Tag: Opinion

“Yes, I DO Want To Take Your Guns Away!”

That is what Samantha Bee, host of the TBS show “Full Frontal,” said last night in a righteous rant about the massacre in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning and I’m with her. There is no reason for any civilian to own an Ar-15 or any weapon similar to it. “Well, here we are,” Bee began. …

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Michael Moore: Flint Was A Hate Crime And Taking Down Trump

During a ten minute interview with Bill Maher on HBO’s “Real Time,” activist and Academy award winning documentary producer Michael Moore discussed his new film “Where to Invade Next;” how the poisoning of the water supply in Flint, Michigan was a race hate; rips President Barack Obama for drinking the water; and plans with Bill …

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What Liberal Media?

If you thought that MSNBC was a liberal media outlet, you need to watch it more carefully. Just watch Joe Scarborough in the morning or Chuck Todd in the afternoon. The higher up at the news division has cut a deal with Bloomberg Media to rerun a program that most people have never watched hosted …

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What John Said Last Week Today

One of my favorite pundits is comedian John Oliver. Since leaving “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” he has made his mark on the premium cable network HBO with “Last Week Tonight.” Once a week, John takes a satirical look at news, politics and current events, often laced with “colorful” language, videos and costumed characters. …

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Sunday Round-Up

The beltway punditry on the tubes today were out with all the usual suspects sounding off with the same old memes that we will continue to hear for the next year. We start with the parade of presidential candidates, mostly the Republicans since there are more of them. We’ll start with retired neurosurgeon and religious …

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Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Since the release of the summary of the Senate’s Torture Report, the torture apologists have been out in force calling the report inaccurate and misleading, and repeating long debunked lies about the accuracy of the intelligence. Chief among them this week will be former Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney who will be Chuck Todd’s guest on this morning’s “Meet the Press“. The Intercept‘s Dan Froomkin has some suggestions for [questions Chuck might want to ask Dick instead of the usual “MTP” treatment of rolling over and playing dead at the feet of the contentious war criminal.

Of all the questions proposed, my favorites are the one Chuck asked Glenn Greenwald:

Why shouldn’t you be charged with a crime?

and this one that Dan had proposed Cheney be asked in 2011:

Just how much had you had to drink before you shot your friend in the face?

Dick Cheney Will Eat Chuck Todd For Breakfast Unless Todd Does Exactly What I Say

When Cheney was vice president, his chief M.O. was to spread false information and savage his critics, while avoiding any sustained inquisition. He often did that through intermediaries.

But when he needed to take things into his own hands, “Meet the Press” was “best” because, while there might be a tough prepared question or two, then-host Tim Russert could be counted on to follow up obsequiously or not at all, without in any way knocking the veep off his talking points. [..]

But I have some ideas about what Todd could do differently. (And so did several of my Twitter followers.)

The key is quite simple: Instead of asking Cheney for his reaction to the report, Todd should use the opportunity to ask Cheney factual questions, to fill in gaps in the record. [..]

Q. Why did people within the CIA start talking about torture, when historically their view was, as Senator Feinstein mentioned in her speech on Tuesday, that “inhumane physical or psychological techniques are counterproductive because they do not produce intelligence and will probably result in false answers”?

Q. Do you know who first came up with the idea of using torture as part of the interrogation of detainees?

Q. What was the first time you heard anything about making interrogation tactics more brutal?

Q. When was the first time you heard about waterboarding? What was your reaction?

Q. How often were you or your office in touch with the CIA in late 2002 and early 2003 about interrogation matters?

Q. Describe your chief counsel David Addington’s involvement in developing interrogation policy.

Q. What was the first report you heard that made you think torture was “working”?

Q. What do you consider torture? [..]

Q. Do you have any reason to dispute the report’s description of “rectal feeding” and “rectal hydration”? Had you heard anything about this before? Does that sound OK to you?

Q. Did you watch any of the videos of detainees being interrogated at the black sites ? What was that like for you?

Q. Did you ever speak directly to someone involved in administering those interrogation tactics? What was that like? [..]

Q. A 2008 Senate Armed Services Committee report concluded that you bore direct responsibility for what happened at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. Didn’t you notice that the interrogation tactics you architected for CIA use had migrated into the military?

