Headline of the day goes to Huffington Post: "Harry Reid: Bain Investor Told Me That Mitt Romney 'Didn't Pay Any Taxes For 10 Years'"A couple caveats. Neither Reid nor his office will divulge the name of the Bain investor in question. In fact, Reid[...]
Read The Full Article:
This is one of the most horrifying situations I've ever seen. (Warning: the photos at the link are quite gruesome.) And a military commander stopped a probe to protect his own standing? Organizational politics to an insane degree:
An explosive Congressional investigation revealed horrific new details this week about a U.S. funded military hospital in Afghanistan that kept patients in "Auschwitz-like" conditions.
The investigation also revealed that Lt. General William B. Caldwell, then commander of the $11.2 billion dollar a year Afghan training program, tried to block the probe and ordered a cover-up.
There are currently two ongoing investigations looking into the Dawood Military Hospital abuses: one centered around the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, the other concerned with Caldwell?s politically-motivated decision to delay investigations into the hospital until after the 2010 elections.
What follows is a very disturbing look inside the Dawood National Military Hospital. It was compiled with sworn eye-witness testimony from the three U.S. Army colonels who blew the whistle on the scandal, as well as never-before published photos obtained by BuzzFeed.
The photos and corresponding descriptions were collected by U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan.
Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Preparations for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL, August 27 ? 30, and for the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, NC, September 3 ? 6 are in the final phase. Security is a legitimate and major concern, and law enforcement offices are doing their part, getting all riot geared and militarized.
But apparently the Department of Homeland Security was taken by surprise at how little time remains between now and the RNC?s gathering in Tampa. How else to explain that it was only last week that the DHS asked for bids to purchase riot gear for their officers who will be at the two conventions? From Tampa Bay Times:
In a request issued last week, Homeland Security officials sought bids for supplying 147 sets of riot helmets, upper body and shoulder protectors, shin guards and tactical gloves. The agency also wants to buy a few extra sets of forearm protectors and thigh and groin protectors.
The gear is to outfit officers of the Federal Protective Service, which guards federal buildings and facilities, for the Republican and Democratic national conventions, the 2013 presidential inauguration and other events, according to the request. Time is of the essence: Homeland Security asked bidders for a response within one day of the request being issued, and wants to take delivery within 15 days of the contract being awarded.
Given the geared up levels of security in general, from drones, to riot geared police, to construction of new spy centers, etc., isn?t it kind of odd that DHS would be scrambling with ?rush? orders for events scheduled years out?
More from Susan Stabley at The Charlotte Business Journal:
I also found details on the site for a U.S. Secret Service request for a company that can provide ?perimeter security asset management? at both national conventions.
The federal government gave $50 million to both Tampa and Charlotte for convention security purposes. According to HuffPo, both Tampa and Charlotte police are being selective about what information they release regarding purchases made.
The Secret Service contends that the information is exempt from public scrutiny due to homeland security concerns … .
We do know, according to the same post, that
[Tampa has purchased] … seven Segways, 1,765 handheld radios, 163 vehicle-mounted radios, helmets, face shields and body armor. …
[Charlotte] …has released three pages showing how some of the money has been spent. About $1.7 million was used to upgrade space in its command center, and more than $131,000 was allocated to help expand and equip the department?s motorcycle unit. …
A NY Times says
The Tampa government has paid $57,000 to sublease a lot, which will be open to protesters 24 hours a day, a few hundred feet from the convention center.
Isn?t that nice of them, to provide such a welcoming space for protestors? What?s more, Tampa has an official ?parade? or ?march? route for groups of 50 or more, with neatly slotted 90-minute increments, for which activists must sign-up. A Tampa official said they were ?a little baffled,? with only three of the 28 slots taken.
Numerous reports, including the HuffPo post, note that Tampa has enacted ordinances related to protests which ban everything from water guns to chains, though permitted firearms will be allowed.
Meanwhile, in Charlotte, a coalition of groups is planning Wall Street South actions, and it?s clear that Charlotte has its own ideas about how to keep activists from upsetting Convention goers.
On July 2, the City of Charlotte held their sham ?Free Speech Lottery? to issue permits for a speakers platform and march route that Occupy Charlotte called ?a tour of Charlotte parking lots? and ensures that those who march on this route will not be seen or heard by convention delegates or the bankers Uptown.
I couldn?t find any official Charlotte expressions of bafflement that some people are upset with such restrictions, though of course I could simply be missing it.
