Remember McCain – Fake President Obviously Doesn’t

Screen Grab from MSNBC-TV News

Flags at Washington Monument remain at half staff honoring the late John McCain.

Meanwhile, the Fake President has the White House flag returned to top as soon as regs allowed. Real concern (NOT) for military veterans?

Thanks @SRuhle

By the end of the day, reason prevailed among enough White House hacks to push King Combover into enacting the sort of order – automatic for Obama or either Bush – that put the American flag back at half staff for John McCain.

McCain got the applause — Murkowski and Collins did more to defeat Trumpcare!

Senators Collins and Murkowski with some clown

Early Friday morning, Sen. John McCain showed up to work with cancer and cast the final, and most dramatic vote, to block his party’s effort to repeal Obamacare. He received a round of applause from Democrats, cheers from protesters outside the capitol, and reportedly said of his vote, “I thought it was the right thing to do.”

But two other Republicans were at least equally — and perhaps more — instrumental in killing the latest, and maybe final version of the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare: Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

And they displayed their concern for working class voters long before McCain’s concern for details.

Collins, the moderate four-term Republican from Maine, was one of the first senators to come out against the earliest Senate version of a repeal-and-replace bill. She hasn’t wavered since. Collins was one of two Republican senators to vote “no” on the motion to move Trumpcare in its multiple and sometimes yet-to-be specified incarnations to the Senate floor for debate…

Collins — along with all other Republican women — were excluded from the working group that designed the initial version of the Senate bill…

The second Republican to oppose the final “skinny repeal” measure was Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who along with Collins was the only other Republican to oppose the motion to proceed and was also threatened by a male colleague from the other chamber in the days leading up to the vote…

Ultimately, McCain swooped in to save the day in dramatic fashion. He deserves the praise he is getting for it. But it was Murkowski and Collins more than anybody that ensured the defeat of Trumpcare, and maybe the survival of Obamacare.

McCain hasn’t spent a day of his life without socialized medicine providing his care. From birth to a military father, he has been covered.

Senate passes torture ban — all those opposed were Republican

Thanks to Joan McCarter and DK

More than 20 Republican senators rejected a ban on the use of cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners…voting against an ultimately successful measure to permanently prevent a repeat of the CIA’s once secret and now widely-discredited torture program.

The bipartisan amendment reaffirms President Barack Obama’s prohibition of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, which were developed by the CIA under the administration of his predecessor, George W Bush.

The measure passed in the Senate, 78-21.

However Republican hawks, including Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, opposed the amendment, despite an impassioned plea from their colleague, John McCain, who called on them to avoid the “dark path of sacrificing our values for our short-term security needs”.

The Arizona Republican, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and is chairman of the Senate armed services committee, co-authored the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act – a must-pass defense appropriations bill – with Democrat Dianne Feinstein.

Feinstein led the Senate investigation into the CIA’s secret torture program, the blistering conclusions of which were made public six months ago, in a report revealing how the agency lied about gruesome interrogation techniques deemed to have been brutal and ineffective…

All those who voted against the ban on torture were Republican.

Kentucky senator Rand Paul and Texas senator Ted Cruz voted for it. I’m not surprised about Rand Paul. As inconsistent as he can be about his flavor of libertarianism, opposition to torture as a political/military tool fits the definition.

So far, all the other current Republican presidential candidates who have voiced an opinion on the amendment – didn’t support it.

Tsarnaev trial: Constitutional answer to Republican fear of democracy

The trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev…has already been a success. The community learned important new details of the bombing, and drew a step nearer to putting the traumatic week of the bombing and Watertown manhunt in the rearview mirror. Just as important, by showing the world that terror suspects can get a fair trial, the proceedings have helped restore some global respect for American justice — and vindicated the Obama administration’s decision to keep him within the conventional justice system from the beginning.

It’s easy to forget that just after Tsarnaev’s arrest, the administration came under criticism for failing to ship Tsarnaev off to military detention. New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, along with colleagues John McCain and Lindsey Graham, called for the administration to take Tsarnaev into military custody, rather than charge the suspected bomber in civilian courts. The legal arguments against the senators’ position have been thoroughly aired already, but the advantages of civilian trials are not solely procedural. Should another domestic terror attack like the Marathon bombing strike the United States, the Tsarnaev trial should stand as an example of why keeping terror suspects in the normal justice system is preferable for the communities they target, too…

…No harm has come to national security from treating Tsarnaev, who is a US citizen, as a conventional defendant. Reading him his Miranda rights, a step bemoaned by the senators, did not hamper the case. On the contrary, the United States avoided the needless, self-inflicted black eye that would have come had authorities skirted established protections for criminal defendants. And the jury’s verdict…will have a credibility that would have been lacking had Tsarnaev been subject to military detention and interrogation first.

The fixation on putting domestic terrorism suspects into military custody reflects a longstanding obsession of McCain and Graham, and as long as they continue to beat that drum, civilian trials like Tsarnaev’s will need defending. The good that has come from holding an open, fair, and untainted trial in the United States, near the scene of the crime, cannot be underestimated. It’s unfortunate that the senators tried to derail this healthy constitutional process, but hopefully the Tsarnaev trial will serve as a reminder of its value.

No one argues that a system of trial by jury, peers determined mostly by geography and economics, is faultless. There are a number of things that can go wrong – starting with corrupt police and prosecutors. Regardless, the system works a lot better than anything else our nation has tried.

