Sunday, February 28, 2010


Mock burial as a torture technique. Aren’t you proud?
[Marcy Wheeler] CIA’s torturers asked DOJ to let them use mock burials. But DOJ said no.

PDF page 42 of the OPR Report includes a list of the torture techniques that Mitchell and Jessen recommended be used with Abu Zubaydah. Whereas the Bybee Two Techniques memo approves ten techniques, Mitchell and Jessen recommended twelve. In other words, Mitchell and Jessen asked for two techniques to be approved that did not get specific approval. . . .

Goldsmith viewed the Yoo Memo itself as a “blank check” that could be used to justify additional EITs without further DOJ review. Although Yoo told us that he had concluded that the mock burial technique would violate the torture statute, he nevertheless told the client, according to Fredman and Rizzo, that he would “need more time” if they wanted it approved.

The twelfth technique–which Mitchell and Jessen wanted approved but which Yoo excluded because of the rush to approve waterboarding–is mock burial. . . .

[NB: Yes, you read that correctly -- Yoo said that it did violate the torture statute, but that given some time he could find a way around that.]

Did they do it anyway?

The missing Yoo e-mails: evidence of a cover-up?

Obama to add even more Republican ideas to health care bill (of course they still won’t vote for it)


Ben Nelson (D-NE): tool of the insurance industry
[Politico] Nelson quietly urged Democratic leaders to reject Feinstein’s effort to include in the Senate health care bill a proposal empowering federal authorities to block high rate increases by health insurers . . . [read on]

A new approach on climate change legislation?

Guess, what? The Republicans don’t want to cut spending!-Republicans-in-disarray,-dont-really-want-to-cut-spending.

Jim Bunning gives the Dems a big fat target by blocking unemployment benefits
Incensed over a decision by Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, to stand between jobless Americans and extended unemployment benefits, a group of Democrats took to the floor in a late-night session Thursday to hold Mr. Bunning’s feet to the political fire.

They castigated him, forced him to repeatedly affirm his objection and reminded him of bleak unemployment numbers in his home state. Mr. Bunning, a gruff 78-year-old baseball Hall of Famer, was aggravated to the point where he was overheard swearing on the Senate floor and complaining he had been ambushed.

He did not budge on his objection. But Democrats said that staying late was well worth the effort since they were able to put a face — Mr. Bunning’s — on what they called a case of Republican obstruction and show in a more graphic manner how business was being conducted, or not, in the Senate. [read on]


Virginia Foxx (R-NC): in an ugly, hateful party, she’s in a league of her own

Michael Steele thinks he’s a very clever guy
Michael Steele Calls the Health Care Summit a "Death Panel for the Democrats This Fall"

Republicans try to domesticate the teabaggers

Oh, good – a new nitwit on Fox News to make fun of

The media we have

Sunday talk show line-ups
• ABC, This Week: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

• CBS, Face The Nation: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND).

• CNN, State Of The Union: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

[NBC Meet the Press] This Sunday: Exclusive! Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

[Steve Benen] I especially enjoyed the "Exclusive!" with the exclamation point, as if this were a rare, special occurrence -- instead of McCain's fourth "MTP" interview since March.

For those keeping score, this will be McCain's 20th appearance on a Sunday morning talk show since Obama's inauguration. That's an average of 1.5 appearances a month, every month, for over a year -- more than any other public official in the country. . . . [read on]

Bonus item: A trip down memory lane . . .
"The idea that it is outside the rules to proceed within the rules is a very unique view on the rules... The point is this: If you've got 51 votes for your position, you win."

-- Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), defending the use of the budget reconciliation process to pass legislation in 2005.

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I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Oh, criminy
[Kevin Drum] The path forward for healthcare reform is now widely agreed on: pass the existing Senate bill through the House, and then tack on a package of changes negotiated between the House and Senate that can be passed through both chambers on a simple majority vote via the budget reconciliation process. Simple. Except for one thing: who goes first, and what gets passed when? . . . [read on]
Not Budging: After Summit, Pelosi Says Health Care Is In Senate's Court
Why the House wants the Senate to go first on HCR


Last night I realized something that is being misunderstood about reconciliation, and needs to be cleared up – and this morning Steve Benen makes the same point. Once again the Dems (and the press) are swallowing a GOP framing that needs to be resisted. The Dems are NOT using reconciliation to pass a major reform bill. The moment the House votes to pass the current Senate bill, that has happened. The use of reconciliation is to make budgetary modifications to that bill, many of which (like cutting the Ben Nelson sweetheart deal) are actually quite popular, if anyone was bothering to cover them in detail. That budgetary use of reconciliation is absolutely standard practice

The press, as usual, has to bend the facts to get to a “plague on both their houses” version of the health care summit

The right version:
[Ezra Klein] The big story out of the summit is not that Republicans and Democrats extended their hands in friendship, but that the White House has dug its heels into the dirt. The Democrats are not taking reconciliation off the table, they are not paring back the bill, and they are not extricating themselves from the issue. They think they're right on this one, and they're going to try and pass this legislation. . . . [read on]

