Category Archives: Congress

So where are we with General Petraeus?

What on earth is happening when an American who has been trusted as much as General Petraeus has his little love affair exposed (which doesn’t seem to have effected his CIA leadership at all) and feels the need to resign?

This article is from Truthdig… I’m putting it all here:

How the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell Affair Was Uncovered

 

AP/Cliff Owen
Former CIA Director David Petraeus.

Modern technology apparently cost ex-CIA Director David Petraeus his job. The retired general’s affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was discovered by the FBI while it was investigating harassing emails she sent to Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old woman who serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. A former associate of Petraeus says he and Kelley are just friends.

After news of the FBI investigation that uncovered the affair, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stepped in and asked Petraeus to resign.

The Associated Press:

Clapper was told by the Justice Department of the Petraeus investigation at about 5 p.m. on Election Day, and then called Petraeus and urged him to resign, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

…Concerned that the emails he exchanged with Broadwell raised the possibility of a security breach, the FBI brought the matter up with Petraeus directly, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.

Petraeus decided to quit, though he was breaking no laws by having an affair, officials said.

Read more

In the wake of Petraeus’ resignation, members of Congress are asking for more information about the investigation, including why they weren’t alerted sooner and whether the probe had any impact on national security.

Now here are my thoughts. Given the world situation, why in hell are we letting a man with this amount of military and foreign policy and management experience leave this job over a little penis stimulation? You can’t tell me that the Congressfolk who would sit over his situation if he hadn’t resigned haven’t been involved in the same kind of stuff.

If I were Obama, I would have, at least temporarily, refused Petraeus’ resignation and let him go ahead with his testimony about Libya (which he should do anyway, whether he has resigned or not.)

If we really let him go we are more stupid than I already think.

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – It’s all over. Where are we?

Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer:

Perhaps we can start on getting religion out of politics. What are we, the Taliban?

- and -

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

At least we know now that America is more than old white men…

- and -

Joel Pett in The Lexington Herald-Leader:

Of course, some Republicans will probably continue their uncooperativeness. It will kill them later.

- and -

Mike Luckovich in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Of course, this may make at least one news organization reevaluate it’s strategy…

- and -

Adam Zyglis in the Buffalo News:

And now forward into the second term (thanks, in part, to General Motors.)
 

 

 

 

 

The Final Results of the Election…

If you haven’t seen where everything finally ended up after Florida was called (which took an awfully long time and right up to the very end the GOP said Romney had it… but he didn’t), then here it is:

This, to me, is a sure sign that Obama has a mandate to finish his agenda. To win by 126 electoral votes is not insignificant… it is a real rollover.

Now we will listen to Boehner claim that he is ready to cooperate, but will keep the House just a opposed to increasing taxes on the very rich and solving the rest of the economic problems. Will the House Republicans finally support Obama’s goal to increase jobs? Looks like they are going to stay just as opposed. Didn’t they learn anything from the election?

Mitch McConnell will probably keep the Republicans in the Senate from letting things go through, although they are still in the minority. McConnell is up for reelection in Kentucky in 2014, so maybe he will cooperate a little bit just to show that he’s not a schmuck. We’ll wait and see.

 

A day of celebration underscored by personal madness…

AT 4:30 this morning when I posted Obama‘s win I had had 2 1/2 hours of sleep and needed to be up by five to drive to Hagerstown for the first of five different scheduled lab visits, Doctor conferences, and tests based on the notion that I’d be in surgery with my little brain on Friday.

Then, in the middle of all this, as my wife and I went from office to office (I had fasted for close to 11 hours because of one of the tests… so tired AND hungry) trying to get our neurosurgeon on the telephone to find out the results of yesterday’s testing, we were told the surgery would be moved to Monday from Friday!

Well, you’ve never heard anyone yell as loudly into a cell phone as Elly did to one of the front desk ladies at the Doctors‘ office who informed us of this unannounced time change. You have to understand, she takes time off from her work at the College to take me to these appointments and she manages our schedules and expenses, and she expects that professionals follow professional guidelines and maintain their schedules. They don’t.

There is a chance that they may not be able to do the surgery Monday, either, or that my wife will insist that we find another doctor (my daughters, I think, agree with that, too… I’m to worn out and dizzy to even think about it now. I’ll do what they say.)

So, if there is no surgery Friday, we will probably be headed to Georgetown ( 2 hours away) to interview another neurological practice.  If that does happen, I’ll probably be able to do my Saturday morning radio show on WSHC.

