Sunday, February 24, 2013

Harper and Ravenstahl

I have been wanting to say something about the resignation of Nate Harper since it happened. It should be significant for the Mayoral primary coming up, except that Bill Peduto and Michael Lamb are simply going to cancel each other out, and Ravenstahl will win re-election.

But here's the thing about Nate Harper. I wondered back in 2007 whether Nate Harper was somehow the administration's apologist if not fall guy ( One thing significant to me about the story about Ravenstahl's guard detail making up to a hundred grand was Nate Harper's comment (made presumably with a straight face) that the Mayor works from six in the morning to after 1 or 2 am the next morning. A) that statement was made while the Mayor was still married and B) it made me wonder what the Mayor had on Harper that Harper would stick his neck out for the Mayor like that. I guess maybe now we know.

Kelly back to defense

This is a comment I made on the PG website about today's Jack Kelly column Obama is weak on defense.

So this is a column about the opposition to Chuck Hagel for Secretary of State, but it starts and is shot through with complaints about Benghazi. If the President had come forward and stated that there was a CIA facility at Benghazi, and that the CIA had successfully resisted efforts to reinforce and otherwise protect Ambassador Chris Stevens, Jack Kelly would complain that Obama is hampering US intelligence. Instead Obama (and also Susan Rice) repeated the information the CIA had told them after the Benghazi attack. Conservatives say Ms Rice should have researched that information herself before going on the Sunday talk shows the weekend after the Benghazi attack, and gathered her own information. How would she do this; the people she would talk to were the ones telling her the video caused the attack.

Jack Kelly's criticism of Chuck Hagel is first that he was a Sargent, not experienced at running a giant bureaucracy, which means he is not qualified to run the Pentagon. Of course Kelly frequently complains that Democrats are too enamored of bureaucracies and what we need is someone who will cut through the doubletalk and get to the truth (see Kelly on Ben Carson). Yet Chuck Hagel is not a Democrat (despite what the ideological purists want to say) and did co-found and run the Vanguard cellular company, as well as serving as President and CEO of the USO.

Jack Kelly finishes by saying that foreign policy disaster is almost upon us. But then conservatives (including Jack Kelly) have been predicting hyperinflation since Obama took office, even some saying it is already happening (look at the price of gas!), yet is has not now nor is likely anytime soon to happen. Makes you wonder about the foreign policy thing.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kelly plays the race card.

This is a copy of a comment I made on the the PG on Jack Kelly's column today "President Benjamin Carson?".

I have no doubt that Dr Carson is a talented doctor, although I wonder if or perhaps just when he decides to defer to the bible rather than science in a diagnosis or treatment recommendation.

Which is by way of pointing out the glaring hypocrisy in Dr Carson 's quote about how doctors have "learned how to make decisions based on facts, empirical data, rather than on ideology" should be involved in politics and then suggesting we should base tax policy on religion.

Carson's assault on political correctness that shines a light on what is clearly becoming a glaring double standard in America. Conservatives on these comment threads jump all over any innocent person who expresses a concern about "assault weapons", any one who expresses a concern about "income equality", even anyone who points out that Wall Street was the cause of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Republicans/conservatives/the Tea Party now want to silence discussion about certain issues, actually condemning saying certain words. Liberals have ALWAYS questioned and essentially condemned the idea of politically correct speech, but now Republicans march in lock step and say that there can be NO discussion about certain issues, to the point of not speaking certain words.

This is the rational, empirically-based approach that Jack Kelly advocates. Of course.

And by the way, where are conservatives complaining about Jack Kelly playing the race card? Or are all of you that intellectually dishonest (as a libertarian recently accused me of on a PG comment thread)?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Jack Kelly - waterboarding is not torture, but everything Obama does is wrong

This is once again a copy of something I posted to the PG as a comment on today's Jack Kelly column.

This is an interesting Jack Kelly column. He walks a twisty but interesting path. Water boarding isn't torture, but Obama is trampling the constitution. That Kelly supports his contention about waterboarding not being tortu by saying that journalists volunteered to have it done, and that it is effective because of a scene in a movie is absolutely repugnant. I would invite Kelly to either allow himself to be water boarded every day for the next ten years or admit that he has no idea if it is torture.

As far as drones go, Kelly is very late to the party. I took major grief on these comment threads when I repeatedly referenced over a couple of years Glenn Greenwald 's several columns on the use of drones. Go google "Glenn Greenwald Salon" (Greenwald is now writing for the Guardian). Yes, liberals have ignored the issue for some years, but so have conservatives. Greenwald has been almost alone (in the wilderness?), but there he was, and Jack Kelly has ignored his existence for years.

George Bush ignored the briefing that gave him the information that would have prevented all of this. Since 2001, the Republicans have set up all the problems we face now. Bush failed to capture or kill bin Laden in December 2001 and for seven years after, invaded the totally, totally, totally unrelated country Iraq based on lies, opened the Guantanamo detention facility, approved the at the very least morally ambiguous technique of waterboarding. And yet Republicans turn around and blame Democrats for any thing that the American people find questionable. Together with their incredible fiscal irresponsibility (which again they blame on the Democrats even when they were in control of Congress and the Presidency), Republicans have essentially by themselves caused the major problems of the last decade. When will they take responsibility for what they have done?