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  • The Confluence

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    • WATCH: Reporter tells Trump to his face his U.S. tax rate is B.S.
      Donald Trump tells so many lies that it’s hard to keep up with them all. When he’s not lying about Russia, Obama, or his own sordid sexual past, he’ll drop a line in that can catch some by surprise. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider every word that leaves his mouth complete bullshit.
  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Could Obama have fixed the economy?
      I want to revisit this. Obama was the last person who had a real chance to change and fix things. A crisis is an opportunity. FDR used the Great Depression to change America. Reagan used stagflation to change America. Bush used 9/11 to change America. Obama could have used the financial crisis to change America. […]
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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

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  • Everybody hates Nancy?
  • In fairness to her, Nancy Pelosi had nothing to do the Bush’s torture policies. She didn’t make the design them, didn’t make the decision to implement them, and wasn’t among those who were running from camera to camera to defend them. Why is she suddenly front and center in the torture debate?

    CIA Chief Rebuts Pelosi’s Charges

    CIA Director Leon Panetta yesterday rejected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s charge that the agency misled her about its use of coercive interrogation methods, escalating a controversy that has dogged the speaker for weeks and intensifying a debate over Bush administration policies that the Obama administration has tried to avoid.

    Gibbs dodges Pelosi question

    Not long after CIA Director Leon Panetta put out a statement sticking by his agency, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dodged a question about whether Pelosi was right in questioning the CIA.

    Nancy Pelosi backpedals on CIA claims

    Rebuffed by the Democratic head of the CIA and left hanging by a Democratic White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backpedaled Friday on her claims that the CIA lied to her about water-boarding.

    What Ms. Pelosi Knew

    It’s a good question, but not the only important one in this torture debate.

  • Some Leadership
  • Are Democrats already looking for excuses? I’m starting to feel that we could have 100 Dems in the Senate and it still won’t be enough. What a useless bunch!

    Democrats: Al Franken isn’t enough

    A series of setbacks in the Senate has Democratic leaders warning their supporters that they won’t be able to accomplish everything they set out to do this year — even if Al Franken joins them as a 60th vote.
    Democrats watched helplessly this week as Republicans blocked the confirmation of one of Barack Obama’s top Interior Department nominees.

    They also struggled with the confirmation of one of Obama’s Justice Department picks, witnessed the adoption of an amendment allowing guns inside national parks and suffered major pushback against Obama’s plans to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

    GOP plans 450 climate bill changes

    Republicans in the House Energy and Commerce committee are considering introducing about 450 amendments during the mark-up of climate change legislation next week, according to a working list obtained by POLITICO. Many of the potential amendments would lower the environmental standards set forth in the bill, or could make it more difficult for Democrats to vote to support it.


  • Economic woes
  • Economic Recovery Still Months Away: Roubini, Rogoff

    Nouriel Roubini, co-founder and chairman at RGE Monitor, also known as Dr. Doom, and Kenneth Rogoff, professor at Harvard University’s Department of Economics, both said the economy still faces serious challenges.

    Larry says we’ve already hit rock bottom.
    U.S. Economy Is No Longer in ‘Freefall,’ Summers Says

    G.M. Tells 1,100 Dealers It Plans to Drop Them

    General Motors told more than 1,100 dealers Friday that their franchises would not be renewed next year, bringing the total for the week to nearly 2,000 car dealers that learned they were no longer wanted.

    Credit Card Defaults Reach Record Highs in April

    U.S. credit card defaults rose in April to record highs, with Citigroup and Wells Fargo posting double digit loss rates, as the recession slashed more than 2 million jobs since the beginning of the year.

    What Does Your Credit-Card Company Know About You?

    What financial crisis?
    Top-paid CEOs in the US for 2008

  • Middle Eastern headaches
  • Martin van Creveld, professor of military history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the author of many works on military history and strategy has some advice for President Obama.
    Do Like Jimmy Carter

    The president who did most for Israel was Jimmy Carter — the same Carter who has sometimes been described as an Israel-hater. In numerous appearances around the world, he has never shrunk from criticizing Israel for its faults, real and imaginary; the dislike is mutual.