There is Joy In Mudville, though… Mighty Mitty has struck out. If you heard that snivelling concession speech he made (gracefulness is not a Republican skill) at 1:30 in the morning, then you have an idea of what kind of president he would have made.

Now we still have the House of Representatives with a big margin for the Repubs and John Boehner  which will let them trample the legislation we need for the economy, for single payer healthcare, for rebuilding our country and for getting out of all this war. I’m afraid it will be a difficult 4 years. Our support for the president will help get things done.

It will be one of the functions of this blog as long as I can keep it going.

- Bill

 

 

Getting this election over with is becoming an evening of sheer misery…

It’s not enough that I am going in for tests before my Friday brain surgery at 6:30 AM tomorrow and go through four different doctors and three tests by 2:30 PM…just getting my mind in the mood for that doesn’t let me bond with the TV pundits who are arguing out the campaign results they can’t really call.

Thinking about how miserable it would be if Romney won, but that is not nearly as bad as thinking about how graceless in their concessions the losers will be if Obama and the Democratic Congressional candidates win. Nobody seems to really be trying to tie the country together and make us the UNITED states that we have to become.

BTW, I want to really think the hundreds of you who have wished me well by e-mail, in Facebook, and those of you who have commented on this blog.  I never really knew how many of you visit the LobsterScope and it’s daily changing graphic background and what my daughter calls the rantings of an old man. I hope I’ll be back at full speed next week some time, but it will be hard to keep it up now through the weekend. Don’t be surprised if a day has no or only one post… and don’t plan on anything Friday or Saturday.

Those of you who listen to me on the radio at WSHC 89.7 Shepherdstown, either locally or on the worldwide live feed at http://897wshc.org , won’t hear me this weekend. I got friends and fellows to cover my time on the air and I thank all of them.

If you are in a state that has late polls open and you haven’t voted yet, get out there and do it. People have died for your right to vote!

Bye now… Bill.

It’s the beginning of the most important day of the year…

Waking up to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

Nate Silver now projects President Obama’s margin of victory to be two or three percentage points in the popular vote, approximating the margin that George W. Bush achieved in defeating John Kerry in 2004.

In addition, he gives Obama a 91.6% chance to win the necessary 270 electoral votes for re-election.

John Avlon: “The final polls are out and behind the national horserace is a fascinating dynamic — Mitt Romney is narrowly winning independent voters while President Obama is winning centrist voters by a nearly 20-point margin.”

“This is significant because in past elections independents and centrist voters have been largely synonymous-overlapping cohorts, reflecting the belief of many independents that the two parties are too polarized and disproportionately dominated by their respective special interests. But what I think we’re seeing this year is the extended impact of the tea party – a growth in the number of independent conservatives that has moved the overall independent voting block slightly to the right. In turn, centrist voters are more likely to vote for Obama precisely because of the polarizing impact of the tea party and the intransigence of many conservative congressmen when it came to working in a good faith spirit of principled compromise with the Obama administration.”

OK… I’m off for my morning appointments (gee…how do people get up this early?).  – Bill

 

We’ve had a lovely afternoon and evening at the American Conservation Film Festival.

We are in the four day period of the ACFF, now celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of presenting conservation and nature support films here in Shepherdstown.

We saw two films this afternoon, but tonight we saw two films accompanied by live discussions and question periods with the filmmakers.

The most interesting to me was Marion Stoddart whose life and career spent saving the Nashua River was so well presented in the short film “The Work of 1000.”

Filmmaker Susan Edwards broached the subject Can one person truly make a difference? This film tells the inspiring story of how a remarkable woman saved a dying river–for herself, for the community and for future generations–and became an environmental hero honored by the United Nations.

Mrs Stoddart, now in her 80s spent decades getting a very polluted river clean… petitioning, demonstrating, approaching manufacturers and politicians directly, and getting her husband and children involved. Her live presentation with the audience was very involving.

Our Nation’s River: A System on Edge  was the second film we saw this evening. Ten minutes long and made by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of historic natural filmmaker Jaques Costeau. This piece was particularly meaningful for us, since it is about the Potomac River, the water body that forms our northern border and flows from us down to Washington DC.

Ms, Cousteau answered questions but also presented a discussion panel of professionals from the Nature Conservancy and the Potomac River Foundation.

The House was pretty full at Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University, with a number of standers who wanted to catch everything as well. Among the folks there tonight were most of the officers of Sustainable Shepherdstown (My wife is in that bunch, of course), our current State Delegate John Dolan whose work for us has been spectacular and who is leaving office at the end of the session. Steve Skinner, the Democratic candidate for Delegate who, hopefully, will take John’s place, was there as well. Both men realize the importance the Potomac is to our community. Of course, Republican Candidate Elliot Spitzer was NOT there this evening. Preserving our environment is just not a Republican issue… after all, don’t they all think that Climate Change is a joke?

We’re going to some more films tomorrow.

Employment growth picks up in October with addition of 171,000 jobs

Today the Government released the October Labor Statistics and we see that employers have added a larger-than-expected 171,000 jobs in October across a broad spectrum of businesses. In this, the  final snapshot of the economy before election day, we have an interesting picture of job growth… more than double what it was in September.

Unfortunately, the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 7.9% from 7.8% in September. This was because more people jumped back into the labor market, including a very large group of 18-year old first time workers. This, of course, is a positive sign that workers may be feeling more confident about their job prospects.

The new Labor Department report, which also revised sharply higher job growth in September and August, may give a boost to President Obama, who continues with a slow but positive economic growth. There is still enough information for the undecided to support Obama who has kept us going even though Mitch McConnell and his Republicans have worked overtime to keep Obama’s Job Creation proposals and other forward moving activities from passing or getting any Congressional support. It’s interesting that Obama has gotten as far as he has… and it is even more interesting how little the Republicans have been concerned with helping to relieve our economy.

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Election is crawling toward it’s end. I am sooo thankful.

I’ll be so glad when all this election brouhaha is over. I’ll be so depressed if Romney captures a majority of American votes… in other words, I will think so much is wrong with this country’s education policies.

Bob Englehart in the The Hartford Courant:

So how likely is it that doing tax favors for the top 1% will raise the job totals?

- and -

Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer:

At least Romney makes it clear who his support base won’t be…

- and -

Joel Pett in The Lexington Herald-Leader:

One day women might disable the positions of Romney and his buddies…

- and -

David Fitzsimmons in The Arizona Daily Star:

Some time accusations reverse themselves to define the accuser.

- and -

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Foreign policy requires a lot of basic knowledge. Romney doesn’t seem to have any.

 

 

A Quote for the Morning: A Republican criticizes the racism of his party…

Secretary of State under George W. Bush, Colin Powell, had retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson as a Chief of Staff. Wilkerson made this comment in response to  John Sununu‘s statement on Thursday that Powell’s endorsement of President Barack Obama’s re-election was motivated by race:

“My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.”

- Col. Lawrence Wilkerson

And there are people who want these guys elected… why? We worked so hard for decades to establish the civil rights of all Americans. It was a triumph to elect our first black president and Obama has made significant achievements in his first term, even though he faced Republicans in the Congress who publicly pledged to keep his agenda from being passed.

Voting for Republicans in this election endorses their racial views. Do you?

Just Returned From Early Voting…

After having done the Friday Morning radio show on WSHC with John Case, Elly and I set out to go to Charles Town, WV, for a visit to the Jefferson County Courthouse for early voting. Since John and his wife, Carol, were already planning to vote today, Elly and I arranged to meet them at the polling place and to have lunch afterward at our favorite Charles Town restaurant, Mezzaluna.

We spent over an hour from getting into the Court House line through voting at the booth. I never expected that it would take that much time, but the lines were very, very long. It seems like many of our fellow citizens were there to vote early… but remember, this was the third day of early voting and it was still mobbed this morning.

But we HAVE voted and I feel very good about it. The odds are very low that West Virginia will agree with me on most of the votes… particularly it is not considered likely that WV will go for Obama. But you have to vote your conscience anyway, and I did.

The Courthouse is a famous location in Jefferson County since it was here that John Brown was tried and convicted for the Harpers Ferry raid during the Civil War. Now it’s famous as the place where Elly and I do early voting.

I hope everyone out there remembers to vote, either early or on election day.

 

Friday Morning Humor – What if Men were treated like Women?

I found this yesterday and, believe me, this is a clear statement:

There you go, Ladies… pass it around.

On the Republicans and their sophisticated views on Rape…

The Friskey has published a Handy Dandy Guide with a great chart. Isn’t it amazing how these men don’t seem to ever have asked a woman what being raped and/or getting pregnant from it means? The Friskey comments on the gentlemen in the chart:

“I have such a hard time remembering which conservative politician said what ridiculously offensive thing about rape. They’re all old and white and most of them are in some state of partial baldness. They all look the same! And they all sound basically the same too, given that woman-hating bile spews from their open pie holes. Alas, they are all individual people, who hold or have held positions of power within government, and aspire to inflict their beliefs upon your life.”

You know, there are people who listen to and agree with these terrible concepts and who admire all five of these Republicans. You can bet Mitt and his buddy Ryan are included in these.

I will be amazed when someone comes out with the statistic after the election of how many women voted Republican. It is as if they would enjoy being treated like cattle.

Hey WV folks… it’s Early Voting time…

Today’s the day. Early voting starts today in West Virginia and I think Elly and I will be heading over to the Charles Town County Courthouse on Friday to cast our ballots for Obama. Speaking of Obama… he will be doing early voting in Chicago on his current speaking tour. That makes him the first President in office to vote early.

BTW… polls are open on Saturday.

 

The latest Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll finds President Obama had a lead of 53% to 42% among the 17% of the surveyed registered voters who said they had already cast their vote. Let’s keep it up!

 

What in hell is it about Republicans and rape?

A new television ad in Indiana has Romney endorsing Richard Mourdock for Senator in that state. Mourdock, however, has displayed the Republicans‘ opposition to women and the right to choose. In a televised debate with his Democratic opponent Representative Joe Donnelly, he opposed abortion as a choice after rape… why? because God says so:

“Life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”

– Richard Mourdock 

So this is a new and compelling reason (if you are a Republican) to leave raped women pregnant whether they want to bear a rapist‘s child or not. And, of course, Romney’s support indicates his actual neoconservative leanings, despite having tried to seem moderate in the last debate.

It’s hard to believe that any of these candidates would top Todd Akin, but Mourdock certainly has.

We’ve had enough of Mitt…

… so let’s take a look at why we don’t want Ryan for VP:

 

So if you are a woman or a senior citizen or a poor person needing medical services, perhaps you can see why this Republican rodent shouldn’t be elected.

George McGovern has died…

Last week or so I wrote about former Senator  George McGovern who had been admitted to a hospice with a deadly disease. Now, at 90 years old, McGovern has died.

McGovern ran for President 3 times and was nominated once, but lost to Richard Nixon. He was a North Dakota’s Representative to the U.S. House from 1957 to 1961 and a U.S. Senator from 1963 to 1981. For 24 years he was one of the leaders of the Democratic Party.

 

Ever wonder how some people get elected to Congress?

I know I do. The fact that there are Republicans who appear to be uneducated, anti-intellectual and just plain outrageous makes me have a very poor impression of the people who vote for them.

Here are 4 samples of what I’m referring to:

Science and Space Committee? Intelligence Committee? How do these mini-brains get put on committees they don’t seem to have any intellectual connection with?

If statements like these keep them from being re-elected to the House, then I’ll have a much better vision of the voting public. I don’t count on it, however.

 

Romney elected would mean the end of Roe v. Wade and the criminalization of abortion…

From this morning’s editorial in the NY Times:

Mr. Romney has called for overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to make her own childbearing decisions and to legalized abortion nationwide. He has said that the issue should be thrown back to state legislatures. The actual impact of that radical rights rollback is worth considering.

It would not take much to overturn the Roe decision. With four of the nine members of the Supreme Court over 70 years old, the next occupant of the White House could have the opportunity to appoint one or more new justices. If say, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest member, retired and Mr. Romney named a replacement hostile to abortion rights, the basic right to abortion might well not survive.

The result would turn back the clock to the days before Roe v. Wade when abortion was legal only in some states, but not in others. There is every indication that about half the states would make abortion illegal within a year of Roe being struck down, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The Center for Reproductive Rights, which challenges abortion restrictions around the country, puts the number at 30 states. For one thing, abortion bans already on the books in some states would suddenly kick in. And some Republican-controlled state legislatures would outlaw abortion immediately.

Even with Roe and subsequent decisions upholding abortion rights, more than half the states have enacted barriers like mandatory waiting periods, “counseling” sessions lacking a real medical justification; parental consent or notification laws; and onerous clinic “safety” rules intended to drive clinics out of business.

We do not need to guess about the brutal consequences of overturning Roe. We know from our own country’s pre-Roe history and from the experience around the world. Women desperate to end a pregnancy would find a way to do so. Well-to-do women living in places where abortion is illegal would travel to other states where it is legal to obtain the procedure. Women lacking the resources would either be forced by the government and politicians to go through with an unwanted or risky pregnancy, attempt to self-abort or turn to an illegal — and potentially unsafe — provider for help. Women’s health, privacy and equality would suffer. Some women would die.

…and women still have the ability to get Obama re-elected and protect their right to choose. I’m always amazed at middle-class Republican women who support Romney. Essentially they are making themselves potential victims.

