Only 20 percent of Connecticut voters like the job President George Bush is doing, but that didn't stop his fellow Republicans from supporting the embattled leader Friday and opening their wallets to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash.
He received a warm welcome at Bradley International Airport from Gov. M. Jodi Rell as he arrived with U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, the state's lone Republican congressman. The president later attended a political reception in Kent for the state GOP and state Sen. David Cappiello, a Danbury Republican running for the 5th District congressional seat.
About 425 people turned out for the event at former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's home. Tickets cost $1,000 apiece; $10,000 for a picture with Bush. State GOP Chairman Christopher S. Healy said at least $700,000 was raised — about 60 percent will go to Cappiello's campaign.
"Clearly people believe has been a good president and will be shown to have been a good president," said Healy, adding that state Republicans are energized, despite Bush's poll numbers. "The truth is, this economy in America grew and we had a record number of jobs, we had strong exports, we had no terrorist attack post-9-11. George Bush did not take a lot of credit for that and maybe he should have."
Secretary of State
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(15 key slides from the infamous 2003 UN presentation making the case for war with Iraq, with anotations. Click the pause button on lower left if slides change too fast for you.)
Ten years ago today (February 5, 2003) then Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered his infamous PowerPoint Presentation before a full session of the U.N., detailing "evidence" of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons development along with the development of advanced delivery systems.
(GlobalSecurity has the entire 45 slide presentation, plus videos, here.)
With a bit of Googling, I was able to find out just what became of each site/item depicted in these slides. Not a single item shown that day turned out to be true. While reviewing these slides, keep in mind that the United States went to war, and over 4,000 American troops (not to mention and untold number of Iraqi civilians) died based on the claims made in these slides.
(Author's Note: I suppose I have to tell insane Right-Wingers that this post should IN NO WAY be misconstrued as a "defense" of Saddam Hussein. The dictator of Iraq was a monster and earned his place in hell, but the world is FULL of evil dictators and the U.S. cannot be responsible for deposing all of them. Likewise, thousands of U.S. and coalition troops gave their lives fighting a war based on the "evidence" presented in this slideshow, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians died. In fact, arguably, more Iraqis died in our 8-year war than under the 24-year reign of Saddam Hussein.)
(Additional videos below the fold.)
A former intern shares what she learned about work ethic from working for Hillary Clinton.
Blogger Historiann is one of the handful or so of people who still read Bloomberg's Michael Kinsley, Professional Liberal. (I didn't even know he was still around. But I'd like to point out to Mr. Kinsley that you judge the Secretary of State's job performance by what doesn't happen.) You don't have to be a Clinton fan to see just how offensive Kinsley's column is. As soon as a male writer uses the phrase "I don't mean to be ungallant," you know he's about to unleash a truckload of misogynist horse manure:
Michael Kinsley writes about what he calls “Hillary Clinton’s ego trips,” and proves that there’s no way you approach your professional life and responsibilities as a woman that won’t be held against you. His main complaint seems to be that Hillary Clinton thinks she’s so big:
The world is a better place because of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. That’s not the question. The question is whether it is a better place because of those last 20 hours of her 80-hour work week. Or because of the extra miles she flew to distant capitals?On one trip in 2009, according to the New York Times, “she traveled from talks with Palestinian leaders in Abu Dhabi to a midnight meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, then boarded a plane forMorocco, staying up all night to work on other issues, before going straight to a meeting of Arab leaders the next morning.”Very impressive, but did it bring us any closer to peace in the Middle East?
Kind of strange, don’t you think? Has anyone ever written about a man that he worked too hard or was just too dedicated to his job, let alone that his dedication was a form of self-aggrandizement? What’s worse is that in Kinsey’s estimation, Hillary Clinton looks like a 65 year-old woman:
Clinton looks awful and has looked worse and worse for years, since long before her recent hospitalization for a blood clot resulting from a fall. I don’t mean to be ungallant. It’s just that she clearly has been working herself to death in her current job as well as in her past two, as senator and first lady.
