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Archive for July 30th, 2009

Beer Summit Details: Obama Hails “Friendly, Thoughtful Conversation” (VIDEO)

HuffPo- First Posted: 07-30-09 06:46 PM   |   Updated: 07-30-09 07:34 PM

As a very private “beer summit” gets underway in the Rose Garden, details remain scant since the “teachable moment’ is closed to the press.

But, according to this pool report, Sergeant Crowley seems to be doing most of the talking, Henry Louis Gates is listening intently and President Obama seems to be in a good mood. And Vice President Biden has joined them – drinking Buckler, a low-alcohol brew.

Obama issued the following statement after the occasion:

“I am thankful to Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley for joining me at the White House this evening for a friendly, thoughtful conversation. Even before we sat down for the beer, I learned that the two gentlemen spent some time together listening to one another, which is a testament to them. I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart. I am confident that has happened here tonight, and I am hopeful that all of us are able to draw this positive lesson from this episode.”

Here is video:

And here is the pool report:

Beers in the Rose Garden
It was, alas, only a photo op. The pool had no opportunity to ask questions as we were roped off about 50 feet from the group.

The big surprise: Vice President Joe Biden was at the table with the men. POTUS invited him to join the group this afternoon.

MORE HERE

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Emails Show Rove’s Role In U.S. Attorney Firings

TPM Muckraker- By Zachary Roth – July 30, 2009, 3:14PM

Karl Rove did his second and final day of testimony before Congress about his role in the U.S. attorney firings today. And we’re getting more confirmation that that role was more extensive than he’s yet let on.

The Washington Post and New York Times have obtained emails that offer glimpses into Rove’s role in the firing of certain of the U.S. attorneys. They jibe closely with many similar emails that were released last year as part of a Justice Department inspector general report which essentially found that the firings were engineered by Rove and other White House officials.

In one email, from November 2006, just a month before the firings, Rove commanded his deputy:

Give me a report on what U.S. Attorneys slot are vacant or expected to be open soon.

The deputy, Scott Jennings, replied: “Yes, sir.”

Another of the new emails shows Rove’s office discussing a GOP senator’s request that David Iglesias be fired, and appearing to suggest that the White House itself, rather than the Justice Department, would be responsible for doing so.

The Post reports:

In an Oct. 10, 2006, e-mail from White House political affairs aide Scott Jennings to Rove, Jennings reported:”I received a call from Steve Bell tonight. . . . Last week Sen. Domenici reached the chief of staff and asked that we remove the U.S. Atty. Steve wanted to make sure we all understood that they couldn’t be more serious about this request.”

A second group of emails shows Rove suggesting that a protege of his, Tim Griffin, might be a good candidate for a U.S. attorney post in Arkansas. The man holding the job at the time, Bud Cummins, was later one of the victims of the firings, and the White House attempted to appoint Griffin in his place.

MORE HERE

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The Rolling Stones – Sweet Neo Con

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There appears to be a simple two-pronged strategy for killing health care reform.

One of those prongs involves, of course, delaying reform until it’s too late. If it’s not passed by the end of the year, there won’t be the political balls to do so because of the fast approaching 2010 midterms when members of Congress will be much more focused on raising money (health care industry money) and pandering to voters.

Another reason for delaying health care reform is it gives the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats plenty of extra time to inject their special cocktail of mind-bending crazy into the discourse and make it stick, furthering both the current delay while also eroding any voter impetus to pick up the issue again after the midterms. That’d be prong number two.

Not a single dose of the aforementioned “mind-bending crazy” actually holds up when run through even the most cursory fact-checking scrutiny, and, in every statement, the obstructionists trafficking in these lies further underscore their already obvious contradictions and ideological hypocrisy.

Regarding the latter, I can’t recall, for example, this degree of nipple-twisting from Republicans and Blue Dogs about spending and fiscal responsibility when the Bush administration was pitching a blank check invasion and occupation of Iraq on the heels of invading Afghanistan — all during a recession — while also passing a $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest one percent the year before.

Yet affordable, accessible health care for everyone is a bridge too far, right? (My blood pressure kicks up into the red zone whenever I hear Republicans today suggesting that they were against the Bush administration’s spending habits when, in fact, they supported each program individually. After all, opposing the commander-in-chief in wartime emboldened the enemy, no? Not any more apparently since we’re still at war and the heretofore “patriotic” far-right won’t even admit the president is an American citizen. Consistent of them.)

Back to the mind-bending crazy. I detailed some of these attacks last week, and my friend Michael J. Elston (Washington, DC radio’s “Buzz Burbank”) hit some of the arguments in his new Huffington Post blog as well. But who knew they would top themselves this week with an attack so simultaneously absurd and shameless that it easily fits comfortably in the Birther/Truther wackaloon syllabus.

This is of course the notion that the president’s health care reform plan includes a mandate to kill old people.

First, here’s Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Cuckoo’s Nest) on the House floor:

It’ll make sure we bring down the cost of healthcare for all Americans, and that ensures affordable access for all Americans, and is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.

And the de facto leader of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh:

According to Politico:

Sean Hannity believes it. So does House Minority Leader John Boehner. Talk show host Fred Thompson calls it “the dirty little secret” of the health care reform debate.

Yes, if you believe what these cranks are selling, the Obama administration is engaged in an elaborate plot to rid the nation of its burdensome population of old people. All this fluff about a public option, all the debate about reducing costs and making health insurance more affordable is merely subterfuge in the White House’s scheme to impose a final solution to the nation’s obvious elderly problem.

(more…)

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Virgin Media | 30th July, 2009

purdycourtPA_450x300

Multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy has won a landmark appeal to the highest court in the land in her battle to clarify the law on assisted suicide.

Five Law Lords unanimously backed her call for a policy statement from the Director of Public Prosecutions on the circumstances in which a person such as her husband might face prosecution for helping a loved one end their life abroad.

Ms Purdy, 46, took her case to the House of Lords after the High Court and Court of Appeal held that it was for Parliament, not the courts, to change the law.

The Law Lords agreed that changes were a matter for Parliament, but upheld Ms Purdy’s argument that the DPP, Keir Starmer QC, should put in writing the factors that he regarded as relevant in deciding whether or not to prosecute.

(more…)

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Blair to be called before UK inquiry to Iraq war

LONDON, England (CNN) — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be called before an inquiry into the country’s role in the Iraq war, its chairman said during the opening Thursday.

John Chilcot told media he would not “offer a list of witnesses” but that “key decision-makers in the key phases of the Iraq affair” would be called.

“You can work out for yourself who some of them will be, but apart from the former prime minister [Tony Blair] — who it’s obvious we must see — I don’t want to give a longer list today.”

Blair’s appearance before the inquiry, whenever it happens, will be of huge interest to the British public and media.

Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, announced the inquiry last month, saying it would look in depth at the lead up to and conduct of the war. However, he also said it would not appropriate blame or have any mandate to consider civil or criminal charges.

Chilcot said the inquiry would examine the period starting from the summer of 2001 until the launch of the military operation in 2003, and up to the present day.

Read more…

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Sherwood Ross | MWC News, July 29, 2009

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Some in Congress are stung by charges that former Vice President Dick Cheney ran an international assassination op from the White House without telling them about it. They say he told the CIA to withhold the facts from Congress. This raises the question of how much power Cheney actually wielded—and the answer apparently is plenty.

Continues >>

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