 

Ex-Senator and former Presidential Candidate George McGovern in a South Dakota Hospice.

“He’s coming to the end of his life,” McGovern’s daughter, Ann, stated. She didn’t elaborate but noted that her 90-year-old father has suffered several health problems in the last year.

George McGovern became a leader of the Democrats’ liberal wing during his three decades in Congress but lost his 1972 challenge to Richard Nixon. McGovern turned his focus in recent years to world hunger.

It was after a lecture tour a year ago that he was treated for exhaustion, then two months later, he fell and hit his head.

McGovern spent several days in a Florida hospital in April for tests to determine why he occasionally passed out and had difficulty speaking. His daughter said he has moved in the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, where he moved in August to spend more time near his family.

McGovern was a member of the U.S. House from 1957 to 1961 and a U.S. senator from 1963 to 1981.

What is it about Republicans and their need to create wars?

Here’s where to look for a World News Daily article by Jamal Abdi: New Senate Push to Pledge Unconditional Support for Israeli “Preventive” War on Iran.

Before reading it, here’s the first couple of sentences:

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is planning to press the Senate next month to pledge U.S. troops, money, and political support to Israel should Bibi Netanyahu launch a preventive war on Iran.

Graham claims his effort would merely make explicit that the U.S. has Israel’s back. But when your friend is drunk, you don’t hand them the keys. If Graham has his way, he will hand Bibi the keys and lend him our car, while the rest of us ride shotgun.

If this gets you at all nervous about creating a new major mideast war at the behest of Israel (and Lindsay Graham), then get ready to write your senator.

 

We say farewell to former Senator Arlen Specter, dead at 82.

Arlen Specter, who spent 30 years representing Pennsylvania in the Senate offended Republicans and Democrats in almost equal measures with maverick votes and a frank cockiness that finally ended his career in politics, died Sunday at his home in Philadelphia. He was 82

Specter, who had battled a number of major illnesses in recent years, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was a hard-driving former prosecutor described even by some admirers as sarcastic. But he stood well above many of his Senate colleagues in his combination of intelligence and effectiveness.

Specter won no lasting gratitude from either liberals or conservatives during his career, and he especially alienated women.

After yet another “betrayal” of Republicans on the 2009 stimulus plan, he was forced to make the most dramatic leap in a career that was full of them. But this time he did not make it across the chasm. Facing defeat in the 2010 Republican primary election, Specter surprised the nation by announcing in April 2009 that he was switching parties – for a second time. (In 1965 he switched from Democrat to Republican after winning election as Philadelphia district attorney on the Republican ticket in an end-run around the city’s Democratic machine.)

His Senate change delivered a veto-proof majority there to President Obama. But not for long. Pennsylvania Democrats, many of whom had voted against him for years, refused to accept his final conversion. The party change did not secure his position, however. He avoided the Republican primary but got smacked in the Democratic primary. His career ended.

I’m watching the VP Debate…

If you listen to Ryan, if we are going to deal with Iran‘s coming nuclear capacity (the capacity of which both the candidates disagree on) we are going to have to insert troops. This means a new war – probably in partnership with Israel.

Biden brings up the fact that Iran has been weakened during the Obama administration – primarily in cutting back their oil sales by 20% or so. They don’t yet have a completed delivery mode, either.

Ryan is also going after Russia as an enemy… especially if we go to war in the middle east. In his opinion, Russia is the leasing supporter of the Arab countries. Biden, of course, gets back to the fact that Russia is currently our ally.

I’m curious as to how many of the current questions of the Romney / Ryan campaign get answered. I hand it to Biden that he has already put up the 47% as an issue related to taxes. Ryan seems to ignore it.

This is going to be an entertaining night.

 

How in hell can we understand what Mittens stands for when he changes direction daily?

Like on the question of abortion and a woman’s right to choose:

It’s too bad this is funny, because it’s really very disturbing. To elect a man President we have to confirm our trust in what he believes in and what he says about those beliefs.

Romney leaves us confused. If you vote for him you get what you deserve.

 

When Romney questions Obama’s achievements, remember what the Congress did to most of his proposals.

 

No Congress has ever done to a President what the Republicans in the Senate and the House have. Given the House’s Republican majority and the Senate’s need for 60% of votes to avoid filibuster, the President has been a victim of politicians who put their party ahead of the needs of Americans.

Take a look:

 

And if you listen to Romney accuse Obama for not making enough happen, wonder why he is not aware of the stance taken by his fellow Republicans in elected office.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 319 other followers