What the Republicans are offering those without health insurance: nothing

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

How the Republicans will try to gum up the works to prevent anything from passing

HOW did this slip past DOJ investigators?
Large batches of e-mail records from the Justice Department lawyers who worked on the 2002 legal opinions justifying the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation techniques are missing, and the Justice Department told lawmakers Friday that it would try to trace the disappearance. . . [read on]
An internal Justice Department report on the Torture Memos noted that investigators were told that key emails from John Yoo had been deleted and could not be retrieved. But several former DOJ staffers expressed intense skepticism that the emails could in fact have been rendered unrecoverable -- at least without a deliberate effort to destroy them. . . . [read on]
The National Archives has written to the Justice Department, looking for answers on the question of John Yoo's missing emails -- and has given the department 30 days to respond. . . .


Just because the OPR didn’t recommend disbarment for Yoo and Bybee doesn’t mean state bar associations can’t still consider it. Now they’ll have to

Why can’t the Dems make the Repubs pay a political price for blocking unemployment benefits?

Bonus item: Compassionate conservatives
[Digby] The leader of the Republican Party and the leader of the Tea Party disagree about Louise Slaughter's comments at the health care summit yesterday.

Limbaugh: "If you don't have any teeth, so what? What's applesauce for?"

Beck: "I've read the Constitution ... I didn't see that you had a right to teeth"

There you see the big split between the two factions. Limbaugh is making the GOP conservative argument that one should be self-sufficient and eat soft food if they can't afford to get your teeth fixed. Beck is making the teabag constitutional argument that if something wasn't specifically written into the constitution then no government official is allowed to even discuss it.

Will they ever be able to find common ground?

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I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Friday, February 26, 2010


Well, that certainly cleared some things up. When the minority party's negotiating stance is, “throw away everything that’s been worked on for the last year, start with a clean sheet of paper, and build your proposal around OUR core ideas,” you know things are going nowhere. Time for reconciliation
If there was any question about how deeply divided Republicans and Democrats are about how to reshape the American health care system, consider that they spent the first few hours of President Obama’s much-anticipated health care forum on Thursday arguing over whether they were in fact deeply divided.

The forum played out with Mr. Obama serving as moderator, M.C. and chief defender of Democratic policy prescriptions. He and his fellow Democrats tried to make the case that the two parties were closer than they thought. . . Republicans countered that the gap was vast, the bill out of touch with what the country wanted, and that Mr. Obama should throw it out and start over. . . .
[McJoan] As expected, there is no chorus of kumbaya coming out of the summit. The Republicans still insist upon starting over . . .
[Christina Bellantoni] President Obama challenged Republicans to do some "soul searching" on whether they will support the Democratic health care plan, using the final moments of his health care summit to ask them to put up or shut up. . . .
[Greg Sargent] Obama listened politely for six hours, with occasional flashes of temper, but in the end, the message was clear: It’s over. We’re moving forward without Republicans. . . .


Before the meeting was even over . . .
Boehner Rips Health Care Plan In Statement Sent Mid-Summit
[Brian Beutler] Surprise! Health care bipartisan ain't going to happen. . . .

As governing, an infuriating exercise in futility – as theater, well, it had its moments. Obama had some pretty good comeback lines
[Josh Marshall] Sen. Alexander (R-TN) is laying out the Republican line right now, insisting that for today's Health Care Summit to be a real exercise, President Obama has to agree not to pass any bill in the Senate with a majority vote. A lot of this is just nonsense about the filibuster. But there's a key issue here that the Senate Republicans are simply being dishonest about. And I fear most of the reporters down in on the scene are going to fall for it. The argument Alexander is making is that the Democrats back in 2005 stood against what the Democrats are trying to do now to pass Health Care Reform. This is simply false. And he knows it. . . .
Sen. Alexander (R-TN) was so full of it in his argument with President Obama about whether premiums will go up under reform that even the AP says he's wrong. When they're calling it, you know it's gotta be bad.

Obama hit him on it too. See the video here. . . .
McCain, facing a tough primary challenge from the right, used Republican talking points about "special deals" which are no longer in the bill . . .

Obama reminded McCain (R-AZ) that "We're not campaigning anymore. The election is over."

"I'm reminded of that every day," McCain retorted. . . .

Obama Takes Dr. Barrasso To Medical School (VIDEO)
Pelosi Reminds Boehner, Camp Who's Boss (VIDEO)

More highlights:

Reconciliation – the end of civilization as we know it
[Newt Gingrich] Well, I think that what you’re seeing is a Chicago machine politics approach that basically says, if we can run over you and mug you, then we’re going to get away with it. And I think what they don’t understand is that this is not Chicago. That the United States is not going to tolerate a group of people trying apply kind of a Hugo Chavez majoritarian rule in the Senate.

The Village’s strange obsession with bipartisanship
[Glenn Greenwald] One of the strangest prongs of conventional Beltway wisdom is the lament that there is not enough bipartisanship. The opposite is true: many of the most damaging acts inflicted on the country by Washington are enacted on a fully bipartisan basis . . .