    Binyamin Netanyahu’s delicate balancing act with Barack Obama

    Netanyahu to Meet Obama as U.S. Priorities Shift

    Obama, Netanyahu to Seek Consensus

    Iraq War Claims Its Oldest Combat Fatality

    Iraq Stability May Stall as U.S. Removes Troops, Haass Says

  • Obama vs his Liberal base
  • Was Hillary Clinton a sucker for not going out of her way to lie to Liberals during the campaign? She was repeatedly called a “war monger”, a “Republican”, a “cancer in the Democratic Party” for any position that was not aligned with Liberal’s pipe dreams. Obama was the candidate who was supposed to be the anti Hillary in foreign policy and the great “liberal” hope. What happened?

    Obama risks wrath of his liberal base

    Barack Obama finds that priorities clash with election promises

    Obama After Bush: Leading by Second Thought

  • Cinephiles of the world, have at it!
  • The 50 Biggest Movies of 2009
    What do you think about the list? Was anything wrongfully left off? Any movie that doesn’t belong? Give us of your thoughts.


    56 Responses

    1. Pelosi is in the position of tasting her own medicine – when she joined the chorus blaming Hillary for the war (when Hillary was the one with the withdrawal plan – one year, not 16 months). The comparison is apt since Pelosi is the one asking for the truth commission – part of the reason she is unjustly vilified. A bit karmic too.
      Meanwhile the guilty men cover for each other, and the media for both

    2. ummmmmmmm. she’s the speaker of the house
      2 heartbeats away from the president, ummmmm
      i believe she needs to come clean and move on
      wait, first apologize to the cia, period

    3. Aw, take a break…today we have amazing cactus in bloom…
      If you thought the desert was boring, you may be surprised!!

      Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (May 16, 2009) Cactus in Bloom! Gorgeous!


      • I’ve come to love flowering cactus since we moved to Central TX. About two years ago, we brought home a pad (correct term?) from a prickly pear, which was lying on the sidewalk in the commercial district of a small tourist town. We set it down in the garage – and promptly forgot about it. About a year ago, I set it down in the back yard by the fence – and promptly forgot about it. A month ago, while mowing the lawn my husband noticed little buttons emerging from the pad, buttons which have quickly grown into branches (or whatever you call vertical cactus sections). Now I’m looking forward to lovely yellow prickly pear flowers next spring. Amazing.

    4. Leon Panetta can say whatever he wants but that doesn’t change the fact that he wasn’t there when any of this took place. Is Pelosi lying? I don’t know and neither do you. Is the concept of the CIA lying to so out of the question? Yeah, right!

      Let’s have a real investigation, not some bipartisan 9-11 commision bullshit, and let the chips fall where they may.

    5. In fairness to her, Nancy Pelosi had nothing to do the Bush’s torture policies.
      In fairness to Nancy Pelosi, if she, as a member of the Gang of Four, was briefed as Porter Goss and the CIA said she was, then she is a War Criminal.

      Under Additional Protocol I (“AP I”) of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, (defining “command responsibility)……… ” if they knew, or had information which should have enabled them to conclude in the circumstances at the time, that he was committing or about to commit such a breach and if they did not take all feasible measures within their power to prevent or repress the breach.”

      [In the discussion regarding “command responsibility” the term “command” can be defined as

      1. Policy command: heads of state, high-ranking government officials, monarchs]

      As one of only four out of 500+ members of Congress to be briefed on “torture” she easily falls into the category of “high-ranking government official.

      Again if she knew and “did not take all feasible measures within their (her) power to prevent…” then she has committed war crimes.

      • Indeed. Along with the other three members of the Gang of Four. This nation should be crying our for investigation and prosecution of those who were involved with torture and these war crimes. That I don’t hear a hue and cry is disturbing.

        • I wonder if someone in the OBUSH III administration was briefed on (during the transfer of power) these ‘Enhanced interrogation techniques’ and they are now caught in the same position as Nancy Dear.

          *WATERBOARDING 101*

          Now for someone who does not know that this is what is happening to them, and it is being used as a coercive interrogation tool, in order to break their ability to resist, break their spirit. Ah that Clearly falls under the definition of torture, Ah and any definition.– Malcolm Nance

          Navy SEALS are trained, to withstand Waterboarding…should they be subjected to TORTURE! Mc Cain was clear that waterboarding was torture, he should know, he was a prisoner of war for FIVE long years.

          Where are these folks now, and why aren’t they speaking out? How are we going to improve relations abroad with a cloud of WHO knew …lingering above?

        • Very, very disturbing, ralph. Is America in a permanent coma, or just semi-permanent?

      • By Gang of Four, you mean: Bush II, Cheney, Pelosi and ‘Fourth’ Condi (and Collin Powell)? Or is the ‘Fourth’ the CIA Chief?