Q. Did you ever suggest to anyone that any specific interrogation practice be stopped?

Q. Do you think it’s likely that some of these tactics will be returned to use in the future?

Q. How would you feel if an American were subject to this kind of interrogation? How would you want the country to respond?

Q. Do you plan to travel to Europe?

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: This Sunday’s guests are former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden; Army veteran Eric Fair; and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.

The roundtable guests are:  Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MM); former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham: and CNN & SiriusXM host Michael Smerconish.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schhieffer’s guests are: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA); Sen. Angus King (I-MA);  Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI); and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

His panel guests are Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal; Michael Gerson, Washington Post; Charles Ellison, The Root; and Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: This Sunday’s “MTP” guests are: Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Hopefully by now Dick will have read the report. The panel guests are a mystery. I love a mystery.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley:

Nest week will be Ms. Crowley’s final appearance as host. She announced her resignation from CNN last week.

Ms. Crowley’s guests are:  Rep. Peter King (R-NY); and Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA).

Plus, part two of Candy Crowley’s exclusive interview with President George W. Bush.

NY High Court Rules Towns Can Ban Fracking

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

New York State has had a moratorium on hydrolic fracturing (fracking) since 2008. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that he won’t make a decision on lifting the temporary ban until the state’s Health Department finishes its study that was started in 2012. Some up state towns, concerned about the outcome of that study and the possibility that corporate friendly Gov. Cuomo would lift the ban, passed zoning ordinances banning fracking. This week New York State’s highest court upheld those ordinances:

The New York Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of a lower court that local governments have the authority to decide how land is used, which includes deciding whether or not fracking and drilling should be allowed on that land. The Court of Appeals heard arguments on two cases challenging local bans on fracking in June. The plaintiffs in those lawsuits argued that New York’s oil, gas and mining law takes precedence over local zoning laws, but in rulings both by a lower court and now the Court of Appeals, that claim was overturned.

Two New York towns – Middlefield and Dryden – that previously banned fracking were the focus of the lawsuits, but the ruling means that now other municipalities in New York can pass laws that ban fracking and drilling. So far, activists say, 170 towns and cities in New York have passed fracking bans or moratoria. [..]

The battle over the two towns’ fracking bans began in 2011, when an oil-and-gas company first challenged Dreyden’s ban on fracking. Not long after, landowner Cooperstown Holstein Corp challenged Middlefield’s ban.

The New York State Assembly had voted to extend the ban for another 3 years but the Republican controlled Senate adjourned without taking up the bill.

Municipalities around the country are taking up similar bans over concerns about contamination of vital water supplies and ground contamination by the chemicals used to release the oil and natural gases. This ruling could have an impact on those ordinances, as well:

Municipal bans are a growing phenomenon nationwide as localities target hydraulic fracturing, in which water and chemicals are pumped underground to break shale rock and release the oil and natural gas inside. Such cities and towns are often in conflict with state governments that want the revenue and the employment associated with the drilling technique that’s spurred an American oil and natural gas boom.

The battle is especially fierce in Colorado, where the governor and oil and gas companies have filed lawsuits seeking to overturn bans passed by local voters.

Pennsylvania tried to prevent its local governments from prohibiting fracking, but it lost in court. The Ohio Supreme Court is considering whether cities and towns have the right to ban the practice.

Attorneys from the environmental law firm Earthjustice helped the town of Dryden with the New York case, and they said Monday’s ruling “has sent a firm message to the oil and gas industry.”

New York State Petroleum Council Executive Director Karen Moreau said the ruling would pose a problem for natural gas development in her state.

In it’s 5 – 2 ruling, the court stated that its ruling was not about whether fracking was safe or not, but about the balance of power between state and local government.

This is a win for New Yorkers and the environment.

The Sunday March of the NeoCons

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Every Sunday it’s almost guaranteed that the majority of the Sunday talk shows would be dominated by right wing neocons who have over the last 40 years managed to take this country into not just economic failure of the middle class but into being the laughing stock of the international community. This morning was no different as the war mongers and neocon war criminal were on full display.