How large and how ?controlled? the protests will be in both cities remains to be seen, but both conventions will likely provide the most Occupy and other protest ?coverage? we?ve seen since Zuccotti Park and pepper spraying law enforcement officers. Which means we?ll also get to see officers and their new equipment on display, and probably in action. David Rosen, writing at AlterNet:
The … conventions … will probably witness the mass arrest of many American citizens assembling to exercise their First Amendment rights. …
A political convention is designated a National Special Security Event (NSSE), a category of state security originally established by President Clinton through a classified 1998 directive. …
In an effort to further restrict the rights of ordinary citizens to assemble, the Congress, with bipartisan zeal, moved with speed and stealth to outlaw OWS-types … assemblies on federal property. In March 2012, President Obama signed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 … .
Don?t you love the word games? ?Improvement? as a euphemism for ?control and restrict.?
The need for security is obviously real. The necessity of balancing that with First Amendment rights is also real. The list of indications that police departments are being militarized, that questions of ?police state? are grounded in facts, is long and growing. One more indication, perhaps, is that the Military stands ready if needed at RNC, other conventions.
The efforts in Tampa and Charlotte will be met with resistance, of course. Jim Hightower writes about that in Protecting Political Insiders from Our First Amendment.
The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it?s conformity. What makes America great are courageous folks … who refuse to go along with authoritarians and elites who always demand that we surrender our most basic liberties to protect them from speech they don?t want to hear.
Ryan Grim and Sam Stein have the story over at HuffPo:A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office. "Harry, he didn't pay any taxes for 10 years," Reid recounted the person as saying."He didn't pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that's true? Well, I'm not certain," said Reid. "But obviously he can't release those tax returns. How...
Caravaggio... way smarter than Steve Israel
Monday morning the DCCC was strutting around like a rooster bragging about the campaign to hold Republicans accountable, running an ad (below) called "The Millionaires," against 23 "Republican Members of Congress who are about to vote for another tax cut for millionaires at the expense of the middle class and seniors." Let's not even get into the cynicism of the DCCC backing Blue Dogs who vote with the GOP on this and leave that for the day after the vote itself (when we can replay a tape of Debbie Wasserman Schultz defending anti-family ConservaDems because she's so proud of her "Big Tent party"). From their press release:
With 100 days until Election Day, House Republicans will vote this week to give people making more than $1 million a year another $130,000 tax break, according to the Tax Policy Center, and once again double down on their failed priorities instead of protecting the middle class and seniors. This past weekend, the DCCC held ?Middle Class First? grassroots events in 19 congressional districts to expose Republicans? plans to put millionaires over the middle class.
...The ads will target the following districts:
? Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01)
? Congressman Dan Lungren (CA-07)
? Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10)
? Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-36)
? Congressman Brian Bilbray (CA-52)
? Congressman Steve King (IA-04)
? Congresswoman Judy Biggert (IL-11)
? Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17)
? Congressman Larry Bucshon (IN-08)
? Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06)
? Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04)
? Congressman Jon Runyan (NJ-03)
? Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03)
? Congressman Michael Grimm (NY-11)
? Congresswoman Nan Hayworth (NY-18)
? Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19)
? Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-24)
? Congressman Bill Johnson (OH-06)
? Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
? Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18)
? Congresswoman Kristi Noem (SD-AL)
? Congressman Scott DesJarlais (TN-04)
? Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-02)
? Scott Ellington (AR-01)- (Obama's score: 39%, Dem 2010- 43%)