The press has trouble with this concept, but the Obama bill ALREADY incorporates several GOP proposals. It’s the Republicans who are refusing to support ANYTHING the Dems want

It is still not clear that the Democrats can get their act together

Consistency: the hobgoblin of little minds
[Josh Marshall] You've got several members of the GOP Congressional leadership today saying that they believe the Health Care Reform bill is actually unconstitutional: Grassley, Boehner and others.

Not only is the idea preposterous in itself. But like six months ago, Grassley not only believed it was constitutional. It was a policy he supported. . . .

[Josh Marshall] I find it incongruous that during the same Health Care Summit Republicans are simultaneously proposing to abolish Medicare and replace it with vouchers and also claim that they're opposing Health Care Reform to save Medicare.
"If you think it's a socialist plot, then please drop out of the federal employees health program."
-- Sen.Richard Durbin (D-IL), to Republican lawmakers at today's health care reform summit.

GOP threatens to block unemployment benefits unless a big tax cut for the wealthy is reinstated

Michael Steele, idiot
STEELE: This whole dog and pony show that we're about to witness today is something that should have taken place a year ago, when the administration first came in last February and laid out its agenda for health care. This is how you should have started it - bipartisan, public forum, CSPAN, your cameras rolling to capture this and to capture, most importantly, what the American people want. And right now, they want us to start over, and I think we should.

TODD: Chairman Steele, in fairness to them, I mean, it was a year ago that they actually had a summit.

GUTHRIE: On March 5th.

TODD: And it wasn't just the legislative leaders. They brought in folks from the industry as well. And that one was televised. So...does that one not count? I'm just curious.

STEELE: Well, apparently it didn't. Because we don't have health care. [read on]

Oops! (again)
Despite Criticism, RNC Sends Another Fundraising Mailer Designed To Look Like Census Document

A major shakeup coming for Obama’s inner staff?

Good question
What Happened to John Yoo's Emails?

Bonus item: A tough lady to work for?
Another Palin Aide Leaves "To Care For Family"; Sarah Less Than Gracious About The Departure

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Today’s health care kabuki theater: what to expect
White House Schedule Of Health Care Summit
Game On: Party Strategies For Health Care Summit Emerge
Dems’ Summit Strategy: Listening Mode
Ahead Of Bipartisan Health Care Summit, GOP Has One Plan: Start Over
Setting the Now-Open-Squared Table for the Bipartisan Health Care Reform Summit
HCR Summit Preview: Low Expectations Edition

Smart move:
Boehner [Republican leader] Chooses Stupak [Pro-life Dem] For Late Invite To Health Summit

The Repubs have obviously circulated a memo: everyone should call reconciliation “the nuclear option.” Here’s why that’s a ridiculous lie

Don’t miss Rachel:

The press, of course, swallows the bait:

Has Pelosi done her job? Can she get the House to vote for the new plan?

Is this bipartisan enough for you?
House passed bill to repeal health insurance industry's anti-trust exemption by 406 - 19 margin

Ahem. Yes, there is a war still going on
[T]he Christian Science Monitor reports that Pakistan's offensive against Taliban leaders on its territory has been far more extensive than we thought . . .

What arrogance
[John Yoo] Barack Obama may not realize it, but I may have just helped save his presidency. . . .

I know, I know, we are in “one thing at a time” mode. But what about financial regulation?
The Slow Death of Financial Regulation

The party of sleaze, part one
Questions Raised By Steele Campaign Payments To Law Firm

The party of sleaze, part two
Rubio Charged Grocery Bills And Car Repairs To GOP-Issued Credit Card

The hypocrisy factor, part one
On Monday, the Senate voted for cloture on the Democratic jobs bill, 62-30. Today, they passed the bill itself in a vote of 70-28.

That means eight senators who voted against cloture (or were absent, which in a cloture vote is the same as a no vote) vote for the bill itself. All of them are Republicans. . . .


The hypocrisy factor, part two
GOPers Who Hit Obama On Xmas Bomber Now Mum On Zazi Guilty Plea

The hypocrisy factor, part three
White House, Dems Planning To Run Hard On GOP Stimulus “Hypocrisy”

A sad, desperate, little man
McCain: Obama Suspended His Campaign Too!

If Sarah Palin ever runs for President (I don’t think she will) she’s going to have to get used to this kind of treatment FROM OTHER REPUBLICANS. It’s a lot more fun to get the diva treatment from fawning interviewers on Fox News
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has some advice for Sarah Palin: You'd be a great, if you only had a brain.

In a recent interview with Newsmax, Bush was asked whether he thought Palin was a viable candidate for president. Though he had some nice things to say about her "charisma," it was clear that Bush thinks Palin doesn't have the intellectual heft to occupy the oval office. He said that Palin's success depends on her willingness to add a "depth of understanding of the complexity of life we're living in today" to her rhetoric.

"That's up to her," he said. "I mean, I don't know what her deal is, but my belief is in 2010 and 2012, public leaders need to have intellectual curiosity." . . .