Let’s start with “This Week” and the Bill Clinton’s former Press Secretary’s lien up. You can’t make this up, Laura Ingraham, a right wing radio talk show hack who managed to wheedle herself into a gig with ABC News, thinks that poor Eric Cantor can’t take a joke. During one of her appearances for David Brat, Cantor’s primary challenger, she suggested that Obama should have traded Cantor to the Taliban for Sgt, Bowe Bergdahl because of his stance on immigration reform. Ummm, Cantor is Jewish. She doubled down on that this morning’s “This Week” reacting to Cantor’s saying that comments like that “cheapened the debate.” Remember Daniel Pearl’s beheading, anyone?

While I dislike Eric Cantor, Laura went too far the first time and way over the antisemitism line the second. No Laura, we’re not laughing and you aren’t funny.

On “Face the Nation,” we have Senator Lindsey “I never saw a war I didn’t like” Graham on his fainting couch saying that the developments in Iraq and Syria portend another 9/11.

“The decision to withdraw U.S. forces created a vacuum,” Graham said. “Syria is launching pad. …If the central government in Iraq collapses – and that’s the goal of ISIS – Iran will own southern part of Iraq, that’s where the Shiites live; they can operate ISIS from Baghdad to Kurdistan all the way in to Syria. They will eventually march on Jordan and Lebanon – our best ally in the region is the King of Jordan – and they will attack us from that part of Iraq and Syria. According to our own Director of National Intelligence, FBI Director, the next 9/11 is coming from here.”

“That a very serious statement,” Schieffer said.

“I think it’s inevitable,” Graham replied. “They plan to drive us out of the Mideast by attacked us here at home.”

Where are Rudy, “a noun, a verb and 9/11,” Guiliani and Rep. Peter, “Mr. Islamaphobia,” King (R-NY)?

But the icing on this morning’s cake was on “Meet The Press” with David “The Dancing Master” Gregory’s interview with none other than one of the chief Bush war criminals former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. When asked by Gregory about his and his neocon buddies culpability for the sectarian violence, Wolfie hedged:

   Gregory: Where you and others culpable of underestimating the level of sectarian violence, warfare in the country that creates the potential for this kind of terror states to develop today?

   Wolfowitz: Look, you use the word sectarian so did Richard Engel, This is more than just the obscure Shia/Sunni conflict. This is al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda is not on the road of defeat, al-Qaeda is on the march. Not just in Iraq and Syria and we have real enemies in the US and what we should be looking for friends. I think when we stick with our friends and those friends are not always perfect, but we stuck with the Kurds for twenty years. Northern Iraq, Kurdistan is a success story. We stuck with them South Korea for sixty years. South Korea is a miracle story if we walked away from that country in 1953, that country was a basket case.

(h/t John Amato at Crooks and Liars)

Never mind several centuries of the Sunni/Shiite rift, it’s Al Qaeda? oy.

First off Wolfowitz should be in prison in either The Hague or a max security here in the US. He shouldn’t be marched out as an expert any defense or foreign policy matter, let alone the Middle East.

Pass the antifreeze and make mine a double.

World Opinion On U.S. Elections



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Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

While mishima is on hiatus, I will be cross posting some of our daily and weekly features from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: This Week has exclusive interviews with White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and IMF Managing Director and Chair Christine Lagarde.

The roundtable guests, George Will, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, Bloomberg’s Al Hunt, and ABC News Senior Political Correspondent Jonathan Karl will discuss the “debt ceiling divide”.

Another roundtable with Vanity Fair columnist and ADWEEK editorial director Michael Wolff, NPR’s Nina Totenberg and CourtTV founder Steve Brill, will debate “the state of the media in this tabloid culture.”

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr, Schieffer’s guests are Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

The Chris Matthews Show: This Week’s guests, Bob Woodward The Washington Post Associate Editor, Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Jamie Tarabay, National Journal Managing Editor and Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune Columnist, will discuss:

Is the Tea Party’s flirtation with default a big favor to Barack Obama?

Is Michele Bachmann too far right even for the GOP?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is making the rounds. Republican presidential contender, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has his turn with Gregory.

The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson and NBC’S Chief White House Correspondent and Political Director Chuck Todd join in a discussion of the debt ceiling fight and its impact on Obama’s 2012 reelection.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen will have a stand off about the debt ceiling and its impact.

GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum will exam his chances of getting the GOP nod.

Ans finally. a look at the future of space exploration for the United States.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Fareed Zakaria asks Peter Godwin, author of “The Fear”, about whether the birth of South Sudan will be marred by war.