And what for? Despite all the admiration she deserves for her dedication and long hours, there is also a vanity of long hours and (in her current job) long miles of travel. You must be very, very important if your work requires you to be constantly flying through time zones to midnight meetings that last for hours. Of course our secretary of state is very important — so why does she have to prove it?
Yeah–she’s the U.S. Secretary of State! She should just sit back, relax, and bake up some vegan, gluten-free cookies or something. She doesn’t need to log all of those flight miles–she can just Skype Angela Merkel or Abu Mazen from Chappaqua if something comes up.
In spite of my voracious consumption of political journalism (because who else do you know who reads Michael Kinsley? Lolz!), I must have missed all of those articles that complained about Teddy Kennedy’s unattractive corpulence, or that Robert Byrd was a hideous old fossil who should have resigned long before he died, or Barney Frank’s weird speech impediment that means he spits all over anyone who’s near him, or that Bob Dole was a self-aggrandizing mummy with a chip on his shoulder and corpse-breath for daring to run for President at the age of 73. I totally missed the endless calls during the Bush presidency insisting that Dick Cheney was ineligible to serve as Vice President because he was 60 going on 95 and was clearly too hideous and too sickly to serve.
As a matter of fact, I’ve missed every single article in the world written either in English or French in which male politicians are criticized for their age, their looks, or their hard work.
I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, now that the 2012 election is over – and Benghazi-gate was useless in defeating President Obama – Fox News is suddenly making it all about Hillary Clinton, a potential 2016 nominee. Last week, the Communications Arm of the GOP was sneering that Clinton’s concussion, which caused her to cancel testifying in Congress about Benghazi, was faked. Today, Fox helped hype a Republican effort to embarrass Clinton by blocking John Kerry’s confirmation as her replacement as Secretary of State until she testifies.
Today's chapter in the zombie Benghazi “controversy” began with the curvy couch crew on Fox & Friends joining their Republican pal, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in her outrage over a report that the four State Department officials who resigned over Benghazi may have been re-assigned to new jobs. Of course, there was no attempt to find out whether there are certain procedures the State Department has to follow in order to actually fire somebody, what those procedures are, whether the four had fit the criteria or even whether or not anyone had been demoted or what kinds of jobs the people were going to return to.
Instead, guest host Kelly Wright all but urged Ros-Lehtinen to blast the Clinton State Department. He said, “I know you are not happy about the news of this at all. How do you describe it?”
On cue, she said, “This is unbelievable. The American people should be outraged at this because it is pathetic. It’s disgraceful. It is purposely misleading. It is a ruse, smoke and mirrors. I mean, this is so wrong for the State Department to do.”
The discussion went on in predictable Fox News fashion until, suddenly, Wright brought up this little nugget:
Congresswoman, …we understand that some Republicans may try to block voting on or confirming the nomination for the Secretary of State in John Kerry until Hillary Clinton actually testifies before the Committee on what took place in Benghazi, what her role may or may not have been. What do you say to that?
Ros-Lehtinen: Correct and I think that they’re right to do so.
Never mind that Clinton is already expected to testify and that any Committee could subpoena her, if attorney and Fox News host Greta Van Susteren is to be believed. But at least some Republicans are willing to block the nomination of a Secretary of State – who would otherwise be easily confirmed - in order to tarnish the sitting SOS over a faux scandal. It never seemed to occur to Wright to even question such a plan.
John McCain's attacks on Susan Rice have been utterly bizarre. They go beyond all rational thought, and now Senators Collins and Corker have joined the parade.
The thing is, they're a lot of nothing about nothing. All noise, no signal. These senators are behaving like idiots over the possible nomination of Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton, without any rational basis. Rice used talking points on Sunday shows that didn't line up with what Senator McGrumpy's gut told him? Maybe someone should have told him not to eat spicy food before meeting with her!
As Rachel notes, it gets stupider and stupider by the day, but it is confirming her conspiracy theory. And mine.
