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TPM Reporting Sestak WILL run against Specter.

Brian Buetler of TPM is reporting that Congressman Sestak will run against Senator Specter in the Pa. Democratic primary.

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) is privately telling supporters that he intends to run for Senate, TPMDC has confirmed.

“He intends to get in the race,” says Meg Infantino, the Congressman’s sister, who works at Sestak for Congress. “In the not too distant future, he will sit down with his wife and daughter to make the final decision.”

TPM: EXCLUSIVE: Sestak Intends To Run For Senate

Follow the link and read the handwritten note to a supporter in which Sestak announces he will run and asks for a contribution.  And give TPM some views, because they broke the story.  

Bush to Chirac on Iraq Invasion: “This confrontation is willed by God.”

It appears we had a f..king religious nut as President who lied to obtain support for the invasion of Iraq in order to bring the end times closer. Cheney and Rumsfeld manupulated the “boy king” by playing to his religious delusions.

Former President George Bush explained to then-President of France Jacques Chirac that that the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in the Mid-East and must be defeated.  It apears that Bush told Chirac that invasion of Iraq was willed by God in order to usher in the “end times.”

This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins“.

Counterpunch: Bush’s Shocking Biblical Prophecy Emerges: God Wants to “Erase” Mid-East Enemies “Before a New Age Begins”

More, after the fold.  

Obama, strawmen and the triangulation model of rhetoric

I wrote a comment on Orange and thought it was worth saying here.  I first became aware of this tactic from reading David Sirota and Big Tent Democrat in late 2006, when Obama was first talking about running.  I resisted in my understanding, however, because I wanted to believe.  It involves binary oppositions, strawmen and triangulation.

It’s the triangulation model of rhetoric.  President Obama does it a lot, again today.  He posits two extremes, well meaning, but wrong, and then places himself in the pragmatic middle.  It’s an easy rhetorical game.  You define the extremes in such a way that your position, no matter what it is, is the “reasonable” one.  Often the postions are mischaracterized, i.e., strawmen created, so that the middle position is obviously better than the well meaning but wrong headed “extremes.”

It’s very effective, but it is a rhetorical game.  Obama today:

We see that, above all, in how the recent debate has been obscured by two opposite and absolutist ends. On one side of the spectrum, there are those who make little allowance for the unique challenges posed by terrorism, and who would almost never put national security over transparency. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who embrace a view that can be summarized in two words: “anything goes.” Their arguments suggest that the ends of fighting terrorism can be used to justify any means, and that the President should have blanket authority to do whatever he wants – provided that it is a President with whom they agree.

Both sides may be sincere in their views, but neither side is right. The American people are not absolutist, and they don’t elect us to impose a rigid ideology on our problems. They know that we need not sacrifice our security for our values, nor sacrifice our values for our security, so long as we approach difficult questions with honesty, and care, and a dose of common sense. That, after all, is the unique genius of America. That is the challenge laid down by our Constitution. That has been the source of our strength through the ages. That is what makes the United States of America different as a nation.



Obama’s been doing it for a long time.  It works, so long as no one critically analyzes what he says.  For example, was the Bush program really “anything goes”?  As bad as they were, they had some limits.  Granted, their limits were pretty damn low.  But I don’t see evidence of electricity applied to genitals, etc.  Bush did leave office.  I opposed Bush totally, but what he did was bad enough on its own.  See it for what it was.  He should have been impeached during his first term.  

Do the critics of Obama’s moderation on these issues really NEVER put national security over transparency?  That’s many of the people here he’s characterizing.  

Those are strawmen and Obama knows it.  

More, after the fold.  

Senator Specter says CIA has a “bad record” on “Honesty.”

Understatement, perhaps.  ðŸ™‚

This is surprising, but I’m glad he said this.  Nancy Pelosi has her faults, but the attacks on her for telling the truth about the CIA, i.e., that they lie, are wrong.  It’s misdirection by Republicans to avoid justice for Bush and Cheney (and many others) for violating international law. Pelosi did not shine on this (an understatement) but she is not Bush or Cheney.  She may not have stopped it (and she may not have been able to do so), but she did not create the criminal policies.  

Arlan Specter coming to the rescue.  Well, it’s a start.  Now he needs to support EFCA.

