Jimmy Kimmel compares his commencement address at UNLV to President Obama’s at Morehouse College:
Check out this latest bit of conspiracy theory.
The White House dismissed the alien bodyguards as too costly in this era of budgetary austerity. “I can’t confirm the claims made in this video, but any alleged program to guard the president with aliens or robots would likely have to be scaled back or eliminated in the sequester,” Caitlin Hayden, the chief spokeswoman for the National Security Council, e-mails Danger Room. “I’d refer you to the Secret Service or Area 51 for more details.” We are journalistically obligated to observe that this isn’t a flat denial.
These wacko claims get more bizarre all the time.
President Obama has refused to tell Congress or the American people why he believes the Constitution gives, or fails to deny, him the authority to secretly target and kill American citizens who he suspects are involved in terrorist activities overseas. So far he has killed three that we know of.
Presidents had never before, to our knowledge, targeted specific Americans for military strikes. There are no court decisions that tell us if he is acting lawfully. Mr. Obama tells us not to worry, though, because his lawyers say it is fine, because experts guide the decisions and because his advisers have set up a careful process to help him decide whom he should kill.
He must think we should be relieved.
– Vicki Divoll, former general counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and former deputy legal adviser to the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center, calling on President Obama to release his legal justification for killing American citizens without a trial.
You would think that Barack Obama would be able to learn from some of his mistakes. Here was one such mistake. Obama invited Rick Warren, an anti-gay rights pastor, to deliver the invocation at his first inaugural.
And now, he has done it again, by selecting Rev. Louie Giglio, from Atlanta. Here is what Giglio said as part of a sermon in the 1990s:
In [the sermon], Mr. Giglio cites Scripture in saying that homosexuality “is sin in the eyes of God, and it is sin in the word of God.” He warned against gay rights. “That movement is not a benevolent movement,” he said. “It is a movement to seize by any means necessary the feeling and the mood of the day, to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society.”
You can listen to the entire sermon here.
It seems to me that Obama should insist on some sort of explanation from Giglio as to his current views before allowing him to speak at the inauguration. It probably won’t help, but you should sign this petition at the White House.
Update: Well, I was wrong and it didn’t take long for the pastor to remove himself from the event.
- White House Has No Comment on Anti-Gay Inaugural Pastor Choice (my.firedoglake.com)
- White House Mum On Inaugural Benediction Speaker’s Past Comments On Gays (buzzfeed.com)
- Inaugural Benediction To Be Delivered By Pastor Who Gave Vehemently Anti-Gay Sermon (thinkprogress.org)
- Is Obama pulling another Rick Warren? (salon.com)
- White House petitioned to replace ‘antigay’ Pastor Louie Giglio at second Obama inaugural (miamiherald.typepad.com)
John Brennan has repeatedly supported illiegal torture policies, and is a strong advocate of increased drone attacks without providing an explanation of the legal basis for their use. It is an outrage that Brennan is the president’s choice to head the CIA. Glenn Greenwald has the details in this article.
Here is an excerpt:
Prior to President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, a controversy erupted over reports that he intended to appoint John Brennan as CIA director. That controversy, in which I participated, centered around the fact that Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush’s programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program. As a result, Brennan withdrew his name from consideration, issuing a bitter letter blaming “strong criticism in some quarters prompted by [his] previous service with the” CIA.
This “victory” of forcing Brennan’s withdrawal proved somewhat Pyrrhic, as Obama then appointed him as his top counter-terrorism adviser, where he exerted at least as much influence as he would have had as CIA Director, if not more. In that position, Brennan last year got caught outright lying when he claimed Obama’s drone program caused no civilian deaths in Pakistan over the prior year. He also spouted complete though highly influential falsehoods to the world in the immediate aftermath of the Osama bin Laden killing, including claiming that bin Laden “engaged in a firefight” with Navy SEALS and had “used his wife as a human shield”. Brennan has also been in charge of many of Obama’s most controversial and radical policies, including “signature strikes” in Yemen – targeting people without even knowing who they are – and generally seizing the power to determine who will be marked for execution without any due process, oversight or transparency.
As it typically does in the US National Security State, all of that deceit and radicalism is resulting not in recrimination or loss of credibility for Brennan, but in reward and promotion.
- CIA Nominee Brennan Has Obama’s ‘Complete Trust’ (npr.org)
- John Brennan chosen by Barack Obama as new CIA head (telegraph.co.uk)
- Official: Obama to tap Brennan as CIA director (cnn.com)
There’s nothing like a debate over warrantless wiretapping to clarify how the two parties really feel about government. On Friday, the Senate voted to reauthorize the government’s warrantless surveillance program, with hawkish Democrats joining with Republicans to block every effort to curtail the government’s sweeping spying powers.
As the Senate debated the renewal of the government’s warrantless wiretapping powers on Thursday, Republicans who have accused President Barack Obama of covering up his involvement in the death of an American ambassador urged that his administration be given sweeping spying powers. Democrats who accused George W. Bush of shredding the Constitution with warrantless wiretapping four years ago sung a different tune this week, with the administration itself quietly urging passage of the surveillance bill with no changes, and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) accusing her Democratic colleagues of not understanding the threat of terrorism.