I've long believed this was really to try and force President Obama into abandoning her nomination and nominating John Kerry instead, so that Scott Brown could run for Kerry's seat and come back to the Senate. Rachel thinks so, too.
Senator McGrumpy recently said Scott Brown is the one he most wants in the Senate. Susan Collins did the bus tour in Massachusetts for Scott Brown's re-election campaign, Susan Collins campaigned for Kelly Ayotte, and both of them love Scotty Brown.
As Rachel says, guess who's doing all of the dirty work to make sure that Massachusetts Senate seat opens up? That's right. The same folks who weren't too Republican-toxic to campaign for Scott Brown.
Doesn't seem so crazy to me.
(Remember this brilliant piece of Friedman logic? h/t Mugsy)
Thomas Friedman is the pundit responsible for such logic fails as advocating for "six more months to turn the corner" in Iraq so many times that his name became synonymous for that timeframe. He also wrote that today's leaders show their leadership by "taking away services" from the people. And that Bush kept us safe. And that Iraqis should suck on our invasion and occupation of their sovereign nation when they posed no threat to us. Or above, when he suggested that America had already tried the black guy in the White House and now it was time to try something different, namely a white conservative male.
Clearly, there is no bar for being wrong when you're so comfortably ensconced in PunditWorld. The only place to fall is up, apparently. So keep that in mind when you hear who Tom Friedman thinks should be Secretary of State, rather than that controversial Susan Rice or even John Kerry:
President Obama is assembling his new national security team, with Senator John Kerry possibly heading for the Pentagon and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice the perceived front-runner to become secretary of state. Kerry is an excellent choice for defense. I don’t know Rice at all, so I have no opinion on her fitness for the job, but I think the contrived flap over her Libya comments certainly shouldn’t disqualify her. That said, my own nominee for secretary of state would be the current education secretary, Arne Duncan.
Yes, yes, I know. Duncan is not seeking the job and is not the least bit likely to be appointed. But I’m nominating him because I think this is an important time to ask the question of not just who should be secretary of state, but what should the secretary of state be in the 21st century?
Could anything demonstrate the shallowness of understanding that Friedman consistently employs than this? Friedman continues touting Duncan by pointing out that he has lot of experience "negotiating" with teachers' unions and dealing with various factions (i.e., parents vs. teachers vs. schools):
Trust me, if you can cut such deals with Randi Weingarten, who is president of the American Federation of Teachers, you can do them with Vladimir Putin and Bibi Netanyahu
Oh help me, Rhonda. This might be the dumbest thing Friedman has ever written, and as you can see above, that's really saying something.
How lucky for all of us that entrenched Villager Friedman with his deep understanding of foreign policy, diplomacy and world politics, is given multiple platforms from which to give us these little eclats of wisdom.
Can Hillary Clinton really be that unaware of the irony in this statement? Maybe she just didn't notice the arrests of G20 demonstrators in Canada last week, or the increasingly common usage of sound cannons, Tasers, tear gas and rubber bullets against American citizens? Can she really be too busy to notice?
Intolerant governments across the globe are "slowly crushing" activist and advocacy groups that play an essential role in the development of democracy, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday.
She cited a broad range of countries where "the walls are closing in" on civic organizations such as unions, religious groups, rights advocates and other nongovernmental organizations that press for social change and shine a light on governments' shortcomings.
Among those she named were Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Venezuela, China and Russia.
Hmm. Secretary Clinton, do you suppose you're leaving some countries off that list?
"Some of the countries engaging in these behaviors still claim to be democracies," Clinton said at an international conference on the promotion of democracy and human rights. "Democracies don't fear their own people. They recognize that citizens must be free to come together, to advocate and agitate."
That's exactly right. Citizens should be able to advocate and agitate -- but they're not. Not here, anyway.
Every time I hear this song from "Wicked," I picture Maureen Dowd lecturing Hillary Clinton what she should do to be popular.
