Shorter Question Everything
I honestly don’t know what possible strategy there can be for defending Mourdock. Or any of an increasingly long list of right wing cavemen. Tack to the middle for the debates and back to the right once you think no one’s watching? It’s baffling to me. One thing it’s not is a way to put women at ease about your extremist plans.
• “I don’t know how these come up with these ideas,” Obama said during an appearance on the “Tonight Show” Wednesday. “Let me make a very simple proposition. Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me — don’t make any sense to me. The second thing this underscores, though, is this is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women’s health care decisions.”
• Luke 1:26-38 says that God Hisownself sent the Angel Gabriel to ask Mary’s permission prior to impregnating her with the Son of God. The scripture says that Mary answered Gabriel, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” If even God has to ask permission, do you think for one minute that it’s God’s will for mere mortals not to? And contrary to what they believe, Republican men are, for the most part, mere mortals. The ones that aren’t just mere mortals are first degree jerks. True, there are far more of them in the second category. Republicans are facing forty miles of rough road if they think women are going to give them clubs and willingly go back to the cave. Can I get an Amen?
• Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) became the most prominent Republican to call on Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock to apologize for claiming, during a debate on Tuesday night, that pregnancies resulting from rape are a “gift from God.” The Arizona senator told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Wednesday night that he would withhold his support until Mourdock “apologizes and says he misspoke, and he was wrong and he asks the people to forgive him”
Deploy the Trump!
• President Obama on Donald Trump – The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
A report on the gossip news website TMZ.com could codify the perception of Romney only caring about the rich and willing to screw over others.
Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks codified an image of the candidate as only caring about the rich and willing to screw over the rest of the population.
A report on the gossip news website TMZ.com could add to that perception. TMZ reports today that Romney lied “under oath when he testified in the divorce of his good friend and screwed the friend’s wife out of a lot of money in the process,” according to the wife of the founder of Staples.
The story goes like this: Staples founder Tom Stemberg was in the midst of a nasty divorce with his wife Maureen Stemberg Sullivan. Romney, a friend of Stemberg’s who invested in his company, testified in court that Staples was not worth very much. Staple’s stock was “overvalued,” Romney said in court, adding, “I didn’t place a great deal of credibility in the forecast of the company’s future.”
Romney’s testimony helped ensure that Maureen received very little money when the divorce case was resolved. But the controversy comes from this: “We’re told just weeks after the divorce ended, Romney and Tom went to Goldman Sachs and cashed in THEIR stock for a fortune. Short story — Romney allegedly lied to help his friend and screw the friend’s wife over.”
TMZ doesn’t stop there. They also report that as Sullivan was suffering from cancer and multiple sclerosis, Stemberg canceled her health insurance. The kicker is that Stemberg was then working with Romney as a health care adviser.
[It's not only a message about his willingness to screw over the rich - it's a message of his willingness to screw over women.]
• Did Team Romney deploy Trump out of genuine concern about Allred? The Donald Trump and Gloria Allred “October surprises” landed (with a muffled thud) at just about the same time — but the teaser announcements for them don’t seem to have happened at the same time, and that has me wondering whether the Romney campaign was genuinely concerned about what Allred was about to announce, and if Trump was deployed to say something, anything, that would neutralize the impact of whatever Allred intended to reveal. Romney’s been working hard to court women voters. I think his camp suspected what this might be about, or at least assumed it would involve Romney and a woman and could do actual damage to Romney in the eyes of women. One right-wing blogger speculated that Allred would be talking about a Mormon woman reportedly dissuaded from having an abortion despite a life-threatening condition.)
• Gold Star Mother – Romney Skipped Funeral, Left “Bullying” Messages: “I can’t believe you haven’t returned my call,” Romney said on one of the voice mail messages, according to Stephany Kern, speaking at her Westerly, Rhode Island home this past Saturday. “Here I am making a second call; I haven’t heard from you.” Kern did not save the messages. This is the first time she has spoken publicly about them. Kern’s son, Marine Lance Corporal Nickolas Schiavoni, was killed by an IED explosion in Iraq on November 15, 2005. He was born and lived his entire life in the Haverhill, Massachusetts, area, and his funeral took place in Haverhill on November 26. His grandfather, David Swartz — Kern’s father — was a well-known attorney, prosecutor, and city councilor in that city. Romney did not attend the wake or funeral, according to reports from the time. The Phoenix has been unable to confirm Kern’s claim that no representative of the governor attended the wake or funeral. The Romney campaign has not responded to inquiries. Mrs. Kern says that many officials, including Romney and Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, left messages for her the day after her son died. She felt unable to speak to anyone in those initial days. “I didn’t listen to any of the calls,” she says. Only Romney, she says, complained in a second message that she had not called back. “He was completely unable to understand that a mom was not going to return his phone call, and that it wasn’t a priority for me,” she says. “I wasn’t being disrespectful. I was being a mom who was greeting the casket of her son coming home from war.”