    6. What I don’t understand is if Pelosi knew about waterboarding in 2004-2005 and had blown the whistle wouldn’t she have been tried (and not just in our illustrious Press) for treason?
      Doesn’t the so called Patriot Act make it a crime to disclose anything that is said in these briefings.
      Pelosi wasn’t allowed to take notes.

      • What I object to is not her inability to protest at that time–it would have been futile and/or political suicide–but that she has been grandstanding and bashing those very same policies for months. Turns out she knew all along? The unraveling lies are embarrassing too. She has greatly undermined her credibility.

        • ….but that she has been grandstanding and bashing those very same policies for months.

          That’s why she’s in the hot water . Considering her own dirty laundry, she really should have kept her mouth shut . I’m guessing Dems like herself, thought they would get the Bush and Barry pass on such comeuppances….nah

        • Source: Aide told Pelosi waterboarding had been used
          Sheehy attended a briefing in which waterboarding was discussed in February 2003, with Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, who took over Pelosi’s spot as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

          This source says Pelosi didn’t object when she learned that waterboarding was being used because she had not been personally briefed about it — only her aide had been told.

          The source said Pelosi supported a letter that Harman sent to the administration at the time raising concerns. The source asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of matters discussed in classified intelligence briefings.http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/12/pelosi.waterboarding/index.html

          When Congresswoman Jane Harmon took over and was briefed, she objected, and Nancy Pelosi could have objected too, but didn’t. The Ole ‘Woulda, Coulda ,but She DIDN’T… I wonder if this is why Nancy blocked Jane Harmon?

      • Indeed. Pelosi is between a rock and a hard place that MANY would find themselves in… (How has Harry avoided all this? ) .but someone high up is twisting the vice just on her . It’s hilarious she’s being stoned for this when Barry does this sort of shit every week and it’s crickets . Both Left and Right want the woman to pay for us torturing.

      • No, Sue. I read a comment by a G. Greenwald follower last night which included a section of the Geneva Conventions. This section clearly states that anyone who acquires knowledge of illegal plans and/or activities is legally bound to bring that knowledge forward and publicly protest. The U.S. subscribes to the Geneva Conventions. Pelosi flouted them. She put political gain over moral duty, then lied about having done so. She is culpable and needs to pay the consequences. They all do – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, anyone and everyone who was complicit.

    7. My suggestion to Pelosi is not to take it all lying down. People are out to get her. Her trust in Obama has led her here. He will not do anything to help her. She is on her own and has to fight back hard.

      • The Bush Administration I Mean Obama Administration… Rachel Maddow

        Pelosi is offering cover for no one noticing OBUSH III policies… Flip Flopping OBUSH III.

    8. In fairness to her, Nancy Pelosi had nothing to do the Bush’s torture policies. She didn’t make the design them, didn’t make the decision to implement them, and wasn’t among those who were running from camera to camera to defend them. Why is she suddenly front and center in the torture debate?

      She was on the House Intelligence Committee, and was one of the four people briefed, repeatedly, about the use of waterboarding and now admits (after lying about it earlier) she didn’t protest so it could “go through proper legislative channels.” Now we know why “impeachment was off the table.” And she has been running from camera to camera to cast herself as a new and improved Dem leader, so she is a blatant liar and hypocrite. Again, Hillary did not take the easy route and either lie about her war vote or grovel. She explained what the climate was like at the time, and how and why she made those decisions with the information she had–then took the heat for it. I understand being in the minority position and the pressure at that time–but Pelosi has been pretending innocence, and is now caught, dissembling, and pointing fingers at anyone but herself. I hate to see one of the few women leaders we have in this position, but after all of her lying and manipulation last year to influence the election of BO, and now to see them letting her hang in the wind, it’s karma baby.

      • Everyone that made their deals with OBUSH III has found themselves under the BUS.

        Edwards…under the BUS
        Richardson…under the BUS
        Pelosi…under the BUS

        Can anyone find the video with the ‘Bob Graham Notes’?

        Media Matters
        Networks ignored Panetta’s caveats about CIA summary of Pelosi briefing

    9. “Was Hillary Clinton a sucker for not going out of her way to lie to Liberals during the campaign? She was repeatedly called a “war monger”, a “Republican”, a “cancer in the Democratic Party” for any position that was not aligned with Liberal’s pipe dreams. Obama was the candidate who was supposed to be the anti Hillary in foreign policy and the great “liberal” hope. What happened?”

