Glenn Beck. Remember him? The guy who used to be on FOX News with the crazy conspiracy theories diagrammed on a blackboard and the dramatic tears? He’s back. With a prominent guest column gig in the Washington Post about threats to our religious freedom. We should have known – any issue that gives him an opportunity to invoke fear is like catnip to Glenn Beck.
Beck argues that all of our religious freedom is threatened by the Obama administration’s new HHS rule providing free access to birth control. The free birth control is just one aspect of the range of excellent free preventive care benefits included in the Affordable Care Act. There is a full exemption for religions from the birth control access requirement (such as churches), and a limited exception for religiously affiliated organizations (such as universities and hospitals run by religions) by which the health care insurers will be required to pay the costs of the employees’ birth control instead of the religious organizations with religious objections. The limited exception was heralded by a wide variety of religious organizations, including many Catholic organizations, but not the Republicans in Washington or the Catholic bishops. Beck takes up the cause of this small group of stubborn objectors with the clarion call, “We are all Catholics now!” despite the fact that, as he notes, he is actually Mormon.
The fact that Glenn Beck is a Mormon claiming religious persecution is interesting in itself. You might not know this, but Mormons have played a central role in clarifying what the First Amendment’s free exercise clause means and doesn’t mean in constitutional law jurisprudence.
(Click for more Beck bullshit)
Romney op-ed: U.S. autos bailout ‘was crony capitalism on a grand scale’
[This promises to be dramatic: The Kraken of Krony Kapitalism, Revealed by our Intrepid Romney! I can hardly wait!]
By Mitt Romney
[Guess again, Willard]
I am a son of Detroit.
[If Mitt Romney is a son of Detroit, then that means George Romney is not his father!]
I was born in Harper Hospital and lived in the city until my family moved to Oakland County.
[He’s afraid to say Bloomfield Hills, the very affluent suburb. Cough, White Flight, cough.]
(Click for more Mitt Romney, unplugged)
Yesterday, three Credit Suisse bankers were charged with fraud by the U.S. Attorney for the S.D.N.Y., Preet S. Bharara, for inflating value of mortgage bonds during financial crisis to inflate their own bonuses. Significantly, two of the three traders pleaded guilty yesterday. As a result, nobody can truthfully utter the line “there have been no Wall Street bankster convictions!” Of course, Wall Street banks like Goldman and Citibank had also entered into settlements with the SEC prior to this, but as a routine practice in such settlements, the banks didn’t admit to any wrongdoing. These successful prosecutions of the Credit Suisse traders are likely to lead to more convictions, as the two who plead guilty are cooperating with the U.S. Attorney. Other investigations are also pending against the Bank of New York Mellon and Deutsche Bank.
I’m sure there will be some critics who will characterize these prosecutions as too little, too late, and remain convinced that this administration simply doesn’t care to enforce criminal laws against the big Wall Street banks. Wrong. Mr. Bharara spoke to this point yesterday, “The number of prosecutions is not a function of resources, effort, commitment or courage. It is a function of the laws, the facts, and the painstaking nature of these investigations.”
He’s exactly right.
Charlie Savage’s front page story in the December 30, 2011 New York Times asks the Republican presidential candidates about their views on executive power in what is essentially a sequel to his own interview with candidate Obama in 2007 when Savage worked for the Boston Globe. As soon as the Obama administration began to provide air support to the Libyan rebels seeking to overthrow the Libyan dicatator and terrorist Gadaffy, Savage began to misrepresent his 2007 interview with then Senator Obama as some kind of Pulitzer-worthy “gotcha” moment.
While the December 30 article purports to be about the Republican candidates’ views on executive power, its primary focus is to reaffirm Savage’s broader narrative of President Obama: that he is just like Bush when it comes to civil liberties in the era of global terrorism. What this October 30th article helps reveal, however, is the theory of executive power that Savage is holding Obama up against is a discredited libertarian notion of weak executive power shared by Ron Paul and Glenn Greenwald views which have no support in constitutional law jurisprudence. Savage also sets up the presidency of George W. Bush as the sole baseline by which to judge the Obama administration’s use of executive power, while ignoring all of Bush’s recent predecessors. Continue reading
This whole overreaction to NDAA reminds me of the overreaction to FISA during the 2008 primaries. So I dug up this Politico article from 2008 and it was funny to see some of the folks we now consider total emofirebaggers described as gatekeepers of the liberal base: Hamsher, Greenwald, Markos, Atrios…
What was more funny was being reminded of how all these largely pale complexioned lords of the web all had teen crushes on the superficial and fraudulent John Edwards.
The analogy to today’s NDAA cluster is pretty tight. Obama was opposed to the FISA bill, including but not only because it granted the telecoms immunity. More substantively, it had constitutionally suspect procedures for the FISA courts and little oversight or transparency in the process. Obama said he would filibuster it. Then the law was negotiated further to eliminate and mitigate many of Obama’s objections, although the telecom immunity provision remained. Obama ultimately declined to filibuster the revised version, which passed the Senate with 80 (EIGHTY) fucking votes. His threat had worked to change the bill.
It didn’t matter to the firebaggers. His betrayal was clear. Never mind the merits of how the bill was changed, his positive role in changing it, and the inevitability of its passage in some form. Sound familiar? Continue reading
I’ve generally avoided the Plan B issue on Twitter because it is too complex to discuss in 140. I will try here.
Let me start with the reaction to Obama’s comments supporting HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. He said he was not involved and the decision was Secretary Sebelius’s, but as a father of two young girls, he supported it. Opponents of the decision decried his invocation of his fatherhood. Among other things, they accused him of “politicizing” his children, despite having always refused to do so in the past. They said it was condescending and paternalistic for him to frame it in such terms, much like the decision itself.
I am a father of a young teen girl. This is a decision that affects her. And it affects me as her parent. I fail to see how a father speaking of a regulatory decision that affects his daughters is being condescending or politicizing the issue. If the president had remained silent, then that would be a choice, too, and given his role, arguably a political choice. Nothing he says or doesn’t say is completely insulated from politics. But I think the point of the critics is that it must have been an insincere comment. I don’t see that because, as a father of a teen girl myself, it’s difficult to imagine how a father could evaluate the decision without being informed by his experience of being a father. In fact, if any father of a teen were to argue that their experience has nothing to do with their opinion, I would question their sincerity. Unless you’re a machine, I just don’t see how you can exclude that experiential data from your opinion.
Let me start by saying that I have always been strongly pro-choice. I support Planned Parenthood and other public and private efforts that support reproductive health quality, access, cost, education and freedom.
I also think this has to first put in context. Continue reading
[Everyone give a warm round of applesauce to our newest contributor, roadkillrefugee! -ABL]
Critics of the White House’s decision to determine that the current actions in Libya do not constitute “hostilities” for purposes of the War Powers Resolution are either deliberately making political attacks not based on the law or fact, or they are misinformed. The president’s decision to solicit views from the Department of Defense, the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser and the White House Counsel was lawful and reasonable. It was also lawful and reasonable for him to make his own decision after hearing differing legal views on the question and he had no obligation to defer to the OLC viewpoint over the others.