? Ami Bera (CA-07)- New Dem- (Obama's score: 51%, Dem 2010-43%)
? Jose Hernandez (CA-10)- (Obama's score: 50%, Dem 2010- 35%)
? Raul Ruiz (CA-36)- (Obama's score: 50%, Dem 2010- 42%)
? Scott Peters (CA-52)- New Dem- (Obama's score: 55%, Dem 2010- 39%)
? Christie Vilsack (IA-04)- New Dem- (Obama's score: 48%, Dem 2010- 32%)
? Bill Foster (IL-11)- New Dems- (Obama's score: 61%, Dem 2010- 36%)
? Cheri Bustos (IL-17)- (Obama's score: 60%, Dem 2010- 43%)
? Dave Crooks (IN-08)- Blue Dog- (Obama's score: 48%, Dem 2010- 38%)
? John Delaney (MD-06)- New Dem- (Obama's score: 56%, Dem 2010-33%)
? Teresa Hensley (MO-04)- (Obama's score: 42%, Dem 2010- 45%)
? Shelley Adler (NJ-03)- New Dem- (Obama's score: 51%, Dem 2010- 47%)
? John Oceguera (NV-03)- (Obama's score: 54%, Dem 2010-47%)
? Mark Murphy (NY-11)- (Obama's score: 48%, Dem 2010-)
? Sean Maloney (NY-18)- (Obama's score: 52%, Dem 2010-47%)
? Julian Schriebman (NY-19)- New Dem- (Obama's score: 53%, Dem 2010-45%)
? Dan Maffei (NY-24)- New Dem- (Obama's score: 56%, Dem 2010- 50%)
? Charlie Wilson (OH-06)- Blue Dog/New Dem- (Obama's score: 45%, Dem 2010- 45%)
? Kathy Boockvar (PA-08)- New Dem- (Obama's score: 53%, Dem 2010- 46%)
? Larry Maggi (PA-18)- (Obama's score: 44%, Dem 2010- 33%)
? Matt Varilek (SD-AL)- (Obama's score: 45%, Dem 2010- 46%)
? Shannon Kelley (TN-04)- (Obama's score: 36%, Dem 2010- 39%)
? Paul Hischbiel (VA-02)- New Dem- (Obama's score: 50%, Dem 2010- 43%)
? Rob Zerban vs Paul Ryan (WI-01)- (Obama's score: 51%, Dem 2010- 30%)
? Lee Rogers vs Buck McKeon (CA-25)- (Obama's score: 49%, Dem 2010- 38%)
? Alan Grayson vs ? (FL-09)- (Obama's score: 60%, Dem 2010- new district)
? Wayne Powell vs Eric Cantor (VA-07)- (Obama's score: 44%, Dem 2010- 34%)
? Patsy Keever vs Patrick McHenry (NC-10)- (Obama's score: 42%, Dem 2010- 29%)
? David Gill vs Rodney Davis (IL-13)- (Obama's score: 55%, Dem 2010- 36%)
? Matt Heinz vs ConservaDem Ron Barber (AZ-02)- (Obama's score: 49%, Dem 2010- 49%)
? Beto O'Rourke vs Barbara Carrasco (TX-16)- (Obama's score: 64%, Dem 2010- 58%)
? Chris Donovan vs ConservaDem Elizabeth Esty (CT-05)- (Obama's score: 56%, Dem 2010- 54%)
? Jay Chen vs Ed Royce (CA-39)- (Obama's score: 47%, Dem 2010-33%)
? Darcy Burner vs ConservaDem Suzan DelBene (WA-01)- Obama's score: 56%, Dem 2010-)
? Missa Eaton vs Mike Kelly (PA-03)- (Obama's score: 46%, Dem 2010- 44%)
? Carol Shea-Porter vs Frank Guinta (NH-01)- (Obama's score: 53%, Dem 2010- 42%)
? Ann Kuster vs Charlie Bass (NH-02)- (Obama's score: 56%, Dem 2010- 47%)
? Nate Shinagawa vs Tom Reed (NY-23)- (Obama's score: 50%, Dem 2010- 43%)
? Aryanna Strader vs Joe Pitts (PA-16)- (Obama's score: 50%, Dem 2010- 35%)
? Joe Miklosi vs Mike Coffman (CO-06)- (Obama's score: 54%, Dem 2010- 31%)
? Nick Ruiz vs John Mica (FL-07)- (Obama's score: 49%, Dem 2010- 40%)
? Sue Thorn vs David McKinley (WV-01)- (Obama's score: 42%, Dem 2010- 50%)
? Trevor Thomas vs ConservaDem Steve Pestka (MI-03)- (Obama's score: 50%, Dem 2010- 37%)
? Syed Taj vs a Lyndon LaRouche freak (MI-11)- (Obama's score: 50%, Dem 2010- 39%)
? Pat Lang vs Steve Stivers (OH-15)- (Obama's score: 46%, Dem 2010- 41%)
? Lance Enderle vs Mike Rogers (MI-08)- (Obama's score: 52%, Dem 2010- 34%)
After the mini-press debacle in Warsaw, NBC?s Garrett Haake reports that top Romney strategist Stuart Stevens later held a gaggle with reporters (damage control?) after Romney's speech to push back against the perception the trip hasn?t gone well. The highlights, Haake notes, include Stevens pronouncing the trip a "a great success, generally," and saying that Romney has answered "a lot of questions" on this trip when asked why he hasn't done a press conference. (But is taking three questions outside 10 Downing Street ?a lot of questions?)Well, it's three more than zero, so that's something. But I wonder how even a dedicated Romney staffer can declare the trip "a great success" without buckling over in laughter after saying it. The three noteworthy events of the trip were (1) while in London, questioning the Olympic competence of Londoners, (2) while in Israel, managing to insult both Jews and Palestinians with his observations on how Jews were culturally much better with money than the Palestinians, and (3), admittedly not actually Mitt's fault for once, one of his aides uttering the phrase "Kiss my ass, this is a holy site," which is one of those sentences that pretty much never is a good idea in any real-world circumstance you can think of. All three of them sound like they could have been comedy sketches written to mock a tactless political tourist, but no, the Mitt campaign happily provided them themselves.