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) took the opportunity Wednesday to defend House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has come under fire in recent weeks over a controversy surrounding when she was told of the use of enhanced interrogation techniques being used by the CIA.

“The CIA has a very bad record when it comes to – I was about to say ‘candid’; that’s too mild – to honesty,” Specter, a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a lunch address to the American Law Institute. He cited misleading information about the agency’s involvement in mining harbors in Nicaragua and the Iran-Contra affair.


“Director [Leon] Panetta says the agency does not make it a habit to misinform Congress. I believe that is true. It is not the policy of the Central Intelligence Agency to misinform Congress,” Specter said. “But that doesn’t mean that they’re all giving out the information.”…

Bibi’s FU To President Barack Obama

During the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu with President Obama, the President pressed Bibi to agree to the two-state solution:

“It is in the interests not only of the Palestinians but also the Israelis, the United States and the international community to achieve a two-state solution,” Obama told reporters with Netanyahu sitting beside him.


But Netanyahu would not agree even to that most basic principle.

“I did not say two states for two peoples,” Netanyahu said later at a solo briefing with reporters.


Now, through an aide, Netanyahu called the “media” focus on a two state solution “childish and stupid.”  Of course, this media focus is there because the President of our nation is focused on a two-state solution.

More, after the fold.

Also in orange:…

Take action to Stop Farmworker Deaths on the Anniversary of Maria Isabel’s heat death

I want to tell you a story of agribusinesses greed, indifference, and death.  It’s the story of a young girl whose life was lost before she even had a chance to start living it.  On May 16, 2008, a 17 year old farmworker, Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, died in the California fields from the heat and lack of water. At least five other California farm workers died last summer from the heat. Fifteen farm workers have died of heat-related complications since July 2004.

Yesterday, the United Farm Workers and many others marked the one year anniversary of when 17-year old Maria Isabel collapsed of heat stroke. Maria’s uncle Doroteo Jimenez spoke:

How we can help prevent more deaths, after the fold.

Also on Dkos at…

Hartmarx Sit In Plan Going National: Rochester Joins Illinois Plant in Sit-In Vote

I think we are seeing a movement here.  In the last couple days, I’ve written about the Hartmarx sit-in votes in Illinois and the pressure on Wells Fargo to choose a bidder for Hartmarx that will keep the compnay open.  The Illinois plant voted for a sit-in.  Now Rochester has followed.

ROCHESTER, NY, MAY 13-Determined to protect good, U.S. manufacturing jobs, more than 450 Hickey-Freeman workers unanimously voted yesterday to stage a sit-in if Wells Fargo & Co., their employer’s main creditor and a recipient of a $25 billion taxpayer bailout, liquidates company assets. Rochester workers are joining with employees of Hartmarx, Hickey-Freeman’s parent company, who voted earlier in the week to stage a sit-in if their plants were shuttered.

Rochester Hickey-Freeman Workers Vote to Stage Sit-In if Bailed-Out Bank Attempts to Close Company

More, after the fold.

Also on Dkos:…

Reducing Economic Inequality: Obama v. Specter

I want to talk about economic inequality, President Obama, the Democratic Party, and the core beliefs Democrats share.

I’ll start with Robert Reich, former Labor secretary for Bill Clinton, who has an interesting article in Salon today that caught my eye: Obama, the enemy of economic inequality

He makes several good points in it, all of which reinforce my fundamental view that the best of President Obama is his core opposition to the extreme economic inequality that exists in America today.

First, he addresses the repeated description of President Obama as a pragmatist, a description President Obama encourages:    

Being a pragmatist is a statement about means, not ends. It describes someone who chooses the most practical way of achieving a certain goal but it does not explain why he chooses one goal over another.

Much more, after the fold.  

Obama Sits Down: CIA employees won’t be tried for waterboarding

Torturers go free:

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration on Thursday informed CIA officials who used waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics on terror suspects that they will not be prosecuted.


But the statement issued Thursday by Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, is the first definitive assurance that those CIA officials are in the clear, as long as their actions were in line with the legal advice at the time.…

This is morally wrong.  They had a duty to disobey an illegal order.  It was not legal merely because the Bush admin said so.

Rahm: Obama Insists On Two State Solution in First Term

If correct, this is important and good.

