Archive for August, 2009

August 30, 2009

Dick Cheney Offended By Investigation

by Ben Hoffman

The man who (along with Bush) allowed our country to be attacked in 2001, the man who was responsible for outing a CIA officer for political purposes, the man who lied so that we could invade Iraq and his company could rake in millions in war profiteering, is offended by Eric Holder’s decision to investigate the CIA’s use of torture. Could it be he is afraid of where it will lead?

Dick Cheney says that the Obama administration possibly pursuing an investigation of lawyers from the Bush administration "an outrageous precedent to set," calling it an "intensely partisan politicized look back" at the prior administration.

"I think it's an outrageous political act that will do great damage long-term."

He added that the fact that the Obama administration is even thinking about such an investigation after their "track record of defending the nation" for eight years "offends the hell out of me."

He goes on to say that "advanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding were "absolutely essential."

We know that crimes were committed during Bush’s administration. If these crimes are not investigated and those responsible brought to justice, THAT is what will do great damage long-term, as we saw with the pardoning of those involved in the Iran-Contra scandal by George H.W. Bush, and of course the pardoning of Nixon by Ford.

August 28, 2009

Joe the Plumber Says Nancy Pelosi is un-American

by Ben Hoffman

“For Pelosi to write about us bein’ un-American and disrespectful — I’ll tell ya what: I respect nobody who lies to me and manipulates me and takes my money and puts my children in debt. They want me to be respectful towards them? Please! You know, I’m not the most civilized person: Those kind of people, I usually took behind the woodshed and just beat the livin’ tar out of ‘em.

Guess he doesn’t have much respect for George W. Bush. I wonder if Joe is really as tough as he talks. Probably not, since he threatens to beat up Nancy Peloci. Tough guys don’t threaten to beat up old ladies.

Nancy Pelosi, I think, is ridiculous,” said Wurzelbacher. “I mean, talk about un-American. She can’t make up her mind. And we’ll just leave that one alone. Most people already know where she stands.”

Who the hell cares what Joe Wurzelbacher thinks. The guy’s a nobody. He’s not even a real plumber. Jeeze, right-wingers are desperate for a leader.

August 26, 2009

The Death of Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick — Right-Wingers Sink To New Low

by Ben Hoffman

Anybody who follows some of the political blogs has seen the despicable insults directed at the recently deceased Ted Kennedy. Sure, Kennedy screwed up in 1969. He was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of his friend, and waited too long to report it. He did attempt to rescue Mary Jo Kopechne and failed. He should have called for help immediately and has had to live with that for 40 years.

Ted Kennedy was responsible for a lot of important legislation while in the Senate. He worked with Republicans and despite their radically different agendas, was well liked by all once Congress was out of session. These days, it seems like partisan politics is the norm 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Most of the Kennedy insults seem like they’re coming from the religious right. I thought Jesus died for our sins? Or is that just for right-wingers?

August 26, 2009

The Conscience Of A Conservative (or lack thereof)

by Ben Hoffman

In early 20th century Germany, belief in the superiority of the Aryan race was counterfactual to reality. The Jews were highly educated, business owners, scientists, bankers, teachers, and generally very successful. The antisemities were the lower class, uneducated, and for the most part unsuccessful. This was the reality of the “Jewish problem.”

In the U.S. today, we also have a problem with counterfactual thinking. Right-wingers believe in the superiority of their party, yet the facts don’t mesh with that belief. Thus, we have the non-stop campaign to destroy liberals.

And celebrate when high profile liberals die, such as with Edward Kennedy. I’m not going to post any links, but it’s disgraceful the number of right-wing bloggers who today are celebrating the death of Kennedy, who was respected by most of his fellow Senators including his adversaries.

August 25, 2009

Pastor Prays for Obama’s Death

by Ben Hoffman

The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest denomination, has been embarrassed by the comments of the Rev. Wiley Drake, a former officer in the convention, who said he is praying for the death of the president.