So we've got three countries visited, and three campaign gaffes so big that coverage of them overshadowed whatever actual point Mitt was trying to make on that day (we're going to just presume here that Mitt was trying to make actual points during this trip, although what they could have been is a mystery to all). That's the "great success"? Good Lord, what would failure have looked like?
It isn’t a secret that Lana Wachowski of the sibling filmmaking team responsible for The Matrix and V for Vendetta is transgender, but she has now made her first public appearance since transitioning. Joining her brother Andy and director Tom Tykwer in a YouTube clip, the three discuss their exciting new film Cloud Atlas, due out October 26. Though her gender isn’t even part of the video, many have unfortunately used the comments section to express many transphobic thoughts rather than applaud her for her courage and commitment to authenticity. Watch the clip:
The conservative website The Daily Caller will be giving away an FMK 9C1 high-capacity 9mm pistol to whoever can track down the hacker that trolled the site with porn ads on Monday. The gun — which comes specially engraved with the Bill of Rights — will be presented to any reader who can turn over the hacker’s name, allowing The DC “to hold them responsible.” Less tech-savvy readers can also win a gun by providing the “funniest and most inventive ideas” on what Tucker Carlson’s right-wing website “should do with the hacker when we find him.”
Being able to lift 267 pounds is only one of the things that makes 18 year-old British Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith tough. She can also swat down sexist Twitter trolls like they’re flies.
While Smith was preparing to set an Olympic record for Great Britain in the clean-and-jerk event, men (and some women) on Twitter were busy saying she wasn’t attractive enough, or that she was manly, or that there was something wrong with her body because she was so muscular.
So Smith took to her blog to respond:
[We] don?t lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that. What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we?re flattered. But if you don?t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ?manly? muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?! Cause you are clearly the kindest, most attractive type of man to grace the earth with your presence.
Oh but wait, you aren?t. This may be shocking to you, but we actually would rather be attractive to people who aren?t closed-minded and ignorant. Crazy, eh?! We, as any women with an ounce of self-confidence would, prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not feel emasculated by the fact that we aren?t weak and feeble.
Sexism seems to be almost as common as sweat at this year’s Olympics — which has a record number of women participating — from female boxers being asked to wear skirts to differentiate them from the men to women’s teams taking coach while men’s fly first class.
Republicans “should be ashamed” of the voter identification laws being peddled across the country, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) said today. The voter ID laws, Strickland added, are a “threat to democracy.”
In an interview with ThinkProgress, Strickland lambasted the laws — which require citizens to present some form of government-issued photo ID in order to vote — as a concerted GOP effort to suppress voters through a modern day poll tax:
STRICKLAND: The voter suppression efforts that we’re seeing in multiple states across the country is shameful behavior on the part of the Republicans in those states. It’s a national coordinated effort, in my judgement. They are doing it without shame. It is a threat to our democracy. [...] I think every Republican should be embarrassed at what’s happening within their party in terms of trying to deprive Americans of the right to vote. There is no question in my mind they are targeting poor people, and minority individuals, students, and some older people in terms of the requirements they are trying to put in place. [...] And there are minorities in this country that have a history of being deprived their legitimate right to vote, and we used to have the poll tax. In my judgment, requiring a photo ID and some of these other measures that are being suggested are equivalent to enacting a poll tax.
As of 2012, 10 states have put voter ID laws in place, though a full 11 percent of eligible American voters lack government-issued photo ID. Poor, minority, and elderly voters — who usually lean Democratic — are especially likely to fall into that group: 25 percent of African-Americans, 16 percent of Hispanics, and 18 percent of Americans over 65 don?t have photo ID and would be sent away from the polls.
As the Brennan Center for Justice noted in a recent study, advocates of voter ID laws often argue that the requirement does not disenfranchise poor voters because state-issued photo identification is available free of charge. But in nine of the 10 states with voter ID laws, eligible voters must provide supporting documentation — at a significant cost — to then obtain the state-issued ID necessary for voting. And according to Strickland, this kind of deliberate Republican effort to disenfranchise poor voters is, in a word, “shameful.”