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Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign is accusing President Barack Obama of dividing the country when his campaign talks about killing terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.
In a new web advertisement, President Bill Clinton says that Obama chose the "more honorable path" by ordering the 2011 attack that resulted in the death of bin Laden.
"Look, he knew what would happen," Clinton explains. "Suppose the Navy Seals had gone in there and it hadn't been bin Laden. Suppose they had been captured or killed. The downside would have been horrible for him, but he reasoned I cannot in good conscience do nothing."
The ad goes on to ask if Romney would have made the same decision.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul on Friday pushed back by saying the ad was being used to "divide" the country.
"The killing of Osama bin Laden was a momentous day for all Americans and the world, and Governor Romney congratulated the military, our intelligence agencies, and the President," Saul said in a statement.
"It's now sad to see the Obama campaign seek to use an event that unified our country to once again divide us, in order to try to distract voters' attention from the failures of his administration."
In a major speech on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden recalled that Obama had ?made one of the most courageous decisions? he had ever seen a president make by ordering the strike on Osama bin Laden.
?This guy has a got a backbone like a ramrod,? the vice president said. ?For real. For real. On this gut issue, we know what President Obama did. We can?t say for certain what Governor Romney would have done.?
?Thanks to President Obama, bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive,? Biden continued. ?You have to ask yourself had Governor Romney been president, could he have used the same slogan in reverse??
The Associated Press quoted Romney in 2007 as saying that there would be only "a very insignificant increase in safety" if bin Laden were killed.
"It?s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person," Romney reportedly said.
But speaking to Fox News late last year, Romney insisted that "any president" would have given the order to take out the 9/11 mastermind.
"We?re delighted that he gave the order to take out Osama bin Laden," the former Massachusetts governor told host Chris Wallace. "Any president would have done that, but this one did, and that?s a good thing. I?m not going to say everything he?s done is wrong."
(h/t: Talking Points Memo)
Come let's live blog the arrivals and the delicious meal which hopefully will include dessert this year, along with main speaker Jimmy Kimmel and the usual good-natured ribbing from POTUS.[...]
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The U.S. bishops' designated freakazoid-in-chief,
Seattle's Archbishop J. Peter Sartain
"Nuns have always had a different set of priorities from that of bishops. The bishops are interested in power. The nuns are interested in the powerless. Nuns have preserved Gospel values while bishops have been perverting them. . . .
"[T]he Vatican says that nuns are too interested in 'the social Gospel' (which is the Gospel), when they should be more interested in Gospel teachings about abortion and contraception (which do not exist). . . .
"It is typical of the pope's sense of priorities that, at the very time when he is quashing an independent spirit in the church's women, he is negotiating a welcome back to priests who left the church in protest at the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. . . ."
-- Garry Wills, in a NYRB blogpost, "Bullying the Nuns"
You notice how all the big organized religions have "defenders of the faith" like the American Catholic hierarchy's personal buttwipe, Bill Donohue, who rises in righteous indignation anytime his tiny reptile brain perceives -- or imagines -- the slightest public slight to his so-called faith? Of course all Buttwipe Bill really wants is to be Buttwipe of the Bullies.
The insidious thing about these loathsome toadies of the hierarchical top guns is that they never actually perceive anything the masters they worship say or do. So it may just be that Buttwipe Bill really doesn't know that the leading cause of such anti-Catholic feeling as there may be in the world is Catholics, or more particularly the power-mad sociopathic perverts of the Catholic hierarchy.
Starting at the top, of course. Pope Cardinal Ratguts prepared for his ultimate elevation to the Really Fancy Dress by being the scummiest perverter of souls his putrid guts permitted. But in fairness, uniquely qualified though he was for the assignment, he has mostly been continuing the mission of his monstrous predecessor, who under the guise of gee-whiz humility did everything in his power to purge official Catholicdom of every last soul who believed in the teachings of Jesus, everyone down to the lowliest parish priest who saw his job as a calling to uplift humanity rather than to serve the church's demonic Jesus-hating masters in their ritual enslavement of their followers.
So I suppose it was just a matter of time the man in the Vatican's Fanciest Dress declared war on about the only people left in his unholy establishment who don't share his satanic values.
By way of recalling that, contrary to official hierarchical dogma, the pope and his freakazoid henchscum truly don't represent the spirit of all Catholics. Here's Garry Wills's take, in a NYRB blogpost, on the latest chapter in the hierarchy's millennia-old war on women. (Shamefully, I've done some boldface highlighting.)
