Morning Must Reads: May 29

In the news: Michele Bachmann's retirement, the Democrats' kingmaker, liberal hawks and Syria, Eric Holder on Eric Holder, saving the GOP, and Obama's teddy bear

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The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

  • Ron Fournier: What if the next President is even worse?
  • Is Marty Baron the man to fix the Washington Post?
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Republican presidential candidate will not seek a fifth congressional term.
  • Switzerland moves to allow its banks to work directly with the Department of Justice on tax evasion cases
  • How Jeffrey Katzenberg became the Democrats’ kingmaker
  • Walter Pincus: “When will journalists stop circling the wagons and shouting the First Amendment is under attack?”
  • Attorney General Eric Holder on Eric Holder
  • Republican senators are fuming about President Barack Obama’s attempt to fill empty seats on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
  • How to save the GOP
  • Liberal hawks have been quiet on Syria
  • House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa has subpoenaed documents from top aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pertaining to the Obama administration’s Benghazi talking points.
  • And if you missed yesterday’s best photo, here it is:
  • U.S. President Barack Obama holds up a stuffed bear that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie won at the boardwalk during their visit to Point Pleasant, NJ., on May 28, 2013.
319 comments
ahandout
ahandout

The number 1 role of government is to provide protection for its citizens.  All other extras in the budget get cut before public safety.  Using threats to cut police and fire in order to get more money is bad enough, but when the government actually tells it's citizens that is won't protect them, they should be the ones calling 911. 

911 Dispatcher Tells Woman About To Be Sexually Assaulted There Are No Cops To Help Her Due To Budget Cuts

“Uh, I don’t have anybody to send out there,” the 911 dispatcher told the woman. “You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away?

http://seattle.cbslocal.com/2013/05/23/911-dispatcher-tells-woman-about-to-be-sexually-assaulted-there-are-no-cops-to-help-her-due-to-budget-cuts/

They did manage to arrest her assailant after he raped her. 

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

"Ronald Reagan’s signature on the 1986 amnesty act" gave Barack Obama about 15 million additional Hispanic votes in 2012. — Steve King

...subsequently proved FALSE by PolitiFact.

But maybe it just takes Republicals three decades to persuade Hispanics that their party is the one!

MementoMori
MementoMori

Speaking of Todd Starnes...

Starnes: 'You Can Be Assured That I Am Sharing With You Accurate Information'

You mean like the time he reported that a high school runner was disqualified for thanking God, which turned out to be totally false?

Or his report that the military was blocking the Southern Baptist Convention's website as an act of hostility toward Christianity, which was likewise entirely wrong?

What about the time he claimed that "roving gangs of thugs" had taken over New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy or when he falsely claimed that the Obama administration had not called for the release of Rev. Saeed Abedini from Iran?

Or how about his false report that two female middle school students were forced to ask one another for a kiss during an anti-bullying presentation?

And who can forget his article alleging that the military was going to court-martial soldiers for sharing their faith, which was entirely untrue?

Is that what Starnes meant when he said "you can read my stories and you can be assured that I am sharing with you accurate information"?

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/starnes-you-can-be-assured-i-am-sharing-you-accurate-information


mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Why James Rosen Is Not Blameless The Justice Department should not be chasing national security reporters. But those reporters have a responsibility, too.

As Eric Holder wrings his hands in remorse over his feverish pursuit of Fox News reporter James Rosen’s phone records, it’s worth noting that, when it comes to national security leaks, some things are secret—and should be kept that way—for a reason.

In Rosen’s case, the alarm bells went off not because he reported that North Korea was about to conduct a nuclear-weapons test but because he reported that the CIA learned of this fact from a source inside North Korea. In other words, Rosen revealed that the CIA had a source inside North Korea. It’s unclear whether the source was a human spy or a communications intercept; it’s also irrelevant because, thanks to this story, the source is probably no longer alive or active.

I’m not saying that Rosen should have been treated like a criminal; even Holder is backpedaling from that claim now. But he could have written his story without revealing that nugget about the inside source. The story might have been a little less compelling; his audience might have wondered how he or his official contacts knew that a test was coming. But the U.S. government might also still have a decent intelligence source inside North Korea.

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It may seem odd for someone who has been reporting on national security matters for a few decades to say this, but just because the government is doing something in secret—and just because a leaker tells someone like me about it—that doesn’t necessarily mean it should see the light of day. That is especially so if the secret activity in question doesn’t break laws, expose deceit, kill people, violate basic decency, or … (feel free to add to this list).

Serious journalists, even the most doggedly determined ones, have known this for a long time. That also isn’t to say that they should, or do, brood routinely over the consequences of their scoops; but some limits are obvious. For instance, it’s well known that the New York Times and other publications excised the names of certain people from WikiLeaks documents, especially foreign sources and translators, to keep them from being killed by Iraqi or Afghan insurgents.