The system certainly works a lot better than torture and inquisition, the favorites of leading Republicans. Though McCain and Graham, Ayotte and other long-standing conservatives, often offer opportunist blather catering to the Tea Party faction of today’s Republican Party, their opposition to public trials is a reflection of a conservative theme more elitist than lynch mobs. And like most self-concerned politicians, I doubt they will admit their foolishness now that the Marathon Bombing trial is beyond the stage of guilt or innocence.

I’ll keep my opinion on capital punishment separate from this post. It’s radical enough to be a distraction.

The point remains that today’s conservatives continue their disservice to traditions rooted in our Constitution. All that revulsed American colonists about what passed for justice from 18th Century English law would be returned to power by reactionary fools like Graham and McCain if they had their way. If they get their way, someday.

Trial by jury, the right to confront accusers, the right to a timely trial, habeas corpus – were significant standards raised before the whole world by the American revolution. It is too kind to call politicians who would turn their back on this part of our history – fools. Their corruption runs deeper than that.

Researcher cited by Kerry, McCain, fired for phony references

A researcher at the the Institute for the Study of War whose opinions were cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator John McCain during congressional testimony, has been fired for allegedly lying about her academic credentials.

Elizabeth O’Bagy got a lot of media attention last week after she wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, which failed to disclose O’Bagy’s ties to the Syrian Emergency Task Force, an advocacy group supporting the Syrian opposition and lobbying the U.S. government to intervene.

The young senior analyst at the non-partisan think tank wrote that moderates were leading the opposition against the Syrian government. Kerry and McCain cited her work as they pressed Congress for intervention.

The paper later posted a clarification, saying, “in addition to her role at the Institute for the Study of War, Ms. O’Bagy is affiliated with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a nonprofit operating as a 501(c)(3) pending IRS approval that subcontracts with the U.S. and British governments to provide aid to the Syrian opposition…”

Kim Kagan, the founder and president of ISW, said she fired O’Bagy after learning she had not in fact completed her Ph.D. Kagan said the termination had nothing to do with O’Bagy’s affiliation to SETF.

Kagan described O’Bagy’s research as “rock solid” despite her lacking credentials. “The research stands, unfortunately, it stands alone.”

The fact that her “research” stands alone seems clearly to reflect her alliance with a faction of the Syrian insurgency. Picking and choosing “research” to support your recommendations is a recurrent problem in American politics whether Republican or Democrat – as McCain and Kerry have just proven, once again.

O’Bagy may find her paycheck reduced for having been caught inflating her credentials. I imagine she’ll be back on the payroll as soon as she completes the work she claimed. After all, an academic who can provide research on demand acceptable to Congressional hacks regardless of flavor should never run out of work. Or income.

Santorum advocates torture – says McCain doesn’t understand

Santorum’s favorite base: anti-abortion, anti-Gay, anti-freedom to think and live
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

By now you may have heard that Rick Santorum has now responded to John McCain’s claim that torture didn’t lead to Bin Laden’s death by insisting that on the subject of torture, McCain has no idea what he’s talking about:

Here’s the quote from numbnuts:

“Everything I’ve read shows that we would not have gotten this information as to who this man was if it had not been gotten information from people who were subject to enhanced interrogation. And so this idea that we didn’t ask that question while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being waterboarded, he doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works. I mean, you break somebody, and after they’re broken, they become cooperative. And that’s when we got this information. And one thing led to another, and led to another, and that’s how we ended up with bin Laden.”

McCain, of course, has direct experience of this process. He has even written that he did not become cooperative under “enhanced interrogation” at all, and in fact gave his tormentors false information to get them to stop.

So I asked McCain spokesperson Brooke Buchanan for a response to Santorum. She emailed a one word reply:


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John McCain proves to teabagger Republicans he can be as much of a bigot as anyone else

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

The House of Representatives has delivered a victory to President Barack Obama and gay rights groups by approving a proposal to repeal the law that allows gays to serve in the military only if they don’t disclose their sexual orientation.

The 234-194 vote to overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy reflected a view among many in Congress that America was ready for a military in which gays and straights can stand side by side in the trenches.

“I know that our military draws its strength on the integrity of our unified force, and current law challenges this integrity by creating two realities within the ranks,” Democratic Rep. Susan Davis.

In a statement after the House vote, Obama hailed the day’s congressional action as “important bipartisan steps toward repeal.”

“This legislation will help make our armed forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity,” Obama said.

Republicans, who voted overwhelmingly against it, cited statements by some military leaders that they need more time to study how a change in the law could affect the lives and readiness of service members…

“NO” is replaced by “not in my lifetime”.

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Sarah Palin to swing eedjit vote for John McCain

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Republican John McCain helped turn Sarah Palin into a household name during last year’s presidential campaign. Now she is returning the favor.

Palin, the former Alaska governor who was McCain’s vice presidential running mate last year, will campaign for McCain’s re-election bid as a senator from Arizona in March…

“I’m looking forward to getting back on the campaign trail with my former running mate, and I know my fellow Arizonans will welcome her as well,” McCain said. “Sarah energized our nation and remains a leading voice in the Republican Party.”

McCain has no announced challenger yet for the Republican nomination but conservative radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth has talked of possibly challenging the Vietnam war hero.

Palin is now a star of the Republican Party and a big draw on the fund-raising circuit. She is a Fox News contributor.

I think they deserve each other. They are a perfect analogue of the Old Guard Republican hacks combining with the teabagger version of populist idiocy.