      Hillary actually had principles and told the truth. We all knew he was a political opportunist and hypocrite–now they are so shocked. Pathetic.

      • ….Hillary actually had principles and told the truth.

        and is now reaping the benefits . Really, the witch hunting Hillary has endured for nearly 20 years, has taught her how to travel these waters …but really, her instinct for principle , which cannot be taught ,
        has always served her very well .

      • If Hillary had done that we wouldn’t have ANY credibility around the world right about NOW! Hillary has a life span of work and experience and hopefully that will help us out with the current problems (the third war that has now been placed into the AfPak conflict so no one will notice).

    10. SweetSue, on May 16th, 2009 at 10:54 am Said:

      What I don’t understand is if Pelosi knew about waterboarding in 2004-2005 and had blown the whistle wouldn’t she have been tried (and not just in our illustrious Press) for treason?
      Doesn’t the so called Patriot Act make it a crime to disclose anything that is said in these briefings.
      Pelosi wasn’t allowed to take notes.
      Treason?? No..Article III of the Constitution if very specific…Making War against the US and aid and comfort to the enemy..

      I think prosecution for exposing War Crimes, which are against US law, is unlikely. Even if it weren’t, Pelosi lacked the moral and political courage to do what was right…and what will undo her is that she has led people to believe that she is just the opposite. Her war crimes won’t undo her, hypocrisy will.

    11. I fight it incredible that you are in any way defending Pelosi. She is in the spotlight because she put herself there. She is the one organizing the witch hunt deceptively called a Truth Commission.

      Nancy was well aware of what was going on. She was briefed. And if she claims that only her aide was briefed and that turns out to be true (highly unlikely) she is at best incompetent.

      Pelosi only objected to what she knew was going on when the Abu Ghraib photos were released and she saw a political advantage to developing selective memory loss. She was complicit from the beginning by her silence when it mattered most.

      Yeah, poor ole Nancy Pelosi. The same Nancy Pelosi that orchestrated the undemocratic fiasco at the convention last year in Denver.

      I didn’t march in the streets and lobby delegates to have you or anyone else write anything that expresses the slightest amount of sympathy for this corrupt and incompetent speaker of herself.

      This is one time when the phrase “the chickens are coming home to roost” is appropriate.

      I can hardly wait for the insults to start flying…..

      • I think we should have a “witch hunt” and let the chips fall where they may. Let’s find out what Pelosi knew and when but don’t forget that Bush and Cheney and Rumsfield are war criminals-indisputably.

        • Then you don’t want some 9/11 style “Truth Commission”. What we need is an independent prosecutor to investigate and prosecute these crimes.

        • What we need to do is learn from what happened, put safeguards in place to make certain it never happens again and move on to solving the real problems facing ordinary Americans.

          This finger-pointing and tit for tat nonsense will not solve a single problem.

          Isn’t the concept of a Truth Commission being proposed by either Democrats or Republicans an oxymoron?

          • I think the question are:

            1)- What would be the role of a Truth Commission meaning what is it supposed to find out?

            2) how do we get an independent Truth Commission

            3)and what do we do with its findings?

          • But how do you learn from something when you don’t know the full details of what really happened?

        • maybe we can waterboard the truth out of Cheney since he’s such a big fan of that technique

    12. The Democrats could have 90 seats in the Senate and the republicans would still be able to stymie them.

      • If they had 100, they’d say “you don’t understand, to get 100 votes we’d need to expand the chamber to 100,000 members.”

        • Actually, they’d probably say “you don’t understand, to get 51 votes, we’d have to expand the chamber to 100,000 members.”

    13. Police break up Moscow gay march

      After the demonstration, riot police detained other gay activists who appeared after the protest and were speaking with the media. As they hauled away Ksenia Prilebskaya, police ripped off her shirt and bra and roughly pushed her into a police bus.

      City authorities had barred Saturday’s rally saying it was morally wrong. Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov has described homosexuality as “satanic.” http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2009-05-16-russia-gay-rights_N.htm

      In Russia the mayor is using ‘satanic’ and in the US Miss California, the spokesperson for NOM said this in her interview with James Dobson of FOF:

      Dobson: Why did you give the answer you did with regard to the affirmation of marriage?

      Prejean: . . . I felt as though Satanwas trying to tempt me in asking me this question. And then God was in my head and in my heart saying, “Do not compromise this. You need to stand up for me and you need to share with all these people . . . you need to witness to them and you need to show that you’re not willing to compromise that for this title of Miss USA.”