It might be less well known that reporters have sometimes even refrained from publishing whole stories. Back in 1974, Seymour Hersh, then the Times’ top investigative reporter, learned that the CIA was using the Glomar Explorer, a ship owned by Howard Hughes, to excavate a Soviet nuclear-missile submarine that had sunk in the Pacific Ocean. Hersh had broken some of the biggest stories of the day, including President Nixon’s secret bombing of Cambodia, CIA domestic surveillance, and the CIA’s involvement in a coup in Chile. However, at the request of top officials, Hersh sat on the Glomar Explorer story. He realized that, in this case, secrecy was genuinely in the interests of national security. (The Times published Hersh’s story only after columnist Jack Anderson broke the news. Within days, the ship was surrounded by Soviet trawlers, and the mission was called off. It has never been revealed how much progress, if any, the Explorer had made in pulling up pieces of the Soviet sub.)

My only experience with this dilemma, as a defense reporter for the Boston Globe back in the 1980s, was hypothetical. One day, I received in the mail a manila envelope with no return address. It contained what appeared to be a very highly classified English translation of the Soviet nuclear war plan, complete with a summary of how many missiles and of what type were aimed at targets inside the United States. The document was stamped with the date of just one week earlier. In other words, if this thing was real, it meant that we had a spy deep inside the command of Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces who was feeding us up-to-date information.

That night, I brought the document over to the house of a good friend who worked in the CIA as a Soviet military-affairs analyst. His jaw tightened when he took a look at the thing, but then he relaxed. He told me that one of the classification codes at the top of the document hadn’t been used by the agency for a couple of years. Flipping through its pages, he found a few other mistaken designations as well. He concluded the document wasn’t real. (I’ve never learned who sent it or why.)

The next day I started to wonder what I would have done had the document been real. First, of course, I would have had to discuss it with my bureau chief and probably the paper’s editor; decisions like this are generally not left in the hands of a reporter in his early 30s. Had it been up to me, though, I would have written a story saying that U.S. intelligence officials believe such-and-such about the Soviet Union’s nuclear war plans. I would have summarized the gist of the document—what it indicated about the kinds of targets the Soviets were planning to hit (and not hit), the sequence of the attack, and a few other basic elements. I wouldnot have gone into any details; for instance, I would not have recited how many SS-18 ICBMs were aimed at how many U.S. missile sites or bomber bases. And I certainly would not have said anything about the existence of this document, much less that the CIA had somehow obtained it only a few days earlier.

Some readers might have wondered how the “U.S. intelligence analysts” that I cited knew what I reported they knew. Let them wonder, I would have shrugged. Better to leave them wondering than to blow an amazing intelligence source for the sake of a news story. This is only common sense, even to a young reporter. It should have been common sense to James Rosen, too.

MementoMori
MementoMori

And just to take a bit of the edge off, a reminder that love will always triumph over hate - it's only a matter of time.  Much to the disappointment of the rightwingers.

http://youtu.be/wW5YPx0lvHc

paulejb
paulejb

Mother of Mercy . . .

"Essentially, in violation of DOJ procedures that require input from the prosecutors on a pardon petitioner’s case, Holder opened a back-door to the Oval Office so that Rich’s lawyers (with help from Holder) could argue directly to Clinton in favor of the pardon. At the time, Holder was hoping to be named attorney general in a Gore administration, and Rich was being represented by Jack Quinn, former Clinton White House Counsel and an Al Gore confidant."

That did not prevent Barack Hussein Obama from appointing holder as the chief law enforcement officer in the land leading to the most lawless DOJ since John Mitchell.

MementoMori
MementoMori

Another battle lost in the GOP's War on Women

Indiana's Effort to Defund Planned Parenthood Is Dead

On Tuesday, the high court announced that it would not be hearing Indiana's appeal in defense of its effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/05/supreme-court-indiana-planned-parenthood-abortion

They're losing on gay rights. They're losing their war against a women's right to choose. They're losing the public with their 'Cry Wolf' approach at politics.

Is the GOP doing anything right?

notsacredh
notsacredh

Sue_N, Ot, but I got a small cut on my hand working outside this evening. I went in after I put my tools away to tell my wife I was done for the evening. She was on the phone and her mother was sitting on the couch. I bent over and kissed the MIL on her forehead and rested my hand on the back of her hand. I went into the kitchen to rinse my hand off and make a pot of coffee. I heard her yelling about blood on her hand and she headed back to the bathroom. She came into the kitchen and told me there was blood on her hand but no wound. I told her it was stigmata and that she'd been chosen by God. I'm a jerk. lol.

notsacredh
notsacredh

They got tea bagged. Aw....nuts!!

ahandout
ahandout

@nflfoghorn  It did give us 15 million more illegals.  The next amnesty should double that.  Welcome to Mexico amigo.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91

Advice and Consent. It's in the Constitution, Bugs.