“There is a view by some that this country no longer needs to fear an attack,” Feinstein said.
– Adam Serwer, writing in Mother Jones.
If you are interested, here is the floor statement by Senator Ron Wyden who argues for reasonable limitations on the powers of the bill, and a transparent discussion of how the bill is actually being implemented.
- Warrantless Wiretapping Approved Yet Again, This Time With Barely a Fight (motherjones.com)
- GOP and Feinstein join to fulfill Obama’s demand for renewed warrantless eavesdropping | Glenn Greenwald (guardian.co.uk)
- Senate Debates FISA Amid Concerns Over Warrantless Wiretapping (legaltimes.typepad.com)
President Obama is a decent man, and he clearly felt the tragedy in Connecticut deeply. That was evident from his brief statement at the White House today. We have grown accustomed to what will happen next. The President will likely visit a funeral or a memorial service and, at greater length, comfort the families of the victims, the community, and the nation. He will be eloquent. He will give voice to the common grief, the common confusion, the common outrage. But then what? A “conversation”? Let there be a conversation. But also let there be decisive action from a President who is determined not only to feel our pain but, calling on the powers of his office, to feel the urge to prevent more suffering. His reading of the Constitution should no longer be constrained by a sense of what the conventional wisdom is in this precinct or that. Let him begin his campaign for a more secure and less violent America in the state of Connecticut.
Please take a minute and sign this petition.
The assault weapons ban enacted under President Clinton was deficient and has expired. Mr. Obama talked about the need for “common sense” gun control after the movie theater slaughter in Aurora, Colo., and he hinted during the campaign that he might support a new assault weapons ban, presumably if someone else introduced it.
Republicans will never do that, because they are mired in an ideology that opposes any gun control. After each tragedy, including this one, some litter the Internet with grotesque suggestions that it would be better if everyone (kindergarten teachers?) were armed. Far too many Democrats also live in fear of the gun lobby and will not support an assault weapons ban, or a ban on high-capacity bullet clips or any one of a half-dozen other sensible ideas.
Mr. Obama said today that “we have been through this too many times” and “that “we are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
The more that we hear about gun control and nothing happens, the less we can believe it will ever come. Certainly, it will not unless Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders show the courage to make it happen.
- Bloomberg to Obama: Offering Condolences ‘Is Not Enough’ (politicker.com)
- White House: “Today Is Not The Day” To Debate Gun Control (buzzfeed.com)
Given this morning’s devastating event in Connecticut, which is probably the largest mass killing in a school in the country that has ever occurred, coming as it did in the wake of several similar events, is it possible for the country and its political leaders to have a serious conversation about the easy availability of firearms in this country? How many more innocent deaths will it take before we try to do something to reduce the easy access to firearms and to get as many guns as possible out of the hands of unstable individuals? Where is the strong leadership that we need?
Update: The President, speaking as a parent and wiping away tears, just delivered a somber and very emotional statement highlighting the heartbreak of the event. He also said:
We’re going to have to come together to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
In addition, the press is now reporting that the shooter is dead, his mother (a kindergarden teacher at the school) is dead, and the shooter’s brother who lives in New Jersey is also dead from an earlier shooting.
You know, these so-called right-to-work laws, they don’t have to do with economics. They have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.
– President Obama yesterday, speaking in Michigan where the GOP is poised to end mandatory payment of union dues.
… was sent last night from Barack Obama’s account. Be sure to click the link to see why.
Four more years. twitter.com/BarackObama/st…
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
- Via @BarackObama, the Most Popular Tweet of All Time – Megan Garber – The Atlantic (theatlantic.com)
- Obama’s ‘Four More Years’ Tweet is Most Popular of All Time [REPORT] (mashable.com)
- Obama’s ‘Four more years’ victory tweet already the most retweeted of all time (theverge.com)
- Obama victory photo is his most re-tweeted post (todayonthetrail.today.com)
… this election offers American voters an unedifying choice. Many of The Economist’s readers, especially those who run businesses in America, may well conclude that nothing could be worse than another four years of Mr Obama. We beg to differ. For all his businesslike intentions, Mr Romney has an economic plan that works only if you don’t believe most of what he says. That is not a convincing pitch for a chief executive. And for all his shortcomings, Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.
– The Economist, endorsing Barack Obama.
We need leadership from the White House — and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.
Mitt Romney, too, has a history of tackling climate change. As governor of Massachusetts, he signed on to a regional cap- and-trade plan designed to reduce carbon emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels. “The benefits (of that plan) will be long- lasting and enormous — benefits to our health, our economy, our quality of life, our very landscape. These are actions we can and must take now, if we are to have ‘no regrets’ when we transfer our temporary stewardship of this Earth to the next generation,” he wrote at the time.
He couldn’t have been more right. But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported. This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.
I believe Mitt Romney is a good and decent man, and he would bring valuable business experience to the Oval Office. He understands that America was built on the promise of equal opportunity, not equal results. In the past he has also taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care. But he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the health-care model he signed into law in Massachusetts.
If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him because, like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing.