Despite interference from Romney team – while HRC is in China, no less – a deal may be in the works…
• Deal nears on China activist Chen as US offers college fellowship: Updated 08:31 a.m. ET: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “progress had been made” on a deal over the future of Chen Guangcheng, telling reporters in Beijing she was encouraged by China’s suggestions that the blind activist might be allowed to study abroad. After she spoke, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told Reuters that Chen had been offered a fellowship from an American university, where he could be accompanied by his wife and two children. “The Chinese Government has indicated that it will accept Mr. Chen’s applications for appropriate travel documents. The United States government expects that the Chinese government will expeditiously process his applications for these documents, and make accommodations for his current medical condition,” she added. “The United States government would then give visa requests for him and his immediate family priority attention,” Nuland said. [msnbc.com/Ian Johnston/04 May 2012]
• Mitt Romney’s Top Donor On Wealth Inequality: The Wealthy Should Be Wealthier So All Can Benefit: Mitt Romney’s former Bain Capital partner and current high-stakes donor Edward Conard wants all of us 99 percenters to know we’ve got it all wrong. If we really understood the economy, we’d be grateful that wealth is concentrated with the wealthiest .01 percent of the 1 percent, and we’d work really hard to double their wealth because it would be good for all of us.
Not only does he believe this, he’s written a book about it, due to come out next month. I’ve already written to see if I can get a review copy of it, because I just cannot pass up such an exercise in self-adulation. In the meantime, Conard sat down for an interview with New York Times reporter Adam Davidson. His brazen responses to Davidson’s questions reveal the extraordinary thought process of the investor class, who have become so incredibly removed from reality that they actually believe this stuff. [crooksandliars/karoli/03 May 2012]
• Bush torture lawyer Yoo granted immunity from Padilla lawsuit: John Yoo, a former Department of Justice attorney who crafted legal memos authorizing the Bush administration’s notorious torture programs, will not have to face a lawsuit filed by Jose Padilla, an American citizen accused of terrorism who claims he was tortured while in U.S. military custody.
In a unanimous decision (PDF) Wednesday, three judges with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Yoo should be granted immunity because torture law was not fully settled in 2001-2003, when Yoo wrote the memos.
“[Although] it has been clearly established for decades that torture of an American citizen violates the Constitution, and we assume without deciding that Padilla’s alleged treatment rose to the level of torture, that such treatment was torture was not clearly established in 2001-03,” Judge Raymond C. Fisher wrote. [RawStory/Stephen C. Webster/03 May 2012]
• RCMP, U.S. Coast Guard plan joint border patrol: A joint program between the RCMP and U.S. Coast Guard in the Windsor-Detroit area will allow law enforcement officers from Canada and the U.S. to ride together on the Detroit River, patrolling both sides of the international boundary, officials say. [CBC News/04 May 2012]
• French presidential campaign ends with Sarkozy trailing: PARIS — France wound up a long and rancorous presidential campaign Friday with opinion polls predicting victory for Francois Hollande, the Socialist candidate who promises economic stimulus measures to soften the austerity cutbacks imposed by President Nicolas Sarkozy during the European debt crisis. Sarkozy, a business-oriented conservative battling for a second five-year term, told his followers in a final rally that the race was not over despite what the polls and political commentators said. Political specialists explained that he was counting on a bloc of undecided voters — estimated at up to 10 percent of the electorate — to tip the balance in his favor at the last minute before Sunday’s runoff ballot. [washingtonpost/Edward Cody/04 May 2012]
• Russia to Set Up Military Maintenance Centers in Kazakhstan: ASTANA – Russia is planning to establish maintenance centers for Russian arms and military equipment in service with the Kazakh Armed Forces in Kazakhstan, the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said on Friday. FSMTC deputy chief Konstantin Biryulin said he had discussed the matter with Kazakh Deputy Defense Minister Sergei Gromov. Russia is ready to transfer the relevant technology to Kazakhstan, he added. An aircraft maintenance center will be the first such facility, he said. [RIA Novosti/04 May 2012]
• Russia ‘Retains Right’ to Pre-emptive Strike on U.S. “Missile Shield”: Russia is ready for a pre-emptive strike on European missile defense systems if the US refuses dialogue, stated Russia’s Chief of General Staff Nikolay Makarov at the Moscow ABM conference.
“Considering the destabilizing nature of the [American] ABM system, namely the creation of an illusion of inflicting a disarming [nuclear] strike with impunity, a decision on pre-emptive deployment of assault weapons could be taken when the situation gets harder,” Gen. Makarov told the audience.
The NATO delegation present at the conference rushed to disagree with the Russian general, saying that the ABM system would never target Russia. [RT/03 May 2012]
• Why Conservatives Believe in Anti-Gay Pseudo-Science: There are a small number of Christian right researchers and intellectuals who have tried to make a scientific case against same-sex marriages and unions, by citing alleged harms to children. This stuff isn’t mainstream or scientifically accepted — witness the APA’s statements on the matter. But from the perspective of the Christian right, that doesn’t really matter. When people are looking for evidence to support their deeply held views, the science suggests that people engage in “motivated reasoning.” Their deep emotional convictions guide the retrieval of self-supporting information that they then use to argue with, to prop themselves up. It isn’t about truth, it’s about feeling that you’re right — righteous, even. [AlterNet/Chris Mooney/03 May 2012]
• Louisiana Senate Approves Bill Requiring Women To Hear Fetus’ Heartbeat Before Abortion: Louisiana has a history of anti-abortion legislation designed to infringe upon women’s access to abortion services. The state already requires women to have an ultrasound before an abortion procedure, but now, the state Senate has passed a bill that would require women to listen to the fetus’ heartbeat as well. Women would be able to opt out of hearing the heartbeat if they sign a form saying they don’t want to listen, and victims of rape or incest would be exempt. The measure now heads to the House [thinkprogress/Amanda Peterson Beadle/03 May 2012]