Drake, a former SBC vice president who ran for president last year, said in a recent interview on Fox News Radio that he is praying an “imprecatory prayer” against the president. Those are prayers that ask for evil or misfortune. Asked if he was seriously praying that the president of the United States would die, Drake said, “If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death, that’s correct.”

August 25, 2009

Doesn’t Look Good For Health Insurance Reform

by Ben Hoffman

The national survey, conducted from Aug. 14 – 18, involved a random sample of 600 Americans aged 18 and older living in the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. Respondents indicated whether or not they believed 19 claims about health care reform, each of which is considered a myth by the White House.

* 67 percent of respondents believe that wait times for health care services, such as surgery, will increase (91 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of Independents).
* About five out of 10 believe the federal government will become directly involved in making personal health care decisions (80 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of Independents).
* Roughly six out of 10 Americans believe taxpayers will be required to pay for abortions (78 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of Independents)
* 46 percent believe reforms will result in health care coverage for all illegal immigrants (66 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of Democrats, 43 percent of Independents).
* 54 percent believe the public option will increase premiums for Americans with private health insurance (78 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of Independents).
* Five out of 10 think cuts will be made to Medicare in order to cover more Americans (66 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of Democrats, 44 percent of Independents).

The Dems need to streamline the plan so that people can understand it and word it in a way that it can’t be spun by the right-wing, if that’s possible.

August 24, 2009

Right-Wing Hubris (or how insecurity leads to hatred and anger)

by Ben Hoffman

Hubris can be defined as overbearing pride, arrogance, and insolence. Right-wingers love to boast about their love for our country. Their “love” takes the form of extreme nationalism. In their eyes, anyone who says anything bad about our country is un-American. When Obama admitted to our foreign policy mistakes, right-wingers were outraged.

The truth is, Republican foreign policies have been disastrous for not only Iraq, but for our country. Not only has it cost the lives of 100s of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of our troops, but it has cost about the same as what the proposed health care reform will cost (about a trillion dollars). War profiteering has created multi-millionaires while the military has fought without armor that could have saved lives.

Right-wingers know deep down that Republican policies have failed our country but they are emotionally tied to their political party, which creates an inferiority complex. To compensate, they claim valid news sources are biased and the only “truth” comes from Fox News and other right-wing sources that provide facts that fit their ideology.

With spun history, Reagan was a great and beloved president who single-handedly brought down the Soviet Union and who’s economic policies saved our economy. The facts are contrary to those beliefs, though. The U.S.S.R. was on it’s way down during the 70s and didn’t actually fall until George H.W. Bush’s presidency. Reagan’s trickle down economics didn’t work. The unemployment rate during his first term was higher than under Carter’s presidency and was mediocre at best during his second term, which was probably due more to the mini tech boom than to any government policies. Reagan also tripled the U.S. debt — something that right-wingers seem to ignore when ranting about Obama’s policies.

Right-wingers also tend to be religious. Since there is no proof and little evidence outside of some books written almost 2,000 years ago of the existence of God, and the belief that Jesus was born of a virgin mother and that he rose from the grave would be considered insane were it not accepted by so many. We’ve all known people who think they’re somehow special because of their religion. We have the righteous right going around trying to convert everyone to their irrational thinking.

There is doubt among those who accept anything purely on faith that they might be wrong. With doubt comes anger and insecurity. And an inferiority complex. To compensate, they try to eliminate anything that contradicts their beliefs. We see this in the town hall meetings regarding health care reform. Right-wingers don’t have the facts on their side so they resort to anger and screaming. It also justifies (in their eyes) things like the Bush v. Gore decision, which probably posed a greater risk to our democracy than anything in the history of the United States.

Obama has been ridiculously compared to Hitler since talks of health care reform started. But there are remarkable similarities to right-wingers here and those who made it possible for Hitler to rise to power. (Before right-wingers spew out their talking points… No, National Socialism is not the same as Marxism.) In Germany before WWII, the Jews were the over-achievers. They ran businesses, created art, were some of the top scientists, bankers, etc… which was contrary to the German’s belief of Aryan supremacy. That was their justification for eliminating the Jewish population. When Nazi Germany began to fall, they stepped up the murders of the Jews rather than putting all their efforts into fighting the war.

When Hitler became Chancellor, the first thing he did was take over the media. Facts and reporting were replaced with right-wing propaganda. There was already widespread antisemitism — not only in Germany, but in Austria, Poland, France, Czechoslovakia, etc… — countries that were so easily defeated by the Nazis.

Right-wingers in the U.S. seek to destroy liberals because liberals invalidate right-wingers beliefs of superiority. Merely gaining power isn’t enough. As we saw when Republicans controlled all three branches of government, there was still the constant steam of venom directed at Democrats.

And there is also the factor of our failed economy, which will be addressed in another post.

August 24, 2009

Holder Appoints John Durham To Investigate Torture Claims

by Ben Hoffman

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has decided to appoint a prosecutor to examine nearly a dozen cases in which CIA interrogators and contractors may have violated anti-torture laws and other statutes when they allegedly threatened terrorism suspects, according to two sources familiar with the move.

So who is John Durham?

By the early ’90s, working out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut, he was receiving national attention heading cases against New England crime kings, providing evidence to put John Gotti behind bars, and going after crooked politicos like former Connecticut governor John Rowland. In 1999, he was asked by former attorney general Janet Reno to investigate a number of corrupt state police officers and FBI agents in Boston that had been working with the mob (a case whose players served as inspiration for characters in the Oscar-winning film, The Departed).

During the ’80s and ’90s, Durham became known in New England as the “white knight”: dogged, spotlight-shy, puritanical, and successful. He’s a devout Catholic that takes no prisoners in the court room. As of 2001, he’d never lost a case. In July 2004, he was awarded the Award for Exceptional Service by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Sounds like he’s a good man for the job — on the same caliber as Patrick Fitzgerald.

August 23, 2009

Gerald Celente: “When People Lose Everything, They Have Nothing Left To Lose, And They Lose It”

by Ben Hoffman

Some major points:

The repeal of the Glass-Steagall act, which occurred in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, was a huge contributer to the financial meltdown. (“Gramm” is Phil Gramm, John McCain’s chief financial advisor.)

We don’t produce anything any more. All of our manufacturing has moved to China. It’s almost impossible to find anything not made in China these days.

We had some semblance of a balanced budget before Reagan, who believed that deficits don’t matter. Reagan tripled the U.S. debt. George W. Bush doubled it when at a time when “the fundamentals of our economy were strong.”

If we do go into a depression, as Celente predicts, his prediction that people will “lose it” is right on. People are already starting to lose it, as we’ve seen at some of these town hall debates, as well as some of the high profile murders. It’s the same thing that happened in 1020s and 30s Germany. People lost it. Hatred and racism escalated and people looked for a scapegoat.

August 22, 2009

Fascism In The U.S.: Bush Administration Used National Security For Political Purposes

by Ben Hoffman

Ridge admits Bush administration pushed to raise security alert for political reasons on eve of re-election.

Former Bush Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is releasing a book on September 1 titled, “The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege…and How We Can Be Safe Again.” U.S. News’ Paul Bedard reports that, in the book, Ridge reveals that he considered resigning because he was urged to issue a politically-motivated security alert on the eve of Bush’s re-election:

Among the headlines promoted by publisher Thomas Dunne Books: Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was “blindsided” by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster ignored; and was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush’s re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over.

Playing politics with terror was a relatively frequent occurrence in the Bush administration. In August 2004, the AP reported that even “some senior Republicans” privately questioned Ridge’s timing of a terror alert that came just three days after the Democratic National Convention. According to the AP report, “One top GOP operative, who works closely with Bush’s political team, said the White House appeared to overplay its hand, and voters may smell politics behind the warning.”