      Miss California is sounding more like Miss Russia 😯 , me thinks. 😦

    14. The CIA is the muscle of the power elite. This last week, we have Barry, who has protected thier torturing ass from exposure and Nancy, who says they are lying….you do not want to get on the CIA’s bad side… Whoes gonna have an easier ride of the two? The CIA got pissed off at Bush and caused Scooter to go to trial…you don’t to be on thier bad side. Nancy is getting the hook from very high up. IMO

      • I think that only part of the CIA is involved with the torturing. So far it looks like they contracted it out to other countries and some sadists who wanted to experiment . Tenant et al had their heads up Bush and Cheneys @$$ and when told to do something said how many times master. Remember that Cheney’s psychopaths were visiting the CIA and browbeating analysts. Where is Tenant?

      • Keep The Change Ad: FISA

        The press/media will help do Dear Ole Nancy in, because they will cover OBUSH III…

    15. What I find so incredible is that Obama could stop the Pelosi bashing with one little statement. Something like “You are going after a member of Congress who was incompletly briefed then threatened with prosecution and imprisonment if one word was repeated instead of the people who ordered experimental torture to fabricate reasons for a preemptive war? Are you all crazy?” But he won’t do it for one of the primary architects of his rigged primaries. If has to be burning her fanny that he is such an ingrate.

      • He wants her gone. She’s served her purpose. Barry always gets rid of you when you expect something from him. Did she really think she would be running things?

        • Yep and I hope she gags on it. But I do not think the Pres understands that the Dems will be treated like Pres Ford if they just blow off war crimes used to fabricate reasons to commit more war crimes. The Dems are starting to look like they are covering for the Bushies which is not very smart. The argument that it will divert resources and attention from the Obama agenda is baloney. All of it could be handed to a super prosecutor and then go about their business. I think they are just lazy and afraid the spotlight would veer off of Pres Showbiz.

          • Well, I think the same people who ran Bush Inc , also run Barry & co and they want the war crimes to continue…they want torturing to go on and be normalized….not tried . They really don’t see a crime here besides Nancy’s saying it’s bad. Now that’s a crime in their book and she will pay

        • Pelosi Prepares to Stop the Race Before Convention

          May 29, 2008 by Lady Boomer NYC

          In the May 29, 2008, SF Chronicle feature article, Pelosi Vows to Prevent Fight at Dem Convention, Carla Marinucci reports on Pelosi’s hour-long session with their editorial board: …

          Maybe Pelosi can do a strong arm like in the primaries and at the convention where California was skipped because they were mandated to vote as per the votes cast. Women hating on women doesn’t pay in the long run. Pelosi never once spoke out against the misogyny fest bestowed upon Hillary and was in the tank for OBUSH III from the beginning.

        • Spot on, as he turned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., into ‘The Preacher’ (most people thought it was the Rev., Wright) and hasn’t said diddle since…because it is all about him…

        • he uses people like toilet paper.then he flushes them away.

    16. Paper doll, won’t nest any further.
      I also think there is overlap from Bush but much is in the military and Pres O is intimidated by them. But and this is a big but, he has absolutely no loyalty to anyone or anything and will throw them over also if it is in his interest to do so. So we need to keep screaming Torture! War crimes! Never back down on this. If he will throw over his buddy Nance he will throw over CIA hacks and generals.

      • We need as a society , to keep screaming ” Torture! War crimes! ” that’s for sure….because other wise they be come “normal” . When torture is ” normal” , a society is doomed…and perhaps we are. Torture doesn’t work as a gatherer of info . It’s not really used as such , even by Bush and Co. It was used by them in order to make people say there were links between Saddam and bin Laden etc. They didn’t want info…they wanted lies validated. So one can be against it for humanity reasons and also cause it doesn’t work Torture is not for reliable intel gathering …. it’s a tool of power…declining power . We have a smell upon us, and it’s ain’t good .

        • The Malcolm Nance (expert) said in that video that if it is seen as ‘acceptable’ it can be used against hostages and citizens….us. 😯 Can you imagine, being waterboarded…I don’t think I would survive the first go and would go into cardiac arrest for sure.

      • Sadly, based on my discussions with others, I believe a good segment of the population does not feel strongly about the issue and does not really care. Or, they do not believe “torture” actually took place or that other countries do it, so the US did nothing others have not done. I actually spoke with a man yesterday that believes it was just some rogue guards and that while it may have been poor supervision it was not a directive from those in power.

    17. Pelosi, just like Dodd are reaping what they have sowed.

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