Today, Erroll Southers announced he was withdrawing his name from consideration for the TSA head post, amid criticism from Republicans.
Specifically, Jim DeMint.
Here's what the leader of the NO-ALL-THE-WAY fraction had to say about it:
Americans deserve a leader at TSA with integrity and with an unwavering commitment to putting security ahead of politics. The White House never responded to requests for more information relating to Mr. Southers false testimony to Congress and his censure by the FBI for improperly accessing files. And Mr. Southers was never forthcoming about his intentions to give union bosses veto power over security decisions at our airports. TSA screeners can already join unions, but collective bargaining would force TSA officials to ask union bosses for permission to make critical security changes. The Senate could have had an open and transparent debate this week to approve Mr. Southers, but apparently, answering simple, direct questions about security and integrity were too much for this nominee. I hope the President will quickly put forward a new nominee that is fully vetted and that will put the safety of the American people first.
Southers, the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department Assistant Chief for Homeland Security and Intelligence, said in a statement that though he'd been "extremely excited about the opportunity" to head the TSA, "it is apparent that this path has been obstructed by political ideology" and that his "nomination has become a lightning rod for those who have chosen to push a political agenda at the risk of the safety and security of the American people."
The reference to what Southers called an "unacceptable" and "partisan" climate was intended as a shot against Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, who had repeatedly questioned whether Southers would allow TSA?s security screeners to unionize.
Now, for a senator to act so stupidly because he's focus on a single issue - unions - and trying to appease his base, it leads to the spot to be vacant even longer. Hence, no oversight.That's what DeMint likes. A paycheck from you taxpayers for doing nothing.
Dominionist, evangelical Christians regaling in only-through-christ craziness, fighting against liberty in secular America, are always free to leave and form their own Christian colony where they can wage war and try to convert the unbelievers.
We know the religions right has veto power in today's Republican party, bringing us the intellectual heft of Sarah Palin and the Bush-Cheney stewardship of the U.S. Constitution.
We know the GOP religious operative James Dobson's charming Focus on the Family ('hey, beat your children, parents!') and rightwingers' escalation of misogynistic rhetoric in the sporting world, as documented in Tom Krattenmaker's Onward Christan Athletes (Rowman & Littlefield).
But most disturbing and dangerous is control in the U.S. military by the evangelical Christians. We're not there yet, but too goddamn close for comfort. Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and millions of Americans certainly object. [I told Weinstein in an aside recently that religious whacks genuinely "frighten me." Weinstein's curt, somewhat scolding response: "Scare 'em back. Make them frightened."]
Weinstein and MRFF just broke a major story that the military contractor, Trijicon, inscribed with secret Bible references 1,000s of gun sights used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Brilliant move, that will assure Islam of American commitment to pluralism and democracy, no crusades here.
As ABC News reported Monday, the sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. The maker of the sights, Trijicon, has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide sights to the U.S. Army.
Here's a letter that was sent to Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation by an active duty American soldier about those Bible verses on rifle scopes that demonstrates why the issue matters -- and how far the pentagon has to go to rid the military of this scourge of officers who view themselves as soldiers for (the Christian) God rather than as representatives of the United States.
To: Mikey Wienstein and MRFF:
I am a U.S. Army infantry soldier with the rank of (rank withheld). I am married with children. I am stationed at Fort (installation name withheld). I have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times. I have been awarded medals for direct combat engagement as well as for injuries and wounds received in hand-to-hand combat. I am a Muslim American. My family converted when I was very young. I am caucasian and have a last name that does not sound ethnic.
Therefore, few of my fellow soldiers know that I am a Muslim. My wife comes from a Christian tradition but rarely practices or attends church. I have witnessed terrible religious persecution in the my (number withheld) years in the Army. Most of it comes from ?angry? conservative Christians in my unit chains of command and occasionally from my fellow infantry soldiers. I am very familiar with the Trijicon ACOG gunsights and have often had them as part of my personal weapons; both my M-4 and my M-16.
In my first 2 deployments I saw and experienced no incidents regarding the New Testament bible quotes that are written on the metal casing of the gun sights. Many soldiers know of them and are very confused as to why they are there and what it is supposed to mean. Everyone is worried that if they were captured in combat that the enemy would use the bible quotes against them in captivity or some other form of propaganda. As an American soldier I am ashamed that those bible quotes are on our primary weapons. As a Muslim American I am horrified. As one who swore his oath to the Constitution, I am driven to fight this Christian insanity but I know if I try to do so in a visible way that I will suffer at the hands of my military superiors.
I am of low enlisted rank and can be crushed easily. I am prepared to suffer, but I am not prepared for my wife and children to suffer. So I have reached out to MRFF because there is nowhere else safe to go to try to fight this thing of disgrace. There are many other soldiers who feel as I do. Many are Protestant and Catholic and they fear reprisal just as much as I do for trying to stand up to the Christian bullies in uniform who outrank us. But if you try to fight back, you are not ?asking? for trouble, YOU ARE IN TROUBLE from the start. And if you are a Muslim American, the hatred is always just below the surface and ready to explode at a moment's notice. After the Fort Hood shootings, it was so bad, even for a low profile Muslim like me, that I had to ask MRFF for help.
Nothing in my first 2 deployments prepared me for what happened with the Trijicon ACOG gun sights during my 3rd deployment to Afghanistan. I will never forget the day it occurred. It was morning and there was a mandatory formation of several companies. A very senior NCO was yelling at us which is not that unusual. He asked a private what it was that he (the private) was holding in his hand and the private said it was his ?weapon? several times to which the senior NCO replied ?and what ELSE is it??