Wow, that was fast. A month ago Scott Brown was the new savior, a shining beacon of teabaggerism and an inevitable Presidential nominee. Now he’s a bum

CNN couldn’t quite bring themselves to call the GOP out by name, but the message is the same
CNN Poll: Americans place blame for partisanship
Two-thirds of Americans think that the Republicans in Congress are not doing enough to cooperate with President Barack Obama. . . up 6 points from last April . . .

No one does conspiracy theories like the GOP

Bonus item: Al Franken famously called Rush Limbaugh a “big fat idiot.” Can we change that to “disgusting fat idiot”?

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


When Scott (Mr. 41) Brown was elected, Republicans crowed “health care reform is dead.” Although Obama and the Dems badly screwed up this initiative early on, it will be a great achievement if they can still get it through now

You saw it a million times: Republicans pointing to a foot and a half stack of paper and complaining about the size of the health care bill. Well, you just can’t please some people
Boehner: Obama's Health Care Proposal Is Too Short

Why the public option isn’t going to happen

Too bad:

Bart Stupak and other ConservaDems might still tank the bill over abortion
“Unfortunately, the President's proposal encompasses the Senate language allowing public funding of abortion. The Senate language is a significant departure from current law and is unacceptable. While the President has laid out a health care proposal that brings us closer to resolving our differences, there is still work to be done before Congress can pass comprehensive health care reform.”

Stupak is lying, of course. The egregious Nelson Amendment, like the egregious Stupak amendment changes the current law to the extent that it extends the tentacles of the egregious Hyde Amendment into the private sector. Nelson just does it slightly less egregiously than Stupak.

Nobody knows for sure how many votes he has in his pocket, but with the vote as tight as it is, it's likely that he has enough. Either everyone is putting their fingers in their ears and singing "lalalalalala" or they are preparing to give Stupak what he wants.

The egregious Nelson amendment isn't good enough for the forced pregnancy crusaders. They are determined to force women down on their knees and make them give up even more of their ability to exercise their constitutional rights to secure this comprehensive health care reform. That's going to be the deal.

Oh, the Republicans are howling over reconciliation now. But it’s a tool in the Senate arsenal, just like the filibuster they’ve been abusing
The GOP resolves to forget how it passed welfare reform

"They should stop crying about reconciliation as if it's never been done before... It's been done 21 times before."

-- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)

The “do-nothing Congress” is the do-nothing Republicans
House Has Passed 290 Bills Which Have Stalled In The Senate

GOP line one: Obama’s stimulus bill didn’t create any jobs. When that was proven wrong, line two: well, yeah, okay, it did, but they’re just GOVERNMENT jobs (which is also not true).

Is there something wrong with government jobs, Republicans? That’s what YOU’VE got

John McCain, in real danger of losing his Senate seat, starts desperately rewriting his own positions, and the facts of history. The “Straight Talk Express” has fallen off the rails
McCain Rewrites Own History On Bailout Vote


The myth of Reaganism

Oversight, GOP style
According to a CIA memo, Republican senator Pat Roberts was told in 2003 about the agency's plan to destroy interrogation tapes that provided graphic evidence of the widespread use of torture against detainees, and he thought it was a fine idea . . .

Thieves, killers, and criminals
Blackwater Took Hundreds of Guns From U.S. Military, Afghan Police

Why Newsweek doesn’t want to call Joe Stack a “terrorist”

Good ol’ Michael Steele, never disappoints
[Politico] Republican National Chairman Michael Steele is spending twice as much as his recent predecessors on private planes and paying more for limousines, catering and flowers -- expenses that are infuriating the party's major donors . . . [read on]

The teabagger assault on the GOP, and why it’s a problem for them

How can you tell? Watch the shift on Fox News, the GOP network, who helped create the teabaggers but is now frantically trying to redefine them

Let’s remember who the teabaggers really are
Tea Party Leader On Obama: 'Our Half White, Racist President'

Pssst: most “Independents,” aren’t

Jon Stewart covers CPAC


Bonus item: Sarah Palin is building a tv studio in her home. I guess this is so she can go straight from the tanning bed to on-camera

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


On the eve of the health care summit, Obama tests the GOP’s willingness to work with him by proposing basically what the Repubs have been asking for on jobs: a bill composed of tax cuts for small businesses. It’s THEIR BILL – and he still could only get five Republicans to vote with him

One of them was Scott Brown, by the way – and oh, how he has angered his supporters

It’s about time
Obama stays on offense with health-care proposal

The Obama plan:

Helpful summaries/analyses:

In your face
Politico notes White House officials "have already begun urging Republicans to post their bills on line as well -- a clever tactic by the White House, because Republicans ideas for reform were spread across several pieces of legislation, or fell far short of the Democrats' goal of insuring 31 million uninsured Americans. The main House Republican proposal, for instance, would only cover 3 million more Americans."

Will right-to-lifers kill the compromise?

Rush Limbaugh (no surprise) tries to racialize the health care debate

But, but, but. . . we haven’t even had a chance to TORTURE him yet!,-In-Civilian-Court-and-Without-Being-Tortured
Suspected NYC bomb plotter Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty today to three counts. . . .