"...and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law:"

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb Just like 2012. Same attack adds same results. GOP= Gutless Opportunistic Perverts.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb Most Lawless DOJ? Does Alberto Gonzalez trying to force John Ashcroft to sign wiretap authorizations on his sick bed ring a bell?

notsacredh
notsacredh

"Is the GOP doing anything right?"

They're helping democrats keep the White House and senate.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@MementoMori 

The problem is that they're not doing anything new; they're re-hashing prior 1000 years of 'things to do'. People have figured out that they're incapable of solving modern problems and not to be trusted about old ones.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Wouldn't comprehensive sex education, free condoms, widely available morning after pills and easy access to birth control cut back on procedures like late term abortions?

Sue_N
Sue_N

@sacredh Ha!

I had nowhere near the problems with my late MIL that you have with yours, but she could be, um, trying? My hubby was an only child, and grew up hearing "you're my only reason for living." Vera was something of a drama queen. A few years before she died, after my father-in-law had died, we told her we were going New York for for about a week on vacation. You would have thought we'd told her we were moving and leaving no forwarding address! She tried everything to get hubby to say we wouldn't go. Finally, he came home one evening, all worked up because she'd said, "I could die while you're away and no one would know or care!" I let him rant, then told him that, if she said that again, tell her to be sure and leave the will on the table, just in case. He did, and she said no more about it.

Another time, we were going down to Galveston for a week. She went into another fit, asking him what would happen if she fell while he was gone. Who would know? She could die of starvation! I told him to tell her to put some food on the floor.

We had a great time in Galveston.

ahandout
ahandout

@Sue_N @sacredh  Medicaid cost are rising all over.  Medicare, private health insurance all going up.  What's that got to do with what Texas did or didn't do?  Now show me that births increased and that the cost increase was due to that.

notsacredh
notsacredh

"If they really cared about abortion they would be for contraception."

That's how I feel. If unwanted pregnancies are rare, abortions would be too. I have no problem with teaching abstinence as long it's just one option. Teenagers not experimenting with sex? Please.



 

La_Randy
La_Randy

@sacredh Of course they would.

"Earlier this year, the Affordable Care Act began requiring private insurance agencies tooffer many contraceptives at no cost to consumers. This change was an effort to remove cost as an obstacle to women to choose to usebirth control. It might also have the added benefit ofreducing abortion rates, according to new research published online October 4 inObstetrics & Gynecology.

The study found that the availability to free contraception caused a drop in teen birth rates and cut the rate of abortions for all participants by more than half. “The impact of providing no-cost birth control was far greater than we expected,” Jeff Peipert, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis, and study co-author, said in a statement."

If they really cared about abortion they would be for contraception.


Sue_N
Sue_N

@sacredh Down here in Texas, back in 2011 the lege slashed the family planning services budget to the bone in an effort to defund Planned Parenthood. By 2012, Republicans were horrified by how fast and how high Medicaid costs were rising. Because, you know, it costs more money to have babies.

This session they restored family planning funding.

notsacredh
notsacredh

ahandout, here in Ohio the conservatives are throwing up roadblock after roadblock to everything from sex education in schools to try to defund Planned parenthood. I personally think abortion is a terrible thing, but ultimately, it's a decison that should be made between a woman and her doctor.

ahandout
ahandout

@sacredh  Haven't we been doing that for the last 40 years?  I remember the free clinic from the early 70s.  All birth control has a failure rate.  My wife got pregnant on the pill.

You don't need classes, just have them watch a couple of TV shows. 

Seriously, people wouldn't take their pregnant dogs to the vet and let them do what is done to a fetus.

notsacredh
notsacredh

They are. I'm the one that insists on decorating and watching the specials. My MIL HATES animation. I tell her that if she doesn't watch them that I'll take her daughter downstairs and knock a hole in it. She fumes. So much fun.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@sacredh The holidays must be a hoot at your house. ;)

notsacredh
notsacredh

Sue_N, my MIL thinks sex is a disgusting act that should almost never be permitted. The lights should never be on and you should do it as quickly as possible. A couple of nights ago I went into her room and told her that her daughter had just given me a BJ so maybe she shouldn't kiss her goodnight. It almost made her hair stand straight up. Like I said, I'm a jerk.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@sacredh My MIL, who wasn't Catholic, wanted hubby to be a priest just he could never get married and she wouldn't have to share him. I never met the woman until the day after our wedding.