Bullying the Nuns#
The Vatican has issued a harsh statement claiming that American nuns do not follow their bishops' thinking. That statement is profoundly true. Thank God, they don't. Nuns have always had a different set of priorities from that of bishops. The bishops are interested in power. The nuns are interested in the powerless. Nuns have preserved Gospel values while bishops have been perverting them. The priests drive their own new cars, while nuns ride the bus (always in pairs). The priests specialize in arrogance, the nuns in humility.
There was a vogue, just after the Second Vatican Council, for some Catholics to demonstrate their liberation from Catholic schooling by making fun of nuns, as strict disciplinarians or prissy moralists. I wrote at the time that this was untrue of the many nuns I have known, beginning with the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan, who taught me for five of my grade school years. They taught me the Latin of the old liturgy; Father Sullivan, our pastor, just got angry at words mispronounced or forgotten. The Dominicans never physically punished anyone that I saw or heard of.
They were more supportive of talent than were most of the lay teachers I met in a brief experience of public school. I had no artistic inclinations, but classmates who did were encouraged. The nuns' genuine interest in their pupils can be seen in the fact that my seventh grade teacher kept in touch with me for all the years until her death in 1996. She was Sister John Joseph when I met her, but she recovered her real name after the Council, and as Anne O'Connor congratulated me on anything I wrote. (I would no more have kept up with Father Sullivan than with cholera.)
Anne O'Connor was just the kind of nun the Vatican is now intent on punishing. She had been a social worker before she became a nun, work that she loved and went back to several times as a Dominican. She was quick to shed the old habit (which was designed to disguise the fact that there was a woman somewhere in that voluminous disguising of hair, breasts, and hips), and quick to take back her own name. After she took on several high offices in her order, she became the mother provincial of the California branch of the Dominican order during the 1960s, coping with the changes of that volatile era on her college campuses.
Now the Vatican says that nuns are too interested in "the social Gospel" (which is the Gospel), when they should be more interested in Gospel teachings about abortion and contraception (which do not exist). Nuns were quick to respond to the AIDS crisis, and to the spiritual needs of gay people -- which earned them an earlier rebuke from Rome. They were active in the civil rights movement. They ran soup kitchens.
I saw their regard for the neglected or despised when our grade school had an influx of Mexican immigrants during World War II. The jobs left open when men went into the army were filled by Mexicans coming into the country to fill them. These families were not welcomed by some in the community, but the nuns insisted that their children, our classmates, must be treated as brothers and sisters.
Last week, following an assessment by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican stripped the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, representing most American nuns, of its powers of self-government, maintaining that its members have made statements that "disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals." Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle has taken control of the Conference, writing new laws for it, supplanting its leadership, and banning "political" activity (which is what Rome calls social work). Women are not capable, in the Vatican's mind, of governing others or even themselves. Is it any wonder so many nuns have left the orders or avoided joining them? Who wants to be bullied?
It is typical of the pope's sense of priorities that, at the very time when he is quashing an independent spirit in the church's women, he is negotiating a welcome back to priests who left the church in protest at the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. These men, with their own dissident bishop, Marcel Lefebvre, formed the Society of Saint Pius X -- the Pius whose Secretariat of State had a monsignor (Umberto Benigni) who promoted the Protocols of the Elder of Zion. Pope Benedict has already lifted the excommunication of four bishops in the Society of Saint Pius X, including that of Richard Williamson, who is a holocaust denier. Now a return of the whole body is being negotiated.
None of the anti-Semitic ties of the Pius X crew matter to Rome, since that crew holds to the hard line against women priests, gay marriage, and contraception. They have also retained the Latin Mass, which Rome has been inching back toward. All these things, you see, are the work solely of male hierarchs, distrustful of the People of God -- who are the church, as defined by the Second Vatican Council. Those Lefebvre defiers of the Council are all the things the nuns are not, and all the things Rome wants to restore. The real Gospel must be quashed in the name of the pseudo-Gospel of papal monarchs. Poor Anne O'Connor -- she thought caring for the poor was what Jesus wanted. She did not live to see that what Rome wants is all that matters.
(DonkeyHotey based on a WWII poster)
Democrats and progressives who see labor as just another special interest to be tapped for funds during election season and then negotiated with (or more often, forgotten about) when it comes time to govern have forgotten ... that unions represent millions of working Americans, struggling under the weight of austerity policies and a stagnant economy, who are getting increasingly fed up with their treatment by politicians.Sarah Jaffe's point here is one that's especially important as election season heats up. While unions are crucial to electing Democrats?at least, ones who will represent workers with some regularity?and while electing politicians who will support pro-worker legislation is crucial to unions' mission to represent their members, politics isn't most of what unions do.
