Barack Obama issued a bit of an I-told-you-so.In summary, Romney says we shouldn't have said out loud we would go after Osama bin Laden with or without Pakistan's permission because doing so would hurt Musharraff. But considering how things played out with Musharraff, President Obama's comments were actually exactly the thing that should have been said under Romney's own logic. President Obama insisted on being neutral on Pakistan's internal politics while Romney supported propping up a doomed dictator.
"I argued for years that we need to move from a 'Musharraf policy' to a 'Pakistan policy,'" Obama said in a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention on Aug. 19. "We must move beyond an alliance built on mere convenience or a relationship with one man. Now, with President Musharraf's resignation, we have the opportunity to do just that. That's why I've co-sponsored a bill to triple nonmilitary aid to the Pakistani people, while ensuring that the military assistance we do provide is used to take the fight to the Taliban and al-Qaida in the tribal regions of Pakistan."
Romney's clarification of his comments about entering Pakistan only serves to highlight how wrong his judgment was on an important foreign policy matter.
President Obama today made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to speak with U.S. troops and meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a "Strategic Partnership Agreement." The right-wing media have responded by claiming that the visit constitutes an example of Obama "spiking the football" and "celebrating" the death of Osama bin Laden.
ABC News: President Obama Makes Secret Trip To Afghanistan To Thank Troops, Sign Strategic Partnership Agreement. From a May 1 ABC News blog post:
President Obama has arrived at the Afghan Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan for meetings with President Karzai and to sign the Strategic Partnership Agreement, outlining the U.S.-Afghanistan relationship over the next decade.
The president will then fly to Bagram Air Field to speak with US troops and address the nation in a speech that is scheduled to begin at 7:31:30 ET, and last 10-11 minutes.
The Strategic Partnership Agreement provides the framework for the U.S./Afghanistan partnership after the transition and drawdown of US forces, from 2014-2024. The agreement will detail how the partnership will be normalized as the war comes to an end, senior administration officials told pool reporters traveling on Air Force Once. Afghan forces are scheduled to take the lead on security in 2013, with U.S. troops scheduled to withdrawal from the country in 2014. [ABC News, 5/1/12]
Hannity: Obama's Trip To Afghanistan "Is Political" And Obama Is "Spiking The Football." On his radio show, Sean Hannity claimed that Obama's trip to Afghanistan was "political" and constituted "spiking the football" over the death of bin Laden. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 5/1/12]
Todd Starnes Calls Obama's Afghanistan Visit "Excessive Celebrating" And Predicts He Will "Spike Football" During Speech To Troops. From Todd Starnes' Twitter account:
Hot Air: "Football Spiked: Obama To Address Nation On Bin Laden Anniversary Live From Afghanistan." From a May 1 post by Allahpundit on Hot Air headlined "Football spiked: Obama to address nation on Bin Laden anniversary live from Afghanistan":
The official reason for the trip is to sign the new strategic partnership agreement with Karzai, but of course that doesn't require his physical presence in Afghanistan. We all know why he's there and why he chose today to visit. One word: Scoreboard. [Hot Air, 5/1/12]
Drudge: "Gloating In Afghanistan." The Drudge Report linked to a CNN report on Obama's trip to Afghanistan under the headline "Gloating in Afghanistan":
[Drudge Report, 5/1/12]
CNN: McCain Says That Obama's Trip To Afghanistan Is A "Good Thing" And Doesn't Constitute "Spiking The Football." From a May 1 interview by CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):
Sen. John McCain, who earlier this week leveled harsh criticism at President Barack Obama for what he said was the politicization of the killing of Osama bin Laden, said Tuesday he did not believe the president's trip to Afghanistan was a political move.
"Well I think it's a good thing," McCain said when asked about the president's surprise trip to Afghanistan. "I think it's always good when the president goes to where our young men and women are in harm's way and I think that many of us who have been involved in Afghanistan are very involved in the strategic partnership agreement, which I'm sure he will be talking about, and we think that the agreement is good and we obviously would like to know the details."