The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof talks about whether Sudan will allow South Sudan to flourish.

This could change the conversation on these shows: John Boehner Rejects Obama’s Grand Bargain On Debt Ceiling

New York Times Editorial: The Worst Time to Slow the Economy

It was not surprising to hear the Republican presidential candidates repeat their tiresome claim that excessive government spending and borrowing were behind Friday’s terrible unemployment report. It was depressing to hear President Obama sound as if he agreed with them.

The Labor Department report showed virtually no job growth in June, with the unemployment level edging up to 9.2 percent from 9.1 percent the month before. It seemed to confirm last month’s indication that the economy had stalled. After the report came out, the president went to the Rose Garden and said he hoped that a conclusion to the current debt-ceiling talks would give businesses “certainty” that the government had its debt and deficit under control, allowing them to start hiring again.

Certainty? That sounds like Mitt Romney, or any of the other Republicans who have concocted a phony connection between hiring and government borrowing.

Jane Hamsher: Breaking Point: Obama and the Death of the Democratic Party

According to both the Washington Post and the New York Times, Obama is proposing cuts to Social Security in exchange for GOP support for tax hikes.

Nobody ever says they want to “cut” Social Security or Medicare. They want to “save” it.  Just ask Pete Peterson, he wants to “save” it. Likewise AARP.  They don’t want reduced benefits for senior citizens, they want to “preserve” it for future generations.  If they have an enormous customer base they can market private “add-on” accounts and other retirement products to when Social Security goes bye-bye, I guess that’s just a happy coincidence.

Now if you think that this is something the President is doing because it’s the only way to get Republican cooperation you can stop reading here, because we’re going to disagree.  From the moment he took the White House, the President has wanted to cut Social Security benefits.  David Brooks reported that three administration officials called him to say Obama “is extremely committed to entitlement reform and is plotting politically feasible ways to reduce Social Security as well as health spending” in March of 2009.  You can only live in denial for so long and still lay claim to being tethered to reality.

Amy Goodman: WikiLeaks, Wimbledon and War

Last Saturday was sunny in London, and the crowds were flocking to Wimbledon and to the annual Henley Regatta. Julian Assange, the founder of the whistle-blower website Wikileaks.org, was making his way by train from house arrest in Norfolk, three hours away, to join me and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek for a public conversation about WikiLeaks, the power of information and the importance of transparency in democracies. The event was hosted by the Frontline Club, an organization started by war correspondents in part to memorialize their many colleagues killed covering war. Frontline Club co-founder Vaughan Smith looked at the rare sunny sky fretfully, saying, “Londoners never come out to an indoor event on a day like this.” Despite years of accurate reporting from Afghanistan to Kosovo, Smith was, in this case, completely wrong.

Close to 1,800 people showed up, evidence of the profound impact WikiLeaks has had, from exposing torture and corruption to toppling governments.

Assange is in England awaiting a July 12 extradition hearing, as he is wanted for questioning in Sweden related to allegations of sexual misconduct. He has not been charged. He has been under house arrest for more than six months, wears an electronic ankle bracelet and is required to check in daily at the Norfolk police station.

Johann Hari: Would You Trust a Management Consultant with the World’s Rainforests?

Our protests stopped David Cameron handing UK forests over to corporations. Now the rainforests are being handed to management consultants

The two most dreaded words in any office are the same – management consultants. Their arrival rumbles through a workplace like the approaching thwump-thwump of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, rattling our desks and making us all fear we will be picked up and gored at random. We’re right to be afraid – and scornful. According to “Rip Off”, a report on management consultants by David Craig, 170 organizations who used management consultants were studied in the 1990s by the Cranfield School of Management, and only 36 per cent of clients thought they had brought any value. We all know now that management consultants were threaded through the banksters and hedge funders who just crashed the global economy.

But now management consultancy has been taken to a whole new level, according to a startling new report by Greenpeace entitled: “Bad Influence: How McKinsey-inspired plans lead to rainforest destruction.” Management consultants have, in effect, been tasked with setting the future of the world’s rainforests – and facing accusations that they are using our money to draw up plans that will result in their more rapid destruction. Instead of stopping the loggers and miners, the report suggests they are aiding them.

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