?Most people's idea of a union is what we do politically. Let's face it, politics is now a 365-day-a-year sport, so that tends to get most of the focus. It's not sexy to talk about somebody's 4 percent raise or somebody who just got health care for the first time,? Jason Perlman of the Ohio AFL-CIO told AlterNet.Unions aren't above criticism, of course, but it's important to remember in assessing their electoral work that electoral work is not what unions exist to do and that the Democratic party is not their top priority. They exist to represent working people?their members, people who might become their members, non-union workers in the industries they represent whose wages and working conditions are tied to those of union members. Their day-to-day work is in those "grinding organizing campaigns and lengthy negotiations with management," in representing members with grievances, making sure workers facing discipline get due process, in fighting for laws that will give working people, union and non-union, a little more power in the workplace.
Most of those little victories -- those 4 percent raises and new contracts with health care benefits -- are won day by day, inch by inch, in grinding organizing campaigns and lengthy negotiations with management. They don't make headlines the way a multimillion-dollar ad buy does. As Perlman pointed out, unions are workers' organizations that do politics, not political organizations.
Ted Nugent is performing at Arizona ‘s Pima County Fair on the Budweiser Stage on Saturday April 28th. I wonder if Ted, who likes to refer to himself as a law-abiding citizen, knows an important fact about the Pima County Fair? Weapons are not[...]
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‘Tis the season to get all political. So I’ve decided to devote what little optimism I have for US politics to helping Elizabeth Warren get elected. I am running a fan fundraiser page for Elizabeth Warren for all the obvious reasons: she is a class act with tons of great experience, she is a progressive whose opinions I share on most issues, and her presence will not only raise the IQ in the US Senate, but will also raise the GQ (Gender-equality quotient). On top of that, if I can bring in enough supporters through Rally.org, I might win a free pass to Netroots Nation, taking place here in Providence in June. Size of donation does not matter, only number of supporters I am able to rally to support her. So please, support Elizabeth Warren and perhaps we will all win. Kiersten Marek’s Rally Page for Elizabeth Warren.
Who ever thought TSA raids on public buses was a good idea? When you've pushed Texans too far with so-called national security, you should know that you've gone much too far. (And yes, Houston is mostly a Democratic city though it's still conservative compared to other parts of the country.)
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I guess John Boehner believes that whoever yells the loudest wins, because he decided to throw another temper tantrum on the floor of the House this Friday -- John Boeher On ?War On Women?: ?Give Me A Break?:
House Speaker John Boehner channelled his inner John Stossell Friday on the House floor when he sounded off on Democratic rhetoric pointing to the House GOP?s legislative agenda and finding a ?war on women.?
?And now, now we are going to have a fight over women?s health,? Boehner said. ?Give me a break. This is the latest plank in the so-called war on women. Entirely created, entirely created by my colleagues across the aisle for political gain.?
Steve Benen has more on what Boehner and the Republicans could do if they're really concerned about their problem with women voters -- Boehner can make this subject go away:
House Republicans this week said they would agree to keep student loan interest rates at their current level, but only if they're allowed to gut spending on preventive health care to finance the costs. The White House balked, but the GOP didn't care -- today, the Republican bill passed, 215 to 195, largely along party lines.
Several Democratic lawmakers noted the impact the GOP health care cuts would have on women's health, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who's apparently grown a little sensitive to talk about the Republican "war on women," threw a bit of a tantrum on the House floor during the legislative debate.
I can appreciate why Boehner doesn't want to talk about the negative impact Republican policies are having on women, but I'd remind the Speaker that the quickest way to change the conversation is for Republicans to stop pursuing policies that have a negative impact on women.
In this case, rather than simply helping students because it would be good for them and the economy, Boehner's caucus decided to play a cheap little game -- they'll keep interest rates low only if they take funding from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which has nothing to do with student loans. [...]
Boehner can shout, point, and pound the podium to his heart's content, but if he doesn't want to be criticized for Republican measures that undermine women's health, he should change his party's agenda, not whine about Democrats shining a light on that agenda.
And as Steve noted, here's more from the White House on the real impact their demands would mean for women's health:
On July 1, unless Congress acts, interest rates will double for more than 7.4 million students with federal loans. Fortunately, even though they voted just weeks ago in lockstep to allow this increase, Republicans in Congress have come around on the issue since President Obama took it to the American people ? claiming they?re ready to step up and stop the rate hike. Unfortunately, rather than work together to ensure interest rates on student loans don?t double, they have decided to re-fight old political battles, proposing to eliminate the health care law?s Prevention and Public Health Fund to pay for this important reform. This proposal would put women?s health at risk. And fighting old political battles won?t protect students and young people from major rate hikes.
Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund would have a devastating effect on women?s health and our work to prevent disease and illness. Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund would mean:
- Hundreds of thousands of women could lose access to vital cancer screenings. Prevention Fund resources are expected to help more than 300,000 women be screened for breast cancer in 2013 and more than 280,000 be screened for cervical cancer.
- Programs that help to prevent congenital heart defects, prevent fetal alcohol syndrome, and promote early identification and intervention efforts for children with developmental delays and disabilities could be eliminated.
- Tens of thousands children could lose access to immunizations.
These are just a few of the important ways the Prevention and Public Health Fund will help keep millions of Americans healthy. Keeping college affordable for America?s students should not come at the expense of putting women?s health at risk.
Heaven knows we can't have anyone raising taxes on the oil and gas companies to pay for the extension instead as the Democrats proposed to do. No, Boehner and his cohorts want to take it out on the backs of the poor and the working class and children and their access to health care.
As we near the end of Earth Week, here's a reminder of the connection between a healthy environment and healthy humans, and how the simplest advances make the biggest difference.
The toilet is a magnificent thing. Invented at the turn of the 19th century, the flush version has vastly improved human life.
The toilet has been credited with adding a decade to our longevity. The sanitation system to which it is attached was voted the greatest medical advance in 150 years by readers of the British Medical Journal.
Unfortunately it is an impractical luxury for about two- thirds of the world's 7 billion people because it relies on connections to water and sewerage systems that must be built and maintained at great expense. About 40 percent of all people, an estimated 2.6 billion of them, have no access to even a minimally sanitary facility, according to the World Health Organization.
The result is illness and early death. Diarrheal diseases, including those linked to improper sanitation, are the second largest killer in the developing world, taking 2 million lives annually. A cholera outbreak in Haiti, which has so far killed more than 7,000, for instance, apparently began when sewage from a base housing Nepalese peacekeepers contaminated a water source.
Vaccines and medicines against these diseases help. But the ultimate solution is to address the problem at its root.
Doing so requires reimagining the toilet. First, new designs are required for toilets that are hygienic, pleasant, and cheap to make and use, and that work without being connected to a grid. Because such a facility would have to be periodically emptied, ideally excretions would be treated not as waste but either recycled on site or turned into profitable resources.
Among the designs being developed by eight university teams funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are several that divert and capture urine, from which water can be recovered. Others produce energy from excrement by turning it into charcoal or gas. Governments and universities should fund similar grants aimed at encouraging additional innovative toilet redesigns.
The Gates Foundation requires that the overall cost of a future toilet, including maintenance, not exceed 5 cents per user per day -- a price developing world consumers can afford. That would enable the private sector to step up production and distribution once practical new models have emerged. Cities would have to build a new generation of waste-processing centers, but the investment would quickly pay for itself. A World Health Organization study suggests that every dollar devoted to improving sanitation and drinking water produces economic benefits ranging from $3 to $34, because of health-care savings, deaths averted, and improved productivity and school attendance.
Because operating a toilet will ultimately cost individuals a little money, the uninitiated -- the 1.1 billion people who defecate in the open -- will have to be persuaded of the benefits. This will require huge education and advocacy efforts, for which UN agencies and nongovernment organizations that deal with the world's poor have proved to be well-suited, based on their rollout of HIV drugs, for instance.
For gridless sanitation to be economical, commerce needs to flourish around the collection and treatment of excrement. Government agencies and charitable business associations could help by offering local businesses small grants, loans and expert guidance to encourage this enterprise. One model is the U.S.- based Acumen Fund, which offers loans to or equity in companies that provide consumers in the developing world with essential needs. In 2004, the fund invested $600,000 in WaterHealth International, established to bring safe drinking water to rural Indians, and today the company serves more than 5 million people.
More than anything, these potentially helpful actors must go beyond recognizing sanitation as an issue and embrace it. So far, squeamishness has been an impediment. As a result, other public health causes have claimed greater attention and funding.
According to an annual report by the George Institute for Global Health, of the money spent on research and development of new products for diseases that disproportionately affect the developing world, AIDS accounts for 39 percent, malaria 18 percent and tuberculosis 15 percent. Diarrheal diseases get 5 percent, though they cause more morbidity and mortality than anything but lower respiratory infections, mostly pneumonia (which attracts a lousy 3 percent of the research total).
Bad sanitation is a problem not so hard to solve, if only we devote ourselves to spreading the wonders of the toilet.
The technology for non-water toilets is not even new; I first read about composting toilets thirty years ago and actually used them in desert national parks twenty years ago. They are clean, odor-free, easy, effective and inexpensive over the long term. What's not to love?
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There are two resources you should keep your eye on in interpreting the current positions of the defenders of large military budgets.The first is the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College and the other is the Project for National[...]
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