On Tuesday, McCain said the president's Afghanistan visit did not constitute "spiking the football."
"No, I don't see it as that," McCain said. "And I wish the president would explain more often to the American people why Afghanistan is important, that Afghanistan not return to a base for attacks on America." [CNN, 5/1/12]
Ari Fleischer: The "GOP Should Not Criticize" President Obama For His Visit To Afghanistan. From the former White House Press Secretary for President Bush, Ari Fleischer's Twitter account:
UPDATE: Per Jennifer Ruben at the Washington Post, Romney threw the gay spokesman to the sharks:
During the two weeks after Grenell?s hiring was announced the Romney campaign did not put Grenell out to comment on national security matters and did not use him on a press foreign policy conference call. Despite the controversy in new media and in conservative circles, there was no public statement of support for Grenell by the campaign and no supportive social conservatives were enlisted to calm the waters.Wow. From the Washington Post's conservative blogger, Jennifer Ruben:
Richard Grenell hounded from Romney campaign by anti-gay conservatives
By Jennifer Rubin
Richard Grenell, the openly gay spokesman recently hired to sharpen the foreign policy message of Mitt Romney?s presidential campaign, has resigned in the wake of a full-court press by anti-gay conservatives.
Pieces in two conservative publications, the National Review and Daily Caller, reflected the uproar by some social conservatives over the appointment. [UPDATE, 4:30 p.m.: Although Grenell also raised the ire of liberal commentators with now-deleted tweets about certain prominent women, none of the sources I spoke with mentioned the tweets as a factor in his resignation decision.]
Mrs. Pastor Steven L. "Zsuzsanna" Anderson has a good reason to hate church nurseries: they kill babies. She knows that as a fact. She witnessed it at church the Andersons attended before Steven received his calling:
Several children that I know of personally have died in that nursery, during the service, and I cannot help but think that being left to scream was at least partially to blame for such tragedies.When wicked, pastor's-wife-undermining commenters wondered why mulitple deaths at a single church nursery wasn't a huge news story, one that they'd have likely read about, Mrs. Pastor Anderson responded:
Evidently, I have chosen not to publish the name of the church I am referring to, and I have my reasons for doing so...Some may wonder why Mrs. Pastor Anderson, who rightly sees herself as God's One True Mother Superior, didn't report this church's nursery to the proper authorities. Well, that just wouldn't be appropriate. God will sort it all out.
I just did a google search for babies dying in a nursery with that particular church's name, and absolutely nothing came up. Obviously, they are not going around broadcasting it...
I am done answering questions about this particular point. If you are that curious, you can poke around my blog to figure out which church I am talking about, then go visit them and see for yourself.
ROMNEY: And the idea to try to politicize this, and to say, “oh, I, President Obama would have done it one way and Mitt Romney would have done it another,” is really disappointing. Let’s not make the capture or killing of Osama bin Laden a politically divisive event. There are plenty of differences between President Obama and myself. But let’s not make up ones based on, “Well he might not have done this.” It’s disappointing and it’s unfortunate and it’s taking an event that really brought America together.
Back in 2004, President Bush ran a smear campaign against challenger Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) which undermined his service in Vietnam and questioned Kerry’s ability and determination to protect the United States — just three years removed from the 9/11 attacks — from another terror strike. “If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again,” then Vice President Dick Cheney said at the time.
And while Romney complains about Obama’s alleged “politicization” now, he willfully participated in the Bush-Cheney smear campaign on Kerry in 2004. During an August 9, 2004 (accessed via Lexis/Nexis) interview on Fox News, Romney suggested that Kerry would “twiddle his thumbs” when dealing with terrorism and in September 2004, also on Fox News, Romney said Kerry is too much of a flip-flopper to protect the country:
ROMNEY: [M]ost has already been said about John Kerry. I think people know pretty well that he’s a guy who has a hard time finding which side of a position to come down on. But I’m going to focus on the fact that our nation needs strong leadership. We’re under attack, militarily, economically. Our very way of life is under attack. And we need to have the kind of steady, strong leadership, which is represented by Dick Cheney, and by of course, President George W. Bush.
In his speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention (RNC) in New York City, Romney said “America is under attack from almost every direction,” later adding, “On the just war our brave soldiers are fighting to protect free people everywhere, there is no question: George W. Bush is right, and the ‘Blame America First’ crowd is wrong.”
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent also notes that during his speech at the 2008 RNC, Romney “blasted Obama as untrustworthy when it comes to combating ‘the threat from radical, violent jihad,’ which he contrasted with John McCain, who, apparently unlike Obama, understands that ‘radical, violent Islam is evil,’ and will do everything he can to defeat it.”
“Republicans are — forgive the cliché — shocked, shocked to discover that a presidential contender is ‘politicizing’ an important national event,” Jon Meacham writes today, noting that Obama’s alleged “politicizing” might be a bit different from what the GOP knows. “In this sense,” Meacham writes, “‘politicizing’ might be best translated as ‘beating us up and we don?t have anything much to say to stop it.’?
A poll taken after the Supreme Court’s highly partisan oral arguments in the Affordable Care Act case but before the Court heard arguments on Arizona’s harsh immigration law finds that public opinion of the Supreme Court has fallen to the lowest point in more than a quarter century:
This poll aligns with numerous other polls showing declining public faith in our increasingly partisan Supreme Court. Indeed, the Roberts Court’s most significant opinion to date — it’s election-buying decision in Citizens United — is so unpopular that more Americans believe in “spells or witchcraft” than agree with the Court’s reasoning in that case.
And, of course, Citizens United is just once of many cases where the Roberts Court’s conservatives placed ideology over the law. The Court effectively immunized corporate America from countless lawsuits in its forced arbitration decisions. It gave them similar immunity to class actions nearly a year ago. And it thumbed its nose at precedent to undermine women’s right to equal work for equal pay and older workers’ right to be free from age discrimination.
Maria Cahill, Miss Delaware 2011, has become the latest pageant contestant to make right-wing news hay by suggesting that, during her run as her state’s representative, she was told it would be better for her not to express her pro-life views while she was representing the Miss America organization.
I can see why the Miss America organizers might think that way. The days of the pageant’s cachet as a mass cultural event are long over?the first hour of the pageant’s been playing to about 2.5 million people, numbers so bad that even NBC couldn’t find a way to spin them. The competition’s been slagged for its retrograde gender politics for years, and having outspokenly conservative candidates might confirm the impression that Miss America is an organization that represents a small ideological segment of the population rather than celebrating the broad-based best of American womanhood.
But one of the reasons beauty pageants seem boring, as laid out Miss Congeniality, which both poked fun at and redeemed the whole concept of pageants, is because they’ve been bludgeoned into bland inoffensiveness:
I’d be way more interested in watching the pageant if the contestants had actual opinions and personalities that were expressed by things beyond their swimsuit choices. I think it would be reasonable if pageant organizers wanted to counsel candidates on the reactions that have greeted contestants with outspoken opinions, left or right, in the past, and had a plan to connect candidates who become controversial with PR advisors who can help them decide what to do. But they shouldn’t advise them not to speak at all.
In any case, Cahill appears not to have heeded the warnings she was given. And she seems well on her way to becoming the kind of conservative spokeswoman she entered beauty pageants precisely to become. The charges that she was silenced seem pretty thin?it sounds more like she was given advice by unnamed people rather than officially shut down by pageant organizers. But it doesn’t take much to let someone present herself as a martyr. If Miss America is really about the best in American womanhood, the contestants should be offering clear and competing versions of that ideal.