As someone who backed Hillary Clinton in the primaries, I'd like to remind readers of some of the reasons progressive activists gave as "why we simply can't have Hillary as President."
"Everyone hates her." (That's probably why she's so popular.)
"She has no foreign policy experience." (I suppose that's why Obama named her Secretary of State.)
"She's a corporatist from the DLC wing of the party." (Hmm, I'd call that one a wash, considering we instead elected the man who hired Larry Summers and Tim Geithner.)
"The right wing will go after her, and the country can't take another eight years of that." (This is the one that really makes me laugh. When will Democrats learn it simply doesn't matter who we nominate? Anyone we support will get the same treatment.)
"We can't have Bill Clinton hanging around, getting into trouble." (You mean, like when Rahm asked him to talk to Joe Sestak?)
Look, I wanted Hillary Clinton because I figured she would be a lot more liberal on domestic policies, and I knew we were headed into an economic crash. It was pure self-interest. The tradeoff is, she's usually an AIPAC rubberstamp and a war hawk. As much as that disgusts me, I was willing to take that trade. But really, Obama hasn't been much better, has he?
The fact is, we'll probably never know what President Hillary Clinton would have done. Oh well, at least she's popular!
Chris Bowers has the scoop:
Here is a weekend factoid for you: among all living politicians in the United States who have ever held elected office, Hillary Clinton [is] the most popular.
That's right. Ever since she became Secretary of State, her favorables have soared into the mid-60's, putting her well clear of any other statewide officeholder in the country. The only national figures who are viewed as favorably as Clinton are Michelle Obama, Colin Powell, and David Patraeus. However, they have never run for office, which invariably lowers your favorables.
Hillary Clinton will turn 69 in in the final week of the 2016 campaign, which makes her slightly younger than Ronald Reagan when he first was elected in 1980. Also, as Secretary of State, a major presidential candidate, a U.S. Senator, and First Lady, she is also probably more credentialed than any other potential Presidential candidate, too. There is even talk she may become the next Secretary of Defense, further adding to her credentials.
Some have said that, in choosing Joe Biden as Vice-President, Barack Obama did not pick a successor to lead the Democratic Party. However, that needs rethinking. Because Barack obama made her Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton remains remarkably well-positioned to run for President in 2016, even more so than she was in 2008.
Kentucky Republicans will choose between establishment Republican Trey Grayson, and Tea Party hero Rand Paul in today's primary. In a year when candidates are trying to shed the "politician" label, Grayson is embracing it, currying endorsements from GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell and conservative icons like Rick Santorum:
LOUISVILLE – Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson unleashed a withering attack on the surging Senate candidacy of Rand Paul, calling him a grand-standing leader who will struggle in the general election because his views are out of the mainstream with Kentucky voters.
Grayson, on the eve of Kentucky’s closely watched Republican Senate primary, also said Paul has used his campaign to build up his own image with positive coverage on Fox News while ignoring the specific needs of Kentucky.
“I think he’d be more of a grandstander,” Grayson said standing in an airport hangar before a giant R/V with a Grayson banner across it. “I want to be a leader for Kentucky. I’m running to be a United States senator from Kentucky, I’m not running to be the candidate of the tea party. … Listen to his speeches, watch him in our debates. … The guy never talks about our state.”
The tough line of attack comes as Paul, a doctor from Bowling Green, appears headed to victory Tuesday night, buoyed by fervent tea partiers who have latched onto his calls for radical changes in government spending, including the abolition of the Education Department.
“We think there’s a tea party tidal wave coming,” Paul said Monday. “It’s already hit Utah, and it’s coming to Kentucky next.”
“There’s enormous momentum out there,” he said.
Paul’s comments came on Fox News right at the time Grayson was complaining about what he said was the cable network’s favorable coverage of his opponent and the “softballs” lobbed at him when he regularly appears there.
Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that a right winger and teabagger who's running for secretary of state in Kansas is claiming responsibility for "helping" Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce write the state's controversial new immigration law. (He has since removed the claim from his website.) Wingnut lawyer Kris Kobach, a constitutional law professor, is counsel for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and he says the reason he's running for secretary of state is to keep "criminal enterprise" ACORN from stealing elections. (He refers to Al Franken's "pseudo-election".)
Even though in 2007, as chair of the Kansas GOP, he openly bragged about the party "caging" voters - an illegal practice. Hey, it's okay if you're a Republican!
From Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times:
As disturbing as the prospect is of a nativist extremist lawyer like Kris Kobach training all 881 of Sheriff Joe's beigeshirts in immigration law, I have to wonder if it's a sign that Arpaio's throwing in the towel on the big Melendres vs. Arpaio racial-profiling lawsuit now underway in federal court.
What, was Stormfront's Don Black not available? Maybe Tom Metzger could take a break from running his white nationalist Web site The Insurgent to come down and offer some words of supremacist wisdom to Joe's benighted deputy dawgs. And don't forget David Duke, that cat's always lookin' for a gig.
I kid, of course. Being an attorney, Kobach's ties to anti-immigrant and extremist nativist organizations are far more white collar, with the emphasis on white. The controversial University of Missouri law prof acts as counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of FAIR, the notorious Federation for American Immigration Reform.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has tagged FAIR as a hate organization, and FAIR's earned the title. Last April, when Kobach was announced as a minority witness before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during the committee's hearing into the 287(g) program and Joe Arpaio, the SPLC hit the committee with a letter objecting to Kobach's presence because of his ties to FAIR.
Regarding FAIR, the SPLC's Mark Potok had this to say:
FAIR is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which publishes annual listings of such organizations. Among the reasons are its acceptance of $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, a group founded to promote the genes of white colonials that funds studies of race, intelligence and genetics. FAIR has hired as key officials men who also joined white supremacist groups. It has board members who write regularly for hate publications. It promotes racist conspiracy theories about Latino immigrants. It has produced television programming featuring white nationalists.
And John Tanton, the man who founded the group in 1979, has a long personal history of associating with white nationalists. In a 1993 letter to Garret Hardin, a committed eugenicist who promoted pseudo-scientific ideas of racial purity, Tanton wrote candidly: "I've come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that."
The committee ultimately allowed Kobach to speak, but the stigma Kobach carries with him both precedes and hounds him. In 2004, he ran as a Republican against Democratic Congressman Dennis Moore, and was spanked hard, losing by 11 percent to Moore in Kansas' largely Republican 3rd District. One reason he lost, according to The Road to Congress 2004 was because, "in general, Kobach was accused of taking money from a white supremacist organization, and the charge stuck." Currently, Kobach is vying to be Kansas' Secretary of State.
Kobach also served under Attorney General John Ashcroft during the Bush administration. There he developed a controversial program to profile Muslim men from certain countries and track them while in the U.S.
Kobach is also the proponent of a near-mystical nativist legal concept: that local cops have the inherent authority to enforce all federal statutes. Most legal scholars find this idea laughable, but folks like Arpaio and Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce cling to it like a life preserver in choppy waters.
Oh, this is gonna be interesting. Here's something I found about Kobach's congressional run:
Kris Kobach ran an absolutely vicious primary campaign, worse than any of the previous primary campaigns, and remarkably one-sided. He called Adam Taff "ultra-liberal", he had Kansans for Life send out a letter saying that people who vote for Taff have the bloody water of abortionists on their hands, even though Taff supported restrictions on abortion. Kobach called the President's immigration plan a "liberal amnesty plan", Kobach sent out a letter from his wife that said Adam Taff made her think of her miscarried baby when he criticized Kobach, Kobach basically insulted everyone who was even a little less conservative than he was. That made a lot of people angry. I don't think most Republicans expect to be compared to Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy, or told that their views are ultra-liberal, they tend to take offense to that kind of thing and they don't tend to forget it.
He's a soldier of God, and don't you ever forget it.