[Jeralyn Merritt] So he had lawyers from day 1, waived his Miranda rights, wasn't tortured, and is now cooperating and pleading guilty. . . .


And now, this
Marc Thiessen . . . former Bush speechwriter and torture enthusiast on “Morning Joe” today. His first point is that President Obama is endangering the country because the Pakistanis aren’t getting intelligence from captured Taliban deputy commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. What he doesn’t mention is that intelligence from Baradar, reportedly, directly led to the capture of Mulvi Kabir, one of the ten most wanted Taliban leaders. This was reported yesterday and Thiessen just ignores it. . . [read on]

The monsters among us
Yoo: 'Sure,' The President Could Order A Village Of Civilians Massacred
[Glenn Greenwald] Last week, I wrote about the mysterious Op-Ed writer, Lara M. Dadkhah, published by The New York Times, who urged that the U.S. be less restrained about slaughtering Afghan civilians with air attacks . . .

The Bush DOJ torture memos were so important, so sensitive, that they only put their very best people on it
[Jennifer] Koester, who was two years out of law school and around 28 years old at the time, was clearly a junior level attorney in the process. She appears to have had no authority to approve the final versions of the memos that went out from the department, and was tasked with working with Yoo on them in part because having just joined OLC, she "had some time available," according to the report. But she did take the lead in developing the first drafts of the memos, and briefed the White House on their contents. And it's perhaps surprising -- given the intense level of scrutiny that Yoo has rightly received for his role in producing the memos -- that Koester has until now remained almost entirely under the radar. . . . [read on]

Report: CIA Document Cheney Said Would Prove Torture Worked Was “Plainly Inaccurate”


Must resist temptation to be mean . . . let the old man suffer in peace. . .he has a family . . . it’s a cheap joke . . . NOPE, can’t resist: You mean he HAS a heart?
Former Vice President Dick Cheney was hospitalized Monday after experiencing chest pain. It doesn't appear that he's in any serious danger; a statement from his staff says he's resting comfortably. He underwent an angiogram and may have some treatment on Tuesday.

Cheney's had four heart attacks.

What would we do without Marcy Wheeler?
The latest Ghost Detainee FOIA materials prove that Michael Hayden lied to the Senate on April 12, 2007. . . . [read on]

Try this thought experiment: Al Qaeda terrorists fly a plane into the side of a building, killing people. Democratic congressman responds, “I can empathize with their concerns.” What do you think would happen?
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told a crowd at CPAC on Saturday that he could "empathize" with the suicide bomber who last week attacked an IRS office in Austin, and encouraged his listeners to "implode" other IRS offices, according to a witness.

A lesson in framing
[JB] Democrats have a hard time attacking Republicans personally. Whereas Republicans will call people out by name, Democrats (with the exception of the last President) generally will just use aggregating pronouns to complain the "other side" won't do this or that. In trying to provide a crutch to our boys, I think it can be easily said that many things that the Republicans want to do are "bad for America and bad for you." In fact, I think an entire campaign can be made out of this and, more than that, a long series of one-liners that could be repeated by large crowds. For example . . . [read on]

The Party of Hypocrisy (and proud of it!)
[Steve Benen] There's a reason Democrats have latched on to the story of Republican hypocrisy on the Recovery Act so enthusiastically -- the GOP is giving Dems a lot to work with. . . . [read on]
[Taegan Goddard] Democrats made significant headway last week defending the economic stimulus package simply by pointing out the many Republicans who voted against it but are now on record taking credit for the individual projects funded by the bill. . . .
[Greg Sargent] Dems are planning a new strategy to paint Republicans as hypocrites for opposing the stimulus while enjoying the fruits of it in their states and districts, an internal Democratic National Committee memo suggests. . . . [read on]

What's wrong with hypocrisy?
As conservative Jeremy Lott wrote in his book In Defense of Hypocrisy . . . [read on]

Ridiculously false equivalencies: AP’s Ron “The Tool” Fournier says, Mitt Romney lied at CPAC – but hey, an anonymous blogger on D-Kos lied too!

Republican Presidential candidate trashes CPAC – but don’t say the party is divided!
Following his disappointing sixth place finish in this weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee criticized the conference as increasingly irrelevant to the conservative movement . . . "CPAC has become increasingly libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn't go this year," he said Saturday on Fox News, where he is a paid contributor.

The 2008 GOP presidential candidate said the "truly grassroots" energy on the right lies in the Tea Party movement. . . .

Where’s Sarah?
Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall (R) "says disabled children are God's punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy" . . .

Let’s hope
Poll Suggests America Has Turned A Corner On Homophobia

Bonus item: Why we love Digby
Newsweek has published a fascinating article about how the world would look in an alternate universe:

How the GOP Sees It

What Republicans would do if given carte blanche to run the country.

[Digby] You may be a bit confused by this, thinking that the period between 2000 and 2006 was a real life demonstration of just that. But that never happened. The world was born in November of 2008 and the Democrats have been in charge of everything for as long as anyone can remember and all the problems have today happened under their watch. Isn't it time to give the other guys a chance for once?