We did get to be friends, even though at times I could happily have taken a hammer to her.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Sue_N, my MIl can't get over the fact that I'm not a believer. She also hates that I can throw back quote after quote from the Bible at her. She used to say that kids and dogs had a sixth sense about people. I'm a magnet to both so she never mentions it anymore. What really pops her whistle is how lucky I am on scratch-offs.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 Is that your excuse now Paule. Keep believing that and keep losing even more elections. I'm perfectly happy with you sticking your head in the sand.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb 

We weren't aware that the game was fixed, Bugs. If we knew that Obama's IRS was actively suppressing conservative votes we could have done something more.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 And remind me again what your side predicted? Oh yes President Romney and control of the Senate. Of course that is before your candidates started on their rape dissertation.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb@mantisdragon91The sickbed visit was the start of a dramatic showdown between the White House and the Justice Department in early 2004 that, according to Comey, was resolved only when Bush overruled Gonzales and Card. But that was not before Ashcroft, Comey, Mueller and their aides prepared a mass resignation, Comey said. The domestic spying by the National Security Agency continued for several weeks without Justice approval, he said.



paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 

Poor Bugs. He cannot discern the difference between suspected terrorists and mainstream media reporters. The US Constitution protects one group and not the other, Bugs.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Sure about that Paule? History will consider the matter much much differently.


On the night of March 10, 2004, as Attorney General John D. Ashcroft lay ill in an intensive-care unit, his deputy, James B. Comey, received an urgent call.

White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and President Bush's chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., were on their way to the hospital to persuade Ashcroft to reauthorize Bush's domestic surveillance program, which the Justice Department had just determined was illegal.

In vivid testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Comey said he alerted FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and raced, sirens blaring, to join Ashcroft in his hospital room, arriving minutes before Gonzales and Card. Ashcroft, summoning the strength to lift his head and speak, refused to sign the papers they had brought. Gonzales and Card, who had never acknowledged Comey's presence in the room, turned and left.

The sickbed visit was the start of a dramatic showdown between the White House and the Justice Department in early 2004 that, according to Comey, was resolved only when Bush overruled Gonzales and Card. But that was not before Ashcroft, Comey, Mueller and their aides prepared a mass resignation, Comey said. The domestic spying by the National Security Agency continued for several weeks without Justice approval, he said.

"I was angry," Comey testified. "I thought I just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me."

The broad outlines of the hospital-room conflict have been reported previously, but without Comey's gripping detail of efforts by Card, who has left the White House, and Gonzales, now the attorney general. His account appears to present yet another challenge to the embattled Gonzales, who has strongly defended the surveillance program's legality and is embroiled in a battle with Congress over the dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys last year.

It also marks the first public acknowledgment that the Justice Department found the original surveillance program illegal, more than two years after it began.

Gonzales, who has rejected lawmakers' call for his resignation, continued yesterday to play down his own role in the dismissals. He identified his deputy, Paul J. McNulty, who announced his resignation Monday, as the aide most responsible for the firings.

"You have to remember, at the end of the day, the recommendations reflected the views of the deputy attorney general," Gonzales said at the National Press Club. "The deputy attorney general would know best about the qualifications and the experiences of the United States attorneys community, and he signed off on the names," he added.

Those comments appear to differ, at least in emphasis, from earlier remarks by Gonzales, who has previously laid much of the responsibility for the dismissals on his ex-chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson. They stand in contrast to testimony and statements from McNulty, who has acknowledged signing off on the firings but has told Congress he was surprised when he heard about the effort.

The Justice Department and White House declined to comment in detail on Comey's testimony, citing internal discussions of classified activities.

The warrantless eavesdropping program was approved by Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It allowed the NSA to monitor e-mails and telephone calls between the United States and overseas if one party was believed linked to terrorist groups. The program was revealed in late 2005; Gonzales announced in January that it had been replaced with an effort that would be supervised by a secret intelligence court

.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/15/AR2007051500864.html

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb

Bugs' case: "...a presidential order reauthorizing the program, which allowed monitoring of international telephone calls and e-mail of people inside the United States who were suspected of having terrorist ties."

The case currently in question: "Brit Hume: ‘Chilling’ Search Of Fox Reporter Shows DOJ Treats ‘Ordinary News Gathering As Crime’"

You lose, Bugs.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 Really? Then why did John Ashcroft and Robert Mueller threaten to resign if he didn't back off? Is it typical for the Attorney General and the  FBI director to threaten to leave over unlawful actions of the White House?

paulejb
paulejb

@MementoMori @paulejb

"Grassley: IRS Told Pro-Life Group to Swear It Would Not Protest Planned Parenthood"

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/grassley-irs-told-pro-life-group-swear-it-would-not-protest-planned-parenthood

"IRS to pro-life group: Send letter pledging not to protest Planned Parenthood to get your tax exemption"

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/05/16/irs-to-pro-life-group-send-letter-pledging-not-to-protest-planned-parenthood-to-get-your-tax-exemption/
Take your pick, Mori. The facts are the facts.