August 22, 2009

Betsy McCaughey: Right-Wing Liar, Propagandist, Nut-Job Extraordinaire Tries To Be Cute On The Daily Show

by Ben Hoffman

Betsy McCaughey is a famous liar who famously lied about the Clinton health care bill back in the 1990s, who has returned to lie just as famously in the aughts about the Obama health care bill. Last night, she made an appearance on The Daily Show in a two(plus)-part interview with host Jon Stewart, which centered on her latest, greatest distortion: that the current health care reform package wending its way through the House contains provisions that would enforce draconian consultations imposing conditions upon both patients in end-of-life circumstances and the doctors treating said patients. This falsehood, first promulgated by McCaughey, later came to be colloquially referred to as “death panels.” Not a jot of it was true.

Watch her snake oil sales pitch on the Daily Show

August 19, 2009

Vile Nazis Wanted Affordable Health Care For All (or so right-wingers seem to believe)

by Ben Hoffman

Here’s the latest video of an uninformed right-winger who somehow got the notion that a government run health care program is somehow akin to Nazism.

The reality is: Hitler gained power by the use of propaganda to win the support of the uneducated, unintelligent, and gullible — the same type of people who are comparing Obama to Hitler. Barney Frank, who is Jewish, put this woman in her place, but these people are getting out of control.

August 18, 2009

The Conscience of a Conservative: Woman Yells Heil Hitler At Jewish Man Praising Israel’s Health Care System

by Ben Hoffman

Dear God. This is the way America is now. Some conservative radio host stages a “town hall” meeting. The local news reports that it “was a packed house, full of opinions and no shortage of passion.” How passionate? How does some dumb lady, yelling anti-Semitic slurs at another man grab you?

Media Monitor Jon, who holds it down daily on YouTube at NewsPoliticsNews, has the completely depressing clip, which shows an Israeli man holding forth on the virtues of Israel’s health care system, which is “universal and compulsory, and is administered by a small number of organizations with funding from the government.” I have no basis to judge its merits — in 2000, the World Health Organization ranked it as the 28th best in the world. That said, let me sum up the countering argument, proferred by another town hall attendee: “Heil Hitler!”

That’s right! Some idiot woman yells “Heil Hitler” at a Jewish man who was doing nothing more than being a passionate advocate for Israeli health care. The man, quite naturally, goes completely apoplectic, saying “Shame on you” over and over again. The woman counters by saying, “Well, you ought to be the most against President Obama.” The poor man responds by saying, “I want to talk, not against Obama or for Obama. I want to talk about [health care].” He goes on to describe his own experiences with high-cost health care. For his efforts, the woman mocks him some more!

As ThinkProgress points out today, “Conservatives have strenuously denied that there is any anti-Semitism on display by anti-health reform protesters at town hall meetings nationwide.” Those denials are no longer tenable, are they?

These people have the conscience of rats. (No offense to rats out there.)

August 18, 2009

Scalia Says Innocence Doesn’t Matter In Execution Sentence

by Ben Hoffman

This guy never ceases to amaze me. From the man who gave George W. Bush the presidency, another WTF from Antonin Scalia!

On Monday, however, the Supreme Court took the atypical step of issuing a major ruling during its summer break, ordering a federal trial court in Georgia to review the case of death row inmate Troy Davis to decide whether new evidence, not available at trial, establishes Davis’ innocence.


Davis was convicted 18 years ago for the 1989 murder of a Savannah, Ga. police officer. Attorneys for Davis argued in their appeal that since that time, seven of the witnesses who helped to condemn Davis have recanted on their testimony.


Justice John Paul Stevens was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen G. Breyer in supporting the order to review the case. “The substantial risk of putting an innocent man to death,” Justice Stevens wrote in his opinion, “clearly provides an adequate justification for holding an evidentiary hearing.”

Scalia vehemently disagreed with Stevens. His opinion suggested a certain callousness on the question of whether the courts should care if the state puts an innocent man to death, but he was right when he said the Supreme Court has never ruled whether an individual’s “actual innocence” necessitates the involvement of a federal court in a state conviction. Scalia wrote in dissent, “This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.” He also said that Davis’ appeal would be a “a sure loser” once it was examined again.

August 18, 2009


by Ben Hoffman


Damn. She kind of cute, too.