The Confidence Fairies
• Republicans Desperate to Spin Romney as the Front-Runner Are Becoming ‘Nate Silver Truthers‘. As Jonathan Chait noted, “This is a bluff. Romney is carefully attempting to project an atmosphere of momentum, in the hopes of winning positive media coverage and, thus, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.” As one might expect in such circumstances, Silver is now becoming a target of the Right. We’ve seen ‘poll truthers’ who think all the big pollsters are intentionally skewing their results in Obama’s favor, and ‘debate truthers” who insist that moderators are in the tank and the questions are rigged to make Romney look bad. Now we’re seeing the emergence of ‘Nate Silver truthers,’ who attack the numbers-cruncher as if he’s a pundit expressing a personal opinion rather than a statistics geek who developed a very robust computer model. And they’re using the same tactics they deploy to deny climate change – launching ad hominem attacks on an expert — calling him corrupt — rather than offering a criticism of the methodology of his model, a criticism they don’t have the technical knowledge to come up with.
Pots and kettles
• Bin Laden raid film incenses GOP as news emerges of extra Obama footage: A film about the killing of Osama bin Laden which will air two nights before the US presidential election has been re-edited to feature more footage of Barack Obama, prompting accusations Hollywood is trying to swing the vote. Harvey Weinstein, a studio head and prominent Democrat who has contributed to the president’s campaign, tweaked the film, Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden, to broaden Obama’s role. The new version of the 90-minute feature, which will debut in primetime on 4 November on the National Geographic Channel, and be available the next day on Nextflix, uses additional news and documentary footage to show Obama in the build-up and aftermath of the May 2011 raid which killed the al-Qaida leader in Pakistan. [With the GOP sending out those disgusting videos in swing states, they have no business bitching.]
• The official pollster of Fox News, Frank Luntz, is the man who renamed the estate tax the “death tax” and told Republicans to lie and call healthcare reform a “government takeover” of the medical system. It turns out he’s also the guy who tested anti-Obama films, including one that features photoshopped “nude” photos of President Obama’s mother and depicts her as possibly a prostitute, for a shadowy GOP donor. Now DVDs of the scurrilous film, “Dreams from My Real Father,” are finding their way into mailboxes in swing states. (Update: Somehow I missed that he had been hired by CBS News in September to do election analysis.)
• Let’s hope they all rip each other to pieces: The controversial anti-President Barack Obama film “2016: Obama’s America” has racked up millions in box office receipts, shot to the top of DVD sales — and now has sparked a trio of lawsuits among the three producers of the film. One lawsuit, filed in San Diego Superior Court over the past week, contends that Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative author, activist and Rancho Santa Fe resident who was one of three executive producers of the film, has tried to wrest control of the company away from two partners and violated an agreement among them. A separate lawsuit from a group of investors in the film says that D’Souza breached their agreement with him by writing a best-selling book that drew heavily on the film and not sharing the profits with them, as they claim he was obligated to do.
The other presidential debate
• If you wanted talk of drugs, climate change and indefinte detention, it’s the third party presidential debates you should have been watching. Tuesday night’s debate in Chicago among the third-party candidates: Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, and Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party:
• Sarah Palin has weighed in on the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack through Facebook, an online venue where both former half-term governors and everyone else can air their opinions: …Why the dissembling about the cause of the murder of our ambassador on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil? We deserve answers to this. President Obama’s shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end.
• A man suspected of involvement in an attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi last month has been killed in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, officials say. The man was killed after an exchange of fire with security services in the Cairo suburb of Madinet Nasr. Authorities named the man only as Hazem.
• Juan Williams Tears Apart Fox News’ Benghazi-Gate: After calling it “time for American journalism to hit pause on the political spin cycle,” Williams writes: Once the political spin stops, the bottom line is there is no evidence so far to support the Romney camp’s claim of incompetence or a cover-up by the administration. There is only a tragic attack on the United States, our understanding of which is becoming clearer as new intelligence comes to light. Win at all costs and apologize later is the rule in political campaigns, and the GOP has seen Obama’s approval rating on foreign policy fall in the aftermath of the Libya attack. But this is one political strategy that is based on deliberate misinformation about the Benghazi assault.
• Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the White House on Wednesday downplayed reports that a Libyan group claimed responsibility on Facebook for the deadly strike on the US consulate in Benghazi. US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the September 11 attack, for which the hardline Salafist group Ansar al-Sharia allegedly took blame on the social networking site. “Posting something on Facebook is not, in and of itself, evidence,” Clinton told reporters.