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Monday, February 22, 2010

[DO] Instead of using the term "reconciliation" to describe the process with which HCR will be (hopefully) passed, I think the Democrats should start using the term "Majority Rules".

Democrats in general do a horrible job of branding their initiatives. If the Republicans had passed the Stimulus bill they would have called it the Jobs bill. Using the term "Majority Rules" puts a favorable spin on the process, plus it educates the public that the Senate usually does not operate in a democratic manner.

What now?
[I]t's starting to seem like Democrats may actually decide to go ahead with what they could have and should done a month ago -- have the House pass the existing senate bill and then pass a companion piece of legislation to 'fix' the first bill, which will be pushed through the senate using reconciliation, i.e., 50 vote rules. . . .

On a local TV interview show on Friday Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) basically said it's the plan, that they will use 'reconciliation', and that they'll finish within the next 60 days. . . .
Democrats Singing Off The Same Songbook – Reconciliation Sidecar Is Go
President's new health care proposal to include power to block excessive rate increases

Public option?

Huh. The Republican leader sounds concerned that the Dems might use reconciliation to pass health care. This seems to me like an excellent reason to do it

[Steve Benen] This, of course, will lead Republicans to freak out, but no one should fall for their crocodile tears. Reconciliation has been used, legitimately, to pass everything from welfare reform to COBRA, Bush's tax-cut packages to student-aid reform, nursing home standards to the earned income tax credit. Not too long ago, Senate Republicans even considered using reconciliation to approve drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It's a little too late to characterize the same procedural measure as some kind of outrage, after Republicans relied on it extensively.

The media, however, may need a refresher. Jon Chait noted yesterday that some political reporters (who ought to know better) are overlooking the differences between "using reconciliation to patch up the Senate bill" and "using it to pass an entire health care bill." Expect, in other words, plenty of misleading journalism as the process unfolds.

The missing Yoo emails


How the OPR report got rewritten

The Inherent Conflict Of Interest With DOJ’s OPR And David Margolis

Buncha wusses
Claims that the United States is less safe under President Obama are not credible, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said on "Face the Nation" Sunday.

He also challenged criticism by some (including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who say that by not using extreme interrogation techniques such as waterboarding on terror suspects the United States is more vulnerable.

"The point is made, 'We don't waterboard anymore or use extreme interrogation techniques.' Most of those extreme interrogation techniques and waterboarding were done away with in the Bush administration," Powell said. "They've been made officially done away with in this current administration." . . .

"The Transportation Security Administration created by George Bush is still in action working in our airports; they take care of me every day that I go to an airport," Powell told moderator Bob Schieffer.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence was also created under President Bush, "and it is still under President Obama working hard," he said. "Our counterterrorism authorities and forces are hard at work. Our law enforcement officials are hard at work. We have gone after the enemy in Afghanistan with 50,000 more troops, more predators are striking al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Pakistan. We have continued the policies that President Bush put in place with respect to Iraq.

"The bottom line answer is the nation is still at risk. Terrorists are out there. They're trying to get through. But to suggest that somehow we have become much less safer because of the actions of the administration, I don't think that's borne out by the facts," Powell said. . . .

Powell stuck by his conviction that Guantanamo Bay prison facility should be closed. "I think Guantanamo has cost us a lot over the years in terms of our standing in the world and the way in which despots have hidden behind what we have at Guantanamo to justify their own positions," he said. . . .
[Gen. David Petraeus, on torture] Whenever we have, perhaps, taken expedient measures, they have turned around and bitten us in the backside....Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are nonbiodegradables. They don't go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick in the Central Command area of responsibility. Beyond that, frankly, we have found that the use of the interrogation methods in the Army Field Manual that was given the force of law by Congress, that that works.
Poll: Majority Backs Mirandizing Of Xmas Plotter And Other Terror Suspects

Petraeus: Soldiers may not care if gay ban is repealed

Tom Friedman: Obama’s missed opportunity (thanks to Wally for the link)

Glenn Beck’s twisted view of the world


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I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Obama: get health care done, now

I don’t get it, why do we keep hearing about the public option when Obama has made clear he doesn’t want that fight, doesn’t support the p.o. (any more), and won’t include it in his bill? Yes, it’s very popular, people want it, and there was a time when it could have been a Big Win for the Dems. But they blew that chance

Was Rahm right?
[Dana Milbank] "Obama's greatest mistake was failing to listen to Emanuel on health care. Early on, Emanuel argued for a smaller bill with popular items, such as expanding health coverage for children and young adults, that could win some Republican support. He opposed the public option as a needless distraction..."

"Had it gone Emanuel's way, a politically popular health-care bill would have passed long ago, leaving plenty of time for other attractive priorities, such as efforts to make college more affordable. We would have seen a continuation of the momentum of the first half of 2009, when Obama followed Emanuel's strategy and got 11 substantive bills on his desk before the August recess."