MJ Rosenberg, Director of Policy Analysis, Israel Policy Forum, is reporting that the Obama adminsitration will take a tough line on peace in the mideast.

Yedioth Achronoth, the largest circulation daily in Israel, reports today that President Obama intends to see the two-state solution signed, sealed and delivered during his first term.

Rahm Emanuel told an (unnamed) Jewish leader; “In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn’t matter to us at all who is prime minister.”


He also said that the United States will exert pressure to see that deal is put into place. “Any treatment of the Iranian nuclear problem will be contingent upon progress in the negotiations and an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank territory,” the paper reports Emanuel as saying.  In other words, US sympathy for Israel’s position vis a vis Iran depends on Israel’s willingness to live up to its commitment to get out of the West Bank and permit the establishment of a Palestinian state there, in Gaza, and East Jerusalem.


I have criticized the Obama adminstration on a few things, but this is a big, big change and is essential for pulling back Ameircan Empire.

We need a secure and peaceful Israel and Palestine.  I expect a lot of Democratic Party blowback on this, as AIPAC and others start atacking.

On this one, President Obama is right.

Judge Rules Afghanistan Detainees Have Right to Challenge Detention in Court

From the BBC:

A US judge has ruled that foreign suspects held by the US in Afghanistan have the right to challenge their detention in US civilian courts.

Judge John Bates denied the motion by the US government to withhold the right to three detainees at Bagram air base.

The US Supreme Court ruled last year that detainees at Guantanamo had such a right. The justice department later said those held at Bagram did not.

Judge Bates said the cases were essentially the same.


“Today, a US federal judge ruled that our government can not simply kidnap people and hold them beyond the law,” lawyer Ramzi Kassem was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.…

Upholding the rule of law.

Will the Obama adminstration appeal this?  I hope not.

Update I: More details here in the New York Times:…

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that some prisoners held by the American military in Afghanistan have a constitutional right to challenge their imprisonment in United States civilian courts, delivering a rebuke to a claim of unfettered executive power advanced by both the Bush and Obama administrations.

In 53-page ruling, Judge John D. Bates of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia said that three detainees at the United States Air Force base at Bagram are “virtually identical” to detainees at the Navy base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and so they have the same legal rights that the Supreme Court last year granted prisoners held there.

All three detainees are non-Afghan citizens who said they were captured outside Afghanistan and have been imprisoned for years without trials. Arguing that they are not enemy combatants, the detainees want a judge to review the evidence against them and order their release under the right known as “habeas corpus.”

Think about that: “delivering a rebuke to a claim of unfettered executive power advanced by both the Bush and Obama administrations”.

Unfettered executive power, a position supported by President Barack Obama, who claimed to be a constitutional law scholar.  

It’s time for justice, not unfettered executive power.

On the trad blog, I can’t say that, because President Obama is always right there.  But here at docudharma, truth is more important than political tribalism and idolatry.

Thanks, buhdy, for what you have created here.

Joe Stiglitz: The Only Way The Geithner Plan Works is if Taxpayers Lose

Joseph E. Stiglitz is a professor of economics at Columbia who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1995 to 1997 under President Clinton.  He was awarded the Nobel prize in economics in 2001.  He has been crtical of globalization and his willingness to stand up to Larry Summers during the Clinton adminsitration likely led to him being forced our of the World Bank.  

He is also the former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank. He is known for his critical view of the management of globalization, free-market economists (whom he calls “free market fundamentalists”) and some international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.


At the World Bank, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Economist (1997 – 2000), in the time when unprecedented protest against international economic organizations started, most prominently with the Seattle WTO meeting of 1999. He was fired by the World Bank for expressing dissent with its policies.


Stiglitz always had a poor relationship with Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. In 2000, Summers successfully petitioned for Stiglitz’s removal, supposedly in exchange for World Bank President James Wolfensohn’s re-appointment – an exchange that Wolfensohn denies took place.…

And he has a Nobel Prize for his work:

Stiglitz’s most famous research was on screening, a technique used by one economic agent to extract otherwise private information from another. It was for this contribution to the theory of information asymmetry that he shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2001 “for laying the foundations for the theory of markets with asymmetric information” with George A. Akerlof and A. Michael Spence.…

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