• A live leopard shark was discovered thrashing about on the grass at around 4pm at the San Juan Hills golf club in San Juan Capistrano, which is four miles from the coast. The sea creature was spotted by a startled golf club marshall near the 12th tee box, where a group of golfers had just been playing. [The shark was saved by the golfers whoe put it in some salt water and got it back into the ocean]
• A shark killed a man near Santa Barbara, California on Tuesday, officials said, nearly two years to the day after another rare but deadly attack off the same beach. The victim, reported as being between 25 and 33 years old, died after the incident at the Surf Beach near the Vandenberg Air Force Base, according to the Los Angeles Times newspaper. “It’s a confirmed fatal attack,” a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office told AFP, giving no further details. “That’s all that we have right now.” That shark was described as up to 20 feet (6.1 meters) long. The victim was identified as Lucas McKaine Ransom. Santa Barbara is some 130 miles (215 kilometers) northwest along the Pacific coast from Los Angeles.
• Experts say the shark that bit and killed a surfer off California’s central coast probably was a great white and may have been 15 feet long. Thirty-nine-year-old Francisco Javier Solorio Jr. was bitten in the upper torso in the waters off Surf Beach in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday. He died at the scene.
• Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN last night that neither he, nor the Iranians, would consider an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities an act of war. Rogers said that he believed there are options “short of war” that could prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and, strangely, CNN host Erin Burnett wondered if bombing suspected nuclear weapons facilities would be an option that is “short of war.” While Rogers at first appeared taken aback by Burnett’s odd question, he then went a bit further, saying definitively that such an attack would indeed be “short of war” and the Iranians would see it that way too. [Except for the whole fact that the Iranians, and everyone else, would definitely see it as an act of war.]
• The Syrian government has agreed to a ceasefire during the four-day Muslim Eid holiday starting this week, international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said in Cairo on Wednesday. Many rebel leaders he contacted had also agreed to a truce during the holiday, which begins on Friday, he told reporters in Cairo after meeting Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi. The Syrian government would officially announce its acceptance by Thursday, he added. “The Syrian government has agreed to a ceasefire during the days of Eid,” Brahimi said.
• Syrian rebels using US weapons: “We have reliable information that Syrian militants have foreign portable anti-aircraft missile systems, including those made in the USA… it should be cleared up who delivered them,” Gen Makarov told journalists in Russia. There have been earlier unconfirmed reports of the Syrian opposition having shoulder-mounted missiles, but the West has been reluctant to openly arm the rebels.
• Six people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of Malala Yousufzai, the teenage activist who spoke out against the Taliban, though the main suspect still is on the loose, Pakistani police told CNN exclusively. Police on Wednesday identified Atta Ullah Khan, a 23-year-old from the Swat district where Malala was attacked, as the main suspect.
• On Monday, in their final debate, Mitt Romney denounced President Obama for creating “tension” and “turmoil” with Israel and chided him for having “skipped Israel” during his travels in the Middle East. Throughout the campaign, Mr. Romney has repeatedly accused Mr. Obama of having “thrown allies like Israel under the bus.” But history tells a different story. Indeed, whenever the United States has put serious, sustained pressure on Israel’s leaders — from the 1950s on — it has come from Republican presidents, not Democratic ones. This was particularly true under Mr. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush.
In other news
• The latest federal lawsuit over alleged mortgage fraud paints an unflattering picture of a doomed lender: Executives at Countrywide Financial urged workers to churn out loans, accepted fudged applications and tried to hide ballooning defaults. The suit, filed Wednesday by the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, also underscored how Bank of America’s purchase of Countrywide in July 2008, just before the financial crisis, backfired severely. The prosecutor, Preet Bharara, said he was seeking more than $1 billion, but the suit could ultimately recover much more in damages.
• Prof. Kristina Durante writes op-ed making the point that women vote with their hormones. An attempt at disenfranchisement or just belittlement?
• Colin Powell has endorsed President Barack Obama for a second term of presidency. Powell, who endorsed Obama in 2008, announced his endorsement on CBS This Morning on Thursday. “I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on,” Powell said. Neither candidate asked for Powell’s endorsement and the general did not give early notice to either candidate, he said. His endorsement arrives less than two weeks until the election Nov. 6. Powell defined himself on the show as “a Republican of a moderate mold,” but added that he doesn’t think Romney “has thought through these issues as thoroughly as he should have.”
• Harry Reid Smash! For instance, at a press conference Monday in Carson City, Senator Reid said he would be a “one-man wrecking crew” on the topic of Mitt Romney’s unreleased tax returns and went to on a characterize the Republican nominee as a: “plastic man running for president who changes his position every chance he gets. He isn’t someone who should represent this country.”
• The FBI and U.S. Postal Service inspectors are investigating bogus official-looking letters sent to voters in at least 28 Florida counties questioning their citizenship and their eligibility to vote, NBC News has learned. David Couvertier, a spokesman for the FBI in Tampa, said his office opened up an investigation into the possible attempt at voter intimidation on Wednesday after receiving reports that eligible voters throughout the state have received the letters. “We’re taking it as a serious situation,” he said. “We’re looking at everything from civil rights violations to election fraud — to everything in between.”