How they think
[Newt Gingrich] "I'm not frightened by bipartisanship... We should be brave enough to stand up and say let's work together until we finish defeating the left and then we won't have to work with them as much."

Yes, the stimulus program did boost GDP and create jobs – but clearly the public debate has moved into the fact-free space that Republicans find so comfortable

Bush Treasury Sect’y Hank Paulson has a book coming out, in which he tells us just what he thinks about the Republicans. Grab the popcorn!
Meetings with Senate Republicans were “a complete waste of time for us, when time was more precious than anything” (page 275). Ideas that Republicans do add are “unformed,” like Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor’s plan to replace TARP with an insurance program. In a rare moment of sarcasm, Paulson goes off on the minority Whip: “I got a better idea. I’m going to go with Eric Cantor’s insurance program. That’s the idea to save the day” (page 285). [read on]


The Cheneyites love to bash Obama for being too soft on the terrorists – except, that is, when they are bashing him for being too tough on them

The DOJ inexplicably let Yoo and Bybee off the hook – but they could still be disbarred . . . and should be (Bybee was rewarded with a federal judgeship)
[Newsweek] The chief author of the Bush administration's "torture memo" told Justice Department investigators that the president's war-making authority was so broad that he had the constitutional power to order a village to be "massacred," according to a report by released Friday night by the Office of Professional Responsibility. . . .

The report, more than four years in the making, is filled with new details into how a small group of lawyers at the Justice Department, the CIA, and the White House crafted the legal arguments that gave the green light to some of the most controversial tactics in the Bush administration's war on terror. They also describe how Bush administration officials were so worried about the prospect that CIA officers might be criminally prosecuted for torture that one senior official - Attorney General John Ashcroft - even suggested that President Bush issue "advance pardons" for those engaging in waterboarding, a proposal that he was quickly told was not possible. . . .

[Jack Balkin] The OPR argued that Yoo and Bybee had “a duty to exercise independent legal judgment and to render thorough, objective, and candid legal advice.” This standard, Margolis explained, is much too high a requirement . . . [read on]

The mighty, mighty CPAC is feeling awfully good about itself after its right-wing pep rally (and no, aside from Yearly Kos we have nothing similar on the left). But, really, is this the best they can do?
In a surprise, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) won the 2012 presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The New York Times notes he won with 31% of the nearly 2,400 votes at the conference, edging out Mitt Romney who captured 22% of the vote. . . .

CNN notes that a majority of participants "said they wished the Republican Party had a better field of candidates to choose from."

Politico: "CPAC organizers were plainly embarrassed by the results, which could have the effect of reducing the perceived impact of a contest that was once thought to offer a window into which White House hopefuls were favored by movement conservatives."

[DemfromCT] CPAC. . . voted for Ron Paul (31%) in the straw election over Romney (21%) and with Palin a distant third (7%) and Pawlenty behind her (6%). Now there's a well grounded group of people. . .


Are the teabaggers taking over the conservative movement?
[Jed Lewison] You may recall that in early 2008, Fox made the Unfair & Unbalanced decision to ban Ron Paul from a GOP presidential debate. But now, just two years later, their network is leading media mouthpiece for the tea party movement spawned by Paul.

Another example of how times change: Glenn Beck is concluding keynoter for CPAC. Though Beck today is the leading teabagger on the teabagger's leading network, in 2007 he expressed concern that some Ron Paul supporters were fomenting domestic terrorism. And now he's keynoting a conference that just tapped Paul as their top pick for 2012.

It's enough to raise the question: are Fox and the GOP taking over the tea party movement? Or is the teabagging on them?

Kevin Drum argues that Joe Stack, the guy who flew a plane into the side of an IRS building, wasn’t a “terrorist.” I disagree – but read this and see what you think


Good question: maybe the problem isn’t the filibuster rule, or trying to get rid of it. It has served valuable uses over its history. The problem is a toxic political culture in which relentless polarization and obstruction have become good strategies. Is it possible to change that culture?

Sunday talk show line-ups
ABC's "This Week" - Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., and Ed Rendell, D-Pa.

CBS' "Face the Nation" - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

NBC's "Meet the Press" - Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command; Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn.; Reps. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

CNN's "State of the Union" - Govs. Jim Douglas, R-Vt., and Deval Patrick, D-Mass.; Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind.; former Rep. Susan Molinari, R-N.Y.; former Gov. Jon Corzine, D-N.J.


We have no demands―for who are we to demand anything of the universe?

Yet we have a big concern: It seems there has been some angry tea going around, tea that makes us scream in each other's faces but renders us incapable of true listening. Why not throw parties with friendlier tea, creating a better mood to help us address the complex and intertwined issues of our world―a world in which there is so much suffering?

At our parties, we will offer teas to calm the spirit and focus the mind, to help us listen compassionately to one another's concerns, to allow us to share the infinite variety of our experiences and struggles―all of which are valid. Such parties will draw us together in friendship. They will foster our collective wisdom.

All people are invited to our green tea parties, to eat and drink, listen and speak. But we do not expect everyone to agree. On the contrary, we warmly embrace disagreement. However, stating our opinions is just the first step.