Finally, the senior NCO said that the private's rifle was also something else; that because of the biblical quote on the ACOG gunsight it had been ?spiritually transformed into the Fire Arm of Jesus Christ? and that we would be expected to kill every ?haji? we could find with it. He said that if we were to run out of ammo, then the rifle would become the ?spiritually transformed club of Jesus Christ? and that we should ?bust open the head of every haji we find with it.? He said that Uncle Sam had seen fit not to give us a ?pussy 'Jewzzi' (combination of the word 'Jew' and Israeli made weapon 'Uzi') but the ?fire arm of Jesus Christ? and made specific mention of the biblical quotes on our gun sights. He said that the enemy no doubt had quotes from the Koran on their guns but that ?our Lord is bigger than theirs because theirs is a fraud and an idol?.
As a Muslim and an American soldier I was fit to be tied but I kept it in. There were many Afghans, both civilian and military, on base within earshot of what was being yelled at us and I can only wonder in shock what they must have thought. This senior NCO was apparently also the head person of a conservative, crazy Christian group called the ?Christian Military Fellowship? and made a big deal about the importance of joining to everyone. He told us all that we MUST read a book called ?Under Orders? in order to make it through this combat deployment and said he had many copies for everyone. Some of my friends went and got their copies. I refused. Finally, this senior NCO ended his yelling by warning us that if we did not ?get right with Jesus? then our rifles would not provide spiritual strength despite the bible quotes on our ACOG gunsights and that we would be considered ?spiritual cripples? to our fellow units and soldiers. He didn't say it in so many words, but the message was clear; if anything bad happened in a combat situation, it would be the fault of anyone who had not accepted Jesus Chris in the ?right way?. I have never felt so ashamed and scared in my life.
I have never hated myself so much for not speaking out. So I thought of my wife and children and endured. Every time I looked at my rifle with that Trijicon ACOG gunsight/scope with the biblical quote from the book of John (8:12), it would make me sick. If I had tried to protest, it would have made me dead. And if I'm dead I'm of no use to my wife and children.
Seeking dedicated individual. Interest in Drug Policy reform and Constitutional Rights a must.Applicant must LIKE meeting people, be willing to shake hands in front of Fenway Park.Massachusetts Law License required, Criminal Defense experience[...]
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A GOP sex and money scandal involving Senator John Ensign is now the subject of a criminal investigation:
The Justice Department has begun a preliminary investigation into actions by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), who arranged to provide money and career assistance to the husband of his mistress, sources familiar with the case said Tuesday.There's probably some secret Senate rule that would allow Ensign to keep filibustering even if he's in jail.
The tentative investigation is being run jointly by the Justice Department, the FBI's Washington Field Office and the U.S. attorney's office in the District, one federal law enforcement official said.
Ensign acknowledged last year that he had an extramarital relationship with former staffer Cynthia Hampton and that his parents paid nearly $100,000 to Hampton and her husband, Doug, as a gift. Doug Hampton has also told reporters that Ensign knowingly ignored ethics restrictions by helping him get a lobbying job and access to federal officials, according to news reports.
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On January 9th, Public Policy Polling released a poll showing Scott Brown with a one-point lead in the Massachusetts Senate race. That set off alarms bells for me -- and should have for every Democratic leader. I wrote a post about that poll here, noting that I have great respect for PPP. The firm was the only pollster to nail the results in the Maine marriage referendum. And, PPP got it right again in Massachusetts. Its last poll showed the race at 51% - 46%. So, I think we all need to pay attention to what Tom Jensen found from his Mass. polling:
Here are my biggest takeaways from tonight's results:Now, Jensen and PPP aren't part of the DC-insider crowd, which means the professional Democrats will probably ignore him. But, they do so at their own peril.
-This was a repudiation of Barack Obama. Certainly Martha Coakley was a bad candidate and ran a terrible campaign but that doesn't change the fact that we found Obama's approval rating at only 44% with the electorate for today's contest, a huge drop from the 62% of the vote he won in the state in 2008. Brown won over 20% of the vote from people who cast ballots for Obama in 2008, and we found that most of those Brown/Obama voters were folks who no longer approve of the job the President is doing. And in one of the bluest states in the country barely 40% of voters expressed support for the Democratic health care bill.
-Republicans win when they nominate mainstream candidates. Among voters who thought that Scott Brown was either a liberal or a moderate, he won 79-18. Among voters who thought that he was a conservative Coakley won 63-32. There are certain places where the GOP can get away with running far right candidates but they aren't the places where they're going to need to win to get the House back this fall and the White House back in 2012. Brown didn't come across as an ideological extremist and that helped him win over a lot of people who never would have voted for John McCain or George W. Bush- and sure won't vote for Sarah Palin.
-Voters hate both parties right now and that's to the GOP's advantage. One of the most remarkable things about Brown's victory is that it comes even though only 22% of voters in the state have a favorable opinion of Congressional Republicans, with 63% viewing them unfavorably. He was able to overcome that because almost 20% of voters held a negative opinion of both Congressional Democrats and Congressional Republicans. And with those folks Brown had a 72-24 advantage over Coakley, reflecting the reality that in a time when voters are disgusted with all politicians they'll vote for the one that's out of power.
This couldn't happen in Britain, it simply wouldn't be possible for a moment:
Beck: Well, the media may be surprised, but I'm not. I think the days when people vote for Democrats or Republicans no matter what -- you know, if it's an R or a D, I'm just gonna pull it -- I think we're seeing the end of those days. For so long, we've bought into the Rs and the Ds -- you know, we're really at a one-party system at this point. We needed to identify ourselves as one or the other, even though it didn't really make a difference. And that label was much more important than the real label we all should have been wearing, and that is, American.Am I reading this wrong, or is he now claiming that it is American to be a conservative?
Progressives have put their agenda now into hyperdrive, and it is so crystal clear that their final goal is anything but American.
What a difference a year makes, huh?