When we weave an atmosphere of mutual respect and empathy, we begin to listen more deeply, at a level beneath our opinions. For only on that deeper level can we ask the questions of compassion: How, my friend, have you come to this opinion? What's led you to see things in this way? What do you hold most dear? And what are your greatest hopes for a better world?

At green tea parties we will try to listen without judgment (or rather, with heightened awareness of our inevitable reactive judgments). We'll honor the truth of each person's story. And, together, we'll explore together the gaps between our various perspectives, seeking for the deeply held values from which these perspectives arise.

In this way the possibility for creative wisdom has space to emerge. When this happens at our tea parties (and it will not be easy; we will fail countless times), the thoughts we generate will reach beyond even the best ideas of anyone present. Belonging to no one, they will belong to everyone. With such ideas, we can begin to build a better world.

Will you join the green tea party movement? Will you attend―or better yet, host―a green tea party? First, invite your friends. Then, invite your enemies. In fact, invite people from the full spectrum of your community. Only please―provide excellent tea!

So won't you give (or go to) a green tea party? Remember, it's more mellow!

[From reader John M.]

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, February 20, 2010


In perhaps the low point of the Obama administration so far, a tough DOJ report on the men who provided fraudulent, custom-made legal rationalizations for the Bush/Cheney torture regime is softened to merely slapping their wrists for “poor judgment,” not for enabling war crimes
In the report, which was actually completed in July of 2009, the OPR concludes that Bybee and Yoo were guilty of professional misconduct, and that they should face disciplinary action by their respective state bars. But in a memo written to Attorney General Eric Holder, Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis says he's overruling that decision . . .



Nope, no misconduct here
DOJ Investigators Were Told Yoo's Emails Had Been Deleted

Marcy Wheeler, of course, is on the case

What now?
Conyers Slams Authors Of Torture Memos, Announces Hearings

Anthrax case closed

Health care summit: Obama to offer new proposal

The Republicans haven’t even seen the proposal yet, but they already know what they think of it
Cantor: 'We Will Say No To The Health Care Bill'
[Steve Benen] House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) declared that congressional Republicans "will say no to this health care bill." A couple of hours later, Eric Cantor insisted that it's incumbent upon President Obama to make a grand gesture of "bipartisanship."

GOP Rep Mike Pence: We’re The Party Of No, And Proud Of It

Public option, redux? (Don’t hold your breath)

When you can get a Republican to talk about THEIR plan for health care reform, they only talk about two items: “tort reform” (code for capping malpractice lawsuits) and “buying insurance across state lines.” They never say what they mean by that. Here’s what it means, and why it’s a terrible idea


Stimulus, Republican-style
Richest 400 Taxpayers See Incomes Double, Tax Rates Halved

More and more Republicans sign onto the anti-Social Security and Medicare agenda

Who’s really behind the teabag movement?
[Thomas Frank] After attending the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, the prominent blogger Glenn Reynolds wrote last week in the Washington Examiner that the movement amounted to "America's Third Great Awakening," a massive popular rising against "politicians and parties" that have "grown corrupt, venal and out-of-touch."

How strange, then, that this flowering of populist integrity should have been tended and pruned and succored by a group of Beltway operators known primarily for their venality and insider power. . . . [read on]

Yep, the GOP just can’t wait to embrace the teabaggers
Tea Partier Suggests Secession As Antidote to 'Tyranny Of National Government'

Republican jokes about the terrorist who flew his plane into an IRS building

He’s a hero!
[Wikinews] On the popular social networking website Facebook, various groups commemorating disgruntled pilot Joseph Andrew Stack were formed on Thursday evening. Earlier that day, in what has been described as an act of "domestic terrorism," Stack intentionally crashed his small passenger plane into an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office building in Austin, Texas. So far, he is the only reported fatality.

On the information page of the first group named "The Joe 'Take My Pound Of Flesh' Stack Anti-IRS Fan Page," one administrator wrote, "[This page is] dedicated to a man, frustrated as so many of us are with our corrupt, inept government, sacrificed his life to make a statement. Will history see him as a patriot or terrorist? Depends on who is doing the writing." . . .

Images from CPAC

At CPAC: a sea of white faces

At CPAC: “We’ve got Fox News” (and we’re working on CNN)

Interesting: at CPAC, homophobe booed off the stage

More from CPAC: Bob Barr, one-time hero of the right, booed for citing the law and calling waterboarding “torture”

At CPAC: Liz Cheney explains why we need to torture
I worry though when we capture these leaders that we no longer have the option of using any of the enhanced interrogation techniques because the president took those off the table. When you’ve got people in captivity we’d like our CIA officials in particular to have the capacity to do more than just ask the terrorists to please tell us what they want.

At CPAC: former Bush Attorney General says of course civilian trials are sometimes appropriate for terror suspects,-Mirandizing-Them-Standard-Procedure

Just what we need: a new right-wing conspiracy movement, the “Oath Keepers”

Bonus item: More proof that Ann Coulter is a babbling idiot

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***